2:00PM Water Cooler 10/28/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


CETA: “Belgium’s Wallonia formally approves EU-Canada trade deal” [France24]. “‘The amended and corrected CETA is more just than the old CETA. It offers more guarantees and it is what I will defend,’ [Wallonia’s Socialist premier Paul Magnette] told a session…. ‘With this CETA, TTIP is dead and buried,’ Magnette said.'” I try never to project political narratives from the United States onto foreign countries I know little about. So it’s not clear to me whether this is Clintonian co-optation from a Socialist premier, under pressure from Marxists to his left, over an agreement that at best kicks the can down the road (see next link), or whether the Wallonian political class (see the link after next) has really gamed out the impact on TTIP, or something else entire. Wallonian readers?

CETA: “During a late night appearance on Belgian TV on Thursday, Magnette argued that the concessions Walloons secured in CETA will set a precedent for all future international treaties and, therefore, ‘it is clear that the TTIP is dead'” [New Europe]. Magnette: “We put two latches: the first says we never ratify the agreement if these conditions are not met; the second lock allows the Walloon Parliament to annually review the implementation of the agreement against socio economic and environmental criteria. If the evaluation is negative, the Parliament may request the suspension of the treaty.” This seems to be in addition to the European Court “opinion” described by the FT. And what “request” means is not clear. Who approves the request?

CETA: “The Walloons also asked, perhaps most significantly, for the European Court of Justice to test the legality of the court system in the deal through which foreign investors can sue governments. ‘If they want, [the Belgians] can request the ECJ opinion on anything in line with the established procedures,’ one diplomat told Morning Trade. ‘There’s no big deal here because it doesn’t really change anything'” [Politico].

CETA: “Unlike many European parliaments, the Walloon parliament was also one of the few that took time to study the 1600 pages long treaty and analyse its possible impacts” [EU Observer]. “The parliament held extensive debates and expert hearings over 18 months, raising concerns over negative impacts on public services, agriculture, food standards, and the EU’s precautionary principle. ”

CETA: “Wallonia’s mainstream political parties and the Socialists in particular are losing ground to populist fringe groups standing on an anti-free trade platform. Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar Inc., the biggest maker of construction and mining equipment, said in September that it may close its Gosselies factory in Wallonia, which would result in about 2,000 lost jobs” [Chicago Tribune]. “The Socialists are losing voters on a daily basis and they’re trying to get them back by saying ‘We’re the ones who will defend your interests, you workers, you unemployed, you middle class, against the EU and globalization,'” said Regis Dandoy, a political scientist at Wallonia’s University of Louvain.”

CETA: “According to the treaties of the EU, free trade agreements fall under the common EU commercial policy. This means that the European Commission has been conferred the competence to negotiate such agreements directly with the EU’s trade partners, under the supervision of the Council. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the European Parliament gained the power to ratify or reject such treaties” [Euractiv]. “Yet, against the background of the Brexit, the member states managed to make the European Commission concede that CETA was not a classic trade agreement but a ‘mixed’ agreement, which falls under both national and EU competence. Hence, the deal required the approval of all national parliaments, as well as regional parliaments in certain federal states. This explains why, in Belgium, Wallonia was in a position to block the ratification process. From a democratic point of view, this return to national and sub-national parliamentary sovereignty could be welcomed. But the reality is not so simple. The narrow and arguably outdated conception of sovereignty in the European framework raises new democratic dilemmas. Should the Walloon parliament, representing 3.5 million people, be entitled to prevent a policy affecting 510 million Europeans?”

TISA: “From a U.S. perspective, one immediate consequence could be trouble surrounding the Trade in Services Agreement, which is slated to wrap up at a concluding ministerial on Dec. 5-6. A senior official involved in the TISA talks told Morning Trade last week that the Europeans declared the services deal would also be a so-called mixed agreement, which — among other outstanding issues — could hinder negotiators’ ability to cross the finish line this year” [Politico].


Days until: 10.



“The Clinton campaign raked in $101 million this month, pressing its cash advantage in the final stretch to election day” [Politico]. “Only about $18 million of the haul came in checks of less than $200.” Ka-ching.


“From the outset, I’ve argued that without a public option — a Medicare-like plan that would be available to all Americans buying health insurance — insurance competition would dwindle and premiums would skyrocket. Now that they have, it’s time to do now what we should have done then: take the simplest route to a more stable and affordable health care system.” [Jacob Hacker, New York Times]. “Critics of the public option are convinced it’s a one-way ticket to single payer (the government alone provides coverage). History suggests the opposite: The public option isn’t a threat to a system of broad coverage through competing private plans. Instead, it’s absolutely critical to making such a system work.” Notice the equivocation on “Medicare-like plan,” setting up exactly the same kind of bait and switch operation that career “progressives” and Hacker personally ran in 2009.

War Drums

“Political Airpower, Part I: Say No to the No-Fly Zone” [War on the Rocks].

The Voters

“This market barometer says Trump still has a chance at the White House” [MarketWatch]. “The slump [of the Mexican peso, a] key barometer of Trump’s chances represents ‘recognition that the election may be closer than polls suggest and growing fears U.S. political uncertainty may be on the rise,’ [Colin] Cieszynski says.”


“‘There’s a danger the dike could break for Republicans,’ says Tim Storey, who analyzes politics for the National Conference of State Legislatures. He found that there has been a sea change in expectations on both sides since Oct. 7 when The Washington Post reported on the existence of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tapes… Republicans have become increasingly concerned that they could lose statehouse majorities in as many as 10 states, Storey said” [RealClearPolitics].

The Trail

“Clinton lead shrinks, even as nearly 6 in 10 expect her to win, Post-ABC tracking poll finds” [WaPo]. Only one poll, so FWIW. “Trump saw his biggest gains among political independents, favoring Trump by a 12-point margin in the latest tracking poll, 49 to 37 percent, after giving Clinton a narrow edge in late last week.” Now that’s volatile!


Democrat Email Hairball

“Clinton campaign manager John Podesta apparently thinks Eric Garner’s death was justified” [Mic].

Erica Garner reacts:

Check the responses…

And then this happened:


UPDATES Good heavens!

“FBI to take new ‘investigative steps’ on Clinton emails” [WaPo]. “The FBI will investigate whether additional classified material is contained in emails sent using Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state, FBI Director James B. Comey informed congressional leaders Friday. The announcement appears to restart the FBI’s probe of Clinton’s server, which previously ended in July with no charges…”

“New Emails in Clinton Case Came From Anthony Weiner’s Electronic Devices” [New York Times]. “Federal law enforcement officials said Friday that the new emails uncovered in the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server were discovered after the F.B.I. seized electronic devices belonging to Huma Abedin, a top aide to Mrs. Clinton, and her husband, Anthony Weiner… The bureau told Congress on Friday that it had uncovered new emails related to the Clinton case — one federal official said they numbered in the thousands.” Then again, if Weiner runs true to form, classification won’t be an issue. But that most definitely does not mean Clinton’s home free.

Quite the Friday afternoon news dump. And not a good week for the Clinton campaign, despite the triumphalism.

Stats Watch

GDP, Q3 2016 (Advance Estimate): “The consumer and the nation’s exports are the headliners in third-quarter GDP which topped expectations at an annualized 2.9 percent. Personal consumption expenditures rose at a solid 2.1 percent annualized rate led by the all important durables component which surged at a 9.5 percent rate. Personal consumption was the largest contributor in the quarter, adding 1.5 percentage points to the quarter’s rate.” [Econoday]. “Another important positive in the report is a second straight quarter of improvement in what has been the long lagging business investment component. Contributing 0.2 percentage points to GDP, nonresidential fixed investment rose at a 1.2 percent rate on top of the second-quarter’s 1.0 percent rate.” But: “Yes of course, this is an improvement. But the consumer went limp [?], and GDP is gamed with inventory hocus-pocus and export-import adjustments. I am not a fan of quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but my year-over-year preferred method showed moderate improvement from last quarter” [Econintersect]. And: “The Federal Reserve has been notably uneasy surrounding investment levels in the economy with a prolonged series of weak releases, although the second-quarter data was revised higher. The third-quarter data will offer some limited relief over investment trends” [Economic Calendar].

Consumer Sentiment, October 2016: “[W]eakened substantially” [Econoday]. “[I]t was one year further back, September 2014, that the expectations component, at 76.8 this month, was this weak. Weakness here points to lack of confidence in the jobs outlook.”

Employment Cost Index, Q3 2016: “Year-on-year, total costs held steady at a moderate plus 2.3 percent with wages & salaries dipping 1 tenth to 2.4 percent and benefits up 3 tenths to 2.3 percent” Econoday]. “This report, which isn’t raising any red flags, is closely watched by Federal Reserve policy makers who, given the strength of the labor market, are on the look out for early signs of wage-related inflation.”

Hotels: “On the one hand, plenty data from STR, HNN’s parent company, shows that things in the United States hotel industry are slowing down. Other the other hand, we have a report that September RevPAR was up 5.6%. And, yes, both are true” [Hotel News Notes]. “The great performance—this was the highest RevPAR growth this year—really reminded me of the better days we have seen in the past few up cycles. Of course, the results are not actually a sign of anything but a calendar shift of the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur out of September into October. So I would strongly caution against reading anything, good or bad, into these monthly numbers.”

Rail: “This week the one year rolling average did not worsen – but it remains in contraction” [Econintersect].

Rail: “Two [CSX] trains collided head-on on a stretch of track south of Philadelphia around 8:25 a.m. Friday, leaving four people injured, according to officials” (with classic photo) [NBC Philadelphia]. “It was not immediately clear what caused the trains to be on the same track.”

