Links 9/17/16

US playwright Edward Albee dies aged 88 BBC

Scientists Find Second Tool-Using Genius Crow Wall Street Journal (furzy)

Incredible discovery of intact female figurine from neolithic era in Turkey ars technica (Chuck L)

The Super-Ancient Origins of Your Blue Jeans National Geographic (J-LS)

Timeline: Earth’s average temperature Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (resilc)

Here’s the clever chemistry that can stop your food rotting The Conversation (J-LS). Hate to tell you, the reason the McDonalds food does not rot is probably that it is not food. For instance, I took a workshop targeting people coaching athletes (as in featuring cutting edge but still pretty well vetted theories, since sports teams don’t mess around) and they had a professor who was also a practicing MD teach the section on nutrition. He called out, “Does anyone here have some cookies?” A woman sheepishly put up her hand. He told her to bring them up. He said, “I guarantee the number 2 or 3 ingredient is hydrogenated fat. That stuff is so far removed from food you can leave it on your counter for a year and nothing will happen to it. And the cockroaches won’t touch it either.”

Cynthia: Flesh-Eating Synthetic Bacteria that has Gone Wild New Eastern Outlook (Chuck L). Sounds like the plot of a horror movie.

Mass Fish Die-Offs Are the New Normal: Climate Change Shuts Down a Montana River Truthout (J-LS) :-(

Corporate America rallies to Apple’s cause Financial Times. Wow, this looks simultaneously silly and desperate. First, do you think any European leader gives a rat’s ass as to what the US Business Roundtable is upset about (or for that matter, the US multinationals that engage in Irish tax gaming, which are overwhelmingly Big Pharma and Silicon Valley cos, which create bupkis in the way of jobs in EU countries)? Second, the Apple ruling is clearly a special case. The competition commissioner targeted the way Ireland effectively gave Apple a sweetheart deal. This ruling isn’t a precedent for any other big co, so why the hysteria?

The Commission’s grand digital disappointment Politico (J-LS)

Zika Is Here, And America Has No Plan to Fight It Bloomberg (resilc)


Rush of Chinese Investment in Europe’s High-Tech Firms Is Raising Eyebrows New York Times


Theresa May could begin Brexit process by February, says Tusk BBC

Pub-goers undaunted by Brexit but wine prices to rise Telegraph

‘Withered’ forces not fit to defend UK Financial Times


US forces IMF to change the rules over Ukraine, setting a time bomb under global financial system Fort Russ (Chuck L). Headline screechy, and a few claims a bit broad (for instance, the US only has 1/6 of the votes on the IMF board, so its considerable influence operates more by informal than formal channels) but the discussion of lending to a country at war being against IMF rules and the row over the Russian sovereign debt has been reported at other sites. But with those caveats, an important sighting.


If the ceasefire in Syria is to hold, this is what needs to happen Patrick Cockburn, Independent (J-LS)

Russia, US cancel UN meeting on Syria DW

Kerry and Pentagon disagree on Syria Defend Democracy

US special ops to fight alongside Turkey in Syria: report Politico (J-LS)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spit ProPublica (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why US is no match for China’s carrot and stick in Myanmar South China Morning Post. J-LS: “Yet another example where China is eating the US’s lunch with respect to on-the-ground diplomacy, and this in Myanmar, which the US administration perceives ;as one of its most significant foreign policy successes.'”

America’s New Demons and the Second Coming of the Neocons Counterpunch

Talking Policy: Medea Benjamin on Saudi Arabia World Policy Institute. Resilc: “Hitler would have owned DC via K Street.”

US Media Ignores CIA Cover-up on Torture Consortiumnews (EM)


Trump admits Obama was born in US – but falsely pins conspiracy on Clinton Guardian. See link immediately below. The story originated with Sid Blumenthal, so technically not Clinton, but come on. The indignation is way out of proportion to facts….which is what you’d expect. And McClatchy is just about the last clean US media organization left standing.

2 Clinton supporters in ’08 reportedly shared Obama ‘birther’ story McClatchy. Lambert: “Anything’s possible (for Roger Stone, say) but this is a prima facie case.”

Trump Suggests Clinton’s Security Detail Be Disarmed New York Times

Fresh row over Trump gun outburst BBC

Jorge Ramos, the rebel anchor taking on Donald Trump Financial Times

Trump is right about America’s rigged system Spectator (J-LS)

Trump Vows to Undo Eased Cuba Relations Unless His Demands Met Bloomberg

Investigating Nate Silver’s “Negative Time Preference” Forecasts for Trump Michael Shedlock (furzy)

Clinton’s Supporters Wallow in Anxiety as Race Tightens New York Times. Serves them right. Maybe they should have thought twice before hippie-punching Sanders voters.

Hillary’s health and the Age of Disinformation New Statesman. J-LS: “Say it aint so– even the New Statesman seems to be tacking dictation from HRC’s campaign. It’s ironic that the background picture shows her wearing the infamous blue Zeiss lenses– rendered especially creepy by reflected flashes in each lens.”

Unlocking the Election American Conservative (Li). A must read.

Why Obamacare Didn’t Work Jacobin

Obama’s Dilemma: Justice for 9-11 Families or Saudi Arabia? Counterpunch. Resilc: “Gotta think long term and the Obomba Foundation.”

How-To Discover Pay-to-Play Appointment Pricing Tim Durusau

The House Science Committee’s Anti-Science Rampage New Yorker (resilc)

Why the Native American pipeline resistance in North Dakota is about climate justice The Conversation (J-LS)

Wells Fargo Slammed in Customer Suit Over Account Abuses Bloomberg

How Wells Fargo’s High-Pressure Sales Culture Spiraled Out of Control Wall Street Journal. Solid reporting. Contrast this with the lightweight Dealbook version and its undue emphasis on the “ethics” sessions, which smack of being a liability cover for the higher-ups: Wells Fargo Warned Workers Against Sham Accounts, but ‘They Needed a Paycheck’

Exxon’s Accounting Practices Are Investigated Wall Street Journal. Odd to see Schneiderman going after this particular accounting abuse. J-LS: “The Martin Act provides some necessary authority to pursue abuses, but the federal securities even moreso and are more wide-ranging. Earth to MaryJo: where are you? Why are we leaving it up to states to twist state statutes to go after what look to be basic securities law violations?”

Deutsche Bank Investors Fret Its Legal Reserves Won’t Be Enough Bloomberg. This is getting interesting. The bank can’t afford to pay anything near the DoJ’s ask without putting its capital ratios at risk. But since when are misreants allowed to plea, “I can’t afford the fine?” Recall that the US’s analogy to the Deutsche Bank garbage barge, Citigroup, was forced by Sheila Bair to downsize, as dismantle itself, to a large degree. The “we can’t afford it” excuse for Deutsche should be treated as irrelevant. If the bank is forced to shrink, as in sell assets, to settle, that would be a desirable outcome.

Berlin urges US to treat Deutsche fairly in mis-selling case Financial Times. Too funny. Treating them fairly would consist of throwing the book at them. What they really mean is they want to be treated as unfairly, as in favorably, as US banks (arguably) were. The assumption is that DB’s misconduct is solely a function of the $ amounts of mortgages/activity, when DB could clearly have had a higher level of bad acts on a smaller total volume. Also note this comment, which is a crisp statement of our sentiment:

Roy Smith, a former president of Goldman Sachs International and now a professor at NYU Stern School of Business, said: “It is never a good idea to say that [you won’t pay] when you are dealing with the Justice Department.”

Class Warfare

University to buy $1 million football scoreboard with thrifty librarian’s money, outraging critics Washington Post. Lambert: “Yet another scummy neoliberal university administration.”

There’s a Name for That: Persistent Injustice Effect – Pacific Standard (Chuck L)

Black Americans may be more resilient to stress than white Americans The Conversation (J-LS). I suspect this is largely if not entirely explained by social isolation. Blacks and Hispanics, generally speaking, have much stronger communities than whites.

Former prisoners are leading the fight against mass incarceration Intercept

Money for Nothing Jacobin (J-LS). Important.

US problem of yawning inequality remains Financial Times

Innovator-In-Chief Baffler. Ready your barf bag. From J-LS, who was in Obama’s law school class: “Omigod. Heaven help us. Does His (No typo!) ego know no bounds– and how can a man who’s passed the big 50 milestone demonstrate such a total unawareness of self-limitations?” Moi: Well, one upside is that venture capital is less criminal than the Clinton Foundation racket.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Medium. I was worried I might be in this category, even though I do know what ergodicity means (see ECONNED for proof) but I am saved by his closing “easier marker”.

Antidote du jour (resilc). From This Colossal:

While traveling through the Amazon to study reptile and amphibian diversity with the Herpetology Division at the University of Michigan, photographer Mark Cowan happened upon a strange sight: a caiman whose head was nearly covered in butterflies. The phenomenon itself isn’t particularly unusual, salt is critical to the survival of many creatures like butterflies and bees who sometimes drink tears from reptiles in regions where the mineral is scarce (we’ve seen the same thing happen with turtles). What made this sight so unusual was seeing the butterflies organize themselves into three different species groups atop the caiman’s head.


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Anonymous

    I’ve been reading Naked Capitalism for years, but I’m really disappointed lately. You’re being way too easy on Trump, especially given how hard you are on Clinton. “The indignation is way out of proportion to the facts” is your response to a man who peddled racist conspiracy theories about the president for years that he knew were lies. Then he lies again saying it was started by his opponent. Trump has gotten away with far too much. At what point will you start holding him accountable?

    1. pretzelattack

      depends on which you think is worse, warmongering and costing thousands their lives or being a racist swine. i don’t know who started it btw.

      1. Dave

        Thousands of lives?
        I’ll raise you hundreds of millions of Americans being vaporized, (the lucky ones), in a neocon nuanced nuclear war with Russia to his “bigotry” which seems a welcome alternative.

          1. uncle tungsten

            I love NC coverage of this election. Trump is his own clown and does a good job of it. Clinton is dishonesty writ large and needs to be exposed for it. Both the repugs and dem political machinery are exposed as finely finagled frauds and thanks to Trump and Bernie Sanders are naked in the spotlight.

            I detest the Trump discourse but if there is one person fully capable of exposing the disgusting, grasping, lying, opportunist attempt by Hillary Clinton to clutch the presidency – it is Trump. His blatant dishonesty and fool behaviour is the only thing left standing that pins Hillary Clinton to the floor.

            What a sorry pass, for intelligent humans to have to witness this appalling charade when the planet needs intelligence, peace and strategy just for our survival.

    2. Steve C

      The media makes sure we all know what a train wreck Trump is. That isn’t news. Don’t expect the New York Times to hold Clinton accountable. For that, there’s NC.

      1. rich

        I feel the DNC chose Clinton over Sanders. I feel Clinton has gotten away with way too much.

        I’m being charitable in my wording. It seems the Clinton’s not so much.

        Poor Haiti….no wonder their continuous plight.

        Just 5.7 Percent Of Clinton Foundation Budget Actually Went To Charitable Grants

        Just 5.7 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s massive 2014 budget actually went to charitable grants, according to the tax-exempt organization’s IRS filings. The rest went to salaries and employee benefits, fundraising and “other expenses.”

        The Clinton Foundation spent a hair under $91.3 million in 2014, the organization’s IRS filings show. But less than $5.2 million of that went to charitable grants.

        That number pales in comparison to the $34.8 million the foundation spent on salaries, compensation and employee benefits.

        Another $50.4 million was marked as “other expenses,” while the remaining almost $851K was marked as “professional fundraising expenses.”

        Read more:

        This is not about Trump, it’s about status quo.

        1. Bev

          Today, we are raising $1M to #OccupyTheDebates. Help us blast through establishment ceiling:

          Evidence is mounting that there is a green “sleeping giant” out there among the national electorate. I would urge you …
          Don’t listen to the national polls!

          Fraction Magic – Part 1: Votes are being counted as fractions instead of as whole numbers
          By Bev Harris May 12, 2016

          Election Justice USA shared their event. 37 mins ·

          Election Justice USA is promoting our first NATIONAL #ElectionAction events in support of HAND COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS! If YOU are CONCERNED about the integrity of our electoral process and are interested in doing your part to uphold our democracy PLEASE JOIN US ON OUR NATIONAL CALL SUNDAY 12:00pm PST AND 3:00pm EST. Even if you can’t make it, PLEASE LIKE, COMMENT & SHARE!!

          We will have speakers who will give us the information about our LIVE STREAM ‘Teach In’ where we will get educated on Hand Counted Paper Ballots from Virginia Martin who is the Columbia County Election Commissioner already successfully implementing HCBP! We will also be given the tools we need to empower our Day of Action for October 11th from Billy Taylor who orchestrated the DNC rally in Philly!

          WHAT CAN YOU DO?! Here are the following teams we are looking to fill:
          RESEARCH: Points of contact for your county election commissioners as well as state laws regarding actions including civil disobedience
          SOCIAL MEDIA: Those who are proficient in fb, twitter, etc to promote
          OUTREACH: We need to contact organizations who would like to support in solidarity
          VOLUNTEER REP: We need help finding and greeting new volunteers and getting them to the right #electionaction team on fb.
          FUNDRAISING: We need help from those proficient in fundraising

          Please tell us about yourself by clicking the link below! And we look forward to seeing you on the call Sunday!! (712) 770-4700 access code #243595

          Thank you for all you do to ensure Election Justice!

          In Solidarity,
          Tamborine Borrelli
          Election Justice USA
          #ElectionAction Team Lead

            1. Bev

              From Greg Palast’s report on a Trump effort to purge minority voters:

              Help us stop the “Lynching by Laptop”
              A petition to release the names of voters on the “Interstate Crosscheck” Purge List

              Over the last year, for Rolling Stone, I’ve been investigating the newest way that the GOP is trying to steal the vote. In the newly released investigation I detail just how Donald Trump’s border-wall planner created the voter suppression program, “Interstate Crosscheck.”


              This GOP computer program has wrongly placed 7.2 MILLION voters on a list of those suspected as voting twice, a felony crime. The suspect list of potential criminals contains an astonishing ONE IN SEVEN voters of color in the 29 Crosscheck states.

              While partisan officials have kept the list confidential, the Palast team obtained names of over one million of the accused.

              The ONLY evidence they have that you voted or registered in two states is that you share a first name and last name with another voter. A typical example: Maria ISABEL Hernandez of Virginia is supposedly the same voter as Maria CRISTINA Hernandez of Louisiana.

