2:00PM Water Cooler 9/22/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I got too caught up in stats again. I’ll add more 2016 stuff shortly. –lambert


Bill Clinton: “The geopolitical reasons for [TPP], from America’s point of view, are pretty clear. It’s designed to make sure that the future of the Asia-Pacific region, economically, is not totally dominated by China” [CNBC]. “However, he stopped short [by about an inch, right?] of supporting the TPP. He added that his wife [who is running for President’ has said provisions on currency manipulation must be enforced and measures put in place in the United States to address any labor market dislocations that result from trade deals.” Oh. “Provisions enforced” sounds like executive authority, to me. And “measures put in place” sounds like a side deal. In other words, Bill Clinton just floated Hillary’s trial balloon for passing TPP, if Obama can’t get it done in the lame duck. Of course, if you parsed her words, you knew she wasn’t lying, exactly….

The full 40-page paper (PDF) [from the Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University] goes into the details [of projected economic gains from trade deals]. Along the way, it provides a highly critical analysis of the underlying econometric model used for almost all of the official studies of CETA, TPP and TTIP — the so-called “computable general equilibrium” (CGE) approach. In particular, the authors find that using the CGE model to analyze a potential trade deal effectively guarantees that there will be a positive outcome (“net welfare gains”) because of its unrealistic assumptions” [TechDirt].

“Conservative lawmakers looking for a way to buck Donald Trump’s populist message on trade may have gotten a little more cover with more than 30 conservative and libertarian groups sending a letter today to Congress expressing strong support for free trade” [Politico]. National Taxpayers Union, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks…

“France is set to arrive at the meeting with a proposal to suspend TTIP negotiations, our Pro Trade colleagues in Brussels report. But for the deal’s supporters, there’s hop’e: ‘France will not win the day,’ Alberto Mucci, Christian Oliver and Hans von der Burchard write. ‘Britain [???], Italy, Spain, Poland, the Nordic countries and the Baltics will thwart any attempt to end the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Bratislava'” [Politico].




“Elizabeth Warren Tells Hillary Clinton Not To Hire Wall Street Donors” [International Business Times]. At the Center for American Progress:

“I know that personnel is policy,” she told the group. “But let me be clear — when we talk about personnel, we don’t mean advisors who just pay lip service to Hillary’s bold agenda [irony, surely?], coupled with a sigh, a knowing glance, and a twiddling of thumbs until it’s time for the next swing through the revolving door, serving government then going back to the very same industries they regulate. We don’t mean Citigroup or Morgan Stanley or BlackRock getting to choose who runs the economy in this country so they can capture our government.”

This, before November 8! They must be gritting their teeth in Brooklyn, as Warren underlines her status as a party baron once more.

“The Clinton Global Initiative wraps up its 12th and final annual meeting Wednesday amid intense scrutiny about the access its donors received while Hillary Clinton was the nation’s top diplomat” [McClatchy]. So I guess they’re closing out the fund? And the payouts will come over the course of a future Clinton administration….


“In terms of booked TV and radio ad time from today through election day, Team Clinton is tracking at roughly 33 times the outlay of Team Trump” [Advertising Age]. “To put all this another way, of the $149,912,723 millon in booked TV and radio spending through election day for these three presidential candidates, $145,299,727 is being spent by the Clinton campaign combined with pro-Clinton PACs.” Wowsers.

“Trump’s ads last ran nearly a week ago in four battleground states: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Since then, the GOP presidential nominee has ceded the airwaves to Hillary Clinton — and is only poised to launch a limited, less-targeted ad campaign in the days before next week’s debate” [Politico].

“Hillary Clinton is reserving $30 million in digital advertising as she seeks to connect with young voters” [Business Insider]. The quotes in this thing are pathetic, both Michelle Obama and Clinton’s. Anybody who uses the trope “I get that” automatically doesn’t.



“”I must tell you, I watched the shooting in particular in Tulsa and that man was hands up. That man went to the car, hands up, put his hand on the car,” Mr Trump said at the New Spirit Revival church in Cleveland Heights” [BBC].

“Trump embraces ‘stop-and-frisk’ policing tactic that critics say unfairly targets minorities” [WaPo]. Originated by Bloomberg, featured speaking at the Democratic National Convention. It’s bipartisan!

“‘It just seems that there’s a lack of spirit between the white and the black,’ Trump said in a phone interview on Fox News. ‘What’s going on between police and others is getting worse'” [Bloomberg]. Spirit? What does that even mean?

The Voters


“Clinton asks why she isn’t beating Trump by 50 points” [WaPp]. Because she’s a terrible candidate with too much stupid money and a bloated campaign apparatus who also proceeded to deliberately drive a large number of potential supporters away, while also sucking up to Henry Kissinger?

Operative K prepares to affix blame:

What the heck is a “de facto” facist? Krugman didn’t used to be such a sloppy writer. Also, “cool kids” is a trope from the earlier days for blogging, back when Krugman was a force, and it refers to Washington insiders, especially in the press (here’s an example from Atrios); it’s a play on another trope from those days, that the Beltway is just like high school. The very last thing the Sanders supporters were or are is insiders. So, sloppy writing and intellectual dishonesty: OK for the winner of a fake Nobel, I suppose, though, to be fair, perhaps Operative K’s just phoning it in at this point.

On Drum’s bizarre screed against “millenials”: “Writers like Drum think that instead of telling the truth (or what we think is the truth), we should try to anticipate how our audience will respond to various talking points, and then game out our response accordingly. If this means not telling the truth, so be it. This, as discourse gamers see it, is being “pragmatic” and “savvy”,” [Carl Beijer]. “When you have this kind of condescending view of everyone else’s intelligence, you’re obviously going to then proceed to make all kinds of stupid mistakes when you’re trying to manipulate their reactions. Here, the same hubris that inclines Drum to think of Millennials as dupes also keeps him from realizing that they might object to this. It reminds me of nothing so much as a pickup artist who thinks of a woman as a ‘target’ who can be ‘gamed’ – and who also thinks that she won’t notice. Both approaches routinely fail, and for many of the same reasons.” Ouch.

The best reporting on the heartland this season comes from Chris Arnade, who tweets:

“Inside Hillary Clinton’s Outrage Machine, Allies Push the Buttons” [New York Times]. Clinton’s troll army.

Wells Fargo

Clinton’s “open letter” to Wells Fargo (full text) [Business Insider]. I’m seeing a lot of lawyerly parsing, especially as compared to Warren. Perhaps Clinton wishes to appear Presidential. But that’s rather the point, isn’t it? Clinton: “There is simply no place for this kind of outrageous behavior in America.” There most certainly is such a place: It’s called the “C-suite.” Sorry I missed this, but it was such a nothingburger it didn’t show up in my Twitter feed at all.

“In Cook County, Illinois, between 2004 and 2007, Wells Fargo originated more than 61,000 mortgage loans, more than 25,000 of which were made to minorities, or some 41 percent. Of the 61,000 total loans, at least 10,000 were high-cost loans, of which more than 6,500—or 65 percent—were made to minorities. (Cook County includes Chicago.) Wells Fargo’s record was even worse at the national level, according to a judge in a case involving the company, who noted that it gave three times more subprime loans to African-Americans than “similarly situated white borrowers” from 2004 to 2008″ [In These Times]. And a Supreme Court case on Chicago is coming up this term.

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, August 2016: “Weakness in the factory workweek and the ISM new orders index pulled down the index of leading economic indicators which fell” [Econoday]. “Six of 10 components are in the negative column in the August report with the rate spread, reflecting Federal Reserve accommodation, once again the leading positive. This report has been up and down and all year, pointing on net to slow growth for the economy.”

