2:00PM Water Cooler 8/31/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



“Walker said in an interview that aired Sunday that building a wall along the country’s northern border with Canada is a legitimate issue that merits further review” [Chicago Tribune]. This conservative obsession with sphincter control has gone far enough. Perhaps even too far.

“Situating Sanders’s leftism in the proper historical frame is key to understanding the myopia that shapes some Black Lives Matter activists’ criticism of him. The Sanders program—Medicare for all, a living wage, the right to collective bargaining, fair trade policies, free public higher education, etc.—sounds a lot less like the dictatorship of the proletariat than New Deal labor-liberalism” [The New Republic].

Interesting comparison of the Republican Party’s platform with Trump’s policy proposals (albeit as expressed in Trumpese, and granting, arguendo, that Trump is actually making proposals) [WaPo].


“Behind a velvet rope and a set of double doors on the fifth floor of Trump Tower, glossy marble gives way to a cavernous, raw, unfinished space of drywall and exposed ductwork. This is Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters… in a space that used to house parts of The Apprentice set” [Bloomberg]. Doesn’t seem like Trump is laying out a lot of cash, does it?

“The small donors carrying the Sanders campaign are a refreshing break from the egregious money bundlers. Gone missing, however, is the post-Watergate system of matching funds that leveled the playing field for less affluent candidates and worked well until Congress failed to update it, even though it was embraced for two decades by the major presidential candidates. George W. Bush broke with the system for more deep-pocket support in his 2000 primary victory, while President Obama was the first to turn away from it in a general election in 2008” [Editorial, New York Times]. Yet again, we see Obama normalizing what Bush began.

“Campaigns don’t start until the first commercial appears on television” [Wall Street Journal, “Campaigns don’t start until the first commercial appears on television”]. “TV remains far and away the dominant platform for groups trying to reach the biggest-possible audience of voters,” even if digital spending is up 700% from 2012.

The Voters

At this point in 2004 (D): Lieberman +10; 2008 (D): Clinton +16.6 (R): Giuliani +11; 2012 (R): Perry +5 [WaPo]. 434 days is a long time in politics.

“People who have a mix of answers on the left and the right average out to the middle — and so they’re labeled as moderate. But when you drill down into those individual answers you find a lot of opinions that are far from the political center. … The kinds of voters Trump could appeal to: voters who hold a basket of opinions that aren’t quite represented by either party. Voters who want to deport all unauthorized immigrants while also spending more money on Social Security, or voters who are skeptical of free-trade agreements even as they’re virulently anti-abortion” [Ezra Klein, Vox]. “This speaks to the problem with Washington’s fetishization of moderate voters, which is more often a projection of what political elites wish nonaffiliated voters wanted than a serious engagement with what people ill-served by the two parties actually want.” Average is over….

The Trail

“When your intention is persuasion, you need to know when to drop a huge anchor that redirects everyone’s attention to one point and when to do the opposite and create a vague suggestion so people can fill in the blanks on their own” [Scott Adams, Dilbert]. This is important; I don’t like Adams’ politics much, but he’s great on technique (here, Trump’s).

“[T]he various movements that have arisen in reaction to those failures — the antiwar left, the Tea Party right, Occupy Wall Street – have yet to even unseat an incumbent president, let alone change the basic lines along which the two parties debate. Which is where Trump comes in: [Ross Douthat, New York Times]. “In an unhealthy system, the kind I suspect we inhabit, the Republicans will find a way to crush Trump without adapting to his message. In which case the pressure the Donald has tapped will continue to build — and when it bursts, the G.O.P. as we know it may go with it.”

“Trump’s critics misunderstand his political appeal just as they fail to comprehend his business appeal. Indeed, Trump is almost certainly not as rich as he claims he is, nor is his record as glittering as others’, nor is his a rags-to-riches story. What he offers instead is a portrait of business as a fully human struggle filled with almost romantic jousting competitions” [The Weekly Standard]. Oh. 

Sanders at DNC: “In my view, Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate, will not gain the House and will not be successful in dozens of governor’s races unless we run a campaign which generates excitement and momentum and which produces a huge voter turnout” [HuffPo].

Sanders at DNC: “‘I do,’ Sanders reportedly responded when asked Friday whether he agrees with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s assertion that the debate system is ‘rigged'” [The Hill]. Such a shock.

