2:00PM Water Cooler 1/06/2016



Clinton, in Iowa: “”You know, I think Bernie’s giving a speech today in New York about what he wants to do to shut down the big banks. Everybody who’s looked at my proposals says my proposals are tougher, more effective, more comprehensive. Because, yeah, I take on the banks, but remember, part of what caused the mess we had in ’07-’08 were not the big banks. It was Lehman Brothers. It was Bear Stearns. It was AIG, the giant insurance company. I want to go after everybody who poses a risk to our financial system,” Clinton said to applause from the more than 500 people crowded into the lobby of Sioux City’s historic Orpheum Theater” [Des Moines Register]. Chutzpah! And very Rovian: Assault your enemy’s strength.

Clinton: “There needs to be a rival organization to the NRA of responsible gun owners” [Raw Story].

The Voters

“POLITICO has learned that his campaign several months ago assembled an experienced data team to build sophisticated models to transform fervor into votes” [Politico]. “The team is led by two low-profile former Republican National Committee data strategists, Matt Braynard and Witold Chrabaszcz, and includes assistance from the political data outfit L2.”


“Mr. Sanders’s fundraising has surpassed expectations. Lacking the donor network the Clinton family built over a quarter century on the national stage, Mr. Sanders has nearly matched her fundraising haul. In the final quarter of 2015, he raised more than $33 million, compared to her $37 million. In the third quarter, the Sanders campaign collected $26 million; the Clinton campaign, $28 million” [Wall Street Journal]. Without PAC and SuperPAC money, or the “ginormous and ever-evolving hairball of tangled and conflicted personal and institutional relationships” that you get with the corrupt Clinton dynasty, either.

The Trail

“The [Illinois] Sanders delegate [slate], taken as a whole, could be considered the Democrats who Howard Dean famously called members of the “Democratic wing of the Democratic party” during his 2004 Democratic presidential campaign” [Chicago Sun-Times]. “That the Sanders slate brings him organization expertise is important because under Illinois Democratic delegate selection rules, delegate positions will be allocated to “fairly reflect” the preference of primary voters for president.”

“…. Trump then polled the audience on the issue….” [WaPo]. That’s amazing. I’m trying to recall another case in a Presidential campaign.

“Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on Tuesday that his brother, George W. Bush, is still ‘very popular’ and could join his struggling campaign” [Raw Story]. Another dynasty to vote for….

“Donald Trump Shouldn’t Have Bothered Buying Airtime. Cable News Ran His Ad 60 Times For Free” [HuffPo].

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, December 2015: “ADP is calling for unusual strength in Friday’s employment report, at 257,000 for private payrolls which is far outside Econoday’s consensus at 190,000 and well outside the high estimate for 227,000” [Econoday]. And “well above expectations [Econintersect]. “The rolling averages of year-over-year jobs growth rate remains strong but the rate of growth continues in a downtrend (although insignificant this month).”

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, December 2015: “December’s job creation index averaged plus 30, down slightly from the monthly record high of plus 32 recorded for six consecutive months in 2015. The plus 30 yearly average for 2015 set a new high” [Econoday]. “Government hiring increased two points from November to plus 27, tying the record high found in October 2015.”

Factory Orders, November 2015: “Flat is a good description of the nation’s factory sector as factory orders slipped 0.2 percent in November, making October’s revised 1.3 percent gain look like a rare outlier” [Econoday]. “A 13.6 percent monthly plunge in orders for mining & oil field machinery.”

ISM Non-Mfg Index, December 2015: “This report continues to be consistent and solid, underscoring the strength of the nation’s domestic-based economy” [Econoday]. And “Important internals improved, however, and remain in expansion” [Econintersect].

PMI Services Index, December 2015: “Growth in new orders came in at its slowest rate since the weather disruptions in January last year” [Econoday].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of January 1, 2016: “Mortgage application activity fell sharply in the two weeks ended January 1, down 15 percent for home purchases and down 37 percent for refinancing” [Econoday].

Honey for the Bears: “I expect the U.S. economy to sputter in 2016. That’s because the economy faces a deep structural problem: not enough demand for all the goods and services it’s capable of producing” [Robert Reich, LA Progressive]. “I’d feel more optimistic if I thought government was ready to spring into action to stimulate demand, but the opposite is true. The Federal Reserve has started to raise interest rates—spooked by an inflationary ghost that shows no sign of appearing. And Congress, notwithstanding its end-of-year tax-cutting binge, is still in the thralls of austerity economics.” Isn’t “spooked” making an assumption about good faith on the part of the Fed?

Shipping: “[state-backed Shanghai International Shipping Institute (SIS)] stated that more than 60% of the 50 dry bulk shipping firms it surveyed were struggling with long-term losses, while approximately 40% faced liquidity problems” [Splash247].

The Fed: “5 Things to Watch in the Fed’s December Minutes” [Wall Street Journal]. The minutes drop at 2:00PM, my deadline. So I guess people can see if these 5 things came true! Also: “fed minutes preview (dec 2015)” [Livesquawk].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 41 (-1); Fear [CNN]. Last week: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).

Police State Watch

” When a prison closes, what happens to the prison town?” [Christian Science Monitor].

“Entire Florida police department busted for laundering millions for international drug cartels” [Raw Story].

“It is unlikely that Officer Jason Van Dyke would have been charged with murder if there weren’t video of him shooting Laquan McDonald sixteen times as he walked away. In large part, that’s because fellow police officers appear to have lied to cover it up” [Salon].

“It is a systematic problem,” says Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago Law School professor and civil rights attorney. “When there’s a police shooting, or when there’s an allegation of misconduct or brutality, the institutional response is to circle the wagons, denial, and cover up. And it’s throughout the entire organization. It’s not just sort of a code of silence” amongst officers but “really a phenomenon of narrative control and lying” from the top down.

