2:00PM Water Cooler 11/2/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Dallas readers: Yves writes to say her plane is getting in early, and so, there having been no untoward events, the Meetup will be held as scheduled!


CETA: A week of pressure from four Belgian regions opposed to CETA, led by the courageous Walloons, produced a revised “joint interpretive instrument” and, importantly, a new list of conditions that must be met before Belgium can ratify the deal” [Rabble.ca]. “Unfortunately, the joint interpretive ‘instrument’ is mostly artful deception. To take just one example, the instrument’s affirmation of the right to regulate is meaningless. Of course, the parties have not entirely given up their right to regulate. But the fact is, even if the instrument had full legal force under international law, CETA would still threaten the ability of Canada or EU governments to regulate in the public interest, enhance public services, and hold multinational companies accountable for their actions. ‘The critical point missing,’ as we wrote previously, ‘is that while the parties retain the right to regulate, they must do so in conformity with their CETA obligations and commitments.'” So it will be interesting to see if Obama tries a similar deception on TPP. But wait!

Wallonia’s principled stand did, however, produce some important results. While most of the media attention in Canada appears to have focused on the joint instrument, the more interesting and potentially significant development may be the accord between Belgian governments that spells out the grounds for Belgium’s federal government to sign CETA.

For example, Belgium will now ask the European Court of Justice to give an opinion on the legality of CETA’s investment court system within the EU. Even more importantly, four of Belgium’s regional governments also state that they reject CETA (notably its investment chapter) as negotiated and that Belgium will refuse to ratify the treaty unless these concerns are addressed. In other words, while Belgium is now in a position to sign CETA, it will not be able to ratify the deal as it stands.

This means that CETA’s investment chapter, at a minimum, must be revised or the investment court system scrapped, before CETA can be ratified by Belgium. The accord also includes assurances that if any Belgian regional government refuses to ratify CETA, the federal government must give notice to the EU that Belgium cannot ratify, an act that could potentially trigger the end of CETA’s provisional application in all European member states.

The German constitutional court staked out a similar position in the event that Germany fails to ratify CETA. That decision, by the way, will not be made by the German government alone, but in conjunction with Germany’s second chamber, which is currently controlled by the anti-CETA Greens and Left parties.

So while CETA proponents have undoubtedly cleared a big albeit unanticipated hurdle in getting the deal signed, their machinations may have made CETA’s full ratification even less likely. CETA’s passage in Europe is far from assured, despite the apparent breakthrough in Belgium.

And then there is the voice of the Canadian establishment–

CETA: “CETA puts Canada’s trade debate to rest once and for all” [Globe and Mail]. “The rationale for launching CETA in Canada was in large part to establish a measure of diversification from the country’s trade relations within the North American free-trade agreement. Given the tone around trade in the U.S. presidential election, this decision now looks especially prescient.”

CETA: “What the Canada-EU Deal Means for the Future of Trade” [Fortune]. “All of the factors that drove Europe to conclude this agreement provide insights for current trade challenges in the U.S. President Obama is trying to get Congress to approve just after the presidential election the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement… Now is the time to resolve as many specific congressional objections to the deal as possible. It is impossible to renegotiate the TPP in the time available, so as with the last-minute negotiations between the EU and Belgium, both the administration and Congress will need to be pragmatic and come to an agreement quickly on outstanding issues.”

TISA: “The 21st round of negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement kicks off this morning in Geneva, and stakes are high for significant progress to be made this round in order for the deal to wrap up by its early December deadline. Significant issues remain, including data flows — where the European Union is still working to come up with a consolidated position — and new services, on which the EU and others are continuing to push for the right to apply different regulations to domestic and foreign constituents rather than afford the same treatment to all TISA partners. The round is scheduled to last through Nov. 10” [Politico].


Days until: 5. That’s not very many days!


“Presidential Candidates Dr. Jill Stein & Gov. Gary Johnson [Pt. 1]” [Tavis Smiley]. A forum-style “conversation” between the two.

“‘I had a team of people who were relentless, totally in the head of what Trump might do,’ [Hillary Clinton] says” [People] “‘A lot of this comes down to who gets into whose head. It’s like an athletic contest or maybe a high-stakes entertainment performance.”

War Drums

“In the five and a half years since the uprising in Syria began, it has become the most catastrophic war of our young century” [Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker]. I would have thought that our invasion of Iraq in 2003 set the baseline for “catastrophic”? What the heck was Filkins thinking when he wrote that sentence? And The New Yorker used to be famous for its fact-checking. When did that get crapified, anyhow?

The Voters

“[W]hile Trump and many of his supporters may fetishize a past that is deeply retrograde, liberals and progressives have also demonstrated a troubling tendency to fetishize a future that they presume is on their side. There’s something peculiarly telling about this kind of progress fetishism, which has been conscripted as ideology-of-first-resort for Clintonite New Democrats” [The Baffer]. “When our historical terrain has effectively focused most of our political energies to differentiating ourselves from the not-woke-enough opponents of progress, we can lose all critical introspection. We can uncritically pass over the fact that, say, liberal multiculturalism can end up being really racist, tolerance of queer sexualities can end up repackaging biologically determinist languages of eugenics, and so on. Moreover, as the rise of the New Democrats has made crystal clear (from Bill and Hillary to Obama), we will dependably base our biggest political choices on our future-focused need to have our place on the right side of history confirmed. So what if that means more drone strikes, deportations, mass incarceration of minorities, destructive free trade agreements, corporate concessions, and financial deregulation? It’s messy ‘maintaining’ history, after all.”

“Early Voting a Poor Predictor of Final Results” [RealClearPolitics]. One of several reasons: “[W]e don’t know the effect to which campaign strategy is creating the appearance of a participation surge by merely cannibalizing Election Day voters by mobilizing voters who would have voted on Election Day anyway.”


“The presidential race may be inducing whiplash, but the House battleground remains relatively stable in the final week. We rate only 40 House races in Lean or Toss Up, and Democrats would need to sweep 35 of them to win control, so Republicans remain overwhelming favorites to hold onto their majority. But there is still plenty of uncertainty about the size of that majority: Democrats could gain anywhere from 5 to 20 seats” [Cook Political Report]. ” Republican voters have begun coming home to Donald Trump amid the Comey news… Even if control is not at risk, the ultimate size of the GOP majority matters a great deal, especially to Speaker Paul Ryan. To the extent Republicans lose seats, almost all of the casualties will be swing-district moderates who are more loyal to Ryan than Trump. The narrower the majority, the less room for error Ryan will have in winning reelection to his position and navigating the 2017 legislative minefield.”

Well done, DSCC:

The Trail

“SEPTA strike halts transit service in Philadelphia” [Progressive Railroading]. Effect on voting?

“[T]he race between [Clinton and Trump] is now a precise dead heat in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, 46-46 percent. A majority, 55 percent, continues to expect Clinton to win, though that’s down 5 points from its peak last week” [ABC]. ” Among other results is a gradual collapse in support for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, from a peak of 9 percent support in September to just 3 percent now. Jill Stein of the Green Party has 2 percent and has held steady.” Amazingly, Trump now leads on honesty and trustworthiness. Of course, it’s madness to focus on individual polls; RCP’s 4-way average has Clinton up by 1.9, though falling.

“With the fallout over the FBI email probe continuing to take up oxygen, Trump has stayed uncharacteristically on message. Campaigning near Philadelphia on Tuesday, the GOP nominee and his running mate focused on the projected 25 percent average increase in premiums for some Affordable Care Act plans, as open enrollment began. Trump let Mike Pence do most of the talking, and the Indiana governor closed his remarks on repealing the law by asking Republicans to “come home'” [RealClearPolitics]. Hitherto, Trump has been the anti-Napoleon, always interrupting his enemy when they are making a mistake. Not so this week (though there are 5 days to go). Kellyanne Conway must have gotten Trump’s attention somehow. Or Ivanka.

“Donald Trump Voters, Just Hear Me Out” [The Moustache of Understanding, New York Times]. Four paragraphs in, he turns to the topic of Trump: “Trump is not only a flawed politician, he’s an indecent human being.” Persuasive! I dunno. If a vote for Trump would finally force Friedman off the Times Op-Ed page, would it be worth it? Tough call.


“Will this be the election that finally kills off the Democratic and Republican parties?” [McClatchy]. “Just days before Election Day, interviews with more than 40 independent voters in swing states underscores that the nomination of two deeply unpopular candidates for president is aggravating and reinforcing a growing trend in the country away from the Democratic and Republican parties, which more and more voters see as out of touch with their lives and out of date in a new century. The number of free agent voters registering as independent or unaffiliated is soaring, while Republican and Democratic numbers flatline. Independent registrations have jumped since 2008 by 22.3 percent in states that keep registration data by party. Democrats over that same time increased 2.7 percent and Republicans 3.6 percent…”

“6 Reasons Why A New Civil War Is Possible And Terrifying” [Cracked]. “‘Trust’ isn’t just an intangible concept when we’re talking about the potential for civil warfare. Sinisa Malesevic is a professor who studies the sociology of civil wars and a survivor of the Yugoslavian civil war. He’s someone Marvel really should’ve reached out to for script advice, and he noted the breakdown of trust was one of the first traumatizing steps to war, ‘… in a very short period of time, there is a complete sense of fear, you do not know who is who, who is supporting which side … that fear spreads.'” And: “Colonel Couvillon also thought any conflict was likely to start in a rural area, ‘…people talk about, is it gonna be class warfare, race warfare … is it gonna be north versus south? Personally, I think it’s gonna be urban versus rural.'” Another interesting piece from Cracked, of all places.

Democrat Email Hairball

“Opinion: Hillary Clinton is irreparably damaged, even if she wins” [MarketWatch]. “[W]e are in for a fiasco in politics that will make even this fiasco of a campaign pale by comparison. There is hardly any scenario that is too far-fetched. Even if the polls are right and Clinton’s lead translates into an electoral victory, she will be so damaged going into office that her chances of getting anything done will be virtually nil. In this sense alone, Trump’s claim that this scandal is “worse than Watergate” could prove to be true. As an incumbent, Richard Nixon at least had an administration in place when he won re-election in 1972, though it took nearly another two years before he was forced to resign under threat of impeachment.”

“U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Monday he believes Hillary Clinton’s actions with her private email server are impeachable offenses should she be elected president” [Beloit Daily News]. “Johnson cited 18 U.S. Code 793 (f) and 18 U.S. Code 2071, which have to do with the willful destruction or removal from proper custody of information relating to national defense. Johnson honed in on the latter of the two, which reads in part that anyone found to have concealed or removed records ‘shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.’ ‘I’m not a lawyer, but this is clearly written,’ Johnson said. ‘I would say yes, high crime or misdemeanor, I believe she is in violation of both laws.'” In principle, I agree. If a high official can privatize their communications, and then decide what to destroy and what to retain before turning them over to law enforcement, the term “public records” becomes literally meaningless. Nixon, deep within his withered and wormy soul, retained a shred of conscience: He didn’t simply destroy the tapes. Clinton would have destroyed the tapes without hesitation; in fact, that’s exactly what she did with “her” — that is, the public’s — mail.

“Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner told conservative radio host Charlie Sykes Tuesday that there would be a ‘constitutional crisis’ if Clinton was indicted, and when asked about impeachment, answered, ‘I think that is something that is speculative in nature. I’m speculating, what I can say is that I think Richard Nixon would have been indicted and he would have been impeached. He stopped the impeachment by resigning as a result of Watergate and he stopped the indictment by President Ford pardoning him” [CNN]. On pardons, see Jerri-Lynn’s post today.

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, October 2016: “ADP sees significant softening for Friday’s employment report, estimating October private payrolls will come in at 147,000” [Econoday]. “Though ADP’s revision does point to an upward revision to September’s data in Friday’s report, the October estimate is soft and could further lower expectations for a rate hike at today’s FOMC meeting.” And but: ” ADP is showing jobs growth equalling the rate of people entering the jobs market. The growth this month is as Econintersect forecasted based on economic potential” [Econintersect]. “ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth.

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, October 2016: “American workers’ reports of hiring activity at their place of employment remained relatively strong in October, with many more saying their employer was adding rather than subtracting jobs” [Econoday]. “For nearly all of Gallup’s JCI trend since August 2008, net hiring in the private sector has far outpaced government net hiring. But the latest poll shows the narrowest gap between net hiring in the two sectors since April 2009, with nongovernment hiring (plus 32) essentially tied with government hiring (plus 31).”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 28, 2016: “Purchase applications for home mortgages fell a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in the October 28 week, following a sharp 7 percent decline in the prior week to the lowest level since January” [Econoday].

Shipping: “US west coast employers and [ILWU and PMA] union leaders are to continue talks about extending the current employment contract covering dockworkers.The two sides met on Tuesday to discuss an extension beyond mid-2019 as part of an effort to restore confidence in ports along the Pacific seaboard” [Lloyd’s List].

Shipping: “Are conditions finally improving for the air cargo industry?” [Air Cargo News]. “September market round-up shows that air cargo volume demand increased by 5% year on year in September — a level of increase not seen for two years. ‘With such an increase in total weight transported, a further worldwide yield improvement over previous months, and industry sources claiming that October will be even better, one could be forgiven for thinking that the industry shows signs of improving health,’ the analyst said.” There’s a calendar effect that only accounts for a fraction of the increase. “At the recent Air Cargo Forum there was much speculation as to what had caused the improvements.” A sporty game!

Shipping: “A majority of Splash readers fear container freight rates will only pick up later than 2020. With 10 days to go until voting closes in our quarterly online survey, called MarPoll, roughly one quarter of the more than 500 respondents to date feel container freight rates will pick up only after 2020” [Splash 24/7]. “‘Shipping may have to accept the bubble has burst and what was will not be again. There is a new normal and companies need to plan as such,’ one respondent noted”

Shipping: “[The Boston Consulting Group Inc.] said shipping capacity will outstrip demand by between 8.2% and 13.8% in 2020, compared with a 7% gap today. If borne out, that forecast would indicate this year’s plunging freight rates and shrinking profits for marine carriers will only grow worse, particularly on major trade lanes across the Pacific and between Asia and Europe” [Wall Street Journal, “More Pain Ahead for Ocean Shipping”]. “The shipping industry hasn’t adjusted to a slowdown in global trade, with shipyards churning out giant container vessels and carriers holding onto excess capacity even as rates fall. Historically, container shipping demand grew over 5% annually, often outpacing global economic growth. Between 2015 and 2020, BCG estimates container demand will rise between 2.2% and 3.8% annually.” And we’re still building out warehouses…

Shipping: “Cummins shipped just 16,400 engines in North America in the quarter, down 33% from a year ago. That’s in line with a downturn in orders for big rigs that’s triggered layoffs among truck makers and led Cummins to cut its spending on research and engineering more than 14% in the first nine months of the year” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Shipping finally emerging from 2009 downturn, Mitropoulos argues” [Lloyd’s List]. “Signs are finally materialising that the industry is emerging from its protracted downturn, according to a former secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization.Efthimios Mitropoulos was speaking on Tuesday morning at the Shipping and the Law Conference in Naples.” Great courage!

Honey for the Bears: “Most of the leading indicators are based on factors which are known to have significant backward revisions – and one cannot take any of their trends to the bank. I continue to pose the question: “[W]hat good is a leading indicator where the data is continued to change after it is issued?'” [Econintersect]. “The only indicators with minimal backward revision are ECRI, RecessionALERT, and the Chemical Activity Barometer. Unfortunately, the Chemical Activity Barometer is targeted to the industrial sector of the economy – and at best seems to be a coincident indicator, not a leading indicator. Both ECRI and RecessionALERT were forecasting economic improvement beginning at mid-2016 – and is now forecasting flat (but relatively better) growth beginning 5 months from now. Econintersect sees NO dynamic which will deliver better growth anyone will feel in the foreseeable future. All economic growth will only be seen when one uses a calculator.”

Infrastructure: “A pipeline explosion in Alabama is roiling U.S. fuel markets and putting a spotlight on tight domestic shipping capacity. The major Colonial pipeline fuel artery was severed for the second time in two months this week” [Wall Street Journal].

Fodder for the Bulls: “Update: The Endless Parade of Recession Calls” [Calculated Risk]. “Looking at the economic data, the odds of a recession in 2016 are very low (extremely unlikely in my view). [a recession in 2017 is very unlikely]. Someday I’ll make another recession call, but I’m not even on recession watch now.”

Fodder for the Bulls: “Eurozone factories had their most active month for almost three years in October, and raised their prices for the first time in more than a year, according to a survey of purchasing managers released Wednesday” [Wall Street Journal, “Eurozone Factory Survey Shows Expansion”].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Fear (previous close: 22, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 2 at 11:26am. Heading for single digits?

Police State Watch

“Raided but never charged, cannabis distributor seeks return of seized assets” [San Diego Tribune (RF)]. “‘It’s the dirty little secret of the American justice system,’ [James] Slatic said in an interview. ‘They can come in and take all your money and property just on the say-so of a police officer. Once they do that, you have to go to court and prove why your money is not guilty.'” (Obama made noises about ending asset forfeiture, but resumed it. Of course, asset forfeiture will be a lot easier when digital cash arrives!

Standing Rock and #NoDAPL

“I used to think there was no rational argument for civilian possession of military-style weapons. But in light of the disparate treatment of the armed Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers (who were acquitted of all charges Friday) and the protesters in North Dakota supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in its fight against construction of an oil pipeline, it’s apparent that such weapons are now an effective component of the protester’s toolkit” [Letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Times]. Well, the difference isn’t that the Malheur occupiers were white, given that the (sadly but mostly) white Occupy movement was treated to a 17-city coordinated paramilitary crackdown orchestrated by Obama’s DHS; the difference is that they were right wing (and white). So the Sioux are both the “wrong” color, and their cause is percieved by the country at large as on the left (though I think the Sioux themselves would reject that framework).

“Want to Help the Standing Rock Sioux? Here’s Where to Donate” [Money (!!)]. “A GoFundMe set up by protester Ho Waste Wakiya Wicasa has raised more than $1 million, which will be used for the camp’s operating expenses. “The money goes as quickly as it comes, but without it having been as much as it is, we certainly wouldn’t have been able to be as productive as we have been in the fight,” Wicasa told Fox News. The funds raised have been used for groceries, yurts, toilets, a medical area, a generator, and bail for those arrested.”

“After 37 Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers left for the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota Saturday, a majority of Cincinnati City Council issued a letter to Gov. John Kasich requesting the troopers be brought home” [USA Today]. “The signers said the trooper should come home so they can focus on Ohio issues, naming the heroin epidemic and increased traffic fatalities.” Tough choice. After all, the troopers could use the practice.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Net worth of white households in D.C. region is 81 times that of black households” [WaPo]. “The Urban Institute report, called “The Color of Wealth in the Nation’s Capital,” said the Great Recession and housing crisis of 2007 to 2009 exacerbated long-persistent disparities, with black and Hispanic households losing about half of their wealth.”

Class Warfare

“Data can help hotel executives manage workforce” [Hotel News Notes]. “Performance evaluations are another area where big data can play an important role. Instead of the usual, subjective assessments by supervisors, employees can be judged through company-tracked data, which may measure:”

  • Punctuality;
  • results of client/manager surveys;
  • tracking of output keyed directly to the percentage of time and input of all contributing workers; and
  • non-health related biometric data or other feedback associated with wearable technology, such as how employees traverse during the workday.

This creates a more objective review process – reducing bias and the threat of lawsuits – and takes pressure off supervisors.

That little point on wearables seems a little Orwellian. They won’t be able to force me to wear my wearable at all times, right?

“The east sides of New York, London and Paris are noticeably and famously poorer than their western sides. And it turns out there’s a reason for that” [MarketWatch]. “Researchers have found that it’s due to the impact of air pollutants at the time of the Industrial Revolution, as prevailing winds in the U.S. and Europe typically blow from west to east. And it’s an impact that has lasted into today” (original study).

“Twenty-First Century Victorians” [Jacobin]. “Today’s upper middle class maintains the fiction of a meritocratic society, just as the Victorians did. This story allows them to shore up their economic position behind the backs of workers, who are taught that their health problems and dismal career prospects represent individual faults, not systemic dysfunction. Of course, exercising, eating organic food, and pushing children to use their spare time usefully are not inherently bad things. However, they become markers of bourgeois values when they are marshaled to assert one class’s moral superiority over another and to justify social inequality. It was just as obnoxious in the nineteenth century as it is today.”

UPDATE “Behind 2016’s Turmoil, a Crisis of White Identity” [Amanda Taub, New York Times] “Whiteness, in this context, is more than just skin color. You could define it as membership in the ‘ethno-national majority,’ but that’s a mouthful. What it really means is the privilege of not being defined as ‘other.’ Whiteness means being part of the group whose appearance, traditions, religion and even food are the default norm. It’s being a person who, by unspoken rules, was long entitled as part of ‘us’ instead of ‘them.'” Peak identity politics? I wonder how many of the academic entrepreneurs pushing this stuff live in leafy suburbs, or nice little college towns…

“Socially influenced preferences” [Stumbling and Mumbling]. Wait, what? Actors aren’t atomized, “rational” individuals?

News of the Wired

“How Ancient Humans Reached Remote South Pacific Islands” [New York Times]. “‘Our paper supports the idea that what people needed was boating technology or navigation technology that would allow them to move efficiently against the wind,’ Dr. Montenegro said.”

* * *

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 (Re Silc):


OK, OK. There are plants in this. The grass, those fronds in the background…

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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. Kokuanani

    When read this, I imagined Lambert doing the Snoopy Happy Dance:

    Even if the polls are right and Clinton’s lead translates into an electoral victory, she will be so damaged going into office that her chances of getting anything done will be virtually nil.

      1. Uahsenaa

        Precisely this. Lest we forget that the War Powers Act lets the President make war for up to 90 days without consulting Congress. You can do a lot of damage in 90 days with the modern US military.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOL The War Powers Act LOL, how quaint, our Dear Leader today makes war wherever he wants, whenever he wants, as much as he wants, based on a memo locked in a safe at the Justice Department that no one is allowed to see, supported by “evidence” that also no one is allowed to see. Except of course his Royal Person and his Star Chamber princelings and cardinals.