“On top of that, many [Democratic leaders] say, [Clinton’s] repeated jokes and dismissive remarks on the email controversy suggest that she is not treating it seriously enough” [New York Times]. “Interviews with more than 75 Democratic governors, lawmakers, candidates and party members have laid bare a widespread bewilderment that Mrs. Clinton has allowed a cloud to settle over her candidacy — by using a private email server in the first place.” Again, Clinton is being Clinton. She gives zero (0) f*cks about this.

“‘Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world,’ Clinton said. ‘But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States'” [New York Times]. And: “The fundamental claim is that Republicans aren’t respectful of women’s access to health care — that they are treating women like second-class citizens. That, Clinton argued, is reminiscent of terrorist groups that repress and abuse women in their own societies” [Vox]. Somebody should ask Clinton her views on Executive Order 13535.

“The case for Joe Biden to run in 2016” [Ruth Marcus, WaPo]. I read this thing twice. I didn’t see Marcus make a case (though she quotes or imagines others who might or might not make a case). That’s because there is no case to be made.

“Why Rank-and-File Democrats Are Hoping Biden Runs” [Bloomberg]. That is, “rank and file” loyalists who attend DNC meetings. “The word of the day, for Biden and for Hillary Clinton supporters, seemed to be ‘electability’.” Vote for me! I’m electable! Gad.

“Party officials most of all want a winner and are open to a Biden bid” [McClatchy]. Oh, so that’s the reason!

Stats Watch

Chicago PMI, August 2015: “The headline for August looks solid, at 54.4 for the Chicago PMI, but the details look weak” [Bloomberg]. “New orders and production both slowed and order backlogs fell into deeper contraction. Lifting the composite index are delays in shipments which point to tight conditions in the supply chain. Inventories rose sharply in the month.” And: “Steady as she goes” [Econintersect].

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, August 2015: “No where are the effects of the oil-patch rout more evident than in the Dallas Fed manufacturing report” [Bloomberg]. “It really doesn’t get any worse than this report which points to increasing drag from the energy sector.”

Unemployment is still down around its pre-recession levels, the housing market is still improving with more being built and increasing values, consumer confidence is very healthy, and gross domestic product is still growing” [Business Insider].

“Judging from just about every major indicator — including job growth, construction permits and auto sales — California’s economy is churning at one of the fastest clips of any state over the last few years. After being one of the hardest-hit by the housing bust and the Great Recession, the state has come roaring back, outperforming the nation in job and gross domestic product growth for much of the last three years” [Los Angeles].

“Energy-rich Qatar’s exports plunged more than 40 percent in value in the year up until July 2015, on the back of a slump in petrol and hydrocarbon sales, official figures showed Sunday” [France24].

“The most important driver this week will be whether the global capital markets will continue to move toward stability after the huge drama over the past week or two” [Across the Curve].

“TEXT: ECB Amends General Documentation on Monetary Policy” [Market News]. So, with a headline like that… “[A] new class of eligible assets, namely the “non-marketable debt instruments backed by eligible credit claims (DECCs)”, has been introduced in the Eurosystem collateral framework. DECCs are debt instruments that: (a) are backed by credit claims that are also eligible as collateral with the Eurosystem on an individual basis; and (b) that have a dual recourse feature, namely to: (i) the credit institution that is the originator of the underlying credit claims; and to (ii) the underlying credit claims themselves. It should be noted that, in the initial stage, only the domestic use of DECCs is envisaged.” Introducing a new sort of collateral should be more exciting. Can readers parse?

ISIS sovereign in its own currency? [Bloomberg]. The coins are said to he coins, which come in several denominations made of gold, silver and copper. In its video, “[ISIS] didn’t explain where the coins were being minted, nor how they’ll be distributed or replace currencies circulating in the territory the group occupies in parts of Iraq and Syria.”

“Discounting the Long Run” [Liberty Street Economics].


“The stash of previously-secret correspondence about the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) that EFF obtained and published this week speaks volumes about the extent to which technology companies such as IBM and Google, and trade lobby groups such as the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and Internet Digital Economy Alliance (IDEA), have bought into the dangerous idea that trade agreements should be used to govern the Internet” [EFF].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Analysis: Blacks in Madison arrested at more than 10 times rate of whites” [Baltimore Sun].


