Links 9/23/16

Unique feeding habits of whales revealed Science Daily (CL).

Big Lonely Doug The Walrus

Pressure Mounts on Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf WSJ

Taxpayers Subsidized Wells Fargo Executive Pay Amid Bank’s Fraud International Business Times

Deutsche Bank Woes Sparks Concern Among German Lawmakers Reuters

Exclusive: Regulators expect Monte dei Paschi to ask Italy for help – sources Reuters (RS).

House-Flippers Turn to the Crowd for Quick Cash. What Could Go Wrong? Bloomberg

Facebook Overestimated Key Video Metric for Two Years Wall Street Journal. I can’t imagine buying anything because I saw an ad for it on Facebook; the reverse, if anything. Is it just me?

NHTSA releases self-driving car guidelines Business Insider

Tesla Model S car hacked by Chinese security firm from 19km away using ‘malicious’ wi-fi hotspot ABC Australia

Neither Uber nor 2016 believe sharing is the future Digitopoly

For the Debaters: What Shall We Do About the Tech Careening Our Way? NYT. Self-driving trucks (on highways only).

Murky Waters Harpers (J-LS). GE = U-North. “I’m suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I’m covered with some sort of film….”

August Extends an Exceptional String of Record-Warm Global Months Weather Underground

Native American tribes back Iowa pipeline fight Des Moines Register

Memo to Briefcase Warriors: Be Bold! Indian Country

Surface uplift and time-dependent seismic hazard due to fluid injection in eastern Texas Science


The US road map to balkanize Syria Pepe Escobar, RT

Obama Puts Syria at Arm’s Length as Carnage Drags On NYT

French GDP contracted in Q2 FT

France Summons Belgium’s Ambassador in Migrant Spat WSJ


China Steadies Economy With Risk-Laden Tactics WSJ

METALS-Copper softens on profit-taking before Fed meeting Reuters

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“This Is a Rebellion”: A Protester Speaks From the Front Lines in Charlotte Truthout. “No, sire…”

Charlotte protesters say they’re sick of ‘letting things slide’ Miami Herald

Family Sees Video, Says Keith Scott Was Walking Backward When He Was Shot NBC

Judge rules NYPD can act as prosecutor in Black Lives Matter protest cases NY Daily News. “‘District attorneys are legally permitted to delegate the prosecution of petty crimes or offenses so long as the district attorney is also informed of all criminal prosecutions in the county,’ Mitchell wrote in his Jeffryes decision.” Seems legit.

Kool-Aid and Cyanide Jacobin. That time Bill Clinton doubled down on mass incarceration.

Forensic techniques sending people to prison may not be scientifically valid The Verge

Feds: We can read all your email, and you’ll never know The Conversation (J-LS).

RoboCop: China’s new airport security droid deters threats with cattle-prod (PHOTO)  RT

Imperial Collapse Watch

America Is Not the Greatest Country on Earth. It’s No. 28 Bloomberg

War Drums

Key lawmakers accuse Russia of campaign to disrupt U.S. election WaPo


How A Decision In May Changed The General Election Buzzfeed. Important on the Clinton campaign’s change of strategy in May:

Clinton’s strategy is unrecognizable from the first year of her campaign. She doesn’t tie Trump to the rest of the Republican Party. She doesn’t talk about Republican extremism or Republican rhetoric or Republican ideology. She has made the race almost exclusively about Donald Trump, his temperament, his qualifications, his character, and his fitness to serve, leaving the rest of the Democratic Party to adjust to a general election that has little to do with traditional partisan policy or politics.

Still, the message has disadvantages for Democrats.

Senate Republicans have been able to distance themselves from Trump to their benefit: In New Hampshire, 78% of voters see Ayotte, a first-term senator who rarely mentions her party’s nominee on the campaign trail, as a “different kind of Republican” than Trump, according to a CBS News-YouGov poll of battleground states last month.

Two other vulnerable GOP incumbent candidates, Sens. Pat Toomey and Richard Burr, have seen a similar dynamic among voters in their respective home states, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In Ohio, 20% of likely Clinton voters said in another recent poll that they will also vote for incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman over the Democrat.

As it turned out, Republican establishment endorsements (and donations) following Clinton’s May pivot weren’t followed by Republican defection at the base; Republicans “came home.” Without them, Clinton’s base is uncomfortably narrow. It’s unclear how she can appeal to the youthful democraphic she told to “do their own research” and smeared as #BernieBros; certainly not by making appeals to the Sanders-like policies she derided as “free stuff.” It’s also unclear how she can get more turnout in the older black community and the credentialled 10% than she already has. And bonus points for throwing downballot Democrats under the bus! No wonder party barons like Warren and Sanders are starting to throw their weight around before November 8; they win as strong opposition figures or strong policy-makers. And no wonder Democrat loyalist operatives like Drum and Krugman are wheeling the Blame Cannons into position. Events, dear boy, events; and a few swing counties in a few swing states; but we’ve seen Clinton snatch defeat from the jaws of victory before. Will Clinton’s May pivot be the Von Kluck’s Turn of campaign 2016?

How to Know an Election is Over Scott Adams. Comment on Clinton video here, which you should watch for the visual, with the sound turned down.

Why Hillary Clinton Is In Serious Danger Of Losing To Trump Thom Hartman (RR). “I’m not Trump” commits the classic error: “You can’t beat something with nothing.”

Trump’s Top Aides May Be Witnesses in Bridge Traffic Jams Trial Bloomberg

Clinton gets little bang for big bucks FT

When It Comes to Baskets, We’re All Deplorable NYT

It’s a Medicare surprise for senior citizens not paying attention McClatchy. “Seamless conversion.”

Enrollment is tanking at the University of Phoenix, DeVry and other for-profit colleges Los Angeles Times

Class Warfare

Gallup CEO: Economic Recovery Hasn’t Actually Happened ETF Daily News

California Farmworkers Win Equal Overtime: “This Bill Corrects 78 Years of Discrimination” In These Times (RK).

The Whistleblowers of Oz Pando

How the FDA Manipulates the Media Scientific American

Quantum teleportation over 7 kilometres of cables smashes record New Scientist

Against happiness The Economist. True fact: Zappos has a chief happiness officer.

Antidote du jour (Mrs. Mop):


Mrs. Mop writes: “I met this beautiful fellow on my morning bike ride. He/she was not even slightly impressed by my curiosity, just kept going with his morning toilet, every now and then stretching her long neck to gaze at the mirroring water.”

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. EndOfTheWorld

    Mrs. Mop: “I met this fellow on my morning bike ride.” I wanna go on that bike trail, if possible. Looks very nice.

    1. Mrs. Mop


      Then I‘ll invite you to the fabulous green outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany – quite different than the much less fabulous over-designed inner-city area of the financial metropolis. Just kiss the huge architectonic banking juggernaut good-bye and hit your pedals towards the north where a tiny, very lazy mini-river called Nidda turns into the most beautiful swan lake which, depending on the season, makes you feel like dwelling in a paradisical, dream-like, well, kind of end of the world.

      Need a know-the-place guidance? Count on me ;)

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Mrs. Mop—-I met a guy and his wife cycling all the way down the Rhine from Holland to Schweiz. I’d like to try that some day. Sind sie deutcher? Ich bin amerikanner. Ich spreche nur ein bissen deutch.

        1. Mrs. Mop

          Yes, there are plenty of beautifully challenging bike trails all over Europe, many of them border-crossing various countries. My personal favorite is the trail along the Danube river, starting in Southern Germany and kicking the pedals all the way down through Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. You can spend days or weeks on these trips, sleeping al fresco and watch yourself becoming a happier* person day by day.

          *even as a German, which I happen to be ;)

  2. fresno dan

    It’s a Medicare surprise for senior citizens not paying attention McClatchy. “Seamless conversion.”

    Seniors, open your mail and read it carefully. What you don’t know can hurt you.

    A special Medicare provision that allows private health insurance companies to enroll individuals who become eligible for Medicare into their Medicare Advantage coverage is costing surprised patients lots of money, according to news reports. The little-known rule, called “seamless conversion,” means some health insurance companies are automatically signing members of its non-Medicare insurance plans into their Medicare plans when they reach 65, the age of Medicare eligibility.

    Gee, that sure seems familiar. Its like deja vu all over again. I could swear I just saw some congressional hearing where some CEO was being upbraided for signing people into stuff without their knowledge….what was it??? Cable TV? Nah….magazine subscriptions? Nah….CD of the month? Nah….well, it will come to me….
    By the way, is this called “nudging”?

    1. pretzelattack

      those health insurance companies are being victimized by their dishonest employees, who will be fired if they aren’t dishonest.

    2. Invy

      When economists predict the population will do something and don’t, they have to make their models valid through force. Cant wait for cashless society, and central banks zeroing long term bond yields to force banks into lending.

      Good times ahead.

    3. Andrew Watts

      No illegal activity here. Failing to opt out voluntarily is the new opting in program. It’s new and improved and if you don’t like it then you’re probably a communist because the market is all about choice.

      1. cwaltz

        That’s what I was thinking- Didn’t this start with the government allowing companies to assume their employees are opting in for a 401k so that they could beef up the youths retirement money and later make the argument that they need to keep their Social Security slush fund?

  3. fresno dan

    How the FDA Manipulates the Media Scientific American

    Documents obtained by Scientific American through Freedom of Information Act requests now paint a disturbing picture of the tactics that are used to control the science press. For example, the FDA assures the public that it is committed to transparency, but the documents show that, privately, the agency denies many reporters access—including ones from major outlets such as Fox News—and even deceives them with half-truths to handicap them in their pursuit of a story. At the same time, the FDA cultivates a coterie of journalists whom it keeps in line with threats. And the agency has made it a practice to demand total control over whom reporters can and can’t talk to until after the news has broken, deaf to protests by journalistic associations and media ethicists and in violation of its own written policies.

    This is probably happening in every media – private sector- government press interaction now a days – – essentially shut up for access. In some respects, it strikes me why so much of “news” is just yammering by blowhards – the people who know don’t have to talk to the press.
    But what really gets me is “…and in violation of its own written policies.” Every agency I have worked at goes on and on when complaints are made that there are policies are in place to prevent the alleged mis behavior. Of course, complaints that such policies are not followed are speciously rebutted by the agency by asserting that there is no evidence that the agency did not do something, i.e., asking someone to prove a negative. The whole government has become Clintonesque….

    1. afisher

      Transparency? From 2007: Julie L Gerberding MD, MPH was testiying in front of Committee on Environment and Public Works US Senate, Chairperson Senator Inohfe. The topic: Climate Change and Public Health.
      What is extraordinary is that this was 2 things: An exit testimony as the Director of the CDC was leaving that position to work for Merck. What was more extraordinary is that there are 2 sets of transcripts, one that was toted by the Senate hearing link (which endorsed addressing Climate Change) and the actual transcript that was sent to the Public Record domain) which is much more in line with Climate denial favored by GOP head.

      The point being is that it really depends on who is the head and their own agenda to manipulate information via legal or otherwise means. Less we forget the GOP have long complained for Big Pharma, that approval rates take too long via GWB etc.

  4. Cry Shop

    Pando Leaks/Whistleblowers: Seems the lesson is either be extreme right wing leaker or an expensive “for profit” seller of secrets* (like Stratfor) and you’ll be okay… better than okay.

  5. jgordon

    I don’t watch TV so I wasn’t aware of this, but this morning I’m in a waiting room, in Florida, with a TV on and I just saw 8 pro Hillary or anti Trump commercials in the last ten minutes. Zero for Trump. And yet Hillary is dying in the polls here.

    God, whenever I see her wretched face it’s all I can do to keep from sending Trump a few bucks.

    Slightly different topic, but watching this crap got me thinking. Serious question here: with the internet available to everyone now, is TV advertising even effective anymore? I mean I can basically fact check every political ad instantly with my phone now, and since it looks like most/all of them are disingenuous they’re probably working against the candidates buying them, right?

    1. Roger Smith

      I have to question whether or not advertising is even effective generally. I cannot believe what a big industry it is as people have to realize, going on a century of visual ads, that it is all pandering garbage that holds the viewer’s intelligence in contempt.

      Personally I avoid advertisements like a plague (No cable access TV, no radio). Are other people not tired of this crap, especially when you are watching something and ALL OF THE SUDDEN THE TV IS THIS LOUD!!! (Where is the FCC at?)

      1. Pavel

        I agree 100% about the increased volume of the commercials. Luckily I am one of those snobs without a TV :) but when I visit friends it just drives me insane. And of course there are some people who have the TV set on ALL THE TIME… even when friends visit. Baffling, considering the low quality and high frequency of adverts, and when one can now watch the decent programming without commercials via iTunes or Netflix etc.

