2:00PM Water Cooler 1/15/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Malaysia: “‘Most importantly, national interests and sensitive matters such as those to do with Bumiputra rights and Islam will not be compromised,’ [International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed] said” [The Star]. Malaysia got a great deal: Obama made their slavery problem go away, they can back out of the deal unilaterally if they want, and Bumiputra is the mother of all trade barriers, since its preferential treatment for an ethnic group. Straits of Malacca…



“Hillary Clinton’s campaign held a conference call Thursday with reporters to deride Bernie Sanders for airing an ad that criticized Wall Street firms and the politicians who accept their donations. Though the ad did not mention Clinton by name, the conference call featured her top strategist Joel Benenson portraying the spot as an inappropriate attack on Clinton, whose 2016 campaign has accepted $5.7 million from executives in the financial industry” [Business Insider]. “What the Clinton campaign did not say when announcing the call is that Benenson’s firm not only consults for Clinton — it also lists as clients the kind of Wall Street banks that Sanders’ ad assails. According to its website, the Benenson Strategy Group lists Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase among its clients.” BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!

“POLITICO talked to nearly two dozen major [Bush] donors, and most say they are waiting for what one veteran Republican and former Bush 43 administration appointee described as the ‘family hall pass’ to jump to another campaign after the New Hampshire primary” [Politico]. As the political class laughs all the way to the bank.


Clinton campaign on single payer: ‘Now is not the moment to plunge the country back into a divisive battle,’ said Jake Sullivan, one of [Clinton’s] senior advisors” [Los Angeles Times].

Wowsers. I mean, it’s only people dying for lack of care. Remember Democratic strategist James Carville’s joke about Hillary and Obama? “If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he’d have two.” Guess that’s not true any more. If Clinton’s only going to fight battles that aren’t divisive, there won’t be very many, will there?

The Voters

“Anti-Wall Street Sentiment Breaks by Party Line in Iowa Poll” [Bloomberg]. I think the headline is misleading. Bloomberg identifies “Anti-Wall Street” with “Anti-Capitalism.” At least in my experience, there are plenty of staunch, pro-capitalist conservatives who would have been very happy to see the banksters get thrown in jail. “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is red or blue, as long as it catches mice.” Eh?

“How Howard Dean Became The Grateful Dead Of The ’04 Campaign” [HuffPo]. Interesting part of the historical record; Dean says he knew he was doomed when he saw the same faces appearing at all his rallies, long before “the scream.”

The Trail

Former Senator Paul Kirk, a past chair of the DNC, endorses Sanders [Paul Kirk’s Remarks, berniesanders.com]:

The essence of democracy is “public trust” — a belief that every citizen, no matter his or her station in life, has a fair shot at economic security and a reasonably equal opportunity to influence public decisions that may affect that security and quality of life.

– Today, this nation’s “public trust” in our public officials sits at a sorry 26%.

Make no mistake. These dots connect and, together, they add up to the harshest and most uncomfortable truth of all. Among all the Presidential candidates, only Bernie Sanders is telling that truth: The unlimited amounts of money flooding our political system from a narrow and immensely wealthy slice of American society is the most pernicious internal peril threatening the fundamental tenets of economic, political, moral and social justice and, not least, the fairness and vibrancy of our representative democracy.

Now there’s an endorsement that should make it harder for Chelsea and her Mom to do their red-baiting thing; not that they won’t try.

“Marco Rubio made a risky decision three years ago during high-profile immigration talks: He hired as his chief negotiator a corporate attorney who represented clients with a direct stake in the legislation” [CNN]. Rookie mistake. You do these things at arm’s length; say, through a Foundation.

Biden: “‘Bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real. And he has credibility on it. It’s relatively new for Hillary to talk about that. Hillary’s focus has been other things up to now, and that’s been Bernie’s — no one questions Bernie’s authenticity on those issues” [CNN].

Thomas Donohue, the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “There are voices, sometimes very loud voices who talk about walling off America from talent and trade and who are attacking whole groups of people based not on their conduct but on their ethnicity or religion. This is morally wrong and politically stupid” [Reuters]. Having sown the wind, reaping the whirlwind.

“A quarter of Republicans think White House hopeful Ted Cruz is disqualified to serve as U.S. president because he was born in Canada to an American mother, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found” [Reuters]. Yeah, jeez. Who wants a metric President?

“The presidential debate commission is getting ready for a serious 3rd party candidate” [WaPo]. If it’s the No Labels crowd, that would be really, really vile.

Republican Debate

Trump on Cruz’s slam on “New York values” [The Hill]:

When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York,” Trump said to applause, including from Cruz.

“You had two 110-story buildings come crashing down, I saw them come down. Thousands of people killed, and the clean-up started the next day.”

“People in New York fought and fought and fought,” Trump said, adding that “the smell of death … was with us for months.”

“Everybody in the world watched, and everybody in the world loved New Yorkers,” he added.

I hate it when Trump says something I agree with.

“The GOP establishment’s dual hopes for Thursday’s debate were to see Trump and Cruz stumble, and Marco Rubio rise to supersede at least one of them” [The New Republic]. “Instead, as Trump and Cruz parried, Rubio interjected, not with a transcendent moment, but with a familiar recitation of a relevant portion of his stump speech. And then another. And another.”

Cruz’s debate coach (!): “Cruz made tactical errors Thursday night. Basic stuff. He failed to differentiate himself from Donald Trump on important issues, and the arguments he started, he lost. That’s right: The “supposed” best debater (just look on his mantle for his national champion debating trophy), got beaten in every exchange with one of the worst debaters I’ve ever seen. So either Trump is getting better (which I must admit he is) or Cruz’s reputation is overstated (which it is)” [CNN].

“Sanders had two of the most retweeted tweets during the debate, with a pair touting his position in polls and going after GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S. Both got more than 5,000 retweets” [The Hill].

Stats Watch

Empire State Mfg Survey, January 2016: Yikes. Consensus range: -7.50 to 1.00. Actual: -19.37 [Econoday]. “The contraction in factory activity in the New York manufacturing region, which began way back in August, unfortunately is picking up a lot of steam this month. … The report is grim.” But: “As this index is very noisy, it is hard to understand what these massive moves up or down mean – however this regional manufacturing survey is normally one of the more pessimistic” [Econintersect].

