2:00PM Water Cooler 7/12/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, I have a bit more to add under politics. –Lambert. 2:36PM: All done.


“SMALL BUSINESSES URGE TRUMP TO DROP ISDS IN NAFTA 2.0: Leading small and medium-size companies are issuing a united call for the Trump administration to abandon in an updated NAFTA dispute settlement clauses that they say “grant greater rights to foreign corporations than to domestic businesses” and pose a challenge to local, state and federal policies” [Politico]. “The 100 businesses, included the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and eco-friendly clothing maker Silk Oak, are asking Trump in a letter today to eliminate investor-state dispute settlement clauses from all current trade deals — ‘beginning with the NAFTA renegotiation’ — while also removing the U.S. from any negotiations that would expand the clauses. It named the Bilateral Investment Treaty with China and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union as two such negotiations that would expand ISDS.” Kill it with fire.


Health Care

“Senate Health Bill Can’t Be Fixed” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]. Very good:

It’s no accident that CBO reached similar conclusions about all three versions of the Republican health bill, as the bill has maintained five core structural features over time:

  1. Ending the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults.
  2. Capping and cutting federal Medicaid funding for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children.
  3. Increasing premiums and deductibles for millions of moderate-income people who buy health insurance through the ACA marketplaces.
  4. Undermining the ACA’s individual market reforms by weakening key consumer protections for older people and people with pre-existing conditions and eliminating the ACA’s individual mandate, which helps ensure a balanced individual market risk pool.
  5. Providing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for high-income households, drug companies, and other corporations.

As long as the bill retains these five components, its broad consequences for Americans’ health insurance and health care will stay the same.

However, it looks like #5 could be in trouble: “Obamacare taxes on the rich may remain after all” [NBC]. Although we’ll have to see the fine print. McConnnell doesn’t play against type a whole lot. Unless he’s sending a signal to Democrats?

UPDATE “Multiple lawmakers and high-level congressional aides have told The Daily Beast that moderates from each party have begun taking the temperature of the other side for a more modest approach to reforming the health care system. Aides and lawmakers insist that these talks are in their nascent stages. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), in an interview, described them as both informal and ephemeral” [Daily Beast]. “But the fact that they are taking place at all suggests that lawmakers are growing frustrated by a lack of progress and more convinced that a Republican-only approach to dismantle the Affordable Care Act may never get the support needed to get through the Senate. A top Democratic aide said discussions between the parties picked up noticeably before lawmakers left for July 4 recess. And at least two Democratic senators said that they’ve had conversations with their Republican counterparts about various ways to fix Obamacare—specifically, the private insurance markets.” Liberals and conservatives join together to protect a market-based debacle from the left’s #MedicareForAll. ObamaCare is, after all, the worst possible Republican plan…

“Republicans Are Still Seven Votes Shy On Health Care” [FiveThirtyEight]. Useful but [lambert preens] I prefer my take on the same topic (using a similar structure).

New Cold War

“The probability that U.S. President Donald Trump will be impeached and fail to complete his four-year term in the White House has risen to the highest ever, according to bookmaker Paddy Power” [MarketWatch]. “There is a 20% chance the impeachment could happen in 2017, Paddy Power said. At fellow bookie Ladbrokes, the chances of Trump leaving office before his term ends — either due to impeachment of resignation — stand at 48%.”

“What Is Collusion? Is It Even a Crime?” [Politico]. “Worse than a crime; a blunder.” –Talleyrand. Lambert here: The pros, Democrat and Republican alike, use cut-outs, unlike Junior; that’s one of the many services that the oppo industry provides. Steele didn’t deal direct with Jebbie or Clinton (or, I suppose, Chelsea); the pros have people for that.

“The most ignored story of the 2016 presidential campaign is the press corps’ unwillingness to focus on Russia’s election meddling before election night, according to one of Hillary Clinton’s former top aides” [HuffPo]. “After campaign chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails were published online by WikiLeaks in the election’s final month, Palmieri and others again argued that the press needed to further explore the role Russian hackers were playing. The leaks themselves dominated coverage… ” So, rather than focus on the evident and unchallenged truth of the mail, the Clintonites would rather have changed the focus — not just in the press, but in the minds of voters — to the sourcing, not the content. Chutzpah! (Especially when the very real possibility that the Podesta mails were a leak, not a hack, has been carefully airbrushed away by all sides.) Of course, Palmieri, as Clinton’s communications director, is also shifting blame from her own performance to others. Whose job is it to get the Clinton campaign’s story out, anyhow?

UPDATE “The 1996 United States campaign finance controversy was an alleged effort by the People’s Republic of China to influence domestic American politics prior to and during the Clinton administration and also involved the fund-raising practices of the administration itself” [WikiPedia]. Or, in Daily Mail headline-ese: “EXCLUSIVE: ANOTHER ’90s scandal returns to haunt the Clintons – billionaire accused of being front for Chinese Communist bid to influence Bill’s 1996 election finally faces being questioned after years on the run” [Daily Mail]. Lambert here: Just Google “Charlie Trie,” and cross anybody huffing and puffing about the “ZOMG!!!!” “Unprecendented!!!!!” foreign election stealing hacking interfering meddling collusion (“collusion” is the new word, be sure to use it) off your list of serious people. Grow a pair, people! We’re an imperial power! Everybody seeks to influence us!

UPDATE “American Democracy Is Now Under Siege by Both Cyber-Espionage and GOP Voter Suppression” [The Nation]. A thoroughly dishonest article that out-of-the box conflates voter records with the ballot, doesn’t mention let alone advocate hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, and then goes on to conflate that with Kobach’s malevolent CrossCheck project, after the Democrats did squat about redistricting after 2010, and did squat about increasing the electorate after Jebbie tried to steal Florida in 2000 with his CrossCheck-like felon’s list. I hate to be cynical, but I’m thinking the only reason the Democrats are addressing redistricting now, after so long, is that they hope to suck down some squillionare bucks for it, which also accounts for Obama’s new-found interest in the matter. Idea: Make the Obama library the center of the effort!

“I like the drip reporting” [Eschaton].

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “West Virginia was the senator’s first stop on a day-long, two-state trip to campaign against the Senate Republican health-care bill. Next up was Covington, Kentucky, a city near Cincinnati, Ohio, where Sanders called the health-care bill House Republicans passed in May “the most anti-working class legislation that I have ever seen,” adding that “the Senate bill, in many respects, is even worse'” [The Atlantic]. “It’s unusual for a high-profile progressive politician to hold a rally in a red state like Kentucky, or even West Virginia, a former Democratic stronghold that has trended conservative in recent years, outside of a presidential campaign. That may be part of the reason why the Democratic Party’s power has eroded so severely across the country.” If you don’t ask for people’s votes, you’re not going to get them. This is not hard.

