2:00PM Water Cooler 8/17/2016

By Lambert Strether of .

TPP/TTIP/TISA

“It looks like another Hillary Clinton acolyte is throwing into question the sincerity of her opposition to the TPP — this time it’s Ken Salazar, a former Colorado senator and Interior secretary, who will lead Clinton’s transition team. Salazar, like Clinton running mate Tim Kaine initially, has views on trade that run counter to hers” []. I’ve never thought of Politico writers as masters of really dry humor, but after “throwing into question the sincerity of her opposition” I’m gonna have to rethink.

“Rock Against the TPP heads to Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco” [].

2016

Corruption

“AP Sources: Manafort tied to undisclosed foreign lobbying” []. Along with everybody else, as the headline somehow neglects to point out. Fourteen paragraphs deep:

The founder and chairman of the Podesta Group, Tony Podesta, is the brother of longtime Democratic strategist John Podesta, who now is campaign chairman for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The head of Mercury, Vin Weber, is an influential Republican, former congressman and former special policy adviser to Mitt Romney. Weber announced earlier this month that he will not support Trump.

The intent of using the two lobbying firmswas unclear [unless you imagine that the deeply corrupt Ukrainians figured they needed to pay everybody off] , but ironically [ha ha ha], one of firms Manafort and Gates worked with has strong Democratic and Clinton ties.

After being introduced to the lobbying firms, the European nonprofit paid the Podesta Group $1.13 million between June 2012 and April 2014 to lobby Congress, the White House National Security Council, the State Department and other federal agencies, according to U.S. lobbying records.

The nonprofit also paid $1.07 million over roughly the same period to Mercury to lobby Congress. Among other issues, Mercury opposed congressional efforts to pressure Ukraine to release one of Yanukovych’s political rivals from prison.

TOne former Podesta employee, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a non-disclosure agreement, said Gates described the nonprofit’s role in an April, 2012 meeting as supplying a source of money that could not be traced to the Ukrainian politicians who were paying him and Manafort.

TIn separate interviews, three current and former Podesta employees said disagreements broke out within the firm over the arrangement, which at least one former employee considered obviously illegal. Podesta, who said the project was vetted by his firm’s counsel, said he was unaware of any such disagreements.

So, that makes Cltion Putin’s tool, amiright?

Policy

“Clinton’s campaign may perceive some short-term advantage in brandishing these dubious endorsements [by Max Boot and other neocons], but the long-term ramifications are potentially dire. By rehabilitating the likes of Boot, Democrats effectively invite such people back into the fray of respectable discourse. They are once again seen as neutral, duly-credentialed ‘experts; whose intonations are worth dutifully listening to. By association, Hillary’s tacit approval allows these neoconservatives to accrue renewed prestige and eventually insinuate themselves back into positions of power” []. There’s no paradox here. . And the neo-cons are warmonger-tropic. Where the warmonger is, there shall the neo-cons be.

“Hillary Clinton, who prides herself on the details of public policy, has said little about what is now the most ambitious and expensive proposal on her agenda: making public college tuition free for most Americans” [, “Hillary Clinton’s Free College-Tuition Plan Short on Specifics”]. “On the campaign trail, she typically offers a sentence, maybe two, about the plan. Sometimes it goes unmentioned altogether. Her campaign has offered few specifics about how the program would work, hasn’t said how much money states would have to provide or where the program would fall on her list of priorities. The campaign website no longer lists a cost for the program.” Shorter: “Clinton to left: Drop dead.”

Our Famously Free Press

Breitbart’s story on its chairman becoming Trump campaign CEO is just copy & pasted from the

— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy)

, meet . Nevertheless…

“How Conspiracy Theories About Clinton’s Health Turned Into a Campaign Issue” []. Useful corrective. Personally, I find Clinton health rumors entirely plausible, based on my own mother’s health history. Alas, plausible and true are not the same.

The Parties

Working Families Party endorses Clinton []. Not a good look for WFP, especially after endorsing Cuomo over Teachout (and I hate the “working families” locution anyhow, for its faux air of piety, because I’m single, and because family structures are complicated anyhow and shouldn’t be used for pandering).

“Democracy needs political parties to function. But our two major parties have become constrained by holding onto more than 100 years of ideas, constituencies and practices that can come into conflict with what those parties need right now to be competitive” []. “Do either of the two parties need to be replaced? The recent departure of Dmocratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the inability of the Republican National Committee to deal with Trump, might suggest some degree of institutional stagnation.” Well worth a read.

Stats Watch

For those if you who enjoyed the Bob and Ray episode yesterday, this from the great Stan Freberg:

I thought of this when reading Wolf Richter’s post on the San Francisco housing market; if you want to skip the setup, the punchline comes at 1:32.

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of August 12, 2016: “The purchase index fell 4.0 percent in the August 12 week for the fourth decline in five weeks and to the lowest level since February. Year-on-year, the purchase index slipped 3 percentage points but is still well in the column at 10 percent” [].

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, week of August 16, 2016: “Inflation expectations, whether those of the consumer or in this case businesses, are very subdued” [].

Architecture Billings: “Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was positive in July for the sixth consecutive month, and tenth out of the last twelve months as demand across all project types continued to increase. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending” []. But the election has brought and will bring volatility.

Consumer Price Index: “Lots of nuances but still tending to keep the Fed on hold” [].

