2:00PM Water Cooler 11/4/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


TPP: A Podesta mail where Nikki Budzinski, Labor Outreach Director, discusses Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson: “I have received four calls from labor about a district meeting that Congresswoman Johnson (a HRC public supporter) held in Dallas, Texas where she discussed TPP. She claimed in the meeting that she speaks with HRC 2-3 times a week and that she was told by the Secretary that the only reason she opposes TPP is to get ‘labor off her back’ and that once she is elected President she will reverse position. I have worked with our Western Political Director Jessica Meija, and she has connected with the Congresswoman’s COS to clarify the inaccuracy of what she said and push back on her comments. This was not helpful with labor. [Wikileaks (attachment)]. “Inaccuracy.” Of course, of course.

TPP: “[Our Revolution,] the progressive group founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders has begun a targeted campaign to sway at least five House Democrats to oppose the TPP in hopes it could change the outcome of a ratification vote — and it’s getting some results” [Politico]. “Our Revolution, which Sanders formed in late August to support liberal candidates, has set its sights on at least five other fence-sitting lawmakers. In a vote that’s expected to have razor-thin margins, plundering just a few Democratic votes the White House hoped to gain could make all the difference. The target list includes Reps. Seth Moulton (Mass.), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Beto O’Rourke (Texas), Derek Kilmer (Wash.), and Pennsylvania state Rep. Dwight Evans.”

TPP: “In Thursday, Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers published a report warning that if the TPP isn’t passed, a China-backed trade agreement will takes its place. That could put U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage when they try to sell to customers in Japan and other Asian nations. The report argues that if China’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership goes into effect, at least 35 U.S. industries as diverse as plastics, fishing and footwear will be at risk of increased competition from China in the Japanese market” [FiveThirtyEight]. So they’ve settled on this messaging, now? And: “[I]f Clinton wins, Obama might be able to put together a coalition of Republicans and trade-friendly Democrats* to support the treaty. In other words, TPP isn’t dead yet.” * Especially those looking for jobs on K Street.

TPP: “”If TPP is not passed and RCEP is enacted, which is what all these countries say they are planning to do, then U.S. businesses would face a direct loss of competitive position,” said Jason Furman, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers” [Reuters]. “This would displace U.S. goods and be worse than simply maintaining the trade status quo, Furman said. The study identifies 35 industrial sectors employing 4.7 million people with $5.3 billion in sales to Japan that would face such a disadvantage.”

TPP: “Japan’s ruling parties push TPP through committee after opposition walkout” [Nikkei Asian Review]. “The next hurdle for the trade deal is a vote during a plenary session of the House of Representatives, expected early next week. It will then be sent to the Diet’s upper house, the House of Councillors.”

TPP: “Working-class U.S. residents already lose about $1,800 annually because wages have been depressed by global competition on labor rates, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. TPP would deepen this problem” [Detroit Free Press]. I know the cheap goods are supposed to make up for this, but when your jobs and and what you can afford to buy are both crapified….


Days until: 3!


“Two former Christie administration insiders charged in a bizarre scheme of political retaliation against a mayor who refused to endorse the governor for re-election were found guilty Friday on all counts in the long-running Bridgegate saga” [Newark Star-Ledger]. “‘In keeping with the disgrace that was this trial, one of the things the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be ashamed of is where it decided to draw the line on who to charge and who not to charge,’ Baroni’s attorney Michael] Baldassare said. ‘… They should have had belief in their own case to charge powerful people, and they did not.” Hmm. I wonder which “powerful people” Baldassare has in mind?

Our Famously Free Press

“Behind all the Times’ fawning profiles of Clinton — and the denigrating pieces not only on Trump but also Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders — was a cozy understanding between Times reporters and the Clinton campaign, WikiLeaks has shown us, that getting Clinton elected is something of a collaborative effort” [MarketWatch]. “Editors at the Times, the Washington Post and elsewhere justify this hostility because they have determined that Trump is an existential threat to democracy and the worst presidential nominee in history and can’t be treated as an ordinary candidate. So why do the polls show the worst nominee ever running neck-and-neck with the candidate President Barack Obama has praised as the most qualified person ever to run for president? Do these editors know something that tens of millions of American voters are missing? Whose job is it really to decide what poses a threat to our democracy — a handful of editors in the corporate media or the voters?”

The Voters

Latest polls [Political Wire].

New Hampshire: Clinton 44%, Trump 44%, Johnson 5% (UMass Lowell)

Iowa: Trump 44%, Clinton 41%, Johnson 5% (RABA Research)

Virginia: Clinton 45%, Trump 38%, Johnson 5% (Roanoke College)

Georgia: Trump 48%, Clinton 46%, Johnson 4% (Landmark)

Missouri: Trump 52%, Clinton 41% (PPP)

New Hampshire: Clinton 48%, Trump 43% (PPP)

Nevada: Clinton 48%, Trump 45% (PPP)

Wisconsin: Clinton 48%, Trump 41% (PPP)

Pennsylvania: Clinton 48%, Trump 44% (PPP)

North Carolina: Clinton 49%, Trump 47% (PPP)

Wisconsin: Clinton 44%, Trump 38%, Johnson 7% (Loras College)

If I plug all the states where Clinton is ahead into the New York Times “paths to victory” calculator, Clinton wins — even if Trump wins Florida. Of course, last I checked, NH was dead even, not Clinton up 4, and I don’t have the chops to assess how good any of these polls are. (Adding: Anyhow, tracking individual polls is madness, which is why I believe in RCP averages; a belief shortly to be put to the test!)

“Trump is finishing the race the way many Republicans wished he could have run it from the start: fiercely on message and on offense” [RealClearPolitics]. “Trump has largely adhered to his teleprompters and resisted controversial tweets this week. As Clinton campaigned a few days ago with Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe winner with whom Trump has infamously feuded, the GOP nominee focused primarily on higher costs for Obamacare and the revived FBI investigation into emails pertinent to Clinton’s private server. The campaign believes those issues bolster his closing argument that Clinton is corrupt and a vestige of old politics, while he says he’s an agent of change.”

“Our polling data suggests that the missing whites aren’t exactly conservative populists who support Mr. Trump. They’re just dissatisfied: They don’t like their candidate, and they don’t like the other party’s candidate much either” [New York Times]. “The registered white missing Democrats, for instance, support Mrs. Clinton by only 61 percent to 19 percent. The missing registered white Republicans support Mr. Trump by only 69 to 13.”

“Election Update: Why Clinton’s Position Is Worse Than Obama’s” [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight]. “In the table below, I’ve run a head-to-head comparison showing how many electoral votes each candidate was projected to have at various margins of victory or defeat. For instance, Obama had a lead in states (and congressional districts) totaling 332 electoral votes in our final 2012 forecast. Clinton leads in states totaling only 272 electoral votes, just two more than the minimum she needs to win the Electoral College.” In brief, Clinton is stronger than Obama among highly educated voters in states that she would win anyhow, and weaker among white voters without college degrees in states that are close.

War Drums

“The U.S. government believes hackers from Russia or elsewhere may try to undermine next week’s presidential election and is mounting an unprecedented effort to counter their cyber meddling, American officials told NBC News. The effort is being coordinated by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, but reaches across the government to include the CIA, the National Security Agency and other elements of the Defense Department, current and former officials say” [NBC]. ” Officials are alert for any attempts to create Election Day chaos, and say steps are being taken to prepare for worst-case scenarios, including a cyber-attack that shuts down part of the power grid or the internet. But what is more likely, multiple U.S. officials say, is a lower-level effort by hackers from Russia or elsewhere to peddle misinformation by manipulating Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. For example, officials fear an 11th hour release of fake documents implicating one of the candidates in an explosive scandal without time for the news media to fact check it.

The Trail

“With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump breathtakingly close in polls of key states, analysts are beginning to factor in the possibility of recounts that would delay the outcome” [MarketWatch]. “Bear in mind that a candidate would have limited time to contest the vote. This year, the Electoral College is due to meet on Dec. 19. By law, electors meet on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.” A recount would make Florida 2000 look like a walk in the park, especially because Clinton, bless her heart, is unlikely to let herself be rolled, unlike Gore.

Michigan: “Hillary Clinton is hanging onto a narrow 4-point lead over Donald Trump in Michigan heading into the last weekend before Tuesday’s election, with a new Free Press poll showing clear momentum for the Republican nominee in a state that several weeks ago was believed all but decided for the Democrat” [Detroit Free Press]. ” [T]he number of undecided voters — 13% — remains extraordinarily high for this late in an election cycle, speaking to the high unfavorable marks voters give both major party candidates.” Normally, I’d say a 4% lead is a lot, but those undecideds. Wowsers.


“Who Broke Politics?” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. “So how did all our political norms get destroyed? Hint: It started long before Donald Trump. On one side….” Hint: You will read to the end of the column without finding the “On the other side” that “on one side” sets up. I mean, it wasn’t mean Republicans who prevented Obama from throwing the banksters in jail, was it?

“America and the Abyss” [Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine]. Of course, if Trump really were a fascist, the Democratic Establishment would fight him tooth and nail. Right?

“Donald Trump didn’t break one of our two great and ancestral political parties. He won the nomination because the Republican Party was already broken, and those responsible for the party, the elected officials and thinkers, didn’t know. Now they do” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, “Democracy’s Majesty and 2016’s Indignity”]. “Soon they will begin that stage of political mourning known as the symposia process. They’ll discuss how to repair, renew, keep the party together. Or the party will, over the next few cycles, split apart… The Democratic Party and its lobbyist/think-tank/journalistic establishment in Washington have long looked to me to be dominated by people devoted mostly to getting themselves in the best professional position and their kids into Sidwell Friends School. They want to be part of the web, the arrangement. They want to have connections, associates, a tong. They want to be wired in. They don’t want to be I.F. Stone, alone, reading the fine print of obscure government documents. And Clintonism—for years the biggest web, the securest source of money, a real tong with enforcers and reward-dispensers—has long been a sound route to all of this. You may have to bend rules to be part of it, accept unsavory deals and characters, but it is warm and cozy in there.” And:

One thing I saw this year was that sincere conservatives wholly opposed to socialism had real respect for Bernie Sanders because they saw his sincerity. He wasn’t part of the web and they honored him for it.

I never thought I’d find myself writing this, but for punditry I’ll take Nooners over Krugman’s hackery or Sullivan’s hysterical ranting. It’s been quite a year.

Democrat Email Hairball

“The Podesta Emails Part 29” [Wikileaks].

“[A] meeting between POTUS and HRC at a critical time” [Reddit (aliteralmind)]. From Podesta email drop #28. One of those timeline things that does make you go, hmm. Particularly the genesis of the meeting in previous meeting between Podesta and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough in an “offsite” Starbucks near the White House. If I were Putin, I’d have that Starbucks wired to the gills.

“What the WikiLeaks emails tell us about Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and what they don’t)” [Los Angeles Times]. Death of a thousand cuts.

