2:00PM Water Cooler 9/23/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Days until: 45.


“David Brock has 7 non-profits, 3 Super PACs, one 527-committee, one LLC, one joint fundraising committee, and one unregistered solicitor crammed into his office in Washington DC” [Citizens Audit]. “Uncovered records expose a constant flow of money between these organizations. The Bonner Group, his [unregistered] professional solicitor, works off a commission. Every time money gets passed around, Bonner receives a 12.5% cut.” Hmm. (Source vetted by Nick Confessore.)

“For the low price of $25, you can snag a Trump Gold Card emblazoned with your name or join a campaign ‘Board of Directors’ that comes with a personalized certificate. For $30, grab one of Trump’s signature red hats — billed as ‘the most popular product in America.’ Supporters can elevate themselves to ‘big league’ by ponying up $184 for a signed, ‘now out of print’ copy of Trump’s book, ‘The Art of the Deal’ [AP].

“Palmer Luckey is funding Donald Trump’s internet trolls with his Oculus money” [The Verge].


“Clinton’s policy operation has churned out more than 60 papers outlining plans for everything from housing for people with serious mental illness to adjusting the cap on loans from the Small Business Administration. The agenda includes extremely big items, like a promise to ensure no family pays more than 10 percent of income on child care, and extremely small ones, like investing in smartphone applications that would make it easier for military families living in remote locations to receive services available only on bases” [HuffPo]. “People on the campaign assured me that the policy staffers work “the same insane hours as everyone else.” It’s just that they’re focusing on November 9, and what Clinton would do if she manages to make it to the White House—where she would face an even less habitable political environment than Obama did. Unlike him, she’ll be entering office without a huge reserve of personal popularity to draw on. She’ll be hemmed in by Republicans on one side and a newly emboldened progressive wing of the Democratic Party on the other. With almost no room to maneuver, Clinton has to find a way to do something good for America. It almost makes the election look like the easy part.” And speaking of policy–

” I believed from my heart of hearts that the ideas I was talking about were not courageous, radical, bold ideas. The ideas that I was talking about are what most Americans would support if they had the chance to hear these views, which they do not under normal circumstances. You could watch CNN for the next 14 years, and you’re not going to hear a discussion about the need for a single-payer health-care system” [The Nation]. No reason for the Clinton campaign to emit a white paper on single payer, eh? (“Never, ever.”) Good interview with Sanders.

“Speaking on Thursday to a conference of 1,500 gas-industry executives, managers and salespeople, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump promised sweeping deregulation of natural-gas, oil and coal production as part of an ‘America-first energy’ plan” [Wall Street Journal, “Donald Trump Promises Deregulation of Energy Production”].

The Voters

“Undecided Voters Are Proving a Tough Sell for Clinton and Trump” [Bloomberg]. “Doubts about Clinton and Trump and high unfavorability ratings of both are distinguishing features of voter attitudes in national and state polls. In Ohio, a bellwether state that has backed the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1964, a Bloomberg Politics poll released Sept. 14 found that 57 percent of likely voters viewed Clinton unfavorably and 52 percent said the same of Trump.”

This doesn’t mean Trump will take Virginia, but Pence delivering his stump speech soaked to the skin is a tremendous spectacle; “he’s got game,” as I think the kidz say. (This is from the 20th, and I was only able to get around to it now.)

And from the same event:

These people have lost their minds.

War Drums

“As president, Hillary Clinton is prepared to take a much tougher stance on Russia than Trump — or even Obama. Syria’s civil war will be the first test” [Foreign Policy].


“Should debate moderators yell ‘Liar,’ or is that the candidates’ job?” [McClatchy]. “”Fact checkers have been particularly critical of Trump: of the more than 250 Trump statements reviewed by Politifact, 180 were found to be either mostly false, false or ‘Pants on Fire,’ the site’s worst rating. Of the 255 Clinton statements reviewed, 70 were found to be mostly false, false or Pants on Fire.” So 180/250 (72%) and 70/255 (27%).

“Both Clinton and Trump, candidates who are deeply disliked by the electorate, are confronting what may be a final opportunity to redefine themselves. Clinton needs to overcome questions of trustworthiness. Trump needs to overcome questions of instability” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘A real boring debate is a huge win for him,’ said Barry Bennett, a former senior campaign advisor to Trump who ran Ben Carson’s campaign during last fall’s primary debates.”


“Billionaire Miami Republican pledges $2 million to help Clinton” [Miami Herald]. That’s the stuff to give the troops!

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index, September 2016: “[A] very soft month” [Econoday]. “New orders are rising at their slowest rate of the year with export orders dipping into contraction. Hiring is subdued and the sample is cutting back inventories. The sample is also cutting selling prices. Production is the weakest it has been in three months. This report confirms regional manufacturing reports which have also been soft so far this month. The factory sector, drifting sideways, hasn’t been able to get in gear this year, the result of weak business investment in new equipment and weak foreign demand. ”

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, September 2016 (yesterday): “Better, apart from employment and prices, which happen to be the Fed’s mandate” Ouch! [Mosler Economics]. “So interesting that the KC Fed President wants to hike rates.”

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, September 2016: Up one-tenth [Econoday]. “The uptick in expectations, though modest, hints perhaps at improved expectations in future business demand.” Sounds like whistling past the graveyard, to me, but am I too cynical?

Rail: ” Rail Week Ending 17 September 2016: Data Looks Better This Week” [Econintersect]. “If coal and grain are removed from the analysis, rail has recently been declining a around 5% – but this week was a significant improvement to -1.6%. Under normal circumstances one should consider this recessionary as trucking tonnages are down also. This also correlates to the contraction in manufacturing and the wholesale sectors – so rail is not an outlier.”

Shipping: “Move over skyscrapers and shopping malls: The hottest commercial-property investment on the global market is the humble distribution warehouse” [Wall Street Journal, “Why Sheds Are the New Shops—For Now “]

Shipping: ” China’s biggest shipping company, COSCO Shipping, plans to ramp up container volume at Greece’s biggest port in Piraeus by 35 percent by 2018, the port’s new managing director, Fu Cheng Qiu, told Reuters on Thursday” [Reuters].

Stephanie Kelton on the history of MMT (via):

(Seems like a shorter version of this.)

The Fed: “So growth and employment prospects are lower than those of their prior meeting, when they didn’t raise rates. And their forecasts continue to decelerate” [Mosler Economics].

“Understanding America’s ridiculously large $18T economy by comparing the GDP of US metro areas to entire countries” [AEI]. The New York-Newark-Jersey CIty metropolitan area is comparable to Canada, for example.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 59, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 23 at 12:31pm. Back to normal!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“To understand Charlotte’s rage, you have to understand its roads” [Think Progress]. Very good. The geography of capitalism? Freeways gutted black neighborhoods. And I’m remembering a highway takeover last year — Minneaopolis? — where the same thing happened. People remembered the harm done, and with good reason.

Charlotte is a banking center, no? So why putz around with the Omni?

“Timeline: Charlotte’s week of protests that turned violent ” [Charlotte Observer]. Note lack of agency in “turned violent.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

“A trip through the country’s beleaguered south reveals demoralized soldiers, corrupt local officials, and sweeping Taliban gains in previously peaceful towns. How did Obama’s ‘good war’ go so wrong?” [Foreign Policy]. It didn’t “go.” It never was.

Class Warfare

“G.M. Job Shift From Mexico [to Canada] Tests a Trump Premise” [New York Times]. Buried lead: “The union in Canada won something headline-grabbing — jobs retrieved from Mexico. But it also relented on a major objective sought by G.M.: Workers gave up the fight to retain old-fashioned pensions that pay out fixed amounts. They accepted newfangled plans that see benefits fluctuate with the markets.” Guess they’ll just have to buy the cheaper brand of catfood when the finance guys crash the economy again.

“Median employee tenure, the length of time a worker has been with his or her current employer, was 4.2 years in January, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was down from 4.6 years in January 2014, the first decline recorded in the biennial survey since 2000.” [Wall Street Journal, “Why Falling Employee Tenure Could Be Good News About the U.S. Economy”]. “[I]ncreasingly confident workers seem to be voluntarily quitting their jobs in search of new, better positions.”

