2:00PM Water Cooler 10/6/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The U.S. Coalition for TPP on Wednesday highlighted the first anniversary of the beleaguered Pacific Rim trade deal being completed and used the milestone to once again call on Congress to approve the deal before the end of the year. In a press release, the coalition argued that the deal would benefit U.S. industry, workers and the economy while also advancing “core American values” including transparency and non-discrimination” [Politico]. FWIW, I listen to a sociopathic podcast from the heart of the blob called “The Editor’s Roundtable,” because the Beltway voices are soothing and help me fall asleep. The participants universally believe that TPP is dead, dead, dead. But then they hate Obama and love Clinton.

“U.S. and EU trade officials huddled in New York City this week for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks say they’re in full-on negotiating mode, but any progress they make in the next couple of days likely isn’t enough to move the deal to completion before the end of the year” [Politico]. “More than three years after the negotiations began, the 15th round of discussions this week remains focused on the micro level: completing work on legal text, resolving technical differences on regulatory cooperation provisions, and tinkering with tariff phase-out periods for those products that would see duties eliminated. At this point, negotiators may wind up just preparing the deal for hibernation until the next president takes over — but it could be a deal that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump might be able to support.”


Days until: 32.

The Voters

Latest state polls: MI: Clinton 43%, Trump 32%, Johnson 10% (Detroit Free Press); AZ: Clinton 44%, Trump 42%, Johnson 9% (Emerson); FL: Trump 45%, Clinton 44%, Johnson 4% (Emerson); NV: Clinton 43%, Trump 43%, Johnson 9% (Emerson); FL: Clinton 41%, Trump 38%, Johnson 6% (University of North Florida); NH: Clinton 44%, Trump 42%, Johnson 5% (Suffolk) [Political Wire].

UPDATE The Times has a neat interactive, titled “The 1,024 Ways Clinton or Trump Can Win the Election”; it shows the “paths to victory” in tree form. Try it yourself! [New York Times]. So I took the state polls above, and plugged them in: I gave FL, NC, OH to Trump. Then I gave VA, PA to Clinton. At that point, Clinton had 11 ways to win, and Trump 19, with the states remaining being WI, CO, IA, NV, NH. I gave WI to Trump (Walker, even if Clinton is up in the polls). I gave NV to Clinton (Reid, even though the race is tight). I gave CO to Clinton. That brought it down to Iowa. Based on polling, IA leans Trump. So I gave IA to Trump, and he won. Of course, this is just light-hearted punditry, it’s not a serious prediction. But the moral of the story is that despite the usual inevitability tropes from Democrats — and how they combine that with flop-sweat anxiety, I’ll never understand — it’s still a race.

“A close look at the race, gender, age and education of the people surveyed by major polling organizations gives a more detailed picture of the voters behind the numbers—and which candidate is winning them over” [Bloomberg].

And then there’s this:

Dunno if Trump can get the turnout he needs from “his” voters. Maybe he should offer a “Make America Great” hat to everyone who sends him a selfie from a polling station. Announce it at the next debate. I mean, who much could that cost, especially compared to normal GOTV?

“Small business says Trump is their pick for president” [CNBC].


“The Developing World Thinks Hitler Is Underrated” [Foreign Policy]. So it’s no wonder, as the country outside the Acela Corridor approaches Third World status, that the same thinking emerges here.

“Own up to NAFTA, Democrats: Trump is right that the terrible trade pact was Bill Clinton’s baby” [Salon]. “The usually whip-smart Rachel Maddow made a mind-boggling error the day after the Clinton-Trump debate. Her first 14 minutes were fine, but when she turned to fact-checking Trump, the first of the ‘untrue things’ she chose to correct was not untrue at all. ‘Bill Clinton did not sign NAFTA,’ Maddow said. ‘George H.W. Bush signed NAFTA.’ Actually, it was both.” I’m not sure about the idiom “whip smart.” It makes the role of the credentialed 10% witih respect to the rest of us uncomfortably evident.

“Why Did the Obamas Fail to Take On Corporate Agriculture?” [Michael Pollan, New York Times]. Let me guess….

Our Famously Free Press

The headline: “Against Donald Trump” [The Atlantic]. Contrast the URL: “the-case-for-hillary-clinton-and-against-donald-trump.” I imagine the number of votes shifted by this editorial will be in the single digits, naturally.

Swing States

“The Daily 202: How Rob Portman pulled away in Ohio” [WaPo]. One thing leaped out at me: Portman got leglslation passed on the opioid epidemic, and Strickland had no policy response. Of course, since the opioid epidemic affects the (white) working class, the AIDS-level excess deaths are not a Democrat priority.


“In battle for the Senate, Democrats now have a narrow edge” [WaPo]. I might have to vote for Trump!

The Trail

The Obama administration is moving to dismiss charges against an arms dealer it had accused of selling weapons that were destined for Libyan rebels. Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion” [Politico]. “The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State, and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.” “Justice” Department does Clinton another solid.

Democrat Email Hairballs

“Guccifer 2.0’s October 3rd 2016 Data Drop – Old News? (7 Duplicates out of 2085 files” [Another Word for It]. Based on file names, the latest Guccifer dump is new (only seven file names are dupes).

There seems to be a news blackout on the latest Clinton email dump. From McClatchy:

[On Wednesday,] the conservative group Citizens United released a new batch of emails that show the close relationship between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton Foundation. It obtained them through a lawsuit filed against the State Department after its Freedom of Information Act request went unanswered.

“New emails show intersection of Clinton Foundation, State Dept., paid speeches” [Washington Examiner].

Emails showed Clinton’s aides teamed up with the [Clinton Foundation] to perform donor maintenance, craft messaging on key policies and put together guest lists for both diplomatic and philanthropic events. State Department staffers were often asked to advise Clinton’s husband on how to handle politically-fraught speaking engagements or foundation events, such as an effort to bring the new Libyan president to a Clinton Global Initiative meeting that was held less than two weeks after the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

The trove of roughly 200 pages of records made public Wednesday was just the latest and most convincing indication that, rather than operate as an independent organization, the Clinton Foundation leaned heavily on the State Department to expand its global reach.

But authorities are unlikely to take any action against Clinton or her staff, despite the fact that they violated a Memorandum of Understanding with the White House in which they had pledged to avoid the appearance of conflicts with the foundation….

Huma Abedin, then Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, had the most contact with employees of the Clinton Foundation. Her cozy relationship with the charity earned her a paycheck in 2012, when the State Department approved an unusual personnel arrangement that allowed her to accept employment at the State Department and a controversial consulting firm called Teneo Strategies without leaving her agency position.

In Sept. 2009, for example, Abedin and Doug Band, then a foundation employee who went on to found Teneo, discussed who would make contact with a handful of top donors and insiders at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York City.

Those donors included John Kao, a former advisor to Clinton, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, and Jan Piercy, a “good friend” of Clinton’s, according to Abedin.

Abedin proposed splitting up “pull asides” among herself, Clinton and Band at the end of the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

And plenty more on the Clinton Dynasty’s use of public office for private gain.

Stats Watch

Chain Store Sales, September 2016: “The handful of retailers that continue to report monthly sales are mostly reporting much weaker sales rates in September” [Econoday].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of October 2, 2016: “[C]ontinues to trend below other readings on consumer confidence” [Econoday].

Jobless Claims, week of October 1, 2016: “Jobless claims keep moving lower and lower in what is definitive evidence of labor market strength” [Econoday]. Or evidence that it’s harder to make claims: “This low, and not adjusted for population- tell me it’s not because they are much harder to get, thanks!” [Mosler Economics]. But: “The trend of the 4 week moving average is continuing to marginally trend down. On the other hand, the trend of year-over-year improvement of initial unemployment claims is moderating – and this trend historically indicates a weakening GDP” [Econintersect].

Challenger Job-Cut Report, September 2016: “Layoff announcements rose 44,324 in September, up from August’s very low 32,188 [Econoday]. “Education is at the top of September’s layoff list, at 8,671 and reflecting the bankruptcy of ITT Technical Institute which had 130 campuses spread across the country. Retail is second.”

Gallup Good Jobs Rate, September 2016: “Down from the 46.5 percent measured in August but still higher than any other September rate recorded” [Econoday]. “GGJ typically peaks in June and July with summer employment and falls through autumn, so the decline from the record 47.1 percent in July is in line with typical seasonal patterns.” Summer jobs are good jobs?

Labor: “Anecdotes for this month’s employment report are biased stronger with 8 positive anecdotes vs. 3 negative ones” [Ian Lyngen, Across the Curve]. “In fact, we’d argue the details are even more positive as the negative proxies include the historical NFP [Non-Farm Payroll] bias and Empire State. On the other hand, this month’s positive anecdotes are the more relevant ones including ISM non-manufacturing, ISM manufacturing, the Labor Differential and claims – with several employment gauges as recent highs.”

Labor: “A fresh report from the Freelancers Union now shows that nearly 55 million Americans are freelancing. If you tally this up against the Labor Department data it means that 35% of the work force is made up of freelancers” [247 Wall Street]. Yikes!

Labor: “The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Seattle by drivers for Amazon.com and Amazon Logistics Inc., alleges the company violated federal labor law by classifying them as contractors rather than employees. The drivers are seeking back wages, overtime pay and compensation for fuel, car maintenance and other expenses” [Wall Street Journal, “Delivery Drivers Sue Amazon, Alleging Violation of Labor Laws”]. Surely an artificial distinction in these days of the precariat? Why shouldn’t everyone get overtime, for example?

