2:00PM Water Cooler 5/13/2016

By Lambert Strether of .

TPP/TTiP/TISA

“Power players in the financial services industry are threatening to sit out the push for President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade deal unless the administration addresses one of their main objections to the pact” []. “Banks, insurance companies and other financial companies oppose a provision in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would give foreign governments the ability to require that U.S. businesses maintain data servers within their borders, fearing it could create high costs and security risks.” Francis Creighton, executive vice president of government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable: “We would rather see nothing happen than pass TPP with this provision.” Yikes!

“Passing TPP and rewarding slave labor is morally reprehensible” [] (see here). They’re right!

“TTIP leaks highlight the dangers of regulatory cooperation” []. “On top of private parallel courts which would create an avenue for multinationals to receive vast amount of taxpayers’ money in ‘compensation’ for democratic decisions, TTIP poses another threat to public interest legislation: regulatory cooperation (or convergence, as often referred to in the USA). Regulatory cooperation aims to align standards across the Atlantic by changing law-making in the European Union and the United States of America.

We have already seen the dire consequences of the US government’s regulatory interference. One dialogue between the EU and US authorities led to a long delay in the adoption of a ban on cosmetics tested on animals. Originally, the ban should have been fully adopted by 1998. But the regulatory dialogue between the EU and US governments led to a 15-year delay. The full ban only became effective in 2013.

“Economic platitudes about how trade is always worthwhile as long as the winners can compensate the losers are an insult in the age of inequality, where the winners increasingly use their political power to claim ever more winnings” [Jared Bernstein, ]. Bernstein’s bottom line, summarizing the results of “a superb set of by economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson.”

2016

Policy

“Mr. Trump’s victory was an endorsement of Mr. Trump but also a rebuke to professional Republicans in Washington” [Peggy Noonan, , “Mr. Trump Goes to Washington”]. “He understood, either intuitively or after study, that the Republican base was changing or open to change, and would expand if the party changed some policies. He declared those policies changed. And he won” (for example. What other Republican candidate would go into South Carolina, a heavily military state, and instead of wrapping himself in the flag?) Nooners concludes: “As for the political consultants who insult Mr. Trump so vigorously, they are the ones who did most to invent him. What do they ever do in good conscience?”

“In a statement to The Washington Post, Clinton’s campaign said she supports removing bankers from the boards of directors and increasing diversity within the Fed” []. I’m filing this under policy, even though there’s no evidence this victory for identity politics would have any effect on policy whatever.

“Donald Trump Becomes More Conservative On Entitlements As He Seeks Republican Donors” [].

“U.S. Gives Sweeping Guidance to Schools on Transgender Students” []. I’m baffled by this. It’s impossible for me to believe that the White House is acting from a sense of justice, especially in an election year, but who does this persuade besides the already convinced?

The Voters

“But according to polling we conducted at Democracy Corps in February, moderates make up a stunning 31 percent of the GOP base. Commentators on the ongoing GOP train wreck pay a lot of attention to the tea party, white working-class voters and rural evangelical Christians, but how much have you heard about the alienation of the moderate third of the party?” [Stanley B. Greenberg, ]. Shorter: Polling shows Clinton will throw Sanders suppporters under the bus.

Our Famously Free Press

“‘This (Washington Post) is owned as a toy by Jeff Bezos, who controls Amazon. Amazon is getting away with murder tax-wise. He’s using the Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed,’ Trump said” []. Trump got the first part right, anyhow; any entity the size of WaPo is “owned as a toy” by any squillionaire, by definition. A second example is the New Republic, owned by a lucky Facebook squillionaire until he got tired of it after a year.

“But, on one subject in this election [Jennifer Rubin (conservative) and Greg Sargent (liberal)] have found common ground: A mutual distaste for Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy” []. Now there’s a shock.

Money

“Bet” means there’s a payoff, no?

Wall Street is betting on a democrat for president for first time in a long time-

— Sheelah Kolhatkar (@sheelahk)

“Trump Campaign Could Use New Donations to Pay Donald Trump $36M for Loan” []. That’s going to set Trump in solid with the donors.

Corruption

“A $2 million commitment arranged by the nonprofit Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 went to a [Energy ­Pioneer Solutions , a] for-profit company part-owned by friends of the Clintons” [, “Clinton Charity Aided Clinton Friends”]. Ka-ching. Giving rise to the usual bimbo eruption framing:

Today's cover: Bill Clinton's charity gave $2 million to a company owned by his "friend"

— New York Post (@nypost)

“The fit, blond mother of three, who lives just minutes from Bill and Hillary Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, West­chester, is the daughter of Joel Tauber, a millionaire donor to the Democratic Party.” More to the point: “Other Clinton friends — including former Democratic congressional candidate Scott Kleeb, Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias and Mark Weiner — share ownership of Energy ­Pioneer Solutions.” Putting the most benign interpretation on this arrangement, it looks remarkably cozy. Do they all summer at the Vineyard?

The Trail

“Fearing Trump, some Democrats up pressure on Sanders to exit” []. Quoted: DiFi, , McCaskill… A fine selection of figures who show what’s wrong with the Democrat Party. The final paragraph: ‘”We are looking forward to welcoming him back to the Senate,’ said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.” .

“As the general election campaign nears, Trump has settled on a label for the likely Democratic nominee: ‘Crooked Hillary'” []. “It works,” he boasted to the New York Times. ‘It flows.'” Clinton’s counter: “‘[L]oose cannon.’ … In Trump’s case, it boils down to: Do you trust this man with the nuclear codes?” Again, Clinton converts weakness into strength. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Honduras, Ukraine. How much does a cannon have to move around before it gets called “loose”?

“As Democrats’ battle wages on, the White House signals end is near” []. From May 11. Did anybody pick up the signal? I mean, besides our famously free press?

Pompous article on the Rhodes kerfuffle, from which I pluck this sentence: “It appears that President Obama decided very early on that the Beltway’s foreign policy establishment was not to be trusted to do the right thing — or even to think independently about what the right thing might be. To be sure, its track record left something to be desired” [James Poulos, ]. “Something to be desired.” Who was Poulos’ last employer? ?

