2:00PM Water Cooler 9/17/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



In 2006, under the Bush administration, Sanders, along with six other states, made a deal with Venezuela for cheap heating oil [HuffPo].For the sadly hackish David Brock at Media Matters Clinton PAC-funded “Correct the Record,” that’s a problem. To be fair, Brock is from the Beltway; he’s never faced the prospect of running out of fuel in a Northeast winter..

In the debates, Trump went anti-vax. Doctor Carson and Doctor Paul, by their silence, agreed [WaPo] (handy chart on measles).

The Debate

Josh Marshall: “Even if Trump collapses over the next few weeks, when we look back on this race, I think it will be clear that in various ways over several weeks, Donald Trump destroyed Bush’s candidacy. If that’s true it’s a big, big deal because in Republican primaries the establishment guy with the money always wins. And Jeb’s that guy. If he’s out, the whole contest has no clear structure and it has to be one of the other candidates, each of whom have basic weaknesses as general election candidates. All bets are off” [Talking Points Memo]. I don’t often agree with Democratic operatives. But I think Marshall has this right.

Jebbie wants to put Maggie Thatcher on the $10 bill [WaPo]. Wowsers. Could have been Bibi, I guess. And to think I thought W was the stupid one.

“Jeb Bush and his arch rival Donald Trump exchanged an awkward high five during the second Republican presidential debate, after Mr Bush managed to turn a tricky question into a rebuke of the billionaire’s jibes” [Telegraph]. Neat piece of manipulation there by Trump, eh?

Asked for his (hypothetical) Secret Service code name: “Mr Trump then smiled, leant close to his microphone, and said his name would be ‘Humble’  [Telegraph]. So awesome!

Fiorina zinger: “A fish swims in water, it doesn’t know it’s water. It’s not that politicians are bad people, it’s that they’ve been in that system forever” [Time].

Fiorina zinger, on “Look at that face”: “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said”  [Time]. Ouch!

On Fiorina: “She’s a woman, from California, and a ‘wet’ on immigration. And now MSM is touting her. Totally wrong profile for fighting Trump” [@billmon]. And that’s before every H-P alum in the Valley starts feeding the campaigns oppo and sharing the stories in the press. 

UPDATE “I Guess Jeff Sent A Memo” [Eschaton]. Ha. Seattle isn’t Silicon Vally, it seems.


“How many times has Trump continued climbing in polls after pundits confidently concluded Trump-ism has burned out?” [Greg Sargent].

“One of the lessons of the first debate is to avoid jumping to conclusions in the minutes immediately following the melee. Nearly all of us in the political analysis racket knocked Ben Carson’s performance in Cleveland, but the verdict delivered by Republican primary voters was vastly different” [Bloomberg].

“23 million watched GOP debate, a record for CNN” [CNN].


[Since the FOMC meeting announcement is at 2:00PM, I’ll add some links and hot takes shortly, if needed.]

UPDATE “Uncertainties tied to China sealed the fate of the September FOMC where, despite this week’s loud calls from the hawks, policy remained unchanged. The Fed funds target remains where it has been this whole cycle, at zero to 0.25 percent. Improvement in the labor market is described as solid with inflation expected to remain near recent lows before gradually moving to 2 percent in the medium term. But the statement warns that global events may “restrain” economic activity. The vote went nine to one with one hawk, Atlanta’s Lacker, voting for a 25 basis point hike” [Econoday]. Ha. Taking away free money from the 1% is like trying to take away a bone from a dog. “The vote went nine to one with one hawk, Atlanta’s Lacker, voting for a 25 basis point hike.” Not even close. Looks like the “one and done” crowd were way too radical!

“[T]he central bank maintained its bias towards a rate hike sometime this year, while lowering its long-term outlook for the economy. Fresh economic projections showed 13 of 17 Fed policymakers still foresee raising rates at least once in 2015, down from 15 at the last meeting in June. Four policymakers now believe rates should not be raised until at least 2016, compared to two who felt that way in June” [Reuters]. I can’t imagine there will be a rate hike in the Holiday Season, which now begins before Halloween. The 1% need to do their bit for aggregate demand by purchasing their stocking stuffers: Hermès yacht covers and barrels of caviar, and so forth…

“WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve announced on Thursday that it would keep interest rates near zero as officials assessed the impact of tighter financial conditions and slower global growth on the domestic economy” [New York Times]. So Mr. Market’s brow was slightly creased with anxiety. And that was enough!