Shipping: “Heaps of Hanjin Containers Clog SoCal Docks” [Sourcing Journal]. “Once terminals finally started releasing Hanjin goods for pick up, many weren’t allowing truckers to return the empty containers after unloading and truckers didn’t want to get stuck with them—though many have them piled up in their storage yards. Many of those containers have stayed at the ports and are starting to pile up. According to the Orange County Register, as many as 15,000 cargo containers either owned or leased by Hanjin have nowhere to go…. Chassis shortage could soon be an even bigger problem also brought on by the Hanjin bankruptcy. Because the containers are idle in storage yards and many truckers don’t have the special trailer used to transport ocean containers, the containers haven’t been removed from the chassis and are essentially being held hostage.” The effects of the longshoreman’s strike took a solid year to work themselves through the system. My guess is that Hanjin knock-in effects will be smaller, but boy, is this messed up!

Shipping: “The shipping industry’s consolidation wave is extending to China’s sprawling shipyards. The country’s biggest state-owned shipping companies plan to merge 11 shipbuilding yards into a single entity as they cope with collapsing vessel orders” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Optimism returning to dry bulk” [Lloyd’s List]. “Dry bulk owners are seeing the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.At a Capital Link event in London on Wednesday, executives from six companies said they were expecting better rates next year, as supply-demand fundamentals were showing signs of improvement.”

Retail: ” Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to make a big pivot: instead of building more massive supercenters to drive growth, the retailer hopes to become an e-commerce powerhouse that draws more shoppers to existing stores” [Wall Street Journal, “Wal-Mart to Pull Back on Store Openings”]. “New store growth will slow significantly. The retailer expects to build 35 new supercenters in fiscal 2018, down from 69 last year. Even growth of the company’s smaller format Neighborhood Markets will slow, down to 20 new stores in fiscal 2018 from 161 built last year.”

Honey for the Bears: ” 5 signs point to cycle’s grand finale in mid-2017″ [Hotel News Notes]. “I don’t prescribe to the falling-off-the-steep-cliff theory for this cycle (insert obligatory ‘unless there’s a black swan event’ here). But the end of the cycle, which for purposes of this article is defined as revenue-per-available-room growth, is coming. Here are five takeaways from recent conferences that lead me to that conclusion.”

Canada: “Canadian building permits increased in value by 10.4% in August, which was a much higher than expected increase” [Economic Calendar]. “The data is inevitably volatile on a monthly view, but there will be some net boost to confidence.”

Germany: “German factory orders rose a seasonally and price-adjusted 1.0% for August following a revised 0.3% gain the previous month. The increase was above market expectations” [Economic Calendar]. “The data will help underpin confidence in the domestic economy with expectations of stronger consumer demand and the increase in orders from elsewhere in the Eurozone.”

The Bezzle: “A painting sold by Sotheby’s as the work of Dutch artist Frans Hals for £8.4m has been reassessed by the auction house as fake, triggering fears that more multimillion dollar Old Master works will be exposed as the work of a highly skilled forger” [Financial Times, “Old Master market reels from Sotheby’s fake assessment”]. “Bendor Grosvenor, an art historian, said the ‘master faker’ who created the forgery was in his opinion ‘the best ever’. The repercussions for the Old Master market were hard to overestimate, he said, since it relied on judgments of authenticity provided by a host of experts, academics and museums.” I blame Putin.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 49, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 38 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 6 at 12:41pm.

Dear Old Blighty

“The Great British Bake Off: how a ‘millennium wheel of lard’ stole the show – plus the rest of the action from Dessert Week” [Telegraph]. There’ll always be an England.

“Scottish nationalist fury at ‘arrogant’ May government” [Politico Europe (J-LS)].

“The proposal by Amber Rudd, home secretary, at this week’s Conservative party conference would force UK companies to disclose the proportion of overseas staff they employ to ensure jobs are not being taken from local workers. Ms Rudd denied this was a racist policy, saying it was merely aimed at ‘nudging’ employers towards “better behaviour'” Financial Times, “World leaders dismayed at UK plans to curb foreign workers”]. Will Cass Sunstein please pick up the white courtesy phone? And meanwhile:

” ‘I’d do it all over again’: last hurrah for the veterans of Cable Street ” [Guardian]. “It was a day that shaped Willie Myers’s life. A few weeks before his 15th birthday, the Jewish lad from the East End of London joined thousands to block the passage of fascists through their community.” There’s a Cable Street in Ankh-Morpork, I believe.


“California Keeps On Farming, With or Without Water” [Bloomberg]. “A closer look at the 2015 crop statistics for California’s top farm counties still leaves an observer (me) astounded at how little impact the drought had on production…. [T[hey can’t just keep pumping and pumping…. Barring a series of very wet years, the state’s farming counties are going to keep getting less surface water than they want and pumping from the ground to make ends meet. Until, one of these years, the wells run dry.”

“Lake Baikal: The world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, in pictures” [International Business Times].

Health Care

“ObamaCare exchange buyers will have only one option in nearly a third of American counties, according to an August report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s a 300% increase in single-option counties from last year. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have approved rates leading to average premium increases next year of over 26%” [Wall Street Journal, “ObamaCare’s Meltdown Has Arrived”].


“A previously unmapped fault has been discovered running parallel to the famous San Andreas Fault line, scientists have announced. Named the Salton Trough Fault, researchers believe it could shed light on why the area is far overdue a large earthquake” [International Business Times].

“Planet in star system nearest our Sun ‘may have oceans'” [Agence France Presse]. “‘In both cases, a thin, gassy atmosphere could surround the planet, like on Earth, rendering Proxima b potentially habitable,’ [France’s CNRS research institute] concluded.” Of course, to get there, we’d have to break the galactic quarantine of the solar system.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“A Pentagon investigation has concluded that Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s former senior military aide [who was fired a year ago] used his government credit card at strip clubs or gentlemen’s clubs in Rome and Seoul, drank in excess and had ‘improper interactions’ with women” [AP]. We’re running an empire and Europe and South Korea are our military protectorates. I don’t know why anyone is surprised at what goes on outside the garrison gates.

Class Warfare

“For the last two years, [Uber] has sponsored initiatives to encourage teachers to moonlight as chauffeurs. The campaigns differ from city to city and from year to year. In 2014, the Uber campaign’s discomfiting motto was ‘Teachers: Driving Our Future.’ In 2015, Uber offered teachers in Chicago a summer job; to sweeten the deal, the ride-share company gave a $250 bonus to any teacher who signed up to drive by a certain date and completed 10 car trips. In Oregon, Uber notifies riders when their driver is a teacher and trumpets the fact that three percent of each fare goes back to the driver’s classroom. The company also offers a $5,000 bonus to the school with the most active drivers” [Capital and Main]. ‘”Teachers are killing themselves,” [Barry, a teacher] says. ‘I shouldn’t be having to drive Uber 8 o’clock on a weekday. I just shut down from the mental toll: grading papers in between rides, thinking of what I could be doing instead of driving—like creating a curriculum.'”

“Roughly half of U.S. adults believe there will be less job security over the next 20 or 30 yeas, and 44% believe employee benefits will not be as good over that time period, according to a [Pew Research] survey in a major new report” [Market Watch] (original). The answer [drumroll please]: Credentials!

News of the Wired

On Open Whisper, et al [Pando].

* * *

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. Foppe

    is ‘smart as a whip’ short for ‘not really all that clever, but wins the argument anyway, because of the willingness to employ violence in order to deny/silence others’ voices’?

    1. Plenue

      The type of person who loves Rachel Maddow is exactly the type of person who spends a lot of time hanging out on heavily moderated hugbox Tumblr’s where real debate is banned.

      The role of people like Maddow and Hayes is to have the appearance of intelligence with none of the substance. As well as the appearance of non-partisan objectivity by occasionally very lightly critiquing the Democrats while carefully staying away from anything too substantive or damning. It’s the Jon Stewart schtick, only without the paper thin shield of being ‘satire’. Its job is to make liberals feel smart and superior; people who seldom actually sit down and read a serious book or look beyond MSM coverage of world events, yet constantly berate Republicans for being ‘low information voters’.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        My, my, my. Tell us what you really think.
        I have no doubts that Hayes and Maddow are intelligent people. But yes, they have that “smug elitism” about them that I have also found distasteful. What is worse is that they obviously have put a “price” on themselves that the Clinton campaign is more than willing to pay.

        1. bob

          “Hayes and Maddow”

          Prove they’re not the same person, first.

          “I have no doubts that Hayes and Maddow are intelligent people”

          I do. Lots of them. Veal pen posts for barbed wire.

          Your name suits you. Progressive- Giving up from the beginning of the fight… for ….what exactly? To be *fair*? For a paycheck? Smug sense of being above everyone who disagrees?

          I’ll concede that you’re a troll. That’s about it.

      2. Paula

        The smart and superior thing is a reason why…Trump.
        We should be nicer to conservatives. Gay marriage makes the scene. Time to absorb. BAM! Guys in drag are in the MacDonald’s ladies’ room.
        And remember, there’s no T-word for “trailer trash”.
        I’m worried about a resurgence of the KKK. Where else do working class white people have to go? Everyone else thinks it’s just fine to make fun of them.