Industrial Production, December 2015: “December was not a good month for the industrial economy as industrial production fell a sharper-than-expected 0.4 percent” [Econoday]. “Capacity utilization fell 4 tenths from a downwardly revised November to 76.5 percent. A low utilization rate, which is running roughly 4 percentage points below its long-term average, holds down the cost of goods.” And: “Now In Contraction Year-over-Year” [Econintersect]. However: “In my view, this is a pretty accurate gauge of the health of the factory sector. Flattish. Given the magnitude of the appreciation of the dollar over the past 18 months and the weakness in a number of key overseas markets, it could have been a lot worse” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve].

Business Inventories, November 2015: “Relative to sales, which also fell 0.2 percent and were down 0.3 percent in October, total inventories are stable, at a ratio of 1.38” [Econoday]. “This report is indicative of economic weakness and will not be building expectations for fourth-quarter growth let alone the outlook for first-quarter growth.” And: ” The inventory-to-sales ratios remain at recessionary levels” [Econintersect].

Retail Sales, December 2015: “Retail sales proved disappointing in December, down 0.1 percent in a headline that is not skewed by vehicles or even that much by gasoline” [Econoday]. But: “Our view is that this month’s data was stronger than last month, There was an improvement of the rolling averages” [Econintersect].

PPI-FD, December 2015: “The producer price-final demand headline in December fell 0.2 percent, nearly reversing November’s 0.3 percent increase which now, regrettably, looks like an upside outlier” [Econoday]. Mini-punchbowl? Micro-punchbowl? Nano-punchbowl?

Consumer Sentiment, January (p) 2016: “The resilience in long-term optimism is a plus for the U.S. economy though the eroding in short-term inflation expectations will not be encouraging to Federal Reserve policy makers who have launched a rate-hike sequence for an economy still struggling against deflation” [Econoday]. And: “The Producer Price Index year-over-year deflation was marginally less this month. The intermediate processing continues to show a large deflation in the supply chain” [Econintersect]. Further: “If Fed rate hikes lead to rising financial services costs, then the Fed’s normalization will directly contribute to higher inflation, a perverse result” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 9 (+7); Extreme Fear [CNN]. Last week: 18 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Yikes! Big jump today.

Health Care

“Hospitals and doctors have expressed a clear willingness to start their own Medicare Advantage plans. The latest iteration of Medicare’s accountable care experiment paves the way for more of them to head that direction” [Modern Heatlhcare]. The slow privatization and hollowing out of Medicare continues. (As I understand it, ACOs are HMOs all over again. Readers?)

Militia Watch

“Gifts of sex toys, glitter and nail polish are not what the armed protesters who seized a U.S. wildlife refuge in Oregon were expecting when they put out a public call for supplies to help get them through the winter” [Japan Times]. I was thinking along the lines of “Toys for Tots.” My Little Ponies?

“Has The Sovereign Citizen Movement Hijacked The Oregon Standoff?” [Talking Points Memo]. Betteridge’s Law applies.

“As the Western drought worsened in recent years, so did the ranchers’ unrest. In 2014, rancher Cliven Bundy and supporters staged an armed standoff in southeastern Nevada. Instead of impounding Bundy’s cattle, the bureau backed down. Now two of Bundy’s sons have become leaders of the armed occupiers in Oregon, and the effect has spread to Battle Mountain” [Los Angeles Times]. Funny thing. I don’t recall the Feds backing down on Occupy; in fact, I recall a 17-city paramilitary crackdown (aided and abetted by mostly Democratic mayors, I might add). And I don’t recall the Feds backing down on Black Lives Matter. I wonder what the difference(s) could be?


“Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison believe increased cloud cover over the [Arctic] ice sheet itself may be to blame for up to a third of the ice melt that is occurring, a new study indicates” [Yahoo News]. “It does seem like the melt itself may be causing a feedback loop of its own: moisture in the air is a key component for cloud formation, which in turn traps heat in, which causes more melting, which puts more moisture in the air and allows more clouds to form.”

“Scientists find a layer of plastics, radiation and soot embedded in the planet’s surface, defining a new Anthropocene epoch” [Scientific American]. “The real hard work of Anthropocene stratigraphy has yet to be conducted or even attempted. For example, examining the strata forming off the California coast to look for plutonium and soot.”

“Russian scientists on Thursday said the male mammoth excavated from a bluff on Yenisei Bay on the Arctic Ocean was killed by hunters 45,000 years ago, providing the earliest indication of the presence of humans in the Arctic” [Reuters]. “Until now, the oldest evidence of humans in Arctic regions dated to more or less 30,000 years ago.”

“Independent researchers reported detecting elevated methane levels as far as 8 miles from the massive, ongoing leak of natural gas from [the Porter Ranch] storage site in northwestern Los Angeles” [Inside Climate News].


“Goldman to Pay Up to $5 Billion to Settle Claims of Faulty Mortgages” [Dealb%k, New York Times]. Yves linked to this, but just to underline: There are words starting with “F” that seem more fitting. Like “Fraudulent.” Or “Felonious.” And how come Dealb%k got this story, anyhow?

“Goldman Sachs in $5.1bn deal over bond mis-selling” [BBC]. “Mis-sellings were made.”

“Goldman Sachs… made no admission of wrongdoing in its settlement announcement” [National Mortgage Professional].

“About $2.4 billion of the settlement is in the form of a government penalty. Goldman about $2.7 billion [of the settlement] from its future tax bills, according to a person familiar with the accord” [HuffPo].

“In a report released Thursday by the World Anti-Doping Agency, an independent commission mentioned evidence that several million dollars in sponsorship money reportedly paid by Japan to the International Association of Athletics Federations may have swayed then-IAAF chief Lamine Diack to favor Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics” [Japan Times].

“Russia highway robbery: Official ‘stole 50km road'” [BBC]. “The road was ‘dismantled and driven away’ over the period of more than a year. The concrete slabs were then used by a commercial company which also sold them on for a profit” So he privatized a road. Big deal. In this country, we dismantle and sell entire multi-billion dollar social systems for profit.

[Wall Street Journal, “Goldman Reaches $5 Billion Settlement Over Mortgage-Backed Securities”]

Class Warfare

“We’ll send someone under 25 who doesn’t understand we’re not paying them well” [Pando]. Unlocked for 24 hours after launch…

“Until the 1980s, the major driver of Harney’s prosperity was timber products, sourced from plentiful forests, including those on public land. There were jobs in the forest and jobs in the sawmill, all well-paid despite the fact that they didn’t need high levels of education or training” [Guardian]. “Harney’s heyday was an artefact of a strong, confident, and relatively wealthy working class.” No longer. Just like Maine. (Interesting to see Tim Duy quoted in this context, too.)