And we’re not seeing a lot of whistleblowers, either.

“Strip away the rhetoric, and [Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty] has made a clear statement about police conduct: If police perceive a threat to their lives then they’ve de facto justified their actions regardless of context, even if it ends with taking the life of a child. That includes situations like the Rice shooting, where police chose to create a confrontation, rather than manage an encounter” [Business Insider]. The problem here is that racist perceptions can also be perceptions of threat where none exists, so you can see what we just legalized here.

“Since 2005, Kansas City police have been involved in 47 fatal shootings, or about four a year, according to an analysis by The Star, which began compiling a database of the shootings 11 years ago” [Kansas City Star]. “When The Star recently compared Kansas City to 11 other cities, including larger ones like Denver and Milwaukee, it found that Kansas City had the third-most officer-involved fatal shootings per capita from 2005 through 2014. Only St. Louis and Cleveland recorded more.”

“The Chicago shootings and why so many police calls involving the mentally ill end in death” [WaPo]. The idea is that cops are “poorly trained,” but it seems to me they are doing what they were trained to do.


” Emanuel hires connected D.C. law firm for Justice probe” [Crain’s Business Review]. ” Wilmer Hale is one of the 25 largest firms in the country and is representing Baltimore in that city’s investigation by the Justice Department. The Washington D.C. firm has 14 offices but no presence in Chicago.”

Chicago is hiring the same lead partner as Baltimore: Jamie Gorelick, chair of Wilmer Hale’s regulatory and government affairs practice, who knows Mayor Rahm Emanuel from the years they both worked in the Clinton administration. She was deputy attorney general between 1994 and 1997 and before that general counsel for the Defense Department. Later, she became vice chairwoman at mortgage lender Fannie Mae. She’s no stranger to high-profile investigations: before Baltimore, she represented Puerto Rico’s police department when the feds investigated civil rights abuses there and Duke University when players on its lacrosse team were accused of rape.

Ah yes, Jamie Gorelick; a Flexian of the first water. See NC commenters in 2008 and 2010.

“George Lucas’ banker wife is top Mayor Rahm backer; Rahm gave prime lakefront Chicago property to Lucas for $10” [Pando Daily]. Unlocked for only 22 hours from post time!

Dear Old Blighty

Tories slammed for ‘appalling’ decision to push through crucial housing law at 3am [Mirror].

“Labour revolt: Shadow minister quits on live TV in fury over Jeremy Corbyn’s revenge reshuffle – live” [Daily Telegraph]. Torygraph lives up to its name. “Finally the Whinging Stops as Corbyn Sacks Blairite War Criminals” would be, well, more fair, don’t you agree?


“President Obama’s move to tighten gun restrictions follows a string of high-profile shootings and surging sales of firearms — and some experts believe Tuesday’s executive action will only heighten demand” [The Hill]. “Gun manufacturers have seen their stocks climb in recent days as sales pick up.” Self-licking ice cream cone…

“Obama measures wouldn’t have kept guns from mass shooters” [WBAL]. So, the only real effect is to further empower the gun complex?

“Gun Trace: Where criminals get their guns” [Baltimore]. Very nice interactive feature, state-by-state. In states where gun laws are lax (like Texas), criminals by guns in their home states. In states were gun laws are tighter (like New York), criminals get them from closely adjoining lax states.

On Obama’s tears (full transcript) [The New Yorker]. “[T]he President started to tear up…. He wiped away a tear, this one from below his left eye, and then he pressed his lips with his thumb and forefinger… [He] gesticulated with his index finger and brushing away another tear, this one from below his right eye.” I can’t make up my mind whether this is hagiopgraphic, pornographic, or both. Anyhow, heck, John Boehner cried all the time, about anything or nothing, and the question of the sincerity of his “display of emotion” never arose. And if Boehner was sincere, so what?

Our Famously Free Press

“Media companies linked to the Murdochs pay the least tax” [Australian Financial Review]. “The data also shows companies linked to News were significantly less profitable than most other media rivals, with interest payments on loans from associated companies helping to reduce profit margins and taxable income.” Hmm…

“Twitter Considering 10,000-Character Limit for Tweets” [Re/Code]. Re/Code broke the story

“Twitter shares hit new low on rumored shift to 10,000-character tweets” [Guardian]. That’s about three pages of text. I can’t decide whether this is the stupidest idea ever or a wonderful opportunity for long-form tweeting. Or, alternatively, it could be evil…

“Twitter reinstates Politiwoops, account that tracked politicians’ gaffes” [Boing Boing]. Excellent!

“Twitter Isn’t Raising the Character Limit. It’s Becoming a Walled Garden” [Slate].

What’s really changing here, then, is not the length of the tweet. It’s where that link at the bottom takes you when you click on it—or, rather, where it doesn’t take you. Instead of funneling traffic to blogs, news sites, and other sites around the Web, the “read more” button will keep you playing in Twitter’s own garden

“Facebook has taken over from Google as a traffic source for news” [Fortune].

“Who Controls Your Facebook Feed” [Slate]. The news feed isn’t entirely algorithmic; the Facebook process includes a panel of live humans.

Militia Watch

Jacobin interviews Ammon Bundy (nice get!) [Jacobin]. Bundy: “We are people taking a stand for our land rights.”

“Required Reading: The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Was Taken Over Once Before, Back in the 19th Century” [The Stranger]. And the Paiutes weren’t happy when the ranchers did it, either.

“The [Southern Poverty Law] Center is an Alabama-based nonprofit which is actively and vociferously loathed in certain conservative circles. However, it is one of the best sources of empirical data and information about extremist political activity in the United States because the discrimination watchdog agency and think tank employs former reporters and editors, investigators, law enforcement and security analysts” [WaPo]. “Loathed”? One can only wonder why….


