2:00PM Water Cooler 1/18/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Big business orders its pro-TTIP arguments from these think tanks” [The Correspondent] (survey methods). I just wish there were a bulleted list of ’em, with links.


Democratic Debate

I’ll just leave this here:

From “a dial-test focus group of 30 undecided South Carolinians (all likely Democratic primary voters) being held in Charleston by Chris Kofinis of Park Street Strategies,” including “14 African Americans; 15 men and 15 women”


So that firewall in South Carolina may be more flammable than the Clinton campaign believes and hopes.

Splendid example of “side eye” from Sanders here (video) [The Hill].

“Iowans split on debate winner as Clinton, Sanders tangle” [Des Moines Register].

“10 big moments from the Democratic debate” [Post and Courier]. This is the local paper in Charleston.

“[T]he overnight verdict from most in the pundit class is that Sanders prevailed, even if narrowly” [WaPo]. Includes quote-fest.

“Winners and losers from the fourth Democratic presidential debate” [Chris Cilizza, WaPo]. Sanders: winner. Clinton: loser. On Sanders, nobody in the press is saying they get “a thrill up my leg,” as Chris Matthews said of Obama. But Clinton sure doesn’t have many friends.

Sad to see the once-sharp Lynn Sweet deteriorate: “[R]eally, scrap Obamacare? Reopen the debate over health care that gave rise to the Tea Party movement?” [Chicago Sun-Times]. First, even Axelrove says the Clinton Dynasty’s charge that Sanders wants to “scrap” ObamaCare is “not honest,” so why does Sweet repeat it? Second, the foreclosure crisis “gave rise to” the Tea Party, not ObamaCare. On the floor of the Chicago Mercantile exchange, too. Oh, and Axelrove is from Chicago. C’mon, Lynn. I thought politics was your beat. Ditto Chicago. So WTF?

“Top Google debate question: Will Hillary be prosecuted?” [The Hill]. Ouch!


“Clinton is so serious about cracking down on Wall Street, she’s holding a Wall Street fundraiser four days before the Iowa caucus” [David Sirota, International Business Times (cleaned up from Twitter). Ka-ching!

“Hillary Clinton Made More in 12 Speeches to Big Banks Than Most of Us Earn in a Lifetime” [The Intercept]. Ka-ching!

“Wall Street has made Hillary Clinton a millionaire” [CNN Money]. Ka-ching! And ouch, CNN! That headline burns!

The Clinton campaign is brazenly and amazingly, except not, making the argument that since Obama took money from Goldman Sachs, et al., in 2008, everything’s jake with the angels if Clinton does the same in 2016. And Sanders finds that hard to attack, because, in a Democratic primary, there are plenty of voters who still support the guy. But what Sanders could say, if he can craft the right loveable granddad verbiage, is that Clinton, personally, cashed in on Wall Street money, without even having the common decency to use a bag man (or, to be fair, a bag woman). So far as I know, Wall Street hasn’t made Obama a millionaire. Sure, it can, but Obama hasn’t collected on the option as President, or when running for President. “Hillary, if Wall Street had given you the million bucks in a paper sack, would you have been wrong to accept it?”


Under the Sanders single payer plan, “a family with income of $50,000 would end up saving more than $5,000 a year relative to what they would spend in the current health care system” [HuffPo]. “According to an independent analysis by Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Sanders proposal — if enacted — would pay for 98 percent of the typical person’s medical bills.”

“Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio on Sunday said he bought a firearm on Christmas Eve in order to protect his family from a potential Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist attack” [The Hill]. Funny that aren’t any carols that cover that scenario; Wise Men bearing guns, and so forth. Odd.

Somebody else had the bright idea of mining the 2008 archives:

The Trail

“What Donald Trump’s Plaza Deal Reveals About His White House Bid” [New York Times]. Interesting read. Hard to weigh buying the Plaza and then losing it in a bankruptcy settlement against blowing up Iraq and Libya, causing a few hundred thousand civilian casualties and failed states all round the Mediterranean basin.

Stats Watch

Markets are closed today for Martin Luther King Day.

The Fed: Jokes from the 2010 minutes; somebody did a keyword search on “[laughter]” [Wall Street Journal, “The 2010 FOMC Laugh Track: Fed Officials Try to Joke About an Uncertain Upturn”].