“The real Clinton email scandal is that a bullshit story has dominated the campaign” [Matt Yglesias, Vox]. Oh, Matty.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, October 2016: Unemployment Rate – Level (4.9 %); Participation Rate – level (62.8%) [Econoday]. “Solid payroll growth is not the whole story of the October employment report. Average hourly earnings are rising, up an outsized 0.4 percent in the month with the year-on-year rate, at 2.8 percent, suddenly near 3.0 percent and at its recovery peak… The unemployment rate is down 1 tenth to 4.9 percent and, for some, is already signaling full employment for the labor market.But negatives are scarce in this report, where strength is emphatically underscored by the unexpected acceleration in average hourly earnings which further includes an upward revision to September. Today’s report marks a solid opening to fourth-quarter data and will raise talk of a wage-inflation flashpoint…” Gotta take the punchbowl away from lower orders! But: ” The number of persons working part time for economic reasons was essentially unchanged in October. This level suggests slack still in the labor market” [Calculated Risk]. Moreover: “t’s also worth noting that the standard measure of unemployment — now at 5 percent — doesn’t capture the lingering weakness in the market seen in the broader U6 measure, which includes discouraged workers, other workers marginally attached to the labor force and those in temporary jobs because they can’t get full-time work. The conventional unemployment measure is a hair below its mean from 2003-7, which is 5.2 percent. The broader U6, however, at 9.7 percent is higher than its 2003-7 mean of 9.1 percent. This is just another sign that there’s still slack in the labor market.” [Bloomberg]. And: “Should we believe the employment numbers in this report? There is little evidence of political bias in past election cycles” [Econintersect]. “To sum this report up – employment is continuing to tread water – growing little better than the theoretical working population growth. However, note that the household survey removed 43,000 to the workforce (which is the reason the unemployment rate declined). There was really nothing good or nothing really terrible – although manufacturing declined. The year-over-year rate of growth significantly declined this month.” Again, the Econoday summary is just a little too breathless for this Maine bear.

International Trade, September 2016: “A decline in imports helped pull down the nation’s trade gap sharply in September, to $36.4 billion from a revised $40.5 billion in August. Imports, reflecting declines for capital goods and also consumer goods, fell 1.1 percent while exports, showing an especially strong gain for capital goods, rose 0.6 percent” [Econoday]. “Declining imports are a plus for the GDP calculation but are not signals of strength for domestic demand, whether business demand for capital goods or business expectations for consumer imports ahead of the holidays.” And: “Declining imports are a plus for the GDP calculation but are not signals of strength for domestic demand, whether business demand for capital goods or business expectations for consumer imports ahead of the holidays” [Econintersect].

Jobless Claims: “However, comparing initial claims today with the past is the proverbial apples to oranges. An important fact in looking at claims data is that vastly fewer people today are eligible for unemployment benefits. In other words, the number of unemployed people who can’t receive jobless benefits — and thus are not in the initial claims data — has risen relative to those who have unemployment insurance” [Bloomberg]. As Mosler has been saying.

Housing: “Residential remodeling has recovered to 38% of the peak it attained prior to the Great Recession. New residential construction, on the other hand, is only at 17% of the peak” [Econintersect].

Retail: “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has just announced that Samsung is having to recall its top-load washing machines due to a risk of impact injuries. The exact hazard listed was that the washing machine top can unexpectedly detach from the washing machine chassis during use, posing a risk of injury from impact” [247 Wall Street]. “What matters here is that this will not be a cheap recall. You can drive a smartphone back to the store or mail it in cheaply. Have you ever tried moving a washing machine, or just dealing with getting a technician out to deliver or fix one? And the size of this recall is huge — about 2.8 million total units!” Korea is really having its troubles, isn’t it? Samsung is a failing national champion, Hanjin went bankrupt, and there’s a ginormous scandal with their President.

Shipping: “In August, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) reported its first quarterly volume decline for the first time after 25 straight quarters of growth. Earlier this week, marked its second straight quarterly volume decline, officially extending more of an unwelcome streak” [Logistics Management]. “Total third quarter intermodal volume movements—at 4,348,634—were off 4.6 percent annually, following a 6.1 percent second quarter decline at 4,271,162. The first quarter of 2016 saw volumes rise 2.0 percent annually. … Like recent quarters, domestic containers were the lone metric to see an increase.”

Shipping: “Orders for heavy-duty commercial trucks in North America plummeted 46% in October from the same month last year, providing a grim outlook for truck manufacturers in the coming year” [Wall Street Journal, “Truck Orders Tumbled 46% in October “]. “In an analyst note Thursday, Stifel said the October order total was the weakest since 2009, falling well below expectations. “October orders are critical as they represent the traditional start to the order season for trucks to be produced the next year,” the report said.”

Shipping: “After four days [!!!] firefighters have finally managed to douse the terrible tanker blaze that killed many workers at a shipbreaking site in Gadani, Pakistan. Rescue work inside the hull of the Indonesian ship cannot start however as the steel plates are still too hot” [Splash 247]. “While there are now 21 confirmed dead, the eventual death toll could hit triple figures with many unaccounted for inside the hull of the ship and a number of the 60 workers sent to hospital deemed to have such severe burns that they are unlikely to survive.” The human cost of excess capacity.

The Bezzle: “GoPro’s forward statements are not believable, in light of its recent performance, and management’s ability to forecast. It is also essentially a one-product company, and that product does not sell very well” [247 Wall Street].

The Bezzle: “the app economy may have passed its peak. CB Insights analyzed the company descriptions of thousands of startup companies receiving VC funding for the first time between 2010 and today, scanning for buzzwords that describe the companies’ field of focus. While ‘app] is still the keyword that shows up in the most company descriptions, the share of startups working with apps in some way has declined for three straight years” [Econintersect]. “Looking at the terms with the largest increase in mentions in startup company descriptions between 2010 and 2016 possibly allows us to glimpse into the future and gives us an idea of what the next big thing might be. According to CB Insights’ analysis, these terms are ‘virtual reality’, ‘machine learning’ and ‘natural language.'” I think reality is quite virtual enough already, thank you.

The Fed: “Central bank independence ‘comes from an understanding of the macroeconomic policy problem that is not relevant to current times,’ Summers said in a speech at the International Monetary Fund” [MarketWatch]. “During the question-and-answer session, Summers said he did not think that entitlement reform should be on the immediate agenda for the next administration. He said that policy makers should focus solely on accelerating growth. If they are successful in sparking demand, the long-run debt-to-GDP ratio will be sustainable, he said. If policy makers fail, it will not be.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 17 Fear (previous close: 18, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 46 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 3 at 11:31am. Still waiting for single digits.


“Prosecutors in the Singapore trial of a former BSI banker said this week the defendant and other former employees of the Swiss bank helped launder up to $2.3 billion looted from the Malaysia sovereign wealth fund 1MDB” [FCPA Blog] and “Two former executives of a Singapore-based defense contractor have been extradited to the United States in the massive bribes-for-secrets scandal that has rocked the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Command” [FCPA Blog]. Wait, what? I thought Singapore was supposed to be squeaky clean?

Standing Rock and #NoDAPL

“SEE IT: Journalist shot with rubber bullet while conducting interview at Standing Rock protests” [New York Daily News]. The journalist says “officer,” but it’s not clear to me whether “officer” means “cop” or “mercenary.”


“The average U.S. family destroys a football field’s worth of Arctic sea ice every 30 years” [Science]. “If both the linear relationship and current emission trends hold into the future, the study suggests the Arctic will be ice free by 2045—far sooner than some climate models predict. The study suggests that those models are underestimating how warm the Arctic has already become and how fast that melting will proceed.”

Guillotine Watch

“In the seven years since, terror threats in Europe and political uncertainty from Britain to the U.S. have helped make [New Zealand] — a day by air away from New York or London — a popular bolthole for the mega wealthy” [Bloomberg]. Great. Cut the undersea cables, and they might as well be on Mars.

Class Warfare

“Instacart workers are earning a lot less money after changes to the company’s pay structure — changes CEO Apoorva Mehta told BuzzFeed News are necessary for the company’s continued growth, but that hundreds of vocal Instacart shoppers say are threatening their livelihoods. According to a Buzzfeed News analysis of 15 workers’ pay stubs, shifts that once earned shoppers $100 or more in 4–8 hours have dropped closer to $60 to $80 for similar shifts. These shoppers estimate their earnings have fallen by around 30% so far” [Buzzfeed]. Should have filed this under The Bezzle, maybe. Yet another Silicon Valley darling whose valuation depends on screwing over working people. Oh, and this is good:

The vast majority of shoppers who spoke with BuzzFeed News for this article asked to remain anonymous out of concern that their accounts would be deactivated for speaking with the press; Instacart said it has never deactivated workers for speaking publicly about their experience with the company.


“The case for social insurance begins with the recognition that capitalist economies are subject to boom-and-bust cycles. With a managed, socialist economy, business cycles are much less severe (though they can’t be eliminated entirely, for example, in years when agricultural production is unexpectedly low due to the weather) because the government manages production and employment. But these economies tend to grow slower than capitalist economies, and they often have substantial inefficiencies in the way resources and labor are used” [Mark Thoma, CBS].

“”What Makes Scandinavia Different?” [Jacobin]. “The only way to get “Scandinavian levels” of redistribution and social protection is to start building powerful popular movements capable of advancing this agenda.”

News of the Wired

“Before Irv Teibel, listening to nature meant leaving the house. Here’s the story of the man who brought the rain, thunder, and crickets to your stereo, one satisfied, relaxed customer at a time” [Pitchfork].

“The People’s Code” [code.gov]. We’ve got the U.S. Digital Service, but not a National Health Service. Seems odd.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (b1whois):


That tree is a little ecosystem in itself…

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


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. stefan

    What has become apparent this past week is partisan corruption within the FBI.

    If Wikileaks were to release hacked emails of former NYC field office chief, James Kallstrom, then Americans would get a chance to see what’s really going down.

    Subversion by right-wing elements within the FBI is going to become a big story after this election.

    1. Vatch

      Yes, but a clarification is needed. Did the corruption occur a few months ago, when the FBI chose not to seek an indictment, or did it happen last week, when they decided it was necessary to reopen the case?

      The half a million dollars donated by Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe to the wife (Jill McCabe) of an FBI lead investigator for a political run in 2015 certainly looks bad, even though we don’t know of a quid pro quo.

      Then there was that tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Again, it looks (and smells) very bad, but we have no clear evidence of a quid pro quo.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          So I guess Trump’s top FBI fanboy wasn’t the one Clinton apparatchik McAuliffe paid off whose wife was running for office, and to whom McAuliffe steered a large campaign contribution? #JustAsking

      1. steelhead23

        If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, I don’t need no quid pro quo to know that Hillary is corrupt.

          1. hunkerdown

            Binky, what part of “DKIM-verified” and “must avoid the appearance of corruption” is too against-interest, I mean “un-Scientific”, for you and your meal ticket bourgeois liar to comprehend? #FeelTheMath

      2. Propertius

        Did the corruption occur a few months ago, when the FBI chose not to seek an indictment, or did it happen last week, when they decided it was necessary to reopen the case?

        Those are not mutually exclusive, you know.

      3. Ché Pasa

        Don’t fool yourself. The FBI has been a corrupt political player from Day One, and nothing — much — has changed since J. Edgar Hoover’s day.

