2:00PM Water Cooler 11/17/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I know this Water Cooler is abbreviated, and I’d like to add some UPDATEs, but I have to go on to process an immense number of comments (which have greatly increased since the election). Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert


2016 Post Mortem

First woman campaign manager to win a Presidential campaign:

Trump Transition

Erica Garner is one of the best accounts on Twitter:

The Voters

“Donald Trump Isn’t Going to Be President” [Jamelle Bouie, Slate (May 4, 2016)].

” How America decided, at the last moment, to elect Donald Trump” [WaPo].

Inside Baseball

“Top US intelligence official: I submitted my resignation” [CNN]. James Clapper, a horrible human being. Such a shame.

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of November 12, 2016: “a very sharp drop for initial jobless claims” [Econoday]. A drop from “historic lows.” But: “The general trend of the 4 week rolling average is a slowing rate of improvement year-over-year which historically suggests a slowing economy” [Econintersect].

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, November 2016: “The Philly Fed continues to pick up signs of strength in the long dormant factory sector. The November headline looks tame at plus 7.6 but most of the details are very strong” [Econoday]. “Today’s report adds to a mix of indications, including the details of yesterday’s industrial production report, that the factory sector appears to be accelerating into the 2016 close.” And: “There was significant strength in this survey from new orders – and now even unfilled orders. This was a positive report.” [Econintersect].

Consumer Price Index, October 2016: “Energy spiked in October and housing costs continue to show lift, but otherwise there are few signs of building pressure in the consumer price report” [Econoday]. “Average hourly earnings did jump in the October employment but the inflationary red flag seems isolated after this report. The CPI will not be turning up any heat for a rate hike at the December FOMC.” Au contraire: “Core inflation actually moderated year-over-year, but those nasty energy prices caused the spike in the headline CPI, This is the highest rate of inflation seen in over one year. Inflation is in the ballpark for a Federal Reserve rate hike” [Econintersect]. And: ” Key Measures Show Inflation close to 2% in October” [Calculated Risk].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of November 13, 2016: “The first indication of Donald Trump’s victory on consumer confidence is positive” [Econoday]. “Strength in consumer confidence is tied to optimism for the labor market.”

E-Commerce Retail Sales, Q3 2016: [Econoday].

Housing Starts, October 2016: “In data that will lift estimates for fourth-quarter GDP, housing starts surged 25.5 percent in October to a 1.323 million annualized rate. This is the best rate of the cycle, since August 2007 with the monthly percentage gain the strongest since 1982” [Econoday]. “There’s plenty of strength in this report but it’s centered in the near-term, less so in the coming months.”

VERSION 2.0 Shipping (yesterday): “The U.S. Postal Service today reported a 15.8-percent increase in its shipping and packages business in its 2016 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, continuing a secular trend of strong package growth in the face of declines in USPS’ core first-class mail business” [DC Velocity]. Readers, I did this in a rush, and forgot my cardinal rule to focus on stuff. Alert reader tractor parts set me straight on the money part, writing:

Dear DC Velocity Staff

OK, how about looking at more than the surface.

How much of that increase in strong package growth can be accounted for by the “secret” deal between Bezos’ Amazon and the USPS?

How much of the revenue increase of 15.8% can be attributed to the virtual claw-back from small business users who no longer get a discounted rate for doing the USPS work? Those small business owners used to get discounted rates for filling out labels on-line and having everything prepackaged and labeled for the USPS. Now we are unpaid labor for the USPS.

This discount for small businesses and individuals, perhaps only coincidentally, was discontinued right after the deal with Amazon was struck.

And while your staff is at it, you should look into how much bottom line operating costs, including staff and vehicle costs, had to be increased because of the Amazon deal.

And uncover exactly what that deal was!

We know it enhanced Amazon, the corporation. My wife was at a major department store this weekend (Macy’s) and they told her that they were closing 125 stores because they could not compete with Amazon.

How many other companies, small mom and pop operations all the way up to the Macy’s, are being put out of business because Amazon is not playing on a level playing field!?

I will be looking forward to your follow-up article!

And in a followup comment:

What I saw when all this happened was that the common citizen taxpayer was taking over some of the labor for the USPS and not being compensated for it. Simultaneously, we were also enabling Amazon to get an edge on any of their competition.