“If real change is to ever come to Indian Country, it will not come packaged by the political elites who stand to benefit from the status-quo. It will come in the form of a man like Bernie who has chosen to put the people before campaign contributions” []. I’d argue that on any environmental or climate issue, being side-by-side with the tribes — many of whom are sovereign — is correct, morally and strategically, giving this endorsement outsize importance.

“Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren ‘discussed’ presidential bid last year” []. Oh.

Great Headlines of Our Time: “Trump disavows butler’s call for Obama to be killed” [].

Clinton Email Hairball

“Clinton abandoned secure line to use home phone, new email shows” [].

Stats Watch

Consumer Sentiment, May 2016 (preliminary): “Consumer sentiment is absolutely soaring so far this month, up nearly 7 points to 95.8 for the mid-month flash. This is the best reading since June last year. Expectations, which have been pulling down the headline index most of this year, jumped nearly 10 points to 87.5” []. “The month-to-month turnaround for this reading is the best of the cycle, since 2006. Current conditions are also moving higher.” And: “The largest gains were centered in lower-income and younger households, who may be more sensitive to income gains and the jobs outlook, the Michigan researchers noted in a release” []. And: “‘Consumers discounted the first quarter GDP report as a misleading indicator, instead, they have based their expectations more on their own direct experiences,’ Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan consumer survey, said in a statement. ‘The early May data are a welcome sign of an impending shift toward spending and away from savings'” []. As a Maine bear, my speculation was that the elite feeling of having dodged a bullet in Q1 finally percolated down to the general; that translates to “consumers discounted,” I think. Context: “This is a survey, a quantification of opinion rather than facts and data. The question – does sentiment lead or truly correlate to any economic activity? Since 1990, there seems to be a loose general correlation to real household income growth” [].

Business Inventories, March 2016: “Business inventories rose a sizable 0.4 percent in March but held in line with a 0.3 percent rise for sales, keeping the inventory-to-sales ratio unchanged” []. “The headline 0.4 percent gain looks heavy for a flat economy though the early indications for the second-quarter, namely the retail sales report, point to a pick up for the economy and perhaps the need to build inventories.” But: “The inventory-to-sales ratios remain at recessionary levels” [].

PPI-FD, April 2016: “Energy prices may be up but producer prices are still not showing much life” []. “Year-on-year rates are also stalled, unchanged for the total reading and up only 0.9 percent for the core. Judging by this report, inflationary benefits from higher oil prices and the lower dollar have yet to take hold.” And: “The Producer Price Index year-over-year inflation is zero. The intermediate processing continues to show a large deflation in the supply chain” []. But: “According to the Labor Department’s Producer Price Index, the cost to make drugs and pharmaceuticals has jumped 8.5% in the 12 months ending April” []. “Ian Shepherdson, chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that’s the fastest growth rate since the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra came onto the market.”

Retail Sales, April 16, 2016: “The consumer snapped back to life in April, driving retail sales 1.3 percent higher to beat Econoday’s consensus by 4 tenths and the high estimate by 1 tenth. Gains are spread throughout most of the report” [Econoday]. On autos and gas. “Apparel was a big contributor in April along with nonstore retailers and with restaurants also showing a gain. The only component in contraction was building materials & garden equipment [??] which hints at a little cooling for what has been very solid residential investment.” But: “Retail sales per capita seems to be in a long term downtrend” []. But see this chart:

This chart is another really ominous sign for the retail industry

— Elena Holodny (@elenaholodny)

Suppose that household savings rate decreases, and people start spending on, say, apparel?

Marketing: “The “Influencer” Economy Is Collapsing Under the Weight of its Own Contradictions” []. Fun read.

Marketing: “Confessions of a social media exec on influencer marketing: ‘We threw too much money at them'” []. Same topic. Must be a thing!

Marketing: “Be nice to Hillary Clinton online — or risk a confrontation with her super PAC” []. Unlike the headline, the URL includes the words “digital trolling.”

Commodities: “OPEC said the global oil market is oversupplied and signaled the glut may increase this year, as surging output from its members makes up for losses from other countries whose production has been hit by a price fall” [].

Shipping: “Europe’s major cargo carriers have seen cargo volumes return to growth in April after a difficult start to the year” []. “All four major European airlines monitored in the Air Cargo News monthly spotlight recorded a year on year increase in demand in April for the first time since March 2014.”

The Bezzle: “The IMF is already using its bailout power in trying to change deeply entrenched corruption in some nations” [, “Bribery Taints $2 Trillion of Transactions Globally, IMF Says”]. Swell.

“As Wall Street analysts beat their heads against a wall trying to figure out the stock market’s direction, investors are cutting loose of equities and jumping into the perceived safety of gold and bonds” []. “Equity outflows totaled $7.4 billion, the fifth straight week of losses, in the five weeks ended May 11, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Flow Show, released Friday. A breakdown of that shows $4.8 billion flowed out of mutual funds and $2.7 billion from exchange-traded funds.”

“In yet another sign of a slowdown in the booming Bay Area economy, tech layoffs more than doubled in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year” [].

“If the unemployment rate for long-term unemployed workers continues to stall, then the [Beveridge] overall curve may not shift back to its previous spot. This would mean unemployment may be near its equilibrium rate right now. But if the curve does start shifting back (down and to the left), that means the equilibrium rate is lower than before and unemployment can go significantly below 5 percent. Clearly, we should keep an eye on these shifts” []. Notice the assumption that we regulate the economy by throwing people out of work, rather in the manner of ancient elites sacrificing slaves for a favorable augury.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 60, Greed (previous close: 61, Greed) []. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 13 at 11:41am.

Unsettlement

“Civil disobedience is the only way left to fight climate change” []. “Last Sunday, around 1,000 people closed the world’s largest coal-exporting port in Newcastle, Australia and other bold actions are happening at power stations, oil refineries, pipelines and mines everywhere from the Philippines, Brazil and the US, to Nigeria, Germany and India. This is just the start of the promised escalation after the Paris agreement, and the largest ever act of civil disobedience in the history of the environmental movement.”