“The good news is that the unemployment rate has finally declined enough that are seeing a pickup in wage growth” [Calculated Risk]. Just in time for the next recession, assuming we ever got out of the last one.

News of the Wired

“Bearing Witness: A Farewell to Cambodia” [Magnum].

What de-crapified customer service looks like, as MBAs faint in shock and horror:

News you can use:

* * *

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 (pq):


pq writes: “The third one is to drive craazyman over the edge trying to figure out which plant in the photo is the Plant of the Day.”

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. Stephen Tynan

    ? BREAKING NEWS Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman, David Archambault, broke the news that the Cannonball Ranch was sold to the pipeline company. “So the owner of the Cannonball Ranch, where we’re demonstrating, what we’re protecting, has now been sold to the pipeline company so it’s really disturbing to me because the intention is all wrong. Without having any further review and without understanding what the process was… it’s not fair. It’s not right and the company is going to try to move forward without any consideration of tribes.” #IndigenousRising #WaterIsLife http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/sacred-burial-grounds-sol_b_12152790.html

    1. allan

      Distrust, then verify:

      Sunoco, behind protested Dakota pipeline, tops U.S. crude spill charts [Reuters]

      Sunoco Logistics (SXL.N), the future operator of the oil pipeline delayed this month after Native American protests in North Dakota, spills crude more often than any of its competitors with more than 200 leaks since 2010, according to a Reuters analysis of government data. …

      While environmental concerns are at the heart of the Standing Rock Sioux protest, there is no reference to the frequency of leaks by Sunoco or its parent Energy Transfer Partners (ETP.N) in a legal complaint filed by the tribe, nor has Sunoco’s spill record informed the public debate on the line. …

      1. Carolinian

        Here in the Southeast there are still shortages due to the break in the gasoline carrying Colonial Pipeline earlier this month. Many stations in my area are only selling regular since the one remaining pipeline has apparently been switched to regular grade only (it usually carries jet fuel–kerosene). A bypass pipeline has been installed around the break and things will supposedly return to normal by next week. No word on how normal it is in Alabama where all that gasoline was spilled.

        1. Russell

          I was at a gas station with no gas Tuesday night. Load of people in a van showed up with someone they rescued from a possible murder rap? lots of blab and where is gas and drama and yelling, till I decided it was not wise to continue to hang there.
          In the post apocalyptic riot movies you know what happens. the shotgun becomes the key to survival. “Civilization is three meals thick.”
          As Lambert said, Collapse in Place.
          The US Government is so in the midst of real Civil War that it cannot bring itself to simply vote to work at protecting us from Zika.
          Collapse in place. The flowers raise the spirits but growing potatoes is probably smarter.

      2. different clue

        Can oil moved through Sunoco Logistics’s pipelines be traced to certain refineries and then certain retail outlets? Or is it all fungible and invisibly mixed into the general product stream?

        Because if it can be separately traceable, outlets who sell product that was somehow touched by Sunoco Logistics lines can be boycotted until they are proven to have severed their links and ties to any use of Sunoco Logistics or even any contact thereto. And if SunLog tries to move around where it moves its oil to, those moving recipient targets can be hit with moving recipient targets.

        Perhaps enemies-of-the-pipeline can organize a boycott of all North Dakota goods and services until the river crossing is moved right back to right in front of the Governor’s Mansion . . . . if North Dakota can be tortured into making that decision.

        1. nowhere

          Crude is what is delivered to the refineries (there are regional “flavors” of crude: sweet, sour, etc.), but there is no way to tell whether the oil comes from the Sunoco line or rail car.

          Gasoline is, also, largely fungible. All refiners have to meet blend specifications (some markets like Phoenix, LA have special requirements) that are largely the same. The end product has a few things like detergents added that allow them to market them as “Techron”, or what have you.

      3. steelhead23

        I believe that all economic infrastructure should be publicly owned. I know that sounds radical, but I have reasons ranging from monopoly pricing and control to environmental protection. I would not suggest that a federally-owned pipeline would be more cheap to operate than a private one, or even that it would be less harmful, I am saying that the costs would be more equitable – no fat cat at the top of the heap and poor folks drinking contaminated water. When everyone’s ox is being gored, things change.

  2. dcblogger

    “As president, Hillary Clinton is prepared to take a much tougher stance on Russia than Trump — or even Obama. Syria’s civil war will be the first test”

    so we need to talk NOW about her foreign policy advisors and make sure their confirmation hearings are as contentious as possible.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Where might one get the magical thought that Clinton’s “people” (or any other significant policy advisers) will be subject to any kind of, what did they used to be called, “checks and balances?” Is Kissinger going to be presented to Congress for “confirmation,” or all those effing Generals with some “precious bodily fluids” axe to grind? or all the Power People who wander into Foggy Bottom with a backstage pass to the New Gong Show?

      But we take comfort and find hope for change where we can, don’t we?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        While we’re at it maybe we can get the Raytheon CEO up on the hill and grill him on why he’s selling cluster bombs to the Saudis so they can murder impoverished women and children in the Yemeni desert.

        I wonder if the Clinton Foundation charges by the child or by the bomb when they arrange these arms deals? If I was the customer, to get real value for money I would want a full accounting by GDPBDP (Guaranteed Deaths Per Bribery Dollar Paid). You could have a DOBD (Degree Of Bribery Difficulty) adjustment factor, for easy countries like The Congo multiply by .5, for trickier countries like Saudi where you need to arrange a presidential veto of transparency efforts you might multiply by 1.5. You probably also need a MAF (Media Adjustment Factor) for the payments required to maintain media silence. And maybe an OBDDF (Overall Bombing Death Delivery Factor) that includes things like the race of the end customer, for deep black (Congo) there would be a small adjustment but delivering and silencing media for campaigns on whiter shades of skin of course would be more expensive.

        I’m sure Booz Allen can offer this all as a value-add…and maybe they can partner with The Vatican or someone to include River Styx free passage coupons that would assist at the time of ultimate accounting reconciliation.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Grim, and so uncomfortably close to the actual business model… Stupid Fokking humans…

          Of course, in the Real World of Military Security Policy Grammar, the acronym (in parentheses) always FOLLOWS the salient phrase. Must observe the tribal traditions, don’t cha know?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Dr. Strangelove: the concept of “mega-deaths” (MD), equal to 1 million human deaths. Soon to return to the MSM parlance since Obama decided it’s more important to spend $1 Trillion on brand-new nuclear bombs than on trivialities like, say, schools or hospitals or highways.
            Forward Soviet!

            1. nowhere

              Yeah, “we” always seem to find as much money as “needed” to fund new weapons of mass destruction. Yet, we never seem to “have enough” to fund institutions of mass education, transportation, green energy, etc.

    2. clarky90

      “Most Dangerous Person On the Planet Today: Hillary Clinton”

      Mish sent this article to the NYT op-ed, but they refused to publish it.

      “The most surefire way to make a terrorist out of a non-terrorist is to kill an innocent child or bomb an innocent person’s home. Doing so is sure to radicalize friends and family.”

      For me, it is wonderful to be alive and actually be a part of The Great Awakening. (Clarky pinches himself and feels the weight in the sole of his right foot- as he listens to Hamlet Gonashveli sing “Tu Ase Turpa Ikhavi”.

      Maybe the 100 monkeys? A new idea spreads rapidly from one group to all related groups once a critical number of members of one group understand (grok) the new idea. (Like Pokemon Go! a super meme)

      1. clarky90

        Georgian Folk Song “Tu Ase Turpa Ikhavi”, translation

        Грузин но не Гиви 2 years ago

        its an old Georgian song about love which is fragile, inexplicable and irrevocable ..when gone

        I tried to translate it. I think you can guess meanings

        Violet , why I never recognized
        how astonishing is your flavor
        as because , the violet replied
        my heart so far gives nobody a favor

        but now she met good gardener at heart ,
        he warmed with tender and love grow up,
        with soothing lullaby and care
        she feels so coziness in his lap .