Shipping: “Shippers, Consignees, Exporters, Importers must take heed to the packing and container transport requirements at both ends of the supply chain” [Shipping and Freight Resource]. “[I]t is clear that in this case, no one considered or was aware of the road weight limitation at the [Point of Departure] or along the route to the final destination… There would have been 2 containers that doesn’t subscribe to the country’s road weight limitation loose on the road.. Such instances could even result in loss of lives. this is ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS a lot of the big importers employ the services of a local freight forwarder who are au fait with these transport and documentary requirements, rules, regulations etc etc in each of their countries.”

Shipping: “United Parcel Service Inc. is forecasting record holiday shipments after traffic surged in the third quarter, spurred by rising e-commerce in the U.S. and robust growth in Asia and Europe” [Wall Street Journal, “Package-delivery company expects record shipments during holiday season as it boosts capital spending, orders new Boeing jumbo jets”]. And: ” United Parcel Service Inc. is placing a big bet on growth in shipping demand” [Wall Street Journal]. “UPS is backing up its bullish outlook by buying 14 Boeing Co. 747-8 freighters, the company’s first aircraft order since 2008. The deal pushes UPS more deeply into jumbo-jet operations at a time when international shipping demand has been soft for many companies and populist anti-trade currents seem to present new barriers to global goods movement. The company is pressing lawmakers to support new trade agreements that are drawing scorn in the presidential campaign but would bring new freight volume for its new, bigger planes. In the meantime, UPS says cross-border e-commerce is surging six times faster than the broader economy, growth that helped the company show big gains across its business lines in the third quarter.”

Shipping: “The tale of two canals – game theory in action” [Splash 247]. Panama and Suez canals play tit-for-tat on infrastructure and pricing.

IT: “The latest data breach count from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that there have been 809 data breaches recorded this year through October 25, 2016, and that nearly 30 million records have been exposed since the beginning of the year” [247 Wall Street]. ” The 809 data breaches reported so far for 2016 are nearly 22% above the number reported (666) for the same period last year.” Won’t be a problem when we go cashless, though.

IT: “Apple demolished by Microsoft at their respective PC events” [MarketWatch]. Among other minor changes, Apple introduced a programmable “Touch Bar” which replaced the row of function keys at the top of the keyboard — including the ESC key. Fortunately, there’s a solution. For only $69.95:


IT: “New MacBook Pro is not a Laptop for Developers Anymore” [DevTeamSpace Blog]. “[D]evelopers are drawn towards Apple products primarily for software reasons: the Unix-like operating system and the proprietary development ecosystem. But developers need to have a functional keyboard to make use of that software and now they don’t. Why Tim Cook, why?” And: “The 2016 MacBook Pro ships with RAM and processor specs that are nearly identical to the 2010 model. Deja vu?”

IT: “Apple, it seems, is angling for the ‘amateur creative’ and isn’t interested in anything else anymore. It wants the market that sits in coffee shops with its brand and only buys Apple, but doesn’t mind so much if the core demographic disappears. Maybe that’s OK — there’s probably good money in it — but it’s a real shame” [Medium]. Massive takedown, and fun to read.

The Bezzle: “A grown-up Airbnb now has to face regulation” and “New bill could further delay Airbnb IPO, strategist says” [MarketWatch]. “In a sense, recently passed New York regulations on Airbnb Inc. return it to its community roots of sharing homes. The regulation, signed into law Friday, levies a fine of up to $7,500 on advertising short-term rentals of less than 30 days. This means users can still list a room in their home, but cannot advertise entire apartments.”

The Bezzle: “Ruling finds U.K. Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed” [MarketWatch]. “The ruling by the London Central Tribunal will affect tens of thousands of drivers for the ride-sharing company, said law firm Leigh Day, which represented drivers from the GMB Union, in a statement. ‘This judgment acknowledges the central contribution that Uber’s drivers have made to Uber’s success by confirming that its drivers are not self-employed but that they work for Uber as part of the company’s business,’ the law firm said.”

The Bezzle: “Soylent halts sales of its powder as customers keep getting sick” [Los Angeles Times]. “Backed by more than $20 million in venture capital, Soylent has emerged as one of several popular start-ups hoping to change what and how people eat…. People looking for a quick fix, such as software programmers in Silicon Valley, have become devotees.”

Corruption: “The DOJ’s Pilot Program to encourage companies to self report bribery and cooperate with prosecutors doesn’t fix some problems with FCPA investigations and enforcement actions, [vice chair of Covington & Burling] Lanny Breuer said Wednesday” [FCPA Blog]. Lanny Breuer. That’s almost too rich. For readers who may not have savored this:

The Fed: “The next FOMC meeting is next week, on November 1st and 2nd and it seems very unlikely there will be a change in policy at this meeting” [Calculated Risk].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 39 Neutral (previous close: 46, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 28 at 11:23am. Big swing to fear!

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Say goodbye to the fingerprint. It’s your digital footprint the FBI wants” [McClatchy].

Militia Watch

“Jury acquits Ammon Bundy, six others for standoff at Oregon wildlife refuge” [WaPo].


“Almost exactly 20 years ago, President Bill Clinton signed into law a bill creating an interstate agreement for emergency management. That inconspicuous law has opened the door for the current flood of out-of-state law enforcement agents present at the continuing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota” [DeSmogBlog].

Class Warfare

“Uber unveiled the IDG in New York this spring in partnership with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), a union that has organized other black-car drivers” [Bloomberg]. “The IDG isn’t a traditional union. Drivers didn’t vote for it. It has no formal collective-bargaining rights…. The guild has helped bring Uber management to the table, says driver and IDG organizer Muhammad Barlas. “When they are more comfortable, it’s easier to try and negotiate with them,” he says. In return, the IDG won’t instigate strikes or try to get the government to treat drivers as employees with the right to unionize.” Novel theory.

“[N]ot all anticompetitive behavior shows up as monopoly—a seller that utilizes its dominant market position to raise prices to customers. Sometimes, it shows up as ‘monopsony,’ when a buyer uses its dominance to underpay suppliers, such as employees. The classic example is a town where most of the residents work for a single factory or mine. The lack of competition from other employers enables the factory or mine owner to pay workers less than otherwise” [Wall Street Journal, “How Noncompete Agreements Recreate the ‘Company Town'”]. “Actual company towns are dying off, but virtual company towns are on the rise as shifts in the labor market may have given companies more leverage over their workers. One such factor is the rise of the noncompete agreement.”

“Why do we hear so much about the racism of the white working class and so little about the racism of the ruling class?” [Stumbling and Mumbling].

News of the Wired

“The history of emoji” [Vice]. Wonderful, especially if your a fan of fonts, but also worrying: How sustainable is an iconic language? Will text gradually become a thing for the 10% only?

* * *

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 (Philip Pitha):


Philip writes: “Mulching the black raspberries with spent coffee grounds. Reusing the plastic bags the grounds come in, but I don’t think they’re recyclable.”

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Jim Haygood

    This may get overshadowed by the FBI’s reopened investigation of Hillary. But it shouldn’t:

    On September 5, 2006, Eli Chomsky was an editor and staff writer for the Jewish Press, and Hillary Clinton was running for a shoo-in re-election as a U.S. senator. Her trip brought her to Brooklyn to meet the editorial board of the Jewish Press.

    The tape was never released and has only been heard by the small handful of staffers in the room. According to Chomsky, his old-school audio cassette is the only existent copy and no one has heard it since 2006, until today when he played it for the Observer.

    Speaking about the January 25, 2006, election for the second Palestinian Legislative Council, Clinton weighed in about the result, which was a resounding victory for Hamas (74 seats) over the U.S.-preferred Fatah (45 seats).

    “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” said Sen. Clinton. “And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.


    All the Clintons learned from Bush v. Gore in 2000 was, “We need to steal more votes than they do.”

    1. Biil Smith

      Did the FBI actually re-open the probe? Some reports, CBS seem to be saying they are they just thinking about it?

      What the heck was the other investigation?

      Some reports are saying it had nothing to do emails from Wikileaks.

      Something else that has been ongoing.

    2. MDBill

      Let’s see: Promoting the notion that it’s okay for one country to interfere with and influence a democratic election of another country. I need to see if I can figure out what the implications of this might be in a current context.

    3. Donald

      The famine in Yemen caused by our Saudi allies is receiving very little attention in the US, so I would expect our great American liberals to agree with Clinton that we have every right to rig the elections of furriners.


      I keep expecting that right after Clinton wins, the great humanitarian liberals will let out their outrage, suppressed up to this point because of the need to stop Trump. Just kidding.

    4. WJ

      This is extraordinarily forthright. No wonder why her aides ensure that all her interviews are scripted in advance.

      Don’t miss the part where she seems to allude to the revenge-escalation of “these cultures.”

  2. Synoia

    The narrow and arguably outdated conception of sovereignty in the European framework raises new democratic dilemmas.

    Quite. With that attitude is certainly does raise new (democratic) dilemmas.

    To whom is the quote attributed?

  3. Pirmann

    Time for Bill Clinton to head back out to the ole tarmac. Comey is reopening the FBI email investigation!

      1. Waldenpond

        I expect to see some hard work….. finding FBI Agent spouses to run for office, appoint to think tanks and scam foundations so they can funnel some of that sweet, sweet repressive regime laundered money. A corrupt political party’s work is never done.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Kennedy was absolutely right on this: Ask not what the House can do for you; ask what you can do for the House.

            Stop Hillary on Nov. 8.

            Do not risk a battle between Congress and a commander in chief with the Executive branch under her control.

            We the Little People can do it!!!

          2. nippersdad

            No, as a former SoS (and Senator, for that matter) they can impeach her after she left office if it is connected to anything she did whilst she held the position.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Article II: “[H]e shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” I assume that would apply to all ongoing investigations.

              Article IV: “”The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Fundamentally a political judgment about which there are many conflicting theories. In the case of the Clinton Dynasty, it’s interesting to note that it’s not stated whether the acts must have occurred while the President was in office, though that seems to have been the intent of the Framers. But imagine a President elected under false pretences because they successfully concealed a crime. Surely there’s a case for impeachment there? I don’t know.