“Study: Minimum Wage Increases Don’t Hurt the Restaurant Industry” [Gawker]. I don’t know how we can have a pleasant meal without knowing that our, er, servers don’t suffer grinding poverty. I mean, how else could we get the level of service we demand and deserve?

News of the Wired

“A panel of the [German] federal court of justice ruled that Facebook’s ‘friend finder’ promotional feature constituted advertising harassment in a case that was filed in 2010 by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV)” [Guardian]. “Advertising harassment” is Faceborg’s business model, so that’s a problem…

“The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment” [Medium]. “What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of money that lacked ‘systemically important institutions’ and ‘too big to fail’ has become something even worse: a system completely controlled by just a handful of people. Worse still, the network is on the brink of technical collapse.”

“U.S. Proposes Spending $4 Billion on Self-Driving Cars” [New York Times]. Obviously, self-driving cars will require massive infrastructural investment, even if the software isn’t buggy, yeah right. So the glibertarian, big gummint-hating, liberty-luvvin’ Silicon Valley squillionaires approach the Feds for a hand-out….

“Seedlings are loaded into the cube. The growth cycle is then completely automated using farming software that monitors the plants and adjusts the environment accordingly, adding the perfect amount of air, light, and water needed for different stages of development” [Reuters]. “Not home and worried about your farm cube? There’s an App for that. Cameras and sensors allow you to monitor everything from the PH levels to the LED light settings from anywhere with an Internet connection.” I’m not sure this is sustainable…

“Anglican leaders on Thursday temporarily restricted the role of the U.S. Episcopal Church in their global fellowship as a sanction over the American church’s acceptance of gay marriage” [Talking Points Memo]. Badge of honor, so far as I’m concerned.

“E-SIM for consumers—a game changer in mobile telecommunications?” [McKinsey]. Fighting my way through the prose, I think this means that with e-SIMs, devices will no longer serve as reasonable proxies for personal identities. Short burners, I guess.

“6 hairstyles sure to replace the man bun in 2016” [Daily Dot]. Can’t come too soon!

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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 (Fred H):


At a quick glance, this looks like snow, but it’s really another of Fred H’s infrareds.

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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 and importunate 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. JTMcPhee

    Trump and the NY values: Do I misremember, or did not the Mafia try to steal tons of structural steel some with body parts attached, in the pull-together cleanup? And did not the FDNY and NYPD engage in a sub Rosa Dispute over which set of first responders would get the overtime hours for the efforts? And is Wall Street part of NY or not? And all the corporations that have or had their corporate phalluses erected there? And I was just wasting time viewing a documentary on gangs and their activities in the Big Apple.

    Of course these are SPECIES “values,” tied fortuitously to anecdotes, but Texas Crudz is pushing the “East Coast Liberal Elite Media They Are Not Americans” button for all he’s worth (a fart in an oil barrel, maybe…)

    1. James Levy

      Wrong on the first two counts. Overtime rules are generous and the Police and Fire unions have nothing to do with one another. The Mafia is pretty weak these days and the steel was glommed onto by the FBI and then also the USN so they could use a bunch of it for the hull of a new navy ship for propaganda purposes.

      If you review the response on 9/11 in NYC and the hysteria that reigned in DC, I think that New Yorkers that day and for a few days thereafter responded with guts, dignity, and perseverance. There was no pogrom (which would have been easy to stage) and people genuinely pulled together and tried to help each other. If it all became crude, ugly, and stupidly jingoistic later, well, it went down that way all over the country, not just in NYC where the people had some reason to fear it could happen again (it already had, twice, in 1993 and again in 2001).

    2. r. clayton

      And did not the FDNY and NYPD engage in a sub Rosa Dispute over which set of first responders would get the overtime hours for the efforts?

      I don’t know about overtime, but there was a dispute over how to conduct the clean-up. The cops, and almost everybody else, wanted the clean-up to move as quickly as possible, while the fire-fighters wanted, and were conducting, a careful and slow search and recovery through the ruins for the remains of fire-fighters lost in the collapse. You can read about it in American Ground by Bill Langewiesche.

    3. different clue

      I remember reading that declaring 9/11 an “Act of War” was to pre-empt declaring it a “crime”. That way, the attack-site could not be secured and cleaned up carefully as a “crime scene”. According to this theory, the steel was rushed away fast to prevent any of it from being subject to study and analysis to learn something about elements of the crime committed.

      (By the way, an interesting theory I read on why the twin towers collapsed so neatly is that they were never as strong as advertised to begin with. The Mafia families controlled the construction/building trades in New York at the time of building the Twin Towers, and they pre-skimmed off some of the money expected-to-be-spent on building the buildings. So the client order a billion dollar building and got a quarter-billion-dollar building with the Mafia families pre-skimming the other three quarter billion dollars for their own benefit.)

  2. Pavel

    wow, Lambert, amazing photo by Fred H. Thank you… I love forests :)

    Nice to think about something other than the odious Repubs and the horrid Hillary.

    1. craazyman

      check out Gerhard Richter’s WALD (color) and Robert Adams’ SKOGEN (black & white). I have the latter, the former I’ve only peeked at where I can find it online.

      The photo above recalls SKOGEN a bit. Those types of shots can be very complex and multidimensional, which is an odd idea for something that appears on a 2 dimensional surface (I mean, not that that’s a “whoa! deep thoughts” observation. DUH, that’s why photographers take photos, I mean really!). But you’d think pointing a camera at the woods and trees and taking a picture might make a very boring photograph. Well, it could certainly be! I sure have taken many of those myself, but they all help you see anyway. Still There’s an incredible complexity that differs amazingly in nearly every direction and with every subtle change in light and with every season. It’s amazing how fast it all changes and how complex what’s there is, even the distance in feet makes a massive compositional difference — and both over the time span of days and weeks and even hour by hour. It’s quite kaliedescopic and protean. I’m sure there’s hundreds of photo books of woods and forests. Those are only two that I happen to know. Lee Friedlander was a bit more into the landscape element than the arboreal composition. Well anyway, an afternoon in the woods walking around with a camera. That is quite an interesting experience. I’d rather do it than talk about it though! hahahaha, a few things are like that.

