2:00PM Water Cooler 1/19/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Explainer on Obama’s tax and budget proposals [Politico].

“While likely dead on arrival in Congress, Obama’s plan could serve as a platform for Democrats in 2016 elections” [McClatchy]. “Look, Charlie Brown! A football!”

“[A] fee of 7 basis points, or 0.07 per cent, on the liabilities of 100 or so financial groups with more than $50bn in assets” [FT, “Banks and Congress blast Obama plan to tax Wall St and wealthy”]. The cop wants a bigger cut from the three-card monte pot. Players whine. Film at 11.

“The White House on Sunday sought to put Republicans on the defensive over tax policy by highlighting comparisons between President Barack Obama’s latest tax proposal and a 2014 Republican bill” [Politico]. So it’s a Republican plan. Wowsers. To be fair, that worked out great with ObamaCare.

Herd on the Street

European quantitative easing to start this week? [Wall Street Journal, “Hollande: ECB Will Decide to Buy Government Debt Thursday”].

Economists: Mario Draghi is likely to announce free money for rich people a 550 billion-euro ($640 billion) bond-purchase program this week [Bloomberg].

ECB Executive Board member: QE discussion is one “that will take place next Thursday” [Reuters].

Denmark moves to quash speculation it will abandon its Euro peg [Bloomberg].

Shanghai Composite suffers steepest loss for more than six years [FT, “China stocks hit by margin lending curbs”].

“In addition to the margin-trading clampdown, the banking regulator issued draft rules on the control of entrusted loans, a fast growing part of China’s shadow-banking industry” [Wall Street Journal, “China Shares Fall Most in Six Years on Regulatory Crackdown”].


Poll: Romney vs. Clinton [CBS]. That’s what the majority of Republicans and Democrats, respectively, would prefer. Help me.

Clinton no longer looks like such a juggernaut, and the Democratic brand is in its weakest state in a decade [FiveThirtyEight].

New “moderate” Clinton policy road map produced at the Center for American Progress [PBS]. Banks stay big, minimum wage stays at $10.10. And in the very middle is the “middle class,” so there you are!

Sheila Bair on Elizabeth Warren: “I just hate this typecasting of her as this sort of far-left Massachusetts liberal. She was basically making a conservative, market-oriented argument” [WaPo]. Why career “progressives” love her, I guess.

Scott Walker beat sweetener, and about time, too, say I [WaPo]. “[L]eadership by a firm hand,” eh?

Oh no, not another one “considering” [Bloomberg]. Lindsey Graham looked in the mirror and saw a President? Please kill me now.

The 2016 map is the Democrats friend [WaPo]. Super. So we can pass a grand bargain and TPP with Republican votes in 2014 – 2015, and then campaign as populists in 2016. It’s GENIUS!

“House Democrats represent an American population mix as it is projected to look about 30 years from now–more heavily Hispanic and Asian American–while House Republicans represent America as it looked about 20 years ago” [Wall Street Journal, “How Democratic, GOP Districts Are Separated by 50 Years”]. So all Democrats have to do is wait, and wait, and wait… Because ultimately demographics will turn the tide.

“The myth of the ‘Asian vote'” [The Hill]. If you’re a believer in, or a practitioner of, identity politics, this article should give you pause.


Texas fracking supplier: “It’s going to get ugly” [Reuters].

US management advisor: “Half of the energy companies in the high-yield market will default” [FT, “Energy bondholders at risk as bank loans ebb”].

As oil companies embark on their semi-annual discussions with bank lenders — a process known as the “redetermination of the borrowing base” — they are faced with a major difficulty coinciding with the slumping price of crude.

Only 11 new fracking wells planned in the UK [Guardian]. Cameron says government is going “all out for shale.” Thanks, Hillary!

Iran says its oil industry could ride out a price slump to $25 a barrel (!) [Reuters].

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

From the Der Spiegel trove: NSA compromises all iPhones by compromising the servers that store all Apple’s identity and synchronization information [International Business Times].

