Links 9/20/16

Pigeons can learn to distinguish real words from non-words (RM).

‘Deeply Sorry’ Stumpf Says Wells Fargo Too Slow to Tackle Abuses Bloomberg

Media Grossly Downplaying the Depths of the Wells Fargo Scandal Bill Black, TRNN

Mike Scher: Three questions for Wells Fargo The FCPA Blog (J-LS).

Exclusive: Google may face over $400 million Indonesia tax bill for 2015 – government official Reuters

Cable lobby tries to make you forget that it represents cable companies Ars Technica

Illinois State Pension Board Stops Trying to Beat the Market WSJ

When Did Fashion Stop Caring about Clothing? The Fashion Law

Ride-Hailing App Grab Raises $750 Million WSJ

Cops arrest New Jersey resident Ahmad Khan Rahami, wanted for NYC and N.J. bombings, after he shoots police officer NY Daily News

Thieves Helped Crack the Chelsea Bombing Case, Sources Say DNAinfo. “‘Who in this world finds a pressure cooker with a phone and just takes the bag?’ a law enforcement source said.” Welcome to Ankh-Morpork….

The Terrorism Tax hits Europe Global Guerillas. And America?


China’s Property Bubble Keeps Getting Bigger WSJ

China’s Biggest Banks Quicken Pace of Bad-Loan Security Sales Bloomberg

America’s Pacific pivot is sinking FT


Air strikes hit aid convoy as Syria says ceasefire over Reuters

No Sign of Syria Cease-Fire or Humanitarian Aid in Aleppo NBC

US builds working theory on cause of Syrian airstrike CNN. “US, British, Danish and Australian aircraft may have incorrectly assessed intelligence and targeted the site.”

“American Exceptionalism” on Display in Syria HuffPo

Exclusive: Battered by war, Syria’s wheat crop halved this year to new low Reuters

Amnesty: US bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen hospital that killed 19 AP. Another Médecins Sans Frontières hospital hit.

Saudi Arabia appears to be using American-supplied white phosphorus in its war in Yemen Independent

The Other Front Line: Iraqi Schools Need Our Help DefenseOne (Re Silc). Remember the police college the private contractors built? Where “the urine was so pervasive that it had permanently stained the ceiling tiles”? Good times.

Mainstream media nearly ignored Die Linke rise in Berlin state election the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens (CS).

German producer prices turn negative in August FT

War Drums

Sleepwalking into a big war Le Monde Diplomatique

The Broken Policy Promises of W. Bush, Clinton, and Obama Foreign Policy

‘I’m sorry’ for war and fear of terrorism: ex-US diplomat’s apology to daughter Guardian (JH).

War-Algorithm Accountability Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (guurst). Report PDF. What could go wrong?

The Federal Reserve confronts a possibility it never expected: No exit. WaPo

United States Air Force grounds F-35As after cooling kit cracks up Register


Donald Trump can now officially be called ‘Fat Donald’ NY Daily News and Donald Trump Charity Failed to Heed States’ Rules With Veterans Event NYT. I’m putting these two links here to make the point that in June and July the Clinton campaign painted Trump as history’s worst monster: The second coming of Adolf Hitler and George Wallace. So now, after Labour Day, now that people are paying attention, we get stories like these, or stories that Trump knows how to work the system by getting government money for real estate projects. They threw the kitchen sink at Trump early, then they threw another one, and now they’re throwing kitchen sponges, little bits of soap, flapping the towels…. Clinton really is running a terrible campaign. After you call Trump Hitler, and he pulls even with you in the polls, where do you go?

Bloomberg asks Clinton if Russians were behind attack to help Trump The Hill. Well, Putin’s behind everything else, so why not?

Clinton: Into the Headwinds Elizabeth Drew, NYRB. “Clinton is having trouble assembling the coalition that twice elected Obama.” Then it’s not much of a coalition, is it?

Bernie’s Gambit in Ohio Politico (BK).

Jill Stein Has Got to Be Kidding Esquire. Pearl clutching.

Foot Fetishists Are Freaking Out Over Hillary Clinton’s Feet Vice (RS). I really shouldn’t have run this…

Rising Obamacare premiums are still lower than employer-sponsored health insurance Los Angeles Times

Drugmakers fought state opioid limits amid crisis AP

Class Warfare

America is full of high-earning poor people Quartz

Former WeWork employee asks Governor to ban startups from denying employees right to sue Pando Daily

The Anniversary of Lehman and Men Who Don’t Work Truthout (J-LS).

Video gamers outdo scientists in contest to discover protein’s shape (CL).

The Success of This GM Tech Depends on Numerous Unanswered Questions The Wire

Loss of Planet Reflectivity an Impending Catastrophe Counterpunch

The man who gave himself away Mosaic (abynormal). Altruism.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Jim Haygood

    ‘Fat Donald’ — better be careful with this meme.

    As a recent link pointed out, vital stats such as height and weight were omitted from Dr Bardack’s medical communiqué about Hillary.

    HRC would dearly love to release this info. But it’s marked classified. :-0

    1. temporal

      So ‘Fat Donald’ can’t be President because he’s obese and Hillary might only be somewhere between overweight and obese so she’s good to go. And oh by the way, Obama’s weight is normal so everything he did as commander-and-chief was peachy.

      Converting a horse race into a greased pig contest. Next up a comparison of who’s better at downward facing dog – hopefully without pictures.

        1. Robert Hahl

          But not much precedent for short presidents. Does Hillary get a pass because woman? Maybe, but short is big negative. I hope she doesn’t start riding around in a tank.

          1. JTMcPhee

            How tall was Teddy Roosevelt? John Adams?

            But in the big picture, however much we want to believe, “the President” stands quite a distance away from the real levers of power and the actual helm of the Ship of State Fools…

            1. Carolinian

              Supposedly Madison was practically a midget. However a WaPo columnist has posited that when it comes to recent elections the tallest candidate always wins.

              1. Larry Headlund

                The tallest candidate always wins except in 2012,2004,2000, (1992 tie), 1976 and 1972. So in the last 11 elections the taller candidate has won except for half the time when the shorter candidate won and 1992 when the two top finishers were the same height..

                1. AnEducatedFool

                  Throw out 2000 and 2004.

                  1976 – The Republicans had no chance to hold the White House after Watergate.

                  1972 – I do not know much about this election.

                  1. John Zelnicker

                    @AnEducatedFool – The 1972 election was won by Nixon through the dirty tricks that began with Watergate, or possibly before, and continued until after the election when the existence of the White House tapes was revealed leading to his resignation in August, 1974. I’m pretty sure he was shorter than McGovern.

                    The Republicans might have had a chance in 1976 if Ford had not pardoned Nixon as soon as he got into office.

                  2. Robert Hahl

                    I don’t think we should throw out 2000. Forget Nader. Think of all the states that Gore/Lieberman lost just because they are terrible people. Tennessee for instance.

              2. Jim Haygood

                If Jimmy “Booger” Madison, Alex “Skeeter” Hamilton and Johnny “Swamp Dog” Jay had published the Federalist Papers as a graphic novel with wide-eyed, violet-haired manga girls making a dubious case for Big Gov, we’d be livin’ in a whole different country.

              3. NotTimothyGeithner

                Kerry and I think Gore are exceptions.

                I think people look for rules to govern relatively chaotic situations. Take the Kennedy-Nixon debates. Did the debates swing the elections or did say Kennedy’s surge with black voters after a GOP congressman said there was no problem in the South play a bigger role? Only one explanation is easy to rewatch.

                The candidate who is behind will look more desperate because they are trying to be noticed, and people already have opinions.

                Shrub and Gore would be worth rewatching because they are both famous sons and weren’t front and center until the campaigns. Shrub was a Governor and black sheep and Gore was just VP playing second fiddle to Hillary’s ambitions. With Kennedy, he was assassinated and Nixon had his later problems, so that is hard to cut through. I would say 1960 Nixon and Carter were quite a bit more impressive than our 2000 offerings.

          2. Propertius

            But not much precedent for short presidents.

            Madison was 5’4″. I’d take him over Obama any day of the week.

      1. jgordon

        I’d take someone who is obese but otherwise healthy as president over a thin someone dying of late stage lying, Parkinson’s, and/or Alzheimer’s or whatever she has.

        In addition, I’d mention that someone ain’t all that thin herself, but despite the fact that her campaign is calling Trump fat I’d be accused of sexism if I sad that–because name calling/fat shaming is A-OK for the self anointed arbiters of morality Democrats–as long as it’s for a righteous cause of course, but certainly not for anyone else.

          1. jgordon

            No one is buying these dumb lies except for the ignorant/paid tribalists who really really want to believe them. Come up with a better story if you expect anyone with more than two working brain cells to rub together to believe it.

              1. jgordon

                When a well known liar offers logically inconsistent and factually improbable stories to explain away some rather grotesque and obvious neurological symptoms, calling bull on that is a low risk bet. It’s very unfortunate that Democrats had to rig their primaries against someone who was both liked and ambulatory for the benefit of a widely loathed and incompetent liar with one foot in the grave.