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, September 2016: “[S]econd positive reading this year and the best reading since December 2014” [Econoday]. “New orders are sharply higher….. Production and shipments are especially strong this month… Employment, however, is still contracting.” A respite for the oil patch?

Jobless Claims, week of September 17 2016: “Initial claims fell 8,000 to 252,000 in the September 17 week, a very important week as it is also the sample week for the monthly employment report” [Econoday]. “No special factors.” But: “The trend of the 4 week moving average is now marginally trending down. On the other hand, the trend of year-over-year improvement of initial unemployment claims is moderating – and this trend historically indicates a weakening GDP” [Econintersect].

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, August 2016: “August was a soft month for the bulk of the economy, a monthly dip that is now confirmed by the national activity index” [Econoday]. But and: “As the improvement in the 3 month moving average is so small – it is best to believe that the rate of economic growth remains soft and unchanged from last month. It should be noted that all four segments used to build this index declined this month which is very unusual” [Econintersect]. Caveat: “This index is a rear view mirror of the economy.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of September 18, 2016: “Consumer confidence readings have been respectable but flat with the consumer comfort index now heading south” [Econoday]. “Soft readings for consumer confidence hint at softness in the labor market, a suggestion however that jobless claims data, which are moving lower, are not confirming.”

FHFA House Price Index, July 2016: “Home prices have been soft but they may have begun to firm back in July” [Econoday]. “All nine census divisions posted monthly gains.”

Existing Home Sales, August 2016: [“Prices are soft and resales aren’t coming into the market. Existing home sales fell” Econoday]. “Saving the August report are condos … Supply is very thin and is holding down sales.” And: “There seems no end to the slow existing home growth as inventory levels are at levels not seen in Augusts in decades and decades” [Econintersect]. And: “Two of the key reasons inventory is low: 1) A large number of single family home and condos were converted to rental units…. 2) Baby boomers are aging in place” [Calculated Risk]. ” As always, it is important to remember that new home sales are more important for jobs and the economy than existing home sales. Since existing sales are existing stock, the only direct contribution to GDP is the broker’s commission.”

The Banks: “Jim Angleton of Aegis FinServ said that consumers who bank at small regional and community banks have a better chance of avoiding predatory practices, especially at banks with assets under $1.5 billion” [247 Wall Street]. “And the larger banks? Angleton said: ‘The bigger ones, to a certain point are very gamy.'” Gamy….

Shipping: “Danish shipping and oil giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S said Thursday it will split its operations into two separate divisions focused on transport and energy as it battles one of the worst ever shipping down-cycles and a historic oil-price rout” [Wall Street Journal, “Maersk to Split Into Two Separate Divisions”]. “[B]iggest shake-up in the group’s 100-year plus history….’It’s very clear that Maersk wants to grow,’ said Lars Jensen, chief executive of Copenhagen-based SeaIntelligence Consulting. ‘Instead of the units fighting each other for capital, the split-up will allow the separate businesses to focus on acquisitions. I expect Maersk Line to be more predatory over the next couple of years.'”

Shipping: “Maersk Line back on the acquisition trail as organic growth slows” [Lloyds List]. “The world does not need a lot of new containerships, what it needs is consolidation, says Maersk Group chief.”

Shipping: “Chinese container port volume growth spurs recovery speculation” [Journal of Commerce]. “China’s main ports booked strong year-over-year growth in container throughput in August, fueling speculation of a possible trade recovery for the second half of the year in the world’s second-largest economy. The country’s top eight ports handled a combined 13.65 million 20-foot-equivalent units in August, a rise of 7 percent on the same month in 2015. The growth follows a healthy 4 percent year-over-year rise in volumes handled in July and takes year-to-date growth to just over 2.4 percent after a poor first half of 2016. The throughput numbers come in the wake of better-than-expected August trade data that indicate a potential pick-up in domestic demand. August imports rose for the first time in nearly two years in value terms, while exports fell by just 2.8 percent, as demand for shipments to the United States, Europe, and Japan showed signs of improvement.”

Shipping: “South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co. has been offered a combined $100 million from its main creditor and largest shareholder to help get its stalled global supply chain moving, as the government gave further indication it has no plans to bail out the beleaguered firm” [Wall Street Journal, “Hanjin Shipping Shares Soar After Funding Offers”]. “‘This credit line is just for moving cargo again. We’re not resuming our full financial assistance to the company,’ [State-run Korea Development Bank] said in a statement. … Separately, Korean Air Lines Co. , which holds a third of Hanjin, approved a 60 billion won lending plan at a board meeting late Wednesday, saying it would secure the funds using Hanjin’s accounts receivable as collateral.”

Shipping: “Starting tomorrow, the Port of Oakland will accept empty ocean containers owned by Korean carrier Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd., whose Aug. 31 bankruptcy filing has created a mess out of maritime supply chains worldwide” [DC Velocity]. “The announcement means chassis that were used to haul the boxes can now be freed up to transport new loads, the port said. It also means cargo owners and intermodal truckers won’t have to find storage space for the empty boxes once they’re emptied, the port said.” And we can always put homeless people in the containers, a la Snow Crash….

Supply Chain: “UPS Inc. said today it will build a 3-D printing factory in a company facility in Singapore, a move that will add printers to UPS’ Asian markets for the first time” [DC Velocity]. “[UPS] says customers can improve supply chain efficiency by printing three-dimensional parts near their ultimate destination instead of shipping them from a central [distribution center], and even by moving some of their inventory out of the warehouse entirely and storing it as a digital file.”

Shipping: “FedEx’s results show the company is continuing to gain from the e-commerce surge; average daily volume at its Ground unit, which handles most of the packages from online sales, expanded 10% in the three months ending Aug. 31. Despite the optimism, FedEx is adding fewer seasonal workers this year—50,000, down 5,000 from a year ago—which may be because it expects overall economic growth to be smaller than earlier projections” [Wall Street Journal].

Labor: “Indiana manufacturers, facing a shortage of 1 million workers, go back to the drawing board” [MarketWatch]. “Subaru is one of a handful of companies that have teamed up with Vincennes to create a program that mixes classes and work…. Similar programs are popping up around the country, in what is an American twist on Germany’s much-vaunted apprenticeship program. Vincennes runs similar maintenance-focused programs built around Toyota'”

It can take years to fully train a new maintenance worker, says [Brad] Rhorer, Subaru’s assistant senior manager of human resources. That’s worrying, given that every minute of unplanned down time on the production line costs the company $10,000.

Somehow the MBA’s seem to have missed details like that. This program actually sounds hopeful and sane (or moreso, at least).

The Bezzle: “Banks, governments and fintech evangelists all hail a ‘cashless future’ as both inevitable and good. But this isn’t a frictionless utopia; it means that banks mediate our lives to an ever-greater extent” [Defend Democracy]. “‘Cashless society’ is a euphemism for the “ask-your-banks-for-permission-to-pay society”. Rather than an exchange occurring directly between the hotel and me, it takes the form of a “have your people talk to my people” affair. Various intermediaries message one another to arrange an exchange between our respective banks. That may be a convenient option, but in a cashless society it would no longer be an option at all. You’d have no choice but to conform to the intermediaries’ automated bureaucracy, giving them a lot of power, and a lot of data about the microtexture of your economic life.”

The Bezzle: “A team of DIY enthusiasts calling themselves Four Thieves Vinegar have published plans that will allow anyone to build a device to self-inject epinephrine on the cheap” [MIT Technology Review]. ” Four Thieves Vinegar [is] a collective that was founded to create tools for DIY medicine.”