        As for the political ads — they are certainly losing their effectiveness, but it is really just a big racket. Here’s the flow of money:

        –well-meaning people give HRC (or Trump) money for the campaign
        –the campaign “consultants” spend vast amounts of money on TV ads
        –those same consultants get a cut of the spending or other commissions
        –the TV stations make boatloads of money

        Everyone profits except the viewers and the donors, whose money is wasted.

        1. Dave

          Got the ultimate Christmas present, a remote control that has one function: “OFF”.
          Took a long drive across the country recently and every single hotel we stayed in had multiple screens showing football or other sports events or the usual MSNBC in the “dining” room where the factory food chemical breakfasts were squirted, oozed and microwaved into the ponderous stomachs of the anemic looking people passing through.
          First thing I did was hit the button on my little device when I sat down. No one seemed to notice that the screens went blank. I don’t think people actually watch them, it’s more like air conditioning, it’s “visual conditioning.”, getting us ready for Big Brother who only lacks more complete security camera deployment to reach the world Orwell predicted.

          Pleasantly surprised that one hotel in South Dakota had RT on their in room lineup. RT is the only thing worth watching other than movies. Even the BBC is suspect as they seem to reflect Neocon propaganda with a British accent.

          1. subgenius

            You can also build a somewhat dodgy device (should you have some basic electronics skill) based on a phase-locked loop…that creates a cell-free zone in your immediate vicinity…

            Peace requires proactivity in the modern city.

            1. beth

              That sounds like something I need. Let us know where to learn about that device.

              Recently I was sitting in a medical lab with about 10 people waiting. The TV was annoyingly running & suddenly it went silent. I said thank you hoping to find out who had the device. The man who did it acknowledged by looking around and smiling. He had an app on his smart phone. All expressed appreciation. I told the amused group that once I had done the same thing when I was the only one in a waiting room and had the staff look angrily at me while I looked as innocent as I could. Everyone laughed.

                1. hunkerdown

                  subgenius, thanks mate! Downloaded and archived. That’s an educational little circuit. I’m amazed at how integrated RF functions have gotten, and this almost ten years ago. Remember when radios needed high-frequency RF coils? And when power supplies didn’t? heh

          2. hunkerdown

            Ugh, audio conditioning. I recall that article about the isolation of the McMansion from a Cooler earlier this week, and read with some interest the author’s desperate bid to justify their chaotic, cramped, noisy upbringing where one can barely hear oneself think as a return to a sane norm. Oh, perspective — kids in the Eighties were only just starting to be sealed into bubbles against Stranger Danger, and they could still go unstructured places and do unstructured things, on their own and with friends, to decompress from that wack sardine can of a home life.

            And that’s why “kids these days” are mortally afraid of quiet.

        2. Robert Hahl

          I have relatives who leave the TV on all the time, even at night. Nobody actually watches anything except random football plays. They seem normal in other ways but continuous background TV noise is part of life there.

          1. jgordon

            My mother does that. She did that my entire life while I was growing. It wasn’t until I moved out that I realized that not having a GDed TV blaring at me 24/7 with its stupid nonsense was not just awesome, but normal. Now, I simple refuse to enter any house if the TV is on, and turn them off whenever possible when I’m in public.

            I firmly believe that allowing children to watch TV is a subtle and pernicious form of child abuse.

      2. TalkingCargo

        I agree completely. Over the years I found myself watching less and less TV until I ended my cable service last year, mostly because the commercials drove me nuts. I’ve long felt that we as a society spend way too much on advertising and it’s hard to see how we get any actual benefit from it.

      3. david s

        My sister worked for a pretty big, well known company with a huge internet presence. They spent a fortune on advertising and marketing and figuring out how to drive people to their website.

        My sister was very much on the inside on the decisions this company made on how much to spend on advertising and marketing. I once asked her if any of it actually, provably worked, and she said no one really had any idea.

        But you had to spend like that because everyone else was doing it, and you didn’t want to be the one who pulled the plug on the spending only to find out it was helping.

        1. jgordon

          Then, it looks like Trump is seeing how it goes this time around, with an actual presidency at stake. Maybe a Trump win will give these marketing people permission to forego TV advertising in the future–a win/win for everyone except Hillary and the legacy media.

        2. Antifa

          “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

          — John Wanamaker, US department store merchant (1838 – 1922)

        3. curlydan

          The ad agencies would really not like any research done on ads’ effectiveness either on TV or the internet. Generally in most studies I’ve seen, ads have little impact. In my opinion, companies just need ads to boost or maintain brand awareness.

          I ran across an interesting study on internet paid search a few years ago. Basically, researchers tested paid (aka clicking on sponsored links in search engines) versus organic search (scrolling down to click on top non-sponsored choice) for eBay. Lo and behold, there basically is little to no difference in clicks, especially when you factor in cost. Of course, Google might go into serious freak out mode if many people realized this.

          You can Google this study :)…
          “Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment”

          1. polecat

            Ever go to Yahoo’s home page scroll …… half the headliners are sponsored (Ads) !! as is their fucked-up, and now compromised, email !!

        4. Procopius

          I remember at least ten years ago Robert X. Cringely was saying they now had techniques, at least with internet advertising, to really determine what worked and what didn’t, and how well. If that was the case, why is so much internet advertising now so horrible? The autorun pop-up ads, the audio ads where it’s so hard to find them to turn them off, the ads that cover the whole page where you can’t find the thingy to turn them off. I would certainly never buy a product that advertises that way, and if it’s the web site advertising itself or demanding I subscribe, to hell with them. I don’ t go back. I’ve whitelisted a few sites in my ad-blocker, because they keep their advertising reasonable and I like them, but I almost never click on a banner ad.

      4. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think it works if it’s a situation of “they are saying what we are all thinking.” Don’t try to sell dark beers in the Summer. Or advertise lo cal beers to people who do serious work outs. They can handle a real beer.

        A few years ago there was a state legislator who ran ads featuring a former army doctor hailing the delegate as a leading voice on veterans issues. She lost in a low turnout election. Everyone loves veterans, right? The delegate was a widow of a Persian Gulf War pilot, so she actually did care. Her district has no bases or veteran employers (there are probably a good deal of reservists with multiple degrees compared to most localities). How did her ad play? It’s just noise. What did people in her district worry about? Transit and education. One item she had concrete accomplishments. If she had run ads on that, people would say, “hey delegate X brought us this train.” The train was coming anyway, but the delegate gets to attach her name to it. Still, she could have claimed credit easily enough. Long story short, she lost with extremely low turnout in the black community.

        1. Jen

          Yep. Got a mailer from Senate candidate Maggie Hassan last week in which she said her number one priority is to Keep Us Safe, Donald Trump, Nuclear codes, yada, yada, yada. Since Bernie won this state by 20 points you’d think that might give her a hint about what matters to voters, but, nah. Despite her superdelegate status I regard her as a not awful governor, and she probably would be better than Ayotte, but there you go.

    2. ambrit

      I would argue that the phenomenon you suggest is dependent upon the “engagement” of the individual voters with the ‘narrative’ being promoted. Absent such an expenditure of time and attention, the subliminal effects of all this advertising would become more important. Imagine you or I were “Average Voter” standing in front of the voting machine. Without an overriding ‘drive’ to shape our voting preferences, the subconscious will assert it’s influence. Who have we seen the most of over the time period prior to the voting event?
      The counter strategy is the time honoured one of, ‘character’ matters. I’d expect a blizzard of “Hillary is a Crook” ads from Trump’s campaign in the week or two before the actual vote. Political jui jitsu to connect negative feelings to the subconscious H Clinton image would work.
      I have had my run ins with doctors office secretaries lately over those ubiquitous televisions. I’ll ask the other patron’s permissions, and then mute those idiot boxes. I’ve noticed that the video streams playing on the screens in the larger “healthcare” enterprises waiting rooms are in house “all ads all the time,” mixed in with barely disguised infomercials now.
      Please, don’t get me started on “Daytime Television.” Minow’s “Vast Wasteland” is here.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      As I commented recently, Florida is being absolutely carpet bombed with clinton ads, and it has been going on for months.

      A Suffolk University poll (groan, another poll) cited this morning on msnbs has Trump gaining 6 points in FL since August 3 and clinton gaining 1. Trump has pulled ahead of clinton by 1 point in this “poll.” Supposedly this increase in support is coming from the third party candidates.

      It would seem that all these ads are not merely ineffective, but actually detrimental to the “cause.” The same thing over and over and over started looking pretty desperate awhile ago. But what else do you do with all the money that she continues to raise?

      This is the first time in the decades that I have been eligible to vote that I have lived in a “swing” state during a contested election. It’s nothing if not “interesting.”

          1. clarky90

            Everyone, who is/was a parent, knows how well screaming/ear bashing works to get one’s way. (It doesn’t work. In fact, you usually get the opposite result to which you were screaming for in the first place.) Ear bashing doesn’t work, for children or adults.

      1. savedbyirony

        I don’t watch much TV except for sports but from what i have seen it has been the same here in Ohio. Constant Clinton ads, most of which are attack ads against Trump, and they have been doing this for months. The other high volume political commercials running here are attack ads against Strickland by Portman for the Senate.

        For the last two decades i have lived in the swing state of Ohio. This time out it is “interesting”, but i have to say the actual psychological bombardment upon citizens via TV/phoning/signage, etc so far is actually far less than four years ago.

        1. Procopius

          The funny thing is, the MSM are unhappy because they expected to make a huuuuuge amount from Trump ads, and he isn’t buying ads. I wonder if that’s why he’s been moving up in the polls and Clinton has barely been staying even. People are so tired of her damned ads. Also, too, she’s giving a huuuuuge amount of money to them, and they figure they’re better off bashing her because ratings. Conventional wisdom seems to be taking quite a beating this year.

    4. JCC

      I stopped paying for cable TV and stopped watching TV in general (too far away from almost all on-air television) back in 1999. I can honestly say my attitude and life in general since then has changed noticeably, and mostly, for the better.

      The trend of sites like the NYTimes, Wash Post, WSJ, etc. sliding behind paywalls hasn’t hurt either.

    5. sid_finster

      Advertising generally is more effective when you aren’t trying to sell what everyone knows to be a shit sandwich.

      1. Antifa

        Advertising is most effective on a Pavlovian level — it strengthens your positive reaction to what you see and hear. It makes you more certain that you are right in your thinking. It welcomes you into a tribe of similar thinking people, and enhances your ego and social status for being with the in-crowd. That’s why so many ads are “lifestyle” montages, meant to get you imagining that you are that thin, beautiful, rich, admired, happy, or you easily could be if you just buy this product.

        This is preaching to the choir, not selling. In an election there’s a point when members of the choir individually decide the election’s already won, and they stay home and watch the soaps rather than voting.

        If you don’t already agree with the ad, and its unspoken assumptions, it can only wear away at your resistance, very slowly, like waves dissolving rocks. An ad certainly can’t sell you, since the essence of selling is befriending the pigeon, the mark, the rube, the customer first. Once they agree with your view of things, you can sell them what you will.

    6. afisher

      38% of all Senatorial races are being bought / aired by dark money. Thanks to GOP for Citizen’s United. Some here may be missing the forest for the trees.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Since the Clinton Democrats have now adopted the central doctrine of Citizens United, that only demonstrable quid pro quos equal corruption, it doesn’t really matter who wrote the opinion, does it?

  6. Pavel

    A useful comment by “quantum” from the “Why Hillary Clinton Is In Serious Danger Of Losing To Trump” article, which follows on from our discussion of voting reform yesterday:

    The longer this contest plays out the more likely it is that Clinton will lose. If a major stock market correction happens before voting day, she is almost guaranteed to lose.

    As bad as Trump is, he is still the outsider candidate that people are running towards because both of the major political parties are extremely corrupt. He is the outsider who knows nothing about diplomacy or how our government is run.

    Yes, he will cause us great harm as a country, but since Clinton is a war hawk, it is uncertain as to which candidate will cause more harm to us in our standing the world.

    I’m getting disgusted with the whole thing and plan on writing in NONE OF THE ABOVE on my ballot for the presidency. I will vote for down ticket Democrats but I am going to refuse to vote for either/any of the piss poor candidates in the presidential race.

    Why Hillary Clinton Is In Serious Danger Of Losing To Trump

    I think quantum pretty much sums it up, as well as a nation’s despair. Team Clinton dragging out the despised and scorned Repubs like Bush et al as endorsers? It will only piss off the Bernie brigade and depress her vote further. And as has been pointed out by all and sundry, this is the year of the anti-establishment candidate.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Personally, I think way too much emotional energy is being wasted on caring about who is president. During the fall of the Western Roman Empire there was a lot of sound and fury over who was emperor but it didn’t change the trajectory of the empire as a whole.

      We may have a democratically-elected government after all but that doesn’t mean we actually possess a democratic government. People who vote for Trump won’t be responsible for the damage that is caused by President Trump. How do we hold an elected president accountable anyway? We can’t force a vote of no confidence in Congress that would bring down the government and/or force new elections.

