2:00PM Water Cooler 10/25/2016

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“German lawmakers in the European Parliament are scrambling to find a way for Brussels to reassert its authority over trade policy. They argue that the Commission needs to roll out a new kind of two-track trade agreement that denies national and regional assemblies such as Wallonia the ability to veto the key elements of trade accords that fall under the remit of EU-wide law, such as tariffs and shared regulations” [Politico]. That should sharpen the contradictions!

“We are entering a post-Davos era in which neo-protectionism against open frontiers – which allow goods, capital, services and people to flow to where they can fructify best – is now fashionable. Brexit was the most important expression of this, as is the vote by a small regional parliament in Belgium against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) with Canada” [City AM]. “This should terrify Brexit negotiators. Any future trade deal between a Britain fully outside the EU and the rest of Europe will need ratification by 36 national and regional parliaments. The UK has said no to Europe. Now anyone in the EU can say non or nein to Britain.” Hmm.

CETA: “The European Union and Canada tried to remain upbeat Monday about the prospects for their trans-Atlantic free trade pact despite a small Belgian region persisting in its refusal to back the deal under the current conditions” [AP]. “After the setback early Monday, EU President Donald Tusk and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke by telephone and the EU leader said afterward ‘there’s yet time’ to find a compromise solution… ‘We think Thursday’s summit still possible,’ Tusk said in a Twitter message. ‘We encourage all parties to find a solution.'” We’ve seen trade agreements rise from the dead before…

CETA: ” Wallonia premier Paul Magnette said the Belgian region was not opposed to a planned EU-Canada free trade deal in itself but that an arbitration scheme [ISDS] needed to be dropped and public services protected” [Reuters]. “‘Let’s be clear, I’m not a herald of anti-globalization, I want a deal,’ Magnette told French daily Liberation in an interview published on Tuesday. ‘[But] I would prefer that this entity [ISDS] disappears pure and simple and that we rely on our courts,’ he said. ‘Or at the very least, if we want an arbitration court, it must provide equivalent guarantees to domestic ones.'” That’s a heavy lift.

TISA: “EU’S PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE HAUNTS TISA TALKS” [Politico]. And a good thing, too. “”The U.S. is a bit more risk prone, but the EU is more precautionary principle driven,” the source said. “Our attitude in TISA is just like the one we have for agriculture,” referring to a regulatory practice where the EU puts in place rules before a product or service is widely available to the public. But U.S. officials have been clear that they won’t accept the EU’s new services exclusion — this may be driven by the fact that pressure from Capitol Hill, where the deal will eventually be approved, is intense on this issue.”

TPP: “Rep. Denny Heck, a Washington Democrat, laid out a thoughtful explanation for why he would oppose TPP, dealing a blow to the administration’s efforts to add to the 28 House Democrats who voted in favor of trade promotion authority” [Politico].

TPP: “The TPP is not about free trade. It does little to reduce tariffs and quotas for the simple reason that these barriers are already very low” [Dean Baker, Truthout]. “The potential gains from eliminating the barriers that prevent foreign doctors and other highly paid professionals from working in the United States are enormous. These barriers are not removed in trade deals because the people negotiating them all have parents, siblings and/or children in these professions. They want to protect their incomes; they don’t care about the income of autoworkers and textile workers…. The real story here is that the TPP is a deal about redistributing more income upward. It’s imposing more competition on those at the middle and the bottom while maintaining and increasing forms of protectionism that benefits those at the top. When reporters call the TPP a “free trade” deal, they are acting as advocates, not reporters. The TPP is a protectionist pact for those at the top who are worried that free trade will undermine their income — like it did for those at the middle and bottom.”


Days until: 13. That’s less than two weeks!


“If I told you that Democratic Party lobbyist Tony Podesta, whose brother John Podesta chairs Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is a registered foreign agent on the Saudi government’s payroll, you’d probably think I was a Trump-thumping, conspiratorial nutcase. But it’s true” [Medea Benjamin, HuffPo].


“Clinton Readies Post-Election Push on Highways, Corporate Taxes” [Bloomberg]. “Hillary Clinton’s brightening White House prospects have cleared a path for her to pursue a $275 billion infrastructure plan that would be paid for by corporate tax-law changes, a central part of a broad agenda that has been overshadowed by her attacks on Republican rival Donald Trump.”

“Clinton has made no secret of her intention to raise taxes on the rich. Understandably, she has spent little time laying out the details of the increases she is proposing. If she spelled out how much more money the wealthy would be paying to the U.S. Treasury under a Clinton Administration, some of her well-heeled donors might have second thoughts” [The New Yorker]. So the ultra-rich are stupid marks that Clinton conned? Possible, I suppose. Clinton: “We’ll have what economists call middle-out growth.” I remember “middle-out growth” from the debate, and I wondered which economists had deployed that phrase, because I didn’t recall it, and I do try to keep track. It looks like “middle-out growth” became a thing at a symposium held by Democracy Journal (editor, Michael Tomasky) in 2013, as a replacement for “supply side economics,” justly seen as bankrupt. Apparently, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer coined the term in 2011. From the symposium, Neera Tanden: “[H]istory would tell us that investing in the middle class and those who want to rise into it is the best long-term economic growth strategy.” So, the middle means the 10%ers, and aspirational 10%ers? Because “middle class” is, fundamentally, a vacuous concept. That’s why it’s so useful!

“[T]he people who have to approve or reject the president’s agenda don’t give a damn about mandates one way or the other—they’ll support what they want to support and oppose what they want to oppose, whether because of their sincere beliefs or the political demands of their districts and states” [The American Prospect]. “So when Republicans start complaining that Clinton has no mandate, remember that what really matters is power: If they have the power to stop her, that’s what they’ll do, and if she has the power to roll over them, that’s what she’ll do. “Mandates” have nothing to do with it.”

War Drums

“Some 2,500 Americans Have Died in Afghanistan and Iraq Under Obama” [Rolling Stone]. “Under Obama, America has been at war for longer than under any other U.S. president.” There hasn’t been a single day we haven’t been at war under Obama. The justification for that Nobel is looking a little thin, isn’t it?

“Norway welcomes US Marines amid Russian tensions” [CNN]. “The statement noted that a Marine presence in Norway — which shares a 122-mile border with Russia — ‘will increase NATO’s ability to rapidly aggregate and employ forces in northern Europe.'”

The Voters

“Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt” [George Packer, The New Yorker]. Another genre piece, though Packer did secure face time with Clinton. “I asked Clinton if Obama had made a mistake in not prosecuting any Wall Street executives after the financial crisis. She replied, “I think the failure to be able to bring criminal cases, to hold people responsible, was one of the contributing factors to a lot of the real frustration and anger that a lot of voters feel. There is just nobody to blame.” No. Read Bill Black. Criminality was obvious before and after the crash. Clinton is so full of shit on this it’s amazing she doesn’t slosh when she walks.


Former Indiana senator and longtime Banking Committee member Evan Bayh held a series of private meetings with financial services industry executives and lobbyists throughout 2008 — just as Wall Street was collapsing and big banks were seeking a bailout from Washington, according to a newly obtained schedule for the ex-lawmaker now running to reclaim his seat” [Politico]. “One of the engagements — which included lunches, dinners and golf outings — happened the day of the Wall Street bailout vote.” How cozy.

The Trail

“Florida is starting to slip away from Trump” [McClatchy]. But if you look at the sourcing on the Republican side, it’s all establishment.

“Donald Trump Launches Nightly Facebook Live Show” [Hollywood Reporter]. “The first show, which drew more than 50,000 viewers, was hosted by campaign advisers Boris Epshteyn and Cliff Sims from the “war room” at Trump Tower, along with Trump’s campaign manager KellyAnne Conway, adviser Jason Miller and Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. The 30-minute analysis was later followed by a stream of Trump’s rally held on Monday night in Tampa, Fla., where he continued to target the media.” The shows will run nightly for two weeks.

“Time for Clinton supporters to be tolerant and believe in ‘stronger together'” [Lanny Davis (ick), The Hill]. As if. This is, however, body language from the Democrat hive mind signaling victory. If a hive mind can be said to have body language.

“The media — and many Democrats — need to stop attacking Jill Stein unfairly” [Vox]. Same as above.