MR. WARSH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am going to try to answer two questions in my discussion today. One is a familiar one: What is the most significant development since we last met? And the second is, Who knew free money would be so popular? [Laughter]

I’ve made the same joke myself; I had no idea I’d end up in such, er, exalted company. Maybe in 2020 we’ll see jokes about Janet’s punchbowl…

The Fed [kocherlakota009]. And a more serious keyword search:

However, there is one key source of economic difference in American life that is likely underemphasized in FOMC deliberations: race. Let’s look, for example, at the most recently released transcripts for FOMC meetings, which cover the year 2010 (my first full year on the Committee). It was a challenging year for the US economy as a whole, as the unemployment rate was above 9 1/4% in every month. But it was especially challenging for African-Americans: In every month of 2010, the unemployment rate among African-Americans was at least 15 1/2%. I did a search of the hundreds of pages of the meeting transcripts. Based on that search, my conclusion is that there was no reference in the meetings to labor market conditions among African-Americans (or Black Americans).

“Citigroup Inc (C.N) reported a massive jump in quarterly profit as a sharp drop in legal costs and gains from the disposal of unwanted assets masked weak revenue from its core business” [Reuters]. Eesh, what kind of business incurs legal bills so massive they affect quarterly earnings?

“December 2015 Sea Container Counts Continue to Show a Weak Economy” [Econinteresect]. “A summary for 2015 is that imports insignificantly declined from 2014 – but export contraction continued for the second year. Imports more closely align with USA economic health, and imports are saying there was NO economic growth in 2015. This series is a physical count and not monetary based – so inflation adjustments are not required.”

Fodder for the Bulls: “The doomsayers tend to fall into two broad (and overlapping) categories. On one side is the “it’s about time” caucus, which argues, essentially, that it’s been six years since the last recession ended, so we’re due for another one…. The second category of doomsayers argues that there really are reasons to worry right now” [FiveThirtyEight]. “None of this is to say that a recession isn’t coming. If there’s one truism in macroeconomics, it’s that we’re really bad at predicting recessions. But that failure works in both directions — a vocal subset of economists has been forecasting a collapse for six years. One day, they’ll be right. But I’m guessing that day won’t come in 2016.”

Honey for the Bears: “Looks like the Fed hiked during a recession. Maybe the hundreds of $ millions they spend on economic research isn’t enough??? Sales remain at recession levels. Inventories down some but sales down same so relative to sales inventories remain way high, another recession indication:” And then there was the Empire State Manufacting report, and the Industrial Production report [Mosler Economics].

Honey for the Bears: “U.S. economic data is, on balance, falling short of expectations, according to Citigroup Inc.; its U.S. Economic Surprise Index, which measures where reports measure up to forecasts, has been negative since November” [Bloomberg]. Mr. Market loves surprises!

Militia Watch

“Bundynomics” [The New Yorker]. Nice takedown. Bundy the Younger: “The ultimate goal, he says, is ‘to get the logger back to logging, to get the rancher back to ranching, to get the miner back to mining.'” In the midst of a commodities collapse. They’ll probably need more subsidies than they’re already getting.

“[T]he militia, led by Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy … paved a road through part of the wildlife sanctuary” [Guardian]. Which is sad, and also dumb, since birding is one of the few things Malheur has going for it right now.

“Harney Electric Cooperative is the power transmission and distribution provider for approximately 20,000 square miles of southeastern Oregon and northern Nevada, and right in the midst of their service territory map is the Malheur Wildlife Refuge – currently occupied by more loons than pin tails, swans, and geese” [Desert Beacon]. “No one is particularly excited about sending in a lineman to shut off the power at the Refuge since the Loons have an unfortunate track record of actually shooting and killing people. Case in point: the two miscreants who joined the Bundy Militia for a time in Their Great Delusional Standoff in southern Nevada, and then saw fit to assassinate two police officers in Las Vegas.” (I think the surveillance cameras the militia removed from a transformer station in Burns were owned by the electic cooperative, as opposed to having been installed by the FBI.)


“President Obama declares emergency in Flint” [Detroit Free Press]. Of course, nobody will be held accountable; not even a Republican governor’s emergency manager, or the governor himself.