        Violet , why I never recognized
        how astonishing is your flavor
        as because , the violet replied
        my heart so far gives nobody a favor

        Lika Shelia 2 years ago

        If you were such amazing, why I didn’t notice you?
        Because I didn’t open my heart for love.
        If you were such amazing…

    1. Paid Minion

      “Hillary: Almost totally honest”

      “Clinton 2016: A modest candidate (with much to be modest about)”

  3. RabidGandhi

    Do you agree that in order to hold elected office or be a civil servant, it should be illegal to have assets or capital of any nature in tax havens?

    Therefore, within one year of the announcement of the results this referendum, the National Assembly shall amend the Public Service Law, the Deocracy Code and any other relevant laws to adapt them to the majority decision by the Ecuadorean people. At such time, any public servants who have any type of capital or assets in tax havens must acquiesce to the will of the people, and a failure to comply shall be cause for removal from office.

    Yes [ ]

    No [ ]

    That´s the text of the plebescite proposed by Ecuador President Rafael Correa.

    On the other hand, the United States (cough *Delaware* cough) has blacklisted Ecuador, saying that Ecuadorian accounting methods aren’t up to the US’s lofty standards.

    1. jrs

      What’s also astounding is how clear that referendum is (state referendums are often check many sources to find out if the referendum actually says the opposite of what it seems to say etc.).

      1. hunkerdown

        Republics by definition have an exalted class of philosopher-kings who answer to nobody but themselves. That ballot seeks to compel the National Assembly to do something, which is not an insult a Lord would countenance (see also Kevin Johnson). US power structures form, as is well-known and socially-denied, a republic, not a democracy.

        Which we will need to fix, of course.

  4. Fred

    ““For the low price of $25, you can … join a campaign ‘Board of Directors’ that comes with a personalized certificate.”

    We’ll that’s $2,475 cheaper than getting a picture with Hilary. Where do I sign up?

  5. Pat

    Thank you for the Lego Customer Service lesson to businesses of the world. I hope Richard gets a bonus.

    And I’m thrilled for Luka.

    1. ambrit

      Whoever Richard is, he or she should get a stock option to go with that bonus. Actions like this are the real ‘drivers’ of stock growth.

  6. Pat

    Well Brock knew what he was doing when he kicked the Conservative Right to the curb. I guess he recognized that the Democrats and “liberals” were ripe for the con. I’m sure his admiration for the Clintons is based in that as well.

    1. Vatch

      Is it just me, or others also frightened by David Brock’s hair? I don’t think that Trump is the only one with scary hair.

  7. timbers

    “Clinton’s Deleted Emails Won’t Be Released Until After The Election”

    Headline over at ZH with first comment being …

    You have to elect the old bag to see what’s in the old bag.

    1. nippersdad

      And they go downhill from there. She is really unloved by the ZH community; a little over the top and seriously not nice at all. I have to admit, though, that some of the comments about Obama advising her to “be herself” are pretty funny.

      Case in point by Cowdiddly:

      ” I agree, just be yourself.

      Lie, lie, cough, freeze up, hack, gag, lie, bigger lie, wheeze, head spaz, choke hack, lie, eye rolly, shit your pants, cough, hack, lie, gag, COLLAPSE.

      Next (question?).”

      The one about “showing us her “twenty three inch forked tongue” was pretty good too.

  8. temporal

    Undecided Voters Are Proving a Tough Sell

    What passes for decideds are nearly as tough.

    Lots of people already know that in a typical Presidential election year it’s fairly hard to get Democrats to turn out. Usually they go out to vote if they really like something about their candidate. The main reason that Republicans hold so many offices, in spite of the relative parity of team members, is that generally their voters turn out no matter what. This is especially obvious in non-presidential races.

    Hillary’s recently released missive on how her right to become President is being tarnished may be the only way she thinks she can conquer her high negatives and get Ds to the polls. It’s never worked before but this time is different. I suspect her team doesn’t want to accept the idea that the message that there is wounded prey will probably do more to motivate Republicans to go out and vote the ticket. If she wants to appeal to Rs, being mad at others for not supporting her enough has little chance for success.

    Interesting that some Ds feel insulted when they think they aren’t getting the support they deserve.

    1. JCC

      USA Today has an interesting article tonight (of course, short and sweet)


      Young voters are turning to 3rd party candidates. For example:

      “It’s not OK to try to win the country through fear tactics,” said Erin Young, 32, a gift shop manager from Mosca, Colo., who now supports Johnson. “I can’t just vote for one because they scare me slightly less than the other. I’d rather vote for someone that I have confidence for and respect.”

      And another young 30’s man says,

      “I think the country could survive four years of Donald Trump,” he said. “If that’s what happens, I don’t feel responsible for it. I think the people ultimately responsible are the (Democratic National Committee) and ultimately Hillary Clinton herself, if she loses.”

      Tad Devine, a former adviser to the Gore Campaign (and a strong supporter of the Nader Myth) and a top adviser to the Sanders Campaign says, “You’ve got to make it very clear to people… that there is an unintended consequence to their vote, which is that someone they loathe will be elected president of the United States.”

      Apparently he must be an adviser to the Clinton Campaign now since he clearly isn’t listening to what these people are saying (and it’s not just the Millennial age group saying these sorts of things either, I hear it all the time from the 40 – 60 crowd at work)

      1. hunkerdown

        Perhaps not right now, but doubtless he would like to get work from the Democratic Party in the future, since that’s where the money is. It would be treason against his class and his customer base for him to damage the duopoly myth.

  9. cocomaan

    “Should debate moderators yell ‘Liar,’ or is that the candidates’ job?”

    Neither. It’s the audience’s job.

    But the POTUS position has become so incredibly powerful that it doesn’t mingle with common people. The office holder has an entourage of trained killers with them wherever they go.

    The candidates work for the people but every year become more remote. Now, in charge of a country of 350 million people and ruling over a global hegemonic military power, they are inaccessible. Why anyone thinks that a television debate should decide this thing is fucking bizarre.

    Presidential debates that aren’t happening in a stadium in front of a hundred thousand or more screaming people aren’t really debates. They’re vetting for a certain class of people. A real debate has tomato throwing.

  10. Buttinsky

    So it turns out the FBI granted immunity to three staff members under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as two of her IT employees. All told, five grants of immunity in the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s email server, that we know of so far:

    Cheryl Mills
    Heather Samuelson
    John Bentel
    Brian Pagliano
    Paul Combetta


    As House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said today, “No wonder they couldn’t prosecute a case. They were handing out immunity deals like candy.”

    Really. Isn’t a grant of immunity for no other reason than to pursue the prosecution of a crime. I’m surprised we haven’t all dropped in our tracks from the toxic stench wafting across America from Washington, D.C.

    1. Pavel

      And don’t forget: Cheryl Mills was (presumably) a target of the investigation — thus immunity given.

      While she acted as HRC’s attorney, and sat in during the FBI “interview” with Hillary.

      In what legal or political world is this considered ethical?

      1. cwaltz

        Heh, it’s a “pre emptive” pardon.

        The Democratric Party has almost caught up to the GOP in cynicism who at least with Scooter Libby waited until the conclusion of the investigation to give Scooter his think tank position for taking the fall.

      2. nippersdad

        Now we know how she felt like she could just walk out of the interview. Last I heard, that was unheard of.

      3. Jim Haygood

        Sign in a highway strip mall this evening:

        Free DOJ partial immunity grant with second order of shrimp tacos.

        courtesy of Attorney Gerbil Lorenta Lynch [if she didn’t eat them all]

      4. alex morfesis

        comeys grandfather didnt (coff – hak) notice the bootleggers during prohibition in yonkers…no speakeasy to worry about here…nope that is not dutch shultz there in getty square…the two gaetanos…morello family…just your vivid imagination…

        hey…have you been drinking ??? you know that’s against the law…

        the apple aint gonna usually fall too far from the tree…

        his family has been trusted for generations to “do what is needed”…

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I keep wondering what’s left when you’ve lost the rule of law. It ain’t much, maybe small village communities with large ammo stockpiles, preferably on hilltops with defensible perimeters, clean lines of sight, and independent water supplies.