  2. Kurt Sperry

    “A painting sold by Sotheby’s as the work of Dutch artist Frans Hals for £8.4m has been reassessed by the auction house as fake, triggering fears that more multimillion dollar Old Master works will be exposed as the work of a highly skilled forger” [Financial Times, “Old Master market reels from Sotheby’s fake assessment”]. “Bendor Grosvenor, an art historian, said the ‘master faker’ who created the forgery was in his opinion ‘the best ever’.

    This extraordinary forger is probably a better artist than most of the guys he’s forging.

    1. nippersmom

      Being a great artist requires more than technique; it requires vision. Being able to duplicate someone else’s vision is not the same as having one’s own.

      1. Plenue

        I’m pretty sure it’s mostly just about finding what gimmicks you need to exploit to get pretentious art critics to proclaim you a genius. Or it’s not even that and the whole thing really is so far up its own ass that it’s an entirely arbitrary crapshoot what the fickle art ‘experts’ will proclaim a great work.

        I’d take something like a Yoshikazu Yasuhiko or Ayami Kojima picture over pretty much anything that appears in a ‘serious’ art museum any day, and their oeuvres consist mostly of literal childrens cartoons with giant robots, and video games where you kill Dracula over and over, respectively.

        1. nippersmom

          You really think that artists like van Gogh and Renoir are considered great because they employed “gimmicks”? Since van Gogh in particular was unappreciated in his time and died a pauper, apparently he didn’t employ quite the right gimmick for the critics of his era. Maybe his ghost came back and influenced later generations to dub him a genius.

          1. hunkerdown

            “Greatness” is just a matter of getting your money accepted — and I think “fine art” is, in practice, little more than “trading sardines” under color of cultural (hegemony) preservation.

            Any human given time and materials can create a piece of art, and you or I are nobody to tell them otherwise. Whether snooty Western bourgies see fit to call it “art” says more about the observers and their ulterior motives than the pieces themselves.

            “I think I’m gonna paint a picture of a clown”
            “Whoa, there, friend, you might need to slow down”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C_HReR_McQ (puppets + guts warning)

            1. ewmayer

              “Any human given time and materials can create a piece of art.”

              But only a very tiny handful is capable of turning those ingredients into, say, “Starry Night”.

              Just as “Any human given time and materials can ‘do science’,” but how many of those, born circa 1880, could have discovered the general theory of relativity?

              Just because the moneyed twits buying and selling the art are guillotine-worthy, does not make the art less extraordinary.

              1. hunkerdown

                “how many of those, born circa 1880, could have discovered the general theory of relativity?”

                I’m not sure that matters, but any of them, and undoubtedly there was more than one person with a deep interest in physics and access to the information to synthesize, and some people still had time to reflect back in those days. If it hadn’t been Einstein, maybe Bucky Fuller in a few decades, which means the US might not have gotten drawn into WWII, which means no peace dividend for the Kochs to bogart, which means Hayek and Becker and the Birch Society and the McCarthy Era might not have come to pass at all, the vacuum instead filled by something else. Technology would have changed and we might not even be having this conversation via this medium, and in any case quite possibly not in English. And that would be our reality instead of this one. And if the Dulles Brothers had not been in the right place at the right time in the right timeline, I can’t think of any way the world would have been the worse for it. Even without the cultural touchstones which we value because we happened to find those instead of these, or with said cultural touchstones being sold for twenty guilders in an Amsterdam junk shop rather than used to rationalize wealth transfer.

                The argument here sounds like nothing so much as “If your mom had an abortion”… then who knows what she would have done instead of spending 18 ill-advised years on me! Yes, the world would have been different without me in it, as is the nature of path dependence. There’s no point in asking me about something I would be causally prohibited from observing.

                1. ewmayer

                  Special relativity: No doubt Lorentz gets major co-credit – after all he formulated the precise coordinate transformations needed, which are named after him – Einstein’s credit is due to him making the argument more convincingly and forcefully than anyone before him had done that “this is more than an interesting mathematical curiosity, this *is* reality”.

                  This bit in the Wikipedia article is just silly: “Many others (such as Gauss, Riemann, William Kingdon Clifford, Ricci, and Levi-Civita) contributed to the development of the mathematical tools and geometrical ideas underlying the theory.” So every scientific pper which uses calculus should list the hundreds of names and works which contributed to the development of calculus in their bibliography? That’s simply the “…stood on the shoulders of giants” nature of science and other creative fields of endeavor. You use the tools available to you, the developers of said tools get credit for them, and those who contribute to that evolutionary process by developing new and useful tools get credit for those.

                  GR: I’ll take Hilbert’s own words over any revisionist history: “Whether Hilbert ever tried to claim priority for the field equations – it seems clear that he regarded the theory of general relativity as Einstein’s theory.” As with special relativity, the fact that Einstein not only formulated the correct field equations but also used them to do nontrivial physics – explaining the anomalous portion of the perihelion shift of Mercury – differentiates his contribution from all the others. To appreciate the difference between elegant mathematical manipulations and actual physics, go look at string theory, decades of mathematical diddling by thousands of extremely bright people, even a whole hagiographical PBS series, “The Elegant Universe”, and not a single bit of actual usable physics to show for it.

                  But all this is beside the point – Tossing out the names of other luminaries is not exactly supportive of the “anyone can do it” thesis. Poincarè, Hilbert, Weyl, Riemann, Gauss, Christoffel, Levi-Civita, etc – all extraordinary minds and immensely creative contributions, of “a handful in every generation” notability. For our specific example of relativity, had Einstein not lived, would someone else have come up woth the goods? Surely so, though perhaos in a much more diffuse-credit form. And that person (or persons) would have been similarly rare and special. There really is such a thing as genius, it’s just that the term has become cheapened by being applied to all kinds of lesser forms of creativity, such as to “disruptive visionary” Silicon Valley snake-oil salesmen.

          2. Plenue

            What makes you think van Gogh is actually very good? I somewhat like his famous nightsky paint, other than that, “meh”. That it took generations before critics started proclaiming him a great artist just tells me art criticism is an arbitrary field. They’ll also claim that a painting is that is literally a block of a single color is ‘genius’, or that Jackson Pollock’s works are more meaningful than a three year olds arts & crafts monstrosity because he put ‘passion’ into them. I’ve put just as much passion into forcing out a large growler, doesn’t make my crap great art.

            1. HotFlash

              I was at the Los Angeles Museum of Art, lookin’ at the pictures, takin’ in the fine art and generally minding my own business, and suddenly *WHOA*, I got smacked upside the head by a drawing that wasn’t even in the same room as me. A pair of boots. Seems, our Vincent liked to paint and draw boots

              Sorry it’s just ‘meh’ to you. Different strokes, I guess..

            2. c heale

              I agree with you about a lot of abstract impressionism and think the reason the impressionists are so hyped is that they were very commercial in their time – I for one cannot see much in Renoir for example.

              But I also think Van Gogh was a genius.

              And I seriously doubt you could have put as much passion in getting one out as Van Gogh did into his art – if you ever read a good biography of his life he worked very hard for almost no recognition.

              It is of course, horses for courses…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The work, any work, also has to speak for something or someone.

        And no one can speak better for oneself than oneself. In truth, we are all artists, except the cradle-to-grave propaganda is that being artist is an occupation and only some people can call themselves artists.

        “You are the artist of your life.”

      3. Jim Haygood

        ‘Being a great artist requires more than technique; it requires BUZZ.’

        One sees this in music: the biggest celebrities are not necessarily the most talented. Nor are the most talented (or even very many of them) celebrities.

        Talented, but lacking a dab hand at self-promotion? Hitchhike on someone’s else’s buzz.

        I thought about knocking off Thomas Kinkades — surely there’s a paint-by-numbers kit for that? But prolly the market is already hopelessly flooded. :-*(

        1. nippersmom

          I am the only one who noticed that the original quote referenced forgeries of Old Masters?

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Ironically, Kinkade’s workshop model similar to Rembrandt’s (and the other Dutch masters (thinks: Cigar boxes)). If Rembrandt had franchised himself, the models would have been identical.

          That said, I love Rembrandt (etchings especially). It’s axiomatic to me that art is a transcendant value. In fact, I can’t come up with another one.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if the forger is Chinese.

      In China, they can fake everything.

      My Yuan blue and white pieces (and underglaze copper red, or, still controversial, Yuan wucai), I wonder if they are really 750 years old…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I like antiques.

          Different aesthetics, but one can see the beauty in those objects…and guess at the rich meanings behind some of those objects.

          To have in your hand something made thousands of years ago…

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            When I was english majoring, and getting into renaissance drama, as you do, I found the relevant books in my cow college library were generally from the mid 1700s. Back then, I was a litlle appalled that they were stamped and pasted with regular library kit, but now I realize that’s pretty neat.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        I have a bunch of really great quality forgeries of old masters on my walls that were done in China for about $100-$200 apiece. They are real oil paintings with brushstrokes and sometimes bits of brush embedded in the paint – they appear to have been painted by hand. I got them on ebay from a company (not sure if it’s still going) by the name of arts-co.

        Not only are they beautiful to look at, but the looks of horror and disgust by wealthy visitors (“forgeries! how nouveau riche!”) is a nice bonus. Forgeries are awesome.

    3. nihil obstet

      From the viewpoint of acknowledging achievement, it’s good to know who painted a picture. We need heroes to admire and emulate. For any other reason, if it takes expert study and examination to say whether a painting is authentic or a forgery, it matters only to price the picture as a commodity. I tend to see the issue as the superstructure of false values.

  3. Pat

    ACA is self destructing faster than I thought possible I truly thought we were going to be stuck with it for two decades. It is barely going to make it through one.