“France’s iconic Chauvet cave holds mysterious spray-shaped imagery, made around the time when nearby volcanoes were spewing lava” [Nature]. First painting of a volcanic eruption?

“The Wisdom of Rocks: Gongshi” [The Book of Life]. “In East Asia, rocks are venerated with all the respect that we would accord to a work of art; except that what is really being honoured is the power of nature rather than the human hand.” Hoping we’ve got at least one reader with more than superficial knowledge of this topic…

“In the forests of northern Ontario, a “strange phenomenon” of large natural rings occurs, where thousands of circles, as large as two kilometers in diameter, appear in the remote landscape” [BLDGBLOG]. No, not aliens. I mean, other than Canadians.

Police State Watch

“[T]he central concept in the [Tamir Rice] case—the one that it is crucial to understanding the grand jury’s reasoning—was never mentioned. That concept is known in law enforcement circles as ‘officer-created jeopardy’: situations in which police officers are responsible for needlessly putting themselves in danger, committing an unforced tactical error that makes them vulnerable—and then using deadly force to protect themselves” [Slate]. “There is no legal consensus on this. Indeed, it turns out that the death of Tamir Rice and its aftermath have unfolded at the very fulcrum of an important, unresolved legal debate over when it is and isn’t OK for police to use deadly force.” Worth a read.


“Gov. Terry Branstad on Saturday said a report from his own administration that calls for $17 million in oversight of his effort to privatize Medicaid is “overkill.” [Des Moines Register]. What could go wrong?

“Charter Schools Ending Public EducationHave you noticed the gradual creep of the charter school movement—the slippery slope meant to take over free public education as we know it and transform our schools to elitist institutions?” [Los Angeles Progressive]. Yes.

Class Warfare

“Richest 62 people own as much wealth as half the world’s population, says Oxfam” [CBC]. “The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44 per cent since 2010, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion fell 41 per cent, Oxfam said in a report released ahead of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Almost half the super-rich individuals are from the United States, 17 from Europe, and the rest from countries including China, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Saudi Arabia.”

“When its clients wanted to hire temp workers based on race, sex or age, [the Alabama-based temp agency Automation Personnel Services] was happy to oblige, according to dozens of former employees” [AL.com].

Welcome to your shiny new disrupted labor market:

Leave it to the benevolent tech squillionaries of Silicon Valley to reinvent sharecropping and the company store. How disruptive!

“Unauthorized Immigrants Paid $100 Billion Into Social Security Over Last Decade” [Vice]. Which they can’t collect on.

News of the Wired

“We’re not living in an algorithmic culture so much as a computational theocracy” [The Atlantic (TM)]. So code is canon law….

“Researchers at Western Illinois University studied the Facebook habits of 294 students, aged between 18 and 65, and measured two “socially disruptive” elements of narcissism – grandiose exhibitionism (GE) and entitlement/exploitativeness (EE)” [Guardian]. “The research revealed that the higher someone scored on aspects of GE, the greater the number of friends they had on Facebook, with some amassing more than 800. Those scoring highly on EE and GG were also more likely to accept friend requests from strangers and seek social support, but less likely to provide it, according to the research.”

“With Soylent Sales Up 300 Percent, Its Founders Have Eyes on Europe” [Bloomberg]. We used to call lunch-in-a-bottle “beer”…

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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 (Isolato):


Somebody’s got snow!

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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. jsn

    “What Donald Trump’s Plaza Deal Reveals About His White House Bid” [New York Times]. Interesting read. Hard to weigh buying the Plaza and then losing it in a bankruptcy settlement against blowing up Iraq and Libya, causing a few hundred thousand civilian casualties and failed states all round the Mediterranean basin.”

    But you can count on the NYT to balance the moral equivalency here…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Go to South China Morning News – unofficial forecast of snow in Hong Kong, though not likely.

  2. allan

    Case Could Widen Free-Speech Gap Between Unions and Corporations

    The Citizens United decision, which amplified the role of money in American politics, also promised something like a level playing field. Both corporations and unions, it said, could spend what they liked to support their favored candidates.

    But last week’s arguments in a major challenge to public unions illuminated a gap in the Supreme Court’s treatment of capital and labor. The court has long allowed workers to refuse to finance unions’ political activities. But shareholders have no comparable right to refuse to pay for corporate political speech.

