2:00PM Water Cooler 10/24/2016

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1293 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in financial realm. Please join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our fifth goal, more original reporting.

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, as usual the polling wrap-up held me up, so I’ll add a few more 2016 links shortly –lambert


CETA: “European trade policy has been thrown into disarray after Belgium’s government said it could not overcome regional objections to an EU-Canada trade deal despite weeks of fruitless talks to rescue the agreement” [Financial Times, “Belgium sinks EU-Canada trade deal after Wallonia veto”]. “With Ceta all but collapsing, officials said efforts to appease Walloon MPs continue in the hope that it can be salvaged away from the glare of the summit deadline.” Where’s Belgium’s Chrétien when we need him? Ka-ching! But maybe not–

CETA: [The Francophone Socialist Party that governs Wallonia fears that CETA will lead to] “‘abandoning all our socialist priorities in Europe,’ says Hooghe, who says the real objection is to giant corporations using trade deals like CETA and its U.S.-Europe equivalent TTIP, now under negotiation, to overwhelm European values” [CBC]. And they’re not wrong! Good article on Belgian politics, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that what happened to was done to Wallonia echoes what happened to was done to the Rust Belt.

CETA: “‘We are not in a position to sign CETA,’ Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said after talks with Belgium’s regional leaders in Brussels” [Deutsche Welle].

Andre Antoine, Walloon parliamentary president and a member of Belgium’s center-left Socialist party, said his region is not giving way.

‘There’s a huge mish-mash of texts. This is not serious international law,’ Antoine said. ‘Secondly, ultimatums and threats are not part of democracy. We want a deal, we want a treaty, but we want to negotiate it with a minimum of courtesy and respect.’


CETA: “Today’s deadline, sources tell our Pro Trade colleagues in Europe, comes from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is keen to decide whether he’ll need to make the trip to Brussels to attend Thursday’s summit. After Walloon opposition left Freeland on the verge of tears in Brussels on Friday in discussing her decision to pull back from the talks due to the impasse, the last thing Trudeau wants is another major embarrassment” [Politico].

TISA: “The odds of the Trade in Services Agreement wrapping up by year’s end have grown longer after a mini ministerial meeting in Oslo on Friday and Saturday revealed a number of issues remain far from resolved — several of which center on the European Union, for one reason or another. Two of the biggest issues remaining involve data flows and new services (or regulations on services that have not yet been invented)” [Politico].

TPP: “[On Meet the Press,] Kaine didn’t rule out the possibility that Clinton would renegotiate the agreement if she wins the White House. ‘Again, we haven’t talked about that in particular,’ Kaine said, adding later: ‘A deal has to meet three pillars, and if it doesn’t, we can’t support it. And TPP doesn’t.’ Clinton’s three criteria for judging a trade agreement are that it must improve national security, raise wages and increase jobs” [Politico]. All eminently gameable, especially if when Big Labor rolls over and plays dead. And: “The Obama administration, pointing to a study by the U.S. International Trade Commission and statements made by national security experts, argues that the TPP already meets all three.” Oh, a study!


Days until: 14. That’s only two weeks!

Here are the RealClearPolitics polling averages from last week, compared to this week.

This week:10/17/2016 Last week:10/10/2016
president rcp

Oddly, despite the wave of Clinton triumphalism, the “4-way RCP Average” is actually down 0.3 points for her.

Now let’s return to the fun Times interactive, “The 1,024 Ways Clinton or Trump Can Win the Election”; it shows the “paths to victory” in tree form. Try it yourself! [New York Times]. Here’s some data I put together to play with in the form of a table of swing states:

Swing State Leader Polling Margin* SoS Party A.G. Party Electoral Votes
OH T (C) 0.6 (0.2) R R 18
NV C (C) 4.2 (2.5) R R 6
FL C (C) 3.8 (3.5) R R 29
CO C (C) 7.2 (9.0) R R 9
NC C (C) 2.5 (2.7) D D 15
IA T (T) 3.7 (3.7) R D 6
NH C (C) 8.0 (3.6) D D 4
WI C (C) 7.0 (6.7) D R 10
VA C (C) 8.0 (8.7) D D 13
PA C (C) 6.2 (7.0) D D 20

Legend: Leader and polling margin from RealClearPolitics. SoS’s party from WikiPedia. A.G’s party from Ballotpedia.

* Previous week’s margin in parenthesis (thus). Flipped states (thus).

Assume Trump wins Ohio and Iowa. Trump (in the Times interactive) has 117 ways to win; Clinton, 136. Clinton’s largest leads are Colorado and Virgina (both 8.0%). Give those to Clinton. Clinton now has 46 ways to win; Trump 18. Let’s assume Trump pulls off a miracle in Florida: Clinton 15; Trump 16. Give Clinton Pennsylvania because of women 10%ers in the Philly burbs. If Trump wins North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Nevada or New Hampshire, Trump wins. Na ga happen. Even assuming Walker and the Republicans mastermind the mother of election thefts in Wisconsin — and it’s not like they wouldn’t — Trump still has to win North Carolina and Nevada. And even assuming the North Carolina Republicans mastermind the mother of election thefts in North Carolina — and it’s not like they wouldn’t — Trump still has to win Nevada. Hi, Harry! [waves].

At this point I should caveat that a “Murder on the Orient Express” scenario is possible; “they all did it.” The pollsters are part of the political class, and the political class has decided that Trump is history’s worst monster, and anything is justified in defeating him. So it’s not, on its face, utterly implausible that the polls are rigged (which is no doubt one reason Trump supporters chant “Brexit”). However, I like things be more solidly grounded than “not utterly implausible,” and the United States is a ginormous sloppy continent, not a tight little island like the UK.

At this point, let me note the outliers: the Los Angeles Times “Daybreak” daily tracking poll has Clinton up by only 1.3% (critique of its polling methods); and the Investor’s Business Daily Poll has Trump up 2; and FWIW, the IBD poll was the most accurate in 2012. (IBD is averaged by RCP; the Los Angeles Times Daybreak poll is not.) To me, it makes sense that given the Democrat’s natural advantage of 4% or so in Presidential elections, Clinton would add a percent or two, given our country’s strange consensus on the nature of buffoonery. Can she add four percent, though? Or will the outliers be right? We’ll soon know!

Besides the slim chances listed above, the remaining hope for the Republican Party is split ticket voting, along with retention of the House. As you can see, the Democrats are playing the “expand the map” game; notice the number of toss-ups has increased (which doens’t mean any seats have flipped, or that enough will flip).

This week:


Last week:


And maybe the Senate. As you can see, Wisconsin moved into the “leans Dem” column (caveats as above).

This week:


Last week:



“The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use” [Wall Street Journal, “Clinton Ally Aided Campaign of FBI Official’s Wife”]. Musical interlude!

The Voters

“How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul” [Matt Stoller, The Atlantic] Stoller: “My piece on why the Watergate generation rejected populism, embraced monopoly power, and destabilized politics…” Read and be prepared to discuss further in Links!

UPDATE “In 1996, only 1 in 16 Americans said it would be good if the military ruled the country. By 2014, it was 1 in 6” [Bloomberg].