              Experts have stated the Crosscheck system, directed for 29 states by the highly partisan Secretary of State of Kansas, is “dangerously biased against minorities.” As the great civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery said of Crosscheck, “This is Jim Crow all over again.”

              Click here to sign the petition to the US Department of Justice to force these states to divulge their Crosscheck blacklists — and STOP THE PURGE NOW.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                This is NOT “Trump’s effort”.

                Voting is under the control of Secretaries of State. As Palast has documented, the Republicans have long purged blacks because they have a 90% propensity to vote Democrat. This is established Republican party policy. The fact that Trump benefits does not make him the architect, and the fact that so many party leaders are in rebellion against him means he can’t do much to drive party machinery either.

    3. jgordon

      To clarify, the racist conspiracy theories were started and spread in 2007/2008 by Mark Penn and Sydney Blumenthal–the architects/close confidants of Hillary’s failed 2008 campaign. Sure, Hillary has plausible deniability about this, just like the boss in a crime gang has plausible deniability for what her underlings are doing. But that’s not going to fool many people when Trump decides to push it.

      Also, Trump just finagled a free 30 minutes on all the major news [sic] networks from his hardened enemies in the media, an utterly brilliant move. Compare that performance to Hillary, someone who can’t even talk without a team of medical personnel giving constant intensive care. Jeez, it’s already not far from Weekend at Bernie’s with her. Why is anyone still supporting Hillary at this point?

      1. John Zelnicker

        @jgordon – “Why is anyone still supporting Hillary at this point?”

        Because Trump is equally as scary as Hillary, just in different ways. Lambert recently expressed his desire to see a gridlocked government. I agree and I believe that gridlock is the only way we are going to get through the next four years without a violent collapse of our society (such as it is).

        1. Jeff

          I have no trouble visualizing how a Clinton admin will play out and what that collapse will look like. I’m having trouble picturing the potential collapse with Trump. What is it that you’re particularly concerned about?

          1. dcblogger

            speaking for myself, I fear a wave of hate crimes. Mosques, and any building mistaken for a Mosque set ablaze. Mexicans and anyone mistaken for one attacked. If Trump takes office we will be a failed state w/in six months. A failed state w/ nukes.

            1. jgordon

              Oh OK. Compare that to the risk of Hillary going into a seizure and hitting the red button while she’s flailing around. That’s a genuine fear when a candidate who is billing herself as compeyenent has unknown, but readily apparent, neurological problems, yet refuses to explain what’s going on.

              1. jgordon

                –competent that is. Also to add on since I’m here, I’ve been seeing first hand accounts from former secret service agents of just how nasty Hillary’s temper was while she was healthy. Along with the possible cognitive and mood declines in neurological disorders, being scared shtless at the prospect of a Hillary presidency is quite sensible.

            2. Roger Smith

              Why wouldn’t that have happened already? Trump elect doesn’t change any of our governmental infrastructure or law. I have seen this fear crop up in recent days and find it lacking in substance.

            3. Banana Breakfast

              As disgusting and horrifying an idea as that is (regardless of whether it would happen, which I doubt), the US had a previous era of constant domestic terrorism towards an ethnic minority including church burnings and bombings and lynchings, and did not become a failed state. It did just fine, in fact, economically and imperially. Governmental and administrative collapse does not tend to be the result of a majority upping the oppression levels on minorities. Sadly, that tends to lead to positive outcomes in the short term for the oppressing majority.

              1. HBE

                You cannot compare the period US post 1945 until the late 70’s or mid 80’s to today it was an economic aberration.

                Much of the developed world was economically or actually destroyed the US enjoyed a period of nearly complete uncompetitiveness from Europe and Asia, in today’s world that is no longer true.

                Does this mean I think racial bigotry and violence will be the downfall of the Empire, no. A trump presidency certainly has the large potential to let loose the domestic hate dcvlogger fears domestically. While more concerning to me, is the large potential a hillary presidency has for unleashing indifferent foreign slaughter on a mass scale in the middle east and elsewhere (that’s in addition to her clear desire to directly confront Russia).

                Trump has the potential to engender domestic hatred and violence which is disgusting, hillary has the desire to unleash global slaughter (based on past actions, neocon endorsements, and cabinet picks) which I find even more disgusting. And she will likely be able to because of bipartisan support (GOP and neocon endorsements), something trump is almost certain not to have.

                That I should have to (presently, in my view) support someone who largely condones domestic hatred and violence, to stop another who seeks to unleash murder upon whole populations and countries, clearly displays a broken system to me, but that’s how things currently stand.

                  1. Carla

                    Like you know what Trump is for or against. C’mon.

                    Hillary has a track record — we know she considered TPP “the gold standard” before it became impolitic.

                    We have no idea with Trump. HE has no idea for God’s sake. He is a total loose cannon. In the event of his election, other systems of government will have to take over. I fear that will not happen with Hillary.

                    This is a terrible, tragic problem, EITHER WAY.

            4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Crystal night:

              1. Someone should ask and challengeTrump on that directly
              2. No domestic mainstream, progressive/liberal media will fail to condemn it
              3. No organized groups are known (that will not be condemned by Trump himself) that will carry it out
              4. Institutional protection and prosecution still in force in this country

              Imperial Adventures:

              1.. Clinton is on record to want more
              2. Domestic mainstream media on board already and pushing for them
              3. The whole military/economic might of the US will be available to the leader
              4. No institutional opposition in sight currently…not Congress, not the Supreme Court

          2. bdy

            I fear police militarization and the expansion of police power. It looks like that expansion will be historic under either candidate. But Trump’s mutual cozying with law enforcement on the campaign trail, his consistently inward looking obsession with security, and his hazy promises regarding resident illegals make me fear the Trump Police State as much as the Clinton Crusade in Europe and the Middle East. Secretary of Homeland Security Arpaio, anyone? You heard it here first.

            It bums me when the talk around here turns to Trump making sense on immigration. I get that illegals working domestically drive down wages. I don’t get what often follows implicitly but is never actually hashed out — that there’s a workable way to politely disenfranchise 11 million workers, and in so doing, somehow repair the economy for the rest of us. There are a lot of ways for a government to selectively create millions of refugees. None of them are humane and all of them require the gross expansion and abuse of power. I have yet to see one that makes good economic sense in the way of, say, National Health Care or real Paid Parental Leave.

            I miss the days when comments linked to Bill Mitchell and his frequent reminders that unemployment was the greatest economic waste. I miss the recognition that jobs are a contribution (rather than a scarce resource) and that labor creates decent wages by fighting collectively. Accepting The Unfortunate Reality as Presented By Trump is accepting divide and conquer from the wrong end. Here come the cops to sort us out by where we were . . . hold on a second . . . by where our parents were born.

            Make no mistake. This election is a dumpster fire with two pipe bombs at the bottom. There is no lesser evil.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          ” Lambert recently expressed his desire to see a gridlocked government. I agree and I believe that gridlock is the only way we are going to get through the next four years without a violent collapse of our society (such as it is).”

          Gridlock is the perfect cover to avoid accountability. As long as the neocon/neoliberal bipartisan consensus can be quietly enacted, what is perceived as gridlock maintains the kayfabe while also allowing the grift to continue. A Trump win takes a big bite out of both parties. It destroys the notion that to succeed as a Republican you must take a whole litany of positions Trump has repudiated that were heretofore sacrosanct as Republican dogma, and it shows up that the current corporate neoliberal, permanent war neocon consensus in the Democratic Party that Hillary exemplifies can’t even win against a cartoonish buffoon like Trump. Being in opposition is also energizing to a party, giving it a chance to pitch to its base without having any responsibility for following through on the rhetoric. Thus safely impotent in opposition, the Republicans can pretend to be for balanced budgets, against abortion, for school prayer and a whole list of policies they use to energize the base but really don’t support, just like the Democrats safely in opposition can pretend to be against war, inequality, environmental destruction, outsourcing etc. etc. knowing they will have a scapegoat across the aisle to blame for all those positions never becoming reflected in legislative outcomes.

          Probably the worst nightmare for either party would be to hold the executive, and at the same time to have substantial majorities in both houses of congress. In that scenario, there’s nowhere to hide and nobody to blame. How do you escape accountability then? I can’t see that happening, it would inevitably destroy whichever party got into that seemingly winning position and in so doing expose the other party as a fraud when their opposition (and excuses for non-performance) were taken away. Bad for both sides, putative winners and losers both. It really is a duopoly, and either party having effective control would quickly expose it as such.

          No gridlock please, I’d rather have one party or the other–and I hardly think it matters which–at the same time control the executive and the legislative branches. Neither party could survive that in today’s climate. And without a scapegoat party handy, neither can survive. The partisan kayfabe requires that neither side ever win.

          1. JTMcPhee

            My thought exactly. “The nation’s business” will still get done, the 0.01% will get richer still, the Panopticon will grow, wars and catastrophes will blossom, all that. The presidential circus is just a sideshow, government is rule and does not work the way we want so terribly to believe…

            The fix has long since been in. Best the ordinary mopes can hope for is not to die horribly, impoverished, in the Land of Plenty…

          2. John k

            Think of the gridlock over the past eight years… Is this the best we can hope for?
            Hillary offers all that and more… More wars and more corruption.
            Trump claims he wants to build infrastructure… A rep pres might be able to get congress to spend on non military stuff.

            1. jrs

              That is true, it’s why a Republican with a jobs program might be a very good thing. Trump does have a lot of other baggage though and who can say how serious he is about infrastructure spending.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Prosecution fears for anyone connected to the Clinton Slush Fund and at the lower level, the Bakers had plenty of followers followers who didn’t want to admit they were scammed. How can NYT readers be scammed? Since Bill and Hill are such obvious grifters, it’s very clear their supporters at large have devoted no mental energy to thinking about their vote. They failed in their basic duty as a citizen which is to think, a crime Team Blue types accuse GOP types of.

        When it comes to Clinton Inc, youthful naivete and hidden secrets are no longer excuses for gross ignorance. Continuing with this line of thought, admitting ignorance undermines the identity of many Team Bluers as thoughtful, enlightened beings that their bumper stickers say they are. Did you see the bumper sticker that claims God could be a “her”? So enlightened. It’s the same with Obama, the great orator and “thinkering” dude of our times. People protect Obama because he was always an empty suit who worshipped men in suits and spouted at best bland platitudes, but they just watched the presentation and threw around hyperbole. Some even will say, “they (the syndicate or boogeyman) showed Obama the real Kennedy video.” What happened they projected their own values (much as Obama observed in his book that has many more owners than readers) onto Obama and we’re happy to have a “safe” black friend.

        There is a similar phenomenon with Trump and his war on the establishment. There is evidence to conclude Trump might not be appreciative of the new financial overlords, but people hate the establishment and the establishment clearly hates Trump, not for succeeding but for harming golden boys such as Jeb and McCain. Trump clearing out dead wood has become Trump fighting the establishment which is so weak it genuinely fears a minor hiccup such as Trump. Still, Trump is NOT fighting the power and is as racist as the Clintons if not more.

        1. rich

          Trump is the Symptom, Clinton is the Disease

          by Roger Harris

          The ruling elites are practically unanimously opposed to Trump for two reasons: he’s unreliable and he is not a good snake oil salesman for their cause. Those of us to the left of Attila the Hun also oppose Trump, but not for the same reasons. See, for instance, Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Gloria La Riva’s description of Trump as a “disgusting bigot, the embodiment of the worst excesses of the capitalist system.”

          First, the ruling elites find Trump untrustworthy to carry their water. Maybe Trump will come around on “free trade” issues or maybe he won’t. But with Clinton they have a proven faithful servant.

          December’s Children: Opposing Neoliberalism by Voting for It

          The lesser-of-two-evils defense dictates that we vote for Clinton – despite all her admittedly bad stuff – for fear that a Trump presidency would dismantle public health care, attack the unions, and stack the Supreme Court to the right. This argument fails on two counts: it perpetuates a drift to the right with no prospect of reversal and it creates the conditions for an even more noxious phenomenon than Trump come 2020.

          On the first count, you say that you’ll hold your nose and vote for Clinton in November and then in December you’ll lobby against her. But Clinton isn’t stupid. As long as she knows that lesser-of-two-evils adherents will still vote for her, she’ll continue feinting to the left and moving to the right. Unions will still be targeted, because Clinton knows Wall Street will abandon her if she doesn’t deliver low wages and high profits.

          Bill Clinton was able to end welfare as we know it, pass the NAFTA “free trade” scam, enable the incarceration of multitudes of poor people of color, conduct “humanitarian” bombing of Yugoslavia to achieve regime change, etc.

          Privatizing Social Security was next on the Bill Clinton’s chopping block. But Monica Lewinsky, my favorite Democrat, thwarted that plan. Now it is Hillary Clinton’s “turn” to continue that legacy.

          read the whole thing…………Trump’s a pimple on an elephant’s ass compared to HRC but she’s the whole elephant.

          1. jsn

            I don’t think its a pimple on an elephants ass, where Don’s the pimple and Hil’s the elephant or its ass.

            I think the two are much more closely related, a pustule and its generative bacterium, whatever the host happens to be, it’s already doomed.

            A Dollary Clump vote puts one in the aspiring carcass. Join a different body, don’t host the plague.

            1. uncle tungsten

              Maybe that’s what killed Shawn Lucas; a pustule in his heart? No wonder there is still no cause of death certified. There are only two known carriers in the entire USA and Shawn Lucas got too close to one of them.

        2. Jim Haywood

          ‘Trump clearing out dead wood has become Trump fighting the establishment which is so weak it genuinely fears a minor hiccup such as Trump.’ — NotTimGeithner

          And well it should. Trump’s success in rickrolling the R party’s vetted grandees — Bush, Cruz, etc — showed how hollowed out their party is. It’s been leached of all value besides its brand name.

          But Bernie’s lack of success in subverting the D party’s vast right-wing Clinton conspiracy shows that it is even more corruptly petrified.

          Failure of either leg will bring the 160-year Depublicrat duopoly crashing down. In an election season, Democrats can disguise their opposition to Trump as partisanship.

          But the one-percenters (including neocon Republicans) forlornly huddled on the deck of the Clintitanic know this is an existential struggle which the Depublicrat duopoly is bound to lose.

      3. afisher

        NOPE: A March 2007 memo obtained by Bloomberg, which is often erroneously regarded as a smoking gun, showed Clinton’s then-chief campaign strategist, Mark Penn, make the case for attacking Obama’s “limited” relationship with American values because of his upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia.

        “All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared toward showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting it in a new light,” Penn wrote in the memo to Clinton. “It also exposes a very strong weakness for him—his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and his values.”

