Links 9/9/2016

Newly Discovered Flatworm Is Named After Obama Popular Science (Re Silc).

Pioneering ‘diaries’ reveal the secret lives of animals BBC

Monte dei Paschi chief Fabrizio Viola agrees to step down FT

Eye on Social Mood: Stock Market Bubble Will Pop, Social Mood Will Get Extremely Ugly MishTalk (EM).

Central Banks Around the Word are Dovish The Big Picture (Re Silc).

Negative Interest Rates and the War on Cash (3) Automatic Earth

Data Mining and the ‘Creepy’ Factor American Banker

New cert petition asks SCOTUS to review employer bans on class actions Reuters


Afraid to go home since election day, ‘king of votes’ Eddie Chu gets round-the-clock police protection over death threat South China Morning Post

Chinese Billionaire Linked to Giant Aluminum Stockpile in Mexican Desert WSJ

FT Investigation: How China bought its way into Cambodia FT

Unusual N. Korea Seismic Activity Likely Means 5th Nuke Test NYT

Our Famously Free Press

Why Vox’s Matt Yglesias Should Go Back in Time and Unwrite Recent Column Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. “[W]hoever heard of a reporter begging for less access? We’re all losing our minds.”

Clinton campaign warns media to tread carefully The Hill. Indeed. The Clintons keep a spreadsheet.

War Drums

The Kremlin Really Believes That Hillary Wants to Start a War With Russia Foreign Policy

Fragile Post-Summer Cease-Fire Holds in Ukraine Amid Tensions with Moscow WSJ

The Perils and Limits of ‘No-Fly Zones’ The American Conservative

A reminder of the permanent wars: Dozens of U.S. airstrikes in six countries WaPo

Inside Iran’s illegal parties, where every drink comes with the risk of a flogging International Business Times


Hillary Clinton’s Team Aims for a More Positive Message WSJ. If only Hunter S. Thompson had lived…

Clinton, Trump Put Weaknesses on Display at Forum on Military Bloomberg

Donald Trump is finally seeing signs of life in key swing states WaPo. Explaining the recent hysteria.

Donald Trump takes a break from scripted events while accepting a third-party nomination Business Insider

GOP pushes back against Trump’s growing embrace of Putin McClatchy

Why Donald Trump and Pam Bondi Probably Won’t Face a Corruption Investigation Slate

Gary Johnson: ‘What is Aleppo?’ CNN

“What Is Aleppo?” Third-Party Candidates Crash and Burn in Their Worst Week Ever Vanity Fair

NYT Ridiculing Of Gary Johnson Fails With Four(!) Major Mistakes Moon of Alabama

Down Ticket #10: How Democrats could win back the House (and pick up a couple of governors’ mansions, too) Yahoo News

GOP outside groups tout massive Senate fundraising haul Politico

Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate, Is Charged Over Role in Pipeline Protest NYT

The Court after Scalia: Campaign finance law Wonderland SCOTUSblog

Meet the wealthy donors who are pouring millions into the 2016 elections WaPo

Progress on Ferguson consent decree compliance mixed, both sides say St Louis Post Dispatch

More Americans Negative Than Positive About ACA Gallup

How inmates are organizing a nationwide strike from behind bars Waging Nonviolence

Imperial Collapse Watch

Fifteen Years on, Where Are We in the ‘War on Terror’? The RAND Blog

Class Warfare

An Economic Mystery: Why Are Men Leaving The Workforce? NPR. See also Dean Baker; Jared Bernstein.

Economists See Tougher Road for Labor-Market Improvement WSJ

Denver Taxi Drivers Are Turning Uber’s Disruption on Its Head The Nation. Nothing more disruptive than collective ownership of the means of production (well, co-ops).

When your boss is an algorithm FT

Employ Young Americans Now The Minskys

A History and Future of Resistance Jacobin

Interview with David Autor Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Impact of technological change and import substitution on U.S. labor.

There’s a 1 in 5 chance that fish you’re eating isn’t what you think it is McClatchy

No One Cares How I Feel, According to Merriam-Webster Slate

Antidote du jour (via):


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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. Roger Smith

    Wow! A bonus antidote today! From the Popular Science story…

    This parasitic flatworm has been dubbed Baracktrema obamai, in honor of the President of the United States…

    Someone finally got it right!

    1. Marley's dad

      The full sentence . . .

      This parasitic flatworm has been dubbed Baracktrema obamai, in honor of the President of the United States (who is the fifth cousin twice removed of one of the discovering scientists).

      Does this mean the naming was the result of a family feud or congenital cluelessness?

      1. Pat

        Why does it have to be clueless? I’m sure there are a fair number of people in the scientific community, related to Obama or not, who have recognized that his administration has continued and extended the war on science and the environment, even if started before their term.

        1. Marley's dad

          I assume clueless because that seems to apply to Obama on so many subjects, but I agree with your observation.

      2. Roger Smith

        Should this be tagged as a spoiler for the new film that just came out? Did we ruin the plot twist?

  2. temporal

    re: Matt Taibbi

    Yglesias is not and never was a journalist. He’s less of a journalist than David Brooks and that is a low bar to climb under. He’s a left of center blogger turned right of the Democratic party center pundit. He currently resides somewhere around where Goldwater was back in the day, which is probably why he likes the changes within the Democrats so much. Like much of what passes for journalism today he imagines that politics is a sport and he just wants his team to win. By any means necessary.

    I read his early blogs, back in the day, but his gradual slide to the right made it hard, then impossible to read.

    1. Unorthodoxmarxist

      Exactly. Taibbi’s article makes the assumption that Yglesias is a journalist, which is clearly not the case. He’s paid by Vox to be an advocate for centrist, corporate Dems.

    2. dcblogger

      can’t find a link to support this, but I believe that while at Harvard Yglesias edited a right wing student newspaper.

  3. cocomaan

    Jill Stein being arrested isn’t bad news to me. Being wanted by police for civil disobedience is a badge of honor. Frame that wanted poster and put it in your living room, Jill!

    1. Unorthodoxmarxist

      Right, that article is part of the media smear campaign to lump all candidates without a (D) or (R) after them into one category. Protesting the pipeline, fossil fuel extraction and continued abuse of Native lands is definitely a badge of honor, and nothing like not realizing where or what Aleppo is.

      1. Grizziz

        Good on her for the virtue signaling, however she has to poll at least 10% to get 5% of the popular vote in Nov. I am waiting for her campaign to start GOTV tabling to turn the tuition indebted into a mean Green machine.
        Nothing in Illinois as of yet.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Stein getting herself arrested isn’t really virtue signalling; she’s got some “skin in the game.”

          Seems like movement stuff, not party stuff, to me, however. As you say, the question is whether she can turn the good (for many) publicity into GOTV and votes is the issue of operational capability of the GP.

          1. Vatch

            I’m still waiting for Ajamu Baraka to definitively state that people who supported Bernie Sanders are not white supremacists. I know he didn’t explicitly say that they are white supremacists, but he came very close to saying that they are, and that is unacceptable. He needs to clarify what he really thinks: either Sanders supporters are white supremacists, or they aren’t. Which is it, Ajamu?

            1. Grizziz

              Are you basing this on the Fusion article:
              “As much as the ‘Sandernistas ’ attempt to disarticulate Sanders ‘progressive’ domestic policies from his documented support for empire,” Baraka said. “It should be obvious that his campaign is an ideological prop – albeit from a center/left position – of the logic and interests of the capitalist-imperialist settler state.”
              FYI: My Great Grandfather was a Swedish Immigrant Farmer who worked the land after the Army of the West cleared (slaughtered and stole, if you will) the Sioux from Minnesota. After 3 years he was granted the land by the USA. I certainly fit the description of someone has lived because of the empire. I am privileged because I am white. I expect no apology and will vote green.

              1. Vatch



                The Sanders’ campaign, like the Obama phenomenon before it, does not offer a program or strategic direction for addressing the current crisis and contradictions of Western capitalist societies. Instead, it is an expression of the moral and political crisis of Western radicalism. This crisis – which is reflective of the loss of direction needed to inform vision, and fashion a creative program for radical change – is even more acute in the U.S. than Western Europe. Yet, what unites both radical experiences is a tacit commitment to Eurocentrism and the assumptions of normalized white supremacy.

                In their desperate attempt to defend Sanders and paint his critics as dogmatists and purists, the Sanders supporters have not only fallen into the ideological trap of a form of narrow “left” nativism, but also the white supremacist ethical contradiction that reinforces racist cynicism in which some lives are disposable for the greater good of the West.