Our Famously Free Press

UPDATE And then there’s this:

Sirota comments: “Would be nice if NYT did same thing for #PodestEmails, showing key excerpts & how they relate to policy that will affect millions of people.”

Personally, I’m pleased to see the length of the list, because that means that Trump insulted virtually every member of the political class (with, granted, some severe collateral damage). A reason to vote Trump, in my book.


“The larger Hillary Clinton’s polling margin over Donald J. Trump grows, the louder the question becomes: Is control of the House of Representatives really in play?” [New York Times]. “Among House strategists in both parties, the answer remains the same as it has been all year: not yet. Democrats must gain 30 seats to capture a majority. That requires sweeping nearly all Republican-held seats in which they nurse even small hopes of winning.”

The Trail

“Peers call Clinton ally David Brock of Media Matters ‘menace,’ ‘unhinged soulless narcissist'” [Sharyl Atkinson].

UPDATE “There are way too many coincidences in assaults on Trump” [McClatchy]. Opinion, but from sobersides McClatchy. The role of NBC is particularly dubious.

UPDATE Irony-free Clinton schwärmer are deploying “deplorables” feverishly, of course:

As Eugene Robinson comments:

The sketch — written by “Weekend Update” co-anchor Michael Che and SNL co-head writer Bryan Tucker — was smart, funny and topical (a rare trifecta on SNL) and slyly illustrated that America’s problems are just as much about class as about race. In a campaign year that’s hinged on racial discord, partisan rancor and a deep suspicion of anyone who is “other,” the sketch was deliciously cathartic.

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, September 2016: “The economy expanded at a much better pace in September than in August though, at a sub-zero minus 0.14, was still under the historical average. August is now revised even more deeply into the negative column, to minus 0.72 from an initial minus 0.55. September’s improvement is broad-based and centered in production which, helped by gains for manufacturing and mining” [Econoday]. But: “In the table below, see the three month rolling average for the last 6 months – it has been staying within a very tight range. It is telling me that the economy is really going nowhere” [Econintersect]. And: “[E]conomic activity was below the historical trend in September (using the three-month average)” [Calculated Risk]. Moreover: “The latest survey only showed a modest amount of new hires, with a rate weaker than in September despite the overall uptick in the industry” [Economic Calendar]. Nevertheless: “There will be relief that the index pulled sharply away from the -0.70 area as any decline towards this level warns over potential recessionary conditions in the economy” [Economic Calendar]. Unless it’s noise.

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index Flash, October 2016: “Markit’s U.S. manufacturing sample is reporting sharp acceleration in activity this month, at a flash October index of 53.2 for a nearly 2 point gain from September and the strongest rate of growth since October last year” [Econoday]. “New orders, backlog orders and output are also at 1-year highs with input costs, in what is another sign of rising demand, at a nearly 2-year high.”

Retail: “The Weird Economics Of Ikea” [FiveThirtyEight]. Despite the flavor of industrial romance, interesting. Reminds of “fast fashion,” except in furniture. I also didn’t know Ikea uses 1 percent of the world’s lumber.

Concentration: “AT&T/Time Warner deal could be approved without any FCC merger review” [Ars Technica]. “The merger will be analyzed by the Department of Justice, but AT&T has said the FCC will be involved only if any FCC licenses are transferred to AT&T. A TV station is an example of something that requires an FCC license, but AT&T said that it and Time Warner are still ‘determining which FCC licenses, if any, will be transferred to AT&T in connection with the transaction. The reason for this uncertainty is that ‘despite its big media footprint, Time Warner has only one FCC-regulated broadcast station, WPCH-TV in Atlanta,’ Reuters reported. ”

Fiscal Policy: “A growing number of investors and policy makers, seeing central banks as powerless to revive an anemic global economy, are championing a resurgence of fiscal spending” [Wall Street Journal, “Investors’ New Message to Global Governments: Spend More”]. Ideal opportunity for crony capitalism. Come on down!

ETFs: “Even though the VIX itself is not trading at all-time lows, but rather is up substantially even at present levels from its low $11’s registered in August, trouble continues for the largest ‘Volatility’ based ETPs” [ETF Daily News].

Rapture Index: Closes up one on earthquakes at 189 [Rapture Ready]. Record high on October 10, 2016: 189.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 43, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 33 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 24 at 1:14pm. Another ginormous swing! The National Activity Index?

Our Famously Free Press

“Did Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald Use Threats and Bribery to Silence a Young Journalist?” [Paste].


“Nearly the entire state of Alabama is in the grips of a drought which ranges in severity from moderate in southwest Alabama to severe, extreme or even exceptional drought — the highest classification listed in the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Drought Monitor — in northeast Alabama” [AP].

Guillotine Watch

“Donors Frustrated Over Inability to Purchase a Guaranteed National Championship” [The Mug]. “It’s selfish, is what it is,” says an anonymous donor. “We spend millions of dollars and hours of our lives bribing recruits to commit and paying for whatever stupid bull**** the kids these days are into. Yet, Alabama and LSU refuse to recognize our hard work and let us take a turn at winning the conference. Louisiana cannot even fund their own flagship university! They should be groveling for whatever money we offer them. It is an absolute travesty,” said the donor.

Class Warfare

“Alternative simulations imply that a relatively modest boost in the historical growth rate of government redistributive transfers, accompanied by modestly higher average tax rates, could have achieved small but equal welfare gains for all households. Overall, our results suggest that there is room for policy actions that could offset the negative consequences of rising income inequality” [Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco]. This is so silly (and shows why “income inequality” is so vacuous a substitute for class warfare. The issue isn’t income; the issue is power. For example, suppose that the “welfare gains” got sucked up by a crapified health care system based on profit, as opposed to single payer. Would the “bread” part of the “bread and circuses” model really have made that much of a difference?

” We are about to start a painful learning process about what is “impossible” and what is inevitable. Once it becomes self-evident that the current mode of production is not sustainable, we’ll have no choice but to try more sustainable modes of production that are not just more efficient but that offer greater stability, opportunity and social mobility” [Of Two Minds]. The bottom line of an interesting post.

News of the Wired

“Decentralize now?” [O’Reilly]. “By the end of that day [at the Decentralized Web Summit], I had a vision of a very different web, a web of servers combining secure identification with shared publishing responsibility. Instead of posting files or data to “a web server” under my control, I’d just be publishing to the web (using identifiers linked to my identifiers), and letting the web sort out what goes where, optimizing its own storage and delivery structures. That architectural shift takes me into what feels like uncharted territory, but it is clearly technically and financially possible.”

“The internet is becoming unreadable because of a trend towards lighter and thinner fonts, making it difficult for the elderly or visually-impaired to see words clearly, a web expert has found” [Telegraph]. The Telegraph, via Drudge, amazingly enough. Here is the original, from [Kevin Marks, BackChannel (DK)]. “There’s a widespread movement in design circles to reduce the contrast between text and background, making type harder to read. Apple is guilty. Google is, too. So is Twitter.” Well, if the text is harder ot read, that makes people stupider, and also makes video, which also makes people stupider, more attractive. It’s easier to sell stuff to stupid people. This is not hard.

