Links 10/2/16

We Are Not Alone: Listening to the 8.7 Million Other Animals Who Live on Earth Truthout

Milan court orders trial over Monte dei Paschi trades: legal sources Reuters

Stand with Sen. Warren: Tell the FBI to explain failure to prosecute bankers Credo. I loathe the “stand with” locution, but Warren is right…

Investors Today Prefer Companies with Fewer Physical Assets HBR

How Actual Nuts and Bolts Are Bringing Down Oil Prices Bloomberg. Standardized drilling components.

UNEP: Dieselgate will ‘push the electric revolution very quickly’ Euractiv

Marc Andreessen’s Sudden Silence on Twitter Stumps Silicon Valley WSJ

US gives up its remaining control over the internet to ICANN FT

Can the United States and Japan Ratify TPP? The Diplomat

Give cities a seat at the top table Nature


China’s yuan joins elite club of IMF reserve currencies Reuters

The great leap upward: China’s Pearl River Delta, then and now Guardian. Amazing photos.


Showdown in Aleppo Sic Semper Tyrannis (Re Silc).

U.N. atomic agency chief says Iran sticking to nuclear deal Reuters


BREXIT: Theresa May will trigger Article 50 before the end of March 2017 Business Insider

Brexit begins: Theresa May takes axe to EU laws Telegraph. “[A] new ‘Great Repeal Bill’ will be introduced in Parliament as early as next year.”

Health Care

Near ‘Collapse,’ Minnesota to Raise Obamacare Rates by Half Bloomberg (Re Silc).

Obama administration may use obscure fund to pay billions to ACA insurers WaPo

Busted: GAO Finds Payments To Insurers Under Affordable Care Act Are Illegal Forbes

Two of NY’s Neighbors Are Poised to Legalize Marijuana in November Village Voice (Re Silc).

High Hitler: how Nazi drug abuse steered the course of history Guardian

Police State Watch

‘Do Not Resist’: A chilling look at the normalization of warrior cops WaPo. “In the class recorded for “Do Not Resist,” [Dave Grossman, one of the most prolific police trainers in the country], at one point tells his students that the sex they have after they kill another human being will be the best sex of their lives. The room chuckles. But he’s clearly serious.”

Whistleblower in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ case gets money and an award McClatchy

‘We Believe in What We’re Doing’ Der Speigel. Interview with Assange


Clinton Raises $154 Million in September, Nears $1 Billion Bloomberg. Ka-ching.

Trump Tax Records Obtained by The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes for Nearly Two Decades NYT. It’s called a “tax loss carryforward.” And Pages From Donald Trump’s 1995 Income Tax Records NYT. State returns but not Federal, oddly. Clinton telegraphed this punch in the first debate:

[CLINTON:] So you’ve got to ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be.

Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities [interestingly, the records published by the NYT were state records] when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

TRUMP: That makes me smart.

CLINTON: So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health.

Of course, Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending, so a Martian watching from a million miles away would conclude the one is as crazypants as the other. Anyhow.

Some comments on the New York Times story about Donald Trump’s tax returns Bronte Capital

“Just noticed @nytimes ‘hired’ tax experts to interpret. But only one expert named. More from CPA who is supposed to keep client confidence” @retheauditors

And then there’s this:

Trump Was Apparently Right About the Debate Microphone The Atlantic

Republicans latch onto audio of Clinton critiquing Sanders’s ‘revolution,’ but senator’s team pushes back WaPo

Race tailspins into gutter The Hill

Girl Talk at Trump Tower MoDo, NYT. “After working with psychologists to figure out how to goad Trump into an outburst in the first debate, the commanding Hillary saved the Machado provocation until the end.”

October Surprise? U.S. Economic Growth May Accelerate Just Before Election Day WSJ

A principled option for U.S. president: Endorsing Gary Johnson, Libertarian Chicago Tribune (DG).

Battle for the Senate 2016 RealClearPolitics

The Computer Voting Revolution Is Already Crappy, Buggy, and Obsolete Bloomberg

Clinton Foundation: Making America’s Richest Kids Healthier! Amy Sterling Casil

Immigration Does More Good Than Harm to Economy, Study Finds WSJ

How New York is Trying to Outsmart the Aedes Mosquito The WIre (J-LS).

Class Warfare

When a Worker Freezes to Death in a Walk-In Freezer at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Downtown Atlanta Corey Robin (RK).

Washington’s governing elites think we’re all morons, a new study says Vice. A new book by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg of the Hopkins’ Washington Center for the Study of Government. Here’s a 2014 version of Chapter 2 of the book, “The Civic Distance Between Rulers and Ruled,” from SSRN:

[W]here rulers have little in common with the ruled, those in power are unlikely to exhibit sympathy, as the Constitution’s framers might have put it, for their subjects. Rulers are likely, instead, to view their subjects instrumentally much, says Aristotle, as they might see their tools, horses, oxen, or slaves, and deal with them in an unjust manner. Aristotle thought this problem was most likely to manifest itself in tyrannical states where rulers and ruled formed distinct strata, and least likely to develop in democracies where, says Aristotle, rulers and ruled ‘have many things in common.’

For example: “They are living in their parents’ basement.” “[S]ome of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

A Quick Pay Check: Wage Growth of Full-Time and Part-Time Workers Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

The value of your home offers hints about how you may vote in the coming election WaPo (Kokuanani).

Crash and learn: should we change the way we teach economics? FT

Best paid CEOs fail to offer best value for money FT. “Just lucky, I guess.”

Stupefied Aeon (RS). ” How organisations enshrine collective stupidity and employees are rewarded for checking their brains at the office door.”

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Steve H.

    Good morning, today I’m seeing ‘stuff’ about Comey asking for immunity, yesterday there was a post about correctherecord going gonzo nsa that looks like a good ‘spoof.’

    Our satire is getting better and ‘reality’ is getting harder to distinguish from humor. Are these spoofs in a comedic sense, or cleverly designed ploys to undercut the social networking of information? You decide.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Stand with Sen. Warren Sanders some guy on the internet: Tell the FBI to explain failure to prosecute Hillary.

      1. jgordon

        Exactly what I was thinking. The FBI doesn’t seem to be effective at going after real criminals anymore like Hillary or bankers, but by God give them a drooling indigent Down syndrome teenager and they’ll build such an airtight lone wolf terrorist case you wouldn’t believe it. Legitimacy? Credibility? Not needed!

        By the way, how does Warren get off asking the FBI to go after banking criminals while at the same time endorsing a far more heinous criminal for president? What a frickin hypocrite.

        1. cwaltz

          Or a whistleblower!

          Gosh darn it if you tattle on the 1% they’ll lock you up for good if they can catch you!

          1. MojaveWolf

            Gosh darn it

            @cwaltz – Were you ever the mayor of Sunnydale, CA?

            If so, and you are so somehow still alive and hiding under this identity, can you come back at the next presidential and vice presidential debates (you may have to go to both depending on who’s in attendance) and do that whole high graduation schtick again? No slayers will be in attendance.


            I’ll send Faith money for a warm glass of milk in return ….

    2. Mike Stover

      Don’t forget what Holder (the AG at the time) “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large,” the attorney general confessed, “that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.

      “And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large,” said Holder.

      And let us not forget about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which hold the CEO accountable for the actions of the corporation. I don’t recall anyone ever being prosecuted under that act.


      1. Yves Smith

        We’ve written at length about how Sarbox could have been used to file civil cases against CEOs and CFOs for deficient risk controls that could easily have been converted to criminal cases if the information found in discovery warranted it. And yes, no criminal cases have been filed.

  2. horostam

    “Of course, Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending”

    MMT truism? its one that seems like it’s been missing from these comments lately. Doesn’t it in some way diminish accusations of tax evasion? maybe even make the case for trump’s tax cuts?

    im not saying it does, but im not smart enough to think of a counterargument to this beyond the fairness of who gets to not pay.

    1. Steve H.

      Taxes redistribute wealth, is a simple starting place. Functionally, it looks like Trump bluntly says reduce taxes on the rich, while Clintons say increase taxes on the rich but then allow more dodges to get around them.

      1. horostam

        ah yes. strictly speaking, taxes remove financial wealth, and government spending creates it. so we could just cut taxes, and, like, build a wall…

        i dont like where my mind is at right now…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is another way if the people so desire it – instead of the government spending to create, the government forwards, equally to everyone, to the people for them to spend and create money.

          “Ask not what the government can do for you and the money supply…”

      2. Sam Adams

        “Clintons allow more tax dodges for the rich to skim off the cream from the top.” There, fixed it for you.

    2. johnnygl

      There’s the fairness argument, as you point out.

      There’s also the macro point of restraining demand to keep balance so that inflation doesn’t take off.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Doesn’t it in some way diminish accusations of tax evasion? maybe even make the case for trump’s tax cuts?

      Taxes have other purposes than raising revenue, including managing the economy and preventing the development of a aristocracy of inherited wealth.

      1. Carla

        Oh, you mean, like, preventing the development of a Donald Trump, a Chelsea Clinton, a Mitt Romney. Yeah, I get it.

        Seems like Stein and Johnson may be in the clear on that.

        1. John k

          Don’t libertarians think there shouldn’t be any taxes, except maybe to pay for defense (war?) how is Johnson different?
          Maybe we’re down to stein.
          Course, no taxes means currency has no value…

          1. fosforos

            the value of currency is that it applies to “all debts public and private.” Taxes are but one, and relatively minor at that, form of debt.

        2. cwaltz

          Our government is doing a bang up job.

          Alice Walton, child of Sam Walton, was only worth a mere 31 billion in 2015.

    4. nothing but the truth

      “Of course, Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending”

      again, our coneheads love to confuse the real with the abstraction.

      the financial system is a way of accounting the real economy. Accounting is basically a way to ensure honesty.

