2:00PM Water Cooler 9/20/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“A trade deal between the EU and Canada seems to be back on the rails after more than two-thirds of Germany’s Social Democrats expressed support for the agreement at a party congress Monday… European Commission officials had awaited the vote with trepidation and said the bloc’s entire trade policy would be paralyzed if a pact with Canada — a supposedly uncontroversial economic ally — failed to win political backing” [Politico].

“TPP International Agreement: With the US in Disarray, There’s No Need to Rush” [Watching America]. A view from Japan.



“More than 50 former government officials published an open letter to Donald Trump demanding he fully disclose all of his foreign business entanglements. Among the signatories are former government officials backing Hillary Clinton — many of whom have not disclosed their own defense industry clients” [David Sirota, International Business Times]. “But even as [Andrew] Shapiro called on Trump to be more transparent, he neglected to mention his own opaque business endeavor. When he left the State Department in 2013, Shapiro founded Beacon Global Strategies…. It’s impossible to know if Shapiro or his clients have a concrete financial stake in the election. That’s because Beacon’s principals do not register as lobbyists and the firm does not publicly disclose its clients.”


“Two billionaires are planning to open their pocketbooks for Republican nominee Donald Trump in the final six weeks of the election, as the businessman continues to lag behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in fundraising” [Wall Street Journal].


Oddly, or not, Sanders is the only one asking this question:


“Republicans are now favored to hold the Senate in our inaugural 2016 Senate race ratings” [WaPo].

The Voters

“Here’s What Millennials Have Taught Me” [Hillary Clinton, PolicyMic]. “Here’s what I have learned: Your generation is the most open, diverse and entrepreneurial generation in our country’s history. And if we work together to take on the barriers that are holding you back and unleash your full potential, that won’t just improve your lives — it’ll make our entire country stronger.” Presumably the #BernieBros, however, are “irredeemable”?

“Exploiting the exogenous component of rising trade with China and classifying legislator ideologies by their congressional voting record, we find strong evidence that congressional districts exposed to larger increases in import competition disproportionately removed moderate representatives from office in the 2000s. Trade-exposed districts initially in Republican hands become substantially more likely to elect a conservative Republican, while trade-exposed districts initially in Democratic hands become more likely to elect either a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican” [NBER].

“Women in upscale suburban areas are the offset to the working-class white males who are streaming into the Trump camp elsewhere” [Wall Street Journal, “Suburban Women May Be Hillary Clinton’s Lifeline”]. “Mrs. Clinton has to hope that women in Montgomery County and similar areas of eastern Pennsylvania swallow their misgivings about her and provide support that balances out the vote in Trump country in the traditional coal and steel communities in western Pennsylvania. There, the Trump populist message has great resonance among workers who feel left behind by the current economy as well as the political system.”

“Bernie Sanders just might be the most popular politician in America” [WaPo]. Well done, Democrats.

“A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll shows Democrat Zephyr Teachout leading Republican John Faso by five points in the 19th Congressional District race” [Albany Times-Union].

“Rural working class whites are more likely to blame the federal government for their economic problems than their urban counterparts. Seven in ten say the federal government deserves all or most of the blame for the economic problems facing the working class, in the CNN Kaiser survey, compared with half of urban working class whites. That could explain the appeal of a candidate who is not only intent on upsetting the political system, but has at times seemed bent on breaking it down to start over again” [CNN].

Clnton Email Hairball

“Computer Specialist Who Deleted Clinton Emails May Have Asked Reddit for Tips ” [US News].

Stats Watch

Housing Starts, August 2016: “Housing starts and permits did fall in August, down a sharp 5.4 percent for starts to a lower-than-expected 1.142 million annualized rate and down 0.4 percent for permits to 1.139 million which is also lower than expected” [Econoday]. Permits for single family homes are up, however.

Housing: “Because we started treating our houses as disposable during the mortgage booms of the 1980s, 90s and 2000s, we ended up with houses built to last not even 25 years. This leads us to our next point: McMansions are a seriously bad investment” [Worst of McMansions]. Spend a little time on this site the houses must be seen to be believed!

Shipping: “For now, [Hanjin] ships are calling one-by-one at ports to drop cargo, protected from seizure by court orders, and then steaming back to Asia while the rest of Hanjin’s ships stand by in international waters, beyond the reach of creditors. The operation means the uncertainty is ending a few containers at a time for shippers with a combined $14 billion of goods on board Hanjin vessels, while the ordeal for the carrier and its creditors winds even more slowly to a close” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Welcome to the Hanjin California” [Splash247]. Hilarious description of the paperwork hoops you have to go through to get your container off a Hanjin ship (and presumably get your goods where they need to go). It’s not a friction-free process at all!

Shipping: “The financial troubles in the global shipping industry have led to a mounting crisis far from the open seas. In a Guest Voices commentary, shipping finance expert Basil M. Karatzas writes the rapid descent in ship values in recent years has taken a heavy toll on shipping bank loan portfolios. The problems at shipping banks, Mr. Karatzas writes, threaten to undermine the financial support system for the maritime business in coming years if the downturn in trade demand continues and the access to capital for shipowners sinks. Having been lenient with their lending and now facing a market implosion, many shipping banks now are carrying big baskets of bad loans and pushed back a necessary day of reckoning” [Wall Street Journal]. Well, well. At least we don’t have an shipping CDOs. Or do we? Readers?

Shipping: “Piraeus is set to have a new, large ship repair base, with local reports in Greece suggesting China Cosco Shipping, the new owners of the port, has started shipping a 300,000 dwt floating dock from Shanghai” [Splash247]. I would think that would make the Greeks happy?

The Bezzle: “The Obama administration released guidelines to certify driverless vehicles for U.S. roads, aiming to maximize safety without miring the auto industry in red tape” [Wall Street Journal]. “Under the voluntary policy [!!], auto makers would submit a 15-point ‘safety assessment’ covering how driverless cars are tested, how they are programmed to obey traffic laws and safeguards against hacking. The assessment is an attempt by regulators to steer the industry toward universal safety standards without locking a still-developing technology into a set of hard rules. At the same time, states will retain control over other aspects of driving, including licenses, car registration and insurance.”

The Bezzle: “We looked at 250 frequently purchased products over several weeks to see which ones were selected for the most prominent placement on Amazon’s virtual shelves — the so-called “buy box” that pops up first as a suggested purchase. About three-quarters of the time, Amazon placed its own products and those of companies that pay for its services in that position even when there were substantially cheaper offers available from others” [Pro Publica]. “The average price difference between what the program recommended and the truly cheapest price was $7.88 for the 250 products we tested. An Amazon customer who bought all the products on our list from the buy box would have paid nearly 20 percent more — or about $1,400 extra — than if they had bought the cheapest items being offered by other vendors.” So, Amazon’s valuation?