Gaia

“A Eukaryote without a Mitochondrial Organelle” [].

Class Warfare

“Professional-oriented helicopter parents like Andrea left nothing to chance—she began reviewing the dental graduate-school application process before college even began, and ensured that her daughter acquired the right experiences to secure a spot in a top institution” []. Meritocracy [snort].

” New York Times boss sued over alleged ageist, racist and sexist hiring practices” []. “Mark Thompson, the chief executive of the New York Times and former director-general of the BBC, is facing a multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit alleging that he introduced a culture of “deplorable discrimination” based on age, race and gender at the newspaper.”

“Why Americans Ignore the Role of Luck in Everything” []. Nice introductory anecdote, concluding: “As [economist Robert] Frank couldn’t resist pointing out, Varney’s idea of ‘coming to America with nothing’ left out the fact that, at the time he did, he had a degree from the London School of Economics — his was not the story of a battered émigré riding in steerage on a creaky transatlantic steamship.”

News of the Wired

“In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at MIT, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.” []. Or… do other things.

“To help with his class this year, a Georgia Tech professor hired Jill Watson, a teaching assistant unlike any other in the world. Throughout the semester, she answered questions online for students, relieving the professor’s overworked teaching staff” []. “But, in fact, Jill Watson was an artificial intelligence bot.” So much for adjuncts….

“Announcing SyntaxNet: The World’s Most Accurate Parser Goes Open Source” []. “Given a sentence as input, it tags each word with a part-of-speech (POS) tag that describes the word’s syntactic function, and it determines the syntactic relationships between words in the sentence, represented in the dependency parse tree. These syntactic relationships are directly related to the underlying meaning of the sentence in question.”

“The Dark Web Has Its Own Lit Magazine” [].

“How Typography Can Save Your Life” []. The sad story of Clearview, which should have been the mandated successor to Highway Gorthic. I’ll bet self-driving cars would find life easier with consistent signage, but n-o-o-o-o-o…..

* * *

Readers, feel free to 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 (Mrs. Mop):

backyard-habana

Mrs. Mop writes: “A beautiful secret backyard in Habana Vieja, broiling during the April heat with huge trees reaching for the sun.”

* * *

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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.

104 comments

  1. fresno dan

    “Mr. Trump’s victory was an endorsement of Mr. Trump but also a rebuke to professional Republicans in Washington” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Trump Goes to Washington”]. “He understood, either intuitively or after study, that the Republican base was changing or open to change, and would expand if the party changed some policies. He declared those policies changed. And he won” (for example. What other Republican candidate would go into South Carolina, a heavily military state, and declare Bush (and Clinton’s) Iraq war the “worst decision,” instead of wrapping himself in the flag?) Nooners concludes: “As for the political consultants who insult Mr. Trump so vigorously, they are the ones who did most to invent him. What do they ever do in good conscience?”

    ============================================================
    What is striking about America’s two major parties is how assiduously they thwart the will of the majority, on issue after issue. Always defending their anti majoritarian schemes with the Ptomkin village that it is necessary lest Jim Crow be reenacted, they express no concern for the middle class and often times express outright contempt for the poor.

    Modern American politics, succinctly expressed, is quit your bitchin…

  2. Qrys

    “Power players in the financial services industry are threatening to sit out the push for President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade deal unless the administration addresses one of their main objections to the pact”

    Say! — Didn’t you get this sucker “Fast Tracked”, O.? It’s dead if you do and dead if you don’t…

    1. Kurt Sperry

      If “power players in the financial services ‘industry'” are opposed to the deal, maybe it’s time to re-examine our opposition to it. Have they ever opposed anything bad before?

      1. Ian

        I think you have to take that opposition with a grain of salt. This is more likely just leveraging for more. Or making it seem like the deal is not the obscene corporate give away that it is.

        1. Qrys

          Banks, insurance companies and other financial companies oppose a provision in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would give foreign governments the ability to require that U.S. businesses maintain data servers within their borders, fearing it could create high costs and security risks.

          Translation: ‘And by “security risks” we really mean that foreign governments could seize or infiltrate our servers and find out what terrible things we’re really up to…’

  3. allan

    A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that the Obama administration need not release the unabridged version of a Senate Intelligence Committee report that sharply criticized the Central Intelligence Agency’s treatment of terror suspects aggressively interrogated in the years after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    A unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the Senate had not relinquished control over the report when it sent copies of the document to various executive branch agencies, like the CIA and the Justice Department. Therefore, those agencies were under no obligation to fulfill Freedom of Information Act requests for the full report, Judge Harry Edwards wrote on behalf of Judges David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan. …

    All three D.C. Circuit judges assigned to the case are Democratic appointees. Edwards was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Tatel by President Bill Clinton, and Srinivasan by President Barack Obama.

    Anybody who thinks HRC’s nominations to the bench would be any better needs to lay off the weed.

    1. fresno dan

      “All three D.C. Circuit judges assigned to the case are Democratic appointees. Edwards was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Tatel by President Bill Clinton, and Srinivasan by President Barack Obama.”

      AKA murders row….

      There is a bizarre belief in how wonderful judges are, particularly judges appointed by dems. I have far, far more faith that the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and leprechauns will protect me from the depredations of the state…

    2. LifelongLib

      I’m no lawyer, but isn’t it also possible that under existing law the judges had no choice but to rule as they did? The report should be released but maybe it’s Congress that should do it…

  4. jsn

    I encountered the “influencer” thing back in early December in London where some youngish developers had managed to control around twenty acres adjacent to abandon ship yards and dry docks out east across from the O2.

    They were intending to build a million square feet or so of “influencer” space: essentially 8 story commercial loft type structures that are some how three dimensionally changeable and cheap. These last two qualities are mutually exclusive.

    I assumed that this was some sort of combined real estate /social media delusion brought on by the IV money drip London and NY deal makers have been hooked up to long enough to forget what the world looks like without it. I’ll be hearing from them next week, it’ll be interesting to see what they are onto now!