      1. Isolato


        In my last real life I did mostly architectural photography, essentially the photography of volume and surface. One’s goal is to pull the viewer into the space, but not confine them. To that end I usually employed wide angle lenses, attractive foreground elements w/a meandering pull through to the most luminous point in the frame, which was the distant exit. Plants make a wonderful subject for infrared work because they emit a lot of it! That luminosity suggests a magical inner life. This is NOT the far infrared of heat waves, just slightly beyond human perception. I’ll send Lambert a couple more. After all, we are all mystics…aren’t we?

    2. Isolato


      I’ve got to get my branding straight! I usually post elsewhere as Isolato (I live on an island pop. 4), but here on NC I have been using my real name (James Housel) and Lambert (not his real name) has used my return e-mail (Fred H) to identify my photo (of which I am proud to see it!). So…in the future…the IR guy is Isolato. There. And if my photo spared you a second of stewing, well, that is what antidotes are for. Thank you for the compliment.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think they’re lovely, since they show the structure so well. So if you have any more ;-)

        * * *

        On another note, as your comment shows, I make no mental connection at all between handles (to me, the “true name”) and email addresses (which is probably a good thing). My default is to preserve anonymity, so if you want me to use your handle, please tell me (and each time, too, since experience tells me I’ll totally space on this).

  3. Andrew

    How does one “mis-sell” something, exactly ?
    “Whoops, i’ve just realised i’ve mis-sold you a bunch of these ‘faulty’ mortgages, terribly sorry about that.”

  4. grayslady

    Shorter Hillary Clinton on Bernie’s new ad: “Telling the truth about me hurts my feelings.”

    IMO, this whole ruckus reminds me of Jeb Bush being outraged when Donald Trump reminded Jeb that George Bush was the President when 9-11 occurred. No, Jeb!, your brother didn’t keep us safe.

  5. fresno dan

    “Anti-Wall Street Sentiment Breaks by Party Line in Iowa Poll” [Bloomberg]. I think the headline is misleading. Bloomberg identifies “Anti-Wall Street” with “Anti-Capitalism.” At least in my experience, there are plenty of staunch, pro-capitalist conservatives who would have been very happy to see the banksters get thrown in jail. “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is red or blue, as long as it catches mice.” Eh?

    That is exactly it – capitalism, markets, free enterprise – if your going to believe in it, it has some prerequisites that are paramount: rule of law, equal justice before the law, profit and LOSS, respecting the allocation of capital as made by the market – that is, the market sends a signal that shadow banking system is uneconomic. That it fails to account for risk. NOT, after failing, the FED lets Goldman Sachs and their ilk get deposit insurance to save their sorry asses. A system of crony capitalism that protects and rewards oligarchic economic behavior….

    BUT NOES! We have to save the criminals, the idiots, and the criminally idiotic…if they are worth more than a billion. And it is a mystery to these people why the system fails to improve…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      But a Democratic loyalist can’t say that Wall Street is populated by thieves who were never prosecuted because Obama. Therefore, their position is founded on a Big Lie. Exactly like the Republicans, though a different Lie, and couched in different, and to many more civil, language, but a Big Lie nonetheless.

      So Sanders is taking a position that will work better in the general than in the primaries, where he’s got to dance around this particular cognitive disonnance.

  6. Anon

    So, what happens when the fear index hits zero? Man, I picked a bad week to start investing…

    That aside, I do give credit to Biden for giving praise to Sanders. When you make something your raison ‘d etre (I sure hope I spelled that right), it’s very hard for someone that’s not genuine to call you out on it. It goes without saying that Hillary never would’ve given this much focus if he wasn’t running.

  7. polecat

    noted headline at zerohedge: Walmart to fire 16,000, as it closes 269 stores worldwide. Boy, …… I suspect James Kunstler is going to have a Huge weekend long orgasm !!!……can’t wait to see what he’ll write on his blog on Monday !!!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It used to be that Walmart growth is tied to the growth of former-middle-class turned poor.

      Does it mean poor people are disappearing, or does it mean, even Walmart is out of reach for the poor?

      1. fresno dan

        Well, I used to shop at Sprawlmart back when I had money.
        Than I had to downshift to dollar tree. Than fifty centville. Than two bits for a shave and a haircut.
        Than dimes for chimes.
        Now its pennies for barbecue roadkill….

        1. sleepy

          Yes, I read somewhere a year or so ago that Dollar General/Family Dollar was stealing WalMart market share. A sign of the times. Dollar Tree too of course. My town, Mason City IA, has seen Penny’s, Sears, and KMart leave in the past couple of years. Mostly now, it’s payday loan and pawn shops, used car dealers, a hospital, and fast food outlets.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I believe that, but it would be nice to see data. (The Walmarts I have been in were also actively unpleasant; the beaten down staff, the shoddy quality of everything. For all their mastery of the supply chain, they apparently couldn’t keep the vegetables fresh.)

            Just as a troll prophylactic, since sometimes people think I’m attacking Walmart shoppers when I say that Walmart sucks, I believe we deserve better. Wannamakers was a palace, and it wasn’t the Neiman-Marcus of its day, either (though Philly residents will correct me).

  8. allan

    The Democratic primary is a race between the dreamers and the doers. [NBC]

    One of the biggest divides that has emerged during the contest between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is a split between the idealistic voices in the party, who view Sanders as a vehicle for rethinking traditional politics and policies and those who approach governing by pursing practical, achievable goals and are backing Clinton.

    That was reflected in the endorsements each candidate received just this week: The former secretary of state got the backing of ex-Attorney General Eric Holder and the leaders of two major gun control groups, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions. Sanders, the Vermont senator, meanwhile was embraced by the Nation, a progressive magazine and the activist group MoveOn.

    It’s hard to do justice in a one-liner to this steaming pile of conventional wisdom.

    Eric Holder. If your practical, achievable goal is to protect bank executives from prosecution.

    1. Pavel

      On a bit of reflection, nothing sums up the hypocrisy and insider nature of Hillary’s campaign quite like Holder’s endorsement. Did that man accomplish anything (apart from protecting the Wall Street banksters, of course)?

      Can you imagine: Obama — he of the “spliff club” or whatever his pot smoking gang was called in college — had Eric Holder’s DoJ continually bust medical marijuana providers! The hypocrisy is just breathtaking.

