2:00PM Water Cooler 8/24/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, as usual with a Clinton speech, it took me longer to struggle in and out of my yellow waders than I thought it would, so Water Cooler will be a little bit light today, and (for various reasons, partly vacation-y) through Labor Day.



O’Malley to propose expansion of Social Security [WaPo].

Sanders and #BlackLivesMatter in South Carolina [Reuters].

Sanders’ campaign staff met with the Charleston chapter of activist group Black Lives Matter on Friday night, said local activist Muhiyidin D’Baha who attended Saturday night’s speech. “They’ve been really good in receiving critique. We’re really hoping that we have impacted his message.”

I’ve gotta say: Contrast Clinton.

The Voters

“Maybe This Time Really Is Different” [Norman Ornstein, The Atlantic]. Maybe Trump won’t be a flash in the pan. 

Walker disagrees [Wall Street Journal, “Walker: ‘No Margin for Growth’ for Trump”]. But he would.

What total Republican control of a state really means [Reuters]. That Democratic weak bench again.

The Trail

Forget about the hair and the white shoes. Is Trump broke? [The Alpha Pages]. From a writer who knows the habits of squillionaries well: Trump isn’t displaying those habits. So…. 

“At Koch group summit, a restrained enthusiasm for Trump” [Reuters]. When people start calling Trump “Reagan-esque,” you’ll know real normalization will have set in.

“[A] Facebook-driven grassroots movement of Bernie Sanders supporters is seeking 100,000 or more RSVP’s from other Sanders supporters to attend a mass rally at the Washington Mall on or around October 17, with the theme ‘enough is enough,’ in support of the Sanders candidacy [New York Observer (spooz)]. Like the Dean Bat, except for people, not dollars. (Adding that amazingly, I can’t find an image of “The Dean Bat,” which the Howard Dean campaign used for its innovative online small-donor campaign. What a long time ago that was.)

“Joe Biden’s Role in ’90s Crime Law Could Haunt Any Presidential Bid” [New York Times].

Biden to skip DNC meeting for declared candidates [Politico]. However, he’s hired a communciations director “with campain chops” [Politico].

Clinton goes hyperlocal in Iowa [Business Insider]. “Clinton commented on her efforts to make local connections at a Burlington house party this summer. ‘I want to know what’s actually happening, so I can come up with proposals that may actually change people’s lives,’ she said.” It’s like she took that script and ran it on #BlackLivesMatter.

Is the Clinton campaign buying Facebook likes? [Reddit]. From “r/SandersForPresident,” so cum grano salis.

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, July 2015:  “July was a very solid month for the economy, based on the national activity index which rose to a stronger-than-expected” [Bloomberg].

Wheee! “The drop in Dow marked its largest one-day point decline ever on an intraday basis, as intensifying growth fears sparked steep stock-market losses world-wide” [Wall Street Journal, “Dow Pares Losses After 1,089-Point Plunge But Still Down Sharply in Global Rout”]. What growth? Granted, things can always get worse.

Wheee! “The pace of selling on global bourses is accelerating at the start of the US session after Chinese stocks led a sell-off across Asia that prompted further questions about the outlook for policy in Beijing and at the Federal Reserve” [Financial Times, “Global sell-off hits US indices”]

“U.S. markets average one 10 percent correction every 20 months. On average, we should expect these declines to take 71 trading days to play out (about three months)” [Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg].

“Here’s What Usually Happens to Markets After the S&P 500 Drops 5 Percent in a Week” [Bloomberg]. “Some of the standout years include huge drawdowns of more than 20 percent over the next 12 weeks in 1987 and 2008. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there were massive turnarounds in 1998 and 2009. ”

“Officials say Europe’s recovery, based on rock-bottom interest rates, cheap and still declining oil prices and a weak euro, remains well grounded despite the swings in global equity prices” [Market News].

“The Chinese yuan is doing what officials said it would do: there is more volatility but no large moves” [Above the Curve]. Lots of technicals for turbulent markets.

