2:00PM Water Cooler 10/3/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this is a little bit lighter than it should be. I’m fighting a cold. –lambert


“The prospects for congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are more unlikely than ever, but that’s not stopping the Obama administration from proceeding as if the deal won’t eventually be implemented. Officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and other agencies have traveled to Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in recent weeks, to get those governments up to speed on implementing TPP provisions on intellectual property, labor, environment, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, service, financial services and state-owned enterprises, USTR spokesman Matt McAlvanah told Politico” [Politico]. Junkets? Zombies? Something up Obama’s sleeve?


Days until: 37.

Debate Wrapup

Next presidential debate: Sunday, October 9.

The Voters


2012: Final polling data had Obama by +3.9. Electoral college results were Obama 332, Romney 206.


“Paul Ryan plans a 17-state blitz across the country this month to stump for Republicans down the ballot, but it’s unclear whether that campaigning will extend to presidential nominee Donald Trump” [RealClearPolitics].

“Did We Overestimate Donald’s Drag On Republicans In The Senate?” [Talking Points Memo]. “TPM”s Senate Scoreboard at the end of last week showed Democrats with 49 seats going their way and Republicans with 48. Three seats – Missouri, North Carolina and New Hampshire–were listed as toss ups.”

Missouri: “Standing in an empty warehouse, while blindfolded, [Democrat Senate challenger Jason] Kander deftly assembles an AR-15 rifle — as he talks about his support for both the Second Amendment and background checks on gun buyers. And he mentions his service in Afghanistan, too” [Cincinnati.com]. I take it that Kander won’t be engaging in any sit-ins on the Senate floor?

UPDATE North Carolina: “This election, in a lot of ways, [Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University] says, will be ‘a referendum in North Carolina about the Republican brand.’ That may hurt [Republican incumbent Richard] Burr in a state where many are unhappy with the Republican takeover of the state legislature and the passage of the controversial and economically damaging House Bill 2, which requires transgendered people to use a bathroom consistent with their birth sex” [Citizen-Times]. “[Democrat challenger Deborah] Ross, a 53-year-old Raleigh lawyer and former instructor at Duke University, certainly hopes to capitalize on any backlash against that Republican brand, and in late September she pulled even with Burr in political polling. She served in North Carolina’s state House from 2003-13, and before that was the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina.”

UPDATE New Hampshire: “Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) will battle in a pivotal debate Monday that could go a long way toward deciding their tight Senate race — and which partywill control the majority” [The Hill]. “Ayotte and Hassan are in a virtual tossup race, with several recent surveys flipping the leadbetween the candidates by only a few points.”


“[T]he Clinton operation has done minimal outreach to the organizers who actually helped facilitate Sanders’ breakthrough electoral performance. One former senior Sanders staffer who requested anonymity recounted applying to the Clinton campaign for a position at the urging of Democratic operatives, only to be unceremoniously rebuffed at both the state and national level” [Daily Beast]. “Van Auken and others identified as a prime culprit for their continuing disaffection the convention “whips” deployed to quell protest activity among the various delegations. Numerous members of the New York Sanders contingent characterized the behavior of these whips — who sported bright yellow visibility jackets — as ranging from moderately officious to aggressively hostile. One particular whip would snap ostentatious smartphone photos of Sanders supporters who were insufficiently compliant.” Because, ya know, it’s all about love, inclusiveness, the “conversation”….

“If you liked the dysfunction, gridlock and petulance of the 114th Congress, then you are going to love what’s in store for the 115th Congress” [The Hill]. “Now, some surprising news for Team Trump: It will be much the same for them if he wins. Even with total GOP control of the Senate, the House and the White House, President Trump is likely to face pure obstruction from Capitol Hill. The reason is simple: Trump has broken with years of conservative Republican orthodoxy on free trade, military interventionism, U.S. participation in NATO and, recently, paid maternity leave. Trump’s positions on these and many other issues are anathema to everything McConnell has said he believed throughout his political career.” And gridlock is better than so many of the alternatives.

The Trail

“Did Marla Maples Leak Her Own Tax Returns?” [Medium]. Speculating very freely: “While the first pages of his Connecticut and New York tax returns don’t require a signature, the first page of the New Jersey non-resident tax returns do require a signature, and there is a “Sign-Here” signature flag made by the post-it company pointing to a space for Ms. Maples signature. Now, this doesn’t mean definitively that the return was leaked by Ms. Maples but it does raise questions.” Readers?

“Trump Foundation Ordered by New York AG to Stop Fundraising” [NBC News]. Eric Scheiderman is good for something, I guess.

Stats Watch

Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure, September 2016: “Americans’ daily self-reports of spending averaged $91 in September for a second month, but the highest average for the month since 2008. The stability in September comes after wide swings during the summer months” [Econoday]. “By contrast, in the four years prior, which included part of the Great Recession and periods of high unemployment that ensued, monthly spending averages were as low as $58 and never above $77. American consumers this year avoided the September slump in spending typically seen in recent years.”

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index, September 2016: “[A]nother slow month” [Econoday]. “New orders slowed to the weakest growth rate of the year while export sales contracted for the first time in four months which the report ties to strength in the dollar. Production slowed to a 3-month low, hiring during the month was soft, and the sample continues to cut inventories which indicates lack of confidence in the business outlook.”

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, September 2016: “August proved to be a one-month letdown for ISM’s manufacturing sample as the September index bounced more than 2 points higher” [Econoday]. “New orders are the most important of all readings and they lead the September report.” And: “The September PMI release breathes a sigh of relief to growth concerns given the survey’s abrupt deterioration in August. Besides the headline index, the details were broadly supportive of continued expansion in manufacturing activity and suggests that the August drops were likely a blip. Nine of the 18 industries reported an increase in new orders in September (up from six in August), and 10 of the 18 industries saw an increase in production in September (up from eight in August)” [TDSecurities, Across the Curve]. But: “There is nothing in the ISM or Markit reports that would leave one to think manufacturing is on the mend” [Econintersect].