        Will the people repeating a lie admit that they are spreading a lie? I doubt it, they are too invested and they may be just like Trump – unable to admit that they are lying or perhaps too embarrassed to admit they have been repeating a meme.

    4. Uahsenaa

      Absolute bollocks.

      First, as even today’s links make apparent, Yves shares a range of opinions from the rightiest right to the leftiest left under the assumption that we are all adults and capable of making our own decisions, when given the full range of available information.

      Second, those of us with a memory longer than a year will recall how Madame Secretary was not above racist insinuations herself during the 2008 primary. James Rucker does an excellent job cataloging examples of her campaign’s incipient racism here.

      Third, this is primary a finance blog, and on matters of political economy Clinton is actually worse than Trump according to a number of metrics concerning class and income inequality.

      Either way, it’s not clear to me why Yves, Lambert, et co. are under any obligation to boost or tear down anyone.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Doesn’t Trump do the tearing down so well? There is no story. It’s the GOP. The party of Trump, Mittens, Paul Ryan, Weepy, Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Palin, McCain, Inhofe, Christie, Newt, Delay, Hastert, Perry, Rubio, and so forth. Now it’s Trump. The newsworthy story is the media handling and elite GOP anger towards Trump. Trump doesn’t have a record to assume much more than that.

        They get votes no matter how crazy they are. They support poorly thought out policies designed (if there is a design) to help the rich and kick the poor. Exhibit 1: the Gipper.

        The newsworthy story is the descent of the Democrats into the new GOP and what goes with it. Team Blue types aren’t even Eisenhower Republicans.

        1. Jim Haywood

          1952: Eisenhower’s V-P nominee Richard Nixon delivers “Checkers Speech,” to deflect a scandal about $18,000 in gifts, maintaining the only personal gift he had received was a dog.

          Cloth-coat Republican Richard Nixon was pilloried for an alleged $18,000 in gifts. Whereas his protégée Hillary Milhous Clinton has raised some $2 billion through a bogus charity foundation.

          Team Blue types are Nixon Republicans, only bigger and badder.

      2. Felix_47

        Thanks Uahsenaa. Rucker’s piece was a good summary of what I remembered and why I voted for Obama. Why Bernie Sanders did not hit on these things is beyond me. Perhaps he did not want to win. Thanks again.

        1. neo-realist

          Or maybe, just maybe, Sanders realized the elites would move heaven and earth to assure his defeat, so he wanted to make sure he didn’t damage Clinton too much for the general election so as to better prevent a Trump victory.

    5. Anonymous

      Just wanted to check to see if you are related to any of the other Anonymouses that work for the Clinton Foundation.

    6. HBE


      Have you met afisher or Michael I think you would get along well with the “why aren’t you more like daily kos!?!” crowd.

      I believe that because this isn’t daily kos, is the reason the vast majority of commenters (I don’t know the views of the quite “lurkers”) read NC. So if you want one sided kos (pro hillary) coverage read daily kos to supplement the lack of partisan propaganda here if you feel the link diet is too heterogeneous. I for one am glad this isn’t daily kos, sorry your reading habits require only pro hillary content.

    7. justanotherprogressive

      An answer to your question might be that unlike many of the main street media outlets, naked capitalism isn’t about all Donald Trump, all of the time. If your only interest is bashing Donald Trump, there are MANY MANY other places for you to go to do that.
      naked capitalism provides us a great deal of information on a variety of subjects, and I believe most of the readers here appreciate that. I certainly do.

    8. timbers

      IMO, the point is – and very many NC readers already get this – is HOW the media handles Trump vs Clinton.

      Yes, the birther story was greatly helped (or originated not sure about that) by Team Clinton.

      Look at how the MSM “fact checks” this. It declared with big TV screens what Trump said is “FALSE” and declared he “FINALLY” admitted to Obama’s US birth.

      Yet what Trump said is easily within plausible campaign norms and far from being false except maybe on technicalities.

      In contrast, the MSM let Hillary get away with the most blatantly false statements and does not push back on her. For example NPR did a comparison of Trump & Clinton’s campaign speeches. Hillary’s was edited to the point of sounding like Sanders & presented w/o challenge or push back, while Trumps was with analysis like “but some say Trump ‘s plan won’t do this” or “But Trump opposes this so how is going to do so-and-so?” The NPR “analysts” even said Trump is losing support because he likes bad Putin, who “invades many countries, kills a lot of people and gives govt contracts to his friends…” Um….the only nation that invades a lot countries and kills lots of people is the U.S. under Obama, Bush, and Hillary, and Hillary was awarding govt contracts based on donations into her personal pocket at Clinton Foundation.

      This article has screen caps of how incredibly slanted and pro-Clinton typical MSM coverage is:

    9. Sammy Maudlin

      I’ve been reading Naked Capitalism for years, but I’m really disappointed lately.

      The second participle of the sentence you wrote, “Anonymous,” means likely a) you have been “reading” this site for years as part of your job as a professional troll; or b) the first participle of the sentence is a false statement.

      Maybe its simply you are suffering cognitive shock because the vast majority of other media outlets relentlessly hammer Trump for all slights real and perceived. Both candidates have major flaws. Trump’s are discussed here by the authors and commenters. But the fact that this is one of the few, if any, media outlets where critical thinking is on display, and maybe it just fails to fulfill your confirmation bias.

      This isn’t a site for children who need to be reminded that “peddling racist conspiracy theories” is bad. But maybe you should consider the idea that cheap political hucksterism (that was initiated by the other major party candidate’s team), is not as important a sin to discuss as are some of the more salient, immediate topics such as, oh, one candidate is advocating a hot war with Russia?

    10. Eclair

      “I have been reading Naked Capitalism for years, but I’m really disappointed lately.”

      You always have the option of cancelling your subscription.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I can only suggest to Anon to fight first,be tough on Trump here.

        If you (Anon) don’t do it, who else will? Audience participating is good.

    11. Otis B Driftwood

      Maybe you should read the links more carefully. Plenty of Trump stuff to chew on. Maybe your disappointment is more focused on the content of the comments? The authors of this blog don’t control that, Thanks be to God.

      But here’s your chance to rectify that: tell us that Trump is unfit to hold office. It’s already manifestly and abundantly clear to me. But that doesn’t make Hillary Clinton in any way a better option. They are equally odious.

    12. Myron

      Yeah yeah there are plenty of other places for you to go and hyperventilate. Nobody cares about this non story the Clinton campaign dredged up so find a more productive use of your time

    13. Synoia

      Dear Anonymous

      Clear Clinton and Trump are obviously the two best people in the United States, because they have climbed to the top by their own merits. How could such an wonderful political system, the best in the world, deliver less-that-the-best candidates?

      Which says much about the rest of us, the 330 million who are less able to climb over all manner of obstacles.

    14. TedWa

      I don’t see his questioning Obomba’s heritage as racist, even Hillary did it many times in 2008.
      Did he lie to get into the White House? Was bailing out the banks and putting them above the law something an American would do? Did he do anything about black people being red-lined for mortgages that went bad? Is there a surveillance state? Did he expand on Bush’s wars and interventions? The list goes on.. I honestly don’t think there’s much American or American experience in him. He wants to sell out our democracy with the TPP !! What American would do that?

        1. Milton

          An Africa American can be brought up in the lily-whitest of upbringings and still the feel the weight of American subjugation by virtue of his skin color. How ever one feels about Obama, he still lived the African experience as all AAs deal with on a daily basis.

    15. DJG

      Anonymous: I will copy and paste an article from today’s links that pretty much sums up coverage here at Naked Capitalism:

      It was right there for you to read. And in it, Levine tartly dispatches both Clinton and Trump equally on their demerits. And the mentions of the 38 billion dollar “aid package” to Israel, which is a downpayment on more war, may be worth your attention, too, just in case you are still conceiving of Hillary as Blessed Are the Peacemakers from the DNC.

      1. Fec

        Agreed. Best thing I read today, and found it because of NC. It’s scary out there. The proprietors offer a huge amount of protection from the disingenuous.

    16. Beniamino

      Moreover there was plenty of discussion / analysis in the 2008 election cycle as to whether McCain could properly be deemed to have been born in the U.S. for purposes of presidential eligibility. That the questioning of Obama’s birthplace continued sporadically thereafter probably has much to do with the fact that he actually won the election, rendering the question non-moot.

    17. Yves Smith Post author

      I must dutifully point out that the poster managed to get this comment as the very first one in Links. We first observed this pattern when we were covering Scott Walker’s union-busting. that the anti-union types were remarkably effective of getting in their dose of union bashing in the first comment or two, clearly with the intention of influencing the direction of the entire thread (early comments tend to do that).

      This comment embodies an attitude called out by Glenn Greenwald:

      But aggressive investigative journalism against Trump is not enough for Democratic partisans whose voice is dominant in U.S. media discourse. They also want a cessation of any news coverage that reflects negatively on Hillary Clinton.

      1. jgordon

        Well I certainly understood that immediately. I have been enjoying the enthusiastic disgust/disbelief these kinds of comments generate though; even paying a troll to stand with Hillary can’t make her look good.

    18. Optimader

      I’ve been reading Naked Capitalism for years, but I’m really disappointed lately. You’re being way too easy on Trump,

      Make it your mission..
      Offer a link?

    19. Alex morfesis

      Anonymous or anomalous…yes it takes two days to read thru just the daily readings let alone trying to scan the comments to fully absorb nc land…and as such, it is often difficult to eat up all that is wonderful at this buffet, but certainly the question is not who is the lesser evil to vote for as to which is the lesser criminal…

      who will skim the least and leave the most crumbs for our tired souls…

      since both are withholding their full medical records, neither one will see a second term so it’s a coin flip…

      And since a one term presidency will only create xx harm…

      $hillarious klifton just wants to imagine being in the history books will be her legacy…lady bird and lyndon baines though did cause decades of problems which in many ways we are still paying for so there is the slight chance trump or $hillary could leave us a boat load of mess…but the world is a different animal than it was in the 60’s…

      most militaries are a fragment of their infatuation…barely capable of conducting a proper parade let alone any forward type of military campaigns…

      so even if someone out there wanted to “go to war”…

      there is hardly anything to go to war with anywhere on the planet by anyone…

      Nc land has quite directly pointed out how being in the real estate business in nyc and the casino business anywhere will always lead to dirty laundry…roy cohn, et al…so not sure what you have not had time to read but helmut trump has gotten no real pass here…

      So flip a coin and break open a bottle of ambriel…

      1. m

        War is already brewing in Syria-the supposed cease fire so they can sneak in weapons, then there is Ukraine, Venezuela.
        Hillary will continue pay to play with Chelsea in charge.
        God knows what Bill will get up to.

    20. soulipsis

      I examined the birth certificate file posted on the WH website in Photoshop. It had two layers, where a straight scan should have had only one.

      1. Jim Haygood

        This identity fraud is well documented. There is no contradiction in accepting that 0bama was U.S. born, but nevertheless chose to upload an altered birth certificate on the White House website.

        Hard to imagine why it was altered — e.g., father’s name in the original does not match the official story? Date of birth was amended from Aug 4, 1959 to Aug 4, 1960 (after Hawaii statehood on Aug 21, 1959) to ensure no constitutional issues?

        Like 0bama’s “ghost student” years at Columbia U (where no one remembers him), and his unlikely Social Security number 042-68-4425 (040 to 049 = Connecticut Soc Sec field office), something is distinctly fishy about this sketchy dude, quite aside from his citizenship.

      2. jgordon

        It was a limited hang out. They do flubs like that on purpose to rile up those discerning enough to be derided as conspiracy theorists. Other recent examples would be Bush W. releasing obviously faked service records, or Hillary releasing obviously faked medical records. Once they hit the media they become “discredited conspiracy theories”.

    21. Plenue

      Yes Trump is racist. He says racist things and encourages racist talk. But Clinton has literally killed people and destroyed countries. Surely that’s far more reprehensible.

      1. JTMcPhee

        OMG, Trump’s a RACIST?

        Hey, according to all the stuff I have read over so many years of blooming progressivism (from being the moron who enlisted in 1966 to “protect the Nation and Our Way Of Life from Commie Wogs”) , all the talking and text and “history” makes it abundantly clear that, going by the sense of the meeting,


        The annoyance, I think, is that people with some power, like Hillary “Kill The Little Brown People, Count On The Black Vote” Clanton, get to display their brand of it, “in your face…” And we protect our brands, don’t we?

        Do a web search on “everyone is a racist” and try to distinguish one’s own specialness from the rest of the masses…

        Where’s George Carlin, to call BS on this stuff? Anyone?

        “Everyone’s a ra-a-cist
        In their own way…”

              1. JTMcPhee

                Remember, we are all racists. It’s just that some of us believe we are morally superior to others. And trump and his wall and those remarks we superiors can focus on? Match that with Clantons policies that disenfranchise, impoverish and kill millions, of all types?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Yaas, some of us are pure as the driven snow… Which of course if one analyzes it in a flame ionization detector and gas chromatograph, is loaded with a fine old collection of the pollutants of “society…” Soot, sulfur oxides, mercury, a host of chlorinated nasties, on and on…

            Did I hear someone saying “I am not racist! How dare you?”

            The trick is to go beyond the current condition and find some way to “Can… Can.. Can we all just get along?” Anyone remember Rodney King?

    22. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      LOL “Holding accountable” LOL
      For what, calling Rosie O’Donnell fat and mouthing typical New York-style hyperbole?
      I’ll give you accountable: how about a nation-state with the highest standard of living in Africa, a partner in the war on terror, that Hilary turned into an ISIS hellhole and funnel for refugees? How about accountable for a brand-new Cold War, provoking a nuclear-armed adversary at every turn to the point of action? How about accountable for performing the duties of the US government in secret, for private gain, and then lying at every possible chance about it?
      Puh-lease, a blowhard buffoon real estate developer is no match for the unaccounted actions of Hilary the First.

    23. apber

      Well I am not a racist and looked forward to the Hope and Change of Obama. But I am an excellent researcher and found it odd and troubling that all of Obama’s records were sealed; no one in the same classes at Columbia remember him; the Harvard Law Journal in Obama’s last year there proudly proclaims that he was born in Kenya; the submitted long form birth certificate proves to be a phony layered document with many anomalies, modern fonts, and hidden smiling faces. Sometimes the facts of research lay waste to conspiracy theories which quite frankly have nothing to do with racism.