            2. sleepy

              Since the purpose of impeachment is removal from office, why would an impeachment take place if someone has left office? Nixon escaped impeachment precisely because he resigned,

              I’m not saying that a present office holder can’t be impeached based on past behavior, just that you have to have a current position from which you can be impeached.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can the FBI investigate itself as well?

      “Let’s look into what happened the last time.”

    2. timbers

      I’m skeptical. Maybe this is just about throwing Huma under the bus and a pretext to restore FBI morale while diverting attention from the abundant evidence the FBI is sitting on which easily proves Clinton’s many crimes?

      1. jgordon

        Surprising. I had assumed that we could have video footage of Hillary barbecueing babies and the FBI would just say “There was no intent! Nothing to see here folks, move along”.

      2. thoughtful person

        K think that something along those lines is operative here. When I heard Trump in NH on npr saying how maybe ‘the system’ was not that bad….

        Don’t want they losing side about to launch a revolution after all!

  4. grayslady

    It looks as though an “October surprise” is coming from an unexpected place–the FBI. There are numerous articles about this on the web now, but this one contains a decent analysis.

    1. Sandy

      I’ve been saying something big would happen before Election Day, as it would be uncharacteristic of this crazy cycle to have a quiet home stretch. Kim Dotcom was claiming a couple of days ago that he has her emails and sent them on to Wikileaks and Gowdy.

      But I’m unsure of how this FBI investigation plays out. Obviously, the FBI won’t release findings on the new emails for months. And, FBI is not Wikileaks, they don’t dump the emails for the public to review.

      Something tells me this is Comey covering his (and FBI) ass. Perhaps he’s been made aware that an outside source, e.g., Wikileaks, has the emails and is going to release soon, so he’s trying to get ahead of it.

      I have no doubt that her emails are out there somewhere, I’m certain the NSA has had them all along and has been using them for leverage. Any script kiddie could have hacked that joke of a server they were running in their closet, let alone the NSA.

      1. Waldenpond

        The response is the investigation has nothing to do with WL or hacking. So yes, I’d go with it’s him trying to get out in front of what he knows is coming.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Putin has gotten to the Republican bureau director.

          Krugman: “Comey needs to provide full info immediately..otherwise, it’s partisan.”

    2. nippersdad

      And did you see this?


      I’ll bet that Wall Street thought that Clinton’s e-mail scandals had already been baked in. They have recovered some, but that is one mighty jumpy graph.

      1. craazyboy

        If the FBI wanted to speed things up, they should have the HFT computers read Hillary’s e-mails.

        1. abynormal

          a 2fer…flash crash assets back to reality! actually a 3fer…global citizens would thank us…hell a 4fer…remove the growing target off US !

          1. nippersdad

            Looking at it again, it looks like they have managed to quantify Hillary’s value in (to?) the markets; still looking shaky.

    3. abynormal

      TisTis: Trump Hopes “Justice Will Finally Be Done” As FBI Reopens Probe Into Hillary Clinton Emails
      JUSTICE WITHIN 2 WEEKS? i don’t think soooo Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy. ~Wendell Berry

      1. Jim Haygood

        AP tweet:

        BREAKING: US official: Newly discovered emails related to Clinton investigation did not come from her private server.

        That takes Platte River Networks and Datto out of the picture.

        So what are we talkin’ about here … some kinda whistle blower?

        Kim Dotcom and the NSA dropped a dime on her?

        1. abynormal

          i swear i saw today where the DOJ was giving a ‘speech’ about Whistleblowers…can’t find it. maybe i saw it yesterday…DOJ getting in front of this??

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Should Hillary be working on ‘due to stress and bad health, I am quitting’ speech?

          From Nixon’s last speech:

          I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.

          1. jgordon

            Considering who her VP is, maybe the goal all along was for her to somehow crawl across the finish line then turn over all the evil doing to Kaine while she enjoys her lavish rewards in the nursing home.

            1. aab

              That’s clearly the intention. I’m reading online that if she has to drop out any time before election day all the votes get thrown out and they have to do the election over with Bernie as the nominee of the Democratic Party.

              Anybody know if that’s even technically accurate?

              1. UserFriendly

                No, it’s not. It would be up to the electors from each state. If someone (say Obama) asked them to vote for Bernie because Hillary dropped out they would most likely comply.

      2. Jim Haygood

        NYT: “the F.B.I. seized electronic devices belonging to Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner.”

        Ah ha … wouldn’t it be a hoot if the FBI’s probe of Carlos Danger sexting a 15-year-old turned up evidence that was right under their noses … if they’d only bothered to convene a grand jury and subpoena it.

        Heads gonna roll.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Fortune teller Trump on Twitter, Aug 3rd:

          It came out that Huma Abedin knows all about Hillary’s private illegal emails. Huma’s PR husband, Anthony Weiner, will tell the world.
          11:50 AM – 3 Aug 2015

          Whoa that’s just spooky.

          1. abynormal

            oh this Cat Fight will be over in Sugar Ray seconds!!!
            this is fuckingunbelieveable…Huma knows ALLLLL

          1. Jim Haygood

            Can you imagine the headline writers at the New York Post right now—-their heads must be exploding.

              1. Waldenpond

                For those who don’t look, it’s very 2016….
                On your left is Abedin leaning her head away with a face palm. In the center is Weiner, shirtless, dopey wide eyed expression taking a selfie. On the right is Clinton, squinting with a hand up blocking the glare of the bright lights being shone on her.

        2. Arizona Slim

          Wait a minute. Huma is still married to that guy?

          Huma, what’s the matter with you? Got a touch of the Stockholm Syndrome?

          1. abynormal

            i caught his documentary with her in it…found it strange myself that she’s still around…then a toddler waddled into the frame.
            can’t help ponder they hadn’t planned this for awhile…

          2. hunkerdown

            It seems reasonable to assume that all “power couples” are sham marriages for the salt-of-the-earth quaintsters. I have no idea how one might objectively rebut that conjecture regarding any particular case.

        3. pretzelattack

          what if he attempted to send a 15 yr old a picture a selfie, and accidentally sent the detailed plans for attacking syria one week after the election.

        4. Barmitt O'Bamney

          If there is an email from Hillary, whether containing top secret info or not, which was pertinent to Clinton’s performance at State (and thus pertinent to the FBI inquiry,) but FBI never received it or recovered it, then that shouldould make an open and shut case of obstruction and lying to the FBI against her. Of course it’s too late to stop her legally. But politically she could be kneecapped. Impeachment proceedings launching during Inaugural speeches and balls are a real turd in the punch bowl.

          1. Waldenpond

            Could it be Abedin sending receiving on her computer with an address through Clinton’s server not involving Clinton at all? It is all exempt under the ‘I don’t recall’ principle anyway.

          2. different clue

            If the OverClass has the power to prevent that impeachment, the OverClass will prevent that impeachment.

            Hillary is the designated Obama 2.0 President. Her job is to cement the Obama legacy just as Obama’s job was to cement the Bush legacy.
            Don’t expect any impeachment anytime soon.

            The only way to stop Hillary is to vote for Trump and get Hillary defeated.

        5. Alex morfesis

          Can’t remove a sitting president…unless you have the votes to impeach…the comey show…announce something..and gosh darn it…got timed out by the election…

      3. temporal

        And yet the timing is awkward.

        New on Friday usually means that the majority of Americans will have forgotten everything but their name by the time Monday rolls around. All the MSM has to do is find another bright shiny object to write about together on the weekend. Their past open collusion with HRC’s campaign makes that a foregone conclusion.

        Chances are the FBI will ask Hillary which of the Weiner’s emails she deems important.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think Comey overestimated his standing and the standing of “FBI Director” with the populace at large and expected everyone to just applaud when he criticized Clinton and expected Clinton to win big or Republican voters to sour on Trump providing him protection going forward.

          Heres what I believe scares Comey, the GOP base hasn’t soured on Trump, Hillary won’t big, and the GOP House will remain intact with me ears under pressure for not supporting the elected GOP leader. No one has really voted for Paul Ryan (Veep doesn’t count) outside of one congressional district.

          The “left” (everyone who isn’t a Republican and isnt on the CGI payroll is what I mean) won’t defend Hillary or actions to protect her past the 8th. If Comey has acted in anyway inappropriately and has mutininous agents, he will be in trouble.

            1. uncle tungsten

              Absolutely right and along with that the FBI just discovered Abedin’s insurance policy details.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is this the weekend (many) people set aside some time to think about the coming election?

    4. jrs

      “Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta criticised the FBI’s “extraordinary” timing.

      He said on Friday: “The (FBI) Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining.”

      oh you silly fool, the only way we ever get the full details of anything is on Wikileaks.

      1. Waldenpond

        hmmm… Clinton’s had the inside dirt on the first round of the investigation. Seems like an Abedin issue.

        1. Waldenpond

          Further… didn’t she get immunity? Seems like Comey needs to re-open, re-question and cover these items under the immunity also so she can’t be prosecuted for them in the future.

  5. Synoia

    Why do we hear so much about the racism of the white working class and so little about the racism of the ruling class?

    Well, the Ruling Class remained silent in Public until Trump. Then the ugly truth was revealed was revealed on TV, by both Trump (Mexicans) and Clinton (Deplorables).

    And possibly by Romney as wee in his comment about the 49% who don’t pay (income) taxes, and the republican meme of Makers and Takers (stated in the wrong order I believe).

    1. armchair

      Front page of the Seattle Times had side-by-side articles of a Dakota Pipeline story (dozens arrested) beside the story of the acquittal of Bundy’s bunch. They’re so factually different though. One story involves powerful interests using and abusing the land to their own economic advantage and squandering the land resources for future generations and the other story involves . . .

