2:00PM Water Cooler 6/6/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“The U.S. signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal last year, then decided not to implement it. The 11 other signatories have given themselves until November to decide whether to go ahead anyway. They shouldn’t need half that long. The deal as it stands is far better than none” [The Editors, Bloomberg].


Trump Transition

“The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security still has not posted the public comments it received as part of the Section 232 national security probe. A BIS spokesman, first contacted one day before the comment period ended on May 31, said in an email to POLITICO that the submissions should be posted online “in the next couple of days.” Contacted again on Friday, the spokesman said he expected the documents to be on the BIS website ‘by the end of day'” [Politico]. “But as of Monday, they still had not been posted. When Morning Trade emailed again to inquire when to expect them, we got an automated reply saying the BIS spokesman was out of the office until June 12. We called the number he left for matters requiring ‘immediate attention’ and got voicemail. We left a message and will let you know when we hear back. Meanwhile, another public comment deadline in a second Section 232 investigation involving aluminum is looming on June 23, with no indication yet when those comments will go online.” This could be a result of the Administration’s shall we say lackadaisical attitude toward the press. Or it could be an indicator of structural problems: A combination of demoralized and/or resistant worker bees and unfilled executive slots. Or it could be, I suppose, that somebody needs time to massage the submissions. Reinforcing this, however–

“From overhauling the tax code to releasing an infrastructure package to making decisions on Nafta and the Paris climate agreement, Trump has a common refrain: A big announcement is coming in just ‘two weeks.’ It rarely does” [Bloomberg]. The same structural issue as above, with a different proxy for dysfunction. A third story reinforcing this–

“If this pattern continues, Mr. Trump may find himself running an Administration with no one but his family and the Breitbart staff. People of talent and integrity won’t work for a boss who undermines them in public without thinking about the consequences. And whatever happened to the buck stops here?” [Wall Street Journal]. Trump’s management style needs to scale. If it does not, it will be scaled for him, and not by him.

“Trump’s California Henchmen” [Capital and Main]. “California’s 14-member Congressional delegation has formed the backbone of Trump’s legislative efforts. With House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield leading the delegation, the group has marched largely in lockstep with the Trump agenda, even in districts where Trump priorities like his American Health Care Act might adversely affect large numbers of their constituents. In the 30 votes to date in the new Congress, 10 of California’s Republicans have voted with Trump 100 percent of the time, and even Tom McClintock, the most skeptical of the group, has voted with Trump 90 percent of the time. As a bloc, they swung the health care vote. They have systematically dismantled environmental regulation. And they have been silent on immigration reform and on the border wall with Mexico, and on ramped-up enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

“Four top law firms turned down requests to represent Trump” [Michael Isikoff, Yahoo News]. “The concerns were, ‘The guy won’t pay and he won’t listen,’ said one lawyer close to the White House who is familiar with some of the discussions between the firms and the administration, as well as deliberations within the firms themselves.” Which strikes me as a sound and simple diagnosis. Shorter: “Trump has a big mouth” (and, as we find out, it’s killing him as President, though it didn’t as CEO , and Trump brand ambassador generally). In the same way that Clinton’s coumadin use was, IMNSHO, sufficient to disqualify her, and so by Occam’s Razor there was no need to go further afield for more baroque medical theories, “Trump has a big mouth” — “to speak loudly and openly in public; to tell secrets” — works for me (and perhaps we should be focusing on that, and not his small hands). In fact, I’m trying to think of a President with a bigger one, and I really can’t. Not even W!

New Cold War

“The National Security Agency conducted “blanket” warrantless surveillance of Salt Lake-area residents during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, according to a former agency senior executive” [Salt Lake City Tribune]. “The declaration by Thomas A. Drake contradicts one given earlier this year by the former director of the NSA, Michael Hayden, that said neither the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP), nor any other NSA intelligence-gathering activity, was involved in indiscriminate and wholesale surveillance in Salt Lake City or other Olympic venues during the 2002 Winter Games.” I’m filing this story here because of the wierd liberal Democrat tendency to treat the words of intelligence community chiefs as authoritative, when in fact they’re proven liars, with every incentive to lie in this case. Seventeen agencies? 17 * 0 = 0. 17 * 0 ≠ 17!

“This is how not to leak top secret documents” [The Outline] (for example, be aware of printer steganography!) Weirdly, the media focus has shifted to Reality Winner (!) and her “crime,” not the substance of the leak (or lack thereof).

“Do Not Trust The Intercept or How To Burn A Source” [Moon of Alabama].

And then there’s this, from the Intercept. Look at the last bullet on the bottom right:

“It’s unclear why the hackers targeted email accounts associated with the American Samoa absentee ballot system.” I dunno…. I think an editor should have given consideration to intervening on that one. And (see above) statements like “the NSA believes” are not confidence builders for me. Anonymous sources in the intelligence community believe all sorts of things, but that they’re telling the truth about their beliefs assumes facts not in evidence, especially considering that the stakes are enormous, and the money available is virtually infinite.

2016 Post Mortem

“What Eisenhower’s Unsent Letter Reveals About True Leadership” [JSTOR Daily]. “Before the D-Day landing on June 6th, 1944, Eisenhower, commander of the invasion force, wrote two letters for public consumption. One was released, praising the efforts of the soldiers and sailors who successfully gained a foothold into Nazi-occupied France. The other was not.” From the unreleased letter:

My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone

Yes, this is the anniversary of D-Day, but I can’t help thinking there’s a subtext here…


GA-06: “Jon Os­soff has be­come the face of the Left’s res­ist­ance against Don­ald Trump” [National Journal]. That’s the lead, which author Ally Mutnick was paid to write.


“Former Vice President Biden to headline Romney summit” [Desert News]. Because if there’ s one thing the American people and the Democratic base want, it’s centrist bipartisanship!

“If the past 25 years of Democratic presidential nomination contests are any guide, the process for 2020 will follow a familiar pattern: One candidate will dominate the Deep South and walk away with the nod, and everyone else will whine about how they got screwed by the party establishment” [Bloomberg]. “The truth is, while recent party nominees John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hailed from large urban areas, it’s the Deep South that ultimately anointed them. Going back to 1992, seven states have voted for the Democratic Party’s eventual nominee every time — Illinois and Missouri in the Midwest; Virginia; and the four Southern states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. If John Edwards hadn’t won his home turf of North and South Carolina in 2004, we could add those two to the list. Washington, D.C., has a perfect record as well. This isn’t a fluke. Not counting superdelegates, the Democratic Party’s nomination process awards delegates on a proportional basis. As a result, blowouts count for a lot, while narrow victories count for little more than bragging rights…. The common denominators of these Southern states are their large black populations and racially polarized electorates.”

“A food sovereignty law in Maine moved one step closer to reality after the state House and Senate approved a bill giving towns and communities the authority to enact ordinances regulating local food and water distribution free from state control” [Bangor Daily News].

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Was Berniecrats’ choice to lead California Democrats cheated out of the chairmanship?” [Sacramento Bee]. “Ellis’ team alleges hundreds of ballots have corresponding signatures that don’t match the credential sign-in signatures, or are missing, and said it found “multiple documented instances” of duplicate voting – described as a person voting as a proxy, or someone who casts a vote on behalf of another, on more than one ballot. They further charge that several individuals who served as proxies were not listed in a commonly used political database as registered Democrats. Ellis’ six-page document comes as a growing number of party activists, including supporters of her opponent [surprise!], are calling for her to step aside and concede the race, many in the name of party unity as Democrats lay the foundation for the 2018 elections.” It’s certainly odd that those calling for unity aren’t calling for the little matter of a clean vote to be handled first. You’d think they’d want that, right?

“Why We ALL Need to Be Activists Right Now” [Lauren Duca, Teen Vogue]. Inaugurates a new Op-Ed column, “Thigh High Politics.” This is good:

Way too many Americans think about politics in the way of the Olympics — like it’s some big event that happens every few years, all but forgotten until the ad campaigns start up again. That’s unacceptable from an intellectual perspective and also a practical one. America the idea wasn’t magically complete because a bunch of white dudes in wigs wrote their names in fountain pen. The Declaration of Independence was always intended as a beginning, the formation of a dynamic entity that requires input, participation, and occasionally protest. The past few months’ spike in political action has been painted as radical, but it should be closer to a core requirement for daily life in this country. Or, a bit less romantically, if America wants to be exceptional, we need to stop treating democracy like a self-cleaning litter box.