    24. jim

      Spot on. NC was a ray of light during the bush years but now we get loving links to wsj op eds. Some people get conservative as they get older. Still good for a reasonable conservative view though so I keep reading.

      And while you are talking Trump, lets not forget that any Republican candidate would be far worse than a Democrat – no matter who. Reading this site it is easy to forget that Republicans deny climate change even exists, that Republicans are cut taxes for the ultra rich, etc. To say nothing of the racism of the Republican party. Good lord! Republicans have been trying to screw over black people for years. If you are not voting Democrat, you are part of that Republican gang bang.

      1. Lambert Strether

        You’re saying Obama’s policy responses to the financial crisis (including both disemployment and foreclosure, and HAMP), as well as his ongoing militarization of the police forces didn’t screw over black people, and especially working class black people? Pull the other one. It’s got bells on!

      1. mad as hell.

        Which is one of the many reasons why I’m here every day. If NC fell over for Clinton or nuked Trump like NY Times, Huffington Post, Politico, etc I would have skedaddled by now. Keep it up NC and the gang and I plan on chipping in next month for your drive!

        Once again I would like to quote Open The PodBay Doors Hal. I have not run across anything better that sums up early 21st century America!

        September 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm
        We already have HATE enshrined in the institutions of the state: The Fed hates savers and pensioners. The DNC hates voters who want to register or select a candidate of their choice in the primaries. The Justice Department hates people with the temerity to want redress from bank crimes. The government hates people who use health care systems so they empower insurers who hate their customers. The government also hates whistleblowers who simply want facts available in a free society so we can make informed choices. The State Department hates all vassal states (read: sovereign nations) that do not lick the jackboot. The prison system hates poor people. And we’re all told we’re supposed to hate the Russians (the reasons are hazy).
        And you’re surprised that hate is becoming a popular state of mind among the populace? Our institutions are telling us it’s the way to focus and get what you want.

        1. Pat

          Corporations hate their workers who want fair compensation for their labor and safe working conditions. Politicians hate their constituents for wanting their representatives to represent them. I would also say they hate them for making them pretend to care on a regular basis. And they don’t even try to hide their hate for voters who have the audacity to not choose them (primary or general).

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I would also add that we so LOVE meat, like fish meat, we commit the ultimate act of hate – we kill and eat them.

            Mentally, we humans are really messed up.

            Human: “I just love salmon.”

            Salmon: “Stay away from me.”

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I love mung bean sprouts. Eat them at least once a week.

                “Thank you for sacrificing yourselves, so we may live. Love you, my mung bean sprouts. Love to eat you.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Love of power and wealth.

            “Don’t hate money and don’t hate me,” says the queen.

            You haters should be ashamed of yourselves.

    1. Carla

      @witters — exactly. Although HuffPost is what I think of as the National Enquirer of the web, I agree with their appending this to every Trump story:

      “Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

      And no, I do not, nor have I EVER supported HRC who is an unindicted criminal of a different kind. That doesn’t mean Trump should get away with inciting his followers to kill her.

      1. Ché Pasa

        Now that Trump has a credible chance of victory in November (not holding my breath but stranger things have happened) we may see the business calculus that has been so forgiving of Trump’s transgressions while excoriating anything with the name of Clinton upon it change.

        In ordinary times, I have no doubt Yves and Lambert would be lambasting Trump non-stop for his appalling business practices and innumerable personal failings among other reasons to denounce him. But because he’s up against Hellary Beelzebitch, Arch-Demoness, he’s been getting a pass — even been defended for his appallingness — because she’s so much… worse. Anything that takes her down a notch or two or mucks with her coronation as Queen-Empress is all good, right? 

        Now that Herself, the Devil We Know, may indeed lose in November, or may not even finish the campaign (who knows?) due to health or other reasons, the backhanded support for Trump that appears on many internet media sites, not just here, because Hellary is just soooo much worse, may have to be revised.

        Trump is an example of his class, and I for one don’t want such a one in the big chair. Not now. Not ever.

      2. RabidGandhi

        I’d be fine with that HuffPo appendage if they would also append notes on stories about Obama (and others) saying something to the effect of:

        Barak Obama regulary perpetrates political violence, having bombed seven countries, killing thousands of civilians and children, including specifically targeting hospitals and weddings.

        The HuffPo disclaimer is correct about Trump, but the idea spread by many in the MSM that he is somehow beyond the pale of the rest of our psychopathic leaders is demonstrably incorrect.

        1. Carla


          Look, at this point, I can only hope that the “hiding in plain sight” half of the double government Michael J. Glennon writes about in “National Security and Double Government” will be able to control Trump to some degree, and it’s pretty sad for me to admit that. It already has HRC not only onboard, but as its champion, which is terrifying … but having lived with it for decades, we know what it is.

          In my view, both candidates are utterly venal and evil; the country’s in deeper shit than ever.

      3. jgordon

        There has always been a major issue if cognitive dissonance with that appendation that causes people to break down into schizophrenic incoherence when they’re confronted with it: how does a rampant xenophobe and mysogynist manage to marry a series of people who are often foreign and all women(!).

        Yes I have had someone yelling at me all bug eyed and incoherent before about how crazy Trump was for being an extreme xenophobe but marrying immigrants despite that…. I couldn’t help but laugh in his face.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            A lonely, self-hating xenophobe.

            That (the lonely part) might explain his marriages, though, many marry not out of loneliness. and still more suffer loneliness in marriage.

        1. ProNewerDeal

          If I recall correctly nonLatino nonMuslim whites are a group or the one group Trump has not stated xenophonbic or racist comments against. The possible exception is his bizarre random comment to a group of US Jews that “yall are probably the best negotiators, am I right?”, which could be interpreted as an insult &/or complement.

          So there would be no inconsistency with his marriage(s) to nonLatino nonMuslim Eastern European White Christian women.

          1. jgordon

            These racist/mysoginist/xenophobia digs are strawman ad hominems produced by the Hillary campaign and their msm media apparatchiks to make Trump look bad.

            You can actually check the primary source and see Trump tell the thousands of people coming to see his speeches that he likes Mexican and other immigrants and that he would like to see more of them coming to America, or you can continue relying on the same msm that hates Trump and would do anything to get Hillary elected to relay to you what Trump is saying.

            Sorry, but you’re bring rickrolled by the lying media. Trump only has a problem with unvetted illegal, economic and criminal/terrorist immigrants which–is not–equal to being racist or xenophobic. That position is simply common sense.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              A real racist would want a wall that will allow illegals of the ‘approved colors’ through…say, for example, Europeans coming to the US through Mexico.

              And a real racist would put a wall around China. No to Chinese illegal immigrants as well.

              And if a real racist t is OK with Chinese illegal immigrants, then, this Southern Wall along the US/Mexico border will allow Chinese to pass through, just like the real racist would allow Europeans into the US from Mexico.

  2. I Have Strange Dreams

    ‘Withered’ forces not fit to defend UK Financial Times

    Reading that article was like stepping into an absurdist play: Billions wasted on obsolete aircraft carriers – didn’t they go out of style after the Battle of Midway? Crazy talk of Russia launching a conventional warfare attack on the UK, stupidly expensive fighter jets that can only be used 6 at a time, no round-the-clock early warning system. Most withered of all appears to be the generals’ brains.

    If Putin wanted to damage the UK, he would more likely goad them into an expensive arms race they cannot win.

    1. Steve H.

      – stepping into an absurdist play

      Albee: “Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it. A good writer turns fact into truth; a bad writer will, more often than not, accomplish the opposite.” “A play is fiction — and fiction is fact distilled into truth.”

      Beckett, dead. Pinter, dead. Albee, dead. Stoppard is still alive, but when he goes, will the A/Bsurdist definition of our reality be complete? Is Clintons actually lizard skinwalkers, and Trump the gorilla of Ubu Roi? Stay tuned.

      1. I Have Strange Dreams

        Hi Steve,
        Great quote! We live in the age of adults reading Harry Potter – when everyday reality is more fantastical.

        1. Steve H.

          Indeed, a Harry Potter world could be even worst than the rationalized war machine currently being constructed, where a childs imaginings, were he of an elite nature, becomes everyday reality. Tolkein: “… will lead to the desire for Power, for making the will more quickly effective, – and so to the Machine (or Magic). By the last I intend all use of external plans or devices (apparatus) instead of developments of the inherent inner powers or talents – or even the use of these talents with the corrupted motive of dominating: bulldozing the real world, or coercing other wills. The Machine is our more obvious modern form though more closely related to Magic than is usually recognized.”

          I find that words can provoke affect and response even if there is no intrinsic meaning. As Hawkeye said, war is worse than hell because it hurts the innocent, and many of the premodern movements came as a response to the insanity of the first world war. Surrealism was one, which by yer handle you may be a one. But are we such stuff as dreams are made of? What if neither retreating into dreams nor manifesting what we may dream to be desirable is sufficigent for happiness? Are transcendent and enlightened beings merely skipping town, IBGYBG, or are we here to bring love to each other.

          Or perhaps my or’s are insufficigent to model the world, are simplifications such that biochemicals make commit to their decision trees, but demand by the power of the bloated dragon on the fiat horde to try to find a new way through the dark forest. For which sanctuaries such as this insubstantial place give refuge that the likes of you and me may become we.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            This insubstantial pageant is indeed a refuge, but I’d suggest we are already we, and always have been. It is mission-critical however for the extractive elite to convince us there are nothing but “Not-We’s” and we should be very frightened of them. It’s simple divide-and-conquer.
            I recall a guy who rode his bike around the world, 160,000 miles, Mongolia, Peru, Thailand, Canada. They asked him what it was like and he said it was a process of listening to the locals tell the exact same story over and over and over: I just want to feed my family, be safe, have a roof, have some water to drink, get my kids to school, get some help when I’m sick. I’m hopeful the global hive-mind will finally coalesce around the goodness of these basic desires but I’m afraid it’s going to take lots of time and blood.

      2. Uahsenaa

        If you’re into theater, I would strongly suggest David Adjmi’s Elective Affinities or 3C (a weirdly topical skewering of daily life set as a parody of Three’s Company). Many young playwrights are very very good, and since their plays are mostly produced off and off-off Broadway, you can see them for a fraction of the cost of a Hamilton ticket.

    2. JTMcPhee

      …but the Brits will still be able to start, or participate significantly ,or both, in nuclear Armageddon, mimicking the idiocy of the “world’s indispensable superpower.” Gotta keep the Trident “jobs program” intact, fokk the NHS, privatize “policy-making” and all that. Of course Parliament passed the necessary legislation, all standing…

      Of course there are certain concerns about the British Fleet’s great power and survivability: And of course we all are under the cloud of vulnerability that goes along with subjecting ourselves to the bland immorality of “tech:”

  3. pretzelattack

    whatever that is (cayman?alligator?) it looks quite pleased with its decorative butterly accessories.

  4. Bugs Bunny

    Is the Baffler article tongue in cheek? Too subtle for me if it is. If it isn’t well, then there goes the Baffler…

        1. a different chris

          Good. I know recent times have impaired our sense of humor quite a bit, but “which, as every reader of…” is a great tell.

          >oversee a special November issue on “Frontiers”—which, as every reader of historian Frederick Jackson Turner will tell you, is synonymous with American democracy.

          1. a different chris

            haha, I’m loving it in fact:

            > in which qualitative political shifts are virtual—meaning both digital, and only make-believe

      1. diptherio

        That nootropics article doesn’t strike me as snark at all. That stuff is all the rage, and it’s not at all surprising that some people are cashing in on the fad. Makes me think there are some easy business opportunities I’m missing a little farther west….

    1. Steve C

      The narcissism comes through loud and clear. The piece is more effective by being straightforward. That stuff about Obama wanting to lead a new digital Establishment. It’s satire on its own. The writer doesn’t even need to try.

  5. JeffC

    Food that isn’t…

    In the late 1980’s a colleague at work told us one day of visiting the lab of a friend who was a food-science researcher. The friend had my colleague sniff a liquid and guess its nature. “It smells just like a Hostess Twinkie!” His host explained that it was pure food preservative.

    On hearing this tale, our boss decided to try an experiment. He put a Twinkie on a small plate on a bookshelf in his office to see how long it would last. Sometime after the five-year mark he finally gave up and tossed it, as the Twinkie had shrunk and hardened from moisture loss, but there was no other visible change. No rot or decay. No fuzzy fungus growing on it. Nothing eaten by insects. Zilch.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Worked for a chef who did a similar test. One day a cook brought velveeta cheese slices to make sandwhiches, so the chef took one and nailed it to the kitchen wall. 6 years later when they closed the restaurant, the cheese was still there, looked like new, maybe a bit more orange-ish, but no worse off for the years.

      1. fresno dan

        September 17, 2016 at 11:23 am

        I’m thinking I need a backsplash for my kitchen counter….so it sounds like velveeta is a good bet – stood up to kitchen conditions, and so durable, and can be applied using chees-wiz as an adhesive…
        The only question is do I get the pre-wrapped individual slices for a nice uniform modern look, or do I get the 32 oz block package and cut each tile (i.e., velveeta square) by hand for a less uniform, more rustic look?

        I wonder how many squares I can get out of a block. Its about a total of 24 square feet that needs covering. Any food carpenters? And does anyone know how much chees wiz I’ll need?

        1. RabidGandhi

          I should have specified: these were the velveeta flexible tiles, but they’re non-adhesive. Fortunately the same store had an excellent sealant called “Reddi-Whip” and you can purchase various “Hostess” brand mini-bricks for three-dimensional applications and a wider variety of colours. Hershey also makes a lacquer if you’ll be adding a deck.

  6. Roger Smith

    Does anyone have explicit information in the Israel aid package? I’d much like to see the break down of funds from their sources per year and determine how much money I will refuse to pay in taxes. I’d recommend we all do the same.

    1. John Zelnicker

      @Roger Smith – I don’t have information on the sources of funds, but I saw an interesting tidbit when reading about the deal. Israel is required to spend 75% of the $38 billion, ten-year package in the United States, buying its weapons from our defense contractors, even though Israel has a well-developed defense industry of its own. So, overall, it is mostly just a big handout to Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, etc.

      BTW, the package represents an increase over the amounts we have been giving Israel for the past decade or so, which was closer to $3 billion per year.

      1. MikeNY

        That’s my understanding too, about the requirements on the “aid” package.

        It stinks every way you look at it.