“In an interview, Sanders said he and other senators have started plotting legislation that would achieve many of the proposals that fueled his insurgent run for president, including a $15 federal minimum wage, tuition-free public college, an end to ‘mass incarceration’ and aggressive steps to fight climate change” [WaPo]. “The senators, Sanders said, also plan to push for the breakup of ‘too big to fail’ banks and to pressure Clinton to appoint liberals to key Cabinet positions, including treasury secretary…. Sanders said that his office and others have started converting the party platform into draft legislation. He said the lawmakers “informally” working with him include Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — who campaigned with Clinton on Monday in New Hampshire — Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).” WaPo keeps using the word liberal. Even Sanders’ mild socialism puts him on the left. He’s not a liberal, because he doesn’t accept TINA, and doesn’t make the market first in all things.

Democrat Email Hairball

The Podesta Emails, part 18 [Wikileaks].

“WikiLeaks reveals Clinton considered a Texas Republican for the Supreme Court ” [McClatchy]. But ZOMG!!!! Teh Supreme Court!!!!!!!

Stats Watch

S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, August 2016: “[F]irming but remain subdued” [Econoday]. “These results contrast sharply with today’s FHFA house price report where strength is accelerating noticeably…. Case-Shiller data, unlike FHFA data, are averaged over three months and are also value-weighted which puts greater emphasis on higher priced homes.” And: “Many pundits believe home prices are back in a bubble. Maybe, but the falling inventory of homes for sale keeps home prices relatively high. I continue to see this a situation of supply and demand. It is the affordability of the homes which is becoming an issue for the lower segments of consumers. It is my belief that IF the Fed begins to normalize the federal funds rate – it will slow the growth rate of home prices. But for now, the merry ride continues” [Econintersect]. And: “Compared with their peak in the summer of 2006, home prices on both 10-city and 20-city indexes remain down about 9.1% to 7.2%, respectively. Since the low of March 2012, home prices are up 40.5% and 43% on the 10-city and 20-city indexes, respectively” [24/7 Wall Street].

Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index, August 2016: “FHFA price data, in contrast to other home price readings including this morning’s Case-Shiller data, are moving sharply higher” [Econoday] (FHFA is single-family homes only.)

Consumer Confidence, October 2016: “The Conference Board’s measure had been alone among consumer confidence readings in signaling solid strength but less so now following a weaker-than-expected report for October” [Econoday]. “But a key strength this month is a continued decline among those who describe jobs as currently hard to get, down 2 tenths to 22.1 percent in what is a positive indication for the October employment report. Another positive is a widening in the spread between those who see their income prospects improving vs declining, to 7.7 percentage points from 7.1 points. ” And: “Maybe people are weary about the election” [Econintersect]. It’s not going to get easier. And but: “There were mixed notes that all translate to “falling” from the Conference Board on the three major areas this month. They said that the consumers’ appraisal of current conditions softened (fell) in October. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also less positive (fell) than last month. Consumer optimism regarding the short-term outlook was somewhat less favorable (fell) in October, and the consumer outlook for the labor market was also less optimistic (fell) than in September” [24/7 Wall Street].

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, October 2016: “[S]luggish in October but slightly firmer” [Econoday]. But and: “We have a mixed picture of manufacturing across the fed districts. This report shows extremely low employment – and new orders and backlog improved but are also in contraction. At this point it seems the surveys are forecasting flat growth for September” [Econintersect].

State Street Investor Confidence Index, October 2016: “Despite the increase, the sub-100 global index reading reflects continuing decreases in equity allocation amid jitters by institutional investors in Europe and North America regarding the upcoming US presidential election, but also concerns about market valuation levels” [Econoday]. “In contrast, Asian investor confidence stands at record levels, implying that investors have become more selective in allocating risk.”

Retail: “Amazon Has More Than 200 Dash Buttons — and Counting” [24/7 Wall Street]. “Dash buttons need to be paired with the Amazon app on a smartphone using Bluetooth. Now, once you’ve selected what kind of Tide detergent you want to order, you can stick the button on or near your washing machine. When you want to reorder, just push the button. As a Prime member already, delivery of your new load of detergent will arrive in two days.” I dunno…

Retail: “[R]etailers, along with warehouse and logistics firms, started their search for holiday-season labor unusually early this year, the WSJ’s Eric Morath reports, showing how competition has intensified for temporary help in a tight labor market” [Wall Street Journal]. “Data from job-search site Indeed.com shows retailers started searching for temporary workers a month earlier than in recent years. It suggests companies expect stronger consumer demand and a tougher time finding workers, extending a trend that’s seen the holiday sales season start earlier.”

Fodder for the Bulls: “The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) notched another solid gain of 0.3 percent in October, following an upwardly revised gain of 0.4 percent in September” [Econintersect]. “As this is a relatively new leading index, our biggest concern is backward revision (which degrades real time accuracy). Thankfully (providently?) backward revisions have been relatively small to date.”

Housing: “The rise of the out-of-state mom and pop investor: New companies seek high income coastal buyers for out-of-state investment properties” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “Just like any apex in stocks, bonds, or housing the mom and pop investor is last to get in. Frothy signs are all over the place now. However, if you have the itch to buy it makes way more sense to buy a rental property that cash flows versus buying an overpriced crap shack that can run you $700,000 to $1.2 million. And guess what? Buying a rental property meets all the marketing points from the real estate industry. Clogged toilets in the middle of the night? Get a property manager. It seems like these companies are simply meeting a new market demand.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 53, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 39 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 25 at 11:24am.

Our Famously Free Press

Interview with Tim Wu (see here) on advertising and the press [The Atlantic]. “Wu: The attention-merchant business model is in constant need of growth, and the way it has grown historically is either to find new times and space where we’re not occupied or to more subtly exploit the time that is already there. That suggests that all the periods you now regard as refuges or escapes from your crazy life will inevitably become targeted, because that’s where the growth activities are. For example, there has been a move to bring more ads to national parks, inside public schools, and into other sanctuaries that were previously walled off. As people are harder to reach, the efforts to advertise to them became more disguised, more intrusive, and more manipulative.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

John Wilkes Booth has a lot to answer for. Be sure to read the newspaper images:

“‘The social engineering of apartheid came down to a very successful model of spatial engineering,’ says Edgar Pieterse, director of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. Tracing his fingers over a map of the city in his office, he explains how both natural landscape features and manmade infrastructure were employed as physical barriers to keep the different racial communities as isolated as possible” [Guardian]. “‘Cape Town was conceived with a white-only centre, surrounded by contained settlements for the black and coloured labour forces to the east, each hemmed in by highways and rail lines, rivers and valleys, and separated from the affluent white suburbs by protective buffer zones of scrubland,’ he says.” Seems curiously familiar, especially the highways part.

“Society still largely operates under the misapprehension that race (largely defined by skin colour) has some basis in biology. There is a perpetuating idea that black-skinned or white-skinned people across the world share a similar set of genes that set the two races apart, even across continents. In short, it’s what [Kwame Anthony Appiah] calls ‘total twaddle'” [Guardian]. “‘The way that we talk about race today is just incoherent,’ he says. ‘The thing about race is that it is a form of identity that is meant to apply across the world, everybody is supposed to have one – you’re black or you’re white or you’re Asian – and it’s supposed to be significant for you, whoever and wherever you are. But biologically that’s nonsense.'”

Guillotine Watch

“Michelin: A Friendship That Went Sour” [Gastromondiale]. Worth a read, especially if you love food:

In the meantime Michelin is stronger than ever in the global age. As the guide covers an increasing number of countries and cities, there are more three-star chefs. They constitute a strong and well-entrenched lobby, dominate the world of gastronomy, and define the rules. The so-called “gastronomic” restaurants start becoming more like one another with the free flow of talented interns who move from one to another. Only a minority of the three-star restaurants choose to stay outside of the game and chart their own course. Many clients of three-star restaurants are more than happy to have dined in a temple of “fine dining,” and at the same time Michelin is very responsive to modern taste and preferences. More alarmingly it is now the exigencies of the restaurant trade and the preferences of celebrity chefs in favor of using easily-standardized sous-vide preparations and multi-course tasting menus (quite a few three star restaurants do not even offer a la carte) that have become the reference point for “fine dining” and will continue to shape the aspirations of young chefs. Michelin simply endorses this trendy agenda, which has its merits, but rules out far too many cooking styles and taste sensations. The irony is that Michelin is no longer an “elite” institution, as the inspectors’ palate gradually approximates those who seldom dine in three star restaurants and who want to be dazzled by colorful presentations so that they can capture the moment in cellphone photos. Today’s Michelin is both populist and popular. It has found the “ideal” target consumer for which it is looking. It is still the emblem of France, but a France responsive to market signals, rather than a sensual, intellectual, introspective, and hedonistic France.

Class Warfare

“Sixty percent of jail inmates are there simply because they’re too poor to afford bail” [The Marshall Project]. That makes sense. After all, it’s a crime to be poor.