        The only real answer is to abolish the Bureau.

        But of course that will never happen.

        And the band plays on.

    2. Fiver

      You can be sure that’s what Clinton and Dems will claim, MSM will fully support and Obama will punt.

      I am a life-long leftie/green and view a Clinton Presidency as an unmitigated disaster for the US and world. There is no question in my mind that she should’ve been indicted and obviously still should be indicted on numerous charges, along with an entire troop of utterly compromised fellow travelers. While I detest the FBI for its atrocious actions in numerous instances, I had hoped since the whole ‘e-mail’ affair began there would be some honest individuals still employed somewhere in the US Government willing to see through the fog of manufactured hysteria to pursue the larger good. It will be a very great tragedy indeed if officers or higher-ups who attempted to do the right thing are themselves targeted for destruction.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Given Trump’s strength with GOP voters, elected Republicans will act to soothe angry voters if Trump is close. Republicans didn’t visit Terri Schaevo out of some bizarre morality but to stop the fallout from Shrub’s privatization scheme.

        Elected Republicans will be on the defense if they don’t go on the offense. Obama might have attacked whistle blowers, but whistle blowers such as Snowden and Manning didn’t have a powerful ally to protect them. An FBI agent can leak to every Republican on the Hill and be perfectly safe.

      2. hunkerdown

        The total destruction of the mandate of heaven as a concept (by which they mean one’s ability to rape, murder and steal from the people and make them like it) would be better than every alleged benefit of the past 2500 years combined, with the Platonic hell in which we’ve been slaving finally seeing the short side of 273°K.

        Exactly what is wrong with that? No more elects that we can’t summarily fire.

      3. Daryl

        Reminds me of the waning days of the Roman Republic, when maintaining political power (specifically holding public office) was absolutely necessary to avoid prosecution by one’s enemies.

        1. clinical wasteman

          One S. Berlusconi was fairly upfront from the outset about going into politics for that reason. But the fate of his personal enemies (those of his own class, whose existence he acknowledges) suggests that he could have spared himself the trouble: neither Carlo De Benedetti, Repubblica/Espresso publisher and nemesis of Silvio by mutual agreement, nor Corrado Passera, erstwhile Intesa Sanpaolo CEO and Mario Monti administration economy ‘superminister’, will ever spend a day in prison, despite recently being sentenced to 5+ years’ and nearly 2 years respectively prison for killing at least 14 workers with asbestos in Olivetti factories. An offence several magnitudes worse than anything Berlusconi was ever charged with (except perhaps the original Forza Italia-Sicilian Mafia pact of 1994, but that one was dropped because of all the Christian Democrats who did the same thing). But Italian prisons are for those people the local media charmingly call extracomunitari, which means exactly what you might think: non-European non-humans, outside the Community and not about to be let in.

    3. Jess

      You might be correct about right-wing elements in the FBI, because after all, authoritarian agencies tend to attract employees with an authoritarian predisposition. However, there is another angle to consider: Maybe the FBI still has a core element of agents who joined to bust lawbreakers and are insanely upset over Comey and Lynch letting HRC off the hook. Remember, it was a high ranking FBI agent who became “Deep Throat” and took down the Nixon regime.

      1. james brown

        Leaking directly to the Trump campaign folks would kind of cast doubt on the altruistic crime fighter angle. Might better stick with the “they were corrupt when the didn’t prosecute so the corruption now is ok” line.

        1. Paid Minion

          Who, pray tell, are they going to leak to, if not Trump?

          The FBI refers the case to the Justice Department for prosecution. The Clintonistas running the Justice Department start picking nits, in order to delay (or better yet, kill) any prosecutions.

          The don’t even need to find/appoint corrupt people. All they need to find are prosecuters who are afraid to prosecute.

          Leak to the Beltway Media? LMAO

          If the Clintons get in the White House again, complaining about “too big to jail” will seem quaint.

        2. hunkerdown

          It could just be that absentee landlords (i.e. voters) deciding the Feeb plebes are going to work under such an unmitigated royalist pain are a driver. And, in the interests of destroying managerial entitlement, I’d almost be okay with that, modulo the authoritarian environment in and of which the FBI exists.

          The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily an enemy, but it’s contingent like all moral matters.

        3. pretzelattack

          the clintons were corrupt then, yes, as the emails show. that kind of casts doubt on the altruistic charity angle. pity the head of the fbi was too corrupt to continue the investigation, then.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think this is a fair point (though I hate to say it). The major media outlets are all-in for Clinton, because of Trump’s supposedly unique badness, and the Times has said so explicitly. So where do they leak to? Of course, this humble blog has a transom over which material can be thrown, as do others, but the media is so silo-ed its reasonable to expect potential leakers not to know this (and also to be unable to vet the alternatives). So I find myself having to put on my waders and enter the right-wing fever swamp. What a year we’re having!

    4. Chris

      That’s a fascinating statement.

      The US AG has a clandestine meeting with the husband of a person under investigation, and is then forced to abdicate the DOJ’s responsibility to determine if an indictment is warranted in what seems to be a clear cut case of a public official breaking every law and rule of her office, the FBI investigates for over a year, and is asked to stand down before finally accepting the position of the DOJ that no charges should be brought… and you think the problem is corruption in the FBI????

      How about this for an alternative theory. A lot of people join the FBI because they want to be good at their job. When people tell you not to do your job for purely political reasons, you resent it. When you believe you have evidence of wrong doing, and even your director agrees that the evidence would support an indictment or conviction for OTHER people, but you’re told to stand down, you become angry. Maybe what’s happening here is people are so sick and tired of being asked to clean up the messes of the rich and powerful that they can’t take it anymore.

      Remember, Snowden and a lot of other people tried working within the system before they went rogue. The system was so bad and their supervisors so in the tank that they felt they had no option. Also remember that none of this would be happening if Hillary Clinton just used the State Department computers and followed State Department policy. WHEN you accuse the FBI of partisan bias in this, you are essentially saying that because they have political leanings the wrong doing they’ve exposed is invalid. That’s lunacy.

      Just because something is a republican talking point doesn’t mean it’s wrong! Just because you like the people you’re trying to defend doesn’t make their position right!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you’re not with the Leader, you’re guilty of something.

        That’ll be the assumption going forward…or has been since the vast right wing conspiracy accusation.

        “Let me get back to work for my Founda, sorry, the American people.”

      2. Anonymous


        Outrageous that HRC wasn’t indicted in July. Pressure from the compromised and complicit DOJ is the reason. Finally, the FBI is doing its job.

      3. uncle tungsten

        Since when was the USA a colony of North Korea? The aspiring dear leader is corrupt. She is intolerable. Her challenger from the Repugnants is plain stupid, evil and conniving. The former should be prosecuted not elected. The latter should be discarded.

        As for the Justice Department:- abandoned. Hey, Obama, you have stuffed it up entirely (again).

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        There are a ton of potential “both/ands” on this thread, among them:

        1) Plenty of worker bees in DC just want to be good at their jobs. I have acquaintances whose business depends on their being very careful with how they handle classified material who are beyond ticked off at what Clinton gets away with (although, in another both/and, they aren’t necessarily voting for Trump);

        2) Plenty of FBI agents are on the spectrum of conservative to loony right (although I hesitate to deploy the authoritarian follower trope, given the behavior of so many Clinton supporters in this wonderfully clarifying election);

        3) The FBI institutionally is capable of doing solid investigative work, including computer forensics;

        4) The FBI institutionally is deeply compromised politically, going back to COINTELPRO and their surveillance of MLK, and before.

        It makes more sense to think of the FBI as riven by conflict than as a monolithic entity (contradictions is the word, I think).

        Personally, I tend to give a lot of weight to #1, especially considering how the Obama administration has treated whistleblowers. It’s the same deal that so many credentialed professional have to make, these days: To stay middle class — and, to be fair, provide for your hostages to fortune, if any — you have to make up your mind about joining the corruption. Some don’t.

        1. JCC

          I am a member of the #1 Group and, obviously, so are almost all my co-workers. Although I (and a few others that I’m aware of) won’t be voting for Trump, many of my co-workers will for exactly the reasons you mentioned (I am only aware of one individual who has stated they will be voting for Clinton… and it’s not me!).

          A few of them are beyond angry, disgusted would be a closer description.

    5. wheresOurTeddy

      Your assessment is half a notch more credible than “the Russians did it.”

      Where you see a vast right wing conspiracy the rest of us just see a corrupt, greedy Oligarch limping to the finish line.

      I’m not voting Trump either so save your theories.

      1. Michael

        Both/and. Just because HRC is corrupt doesn’t mean Trump isn’t vile. Just because the FBI’s investigation was compromised doesn’t mean that the motivations of those opposing the Clintons are pure.

        There are basically decent humans who oppose the current system. They voted for Bernie in the primary, not Trump.

        1. aab

          I have met decent people who voted for Trump in the primary. Immigrants from the Middle East, among them. Their perception was that voting for Bernie was a waste of time, because a good and honorable person would just get ground up.

          People can be decent and not vote in the Democratic Primary. In fact, they can be fundamentally decent people and not espouse socialist ideals. I would argue that they’re wrong about that. But I’m sick of this nasty frame promulgated by the Democrats that to disagree is to be immoral or indecent. The Democratic Party chose to crush the left and use propaganda to demonize its principles, policies and leadership. That decent people across this nation are voting for Trump is entirely a failure of the ruling class, but especially the Democratic Party. They were SUPPOSED to be the opposition to conservative and reactionary forces. Just dressing it up with a silk tie and an iPhone and then being furious that people aren’t falling for it is on the people who did the con, not the poor marks who thought they were citizens.

    6. dale

      Why does it have to be partisan; why can’t it be personal? The agency does have its pride, and pride in my mind outranks party.

      1. stefan

        Evidently, for much of the month of October, FBI personnel were funneling intelligence about the Wiener investigation to Kallstrom/Giuliani/Trump campaign, who then waited until the most opportune moment (when a conclusive review before election day would no longer be feasible) to inform Comey that they were about to go public.

        Comey, who had been kept entirely in the dark until this moment, was caught unaware and thus strong-armed. An ingenious dirty trick that goes way beyond what the Watergate burglars were trying to pull off. Especially if it results in a Trump presidency, which now seems suddenly possible, remarkably.

        Comey is still freaked out and doesn’t know what to say (wisely perhaps).

        1. pretzelattack

          it’s possible because clinton is a corrupt warmonger. her spin machine won’t be fully prepared for all the new information, given her money advantage, that is an argument for releasing it now. you have any sources for your hoodwinked comey theory?

          1. Waldenpond

            It comes from the Daily Beast.
            1. Kallstrom (former NY FBI) Giuliani is a security (mercenary) firm that employs former FBI.
            2. On Wednesday, just before Comey notified Congress that there was data from Weiner to look at, Rudy Giuliani said:

            [“I think he’s [Donald Trump] got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises.”
            Pressed for specifics, he said: “We’ve got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around.”]