          1. Buttinsky

            From Reddit commenter “og_m4”:

            In tomorrow’s news: Hillary granted immunity deal in Hillary’s email server probe. With nobody left to grant immunity, the email server itself is being charged for all crimes and will be incarcerated for 10 years in prison. The server’s comments on this: “I wish I didn’t have such a big parallel port. When I rolled off that factory floor in Guangzhou years ago, I never knew fate would have this in store for me. [sobs]”

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Right in line with the Obama/Clinton Doctrine on bank crime: the building did it. Nothing to do with the people in the building.

          2. skeeter

            I’ve been pondering a different but related question. When did we lose the rule of law?

            Was it the AUMF? Iran Contra or Guatamala? Illegal war in Indochina? Korematsu, the political questions doctrine and the state secrets doctrine certainly suggest that the interregnum preceded all those. The Espionage Act and the Aliens and Sedition Acts suggest that the impulse to suppress constitutionally guaranteed freedoms predate WWII and date right back to the authors of the document.

            All of these ignore the grim reality that for an African American today, the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is as hollow today as it was in 1787. This much is true of so many other disfavored demographics and increasingly for white Americans.

            We never had the rule of law. We did, however, have a normative order that valued the rule of law and gave force to its impositions upon us. The grundnorm, or basic norm, undergirding our laws dictated that slavery end, the franchise be extended and a whole host of civil rights be enshrined in law. It dictated the carnage in South East Asia end and that Nixon be impeached. The normative order pressed us to hew to the aspirations of the law despite our imperfect history. I feel that is no longer the case. The clock is spinning backward.

            That leaves us with the question: When did the grundnorm fracture and lose sway?

            1. Skip Intro

              Not all that long ago, in the grand scheme of things, African-Americans were valued members of society, and if police just started gunning them down arbitrarily, they would surely have had to pay restitution to their owners. Those days are gone.

    2. Roger Smith

      This is exactly what I have been saying this week. From my understanding, immunity is typically offered when there is a pretty strong indication a suspect has info you need to prosecute a bigger fish.

      Well what the hell is going on here??? A family member I was talking with suspects that investigators is shoehorned and prevented from pursuing investigations in certain areas, as Comey is a political appointee. Who knows. Hopefully some of the real agents leak details.

    3. voteforno6

      I’m guessing that the FBI will never be told no by the Clinton administration (assuming she’s elected). They’ve got the kind of power over a (potential) President that most federal agencies could only dream of.

      What could go wrong?

      1. hunkerdown

        voteforno6, I hear some of Verizon’s latest plans offer unlimited data for SIGINT with their free mandatory webcams. ;)

        A second bulk-surveillance agency in competition with the first could go very wrong very quickly — but it could also go very right (for us) in just one wrong moment.

  11. ira

    re: Logo (reprise)

    Bernie knew what he was doing in using Denmark as an example: Lego is almost certainly their most famous brand.

  12. Paid Minion

    Bill James identifies a Universal Truth:

    “Bullshit has tremendous advantages over knowledge. Bullshit can be created as needed, on demand, without limit. Anything that happens, you can make up an explanation for why it happened……… It’s pure bullshit, but he was paid to say that……Bullshit is without limit.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      So is currency, according to MMT.

      Sad to see a hot [quoting craazyman] brainy woman like Stephanie K spewing that stuff.

      It’s as disappointing as if she invited you over to “Netflix & chill,” and just as you’re leaning in for the first kiss, she remembers that she volunteered to work at the Hillary Clinton phone bank this evening. :-(

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Love your work. And you can even link MMT to the “bullshit” quotes right above.
        “MMT can be created as needed, on demand, without limit. Anything that happens, you can make up an explanation for why it happened…MMT is without limit”.

      2. Chauncey Gardiner

        Distinguishing MMT from the Fed’s several successive rounds of QE, seems to me the key difference is that in the latter case the bankers play a dominant role in deciding how much money is to be created and to whom it is to be distributed. After years of negative real rates of interest, with the wealth of the nation being concentrated in the hands of a few, I am receptive to a markedly different approach.

      3. craazyman

        It really doesn’t matter how crazy she is — since she’s hot.

        I’m trying to invent a MMT song to Woodie Guthrie’s “Do Re Mi”, but I’m too tired to get very far.

        Economists back East, they say, is leavin’ home every day,
        Beatin’ the hot old dusty way to the Kansas City line.
        ‘Cross the money land they roll, lookin for a tenure dole
        They think they’re goin’ to a sugar bowl, but here’s what they find
        Now, the professors at the port of entry say,
        “We can’t print here, so we’re not sure we can pay”

        Whoa! if you can’t live on MMT boys, if you can’t live on MMT
        Why, you better go back to beautiful Wall Street, Princeton, Yale or Harvard where there’s currency
        Kansas City is a garden of Eden, a paradise to think in — for free;
        But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot
        If you can’t llve on MMT

        1. Jim Haygood

          Ani Difranco’s live recording of Do Re Mi is probably one of the Top Ten of our lifetime:


          If you ain’t got the do re mi, boy
          If you ain’t got the do re mi
          You better go back to your beautiful Texas
          Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee

          At this time of night, Ani and Stephanie kind of blend together in my mind like the same person.

  13. DJG

    A friend writes:

    Today, a friend of mine who is both an Italian and U.S. citizen wrote to me from her tiny tenuta, near the mythical city in Umbria with its Palio of the Ring. She sent along her absentee ballot, which is remarkably spare: Presidential race, senatorial race, and Illinois Congressional 16th (her hometown from way back when). She wanted to know who to vote for in the congressional election.

    Lo and behold, I discover that Adam Kinzinger, who is as kooky and vulnerable as any other Republican, is running unopposed in the IIllinois 16th U.S. congressional district. Illinois, supposedly blue to the bluest, and in a district that centers on Joliet and Ottawa, encompasses LaSalle County, and stretches into parts of Rockford and other towns where there are real Democrats.

    The Democrats plan to lose the election. There are many indications that they can’t take the House, and if you don’t contest all of the seats, you don’t have much change to do so in an evenly divided chamber. Senate? Who knows? Maybe the shambolic Mark Kirk can pull it off. And if Hillary doesn’t win, we are in for four years of whining and red-baiting and lectures on patriarchy and privatization of Social Security and Medicare (that’ll teach you, eh).

    Umbria is looking better every day.

    1. Jen

      IIRC, in the 2014 midterms, the Dems had no candidates in 22 districts that Obama either won or lost by a margin of less than 2%.

      But yeah, gerrymandering. Beyond our control. Send money because republicans are evil.

      Shortly after the mid terms Lambert had some brilliant rants. The theme of one was “you don’t lose this big without a plan.” Might be time to spin that one up on the turnstile again.

      1. Steve C

        A commenter the other day warned of the danger of Republicans controlling all three branches of government. That outcome becomes more likely since the Democrats are deliberately throwing the congressional elections.

        1. Yves Smith

          I wouldn’t quite say “deliberately” but the neglect does look like the same result. Even Grover Norquist pointed this out. The Dems have been fixated on the Presidency and have not put resources into pretty much all the lower on the ticket races, as well as critically important governorships. Consistent with that, the Dems can’t be bothered to enroll voters. Even in New York City, which is hopelessly blue, I see the Rs out trying to register people far more often than Dems.

          It’s worse this year because the “keep pumping air into the Hillary balloon” exercise is sucking all the money out of Congressional races, while a lot of R billionaires are putting money into them. So the Rs look assured of winning the Senate when the Dems had a good shot at getting it back.

          1. Pat

            Which is especially crazy on the part of the Party as Clinton’s campaign strategy is specifically designed to appeal to voters who are not going to vote Democratic on the down ticket races and will even depress turnout of those who would. In a logical world the moment that Clinton pivoted to moderate Republicans, the Party should have dropped her like a hot potato and pivoted to putting its all into registering and promoting every friggin’ down ticket candidate they had and could put forth. Especially if your goal is to produce a government that represents your membership AND is effective at doing so.