    2. Carolinian

      Or the racism of the middle class. People are tribal and arguably it is baked into our DNA. That doesn’t excuse the mental laziness of trafficking in stereotypes but one could make a case that racism is as much a matter of ignorance as of evil character. Obama with his “bitter clingers” and HIllary with her “deplorables” are talking about people about whom they probably know almost nothing. One of the long ago arguments for school integration was that propinquity fosters mutual understanding. This met with a lot of resistance. And for people like our Pres and would be Pres a broader view of the electorate would be inconvenient. They might have to turn into actual liberals.

  6. lb

    The McClatchy article on ‘digital fingerprints’ has a wonderful quote that should be hammered into everyone’s minds:

    “We do freely make available information about ourselves episodically that we may think isn’t terribly revealing but aggregated, it reveals a whole lot.” — Rebecca Weiner, New York City Police Department

    People who don’t worry about what’s actually lost in information disclosure and leakage simply lack creativity. They don’t conjure up the broader (or lateral) contexts for simple data to take on broader meaning. It’s actually nice to see this admitted openly and clearly by someone from the NYPD. The next time someone speaks apologetically of surveillance because they have, “nothing to hide,” I may use this as part of a retort and pivot to a discussion on naivete and trust of authority.

  7. Vatch

    “Jury acquits Ammon Bundy, six others for standoff at Oregon wildlife refuge” [WaPo].

    Were any of the defendants Black? I rather doubt it. Just as Driving-While-Black can be a capital offense, I would assume that the penalty for Seizing-Federal-Property-While-Black is quite severe also. The sentencing stage for Driving-While-Black is sometimes reached before there has even been a trial.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think you have impunity if you’re white and right wing; a distinction that’s lost on my Twitter feed, at least.

      Occupy, after all, was the target of a 17-city paramilitary crackdown orchestrated by the Federal government.

      1. cocomaan

        Weren’t many of the bundy gang FBI informants? I think this was the FBI and DOJ covering their own asses.

        I think WaPo has an agenda to push on this one. Here’s an Oregon paper: http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/10/oregon_standoff_verdicts_annou.html

        Defense lawyers also raised questions about the FBI informants at the refuge. Prosecutors confirmed there were 15 informants involved in the case, nine of whom were at the refuge – including three who were identified at the trial. Six others at the refuge remained unidentified.

        Without knowing who they were or what they did during the occupation, the lawyers didn’t know if any of the informants conspired with the defendants to commit any of the crimes alleged in the indictment, defense lawyers argued. They revealed that one of the informants at the refuge was a man who went by the alias “John Killman” but was really Fabio Minoggio of Las Vegas, who was asked to oversee the shooting range at the refuge.

        Sounds like some shenanigans.

        1. pretzelattack

          i suspect they had informants in the occupy movement, too. somehow that wasn’t a defense there, though.

          1. cocomaan

            Judging from Comey’s ineptitude, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some garbage going on in the background that they had to let them walk.

            That said, I give him props for not pulling a Janet Reno/ATF/Waco.

            1. Andrew Watts

              The prosecution dropped the ball and was incredibly complacent. They barely spent any time laying out the charges. The whole trial amounted to the defense sucking up all the oxygen in the courthouse.

              It’s disappointing but I’m even more disappointed by the fact the migrating birds didn’t return early and attack the yeehadists. After they come north they’re all horny and mate. It makes them particularly aggressive against puny humans who get in their way.

              The last time I was at Malheur a kindly Federal employee warned me away from the tower the yeehadists were using as a sniper nest. Owls have been known to attack insignificant humans in Oregon. It’s their nesting ground.

                1. Andrew Watts

                  Nope. That’s not something I’d try on a judge in Oregon. I’ve heard of an instance where a potential juror tried that to get out of serving by using it and the judge held him in contempt and jailed him for 24 hours.

                  I hate to say this but I’m not sure I could convict them based upon the conspiracy charges in spite of my bemused contempt. Trespassing, misuse and destruction of government property, menacing the public would be no brainer conviction but conspiracy?

                  Conspiracy implies a degree of planning and organization that they didn’t demonstrate at any given time. They weren’t prepared for any occupation of Malheur. They were begging for supplies. It apparently wasn’t even any of the defendants idea to even take over the wildlife refuge in the first place. Everything that transpired seemed to be on an ad-hoc basis. Additionally the feds admitted they had at least nine informants among the yeehadists. On any given day they didn’t have more than 40 people there so we’re looking at the feds making up a third of more of the group. It’s like when the FBI made up half the membership of the American Communist Party.

                  I’m not kosher with how the FBI and other law enforcement agencies act while under cover. They contrive to goad you, the mark, to commit a crime. In my mind that makes them party to any crimes that were committed and grounds to throw the charges out. It’s one thing for undercover informants to report or even participate in crimes committed to maintain cover but another to take an active part in initiating any crimes. None of this was made very clear during the trial which lends credit to presumed innocence.

                  If there’s any legal experts that want to set me straight I’d really like to indulge my confirmation bias and spite. Please tell me how wrong I am!

        2. JerseyJeffersonian

          Ah, yes, the old Entrapment Ploy, wherein some of the illegality comes about through incitement by informers/agents provocateur. Works wondrously well if you can keep the identities of the informers/agents provocateur a secret, but no so well if you can’t. I should imagine that the Bundy folks might have been on the lookout for tells, such as when the individual who generally is passive, or stays in the background starts making, uh, suggestions. Counter-intelligence 101.

          1. Andrew Watts

            Hah! If you can’t spot a agent provocateur you’re probably stupid enough to do something that should land you in prison. The Department of Homeland Security’s fusion centers in Portland and Salem were busy during the wildlife refuge takeover. All those radicalized hipsters and lefties supporting/harassing the yeehadists with their edible sex products et cetra.


            Gotta help the white people collecting welfare via the US Intelligence community to keep receiving those checks. I gotta wonder though if activists were targeted for inflammatory internet speech/actions or if their Mormon co-religionists in the federal government didn’t appreciate what amounted to a crowdsourced psychological warfare campaign.

            Oh well.

    2. Oregoncharles

      In case no one else posted this: a juror has written to the Oregonian saying that the prosecutors arrogantly failed to prove the conspiracy charge. Further, he claims the jury were closely following the judge’s instructions; from the quote, it sounds rather like the judge didn’t think it was proved, either.

      This juror, at least, is saying it’s a straight-out case of prosecutor incompetence; “arrogance” is the juror’s word. Apparentlyt he rest of the jury agreed with him.

  8. JSM

    Re: “This market barometer says Trump still has a chance at the White House” et al.

    The polls – Rasmussen, LA Times & IBD – say that Trump has a 50% (or more, since electoral votes=independent-minded states determine the winner of the presidential race) chance at the White House. The race continues to be a dead heat nationally, just as it has been for two or three weeks now.

    The FBI is making news at this hour, but is this going to be the Podesta email that makes the largely worthless & discredited press wake up and take notice?


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If Trump doesn’t win it, we all have to bow down to the magnificent greatness of our media.

      1. JSM

        GFK, who is running polls for AP JSM believes, was mentioned in comment chains elsewhere as having a number of contributors to the Clinton campaign, found perhaps through OpenSecrets.

        It is nearly impossible for this observer to put any stock in the ABC, NBC & AP polls which have resulted in the trumpeting/splashing of double-digit polling leads into the ears and eyes of anyone paying attention, which did much to lead many into saying the race is over.

        Word is, according to ZH and others, that the ABC poll ‘magically’ came down to 6% after its sampling blocs (for lack of the technical termingology) were realigned with a more realistic distribution of the electorate.

        Hate on Drudge all you want, but he says these were the most accurate polls in 2012, and the LA times poll JSM recalls was one of the best (seemed most free from bias) during the Democratic primary.

        JSM similarly puts 0 stock in the odds coming out of 538 and NYT. 538 has no credibility. SIlver rose to prominence with metrics (favorability chief among them) best correlated to winning; he reneged on everything that made him reliable during the primary to ‘prove’ that HC won fair & square.

        1. Skip Intro

          I think all the polls rely heavily on turnout models to reweight what they sampled to match the expected electorate. I have doubts that the standard demographic turnout models will be applicable this year.

  9. Waldenpond

    Bezzle Airbnb: [a fine of up to $7,500 on advertising short-term rentals of less than 30 days. This means users can still list a room in their home, but cannot advertise entire apartments.”]

    Won’t people just code their advertisements…. bdrm 900 sq ft, own kitchen and bath, sleeps 6. Owner travels.

  10. ekstase

    Talking in pix or emojis gives a certain latitude, even deniability, which words, with their specific meanings, (confound it,) just can’t offer. Words can be tracked down, and mean specific things, and hold you to account. We don’t need that anymore. What we need in today’s world is cover for our vague jumble of impressions and our nagging feeling that global warming is simply going to solve all of our problems for us – panic. Calm down, I say. Stop thinking in words, and things will get a lot simpler for you.

    1. Waldenpond

      Talk about everything old is new again…. we’re so advanced we’re using pictographs (on tablets) again.

    2. Skip Intro

      The rise of a picture-based alphabet and imagery as a dominant communication medium seems to signify the return of the goddess/matriarchy culture, which is in a sort of cyclic opposition to the alphabetoc/patriarchic culture, according to The Alphabet vs The Goddess. It is a fascinating historical study of tensions between rigid alphabetic fundamentalists, who tended to be patriarchal, and get into knocking the noses off sculptures and worshipping various scriptures, and more matriarchal cultures with heiroglyphic-type pictogram alphabets.

      Making remarkable connections across a wide range of subjects including brain function, anthropology, history, and religion, Shlain argues that literacy reinforced the brain’s linear, abstract, predominantly masculine left hemisphere at the expense of the holistic, iconic feminine right one. This shift upset the balance between men and women initiating the disappearance of goddesses, the abhorrence of images, and, in literacy’s early stages, the decline of women’s political status. Patriarchy and misogyny followed.