“Echoes of Occupy HK in Malaysia as up to 250,000 pro-democracy protesters hit the streets” [Hong Kong Free Press]. Caveating that the cry of “corruption!” is protean in its appeal; used by one faction in Thailand to overthrow another; used in Brazil to deflect a populist movement to middle-class concerns; and pervasive in the United States but almost never named for what it is. Further, there are unusually few clean hands to be found in Malaysia, even for Southeast Asia. That said, when $700 million appears in a Prime Minister’s personal bank account, with no indication of where it came from, questions might well be raised even in a normally corrupt polity; and many thousands of Malaysians appear to agree.

Bersih 4 rally timeline with photos [Malaysian Insider]. The demand seems to be “‘Undur Najib!’ (Najib resign)” [Free Malaysai Today].

“Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has condemned the organisers of demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur calling for his resignation as “haram” [Al Jazeera]. Haram: Sinful; forbidden by Allah. Yikes!

Dear Old Blighty

“Jeremy Corbyn has hit straight back at criticism from Tony Blair, saying the former Labour Prime Minister’s “big problem” is the ongoing delay in the publication of the Iraq Inquiry” [The Independent]. And, if there were any justice in the world, Blair’s pending arraignment at the Hague Tribunal. Why is this war criminal allowed to make international flights?

Our Famously Free Press

“Rebekah Brooks Said to Be Returning to News Corp. in Britain” [New York Times]. Wowsers.

The Twitter

“With its shares now trading below the price they fetched when it floated on the stock exchange, Twitter is seen by some analysts as a likely target for takeover – either by Google or Facebook” [Guardian]. Both of whom will ruin it, of course.

“[T]he number of unique users sending those tweets appears to have leveled off in April 2013, remaining stagnant through the end of 2014. This suggests that the 100 million additional users that Twitter has added in the past two years are largely listeners instead of contributors” [The Atlantic].

“Hollywood talent is finding an innovative new use for Twitter: as a tool in high-stakes negotiations” [Los Angeles Times]. For example, friend of the blog Harry Shearer.


“Why NASA’s so worried that Greenland’s melting could speed up” [WaPo].

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Even at the time, the Iraq War seemed like a very bad idea. Twelve years on, it has developed into a wretched curse on the civilizations whose foundations were laid in places like Palmyra and Mosul” [The New Yorker].

Wretched Excess

“This [Burning Man] will spew a minimum of 49,000 tons of greenhouse gases. How much is that? About the same that the nation of Swaziland (population 1.2 million) produces in a week. [That] does seems like a lot just to get naked in the desert and talk about your chakras. Ironically, Burning Man’s single most important tenet, according to every Burner ever, is leave no trace” [Grist].

Class Warfare

“Single, Unemployed Mother Leeching Off Government” [The Onion].

Study: “Social spending in the United States is 40 percent lower than it would be if policymakers didn’t disproportionately respond to the rich” [Salon].

Michael Hudson’s new book, Killing the Host: “Hudson writes: ‘A parasite’s toolkit includes behavior-modifying enzymes to make the host protect and nurture it. Financial intruders into a host economy use Junk Economics to rationalize rentier parasitism as if it makes a productive contribution, as if the tumor they create is part of the host’s own body, not an overgrowth living off the economy'” [Wall Street on Parade].

“Escaping the tragedy of the commons through targeted punishment” [Royal Society Open Science].

News of the Wired

“French investigators are no closer to confirming that the [flaperon] came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. In fact, leaks from within the investigation suggest that the part might not have come from the plane at all” [New York Magazine]. “What was holding things up, it turned out, was that the ID plate that should have been attached to the inboard edge of the flaperon was missing. And that was not the only problem. According to the New York Times, Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board found that the object did not match Malaysia Airlines’ maintenance records.” Wait, though. I thought there was only one Boeing 777 that ever went missing over water?

“Perhaps it’s not digital technology that hindered my handwriting, but the technology that I was holding as I put pen to paper. Fountain pens want to connect letters. Ballpoint pens need to be convinced to write, need to be pushed into the paper rather than merely touch it” [The Atlantic].

“[Neal] Stephenson’s negotiation with traditional morality can be illustrated by reference to two of Stephenson’s stock figures that hover around the action of his novels and provide contrasting moral color. One is the armed WASP. … The armed WASP’s opposite is the corrosive subjectivist, often but not always a humanities scholar.” [Los Angeles Review of Books]. “Readers can always fall back on the perspective we open with: Stephenson — big writer with big ideas. One might actually decide he’s a small writer: Even in his grandest and most otherworldly books, petty earthly grudges abound.”

“Although gun homicides (like all homicides) are on the decline, there are still dozens of deadly shootings every day in the US. In 2013, there were more than 32,000 gun-related deaths — and over 11,000 of those deaths were homicides” [Vox].