“[T]his looks like the kind of healthy correction we should periodically expect in a richly valued market” [James Surowiecki, The New Yorker]. “Amazon, for instance, isn’t worth two hundred and thirty billion dollars because of how much money investors think it will make over the next five years, but because of how much money investors think it will make over the next thirty, forty, or even fifty years. And over that long a stretch of time, even small changes in how fast a company grows can have very big economic consequences. The difference between growing, say, ten per cent a year and growing twelve per cent a year is trivial over a one-year span. But over a thirty-year span, it becomes surprisingly important.”

“The scale of the rout over the last week appears to have persuaded an increasing number in global markets that the fall in commodity prices over the last few months is less a benign transfer of wealth [!!] from producer countries to consumer ones, than a symptom of the world economy’s inability to generate enough demand to absorb everything that’s being produced” [Fortune].

“[D]on’t round on the usual suspect of short-termism. Animal spirits with the longest horizons may be the ones that really bite” [FT, “Free Lunch: Making sense of financial carnage”]

“While the stock losses of the largest Wall Street banks were manageable last Thursday, they picked up steam on Friday. What was particularly surprising was that JPMorgan’s losses were on a par with those of Citigroup” [Wall Street on Parade]. Even though Citi is under indictment again.

The Fed: “Three-quarters of U.S. business economists surveyed see liftoff happening this year and a little more than a third expect the Fed’s first rate hike in more than nine years to happen in September. The new survey was taken before the stock market began to plummet” [Market News]. No doubt!

The Fed: “The central bank waited too long to raise interest rates. Now, with global markets in turmoil, it should hold off” [Gerald P. O’Driscoll, Wall Street Journal, “The Fed Flirts With the Right Move at the Wrong Time”].

The Fed: “[T]he official focus this year [at Jackson Hole] will be ‘Inflation [!!] Dynamics and Monetary Policy'” [Bloomberg].

“Trying to count China’s jobless” [The Economist].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“White Americans saw [Katrina] and its aftermath as a case of bad luck and unprecedented incompetence that spread its pain across the Gulf Coast regardless of race. This is the narrative you see in Landrieu’s words and, to some extent, Obama’s as well. To black Americans, however, this wasn’t an equal opportunity disaster. To them, it was confirmation of America’s indifference to black life” [Salon].

“But even people who talk about a renaissance speak in the same breath about those who didn’t recover. The ‘New’ New Orleans is whiter and more expensive to live in. African-American neighborhoods across the city still struggle, especially the chronically neglected Lower 9th Ward, a bastion of black home ownership before the floodwalls failed. And the murder rate is rising again” [AP].

“Black pitmasters left out of US barbecue boom” [BBC (TG)]


Farewell to Lori Wallach [Eyes on Trade]. The TPP pot definitely coming off the front burner. 

Wretched Excess

“Who says love don’t cost a thing? Jewellery store unveils SOLID GOLD underwear for Chinese Valentine’s Day valued at £400,000” [Daily Mail].

“The high price of turning your dog into a foodie” [Reuters]. “The brand Tiki Dog, for instance, offers wild-caught ahi tuna with sweet potato, crab, egg, garlic and kale. Merrick’s “French Country Cafe” recipe features a blend of duck, carrots, Yukon Gold potatoes and garden peas.”

“City trader fined for punching man in Margaret Thatcher-themed club in Fulham” [Evening Standard].

Class Warfare

Unionizing Politico? [New York Magazine].

“So the language of levels of the social appears to be legitimate after all. It gives us a conceptual vocabulary that captures composition and complexity, and it allows us to identify important social causal powers that would not be accessible to us on the flat ontology” [Understanding Society].

News of the Wired

“As a society, what we most want to ensure is that the artists can prosper — not the record labels or studios or publishing conglomerates, but the writers, musicians, directors and actors themselves” [New York Times]. “Writers, performers, directors and even musicians report their economic fortunes to be similar to those of their counterparts 15 years ago, and in many cases they have improved. Against all odds, the voices of the artists seem to be louder than ever.”