                I’m not asking for an apology. I just want Baraka to clarify what he thinks.

                By the way, you are not to blame for anything that your great grandfather did, nor are you to blame for anything that the U.S. government did long before you were born.

                1. jrs

                  That’s boilerplate leftism and I don’t find anything particularly offensive about it. He’s saying U.S. imperialst foreign policy is r-ist. It does target a lot of brown and black people, not as many white people (although U.S. involvement in the Ukraine hmm). Now I don’t think that is necessarily the *motive* behind empire, but it is the result.

                  So he’s saying anyone who supports someone who is not critical enough of empire supports that. Which isn’t entirely wrong either. It’s just that people supported Sanders because he is the best we are likely to get despite his flaws. People support Clinton for this reason to, only unlike Sanders she doesn’t have much of an upside, it’s almost all downside.

                2. Unorthodoxmarxist

                  Ajamu has said as much in the article that he doesn’t think that supporters of Bernie are racist, but rather the objective end of his not breaking with empire is continued white supremacy as enforced internationally by the United States. From that same article:

                  “This is not to suggest that everyone who might find a way to support Sanders is a closet racist and supporter of imperialism. I know plenty of folks of all backgrounds who “feel the Bern.” There is, however, an objective logic to their uncritical support that they cannot escape and which I believe represents the ongoing crisis of radicalism in the U.S. and Europe…

                  What this means for those of us who are internationalists and believe in the equal value of all life is that we have to question the sincerity of individuals who claim that black lives matter while supporting someone who clearly believes that Israeli lives matter more than Palestinian and Yemeni lives. And that the pro-democracy fighters in Bahrain should be subjected to the policing and murderous assault by the gangster regime in Saudi Arabia.”

                  I think Ajamu is very, very cognizant of the betrayals on the left by parties that did not take anti-imperialism seriously. A look back at the history of the 2nd International shows how easy it is even for socialists to ignore the plight of empire: the German Social-Democrats did not prioritize anti-militarism or anti-imperialism (except for the left-wing that would become the Spartacus League/German CP eventually) and we know what happened in 1914. Historically it has been the same with labor struggles in the US: white workers talk about class, but were often only talking about fellow white workers.

                  We have to face up to the probability that leaving out addressing imperialism in all its forms is a clear, if tacit sign, that the candidate or group doing so will not address them in the future, or will be unwilling to truly break with the status quo, and that is what Ajamu Baraka is highlighting.

                  1. Vatch

                    The way that Baraka phrased it, it seems as though he is reluctantly saying that a minority of the people who supported Sanders are not white supremacists. If that’s not what he meant, then he should clearly say so. I’m not going to encourage friends and relatives to vote Green if I have to lead people through an exegesis of the writings of Ajamu Baraka.

                    White supremacy is a very nasty phenomenon that comprises slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynching, and death camps. A political candidate should be very careful with accusations of white supremacy if he hopes for a non-trivial number of votes. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of people find Ajamu Baraka to be quite insulting.

                    1. hunkerdown

                      White supremacy also includes the little interactions and side-eyes and value judgments we make every day, such as exalting the US or its various products as less dispensable than others. In fact, they only seem little because they’re so atomized and dispersed.

                      Concern over the feelings of others rings uncomfortably close to “But what would the Republicans think?” Insults aren’t always assaults or unhealthy — indeed, they’re really all we have against an opponent who arrogantly “owns the finish line”, treats rules as for lesser people, and corrupts the referees. Faith or truth seems to be the question of this year’s election. If liberalism prefers competition to cooperation, desperate doing to a deserved glare of disregard, liberalism has no value to humanity and why are we even playing this idiotic game in the first place.

              2. a different chris

                Ajuma – can I call him Ajuma? – seems to lack the personal touch, doesn’t he? “Capitalist-imperialist settler state”? Any more words you can ruthlessly string together, maybe? Good grief.

                I’m not arguing with the truth of his blather, it’s just the blather part that gets me.

                1. RabidGandhi

                  This. The pattern down here is: someone suggests, for example, “let’s march on congress to protest the new layoffs law” and some Trotskyiist says “BS. As long as we accept the capitalist-imperialist paradigm of wage labour we will never make any progress.” Then two or three factions appear debating Bukarin vs. Zinoviev. Hardly anyone goes to the planned protest, and the people get fired anyway.

                  1. Left in Wisconsin

                    As it has ever been. But occasionally, the path is not simply an endless loop. Instead, the outcome of the immediate sequence of events leaves one in a different place than one started. Sometimes a better place, sometimes a worse place.

                2. Vatch

                  Blather is right. When the Greens chose Ajamu Baraka as their Veep candidate, they made a conscious decision to reject the millions of people who supported Bernie Sanders. Some people will be comfortable voting for Stein/Baraka, but most people won’t. The Greens are making a statement, and that statement is that they don’t want people to vote for them.

                  1. Solar Hero

                    So you are saying Bernie supporters won’t support Baraka….so you’re proving his point for him, and making yourself look silly

          2. marym

            Stein herself seems to have a clear idea of the relationship between movement and party.

            2012 *

            “Throughout history, you can look back on when we have gotten really profound social change. The abolition of slavery, the American Revolution for that matter, Susan B. Anthony and the women’s suffrage movement, and the labor movement — they’ve all taken a social movement on the ground and an independent political party that could drive that agenda into the mainstream and move it forward.

            I think we’re seeing that politics of courage on the ground now in the fight of the Chicago Teachers Union; in the fight of the union workers at Strong Memorial Hospital — they’re standing up for their rights; in the fights to stop the Keystone pipeline; the efforts to blockade fracking sites, nuclear power plants; eviction blockades; student strikes to stop tuition hikes.

            We’re seeing the Occupy movement all over the country, which is still alive and well. Even though it’s been evicted from its occupations, it’s working to break up the big banks and to assist all those other good social movements that are in full force right now.

            There is a social movement that’s alive and well — it needs a political voice…”

            Whether this is how the GP sees it, or whether it translates into effective tactics, I can’t say. However, the party as a tool for the movement, or social movements in their many manifestations being constituencies of the party (among other roles they play as advocates, disruptors, alternative-builders, etc.) seem useful ways to think, and a possible way to identify points of solidarity, considering the diversity of issues and tactics that exist.

            * Sorry, the link doesn’t seem to work without the stuff at the end. She said this a number of times in 2012 – a search will probably find other instances, but this version seemed succinct.

          3. Paid Minion

            From the pictures I’ve seen………She “defaced” the blade of the bulldozer. A meaningless jesture. That paint will be worn away in about 10 minutes. Only the cops were idiots, or the bulldozer owners were even bigger idiots, and filed a complaint. Thus keeping the story in the news for one more day.

            I’d have been more impressed if they had burned the bulldozer.

            1. Rhondda

              Well, it got a lot of attention, so perhaps not all that meaningless.

              Lotta people drink Missouri River water…

        2. AnEducatedFool

          If you are interested in doing this then contact the Green Party and start in your neighborhood. The GP does not have the ability to field a GOTV in every state. If they are an actual party they should focus on any state or local district that has a candidate with a chance to win or push the Democrat out of office.

          I personally do not trust the Green Party to act in a way that will allow it to become a political party. They have a long history of either selling out to the Dems or accepting former ‘progressive’ dems into their party which has historically stifled the development of a legit 3rd party on the left.

          NGOs of all stripes (I think the GP is more of an NGO) have to move towards corporate power + 10% since that is the source of their money. If the Green Party is able to become a real party if it is able to bring Bernie’s model into full effect.

          1. Unorthodoxmarxist

            It’s true we don’t have the ability to GOTV everywhere. There’s a very real lack of understanding about infrastructure. We have organized locals in some areas but we could use help making phone calls and contacting people. If you’d like to phone bank for the Stein campaign you can do it from the privacy of your own home, just go to this link:


      2. jrs

        Nuke this country already. Not knowing where Allepo is nothing like being behind pushing for the war in Libya. But the value system of this country is so bad ignorance is considered worse than evil. Gosh I hate this country. I don’t think it can be reformed, it just lacks all decency.

        I am NOT a Gary Johnson supporter. But I can’t believe voters are fooled by this and if so they deserve what they get. 8 years of Hillary.