          “L’etat, c’est moi”.

          Suggest Jeremy Scahill’s book “Dirty Wars” for chapter and verse, be prepared to be flabbergasted by exactly how much our smooth-talking “Democratic” brother-in-Chief has expanded drone war and “special ops” for fun and profit beyond what even Dick Cheney’s worst lawyers could concoct.

          1. Carolinian

            But Lambert’s not necessarily wrong. The key feature of drone attacks and special forces ops is that they are by design secretive under the radar operations. A direct intervention in Syria would take the sort of hard sell that an inept politician like Hillary might not be able to pull off even with full MSM backing. One could point back to the improbable Bush sales job for Iraq but that was when the country had recently been shaken to its marrow by 9/11. The political atmosphere today is quite different.

            Still somebody will have to object. The Left needs to get its antiwar act together.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              We are at war in Syria, with no sales job, approval, or disclosures required whatsoever. I suppose the “question” is whether we want to expand that to a world war, with 70,000+ troops and the shooting down of Russian jets required (according to the Pentagon anyway). Hilary on many occasions and in many venues has stated and re-stated unequivocally this is what she will do. I suppose we can harbor some remaining doubt that she will be able to do this unilaterally and without any further input from the American people through the so-called “checks and balances” of their “representatives” using the mechanisms of our so-called “representative democracy”. I think the dirty little secret memos in the safe, penned by Cheney and then expanded and enshrined by Obama, would let her do whatever she pleases. L’etat, c’est elle

              1. m

                Troops won’t want to fight along side al quada-or whatever they call themselves. The few that are there now training these mercenaries post youtube videos with their faces hidden-signs stating they did not sign up to train the guys they were fighting in irag & afghanistan. Many I know that are enlisted are Trump supporters.
                Can’t type cat on lap.

            2. Gareth

              “The Left needs to get its antiwar act together.”

              Assuming the Queen of Chaos is elected, a big antiwar demo during the inauguration would be a good place to start.

              1. polecat

                Never gonna happen .. just look at what’s goin down in North Dakota ..

                ..and besides, ‘The Left’ left it’s anti-war act at the foot of barry’s scuffed shoes the day he took office …… they’re all in with HER now !

                … and besides there is No left vs right anymore .. just ‘them’ vs ‘us’ ……

            3. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

              Maybe we’ll see another “Another Pearl Harbor” or 9/11 if that’s what’s required to get people in line. Remember the Maine!

      2. sleepy

        Obama floated the grand bargain idea, but repubs didn’t play. Imho it didn’t work not only because they didn’t want to hand Obama any sort of claimed “victory”, but they were smart enough to not want to fall into the trap of sharing blame for cutting social security, not that they didn’t want to cut it.

        Though they despised Obama, Hillary is a hereditary enemy for repubs, and I doubt on the domestic front there will be much cooperation. I say this even though they want many of the same things.

        In terms of war, anything goes, particularly in the Mideast if it is phrased as somehow protecting Israel. Congress and popular opinion was against a Syrian war a few years ago, but the Putin-Assad hate has been revved up so much that it’s certainly a go.

        1. neo-realist

          The Sanders campaign, which vehemently opposed social security cuts, also pushed Obama to back down and got Hillary, at least while the primary was going on, to not support cuts as well, which doesn’t necessarily mean she won’t try if elected.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t think so.

      The presidency is a very powerful office. A ‘nothing-to-lose’ president is even more powerful.

      The Clintons are, if nothing else, a record-shattering couple.

      They will set more precedents before it’s all over. If you are impressed by the Foundation, you haven’t seen nothing yet.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Tinfoil hat aside, the list of Arkan-cides is a shocker, I mean 25+ people “shot in the back of the head” before testifying”? Read the list and the circumstances and draw your own conclusions.
        The Clinton Mafia makes the Sicilian version look like pikers.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Sorry! Would you please point to some further information on the Arkan-cides — not questioning your assertion just ignorant.

          [Public trust in the police is one of the themes of today’s links. My level of trust is so low I would believe the Arkan — or other — police could be called upon to execute the “persuasion” of unbelievers. I guess I’m starting to wear a tin-helmet. I remember — perhaps incorrectly — that the CIA was big on pushing the “conspiracy theory” as tin-hat paranoia counter-conspiracy-theory theory.]

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I don’t see a link.

          Adding, since the 90s, there’s been a cottage industry on the right, profitable at the individual grifter level, that just outright makes shit up about the Clintons. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, back when that crazypants dude was running, was full of it. That’s the world that David Brock comes from (and to my mind, still inhabits).

          And it’s really a case of the Clintons being lucky in their enemies, since the cottage industry lies end up discrediting what’s true. The Clinton Dynasty is corrupt and vile enough that there’s no need at all to gild the lily. But on all this nonsense, provenance needs to be checked very carefully, because the discourse is so polluted.

    2. Ché Pasa

      Truly, whatever our neoLibCon Overlords want done will be done, no matter who is in the White House.

      There will only be gridlock on those things might be beneficial to the Rabble, not on the Important Things — such as more slaughter of brown people, filling the coffers of the .01% and fleecing the rubes.

      This is baked in, no matter who wins the (s)election.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        You captured and presented my own feelings about the election. Neither us Rabble nor the election really means much as far as our Overlords are concerned.

        I can tolerate a tremendous amount of greed from our Overlords and forgive more sins than Jesus /hyperbole but things are really really getting out-of-hand. Don’t our Overlords have basic common sense about how much and how far they can screw us and majorly screw others? In the old days I might have put a Canadian flag on my backpack. Today it would be a patch with an image of the Earth.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Neither us Rabble nor the election really means much as far as our Overlords are concerned.

          Ah, the BarcaLounger of Despair. As the Clintons would say: “We’ll just have to win, then.”

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Fear (previous close: 22, Fear)’

    Quite remarkable, when the S&P 500 is down all of 4.2% from its Aug 15th record high … and the tech-oriented Nasdaq 100 set a new record as recently as Oct 24th.

    No, the market doesn’t like uncertainty. When the uncertainty is removed on Nov 9th — regardless of which candidate wins — stocks will launch like a Saturn V rocket back to new highs.

    Contrarianism 101: this is not complicated. Even if bond king Jeff Gundlach says we’ve gone over the waterfall.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Yes, “stocks”, I remember those, fractional ownership certificates of discounted future enterprise cash flows. Formerly in order to own them one had to a.) be productive; b.) earn a profit; c.) pay taxes; and d.) take the remainder of this so-called “money” and invest it. The balance between the buyers and sellers of stocks who each had to judge for themselves the prospects and each of whom had to shepherd their finite amount of this so-called “capital” meant that the prices of these certificates in the end reflected at least in part the enterprise’s prospects and ability to return that investor’s capital over time.

      But Deus Ex Machina, now we’ve fixed all that!

      Mr. Yellen, and the other worldwide members of the Alchemist’s Guild, sit in their basements and conjure, through many complex formulae and incantations, a fresh new supply of a brand-new kind of “money”. This excellent new money does not require the sweat of the brow, the planting of a seed, the tilling of a field, the storage of surplus work, or the earning of a profit in order to exist. Heavens, no, Alchemists of the world, unite! Now and forever we need never again fear that these certificates would ever *decline* in value, for we have an ever-bountiful and “unlimited” quantity of these NMU’s (New Money Units) to fling in, should ever one of these enterprises fail to be productive or earn a profit or (attempt to) go out of business! We’ve attained a Permanently High Plateau!

      (Squeaky little voice from the back of the room: “Um but Sir, don’t these NMU’s each require the issuance of brand new debt in the conjuring process…and does that kind of system look like it’s…remotely sustainable?”)

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Is it safe to say both candidates seem bullish on more military spending — whether in efforts to provoke World War III or just increase our National “Defense” through more spending? The overall market will probably move up after the election as you suggest but would a sector investment in Defense contractors be the least risky?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Defense is an industry classification within the Industrials sector. My sector model owns the Industrials sector, but not for any political reason — simply because it’s showing some relative strength. My sector model also holds Technology and Consumer Staples.

        Click the 1Y (1 year) button on this sector tracker, and you can instantly see which sectors are outperforming their peers over the past 12 months:


        Until the middle of last year, Health Care was a star. This year, it’s the worst of the lot, as politicians (including our Bernie) flail Big Pharma for overcharging. Also, unpredictable changes to ACA are not helpful to players such as UnitedHealth and Aetna.

        My best guess (purely personal opinion) is that tech blows the lights out to cap Bubble III, just as in Bubble I. Just buy the QQQ (Nasdaq 100).

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Followed your link — thanks! But a question — the Energy Sector is down but so is the Utilities Sector. That seems odd to me.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            The Tech Sector looks strangely disproportionate to the other sectors when I look at the charting the last 6 mos. Do we really have a “rational” valuation of the markets? How can I find out who puts the most in to buying back their own stocks?

  3. Vatch

    “Trump is not only a flawed politician, he’s an indecent human being.”

    I agree with The Moustache. Here’s something I disagree with (in bold):

    Yes, Hillary Clinton is a flawed leader — but in the way so many presidents were. We know her flaws: She has a weakness for secrecy, occasionally fudges truths, has fawning aides and a husband who lacks discipline when it comes to moneymaking and women. But she is not indecent, and that is an important distinction. And she’s studious, has sought out people of substance on every issue and has taken the job of running for president seriously.

    She most certainly is indecent, although the nature of her indecency differs somewhat from Trump’s. She’s a criminal, a liar, a hypocrite, and a very greedy person.

    1. voteforno6

      Also, her cackling over the brutal death of Gaddafi was rather vile. It was probably indecent as well.

      1. Quentin

        And such an uber-respectable lady saying such things and then cackle about it. ‘My goodness”.

      2. AnnieB

        Let’s not mince words. It was vile and indecent. In that moment her ego, laughing, needed to display ruthless power. That is a dangerous tendency.

        Many of my friends have explained why they are voting for Clinton– reasons such as Supreme court nominees, climate change, hating Trump, woman president. Hardly anyone mentions foreign policy. One friend said that he knows he will have strong disagreement with her war policy but will vote for her anyway.

        Maybe some people like that she displays ruthless cruelty, and see the need for that in a president. Is that why they are voting for her? Not many people voice objection to drone warfare conducted by Obama either. I don’t get it. Warmongering is not as important as supreme court nominees?

        I’ve never felt so isolated in my political views as I have during this election. I have only one friend in my circle that I can discuss it all with. Most others have finally joined the Clinton tribe and are hostile to any contrary views. Something important has been revealed during this election season–that people I thought were willing to be independent thinkers are not that at all! And it’s frightening to think they can be led by such a horrible person as Clinton.

        1. Massinissa

          You could point out that Clinton is according to the emails considering a Republican for the supreme court, but your friends would probably accuse the emails of being written by The Putin or something.

          Also electing a politician just because shes a woman, how well did that work out for the British with Maggie Thatcher? She was arguably one of the most destructive PMs they ever had.