      I see from Politico or somewhere that this stock market crash may hurt HRC’s chances as people associate a downturn with the Dems. Perversely (I hope) this may help Bernie Sanders with his anti-Wall Street pitch. Honestly, apart from the Fed’s QE-created equity bubble (and created in part by corporate buy-backs of their own stock), where is Obama’s vaunted “recovery”? Retail stores are on the verge of collapse, and most of the new jobs are low-paid. What a world.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Eric Holder is famous for justifying not prosecuting white collar crime because it would be hard work, and what fun is being Attorney General if you have to stay past 5 and can’t knock off early on a Friday?

      2. Pavel

        Here’s Rolling Stone on Obama’s medical marijuana crackdown (2012):

        Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue,” he vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration’s high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

        But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush’s record for medical-marijuana busts. “There’s no question that Obama’s the worst president on medical marijuana,” says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “He’s gone from first to worst.”

        The federal crackdown imperils the medical care of the estimated 730,000 patients nationwide – many of them seriously ill or dying – who rely on state-sanctioned marijuana recommended by their doctors. In addition, drug experts warn, the White House’s war on law-abiding providers of medical marijuana will only drum up business for real criminals. “The administration is going after legal dispensaries and state and local authorities in ways that are going to push this stuff back underground again,” says Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a former Republican senator who has urged the DEA to legalize medical marijuana, pulls no punches in describing the state of affairs produced by Obama’s efforts to circumvent state law: “Utter chaos.”

        Obama’s War on Pot

        Is that man merely a spineless hypocrite, or a true sociopath?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama is very much a conventional 90’s Democrat who intended on not being Willie Horton-ed and showing how tough In crime he was. Obama like Bill before him just wanted to round up every easy conviction. He did the same with immigration until he had a humanitarian crisis on his hands.

        2. hunkerdown

          Corporate message control is more sociopathic than hypocritical, but more duplicitous than sociopathic. At the same time, humans are rationalizing, not rational, intelligences.

          “Ads up in the subway / Are the work of someone trying to please their boss / And though the guy’s a pig / We know that what he wants / Is just to please somebody else / If the puppet head / Was only busted in / It’d be a better thing for everyone involved / And we wouldn’t have to cry” – They Might Be Giants, “Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head”

      3. jrs

        Holder also justified Obama’s drone program and the right to drone murder anyone anywhere including U.S. citizens. That’s what you’ll get with Hillary I guess.

    2. Uahsenaa

      Also, to put it simply, endorsements aren’t votes. To put things in perspective, in the UK Labour leadership elections, Corbyn’s opponents got nearly all the endorsements from the media and establishment political institutions, while he got the votes, so many that he handed them their asses, and now they spend most of their days whining and throwing toys out of the crib.

      I’m not sure I’m looking forward to a similar backlash from New Dems when Bernie gives Hillary her walking papers.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Are you kidding? The tantrum will be great. It will expose many of the sycophant class. Obama has protected them during the last few years, but the same sentiment which is leading to a Hillary collapse will turn on her allies without a celebrity to protect them.

        To maintain their status, they have nowhere to go. “No labels” is vying for 1.5% of the electorate, and the GOP has majorities and a very anti-Team Blue base. They don’t hate Democratic voters as much as Democratic elites. They won’t take them.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      One of the biggest divides that has emerged during the contest between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is a split between the idealistic voices in the party, who view Sanders as a vehicle for rethinking traditional politics and policies and those who approach governing by pursing practical, achievable goals and are backing Clinton.

      DPA (D party apparatus) talking point of the week. Howard Dean said this same thing almost word-for-word on MSNBC the other night. Sanders is a dreamer while HRC is a pragmatic, get things done, progressive. Are we all agreed?

      1. cwaltz

        Can anyone actually give me one thing that she’s done with her time in public office that benefitted the majority of us?

        What pragmatic, achievable goal did she actually achieve? Because quite frankly I’ve found the Democratic Party short on substance when it actually comes to achievements in general.

        1. Vatch

          Hillary’s pragmatism seems limited to making money for herself and her family’s “foundation”. In that she excels.

          1. cwaltz

            That’s what I thought too. While Bernie is far from perfect I can point to his community centers as an ACTUAL achievement. It was part of a compromise but still more of an achievement than Secretary Clinton can point to. So from where I’m sitting the idealistic Sanders has more accomplishments than the” pragmatic, realistic Clinton.”.

            1. 3.14e-9

              Don’t forget Haiti. For all the involvement of both Clintons and their rich friends, Haiti got sweatshops and a new Marriott, when what they needed was funding to rebuild roads, housing, sanitation, and other vital services after the earthquake. I can’t for the life of me understand how Bill was even allowed to be involved in Haiti in any official capacity while she was SoS.

  9. Jess

    “I don’t recall the Feds backing down on Occupy; in fact, I recall a 17-city paramilitary crackdown (aided and abetted by mostly Democratic mayors, I might add). And I don’t recall the Feds backing down on Black Lives Matter. I wonder what the difference(s) could be? ”

    Hmm, let’s see: Maybe the difference is that they’re white? Or that they’re armed? How about both? Yes, that’s it.

    1. craazyman

      I was a huge Occupy Wall Street supporter — I mean in empathy and a few visits to Zuccotti and givng them money. Not thousands of dolars, but $60 here and $50 there from time to time. Stuffing them in the boxes they had.

      I wore the OWS badge on the bus and subway. I was rather surprised, actually to see I was the only one. That made me kind of think “Wow. I though the bus would be full of them!” One time on the subway a younger dude — maybe early 30s — came up and in a manly way gave me a nod and said “I like your badge”. I even wore it to work! Fuck them. I don’t care. I wore it around and a few colleagues smiled in a sardonic way. It’s a small company and I’d worked with these dudes for 10 years at the time. They wouldn’t fire me, that I knew. A few might get rocked but fuck them. They wouldn’t say anything and they didn’t. Also the company presented itself to the world as a Social Justice type place, so what could they say? They were kind of penned in by their own rhetoric and generally ignored my badge.