“Uber will eventually build a centrally-controlled, all-electric, autonomous vehicle fleet” [TechCrunch]. I’d say great, if it weren’t for neo-liberalism’s ability to turn literally everything into a crapified dystopia.

“Paris is hoping to best everyone next month by closing a large, contained portion of its urban core to all cars for a day” [Gizmodo].

* * *

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 (optimader):


Patagonian anenomes…

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. jgordon

    I’m still hoping to see Mr. Nuts name appear on the ballot come November though he hasn’t shown up in the last few polls. But if not Nuts, Trump would also be acceptable. Because a vote for Nuts, like Trump, would allow me to express just how much respect I have for the electoral process. I can’t wait!

  2. Michael Hudson

    Re Walker’s wall, I think Canada is only the first step to the REAL wall he wants: one against New England, and the other against California, to isolate the Democratic states.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      if the ReThugz actually constructed walls (or some type of drones “invisible” wall) on BOTH the MEX & CAN borders, would that make Murica an open air prison?

      The CAN politicians in Ottawa must be laughing at this news. Civilized CAN is a superior nation to Barbaric Murica. If anything, Murican undocumented immigrants would be seeking the Canadian dream by crossing the border, not visa-versa. CAN has Medicare For All, ~$80K median adult worth v $38K in Murica (a consequence of Medicare For All?), higher minimum wage, and better situated geographically given climate change.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Not to worry, of course … The CAN rulership is all over this, eh? You folks up north were ten years behind us in the race to the neoliberal bottom, but you’re catching right up! Go, Ottawa!

    2. nippersdad

      *So, thus far we have a potential wall dividing Canada, Mexico, California/Washington/Oregon and the Northeast from the true American people and any subsequent malicious attempts to sap and impurify their precious bodily fluids and, even more importantly, their wallets. They will probably need some additional walls to keep out the ocean (in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, N & S Carolina, Virginia, etc.), rising from the totally-non-existent-global-climate-changes we are seeing there as well….Do you think that Halliburton futures will be affected by all of this wall building? Are there any other suitably large corporations that could stand to benefit from such a large wall building boom?

      Maybe there is an investment opportunity just staring us in the face.

      *(All snark! This conservative wall building fetish is getting pretty funny. I think you may soon have an Onion article on your hands)

      1. LifelongLib

        “sap..their [true American] wallets”

        Most of those places are adding to the wallets of the “true Americans”. Except for Texas, AFAIK all the “true American” states are net recipients of national income. The west coast and the northeast are net contributors to it.

    3. Crazy Horse

      Walls are only necessary if you don’t have MAD. I still remain hopeful that Washington and Oregon will secede and join with British Colombia to form the natural nation of Cascadia. And since Cascadia would be in possession of the Trident submarine fleet the ex-US wouldn’t dare interfere.

      1. Noni Mausa

        Alas, could they build a wall tall enough to keep corrosive neoliberal ideas out of Canada?

        1. Crazy Horse

          Not sure whether Harperism is an indigenous disease or a metastasized form of RayGunism. Regardless, it is far too late to snuff it out at the roots.

          But I hear you still have elections up there instead of circuses like in the USA. If that is the case use them to snuff out fascism/neoliberalism. Or just let British Colombia go peacefully to its natural home as part of Cascadia.

        1. abynormal

          “Everything is fine, nobody is happy…”

          “There are only three types of citizenship: hero, villain, nobody.”

          “as long as there are
          human beings about
          there is never going to be
          any peace
          for any individual
          upon this earth (or
          anywhere else
          they might
          escape to).

          all you can do
          is maybe grab
          ten lucky minutes
          or maybe an hour

          is working toward you
          right now, and
          I mean you
          and nobody but

          1. craazyman

            This is a girly girl poem written by a hysterical woman but it’s still pretty good. This is the kind of verse they’d read in a Women’s Studies class at ah all-girl’s college in Massachussets. Then the girls would go back to the dorm and read Charles Bukowski poems and get drunk and think about getting laid and smoking cigarettes.

            I’m nobody! Who are you? (That’s the title, the rest of it is below)

            I’m nobody! Who are you?
            Are you nobody, too?
            Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
            They’d banish us; you know!

            How dreary to be somebody!
            How public like a frog
            To tell one’s name the livelong day
            To an admiring bog!