Housing: “Core inflation’s components include shelter, transportation, medical care and anything that is not food or energy. The shelter index is comprised of rent, the equivalent cost of owning a home, hotels and motels. Shelter increased 0.2% and is up 3.3% for the year, yet rent is outpacing homeownership costs. Rent of a primary residence just keeps soaring and this month by 0.3% and is up 3.8% for the year. Graphed below is the rent price index” [].

Housing: “The shifting distribution and demand currents buffeting the retail sector don’t seem to be slowing down Home Depot Inc. The company reported strong sales and earnings growth in the second quarter and raised its outlook for the year, the WSJ’s Paul Ziobro writes, in a signal that a housing rebound in the U.S. is helping the home-improvement business” [].

Shipping: “Why are rails underperforming the overall economy? While we, too, continue our search for answers, it’s worth noting that the rails aren’t alone — this is a freight recession and with some exceptions (paper?), railroads are not losing share to other modes (although their coal customers have, of course). The business isn’t going elsewhere. In many cases, it’s simply not going. Which might be worse” []. “What are the headwinds? The low-growth (GDP was up only 1.2 percent in Q2); the strong, though declining dollar; the still low and oh-so volatile (great head fake) energy prices; the high inventory levels across many commodities; and the ongoing decimation of the mighty coal franchise (and the small but high-profile crude-by-rail segment, et. al). Add to the list the mystery of intermodal, the growth savior that went off-duty for the quarter. ”

Supply Chain: ” Fast food adds fresh fruit. But will customers bite? ” []. “When Wendy’s wanted to add blackberries — a fruit it had never used on its menu before — to a new salad, the process of finding farmers and growing enough berries took more than two years. McDonald’s faced a similar challenge when rolling out a new fruit smoothie. It took the chain more than two years to find and grow enough mangoes to supply its 14,000 U.S. restaurants.”

The Bezzle: “Ford plans self-driving car for ride share fleets in 2021” []. The only way I can see this happening is if some form of deregulation means that algorithm owners have no liability, even granted a solution to the technical issues. Maybe that’s why all the Democrats are heading to Silicon Valley…

Fodder for the Bulls: “[T]he declines in residential and nonresidential fixed investment are worrying because they are often viewed as reliable leading indicators of the cyclical strength or weakness of the economy. Although economists and other economic analysts find it very difficult—if not impossible—to predict recessions in real time, the available evidence suggests that the economy, though exhibiting stubbornly weak real GDP growth, continued to expand heading into the second half of 2016” [].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78, Extreme Greed) []. One week ago: 75 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 17 at 12:41pm. Gramps put the car on cruise control again. What’s wrong with these people?

Police State Watch

“Americans are afraid of many threats to their lives – serial killers, crazed gunmen, gang bangers, and above all terrorists – but these threats are surprisingly unlikely. Approximately three-quarters of all homicide victims in America are killed by someone they know. And the real threat from strangers is quite different from what most fear: one-third of all Americans killed by strangers are killed by police” [].

“[Albuquerque DA Kari Brandenburg] had gone nearly 14 years without charging a single officer for a fatal shooting. And so when she decided to charge two of them with murder in January 2015, she did not expect her longtime allies to turn on her. But indeed those longtime allies went on to orchestrate “a complete snow job against her,” as former Albuquerque police Sgt. Tom Grover put it. They attacked her reputation. They stripped from her the biggest case of her career. They resisted the authority of her office. And, she told those around her, they threatened her family’s safety. It was a surreal turn of events: a district attorney scared of her city’s police department” [].

“Children are being Tasered by school-based police officers. No one knows how often it’s happening or what impact it’s having on students” [].

“PETA offers $1,000 worth of vegan treats to St. Louis police-run ice cream truck” []. Well, er.

Guillotine Watch

“I constantly lie to get airplane upgrades. Is that unethical?” []. No, not if all the other kids are doing it.

“Homeless art, lost jobs and low enrollment: Two years later, Corcoran’s breakup still stings” []. Exactly as with Cooper Union, an insider-driven real estate deal corrupts and destroys an institution.

Class Warfare

“In dollar terms, what group of Americans steals the most from their fellow citizens each year?” []. “The answer might surprise you: It’s employers, many of whom are committing what’s known as wage theft. It’s not just about underpaying workers. They’re not paying workers what they’re legally owed for the labor they put in. … Total wage theft in [Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York] amounted to almost $3 billion annually. The Economic Policy Institute estimated that if the patterns the study found are generalizable for the entire country, wage theft is $50 billion a year.” It’s certainly odd that this isn’t a campaign issue. Not.

“[T]he labor market as a whole can be considered a safety net whose good health is a prerequisite for individuals to take risks that may end in failure” [Mike Konczal and Marshall Steinbaum, ]. No, it can’t be, and no, it isn’t. (If you really want to increase risk-taking through the provision of public services, try Medicare for All and a Jobs Guarantee, and maybe a Debt Jubille while you’re at it. None of those solutions are market-based.) Always watch out for prose that treats markets as if they were organic beings (“health”). That’s always a sign of sloppy thinking, and often a sign of bad faith.

“Food-stamp enrollment in the U.S. is declining from record levels, in part because some states are ending benefits earlier than they have to. Seven states, all led by Republicans, have decided this year to end waivers for some able-bodied recipients that were made available in the 2009 federal stimulus bill — even though the benefits are federally funded” [].

“Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz last week said it was collaborating with trade unions and governments to improve workers’ conditions, after an AFWA study found violations at its suppliers’ factories in India and Cambodia. AFWA, along with other campaigners, will lobby the ILO at its conference in Geneva next week to move forward on setting a global standard for supply chains, including for wages” [].