“The Federal Reserve has lowered its estimate of the economy’s potential growth rate. In the latest projections, the members of the Fed said the economy can grow at 1.8% to 2.2% over the long term, down from a central tendency estimate of 2% to 2.3% in the June forecasts” [Marketwatch]. “The lower growth potential is a function of slowing in the growth of the labor force in years to come, as well as a recognition that productivity increases have softened considerably. A slower potential growth rate means the economy has less slack than the Fed thought a few months ago.” Hearty congratulations to the Obama administration for permanently shrinking the labor force, though it must be conceded that business leaders, by crapifying the jobs, played their part. Bring on the robots.

“The new dot plot shows a much more dovish view of future rates than the last release in June. The median FOMC member sees rates staying between just 0.25% and 0.5% at the end of 2015, suggesting at most one rate hike by the end of the year. This is also lower than in June, when the median member saw rates between 0.5% and 0.75%. Interestingly, one member actually sees slightly negative rates at the end of 2015 and 2016” [Business Insider].

* * *

Housing starts, August 2015: “Housing starts fell back in August but not permits which gained and point to strength for starts ahead. ” [Econoday].

Jobless Claims, week of September 12, 2015: “Claims fell 11,000 to a 264,000 level that is one of the very lowest of the last 40 years” [Econoday]. “The September 12th week may have been a shortened week for the Labor Day holiday but it is still the sampling week.”

Current Account, Q2 2015: “came in at the low end of expectations” [Econoday]. “The narrowing is concentrated in the trade gap which narrowed $4.3 billion in the quarter on improvement in the goods deficit and continuing gains in the service surplus. Balances on income also improved.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of September 13, 2015: Down 1.2%  [Econoday]. “[S]howing some cracks as did last week’s consumer sentiment report.” 

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, September 2015: “There may very well be something wrong with the manufacturing sector, at least in the Northeast where the Empire State index has been in deep negative ground for the last two months followed now by a minus 6.0 headline for the Philly Fed index. This is the first negative reading since February 2014” [Econoday].

The Fed: “Fed continues to fail to sustain enough aggregate demand to meet it’s 2% inflation target” [Mosler Economics]. FOMC decision at 2:00PM today!

The Fed: Janet Yellen’s husband, George Akerlof, has published professionally on procrastination [American Economic Review].

The Fed: Why is this rate hike different from all others? Handy charts [Bloomberg].

Police State

“A Charleston police officer is expected to resign after he threw a homeless man’s backpack into the Elk River during a confrontation in August, according to several sources close to the investigation. The man’s backpack contained a laptop that had the only photographs he had of his late wife, the sources said” [Charleston Gazette]. 


“The [1MDB] fund, which was founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, has amassed $11 billion in debt it is struggling to repay. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that Malaysian investigators had traced almost $700 million of deposits into what they believed were Mr. Najib’s personal bank accounts after the movement of cash among agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB” [Wall Street Journal, “Malaysia to Allow Swiss to Question Witnesses in 1MDB Probe”]. This is ka-ching on an imperial scale! Meanwhile, the Najib government ratchets up Malay vs. Chinese ethnic tensions. And preferences for Malays are not only the basis of Malaysia’s political economy, they are, by definition, barriers to trade (and are the Straits of Malacca sufficient reason for other TPP signatories to let Malaysia get away with what they cannot?). Again, I don’t see how the Najib government signs TPP.

“Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was a favorite of Obama’s, a White House visitor and January golfing partner” [Asia Sentinel]. “Najib’s international reputation was severely tarnished again this week with a report on the Al Jazeera news network raising questions anew over the notorious 2006 murder of Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu.” Obama will be visiting Malaysia in November. And if Obama wants to bribe Najib, we already know the price: $700 million. So, again, how does TPP get signed?

“Sheldon Silver, Former Assembly Speaker, Helped Developer Block Methadone Clinic’s Relocation, U.S. Says” [New York Times]. “Helped,” that is, after receiving “thousands of dollars in illegal payments disguised as referral fees.” Ka-ching.

Our Famously Free Press

“One of Canada’s largest newspapers, Montreal’s La Presse, will pull the plug on its daily print edition next year, its publisher said Wednesday” [Phys.org].