            3. Kallstrom (former FBI) is talking to active FBI, that’s against FBI policy.

            4. It’s been widely reported that the FBI knew about the e-mails in early Oct. but Comey wasn’t aware until Thursday.

              1. JSM


                One plays the cover up card, clumsily shaking it out of his sleeve.

                The other cries Bullsh*t!

                So what?

            1. pretzelattack

              the daily beast is owned by some outfit with chelsea clinton on the board. doesn’t mean this is wrong, my initial attitude toward them is skepticism.

          2. stefan

            “All I know is what I read in the papers.”

            Over the prior four weeks Kallstrom, Giuliani, and members of the Trump family all intimated, on separate and several occasions, that they were privy to a surprise in store. Comey states he was informed only days prior to his letter. Do the math.

            As a young Army intelligence officer, I trained together with FBI agents for about one year, and got to know the type quite well (albeit, this was during Vietnam, so some things may have changed; for instance, the Bureau is much larger now; but much will have remained the same, I’m sure). They are a close-knit group, a “band of brothers”, a very pronounced “old boy network.”

            In this matter, it’s important to recognize that Comey did not rise through the ranks. He’s a former prosecutor, an outsider who does not have all of the “old boy” pull he might want (Louis Freeh, by comparison, had been an agent as a young man before becoming a prosecutor and judge), and has been installed at the top by a true outsider (the black bogeyman, Obama!). So he may not have the kind of internal leverage you might imagine. (Though that may change after this, when he gets around to housecleaning after the election.)

            It’s also important to recognize that FBI agents (as well as other operatives of the surveillance state) have rabies about the security of classified materials. So, if not for any other reason, Clinton’s cavalier handling of classified documents must really piss them off; they’ve got no sense of humor about that sort of thing.

            Honestly though, having been involved in securing the physical safety of high ranking officials overseas, it’s hard for me to imagine that even the luncheon schedule of a Secretary of State wasn’t classified *CONFIDENTIAL* to maintain her physical safety, so I don’t know how that private server was supposed to work. (Of course, when I was active, Xerox machines were a rarity, and we were still mostly working with carbon copies! In the age of the Internet, it’s becoming clear that there really is no true secrecy for computer-bourne documents.)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Sounds like Trump and his people have copied a page from the Clinton playbook – discipline, hold until Miss Universe is ready to be introduced.


              That is, especially, if you are field agents who have been told to stand down, by either higher ups at 1. the FBI, or 2. even higher (at the Justice Dept), or 3. even highest up (where the buck stops)…or maybe not (there is so much news to sort through).

              At this juncture, one asks if the FBI has any procedure for when the bureau has been infiltrated and captured by foreign-money funded groups.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              This is a coherent narrative, but I’m not seeing any sourcing.

              Anyhow, this is different from Podesata and crew working the refs how?

              Affects the validity of the leaked information how?

              I do grant this is a more credible party line than claiming Comey is a Russian agent of influence; that was useful as a demonstration of how delusional the Clinton inner circle is, but not useful for much more. So they were sensible to shift.

            3. Andrew Watts

              There were indications that the FBI was going to leak something to somebody at sometime if their investigation wasn’t allowed to follow it’s course without political interference. I’m not sure Comey’s background has anything to do with keeping him the dark. It’s obvious that the FBI investigators were stonewalled not only by the Department of Justice but by top officials at the FBI. It might be a case of plausible deniability but that just doesn’t seem likely.

              It’s also important to recognize that FBI agents (as well as other operatives of the surveillance state) have rabies about the security of classified materials.

              The FBI routinely redacts FOUO material that can usually be found with a Google search. I guess that’s to be expected because they’re also a counter-intelligence agency. Surely, there are people in the voodoo-infested US intel community that treat that job seriously instead of the usual paranoid, self-righteous, and vainglorious attitude.

        2. hunkerdown

          The Clintons have a history of destroying evidence. Why would a police agency hand anything over to people who still have lots of evidence to destroy?

          It’s pathetic that you trust the ruling class so much.

        3. Fiver

          There is unequivocal, though in the US, apparently non-actionable evidence in the public domain that Clinton, DNC and msm stole the election thrice – once from Sanders, once from Trump and once from the State/nation/people – that she destroyed public records, perjured herself (why do you suppose the story re her ‘health’ just happened to lead back to her concussion, just when her acutely selective memory re contradicting testimony was getting some play – hint, it wasn’t to help Trump) destroyed evidence, obstructed justice, deliberately and despite repeated formal instruction to the contrary breached a raft of protocols relating to security of communications, all of which (and there is of course so much more) is buried not just by the Admin and every elected and/or senior member of the Party but also by the State and the major media complex.

          I am not remotely a fan of Trump or Giuliani, but if the State is assisting your opponent directly in such an ethically debauched fashion and indirectly via its relationship with major media, what other recourse is there if you are the man or woman on the inside, you believe what your eyes and ears and nose are telling you, and the clock is ticking?

          Is it a ‘dirty trick’ once the other side has taken the entire process hostage? If so, I hazard a guess that the prospects for any ‘revolution’ intended to reclaim democracy and transform the economy for the benefit of the people not the 1% are nil.

    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      Except a month ago:

      1) Comey was a hero of the Republic, and

      2) I seem to remember Hoover encouraging MLK to commit suicide.

      So this Clintonian shift in the party line is both amusing and ahistorical.

  2. Vatch

    “The average U.S. family destroys a football field’s worth of Arctic sea ice every 30 years” [Science]

    I shudder to think how much the Duggar (19 offspring, plus at least 4 grandchildren) and (Kentucky Governor) Bevin (9 offspring) families destroy per year. And of course there are the families of billionaires and hecto-millionaires.

    The average U.S. family needs to improve their sustainability, but the rampant natalists and the super rich deserve far more criticism.

    1. diptherio

      How many average American families’ worth of Arctic sea ice does the average 1%er destroy every year? What about 10%ers? What about people in the bottom 10%?

        1. Optimader

          A football firld is two dimensional, artic ice is three dimensional (and not uniform in the third dimension).
          An innumerate comparison

    2. Massinissa

      It wouldnt surprise me if the upper 10% skew the whole amount of sea ice up by at least 10%, maybe even more when you factor in the private jets of the 1% and such.

      1. hunkerdown

        Massinissa, exactly. Think of how much destruction the bourgeoisie cause by employing people to produce useless consumables instead of paying them to sit at home in genteel respectability and not rush back and forth just for face time.

  3. Carla

    Lambert, I just tipped the hat to you with special thanks for your Water Cooler coverage of the alphabet soup of world-governance-by-multinational-corporations agreements, and of course, the always anticipated and appreciated daily plantidote!

  4. diptherio

    Here’s one of them intersectional links (the sections in question being cooperators and indigenous communities).

    Indigenous co-op development

    There is a lot of momentum and increasing interest in the issues and needs around co-op development within western Canada’s Indigenous populations and communities. It is a conversation that is both new, and very old within co-op development circles.

    First, the new: last fall, the Saskatchewan Co-operative Association, in partnership with the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network, created a unique, made-in-Saskatchewan resource, Local People, Local Solutions: A Guide to First Nation Co-operative Development in Saskatchewan. It’s a handbook that explores the synergies between First Nations culture and worldview, and the co-operative model. It also operates as a how-to manual, helping Saskatchewan’s First Nation communities learn about co-operatives and find ways to successfully use this business model to solve local issues. Based on consultations, particularly with elders, the resource is a must for those working in Indigenous co-operative development.

    …A great example of this use of the co-op business model comes from Saskatchewan, with the recent Saskatchewan First Nations Technical Services Co-operative (see sfntsc-backgrounder). Established in 2015, the 74 Saskatchewan First Nations came together to form a co-operative. Aiming to address technical service needs (such as housing inspection, water treatment, engineering, and so forth) on reserve, this co-operative business structure solves the governance issue that the First Nations leaders identified: local ownership, not a top-down ownership. In many ways, this use of the co-op model mimics second- or third-tier co-op ownership, or a co-operative that is owned by other co-ops or businesses….

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ever read Snow Crash?

      I wish one of the tribes — a sovereign — would go the Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong route. I would imagine there’s a mass market for passports out there; not to mention alternative banking facilities.

      A dream, I know. Thanks for the link!

  5. voteforno6

    Boy, Matty Glesias seems to be getting more shrill in his “nothing to see here” ramblings. Perhaps he’s starting to realize that maybe no one cares about what he says. It must be quite soul-sucking to have to continuously prostrate yourself before some of the most vapid, pretentious people on the planet, and still have nothing to show for it.

    1. sleepy

      And this election has shown exactly how much competition he has for that role–he’s a dime a dozen.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Great thing about the post is the accompanying illustration of the Morrocco pay for play deal. Makes reading Iglesias moot.

    3. Waldenpond

      Strange how some of these people view themselves as fighters. Someone needs to tell them the rivulets running down their faces aren’t war paint but the result of splashing around in the Clinton’s cesspit.

    4. wheresOurTeddy

      Yglesias, like so many others, has outed himself as an Oligarchy bootlicker.

      Staggering how many cash checks for manufacturing consent.

      Encouraging how many see through it. More every day.

      1. jsn

        It was really sad to watch.

        You could just about pinpoint the day when Yglesias met Ezra Klein the first year he was blogging at Slate, the writing started smelling, you didn’t notice it at first but…

        The career payoffs of selling out are no doubt worth it, thus far!

      2. Fiver

        Like invading Afghanistan or Iraq, or Libya, or Syria it’s an acid test of character, worthiness, integrity and not least, judgment – I have not in my lifetime seen so many in media completely unmasked, or so many people generally who have by that same media been completely divorced from their own typically fine critical thinking skills. It’s going to be a very long walk back for all those who placed their faith in Clinton’s progressive humanism.

  6. aj

    RE: [Without TPP US companies will be] “at risk of increased competition from China in the Japanese market.”

    Really puts the lie to the claim that these deals are all about opening up free trade. This quote says it all. These are not “free trade” deals, they are deals designed to protect the US monopolies.

    1. Vatch

      The Japanese market? Really? I didn’t know that U.S. companies sell much of anything to people in Japan. So without the TPP the Chinese might be able to claim a share of an almost non-existent market?

      1. Paid Minion

        Near as I can tell, the only thing the Japanese buy from us are agricultural products and aircraft.

        I don’t see China building airliners the Japanese will want to buy anytime soon, if ever.

        And what happens if they get in a pizzing contest with the Chinese, over any number of issues?

        Agricultural products? Same thing. Even ignoring the QC issues.

        The trade agreement is promoting not-existing US exports, by no-longer-existing manufacturers, to non-existing markets for these products.

        The real purpose of the TPP is to extend the monopoly power of the “chosen ones” over foreign markets.

      2. craazyboy

        Boeing airplanes, patented semis, patented drugs, Hollywood stuff and MS Windows.

        Pretty much the same as everywhere, with or without a trade deal.

        Oh yeah. Defense stuff.

    2. Jess

      I’ve got a revolutionary, perhaps even blasphemous idea: How about we concentrate on making things here, and then selling them to people here?

      1. Ranger Rick

        Globalism (nee international trade) is dogmatic in its insistence that exports alone are responsible for the majority of a country’s GDP.