“In its first scientific risk assessment of the much-debated class of pesticides called neonicotinoids and how they affect bees on a chronic long-term basis, the EPA found in some cases the chemical didn’t harm bees or their hives but in other cases it posed a significant risk. It mostly depended on the crop” [ABC]. All I know is that eight or nine years ago I saw honeybees regularly, and now I hardly see any. Could be a local effect, of course.

“How much of the mainstream media coverage given to COP21 and the Paris Agreement mentioned the mysterious exemption given to the US’s massive military and security machine? None” [The Ecologist]. “Not only are these emissions entirely outside the UNFCCC process, but a ‘cone of sillence’ somehow prevents them from even forming part of the climate change discourse.”

Class Warfare

“The CEO of your company has probably already earned your 2016 salary this year” [WaPo].

“The Market Socialist Idea” [London School of Economics]. “The key idea, according to British political scientists such as Julian Le Grand and David Miller, is that market socialism retains the market mechanism while socializing the ownership of capital. The thrust of this social-democratic approach is that markets not only promote efficiency but also freedom and democracy thus giving wide political appeal.”

“Wage Gap May Help Explain Why More Women Are Anxious and Depressed Than Men” [Mailman School of Public Health].

News of the Wired

“Oculus Rift inventor Palmer Luckey says virtual reality was never really about gaming” [Daily Dot]. I really don’t get the use case of a virtual reality wedding. Why not just video it?

Cringeley’s 2015 and 2016 predictions, including the end of engineering workstations in favor of the cloud [Cringely].

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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 (PP):

Mushrooms ordinary backyard variety

Mushrooms in the light! But I don’t know what they’re being fed…

Also, I’m still a bit short on winter plants. In fact, plants in general! Readers?

* * *

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter has come, I need to buy fuel, keep the boiler guy and a very unhappy plumber happy, and 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. Tertium_Squid

    George Lucas’ banker wife is top Mayor Rahm backer; Rahm gave prime lakefront Chicago property to Lucas for $10

    Wow, Lucas divorcing a film editor and marrying a banker is so wonderfully symbolic.

    1. OIFVet

      And the museum design is quite hideous. At least Lucas paid $10 for his piece of public property, Obama will pay $0.

    2. Carolinian

      Is it just me or do some of these Pando stories seem to be heavy on the rant? As to whether Lucas made his billions as white slaver or by getting the kiddies to buy tickets to his movies I think the answer is obvious. That doesn’t make him a good guy or the wage conspiracy any less real but the heavy sell of the story hook is a bit over the top.

      It’s also less than shocking that Hollywood Democrats would be thick with Rahm. His brother, Ari Emanuel, is a prominent H’wood talent agent.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You have to be a good actor/actress to be a politician, so, it’s not surprising about the connection.

        What’s surprising is why we don’t see more politicians going into full time acting. Perhaps the competition is even more cut-throat or guanxi more important there.

    3. Dan anak

      According to New Keynesian theory, when consumer income goes down, consumers and/or investors increase their savings rate. Doesn’t this imply that either:

      Consumers will refuse to buy goods and starve to death while waiting on deflation gains from their cash.

      Producers cut production because they believe people will buy less food (or any good). Consumers will buy up all inventory to avoid starvation.

      The profit share of Y increases to create a black hole where money disappears (in reality profit/Y falls in recessions).

      “Animal spirits” will cause everything and there is no theoretical basis to use.

      “Autonomous consumption” doesn’t solve the problem, it just replaces the word “starve” with “almost starve”.

      1. Yves Smith

        We don’t believe in Keynsianism here, which is the distortion of Keynes promulgated by Paul Samuelson and other American economists. So I’m not about to try to defend a line of argument coming out of that school.

  2. Vatch

    Clinton, in Iowa: “… but remember, part of what caused the mess we had in ’07-’08 were not the big banks. It was Lehman Brothers. It was Bear Stearns. It was AIG, the giant insurance company.”

    Oh, Hillary! Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns were large investment banks. They weren’t the largest, but they definitely were banks. And giant investment bank Goldman Sachs was connected at the hip to AIG. I can’t help noticing that she failed to mention Washington Mutual or Countrywide Finance, two large banks / savings and loan associations, which were also neck deep in the collapse.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Hillary focuses on the investment banks because her consort, “Bill,” signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.

      Letting commercial banks into investment banking helped fuel the housing securitization bubble that culminated in the 2008 crisis, as well as the perceived need to extend TARP loans to every TBTF bank (since their investment banking activities made them riskier and increased their capital needs during financial stress).

      Sociopaths always have a slick rationalization at hand, to recast their venal predation as self-sacrificing philanthropy.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Bernie is blowing it, the cry “break up the banks!” will sound scary and dangerous and radical even to the faithful.
        Fer chrissakes do I have to jump in and help these people? Bernie could have exactly the same program but the headline and signature statement is very foolish and wrong.
        Feels like we’re Charlie Brown and they keep pulling the football at the last minute

    2. perpetualWAR

      So ffffffff-ing pissed to tead her stupid ass comments. When is someone going to haul her off the stage with a big hook????

  3. fresno dan

    “It is unlikely that Officer Jason Van Dyke would have been charged with murder if there weren’t video of him shooting Laquan McDonald sixteen times as he walked away. In large part, that’s because fellow police officers appear to have lied to cover it up” [Salon].

    “It is a systematic problem,” says Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago Law School professor and civil rights attorney. “When there’s a police shooting, or when there’s an allegation of misconduct or brutality, the institutional response is to circle the wagons, denial, and cover up. And it’s throughout the entire organization. It’s not just sort of a code of silence” amongst officers but “really a phenomenon of narrative control and lying” from the top down.

    “Appeared” to have lied? Maybe if the definition of “appeared” is a statement of incontestable fact, e.g., Abraham Lincoln appeared to have been shot in the back of the head at Ford’s theater.
    Sinclair Lewis quote (I’m gonna start just putting down SLQ)

    1. hunkerdown

      Well, if you’re talking about a man’s salary and understanding, stop it, because that quote’s due to Upton Sinclair.