      Shlain contrasts the feminine right-brained oral teachings of Socrates, Buddha, and Jesus with the masculine creeds that evolved when their spoken words were committed to writing. The first book written in an alphabet was the Old Testament and its most important passage was the Ten Commandments. The first two reject of any goddess influence and ban any form of representative art.

      The love of Mary, Chivalry, and courtly love arose during the illiterate Dark Ages and plummeted after the invention of the printing press in the Renaissance. The Protestant attack on holy images and Mary followed, as did ferocious religious wars and neurotic witch-hunts. The benefits of literacy are obvious; this gripping narrative explores its dark side, tallying previously unrecognized costs.

  11. temporal

    re: Apple, it seems, is angling for the ‘amateur creative’ and isn’t interested in anything else anymore.

    A few years back I bought a used 2009 Mac Pro for $800, upgraded the firmware to 2010-12, upgraded the CPUs to two 2.8 ghz 6 cores for $400 and the memory to 24 GB 1333 MHz DDR3. I suspect that when I shuffle off this mortal coil this machine will still be the fastest and most functional Mac I’ll ever have owned. Too bad the PCIe bus is old-timey but I’m not much of a game player.

    For the last few years all of the released Macs have been a letdown.

    I hope that one day I can get one of those 2013 trashcans for cheap but calling them Mac Pros is completely inappropriate. Where I somewhat disagree with the author of the article is that the trashcans were the proof that Apple had no interest in making a highly functional, professional machines. These new, slower, unrepairable MacBook Pros are just more of the same for the portable crowd.

    Moore’s law is dead and buried but no one wrote an obit. Apple is a bank wannabe that sells some other products.

  12. Arizona Slim

    “Please re-elect Gerald. Please.”

    Now, THAT is a political ad I would enjoy watching more than once. Matter of fact, I just did.

  13. Waldenpond

    Is there a more accurate term than militarized police? They are former military, military equipment, military training, military practices etc. They went around the constitution to put military on the streets… They are more accurately mercenaries. Anyone familiar with any terms for the backdoor military?

  14. flora

    Thanks for the Apple IT links. Looks like the Touchbar was especially designed to sync with Adobe graphics programs and other camera/photo programs, which would have been a nice addition to the function keys. A Touchbar as a replacement to the function keys? Privileging app users over program developers? (shakes head, mutters inaudibly)

    1. Bjornasson

      Apple began to lose me with the MacBook Pro when they made it un-openable and replaced the nice metal power button with just another key. Now it just seems like they have run out of incremental things to “improve” with a machine that really has no huge issues, other than the need to keep up with ongoing technological changes.

    2. flora

      My guess: Apple bought a lot of tech properties before it knew how it would integrate them, and before it had a project for them (e.g. bought wireless headphone maker Wi-Gear) . In this new release Apple seemed to let the parts drive the project; to kludge together a few of these acquired techs. Just a guess.

      1. KurtisMayfield

        Wow… Did she really get herself involved in the Weiner mess? I really, really can’t wait to read those.

        1. Roger Smith

          You had better luck than I did with my search. thanks! The one tweet left on his account makes it sound like he just joined, even though the joined date says August 2015. Very odd.

  15. Foppe

    I’m not from belgium, but the belgian SP/PS = basically neoliberal, while the Belgian labor party (PvdA) is more properly thought of as Socialist (i.e., well to Bernie’s left). (For reference, in NL it’s the other way around: the SP is actually socialist, while the PvdA is neolib with a bleeding heart contingent that carps ineffectually from the sidelines, always accepting that “the revolution will happen mañana”. It may be that this was an act by Magnette, in the hope that he could pacify that contingent, in or outside his party; I don’t know who organized the reading + discussion of CETA in the Wallonian Parliament.)

    1. Unorthodoxmarxist

      It looks like the Walloon SP is a typical social dem party that has become neoliberal, but they are being pushed hard in the regional elections by the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PvdA-PTB). I think this is an attempt by them to square the circle and give in to the demands of the EU ruling class and attempt to head off the growing threat to their left. Seems incredibly cynical to me, rather than coming from any genuine place. It remains to be seen what would happen if the Workers’ Party gained regional control after this: would they, too, capitulate or would they force a confrontation?

      1. Foppe

        I don’t follow belgian politics, so I don’t know the answer. What puzzles me most is to hear that they had an actual reading + discussion of the ceta treaty. Who decided on that? Magnette? The PvdA? I doubt the latter would capitulate, though. Principles thing, whereas Magnette is and has to be in favor of “free trade”, because “respectable”.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Hillary’s speaking live in Cedar Rapids Iowa … playing the woman card; just yammering on and on about it.

    It’s as obnoxious as if her opponent asserted, you should vote for me because I’ve got a big schlong and she don’t.

    Off with their heads!

    1. abynormal

      hey Jim…if she gets a heckle about the fbi, let us know if she responds. (i’ll gladly pay you tuesday as i cannot bring myself to EVER listen to her)

      1. Jim Haygood

        Friday, 2:25 p.m.

        Hillary Clinton isn’t saying anything yet about the FBI decision to investigate new emails linked to her private email server.

        Clinton ignored shouted questions from reporters about the FBI investigation as she walked off her plane Friday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

        She smiled and waved to reporters gathered on the tarmac, but made no comments.

        Clinton spent about 25 minutes on the plane after it landed before she emerged. Following Clinton off the plane was famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. She was shooting photos of the candidate for at least part of the time reporters were waiting for the candidate.


  17. timotheus

    “Should the Walloon parliament, representing 3.5 million people, be entitled to prevent a policy affecting 510 million Europeans?”

    Of course not! Ridiculous. The 510 million Europeans should be represented by a gaggle of “free-trade” experts in Brussels instead.

  18. abynormal

    “The Army said Friday it has determined that suicide was the cause of death of a two-star general who was found dead in his home on a military base in Alabama, the AP reports. Maj. Gen. John Rossi was found dead July 31 at Redstone Arsenal, two days before he was to assume command of Army Space and Missile Defense Command. He is the first Army general to commit suicide on active duty since record-keeping began in 2000, according to the Army; USA Today reports that he is “the highest-ranking soldier ever to have taken his own life.”” hmmm

    1. Jim Haygood

      I’m worried about “Bill.” Hope he’s got a food taster up in Chappy.

      (Just think what’s on his phone.)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do they screen pilots more rigorously than commanders of Space and Missile Defense Command?

      How many can a suicidal pilot take down compared with this?

    3. Vatch

      “the highest-ranking soldier ever to have taken his own life.”

      I assume they’re referring to U.S. soldiers. For suicides by higher ranking officers, here are some examples, derived from this Wikipedia category:


      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hataz%C5%8D_Adachi Lieutenant General

      Marcus Antonius. I don’t know what his rank was, but it was certainly higher than Major General

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Powlett,_5th_Duke_of_Bolton Lieutenant General

      Which reminds me: why is a Lieutenant general higher in rank than a Major general? That has long confused me.

    4. Tom Bradford

      Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, took his own life on Oct. 14, 1944.

      They don’t come any higher ranking than a Field Marshall.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Brutus fell on his own sword.

        Was Brutus lower in rank than a field marshal?

        War minister Anami when Imperial Japan surrendered, also killed himself (this time, by seppukku) and left a cryptic note.

        No one ranks higher than the Leader though.

  19. TarheelDem

    It’s Bill Clinton’s interstate emergency management agreement (then pitched for FEMA-type emergencies) and not the PATRIOT Act’s DHS Fusion Centers that are managing law enforcement response to #NoDAPL, eh? That means that the federal agencies are not particularly involved yet, doesn’t it?

  20. Bjornasson

    People shake their heads when Trump says that he took advantage of tax loopholes like any other businessman, but they are okay with the same law compliance bullshit that Hillary resorts to with the emails, Clinton foundation etc.
    this election has just really hammered in the message that people will simply ignore any logical or factual realities if they contradict their own prejudices, even as they loudly proclaim their moral and intellectual superiority in choosing the “right” candidate.

    1. abynormal

      “The IRS rule apparently used by Trump and many others dates back to 1918. Put simply, businesses can “carry forward” tax losses to future years. In other words, if a business loses $50,000 one year, and makes the same amount the following year, it is considered to have “broken even.” If a business takes a loss of $1 million, it could theoretically make $100,000 for the next ten years and pay no taxes.

      In fact, in 1995 (the same year of Trump’s tax return), 500,000 people used the same tax advantages that Trump apparently used. However, unlike Trump’s losses of nearly a billion dollars, the average American’s claimed loss was $97,500.

      These losses are allowed to flow through the business to the benefit of the business owner. So, the loss of the business can be used to offset personal income of the business owners.

      Using the rule is perfectly legal, assuming of course that the losses claimed are legitimate losses under the tax code. Losses must be real net operating loss, enough to cancel out any profit made.

      Advantages for Real Estate Owners

      Real estate has a number of losses that can be claimed, including depreciation of the value of real estate assets, real estate taxes, and costs to maintain the property. Real estate owners also can use losses in real estate, to offset non-real estate gains in certain cases. So, for example, if property depreciates, those losses can cover not only any profits made from the real estate itself, but also any other business ventures the real estate owner may be involved in. Owners of investment real estate, however, may be subject to the “passive activity” rules, which limit the owner’s ability to use real estate losses against other business income.