“The Drudge Report is one of the best designed sites on the web” [Medium]. It’s certainly better than that Bloomberg redesign!

“Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web” [The Verge].


“Hawaii Taps the Ocean to Generate Carbon-Free Power” [Yahoo News].

 Since 1980, total grapefruit consumption has tumbled by almost 80 percent. [WaPo]. 

“Bats face a variety of threats globally, but their relevance as predators of insects in ubiquitous corn-dominated landscapes underlines the economic and ecological importance of conserving biodiversity” [Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists].

Diet causes 17.5% of global deaths (interactive chart) [HealthData.org].

“Most top U.S. restaurant chains have no publicly available policy to limit regular use of antibiotics in their meat and poultry supply chains” [Big Country].

“[T]he studies done in The Gambia certainly provide compelling evidence that these so-called “epigenetic changes” may also happen in humans in response to a change in diet. That if, during very early development, a mother eats a diet rich in leafy green vegetables, then this will change forever just how active some of her child’s genes are” [BBC].

Dear Old Blighty

In Parliament’s Question Time, Corbyn “broke with convention and selected his six questions from the public having ‘crowd sourced’ ideas online” [France24].

“[T]he anti-democratic virulence of Britain’s tax-dodging media monopolists still has the capacity to take the breath away”  [Guardian]. “The media and political establishment has proved incapable of managing the intrusion of Corbyn’s democratic insurgency into what had seemed a well-insulated elite order. Media organisations that have for years called every major issue wrongly, from the war on terror to the economy, find themselves unable to deal with a movement that has overturned the rules of the game.” But Corbyn needs more than a Karl Rove; he needs his supporters to flood the local Labour Party apparatus and take it over.

Corbyn: “I think Abraham Lincoln made a point … He said, ‘with malice toward none and charity towards all’ we will go forward. I am sure that is the right way to do things” [Guardian]. Maybe. The quote is from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address in 1865; that is, when the slave power was near defeat, but not defeated. I like that Corbyn seems to realize that he’s at war; but it seems to me that Cooper Union, in 1860, would be the more appropriate source: “You will rule or ruin in all events.”

Class Warfare

“The main reason people at the top are so much richer these days than they once were (and so much richer than everyone else) is not that they own so much more capital: it’s that they get paid much more for their work than they once did, while everyone else gets paid about the same, or less” [New York Review of Books] (review of several works by Stiglitz).

“Can Applied Economics Save Homeless Puppies?” [Working Knowledge]. I had no idea there as an academic discipline called “market design,” but when you think about it, there would have to be!

“The [Social Structure of Accumulation (SSA)] theory [developed in the 1980a] posits that each institutional form, or SSA, initially promotes profit-making and stable economic expansion. However, eventually an SSA turns from a promoter of stable expansion into an obstacle to it, ushering in a long period of economic stagnation, referred to as a ‘structural crisis’ in this literature” [London School of Economics].

News of the Wired

Christianist consulting racket in Irving, TX [Salon]. School system pays for 72-page report on the Islamic threat to the curriculum, triggered by a chain email. No wonder Ahmed’s leaving.

“The Struggle to Save (or Close) Lakewood Hospital Is a Circus Act with No Signs of Ending ” [Cleveland Scene].

“You’re not irrational, you’re just quantum probabilistic” [Science Daily].

“Google Is 2 Billion Lines of Code—And It’s All in One Place” [Wired]. The concrete material basis for… what, exactly?

Tracking Abbott’s wreckage [Union. Politics. And Stuff]. It’s quite a list. And now Abbott is gone!

* * *

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 (Steve Smith):


Sarracenia Leucophylla, a carnivorous plant. Steve writes:

These plants are purchased, not local. I have seen a lake at Baxter that was positively infested with Sarracenia Purpurea and some Drosera species, so I have some hopes that those, at least, will over-winter (this is their first year). …
I’ve tried carnivorous plants many times indoors and they just don’t get the attention they need from me. We have plenty of ground water, so I’m trying them outdoors.

Winter is coming, even for carnivorous plants…

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter is coming, I need to fix my laptop, and I need to keep my server up, too.


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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. Jim Haygood

      The Lobby, riding high last March as Netanyahu lectured Congress from the dais of the House, goes down for the third time:

      U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked legislation meant to kill the Iran nuclear deal for a third time, securing perhaps the greatest foreign policy win of President Barack Obama’s six years in office and clearing the way to implement the accord.