From my selfish point of view, besides losing almost $6,000.00 per year, my labor cost remained the same to ship those same packages, and I was in essence subsidizing, although indirectly, Amazon to take a share of my business.

The Bezzle: “JP Morgan to Pay $264 Million Gets FCPA Non Prosecution Agreement Even Though it Did Not Voluntarily Disclose” [FCPA Blog]. “JPMorgan Securities (Asia Pacific), a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of multinational bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMC), will pay $72 million penalty for its role in a scheme to corruptly gain advantages in winning banking deals by awarding prestigious jobs to relatives and friends of Chinese government officials.”

The Fed: “Yellen commented that the market developments since the Presidential election suggested that markets were expecting an expansionary fiscal package” [Economic Calendar]. “Such a package could have inflationary consequences and the Fed would have to respond to developments, although she also emphasised that there was a high degree of uncertainty surrounding the situation.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64 Greed (previous close: 60, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 17 at 1:42pm. Mr. Market starting to bang his spoon on the table?

Our Famously Free Press

“Mute Account vs. Mute Word/Hashtag – Ineffectual Muting @Twitter” [Another Word For It].

“Twitter has angered the alt-right movement after suspending 7 accounts” [Daily Dot]. 7 being an appreciable number, for alt-right.

Crapification Watch

Readers are encouraged to send in examples.

“United Will Not Allow Lowest-Fare Passengers To Use Overhead Bins” [HuffPo]. I say make them stand!

Guillotine Watch

“The Next Mercedes-Maybach Is a $323,000 Convertible It comes with a 621-horsepower V12 engine—and Swarovski crystals embedded in the headlights” [Bloomberg].

Class Warfare

“We must rethink globalization, or Trumpism will prevail” [Thomas Piketty, Guardian]. “Let it be said at once: Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this. ”

Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example. What sealed the deal, though, was the suspicion that the Democrats were too close to Wall Street – and the inability of the Democratic media elite to learn the lessons from the Sanders vote.

“Inability”? Will Upton Sinclair please pick up the red courtesy phone?

“Asset forfeiture in Illinois: What it is, where it happens, and reforms the state needs” [Illinois Policy].

News of the Wired

“A $5 mini computer and this free program can take over your computer” [Daily Dot]. “PoisonTap is a freely available program that runs on a Raspberry Pi Zero. Once loaded onto the credit card-sized computer, an unscrupulous hacker only needs to plug it into your computer’s USB slot to access all of your unencrypted Web traffic, from the sites you visit to the cookies your browser uses to log into your accounts.”

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (B1whois):


B1whois writes: “Springtime in Montevidep, Uruguay. But I don’t remember the name of this common plant…”

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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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. Timmy

    Note that flyers buying the cheaper United Airline fares will pay fees to check bags that the more expensive seats allow you to store in the overhead bins. Its a wonder they don’t have to haul the bags to the plane themselves. Perhaps that’s next.

    1. Benedict@Large

      The overhead bins no doubt will now be converted into paid crib space for toddlers. Not only will these babies now have actual bedding space for their comfort. but the bin doors will act as silencers, solving another problem passengers often complain about.

    2. j84ustin

      Even before today’s article I had planned to make “no flying” my new year’s resolution in 2017. This just gives me yet another reason to ditch the airport.

    3. jp

      Setting a bad precedent for us musicians who need to fly on the cheap. A few years back, the airlines started allowing guitars etc in the overheads, which was good, as you’ve probably seen the horror stories about what happens when you check your guitar. So far American is still allowing me to carry it on, and if there’s room, the attendant will sometimes put it in the crew’s cabin.

    4. Lemmy

      “It’s a wonder they don’t have to haul the bags to the plane themselves.”

      We should consider ourselves lucky that they aren’t making coach passengers ride on the wings a la Jimmy Stewart’s Flight of the Phoenix.

        1. fresno dan

          November 17, 2016 at 5:17 pm

          As well as charging for not greasing the wings (so as “passengers” slip off they save on fuel)

        2. clinical wasteman

          Welcome back from the farthest remove, Lemmy. If your Silver Machine (no overhead bin needed) can bring back any more of this year’s ghosts, please keep a seat for Roddy Pain [http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/news/10730/Stream-Constant-Pains-Unreleased-Album.utr].
          What could go wrong?