“A NASA spacecraft may have spotted the remains of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) missing Mars lander. Two new surface ‘features’ in images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) are likely the remnants of the Schiaparelli lander, ESA announced on 21 October” [Nature]. The Mars curse strikes again!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (pq):


pq writes:

We don’t have winter in my area of Puget Sound, but what I call the “rotting season.” One of the first signs it’s here are the layers of water-logged leaves melting into the road. I took this photo yesterday. The story behind it is too long to post, but I include it in the hopes that it will have some meaning for you, given your affinity for the natural world:

When I moved here from Washington, D.C., it was early December – dark, cold, and soggy, but not freezing like back East. I did all of my errands on foot and walked into town almost every day. One day, there was a dead raccoon in the ditch. A week went by, and it was still there, bloated and stiff, but otherwise intact. Two weeks later, there was no visible change, although it was starting to smell. Another week passed, and another, and the only noticeable change was the intense foul odor. It was remarkable to me that it wasn’t decomposing. Temperatures hadn’t been cold enough to refrigerate it.

Then, literally overnight, the entire structure collapsed. There was no skeleton or discernible parts, only a seething mass of maggots and a few clumps of fur. All that time it had looked the same on the outside, it was rotting from within. I stood there, staring in amazement. It took the maggots a day or two to finished their work, and then nothing was left but a puddle of black slime on wet, dead grass. That’s when I began calling Puget Sound winter the “rotting season.”

As I watched the maggots doing their job, a thought came to me that this is how the empire would collapse. Even if everything seemed normal on the outside, the corruption was rotting the system from the inside, hidden from the public eye. At that moment – it was in December 2004 – I understood, or at least thought I did, that the collapse had already started, and that we might not know how far it had gone until after the fact. When I stumbled on Naked Capitalism two years ago, it was reassuring to discover that some knowledgeable people are on top of it. “Imperial Collapse Watch” is my favorite category.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. Jake

    “There’s a widespread movement in design circles to reduce the contrast between text and background, making type harder to read. Apple is guilty. Google is, too. So is Twitter.”

    So right! Certain web sites are much worse than others, notably that of an “honest” company which purports to be all about environmentally innocuous products (packed in plastic bottles, also disposable diapers & such). I complained – they do have products that I like and I would like to be able to see the web site. No response. They don’t need my business. I had not caught on to the fact that they really don’t want people to look at the products, but to just buy them on faith. So essentially this is a warning flag – shysters gather here, avoid.

    1. diptherio

      I have to say, I haven’t noticed it on Twitter. Black text on white or very light blue background….works for me. Maybe it’s hard to see on mobile…

    2. beth

      I have been most distressed by this trend and wondered why. Is this the reason? I do give up on these sites because I just can’t read them for very long.

      What else? Haven’t we had enough?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Even the text I was entering in the reply box appeared as bold. Took me a second to figure out why.

    1. flora

      Too many economists occupy the position astronomers once occupied in the search for accurately calculating longitude at sea. Shorter – there was no way to calculate longitude by celestial or astronomical charting alone. It required an accurate non-pendulum, sea-worthy clock – not invented until about 1800. The astronomers, rather than admit the calculation of accurate longitude at sea was outside their provenance and specialty, did everything they could to stop acceptance of mechanical clocks as the solution.
      See Krugman, et al.

      1. Jeotsu

        I disagree. Economists are like medieval astrologers.

        “Oh great King! (president, prime minister, etc)” they intone breathlessly. “The signs are clear!”

        Behind the court astrologer a power point slide appears. It’s matrices and calculus presented incantations of truth, calling on spirits of old.

        “Can you not see it! If you do not adjust your policy position, and follow the commands of the equations, then your kingdom shall fall!”

        –A game that has worked for charlatans for centuries. And is still working now.

      2. ewmayer

        Is that what history tells us, or what Kruggie’s beloved models tell him? Because the Wiki entry on clockmaker John Harrison, made widely famous by Dava Sobel’s Longitude, says thusly:

        In his earlier work on sea clocks, Harrison was continually assisted, both financially and in many other ways, by George Graham, the watchmaker and instrument maker. Harrison was introduced to Graham by the Astronomer Royal Edmond Halley, who championed Harrison and his work. This support was important to Harrison, as he is supposed to have found it difficult to communicate his ideas in a coherent manner.

        Gee, the most powerful astronomer in Britain – which had in 1713 commissioned a huge-money prize for a reliable nautical clock, due to its crucial importance to said seafaring empire – certainly does not appear to have done anything such as claimed. Is it possible that Krugman is, to use the technical-economic – or as he would put it, “wonkish” – term, “full of shit?”

        1. flora

          +1 on Sobel’s “Longitude” reference,
          I said “too many”, not “all “. :) Spot on about Halley.

          1. flora

            adding: The 5th Royal Astronomer, Rev. Nevil Maskelyne, became an enemy of Harrison’s, contesting Harrison’s right to the prize money.

            “The commisioners charged with awarding the longitude prize …changed the rules whenever they saw fit, so as to favor the chances of astronomers over the likes of Harrison and his fellow ‘mechanics’. ” – Sobel, “Longitude”

            What was it you asked about Krugman, again. ;)

          2. ewmayer

            Thanks, Flora – Been too long since I read the book – as your followup notes, certain astronomers-not-named-Halley did indeed engage in gamesmanship. But “trying to tilt the odds so one of your own wins the fame and money” is rather different from “did everything they could to stop acceptance of mechanical clocks”. Given how urgently needed a solution to the problem was, any major interference with the actual march of the technology, or awarding of the prize to a demonstrably inferior technology, would have later led to heads rolling, quite possibly literally.

            1. flora

              ‘ But “trying to tilt the odds so one of your own wins the fame and money” is rather different from “did everything they could to stop acceptance of mechanical clocks”. ‘

              Yes, you are right. Thanks for challenging the overstatement.

      3. JCC

        Actually, if Shakespeare were writing today, Dick the Butcher mayhaps would have said, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers and economists.”

        Here’s an interesting article, written by a lawyer, on the famous line from “King Henry IV Part II” – Let’s Kill All the Lawyers! Shakespeare (Might Have) Meant It.

        Given the history of the peasants’ revolts in England at that time, Krugman, Summers, Geithner, et. al. would also have beeen in deep doo-doo along with the lawyers, I think, if they had lived then with the power of BS they have today.

    2. Higgs Boson

      … And the comments section is full of economists with hurt feefees circling the wagons and piling on with the insults.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A merciful solution is to just lose the other hand.

      An even more merciful one is to put one back so all economists have 2 hands.

      “The rich on the one hand, and the not-so-rich on the other…think of both, when you pontificate.”

    4. DarkMatters

      Having seen its results during my lifetime, I’m not a big fan of reform through destruction, though I must admit that the fantasy does engender a certain satisfying glee. But wouldn’t it be better if
      a) we had law schools that taught the difference between good and bad law, and turned out people who could legislate competently?
      b) we had schools of economics that did real science instead of pseudo science, staffed by people like Steve Keene, Michael Hudson, and Bill Black?
      See there is hope; just not much.