  4. Robert Hahl

    Re: Eye on Social Mood: Stock Market Bubble Will Pop, Social Mood Will Get Extremely Ugly MishTalk (EM), which is about central banks buying equities, I formed the impression over the years that central banks buy gold when it’s high and sell gold when it is low. Perhaps they are just using the same investment strategy for stocks.

    1. apber

      Not enough is said on this pages about the pending global economic implosion. Mish nibbles at the edges and does an excellent job allowing people to connect the dots. The truth is that we are heading for an economic and societal crash. Yes, Venezuela can happen here.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We have the whole world produce for us.

        As we continue to lose domestic production, if China or other countries stop supplying us, all the money created will lead inflation (can’t produce within; without, they won’t produce for us). It’s relatively peaceful today. If it should get ugly over the South China Sea, Taiwan, or with Japan over an island, perhaps Venezuela can happen here.

    2. Whine Country

      Does anyone know what our economists are doing these days? Central Banks who have the ability to just make money out of thin air are buying buying bonds and are now scaling up to buy more stocks and they call those “markets”. Yes, Humpty Dumpty said: “When I use a word means exactly what I choose it to mean”. When are these idiot economists going to fall off the wall? One of the most incredible things I have seen in my lifetime is the professions one by one becoming human jukeboxes. Whoever puts in the coins gets to pick the tune.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Give a thought to poor Mario Draghi in Europe, who will run out of bonds to buy at the end of this year. From the minutes of the last meeting (circa 1720):

        John Law hoped to retire the vast public debt accumulated during the later years of Louis XIV’s reign by selling his company’s shares to the public in exchange for state-issued public securities, or billets d’état, which consequently also rose sharply in value.

        A frenzy of wild speculation ensued that led to a general stock-market boom across Europe. The French government took advantage of this situation by printing increased amounts of paper money, which was readily accepted by the state’s creditors because it could be used to buy more shares of the Compagnie.

        State-sponsored asset bubbles — what could go wrong?

        1. John k

          Once he has all the bonds he can shred them… Presto, no sovereign debt. Next step, buy all the corporate bonds.
          Used to call it jubilee…

  5. fresno dan

    “The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers.” – Marshall McLuhan

    So I saw the documentary “Weiner” last night. The time period is after Weiner resigned from Congress and was running for mayor of New York.
    1st thought, the pain his wife Huma Abedein (not sure of the spelling of her name, and this is the Clinton aide) endured. However bad her Clinton doings are, she was fairly newly married and with a young child, and your husband is caught doing this, and the shame and public humiliation is just relentless. The self righteousness of the media is our “advanced” mob violence.

    2nd thought – Weiner himself touched on whether being a politician means you want attention too much, cause it was almost a masochistic effort to have a film crew follow you around and document how many ways people can berate you while you run for mayor of New York after a sexting scancal. News conferences where Weiner asked for questions on issues were met with crickets….but when he opened it up to any question, it really was amazing how many people can ask about sexting. And of course, every answer just gives ever more opportunities for questions….

    3rd thought – it was noted that Weiner never actually TOUCHED any of these people he “sexted” to and that there were voluntary exchanges. It is a strange infidelity….. One wonders if facebook and texting didn’t exist if Weiner would be rising (heh heh – c’mon, you knew it was impossible for me to comment without a weiner joke) through the ranks of elective office…

    Weiner was doing pretty good in his run for mayor, and than it was revealed that he sexted AFTER resigning from congress (WOW). The woman he sexted with had actually contacted him through Facebook to BERATE him, and he texted back to her and this eventually led to sexting WITH her (which she participated in) which either shows the great charm of Weiner or that the woman was a goofball. Later, in a fit of high dungeon she than became his Inspector Javert.


    1. Pat

      The rather convenient timing of the mayoral setting eruption is one of the reasons I have lots of doubts about most recent one. Not saying Weiner doesn’t a problem, but it really is minor considering the largely consensual nature of the “crime”. Still it has been a particularly useful tool. First for eliminating him from a campaign with a preselected candidate. Then for distracting interest in another Clinton corruption eruption.
      I’d have some sympathy for Abedin, but in all honestly I much prefer her husband’s weaknesses to the corrupt nature of the person she has supported most over the last decade and still does. Her judgment is broken.

      1. AnEducatedFool

        I agree with you 100%. Huma Abedin is one of the least sympathetic characters in Clinton’s orbit which is saying a lot.

        The sexting scandal barely pushed Clinton’s scandal out of the news cycle. I think it would have worked if Trump set himself on fire again but he seems to be under control now that Breitbart has taken over. I think it may also help that the Clinton’s have hit him personally repeatedly. Trump holds a grudge and he may want to win now just to prove a point.

      2. John k

        Clearly a willing participant in everything Clinton was and is doing, legal and not.
        The word judgement in this case means the belief the group is above the law, clearly true… In what sense is her ‘judgement’ broken?

    2. Propertius

      [W]hich either shows the great charm of Weiner or that the woman was a goofball.

      1) She was setting him up,
      2) It was a honeytrap, and
      3) He’s an idiot (and in desperate need of therapeutic intervention for his rather creepy addiction)

      This sounds much more plausible to me. He seems about as charming as a typical investment banker. However low my opinion of Huma as a public figure might be, I can’t help but feel sorry for her in this situation.

      1. fresno dan

        Those are plausible – but if you saw her in this documentary, I think you would agree its number 3.

  6. JSM

    Made a comment yesterday about Trump’s ‘peacemongering’ that was met with some nonplus.

    Today we see that ‘mainstream’ Republicans do not like Trump’s warm overtures to Putin any more than the Clinton camp. Trump’s stance toward Putin was all I had in mind, not Trump’s silly promises to bomb the sh*t out of whomever, or whatever other nonsense he spouted during the primaries, most of which I don’t take seriously.

    If the US were to overtly ally with Russia, say in fighting ISIS, Brzezinski’s ‘Grand Chessboard,’ Cold War 2.0, the pivot to Asia, the ‘encirclement’ of Russia/China, NATO’s broken promises in eastern Europe etc. all begin to look rather ridiculous. Let’s not pretend otherwise than that permanent (public) tensions with Russia are a primary assumption of the imperial project and are presently designed to drum up public support for a major confrontation (beginning) in Syria, nothing more and nothing less. This is where Trump’s rhetoric might at least initially handcuff him.

    1. fresno dan

      September 9, 2016 at 8:55 am

      What exactly is the threat that Russia poses to the US?
      How does Russia endanger the territorial integrity of the US???
      Listening to Hillary and the neocons, we are always on the verge of a Red Dawn

      Somebody seems not to have told them that the Russkies are no longer commies.
      But maybe that is just it – the world is OUR oyster, and we don’t want ANY one else in on the “capitalistic” grift…

      1. Robert Hahl

        I have heard that one serious plan to avoid nuclear war is to engage all of the most powerful countries in one big club, that will happily exploit all the others, thereby aligning the interests of the powerful. If so, the problem may be that Russia and China do not want to join the big club.

        1. a different chris

          Well they did roughly that – the UN Security Council. I guess the problem was getting the exploitation part kicked off properly.

      2. Grizziz

        Since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the colonial empires have been engaged in the balance of power game. One part of that game enforced by Britain and France and adopted by the US after Suez is to keep the Bosporus bottled up and to keep the Russians out of the Mediterranean. (See: Crimea War and Gallipoli)
        The Montreaux convention of 1936 gave Turkey the right to control the Turkish Straights with a caveat that Soviet Naval ships could travel the Straights. This was a British concession to keep Turkey out of an alliance with the Axis powers, particularly Italy.
        Russia seeks to maintain the convention with a defacto alliance with Turkey and military backing with its Naval forces in the Syrian port of Tartus and Sevestapol in Crimea. NATO and HRC (Her Royal Commander-in-MsChief) see it otherwise.
        We, of course, are caring and gentle folk whose lives are too short and who matter not a wit.

        1. Paid Minion

          Ukraine has some legitimate reasons for wanting a closer alignment with the West/NATO. Read “Bloodlands” for a still-withing-living-memory primer.

          Unfortunately, anyone looking at a map can tell why the Russians want to influence what goes on in the Ukraine. And why the Russians would not take the loss of access to Sevestapol lying down.

          It’s sad that Russia, for all of it’s issues, has more credibility than the idiots running the show in Washington.
          Russian actions make sense to me………….keep (who they perceive as) bad guys away from the homeland as far as possible, and back up governments/oligarchs/dictators who are “friendly”

          OTOH, what are WE trying to accomplish in Syria? Other than an attempt to limit Russian influence? Limit Iranian influence? While in the process creating more “terrorists”?