      Which would be the ideal outcome no matter who wins in November imo.

      1. jgordon

        The day after the inauguration Hillary ‘We Came, We Saw, He Died HAHAHA’ Clinton, a known psychopath with severe neurological problems, will be staring at the red button and wondering what it’d be like to push it, just for fun.

        If Emperor Commodus had had nukes imagine what the world would be like today. That is the flaw in the “it doesn’t matter who wins in November” theory. I personally would probably not even bother voting in November if not for that. Global warming and ocean acidification? Yeah–OK. We can start worrying about stuff like that again immediately after we dodge the giant meteor of a potential Hillary presidency.

        1. Andrew Watts

          I don’t believe either Trump/Clinton would voluntarily push the launch the nuke the world button. Or that the military would follow through with the command. Outside of Hiroshima and Nagasaki every plausible scenario that almost ended with a nuclear confrontation was a result of accidents or misunderstandings. Like how the US didn’t know that Soviet tactical nukes were operational during the Cuban missile crisis. So if Kennedy had pushed for an invasion a limited nuclear exchange probably would’ve taken place.

          But hey, I live in state with a lack of first-strike targets and a limited number of secondary targets. So the only thing I have to worry about is clean water and radioactive fallout brought to my doorstep by wind patterns.

          1. jrs

            Yea I don’t either, so whatever. I do believe the bigger threat is climate change. But I don’t believe either candidate is good on that (maybe Hillary is marginally better though as Trump is pretty bad. Maybe we should ask who is most likely to initiate a geo-engineering program at this point and vote for them – of course that has a very good chance of failing but it might be the only hope). I am opposed to Clinton’s hawkishness for conventional wars though, so that’s a problem there.

            1. Rootie Kazoodie

              Geo-engineer away the shock & awe caused by the next 4 yrs methane deluge? Hillary will be green-washing exponentially expanded fracking with ploys like CNG micro-turbine hybrid autonomous trucks, GE microorganism fracking (Pittsburgh, where this meeting was held has a fracked reservoir 35mi East & nuclear plants to the west, 850K folks are basically drinking legally watered-down radium flavor return water. Trump has yet to have Ivanka tell him how we once tried fracking with a-bombs.

            2. subgenius

              Climate change is a symptom…not the problem…which is biosphere destruct by technologic societies…

              This is why all geoengineering proposals are doubling down on teh stoopid…

          2. jgordon

            There is too much wishful thinking in that for me. WW1 was inconceivable before it happened, but then it happened. Where would we be today if all the major powers in 1913 were in possession of hydrogen bombs? With Hillary’s bad judgement and extreme carelessness that’s roughly where we’d be at going into 2017.

            Hillary is dead set on antagonizing Russia, while Trump says he wants to get along with Russia. To me, that is the one important issue this election. Everything else is fluff.

            1. Andrew Watts

              Every election cycle is filled with alarmist hysteria propagated by the media. This cycle has been filled with more of that than others I’ve witnessed.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                What would a Trump victory mean for MSNBC? Their ratings are abysmal for this point in in the cycle. What are they telling advertisers right now? If Hillary loses to a clown such as Trump, “liberal” gatekeepers won’t look as shiny. The millenials might be liberal, but they aren’t watching “liberal” gatekeepers.

                1. aab

                  Do you have a link to MSNBC’s ratings being down? I quit on the channel completely when Chris Hayes acted astounded at Susan Sarandon’s assertion that it might be better to vote third party than vote for Hillary Clinton. I kept waiting to hear they had dropped, because SO MANY other people in the Bernieverse were also saying they had dropped it, but I was under the impression during the summer, ratings were still robust (by MSNBC standards).

                  I presume Comcast executives understood they’d take a hit during the campaign, but it would be worth it to help their ally/servant get into power to do the things they want. What it does next year is a different question. President Trump SHOULD be good for business, if they handle it correctly. They won’t have to apologize for the party any more. All they really needed to ensure was no President Sanders.

              2. jgordon

                Just because you’re paranoid, or alarmist, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you–or that it’s impossible for the entire world to become a radioactive glass parking lot.

                How many mass extinction events has the world been through already? They do happen from time to time you know.

              1. jgordon

                My thinking exactly on Hillary and they nay-sayers who say that she wouldn’t really be able to start a nuclear war.

                Pull your heads out of the frickin sand people. If Hillary becomes president there will literally not be a single other person in the world with both the disposition and ability to start a nuclear war more suited to it than her. Is that really a gamble you’re OK with just because “there’s no way that could happen. Someone would do something.”

        2. Myron

          Definitely have to agree here. I guess Clinton is winning the propaganda game because everyone seems to think Trump will start WW3…but with whom? The only flashpoint country Trump has been beligerent with is Iran and Hillary’s AIPAC speech has me much more concerned on that front.

          1. cwaltz

            He’s been belligerent with muslims in general.

            I’m not really sure he’s taken the time to figure out which countries they live in(more than he thinks I’d bet)

            That would be all policy driven and nuance y which clearly is not Trump’s style

        3. knowbuddhau

          Please tell me you don’t really think that somewhere in the White House is a big red doomsday button.You do know how that how whole process works, don’t you? There is no “red button.” Let’s keep it real.

          I agree that Her Royal Clinton does pose an increased risk of nuclear war. But not from some sci-fi button that only exists in your overwrought argument.

          It’s the fact that Russia, having no way to repel a ground invasion, and facing NATO troops amassing on its borders, is on hair-trigger alert. It’s HRC’s hubristic willingness to antagonize them even further that could lead to a nuclear exchange, not her access to a button that doesn’t even exist.

      2. RabidGandhi

        AW: “Way too much emotional energy is being wasted on caring about who is president.”

        This x 100, especially when we consider:

        -The candidates have already been pre-selected and pre-positioned for us by the oligarchs and their media, so it’s not like voters are really ‘choosing’ in any recognisable sense of the word.

        – As you say, the candidates could be replaced by their respective VPs or lieutenants or anyone else, and the policies will not change.

        – Because of the electoral college and other voter suppression, the number of people who actually have a say in chosing coke or pepsi is less than 10% of the population– and I suspect those arguing most stridently won’t have a say in the election anyway.

        But be careful about repeating this obvious fact, as it challenges a lot of assumptions that even tend to be rampant here, to wit: “We must get HRC to step down” (who cares? would Kaine or Biden be any different?); “Anyone who says people should vote for HRC or Trump is a shill” (not true. Eg, Adolph Reed, Chomsky, James Levy, dcblogger); and lastly and most importantly, the very US-based assumption that elections=democracy (they had elections in East Germany for chrissakes).

        1. Andrew Watts

          Elections being equated with democracy is the Big Lie of contemporary American politics. It’s also weird to see so many people investing so much of themselves in the process. Particularly when it looks like NC lost a lot of good commentators over it.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Those glancing at third party candidates like Gary Johnson might ponder this handy list:

          * He supports TPP.
          * He supports fracking.
          * He opposes any federal policies that would make college more affordable or reduce student debt. In fact, he wants to abolish student loans entirely.
          * He thinks Citizens United is great.
          * He doesn’t want to raise the minimum wage. At all.
          * He favors a balanced-budget amendment and has previously suggested that he would slash federal spending 43 percent in order to balance the budget. This would require massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare and social welfare programs of all kinds.
          * He opposes net neutrality.
          * He wants to increase the Social Security retirement age to 75 and he’s open to privatization.
          * He opposes any kind of national health care and wants to repeal Obamacare.
          * He opposes practically all forms of gun control.
          * He opposes any kind of paid maternity or medical leave.
          * He supported the Keystone XL pipeline.
          * He opposes any government action to address climate change.
          * He wants to cut the corporate tax rate to zero.
          * He appears to believe that we should reduce financial regulation. All we need to do is allow big banks to fail and everything will be OK.
          * He wants to remove the Fed’s mandate to maximize employment and has spoken favorably of returning to the gold standard.
          * He wants to block-grant Medicare and turn it over to the states.
          * He wants to repeal the 16th Amendment and eliminate the income tax, the payroll tax, and the estate tax. He would replace it with a 28 percent FairTax that exempts the poor. This is equivalent to a 39 percent sales tax, and it would almost certainly represent a large tax cut for the rich.

        3. knowbuddhau

          +1. Adding, given the way the primary was stolen in broad daylight, what’s the chance they’re suddenly going to go all “hands off” during the general?

          My expectation is that Her Royal Clinton and her minions will steal the election, maybe as brazenly as they stole the primary, and not a damn thing will be done. It’ll only take rigging a few key counties in a swing state or two.

          The only way that doesn’t happen is if hordes of voters unaccounted for in the polls (either uncontacted or from not admitting real intentions) come out for Trump, and HRC’s nefarious efforts come up short. In which case we’re also screwed.

          Phuq ’em all. I’m voting Stein. And preparing to collapse in place.

      3. Uahsenaa

        I would tend to agree. I watch all those panels from think tanks and what have you on C-Span, and I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the bipartisan consensus is real, and that they have no idea what’s actually going on in this country or how to fix it.

        Because, of course, the donors and cash cows have no interest in fixing it.

        Just the other day, I was watching a panel about development in SE Asia, and this one gentlemen went on and on about what a boon it would be for the peasant fisherman whose livelihood would be destroyed by damming the Mekong for power generation, because all that development would mean he could “get a good job in an office.” I nearly spat out my tea, it was so ludicrous.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I watch all those panels from think tanks and what have you on C-Span

          Do you disinfect afterwards? (This sort of story is why I included those Magnum photos from Cambodia the other day. “Good job in an office” forsooth.)

      4. JohnnyGL

        I do think you’re correct, but we don’t live our lives in the perspective of the several hundred years it took for the Western end of the Roman Empire to collapse. That’s a view for historians to take when they look back at the early 21st century in a few hundred years’ time.

        For now, the rest of us are trying to 1) get the fewest people killed 2) get another shot at righting the ship as soon as possible and 3) limiting the amount of damage that can be done by whomever wins in the meantime.

        To explain my item 2) better, my thinking is that Trump may be preferable because he’ll be easier to dislodge in 4 years.

        This is highly speculative by me, of course. But with these two candidates, all one can do is speculate about the odds of future courses of action.

        1. Andrew Watts

          History is still a valuable tool for understanding human affairs and it does provide a certain amount of perspective.

          This is highly speculative by me, of course. But with these two candidates, all one can do is speculate about the odds of future courses of action.

          True. Nobody really knows what presidential candidates will do once they’re in office.

          1. Jess

            “This is highly speculative by me, of course. But with these two candidates, all one can do is speculate about the odds of future courses of action.

            True. Nobody really knows what presidential candidates will do once they’re in office.”

            There is a theory that becoming President changes people, or some people. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Trump won, was suddenly confronted by the vast responsibilities and powers of the office, and turned out to be pretty good at the job? Remember that unlike being a private entrepreneur, once in office he would not be spending or risking his money. Having a lot of Trump-named new bridges and other infrastructure projects might strongly appeal to him.

        2. RabidGandhi

          History shows that getting fewer people killed, righting the ship, limiting damage etc. depends not so much on who wins in November but rather on how well organised popular movements are to force the new president’s hand.

          The choice between which scumbag is to be elected is not negligible, but it is far, far outweighed by grassroots organisation– which doesn’t even need to be in a purple state to make a difference.

          1. Skip Intro

            To this end, it seems vindicating Bernie and discrediting the Clinton gang’s toxic mix of tribal identity politics, neoliberal economics and neoconservative imperialism is critical. I expect/hope a President Trump will find himself isolated, and because of his ego, will not simply fall in line with the GOP or the Washington consensus, but must at least appear to be ‘his own man’.
            The illusion of a new ‘white ascendency’ may actually reduce racial tensions, to the extent that the illusion of black equality triggered by Obama’s election reduced the sense of white superiority, and thus the perceived well-being of poor whites, who, like everyone else, need someone to look down on to feel self-worth derived from social status.
            If Trump loses under suspicious circumstances, the chances of increased violence seem high, and minorities are unlikely to benefit appreciably from whatever gestures a Clinton or Kaine administration deign to make.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Although one doesn’t wish suffering (cf. Hosea 8:7) on anyone, this from the article:

          As that reality sets in, a hallucinatory sense of slow-motion doom is descending on many liberals. (Though not only on liberals.) Victims of Trump-induced anxiety describe nightmares, insomnia, digestive problems, and headaches. Therapists find themselves helping their patients through a process that feels less like an election than a national nervous breakdown.

          Then again, it’s not like there are AIDS epidemic-level excess deaths among “liberals,” is it? Although there certainly is among the working class people who paid the price for the policies those same liberals helped to implement by breaking down “the rust belt” and selling off the spare parts (see the Case Deaton study). So, a few sleepless nights, a few upset stomachs… Pardon my schadenfreude.