The Bezzle: “Bitcoin qualifies as money, a federal judge ruled on Monday, in a decision linked to a criminal case over hacking attacks against JPMorgan Chase & Co and other companies” [Yahoo Tech]. “‘Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term,’ [U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan] wrote. ‘Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account. They therefore function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment.'”

The Bezzle: “How app-based ride sharing services overcome information asymmetries” [Institute of Economic Affairs]. “With a ride service like Uber, the scams all go away without needing regulation. The requested destination is recorded in advance. The route is tracked by GPS and may be verified later. The fare is calculated by a third party and paid via credit card, and a refund may be issued if there is any complaint later. The passenger does not pay in cash, so there are no scams concerning the handover of money. The passenger rates the driver, so the driver does care about his reputation. In terms of the safety of the passenger and the driver from each other, both parties are easily identifiable later, so a prosecution is much easier if a crime does occur. In my mind, a certainty that one will be caught and punished if one commits a crime is a greater deterrent than any number of background checks.”

Supply Chain: “Symbotic’s automation system includes autonomous robots that can travel untethered among storage racks in a distribution center. They can move up and down aisles to stack and retrieve cases. They coordinate with more-conventional robots that perform simpler tasks” [Wall Street Journal, “Fully Autonomous Robots: The Warehouse Workers of the Near Future”]. “That is in contrast to many other warehouse-automation systems, in which the robots tend to be bolted down or limited to fixed routes or tracks and are less flexible in what they can do.”

Honey for the Bears: “Nearly half of the world’s available floating rigs are out of work today, and most observers expect that number will climb further. Not only are the drillship operators’ customers — the likes of ConocoPhillips and Total SA — slashing spending in high-cost offshore areas and canceling work contracts early, but new rigs that were ordered in recent years keep rolling out of shipyards. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates as much as $56 billion worth of offshore rigs, capable of drilling in everything from shallow water to oceans more than two miles deep, are still under construction” [Bloomberg].

The Fed: “Two of the Fed’s 23 preferred bond-trading partners — Barclays Plc and BNP Paribas SA — are betting against their peers and the bond market by forecasting officials will raise rates Wednesday” [Bloomberg].

Political Risk: “There is booming demand for political-risk insurance that can protect companies against shocks, be they coups in Turkey, sanctions against Russia or a debt default by Venezuela” [The Economist]. “Now, however, firms need to pay the same attention to political risk in the developed world. Just consider the latest news from the American election trail. The woman who stands between the presidency and a hot-head who wants to tear up the world’s trading system is losing her air of invincibility, due to an unguarded comment about a “basket of deplorables”, a bout of pneumonia and a foolish decision to conceal the illness from voters.” And then there’s Brexit.

Political Risk: “An October surprise could be coming in the form of an explosive rebound for economic growth. The Commerce Department will release its initial estimate for third-quarter GDP on Oct. 28, just days before the presidential election” [Wall Street Journal]. “[A]s of Friday, forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers projected a 3.1% seasonally adjusted annual growth rate for GDP in the third quarter. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow model on Thursday predicted a 3% growth rate. Oxford Economics on Friday also estimated the third quarter’s growth rate at 3%.” I suppose the question is whether voters can match the stats up with the concrete material realities of their own lives; I’m guessing no.

“Even though Wall Street tries to keep alive the debate about the merits of active versus passive investing, a clear trend has emerged over the last several decades in which investors are slowly but steadily abandoning the hope of outperformance that active management offers in favor of the certainty of earning market (not average) returns that passive management provides” [John Swedroe, ETF.com].

“What Have We Learned From The Crisis?” [Paul Krugman]. It’s 26 pages long, so I searched on “fraud.” Zero hits.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 Fear (previous close: 44, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 36 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 20 at 12:02pm

Dear Old Blighty

“It’s less than a week until the result of the most contentious leadership election in the party’s history and on the same weekend that the new leader is announced, in the same city where the Labour party conference is being held – Liverpool – Momentum, the party-within-a-party set up to support Jeremy Corbyn after his successful leadership bid last year, has organised its own conference. It’s called The World Transformed, Joe explains, because its main agenda is to change the world” [Guardian]. Interviews with Momentum people. “”You get people like the FT’s Janan Ganesh who tweeted [and later deleted]: ‘All this stuff about Corbyn and this so-called movement. The truth is they’re just as thick as pig shit.’ That’s the level of serious attention that this movement is getting.” So awesome.

“Two more Labour councillors and one prominent activist have been suspended by their party as concerns grow over the increasing influence of Momentum across Bristol” [Bristol 247]. “The suspensions, which have been called a “purge” by Jeremy Corbyn supporters, come as Channel 4’s Dispatches were due to air footage on Monday showing a key member of Momentum claiming the organisation is ‘taking over’ the Labour Party in Bristol.”

“The ground was laid for Labour’s current civil war. Corbyn’s supporters created a new organization, Momentum, to capitalize on his unexpected success and consolidate the Left’s position within the party. The Right, meanwhile, decided to go underground. With characteristic modesty they compared their coming struggle against Corbyn with the French resistance during the World War II” [Jacobin] “Some of their faction would oppose Corbyn from the outside, which anonymous briefers to the right-wing Daily Telegraph called the “Free French” strategy. Others, following a ‘Maquis’ strategy, would accept jobs in Corbyn’s ministerial team and wait for the right time to strike. Through this combination of pressure from within and without, the majority of Labour MPs hoped to undo the leadership election and take back ‘their party’ from its members.”

Neoliberal U

“For the first time, students in the College’s introductory economics class must purchase a $132 access code to an online textbook and set of online materials—a course requirement that many have criticized as making the class too expensive. But the course’s professor and the textbook’s author, N. Gregory Mankiw, said the new system is worth the pricetag” [Harvard Crimson]. Worse, there’s no possibility of buying (or selling) used textbooks. Of course, the cream of the jest is that it’s Mankiw, so the course is a steaming load of neoliberal crap anyhow.


“For the past several years, Arati Kumar-Rao has been documenting riverine ecologies, making long trips to the Sunderbans, following the course of the Ganga, travelling down the Cauvery to the Bay of Bengal, and recording the stories of the people and landscape sustained by these rivers” [HuffPo]. Lovely, revealing photographs.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Black man fatally shot by Tulsa police was unarmed, chief says, as ‘disturbing’ video is released” [WaPo].


“Most of those polled [by YouGov] fell into the middle category, saying that disliking an entire race, religion, gender or other class of people was prejudiced, but didn’t necessarily make someone a bad person” [HuffPo]. “Black Americans were consistently more likely than white Americans to say that biases made someone a bad person, although a majority still rejected that characterization. Twenty-six percent of black Americans, compared to just 10 percent of white Americans, say that holding negative views of black people makes someone a bad person.”