          Unfortunately most of the Hillary supporters seem even more immune to facts than Trump supporters are at this point. Its sad. Ive always considered myself closer to Democrat leaning people, but though I despise Trump I… I almost am at the point where Im scared of many of the Democrats more than the Republicans, and am feeling a lot better about living in a red state than I did four years ago.

          At least people on the Right dont blame EVERYTHING on The Putin. Ive never seen anything like this.

          1. fajensen

            Also electing a politician just because shes a woman, how well did that work out for the British with Maggie Thatcher?
            Ah but, I was there at the time: The British didn’t elect Margaret Thatcher because she was a woman. They elected her specifically because she promised to break Labour and especially to break Labour’s unions, which were as corrupt, stupid and as arrogant as they come. This, she did. The Clinton Foundation, the media and the Democrats appear very similar in their behaviour and attitudes, BTW.

            Back in the day, there was always several strikes going on. One simply never knew if the garbage would be picked up, the train would be running, there would be fuel at the petrol stations, the ambulances show up etcetera – and the IRA would blow up things all over with impunity, even i Didcot, where I lived.

            Thatcher was the rational response to popular anger with the way the country was being run into the ground by vested interests (the failure was of course that Thatcher merely brought in different vested interests, although we did have a fairly good run between the old parasites going out and the new ones evolving and optimizing their craft to the new regime).

            The rationale for voting Trump is similar to that of Thatcher: He there to kick ass and chew gum – except he’s all out of gum. That’s it. Another difference is that Trump didn’t prove his skills by first terrorizing his party into following him, he just appeared and annihilated the (weak, incompetent) internal opposition instead which, one must suspect, was put there to foam the runway for Hillary. Today we don’t have any political opposition – instead we have “the inner party” and “the outer party”, the inner party is desperately trying to hold off the barbarians storming the fortress.

            So, nobody ever, proposed electing Thatcher because she was a woman. Back in the day, this would have been considered derogatory. Probably career-ending when “She” heard about it. Hillary is nothing compared to Thatcher at her prime.

        2. craazyboy

          “Hardly anyone mentions foreign policy.”

          Except Hillary. She did mention it was her particular hobby horse, and even mentioned that Bill would be chipping in with the domestic economy econ space, because that is in Bill’s wheelhouse and apparently not Hillary’s forte.

          I used to think GWB vs Kerry were the two easiest candidates for anyone to beat, but we’ve really upped the bar this election.

        3. Norb

          Common people rarely mention foreign policy or war in America because they are, for the moment, completely removed from the direct consequences of war and American foreign policy. Even families with active service members have to be living a surreal existence brought about by the disconnect in civil life and far away wars. This situation is possible only because mainland USA is not under any direct threat and never was. Remember how Bush extolled the population to just keep spending to demonstrate our patriotic duty?

          All the collateral damage and blowback form the wars is too subtile for most Americans to register. The continued impoverishment of the nation for one is an example. The enmity of the larger international community second.

          In my circle, more and more people are expressing their desire for the election to be over. While I totally understand the sentiment, I am mostly met with blank stares when I express that the real effort is only beginning. The election is not the end, but just the beginning.

          Citizens with such an outlook are totally unprepared for the hardships of war if it were to come, in real physical form. Add on top of that, the poor quality of national leadership. You have WW1 level tragedy waiting on the sidelines.

        1. Massinissa

          Movies? Pfffft. The best Joker laugh was by Mark Hamill in the cartoons. He was the voice of the joker in cartoons for over two decades, and although it was just voice acting he is probably the best actor to ever play the role, or at least, the actor with the best joker laugh. (I dont recall Heath Ledger laughing much at all, for example)

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Incorrect. Cesar Romero is the only true Joker. He didn’t even shave for the role.

            Of course, the only true CatWoman is Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, and Lee Meriwether.

            1. neo-realist

              Cesar Romero is the only true Joker.

              Cesar was the best because he got the Joke, the TV series that is/was; his laugh and demeanor was one of playing it for laughs.

    2. Bas

      The preposterous arrogance of someone like Friedman to arbitrate decency is indecent in and of itself.

      As is of course his decades long public molestation of the English language and logic in general.

      1. hunkerdown

        Bas, you might follow Outis’ series on liberalism to see that, through the eyes of the liberal busybody, it’s the very thing that allows decency to exist.

        On the other hand, The Moustache’s handlebar hands correctly pointed to “global weirding”. Perhaps, as goes the climate, so goes civilization.

      2. Tom Allen

        Thomas Friedman, arbiter of decency, on the Iraq War:

        What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, “Which part of this sentence don’t you understand?” You don’t think, you know we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This. That Charlie is what this war is about. We could of hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. Could of hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.

    3. EGrise

      occasionally fudges truths

      Whatever his other qualities, Friedman certainly has a talent for understatement.

    4. uncle tungsten

      Hillary Clinton is a war monger, that is definitely indecent. War is an intolerable adventure and the first to suffer are children, women and men. In that order. Societies are robbed of essential infrastructure be it primary production, knowledge, transportation network development, schools and so on. The regression is intergenerational and often fatal to cultural foundations.

      Hillary’s cackling at the gruesome death of Gadaffi is the summation of her stupidity and callousness, perhaps indecency. Her insistence on escalating further war in Syria in the light of the outcomes in Iraq and Libya reveal a deeply stupid person who praises aged war criminals in her own country. She is indecency personified.

      1. nostalgic

        Uncle Tungsten,

        You’re absolutely correct. Hillary is a war monger. Sometimes I wonder if she and Donald don’t suffer from the same mental illness(s). It’s obvious that Trump appears to be an overt narcissist. I’ve suspected he might have paranoid personality disorder–the way he reacted and started screaming, “rigged”. I also suspect he might be a psychopath. But, he’s dumb, he lacks impulse control, and he has the attention span of a housefly.

        Hillary on the other hand, is incredibly intelligent, calculating, and has some of the best impulse control I’ve ever seen. Her entire life has been about managing her mask. I think she might be a covert narcissist. Her war mongering causes me to think she could be a psychopath. She doesn’t seem paranoid though. I guess that’s a relief?

        They both scare the hell out of me for so many reasons. I’m sick to my stomach thinking about the if/then’s and the what if’s. I’m so heartbroken Bernie isn’t up there. I laughed at first when I saw an article about, “election anxiety”. I think I’m starting to understand though.

        1. fajensen

          Psychopath, I think.

          I have some doubts about the intelligence, she seems to lie, dissemble and obfuscate even when it is not necessary and she simply doesn’t seem to “get” that other people notice that the “facts” keep changing with the situation.

          Maybe she has gotten older and lost some faculties, she was certainly at her peak against Obama.

      2. Elizabeth

        Yes, she is a war monger. I’ve notice whenever she starts to talk about war and all things military, she becomes extremely animated and bug-eyed. This is what is scary to me. Her cackling at Gadaffi’s death also indicates her sadism and psychopathy. She enjoys other people’s suffering.

        The only thing that Hillary cares about is getting power – not leadership. For this, she is the embodiment of indecency.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t think we know anything about her decency or indecency. All we know is that she is more discreet and/or better able to “cover” her indiscretions and/or she has little drive toward that kind of indiscretion.

    6. Binky

      Milquetoasts and virgins don’t run for president.

      Too many people here seem like they are stuck in the 90s when any allegation was proven fact! against the Clintons. In the meantime pedophiles, philanderers and frauds were running the impeachment and claiming the moral high ground.

      Your choices are “You’re Fired” or “not rising to the level worthy of criminal prosecution.” Walter Mitty, Clarence the Angel, Harvey the Pookah and Mary Poppins did not make the big ballot.

      1. pretzelattack

        except it did rise to the level of criminal prosecution, just like the actions of all those financial criminals and war criminals did; like them, it’s she just didn’t get prosecuted for it. too many dinos seem stuck on excusing the corruption of the clintons in the past decades by pointing to the corruption of the republicans who were running the impeachment in the 90’s.

  4. Jim Haygood

    There’s actually a fairly thoughtful and solid article at a z site about black voter turnout.

    It points out the obvious fact that AA voters turned out in droves in 2008 and 2012 to elect 0bama — a setup that doesn’t apply this year.

    Dial back the turnout of black voters to 2004 levels, apply it to 2012 data, and a couple of swing states (including NC) revert back to the R column.

    Isn’t there some way for Hillary to pander herself out of this jam?

    1. Waldenpond

      The benefit is that most individuals do not leave once they join a political party. She should still benefit from Obama getting people registered and voting over what she would otherwise get.

      Sanders was proud he got young people to register and vote. He stated he thought the Ds should be grateful. Sounds like he’s aware of tribalism.

    2. Massinissa

      I honestly dont get it. Enough black people voted in the Dem primary to stop Bernie cold, but not enough black people are voting in the general to propel Hillary for victory against Trump…

      1. b1whois

        Those black people voted in states that are carried by republican candidates in the General. Super tuesday was Clinton’s firewall, and it was almost entirely red states.

  5. Carolinian

    21st cent Victorians–and soon to have their very own Queen Victoria? Hillary to Deplorables: we are not amused. In a bit of historical synchronicity both queens will have wars in Afghanistan.

  6. John k

    Does seem odd wiener has those emails… 650k!?! If so, must go back a ways…
    Huma can’t explain… But she once said there is a place where they’re stored for hills memoirs… Couldn’t remember where… Would have to be somebody not hill insider… And handy… Can’t use a real pro for setup, can’t be trusted, remember Butterfield…
    Nixon couldn’t bring himself to destroy tapes, presumably because memoirs…
    Funny what you do when you’re untouchable…

    1. clarky90

      Did the NYPD Just Save the Country?


      God Bless the NYPD!!!!!! This is speculation, but it makes sense.

      “A variety of unnamed NYPD sources have leaked a fascinating story to various media and social media outlets: the NYPD was investigating Anthony Weiner for sexting a 15 yr old and stumbled on tens of thousands of emails in a folder labeled “life insurance” on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Those emails, as we now know, contain content that is in some way shape or form related to Hillary Clinton and her FBI investigation. The information was found by the NYPD Special Victims unit, who had a warrant per their involvement in Weiner’s sexting an under-age 15 yr old.

      ………. Admittedly it’s speculative but is it difficult to imagine the FBI and DOJ attempted to keep this latest discovery quiet but were pressured to by the NYPD who would or could leak them themselves? Reports from a wide variety of news outlets indicate the DOJ refused to give the FBI a warrant to review the evidence now in its possession – Comey revealing the presence of such evidence is a likely concession to the NYPD’s refusal to remain quiet.”

    2. Arizona Slim

      ISTR reading that Nixon had the taping system installed so he could have an accurate record of what he said in the Oval Office. Recall that Nixon and the press were, shall we say, not on the best of terms. And that Nixon wasn’t exactly thrilled with how he was quoted and portrayed.

  7. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    I’d vote for Turd Sandwich, Pat Paulson’s Skeleton, or Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho for President if it’d get Thomas Friedman off the NY Times editorial page. Although since their readership has tanked to the level that I think the Times will be bought out by AT&T and turned into a sunday Advertising Insert then maybe it won’t quite matter.