“The first thing to note [from the 2014 paper by Raj Chetty and his colleagues ] is the pervasiveness of intergenerational cycles of privilege and poverty. Virtually all Commuting Zones show a greater than one-in-five chance of staying in the top given top-earning parents. Basically, no matter where you live in the United States, the most likely way to get to the top is to start at the top” [Miles Corak]. “This kind of intergenerational stickiness is mirrored at the other end of the income distribution: more than 90% of these communities have bottom-to-bottom probabilities greater than 0.2, with the chances of an intergenerational cycle of poverty being greater than one-third in over 40% of these more than 700 communities.”

“Problems Using Aggregate Data to Infer Individual Behavior” [Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation]. This paper discusses country level data vs. firm level data….

News of the Wired

“The Memory of Mankind project aims to save our most precious documents from an apocalypse – by burying microscopic engravings in an Austrian salt mine” [BBC]. This is really cool, but I hope there’s really good signage at the salt mine.

“Google’s Faulty Login Pages” [Aidan Wood]. I can’t speak to the technical aspect of this post — readers? — but the combination of arrogance and informality of the Google engineer — “Hey -” is really not a salutation — makes my back teeth itch. No wonder Google doesn’t do any customer service.

“More than 22% of Icelanders are ready to pick the anti-establishment Pirate Party, according to a recent poll by the Social Science Research Institute, conducted for the Morgunbladid newspaper. That puts the party just slightly head of its closest rival, the Independent Party, which currently governs in a coalition with the Progressive Party” [Quartz].

“[Schiaparelli’s] sister craft — the Trace Gas Orbiter — successfully manoeuvred into Martian orbit. The orbiter is the more scientifically valuable of the two halves of the mission: from December 2017, it will study Mars’s atmosphere, aiming to find evidence for possible biological or geological sources of methane gas. It will also be a communications relay for the 2020 rover” [Nature].

* * *

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 (Rainbow Girl):

Of this “Hen in the Woods,” Rainbow Girl writes: “At the foot of an old oak tree. Just perfect specimen. Quite a treat! The complex system of folds creating such beauty are a sight to behold. Sauteed with olive oil butter and a little beer or sherry …. Yummm to die for! Thank you Forest and great oak tree. And the elements and Gaia too.”

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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. Vatch

    “WikiLeaks reveals Clinton considered a Texas Republican for the Supreme Court ” [McClatchy]. But ZOMG!!!! Teh Supreme Court!!!!!!!

    This is huge. One of the apparently unassailable arguments in favor of voting for Hillary Clinton is that, despite her multitudinous flaws, she would nominate better Supreme Court justices than Trump would. Here’s the precise Wikileaks link from the McClatchy article:



    Does anyone know what Jefferson’s record on the Texas court is like? The McClatchy article says this:

    Even though Jefferson is a Republican, Riddlesperger says Jefferson’s judicial philosophy could be centrist or left-of-center on the Supreme Court.

      1. Sammy Maudlin

        According to Politico…

        White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest later clarified that while the president (sic) knew about Clinton’s email address, he “was not aware of the details of how that email address and that server had been set up.”

        Oh man, looks like someone may lose their title as the “First Tech President.”

        More problematically, it seems the same day that Ms. Mills pulled the fire alarm, Va. Governor Terry McAuliffe met with aspiring state Senate candidate Dr. Jill McCabe and her husband – Associate Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, who was later promoted to Deputy Director.

        1. Roger Smith

          Ah yes, “I am an ignorant ass.” I forgot that excuse was now a legal justification these days… well if you are the right people.

          1. Pavel

            Obama: “I’m ignorant”
            Clinton: “I can’t remember anything”

            Try those excuses with the tax people and see how well they work.

        2. timbers

          According to Politico…

          White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest later clarified that while the president (sic) knew about Clinton’s email address, he “was not aware of the details of how that email address and that server had been set up.”

          So than why did they say in reference to Obama getting emals not gov.com “we have to clean this up?” Did someone drop a donut or spill coffee in the middle of that sentence? Is that what they meant?

          1. Sammy Maudlin

            Just to clarify, I wasn’t citing that story as a justification for the President’s statement. I mean, the First Tech President can likely figure out, without knowing “the details of how the email address and server were set up,” that an email without a state.gov address is from an email address not housed on the State Department’s servers.

            Either that or, like I said, maybe the Committee to Declare Phony Presidential Firsts should reconsider his award.

          2. Gareth

            I don’t know if this is common knowledge or not, but I just learned that Chelsea Clinton used the alias Diane Reynolds in the Podesta emails as well as the State Department, DNC and the foundation emails.

            1. Tom

              Chelsea’s use of an alias seems like such a contrived bit of nonsense — does she fancy herself some sort of international woman of intrigue such that she needs to cloak her activities from nefarious prying eyes?

              1. hunkerdown

                Nobody knows just what sort of nuptial yoga routines Chelsea likes, and frankly, using one’s right full name on the Internet is bad security whatever one’s level.

            2. aab

              She used multiple aliases. On her family’s private server. That was also hosting every single email sent or received by the Secretary of State.

              I would really like to know what that’s about. Why was Chelsea’s identity considered more worthy of protection than top secret military and diplomatic discussions? Either she knew her family’s server was insecure, in which case she’s a party to violations of espionage act (I’m not claiming she could be indicted), or she created multiple false identities to communicate with some of the most powerful people in the world for no good reason, in which case she’s being indulged because — why, exactly? When “Diane Reynolds” is scolding John Podesta about people working for “my father” at the Clinton Foundation, what the hell is going on? It would take any sentient being about three seconds to figure out who she is from the context.

      2. jgordon

        One of the hidden benefits of a possible Hillary presidency is that she really would have the most transparent administration ever.

        Think about it–Russia, China, Wikileaks, Saudi Arabia, Goldman Sachs–literally everyone will have minute by minute reports of everything going on in the US government with Hillary in charge. Confidential, secret, top secret, special access… It’ll all be out in the open. We’ll finally have the “open government” we deserve.

        But then we’ll all be irradiated to death from the fallout, so of course there are still some cons with having Hillary as president.

      3. Procopius

        Does anyone actually Obama is transparent anymore?

        Why would anyone have thought that since he betrayed his promise to vote against the FICA Revision in 2008? Either you accept that he’s just as devious and dishonest as any other politician or you’re hopelessly naive and doomed to disappointment. I just think he’s done some things I consider reasonably good, and some things I think he should be stood up against a wall and shot for. Lyndon Johnson was a devious son-of-a-bitch, too, and John F. Kennedy wasn’t an angel.

    1. Daryl

      Texas supreme court justices are elected in partisan elections. It’s a fair bet that he would absolutely not qualify to be “centrist or left-of-center,” even among the brilliant legal minds that brought us Citizens United.

      That said, it’s not really clear to me how one can translate Texas issues to US issues. Probably one of the hairiest things that the Texas Supreme Court deals with on a regular basis is the system of funding schools through property taxes, but it’s not really as clear cut as the many SC cases that have been in the news.

  2. Bugs Bunny

    Re Michelin, the guide does not mean what it used to only 10 years ago – in France at least. Sad thing is that I see my millennial friends completely relying on Yelp and TripAdvisor, to the point of refusing to go to restaurants that I have been to and recommend but which either aren’t listed or have been trolled. There’s also the phenomenon of the Top Chef reality show winner restaurants and you can rest assured that they have no à la carte choices because they’re so “special”. I’ll take my favorite Routier in the countryside any day over what passes for gastronomy today, thank you.

    Oh btw Lambert, you forgot to turn off the bold.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s actually an important post, because it shows how a cosmopolitan class is systematically homogenizing cuisine globally, to the detriment not only of local providers, but local culinary technique. And few cooking techniques could be less sustainable than sous vide. Honestly, food steamed or boiled in plastic bags? Really?

      Also, sounds like an opportunity for UnYelp or NoStars… The article also mentions what sounds like some extraordinary dishes prepared at restaurants that don’t conform to globalist norms, and hence don’t get stars.

      1. Morgan Phillips

        Au contraire, mes frères! Sous-vide is alive and well, as you’ll see in this sprawling, rather pointless article.

        from the article,
        Chipotle’s Co-CEO, Steve Ells, says, “”it’s “misleading” to call the steak “precooked.” Rather, he says—his eyes peering over his narrow-framed glasses—it’s “sous-vide.” This is the French cooking term for immersing food, sealed in a bag, in a low-temperature water bath to heat it slowly and more evenly. “This technique was used by many chefs and still is because you can precisely control the characteristics of meat and achieve a certain kind of tenderness,” Ells says. “I’d say the steak is [now] more tender. It actually improves it.””