          2. AnEducatedFool

            Has she released her CT scan or MRI scans of her brain? Until she releases these images NO ONE but true believers will believe a word from the Clinton campaign.

            I would only accept the word of partisan doctors at this point. Let Ben Carson debate Sanjay Gupta live on TV about the MRI images or at least another neurosurgeon.

    2. Anne

      “Humpty-Drumfty” I suppose.

      All the king’s horses and all the king’s men may never be able to put together a credible election ever again.

      1. abynormal

        i’m rereading a le Carre…

        “Elections are a Western jerk-off. Preempt them, get your man in place, give the People a fair slice of the cake for once, and let peace break out. Your average multinational hates poor. Feeding starving millions isn’t cost-effective. Privatizing the buggers and letting them die is.”

        1. Anne

          Lifted from a comment in my FB feed, in a discussion about why it’s so bad to throw away your vote on a third party candidate:

          Protest vote, no. Joining another party, yes. If the green, libertarian, or other party grew to the size and strength of the other two parties we would have a third choice. Register with the party you want to see in power. Vote for the other party until your chosen party has a viable chance.

          Yeah, that would work – why weren’t the rest of us smart enough to think of that?

          1. jrs

            That seems like the worst possible strategy in almost all states with a closed primary 1) it limits one’s primary vote – one can only vote for the Green/Lib/etc party candidate 2) and THEN when the powers that be have chosen the non 3rd party general election contenders, which remember you had no say in, they argue you HAVE to vote for them. It’s seems like it’s telling 3rd party supporters: go disenfranchise yourself! In every way possible!

            In states with an open primary like California it might not be that bad a strategy to join 3rd parties. I wouldn’t really recommend systems like California’s to any other states but if one lives in such a state – when in Rome.

            1. AnEducatedFool

              LOL @ open California primary. Seriously.

              States that have same day registration are the best options.

    3. Benedict@Large

      Are there earlier figures for Hillary’s weight? If so, the lack of a current figure could be an attempt to hide weight loss, a symptom of a number of serious diseases.

      1. afisher

        Or aging – when even small size women add weight in the middle. RW is now saying that HRC needs to be looking like a model or she has some unspecified disease? Have you seen recent photo’s of Sarah P…or how about the Queen of England?


        1. Yves Smith

          She has not just gained some weight. I’ve been watching her through this campaign. She looks to have gained 5 lbs a month this year. She has ballooned. Most of her clothes don’t fit (you can see they pull really tight over her midsection), and she obviously can afford to buy new clothes or have clothes tailored to fit. That’s shockingly unhealthy at any age and even worse for someone elderly.

          1. rojo

            Which should probably put the Parkinson’s thing to rest. My mom has Parkinson’s and the meds kill appetite.

        2. nippersmom

          Shameful to comment on Clinton’s weight, yet fat-shaming Trump is acceptable? Your double standard is showing yet again, afisher. CRT really needs to train you people better so you’re less blatant.

              1. Pat

                Control the Record. Brock’s outfit hiring people to troll the web puffing up good Clinton stories and trying to throw a wrench or dissuade anti-Clinton comments.

              2. flora

                Correct the Record.
                However, CRT (Cathode Ray Tube, aka early computer screens) also works in this context. ;)

              3. jgordon

                Yeah, pretty much anyone who tries to defend Hillary in comments has to be a CTR shill. 1) Hillary is an extremely heinous and unlikable figure that few to no people naturally like and 2) She and her surrogates are paying people to say nice things about her in comments online. Just assuming CTR is the best and most straightforward course.

        3. jgordon

          Why weren’t you defending Trump when people were calling him fat here? What is shameful is that you are totally fine with people saying that a man is fat, but you come out screeching as soon as someone has the temerity to point out that the woman is also fat.

          This is shameful but unsurprising. This sort of double standard is rampant in self righteous liberals after all.

          1. Emma

            Can we shift the burden to the banks so-to-speak? If they’re “too big to fail” then I expect likewise of the potential nominees for POTUS…….
            BUT, whether it be Trump, Clinton, Stein or Johnson, surely it would be a huuuuuge (!) and unmitigated deal if we took stock of heavy-weight issues like the proposed economic policies of each candidate? How would their policies affect us all? Just what solutions (innovative? Indeed, exciting even?!), if any, have each of the four candidates to offer in order to improve the prospects of the entire nation?
            Surely Americans believe in moon landings not sun landings?
            Likewise, eagles, not lame ducks……

            1. flora

              All I know is that the establishments of both the GOP and the Dems support Hillary and oppose Trump. Make of that what you will.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Just on visuals, she’s gained. I think that’s the reason for some of the odd outfits.

        However, TBF, elderly weight gain is normal. People who don’t are the exception.

        1. Yves Smith

          Since I’ve visited my parents on the holidays and they’ve dragged me out regularly to have dinners with their friends, I’ve had the chance to observe a group of people over 55 for about 30 years.

          I gotta tell you, none have gained much if any weight, as in maybe 10 lbs sustained, and two of them lost weight. My father probably had the biggest weight gain at one point and he took it off.

          Many women gain a lot of weight when they go through menopause (late 40s to 50s). You may be confusing that with what is happening to Hillary now.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            On the one hand, too much rubber chicken; it’s an occupational hazard for politicians on the trail.

            On the other, before and after photos of politicians who have actually lost weight.

            I think the message is that yet again, the poor woman has surrounded herself with people who can’t check her. “Oh, Huma, another dollop of fresh whipped cream won’t hurt!”

            Menu from the $353K-a-plate Clooney fundraising dinner, the one for the “Victory Fund” where the money was billed as going to the state parties but passed right through to the Clinton campaign.)

            1. aab

              That’s an oddly banal menu for a high-end LA event. They sure are being frugal; they’re using every part of the pea somewhere. I don’t get out to fancy dinners much these days, but what’s listed seems outdated, too. Spot prawn risotto strikes me as pretty ’90s, although I’m not enough of a foodie to peg trends with that much accuracy.

              I’m not sure what to draw from that. I’ve found that the rich are often philistines, and the restaurants that cater to them famously have mediocre food. But I’m still surprised to see this. In a Davos Man world, I assumed the menus would be cosmopolitan, cutting edge and have a point of view.


  2. Holly

    Hillary’s feet – yes I had to look. Why? My mother’s Parkinson’s was diagnosed after walking became difficult. The first thing the neurologist examined was her toes to see if they were curling up. It is one of the telltale signs of PD, it happens so gradually that no one really notices. (BTW PD is often dx’d late into the disease process.)

    There are a few shots of barefoot Hillary (2012) with a toe curling up, no not definitive dx but so many of Hillary’s odd behaviors, I witnessed in my Mom and people in her the PD support group. This problem can be minimized by Botox shots in the feet. I speculate that early photo’s (2012 and earlier) were before her offical PD dx.

    1. hreik

      She’s a corrupt liar, a cheat, w a lousy history and is for sure a neo con. She’s a horrible candidate, lack luster and greedy. We don’t have to give her Parkinson’s. (There’s no resting tremor, no pill-rolling, no bradykinesia and a host of other signs that she does NOT have).

      1. reslez

        The Dr Noel video has video of pill-rolling by Clinton. It looks entirely unconscious. She’s usually gripping a microphone or placing her hand flat on her chest which conceals it. If you imitate her hand movement yourself it’s literally painful. There’s also video of her head-bobbing on TV, dyskinesias and other weird things. It may not be Parkinson’s, I mean how are we to know, but there’s clearly something neurological going on. If you want to see Noel’s argument for PD his website is called vidzette… I’d suggest googling but negative Hillary results frequently don’t pop up in google. (I tried to comment about this previously in Links but it never showed up, I probably included too many links as documentation which tripped the spa-ham filter.) Bing or yahoo are better if you’re searching about Hillary, at least in my experience.

        1. Yves Smith

          I wouldn’t place much stock on the toes issue unless you have a comparison shot. Hammer toes are very common and women can create them by wearing pumps with too small toe boxes.

          1. abynormal

            Yves, considering her bottomless resources, i ponder who and how her meds are being dished. i too have been watching the ‘swelling’…tis not homecooking. they’ve got to have her on full steam ahead robo…is it worth it? i’d never EVER let someone i even semi care about be put thru what her health is enduring. but that’s just me…

      2. mike

        All true……..

        but she’s like the second coming of Abraham Lincoln when compared to Don “the con” Drumpf.

  3. voteforno6

    Re: Clinton: Into the Headwinds

    Maybe Clinton should embrace Trump. That might turn some of his supporters away from him.

    1. Jim Haygood

      George H. W. Bush — he’s with her:

      Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest child of Robert F. Kennedy, said in a Facebook post on Monday that the elder President George Bush told her that he planned to vote for Hillary Clinton. The former president, however, is not talking.

      “The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!” the caption said.

      The Kennedys, the Bushes, the Clintons — it’s one cozy dynasty, and you ain’t in it.