But Duca then goes on to recommend resources for activism and further reading: Clintonite identity politics second-rater Joan Walsh, the Times, the Post, and Michael Moore’s Resistance Calendar. Ask the usual question: What does victory look like? To some in the resistance, like revolution. To others, like reformation restoration. I’d put Teen Vogue firmly on the restoration side.

On the Massachusetts Democrat convention just past: “Eventually, the journey resulted in a platform that is among the most progressive ever passed by a state party. It’s likely the most progressive platform by a major party in the nation’s history, period. It calls for single-payer healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, forgiveness of student loan debt, a ranked-choice voting system, an independent commission to draw the state’s congressional districts, the abolition of Massachusetts superdelegates, an end to for-profit prisons, a carbon tax, more accountability for police officers who use excessive force, and more” [In These Times]. “There were about 750 delegates organized by [Our Revolution] at the convention, out of more than 4,500 registered delegates. In April and May, many of them attended meetings devoted to drafting the party’s platform. In part because of that work, the platform draft called for single-payer healthcare and a $15 minimum wage. But OR and other progressive delegates [including the DSA] wanted it to go much further.. .. [E]arly Saturday morning, activists presented a stack of petitions—calling for votes on their proposed amendments—to party officials. They delivered them by wheeling a stack of documents, several feet tall, on a bellhop’s luggage cart through a series of hallways and ‘about eight freight elevators,’ says Andrew Shelton, a delegate and member of Young Democratic Socialists. ‘Then we showed up at the desk, and people had no idea what we were doing. Because it had never been done before.'” That’s the stuff to give the troops!

“President Donald Trump’s poll numbers have turned negative in military communities and exurbs amid a broader overall slide, a poll analysis finds, but other community types are more stable” [Wall Street Journal]. Uh-oh…

Stats Watch

Gallup US Economic Confidence Index, May 2017: “While Americans’ confidence in the economy remains stronger than it was before the 2016 presidential election, it is not as strong as it was earlier this year. Though still historically high, confidence in the economy declined to a six-month low in May, largely dragged down by Democrats’ worsening economic attitudes” [Econoday]. “[I]ndependents’ economic ratings have also dipped in recent months. After peaking at plus 5 in January, independents’ index score fell into negative territory in April, when it averaged minus 1. It remained negative in May with the score reaching minus 3. Even as some Americans become more pessimistic about the economy overall, attitudes about the economy’s current conditions have been relatively stable. ”

JOLTS, April 2017: “Job openings are nearly 1 million ahead of hirings in a widening spread pointing to skill scarcity in the labor market” [Econoday]. “The gap between openings and hiring first opened up about 2 years ago signaling that employers are having a hard time finding people with the right skills. Today’s report offers confirmation that demand for labor, in distinction to hiring, is a chief feature of the economy.” Remember “on-the-job training”? Good times. And: “JOLTS had been showing little year-over-year job openings growth. Historically, this indicates weaker employment growth. This month both employment and JOLTS job openings year-over-year growth improved. This aligns with Econintersect’s Employment Index which is forecasting improving employment gains” [Econintersect]. And: “Job openings are at a new series high. The number of job openings (yellow) are up 7% year-over-year. Quits are up 4 year-over-year. These are voluntary separations” [Calculated Risk]. “This is another solid report.”

Debt: “Household Debt Service Payments as a Percent of Disposable Personal Income” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis].

Retail: “Talk of the demise of the shopping mall may be overdone, according to Fitch Ratings, which on Monday took a neutral stance on retail REITS, or real estate investment trusts, the entities that own and manage malls and rent space to tenants” [MarketWatch]. “But Fitch is upbeat that bricks-and-mortar stores will continue to exist and attract shoppers, despite the inroads made by Amazon into just about every category. The ratings agency expects that about 70% of retail sales will still take place in a physical store in 2020, down from 80% today. ‘Consumers by and large still enjoy shopping as a leisure activity, plus a significant portion of online sales are connected with a store visit,’ Fitch Managing Director Steven Marks wrote in the first issue of the agency’s new Equity REIT Handbook.”

Commodities: “DeepGreen is one of a handful of private companies that have succeeded in obtaining licences from the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to a reserved area of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the East Pacific Ocean. Others big name players interested in the space include China Minmetals, Lockheed Martin, and DEME Group” [Mining.com]. “DeepGreen has two exploration licenses in the CCZ, known to host a massive resource of high grade polymetallic nodules since the 1870’s. These nodules are rich in nickel, copper, manganese, cobalt, and other important rare earth minerals, amounting to a copper equivalent grade of over 7%…. From an environmental standpoint, DeepGreen is aiming for zero tailings generation, with the potential for this to be a step change for the minerals industry….”. Maybe. The corporate hagiography at the start of the story is amusing.

Commodities: “Russia is expecting to export about 36m tonnes of grains in the forthcoming season, which runs from July to June, lower than previous assumptions” [Lloyd’s List].

Shipping: “At least four Middle East countries severed diplomatic and some economic ties with Qatar on Monday, including sea and air routes, triggering a wave of panic among ship brokers and other market participants” [Lloyd’s List].

Shipping: “Less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. said today that daily tonnage in May rose 5.8 percent from May 2016, due almost exclusively to a 5.7-percent year-to-year gain in shipment count. Weight per shipment rose a scant 0.1 percent year over year, Thomasville, N.C.-based Old Dominion said” [DC Velocity]. “David S. Congdon, Old Dominion’s vice chairman and CEO, said the May results, coupled with good April tonnage figures, reflect ‘an improving domestic economy.’ They may also reflect a trend toward more lighter-weight shipments that are generated by online orders.”

Corruption: “A new survey found that Chief Compliance and Ethics Officers are struggling to effectively aggregate and analyze data due in part to outdated technology and a lack of available tools at their disposal” [The FCPA Blog].

Political Risk: “Recent economic data from around the world suggest that growth could now accelerate. And yet one cannot rule out the possibility that the current expansion will turn into another global slowdown — if not an outright stall — if some downside risks materialize. For example, markets have clearly been too bullish on Trump. The U.S. president won’t be able to pass any of the radical growth policies he has proposed; and any policy changes that he does make will have a limited impact. Contrary to what the administration’s budget projections claim, annual economic growth in the U.S. has almost no chance of accelerating from 2% to 3%” [Nouriel Roubini, MarketWatch]. “At the same time, markets have underestimated the risks of Trump’s policy proposals. For example, the administration could still pursue protectionist measures that would precipitate a trade war, and it has already imposed migration restrictions that will likely reduce growth, by eroding the labor supply. Moreover, Trump might continue to engage in corporatist micromanagement, which would disrupt the private sector’s investment, employment, production, and pricing decisions. And his fiscal-policy proposals would provide excessive stimulus to an economy that is already close to full employment.”

The Fed: “Following Friday’s weaker than expected US employment report, futures markets are still indicating over a 95% chance that the Fed Funds rate will be increased next week. There were no comments from Fed officials ahead of the blackout period, which strongly suggests that there will be a move to tighten on June 14th” [Economic Calendar]. “Even if rates are increased, however, there will be a very strong debate within the FOMC over future policy direction.”

Five Horsemen: “GOOGL joins AMZN in the 1000-plus club” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Jun6

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 58, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jun 6 at 2:11pm

Health Care

“Economic Analysis of the Healthy California Single-Payer Health Care Proposal (SB-562)” (PDF) [Robert Pollin, University of Massachusetts]. “We estimate that, through implementation of Healthy California, overall costs of providing full health care coverage to all Californians could fall by about 18 percent relative to spending levels under the existing system. There will be two broad areas of cost saving under Healthy California. The first is a set of structural changes in the areas of: 1) administration; 2) pharmaceutical pricing; and 3) fee structures for service providers. We estimate that cost savings in the range of 13 percent of total costs are achievable through structural changes in these areas.”

“Nevada, with little fanfare or notice, is inching toward a massive health insurance expansion — one that would give the state’s 2.8 million residents access to a public health insurance option” [Sarah Kliff, Vox]. Understand the history here: The so-called “public option” magic sparkle pony always appears when single payer gains traction, and then disappears again when its work of distraction is done. This has been true for every single payer effort, including 2009’s. So, with this background, it’s really not surprising that Kliff would tweet: “Nevada’s Medicaid-for-all bill seems like a more realistic path towards universal coverage than CA’s single payer” (even though Nevada has a Republican governor) or that Ezra Klein would tweet that the “public option” is “a radical plan.” Putting the wonkocrats aside, however, this is more than a little distressing:

Remarkably, with “begins in Nevada,” Dayen manages to erase the already-started single payer efforts in California (see above at SB-562), while simultaneously insulting both California’s National Nurses United, who are driving that effort and would doubtless be very surprised to learn that the single Nevada legislator, by introducing what has always been a bad faith competitor to single payer, “started” anything, besides insulting the many, many organizations, among them PNHP and HCAN, who’ve worked tirelessly to bring the merits of single payer before the public. “Starts here,” forsooth.