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Sadly, it seems to be an iron rule of all sorts of food/accommodation guides, be they travel guides or specialist food guides or online crowd sourcing guides, that they are inevitably crappified over time. And the compression time between ‘this is great!’ and ‘oh, you can’t rely on it anymore’, seems to be shorter and shorter. Tripadvisor was genuinely brilliant for about 2 years, it helped me find great places even in my own home town, but now its worthless. I find now that when researching for a trip somewhere, I spend as much time trying to find a genuinely reliable source of information (be it a guidebook or online source) as I do on actually researching the trip.

  3. tony

    I’ve been trying to figure out what common trait binds Clinton supporters together. As far as I can tell, the most unifying characteristic is a willingness to bully in all its forms.

    The Bully Party

    This is something I noticed too. Very rarely did Hillary supporters I disagreed with try to argue. They might sometime try a feeble, easily disproven argument, but most of the time it was either an arument and an insult or just straight insults.

    It reminds me of how the US acts abroad. Iraq war, the tensions with Russia and the attitude towards Assad have never been rational or in the US interests. They just seem to be a response to someone saying “No” to the US so they must be destroyed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope, not unrealistically, this sets those who are with her back a century, or more.

    2. hunkerdown

      They have no arguments. They have only admission into their exclusive circles of “saved” to offer. Like Kurt Eichenwald, but it’s almost always unpaid employment.

    3. Anne

      Well, the one “advantage” of having HRC-supporting friends, especially on Facebook, is you get to see all the propaganda you wouldn’t otherwise even look at – you know, the kind that say that after 147 years of investigations, she hasn’t been convicted of anything, so that must mean that all of this Wiki stuff we’re reading is just meaningless. And I mean, how do we even know this stuff is for real? Russians!!!

      You cannot dissuade them from their certainty that she is just a wonderful representative of principled leadership, so I no longer bother; it’s a waste of time and energy. I was never under the illusion I could actually change minds by putting the facts out there, but I just found it so disturbing to see such biased fact-free garbage that I often felt compelled to post at least get some facts into the mix.

      At some point, it just became an exercise in futility. And I was tired of being told I HAD TO vote for her, that the fate of the republic was entirely on my shoulders – sorry, not buying that one, folks. They couldn’t figure out why it offended me to be told I was wasting my vote or “really” voting for Trump if I didn’t vote for Clinton…it was to scream.

      I’ll vote, but not for either Trump or Clinton.

      I can’t speak to the experience of Republicans who aren’t voting for Trump – do they get the same pressure?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Given Republican candidates over the years, I suspect a few Christians who can’t handle “happy holidays” especially Mormons and government and Bush connected Republicans will be the only Republicans to not vote for Trump. 61 million people voted for Mittens. 59 million for McCain/Palin. You can see where this is going, but except for respect in Washington (the most hated place in America), the other Republicans were simply vile. Trump isn’t special.

      2. meme

        I read an article in Huffpo titled Why I’m Not Voting last week that has me reconsidering whether to vote. Disillusioned progressive Lara M. Gardner writes about the charade of modern democracy and the difficulty of communicating with friends about current events:

        “How can you possibly give him the chance at the presidency?” someone will say to me, wringing their hands in desperation and fear. I shrug and tell them what I believe to be true: Mr. Trump has no chance of winning. He never did. He is a foil to drive the likes of you to the polls to ensure that you vote in order to maintain the legitimacy of this government so that it can continue what it has been doing and will do as long as you allow it by voting. Bernie Sanders wasn’t enough to get enough of you there. It took the likes of Trump to ensure those who would not have touched Hillary Clinton with a 100 foot pole will vote for her in November. He ensures your participation and consent.


        1. aab

          I’m seeing this more and more online: people just saying “Forget it; I’m not voting.”

          This frustrates me. Yes, it is clear that the elite worked very hard to deliver a scenario where they could continue their hold on power, and the election is rigged, and all that. But given that Clinton explicitly worked to suppress turnout in the primaries, and it’s well-known that negative campaigns suppress turn-out and Clintonland chose to run pretty close to a 100% negative campaign in the general, “she”/they demonstrably WANT a low turnout election. Why give it to them? If you believe, as I do, that the actual voting is rigged, it’s harder to rig with a higher turnout, and outlier voters showing up at the polls can mess with the rigging. If you can’t bring yourself to vote for Trump to at least keep Clinton from faking a mandate, why not vote third party? I know there are a handful of states where that’s not possible, but I don’t think that’s the issue for most people saying they’re highly informed and refusing to vote.

          I get the impulse. I do. And maybe I’m a fool, dragging myself to vote for a candidate who can’t win and isn’t even someone who I would be enthusiastic about, presuming I vote for Stein, which is likely at this point. But our non-violent options to drive positive change are very, very limited at this point. Not voting will go unseen and unheard. The corporate media will suppress it. But if you’re on the left, why not try to get funding for the Greens? Having some leftist party with an automatic ballot line in most or all of the states, and real cash to organize with is better than NOT having a leftist party with an automatic ballot line in most or all of the states and real cash to organize with.

          Staying home from the polls will not send the message you want it to. Why not go and vote against the status quo candidate? It’s the status quo you are protesting and one candidate is the clear, unambiguous representative of the status quo. If you oppose this status quo, why give the status quo candidate the low turnout election she seeks?

          1. Massinissa

            I agree completely. There are four referendums I need to vote against in my state (though only one is incredibly important, the other three would just be meh if they passed, but #1 is a neoliberal sponsored education takeover…). If people just stay home they cant effect local and state politics. Its better to vote Stein or Johnson or Cthulhu at the top of the ticket and then vote for whatever is local or state that really matters much more anyway.

        2. Massinissa

          In my state there are some awful bills being voted on for referenda. Its important IMO to vote for local and state politics. Who you vote for in a federal election doesnt even really matter. All politics is local, and not voting in local elections give the elites even more free reign at the state and county levels.

    4. Waldenpond

      I call Ds identarians. They require members to assign every individual identities, they have a hierarchy for those identities and they engage in heavy language policing to enforce the hierarchy of identity.

    5. John Wright

      I believe another common trait that binds Clinton supporters is a plan to excuse future Pres HRC behavior by simply stating “Trump would have been worse”.

      If Pres HRC leads us into military action overseas, then “Trump would have been even more trigger happy”

      If Pres HRC selects a conservative SC justice, then “Trump would have made a worse selection”.

      Maybe this will keep Trump in the news as he uses the media to tell Hillary what he would do in advance of her actions?

      Trump’s pride and hunger for media attention might be a force for good in the HRC presidency.

      Maybe he will be a sore loser and the country will be better for it.

  4. lyman alpha blob

    Just when you think the elites can’t sink any lower comes this Op-ed from the NYT – Why Hillary Clinton Needs to Be Two Faced.

    And is the author Jonathan Rauch really as stupid as he appears to be using the following as a justification for Clinton’s own deceit rather than as an admonishment against it??

    “When charged by Stephen Douglas with being two-faced, Abraham Lincoln replied not with a denial but with a quip (“If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?”).”

    Um, that’s not honest Abe defending duplicity there, Einstein.

    1. Vatch

      Appropriately, today’s links points to articles about the psychology and physiology of lying. Perhaps Hillary Clinton has lied so much, it has become biologically impossible for her to tell the truth.

      1. oho

        “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

        it’s funny when applied to George Costanza, tragic for the world when it’s a Clinton—including Bill.

    2. John k

      We are in a new age with new morals.
      Lying is not just defensible but the moral thing.
      Wars are what we do, not an issue to be questioned or even discussed in other than TINA terms.
      Jail is far too harsh for white collar crime. Indeed, we, certainly all of us that determine morality, realize that when bankers and CEO’s do it, it is not illegal…. So it is in fact no longer appropriate to speak of white collar crime, which no longer exists.

      The radicals unhappy with the status quo enthusiastically welcomed Bernie with open arms and wallets. A perfect messiah, fought for blacks in the 60’s, fought for all of us throughout his career. And a perfect gentleman, to boot… Courteous to a fault…

      Aye, there’s the rub. Fighting the web of massive media corruption that pervades gov, industry, and the press with one hand tied behind one’s back is not likely to succeed. Former Bernie fans express disappointment.

      So next messiah candidate is certainly no gentleman. But he receives very similar continuous attacks from the corrupt media, gov and industry as Bernie did. One might assume they think he might break a number of rice bowls, just as Bernie threatened to do…

      But many wannabe revolutionaries are turned off, ‘can’t stomach him, too coarse’.