Class Warfare

“Since the end of the past recession, labor productivity has risen, while labor compensation has declined.1 However, this seems to be a continuation of a long-term trend, rather than a response to the Great Recession” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis].

News of the Wired

“You are almost definitely not living in reality because your brain doesn’t want you to” [Quartz]. A compendium of cognitive biases.

* * *

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 (CB):


Fungi in the woods of South Limburg, the Netherlands.

Readers, if you can, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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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. savedbyirony

    I may have first heard of this resource here on NC, but i thought i would re-post the link for anyone else interested in keeping a daily eye on the numbers and killings:
    (The Washington Post runs a similar site, but theirs only records deaths due to shootings)

    51 deaths so far in Sept.
    782 deaths to date this year

    What with the recent and growing protests by athletes, Terrence Crutcher’s killing has been widely spoken about today on the ESPN talk shows and news. Flawed as it is, ESPN employs many articulate people of color and they are not going easy on these issues during the daytime programming. They have not been for sometime and their outspokenness seems to be rising. Like with the college football players last year, maybe there could actually come a large and economically threatening enough movement to do something about this systemic injustice.

    1. Milton

      I would love to see a boycott of black athletes in college and pro sports. The potential loss of $$s would put some teeth behind the demands for justice.

      1. savedbyirony

        Yes, but not just black athletes (or just athletes in general). One item ESPN has been covering is the growing numbers of protests involving athletes of various races. Also, i don’t want to make too much of it, but a few weeks ago the white sports TV commentators came across as grossly ill-informed about issues such as incarceration rates and disproportionate community policing, etc. What i am hearing now is less of them willing to push the derailing issues, such as “support the military” and “look at the violence in Chicago”, and stay on the topic of police violence clearly targeted at blacks which goes unpunished and “policed”. I don’t know what will come of these public protests by sports figures, but it does look like NBA players are planning to become involved when their season starts up in a few weeks. And it also looks like more people with public platforms to fairly wide and diverse audiences are becoming willing to address the actual issue.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Call me a cynic about ESPN, but the NBA players hold considerable power because it wouldn’t take much for them to start an alternative league especially with all the major powers in a state of rebuilding outside of Boston, still just a second tier city (I know Fallout 4), while the NBAs popularity booms. So as LeBron goes so goes the Association, the networks and league have to tolerate his position enough to assuage his concerns.

          Golden State and Cleveland players are selling jerseys. Westbrook is a superstar. Even Disney has to play ball with the amount they invested in NBA games.

        2. fresno dan

          September 20, 2016 at 4:16 pm

          “…but a few weeks ago the white sports TV commentators came across as grossly ill-informed about issues such as incarceration rates and disproportionate community policing, etc. What i am hearing now is less of them willing to push the derailing issues, such as “support the military” and “look at the violence in Chicago”, and stay on the topic of police violence clearly targeted at blacks which goes unpunished and “policed”.
          I sure hope you are right. For a lot of men, the only news they are exposed to is “sports” news. I think when gays came out, it was a great advance for gay rights because so many people did not know that they already had gay friends, and that gay people were just like everybody else.
          For many white men, the only black “friends” they have are the commentators they follow and respect. I think prominent black athletes sharing stories of themselves being intimidated or mistreated by police, will humanize and put into widespread public discussion the issue far more effectively than anything done so far. I think a black commentator on ESPN being able to challenge any white commentator by asking, “Do you think a black man shot in the back with his hands up is right?” will force these issues to have the prominence they deserve and need to have some real reform.

          1. savedbyirony

            What you’re talking about regarding white viewers listening to black commentators (which i agree with), i think is definitely happening between white commentators listening to black commentators, as well. (I suspect off air now probably much more than on.)

            Many of these daytime ESPN talking head shows don’t just have black guest. They are the hosts, a few who are past athletes but many are professional journalists. Over the last few weeks, i have heard a number of them get personal on the air about their own experiences with the police to white commentators, giving personal stories i suspect they had not shared before with their professional peers of other races. And we’re not just talking about interactions when they were growing up. One recently (Steven A. Smith -who is no raging liberal, anti-establishment man by any stretch of the imagination) recently gave an account of being stopped by police and threatened until one of the cops recognized him as an ESPN talking head. And they simply are not willing to let the discussion of police violence aimed at blacks be deflected. But the change in the white commentary is what has struck me most. Granted, most of them are not nearly as passionate when speaking specifically about the violence and injustice/racism behind it. But what they are becoming more vocal about is the rights and importance of athletes speaking up if they so choose.

            One interesting observation to add; the dynamics change come prime time. The talking heads of all races still talk about the issues, but they tend to be much more circumspect. For example, a few weeks ago ABC hosted a “town hall” with Pres. O supposedly dealing with police violence (yes, we know how those are staged) with a prominent black female ESPN daytime host which ended up being yet another “the police have a very dangerous job” ad. However, the host and her fellow commentator ripped O. and his “people” the next afternoon for it.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            That’s a very good point.

            The latest one: Black guy shot by cops in his car while reading a book*.

            This is just nuts. The police are starting to look like yet another completely dysfunctional** system nobody in their right mind would ever go near or become involved in.

            I honestly don’t have a policy answer at this point. It doesn’t seem like “more training” is the answer.

            * Of course, there is a bitter irony in a book being confused with a gun.

            ** Given stated purposes…

            1. Procopius

              Of course, there is a bitter irony in a book being confused with a gun.

              Well, maybe they didn’t confuse it with a gun. After all, they know what guns look like, and they have one handy for comparison purposes if they don’t remember. Maybe it was just a completely unfamiliar object and they feared it might be a bomb?

            2. Skip Intro

              A black man who can read is inherently dangerous and a natural target for terrorists who have exchanged white robes for police uniforms.

  2. diptherio

    I used to work with a guy, a diesel mechanic, who told me that the best thing about joining the military was that it cured him of his racism. He grew up in the South, and said that racist jokes and comments were commonplace in his household, but that he’d never actually spent any time in the company of people who didn’t share his complexion. Being forced to live and work with guys of all different shades showed him pretty quickly that the racism of his upbring was a bunch of hogwash. Yet another reason why I support a Job Guarantee program — it could be used as a mechanism to get people working together with folks they might otherwise not interact with.

    1. Jim Haygood

      WW II military integration helped pave the way for integration of southern universities in the late 1940s, starting with law schools, followed by undergrad schools.

      In his history written in the early 1970s, U of Arkansas law school dean Robert Leflar describes how the first black law student, military veteran Silas Hunt, was admitted in 1948.