From the Der Spiegel trove: China stole F-35 blueprints from Lockheed [Japan Times]. Well, so much for the Chinese Air Force. Now, if only we could get J.P. Morgan to relocate to Shanghai….

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“In St. Louis protesters ‘hijack’ march” [WaPo]. Reading between the lines, the black misleadership class got ouththought, outmaneuvered, and outclassed by #BlackLivesMatter. See the new website, “We the Protesters.”

Bill Moyers on Selma [Bill Moyers].

“Friendship Nine,” who did first jail time for a lunch counter sit-in, “exonerated of their crimes” [Reuters]. Granted, 54 years later.

How the prehensile Ronald Reagan appropriated MLK [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer].

“The [Sentinel, OK] police chief here survived being shot in the chest Thursday while responding to a reported bomb threat, and the man who authorities say shot him was allowed to walk free later in the day” [Oklahoman]. That’s odd. They didn’t whack the guy and leave his body lying in the street? Why not?

“Boko Haram Struggles To Find Victims People Give A Shit About” [Duffel Blog]. If only I didn’t have this nagging feeling AFRICOM is just itching for something to do….

Impending Neoliberal Implosion

“Boy, 5, given £15.95 invoice for missing friend’s birthday party” [Telegraph]. Well, why not?

“[I]n a truly free market mercenary armies might be encouraged to seek profits by starting new wars” [Economist]. Might as well remove the layer of indirection provided by the state, I suppose, as in Snow Crash: General Jim’s Defense System, Admiral Bob’s Navy…. And we bootstrapped it all, with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Mission accomplished?

Fear-Industrial Complex

“I let my 9-year-old ride the subway alone” [WaPo]. Quelle horreur! Snugglis at age 21? Why not?

Class Warfare

80 people have as much wealth as the world’s poorest 3.6 billion people [FiveThirtyEight]. Shows the pathetic triviality of Democratic populism, no?

The kind of sentence you hate to see: “Over 14 tonnes of ammonia were reportedly released from the poultry plant” [Cooling Post (CL)]. No workers killed, by good luck. Read the whole thing to see the pathways to failure.

News of the Wired

  • Apple considering storing biometric data in The Cloud [Business Insider]. Gee, I sure hope that won’t be on the servers the NSA compromised!
  • If Google’s stock tanks, its mercenaries engineers, paid in options, will bail [UK Business Insider]. And Google has genuine problems.
  • California, hoping to restore dry landscapes, embraces the beaver [Santa Cruz Sentinel].
  • “[U]ncertainty over land ownership has played out across Haiti as the country attempts to attract foreign investment” [New Yorker]. Of course, that would also be true in this country, if we were honest about the chain-of-title issues stemming from the role of MERS in the foreclosure crisis.
  • Burmese Buddhist nationalist Wirathu calls UN’s special rapporteur for human rights a “whore” [DVB]. Um, Eightfold Path? Item three?
  • Hizbullah had a bad year, but they’re a learning organization… [Lowy Interpreter].
  • NHS privatization meltdown: “Circle, to all appearances a PR company that also runs hospitals….” [Muck].
  • EU health chief: No clear majority of European states for TTIP [Reuters].
  • I love it that the Times sports desk is going out and covering real sports news, instead of the Knicks [New York Times, “Team’s Mission: Beat the Boys (and Maybe Make Them Cry”].
  • “An interview with Michael Herzfeld: Cryptocolonialism, the responsibility of the social sciences and Europe” [King’s Review].
  • Multiple reports: League looking into report that the Patriots deflated footballs in AFC title game [WEEI]. Not entirely; just enough to make them easier to handle.

* * *

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


Longwood Gardens annual orchid extravaganza, Philly. Wish I could go!

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. flora

    re: China store F-35 blueprints from Lockheed.
    Making computer/network security standards weak to enable easier NSA surveillance only makes the computer data easier to steal. So, the NSA knows who stole what. Much better if data thefts were prevented by stronger computer security in the first place.