  5. katz

    “U.S. Gives Sweeping Guidance to Schools on Transgender Students”

    the WH is larding up symbolic legacy gestures. Two attempts in one week, between this and Hiroshima.

    1. Roger Smith

      Don’t forget the *cough-cough* Johnny Cash stunt he pulled in Flint. Despicable.

      1. Vatch

        Johnny Cash? I’m confused, what does that mean? Is this the event where Obama pretended to drink some Flint water?

        1. Roger Smith

          At one (or both?) of the Folsom shows Johnny Cash asked for a glass of water and (differing accounts seem to be all over) in one way or the other commented on the poor quality. The idea is “yea! what a bad ass he is with us! (a prisoner perspective). Of course it was cool for Cash to do, drinking dirty water like a prison and saying, “yeah this is shit, wtf?”; solidarity. Obama on the other hand… “the water is fine. Help is coming? Love me!”

          1. fresno dan

            I didn’t know that.
            I believe on Cash’s Folsom Prison album some guard has some interaction with an inmate and Cash quips, “they mean bastards, ain’t they?” – if I recall correctly

      2. Barmitt O'Bamney

        And just this week, a senior aide to President Obama announced that he plans to spend his retirement searching for the Public Option’s real killers. If they’re anywhere near a PGA tour golf course, he’ll get ’em.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Now that’s an analogy that works on many levels.

          O = OJ

          Well-Liked
          Celebrity
          Oreo
          Criminal
          Narcissist

          ‘If the drone don’t fit (in the Hague definition) then you must acquit”

    2. Sammy Maudlin

      I have a possible left-field theory. Is it part of a greater effort to drive public schools out of business by loading them down with so many requirements that their already-stretched-to-the-breaking-point budgets can’t take any more? Or perhaps create a requirement that will be so controversial in certain areas that those school boards will never agree to it, thus creating an excuse to cut off funding?

      Remember, some very prominent members of the Obama-Rahm donor circle are big school privatizers (Ken Griffin, Penny Pritzker to name two).

      1. different clue

        If the DC FedRegime cuts off funding to schools which defy this new directive, does that mean that cut-off schools can henceforth reject any and all Federal Directives? Including all the engineered failure-creation laws and rules connected with No Child Left Behind?

        Could the DC FedRegime have accidentally opened a door for school districts to reject FedMade failure on behalf of the privatization conspiracy by rejecting the trans-bathroom mandate and thereby losing Federal Funds? And could “Blue Zone” jurisdictional areas protect themselves further by restoring missing school-support taxes and restricting those taxes to public schools only and by investing in genuine education, in defiance of the anti-education No Child Left Behind and the anti-education Common Core laws and directives?

      2. polecat

        We have entered the sjw/pc event horizon……and getting sucked into the black hole called ridiculousness……..’sigh’

  6. Jim Haygood

    Re: How Typography Can Save Your Life

    This week I received a free trial to a financial newsletter. It is published in Courier, a typewriter-style equal-spaced typeface.

    Maybe it’s meant to look like teletype output … to the over-50 crowd. Or as if Hemingway just yanked it out of the carriage roller. But it’s hard to read — not a good way of being distinctive.

    Should I be elected president, my first executive order will mandate that the Federal Register be published in Comic Sans.

    1. Jess

      Stick with finance, Jim, and put away any secret longings you may have to engage in a screenwriting career. Courier 12 pt is the only acceptable screenplay font. In fact, IIRC, the two most popular screenwriting format software only have Courier 12 as a font option.

      (The font size and type is standardized to service the basic rule of thumb that a page of script should equal a minute of running time. And while individual pages may vary, invariably a properly formatted 120 page screenplay will result in a film approximately 2 hours in length — give or take a couple of minutes.)

      1. Jim Haygood

        You’re the second source I’ve heard this from today. Here’s the other one:

        NYC is a place for the wealthy and hip. D.C. is for the government. SF is for the techies. And L.A. is where those without a CV go to become famous, a land of wispy trends that rarely gain traction.

        So, you live in one of these enclaves and you think what you’re involved in is happening, but that’s rarely the case.

        Well, bloody hell …

        *pops the top on another Bitter American*

        1. Qrys

          *pops the top on another *®

          ‘Bitter American’ is a registered trademark of AB InBev Corporation.

          1. Jim Haygood

            The name’s too ironic for Belgians. These are the guys who make it:

            America!®

            1. Qrys

              Ah, sorry Jim.

              I know the brewery, though they’re not one of my faves. Session IPA, eh? Well then, have another!! Prosit!

        2. RP

          And to those of you in the economic sacrifice zones, remember the 2 iron laws of neoliberalism!

    2. craazyman

      Ode to Courier in Random Lines of Helvetica:

      courier is the typeface of unfiltered raw poetic genius

      courier is the raw depository of poetic vision under lamplight in a room in a house in nowhere with a beer

      courier is the elemental soul of the skeleton of words

      courier is the branding iron by which visions of the map of eternity are burnt onto a page

      courier is the King James bible of typefaces for 20th century anthems of deifications of eternal soul collective divinities conduited through soul singularities

      courier is the letters of gnostic democracy wailing in stanzas and lines and words the burn your soul with revelations

      courier is the Macluanian medium for the transcendtal message of universalism

      courier is bang bang bang on the page from an old machine channeling the mind the way a sculptures chisel channels and makes its marks in marble

      courier is the flag of democracy flying in ink ribbon imprints

      courier is the Scream musical and liberating, American in the most distilled sense

      don’t fuck with courier, respect it and you’ll respect everything that makes you you

      courier is the telegraph of teleological aestheticism

      courier is the math of language and the equations of the exploration of self in a room alone

      courier is what you bang before a beer and after a beer, with wet fingers from the can condensation

      courier is the redolence of an abstract religion

      courier is itself a meaning that means things unseen but felt in every moment of democratic divinity

    3. craazyman

      Courier

      Get me the F out of moderation!

      You can’t type it and not see it and have it be PG prime when it’s so on topic! hahaha

      Of course, granjon and Garamond are good too

  7. Nick

    Re the sweeping guidance to schools on transgender:

    This is now a safe issue to come out for, so I suspect that this is a just Obama strategically working on his legacy. In ten years this will be prominently touted at Obama’s library.