      2. polecat

        I’d do that if I had a more level field to ‘play’ on …instead of having to compete with the likes of WalMart and other corporate welfare giants … while trying to earn the equivalent of a few Indian rupees ….

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          That’s impressive. Though since it’s women’s clothing, it’s not much use to me. I’d love to be able to buy a decently made shirt that would feel good and last (since I’m a WASP, 100% cotton, button-down). It used to be possible, PCE (Pre-Crapification Era). Now it isn’t.

          1. ambrit

            We still find such at the thrift stores. I recently found a nice Alexander Julian for two bucks at a small religious thrift.
            I remember getting a pair of Farah slacks and two button down collar long sleeve “school shirts” for my birthday. Those and a pair of black leather lace up brogans completed my school outfit. Someone or other in my family called the style; ‘pragmat.’

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        Some Global Warming scenarios suggest that ocean travel and transport will be impacted by the more frequent occurrence of “super waves”. Whether that is so or not I think it’s very bad policy to place too much dependence on trade with and the goodwill of distant trade partners. If parts quit arriving from one of our trade partners — China or Mexico or Canada how would our industries continue production of the “Made in USA” manufactures we consume? Trade is neither forever nor guaranteed. What sort of self-sufficient economy would we have if we continue our reliance on parts, even R&D and basic research sourced by our trade partners?

        1. different clue

          Marine and Shipping Insurance companies will gather all the true data they can on super waves and shipping losses and modify their rates accordingly. They will let others argue about “why” the super waves keep on increasing. But they won’t pay any attention to outsiders who try to tell them that super waves are not increasing if in fact they are increasing.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I agree.

            We must be — and so must other countries be — own sources for future industries and agriculture.

  7. B1whois

    From TPP article at fivethirtyeight quote

    least 35 U.S. industries as diverse as plastics, fishing and footwear will be at risk of increased competition from China

    If only USA felt half as much concern for its citizens as it did for its “industries”…

      1. hunkerdown

        Not that many H-1Bs in plastics, at least not at the automotive levels. With the broad variety of equipment, it’s generally easier to promote skilled labor, etc. from within the shop they already kinda know. (That said, my former shop’s head die setter, like about a third of the day shift, was Eastern European, probably Bosnian.)

        There could be more than a couple of undocumented workers sorting or reworking on a piece rate. But maybe they’re just off-the-clock.

    1. oh

      They’re trying to tell us that fishing is an industry. Ha! And since when have we made footwear in the USA? (even if you want to throw a shoe at the politicians).

  8. dcblogger

    ” If I were Putin, I’d have that Starbucks wired to the gills.”
    as a Washingtonian, I have always assumed that all the coffe shops in that zip code are wired not just by the Russians, but by all the intelligence agencies, hostile and otherwise. Indeed I wouldn’t be surprised if several non-state actors were doing the same. It is so obvious and so cheap.

  9. dcblogger

    One of the bizarre aspects of this election is watching the very same reporters and pundits who spent the 1990’s smearing the Clinton’s with pseudo scandals now covering up real ones.

    1. sleepy

      Times change. Wasn’t too long ago that there was at least some nominal dem anti-war opposition, as well as some opposition to massive state surveillance. Obama made regime change and the security state completely bipartisan.

      And now we have the spectacle of a new McCarthyism promoted by liberals.

      As Lambert has mentioned many times, this election has certainly been clarifying.

    2. pretzelattack

      for me it’s watching the very same reporters and pundits who spent the 90’s defending the clintons from pseudoscandals now covering up real ones.

      1. Massinissa

        Yeah, I have to agree with you over DCblogger. I mean, who attacked Bill over Whitewater or Monica or whatever who is now defending Hillary?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          There was a fair amount of people who joined Fox at some point outside of talk radio which drove much of the conversation. Plenty have retired. Brit Hume springs to mind. Newspapers mattered more.

          Krugthullu started his column in 1999, and I think we lost a fair amount of the media in the 90’s.

          Let’s not forget Shrub’s “restoring honor.”

          The Enquirer paid for the evidence in the case of Lewinsky which the other outfits wouldn’t do despite knowing the basic narrative. They didn’t have anything beyond rumor and maybe schedules.

    3. Yves Smith

      Hillary Clinton making $100,000 in commodities trades (actually occurred in 1978 but IIRC not exposed till 1992) is not a “made up scandal”. I personally know someone who is a professional trader who was asked by three Congressmen to look at the trading records. He said it was impossible for anyone to have achieved those results. She almost always traded at the best price of the day. That is a tell the broker was allocating trades to her.

      The more obvious way to know that her results were impossible was that:

      70% of retail commodities traders lose money.

      No one with a record like hers would have stopped trading when they made $100,000

      The Clinton were taking bribes from the very start. They were just dressed up differently back then.

      1. aab

        I’ve come to the conclusion that all the 90s Clinton scandals were probably fundamentally real. In some cases, the Republican party focused on the ants in the street instead of the burning building behind them for ideological reasons. Benghazi seems like a good example. Was there something illegal and immoral going on in Libya, masterminded by Hillary Clinton? Why, yes, apparently there was: running weapons into Syria, breaking the country to block a African oil-based fiat currency, planning to take the country’s oil for her cronies. Am I getting any of that wrong?

        “Bimbo eruptions?” Would anyone with any decency now accept that term for rape and assault survivors like Juanita Broaderick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones? It’s a slur against Gennifer Flowers, too. Being in a long-term sexual relationship with a married man violates a bunch of norms, but he’s the one who broke vows and exploited his power and position.

        How anyone can still defend them honestly confounds me. They keep showing us all who they are, and then a cohort of polite liberals who aren’t directly benefiting from their corruption STILL look away rather than admit that criminals can rise to power in America. This isn’t like ignoring when a dinner party guest knocks over a glass of wine.

        1. sleepy

          I believe that if someone like Jeb was the nominee you would see a far different approach to the recent Clinton scandals than you do now. The status-quo is so fearful of Trump upsetting the apple cart that they will do anything to help Clinton.

          1. aab

            I’m sure you’re right. It would have been a much calmer election, as nothing would have been at stake for anyone outside those two allied families and their retainers.

            Of course, it would have been completely hopeless for everybody desperate for change. It’s nice to have discovered how many people are ready for change and understand the ruling class can’t be trusted. That’s my shot glass of lemonade from this barrel of moldy lemons and contaminated water.

        2. pretzelattack

          the clinton death list wasn’t, and clinton running drugs out of mena wasn’t (if true that was a reagan contra funding operation), and the vince foster “murder” wasn’t. i don’t think either of the clintons killed anybody except in their official roles. i don’t think hillary had a secret love nest with janet reno. the right wing makes up a bunch of shit about their election opponents, so i try to separate the wheat from the crap.

          1. pretzelattack

            there were also the “clinton is a communist” accusations, and travelgate, and filegate, and the various alleged scandals tied to waco. defacing all the “w”s on white house keyboards. the republicans threw everything at the wall, and some of it is was real, and some may have been, and some of it was loony tunes.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        IMNSHO, the commodities trade and the Rose Law Firm records mysteriously appearing on a chair in the White House are the two strongest (and it’s entirely reasonable to conclude she’s crooked from those two incidents alone, which would sink the career of any normal person, or send them to jail).

        However, it’s important to remember that there was also a cottage industry of right-wing bottom feeders — David Brock among them — who were devoted to peddling whatever bullshit they thought would stick, and (being the bullshit artists they were) without regard whether it was true, most of which was amplified and recirculated by the Mighty Wurlitzer, and some of which made it out into the mainstream.

        As an exercise in strategic hate management, the conservative/Republican campaign was brilliant. I often think that once hate is injected into the collective psyche, it never goes away; and it is there to be used as an asset, and that’s how professionals think of it.

        Hence the irony of the Obama 2008 campaign’s online effort, which picked up, recirculated, and reamplified much of the hate originally engineered by the right, against Clinton, and used it, against Clinton — especially the misogynistic tropes. Obama’s speechwriter, Jon Favreau, in a lighter moment:


        And so it goes.

        1. aab

          A lot of the top level Obama operatives were and are huge douche bag frat bros. Their boss isn’t impressive in that regard, either. But I honestly don’t remember a lot of misogyny from the official campaign messaging. I despised her then almost as much as now, but stuff like that image still makes me cringe. What did I miss?

        2. oh

          Even though I’m no HRC supporter, images like the above are sickening. If Obama’s dirty tricks team were responsible for it, it speaks volumes about Obama himself. I’m not thrilled with him either. What a bad name he has given for honest and well meaning black people who want to run for President in the future.

      3. Richard

        As a commodities broker in the 1980s with the same company as Clinton’s, I can attest to the ease with which this was done. In those days, brokers did not have to submit account numbers for the trades they placed with the floor until the end of the trading day. So you could buy and/or short-sell a bunch of the same commodity, set off each trade with a corresponding buy or sell order before the end of the day… and allocate the winners where you wanted and the losers where you wanted. Easy peasy. But nobody ever talks about that. Can’t be done today. A/c numbers have to be given at the time of placement of the trade with the floor.

  10. Vatch

    “SEE IT: Journalist shot with rubber bullet while conducting interview at Standing Rock protests” [New York Daily News].

    Jeez. From what I’ve read about rubber bullets, my understanding is that they are made out of very hard rubber, not the mushy stuff that the word “rubber” connotes. I’ve even read that sometime they’re a rubber coating around a smaller nugget of metal. Either way, I would not want to be shot in the eye or the throat by one of those “rubber” bullets. That injury could be permanent.

    1. RMO

      They are hard. The 70’s British Army regulations specified that they not be fired towards people closer than 25 yards away and were to be fired into the ground to bounce into crowds, not directly into a person’s body. The rules were broken in Northern Ireland regularly with consequent serious injuries.

  11. Kurt Sperry

    “I never thought I’d find myself writing this, but for punditry I’ll take Nooners over Krugman’s hackery or Sullivan’s hysterical ranting. It’s been quite a year.”

    I know. Remember though: nobody, no matter how much antipathy you have for them, is wrong 100% of the time. It would actually require omniscience to be wrong 100% of the time. It couldn’t be done randomly could it? With dissonant stuff like that Nooners/Krugg inversion things seems headed towards entropic random pole, the information necessary to cohere and counter this increasingly devalued, dissonant, self-contradictory. Like the compass needle is wandering around and you don’t know if it might flip.

    I think the simplistic divide that is most predictive is perhaps to divide us, all, into a status quo group that believes that the ruling class and their courtiers are basically good people, who are honestly trying to do what is best for everyone, even if a little self-interest might creep in vs. anti-status quo people who see the ruling class as parasitic, amoral, ruthless and willing to take everything they can for as long as they can. More of a threat to be fought than allies. People in each group may have more in common regardless of where they might be on “the political spectrum” than is obvious viewing politics as being primarily left-right. The BLM activist, the Indians at Standing Rock, the Trump supporter, and the angry progressive mostly fall onto the same general side viewing it this way. I don’t think that’s completely wrong either.