            As Lambert keeps saying this has been an illuminating election.

  14. clarky90


    “There are two videos, 7/23 and 9/19 that show disturbing eye signs in Hillary. 7/23 has persistent nystagmus at rest and 9/19 shows loss of vergence. The former is more characteristic of post-concussion syndrome and the latter well described in Parkinson’s Disease literature. If she shows either during the debate, she’s toast.”

    1. clarky90

      Lysander Spooner, 1 day ago
      Oh, shit! That’s atchaforia! She’s got one eye looking at you, and one eye looking for you!

      A comment, by one of those deplorables, or perhaps an irredeemable?

    2. Yves Smith

      I’m letting this through only to lecture you.

      1. Those images are on Web videos, which makes them what Lambert calls “web evidence” as in they could have been doctored. Pun intended

      2. Dr Noel is NOT a neurologist. He’s an anesthesiologist. He’s not qualified to speak on this topic. And more generally, it verges on being unethical to make diagnoses without evaluating the patient in person. Please do not post anything from him again.

      Specifically, as regards 2. there are well known eye conditions where the eye drifts. They can start out as physical. One is amblyopia . Commonly, the muscles of one eye are weaker, which results over time in it drifting inward unless corrected. Amblyopia is admittedly a childhood disorder, but the point is that the eye problem (assuming the videos were not doctored) could be the result to some sort of injury to the eye area that has not healed fully or well. Not sayin’ (if the vids are legit) that her eye movements are not neurological, but that Dr. Noel is way out over his skis in not considering possible physical causes.

      1. jgordon

        All that is true, however Hillary herself legitimized any and all speculations about her health by coming up with shoddy, unbelievable lies to explain away the various symptoms she’s been showing in public.

        Secondly, with the legacy media fawning over Hillary and overtly framing everything the Hillary campaign puts out as fact no matter how unbelievable it is, formerly sketchy sources like Alex Jones and Dr. Noel have suddenly acquired a whole new veneer of respectability and journalistic integrity.

        Hillary could simply put all this to rest by being forthright and honest for a change–or maybe not since as most of us strongly suspect by now being forthright and honest would probably put her at imminent risk of a terminal stay in prison and/or a nursing home.

      2. Steve

        The statement “he is not qualified to speak in this topic” should be examined thoroughly and logically.

        The rhetoric of the statement is an appeal to greater authority- since Dr. Noel is not a neurologist ( an expert) he should not have an opinion others should entertain based on his observations.

        Using logic, the law of the contra positive should apply to the statement. When A implies B then Not A does not imply Not B. If A ( neurologists (subject matter expert) implies B (that neurologists opinion should count) then not A ( someone not a neurologist) does not imply Not B (anyone other than an SME opinion does not count).

        The reality is we don’t know. The person most in the know is unwilling to share the information.

        We have lots of PH.D. Economists at the Fed and the real world as experienced through life is telling peoples the models they are using are not working as they “state” they should be working.

        Finally, I sincerely and truly enjoy this blog and the comments.

      3. ilporcupine

        You are correct, Yves. None of the speculation about this should have been “let through”. The comment threads should have been moderated all along.
        The sources cited in comments for this “evidence” largely seem to originate with the same people, but were allowed to proliferate,unchecked, thru many comment threads, and principals of this site participated in the “discussions”.(daily caller, WND, Hannity, etc. as sources) These sources never fail to find someone with M.D. after their name, whether dermatologist or OB, or podiatrist, doesn’t matter, to join the party.
        ALL of the video available on the web is Web videos, and subject to alteration, even if TV network puts it on the official site, so this with a grain of salt, but check the “Between two Ferns” video. Any evidence of the eye thing? I don’t see it, but that’s just me.

        “It verges on being unethical to make diagnoses without evaluating the patient in person” -Yves

        HRC may have serious problems with her health, I dunno, but doesn’t she have enough verifiable issues with everything else? Do people who pride themselves on critical thinking and citing evidence need to go down this path? There are more than enough reasons to reject her, without indulging the denizens of the Daily Caller crowd.

  15. flora

    Whatever you do, do not use Google Allo: Snowden

    ” Google Allo, the new “smart” chat app launched on Wednesday, is ‘dangerous’ and should be avoided, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden.
    “The ex-NSA contractor posted a series of Tweets to warn everyone away from the chat app, which he says will “record every message you ever send and make it available to police upon request”.

  16. allan

    Iraq oil fires could jeopardize Mosul mission [AP]

    A fire at one of Iraq’s oil fields could hinder military and humanitarian efforts as operations to recapture the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul get underway.

    Black smoke continues to billow into the air from the Qayara oil field, damaged by IS militants last month as they fled the town, creating health risks for civilians and troops amassing there. The fires are also clogging up the skies in the area, where critically important airstrikes and aerial reconnaissance missions are taking place almost daily. …

    Who could possibly have expected?

    1. ira

      Just when you want to have a nice clean military operation in time for the elction, ISIS goes and does a thing like that. What nerve.

      1. uncle tungsten

        Especially when you give them all that help in Deir-ez-Zor just over the border in Syria and even agree not to bomb them as they move all that hardware to Aleppo during the earlier ceasefire. They really have a gratitude issue I think.

        1. ambrit

          Now, the Syrian Government has declared ‘open season’ on rebels in Aleppo. With Deit-ez-Zor now a fond memory, the SAA can pivot everything it’s got to capturing all of Aleppo. If the West + Turkey wants a partitioned Syria, well, they will have to learn to live with an all SAA East Syria. If the Iranians can effect a confluence of interests between the SAA and Lebanon, voila!, a Russian/Iranian “sphere of influence” contiguous with Israel. A strong “sphere of influence.”
          Poor Neos, this is what you get when you start believing your own ‘press.’
          If the SAA and their backers do pull off a ‘united Aleppo,” it’s pretty much game over for the ‘Unicorns’ in that region. After having suffered under the ‘tender ministrations’ of the jihadis for so long, the civilians of the formerly secular Syria will welcome almost anyone as ‘deliverers.’ All Assad need do is to start ruling in even a quasi ‘civilized’ manner and he will be “Ruler for Life” in Syria by popular acclamation.
          It is never a good strategy to act upon the assumption that your adversary is stupid. You often end up proving the opposite.

  17. fresno dan


    “The mantra of “the customer” is standard corporate PR fare, of course, but Wells Fargo takes it to absurd and now apparently Orwellian extremes. The bank’s “strategy” highlights the following sentence:

    We start with what the customer needs — not with what we want to sell them.

    This is exactly the opposite of how the bank actually behaved.

    Even when caught ripping its customers off, the bank responded by saying:

    Wells Fargo is committed to putting our customers’ interests first 100 percent of the time.

    There is another, more specific reason why customers matter to Wells Fargo: they play an important role in the bank’s pitch to investors. It’s cheaper to market to your existing customers than to people who aren’t your customers. You can put ads in their credit card bills, on your online banking web pages, on signs in your branches, and in the scripts that your tellers and call center operators repeat no matter what the question is. You can (supposedly) mine your customers’ purchasing data to figure out when they are going to need a mortgage or a home equity loan, and you can pounce before they have a chance to look at their other options. You can bait them with a loss-leader free checking account and reel in a mortgage with big up-front fees and a steady stream of servicing revenue, or an Individual Retirement Account invested in a crappy, high-fee mutual fund.
    So, yes, Wells Fargo is focused on its customers—but not in the sense that they care about the people who use their products. The Customer is a story to tell Wall Street in order to prop up the stock price for as long as possible.People who have Wells Fargo accounts are the ore that has to be mined for golden nuggets of data to embellish that story. That’s the only sense in which Wells Fargo puts its customers first.”

    Pardon me if this link has already been posted. I thought it did a good job of explaining the business model of screwing customers.