    But boy is the desperate attempt to save it with the public option going to be fun to watch. Fun in this case being that horror stricken, sick to your stomach, disgust version.

    1. Tom

      You know you’re in trouble when you let lobbyists for health insurance providers write the legislation for the ACA — and their clients still lose money!

      1. timbers

        But Obama needs to reschedule his legacy speech in Florida on the awesomeness of Obamacare so ignore that Ocare is “collapsing” in a growing number of states and….just think of Mr. Smith in The Matrix when he keeps doing the same thing expecting a different result…..“MORE!”

        MORE higher penalties. MORE subsidies to rich gigantic insurance corporations. MORE outreach to self-entitled basement dwellers who haven’t done their own research. MORE and better propaganda. MORE higher deductibles. MORE higher co-pays…..


        1. tom

          I love it when he touts the number of newly insured.
          “Under threat of a tax penalty or jail time, more and more folks are signing up — that’s just how much they love it!”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Like the fiat currency, that’s how you give the legislation ‘value.’

            “You use this fiat currency, and not forged money, or else.”

        2. OIFVet

          You simply don’t get it. 0-care is a resounding success because it crappified employer and union plans. That’s what it was designed to do, and it accomplished that. So 0bama will clink crystal glasses in celebration, he accomplished the task.

      2. John k

        Do we really know they’re not making money in some markets? Any possibility these guys carved up the different states such that each has only one provider and can charge whatever they want?
        Nah, that might not be in strict accordance with our laws…
        Oh wait, they no longer apply to corporations…

        1. Yves Smith

          Agreed. They are making $ on the Medicaid expansion and if anyone in DC had any balls, they’d be raking them over the coals for gouging customers on the exchange plans while making good profits elsewhere. It’s common to one business be break-even and have another show profits. And that’s before we get to the issue of how these insurers are allocating overheads to their exchange businesses….

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes, because they managed to make sure that the insurance companies get their cut even while subtracting value (from health care delivery).

        It’s beautiful, in its own way.

  4. hemeantwell

    “For the last two years, [Uber] has sponsored initiatives to encourage teachers to moonlight as chauffeurs.

    Hmm. A skim of the article doesn’t turn up higher ed drivers. It would be great to see colleges ranked by percentage of teaching staff moonlighting with Uber. Then correlate with pay to upper administrators, etc.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With self-driving cars, you don’t need a taxi.

      You program your SDC (self driving car) to take your wife to the night shift at 3 in the morning, come back and bus them to school (no more school bus) at 7:30, returning home in home to take you to work at 8:30.

      One SDC will do the job of 3 (or more, depending on how driving age kids you have) cars.

      1. Tom

        SDCs are so 2020.

        By the year 2025, mom and dad will just slip on their Virtual Reality goggles and remote control gloves in the comfort of their own home and go to work by controlling the actions of their iBots, located onsite at the factory, office or other work environment. Likewise, little Timmy and Suzy will look forward to donning their iQSuits every morning to virtually attend their streaming school of choice via Netflix, Amazon Prime or other learning studio. No running with virtual scissors, kids! You’ll put someone’s simulated eye out!

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          .. until they were all suddenly wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone.

    2. Pavel

      It’s the new “gig economy” version of teaching as a profession:

      –“school hours” (really 60-80 hours/wk): teach and/or babysit and/or be threatened by students
      –evening hours: drive Uber until you fall asleep
      –nighttime: sleep in your car, as you’ve rented out your own home on Airbnb to pay the increased Obamacare premiums

      1. makedoanmend

        the Jettisons it ain’t – what the hell happened? – where’s the happy ending – is Hollywood really real? –

        Sillycon Valley = “Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

      2. Tom

        Ouch! The picture you paint of a dystopian future is sort of like Mad Max film, except instead of epic car chases and stoic heroes and heroines, it’s got despondent workers eking out a shabby, break-even existence. Somehow I thought the end of civilization as we know it would be more of a blockbuster.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Nope. Just a ‘drab dystopia,’ according to pretzelattack.

          East Germany with iPhone7’s, if you will. Completely monitored, of course.

        2. Pavel

          You summed it up — “shabby, break-even existence”. The only word that is missing is “exhausted”. These gig economy workers may very long hours for barely minimum wage. Check out the horror stories on the Uber bulletin board web sites, for instance. I have noticed recently in London and France the fleets of “Didgeroo” (sp ?) cyclists delivering meals to people willing to pay a premium so as not to have to venture out to pick up a takeaway meal.

          Meanwhile their corporate overlords are valued at 30 or 40 or 50 *billion* dollars just by taking a piece of the action whilst others do the actual work.

          The more traditional version of course is the single mother juggling 2 or 3 jobs, again for minimum wage. Between “zero hours contracts” and the crises when there is a transport breakdown or an ill child, life is just chronic stress and an hour away from financial disaster.

          But hey, we’re told the economy is in recovery!

  5. Pat

    Who the hell are the deluded 56% who think employee benefits are going to be as good as they are currently over the next 20 to 30 years? And the 50% who think job security still exist? I have a hard time understanding how anyone has missed how much the labor market has changed over the last several decades, even most of those who haven’t lived through it themselves must have seen some of it with parents or relatives.

    1. polecat

      ‘cough’.. WALL STREET & CONgress! .. ‘cough’ … ‘hack’ .. ‘HAAACK’ …. ‘cough’ .

      1. Pat

        Well it did occur to me that people who think Clinton is just being beat up on by the media and she really is the most humane and thoughtful well meaning person on earth possibly do believe that she will tell employers to cut out the outsourcing, gaming of the H1B1 visa system, rigging the competition, and make insurance companies actually provide health care without people having to lay out a deductible which is ten per cent of their income because employers don’t want to pay more. Oh, and pensions are going to come back incrementally, of course.

        The disconnect is great in much of our country. Not as great as the Beltway and Wall Street want to think but it is large.

    2. cwaltz

      The same people who told people that if you went to college that you’d get a return on your investment. The same people who argue that minimum wage earners deserve the low compensation they receive because they are entry level employees(even if they stay in the position for years and are expected to train the employees that come in from the increasingly high turnover.) The same people who call CEOs who couldn’t figure out that making loans to people without some sort of system to verify they could afford the loans, “savvy businessmen.”

      The MOTU have been selling lies for years now and some people have been buying those lies. Nothing new.

  6. geoff

    Not going to link it, but found a crazy article on ZH comments earlier: Superstorm SOS: Why Hurricane Matthew Was Geoengineered and Aimed at Florida.

    Even I am not that foily, but the hurricane could certainly influence (or delay?) the Presidential election, especially if FSM forbid it causes extensive damage and leads to the medium to long term displacement of millions of people in the US’s biggest swing state.

    It could make the 2000 debacle look like paper ballots, counted in public!

    (If you’re reading this in FL, please be careful and good luck. My parents got whacked by Hermine a few weeks ago, so I don’t take this lightly.)

    1. Katharine

      Well, of course, if Florida builders have been sticking to the code they should be in pretty good shape, but there were reports a decade or two ago that the only houses that withstood hurricanes in some areas were the ones built by nonprofits like Habitat with no illusions about their ability to judge what was “unnecessary” in the code. They followed every spec to the letter and came through way better than average. We can hope somebody learned from that. But yes, go well, Floridians!

      1. Jim Haygood

        Dade County toughened its building code after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, with higher design wind loads. Not sure how many other coastal counties copied Dade.

        Even “brick sh*thouse” building codes can’t do anything about the natural phenomenon of storm surge (except put houses on stilts).

        What looks ugly about Matthew’s forecasted track is that it could run an eyewall storm surge up 500 miles of coast in four states.

        Wishing the best for folks down there.

    2. Qrys

      It certainly appears that the storm track of Matthew will make this a very deadly and costly emergency. Certainly there’s going to be talk over the weekend into next week about what federal aid (FEMA) will look like, and how the degree of response will reflect on President Obama (and his successor).

      I guess we’ll have to keep watch on FEMA’s “Waffle House index” and hope for the best:

      And for those in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, please keep safe.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      This preternaturally calm metereologist was Jeff Masters’ comment a couple of days ago on Matthew’s possible loop-de-loop:

      Long range forecast for Matthew: thrown for a loop
      Thanks to my advancing years and a low-stress lifestyle that features daily meditation, there’s not much that can move me to profanity—except the occasional low-skill driver who endangers my life on the road. But this morning while looking at the latest weather model runs, multiple very bad words escaped my lips. I’ve been a meteorologist for 35 years, and am not easily startled by a fresh set of model results: situations in 2005 and 1992 are the only ones that come to mind. However, this morning’s depiction by our top models—the GFS, European, and UKMET—of Matthew missing getting picked up by the trough to its north this weekend and looping back to potentially punish The Bahamas and Florida next week was worthy of profuse profanity. While a loop back towards Florida and The Bahamas next week is not yet a sure thing, the increasing trend of our top models in that direction is a strong indication that Matthew will be around for a very long time. Long-range forecasts of wind shear are not very reliable, but this morning’s wind shear forecast from the 00Z run of the European model does show a low to moderate shear environment over the Bahamas and waters surrounding South Florida late next week, potentially supportive of a hurricane–if Matthew survives the high wind shear of 50+ knots expected to affect the storm early next week. The bottom line is that it currently appears that Matthew will not recurve out to sea early next week, and The Bahamas and Florida may have to deal with the storm again next week.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        This is bad news for Europe.