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Separate billing.

      One charge for oxygen.

      One charge for water after bathroom use.

      One charge for the wear and tear on your seat belt.

      One rental charge for the emergency parachute, by the minute, for the entire duration of your journey (not just flight, but even when you are on the ground).

      1. Laughingsong

        That’s the joke my husband and I always made about the crapification of flying: at your standing area (seats? Haha, it is to laugh) there would be a coin-operated machine for oxygen, and you would have to bring rolls on and feed the damn thing like the air station for auto tires. And riffing from a Dilbert cartoon of yore, they would cram so many people in that the new dress code would be “a thin film of oil.”

        Then we thought – why not start our own airline ? Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you … ValiumAir! Yes, no checking bags, no extra charges for in-flight comforts, and best of all, no jet lag! Yessiree, you and your family rent one of our Japanese-style micro hotel slots, hop in bags and all, take your dose and Voila! We wake you at the other end with 5-hour Energy Concentrate IV-units and you’re sorted- rested and ready to go! And for the airline, cheap cheap cheap. You don’t have to provide anything but a restroom and food for staff. Although it might cramp those inflight Chochtka sales…. Maybe someone sets up a station at both departure and arrival gates.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Springtime in Montevideo … look like lupines (Sp. lupinos), don’t they?

    They grow like crazy down in Patagonia.

      1. ambrit

        I don’t know about proximity to Magonia, but Comrade Jim probably knows about Patagonia from his investments in “Beefsteak Mines S.A.”
        For more investment information visit Mr. Field’s field office.

    1. Gary Headlock

      looks like something in Acanthaceae, probably Acanthus. I’m not familiar with the more tropical families, however. At any rate, it’s neat looking.

      1. Gary Headlock

        I’ll say Acanthus mollis to give budding botanists or horticulturalists something specific to ponder.

  3. Pat

    I gather our President lectured our President Elect on the necessity to stand up to Russia. (My first thought is that like that stupid charitable campaign to Stand Up to Cancer!, another place where the phrase was either meaningless or foolhardy.)

    IF Russia ever started actually interfering in our relations with our neighbors or attempted to get us thrown out of our legal bases in foreign nations, I would say that Barack Obama might have a point. Since we are the party guilty of such actions, he would do better to clean up his own administration’s relations with Russia, apologize to Russia, and then STFU. Which I am sure he will do once everyone recognizes that that is the appropriate thing to do. But as we well know everyone else will have to do the heavy lifting of figuring that out before he will even acknowledge the possibility.

      1. JSM

        Why not make it affirmative?

        ‘Obama Urges Trump to Maintain Pointless, Hyper-Aggresive Encirclement of Russia Strategy, Acknowledge Nuclear Apocalypse “Inevitable”‘

    1. Knot Galt

      In the best of circumstances, Obama in his post-presidency will be akin to Jimmy Carter and stay out of politics, less or less. (I think he has exhausted all trust and value.) If he goes the Jimmy Carter route; he is bound to do worse and will fade away. I don’t think he’ll go the Clinton route unless Michelle tries to run for office.

      In this case, Obama is probably too vain and Michelle being the saner of the two might rein him in? Best of any world would, as you say, STFU. (As the Ex Prez. Obamamometer, that is probably not in the cards.)

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Maybe he will end up like Geo Bush, sitting in the bathtub drooling while he paints childish self-portraits
        Or maybe he will end up like OJ, where he tries to go hang out with all his cool friends and they tell him to get lost

      2. Adamski

        Ppl still mention him as a master orator, etc. Lots of post presidency speaking engagements I suppose. I’d prefer him not to but then again if he makes enough annually from it to beat the Clintons we might get the satisfaction of annoying them

    2. JSM

      The good people of the US are awaiting DHS’ final report on Russia’s attempts to hack our elections.

      We deserve as much.

      1. Steve C

        If there’s any basis to the allegations it’s about time someone provided it. Up till now it’s been unfounded assertions. Highly suspect at that.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My guess is the whole Russian boogeyman was a ploy to attract those “moderate Republicans” who liked Romney.