News of the Wired

“A Conflict-Free Replicated JSON Datatype” []. You’ll like this sort of thing, if this is the sort of thing you like.

“In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, version 1607, Microsoft removed the on-off switch for Cortana. But the setting is still available if you know where to look” []. Assuming the switch isn’t a “placebo button.”

* * *

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 (JD):

datauri-file

JD writes: “This is what happens when you shove a piece of Ginger in a pot in the Tropics (west of Chicago) and give it no attention.”

* * *

Readers, I know it’s the dead days of August, but if you can, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.

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About Lambert Strether

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

99 comments

  1. Tommy Seiler

    I agree with this…” especially after endorsing Cuomo over Teachout (and I hate the “working families” locution anyhow, for it’s faux air of piety, because I’m single, and because family structures are complicated anyhow and shouldn’t be used for pandering).”

    I hated that term when I first saw it. So it says to me, ‘screw the unemployed, screw the homeless’ ..And it has a connotation that ‘there are people that don’t want to work’……and that ‘families’ are somehow so much more important than single men and single women alone…….Not to mention, ‘households’ of working people have families, mixed with strangers in cities….i mean that’s how the working class has had affordable housing for a hundred years here. Move into old stock, with ‘strangers’ with your family. Oh gawd I could just go on. Progressives (?) and their anti working class language.

    1. Rosario

      Much agreed. The reality of social plurality corrodes the myths of capitalism and US politics. The upper crust have to stick to the script.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Count me as another single who loathes the “working families” locution. Matter of fact, I loathe it so much, I think I’ll take the rest of today off.

    3. RabidGandhi

      I hate to admit it, but I am partial to keeping the “workers” part, mainly because it is the most common monikor for popular political parties to separate themselves from capitalist ones, and there must be continuity with those who struggled before us. Of course, the title has been easily co-opted (eg, UK Labour Party, Spain’s PSOE…), but I don’t see that as an excuse to drop the idea of being workers united.

      What needs to be understood however is that the term “workers” must also include those who work the hardest: parents providing 24/7 childcare, people who clean toilets, those providing elder care… who are often not paid.

      Adding, what Diptherio said today should be emblazoned on every street corner:

      Wage levels, by all rights, should be inversely proportional to the social prestige of the labor being performed. Hard, dangerous, dirty jobs that people don’t respect you for doing should be the best paid jobs. Jobs that don’t put your health at risk or require a shower after work should be at the bottom of the pay scale. That would be fair.

      I say change the concept of work, don’t ditch the name.

      1. polecat

        Don’t worry, …. in the up-n-coming pare a dime …… those kinds of laboring endeavors will pay off well….after the die-of of the cubicleoise……

    4. nippersmom

      I’m a non-single who hates that terminology.

      I had somehow, during the course of the campaign, gotten on their mailing list. After the Clinton endorsement I unsubscribed. I’ve found myself doing that frequently recently. I doubt I’ll miss all the junk in my inbox.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Isn’t that what spam filters are for ?

        Just set it into training mode & mark anything with

        Clinton|Hillary|Democrat|Workingfamilies|Putin|DNC|…

        as spam. Even better get the filter to return-to-sender with the usual line:

        “The recipient considers that this message is spam”

    5. sleepy

      “Working families” is another ideologically loaded political marketing term akin to “the deserving poor”.

  2. Roger Smith

    Did Gary Johnson Just Get Boxed Out of the Debates? []

    Just came across this. With third parties picking up more steam and attention this election year how does the establishment beat them back? Fault the individual! After all…

    “This time around, Johnson and Stein have been given every opportunity to prove themselves. They have been listed in the polls. They have been given exposure on mainstream media networks — Johnson has done two CNN prime-time town halls, and Stein gets her first on Wednesday. Both are even outspending one of the major-party candidates in television ads for the first time, since Trump has bizarrely refused to spend a dime. But the downside of being included in those polls, and getting those town halls, is that there are no more excuses. If you don’t get to 15 percent, it’s your own fault.”

    The article also takes a stab at framing the candidates as opposing in order fight for third party votes.

    1. TalkingCargo

      Of course the dems & reps have stacked the deck against 3rd parties. But it’s their own fault for not being able to beat a stacked deck.

      I wonder if Johnson and Stein could have their own debate – just the 2 of them. Don’t know if the major news channels would want to carry it but maybe they could have it on one of the shopping channels for voters who are shopping for a better candidate.

      1. Code Name D

        That’s just it. Even if the MSM doesn’t cover it – every one will still see it through you-tube, face book, social media, and the blogosphere. The power of propaganda is not in the lies they would have you believe, but in the truth that remains unrevealed. This no longer works when you have so many alternatives.

      2. Isotope_C14

        I saw a clip from “The Young Turks” that showed their reporter directly asking him if he’d do a debate against Jill Stein on their show, and he declined, and said “too busy”.

        I’m very disappointed in that, as that could have given him a ton of publicity, but I guess he wants to get to 15% without sharing any of it with Stein. He’s a little confused if he thinks many Stein supporters are going to back a pro-TPP candidate.

        1. TalkingCargo

          That’s too bad. Seems like it could be a win-win for both of them. And it might give Johnson a better chance to get to 15%.

            1. polecat

              not if G Johnson is gung-ho for the TPP, which, by inference, means he’s probably for TTIP, ISDS, ……. and all the corporate tripe connected to them !!!

              He’s NOT a libertarian …… he’s a poser !