      Will there be a better opportunity in 2020? In 2024?
      From the dems? The reps? The greens?

      Stein says she’s the greater danger, and I agree.
      If in a swing state hold your nose and vote for change.

    3. hunkerdown

      is the author Jonathan Rauch really as stupid as he appears to be

      Yes, and it says right there in black and white: “senior fellow at the Brookings Institution”

      1. rich

        or face booked?

        Facebook Co-Founder Dustin Moskovitz Donates Extra $15M To Stop Trump – The most striking contribution came last month, when Dustin Moskovitz, a tech billionaire and Facebook co-founder, pledged $20 million to political groups that support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Moskovitz discussed the contribution with CNBC over the weekend, reiterating that he and his wife, Cari Tuna, were compelled to donate after Republicans officially chose Donald Trump as their nominee.

        “I think it’s apparent to every American that this is a very special election. The stakes are extremely high,” Moskovitz told CNBC. Moskovitz’s contribution made headlines in part because he is a relative novice to political donations. Despite his wealth and connections, Moskovitz is not particularly well known beyond industry circles.

        Nevertheless, the donation catapults Moskovitz and Tuna into the upper echelons of political contributors this election cycle, a list that includes fellow billionaires and longtime influencers Sheldon Adelson, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and Silicon Valley hedge-fund manager Thomas Steyer. Assuming the full $20 million is donated prior to the election, Moskovitz and Tuna would rank among the top 10 individual contributors this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

        Moskovitz and Tuna did not respond to requests for comment.http://breaking911.com/facebook-co-founder-dustin-moskovitz-donates-extra-15m-stop-trump/

  5. Hungry

    So so so sad about the airportfoodification of michelin restaurants.
    Reminded my about why I think the Olympic Games should be completely destroyed and then rebuilt for gastronomical reasons too.
    Was at the games in Sochi 2014. Krasnodar region produce a few really nice wines, there are fantastic local beers out there in Russia, as well great food. However the olympic arena areas were filled only with the sponsors’ food and drinks. It was like a giant horrible airport with only one thing to eat.
    It was a sorry spectacle watching so many people missing out on culinary experiences in Russia.

    1. lyle

      Actually more and more possible host cities in countries not ruled by authoritarian regimes are saying thanks but no thanks to hosting the olympics as they turn out to be a terrible business proposition for the host country. Consider that Putin spent 50 billion on the winter games for a lot of stuff that will be left to weather away. Look at various web sites that show how former olympic locations are turning into locations that one could film life after people in. In one respect then Olympics are a grand case of conspicious consumption.

      1. windsock

        I agree BUT – having yesterday visited Stratford, east London, where the 2012 Olympics were held, and where the 2017 World athletic Championships will be held, you should see the amount of residential new build that is going on round the Olympic Park – and the athletics stadium is now let out to a Premier League soccer club, but retains athletics facilities (including sight lines) and the park itself is well maintained – as a park. So it has worked for London.

        Of course, the whole of London is basically a building site for foreign hot money, but the Olmypics here did help change infrastructure (new train lines and more facilities going eastwards for a change, rather than – as traditional – westwards from London).

        Oh, and the dire warnings about clogged up traffic congestion with foreigners overwhelming shops and facilities were SOOOOOO wrong in 2012, that London, as a city, was the most peaceful oasis of calm for three weeks in August I have ever experienced in my 26 years of living here and was bliss for us locals.

  6. Synoia

    I see it now:

    Dash buttons need to be paired with the Amazon app on a smartphone using Bluetooth. Now, once you’ve selected what kind of Tide detergent you want to order, you can stick the button on or near your washing machine. When you want to reorder, just push the button.

    Push, “Mommy, what does this do?” Push, push, push, push.

    Don’t do that!!!


    Later: Push, push, push, push, push….

    Next day: 167 packs of washing detergent, deposited by your front door, and your credit card is now maxed out.

    To err is human. It takes a computer to repeat your mistakes over, and over, and over , and over again, ad infinitum.

      1. optimader

        The editing of that video gave me vertigo.

        What does it say about me that I don’t use a single one of those products? Keurik is bad enough, but then use Maxwell House Coffee in it?? The Horror..

        I will say they look like something I would keep pressing the button on ’til it broke, back when I was ~4yo…
        Where duz the Pez candyz comes out???

        Electric Shock Aversion Therapy – The Simpsons

    1. pricklyone

      Only works once, until your order delivered. Pressing again doesn’t create another order, unless your first one is filled.

      Anyone who thinks this is a great idea, though, can’t have kids or CATS! My cat buddy would consider these to be best kitty toys ever! And you gotta pay $100 for Prime, and you gotta sign up for app, and….

      Who out there has one of these on the shelves in the pantry, for every snack food, or silly item you may want to buy again? At $4.99 a pop.

      How freaken lazy are we, anyway?

    2. Pavel

      Wait till we find out these Internet of Crap™ devices can all be taken over by malbots and perform DDoS attacks?

      Honestly, with all the thoughtless application of technology (promoted by Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla etc) the whole bloody world will be crashing down one day. Since most of the population under 30 seems unable to tie their shoelaces without a smartphone, I’m not sure what they’ll do.

      On a serious note, people are hacking into actual cars as they are driven down the highway. And one of the hackers said “The hard part is controlling just one car, not all the ones on the road”.

      What a frigging world. I’m going to move off the grid one of these days and make wine or raise bees or something and read all my books.

    3. Skip Intro

      Why efficiently buy and transport multiple items when you can have them delivered one by one. Sometimes I think the collapse just can’t come soon enough.

  7. Synoia

    The justification for that Nobel is looking a little thin, isn’t it?

    No. War is peace.

    Didn’t you get the memo in 1984?

    1. abynormal

      Russia/Norway recent history: Just a couple of years ago Norway and Russia, which share a Barents Sea coastline and an almost-200km border, used to hold joint military trainings. The last one, named Pomor, was held in 2013 and involved visits by Norwegian battleships to Russia’s port of Severomorsk and the Russian Navy calling to the Norway’s port of Tromsø in the north.

      After the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine and reunification of the Crimean Peninsula with Russia, Oslo suspended all military contacts with Moscow, simultaneously promoting closer military cooperation with other Scandinavian capitals and NATO member states. https://www.rt.com/news/239209-nato-norway-viking-drills/

      here hear: “Audun Lysbakken, leader of the Sweden’s Socialist Left party, told public broadcaster NRK: “This is not a good signal to send. We face a cold political climate that requires predictability from Norway. We should rather reinforce our national defense and not aim for some form of permanent presence by U.S. troops,””

      Do you think it’s possible for an entire nation to be insane?
      ~ Terry Pratchett

    1. RabidGandhi

      Of course the obvious question is, can the Nobel Committee award her the 2017 prize now, or do they have to wait for AP to call the race on Monday 7 November?

  8. Isolato

    On the iniquity of bail, it was my understanding that at least until recently the largest campaign contributors to municipal judicial elections were the bail bondsmen. Just a coincidence! Prove there is a quid pro quo!

    Of course it serves the bail bond industry that everyone be required to post bail. They get the money from those who can and we pay to incarcerate the others.

  9. flora

    re: Google’s Faulty Login Pages

    “GoogleTue, Aug 23, 2016 at 11:39 PMHey,

    Thanks for your bug report and research to keep our users secure! We’ve investigated your submission and made the decision not to track it as a security bug.

    This report will unfortunately not be accepted for our VRP. Only first reports of technical security vulnerabilities that substantially affect the confidentiality or integrity of our users’ data are in scope, and we feel the issue you mentioned does not meet that bar :(

    Bummer, we know. Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to your next report! “…. (my emphasis)

    Hilarious. Shorter Google: ‘ That’s a problem all right but we aren’t sure how to fix it. So would you please continue to investigate and if you find a solution, let us know!’

  10. Pat

    Regarding Amazon’s DASH buttons: I buy my cat food using Amazon, both because it is delivered and because largely it is cheaper anywhere I can get it, Well that is unless there is big sale at two other big retailers. Now there is a range of price for that cat food, but on an article like this (and detergent and…) the range where price plus convenience is still a good bargain is…well…not very wide. I know what the price at nearby retailers is. And even without a sale it takes less than a dollar difference to mean I forgo delivery and buy it at X. The thing about those buttons is you will not know what the current price is when you press them, either for Amazon or your local retailers. For busy and slightly well off people it is a recipe for getting ripped off. Think about people realizing how much their cable bill is…And I am cynical enough to think that is exactly why they exist.