    5. Carla

      The quote is from Shakespeare: Henry VI, Part 2: “One of the most famous lines in the play, spoken by the rebel Cade’s sidekick Dick the Butcher, is “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.[24] Whether this means that lawyers are the protectors of justice, or the agents of its corruption is disputed.” [24]

      [24] According to Daniel J. Kornstein, “These ten words are Shakespeare’s most well-known and lasting popular legacy to the law. Is it one of those key lines that seem to give us a glimpse into Shakespeare’s own mind, or is it merely a joke? From all of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays, that one familiar line stands out more than any other as a stinging comment on the legal profession. Its pith and pungency have helped it survive. Shakespeare’s anti-lawyer line, once heard, clings to the mind like a burr. It has been repeated so often that many who have never read any Shakespeare know the quotation. It has passed into common usage and become a cliche that even shows up on T-shirts popular among law students, on souvenir plates, coffee mugs, pillows, and as a title of a movie about a young man’s decision to reject a legal career in favor of becoming a gardener.”, Daniel J. Kornstein, Kill All the Lawyers? Shakespeare’s Legal Appeal, University of Nebraska Press, 2005, p.22-29.


      Oh, come on. Lawyers kinda have it coming.

    1. JustAnObserver

      I’ve been wondering about the Atlantic. Seems to have got (very) slightly better of late. Maybe the Megan McArdle libertarian poison is finally working its way out since she left – as a regular columnist – in 2012.

      We have to give a small cheer for even these tiny grains of sanity.

        1. JustAnObserver

          Even he seems to be running hard trying to escape blame for being one of Trumps John-the-Baptist figures. Whether he runs far enough is, as you point out, still an open question.

              1. RabidGandhi

                Horrible comparison.

                Fred Hampton, an overt follower of Che Guevara acting in solidarity with the 3rd world socialist movements, compared with RFK who designed Operation Mongoose to unleash “the terrors of the Earth” on Cuba.

                Hampton called for Vietnamese victory in the war, while RFK opposed the war on the grounds that it was “ineffective” (ie, not successful at establishing the US puppet regime).

                Yes, both were shot down, but the parallel stops there.

  2. b1whois

    Lambert, on the “paths to victory” legend, did you intend “flipped states (thus)” to be underlined?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the article:

      “There is a sense that Silicon Valley’s becoming the new revolving door for Democrats as Wall Street has become toxic in the wake of the Great Recession,” said Jeff Hauser, executive director of the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Revolving Door Project. “There are real dangers in some of the practices in Silicon Valley.”

      David Plouffe going to work for Uber… Not sure if he was the first, but surely the most noxious transition?

  3. jsn

    Great plant pic and caption! What we call rot is just a phase shift in life from the very large to the very small.

    1. Jake

      A penetrating and illuminating observation. A little perspective does wonders for our understanding of the world around us. I tend to get a bit gloomy as fall turns to winter, less light, leaves fall etc. But in doing so I am forgetting to look closely at this apparently dying world, which is actually just turning inward, storing nutrients and repairing and building root systems so to be ready to explode into a race for space and sunlight when the days again grow long and the temperatures rise.

      1. polecat

        yep ….

        last years’ rotting leaves are part of next year’s life force …..

        the extra leaves from our grapes and cherries get dumped into the chicken run for the hens to ‘pick-n-kick’ though …..always in the eternal search of a tasty morsel …

        the rest either rot in situ …. or get deposited onto the raised garden beds.

      2. JohnnyGL

        Since I started gardening a few years ago, I’ve found that I have a new appreciation for fall. Suddenly, all those tree leaves get dropped providing a giant pile of mulch which covers ground, provides nutrients, holds water, and builds soil.

        I comfort myself knowing there’s bugs, worms, fungi, and bacteria working diligently to decompose all the organic matter and convert it into something usable for my plants to enjoy next spring.

        Also, since I’m older now, the cooler temps mean I can enjoy walking around without breaking a sweat :)

        1. JTMcPhee

          …and yet we burn our corpses, or fill them with poisonous preservative and seal them in mini-sarcophagi, one last fokk-you to the planet and one last grab by renters of “plots” and smarmy “funeral consultants” to strip us and our families of cash ( or you can finance your loved one’s final rest, just sign here…)

          At least the people killed by “Coalition” bombing and other neocapitalist adventures and looting generally are just places in the native soil to decompose with dignity…

    2. Tom

      For what are we,

      if not magical creatures,

      conjured up from minerals, dirt and clay

      by some unknowable celestial alchemist?

    3. Portia

      I have watched the same thing happen to the chipmunks my cat leaves around. A fascinating and wonderful variety of exotic insects show up and voila, empty pelt on the ground, which dissolves into the soil, leaving a skeleton. I have wanted to doc the whole process with photos, just have to get over my macabre feelings. All of these guys:


      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think you should! But, if I may suggest, make sure you follow the same patch for a year (365 photos :-) to see what grows there after a full seasonal cycle. But pipe up, biologists and ecologists, if this is a silly idea!

    4. PQS

      Yes. And the characterization is apt. I like to take all those piles of leaves and mulch the vegetable beds with them – they make a wonderful and weirdly long-lasting mulch, especially the maples.

      I call the actual winter “The Tunnel,” from a friend who moved to Portland before I did who called it that. It reflects our very short days from December through the middle/end of February. January is the cruelest month around here – holidays are over, darkness in the morning, darkness at night….

      When blood is nipp’d and ways be foul,
      Then nightly sings the staring owl,
      Tu-who, a merry note,
      While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

      1. polecat

        I refer to my little patch of earth as the dead bee ‘bone’ yard …. watching the gradual ( or not so gradual, in the case of a hard freeze ) decline in size of my honey bees as they form their ‘winter cluster’…… leaving the areas around the hives littered with many bee carcasss …… which also decompose into nutrients for the surrounding plants and micro fauna.

        1. PQS

          I’ve considered getting a hive….now you tell me how many sisters I’ll have to say goodbye to every year, I may have to reconsider…

          1. polecat

            yeah … but just look at how many more ‘sisters’ you’ll have ‘acquired’ next year ! ….

            ….** as the saying goes: Hope springs eternal. ‘:]

            must hold that saying close to the heart .. if one is to become a beekeeper ..

  4. BruceNY

    The Mugdown “story” was tongue-in-cheek, a la The Onion. Seems to be an Aggie satire site. Of course if you filed it under “Guillotine Watch” as a meta commentary on college football, or all football, or just generally “team sports”, then it definitely fits! But so do a gazillion other articles on the insane amounts spent on sports.

    On this note, you may want to take a gander at stories about the recent NFL ratings plunge. It seems that Highway 6 does indeed run both ways.

  5. jp

    Re: 2016, I just spent the weekend in rural WA. I saw maybe 20 Trump/Pence signs, and in Wenatchee I even noticed a number of large format Trump campaign signs– think 4 feet x8 feet or bigger means expensive— and put them up over signage at empty businesses along the main street. I saw only one single, solitary, sad Hillary sign located on a dead-end mountain road. I know my anecdote is not data, but they say that WA is solidly in HRC’s grasp — I’m not so sure.

    edit: resubmitting as first submit got blocked.
    edit: reformatting because system thinks I’m trying SQL injection.