    1. OIFVet

      The Mustache of Understanding has become quite the draw for liberals this election cycle. One of my liberal friends is quite atwitter on FB today over the pending visit of the Mustache to her Midwestern Liberal Arts institution of higher mislearning. Much as I regret to say it, his perch at the NYT is quite safe, and he will continue to fling his verbal poop at us for the foreseeable future.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes Friedman, like Broder, will only be leaving feet first. Whether or not there’s a Deep State there’s definitely a journalism Deep State. It seems quaint that Cronkite was once made to retire at 65.

  8. Jamie Obummer

    There are still people, hilariously, who do not believe in privilege – aka the lack of being an Other – and ridicule it as a leftist plot. These are people who cannot imagine that class can exacerbate different conditions in US minority culture (race, sex, etc) and believe, like their capitalist overlords, that only the individual matters and not the system.

    For those people, who are always white (and usually male) I have a good exercise to imagine temporary othering, all while remaining white: try riding a bicycle in America for one week to commute to/from work and see how the disgusting car culture treats you. It reminds you quickly that:

    1. You are judged based on how others like you (eg other cyclists) behave;
    2. Your behavior consequently influences how the dominant culture (in this case, agro/violent car drivers) behave toward every single other biker;
    3. Laws are made not for you (street law is for cars, including speeds, timing, parking, etc) but you must obey them or face the exact same ticketing as cars (this is true in most states in the US, though not every single state/city)
    4. By the same token, if you try to invoke the privileges for which you’re paying (for taxes, just like car driving, or with the specter of potential ticketing), you are shut down immediately, either by vigilante violence (eg car drivers) or by police & the state.

  9. Tim

    “Researchers have found that it’s due to the impact of air pollutants at the time of the Industrial Revolution, as prevailing winds in the U.S. and Europe typically blow from west to east. And it’s an impact that has lasted into today”

    This wasn’t already common knowledge? If it wasn’t at least subconsciously understood that it is better to live upwind of emissions then the current state never would have happened.

    Blue sky west brown sky east whether in LA or St Louis. Gives a literal analogy for the poor sucking the wake of the wealthy, though.

    1. Synoia

      SOWETO – South West Township Organization – South West of Johannesburg.

      There is also a North-South divide in affluence. Is that addressed?

      Good study that. Pity about the Southern Hemisphere.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Workers flocking to the gold mines on the Rand determined the late 19th century settlement patterns west of Johannesburg. There wasn’t much other industry.

  10. Timmy

    “The east sides of New York, London and Paris are noticeably and famously poorer than their western sides. And it turns out there’s a reason for that”

    Wind direction isn’t the only factor influencing the relative wealth of neighborhoods and it may not even be the most important. Ridge vs. valley location is another, particularly related to seasonal flooding, there is upstream/downstream orientations relative to river flow and then how north/south hillside exposure to the winter sun determines how much sun your dwelling enjoys during winter. Survey your local town’s geography and wealth distribution and you will see all of these factors in play.

    1. OIFVet

      Chicago is a bit of an exception to the rule. Because of the lakefront and Daniel Burnham’s lakefront park system, the East side is generally wealthier. The caveat is the Southeast side, which was industrial and retains some of the industries, and is pretty poor. Travel due West of downtown though, and you will pass through some of the poorest zip codes in the US.

    2. Rosario

      Here is Louisville, KY the West End and portions of the south end are historical (and present) flood plains. Some creative flood water drainage systems and other infrastructure prevent many of these districts from being swampland during much of the year. So long as they are well maintained. They just so happen to be the black and/or working class parts of town.

      Our bourgeois have planted their flags in “The Highlands” (that is really what the part of town is called) and the East end plateaus overlooking the Ohio River. As you note, the class divisions are sewn into the city geography. In our river city it is pattered around elevation more than prevailing winds.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Most of the polluting industry a century ago was farther south, both in downtown Manhattan and on the NJ side across the river.

        North of 59th Street was good. Close to Central Park was good. Why the upper west side used to have a bad rep compared to upper east side, I’m not sure. Maybe because Broadway ran through the upper west side since native american days. So there might have been some older, less desirable development there, such as farms with livestock. It’s all local, at that scale.

        1. Emma

          Agree other factors come into play for certain cities but in London one major contributing factor to the development of the east/west poverty line stems from the Industrial Revolution. Charles Booth carried out some extensive research into this in his Public Health work producing a striking Poverty Map of London showing a clear divide.

        1. River

          Were docks located there? Stevedores, and other shipping related jobs were always blue collar. If they were developed in the beginning of NYC it would explain why poor neighborhoods developed there. Quick look at a map shows a channel. With those neighborhoods following it. Was it used for shipping in the 1800’s? (Don’t know much about the history of NYC I’m afraid. So I’m just guessing here).

  11. Merf56

    “In the five and a half years since the uprising in Syria began, it has become the most catastrophic war of our young century” [Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker]. I would have thought that our invasion of Iraq in 2003 set the baseline for “catastrophic”? What the heck was Filkins thinking when he wrote that sentence? And The New Yorker used to be famous for its fact-checking. When did that get crapified, anyhow?”
    I think Filkins is spot on here. Iraq, horrific no question but a rather isolated stand alone conflict for the most part though border areas are quite serious problems for the international community .
    But Syria – she is and has long been a Russian /US proxy conflict area on the verge of ignition . Now with Turkey and Islamic State and other radical Muslim terror groups and Israel under Crazed Babi in the mix – this is truly the catastrophic conflict of the century so far… the implications globally of the mess being orchestrated in Syria are much farther reaching than those of Iraq…..

    1. John k

      Vietnam 15x worse us fatalities from a smaller population, plus it changed thinking from gov mostly good to gov I’d the problem. Lead directly to Reagan.
      No comparison, though with that example you might think we would stay out of other people’s civil wars, instead it has whet appetites for more.
      One difference is that
      Msm now corporate, fully behind more adventures… They smell profit… Where at one time they investigated… Long gone.

  12. L

    CETA: A week of pressure from four Belgian regions opposed to CETA, led by the courageous Walloons, produced a revised “joint interpretive instrument” and, importantly, a new list of conditions that must be met before Belgium can ratify the deal”

    This may have been clarified before but what happens if they don’t? The agreement as I understand it comes into effect in stages and the first part, trade liberalization for tarriffs, happens even before the regional parliaments are asked to ratify. If it then fails, will all those implementation bills be rolled back? Or will some of the deal go into effect no matter what the dirty proles say.

  13. Bjornasson

    I have often wondered if people who enthusiastically support Hillary, or who begrudgingly vote for her due to her ‘decency’, are aware of how they are implicitly participating in a national ranking of virtues. Most people who I have talked to acknowledge Hillary’s faults but eventually talk about her being a woman, not being accused of sexual harassment and not being as blatantly racist/sexist/etc. as Trump. Essentially, she is nominally a more ‘decent’ human being and a better representative of America.

    In making decency as the highest virtue, these people are elevating it above:
    1. Not threatening nuclear war against Russia and engaging in general Russophobia
    2. Not accepting financial support from foreign regimes that are known for their socially repressive policies, including those aimed at women
    3. Not bombing sovereign nations for realpolitik geopolitics
    4. Not being drenched in corruption

    … and I could go on.
    So, personal projected decency (and even that is only relative to the lowest bar ever) pretty much overrules all of these considerations that are each appalling in their own right and would on their own discredit any viable candidate for president in normal times, let alone one that has been a political figure for decades and brags about her “experience”. So, when a Clinton presidency turns out to be a disaster, people should know they had it coming – they opted for a dishonest decency over the painful truth.

    1. cocomaan

      Sex scandals, bullying, and so on are much easier to comprehend than private servers, classified information, and pay to play.

      Within a few moments, one can understand the contours of sexual indiscretion. Trying to explain the complexities of corruption that isn’t quite quid pro quo, especially when the civil servant in question is running a non profit whose activities overlap with her office, becomes much harder to parse out in brief.

      Also, most people don’t give a damn about foreign policy.

      1. Bjornasson

        I feel like the difference in concreteness is amplified by bias, making the easier to grasp stuff more important than it should be. Then the inconsistency between supporting women AND facilitating the oppression and bombing of women and children in foreign countries is treated not as inconsistency but as two separate issues. The idea that she really doesn’t care about women in any meaningful particular way at all is rejected wholesale.

        Also, Carl Beijer wrote a wonderful piece on the hypocrisy of the Clinton elites’ meritocracy:

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Easier to grasp…more important.

          One sees it often, as in, ‘beyond the scope of this paper.’

          Tough stuff is not under the scope, but what is known under the scope is applied everywhere.

          Or include in the model factors we know.

          It’s like, let’s beat up on those we can, and stay away from those we can’t.

      2. polecat

        People supposedly gave a damn 16 to 8 years ago … but that was before the Great Financial Clusterfuck of 2008 ……. now .. less pie … and an ever more larger number of 20% mouths to feed !


        ……not you Piggy, you sniveling 80%er !

    2. Emma

      With ho-hum diplomacy and by all public appearances we have one major Presidential candidate who appears ‘exciting’ but uncivilized, and another who appears ‘boring’ but civilized. Scratch the surface though and it culminates in the ‘Presidentializing’ of the worst in gender stereotypes. IMHO both their campaigns have had a destrucitve effect on the Presidential race, and on this account alone, opting for either Gary Johnson or Jill Stein is one possible way to redeem the cause.
      Did anyone view the informative PBS Presidential Debates between Jill Stein and Gary Johnson and which were hosted by Travis Smiley? With either Johnson or Stein, it was clear we’re not forced back into the overly simplified past of a male-dominated Cold War bi-polar era. Perhaps this reinforces some kind of warped relevancy to potential leaders (and their minions….) unsatisfactory lives, but many Americans, unlike Trump or Clinton, have evolved considerably with the times.
      They are Americans who aspire to a greater sense of self-worth in a sustainable post-war world. They are also Americans who frankly don’t need leaders ossifying the institutionalization of depraved and outdated ideologies. And finally, they are Americans who truly need leaders capable of creating new and positive paradigms to really uplift them all.

  14. Donald

    On the Iraq war vs Syria, Filkins might be using the estimated death toll and assuming Syria is worse. In reality at this stage it’s probably about even. The MSM in the US nearly always uses the smallest estimate for Iraq–either Iraq Body Count’s estimate (which is close to 200,000 civilian dead at this stage, but the press usually says “over 100,000” when citing them) or the even smaller “tens of thousands” put out by the Pentagon and/or Brookings. Nevermind various estimates that say the total death toll is 500,000 or larger. (The 500,000 figure comes from a 2013 PLOS study–there was the famous Johns Hopkins study of 2006 which said 600,000). Both the Hopkins and the 2013 study attributed about a third of the deaths to “coalition” forces–that is, the US, but you would never get that impression from reading the American press, where it seemed like the US was just there to keep Iraqis from killing each other..

    With Syria, until recently the MSM used the Syrian Observatory figure of around 300,000 at the moment, of which 200,000 are combatants split roughly evenly between pro and anti government. But now there are estimates of 500,000 dead. The MSM considers the Syrian War to be entirely the fault of Assad, so the larger figure is used, often attributed almost entirely to civilians killed by Assad.