    1. pricklyone

      A person would have to be fairly well off to so cavalierly order things. How do these folks reconcile their checking statements and/or credit card statements? Don’t have any sense of actually spending money, just press the damn button and the stuff arrives? I gotta say, I check everything for price comparison, and never have I found a single food/staple product cheaper on Amazon, especially considering the shipping cost. Pat, can I ask which catfood brand you find cheaper at Amazon, than at grocery chains, or Wally World? If you buy the “pet store only” brands, I could understand it, my poor little cat has to make do with cheaper stuff.(As do I) Prime gets you “free” shipping, I guess, but at $100/yr. ya gotta do a lot of Amazon, to make it worth while. (self licking cone?)

    2. Susan Nelson

      I live in the boondocks in northern Iowa and use chewy.com for pet food. They deliver, and if I time the shipments correctly I get them up to the free shipping level. I have been using them for a couple of years and their service is superb. Once I ordered a flat of canned food that my dogs didn’t like and asked to return it. They told me to give it to a shelter and credited my account. Another time I updated my standing order and found out they had already shipped it. They sent me the rest with no shipping charge. I have two big dogs and some cats, and having the UPS driver bring me 30 lb. bags is far better than lifting them in and out of the grocery cart and the car, or finding out that the local store is out of the only one my lab will eat, again. That was what drove me online in the first place.

      1. mad as hell

        Thanks. Checked out their website. Good prices on all dog items. Soon as Fido polishes off his latest sack, I am going to order from Chewy.

      2. crittermom

        I was just referred to chewy.com by a friend. I, too, live rural & received it FedEx to my door.
        Not only does it lack all the ‘filler’s’ of most pet food, it’s also MADE IN THE USA. (Remember the treats from China that were tainted and killed dogs?)
        I’ll be placing my second order today.
        It also arrives in just two days!

    3. Cry Shop

      Sleep with the devil if you’ve lost not just your soul but don’t be surprised if one day he comes your livelihood.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > you will not know what the current price is when you press them

      And when you think about it, since the button is WiFi-enabled, a price could be transmitted to it and displayed, So why isn’t it? Odd, that!

      And those pennies add up!

  11. Pelham

    ‘The thing about race is that it is a form of identity that is meant to apply across the world, everybody is supposed to have one – you’re black or you’re white or you’re Asian – and it’s supposed to be significant for you, whoever and wherever you are. But biologically that’s nonsense.’”

    Biologically speaking, the difference between human beings and rats is also nonsense. We’re about 99% identical genetically, which is why rats are used in labs.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I thought mice were physical manifestations of pan dimensional beings protruding into this reality, and sorry, we aren’t the ones running experiments. The 2016 election Is proof of that.

      1. Katharine

        Oh, thank you! Now I have an image of giant observers hanging over the cage laughing themselves silly. “Did you SEE that?! Even I didn’t think they were that dumb! The poor little schnooks!”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          One of my favorite jokes:

          Rats in a maze, guys in white lab coats running tests. So one day, a rat builds a little ladder so they can can climb up and see the whole maze, and (presumably) run the maze faster.

          “Oh, a defective rat!” says the scientist, reaches in, plucks up the ladder-building rat, and takes it off to be euthanized.

    1. Gee

      Since they are in prime season right now, they are easily to find, but if you don’t want to look too hard, lots of people sell them on eBay, freshly picked, and not particularly expensive for organic local mushrooms. Or try your local farmers market, but your mileage may vary. I dont sell mine on eBay, sorry, too busy eating them.

  12. Gee

    As for today’s fungal interloper – a lot of people like to call it “Hen in the Woods”, but it is actually “Hen OF the Woods”, or Maitake if you prefer. I know, nit picking, but I’ve been picking these for years and selling them to local restaurants. It’s a very short window around this time of year when you can find them – go out one weekend, zilch, a few days later, explosive growth around the bottom of oak trees. A few days after that, all rotten. Helps to walk the woods a lot.

    I would agree, sauteing in butter and olive oil with heavy garlic is lovely, but my favorite thing to do with these is pickle them with vinegar and then use them in salads. Superb.

    1. DJG

      Truly one of the great mushrooms, Hen of the Woods. (I’ve never heard the “in.”) So I object to the unfairness of the mycoporn above. Too tempting.

      I agree, though, with butter and olive oil. Hold the garlic. The flavor is lovely and can’t stand much competition. Its seems to me that you’re going to have to make a strong case for pickling, which tends to make food mainly taste of acid.

      But I quibble.

    2. Pavel

      Very tasty indeed. And there are researchers in Japan and elsewhere who believe that maitake (and similar) mushrooms have anti-carcinogenic qualities.

      I was served them sauteed just as you describe (butter, garlic, olive oil) and they were absolutely delicious.

    3. 3.14e-9

      Interesting about the oak trees. If I’m not mistaken, that’s also where you find truffles.

      I lived in France for several years and often went mushroom hunting with friends. They said mushrooms came up at the full moon, and they were always in a rush to go into the woods immediately, before the wild boar dug them all up. Have you noticed a similar growing pattern with the maitake?

  13. Sammy Maudlin

    Here’s what I can’t understand. It sure seems like a lot of Congressional Republicans have had an absolute hard-*n for the President ever since he took office. Today, evidence came out through Wikileaks that he was well aware of HRC’s private server and that HRC’s camp went into “clean-up” mode after he told the press that he learned about it from the news like anyone else.

    Like everyone else, I see the big news orgs ignoring any of this Wikileaks stuff, and generally anything bad for HRC. But where are the Republicans like Trey Gowdy who, on the surface at least, seem to want to “get” these bad Democrats so terribly? Where are these Tea Party guys? Where is Ted Cruz? This could be enough to kneecap the Democrats entirely. But, crickets.

    Maybe they are out there beating the war drum on this and I’m not seeing it. It may all be Kabuki theater, but I paid for my ticket and I want to see a play dammit!

    1. John k

      First Bernie and now trump are threatening a lot of rice bowls. This is an existential threat questioning TINA convictions regarding endless wars and even (horrors!) threat of jailing white collar criminals… One never knows where a loose cannon might go!

      A time for all true patriots to circle the wagons… If Clinton is the only neocon that can be trusted, rep neocons simply have no choice but to help… It’s any port in a storm…

    2. RUKidding

      I really don’t know, but my guess is that all of those Republicans, like Daryll Issa & Trey Goudy, who wasted tons of time and taxpayer money “investigating” Benghazi endlessly, attempting to vote out ObamaCare endlessly, etc, are NOT really serious about real investigations. They all hide behind each others’ skirts, and they all look the other way. Why? Not sure. Possibly because they all do it. Noblesse Oblige?

      Wash DC is a sewer of corruption imo. None of them are interested in cleaning anything up.

      1. Pavel

        Simple: they fear Obama much more than Hillary. Note that in his “Gettysburg address” he called for term limits and limits on the “revolving door”. Hear, hear!

      2. Jessica

        Why don’t Republicans fight to win?
        Because seeming to fight on issues their powerful backers don’t actually care about is what brings in money from the rubes.
        What their powerful backers care about isn’t the big visible stuff. It is the nitty-gritty of this tax break and that hole in the regulations or tax code.
        I thought a number of the supposed Presidential candidates were just using the campaign as a way to raise of profile of their little fiefdom within the conservative media empire. Maybe even get a job with Fox.
        The analogous function for the Democrats is most of their identity politics.

    1. Joseph Hill

      I don’t think he did. He was on teevee the other day talking up Hillary in an interview at one point saying “I’m very excited about voting for her”

      I listened to the audio clip of a speech of his making the rounds:
      Taken out of full context it sounds like a rousing Trump endorsement (and sort of is in a way) but what I think he’s doing is trying to convey the mindset of a Trump voter and use it as a setup to say (presumably later in a part of the speech that’s not recorded in this clip) you can’t do what “feels good” and vote for him. His pimping for Hillary in the teevee interview is I think definitive. Few things are as they seem these days…

      1. endoftheworld

        OK, not PRECISELY an endorsement of Trump, granted, but it almost amounts to the same thing, IMHO. He’s giving good reasons why people will vote for Trump. I think he predicted a Trump victory weeks ago.

    2. Waldenpond

      No, he didn’t.