    1. TheCatSaid

      It all depends who is contracted to remotely access the voting machines. Apparently the real problem is the middlemen, sometimes subcontractors to subcontractors to election departments. An interesting interview describes this. It makes clear how election irregularities are deeply rooted at the local/regional level. (In national elections, Harris recently told me “it’s considered a good ground game to work with local fixers.” She described this as a “good old boys network”.)

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        We will get Hilary Antoinette. And Larry Lindsay asks the excellent question: what happens with the fully bought and paid-for press after the election? Will we be able to rely on them for *any* scrutiny or transparency? Answer: No.

  6. Praedor

    Huh. Something seems to be missing from Hillary’s (Kaine’s) “Three Pillars” crap on acceptable trade deals: no mention of ISDS and destruction of democracy and sovereignty.

  7. Cujo359

    The Mars curse strikes again!

    Maybe landing on Mars is a really difficult thing to do. Only NASA has managed it, and even they only did it after they screwed up a couple of times. Building a machine through that can travel through the heat, cold, and vacuum of space for months and then land itself on a planet with an atmosphere might sound easy, but it seems to be really hard. I think anyone who attempts it should expect to fail at least the first time. Looks like ESA had such an expectation, since Schiaparelli wasn’t really designed to do much except land on Mars and brag about it afterwards.

    Or maybe it’s a curse…

    It will be interesting if the EU wants to continue the ExoMars experiment and fund a real lander. Looks like we will find out by the end of the year.


    1. JustAnObserver

      The min distance between Earth & Mars is ~55 million Km i.e. about 3 light minutes. So there’s no chance of real time descent control and its all on automatic. One small s/w bug that escapes testing and … Whoopsie we’ve lost another one!

      1. craazyboy

        Obama announced a program to put Americans (3?) on Mars within 30 years.

        So we will be going from self driving Mars landers to a piloted lander. This is not progress IMO.

        1. JustAnObserver

          … piloted by an AI, of course, who can pass the time on the way to Mars by playing Go against itself.

          1. craazyboy

            See the Culture Series by Ian Banks. The AIs do much more interesting things than play GO. In fact, humans can’t even comprehend what thought experiments the AIs perform during interstellar travel. But the AIs do feel a bit sorry for humans and whatever dim plans and purpose humans have and will spawn a tiny thread of computational power when needed to perform the occasional task to keep the poor humans alive.

    2. Cocomaan

      The problem with the Martian atmosphere as I understand it is that it’s awfully thin, so you get the worst parts of no atmosphere landings and full atmosphere landings.

    3. Synapsid


      The first soft lander on Mars was Soviet, not NASA, but it only operated for 20 seconds before going dark. It had been their fourth try, I think. The first spacecraft simply ignored Mars and kept going; it’s still out there somewhere. The second went into orbit around Mars and then refused to budge. The third deployed the lander successfully but the thing came in at escape velocity and made a new crater on the surface. The fourth made the first soft landing.

      After that the Soviet Union concentrated on Venus, and the only successful landings there so far have been theirs. The longest functional time on the surface was an hour–Venus’ surface is a good model for Hell.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I thought the European failure was a metaphor for the difference between European inventiveness versus American. The Euros did excellent technical engineering by the book, and designed a landing procedure based on the old standard, rockets to slow the vehicle down. The Americans, faced with the hard landing problem, thought outside the box and dared to go with the little bouncy ball landing. Worked like a charm.

  8. fresno dan

    As Eugene Robinson comments:

    The sketch — written by “Weekend Update” co-anchor Michael Che and SNL co-head writer Bryan Tucker — was smart, funny and topical (a rare trifecta on SNL) and slyly illustrated that America’s problems are just as much about class as about race. In a campaign year that’s hinged on racial discord, partisan rancor and a deep suspicion of anyone who is “other,” the sketch was deliciously cathartic.

    There may be a race problem, but there is indisputably a class problem. And both problems could be solved with a lot less money being funneled to the 1%. But far better for the benefit of the 1% to convince everyone else that beer swilling pickup driving minimum wage earning good old boys are somehow responsible for the hiring decisions and lack of loans to black people, and not Davos man, who, despite his best efforts, is saddened to see ever increasing inequality….

    1. polecat

      YEEHAWW …….!!

      sorry mr. dan ….. couldn’t resist ……. now would you please hand me that jar of grey poupon ….. ‘:]

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Everyone should look up the Tom Hanks “David Pumpkins” sketch, which I found to be funnier.

    2. Michael

      Wasn’t the second core joke of the sketch that the African-American host was willing to meet “Doug” where he was at, but “Doug” was too frightened and entitled to return the favor?

      We live in a both/and world.

  9. Carolinian

    Good Stoller even though he hits on the usual suspects–Vietnam, Washington Monthly etc. Is it time to drop the current LBJ rehabilitation effort since arguably Vietnam was the wedge that split the New Dealers from the New Left? A left that embraces war is surely a hypocritical left–not so much humanistic as parochial–which is why some of us see HRC’s hawkishness as the tell for what she really is. And even though generational analysis gets pooh poohed around here the “generation gap” back then was real. The worldview gap between the Depression generation and the one raised in the comfortable, conformist fifties was just too great.

    1. diptherio

      Stoller avoids the normal generational-analysis pitfalls by placing accountability with particular individuals, and he’s careful to note the exceptions. I didn’t see anywhere in that article where he attributed any actions to boomers as a group, which is the type of inaccurate language that we take issue with. He’s fingering a specific cohort of congress members who happened to be of around the same age and of similar backgrounds when they came to power. That was my read, anyway.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > He’s fingering a specific cohort of congress members who happened to be of around the same age and of similar backgrounds when they came to power.

        That’s how I see it. And as readers know, “generational-analysis” is a hot button for me. So from that perspective, I don’t see this as “usual suspects” piece at all. It’s carefully situated.

    2. Oregoncharles

      As one of the latter, I can confirm that.

      Both my parents’ families lost businesses in the depression, and neither grandfather really survived it. My father, in particular, sometimes sounded as if the Great Depression was still around. As a youth I was annoyed, but now I appreciate the insights.

    3. RabidGandhi

      I agree, his analysis is nice but it’s pretty one-dimensional, placing all the weight on a few (or one) Democratic congresscritters’ shoulders. Furthermore, northern populists out of the Wisconsin/Minnesota tradition (as represented by Eugene McCarthy) are completely absent, with their mix of social conservatism and die-hard social democracy/union support.

      Then again, in Stoller’s favour, this is a great find:

      To get a sense of how rural Democrats used to relate to voters, one need only pick up an old flyer from the Patman archives in Texas: “Here Is What Our Democratic Party Has Given Us” was the title. There were no fancy slogans or focus-grouped logos. Each item listed is a solid thing that was relevant to the lives of conservative white Southern voters in rural Texas: Electricity. Telephone. Roads. Social Security. Soil conservation. Price supports. Foreclosure prevention.