UPDATE “Democrats should take the class warfare message to upscale suburbs” [Matt Yglesias, Vox]. “But there’s no reason to believe that more affluent, suburban communities are averse to a strong, policy-based critique of Republican Party economics. The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, after all, made some of its strongest gains in upscale parts of London — winning the Borough of Kensington for the first time ever, for example — and it certainly didn’t shy away from drawing a strong economic contrast.” Matty takes out a Communist Party card…

“The weakness of the Democratic Party is not due to an underrepresentation of venture capitalists and tech company board members” [Politico].

“Would House Demo­crats be­ne­fit from a new gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers? Of course, but it’s not at all clear who they might be and an in­tra­mur­al fight would likely be a dis­trac­tion for the party. And who could raise even half the money that Pelosi does each cycle? I am an in­de­pend­ent and a dyed-in-the-wool mod­er­ate, so I am closer philo­soph­ic­ally to Minor­ity Whip Steny Hoy­er. But he couldn’t be­gin to raise as much money, and cer­tainly none of the young­er mem­bers could. My hunch is that Pelosi feels an ob­lig­a­tion to stick around and raise money to help her party win back its ma­jor­ity, and once that hap­pens, she would be more than de­lighted to head back to San Fran­cisco” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “When minor­ity parties have suc­ceeded in midterm elec­tions, it has been be­cause voters were not happy with the people and party in power and de­cided to go with the al­tern­at­ive. This is the way Amer­ic­an polit­ics works. It might well be all that House Demo­crats need next year.”

“One Hamptons party explains what’s wrong with American politics” [New York Post]. You will have seen that (it’s Lally Weymouth’s party), but this is interesting:

Weymouth’s party is the latest reminder that for all the bruising rhetoric, the constant polls showing a deeply divided America and the most polarizing president in history, our battle isn’t red vs. blue, right vs. left: It’s about the 1% vs. the rest of us. They laugh as we take their political theater for real.

“If you believe any of these people care about you, you are mistaken,” Samuel Ronan tweeted. “The Hamptons might as well [be] another planet.”

Ronan’s running for Congress from Ohio’s First Congressional District. His platform? Campaign finance reform and lobbying restriction. We’ll see how long that lasts if he wins next year.

Ronan quoted in the New York Post? Strange…

Stats Watch

JOLTS, May 2017 (yesterday): “The hiring total is a new record for this series while job openings are the second lowest of the year” [Econoday]. “And the rise in hiring may generally be hinting at better wages.” Hinting… And: “Job openings are mostly moving sideways at a high level, and quits are increasing. This is another solid report” [Calculated Risk].

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, June 2017 (yesterday): “The small business optimism index fell 0.9 points in June to 103.6, posting the lowest level of the year in a continuation of the mild decline from the 12-year high set in January” [Econoday]. “The June setback, which put the index within the range but near the bottom of analysts’ expectations, reflected disappointment over the gridlock in the Senate on the healthcare reform bill, according to the NFIB.”

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, July 17: “Inflation expectations are not only sinking at the consumer level, they’re beginning to sink at the business level as well” [Econoday]. “Expectations for sales held steady with profit expectations improving slightly. The inability to get prices going is a major concern for Federal Reserve policy makers who have been attributing the weakness to one-time factors such as lower costs for cell phones and gasoline, factors that may or may not be at play in this report.”

Wholesale Trade, May 2017 (yesterday): “Wholesale inventories rose a higher-than-expected 0.4 percent” [Econoday]. “Though these results will help second-quarter GDP, the outlook for the third month of the quarter is uncertain as sales at the wholesale level fell a very steep 0.5 percent in May which makes the 0.4 percent build look unwanted. Factory inventories have running slightly higher so far this quarter with retail inventories, based on advance data, also on the rise.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 7, 2017: “Fell a seasonally adjusted 3 percent” [Econoday].

Consumer Credit: “Higher than expected, and last month revised up, however the trend is still lower. This report is only through May. The weekly bank loan report is as of June 28, and shows the down trend continuing, which generally reflects a deceleration in consumer spending” [Mosler Economics].

ETFs: “The filings are somewhat vague, but it appears that Vanguard is planning to sell actively managed exchange-traded funds. Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA, a service that rates funds, said in a recent note about the filings that the new funds could be ETF clones of existing mutual funds, such as Vanguard Strategic Equity Income VSEQX, or Vanguard Global Minimum Volatility Fund VMVFX” [MarketWatch].

Shipping: “Vintage Shipping – the way it was done” [Shipping & Freight Resource]. “Container tracking involved maintaining a “T-Card” for each container.. The T-Card had details of the container number, vessel/voyage and all the moves such as discharge, gate out, gate in, load etc…. Each T-Card had a slot on a T-card rack as shown below.. Each of the slot panels (marked in Red) had multiple slots (marked in Green) for the T Cards and had label headings such as Depot 1, Depot 2, Port, De-Van (full container going for import unpack), Van (empty container going for export pack), Vessel/Voyage etc. Depot 1, Depot 2 etc referred to the various empty container depots that the line had, so the empty containers would go under the respective depot and full or empty containers would go under the port.” Fun stuff! I’m surprised there aren’t any ship modellers who do port operations like this, just as there are model railroaders who do waybills and train orders. Or maybe there are!

Supply Chain: “Amazon used Prime Day to highlight some of that spending, rolling out services with the airfreight fleet labeled Prime Air that it’s ramping up with airline partners. The investments in the cargo airlines are part of the rapid escalation in spending Amazon has undertaken, including capital expenditures that have fed the company’s vast distribution network as well as the technology backbone that drives a fast-growing cloud services business. The Prime Day sales this year will push more business for a wide range of retailers and logistics providers. But the capital spending signals that Amazon expects to handle more of that volume on its own in coming years” [Wall Street Journal].

Real Estate: “The commercial real-estate market looks to be getting tighter, but not necessarily because of strong new demand. From shopping malls to distribution centers, developers are holding the line on new construction and building less on speculation…. That comes as the national retail vacancy rate sits at a relatively low 5.4% because developers have reined in construction. The attention to capacity is also keeping logistics space tight” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “Wells Fargo beats Cincinnati appeal in public nuisance lawsuit” [Reuters]. “A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected Cincinnati’s effort to hold Wells Fargo & Co liable for creating a public nuisance by letting properties it owned, including through foreclosure, fall into disrepair because the upkeep cost too much.”

The Bezzle: “The factory side remains an enormous challenge, however, as the company tries to boost production to 500,000 vehicles next year from 84,000 last year. The surge of cars would likely tax a small network of about 150 Tesla service centers around the world, so Tesla is building up that network along with maintenance vans outfitted with repair crews and espresso machines” [Wall Street Journal]. So the espresso machines are a quality control measure?