    From the SANS security newsletter 1-15-2015:
    “For the past two decades we’ve been
    evangelizing for better security to protect our infrastructures and our
    information to ultimately advance our societies through the economic
    benefits of technology. This position [ weak/flawed encryption standards] is essentially saying, technology
    has advanced too far too fast so let’s dumb down security to make law
    enforcement’s job easier. It’s a Bizarro World argument.
    Dumbing down security simply makes the bad guys job easier and the security professional’s job harder – much harder. “

  2. jrs

    There is going to be a lot of emphasis on Obama/Dem proposals (for community college funding, tax proposals etc.), which people will spend much energy and mental power debating. We owe to ourselves instead to focus on what is real, or at least anyone who cares to reside in the reality based community does. These proposals are NOT REAL, as they can not pass. Whereas TPP Fast Track is real and can most definitely pass, derivative deregulation was real, further gutting of Dodd Frank (and maybe more to come) is real.

    But what about pushing the Overton window for a Tobin tax in the future etc.? Yea sure. And it could be pushed a lot further than that. But not at the cost of losing focus on actual legislation in the here and now. Not at the cost of not keeping our eyes and the ball which is precisely the propaganda purpose of this. It’s a trap.

  3. hunkerdown

    “Kim is editor of Republic 3.0, the centrist politics and policy site, and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute.”

    In other words, one of those flexians making “progressivism” safe for the rentiers?

  4. Yonatan

    “China stole F-35 blueprints from Lockheed”
    So China now knows what not to build if it wants a useful aircraft.

    1. jo6pac

      My thought also and maybe their model will work and the Amerikan AF can buy those instead of the Amerikan version;) I’m just trying save the Amerikan taxpayer some $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    2. Jack

      Actually that appears to be exactly what is happening. Because the Shenyang J-31 doesn’t have the F-35s single biggest design flaw, the useless VTOL capability the US Marines insist on, it won’t be overweight and will have much more empty space to store weapons in. I assume it also isn’t being designed by multiple hundred-member teams scattered across the country who keep shoving in new features that only drive up the planes weight and cost. The J-31 will only have what a central team wants it to have. This may turn out to be the rare case where the ‘cheap Chinese knockoff’ is better than the thing it’s copying.

      Although I think the entire project is still going to end up being pointless, since the chief selling point of these new planes is the stealth, which is very likely long-dead in reality. The licensed Sukhoi copies China already uses will still be more cost effective, and probably fly better anyway. Fun fact: one of the features that supposedly makes the F-22 the king of fighters is its two-dimensional thrust vectoring. But the Russians developed THREE-dimensional vectoring in the 90s and now have multiple planes that feature it, including their new PAK-FA/T-50 stealth fighter. Supposedly the F-22 can’t have 3D nozzles because they would compromise its stealth, but if stealth is a boondoggle anyway…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hmm. The Chinese don’t have a military-industrial complex like ours, with the same corrupt “self-licking ice cream cone” institutional motivations? Maybe not, I don’t know.

        1. Jack

          Maybe they do, maybe not, I couldn’t say. But what is clear is that neither they nor the Russians have the inflated military and research budgets the United States has, so even if there is corruption and profit seeking the amount of damage it can do is limited. Many of the recent Russian aircraft developments started in the 90s amid massive political upheavel and slashed budgets. The Europeans were also able to develop the Typhoon by pooling the resources of three different nations and the French created the Rafale all by their lonesomes. Even Japan with its cap of 1% GDP on military spending is developing their own stealth fighter, though as yet the project doesn’t have much to show for itself.

          Only the United States could spend decades and trillions of dollars and end up with an overweight dog that can’t even fire its cannon and a ‘super-fighter’ that we called an order stop on and which won’t stop knocking its pilots unconcious.

    3. HotFlash

      Excellent. While it is good to learn from one’s mistakes, better to learn from someone else’s.

  5. Jake Mudrosti

    On Martin Luther King Jr. day, there’s some serious problem behind the scenes at Salon.com:

    “Bill Maher is right about religion: The Orwellian ridiculousness of Jesus, and the truth about moral progress”
    by Michael Shermer

    Make a cup of coffee. Sit and look at the screen for a good long while. Let that text really sink in.