      “A little bit” pregnant, “appeared to have” murdered… the joy of the conceit as a social organizing principle.

  4. jgordon

    Mushrooms don’t really feed. They are the reproductive organs of mycelium mats in some sort of substrate, whether soil or wood or whatever. I truly love fungi, and I’d recommend Paul Stamets’ books such as “Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms” and “Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World” if you’re interested in the topic. Studying mushrooms is a never ending journey of magic and mystery; they’re endlessly fascinating!

    1. ambrit

      Yay Fungi! My partner grew up for her first ten years on a dairy farm in Louisiana. She remembers going out to pick wild mushrooms, the ones growing under the oak trees, with her Dad and her siblings. She’s somewhat straight laced, so, no word on the ones encountered in their own pastures. Now amantia, that’s danger fraught, in more ways than one.

  5. Vatch

    “The [Southern Poverty Law] Center is an Alabama-based nonprofit…”

    One can question whether or not the SPLC is actually a nonprofit organization. See their IRS form 990:


    At the end of their fiscal year 2013 (Oct. 31, 2014), their net assets were more than $314 million, with total assets greater than $340 million. Their net assets at the beginning of fiscal 2013 were $291 million. Their total expenditures during fiscal 2013 were $42 million, and their total revenue during fiscal 2013 was $54 million. So if one subtracts their expenses from their revenue, they earned $12 million during fiscal 2013, and if one subtracts their net assets at the beginning of the year from their net assets at the end of the year, their net worth grew by $23 million. Either way, the SPLC is doing quite well financially. Kind of like the Clinton Foundation, another “nonprofit” entity.

    1. Yves Smith

      What offends you is simply how a well-run foundation ought to look.

      A foundation that has an ongoing mission should have an endowment (lots of assets!) and be operating mainly from income from the assets, and not be dependent on the vagaries of current donations. Given ZIRP, they are clearly spending a lot more than the income on their assets.

      Plus the other argument for the SPLC to have a big endowment is exposure to litigation.

      1. Jess

        My quarrel with the SPLC is there tendency to put any organization that opposes illegal immigration for whatever reason on their list of hate groups. Lots of bigots and racists are opposed to immigration, esp. the illegal kind. But there are lots of other people who oppose it on economic grounds such as wage suppression and union-busting.

        1. Michael

          “But there are lots of other people who oppose it on economic grounds such as wage suppression and union-busting.”

          I’ve lived for 39 years, in three states, and traveled reasonably well. I’m looking forward to meeting one.

      2. Vatch

        I’m not an accountant or a financial expert, so please have patience with my misunderstanding of this.

        I know you don’t do assignments, but maybe someone, perhaps one of the commenters, can explain how an organization that manages to increase its assets by several million (sometimes tens of millions of) dollars per year can be considered non-profit? Yes, they are spending more than the income on the assets, but their grants and donations have been remarkably consistent from fiscal 2009 through fiscal 2013.

        In fiscal 2009, their grants and donations came to $32,773,404. 2010: $36,125,562. 2011: $38,759,765. 2012: $37,503,868. 2013: $43,667,375.

        Their beginning of year balance of their endowment in fiscal 2009 was $189,667,327. 2010: $216,231,251. 2011: $223,794,607. 2012: $245,280,476. 2013: $281,123,473.

        Their total revenue from all sources in fiscal 2013 was $54,420,509, and their total expenses came to $42,414,311.

        In fiscal 2013, they received $43,667,375 in grants and donations, and their total expenses were $42,414,311. Their investment income was $10,452,289. They received a minimal amount of money from other sources.

        They seem like a private university with a giant endowment fund that keeps increasing its endowment while it also increases its tuition.

        They have several employees earning more than $100,000 per year. One got $313,962, and another got $299,410. Again, it reminds me of university administrators.

        1. TsWkr

          The difference between profit/non-profit is not whether the organization itself increases or decrease in its value, it’s that there are no individual owners with a claim on the assets of the organization. No one can immediately cash out on the value through dissolution, sale, or dividends.

          In practice, non-profits and for-profits can behave similarly as control of the organization ends up in the hands of self-perpetuating management who command higher and higher salaries. In that sense, you may get some degree of the looting you see in publicly traded companies, albeit nothing close to the scale of stock repurchases triggering millions in options and bonuses.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yves answered this. You’re just repeating your original point at greater length.

          If these numbers were the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I bet you wouldn’t think twice about them.

          As for the comparison to university administrators, no.

          1) No opportunities for corruption in terms of facilities construction, sports deals, etc.

          2) No shoving adjuncts down to slave labor status to pay themselves big bucks;

          3) No destruction of a thousand-year-old institution because markets.

          And if you think they’re overpaid:

          1) Prove it; and

          2) That reminds me very much of the idea on the left that people should work for nothing because ideals; a view that leads to burnout and resulting turnover, among many other harmful effects.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      Typical right wing economic hit man talk. OHHHHHHHHHH all of that non-profit money should go to the poooooooooor!!!

      That center should have $Billions at its disposal to wage war against the heavily armed All American bombers, snipers and assorted violence threatening insurrectionists. What the right wing wants, every pure and holy non-profit bare foot and pregnant with impossible to live up to ideals and not a penny to spend in a capitalist society that demands money for every breathe you take. The more powerless, the poorer, the less effective, the better in your eyes Vatch. I know you, I’ve seen a dozen of your kind, you’re all the same. You will only appeal to moderate dopes that can’t think through your denouncement of a group that actually has acquired some power in this nation. Think I’ll round up some more donors for them once they know you are appearing on this site with your tired same old same old message.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Whoa my ass you two. Typical plastic uptight suckers on this site trying to correct someone who doesn’t worry about who is or isn’t genuflecting to overlords. Now that’s ad hominen. Ad hominen? Vatch, I don’t who what he/she is or isn’t other than what is splayed out for all to see which I took apart as typical hit man pieces. As for you, I don’t need to delete anything I say because it’s not a a pile of BS generated by arm chair generals of the revolution this site seems to attract. You can learn a lot about econ and finance here which is plenty, but don’t bore me with bourgeoisie ethical standards of thriftiness and seemliness. If there is going to be power acquired and held by people you agree with, they will have a lot of money, sorry to bust your bubble. There I said it.