    To use John Roberts’ `just calling balls and strikes’ metaphor from his confirmation hearing,
    this appears to be a case of Schrodinger’s baseball.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It always puzzles me about the tyranny of the majority, especially in an imperial republic.

      For example, it was possible that by just one vote, Rome could have decided to annihilate, or not, a tribe.

      Upon one person could the fate and lives of an entire tribe be decided.

      No wonder the best investment for those under Rome’s thumb was to buy lobbyists at the imperial capital.

      1. human

        Such is democracy.

        “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb.” ~ Ben Franklin

  3. craazyboy

    “Markets are closed today for Martin Luther King Day.”

    There’s an antidote. Foreign markets!

    Greece 20 (-4.31%)
    FTSE MIB (-2.51)
    Nikkei 225 (-1.76)

    China up a little, Hong Kong down. Not sure what’s up with that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have noticed many times that spreading panic about shortage of easy money, after travelling around the globle, is arrested at our very center of global money creation.

      It seems, even if money can’t buy love, it can buy off panic.

  4. DJG

    Kristof of the New York Times? Attempting to critique pronunciation? So does Hillary Clinton pronounce Iran with a Farsi flourish and that roll-y Persian ‘r’?

    From Wikipedia:
    Iran (/aɪˈræn/ or Listeni/ɪˈrɑːn/;[11] Persian: Irān – ایران‎‎ [ʔiːˈɾɒːn]

    Doesn’t the NYT have more important things to do? Although forcing an unviable candidate on the Democratic Party does have its charms….

    1. optimader

      Kristof of the New York Times? Attempting to critique pronunciation?
      Pathetic…That and correcting spelling are as much as admitting you have no valid critique. Jeeze this is highschool quality sht talking. This guy is paid for his powers of insight?

  5. Jim Haygood

    Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow drops toward stall speed:

    The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2015 is 0.6 percent on January 15, down from 0.8 percent on January 8.

    The forecast for fourth quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 2.0 percent to 1.7 percent after this morning’s retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the industrial production release from the Federal Reserve.


    How’s that rate hike workin’ out for us?

  6. Oregoncharles

    ” sending in a lineman to shut off the power at the Refuge”
    it has to be done on-site, or in-sight of the “loons”? I’ve been there; it’s very isolated. You could cut the line miles away.

    1. different clue

      Your comment has pre-answered a question I raised further downthread. If the line can be cut miles away, then cut it. Also, cut off water. Also stop any food from getting in and jam all digital communications going out. Drop a cone of silence around the deadbeat welfare ranchers.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’ve been defending the federal response onthe grounds that it’s at least non-violent, but it’s looking more and more like collusion.

        They’re at the service of powerful interests like logging and mining – ranching is the least important, more nostalgia than economics. The FBI’s misfeasance looks more and more corrupt, though it’s conceivable they’re simply out of their depth and don’t know what to do.

        1. Jason

          I’ve found myself wondering several times if the cause of the delay isn’t simply that the FBI is grossly unprepared or unwilling to work in remote flyover country. There are pressing issues of logistics. For example, where would they get their lattes? How could they keep their black SUVs clean?

  7. kenick

    Closest I could get to the rock thing, from an exhibit in 1999 —

    “The meanings that accrued to rocks in the Chinese scholarly tradition are quite different from meanings in the European tradition,” says [Yale Art Gallery’s curator of Asian Art] Sensabaugh. “In the Chinese world view, the cosmos is self-generating, thus ultimate authority is found in the material traces of the world, and rocks are such traces. They came to be defined as ‘kernels of energy,’ representing the very formative processes of the world.”

  8. PeonInChief

    When Prop 186, California’s single payer plan, was on the ballot, I computed how much we would pay compared to our insurance at the time. We would have paid $200 more a year. Now our insurance is far better, and cheaper, than Obamacare, so the savings for most people would be much greater. Single mothers with children would have cleaned up, and that is as it should be.

  9. Vatch


    You keep saying that! When reality no longer justifies the use of that expression, I hope you will stop using it. I suppose I will have to wait a long time…. :-)

  10. edmondo

    “Top Google debate question: Will Hillary be prosecuted?”