  18. robnume

    Read the LEGO post; a kind gesture on LEGO’s part, to be sure, but setting a precedent like replacing toys for free that were lost by a child, no matter the circumstances surrounding that loss, seems as though it could get a bit costly for any toy company. Not to mention that since kids lose toys all the time should they really be expecting to receive free replacement toys from anyone other than their parents? Not a good object lesson, IMHO.

    1. Paid Minion

      Grinch…….. :)

      You can write the cost off to the advertising/customer relations department, or

      Jack the price a buck or two, to cover the cost of the unofficial warranty.

      It’s not like its a lifetime warranty. Just put out a newer/better/cooler product, and the old ones end up in the bottom of the toybox anyway.

    2. alex morfesis

      robnume…bad math on the LEGO issue…child will insist on buying LEGO items at least a few more times in one lifetime…especially after having been handed a “second chance”…obviously, if the child fumbles again, they wont replace, but the response basically covered that…

      great local restaurant owners know who the loud mouth who comes in once in a while vs the great long term customer who was not quite happy this time…a smart owner gives the good long term customer twice what they ask for…a foolish one throws away a long term annuity by talking sassy back at the good customer…yes there are clever folks who will try to game the system, but if one has a good customer contact and profile database, it wont happen too often…Unless the enterprise has revolving door management…then the loud and ugly will pilfer the enterprise…

      bean counters killed many a great enterprise in this country…sears, woolworth, kmart, kodak…they all dominated once…then the bean counters decided customers could be bought with coupons and advertising…

      keeping clients happy who are reasonable is one of the most valuable assets an enterprise can bring to the table…and learning to fire problem clients is also a very useful trait to have…a bit like the value of being blonde on the outside every once in a while…

      LEGO can keep its price points because it delivers a solid product that will not fall apart no matter how hard a child might try…

      I know…I tried…

    3. cwaltz

      As a parent, the minute I saw that letter from Lego and that minifigure you can pretty much guarantee that the $10.00 investment(and yes, you can buy minifigures for $4.00 retail) from Lego would ensure a lifelong customer- Heck, where can I find a customer service representative that tells my kids to listen to me next time for a few bucks retail!

      And most of the Ninjago kits run around $20(and run upwards of $100, trust me my now 17 year old wanted and got one that had buildable dragon during Christmas a few years back that set me back that much) It’d be super easy to recoup that money with a loyal customer.

      So I definitely disagree with you. I think it was a smart and compassionate gesture that recognizes that kids make mistakes and when they do that sometimes its acceptable to give them a consequence free reset(with the cautionary note to listen to their parents next time.)

        1. ambrit

          We still have our kids’ Playmobil toys up in the attic. Fun to play with and rugged. What more can you want from a toy company?

    4. hunkerdown

      robnume, what about COGS? Resins cost USD1.50 a pound for the good stuff, and colorant and press time is probably about the same at their scale, and we can amortize mold building and service (generously) at about the same rate per piece made. So, 15% COGS.

      Also, timing? A customer service freebie now and again has here generated more positive goodwill toward the brand (and, no doubt, a better ranking this holiday season in the minds of the poor and tempest-tost, which LEGO and everyone else could certainly use).

      How dare uppity children go upending the very core of commerce, because commerce is more important than society? It wouldn’t take much to interpret your appeal to moral hazard as just that sentiment.

    5. CraaaaaaaazyChris

      When I was a kid, in the late 70’s, my parents gave me a space themed set. I got it about 80% put together and realized there was a missing piece. It was a simple (blue, 1×4 plate) piece, but without it my spaceship was going to have a hole in the side. 8 year old me knew you can’t go into space with a hole in the ship and lamented about this to my parents.

      My mom helped me write and mail a letter to Lego, with a sketch of the missing piece that I drew. A week or so later they mailed back a letter with a note and the missing piece. My kid-self was very happy that day.

  19. justanotherprogressive

    Re: The Debates
    MSM is promising record viewership turnout for the Debate on Monday Night. But they still haven’t answered the question as to WHY anyone would watch that.
    !. No one is going to hear policy on Monday night. They will hear talking points, hand waving, and of course, mudslinging. You won’t be any smarter about the candidates after the debate than you were before.
    2. Each side will claim that they “won”.
    3. Each side will have thousands of pundits on air and on line to tell you that you really didn’t see what you thought you saw – that only THEY knnow what “really happened”.
    4. There will be NO neutral analysis by anyone as to what was said.

    Maybe people are just going to watch it to see if Clinton does the “google eyes” or if falls down……

      1. hunkerdown

        justanotherprogressive, tried cane toads? ;) After ensuring you’re not double-clicking the post button, I suggest you disable any branded add-ons or accelerators which might make speculative, undesired requests on your behalf, or maybe try a different browser.

        That said, I think your last line is spot-on. Points 1-4, too. And the two sentences just before those. Only loyal teamists and those who stay for the meal in bad restaurants would have any reason to watch this, aside from hoping to be watching when the pox hits both their houses. Throw Turn in your shoes for industry!

    1. temporal

      If I were to watch it would be to see one of them in particular, do the hokey pokey sideways on the ground. That might be fun. I’ll just wait for it on to turn up on the inner tubes. Life is too short to waste on two people that almost no one wants to see win.

      Still the goo, goo, googly eyes would be a keeper.

    2. cm

      Maybe people are just going to watch it to see if Clinton does the “google eyes” or if falls down……?

      Nailed it there!

      I was a Sanders delegate, and I’m hoping to see a Clinton medical meltdown. Barring that, I welcome the certain spectacle of Trump crushing Clinton.

      As we’ve discussed numerous times, one thing this election has certainly done is expose media corruption (great example being NPR). Regarding your points 3 & 4, who cares what the media thinks? If anything, neutral analysis will be found here at NC!

    3. Skip Intro

      People watch baseball just to see a pitcher decapitated by a line drive, they will watch the debate to see Hillary have a seizure or Trump bust out a Tourette’s soliloquy while foaming at the mouth.

  20. justanotherprogressive

    Re: The Debates
    MSM is promising record viewership turnout for the Debate on Monday Night. But they still haven’t answered the question as to WHY anyone would watch that.
    !. No one is going to hear policy on Monday night. They will hear talking points, hand waving, and of course, mudslinging. You won’t be any smarter about the candidates after the debate than you were before.
    2. Each side will claim that they “won”.
    3. Each side will have thousands of pundits on air and on line to tell you that you really didn’t see what you thought you saw – that only THEY knnow what “really happened”.
    4. There will be NO neutral analysis by anyone as to what was said.

    Maybe people are just going to watch it to see if Clinton does the “google eyes” or if she falls down……

    1. aab

      Yes. It’s like a boxing match. Partisans will watch to cheer on their fighter. All but the deluded will be watching for a seizure. I’ll record it expressly for that purpose.

      Policy? We don’t need no stinkin’ policy.

  21. Jim Haygood

    After giving $38 billion to the Israelis, it was only fair to grant legal immunity to our second-best friends in the world, the Saudis:

    President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed a bill allowing the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia setting up what could be the first successful override of a veto during his presidency.

    The 9/11 measure has strong support in both the House and Senate.

    In the veto message, Obama said he has “deep sympathy for the families” of the 9/11 victims, but allowing private litigation against foreign countries in U.S. courts would be detrimental to national interests and could even set the stage for foreign nationals to sue U.S. troops overseas.


    Friday evening: it’s when all the important news gets released. By Monday morning 0bama’s all, “What, are we rehashing this tired old story again? As I’ve said repeatedly, let’s just move on and look to the future.”

    1. temporal

      Imagine the triangulation, US voters who almost never pay attention, people’s lives changed forever, money from all sorts of neoliberal sources while trying to pretend to protect the proles while making sure to never be held responsible.

      Dude there’s another golf course over there. Don’t bother me with the names of those past.

      The future belongs to those willing to make the the hard choices.

      The weak end.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Weak End, Stage II booster rocket:

        President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday.

        In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Huma Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.

        “Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: ‘How is this not classified?‘” the report says.

        “Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email.”


        Missing from this revelation: what WAS 0bama’s pseudonym: Barry Danger?

        And could I get his autograph on this condom wrapper?

        He knew all along about Hillary’s private server.