Guillotine Watch

“Harvard Business School’s celebrity students are dropping up to $100,000 for seminars” [Moneyish].

“One Philadelphia teenager’s mom took his prom to the extreme, spending $25,000 on a camel, three tons of sand and exotic cars. He brought three dates , all in custom-made gowns, and wore three different outfits himself” [AP].

“Voucher Program Helps Well-Off Vermonters Pay for Prep School at Public Expense” [Pro Publica].

Class Warfare

“I was walking the dog last week in a South Pasadena park when I glanced at a man and woman having breakfast at a picnic table” [Los Angeles Times].

I’d seen them before; this time I said hello. Margaret and her son Chris told me they live in their car. ‘We’re lucky,’ said Margaret, who asked that I not use her last name. ‘We’ve got income, and we’ve got the car. There’s a lot of people who are suffering and don’t have that.’ That’s kind of how things are going in Los Angeles. Rents have risen while pay remains flat, the homeless population is growing, and some folks consider themselves fortunate to live in a car.”

“Katie Orzehowski says her miscarriage last fall almost cost her a job” [New York Times] (full report). “A cashier at the Walmart in North Huntingdon, Pa., Ms. Orzehowski said she tried to use doctors’ notes and hospitalization records to excuse her missed shifts, to no avail. Worried that another absence would get her fired, she went back to work. ‘I still had a lot of bleeding going on, and that’s embarrassing,’ Ms. Orzehowski, 26, said.” Great labor market. Best economy ever!

“Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students” [New York Times]. The article takes the teacher’s perspective — not a bad thing, since the teacher is IMNSHO doing good work — but here’s the climate that matters to students in Wellston, OH:

At Wellston, where most students live below the poverty line and the needle-strewn bike path that abuts the marching band’s practice field is known as “heroin highway,” climate change is not regarded as the most pressing issue. And since most Wellston graduates typically do not go on to obtain a four-year college degree, this may be the only chance many of them have to study the impact of global warming.

Where to begin…

News of the Wired

“To explain natural time, physicists and philosophers back eternalism, according to which the past, present and future are all equally real. ‘There is absolutely nothing particularly special about the present: under eternalism now is to time as here is to space,’ writes [neuroscientist Dean Buonomano]” [The New Scientist]. “The other main explanation of natural time is presentism, according to which only the present moment is real – a view that tallies with our sense of subjective time. The past is gone, the future hasn’t happened yet. ‘Neuroscientists are implicitly presentists,’ says Buonomano. ‘But despite its intuitive appeal, presentism is the underdog… in physics and philosophy.'”

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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 (WW):

I like the signage…

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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. Jim Haygood

    Alarming hints of moderation from the Great Bear, Dr Hussman:

    The recent market advance has gone some distance, though not enough, to improve [our] measures of internals. My impression is that a few weeks of uniformly favorable market action could shift these measures to a more favorable condition.

    Long-term and full-cycle market prospects are aggressively negative, in my view, but our near-term outlook is more flexible. We’re open to a softening of our hard-negative views if improvements in market internals support that shift.


    After missing out on a near quadrupling of the S&P 500 over the past eight years, Dr Hussman is now flirting with the notion of darting in front of a thundering fleet of high-speed, steel-jawed steamrollers to pluck a shiny nickel from their path.

    At least the good doctor has magnanimously granted us a few weeks before his untimely capitulation ruins everything.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He’s been like the guy in front of a Roman legion, telling them they were wrong, as was Rome to debase everything, refusing to go to their toga parties.

      “But maybe just a little wine wont’ hurt short term. I am not going to become an addict.”

      1. JohnnyGL

        If Hussman’s getting optimistic, then I’m getting pessimistic!!!

        Will the last bear to switch over to the bull camp please turn out the lights on the way out?!?!?!

        1. Jim Haygood

          What use is pessimism when we’re all gonna die soon:

          The risk is growing that Earth will be hit by an asteroid from a meteor stream known as the Taurids, Czech astronomers said on Tuesday.

          The astronomers, from the Czech Academy of Sciences, drew their conclusion after analysing 144 bolides — large meteors that explode in the atmosphere — from the Taurids and detecting a new branch with at least two asteroids measuring 200-300 metres (220-330 yards) in diameter.

          “Most probably, the branch also includes many undetected asteroids which are dozens of metres in diameter or larger,” the Czech academy said in a press release. “Hence, the danger of a crash with an asteroid grows markedly once every few years that the Earth encounters this stream of inter-planetary material.”



          Might as well buy some more stocks … it’s the only game in town till the planet shatters from impact.

    2. John k

      Doesn’t seem to have noticed the decline in loan growth… or, if he has, does not see it as a concern. I will say, IMO, his charts of 12-year market returns are likely to come true.

      To the fed: a little tighter, please.

    3. RenoDino

      Hussman’s description of market internals might as well come from reading goat organs.

      The market is owned by Central Banks around the world printing money to buy stock and bonds which they will never sell because that would be the end of everything. The interest rate adjustment mechanism they used in the past simply would now allow for the quick and massive transfer of wealth from tax payer to the wealthiest elites fast enough in a system burdened by debt so they did something they have never done before, they simply bought the private market outright.

      Fundamentals don’t matter, opinions don’t matter, nothing matters because the single largest investors in the market don’t care and will never sell. They are not even using their own hard earned money. They simply print more money to buy more shares which they will never sell. It’s most direct and least corrupt way to get public money in the hands of the rich investors who now have no fear that the market will ever correct in any meaningful way.

      Central Banks use the market as the primary barometer of their economic policy strategy. They cannot allow a free market to undermine all their good work so they bought it outright. It’s pure genius and it can and must last forever otherwise all is lost.

  2. ChiGal in Carolina

    Medicaid for all is a very different proposition than Medicare for all

    1. ambrit

      Yep. There looks to be an attempt to tee up a fallback position if the “Obamacare” (a wholly owned subsidiary of Heritage Foundation LLC,) “reform” gambit bites the dust. Then, one can at least rest happy in the thought that “Separate but equal” will be restored to its’ former glory.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Indeed it is, and give me Medicaid for All any day of the week.

      I have had Stage 4 cancer now for over 4 years, and up until now with Medicaid, I have paid pretty much nothing for what probably amounts to around $400-500 thousand dollars of medical care. As I write this, my quite modest Social Security retirement benefits are kicking in, and I now will be subject to deductibles and co-pays like almost every other plan includes. Trust me, walking into expensive treatments knowing in advance that I did not have to worry about how I would eat the next week far beats Medicare, and is the kind of healthcare EVERY AMERUCAN DESERVES.

      Don’t ask for it, kids. DEMAND IT.

  3. taunger

    I had a wonderful conversation on eternalism, free will, general relativity, and quantum theory with my wife and 11 year old son last week. My wife and I both majored philosophy in undergrad, which is as far as our knowledge extends on any of those subjects (though I also studied natural sciences for my minor). By recognizing the limitations of our knowledge on our arguments, the 3 of us were able to have a pretty interesting conversation on our personal observations, and their moral implications.

    Nice moment for a 21st century family. Wish I had more.

    1. Marym

      Nice. Much more satisfying and life-affirming than arguing endlessly about Trump/Putin/ etc.

  4. Foppe

    I don’t understand this “leak”/”theft” Intercept story. When I first glanced the head-line, it sounded to me like more anonymous officials leaking non-stories that have no bearing on the election outcome except insofar as saturating the airwaves with this shit prevents analysis of said election outcome, plus preventing people from noticing what else is going on in the mean time. Didn’t click it because I’m tired of the schizophrenic “reporting” that comes out of there.
    Then I hear it was “provided anonymously” by a “leaker”, and that the “leaker” has been caught, and has ‘fessed up. Which leaves me with the question why someone risked her career to carry water for the alphabet agencies plus Hillz. Anyone? It smells like a plant, but by who, and why?

    1. nowhere

      She could be a plant, or she could be someone that thought she was doing what was right and that she had proof that the Russians had “hacked the election.” Given her apparent operational security, I’m not sure how much of what was in the document she understood.