“Becker points out that in the Middle Ages, there were religious mandates against excessive greed. Avarice was considered a mortal sin. In the 20th century, we raised it to a moral virtue. That’s turned the earth into a smouldering heap of disposable plastic bottles” [Five Books].

Almost all of the world’s 60 million poor people living in rural LECZs [Low Elevation Coastal Zones] reside in just 15 countries: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, Mozambique, Senegal, Brazil, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand” [Nature]. “Finally, the most vulnerable populations may need to be encouraged to migrate to non-coastal areas. Schemes such as voluntary property acquisition or assisted relocation may be required, as was recommended by the Louisiana master plan.”

“Researchers sample enormous oceanic trash vortex ahead of clean-up proposal” [Reuters].

* * *

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 (AH):


AH: “An Egyptian frieze — if these lilies were lotuses.”

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. This is turning into a tough month, and I need to keep my server up!


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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. DJG

      Many dog owners seem to know little about dog nutrition. I’ve seen products advertised as having vitamin C. Dogs make their own vitamin C. Human beings are one of a very few species that do not.

      The larger question: And is it a question of policy? Do Americans spend way too much money on pets? Should it become a cultural issue that the family pug is eating more protein each day than a family of four in, say, Mali?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Alpha male and female humans love nothing more than for the little people of Mali (and elsewhere) and dogs to fight over their leftovers.

      2. alex morfesis

        more money in america is spent on pets then grandparents spend on grandchildren…not trying to feed into the peterson cross generational noise…but it certainly is sad…

      3. Pepsi

        What galls is that you could cook for your pet for less money than it would cost to buy it fancy treats and food that are probably not any more nutritious than standard garbage dog food. Dogs aren’t picky, they just don’t like to be poisoned to death.

      4. Ivy

        I love our family dog (a very healthy and happy mutt) but don’t plan on changing the pet food menu (a new, or an ew, oxymoron) to buy refrigerated pet food, or any of the foodie items. Seeing the pet food refrigerator case at Target elicited a double-take.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Got to love marketing. And precious egocentricity. On that hang all the loss and the profits…

  1. optimader

    Larry Summers: As in August 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2008 we could be in the early stage of a very serious situation.

    Stated as a question to my primary financial advisor: http://www.ask8ball.net/

    As in August 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2008 are we in the early stage of a very serious situation?

    8ball: My sources say no

    Is larry summers wrong?
    8Ball: Yes, Definitely

    Well, Wrong Way Corrigan Summers gives me some unintentional heartfelt optimism.
    And again, The Magic Eight Ball passes the Turing Test with flying colors….

    1. cwaltz

      My guess is Larry Summers has lots of money invested in the stock market. Personally this situation isn’t great because the rich convinced the average man that the way to fund your retirement was to play the rich folk lotto game that is reliant on screwing a fellow worker, however it isn’t the end of the world if you paid attention in 1997,1998, 2007 and 2008 and didn’t expect to make a gajillion dollars through your 401k.

      1. Optimader

        Its a casino and LS presumably talks his book like everyother WS shill.

        Not a place for a meaningful % of a retirement egg that cant be replaced

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          OMG endless blather about “How the Fed should rescue the markets” instead of “WHETHER the Fed should rescue the markets”
          Can we please have just a tiny bit of capitalism again? You know, where companies that make bad investments fail? The longer we just prop up failed malinvestment the more we turn into Japan. You know, where the corpses of zombie companies are endlessly subsidized and propped up like “Weekend at Bernie’s”?
          Unlimited borrowing to prop EVERTHING up, from companies to currencies, is pathological. OF COURSE nobody wants to take their medicine, ever. Pumping up corpses with steroids so they appear alive is not the answer.

          1. Skippy

            Milton Friedman’s Little Shop of Horrors screen play…. with a sound track from Hotel California…

            Skippy…. some get confused with the Capitalism-lith bit….