          1. Enquiring Mind

            The name Elliot Abrams seems to remind me of the public address announcement in the Woodstock movie about Elliot from Harvard, the hitchhikers you picked up need the pills they left in your car.
            Was that signaling blackmail, calling for genuine need, or why not both as the precursor to a fine career in DC?

      1. John Wright

        Of course one remembers the elder Bush’s selection of Clarence Thomas as the “best man for the (supreme court) job.”

        One can wonder if the Clinton people are considering the pros/cons of seeking an endorsement by George W. Bush.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Clinton strategy was to appeal to suburban Republicans (the most right wing people in the country) while kicking the left and rural whites.

          Clinton Inc is simply sticking with their original strategy which sounded great on paper.

          Except for the occasional lament about kids not recognizing how wonderful Hillary is, this is the campaign the Clintons wanted to run. Kaine was likely selected to appeal to Obama voters because Kaine and Obama are bffs, so she may have compromised there.

          1. Pat

            So let’s look at Kaine’s record as governor, oh wait he largely governed as a conservative Republican. Republican AND Obama bff in one, that’s a win win.

            Salazar is just icing on the cake…
            (And people keep trying to tell me that Clinton needs to be President because of the Supreme Court, meanwhile ignoring that every time she gets to pick someone for an important position their record is perfectly in line with everything they want to avoid. And no it is not just about appealing to Republicans when they are in line for the Presidency and will pushing the administrative agenda.)

      2. jgordon

        I saw this being proudly announced at the top of the page on Huffpost, in huge, 200 point font capital letters–as if it were a good thing for Hillary. These media people aren’t just corrupt and evil; they’re incompetent.

        I hear that Satan too is set to endorse Hillary soon. No doubt HP and the rest of the brilliant media light bulbs will be breathlessly gloating over that one on every major network as soon as it happens.

          1. mike

            hahahahah!!!!!!! HILARIOUS!!!!



            I thought people were talking about important things here, but I was wrong. Most of this is on the Fox News level of blathering…..

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Actually, I’m sick of the name-calling, too.

              But that’s not what you’re about, is it? I hope you find the happiness you seek elsewhere.

              Readers: Obama, Clinton (Hillary), and Trump will do just fine. And I say this as a blogger who invented and propagated terms of abuse successfully for many years.

      3. OIFVet

        I remain unconvinced until St. Ronnie of RayGun endorses the Hilminator. Too much of a wimp factor around GHWB you know, and there’s an evil empire that needs to be dealt with.

  4. Kokuanani

    Boy, Elizabeth Drew’s piece in the NYRB is really weak: all “they hate her because she’s a ‘strong woman,'” and not a word about policy.

    And let’s just say that Henry Kissinger’s name is never mentioned either.

    1. Anne

      The latest internet meme circulating on FB is “Weak Men Don’t Like Strong Women,” so I guess this “strong women” thing is meant to elicit pushback that will continue to fuel the contention that whatever difficulties Clinton is having can be laid at the feet of the misogynistic elements of the electorate.

      I’m sure some Clinton strategist thinks this is brrrrrrillllliant! Well, the Clinton supporters think so, anyway.

      I swear, some days I think I can hear the collective intelligence of this nation ticking down and down and down.

      1. Julia Versau

        That Clinton piece by Elizabeth Drew was the most obvious and sycophantic hagiography job I’ve read this week. And I’m seeing a lot of them (must be Clinton & Co has a stable full of captured writers willing to shill for Hill). I agree with Anne about the collective intelligence of this nation — which is vacillating somewhere between comatose and certifiably deceased. People don’t seem to be able to distinguish between either/or and both/and anymore. It’s not EITHER Trump or Clinton are good … our problem is that BOTH are bad. Heaven help us all, no matter what happens in November.

        1. jsn

          I first subscribed to the NYROB in about 1982 and used to give gift subscriptions to friends. About three years ago it finally became unbearable: after Barbara Epstiens death in 2006, Soros, who has done some good in the US, views appear to have taken over. Those views first damaged the foreign reporting and have now debased domestic political reporting as well.

          Its a shame to have lost another venerable counterpoint to the Imperial Narrative, but its clearly headed down the same road as the New Yorker and NYT.

          1. witters

            Me too. I read it for 30 years, noticing as things went down hill. Freeman Dyson, now gaga, doing climate denialism (and anyway, genetically engineered trees will save us); Soros doing his bit for the neoliberal cause; Michael Tomasky (!) on US politics; Timothy Snyder and Anne Applebaum in the throes of Putin Derangement Syndrome; Paul Krugman (!) as economic maestro and scourge of those without a liberal heart, and then (this is what did it for me in the end) not even a review of Sheldon Wolin’s Democracy Incorporated.

            Toss up, I reckon, between NYRB and the Guardian for who will get the Barack Obama Prize for Moral Decline & Conspicuous Toadying.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Me too, very sadly watching the decay path of these once great publications.

              My mother used to frame New Yorker covers and hang them on the wall as art…. Now I couldn’t in good conscience recommend it, or the NYRB, to anyone.

              1. aab

                It’s very strange having grown up gulping down major media and now finding myself turning away from pretty much all of it.

                When we try to explain to the kid (currently in college) that reading the Sunday New York Times used to be about more than just class signaling, she looks at us blankly. She literally can’t imagine respecting or consuming broadcast & cable news, or any of the legacy publications. She never cared much about politics until Bernie. And now she has learned that her government and major news organizations are untrustworthy.

                I wonder if any of these media companies have considered that there is going to be long term collateral damage in terms of viewers/readers in alienating such a huge number of young people by how they have handled the campaign. I realize 1-10%er kids probably still get the Times, but I don’t see how that’s going to be enough. Isn’t the company already bleeding cash? And every other media outlet needs even more non-elite customers.

      2. Dave

        “Hillary Clinton, the only woman candidate to trip over her dick”
        Can’t remember where I read that, but it’s appropriate.

        Strong women don’t ride their husband’s coattails up through the governor’s mansion and the White House. They get their start on their own.

      3. jrs

        never mind how sexually stereotyped that is in general (men must never be weak etc.).

        But what about women who are not voting for or don’t like Hillary? Weak women don’t like strong women?

        1. reslez

          Since a majority of people dislike Hillary, it seems safe to say “weak men” are in good company. Strong men, weak and strong women, assorted toddlers and small children….

      4. OIFVet

        Can’t decide if this is meant to emasculate or as a bit of reverse psychology. Or is she trying to whip the submissives’ votes? The head spins and fainting is near…

    2. flora

      “strong woman” ? that’s the new meme?

      Are we supposed to forget about the fainting spells, and seizing up spells, and coughing fits.

      1. Anne

        I can tell you from doing battle with diehard Clinton supporters on FB – when I have the energy to waste even more of my time – that Clinton’s strength is in her ability to prevail over decades of being falsely accused of various and sundry things, to bear up under withering investigations that ended without indictment, censure or reprimand, to stand by her beleaguered husband when a weaker woman would have fled (just my opinion, but strong women don’t stay, they go – unless their careers and personal ambitions are inextricably tied to the cheater-in-question).

        Her health issues just prove how strong she is, because she never lets them stand in her way: she powers through. You know, like Dick Cheney, whose failing heart never stopped him from carrying out his agenda.

        The strengths people like Clinton have shown us are, in my opinion, actually rather serious flaws in her character – and they have nothing to do with her gender. This whole “strong woman” thing is meant to allow her to be able to accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with the label as misogynist pieces of crap.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          In other words, Clinton’s amazing persistence and resilience — which I too notice and admire, it’s the best thing about her — is her tragic flaw, hamartia, through which her hubris plays out, and through which nemesis will enter. Try that one on them :-)

  5. kristiina salo

    Consumer “fatigue”…I really see it a lot. So many buy second-hand, even those who could afford new. Or have things custom-made locally. To me, the pervasiveness of crapification has made even necessary shopping a horrible ordeal, be it food, clothes, tools or anything. More and more, there are local artesanal sources, that may have simple offerings, but you know they’re not crapified. A real change is in the air.

  6. EndOfTheWorld

    Obama got a lot of voters because he was the “anti-Bush.” Anything would be an improvement over W and Obama did talk enough about peace to make him a peace candidate in comparison to his opponents.

    HRC is losing control of the fragile coalition because she’s personally abhorrent in every way, shape and form. Also, many voters rightfully question her stamina. She’s not exactly the paragon of strength and health.

  7. Pavel

    Re Hillary’s terrible 2016 campaign… well she ran a dreadful, insular, dog-whistling, over-staffed campaign in 2008 which was widely regarded as a disaster… quelle surprise then that she is repeating the same errors. She is advised by the same paranoid, secretive Gang of Three or Four…

    What should really be scaring the Dems is that Team Clinton is outspending Trump by 10 to one on TV ads etc and they are basically even. They are trying so hard to win the Millenials — don’t they get that they tend not even to watch TV?