      But I was kind of surprised at how little empathy and sympathy OWS got there, Even the old dudes at work who knew the investment business pretty well, even they were completely surprised when I told them “All the fraud you know about, that you see, that’s what they’re against! They even do SEC letters and issue campaigns on complex deriviatives topics.” The Chief Financial Officer was a grizzly Navy vet and scarred as hell from a lifetime in the shitty investment business. Every once in a while he’d ironically zing the fraud on Wall Street in writing we did together. I told him “You should be their strongest supporter!” I told him to come down to Zucotti Park with me and I’d buy him lunch in the Kitchen down there.

      then the scene got gnarly with the drugs and bohos taking over the place with grimy tents. When they cleaned it out, nobody in my office cared or said a word. Frankly, they didn’t have a lot of mainstream support by that time. People, in general, said enough is enough. it reminded me of the old saw about acting, “Technique without passion is boring,passion without technique is embarrassing.” The public face of OWS got embarrassing toward the end. But some of the people I saw and observed early on down there were some of the most impressive individuals I’ve ever seen — articulate, poised, confident without arrogance, thoughtful, spiritually grounded, mature and concerned about the world in a restrained and unimpetuous way. One night during one of those group meetings I told two of them, “Thank you so much for what you’re doing. You really are amazing and impressive people.” They smiled modestly and thanked me. At any rate, I remember that. Every once in a while you do something worth remembering. But not very often. That’s for sure. Mostly you just move. Or maybe that’s just me.

          1. craazyman

            ok, that plus all the other stuff about multidimensions and the earth being a giant battery with overlapping realities and space aliens and bigfoot, I’m just being honest. That stuff really is crazy but I can handle it now and appear normal.

            1. craazyboy

              There are 13 dimensions, otherwise our completely sane physicists couldn’t have Dark Matter. Space Aliens are real, of course. People have seen them! Planet Nirubu is real and getting closer all the time. Hillary is a Warlock flying around holding something. But Bigfoot? That’s just a WWE wrestler that took too many steroids and flipped out and is hiding in the woods in Canada.

      1. different clue

        How many homelessoids were sent in by the police? How many homelessoids were brought in by the Graeberoid “this is what Anarchy looks like” carpetbaggers who swiftly infiltrated and took over the Zucotti Camp?

          1. different clue

            Maybe an immune system is one of the most important things the Sons of Occupy should work on before they roll out any more visible efforts.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Technique without passion is boring, passion without technique is embarrassing.”

        For “technique,” in this case, read “politics.” It’s as if Occupy ripped a giant hole in the enemy line, and then either didn’t know how to exploit the opportunity for a breakthrough, or couldn’t (Like Cambrai in World War I.)

        Not to trash them, at all. But what are the lessons, what are the lessons….

      3. Ulysses

        You are the best!! When someone notices the world is run by insane sociopaths, other people feel threatened and call him or her craazy. You should be called honestman!

    2. jrs

      Or they’re right-wing and act as a good front for corporate interest. Well don’t rule it out. It may not be about race, and identity politics may sidetrack what is really going on.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      They aren’t embarrassing anyone important. OWS was an embarrassment for Team Blue. BlackLivesMatter is an embarrassment for Team Blue. These ranchers or whatever they are are the embarrassing a corporate entity. They aren’t embarrassing any prominent Republicans.

    4. hunkerdown

      So were the Branch Davidians. Perhaps the determining factor is authoritarian vs. anti-authoritarian, which makes sense when one considers that the FBI exists solely to 1. preserve right-wing authoritarianism as national policy and 2. loudly do as little public service as required to keep themselves out of jail.

  10. TedWa

    “Thomas Donohue, the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “There are voices, sometimes very loud voices who talk about walling off America from talent and trade and who are attacking whole groups of people based not on their conduct but on their ethnicity or religion.”

    Why isn’t this foreign talent that appears so needed coming from our own universities?
    Because ……. fill in the blank.

    1. TedWa

      EDIT : Why isn’t this foreign talent that appears so needed not coming from our own universities?
      Because ……. fill in the blank.

      1. kwark

        My answer: “foreign talent” can be had so much more cheaply and disposed of much more readily. As an organization the CoC cares a great deal about American consumers; as employees, not so much.

  11. Elizabeth Burton

    “— no one questions Bernie’s authenticity on those issues…”

    And suddenly the discussions are full of sock puppets doing exactly that, along with the now-standard bunch trying to convince people to not vote for Hillary if Bernie doesn’t get the nom. I just wish there was a way to educate large numbers of people how to recognize the paid shills that have become even more numerous in comments sections.

    1. 3.14e-9

      Whether or not the paid Shills for Hills are recognized as such, they don’t often get away without scathing responses. I’ve read many good comments over the past few weeks, ranging from brilliant comebacks to well-researched rebuttals. And it’s not just Bernie supporters who recognize that the articles themselves are biased. Here are a couple of gems from the NBC News handout from the HRC campaign article:

      More like Dreams and Nightmares.

      Dear Media,
      thank you for telling me how to think.
      –Uninformed Voter

      NBC is an acronym for Nobody But Clinton.

      There is no difference between a socialist and the average American, except that the self-avowed socialist knows what the word means.

        1. 3.14e-9

          It was in response to this:

          The Big Question……..
          If Sanders prevails will the majority of registered Democrats hop on board regardless of the fact he is a self described Socialist?
          Then again…
          Is there really that much of a difference between a far left liberal and a Socialist?

          And that was one of the more intelligent comments in a long string of stupidity.

          1. andyb

            Actually, all elections since JFK have been between a fascist and a marxist; the winner has always been the one who best hides his totalitarian ideology.

    2. Jess

      Jason Linkins and Zach Carter have a new top story up at HuffPo that is more of the same, about how Hillary is really good and just needs to let the voters see the real her. Key point of the story is that — supposedly, if you buy their logic — both Hillary and Bernie will be prevented from anything meaningful by a GOP Congress. This, of course, conveniently omits the idea that Bernie can pressure Congress, bring his followers to bear to push reforms, appoint real prosecutors and regulators, and use executive directives to make things better. And it also omits any mention of how it would be better to have a president who fights the GOP rather than being a closed member of the GOP.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        This, again, is the Sanders idea that only a movement* can bring the policies he (and we) want. So that’s the litmus test for Sanders: Where is this movement? We need it now, in the primaries, not later.

        * The Democratic loyalists will, of course, fight this tooth and nail; it’s a later incarnation of Dean’s 50 State Strategy. It’s also what OFA might have been, (a) had Obama not shut it down immediately after it had served his purpose, and (b) it weren’t infested with Dear Leadership.

    3. different clue

      There’s a couple of these Shillary Shillbots beginning to infest Riverdaughter’s The Confluence comments section. I expect they will get louder and longer.