        When those hurricanes skim out to sea we get awesome surfing the following week.

  7. allan

    NYU accidentally announces one of its professors wins Nobel Prize [NYU]

    New York University may have been guilty of a little wishful thinking when it accidentally posted a draft news release online saying that one of its business professors, Paul Romer, won the 2016 Nobel Prize for economics. (He has not.)

    The news release says Romer, the “2016 Nobel Laureate in Economics,” will take part in a press conference this coming Monday — the same day the Nobel committee is scheduled to announce the winner of what is known formally as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

    NYU’s news release was deleted but is available on the Internet archive site Archive.org’s “wayback machine.” …

    And how many undergraduates went into debt to pay for the out of control institutional fluffing?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Socrates’ students paid what they could…goat milk, eggs, souvlaki, etc.

      They never had to go into the debt, except a debt of gratitude.

      We rarely make teachers like that anymore. (Teachers have to live too, probably harder than when Socrates was alive).

      1. hunkerdown

        Indeed. Now they’re all like Plato, demanding money to teach. Education has gone downhill ever since.

        1. nycTerrierist

          Just wondering: what would the teachers live on if they are not paid for their work?

          I mean, the teachers who don’t have other mean$.

          or is your comment meant to be sarcastic?

          1. hunkerdown

            Socrates seemed to do well enough until the liberals of the time had him killed. Those who play lemonade stand with intellectual property will be forgotten and not missed.

            1. Cry Shop

              Socrates owned (inherited) slave(s) and land, which is why he was part of Athen’s citizenship. The direct democracy in Athens required so much time and participation was not an option. He certainly didn’t time nor necessity to labour at anything we’d think of as a normal job.

              Very neo-liberal idea that teachers should be elite volunteers supported by slaves, preaching what? serve the existing system I assume.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We all have to be paid to live…teachers or anyone else.

            And non-profits are not nobler than for-profits.

            Actually a for-profit can earn no money or, worse, lose money. And a non-profit can be plenty profitable monetary-wise for people who work there.

            One has to be lucky to work and live without getting paid.

      2. Clever Username

        No, Socrates didn’t teach for compensation and thought teachers who did (the much reviled sophists) were morally suspect. He taught the aristocracy of Athens like young Plato, and received their patronage in return. Which is, of course, entirely different than accepting something so base as a (ugh) farmer’s coin to teach his son.

        I.F. Stone’s Trial of Socrates goes into detail on this. Socrates was a class traitor: he was born to a middle class stone mason, but he was a creature of the Athenian elite. He hated democracy.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Romer is denying it on his website. But if it’s true, they need to simply shut the prize down.

  8. Higgs Boson

    If Trump pledges at the next debate that he will instruct his DOJ to prosecute any & all persons involved in the Clinton State Dept / Clinton Foundation / Pay-For-Play / Grift Machine, he could get my vote. I personally know a few dozen people who feel the same way.

    1. Pavel

      Don’t know about the debate, but out of curiosity I watched 10 or 15 minutes of his Nevada speech. I have to say he seemed on his best behaviour and was almost genial. In any case he certainly slammed Hillary — and rightfully, of course — for the State Dept/Clinton “Foundation” corruption. I do hope he’ll do it again at the debate. And as noted, there has been a deafening silence by the MSM on the latest email revelations. Who could’ve predicted that Huma (with simultaneous jobs at State, the Foundation, and consulting firm Teneo) would have been in the middle of it all?

      No wonder Carlos Danger was seeking his thrills elsewhere, she must have been working 24/7/365 as my IT colleagues would say.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Let’s just lament what a low bar we are setting for our leader, we just ask that he obey the law of the land and not just make it up for himself and those he favors or who pay him lots of money.

    3. NYPaul

      My take on this campaign cycle: Donald trump is probably the only famous person in America who Hillary Clinton could beat in a Presidential election. Even with Trump’s litany of inexplicable, bombastic, and, idiotic behaviors the two candidates have been, virtually, tied for most of the time. When he recently succumbed, for a week or two, to the sage advice from the professionals on his staff, and, briefly behaved like a normal human, he shot right on past her in the polls. What I’m saying is, Hillary Clinton is the most beatable candidate we’ve had for President in decades. And, with one month to go, a Clinton victory should not yet be a foregone conclusion.

      How trump could still win: The campaign, to date, has been, basically, “You’re a fool,” “but, you’re an idiot.” “You’re a liar,” yes, but, “you’re a fraud.” And, on and on and on.

      Yet, there’s an issue regarding Hillary that’s hardly been touched upon, and, it could (should) be a game breaker…..her deplorable foreign affairs & military advice record. Without putting words in Donald’s mouth his theme should be: “Everything Secretary Clinton has touched has turned to sh*t.” He could show, graphically, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Honduras, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Ukraine as a partial list. The bloodshed, carnage, and, starvation of innocents could vividly show what a Clinton victory world would look like. I don’t think everyone has yet seen the, “We came, we saw, he died,” video, or the sickening cackle/laugh that followed. Or, how about her State Department’s philosophy, so dramatically illustrated by Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, in her secretly recorded phone conversation about what the U.S. thinks Europe’s role in the Obama-led Ukraine debacle should be, “phuck the EU!”

      Certainly there are talented producers/directors/advisors (Kellyanne Conway comes to mind) who could put together a professional presentation highlighting the issues I’ve stated here. And, the fact is none of these devastating positions, and, actions have been brought to the public’s attention. These are things that must be brought to the American Public’s attention, and, it’s Donald Trump’s duty to be that messenger.

      1. KY rocky

        Ah, yes. Iraq, Libya,and Syria are all Hillary’s fault and, immaculately, have no association with George W. Bush. Yemen, where the Houthis began waging a low-level insurgency against the Yemeni government in 2004, while George Bush was president. North Korea, which in 2006 successfully conducted its first nuclear test, from a nuclear program that flourished under George W. Bush. Afghanistan? Again, George W. Bush, the president who went to war with no post-invasion planning whatsoever. And, of course, Iraq.

        It seems there is one trait shared by all conservatives: the inability to accept culpability for problems created under their watch. It is laughable and pathetic to see them try to blame the unraveling in the middle east, let alone a nuclear North Korea. Eight, count them, eight abominable years of George W. Bush “diplomacy” which, to conservatives, were all Obama’s fault. Like the recession. There were many knowledgeable opponents who argued long and loud that George W. Bush’s war of choice against Iraq would inevitably lead to where we are today, regardless of who was in office, another fact that conservatives will never acknowledge.

        It is further amusing that a conservative would urge attacking Clinton on foreign policy in order to put into the office of President the single most ignorant major party candidate, especially with respect to world politics and policy, in the history of this country.

        In their debate, Trump stated that his temperament was “by far, my greatest attribute.” Sadly, he was correct. And therein is the real problem, and like Pence, the best hope for Republicans is to ignore or deny what their candidate says, tweets and does and sell a fictional statesman Trump to the voters. This, I would argue, is apropos of conservatism: selling the public a lie, in this case that the litany listed have all gone to hell because Hillary!, and the lie that Trump could ever be a statesman.

        1. Pat

          Who put aside the best interests of this country, and yes the world, aside in order to rubber stamp the neoconservative misadventure in Iraq? Who, in fact, has adopted their world view and while in office pursued it more zealously than anyone since Cheney? Who promoted and pushed a strategy of regime change that has further broken the Mid East and now has rippled disaster throughout Europe? Who even now pushes for a strategy in Syria that strengthens the terrorist organization that was the supposed reason we are there while poking the bear. Who is foolish enough to think we can run roughshod over Russia and suffer no consequences? Who out neocons the neocons?

          And yet you promote someone with this lack of judgment and temperament over the guy who had the audacity to note that George W Bush did not keep us safe AND that his Iraq strategy was a disaster in the Republican primary no less as more unsuitable.

          No while she may not own it on her own, our neoconservative mess of endless war and always doing the wrong thing IS Clinton’s. For everyone’s sake her, her team and every other Bush retread needs to be banished from our government. Trump is bad, she is WWIII with America playing the role of Germany.

        2. ggm

          The Houthis are not the primary problem in Yemen right now. You betray your ignorance of world affairs right off the bat. The problem is that Saudi Arabia, armed to the teeth with weapons from Hillary, and needing to project strength in the face of oil price declines, is using the Houthi uprising as an excuse to wage a proxy war with Iran. The Saudis are targeting schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure, blockading the delivery of food, sabotaging water pipelines. Millions of Yemenis are starving because of Saudi Arabia, not because of Houthi fighters. And, yes, Hillary is culpable for providing the weapons and for continually supporting and defending the interests of the Saudi regime in that region.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think many voters have priced Trump’s flaws in, and that’s why the Democrat oppo gets so little traction. I mean, Trump was in New York real estate, for pity’s sake. Isn’t everything after that a mere detail?

        One of those flaws is Trump’s social position:

        1) Billionaire

        2) CEO

        If you’re somewhere in the flyover states and you work at Walmart (or for wages generally), what do you already know about billionaires and CEOs? You know (from the crash) that they’re crooks and have impunity. You know they lie all the time. You know they’re screwing you over on wages and working conditions. So it comes as no surprise when Trump does those things. It’s priced in.

        It occurs to me that one reason the election is so close is the old idea that “Voters go for a real Republican, not a fake one” (I don’t know who invented it, but certainly Down with Tyranny expresses it frequently). Partly in the sense of all the Republican establishment endorsements Clinton is picking up. More in the sense that the choice is between (a) a crooked, lying billionaire and (b) a tool of crooked lying billionaires (all the names on your foreclosure letterhead are Clinton contributors).