      Initially Hunt was required to sit in a separate seat encircled by a railing to symbolically separate him from the white law students in the same room. The dean went on to describe how the railing “mysteriously” (wink, wink) disappeared one night … and no one cared. ;-)

      1. Unorthodoxmarxist

        I think it’s pretty clear that a massive public jobs program (Green New Deal!) would not only be popular but would immediately serve to burst the racist balloon that permeates American politics – a balloon that the Repubs and Dems are happy to have in order to divide the working class. Reading a review of a book on Tea Party/conservatives the author made the point that the whites who attack the government are doing so because they believe they have been left behind while minorities have been helped, thus they want to smash a government they see as unresponsive to their interests even if they have to get in bed with large corporate interests to do so.

        A public jobs program would be a public good supported by just about everyone in the working class (like Social Security and Medicare) and would show government as doing something universally good for the majority, hence why the corporate elite refuse to entertain the notion at all.

          1. different clue

            I seem to remember the Obama Administration discarding Van Jones when he talked sorta mean, kinda, about Republicans.

            ( Just as I recall the Obama Administration discarding Shirley Sherrod when she was
            targeted with cleverly engineered false accusations of racism. I can’t remember by whom any more.)

      2. LifelongLib

        In his book “The Good War” Studs Terkel interviewed a man in charge of setting up one of the first integrated U.S. Army units. It was actually whites from the South who were most willing to participate. Whites from the North often refused outright. Apparently Southern whites knew blacks in everyday life while whites from the North didn’t, despite segregation.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Dick Gregory observed, generations ago now: ” Down south white folks don’t care how close you get, just so you don’t get too big. Up north, white folk don’t care how big you get, long as you don’t get too close.”

          A close relative in a very mixed marriage (very melanized Africa-born husband, peaches and cream English-Scot heritage wife, with three incredibly beautiful capable children) lives in the NY area, which has lots of neighborhoods with the full range of mixing and tolerance, “no problem” to “don’t let the sun set on you here…” They are casting about for a place to move to, more pastoral, that might have the same simple acceptance they mostly find where they are. Very hard to do, in “America.”

        2. JTMcPhee

          Dick Gregory observed, generations ago now: ” Down south white folks don’t care how close you get, just so you don’t get too big. Up north, white folk don’t care how big you get, long as you don’t get too close.”

          A close relative in a very mixed marriage (very dark-skinned African husband, peaches and cream English-Scot heritage wife, with three incredibly beautiful capable children) lives in the NY area, which has lots of neighborhoods with the full range of mixing and tolerance, “no problem” to “don’t let the sun set on you here…” They are casting about for a place to move to, more pastoral, that might have the same simple acceptance they mostly find where they are. Very hard to do, in “America.”

      3. Procopius

        WW II military integration helped pave the way for integration of southern universities in the late 1940s, starting with law schools, followed by undergrad schools.

        I think your history is a little inaccurate. The U.S. military was thoroughly segregated during World War II. It was not integrated until President Truman ordered it in 1948, and at the beginning of the Korean Police Action many units were still segregated. It was only the pressure of emergency as our troops were getting the snot kicked out of them that really led to the full use of black soldiers in combat. There’s a wonderful series of novels by a black author named Walter Mosley. They tell the story of a black man, Easy Rawlins, in Los Angeles after WWII. Black soldiers were mostly used in what are called “support services,” truck drivers, mechanics, cooks, but some were in combat, and in one scene Easy Collins, the protagonist, muses on the blond, blue-eyed German boy he killed at one time, and how easy it was. I’d like to see some of the novels assigned as required reading in high school English classes.

    2. Skippy

      I remember a white kid of less that average build, talking smack to a black kid of more than average build in chow line, in basic. After about 10 minuets the black kid turned and popped him in the gob, then turn back to face the front of the line, did not say a word. After bouncing off his ass the white kid looked around for support from other white kids or one of the drill Sargent’s, noone even looked at him, everyone completely ignored him.

      Disheveled Marsupial…. I think the white kid started to have a little quite sob when – it – dawned on him….

    3. tongorad

      If simply interacting was the answer, what about public schools? I teach in a public school, and there’s plenty of racial tensions on hand (gangs, fights, etc), even though we’re all forced to be together all day. Even the teachers are often self-segregated on racial/ethnic lines.
      People are hell.

  3. diptherio

    “What Have We Learned From The Crisis?” [Paul Krugman]. It’s 26 pages long…

    Could have been condensed to two words: “absolutely nothing.”

    1. Pat

      Yes, although depending on who Krugman believes he is addressing with “we” it might better have been one slightly longer paragraph. “Nothing” if he is referring to himself, most of our political class and the industries that responsible for the crash. Or this for everyone else who has been paying attention:

      “The regulatory system meant to curtail the abuses that led to this has been captured by those it regulates. Whenever possible he laws were changed to allow the abuses outright by elected officials bought by the corporations. Those who should be being constrained from theft, fraud, and gambling with other people’s money no longer were and still aren’t. No one who benefited from the events that led to the fall will be forced to pay in any manner for the mess they caused, only the shlubs too stupid to be bought, captured or join the predatory industries that caused the crash will. And barring revolution it will work that way again for the next “Crisis”.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I repeat my favorite YouTube clip ever:

        CIA Superior: What did we learn, Palmer?

        CIA Officer: I don’t know, sir.

        CIA Superior: I don’t f*ckin’ know either. I guess we learned not to do it again.

        CIA Officer: Yes, sir.

        CIA Superior: I’m f*cked if I know what we did.

        CIA Officer: Yes, sir, it’s, uh, hard to say

        CIA Superior: Jesus F*cking Christ.

        1. Procopius

          “The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history.”

          I don’t know who said it, but it’s a lot better than that Spinoza thingy.

    2. Benedict@Large

      I have learned that the people who drop out of economics in college are more likely to be the ones who get it as opposed to the ones who don’t.

      1. fresno dan

        September 20, 2016 at 5:07 pm


        It does seem as if greater economic training only results in a firmer believe in more preposterous things….

  4. Katharine

    “Black Americans were consistently more likely than white Americans to say that biases made someone a bad person, although a majority still rejected that characterization. Twenty-six percent of black Americans, compared to just 10 percent of white Americans, say that holding negative views of black people makes someone a bad person.”

    For a more comprehensive view, it would have been interesting to see the percentages of each group that thought holding negative views of white people makes someone a bad person. I would expect to see some shift in the numbers, in line with the old, “I’m firm, you’re obstinate, he’s a pigheaded idiot” principle. Very few of us make judgments without context, and we usually have some form of self-protective bias, though we may try to offset it.

  5. diptherio

    Elizabeth Warren did well today.

    You know, here’s what really gets me about this Mr. Stumpf. If one of your tellers took a handful of $20 bills out of the cash drawer, they’d probably be looking at criminal charges for theft. They could end up in prison. But you squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket. And when it all blew up, you kept your job, you kept your multimillion dollar bonuses, and you went on television to blame thousands of $12-and-hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made you rich. This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated.