      2. JTMcPhee

        More on the big gift to Israel and the US MIC:

        And this tidbit from Defense Industry Daily:

        Israel is to receive $38 billion in military aid from the US over the next ten years in what is a landmark military assistance package external link. The deal, which has been in the works for more than ten months, includes the promise by Israel not to seek additional funds from Congress beyond what will be guaranteed annually. Having the new pact signed prior to the upcoming US Presidential elections allows Tel Aviv to avoid uncertainties surrounding the next president, whether Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump, and to give Israel’s defense establishment the ability to plan ahead.

        Add that one to the tickler file, see what happens down the road…

        1. rich

          Leaked Colin Powell Email Confirms Israel Has “200 Nukes All Targeted On Tehran”

          While the media has been mostly obsessing over the recently leaked Colin Powell emails that discuss either Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, or Donald Trump, a just as important, from a geopolitical perspective, email was revealed by the DCLeaks website, in which the former Secretary of State admits that Israel as 200 nuclear weapons “all targeted” at Iran, so Iran can’t use one even if “they finally make one.” Powell’s assessment of Iran’s nuclear capacity comes two weeks after it was revealed that the Obama administration had granted Iran “Secret” nuclear deal exemptions, despite claiming otherwise.

          More importantly, however, the email to Jeffrey Leeds, Powell’s business associate and major Democratic donor, finally provided the admission that Israel had nuclear weapons, something the biggest US ally in the Middle East has carefully avoided confirming or denying for years, in a policy dubbed “nuclear ambiguity.”

          In the Leeds email dated March 3, 2015, Powell writes that “Iranians can’t use [a nuke] if they finally make one,” in the context of the ongoing talks about Tehran’s nuclear program. “The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands. As [Iranian President Mahmoudin Ahmedinejad said], ‘What would we do with one, polish it?’ I have spoken publicly about both [North Korea] and Iran. We’ll blow up the only thing they care about—regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?”

          The email was sent shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had just visited Washington amid deteriorating relations with the Obama administration, and had given a fiery speech before Congress denouncing the proposed deal under which Iran would consent to invasive inspections in exchange for lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions.

          The deal was finalized in July 2015, despite much ongoing criticism by both Republicans and Donald Trump who has threatened to undo the deal if elected president.

          There is another reason why Powell’s email is troubling: a 1976 amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act bans any US economic and military aid to countries that deliver, receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology without abiding by the NPT. Israel is one of the few countries that did not sign the NPT, along with self-admitted nuclear powers India and Pakistan.

          When asked by RT for a comment, US State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to answer whether Israel should face the same treatment as Iran and North Korea – both of which have been sanctioned for alleged or actual violations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

          The leak comes days after US officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding according to which a record $38 billion in military assistance would be provided to Israel over the next decade, with Israelis pledging to spend nearly all of it on US
          weapons and training.

          What did John Mccain say again????hmmm….it wasn’t we come in peace…that’s for sure.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          “Includes a promise by Israel not to seek additional funds from Congress”
          Um, wait…so our Congress is not capable of withholding any funds to Israel all by themselves? Israel has to “promise” not to take any more US taxpayer money? In that case we should just admit the obvious: Israel and the US are not separate sovereign entities. But I can’t recall any debate on whether we wanted to admit a 51st state on the other side of the globe. And shouldn’t California and Alabama be required to provide similar “promises” now?
          Let’s face it folks, your Dear Leaders pile up all your money in a giant trough and just let all the biggest piggies gather around and feast away. And the guy you hired to keep the worst of the piggies at bay is on the take and just makes them pay up for their place at the trough.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Likely the U.S. program of guaranteeing up to $10 billion of Israeli debt — meaning that these so-called yankee bonds are included in U.S. credit bond indexes, where they trade like U.S. agency bonds owing to the federal guarantee — was renewed in the new Memorandum of Understanding. We can’t be sure, of course, since lowly citizens and their “representatives” have no right to know.

            An over-the-top absurd aspect of the existing guarantee program allowed the U.S. to deduct some $1 billion to offset Israeli spending on illegal West Bank settlements, which continue their inexorable expansion in open defiance of fifty years of U.S. policy. But since about $3 billion of the U.S. guarantee line remained uncommitted, these were merely pro forma deductions from a reduced credit line.

            Harsh. Incredibly harsh. Netanyahu to 0bama: “Ouch! Ouch! Paddle me again, Barky, harder!

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Politics aside, watching the mere mechanics of Congress having to beg Obama’s FBI to give them full access to their Hilary information is beyond belief, I thought we already went through all this type of sh*t during the Watergate era. Kudos to the FBI for obfuscating and protecting and hiding and prevaricating with the best of them, but with all due respect THE PEOPLE (through their representatives) are supposed to have the RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT”S GOING ON OR ELSE LET’S JUST ADMIT WE ARE THE SOVIET UNION AND BE DONE WITH IT:

    2. Jim Haywood

      ‘The U.S. State Department referred an inquiry from CNBC to the White House, which said it would not comment on the deal beyond a fact sheet it released online.’ — CNBC

      What a laugh. This is straight out of the 1720 South Sea Bubble: “an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.”

      Congress is expected to conform to it in making annual appropriations, but isn’t allowed to see it. Just goes to show what a hollow joke our rotten-borough “democracy” has become.

      1. fresno dan

        Jim Haywood
        September 17, 2016 at 10:55 am

        However, there will be repubs, despite not actually knowing most (if any) of the particulars, who will conclude that Obama is being too onerous on Israel.

        “Congress is expected to conform to it in making annual appropriations, but isn’t allowed to see it.”
        Considering all the “anti terrorism” involvements Congress tries not to go on the record for, one would think they would be clamoring to get some of that pro Israel cred…but I suspect, although I don’t know, that congress is trying to be able to plead ignorance.

  7. paul

    Re; taleb’s IYI
    I’ve always been baffled by this supermind’s enthusiasm for the bungling blob of genetic landfill that was our previous PM, who would struggle to be included even in this category.
    He was also noticeably lacking in taleb’s all important ‘game skin’ quality

    In an article published in the same week, the thinker lavished praise on the Tory Leader, writing: ‘Dear David (if I may), you and your party may be the only hope we have for a resilient society insulated from negative black swans.’

    He urged Mr Cameron to get a grip on the nation’s debts and save it from the increasingly ‘complex’ international economic and financial system. ‘David, you must counter this complexity by lowering indebtedness,’ he wrote.

    Mr Taleb has also spoken of how much he enjoys going to Downing Street to meet ‘the most powerful person in Britain in his T-shirt and jeans’ and had forecast that he would lead the UK out of the economic mess.

    Even as recently as two months ago, he stood by his glowing assessment of Mr Cameron, saying: ‘I saw in him, then, someone who wants to rebuild society along the right model. Cameron was the first leader to grasp that deficits are dangerous.’

    1. John Zelnicker

      Unfortunately, Taleb also doesn’t appear to understand that deficits are not “dangerous” to a currency issuing sovereign like the UK, and, in fact, are generally required to compensate for demand leakages from the economy due to the savings desires of the non-government sector and from net imports.

      1. Uahsenaa

        The extent to which most people don’t get finance is astounding to me at times. I was watching the latest episode of Mr. Robot, which I like a lot, but what otherwise was a wonderfully atmospheric episode fell flat due to a weird conversation between evil corporate guy and Jack Lew (!) in which clearly neither character understood how money is created, otherwise evil dude would have never bothered with his absurd rant about bitcoin.

        Neither character seemed to understand that foreign held sovereign debt is a gun held to their head, not the US’s. Then again, most American politicians don’t seem to understand this either…

        1. paul

          One that turned into a very nice earner for the parities concerned:

          On 5 February 2014 its ownership was split equally between the government, the charity Nesta, and the team’s employees,[4] with Nesta providing £1.9 million in financing and services.[5] reported that it was “the first time the government has privatised civil servants responsible for policy decisions”.[5] The Financial Times expected it “to be the first of many policy teams to be spun off as part of plans to shrink central government and create a private enterprise culture in Whitehall”.[5]

          UK government departments that had previously received policy advice for free have to pay for the service.

      2. John k

        And the net imports are a big deal in Uk and Us, trade deficits that exist on account of foreigners desire to save in their respective assets.
        Not a problem it gov generates bigger deficits.

    2. diptherio

      Wow. Just lost a lot of respect for Taleb. Cameron is the first leader to scare-monger about deficits? Hardly. Jeezus….

      However, I was relieved to find that I can’t be one of Taleb’s IYIs, since I have, in fact, read Ammianus Marcellinus (the spelling of whose name Nicky screwed up). His history of the Roman Empire is available in pdf form on-line. Good read on the late Western Roman Empire by someone who was there in person.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For the late Ming Chinese Empire, Zhang Dai is a good source.

        From Wiki:

        Zhang Dai (张岱; pinyin: Zhāng Dài, courtesy name: Zhongzhi (宗子), pseudonym: Tao’an (陶庵)) (1597–1689) was a Ming Dynasty Chinese writer. He was a gentleman essayist who was a biographer of his own privileged aritocratic family, a historian of the Ming Dynasty, and a biographer of notable virtuous figures.

    3. Ed

      The problem with assessing Cameron is that it is not clear whether he personally thought that the UK should remain the EU or leave the EU.

      If Cameron really wanted the UK to leave the EU, his tenure in Downing Street consisted of ingenious maneuvering to further that end against the nearly united opposition of the British establishment. If he really wanted to remain, he ended his tenure with an unusually spectacular own goal.

      1. JSM

        Thought Taleb’s article, while obviously rushed out and containing some slights that are transparent pats on his own back, was generally spot on.

        The person who ‘has a cousin who worked with someone who knows the Queen’ reminds one of friends who interned in DC or Brussels while they got their M.A. in an idealistic field before going to Silicon Valley to join a startup, putting said to degree to no real use at all aside from making a relatively modest salary to spend exclusively on rent, has no idea what a bubble is or looks like, is a liberal who thinks corporate taxes are ‘stifling innovation,’ still can’t do any critical thinking, no longer reads, and whose greatest conversation pieces, repeated every time beer is involved, are someone else’s meeting with So-and-So.

        He/she will die without having heard of Marcellinus, Hecate or Hecuba, to say nothing of much 20th century history.

  8. Carolinian

    Re Medium article and the Intellectual Yet Idiot or IYI–here’s a graf worth quoting

    The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools, and PhDs as these are needed in the club.

    My dad, high school teacher but hardly what one would call an intellectual, used to say that “nothing beats experience.” A younger me scoffed at this, but I now regard it as a home truth albeit an inconvenient truth to those who lack said experience. Also note how the above passage describes our Democratic candidate to a tee. Clearly education in our time is being perverted from a love of knowledge for it’s own sake to some kind of class marker. Hillary exceeds at the latter, gets an “F” for the former.

  9. petal

    Hanover — An $80 million gift from a major player in the oil industry will be used to fund a new energy research institute at Dartmouth College — a development that environmentalists within the Dartmouth community described as a “horrific” example of influence-peddling, but college officials say will help solve the world’s energy problems.

  10. scott 2

    In the real world between the coasts, of the “13 Keys” to the presidency, the Democrats can claim maybe 1 or 2 favorables. Few believe that the economy has grown, just that the inflation statistics are fudged to make it look that way.

    Then there’s Obamacare. $600 Epi-pens, Soaring rents, etc.

  11. Павел стульчик

    Anent DNA dragnet: Hitchens’ anecdote of the relief and catharsis of Tak Zhit Nel’zya reminds me of this:

    “How do you deal with people’s cognitive dissonance? I do a lot of public speaking. There’s invariably one or two people in the room who I can see becoming traumatized and they’re losing control of themselves. They’re becoming very, very angry at me and they do want to kill the messenger because you see, we live very good lives here in America”

    A cop can kill or torture you anytime he wants and get away with it. You’re scared that Tor or hidden services or i2p will get you in trouble. No matter how you vote you still get screwed. JFK was the last president who didn’t know he was a puppet ruler. CIA took over, then did OKC and 9/11 to you. Your constitution’s gone. It got replaced by secret law. But people are so desperate to believe they’re free, they live in a democracy, that facts can cause this panicky dissociative state. People’s identities are hopelessly wrapped up in statist doctrine. When you come at people from a conflicting perspective, like human rights, it’s like you’re talking Greek, you get freezing, blank looks, cognitive TILT.

    We in the US are a decade or so from Tak Zhit Nel’zya. It would be sad if we got there just as the mass extinction got going.

  12. JTMcPhee

    DeutscheBank: Why is the $14.9 billion fine laid down by DoJ being labeled an “ask”? Presumably the Justice lawyers ran the numbers through the applicable Penalty Matrix and checked it against the current Penalty Policies and Enforcement Strategies, so the number has substance, as much as all that heavily lobbied and regulatorily-captured pre-discounted paper pile provides. “Ask”? Really?

    When I was doing enforcement of federal environmental laws, us EPA-ers and even the cautious mopes in the DoJ hierarchy “MADE DEMANDS,” and didn’t negotiate against ourselves (well, not so feebly, at least– there was influence-peddling in the ’80s too…)

    Reminds one of all the flood of “petitions (for redress of grievances?)” our sincere liberals, and most progressives too, so earnestly present: “request, ask, review, consider, investigate, reform,” real power words. Reflecting the mind set of the aggrieved mopes…

    And yes, I know the real context in the faux scrum that is “enforcement rule of law…”

    “Sir, may I please have a little more?”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Because the Wall Street Journal story that broke this news made clear it was an ask. And that is how every single settlement negotiation goes. For instance, we pointed out in Links yesterday that there was a huge gap between the SEC’s ask in the settlement with First Reserve (leaked to PEHub last May), and the final amount agreed to this week.

      Some of them, like the BofA settlement and the JP Morgan settlement, also had leaks where the public got a bit of a window into the negotiations.

      These are settlement of possible legal cases. They are always negotiated, just as with the settlement of a private suit. The alternative is going to trial. The problem that the DoJ faces in these cases is the banks can marshall vastly greater resources in a litigation than it can. They can and would outgun them. It does to have the advantage if it is forced to trial. Its only field-leveler is that what is revealed in trial (testimony and depositions) would be really embarrassing and would make it easier for private litigants to launch cases.

      1. JTMcPhee

        As I said above, “And yes, I know the real context in the faux scrum that is “enforcement rule of law…” having participated in it. Everything you said, and more. Just venting a bit.

        I do want to add that in “settlement negotiations” with farmers and small businesses that got inspected and found in violation of the Clean Water Act’s “Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures” requirements for enclosures around above-ground petroleum storage tanks over 500 gallons, which requirements include paying a licensed professional engineer several thousand bucks to design, and lots more for the defendant to have built, the specified impermeable enclosure to stop releases to surface waters, there was no “ask” on the penalties that were assessed purely administratively, up to I recall $25,000. Pay or else.