    This is how war deaths are counted by MSM propagandists. I still remember a few years ago the NYT saying in an editorial that the Iraq War killed “tens of thousands”. This is because the US is largely responsible for the war, so they lowball it.

    Of course, the Syrian war is in part a byproduct of the Iraq War. And by supporting the rebels we kept it going.

    1. Donald

      I just read the Filkins piece–yeah, he’s going by death toll. He uses the 400,000 figure (the highest estimate is 500,000). By implication he is assuming the Iraq War was lower. In reality, anyone familiar with the debate over the Iraq death toll knows it is damn difficult to determine, especially with death squads roaming around. What the press does, repeating myself, is accept without question the high estimates for Syria (which is probably accurate enough) but only accept death tolls in Iraq that are put forward by official sources with a motive for lowballing. Fact checking is irrelevant–to our famously free press, accepting what official sources say is what fact checking is all about.

      Filkins is also implicitly endorsing Western propaganda as the truth about Syria. Assad is a war criminal, but what he says about outside intervention is largely true.

      1. fresno dan

        November 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm

        As well as, couldn’t you plausibly say Syria is part II of the Iraq war? It strikes me that there is a LOT of ideological baggage in trying to take the mid-east conflagration and separate it into distinct conflicts

  15. Bjornasson

    Can we collectively agree to revert to calling Obamacare the “Affordable Care Act” – just for the oxymoronic irony of it all?

    1. optimader

      indeed.. better yet, the BHO Affordable Care Act

      BHO said perpetuation of his legacy depends on HRC being elected!

      Maybe he’s voting for Trump?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Thought it was the “Affordable Individual Responsibility Payment Act.”

        Where else can you stay out of jail for only $695?

        Is this a great country, or what?

  16. Paid Minion


    They won’t “force” you to do anything.

    They will just “incentivize” compliance. At least that’s what it will be called. A cynic might call it “penalizing non-compliance”.

    Like discounts/bribes on health insurance, if you wear one of those activity monitors all day. Or for not smoking. Or if you diet/lose weight. Or getting to keep your job, as long as you come up negative on a random alcohol screening.

    After all, it’s all for your “wellness”, so 24/7/365 monitoring is “good”.

  17. timbers

    2016 & Democratic Email Hairball

    Took a rare look at Democratic tribalist sites Huffington Post and DailyKos. This one at Kos by Laura Clawson is priceless over the top melodramaitic professional victim-hoodism. It’s about a letter from the girl Weiner was chasing, to Comey, regarding re-opening the Clinton email investigation which is forcing her to relive her experience and he should be ashamed of himself. Something tells me the intended message is that the real victim here is Hillary Clinton. Because Hillary is always the victim.


    Clawson concludes:

    Comey, she says, has effectively collaborated with Weiner in abusing her, “but the real story here is that I am a survivor. I am strong, intelligent, and certain that I will come out from under this nightmare, but it will not be as a result of your doing your job to protect me.” This letter certainly bears out her strength, and offers one more powerful reason for Comey to be ashamed.

    As a friend of mine once said, gag me with a spoon.

    1. pretzelattack

      there’s some guardian article titled (from memory) it’s time to hail hillary and face up to the testosterone left. i didn’t have the testosterone to read it.

      1. Massinissa

        What the hell is the testosterone left? The people who vote for Jill Stein? I seriously have no words.

          1. Patricia

            So that makes the women Bernie-hos, I suppose. Yah all those people who would have been delighted with Nina, glad for Tulsi, satisfied with Elizabeth, happy about the nurses’ union, and are considering Jill.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Why couldn’t your letter have waited until after the election, so I would not have to be the center of attention?

      Yes, and why couldn’t the election have been scheduled on a day when I wasn’t having my pedicure?

      Now I’m going to have to binge on Skittles to assuage my pain, and it’s YOUR FAULT MR COMEY.

      1. kimsarah

        I just hope Mr. Chuck Schumer can find it in his heart to forgive that turncoat Comey after all is said and done.

  18. Quentin

    Trump drove a stake through the heart of the Bush Dynasty and, maybe, the Republican Party as we have known it. Will he succeed in giving the Clinton Dynasty the coup de grace and put it out of its mendacious, emailing misery, which would also detonate the Democratic Party as we know it. What’s next? Can any one tell me? Imagine the future. Don’t waste your time. No one can.

    1. Science Officer Smirnoff

      Au contraire

      . . . Even today, the media assists Ryan when he tries to distance himself from Donald Trump—when in reality, Trump would likely be little more than an autopen as president, signing whatever noxious policy Ryan shuttled through the House and put on his desk. Despite this, the media almost affords him sympathy for his plight about dealing with Trump (he’s campaigning with Trump on Saturday, so it can’t be that wrenching), rather than recognizing his role as the author of the agenda the next Republican president will carry out.

      The normalization of Ryan as a serious, honest figure allows him to put out as radical a budget as would ever be initiated in American history without anyone batting an eyelash. This may not come back to sting the country next year, if Trump falls the way his poll numbers currently suggest. But at some not-too-distant point, when conservatives capture the entire government, they’ll be able to implement this blueprint, the Ryan budget, that should have been made into nuclear waste long ago. —David Dayen in TNR

      [emphasis added]

  19. JSM

    Re: ‘6 Reasons Why A New Civil War Is Possible And Terrifying’

    This meme is catnip to TPTB & more divide & conquer fearmongering for the plebs. Blood in the streets! That guy with the Trump sign who’s kinda fussy about his lawn might…might, ya know, dark and divisive…he might!! Everyone knows the proper objects of their anger are in DC and not in their neighbors’ houses.

    A civil war at this juncture would look much more like Caesar & the populares vs. Pompeius & the optimates. (If you read Hersh’s ‘Military to Military,’ you might even say this sort of thing is going on right now, with civilian v. military proxy wars being fought abroad.) & since no current leader is in possession of loyal legions in anything like the same way, the part with Pharsalus & Dyrrhachium ain’t happening.

    Not to mention the article can’t even distinguish between a revolution and a civil war. Please, give us a break.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The violence in Syria doesn’t look like a civil nor does it look like a revolution. I think it most resembles violent anarchy — which is the label I might put on the kind of “civil war” described in the “Cracked” link. Whether violence would break out as a result of random acts of violence by various groups is uncertain but I think a lot of suffering and death could be readily managed. Just look at the suffering created over a few days by a good sized storm and a few dropped trees. Look at the condition of some of our highways and bridges. Our relatively comfortable lives are not supported by anything resembling a robust system … which leaves us vulnerable to all sorts of “dislocations” not limited to natural events.

      Where could a person go to avoid such chaos and build a nice safe burrow? I’m inclined to move to the country but I hope the Cracked article is wrong about country mice fighting city mice.

    2. LT

      I would actually look at the Chinese Civil War (around the time of WWII).
      It is a country that covers a large area and had a population size similar to the USA’s (even though it was larger at 400 million plus). It is also a time when communications and transportation were closer to our current speeds (way more than ancient Rome/Greece).

      In China during the period – Central authority waxed and waned in response to warlordism (1915–28).

      As for what it is called…think about the difference between how the Civil War and the American Revolution are now viewed.
      If the form of government is replaced by another, it would be considered a Revolution by historians.
      If the government remains in tact (even if changed in some ways) it would just be a Civil War.
      At least that’s the way the narratives seem to go regarding these things in retrospect.
      How it will be viewed would depend on the outcome.

  20. Synoia

    The east sides of New York, London and Paris are noticeably and famously poorer than their western sides. And it turns out there’s a reason for that

    Were noticeably poorer. After the Clean Air Act (late ’50s?) in the UK, the change in the demographics of East London and the London Docklands (also east of the City), is very different.

    My parents would not live in London. It was considered too dirty.

    I don’t know about Paris.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think the area east of Santa Monica, which is Beverly Hills, is wealthier.

      And the area west of Beverly Hills, which is Santa Monica, is not.

    2. neo-realist

      Paris and London keep their streets and infrastructure, particularly their public transportation systems, pretty clean to my perspective. Now, NYC, that is a dirty city.

  21. Vatch


    Amnesty International, a campaign group which has accused the Kremlin of violating human rights with its bombing campaign in Syria, was evicted from its Moscow office on Wednesday.

    I don’t recall Amnesty International being evicted from offices in the U.S. after criticizing the Guantanamo prison, abuses in Abu Ghraib or other episodes of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, U.S. actions against Occupy Wall Street, or the death penalty in many U.S. states.

    1. OIFVet

      Ah yes, head choppers have human rights also. Particularly when they are armed and funded by the US gubmint to effect a regime change in foreign lands. So being headed by a former State Department official (who played a role in drafting and passing US State Department-backed UN resolutions regarding Syria and Libya) and funded by Soros and his ilk, Amnesty is of course the last word on human rights worldwide. Including in Russia, where it stands up for the right of State Department funded groups to attempt to destabilize the Russian government and effect a regime change. Who the heck gave Russia the right to kick out foreign meddlers?!

      1. Vatch

        Amnesty International (AI) “meddles” in the affairs of numerous countries, including the United States. Here’s a little of what AI has said about Syria (I highlighted a sentence about “head choppers”):


        Government forces and non-state armed groups committed war crimes, other violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses with impunity in the internal armed conflict. Government forces carried out indiscriminate attacks and attacks that directly targeted civilians, including bombardment of civilian residential areas and medical facilities with artillery, mortars, barrel bombs and, reportedly, chemical agents, unlawfully killing civilians. Government forces also enforced lengthy sieges, trapping civilians and depriving them of food, medical care and other necessities. Security forces arbitrarily arrested and continued to detain thousands, including peaceful activists, human rights defenders, media and humanitarian workers, and children. Some were subjected to enforced disappearance and others to prolonged detention or unfair trials. Security forces systematically tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees with impunity; thousands of detainees died as a result of torture and other ill-treatment between 2011 and 2015. Non-state armed groups that controlled some areas and contested others indiscriminately shelled and besieged predominantly civilian areas. The armed group Islamic State (IS) besieged civilians in government-controlled areas, carried out direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks including suicide bombings, alleged chemical attacks and other bombardment of civilian areas, and perpetrated numerous unlawful killings, including of captives. US-led forces carried out air strikes on IS and other targets, in which scores of civilians were killed. In September, Russia commenced air strikes and sea-launched cruise missile attacks on areas controlled by armed opposition groups and on IS targets, in which hundreds of civilians were killed. By the end of the year, the UN estimated that the conflict had caused the deaths of 250,000 people, forced 7.6 million people to become internally displaced and led 4.6 million people to become refugees abroad.

        1. OIFVet

          If the Amnesty International wanted to retain it’s credibility it would do two things:
          1. Stop carrying water for the US government, as it does on occasion, and
          2. Call out the United States government for launching regime change operations, which are in fact the genesis for all the civilian killings. The head-choppers in Aleppo are not ISIS either, but rather current and former US government sponsored and armed “moderates” who are hiding behind the civilian human shields.