    1. timbers

      You know, here’s what really gets me about this Hillary Clinton. If one of America’s citizens leaked classified govt info and used it for private profits and donations, they’d probably be looking at criminal charges for theft. They could end up in prison. But she squeezed those with government business before the State Department and put it in her own pocket. And when it all blew up, she kept her job, destroyed the evidence, and was nominated for President and endorsed by me, and she went on television to blame conspiracy theorists and a vast right wing conspiracy for blowing it all out of proportion. This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated.

      YOU GO LIZ!

      1. Carla

        timbers declares: “You know, here’s what really gets me about this Hillary Clinton. If one of America’s citizens leaked classified govt info and used it for private profits and donations, they’d probably be looking at criminal charges for theft. They could end up in prison.”

        Thank you, timbers I think you just offered proof that Hillary Clinton is not one of America’s citizens.

        And I appreciate that!

      2. RepubAnon

        Horse maneuvers. Hillary didn’t leak classified gov’t information. She didn’t use it for private profits and donations. This is all more “Clinton Rules” garbage: lies, lies, and more lies. Or do you seriously think the Republicans actually found evidence of this, and covered it up?

        1. tegnost

          Although she allegedly did not leak gov’t docs, she did expose them, and you’d have to be pretty gullible to believe that donations to the foundation are anything other than simple pay to play, and she and her family clearly benefited from that (chelsea’s salary is what again? and she earns it by…?) And as with the banksters, there’s evidence, and then there’s finding a prosecutor willing to take it to court.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > “leaked”

          Not in the usual sense of the word, no. Then again, when you, as a Secretary of State, privatize your email server and then leave it unsecured for three months, it’s hard to know what the right word would be.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        True. On the other hand, I don’t see this as a Clinton-orchestrated event or especially helpful to her; it’s too late to change her image. I mean, can anybody see Clinton calling for banksters to be thrown in jail? And successfully appearing sincere? Hard to believe.

        So I see this as the emergence of a Democrat Party baron independent of Clinton (and, interestingly, before November 8). That’s a good thing.

    2. Cry Shop

      They should be using the Rico act on him. He’s not much different than the head of one of the five families.

    3. Procopius

      What’s more, as somebody pointed out here a couple of days ago, nobody has more comprehensive metrics to monitor employee behavior than banks. There is no way management could not have known about this. I’d put a small amount of money up as a bet that if those 5,300 former employees were questioned, most of them were fired for not meeting “cross-selling” targets. I don’t care what the bank’s HR records show.

  6. Vatch

    Regarding the Mankiw Harvard Econ text scam, here’s an apparently contradictory quote from the article:

    Mankiw said he was able to negotiate with the publisher to obtain a lower price for Harvard students, who were the first university students to use the new system in their classroom. Mankiw said he waited to implement the program until other colleges had tested it.

    Okay, the Harvard students were the first to use the system. But Mankiw waited until other colleges had first tested it. Huh? What is this, an M.C. Escher neverending staircase to nowhere? Is Mankiw actually distinguishing between colleges and universities? Some colleges used the text first, and then Harvard University used it?

    1. Katharine

      I suspect the writer was just trying to avoid saying Harvard twice in one line. But what I find a bit amusing is that this sort of integrated system (it used to be workbooks) used to be aimed at community colleges and other places where less well-prepared students were unable to figure out how to learn the material on their own. It says something about Harvard students, or Mankiw, if they are now considered to need such aids.

      Given that Mankiw is the author, my first hypothesis is greed, but that would not rule out contempt for the students.

      1. hunkerdown

        This being Mankiw, and Mankiw’s stock and trade being neoliberal BS, would the actual fact set of the market “innovation” even be relevant to him? Markets are imaginary friends and, like all imaginary friends, they’re a means by which to rationalize inequality.

        The narrative is the product.

    2. ian

      I remember a graduate course in engineering I took, in which the professor basically used the first draft of his book as the textbook. We were guinea pigs but didn’t pay anything for the book outside of the cost of xeroxing.

    3. diptherio

      Wow, that’s like a lost verse to that old song we used to sing around the campfire:

      Rained all night,
      the day I left,
      the weather, it was dry.
      The sun so hot
      I froze to death,
      Suzanna don’t you cry!

    4. Harry

      Why am I thinking Epi pens?

      To be fair, I nearly shat myself laughing at the “N. Gregory Mankiw, said the new system is worth the pricetag” – who could possibly argue with his judgement? Trust me, I’m an economist.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      David Hall would be wrong.

      I talked to a few friends and relatives in the area since you originally brought this up, they all know about it, and they are all very much against it.

      He reminds me of a guy who bought a house in nearby Barnard a few years ago. At the time it was the most expensive purchase of a private house ever in the state. People found out, talked about it and it made the rounds in the newspapers. The guy was extremely miffed, and was quoted saying something to the effect that he thought the locals respected people’s privacy.

      Well the locals also don’t like it when rich flatlanders come in and drive up the taxes by overpaying for property that used to be someone’s farm.

      Too bad Fred Tuttle isn’t still around – he’d have run this guy out of town on a rail by now.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      And per the article, this is supposedly a solution to ‘rural sprawl’?!?!??!? What the hell does that even mean and has he even visited the area where he’s buying up land? The only sprawl in this area would be his damn development – those towns have about 1000-2000 people each tops.

      There may be a lot of poor rural shitkickers in the area but they aren’t completely ignorant.

  7. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Liz Warren speak with forked tongue, in morning she say banker bad man, why not in jail? In afternoon she say Hilary very good. But Hilary boss make sure bad banker never in jail, so how can say two different on same day?

    1. Waldenpond

      BS chastising doesn’t do it for you huh? Maybe some D some where can write an official sternly worded letter. Ooh, I know, a twitter storm! THAT would tug on my heart strings.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The relevant question is Bernie’s. It’s a yes or no. If yes, make Lynch testify. If no, it’s time to investigate Warren’s creation from top to bottom and to ask Lynch about her actions since the Wells Fargo story broke.

        Anything else is meaningless. It’s obvious Wells Fargo is a criminal enterprise. A public dressing down means nothing to to this guy.

        1. timbers

          Yah. Reminds me of Sharon Stone at police headquarters getting interrogated & being told it’s illegal to smoke as she lights up a cigarette in Basic Instinct: “So charge me with smoking” as she proceeds to smoke.

        2. Tvc15

          Don’t forget HRC did tell Wall Street to, “cut it out”. Maybe she will have the same tough message for Wells.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The correct answer is the kind of people who created this list. These specific authors are trying to be funny.

      It was still another article about Hillary without mentioning her dangerous foreign policies and her husband’s cronies and her husband’s terrible policies. It’s why she lost in 2008 and might lose again.

    2. jrs

      Republican endorsements.

      Well why not blame them? Who that isn’t a Republican, wants to vote for someone with that much Republican baggage?

      GHW Bush endorses, is this supposed to convince social democrats Hillary is on their side somehow?