    1. pictboy3

      I read a quote in a Taibbi article from one of his old Soviet acquaintances, where he says that for news on Russia, he listens to Radio Free Europe, and for news about the US, he reads Pravda. Partisans rarely lie about things because they know how damaging a lie can be. The bias comes in through what they don’t mention. Noonan has no reason to omit damaging facts because they don’t hurt her tribe. It’s important to remember that in the Federal Rules of Evidence, bias and credibility are two different evidentiary trap doors.

      Politics has become a game of tribal signalling that the economically comfortable still play. The ones who are getting the crap knocked out of them aren’t playing that game as much anymore. Hence the rise of Trump among the desperate (although there are plenty of right wing partisans hooking their caboose to this train for all the traditional reasons). I for one hope that this means we’re reaching peak bullshit in our political discourse, and we might finally see the light at the end of the tunnel sometime in the foreseeable future. We’ll just have to wait and see, provided we don’t all die in a nuclear holocaust.

      1. Gareth

        Some Russian wag once said: “Everything the government told us about communism was a lie, unfortunately everything they told us about capitalism was true.”

        On Noonan versus Kurgman — Noonan has better punch lines, while Krugman leans on his credentials.

        1. fresno dan

          November 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm

          “Everything the government told us about communism was a lie, unfortunately everything they told us about capitalism was true.”

          What a wonderful quote!!! Thanks!

      2. Kurt Sperry

        “I read a quote in a Taibbi article from one of his old Soviet acquaintances, where he says that for news on Russia, he listens to Radio Free Europe, and for news about the US, he reads Pravda.”

        The criticisms both the Trump and Clinton make against each other are largely correct and on target. Maybe the only consistent unvarnished truth we are likely to get in fact. And, given how vicious and damning those criticisms are, thus to anyone remotely objective, profoundly delegitimizing of the entire political process. These two have richly deserved their historic polling negatives, and the gloves off mudslinging of this late campaign season and the way the mud is sticking to the usually meticulously PR airbrushed, soft focus sheen presented is perhaps revealing more than the caked on mud conceals. The Teflon is flaking away and there is no way to get it back on.

        1. Ché Pasa

          delegitimizing of the entire political process

          There you go. That’s it right there.

          In a nutshell, that’s been the point of this campaign.

          And so, what can we suppose is the next stage of the game? What follows on a delegitimized political process?

    2. John k

      Great observations. Most Bernie voters can’t escape their dem tribe identification, but some have noticed she is against every Bernie position.
      Trump being anti trade deals is bringing some over…
      This was trumps to lose, he lost it, then comey maybe threw him a lifeline…
      He could still promise to jail crooked bankers in addition to her, would win easy, guess he won’t, too bad.

  12. Carolinian

    Whose job is it really to decide what poses a threat to our democracy — a handful of editors in the corporate media or the voters?

    Is that a trick question? The editors of course! This year they are just amping it up a bit. Exhibit A might be the 2000 contest where it was hardly a secret that the elites including the press were pulling for Bush. At other times it’s less obvious but they usually do have their favorites. Since Americans as a rule are not particularly interested in politics the press coverage can have a big impact. However this year may be different.

  13. Steve H.

    I’ve been thinking about Michael Flaherman citing “tacetus consensat importat, which means silence implies consent.”

    At least as an internet commenter, I can think of several ways in which this does not apply:

    1) The cueing comment is unknown and cannot be elicited. For example, Facebook allows levels of blocking in which someone can say something and I can’t find it even if I search.

    2) The cueing comment has been missed. This happens with Feedly, which sometimes only reports the last node of a thread. With NC, I’ll often search a post by time, but if a comment was in moderation this means I may miss it. Unfortunately this biases against noticing well-cited comments, since too many links exacerbates going to the moderation queue. Also applies to comments posted in later days than the post, though Feedly seems to catch these.

    3) “Don’t feed the troll.” In which it is determined that a timely response is inimical to the quality of the discourse. Lack of links or citations to assess the source veracity decreases the likelihood of response.

    This refutes the general case of tacetus consensat importat, which is limited to the courtroom case where information is defined as complete. The Kafkaesque case being ‘secret laws for secret powers,’ where one is denied knowledge of information which is then presumed to be actionable.

    1. Yves Smith

      Um, you are taking Flaherman’s remark out of context. He was talking to members of the CalPERS about their failure to intervene when a violation of state law was talking place. CalPERS board members are state officials who have a duty of care to CalPERS (stop it from Doing Bad Things) and California state officials. That means that they are obligated to to see that the laws are obeyed.

      I don’t understand how you can construe this as applying to comment sections. Only about 1% of readers comment. Some people don’t comment because they feel that they are not good enough writers, even if they see something wrong with what was said. An ineffective rebuttal can be worse than saying nothing, in that it can make the original inaccurate or misleading comment look better than it is by virtue of being more articulate.

      And some comments sections are so one-sided that even if you said something to oppose a ridiculous line of argument, you’d just be hooted down.

      I agree it would be desirable if people treated discussions on the internet as having some seriousness, but some people because they want to be heard, not because they really have that much to say.

      1. Steve H.

        Sorry, I was sloppy when I wrote ‘limited to the courtroom case’ as the extent of circumstances in which there is a duty to respond. Mea culpa.

  14. Oregoncharles

    A couple of links I think most of you will find interesting:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45779.htm: ‘What Does it Take to Bring Hillary Clinton to Justice?’
    By Pepe Escobar’ ; and
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45778.htm: “US Insiders – Not Russia – Leaked Clinton Emails
    By WashingtonsBlog. ” ICH is a compiler, but well worth curating.

    “What Does It Take” goes through the case against Clinton; very illuminating compilation, with implications for FBI action. Notably, Kadzic, the DOJ attorney in charge of the case, is a Clinton “agent of influence,” back to the Mark Rich pardon.

    The situation raises a very awkward question of timing. The case Escobar lays out isn’t simple; presenting it to the public isn’t easy, and the investigation won’t be, either (650,000 emails on that laptop! – which suggests it was Huma’s blackmail stash). With so much of the media in Clinton’s corner, is there time for this to influence the election? And if it does, what price do we pay?

    Worse yet: what happens if the whole case comes out AFTER Clinton gets elected? President Kaine, perhaps? 4 years of gridlock as the Republicans insist on investigating very, very thoroughly? That might satisfy Lambert.

    From a partisan point of view, I prefer Hillary as president; right-wing Dems in power are much better for the Green Party than right-wing Republicans, let alone nut cases like Trump. We might have a real shot in 2020, if the country’s still here. And then there’s that consideration: we might not be here. Gridlock doesn’t apply to purely executive actions, like starting a nuclear war.

    And we’re back to an interesting speculation: there’s only one Republican who could give Hillary a good chance at being elected, especially with all that hanging over her, and he got the nomination. Now, how did that happen, again?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. In any debate, participants want to know they will be given equal time to speak.

      If Hilary is elected, she will be given all the time at the microphone.

      The office of the president is that powerful.

      My preference is to keep it simple – the worst candidate should not be in the White House. We keep that person away. We work to defeat him or her. Such is life in my experience, that I don’t get what I want. I do my best to prevent the worse from happening.

      I also remind myself that powers will be exercised in the next 4 years. The throne will not be empty. I imagine those in defeated countries just before the end of WW2. They didn’t like the coming outcome, but they had to think about how to feed a nation. They had to work out how to run their nation.

      “You don’t take the nation down further than where it is already. Save as much as possible. No sense going on fighting.”

      People have to eat the next 4 years.

      That brings us to #2.

      2. Some people who otherwise will be alive in 2021 or beyond might not be around in 2020 depending on the outcome of the Nov. 8 election. They are facing death.

      What do we say to them about a brighter or better future in 2020?

  15. paulmeli

    “I know the cheap goods are supposed to make up for this…”

    The big lie. If wages went to zero goods/services would still never be free, so wages can never go down faster than prices (proportionately).

    In math terms as wages approach zero prices don’t. What we get is someone receiving lower wages so someone else can receive lower prices. An inequality death spiral.

    Someone needs to get to work designing AI that can replace management.

  16. Peter Pan

    TPP: “Our Revolution, which Sanders formed in late August to support liberal candidates, has set its sights on at least five other fence-sitting lawmakers….The target list includes Reps. Seth Moulton (Mass.), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Beto O’Rourke (Texas), Derek Kilmer (Wash.), and Pennsylvania state Rep. Dwight Evans.”

    Derek Kilmer of Washington? Forget about it! I’ve hounded this jerk with emails galore on TPP and he’s unmovable in his support.

    This is one of the reasons why I voted (by mail) for the Republican running against him. The other reason was his support for Killary Killington as a superdelegate after Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly won the Democratic caucus in Washington.

    1. wheresOurTeddy

      Every “super” who voted HRC when their state was overwhelmingly Bernie voters should be primaried, and if they still win the primary, should have the (D) support go to the (R). Just to make a point.

      Anti-democracy goons, one and all.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I voted against every superdelegate on my ballot here in WA State that ignored the overwhelming will of the electorate and chose Hillary over Bernie, in all cases but one writing in a candidate endorsed by the Washington Berniecrats, and in the other voting Republican. I’d rather have even a Republican represent me than a anti-democratic Democratic superdelegate. There’s a special place in my hell for them.

        We don’t forgive and we don’t forget.

  17. timbers

    One thing I saw this year was that sincere conservatives wholly opposed to socialism had real respect for Bernie Sanders because they saw his sincerity. He wasn’t part of the web and they honored him for it.

    I some ways, I have felt the say way about Ron Paul on occasion, when he attacks the Fed, Wall Street bailouts and criminality, and The War Party.

    1. Carolinian

      I agree with Lambert that Noonan knows how to craft an argument and agree with Noonan about her optimism. Whichever of these dubious candidates win, the “consent of the governed” or lack thereof will more than likely keep them under control. These two parties and their ideologies are coasting on fumes.

      But the rising generation, which has the most at stake, will have to speak up.

      1. Massinissa

        “Whichever of these dubious candidates win, the “consent of the governed” or lack thereof will more than likely keep them under control.”

        With Trump, maybe, especially since hes alienated from his own party. But Im skeptical that Hillary would be ‘kept under control’ any more than Bush or Obama were.

        1. Carolinian

          One could spin a scenario where the media, having gotten their way and stopped Trump, become a lot more critical of Hillary and her projects. Back before the primaries the Post was making fun of her.

          And regardless of whether Trump wins, the specter of those angry people and Trump’s huge crowds may prey on the elites. One thing we’ve learned from all the fascism talk is that they are really scared of the flyovers.

          1. aab

            But they seem impervious to the concept of doing nice things to change that. They’ll send one another boxes of fancy pasta and delicious cheeses. But if you’re beneath them in status, it’s only the lash for you. It’s a deeply liberal (in the classical, Lockian sense), punitive mindset.

            The Democratic Party had a majority in 2009. They had the absolute power to at least say to the banks, “We’re not going to break you up; in return, you’re going to have our back as we pass universal health care and universal basic income to keep the proles in line.” Just actual universal health care, a citizen bailout IN ADDITION to the banks, and not letting banks steal people’s houses would have done a lot. It doesn’t seem to even have occurred to them to do this. They are literally incapable of thinking of the needs of the citizenry first, or even second. We are treated as sheep: to be herded and sheared. But a decent farmer knows you have to feed your flock and keep predators away. The Democratic Party doesn’t even do that. Can’t get wool and meat from a skeleton, y’all.