The Bezzle: “The fraudulent sale of binary options is now the biggest scam in the UK, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s deputy director and financial crime specialist, DCI Andy Fyfe. An average of two reports are made to police each day and the average investor loses £20,000” [Bureau of Investigative Journalism].

The Fed: “Opinion: The Fed’s Janet Yellen has missed her best chance to raise interest rates” [MarketWatch]. “I believe Yellen & Co. sincerely want to reach that goal (although I’m guessing some of you might disagree). But the real world keeps getting in the way. Whether it’s a bad jobs report, fears about slowing growth in China, Brexit or just a nasty stock market correction, the FOMC has found one reason after another not to pull the trigger.” Oh, come on: “I’d love to go out with you, but I’m washing my hair that night. No, that’s when I change the shock absorbers on my car.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 53, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 41 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 22 at 11:58am. Big swing to greed!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Calm urged in Charlotte, North Carolina after 16 officers hurt in protests” [Reuters].

“State of emergency declared in Charlotte as new protests erupt; at least 14 people injured, 1 seriously” [Los Angeles Times].

Some of you may remember Tressie MC’s report on the Trump rally. Apparently, Charlotte is her home town:

UPDATE “Charlotte’s Violent Night” [Charlotte Magazine]. ” Does anyone really need to spell out what we all know, that the majority of people who have thrived in Boomtown Charlotte are moneyed and white, and the majority who have suffered in the other Charlotte are poor and black? “The whole damn system is guilty as hell,” a portion of the crowd of 300 or so, nearly all black, chanted in the dark on Old Concord Road on Tuesday night, and they weren’t wrong.”

“St. Louis officer accused of planting gun on man that he shot after chase” [New York Daily News].


“Bayer and Syngenta criticised for secrecy after unpublished research obtained under freedom of information law linked high doses of their products to damage to the health of bee colonies” [Guardian].

Guillotine Watch

“Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Hit in Face with Pie at Event, Assaults Protester in ‘Bloody’ Scene” [East Bay Express]. The term of art is entartiste.

” Acela Fight Splits Hedge-Fund Connecticut and Old-Money Enclaves ” [Bloomberg].

Class Warfare

“Economic inequality is getting worse for black Americans: The wage gap is greater than it was in 1979” [Salon]. Thanks, Obama!

News of the Wired

“Yahoo is expected to confirm a massive data breach, impacting hundreds of millions of users” [Recode]. I so, so do not want to move to Gmail. “One account, all of Google” is precisely what I do not want.

“How Video Games Are Influencing War Propaganda in Syria” [The Intercept].

“Based on an important FOIA disclosure, the book’s headline revelation was that the CIA was very likely responsible for the widespread introduction of “conspiracy theory” as a term of political abuse, having orchestrated that development as a deliberate means of influencing public opinion” [Alternet]. The meta! It b-u-r-r-r-n-n-n-n-n-s-s-s!

* * *

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 (CF):


Moss in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Readers, I am behind in answering contact form mail. I will catch up soon, beginning now!

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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. hemeantwell

    with more than 30 conservative and libertarian groups sending a letter today to Congress expressing strong support for free trade”

    Wouldn’t this be the essence of fake libertarianism? All power to multinational capital and their squadrons of ISDS attorneys? Or is it just the epitome of libertarian blindness regarding corporate as opposed to state power structures.

    1. Katharine

      Is it fake? I’ve always thought libertarianism carried to its logical extreme would produce a primitive strongman form of government.

      1. Binky

        See: Mad Max movies. Tina Turner in the Thunderdome in the third film. Two men enter, one man leaves, that’s the law of bartertown! Break the deal, spin the wheel!

        Should be a documentary.

    2. Oregoncharles

      No, Libertarians are all in favor of CORPORATE power, on the theory that it’s private. They forget that corporations are creatures of the state. ( That’s why there were Anarchists at the Battle of Seattle.)

      Of course, there are reasons for that attitude. At the first Green Party meeting I ever attended, there was a Libertarian who complained that his party was controlled by corporate money. We didn’t see him again, since the Green Party is very pro-regulation, but some Libs are pretty left-wing in other respects.

      At the extreme, they’re called Anarchists, like Chomsky – close parsing of his positions shows that he admits the necessity for government, making him more of a left-libertarian. Anti-authoritarian is the correct term.

      1. TedWa

        Yep, they’re all about free markets – which we know aren’t free, but for some reason they don’t have a clue.

    3. Plenue

      Libertarians are inherently fake. The term for people of that type of thinking who aren’t totally intellectually bankrupt is anarchist.

    1. Jim Haygood

      That’s bizarre. Pagliano is within his rights to invoke the Fifth.

      This falls into the “Republiclown WWF theater” category.

      They never fail to salvage defeat from the jaws of victory … as the script requires.

      1. Roger Smith

        I guess the problem was that he did not show up at all. Is that that same status of action as showing but not talking?

        The argument in the committee that I saw a clip of was, if he was granted immunity, why would he not come to speak to Congress? That he was granted immunity because he, presumably, had useful information to share.

        I am not sure what, if any, repercussions one could face for this.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Not appearing is the only offense that could justify a contempt citation. Hard to believe Pagliano’s white shoe law firm Akin Gump would’ve screwed this up, though. Pagliano certainly could appear and plead the Fifth.

          He’d be crazy not to, after the banana republic spectacle of Bill’s tarmac meeting with Attorney Gerbil Lorenta Lynch, followed by James “Not a Close Call” Comey’s exoneration of Hillary. Clearly the Clintons have the credible ability to get Pagliano indicted at the slightest misstep.

          Dishing dirt to a Congressional committee certainly would trigger retaliation from the Clinton mafia, judicially or extra-judicially.

          Forget all that boy scout, civics class mythology. These sociopathic jackals own the system till next January, and they play for keeps.

      2. cm

        Not bizarre — he never showed up to the hearing. But what is curious is this quote in the article:

        However, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said the law doesn’t require witnesses to show up at a public hearing to assert their rights against self-incrimination.

        So now I’m curious, I didn’t think there was a 5th amendment exemption to showing up for a subpoena, is there???

        1. Pavel

          IANAL by any means but my understanding is that the recipient of the subpoena must show up IN PERSON and then he or she can plead the Fifth.

          Pagliano’s brazen refusal to do so seems to be his invoking the special Clinton “Get Out of Jail Free Card” exception.

          So much for Obama’s much-vaunted “Rule of Law”.

          1. Tom Doak

            Perhaps Mr Pagliano has decided it would be safer to sit in jail for contempt until after the election, at which point he can either speak freely or be pardoned, depending on the result. And I don’t just mean safer for Hillary, I mean safer FROM Hillary’s people.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The fifth applies to criminal cases. Contempt of Congress is a constitutional arrangement. One can’t claim the fifth in regards to Congressional business.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              That’s a different Congress. Their internal rules of one Congress don’t apply to the next Congress. Contempt of Congress is whatever Congress considers it’s business. If I had to testify before Congress about an issue X and needed to plead the fifth because I was dealing drugs on an unrelated matter, that would be fine.

              1. Jim Haygood

                Akin Gump’s stance to the committee chair:

                “You and the Committee have been told from the beginning that Mr. Pagliano will continue to assert his Fifth Amendment rights and will decline to answer any questions put to him by your Committee,” Pagliano’s attorneys with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld wrote to Chaffetz Wednesday night.