      Real estate owners can also defer taxes by flipping property. If a developer exchanges property routinely, the losses can be continually carried forward so that no taxes are actually paid.”http://www.davidtobacklaw.com/what-is-the-trump-tax-loophole/

      “Clinton foundation etc.” would take up too much bandwith and unfair to other NC posters BUT YOU GET THE POINT, RIGHT?

      if not let’s settle this with her own record… Forbes: Christopher Preble points out “Clinton supported every one of the last seven U.S. military interventions abroad, plus two others we ended up fighting.” For instance, while First Lady she pushed for U.S. intervention in the Balkans—attacking the Bosnian Serbs and then Serbia. She was an enthusiastic war advocate, explaining: “I urged him [her husband] to bomb.” Alas, Bosnia remains badly divided while Kosovo has turned into a gangster state which, according to the New York Times, is “a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.”
      “Sen. Hillary Clinton supported the overbroad Authorization for Use of Military Force after September 11, which 15 years later the Obama administration claims as warrant for its very different war against the Islamic State. She strongly backed the Iraq invasion. Only after it turned out badly and threatened to damage her political career did she acknowledge her mistake. Of course, that was too late to retrieve the thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and trillions of dollars squandered. At the same time, she said she was sorry for opposing the 2007 “surge” of troops, despite what Iraq became. Worse, a former State department aide reported that Clinton later announced she would not feel “constrained” in the future by the failure in Iraq.”

      1. Bjornasson

        That information on the trump tax was clarifying- thanks! It will help me in discussions with Clinton supporters.

        1. Benedict@Large

          Sorry, but nothing will help you in discussions with Clinton supporters, who turn into Zombies at the mere mention of her name. Indeed, they are often seen wandering aimlessly in groups on sunny afternoons looking upward, seeking apparitions of her image floating by in the clouds. If you are quick, look upward when you hear them gasp, and you might see one too.

    1. MtnLife

      It’s working but I can’t tell if they are serious or if that is some epic level trolling. That seems to be consistent with the theme of this election though.

  21. dcblogger

    James Comey was on the Board of Directors of HSBC while they were money laundering for drug runners and terrorists, he has done squat to stop GamerGate, he has a horrible record as director of the FBI and should have never been nominated, never been confirmed, and is a completely horrible person.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Mark Felt was of the same mind when it came to being passed over after J. Edgar Hoover died. And recall that he gained notoriety as Deep Throat.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Mark Felt had already gained notoriety before Watergate because he was one of the FBI’s special agents who was charged for conducting illegal surveillance on American leftists. It’s one of those things all those conspiracy theorists don’t emphasis about COINTELPRO and other programs. The only people actually charged and convicted in the matter were FBI agents.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Here is a chance to redeem himself and stop Hillary.

      The race is Trump’s to lose now.

    3. allan

      He was also general counsel of the largest defense contractor in the world (Lockheed Martin) and
      general counsel of the largest hedge fund / personality cult in the world (Bridgewater).
      Just a small town lawyer. If the town is Davos.

    4. fajensen

      Perfectly Qualified –

      In a situation where one has an truly abysmal leader, that leader will need sidekicks who are obviously worse. The abysmal leader can position herself to the reasonable / competent side of the “bad cop” sidekicks, thus being not exactly the “good cop” but the “better cop” while still going in the desired direction of crazy and misery for all.

      If things get a bit out of hand, the blame can be pinned on the sidekick “going overboard” and the sidekick publicly sacrificed to “restore confidence” and “look forward”.

      Why Obama needed Biden around, George Bush had Cheney … The European Left has the Islamists and the Social Democrats has the neo-liberals to bisect against.

      I think there is some possibilities, The rusty old ship “The Foundation” has simply sprung yet another leak and there is more evidence for FBI to dismiss and immunities to be doled out to fix the situation

      Enough mail-votes have come in to predict a crushing victory for Trump. Comey realizes that he is maybe on the wrong side of this whole thing and goes for “incompetence” being part of his legacy rather than “conspiracy”

      Something so nasty has come up so that the oligarch factions forming the “inner party” decided that Something Must be Done About The Situation – or Else. Jeffrey Epstein did home movies, apparently.

      However, I think that it is just FBI doing another fix for Hillary.

  22. Bea Braun

    I read the comments earlier in the day so not sure if this has been noted. In a new emergency procedure, the Left Party is still trying to block the CETA agreement in the final hours before the agreement. It is not clear whether the application has reached the court in time. I think it would be called the Federal Constitutional Court. Preventatively the Left Party has also submitted an alternative claim should the first one be too late to be considered
    site in German http://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/2016/10/28/wagenknecht-reicht-in-karlsruhe-eilantrag-gegen-ceta-ein/

  23. jawbone

    I began to read today’s Water Cooler and went, “What? Is this a parody?”, about a link I no longer recall, BUT I kept saying that to myself as I read on And felt the same about some other reports I came across today. Have we passed some “red line” into another dimension?

    These really are real links?

    (Yeah, I know they are…it’s just that they seem like they shouldn’t be….)

  24. Jim Haygood

    Penny ante but completely typical:

    Bill and Hillary Clinton failed to get required permits for a rushed renovation of the house and grounds they recently bought next to their original Westchester home, it was reported Friday.

    Records show that the Clintons’ contractors filled in an in-ground pool, covering it with gravel, and extensively remodeled the interior of the property — all without applying for permits and paying the required fees to the town of New Castle.

    Building Inspector William Maskiell inspected the Chappaqua property after getting the tip about the pool work and then discovered the other renovations that were underway.

    Attached to the building inspector’s letter was a document titled Clinton Violation Inspection Report in which Maskiell said the contractor told him the Clintons “were quite adamant about [the Thanksgiving deadline] and what had started as a paint job turned into this,” meaning the major renovation.


    When Hillary becomes “adamant,” nobody dares to confront her, even if her demands are illegal.

    Building permits are for little people. Hillary can grant herself a retroactive permit with an executive order.

    1. grayslady

      An acquaintance of mine said of the Clintons: “They define success as how much they can get away with.” Clearly, this is just the latest example.

      1. abynormal

        “The pain is not about having cheap people around…. real pain is the fact that there are some people with a price to start with.” Sameh Elsayed

        1. Jim Haygood

          Or as Dorothy Parker presciently quipped about the Clintons:

          Q: What’s the difference between an enzyme and a hormone?

          A: You can’t hear an enzyme.

    2. Tom

      Crazy — there are more problems than just the lack of building permits:

      The Clintons also have outstanding zoning and Building Department problems at their residence next door at 15 Old House Lane,

      They obtained variances in 2000 for a guard house on the property, for a higher fence and for “lot coverage,” or the amount of space buildings take up on the property.

      The variances must be renewed every five years — but the Clintons never showed up before the Zoning Board of Appeals.

      “Consequently, they are null and void. They should have come back in 2005, 2010 and 2015. So the variances have expired and they have to start from scratch” and reapply, said the inspector.

      The original home and a combination library and gym in an outbuilding still have outstanding building permit issues as well, including a sprinkler “sign off” by the town engineer and an electrical inspection in the library/gym

      I’m not seeing much basic competency here in executing home ownership responsibilities. Next I’ll hear Bill steals the neigbor’s Sunday newspaper off their porch.

  25. jawbone

    Interesting tidbit about the Illinois US senate race. The incumbent, the Republican Mark Kirk, had a stroke and since then has made notably non-PC comments. Last night he made a comment about Tammy Duckworth’s Chinese heritage (her mother is Chinese born in Thailand), and that comment has drawn attention to his overall neurological health.

    A friend of mine had a stroke which deeply affected the part of the brain responsible for impulse control. He used to be highly organized, extremely conscious of ramifications of his actions, spent carefully, prepared for exigencies, etc. Since the stroke, and especially when he’s feeling more energetic, he spends like a drunken sailor, swears like one, has no care about consequences of his actions. If he’s feeling under pressure this is even more exaggerated.

    Kirk’s recovery from his stroke has won him some sympathy, but I gather there’s has not been much reporting about any personality changes. The debate made this change a bit more open to scrutiny and other examples are apparently being discussed.

    Anyone from Illinois know more?


    During a debate between Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) for his U.S. Senate seat in Springfield, Illinois, Kirk mocked Duckworth’s ancestry, saying in rebuttal of her comments on the true cost of war,
    “I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

    His remark came in response to her statement that, “My family has served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution. I am a Daughter of the American Revolution.”

  26. schultzzz

    NC started the “Thanks Ms. Lewinsky for saving Social Security” meme ;
    I don’t think this scandal alone will sink Clinton, but if it does, would that make Anthony the ‘boy Monica’?

  27. TheCatSaid

    In line with the Corruption theme, check out the election fraud documentation at Fraction Magic – Short Version video recently released. It shows manipulation of actual vote files (Statement of Votes Cast) and how locations selected for audit were not tampered with.

    The hero of the story is Bennie Smith, a soft-spoken Memphis TN-based genius who has skills in computer programming and databases; accounting; and political demographic analysis. By luck those are the same skills that convicted felon Jeffrey Dean had. (Dean wrote the software for the Diebold voting machines–and I’ve been told they can now prove that Dean was the originator of the fractionalized vote-counting software for the central tabulators.)

    A longer version of the video is due out in days–in the meantime, the 9 min. excerpt on the Short Version is amazing. Check out the tips at the end–how the public can help.

  28. nowhere

    Still not sure I get all the hubbub about context sensitive function keys. The ESC key will still be available for everyone’s vi/Vim sessions.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “I should have persisted as the Not-Hillary choice…a higher ethical demand than keeping my promise to the D party???”

      Instead, now it’s Trump?

  29. Cleanup

    Don’t worry, Lloyd Blankfein is checking Comey’s work. FBI today placed the Weiner investigation under their crack Special Agent for Witness Liquidation, Aaron McFarlane.

  30. abynormal

    Hello…According to Reuters, the European Union on Friday lifted limits on Gazprom’s use of a link from its offshore Nord Stream pipeline to Germany, allowing Russia to pump more gas to Europe and bypass its usual routes via Ukraine.

    …soooooo they’re going to begin rebuilding Syria

    1. abynormal

      UHH @4:30…State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday that the department knows nothing about why the FBI reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server just hours earlier.

      Toner began the State Department daily press briefing by telling Associated Press reporter Matt Lee that he already knew what the topic of the first question would be. Lee asked Toner what the State Department knew of the FBI’s actions and what may be involved in the reopened investigation. http://freebeacon.com/politics/state-department-knows-nothing-about-fbi-reopening-clinton-email-probe/

      “First, what do we know? Not much more than you know, in fact. About the same,” Toner said. “We just learned about this when we saw news reports of the letter.”