      So there you are. The purpose of the financial system is to ensure honesty amongst (human) actors (because humans can be dishonest).

      If we tinker with the technicality of the financial system to defeat the basic purpose of the system, some may win and some will lose, but eventually the system will be undermined because the smarts will take advantage at the expense of the sheeple, and its longevity will be limited. And the way the that manifests is via anger which is exploited by populists.

      Of course financial trickery is not the only fraud, but when it become systemized, it will be noticed and will impact the system itself.

      Also there is the issue of system complexity. The more complex the system, the more energy and overhead it consumes. At some point it becomes too expensive (ie, corrupt) – i have heard that the NJ Turnpike system only pays for the employee costs – thus a classic extortion on the population. This is a known problem in software, when re engineering becomes cheaper than maintaining existing code.

      1. BecauseTradition

        Speaking of honest accounting, how is that even possible when the liabilities of depository institutions toward the general population are largely a sham now and will be ENTIRELY* a sham if/when physical fiat (aka “cash”) is abolished?

        *Examine a check and notice it says “Pay to order of ______” “______ dollars”, an impossibility once cash is abolish UNLESS the public is allowed to deal in fiat account balances as the banks are.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @BecauseTradition – Cash bills aren’t “real” dollars any more than other Treasury securities. They are all representations of our sovereign fiat, the unit of account we use for commerce. Dollars have no physical manifestation. There is no substance called “dollars” that you can exchange for those pieces of paper and use for something other than commerce. The main difference from other forms of fiat, which is critically important, is that cash can be traded for goods and services without a record of the transaction being kept by the government (or the banks). This keeps the government from having absolute control over all of our financial transactions.

          1. BecauseTradition

            I’m speaking of honest accounting, i.e. a liability that can’t be redeemed is a sham – whatever that liability is for.

            I suggest a major root of our problems wrt banks is that their liabilities wrt the population are largely a sham.

            Of course, liabilities BETWEEN depository institutions are very real and this gives the illusion of a fair system but it’s actually a cartel organized against the public and empowered via explicit (e.g. government-provided deposit insurance) and implicit government subsidies.

            1. horostam

              whats the liability that cant be redeemed?

              loans create deposits, paying off loans redeems the liability…

              you mean interest payments?

              1. BecauseTradition

                loans create deposits, paying off loans redeems the liability… horostam

                I’m speaking of the liability of the lending bank. Loans create deposits but also liabilities for fiat 1-for-1. (We, the general public, tend to forget that fact but you can be sure that competing banks never do!)

                Now fiat exists in only two forms, physical fiat, aka “cash”, and account balances at the central bank.

                So then, if cash is abolished, how can anyone but another account holder at the central bank redeem a bank’s liabilities for fiat? They can’t.

                Thus banks are a government-privileged cartel who may issue what are currently largely* sham deposits/liabilities for fiat wrt non account holders at the central bank.

                you mean interest payments?

                Interest is a separate problem.

                *Only largely because unsafe, inconvenient cash is still a means for the public to redeem a bank’s liability for fiat (by cashing a check). If cash is abolished those liabilities will be ENTIRELY a sham wrt the general public.

    5. John Zelnicker

      @horostam – Tax evasion is illegal, so the fact that the government doesn’t need that money is irrelevant. Tax avoidance, on the other hand, is not only legal, it is expected. Otherwise, you are correct, the distributional issues are the important ones.

      The problem with tax cuts for the wealthy is that they will spend little, if any, of the tax savings they keep, which means there will be no increase in aggregate demand. Low and middle income taxpayers will spend most or all of their tax savings adding to demand.

      Another reason for taxes is to promote desired socio-economic behavior. The tax code allows for the deduction, e.g., of R & D expenses in order to incentivize more research. Disallowing the deduction of normal business expenses by state-legal marijuana businesses is meant to make it more difficult to achieve a profit, since income taxes are paid on gross revenue rather than net income.

    6. ChrisPacific

      Taxes don’t fund Federal spending but they offset it. Granted it’s not zero sum and there are various other factors at work, but they do nonetheless belong on opposite sides of the ledger. Government spending creates money and taxation destroys it. If the amount of money in circulation is to be kept roughly in proportion to the overall economy and thereby maintain an approximately stable unit value, then absent extraordinary circumstances (large export surplus or deficit, credit bubble, financial crisis etc.) the two must be kept at least somewhat in proportion. So while it might be theoretically possible for the government to continue funding essential services if everybody did a Trump and found a way to not pay taxes, they would run up against some pretty formidable obstacles if they tried to do so in practice.

      That’s a long-winded way of saying that I don’t think MMTers would give Trump a free pass on paying taxes, even with the understanding that they don’t fund government spending.

  3. Titus Pullo

    An interview with Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepard. He is optimistic about people being able to effect change in the world while delivering dire facts like 40% of the phytoplankton in the oceans have disappeared since the 1950. Phytoplankton are the main producers of oxygen on the planet, more so than even the forests we are destroying with abandon.

    And yet with the prospect of dead planet looming in the very near future, he still is encouraging people to follow their passion and do what they can to save what life they can. I don’t know if I can have that kind of optimism in individual action, especially considering how quixotic Sea Shepard is in a lot of ways.

    When asked about US election for President, he sounds like a lot well meaning people these days, which is conspiratorial. The illusion of choice has been dispelled in many arenas of political and social action. Funnily, or not, he compares choosing between the nominees as a choice between cholera and smallpox, which I find is apt simile.

    I would have emailed the link for consideration rather than hijacking an early comment spot, but I could not find the proper email address to send it the link because I suck at using a phone as a computer. Oh well, feel free to not allow my post and either use or ignore the link as you see fit, Lambert and Yves.

  4. Ruben

    The price of complexity in financial networks
    Stefano Battiston,Guido Caldarelli, Robert M. May, Tarik Roukny, and Joseph E. Stiglitz

    Financial institutions form multilayer networks by engaging in contracts with each other and by holding exposures to common assets. As a result, the default probability of one institution depends on the default probability of all of the other institutions in the network. Here, we show how small errors on the knowledge of the network of contracts can lead to large errors in the probability of systemic defaults. From the point of view of financial regulators, our findings show that the complexity of financial networks may decrease the ability to mitigate systemic risk, and thus it may increase the social cost of financial crises.

    1. Alejandro

      Did not read the paper and defer to Yves’ knowledge and experience, but it seems like an attempt to grapple with derivatives that mostly seems to lead back to extricating “money” as utility from the gambling(updating Glass-Steagall).

    2. Dugh

      From Seth Lloyd:

      “Core-halo instability in dynamical systems”

      “This paper proves a set of instability theorems for dynamical systems. As interactions are added between subsystems in a complex system, structured or random, a threshold of connectivity is reached beyond which the overall dynamics inevitably either becomes highly oscillatory, unstable, or both. The threshold occurs at the point at which flows and interactions between subsystems (‘surface’ effects) overwhelm internal stabilizing dynamics (‘volume’ effects). The theorems are used to identify oscillation/instability thresholds in systems that possess a core-halo or core- periphery structure, including the gravo-thermal catastrophe – i.e., star collapse and explosion – and the interbank payment network. In the core-halo model, the same dynamical instability underlies both gravitational and financial collapse.”

  5. Cry Shop

    “Beijing’s clandestine intrusion into our local Chinese press will have an impact on national security if it is not rooted out,” The Age reported in 2014.

    The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda bureau, the newspaper reported, was “buying up radio stations and newspapers across the country and channeling the voice of Beijing into them from editorial offices in China”.

    Hmmm, but it’s perfectly normal for the 0.01%, who are alien to us all, to own mass media.

  6. alex morfesis

    the donald reads the federal register…and gets to take advantage of the 10 million words over 75 thousand pages of the IRS code and interpretations of revenue notes, revenue rulings, private letter rulings and tax court rulings…not that the NY Times is not using these same tax deductions…nah…not that mr WAPO is taking advantage of these deductions…nah…and everyone was told the real estate tax deductions from syndication went out the window in 1986…unless you keep the partnership a general one and keep the number to less than 10…or your spouse is a full time real estate agent(now you know why there are so many agents who hardly sell anything yet stay in the biz for 25 years)…

    section 172 is so much fun…IRS publications 536 and 542…

    oh…and this little thing from his Attorney who must be too old to care at this point that he probably did cross a line by his agreeing that the documents he saw are accurate (although they might have tricked him…what he “actually” said, meaning Mitnick, is still a question I have…)

    notice the fine print…where he and the organization have “elected” to take certain “payouts” in various forms, including an option to purchase…

    1. Jim Haygood

      Man, I remember how the tax act of 1986 guillotined a whole subgenre of American literature: the “Nothing down: how you can make trillions in leveraged real estate” publishing industry. It was pretty much all that anybody read in the inflationary 1970s, before the internet and iPhones.

      Supposedly, our august solons were up to their ears in property, so no one could believe that they took away their own deductions for the “beautiful shelter” (as Donald would call it) of accelerated depreciation. Maybe Wall Street made them a better offer with insider access to IPOs.

      Hillary seems to lean toward the bad old days, when the “rack rate” of the top bracket was 90 percent, but nobody paid it thanks to an endless tasting menu of artful dodges: drilling partnerships (Texas, y’all), film partnerships (NY/LA, natch), cattle partnerships (Iowa beef, moo), and on and on. Nobody had to ask “Where are the tax lawyers’ yachts?”

      What a kick in the head, if the charity foundation princess does more for property than the developer who probably got a couple of buildings for his first birthday. Now we just need ourselves some healthy inflation to make this deal pay.

      1. Alejandro

        The notion of “store of value” seems a desultory and detached fantasy of somehow “warehousing” privilege with a bewildered sense of reciprocity…a permeation of the vile maxim on a “Robinson Crusoe” scale…effects of “objectivist” individuation.