            –Emily Dickinson

            You could almost change “bog” to “blog” and have it be funny. But it’s best to leave it like they wrote it. And if people want to change it in their minds, they can.

          2. Paul Tioxon

            “You can fool some of the people all of the time,
            You can fool all of the people some of the time,

            But NOBODY fools all of the people all of the time!!!
            Honest Abe

                  1. craazyman

                    nobody can stop me from posting this nonsense, so i’ll have to stop myself. OK, i just did and now nobody can say i don’t know when to stop

                    1. craazyboy

                      Nobody works for the NSA. Nobody does care. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean nobody is not after you!

  3. Ron

    Back in the mid-90’s Burning Man was small maybe 500 or so people showed up and the event was held roughly 15 miles from its present site out on the Playa, a wild drive just trying to find the campsite. The last evening when the Man was set on fire started a series of selective fires that included a half dozen very large dump truck loads of fire wood that were also set on fire and most if not all the temp buildings at the campground were also set afire. Needles to say it looked like the end of the world with huge balls of fire about the campground and folks dancing and pounding on various drums. It was very exciting a far cry from today’s very planned and placid festival.

  4. allan

    Regulators grant major health insurance increases

    Despite urges from the Obama administration to the contrary, insurance regulators throughout the country are approving hefty rate increases proposed by the nation’s health insurers.

    In Tennessee, the largest health plan in the state secured a 36.3% increase. One state over, Kentucky’s insurance commissioner approved a 25.1% increase. Oregon residents will see an average 25.6% increase for their biggest health plan, and in Idaho, a Blue Cross plan will raise its rates by 23%.

    The good news is that this sign of accelerating inflation will give the Fed the spine it needs.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Stanley Fischer said that, even with inflation low, the Fed has to act pre-emptively.

      Wall Street’s logic is that if a 10% dip in stocks failed to make the central planners come to their senses and leave rates alone, then let’s try 20%.

      Fischer is a weak reed to lean on. Test of his panic point now on.

      1. Jim Haygood

        David Stockman puts an even finer point on the matter:

        The clueless academic [Stanley Fischer] who has spent a lifetime contributing to this disaster—–first at MIT where he superintended Bernanke, through his work as a certified monetary apparatchik at the IMF, the Israeli central bank and now the Fed——effectively confessed in his Jackson Hole speech that he can’t see the forest for the trees.

        When the next financial bubble crashes it can only be hoped that this time the people will grab their torches and pitchforks. Stanley Fischer ought to be among the first tarred and feathered for the calamity that he has so arrogantly helped enable.


        We’re gonna need the Jaws of Life to extricate Fischer, after he drives the bus into the ditch and smacks head-on into an oak tree.

        1. Higgs Boson

          The Fed’s whole purpose of QE was to increase bank reserves by buying up banks’ paper in exchange for reserves. The thinking was that banks would then lend out these reserves in search of returns.

          This thinking proceeds from the false premise that banks actually lend out reserves. The fact is banks lend to any credit-worthy customer they may find and worry about their reserve position after. If businesses are not looking for money to borrow it’s because there is not sufficient demand for their products and services. Thats right; it’s demand that drives business expansion, not cheap money. It doesn’t matter how much I can borrow and how low the interest rate is, I’m not going to build more widgets if I can’t sell the ones I already have in inventory. So much for supply-side economics.

          So what’s a bank to do? Besides, if the bank loses at the casino the central bank (the Fed) will bail said bank out again, just like before.

          We got to this place of trying to fix the economy with monetary policy (the Fed) because fiscal policy (treasury spending directed by congress) is off the table. As long as congress doesn’t want to increase spending, because that means issuing debt (a self-imposed constraint) and/or raising taxes (which don’t “pay for” anything), all we’ve got is the central bank pushing on a string.

          1. Ivy

            As shown repeatedly over the past decades, many banks will lend to borrowers that aren’t quite credit-worthy, at least where there is real property collateral. Combine that with non-recourse financing, covenant-lite and such, and you sow the next foreclosures. Developers have said that they will develop if you give them the money, even if there isn’t a well-defined need for their new product.

  5. nippersdad

    The Corbyn link did not work for me, but this may be the article you were linking to:


    Very interesting. I hope that this story has legs once the Chilcot Report comes out. The banning of records from the Bush Administration by the WH was of particular interest last week. It looks like it may just be the thin edge of the wedge that we have been awaiting for years now.