          Once again, a glance at the map will show that both the Iranians and the Russians will always have more influence in the Middle East, unless we spend all kinds of money/effort to change that. The only people supported by our intervention are the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Gulf States.

          I can only assume at this point that, like every other thing the US government currently does, our “policy” in the Middle East is designed more toward putting money in the pockets of the 1%ers/banksters than what is “good for the country”.

          1. Grizziz

            Don’t forget that Israel want to keep the Golan Heights that was annexed from Syria in the 1967 war. This topic is never heard when speaking of Crimea for fear of agitating Bibi or AIPAC nor Turkey’s illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus for fear of offending Erdogan.
            Also, you can refer to the posting the other day by Robert Kenndey and the proposed gas pipeline from Qater to Europe through Syria.

      3. JCC

        @Fresno dan: What exactly is the threat that Russia poses to the US?

        The threat isn’t to the U.S. directly, it is a threat to the U.S./West’s idea of World Order. Today, it’s a pipeline war in Syria with a flanking move in the Ukraine. Tomorrow, who knows?

        I still think this article explains a lot of it relatively clearly – the moves, the flanking moves (on both sides) and controlling the flow of oil being the prime objective. Not much has changed in this regard since WWII, same battle, mostly the same playing fields, same players, a few different lead teams and team captains.

  7. Bunk McNulty

    Re: Hillary’s More Positive Message:

    “Hillary Clinton’s campaign, heavy on attacks against Donald Trump, has concluded that it hasn’t done enough to telegraph a positive message, and plans a series of speeches aimed at defining her vision for the presidency … Her shift in strategy was in line with a recent recommendation of Vice President Joe Biden to show more of herself. ‘My advice to Hillary always is, just open up, let them see your heart a little more. Because she has the heart,’ he told CNN this week.”

    News item: Joe Biden asserts that Clinton has a heart.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Positive? Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice. But don’t you wonder about the pathology of Clinton’s relentless and hysterical focus on Trump and, by extension, Putin?

      Indeed, there is no room for anything resembling an affirmative vision. At least when Sanders was her opponent, Clinton could mirror his positions to create the illusion of a positive message. With Trump she has nothing to work with but her own neoliberal proclivities – so we’ll see how that gets spun into “positive” campaign messaging.

      I rather expect it will come out as forced and cloyingly insincere as her “spontaneous” banter with the gaggle during yesterday’s kabuki show on a NY tarmac.

    2. Roger Smith

      If yesterday’s speech at the “HBCU” (pathetically disgusting term) is any indication of her “positiveness”, what they really meant to say was that she would be shifting to a more pandering message.

      I started watching (not knowing where it was at first) that and immediately noticed her shrieking yell was absent… “Hmm… is this her talking normally? Something still sounds off.” Then it hit me, these are students and she is talking down to them… waving the keys in front of the babies.


    3. Benedict@Large

      If your next batch of chili tastes better than your last batch, it is far more likely that you left something out, rather than added something else in.

      The Clinton campaign would do better if they kept the Chili Rule in mind as they plotted their campaign strategy.

    4. Joe Hunter

      This propaganda has already started. The Guardian has a piece about Hillary’s heartfelt reaction during 9/11. They had to dig the info out of archives. I suppose this is pandering at 9/11 anniversary. She is such an awful person.

        1. Whine Country

          “Next, we will be shown photos of Hillary nursing Chelsea” That would be priceless. Let me visualize: Hillary is seen handing little Chelsea to her nanny with the caption – “you take care this”

      1. cwaltz

        Does the heartfelt reaction include voting for a war that ensured the death of hundreds of thousands of people including American men and women?

        If I were her campaign I wouldn’t go there.

      2. Paid Minion

        Back in the day, the Soviets would embark on “rehabilitation” programs, and visa-versa, in order to make the PTB look better to the serfs, and tarnish the name/rep of those on the “outs”.

        You may currently know this tactic as “messaging”.

  8. Katharine

    Why wouldn’t the Kremlin believe Hillary wants to start a war when she is willing to describe Trump’s praise for Putin as unpatriotic? It’s one thing to disagree, and point out reasons for your disagreement, but to resort to labeling that treats favorable comments on a foreign head of state as harm to your own country implies that you already view the other country as an enemy. Surely in their position it is only rational to regard her as a threat.

    1. fresno dan

      September 9, 2016 at 9:06 am

      The whole thing with Russia just displays the worst of Americanism. I can’t say I know for sure what is going on in Ukraine or Crimea, but the whole mindset of the US is “what is ours is ours (and by this the US means the whole world) and what is yours is negotiable.” The idea that we can be concerned with the countries bordering us is fine for us, but beyond the pale for everyone else.
      Imagine if Iran had an open water navy and stationed warships off our coasts in “international waters” – we would have a fit.
      We insist on seeing our selves as universally acknowledged defenders of peace and justice….despite the fact that everywhere we go our “allies” kill us….reminds me of missionaries.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Cuba has a US base on its territory — Guantánamo — which is being used for notorious human rights violations. As recently as 2013, Cuba demanded the return of its “usurped territory” at a UN meeting.

        Guantánamo was leased to the US under duress in 1903, so the US has a contractual claim to it. But it’s still an armed foreign enclave on Cuban territory.

        Try to imagine the humiliation of a 45-square-mile Russian naval base in Newport News, Virginia, holding prisoners renditioned from around the world. “Human rights violations!” the US would cry.

          1. cwaltz

            Heh, I really like Correa’s style.

            He’s still got that sense of humor that he had back in 2013 when the US essentially tried to bribe him to hand Snowden over and he told the government they should use the money they were trying to blackmail him with for human rights training.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Not to mention clinton’s devotion to nato, her love of victoria nuland and her insistence, absent any evidence, that Putin hacked the DNC to get Donald Trump elected.

      Then there’s her support of the infamous Syrian “no fly zone,” the implications of which are well spelled out in the American Conservative link above.

      Putin’s not stupid. He can smell a set-up when it’s happening right in front of his nose. And all americans should be able to smell it too.

        1. Jim Haygood

          I think I read in the NYT yesterday that the dictator Saddam Putin stores his WMDs in Aleppo, the capital of Syria. But the link seems to have disappeared …

    1. RabidGandhi

      “Lisa, the whole reason we have elected officials is so we don’t have to think all the time”

      Solid gold, especially this US electoral cycle, where the whole left seems to have thrown its weight behind electing the “right person” instead of organising, broadening the Overton window, awareness raising…

      1. fresno dan

        September 9, 2016 at 10:14 am

        I am of the opinion that the Simpsons had the most mass market trenchant political commentary in the US. They kinda lost it for a while, but I think they are coming back strong.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t know if you have the commentary available (I have all the classic episodes on DVD and Stonecutter Homer on my desk) but they have a funny story about perspective and being star struck when they meet Anne Bancroft. After all, why would Mr. Bancroft care about some stupid animated show? Anne brought her husband along for the recording session.

      1. fresno dan

        September 9, 2016 at 10:23 am

        “After all, why would Mr. Bancroft care about some stupid animated show?”
        Good one – LOL!

        I saw Blazing Saddles last Saturday because I had seen it only once and it has been….Oh O! I didn’t think people could live that long – I must be getting close to my expiration date…I do smell kinda ripe…

        It just wasn’t as hilarious as I remember, but it was interesting as a reflection of how things change as you age and what was cutting edge so long ago has become so cliche that it is hard to see it as it was when it was fresh.
        Having said all that, the scene where the bad guys are galloping across the empty expanse, and come to a toll booth (they can easily ride around it of course), and Slim Pickens says, “somebody is going to have to go back for a shitload of dimes” just cracks me up!

        I gotta get me that Simpsons commentary dvd set!

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I love this project. The Simpsons are like Rocky and Bullwinkle for the 21st Century.

      We use TubeChop to create snippets; that hasn’t created any problems for users with Calpers videos.

      UPDATE I very rarely laugh out loud, but this Simpsons episode was great. Wonderful perspective for 2016, I would think.

      1. fresno dan

        Lambert Strether
        September 9, 2016 at 11:13 am

        Thank you for the link!!!
        I have been trying to use
        but not having any success

        But since we are talking politics – Simpsons commentary on the two party system

        Makes me pine for the old days when our candidates were the relatively benign space alien conquerors Kodos and Kang….ah, the good old days….
        Hmmmmm…has anyone pulled on Clinton and Trump hair…I mean hard enough to reveal a space alien underneath???