        So — the typical volatility voter might think — why vote to get screwed* by the servant when you can make a direct appeal to the master?

        NOTE * ObamaCare’s death spiral can’t be helping, here.

        1. Cry Shop

          Indeed, its like the choice of either possibly being occasionally raped by deviant of limited endurance who still wants to keep up his appearance, or being pimped to a never ending gang of rapist by a madam who is so delusional she seems to think no one knows what she’s doing.

          Further, this madam’s gang of rapist are the same gang who’ve been raping you for for the last 30 some odd years with ever growing membership and increasing vigor, at the behest of the present and past presidential pimps who are asking you to vote for the madam.

  9. cwaltz

    Regarding Walmart- It should be interesting to see if they can bob and weave in regards to e commerce. When I worked for the giant retailer some of it’s model was based on forcing vendors to pay for shelf space and things like the endcaps and the middle of the store were generally items Walmart was able to get a good deal and was pushing to increase their profit margins.

    That model isn’t going to work the same on an online model per se.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Hmm. I would think gaming search results would be the digital equivalent of shelf space.

      I ordered food (yes, food) from Walmart at one point because Amazon (amazingly) did not take PayPal. Walmart shipping was much slower than Amazon’s and the tracking was worse. And you could see from the packing methods that Walmart’s warehousing operation wasn’t as efficient.

  10. Timmy

    Dunno if Trump can get the turnout he needs from “his” voters….

    What happened to the analysis that Trump supporters were reluctant to declare support to pollsters, biasing Trump’s support (inaccurately) downward? Some pointed to Brexit as corroboration of this phenomenon.

    Just wondering if we should be adjusting the polls or our expectations….

      1. Timmy

        Perhaps it is better expressed…should we discount the published state and national polls as being potentially flawed and undercounting Trump supporters…

    1. Pat

      I keep saying the actions of the Clinton campaign are going to be a better barometer than any poll.

      But that said, I’m a cynic and have watched a lot go down about voting since 2000. I don’t think we are going to know who is going to win until after the votes are counted. Partially because polls are now tainted both by the not admit for Trump factor and because they have still not been corrected for societal changes noted here before. But largely, and I hate to say it, because we do not know how much the counts are being rigged. And no I don’t mean by Putin. I’ll be blunt, NY in all likelihood is going to go for Clinton. But even if there were enough votes upstate to change that dynamic, I don’t for a moment think the vote count would reflect that now that we have the electronic machine count. We don’t know how many of the states that can fiddle with the method that votes are counted will be doing it and who they will do it for.

      1. NYPaul

        Due to all the reported “shenanigans” in the recently concluded Primaries I have tried to research the U.S. voting scene, and, unfortunately, I’m more confused now than before. We know that if a bank gets robbed the F.B.I. jumps in, investigates, and, goes about trying to capture the perpetrators. No one has to “file a complaint,” the act is self-evident, and the appropriate agency, simply, does its job. What happens when so many people claim an election has been “robbed?”

        I’ve been keeping a folder on my computer compiling a list of all the “rigging, cheating, and, fraud,” alleged to have taken place. But, all the actions have been done privately. Isn’t there a Governmental Agency that should be taking the lead? Yes, I’ve Googled the topic till my fingers got raw, but, it’s such a hodge-podge of laws, amendments, commissions, acts, yadda, yadda.

        Can anyone here shed some light onto whether anything at all will be done (by our government) about the debacle known as the 2016 Presidential Primaries?

          1. Jim Haygood

            Comment from ‘quinvarius’ on a forum:

            Comey was an idiot to think he was going to have a ‘one and done’ on this cover up. Did he actually think her crimes were going to stop being revealed?

            It amazes me that someone with such a close relationship with criminal justice was stupid enough to get compromised by a perp. He is no better than some common prison guard smuggling hash into a prison up his butt for a prison gang.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Comey much like every Republican who has denounced Trump over estimates his own importance. No one is right now has more stature than a story.

              My dad wound up working for GE through a buy out, and my mom observed the GE overlords, “all thought they were Thomas Edison but we’re stunned to find out GE made light bulbs and Edison wasn’t President.”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Excellent comment. I want to redo that fun chart looking at TV spend and candidate visits (even if Trump is random with respect to both). And yes, control of the voting machines is a big factor and should be counted in. At this point, we should assume that both parties will steal what they can (and, to be fair, the Republicans are working the voter ID schtick hard (and to be even more fair, the effing Democrats, if they cared about the issue at all, would have a program to get people IDs)).

        > the actions of the Clinton campaign are going to be a better barometer than any poll.

        More precisely, the actions of the Clinton campaign (and the Trump campaign, to the extent professionals make the decisions) will be driven by their own internal polling to which we do not have access.

    2. cwaltz

      It’s interesting to look at the state by state breakdowns…..it appears Trump’s campaign is doing a much better job of understanding this is done electorally rather than through the popular vote.

      It’ll be ironic if Ms Popularity, who argued that she won her rigged state by state primaries, loses because she loses the state by state general election- something the Bernie supporters were saying from the get go.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Given Team Clinton’s efforts to understand delegate allocation in 2008, your scenario isn’t shocking. Let’s not forget the bang up job of Donna Brazille in 2000.

    3. John k

      Not just wondering if trump voters show, think about clinton’s… Half of Bernie’s are saying Clinton, but will they show up to vote for such a sleaze bag that didn’t just cheat their guy but is the opposite of everything he stood for? Because trump?
      I bet a lot stay home.

  11. Roger Smith

    Soros: Russia’s Bombing of Aleppo Must End

    George Soros, proud owner of $10,544,000 worth of shares in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Coming in as the third top contributor! Congrats (crowd goes wild).

    As Greenwald pointed out earlier today on twitter:

    “3 rules of US Exceptionalism: 1) Our killing is better than theirs; 2) Nothing we do can be “terrorism”; 3) Only enemies are “war criminals”

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      This excellent and should be Trump’s roadmap. Asians voting 71% R instead of 71% D would do it but that’s a huge swing. He’d have to move Hispanics from 71% D to 77% R, also huge. Blacks would have to move from 96% to 61% D, also huge. Low turnout doesn’t help Trump, blacks would have to move from 63% turnout to 22% turnout, an epic collapse. Ditto Hispanics.
      White women staying home is a huge win for Clinton, maybe that explains her campaign. Ditto white men staying home.
      But convincing white women from 55 to just 61% wins for Trump. Moving white men from 61% to 68% also wins. And moving white women from 55% to just 61% and at the same time white men from 61% to just 63% does it.
      So, Donald: defuse the “misogny” attacks and you’re there. His monstrous ego probably won’t allow him to do that though.

      1. cwaltz

        He was attempting to mainsplain the other day that many of his comments were for “entertainment.”

        He fails to understand that WOMEN don’t particularly find it entertaining to listen to other women being criticized for their appearance. We aren’t art objects for men. We’re people. We expect to be treated as if we have feelings. Calling someone you don’t like a fat pig because you don’t like them or their politics….not very mature.

        His best bet at this point is to get some of those women he’s promoted and used in his business to come forward and speak for him (and no I don’t mean Ivanka and Melania who everyone is going to assume have always had familial bias) to the female electorate. It might not be bad if he can show that Trump enterprises doesn’t have a wage bias, you know things that show Trump as a decent guy, not someone objectifying women or treating them like their only value is in a man finding them pleasant to look at.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Trump isn’t that good at counterpunching. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but IIRC no Trump organization was ever been sued, even unsuccessfully, for sex discrimination. And Trump promotes women to positions of real power. The Democrats, with their base in the professional class of symbol manipulators, constantly confuse words with deeds (not that the words are good, but at this point I’ve become totally countersuggestible, and one reason I supported Clinton in 2008 was the vile sexism of the Obama campaign).

          1. cwaltz

            The fact that he hasn’t been sued successfully or unsuccessfully doesn’t necessarily mean he hasn’t been discriminatory or even harassed someone. For every woman who tries to sue I can probably find 10 who suffer through misogyny and discrimination silently.

            If he promotes women to real positions of power then he might want to ask them to be surrogates for him on the campaign trail because when it comes to speaking to women- he sucks.

            Words have power. If you didn’t believe that words did I doubt you would spend any time at all blogging to begin with. My statement on Trump’s treatment of women, by the way, doesn’t excuse the DNC and their attempts to manipulate people based on identity or their tearing people down who disagree with them or they feel are “in their way.”

            Personally, I hope someone will contact the Trump campaign and give him some advice on how to effectively reach out to half the electorate. At this point he needs a female surrogate to tell us how he made a difference in her life and how he did so, not based on her appearance, but based on the fact that she was smart, hard working, loyal and anything else that shows that he gets that women aren’t one dimensional objects whose sole value lies in whether they are Miss Piggys(see also comments calling women fat slobs) or beautiful women. Additionally, the whole entire three year old spiel of – she started it or did this first crap so therefore she deserves for me to call her names and act immature stuff- needs to go bye bye. For cripes sakes, he’s a grown man, his behavior should reflect that. As a mother if my kids projected like this and used each other as an excuse to act badly, I’d have put them in timeout not promoted them to the highest office.

    2. JohnnyGL

      The funny thing about running Frank Luntz’s numbers through the Fivethirtyeight election swinger is that Trump wins (while losing the popular vote!)