          2. steelhead23

            Neoliberal capitalism has shattered the myth of Capitalism as an efficient allocator of resources through its singular obsession with profit. Please note what has happened during the Fed’s ZIRP binge. Have new factories sprouted like weeds? No. Has production per unit of capital increased? Perhaps, but mostly due to labor arbitrage. No, what ZIRP has wrought is more looting of corporations, using the value of fixed assets and tomorrow’s production (effectively betting on the come) corporate leadership has issued new debt to finance not corporate growth, but “shareholder value” by buying back stock and issuing dividends. Historically, the tendency toward greed and avarice was blunted by social and legal constraints. Today, with the neoliberal creed extolling greed’s ‘animal spirits’, the globe’s economy teeters on the brink. In answer to your question – of course the Fed should not rescue the markets – but it very likely will – by continuing ZIRP until the risk they are in fact promoting, goes away.

  2. Jess

    So, any crystal ball prognostications, speculation, wild-ass guesses, etc., on where this is going? And the fallout from arriving at whatever destination we’re bound for?

    1. Jess

      Just to add: anybody think that another 2008-type financial debacle will finally result in breaking up the TBTF financial institutions?

      1. craazyboy

        I always blame space aliens. They must be watching and one day they will decide humans are completely incapable of being Masters of the Universe. Then they will make their move and take over Wall Street. It just makes sense when you think about it. But they will buy low so they can sell high later. Anyone capable of space travel isn’t stupid.

        ‘Course Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein are probably thinking the same thing. So I’m sure they are covering their financial butts and issuing orders to the underlings to cut off any broker margin lending and certainly halt any repo lending stuff with high frequency traders. So the liquidity tap is being turned off, methinks.

      2. Oldeguy

        “anybody think another 2008-type financial debacle will finally result in breaking up the TBTF financial institutions ?”
        If there is any change at all it is likely to be toward further consolidation. The failure of any of the surviving Big Six would likely take us back to 1932 if not worse.
        If there is a sufficiently severe spillover into the Real Economy ( ala 2009 ), nationalization and running them as a Public Utility ( which IMHO should have been done in 2008-2009 ) might be a possibility. See Alan Blinder’s When the Music Stopped http://www.amazon.com/After-Music-Stopped-Financial-Response/dp/014312448X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440450214&sr=1-1&keywords=blinder&pebp=1440450219625&perid=1K5J6WA4041P5HRQTWRZ

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        There isn’t a functional majority in Congress. People were very angry in 2008, and it never went away. There are more Tea Party sympathizers in Congress. The Blue Dogs are disappearing, so arguments about appeasing them won’t go over well with Democratic voters. The GOP is still an alliance of old school Republicans, neoconservatives, evangelicals, southern democrats, and the western version of southern democrats. Why should they bail out banks in New York when they’ve been buying gold and bit coin?

        Obama unlike Dubya is concerned with an immediate legacy. Dubya came into office as a lower of the popular vote. He was never going to be liked, and he did the heavy lifting in 2008 instead of leaving it to the Democratic leadership. Pelosi and Reid are never blamed for bailouts because Dubya made himself the face. I don’t think Obama has the confidence in the judgement of history to do replicate Dubya’s actions. Obama lobbied hard for TPP. Those congressmen and senators won’t be happy when he comes begging because they will only get negative press in the near term.

        One promise made in 2008 was change would come with Obama. That promise won’t fly again because there hasnt been an economic recovery for the majority of voters in both parties and the election results arent set. The vote on the 2008 bailout meant very little to winning and losing at that point. Perhaps Coleman could have made a show of not voting and defeated Franken, but that was about it. I don’t see a majority out there.