        Here come a policeman, dressed in blue
        Mama dont’cha know he been doin’ things too

        — Led Zeppelin, “Dazed & Confused”

        1. cm

          From your politico article:

          The interviews provide more insight into Clinton’s lack of technical acumen. According to the FBI’s Abedin writeup, she “could not use a computer”; Hanley said Clinton had no idea what her own email password was, and had to rely on aides.

          Anyone here want to pitch why she is qualified to be President?

          1. Pavel

            cm, I read the article earlier and had exactly the same thought. Given the Keystone Kops atmosphere at State during HRC’s term, and things like this, why on earth should she be allowed to run anything?

            We keep hearing how “competent” and “qualified” she is… I fail to see in what way.

            Note that in the latest release, it turns out that one of her aide’s lost a USB drive with all of the archived emails on it. Whoops!

          2. aab

            She’s not.

            Having said that, one of the putative “Stonetear” posts said that his “VIP client” exclusively used a Blackberry because she has Parkinson’s, and it’s easier to manage with her shaky grip.

            I can’t testify to the authenticity of the post. I haven’t bothered to go into the Reddit archive to confirm that screenshot isn’t faked. It seems too perfect, to me. And I don’t understand why a Blackberry would be easier on a Parkinson’s patient than a desktop computer. Also, the FBI releases included information that she didn’t only use Blackberries, but also iPads, which would seem to me to be worse for trembling (unless the iPads were for Huma, I suppose.)

            But she did seem absolutely determined to use only handheld devices, and perhaps her medical condition, rather than general incompetence and intellectual laziness, is the unacknowledged reason.

            1. ilporcupine

              From Wapo 11/26/2014 on HRC contract riders for speech. Some of the items HRC requested for the green room.

              “For the green room, Clinton’s representatives requested: “Coffee, tea, room temp sparkling and still water, diet ginger ale, crudité, hummus and sliced fruit.” They also asked for a computer, mouse and printer, as well as a scanner, which the university had to purchase for the occasion.”

              So, what does the computer illiterate need that for?

              1. aab

                Good question. Presumably, members of the entourage did things with desktop computers. We have lots of evidence of that, actually. Huma on documented occasions emailed for Hillary on her account, Cheryl Mills directly worked on the email censorship, etc. Some poor sap had to retype all incoming classified State Department emails into Hillary’s “secret” system so she could read them.

                Hillary and her team have explicitly said she was computer illiterate. So are you raising this evidence as more proof of what a liar she is? I don’t think it works for that purpose, just as her hiding out from voters isn’t really proof of her severe illness. She hates voters and knows voters hate her, so hiding out would have been her strategy to some degree even if she was healthy. I only consider it suggestive now because it’s so extreme at this point, and there’s all this other, more direct evidence of her deterioration.

  22. Chauncey Gardiner

    Enjoyed the intro to Haggard Hawks Words. Scrolling down the site, got a particular kick out of “Empleomania”, an intense desire to hold public office. Is it a medical condition?

  23. Carolinian

    Could the real reason behind Apple’s odd switch to bluetooth headphones be so that iphone users expose themselves to “bluetooth beacon” spyware?

    The reason for the celebration is Bluetooth beacons, a “proximity marketing” technology that’s been pushed by the ad-tech industry for years. The beacons come from tiny Bluetooth Low-Energy (BTLE) transmitters that have already been planted inside many retail stores, airports, and museums, which send signals to nearby mobile devices. If your device has Bluetooth enabled and comes in range of a beacon (say, in a clothing store) any apps you’ve installed that are listening for Bluetooth beacons can determine exactly where you are, target you with ads, or record your real-world shopping habits, among other things.

    And now that Apple has gotten rid of the iPhone’s headphone jack, marketers are anticipating that a whole lot of people will soon be leaving their Bluetooth enabled, effectively “opting in” to the beacons’ tracking.

    I’m reasonably tech savvy and had never even heard of this. Nefarious, or what?


    1. nowhere

      If you have any recent model of smartphone, and you don’t actively turn off Bluetooth, then you are always transmitting. It’s a really easy thing to disable from the lock screen – one press of a button.

  24. ambrit

    So, we get H Clinton and her two ‘Body Doubles’ up on a stage, mix them around behind a curtain, and invite audience members to play a little “Three Hillary Monte.” Of course, you have to put your money up, say, $250,000 a pop. See, the Wall Street gang can teach our FedGov types how to run a casino. Lobbyists? They’re there to handle the ‘skim.’ For your viewing pleasure we have topless girls and ‘full monty’ guys in the Distraction Dancers, direct from DC.
    Next from Josh W, “Hillary the Evil Putin Slayer.”
    Ain’t life grand.

  25. Cry Shop

    Clinton’s White Papers: Phone Apps, Software, Medical, etc. (developed by for profits)

    It’s PPACA all over again. Clinton’s strategy is pure neo-liberal.

    The 0.001% (let me clarify, her slice of the 0.001%) squeeze their David Brockish 12.5% out of every time the government shifts funds in return for some money trickling down to the little people.

    1. ambrit

      The “violent group of protestors” the local police chief worried about, and the reason for the curfew, were more than likely, other police units from the surrounding jurisdictions.

  26. ewmayer

    US-EU Trade War Looms (Don’t Just Blame Trump); Spotlight on Hillary’s Global “Trade Prosecutor” | MishTalk

    Pot, meet kettle … USgov using its influence at WTO to bash the Euros, despite having funneled similarly vast subsidies to Boeing over the years by only slightly-less-blatant means, e.g. tax breaks and ‘unexpected’ military-contract cost overruns. And to answer Mish’s question, I do see a major difference between HRC and Trump on trade: Hillary’s ‘trade prosecutor on unfair deals’ noise is just, that, noise. There can be no credible doubt that she is 100% gung-ho for TPP/TTIP/TISA.

  27. TalkingCargo

    Re: MMT

    So after 20+ years some economists have figured out that when you switch from the gold standard to no standard money works differently. Impressive.

    Admittedly, I don’t understand the nuances of MMT but Wikipedia has this to say about it:

    According to MMT, “monetarily sovereign government is the monopoly supplier of its currency and can issue currency of any denomination in physical or non-physical forms. As such the government has an unlimited capacity to pay for the things it wishes to purchase and to fulfill promised future payments, and has an unlimited ability to provide funds to the other sectors. Thus, insolvency and bankruptcy of this government is not possible. It can always pay”.

    My question is does anyone actually believe that “… the government has an unlimited capacity to pay for the things it wishes to purchase and to fulfill promised future payments, and has an unlimited ability to provide funds to the other sectors.”

    Now, Wikipedia is not an infallible source but it still sounds kinda crazy to me but I’m not an economist.

      1. JCC

        I assume that number would depend on whether our accountants are using – leaving out decimal points, of course – a 32 bit CPU system, where $4,294,967,295 + $1 more = $0 (we’ve obviously passed that amount and 32 bit systems, luckily), or a 64 bit CPU system where $18,446,744,073,709,551,615 + $1 more = $0, or…

        I guess our money supply and printing of dollars just depends on how wide the CPU Bus is.

        1. hunkerdown

          Why not floating point? What’s a few dollars between billionaires? A rounding error, if using single precision. Besides, it gives more sub-unit digits with which to soak the poors with compounding interest.

    1. hunkerdown

      Well, why don’t they? To a sovereign currency issuer, payment is only an accounting unit, they can make up as many units as they like without any consequence. Some restraint would naturally be required on that government’s part in ordering goods and services to be paid for with those units, as extra-economic constraints can and sometimes do apply (entropy, labor disputes, limiting flows, etc.) leaving excess units in public hands. The flip side of that is that a sovereign currency issuer can inversely tax and thereby cancel units in the event of excess units in circulation due to whatever cause. A currency issuer has these mechanics available to them at any time; they are constrained in using them because large private interests want them constrained.