      Even with higher turnout among blacks (which won’t happen). I left hispanics at their 2012 numbers. I just swung the college-educated to the dems (57-43) and non-college whites to 73% Republican. Those aren’t huge moves, but they do swing the election.

      1. cwaltz

        Heh, that strategy of not making an education affordable for everyone is really paying off for the elite.

        Without someone telling those youngsters how their education somehow makes them superior to the unwashed masses they invariably turn to the guy offering up pitchforks and torches.

        It won’t be long before the strategy is burn the whole thing down and hang the responsible parties from lamp posts.

      2. John k

        Reps have a built in electoral college advantage, similar to their senate advantage, because lots of small pop states, which is why bush beat gore though losing the popular vote.
        Will never be changed.

        1. cwaltz

          It may change eventually. Change is an inevitable when things aren’t working for the majority. The question is whether that change will be the result of violent or non violent means.

          The fact that the elite are attempting to cram Clinton down the throats of the average fed up Americans doesn’t bode well for the answer to that question.

          Pent up anger eventually will hit a breaking point. The elite would have been better served to have allowed a “revolutionary” like Bernie affect a ordered reorganization that provided more equity. Instead they may be looking at dealing with a guy who is encouraging his supporters to act out on their anger in sometimes less than productive ways.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Or the majority in given jurisdictions. It seems to me that both parties are working hard to break the country apart, while simultaneously claiming loyalty to the whole of it.

  12. hunkerdown

    Now Is The Time To Buy Your New Container Estate. Seriously, this sounds like a small-ball opportunity for someone with a few crore and nothing better to do with it to process them for resale.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I was thinking now might be a good time to try buying a couple or a few containers for housing. I read that the cold storage containers hard especially good insulation and many of them are supposed to be stainless steel. Containers seem like a very strong structure to use as the frame for a building.

      1. bob

        Not true, at all.

        They’re good for moving things, that’s it.

        Shipping containers are horribly insulated, if at all.

        ‘cold storage containers’- No such thing. They make containers for MOVING frozen stuff. They EAT propane. Lots of it. High value produce moving quick.

        The myth of the shipping container being good for anything but shipping (questionable also) just won’t die.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            The modularity is very attractive. But attractive isn’t the same as workable.

            A parallel use case would be making homes out of all the military surplus armored vehicles we’ll have lying about after the roads fail and gasoline distribution breaks down.

  13. JTMcPhee

    The Wisdom Of Walmart: I happened to catch a snippet of a Walmart TV commercial touting the corp’s “commitment to America” with a claim the corp is “investing $250 billion in US manufacturing (jobs).” I just had to go see, so here are a few links that might put it all in context:

    From Forbes, in 2013: “How Walmart Plans To Bring Manufacturing Back To The United States,” http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterloeb/2013/11/12/walmart-taking-steps-to-bring-manufacturing-back-to-the-united-states/#687555324811 It was $50 billion then, and depended on a bunch of “private-private partnership commitments” (supported by municipal giveaways, presumably, per past “deals”) from outfits like GE (150 jawbs making Walmart-exclusive light bulbs, and Element Electronics, (500 jawbs making flat screen TVs for Walmart.)

    The corp BS line requires careful, Hillary-class parsing:

    Investing in American Jobs

    At Walmart, we believe in making a difference on the issues our customers and communities care about. We believe we can create more American jobs by supporting more American manufacturing. Jump-starting the manufacturing industry and rebuilding the middle class requires a national effort by companies, industry leaders, lawmakers and others.

    Together, we can help spark a revitalization of U.S.-based manufacturing. By making production more affordable and feasible in the United States, we can bring our customers more U.S.-made products and manufacturers can create more jobs in America.

    Our Commitment

    According to data from our suppliers, items that are made, sourced or grown right here in America already account for about two-thirds of what we spend to buy products at Walmart U.S. But there is room to do more.

    We are committed to American renewal. By 2023, Walmart has pledged to purchase approximately $250 billion in products that support the creation of American jobs.

    We will accomplish this by working with suppliers to:

    Increase what we already buy of U.S. manufactured goods
    Source “new to Walmart” U.S. manufactured goods
    Re-shore the manufacturing of goods we currently buy by facilitating and accelerating efforts of our suppliers

    More corp BS, under the headline “Walmart’s Investment in U.S. Manufacturing, Explained,” by Cindi Marsiglio, “VP – U.S. Manufacturing, Walmart”– With nearly 260 million customers shopping at a Walmart location each week, it’s clear that the ability to get the right items at the right price is a benefit to many of us.

    But providing affordable goods isn’t the only way we aim to make an impact. We’re also heavily invested in the communities we serve. One part of that is our commitment to source an additional $250 billion in products made, assembled or grown in the U.S..[emphasis added] http://blog.walmart.com/us-manufacturing/20160616/walmarts-investment-in-us-manufacturing-explained

    Comment on this piece from the Walmart site, “Is this an Onion article?? Over three decades Walmart has been the one of the biggest factors pushing jobs overseas to China. Hard to find anything in their store made in the USA. ”

    What that “$250 billion number means, from an explainer source: Last year Walmart announced that it will buy an additional $50 billion in American products. That’s $50 billion more than it does today 10 years from now. Walmart estimates that its $50 billion pledge, in the 10th year, will result in Walmart buying an additional $250 billion cumulatively over the next 10 years. This pledge is in an effort to grow U.S. manufacturing and encourage the creation of U.S. jobs.” More such “explanation” (gag) at “Accessories Magazine” from January 2013, https://www.accessoriesmagazine.com/87218/walmart-invest-10-million-toward-u-s-manufacturing

    One more little bit of detail, that includes some explanation of how Walmart the Corp has fokked things up and now is so very sincerely sort of apologizing and calling all the smart people and stakeholders together, 1,500 of them, corp and government officials, to figure out how to help Walmart grow to the next level of executive paydays…http://www.industryweek.com/competitiveness/walmarts-new-mantra-made-usa

    Be careful where you walk in this field, you might step in something nasty.

    1. RMO

      “two-thirds of what we spend to buy products”, “made, assembled or grown in the U.S.” I imagine they’ve found groceries to be a large and growing part of their sales and are trying to warp that into an illusion that they’re gallantly championing U.S. manufacturing. “Assembled” is quite the weasel-word (no disrespect to actual weasels) too as we know how little actually needs to be done in the U.S. to qualify as “made in the U.S.A.” and assembling requires a lot less than that.

      If you don’t want to step in something nasty in this field just walking carefully isn’t going to cut it. You need to fly over it.

      1. ewmayer

        The way these mega-grifters operate, it’s a reasonably good bet that e.g. “unloaded from an Asia-sourced container at the port of Long Beach” will meet their definition of “assembled in the USA”.

  14. NotTimothyGeithner

    I dont believe people don’t usually lie to pollsters (this is an excuse for an arrogant campaign in a famed mayoral election). The people who stay on for more than one or two questions are likely cranks or lonely people who want to answer correctly which usually means yes.

    The primary issue with with the polls is the projected Democratic identification. Anecdotal evidence and previous polling evidence for a declining self identification as a Democrat raises the question of why so many Democrats are in the polls. This is why we see fluctuations in the polls.

    Pollsters aren’t prophets. They rely on previous trends. The obvious example would be the rising black turnout since 1996 in Presidential elections, an all time low. There is the obvious issue of 1996 and 2016 with the Democratic candidate. Yes, Hillary did well with black voters in the primaries, but her support was basically a reduced version of her 2008 self. Not all black people voted for Obama. In this case, Bill despite his embrace of the nickname “the first black President” had obvious issues with black voters. They weren’t going to Republican for obvious reasons, but fear of the GOP didn’t work then. Newt was crazy then and was a major figure in national politics even if Dole wasn’t as clearly as gross as Trump.

    The other issue is there Is a childlike belief that “moderate Republicans” exist such as the luminaries of the Shrub administration on the part of Team Blue fanatics. Is there an expectation there will be a decline because there is a decline a limited elite GOP sector, but local elite Republicans are car dealers. They might look like Shrub, but they aren’t beltway Republicans. Trump (Republicans are all hideous along with the advocates of bipartisanship) isn’t a threat to the car dealer the way Trump is to the GOP strategist who isn’t being paid right now and anyone getting sweetheart defense deals, not to imply Trump would clean them up but he would favor different people or at least enough to scare anyone especially people close to the Bushes.

    Nate Silver is the gold standard of the pollster business in the msm, but with all the statistic wunderkids hired in baseball, why didn’t Nate get a GM job? Remember, he started in baseball. The answer is he didn’t seem to grasp concepts such as individual players putting in the work to get better, fountain of youth players, guys who get old, and so forth.

    Back in 2009 for the Virginia governors race, Team Blue had an Idea if they could win X percentage of rural voters, they wouldn’t need to bother with GOTV. That’s a pretty big “if” especially if people are extremely partisan. (Again McCain-Palin had 59 million votes, more than Shrub had.) So what happened? Democrats whined about turnout in urban areas when the GOP cleaned house. The Democrats had great internal polling because they expected certain turnout on previous results but the work and seemingly better candidates that went into those results.

    The best way to look at polling is this elections are Individual events but there are population trends and the candidates have records.

    The polling breakdown is close to what I might have expected if Team Blue wasn’t grossly incompetent at organization, but there is no 50 state strategy on the ground. ACORN a day other registration outfits have been non existent for four years. There is no energy for GOTV. Early voting will help alleviate to a certain extent in some states.