The Bezzle: “The use of technology to solve the ‘last mile’ challenge was the theme of the third [Independent Transport Commission (ITC)] study, which examined the use of robot vehicles in Greenwich to make food deliveries in the local area. These electric robot vehicles, operated by Starship Technologies, have been reducing emissions and on-road congestion in the local area, although it is clear a strong regulatory framework would be helpful to protect this emerging industry and enable it to increase scale” [Lloyd’s Loading]. Can any of our UK readers translate the underlined portion?

The Fed: “Randal Quarles has been Trump’s choice to become the first Fed vice chair for supervision (See? Obama could be a little tardy with the appointments, too) for three months now. Everyone knows it except for secretary of the Senate, who hasn’t seen a piece of paper with Quarles’ name and a 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue return address cross her desk yet” [DealBreaker].

The Fed: “Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress” [Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System].

The Fed: “Yellen says not many more rate hikes needed: House testimony live blog and video” [MarketWatch]. And then there’s this:

Political Risk: “Photos: Life inside of China’s massive and remote bitcoin mines” [Quartz]. Amazing stuff.

Five Horsemen: “Facebook soars to a record and Amazon reclaims quadruple digits on J-Yel’s haunting rendition of When Doves Cry” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 12

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 47 Neutral (previous close: 41, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 77 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jul 12 at 1:04pm.

Health Care

The grim end game of financialized health care:


“Larsen C calves trillion ton iceberg” [Project MIDAS]. “The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, weighs more than a trillion tonnes. Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes…. The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tonnes (1,000,000,000,000 metric tonnes), but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level. The calving of this iceberg leaves the Larsen C Ice Shelf reduced in area by more than 12%, and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever.”

“Great Plains Wildfires on the Rise” [AgWeb]. “The great plains will be the next wildfire frontier,” says [University of Nebraska co-author Dirac Twidwell]. “We’re the next Rocky Mountains. We’re the next California.” For some definition of “wild,” of course.

“There will never be global solidarity against climate change” [The Week]. “the more feasible a low-carbon economy is, the more different countries will use that fact to jockey for advantage — for example, imposing onerous tariffs on products of carbon-intensive manufacturing processes. And the very fact that, if we are able to avoid the most extreme planet-wrecking scenarios, climate change poses a greater threat to poorer regions of the planet gives richer countries an overwhelming advantage in the struggle to respond. New York City can afford to adapt to protect itself from rising seas and more severe weather. Dhaka likely cannot. It’s easy to get demoralized by this selfish dynamic. But it is far more productive to accept it and take advantage of it by pitting countries and companies against each other to compete in a low-carbon-intensity world rather than relying on global solidarity as a precondition to progress.”

“Plants turn caterpillars into cannibals” [Nature]. “This is a new ecological mechanism of induced resistance that effectively changes the behaviour of the insects,” says Richard Karban, who studies interactions between herbivores and their host plants at the University of California at Davis… The caterpillars will always eat each other eventually, but the difference in timing is critical, says [Integrative biologist John Orrock], ‘if plants can induce pests to eat each other earlier, there will be more of the plant left untouched’. However, he also cautions that the cost to the plant of activating its defences is very high. ‘It is very possible that the plants will strike a balance and decide if the attack is serious enough to activate the defences.'” “Decide”?

“Alarmism Is the Argument We Need to Fight Climate Change” [Slate]. “But, contrary to the belief perpetuated by a lot of the criticism of this piece, addressing climate change does not rely on people being psychologically self-possessed enough to freely give up meat and airplane rides for the greater good. There is no amount of individual good intention that can solve this massive, structural problem in enough time to have an impact. What we need is leaders who will take this problem seriously.” Oh dear. If only we replace the bad people with good people, good things will happen. The very definition of necessary but insufficient. And how does alarmism produce “leaders who will take this problem seriously”? Are not climate denialists capable of producing their own “leaders”?

The 420

“Should Weed Dealers Receive Reparations When Marijuana Is Legalized?” [High Snobiety]. As “innovative” “disruptors,” of course.

“Nevada governor issues state of emergency over marijuana shortage” [Twitter]. A reasonably compiled Twitter moment…

“Pairing wine and weed: Is it a California dream or nightmare?” [KPCC (GF)]. “[An] emerging pot-for-pleasure industry seeks to grab a share of the nearly $2 billion tourism business in Sonoma Valley.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Kitty Genovese’s Murder: Everything You Know About The ’38 Bystanders’ Is Wrong” [Autostraddle].

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Is someone spying on you?” [Hasso-Plattner Institut]. Of course they are; the only question is in what media and how effectively. Anyhow: “With the HPI Identity Leak Checker, it is possible to check whether your e-mail address, along with other personal data (e.g. telephone number, date of birth or address), has been made public on the Internet where it can be misused for malicious purposes.”

“Would you like the world to know your private thoughts? Write them in an email” [MarketWatch]. “In France, companies are not permitted to access emails on company computers that are clearly labeled by employees as ‘personal’ or ‘private.’ Under French law, workers can use company equipment for reasonable personal use such as daily activities like arranging laundry or school activities for kids, says David L. Gregory, executive director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at the St. John’s University School of Law in New York. “In the U.S., that information sent over company equipment belongs to the employer.'”

Class Warfare

“Breaking: UAW Files For Historic Union Vote at Nissan in Mississippi” [Payday Report]. “Today, the United Auto Workers filed a petition with the NLRB asking for a vote for the 6,500- worker plant in Canton, Mississippi. If successful, the vote would top off a historic 14-year long campaign to unionize the plant and would be a major breakthrough for efforts to organize the South.” Good to see the Democrat Party all over this. Oh, wait….

“How poverty affects the brain” [Nature]. When I say “concrete material,” I mean “concrete” “material“, all the way down to (say) gut-level bacteria.

“Why Half of America Doesn’t Even Live Paycheck to Paycheck” [NBC]. “According to a new survey by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, 48 percent of Americans have expenses that equal or exceed their income. Among that group, nearly 40 percent have income that fluctuates from month to month, and 86 percent say this volatility has caused them financial stress as a result.” Financial stress = stress = bad health outcomes. But ka-ching!

News of the Wired

“Ant colonies flow like fluid to build tall towers” [Nature]. “To cross streams or secure themselves against water currents, fire ants join forces to form rafts or build towers. Researchers have now worked out how the ants sustain tall structures without crushing their friends: they constantly circulate around the tower, behaving like a fluid.”

“Students are Better Off without a Laptop in the Classroom” [Scientific American]. “Although computer use during class may create the illusion of enhanced engagement with course content, it more often reflects engagement with social media, YouTube videos, instant messaging, and other nonacademic content. This self-inflicted distraction comes at a cost, as students are spending up to one-third of valuable (and costly) class time zoned out, and the longer they are online the more their grades tend to suffer.” Agnotology!