Motor Vehicle Sales, September 2016: “August relative to July was a weak month for unit vehicle sales but September so far is looking solid relative to August, running at roughly a 13.8 million annualized rate for North American-made models vs August’s 13.4 million” [Econoday]. “Unit vehicle sales have been trending at a solid 17 million annualized rate all year but have not been accelerating.”

Construction Spending, August 2016: “Multi-family units are just about the only strength in what is a weak construction spending report for August” [Econoday]. “Strength here reflects expectations of strength for the rental market.”

Housing: I like to think of real estate as a massive cruise ship. To turn a ship from its current course takes a lot of time. And also, like a cruise ship, people get lazy and simply follow the herd and eat themselves into a coma of nonsensical information” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “At this point, it is safe to say that the previous bubble is a long gone memory for most. All those “losers” that lost their homes simply did not have the winning formula. And here is the thing, say you bought a home for $600,000 and it is now worth $800,000. You only get that money when you close escrow and tap the money out. The chart is interesting because it still shows room to go for some markets. So do you buy based on this? Jump on the cruise ship before heading back to port?” And see the chart, which is granular and well laid out, at least.

Shipping: “Our day trip affirmed what many, especially those at UPS, already know: Its drivers are the face of the company. They do more than pick up and deliver packages. They interact, answer questions, and field complaints. They project the brand’s image to the outside world. That is why for all of the company’s whiz-bang technology and all the talk about autonomous vehicles, UPS will continue to rely on human drivers to manage its routes, and its customers, for years to come” [DC Velocity].

GDP: “The Atlanta Fed forecast for Q3 GDP growth is now at 2.2 percent. That is down from an estimate of about 3.7 percent at the start of the quarter” [Across the Curve].

The Bezzle: “Stratfor: The Hype About the Hyperloop” [Fabius Maximus].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 42 Fear (previous close: 46, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 3 at 12:52pm.

Class Warfare

“The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015 (PDF) [Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger, NBER]. “The percentage of workers engaged in alternative work arrangements – defined as temporary help agency workers, on- call workers, contract workers, and independent contractors or freelancers – rose from 10.1 percent in February 2005 to 15.8 percent in late 2015. The percentage of workers hired out through contract companies showed the sharpest rise increasing from 0.6 percent in 2005 to 3.1 percent in 2015. Workers who provide services through online intermediaries, such as Uber or Task Rabbit, accounted for 0.5 percent of all workers in 2015.”

“Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil” (PDF) [Eliana La Ferrara, Alberto Chong, and Suzanne Duryea, Inter-American Development Bank]. “This paper estimates the e§ect of television on fertility choices in Brazil, where soap operas portray families that are much smaller than in reality. We exploit differences in the timing of entry into di§erent markets of Rede Globo, the main novela producer. Using Census data for 1970-1991, we found that women living in areas covered by Globo have significantly lower fertility. The effect is strongest for women of lower socioeconomic status and for women in the central and late phases of their fertility cycle, consistent with stopping behavior.”

News of the Wired

“The strange, rare medical condition that leads people to insist they don’t actually exist” [Quartz]. “Though it’s undeniably horrific for those experiencing it, Cotard’s Syndrome presents a fascinating conundrum for those studying the disorder. The condition’s central contradiction—how can someone articulate the thought that they don’t exist?—raises questions and potential answers about how human self-awareness works.”

“Brace yourselves: Source code powering potent IoT DDoSes just went public” [Ars Technica].

* * *

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:


From the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

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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. optimader

    Missouri: “Standing in an empty warehouse, while blindfolded, [Democrat Senate challenger Jason] Kander deftly assembles an AR-15 rifle — as he talks about his support for both the Second Amendment and background checks on gun buyers. And he mentions his service in Afghanistan, too” [Cincinnati.com]. I take it that Kander won’t be engaging in any sit-ins on the Senate floor?

    It would only be newsworthy to me if before taking the blindfold off he (deftly) emptied a clip waist level while rotating 360deg

    1. shinola

      I’ve seen Kander’s ad numerous times; it is noteworthy in that, as far as I can tell, it seems obligatory for Mo. candidates to mention their support for gun owners “rights”. Kander’s opponent’s ad’s mentions that Kander gets an “F” rating by the NRA.

      Those of us that live in state line straddling metro areas are really “lucky”. We get to watch political ad’s for candidates in 2 states. I imagine that people living in the smaller New England states get to enjoy the “privilege” of being subjected to political advertising for multiple states also.

      1. katiebird

        I live in Kansas near the state line so I get to see all the Missouri ads too. I think the opponent’s ad about the F rating also has a bunch od quotes calling Kandor a hippy tree hugger (which I didn’t put in quotes but I think it is an actual quote)….

        It’s funny to see the two ads running right next to each other!!

        Is Kantor the one who was shooting an automatic weapon in an ad earlier in the summer?

          1. cwaltz

            Remind me to cross MO off my list of places I’d ever want to reside.

            I’m at a point where anyone brandishing a gun and spouting off about their military credentials is a non starter to me. We don’t need any more DoD apologists in Congress. They already have enough people ready to condone their graft until eternity.(Yeah, I get it’s kind knee jerk because I also am former military.)

            The NC candidate sounds promising though….ACLU connections…..civil liberties are a quaint concept I can get behind.

            1. optimader

              I’m at a point where anyone brandishing a gun and spouting off about their military credentials is a non starter to me.

            2. Lambert Strether

              Yes, that was impressive — and that a “card-carrying member of the ACLU” was not just in the race, but competitive.