  9. Robert Hahl

    Re How Democrats could win back the House (and Senate):

    “It is possible, of course, that voters in those 54 districts will conclude that Trump is a party of one and decide, in droves, to split their tickets between Clinton and down-ballot Republicans — which is what those Republicans are increasingly asking them to do.”

    I didn’t see any accounting for the likely quite low Republican turnout, even though this is a presidential year. Most people who habitually vote are going to tell any pollster that they are “likely” to vote, but this time they just might skip it due to Trump, in a phenomenon similar to the Bradley effect.

    If so we will end up with a Democrats controlling the both houses and the presidency.

    My question is, can the Senate go back to treating 60 as the new 51, by letting the Republicans “filibuster” everything, or have those rules changed?

  10. Pat

    Caught part of The View with Gary Johnson. Had to love how concerned Behar was with his being a spoiler and how he thought he would be able to deal with a divided Congress especially since she rejected answers that had as much substance as any Clinton uses when infrequently confronted with the idea of an obstructionist Congress.

    1. fresno dan

      I haven’t been following this – it has all the earmarks of a contrived gaffe.
      So tell me – did Johnson REALLY not know Aleppo was in Syria and that it is a modern buzzword of foreign policy, or was it merely a brain f*rt???

      ‘If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.’
      Mark Twain

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The New York Times fact checkers were misinformed about Aleppo as well.

        The best defense of Johnson was the strange phrasing of the question. I wouldn’t lead with Aleppo, which I’m sure the journalists only knew because they received propaganda about the city.

        It’s not Milwaukee or even Paris. It’s a man made disaster largely caused by the U.S. and the refugee crisis started in 2003 when Assad fed and housed millions of Iraqis putting pressure on the state’s resources. It’s only a crisis when the refugees might get too close to Merkel types who will house them in rural put of the way towns

      2. cwaltz

        In context, the question regarding Allepo felt random, they jumped from asking him about political figures to asking him about policy on Syria.

      3. Pat

        The question came out of the blue, and was strictly about Aleppo. As in iirc “What do you plan to do about Aleppo?” Johnson did not make the connection. Now this may be a beltway buzzword, but frankly it is also a bullshit one, as the whole situation is much larger than ‘Aleppo’. As soon as it became “Syria” he had a fairly decent, if pat, answer about it. It clearly delineated that his knowledge was not detailed, but yes it also had the earmarks of a ‘Brain f*rt’.

        I’m not a Johnson fan, except for the fact that he got the War on Drugs was largely a loser for society and government, although a winner for Private Prisons and money launderers very early on. I’m a big fan of Social Security and Medicare so he is a no go for me. But frankly this is another one of those media blowups where the moment you put the soundbite in context it is far less damning than it is being portrayed.

        1. fresno dan

          September 9, 2016 at 12:08 pm

          Thanks – kinda of what I suspected.
          The media does the outraged, aghast mob bit very well – but as other links show, the NYT managed to mangle a lot of facts about Aleppo as well.

          It would be refreshing if we had ONE candidate who said Aleppo was, is, and will be totally our fault – so the best solution is to leave and never go back.

          Funny how the market doesn’t offer that choice…

          1. Paid Minion

            A geography quiz as litmus test.

            Only policy wonks know (or give a s##t) where Aleppo is.

            And even they wouldn’t know, until our half-azz “interventions” made it front page news (for the policy wonk class).

        2. Plenue

          A much better scenario would have been if he actually knew anything worth a damn about Aleppo and riposted:

          “What do you think I should do? The terrorists have been resealed inside eastern Aleppo and the supply line to the hundreds of thousands of civilians in the western half of the city reopened. There is no humanitarian crisis nor anything for us to do if we genuinely want this war to end.”

          I respect that his position is we shouldn’t have ‘foreign entanglements’, but Aleppo is the lynchpin to all of the Syrian conflict right now. If your stance is that we shouldn’t be killing foreign people, I expect you to have substantive knowledge of the foreign people we are currently killing.

    2. JohnnyGL

      As soon as the polls tighten up for HRC, the knives come out for Johnson. Perhaps even he’s surprised at the rapid jump in vitriol. He’s managed to grab double-digits in a few national polls and even in some swing states.

      I’m thrilled to see that Clinton and the Dem hacks are happy to ‘kick the right’, too. A modicum of fairness! At least they’re not just moaning at Jill Stein anymore. If she and the Greens were to finally start having an impact and finally convince 5% of voters to tells pollsters they’re voting for her, then I’m sure the media would have to switch from “ignore mode” to “kick the left and all 3rd parties mode”. That would be progress of a sort.

      Cue up Lambert’s remark about what a wonderfully clarifying election cycle it’s been.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I think what scares Camp Clinton about Johnson’s rise is not the election but rather the farces that are passed off as debates. The rabble clamouring to “Let Ralph Debate” almost unmasked the whole charade in 2000 (although nothing a DNC demonisation campaign can’t fix) as it nearly forced the candidates to talk about actual issues instead of kayfabe. A Johnson– or even worse, a Stein– in the debates would be a disaster for HRC, so the more the upstarts can be pushed out of the Overton Window, the easier it is to exclude them from the debates.

        1. Pat

          Oh, I agree. And he pointed out that even if he doesn’t make that vaunted 15% standard (he is topping out at about 12%) for the first debate, he can still be added to the later ones. However you cannot underestimate the panic that must be there because when you factor in the third parties it is largely a tie between Clinton and Trump. Johnson isn’t just siphoning off Trump voters, but possible Clinton voters. He is truly an option for all those Republicans who find Trump distasteful, Clinton is really counting on.


    3. cwaltz

      What I was impressed with regarding Johnson was his willingness to accept that he didn’t know something that he probably should have. He didn’t have 50 shades of excuses on why it should have been acceptable to not know about Allepo- he apologized and owned his behavior. That’s a step up from most of the politicians in DC these days.

  11. fresno dan

    Fifteen Years on, Where Are We in the ‘War on Terror’? The RAND Blog

    The senators in 2001 would have been more pleased to hear that by 2016, America’s terrorist foes had not been able to launch another 9/11-scale attack—they had not even come close. Indeed, under a broad definition of “terrorism” that includes attacks by angry, sometimes mentally unstable individuals who embrace jihadist ideology only to rationalize their aggression, jihadist terrorists since 9/11 have managed to kill fewer than 100 people in the United States—all needless tragedies to be sure, but an average of six or seven jihadist-inspired murders a year in a country with an annual average of 14,000 to 15,000 homicides is a far better outcome than many people had feared in 2001.

    Kerry was right – if we had treated this as a criminal problem, “terrorism” would be far, far less pervasive today and not nearly the problem. It would be a problem, just as “crime” is a problem, but it would not lead to such irrationality that actually makes the situation worse instead of better.

    A cynic might say there are just too many opportunities for profit with war…

    “jihadist terrorists since 9/11 have managed to kill fewer than 100 people in the United States”
    I wonder how many people have died because they couldn’t afford an epipen since 9/11?

    1. JamesG

      “Kerry was right – if we had treated this as a criminal problem, “terrorism” would be far, far less pervasive today and not nearly the problem.”

      The 1993 attack on New York’s WTC was treated as a “criminal” act and doing so was a great “success.” The perps were captured, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned.

      Let’s talk about it over dinner. My treat. But it has to be at the Windows on The World restaurant.

      1. fresno dan

        September 9, 2016 at 11:30 am

        As I recall, we had a war over there in ’91 or so.
        Didn’t go to war with the right country?
        or was it just an ineffective war?
        And of course, it just isn’t possible that the 1st war led to retaliation…just not possible

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If we can war on cancer, war on poverty, war on illiteracy, or war on drugs, we can war on terror.

        2. JamesG

          I revise my comment: Instead of dining in the main restaurant I will book a table at Cellar in the Sky, a small interior restaurant-in-a-restaurant that offers an exclusive “vin compris” menu at a fixed price. The food and the wine are excellent and, after all, you can’t drink or eat the view.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Fitting that the link mentioned the War on Terror in conjunction with the 30 Years War. Fifteen years in — seems like a good time for revivals of Brecht’s Mother Courage.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s a sovereignty issue, I think.

      And because governments are not people (either as household people or individually), they can legally kill.