  6. alex morfesis

    1860 election all over again…not the civil war part…just the fractured parties…neither hillbill clint nor colonel sanders get the nod…neither hairflipster donny nor (pick-a-molee) one of the others…

    as to the demz…

    figure a hispanic (former appeals judge or state supreme court judge)
    non-catholic female whose family
    has been here for at least 4 generations…

    as to the repubz…hmmm…

    steve largent

    but the conventions are quite a bit aways…

    this will be the first time in a long time there are brokered conventions..

  7. curlydan

    The Onion piece on the mother leeching off the government was hilarious on the first read. I suspected that not only was she a “single mom” but a foreigner/immigrant as well. After confirming that, though, I sadly learned one of her cubs died a day after the piece was written.

    1. ewmayer

      Indeed. Sad about the cub, but it seems, especially early on when the little guys are merely ballpark-frank sized (gah – now that I’ve written it it’s def. not the image I wished to convey, but strictly in re. comparative size) the mortality rate is quite high.

      I fwded to my humor-share e-mail list along with the comment:

      And what’s worse, she’s a gol-durn shucks-darned birth tourist, to boot. Hope you enjoy those anchor babies, lady!

  8. Oregoncharles

    “he agrees with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s assertion that the debate system is ‘rigged’” [The Hill]. Such a shock.”

    Any 3rd-party organizer could have told you THAT. And Sanders was an independent until he decided to run for president – may still be.

  9. Oregoncharles

    ““The case for Joe Biden to run in 2016””

    Once again, the case: to serve as a reserve neoliberal candidate in case Hillary receives her deserved comeuppance, either from the email scandal or at the polls.

    Shades of Hubert Humphrey in 1968. (Clearly, I’ve never forgiven him.)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Joe Biden, he’s less scandal plagued at the moment.”

      It would be a revolutionary campaign slogan.

  10. Oregoncharles

    On Neal Stephenson: “Even in his grandest and most otherworldly books, petty earthly grudges abound.””

    You mean he’s more realistic than he first appears? In SF, this is called “characterization.”

  11. Oregoncharles

    ““People who have a mix of answers on the left and the right average out to the middle — and so they’re labeled as moderate. But when you drill down into those individual answers you find a lot of opinions that are far from the political center. … ”
    Ezra Klein on Trump. But it isn’t only illuminating about the Trump voters. It also implicitly brings up something more basic:

    Policy positions are a grab-bag with little inherent attachment to the usual “left” or “right” categories. There’s basic psychology involved in those categories – for instance, lefties put a much higher value on humanitarian consideration. But a lot of policies are only incidental to that psychology, attached to one or the other by historical accident. And a lot are ambiguous,. So individuals who aren’t involved in ideological movements, including the parties, make their own selections. Nor are they required to be all that logically or ethically consistent.

    The article says those are the people Trump appeals to, at least if they trend to the right. In comparison, Sanders is much more ideological, a typical old-line liberal despite his rhetoric – which includes his militaristic and imperial tendencies.

  12. Gabriel

    Apropos post about ISIS setting up its buillion-based currency, Gary Brecher-aka-The-War-Nerd had a nice comment about this in the xmas special at Pando.

    [T]hey were doing very well at that until they got these grandiose designs about the caliphate. The caliphate is a disastrous idea because it requires that you have all the trappings of a real state.

    If you look at Islamic State band’s tweets, you’ll see why this is so important. They keep doing these really almost sad things, like, “Look, we have a currency. Gold and silver. We are a real state. We have a headquarters. We have this, we have that.” They are so pathetically attached to the idea [inaudible 01:04:18] being just like all the other big boys, and it’s killing them. Eventually someone will realize that.

  13. abynormal

    i’m going to paint today’s plant and it’s breath taking background…
    ice flows and iced cap mountains of multiple blues with a stark of red
    DamnAwesome Opti!

    “You can do anything you want to do. What is rare is this actual wanting to do a specific thing: wanting it so much that you are practically blind to all other things, that nothing else will satisfy you,.”
    Potok, My Name Is Asher Lev

    “It is not your paintings I like, it is your painting.”
    Albert Camus

    1. optimader

      Yes Aby, breathtaking indeed. I particularly like that plant.

      I passed along a few more picture of this glacier and recently calved bergs to Lambert. As I mentioned to him, sadly this is one of the few glaciers I visit that is prodigiously growing, most are in the process of disappearing. There are some interesting plants in this area, growing at the interface of soil (rock) and ice, i’ll pass along a some more pics til lambert get tired of them.

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