            1. Carolinian

              Think I was talking about keeping Hillary from doing something terrible, not the miracle of her of the Congress passing single payer. And one shouldn’t believe the Congress isn’t still afraid of the public on some issues. The SS Grand Bargain has been around forever and seems to remain a “third rail.”

              1. aab

                My point was that it is completely outside their thinking to give stuff to citizens that they need. Their fear of flyover country is going to lead them to hurt those people and communities even more. That’s how they handle fear. It’s the American Way, after all!

                And I think you’ll find that meaningful bits and pieces of the Grand Bargain have been instituted under cover of all those government shutdowns. They couldn’t get the whole thing past the Freedom Caucus dudes, so the Republicans targeted those guys in the primaries, IIRC. Hillary will come in with it teed up and ready to go. Her guys have come out and said so.

            2. uncle tungsten

              A decent farmer only does that when the livestock have sufficient surplus value after the herding, coraling, shipping and processing costs are accounted for. Once a farmer has expanded the focus of endeavor to include the retail market and import of cheaper beasts from overseas, he can abandon his herds to the wolves and natural attrition.

              We are being farmed but if we are to survive we should outsmart the farmer we need to return to the commons with the knowledge we have gained.

              1. aab

                I think our greatest strength as a nation is that we’re a mixed herd — a lot of goats and horses in this field, too.

          2. different clue

            The media won’t become critical of projects which they themselves believe in, like supporting Forced Trade Agreements and supporting Forced Freedomization and Forced Democrafication of foreign countries targeted for regime change. The medias are all Clintonites now.

    2. Massinissa

      I find it amusing that Ron Paul has said he likes Jill Stein over Gary Johnson.

      Also I voted for him in the 2012 Republican primary and I have not regretted it and probably never will. Honestly I feel better voting for Paul than I do about voting for Bernie.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Cough Rand 2020 Cough! If Gary Johnson does noticeably well, where does Rand fit? Trump ran on an anti-Bush plank Rand seemed to have previously embraced, and like Rand, Trump didn’t raise money.

        I don’t know how negative Rand was towards Trump, but Trump demonstrated one needs to get their foot in the door and not carry water for the Bush/Romney candidate. Even Carson and Fiorino represent the same sort of strategy. They aren’t from the traditional political world and demonstrated people want something else.

  18. pricklyone

    “If wages went to zero goods/services would still never be free, so wages can never go down faster than prices (proportionately).”

    Is this correct? Seems the opposite of what your next sentence implies. Wages go to zero and prices don’t would mean wages DO fall fastr than prices. No?

    1. paulmeli

      “Seems the opposite of what your next sentence implies.”

      You’re right and good catch, I meant to write “prices can never go down faster than wages”.

      Apologies for the sloppiness. Abstract dyslexia?

      1. pricklyone

        Thanks, Paul. That is what I thought I saw on first read! Only when I read it again, did I go, HUH?
        Makes a good retort to some propaganda, for sure.

  19. Foppe

    This truly takes the cake when it comes to sad fucking articles to write with 3 days to go:

    Charles Hirschhorn, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine’s roommate while Kaine was in law school, figured eventually reporters were going to get around to asking him about Kaine. So he wrote a heartfelt Facebook post about his 35-year friendship with his onetime roommate that concludes like this: “He’s the best person I have ever met.”

    If you thought Kaine’s onetime roommate might know some dark secrets to disrupt Kaine’s lovable-dad internet persona, you are wrong. The post is a litany of anecdotes about Kaine being a good friend, a barbecue connoisseur who once staged a taste test of Kansas City barbecue sauce, and a devoted and serious public servant.

    It’s a nice thing for anyone to have written about them, let alone a politician. Hirschhorn’s post never mentions Kaine’s policies or political beliefs, other than to attest to his bipartisanship. But it’s remarkable in the 2016 election because it is nearly impossible to imagine anyone writing something like this about Donald Trump.

    1. Massinissa

      “it is nearly impossible to imagine anyone writing something like this about Donald Trump.”

      Also nearly impossible to imagine anyone writing something like this about Hillary Clinton.

      Shouldnt the article be comparing him to Pence instead?

      On another note, Jimmy Carter was the nicest, friendliest, most good heated president the US has ever had, or at least had in the 20th century, but it most definitely did not entirely translate into presidential competency.

    2. JohnnyGL

      This makes me want Trump. I want a candidate who’s not afraid to be a complete a-hole when the situation calls for it.

      When everyone in the beltway wants war in Syria, cuts to the social safety net, and unconstitutional trade agreements that sidestep our judicial branch, I want a president who’s not afraid to say, “F! No! Take a hike!”

    3. Pat

      Ask the women who faced having a forced vaginal ultrasound in order to have a legal medical procedure of which he doesn’t approve. Or how about union members he has undercut with his support of right to work for nothing laws and trade deals that aren’t about trade. Or maybe…

      Yup, he’s just misunderstood.

  20. Paid Minion

    He’s a graduate of Rockhurst High School. Anyone in Kansas City can tell you what that means.

    Call it a school for kids born on Third Base, who think they hit a homer. Long on jocks. And the kids of jocks.

  21. steelhead23

    Lambert – it is impossible to read that paragraph under “War Drums” and not believe that NBC is pulling our legs. Oh, I have no doubt that “signals intelligence” has evolved into cyber intelligence and warfare, but to believe that the Rooskis would expose their tools to the U.S. for some perceived benefit to Russia if Trump is elected, is downright laughable – and I understand that Russia’s intelligence chief has laughed it off but cannot locate the link. This whole “blame the Russians” thing is clearly intended to dissuade the media from thoroughly investigating those Wikileaked emails – clearly showing quid pro quo between contributions to the Clinton Foundation and U.S. actions, like huge arms sales to SA. Orwell was a prophet.

    1. VietnamVet

      The NBC report on cyberwarfare was terrifying. Lights going out across the world on election day. Not one mention of mutually assured destruction or measured response. Just the USA is cyber-war capable. The Podesta e-mails are pulling at a lot of the elite’s threads. The Exceptionals are humiliated. Who is the next to go to Rehab? The get rid of Vladimir Putin campaign has shifted into high gear. Lots of media blaming and vilification, but not one word that the Cold War back on or that it is more dangerous today than during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  22. ewmayer

    o “Days until: 3!” — I think you mean unadorned 3, since as every student having been taught factorials knows, 3! = 6. 2! will work just fine tomorrow, though, and 1! the day after. (You could also use 0! the day after if you want to help jar your readers into waking up.)

    o Re. Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, saying about not passing the TPP, “This would displace U.S. goods” — by which he means of course, displacing “U.S. goods” made in Asian sweatshops with “foreign goods” made in Asian sweatshops. I.e. U.S. workers screwed either way, but the U.S. looter elite certainly cares about the distinction. Which is why Furman is scaremongering about it.

  23. John k

    Somebody set up the wiener laptop. Wiener or huma, there’s nobody else. So somebody was looking for insurance, just in case…
    Wiener probably not stupid, maybe snooped on huma, or maybe they confided… Maybe they did it together.
    Most likely huma at least was involved…
    Hillary no doubt speculating here, too, unless Hillary ordered it as backup for her memoirs when she wiped her servers…
    This last possibility is richest, but doesn’t seem likely if there’s really 650k emails, would have to go back a long time.
    Maybe if they’re happily working together we could guess.

    1. uncle tungsten

      There is every possibility that just simple ineptitude played the lead role here. When you set up a home ‘home network’ you can configure the host machine to update from any source that is connected. The word ‘update’ in this case means copy all new material to a home, shared directory. Most people would tick ‘yes’ to update and if they weren’t absolutely informed of the consequences the host PC will suck up everything and, if set to auto backup, would then archive everything.

      Every time Huma arrived home with her laptop and linked to the wifi the host PC would duplicate all the documentation since the previous linkup. That easy and that vulnerable. Ditto the mobile phone, tablet.

      The home PC environment is really user friendly for DIY setup but there are unintended consequences. The one thread running through all of this is the sheer ineptitude and laziness and maybe parsimony of all these people; Wiener, Podesta, Clinton, Abedin AND their IT advisers. Hopeless morons all.

      Thank you Microsoft or Apple etc., for making life so easy.!

      1. aab

        My money’s on this being the explanation. We know they’re all both careless and incompetent at personal computer security. It would be fun if Silicon Valley’s preferred candidate was stopped by Silicon Valley’s business model of sucking up data behind its commodities’ — I mean, customers’ — backs.

        1. Skip Intro

          I believe it was reported that the emails were copied automatically, according to Weiner’s attorney. It struck me this may be a defense against espionage charges.

          1. aab

            Except that intent is completely irrelevant to mishandling classified materials, IIRC. That was made up by Comey to cover why Hillary wouldn’t be charged. I guess you could argue Weiner never had contact with the material, but it was apparently a jointly owned machine. And it certainly doesn’t help Huma. Even if she set it up initially to only get one non-classified email, it should be easy to prove she continued to access those emails on that machine after classified emails came through.

            But then, the marriage is over, and Weiner’s already facing real jail time. Sing, Carlos Danger, Sing!

            1. Skip Intro

              This ‘defense’ is not about intent but agency. If someone else had put classified documents under his mattress, he wouldn’t be guilty. In this case ‘the ghost in the machine’ copied the files to his laptop. IANAL, but it will be interesting how the courts interpret this, if they ever get the chance.

      2. Cry Shop

        Agree with you and aab. Huma (soon to be Hummus) knew a long time ago about Hotdogs issues, and they have been living legally separated after his 2nd or 3rd time getting caught out, with Frankfurter having limited visitation rights to his kids. Apparently divorce is something she finds more unacceptable than a fraudulent, dead marriage.

        Having not set foot in his apartment for so long, my guess is that she forgot all about that laptop in between their getting a separation and Hillary ordering everything burned to the ground.

  24. John Wright

    A local radio station here in Northern California repeated a listener’s comment about next Tuesday.

    “I’m really worried someone is going to win this election.”

  25. Cry Shop


    I scanned the crowd. These were my family’s neighbors, the kind of people I went to high school with, people I’ve regularly encountered but never really known. I wandered around awkwardly, thinking about the left’s shortcomings, missed opportunities. Shouldn’t many of these folks have been with Bernie? Maybe some of them were, at one point.

    When the speeches began, things shifted. Two teenagers in the audience—two of six people of color I saw in the crowd of over 10,000, none of them black—registered some discontent as Trump took the stage. Whatever they said wasn’t loud, dramatic, or disruptive enough for me to hear or see from fifteen feet away, but it was enough to transform the immediate crowd into a mob. The kids were violently attacked by a group of guys, and onlookers swarmed to join in or cheer from the sidelines. The man next to me gloated about how “the Mexicans” got beat, and his wife smiled approvingly.

    They got the crap kicked out of them. The switch from families milling about to an apoplectic, racist horde was instantaneous. I can’t think of another word—it was chilling. Nothing you haven’t seen on YouTube, but depressing and scary and surreal to be in the midst of it.