          BTW, the passage you quoted contains a rather obvious example of Amnesty’s bias:

          US-led forces carried out air strikes on IS and other targets, in which scores of civilians were killed. In September, Russia commenced air strikes and sea-launched cruise missile attacks on areas controlled by armed opposition groups and on IS targets, in which hundreds of civilians were killed.

          Way to roll with the narrative about the blood-thirsty Russkie barbarians and the humanitarian US bombs. Subtle but effective use of language, but then again it don’t take much to trigger Vatchy’s russophobia.

          1. Vatch

            I am not a russophobe, and it’s disappointing that you have resorted to an ad hominem attack. I strongly object to unaccountable oligarchies, whether in the United States, Russia, China, or many other countries. In this particular case, a government clamped down on an international human rights organization because the government did not like what the organization was saying. That’s a clear sign of government oppression, and yes, the U.S. government often does similar things.

            Long ago, in discussions about overpopulation, I learned that when people become angry in political discussions, it usually means they are wrong. It’s like the saying about lawyers: If you have the facts on your side, hammer the facts. If you have the law on your side, hammer the law. If you have neither the facts nor the law, hammer the table. Making remarks about “humanitarian US bombs” and “russophobia” is hammering the table.

        1. OIFVet

          Eastern Europe is infested with such “NGOs”, as well as with directly US government sponsored organizations and “foundations.” All promoting certain narratives, processes, and economic and military policies that remarkably enough tend to benefit the economic and geopolitical interests of the United States, while chipping away at whatever little sovereignty still remains. Ain’t neocolonialism grand?

    2. Cry Shop

      Probably because the Media didn’t report US sponsored killing of civilians over here. Even the graphic US helicopter shooting of civilians in Baghdad went mostly unreported. Why create a news story if the US mass media considers Amnesty’s reports on US bad acts as less important that some Hollywood airhead’s latest flub or sports?

      I suspect Russia would have pretty much the same outlook if all Amnesty did in Moscow was provide filler material for mostly unread press. Throwing them out of Moscow certainly won’t stop them from reporting on Syria, so the office must have been doing something else, particularly with money/funding.

  22. dk

    “‘I had a team of people who were relentless, totally in the head of what Trump might do,’ [Hillary Clinton] says” [People] “‘A lot of this comes down to who gets into whose head. It’s like an athletic contest or maybe a high-stakes entertainment performance.”

    Election 2016: The Gaslighter Campaign. Issues? What issues?

    1. Carolinian

      She just can’t help boasting about what a smarty pants she thinks she is. This has always been HRC’s pitch–vote for me because I’m smart. It’s unclear who this appeals to other than fellow Yalies..especially as, on the evidence, she is anything but.

      1. fajensen

        Stupid people often do this. If they are consultants, they also tend to use long, important-sounding, words to describe trivial things.

        I sometimes have to endure power-point presentations by a person who is clearly stupid and on top of that aggressively believes that she is absolutely way smarter than anyone else. Good Grief that is annoying.

        1. dk

          Yes, this is 100% consultant-speak.

          And let’s not forget, she’s a sock puppet, echoing what she last heard.

  23. Roger Smith

    RE: LA Times DAPL Editorial

    This is a very interesting read.

    This is probably the first largely visible intersection of a left-oriented (in typical framework) movement and the need to take up arms to protect one’s freedoms and the free state, a right granted by the constitution (typically right-oriented). The lack of accountability, transparency, and general public service in the government is swiftly coming to a head and becoming more of a general issue.

    For me, this election cycle and last few years in general have been steadily introducing a curious thought, maybe those “gun nut, crack pots” are on to something. What with the massive surveillance systems, increasingly militarized police, lack political-electoral accountability, economic recession that only the Banks came out of… etc… etc…

    So where does the “left” go now? Well the more unresponsive, ignorant, and violent the government becomes, the more they should bear arms to defend themselves. Last week on my social media account no one reads, I suggested that the Bundy clan should come defend the #NoDAPL protestors as they have a common enemy, over-reaching government. If things keep on this way, the left will have to take up arms to match the callous complacency and abuse the government dolls out. We may have already passed that point.

    Our government is rapidly failing to meet the demands of its citizens, largely because it has flat out ignored and mistreated them for so long. I would wager that civil altercations will increase but the best hope to prevent total chaos would be to remain goal driven and within connected coalitions. I picture this country as a big boiler room filled with thousands and thousands of steam valves. Somewhere down the road a group of people decided that they could save time, money, and have more fun if they only pulled a certain set of valves, without too many problems resulting (they thought). However, that steam has been building up over time and we are rapidly getting closer and closer to when those pipes are going to start bursting in the valves are not opened (one of the reasons I think we need a Trump win if correcting course is the ultimate goal–just visually his win relieves more steam than the nothing Clinton offers).

    In lieu of real help, the government has set the standard. The people with guns are treated better and get off easy. (Then you get the dark skinned, shot on sight problem etc… etc… it is all a huge mess)

    1. fresno dan

      Roger Smith
      November 2, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      I don’t know if you have ever seen this Atlantic article, in which Ronald Reagan advocates gun control:

      “Republicans in California eagerly supported increased gun control. Governor Reagan told reporters that afternoon that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” He called guns a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” In a later press conference, Reagan said he didn’t “know of any sportsman who leaves his home with a gun to go out into the field to hunt or for target shooting who carries that gun loaded.” The Mulford Act, he said, “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.”

      The article about “Trust” and civil war is one of those things – it is taken for granted that the demarcation line in trusting the police (i.e. government) is based on race. But look at movies from the 30’s and 40’s and you don’t see nearly the ideology that the police are indisputably on the side of justice that you do nowadays from “liberal” Hollywood….

      It is a strange thing that the poor white rural Trump supporters racism is more responsible for the squalor of our inner cites than tech squillionaires – but Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post – how many newspapers do the people living in Kentucy hollers own???

  24. Ranger Rick

    Re: that Senate candidate tweet. I was surprised to discover the Greens actually have a candidate for Senate on the Colorado ballot.

  25. Paid Minion

    “Civil War” Think of what a civil war will do to our “consumer economy”. The PTB should be peeing themselves just thinking about it. But it won’t be on anybody’s radar screens. When/if it happens, as usual, “Nobody saw it coming……..”

    He’s exactly right. Rural vs. Urban. With the suburbs siding with “rural”, if push comes to shove. Mainly because suburbanites have a lot more “rural” relatives than “urban”.

    And if the SHTF, and roving gangs of FreeSh#t Army types finish looting all of the QuikTrips and Wal Marts, and start massive home invasions/robberies/assaults in search of food and big screen TVs, the suburbanites will be heading back to the farm, and be welcomed. Especially if they bring their ARs/AKs and ammo, and help with the defense of the old family homestead.

    In that way, the “Back to the farm”/ Amish-lite wet dream that a bunch of the tree hugging types have will come true.

    It would be interesting to see the results of a poll asking “On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate the possibility of the “Zombie Apocalypse”.

    The problem for the “urbans” is that the “rurals” are thinking that the “Zombie Apocalypse” is a Win-Win situation for them, compared to the current and continuing status quo. All you need to do is “hold the fort” for 30-45 days.

    As with the relationship between herd animals and lions, you don’t have to be the fastest/strongest. You just have to avoid being the slowest/weakest.

  26. Paid Minion

    And whatever happens, don’t expect to see the road filled with Okies, like there was in the 1930s.

    For starters, it won’t be local banks foreclosing. It will be Citigroup and Wells Fargo. I’m betting that the local cops won’t be too happy kicking their neighbors off their property, shooting them if they resist, or turning them into sharecroppers for some New York banksters.

    The unintended consequences of an economic “Zombie Apocalype” are endless……..

  27. Put their heads on sticks


    Starting on p. 39 is interesting evidence that the Business Roundtable is behind ISDS. It’s an attempt to shred the case law of Article 36, para 2 of state responsibility principles based on a loony reading of the takings clause of the constitution.

    Great quotes from Greider:

    ’NAFTA checks the excesses of unilateral sovereignty,’ Washington lawyer Daniel Price told a scholarly forum in Cleveland. He ought to know, since he was the lead US negotiator 46 on Chapter 11 a decade ago. As for anyone troubled by the intrusions on US sovereignty, he said, ‘My only advice is, get over it.’ Price, who[headed] international practice at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, a premiere Washington firm, says … the architects of NAFTA knew exactly what they were creating. ‘The parties did not stumble into this,’ he said. ‘This was a carefully crafted definition.’”

  28. fresno dan

    “Data can help hotel executives manage workforce” [Hotel News Notes]. “Performance evaluations are another area where big data can play an important role. Instead of the usual, subjective assessments by supervisors, employees can be judged through company-tracked data, which may measure:”

    results of client/manager surveys;
    tracking of output keyed directly to the percentage of time and input of all contributing workers; and
    non-health related biometric data or other feedback associated with wearable technology, such as how employees traverse during the workday.
    This creates a more objective review process – reducing bias and the threat of lawsuits – and takes pressure off supervisors.

    That little point on wearables seems a little Orwellian. They won’t be able to force me to wear my wearable at all times, right?
    I thought EVERYONE knew it was called FLARE!


    1. Tircuit

      They already track us at my work with keycards. Everytime you move you have to beep through a door. And of course they have cameras. A coworker got fired for saying she was somewhere she wasn’t.

  29. optimader

    Richard Nixon at least had an administration in place when he won re-election in 1972, though it took nearly another two years before he was forced to resign under threat of impeachment.”

    As well Nixon won in a “landslide”
    (why do they call it that?)..

    If Clinton is elected, substantially half the electorate will want to see follow on “justice” and it will be the Monty Python rabbit Hunting Sketch and we end up with President Kane.

    From the legislative gridlock perspective, maybe she is the better choice?
    Due to the fact that she is a belligerent Neocon and Congress has surrendered the power to declare War to the Executive Branch, she needs to be stopped. It’s that simple.

    1. pretzelattack

      i just don’t trust the mainstream republicans to stop her on wars they’ve largely agreed with, and profited from by campaign contributions if not outright bribes.

      1. optimader

        They are structurally invested in Perpetual War. The Congressional District Mil Contractors are embedded like ticks.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Heard on the radio today that 0bama will request supplemental appropriations for Afghan and Iraq deployments, in the lame duck Congressional session.

          That’s his legacy. Well, George W Bush’s legacy, actually. Barry kept the flame alive.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Don’t kid yourself, Barry did everything he could to expand the flame, a reluctant and passive caretaker winding down Bush policies he most certainly was *not*.

            1. Jim Haygood

              He smiles at the young soldiers
              Tells them it’s all right
              He knows of their fear in the forthcoming fight
              Soon there’ll be blood and many will die
              Mothers and fathers back home they will cry
              Drone pilot …. Drone pilot
              How high can you fly
              You’ll never, never, never reach the sky

              — The Animals, Sky Pilot

  30. Paid Minion

    Right Wing vs. OWS. The “right wing” would have received the same treatment as OWS, if they weren’t armed, and convinced the cops that they were crazy enough to use them. Being in the middle of BFE, having tons of local sympathizers, and having clear lines of sight helped

    A lot easier to kick around a bunch of Kumbaya-singing, Smores-making, Ghandi-emulating hippies, blocking traffic in the middle of Manhattan

  31. clarky90

    A poster, here at NC, put me on to this book. (Thanks!) Here is a quote, that in my opinion, is applicable today.