    3. timbers

      “My hope is that the president-elect coming in takes a similarly constructive approach, finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia where our values and interests align, but that the president-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia when they are deviating from our values and international norms,” Obama said. “But I don’t expect that the president-elect will follow exactly our approach.” What Obama is saying is he wants Russia to join America in bombing hospitals, schools, children, doctors, public facilities like water treatment plants, bridges, weddings, homes, and civilians to list just few – while arming and supporting terrorists for regime change. And if anyone points this out, Russia like the US is supposed to say “I know you are but what am I?”

      1. RMO

        Yes, because “U.S. values” as defined by the actions of the last 16 years have been so enlightened and successful and because the U.S. is a sterling example of adhering to international norms…

        Just how deluded, ignorant or sociopathic does a person need to be that they can say things like that without vomiting?

    4. different clue

      I hope Trump will politely disregard that advice. His vote wasn’t limited to the White Power vote. He also got the “Stop Clinton before it kills again” vote. And a major aim of that vote was to get the Clintonite WarPig goal of Cold War 2.0 with Russia cancelled.

  4. Lemmy

    Is this the same Russia that just hacked our election and subverted our fine democracy? Why, President Obama, I believe it behooves you to stand up to Russia yourself. Show President-Elect Trump how it is done sir!

  5. Bjornasson

    It is frustrating that Piketty sticks to the “if only we gave the right incentives to this system” approach for combating both hyper-globalization and global warming. THIS DOES NOT WORK. The reason we are in this mess today is not because there weren’t enough well-intentioned people running the system – it is that the system deliberately selects against such people. He laments the inefficacy of the Paris Accord and CETA and suggests instead … to create more institutions? More bureaucratic positions and trade clauses? And who exactly will undertake such a thing, the corporate lobbyists and billionaires? Or the civil society movements that had such an impact on elites that it required a Trump victory to finally dump the TPP?*

    But then again, he titled his book “Capital” without ever having read Marx.

    *This is not to say that the movement to raise awareness about TPP and its ilk was not useful – the point is that there is no useful feedback mechanism between the political elite and the electorate that works cybernetically. The link between the state and civil society is fundamentally broken.

    1. JeffC

      Sometimes you just need the right incentive. I propose this one: the opportunity to stay out of prison!

      1. Bjornasson

        Or not get a pitchfork in the throat.
        Unrelated: is there a pitchfork stock index out there that I can put money in?

        1. Paid Minion


          Pitchforks designed and made in Steubenville, Ohio.

          Unfortunately for the “Torches and Pitchfork” index, the company appears to be privately owned. Which seems to be the norm for anyone still manufacturing products in the USA.

          And, as long as we are doing product endorsements:


          Fire/explosion proof bags for burning phones/laptops. Made in Indiana. Send them an e-mail, and a REAL HUMAN will reply. (I was stunned)

          We just got one for our aircraft. Well made, well thought out piece of equipment, made of materials certified as fire-blocked per FARs. Priced very competitively.
          Nice enough to make sure we put our name on it, because it definitely has the potential to “grow legs” when people take a look at it.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      I hate/have to say this but it is very typical in the French spirit of things to propose a new administrative entity to address any perceived problem instead of the Anglo-Saxon approach of looking at which entity caused the problem and needs to be removed. Call it the negative liberty/positive liberty dialectic if you like.

      1. makedoanmend

        (just an observation on the bold statement dichotomous statements – something to chew over if a dialectic was actually invoked instead)

        Yes, like Glass-Steagall.


        And the problem was solved.

        Anglo-Saxon style.

        For neoliberalism and Wall Street.


        All red regulations.

        Freedom freed.

    3. Michael

      It’s a culture issue. You fix culture by removing the bad apples (prosecution) and making the incentives survivable for decent people (because it is more fun, at the end of the day, to be a good person).

  6. Karl Kolchack

    Sounds like Amazon’s increasing retail hegemony will hollow out the retail districts of America’s wealthy suburban communities in much the same way as Walmart hollowed out the downtown areas of so many smaller communities across the rust belt. Finally, the pampered voters in those areas will get to see first hand some of the ugly blight that has spread across the rest of the nation.