        Hillary won’t have the shine Obama had. “Oh, he’s only been President for 6 years” won’t fly with Hillary. Biden is a nothing with a record as horrible as Hillary’s except he’s not as good on the stump and even older. Sanders whole essence is being an outsider on the side of people against a secret pro-business government. He can’t call for a bailout that will be supported by Congress without the power of the executive. Going back to Hillary, one of her problems was the optics of the listening tour. She’s been running for President since 1998 and had nothing ready to go, just tea with the queen events. She is running on a myth of competence and experience. People or enough in an election will want to see a plan, not vague promises.

        1. Christopher Fay

          Obama is the face of the 2008 bail outs. By the fall of 2008 the Cheney administration due to the over exertion of the looting, incompetence and more had collapsed. Obama had to wade back to the swamp to lead the bail outs.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Not at the time which is what mattered to the passage. Dubya took the hit, but since his name was mud it didn’t matter.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Not from me. I try to capture a spectrum of opinion. Personally, I have no “skin in the game,” except insofar as our lousy real economy is concerned.

      1. Jess

        I guess I didn’t phrase this as comprehensively and accurately as I should have. Only interested in how this affects the financial markets with respect to the real economy (which certainly got walloped the last time the Masters of our Universe screwed the pooch). Looking for insight as to how this might play out in our own new Housing Bubble 2.0, influx of foreign buyers for high-end real estate in NYC, Silly Con Valley, etc. Impact on bubble in car loans, student loan defaults, job losses here, balance of payments import/export disruptions, etc.

        In short, looking at the possible or prospective impact/blowback/repercussions on Main Street

        1. jrs

          In fact although the paper economy took a temporary hit in the long run *ONLY* the real economy got impacted last time.

    3. abynormal

      this specific information could only be granted by the likes of CNBS etc.

      “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
      For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
      For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
      For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
      For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
      And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
      B. Franklin

    4. Andrew Watts

      My uneducated guess is that this is merely the head fake before a major crash. Bloomberg is reporting that 70 billion dollars was pulled from the stock markets during the late spring. The question is will this money re-enter the markets during the course of the expected central bank / government intervention? If the answer is yes then any crash will be delayed for weeks or more likely months. Meanwhile in the short term the stock markets will recover a lot of what will probably be lost over the week or even hit new highs.

      I consulted my trusted financial adviser Barbie and this is what she had to say, “I want to go shopping with Tracy!”. If Barbie wanted to go to the beach with Ken I would assume it’d be a good time to pull everything out of the market and prepare for an immediate crash. This is contrary to what I want to happen. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Burn motherf—er burn!

  3. abynormal

    Today: Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) said Monday it will buy AGL Resources (NYSE:GAS), creating the second largest utility company in the U.S. based on revenue.

    Southern will pay $66 cash per AGL share. The enterprise value of deal is approximately $12 billion, according to the companies, including debt of $8 billion.

    “We believe this combination will also advance our customer-focused business model. AGL Resources and Southern Company have long been leading corporate citizens, and the combined company will further our support of all of the communities we serve,” said Southern’s CEO Thomas Fanning, in a release.

    Southern will now serve 9 million customers in nine states, and AGL will become a subsidiary of Southern and keep its headquarters in Atlanta.

    They will come to learn in the end, at their own expense, that it is better to endure competition for rich customers than to be invested with monopoly over impoverished customers.
    Frederic Bastiat
    (whose end Bastiat?)

    1. allan

      “our customer-focused business model”

      Which is sort of like describing a magnifying glass on a sunny day as “our ant-focused optics”.

  4. katiebird

    Lambert, I just sent you a copy of the Dean Bat. Let me know if you don’t get it (or if you do??). I’m not totally sure I have the right address.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Here is the Dean Bat! S-o-o-o-o 2003!


      As people contributed, the bat “filled up,” so Deaniacs and potential contributors could see visible progress and encourage each other collectively, online. At the time, this was very innovative.

      So now the Sanders campaign is setting a numerical goal for an event, instead of a dollar goal. That’s innovative too!