      5. Isolato

        True, dat. History is more correctly viewed a little further back. The mass migration of peoples, the advance of technologies. Think…the Goths, the Polynesians, the colonization of the New World by Europeans. THAT is history.

      6. fresno dan

        Andrew Watts
        September 23, 2016 at 9:43 am


        “Personally, I think way too much emotional energy is being wasted on caring about who is president.”

        If not THE wisest thing said on this blog, definitely in the top 5.

      7. hunkerdown

        We can’t force a vote of no confidence in Congress that would bring down the government and/or force new elections.

        My memory of US history is a bit fuzzy, but I’m not sure we’ve ever tried broadly enough. It seems that entire districts renouncing their “representatives” by the advice of a plebiscite will force the question of Democracy™®© enough that we can stop asking the question.

        But yeah, too much wasted energy. +1 to that.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, its an interesting article and I suspect true (disclaimer: I don’t live in the US so I can’t comment on what its like to be a regular voter there).

      I’ve commented on this before, but I think this confirms what I’ve always thought – the Clinton campaign is all tactics and no strategy. They are good at chalking up lots of little daily messaging victories (hardly difficult when the media is almost entirely on your side), but the failure to project a positive reason for voting for her seems potentially disastrous. Chasing after Republican voters has the obvious flaw that it makes a campaign based on traditional vote winning Dem policies such as on health and education and labor impossible. You can’t do both. Its not talking with hindsight to say that they should have relied on the media to do the attack dog thing on Trump and moderate Republican voters to come to their own conclusions, while focusing instead on a positive message – give people a reason to vote for her. This is hardly rocket science, but it seems beyond the Clinton campaign.

      Of course, it may be incompetence and a lack of leadership, but possibly more likely that as accomplished grifters, the Clintons are themselves now victims of having a core campaign made up entirely of people serving their own personal interests. In these circumstances, nobody will be capable of focusing on a consistent strategy.

      1. david s

        She’s also just a terrible, inherently unlikable candidate and campaigner.

        She’s the opposite of Obama and Bill Clinton, who are inherently likable and charismatic. That’s important.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          I’m not a fan of Willy Jeff or Obama, but this is very true, both can–or at least could–charm and possess charisma. Obama, whatever you think of him, has also been remarkably free of personal sleaze and toxic drama that we’ll see in spades with either Hillary or Trump.

          1. JTMcPhee

            You can say that about 0Bomba with his weekly kill list, besotted with the “benefits” those manifold “trade agreements,” the corruption of the FBI and Justice,, the runaway idiocy of the still-running GWOT and military spending generally, etc? And of course his constant attention to setting up all the paydays he will get on exiting the World’s Most Important Position?

            1. Kurt Sperry

              I didn’t express myself very clearly. With either Trump or Hillary you will *in addition to* all the above and likely worse, also see tawdry personal as opposed to political, scandal and drama which whatever you think of Obama–and I suspect we would mostly agree–he has managed to avoid. On the other hand, when the executive is doing much evil and personal scandal harms their ability to get things done, maybe that’s a good thing.

      2. JohnnyGL

        They’re so convinced that just a few more “fact-checks” and “gotchas” about Trump will somehow sink him in the polls. They really don’t understand that no one cares about that kind of stuff.

        I hadn’t seen the video of “why am I not 50 points ahead?”. But, wow, it’s worth watching. Heavy sarcasm, she sounds mad at the voters for threatening to mess this up for her.

        It seriously reminded me of this….–38416

          1. clarky90

            “WASHINGTON—After several seconds spent sitting motionless and glaring directly into the camera, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly began Sunday’s video announcing her 2016 presidential bid by warning the nation not to fuck this up for her. “Listen up, assholes, ’cause I’m only saying this once: I’ve worked way too goddamn hard to let you morons blow this thing for me,” said Clinton, repeatedly jabbing her index finger toward the viewers at home while adding that if they thought she was going to simply sit back and watch them dick her over like they did in 2008, they were out of their fucking minds. “Seriously, don’t you dare even think about it. If you shitheads can just get in line, we can breeze through this whole campaign in 19 months and be done with it. Or, if you really want, we can do this the hard way. Because make no mistake, I’m not fucking around. Got it?” Clinton then ended her announcement by vowing to fight for a better future for all working-class families like the one she grew up in.”

        1. DanB

          This reminds me of how the Republicans kept hoping Ken Starr’s stream of prurient revelations would bring Bill Clinton down. As I recall, it got to the point where the majority of the public accepted he was a sleazeball but did not want him impeached.

        2. knowbuddhau

          I hear that. Maybe it’s because they’re bringing facts to a faith-based argument. That is, maybe a lot of Trump supporters have so lost faith in the System, and it’s perfect poster child, Her Royal Clinton, that they happily follow The Donald precisely in spite of “facts.” Same thing only different for Hilbots.

          Facts be damned, they have faith in him/Her.

          Same thing could account for a lot of pols immunity to facts: if you’ve got the faith of supporters, facts don’t mean squat. And once you lose it, no amount of spin will make a damn bit of difference.

          Seems to me this whole farce has more to do with faith than facts.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > , the Clintons are themselves now victims of having a core campaign made up entirely of people serving their own personal interests. In these circumstances, nobody will be capable of focusing on a consistent strategy.

        I’m reminded of this passage from Dune:

        The smaller of the [two Guildsmen] elbowed his way a step nearer the Emperor, said: “We cannot know how it will go.” And the taller companion …. added in a cold voice: “But this Muad’Dib cannot know, either.”

        The words shocked the Emperor out of his daze. He checked the scorn on his tongue by a visible effort because it did not take a Guild navigator’s single-minded focus on the main chance to see the immediate future out on that plain. Were these two so dependent upon their faculty that they had lost the use of their eyes and their reason? he wondered.

        “Reverend Mother,” he said,“we must devise a plan.”

        She pulled the hood from her face, met his gaze with an unblinking stare. The look that passed between them carried complete understanding. They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.

        “Summon Count Fenring from his quarters,” the Reverend Mother said.

        Translating the cast of characters (with some gender reversal)

        The Guildsmen: Brooklyn HQ staffers
        The Emperor: Clinton
        Reverend Mother: Mook, or Podesta
        Count Fenring: ??????

    3. afisher

      All of which is pretty weird as the Senate just voted for more weapons to be sold in the Middle East and the House voted for more weapons to Ukraine. The cosmic disconnect that HRC is going to demand some invasion is pretty weird as the entire Congress is already supplying all the necessary weapons to Middle East / Saudi’s / Israel and Ukraine. Call her a neo-con and ignore everything else is a pretty myopic view- that looks foolish.

      Meanwhile – one of Trumps talking heads is suggesting that electing Trump is going to make him Gawd-like as everyone who dares to disagree will bow down to him. But we are already seeing that as many corporate heads refuse to discuss him out of fear / retribution / revenge. And yet some here are cocksure that he won’t retaliate – oh yeah, those are the people who don’t watch news…sigh.

      1. jrs

        is don’t watch news supposed to be an insult? maybe don’t read it might be, but not much on t.v. worth watching.

      2. aab

        Insulting the intelligence of the people you are trying to persuade — if you ARE trying to persuade other commenters here — is generally not an effective tactic.

        Are you claiming that because the US government is selling arms to all these players in the Middle East, Clinton won’t invade? Even though she has already advocated publicly for policies that implicitly lead to direct confrontation on numerous occasions? Are you asserting that her call for a No-Fly Zone will not necessarily lead to increased military conflict with Russia, despite the fact that the parties the zone would have to stop would be Russia and its clients in the region? Are you stating that her many, many declarations that Russia is our enemy, that her public statements that she would consider hacking, which she has explicitly accused Putin of, is a valid cause for a military response, is not her indicating strongly that she is seeking a direct military conflict with Russia?

        This is how the US does things. First we sell arms and make a profit from destabilizing a country. Then we invade, either officially or unofficially, on behalf of corporations or patron states (or both!), while continuing to sell arms to all sides. It’s win/win/win, with numerous revenue streams that continually create more demand for our “product” while reinforcing our hegemony.

        Nothing in the facts you reference in your first paragraph supports your conclusion, based on massive amounts of other known and confirmed facts. You’re cherry-picking, and VERY unsuccessfully. And your second paragraph is based on no facts at all. Do you actually have some? That first sentence is quite odd. Are you actually claiming that ALL those powerful people who openly insult Trump on a daily basis are secretly afraid of him? Because…why, exactly? Because salesmen who own casinos and sell ties are a unique form of evil? You’re envisioning a US government that he can step into and transform into an engine of retribution against the wealthy? (Frankly, that sounds great to me, if that’s what you are suggesting.) But I thought he was undisciplined, inexperienced, and impulsive. Those are not traits that would lead to being able to destroy the people who currently control things. The U.S. government isn’t a fort he can march into with an armed gang, even if there was the slightest evidence he wanted to. It’s a complicated bureaucracy with layers and layers of entrenched personnel from the legacy elites who opposed him during the election. I’m curious; how do you envision he achieves this goal you imagine he seeks?

        I’m honestly confused by your assertions, and not because I am poorly educated or poorly informed. I assure you, I am not. Your arguments here are poorly sourced and internally inconsistent.

  7. Jim A.

    Re: the Gallup CEO “recovery hasn’t happened” piece.

    Is it just me or is the current round of buyouts and mergers an obvious result (along with stock buybacks) of extraordinary money pumping measures in the face of a lack of demand? Companies take the money (Hey, free money!) and since they have no reason to expand they do non-productive things with it. Arguably the printing presses have been running at almost full speed since 2000 and they haven’t been able to create much actual growth. Instead we’ve had a RE bubble and ever greater concentrations of wealth.

    1. fresno dan

      Jim A.
      September 23, 2016 at 7:47 am

      I look at the measure of GDP, which goes up after a hurricane because replacement windows have to be bought, fallen trees cut up and hauled away, and repairs made. No one in their right mind thinks society is better off for this “stimulus” yet we have higher GDP.
      I assume higher stock prices, buying and selling (market activity), stock buybacks, higher stock prices (due to these machinations), etcetera are all criteria judged to be “positive.”
      How long before we figure out that getting richer is making us poorer?

      1. Jim A.

        I’ve been saying for awhile that the stock market is a poor measure of the overall economy. It has several advantages. It is based on a broad consensus estimate of future value.. It is based on people spending either their own money, or at least money where they stand to benefit directly if they guess right. But advantage that is most responsible for it’s overuse as a measure of the economy is that it it calculated continuously.

        On the other hand, while stock price is influenced by estimates of future profits, equity prices are mostly determined by estimates of future equity prices. With PE ratios where they are, prices have more to do with the flood of money from the central bank than the profitability and dividends from companies. We have “too much money chasing too few goods,.” but the “goods” in question aren’t consumer products tracked in the CPI, they are corporate profits.

        1. subgenius

          Economy is a poor measure of reality…having no basis in reality and functioning as a consensual hallucination that acts to obscure reality…

    2. Andrew Watts

      Probably. The uptick in M&A is basically just cannibalistic economic activity in the late stages of capitalism where the economy shrinks and wealth is concentrated in even fewer hands. I gotta get around to re-reading the unabridged version of Kapital sometime. Marx and Engels wrote about a lot of this when they were speculating about the end of capitalism.

      1. Jim A.

        I remember being exposed to that in college in the early 80s. And that idea the productivity improvements would just accelerate the concentration of wealth, rather than improve the lot of the working class. And then I figured out that so long as the benefits of improved productivity are shared with the workers in the form of improved pay (as was the pattern in the post-war period) that this wouldn’t happen. Those who lost jobs making thingamabobs because of the thingamabob machines would be able to find work making the whatsits that the remaining thingamabob workers would be buying with their bigger paychecks.

  8. petal

    A push to raise the productivity of some primary care doctors by focusing on the amount of time they spend with patients is among the budget-balancing options being considered by Dartmouth-Hitchcock trustees, according to documents reviewed by the Valley News and interviews with doctors and other employees at D-H.

    D-H Chief Executive Officer James Weinstein and other health system leaders are seeking revenue hikes and expense cuts that would produce a $100 million “improvement” in the current fiscal year. They have estimated that will require laying off anywhere from 270 to 460 employees, and also have begun a review of clinical programs throughout a health system that includes Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon and clinics in New Hampshire and Vermont.

    D-H leaders have promised to release detailed plans, including job cuts, by mid-October. The goal is to close a budget hole that opened with the last-minute discovery of a $23 million deficit for the quarter that ended June 30.”

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here’s one of the big selling points of alternative and holistic practitioners: They spend more time with their patients.

      1. subgenius

        There is a large study (haven’t got the link handy) that indicates that the probability of getting sued for medical malpractice is almost entirely predicated on patient – doctor interaction time.

        The line is at 5 minutes…

        Do you trust an interaction of even 15 minutes to uncover anything even approaching an understanding of a problem? Even with, say, your car?