    1. Unorthodoxmarxist

      Plus it plays well to the swathe of identity-politics Dem voters. Throwing them some red meat to amp up the general election campaign for Hillary.

    2. ambrit

      Obama and his female “Mini Me” would never ‘come out’ for anything. They’ll let some ‘true believers’ do the ‘coming out’ for the Party.

  8. Michael Fiorillo

    As for Wall Street “betting” on a Democrat for the first time in a long while, you mean, like, since 2008?

  9. Jason

    Should this one have gone under The Jackpot?

    “Civil disobedience is the only way left to fight climate change” [Guardian]. “Last Sunday, around 1,000 people closed the world’s largest coal-exporting port in Newcastle, Australia and other bold actions are happening at power stations, oil refineries, pipelines and mines everywhere from the Philippines, Brazil and the US, to Nigeria, Germany and India. This is just the start of the promised escalation after the Paris agreement, and the largest ever act of civil disobedience in the history of the environmental movement.”

    I suspect this is going to be a great wave of the future. Our system of laws has failed, hollowed out and turned against the public and the nation-states alike, to be used for the advantage of those with the power and skill to wield them. The end result will be vigilantism by drone, dark web assassination and disruption markets, and the painful evolution of alternative markets for dispute resolution.

    1. Praedor

      I see beyond mere civil disobedience. I see active monkey wrenching. I see direct action.

      There is still a field of play available.

  10. Jim Haygood

    From the NY Post, July 21, 2014:

    Bill Clinton reportedly has a buxom blonde mistress who visits so often when Hillary Clinton isn’t home in Chappaqua that the former president’s Secret Service detail have given her an unofficial code name: Energizer.

    Ronald Kessler’s book says none of the normal protocols is followed when Energizer arrives in her SUV, sometimes just minutes after Hillary has left the Westchester house. Kessler quotes a supervisor informing a new agent: “You don’t stop her, you don’t approach her, you just let her go in.”

    Kessler also reports that Hillary’s Secret Service detail informs Bill’s Secret Service detail when the former first lady is coming home, so Bill has time to get Energizer off the property and clean up any evidence.

    Now the NY Post puts a buxom blonde on the cover, describing her as Bill’s “close friend.”

    Hmmmm … she looks pretty “energetic” to me! :-)

    1. rich

      meanwhile, better question…….not a fan of ibd but…

      Scandal: A new investigation reveals that Bill and Hillary Clinton took in at least $100 million from Middle East leaders. Can such a financially and ethically compromised candidate truly function as our nation’s leader?

      The question is an open one: Did the oil-rich Mideast nations give lavishly to the Clinton Foundation in an effort to influence future U.S. policy? And what about Bill Clinton’s business partnership with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s authoritarian ruler, from 2003 to 2008? Clinton took away some $15 million in “guaranteed payments” from the deal, his tax records show.

      A picture of extraordinary greed is emerging from both Clintons in the years after they hold the highest posts in the U.S. government.

      In just the past three years, after her stint as the nation’s top diplomat, Hillary Clinton spoke to dozens of deep-pocket firms on Wall Street, typically charging $250,000 a pop to hear her wit and wisdom — despite her bitter condemnations of Wall Street during her campaign.

      All told, she took in an estimated $22 million from these speeches — an extraordinary amount, given the growing consensus among foreign-policy thinkers that Clinton was one of the worst secretaries of state ever.

      So why would Arab potentates and Wall Street magnates alike pony up so much money for the Clintons?

      Is it because they believe so strongly in the philanthropic mission of the Clinton Family Foundation?

      Or is it that they hoped to have influence on a future Hillary Clinton presidency, which would of course feature First Gentleman Bill Clinton?

      1. Barmitt O'Bamney

        I wonder if there could be any overlap between the group of ME donors to the 9-11 terrorists, donors whose identities are still being shielded by our government, and the ME donors who have more lately been showering cash on the Clintons? If I were Donald Trump, I think I’d wonder about this often, loudly and in public:

        Look, I’m not saying Hillary Clinton personally trained these mooks to fly into buildings herself. I’m not saying that because I don’t know that and it wouldn’t be honest of me. But it’s just real innaresting that she takes money -I’m talking yuuuge money- from the same kind of people. And you can’t deny she was our top foreign policy official during the growth of ISIS, while those millions were rolling in to her “foundation”. The ISIS IPO happened on her watch you know? Was it all an accident? I don’t know.

      2. LifelongLib

        Ok, but the Bushes and IIRC Trump have also had heavy dealings with the Arabs. It’s more of a class/money/business thing than a partisan thing. Not in anybody’s interest to talk about it…

    2. Jim Haygood

      I linked the 2014 ‘Energizer’ article from memory. But now the NY Post is spelling it out:

      Bill Clinton’s foundation arranged a $2 million pledge to a power company partly owned by a wealthy blond divorcée — who some say is the frequent visitor to his home nicknamed “Energizer.”

      Funny how no one’s bothered by $100 million of corrupt “contributions” from Middle Eastern sultans, mentioned by Rich above.

      But let the Clinton Foundation shower $2 million on a company partly owned by Bill’s mistress, and suddenly it’s got everyone’s full attention.

      Driven by the human interest angle of a possible sex scandal, the Clinton Foundation is going to get a lot more attention now, both from journos and possibly from federal investigators. The foundation’s “Canadian cutout” is a dead giveaway that something shady is going on — a “professionally structured money laundering operation,” as one observer put it.

      It’s like 1998 deja vu, all over again. Bring on the bimbo eruptions!

      1. Jim Haygood

        Our Friday night dirt dump continues. When it rains, it pours!

        Former President Bill Clinton was a much more frequent flyer on a registered sex offender’s infamous jet than previously reported, with flight logs showing the former president taking at least 26 trips aboard the “Lolita Express” — even apparently ditching his Secret Service detail for at least five of the flights, according to records obtained by FoxNews.com.

        Clinton’s presence aboard Jeffrey Epstein’s Boeing 727 on 11 occasions has been reported, but flight logs show the number is more than double that, and trips between 2001 and 2003 included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including “Tatiana.”