  5. ekstase

    That “N.Y.Times” article on how things are for artists now, (fine), strikes me as intended to soothe. You need a climate that encourages real free speech and real artistic experimentation to have artists really thrive.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “The high price of turning your dog into a foodie” [Reuters]. “The brand Tiki Dog, for instance, offers wild-caught ahi tuna with sweet potato, crab, egg, garlic and kale. Merrick’s “French Country Cafe” recipe features a blend of duck, carrots, Yukon Gold potatoes and garden peas.”

    It’s not that only us humans should be exceptionally lucky, so, I am not suggesting we deny dogs tasty meals. It’s just that I can’t imagine man’s best friend fancying carrots, peas and potatoes.

    And if it’s about the journey, and not the destination (or, as well as the destination), maybe we should let them hunt on their own.

    1. petal

      My dogs would kill for a carrot. It’s their favourite treat-I can’t even cook them for myself without them going nuts. They smell carrot and the gig is up!

      1. Cliff

        Mine too! But freshly cut carrots (and the dog has to see and hear you cutting them; none of those processed navettes!) are #2 to the Holy Grail, broccoli stems.

      2. Nick

        I make my dog’s food from scratch… it’s like a stew, with beef and/or chicken, sweet potato, oatmeal, carrots, beans, with added vitamins and essential oils. Making by the batch and freezing it in portions is cheaper than high quality dry dog food. Of course, when I make it myself, it’s all organic with no chemical additives or fillers (ie. ground up chicken feet or ‘dust’)

    2. Optimader

      “The high price of turning your dog into a foodie

      How much do you really want to spend on food for a creature that licks it own ass and eats other animals sht like it’s Belgian chocolates?

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Almost all of the world’s 60 million poor people living in rural LECZs [Low Elevation Coastal Zones] reside in just 15 countries: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, Mozambique, Senegal, Brazil, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand”

    Proving once again the rich are indeed superior, they will make us all envious – or will be portrayed by the propaganda ministry to make us jealous – with their palatial underwater vacation homes, even as the dim-witted poor people seek help relocating from those LECZs.

    “We are the masters of the world, including its oceans. We ski down Mt. Everest and play survivor games, for fun, in the rain forests of Papua New Guinea.”

    End of Sarcasm.

    1. Ivy

      LECZ made me think of LZ (Landing Zone term from Vietnam era) and Lech Walesa/Solidarity, from shortly thereafter. There may not be much more landing, instead awaiting berthing, and Liquidarity.

  8. cwaltz

    Heh, Trump says that we need to decouple from China.

    How exactly is that going to work?

    Cue the Big Top, I can’t wait to see if his trade positions are as unintelligible and impossible to enact as his immigration policy positions.

    1. craazyboy

      “How exactly is that going to work?”

      About the same as decoupling from a macho female Army Ranger.

      1. cwaltz

        I’m guessing you don’t have much experience with aggressive females. Decoupling with us tends to be easier instead of harder because we don’t swoon at the idea of being without a male rudder to guide us.

        1. craazyman

          how do we know you’re actually an aggressive female and not merely boisterous?

          We are prepared to take advice but we need to be sure of your credentials.

          1. Ivy

            Now isn’t the word boisterous too micro-aggressive? Perhaps girlsterous would be more appropriate ;p

          2. cwaltz

            I’m both actually. I didn’t realize I was emulating Dear Abby and dispensing advice. I was just pointing out the obvious. It’s the womenfolk who “need” a guy who are hardships to decouple from. If you’re secure, confident and not dependant on someone then you don’t stick around if you aren’t wanted.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Isn’t that what TPP is all about? We just want to move the slave labor to countries that are easier to control.

      1. cwaltz

        They thought China would be easy to control…….until it wasn’t. “Uppity workers” are always going to expect some sort of compensation for their labor(tongue firmly in cheek) and expect to share gains from it. Anyone who thinks that model is going to change even if you play musical countries is fooling themselves.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They are delusional, but part of the equation was deep-seated American exceptionalism and engraved views of most foreigners except Germans and the Japanese, the countries occupied by the U.S., as an inferior species. Only American riff raff, ghetto blacks, white rednecks, and so forth would be hurt.