              Oh …… and he’d gladly have you jailed …and rotting in some dank prison sell somewhere…..
              ……

              1. different clue

                No, he’s not a poser. Support for TPP is what Libertarianism is all about. The only government Libertarians oppose is democratically elected non-profit public government. Libertarians fully support private profit-taker rule over society, whether by rich individuals, families or corporations. Since TPP weakens public democratic government and strengthens private corporate tyranny government, every true Libertarian of course supports TPP.

                There is nothing “posery” about that.

    2. Jon

      You’d think Trump would be all over this, saying that Johnson and Stein SHOULD be in the debate, and that their exclusion only proves the whole thing is Rigged.

      And if were to hammer on it enough to get at least on of them up there, it’d give him another voice against Clinton and enable him to deflect direct questioning. He’d be able to bring the circus-like feel of the primary debates back.

      1. Iowan X

        That won’t happen. At all. Trump wants and needs his one-on-one debate with Hillary. If he can be civil, he can still decimate her–if he studies at least a bit.

        I read someplace today or yesterday that if Trump goes too weird, Hillary could walk off, and refuse further debates. Which is perfect for Hillary, bad for Donald, and the media would be all over the Trump insult. This year, it could happen.

        Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the two most “unvetted” Presidential candidates I’ve ever seen, and I’ll be 60 when I vote.

        1. Isotope_C14

          Hey there Iowan!

          Whereabouts you from? Was born in Ames here, lots of family in Carroll county.

          Did you see Jill Stein on the CNN town hall? You can just youtube it. A complete one hasn’t been uploaded yet, so perhaps tomorrow. She’s a candidate that Iowa could back, sensible, rational, and down to earth.

          Be well, and give your family well-wishes!

      2. Roger Smith

        You might think, then again he is the guy who backed out of what would have been an unprecedented (or at least rare) and likely biggest debate ever [with Bernie].

  3. ekstase

    re: The Corcoran breakup.

    “It seemed as if there were things that had been agreed to, that had taken place behind the scenes before they were announced,” Simmons said.

    This reminds me of some other things that have happened in society.

  4. crittermom

    Housing:
    I wonder how many of those supplies bought at Home Depot are to be used for additions to expand homes so the parents who lost their home, or the kids who lost theirs or their jobs are now sharing one?

    Or perhaps to renovate rooms above garages, etc, for additional income?

    I guess I don’t regard the remodeling business still going strong as a sign of something positive, necessarily, without more specific stats.

    Just as I’d like to see a breakdown of how many homes being bought (‘the housing market is recovering!’) will be used as primary residences. I suspect the number of them which will be vacation homes is a much bigger percentage than most realize, and that those figures would be yet another confirmation of the income disparity.

    The bottom line is that it’s still the lowest figures since first being recorded in 1965 for home ownership.
    So where exactly are all those building materials being used?

    My other thought is that perhaps many are being used to remodel and flip homes bought through foreclosures?

    Just my view on it, FWIW.

    1. Propertius

      An increasingly large portion of the Bay Area market consists of sales to foreign (often Chinese) investors. Many of these houses are as vacant as China’s famous “ghost cities”. It’s tulips all over again.

      1. crittermom

        But that wouldn’t add to the need for all the building supplies if those houses are sitting vacant.
        From your statement, it doesn’t sound like the foreign buyers are doing any remodeling, but only using them as investments and letting them sit vacant.

        I’m just looking at the fact home ownership is the lowest it’s been since 1965, yet a retail building material supplier is doing well.
        “The shifting distribution and demand currents buffeting the retail sector don’t seem to be slowing down Home Depot Inc. The company reported strong sales and earnings growth in the second quarter and raised its outlook for the year,…”

        Strong sales in building materials seems like a contradiction to low home ownership.
        What am I missing?

        1. abynormal

          Caterpillar use to swing long investments over to cash before earnings…works until it doesn’t.

          HA! here we go “On the books, Home Depot’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $4.02 billion at the end of the quarter, versus $4.94 billion in the same period from last year.”

        2. NYPaul

          I think a main contributing factor is the abnormally high cost of renting. I recently moved to Nashville and couldn’t believe the prices. And, my prior home was in New York. Yikes!

          One more thing I noticed was how quickly “fix-er-uppers” & “needs a little lov’n” descriptive homes are selling. Those, certainly, must help sales for Lowes and Home Depot.

          Finally, I wonder how many older folks who planned on selling their homes, and renting, to get away from the maintenance efforts of keeping their aging homes have decided to stay where they are and fix up their existing homes, due to the sky high cost of renting?

  5. fresno dan

    “[Albuquerque DA Kari Brandenburg] had gone nearly 14 years without charging a single officer for a fatal shooting. And so when she decided to charge two of them with murder in January 2015, she did not expect her longtime allies to turn on her. But indeed those longtime allies went on to orchestrate “a complete snow job against her,” as former Albuquerque police Sgt. Tom Grover put it. They attacked her reputation. They stripped from her the biggest case of her career. They resisted the authority of her office. And, she told those around her, they threatened her family’s safety. It was a surreal turn of events: a district attorney scared of her city’s police department” [Buzz].

    =========================================================
    I would bet this is a common thing – most DA’s understand that the Mafia’s code of Omerta is nothing compared to the PoliceLegalComplex that ruthlessly suppresses any critique, investigation, or accountability of police. It is apparent to those willing to accept reality that the police believe they have impunity for any action they take while wearing the uniform.

    1. Goyo Marquez

      Most interesting quote: “She considered adopting more kids, but decided against it. “The police department — if a kid fell and hurt their knee, they’d probably charge me with child abuse,” she said.”