    1. JTMcPhee

      More space to subdivide into yoga spas and pilates studios, stuff like that. There will always be a way to express superiority…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s time for the beacon of healthy eating and clean living to establish the Yoga Corps, for our spiritual youth to spread yoga to the Third World.

    2. Waldenpond

      The credentialed class is going to get hit without those accounting, buyer and regional store management jobs.

    3. makedoanmend

      Monoculture in farming. Monoculture in Retail. Monoculture in manufacture.

      Mono poly

      paraphasing Gilt (t. prachette – Going postal): the purpose of business is not to innovate, it is to be the only business left

      “What could go wrong?” or – who needs stinking biodiversity – nobody every became filthy rich in biodiverssity

  7. LarryB

    The “Poison Tap” is not really that big of deal. It’s usually trivially easy to break into any computer that you can physically access. You can boot from a CD or USB drive, for instance, or even just steal the hard drive. Security on USB needs to be improved, but this is not even close to being the end of the world.

    1. Knifecatcher

      +1. If someone has direct physical access to your device – PC or smartphone – you’re pretty much hosed.

    2. River

      If you have the time with the physical machine anyway.

      I could see kids having fun with this though. Going into a box store that has computers on display, getting access (even better if they have a web cam on it). Upload porn or shocking material and showing the customers and watching/recording the reactions and putting it on youtube.

      Or more nefarious, the same thing but for casing a store (limited vantage from the web cam….but may better than nothing).

      Etc. lots you could do and more importantly not a lot of skill required. Lower bar for entry for hacking mischief and a low cost.

    3. hunkerdown

      LarryB, and how long will that take you? And will you have the computer back together by the time they see you? And will logs suggest anything funny happened around that time? What if the disk is passworded? What about that not all systems are exclusively for business/corporate use (see also BYOD) and therefore may be tuned to varying security postures owing to other factors?

      Physical access ≠ game over. Physical access + unguarded time + experience + tooling = game over. One used to could safely leave someone alone with their computer while one went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Now this tooling has made the time and experience components a bit less relevant to successful, quick pwnage with few or no tracks. Neato!

  8. paulmeli

    “Top US intelligence official: I submitted my resignation”

    As of January 20th or so. When he was going to be gone anyway.

    Just had to get his name in the news one more time.

    1. Peter Pan

      Clapper has been like a difficult to eradicate sexually transmitted disease in the intelligence community. Unfortunately, I suspect he may have already infected others who will remain and pass it around.

    2. fresno dan

      November 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      So, is Obama gonna pardon him?
      Silly me, I keep forgetting that indisputable violations of the law are not prosecuted when done by those at the top…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Last time I checked perjuring yourself in sworn testimony before Congress earned you a nice two-piece striped outfit
        I hope this fascist traitor trips over the console of his Star Wars command center and impales himself on a light sabre

    1. cocomaan

      Support for Syria and Libya interventions? Gross. No thanks.

      Who else do we got? Wait… this is it? WHAT?!!

      1. uncle tungsten

        Ellison is a dud, Bernie tweets support for Schumer “there’s nobody I know better prepared and more capable of leading our caucus than Chuck Schumer”!
        Well there’s a good chunder maker in that statement eh? Hope dashed!

        There are no doubt many who are better informed, more progressive and principled, more remote from Wall Street and oligarchic capture than Chuck Schumer and Ellison. So there you have it – this is reform in the Democrats after a crushing defeat.

        Vale democrats, and now the journey becomes arduous with these voices to smother hope. A new party is urgently needed (I know how difficult that is) and these voices of the old machine need to be ignored for the sake of sanity.

        1. different clue

          It sounds McCarthy-istic to ask . . . but is Ellison a secret Jihadi fellow-traveler/ supporter?
          Would that explain why exactly he supports toppling nasty secular or semi-secular dictators of Arab countries? Precisely and exactly to bring the CLEJ to power?

  9. Eclair

    I believe it is one of the many varieties of acanthus, a plant whose leaves appear on the classical Grecian Corinthian column. We had them in the garden when we lived in Southern California.

  10. temporal

    Part of News of the Wired

    Both the 13 and 15 inch Touch Bar Mac Pros have the SSD (storage) soldered to the logic board. Looking for a repair or upgrade means replacing the logic board, if such a thing is available. I’ll bet Apple might have saved upwards of 10 cents a machine on that design change. On the consistency side the same is true for the RAM and the processor. iFixit rates the 13 inch as a 1 out of 10 which means nearly no one has the skills and tools to fix them.