    When I had access to Votebuilder for the state I immediately looked up the voting records and public donations of everyone I could think of. I checked my friends parents. I was shocked by the women who vote for or donate to Democrats, one in particular. I’ve thought in the past her husband should actually run as a Republican to take a state legislature seat Democrats would never win. Given Trump’s crass nature versus Romney, would Mrs. W feel free to voice her opinion instead of keeping the peace which is what I imagine the situation was.

  15. curlydan

    Interesting historical notes Matthew’s unique path:
    “There are no ideal analogs for Matthew’s expected track and strength along the Florida coast. Only a handful of hurricanes have struck Florida with winds as strong as Matthew’s current 140 mph, and the only hurricanes known to have been “coast scrapers” along the central and northern Florida coast were considerably weaker than Matthew. For most residents along the north half of Florida’s Atlantic coast, and perhaps the Georgia coast as well, Matthew will be the strongest hurricane in living memory. (The last major hurricane to affect the Jacksonville area was in 1898.)”

    Florida’s Atlantic coastline could take a terrible beating if its path follows projections.


  16. lyman alpha blob

    “…a thin, gassy atmosphere could surround the planet, like on Earth, rendering Proxima b potentially habitable,”

    And if it is maybe we as a species should be a little circumspect before going barging out after it as readers of The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu can attest.

    If there are any scifi fans here who haven’t read this one yet do yourself a favor and pick it up. The first part is historical fiction set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution which I was almost entirely ignorant of prior to reading this (spoiler alert: it was really bad) and then it delves into an answer for the Fermi Paradox, ie if there is life out there why haven’t we heard from the buggers yet?

    Just picked up the 3rd novel in the series, “Death’s End”, which came out in hardcover in the US last month.

    1. Jeotsu

      Check out “The Killing Star” by Pelligrino and Zebrowski. It finds a different answer the to Fermi Paradox.

    2. BecauseTradition

      Liquid water + time = life may soon be testable as liquid water apparently exists on some moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

      How convenient!

  17. TarheelDem

    Is that one option for Obamacare in those counties WellPoint BlueCross BlueShield? If so, mission accomplished! And Evan Bayh’s coming back.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Them’s rural counties. Nothin’ out there but cornfields, cattle and deplorables.

      On a clear day, they can’t even see the Acela Corridor.

      1. Jay M

        welcome to the grand amalgamated health care system, you sigh up at birth
        “but I ain’t got no trust fund”
        Don’t worry, we have student loads for miscreants like you.

  18. Jeff W

    The Great British Bake Off is awesome! I’ve been watching it since Season 3. Last year’s season six final episode was the most watched show of 2015, with 15 million viewers.

    Unfortunately, this season will be the last in its present incarnation: Channel 4 poached the show from the BBC and while one of the judges, Paul Hollywood, decided to go along with the show—for a lot more money—the other judge Mary Berry and the two presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins opted not to and will be staying with the BBC. As Mel and Sue said “we’re not going with the dough.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This tweet seems to illustrate the reaction shot to the Millenium Wheel of Lard — but the wheel itself is not shown.

      But I can’t find an image of the Wheel itself? I think we should have this, for the record and for future use. Readers?

    2. Pat

      I started watching the first year PBS showed it and have devoured all of it except the current season being aired. (Joys of You Tube). Shattered. A friend texted their condolences when Me and Sue resigned.

      Channel 4 may regret more than stupidly buying half a product. It wasn’t just spending millions on a show where the producers had not locked in the very crucial human element. No, by poaching an established show it puts in question it’s very business model. Something that could cause it problems in the highly regulated broadcast business in Britain.

  19. Buttinsky

    Hillary for American and its shill shell Correct the Record were the subjects of a complaint to the Federal Election Commission today, from “Campaign Legal Center” and one individual, charging violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act and the Commission’s rules as a result of up to $5.95 million of “in-kind contributions” provided by CTR and accepted by HFA. I haven’t gone over the complaint in detail yet, but the one item that amused me so far: CTR contracted with a company for $391,000 to give “on-camera media training” to Clinton supporters. Rachel Maddow? Bill Clinton?


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The rumor I heard was that Brock paid the print media through a writer’s bureau. But a search on “writer’s bureau” yields no hits. Sad!

      Adding, from the ScribD:

      In its 2016 first-quarter report filed April 15, 2016, Correct the Record reported $1,647,520 in receipts for its non-contribution account during the reporting period, all raised from ten individuals or groups—including a $500,000 contribution, a $350,000 contribution, and several $100,000 contributions. One of those $100,000 contributions came from the Heising-Simons Action Fund, a non-profit corporation. It reported $1,358,640 in disbursements from the non-contribution account, including $126,000 to the speech-writing firm West Wing Writers and $100,000 to Franklin Forum (which conducts on-camera training for Clinton surrogates) and an estimated $87,050 in disbursements for video production-related expenses

      Plenty of walking around money for Democrat media types, but thinking back to Armstrong Williams’ price in the Bush administration ($250K, IIRC), not enough to buy any serious punditry.

  20. Jason Ipswitch

    The hat idea is a great one, but the cost would be zero. Trump would never even send the hats. He’d just tell everyone that electing him was reward enough.

  21. ewmayer

    o U.S. road deaths jump 10.4 percent in first half of 2016 | Reuters

    I was struck by the cognitive dissonance between the dire headline statistic and this following ludicrous-sounding sentence from the piece: ‘The U.S. Transportations Department said it believes it “is now increasingly likely that the vision of zero deaths and serious injuries can be achieved in the next 30 years.” Then I got to the following bit of blatant shilling which confirmed my initial ‘this sounds like a lead-in to a self-driving-car hypefest’ suspicion: ‘With human error accounting for 94 percent of crashes, officials acknowledge self-driving vehicles and other automated vehicle systems will be necessary to meet the goal.’ Even more inanely, the article notes that ‘Much of the increase in 2015 was driven by a jump in pedestrian, motorcycle, and bicycle deaths’ – those are precisely the kind of ‘poorly characterizable traffic factors’ which make the problem of true self-driving so very, very hard, as was so nicely detailed in Lambert’s Tuesday post, ‘Self-Driving Cars: How Badly Is the Technology Hyped?’.

    o We Need More Debt: $152 Trillion is Simply Not Enough to Stimulate the Global Economy! | MishTalk

    o Dear Senator McClain, Our National Security is Threatened by You, Your Policies, and Your Soulmate, Hillary Clinton | MishTalk

    (For the non-action-movie fans, the deliberate ‘McClain’ misspelling is a reference to the Die Hard movie franchise.) I love how the ‘liberal’ NYT can’t seem to stop itself from giving these warmongers a soapbox. Mish is spot-on here except for the ‘how the heck do you propose to pay for this?’ at the end. But the fact that there is in fact not a real issue with respect to ‘how the heck do you propose to pay for this?’ only makes the McCains of this world more dangerous. No MMT for the people, only for crooked TBTF banks, multinational corporations and the MIC.

  22. OIFVet

    We’re running an empire and Europe and South Korea are our military protectorates. I don’t know why anyone is surprised at what goes on outside the garrison gates.

    It is not surprise but outrage. Outrage that Euro and Korean hoes did not offer sizable discounts. Carrying the white man’s burden makes a man randy dontcha know.

    PS: By hoes I naturally mean Euro and other native colonial administrators. C’mon, I wouldn’t insult sex workers, they do honest work.

    1. Jay M

      its that they can’t come up with the money and pay for their pleasures but use the gov credit card
      stupes, maybe?

      1. OIFVet

        It was /sarc. But come on, Americans are puritans only in public. In private, they love to dream sinful dreams, and even to live them out when the opportunity presents itself. So the way I see it, most of the outrage is likely to be driven by envy that the guy had his fun, and on the government’s dime too. Frankly, I am not outraged at all. Better to stimulate the local colonial economies than to put another Tomahawk on the credit card, IMO.

        1. Jay M

          I hear you
          but wouldn’t it be smarter for the empire if these guys could manage to have private lives
          har har like groaf and jawbs

          1. OIFVet

            I do believe that “smarter” and “empire” are mutually exclusive terms. I had sneaking suspicions about that while in the military, and since then I haven’t seen anything to convince me otherwise.

  23. Otis B Driftwood

    “For the last two years, [Uber] has sponsored initiatives to encourage teachers to moonlight as chauffeurs.”

    I read crap like this, knowing hard my teacher wife works on behalf of her students, and I want to grab a piece of lead pipe and hit the marketing genius who came up with this idea.

    Yet another reason to NOT use Uber. I didn’t need any more, as it happens.

  24. Cry Shop

    Too bad (and how typical) that those polls excluded Jill Stein. It would be interesting to see the results.

  25. allan

    Trash Cash in Flash Crash [Reuters]

    Sterling recouped some losses after plunging almost 10 percent on Friday amid growing fears of a “hard” exit by Britain from the European Union that sent a shiver through world stocks markets ahead of U.S. jobs data.

    The pound nosedived from $1.2600 to $1.1378 in a matter of seconds as one point in Asia after crashing through key support levels, triggering a wave of selling. The lowest of the trades was later canceled.

    But it quickly bounced and it was around 1.2455 by 0900 GMT, still down about 1.3 percent from late U.S. levels and leaving traders feeling bruised and a little confused in the absence of any major news overnight. …

    [Not the actual headline, but it should have been. Reuters needs to up its clickbait game.]

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