      “What emails they may be looking at, what they’re looking for, any more details at all, we just don’t know anything about the scope of this new–I’m not even sure it’s an investigation, but this effort to look at additional emails,” Toner continued.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Just like 0bama finding out about HRC’s private email from the press … after he’d been corresponding with her from his own private email address.

        With daily practice, the faux naif act comes easy. :-)

        1. aab

          I gather that Clintonland is honestly shocked, though. They’re having to expose their talking points unmodified pushed directly by people like Krugman, instead of their normal process of using CTR trolls for cover.

          I don’t have an explanation for why Comey would start acting like a law enforcement official at this late date, but it does look like he didn’t notify Clintonland ahead of time, and apparently the State Department has basically been a Clinton sleeper cell for the last four years, so that would include State.

          It’s also possible that the emails are more about Clinton Foundation corruption than they are State Department rule breaking, so there wouldn’t be any reason to notify State. (Although how that would connect to the original case without being at least in part about transmitting classified information insecurely is beyond me.)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Massed flags behind the podium are standard advance work. In fact, the advance people give each other props for good ones.

      That’s not to say they’re not Nuremberg-like, but they are ubiquitous and not unique to Clinton.

    3. Yves Smith

      I don’t read it that way, in terms of her posture. It’s arrogant as hell. She knows the info can’t be released by the election and that information in an investigation is not public information. The “explain this issue” and some of the other remarks are clear criticisms of Comey. She’s trying to brazen this out. Not that this will work, mind you.

      But her pushing for an early vote and her tone is all wrong. A real sign of how far she is in her bubble.

  31. VietnamVet

    Cyberspace opened up the Clinton Foundation’s Pay for Play scams for scrutiny despite the best efforts of corporate media and the connected elite to keep it closed; the endless wars at Saudi Arabia and Israel’s bequest, the purposeful burdening of debt on anyone who needs housing, medical care or education, and the utter contempt for the little people. Corruption so inept that missing Hillary Clinton e-mails are in Carlos Danger’s explicit underage passion filled smartphone in FBI’s possession.

      1. TheCatSaid

        Intriguing. Maybe these emails have survived so far is, because Abedin’s laptop was shared, it wasn’t on the list of agreed-to-be-destroyed laptops (so far, at least).

        I wonder if there will be any public pressure on FBI to go after some of the numerous devices/servers you posted about on other threads about a week ago. If so, no one is talking about it yet.

  32. Stalingrad


    The international community considers backroom corporate trade deals as one example of the general problem of fragmentation. The US government tries to end-run the UN Charter with NATO. It tries to end-run ILO conventions with the WTO. It tries to end-run economic and social rights with ISDS. It tries to end-run sovereign debt principles (e.g. A/69/L.84) with the Paris Club and the IMF. In response, the international community has been working to synthesize the different legal regimes in an objective way.


    Corporate special pleading gets subsumed in old-time diplomacy, finding common ground, so the pitched-battle narrative is absent, but when Zayas comes out and says ISDS cannot negate human rights, this is the context. They’re trying to preserve a non-hierarchical regime in which the only absolute is the purposes and principles of the UN: peace and development, which comes down to human rights.

  33. allan

    Feds, Utahns worry that Oregon standoff verdicts will set violent tone for land battle [SLC Trib]

    And so it begins:

    … One key Utah proponent of land transfer affirmed the importance of respectful dialogue and seeking change through legal channels.

    “I would hope there would never be a green light to act outside the rule of law. I can understand the frustration, but in Utah we do things different. We honor the law,” said Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem. “Guns on either side would never be appropriate.”

    But when it comes to land management, Stratton said, the federal government has strayed from “constitutional anchors of state sovereignty and equal footing.” Restoring balance between federal and state authority would help resolve issues before they lead to confrontations like those at Bunkerville and Malheur. …

    `Restoring balance … resolve issues’ is Sage Brush Rebel for `My way or the RS 2477 highway‘.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I really don’t like that these guys will perceive themselves as having a second victory (the first one being the Feds backing down on Bundy ranch).

      That’s a good link on RS2477.

      1. TheCatSaid

        Ditto re: RS2477. I wonder if other states have loopholes/giveaways like this. It might have been well-intentioned & seemed practical at the time. On the other hand it’s easy to sneak in legislation for exactly for those reasons–it seems sensible on the face of it, but the loopholes have been baked in.

        1. allan

          That is a Federal law, dating I believe to the post-Civil War period and then repealed in 1976, but with a grandfather clause. Other states have made claims, but Utah is the world record holder.

          There was an amusing article in my USA Today-derived local paper this morning about the Utah state parks department applying to have 16 of their parks designated as Dark Sky sites, which drives astro-tourism. It’s hilarious because other parts of the Utah state government, and some of the counties where those parks are located, are pushing for maximal drilling, mining and other light-intensive activities near those same parks. The RS 2477 claims are part of that picture.

          1. TheCatSaid

            OMG. Thanks for catching my oversight about it being a Federal law. Ugh. The implications are even worse than I thought.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Why, it’s Neera Tanden to John Podesta:

      when bloomberg was having problems w the times he called Arthur schulzburger and asked for coffee. He made the case that they were treating him like a billionaire dilettante instead of Third term mayor. It changed the coverage moderately but also aired the issues in the newsroom so people were more conscious of it. But Arthur is a pretty big wuss so he's not going to do a lot more than that.

      Hillary would have to be the one to call.

      He also thinks the brown and women pundits can shame the times and others on social media. So cultivating Joan Walsh, Yglesias, Allen, perry bacon, Greg Sargent, to defend her is helpful. They can be emboldened. Fwiw - I pushed pir to do this a yr ago.

      “brown and women pundits”. Neera so woke.

      1. aab

        I’m guessing Harvard graduate Matt Yglesias is thrilled to find out that Clintonland views his usefulness primary through the prism of his skin color, particularly given that his family background not actually all that “brown.”

  34. allan

    Phishing for Fools, Hipster Edition:

    Emails show how Clinton campaign chairman apparently hacked [AP]

    New evidence appears to show how hackers earlier this year stole more than 50,000 emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, an audacious electronic attack blamed on Russia’s government and one that has resulted in embarrassing political disclosures about Democrats in the final weeks before the U.S. presidential election.

    The hackers sent John Podesta an official-looking email on Saturday, March 19, that appeared to come from Google. It warned that someone in Ukraine had obtained Podesta’s personal Gmail password and tried unsuccessfully to log in, and it directed him to a website where he should “change your password immediately.”

    Podesta’s chief of staff, Sara Latham, forwarded the email to the operations help desk of Clinton’s campaign, where staffer Charles Delavan in Brooklyn, New York, wrote back 25 minutes later, “This is a legitimate email. John needs to change his password immediately.”

    But the email was not authentic. …

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      And if the ploy was that low-grade, that means that the Russki superbrains in the KGB didn’t have to be behind it. Dear Lord.

      This really is a hubris followed by nemesis thing, isn’t it? And how sad it is, how tragic, that it was Brooklyn that brought Podesta down. Somehow I think Delavan is going to have a hard time getting a job in politics again, but he did the country a great service.

    2. TheCatSaid

      Social engineering wins again. This was something I learned about long ago when Black Box Voting.org started (approx. 2004). It was one of the many vulnerabilities in various points of election systems, both with paper and paperless. Very easy to get officials to reveal passwords that allowed access–that’s in addition to the corruption situations. (Or rather, the social engineering angle would be just one of the tools used by insiders.)

    3. Skip Intro

      Delavan also reminded Podesta to wire $1200 to that poor Nigerian businessman who needed the fees to collect his $2.5 million settlement.

    1. pretzelattack

      i wouldn’t think the clinton campaign would welcome that complaint, unless they’re more desperate than i think.

      1. UserFriendly

        They probably got someone to file it. It just reeks of holier then thou temper tantrum. But Comey had no choice, he had to amend his testimony.

        1. pretzelattack

          maybe clinton made the decision unilaterally, which is quite possible. seems like the campaign would want to bury the email scandal instead of going on the offensive. i do so hope this means their internal polling is scaring them.

  35. skippy

    I think my 1st year university student daughter [business with high distinctions] summed up the election in the car whilst taking her to work – its stupid – and can’t believe these are adults running for president of America of all places….

    1. UserFriendly

      I’m seeing things that its a fake… he is an actor or something trying to stir shit. never mind.

  36. aab

    This may be an inappropriate way to use the comments section, but I’m taking a shot. This is a question for you, Lambert. It looks like Bernie Sanders HAS been certified as a write-in candidate in California. I can vote for Bernie if I want.

    I had pretty much settled on voting for Stein. I had initially wanted to vote for the Peace & Freedom candidate. But I figured Stein must be on the bubble of getting 5% nationally, and therefore federal funding, automatic ballot access for the Greens, etc. Peace & Freedom has no shot at anything like that. Voting for Stein gives my vote at least a splash of leftist instrumentality. So do I stick with that reasoning, or indulge myself in a Bernie vote? Is there any instrumental value in a Bernie vote? I don’t think they’ll even be counted unless Trump’s much closer in the final vote than Padilla (our corrupt Secretary of State) is likely to allow. Your scorn for the Greens is well-documented. Is there any reason NOT to give them funding and ballot access? The only one I can imagine would be if you think they’re so incompetent or self-indulgent that they will get in the way of creating a strong left opposition in the dark days to come. But that seems unlikely to me.

    So that’s my question for you: if you were in my place, would you write in Bernie or vote Stein?

    1. UserFriendly

      Jill’s been teetering around 3% unlikely she will get 5%, but there are various benefits for lower numbers too. As long as Ca will count it, and it looks like they will, I don’t it matters much.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not sure your premise is correct.