    1. abynormal

      (2011) http://www.cmla.org/papers/006B%20Pamel_Bills%20of%20Lading_Paper_ENG.pdf
      …”the impact on these transport documents of compulsorily applicable
      liability regimes set out in international carriage of goods by sea conventions is also
      essential to a proper grasp of the role these documents play in international maritime
      It is also interesting to examine how parties other than carriers, shippers and
      consignees can and do benefit from certain clauses in ocean bills of lading and sea waybills which purport to confer on such third parties or classes of them the
      exemptions from, and limitations of, liability which marine carriers assume in the performance of their functions.
      This paper will attempt to provide an overview of these issues, with special reference
      to how they are addressed in Canadian maritime law”

      nutz reading but this is where i think chains will begin breaking…my question is how long to reach main street?

      1. Jay M

        I think one of the problems that might crop up is with letters of credit
        I was wondering about this the other day vis a vis Hanjin, but couldn’t search up anything
        I believe I learned that about 1/3 of shipments are paid through LOC

        1. abynormal

          it happened one night for sure (i remember i swear). that other bust in 09…our ports started freezing up and bill of ladings were toilet paper for all they cared. it was a bloodyshitstorm. i can’t find it on a ruff search but i got an hp with some stuff saved from those good ole nights and i might might can dig it up. i was a newbie grabbing 411 from cashed out retired bond traders…why they put up with my crazy questions still amazes me today (actually, some tired of me an loaded me up with pdf’s of old crashes etc). IF ‘they’ can hold this thing together past november i’ll blowout this netbk…bummer

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I was amazed to see — and maybe every system is like this, I’m just ignorant — the enormous number of specialized actors all of whom need to be paid. The people who rope your ship to the dock, for example. The tugboats. And your cargo doesn’t move unless every single one of them gets paid.

            Maritime finance (if that is the word) is very interesting and has a long history; see the Merchant of Venice. The Atlantic slave trade would not have been possible without it.

        2. Cry Shop

          The LOC itself won’t be a problem if payment is against a B/L, the LC is negotiable against the documents, the banks are not allowed to hold up payment if the documents are in order with the term. I can only see a problem for the LOC beneficiary if the payment is against a container yard delivery order, which is very rare. It’s the creditors and the LOC issuers who are going to sweat bullets, them and perhaps the forfait / export insurance firms.

    2. Cry Shop

      Haha, I love that the agony aunt either ignored or overlooked the newby Indian Trader’ hope that transshipment would allow him to commit a fraud without spending any money. He wanted to declare goods made in Vietnam as being made in Singapore. Unfortunately, most shipping lines won’t play along with this sort of fraud, they don’t want their vessels arrested.

      Hong Kong, Singapore, Kaohsiung, Busan, etc, are ports where fortunes are made laundrying transhipments to change origin of goods. Hong Kong is a favorite for the American MIC and high-tech to get around export restrictions to China. The Taipo Industrial Estate is full of empty factories which are used to justify importing military use components, dual use items, etc; for eventual re-export to China. The US Consulate is complicit because they fake their inspections so that money keeps rolling in to the accounts of important people in Washington.

  8. Uahsenaa

    It’s worth noting re: the Labour civil war that things only get harder for the right wing going forward. After the party conference, Corbyn will have a clear majority on the NEC, making tactics like trying to purge members or exclude candidates that much harder. And even the gentle Corbyn has suggested that there will be a reselection when the constituency boundaries are redrawn in the coming months. Also, CLP meetings have been suspended for some time now, so following the party conference I imagine there will be a lot of harping about the “takeover” of constituency parties once they’re on again.

    1. Unorthodoxmarxist

      I suspect most of the PLP and the center/right of the party is preparing for a split. To which I hope Corbyn and the Labour Left say good riddance; it’s easier than a purge (though perhaps not as satisfying).

  9. Jim Haygood

    Trump starves the media:

    Donald Trump’s refusal to shell out cash for traditional TV campaign advertising is hurting broadcasters.

    Trump throughout his campaign has spent less to advertise on TV than any other major candidate in the 2016 cycle.

    The Trump campaign aired its first TV ad in late August. His campaign has spent just $4.9 million so far, while Hillary Clinton has shelled out $109.2 million.


    Trump is gaining on Hillary in the polls, even as she outspends him 22 to 1 on television (probably the best way to reach her geezer demographic).

    Like those $29.99 limited-offer gizmos hawked on shopping channels, Hillary wouldn’t even exist without continuing hard-sell promotion to goad her skeptical, apathetic customer base into action.

    You can watch her march into oblivion this fall … or wait for the Broadway musical about our would-have-been first female president, Les Déplorables. The raggedy coal people singing “Roof Boltin’ Daddy” is said to be one of the better numbers.

    1. clarky90


      Trump shatters Republican records for cash from small donors as he brings in $100m from in small increments during the campaign

      “Trump may already have passed the $100 million mark for contributions from those giving less than $200”.

      People are giving money to the Trump campaign in small amounts. The Republican Party is being gutted and rebuilt.

      The Bushes, and their horde of barbarian cronies, are finding a happy home over with the Dems.

      1. Jim Haygood

        We’ve gone from P. J. O’Rourke’s Republican Party Reptile (1987) to D. J. Trump’s R Party alt-Bernie (2016).

        Small contributions to Hillary? On a cold day in hell, brother.

        Though I once sent one metallic nickel to the Clinton Defense Fund, when they were so poor.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Just an opinion from some anonymous poster on the internet:

        The polls to watch are internet polls.

        Voting for Trump is essentially breaking a taboo. Among some demographics, people are more likely to admit to masturbating than to admit that they plan on voting for Trump.

        So polls which offer a degree of anonymity are the ones to watch. There was a similar effect in the UK among Brexit voters — the phone polls consistently overstated Remain support (by 4-5%) compared to Internet polls. The same percentage gap is occurring in the US election.

        1. Jay M

          damned if we imitate the cousins in the general
          (by the way, Putin is sending all those small donations, 0bama is on to it)

        2. clarky90

          I live in NZ and have not even told my closest Kiwi friends that I support Trump. Why threaten friendships that are decades old? They have picked up a fervent “fear of Trump” from the media- like the fear of sunlight (extremely dangerous!) and cholesterol (the toxic substance that our brains are made of).

          A young guy from the NZ Green Party phoned me randomly. NZ Greens fervently oppose the TPP. I told him I supported Trump because Trump opposed TPP. The young Green guy became overwrought. “How could I support Trump?” I was just trying to be helpful.

          Anyway, most people who support Trump keep their mouths shut. It is wisdom!- Like never inviting the Jehovah’s Witnesses into your home.This is why elections are anonymous!

  10. allan

    In Wells Fargo Case, Watchdogs Didn’t Play Team Ball [Dealbook]

    The Wells Fargo case has exposed something besides bad bank practices: gaps in United States regulatory teamwork.