    2. Eclair

      “…. (T)he last-minute discovery of a $23 million deficit for the quarter that ended June 20.”

      Here’s hoping they fire the budget and accounting department first. How could they have not predicted a deficit of that magnitude?

      Or was it not so ‘last minute?’ The administration knew they were on a collision course … or, maybe even gave orders for the collision course … and are using the chaos and confusion to generate a fake emergency and fire everybody.

      1. petal

        Here are another 2 articles about it that came out when the news first broke:

        DHMC to lay off 460

        “D-H’s financial reversal came just five weeks after it announced that Robin Kilfeather-Mackey, its $735,000-a-year chief financial officer, was leaving to study environmental science and would be replaced by Daniel Jantzen, D-H’s $835,000-a-year chief operating officer.”

        Sorry had a problem embedding the 2nd link.

      2. polecat

        One wonders who these ‘newly unemployed’ health-care folks are going to cast their vote for this election ??

      3. Jen

        It was last minute. The now departed CFO’s revenue projections were off by a wide margin. She discovered her error, handed in a revised projection and headed for the nearest exit.

    3. allan

      Thanks. From the story:

      Some steps seem fairly simple. Doctors will be expected to see 2.2 patients per hour, the plan says. New “scheduling templates” will be developed to achieve the new rate and account for no-shows and cancelations, according to the plan.

      That approach to scheduling is similar to the overbooking done by airlines to ensure flights are full, according to a D-H employee familiar with scheduling protocols.

      Think of it as Uber United Airlines for primary care.

      1. hreik

        The mind boggles. This is possible w a returning patient w an uncomplicated problem. It is totally out of the realm of reasonable w any new patient. They require an hour, at least. You cannot do a good job in less time. The history is 80% of the diagnosis. A good history will give you that diagnosis with the physical exam just really being confirmatory.

        Cannot wrap my head around this. What a mess!

      2. RabidGandhi

        A friend from the US visited me recently with his nan who took ill. We called a (state-paid) doctor to the house, who attended her efficiently and gave her free analgesics and anti-biotics. Afterwards, my friend asked her what she thought of socialised medicine now.

        “Well it worked out OK here I guess, but I don’t really like the idea of government bureaucrats making medical decisions for people”.

        I can’t help but wonder what her opinion would be of 2.2 patients per hour mandated by private bureaucrats.

        1. cwaltz

          That’s the part that is baffling.

          We already have bureaucrats deciding care, insurance companies are bean counters whose purpose is to keep costs contained.

          Mind you the government hasn’t done a very good job showing why they’d be a better alternative to the private bean counters and I do think THAT is the problem.

      3. jrs

        Well United Airlines for primary care doesn’t sound like a bad idea. If you mean get on a plane and get primary care elsewhere! (Mexico – don’t even need to fly there at least in many parts of the U.S. which makes it truly convenient), Asia etc.. Still need insurance in the U.S. for emergencies though.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Couldn’t the insurance companies (or, hell, the government) just have charter planes taking off daily from every major airport for Mexico and India and do their fee for service buys outsourced abroad to low overhead, low wage environments and save tens or hundreds of billions every year? Just outsource any medical procedure that runs more than a couple of thousand dollars and where the patient is fit to travel.

          It sounds like probably a horrible idea to me, but why wouldn’t an insurance executive bite on it?

          And further, if cost containment was a major concern why aren’t private insurance companies screaming and battling pharma to have the right to have imported vastly cheaper medications for their patients? It makes no sense to cede that leverage. The savings to the insurance industry would be *enormous*, and about the same as the hit to US pharma.

          1. hunkerdown

            They could, but insurers and providers are essential components of the grift. Each needs the other to justify the status quo overall. Cost containment is a major concern, but never at the cost of their exclusive franchise.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Evaluating the “productivity” of doctors based on the time spent with patients ought to scare the shit out of those “patients.”

      Notice what medical “productivity” is NOT–“producing” healthy outcomes. Mind the metrics.

      1. petal

        Soooo, here at Dartmouth, we also have TDI:
        “The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice works to improve patient care by researching how health care systems are performing and using that information to develop new models for health care delivery and payment.”

        1. Jen

          Interesting tidbit. Before becoming the head of DH, Jim Weinstein was the director of TDI, and before that, he was a well respected researcher who investigated the efficacy of spine surgery: i.e.; whether having surgery to relieve your back pain actually worked. His findings put him in the slightly awkward position, as an Orthopaedic surgeon, and then as the chair of the department of Orthopaedics, of encouraging people not to have surgery.

          WRT TDI: it is, among other things, home to a band of skeptics who have done a lot of work around over diagnosis, including the efficacy of cancer screening; and the general medicalization of America. Another tidbit: a number of their researchers come out of the VA system.

          DH has its problems, among them a bloated c-suite and a very siloed operation, which might just have a bit to do with the big miss in their revenue projection that set this whole thing in motion. However IMHO, this is not entirely the classic tale of corporate medicine run amok.

      2. afisher

        This in not new. Does no one remember that this was the HMO answer to increasing productivity and increasing profits. Patients are mostly irrelevant.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Final destination:

        A medical probe with a Bluetooth link to your phone. Shine it in your eye, shove it down your throat, then stick it up your butt (in that order, please).

        The phone sends the telemetry to an online “doctor” (Doctor Siri, I believe she’s called) who transmits appropriate Big Pharma scrips straight to the victim’s patient’s pharmacy.

        Dr Siri: “I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t authorize that scrip. I’m afraid you’re about to expire.

        1. Tom

          Yikes — that’s too spooky.
          Carry it a bit further, though, and you can imagine noncompliant patients being detected by Bluetooth-enabled Healthbots, swept up off the street and delivered (via self-driving ambulance) to the nearest AI health factory (what we currently call hospitals).

          Hello, widget #241 – your health is important to us. Your DocBot will see you in … 4 hours and 32 minutes.

      2. cwaltz

        Robots have been handling pills for years.

        I worked at NMCSD and the technician was responsible for inputting orders but it was a robot that would actually fill the MARs(medication administration record)daily. The technician would then have to update the orders(discard or add any new orders) right before the carts went to the floors. Pharmacists largely were responsible for cardiac rounds, handling TPN orders, and advising on aminoglycosides and checking routine IV orders(although pharmacy techs were allowed to double check each other on IV orders that were stat.)

        In outpatient we used baker cells. The only thing counted by hand were schedule 1 through 3 and chemotherapy drugs(who had their own tray for counting.)

        Right before I left in 1997 the pharmacy had acquired a giant “robot” that was essentially an amalgam of baker cells. The biggest problem with the robot was it was unable to prioritize patients(it could not distinguish between a waiting patient and a prescription called in to be refilled.) They ended up using the robot to fill the hundreds of refills we filled daily. The pharmacists were required to check when the robot needed it’s cells refilled. Technicians were still needed to actually input the prescriptions when prescriptions were hand written outside the hospital network. Pharmacists were still needed to verify the medication was being administered correctly. The sky did not fall because a robot was on site.

        A quick check to NMCSD shows that the pharmacy wait is still 45 minutes to an hour just as it was almost 20 years ago.

        We also had robotic shelves that were never used because the DoD loves to waste money. *shrugs*

        The robots were pretty cool and definitely were helpful, not sure how they actually remove the need for a pharmacist though(I’m more inclined to believe they would remove the need for as many technicians.)

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Just finished reading Michael Hudson’s “Killing the Host”, so this resonates. And yes, asset inflation is NOT economic growth or a measure of the health of the US economy.

      1. afisher

        But by merely electing Trump, he says that will lead to an increase in the GDP to being 4%. See, he really is magic /s

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Effectively, higher asset prices is the Fed’s mechanism for expanding the system-wide pool of loanable collateral. More collateral means that more credit can be created.

        Is that the loanable funds theory?

  9. Savanarola

    That video of Clinton was indeed interesting. I watched it with the sound off because you really do pick up a lot more that way — or at least something different. What astounded me was how she has completely adopted Bill’s speaking style and mannerisms, but with ZERO warmth or humanity. There was never a second in that video where I sympathized with her or wanted to turn on the sound to see what I was missing. Normally, I watch with the sound off and then go back and listen. Here, I didn’t feel the need to bother.

    That is amazing. She has clearly been physically coached by the best, but she is genuinely just terrible at this. I mean, given a choice between two people who give the impression that they are lying to you, she is lecturing me and Trump is having a blast. It is the best example of the role of charisma in politics that you could devise. Why isn’t she up by 50 points? She has all the appeal of a corpse in that video, that is why.

    1. Jen

      If you turn the sound on, you’ll notice that not only does she come of with zero warmth and humanity, she comes off as a spoiled brat berating her followers for not doing enough to get her elected.

      And what the hell is up with the green screening?

      1. Roger Smith

        How many days has it been since she has actually been in public? I too thought the green screen was odd, why not just go to Florida and you know, actually talk to people?

        Interestingly, ironically, the Hill shared an anachronistically black humorous video from Conan O’Brien that aired in 2014 where Clinton’s eye’s keep crossing as she talks.

        Not only that, she was yelling at “11” in a desolate sound stage.

      2. Pat

        You don’t need to turn the sound on for that. Think of all the movie scenes where the miserasble nasty mother or wife verbally beats up on the hapless hero, and you could place that video in place in it. She is obviously angry and never switches that off.

        On a shallow note, her makeup is horrible. Bad enough it might be making her look even more tired and unhealthy than she is.

        1. Archie

          Yes, agree. And is she using a back brace or some sort of full torso corset? Or perhaps she is just that uptight all the time.

        2. jgordon

          I disagree. I think the makeup is doing wonders for her. Think of how hard the two hapless heroes in “Weekend at Bernie’s” worked to make their charge look presentable, and you’ll start to get an idea of what the problem is.

          1. Pat

            I get the implication. But think about it a professional made a live actor look like a rotting corpse who someone was attempting to make look alive. IOW, even a relative make up counter apprentice could do better at giving her some color.

            I’m assuming she has hair and make up on staff, this begs the question is it her inherent distrust, her personality with the ‘help’, an attempt to avoid ridicule for these things and being excessively cheap for them or some combination of all three that has them filming her looking like Aunt Rose with the caked foundation and smeared lipstick for blush.
            Or if my assumption is wrong, than they need to hire someone and fast because all her appearance will do is fuel more Weekend at Bernie hits.

      3. temporal

        Hillary’s favorite show must have been Star Trek. She’s playing the bot that imitated Harry Mud’s wife. He would activate it from time-to-time to remind him why he ran off to space.

        Without her happy pills and with no one around her she reverts back to the person she says stopped being. On TV, during the powering through the pickle jar interview, she said she just doesn’t have time to be angry any more. Apparently she found the time.

        On a slightly different note it seems like these green screen videos could have been done at any time. They should place a current newspaper in the dubbed in background so we know that the ransom is not going to be wasted. But then that wouldn’t tell much either.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I watched it with bafflement – when I read about the comments she made initially, I thought it was an off-the-cuff mistake. But it was clearly scripted. What sort of idiot thinks thats a sensible thing to say in the middle of a campaign? There is really something very rotten going on within the Clinton set-up, they lack even basic political competence. I sometimes wonder if their best chance would actually be to admit she was too sick to campaign, but will recover by November and use it as an excuse to keep her completely under wraps. It could hardly be more damaging than allowing her to appear in public like that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The weird thing is that “50 points” is the same sort of error as “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables”– She puts a number on something that can’t be quantified, and it’s the number that makes the statement catchy so it goes viral.

        Maybe to the Clinton campaign it’s not an error at all? I have to confess that at this point I’m beyond bafflement too. It’s mindboggling enough that Trump was able to right his campaign with a new pollster and a Breitbart editor; that was all it took (and kudos to Trump for making the executive decision). And I’m also gobsmacked that the Clinton campaign seems incapable of reacting except by doing more of what they’re already doing. It’s as if they had to fire Mark Penn (as in 2008), except firing Mark Penn in February did that Clinton campaign a world of good, and firing Mark Penn with 44 days to go won’t make any difference at all.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Again she and Bill announced the co-candidacy in 1992. She can’t reinvent herself, short of playing Bert Reynolds character in Boogie Nights 2. Director Hillary: “It’s called the Internet. People can just share pictures over the phone lines. How am I going to make films now?”

      When she seemed a bit like a team player in 2009, she seemed to do better. When she jettisoned Bill’s cronies for the last month in 2008, I regretted not voting for her.

      If you were 17 in 1992, you will be 41 today. This is astounding. Hillary Clinton will be seen through the prism of her actions at this point if one is going to assess. Naturally, we just look for stuff to pick at because again 1992 was a long time ago when it’s fair to say she demanded we judge her, not just her husband.

      I wonder if the reason she can’t draw crowds is her supporters don’t want to give their doubts life.

      1. Antifa

        She avoids drawing crowds because she would have to ban all those flashing cameras and cell phones or present them with a seizure to put up on the internet.