          As for you two and your condescending little Good Housing Keeping Seal of Approval mentality, you might as well lift your opinions from Brietbart or whatever else passes for exposes SPLC. I just google critics of SPLC and they are under attack as doing everything short of performing satanic abortions.

          Cockburn and his now deceased former partner are typical journalists when it comes to exposing people and their their money. I call it guilt by association with money. Christopher Hitchens wrote a big expose on Mother Theresa of all people, claiming her big crime was all of the money she raised that went strait to the Vatican and was not spent on the poor. Hundreds of millions of $$$$. Well, that would be a shame, if you thought giving money to a Roman Catholic nun would only be given directly to remediate poverty from impoverished nuns. Pure and Holy all the way.

          The same type of treatment is hurled at Ralph Nader for becoming a millionaire by investing in tech stocks when no one else knew anything about apple and cisco. The unwritten jealousy of bourgeoisie types is that someone making more money than them, but doing it at a non-profit or political cause has to be corrupted. Instead, someone with a great income from speaking and writing allows them independence. If people don’t like what has been said, don’t buy or attend events.

          And Pure and Holy all the way is just what people want in their heroes. If you are a non-profit, and a guy like Morris Dees, then you should live on less money than any typical American family. Right? And if the is paid a few hundred thousand $$, he’s a phony right? Guilty by association with money! And of course, you can’t possibly be on the up and up with hundreds of millions, why that is just crazy amounts of money that no one pure and holy should have in their possession? Am-I-right Carolinian and Jim, he’s disgusting and look at him, the money and non-profit status makes him look like a loser, Am-I-right or Am-I-right???

          Who here has gone up against the Ku Klux Klan, the
          American Nazis, Neo-Nazis skin heads, Christian Identity Militias? Morris Dees deserves combat pay, There how’d like them ad hominem apples!!

          “SL: You’ve received numerous death threats throughout your career. When have you been most terrified?

          MD: I didn’t get into this line of work to get shot at or have people go to prison for trying to conspire to kill me or burn our building. I was most enraged when our building was set on fire in 1983 and I had to drive in from the country trying to think, “Who might have done this?” It took 18 months to catch him. I was absolutely incensed that they would torch our building and could’ve burned people if they had been working late.

          As far as fear? I don’t have any fear of these people. They’re cowards. If they’re going to sneak around your back, you can protect yourself from just so much. We’ve had enormous support from law enforcement. This may not be so smart, but usually when there’s some serious threat—I live in a rural area—I get my gun and go on the hillside, and if I’ve got a little time and night-vision binoculars, I just get a look at them myself.”


          If you can bother to tear yourself away from spreadsheets about the SPLC and read some history, the guy was filthy rich before he got into the line himself up in the cross hairs of killer racist death squads. Does anyone on this site think political change will come free of charge? Does anyone here think change will come on the cheap from Discount Machiavelli’s Warehouse of Political Power-o-Rama? Am I going to have to listen to standards set by some charity guide that sets arbitrary 3x operation costs? Same people from Moody’s probably!

          1. Jim

            Whoa 3, Paul,

            I really don’t understand your hostility. Was simply pointing out what I consider reputable alternative perspectives on this guy and his organization.

            Why are you so offended?

            1. Jim

              Hey Paul whoa, 5.

              Great argumentation–have we ever met? Do you know anything about me?

              Paul said:

              “Typical plastic uptight suckers on the site.”

              “I don’t need to delete anything I say because its not a pile of BS generated by arm chair generals of the revolution this site seems to attract.”

              “As for you two and your condescending little Good House Keeping Seal of Approval mentality.”

              “The unwritten jealousy of bourgeoisie types..”

              Keep up the good work!

      1. Jim

        Whoa 2:

        Paul you might also take a glance at “King of the Hate Business,” Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch (May 15, 2009).

        As well as the reports of Charitywatch (formally the American Institute of Philanthropy) an organization that monitors and rates leading nonprofits for their fundraising efficiency–over a decade–from 19999-2009 they were given a rating of F (supposedly stockpiling assets far beyond a reasonable reserve which they put at 3 years of operating expenses)

  6. Jim Haygood

    Crude Earl closed at $33.97, whacked down 5.5% for the day. We’re back to 2004 prices now.

    Ms. Market and Ms. Yellen are headed for a showdown, to see who folds first.

    Four or five more rate hikes? Laughable. Preposterous.

    1. ambrit

      Possibly ideologically driven. You know those Protestant work ethic types; there’s no such thing as too much ‘character building’ pain.

      1. Synoia

        there’s no such thing as too much ‘character building’ pain

        I thought that was also a feature of the Inquisition – No Protestants there.

  7. diptherio

    The problem here is that racist perceptions can also be perceptions of threat where none exists

    Makes me think of this line from Chance the Rapper

    I know you scared
    You should ask us if we scared too…

    1. ProNewerDeal

      props on the rap quotes, although I’m not familiar with that artist you mentioned. I quoted Nas a while back, & IIRC another commenter was quoting Run The Jewels, in relation to Killer Mike endorsing Bernie Sanders.

    1. flora

      Great article. Thanks, The more eyes on this, the more reporting on this the better. PE starts to look like a fleecing operation (fees) from top to bottom, with tax breaks for the general partners and a favored few. That means the Treasury is being fleeced along with name brand banks and pension funds, and possibly anyone who buys a PE backed IPO.