      2. ilporcupine

        This struck me as well. I am in the St. Louis TV market, but across the river. This year is the worst ever for “conservative” posturing by both parties. All about Gunz. And who voted with OBAMA!
        In Illinois, it’s all about “your taxes”, and who is the corrupt spender…the gun thing doesn’t seem to be in the forefront.
        It is really strange when the illusion of a “red state” and a “blue state” invades on those of us with a foot in both states. The people are living a few miles apart, but are in different political worlds, sometimes.
        Chicago, of course is the target ad budget, and southern/central Illinois is not even a blip on the radar, unless something racial (like Ferguson) comes along, and drags ESL into it.

      3. Morgan Phillips

        In Boston, I’ve seen more ads bashing New Hampshire’s “Taxin’ Maggie Hassan” than anything else by far. A not close 2nd place goes to a state ballot initiative to lift the cap on charter schools in MA.

    2. DJG

      Missouri: “Standing in an empty warehouse, while blindfolded, [Democrat Senate challenger Jason] Kander deftly assembles an AR-15 rifle — as he talks about his support for both the Second Amendment and background checks on gun buyers. And he mentions his service in Afghanistan, too”

      This kind of stuff is like evangelical candidates going on about the baby Jesus as their personal savior. It is a sign of fetishes rather than politics. As someone from Illinois, though, my response is: “Missouri, eh.” There are times when we have had debates here about what decadence means, especially with regard to capitalism. When it is all empty symbolism, you’re heading into decadence.

  2. nippersmom

    “Trump Foundation Ordered by New York AG to Stop Fundraising”

    When is a similar order going to be issued with regard to the Clinton foundation? I know, foolish (naive) question.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon, Lambert!

  3. petal

    Meant to post this morning, but in my area(Hanover/Lebanon, NH) I have noticed HC signs popping up on the sides of roads and at intersections (not in yards, though) over the past week.

    I hope you feel better, Lambert. Get some rest!

    1. MtnLife

      I finally saw my first two HRC signs of this election in Brattleboro and Townshend. I’ve seen 5-6 new Trump signs though so it seems Hillary supporters are still more embarrassed by their candidate.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I just came back from PA. Spent nearly three weeks in the oh-so-important place called Chester County. It’s supposed to be pivotal in the upcoming election.

        But you wouldn’t know it. I think I saw one campaign sign (for Trump) and a handful of bumper stickers (for Clinton) while I was there.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Forget yard signs. I was noticing how little any media was talking about how much HRC and Trump were raising. I had a suspicion about that void until yes, it was confirmed over the weekend. Hillary is closing in on the magic $1 billion mark.

      Now I don’t know about you all, but I’m guessing the American public (and especially Trumpistan) is not quite ready for billion dollar elections. If Trump plays this smart, he’ll smear this all over Hillary during the next debate along with the Goldman transcripts and her [constant fundraising/lack of campaigning[. This may play fine in Manhattan, but once she gets to Brooklyn and beyond, not so much.

      1. different clue

        IFF! . . . . Trump is smart. In fact, that suggestion could be a test of whether Trump actually IZZ smart at the level of brainwar tactics. IZZ Trump smart enough to have people reading Naked Capitalism and Sic Semper Tyrannis to gather weaponizable and disseminable information and ideas like this one?

        Or would the short fingered vulgarian simply laugh and snort: Horr Horr Horr! (snort!). Me take ideas off you? If you’re so smart, why aren’t you Rich like ME?

        I remember predicting a year ago or so in a Sic Semper Tyrannis thread that Trump would break millions of hearts and let millions of people down. We’ll see if I was right or wrong.

        Prove me wrong, Mister Trump. Take this idea and weaponize it. And disseminate it at the very best times and places.

    3. Jen

      I drove from the Hanover NH area to Utica, NY this weekend for a wedding. What I noticed most of all was the lack of signs for presidential candidates in yards that were otherwise littered with them. The few that I did see skewed heavily towards Trump.

      In my own town, north of Hanover, there are a few 8×4 signs for both candidates. The Trump ones all belong to a younger member of the Thompson clan (as in Meldrim, former governor of nuke the hippies fame). The signs in front of a property belonging to one of the older members of the clan include a small one for Trump. The biggest one is for Ayotte. On the other side of the river, along route 5 in Vermont there were still a smattering of Bernie signs.

  4. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Junkets? Zombies? Something up Obama’s sleeve?

    Hard to tell, I want to believe that the zombie scenario is the most probable. You know, even political appointees must have those annoying “quarterly goals” cooked up for HR, and in between sending out resumes for cush lobbying gigs and preparing to clean out their offices, some work must go on for the best and the brightest at the USTR office.

    There is no doubt though that we will be sweating out every news cycle once that awful lame duck session begins. The real power lies in the hands of Ryan, Pelosi, Reid and McConnell. Do they want to give Obama a nice little TPP going away present, jamming a boot up the backside of flyover land, in exchange, of course, for … what? That’s the problem in a nutshell for the lame duck, he has little if anything to horse trade.

    I bet the likes of McConnell will calculate that it is better to save the horse trading for Hillary’s administration.

    It is hard to war game this thing out.

    1. jsn

      I’m betting on corruption, it seems pretty dependable when its object is what the rich and powerful want.

      McConnell will relent and there will be a Lame Duck vote and many soon to be former Govt. employees, elected and other, will have fabulous retirements.

      Until the pitchforks.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      IIRC, it should be possible to pass TPP in the House by bribing persuading a subset of House members on the merits — that subset being those who are leaving for K Street and won’t to face the voters again.

  5. Jim Haygood

    La isla bonita:

    Jonathan Ayers’s fatal overdose on Sep. 9 was the latest addition to a body count without precedent. So far in 2016, there have been 71 deaths that appear to be from heroin overdoses on the island, the Richmond County district attorney’s office said.

    The drug arrived to meet demand for opiates and fill the void left by law enforcement crackdowns on prescription pills, which were widely abused there.

    Heroin, much cheaper than pills, became the drug of choice for the mostly white, middle-class neighborhoods on the island’s south end. Since 2010, the number of arrests on the island in which heroin or pills were found on the suspect has increased tenfold, to over 1,000 last year.