        If she announced that she has a medical problem with flashing lights, she could reasonably forbid flashing lights at her appearances.

        But that would effectively end her campaign, so she avoids crowds or press interviews because she can’t come out and say, “No flashbulbs.”

  10. timbers

    How the FDA Manipulates the Media Scientific American

    “The deal was this: NPR, along with a select group of media outlets, would get a briefing
    about an upcoming announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a day
    before anyone else. But in exchange for the scoop, NPR would have to abandon its
    reportorial independence. The FDA would dictate whom NPR’s reporter could and
    couldn’t interview.

    Don’t know which is worse – the FDA asking this, or NPR and others agreeing to do it.

    Surrendering the core of what you do … just to gain 1 single day’s jump on the story!

    1. TedWa

      One would think the story of the FDA offering them access 1 day early but only in a narrow, secretive and scripted way, on a leash, would be the much larger story that NPR could profit from. Reporting that might have even shamed the FDA into acting more openly. Our press has lost any sense of a responsibility to the public.

    2. temporal

      Remember when Bush came into office and replaced all the decision makers with true believers? The Rs then had armies of legal sharpies redefine and reinterpret the meanings of words in decision making documents across all of the the agencies under Presidential control. With tight control of the agencies, droves of left and neutral leaning employees were either pushed out or put into holding pens.

      Remember when Obama did the same thing? Nope, did not happen.

      These agencies are still, below the figure heads, run by the true believers that came in with Bush. For Obama golf and looking buff for the camera has been more important than re-balancing any agency policies. Assuming, of course, that one accepts the premise that Obama had any intention of doing anything except protecting the rich from any material losses via wealth transfers.

      This is the true Bush legacy and neither current candidate will do anything to fix it.

    3. DorothyT

      I received this as part of a message from New York’s public radio station WNYC. It was signed by Laura Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio:

      At WNYC, it’s our job – and our responsibility as your public radio station – to break it all down for you and tell you what you need to know about the issues at the center, the developments on the campaign trail and what the electorate is thinking and feeling.

      Yes, indeed, WNYC and NPR joined The New York Times during the primary season in dissing the issues that Bernie Sanders brought into the national discourse. His was also the closest we’ll come to public financing for political campaigns. Their ‘brands’ are on the same shelf as Fox’s, in my book. Shopworn.

      1. polecat

        they’ll ‘tell’ you alright !!!

        …….This is National Profitering Radio

    4. carycat

      Wow, a one day heads up on FDA announcements, only Martha Steward and her broker will be so uncouth as to do a bit of front running on the pharma stocks. Won’t you jump at the chance?

  11. fresno dan

    As a parallel to Jerika’s story I would refer you to the tale of 41 year old California resident Betsy Davis, who took her own life after a long battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Before making use of the state’s new Right to Die Act, she gave an interview (as best as she was able) to a friend who is also a reporter. Her dear friend asked her, among other things, if she had any parting words. (Time)

    What are your parting words to this world?

    Well, I don’t have any great insight on life now, no wise words to impart. I will say that this universe is far too vast for any one thing to be important. Yet, we’re all living our lives the best way we can. So, enjoy the Now. And thanks for the blip of time I’ve had being a silly, imperfect human being.

    Forget the politics. Ditch the court battles, if only for a moment. Life is precious, so make the most of it. Someday it will be done.

    1. TalkingCargo

      “I will say that this universe is far too vast for any one thing to be important. Yet, we’re all living our lives the best way we can. So, enjoy the Now. And thanks for the blip of time I’ve had being a silly, imperfect human being.”

      Sounds pretty wise to me.

  12. rich

    Billion Dollar Lab Scam: The Beat Goes On
    Yet more fallout from the catastrophic bankruptcy of HDL Lab

    The lawsuit notes that Cornwell “provided HCPs [healthcare professionals] with gifts such as sporting event tickets, gift cards, electronics, and other items to induce HCPs to order tests from HDL, a violation of federal and state anti-kickback laws.” The BlueWave sales people told HCPs “that HDL did not intend to collect from patients for co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible amounts” and promoted the process and handling fees the HCPs would receive. “HCPs were thereby induced to order medically unnecessary tests for patients.”

    The lawsuit includes new details about HDL’s use of a Medical Advisory Board (MAB), speaking fees, and individual consulting agreements as a key part of what Federal investigators charge was an illegal scheme. The company paid top doctors $2,500-$3,000 each month in consulting fees, though “the doctors were required to perform only minimal services, such as reviewing HDL marketing materials and participating in MAB meetings and calls.” These monthly fees were in addition to the P&H fees already received by the HCPs. Further, “several consulting agreements provided that HDL would pay additional amounts for writing and speaking engagements.”

    The lawsuit also provides some details about HDL’s role in the development of Iggbo,
    the Uber-like phlebotomy service that has been identified as playing a key role in some of the new, post-HDL fraudulent lab schemes.

  13. JM

    Re: NYT When it comes to baskets, we’re all deplorable

    The attempt to downplay Clinton’s deplorable comment is just disgusting to me. Yes, NYTimes we’re all awful sometimes; no one is perfect. But we’re not running for the Office of the President.

    No one seems to have connected the comment with the context in which she made it.

    Who other than someone that has played cynical politics with LGBT issues their entire life is able to walk into a LGBT-hosted fundraiser and use the exact language that was used for decades to justify evicting, firing, jailing, beating, killing, shunning, among other horrible actions, the very people who were hosting her fundraiser. “Deplorable” is a classic shibboleth used to discriminate against LGBT people.

    Could you imagine the coverage if Trump or any Republican had used the word deplorable to describe, at an LGBT event, half of Clinton followers? The Establishment media would have immediately connected the comment to the context in which it was made. But Clinton gets a pass because….

    And that is one of Clinton’s core problem she cannot escape — call it Clintonian “exceptionalism” — and partisan Dems seem incapable of appreciating just how visible, and off-putting, it is to the very Republican-leaning voters Clinton thinks she could capture from Trump. I think to a larger degree than pundits would like to admit, since very few outside of Naked Capitalism see Clinton’s deplorable comment as all that bad, is that a vote for Trump, for many Republican voters that would otherwise be up for grabs, is not a vote FOR Trump but a vote AGAINST Clinton.

    And that is why (among other reasons) Hillary is not up by 50 points.

    1. cwaltz

      Why would I need to imagine?

      Republicans have used those type of words to describe the left for years.

      I’m not a Clinton fan but the pearl clutching over her words actually strikes me as political posturing at its finest.

      How DARE anyone define the red staters who make up the Trump electorate! Nevermind many of those same people being defined have no problem painting ALL muslims, ALL gays or any number of other groups with broad brushes.

      *Sigh* I’m so ready for this election to be over already so we can resume the proverbial beatings(dfrom either side) until morale improves.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        For me, it’s the “irredeemable” part. If the ruling elite believes that 40% (say) of the population is “irredeemable,” what are the public policy implications* of that statementt, if you take it seriously, and not simply as rhetorical excess? I take it to mean that Clinton believes that the political economy of the United States is “irredeemably” fractured, that there’s some sort of Mason-Dixon line to be drawn between, I dunno, the Acela Corridor and everywhere else. And maybe she’s right! But there’s no possible way that movie ends well.

        * For example, it’s a clear rejection of the idea that there should be universal programs of any sort (for example, single payer). If you slice the world up into racist (not us, them) and non-racist (them, not us), and you truly believe that racism, in essence, a mortal sin, isn’t it your duty to deny public benefits to racists? And if you can’t do that on a granular, individual level, then to work on grosser proxies, like jurisdictions?

  14. Portia

    Thank you so much for that Medicare surprise heads-up–I got something from United Healthcare that I am pulling out of the garbage when I get home.

  15. Ché Pasa

    Hillary has been running as a Establishment (ie: traditional Republican) candidate; Trump is running as a Gangster/Con Man “non-candidate/disruptor” as a pro-forma Republican. There is no Democratic candidate except in name only.

    She’s roping in both parties’ Establishments as they find in her the meld of the proper continuation of neoLibCon economic and foreign policies (the only ones that really matter) and the bold, innovative notion of electing the country’s First Female President (a la Maggie Thatcher in Blighty back in the day.)

    The Rabble is supposed to go along with this because it’s for their own good. Everything their standard model elite rulers do is for their own good. Always and forever. 

    On the other hand, he doesn’t care about the Rabble, f**k ’em. Hard. Which he lets them know in every conceivable way. This is honest, forthright, and true. Nobody in his class gives a good gott-damb about the Lower Orders — except for the purpose of exploitation. At least he communicates that, whereas Hillary does her best to mask it. (Not entirely successfully.) He’s a potentially radical disruptor of the standard model of elite rule — which enhances his appeal to the dissatisfied masses, but disruption for its own sake carries unknowable risks. His disruption is largely on behalf of his own private and pecuniary interest in any case.

    Shattering the Establishment whether through direct and sustained action from below (ie: Revolution) or through disruption from above (the Trumpist/Con Man model) is appealing to more and more Americans for the reason that the status quo is unsustainable by any rational measure.

    Hillary is the dedicated and anointed candidate of the status quo. Her motto is “No, you can’t.”

    Trump is the nontraditional candidate of the elite disruptor class (the kind that Hillary and her ilk would have as a client), eager to try to overthrow the established order for something else again — something that profits him and his cronies/class first and which probably will not be in the interests of the long-suffering masses, ever.

    But then, Hillary offers nothing particularly better, does she?

    So in this election the People have little choice between the two major party candidates. It boils down to style points and which risk-path one wishes to take.

    Neither path produces a preferable outcome.

    Myself, I’ll likely leave the presidential category blank or cast a third-party protest vote and vote such down-ticket candidates as show some inkling of public interest (damb few in other words.)

    Otherwise, nah.

  16. JosefVeest

    Is there a reason you’ve been linking to Scott Adams lately. His political “analysis” is pure navel-gazing and his all-too-frequent misogyny is inexcusable.

    If posting his stuff is meant to be a look into how those like him think then maybe it could be signposted a little better?

    1. Yves Smith

      1. It is not “political analysis”. He makes clear he is writing solely about the effectiveness of the persuasion strategies of the two campaigns. There was a time when he said the Clinton team was getting ahead of Trump on that score, but they’ve seriously backslid.

      2. Calling Clinton critics bigots of various sorts is a cheap ad hominem attack in lieu of analysis. That sort of lazy effort to shut down legitimate observations about Clinton or her campaign backfires here.

    2. Pat

      Because Adams is analyzing the marketing that both candidates are doing, and noting what effective and ineffective choices that they and their campaign makes. And in a campaign when one of the candidates is railing at a segment of their party’s base (and likely voters) why they don’t have all the votes they think they deserve as if it was their fault, voter persuasion or lack thereof should be discussed.

    3. Jason Gordon

      Wait. You do know that Scott Adams has explicitly and repeatedly endorsed Hillary. Right? He even repudiated Trump just to make you happy, and you still are having issues with him? Incredible.

      1. Yves Smith

        I’m not sure his endorsement isn’t tongue in cheek, since he has said he’s basically said he is endorsing Hillary out of concern for his personal safety.

        However, the real issue here is that too many people seem unable to tell a prediction from an endorsement. I have a colleague who spends a ton of time at conferences all over the US, and stresses how people who live in blue cities have no clue as to how people in the rest of the country think, even urban centers like Chicago. She has predicted a Trump win for quite some time, and I would not call her a Trump fan.

  17. Pat

    Hartman makes a very serious mistake in his Clinton may fail missive. Or rather two. First he calls the issues surrounding Clinton “faux”, analysis fail one. And then says the media has not gone after real Trump issues at the same time, fail two. At least he gets that her campaign strategy is insane

    What Hartman, and others like him, fail to recognize is that the media has also leapt on Trump in a manner that would have buried Clinton. Sure it is all attitude and innuendo, but wearing over time. In depth well, they can’t really do that it might mean alienating possible advertisers.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “the media has also leapt on Trump in a manner that would have buried Clinton”

      … while Hillary is buying a ton of ads from the selfsame media, while Trump is not.

      Total coincidence, of course.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I don’t know what planet Thom is living on. A “change election” should be a “cakewalk” for the candidate who keeps pounding away at the fact that she’s been around for 30 years, and, during those 30 years, things have gone nowhere but downhill for most of what used to be the democrats’ “base.”

      And to top it off, with 46 days to go until the election, she’s taken to demanding support from in front of a green screen in some undisclosed location, or pleading her case over the telephone.

      How does that make any kind of sense?

      In my opinion, the only reason clinton has gotten as far as she has is because black americans haven’t gotten the memo that the clintons and their “party” dumped them a long time ago.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          And then there is Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, any mention of which has been conspicuous in its absence of mention during this campaign.

          A campaign that features relentless charges of “racist” and the “racism” of that “other” guy.