      Wait a second you mean sometimes the police charge people with crimes as a form of harassment? Does the District attorney’s office know about this?

    2. ColdWarVet

      Amazing article, amazing woman, and amazing human being. The video of the shooting in question is the most compelling case of cold-blooded murder I’ve ever seen. The fact that Abq’s mayor and police chief didn’t come out immediately and personally call for a prosecution in this case speaks volumes. The current worship of “law and order” and all things military in this country will be the end of us if we don’t stand up to it. Sadly, I have no doubt that we won’t.

  6. jo6pac

    So, that makes Cllnton Putin’s tool, amiright?

    Putin going to run Amerika, isn’t that special. Then again it might be a big improvement over today govt. from hell.

    1. Propertius

      I think I’m just going to write Vlad in. Why not cut out the middle(wo)man, after all?

      Besides, he wrote a hell of a Judo book.

      1. polecat

        Quite the horseman too…!

        …can’t see Obama on one….

        maybe on an unresponsive donkey …. backwards ……wackin it with a 9 iron !

  7. Anne

    “Clinton’s campaign may perceive some short-term advantage in brandishing these dubious endorsements [by Max Boot and other neocons], but the long-term ramifications are potentially dire. By rehabilitating the likes of Boot, Democrats effectively invite such people back into the fray of respectable discourse. They are once again seen as neutral, duly-credentialed ‘experts; whose intonations are worth dutifully listening to. By association, Hillary’s tacit approval allows these neoconservatives to accrue renewed prestige and eventually insinuate themselves back into positions of power” [New York Daily News]. There’s no paradox here. Clinton’s a warmonger, as shown by her record. And the neo-cons are warmonger-tropic. Where the warmonger is, there shall the neo-cons be.

    I bet she can’t wait to trot out her pal and mentor, Henry Kissinger…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      R R’s (Are Republicans) the only ones doing un-endorsing?

      Will Sanders un-endorse her?

      1. Isotope_C14

        He’d be shot.

        I’d guess he’s working covertly, and acting like he doesn’t know Trump was a plant.

    2. nippersdad

      Yglesias ‘splains to us that she isn’t really a neocon:

      Shorter Matt: She isn’t a neocon, merely an exemplar of the foreign policy status quo. If the status quo is unreservedly neoconservative, then how exactly has she distinguished herself from her own former employee, Victoria Nuland of PNAC fame? One has to wonder who he thinks he is fooling.

  8. Rosario

    I think it is pretty obvious that neither of the candidates are models of good health. Back during McCain/Obama my old roommate jokingly remarked that all presidential candidates should have to undergo some minimal test of physical health to judge their eligibility to run. I believe he sarcastically said a televised obstacle course but at this point I would be happy with a publicly displayed jog/swim/whatever with a reaction and mental faculties test. Seems like the least amount of unscripted reassurance the public could get before casting their tired votes, and a spectacle to boot!

      1. Rosario

        That’s pretty funny. Did he make it to the other side? There was no conclusion. With his drifting 10 miles downstream I assume no. Funny to imagine some party comrade picking up the Chairman in a sampan. Was there a ceremony for that as well? We may never know.

        Nice thing is…I guess, the United States already got most of the grisliest parts of its cultural revolution out of the way with hundreds of years of land acquisition, genocide, slavery, capitalist exploitation and industrial pollution. Maybe a longer time scale but the results of “modernization” regardless of the political ideology are starkly similar.

    1. afisher

      LOL – it would be humorous to see DTrump with his belly exposed when not in a custom made suit that hides the fat. Some could argue the same for HRC. Other than that, the CT’s regarding HRC are pretty bizarre and will only increase with Bannon in DT’s ear. But then again, how many Presidents have been young…and what metric?

  9. Fred

    ” the real threat from strangers is quite different from what most fear: one-third of all Americans killed by strangers are killed by police”

    Police are not going around killing “strangers”. Can we have a little less hyperbole?

    1. Kurt Sperry

      No, the police are the murdering strangers in this construction. How is that not obvious? And also true?

      1. Fred

        Kurt,

        The construct was crystal clear as was my use of the word “hyperbole”. Left out is the implication – that the killings were illegal and thus might generate what is called an “investigation” by an attorney general. Thus determining the “WHY”. You know, like the one recently done in Baltimore. How’d that work out? Of course I only read english and bad english and didn’t realize this was not a subject for actual conversation but an English lesson. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

        1. aab

          Whether or not the killing is deemed legal or not is irrelevant. This data point is regarding what kind of relationship (or lack thereof) is more likely to result in a citizen’s death. And most people killed by police officers are strangers to those officers, as those officers are to them.

          Police are going around extra-legally assassinating American citizens without due process or cause. That’s a separate issue, but also a truthful statement.

          1. Fred

            Data is just that, data. Correlation is not causation. Your political point that the Conduct of those who wound up dead and those who did the killing does not matter is wrong; The conduct of both are very relevant. The fact you focus on only those killed by police is also political as is your definition of those as “assassinations”. If those were actual assassinations then those politicians in all those cities wound do something other than what they are doing now. So would President Obama. He,, like you, doesn’t seem very concerned over those dead people who were not made that way by police officers.

      1. abynormal

        there’s some seriously fuckedup comments on NC today.
        an example that i’m still awaiting reply to the Lambert reply:

        Jack Deal
        August 17, 2016 at 4:01 pm

        Sorry, but the cheerleaders are right on this one. Pssst, Aetna is leaving Penn where the made 14 million in profit. Pssst, they are lying. It is all over a merger.