“photographs of the mind” [Contexts]. “Blind folks taking photographs? It may seem unbelievable, but members of the Seeing With Photography Collective have been making pictures for close to 20 years. The collective is a group of photographers with sight ranging from total blindness to ‘normal’ vision.”

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allegic to PayPal, and (d) 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:

This, readers, is where we are with the Maine growing season…

NOTE Readers, if you want your handle to appear as a credit, please put it in the subject line. Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. Thank you!

* * *

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the Naked Capitalism fundraisers. 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.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. JohnnyGL

    Re: Small Business opposition to ISDS clauses.

    That’s quietly a really big deal. This is how you get progressive legislation passed. You need to be able to exploit splits in the business community and pit the little guys against the big guys. This is how the Glass-Steagall got done (thanks Matt Stoller) because Wall Street was lined up against the Oil Industry and the oil guys wanted to put the shackles on the financial pirates.

    1. Benedict@Large

      … “grant greater rights to foreign corporations than to domestic businesses” …

      A feature; not a bug.

      I saw this right off; that foreign corporations could essentially arbitrage the difference between their home laws and our laws, and that they could thus sue us for all sorts of things our own companies could sue for, giving foreign corporations a strong competitive edge over domestic corporations.

      This is nuts, I thought. Why would anyone do that? And then it occurred to me. Given the nature of corporations owning other corporations, including ALL multinational companies, any domestic corporation could then transfer the particular responsibility they wanted to sue on to a foreign subsidiary, and almost instantaneously gain a competitive advantage over a domestic-only (generally small, start up) corporation.

      This provision is the one meant to completely cement monopoly powers into large, well-established multi-nationals, allowing them to completely squash and domestic start-ups meant to compete with them. This is the most completely anti-capitalism and pro-fascism legislation I could ever imagine. All products sold to Americans would be sold to them by foreign corporations they has absolutely no power to sue, and in fact any member nation with this ISDS provision would have placed their own citizens in the exact same predicament. LARGE CORPORATIONS WOULD FINALLY BE EXEMPT (by treaty) FROM BEING SUED.

      1. different clue

        If this dynamic were thoroughly explained to all people in America with enough money to buy things, would some of those people choose to buy from the American-based small-legacy company or small start-up? If enough Americans would do that very thing to keep those companies alive, then that group of dissident market-patriot Americans could keep some such companies alive until the ISDS system can be destroyed as part of a Re-National-Sovereignty-Rising movement.

  2. jsn

    Quartz: Bitcoin
    Awesome! A “currency” backed by ecological waste and mal-investment! That seems like a sure bet.

  3. djrichard

    Fed Reserve to 1%: punch bowl still in place. Fed Reserve to everybody else: no more porridge for your bowls.


    At a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., pointed out the national debt clock that Republicans run on a monitor at the sides of the hearing room and asked Yellen to comment.

    “Let me state in the strongest possible terms: I agree that what you’re showing here represents a trend that, given current spending and taxation decisions, is going to lead to an unsustainable debt situation, with rising interest rates and declining investment in the United States that will further harm productivity growth and living standards.” Yellen responded.

    She said she has consistently told Congress to address the expected long-term imbalance between federal spending and revenue.

    “A key thing that Congress should be taking into account … is the need to achieve sustainability of this debt path over time,” she said.

    NYTimes reported on the 2nd quote, but not the first.

    1. allan

      “Let me state in the strongest possible terms: I agree that what you’re not showing here represents a trend that, given current FOMC, taxation and anti-antitrust decisions,
      is going to lead to an unsustainable underemployment situation, with continuing low interest rates, asset bubbles, declining investment and rising inequality in the United States
      that will further harm productivity growth, living standards and life expectancy.”

      Fixed it for you, Chairwoman Yellen.

  4. allan

    Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Former Brazilian President, Convicted of Corruption [WSJ]

    Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s most popular president in history, was sentenced on Wednesday to nine and a half years in prison for corruption, dealing a heavy blow to his leftist Workers’ Party and its chances of regaining control over Latin America’s biggest country in elections next year.

    The ruling by Sergio Moro, the crusading judge at the head of Brazil’s vast Car Wash investigation, is the most high-profile sentence yet in the graft probe, and the first verdict from five corruption-related charges filed against Mr. da Silva. …

    Crusading. If the WSJ says it, it must be true, amirite?

    1. Huey Long

      I wonder, did the reporter use the word “crusading” in the original copy, or was that slipped in there by a ̶m̶o̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶b̶i̶r̶d̶ ̶o̶p̶e̶r̶a̶t̶i̶v̶e̶ copy editor for maximum propaganda value?

      Speaking of copy editors, the NYT is firing 110 of them and replacing them with 65 new editors that will edit both print and video according to the Post (http://nypost.com/2017/07/11/death-panels-to-break-pink-slip-news-to-dozens-of-ny-times-copy-editors/).

      I wonder if this is a simple neoliberal cost cutting/crapification move, or is it to tighten control of the Gray Lady’s propaganda function by importing 65 new Langley guys to enforce discipline in the newsroom. Commenteriat?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Look, everybody loves video. There’s no transcript, you can’t link into it, and there are no links in it, so you can’t verify anything, so it’s argument-from-authority in its purest form.

        Perfect for journalism!

        1. JohnnyGL

          ….and it gobbles up bandwidth, forcing you to shell out for a better cable connection.

          …and it can be jam packed with ads, for more awesomeness!

          1. Huey Long


            Those ads!

            They all seem to have the same highly compressed audio track of some annoyingly perky announcer lady telling me I “deserve” something.

              1. HotFlash

                I find that the ads have gotten very good at ignoring my “skip ad” clicks. Even the ones that promise me “Skip ad in 5 seconds” play on for the full 10 or 15. It’s not like I can demand my money back.

                1. UserFriendly

                  If you want to support the content creator on youtube just mute the add and do something else while it plays. The creator gets paid a lot more for you finishing the add.

    2. alex morfesis

      Lula served his purpose…now to sweep him and his crew under the rug…now now…and don’t be complaining about the wsj copying and pasting the pr piece sent by the flack of judge moro…do you know how hard it is to make someone a federal judge at age 24…and then slowly slide them upstream so that they being an insider can be easily deflected…a federal judge at age 24…

      maybe his older brother cesar wants to be…well…caeser

      mind you, all this begins in 2004 with a review of corruption involving activities BEFORE Lula takes office…

      Farol Da Colina investigation by Moro leads to Alberto Youssef…which then opens up the second investigation on the BANESTADO matter…which then unfolds to the current “car wash” which claims to now take down LULA for an extended vacay…

      then again, the life of Alberto Youssef…a former brazilian “yellowkid” wraps around his conversion from a street urchin to a smuggler and then cash launderer for one certain Jose Mohamed Janene who became upset with LULA and his unlanded followers who at one point invaded and attempted to occupy one of the many farms of Janene…the MENSALAO (monthly allowance ??) vote buying “scandal” which almost took down LULA in 2005…

      but a federal judge at age 24…wow…how about that…Judge Moro…who is your patron ??