    The Justice Department was kept in the dark until the last minute about the widespread problem of unauthorized accounts at the bank and the $185 million fine it would be paying, according to people familiar with the situation. That is why prosecutors are only just now beginning an investigation. …

    Loretta Lynch throws Richard Cordray under the bus. It’s nice to have Andrew Ross Sorkin on speed dial.

  11. knowbuddhau

    I have an Obamacare update.

    Last November, I lost a job and apartment for the most absurd of reasons: the owner of the vacation rental, where I was the caretaker, needed knee surgery. Why should that make me an economic refugee? She lived in Arizona, but her insurance, Group Health, wouldn’t cover her there, so she had to move back to WA and displace me.

    Since then, I’ve had the good fortune of finding yet another job (I already had 3) I really enjoy and do really well. Only now I’m making too much for Washington’s Apple Health (Medicaid) program. All of $2600/month, gross, at which rate I qualify for a $200/month subsidy, leaving me with another $200/month. Am I going to see $2400/year in value from it? Bahahaha!

    Apple Health served me well; when I needed to see my regular doctor, I did, without charge or hassle. And I got free dental care. And I was about to get a colonoscopy.

    Only now, I’m literally trading access to care for coverage. Today, I’m cancelling upcoming appointments that I don’t know I’ll be able to reschedule.

    I thought, well, screw this, I’ll just save the money instead. The fine for not purchasing a crappy policy is just over $2000. So I’d be just under $400 ahead. But at 52, I don’t want to take that chance. I still have 6 more years before a 2012 medical bankruptcy will be off my record. Which itself is a hindrance to finding affordable housing, among other things. No way do I want to start that whole sh!tstorm again.

    200 /month for a crappy product that prevents care, on top of my other expenses, means that happy feeling I enjoyed for a short time, of actually being able to support myself, will soon be replaced with the quiet desperation of slowly going under all the livelong day.

    So, I have to pick a poison from the HealthPlanFinder website. By the end of the month. Between shifts of my 4 different part-time jobs (I work both days and nights, and alternate Saturdays, with only 2 regularly scheduled days off a month, soon to be a whopping 4). But I have no idea which one is best, or how to “comparison shop.” A huge, uncompensated tax on my very limited time. No worries, there’s a “Navigator” for that, right?

    Yes, there is, but of course, it’s not straightforward, either. It’s impossible to tell, from the web site’s dropdown, which of the myriad groups might be able to help me. It’s a state-wide list. I contacted 2 that I recognized, but to no avail. I emailed for help.

    The answer came a few days later: my question (“what Navigators are available in my county?” is too complex to answer via email, it’ll have to be answered in person. A person I don’t know how to contact!

    Finally got a number to call. My first attempt nearly failed due to the phone system used by the Opportunity Council. Repeated and increasingly frantic entries of the extension number were met with “You have entered an invalid extension,” and then the whole message starts over. Somehow, it finally accepted my entry and actually connected me to the intended person – or rather, his voicemail.

    Trying to return the call , I had the same problem, only worse: all extensions were “invalid.” And again, for unknown reasons, when I began trying any and all extensions, it finally did connect me to an office assistant. I ended up going to the local office in person.

    Later, it finally dawned on me to try a landline. Bingo, works the first time every time. But there’s no mention of that anywhere. Or at least there wasn’t, until I left an appreciative 4-star review (the OC really does some great work locally, and I’m sure they’re understaffed, overworked, and underfunded) on their Facebook page, letting others know a landline works best.

    So I’m 10 days from losing access in favor of coverage, and I still haven’t met with a “Navigator,” or even set an appointment, much less chosen a plan. If I’m lucky, I won’t have to make a 90-minute round trip to pick a plan I really don’t want, and can’t afford to use anyway.

    Can’t help but feel I’m getting railroaded to Pain City for no good reason. And yet my brain compulsively tries to make sense of the senseless, another tax on my time.

    No wait, I’ve found an answer that at least puts a stop to that: Rule #1 of Neo-liberalism confirmed yet again, amirite? Wouldn’t it be funny if, distracted by all this BS, I got in a wreck and died? At least I could “go die” laughing.

    If it wasn’t for the work of NC, I wouldn’t even have that, or this space to vent. A bow in all y’all’s virtual directions.

  12. John k

    Why is ride sharing app a bezel?
    I tried a few of these my last trip, uniformly great experience exactly as written. Took one taxi ride, he drove like a maniac, felt fortunate to arrive alive.
    Absolutely a disruptive tech that will push many taxi drivers to the wall, but I don’t see uber drivers as scabs but nice young people providing a far superior service.

    1. Robert Hahl

      I tried airbnb once and liked it, but based on the background checking and inquires about what I was planning to do in town, I wondered if less conventional people have a hard time getting in to these places, and the same for uber.

      1. Jim Haygood

        A neighbor rents her retained, pre move-up house there.

        I asked how she screens applicants. “Look them up on Facebook,” she said.

        “What if they’re not on Facebook?”

        “Then I don’t rent to them. They’re not social.”

        I refrained from confessing the awful truth that her neighbors aren’t social either.

        Though if I did, maybe she would move away.

      1. Robert Hahl

        I don’t understand the question, but it was half the going rate of downtown hotels. What is your point?

        1. bob

          So, there was a rate? What did you share? Sounds like cash. *Sharing* money used to be know as buying, but I’m probably old fashioned.

          For instance, I would never dream of *sharing* a bunch of personal data with some assholes from silicon valley, for the giant privilege of being able to pay them.


          6-12% guest service fee.


          3% host service fee.

          Call it sharing and everyone loves it. Wall st couldn’t get away with that.

          1. Robert Hahl

            Apparently I rented a room in exchange for money. I don’t like the sharing spin either, never use it.

    2. makedoanmend

      One of the reasons I chose Scotland as my temporary destination of occupation fleeing from a property crazed Ireland and then a bankrupt Ireland and now a property crazed Ireland was the decent public transportation infrastructure. I was able to jettison my “private” vehicle and all its sundry costs, saving a small fortune.

      And never once have I felt lucky to arrive alive. The people who drive the the buses and trains are trained and expected to perform their jobs with safety in mind.

      And nobody needs to track where I go and how often. Nobody cares.

      And I do not veiw the drivers and conductors as people providing a service. I’ve got to know a few of them and appreciate they have families and their own lives.

      It’s funny, when one views people as humans rather than commodities our humanity begins to emerge. Even for a curmudgeon like myself.

    3. aab

      The people doing the driving aren’t protected by regulations. The customers aren’t protected by regulations. The drivers aren’t getting benefits, and key to this scam is that desperate people are being roped in to not just providing labor and machinery but illegally using their private car insurance that doesn’t cover commercial use like this, as well as experiencing wear and tear on their vehicles and paying for gas and other upkeep without being sophisticated enough to calculate on their own what their actual costs are, and therefore what their real compensation is for doing the driving.