        Lambert is a fool and a idiot. He doesn’t read, he doesn’t learn. Now I would make Obama pay and come right in their “market” and destroy them to bankruptcy.

        1. afisher

          or, you can read the entire article yourself at Huffpo, which has the CEO “blackmail” statement: ;

          Or they can read BrainWraps excellent article at DKos, where he asks the question: If Aenta was losing money, why did they only request such a small rate increase of 5.6%.

          Or whine without thinking or asking any other questions.

      2. Steve H.

        I think this is a tragic motherfucking miscarriage of justice. I think it deserves a special grand jury, and if not, the President should appoint an independent prosecutor. Oh, no no, no no, actually, I think Kofi Bryant and the United fucking Nations should get involved.

        – Det. William ‘Bunk’ Moreland

    2. clarky90

      FULL: Donald Trump Speech West Bend, Wisconsin – 8/16/16

      Donald Trump made a Law and Order speech yesterday
      . He said that, It is the people living in the inner cities who are most devastated and victimized by lawlessness and disorder.

      I am impressed that Trump is identifying problems facing many African Americans, and offering genuine solutions (jobs, good police, rebuilding infrastructure (for instance, drinking water that is not contaminated with lead)). He is asking for the African American vote.

      Trump said that there needs to be more police and that they must be competent.

      I live in a tiny corner of a tiny corner of the World, by choice. If I lived in a US inner city, I would be crying out for plenty more, friendly, competent police in my neighborhood!

      The police are not paid much for the danger and abuse they receive from every side. They are just low-paid disposable cannon fodder, like the troops. Moral panic about the police, is another diversion from the Grand Grift (con) being executed by our Ruling Grifters.

      “A practitioner of confidence tricks; one who befriends another to take advantage of them, or gain something from them”.

      It is remarkable how “long term” grifters can think when lining their own pockets. However, when performing public duties, they only think the next quarter or so??

      Jeeez, I am getting old

      1. afisher

        Or more “broken window” policies and police stopping and harrassing POC at will. You do remember why the militia was originally formed….don’t you?

        How many African Americans were in the crowd? ZERO hmmmmm.

        1. clarky90

          Trump is calling for “The Rule of Law”, not the “Rule of Mobs”, not “The Rule of Finance”, not the “Rule of The Powerful”, not the “Rule Ideologies”. The Rule of USA Law

          Punish the illegal (no matter who the perpetrator!). Make laws, enforce laws. If the laws are bad, change the laws. A happy, fair, productive, peaceful society. That is what I remember growing up in small town USA in the 1950s. Eisenhower was POTUS.

          1. hunkerdown

            The notion that things get better when we make laws is bourgeois nonsense designed to give the credentialled classes more make-work.

            The only way I will vote for him is if he promises, cross his heart, to have the Secret Service commit real, actual bloodsdhed against the Democratic Party Inc. Until then, he’s playing.

            1. LifelongLib

              The notion that things get better in the absence of good laws is nonsense from any standpoint at all.

  10. abynormal

    school children being tasered and no one knows how often…where are the Teachers & Admins? Watching?? haven’t we at least figured out, children ‘witnessing’ authoritarian torture makes for a brutal future….FOR EVERYONE.

    “In the culture people talk about trauma as an event that happened a long time ago. But what trauma is, is the imprints that event has left on your mind and in your sensations… the discomfort you feel and the agitation you feel and the rage and the helplessness you feel right now.” Bessel A. van der Kolk

    1. EGrise

      Children are being Tasered by school-based police officers. No one knows how often it’s happening or what impact it’s having on students

      Yeah, that’s a shame. If only we had an organization, say at the national level, that was charged with monitoring criminal justice matters generally and the actions of the police in particular, which could insist that police report taserings of school children and periodically compile it into a report. And say another hypothetical national agency could take that data and perform scientific analysis to determine the short- and long-term effects…

      Oh well, a man can dream!

    2. clarky90

      Go to youtube and search for “fights in school classrooms”. Many are filmed by school children, and then posted on youtube. You can see what you are talking about.

      1. abynormal

        as a TA, i witnessed plenty school fights. they do get out of control when allowed. an officer with a weapon pointed at a kid without a weapon isn’t about control…it is about Power. like throwing gas on christmas tree in March!
        let’s watch a handcuffed student get tasered while surrounded by cops …early in the video, i see a large scared officer tasering in a crowd.

          1. abynormal

            sadly, it’s easy for overwhelmed and overburdened teachers teaching test to lose sight of christmas trees in March. today, school is maximum prison…maybe waterboarding could turn it around.

    3. Rosario

      I agree with the concern. Though, it is important to understand that the teachers and some dedicated, non-ladder climber admins are in the boat in the midst of a hurricane. No appeals from the masts will make it stop.

      My mother has been teaching for over 15 years, loves teaching, loves many of her kids, tries hard not to despise the most difficult among them including students that make regular threats to her person. She knows why they are angry she sympathizes and often empathizes (she knows poverty and abuse first hand), but she has little tools at her disposal to deal with the monstrosity that is 2016 USA. She is a human being in the end. Like any job she does her best and wants to contribute but it is important for society to remember that it is her job to be a teacher. That is why she went to school for 6 years and is back in school to get higher level certification. She isn’t there to act as counselor, mediator, security guard, janitor, manager, etc. She could do most of those jobs listed previously and probably make more and have less stress than she does teaching!