                “In an effort to resolve this matter, Mr. Pagliano has offered to assert his rights on the record before this Committee in Executive Session. You have flatly refused that offer and continue to insist that Mr. Pagliano appear in a public session where his further and repeated assertion of his constitutional right not to testify can be videotaped and broadcast.”


                Not dispositive, but it’s a credible legal theory from a serious law office.

                1. steelhead23

                  Credible? I must disagree. The gist of that argument is that the committee would gain no information germane to its understanding of Mrs. Clinton’s security transgressions suggesting that the only possible purpose in forcing his presence was spectacle. Frankly, through the power of subpoena, the Congress is free to make a spectacle. It demonstrates Congress’s intent to serve the public, even if it is all bread and circuses. It is Pagliano’s decision whether or not to answer. It is not his decision whether or not to show up. I say, throw him in the slam

                  1. aab

                    Yes. Yet another non-lawyer here, but I don’t see where he gets the right to deprive Congress of the opportunity to face him just because it will provide them with politically useful footage. It’s politically useful footage for a reason. If Hillary Clinton hadn’t broken the law, hadn’t stolen the primary, wasn’t deeply disliked, none of this would matter. It matters because a huge portion of the country believes that the Clintons have bought off all other avenues of justice, controlled by their party.

                    Taking the Fifth is supposed to protect you from being forced to incriminate yourself. It’s not supposed to protect you from inconvenience, or your employer from political consequences.

                    Moreover, sort of like a filibuster, it seems reasonable to me that he be forced to go through the actual ritual. I don’t see why we need to make it this easy. It’s only this easy because he has a super wealthy, super power benefactor.

                    He should show up. He should be required to keep invoking his right not to incriminate himself. It’s always possible eventually he’d break and start talking.

                    I realize Congressional subpoena power can be abusive, but it’s not here, and well-connected people just being able to avoid showing up is not that solution to that problem.

              2. sleepy

                A congress may change, but it doesn’t trump the 5th amendment.

                The 5th amendment is generally available to any individual called to give testimony in front of any branch or agency of government, whether that branch is a McCarthy-era committee or a 2016 committee.

    1. craazyman

      It’s too cerebral to be a plantidote. It looks like something photographed in a way to provoke deep thoughts — or you’re not trying hard enough as the viewer. That’s already exhausting. Also scientists have determined moss can speak 7 languages fluently and multiply invertible matrices without a computer.

    1. Skip Intro

      It is all coming together. Sure the coastal cities will be flooded by catastrophic sea-level rise, and all those underwater McMansions will be literally under water, but at the same time a glut of available cargo ships with stacks of empty containers will be available at very reasonable prices. We just need to retrofit the containers to be single-family apartments. How many containers will fit on a cargo ship again? When they rig up their solar hydrolysis system to get hydrogen for energy, they can just capture and condense the exhaust to get their drinking water. Solid and liquid human waste will make a great fertilizer for their little gardens too. Who says the future has to suck. Praise the lord and pass the soma!

  2. JohnnyGL


    Felt like listening to a Trump speech to see what he’s talking about lately. He’s in OH talking a lot about trade, again. Ripping into NAFTA and the Clintons role in passing it again. He mentioned Mexico gets a subsidy via VAT taxes and rebates. Not sure if there’s any real basis in that, but interesting to note he got specific on that one.

    He’s also promising to gut regulations and slash corporate taxes, unfortunately.

    On the plus side, he’s emphasized how he’s letting Ivanka do her thing with child care (even if it’s mostly for high-skill professionals).

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      At least Bubba told us what TPP is for: it’s to keep China from dominating Asia.
      Would be nice for a change if these globalist fascisti would at least mention their home nation in passing when ramming their 1% crap down people’s throats.

      1. John Wright

        Does the “keep China from dominating Asia” story make any sense?

        The TPP countries face higher drug prices, are required to lower some tariffs, face effective higher charges for US IP, and may be subject to ISDS suits. The countries’ wealthy might benefit as their companies pick up the right to sue in ISDS, lower tariffs into the USA and perhaps freer movement of workers from their country to other TPP countries.

        But how does that keep China from dominating Asia?

        Perhaps China would simply start making more generic drugs and then cut side deals with all the TPP countries (minus the USA) as the Chinese are trading partners with proximity and great manufacturing capability.

        It seems to me that the strategic TPP purposes are 1. keep the upper class in all the countries wealthy. 2. Somehow imply the USA will provide military support against China.

        The TPP nations, including the USA, must see that they need to preserve China trade anyway to keep their citizens supplied with consumer goods.

        What prevents China from making its own deals with the non- USA TPP countries?

        Trying to keep China from dominating Asia seems impossible, China will dominate Asia, TPP or not.

        1. Felix_47

          Do these agreements have anything that would allow unionization across borders so that the UAW, for example, could organize foreign car plants to force the wages up to US levels?

  3. ambrit

    Re. “I so, so do not want to move to Gmail.”
    Any possibility of a United States Electronic Mail service as part of the U.S.P.S.? Set that up and allow encryption a la mode and there we are. Another useful public service from the Government. (I know, Nixon partially privatized it, but still, think of the alternatives.)
    Add this to Post Office Bank of the United States and the U.S.P.S. will have a fighting chance. All those unable to afford Internet can access their E-mail at terminals situated in every Post Office. Make those terminals coin operated, or, if one is a Centralizer, card reader operated, and instant revenue stream.
    My thinking is that, the very ‘outrage’ generated from ‘monied’ interests will be excellent propaganda in it’s behalf. Poor people are waking up to the system in place that feeds off of their misery. Give this population a concrete goal to work towards, one that explicitly benefits them personally, and most will be amenable to agitation to support a wider social reform program.

    1. hunkerdown

      ambrit, a couple of points: outside of fraud and obscenity — both of which are matters to be adjusted according to an understanding of power relations that does not performatively declare them unalloyed goods — what’s inside the envelope has never been the legitimate business of a postal system, and encryption is fundamentally incompatible with public terminals.

      That said, there is no operational reason the national postal service couldn’t behave as an ISP — the reasons are all related to the primacy of vested interests. Kinda sucks about no porn tho.

    2. ewmayer

      Ha! Neo-Luddite that I am, I’m still using my 2-decade-plus-year-old AOL e-mail account. That was converted into a free service many years ago, and I avoid the ad-spam of the AOL webmail interface by having my Mac Mail client talk to the AOL servers, with all in/out messages downloaded and stored locally. (The AOL servers also store multiple years’ worth, so that is my laptop-disaster backup.)

      I rather like the “one mail-management front-end you like, but free to switch e-mail servers underneath” paradigm. Unlike most Sillycon Valley tech “pardigms”, I consider that one to be worth more than two dimes rubbed together.

    3. Bubba_Gump

      If your post office is anything like my post office, that email service would be slow, filthy, unmaintained, mostly broken, and sullen about the whole affair.

      1. Jen

        My post office used to have a “customer appreciation day” every December featuring home baked cookies in the lobby. I kid you not. Must have been the postmistresses’ thing because they stopped doing it when she retired.

        However it’s still clean, well maintained and the staff are friendly.


      2. Bubba_Gump

        I used to work for a beltway bandit supplying sorting machinery to the USPS. My experience with postal workers was where I first became skeptical of unions. The workers would deliberately sabotage the process by walking off the machine at break time while it was still running, leaving it to jam. Then when break was over they’d return and spend a half-hour cleaning the jam before sorting could begin again. This happened several times each day. And the parking lots/garages were always full of expensive vehicles….