    You can’t fix them and you can’t upgrade them. You’re going to need a specialist. This is long way from something like the Cube that Apple brags about in their recently announced, grossly over-priced, hardware fetish book. This is like watching the Ds become the anti-populist, neolib party.

    1. auskalo

      A Mac now is almost like an iPhone. Just one step apart. The next move will be Apple processors (A12 or 20) in laptops, to avoid hackintoshes. So, they can charge 4 times the ordinary price of memory, battery, disk and anything else. Good business for them. All for Designed in California!

      1. John k

        The object is max profits not best or most user friendly tech.
        But I love my iPad, and as a retiree I don’t need pros for anything.
        Still, I would have thought workers would be the targets…

    2. Altandmain

      The sad part about this is that Apple is perceived as ‘high quality’ hardware. More like hardware with planned obsolescence built right into it. On my laptop, a 5 year old Dell Precision M4600, the CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, and ODD (which can be replaced by a 2nd 2.5” SSD) are all upgradeable. I guess you could replace the display, touchpad, and keyboard as well.

      These days, only Clevo laptops are that upgradeable. They just aren’t “hip” or good looking. They also tend to be bulky, but that may be because they are oriented towards the workstation and gaming type of users as desktop replacements.

      Yep, it is basically a iPhone designed to maximize Apple’s profit margins.

  11. Knot Galt

    On “Top US intelligence official: I submitted my resignation” [CNN].

    Sounds like the Cohen movie “Burn this Book” coming true to life?

    1. fresno dan

      November 17, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Great book. I like how Baker debunks the whole notion that this is a “natural” progression, or what really drives me insane, the proposition that it is the result of smaller government or fewer laws.

  12. pricklyone

    Re:“Asset forfeiture in Illinois: What it is, where it happens, and reforms the state needs”

    I wonder if the Uber drivers have been briefed on the consequences of these laws, which are widely used around the country.
    Your are liable for the actions of the people you give rides to under these laws. In IL, simple possession is all that is required to seize your vehicle.

    In the past couple years, the outrage about these laws has subsided, at least in MSM. This is unwise, I think.
    Everyone watch your a**es.

      1. Octopii

        Seems Bannon is plenty erudite – that’s probably how he’s risen out of the scrum. Trouble is, his views and motivations are warped. The combination, placed into power, is looking diabolical.

    1. fresno dan

      November 17, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      I commented on it in the main links section – I guess I commented too much and it got sent to moderation purgatory never to be see again. Or maybe I forgot to hit the “post comment” button – that seems to happen more and more….
      Anyway, I had listed many of the things Bannon said that surprised me – e.g., his critical comments regarding capitalism. H struck me as similar to Buchanan in some ways.
      Anyway, I am grateful NC finds and publishes so much unfiltered material.

    2. stefan

      Yes, I read it yesterday, and he did not strike me as being quite the evil man we read about in the papers these days. I say this as someone who has two inter-racial children and four inter-racial grandchildren.

      My take-away: he seemed to be a devout Catholic, surprisingly; and his big beef seems to be with the failure to hold the financiers to account for the crash of 2008 (a feeling I tend to share). His thinking seems based on a somewhat torturous interpretation of capitalism. He may suffer a bit too much anxiety about Islam.

      I do not know much about the functions of Breitbart, but my view of white supremacists is that they should go and buy an island where they can all be white together, and leave the rest of us in peace. From the Buzzfeed transcript, I did not get the impression that racism/anti-Semitism were a part of Bannon’s worldview.

      1. Marbles

        There were some very questionable things, but overall he wasn’t the boogeyman that he’s been made into by mainstream sources.

        I was expecting a thinly disguised David Duke. That’s not what I got.

        Which made me wonder what Buzzfeed’s angle was?

  13. Jim Haygood

    Despite tightening monetary conditions, today the Dow Industrials and Russell 2000 small cap indexes closed at record highs. The S&P 500 closed 0.1% below its Aug 15th record high.


      1. Jim Haygood

        Close. PHP 2.0 extends out to perhaps February or April.