  9. barrisj

    Excellent, well-researched article here by Evan Osnos in this week’s New Yorker, on how white supremacists, racists, nationalists of all stripes, and people of that ilk are flocking to the Donald and his “campaign”…beating on Hispanics is a real vote-getter, it seems:

    The Political Scene August 31, 2015 Issue
    The Fearful and the Frustrated
    Donald Trump’s nationalist coalition takes shape—for now.


    Question is, when the Trumpster finally calls it a day – he got his book deal, a slot on FoxNews, a big boost for his “brand” – and the Repub “establishment” and its squillionaire backers decide to take him down, where will all of these white nationalists and anti-immigrant types then coalesce around? Some third-party Front National?

  10. Pat

    Regarding expensive foods for dogs and I’m sure by extension cats how many of you remember the melamine in pet food problem from a few years ago? I can’t say that this is totally an extension of that, but I’m sure it was helped immensely by it. People ended up spending a whole lot of money trying to care for animals that were essentially poisoned by the food bought for them from reputable sources. Sources that didn’t bother to tell the public that the food was being cheaply produced in China and not really regulated or overseen by those manufacturers. Sure there were some cheap producers, but there was a whole lot of the big names and expensive brands in there as well. I noticed a huge surge in organic, grain free, premium ingredient foods in the aftermath.
    I’ve spent most of the last few years looking into what’s in my cat’s food. First because I could see something was wrong and this was not long after that heartbreaking situation with the recall, and then because I found out what was wrong. During that journey I fed him lots of those premium brands. The second part of it was to try to get him through dry food withdrawal. but at first it was just to find something healthy for him that he would eat so he would get better. Eventually I had to go back to a traditional not so fancy item despite its name (fancy feast classic pates), because the cat was in early onset diabetes. But this journey was taken despite the tightening of my financial circumstances. Keeping your pet healthy is a lot cheaper then having to spend a lot on vets.
    As to this being sad that more money is spent on pets, I must take a different point of view. While I only have one pet, that is the exception as most have two or more. Is that number per pet or just a general amount? I have no children, both parents are dead. My grandparents were dead before this cat was even born. How much recognition is there that a good portion of the pet owning population do not have those responsibilities in their lives. But even if that were not the case, the pets I have owned in my life are family. They are a responsibility that I willingly took on, and that I take seriously. Unless the pets were given, the same can be said for most pet owners. And while they may not need duck confit, they do deserve decent healthy food, decent living conditions, and humans who love, play and care for them after they adopt and/or breed them.

    1. petal

      +1. My dogs are the only family I have. They have gotten me through some tough times-wouldn’t be here without them. The least I can do is give them good food and a warm bed and lots of hugs.

    1. cwaltz

      I guess the market tanking is one way to narrow the gap when it comes to income inequality(tongue in cheek.)

      Another day, another tax deduction for the really rich.

  11. john

    PBS – “Destroyed by ISIS, artifacts may find new life after 3D reconstruction”

    Part of me is alarmed by the potential consequences to history.

    Imagine if someone hacked the Taj Mahal and decided to change just a few things?

    Merely speculation of the possible.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Villagers listen to Summers. We don’t need to heed Summers’ advice, but we should pay attention to a year crank who has the ear of by the current President and a potential future president.

  12. Steven D.

    Re the Reuter’s story. I suppose the best realistic outcome is that the Democratic Party is buried by the Republicans and a movement springs up on its place. Under the current campaign finance regime I don’t see the Democrats getting it together to take back the states, build a bench and become a competitive force.

    1. different clue

      Perhaps New Deal Restorationists can start a New Deal Restoration Party. It could start as partly a multi-years-long public education effort such as the old Populist Party was. Explain what the New Deal was, why it was structured into existence, who plotted to destroy it and why, how to bring back a form of it for present conditions . . . and then move on from there.

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