      1. Jen

        Or not

        My favorite quote: “I would rather have Trump be president for four years and build a real left-wing movement that can get us what we deserve as a people, than to let Hillary be president and we stay locked in the same space where we don’t get what we want.”

        Hear, hear!

        1. nycTerrierist

          Great quote. Exactly what I’ve been saying to friends/colleagues who are stunned I’m
          ‘not terrified of Trump’.

          Voting Stein.

  18. jsn

    Someone needs to hack one of these self driving vehicles and crash it into an Uber or Google etc. executives car.

    1. craazyman

      My pappy said, “Son, you’re gonna’ look like a poodle
      If you don’t stop ridin’ that Hot Rod Google.”

      Have you heard this story of the Hot Rod Race
      When turtles and snails was settin’ the pace.
      That story is true, I’m here to say
      I was ridin’ around in Google’s Model A.

      It’s got a battery motor and it’s really souped up.
      Though a Hundai makes it look like a pup.
      It’s got 4 cylinders; uses them all.
      It can’t go fast, and it just might stall.

      Pulled out of San Pedro late one night
      The moon and the stars was shinin’ bright.
      We was ridin’ up Grapevine Hill
      tricks flyin by like I was standin still.

      Now the fellas was ribbin’ me for bein’ behind,
      So I thought I’d make the trucks unwind.
      I adjusted the speed and man alive,

      Then I tired to shove it into overdrive.
      Needle hit 45 and it started to bend
      Speedometer said that I hit top end.
      My finger was blue, like I’ze pressin the floor.
      That’s all there is and there ain’t no more.

      Saw a bicycle pass me on one side.
      He’s not even sweating. Man! What a ride!
      I said, “Look out, boys, I’ve got a license to fly!”
      Another 18 wheeler went smokin’ by

      Now all of a sudden she started to knockin’,
      brakes were slammin and the car was rockin’.
      I looked on the dash; a red light was blinkin’
      The battery’s dead! Man this is really stinkin!

      Stalled in the road I had to send an email.
      Called my pappy cause there’s no cab to hail
      And he said, “Son, you’re gonna’ look like a poodle
      If you don’t stop ridin’ that Hot Rod Google!”

    2. JeffC

      Hypothetical future headline: “Self-driving car’s occupants robbed after thieves spray paint car’s optical sensors at stoplight.”

      Quiz: how much time will elapse between the first self-driving Ubermobiles and a real headline like that? Extra credit: how long will the industry last afterwards?

      1. JTMcPhee

        “The industry” seems to have done just fine after that Tesla decapitated its “owner.” I recall a lot of articles that were all “Hey, it’s a new thing, there are bound to be some teething problems, and besides there are all these great bezzle opportunities in the mix.”

      2. RMO

        Good point, as we all remember the entire automobile industry collapsed and cars vanished from the road immediately after the first reported carjacking which is why we’ve all been traveling around on bikes and in monorails for several decades now.

  19. Cry Shop

    Bezzle : EpiPen and Taxpayer Money – all in the family


    USA Today reports that, in 2012, Gayle Manchin became head of the nonprofit National Association of State Boards of Education, and “spearheaded an unprecedented effort” to make schools purchase emergency treatments for allergic reactions. Manchin’s efforts were rewarded, as 11 states created laws to require epinephrine auto-injectors (i.e. EpiPens) in schools, and other states recommended schools get them. And we’re using the strong form of “recommend” here, since the 2013 “EpiPen Law,” as the White House called it, gave funding preference to schools stocking EpiPens. So this is the kind of “recommend” like when you’re playing make-believe and making “vroom” sounds on that Harley parked outside a bar and someone burly walks out and recommends you stop doing that.

    What’s wrong?

    Good question. Seems totally reasonable for schools to have emergency treatments handy. Did I mention that the CEO of Mylan is Heather Bresch? Did I mention that her maiden name is Heather Manchin? Did I mention that Gayle Manchin, who helped get schools to purchase EpiPens gave birth to Heather Manchin who runs the company that profits when schools purchase EpiPens? (Oh and Gayle’s husband and Heather’s dad is Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.) USA Today mentioned all of that stuff. This might take supportive parenting to a heretofore unseen plane of existence.

  20. crow

    How to Know an Election is Over Scott Adams.

    Hillary, what an angry woman. She seems desperate too. And that’s with the sound on. With the sound off she looks tired and desperate.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      She’s a narcissist who has probably realized she is surrounded by hack yes, men and has been bumbling around for a year and a half and is widely despised.

      The Hillary of the last month of the primary season in 2008 would be ahead by 50 points. She jettisoned the Clinton cronies. She’s thrown away years of her life. She is probably quite angry. She won’t blame herself. She is still a narcissist.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Narcissism is a personality disorder in which the sufferer’s inner emotional persona is frozen at a self-centered two-year-old level, despite their ability to act as high-functioning adults in other respects.

        They are incapable of dealing with others except through a chaotic melange of drama, emotional volatility, fear, threats and tantrums, interspersed with manipulative flattery.

        From 1996:

        In [his] memorandum, apparently intended for Thomas F. McLarty, who was the White House chief of staff, David Watkins wrote that “we both know that there would be hell to pay” if “we failed to take swift and decisive action in conformity with the First Lady’s wishes [to fire the White House travel office staff].”

        In explaining [his] fear [of dismissal], Mr. Watkins referred to an earlier incident in which he said Mrs. Clinton had become furious over his failure to transfer Secret Service agents whom she blamed for disclosing an unflattering story to a news magazine.

        From the Arkansas state troopers to the Secret Service, reports on Hillary are consistent: she mistreats and denigrates subordinates, while retaining an inner coterie who are controlled by fear and obligation.

        This is not a normal personality or a normal life. It reflects serious pathology.

        1. Paid Minion

          We’ve all seen people who act like this, believe they are inspired leaders, and are shocked/surprised when they find out that almost everybody who isn’t on the payroll think they suck, and nobody loves them.

          Or, in Hillary’s case, genuinely despise her.

      2. optimader

        She is probably quite angry.
        That why she is yelling at me like I’m an idiot. She sounds frustrated and clueless.

        She’s thrown away years of her life

        mmm.. She and Bubba amassed a fortune based on the implied promise of privileged information influence hustling, and straight up quid pro quo In the meantime she’s lived out a privileged existence on the public dole.
        So maybe in the sense of really accomplishing anything positive,, then yes, thrown away, but certainly that isn’t her perspective.
        By any measure, much harder existences are lead by the average Citizen, no less the ppl she has endorsed killing whether directly or collaterally.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The Hillary of the last month of the primary season in 2008 would be ahead by 50 points.

        Yep. The Clinton campaign of 2008 fired everybody after the February caucus debacle (see Mark Penn comment above) and barnstormed the country in small venues, like high school auditoriums, organized using throwaway cellphones (!!), not the internet, because their demographic was working three jobs and not hanging out in Starbucks, and answered endless questions on policy in front of those small groups. Mayhew Fowler described that campaign quite well. And that campaign won (very narrowly) a majority of the popular vote and all the big states. When Clinton started off by taking the van to Iowa, I had some hope she’d do the same thing.* No such luck. Whatever they think they’re doing now, it’s not what they did in 2008.

        * She took the van out, flew back. In retrospect, one might wonder if they were testing to see if Clinton had the endurance for a campaign as gruelling. And speculate that the answer was no.

  21. Otis B Driftwood

    Watched that 50 point video from Clinton. And yikes! She is furious. I got the sense that she was trying to do her best impression of Bernie Sanders with her gesturing and finger pointing. She is simply terrible as a speaker – nothing at all about her seems genuine or sincere. She is calculated, scripted and phony. And that is why, the more that people see of Mrs. Clinton, the less they like her.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We are lucky she is not a very good actress…good (24 years ago), but not very good (when we show we are not taken in again).

    2. Roger Smith

      I got the sense that she was trying to do her best impression of Bernie Sanders with her gesturing and finger pointing.

      Yes! I was wondering if anyone else would mention that. It was strange and out of place given what mannerisms she seems to normally have.

      1. Patricia

        I always make time for Jimmy Dore. His mid-west self remains intact, that particular combo of clumsiness, pure BS, and ethical clarity.

      2. clarky90

        Armchair, that link was really funny. Laughter is a cure for everything. (We have to laugh out loud, together!)
        Conan O’Brien show 2014
        Hillary Clinton’s Health Problems Interview

        This is a joke- but so funny I wept. Also, it is insanely prescient. Hillary’s eyes are now starting to go wonky

    3. cwaltz

      When Bernie Sanders rails- he isn’t railing because he isn’t 50 points ahead in the polls.

      Although I’m not surprised that Clinton doesn’t get that in order to run an effective “Bernie” campaign she’d not just have to rail but she’d have to make it seem as though this isn’t all about HER winning.

      You gotta love the Washington bubble-

  22. Jim Haygood

    From Clark Cunningham’s article “Feds: we can read all your email” —

    “To get these [secret email] warrants in the first place, the feds are using the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, passed in 1986.”

    Rich, huh — a so-called “communications privacy” act destroyed communications privacy, just as the “Bank Secrecy Act” of 1970 destroyed bank secrecy, and the “Foreign” Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended to retroactively legalize bulk domestic wiretapping.

    Equally rich are the judicial fiddles described by Cunningham, in which plaintiffs are denied standing to sue for govt theft of their emails because they can’t prove they were subjected to secret warrants. This Catch-22 rationale was perfected in earlier litigation over NSA bulk surveillance of phone calls.

    Orwellian statute names and terms such the nazi-inspired “Homeland Security” constitute a kind of malicious wink from our overlords. it’s like a sadistic tormentor inquiring rhetorically, “What am I doing to you, huh? What am I doing to you?”

    That this extra-constitutional government has become wholly illegitimate goes without saying.

  23. Andrew Watts

    RE: Obama Puts Syria at Arm’s Length as Carnage Drags On

    So, Barry finally learned not to write checks with his mouth that his a– can’t cash? Better late than never I suppose. I imagine the Russians are just as frustrated with the situation as much as anybody else. An article written by a retired Russian Colonel details the corruption and incompetency of the Syrian government in Damascus. I’m guessing this is the reason why Putin is still trying to forge an agreement with the US in spite of everything that’s happened so far.

    The military college was left by Syrian army when just a few militants (8-11 people) entered it during the Aleppo battle. They left a lot of supplies and food there. Russian aviation had to destroy the object later.

    When I was trying to find information about what happened at the military academy I looked at pictures which illustrated that the regime forces didn’t even bother fortifying their position. I didn’t even see one sandbag anywhere.

    This is the most common picture: RuAF completes the strikes yet the Assad soldiers do not advance. They advance for around 60 meters and then go back. They rarely aim when shoot.

    Syrian army was advancing from Palmyra to Deir ez-Zor for 1.5 months, it was just 7 kilometers towards their destination. Yet they left it all in just one day. One of the high ranked staff officials came, spoke to his local army, and then they run away (this part looks strange even in Russian)

    The same problem afflicts the rebel/jihadi side. Even with massive Turkish support the Northern Aleppo jihadi-rebel alliance is incapable of holding territory in the face of Islamic State’s counterattacks.

    It isn’t often that I look like an irrational optimist so I’m savoring the moment even if I’m too embarrassed to link to my comment that went something along the lines of “From this position the SAA can either go north for Raqqa or east to relieve the siege of Deir Ezzor.” and then followed by the private thought of “Uhh… WHAT THE F— JUST HAPPENED?!” that I kept to myself.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Soldiers and supply lines don’t just come into being. During the Soviet advance during World War II, only 40,000 guys were ever doing anything. With the de-population of non government controlled areas, there isn’t a pressing target for Assad except to kill the various militants factions. There is no Paris under the Nazis situation.

      Assad’s forces have been engaged in a civil war for three years. They don’t have a Fort Bragg to train guys and mold them into soldiers. Since the battle lines are relatively close, they can’t put out raw guys to hold important posts, and they don’t have enough manpower to just overwhelm or hold positions against surprise attacks. Real soldiers have to be redeployed to assist. Crack troops fit to march take considerable resources. It’s like Band of Brothers. Once those guys demonstrated they could be counted on, they stayed on the front for the whole war despite 12 million men under arms behind them.

      From the Russian and Iranian perspective, every dead foreign fighter in Syria is a terrorist who won’t enter their respective countries.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Securing non-government areas will prevent the rebels from retreating from their current positions and spreading the destruction that will follow their retreat. Not to mention slowing/stopping the brain drain that will harm Syria’s long term prospects.

        Since the battle lines are relatively close, they can’t put out raw guys to hold important posts, and they don’t have enough manpower to just overwhelm or hold positions against surprise attacks.

        I’m well-aware of the manpower shortages of the SAA and it’s allied forces. None of that excuses the unwillingness to fortify a fixed position from attack on the front line. Or the unexplained retreat in the face less numerous forces with the firepower advantage being on their side. In both cases more casualties would’ve been inflicted on the other side given the circumstances. While SAA + allies wouldn’t have lossed as much in men/material if they’d actually prepared their positions.