      Two points about MMT that are sometimes hard for people acculturated to the “kitchen table” model of government spending:

      1. For a sovereign currency issuer, it is not true that money must be “collected” in taxes before it can be “spent” on goods/services. That is merely a convention, which sounds intuitively correct because it mirrors our own experience. So, then, where does the money come from? Its issuer, of course. So what purpose does the enforcement of monetary scarcity serve? To prevent currency issuers from issuing or withdrawing money to serve the interests and needs of their publics without private interests getting their entitled cut and entitled requisite inferiors to lord over.

      2. Moral hazard and its cousin, political risk, are entirely a matter of social construction and therefore politics, and thus no legitimate business of economists whatsoever. MMT, in essence, calls out economically-based declarations of morality as irrelevant to the instrumental operation of economies, which do well without inbuilt prejudices and where disputes can be resolved well enough before a local judge. Primitive accumulators, especially of the imperial or the absentee landlord varieties, tend to believe that being called to account for their trespasses, deficiencies and failures is beneath their station, preferring to decide things at a distance without consequences or suitable recourse.

      So, how many rubles, or yuan, or pounds sterling, or what have you, is too many? In other words, what impassable limit(s) do you suppose there might be on the capacity of a currency issuer to drive demand and (indirectly) production?

  28. Pat

    I admit that this election has frazzled me, and sometimes logic fails me. But I am finding it hard to wrap my head around the 60 policy statements produced by the Clinton campaign. My cynical self wonders about the production format – does Clinton suggest “I need something about small business” and they write something up or does she pencil a basic policy on a napkin and this group expands on it or do they just throw things at the wall and some senior campaign operative says that will sell in Peoria and Clinton never is anywhere near anything. But just dropping that for a moment I’m lost. Every point listed is very clearly not anything that can be done by Presidential edict, all would need Congressional action. Yet this is all to hit the ground running the day after the election when, and I quote:

    “she would face an even less habitable political environment than Obama did. Unlike him, she’ll be entering office without a huge reserve of personal popularity to draw on. She’ll be hemmed in by Republicans on one side and a newly emboldened progressive wing of the Democratic Party on the other. With almost no room to maneuver, Clinton has to find a way to do something good for America. It almost makes the election look like the easy part.”

    All I see is another Lucy/football. Am I missing something? Or are they expecting no one to make that connection and this is just another ‘Hillary so serious, so wonky, so capable, so qualified” thing like the she’ll be able to accomplish more than Sanders sales points that made no sense and which only a fangirl/boy would believe?

    1. relstprof

      You and me and every sane US homo sapiens. Combine the Lucy/football narrative with the opposite narrative of Clinton’s willingness to work with Republicans (the “real” sort, not Trump) to pass legislation and we have a perfect storm of incoherent campaigning. It’s just awful.

      The open patron-client nature of our so-called “journalism” is part of the deep problem. Sanders calls it out in his interview linked in the OP. Political infotainment. But what’s to be done? How could we change this?

      But I disagree with this: “she’ll be able to accomplish more than Sanders sales points that made no sense and which only a fangirl/boy would believe”

      What’s so fantastic about Sanders’s political goals?

      Sanders isn’t proposing anything fantastic or utopian. He, with many others, is proposing a political re-orientation of political and economic priorities. These include education reform, banking reform, debt relief, police reform, trade reform, and single-payer healthcare. This isn’t nonsense.

      That Hillary can’t get enthused enough about any of these reforms is telling. Peeps ain’t stupid. Americans can judge passion and commitment from their candidates. (Well … I can hope so.)

      1. Pat

        Glad it is just not me.

        There was nothing fantastic about Sanders’ goals. Certainly not in comparison with Clinton’s incremental half hearted changes. With the Congress divided as it is and is likely to continue to be, both had the same odds of passage. And in fact, the more popular policy had a bigger chance of pressure on elected officials for its support. And that was what made that talking point that Clinton could get more done a patently cynical…well to be blunt…lie. There was no logical basis for the claim (and a great deal of evidence to the contrary), and yet it was taken at face value.

    2. aab

      Her brand identity (the one she is pushing, not the one she really has with most of the country) is “policy wonk”. It’s a lie, of course. She has never successfully even passed legislation, forget about showing that her approach works, unless you want to credit her with Bill’s horrible policies in the 90s.

      She’s trying to execute Clintonian small ball policy, which worked for Bill, under very different circumstances. But I don’t remember his being quite so over-complicated. That seems like it’s always her instinct — look at Hillarycare. Offhand, I think there are multiple causes for this acting together. She’s a narrowminded “good student” type who knows on some level she’s not that bright, so overcompensates with complexity to show off her “merit.” Add in that neoliberal policy must always be complicated, since it functionally always a con, designed to enrich private parties at the expense of the common weal, while claiming to be for the public good. Given that she’s actually underqualified and incompetent for governance, with no concrete achievement to show for her decades in public life, the push to cough up streams of complex verbiage describing Rube Goldberg-levels of complicated, unworkable policy that’s hard to understand, won’t deliver what it claims to and can’t be passed seems inevitable.

      And that quote is stunningly dishonest, as it tries to describe Hillary as a victim of a situation that is entirely of her, her husband, and her Democratic leadership fellows’ making. She’s hemmed in because she wants to be. The Clintonian Democrats have spent almost a quarter of a century making sure that the Democratic Party only runs corporatists, and willingly loses undercard elections rather than have a majority that would pass legislation that voters want but donors do not. Who made her personally unpopular? She did. Who made progressive Democrats the enemy? She did. Who is running a campaign almost guaranteed to deliver a Republican majority opposed to her? She did.

      But boy, howdy, does she have policy statements! So, so many policy statements. Not the big, simple to understand and popular kind; those are bad, she told us, because reasons. Somehow, the same forces that would block single payer will instead pass some kind of massive child care subsidy and program including all sorts of new regulations, bureaucracies and incentives (since a big problem is lack of supply, regulation, oversight, etc.) because helping women work outside the home is much more popular with the Republican party than health care.

      Sure, Lucy, sure. Let me just double-tie my laces.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        OK. This was so good I read it twice.

        Hard to pick my favorite part, but gotta say the “good student” type who knows on some level she’s not that bright, so overcompensates with complexity to show off her “merit.” part is spot on.

        As is the part about neoliberal policy needing to be complicated since it’s always functionally a con.

        This is keeper commentary, aab. Thanks.

        1. aab

          Thank you so much for the praise, Katniss. I appreciate your comments tremendously, as well.

          You, too, Pat (thanks for both the compliment and I enjoy your comments.) I can never quite figure out how to reply to more than one person in this system, since there’s threading but no notifications. Hope you see this in the Recent Comments.

          I come here usually at the end of my day when everybody else has moved on and I sometimes write these things and think, “Am I talking to myself?” I wish I had picked a better handle, too. I never imagined I’d end up posting much here. I don’t feel like I have useful things to contribute to the detailed discussions about economics and finance; I don’t consider myself an idiot in those areas compared to the general population, but compared to the community here, it generally behooves me to just read and learn.

      2. Pat

        I’m going to echo Katniss here, this is so good. So good in fact it should probably be reposted every couple of days.

        Thank you very much.

    3. Skip Intro

      I think you’re looking at the old Clinton website. Apparently the new site is more user friendly:

      BROOKLYN, NY—Saying the new interface will help voters learn more about the candidate and her platform, campaign sources confirmed Wednesday that HillaryClinton.com, the official website of the Democratic presidential nominee, is now fully customizable, allowing visitors to change Clinton’s stance on any given issue so that it reflects their own political beliefs.

      Top aides told reporters that the “Hillary Clinton on the Issues” section of the site has been revamped so that users can adjust the former secretary of state’s positions on the economy, climate change, taxes, national security, the minimum wage, gun violence, and dozens of other topics until her worldview perfectly aligns with theirs.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      This performance was judged to be very funny and “humanizing” yesterday by the pundits.

      All I saw was someone who needs to learn to sit up straight, especially when wearing one of those overly heavy and elaborate “jackets.”

  29. MikeW_CA

    How did Obama’s ‘good war’ go so wrong?” [Foreign Policy]. What did you intend to link? It goes to the Haggard Hawks tweet. Could you check the link?

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