        And the big guys can indeed “marshall vastly greater resources,” while whining that “the government has infinite resources to beat up on poor little us…”

      2. flora

        an aside:

        “The problem that the DoJ faces in these cases is the banks can marshall vastly greater resources in a litigation than it can.

        No doubt TBTF banks can. But can individual officers of banks named in a criminal suit muster the same resources? One question remains at least in regard to US banks and their officers. Why no criminal investigations opened by DoJ after the FCIC made multiple criminal referrals to the DoJ? I’m still waiting for DoJ to explain that.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          I agree, flora. Am also puzzled why no individuals officers and directors have been prosecuted? Seems that there has been an intentional effort by both the potential defendants and the DoJ to conflate the acts of these individuals with the institutions where they are employed. Are they legally inseparable?

          In so far as the canard that the DoJ lacks the legal resources to successfully investigate and prosecute criminal cases against these institutions, I have found the initiative of this administration in hiring and using top flight legal talent to negotiate the TPP agreement enlightening. I simply don’t believe that the USG cannot marshall adequate financial and legal resources to prosecute either these individuals or the institutions where they are employed. It is important to distinguish between lack of resources and a lack of political will.

          1. JTMcPhee

            No will, and no ability, because of years of Elite packing of the mechanics of “government” with weak-knees and advantage-seekers. I recall the anecdotes that the SEC investigators were kissing up to Madoff, inhaling the heady fumes of “success” that they might partake more deeply of.

            So one gets little stuff like this in the popular press:

            Some functionary at the SEC has to come across some facts, write up a litigation referral, send it up the chain, then over it goes to the DoJ with notice to the White House, with all kinds of side branches of bureaucrats up the Senior Executive Service and Presidential appointment chain. Each one having various vetting inputs. And all the way through such litigation, if Justice ever actually gets around to filing a case (and Madoff, for all the reasons well discussed here years ago, was a vast exception to the rule), every bit of the process, from deciding what to claim or charge, what to seek in discovery, how hard to press, negotiating positions, all that stuff.

            Many folks that haven’t been in the process have this misty water colored idea about the “government” that they think is serving their interests and “enforcing the law” that the Rulers have done such a good job of suborning and weakening over lo these many decades…

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Apparently the bank buildings themselves committed each of these crimes, maybe they can arrest the Citi headquarters at 399 Park Ave. Once the building is safely incarcerated then we can rest assured the crimes emanating from it will abate.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Hey, I wonder if the “seizure and civil forfeiture” robbery that so much of “law enforcement” applies to mopes who can’t defend themselves and have no way to respond to “in rem” actions against e.g. Theft by cop of $25,000 in cash from a gentleman in Georgia, as I recall, was carrying that much to buy a car from someone. Not even a suspicion of criminal activity needed to steal houses, boats, cars, cash, whatever that way, and no remedy.

            An acquaintance boat owner’s ex-girlfriend called the hot line to report he had drugs on board. The Coast Guard and drug police seized his boat, hauled it out, and cut it apart with chain saws looking for hidden stashes that were not there, then just walked away. His remedy would have been a suit against “the government,” zero chance against the “law” the way it is written and interpreted.

            So if there is a “suspicion,” well founded by lots of evidence, that the folks in that multi-billion-dollar corporate phallus out of which Goldman Sucks operates have committed all kinds of criminal acts, why does not our “government” just SEIZE it all, and do like they do to so many ordinary citizens, seize their bank accounts and all?

            Wait, I think I know the answer to that one…

  13. Ché Pasa

    McClatchy is far from clean in the media firmament, it’s just positioned to appear “clean” — and thus is typically ignored.

  14. timbers

    Cynthia: Flesh-Eating Synthetic Bacteria that has Gone Wild New Eastern Outlook (Chuck L). Sounds like the plot of a horror movie.

    Not horror, sci-fi: The Andromeda Strain.

    The recommended solution was to launch a nuclear bomb to sterilize the Andromeda Strain which was a bacteria sized life form, until they realized Andromeda lives on almost any form of energy thus a nuclear bomb would create “a fantastically rich growth medium.”

    What “solutions” will our current leaders come up with?

    With our current psychos in charge, you can be forgiven for thinking the best course of action is to hope the life form mutates into a harmless life form as it did in the Andromeda Strain.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Cynthia — what should be called Synthia as JTMcPhee pointed out below:
      Is the story in this link for real or some kind of joke? Perhaps I’m showing my naiveté for not immediately identifying it as a joke from Chuck L.

      I’m not familiar with the source for this story but it seems questionable. Now the bacteria is moving to Europe? Shouldn’t our Atlantic Coast worry first? Isn’t that the direction of the currents? If this killer bacteria is a bad as it’s described why aren’t there stories of death and destruction coming from Padre Island or Tampa? I think it might be a little difficult keeping a lid on mysterious die-offs of Spring Break revelers. This stuff could shut down the Riviera? Huh?

  15. Pat

    As for Corporate America’s support of Apple…well how dare any government demand that any of their vaunted members be treated the same as lesser businesses, like having to pay all the taxes they should. I mean what is the point of paying supporting politicians otherwise.

  16. MtnLife

    The DEA wants to ban another plant. Researchers say the plan is ‘insane.’ WaPo

    I brought this up when I first heard about it but it seems the DEA doesn’t even know why it is banning it. I am in my mid ’30s and use Kratom to relieve the pain of Lyme induced arthritis and a back injury incurred in a 20’+ fall. I am a woodworker and specifically chose that over hydrocodone because of its non-addictive (I’ve forgotten to take it because I was having a good day, you NEVER forget with HC because you wake up feeling like hell), non-euphoric properties (I would like to be an old woodworker with all my fingers), and high safety margins (no one ODs on kratom alone). I can’t explain the level of panic I am feeling right now. I haven’t had insurance (or a doctor even) for years and worse yet, if I try to go back on hydrocodone I will probably be labeled as a drug seeker in the age of opiate addiction and be denied – leaving me in near constant pain and often unable to work. Please, if anyone who reads NC can do anything to affect this please do. Giving only a 30 day window for the public to comment is ridiculous. This is only going to create a black market consisting of chronically ill people. What public good does that serve? Is this a DEA budget grab, big PHARMA push, or the prison system?

    The White House petition to stop this scheduling.

    1. paul

      After reclassifying Kratom as equivalent to horse, DEA plans to fill an easy few days at the office;

      DEA spokesman Melvin Patterson says the agency acted following a boom in popularity and that the DEA likely will feel the need to make busts when the ban takes effect. He says it’s unwise to stock up, as that may result in more serious criminal charges.

      It’s real funny because it still will be considered a Schedule I and if they’re in possession of it they will be at risk, so I wouldn’t want to be stockpiling it – that only makes it worse,” he says. “Obviously, there are no actions DEA can take in the next 30 days, but thereafter things will change.”

      After 30 days, he says, “I could see something happen to show this is serious.”

  17. Jim Haywood

    You too can become a tax-privileged charity billionaire:

    Just 5.7 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s massive 2014 budget actually went to charitable grants, according to the tax-exempt organization’s IRS filings. The rest went to salaries and employee benefits, fundraising and “other expenses.”

    The Clinton Foundation spent a hair under $91.3 million in 2014, the organization’s IRS filings show. But less than $5.2 million of that went to charitable grants.

    That number pales in comparison to the $34.8 million the foundation spent on salaries, compensation and employee benefits.

    Another $50.4 million was marked as “other expenses,” while the remaining almost $851K was marked as “professional fundraising expenses.”

    Any auditor with a lick of sense would go straight for that astoundingly large, amorphous “other expenses.”

    Not hard to guess: chartered private jets and Ukrainian hookers air hostesses don’t come cheap.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The New York Hillary Times (endorsement date: Jan 31, 2016) reveals that Trump’s empire was built on $885 million of tax breaks.

      No allegation of impropriety: Trump simply took advantage of all the plentiful incentives on offer.

      Likewise, at an assumed 35% tax bracket, Clinton Foundation contributors may have received up to $700 million of tax write-offs for their $2 billion of “contributions.” That’s aside from questions about charity fraud.

      So both Depublicrat candidates are in the same big-league ballpark when it comes to exploiting the tax code — not something the lying liars of the “Saddam’s WMDs / Aleppo Capital of Syria” paper are ever going to write about.

    2. Pat

      I’d also like a break down of number and type of employees and any non employee compensation. But that is just me.

    3. Pat

      And apparently their fund raising was just not good enough in 2014. They just didn’t raise enough more to cover the additional employee and other expense costs that year they had to cut somewhere. See this nugget in that article:

      Despite taking in an additional $30 million in 2014, the Clinton Foundation spent 40 percent less on charitable grants in 2014 than in 2013.

  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Hillary’s health and the Age of Disinformation New Statesman

    How fitting that, in an essay decrying journalistic “disinformation,” the “sunglasses” that shall not be discussed are finally mentioned–in the same breath as the infamous karl rove and the birther controversy.

    We “report,” you “decide.” With a little help from some “innocent” innuendo.

  19. Katharine

    The story of the flesh-eating bacteria reminds me of the old saying, “He’s so sharp he cuts himself.” Sometimes it seems to sum up our species pretty well, though in all fairness it is not necessarily the whole species but a large segment of our current civilization.

  20. Titus Pullo

    The phenomenon itself isn’t particularly unusual, salt is critical to the survival of many creatures like butterflies and bees who sometimes drink tears from reptiles in regions where the mineral is scarce (we’ve seen the same thing happen with turtles).

    One wonders how mean butterflies have to be to make a turtle cry?

    That is an amazing photo, and it makes think of how marvelous the ancient world must have seemed to our ancestors before the planet was completely yoked by humanity.

  21. JTMcPhee

    That bacterium is not “Cynthia” but “Synthia.” Created by a “team of scientists” over 15 or 20 years. What could possibly go wrong?

    Because after all, You can even get a T-shirt on Amazon!

    1. fresno dan

      Steve H.
      September 17, 2016 at 11:31 am

      With their shells, you would think they would be impervious to anything butterflies could throw at them. Maybe the butterflies just tells them that they are slow and wrinkled….O Oh- that hits too close to home!

        1. Jim Haygood

          Heard in a monarch bar in Oaxaca:

          Q: Why did the moth nibble a hole in the carpet?
          A: She wanted to see the floor show !

  22. JeffC

    The Jacobin piece “Why Obamacare didn’t Work” states that “few providers can afford to opt out of accepting Medicare patients.” We have a family member in the Washington DC area who is on Medicare and needs ongoing psychiatric care. His experience is of being told by one doctor’s office after another that they do not accept Medicare patients. Apparently reimbursement rates are so low that practices lose money on every patient. He finally had to settle on a very marginal physician who takes Medicare but spends only 5 minutes on a visit when a responsible psychiatrist would spend 30.

    We find things different but little better in small-town Florida, where my wife works at the local nonprofit hospital. Most of their patients are on Medicare (or Medicaid), and reimbursement rates are so low that the hospital is fighting desperately not to go under. Their attitude towards any patient showing up with decent private insurance is that of a starving person towards a nice pork roast. To switch metaphors, shockingly outrageous fleecing follows at billing time.

    And many local physician practices have simply been abandoned. The doctors have simply left our town, which now has their empty office buildings everywhere. Medicare is the reason.

    I strongly support single payer, but the current Medicare model of low reimbursement rates and huge paperwork burdens is broken.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From the federal government’s CMS department:

      The largest shares of total health spending were sponsored by households (28 percent) and the federal government (28 percent). The private business share of health spending accounted for 20 percent of total health care spending, state and local governments accounted for 17 percent, and other private revenues accounted for 7 percent.

      A substantial portion of state govt health spending is on their share of Medicare and Medicaid. As a back of the envelope guess, federal + state Medicare/Medicaid spending might be 40 percent of all health spending, with Medicare being larger than Medicaid.

      Roughly, Medicare has been described as at-cost reimbursement, while Medicaid is below-cost reimbursement. In line with this less than compelling proposition, about 72% of doctors accept new Medicare patients, while only 45% accept new Medicaid patients.

      While some useful administrative lessons can be learned from Medicare, universal Medicare reimbursement can’t work when doctors are accepting it now only as a loss leader. To boot, Medicare has run up tens of trillions in negative net worth (meaning its future promises vastly exceed its trust fund). Sustainable it is not.

      Medicare appears to be successful, only because its deferred bill hasn’t come due yet, and providers meanwhile can stay afloat with more lucrative private revenues.

    2. beth

      “few providers can afford to opt out of accepting Medicare patients.”
      In my neck of the woods, doctors don’t say they are not accepting Medicare patients, they just limit the number they will see in a week/month, so that when you call in for an appointment, you have to wait months to get an appt. Once you are accepted, you get follow up appointments like everyone else. You notice that there are not many of your age in the waiting room.

    3. Kokuanani

      Eight years ago when I qualified for Medicare, I lived in the Washington DC area. My physician, whose client I had been for over 10 years, kicked me out of her practice since she would “no longer accept Medicare.”

      At that time I searched unsuccessfully for a physician who would accept new Medicare patients. When I spoke with my contemporaries, they too had this problem, even someone as far away as Alaska. We moved away from the area for 6 years, but are now back, facing the same problem.

      I always thought MDs in DC were able to flush their Medicare patients because such a large percentage of the local population has “good” insurance via their employers: doctors could always find a “profitable” replacement for that crummy Medicare client.

      Beginning with the debate on Obamacare, when there were calls for “Medicare for all,” I have continued to comment frequently about this situation, noting that there needs to be some way [single payer] to assure that doctors can’t continue to refuse to treat patients based on their “insurance coverage.”

      As more and more folks age into Medicare, I fear this rude reality will hit them too.

      1. Skip Intro

        With ‘Medicare for All’ single-payer healthcare, doctors in your scenario would end up refusing virtually all patients. That doesn’t really sound plausible. In addition, one of the benefits of a single-payer system is that the doctor’s practice will not need a huge staff to wrestle with multiple insurers, so their overhead will be reduced substantially, and their staff can focus on providing treatment. Using the crapification of medicare as an argument against single-payer is, at best, a factually flawed argument.

        1. Kokuanani

          Skip, you completely misread my argument. I’m FOR single payer, and am attempting to point out that “Medicare for All” will have serious problems if it includes the “we can kick you out if you are covered by Medicare” feature of the current Medicare system.

          Thus folks should NOT be arguing “Medicare for all;” argue single payer.