        The tricked-out jet earned its Nabakov-inspired nickname because it was reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls.

        “Bill Clinton … associated with a man like Jeffrey Epstein, who everyone in New York, certainly within his inner circles, knew was a pedophile,” said Conchita Sarnoff, of the Washington, D.C. based non-profit Alliance to Rescue Victims of Trafficking, and author of a book on the Epstein case called “TrafficKing.” “Why would a former president associate with a man like that?”

        *pops the top on an Old Leghumper*

    3. Arizona Slim

      Ron Kessler’s book has a lot to say about how the Clintons have treated their Secret Service details. Suffice it to say that the agents look upon Hillary’s detail as a form of punishment.

  11. Isolato

    Watch out, might have been written by Parsey McParseFace (see Google syntaxbot story)!

    Parsey is sometimes mistaken for a naked Arnold Swarznegger…

    1. Qrys

      I suspect that Parsey McParseFace will crash trying to decipher a Donald Trump speech…

  12. DJG

    To be stressed:

    “I’d argue that on any environmental or climate issue, being side-by-side with the tribes — many of whom are sovereign — is correct, morally and strategically, giving this endorsement outsize importance.”

    The endorsement of Sanders matters. But what the immigrant America owes Native America is at least to listen. For once. (And by immigrant I mean those with ancestors who showed up after 1492.)

  13. cm

    in Oregon:

    Tran’s wrenching transition from happy 10-year veteran at Wells Fargo to self-proclaimed whistleblower began in December 2013 when he fielded a call from a couple terrified they were going to get foreclosed out of their home. They were overdue on their second mortgage and Wells Fargo was demanding a balloon payment.

    Tran, who worked at the bank’s Beaverton call center, checked and checked again. He claims he could find no trace of the couple’s loan in the bank’s computer system and he told the couple so.

    Tran says his bosses were not happy. Three months later, on April 21, 2014, Tran and the rest of his team received an email from a supervisor telling them that full disclosure was a bad idea.

    “Please remember when you come across a situation where we have a lost contract, deed, any type of document, really, but especially when It relates to securing a property, we are not to share that with the customer,” reads the email, which Tran submitted into the court file./

    1. RWood

      Lathrop: You can’t let feelings interfere with your first duty.
      Winters: What is my first duty as a soldier?
      Lathrop: To obey orders.

  14. annie

    just watched maurizio crozza (italian tv critic/comic) do a damning opening segment satirizing TTIP — and obama–mocking what chemically tainted foodstuffs the u.s. wants to force down italians’ throats.

  15. Synoia

    I’m baffled by this. It’s impossible for me to believe that the White House is acting from a sense of justice, especially in an election year, but who does this persuade besides the already convinced?

    It is an eleven dimensional way to do nothing but polish one’s legacy.

    1. cwaltz

      I guess I’m not as cynical as the rest of you. I do believe from time to time that even the wrong people can do or try to do the right thing.

      I didn’t vote for Obama but there have been things he’s done that I’ve thought were decent and right. Granted, they probably are dwarfed by the number of people that have died thanks to our manipulative foreign policy that he put Clinton in charge of or his complete ability to ignore corruption within the banking or health care community but every once in a while he’s not been a complete waste of a Presidency(not enough for me to vote status quo though to consider the “democrat” legacy.)

  16. Adrienne

    “U.S. Gives Sweeping Guidance to Schools on Transgender Students”

    @Nick, transgender equality in schools seems a “safe issue” now, but it’s likely to get messier in the near future.

    I skimmed the DOJ letter and it makes a common but inaccurate conflation between sex and gender. Sex is biology: one is either male or female (or one of a tiny percentage of intersex individuals). Gender is cultural: “masculine” or “feminine” presentations are culturally constructed modes of dress, habit, etc. Transgender activists are pushing for a narrative that minimizes biology and elevates social gender constructs as the only relevant standard. But the fact remains that transwomen are male by birth, with all the attendant physiological attributes.

    The DOJ’s letter allows for “sex-segregated” athletic teams. But if sex == gender, the term “sex-segregated” no longer makes a distinction between girls and MtF persons, and opens the way for transwomen to directly compete against biological females. Think it won’t happen? Well, the Olympic Committee has eliminated the requirement that transwomen athletes complete sex transition, only that testosterone levels be within a specified limit:

    Please note, I am 100% in favor of transgender rights. However, I see some troublesome situations arising out of well-intentioned but flawed policies that seek to minimize the differences between trans and non-trans people. I don’t have an answer for this, and discrimination based on gender orientation is flat out wrong— but trans folk have unique medical and social needs and it serves no one to pretend that one’s biology is immaterial.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      troublesome situations: Like missing out on the gold medal? Or getting the sh1t beat out of them (or worse) for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Troublesome.

      Transgender activists are pushing for a narrative that minimizes biology and elevates social gender constructs as the only relevant standard. It’s not a “narrative.”

      1. MtnLife

        I think he means that allowing trans women to compete as women could actually make discrimination worse. Male and female divisions in sports are based upon biological physical differences. Allowing someone to gain the bone structure and muscle mass of a man to then compete against cis women is inherently unfair in much the same way as taking steroids. I have a trans friend who I’ve worked with who also competes. No one has an issue with her use of the bathroom or any other standard knee jerk hatred. Lots of people have an issue with someone who wouldn’t place in the top 10 as a man, taking 1st or 2nd place as a woman.

        1. savedbyirony

          And/or taking the roster spot and sports scholarship, etc. (females are not “cis women”; adult human females are “women”)

          1. Chris

            Do you understand that some women are trans (hence the need to distinguish cis women from them)?

        2. Adrienne

          @MtnLife,

          “Lots of people have an issue with someone who wouldn’t place in the top 10 as a man, taking 1st or 2nd place as a woman.”

          Exactly.