      “This government will defend against anyone menacing our citizens.”

  12. Katharine

    With high confidence we see permanence to our financial condition expecting it to continue long into the future.
    Note the hidden assumption: our financial condition is already good, so expecting it to continue implies high confidence. Surely for many, perhaps a majority, of the world’s people expecting the present condition to continue would induce something nearer despair.

  13. fresno dan

    A reminder of the permanent wars: Dozens of U.S. airstrikes in six countries WaPo

    Because we’re number 1 at peace loving-ness!!!

    Good thing we’re around, otherwise the world would be embroiled in war…

    1. TomT

      It was the last sentence of the WaPo piece that got me:

      Scharre said the bombing was an appropriate response to an array of security threats, one that might be sustained over time in the same way that the United States has committed to long-term military presences in places such as Germany and South Korea

      I know it’s naïve, but I’m still shocked when they talk this brazenly with reporters.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe we will know more about smoking another Sacred Herb recreationally in the next century.

      2. JamesG

        Yes in the distant past some MDs even took $’s to advertise cigarettes.

        But I give the American medical profession a gold star for how they turned against smoking.

        Almost to a man (and a woman) they quit smoking once the facts were known and indisputable.

        They led the way and saved many lives, including possibly this ex-smoker’s.

    1. Emma

      Health matters aside, there’s something serious going on when a potential leader of a nation that presents itself as a true stalwart of freedom of both speech and press, is making veiled threats to its media to tread carefully.
      Perhaps the Clinton crowd could listen to a great woman like Margaret Heffernan instead of ‘titating’. They’d pick up something extremely useful with regards to the freedom of both press and speech, but more importantly, it would be beneficial to all Americans: “For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument and debate.”

    2. DrBob

      “The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a politically conservative non-profit association founded in 1943 to ‘fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine’…The association is generally recognized as politically conservative or ultra-conservative, and its publication advocates a range of scientifically discredited hypotheses, including the belief that HIV does not cause AIDS, that being gay reduces life expectancy, that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, and that there are links between autism and vaccinations.”

  14. fresno dan

    Interview with David Autor Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Impact of technological change and import substitution on U.S. labor.

    Many blame America’s labor woes (which began well before the Great Recession) on China’s surging exports and rapid technological change that seemingly replaced humans with computers and robots. But economists have long insisted that trade liberalization and technological innovation were positive overall economic forces, and that disruptive costs to some workers were small and short-lived relative to total benefits for the economy as a whole.
    David Autor of MIT has shone a bright light on the often-downplayed costs. He and co-authors carefully analyzed the impact of technological change and import substitution on U.S. labor and found that the disruptive costs are much larger and longer-lived than previously recognized.
    We were quite startled by how slow and incomplete the adjustment process was and the fact that you didn’t see offsetting gains in employment in other sectors. You see people entering unemployment or exiting the labor force, and wages falling modestly, but much adjustment was on the employment margin, not the earnings margin.
    I of course don’t think that Autor goes far enough, but at least he is challenging some of the shibboleths of modern economic orthodoxy.

    “We were quite startled by how slow and incomplete the adjustment process was and the fact that you didn’t see offsetting gains in employment in other sectors.”
    That is because of your religion (i.e., economics) – maybe you didn’t see things because you were not looking – – see Galileo, telescopes, and the Catholic church….

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I couldn’t get through this interview with David Autor and so must congratulate your persistence. It doesn’t take many equations and deep thought economic theories to figure out off-shoring jobs had a substantial negative impact. I lived in Fort Worth, Texas in the 1980’s where I heard — Dallas NPR? — the observation that the two big turnouts for Rangers games were when they played the NY Yankees and when they played the Detroit Tigers. I didn’t see any positives come out of the outsourcing of jobs and subsequent looting of our car industry by the Captains of Industry — but I’m not an economist.

      Later when I lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana I recall sitting in a neighborhood bar drinking beers with a guy who claimed to be a skilled machinist. Years now after International Harvester closed down there weren’t too many jobs for machinists. I don’t know why Harvester shut down but the decline of the skilled and unskilled working classes seemed clear enough. I didn’t see any positives come out of whatever was going on — but I’m not an economist.

      A few years ago I bought my little Corolla from an Indian Database Programmer working under contract with TATA who did routine database maintenance for a local Big Pharma Corporation. About that same time a co-worker and friend — a US citizen — where I was employed had to scramble around looking for a new assignment doing database work and had to settle for a job that kept him a five hour drive away from his family. He came home for weekends and holidays. I didn’t see any positives for this strange situation replacing American STEM types with lower priced throw-away imported STEM workers — but I’m not an economist.

      I try to support “Made in America”. It’s hard to find and costs more and too many times I discovered on reading the “fine print” — it was a sham.

      I read some of the Senate Armed Services Committee reports from a few years ago on counterfeits entering the DoD supply chain. I read of the extended DoD supply chain sourcing key components of military technology from the industries of foreign nations including nations potentially hostile to the US.

      I live in a small town now. I can walk along Main Street counting vacant store fronts for lease or sale. I live not far from what was once one of the great glass making centers of America with a large plant turning out jars, bottles, and home glasswares under a venerable trade name. The plant was bought up by a large European glass manufacturer. They laid everyone off and closed down the plant. But that was many years before I moved here. The impacts remain.

      I have read about US Corporations extending and collapsing their supply chains to such fine links and long lengths — very little is required to break a chain. The thinning and lengthening of the supply chains is complemented by the gross reductions in inventories ushered in by the American version of “just-in-time” deliveries [The Japanese invented the technique — but their “just-in-time” deliveries usually arrived from a producer just up the road — not across oceans and continents].

      “Free Trade” is one of many inventions of modern finance which together have accomplished a most thorough undermining of all that made this country great. There is nothing left to leave to our children. I don’t see any positives in all this — but I’m not an economist. I also couldn’t get through this self-congratulatory interview of David Autor.

      1. fresno dan

        Jeremy Grimm
        September 9, 2016 at 1:52 pm
        You’ve given an eloquent comment on what you have seen.
        I remember the debate between Gore and Perot.
        And I’m ashamed I believed what all the clever people believed. The facts said so….

        Well, turns out there are other facts as well. The facts that dare not speak their name…..distribution and inequality.
        GDP would have gone up with or without trade. Maybe not as much …OR maybe MORE – no one really knows. But its quite a coincidence that year in and year out, the country has gotten richer, but the overwhelming majority of the people haven’t…
        and 26 years later economists fess up they didn’t know as much as they thought.

        1. Paid Minion

          The economists didn’t know what everybody in Flyover knew.

          When one guy starts undercutting labor costs, everyone else has to do it whether they want to or not. Or they die.

          Ask any residential roofing contractor.

          Add to this the total lack of anti-trust enforcement, leading to the numerous defacto monopolies currently in place.

          Many “acquisitions” were basically a means of killing off competitors. The airlines were sick puppies (financially) until all of the competition was killed or merged.

          Unfortunately, prior to this, the price to compete with low-overhead upstarts was throwing all of the airline employees under the pay cut/outsourcing/off-shoring bus. And absent regulations otherwise, the jobs “ain’t coming back”.

          Any effort to enforce FAA regs on these off-shore facilities (like mandatory drug/alcohol screening, which every aircraft repair shop in the US has to do) is viewed as “violations of sovereignty” by the locals.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I too believed what all clever people believed — worse I let the concerns of family and home dominate my life shutting out understanding of the larger world. I made compromises to earn a living which give me no comfort of mind or body in these my later years.

          I would add another set of problems to the problems of distributing the benefits of the putative growth we’ve enjoyed these too many years. “Free Trade” is one of the watchwords justifying the wholesale erosion of our local and national resilience. In the past weeks NC has discussed the inability of US firms to build the large power transformers critical to electric power distribution. And with small business all but extinct we depend on the good offices and efficiencies of Corporate vendors supplying much of our food and basic necessities — from distant distribution centers. The few national disasters we’ve experienced recently tell too plainly of the reliability and resilience of our critical infrastructure as DHS calls it — our power, clean water, and our food.

          As for our economists fessing up and explaining they don’t know what they’re doing. Its too late for them. They can save their mea culpas for Madame Defarge.

          The whole argument that somehow trade is good because it boosts GDP — an argument which assumes a false warrant — tacitly assumes raising the GDP should be the sole concern in discussions of the Wealth of Nations. American Neoliberal Capitalism gives capitalism a bad name.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        As looked at the link one more time to catch David Autor’s reference to “Never let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste” I couldn’t help but take offense to his shit-eating smile of smug self-satisfaction and grandeur.