    Breitbart (which I browse occasionally to check up on the famous alt-right) made a fuss today about how much bigger Trump’s FL rally was than Clinton’s. Obviously rallies aren’t completely predictive, but surely they are an indication of enthusiasm. HRC better do well in the debates!

    1. polecat

      She won’t … she’ll be dripping condescending mommy-knows-best to the audience ……

      Big turn-off ……

      ….and she just doesn’t have that Bene Gesserit ‘Voice’ thing down well enough to compellingly ‘suade the plebes HER WAY !

  8. Jim Haygood

    So the WaPo has caught on that the Fed’s bloated balance sheet is irreversible? Some of us have said so since QE1 launched. Probably the Fed planted the article with a compliant stenographer.

    Problem is, all the sovereign check-kiters have to coordinate their bubble blowing, much as the Flying Wallendas had to work as a team up on the high wire.

    If one central bank starts shrinking its balance sheet with the others still expanding, it sucks in capital from the others, exchange rates go wonky, and the whole deal goes down in an “illiquidity event.”

    Here is a chart showing why, with six gerbils running abreast on the exercise wheel, one gerbil cannot start running the other direction without dire results:

    Not that the Fed can afford to fess up to their exquisite plight. So they dish out mush such as, “The Committee is prepared to adjust the details of its approach to policy normalization in light of economic and financial developments.” Not much drama here, unless they inhale from a helium balloon first and say it in a chipmunk squeak.

        1. Skippy

          Yeah neoclassical is a bit like that Jim… comes from snorting to much AET….

          Disheveled Marsupial…. you getting enough roughage these days Jim – ?????

    1. John Wright

      We might get some indication when the Fed is approaching desperate straits when Janet Yellen retires to write her book.

      Greenspan’s (“The age of turbulence”) book’s timing (September 17, 2007) for this event was superb, and this must have been duly noted by senior Fed officials.

      For the book to get a good advance, this has to be done when the Fed is doing reasonably well, so it is a leading indicator.

      The Yellen book doesn’t have to sell well, if the advance is good ($8 million for Greenspan’s).

      1. Benedict@Large

        I have a copy of Greenspan’s book in my bathroom. I found it in a free books pile years ago, and thought I might read it some day. Either that, or use it to absorb spills, perhaps its true best destiny.

        1. Enquiring Mind

          I am in the smallest room in the house and your manuscript is in front of me. Soon it will be behind me.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Hoping you or someone can corroborate my thinking on this one.

      After reading all the financialese in the article, there was little discussion as to precisely why the Fed won’t shrink their balance sheet. My guess based on what I’ve read here over the years is that all the ‘assets’ the Fed is claiming are the worthless junk they took off the balance sheets of the TBTF banks so they wouldn’t crater but never bothered to value properly. There was no desire to force any sort of mark-to-market valuation on this garbage and now it’s all hidden at the Fed where noone will ever be able to see just how little any of it is worth. Meanwhile the Fed will keep claiming it’s worth exactly what they paid the TBTFs for it.

      Am I close here?

  9. norm de plume

    ‘Exclusive: Google may face over $400 million Indonesia tax bill for 2015 – government official ‘

    Good news.

    I just watched a session from the NYT Athens Democracy Forum Debate (Democracy and Business) which features two of your blog-rollers (Krugman and Varoufakis) along with an MIT economist of Chinese background, and a senior something or other from Google.

    Toward the end, Varoufakis made a few points in response to the Googler’s defence of revolving-doorism, warning of the dangers of ‘capture’, and noting that while Google’s market share and wealth were indeed largely down to innovation (at least originally) they were increasingly attributable to more primitive (and common) forms of capital accumulation such as acquisition and take-over (for which revolving doors are useful). Later he emphasises the role of the implicit subsidy of hi-tech in postwar US by govt via defence and academe.

    He might well have added ‘and also your practice of massively evading your tax responsibilities globally to the tune of billions per annum played a part too’

    Varoufakis made more sense than the other three combined.

    1. Uahsenaa

      Yanis makes me sad sometimes. He so clearly understands what is going on, is solid on analysis, but showed himself to rather inept when it came time to do something about it, since, after all, the point is to change it.

      That said, he’s in his element here, where he has the opportunity to point out the no-clothes-havers without needing to make the kind of political compromises that one typically has to make. The Google guy seemed to be unable to speak in anything but platitudes, and, of course, the Chinese guy and Krugman couldn’t help but Trump/Putin scare.

      Dear Paul, believe it or not, Putin is, by definition, a democratically elected leader. The fact that Americans can’t fathom why he was elected speaks volumes as to why we prefer to demonize Russia rather than understand it.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Racism. Lowly whites (slavs) are still higher than most asians in asia in the western hierarchy. You should see the treatment of the Japanese before Pearl Harbor. Also, the scam is part of it. The Chinese knocked over those theocratic warlords in Tibet, and what else? Fight back when MacArthur started shooting at them. The idea the Chinese could be a threat is laughable to many in the belt way.

          Obama has tried his pivot to Asia, but let’s be honest, Moscow and Beijing aren’t threatening you and me. The perma war party knows terrorism doesn’t make people demand new defense contracts anymore, so they are just going to the oldies section to relive old glories.

      1. uncle tungsten

        I did not see Yanis as inept at all. Rather he managed his role in a strident and positive way even having the temerity to challenge the theory and capability of the affiliated super states that call the EU shots. I believe he and Syriza could have cut a better deal if they had been able to get the IMF to concede then what they finally conceded a year later.

        His so called “combative and irreverent” style was nothing more than the expression of the Greek citizens response to being so crudely ravaged by neo liberal economic piracy. In that he was the authentic voice of the trust and hopes invested in Syriza and was no party to the betrayal that ensued. The same tragedy awaits all of the small EU states and more cards will yet fall.

  10. Steve H.

    – Loss of Planet Reflectivity an Impending Catastrophe

    A quarter-century ago, when I was getting my Environmental Science degree, we knew that water was a champion in terms of latent heat and heat capacity. We knew this made ice an immense buffer to climate change by its ability to absorb heat.

    But we were mostly measuring ice extent, and considering the melt to be an areal effect. We watched the glaciers shrink. Since then we’ve come to understand that the melt has been volumetric, that rivers flow beneath that surface into deep lakes before emptying into the sea, and lubricate the movement of the massive ice sheets above.

    In other words, the buffer has been decreasing far faster than anticipated.

    We also understood that the brilliant white of ice gave us an albedo effect which kept much of the energy from ever being retained on earth.

    Oh well. I’m putting a white metal roof on our house in the next couple of weeks. But that’s not global, it’s micro-local, and only because its easier to heat in the winter than cool in the summer. I plan on burning the junk mail from the environmental organizations, and every bit of Clintons bs I get, in honor of Clintons targeting of the EPA their first go-round. When we still had at least the illusion of hope.

    p.s. Isn’t it ironic, that for all of Clintons bluster about Putin and Russia, that they did as much as anyone on the planet to ensure that Russia had cold-weather ports and northern sea passage? Yup, sure is.

    Not that I’m bitter.

    1. timbers

      Today I read Paul Craig Roberts. He asked if Russia is going to surrender to U.S. aggression targeting Syrian forces in support of America’s lovely head chopping terrorists.

      Yesterday I read a 2014 article on the raising sea waters in Miami, which is likely to be the first major city to be destroyed. Not damaged. Totally destroyed, by climate change.

      That really helped put a different perspective on things. All the effort, death, destruction the psycho fools in D.C. put into regime change in Syria because of a gas line…. meanwhile in 50 years millions or billions will die and have their lives upended and countless species extinct from an issue they can’t be bothered with, global warming.

      Oh, don’t forget to have nice day :-)

        1. MtnLife

          Those designations had me wondering if that is how we named our visa programs. H1B – Helpless skilled worker that provides new, but less, gain to themselves than to their Bandit employer. H2B – Helpless worker gaining nothing as their Bandit employer profits nicely.

        2. HotFlash

          Reading the article carefully, but not sure if I “get it”. Seems to me Hillary is a Bandit, while Trump is Stupid.

          Previously, I had thought of HRC as a foreign policy disaster, The Donald as a domestic policy disaster. As someone who does not live in the US, I would prefer (as in drowning or strangulation?) Trump.

          Thoughts, folks?

          1. cwaltz

            I think they’re both foreign and domestic policy disasters waiting to happen.

            Trump’s arrogant American exceptionalism is maybe a hair less destructive than Clinton’s American imperialism but they certainly aren’t going to be winning us friends in the global arena. Let’s see Trump has offended China, Mexico, and a sundry of others who see him as a moron and an obstacle to trade while Clinton has been antagonistic to , Iran andRussia and has a history of supporting unrest in areas like Libya and Syria with a large body count.

            As far as domestic policy goes both of them have flip flopped on minimum wage increases and I see both as willing to exploit labor(it’s not like Trump doesn’t have a business record to look at in this arena) Trump thinks private health care is our solution, so does Clinton. They’ve both benefitted from for profit education.