    Yeah probably, but she might get a presidential pardon if The Clinton Foundation drops ten million into the Obama Library. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

    1. 3.14e-9

      Judicial Watch has updates on its website about its FOIA lawsuit against the State Department. They are a conservative group and their press releases have an “out to get Clinton” flavor, but they do link to official documents.

      Recently they reported that the State Department found thousands more e-mails, but they likely wouldn’t be made public until after the elections. If there is an FBI corruption investigation — a big IF, because so far the only info is from a Fox News story based on three anonymous sources — it could drag for years. So if she were to win the election, she’d be nicely situated to pardon herself.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bill knows how to handle Judicial Watch and drag it out. They have been after the Clintons since Mena.

        1. 3.14e-9

          There are several FOIA lawsuits, all against the State Dept. and not Clinton herself, as far as I can tell. I just haven’t seen other plaintiffs posting documents regularly, although admittedly I haven’t looked very hard.

          FWIW, an interest doc on JW site is an Inspector General report criticizing State for dragging its heels.

  11. timbers

    “Clinton argued for keeping Obamacare in place, saying the nation finally has a path to universal health care…” Thats why Clinton is OPPOSING universal healthcare, says the Des Moines Register article. Because we finally have a path to universal care. But we must not follow the path, I guess. Just have it.

  12. efschumacher

    “Citigroup Inc (C.N) reported a massive jump in quarterly profit as a sharp drop in legal costs and gains from the disposal of unwanted assets masked weak revenue from its core business” [Reuters]. Eesh, what kind of business incurs legal bills so massive they affect quarterly earnings?

    Be kind. Dumping oil into the Gulf incurs even larger costs of doing business.

  13. jgordon

    I saw this last night, and it seemed important:


    Internal Navy emails, two slide shows (which can be viewed in full here and here) and other documents obtained exclusively by Truthout reveal the vast extent of the operations. They also reveal the fact that the Navy labeled the relevant files as “For Official Use Only” and emails as “Attorney-Client privilege,” a move that exempts such documents from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

    Why is the US government/military conducting secret training operations without permission on private/non-federal property? Luckily, a possible reason was given in the article:

    Intelligence Support for Urban Operations, December 2015: http://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/tc2-91-4.pdf

    The enemy situation is often extremely fluid – locals friendly to us today may be tomorrow’s belligerents. Adversaries seek to blend in with the local population to avoid being captured or killed. Enemy forces who are familiar with the city layout have an inherently superior awareness of the current situation.

    1. cwaltz

      “attorney- client” privilege- heh, since the TAXPAYERS pay their salaries I have to question who they actually consider who the CLIENT actually is.

      I wonder what most transparent president evah has to say on this?

      1. ambrit

        As I mentioned the other day, todays American ‘Volunteer’ Army soldiers occupy a position similar to the old Roman status of ‘Client.’ So, the Clients are the Servicemen and Women. Time soon to wave bye bye to the Posse Comitatus Act restrictions.

        1. human

          Between the NDAA’s of the past half decade and Presidential Signing Statements, it is already argued that Posse Comitatus is a dead letter.

  14. Jim in SC

    “Richest 62 people own as much wealth as half the world’s population, says Oxfam” [CBC]. “The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44 per cent since 2010, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion fell 41 per cent, Oxfam said in a report released ahead of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Almost half the super-rich individuals are from the United States, 17 from Europe, and the rest from countries including China, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Saudi Arabia.”

    This is testimony to Oxfam’s innumeracy. It isn’t possible for the wealth of the world’s poorest 3.5 billion to fall that much, given that third world poverty was reduced by half between 1990 and 2010.


    There is no way to reconcile Oxfam’s assertions with the World Bank’s.

    1. Vatch

      Odd. I replied to this, but somehow it disappeared into anti-spam limbo. Usually when something like this happens, it’s because there is a link, but I didn’t include a link. Comment number: 2536519.

      1. Vatch

        I’ll try again.