        “Someone once said, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” As a labor economist, I’d say the same thing about a major exogenous shock: Don’t waste it; let’s understand how it plays out in labor markets.”

        So — David Autor is a “labor economist” but he doesn’t know the name Philip Mirowski? He notes a “major exogenous shock” — a nice euphemism for the gutting of our economy and he wants to study how it plays our in labor markets. I think this was the point where I just could read no more.

  15. JohnnyGL

    Brilliant move by Trump. In one move he’s re-affirmed all the right enemies.

    DC Press core having a hissy fit…..check
    Lindsey Graham….check
    Rupert Murdoch….check

    He’s managed to simultaneously re-affirm himself as the candidate of peace, and a rebel against the establishment. These are two big drivers for his support and he’s smart to get them back in people’s minds.

  16. fresno dan

    So I see that the ?quail? are back – I haven’t seen any for months – I don’t blame them, we’ve had plenty of days over 110 degrees. With their little top feathers and shuffling about in a tight group they always remind me of a gaggle of bargain shoppers at a flea market. So even though there is a ton of seeds on the ground under the bird feeder, they won’t stay too long….must move along to see if there are better treasures down the line…

  17. fresno dan

    September 9, 2016 at 11:05 am

    A serious person might make the argument that the mainstream media today (at LEAST with regards to Russia) is worse than Joseph McCarthy in the 1950’s.
    There is not enough profit in the wars we’re having so that we have to reignite the cold war? (and if we’re unlucky it will be a hot war)

  18. Pelham

    Re the “mystery” of men leaving the workforce: I see this sort of thing over and over again, and it’s a mystery to me as to why it must remain a mystery. Perhaps I’m misinterpreting, but I detect in such querulous musings a whiff of what some economists seriously maintained during the Great Depression, that 25% of the working population just up and decided to take extended vacations.

    Today, however, is it beyond human and institutional capacity to somehow measure how many men, or women, are RELUCTANTLY out of the workforce and RELUCTANTLY giving up on the search for work? Must we rely on anecdotes? This seems a simple enough factor to quantify. Maybe no one really wants to know as it could create pressure on the government to actually, you know, do something about it.

      1. Paid Minion

        Nor are they looking at why there is a surge in “Disability Claims” (another chapter in the “lazy Americans don’t want to work” propaganda)

        Anecdotal of course, but what I see:

        – People who could have claimed disability a long time ago continued to work. When they got Sh#t-canned, they just claimed something that they were eligible for a long time ago.

        – People out of work for years, can’t find work other than minimum wage-McJobs, filing for disability to try to keep the house.

        (If you are a formerly employed person, and have lost your job due to economic forces, and/or management/investor/government decisions beyond your control, are you not, in fact “Disabled”?).

        The fact is, many of the problems we currently have are driven by the fact that all of the “incentives” in the rules currently line up in favor of the 1%ers and banksters. They use their money to elect sympathetic politicians, who then pass laws/legislation that favors the 1%ers instead of the J6Ps. In pursuit of money/power, instead of Democrats vs.Republicans we now have “Republican Lite vs Republican vs Republican Crazy/Zealots/Christian Jihadists”

        The beauty of this system is that it is set up to keep everybody out of jail. Nothing has to be said/written down. The politicians know what they have to say to keep the money coming from the various groups, and the 1%ers understand what they will be getting for their money.

        Expect more of the same until the clueless J6Ps figure this out.

        1. Portia

          excellent. I would add that anecdotally employers avoid people with history of physical problems/limitations like the plague in my experience, and older/physical limitations workers, once shit-canned, are SOL and USCWOAP.

          1. Paid Minion

            The problem is, being over 40 is currently viewed as being a “Disability”

            My former employer (an aerospace OEM) can’t get rid of the over 50 crowd fast enough. No matter that they are aircraft mechanics, usually crew chiefs and/or foremen, supposedly an occupation where there is a giant “shortage of skilled/experienced/trained” help.

            What they are really complaining about a “shortage of experienced technicians who will work 60 hour weeks/bust their ass for $15/hour”.

            Seems that the latest crisis they are having (on which the TQM/Six Sigma guys are frantically meeting on) is all of the screw ups/broke airplanes caused by having too many inexperienced newbies making decisions for even newer newbies.

            (My SIL, as it happens, works at my old employer, in the same position I used to have, a supervisor/ foremen with a crew of 25-30 guys.

            My experience when I became supervisor = Mechanic for 11 years at company, crew chief for the last 3.

            His experience:
            Mechanic for 5 years, one year at company, no crew chief experience.

            One thing my old buddies have discovered, is how cheaply they can live once the house in Flyover is paid for, and the kids are out of the house.

            1. jonboinAR

              What they are really complaining about a “shortage of experienced technicians who will work 60 hour weeks/bust their ass for $15/hour”.

              This! Times a billion.

              One thing my old buddies have discovered, is how cheaply they can live once the house in Flyover is paid for, and the kids are out of the house.

              I’m trying desperately to get MY house in flyover country paid off as fast as I possibly can. Repair costs (new roof, e.g.) are interfering some.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese billionaire and aluminium stockpile in Mexican desert.

    There is something smelling down there. Will it become the route for Chinese (and other virtuous and evil nations) migrants into America? Tapachula today, and many other border cities along our soft underbelly tomorrow.

    Is Trump wrong? Maybe we two walls, not one???

    1. Paid Minion

      My brother is a Border Patrol agent in Cali.

      He says the “fence” is a freaking joke. Sez they have been seeing tons of East Europeans. I can only assume the Chinese will do the same, once the word gets around.

      Typical scenario:
      – Fly to Mexico, cross the border into the Big PX.
      – Find a Border Patrol agent, and surrender immediately.
      – In a day or two, go before a judge, and request an asylum hearing.
      – Backlog for these hearings is months, if not years, long. Court kicks them out the door with no bond, with a hearing date months/years down the road.
      – Hearing date comes. 99.5% percent of them are “no shows”. Unless they get arrested for something, nobody ever sees them again.

      The “12 million illegals” number is a freaking joke. If visual observations are worth anything, we could have a million of them just in our Flyover Metro area. It could be 25-30 million, for all anyone knows. The Feds (and many others) don’t really want to know, because if it was 25-30 million, Joe Q Citizen would have a meltdown.

      In the meantime, too many people are making money off the discounted labor (both illegal workers, and from US citizens who have to compete for jobs with them). Seems employers like having employees they have leverage over, vs. dealing with (among others) high school kids, or people who say something when they see stupid/criminal stuff going on.

      When you look at the big picture, most of the jobs in the US are, in fact, MONEY LOSERS, when you subtract the direct/indirect costs.
      You can sit at home and go broke quickly, or bust your azz at minimum wage, and go broke a year or two down the road

      If you wanted to end illegal immigration, forget about a fence. Just put the people who hire them IN JAIL. Set up a hotline, with reward money paid out. Or make employers who import labor pay a tax, the difference between what they would pay a J6P for the same job and the minimum wage. Balance the current “privatize the profits, socialize the costs” formula.

      I’m betting that this suggestion goes into the “never gonna happen” file.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If there is a weak spot in the system, someone will exploit it.

        Fence is needed – why put people who hire them IN JAIL, when the worry this: Bad guys don’t come here to get work.

        We assume they come here to get work. The news I read the other days was about Southern Command warning Aleppo spreading through Mexico.

  20. Jim Haygood

    After seeing the design of Apple’s AirPod ear buds, I wondered whether Sir Jony Ive, CDO (Chief Design Officer), still works at Apple.

    So many things are wrong. The lower end is bluntly truncated, presenting an unsightly appearance in the human ear. Close up, it looks like the end of a nasty old “cool white” fluorescent tube — the kind that used to buzz, hum and blink in your office ceiling, back in the 20th century.

    Worse, though, are the ergonomics. Hard plastic “one size fits all” earbuds do not seal well in the ear canal, simultaneously compromising comfort, sound quality, and physical retention.

    My $9.99 earbuds, with their down-market “buggy whip” cable and jack attached, have soft plastic bushings attached to the drivers. They’re comfortable, fit well, and sound great.

    At the risk of claiming that the emperor has no clothes, I expect that Apple’s $159.99 AirPod is going to be a monumental failure — functionally, aesthetically, and financially.