            I really don’t see either one of them as “better” by more than the slimmest of margins.

      1. jgordon

        It’s uniquely amazing that those in power, out of all the possible things they could do, consistently choose to do the most low down, rotten, evil things we could imagine. Is it just coincidence that things work out this way, or is there some deeper sociological principle at work here directing things is such a downward spiral? This is something I often think about.

        1. Steve H.

          Yves zero’d in on it in ‘ECONned’, that a core problem is cognitive capture. Add a sprinkle of Upton Sinclair, and Assad Sr.’s ‘10% of population to make a police state.’ The system doesn’t really need many psycho bandits to dysfunction.

        2. Benedict@Large

          What is uniquely amazing about those in power is that they work so hard to find ways to steal money from poor people when they have complete control of the Treasury, and could simply print off endless amounts of it whenever it struck their fancy. One might almost be led to believe that it is not so much that they want lots of money as it is that they want the rest of us to suffer from its lack. Woe to them the day the Poors find this out.

          1. reslez

            > What is uniquely amazing about those in power is that they work so hard to find ways to steal money from poor people

            It’s like the study everyone’s heard about: if given a choice, people prefer to be above average in an overall poor society than below average in an overall rich one. Humans are hierarchical. Having a big pile of loot isn’t super important in itself. What really matters is that you have a bigger pile than the person next to you. That’s what gives you the envy and admiration of your peers.

            Crushing the poor into oblivion when you already have more wealth than you could ever use is an intended feature of the system.

            1. hunkerdown

              reslez, I strongly suspect that’s contingent on environmental factors. Humans in other cultures don’t have a problem with competition and pecking order — because chickens, I guess — but to WEIRD-biased researchers, bourgeois liberalism is equivalent to an absence of culture and everyone else is weird.

          2. JTMcPhee

            It’s the “delta” of course, that makes it all feeeel so gooood. My sister lived the .01% life in Dallas for several years, she noted that their Blessed Neighborhood felt ever so much more luxurious for being cheek by jowl with a couple of favelas where the yard slaves and house slaves lived… Benefit: at least the mopes could walk to work, without having the unpleasantness of the slave quarters being close aboard the back of the manse…

          3. Kurt Sperry

            Being rich is pointless unless there are poor people to feel superior to. The poor people are every bit as important as the wealth is. And the poorer the poor, the more valuable they are.

              1. hunkerdown

                If there’s a Walled Garden of Earthly Delights at either end of the limo ride, I can see how people might value the enterprise. And some people get off on the bunker mentality. As the Excellent, they Earned it.

                1. clarky90

                  I have noticed that wealth (often) is bad for people’s health. European genomes were shaped by the Ice Ages. (Maybe that is why global warming is freaking us out! Pining for pristine glaciated continents?) Ancestors that didn’t adapt to the cold and the deprivation had no descendants. We need dirt on the outside and inside of us. We need to regularly go without food (fast). We need to be overly cold and too hot. We need to be incessantly walking and carrying (lugging). We are designed to stand, not sit.

                  The wealthy tend to develop the diseases of inactivity and overfeeding- and then suffer a lingering death of a hundred drugs and a thousand interventions. Kaaaaaching!

                    1. clarky90

                      The literature about fasting goes back thousands of years! It is copious. Dr Fung, IMO, is the most accessible. Enjoy

                      Dr. Jason Fung – ‘Therapeutic Fasting – Solving the Two-Compartment Problem’


                      Published on Mar 10, 2016
                      Dr. Jason Fung completed medical school and internal medicine at the University of Toronto before finishing his nephrology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles at the Cedars-Sinai hospital.

                      He now has a practice in Ontario, Canada where he uses his Intensive Dietary Management program to help all sorts of patients, but especially those suffering from the two big epidemics of modern times: obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

                    2. clarky90

                      Optimader, you will like this article! There is bound to be a full copy of it floating around the internet. Or try your library.


                      Nature. 2004 Nov 18;432(7015):345-52.
                      Endurance running and the evolution of Homo.
                      Bramble, Lieberman.

                      Striding bipedalism is a key derived behaviour of hominids that possibly originated soon after the divergence of the chimpanzee and human lineages. Although bipedal gaits include walking and running, running is generally considered to have played no major role in human evolution because humans, like apes, are poor sprinters compared to most quadrupeds. Here we assess how well humans perform at sustained long-distance running, and review the physiological and anatomical bases of endurance running capabilities in humans and other mammals. Judged by several criteria, humans perform remarkably well at endurance running, thanks to a diverse array of features, many of which leave traces in the skeleton. The fossil evidence of these features suggests that endurance running is a derived capability of the genus Homo, originating about 2 million years ago, and may have been instrumental in the evolution of the human body form.

                    3. optimader

                      The human spine is a work in progress, at best an evolutionary compromise. Give it a few hundred million years before claiming the humans, the spine in particular, are designed to stand. Actually the spin is a very bad design for the purpose of standing.

                      “This anatomy isn’t what you’d design from scratch,” said anthropologist Jeremy DeSilva of Boston University. “Evolution works with duct tape and paper clips.”…..

                      The literature about fasting goes back thousands of years!
                      And so does the practice of drinking urine. Does that mean it’s efficacious?

                      I basically call BS on the notion of fasting. IMO eating smaller meals, lay off processed foods and sweets in moderation is the sensible choice.


          4. jrs

            True, they don’t need anyone’s food stamp cuts and yet they want it. I think it’s about power over others being the real goal.

      2. Steve H.

        (mea culpa) and lest we forget, vast tracts of New Orleans have already been totally destroyed. They may not be underwater, but they are no longer inhabited.

      3. Harry

        I have always suspected that the two are linked. If climate change is the threat I suspect it is to the US, which had built a huge proportion of its infrastructure on the coast, there is only a 50 year window to weaken Russia (a likely beneficiary of climate change) so that we can exploit it’s resources on our terms when the event becomes critical. For the same reason Canada has made a mistake being so close to the US. My, Canada, you do have a lot of water and land, don’t you? Are you really using all of that?

        1. OIFVet

          No one benefits from climate change. Do you know how much methane is trapped in Russia’s frozen tundra, and what will happen if that methane is released into the atmosphere?!

          1. jsn

            People really resist getting their heads around this. This is a mild interpretation of the facts, playing down the implications:


            The risks were reasonably described in “The Limits Of Growth” in 1972 and Nixon of all people created the EPA even earlier in 1970. Just moments later the Powell Memo rationalized the recrudescence of imperial extractive capitalism, something never really absent in US foreign policy that took a 40 year hiatus during the New Deal domestically.

            Since then psychopaths like the Koch’s, Rex Tillerson and various Petrogarchs around the world have been living to ensure there is no tomorrow. We now appear to be hitting un-recognized tipping points all over the place, Steve H’s comment about ice melt and your comment about frost melt being but two examples.

            Ignorance of the laws of nature is no excuse from the laws of nature and enforcement, eventually, never fails.

            1. Praedor

              The Kochs don’t have any worries. Neither of those psychopaths will be alive in 25 years, let alone the end-stage 50 yrs. They will go out clutching as much loot as they can get by defiling as much of the planet and the people as they can.

              Good times. They get to enjoy their loot and exit the stage long before it becomes a mass human extinction event.

      4. Knot Galt

        Look at New Orleans to see how climate change will affect all coastal urban areas AND cities below 250 feet in elevation. At least Louisiana had a buffer in the way of the Mississippi Delta. Miami will not be so lucky. The city is one super climate charged hurricane from being wiped off the planet. And sadly, it may be here much sooner than we imagine!

        Sad that we talk about fat candidates when the REAL topic of discourse should be uniformly and resoundingly about eliminating carbon fuels altogether, starting YESTERDAY. In this vein, shouldn’t we really be debating how to shut down Wall street and asking how many Wall Street Bankers it will take to use as sandbags along the shores of Miami? The fatter the better? (Finally, we might find a good use for the riff raff?)

        1. John Wright

          The Florida problem is more difficult than sandbags or even sea breaks. Much of the area described by Wikipedia as “The Florida peninsula is a porous plateau of karst limestone sitting atop bedrock known as the Florida Platform.”

          As rising water seeks it own level, sandbags won’t help as the water will rise from underneath.

          Perhaps they can somehow seal the limestone under the water line, a truly massive undertaking…

          I suspect Florida will be fighting in the front line of climate change effects, but I remember reading that the Florida real estate people are suggesting the Federal government will financially protect people.

          In climate change, the USA seems to be following Mad Magazine’s famous Alfred E. Newman’s approach to life “What–me worry?”

          Here is Alfred’s 45rpm recording from 1959

      1. Steve H.

        We’re cashing out and putting a new roof on the house. Consolidating what gains we may.

        The deep problem is external wondercash moving in and jacking up the property taxes. Very concerned about that in the medium-run.

        Long-term? Keep Each Other Alive. That’s the best I got so far.

          1. Dave

            Go with white. It’s reflective. Standing seam, white epoxy coating is the cheapest and least environmentally destructive.