    An estimated 125 people a day in the U.S. die from drug overdoses, 78 of them from heroin and pills.


    Over 1,000 arrests on Staten Island, but a fresh record of 71 overdoses.

    Using a criminal justice model to address a public health crisis: how’s that workin’ out for us?

    1. Roger Smith

      Did the officer fire off two to three rounds into the perp. before discovering he had died of an overdose? Throw the body in a cell for a few hours. That’ll teach them!

    2. Arizona Slim

      I suspect that a big scandal is about to erupt here in Tucson.

      Member of the University of Arizona football team was found dead a few weeks ago. Autopsy was performed. Young man had an anti-anxiety med and an opiate painkiller in his system. And he didn’t have prescriptions for them.

      Given how tight football teams are, I suspect that at least one other player knows something about where this guy got the drugs.

      Link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/ncaaf/ua/2016/10/01/officials-no-prescription-found-wildcats-zach-hemmila/91417532/

    3. Medbh

      If you haven’t read it already, I suggest you consider reading the book “The Unbroken Brain.” Very interesting from a medical, historical and policy perspective.

  6. just me

    suggested link: David Dayen tweet — searches for “foreclosure” in big Obama interview, comes up empty, as usual:

    https:// twitter.com / ddayen / status / 782797657035059200

  7. Kim Kaufman

    “2012: Final polling data had Obama by +3.9. Electoral college results were Obama 332, Romney 206.”

    Yes, they must keep the horserace going. This is the $$$ month for the media.

  8. Jim Haygood

    It’s “all legal” folks — excerpts from Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s letter to Attorney Gerbil Lynch today:

    DOJ provided in camera review of “side agreements” between DOJ, the FBI, and Beth Wilkinson, the lawyer representing both Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson.

    1. Why did the FBI agree to destroy both Cheryl Mills’ and Heather Samuelson’s laptops after concluding its search?

    3. Have these laptops … in fact been destroyed, thereby making further investigations by the FBI, or Congressional oversight, impossible?

    7. Please explain why DOJ agreed to limit their search of the Mills and Samuelson laptops to a date no later than January 30, 2015 …

    8. Why was this time limit necessary when both Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson were granted immunity for any potential destruction of evidence charges?


    Bob, Bob … Cheryl and Heather didn’t HAVE to destroy any evidence, when the FBI did it for them.

    “You mean, like with a hammer or something?”

    1. DJG

      If the Congress truly wanted to get to the bottom of this e-mail scandal, which is one more bipartisan mess, they have only to appoint a special prosecutor. I won’t hold my breath.

      Where is Judge John Sirica when we need him?

  9. Eduardo Quince

    “Now, this doesn’t mean definitively that the return was leaked by Ms. Maples but it does raise questions.” Readers?

    Strikes me as pretty incriminating of Ms. Maples

      1. hunkerdown

        Vatch, and all we got was the Duggars. Bit shame they weren’t working in the US a bit harder.

        1. Vatch

          Yes, the Duggars. Arrgh! Also Matt Bevin, the governor of Kentucky, who has 9 children, and let’s not forget the Octo-Mom or “Jon & Kate Plus 8”. Some people are truly clueless.

  10. b.

    “Eric Scheiderman is good for something, I guess.”

    The “credentialed hero” fallacy?

    Given the state of Clinton Foundation paperwork, the only question that interests me is whether Clinton’s outfit has filed what the Trump Foundation apparently has not.

    “New York Law mandates that any charity soliciting more than $25,000 a year in public donations must go through a special registration process. Because the Trump foundation is headquartered in the city, it falls into that category. A charity as large as Trump’s must submit to annual audits that probe whether employees have personally benefited from donations.”

    “The Clinton Foundation and CGI office is located in midtown Manhattan just blocks away from Rockefeller Center and Central Park. Together, the Clinton Foundation and CGI house a large staff and more than 60 interns each semester. 1271 6th Avenue.”

    1. ambrit

      Add this to the “how low can you go” file.
      “…the Clinton Foundation and CGI house a large staff and more than 60 interns each semester.”
      60 interns, for a multi million dollar enterprise? Am I living in some past “Age of Ethics” to be outraged by this?
      So, a charity where the lowest level employees get to give the most. Caritas this ain’t. More like something from the Church of Mammon Savings and Loan.

      1. DJG

        If it’s the Clinton Foundation, do they truly “house” the staff? Are they all bunking together? Or did the article mean “office” a large staff?

        And if it’s the Clinton Foundation, are all of the interns as toothsome and pliable as one would expect?

        Charity: I have so many questions about charity and compassion in action. Sixty interns learning charity. Wowsers.

        1. Synoia

          Bill’s gotta do what Bill’s gotta do

          No wonder he looks thin and worn out.

          It’s hard work, but someone has to do it.

          Are the interns “unpaid”? And thus getting “free” introductions

    2. different clue

      The Clintons are masterful shysters. They have probably studied The Art Of The CoverUp very carefully and built a multilayered coverup defended in depth.

  11. Pavel

    Woohoo! Hillary’s “Favorability Ratings” a whopping MINUS 10 percent!

    So she’s only 50% less despised than Donald Trump. Way to go, DNC!

    And they wonder why 55% or so of the US public want a viable third party…

    1. cwaltz

      If third parties can’t leverage the fact that the duopoly(Team Democrat and Team Republican) just vetted two of the worst candidates with high negatives to cross a debate stage then I don’t know what it will take to make them viable.

        1. jrs

          nah, not likely, people have resigned themselves to poverty for vast periods of human history. If poverty figures in it’s usually a combination of poverty and idealism for a better world that motivates people, not poverty alone.