  8. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re: Wage Gap May Help Explain Why More Women Are Anxious and Depressed Than Men

    For more “help” see sexism, misogyny, labor distribution in the home and the constant threat of violence.

  9. Pavel

    I haven’t seen (and won’t go out of my way to watch) the Obama speech on guns with the now famous “tearing up” moment, but it immediately reminded me of the seminal scene in “Broadcast News” where William Hurt’s character fakes tears during the filming of a documentary.

    And that recalls the famous lines uttered by the Albert Brooks character Aaron about the devil:

    Aaron Altman: I know you care about him. I’ve never seen you like this about anyone, so please don’t get me wrong when I tell you that Tom, while being a very nice guy, is the Devil.
    Jane Craig: This isn’t friendship. You’re crazy, you know that?
    Aaron Altman: What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he’s around?
    Jane Craig: God!
    Aaron Altman: Come on! Nobody is going to be taken in by a guy with a long, red, pointy tail! What’s he gonna sound like?
    Aaron Altman: No. I’m semi-serious here.
    Jane Craig: You’re seriously…
    Aaron Altman: He will be attractive! He’ll be nice and helpful. He’ll get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation. He’ll never do an evil thing! He’ll never deliberately hurt a living thing… he will just bit by little bit lower our standards where they are important. Just a tiny little bit. Just coax along flash over substance. Just a tiny little bit. And he’ll talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he’ll get all the great women.

    Broadcast News (IMDB)

    Obama is the political version of Hurt’s newscaster.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Totally! Life imitates art there (Obama/Hurt).

      Great flick, just saw it again the other night. Brian Williams’ fibbing also came to mind.

    2. jgordon

      No kidding. Obama doesn’t feel bad about sending drones out to wantonly way waste to wedding parties and funerals, so it’s hard for my to fathom how he’d even for a moment give a crap about someone who died due to random gun violence. My best guess is this whole anti-gun thing is just a kabuki theater to enact ever more authoritarian measures over the populace. It doesn’t make sense any other way I look at it.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        There was a flicker of a moment that was the tell, where you could see he adjusted the tilt of his head just before producing the lachryma in question so that the camera angle was just right. This man should go down as one of the true sociopaths, a veritable case study

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        So far as I can tell, the measures will be utterly ineffective. Shocker, I know….

        However, the mental health records will, no doubt, be useful to Big Pharma at some point.

        1. Oregoncharles

          read the Archdruid’s latest – a “drone shoot.” Considerable wishful thinking in there, I suppose, but still, somebody’s going to figure out how to shoot them down. I bet they don’t fly them over Iran any more – the Iranians landed and captured one.

  10. Synoia

    Twitter Considering 10,000-Character Limit for Tweets

    Ah. Going after the Gossip market with Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeets.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Still not enough for a Ph.D. dissertation.

      I understand the shortest ever Ph.D. thesis was 7 pages long.

  11. Synoia

    Clinton: “There needs to be a rival organization to the NRA of responsible gun owners”

    There is. The National Guard.

    1. cwaltz

      There are several organizations that are non partisan and that support sane policies(For example: The Hunters and Shooters Association). Her comment made me think that she isn’t familiar with any gun owners and that she thinks the NRA is the only gun org out there.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Excellent point. If she’d known them, she’d have had them up on the stage with her.

        Sloppy staffwork. What’s Mook doing with all that money? Buying canapés for the squillionaire marks donors?

  12. Daniel

    “The CEO of your company has probably already earned your 2016 salary this year”

    The ex-CEO of my company already has more just in his pension in the 6 days so far this year than my whole annual salary.

    And this is the guy who took a $667million writedown in summer 2015 due to a strategic blunder he was responsible for.

  13. shinola

    So Jebbie! thinks it would be a good idea for G.W. to campaign for him.
    Just how delusional/out-of-touch/tone deaf is this guy?

    Or is it me who’s out-of-touch?

    1. flora

      right….. because having W campaign for him wouldn’t remind anyone of the 2002 Florida recount while Jeb was governor.

  14. Jim

    Quote from Washington Post:
    The [Southern Poverty Law] Center is an Alabama-based non-profit which is actively and vociferously loathed in certain conservative circles.”

    It is also loathed in other circles:

    This extremely profitable, (for its founder- Morris Dees) non-profit has another side to it.

    Check out, for example, the articles by Ken Silverstein in Harpers (Nov. 2000) “The Church of Morris Dees” as well as a follow-up article in Harpers on Nov. 2, 2007 “The Southern Poverty Business Model.”

    1. Prufrock

      Wow, I’m surprised at the hate for the SPLC. The top two people there make about what an attorney in their late 20s with 6-7 years experience do at a large law firm and way less than people with comparable experience. The top 5 non-officer employees make less than many attorneys straight out of law school. I guess if they try to loot the place when they retire that will be something different, but I’ve always respected what I’ve heard out of them. It looks to me like prudent finances and moderate financial success.

    2. neo-realist

      Considering that the law center fights the good fight for POC, the poor and other oppressed minorities, those articles may be right wing hit-pieces.

      1. Jim

        Except Ken Silverstein is a pretty good investigative reporter with pretty good left-wing credentials.

  15. Synoia

    Our Famously Free Press

    “Media companies linked to the Murdochs pay the least tax” [Australian Financial Review]. “The data also shows companies linked to News were significantly less profitable than most other media rivals, with interest payments on loans from associated companies helping to reduce profit margins and taxable income.”

    It is, after all, a free press.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When it comes to free press, if it’s free, I think you are the product.

      Maybe we don’t want ‘free’ press. Maybe we should pay for it…like with donation or subscription.

  16. Tom Denman

    How many innocent children were killed by Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan? We haven’t heard much about that from the mainstream media, let alone the White House.