  4. skeeter

    Re: Clinton’s “open letter” to Wells Fargo

    Jill Stein should have written an open letter to the pipeline developers in North Dakota. Much more presidential and no tiresome vandalism charges.

    1. crittermom

      I still see that vandalism as a stupid thing to do on her part.

      While I’m glad that she went there to show her support and further highlight the problem, spray-painting the blade of a dozer does NOT come off representing her as possibly ‘presidential’ in any way!
      Dumb, dumb, dumb in my book.
      I remain very disappointed she took such action.

        1. Ché Pasa

          I have no doubt it will. One cannot be president and be a notorious dozer vandal simultaneously. It is simply not done.

          Have something blown up, now that’s a different story…

        2. Kurt Sperry

          Good one, I “lol”ed. Presidential criminality must be far more grandiose, like minimum four figure death tolls. Even that is a little weak still.

      1. skeeter

        It just might! If only her crimes were worthy of a whitewash co-opting all corners of the establishment.

        Stein put something Taleb calls skin in the game. More than the other clowns and a small step toward what we used to consider leadership.

        Maybe another look at the notion of ‘presidential’ is warranted.

    2. hunkerdown

      Impact their ability to operate by defiling a working surface of heavy equipment with a No Parking zone! You show ’em Jill!

      Is the Green Party just another Soros controlled oppo job like Pussy Riot? They’re starting to look too liberal to be effective.

      1. skeeter

        Pussy Riot, now there’s some courage. Doing time in the gulag and then coming out swinging. I wish I had a fraction of the spine of those women.

        Give Jill and the Greens some time and a little indulgence and they might arrive. We can only hope.

  5. Roger Smith

    So I guess they’re closing out the fund? And the payouts will come over the course of a future Clinton administration….

    One last HURRAH!

  6. Gary Headlock

    Not a moss, but a lichen you’ve taken a likin’ to, mon frere. Perhaps a member of the genus Usnea.

    1. Christopher Fay

      That’s my moss. Now I know it’s a lichen cast as an intellectual lichen. Thanks, Usnea or Cladonia!

  7. justanotherprogressive

    Re: Well’s Fargo.
    Is Clinton actually that tone deaf? When you rob Well’s Fargo, you go to jail. When they rob you, well, Clinton promises to slap their wrists “real hard” and legal actions will be taken IF they do something illegal………

    1. Praedor

      She’s after Wells Fargo like she was after Wall St in the crash: she wags her finger at them and says, “Now cut that out!” (wjnk wink nudge nudge).


  8. timbers

    Black Injustice Tipping Point

    “Calm urged in Charlotte, North Carolina after 16 officers hurt in protests”

    Just read a quick article noting Obama calling for “peace” Justice Dept calling for “building trust’ and “peace” Clinton call for “peace.”

    So how about some prosecutions? Isn’t that what should happen when armed black folks get gunned down? IMO that would do more to create peace than what’s being done about it now by our “leaders.”

    Now if only we could get people to riot over Wells Fargo if that’s what it takes to get some prosecutions in that area, too…

    1. fresno dan


      Time will tell if it is a prosecution with a will. I posted an article (from ?Esquire?) a couple of weeks ago about how the grand jury proceedings in Cleveland (where the ?12? year old boy was shot dead by police) were just a charade used by the district attorney to prevent accountability while making it appear something was being done.

      1. Skip Intro

        I wondered if the ‘first-degree’ charge will require proof of prior intention and thus guarantee acquittal. IANAL.

  9. Carolinian

    Lambert you’re doing it again….making us read Krugman.

    And since PK is saying the “cool kids” are all ganging up on Clinton–despite the fact the press are totally and obviously against Trump–it sounds like he’s admitting that the press are no longer the cool kids. So sad. At least they still have each other.

  10. Pavel

    I watched that “Why am I not 50 points ahead?” video by Clinton… it was pretty scary and Zero Hedge et al are calling it “manic”. If the campaign had any way to prevent that from airing they should have. Presumably they couldn’t.

    Her appearance on the Zach G show was also odd and awkward, but I am out of the target audience loop and perhaps that’s how she was supposed to appear. 11th dimensional media and that sort of thing.

    As so many have already commented, she’s not 50 points ahead because people don’t like her, don’t trust her, and don’t want another ur-Establishment candidate. Plus in the recent videos she just appears a bit odd. We’ll see how she fares in the debate.

    Hey Dems, is it too late to pull the cord or the curtain or the building or whatever and get ABC (Anyone But Clinton) in there?

    1. DJG

      The moment: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke about foe Donald Trump during a video conference of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, saying, “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?”

      A similar moment, from a more astute politician, at least according to Wikipedia: Letters from Marie-Antoinette to her family in Austria at this time reveal an attitude totally different to the Let them eat cake mentality.

      “It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness. The King seems to understand this truth.”[9]

      So, Pavel, I’d venture that what we are seeing is rot made manifest.

      1. hunkerdown

        They reveal an attitude. With the enforcement of frauds being the very foundation of civilization, all authorities would logically be treated as self-interested enemies until proven otherwise by humiliating and/or costly acts of personal service that do not serve the self in any way.

      1. Praedor

        She says she’s (now) opposed to TPP but she chose Kaine, who is fully in favor of TPP and TTIP and TISA, etc.

        More of the same old same old.

    2. uncle tungsten

      They will measure the debate, they will assess the next couple of weeks ‘attitude scores’, they will then decide if/when the switch to Kaine is on. Remain calm the establishment is on a roll and looking good to win.

    3. Daniel

      I watched this one too – after it opened an autoplay ad for, get this, Goldman Sachs!!!! Or some “social” program they have branded.

      After I stopped dying of laughter, I watched her Hillzness, and I agree, she sounded bad and looked not well.

      1. Yves Smith

        I wonder if this is her meds, or stress, or both. In some of her speeches, she’s looked like she was amped up, as in on something amphetamine-like. The preferred “increase your concentration” drug of choice these days is Adderall, I gather, but it’s most often used/abused by kids, and I have no clue as to what the effects are of long-term use, particularly among older people (assuming she’s on that).

        But merely too much coffee can make you speedy and aggressive (as former caffeine junkie moi can attest).

        Long winded way of sayin’ this looks like she’d medicating herself somehow to get through this, whether just via caffeine or the help of Dr. Feelgood, and it’s backfiring.

        1. aab

          Caveat: This is based on reading strangers online.

          Someone said that it’s common with Parkinson’s for the patient to struggle to speak at a normal volume. They tend to speak softly as the illness progresses. Then, in trying to enhance their volume, they end up shouting, because they can’t really control the process effectively anymore.

          Numerous sources — from doctors writing for fairly mainstream publications to commenters and bloggers representing themselves as medical professionals online — have said that several of the possible conditions that could be reasonable explanations for her medical history and symptoms include bursts of aggression. And at this point, those many, many reports from anonymous Secret Service agents, political opponents, etc., that Hillary Clinton has always had rage issues seem pretty damn plausible to me.

          I mention all this only because I think there could be all sorts of causes for what we’re seeing. I suppose it’s even possible that she’s just a mean, entitled, domineering woman used to getting her way with terrible social skills (outside of a narrowly defined spectrum involving peers and patrons) who is very, very bad at politics and very, very angry that she is once again being thwarted.

          We know (from the leaked emails) she was researching medications back in 2009 to treat either excessive sleepiness or Parkinsons. But it seems weird to me that whatever she might have been taking for eight years to energize her would be backfiring now, since they’ve had so, so much time to optimize dosing. Unless of course, she’s declining rapidly, so they’re frantically goosing it to keep her going. She looked like hell in those snapshots from the Cher fundraiser at the end of August — literally as if she had just rolled out of bed.