      According to the document, it shows that there were similarities to other attacks that originated from the GRU, and that it is unknown if anything was successfully compromised.

      Everyone can play the angles game on this – this was how the NSA could get a document out, this is minor – do other higher value documents exist?, etc.

      1. ambrit

        What gets me is that the woman had a pretty high security clearance with only a few months of work under her belt. It makes me think that Americas’ “secrets” aren’t very well guarded at all.

        1. Enrico Malatesta

          Guarded? US National Security has been commoditized, just like every other revenue stream.

        2. Indrid Cold

          This “Reality Winner” person is too ridiculous to take seriously- she supposedly taught herself a variety of Asian languages and looks like an MMA fighter and has all the hallmarks of a dipped Intel patsy.

    2. David Carl Grimes

      Didn’t Glenn Greenwald break the Edward Snowden story? Did he do this at the Intercept or somewhere else? Why wasn’t the Intercept equipped, organizationally, to deal with leakers? Poor girl, only 25 and she could be facing a lifetime of prison.

      1. nowhere

        If memory serves he was at the Guardian during the initial leak. He then took the trove of documents and setup the Intercept (with Omidyar’s financial backing).

        You would think that the would be knowledge enough to not send a direct scan to the NSA. I’d be willing to wager they will have fewer sources going forward.

      2. Linda

        Since she emailed The Intercept from her work computer, I believe she would have been caught eventually.

        Don’t know why those particular reporters at The Intercept were chosen to do the story, but it sounds like one of them decided to call an old friend or old associate at a contractor for the U.S. Govt. to try to verify the document. Later, he wrote back to the contractor that he had confirmed it with the U.S. govt. The contractor also alerted the U.S. Govt. to the doc, and return address city, so the reporter was wrong to trust him/her.

        Even I, a regular old lady know about the invisible codes printers add to printed pages. Years ago, IIRC, I got a special flashlight from EFF that you could shine on a doc and see the codes.

        The Intercept and all media should learn from this and maybe – have a 5 (or so) person high level team assigned to authenticate docs. No one else. Not only can a mistake hurt a source, but a fake doc could be thought real and then be found out false hurting the media co. Too much riding on it to let individual reporters validate this kind of thing.

    3. funemployed

      I too am mystified. My theory so far is that maybe it just is what it looks like. A privileged young person who drank way too much of HRC’s kool-aid got whipped into a frenzy by twitter and huffpost hysteria. Saw the Snowden movie and thought it was awesome, but lacks the depth or life experience to really understand the gravity of his choices or the reasoning behind them. The daughter of parents possessed of the superficial pseudo-depth of middle-aged hipsterism that leads to children being given unfortunate names like Reality Winner.

      Didn’t understand that her boss’s bosses are playing the long game of conning the American public – herself fully conned and filled with zealous fervor. Stumbles on a document: Eureka! “Russians,” “Hacking,” “Election Machines!” Fantasies of being a liberal hero, on TV, drown out sober analysis of the actual thing and it’s actually not very interesting implications. Likely she lacks the skills and knowledge to actually evaluate it in a broader social context, even had she wanted to. Too much of life spent chasing credentials and posting hot pictures on Facebook leaves little time to drink deeply from the draughts of history. The Intercept, sensing a scoop and some much needed revenue, takes what is offered. Shortly after, Reality Winner confronts the real world for the first time in her life.

      As an oldish millennial, what saddens and mystifies me most about my generation is the near universal, creepily personal obsession with people who appear in any media that their friends and family might see. The desire for some sort of recognition or connection to that world is disturbingly powerful.

      I was once set upon by a whole group of somewhat younger millennials as if they’d just discovered a suitcase full of millions and were going to split it with me. The wondrous secret they presented to me was the opportunity to waste the next many hours for a slim opportunity to meet Michael Bay of Transformers fame. I was confused. “Why do I want to do that?” “Wouldn’t you guys rather relax here. I got some beer and whiskey?” They all thought I was joking. When they finally realized I wasn’t, shocked disbelief set in. “But it’s Michael Bay!” “What’s wrong with you!!!!” (literally shrieking)
      “You could actually touch him!” I told them they were being creepy, and that while I occasionally enjoy passing some time with his mediocre movies, they seem to indicate that he is a decidedly not-interesting person. Few other times did the class gap between their and my upbringings feel more salient. Not one of my HS dropout and frequently petty criminal friends I grew up with would EVER have deigned to be so sycophantic.

      The point of that whole lengthy aside is that a great many highly “educated” people under the age of 35 are so obsessed with some kind of media recognition and turning their lives into some TV show narrative because those identifications are the closest things to meaning and purpose and sense of self they know. The self-centered desperation this leads to makes it literally impossible for them to think deeply and independently. Everything about their tastes, thoughts, opinions, careers, social behavior, is filtered through “what will people think about me if I do/say/think/feel this.”

      So this is my theory, Reality Winner wanted desperately, like most privileged young people of our generation, to be a reality winner in the sense that the winner of Survivor is a reality winner. She wanted to be the one who broke the Russia hacking story. She wanted her friends to read about her. She wanted the oh-so-cool feeling of being able to say she broke the rules to get Trump. They might even make a movie about her where she would be played by an actress she adores. She’s never read a serious history book in her life, but keeps a few books by David McCulloch and Barbara Tuchman on her shelf for appearances. She read one once, and mentions it every time a conversation about any sort of history comes up. Absent any grounding in history or significant capacity for independent reasoning, 98% of what her boss’s bosses do is entirely beyond her grasp.

      Then the FBI called, and she was so shocked by being roughly dragged out of her fantasies of being a liberal media hero and into the real world that she forgot the one thing she should have learned from the b-rate crime dramas that she binge-watches: Plead the family blogging fifth.

      1. nowhere

        Interesting projection, but not sure how much reality there is.

        The Guardian

        Reality began working for Pluribus in Augusta, Georgia, in February this year, according to court filings. She previously served in the US air force since January 2013 and held a top-secret security clearance.

        Her mother said Reality had been a linguist for the air force. “She speaks the middle eastern languages – Farsi, Dari and Pashto,” said Winner-Davis, who laughed when asked if she had taught them to her daughter. “No, she did it all on her own,” she said.

        Winner-Davis said that her daughter had joined the military soon after graduating from H M King high school. As well as being bright academically, she excelled in tennis and athletics. “But she had gotten a little tired of school,” said her mother, and decided against continuing with college.

        1. funemployed

          Interesting. Still sounds like a career-focused, self-involved millennial to me. Quite the contradiction to become immersed enough in middle-eastern languages to learn those three difficult ones, yet make your career in the military-intelligence community dedicated to destroying the lives and cultures of the people who primarily speak them.

          1. nowhere

            Based on the article, I think she received language training while in the military.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m just rubbish with languages, but for the work I put in to be rubbish, I’m left to wonder how much a college dropout knows about the world around them. Mark Zuckerberg inspired Harvard graduates by pointing out JK Rowling and Beyonce didn’t produce hits right away. Wow! He is an oligarch who knows nothing.

            American difficulties with learning languages stem from not having opportunities to use or learn languages outside of structured environments. Given Farsi, Dari, and Pashto aren’t the usual high school languages and probably not spoken by her grandparents, I would question how much she learned about anything other than grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Its unlikely she picked up those languages at home or even has a starting point.

            When John Stewart was declared the most honest voice in news, I was perplexed, but it felt emotionally right. I would watch his interviews, and outside of Olbermann’s interviews and guests (these were always interesting), Stewart seemed not to simply ask questions from his note cards but was capable of listening to his interview subjects and craft questions relevant to the statements previously made which is a rare event in the American media. Stewart is a history major from William and Mary, and although he isn’t necessarily versed in the subject that matters to his guest, Stewart was exposed enough to the wider world to have a foundation of experience from which illuminate a point or expose BS. He didn’t need to go to “journalism” school for this. Did Walter Cronkite go to journalism school? Did Mark Twain? Did Ben Franklin? Did Senator Glass, a newspaperman? The answer is no. They didn’t go these schools. They were well versed.

            In the young woman, I see a person who learned so many languages, and I wonder if she has a handle on any other matter. Snowden just had a movie with the kid from Third Rock from the Sun, but does “Winning” know what the Pentagon Papers are or what their importance is? I suspect her focus on language which as an American will require extra effort kept her from learning skills which would be more valuable.