  12. allan

    Four states will have one Obamacare insurer [Washington Examiner]

    … Alaska, Alabama, Wyoming and Oklahoma have confirmed to the Washington Examiner that they will have only one insurer offering Obamacare plans for 2017. The revelation comes in the wake of defections from some major insurers that have left Obamacare exchanges due to financial losses. …

    Years ago, there was an areas of sociology(?) called small group theory, which was devoted to the study of social interactions among very small groups of people. It was ripped apart (I was once told) by a controversy over whether an individual counts as a small group. Perhaps health insurance experts can discuss among themselves whether a single provider constitutes a market.

    1. timbers

      Don’t forget Tennessee, Minnesota, Illinois. Think they have 2 insurers but given premiums are going up 50% it doesn’t really matter.

  13. Jim Haygood

    The curmudgeonly (that’s a good thing) James Howard Kunstler goes off on some folks:

    Vote for Trump? Not if you chained me to the back bumper of a Toyota Landcruiser and dragged me over six miles of broken light bulbs. Hillary? Make that nine miles, and throw down some carpet tacks.

    But wait a minute … the winner of the presidential election is sure to be the biggest loser because the global economy is in the process of tanking, Long Emergency style, and the global finance system is going down with it. Whoever presides over this fiasco from the White House is going to be a bigger bag-holder than old Herbert Hoover in 1929.

    The salutary part of the story is that such an epochal crack-up will sweep the establishment out of power.

    Hillary represents so much that has gone wrong in American public life under the Baby Boomer regime. The fact that she will be the oldest president ever at inauguration itself says a lot about the limitless cupidity of the Boomer political gen. They just don’t know when to stop.

    It’s history’s job to stop them now, nature’s way, by seating them at the banquet of consequences for all their poisonous cookery and quackery.


    Who wants to be our next one-term president? Step right up …

    1. ambrit

      H Clinton can be our next 31 day wonder.
      Hmmm… The next Republican candidate can run on a platform of “99 01 or fight!”

    2. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      October 3, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      Kunstler article:
      But wait a minute…! Here’s something to consider: a proposition put out by David McAlvany on his podcast last week: To Understand Election 2016 You Have to See 2020. (The new podcast is posted on Wednesdays, so to listen after Oct 5 you’ll have to click back a week.) The idea is that the winner of the presidential election is sure to be the biggest loser because the global economy is in the process of tanking, Long Emergency style, and the global finance system is going down with it. Whoever presides over this fiasco from the White House is going to be a bigger bag-holder than old Herbert Hoover in 1929.

      The salutary part of the story is that such an epochal crack-up will sweep the establishment out of power. In the present case, this means discrediting the crony-capitalist, revolving-door grifters of the Wall Street / Washington axis, plus the neo-con military empire-builders bent on starting World War Three for profit, plus the economic central planners of the Federal Reserve whose desperate meddlings have nearly destroyed the necessary operations and meaning of money. And the cherries on top to get thrown out with the rest of this giant shit sundae would be the campus cultural Maoists. In short, vote for Hillary and let history flush them all out of the system.

      I am not nearly so sanguine that even our pro forma elections would be held in such a scenario. I don’t see Hillary being a good Hoover and acquiescing to some alternative when there is such a financial apocalypse – strong measures are needed by an EXPERIENCED, seasoned government official. I can hear the rationales that in such a dire economic emergency that affects NATIONAL SECURITY there has to be continuity – I can hear all the former Goldman Sachs – uh, er, I mean US Treasury secretaries saying the circumstances are so grave that continuity is the most important factor in restoring “confidence”….

      (funny how religion needs “faith” and economies need “confidence” – apparently, accounting has very little to do with economies…..so Judy Garland was right, “There’s no place like confidence, There’s no place like confidence, There’s no place like confidence, Iowa ((sorry Kansas – your just not confident enough))

      1. BecauseTradition

        – apparently, accounting has very little to do with economies… fresno dan

        Not when the liabilities of the banks toward the general population are a sham.

    3. Skippy

      Does boomers equate monetarists or the dominate economic school of Marginalism…. oh silly me that’s what enables tropes like boomers to exist.

      Disheveled Marsupial…. self licking philosophy

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > under the Baby Boomer regime

      Gotta know your enemy. Kunstler doesn’t. I mean, take Travis Kalanick, famous Silicon Valley crook and squillionaire (sorry for the multiple redundancies). A Boomer? No. And on and on and on.

  14. readerOfTeaLeaves

    If Marla Maples leaked those tax returns, she has done something worthwhile in her life.
    Whoever leaked them is an anonymous hero/ine.

    Snail mail may be the tortoise to the email hare, but I think that Trump’s 1995 tax return bombshell adds a new meaning for the term ‘going postal’ ;-)

  15. Pavel

    Hillary on Trump’s tax returns:

    Clinton hits Trump: ‘What kind of genius loses a billion dollars?’

    Here’s a somewhat related question: What kind of genius votes for a pointless, illegal, lie-based war that will cost taxpayers $3 trillion (that’s TRILLION not BILLION) dollars over the long term?

    Just wondering.

    1. Jim Haygood

      One of Hillary’s defenses against criticism of the failed Whitewater project was along the lines of “There couldn’t have been any corruption because we lost money on the deal.”

      Wikipedia says, “The Clintons lost between $37,000 and $69,000 on their Whitewater investment; this was less than [their partners] the McDougals lost.”

      Reportedly, Hillary was furious with Jim McDougal. She had no concept that a risky investment in property development could lose money. She still doesn’t.

      1. Pavel

        Shorter Hillary Clinton: “We tried to grift the system, but we were too stupid to know we might lose money on the deal.”

        Just the sort of person who is “the most qualified person ever to be president” — Copyright (C) 2016, Barack Obama.

        1. fresno dan

          Whoops Jim – I see your already on this! I should know better than to think I could find something about Clintoon before you!!!
          I really should start reading the comments in chronological order…

          1. Jim Haygood

            If this forum allowed signatures, we could post that letter every day.