      1. Huey Long

        A 24 year old judge!?!

        Wow Alex, I had to duckduckgo that just to make sure you weren’t pulling our legs.

        After doing some research I found this gem:

        A. Trial Court Judgeships
        Article 93 of the Brazilian Constitution states the principles to be
        observed by the Statute of the Judicature (Estatuto da Magistratura), which, as mentioned earlier, applies to every judge in the country

        This Article states that one must pass an entry-level examination to be admitted to a judicial career. In other words, anyone interested in being a trial judge at the state or federal levels has to pass this exam. The tests are administered according to vacancy needs and are only open to applicants with a bachelor’s degree in law and at least three years of professional legal experience.


        Being that this particular judge only graduated in 1995 and has been on the bench since 1996 he must be really special to somebody with a lot of influence. They waived the three year work experience requirement and I wouldn’t be surprised if they waived the exam too!

        1. jsn

          Crusaders take what they want at sword point, they’re on a mission from God, Mammon I suspect in this instance, but a god none the less.

          This is what the left will face on all fronts, crimes that operate as norms for the establishment are a decade in the slammer for the left.

    3. RabidGandhi

      As with the original crusaders, Judge Moro has a specific group of enemies based on affiliation, not on actual transgressions.

      I can’t access the WSJ story because paywalls, but it should be noted that Moro’s sentence is not firm, and it will be appealed. As I have noted here in the past, the real play here is a frantic rush to prevent Lula from standing for election in 2018 (an election he would most likely win by a landslide). Moro’s sentence, if upheld, would ban him from office for 19 years.

      The oral arguments stage of the trial was plagued with irregularities that made it patent that Moro was clearly not impartial, but there is no way to argue the merits of the sentence until the legal grounds for the judgment are published. That said, this sentence is big news but not at all surprising.

  5. allan

    Palo Alto is not a defensible position:

    Chronic Bay Area flooding could arrive as early as 2060, scientists say [SJ Mercury]

    Bay Area waterfront communities and airports could face chronic flooding from rising seas if carbon emissions continue to rise, a nonprofit science group said in a report released Wednesday. …

    It assessed three scenarios — low, intermediate and high sea-level rise — by the years 2060 and 2100, depending on the pace of emissions. An interactive series of maps shows when inundated communities may reach tipping point, with at least 10 percent of usable land flooded at least 26 times per year.

    It found that:

    ● By 2060, in the high sea level rise scenario, parts of many Bay Area communities would face flooding 26 times or more per year. Communities with affected neighborhoods include Alameda, Oakland, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, San Mateo, Burlingame, San Francisco, Corte Madera and Larkspur.

    ● By 2100, in the intermediate sea level rise scenario, chronic flooding would affect public infrastructure such as San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, San Quentin State Prison, Moffett Federal Airfield and the Bay Bridge. …

    But 2060 is 43 years from now, so IBG, YBG.

    1. Huey Long

      Palo Alto is not a defensible position:

      Hmmmmm, I just took a quick look at a topo map of the area and you could definitely do a lot worse than Palo Alto in terms of defensibility if one were to lump it in with San Jose, Oakland, Richmond, and Berkeley. The whole area is surrounded by mountains or water.

      Neither one beats San Francisco though as it has water on three sides and is hilly.

      The key weakness of the whole Bay Area is the same as NYC and LA in my eyes; potable water. It comes from a long way away via aqueduct (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hetch_Hetchy#The_Hetch_Hetchy_Project) and would be vulnerable in the event of the sort of civil disturbance that would require a defensible position.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Not defensible? Got that one right. You know those hills that are just west of the Stanford campus. (Actually, I think they belong to Stanford.) Well, you could launch quite a bombardment from them.

        1. Huey Long

          Well Slim, I was assuming that the fair denizens of Palo Alto would have the gumption to occupy the hills to prevent said bombardment but you never know with those squirrely silicon valley types.

          They might throw some guy like Musk in charge of hill defense and succumb to invasion as he takes forever and a day to build out his HyperHill automated defense system.


          They could go the Apple/Amazon route and put a bunch of low paid working class guys under the watchful eye of CCTV in charge of hill defense and eventually end up with a coup on their hands.

      2. Enquiring Mind

        New VC idea: develop a Bay Barrier, similar to the Thames Barrier. Pre-sell ads, etc, for some revenue modeling and use some public-private partnership for resource evaporation or extraction.

        I bet there are plans underway. Is it too late to trademark something?

      3. Yves Smith

        Where are the airports? They tend to be on low lying ground. SFO gets flooded and SF will be in world of hurt. Similarly, any port operations get flooded first. Where are they moved to? What is left of SF is presumably one-time somewhat to very prime RE.

        1. FDW

          The Bay Area is very mountainous, and the Bay has only one outlet to the pacific: The Golden Gate. Building a huge dam there would be hideously expensive, but would be feasible in terms engineering. On the other hand, it might be better for California’s climate as a whole just to let the water in.

          SFO and OAK are very low lying, being built on landfill, SJC is somewhat higher (and farther inland. Ports, if the Sea Level rise is high enough (Greenland plus West Antarctica), would just be moved to the Suburbs of Sacramento. Assuming a huge dam, then they get moved outside the Golden Gate at a hideous expense.

          And what’s left of SF would still be most of the city. Sure, the “popular neighborhoods” with the Bougie types like the Mission, Marina, and SOMA would be gone. That’s assuming we let the water in. If we don’t, then it’s just some parts of the Western Sunset and Richmond that disappear below the waves. Outside of SF though, and you’ll see a ton of it’s suburbs (Most of the Bay Areas Suburbs are in fairly low-lying areas, only areas that developed early developed the highlands.) disappear below the swollen bay.

    2. Synoia

      By 2060, in the high sea level rise scenario…That is a linear projection of the early part of a growth curve.’

      Growth accelerates, and then decelerates to form the familiar S shaped curve. We are at the bottom of the global warming sea level rise growth curve, and one would expect sea level rise to accelerate.

      I’d expect those 2060 number to be 10 to 15 years off, not 30 to 40.

      And I have absolutely no data to support my assertion.

    3. Jeff W

      I’m surprised Foster City, which is located on “engineered landfill” [i.e., landfill that is compacted in layers and dried] and is about seven feet above sea level, is not mentioned. It’s probably “the California city most at risk for coastal flooding.” (Landfill has a reputation for liquefying and it’s not clear how Foster City’s “engineered landfill” will hold up in a major earthquake, the other big risk, but, apparently, it did pretty well in the 1989 Loma Prieta quake.)