      That said, and leaving aside the issue of whether I should issue what would inevitably seen as an endorsement by NC (bad idea), “a week is a long time in politics.” So it’s far too early to decide; the propaganda by the Clinton campaign and their branch in our famously free press in favor of early voting can’t possibly be in good faith; they’re worried about more coming out.

      1. aab

        Sorry. I didn’t mean to put you in an officially awkward position. I was thinking more of engaging in a robust debate. You often speak to the Greens’ inadequacies, but I was curious if there was an actual argument to be made that empowering them in the next election could be negative in some way. I presume that 2% is artificially low. The media polls have done all sorts of weird stuff with undersampling and overweighting all year. A bunch of polls with the same fundamental bias all being averaged together isn’t going to correct for that bias. Hillary’s campaign is pushing flyers in swing states that have Stein at 4%. I know it’s that suspect NBC poll, but still — that’s the one they chose to use. You’d think if she wanted to convince people that a Stein vote is a wasted vote, they’d chose the lowest possible percentage for her. They’re spending an awful lot of energy and resources scaremongering over someone with 2% of the vote.

        My personal dilemma is that I have tried to train myself to resist the temptation to treat my vote as symbolic and as an act of personal expression. And yet now I find myself being emotionally pulled towards writing Bernie in, when it seems there’s no possible instrumentality to that at all. And there are very few places I can go or people I can turn to that can help me navigate this decision process. In fact, I have one place. This place.

        But I didn’t mean to put you on the spot. Anybody unofficial want to chime in? I won’t be voting until Election Day. I have plenty of time.

        1. aab

          Coming back to add, I do realize my little vote is of almost no value even the best of times, and this could be considered a silly thing to spend more than five seconds in the booth thinking over.

          But I always find learning more about a subject useful. And probably some of what’s fueling this is trying to construct some kind of agency and positive action in this sewage pit of a situation. Sigh.

        2. Yves Smith

          I don’t mean to sound critical, but I don’t see why you regard Stein or the Greens as naturally being at a higher level than their current 2% in the polls. The Greens were only on the ballots of 36 or 37 states until last month. Unlike the major parties, they have pretty much no “get out the vote” apparatus. They are also not a national party. Lambert who has dealt with them to a degree in Maine can give you details as to some of the symptoms of dysfunction he has seen at close range.

          Ralph Nader in 2000 was a nationally recognized name, unlike Stein. There was a lot of disenchantment re Gore for being a 3rd term Clinton candidate, with Gore having mixed success in distancing himself from the Clintons, and being a wooden campaigner. And Bush was correctly seen as a lightweight. Even with those advantages, and ballot access in 43 states (v. I believe 45 or 46 now), Nader got 2.8% of the vote.

          The Greens have had almost a generation to build the party since then, and a financial crisis that devastated the middle class. I don’t see any evidence of them using the opportunity that the abject performance of the Dems has presented to them. The Dems have lost seats in Congress, they’ve lost governorships, more and more people identify as independents. Yet the Greens have made no progress despite these tailwinds.

          I can see the argument for voting for Stein as virtue signaling and a protest vote and perhaps preferable to a write in (as in you are telling TPTB that there is sentiment to the left of where the legacy parties sit). My antipathy for the Greens is that they’ve failed abjectly at upping their game. See Richard Kline on “Progressively Losing”. They strike me as a classic example of wanting to be morally correct and having zero interest in governing. So as long as you see your vote as a communications tool and don’t harbor unwarranted optimism about the Greens, I don’t see anything wrong in voting for them.


          1. TheCatSaid

            Not to defend the Greens, but “not having any interest in governing” might not be quite accurate. The reason I say this is that many states have laws that prevent 3rd parties from being on the ballot in state or local elections–i.e., exactly where “interest in governing” would be demonstrated–until they have achieved a given percent at the national level. This kind of restriction would make it almost impossible for the Greens.

            However it doesn’t excuse their lack of strategy in places w/o this kind of restriction. Political parties can be amazing attractors for dysfunction and power-plays. True independents would be more appealing to me nowadays, but the political, practical, financial & media barriers conspire to prevent this.

          2. aab

            I know all this about the problems with the Greens. I read here daily, remember? The reasons I think Stein’s polling is higher is because, as I said, the Clinton machine itself is using a poll that has Stein at 4% in its promotional material, and every time I have dug into the cross-tabs and methodology of these media polls, they have been obviously off, and always in the basic direction: boost long-time Democrats in the weighting and underweight Independents, dramatically undersample people under 40, etc. I know that “unskewed polls” was a big laugher in 2012, but there is copious amounts of evidence that the major media organizations are not even a little bit objective now, and that looks like it extends to the polling organizations they are hiring. Do I know this for sure? No. I had assumed, in fact, that the Greens would fall to their apparently “natural” 2%. But I don’t get why — even in a close race — Clinton would be expending so much of her resources harassing Stein voters if that were true. That 2% isn’t budging.

            So this isn’t a question of whether the Greens are a party I should support, in a general sense. This is a question of whether there is any reason why it would actually be bad for leftist change going forward for the Greens to be the only left national party in two and four years with federal funding and automatic ballot access. I can’t think of anything strong. But I recognize that this kind of granular political knowledge is not my strength.

            Likewise, is there anything instrumentally good OR bad that could come from my indulging myself and voting for Bernie. It’s not entirely just a question of my personal vote, either. I’m in a position to push for this in ways that would have a knock on effect. Would Clintonland punish Bernie worse if he was known to have picked up a couple of percentage points’ worth of write-in votes in California? Or, is it possible said write-in votes can be made public as a way to continue to demonstrate how illegitimate Clinton is, once installed?

            That’s all I was mulling over.

        3. Steve H.

          The best argument is ‘throwing sand in the gears.’

          Down-ticket is where there’s real leverage, where candidates are available. There are times when gridlock can be broken by small groups in Congress. At the least that can expose pols looking for cover under the Whips numbers management, forcing them in the open instead of casting for voter optics.

          There’s also the aspect of the bully pulpit, such as putting bills up in issues which the status quo refuses to acknowledge or split on. Any down-ticket greens can be considered self-motivators, as the party is Clintonian on it’s focus on the top.

          1. Steve H.

            *sigh* Let me back off ‘Clintonian,’ since that can imply triple-tapping disloyal subordinates. Not that there’s any Evidence of that with the Democrats, but there’s not even Indication of that with the Greens.

            Of course, that could be because the stakes and opportunities are lower with the Greens. Trump is a confirmed liar, but Clinton has lied before Congress, under oath I believe. Is that a matter of internal boundaries, or just that he’s never been put in position at the table?

            1. aab

              I’m not debating down-ticket voting. I live in California. We have jungle primaries. The top two vote getters in the primary move on to the general, regardless of party. With the Republican Party all but destroyed here, that means I get to “choose” between two different corporate Democrats for Senate. That’s it. There are no other options. The corporate Democrat for State Assembly ran unopposed in the primary, and thus is likewise unopposed in the General.

              That’s probably another reason why I’m obsessing over my Presidential vote. Clinton will take my state. Between the structural Democratic advantage and our corrupt Secretary of State, it’s a done deal. And I don’t really have any other choices on any other races down ballot. I could vote against my Clinton-endorsing Democratic Congressman by voting for a nutjob Republican (really nutjob, like “Holy cow, how to you dress yourself!” nut job.) Otherwise, the Democratic Party has taken away my choices up and down the ballot. So I would like to figure out what, if anything, I can do with my Presidential line so that dragging myself to the polls is about more than voting for Prop 61 (lowering drug prices) — which will probably lose as the California Democratic Party is refusing to endorse it and there is MASSIVE TV advertising against it, claiming that it will raise drug prices for regular people (I guess Chelsea Clinton wrote the ads.)

              1. Steve H.

                I didn’t know that about Cali jungle primaries, thank you.

                I’ll tell you what. I know of no time that elections have been decided by one vote, and I’ll say the same is likely to apply to Green access. If you write in Bernie and its a one-vote loser for Green access, I’ll give you a hundred bucks.

                That’s assuming Bernie is your preferred vote, of course. I’m payin’ for conscientiousness, here.

                1. aab

                  Part of my dilemma is that I could choose to start heavily promoting the write in Bernie option, choose instead to push voting for Stein, or be silent on this issue on my various social media platforms. I’ve had people reach out to tell me I changed their mind about who to vote for, so I take all this a bit more seriously than I otherwise would. It isn’t necessarily just my one little vote.

                  But it’s true that I’m not such a high visibility player that I actually have the capacity to impact the outcome. I do recognize that. It’s part of why it is so tempting to write in Bernie as an enjoyable private act. But then if I do it, shouldn’t I fling myself into the fight and try to get other Californians to do it, and so on and so on. It’s self-dramatizing, but isn’t it better than just taking the corruption and theft lying down?

                  It’s silly. I don’t matter. I’ll be signing off from heavy-duty political chatter on Tuesday to do NaNoWriMo. I could spend the next three days drinking and it would achieve the same effect. Except that drinking triggers migraines for me, unfortunately.

  37. Foppe

    Not sure if it’s news, but apparently Maher’s being a proper petit-bourgeois/respectable tribalist. Bob Linden:

    The “Left” Has Gone So Right and It’s So Wrong – Here, chuckling Michael Moore and Bill Maher disparage Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and support establishment corruption and criminality – with Maher openly endorsing Hillary’s two-faced lying, and Moore babbling senselessly against openness, truthfulness, and transparency…

    1. abynormal

      …my favorite ‘its getting deep out there’ moment, when everyone drops shorts for a viewing of what everyone is really carting!

  38. WJ

    On Apr 10, 2015, at 1:32 PM, John Podesta wrote: >> >>

    I know we have been at this for awhile, but do we really want to say paychecks for everyday Americans are at their lowest in decades? That’s not true, is it? Isn’t a more accurate formulation that pay raises are at their lowest?

    This from Podesata is refreshingly naive.

Comments are closed.