      Schools are a barometer of the health of society. If they are toxic environments they reflect a toxic society. The solutions won’t come from within the school system alone. They need to be more holistic. Sure taking armed cops out of the schools may be part of that but it is important to remember that they aren’t just there to terrorize people, they were called in in the absence of society making better solutions (dealing with poverty, etc.) to control the situation the only way humans know how in the absence of sensible system level problem solving…violence.

  11. lyman alpha blob

    Har har har!! Oh the Sierra Club, what a bunch of jokers! From the Politico piece:

    ” “His [Salazar’s] job is to support and further the Clinton policy agenda, and so I fully expect him to embrace Clinton’s opposition to the pact,” said Melinda Pierce, legislative director for the Sierra Club.”

    And I fully expect baboons to start flying out of Ms. Pierce’s rear end any day now.

    1. RUKidding

      My my, I think I’d pay to see that. Yeah. The Sierra Club. John Muir spins like a top in his grave.

    2. nippersdad

      Remember the all of the non-stop hissies when Sanders pointed out that the management of a lot of these organizations were paid up members of the establishment? I think this just proved his point (if any proof were necessary).

    1. sleepy

      Great link, thanks.

      Under the cited article is another great link to an expose of the history of “right to work”.

    2. RUKidding

      Thanks for that. Really lines out that scum-sucking bottom dweller’s life and work, what’s carried on under his name.

  12. JimTan

    Lambert – thanks your comments on wage theft.

    It’s a real and pretty cowardly way to exploit some of the most vulnerable workers who are completely dependent on their jobs for survival. There’s an interesting related quote from a GQ article comparing the daily lifestyles of people from different income brackets:

    “At the end of the week, Frantz gets an ATM card with his pay already loaded onto it. Sometimes when he clocks out at the end of the night, he says, he finds he’s already been mysteriously clocked out by someone else. Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a restaurant workers’ advocacy group, launched a class-action suit against Darden—the restaurant conglomerate that owns the Capital Grille—for this and other alleged improprieties. Frantz says he’s repeatedly requested some kind of paper breakdown of how many hours he’s been paid for and how much tax has come off, but they never give it to him, so he’s stopped asking.”

  13. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the fun audio clip from Stan Freberg’s show in 1957 that remains so timely. “Turn off the bubble machine!” indeed. However, the current bubbles are not confined to the San Francisco housing market. As Freberg said in his 1957 show, “…There are so many bubbles.” And deliberate central bank and government policies to foster asset price inflation are the primary cause.

    Recall that way back in November 2013, Paul Krugman wrote a post about Larry Summers’ speech at an IMF conference earlier that month. In that post, Krugman said:

    … “So how can you reconcile repeated bubbles with an economy showing no sign of inflationary pressures? Summers’s answer is that we may be an economy that needs bubbles just to achieve something near full employment – that in the absence of bubbles the economy has a negative natural rate of interest. And this hasn’t just been true since the 2008 financial crisis; it has arguably been true, although perhaps with increasing severity, since the 1980s.” —Paul Krugman; New York Times; November 16, 2013

    … And voilà, here we are… again.

  14. Kim Kaufman

    “Shorter: “Clinton to left: Drop dead.””

    Clinton to the left and the young: Drop dead.

    :(

  15. Kim Kaufman

    ““Homeless art, lost jobs and low enrollment: Two years later, Corcoran’s breakup still stings” [WaPo]. Exactly as with Cooper Union, an insider-driven real estate deal corrupts and destroys an institution.”

    And don’t forget the tragic story of the destruction of the Barnes Foundation and the transfer of $25b art to the Important Players of Philadelphia, such as Pew and Annenberg Foundations, with a cameo from Ed Rendell as a total douchebag.

    Google “The Art of the Steal (2009)” to watch the documentary on youtube.

    Coming soon… the destruction of the Pacifica Foundation.

    1. hunkerdown

      They tried that once already, with some high-powered NPR-believing Black Misleadership Class absentee landlady the Foundation (now a U Penn sociology prof). I seem to remember that the locals eventually won, at least for the time being. The question remains whether Berkeley cops will remain so nice next time they come to enforce the propertied classes’ claims.

  16. Carolinian

    Re NY Mag. They still don’t talk about the secret doctor with the diazepam. However…

    May just be SS agent with a flashlight.

  17. Carolinian

    Raimondo analyzing latest Trump foreign policy speech so we don’t have to.

    He says Trump is sticking to his guns on most of his views about nonintervention but also on the illogical focus on Iran and criticism of Obama for doing what Bush agreed to and withdrawing from Iraq. Basically Trump to Obama and Hillary–whatever you’re for I’m against it. This can produce confusing results.

    1. clarky90

      Donald Trump Foreign Policy Speech at Youngstown State University 8/15/16

      Here is the real thing, without any analysis. Like him or loath him, Trump is an entertainer.
      If you are anti-Trump, be a well informed opposition!

      Trump starts speaking at 46 minutes.

  18. Propertius

    Thanks for pointing out the Podesta connection, Lambert. I’m really tired of the faux outrage over Manafort in the Democratic blogosphere, where the final destination of the payments that Manafort funneled is somehow never mentioned.

  19. Propertius

    “Ken Salazar, a former Colorado senator ”

    Now there’s a vote I really wish I could take back.

    1. Eclair

      S’ok, Propertius. Salazar’s Senate seat was taken over by Michael Bennet, who has been a long-standing foe of fracking in Colorado. Oh wait ….

      But he did a great job as Denver’s Superintendent of Schools, convincing the district to enter into a fantastic bond deal in 2008. And the district paid only $25 million more in fees and interest than they had expected. Oh …..