            Or the synopisis:

            James “syscrusher” Comey’s silver hammer came down on her HDD.

    2. Roger Smith

      On the taxes, isn’t the conclusion that Trump did not pay taxes just a “might not have”? I thought this whole this was hypothetical and further that the Clinton’s 2015 returns showed them doing the same thing?

      All rich people game the system. That is a huge part of politics. Once again, like with clothing articles, Trump is being blamed for a game he did not create. Now even putting profit motive aside, if someone wants to start a clothing line and sees that almost all of their manufacturing options are abroad, where do you think they are most likely to contract?

      The worst thing about the Clinton’s is that they know exactly what they are doing, in so far as what they want and how to get it. They fail in the details as time goes by, but it still has not derailed them.

      1. cwaltz

        Are you sure the guy who “buys” politicians(his words, not mine) is not at least partially responsible for the gamed system?

        I’m not. The reason rules are created are because lobbyists lobby for them. In this case during the 90s the real estate industry lobbied to restore the ability to write off losses as personal income as long as you had 750 hours as a real estate “professional.” They did this as a result of a tax reform in 1986 that closed a loophole that allowed ANYONE to write off losses with regards to real estate.

        If you think Trump is above protecting his own then you might want to read more about his tax policies.


        And all the rich people who “game the system” should be called out for the punks that they are. This whole entire idea childish position that it’s okay to act like a jerk because “everybody does it” is exactly why we are looking at two crappy candidates that everyone wants to vote against instead of for.

      2. redleg

        They don’t “game the system”. The system is being used as designed.

        It’s all about perspective- feature, not bug.

    3. hunkerdown

      Only users lose drugs.

      Also what Roger Smith said. Rich people are rich because they game the system. There’d be no other reason to make them better than the rest of us otherwise.

    4. Waldenpond

      Too easy to respond with – what person steals from the victims in Haiti via a scam foundation?

    5. Donald

      Not her fault. Dubya outfoxed her. She believed him.

      This is our great foreign policy expert, fooled by an idiot. Or that’s the defense. I don’t believe it.

      I am actually voting for her, btw, on lesser evil grounds. Gotta stop Trump. But it’s a tad difficult to whip up enthusiasm.

      1. cwaltz

        Are you sure she’s the lesser evil.

        If you are of draft age or have children that might be drafted you might want to reconsider.

        Her position that she can create a no fly zone over a sovereign nation(Syria) that isn’t ours is likely to start WW3 since Russia has stated it will be construed as an act of aggression. Syria borders their country by the way.

        She’s pretty dangerous.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Most of Clinton Inc’s victims are black and brown, so who cares? Or Serbs…of course in racial hierarchy they tend to be looked down upon.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Dubya outfoxed her

        Well, what does that say?

        I started blogging in the year of the Iraq WMDs, and was as plain as day to anyone who read the newspapers carefully that the entire WMD case was concocted. It was like playing whack-a-mole; knock down the yellow cake uranium, up would come the aluminum tubes, and on and on and on. (Only later did we find out that it wasn’t “like” playing whack-a-mole; it was whack-a-mole, since the stories were planted in the press, coordinated by the White House Iraq Group.)

        So if a gaggle of foul-mouthed bloggers of the left could get the story right, what does it say about Clinton that she got it wrong?

        It’s also not at all clear that Clinton made an informed decision on Iraq, since she didn’t read the classified version of the National Intelligence Estimate, which included skeptical material. Given that Clinton is known to like digging into the detail, that suggests to me an intellectual bias toward war; supported by her actions in tipping the balance in the administration toward intervention in Libya, to disastrous effect.

        It’s Clinton’s propensity to war that makes me dubious about the lesser evilism frame favoring Clinton. All the neocons are joining her for a good reason. If anyone thinks they don’t want war with Assad (which means war with Russia) they’re deluded about what nutcakes those people are.

        1. aab

          Is there any evidence that Hillary Clinton actually likes “digging into the detail”? I realize when she was still mentally competent she could memorize detailed talking points and regurgitate them without teleprompters and earpieces, and her web site is packed with detailed descriptions of her supposed policies. But did she ever actually do any real work on her own that anyone can prove? Several of her current policies fall apart on the slightest examination. They’re mostly bullshit — I don’t mean bad, I mean “bullshit” in the sort of technical sense, that it’s verbiage designed to achieve some persuasion goal that is fundmentally smoke and mirrors. Her talking points and policies typically use complexity to deceive and distract. You don’t have to understand policy well to do that. It’s like how a magician who can trick you into thinking he can saw a woman in half doesn’t actually have to know how to cut a body in two.

          My memory of Hillarycare was that it wasn’t just neoliberal corruption drawn up in secret and then lobbied for in such a way as to offend and insult the people expected to pass it. Wasn’t it also overly complex and unworkable? Is there any evidence whatsoever that she has personally mastered any complex issue and then made a decision based on that learning process? It seems to me her Iraq vote is emblematic of her style: decide what’s in your self-interest, do it, then create whatever justification necessary through whatever means is easiest for you. I mean, even knowing she was going to vote for the war, she could have read the briefing books. I thought being incurious was a Republican leadership trait.

    6. cwaltz

      Actually HERE’S Donald’s comeback….

      Starting in 2010, the Foundation reported on its IRS tax return for three consecutive years that it received no donations from foreign government sources. It wasn’t as if they didn’t know how to report them. In prior years, the Foundation reported tens of millions of dollars in such donations. Then, after Mrs. Clinton resigned as Secretary of State, the Foundation again began accepting donations from foreign governments. Of course, it has now once again pledged to stop accepting them. This time do they mean it? Does Mrs. Clinton?

      What kind of genius doesn’t know the difference between a foreign government and our government?

    7. rich

      What kind of genius allows this????????