        Then there could be a Wile E Coyote moment.

        What we’re looking for is peak euphoria … notably absent for the past couple of years.

        Got a lampshade I could wear on my head?

  14. Jerry Denim

    United- New Steerage class fares: In light of the sharp practices and fungible commodity, assiduously monetized ‘a la carte’ pricing of basic ammenities by the UULC airlines (Spirit, Frontier, etc.) United’s behavior just might be forgivable if they weren’t constantly kicking their middle class clientele in the teeth while pandering more each year to their “global services” members. I know that even as far back as the mid-nineties upper management at United joking referred to this practice as “Reverse Robin Hood”. Reverse Robin Hood has reached cruel and Dickensonian levels in 2016 but yet it appears we have new depths to plumb. I miss living in an egalitarian society.


    1. Jim Haygood

      So what is a simple neologism to describe the 1.0 percenter (but not 0.1 percenter) stratum which spends $50,000-plus annually flying international first class, but can’t afford their own Gulfstream?

  15. TheCatSaid

    Thanks to the incorrect link mentioned above, I saw an interesting article about FaceBook that led to an even more interesting article by Zeynep Tufekci about the amount of fake news on FaceBook.

    Increasingly I see that almost everything I read as “news”, even on diverse sources, is fake news that even when “true” accomplishes the more important task of diverting from more important true events. (Like Lambert’s post about new Mississippi legislation banning people, even legislators, from accessing state contracts–even before they are voted on. Now that’s newsworthy–but it was omitted in almost all Mississippi coverage except for the stalwart Missippi Today.)

    1. andyb

      Between the fake news from social networks and the disinformation and propaganda on MSM, how do we know that we aren’t living in the Matrix?

  16. robnume

    On Amazon: I, too, was at Macy’s in La Jolla this last weekend, Lambert. The markdowns were incredible. 70 to 90% discounts on clothing in their “Last Chance” racks. But the quality of the clothing, particularly in regard to fabric types are miserable. But I digress; my point is that I was looking online at Amazon and a few other sites which sold “Lighting,” looking for a new floor lamp. When I found what I wanted and went back again to the particular item I had chosen, after checking prices on that item at other sites as well as at Amazon, I noticed that the price of this item had increased by $11.00, just overnight. It didn’t matter what site I wanted to buy it from: Overstock, Walmart, Amazon, EuroStyle Lighting, etc., each site had an $11.00 or more price increase. Is this retail competition? Each site I mentioned had differing and lower prices the day of the initial search only to find that when I went to purchase the thing the next day, the above result is what I found. I chose not to buy anything at all upon this price rise and will wait till after Christmas or New Year. I am beyond pissed off at retailers this year and at online retailers in particular. Anyone else had a shopping experience like this?

  17. Dave

    On Mom and pop stores closing because of Amazon:
    For their sake, please

    A. Patronize them whenever possible. There are many Christmas craft fairs coming up where you can find hand made things.

    B. Pay with cash in all small businesses.
    Credit card companies take 2 to 6% off payments to merchants. Sometimes when there is a warranty that they cover, the CC company withholds even more.

    If a business makes 5% on their sales, you are stripping the of the profit on your sale by using a credit card.
    Those little white Square iPhone readers typically cost .50 a transaction, even for a .50 cent sale.

    1. Laughingsong


      And if you must shop online, don’t buy it from Amazon. This sounds a bit easier than it is, but it can be done. Sometimes I have to use Amazon to get me enough details about a product or type of product in order to refine my searches and find other sites that provide it.

      1. different clue

        I think a good reason to do this is to keep a layer of smaller bussinesses alive for the future. It is not necessary to harbor vain and silly dreams of boycotting Amazon out of existence. There are too many loyal and devoted Amazombies for that to ever happen.

        But we can keep alive what we want to be kept alive by patronizing it at the cost of higher prices. Higher prices for better experiences and better little islands of society. That is the tradeoff.

  18. Darthbobber

    The Garner tweet: “Yall didn’t care when Ferguson was talking bout feeling unsafe.”
    1)In the actually existing nation, a pretty large number of people did. Which was part of what began to make BLM and related projects something of a mass movement. And a large number of those people were part of “Y’all”.