      I see no need to believe they are paid. They feel self-propelled to me.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I still think Clinton in 2008 would have been a better choice than Obama. Not much better, but better. (For one thing, if only for personal reasons of payback, I think she would have stomped the Republicans.)

        That doesn’t mean that Sanders isn’t better than Clinton in 2016. Much better.

  12. allan

    Sanders wall-to-wall on the Sunday morning gabfests: [AP]

    ABC’s “This Week” — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump; Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

    NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Sanders; Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush; human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

    CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Sanders; Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

    CNN’s “State of the Union” — Sanders, Clinton, Trump.

    1. JaaaaayCeeeee

      While I am psyched to see Bernie Sanders on so many of the Sunday TeeVee shows, so far this is how the Sunday shows have presented Sanders: first you get a brief clip, then dutiful chuckles from the pundits, like Kasich in the 1/14/15 Republican debate dispensing Sanders with just a chuckle and comment that he will never be president, after Maria Bartirmo of FOX asked Kasich if he should be worried that an avowed Socialist who has no problem with raising taxes to 90% is moving up in the polls.

  13. Synapsid

    On the find of a mammoth skeleton 45 000 years old on a bay of the Arctic Ocean, in Russia:

    The evidence is marks on the bones, indicative of hunting and perhaps butchering. There are no artifacts reported for the site, so, while the evidence is indeed of humans, we can’t tell whether they were Neanderthals, or moderns.

    1. cwaltz

      It’s actually so interesting to me that while we once thought that one was evolved from the other that we’re finding it’s entirely possible BOTH were around. It may not be an either/or

      1. Synapsid


        Both were around, all right. We and Neanderthals coexisted in Europe for several thousand years, and in the Middle East too. That’s how we got the Neanderthal part of our DNA.

  14. Foy

    “So either Trump is getting better (which I must admit he is) or Cruz’s reputation is overstated (which it is)”

    I guess this is some more evidence for Scott Adams’ (of Dilbert fame) master persuader hypothesis for Donald Trump. Identify beats analogy, analogy beats reason, reason beats nothing. The champion master debater (Cruz) lost to him in the last debate. According to Adams Trump is working at the identity level. Anyone working at the analogy or reason level gets beaten by him, to the continuing surprise of a lot of people. I’m not sure if Trump is getting better or whether people are trying to get around the cognitive dissonance that they may have been experiencing and explain it away,

    ” Cruz grabbed the “conservative” identity and tried to paint Trump as the fake conservative from liberal New York…..[But] When Americans think of 9/11, they lose their sense of state identity, their sense of political identity, and even gender identity. When the shit goes down, as it did that terrible day, the only identity anyone in this country had was “American.” Trump took that emotional high ground, invoked the heroism of that day, and owned it like a boss.”


    Don’t know whether Adams theory is right or not but it still seems to be holding up. Trump never gets to details on anything, never reasons, just keeps talking at an emotional and identity level. Infuriating for many but it’s slowly working on many as well, hence comments like “either Trump getting better..”.

    For another example of how Trump’s techniques work, I found Adam’s analysis of Trump’s reframing for Iowa voters interesting when he told them directly “You don’t pick a lot of winners”. I can’t imagine a normal politician saying that trying to court votes:


    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Has Trump shared the stage with a reasonable person yet? Lindsey Graham? Jeb? These people are loons and crooks. Trump is just dispensing with the dog whistles and pointing out the failures of people like Jeb.

      If Trump was a reasonable and decent human being, he would still have popularity because it’s based on calling the GOP establishment out, and there is much less GOP unity in the ranks than the followers of conventional wisdom understand.

      Politically, we crossed into Wonderland. The legacy parties are passing.

      1. Foy

        Yep, it will be interesting when he finally shares the stage with a reasonable human being. He definitely dog whistles, but those dog whistles are usually worded in such a way that he can walk back on them when the time comes and he can say he was right. His ugly ‘ban all muslims’ call had the get out clause ‘until our country’s representatives know what’s going on’. They already know what’s going on. Anytime he wants to he can say ‘unban all muslims’ as his get out clause is so wide it is already met.

        I’m trying to ascertain reasons why he just keeps rolling over everybody in his path and nothing sticks to him regardless of what he says.

        1. different clue

          Because a lot of people prefer an end with horror to horror without end. And a lot of people want to burn this mother down. And they will forgive Trump just about anything.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Fascinating that Dilbert’s creator has developed such a persuasive thesis. (Though I’m not sure that reason never beats anything. If that were true, reason would not be adaptive, and would never have arisen in nature.)

      I passed on one link from WaPo on how Trump had come to dominate the race by determining the frames and the topics that everyone else was discussing (like “the wall,” how Game of Thrones-ish). Adams’ thesis would explain that.

      On “You don’t pick a lot of winners”: That’s why I think it doesn’t matter if Trump loses (comes in second) in Iowa. There’s no particular reason, when you think of it, why a small group of evangelicals should serve as gatekeepers for the Presidency. Yet another truth that Trump, of all people, and only Trump, seems capable of speaking. (The same reasoning applies to Hillary’s vaunted firewall in the South. How come South Carolina gets to be a gatekeeper, with New York and California yet to come?)

  15. ballard

    Concerning the mass sexual assaults by Muslim immigrants against German woman, in Cologne on New Year’s Eve:

    Repeat after me: “this tragic event in Cologne has occurred because we have not done enough to be welcoming and tolerant.”

    Tolerating a mass rape rampage every now and again, without getting all twisted out of shape and right-wingy about it, is the first step.

    Another winner:

    ‘Mr Maas said “the law does not discriminate regarding a person’s origin or passport. All are equal before the law”.’

    cf. what Nietzsche said about the importance of the capacity to discriminate.

    You can’t rape the willing, so, strictly speaking, the women of Germany have been insufficiently welcoming to their refugee saviours.

  16. Lexington

    Interesting part of the historical record; Dean says he knew he was doomed when he saw the same faces appearing at all his rallies, long before “the scream.”

    Dean would say that. After the party establishment destroyed him in 2004 he learned his lesson, let bygones by bygones, and become head of the DNC – i.e. the ultimate insider.

    He is hardly in a position to speak candidly about how the Democratic party establishment really works, from personal experience.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think that’s true. If it were true, Rahm Emmanuel and the Steve Israel types wouldn’t have forced him out and replaced his 50 state strategy (which won in 2006, unlike 2010 and 2014, a neat demonstration of the Iron Law of Institutions).