      [Filmmaker Michael Moore is praising Hillary Clinton for her faith, saying she lives her life as a Christian instead of just talking about her beliefs.“The people who talk about – ‘I’m a Christian’ – often times aren’t,” said Moore, a Clinton supporter, Monday on ABC’s “The View.”“The idea of being a Christian is to just behave that way, and she behaves that way. That’s what’s great about it. She doesn’t talk about it, she lives it. She acts it.”Moore said Clinton’s restraint during her three presidential debates against Donald Trump showed her good morals.“I think her behavior during the debates… we were hoping she would get out the club,” he said, making a punching motion with his hand.“She didn’t, and I think that’s because honestly, that when she says she’s a Christian, I think she means it.”]

      [Moore also urged Christian voters who might oppose Clinton over her support for abortion and gay marriage to reconsider.]

      [Moore debuted a new movie last week urging voters to pick Clinton over Trump, the GOP nominee. He said in an interview Friday that Trump’s supporters are committing “legal terrorism” by voting for him.]


      1. Cry Shop

        Moore has a point. Hellery and Bill run their foundation similar to Prosperity Theology, Look at where the money for Haiti went.

  14. abynormal

    Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.
    Pablo Happy Birthday Picasso

    …never forget a snob is a person utterly lacking in good taste.

    Richard C. Morais, The Hundred-Foot Journey

    sooooo the elite parading off a Michelin Star wouldn’t taste turpentine …hmmm

  15. timbers

    Clinton executive orders FOR SALE?

    Wikileaks: In an email with the subject line, “Is there someone in your shop,” Bonner writes, “Who totally understands ‘executive orders’. It is to answer a very big donors questions.”

    Podesta responds with simply, “Me.”

    Bonner: “It is for Michael King.”

    Podesta: “What does he need?”

    Bonner: “He has an idea and just need answer [sic] to a bunch of easy questions about how this works.”

    Is it the same price each if you “buy” more than 1 executive order and is there a discount if you buy them thru the Clinton Foundation instead of making a donation to the campaign?

  16. Paid Minion

    “….trouble finding workers…..”

    Starting pay = $10-11/hour

    I unloaded trucks for UPS once. Not a job for the weak/heat sensitive, or can’t unload a 40 foot truck in about 4 hours. By hand.

    You know, there is this fairy tale circulating about “supply and demand”, where the theory goes that a lack of workers to fill positions causes the pay to go up for those positions, until you have enough employees.

    1. pricklyone

      My SIL worked at UPS, retired this month. She was hired as a teamster, loading those trucks, back in the late 70’s or early 80’s. She worked part time, but got all benefits, vacations, just like the full timers. I had a full time position at the time (purchasing, office work) and she made more than me for 25-30 hrs. Now, that same job pays just over minimum wage, and UPS has dropped benefits for part-timers. She told me they are having trouble getting and retaining staff at their rural MN location, and are rethinking paying bennies.


    1. Jim Haygood

      In the U.S., when petition signatures don’t check out, they are simply excluded. That’s why 20 or 30 percent extra signatures are collected for initiatives — to have a safety margin. Some people who sign petitions aren’t qualified voters, and canvassers have no way of knowing it.

      In Venezuela, the gov’t cries fraud and shuts down the whole petition drive. This, when the qualification threshold is a stunningly high 20 percent of registered voters, to be collected in a ridiculously short 3 days. For comparison, in California the threshold for initiative petitions is 5% of gubernatorial voters (or about 2.5% of registered voters) and up to 180 days to collect them.

      Despite Venezuela’s “rigged to fail” recall petition process, the Maduro regime felt threatened enough to cancel the recall drive on bogus fraud charges. It shows that they are fully aware of just how deeply despised they are by Venezuela’s starving citizens.

      Grilled Chavistas on a shish kabob … aren’t you hungry?

      1. hunkerdown

        And that’s why the crooks win in the USA: because there is no downside to padding their numbers and too much discretion to make up totals. If people who faked election documents got crochet needles through the ears, there would be a lot less of it.

        The long, drawn-out nonsense of USian initiative campaigns is a cultural policy, not a necessity. If only election campaigns lasted not a minute over 72 hours, the media couldn’t influence results other than by voting (oops, imaginary friends can’t vote, neener neener)

        People tolerate it because there ain’t no other good circus in this town.

        I know you’re short Venezuela, but seriously, try and stay in touch with the reality of people who can’t just make stuff up to suit their interests.

        1. Jim Haygood

          You are conflating the time period to qualify an initiative for the ballot with the time period to vote on it. Two different things entirely.

          And no, I’m not short Venezuela. When the Maduro clowngov is close to croaking, Venezuela will be a huge buy. It’s already in the “dry heaves” stage, where it just can’t get any sicker.

          1. Skippy

            Hay Jim…..

            Thanks for making a classic example of how your stripe operate jimbo…

            Disheveled Marsupial…. so many self fulfilling prophecies…. and then have the audacity to proclaim vindication…

          2. Skippy

            Whats the matter jim… cat got your balls to speak – ?????

            Disheveled Marsupial….. no worries mate…. Hillary has your papers back….

  17. Kim Kaufman

    “Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt” [George Packer, The New Yorker].

    There is just nobody to blame.”

    This is just stunning. Should have gone under Guillotine Watch. I’m not going to read the article but I assume Packer sat there with a straight face and didn’t give her any examples to maybe jog her memory.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      I interpreted “There is just nobody to blame” as referring to the frustration and anger from the ignored that no one was held accountable. In other words, it was “bankers” as a generic mass rather than particular individuals that would serve as examples—and focuses of blame.

      I also saw that response as standard for Clinton. As an attorney, she’s trained not to say anything that can be used as ammunition by the opposition, and it colors her public responses such that people yearning for clarity get frustrated by what appears to be obfuscation. And maybe it is. However, it was some consolation to see that she’s aware of the problem, even if she’s not prepared to commit to addressing it. There have been too many cases where her people-bubble are so arrogantly ignorant of what people outside their clique care about, it’s easy to assume she is, too.

      1. 3.14e-9

        Elizabeth Burton, that’s an interesting interpretation. I see what you’re saying, and I think you’re partly right.

        Here’s the whole quote:

        “I think the failure to be able to bring criminal cases, to hold people responsible, was one of the contributing factors to a lot of the real frustration and anger that a lot of voters feel. There is just nobody to blame. So if we can’t blame Company X or C.E.O. Y, let’s blame immigrants. Right? We’ve got to blame somebody—that’s human nature. We need a catharsis.” F.D.R. had done it by denouncing bankers and other “economic royalists,” Clinton said, her voice rising. “And by doing so he told a story.” She went on, “If you don’t tell people what’s happening to them—not every story has villains, but this story did—at least you could act the way that you know the people in the country felt.”

        Packer’s question was whether Obama made a mistake by not sending the bankers to jail. Notice that she doesn’t say he failed to prosecute, but that he wasn’t ABLE to hold anyone responsible. WTF does that mean? She seems to be suggesting that he didn’t have a case, although who knows? Maybe she has inside info that he was threatened. If we proceed on the assumption that she’s talking about not having a case, then she essentially is saying that no crime was committed and therefore, no one was to blame.

        In talking about FDR, she makes it sound like his accomplishment was telling people a story that made them feel better, not that he actually prosecuted anyone. Essentially she’s saying that voters have an emotional need for a villain, not that they are right to be angry that the rich and powerful broke the law with impunity. But then, she didn’t believe any crime was committed. She reinforces that belief with her comment that, in the case of FDR, there really WAS a villain. Moreover, she uses the past tense in knowing how people of the country felt.

        Nothing in this quote indicates to me that she is aware that people have a legitimate reason to be angry. She might as well be describing a Hollywood movie. If there isn’t a big, bad villain — you know, like Nazis or evil dictators — audiences leave the theater feeling like they didn’t get their money’s worth. After all, it’s just “human nature.”

        I agree with your observation that “she’s trained not to say anything that can be used as ammunition by the opposition,” but I don’t see how that can be interpreted as anything other than intentional obfuscation. Trump often is criticized for stringing a bunch of words together that make absolutely no sense. Hillary’s statements sound rational and intelligent, but upon examination, the meaning isn’t clear, if they make any sense at all.

        No wonder it takes four paragraphs to pick apart what she meant by “nobody to blame.”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        “There is just nobody to blame” because of “the failure to be able to bring criminal cases.” Note lack of agency, and the unexamined reasons for the supposed “failure” “to be able.”

        1. 3.14e-9

          the unexamined reasons for the supposed “failure” “to be able.”

          I was exercising restraint by limiting the speculation to his doubting he had a legal case. The more-cynical reply would have included the ridiculous, totally unfounded, uninformed, gullible, deplorable conspiracy theory that he succeeded in being able to increase his net worth by doing nothing (nice work if you can get it).