        By the way, I’m not trying to insult the average SAA soldier. I think the majority of their military officers are hopelessly inept and chosen for their political or personal loyalty to Assad more than any other factor. While their chain is command is a chaotic mess. It’s a leadership problem.

    2. JTMcPhee

      When do people en masse recognize that it’s all, as the Russian colonel and a few imperial military types recognize, “corruption and incompetence”? Though the Russian side seems to be a ways behind the Empire and its connections in that regard.

      Older news:

      And this:

      “It is helpful for transgender people that the Pentagon now has a policy for them if they are in the service. In fact, it is surely a lingering and personal tragedy for those who feel they are the wrong sex.

      But the bigger issue regarding the Pentagon is its immense and murderous corruption. In some sense, news like this is being promoted to distract us from the Pentagon’s ongoing problems.

      The Pentagon still cannot officially account for some $8 trillion-plus in spending, according to a Department of Defense inspector general’s report released HERE at the end of July 2016.”

      1. Andrew Watts

        When do people en masse recognize that it’s all, as the Russian colonel and a few imperial military types recognize, “corruption and incompetence”?

        Not aiming a weapon before you fire it is pretty much the definition of military incompetence. Similarly not fortifying a vulnerable position and then losing it to less than a dozen attackers. Or being able to exploit close air support. These represent huge liabilities in warfare.

        The gross fraud and corruption that makes military commanders some of the richest people in Syria is also a major contributing factor in the Syrian Arab Army’s ineffectiveness.

        1. JTMcPhee

          The corruption starts with the orders to invade, bomb, strafe, drone-zap, send troops out to be ambushed (“draw fire”) or IED’d or sniped, etc., in places where they have no Fokking right or reason to be. I could not care less about incompetence in the field, when the entire enterprise is dead-end stupid from the hit-go. As an ex-GI I get really sick of all the faux sentimentality used to justify and excuse and extend, by turbocharging the war industry and that grotesque bureaucracy of destruction and corruption and patent incompetence that is the Pentagram, a set of behaviors that a sensible species would have long since laid aside.

          But I of course know the reality of what is rewarded and what we humans are, in our essence, or enough of us to ensure that the Game will just lumber on.

          Too bad the only way to win is not to play the game…

  24. Andrew Watts

    RE: “This Is a Rebellion”: A Protester Speaks From the Front Lines in Charlotte Truthout. “No, sire…”

    I don’t think the situation in Charlotte should be joked about casually. The overall socio-economic condition of the country has rapidly deteriorated since the days of MLK. The urban ghetto and rural slums have only expanded since then. While increasing numbers of whites find themselves alongside ethnic minorities in the reserve army of labor. Which is a good thing in a very small way as it might preclude ethnic strife as the economically dispossessed merge into a cohesive internal proletariat.

    This should be a source of concern for the political class but isn’t since they apparently believe that the self-destructive behavior of impoverished areas will be confined. However, these kind of forces have the capacity to spread domestic chaos and/or push the country further towards national disintegration. Neither of which are very positive outcomes for ordinary Americans.

    The only smart way out of this is de-escalation which doesn’t seem likely given the circumstances.

    1. cwaltz

      Nope, our elites aren’t going to get it until there are enough “burn this m-f-er to the ground” folks actually burning things to the ground.

      They really are that greedy and clueless. Oh and they are multinationals(just like the companies they run)so their plan B is just to leave the country while it’s burning- bless their little “patriotic” hearts!

      1. hunkerdown

        So, the trick to making sure the people’s gains stick is to prevent these people from leaving the country and subsequently directing outside forces against us. Here’s hoping Russia or Ecuador or someone will ship us a few MANPADS.

  25. Eduardo Quince

    True fact: Zappos has a chief happiness officer.

    How many companies covertly have a chief crappiness officer?

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      How many companies covertly have a chief crappiness officer?

      We have a chief security officer. A rose by any other name, etc.

  26. flora

    re:It’s a Medicare surprise for senior citizens not paying attention – McClatchy.

    Signing up people secretly for products they don’t want worked for Wells Fargo (for a while). The insurance companies want in on same the racket.

  27. Desertmerf

    I’m feeling all righteous and mouthy this morning so here is my two cents:
    1. As a political science major during the 70’s Cold War era I was certainly used to hearing about big bad USSR. But applying what I learned then about the Russian character and having made several vacation trips including Russia since it the fall of the USSR it is absolutely sickening that rational people are using Russia as our new enemy in chief. It is utter nonsense for a thousand reasons any idiot with a knowledge of Russia could debunk. Suffice it to sum it up as “Russia’s always and only concern is protecting Russia”. Period. The Democrats have gone ’round the bend with this demonization that used to be the balliwick of the Repubs. And it is heading us in about the worst direction we could possibly go in( with the coequal worst direction of the “Asia pivot”)

    2. The Happiness thing. I loved the article and how it referred to ’emotional labor’ being demanded or workers. And I add – ‘unpaid’. I am a reasonable pleasant person by most accounts but I LOATHE friendly people when I am making a purchase, eating out etc . I don’t want to make chit chat, weather comments or anything else and neither do most people who work in with people. It is exhausting. In college when I worked part time in a department store my face actually hurt from ‘being nice’ all day. My son who is also working in retail as he looks for nonexistent jobs that his degree qualifies him for ( classical history!) finds it unbearable and he loves people. He is applying for nighttime warehouse PT jobs to get out of smiling and talking for six or eight straight hours..
    Just sell me the stuff, answer my questions and I will answer yours, exchange unsmiling quiet thank yous at the end and be done with it. We will all be calmer and less exhausted.
    Happiness at work – bah humbug. Any idiot knows happiness is for off time and vacations…
    3. PS bonus comment….. Cops ought to stop killing black men. It’s reeeeeally reeeeally NOT helping……..

      1. Desertmerf

        Ah… The missile gap… I remember it fondly…….
        In my very first political science class – Pl Sc 14 – Intro to International Relations with Dr Vernon V Aspaturian – a soviet expert at PSU, we literally had to memorize the numbers and types of missiles the US had and also memorize the comparable list suspected for the Soviets. Good times…. Good times…..

    1. From Cold Mountain

      Since a dopamine receptor (DRD4) is implicated in ADHD, it is no surprise that amphetamines help, and no surprise that people get addicted to them since another dopamine receptor (DRD2) is associated with addiction.

  28. Hubert Horan

    The linked Digitopoly Uberpiece is the same type of garbage as most Uber coverage. A willful ignorance of basic economics combined with repetition of PR tropes. Gans is shocked that “Ridesharing” and the “Sharing Economy” are being abandoned because he never bothered with the simple analysis that showed “ridesharing” does not reduce the cost of taxi service, and can’t possibly be scaled to city-wide (much less global) operating scale. Also never bothered to see that the economics of every other transport operator depend on highly centralized ownership and management of capacity (the polar opposite of “ridesharing”). Also never bothered to consider why none of the hundreds of other startups that claimed they would exploit the same “Sharing” economics and become the “Uber of” some other industry ever made a penny. Gans is shocked that Uber’s current situation may not be an “equilibrium outcome” because he’s never bothered to look at the actual numbers that show that Uber is losing $2 billion a year with a negative 140% profit margin.
    Yves, one of the main reasons that Uber coverage is so horrible is that everyone ignored the fact that Uber is massively unprofitable, produces taxi service much less efficiently than existing producers and has none of the scale economies that allowed other “tech” startups to grow into profitability. I have a short piece that lays out these economic problems using the hard evidence of Uber’s actual P&L numbers that have never been published in one place before. You had listed a Pando piece of mine as a “must read” last December, and I think you and NC’s readers would appreciate the P&L piece. Is there some place I can send it?

    1. hunkerdown

      Uber’s product isn’t taxi service, so much as rebellion against local regulation. If you reprice the enterprise from that angle, two billion dollars is cheap.

      I’m certain our hosts would love that. Try blogger@ or one of the other addresses from the Contact section on the top navbar.

  29. JimTan

    The Facebook article may be opening a can of worms. Facebook ‘overestimating’ a key video advertising metric may draw attention to a more fundamental issue with their business model.

    Last month P&G reported it’s moving away from Facebook advertising it described as too targeted and needed to be broader. My guess is they supplied Facebook with their prime demographics, and sales are either unchanged or down despite a big ad spend with these groups. Facebook is the biggest social media player whose user base should contain large numbers of almost every advertising demographic. They take user supplied biographical information (and track browsing) to create composite behavioral profiles for targeted advertising.

    This is a powerful business model but…..Facebook customers that have No way of verifying their purchased advertisements have been Provided. If advertisements are targeted to individual users based on their behavioral profile, there is no way for a customer to count or verify the ads they paid for. The only way to do this would be to log on with every user and count their advertisements. Facebook sells billions of low priced advertisements to customers each year. This lack of transparency might create incentive for sales ‘creativity’. How much of an item would you sell if your customer can’t see what you’re selling.

    It looks like customers are starting to wonder why their Facebook advertising spend is not translating into revenue gains.

  30. Synoia

    Deutsche Bank Woes Sparks Concern Among German Lawmakers

    Under-capitalized? No Problem, the UK’s RBS solution is at hand – Nationalize it.

    That’s rescued the 1%. Now to whipping th 99% – cust somewhere to pay for the Government re-capitalization of Deutsche. Perhaps the Greeks could be persuaded to pay….or the Italians…

  31. From Cold Mountain

    If people cared as much about the person sitting next to them as they did about who is going to be president it would be a much better world.

  32. Pespi

    I’m sorry if this is explicitly against the rules, but the second best news analysis site on the internet is having a fundraiser right now. is featured regularly in NC links, and B provides the absolute best in foreign policy analysis on the internet. How he reads and synthesizes information so quickly, I have no idea, but he needs help, and if any of you NC readers are MofA readers, I urge you to give a little

  33. Oregoncharles

    ” I can’t imagine buying anything because I saw an ad for it on Facebook; the reverse, if anything. Is it just me?”
    There are serious questions whether advertising works, much at all, and evidence that political advertising, that Hillary is presently spending vast sums on, doesn’t work.

    That said, the theory is that it works by lodging the name in your memory, not by making you decide to buy it. That’s why so many ads say so litle about the product. Subconscious effects are the most effective.

    Is there proof of that? I doubt it, but I don’t know.

  34. Rhondda

    Re Big Lonely Doug

    His entish rootlets must be straining to hear/taste the feeling/smell of Someone, Anyone. All dead and gone.
    I find it terribly sad.

  35. Lambert Strether Post author

    Video shows deadly encounter between police, black man. The Charlotte PD released the video:

    Video of a deadly encounter between Charlotte police and a black man shows his wife repeatedly telling officers he is not armed and pleading with them not to shoot her husband as they shout at him to drop a gun.

    The footage, recorded by Keith Lamont Scott’s wife and released Friday by his family, offers a raw look at how the situation unfolded but does not show whether Scott had a gun as police have said. Uncertainty about the case [!!] prompted a fourth night of demonstrations through Charlotte’s business district.

    After darkness fell, dozens or people carried signs and chanted to urge police to release dashboard and body camera video that could show more clearly what happened. Police have said Scott was armed, but witnesses say he held only a book.

    The 2 ½-minute video released by the family does not show the shooting, though gunshots can be heard. In the video Scott’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, tells officers that he has a TBI, or traumatic brain injury. At one point, she tells her husband to get out of the car so police don’t break the windows. She also tells him, “don’t do it,” but it’s not clear exactly what she means.

    As the encounter escalates, she repeatedly urges police, “You better not shoot him.”

    Not a good look. (Also, North Carolina is an open carry state.)

    1. Skippy

      “open carry state”

      Unforeseen permutations – ????

      Disheveled Marsupial…. Running Man video thingy…. so much for being armed 2nd amendment….

  36. evodevo

    Re: Facebook Overestimated Key Video Metric for Two Years
    They keep inundating me with these and they are so annoying. If you click on “Hide ad”, a pop-up asks why – I don’t have the time to go through the reasons (and they don’t give me a “totally irrelevant” choice LOL). If I responded to every ad pop-up, I wouldn’t be able to scroll through the posts I AM interested in. So, their survey of MY tastes is incomplete and misleading. Too bad, Facebook.

  37. Procopius

    I agree I would not buy anything I saw in an ad on Facebook, but I might go to a restaurant that one of my (few) friends had a good time at. I run an ad blocker, but have found that ignoring the ads is nearly as easy. My biggest gripe, there’s a selling aggregator or whatever they call it, many small retailers use it to handle back office stuff for retail sales over the internet here in Thailand. They have a really capable team running their ads and I find their ads for things I’ve looked up on their site showing up on almost all the sites I visit, including those not in Thailand. It’s not bad, because their prices are great and, after all, these are things I’m interested in.

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