      This for me is what is most missing from US politics. And it’s not just Patman– I’m convinced politics in general was different then from what it is in the US now. At least when I lived there, no one believed that politicians should deliver “solid things that were relevant to their lives”– in fact, in more educated circles it was frowned upon. Things that are solid (or rugged and tested) were no good because they were not innovative and disruptive. And worse, anyone who was interested in a political campaign because they wanted to get something out of it was a dumb welfare queen wooed by populism, as opposed to the intelligent, credentialed classes who paid attention to important things like candidates’ philosophies, their lofty rhetoric (and their copulatory habits).

      Lastly, as good as articles like this are, it still boggles me they can be published without a bibliography of some sort. I want to know whom Stoller read to find out about Patman.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Adding: to see proof of this trend in anti-politics politics, just go up to your favourite Clinton supporter and ask what he expects to get from HRC. Not only will you not get a concrete list of specifics like Patman’s above, but I would gander you’d get a lecture on the evils of populism instead.

      2. JaaaaayCeeeee

        It may be the only way to get published, but Matt Stoller’s Atlantic article doesn’t explain how the Democratic Party lost its populist soul, not when he carefully does not include in his explanation media and money.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > A left that embraces war

      I would argue that there’s no such thing as a left the “embraces” war; that’s for neo-liberals (i.e., liberals and conservatives). Now, winning the class war — which is a war, see Case-Deaton for a current example — is another matter. But war between states? No.

  10. DJG

    The Atlantic: I’m not sure that Matt Stoller is hard enough on the professional politicians who now run the joint. What kinds of self-criticisms and changes in behavior does he want?

    Meanwhile, a good paragraph in that article about pinko FDR (and we won’t even mention Red Eleanor, who had the grace to remain an icon and not a vessel for dubious presidential ambitions):

    –In a 1932 campaign speech known as the Commonwealth Club Address, FDR defined private property as the savings of a family, a Jeffersonian yeoman-farmer notion updated for the 20th century. By contrast, the corporation was not property. Concentrated private economic power was “a public trust,” with public obligations, and the continued “enjoyment of that power by any individual or group must depend upon the fulfillment of that trust.” The titans of the day were not businessmen but “princes of property,” and they had to accept responsibility for their power or be restrained by democratic forces. The corporation had to be fit into the constitutional order.

    [We are now acting as if FDR’s ideas are somehow antiquated, and look where that has left us.]

    1. diptherio

      I’m not sure that Matt Stoller is hard enough on the professional politicians who now run the joint.

      I had the same thought, but then I remembered that he’s writing in the Atlantic, so playing relatively nice was likely a requirement of getting access to their audience…and who knows what the editing process was like.

      1. IowanX

        I liked Stoller’s article a lot, and while he described it well, I think people forget it too often…Congress-critters can and will be both good AND bad at the same time, on different issues.. Wright Patman’s instincts on finance were experience-based, time-tested and (I think) true. His instincts on race were experience-based, time-tested and wrong. His support for the Vietnam war was likely colored by the reports Congress received from the Administration.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Also it’s not a matter of voting for the right person who has the right beliefs, but rather for the politician that will deliver the things you need: “Electricity. Telephone. Roads. Social Security. Soil conservation. Price supports. Foreclosure prevention.“.

          For some stupid reason, politics has stopped being about working to get the right things for a community, and is now about weighing whether a politician is good and/or bad.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Concrete material benefits, the stuff at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy: Food, shelter, clothing. Not the self-actualization garbage at the top; that’s for people who have their granite countertops (and the maid to buff them).

          2. aab

            It’s not a stupid reason, it’s an evil reason. Politics is now (and has been for awhile) about exploiting and stealing from the citizenry. We’re an oligarchy, remember? That means politicians don’t work for us, they work for the oligarchs. Because we have a national mythology that we’re a democracy, which is a useful, cost-effective tool for keeping the population docile, and a vestigial voting system to support that mythology, politicians had to construct messaging that was emotionally vibrant enough to fuel passionate, team-identifying debate and drive people to the polls without delivering any material benefits to those people. This election is the logical result of that strategy.

            It’s absolutely nuts that the Democrats are about to get an almost unprecedented third term when Obama’s administration is objectively such a catastrophic failure, and Hillary Clinton is blatantly unfit to serve. Gotta give the Clintons credit: they played the long game really well here, particularly in how they ended up getting Obama to carry their bags for them, just like they wanted to in 2008. Very smart recognizing they could never get 50% for New Democrats, so they’d need to move us away from paper ballots.

            Now on to Act III.

    2. WJ

      FWIW, Roosevelt is there riffing from a view of property that so far as I can tell derives from the catholic and Jewish notion of the earth being entrusted “to man” as a whole–i.e. common ownership and benefit as analytically prior to private possession, sometimes referred to as “the universal destination of property”. the same view of property is restated again and again in the classic encyclicals of catholic social thought esp Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio. But most US clergy these days seem to care more about really pressing issues like gay marriage rather than minor things like the state’s right to effect the just redistribution of the Walmart fortune.

  11. Alex morfesis

    Dear buggy whip media…most americans are not too focused on what corruption $hillary done done and obviously the donld does not really want to live in the white house the next 4 to 8 years…so why all the panic ?? All the bury the donald like a bad horror flik boogeyman who might rise up out of the grave…is he actually ahead in the poles ?…luckily polish passports are not valud id for registering to vote in america…

    well..maybe in chicago…

    Nobody reads in america…stop with the click bait…stop buying the byahoogle and myspacebook will own the world soon nonsense…go read old copies of wired and see how well those predictions for world domination played out…

    I will say the time warbler att thingy seems like a bad omen…last time someone decided to overpay for time warners dead media walking…it did not work out too well…

    But if att is really willing to pay cash…as henny youngman insisted…

    Nem di gelt

    1. bronco

      Back when the AOL -time warner deal happened I was a ski bum/day trader . I had bought 200 shares of AOL on margin because I thought I saw something interesting in the chart. I came back from a 4 or 5 day ski binge , logged onto compuserve to check my etrade account and discovered I was ruined.

      I had set a stop loss but the stock gapped down so abruptly it wasn’t triggered . I think it went from 80 to 12 in 1 step .

      That was a valuable lesson for me , pretty painful though , I had been on a pretty good roll up to that point and never saw it coming.

  12. Kurt Sperry

    The Stoller piece filled a knowledge gap I possessed which made for slow reading/digesting but that’s not the author’s fault. I think the picture he paints probably plays down the role of corruption and plays up sincere ideological belief. Neoliberalism has exerted its influence on the political processes primarily through classic corruption channels. I don’t think there’s much in the way of principle, good or bad, in neoliberalism, it’s sticks and carrots.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      If there’s a market in everything, you can buy the state. That’s the contradiction of the market state in a nutshell. Of course, since money is now speech, that’s not corruption [snort].

      1. Skippy

        You have out done yourself Sir….. bravo…. X~

        Disheveled Marsupial… I’m pinching it…. try and stop me… ev’bal chortle…

      2. Skippy

        Oops…. forgot….

        If the TTP is a reflection of the globalist market agenda…. then the ISDS is its Supreme Court which is staffed by an unrepresentative small pool of what I can only call ideological technocrats.