      By a 56-42 vote, the Republican-majority Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the 100-member chamber. The result ensured Congress will not pass a resolution of disapproval that would have crippled the deal.

      Four Democrats, Senators Ben Cardin, Joe Manchin, Robert Menendez and Charles Schumer, voted with the Republicans to advance the disapproval resolution all three times.


      U.S. 1, Netanyahu 0. And don’t come back.

  1. Jess

    Interesting comment on the Guardian about the almost hidden way-below-the-fold positioning of the Corbyn story:

    “Agree, I only caught this article because it was linked by an excellent website in the US: Naked Capitalism.”

      1. afisher

        Hey, that was me – I’m just here to support NC whenever I can and it was in response to how some of the articles at GU move quickly off the page. So little time, so much information.
        Or I could rely on Fox…or worse yet Drudge.

        I did look at Drudge this AM and noted their “commentary” regarding the Wed. debate – which was to slam the Cable network: Clown News Network.

    1. Clive

      I was pondering on this sort of notion not long ago (it was one of those fuzzy musings you do when you’re half thinking consciously about something but it doesn’t really crystallise into anything definitive like a proper idea or an actual conclusion so I can’t remember if it was this morning or late-ish yesterday; never mind it’s not particularly relevant when it was) and realised that now, I don’t start off reading the MSM. I start off with NC then follow through with things in Links, Water Cooler or maybe stuff that’s in features as an embedded link and it takes me off on an interesting tangent.

      Never do I start off thinking “oh, I wonder what the BBC is running with today” or “I’d better check Bloomberg for the latest fed reporting” and so on.

      Perhaps I might have got a little blinkered as a result. But with so much dross / noise / flat-out misrepresentation bordering on lies, I need some sort filter to get anywhere.

      1. ambrit

        We’re in complete agreement with you on this. Since we stopped cable, and broadcast television, we have much less stressful lives in general. The defining characteristic for me is that we do not miss the MSM at all. What is funny sad about this is that we once considered the BBC as an effective touchstone to dispel the fabulism the American MSM was even then obviously disseminating.
        “How the mighty have fallen!”

  2. Pavel

    Brock has some nerve trying to link Sanders with Chavez. Admittedly the latter had problems, but how about Hillary’s links with, say, Egypt’s Mubarek (kleptocrat, despot, torturer) or with the Saudis (both as Secretary of State and as Clinton Slush Foundation donation recipient)?

    As we speak, the Saudis are cluster bombing and droning the Yemeni population (with US-supplied weapons of course), causing a humanitarian crisis. Did Chavez ever do anything quite so evil as that?

    I’m still waiting to hear Hillary (who is “all about the women and children”) make a peep of protest about what the Saudis are doing.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Hopefully this will work out about as well as Tony Blair trying to bash Corbyn which seems to have gotten Corbyn more votes. Hopefully Sanders will treat the accusation as a badge of honor.

    2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      Not to mention Hillary was the driving force behind Obama’s “regime change” in Libya, the humanitarian effort that has turned a staggeringly large portion of the population into refugees.
      Libya – In 2011, NATO began a bombing campaign in Libya under the euphemistic “no fly zone” policy. In fact it was not a “no fly zone” at all, but rather a series of airstrikes which devastated civilian populations. There are now an estimated 600,000 migrants attempting to leave Libya. There were 3680 asylum seekers from Libya, 0.5% of the total. The smaller numbers are due in part to deliberate NATO threats to stop the flow by bombing refugee boats.

      1. cwaltz

        I hope Sanders uses this as an opportunity to point out that while our nation has no problem spending billions on airplanes that LIHEAP is often used as a political football and has faced cuts(It just recently was reduced to 3.39 billion despite the call from states to increase it to 4.7 billion.) Heaven forbid taxes be utilized to help American taxpayers instead of being utilized to drop bombs on brown people so we can force them to hand over the natural resources in their region!

      2. Steven D.

        Chavez is a walk in the park compared to the reign of terror Hillary installed in Honduras after the military coup so conveniently overthrew the left wing elected government there. Hillary’s actions in Honduras were outright criminal.