          I don’t suppose it matters much at this point what’s causing it. What matters is that this is all over the Internet. What matters is that even as reporters are starting to ask her why she won’t submit to neurological testing, she’s doing stuff like this on video. I’m assuming she will be hand carried through the debate, with cutaways or extra-long breaks as needed, and Krugman, et al. describing her word salad responses as “wonky.” At which point, there won’t even be a Hail Mary shot at swapping her out (I know; that was always a fantasy).

          What would actually more effectively crush the currently power base of the Democratic Party, purging out Clintonian corruption and clearing a path for progressive change: Trump being elected, or Clinton being installed and then dying within a year? I still think Trump’s the better bet. But part of me would like to see what the reaction would be to finding out in the most blatant way possible the electorate was scammed. Except that the cognitive dissonance seems so strong, I don’t know if even then people who backed her would admit it. “Oh, the stress of being President with all this terrible misogyny killed our glorious Hillary!”


  11. temporal

    Krugman: “the cool kids ganging up on the nerd”

    Clinton, who can’t even be bothered to remember passwords or worry about computer security, is simply not ever going to be a nerd. Maybe the previous generic name for outsiders – geek. Hillary as a geek, well perhaps the old time circus kind, that might be believable.

    Krugman is way past his shelf date, the fascist thing was two months ago. This month the theme is fat. The attack should have de facto fatty. Keep man.

    Imagine the amount of psychotropics it takes to make an angry old neoliberal smile like she just had her first ice cream.

  12. TalkingCargo


    “Power was slowly being restored in Puerto Rico on Thursday, nearly 24 hours after a blackout swept across the island when a fire at a power plant set off a cascade of problems that knocked out the aging utility grid.”

    “It was unclear how much damage the fire caused or where the power company would obtain the money to repair or buy new equipment. The utility is struggling with a $9 billion debt that it hopes to restructure as it faces numerous corruption allegations. Company officials have said they are seeking revenue to update outdated equipment.”

    1. LifelongLib

      In the last big outage we had here on Oahu, it took 12 hours to restore power even though there was no damage to the system (a large turbine running under computer control was shutdown during an earthquake because the computer interpreted the shaking as an equipment failure, bringing down the whole grid). Apparently isolated grids like Oahu’s (and I assume Puerto Rico’s) are very difficult to restart from a totally dark condition.

      1. hunkerdown

        Also, Fukushima Daiichi. Big generators/motors usually use current split off from produced power to maintain a magnetic field in the stator in order that the rotor windings have something to work against. Permanent magnets are usually restricted to smaller motor/generator applications, on the order of 1 horsepower or so. Thus, the bootstrapping problem.

      2. Rosario

        True. Meeting stable (50/60 Hz) demand on a non diversified or poorly diversified grid using thermal based generation sources can take hours. Some coal plants take up to 12 hours to fully load from a cold start. Another reason to move to renewables, the grid becomes diversified and there can be fast recovery from a blackout (assuming an EMP hasn’t destroyed all the transformers and dispatch electronics).

  13. Katharine

    Follow-up observation on the Clinton campaign credit card fraud story: it doesn’t seem to be appearing in serious journals or sites, but the story in the World Tribune adds a note not present in yesterday’s Observer version:


    “Carol Mahre has since decided she’s not going to vote for Hillary Clinton – even though she’s voted for the Democratic presidential nominee every election since President Dwight Eisenhower won re-election in 1956. ”

    If true, this would be one more evidence of lousy staff work in the campaign. How could petty ripoff charges, even in the hundreds, be worth alienating key voters when the race is so tight? Maybe this isn’t Hillary’s own bad judgment, but hiring these folks was. I know campaign organization is apt to be lousy, but there is enough money there they could have someone taking “donor service” issues seriously if they understood it mattered.

    1. nippersmom

      Don’t forget, the Democrats are convinced we have nowhere else to go. They fear no repercussions whatsoever from any abuse they choose to heap on those segments of the voting public they deem themselves to own, especially life-long Democratic voters.

      1. barefoot charley

        The Democrats make me so mad I’m gonna punch a hippie . . . Ouch, my nose! If only I could be stupid and racist.

      2. Steve C

        But I’m a Bernie bro, so according to Hillary, I’m nothing but a misogynist. Surely she wouldn’t deign to seek my vote. The votes of the liberals surely must be enough. Or the non racist Republicans. So many of those, we’ve learned over the years.

    2. John k

      No, it’s the money. And running up the small donation count, a twofer. And no bad press because they own it…
      Course, they don’t yet control the blogs…

    3. JohnnyGL

      Perhaps they didn’t ask focus groups the question, “How would a candidate’s campaign committing credit card fraud against you impact your voting intentions?”

      “Maybe this isn’t Hillary’s own bad judgment, but hiring these folks was.” – seems to be a recurring theme, no?

    4. reslez

      The multiple charges issue sounds to me more like an example of “code is law”. The system is set up to charge small donors multiple times, in amounts that intentionally add up to less than $100 to avoid triggering a bank investigation. It’s intentional grift with plausible deniability, a technique borrowed from shadier corners of the internet. Whatever donor management system the Clinton campaign is using appears to have this feature built-in. Whether it hits all small donors I don’t know, but I doubt it’s the result of individual staffers choosing to target little old ladies at random. (But I guess stranger things have happened.)

      “Oh drat these computers, they’re so naughty and so complex. I could pinch them.”

    5. uncle tungsten

      Its simple really they have the same business model as Wells Fargo: more income, better commissions, more prospects in next round. Its not criminal because the contract specifies their bonus for success so the contract is supreme, no law broken at all.

  14. Paid Minion

    “……..provisions to be enforced……”

    Yeah, the politicos way of weaseling out of stuff:

    -Put “provisions” in the law, to show the wretched refuse that you are on their side.

    -After the election or treaty signing, conveniently forget to enforce the “provisions”.

    The rubes that were around remember that the Amnesty for Illegals in 1986 was a compromise…….. Amnesty for Illegals, in exchange for “tougher immigration laws”.

    Unfortunately for the rubes, they didn’t notice that there wasn’t anything in the law about funding the immigration law enforcers, or requiring anyone to actually enforce the law.

    Which is why any compromise on immigration ain’t gonna fly. The little people know that one way or the other, they will be thrown under the bus. “Screw me once, shame on you………..”

  15. rich

    Lifelong Democrat and Former RFK Speechwriter Comes Out For Trump

    Donald Trump has been mocked mercilessly for saying, “America first.” But to demand that all the actions of government, at home or abroad, be first directed at the interests and well-being of our own country is not old-fashioned or outmoded. Rather it represents the deepest wisdom and tradition of American statesmen from the founders on. Only with a clear vision of what is truly in the interests of our nation and our fellow citizens, and a full commitment to those interests, can we act wisely at home and in the world beyond.

    Finally, our president has told us we must lower our voices. Of course we do not hope for domestic discord. But the people of the United States have perhaps stood silent for too long. The elites of opinion and government have not hesitated to offer us instruction, from the heights of their power and eminence. These are the people who have led us into useless foreign war and limitless domestic disaster. This president tells us that we must now spend another trillion dollars on new nuclear weapons systems, and when we ask who will be the target for these world-destroying weapons, says only, “There can be no business as usual with Russia.”

    Surely he must have misspoken, for anyone can see we are on a course of madness. We simply cannot fight the entire world, Russia and China and all the nations of the Mideast, and fight a war at home all at the same time.