            1. Jeotsu

              A good quality metal roof can go 40+ years, depending on your climate and how often you repaint. Ours is now 42 years old, and should give us another decade or two. We recently repainted it light blue to increase the reflectivity.

              We are lucky enough to be on our own small farm with our own water and sewerage. But last year our spring-fed water stopped for the first time in 13 years. So this year we’re putting in more tanks to prepare for a uncertain climate future. (We had 25 tons of storage, we’re now up to 30 and hoping to go to 50+ soon.)

              “Money” can be used now to buy excellent resources at stupidly cheap prices. I don’t think we’re ever going to have a better time to start converting money into capital investments that could improve our possible future. White roofs and water tanks are a good start.

          2. Frank Wright

            Get the ten year. Climate Change will invalidate the warranty period. ;-) Unless you are worried about oil canning in which case get the thicker stuff.

    2. Robert Hahl

      Methane Hydrates – Extended Interview Extracts With Natalia Shakhova

      Seismic activity could release hundreds of gigatonnes of methane. “The worst could happen.” Having foreseen the end of the world, she looks depressed. And that, btw, is the problem with women. Too emotional.

    3. HotFlash

      Um, I think if you want to be bitter, that’s understandable. We have been warned, from Rachel Carson (Silent Spring, 1962) and Donella Meadows (Limits to Growth, 1972) on down.

      The .01% will do just fine. the rest of us are not just expendable, but a hindrance to their happy ever-aftering.

      1. subgenius

        The .01% do fine, right up to the moment the become extinct.

        So, this inexorably leads to the question – do we let them be authors of their personal extinction; or help them to ascend sooner?

        Isn’t there a first-mover advantage they could benefit from? Or we could?

  11. hemeantwell

    Mainstream media nearly ignored Die Linke rise in Berlin state election

    Thanks for that. I’ll pass along Victor Grossman’s take when he sends it out in a few days.

  12. timotheus

    “US builds working theory on cause of Syrian airstrike”

    Why bother? The domestic media immediately swallowed the “oopsie!” line without prompting, including the NYT’s use of the word “accidental” in its front-page headline. The voluntary blind loyalty is so ingrained at this point that it functions while sleepwalking.

    1. katiebird

      Which is incomprehensible to me. How can “mistakes” of this magnitude be tolerated? The President just lets it slide?

      Has any administration seen as many military “mistakes” as this one?

      1. Benedict@Large


        Every bomb that explodes is another bomb that has to be replaced. This is true whether the bomb hits anything or not. The only reason they bother to drop them on people at all is to make the Rubes think there’s actually a war going on.

      2. RWood

        HEY! I said we’re sorry.

        Patrick Cockburn: Worse, the US and Russia are belabouring each other at the UN Security Council in New York, with the Russians accusing the US of complicity with Isis and the US claiming that Russia is opportunistically taking advantage of a targeting error for which the US has apologised. The Russian Foreign Ministry said today that the whole ceasefire accord, agreed after 10 months of negotiations between the two biggest players in the Syrian conflict, is close to unravelling.

        1. Harry

          Let’s split the difference. Russia is opportunistically taking advantage of the US alliance with ISIS.

          Shame on them.

  13. aliteralmind

    Every Naked Cap antidote picture ever, both 7am and 2pm, is squished horizontally. The only way to see its true form is to save it locally, then view it.

    There’s gotta be a way to avoid this :)

    1. diptherio

      Try a different device, I don’t get that problem at all.

      The antidote today, though, I find disturbing. There’s something just not right about that pooch’s position…

      1. aliteralmind

        I’m on an iPad. But the problem is not my device.

        Here is the source code for the image.

        Remove the height and width, and it will look good on all devices. Likely there is also a way to force the correct proportion, regardless the size.

        1. diptherio

          So that image should display as 600X800 on any device, I would think. The html doesn’t make it clear to me why it would show up wonky on your ipad. Usually, I prefer to use percentages instead of pixels, to keep everything proportional on my pages. As in, I’d specify the width at, say, 90% of the column width and leave the height spec blank…if that makes sense.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          iOS/Safari uses EXIF data in photos if available. It can override the html. Look up: ‘why is my profile pic upside down on my iphone?’

      2. polecat

        Lets hope, for the pooches sake, that the palm fronds in that image don’t have those narly saw-toothed margins …..

        Might leave more than a mark, jumping off ..

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        I wondered about that. But at the source there were other pictures. I’m not getting the squished thing, maybe it’s a mobile issue we’re not being clever enough about?

  14. cnchal

    Mike Scher: Three questions for Wells Fargo The FCPA Blog (J-LS).

    So far the bank has fired about 5,300 employees who were involved with the unauthorized accounts and has paid $185 million in fines . . .

    The little people in the banks getting whipped daily to ‘produce or be fired’ are to blame, and by implication Stumpf is a clueless buffoon outsmarted by them. Why does he get the big bucks?

    The best remark from the post?

    “Start by explaining who approved the exit bonus of $125 million for the top executive running the sales campaign just before the scandal went public.”

    An eighth of a $billion reward for this criminality, and people wonder why the economy sucks. That much money would feed 2,500 families at $50,000 each, for a year, and they would spend it all.

    1. Tom

      Aside from the brazen nature of the Wells Fargo fraud and the number of employees involved and customers victimized — one thing in particular amazes me: just how clumsy and doomed the whole con was. The pressure from above for the drones to hit their numbers must have been immense, because how else do you explain systemic fraud whose main daily output was to produce dozens or hundreds of victims/witnesses for a class-action lawsuit? I mean, how else was this supposed to end and how in God’s name did it go on for so long? Doesn’t anyone look at their frickin’ monthly statement anymore?

      1. cnchal

        This is what concentration of wealth looks like, in the flesh and in your face.

        The numbers make perfect sense.

        $5 million was returned to customers and 2 million false ‘cross sales or account openings’ were conducted implying the harm was $2.50 per criminal act. The government ‘fines’ WF $185,000,000 or $92.50 per criminal act and one person looks to have gotten away cleanly with $125,000,000 or only $62.50 per criminal act.

        The customer/victim comes last by so far, second place isn’t even visible.

        1. Tom

          Right, when the equation doesn’t even include a variable for the number of years an executive could be imprisoned, it makes all the sense in the world. As long as you’ve got plenty of flunkies in your department that you can cajole/threaten into breaking the law and that can also serve as handy jail cover when the sh*t inevitably goes south, what’s not to love?

          It’s like modern-day executives are re-writing the classic book, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Maybe re-title it too: How To Succeed In Business Without Being Tried.

      2. human

        My bank, a two branch credit union, has been charging $50/year for monthly paper statements for about 3 years now. Sprint no longer even offers paper statements. When even street vendors and candy purchases are by debit card, reconciling a monthly statement is a matter of faith.

        Is it any wonder that the banks are winning? As it has been recognized here several times, a cashless society is a license to steal.

      3. wilroncanada

        The idea has been posted elsewhere that the early stories did not indicate that the 5300 employees were fired for wrongdoing. There may have been other issues ( having a baby, having B.O., refusing a managers advances) that led to firings. It is also entirely likely that many were fired for REFUSING to cross-sell, or were not good enough at it.

    2. JTMcPhee

      There’s a whole industry out there organized to assist the busy executive in evading opprobrium and consequences by activating the “kindness and decency” portions of the mope-brain. Assistance with crafting a “strategic apology/nonpology” is readily available.

      Definitions: the “nonpology,” “mistakes were made-some folks got tortured” kind of thing:

      Advice on how to/not to go about the boolsheeting, from the Hahvahd Bizness Review:

      For those interested in more granularity and context, do a search on “strategic apology.”

      There’s some real classics out there in slightly different (not very, all Bezzle) contexts, like Jimmy Swaggart’s classic:

      How stupid do they think we are, how forbearing and forgiving? Wait, I think I know the answer to that one…

    3. philnc

      Rare day off sick today so I got to watch the hearing live.

      Stumpf was really unbelievable. As in, impossible to believe.Also not what you’d call a “powerful” or even “inspiring” presence. Worm-like would fit better. Warren really unloaded on Stumpf (at 2:37:33) and said he should be held criminally liable. Unfortunately no one on the panel that followed, which included the CFPB, was willing to discuss the potential for criminal charges. The CFPB Director did chime in that he’d been specifically counselled not to reveal if they’d made criminal referrals in the case. No one pressed him on it. He also gave a shout out in favor of class actions and identified compulsory arbitration agreements as something that required further attention (compulsory arbitration of consumer disputes, especially in a banking context, really needs to go). The Deputy City Attorney’s testimony revealed how much of the grunt work in these kinds of cases gets done at the local level, even with limited statutory authority and investigatory tools.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Thanks for the link. I’ll know a politician is serious about reforming Wall Street when they bring Bill Black back into government.

  15. diptherio

    Re: Altruism.