    The President’s well-rehearsed tears for the twenty killed at Sandy Hook only highlight the vast cognitive dissonance between his words and his deeds.

    Even an incurable cynic must find the Administration’s and the news media’s hypocrisy on this [unasked] question to be breathtaking.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I was told that last year, many Chinese housewives liquidated their gold holdings.

      And I corrected those who said that by pointing out many Chinese husbands also probably did the same.

      In any case, that’s a contrarian indicator that the Chinese currency will go lower, and many husbands and housewives will regret selling their gold.

    2. tegnost

      copper seems to be defended at 2.06, if it hits 1.99 should I be as worried as I think I should be? A canadian loony only gets .71 cents.Close to 18 pesos makes a dollar, a little over .05 cents a piece. Actually I think I’m already worried…some good news, light rail to husky stadium this year, SoCal seems like a lost cause, but it’s felt like that to me for quite a few years…public transportation can seem like income in a weird way. Canada as pointed out by an astute reader is logs and cows, mexico is call centers, agribiz, and autos. I don’t see the way out. who’s buying?
      What would be the likely result of china dropping the peg to the dollar?

  17. Oregoncharles

    ” “It is a systematic problem,” says Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago Law School professor and civil rights attorney. “When there’s a police shooting, or when there’s an allegation of misconduct or brutality, the institutional response is to circle the wagons, denial, and cover up. And it’s throughout the entire organization. It’s not just sort of a code of silence” amongst officers but “really a phenomenon of narrative control and lying” from the top down.

    And we’re not seeing a lot of whistleblowers, either.”

    So there are no “good cops.”

    The essence is that many, if not most, big-city police departments (and I’ve no idea how many small ones) have effectively become the Mafia. They’re actually criminal gangs. In Chicago, this probably goes way back; clear back in 1968, I saw a claim that the Chicago police answered to the Mafia, not the mayor. I doubt there’s any real solution besides firing most of them and starting over. A deadly serious special prosecutor might help, after a while. Might also be shot.

    Note that there isn’t even a whisper of prosecuting the dozens of cops who wrote false reports on the MacDonald shooting, or the ones who wiped the surveillance video. That’s obstruction of justice, a major felony. It’s certainly a firing offense. Not a whisper. Mr. Emmanuel isn’t in nearly enough trouble yet.

    Afterthought: I live in a town where this doesn’t happen. The police dept. is actually well-managed. I’ve thought about trying to get the chief to explain publicly, in writing, how it’s done. Maybe I’ll really try – but I live outside of town, so I have to go through a councillor I know (fellow Green).

    Further thought: the underlying problem is the prosecutors. They’re elected. Apparently McGinty’s job is actually at risk, maybe even Alvarez in Chicago. A program to diselect DAs might help.

    1. alex morfesis

      Futterman could just walk down the street and ask the same questions on univ of chicago private police force…like railroad police, univ of chai are NoT rent a copz…but private pinkertons accountable to no one…and from my experience, willing to cross state lines and attempt to blackmail and intimidate their former grads into giving up hipaa info on someone who might just look like me..

      thankfully the good doctor was near retirement and we both had a good laugh over it…who knew the token white guy could cause such a reaction so many years later…come to think of it…maybe they were the ones that bypassed the alarm on my rent a car and knew to take my video camera and film after i had finished interviewing dr lewis rawls on a paul robeson documentary i was working on back then…hmmm

  18. ken

    Quote from the movie “Twister” (1996) —
    Where’d it go?
    Where is it?
    What’s going on?
    I don’t believe this.
    What the hell!
    What’s the Doppler say?
    The cone of silence.

  19. Inverness

    On Obama’s tears: I’m reminded of former Canadian PM Harper’s tears, just after the famous photo of the little drowned toddler on the Turkish shore. Harper cried too. Just after some artful weeping, he justified military involvement in Syria. He cried away useful explanations of why that family didn’t get refugee status in Canada, and also why he’s on a mission to kill more Arabs. Crocodile tears.

    Shakespeare called tears “women’s weapons.” Well, I dare say, they’ve become politicians’ weapons, to make them seem suddenly empathetic. Those tears are cheap, and can move the viewer to think he’s doing more for gun control than he really is. Harper, Clinton, Obama, Biden, Boehner: I’m so over your tears. When you stop terror and austerity that kills, maybe your tears will come off as sincere.

  20. allan

    Influence of extreme weather disasters on global crop production [Nature]

    In recent years, several extreme weather disasters have partially or completely damaged regional crop production. … Here we estimate for the first time, to our knowledge, national cereal production losses across the globe resulting from reported extreme weather disasters during 1964–2007. We show that droughts and extreme heat significantly reduced national cereal production by 9–10% … . Analysing the underlying processes, we find that production losses due to droughts were associated with a reduction in both harvested area and yields, whereas extreme heat mainly decreased cereal yields. Furthermore, the results highlight ~7% greater production damage from more recent droughts and 8–11% more damage in developed countries than in developing ones. …

    And the data set didn’t even include the last 8 years …

  21. ProNewerDeal

    I heard on PBS Newshour rundown today that the Rs are repealing the ACA in the House, & 0bama will veto the repeal bill.

    Thought experiment: If you were in Congress or were 0bama, would you repeal the ACA or not? Aka has the ACA been a net benefit on the 2010 pre-ACA status quo, or not?

    1 IMHO the Rs like Ryan & their cheerleaders assess the 2010 pre-ACA US health system to be great, & the 2016 post-ACA status quo to be horrible.

    2 0bama/Ds/H Clinton/0bot Cheerleaders conclude the reverse: 2010 was horrible, 2016 is good.