          @Left in Wisconsin,
          I do not mean to diminish the terrible discrimination trans people face. But it’s not as simple as saying “transwomen are women, period” as many trans activists proclaim. What we are dealing with now is a primitive situation reminiscent of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies around gay & lesbian folks—we don’t really want to hear about trans issues, and we would just as soon make them invisible, rather than taking a hard look at the way that social constructs of gender make life so difficult for so many.

          Society needs to recognize its misogynistic beliefs and behaviors and how they affect both women and transwomen. At the same time, if we ignore the reality of biological sex we fail to acknowledge the systemic oppression of women and girls by the patriarchal system.

          1. polecat

            Question… what are ‘trans’ men then….????? ….I mean, all this is absurdity, …. collectively, as a society, we have much bigger fish to fry, and this whole ‘trans’ campaign does nothing but serve as an election based distraction!

            question…after ‘trans rights become enshrined into law, what is next???

            It’s becoming like the modern version of ‘Babel’….everybody screaming, but nobody listening either!

            1. cwaltz

              Trans people are intersex. For a long time we believed that biologically the difference between a male and a female was a chromosome rather than many different genes. We now know that is NOT true.

              The reality is there are many genes involved in the creating our identity and 40 weeks for genes to not cascade in a way to make someone definitively male or definitively female.

          2. cwaltz

            I’m going to guess you don’t actually know any transgender people.

            It’s more of a body image issue then it is the idea that it’s socially unacceptable for a male to be feminine.

    2. Nick

      Interesting facts about this topic and I readily admit I know very little about it. I am completely uninterested in sports, but I certainly see how that could become an issue.

      I may have a naive/simpleton’s approach to the matter, but IOM, everyone, regardless of whatever (race, sex, etc) should be treated with respect and dignity, and if we were to actually treat everyone this way, there wouldn’t even be a need to have seperate male/female restrooms. There should be less compartmentalizing, not more (with a caveat for people with special needs, in which case it should go without saying that those needs should be accomodated without making any fuss about it).

    3. cwaltz

      Uh actually transgender has very little to do with “social constructs.” Transgender means you biologically believe you were placed in the wrong BODY. Transwomen are born with male genitalia, they also are born with female brains. You are suggesting that we define our gender by our genitals, they are suggesting that their gender is defined by their brain. The psychologists, by the way, agree with them. The reality is we can change the outside of a body, we can’t rewire a brain.

    4. cwaltz

      If you are going to cite biology then you might want to actually educate yourself on the biological process instead of suggesting that transgender is about social constructs.

      The process that makes each of us the person we are goes far beyond that X or Y gene.

  17. Alex morfesis

    TPP financial services roundtable….costs and security…or not wanting to have records subpoenaed…you do know corporations have moved server farms to switzerland since the secrecy laws extend to data….

  18. Kokuanani

    David Dayen, whom I think we can proudly claim as “one of our own,” received a glowing review in the Sunday NYT Book Review section.

    “Chain of Title” also won the Ida & Studs Terkel Fund’s prize for writing.

    The Fund is devoted to supporting the work of promising authors in a range of fields who share Studs’s fascination with the many dimensions of everyday life in America, and who, like Studs, are committed to exploring aspects of America that are not adequately represented by the mainstream media.

    Congrats, DDay.

  19. bob kociolek

    It occurs to me that all the Hillary Correct the Record needs are some savvy influencers to get their message out. Where does one find such people? Why, in the Water Cooler of NK!!!!!!!! hahahahahah

    1. cwaltz

      Is their message, “my candidate is just as corrupt, hawkish and status quo as the male candidates that competed prior to her?” If so, I volunteer to spread her message. I’d consider it a labor of love.

  20. Harry

    Turns out that if you are a very large misogynist bully, it’s best to leave your homeland and start up again in a new land where it will take people another 5 years to figure out you are a horrible human being.

    Sorry Mark, I didn’t see you there.

  21. meeps

    “A Eukaryote without a Mitochondrial Organelle” [Cell].

    “The specific absence of all these mitochondrial proteins in the genome of Monocercomonoides sp. indicates that this eukaryote has dispensed with the mitochondrial compartment completely. In principle, we cannot exclude the possibility that a mitochondrion exists in Monocercomonoides sp. whose protein composition has been altered entirely. However, such a hypothetical organelle could not be recognized as a mitochondrion homolog by any available means. Without any positive evidence for the latter scenario, we suggest that the complete absence of mitochondrial markers and pathways points to the bona fide absence of the organelle.”

    What a fascinating finding, or, something I can geek-out on this weekend. Thanks!

    1. jgordon

      The article was good. Basically they were bragging about discovering a bizarre eukaryote that had gotten rid of its mitochondria after it had gained an alternative metabolism by stealing the required stuff from bacteria. The stunning conclusion is that mitochondria are not strictly necessary for eukaryotes, and that’s a big deal. They’ll no doubt soon be rewriting all intro biology textbooks because of this.

      Note: that would never happen in economics. Well neoclassical economics anyway. Other sorts of economics may have some pretensions towards integrity and so might be willing to question the fundamental dogma of their ideology from time time to time. Not that they’re much better in the grand scheme of things though.

  22. meeps

    “In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at MIT, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.” [Robohub]. Or… do other things.

    This reminds me of the XFiles episode where Skinner is infected with nanotech and Krycek wields the remote control. I’ll rue the day DARPA takes such a system online.

  23. TK421

    “Fearing Trump, some Democrats up pressure on Sanders to exit”

    Of course, dump the candidate who polls best against him. That shows how serious they are about winning.

  24. Lambert Strether Post author

    WaPo

    The difference here is that when Clinton needs a fake spokesperson, she uses her own name [, laughter].

    Thanks, I’ll be here all week!

  25. Horatio Parker

    I’m tired of this site being in the anti-Clinton camp to the point of linking to Murdoch.

    1. Lambert Strether

      As opposed to Bezos?

      Adding… I’m tired of dealing with a press that’s so in the tank for two candidates that I have to go to the outliers to get any perspective at all. Be grateful I’ve been able to avoid Breitbart.

      1. Carolinian

        Tank? What tank?

        The Washington Post has built a sizable army of reporters to dig into every facet of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s life, urged on by new owner Jeff Bezos to reveal everything about the potential nominees.

        Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward revealed Wednesday that the Post has assigned 20 staffers to Trump. In addition the paper plans a book.[…]

        He also said that the paper is trying to get to the “essence” of Hillary Rodham Clinton, but he dismissed suggestions that she used a personal email server to distribute classified information.

        “I don’t think anyone feels that there was intent on her part to distribute classified information in a way that was illegal or jeopardized security,” he assured the crowd.

        That Woodward–what a sleuth.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Of course, intent isn’t necessary. I mean, imagine if it were; “Whoops, I didn’t mean to hand the Russkis the launch codes!”

          Yeah, warm and bubbly in there.

        1. lambert strether

          It’s a giant crapfest all around. Who would you rely on? Kos?

          If you want to construct a list of approved sources, feel free to do it elsewhere.

          1. Ulysses

            “If you want to construct a list of approved sources, feel free to do it elsewhere.”

            Very well said!

  26. David Carl Grimes

    I wonder if Hillary will finally divorce Bill Clinton if she loses the nomination or the presidency again.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Well, if Hillary fails to get the nomination, or, be elected, and offers Bill the door, he’d better take it but quick, or risk being shot, or stuck in the eye with a fork.

      That’s because he’s the one who’s always whispered in her ear;

      “It’s your turn”.

    2. Jim Haygood

      She’s more likely to join Dilma and Cristina in a power-pop trio of ex-leaders:

      BUENOS AIRES — A judge in Argentina on Friday indicted former President Cristina Kirchner and other officials on charges of manipulating the nation’s Central Bank during the final months of her administration.

      Mrs. Kirchner and the officials are accused of entering into contracts to sell the Central Bank’s dollars at below-market rates during her presidency in order to shore up the Argentine peso.

      The judge, Claudio Bonadio, said that it was “unthinkable that a financial operation of this magnitude” could have been carried out without the explicit approval of “the highest political and economic decision makers of government.”

      Judge Bonadio will now deepen his investigation, legal experts said, to decide whether the case goes to trial or is dismissed. Mrs. Kirchner can appeal her indictment.

      Axel Kicillof, Mrs. Kirchner’s former economy minister, and Alejandro Vanoli, the former head of the Central Bank, are also being charged.

      Suggested cover song: I Fought the Law (and the Law Won)

    3. Optimader

      I wonder if her flesh will rend away like a dry parchment husk revealing a cloud composed of thousands of small batlike creatures that swirl up in a vortex entering into a lightning filled, roiling black cloud that suddenly disappears in a brilliant flash revealing a blue sky filled with delightful small chirping finchs.

      Well, actually i’d just settle for an election defeat and her subsequently settling into an affluent but otherwise miserable retirement with no future prospect for public policy influence, inexorably lashed to the man she deserves to spend the balance of her days with.

      1. Ulysses

        Rarely has political passion inspired such elegant wordsmithing as in this brilliant comment.

        Kudos!!

    4. different clue

      If she did that, how much of the beautiful Clinton Foundation money would she have to give up? How much would she get to keep?

      ” The American people wonder if their Clintons are a crook. Well, we’re NOT a crook. We’ve WORKED for everything we’ve got.”

  27. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela goes feral:

    Oscar Meza, Director of the Documentation Center for Social Analysis (Cendas-FVM), said that measurements of scarcity and inflation in May are going to be the worst to date.

    “We are officially declaring May as the month that [widespread] hunger began in Venezuela,” he told Web Noticias Venezuela. … “As for March, there was an increase in yearly prices due to inflation — a 582.9 percent increase for food, while the level of scarcity of basic products remains at 41.37 percent.”

    Meza said the trigger for the crisis is the shortage of bread and other foods derived from wheat.

    “Prices are so high that you can’t buy anything, so people don’t buy bread, they don’t buy flour. You get porridge, you see the price of chicken go up and families struggle … lunch is around 1,500 bolivars… People used to take food from home to work, but now you can’t anymore because you don’t have food at home,” Meza said.

    Venezuela has entered the Weimar stage of hyperinflation, which typically burns out in a year or so.

    Lots of people are going to die, though, before Venezuela’s clowngov gets swept onto the ash heap of history.

  28. witters

    “You want a living wage job” Forget it!” “You want health care? Forget it!” “You want a livable planet? Forget it!”, “You want to a woman? Sure!, who gives a fuck!”

  29. Nick

    Once again re Sweeping Guidance to Schools on Transgender Students:

    When I first saw this, I figured that it’s just Obama making a “safe” and “progressive” (which IMO really just means a rational human being capable of empathy) move that just appears to be pioneering.

    However, after seeing the level of MSM coverage of the issue, (warning: here comes some serious speculation that I obviously can’t prove) if this continues it may well turn out to be a very well played “distraction” away from the topic of economic inequality, which, from the perspective of the powers that be, has probably gotten an uncomfortable level of attention during the election.

    We’ll see how much attention it continues to get…

  30. flora

    Your link on the name Emperor Hirohito put up a Google search results list that included an Atlantic Magazine article, “70 Years after Hiroshima:”, which was very interesting.
    I think the Emperor Hirohito, heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne, had to walk a much narrower and more difficult path to effect a surrender, or cessation of hostilities, than the other Axis nations of WWII. Yes, Russia was pushing in – Stalin was ever the opportunist. The 1904 Russo-Japanese War was probably in all minds. The Japanese cause in WWII was lost, but how to effect a surrender without losing the Throne – and by extension the core animating philosophy or princile of Japanese social organization and unity. The throne could be lost by mutiny of a group of senior military officers who would see surrender as a deep violation of honor, or by the destruction of respect from the Japanese people who had sacrificed so much. A shattered society presents a much greater problem for the victors and vanquished alike than does simple military surrender with an intact and functioning society.

  31. Roland

    USSR was not “opportunistic” in attacking Japan in August 1945.

    At the Tehran Conference in 1943, Stalin promised his fellow Allied leaders that the USSR would enter the war against Japan within three months after the defeat of Germany.

    Germany was defeated in May 1945. USSR attacked Japan in August 1945, i.e. three months later.

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