    And therefore we citizens must not be silent, we must speak as with one great overwhelming voice, a voice as powerful as Washington, as Jefferson, as Lincoln, as Martin Luther King:

    Return to the wisdom of the founders, who fought necessary wars to defend the Union, but sought no foreign conquests.


    I wonder if this topic gets brought up in debate?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Obama’s doing entirely, he reversed the polarity of American politics, every last thing we hated that Bush was doing was supposed to be OK because a smooth-talking brother was doing it doncha know.
        Joe Bageant pointed out how the Republican base had been tricked for years into voting for policies directly against their own interests, then the Dems went and did the exact same thing. Especially confounding for African-Americans who voted for Obama and then got 8 years of policies that specifically work against them.

  16. Tom Stone

    The commission is far from the only contribution to GDP made by the sale on an existing home.
    There are inspections and often repairs ( Termites, dry rot, etc), Title and escrow companies, Appraisers and Loan officers.
    Not to mention City or County transfer fees which run about 1% in my neck of the woods ( Sonoma County).
    It adds up which is why any realistic computation of equity should take into account the cost of sale.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Amazon.com and The Alphabet Formerly Known as Google both busted out to record highs today, with fellow tech giants Microsoft and Faceborg on deck.

    Bubble III — enjoy the final innings, courtesy of our sponsors at the Federal Reserve.

  18. allan

    Series of Texas quakes likely triggered by oil and gas industry activity [Science]

    During the past decade or so the oil and gas industry has injected wastewater into deep rocks in eastern Texas, causing Earth’s surface to bulge ever so slightly—and likely triggering a series of tremors there in 2012, a new study suggests. Scientists say the work offers hope that similar analyses of the landscape in other oil- and gas-producing regions could help identify areas at risk of human-caused earthquakes.

    The 2012 quakes shook the small town of Timpson, Texas, which lies northeast of Houston near the Louisiana state line. The largest, a 4.8-magnitude quake, and three more magnitude-4 or higher that followed, all originated in a suspicious spot: directly beneath two wells where wastewater generated during oil and gas production in the region is pumped into porous sandstone layers about 1.8 kilometers underground. …

    Time for some industry-funded earthquake denialism.

  19. Tom Stone

    The Commission paid is not the only contribution to GDP from the sale of an existing home. Appraisers, inspectors ( And sometimes required repairs for things like termites and dry rot), loan brokers and city and county transfer fees all contribute to GDP.

  20. Plenue

    “How Video Games Are Influencing War Propaganda in Syria”

    Yeah, I noticed years ago how much current war propaganda resembled Call of Duty loading screen videos. There’s an irony in here too, since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the 2007 game that established the cliche, could very well be read as an anti-war game. The plot involves, among other things, the United States invading a middle-eastern country and promptly getting its 30,000 strong USMC task force nuked. The main villain also explictly is motivated by wanting revenge for what the West did to Eastern Europe in the 90s.

    It was wildly successful and the sequels quickly descended into increasingly more stupid action movie dreck.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      War and death for fun and profit: pretty much sums up American culture and commerce today. You don’t agree with someone? Don’t bother talking, just kill them.
      I have an idea, instead of a giant wall let’s construct a giant mirror, we can all gaze into it and see who we are. Then when you turn off your war/death movie and put down your first-person shooter video game long enough to cast your vote for the falling down grandmother hell-bent on starting WW III, at least you’ll have a clear image of exactly what and who you are.
      Those are painful words to write. But let’s correctly diagnose the illness so we can get on with the cure.
      The word for the day is: Vergangenheitsbewältigung
      “the struggle to overcome the collective, repressed and incriminating negatives of the past”

      1. polecat

        I would add that perhaps the mirrors be parabolic …and aligned with the sun …. as well as the person..

        stare at one’s own image …then it’s game on …

  21. mle detroit

    “’And the larger banks? Angleton said: ‘The bigger ones, to a certain point are very gamy.’ ‘Gamy…. ‘”

    Gamy as in gaming the system? Or gamy as in strong-smelling meat going bad?

  22. allan

    Sternly worded wet noodle lashing, incoming:

    JP Morgan May Face New Scrutiny in China Hiring Case

    For the last three years, JPMorgan Chase’s hiring practices in China were at the center of a federal bribery investigation.

    Now, just as the bank is preparing to settle with federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission, another round of scrutiny has emerged.

    JPMorgan’s top regulators — the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — are seeking to impose their own penalties in the China hiring case, according to people briefed on the investigations. In recent days, the Fed sought a $62 million fine from the bank, and the O.C.C. is expected to seek its own punishment, according to the people, who were not authorized to discuss the private negotiations. …

    With prosecutors, the bank appears to have scored a moral victory by avoiding criminal charges, the people briefed on the matter said. Instead of facing charges, the bank negotiated a rare nonprosecution agreement. …

    Yet for JPMorgan, the Fed’s and O.C.C.’s involvement complicates the outcome of the case and throws into doubt the timing of a settlement. If JPMorgan were facing only the S.E.C. and the prosecutors, the case might have concluded sooner and at a cheaper cost. …

  23. Synoia

    Bill Clinton: “The geopolitical reasons for [TPP], from America’s point of view, are pretty clear. It’s designed to make sure that the future of the Asia-Pacific region, economically, is not totally dominated by China

    TPP is designed to make sure we are dominated by corporations. It does everything to ensure the USA is dominated by Corporations, because Bill’s hidden assumption is that America controls the corporations.

    COOL for food come to mind? That worked well, so ends full disclosure.

    The outcome is a fascist conglomeration of corporations seeking profit, and taking any law which affects their profits (which is all laws), through a secret and biased process.

    Marberry v Madison is the guiding judgement of the United States separation of powers, and the process in TPP are an attempted end run around that decision. I can only hope the judiciary will uphold their prerogatives, when this matter reaches them.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Remember the good old days, when we had Boehner, Frank and Weiner in office at the same time, and we could identify the biggest dicks in Congress by their last names?” — Paul Kersey

    2. Optimader

      Will this delay his bid for running for Congress again, or is he just looking for free media attention?
      Btw That is one scary 15yo in the vid, comes off as a 40something transvestite with a receding hairline. Maybe im just not used to the east coast?

  24. none

    Lambert, re avoiding gmail, I’m happy with fastmail.com. It’s much more private than yahoo, gmail, etc. It does nothing but email (well, calendars etc. are part of the email app) so “one account, all of fastmail” is fine. That it isn’t free (starts at $10 a year) is a virtue, since it means they work for you (you are the customer not the product), there’s no ads, etc. Their privacy policy is among the best I’ve seen: https://www.fastmail.com/about/privacy.html

  25. Adam Eran

    For a little context on the Kevin Johnson pie attack:

    KJ was instrumental in bringing the NBA team “Kings” to Sacramento. This entailed a quarter-billion-dollar subsidy for the stadium, and suppressing a citizens’ initiative to force a popular vote on the thing. The City now has a $9 million a year hole in its budget, and owns a stadium. That means no property tax revenue from the stadium, and absolutely no leverage with the team if it decides to move (it threatened to move to get the subsidy in the first place).

    Heck, Al Davis (owner of the Raiders) extorted stadiums from both Anaheim and Oakland using these tactics.

    So…Sacramento owns a white elephant if the Kings leave. And since professional sports have an anti-trust exemption, they can charge monopoly rents.

    As for the pie…well, I guess not everyone was happy getting a stadium jammed down their throats. The assailant is formerly of Occupy Sacramento, and was beaten pretty badly by KJ (who is still a big guy).