      Nothing wrong with a hostile takeover of the Democratic party apparatus. Dean, not the most Machiavellian of politicians, probably wasn’t ruthless enough.

  17. Oregoncharles

    “Funny thing. I don’t recall the Feds backing down on Occupy; in fact, I recall a 17-city paramilitary crackdown (aided and abetted by mostly Democratic mayors, I might add). And I don’t recall the Feds backing down on Black Lives Matter. I wonder what the difference(s) could be? ”

    They weren’t waving guns around and threatening a bloodbath, thereby evoking Ruby Ridge and Waco, both embarrassing debacles for the FBI and the Feds in general – with 5 dead federal agents in the bargain. It didn’t work for the Black Panthers or MOVE, but that was a long time ago and not the feds.

    Would it work for the left at this point, or for minorities? I don’t know, but I suspect so. The FBI have become extremely gunshy. But the local pigs don’t feel that way, so it has to be a Federal issue. I think the Harney County Sheriff would love to go in and clean them out, but I don’t think he has the manpower, and there would be local opposition – the townspeople hate it, but the ranchers may not feel that way. He would need the National Guard, which is up to the Governor, a replacement who is up for re-election next year. No idea how gunshy she is, but not a peep so far. It’s the FBI’s baby.

  18. different clue

    Lambert Strether,

    You say you wonder what the difference(s) between the Bundyist occupation in Malheur versus such an occupation by OWSers or BLMists would be. I wonder how much you really wonder. I know that you know that heavily gunned-up Westerners far outnumber heavily gunned-up Law Enforcement Officers in the rural West. I think the Federales want to avoid a scenario where they go in guns-a-blazin’ and have a swift reaction of thousands of armed ranchers and militia types converging on Malheur before the Federales can get away again.

    Just like when that deputy pleasure-murdered that rancher a couple months ago . . . . the FBI started looking into that right quick because One Million Rural Westerners With Guns shouldn’t be left to fester in the feeling that FBI is just fine with a Sheriff’s Deputy pleasure-killing a rancher.

    Whereas there were no Ten Million heavily-armed OWS sympathisers and no Ten Million heavily armed BLMist supporters ready to converge on target within days. And everyone knew it.

    1. charger01

      ….and as one of those heavily “gunned up” Westerners sees it, you should be shoveling what your saying. Those assholes in Oregon are going to wreck shop for the rest of us. They need to declare victory and leave.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      “a swift reaction of thousands of armed ranchers and militia types converging on Malheur”

      I think that’s… Well, I won’t say wankery. I’ll say romanticism. Based on performance.

      Look, the whole argument is that these guys are Constitutionalists, blah blah blah. Obama nuked the Fourth Amendment and killed an American without due process. These guys did nothing.

      Closer to home, and easier to do, where’s the organized tax resistance to the ObamaCare mandate? These guys are big on tax resistance, right? Big gummint blah blah blah. Again, nothing. And there’s no penalty for it!

      Paper tigers, is all. All hat, no cattle. The gunz are good for hunting (and maybe, in extremely remote rural areas, net out positive for self-protection even when friends and family members going Darwin are factored in). Other than that, they’re consumer fetish objects.

      If this were going to happen, it would already have happened.

      1. different clue

        They didn’t care about al Alawki because he was not one of their “ethnic people”.
        They don’t get punished more harshly for their tax resistance because because the government is afraid of what the armed Western response might be. So that is the visible difference, whether you care to see it or not.

    1. JaaaaayCeeeee

      I saw Rachel Maddow’s interview of Clinton yesterday, and Clinton has not lost Rachel Maddow. That article consists only of repeating 2 of Rachel Maddow’s questions, which were actually offers to Clinton to explain away her dishonest attacks. It was as favorable an interview as you can possibly imagine, which HuffPo somehow missed. I’d say the interview helped Clinton in the same way as Maddow’s Dem. Candidate Forum in Nov. in Georgia.

      Clinton took up the offers from Maddow, with a very credible style answering that it’s all Sanders’ fault because he is dishonest, campaigns negatively, and has made promises without details. Then Clinton just repeated her attacks:

      Sanders is dishonest because he has gone back on his promise not to campaign negatively, with his new ad insulting not just herself, but Democrats who fought for Dodd-Frank and also took a lot of money from Wall St., like President Obama.

      Sanders is dishonest because he promised enough detail (for Clinton?) on his healthcare plan, before the Iowa caucuses but hasn’t provided it, and it will still cost too much at $15 trillion, isn’t Medicare For All, would be blockable by Republican governors, and throws away what we have.

      Bernie Sanders is dishonest because he has gone negative, while Clinton is just trying to help voters with compare and contrast.

      Maddow then asked Clinton how, if Clinton were president, she would handle Flint, MI differently. Clinton promoted her efforts to get rid of lead in upstate NY, gave an excellent summary of how you have to spend real money to identify poisoned kids, treat them, and support them through their school years (without mentioning that Flint doesn’t have $1.2 billion to replace concrete lined lead pipes), and that she would find a way to force Gov. Snyder to (declare a disaster) to get Fed help. Within a few hours, Gov. Snyder did just that.

  19. moby

    “Everybody in the world watched, and everybody in the world loved New Yorkers,” he added.

    What a bunch of bullshit. The world did NOT love New Yorkers. The world had their own even bigger problems, caused by New Yorkers (1% of them).

    1. Pat

      I will disagree here, for a brief moment in time there was great solidarity with New York. Mind you it lasted about a month and a half right up until after Bush stood on a mound and promised help and than everyone got to weigh in on why should NY get any money.

      And just as people can be mistaken about monolithic views of the Midwest or the South or that lovely derogative term ‘fly over country’, monolithic views of New York and New Yorkers is beyond misguided. Want to visit a region which has been hit by the ‘it costs too much to pay Americans real wages and benefits so lets go pay a kid in Bangladesh a dollar a month to make our products’ mindset go visit upstate New York. Want to see people working multiple part time jobs ride the subway. I’m not saying that some of the biggest evil assholes in the world don’t live in and work in New York, just that most of us are struggling along with the majority of the country.

  20. Juneau

    I know a few doctors. They would all welcome universal health coverage through straight medicare. Medicare used to be so easy to deal with…straightforward.
    But that would eliminate all private insurance and congress critters would have fewer perks.

    I don’t know anyone wanting to start their own Advantage program. No question privatization is being forced on providers and patients are being seduced into the plans as well. History repeating itself.

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