        Disheveled Marsupial….. Barf …..

  13. LT

    Whatever the outcome of this election, it will provide more data about how much polling and polling analysis emphasis is on “spinability” vs “objective reporting.”

  14. AnnieB

    Beautiful photo and descriptive analogy from pq! But I’m not sure the analogy turns out to be completely accurate. Instead of the carcass of our economy devoured by corruption rotting away from within, I see a small army of voles tunneling secretly inside our economy, devouring the juicy pieces, undermining the structure for their own benefit, then abandoning the destruction and moving onto the next bit of attractive property.

    1. 3.14e-9

      AnnieB, voles are a good analogy, too. They often do their work underground, with no indication on the surface that anything unusual is going on until the host plant keels over from lack of roots, rendering it unable to draw nourishment from the soil.

      The difference is that the voles attack from outside and then leave. Besides, voles evidently are evolved enough to empathize with each other. I suppose you could say that the politicians and banksters stick together, but they are insiders and an integral part of the system – assuming that the raccoon represents the entire system and not just the economy.

      The empire is a socio-political structure, of which the economy is a component. You could think of it as a person or better yet, a live raccoon. The structure is the skeleton, the populace is the flesh, and the various institutions are the organs. The economy would be the search for food, its digestion, and distribution of the broken-down nutrients to support life, growth, and reproduction.

      I vaguely recall a recent link to an article – I don’t remember the site or author – that discusses how the stability of the political system – i.e., its structural integrity – depends on trust by the governed. Corruption has resulted in the total breakdown of trust, and without that, the only way the system can endure is by use of force against its own people. The economy and specifically the uneven distribution of wealth is one reason for the backlash, but not the only one. Stability also depends on law and order, which completely breaks down when the ruling class makes the rules for its own benefit and then breaks them with impunity while sending the little people to jail for far lesser crimes.

      It seems to me that a bloated, rigid carcass rotting from the inside is a pretty good description of the current state of our system. It definitely stinks!

    2. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Agree the analogy by pq is just exquisite.
      I also live in Puget Sound.
      I should walk more, if it would lead me to such clear observations

  15. Synoia

    Clinton’s three criteria for judging a trade agreement are that it must improve national security, raise wages and increase jobs enrich the Clinton Foundation, a senior position for Chelsea, and an unlimited supply of loose women for Bill.

  16. Jim Haygood

    In other news, the tech-oriented Nasdaq 100 index reached a record high today, as did three of its Big Five members: Microsoft, Faceborg, and The Alphabet Formerly Known as Google.

    While the Fed’s at bay, the punters will play. And as Alex Morfesis noted above, there’s a rich analogy to the spectacular Bubble I blowout, in which the AOL-Time Warner merger was the bell they rang at the top.

  17. Cujo359

    The problem with the atmosphere, as I understand, is that it’s so thin that parachutes can’t slow down the spacecraft fast enough. OTOH, there’s still heat from friction when entering it.

  18. Kurt Sperry

    Check out Eichenwald’s Twitter feed then.


    Last tweet was 8 seconds ago when last I checked just now. Then there’s this:

    “Someone trying 2 hack my twitter account again. I have pretty strong security, but if I start saying things that dont sound like me, ignore.”


    *edit* This was a reply to deleted post which referenced Eichenwald’s purported death re his Wikipedia page.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Carmen Reinhart on dollar shortages:

    For countries that had embraced more flexible exchange rates — Russia, Brazil, and Colombia, among many others — the initial reversal of oil and primary commodity prices ushered in a wave of currency crashes, while those that maintained more rigid exchange-rate arrangements experienced rapid reserve losses.

    The dollar shortage has become acute in countries like Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, Angola, Uzbekistan, and South Sudan, among many others. Of far greater urgency is that dollar shortages have become food shortages in countries such as Egypt and Venezuela, as well as much of Sub-Saharan Africa, which rely heavily on food imports.

    In the current setting, it is plausible to expect a variant of the 1980s, with more emerging and developing countries seeking IMF programs.


    With the IMF’s handsome director Chris Lagarde going on trial Dec 12th, and the US in a political interregnum, these dollar-starved nations are on their own till next spring at least.

    1. craazyboy

      If you don’t have food, water and oil, you can always print dollars. Right?

      Or does this mean the ME – N. Africa may have something to worry about?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Well, they can always print their own currencies.

        But when they did (as Carmen Reinhart points out), either the exchange rate collapsed or — if they held it overvalued as Venezuela did — their foreign reserves evaporated.

        Just like that time I wrote myself a million dollar check, and the skinflint bank wouldn’t cash it. :-(

        *ambles out to the garage to cast some silver bullets*

        1. craazyboy

          Mexico just let theirs collapse right along with oil prices. Peso went from 10 to 18. Just went to my dentist down there (still $35 for a cleaning) and Mexico still appears to be there. At least that little piece of it. There was food around too. Maybe we’ll see a 40% off sale at Ford dealerships? Prolly not. But Perot’s “sucking sound” just got louder.

        2. Skippy

          Wellie jim with the Chicago boys playing FX crosses and trade games for the boys club whats not to like…. and if anyone gets any bright ideas you can just improve the moral with a trade shock….

          Disheveled Marsupial…. I think their template was the inspiration for Hotel California….

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe you should write yourself a $2 million check and deposit it into your own account – you add and subtract simultaneously.

          Ask your bank if that’s OK.

          1. Skippy


            That is how soverign currency issue works, now if some have issues with how its operated one would reasonably think the focus should be on the human agency and what ever methodology they utilize to vindicate their actions.

            Disheveled Marsupial…. being angry at a thing seems redundant…. or a blow off of a more fundamental problem….

    1. polecat

      the status-quo republicans deserve all the ridicule and scorn heaped on them, just like their brethren on the blue side of the coin …

      Maggots ALL !

  20. clarky90

    Donald Trump is turning the election into a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI)

    Full Speech: Donald Trump Rally in St. Augustine, FL 10/24/16


    Years of cop and detective shows (the ONLY place you will ever see consistent (but make believe) justice), have taught The People how to follow/understand a well constructed Crime Story. Listen to Donald Trump unravel some of the crimes of our generation, using Wikileaks!

    The speech starts at 41 minutes

    This election is riveting, IMO!

    1. JCC

      I just watched it, pretty amazing. Other than the Scalia part, I could almost vote for this guy… if I believed he could do any of what he says he will do. I think if he started to pull off even 10% of his promises, his first term would last about as long as William McKinley’s second term.

      He’s doing exactly what Obama did except he is far more blunt about it, totally lacking the lawyer-style parsing of words, nothing “nuanced” whatsoever and lots of hope and change that is very appealing to to a large majority of U.S. citizens that feel thoroughly screwed.

      But I learned my lesson with Obama, no more empty suits for me.

      1. aab

        In Trump’s favor is that the elite is working to an unprecedented degree to keep him out, while Goldman Sachs backed Obama from the start.

        I would actually LOVE to see what would happen if he got into power. No matter how bad it might be, it would at least keep Clinton out and give the left some breathing room. And there’s the non-trivial possibility that he’d cancel NAFTA (and TPP, if it passed after he was elected), sign a peace accord with Putin, indict Comey, Lynch and both Clintons, and kick Pete Peterson in the nuts.