    JFYI, KJ is married to the lovely and sadistic Michelle Rhee, formerly of Eli-Broad-Funded Students First, an organization dedicated to creating (union-busting) charter schools, merit pay for teachers (because they’re so financially motivated, ya see), and testing kids until their eyeballs bleed.

    She got coverage in Waiting for Superman which touted super teachers, and the Finnish school system as the cure for our educational woes.

    Oddly enough, WFS didn’t mention Finnish teachers were unionized, tenured and very well paid. (Nor did it mention Federal subsidies for higher education have diminished 55% since 1972).

    Of course none of her suggested education-improving strategies have scientific validation. What does correlate highly with better educational outcomes? Reducing childhood poverty.

    Finnish child poverty is 2% of their population; in the U.S. the rate is 23%. Gosh! Could all this school “reform” be misdirection from the real issue?! I wonder!

    Please remember that the next time you hear from someone criticizing the educators…

    Back to the stadium: It’s worth remembering what David Cay Johnston observes: 75% of George W. Bush’s net worth comes from a stadium deal in Arlington Texas. They’re so…worthy of cheerleading!

    so…Pies all ’round!

    1. polecat

      All Hail the Taj MahBasketBall !!

      What a F’n train wreck that project is … the whole contracted parking enforcement scheme, alone, is going to kill most downtown businesses …. people will go elsewhere to avoid that hassle …

      … then there are the ticket prices …..!

      1. polecat

        Also ….

        What is it with that crappy design ….. like some sort of Frank Gehry acid trip from hell ! … uck !!

  26. JSM

    Re: Clinton’s Open Letter

    In the spirit of a commenter above, shocked not at Clinton’s cynicism, but at the incompetence of Clinton’s campaign, whose missives could not more obviously ’emanate’ (perhaps in the Neoplatonic sense, from their point of view) from a more clueless and distant group.

    Where, for the love of all that is holy, is Clinton’s Open Letter to John Stumpf?

    1. hunkerdown

      JSM, and where is Clinton’s Austan Goolsbee surrogate to tell foreign investors that it’s all for “domestic political considerations” and not actual policy intent? Perhaps the one needs to precede the other in these “uncertain times” at the top.

  27. Kurt Sperry

    What happened to Mother Jones? Kevin Drum’s lunatic reactionary ranting belongs there why?

    From the piece linked to: “I reserve most of my frustration for Bernie Sanders. He’s the one who convinced these folks that Clinton was in the pocket of Wall Street. She gave a speech to Goldman Sachs! He’s the one who convinced them she was a tool of wealthy elites. She’s raising money from rich people! He’s the one who convinced them she was a corporate shill. She supported the TPP! He’s the one who, when he finally endorsed her, did it so grudgingly that he sounded like a guy being held hostage.”

    Convinced them?!?! How about he showed them! Or pointed out to them! Or revealed! Any of these latter describe the truth. Kevin Drum must live inside some partisan fact-free bubble where his hallucinatory delusions are projected over reality. The combined stupid and denial of truth/reality here would do the worst Trump sycophant proud.

    Mother Jones has obviously become just another vacuous, corporate center-right neoliberal, neocon DNC propaganda rag. And it’s a real shame, the world has no need for more of those. And even less need for more of those pawning themselves off as being a voice of progressive or left wing thought. Is it conscious dishonesty or self-delusion? Disgusting and depressing either way.

  28. charles leseau

    Re: Krugman and “cool kids”:

    If anyone is acting like petty high school cliqueish cool kids, it is the Clinton camp when they concentrate so heavily on picking on the opposition’s supporters with snide and petty remarks and name calling – e.g. Bernie Bros, deplorables, special place in hell, condescending snipes at millennials that come a hair short of the old conservative “if not a socialist before 25 = no heart, if still a socialist after 25 = no brain” bit, etc.

    1. Optimader

      Krugman is running on professional inertia as he ablates his final shreds of integrity.
      Fake nobel indeed, the guy reveals himself to be a bllsht artist as he progressivly slouches over Charlie Rose’s propaganda round table. “Paul Krugman, a friend of the show”

      1. sd

        I have doubts that he even writes his own columns anymore. I’m wondering if he has an assistant do the work. I say that becuase he’s gotten very screechy. Even at the height of the Iraq War drums, he maintained a kind of rational detachment. He sounds…desperate.

  29. Optimader


    This Has all the makings of a heroic clstrfk to watch unfold. So the automotive supply chain, which is a case study for thin margins will be coughing up 3-d printed parts. “Like” how many are we talking about?? Has there been some miraculous intervention on 3-D printing rates? Material properties? I assume the part traceability will reflect the mfg process when it comes to fail in field/recall time.

    1. hunkerdown

      As for material properties, the FDM printer at your local Micro Center is not representative of the state of the art. This here aluminum hair-rock guitar body may be representative of the state of the art, and quite possibly, the state of art.

      Combined with thin margins *and* legislatively encouraged total process quality management (for now), I suspect that the extent to which they will do automotive work will be more monogrammed interior parts for Shenzhen princelings than production drivetrain components for Tata’s or Chery’s next attempt at Muntzing the motorcar. Maybe they might get work printing lost-foam patterns for metal casting, for those rare cases when four trimming-ninjas armed with X-acto katanas and solvent glue can’t or won’t do the job… hmm, maybe this is the “fear the robots” narrative directed toward those uppity aspiring skilled Asians and their respective owners who haven’t yet cashed out and bought San Francisco real estate.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        +1 You’ve pretty much nailed the likely extent of 3D printing in the automotive industry (or really any production actual engineering application). The low hanging fruit in the current state of 3D printing was pretty much picked the first time somebody printed up a novelty Star Wars themed chess set in flimsy low density plastic. There’s some hope for powder metallurgy in 3D printing processes, but even then it won’t be cost effective in 99.9% of applications.

      2. optimader

        Good for painstakingly slow prototyping/proof of concept.

        I think the direction for serious 3-D additive manufacturing will be supplanting high value/low production complex (alloy) weldments with net to shape monolithic parts (think aerospace/medical not auto industry), but thats down the road
        . A strategy for inventory control and “just in time manufacturing” ? Sounds like mostly hype.

        3-D this:
        RESTRUNG | Official Documentary (2014)

        Published on Mar 23, 2015
        Award Winner – RBC Emerging Artist Award – Niagara Integrated Film Festival (2014)

        He had always considered making guitars a passion, not an occupation. In 2007, Randall Wyn Fullmer, an ordinary guy with a cat, decided to turn his life-long hobby into a full-out obsession.

        To launch his adventure he did what anyone else would do — he quit his high paying dream job at Disney, leaving behind a successful 20 year career of creating major motion pictures such as “Chicken Little” and “The Emperor’s New Groove”. It seemed to make so much sense at the time! With Disney in the rear-view, he launched his self-proclaimed “Mad Plan”, crafting small-batch bass guitars full time.

        From a beginner’s electrifying success to near break-down, this is a beautiful, honest and inspirational portrait of a passionate craftsperson who walked headlong into a foolhardy dream … a true tale of a life unwound and restrung

    1. tony

      I liked the time a family called the cops because their son was suicidal. Ever helpful, the cops showed up and gunned him down.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Not just one time. At one time I had a news alert for “police shooting,” and it was amazing the number of times the cops came after a 911 call and ended up whacking somebody.

  30. bob

    ““There is simply no place for this kind of outrageous behavior in America.” There most certainly is such a place: It’s called the “C-suite.””

    Soon to be re-branded as the white house.

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