      So many of these drivers (I’m focusing on the US drivers in this analysis) end up making well under minimum wage, even if there aren’t any other problems.

      I’m glad you had a nice trip. However, if your driver had gotten into an accident with you in the car and you were injured, the insurance wouldn’t have covered it. For either of you.

      Basically, every Uber driver is being brutally exploited for the benefit of a small group of wealthy investors and executives. Those investors and executives are stealing from the workers, stealing from the local government by not paying into the system appropriately, and they are exposing customers to unacknowledged risks.

      “Ride sharing apps” are not the issue. It’s how they are organized and who benefits. A national ride sharing app where all the profits were distributed to the drivers and a thin layer of administration and the coop worked with local governments to protect customers and contribute fairly to the local community would be great.

      Uber, as a business, is exploitative and parasitic.

  13. Dave

    WIKILEAKS reveals that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton dispatched her executive staff in the State Dept. to help conduct research on Provigil, a controlled drug often prescribed for patients suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.
    Provigil is often used to help such patients stay awake and curb extended bouts of sleep. The drug is also used to treat narcolepsy.
    In a series of emails spanning from August to Oct. 2011, Clinton asks and receives information from her trusted inner circle on the drug Provigil, including the side effects of the pick-me-upper drug favored by long-haul truckers to stay awake for long periods of time.Read more:

  14. I Have Strange Dreams

    Weirdness in Berlin:

    Pirate Party politician and member of the Berlin state parliament, Claus Brunner, kills man and then commits suicide in Berlin.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Seems like the thompsonontimeline.com link won’t load, and Google-cached copies won’t load either.

      Probably just one of those random web glitches. ;-)

      *tapes over webcam per Comey’s reco*

  15. Fiver

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to post this Marketwatch piece by Robert Shiller – I have not often been so thoroughly disgusted as I was to read this utterly reprehensible representation of current reality, and what continued globalization promises to do for us. I once paid attention to this fellow – never again. He has revealed himself to be a 100% Market State (a la Bobbit) corporate lackey.


    1. fresno dan

      September 20, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      I had read that – reminds me almost exactly of Francis Fukuyama and “The End of History”
      I think people are catching on that making the world easier for Davos Man makes it worse for everyone else…

    2. KnotRP

      Now hold on….this idea of Shiller’s is fantastic….(wait for it)…..grant
      Economics BA Degrees (B of Arts, because what they are doing is not a Science)
      to those two garbage scavenging people in the heartfelt picture (won’t someone
      help those poor people?) because they clearly have more practical experience with
      the market than the average econobozo, and then hand them Shiller’s and Krugman’s jobs….in fact,
      have Shiller and Krugman switch lives with them (jobs, living arrangements, credit line,
      citizenship, everything….).

      The honest test of a good idea — “you go first!”
      Hey, don’t forget to take your family with you….after all, it was your idea.

      (Yeah, globalization is good for everyone…. except for thee)

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Dammit, I would swear I already posted that Shiller piece, and now I can’t find it.

      On Bobbit, I think that old Cold War shark got it right. The “Market State” is very useful. One of those long think pieces I’ve never had time to write up (it would take a series).

  16. Geoff


    “He wrote on a piece of paper with his pencil.
    Psychosis: out of touch with reality.
    Since then, I have been trying to find out what reality is, so that I can touch it.”
    – Jeanette Winterson

  17. Cry Shop

    Regarding Sanders and Wells Fargo, very kind of Bernie Sanders to set up another opportunity for AG. Loretta Lynch to extract another delayed benefit. Every time she deflects a referral she gets another cookie in her retirement jar.

  18. ewmayer

    Local n00z this evening had their nightly “Your Voice (ignored by us), Your Vote (fed into our rigged e-counting machine) segment just now, courtesy of ABC News national. Highlights:

    o Folks who did so much to *cause* the Syrian refugee crisis express “outrage” over Don Trump Jr’s tweet likening said crisis and the bad actors who blend into the sea of humanity to a bowl of Skittles – “if I told you 3 of the Skittles were poison and would kill you, would you still take a handful?” Because visually analogizing is deplorable, compared to serial war crimes, dontchanknow.

    o Cut to Trump speech in which he calls for use of profiling vis-a-vis immigrants/refugess from the ME, using his “why are we saying an 88-year-old Swedish granny should be treated as a similar potential security threat as a young man from from one of these war-torn countries?” shtick.

    o Cut to Shrillary speech in which she “lambasts Trump over his immigration policy.”

    o Trump’s charity accounting scandal! OMFG, the total amount of money in question is almost as much as a single HRC lunchtime speech to her fellow crooks at Goldman Sachs! Clearly The Donald giving himself a loan from his pet charity is way, way worse than literally billions of dollars of pay-to-play influence peddling at the Clinton Foundation.

    o Cut to 0bama speech in which he repeats the Big Lie that the Clinton Foundation “saved countless lives”. Not a peep about the veracity of that claim from ABC News.

    o Cut to 0bama’s final speech to the UN (at least as POTUS … later UN speeches as an International Man of Griftery, Bill-Clinton-style, cannot be ruled out) in which he “lambasts Trump over his immigration policy.”

    I.e., just another evening in Establishment-propaganda-land.

    1. aab

      Can someone help me out here? I get Obama campaigning for Hillary. That’s reasonably normal, right? Shrub taking himself out of the 2008 campaign was unusual, and more about how hated he was by his own base, wasn’t it?

      Obama lying profusely for Hillary. I get that, too. I thought I had fully priced in how dishonest and corrupt he is before this campaign, but a pricing error is not a category error.

      But using a UN speech for partisan campaigning? Is that really normal? Because I found that startling. And that’s before you factor in that the US and Russia are butting heads RIGHT NOW in the Security Council over Syria, and Hillary is amping up the anti-Russia propaganda. This seems unwise, particularly from a past winner of the Nobel Peace Prize…

    2. tony

      The Skittles argument is a repurposed feminist argument to justify treating all men as predatory unless proven otherwise.

      “Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% of them are poisoned. Go ahead. Eat a handful.”

  19. Procopius

    The item from the St. Louis Fed was interesting. At one point the authors said:

    These two measures largely moved together until about 1970, when labor productivity began growing at a higher rate.

    All the charts I’ve seen show the productivity rate increasing at a steady pace, but the (real) compensation flattens out starting about 1974. It seems we should be looking at things that changed from maybe 1970 to 1975. Like deregulation of the trucking and airline industries? What other policies did Carter change?

  20. Skip Intro

    Is bitcoin money? I thought there was a ruling that it wasn’t currency, so every transaction would potentially incur capital gains/losses depending on the original cost basis of the bitcoins in question.

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