        1. JTMcPhee

          …but as with the actions of Obama’s invited Bankster gang, they do prove she is that most valued (by our ruling Oligokleptotechnocracy) item, an “EXPERT”… At what-everrr…

  3. Carolinian

    Apple versus Google versus Facebook: it sure sounds to me like the big villain here is Apple. Clearly they are out to turn the internet itself into their own “walled garden.” One might adapt Ben Franklin’s statement to modern cybertimes: those who trade freedom for security will get neither.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Negative dots on the Fed’s dot plot would mean that you pay the bank to keep your account.

    NIRPdom for the serfdom!

    [NIRP = Negative Interest Rate Policy]

            1. nippersdad


              I just wonder what their end game scenario looks like, when no one has anything left for them to take. Even hidey holes with air strips in New Zealand will have angry proles…..

              1. Ulysses

                The truly horrifying thing is that they have no plan B. Once people who are insanely wealthy already, decide to squeeze every last drop of wealth from the other 99.9%, what’s left for them to do?!?

                Turn on each other, I suppose, until there is only one mega-trillionaire left standing.

            1. craazyboy

              It means you hold worthless stock in a bankrupt bank, and you can do anything you want! Except eat and stuff like that. (The FDIC just made a drastic change to your household “liquidity preference”)

          1. JerseyJeffersonian

            This sounds like a good argument for a bail-in-proof Postal Savings Bank. Banksters want to have your money to play with, and if things go south, your money turns out to not be your money after all.

            Just suggesting what the politicos are always advocating for, that mythical level playing field for those who work hard and play by the rules.

        1. Alejandro

          Can think of it as paying a utility bill…of course you’d have to make the distinction between a payment system and the gambling…

          TBTF: euphemism for banksters holding payment system hostage.

          TBTJ: euphemism for paying the ransom (bailout) in exchange for visitation rights but they keep the hostage.

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      Wouldn’t a rate increase will help bank profits more than anything else, Jim?

        1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

          It’s not that simple, craazyboy:

          Say the Fed wanted to raise short-term interest rates to 1 percent, meaning that it did not want banks to lend at lower rates. Because the glut of reserves is so great, the Fed could not easily raise rates by reducing the availability of money. Instead, the Fed plans to pre-empt the market, paying banks 1 percent interest on reserves in their Fed accounts, so banks have little reason to lend at lower rates. “Why would you lend to anyone else when you can lend to the Fed?” Kevin Logan, chief United States economist at HSBC, asked rhetorically.

          This is not a cheap trick. Since the crisis, the Fed has paid banks a token annual rate of 0.25 percent on reserves. Last year alone, that cost $6.7 billion that the Fed would have otherwise handed over to the Treasury. Paying 1 percent interest would cost four times as much. The Fed has sent roughly $500 billion to the Treasury since 2008. As the Fed raises rates, some projections show that it may not transfer a single dollar in some years. Instead, the Fed will pay banks tens of billions of dollars not to use the trillions it paid them previously.

          1. craazyboy

            They have a new repo facility to raise rates now. IMO, they then don’t need Ben’s idea about paying interest on reserves anymore, if ever.

            A study came out saying by the end of last year, savers have been screwed out of half a trillion due to ZIRP.

            So, yes, it is simple. Too much bank welfare wherever you look.

            Also, they aren’t loaning it either. It’s going into market speculation and asset bubbles. Then, with securitization, they can make dodgy “interest bearing products” that they are selling to interest starved investors. Don’t need much money for that – but you need a market of suckers, created by ZIRP!

            1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

              The Fed didn’t raise rates yesterday. What stocks are down the most today? Banks. E.g.:

              9:36am JPMorgan down 2.6% to lead Dow laggards

      1. griffen

        Very much theoretical, but yes it should. The rate increase on the deposit base can be accomplished with something of a lag (perhaps 1-3 months). Eventually, the cost of funding those liabilities must increase. Along the way the investment securities or loans may have increased / reset to a higher rate as well. That funding spread (Net Interest Margin) could certainly/ if modestly expand.

        Banks can choose to alternate the higher costing sources of funds. Lessen or quit paying market rate on CD, and instead pledge debt securities or residential loans for Advance funding from an FHLB. Typically a smart move. Well planned balance sheet management serves a purpose.

          1. griffen

            Quiz: does the bank issuer hold the credit card, or will they be receiving any possible, additional interest income from that increase.

            Credit card debt that costs an incremental amount extra, as borrower, is a negative for myself.