            In this shallow age, I can see how this woman would be trapped. Snowden sought out proper channels before absconding, and Manning achieved his efforts while both being a soldier and facing greater scrutiny and dealing with an identity crisis. Those appear to have an understanding of their actions, but I’m not sure “Winning” does.

        2. jrs

          She could have done it out of moral conviction, not self-absorption. But what kind of moral conviction leads one to first work for the MIC and then the snoops? An odd one, that believes the official narrative about these entities, and yet will risk one’s freedom breaking the rules.

          However Snowden and Manning were insiders too (Manning an insider with a top rate mind for understanding the world and deep moral convictions as well, but once naive enough to join the army). Anyone with any power to leak had to have been an insider once. If our hands are as clean as the driven snow, we don’t have that power.

          And yes if your issue is the environment and you see the imagined chance to bring down Mr. F the Paris accords Trump, Mr appoint Scott Pruitt to the EPA Trump, well it can seem good. Earth first had better ideas but …

          1. nowhere

            I don’t disagree with anything you are saying. My primary point was that taking this case and projecting a bunch of “privileged, self-absorbed, millennial, etc.” pop psychology onto her motivations seems off base.

            “But what kind of moral conviction leads one to first work for the MIC and then the snoops?” Like you go on to point out, isn’t this true of almost all leakers. They take jobs for any number of reasons, see how the sausage is made – perhaps recognize acts that are either outright illegal, or are morally suspect – and then do a document grab and leak them.

            1. funemployed

              You’re entirely right I’m projecting. Just musing and casting about really. Certainly not making an evidence based argument. Frankly wouldn’t have posted if I’d realized how much I’d written. The whole thing just strikes me as odd in so many ways.

              Not exactly pop-psychology though. More like cultural analysis based on personal experience. I’ve interacted with a wider variety of young people than most, and frequently regret that moving up in social class has surrounded me by sad, fake, self-absorbed people the depth of whose shallowness, self-absorption, sadness, unaware elitism, and lack of sense of self is near all encompassing. There’s good reasons that the favorite recreational activity of most of them is sitting alone with ice cream or wine or beer or whiskey and watching Netflix.

              1. funemployed

                Although I will add that “deciding” college isn’t for you is a more privileged decision than most people I came up with had any opportunities to make.

              2. Occasional Delurker

                Well, if you want to get more insight into her worldview, this appears to be her Twitter account:


                Something for everyone, for sure.

                It’s clear she hates Trump, and is very concerned about the climate/DAPL and, not surprisingly given her language skills, the Middle East.

                The only 2016 presidential candidate she retweeted is Jill Stein. She also retweeted an article about how millennials are sick of capitalism and the Democrats don’t get it.

                The closest-to-positive thing I see her saying about Hillary is that she thought Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed more like she was “with her.”

                She really says little/nothing about Hillary, preferring to focus on insulting Trump in a rather name-calling manner. Indeed, rather than indicating any active desire for a Hillary presidency, aside from keeping Trump away from the office, she calls for four more years of Obama.

                I’ve seen allegations elsewhere that she was a Bernie supporter, which isn’t immediately evident in her feed, but would make sense given some of the above.

                So she’s complicated, like so many people are.

            2. Romancing The Loan

              The primary point is that this isn’t really a leak or whistleblowing because it exposes no governmental wrongdoing. Instead, she’s just taking it on herself to override the security designation because she thinks that, for political reasons, people should see the document? Inexcusable and one would think kind of unthinkable for someone who managed to get a top secret security clearance.

              …This is all suspicious as hell.

              1. a different chris


                Eh. She doesn’t need to have your (or my) approval. The amount of “secrecy” in the government is ridiculous at this point anyway. Since there wasn’t any wrongdoing, why the secret designation is a good question?

                1. different clue

                  Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis has a harshly worded posting on this leak which deserves to be read. The problem with the amount of secrecy in government being ridiculous is that one-in-a-million or maybe even one-in-a-thousand of the secrets deserves to stay secret.
                  But which one? As I say, this post is worth a slow careful read.

                  1. Procopius

                    I trust pat lang’s judgement more than most, and he’s quite right that this gives Russian counterintelligence confirmation that their communications are compromised. This is immensely valuable to them. I haven’t seen what he had to say about the public announcement by John Brennan that he had evidence that Putin was personally involved in the hacking operation on the DNC. That would seem to me to be a public announcement that the CIA has an “asset” inside Putin’s office, which would also seem to be immensely valuable to Russian counterintelligence, but of course he has classification and declassification authority.

      2. kurtismayfield

        The worship of the Twitter/Instagram/Media altar is way over the top in young people. I know that I used to worship musicians when I was a teenager, but I didn’t have the ability to stalk them via the twitiverse in the palm of my hands (and it’s twitting, not tweeting.. you don’t go sheeting when you take a [family blog]). This “connection” really has distorted how separate their lives are from Micheal Bay. Gaiman is correct, the media is a new god to some.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        Her bio doesn’t read real “privileged” to me (no college).

        But I think the rest of your reading is plausible. She’s like one of those volunteers who runs onto the field, or a fan who storms the stage (and all worked up by Democrat propaganda, too — it works!).

        1. nowhere

          Or maybe, since she is big into olympic weightlifting (millennial self-care and all), she has a strong sense of personal worth, and being in the military doesn’t appreciate the Commander-In-Chief glibly talking about pussy grabbing.

          It’s a beautiful Rorschach test – we can all project our greatest desires and hatreds onto her.

          1. funemployed

            Poor word choice on my part. By “privileged,” I didn’t necessarily mean born to privilege (though that is the most sensible reading). I grew up in a decaying trailer and often missed meals. I’ve worked many low-wage jobs and been on my own since I was 16. Since getting a free ride at an elite liberal arts college though, I live in a different world, and consequently define myself as privileged. Military education is often pretty good. And if she learned three middle-eastern languages and works at the NSA, she meets my admittedly overbroad definition of “privilege.”

            Strivers are vital to the myth of a meritocratic america. In my experience though, they are often the absolute worst of elitists, contorting their souls in all sorts of ways to distance themselves from their roots. The discomfort – the feeling you don’t quite belong – never fully goes away, but that can send you in different directions depending on your personality. Denial of roots and vehement embrace of “privileged” culture are definitely a common one. Indeed, it’s more than a little materially valuable to embrace the “if I did it, so can those lazy others” narrative. (Hillbilly Elegy is a good case study).

      4. Sutter Cane

        As an oldish millennial, what saddens and mystifies me most about my generation is the near universal, creepily personal obsession with people who appear in any media that their friends and family might see. The desire for some sort of recognition or connection to that world is disturbingly powerful.

        funemployed, I can’t speak to Winner’s motivations, but your take on millenial fame obsession seems spot-on to me.

        I have an artist friend who has amassed a large number of instagram followers. She got invited to meet with a “youtuber” who has thousands more. The youtuber followed her work. My friend was unfamiliar with this person but thought that it might help her professionally if she got mentioned by them on social media. She described the meeting to me, and it was… odd. I tried watching some of this person’s videos and I couldn’t get past 30 seconds or so. Apparently she was just as vacuous in person.

        This youtuber’s audience is primarily the millenial and younger demographic. She didn’t understand why my friend didn’t monetize her identity by posting videos on youtube, as well. (My friend is a private person and only wants to be known for her art, not for blathering on about the intimate details of her personal life on youtube, and her degree of instagram “fame” such as it is, is a bit of an accident.) What was amazing to me was that this person had an entire staff, personal manager, personal assistant, owned multiple homes, and was clearly getting very well-compensated, all for making completely banal videos that thousands of people follow religiously. And, unlike Michael Bay, I’d never even heard of them before.

        My friend and I were baffled as to the appeal of this. Do the people who watch these videos have no friends? Are they just lonely? I mean, there are artists and thinkers who I admire and I still couldn’t bring myself to sit through endless videos of them just nattering away on random topics, much less somebody who was only famous simply for making exactly such videos. But needless to say, they have A LOT of fans, and these fans not only want to watch their videos but follow them religiously on all forms of social media, and want to know every aspect of their lives to a degree that I find creepy. They also want this level of fame for themselves. None of this appealed to my friend, but the idea that this WASN’T appealing was unthinkable to the youtuber. Anyway, there was no meeting of the minds after this meet-up, and my friend didn’t get tagged on their instagram feed and rocket to wider renown.