      2. Adam Eran

        You left out real estate partnerships that actually produced something: affordable housing. They all went belly up because the 1986 tax law effectively removed the limited partnership write-offs for these projects. The smart partners simply deeded their no-longer-viable projects to the banks to avoid the expense of foreclosure. This worsened the (then) worst financial / political scandal in U.S. history, the S&L scandal.

        But that’s peanuts (1/70th the size) compared to the more recent sub-prime / derivatives scandal. [Sigh!] Don’t you just hate it when you’re nostalgic for the bad ol’ days?

        In truth, it’s more effective for the government to get 100% of the dollars it spends on affordable housing rather than giving tax breaks that mean only 75% of the housing dollars build housing (unless you make a persuasive case that government is so crooked that a 25% discount beats what would be lost to corruption).

    1. Pavel

      Wow, that 5 minute video is well worth watching. HRC calls multiple times for walls and “barriers” to be constructed along the Mexican border.

      1. pretzelattack

        trump campaign should distribute that to every spanish speaking organization that’s out there.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Understandably, Hillary was filled with enthusiasm after visiting Israel’s security wall and seeing how well it keeps out unwanted brown people. /sarc

        1. Pavel

          Yes, it (almost) amazes me that Hillary and others lambast Trump for his Mexico wall proposal whilst they are the absolute most fervent supporters of Israel and its “security fence” and apartheid laws.

      1. kj1313

        He’s great. Jimmy Dore is done with the DNC and is pissed off. I also think he doesn’t believe the hyperbole being spouted from the other tyt hosts about Trump.

      2. Pavel

        Jimmy Dore is fantastic — thanks to this NC link I started watching a bunch of his YouTube clips. He is thoroughly pissed with the Dems’ hypocrisy and disingenuous statements.

        Check out one called “Shocking: Who’s voting for Jill Stein” — interesting analysis of Stein’s demographics:

  7. Eduardo Quince

    Re: Some comments on the New York Times story about Donald Trump’s tax returns Bronte Capital

    Hempton seems to miss one point: forgiveness of nonrecourse debt is not taxable income in the US. Whether the debt in question was nonrecourse is unknown, but given that it was (presumably) secured by real estate, it likely was

    1. John Wright

      Note, forgiveness of nonrecourse debt WAS a taxable event for home mortgage holders who walked away from their homes until 2007

      For example, the law had to be changed in 2007 to make debt forgiveness of home mortgages not taxable income.

      “The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualify for this relief.”

      “This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2014. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion doesn’t apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition.”

      1. Eduardo Quince

        Note, forgiveness of nonrecourse debt WAS a taxable event for home mortgage holders who walked away from their homes until 2007

        No, nonrecourse debt forgiveness was never taxable. If you’re not personally liable for a debt, you technically don’t receive any economic benefit from its cancellation. The 2007 law you refer to applied to recourse mortgages. Note the following from the page you linked to:

        2. Is Cancellation of Debt income always taxable?
        Not always. There are some exceptions. The most common situations when cancellation of debt income is not taxable involve:
        Non-recourse loans:A non-recourse loan is a loan for which the lender’s only remedy in case of default is to repossess the property being financed or used as collateral.That is, the lender cannot pursue you personally in case of default.Forgiveness of a non-recourse loan resulting from a foreclosure does not result in cancellation of debt income.However, it may result in other tax consequences, as discussed in Question 3 below.

        1. Sammy Maudlin

          No, nonrecourse debt forgiveness was never taxable. If you’re not personally liable for a debt, you technically don’t receive any economic benefit from its cancellation.

          This is 100% wrong. See my comment below. Further, it is ridiculous to state that a person who is relieved of nonrecourse debt doesn’t receive any “economic benefit.” So, if the bank says “you know, that $200k you owe us and for which you’re paying $2,000 per month? Fuhgeddaboudit!!!” That’s not an “economic benefit” to the borrower?

          Being relieved of those payments is most certainly an “economic benefit.” In fact, the IRS considers it such a benefit that it considers it ordinary income.

      2. Yves Smith

        Whether mortgage debt is recourse or non-recourse varies by state. Here are details:

        As you can see, in most states, it’s recourse.

        Post-crisis, a lot of servicers for the first time evah pursued recourse mortgage borrowers who had defaulted. Historically, they’d never done that, the assumption being that you could not get blood from a stone. My belief is they believed their ‘strategic defaulter” PR and wanted to scare borrowers into bleeding themselves dry before defaulting.

    2. Alex morfesis

      What the heck would an Australian expert on taxes know about american taxes ? Have a very good friend who used to be deputy inspector general for investigations at irs…he would never dare suggest he could comment on taxes in greece or cyprus ??..

      Tax losses are on basis…not tax forgiveness…the code is designed to keep the progeny of the rich richer…

      Step up on basis when someone inherits a property is a perfect example…I get full value today…the market goes down and I sell at a loss…but then buy the same type of property down the street so I have a loss but I still have the same type of upside…I book the loss and go 2 back and 20 forward…used to be 3 & 15 before clinton changed it in 97…

      Note…the irs demands specificity and compliance to the letter of its federal register rules…notes…rulings…private letter rulings and tax court rulings…there is no sorta kinda with the code…but those willing to submit 1200 page tax returns get the benefit of the established scenarios…and those who can demand an elected official show up for a round of golf can get a special rule placed in the federal register to conform to any anomalies in the paperwork…

      Debt forgiveness is not a material issue for those in the shag off 25 million dollar plus range…except to leave public pensions holding the bill when it is time to slide away…

      1. Harry

        I am not a US tax expert but Hempton is active in US stock investments and is a detail oriented investor. I think it is likely that if suggests something has mer\it then it has merit. His argument seems plausible to me.

        1. Alex morfesis

          The tax code is not about logic…it is about rules, procedures and policy…and real estate is a special part of the code…

          and debt parking ??…must be more common in australia…

          look up cost segregation…

          as to 1099c and k-1’s, they are or have been historically presented by the creditor or managing party and if the creditor as part of an agreement does not send in a 1099c and is just willing to take the penalty, if it ever gets to that…then it just can sit in suspended animation…or a small de minimus payment to toll the statute of limitations so the irs has a harder time calling it debt forgiveness on their own…remember…in real estate there are land leases for 99 to 999 years…and one can walk the debt and substitute collateral….one can do 1031/starker exchanges…one can use interests in one enterprise to acquire another…

          there are preferred share structures that if not convertable to common can allow a vehicle to be taken over and not cross the 50% threshold to diminish corporate nol carryforwards…

          10 million words…75 thousand pages…tax notes…tax rulings…federal register…private letter rulings…tax court rulings…a great real estate focused cpa earns their money…

          Major changes to the code like the 1986 change usually happen when one to many of the unwashed have figured it out

    3. Sammy Maudlin

      “[F]orgiveness of nonrecourse debt is not taxable income in the US.”

      With the exception of some statutory exemptions that apply to homestead property, gifts, and consumer transactions, that is a completely incorrect characterization of the general framework of US taxation.

      First, when we are talking about Trump, the nonrecourse debt at issue is commercial debt. His wealth is not tied up in his homestead or consumer purchases for which he is receiving a post-sale discount because of defective workmanship.

      Cancellation or forgiveness of nonrecourse debt that secures commercial property is generally a taxable event. If the debt is simply forgiven via renegotiaton with the lender, it’s ordinary income for which the lender must issue a 1099. If a third-party buyer takes responsibility for the debt in a transaction, the amount of nonrecourse debt which the seller is relieved of is included in the amount realized. A seller in that situation realizes ordinary income to the extent that the amount realized (including the debt relief) exceeds the adjusted basis.

      Also, forgiveness of consumer nonrecourse debt outside of the homestead situation is generally income to the consumer. If you negotiate with your credit card company (generally nonrecourse) to reduce your balance because otherwise you’re going to declare bankruptcy, the amount of debt forgiven is income for which the lender is supposed to issue a 1099-C. Again, there are exceptions but that is the general rule.

      1. Eduardo Quince

        is a completely incorrect characterization of the general framework of US taxation

        No, you’re wrong. Cancellation of debt is taxable income to the debtor only if the debtor is personally liable for the debt. In the case of nonrecourse debt on a commercial property, the debtor may have a taxable gain (or loss) on the foreclosure of the property (which is treated as the equivalent of a sale for tax purposes), but the cancellation of the debt itself would not be taxable income.

        If you negotiate with your credit card company (generally nonrecourse)

        You seem confused about the meaning of nonrecourse. Credit card debt is recourse debt. Nonrecourse debt is debt secured by collateral (usually real estate) where the creditor’s recourse in the event of default is limited solely to the collateral.

        1. Sammy Maudlin

          First, you are correct that credit card debt is generally recourse. My comment suffered from bad editing and I was trying to refer to large consumer purchases secured by the collateral.

          My second mistake, which was not identified but I want to highlight was that I forgot to distinguish that when the amount realized (including forgiven nonrecourse debt) in a sale is more than the adjusted basis, the AR above the AB up to the original purchase price is capital gain. Then, above that, the remaining gain is ordinary income.

          However, that all said, you are irresponsibly off base. You said “forgiveness of nonrecourse debt is not taxable income in the US.” Now you say “[c]ancellation of debt is taxable income to the debtor only if the debtor is personally liable for the debt.” Absolutely 100% false.

          IRC 61(a)(12) provides that income includes “income from the discharge of indebtedness.” There’s no distinction for recourse and non-recourse. In Rev. Rul. 92-99 the IRS made clear that a reduction of nonrecourse debt related to a piece of property which was not sold to the debtor by the lender results in cancellation of debt income. Caselaw cited in that Rev. Rul. highlight that courts have generally interpreted the law to allow for forgiveness of nonrecourse debt to find its way into the income of the debtor as an “accession to wealth.”