      The Pardon of Marc Rich: How Hillary Clinton Served as the “Secret Weapon” for One of the Biggest Tax Cheats in American History

      President-in-waiting Hillary Clinton has never addressed her role in the midnight pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich. In fact, she’s rarely been asked her opinion on the free pass given to one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, a man who violated embargoes against Iran and South Africa and fled the country rather than face trial in what was billed as “the biggest tax evasion case in history.” Hillary has variously said that she was “unaware” of the decision and “surprised” by it. When pressed, she merely cackles.

      Even though 300 pages of core documents relating to the pardon decision remain under seal at the Clinton Library, a review of the available record tells a much different story. In fact, the Rich legal team viewed Hillary as a “secret weapon,” and as one door after another closed on their search for a pardon they focused more and more on invoking what Rich lawyer Robert Fink called the “HRC option.”


      And maybe this revelation regarding DT tax return will help bring attention to all the lobbying and tax subsidies going on in the real estate industry plus maybe the IRS will audit all the real estate magnates, holding companies, and related….

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Or perhaps someone would mention her vote for the “free trade agreement” with Panama, the global nexus of the $34 *trillion* tax dodging empire? I know, I know, her Panama vote was so, you know, all those Panamanian mangoes could get imported with no tariffs, and create all those new jobs for tax-free Panamanian mango importers.

      2. Cry Shop

        Marc Rich and Pincus Green. Marc liked the publicity, so he’s better known, but his partner in crime, Green, was also getting a washing by the Clintons. Green’s list of evil is even longer than Rich’s.

  16. Kokuanani

    The Hill noted that “President Trump” would have to deal with gridlock despite a Republican House & Senate

    Even with total GOP control of the Senate, the House and the White House, President Trump is likely to face pure obstruction from Capitol Hill. Trump has broken with years of conservative Republican orthodoxy on free trade, military interventionism, U.S. participation in NATO and, recently, paid maternity leave.

    Um, did they go on to note what would happen under a Republican congress and a president [Hillary] who supports many of those Republican wet dreams?

    1. John k

      Pls the DNC, and most of the anti progressive congress dems…
      Lambert is hoping for gridlock, not gonna happen under Hillary.
      Anybody notice MSM already beating the war drums?

  17. hunkerdown

    On Brock having FOXACID… I just checked into my yahoo mail account and found a ton of spam from Paul Ryan and other big right-wing names. (For the crime of having been on the Bernie lists, I might imagine.) Can’t tell whether Brock claiming to have FOXACID in their quiver (or some other spearphishing tool) is correct or not — this is real third-world dictator kinda stuff here — but the pile of spam in my inbox is evidence pro. Might have to spin up a disposable VM and see what’s going on there.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I’m glad someone else is noticing this, even in our age of outrage fatigue this one is a jaw-dropper, the White House giving the nation’s top secret NSA spying capabilities to one of the potential candidates for the highest office in the land.
      This is so far beyond Stasi that the mind just reels.

  18. aj

    2016 Election Anecdote

    Had some Hillary ladies stop by the house yesterday early evening. I don’t know where they got my info except that I had to register as a Democrat to vote for Bernie in the primaries and attending a few neighborhood Bernie events. They were specifically there for me though as they pulled into the drive and didn’t do any other neighborhood canvassing. I was indisposed at the time, so my wife talked with them in the drive for a few minutes. They wanted to make sure we were registered for early voting and that we remember to vote. They didn’t pass out any Clinton propaganda but were very clearly wearing the H-> arrow buttons. Lucky for them, they left before being subjected to my opinions about Hillary Clinton.

  19. OIFVet

    A credentialed liberal’s lament, from the FB status of a friend:

    “Let Gary Debate”! – Why? So people with as tenuous a grasp on what is going on in the world have a candidate that represents them? You couldn’t find that in Trump? When will it stop!

    This from a person who has gone after Trump’s hate mongering at least once a week over the past several months.

    1. jrs

      Well it’s probably only fair if we let Jill Stein debate. And so what is their stance on “Let Jill Stein Debate”?

      Btw thinking Russia hacked the DNC is pretty tenuous grasp on the world, of course Hillary knows better she just lies, and well that’s all there is to say about her.

  20. fosforos

    The “Cotard’s syndrome” article proceeds as if everyone always meant the same by the words “exist” and “existence.” But that is obviously not the case, and the article gave no definitions, absolutely no sense of how it wants us to understand them. Do I exist?–a Buddhist would have no logical problem at all in answering no, because she uses the terms “myself” and “exist” according to the language of Buddhism. It is like the question of the existence of God (singular–“the gods” refers to an entirely different concept of a divine being). Atheism challenges the theist to provide noncontradictory definitions of the words “exist” and “God” that reflect both his theology (in the case of “god”) and any possible ordinary-language use of the word “exist.” I have never read or heard any theist come anywhere close to meeting that challenge.

  21. Synoia

    Why monorail failed: No point, no way to switch the train to another track.

    The Bezzle: “Stratfor: The Hype About the Hyperloop” [Fabius Maximus].

    Two problems:

    1. No points (switch to another tunnel or track)
    2. Maintaining the vacuum is difficult and energy intensive, and if there is a puncture, the result will be catastrophic (red paste

    Earthquakes and tunnel integrity seem to produce no good answers.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      -they differ on abortion. Obviously, Stein and Paul disagree too, but Paul might not like Johnson’s weasel nature.
      -does Johnson know where other countries are? I don’t know if Paul is say an isolationist or simply not a monster.
      -Marijuana and drug policy. There is a difference between people who would like to smoke pot and watch Point Break and people opposed to the drug war industrial complex and who would want pot to be used for pain management. There should be a serious medical Marijuana policy that might be ignored by “hey, man just legalize it” attitude, once the yuppies can smoke In the park.
      -TPP disagreement
      -it’s possible Paul simply thinks Johnson is a dope.