  20. allan

    [Reuters]

    A Utah company which locates heirs to estates was indicted on Wednesday over allegations that it conspired with a second heir-location firm to divide up the market, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

    Kemp & Associates Inc and co-owner Daniel Mannix were charged with one felony count for dividing up customers for their business, which is to find heirs of people who died but did not have a will, the department said. The companies earn a contingency fee for this service.

    Idiots. Didn’t they know that monopoly or oligopoly behavior requires presidential cuff links?

    [The joke about the prosecutors splitting heirs I will let write itself.]

    1. allan

      No joke: Antitrust enforcement is (only) for little people.



      Aide met twice with company’s antitrust counsel in final weeks of investigation. “Obviously, lots of interest here at the WH.”

      Newly-uncovered emails show the White House was closely tracking the outcome of the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust probe of Google, with an official ing Google’s lobbyist shortly before the agency’s decision to settle the case.

      Despite assurances by the White House that it didn’t discuss the law-enforcement matter with Google, emails show the White House’s internet advisor, R. David Edelman, ed a Google lobbyist, Johanna Shelton, in advance of the FTC announcement in January 2013. …

      1. polecat

        I’m shocked…Shocked..to learn there’s behind-the-scenes collusional wisperings going on here!

  21. clarky90

    Lambert said; “Always watch out for prose that treats markets as if they were organic beings (“health”). That’s always a sign of sloppy thinking, and often a sign of bad faith.”

    I think of Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr/Master/Generalissimo/Grand Poobah Market an entity, An Evil Entity It is obvious. Look at what Mr Market has to do, wants to do. Look at what Mr Market can not (refuses to) do.

    The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych painted by Hieronymus Bosch

    “The right panel presents a hellscape; a world in which humankind has succumbed to the temptations of evil and is reaping eternal damnation. Set at night, the panel features cold colours, tortured figures and frozen waterways. The nakedness of the human figures has lost any eroticism suggested in the central panel, as large explosions in the background throw light through the city gate and spill onto the water in the panel’s midground”.

    Bosch died 500 years ago this month

  22. clarky90

    Lambert said, “Always watch out for prose that treats markets as if they were organic beings (“health”). That’s always a sign of sloppy thinking, and often a sign of bad faith”.

    I view Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr/Master/Generalissimo/Grand Poobah Market as an entity, an Evil Entity. Look at what the Market wants/needs. Look at what the Market does not want/refuses to do.

    The Garden of Earthly Delights by the master Hieronymus Bosch

    “The right panel presents a hellscape; a world in which humankind has succumbed to the temptations of evil and is reaping eternal damnation. Set at night, the panel features cold colours, tortured figures and frozen waterways. The nakedness of the human figures has lost any eroticism suggested in the central panel,[19] as large explosions in the background throw light through the city gate and spill onto the water in the panel’s midground”.

    Bosch died 500 years ago, this month.

  23. [email protected]

    “[T]he labor market as a whole can be considered a safety net whose good health is a prerequisite for individuals to take risks that may end in failure” [Mike Konczal …

    Konczal was one of the dips who stayed with Roosevelt Institute when they threw the MMT crowd out, who pretty much owned the blog there by that time. Lynn Paramour was the blog master at that time, and she took off for Alternet when that happened. But Konczal’s work at that time was largely ignored, and I’m sure he had to be part of the revolt.

    Anyways, good to see he’s still selling the same kind of crap. As far as I know, the blog’s pretty much defunct by now, or at least isn’t getting any interest.

  24. [email protected]

    Wall Street Journal, “Hillary Clinton’s Free College-Tuition Plan Short on Specifics” … The campaign website no longer lists a cost for the program.” Shorter: “Clinton to left: Drop dead.”

    Well that didn’t take very long, did it? I was wondering how Bill was going to earn a living.

      [Politico]

  25. Christopher Fay

    JD Writes: “This is what happens when you shove a piece of Ginger in a pot in the Tropics (west of Chicago) and give it no attention.”

    I didn’t see this in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

  26. Wellstones Ghost

    I was just watching the Los Angeles Angels vs Seattle Mariners telecast online via the LA . A Subaru dealership commercial came on offering 0% financing for new purchases. This struck me because the last time I saw 0 % financing on cars was after 9/11 and late 2008/early 2009. People get ready.
    As an aside, a gentleman who sold cars told me if I ever saw 0% financing on a car, it was the best rate you’d ever get(considering you’re buying a depreciating asset). Any thoughts out there?

    1. laura

      I bought a 0% Ford escape in 2014 and get a post card at least quartery enticing me to turn it in for a 2016 model.
      It’s a swell car and about 1/2 way paid off.
      My credit union offered a 3% rate, but Ford made the 0% through Ford Credit and it was too good to pass up.

  27. cm

    The NSA breach just got as it now appears the NSA could break into any Cisco firewall. This means that there is no plausible deniability, in other words the fact that a breach appears to come from a Russian server doesn’t mean all that much, as it could have been taken over by whoever was aware of the Cisco firewall vulnerability.

    As I’ve said before, I’d like to take any reporter who pushed the “Sony hack was North Korean” meme and ban them from ever reporting on a technology story.

    I’d also love to hear Bruce Schneier’s explanation of how the Russians were certainly behind the DNC leak.

    1. cm

      Replying to my own post, I was going to point out how this is a direct violation of their original mission statement, but so far I can’t find a link. footnote is invalid.

      Like the Fed, the NSA has a conflicting dual mandate, ensuring domestic security and attacking foreign nations. With the current Cisco leak, the NSA has clearly been negligent in ensuring national security.

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