            When publicly traded banks issue quarterly earnings, they may also include a section presenting various impacts of “instantaneous, parallel rate shocks.” That is called an EVE or EAR analysis. A bank’s ALCO* function is to take time and effort to model up such scenarios.

            Asset Liability Committee

    2. Oregoncharles

      Checking accounts are rarely free; even savings accounts cost if they’re too low (but of course, credit unions are always a better deal).

  5. allan

    ” Tracking Abbott’s wreckage ” will be harder since Tony’s wrecking crew refuses to leave:

    Tony Abbott’s staff slow to leave their old digs

    New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is operating from his old office as Communications Minister, without full access to the prime ministerial diary, more than three days after winning the leadership.

    While the former prime minister Tony Abbott is understood to have left, his staff are still occupying the prime minister’s office suite, led by his former chief of staff, Peta Credlin.

    The shredders must be working overtime. Not to mention Geeks on Call.

  6. Ditto

    GOP Presidential candidates

    All of them are fairly weak. I’m just putting on my political hat rather than my partisan one.

    The elected ones are facing home state scandals, considered light weights or are just plain off putting (e.g., Cruz). Most do not exude a lot of charisma. The non elected ones seem even worse, including a failed CEO, a doctor who seems like a deer in the head light and theocrats.

    If the Democrsts had a stronger field I would think the general would be Democrats to lose. The challenge is that we have one candidate whom no one trusts in Clinton (who runs perhaps one of the worst front runner campaigns in the last 2 decades. one who says he’s a democratic socialist although he’s really a new deal Democrat, a guy who as yet is undecided about running and some also ran types.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Webb isn’t an also ran as much too conservative for Team Blue in the general (or he staked out a space on the advice of Mudcat Saunders, a man with animal carcasses in his house) and too boring (TV is a reality). O’Malley waited too long and failed to present himself as a anti-third way candidate and man of ideas, becoming just a random white guy. Chaffee is an actual Republican.

      Biden is a clown.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They could have stayed in bed, never got up and accomplished the same.

      “No change. No hope.”

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        At this point the only thing the Fed is accomplishing is generating job security for Bloomberg headline writers.

        And it’s a pretty cushy gig – just take last months headlines, keep the words “Fed may hike” and substitute “October” for September, and head for the bar.

  7. fresno dan

    Fiorina zinger: “A fish swims in water, it doesn’t know it’s water. It’s not that politicians are bad people, it’s that they’ve been in that system forever” [Time].

    OK, rerun, but it certainly shows the punditocracy really isn’t very deep

    e.g. Fiorina:
    I wouldn’t speak to Vladimir Putin. I would act instead, and do four things immediately,” she said. “Rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, rebuilding the missile defense program, I would begin conducting very aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states and I would arm the Ukrainians.”

    If that isn’t more dangerous, absurd, and ignorant than ANYTHING Trump has said, I don’t know what is. And what is amazing is that the punditocracy acts as if this woman is smart…
    It isn’t ONLY incredibly ignorant, its incredibly dangerous – and talk about pandering…

    1. jrs

      Carly is crazy, that’s the line that convinced me, that woman is insane and dangerous. Why even bother with the debates at all? Oh I wouldn’t if it was just the usual establishment bad. But I was thinking maybe it might be one of those times to think about what the level of real threat from fullblown popular supported (as opposed to top down) F-ism actually is, I was thinking from Trump. Could happen. But Carly is a very scary woman for certain.

      1. Clive

        Yes, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t climbed to the upper echelons of the corporate greasy pole who isn’t rendered nutty as a fruitcake in the process.

        Whether they were crazy before they started this climb (and so the craziness was the reason for starting in the first place) or whether it was the act of climbing — and what happened when they neared the top — that made them crazy, I’ve never been able come to a definitive conclusion. I tend towards the latter, but regardless, the end result is definitely a coterie of people with severe personality disorders.

        What they really need is several years of intensive professional help, not being elected to high office.

        1. hunkerdown

          Remember the fable about Plato (p–s be upon him) paying the student who eventually starts paying Plato to “learn”?

          They start out authentically idealistic with a “life plan” (the point of which, being at odds with how employment and labor markets actually work, seems to extend no further than spirit-breaking, but I digress). They then learn that behaving corruptly, i.e. dealing against notional “outsiders”, is the only path to the power to bring about their idealistic objectives. Eventually the pol finds their ideals and their power are contradictory, at which point they either give up or double down, and now it’s clear why ostensible “democracies” have very limited rights of recall: Business ≫ People.