      Did Ron Paul run as a libertarian? Have I forgotten this? Im serious. It sounds plausible. A strong showing by Johnson/Weld?? would make Johnson America’s number one crank, not Ryan, and Rand might not have embarrassed himself. An upright Trump would be winning right now. I am surprised Rand didn’t harp on Iraq and trade, or it might be him instead of Trump right now.

      1. jrs

        Medical marijuana is a joke, it’s a phantom and doesn’t exist (to the marijuana doctor: “oh doctor I have trouble sleeping, or I’m anxious, or my back hurts etc.” Then you get your medical marijuana no questions asked, no diagnosis done). Although it might have other problems legalization is at least an honest policy. Medical marijuana isn’t.

        I don’t know what Rons position on the TPP is, that’s interesting.

        1. Tom Allen

          During Prohibition, the US government certified some doctors to prescribe alcohol to their patients for “medicinal purposes” — such as treating cancer or depression. The phrase rapidly became a punchline.

      2. cwaltz

        Johnson would leave abortion to the states which would effectively abolish it in some states which was Paul’s exact viewpoint when he ran.

        TPP actually is pretty consistent with the position of open markets and non government regulation of corporate entities which also is very libertarian.

        Paul was pro legalizing pot. He felt the drug war was a waste of resources. He felt it simply should be regulated like alcohol which seems pretty consistent with Johnson as well.

        Johnson is short on foreign policy experience- this might be the one area I could see Paul reasonably having issues with Johnson.

        Ron Paul ran as a libertarian prior to running GOP for the same reason that Sanders ran as a Democrat. Both knew that third parties face huge disadvantages when it comes to campaigning.

        I don’t particularly like Ron Paul so this half endorsement was somewhat surprising to me. It’s hard to believe that Paul would like someone like Stein who truly seems to genuinely believe in regulatory controls for business over someone like Johnson who essentially is taking libertarianism to its natural conclusion by essentially allowing business to police itself and telling governments that they have no right to say what a company can and can not do (like the TPP would allow.)

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s obviously about Rand.

      What has Trump really done as the GOP leader?
      -the culture wars over the White House are now about whether he called someone fat
      -prayer? Shrub practically wept bibles in public
      -the utter humiliation of the Bush clan and their foreign policy
      -Trump demonstrated money isn’t as relevant as “political strategists” and the media would have you believe. Yes, Trump was a celebrity, but if Rand had a better message earlier, he could be Trump right now despite his disinterest in raising money.

      1. cwaltz

        Yeah my viewpoint is something is going on here that I’m not seeing.

        Nevermind, I think I figured it out. Anyone considering Gary Johnson might want to look carefully at his RUNNING MATE.

        Here’s Weld’s bio-

        When Weld was governor, he increased increased gun regulations, environmental regulations, and used eminent domain. Afterwards, he supported the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and Obamacare. He endorsed Obama in 2008, Romney in 2012, and John Kasich just a few months ago. The last wants to start multiple wars in the Middle East and let the government into your phone.


        Johnson’s views may be fairly similar to Paul’s but Weld’s don’t fit the bill at all.

        1. cm

          Gary Johnson is a sham. He supports private prisons. New Mexico ran deeper into debt while he was governor. His previous campaign ran into debt (counter to libertarian principles).

          Johnson is simply an opportunist. Anyone who is thinking about voting for Johnson should instead vote for Stein to concentrate the “third party effect.”

          1. cwaltz

            Private prisons would also seem to be libertarianism to it’s natural conclusion since a small government leads to everything being farmed out to for profit entities.

            I’m not a libertarian because I strongly believe that business entities, whose main purpose is pursuing profit, need regulatory controls. However, I do have a civil/social libertarian bent. I don’t agree with things like the Patriot Act or the spying the telecoms did that were given retroactive immunity and I’m not sure how anyone who supports those things could be considered libertarian.

  22. allan

    Many U.S. teachers can’t afford to buy a house [PBS Newshour]

    Perhaps another salary-related grievance for teachers: Depending on where they live, buying a home can be far out of reach.

    In a new report, the National Housing Conference, a nonprofit that advocates for affordable housing, analyzed 210 metro areas and whether workers in public education — from bus drivers to teachers — could afford to buy or rent a home. (The report did not account for a second income in the household.)

    High school teachers had a median income of $56,882, making it possible for them to rent a two-bedroom home in 94 percent of the metro areas analyzed. One of the 12 metro areas where teachers cannot afford the typical rent is Honolulu—a factor in Hawaii’s recent teacher retention and recruitment struggles. …

  23. Jay M

    I sat back in my bunker and swilled sulfurous ice cubes chilling cheap vodka and canned tomato juice in my plush bunker. The self driving car was scratching the roll up door and whining as if it desired companionship. Somebody hacked the thing and programmed it to deliver 5 Red Skelton jokes to be entertaining. I’d shoot it, but I need transportation. Outside the blast zone the roads are in pretty good shape, the GPS didn’t go down. I spot some ships off shore from above, looks like the Chinese flag. The ocean seems to be flooding the lower areas on the coast. Fast

    1. clarky90

      A band of deplorables have found the exhaust vent of my $32,007,942 underground bunker……. Damn. What will they do? They are laughing uproariously. It sounds as if some of them are the dreaded Bernie Bros Gang

  24. clarky90

    Powerful Hurricane Matthew to unleash life-threatening flooding in Haiti, Cuba and Bahamas


    Thank God that the Haitians are prepared for the devastation. Thanks to the Good Work done by the humanitarian, Clinton Foundation. They used the hundreds of millions of dollars donated to them- often by very poor people themselves, to accomplish this miracle! (Sarcasm) (In fact, Hillary spent the money on herself)

    1. katiebird

      This makes me sick with worry. Those poor people. Can’t something be done in advance of the storm?

  25. cm

    Scott Adams writes about how he was censored on Twitter, had a speech cancellation, and suffers bogus Amazon reviews from Clinton drones.

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