    Bill Maher, who of course has publicly praised the use of torture on prisoners, and who has publicly stated his beliefs in ghosts, numerology, and astrology (http://articles.latimes.com/1998/jan/09/news/ls-6364/3). He’s plopped down like a giant stinking brown turd into the middle of Salon’s page today. Wow.

    A more appropriate article for today, from a couple years ago:

    “MLK’s vehement condemnations of US militarism are more relevant than ever”
    — Glenn Greenwald
    Sample quote: “But the distance between the veneration expressed for him and the principles he espoused seems to grow every year.”

    1. MikeNY

      If you’ve never heard it, go to youtube and listen to MLK’s full speech “Why I Oppose the Vietnam War”.

      I have never heard a more magnificent, inspired piece of oratory.

      1. RWood

        and in 1968, not a revelation to some who heard it then, but — forgotten?
        30:46 “And it is a sad fact that because of complacency, a morbid fear of communism, our proneness to adjust to injustice, the western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries and this has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit and therefore communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated.”
        As well the condemnation the preacher speaks of the arrogance of the US. Pretzel Bushite certainly wasn’t speaking to the same god as the preacher.

    2. Jack

      Wouldn’t it be nice if the self-professed evangelicals of rationality would actually be rational? The fact that Christopher Hitchens is still beloved by many internet atheists is especially cringe inducing.

  6. mike

    Here’s what the people who complain about LBJ’s depiction in “Selma” are saying. They condescendingly discount any of the perspective and knowledge of the MLK/LBJ meetings and conversations from the black side of the discussions, and they tell us that they have complete and accurate documentation of every conversation that LBJ and Hoover had in the period. They also are telling us that LBJ was not mercurial and difficult to know and that, in pursuit of his positions and policies, he would never lie, cheat, intimidate, threaten, backstab, humiliate, or stand in the way of those whose policy preferences did not coincide with his.

    IOW, they are bullsh*tting us. But on the plus side we now know he was a good dancer. (Or do we?)

    The LBJ depicted in “Selma” is the one anyone sapient during that period remembers, his blessed and benighted aides like Califano and Moyers notwithstanding (and who coincidentally get painted and tainted for working for LBJ when he was pursuing his sundry political strategies, wise or not, ethical or not). That LBJ deserves great and enduring appreciation for his civil rights actions, which he did not have to do at all, notwithstanding his qualities and the disastrous policies for which he also deserves great and enduring reputation. “Selma” depicts the LBJ that MLK knew and the one who comes through the documented history of that period.

    LBJ was not a “villain” in the movie but one of the very best politicians in our history juggling several hot issues that he was trying to put together in one piece the best he could, his “You have one issue and I have 101” line in the movie. That didn’t fit the needs of the black community who had crossed the line in the South and did not want and could not afford to step back, or “wait” in the movie’s line. That was the reality, and the storytelling, if not a tape recording, is amazingly well presented. It’s not clear which perspective, securing voting rights (MLK) or cutting deeply into poverty (LBJ), that a jury of Mr. Spock’s would rule in favor of, or indeed what MLK himself would now say was the better course given the evolution of civil rights policies and outcomes since his assassination. What was clear and what was demonstrated in this movie as well as any movie has done it is that, sometimes, good clashes with good and one of them has to bend or break for one to prevail. LBJ, to his credit, was the one who bent and saved some of his overall legacy as a result. Open-minded audience members might actually come out of the movie with respect for him to counter the initial frustration, not the hallmark of a “villain.” Closed-minded ones resort to LBJ tactics to get the movie shut out of the necessary publicity multiple Oscars would provide.