    “There is no denial of the fact that Nazism was and is a retrogression, not a revolution; it is not socialism, but a form of capitalism that is virtually feudalistic in the safeguards granted to and preserved for the wealthy, as well as the total servitude it demands of of those who possess nothing but their hands and brains to work with.”

    p184 from “Last Train From Berlin” by Howard K. Smith

  32. LT

    Re: Clinton Damaged “Marketwatch”

    Then I get to this paragraph:
    “Contrary to all the scaremongering that has accompanied Trump’s candidacy from the beginning, the strong institutional checks and balances built into our system of government will certainly be able to block any descent into authoritarianism in this country — even if that were what Trump is all about.”

    Any government that embraces a monstrosity like the “Patriot Act”, militarizes its police to this extent (and continues to do so), has a globally embarrassing number of people in jails, subsidizes surveillence of its citizens to the point it will soon be a trillion dollar industry…

    Excuse me, but the descent has already happened. It was encoded in the alleged “govt of checks and balances” (checks on its citizens and increasing the balances of bankstas) long ago.
    The government began this process OFFICIALLY in 1947.

    1. AnnieB

      What a hoot! The communications manager comes up with “Making a difference” What absolutely creative and original messaging! Other winners, “Getting it done” “She has what it takes.” Wowsers. These geniuses sure know how to use vague and ineffective cliches. And they make the big money too!

      1. aab

        This is actually difficult work, made more challenging here not just because these people have no talent for it, but they don’t have anything to work with.

        It’s interesting that they already were planning to claim that the stakes are very high in this election. Why would that be self-evident, in December? If Jeb or any other traditional Republican had gotten the nomination — which we were still being told was going to happen at that point — it would not have been. Corporate, “centrist,” insider Republican vs. corporate, “centrist,” insider Democrat would have been an incredibly LOW stakes election. It’s possible they may have seen the situation differently, as political insiders. They’re fighting for all the best, juiciest spoils to stay with their faction. For them personally, wealth and power was always on the line. But for citizens? And it’s telling that even if this was what was driving them to think in terms of “stakes,” they didn’t have the capacity to recognize that these would be completely meaningless stakes for voters.

        It’s more likely that they were already plotting to install an extreme “Pied Piper” Republican, and so thinking in terms of stakes is basically a reflection of where they were planning to drive this bus, rather than what the election would be like organically with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate.

        Either way, they were burdened by a terrible candidate, who obviously doesn’t reflect the desires or policy outcomes of the voters. They were never going to be able to come up with a good slogan. “Stronger Together” is interesting because while it may have been inspired by the notion that they needed to heal the rift in the Democratic Party, their own strategy and tactics immediately undermined it for that purpose. I guess they may have thought it would work great as a cue that all good Republicans, like all good Democrats, should come together to cast out the evil Trump and his monstrous supporters. And for her ACTUAL base of upper income professionals, it looks like it worked pretty well. But you can’t win with just them. And its pungent echo of the actual symbol of fascism is also interesting to me — just as her “H” logo echos Goldwater’s logo, and specifically shows a weapon symbolically dragging the blue left column right/red. On purpose, or accidentally revealing? I had presumed at the outset it was unconscious. Now I’m not so sure.

        “Feel The Bern” was a genius slogan. But coming up with it was made a whole lot easier by having a candidate who stood for things his targeted voters wanted, and wasn’t trying to hide who he really was or what the task at hand was about.

  33. ewmayer

    o “If a vote for Trump would finally force Friedman off the Times Op-Ed page, would it be worth it? Tough call.” — Tough call, really? Not for me, it wouldn’t be. Ditto for NYT pet in-house faux-belist Krugman and his self-fellating econo-blog. [A thought occurs to me: PK loves to throw out the descriptor “wonkish”, and most folks assume it’s intended to convey “highly technical — lesser mortals shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about it, leave it to us credentialed ‘experts'” … but now I’m thinking Kruggie is using it as a conflation of oral+wank, ergo, credentialed-expert-self-fellation to follow.]

    o “How Ancient Humans Reached Remote South Pacific Islands” [New York Times]. “‘Our paper supports the idea that what people needed was boating technology or navigation technology that would allow them to move efficiently against the wind,’ Dr. Montenegro said.” — [slaps forehead] Oh, so *that’s* what those sail-keel-oar-and-rudder-thingies are for! Dr.M wins my personal “no shit, Sherlock” award des Tages. But he *is* highly-credentialed!

  34. LT

    “Data can help hotel executives manage workforce” [Hotel News Notes]. “Performance evaluations are another area where big data can play an important role. Instead of the usual, subjective assessments by supervisors, employees can be judged through company-tracked data, which may measure:”

    •results of client/manager surveys;
    •tracking of output keyed directly to the percentage of time and input of all contributing workers; and
    •non-health related biometric data or other feedback associated with wearable technology, such as how employees traverse during the workday.

    This creates a more objective review process – reducing bias and the threat of lawsuits – and takes pressure off supervisors.”

    In other words, employees still need to be exactly like robots/machines until they get the robots/machines at the price they want. The tyranny of Taylorism.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “You can be anything you want to be…a doctor, a lawyer, a senator, especially when you can be given exam questions beforehand.”

      “Congratulations. You just passed your bar exam, acing even the toughest questions.”

  35. mk

    That little point on wearables seems a little Orwellian. They won’t be able to force me to wear my wearable at all times, right?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ wrong, you’ll have to keep wearing them for the corporate wellness program.

  36. cripes

    Regarding the recent 3-paragraph letter FBI Director Comey sent to Congress, Mr. soon-to-be-gone Obama couldn’t resist issuing yet another of his trademark snarky distortions of fact.

    “I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations we don’t operate on innuendo and we don’t operate on incomplete information and we don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made,”


    There was no innuendo and no leaks, and the “information” explicitly said it was “incomplete” because it was just discovered, and warrants had yet to issue to examine them.

    Thankfully, his pronouncements will have diminishing importance in the very near future.

    Have I mentioned lately what a liar Obama is?

    1. fajensen

      Perhaps Obama is just not very smart – the presidential thing would be to leave things where they eventually must fall and “… trust the authorities to carry out their assigned duties according to the law …”.

      He can always pardon Hillary later – and exact a much higher price for that IF indeed the laws of the land applies to the Clinton’s.

  37. Laruse

    Anecdotal only: I am in Central Virginia near the the capital. I have not seen even one sign for Clinton anywhere. But last weekend when I drove 30 miles west of Richmond, in the rural farmlands of Va, there was no doubt I was in Trump Country. Just a local observation from the ground of a Swing State that is commonly believed to be deep Blue this year.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Unless you mean a specific place such as Longwood, Cantor’s old district is basically a fascist breeding ground.

  38. TheCatSaid

    Good news on the election integrity front. Excerpts:

    This is already available in most systems. Laws are already on the books to authorize you to do this. It costs almost nothing and enables almost everyone to authenticate computerized voting system results. All that remains is cooperation (or court-ordered coercion) of public officials to force them to honor your rights.

    It is a one-two punch which makes it very difficult to tamper with results without detection – no matter who administers the system, what vendors they use, or who gets their hands on the computer code. If you do this, it won’t matter if it’s the Russians or some local good ol’ boy sticking hands into the system, because you can catch them.

    . . .

    Ballot images are available right now in most voting machines. Paper ballots exist in most locations now. Freedom of Information rights exist in every state and apply to “any person” or, in a few states like Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee, to any resident of the state.

    . . .

    In our testing, the ballot images remained intact when we changed results with Fraction Magic. (Fraction Magic: See series of articles at this Web site and short video: http://blackboxvoting.org/fraction-magic-video/ )

    There are images and information on how to proceed in the full article.

  39. blowncue

    On the ground in Durham NC today, heard on Radio One (Foxy 107/104) a Trump ad targeting African-American voters with replay of HRC’s superpredators’ remarks three times in the spot, African-American male voiceover disparaging Clinton record on actual deliverables then pivoting to Trump promises.

    Immediately following that spot was a WJC soundalike leading in “are you tired of all the political negativity? Is it affecting your performance?” It was an ad for a men’s clinic in Raleigh treating erectile dysfunction. Try the remedy in their clinic, no charge for the visit if no results. “I come from a place called Hope.” He’s the new Dole.

    I just stared at my radio, slack-jawed.

    Plus, Trump is practicing mindfulness in the moment with literal self-talk to stay on message during his speeches, subdued, long on policy.

    Vanity prediction: Boris Johnson redux. Trump wins, calls for secession from MA, CA, while TX does secede – as does Oakland – and Pence gets a call from congressional leadership, invokes Sec. 4 of the 25th Amendment, vote is sustained. Pence is president. All hell breaks loose, VP Ryan becomes president, and Abby Joseph Cohen nails it per the Barron’s article that follows highlighting her call during the last Roundtable (majority predicted Trump, she predicted Ryan). Sturm, Ruger best performing stock in 2017 – unless Mayodan gets bombed (/art bell)

    1. EoinW

      Wouldn’t it just be easier to assassinate Trump before January? He should have picked a more anti-war politician for VP. Then there wouldn’t have been any point in assassinating him. If JFK had Bobby as VP he would never have been killed.

  40. Lambert Strether Post author

    > Plus, Trump is practicing mindfulness in the moment with literal self-talk to stay on message during his speeches, subdued, long on policy.

    Can you expand on this?

    1. aab

      I saw this referenced today, but I couldn’t find a link to it just now. IIRC, he was cheering himself on out loud stream-of-consciousness style during his speech.

      I didn’t play the clip. The brief excerpt I read struck me as charming, because it was vulnerable and human. I can’t imagine how hard it is for him to get through long policy speeches in front of tens of thousands of people. Yes, he’s been an entertainer for while, but both stadium sized crowds and policy speeches are outside his pre-existing experience and skill set. Honestly, I know I’m going to hate his administration in almost every way if he gets in (best case; worst case just removes “almost”), but I kind of admire his persevering through this campaign. He’s tougher than the average trust fund kid.

      It’s the kind of thing his voters will like and respect, and the Clinton crowd will laugh at. And the polarization just keeps widening.

    1. pricklyone

      Okay, who snuck the damn goat into Wrigley? 108 years, and somebody had to screw up the streak!

      Kidding! Kidding! Congrats from Cardinal country…

      1. EoinW

        It would have been longer than 108 years had it not been for Fred Merkle and the “Bonehead play” that cost the Giants the 1908 pennant.

    2. pretzelattack

      it’s also the reverse of the nba championship. cleveland, live by the comeback, die by the comeback.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      The USA Today once again demonstrates it’s a hack operation when the obvious headline involves “Holy Cow.”

      Cleveland is loaded in the minors. They will be a team of the decade style outfit. Coincidentally, the High A Carolina League championship was a best of five series win for the Cubs over Cleveland, but most of the Cleveland players had been promoted. They did have the guy with the 50+ game hit streak.

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