          In other words, if the lender says “keep the property but forget the debt,” that’s income. Third party takes on your nonrecourse debt for you and the transaction results in a gain? Taxable income. Don’t believe me? See IRS Publication 4681.

          1. Yves Smith

            That is not the view of someone I consulted, who has been listed as one of the top 50 authorities on tax in the world and was on the phone all yesterday fielding calls from reporters on the Trump story.

            You have just reaffirmed that you do not know what non-recourse debt means. The ONLY source of repayment is seizure of the collateral. There is no income gain because there was never any personal debt forgiveness. The individual was never on the hook for repayment. Your analysis of facts is incorrect.

            This is from the General Rules section (emphasis mine):

            Generally, if a debt for which you are personally liable is forgiven or discharged for less than the full amount owed, the debt is considered can- celed in whatever amount it remained unpaid.

            The IRS issue is that if the lender seizes the collateral and does not pursue the borrower even though the debt was recourse, the borrower is still on the hook for debt forgiveness. As we indicated above in comments, mortgage debt in most states is recourse, as are car loans, another example listed by the IRS where having the lender seize the collateral didn’t necessarily relieve the borrower of owing taxes for debt forgiveness.

            1. Sammy Maudlin

              I do understand what nonrecourse and recourse debt is. That’s an unfair and wholly incorrect statement. However, whether or not the lender may pursue a debtor’s other assets on default is not the last word on whether forgiveness of nonrecourse debt can result in income.

              The situation that keeps getting discussed is when there is a foreclosure or other seizure of the collateral by the lender. That is not always the case. No seizure plus balance reduction means COD income. To say that forgiveness of nonrecourse debt is not taxable is not taxable as a blanket statement is just not right.

            2. Sammy Maudlin

              Also, if you look a few lines below the language you cite in Pub. 4681 it states that a taxpayer will have income for forgiveness of debt for which they are not “personally responsible” if they retain the collateral and the lender offers a discount for early payment of the debt or agrees to a loan modification that results in a principal reduction.

          2. Sammy Maudlin

            Before anyone calls me out on it, I had it right the first time. IRC 1245 provides that AR from sale of depreciated assets is first ordinary income (to reflect recovery of deductions, which are against ordinary income). After deductions are recovered, the rest is capital gain. posting after a long weekend of no sleep at Cub Scout camp is not advised.

  8. Steve H.

    CNN post-debate poll.

    Quick look: Expected splits on Repub/Democ and Liberal/Conservative. Sampling Error critical to interpreting results. Trump clearly holds White Non College, and only College Grad didn’t think T’s criticisms of Clintons stuck. Rural: N/A skews results towards Clinton, but the swing votes seem to be Suburban where it’s less clearly defined. Women: More Likely To Vote Clinton looks real (40%, v 16% for T).

  9. temporal

    NY spraying aggressively to eliminate Aedes albopictus

    Bees in Hawaii are now on the endangered species list and NY decides to do last resort adulticiding because there are still a few insects left. Imagining that these sprays are targeting is to believe that the poison vendor did more than test the lethalness on the target. If it only killed the target then there would be no reason for humans to stay in-doors because we’re a long evolutional way from the insect kingdom.

    I grew up in a town that sprayed for mosquitoes each summer. Lots of bugs that were big enough to see, died when the truck came around. Turns out after they stopped spraying there were still pretty much the same number of mosquitoes as before but a few less larger animals. In all that time, before and after, no one in that town ever got sick from a mosquito bite. Though kids, like me, that ignored the warnings to stay inside might have been a bit more bug free. To be fair, the town was using a safe, federally authorized poison called DDT so, no problems.

    The story doesn’t bother with specifics but it sounds like NY is using naled which is currently being done Florida though it is banned in the EU. I wonder how they’ll tell all of the beneficial insects to stay indoors.

    Brazil supposedly eliminated all mosquitoes, mostly via DDT a few years back, so even that clearly didn’t meet the criteria of a long-term solution.

    All this because the MSM, and some people interested in sales, promoted the idea that Zika, a virus first found in Uganda and known about for more than 60 years, has suddenly been tenuously connected to birth defects. Fortunately New York hasn’t started using Pyriproxyfen, as pointed out long ago by moonofalabama is being done in Brazil. We all hope.

    Out smarting bugs that have been around for millions of years by using last resort poison technologies. Very smart indeed.

    1. Lary

      My town has been spraying for mosquitoes do to some neighbors coming down with West Nile. The wasp nest I haven’t gotten around to eradicating is now empty. I’m sure this won’t effect anything up, the food chain. /sarcasm

  10. cnchal

    From Washington’s governing elites think we’re all morons, a new study says

    In 2014, MIT Professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was caught on tape explaining that “the stupidity of the American voter or whatever … was really, really critical for [Obamacare] to pass.” Most lawmakers and voters, he suggested, did not really understand the law and that “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”

    The ‘governing elite’ puts the politician and voter in the same moron category.

    [W]here rulers have little in common with the ruled, those in power are unlikely to exhibit sympathy, as the Constitution’s framers might have put it, for their subjects. Rulers are likely, instead, to view their subjects instrumentally much, says Aristotle, as they might see their tools, horses, oxen, or slaves, and deal with them in an unjust manner. . .

    This is narcissism writ large. What we have is a system whereby self selecting narcissists run for office (Does a normal person really want the jawb of getting up in front of people to lie and smile?) and bask in the glory of power. and then has to deal with psychopaths that have back stabbed and ass licked their way to the top of the bureaucratic heap.

    1. Ivy

      A million irredeemables here, a million deplorables there, and soon you’re talking about real voters.

  11. Roger Smith

    Re: The Debate Microphone

    This was such garbage from the get go. Anyone with minor audio production experience would have known that was a mic problem. It isn’t the kind of thing I would wonder if someone did intentionally. They certainly could have tried to correct the problem at the soundboard as the debate went on.

      1. Roger Smith

        Then they are stuck with the problem. I can’t say I noticed any level adjustments (and I certainly am not going back to see if the problem got better throughout the night) but maybe it was corrected after awhile. It was most likely the mic positioning and since there were no commercials it couldn’t be fixed but some leveling might have been able to help a little.

        I don’t mean to say they did not try to fix it, or do it on purpose. But some great fodder (sniffles and cocaine) came out of it… then a week later, “oh yea, it WAS the mic…”

    1. Jim Haygood

      At the soundboard, Bryan Pagliano and Paul Combetta were frantically posting for advice on Reddit.

      But all the Reddit readers were watching the debate. :-(

  12. Uahsenaa

    I would note that the translation errors referred to in the article on Japan/US and the TPP are quite significant, because only the Japanese text of a document has the force of law there.

    It’s one of the reasons why document translation is to this day such a lucrative field to go into there.

  13. craazyman

    I heard on the radio last night it might cost only $200,000 to go to Mars on Elon Musk’s rocket — in 2025! That’s his goal.

    That’s incredible. In our lifetime, it might be possible to get drunk and screw a Martian woman. I don’t mean a fellow passenger, I mean a native. That would be incredible. A first for humanity — although admittedly a hollow form of fame. The morning after might seem kind of sad. Is that all there is? Is that all there is? Is that all there is to life? Then let’s keep drinking. Let’s take out the booze and have a ball. Well not literally.

    That would be a hollow form of fame indeed. A sad and lonely fame, which may end in mockery and painful lampoon. But there would be guys who’d do it for sure, without a second thought. particularly if they were in their 20s. But if they were, why go to Mars? Mars is not a place for a young man with ambition. It’s the kind of place you go when there’s little left to do and you’re out of ideas and out of creativity and out of, almost, hope. Then there’s Mars. maybe that will save you.

    You could also look at Mars through a telescope, but there’s little public accolade for doing that. You might come up with theories about Mars — that would be more prestigious. If you designed the rocket that goes to Mars you’d be a rocket scientist. That’s quite prestigious. If you were the Mars commander, whoa! That’s like Capitain Kirk himself. Maybe William Shatner can be the Mars rocket commander. That would be amazing. Life imitating art imitating life. That’s quite symmetric. If he gets drunk and screws a Martian woman, then whoa! That would be just like Star Trek! Not that anyone would want to know the details, for sure, but it would be hilarious.

    Whoever does it has to think of something to say right before it happens. Neil Armstrong did a good job on the moon. You can’t just say something like “Whoa dudes, this is awesome.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I suppose one could go for $200,000 if you just count the ticket (similar to how highways cost comparatively less compared to trains as long as you don’t count cars, repairs, insurance, land use, and pollution), but I think it would be one way because of orbits and the need for a whole factory and biodome to survive the three years until it made sense to leave. Mars might not have much of an atmosphere, but that 0.95 gravity metric still means there has to be an impressive return vehicle.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I didn’t know, but it’s a rocket one needs to get to Mars or send sufficient building materials and robots to construct from local materials which would need to be mined, processed, and stress tested for Earth reentry.

          Asteroid mining is still the way to go, especially since a large Mars operation would likely be dependent on asteroid mining.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Russians were charging $20 million for a trip to Mir or was that only the ISS, but that was done to fund other projects, not the cost of adding an extra passenger plus a modest profit.

          An earth based rountrip launch to Mars is a 21 month trip that can be made every 26 months. If you just send machines and supplies, they don’t have to worry about this window as much.

          -Psych issues (I believe the Russians and Chinese have women cosmonauts in an isolation chamber right now because it would be cheaper to send women to their planned moon base or more accurately easier to find a group of qualified women than small qualified men reducing the weight at lift off.).
          -weird medical conditions
          -back up systems
          -emergency rations (although if you are going to Mars, aren’t you really asking to be left behind?)

          The list goes on and on, and there aren’t any local systems of slavery to usurp and make even nastier like the Spanish did in the New World.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Water from the moon would be the “fuel” of the first generation of legitimate space craft. A by product would be oxygen. Again, the “we’re going to Mars!” crowd would have to wait while something practical was done. Musk was is full of it, but NASA and the other space agencies aren’t without purpose. If you need more oxygen, don’t run the oxygen part of the engine.