          1. Skip Intro

            ‘Medicare For All’ is (IIRC) HR 676. Once it is ‘for all’ you can’t be kicked out, there is no ‘out’ everyone will have the same coverage. If your problem is with the branding of ‘medicare’ being unpopular because of its crapification, you may have a point, but most people who are not already in it think it is the promised land, so I don’t think it has such a large PR downside, compared to the upside of being something that is familiar, already functional, and however undeservedly, very popular.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Exactamento! So outrageous that cognopundits in on the real game point to the broken kneecaps their people inflict as “proof” that “government medicine” is a snare and delusion. VA care, despite the kneecapping done to it, is at least as good as the for-profit machinery. I say that having observed both, as a patient and a nurse. Not perfect, but at least as good. Funded honestly, both ought to work, but that’s the rub, isn’t it?

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Genius crow…

    Does the genius crow crow it is a genius?

    I think the conundrum is whether it’s cheaper to go with a robot or a crow, to replace a white middle-class worker in America. Neither requires a H1B visa…presumably.

    1. DJG

      Crows: The shame of it is that the remnants of a highly intelligent, highly cultured species are now being warehoused in San Diego. Have you ever read about how a crow gives a gift? (Let alone uses tools.) The crow does a kind of dance and leaves the gift on the ground: Elaborate and beautiful etiquette. No wonder they are considered messengers of the gods. And for that reason, they probably don’t worry about whether or not they are geniuses.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks, I didn’t know that…only that they were intelligent.

        Unlike, humans, I bet, the dancing gift-giveris not expecting a favor back.

        “Are you free tonight?”

    2. Buttinsky

      I think the truly significant thing about these stories of bird intelligence is that they demonstrate a point Stephen Jay Gould used to always make, that evolution can be a bit of a bumbling process (see the panda’s “thumb”).

      We like to think that the human brain has evolved into this gigantic, uniquely sophisticated organ, the pinnacle of evolution’s ability to turn biology into conscious intelligence. But such birds as ravens and crows can achieve some of the decision-making complexity of human beings with much smaller brains. This reflects the evolution of different, more economical architecture in the bird brain to effect the same kinds of potential behavior. So maybe our oversized brains are really just an example of nature’s bungling, an overbuilt structure that might have been much more efficiently tailored under other circumstances.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Does it go back to the urban-vs-suburban discussion?

        More space for birds – (1. fewer birds in general. 2. they live in all 3 dimensions equally), thus bird brains are not wasted on navigating dense living conditions, but can focus on pure genius-ness.

  24. JamesG

    As for non-food items, an elderly couple of my acquaintance once toured a giant lumber mill in the western USA.

    They were told that the biggest buyers of sawdust were industrial bakers who used it to add fiber to mass-marketed bread.

  25. cwaltz

    We had bass dying off in one of the local lakes although it’s been said that this happens pretty regularly in summers.

    Some of the power companies and local groups spent $10,000 to help build them shelters.

    Hopefully some of these other places can do something similar.

    1. Jim Haygood

      We can do the insinuendo
      We can dance and sing
      When it’s said and done
      We haven’t told you a thing
      We all know that crap is king
      Give us dirty laundry

      — Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry”

  26. Dave

    “Here’s the clever chemistry that can stop your food rotting”

    Was this article written by software? Talk about confusing.

  27. Vatch

    The House Science Committee’s Anti-Science Rampage New Yorker (resilc)

    Here at NC, many of us have often commented on how bad some Democrats are, such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the fast track trade traitors, and the Congress creatures who engage in villain rotation. But we must never forget that the Republicans are even worse than the Democrats. Many Democrats try to hide much of their bad behavior, because they know it’s wrong, and they only do it because they need campaign donations from giant corporations and billionaires. Many Republicans, on the other hand, are proud of their atavistic savagery. The Christian Taliban consists almost entirely of Republicans, not Democrats. The recent “Because Scott Walker Asked” scandal, along with Republican anti-science superstition, reveal the truth about the Republican Party.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If a Democrat is a closet Republican, that is worse, believe.

      In that case, watch your enemies closely, but your friends even more closely.

      1. Vatch

        Sure, some Democrats are closet Republicans. Such Democrats can be usually be identified by their behavior, such as voting for fast track trade promotion authority (HR 2146), the misnamed Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act (HR 37), or the equally misnamed Investment Advisers Modernization Act (HR 5424). Yet it’s only a minority of the Democrats who vote for such bills, whereas the vast majority of Republicans vote for them. If half of the Republicans were to stop voting for those bills, there wouldn’t be enough Democrats willing to engage in villain rotation to pass the bills.

        Similarly, it’s hard to find Democratic governors who destroy their states with as much glee and gusto as Kansas’s Sam Brownback, Michigan’s Rick Snyder (of Flint poisoned water fame), or Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.

        The Democrats are very bad, but the Republicans are worse.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I still think Republicans in Democrats’ clothing are more lethal, in not immediately, perhaps over time.

        2. jgordon

          You’ve been successfully hoodwinked. Google “villain rotation”. There is zero doubt that if Democrats needed an extra 5 votes, or 20 votes, to pass fast track, those votes would have “unfortunately” materialized.

          1. Vatch

            I mentioned villain rotation in my comment, so I don’t need to google it — I know what it is. If a small number of extra votes are needed to pass a bad right wing bill, the Democrats usually manage to provide those votes, and it’s not always the same Democrats. But if a large number of votes are needed to pass a bad right wing bill, I do not believe that the Democrats would be able to provide the votes.

            However, I don’t think that all Democrats will participate in villain rotation, and most of the ones who do will only do so occasionally. There is a group of Democrats who are effectively Republicans, and they don’t try to hide it. See my comments from September 10 for lists of names:


            The Republicans tend to be the ones who introduce those bills, and almost all of them vote for them. I stand by what I said: the Democrats are very bad, but the Republicans are worse.

            1. aab

              Except some of that is ritualized “Good Cop/Bad Cop” behavior. The worst, most paradigm-changing legislation tends to get passed under Democrats — you know, because the Republican version will be “worse.”

              And the Democrats are the corrupt party we CAN take down. The Clintons have hollowed it out. Without the presidency, there’s no reason for corporations and banks to so richly fund all their campaigns, “think tanks,” lobbying shops, etc.

              To have any hope of stopping the descent into outright corporate tyranny (or should I say, reverse it?), we have to take back one of the parties. It’s the Democratic Party that is available to do that. That dovetails nicely with Clinton being the worst candidate. Win/win!

              You don’t have to persuade me the Republicans are vile. I know they are. But who has allowed them to continue their destructive behavior? Corporate Democrats, not the voters they manipulative whose legislative goals they always thwart. And the Democrats keep getting WORSE. Hillary is astoundingly bad. On a fundamental level, we simply can’t support allowing the ruling class to install someone who has committed crimes against the state and election theft. We just can’t.

              1. Vatch

                I failed to write clearly about one aspect of this. Although I’m demonizing the Republicans, this does not mean that I am making a statement about the Presidential election. My point is about the Republican Party in general, the senators, governors, representatives, etc. If a voter knows that her or his Democratic Representative has engaged in villain rotation, vote against that Democrat. But if a Democratic Representative cannot be clearly shown to have done this, please don’t vote for the Republican. In such a case, the Republican will almost certainly be worse. Almost all incumbent Republicans legislators should be voted out of office (and I realize that almost all of them will be re-elected).

                Please feel free to vote against Hillary Clinton. She is an abomination.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Rich and successful banksters know they don’t just write checks to conservatives only.

      Bet on both horses – that’s a more profitable strategy.

      1. rich

        Regulators, too…..

        The SEC’s Former Top “HFT Expert” Joins HFT Titan Citadel

        We, for one, were surprised: having expended so much energy to cater to the HFT lobby, we were confident Berman would end up collecting a 7-figure paycheck from one of the world’s most prominent high frequency frontrunning parasite firms. As a reminder, this is what we predicted when the creator of Midas, and Eric Hunsader’s archnemesis, quit the SEC:

        Gregg will find a hospitable and well-paid position after spending 6 years defending the well-paying HFTs lobby. In all likelihood after taking a 2-4 month break from the industry, he will pull a Bart Chilton, and will join either HFT powerhouse Virtu, perennial accumulator of former government staffers, Goldman Sachs, or – most likely – the NY Fed’s shadow trading desk and the world’s most leveraged hedge fund, Citadel itself. Because for every quo there is a (s)quid.

        In retrospect, Berman’s detour into E&Y ended up being just that: an attempt to mask his true career intentions by taking a less than 1 year “sabbatical” from his true calling: getting compensated from the very HFT industry whom he did everything in his power to reward generously during his tenure at the SEC.

        Well, as it turns out, we were right after all, because lo and behold, as the WSJ first reported, Gregg Berman is now director of market-structure research at the world’s most levered hedge fund, HFT powerhouse and massive electronic market-making firm: Citadel, which also happens to be the entity through which the NY Fed intervenes in the market.

        And just like that all is well again in the corrupt world, in which the market “regulators” pretends to protect the little guy, when in reality all they only cater to the most criminal with the simple hope of landing a job there one day and getting paid in 1 year what they make in 10 at the SEC or any other government agency.

        and the beat goes on…or is it we keep getting beat with a s-tick?

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Clever chemistry…too clever…stops food rotting.

    It’s not everyday we discover humans can out-survive cockroaches.

    “On a deserted island with only hydrogenated fat, a man and a cockroach compete to win the survival contest…”

  29. TarheelDem

    Mish is absolutely hilarious today and so are the folks who accuse Nate Silver of putting his thumb on the scale of his model just because their gut-check of the figures does not agree with what the last few night’s run of Silver’s model has spewed out. The failure to understand the methodology of Silver’s model is striking.

    First or all, the accuracy of Silver’s model depends on this election behaving reasonably enough like all of the elections that Silver has captured in his database. Second, it depends on the statistical model that he built before the election got going and is letting run day to day. Third, it depends on the 20,000 trial run of the model that he does every night. And it is a manipulation of a mathematical system plugged with random variables; it is probabilistic.

    In the case that Mish cites, the zero-sum probability split between the “election now” case, the All Polls case and the Polls Plus case gets interpreted by Mish, not Silver as saying something about time sensitivity. That interpretation is likely more than the data and the statistic actually show. They show raw data “if the election were held today” of most polls – the Now data. They show the raw data adjusted by the All (historical) Polls model – the All Polls model. And they show an additional adjustment for the economic condition at the time of the election, given the days from the election — the polls plus model. Not one of these can be construed the way that Mish wants to construe it in analogy with financial data.

    Silver’s model is what it is. And a close look at the actual distributions of the runs of 20,000 results will show how much variance is currently in the run results. A Trump result of 290 electoral votes up through a Clinton result of 390 electoral votes are all of relatively equal likelihood as trials. It is the probability (the area under the curve) on the Clinton side and the Trump side that specify the probabilities that Mish is having problems interpreting.

    What a lot of white analysts do not grasp yet is that Trump has burned his bridges with lots of voters, and they will not cross back and vote for him no matter how charming he acts between now and November. Trump’s upside is capped. Some the states in which it is capped are critical for a Trump electoral college victory.

    Silver’s model has no way of isolating out those effects except as time goes on and Trump’s vote reaches a ceiling.

    Because of the way electoral votes are counted, Stein’s and Johnson’s polling only determine how far from a majority of popular votes the winner can get and still win. Or if one of the duopoly candidates stumble (or both), what the likelihood of a third party candidate winning becomes. If that eventuality happens, Silver’s model becomes worthless because it is based on a large number of “normal” two-party elections.

    The model is in my opinion pretty solid. The analytical articles that Silver and his staff do are another matter.

    But Mish is overinterpreting what the model can tell here. How the model defines time is not nearly as conceptually rich as what Mish wants it to be. And those three are defined operationally by the data loaded into the model and likely not tightly conceptually at all.

    And don’t forget, reality can result in selection of the less probable option.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Does Pelosi have a big office? Yes.
      Does Pelosi have real responsibilities? No.
      Does Pelosi get invited to every party and praise from the press? Yes.
      Do Democrats campaign on issues or boogeymen? Boogeymen.

      It’s by design. Democrats simply don’t want to win but do well enough to keep the gravy train rolling and not be arrested by Republicans with they would do If they could get away with it. Donna Brazille is the acting DNC chair. The Gore 2000 campaign manager shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near decision makers, but there she Is.

      1. RabidGandhi

        The Democrats are great at winning. They beat Sanders, got to punch the hippies and won a ticket to sleep with the neo-cons. Check, check, and check.

        Were there any other objectives this election?

  30. Left in Wisconsin

    Money for Nothing Jacobin (J-LS). Important.

    Lots of good info on public sector giveaways and the BS of $13-15/hr “good jobs.” But tries to perpetuate the delusion that US unions don’t win organizing campaigns because they are not adversarial enough. If working people thought organizing a union would benefit them, they would. What they know, or think they know, is that organizing will piss off management in a big way and might well lead to negative repercussions that the union will be powerless to counteract.

  31. Plenue

    US planes bombed Syrian army positions this morning, killing at least 80 Syrian soldiers. ISIS launched an assault right after and took control of a key mountain.

    The US just escalated in a big, and breathtakingly brazen, way. I don’t know how our media will try to spin it, but now we’re openly bombing in support of ISIS.

      1. optimader

        “What’s the frequency, Ashton?“

        What happens when the schizophrenics are in charge..

        In 1997, based on a tip from a psychiatrist, Rather’s attacker was identified as William Tager. According to the psychiatrist, Tager, who was currently serving time for killing an NBC stagehand, blamed news media for beaming signals into his head, and thought if he could just find out the correct frequency, he could block those signals that were constantly assailing him. Hence the enigmatic inquiry.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Ah here it is on the front page of the NYT… wait no, those are Trump oppo pieces.

      Hold on, lemme do a ctrl-f. We got:

      His Position Secure, Assad Smiles While Syria Burns

      Op-Ed: A Russian-Iranian Axis
      Moscow’s use of an Iranian air base to bomb Syria is a sign of a broad new threat to Mideast stability.

      Rags, Tea and Advice as Syrians Fret Over Cease-Fire

      I guess it’s not news. I do see however that Trump and Assad are Evil and that Excercise May Help Your Skin Younger. Good to know.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If Obama can start World War III on a weekend, imagine what super Putin Trump might do. If more people listened to Hillary, World War III would already be over.

      2. Plenue

        Actually our media is reporting it:

        So far the spin is that it was a ‘mistake’.