    Life gets scary when Susan Vega was on my radio singing “Blood makes Noise” while I read this article.

    1. aab

      I’ve heard from many sources — mostly leftist, to one degree or another, but not entirely — that Trump has put out a lot of excellent ads.

      The only ads I have seen are the Prop 61 ads with Bernie. Because it’s nice to see Bernie.

    2. Pat

      In many ways this is a negative ad, but not in the same manner as Clinton’s. While it is pointed in its imagery, it is far more general in its target verbally. Perhaps because it is issues I am invested in, for me it works. But it ends on a positive note, one that invests the voter in the process and makes voting the means of enacting change.

      IOW , it has it both ways. And lying or not, he sells it. Something I have not seen happen in any Clinton ad.

  26. Lambert Strether Post author

    Looking at the RCP averages this evening, Clinton is up 2.3 in the 4-way and rising.

    The electoral college is another matter. Using the Times Electoral vote calculator, and giving Trump all the states where the RCP averages say he is ahead (no matter how small the margin):


    Hoo boy!

    Adding, I wonder what the internal polling says. Of course, with the Trump campaign that might not matter…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Haven’t a clue, though I welcome the BradBlog post that explained it succinctly and clearly enough for me to understand it.

        I think a better question would be, what are the symptoms on election night that would cause us to dig deeper in any given district? To which I don’t have the answer either.

        1. Stromcrow

          Thank you.

          What are the symptoms?
          Close margins, I would guess, especially if they were not expected to be close according to most polls. Not a perfect indicator, clearly, but perhaps something.

  27. LifeIsLikeABeanstalk

    if Kasich was telling the truth, that Usay and Quday offered him the VP spot alongside their father with the suggestion the VP would be running foreign and domestic policy while Donald was out making America great again, do we presume Pence got the same deal? Trump and a democratic house or a democratic senate I might be able to imagine without panic. But Trump / Pence with Ryan and McConnell leading their respective majorities? The country will never recover from that. With a census and districting coming up in 2020. With 3 or possibly 4 SC Justices to be named. If I was 20 again I could take joy in imagining a revolution 3 or 4 years out. But I’m not and I don’t. For all her faults (civil and criminal, known and unknown) Hilary Clinton fits into the age old tradition of making $$ in American politics. The Trump campaign is distorting the fabric and the adhesives of our political tradition. I don’t know that we survive this one. Nietzsche said history repeats itself ‘First as tragedy, then as farce.’ George Bush was the tragedy for this country and much of the world. I’m not sure if it is Trump alone or the election in general that has turned this last act into the farce it has become. But I wish we were done with the madness that Trump / Pence & their hatchet men like Giuliani, Bannon and Roger Stone intrude into the process and instead had some good old fashioned financial impropriety and self aggrandizement to relax into.

    1. aab

      Why are you believing former Lehman banker John Kasich? He hates Trump so much he has come out and said he voted for somebody else, instead of the leader of his putative party. So he’s made it clear he will do everything he can to put the bankers’ favored candidate in power.

      So, gee, do you think it’s possible he’s not telling the truth here? Is there any evidence that Donald Trump is a weak-willed, compliant puppet? You seem to have confused him with the Obamamometer.

      I’m not saying Donald Trump is going to be a leader and a statesman. But the idea that he went to all this trouble, and put up with all this crap and damage to his brand so that he can do pretty much what he was doing before this campaign — being rich and going to parties — is absurd on its face. Particularly the idea that a former liberal Democrat and Independent that plowed through the Republican Party elite by popping many of the balloon animals they have been using to keep their base distracted and entertained would give up all control to exactly the kind of Republican he crushed?

      1. LifeIsLikeABeanstalk

        I believe I started my comment with the qualifier ‘If Kasich was telling the truth . . . ‘ But since you ask – Given that a Trump / Kasich ticket would be leading the polls right now it would have been foolish for Donald to NOT have made that offer. Pence’s religious zealotry and support for discriminatory legislation help endear the Republican ticket to the Evangelicals and the white supremacist wing of the party. But Donald pretty much has the KKK and the Breitbart / Jones / StormFront votes locked up anyway. Kasich would have been a much stronger pick.

        I don’t know if not supporting a candidate who violates ones sense of ethics, propriety and civility translates into lying about that candidate making him a job offer. I don’t presume that everyone who feels differently than I do is by definition dishonest. I get the Lehman connection. I would never have voted for Kasich. Unless someone I trusted less was the other choice. Kind of how I feel now about the choice between Clinton and Donald.

        And to answer your question I think there is every reason to believe that Trump is weak willed. If he had the capacity to reason and assert any sort of self discipline he would be ahead by double digits instead of getting ready to have his *ss handed to him.

        1. Yves Smith

          Most people I know who know Rs disagree with your thinking.

          Pence gets Trump the evangelicals. Trump was facing a lot of “you’re not a real R” attacks, and Pence diffuses that. And Pence looks calm and reassuring, a striking contrast to Trump. I agree that Pence is a whack job, but so far Trump has been slapping him down when he disagrees with Trump on policy. So if Trump were to be elected, it appears that Pence will have the traditional VP job of going to funerals and hoping that that it includes that of his boss.

          Plus Kasich made clear he hated Trump so I doubt the offer was made for that reason alone. And the Dems would still have the same issues they’ve used successfully to date to pummel Trump.

          Trump’s biggest problem has been Trump, in particular, his failure to stay on message and his habit of doubling down when attacked well till very recently. I don’t see how a different VP pick would have helped.

    2. Waldenpond

      Oh yes, the good ol’ tradition of laundering bribes and selling folksy weapons to oppressive regimes. Aaah. Good times, good times. Reminds me of the nostalgic financial impropriety of collapsing the middle class through rabid economic theft with a sprinkling of abandoned cities by Nafta and mass incarceration… mmmmm, this is good lemonade. Oh, that’s some mighty fine self aggrandizement of bombing those ‘others’ into a fine red mist. Gee, golly gosh those Clintons sure do remind of us a simpler time.

      1. LifeIsLikeABeanstalk

        Yeah – if one wants to look reality hard in the face, it’s kinda like that right now.

    3. Uahsenaa

      It was Marx who said “first as tragedy, then as farce,” in the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, not Nietzsche. N had a very different view of recurrence, and certainly wasn’t melancholic about it.

      The Trump campaign is distorting the fabric and the adhesives of our political tradition.

      This doesn’t really jibe with what you say directly above it. Ryan and McConnell are already running rampant, in part, because the Obama administration has been so feckless. If he really has offered such a deal to Pence, then we’ll pretty much get more of the same.

      1. LifeIsLikeABeanstalk

        Thank you – it was Marx. And nice pick up, I was in fact pondering Nietzsche’s concept of ‘the eternal return’ within that same context earlier in the evening.

        And to clarify – I am looking at the reality of a Trump presidency separate from the style, tone and violence towards the American political tradition, he has employed in his campaign. Agreed that McConnell and Ryan are driving (or drowning) much of our economic and financial policy already. But THEY can’t appoint judges to the Federal Bench or nominate Supreme Court Justices, or pick the presidents cabinet or appoint agency heads.

        I’m no apologist for Hilary Clinton – I acknowledge her failures, flaws and malfeasance. And IMO, they are all small potatoes compared to the havoc Donald will visit upon our precariously balanced country.

        1. pretzelattack

          a war with russia will redefine “havoc”. clinton appointing neocon warmongers to the executive branch, or republicans to the supreme court, will not help. the people driving our policy are the elites who own both parties. that’s the reality.

    4. Young

      I was not going to vote for a woman. But, for the sake of keeping an age old of corrupt tradition, I am going to vote for a criminal.

      1. LifeIsLikeABeanstalk

        Show me an indictment, show me a true bill or show me a conviction before you get to place ‘criminal’ on the scales used to weigh the costs/benefits/risks of the two options we are faced with.

        But to carry on in the spirit of your comment: Yes, I would risk an allegedly corrupt candidate supported by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over the other option presented. Just my take. I’m a lifelong Republican who thought Hilary Clinton’s vote on authorizing the war in (on) Iraq was the most cynical political maneuver I had seen in my lifetime. But given the turd sandwich my party is serving up this go round, I’ll vote for her on Tuesday.

        1. pretzelattack

          so george bush’s lying us into the war on iraq was ok, and mccain and palin were ok for supporting it, and romney was ok for throwing half of america under the bus, but you draw the line at trump and invoke bernie sanders and elizabeth warren (another long time republican btw) as a reason to vote for clinton.

    5. different clue

      Unfortunately Clinton has a true belief in toppling the Assad regime in Syria ( which would turn Syria into a Jihadi terror-state) and in creating a “no-fly zone” to help in the overthrow. Such a “no-fly zone” would be directed against Russia and the SyriaGov, because those are the only groups currently flying over Syria. Shooting down a Russian plane to enforce a “no fly zone” would begin climbing the escalation-ladder which leads to H-bomb warfare. And Clinton would not be doing that for the money.

      So I believe a Clinton Presidency may be less survivable than a Trump/Pence Presidency would be, because Clinton is eager to risk war with Russia to pursue her not-money-making foreign policy objectives.

  28. Jessica

    “Wait, what? I thought Singapore was supposed to be squeaky clean?”

    The willingness to prosecute the dirty is part of how you stay clean long-run. That alone puts them well ahead of us, no? And yes, that is setting the bar pretty low.
    On the other hand, I have met a number of folks who have lived in Singapore for years who think that the ruling party is losing its commitment to the well-being of Singaporeans as a whole and becoming just about their own well-being.
    One of the main reasons that Singapore has prospered is that when it was thrown out of Malaysia, it found itself a multi-cultural Chinese-majority mini-state with two neighbors. One, Indonesia, murdered 500,000 to 2 million Chinese around the time of Singaporean independence and the other, Malaysia, made anti-Chinese racism a cornerstone of its politics (and still does). Oh, and the Chinese homeland at that time was a massive chaotic version of what North Korea is now.
    All this wonderfully concentrated the minds of Singapore’s leaders. They were convinced that unless they performed extraordinarily well, not only would they lose office, but much of the population might be subject to a pogrom. With the Japanese Imperial Army only gone for about 20 years, this was not an abstract concept for them. I can’t see how they could retain that back-to-the-wall intensity nowadays.

    1. Cry Shop

      Corruption was institutionalized to only affect local affairs, in a way that was tolerable. For example Li gave his wife’s law firm the monopoly for conveying public built and subsidized flats/apartments, but done at the going rate, fair, so there was no pressure to complain. Going outside these channels was not tolerated.

      The other great help to Singapore’s prosperity was that it was surrounded by corrupt governments, who needed a safe place to wash funds, arrange to spread the wealth among necessary military officers, etc; all without fear of it being exposed if the group in power should fall out. Li kept the rule of law when it came to capital, and his iron rule offered protection that Swiss secrecy laws dream about, thus gained the support of both multi-national corporations and the governments they bribed.

      Bill and Hillary, much of Washington/European/Australia oligarchy would respond to any attempt to take on Singapore as if anyone was attempting to rob their own wealth, because it would be just so.

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