      2. afisher

        She is dangerous. Think about her bs. about the Okeefe style hit on PP. She refuses to admit she is wrong. What is worse is that she is actually denying an individual the right to donate tissue to science. Whatever you may believe about abortion, she is attacking the right of a person to make a decision about their own bodies…..that is very dangerous.

        1. hunkerdown

          Why are you a card-carrying champion of a party who will gladly hold your reproductive rights hostage so that right-wingers can get elected? Look, the Democratic Party isn’t that into you.

    2. craazyboy

      Carly is trying hard to be a Manly Women. Too hard. She probable is nuts too. No pun intended. hahahaha.

      I’ve got the western world’s largest tactical missile plant 15 miles away – and they start making me think of nuclear ICBMs when they say things like that.

    3. DJG

      And besides wrecking HP, she’s quite the geostrategist: Because we all know that, historically, the way to bring Russia to its knees has been aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States.

      But then, wasn’t she spying on HP board members?

      How can we expect her to know where Lithuania is?

        1. DJG

          Thanks. Part of the aftermath. I couldn’t figure out a way to check it. And I should have known the chronology, considering how many times during the dustup surrounding Fiorina various shareholders’ groups called me about how I planned to vote my 22.3 shares. The joys of the stakesholding society, ne.

      1. Daryl

        The Baltic states already conduct a lot of their own mock-Russia invasion military exercises.

        I’m thinking this probably won’t factor into Russia’s decision-making much if they decide to go all Red Dawn, but it’s a good excuse to play with military toys anyway.

  8. fresno dan

    “A Charleston police officer is expected to resign after he threw a homeless man’s backpack into the Elk River during a confrontation in August, according to several sources close to the investigation. The man’s backpack contained a laptop that had the only photographs he had of his late wife, the sources said” [Charleston Gazette].

    And why isn’t the police officer fired?
    Or better yet, why isn’t he prosecuted for theft, destruction of property, etc???
    Oh yeah, when your job is controlling the rabble, your given dispensations…

  9. jrs

    There’s nothing wrong with what Carson said about vaccines, studies don’t back the belief that vaccines cause autism. Twitter is splitting invisible hairs at this point.

    Meanwhile things like questioner Hewitt slipping in the assumption that Syria used chemical weapons go unremarked.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Straight out of the War Party playbook: harp on some hot-button social issue to divert attention from the bipartisan global domination policy.

      As long as she can ‘arm the Ukrainians’ and the keep the buildup to the next war on a boil, Fiorina could care less about fetal rights, women’s rights, you name it.

      Just don’t call her a ‘camp follower’ to her face.

  10. jo6pac

    The trumpet stays in the race until ws and coke bros offer him 2 billion tax free of course to drop out. The brand has been made even bigger along with his head.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Why would he drop out? How many times do I have to say this: HE’S WINNING.

      I do not think he’d win the general, although it’s possible against Clinton, if only because she’s profoundly boring. But they need him to drop out BEFORE he’s nominated, and he isn’t going to do that while his star is rising. Even for a bribe – as he keeps pointing out, rich people are hard to bribe.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        So far, I don’t see a lot of downside for Trump even if his ceiling turns out to be 30%. If he gets a new TV show out of this, he nets out positive. (And as he says, he’s a dealmaker. So somebody needs to figure out what deal to cut with him so that he goes away. Hard to imagine, but I would think a little regulatory arbitrage would go a long way. Of course, the Democrats could make a better offer….)

  11. Daryl

    “A fish swims in water, it doesn’t know it’s water. It’s not that politicians are bad people, it’s that they’ve been in that system forever”

    “Slave is an Ephebian word. In Om we have no word for slave,” said Vorbis. “So I understand,” said the Tyrant. “I imagine that fish have no word for water.” – Pratchett, Small Gods

  12. dk

    Will the Republican fixers figure out that the most damaging thing they could do to Trump would be to make him the mainstream candidate?

    Give him some endorsements and some time, and watch him fumble them; graceful acceptance is not in his skill set. Outsiders generally do poorly at insider play (Bernie, a veteran player, being a notable exception to the rule).

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