        1. allan

          We’ve see this movie before.

          On May 7, 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force), five US JDAM guided bombs hit the People’s Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade, killing three Chinese reporters and outraging the Chinese public. According to the U.S. government, the intention had been to bomb the nearby Yugoslav Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement. President Bill Clinton later apologized for the bombing, stating it was accidental.[1] Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet testified before a congressional committee that the bombing was the only one in the campaign organized and directed by his agency,[2] and that the CIA had identified the wrong coordinates for a Yugoslav military target on the same street.[3] …

          1. Plenue

            I wonder what the pilots thought about their mission. They have to know the lay of the land and the positioning of the forces. Even if they weren’t explicitly they were providing air support for ISIS in their briefing, they must have known that bombing SAA positions with ISIS right next door would result in the militants taking advantage of the situation.

            I wonder the same about our spec ops guys. One week you’re helping Kurds, the next the Pentagon pulls you out and lets the Turks capture everything you fought for, the week after that they assign to work with those same Turks, probably to fight Kurds.

            I know the first thing the military does is beat it into you that your job is to follow orders, but at some point the grunts are going to start refusing to participate in such obvious insanity.

        2. RabidGandhi


          The headline on the WaPo one just got changed from “Russia and Syria Blame US…” to “US Admits Carrying Out…”. Must be hard to concentrate on the headline writing with all those damn war drums beating in the background.

          NYT is up with an article now too. Always prudent (/sarc), they waited until they got a statement from State.

          1. tgs

            According to moon of alabama, the bombing enabled an IS attack. And the Russians have pointed that out and demanded a UN Security meeting. It is now completely clear to them, that the Obama regime is supporting IS as well as al Queada.

            IMOP this action, during a cease fire, demonstrates that the Obama regime is composed of complete degenerates who are unbelievably incompetent as well. To strike at and kill members of the only force that has been fighting and taking huge casualties against ISIS and al Queada, Obama once again has added to his cv as a war criminal who should be sitting in the Hague.

            1. Plenue

              Minor correction for accuracy: the Syrian Army has been mostly fighting AQ and its allied ‘moderates’ lately. ISIS is by far the weakest faction in Syria now, and has been for months. In fact most of the fighting against ISIS right now is between them and other militants. The opposition in Syria has to a large extent descended into brutal infighting.

              The SAA has already taken back most of the mountain (with Russia air support). So whoever on the US side ordered the strike thinking it would be a game changer and reshape the disposition of forces was sorely mistaken. All this negative PR for no gain whatsoever. Great job America.

      3. Jim Haygood

        Syrians ‘Fret’ Over Cease-Fire

        Funny how Third Worlders seem to have very muted emotions compared to our sensitive, educated, dispensational goodselves.

        It’s the functional equivalent of “Ants Fret Over Teenagers Demolishing Their Anthill”

        We’re the teenagers. Affluenza kills. :-(

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I wish some Logistics Ordnance officer loading bombs aboard US fighter jets would just write the name “Gavrilo Princip” on one of them and we can be done with all the foreplay

  32. Lord Koos

    “Money For Nothing” is just a page out of what was formerly the third-world exploitation playbook. That kind of hype was first used on smaller, undeveloped/struggling nations, who were enticed into creating “free trade zones” and other initiatives, to allow corporations to avoid local taxes while paying the locals dirt cheap wages. A few people in local governments get a sweet reward/bribe for their efforts while everyone else gets screwed. The gloves are off (and have been for some time), and it’s obvious that average Americans are destined to see their standards of living eventually drop to those of Sri Lanka, Jamaica etc while the billionaires continue to hoard, never satisfied.

  33. gonzomarx

    Elite goes tinfoil over Momentum

    “In the past two days there’s been a clear, programmed switch of emphasis in the Labour right’s campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.”

    puts to rest any idea that elite hand ringing over turn out is anything other than for show, they really don’t want mass participation in the political process. Notice the special hatred for any mass movements.

    so the Labour conference is going to be interesting…

  34. ekstase

    I always think it’s slightly hilarious when modern people try to extrapolate meaning from objects they dig up from days gone by. “It’s religious. It was their garbage. These were revered figures. No, they weren’t. Of course they didn’t revere women, they were too busy revering animals, (!) Maybe they wore it around their neck as a pendant.”

    It’ll be interesting when folks 8000 years in the future dig up whatever we’ve left behind.

  35. allan

    Measuring Occupy Wall Street’s impact, 5 years later {APravda]

    For a time, Occupy Wall Street was everywhere with its grass-roots encampments — first in New York City, then globally — and the refrain, “We are the 99 percent!”

    And then it was gone. Its most famous camp in lower Manhattan was cleared out in an overnight police raid two months after it started, and other Occupy locations fizzled soon thereafter. …

    It sure took a lot of fusion cells to be `fizzled out’.

    1. mk

      It’s hard to sustain an occupy when met with severe and sustained violence. There aren’t enough numbers yet. Millions acting as one is what’s needed. Need enough people to overwhelm the system and FORCE them to negotiate.

  36. ekstase

    “University to buy $1 million football scoreboard with thrifty librarian’s money, outraging critics.”

    Here’s their defense:

    “In the last 15 months of his life, Morin resided in an assisted living center where he started watching football games on television, mastering the rules and names of the players and teams,” the school wrote in a news release announcing the donation.”

    Yes, that justifies it for sure.

  37. ewmayer

    o Incredible discovery of intact female figurine from neolithic era in Turkey ars technica (Chuck L) — “In the mid-twentieth century, archaeologists like James Mellaart believed female figurines like this one represented fertility goddesses. This idea became popular in New Age culture, whose adherents celebrated the idea that ancient peoples were woman-centric and shared a cult of goddess worship. But over the past twenty years, evidence from Çatalhöyük and contemporaneous sites have undermined this interpretation.”

    Ha! It looks like my long-held pet hypothesis about such statuettes – at least the young-and-plump – may yet prove to be the correct one: Namely, that they are examples of caveman p0rn. “Dude, check out Miss July!” It makes sense – cheap media like paper not yet invented, and the rugged neolithic lifestyle meant such fetish objects had to made to last. In ancient cultures, sex-merely-as-a-pastime was likely nonexistent, so the association with fertility makes perfect sense. Occam’s razor!

    o The Intellectual Yet Idiot Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Medium. I was worried I might be in this category, even though I do know what ergodicity means (see ECONNED for proof) but I am saved by his closing “easier marker”. — a succinct mathematical summary off the top of my head: A property of a dynamical system by which, given sufficient time, the system state explores every point of the phase space.

    This appears to have deep links with statistical thermodynamics. As my old ST prof. once said, the maths of ST are often simple-sounding, but with consequences which are intuitively mind-boggling. Classic thought experiment: imagine you have a container with 2 equal-size-and-shaped compartments (call them A and B), divided by a magically removable partition wall, and whose walls are made of real-world stuff which has its own random thermal jiggling and noise which affects the path of the particles in the container every time they bounce off the walls. Start with a single molecule obeying standard temperature-dependent speed of motion in A, and remove the partition. Over time the molecule spends half its time in A and half in B, and passes through every interior point, as well as hitting every point on the walls. So far, so good. But, given infinite time, the particle also does stuff like

    o Spend arbitrarily long time intervals in one of A or B
    o Reach arbitrarily large and small speeds. (I leave it to the reader to muse on whether there is a finite (> 0) chance that the particle will at some time hit a wall so as to exactly nullify its speed and leave it motionless for all remaining time.)

    Things get even more fun with 2 particles – now, on average, 1/2 of the time both particles will be in either A or B, the other half will have 1 particle in each half. With 10 particles, the odds of them all being in A or B drop to one in 2^10, but the point is that the odds *never reach zero*, with any finite collection of particles. So one has the ‘wtf?’-evoking scenario where one discharges a tank of tracer-gas molecules into a sealed evacuated space, they fill the vacuum, but – assuming one leaves the tank valve open – there are nonzero odds that at some future point in time, the tracer molecules will all find themselves back in the tank, even if for just an instant. Ridiculous, no? But true. The seeming paradoz is resolved by realizing that the timescales needed for such improbable occurrences grow exponentially fast with n (number of particles in our scenario). The value of n needed for the all-back-in-one-half-of-the-box scenario to occur with (say) a 50% probability in time equal to the estimated age of our univers is tiny, probably less than 100.

    The prof. vividly illustrated the mind-bending aspects by dropping a stick of chalk on the floor, where it shattered, and saying “according to statistical thermodynamics, there is a nonzero chance that during the course of this lecture, this piece of chalk will reassemble itself, as if by magic, and leap back into my hand”.

    1. Skip Intro

      I have always considered ergodicity to be the property we use to equate the instantaneous ensemble average of a property over a large number of individuals with the time average of a single individual over a long time span.

  38. ewmayer

    o Scientists Find Second Tool-Using Genius Crow Wall Street Journal (furzy) — On my walk home from the local coffee joint just now, spotted 2 crows busily problem-solving to try to open the lid of a cardboard pizza box lying flattened in a parking space across the street from me. Not sure how it got there, but looked like it had lain in the road and gotten flattened by at least one car before the birds had managed to drag it off the street. Looked like an empty-but-for-some-yummy-leftover-toppings-stuck-to-the-inside-of-the-box scenario. Impressively, both birds had mastered the technique of standing on the front bottom edge of the box and using their bill to lift the front of the lid portion, but were unable to flip it open all the way, due to the box having been run over, as it proved. One of them eventually managed to lift the lid partway and quickly jab his head underneath and secure a hunk of yummy cheese residue, but the other kept trying and failing. After watching for around 5 minutes, I revealed myself as a poor Darwinian naturalist by crossing the street and flipping the lid all the way open, to reward crow #2 for its entertaining efforts.

    (Ha, ha, while composing the above and listening to the college football game, just heard a “Wells Fargo: Together, We’ll Go Far” ad. Wait – you mean you can’t just fake your way to a profit and high stock price entirely with fictitious customer accounts? You still need some actual human customer/dupes in the loop? I find that disappointingly old-fashioned … I mean most of the Sillycon Valley unicorn companies probably achieve their lofty valuations without any credible evidence of real customer demand whatsoever. *That*’s innovation, neolib-grifter-economy-style.)

  39. Howard Beale IV

    Tesla S involved in fatal accident in the Neterlands: The RISKS Digest Just wait when these start rolling off en-masse with the inevitable crapification factor and fire/rescue underefunded to handle this new danger. Tesla knew about the crash thanks to its telemetry-Thanks Elon!

  40. Mark

    Good grief, the CT on that one is ludicrously stupid. Rain from the gulf causes infection!!!!! run hide be scared!!!! or you could be sane…. Water evaporates, as a gas (vapor) no particulate (aerosol) is created. any bacteria that are in the water stay in the water, the vapor then travels in land condenses, forms clouds and it rains. there is no mechanism to transfer bulk bacteria into the air to travel. Seriously if you are going to promote this garbage can you at least pick one that is vagueley plausible.

    1. Mark

      ps the oil rig blew in 2013, Hollywood just released the movie, strangely we are all still here and incidents of Narcotizing facitis have not increased…….I think the appropriate term is bollocks.

  41. Roger Smith

    Sanders kicks the left:

    “This is not the time for a protest vote, in terms of a presidential campaign. I ran as a third-party candidate. I’m the longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in the Congress. And if people want to run as third-party candidates, God bless them! Run for Congress. Run for governor. Run for state legislature. When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be.”

    Time to sit down Bernie. And no, you don’t get a cool song like Adams did. Yes, it is time to protest, you should have protested, but instead here we are with you regurgitating the same cliched crap that the Democrats are churning out.

    I’ve been thinking about Green Party organization issues Lambert and others have talked about today, and now I am wondering…When the legacy parties only cling to brand name and market duopoly and have terrible organization record themselves, why is it that lackluster performance only serves as a delegitimizing argument for the Greens? In keeping with Bernie’s message above I heard just today someone complaining about the Greens asking people to phone bank. Well when the hell was the last time the Democrats drove for voters? Why are they excused from this measure? How are the Democrats any more legitimate, look at what they’ve contributed to.

    1. Procopius

      Well when the hell was the last time the Democrats drove for voters?

      Errrrrmmm… in 2012? They don’t seem to do it much in mid-term elections. In fact I believe the DNC/DCCC/DSCC discourage it for some reason. Same way they discourage left-of-center people from becoming candidates.

    2. jrs

      Better without the last sentence. Ok whatever a pitch to vote Hillary as LOTE, I could live with it, even though this solid blue state person has little intent to. But imagining we can somehow make her be different than she is, is just complete despair. Abandon all hope ye who enter here. Hold her feet to the fire, uh huh. It can’t be done.

      May as well say “well I don’t support voting for him but if Donald Trump gets elected we need to mobilize millions of people to make sure he is most progressive president he can be”. I mean look if millions of people can actually have an effect, I think they can regardless of which corporate party is in power. Even Richard Nixon was pushed by popular will.

  42. zapster

    After looking around, that Cynthia item appears to be a hoax. The gulf experienced an outbreak of a flesh-eating bacteria, and Venter has created a synthetic bacteria, and oil eating bacteria exist–but there’s no relation between them. The oil-eating bacteria are natural, the flesh-eating one is a different natural bacteria, and Venter’s little pet only exists in a very simple form in the lab.

    1. JTMcPhee

      It’s “Synthia,” and maybe you should look around some more.

      I personally don’t care, in fact seeing what a bunch of fokk-ups humans are, maybe it’s time “we” finish ourselves off. There’s a ton of pop fiction, print and video, that has that notion as it theme.

      Some say the world will end in fire,
      Some say in ice…

  43. ewmayer

    Explosion in Chelsea, NY … and no, I’m talking about Marc Mezvinsky’s dear-diary entry for his wedding night.

    And the 0bomba lives up to his moniker – only a few days into the joint US/Russia anti-ISIS bombing campaign in Syria, heroic freedom-spreading U.S. air forces ‘accidentally’ kill 62 Syrian army regulars. If they’d only used the F-35, I tellya. Dear warrior-heroes: ISIS thanks you for your sacrifice (of the other guy’s troops).

  44. Alex

    Regarding Hillary and the alleged anti seizure lenses, this a cute piece of disinformation. She is clearly not wearing the Zeiss lenses, if you compare pictures of her where the grey tint, not the blue reflection of the coating, can be seen to pictures of the lens tint in the alleged lenses. And I say this as someone with an intense dislike of her as a candidate. A classic case of the conspiracy monster preying on the ignorant, using existing legitimate doubts about her health to further its agenda.

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