        2. Pavel

          Any chance we can do a Kickstarter campaign to raise $400,000 to send both Trump and HRC to Mars?

    2. JTMcPhee

      Gonna have to establish some new criteria for membership in the Mile/Parsec-High Club…

      Have to wonder what a dose of Martian gonorrhea or crabs would be like…

        1. craazyman

          what if you get all the way there and there aren’t any native Martian women.

          That seems unlikely — on a planet that big there have to be some somewhere — but it’s theoretically possible. It should give somebody pause if they think they’re gonna be the guy.

          Don’t be impulsive. That’s what I’d advise if somebody was seriously thinking about this.

    3. John Wright

      It would be good to read the liability disclaimer the passengers will have to sign. What happens if the Musk company goes bankrupt and strands passengers on Mars, or the return rocket is low on fuel, or the return rocket has an equipment malfunction making it unusable for the return trip.

      Sole source provider risk writ large.

      Possibly the 200K is only a one way ticket?

        1. optimader

          All the more reasons to send our current candidates there!

          On the first rocket with camping gear to ensure the survival of our pieces. Then allow Musk to go bankrupt, and declare EMuskDay as a National Holiday.

      1. Alex morfesis

        I am sure the south afrikkkaner genius will forget to mention in his mars tours presentation the 4 times per week freshly baked 10 to 15 foot wide craters that keep showing up on mars from the fact there is no earth like atmosphere nor magnetic field…

        being next to the asteroid belt and technically partially in it is really nothing to concern oneself with…

        although he might try to get federal funding running an interplanetary hospice…cause if the falling debris doesnt get ya…the fried skin and innards will…

        Although maybe he and mister wikileaks can koombayeah their aryan dreams with a new vyrld on mars…away from the lower ones they sadly have to share this blue marble with…

    4. crittermom

      I’d gladly donate a major portion of my meager SS if it would help launch that rocket much sooner (like before the election)–with both candidates and their families aboard.

      This election is so, so wrong…

    5. a different chris

      I’m enjoying Musk’s entire base, um, logic. “The Earth is going downhill and humans’ best chance for survival is to evacuate, as far as Elon Musk is concerned.”– HuffPost.

      Now I agree about the downhill part – the thing is, we WILL all be extinct if the Earth even drops to, say, 5x as habitable as. you know, well, sigh Mars. Which means going there to solve the problem is like moving to Somalia because local crime is increasing. (“Like” — well actually many orders of magnitude worse but I couldn’t come up with anything better).

      And this guy is a zillionaire. Jeebus.

  14. Henry Carey

    There is a real risk the media will be wholly foreign owned very soon. The FCC under Pres. Obama eliminated the rule on foreign ownership. This, the TPP, and giving up internet control are of a piece.

    I think Trump may be the one and only person to increase the likelihood the US will still be an independent country in ten years. With Clinton we may end up losing our sovereignty by 2020. Trump may have some issues, but at least he psychologically identifies with the US. Most US elites think of themselves as world citizens and really couldn’t care less if the US becomes like the DRC. I trust Trump’s instincts much more than Hillary’s. The continued existence of an independent US will be very, very important for the world to have any degree of pluralism. Any global hegemony is likely to be unpleasant for most people.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From the WaPo article:

      Grupo Televisa, a Mexican company with a minority stake in the Spanish-language station Univision, might now be able to increase its ownership.

      Univision’s lead owner is Hillary’s largest contributor, the Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban:

      On June 27, 2006, Saban Capital Group led a group of investors bidding for Univision Communications, the largest Spanish-language media company in the United States.

      Other investors in the Saban-led group were Texas Pacific Group of Fort Worth, Texas and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The group was successful in acquiring Univision with a bid valued at $13.7 billion.

      This convenient FCC rule change hands them a nice exit strategy.

      Convinced to contribute to the Clinton Foundation yet? They make magic happen.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps they (the big guys) will standardize media propaganda after achieving global ownership unification

    3. Kurt Sperry

      The owners of American media are *already* foreigners. The 0.01% aren’t us. They have less in common with us in terms of common interests than working class shlubs from any random country. What color their passports are is a meaningless distraction.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Yes, yes and yes. Alarming that this point even needs to be (re)made, but it does — everywhere — so thanks for insisting on it.

  15. jfleni

    RE: How Actual Nuts and Bolts Are Bringing Down Oil Prices

    Oil prices are not the only example. Standardization is cutting expenses and costs

    Example: Linux software is marching rapidly and cheaply (sometimes
    free) ahead, in multiple fields, so Billy Boy watch out, because doing your own
    thing is usually both stupid and expensive!

  16. maria gostrey

    i was struck by the NYT putting the documentation regarding trumps tax returns out on sunday morning. it seems as though all hillary documents have been posted friday afternoons.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Class, pay attention!!!

      Today’s propaganda du jour is…

      And the F student’s mind wanders…if he knows how to exploits for his shareholders, is he best to fix it, or betray his 0.01% class?

    2. Waldenpond

      Elites rigging the media for one candidate is how it’s done. Media trotted out Sanders to say Clinton accurately describes his supporters (Bernie thinks they are naive in thinking the US can have universal healthcare and college, psst… revolution) and they held the taxes until Clinton was having an especially difficult time because of it. It signals to the rest of the sycophants that they are to yak about Ts taxes this week not C insulting voters again.

      Sanders was a compromise candidate for me so I don’t see how him publicly agreeing with expressing contempt for voters is supposed to get me to vote for any Ds.

        1. Waldenpond

          Oh yes. Sanders was on this week.

          Sanders states Clinton accurately described his supporters (to the laughter of a room full of elites)

          On the other hand:

          Sanders states that ‘false promises’ does not accurately describe him.


          Finds it disgusting that T ddidn’t pay particular taxes….

          On the other hand:

          But Clinton taking money from DB meh.

          Revolution baby!

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Ah, remember when a socialist couldnt win, but now they need Sanders to carry their sorry hides over the finish line. Democrats might go extinct in 2018.

            The 2018 Senate list looks like an impending disaster for Team Blue especially since Hillary has made it clear how Democrats view the young voters they expected to deliver a permanent Democratic majority.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      I’m sure people serious about reading about or researching real news look most closely of all at what gets published on Friday nights.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China…IMF reserve currencies.

    Some currencies have more value than others.

    Now, the RMB is one of the IMF reserve ones.

    Is it because China taxes her people more ruthles…sorry, efficiently?

    Is it because foreign 1%ers, or foreign bankers value them more?

    If it’s the value of a currency we are talking about, and not the sovereignty of the people, do foreigners have more say (in various aspects of one’s currency, but also in how to print or create)?

  18. Ché Pasa

    Ah yes, (Lt. Col.) Dave Grossman, Killology founder and chief promoter. It’s nice that Radley Balko mentions him — since he’s featured in the film, why not? — but Grossman is rarely cited as a main apologist and cheerleader for the kill-kill-kill ideology of so many police departments. Bill Lewinski gets most of the credit. Between the two of them, they should be held responsible for thousands upon thousands of dead at the hands of police, many of them innocent of wrong-doing, and none of them adjudicated guilty of any crime that justified a death sentence, but they won’t be. They will be hailed as the heroes they see themselves to be — if they’re noticed at all.

    Just one example of Grossman’s crazed rantings (at a so called “prayer breakfast” no less):

    He’s even crazier now…

    Lewinski has his own “force science” set up and patter.

    This is a big reason why police are too often so eager to kill and why it continues no matter the public protests and demands that the killing stop.

    1. Plenue

      Oh, wow. They proudly call themselves ‘sheepdogs’ So what does that make the ‘idiot’ masses?

  19. TarheelDem

    Of course, Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending, so a Martian watching from a million miles away would conclude the one is as crazypants as the other.

    Federal taxes have some relationship to federal spending and the taxes that Trump did not pay did affect that accounting number called the deficit by subtracting from a fiscal year’s revenue.

    Clinton’s point goes in some way to the taxes ordinary people pay and to the government services or lack of services that Congress oversees.

    If all the other parties can play the balanced budget game, so can the Democrats until they take the trouble to educate voters otherwise–something not easily done in the last month of a Presidential election.

    1. cwaltz



      Yes, a government sovereign in it’s currency can fund whatever it likes(and our government apparently really, really likes war) however as long as we are essentially keeping an accounting log where things like income tax and payroll tax get logged in as assets and things like cost of F 35s and food stamps get logged in as deficit spending, I think the argument that taxes don’t pay for anything does not pass the smell test.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      LOL “taxes ordinary people pay” LOL

      So we’re treated to the details of how much The Donald did or didn’t didn’t pay.

      Meantime the woman who set up a private TAX-FREE foundation in order to sell the business of our government to the highest bidder for immense personal gain…did that get a mention in the NYT?

      Bubba is trying to make people think his government-sponsored extortion scheme does good works, oops except just 5.7% of the proceeds went to actual charitable work…which the top expert on foundations said is the worst case of tax abuse by a foundation he has ever seen.

      I say in 2020 they should skip all the foreplay and theater, and just announce who our next Dear Leader is on November 10.

      1. cwaltz

        Trump should, by all means, tie this into the Clinton foundation.

        He should point out that she has used the foundation as a money laundering operation for her campaign too.

  20. Pat

    Reading the comments on the WaPo “they are making a mountain out of a grain of sand” article about Clinton’s remarks dissing people who want a better shake, you discover that only those who take things out of context or live in fantasyland don’t see that Clinton is only stating the truth. Oh and that the nemesis already being spread that Assange released the only real incriminating documents he has already to obscure that they have manufactured the ones he is promising to release.