    Sir Jony, what have you done? Think of the fanboys …

    1. Pat

      Uncomfortable, easily lost and probably a big demand on power compared to headphones that don’t need the phone to be wirelessly attached to the phone. If they aren’t a loser, the consumer really is stupid.

      What is going to be a success is when the Chinese, or others, market the adaptors so that you can still use your headphones, etc using the charging port.

    2. carycat

      Shave a few pennies off the materials cost (no more 3.5mm jack) and manufacturing cost plus rake in more licensing pennies when those Chinese (and others? there are others in this low cost clone game?) aftermarket adapters becomes a must have for all the fanbois (or Minnie Pearl wannabes) who cannot afford the AirPod. Why do you think Apple (or other IP heavies) always goes for their own reinvented wheel so they can feed their IP protection racket.
      So a twofer for the bean counters while Tim can be coiuragous.

      1. hunkerdown

        Apple and other IP heavies also have the “analog hole” (EFF) problem to contend with: that analog outputs can be redigitized and recorded without the nominally effective restrictions and encumbrances placed upon them by content “owners”. Perhaps Apple (and the content industry) bid that analog (and necessarily unencrypted, and therefore [fear-inducing string stabs] copyable) output will “go away” if some 30% of the phone market no longer has the built-in capability to do so.

        I get the sense that people are getting tired of Apple’s foot-binding s–t and are answering with their Apple Belvedere. Heckuva job, Timmah, the DJs will just strip the DRM off of their collections and go Android.

  21. Kim Kaufman

    Mike Morell, a Very Dangerous Resume on Hillary Clinton’s Desk

    By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

    07 September 16

    “Morell said specifically that if he were CIA director, he would advise Clinton to begin surreptitiously killing Russian and Iranian soldiers in Syria, despite the fact that these soldiers have been invited into Syria by that country’s internationally-recognized government. Morell said further that he would advise the president to begin bombing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s presidential guard and his personal helicopters and planes. Remember, there has been no U.S. declaration of war against Syria.

    I know Mike Morell personally. I worked with him in a variety of capacities at the CIA. Morell is very intelligent. Beyond that, he’s a political animal and a survivor. Morell is very introverted, which is not unusual for a career analyst. But his introversion is disarming. Behind that quiet façade is a schemer, a manipulator, and, I believe, a sociopath.”

  22. Kim Kaufman

    Obama will likely become the first ex-president billionaire

    “Noticing the absurdity, Rep. Jason Chaffetz recently sponsored a bill that would have capped the GSA “allowance” fund expenses for ex-presidents at $200,000 a year. Passing the House and Senate by unanimous voice votes, Mr. Obama promptly vetoed it six months before his own White House party is due to end.”

    “Part of the liberal chattering class are already swooning over the idea that Mr. Obama would become the first ex-president billionaire. It looks like he was being honest when pitching all that hope and change in 2008, and how much better things were going to be. Too bad we didn’t know he was speaking only of himself.”

    1. nycTerrierist

      In that case, he can surely pay for his own pension and family’s secret service coverage.

      It’s the least he can do for us muppets.

      It is obscene for taxpayers to subsidize public ‘servants’ lining their pockets like this.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I imagine all it took was a few phone calls from the DNC to the guys/gals in charge of our media.

      “Time to improve the social mood. Especially with the Down down over 200 points.”

  23. Jim Haygood

    A preview of autumn entertainment from the Eurozone channel:

    Bratislava (AFP) – Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned Athens on Friday to swiftly deliver on overdue reforms as its massive bailout programme fell off track.

    “The pressure is back on. We really need some progress. The summer is over, pack up the camping gear, get back to work,” Dijsselbloem, who leads the group of 19 finance ministers from the eurozone, told reporters in Bratislava.

    German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said Greece still had a short period of time to get back in line on its 86 billion euro bailout programme, agreed amid much bitterness in July 2015.

    “They have to do this until the end of September, so there is still time for Greece,” Schaeuble said.

    The eurozone ministers met in the Slovak capital as Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras hosted a mini-summit between the European Union’s seven Mediterranean states in Athens.

    Schaeuble belittled the summit as a political meeting of “socialist party leaders”, even though non-left leaders attended. “And when socialist party leaders meet, most of the time, nothing intelligent comes out of it,” he added.

    Who needs Downton Abbey, when we’ve got a real-life drama involving 340 million people?

    Summer’s over, kids. And a gripping new series is premiering.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No need for camping gear.

      In Greece, he could probably have stayed at a 5-star resort for the same price as a northern European camp site…with better weather.

  24. fresno dan

    Paid Minion
    September 9, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    What they are really complaining about a “shortage of experienced technicians who will work 60 hour weeks/bust their ass for $15/hour”.

    when we have perfect “free trade” labor’s wages will be reduced to the level of a Bangladeshi hod carrier….
    Isn’t that how its suppose to work??? All that labor competition?
    If you combine say one hundred “25s” with 100,000 “1s” the average is going to be…1.02….wu hu for the Banglasdeshis, not so good for the Americans…
    And YET this is the American plan…

  25. robnume

    Re: No one cares how you feel: This article and tales like it are the reason I do not participate in social media at all. If you cannot converse intelligently with your neighbors outside, actually converse, that is, then you certainly won’t fare much better attempting to do same on social media. I am appalled that a company which produces a widely read dictionary would stoop so low and to do so in such a public manner. How “professional” of them. Are companies so thin skinned these days that they will take down anyone who dares to criticize them? Apparently, the answer is yes.
    I am divorcing soon and am going out into the workplace again with an eye to mid-level customer service. I used to work for Aetna when they administrated CHAMPUS and was looking forward to doing what it is that I do best: lend a real human ear of caring and compassion to those who cannot fathom the depths of the rules in their health insurance coverage/claims. In the past, while some individual calls were “challenging,” I generally enjoyed most exchanges and felt good about helping people at the end of every day. Now I’m cringing a bit at the thought that I have to deal with what the late great Paddy Chayefsky would surely recognize as a total breakdown in what we, as a society, would have once termed “…simple human decency.”

  26. VietnamVet

    “Negative Interest Rates and the War on Cash” is worth the read. I have to agree that together, both are sure signs of financial End Times. The retirement benefits I receive are digital. I can still pay bills with paper checks. I can still go to the bank and convert the digits to cash. If everything vital that you buy from medicine, water, electricity to food becomes corporate controlled digits; the one sure thing is that you can never work hard enough to satisfy the digit suppliers. If you are too old to work, the digits stop.

  27. cnchal

    I hate it when I am wrong, and a couple of my comments are way off, in a math challenged way.

    No one benefits if nonsensical numbers get thrown out there, and my comments mislead you, so here goes.

    Last week, part of my comment on this post reads:

    To make it more believable, imagine lining up end to end along Interstate 80 from New York to San Francisco, 14,000 + Nimitz class aircraft carriers that $6.5 trillion represents.

    Of course, 14,000 Nimitz class aircraft carriers is an absurd number. It is only a mere 1,400 or so Nimitz class aircraft carriers that represent $6.5 trillion of unaccountable military spending, and lined up bow to stern would cover a distance of only 290 miles.

    I like using Nimitz class aircraft carriers as currency units to bring these astronomical numbers to a human scale. They cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.6 billion, only ten were ever built and $1 trillion would buy 217 of them, plus a spare bow and stern.

    Farther in the past, was this whopper, and it was the opposite of a gross exaggeration regarding CO2 emissions. I got curious about the relationship between fuel efficiency and the volume of CO2 emitted while driving. To represent that volume, as a car drove along, it leaves behind a stream of CO2 that can be represented by it’s diameter, which varies depending on fuel efficiency. The whopper was that a car getting 25 MPG leaves behind a stream of CO2 one millimeter ( .04″ ) in diameter. It is actually 12.41 mm or .489 inches.

    A car getting 15 MPG emits a stream 16.02 mm or .631 ” in diameter and 40 MPG is 9.8 mm or .386 “.

    This is based on one US gallon of gasoline when burned converting to 20 lbs of CO2, which is a volume of 66.72 inches cubed at sea level.

    It would be interesting to map the CO2 volume emitted to the roads traveled.

    From the link:

    Every year the United States emits a 33.14cm high blanket of carbon dioxide over its land area.

    33.14 cm = 13 inches Equivalent to 11 feet in a decade.

    Verify these numbers for yourself, please. My words are farts in the wind.

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