    2) Not at all sure that this increasingly prevalent habit of “calling out” entire categories of people as if the category actually was a big person makes a lick of sense. (Or as Thompson said in another context about the structuralists: “Categories and concepts are drilled up and down the page pretending to be people.”

    1. aab

      I follow Erica Garner on Twitter. I suspect in context, it would be much easier to tell that she was addressing Clinton supporters, who attacked her for months for refusing to be a good girl, take the money, and endorse Clinton. She’s been an awesome rabble rouser and troublemaker, tweeting about the stuff the Democratic Party was trying to force her to do.

      And she is specifically addressing the whole “safety pin” movement. Sarah Silverman had the perfect example of its thinking, where she — a wealthy celebrity — claimed that Clinton losing is exactly like the Great Depression for her supporters, just the emotional and psychological kind. That’s a very minimal paraphrase. That she felt it was acceptable to say this to people suffering severe material privation tells you a lot about Clinton supporters. Erica Garner’s father was killed by police officers on video, and the man that choked him to death is, I believe, getting a raise. In a city and state run by Democrats. She has every right to yell at rich girls wearing safety pins who think they’re showing solidarity with her.

      I hope she runs for office. If the Democratic Party wasn’t so corrupted, they’d grab her right up. Instead, they made an enemy of her.

      1. Darthbobber

        Oh, I think she finds a few friends within the party. If she’d like to move here and run for the 8th District council seat in Philly, I’d gladly support her.

        The thing about Twitter is that there often IS no context.

        But my point was that if you Venn Diagram the set of Clinton Supporters and the set of people who feel “unsafe” (for varying reasons and on a sliding scale), you don’t get a union.

        And even if you do that with Clinton supporters and pretty hardcore Ferguson protesters you don’t get mutually exclusive sets.

        And from the Missouri election results, it appears that you get a pretty significant overlap between “Clinton supporters” (for at least one measurable value of “support) and African-American residents of Ferguson.

  19. djrichard


    Speaking on Capitol Hill Thursday, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen warned lawmakers that as they consider such spending, they should keep an eye on the national debt. Yellen also said that while the economy needed a big boost with fiscal stimulus after the financial crisis, that’s not the case now.

    “The economy is operating relatively close to full employment at this point,” she said, “so in contrast to where the economy was after the financial crisis when a large demand boost was needed to lower unemployment, we’re no longer in that state.”

    Looks like she is on a different page than Trump. I wonder who will win? Once again, I’m rooting for Trump. Edit: Are the elites really this mendacious? Or is she just card playing for the sake of card playing?

  20. skippy

    Just back from my daily foray into the commodity pool at 6 story riverside views dog box habitat…. phewww…. 6 flights of stairs after 8 years of stay at home dad – baptism thingy…. body feels like a hot stove cooling off making pinging noises and ticks….

    Anywho we have a fine selection of trade gangs representing an international back drop, Chinese plasters along with aussie wogs and my favorite the Afghanistan tilers. That’s right a whole crew of about 20 on residence visas all working for the same mob. Wellie today one of the advanced English speaking came up and said your American right. I said yeah but I’ve been in Oz for 20 years. He then said he worked for the American military as a translator for 10 years and applied for a visa like some of his mates did. He said up take was slow, so he applied for an Oz visa and got in…

    Now here’s the thing…. he said his mates in the states from Afghanistan said he was lucky to have gotten the Oz visa, rather that have gotten the American visa as they did….

    Disheveled Marsupial…. hell of a thing to have Afghanistan migrants say such a thing…. sigh….

  21. vidimi

    i’ve sworn off reading the guardian for its amazing dereliction of duty, but i still go back from time to time. this particular time, i’m glad i did, because i found what’s possibly the best thing i’ve ever read on the site and it happens to be BTL so i thought i’d share. the article itself is rather uninteresting and doesn’t deserve a comment such as this.

    1. paul

      I can’t imagine how this was not flagged as failing to meet the guardian’s community standards.
      Some poor intern moderator’s head will roll for this!

  22. Alex

    Posting Illinois Policy Institute article links? Good grief!

    It’s a Republican think tank that gets big money from Gov Rauner.

    Bernie Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register has done a number of investigative articles on IPI.

    Yes, Mish Shedlock is a senior fellow there.

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