    4. different clue

      Free Trade is a major cause of Global Warming and its predicted rise in sea levels. Let us hope the rising sea level you describe as predicted around the greater San Francisco area destroys all the property and bussiness of every Free Trade supporter who voted for Pelosi and other Free Trade officeholders along the California coast.

  6. DJG

    Charlie Cook:
    I am an in­de­pend­ent and a dyed-in-the-wool mod­er­ate, so I am closer philo­soph­ic­ally to Minor­ity Whip Steny Hoy­er.

    More metaphorically:
    I am to politics what orange Jell-O is to food.

    The reason that the House has no leadership team waiting is that Hoyer and Pelosi (and I do like Pelosi) have destroyed the next generation, very much as the Clintons have smothered the careers of potential challengers lo these many years.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yep. No bench. And Obama did just the same thing (though now we’re getting people like Deray and Cory Booker….)

      Adding, I don’t like Cook for his views. I like him because he’s clear about what his views are, and reliable about expressing them. He’s a useful barometer.

  7. Samuel Conner

    Perhaps revise the ACA moniker to “worst enactable Republican plan”; more concise than “worst (politically) possible Republican plan.”

  8. Huey Long

    RE: Nissan UAW Vote

    I saw this article and it prompted me to look up what union busting measures Nissan’s been taking down in Mississippi. Here’s what I was able to dig up:

    Twenty miles north of Jackson, Miss., at a Nissan auto plant in Canton, Nissan North America has violated international labor laws in a decade-long campaign against unions that civil rights activists have called “systematic and unrelenting,” according to a new report.

    Through first-hand accounts from former and current workers, the report by the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP and Lance Compa, an international labor law scholar, details how plant managers and consultants manufactured a fiercely anti-union environment of fear and intimidation as plant workers assembled a number of Nissan models, including Altima sedans, Titan trucks, and Armada sports utility vehicles, and helped Nissan make more than $4 billion in annual net profits.

    Even though workers at Nissan plants in Japan, Australia, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, Russia and Mexico were allowed to unionize, Rosalind Essex, an engine quality technician at the Canton plant, said that she was told during training that, “Nissan is a nonunion company” and “Nissan has never had a union.”

    Essex said, “It’s like they wanted to put the fear of God in you from day one.”


    Looks like scaring the crap out of the workers and outright lying haven’t worked too well.

    Expect Nissan to play all kinds of games to delay the vote, management interviews of employees to determine the extent of their union loyalty, mass hirings of “independent contractors” via third parties to shrink the bargaining unit, plenty of employee churn, and token raises/safety improvements to convince employees that Nissan is on their side.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      One interesting point is that the workforce, unlike at many other non-union auto and parts plants in the south, is 80% black. Will be very interesting to see if success here transfers to other organizing drives.

  9. Anonymous

    A small investment in bets with the UK bookies pays many times its weight in PR. All the bookies said HRC was going to win by a landslide.

  10. Randy

    Get rid of that tomato and let the plant use its energy to get bigger as opposed to developing that lonely, scrawny tomato.

    At that stage of development, at this time of year you will have to pray for a warm, late fall otherwise tomato production looks very bleak for you.

    Best wishes and/or sympathies.

  11. Buttinsky

    Trump vs. Hillary: What Went Viral During the 2016 US Presidential Election?


    A scholarly quantitative and qualitative analysis of tweets in the last two months of the campaign. As good a takeaway as any:

    The volume of tweets attacking and supporting Trump were evenly matched, while the volume of tweets attacking Clinton outnumbered tweets praising her by a 3-to-1 margin. Given the importance of social media in elections, this may have been particularly damaging. . . .

    Trump campaign accounts featured more prominently in the top retweeted accounts supporting their candidate. Support came in the form of promoting his slogans, urging supporters to vote, and featuring positive polls and campaign news. Conversely, Clinton support came mostly in the form of contrasting her to her rival, praise for her debate performance against Trump, and praise for her attacks on Trump. In fact, viral tweets from her campaign account were attacking Trump more than promoting her . . . .

  12. Eureka Springs

    I’m dismayed at the dismayed physician. Doesn’t he/she see people in the ER all of the time who should have sought medical attention long ago? Most in pain or with growths who would have if not for fear of the cost burden?

    1. JTMcPhee

      ER docs are a mixed bag. And while forced to stand in for what should be “family doctors,” how many are in any position to ameliorate all of what is so very wrong with the whole freaking political economy of “medicine”?

    2. vidimi

      that tweet was by rob delaney, who stars in what for me is the funniest show on television, channel 4’s catastrophe.

  13. Huey Long

    RE: Commercial Real Estate Market

    I understand the REITs in the wider commercial sector aren’t building on spec and are tightening things down, but in NYC things are crazy right now.

    SL Green is playing real life monopoly; they’re building an enormous building on spec (albeit in a great location next to Grand Central), buying other massive buildings, and trying to sell stakes in their properties to foreign investors.


    Meanwhile, Related is in the midst of building a whole new neighborhood on Manhattan’s west side on pilings over a working rail yard. The Kuwait Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Fund both own large stakes in the project.


    Brookfield, not to be outdone by Related, has also decided to build over a rail yard across the street from Related’s project. Qatar has bought a 44% stake in the project, and Brookfield is shopping a 49% stake in their waterfront Brookfield Place (former World Financial Center) development.


    Vornado seems to be playing a wait and see game with its mega tower across the street from Penn Station at the Pennsylvania Hotel site. They’ve had city approval to build a tower there since 2007, but haven’t broken ground yet because they’re waiting to ink a tenant to a lease.


    Oy vey!

    No wonder the Acela Bubble thinks the economy is doing great! They see new buildings going up everywhere, all bankrolled by foreigners.

    1. jsn

      Ain’t it grand! And while you’re looking around town, stay till night falls and you can see that almost all of Silverstein’s shinny new things down at Ground Zero are mostly vacant, and they’re building more!

      1. Arizona Slim

        ISTR reading that the World Trade Center had a lot of vacant space and that it was a very difficult building to lease.

          1. jsn

            The lower floor plates at the erstwhile Freedom Tower are even worse than the old WTC towers: very deep lease spans, meaning low ratio of windows to floor, massive core with long corridors from the elevators to offices.

            Buildings over 60 stories are non-commercial because of the mathematical inevitability of this condition: these buildings are a sort of vanity insurance deal that could never stand the test of reality.

            I think they’ll become vertical farms in my lifetime: break off the outer, low-e glass in the insulated glass and they’re great greenhouses.