        1. LT

          The appeal is that they are not exceptional. That what they do looks like something anyone can do.
          If a unique or well-crafted talent is exhibited, that might go “viral,” but large numbers of social celeb watchers do not want to be reminded of what they can’t do on a daily basis.
          Don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s one take on it.

    4. Goyo Marquez

      Re: “It’s unclear why the hackers targeted email accounts associated with the American Samoa absentee ballot system.”

      So is that what this document is about, is that the extent of this attempted breach, the American Samoa absentee ballot system?

        1. Goyo Marquez

          Yeah. Are you seeing a clearer statement of the targets of this alleged hacking than I? Please spell it out for me because the only identified target I can find anywhere is American Samoa election systems.

          This document is written the way a lawyer would write a complaint for which he wanted to later find evidence. All innuendo and vagueness which the author hopes leads the reader to draw conclusions the author can’t plainly state for want of any evidence. Nothing here that would withstand even minimal scrutiny by the laziest judge in the land.

          1. nowhere

            The Intercept article clearly spells out the targets of the attacks. VR Systems is not the American Samoa election system.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        There are several reasons why one might attempt to infiltrate the American Samoa election officials’ computers.

        1. Propagation. Other US election officials are more likely to open an email attachment from someone they know, thus leading to a compromised system. Eventually, this chain could lead to an election official of consequence. American Samoa was just one fish in a very wide net.

        2. The breached system, usually a laptop, may be used by officials to read results off a ballot machine. USB, DB-9/serial port, RJ-45, whatever.

        2a. If the laptop is breached, intercepting data read from a ballot machine via a subverted USB driver, for example, might not be terribly difficult. Job is made even easier if the hacksters have access to an identical system to crack.

        2b. If the laptop is breached, delivering a corrupting payload in the form of “updated software” in the backgroup might not be terribly difficult (see above), which could be used to change the voting results in the machine. This would be akin to dropping USB sticks with a malicious payload outside a facility filled with centrifuges…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          (This is a comment that somehow ended up in the spam queue, from which I retrieved it.)

          I think most reasoning like this founders on the incredible diversity and incoherence of voting IT in the US; the diversity makes it very hard for infections to spread. It’s not like breaking into a corporate system, where you own one system and then work your way up to root privileges.

          As a simple editorial matter (which was my point): American Samoa? That’s where we are? American Samoa?

          1. alex morfesis

            hacking using gmail accounts…how ingenious…why bother creating some social engineering scenario when you can just hope some undertrained and overworked govt official will just click on the email…and by the way…where can I find govt officials who actually click on emails and respond to citizen requests…

            and the govt did not obtain information until just a few weeks ago in april…

            I like that…crummystrike must have “found this” to get more fun(d)ing

            maybe they can rename themselves, lukeestryke

            hmmm…this sounds like a qui tam case to me…using govt resources by presenting some toilet paper nonsense about mystery russian “actors” and “associates”…

            if this is the best the russians have…

            1. funemployed

              Not just the email. The malware was embedded in word documents, which needed to be downloaded. Who does that? Maybe if they were able to spoof known contacts, but still… Is it even worth calling anything Top Secret anymore?

              1. nowhere

                “Maybe if they were able to spoof known contacts”… yes, that is what spear phishing is. These can be very well thought out attacks (social engineering) that can be very difficult for even advanced users to spot.

                Plenty of organizations still send around macro-enabled Word and Excel files, and if the file is from someone you think you know, you might just open it and enable it to run.

                1. Alex Morfesis

                  Did you read that part in the report where the super krazy ingeniously natasha like rooskeez are using a gmail account…not spoofing…a straight out gmail account…

                  Right up there with nigerian prince money held in trust at the central bank of north kafiristan

                  1. nowhere

                    Hmmm… I get the feeling that you aren’t aware how these things work, even though it is pretty well explained.

                    Willful ignorance?

                    1. Alex Morfesis

                      You didnt read the report did you…maybe I’m just paranoid but I open nothing with “magical” attachments nor items that dont match the website of the person emailing…a private government vendor will not be using gmail emails…

                      And I dont know anyone who opens mystery files…even from friends…we use the phone to verify we are sending some attachment…old school and all that…

                2. Alex Morfesis

                  Rooskeez hacking to find names of vr system employees because they are not good at reading english and the internal newsletter pdf of vr systems that they didnt know to google…nope boris and natasha had to spend elaborate energy phishing because reading available information on a search engine is just too easy…

          2. Darn

            They may be trying to learn about as many systems as they can one by one by hacking them, American Samoa just being the one that was detected. Not in the hope of infecting the others via that one.

    5. RenoDino

      This is a sample of the “proof” that 17 agencies have of Russian election interference that turns out be no proof at all. This must be as good as it gets otherwise the leaker would have found something even better to make 40 years in a Federal Penitentiary worth it. That’s why there’s no examination of the evidence against the Russians or Trump in the media.

  5. Cujo359

    Re: The Intercept article on the NSA,

    And (see above) statements like “the NSA believes” are not confidence builders for me.

    Nor am I confident that Russians would be so interested in affecting a few local elections. Either they’re very patient (as in, they’re slowly accumulating ways of undermining a lot of local voting authorities in hopes of swinging a state or national election some day), or these hackers (whoever they are) have a different sort of customer in mind for the results of these hacks. It seems more plausible that they’d want to affect elections in favor of people in those local areas who are willing to pay to have them affected.

    There’s a whole dark Internet out there where people sell stuff like this. I don’t assume hackers would have to have a sponsor to make a profit on this sort of activity.

    P.S., Lambert, looks like there’s a typo in the paragraph below the screen cap, or I’m not hip enough to know what “invening” is…

    1. lyman alpha blob

      And just to beat a horse that should be dead but keeps rising from the grave, from the “This is how not to leak top secret documents” article –

      This is the first time we have evidence that Russia actually attacked American voting infrastructure, in addition to leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee.

      No no no no no!!!!

      It’s the first time we have a document asserting what the NSA believes, as opposed to a vague or anonymous statement.

      And no, there is no evidence that Russia leaked the DNC emails either. Jesus H Wiretapping Xrist!!!!

        1. John Zelnicker

          @jawbone – I still use the phrase so I guess we’re both boomers or older.

    2. Eureka Springs

      Didn’t a recent round of wikileaks suggest the NSA can and does manufacture documents place of origin. If ‘they’ want to make it look like something came out of Russia, they will.

      So why or how can one believe anything related to the worst liars known in human history?

      The story seems to be a big non story.

      Most of all this seems to be yet another perfect example ( if one takes the convoluted non story at face value) of absurd “national security” secrecy law. Anyone and everyone should be able to know all about efforts to phish or whatever around our voting/ballot system. Government employees should be obligated to talk about it.

      1. Cujo359

        I had not heard that, but it sounds plausible. The most difficult thing I can think of to obtain to do such a fake is having the (human) language skills necessary. So the NSA or CIA being able to gen up a fake that will convince your average joe wouldn’t be all that preposterous a notion.

        Anyone and everyone should be able to know all about efforts to phish or whatever around our voting/ballot system.

        That was my reaction, too, but a long career in defense contracting got me used to the “need to know” BS. I understand wanting to protect sources and methods, particularly in the case of a potential adversary like Russia, but if you think another country is seriously trying to undermine an election, then I think that’s when you should be saying something useful to the people who are supposed to be protecting that election.

        The other thing that I wonder about, and why I’m always skeptical about anything the Intel Community (IC) says without offering proof, is that they are trying to do science without the most important part of the scientific method-publishing your results so that anyone with knowledge of the subject can poke holes in them. All that secrecy can make even the smartest organization turn into an echo chamber. Russia hasn’t been our friend for more than a century, so I’m sure that one of the base assumptions in every IC analysis is that if it’s something to do with us and the Russians, they simply must be up to no good. When you’re inclined to find something, it’s a whole lot more likely you will.

        Except for the fact that there’s a young person who is looking at the end of a promising career and possibly a lot of jail time thanks to our mania for secrecy, I’d agree this is a non-story.

        1. bob

          Why would you try to go through the trouble of making voting machines work, incorrectly, when you can just give the money that it would cost to do it to the Clinton Foundation, with much better, quicker results?

          Why bother with the cloak and dagger when writing a check works much better?

          1. Cujo359

            Another reason to think this has more to do with local elections than national ones? Or, perhaps they’re looking for politicians who will more reliably stay on their side?

    3. Rick Deckard

      The whole thing looks like a setup with Winner holding the bag.

      How and why was she able to get that clearance?