    It’s not surprising that aides who don’t like association with the bad parts and old white historians/pundits who see their “expertise” about the period challenged with a different narrative from those who actually lived it don’t like that narrative. That Richard Cohen has been one of the major critics should tell you all you need to know. Who was the better user of hurtful info, Mr. Moyers—Hoover or LBJ . . . or shall we just call it a toss-up? And the movie never had Hoover mentioning the tape nor had LBJ saying it should be used. Moreover, there would be no documentation or evidence of such a conversation, just “faith” that sainted LBJ would never even talk about threatening MLK as a political strategy and that he and Hoover had never collaborated on commonly perceived threats during LBJ’s entire career as Senate Majority Leader through the White House. Also, the movie did show a clearly moved MLK during the speech and also showed LBJ leaning directly and powerfully into his audience to deliver it. That he delivered it dully is what all of us who watched him then without being on staff to him remember about his beautiful speeches on social policy and horrible delivery. But by then his protectors from the movie would have been too far gone to credit. (Go back and read some of his social policy speeches sometime and ask why they never got more credit for their beauty than they did. Couldn’t be the messenger.)

    What’s not surprising is that the Oscar execs and voters, at best uncomfortable with a movie that doesn’t show noble slaves being abused but nobly seeking freedom or noble carpenters nobly helping nuns but only normal people exercising more individual agency and bravery in one day than any reader here will in their entire life, myself included, to climb up to normal status in American society when those who “knew better” had failed them time and time again by telling them to “wait” and smothering them when they didn’t want to, clearly fell for their bullsh*t. Instead they chose to honor Dirty Harry and an American sniper. That’s the message about America in 2015 that Mr. Moyers should stick to.

    1. Eclair

      Thank you, Mike, for answering the ‘LBJ wasn’t portrayed correctly’ critics of “Selma.”

      I watched the film last week and found it magnificent. Its portrayal of LBJ struck me as ‘true;’ he was a politician, balancing, negotiating, calling in favors and dispensing rewards, while MLK was a crusader. The issue was a clear one for King: blacks were being denied their constitutional right to vote, and had been for decades. They would wait no longer.

      After reading the reviews by the White Whiners, who seem to be oddly disturbed that theirs in no longer the sole lens through which we can view history, I had tried to formulate a response. You have done it for me … and so much better than I could have hoped to do.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I guess I’m not clear if “Moyers” falls into the category of “people who” (a locution that makes my back teeth itch). I didn’t read the article as “condescending” at all.

      My bottom line is that for the sake of the activists, the history needs to be right; they need to make judgments about power that will be assisted by knowing (as far as such things are possible) what actually happened when power conceded to their demands, as opposed to the Hollywood version of what happened. Moyers was there; I don’t see him as a shill; I do see him as worth listening to and taking into account.

      1. bruno marr

        Haven’t seen the movie. But it is a movie about MLK/Selma. I’ve listened to the Director talk about what the MSM is calling “mischaracterization” between LBJ and MLK, she pretty much debunks that nonsense. And so does the prior comments by Mike. White folks, including Moyers, have their perspectives. The Director has another. (And from listening to her, she has done some massive research into the films protagonists.) As for getting history right, Lambert, most of what folks have learned about American history is wildly slanted balderdash!


  7. DJG

    Also for today: This best summation of why the strategy of nonviolence is the only strategy. I still believe that many people involved with Occupy Wall Street understood this point, which is why the movement had to be suppressed by coordinated state violence. Unlike Martin Luther King, though, Occupy hasn’t figured out to come back again and again. It may be that current protests are what Occupy has turned into.


    1. NoFreeWill

      We also seem to have forgotten that MLK’s nonviolence was backed up by Malcom X’s violence and that neither would have succeeded without the other. Or maybe that MLK’s assassination proves that violence is an effective tool of sociopolitical control and that giving up useful tools in the name of ethical superiority has never been a good idea.

      1. alex morfesis

        Which malcolm x violence are you talking about ? No such violence ever existed or happened…sorry to disappoint your vivid imagination…

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        1) On Malcolm X and MLK, evidence on “backed up by” please.

        2) I don’t know why violence advocates tend so often to frame their attack on non-violence as “ethical superiority”; guilt? It’s entirely possible to be an advocate of strategic non-violence on the grounds that the chances of winning are greater, without making an ethical claim. That is the position that I see the commenter taking, subject to correction.