    The Koolaid is so thick it is like wading through molasses.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Brock trolls are probably working overtime, and elected Democrats are probably in a panic too. 2018 could make 2014 look like a Democratic victory without “ooga booga Trump.” Republican rank and file congressmen would gladly put elected Dems in concentration camps. Even Team Blue morons might be catching on.

      1. different clue

        I still like terms like . . . brockmonkeys, flying brockmonkeys, winged brockmonkeys, etc. I offer them in hopes others might like them as much as I do.

    2. cwaltz

      I found the 47% remark that she made pretty interesting.

      It’s further proof that the Democratic Party really isn’t that far from the party of Mitt Romney who also commented on 47% of the population being “takers.”

    3. jrs

      it’s a mountain out of a molehill. She’s doing the dispassionate analysis thing, what’s so offensive anyway, that’s she’s not FDR? Uh duh. That she doesn’t favor single payer? Duh. Those shocked are those shocked by Trump making beauty pageant comments, Trump is Trump and Hillary is Hillary and it’s what they are (though it is hard to believe Trump is so self-destructive). Anyone who doesn’t know that by now hasn’t been paying any attention.

  21. amousie

    How organisations enshrine collective stupidity and employees are rewarded for checking their brains at the office door.

    The assumption here seems to be that the smartest people are the ones with the college degrees. Personally I think that’s a horrible assumption but I’ll admit it’s a definite selling point for the continuation of the credentialed class and their “?objectives?”.

    Could it not also be that these same “smart people” checked their brains at the doors in middle school, high school, college, etc.? Don’t the same type of rewards exist even before we get to structured busy work environments that hand out paychecks?

    How many people will buck the system of reward and punishment regardless of where it appears in their lives? And what does being “smart” have to do with it really?

  22. Pat

    Perfect Trump response:
    Yes I took advantage of the deductions provided in our tax laws to pay less taxes. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t. That is just smart, and not just for millionaires. If too many of them are skewed towards the millionaires, well that isn’t a surprise. That’s who all those elected officials who write the tax laws or sign them into the law court for large donations when they are running for office. We told you what you already knew, the system is and was rigged. What you have to remember is that I didn’t write or approve those tax laws, that was my opponent. I didn’t choose not to report on the rigged nature of those laws when they were being voted upon so the public could scream bloody murder about them – that was the media who are only now shocked that the tax laws of this country are rigged. After taking advantage of every “loophole” they could find over the years mind you. I just took advantage of the situation they created or fostered.

    1. cwaltz

      I don’t find that response perfect.

      a) We know Trump did indeed schmooze with elected officials. So no I don’t find his claim that he didn’t help write or approve of these tax laws ridiculous.

      b) This idea that I shouldn’t blame him for taking advantage and not speaking out about the nature of a rigged tax system prior to now is also laughable.

      The they did it also defense. I think my kids outgrew that one at 5 years old.

      I will give him this though, kudos to him for admitting the system is rigged against average Americans. If he is elected then I hope he at least has the guts to tell the whiny 1% to shut up about the 47% of people at the bottom of the tax brackets who get to zero by doing the exact same thing he did- taking every single deduction and credit available.

      1. Pat

        Sorry that was me writing a response for him, not Trump. And he has already used the rigged thing including pointing out that he gave to both parties to influence them.

        I don’t like that the rich can do this, but I do believe you are stupid if you don’t use every lever you have. And refuse to use the advantages that others have achieved that you can. So I understand it. On this the people I blame are those have reneged on there responsibilities to their constituents and/or to uphold the Constitution. By changing or overriding the laws in order to give the rich far more levers than anyone else they have legalized corruption and almost eliminated access to levers at all for most of the public.

        1. cwaltz

          We fundamentally disagree then. I could potentially profit off the backs of others labor at this point in my life. I don’t. Why? I think it would be wrong. I refuse to cheer every time a worker loses their benefits because it increases MY worth. I’d feel the same about shipping my jobs off to China to exploit the Chinese because it’s cheaper labor(something Trump admits he did.)

          Call me stupid all you like, however, I think people who increase their own wealth at the expense of others are greedy and selfish. I’d rather be “stupid” than greedy or selfish any day and twice on Fridays.

          1. clinical wasteman

            I’d suggest reassigning the “stupid” tag to all those who happily profit off others’ labor or cheer when a worker loses benefits. What kind of bloody-minded superstition does it take not to expect to be next? “Stupid” is the kindest thing you can say about anyone who attributes his/her good luck to personal “merit”.

      2. Yves Smith

        Trump wasn’t lobbying on tax policy. His talking to officials would have no impact. There was an army pushing for real estate tax breaks. Guys like him give their money to local and state officials. That’s where they need to have influence. Trump presumably gave to Clinton hoping she’d be a “pothole” Senator like Al D’Amato, who was famous for going to bat over constituent concerns, but she did virtually nothing of the kind as NY Senator.

        1. cwaltz

          Are you suggesting that Trump, over the years, got nothing from the political donations that he made to both parties?

          That actually would be contrary to what Trump himself is on the record as telling people how politics work.

          Donald Trump bragged Thursday night that he could buy politicians — even the ones sharing the stage with him at a Republican presidential debate.
          “You’d better believe it,” Trump said. “If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.”

          Though it surely wasn’t his intention, Trump was illustrating the key problem with the current campaign finance system. Campaign contributions are legally considered bribes only when there is an explicit quid-pro-quo. But as Trump explained, giving money to politicians bought him access and relationships, which he could leverage down the road in the form of favors. Such conflicts of interest are inherent in privately funded election systems.

          These are Trumps own words. He even bragged about the fact that he could “buy” politicians.

          1. Yves Smith

            You made a specific allegation that he influenced the tax code via his political donations. I rebutted that. Now you’ve shifted your argument.

            I said guys like Trump give a ton to both parties on the state and local level. A guy at Trump’s level, particularly given that he is not all that liquid, will not give enough to have any impact on tax policy, which is the focus of a ginormous amount of lobbying. He’s never once been mentioned as a major donor to either party. The big kahunas are the bundlers, who raise money from other rich dudes. Trump’s never played that game.

            There is already a huge mortgage industrial industrial complex fighting for tax breaks for real estate. He knows he can free ride on those efforts.

  23. timbers

    If this campaign were sane and its purpose was to talk about things that concern and benefit American voters, the candidates would be talking about Obamacare collapsing and the 30 million w/o access to healthcare and if the candidates didn’t talk about it the Press would ask them. But the media is all about tax returns and beauty models or something.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obviously corporate ownership is one problem, but I’m reminded of Jon Stewart’s interviews sans McCain who he rightfully brown nosed because McCain let the Daily Show on his bus in 2000. Even Stewart’s non combative interviews were were more Interesting than all the garbage put out by Tim Russert (my dad went to BC with Russert and says he was an asshole then). Why? Stewart was a history major from William and Mary, Mr. Jefferson’s Alma Mater. Stewart knew about the wider world and new enough to ask relevant questions. What do journalism school majors and comm school expose themselves to? How to protect a source? Isn’t that self evident?

      American journalists come from a culture of profound ignorance.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      How can Kerry not sound ridiculous? His nation’s policy is to overthrow a secular, democratically-elected leader by funding the same radical Islamist groups that performed the worst terror attack in history on American soil.
      The press and State are extremely skilled in spinning but I’m not sure how you would spin that inconvenient fact.

      1. vidimi

        democratically elected? not in any meaningful way, though you won’t find a meaningful democracy in many places

  24. BecauseTradition

    But unless the United States tames a national debt that’s rapidly approaching $20 trillion-with-a-T, Americans face ever tighter constrictions on what this country can afford, at home or overseas. Clinton and Trump are too cowardly even to whisper about entitlement reforms that each of them knows are imperative. Johnson? He wants to raise the retirement age and apply a means test on benefits to the wealthiest. from

    Also, not one mention of banks.

    So blame the victims and overlook the guilty? Not to mention not understand afford-ability when it comes to fiat?

    So not principled and not even very smart.

    1. Sam Foster

      Yes, those stupid social safety nets are the problem, not the fact that we’ve underfunded them, not the fact that we’ve someone demonized them in to being “entitlements.”

      Yes, we are blaming the victims and overlooking the guilty. You think it is bad now? Heaven help us if we elect Trump and he appoints his oil company buddy as Sec. of Interior, Peter Thiel for SCOTUS, etc.

    2. Plenue

      It was disappointing to see Trump trot out the nonsense about how we own other countries money, after he himself talked about how we can just print money (for which he was of course attacked).

    3. a different chris

      What’s best about that link is that they go on-and-on about what they consider overspending, talk about how Gary Johnson is going to fix that ….but then they uncork this blather:

      “He is too reluctant to support what we view as necessary interventions overseas. He likely wouldn’t dispatch U.S. forces in situations where Clinton would do so..”

      Oh like that’s couch change, there. An aircraft carrier or two or more in constant motion, nuclear subs 24/7*, what the heck? How much could that cost….


      *Actually most of this stuff is cheaper to run 24/7 than put in and out of mothballs…

  25. clarky90

    Re, High Hitler: how Nazi drug abuse steered the course of history

    “The effect of the drugs could appear to onlookers to be little short of miraculous. One minute the Führer was so frail he could barely stand up. The next, he would be ranting unstoppably at Mussolini. Ah, yes: Mussolini. In Italy, Blitzed will come with an extra chapter. “I found out that Mussolini – patient D, for Il Duce – was another of Morell’s patients”.

    This reminds me of some topical (in the news) events (persons), but for the life of me, I cannot pinpoint it? What can it be? What can it be? Has Hitler’s Dr. Morell been re-incarnated?

  26. Dave

    Gary Johnson; “Means tested old people can eat Aleppo brand dog food!”