    In India or Nepal, this guy would have been recognized as a holy man, given a robe and a place at the temple. We’re all gonna die sooner or later. The fact that he died is no tragedy. At least he had the strength of his convictions, unlike the priest who told him to not try to “out-God God.” {facepalm}

    In Hindu culture, giving away all of one’s wealth is the generally recognized first step on the path of becoming enlightened. When the “rich young man” asked Jesus how to attain perfection, Jesus’ answer was to start by giving his wealth to the poor. Of course, if Jesus Christ himself showed up today, no one would pay him any mind (except for the “crazies,” of course). How many people, Christian or otherwise, would listen to a construction worker who hangs around with prostitutes and tells people to give their wealth away?

    We’ve entirely lost the thread in our culture. Even our religious professionals will tell you to not be too selfless. This man’s problem was not that he gave all his wealth away. It was that he had the misfortune to be born into a society that punishes people for insufficient materialism. He would have fit right in at Haridwar.

    1. Carolinian

      As the Reverend Ike used to say “the best way to help the poor is not to become one of them.” Voice of our time.

      1. diptherio

        Camels and needle-eyes notwithstanding….

        This is why I never cared a rat’s hind end for religion or religious personalities until I went to Nepal and met Kali Baba. He was the first person I’d ever met who actually lived the teachings 100%. I can’t explain how powerful and effect that had on me: meeting someone who is a legitimately spiritual personality, who follows the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount to a tee (despite not being a Christian), unlike the ministers of the word I’d met over here who talked a good game, but lived their lives exactly like everyone else.

        But there is much money to be made in convincing people that they can be spiritually fulfilled and materialists at the same time. See Deepak Chopra and Ken Wilbur, for a couple of examples. Telling people the actual truth has never gone over too well with most people, as the Gospels make abundantly clear.

        Love your fellow humans, we are told, just don’t love them too much. That’s what I call some seriously half-assed religion.

        1. MikeNY

          Don’t forget Joel Osteen. I always take a shower even if I just glance upon his show when channel-surfing…

              1. MikeNY

                LOL! Yes, I remember as a kid watching him for kicks on Sunday mornings.

                Say ‘baby.’

                An only in America level of hucksterism!

                1. hunkerdown

                  He serves his function, like the rest of the media targeted at the working class: getting people to defer gratification until they can no longer collect and the reward escheats to their “betters”.

    2. craazyman

      I’m not sure Hindu worship is the best analytical framework. If it’s so great over there, why are they all coming here? There all over New Yawk like rednecks at a Barbeque — trying to make money programming computers and doing fancy financial math. They actually believe it! Which is what makes them good employees. Some of the women are frankly very hot. But most hot women are hot, even if they’re from Siberia. I tried talking to one of the hot Indian women who does financial math about how nutty it is — to labor like a mind slave under such a Newtonian delusion where the models don’t describe reality but create reality — and she sort of gave me the cold shoulder. I think she thought I was a weirdo.

      1. diptherio

        You are a weirdo.

        I’m talking “holy people” in Hinduism–your ascetics and yogis and whatnot. Renunciates, people who have dedicated themselves to living out their spiritual understanding, not just rank-and-file Hindus. I’m just pointing out the extreme difference in what a person is expected to do if they want to pursue their religion as a “career,” so to speak. Over there, giving away all your stuff is par for the course…over here, that marks you as a loony. For which reason I occassionally regret that I was born here and not there.

        1. subgenius

          Wait, Dip, I think you are missing the deeper story…

          …they are over here doing financial math and programming computers

          Maybe they are here to help us give away all the material wealth….it might be an insurgency!

        2. craazyman

          I think you can take the good and decent people anywhere and find something to admire. But sometimes it’s hard to recognize who they are.

          Although to be sure cultures can fall into forms of mental illness just like individuals. Then the good & decent people can become overrun or fall ill themselves.

          Ionescu’s Rhinoceros was good on that.

      2. Skippy

        “to labor like a mind slave under such a Newtonian delusion where the models don’t describe reality but create reality”

        Just say some disheveled marsupial said that in a bar… too ya… disclaimer thingy…

        Disheveled Marsupial…. as we all know reality is just Dynamical Systems Theory… never mind the variable entropy wrt information…. charge the black hole… craaxyman…. were doing another series… 10 bagger fo’er sure… this time….

  16. DJG

    Peter Van Buren and being sorry. I am reminded how much the perfunctory “sorry” is embedded in U.S. life now. Last Saturday, I was walking to the grocery store. I skirted a large group of people on the sidewalk in front of a house. A woman said, “Sorry for blocking the sidewalk,” and of course, no one moved. That’s “sorry” these days. And as much as I appreciate Peter Van Buren’s writing in the column in the Guardian and elsewhere, I think that he is guilty of the same: No change in behavior. And because he’s part of the elites, no change in the behavior of the elites.

    I’m sure that Tony Blair is sorry, too. We’re all very sorry. Too bad about Yemen.

    1. skeeter

      “perfunctory sorry” nice. Lately I have been getting the perfunctory sorry in the form of a mea culpa wave from the drivers of the late model hondas and toyotas that cut me off in driveways or in the crosswalk on my neighborhood run.

      when we get driverless cars they wont even bother.

      I did not, however, come away from the Van Buren piece with the same impression. It read as sincere. His observations echoed the rants I have been delivering my kids for years now. Moreover, authoring an indictment of your work and your professional community as he did hardly seems the behavior of a card carrying elite.

  17. craazyman

    Even the Pigeons Knew

    I received a bulletin this morning from Charles Charlemagne, “the Psychic Detective”, astonishingly about pigeon shlt. Dr. Charlemagne has a PhD in Mystical Studies and channels the news from his castle in Southern France wearing a red silk dinner jacket, tight black pantaloons and head gear that can be best described as a gold painted aluminum framed crown stuffed with sofa upholstery and a rhinestone glass diamond sewed into the front.

    He looks like Nostradamus. His bulletin says that pigeons can read and they could tell Wells Fargo was defrauding people and they laid pigeon shlt all over the window ledges and roof at the HQ out there.

    I pay $12.95 per month for Dr. Charlemagne’s service, which includes stock tips. So far I’ve not lost very much money, but only because I stopped trading.

    1. Jim Haygood

      It’s no dix-baggeur, as the good Dr Charlemagne would say, but Craazyman Fund is doing okay.

      It’s up 12.42% since Mar 2nd inception, versus a 6.08% gain in its 50/50 SPY-AGG benchmark.

  18. DJG

    The new baroque, with “branding” as a symptom: From When Did Fashion Stop Caring about Clothing?
    “I haven’t talked much about the clothes, have I? That’s because catwalk shows don’t feel as if they’re about the clothes these days, but rather the circus of branding.” And he’s right. Others (namely, Vanessa Friedman and co.) have noted that “fashion week [is being] transmogrified into a pure marketing exercise, where a brand sells a concept instead of clothes.”

    I buy most of my clothes second hand, which means going through a lot of poorly made clothing a resale and consignment shops. We live in a time when design is poor and much too elaborate. And like the first baroque era, the ornamentation is a desperate attempt at cheery display during a long period of religious fanaticism, endless war, and economic disorders. I recall walking into an Urban Outfitters and thinking that it was the clothing line for Canticle for Leibowitz.

    1. Tom

      Check out Goodwill on your next shopping jaunt. They sell a lot of clothing and it’s not all factory-second T-shirts with three arm holes. Most of it is brand new but costs about a tenth of what you’d spend at a typical retailer.

  19. Alex morfesis

    The bumbling bomber from pakghanistan shoots at multiple police officers who somehow are trained enough to actually shoot Not to kill…

    but since 104 elmora ave is all one needs, no need to ask any questions about 106 elmora…

    might lead to a pulitzer…

    and you know what that means…

    sunday interview talk shows…book deals…and then divorce…

    so no…

    no questions about 106 elmora…

    nothing to see here folks…

    just keep moving…

    everything nicely wrapped in a bow….

  20. diptherio

    That Quartz article on high-earning poors is a bit outdated. They claim that 1/4 of American households couldn’t come up with $2000 in an emergency. Pretty sure the new numbers are 2/3 can’t come up with $1000. Progress!

  21. abynormal

    best i don’t comment:
    “How is it ethical? How is it moral to do this to children who have no control over the situation, whatever the situation may be?” said Wright, who said her own child saw the incident and came home upset. “Whether it’s the fault of the school or the parents, the child does not need to be in the equation.”

    The Bedford school incident was just the latest in a series of similar lunch-shamings. Last year, a school in Salt Lake City, Utah, tossed 40 lunches because parents fell behind on their accounts.

    1. Paid Minion

      They can’t/won’t bully the parents, so they bully the kids.

      Had a school lunch lately? They are so bad its a crime for them to charge for them at all.

      Like many things happening in the US, “progress” is not an improvement.

    2. sd

      All meals at school should be free. Breakfast, lunch, and then some sort of a light afternoon snack. Otherwise, requiring students to pay for meals promotes economic discrimination.