    3 Bernie Sanders & economist Dean Baker conclude the 2016 is an improvement, but the US Health system still sux relative to OECD nations, & advocate MedicareForAll

    4 I advocate MedicareForAll, & from reading about the ACA, especially on NC, am still unclear on if the ACA has been a net benefit. Perhaps the ACA is a slight benefit in terms of the projected reduction in deaths relative to CAN-style MedicareForAll from ~45K to “only” ~30K. OTOH the money/time/stress costs of complying with the ACA Individual Mandate, & the ACA policies’ high costs (~$12K before actually receiving anything beyond annual physical exam, narrow networks, etc) perhaps are “bankrupting many USians slowly” to the point of actually reducing the Consumer component of US GDP.

    What do yall think, if you faced the current binary choice/vote of repealing the ACA?

    1. different clue

      Repeal it with nothing to replace it. Override Obama’s veto and repeal it for real. The ensuing health riots might re-open discussion on CanadaCare for all and a thorough extermination of the private health insurance rackets.

    2. nycTerrierist


      cf: this in today’s links, for starters:

      Even Insured Can Face Crushing Medical Debt, Study Finds New York Times

    3. tegnost

      repeal. replace it with nothing and let the insurers and HMO’s go bankrupt. You know of course that a significant amount of true free market demand has disappeared into the maws of the medical/insurance complex. No matter how much they can grab for themselves, those bloodsuckers still think that those of us with nothing, have everything, and they want moar.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      This woukd be an example of a false choice, Trump or Clinton. The bureaucratic crisis of repeal would be an additional disaster. Insurers, hmos, states, and most importantly patients have already adapted to changing standards. Repeal of ACA isn’t akin to calling a game due to rain and just starting over the next day.

      1. ProNewerDeal

        you may consider it a “False Choice”, but if you were in Congress or 0bama, you would have to vote on repeal, Yes/No. Should I infer you would vote No, given the chaos from a Yes vote would be even worse than the 2016 status quo?

  22. abynormal

    Chinese stocks are opening down hard:

    *CHINA CSI 300 INDEX FALLS 4.05%

    uhh 200pts in 3mins sounds like they’re kicking on the basement door of Hell

    1. Jim Haygood

      How do you spell relief?


      This insight has not reached Venezuela yet, though steamships are headed round Cape Horn carrying the news.

        1. abynormal

          Aliens shaking their heads …’they not on the same page down there’

          “The folks at Economics and Strategy, National Bank Financial, a division of National Bank of Canada, pointed out just how lopsided that trade has become:

          “Non-commercial” net long positions on the USD averaged well over 55,000 contracts last year, a record high. The euro and commodity currencies such as the Canadian dollar and Australian dollar were the main victims of such a bet with record net shorts.

          The left chart below shows the huge spike in long positions on the US dollar. The right chart shows the record net short positions on the euro, the Aussie dollar, and the Canadian dollar. Particularly the euro was the favorite short target: check out the chart (1st grab ice water)

    2. Jim Haygood

      Chinese stock trading was halted after a 7% decline tripped the circuit breakers.

      U.S. crude oil, which plunged to $33.97 in the day session, fell as low as $32.77 in overnight electronic trading. Chart:


      China’s peg to the US dollar serves to import a tightening U.S. monetary policy to a weakening Chinese economy plagued by overcapacity. Big declines in China’s foreign reserves, as they are used to prop up an overvalued yuan exchange rate, indicate that something is going to break.

      Ms Market vs Ms Yellen: who is going to blink?

      1. abynormal

        wayz back i remember 214 bean counters heckling me at work that this was nothing but a real estate ‘correction’. my eyes are bleeding down my face…not like we/here haven’t understood the outcome but still…MIND BLOWING!

        “Returns from being long the 70’S commodity super-cycle have evaporated in the last 18 months… to 42 year lows…” POOF

        1. tegnost

          I know the distress, aby, of having your views disregarded as foolish, then proven correct. This year is not shaping up to be pleasant. Listening to HRC baselessly calling her nonexistent plan “better, because everybody knows it is..” is simply mind numbing. Waited for PBS newshour to dissect sanders plan, but crickets. There will be no reform. This ship is goin’ down, and it’s taking us all with it next time. I was prodded today to accept that I may have to perform lesser evilism again. I assured them that I will not ever do lesser evilism again. Ever. Low oil is the canary in the coal mine and it’s gasping for breath.

            1. tegnost

              we can do better and it looks to me like sanders is the most spirited horse in the barn. So let’s saddle him up.

    1. LifelongLib

      For a few summers in college (40 years ago) I worked on federal survey crews in eastern Washington State. I never encountered any hostility like that, and we often crossed private farm and ranch land. At worst people thought government workers were lazy. My sister lives in the area now and says there’s a fair amount of anti-government sentiment, even though the place would basically be desert without federal dam and irrigation projects.

  23. ProNewerDeal

    ‘Clinton, in Iowa: “”You know, I think Bernie’s giving a speech today in New York about what he wants to do to shut down the big banks. EVERYBODY who’s looked at my proposals says my proposals are tougher, more effective, more comprehensive.’

    who are you foolin Hillary? Maybe “some of the (gullible &/or primarily ID politics voters) people some of the time”. Those of at least moderate intellectual curiosity know Hillary is & has been owned by the 2B2F Bank$tas for decades.

    IIRC EVERYBODY/ALL of the earnest, competent, proven track record subject matter experts I’ve read on the topic, claims Sanders financial services’ policies, including Glass–Steagall reinstatement & a Financial Transaction Tax, are actually
    1 competent or at least a significant major beneficial step at reforming fin svcs
    2 far superior than the weak & insufficiently specific Hillary policies

    These experts include fin svcs exes & journalist Yves Smith, bank regulator William Black, economist Dean Baker, & journalists David Dayen & The Real News’ Paul Jay.

    Who you got Hillary? Serial failures & 2B2F hack apologists like Larry Summers? “The you dropped your (financial policy), changed your demeanor. We don’t believe you, you need more people!” (c) Jay-Z

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