        3) As far as “violence is an effective tool of sociopolitical control,” for elites, yes. So you will forgive me if I tend to put insurgents who advocate violence as “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” category; the twentieth century is replete with such examples, starting with the Bolsheviks. Why replace one gang of thugs with another gang of thugs wearing a different jersey? Alternative outcomes/motivations are always possible, of course, but I think the 20th C teaches that violence advocates tend to prefigure the regime they will install, and its not a pretty sight.

        1. flora

          Yes. Non-violence as the method to remove or change an oppressive situation stands a good chance of remaining the method for sorting out sub-issues once the big oppression is overcome.
          India’s non-violent overcoming of British rule was followed by violence that lead to the partition – India and Pakistan – but it could have been so much worse. India has 6 ethnic groups and 2 major and several minor languages. Think how bad it could have been if non-violence hadn’t been the default method to resolve disputes. See: French Revolution: Reign of Terror or, as you say, the Bolshevik revolution and the endless purges that followed.

  8. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Lindsay Graham for Prez…let me count the ways. I think he would need to institute a “presidential uniform”, probably forest green with epaulets, he could borrow an ancient four-armed Tibetan symbol for good luck, and I’d think knee-high black boots would be de rigeur. He’d need a swagger stick of course, and perhaps a monocle. His first act could be requiring universal loyalty oaths, and he could use advanced genomics to determine selection for re-processing camps, if sufficient genes of the right kind were not indicated of course he’d need some advanced industrial methods for resource recovery, I’m sure Halliburton or Lockheed Martin have some good plans on the books for a no-bid contract, Soylent Oil! America could be energy independent and get rid of any pesky residual notions that we somehow need friendly, mutually-beneficial bilateral relationships with any other countries, America is sovereign enough, why should any other nations be allowed to remain that way?
    As we fully institutionalize Permanent War we need a president who embraces it with all of its cultural and economic opportunities. Forget Sparta, we need to mobilize the full resources of the nation in armed conflict around the globe…the sky’s the limit! Remember, if you’re not with us you’re against us.

        1. MikeNY

          Not at all. I happen to live with and love one.

          I do have a problem with closeted homosexuals who use their positions of political power to oppress gay people, and obstruct all progress toward equality for gay people. I suspect (with a big portion of the gay community) that Miss Graham is the former, and I know he has done the latter.

          If you feel this is out-of-bounds, I will desist.

          1. ambrit

            Laugh out loud! Miss Pitty Pat in the Senate! What’s next, Yankees in Georgia?
            Has anyone done a reputable poll in Grahams’ state to see if he could politically survive “coming out?” His closetedness could be politically motivated.
            And no Lambert, I have no problem with gay people. Our son came out when he was a teen and we love him dearly.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            I’m happy for you and I understand the motivation.

            However, neither your situation nor your motivation are clear from the snark, and as a result we get a chorus of Junior High School-level “me too” nudging and snickering, as we see. In exactly the same way I want to clean up the Clinton threads from sort of thing before the contest really heats up, I would like you to abandon this riff. There are plenty of policy reasons to dislike both Graham and the Clintons, so focus on those; this is NC not Kos. If there’s news, like with the “wide stance” guy, then we’ll put in the link.

            Otherwise, it’s just snark. I did that kind of thing for years against Republicans, back and I was a Democrat, and it accomplished nothing, degraded the discourse, and made me a worse person. So enough.

    1. Linda Amick

      Every time I drive up rutted, trash sown Interstate 85 through South Carolina I think about Lindsay Graham.
      I think of him when passing by dilapidated strip malls and villages with the poor on foot and on rusty bikes.
      South Carolina must reflect all that Lindsay Graham is.

    2. Sam Adams

      Ridiculous description of the presidential uniform. Pearls don’t go with it and where is the fluttering fan so Miss Lindsay can throw herself on the fainting couch at the next international crisis and be consoled by her BFF from Arizona?