        A girl can dream, anyway…

  21. Ed(itor)

    Be careful when wishing for the demise of lawyers, economists and their ilk (politicians and banksters must be a subset of one or both, or somehow closely related, no?] as they will rot in the ditches like the raccoon noted above, consumed by clouds of maggots and turned into compost for future systems of rule.

  22. Pavel

    Re the NY Times and its list of people Trump has insulted on Twitter: @JustinRaimondo (of Antiwar.com) justifiably pointed out that the NYT should print a similar list of all the people killed in the Clintons’ various wars. Given the 500,000 kids in Iraq alone during Bill’s administration, that would take a lot of paper.

  23. ewmayer

    Lambert, small German nitpick: Schwärmerei (literally, the act of swarming or flocking, figurative to rave, wax enthusiasic or rhapsodize about, proper noun, hence capitalized) is the action; the folks engaging in it are Schwärmer (same in singular or plural form).

  24. habenicht

    Regarding the polling topics above, I’ve been trying to make sense of some of the data myself specifically regarding Jill Stein’s polling figures.

    Before June, her polling figures were low and contributions to her campaign were similarly low (roughly 2.5% of the vote and individual contributions to her campaign were averaging less than $50K per month). Her highest polling numbers were in June and averaged around 4.3% for the month while individual contributions to her campaign in that month amounted to $210K (significant increases from the averages before June).

    After June, her polling numbers have steadily dropped according to Real Clear Politics (October numbers averaging a little over 2%), yet monthly contributions to her campaign averaged $694K July through Sept (over $1M in July, $655K in August and $411K in Sept) – although slowing down since July, these levels of contributions are still significantly higher than June when she was at her highest polling.

    So my question is how can it be that individual contributions to Stein’s campaign in September are over 5 times higher than in May, yet her polling numbers over that same period don’t reflect any material change? Since individual donations are capped no individual can donate more than $2700 (I think). So the increase in contributed dollars in the late summer and fall must be significantly linked to frequency of contributions since the size of contributions is relatively limited.

    I understand at these lower polling levels there will be some question regarding what is signal and what is noise. Regardless, if empirically more individuals are donating to her campaign since June, why does her polling numbers show the opposite?

    These boards have some of the sharpest minds on the internet, so hopefully someone can help make sense of this disconnect between individual contributions and polling figures.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas you might have.

    (all stats used in this post taken from the FEC and Real Clear Politics web sites)

    1. Oregoncharles

      There are other oddities about her polling: we know, if only from these comments, that a number of Bernie supporters switched to Jill after his concession; but they didn’t show up in the polling at all. No bump, although, as you say, her contributions shot up. I saw a number of those young people at Jill’s rally in Portland Sunday night (she was sick and didn’t make it, unfortunately). A few familiar faces, many I’ve never seen before. Some were wearing Bernie T-shirts with Jill buttons on them. I’ve never seen so many young people at a Green Party event. Very exciting.

      The polls were pretty consistently low on Bernie, even got Michigan completely wrong – was that the only one? If I was going to speculate, I’d say they’re just not finding Jill’s young supporters. FWIW, the NBC-WSJ poll did find me – but I’m not one of those young former Berners.

      1. hunkerdown

        A CNN focus grouper has claimed that Stein was excluded from some of the choices available to them (seen on Links within the past week or three). Frankly, I think the corporate media is pointedly ignoring Stein and letting sleeping poll numbers lie, lest they wake someone up.

      2. habenicht

        Thanks Oregoncharles and hunkerdown

        Another finding from my research was that Stein’s best polling was from the polls with over 10,000 participants (most of the RCP polls are under 1,000). If I take averages of only the larger sample polls (tend to be only a handful: the NBC polls), her average monthly numbers go up (a point or so), but the same trend of peaking in June is observed even with this limited sample.

        I think this observation corroborates your point. For one reason or another, the reach of most polls is too narrow to pick up on her base. Broading the polls seems to directionally increase her rankings.

        It would be shameful to make scoring in these polls a threshold to participate in a debate. Oh wait…

  25. allan

    Illinois Obamacare premiums rise by double-digits for 2017 plans [Chi Trib]

    … The plans unveiled online Monday contain far fewer choices and significantly higher prices, … Most Illinois residents get health care coverage through their employers or government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. But this year, more than 300,000 Illinoisans bought insurance on the Obamacare exchange. … rates will increase by an average of 44 percent for the lowest-priced individual bronze plans, 45 percent for the lowest-priced silver plans and 55 percent for the lowest-priced gold plans. … In Illinois, a 27-year-old who buys the second-lowest price silver plan on the exchange will pay an average of $298 a month before tax credits — a 43 percent increase over this year. A family of four in Illinois will pay an average of $1,078 a month for the second-lowest price silver plan before tax credits. … There are also far fewer plans to compare. In Cook County, individual consumers will have 38 plans to choose from, down from 71 plans this year. …

    As the president said, it’s as easy as getting a flat screen TV from Amazon.
    If you live in East Aleppo.

  26. meeps

    I think the plantidote elegantly connects themes from yesterday’s thermodynamic discussion to today’s Atlantic piece (monopolies quite obviously concentrate power).

    Politicians (D’s and R’s alike) didn’t just destroy their populist souls (whatever those are), they created a ‘system’ so antithetical to nature that it can’t be maintained in perpetuity. Breaking up monopolies and preventing their reformation via enforcement of anti-trust law would be a welcome pressure relief valve.

    However, as Einstein noted, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” It’s long past time for a changing of the guard.

    1. meeps

      Also, why must anti-monopoly policy necessarily be pro-competition policy? To a degree that makes sense. But the language ‘pro-competition’ is just circular enough to end up at monopoly again if there is any lapse in vigilance. Maybe pro-cooperation policy would be useful, too.

      1. WJ

        In sectors of the economy where anti-monopoly policy is needed, it is either not pursued or, when it is, often merely results in cartels. At least so it seems to me. I often think “pro competition” policy in the U.S. context just means “whatever the cartels decide is fair.”

      2. fajensen

        It comes from the many “not even wrong”-theories that sadly dominate current economic thinking.

        There is aggressive denial of the fact that most Great Works, both in nature and in human enterprise, are the result of Cooperation; Competition is generally a destructive force.

        Mobile Telephony, f.ex., works because we cooperated and shared tools, software, standards, reference implementations and what-not with the competition, we had a consortium developing these and several meetings every year where anyone could come and test their equipment against anyone else’s. We knew that “letting the best standard fight it out in the market” was stupid and would be just another “Betamax vs VHS” eating up customer support when someones phone doesn’t work on some random network – the customer doesn’t give a shit about the market or technical stuff, she wants to call mum, right now please.

        Inside the cells of our bodies we have mitochondria, which are ancient bacteria, which in return for a cozy environment produce the food our cells run on. All the cells and bacteria cooperate, the e-coli in my gut is not toxic to me personally, even if I scratch my bum. The cells that don’t cooperate, but instead compete are called names like Cancer and Sepsis.

Comments are closed.