    2. mcdee

      “…the Acela Bubble thinks the economy is doing great.” Reminds me of Will Rogers take on Calvin Coolidge : “Everyone I come in contact with is doing well. If they are not doing well I do not come in contact with therm”

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Yep, view seems to depend not just on the strength of some specific metro markets, but the type of commercial real estate. Short summary of tightness in the commercial real estate market from the Wall Street Journal is 180 degrees from some recent articles about rising vacancy rates at retail shopping malls in the south central part of the country, prospective losses in that market segment and anticipated ripple effects:


  14. ewmayer

    o “UPDATE “Democrats should take the class warfare message to upscale suburbs” [Matt Yglesias, Vox]” — What message would that be, Matty – the “we are fully committed to our ongoing initiatives in class warfare” one? Or do you mean doubling down on the BS “economic and social justice” blather which all but the most deluded Dem tribalists know is utterly fake?

    o “Larsen C calves trillion ton iceberg” [Project MIDAS]. … The calving of this iceberg leaves the Larsen C Ice Shelf reduced in area by more than 12%, and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever.” — [Disclaimer: I’m feeling a tad ornery and contrarian and anti-alarmist-headliney today, so gonna be deliberately obnoxious]. Forever is a long time in geologic-history terms, as the fossil remains of lush tropical forests and dinosaurs in Antarctica attest to. Just to play devil’s advocate (cf. reader allan’s “EPA chief wants scientists to debate climate on TV [Reuters]” over in today’s Links), were I being paid to downplay the significance of this, I would frame the story as “Antarctica calves off .003% of its ice”. Don’t hate me, I’m only the numbers guy! I don’t even own a car!

    o ““Is someone spying on you?” [Hasso-Plattner Institut]. Of course they are; the only question is in what media and how effectively. Anyhow: “With the HPI Identity Leak Checker, it is possible to check whether your e-mail address, along with other personal data (e.g. telephone number, date of birth or address), has been made public on the Internet where it can be misused for malicious purposes.” — Were I feeling foily I might be inclined to think that such a “leak checker” site is also a fabulous way to collect those very same kinds of personal data. But I’m sure *these* folks are legit…

    1. witters

      “I’m feeling a tad ornery and contrarian and anti-alarmist-headliney today, so gonna be deliberately obnoxious”

      Me too! The DNC is doing great! We are all doing great! Someday we will all be super rich! Corporations are your friend!

  15. Scott

    RE: Trump Jr., Russians and the oppo industry.

    I think a lot of Trump’s supporters actually like that he (or his kids) attacks the opposition directly, whether Bush or Clinton, himself rather than using third parties. The same might be true for these meetings.

    The traditional model’s purpose is to provide the candidate plausible deniability. While beneficial, it makes many people across the political spectrum uncomfortable for that very reason – they are politics as usual. Trump’s direct conversations upend this and are thus seen as a challenge to the status quo

    1. Huey Long


      I work with a lot of blue collar Trump guys that perceive The Donald as the second coming of Christ. They LOVE that he comes after the opposition on his own, especially when he punks CNN reporters at pressers.

      His combativeness is a huge part of the man’s appeal for many folks who are sick of their politicians mixing with “the enemy*” at lavish parties in the Hamptons.


      *Most folks I meet in my day to day life perceive the GOP and the Dems as warring ideological opposites. They don’t realize that they pursue a common agenda, answer to the same rich guys, and that this arrangement is by design.

      The argument of two parties should represent opposed ideas and policies, one perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinate and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in details of procedure, priority, or method.”

      Carroll Quigely – “Tragedy and Hope” pp. 1247-1248

      1. Carolinian

        Meanwhile in one poll even a majority of Democrats think it’s time to drop fake Russia-gate.

        A poll conducted last month showed majorities of voters want Congress to ease up on Russia investigations and get to work on healthcare, terrorism, national security, the economy and jobs. Almost three out of four respondents to the Harvard-Harris poll said lawmakers aren’t paying attention to the issues that are important to them — including 68 percent of Democrats. Sixty-two percent of voters say there is no hard evidence of White House “collusion” with Russia, and 64 percent think the investigations are hurting the country.

        Glen Ford continues

        The non-stop vilification of Russia and Trump has seriously backfired on the corporate media. Another poll by Harvard-Harris, conducted back in May, showed that two out of three Americans believe the so-called “mainstream” press is full of “fake news” — including a majority of Democrats. […]

        So insane have the Democrats become, that we are probably better off with war powers effectively in the hands of Donald Trump, than with California’s Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress that voted against the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. She was in her “right mind” then, but no longer. Trump’s willingness to talk with the leader of Russia, in Hamburg, infuriated Rep. Lee, who tweeted: “Outraged by President Trump’s 2 hr meeting w/Putin, the man who orchestrated attacks on our democracy. Where do his loyalties lie?” A better question is: When and where did Lee join the War Party?


        1. marym

          “orchestrated attacks on our democracy”

          This whining theme of evil Putin/Trump interference with “our democracy” “our elections” is incredible, from a party and partisans who barely object to or actively support black box voting, voter suppression, gerrymandering, restricted access to ballots and debates, flawed primary and caucus systems, big money campaign contributors, and super delegates in domestic elections; and grave interference against governments in other people’s countries.

            1. bob

              That’s where we are. Legions of Keyboard Leftists realizing that gov is actually much more representative of oligarchs. Russians, USians, EU’rs, gulf/english monarchs – whatever – as long as their money is good.

              Hasn’t been “yours” in a generation, at least.

              That’s not a left. It’s a cult.

            2. marym

              There’ll be a tweet about a Trump outrage du jour from a known (to me) media person or blogger, and replies from what I guess are ordinary non-blue-check people. That’s the theme, along with being “embarrassed,” and nostalgia for the Obamas – as if it were all some lost paradise.

          1. Richard Musser

            Bravo. It beggars belief that this is still a story, and not just a story, but seemingly a foundational belief for so many in our political culture. Built to be utterly resistant to reality.

        2. John k

          Not gonna stop. Nyt stock up 60% since election. Subscriptions and ad rev way up. They might be trashing their rep, but who looks past current q?

      2. John D.

        We saw the same thing in my native Toronto when a human pig by the name of Rob Ford managed to slither his way into being Mayor for 1 term. His fan base adored him because – among other things – he was a bullying asshole and didn’t leave personal attacks for underlings to carry out. The left here, along with all the more “centrist” types and the “respectable, moderate” conservatives, were completely gobsmacked by Ford. They simply didn’t know how to respond to him…or they knew, and didn’t have the stomach for any protracted political battles with the rotten fuck. Cowardice, incompetence and collusion all wrapped up in one not-so-pretty package.

  16. Enquiring Mind

    Re Item 5
    What type of payoffs, blackmail and extortion may be in play to facilitate such brazen transfers? Would tax cuts for voters not be better for the country? How does such an anti-voter bug or feature survive?

    Am I just not cynical enough?