      Is it really that difficult for the people of this country to practice kindness? Becuase if citizens can’t even extend the human decency of seeing to it that children are fed, there’s absolutely no hope for this country.

      1. abynormal

        there are ‘weekend bagged lunches’ offered at some schools around the country. MOST unfortunately, families are relying on the lunches the entire weekend…and the list are growing beyond what schools say they can afford.
        back around 2012 i did an 8 week series on hunger…about killed me (seriously, i’ve never eaten the same nor missed a hungry kid in a line).

        thanks sd for wording what desperately needs to be recognized:
        if citizens can’t even extend the human decency of seeing to it that children are fed, there’s absolutely no hope for this country

        1. jgordon

          Right, there is no hope. That’s why it’s a good idea to get used to the idea of economic and social collapse so that we can figure out how to survive after it happens.

      2. polecat

        My mom was a food service manager at my high-school ….. the cafeteria utilized USDA surplus ( this was in the 70’s ) for much of what went into the meals being served ….. wholesome, and for the most part tasted pretty good …. and the students ate what was available …..

        nowadays …food service is jobbed-out to the likes of …. Sodexo ….’gulp!’

      3. River

        Yes, it is I would say almost impossible for Americans to practice kindness among their own country men. I’ve never seen a country that despises one another so. It is like “keep up with the Jones'” turned all levels of society into one giant crab bucket.

        I mean 38 Billion to Israel this week, more billions to failed reconstruction projects in the mid-East this week. But nothing for Detroit, Flint, New Orleans, etc. Forget about something major like climate change. Even basic infrastructure can’t be maintained as somehow, someone will be getting something “free” and that CAN NOT be allowed.

        Truly bizarre and truly sad.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        Lunch at my kid’s school is crap and payment is required. We generally pack one for her.

        After school is a different story – the local Boys & Girls Club provides a meal after school for free for anyone who needs it. I can’t vouch for the quality of the food but at least kids aren’t forced to pay for it.

        The cost to send your child there is $5. That’s $5 per year.

        They seem to be doing something right.

        1. abynormal

          my gut guided me back to this thread for some gawd awful reason…

          Eloise Anderson, who serves in the cabinet for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:

          She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch — one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him.

          the shame is on the eloquent Eloise…she met a child with a deeper understanding of CLASSIFICATION and called her on it!

        1. hunkerdown

          Judeo-Christian. The Pilgrims were expelled because, among doctrinal matters, they didn’t think people were acting Jewish enough while LARPing Christ and the Disciples.

          Remember that, and US history, its overarching narrative of groaf, and the perspectives from which it is told, start to make a little more sense.

          1. human

            Yes. The entire US Creation Mythology is understood as the Pilgrims finding a place where they were able to freely practice their religion. The fact of the matter is that they were intolerant of all others and unwilling to live in diverse communities. The old countries were glad to get rid of them.


            Neo-Christians have been the bane of humanity for some 2000 years.

    3. Vatch

      I’m surprised our very own Katniss Everdeen hasn’t commented on this. If the kids want free lunches, all they have to do is register for the annual Hunger Games lottery. Problem solved!

  22. DJG

    Occasionally, and more often lately, Naked Capitalism has pieces on the continuing crisis in Italy. The Movimento Cinque Stelle comes up as center-left, Euroskeptic, on the rise. Yet the M5S is constantly falling apart, and it may be in part because they haven’t thought through their ideology or the role of the founder, Grillo. The latest from La Stampa, which tends to be centery-lefty:

    Ironically, Mayor Raggi just presided at the first civil union of two men in Rome. So M5S is pretty good on civil liberties–although not always so within the party, which is fractitious and censorious. Conversely, Mayor Appendino seems to be doing well in Turin, but then Turin is a much more orderly city than Rome.

    As to leading Italy out of the Eurozone or out of the EU, I wouldn’t count on it. It isn’t even clear to me that M5S can thwart Renzi’s elaborate referendum on constitutional changes, which would be a sign that M5S has real power.

  23. allan

    Seattle City Council approves worker-scheduling law [Seattle Times]

    The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a “secure scheduling” law on Monday, making Seattle the second major U.S. city to regulate how large retailers and food-service employers schedule their workers.

    Approval was expected, as the draft bill had passed out of committee last week with the five council members present all voting for it. The five represent a majority on the nine-member council.

    The move again places Seattle at the forefront of a national movement on workers’ issues after the city passed, in 2014, a bill to gradually increase the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour.

    Now, there’s a push by labor advocates for scheduling laws. San Francisco was the first major city to pass, in 2014, a scheduling law covering chain stores and eateries. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this month said he intends to introduce legislation regulating scheduling practices at fast-food restaurants. …

    Oh that’s right, Maoists. Go ahead and interfere in the level playing field negotiations
    between job creators and wage serfs rational economic agents.

    1. temporal

      Misspelling alert!


      The desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.


      The desire to promote the welfare of Bill, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to Bill’s bankbook.

      Easy mistake to make.

  24. Jim Haygood

    Congress threatens to subpoena Hillary’s Platte River IT guy, Combetta/stonetear, of Reddit fame.

    Of course, Combetta’s gonna stiff-arm them with Da Fifth.

    Still, it will make good theatre when the chair asks him point-blank, “Are you now, or have you ever been, the poster known as ‘stonetear’?”

    And Combetta mumbles, “Red eye know know nothing.”

    1. Antifa

      Combetta was already granted immunity from prosecution by the FBI; apparently months ago. Nonetheless, when he appeared last week before the House Oversight Committee he took the Fifth on every single question.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Seems like it would be more productive for the committee to invite the FBI, and ask them whether Combetta admitted to his Reddit posts the day after State agreed to search for emails. If he didn’t, then Combetta’s concealment of material facts could overturn his immunity deal.

        An alternate theory is that these committee hearings are political versions of Worldwide Wrestling, with punches pulled. Putting doofuses on the stand to plead the Fifth makes headlines, without actually ripping the lid off a corrupt Justice Department and disrupting bipartisan harmony.

        As the pros say, “It’s not a close call.” ;-)

  25. Katharine

    >“Clinton is having trouble assembling the coalition that twice elected Obama.” Then it’s not much of a coalition, is it?

    It seems to me the word is misused in that context, no matter how often it is used there. A real coalition involves diverse individuals or groups who agree with each other to work together on something. Diverse individuals who happened to agree on a choice for diverse reasons don’t qualify, and as they had no avowed common purpose then there is little reason to expect them to have any now.

    1. hunkerdown

      Not misused, just telling. Proles don’t have agency any more than any other livestock. To the bourgeois liberal, normal is theirs and theirs alone to create, and proles are the raw materials.

      This is the liberal order, in full, arrogant, obscene display. Perfunctorily, “sorry”.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Factions are based on property interests (Madison). If Clinton is having trouble assembling the same factions that Obama did, I would argue that’s because their material interests have diverged.

  26. ewmayer

    Re. The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity — Cute, but wrong in almost every way and on almost every claim of significance. Let’s take te alleged “laws” in order, which key snips in quotes:

    1. “The First Basic Law prevents me from attributing a specific numerical value to the fraction of stupid people within the total population: any numerical estimate would turn out to be an underestimate.” — Not a fraction of 1. Mathematically stupid to claim otherwise.

    2. “It is my firm conviction, supported by years of observation and experimentation, that men are not equal, that some are stupid and others are not, and that the difference is determined by nature and not by cultural forces or factors.” — Stupidly ignores the undisputible fact that tribalism makes even the smartest people stupid, and that learning does occur (albeit only outside a tribal context).

    3. “…human beings fall into four basic categories: the helpless, the intelligent, the bandit and the stupid.” — Au contraire, I argue that humans fall into just two reliable behavioral categories – those who like to group humanity into a small set of neat categories, and those who don’t.

    4. “The truly amazing fact, however, is that also intelligent people and bandits often fail to recognize the power to damage inherent in stupidity.” — Wrong again, as evidenced by the very common phrase “stupidity kills.” No, the power to do real damage in fact resides overwhelmingly in the special subset of stupids I note in [2], the very-smart-but-rendered-stupid-by-tribalism. Just look at governments, militaries, the economics profession and the MSM for prima facie exemplars of entire fields overrun by such people. The danger such folks pose and the damage they wreak are rendered nearly limitless by their ability to convince most of the rest of humanity that they are smart and thus should be listened to, i.e. that their birth-smarts have not in fact been completely negated by their tribalism.

    5. “A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.” — Not in a blanket way, no. Only in the sense I note in [4]. For instance, I consider most of this five-basic-laws writer’s analysis to be pretty stupid, but not in a dangerous way.

  27. Procopius

    “US, British, Danish and Australian aircraft may have incorrectly assessed intelligence and targeted the site.”

    Oh, I’m sure that could never happen, like in Kunduz.
    I remember in World War II, the Allies decided to bomb the monastery at Monte Cassino because the German artillery fire was so accurate, they figured there had to be spotters observing the hits, and obviously the spotters would be inside a nice comfy building instead of out on the slopes of the mountain in the weather.

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