    “October Surprise? U.S. Economic Growth May Accelerate Just Before Election Day
    Some forecasters see U.S. GDP growth on track for a 3% pace in the third quarter, to be announced in a late-October report”

    Would National Buy Nothing Month be a form of civil disobedience, political protest or a vote against Hillary?

  27. Sam Foster

    The “real problem” with Trump’s tax return is that somehow in the go-go 90s, this “yugely”, “great”, “successful businessman” managed to lose nearly a billion dollars. This should be the nail in the coffin of the idea trump is fit to serve based on how successful he is. That seems to be the fallback for anyone who supports him when he is accused of racism, sexism, being insane, doing coke, etc. it’s always “that may be true, but,…” even after Trump U, Trump Institute, the Trump Foundation not even being legal, etc. still somehow “he’s a successful businessman” is the ultimate defense.

    And don’t give me this “Warren Buffet lost 3.2 billion in 2 days” nonsense. For Buffet, the 3.2 billion in paper losses is chump change. For Trump it’s between 25% and nearly 100% of his billionaire status even though even THAT, his supposed billionaire status, is a blatant lie.

    1. Plenue

      I would think the ultimate fallback would be that he’s willing to talk to Putin and thus less likely to start WW3.

      1. JE

        Especially now as the situation in Syria worsens . . . .

        Me, I worry about some hothead unleashing a tactical nuclear weapon — not so much carry-forward losses and coke. But hey, we all get to pick our reasons for thinking one poison’s better than the other . . . .

        1. Plenue

          I think Syria is, if not winding down towards a final conclusion, about to enter a whole new, much more stable, chapter. The ‘rebels’ in Aleppo are done. Their defeat will not only be massively demoralizing and discrediting for the opposition (and a corresponding boost for the SAA and its allies), but it will free up a huge amount of resources that the Syrian government can use elsewhere. Provided the United States doesn’t try something completely insane, or allow the Gulf States to do something insane, we’ll just be subjected to more State Department hissy fits. They’ll piss and moan but sooner or later they’ll have to acknowledge the game in Syria is over, unless they want to escalate and risk a real shooting war with Russia.

          …actually even as I was typing that I realize I’m probably giving our leadership far too much credit.

          1. different clue

            They aren’t really done unless/until the very last rebel dies. Pray the R + 6 can exterminate every last trace of rebellion in Aleppo before Clinton takes office to support her Saudi Clinton-Foundation-Donors in funding a whole new round of gun-running and jihadi-importing to keep the war going in Syria.

        2. cwaltz

          Americans are tired of war…..why isn’t he pointing out the money that was spent to destabilize Ukraine, the money that was spent to decimate Libya, the money that’s been spent to support regime change in Syria, the money still being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, the “aid” we gave Israelis which essentially was a great big socialized gift to defense contractors, etc, etc.?

          1. Plenue

            That may well be true, but it’s a selfish kind of tired. “Oh, we’re so tired of wasting money” and “oh, so tired of our boys coming home with mental problems or in body bags”.

            I’m pretty sure the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Donbass, Somalia, Congo, etc are a hell of a lot more than merely ‘tired’ of war.

            1. cwaltz

              Maybe it’s a selfish kind of tired to you, some of us actually put on uniforms and served at the leisure of the American people.

              And for the record, there are quite a few people in these regions who aren’t too tired of war since they’ve been picking up our weapons and fighting against the governments the US has a problem with.

              Let’s not play pretend that Syria didn’t have problems prior to use handing them the weapons to carry out their wars.

              The US and it’s foreign policy are a symptom of the world’s problems, not the whole darn diagnosis.

              1. Plenue

                I was careful in which countries I named. All of the ones mentioned have conflicts that, if not fully started by the US, were greatly facilitated by us. No, not everything bad in the world is caused by the United States. But a whole hell of a lot of it is.

                1. cwaltz

                  You honestly don’t believe that Assad had problems prior to our interference?

                  Our interference works because there were previous fissures that we exploited.

                  Unfortunately in this country exploitation is lauded (see Trump and the tax code) as “smart.” But hey, I’m sure he’ll change once we elect him.

                  1. Plenue

                    Funny, I don’t recall ever saying any such thing.

                    I believe the conflict in Syria being dragged out for five years and hundreds of thousands of deaths because of foreign support for the opposition would come under the heading of ‘greatly facilitated’.

                    1. cwaltz

                      You called those tired of war here in the US selfish even though the majority have little to nothing to do with the policies being made on our behalf(and that includes those sent off to die on behalf of our government.) See all the backroom deals being made on everything from energy, health care, trade, and particularly anything having to do with “national security.”

                      Additionally you made the mistake of then arguing that those in the countries you listed were somehow tired in a different way like somehow this could be placed at the feet of the American people instead of understanding that this is more about people at the top of the power structure in different places squabbling, manipulating and being manipulated. And for the record the US hasn’t been the sole support for the rebels. If you think the only thing causing this to continue is us then you aren’t paying any attention to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran and Russia as well as others that have a stake in who controls Syria.

                      By the way, this doesn’t mean I excuse Rice, Powell, Clinton and others for conspiring behind closed doors, it means that I don’t see my country as the sole source of anything including conflict.

          2. clarky90

            Hi C Waltz
            He is pointing this out! (except the “aid to Israel”, a forbidden subject) in this very speech! MSM portrays Trump as a monster. (They are afraid that he is going to stop their racket). I find his speeches and his crowds to be enjoyable. (That is just me, your mileage may vary, of course)

            Full Speech: Donald Trump Rally in Manheim, Pennsylvania (10/1/2016)


    2. Pat

      Hillary Clinton has a resume that would make a neoconservative proud, has largely been on the wrong side of almost major disaster in this country for the last thirty years, and has a record of social issue support that is a mile wide and a quarter of an inch thick.
      Trump at least got a few ugly buildings built. I’m trying to think of one thing that was truly driven by Clinton that could be considered an accomplishment. And the ice rink at Central Park was pushed through by Trump and his people. Obviously we can discount pretty much her entire time as Secretary of State, I mean Libya? Honduras? The Clinton Global Initiative is possible, but then you look deep and find it takes a lot of credit for things done by other groups, but is largely about paydays for Clintons and friends. I don’t have much use for Chuck Schumer or Peter King, but if you look into the compensation for first responders of 9/11 Clinton was an also ran to those two on getting it done. I’m serious, she was largely a road block for social issues like women’s rights, gay marriage and minimum wage increases because of her trying to straddle things so as not to upset conservatives – running for President you know. And now we have the tapes of her proposing a wall. I’m going to assume there will be some big pretzel twists to try to make that not ‘racist’.

      She is a racist, elitist, war monger, and so much of the defense I get about her is her supposed ‘record’ which is as long on rhetoric as Donald’s is. Neither of these people should have made it into the primaries, much less to this stage. Both of them are con artists and manure slingers. Unfortunately the only one with a record scares the bejesus out of me and should do the same for anyone with half a brain. And you want to complain because Trump’s supporter believe BS, please. If we had a working third estate in this country.

      Now that she is full of ’empathy’ for young victims of the economy, I can’t wait for supporters to turn her wanting to build a wall into trying to protect the hispanics desperate enough to come to America without legal immigration status…

      1. Pavel

        How could you forget to mention that she tried to make it illegal to burn the USA flag? That was a YUGE accomplishment even though it failed.

        The Flag Protection Act of 2005 was a proposed United States federal law introduced by Senators Hillary Clinton and Robert Bennett. The law would have outlawed flag burning, and called for a punishment of one year in jail and a fine of $100,000.[1][2]

        According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the act was summarized as such:

        Amends the federal criminal code to revise provisions regarding desecration of the flag to prohibit: (1) destroying or damaging a U.S. flag with the primary purpose and intent to incite or produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace; or (2) stealing or knowingly converting the use of a U.S. flag either belonging to the United States or on lands reserved for the United States and intentionally destroying or damaging that flag.[3]
        Since the law was not passed nor considered by the United States Congress, its constitutionality was not challenged by the Supreme Court; the bill was never assigned to committee.[4] However, the bill’s language was designed so as to prohibit the desecration of a flag when the intent was found to be a threat to public safety, the intention being that it would therefore not violate the First Amendment and not be declared unconstitutional.[5]

        Both co-sponsors of the bill voted against the Flag Desecration Amendment of 2006.

        Wiki: Flag Protection Act of 2005

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Oh, please, “nail in the coffin” for Trump and stories about his “lies”.

      His opponent sold the business of our government to the highest bidder for immense personal gain through a bogus TAX-FREE “charity”.
      She lied to CONGRESS about concealing NATIONAL SECURITY SECRETS on her private email system.
      She turned the country with the highest standard of living in Africa into an Islamist hell-hole and funnel for refugees that threatens to destabilize the entire continent of Europe.
      She champions a “trade deal” negotiated in secret by industry insiders that trumps the sovereign rule of law by nations with kangaroo tribunals.
      If I go outside and look upwards, it’s blue. What color do you see on your planet?

      1. Jim Haygood

        It’s not over till we get to read the unsecured emails sent to HRC by “Barry Balboa,” or whatever 0bama’s ridiculous alias was when he corresponded with “hdr22” (Hillary) “Diane Reynolds” (Chelsea), “Carlos Danger” (Mr Huma) and other Democratic luminaries.

        Is our current SoS “”?

        Aleppo bacon-flavored — tastes better with ketchup!