  17. geoff

    RE: Vintage shipping– we used T-cards to track containers from port to the inland destination at the Customs brokerage I worked for until probably 2005. Traffic clerks called the railroads (or steamship lines) daily and manually updated the cards. Once the containers arrived at their destination, the clerks would confirm pickup and delivery of the container(s) represented on the cards and the cards would be taken off the board and returned to the (paper) brokerage file. All of this has since been replaced by internet tracking and scanned documents in the years since, but I miss the ‘old school’ methods. It’s (for me, anyway) a lot harder to overlook something that has an actual physical representation than something that’s entirely virtual.

  18. allan

    Trump’s Fed nominee has history of benefiting from bailouts [Reuters]

    President Donald Trump’s pick to lead bank supervision at the Federal Reserve benefited from the government bailing out or rescuing two banks during the 2008 financial crisis, but that may not prevent his confirmation by a U.S. Senate controlled by a business-friendly Republican party, policy analysts told Reuters in recent days.

    Randal Quarles, a former Wall Street lawyer and U.S. Treasury official who now runs an investment firm, was part of a team that invested in troubled or failed banks while he was an executive at private-equity firm Carlyle Group LP. Those investments earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Carlyle, profits that would not have been possible without government support. …

    Definitely a win for the back-row kids.

    1. Huey Long

      According to Rep. Sherman, he filed the articles “to begin a long process to protect our country from abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and impulsive, ignorant incompetence.”

      Ugh, this guy makes me want to vomit, not only for his virtue signalling but for his political stupidity.

      He’s been in the house 20 years and has decent committee assignments (foreign affairs and financial services). Why is this guy pulling a backbencher attention grabbing move when all he has to do is “do the right thing” for a few more terms and then pick up a cushy directorship or think tank gig?

    2. No Way Out

      So the Democrats think we want a biblical literalist in the Oval Office? What a completely USELESS bunch of morons. LBJ would be rolling in his grave.

      1. different clue

        The DemParty elites don’t care what we want or don’t want. They want their good friend and fellow officeholder the biblical literalist in the Oval Office.

  19. Kim Kaufman

    “I like the drip reporting” [Eschaton].

    And consider what the hell is going on in that White House where “three advisers to the White House” are happily sticking it to Uday or Qusay or whichever one he is.

    Aren’t Javanka White House advisers?

    More likely… isn’t Bannon a White House adviser?

  20. Kim Kaufman

    Interesting article (with charts!) from “Apartment Therapy” more known for articles like “8 Vintage Pieces Used in Unexpected & Brilliant Ways” or “A Tiny Home in Rome With an Unusual Floor Plan & Luxe Look”

    Only One Sharing Economy Side Hustle Earns People More Than $500 Per Month


    But the alarming thing is that this difference appears to reflect or even magnify our already-topsy history of wealth inequality in America.

    Pew Research actually divides gig economy services into two classes: With labor platforms such as Lyft or TaskRabbit, workers are paid for their time and effort. Capital platforms, on the other hand, such as Airbnb and Etsy, allow users to make money in exchange for their goods or possessions — more like business owners than employees.

    Pew found that Black, Latino, and low-income workers were more likely to make use of labor platforms, while white and wealthier users were more inclined to sell things online or rent out rooms on Airbnb.

    Now we know that Airbnb is where the big money is at — but that opportunity is more available to the wealthy. Renting out your apartment isn’t as ready an option if you can only afford to live in a part of town that is less tourist friendly or with several roommates who may not share your entrepreneurial ambitions. In many cases, the advantage also favors homeowners over renters, since tenants who sublet through Airbnb risk eviction if their lease forbids it.

    Basically, it’s one more instance where it takes money to make money. And you could argue it’s yet another way the wealth and racial inequality gap in America continues to grow.

  21. marym

    Trump intervenes to grant rejected Afghan girls entry to U.S. for robot contest

    At the urging of President Donald Trump, U.S. officials have reversed course and decided to allow into the United States a group of Afghan girls hoping to participate in an international robotics competition next week, senior administration officials told POLITICO on Wednesday.

    The decision followed a furious public backlash to the news that the six teens had been denied U.S. visas.

    Kind of makes you wonder what sustained backlash on actual issues, not Russiagate, would accomplish.

  22. MtnLife

    The espresso machine in the Tesla technician van sounds more like an rough estimation of how worked to death the employee will be. Apparently, they realized that meth, aside from being illegal, has a much larger footprint to brew some up when you need it.

    And in the opening shots in War on Cash – American Version:

    Visa Will Give 50 Restaurants $10K Each To Upgrade Payment Tech If They Ban Cash

    To me this headline reads: Visa to make me avoid 50 restaurants

    But to each their own.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Nah, what you want to do is phone each restaurant and say that you want to book a large party for several nights on days that the restaurant is normally quiet. Then, when it comes to the subject of payment, state that when you want to pay cash up front. When they say that they do not take cash anymore, say sorry, that you will have to take your thousands of dollars and find a restaurant that does take cash.

  23. duck1

    After I finished the arugula salad all the other diners started resembling porkchops. Am I a victim of botanically induced premonition of cannibalism?

    1. different clue

      Hundreds of thousands of Klinton Koolaid Kultists will buy it. Perhaps even millions of them will buy it.

  24. allan

    Face scans for US citizens flying abroad stir privacy issues [WaPo]

    If the Trump administration gets its way, U.S. citizens boarding international flights will have to submit to a face scan, a plan privacy advocates call a step toward a surveillance state. …

    It says it won’t keep the face scans of U.S. citizens, but privacy advocates are skeptical and say Homeland Security is overstepping its authority.

    “Congress authorized scans of foreign nationals. DHS heard that and decided to scan everyone. That’s not how a democracy is supposed to work,” said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University. …

    During the trials, passengers will be able to opt out. But a DHS assessment of the privacy impact indicates that won’t always be the case.

    “The only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling,” says the June 12 document on the website of Customs and Border Protection, which runs the DHS program. …

    Participants are not being told the digital fingerprints and biographical data they submit for background checks when enrolling [in TSA Precheck] are retained in an FBI identity database for life, said Jeramie Scott, an attorney with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest nonprofit. Since last month, trials that let enrollees use a digital fingerprint scanner to speed through TSA security are underway in Atlanta and Denver.

    EPIC worries not just about potential governmental abuse but also the vulnerability to hackers. In the 2015 breach of the federal Office of Personnel Management, 5.6 million sets of fingerprint images were stolen.

    File under Big Brother Is Watching You Watch Getting Your Face Scanned For Future Use By China.

    But best of all,

    … The biometric exit endeavor will cost billions. That’s partly because U.S. airports don’t have dedicated secure immigration areas for departing international flights. Domestic and international passengers commingle in the same concourses. …

    This will make Rapiscan seem like a rounding error.

Comments are closed.