        We don’t know whether the World Bank or Oxfam is correct. Also, we’re comparing apples to oranges. The World Bank data concerns the very poorest people. They estimate that the number of destitute people has dropped from 902 million people to 702 million people. The Oxfam data concerns the poorest 3.5 billion people. It’s possible that 200 million of the 902 million poorest have become slightly wealthier, and at the same time, the people in the range from 902 million to 3.5 billion have lost some of their wealth. We already know that the middle class is being squeezed. People in the poorest 3.5 billion really aren’t middle class, but they are in the middle relative to those who are poorer than them, and to those who are richer than them.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When worlds collide, there will be a space-ship reserved just for them to preserve humanity.

    3. tegnost

      any time i see “%” i figure someone’s pushing an agenda, MLTPB, i’d rather perish on this spaceship than get on a slow boat to nowhere- how many friends episodes do you think you can actually watch? On the other hand, maybe we build that elevator to outer space with room for 62, i’m sure the prodigal heirs will disperse the spoils more effectively than those who amassed them…

  15. allan

    Cowliphate on the march:

    Occupiers recruit ranchers to stop paying grazing fees

    Members of the armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge said Monday that they’ve recruited ranchers to stop paying the federal government for the right to run cattle on public land. …

    Two ranchers – one from Oregon and one from New Mexico – have agreed to sign the papers and “I hope they bring a couple more in tow,” Finicum said.

    The documents will be sent to the U.S. solicitor general, he said.

    Hilarious, except for the sniper rifles.

    Why no questions at last night’s debate about a comprehensive strategy to defeat Am-mon al-Bundy?

    1. different clue

      Would it be possible to find out who those particular ranchers sell their cattle to? And organize boycotts of those downstream purchasers (probably feedlots) until those feedlots can prove they are no longer buying cattle from the particular deadbeat welfare ranchers in question? That would be a way to starve the deadbeat welfare ranchers out of the bussiness without bombs or bullets.

      Also, is there a way to remotely fly drones equipped with wire-destroyers to the relevant feed-wires to the deadbeat-welfare-rancher-occupied buildings . . . and destroy those feedwires without risking any human drone-operators getting shot at?

    2. tegnost

      because the media loves the cowlifate and the honorable al Bundy – all hail the roundup drenched milkweed and those big majestic purple things they’re all waving around… Are those for plugging groundhog holes or something? Or for whacking the monarch? (hey I meant the butterfly not the king…don’t send me to gitmo, i have a cowboy hat so i’m totally ok, and i’ve ridden the range with the cavalry when they were filming geronimo in moab)… Hi Ho Silver! Away! (since it’s a finance blog)

  16. jgordon

    I was closely looking over the plant photo–and I think it has a lot of potential. I would want to go to that location and try to get photos under similar conditions. There would be some technical knowledge required to make it turn out well, but if you’re curious about it, look up HDR photography via google etc.

    1. low_integer

      A subjective topic, so I will just state that many experienced photographers don’t like the HDR stacking technique, likening it to photographic fast food. FWIW I like the low saturation and monochromatic nature of the photo.

  17. different clue

    So, Sanders says “Eye-ran”, eh? Maybe he should start saying “Eye-rak” as well. If his people are reading this comment, the Sanders campaign may have stumbled onto a little vein of gold here.

    Whenever the subject of nuclear power comes up, Sanders should pronounce it “nukular”, just like Dubya Bush did. That way, when the same people who laughed at Bush laugh at Sanders, the people who knew THEY were being laughed at when the supercilious scions of snobism were laughing at Bush and his “nukular” . . . may well begin to suspect that the same supercilious scions of snobism are laughing at THEM all over again . . . when they laugh at Sanders with his “Eye-ran” and “Eye-rak” and “nukular”.

    If Sanders can learn how to play it straight with a silent sneer at those who laugh, he may gain much emotional sympathy from the despised and the disregarded . . . even if he doesn’t gain their overt support.

  18. ewmayer

    Re. Funny that aren’t any carols that cover that scenario; Wise Men bearing guns, and so forth.

    But they did come bearing explosive ordnance – if you don’t believe me, just watch that paragon of biblical-historical accuracy, Monty Python’s Life of Brian:

    Brian’s Mum: Thanks for the gold and the frankincense … but what’s myrrh, anyway?

    Wise Man #3: It is a balm.

    Brian’s Mum: [Outraged voice] A bomb? What’re you doin’ bringin’ it in ‘ere, then?

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