  9. DJG

    The article about Asian voters highlights the stupidity of U.S. racial classifications. Let’s throw Japanese and Korean culture together (as if they would–the relationship between Japan and Korean is fraught). Let’s throw the Kurds and Koreans together: You know. Asia, the letter K. It’s one of the reasons I’m also highly skeptical of the classifiers African American and Latino. “Latino” is a category that Brazilians just love being thrown into and that attempts (poorly) to use language to define race. And very few black Americans (that is, black Americans descended from slaves) could ever trace descent to Ethiopia or Eritrea.

    1. jrs

      Ha I remember reading that book. Does that mean I think for myself or not? Ack, I don’t know, someone please tell me! It was mostly a critique of middle brow culture, on how language is much simpler these days etc.

  10. Llewelyn Moss

    No Good Choices 2016
    – Lindsey Graham for Prissydent!
    – Romney says he has Changed His Spots. However, I’m guessing it’s measles.
    – Hillary says Bill can work on her campaign but is not allowed to talk to the interns.

    1. Chris in Paris

      Re: Poll: Romney vs. Clinton [CBS]

      “Republicans, by a 61 to 35 percent margin, believe it’s more important to have a nominee who agrees with them on the issues than a nominee who can win the general election.”

      Impenetrable logic.

  11. TulsaTime

    PERFECT ! Look Charlie Brown! A Football!! Oh yeah, and we could kick it too if those mean ole republicans would not keep taking it away, gosh darn it. And people wonder why I don’t watch SOTU, or believe in the tooth fairy or god.

    1. jrs

      It’s worth reading the text anyway, they usually do lay out how they will screw us in the coming years in the STFU, uh I mean the SOTU, in addition to whatever fluff may be in it. It’s good to know.

    2. Kokuanani

      I wish SOME network would get wise and offer us a “Puppy Bowl” equivalent to watch during the SOTU, like they do during the Super Bowl.

      I will NOT be watching that damn SOTU, and doG help anyone who does.

  12. ewmayer

    Trio of Reuters links:

    o Greg Plitt, fitness model and TV actor, killed by train

    Plitt had done previous filming on railroad tracks doing pushups and other fitness routines, according to promotional videos posted online.

    The rail line where he was filming on Saturday is partly fenced and is supposed to be off-limits to the public, Canales said.

    “One rep too many…” proving once again that exercise is hazardous to your health. Well, actually most things are, when you willfully blind yourself to your surroundings, whether via face-buried-in-smartphone or “one more rep” mania.

    o University of Virginia legal costs mount after discredited rape story

    Advice to UVa: Better call Saul! (shameless plug, I know.)

    o Middle class decline looms over final years of Obama presidency

    Obama’s administration can take credit for stabilizing the U.S. economy, which is growing again and last year added jobs at the fastest clip since 1999.

    Stabilizing … at least until the latest, greatest CB-orchestrated set of asset bubbles (across multiple major asset classes, from equities to cheap-debt-for-fracking to junk bonds to housing to subprime car loans and student-debt-for-the-nonexistent-jobs-of-the-future) pops, Reuters means. Also, outside of the major bubble-benefiting-and-skimming sectors those weren’t “jobs”, they were “jawbs”. Which is spelled the same way as “jawboning”, in what appears to be no coincidence, in light of the central wankers’ favorite market-moving-PR strategy, and even moreso ahead of tomorrow night’s Capitol Hill SotU BS-spew-fest.

  13. ambrit

    I don’t remember seeing this here before. “Rand Paul steps up the GOP attack on Social Security.”
    Just how much influence does Paul have on Republican decision making? Some of the Far Right wing are not into Kabuki. With the “Moderate” wing of the Republican Party almost extinct, indeed, the Democratic Party now fills that role, Paul might do some real damage.

  14. Wayne Harris

    “Clinton no longer looks like such a juggernaut, and the Democratic brand is in its weakest state in a decade”

    By the 2012 convention, the Democratic brand had been pretty much reduced to chest-thumping that they were the Party that killed Osama bin Laden. Not sure what they do for an encore in 2016 since ISIS doesn’t appear to have a handy leader of bin Laden’s stature to target and crow about. All the Dems got is Obama lamely proposing stuff he knows can’t pass but could have easily in 2008, the year the Grand Bait and Switch.

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