      If they were willing to kill Seth Rich why wouldn’t they be willing to set up a naive young woman
      to advance the ‘muh russians’ storyline?

      1. Cujo359

        Looks like her clearance was a carry over from the Air Force. Her background didn’t look to be in computer technology, but rather as a translator. Heck, my background is in computer engineering and I’d forgotten that printers have secret watermarks now. It seems possible that she really was that naive.

      2. Procopius

        How and why was she able to get that clearance?

        She was, first, an enlisted person in the military, presumably the Air Force Security Agency, a SIGINT command. Then she became a contractor, because of her rare language skills. There are more than five million people with security clearances because most or our “intelligence/security” is done by highly paid contractors, although I’m not sure how many of those are Top Secret/SCI. COL Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis says that practically every contractor has easy access to the various TS/SCI networks. It’s amazing that they manage to keep any of these over classified documents secret.

    1. ginnie nyc

      Indeed. Medicaid managed care is an ever-expanding rent-extraction device, and an official handmaiden of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

      Example: As someone who is in Medicaid managed care (because I’m a crip), I am qualified for and supposed to receive a home aide 30 hours a week, certain medical supplies, and transportation to the doctor. The managed care company receives a capitated amount from the State of New York each month to reimburse them for these services. The catch is that I receive, in fact, only the aide. The MCO has contracts with providers for the other services, but the sub-contractors simply refuse to provide them, and are not required to provide a reason. There is no legal obligation upon the MCO to provide oversight of any of the subcontractors.

      Thus, it is a win-win for everyone except the disabled person. The MCO receives the cash, the sub-contractor receives a cut, but the patient does not get the services.

    2. Carla

      A lot of Medicare is big insurance industry business, too. All the supplement policies that pay that 20 percent the govt. doesn’t cover, plus all the Medicare Advantage plans.

      The behemoth United Healthcare has its tentacles in the UK’s National Health Service, where it operates under the name Optum.

      Since the Clintons, and especially since Obamacare, the health care payment apparatus has become so utterly crapified that I doubt we’ll ever escape. And the industry is well on the way to contaminating every other functioning health care system in the world.

      It is beyond depressing. Makes me glad to be much closer to death than to birth.

  6. Cujo359

    Sorry, but another possible typo alert:

    Ask the usual question: What does victory look like? To some in the resistance, like revolution. To others, like reformation. I’d put Teen Vogue firmly on the restoration side.

    Note the lack of a “restoration side” in your dichotomy. I suppose one could say that “reformation” is a form of restoration, but what I think Walsh, et. al, are really about has little to do with reform.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The first is a set of structural changes in the areas of: 1) administration; 2) pharmaceutical pricing; and 3) fee structures for service providers. We estimate that cost savings in the range of 13 percent of total costs are achievable through structural changes in these areas.”

    It just seems to that we can get more than 13 percent, looking at all the Tesla cars owned by the people in those 3 areas.

  8. LT

    Re: Dems and Primaries in the South

    The other common denominator is open primaries. Voting is still restricted in a myriad of ways for blacks in the South.

    1. LT

      And to add:
      The big doosie of electoral votes, California, still has closed presidential primaries.
      The left (not the Dems) is the between a rock and a hard place.

      1. UserFriendly

        The south has almost entirely open primaries and CA had semi open where no party preference could vote in the dem primary…. They had a ton of hoops but you could vote. Don’t ask me why I remember this but I can list off the states where if you were an independant who decided to vote Bernie on election day you couldn’t (some with closed primaries had same day registration so you could switch to a D the day of).

        CO, AZ, FL, LA, OR, WY, NY, MD, DE, PA, CT, NJ, NM, DC I might be missing one or two I can’t remember about NC, KY, and RI. but the rest you could for sure if you jump through the appropriate hoops.

    2. geoff

      “The common denominators of these Southern states are their large black populations and racially polarized electorates.”

      The other other common denominator is that none of these states will actually give their electoral votes in the presidential election to a Democratic candidate. So essentially, the Democratic (sorry, Lambert) Party is letting states that will never vote for their candidate in the general election determine their nominee.

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Yes, this has been noticed. But it certainly bears repeating, as it is a recurrent scam run by the Democrat party nomenklatura that moves things a long ways toward securing their desired outcome.

        1. LT

          However, the only way to reform them, on second thought, is to leave them isolated in their “Southern Strategy.”
          What the Democrats would become then, isolated to the South, would make them different in this era.
          And it then it might actually become a progressive party.

      2. different clue

        It was engineered that way to reduce the chance of a liberadical nomination seeker from getting the nomination.

        Of course, if the whole primary process itself is rigged and fraudulated in ways that some Bernie groups are suing the DNC about, then little can be done. But if the Bernie groups win their lawsuits and can can torture and vivisect the DNC into de-fraudulating its processes, then there may be a way around the Super Tuesday filter. And that might be for a liberadical nomination seeker to run in just those State Primaries and/or Caucuses outside the Super Tuesday area which if all won commandingly would award the victory and the nomination to the liberadical nomination seeker without any Super Tuesday delegates at all. It would be a political science experiment. Would victory-bestowing states outside the Super Tuesday area all near-unanimously select the liberadical candidate, leaving the Super Tuesday winning DLC Third Way Clintonite stranded to die on the vine?

        But of course the experiment can’t even be run unless the DNC and the DemParty in general can be tortured, vivisected, electrocuted, etc. into de-fraudulating its nomination-awarding processes.

  9. efschumacher

    “One Philadelphia teenager’s mom took his prom to the extreme, spending $25,000 on a camel, three tons of sand and exotic cars. He brought three dates , all in custom-made gowns, and wore three different outfits himself” [AP].

    If he was bringing the camel, why couldn’t he bring the whole box of dates?
    Though dressing them in gowns seems a little messy.

  10. LT

    “The past is gone, the future hasn’t happened yet. ‘Neuroscientists are implicitly presentists,’ says Buonomano. ‘But despite its intuitive appeal, presentism is the underdog… in physics and philosophy.’”

    The past is gone and now has passed
    Too bad the future
    Will never last
    If there’s nothing new under the sun
    I’m not the only one
    Who’s a time machine

  11. cm

    Uber’s attempt to fix itself

    Uber has hired well-regarded management academic Frances Frei as its first SVP of leadership and strategy, in a high-profile bid to make a series of changes inside the troubled car-hailing company to turn around what many consider a broken organization.

  12. cm

    Firings at Uber

    Uber has terminated about 20 people as a result of an independent investigation into sexual harassment and other workplace malpractice claims at the company, as Recode reported yesterday. Bloomberg first reported the number of how many have been terminated.

    1. different clue

      Uber deserves extermination from existence and enwipement from off the face of the earth. Pray these turn-around experts fail in their endeavor.

    1. kgw

      Liable to be remembered as a very weird day…The R+6 will likely surround the clot of imperialist minions, and control the border. If the minions push back too hard, they are likely to meet their version of virgins. We are all very close to the fan, and the feces is about to hit it.

  13. LT

    Re: Nevada vs California Healthcare Plans

    Nevada – 2.8 million population
    California – 34 + million population

    The difference in those numbers scare their big donors from the private health insurance industry and big pharma. The DNC jas received its marching orders.

  14. JohnnyGL


    If anyone wants to see the full Bernie on the BBC discussion. Questioner gets annoying, but it’s good to see Bernie show poise and attempt to fix the host’s bad framing of the situation. Sanders acquitted himself well, as he usually does. None of that Russia crap that the CNN Town Hall had the other day with those ridiculous planted questions.

    1. different clue

      i was zoning in-and-out to the radio in the background when that played on the radio. I suspect you are referring to “Hard Talk” with Stephen Sacker ( spelling?).

      Every BBC interviewer is a snidely annoying shit-sack of shit. They do it on purpose and they are proud of it. I will never be famous enough to be subjected to a BBC interview, but if I were, I would do things like tallllllkkkkk reeeeeaaaaaallllll slllloooooowwwwww . . . and use every method I could think of to passive-aggressively torture the interviewer to try and get the interviewer to have a full tantrum meltdown on the air.

  15. craazyboy

    “Former Vice President Biden to headline Romney summit”

    “Pepsi Invited To Coca Cola Summit!”

    Hello, Pepsi. Glad you could make it.

    We’ll introduce our platform to the voters today.

    “Sugar is Bad!” Bad! Bad! Bad!

  16. Synoia

    Retail: “Talk of the demise of the shopping mall may be overdone, according to Fitch Ratings… Fitch Managing Director Steven Marks wrote in the first issue of the agency’s new Equity REIT Handbook.”