          There has to be a parallel in the unexamined reasons for his use of an alias to communicate with his secretary of state at a non-State Department email address, but I am failing to be able to think of it right now.

    2. Steve C

      Thanks, Lambert, for reading through this for the essential nugget so I don’t have to. Blessed relief. Tip jar.

  18. Plenue

    “the combination of arrogance and informality of the Google engineer — “Hey -” is really not a salutation — makes my back teeth itch.”

    The arrogance, okay. But formality in language can kindly go die. I see no problem with opening with “Hey”. If I wanted to insult you, you would know it. This kind of thinking only leads to languages like Japanese, which are so far up their own asses with formality they literally have ‘casual honorifics’ and don’t see the head-on-desk irony and stupidity of it.

    1. hunkerdown

      “Hey” is like “Tu”. You call me that if we are related. You don’t call me that if we aren’t. Of course, bourgeois liberals destroy anything they can’t buy their way into… you may wish to reconsider your Newspeak thing. Oh, and that identity politics thing which is exactly the same crap.

      1. ambrit

        Oye, companero. One also uses the Tu form when speaking to children. This might be the manner in which it is meant. It really is an insult. What is better is that we are also paying Google for the privilege.
        Hence; “No me diga ese m—-a!” (This applies to all communications with Google.)
        Lo proximo.

      2. Plenue

        Except it isn’t newspeak. It’s oldspeak. From a time before we came up with all these stupid systems of linguistic ‘respect’. If I wanted to insult, I would insult. Not bothering to cater to the anal specifics of an artificial system of tiered language is not insulting. There is no fundamental offense here, it only magically appears after you invent rules that dictate this form of address is ‘offensive’.

    2. Prufrock

      “Hey” or some variation of “Hey, you have a minute” was the standard interruption when I worked in engineering land for stopping by someone’s cubicle to discuss anything. I still use it for informal e-mails, but I still mostly interact with tech types that expect it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Right, except this is a Google engineer to a customer not to an engineer. The casual assumption, if assumption it be, that both are on an equal footing is precisely the insult. It’s the same as treating your Uber driver as a peer.

  19. curlydan

    I’m impressed anyone who reads NC can make it through a George Packer article. You’ve got a tough stomach, Lambert. Most journalism today -> stultifying stenography

  20. Skippy

    Is it just me but does El’ Trumpo’s motivation – for all of this – is getting squeezed out of the game he help set up decades ago as a bag man [hiving off risk], and could see his net worth go south of the border unless he can consolidate his standing with a win in the preznit race or political power base after glow.

    Would seem to lend credence to the – sore loser – tag [psychological goading and poke in the eye] along with his ranting about stuff not broached in polite company or in front of the children [unwashed voters].

    Where Hillary and the DNC play the calm parent that knows all the stuff that has transgressed, behind bed room doors and adult key party’s [white lines], but plays out that the emotive parent has lost the plot and as such is an untrustworthy loose cannon. Although Hillary and the DNC has a wee problem with the baby monitor recording device having picked up everything by one of the kids and the whole thing turns into a ginormous clusterfuck ™.

    Mean while uncle Jeb [Rep party] that lives a few houses down has strategically retreated back home after having popped over for the birthday party [preznit race] after some of the adults had a few to many drinks – to live another day……..

    Dishevled Marsupial…. or is it all a mirror in the bathroom – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHWrmIzgB5A

    PS. is it possible for nation to devolve into a mental illness in a rosie town called malice… am I pulp – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuTMWgOduFM

  21. 3.14e-9

    Amazing mushroom photo! As I was scrolling down, before I reached the caption, I thought it was a dried hydrangea. I’d never even heard of “hen of the woods” before. The things one learns on NC …

      1. 3.14e-9

        I checked a couple of botany sources, and it’s “of the woods.” The correction was mentioned in an earlier comment.

        In my search, I learned that it also is called sheepshead or sheep’s head. My favorite mushroom from outings with friends in France was called pied de mouton, or sheep’s foot. Somewhere between here and there, maybe we’ll find the belly and the tail.

  22. allan

    Green Bay, WI, city clerk refused to set up early voting site, fearing it would help Democrats [Chi Trib]

    The city clerk in Green Bay refused to set up an early voting site on a college campus in part because she feared the site would help Democrats, according to emails obtained by a liberal advocacy group.

    The emails show City Clerk Kris Teske citing the potential partisan advantage, along with concerns about ballot security, costs and staffing issues, in refusing to establish the early voting site at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus. One Wisconsin Institute provided the emails to The Associated Press on Tuesday, after the Nation first reported about them. …

    It’s a good thing that the Democrats and their media camp followers have gone all in on the awesomeness of the US electoral process and how contesting an election is grounds for deportation to Russia.

  23. ewmayer

    o Hillary: “I think the failure to be able to bring criminal cases…" — so was it evil Republicans or Vladolf HitlerPutin who is to blame for 0bama/DOJ's "inability" here? After all, we know 0bama has been fighting to bring criminal cases against the TBTF banksters even harder than he's been pusing TPP/TTIP/TISA/ISDS. Oh, wait…

    o "Case-Shiller Home Price Index, August 2016: “[F]irming but remain subdued” — If you suffer a forming but subdued home-price rise lasting longer than 4 years, see your realtor™. And, “Many pundits believe home prices are back in a bubble. Maybe, but the falling inventory of homes for sale keeps home prices relatively high” — kinda like the BOJ boggling up every piece of newly issued debt and most of the ETFs and stacks in the Japanese bourses keeps the prices of those relatively high, eh? Sound market fundamentals there!

    o "Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, October 2016: “[S]luggish in October but slightly firmer” " — What is it with all the ED-connoting verbiage in today's stats-watch, um, headlines? I suppose we should be glad none of the ensuing expert-blurbs mentions "headwinds", otherwise NC might lose its safe-for-work status.

    o “In contrast, Asian investor confidence stands at record levels, implying that investors have become more selective in allocating risk.” — Uh, in my experience, over-the-moon investor confidence is not generally correlated with careful attention to risk. I guess that's why I'm not a credentialed-expert econo-pundit!

    o “The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) notched another solid gain of 0.3 percent in October…" — I know my personal Chemical Activity Barometer goes up whenever I read or listen to this kind of market-punditry, but kids, don't do as I do. Drugs are bad!

    o "“The Memory of Mankind project aims to save our most precious documents from an apocalypse – by burying microscopic engravings in an Austrian salt mine” [BBC]. This is really cool, but I hope there’s really good signage at the salt mine." — Good signage … you mean like "Hier sind keine Nazi-gestohlene Kunstwerke! Nur Salz! Nicht Schiessen!!"

    o “Society still largely operates under the misapprehension that race (largely defined by skin colour) has some basis in biology." — Explaining why Finns and Masai warriors are virtually indistinguishable if you dress them the same, right? Sorry, but this there-are-no-races meme has always struck me as a PC conclusion driving a scientific research-and-PR program. Clearly using broad brushes like "white and black races" is silly – there are many different lineages (I believe "haplotype groups" is the term of art) in Africa, in fact more there than anywhere else. But at the same time, pigmentation is clearly an evolutionary adaptation which correlates highly with the geographic-movement history of the various major migrations out of Africa and, later, into and out of Asia. Further, I find the fact that we humans are so sensitively wired to perceive differences in pigmentation (as well as other differences, but let's face it, from 100 feet away it's simply a lot easier to spot skin and hair color than, say, eye and nose shape) rather telling. So, given humanity's small-group evolutionary history, while "race" may be a poorly definable concept, perhaps what we're really talking about is how various "racial" traits proved valuable to our ancestors in terms of quickly and reliably distinguishing outsiders from those of their own group. There were surely many non-genetic traits that served similar purposes, e.g. manner of dress, bodily ornamentation, and of course, language. But evolution in a hostile and oftimes highly competitive environment likely puts a premium on sensitivity to markers that work reliably at a distance – if you're close enough to exchange words and fashion tips, ypu're well inside spear-throwing distance. Of course in modern highly diverse urban environments such ancient small-group-based perceptual biases can prove maladaptive, but just as surely such modern settings are driving a fresh round of behavioral adaptations, which will over the much-longer term also leave a set of genetic imprints. 50 years ago an interracial kiss on TV or in a movie was almost unheard of, so on the bright side, it seems we are making rapid progress. We can change our behavior even if our lizard-brain instincts have to be dragged along against their will.

  24. ewmayer

    Gah – my turn to fubar a closing-bold markup tag. Sorry for the shouting! Were I to deny it, would that make me a bold-faced liar?

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