    4. alex morfesis

      The people who like trump…well Trump is not liked because he is a purported self proclaimed billionaire or successful genius business man…

      he is liked for his resilience in the face of constant bombardment…

      his smokin joe frazier…

      his comeback kid persona…

      its not because he has never fallen down…

      its because he always gets back up…

      like the bad evil person in a c grade horror flik

      much more than 8 times…

      and that is the part of the american meme…

      me not voting for him…(nor the ice queen…)

      and what he self proclaims might make him feel gooder…

      but most people just like that he doesn’t have a glass jaw…

      americans love scoundrels…americans play the lotto…americans watch sports and illegally gamble with fantasy teams and office pools…americans play poker for money in their homes…americans love to gamble…

      shillary will win because the court of the 10% might actually think the kingdom will collapse soon enough, but humans usually outlast their empress dowagers…

      as to war and nuclear weapons…nahgonnahappen…

      all nations that dabble in that dark art know a few things…radiation really doesnt go away…

      look up lead…meaning pre world war 2 lead…it is valuable for the use in designing testing equipment…because almost all modern lead is infested with too much radiation…which might get the average person thinking…

      if radiation can dig deep into the current source of lead…

      where else has it permeated itself…

      military budgets are now and have always been a source of “off book” and hard to trace baksheesh…

      national security

      its a secret

      cant share that information and technology as the “enemy” might be able to piece together useful information

      you are not cleared to be receiving that information…

      from babylon to the pharoes to 911 and back again…

      as ed sullivan used to say…

      itsa reelee big shoe…

      now that I think of it…

      maybe I will vote…

      but I will just flip a coin before I walk into the voting booth…

      they will both make a mess…its just not the mess we are expecting…

    5. Yves Smith

      Wowsers. I can’t stand defending Trump but your attack is really off base.

      Just about everyone who was a large NY real estate gave up a huge chunk of their empires as a result of the 1991-1992 recession, which hit NYC very hard. Trump and my former client were on a very short list that didn’t. That alone makes him better than the average in his peer group.

      In addition, he came back from a near billion dollar loss. Tell me how many people can do that.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    October surprise…economic growth before election.

    ‘Just in time’ wrench-in-the-best-laid-plan – the Fed raising rates to slow that pre-election growth and we get a negative stock market November-surprise reaction.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      People vote on their personal conditions not economic reports. The good news needs to be widespread and on the ground, not a theoretical report. It would be a poor October surprise.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Yeah, I think so too. Some report from on high saying the economy is improving means nothing if average people aren’t seeing a significant benefit. Nobody will be encouraged by another report that in essence only means that the rich are getting richer.

    1. Bas

      On Yemen, as opposed to Syria:

      There is no obvious good-versus-evil story to tell there:

      Stopped reading right there. Fortunately in the first paragraphs.

      1. Plenue

        First, he’s quoting someone else’s article there. Second, you should have read to the whole thing to see his point. Good vs evil is often a media contrivance, the real world is filled with groups and individuals motivated by what they consider rational, justified interests. And the media itself has masters and interests, and knows where its bread is buttered:

        ‘Today the UAE military, led by the Australian general Mike Hindmarsh and his men, bombed Yemeni fishing boats along its western coast. The fishing boats, one of the few sources left for food supplies in Yemen, had nothing to do with the successful attack. The C-802 was launched and radar-guided from land. But no “western” main stream media will tell you those facts. “Good” and “bad” are not well assigned for them in this war. They probably would like to speak of the “good” underdog Yemenis and “bad” Saudis but are not allowed to do so. The “compelling” point of the story is not provided. The National tries to support its guiding “interests” but fails.’

        1. Bas

          I know he was quoting, but he did so approvingly.

          The ‘good-vs-evil’ narrative on Syria across Western media is convoluted nonsense with only propagandist value, as any reasonably informed observer must acknowledge.

          In Yemen the moral case is actually much more clear-cut, albeit not in a way amenable to ‘Western interests’.

          Ergo, false equivalence to obscure diplomatically and strategically inconvenient facts.

          1. Plenue

            I’m pretty sure the guys who habitually shout “Death to America, Death to Israel!” aren’t the nicest people around. I understand that the Houthis are a sizable minority in Yemen and faced discrimination, but they are pursuing a war that is causing immense suffering for the other 60% of the population. Ultimate blame of course lies with the Saudi’s, but from their perspective there wouldn’t be a ‘need’ for a war if their was still a loyal puppet government in Yemen.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Nor are the “Americans” who habitually shout “Kill all the Arabs” and “Glassify the sandbox” and bomb the Fokk out of cities and blast hospitals with sustained fire from a C-130 gunship and who operate “kill squads” and foment destabilizations and demolish the economies and sovereignties of other nations and invent and brag about “double-tap drone attacks” the nicest people around. Those folks who shout the slogans about the Empire and the “Israelites” seem to have dome reasonably good reasons to complain and wish them ill. What reasons do the folks in Keokuk and Poughkeepsie have to shout their hatreds?

              The basic framework is that humans are always finding inventive, horrible, violent ways to fokk each other over. And to come up with artful “rational” reasons and justifications…

  29. rich

    Rubenstein Interviewed at WIF

    4. The interview turned to pandering over Rubenstein’s patriotic philanthropy.

    He encouraged Americans to give back to the their country and brought up four founding fathers, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Adams and Alexander Hamilton.

    He did not share how Thomas Jefferson used the value of his slaves as collateral for a loan long after writing “All Men are Created Equal.” Nor did Rubenstein, the history buff, educate the public that Jefferson had ample funding to free his slaves, courtesy of the last will and testament of a dear friend. Yet, Jefferson did not, preferring instead to be a man over several industries run from and around Monticello. Jefferson was a pioneering PEU.

    5. Rubenstein shared his theory that all the great people today have gone into private equity. The interviewer laughed, then offered journalism.

    Journalists are the group that offer softball questions to the Rubensteins’ of the world, lest they get shunned for future stories/interviews.

    6. Rubenstein talked about his support of the African American Museum, which is part of the Smithsonian, and the Washington Monument. He talked about the history of slavery but left out the role our Founding Fathers’ played. He referred to slavery as the “birth defect” of our country rather than our leader’s privileged intent and inability to see through the eyes of others.

    I would suggest today’s insider class is just as focused on their power and privilege as their blind predecessors be they Jefferson, Hamilton, Vanderbilt, Mellon or Morgan.

    Ever the consummate salesman Rubenstein’s spin is intended to elevate his and The Carlyle Group’s image.

    7. The interview closed with the Washington Monument’s elevator problem. It’s 100 years old and needs some assistance.

    Using the elevator symbolism for our economy, why do have few people in our country gotten to the top floors income/asset wise?

    That might be the next question for Mr. Rubenstein, if it’s allowed.

    MSM ?

  30. Plenue

    >High Hitler: how Nazi drug abuse steered the course of history
    >German writer Norman Ohler’s astonishing account of methamphetamine addiction in the Third Reich changes what we know about the second world war

    It doesn’t change anything though. This has all been well understood for decades, both Hitler’s addictions and the fact the Wehrmacht was basically fueled by speed. In fact I’m pretty sure all the armies involved regularly handed out stimulants to their troops. Including the Japanese and the United States. The use of combat drugs by the allies seems to have fallen down the memory hole though; it seldom crops up in histories or fictions.

  31. john

    The ‘Warrior-Cop’ ethos, including the post-shooting guilt-sex engaged in by said cops, I first found in the 1980’s era “The Bullet Proof Mind” a speech by a retired army Colonel.

    I wonder who funded it?

    1. Ché Pasa

      His name is (Lt. Col.) Dave Grossman, mentioned in the article.

      Here he is ranting:

      He became a Thing after Columbine. His theory is that police-military who kill — no matter who they kill —  are doing god’s work, as sheepdogs cleansing the flock of “wolves” who would otherwise be preying on the sheep.

      Who do the sheepdogs work for?

    1. Plenue

      I may buy that book. That the embassy was involved in gunrunning has been discussed and alleged for years, but I’d like to see how solid his sourcing and evidence is. Not that I expect it will get much coverage no matter how solid it is. Being endorsed by Global Research won’t exactly earn it any points either, since it’s often a crapshoot whether something they support is actually true or not.

  32. Pat

    I love the hummingbird. It has made me smile every time I’ve seen it. Forgive me for not saying thank you for it earlier.

    1. OIFVet

      I get a lot of the little buggers in my garden during the summers. Very cheeky bastahds, they don’t shy away from humans unless a camera is present. The moment I raise it to take a picture they make themselves scarce. I can lie in wait all I want, I am yet to get a single clean shot of one. Now they have gone back down south and I miss their company.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Creator rested on the 7th day which we now call Saturday.

      For that narrative, Sunday is the first day of the week anywhere in the universe, even in Mars.

  33. cwaltz

    Color me shocked that a business leader and a member of the 1% would behave selfishly.

    Meanwhile in 2015 it appears Hillary Clinton wrote off $700,000 in losses. Check out page 17 of the 40 pages her tax return took.

    but hey, it’s all good because she doesn’t dwell in her parent’s basements like those millennial baristas.

    Have I mentioned recently how much the duopoly candidates suck lately?

    1. jrs

      Yes and people definitely support him because they think he is a successful businessman, have no doubt of it, it’s why a lot of people will vote for him. It’s probably far more likely to motivate people to vote for him than any disgruntledness with the economy – which has never been proven to actually be a major factor for Trump voters when choosing who to vote for.

      1. cwaltz

        And people support her because they think she’s different from him.

        She’s not.

        She’s just as willing to use the tax code to feather her own nest as he is.

        Two “savvy” peas in a pod.

      2. aab

        I don’t have the data in front of me, but I think there’s actually quite a bit of evidence that people are voting for him because they are disgruntled with the economy. Not that they’re necessarily poor. But, for example, small business owners are really screwed by the current system, and that’s a strong demographic for Trump. Sinking in class and status is more psychologically painful than starting in that lower class. You can be functionally middle class and be furious about what’s going on, either because your pension is gone, or your kid can’t get a job, or your cousin can’t get necessary surgery.

        I’m not saying it’s the only reason people are voting for him. But it is a major factor.

  34. Xihuitl

    Re: Busted: GAO Finds Payments To Insurers Under Affordable Care Act Are Illegal

    Could someone please explain why the federal government is paying billions of dollars to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act?


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