    What else could he have written?

    When considering statements on a topic, think clearly about the bias of the source.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      If the americans with disabilities act was actually enforced, we would have a massive retail space shortage…shelving is required to be about 4 ft high…basically you should be able to see across aisles and ride a wheel chair between racks…

  17. Synoia

    “But despite its intuitive appeal, presentism is the underdog… in physics and philosophy and economics.‘”

    There, I’ve added the missing fake science.

  18. WobblyTelomeres

    Note: 2b is the functional equivalent of dropping USB sticks containing malicious code outside a centrifuge facility…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        No, there was a glitch of some sort that screwed up the threading.

        Thanks for the quotes round “moderated,” though. Nice to know where one stands.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          My apologies. Was simply trying to provide reasons why a hacker would try to hack an American Samoa election official’s laptop. Old boy scout.

  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    From Dave Sirota’s Twitter, he notes 17 Democratic Senators voted to confirm Trump’s CIA General Counsel nominee.

    Kaine (co-chair of Lieberman 2004 in case you’ve never heard of this insect)

    Vive la Resistance!

  20. kareninca

    I hope this can be a link: https://www.cvs.com/content/epipen-alternative. It is important; I’m not even going to apologize if it has been linked already; it should be linked everywhere multiple times! CVS has just come out with a two-pack of generic epi-pens for $109.99: https://www.cvs.com/content/epipen-alternative.

    From the CVS pharmacy website:
    “Patients with life-threatening allergies need immediate access to injectable epinephrine. But over time, the brand-name epinephrine auto-injector pens that make it easy to quickly and safely administer the medication have become increasingly expensive.

    We recognized the urgent need for a less-expensive epinephrine auto-injector, and are proud to offer a low-cost option at all CVS Pharmacy locations. Patients can now purchase the authorized generic for Adrenaclick® at the low cost cash price of $109.99 for a two-pack. This authorized generic is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved device with the same active ingredient as other epinephrine auto-injector devices.”

    An article on the CVS product: https://www.statnews.com/2017/01/12/cvs-generic-epinephrine/. (“CVS Health said that the $109.99 price is available to anyone who walks into the pharmacy.”) A very nice aspect: “Some state Medicaid programs and the large private insurer Cigna have recently changed their policies, making it easier for patients to get generic auto-injectors and harder for them to get the brand-name products.”

    If this drives the swine at Mylan out of business I will be deliriously happy.

    JTMcPhee posted yesterday about Adrenaclicks, which is what these are. The problem is that I had called around everywhere last year, and I could find no-one who stocked them, and no-one who was willing to order them (not Costco, not Walmart, not Walgreens). Now that they are a standard CVS product, they will be easily available.

  21. Byron the Light Bulb

    Knowing is half the battle >>> Leak documents in black&white. No color. No grey-scale.
    Yellow dots >>> Printer model number ##, serial number ########. Printed Month-Day-Year, 00:00
    Seize the Dada and destroy from within >>> Don’t actually mess with voter registration rolls. Let your adversary go bonkers trying to figure out if election tampering did or didn’t happen. Make no action that could potentially be reversed to restore confidence in the election process. Destroy the peaceful transfer of power with unassailable doubt. A minority shareholder in Globalism can now exert over-sized influence by practicing the nation-state equivalent of a hostile corporate takeover. Continue to atomize competitive alliances. Tomorrow’s a new day.

    1. different clue

      That could all be shut right down by going forward to a Strict Legal Paper Ballot system where the first footprint in the trail of footprints is a Legal Paperboard Ballot, no matter how complicated, upon which marks must be made by hand by the voter. It is okay if it is then read by opti-scan as long as all the Legal Paperboard Ballots are rigidly saved. That way, the digital optiscanned results can be measured against physical Paperboard reality if wanted.

      Or, if people were prepared to wait for results, the ballots could all be counted by hand and by eye by scrutineers watched by watchers . . . the Canadian way.

  22. Altandmain

    Beating the Populist Right with the Neoliberal Center Isn’t Sustainable At All

    Apparently Clinton is burning bridges now – fun to watch:

    Imperial collapse watch – the US Navy plans are dead in the water:

    1. Massinissa

      We aren’t going to spend more on ships so the MIC can make billions of dollars? GOOD.

    1. ambrit

      How many people will go hungry? Restoring the “work requirement” will mainly benefit the employers who try to drive down wages. So, even if you have steady work soon, you will still need food stamps, for ever. Hold it, isn’t there a time limit on how long someone can get food stamps? Uh, not really. This seems to affect just those pesky deplorables who can’t find work after three months. You know, the single and such. The people who can “sleep rough” with little problem.
      Ain’t America great, (again.)

  23. Massinissa

    Gosh, now Theresa May is promising to rip up human rights laws that impede terror legislation… That will go over soooo well…


    Is it just me, or is this smacking of complete desperation? I feel like she genuinely does not know what to do against Corbyn and has even lost control of the conversation regarding national security, with her promising to cut the police force while Corbyn promises to expand it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      She’s an idiot and a thug, a typical conservative, but she’s under added pressure as the former Home Secretary during the war on Libya. Even with a close win, the potential presence of home grown terrorists radicalized and enabled by her scheming won’t go over well with anyone. Who in her party has their eyes on 10 Downing Street? If Cameron can be PM without the UK falling into the Phantom Zone (never mind Brexit and even Scottish secession picking up), virtually anyone can do the job. The vultures will be out soon enough.

      Even a close win over Corbyn will lead to scrutiny given how much the Blairites despise their voters. If not Corbyn today, it will be someone else in the next election, and anyone who has their eyes on the PM spot has to recognize they need to oust May or risk May and then a Labour government in the next election.

    2. flora

      It’s easy to go far by equivocating as long as the wind does not shift. The wind has shifted. Rip up human rights laws? Sounds like May has no fundament. Nor did Hillary. Triangulation no longer answers. imo.

  24. Richard H Caldwell

    “Job openings are nearly 1 million ahead of hirings in a widening spread pointing to skill scarcity in the labor market”

    What if it really pointed to the declining quality of the jobs (dog food) on offer? Or to the gap between what’s being demanded of employees vs. what’s being offered to them in return?

    At some point, crappy jobs go begging — for example, ask Trump about how hard it is to find good people these days..

  25. John Merryman

    On the time issue, the problem is that since we experience reality as flashes of cognition, we think of time as the point of the present moving from past to future, which physics codifies as measures of duration, but the reality is change turning future to past. As in tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth turns. Energy is conserved and as it’s dynamically changing, it creates new configurations, but being conserved, it can’t manifest any events other than the present, so eternalism conflicts with the conservation of energy. It is a form of mathematical platonism. A bit like epicycles and explaining why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and the stars and planets spin in the sky as a giant cosmic clockwork mechanism. Basically time is an effect, similar to temperature, color, pressure, etc, but since narrative is foundational to our thought process, it is similar to experiencing the earth as the center of the cosmos, to which our current generations of physicists have concocted elaborate explanations. Off into multiverses.

    1. B1whois

      Deep. Time is an effect…..have to ponder that one. Combined with the earlier comment that now is to time as here is to place…argh, my head hurts!

    1. Yves Smith

      Wowsers, just skimmed this.

      Looks pretty bad. Of course, it is totally disingenuous for Hensarling to play the “tough on banks” role. This is just an excuse to beat up on the CFPB. But Cordray looks to have goofed big time.

      1. Clive

        Read the full report and I think this is a correct take on it.

        Regulators, if they are not to end up seriously undermining their own positions, simply cannot allow themselves to enter into turf wars and be shown to be engaging in prevarication with the legislature. However bad the interpersonal conflicts are and however bad lawmakers treat the regulators, the regulators have to rise above the fray. Having the moral high ground is their best defence, possibly their only one, as they by their very nature tread on the toes of players like the Committee on Financial Services and the OCC.

        Redacted documentation, foot-dragging and mealy-mouthed testimony play right into the Committee’s hands. Which is no doubt exactly what Wagner intended. Cordray let her play him like a fiddle. If they make not responding to subpoenas stick, he’d be very damaged.

  26. skippy

    I don’t get it… the whole thing about e-voting was to take the human agency dilemma – out of – storing and tabulating votes….

    disheveled… but then marsupials are stoopid….

    1. Foppe

      don’t agree that it’s comparable to snowden. Snowden leaked raw data, she leaked a mostly innuendo-filled report written for politicians.

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