2:00PM Water Cooler 1/19/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“You thought ISDS was bad? TTIP’s ‘regulatory cooperation’ is even worse” [Ars Technica]. “Greater involvement of stakeholders would seem to be the right thing to do when it comes to drawing up new laws and regulations, since in theory it allows everyone to offer their views.”

But the reality is rather different: another Corporate Europe study found that ‘93% of the Commission’s meetings with stakeholders during the preparations of the [TTIP] negotiations were with big business. The list of meetings reveals that, in addition to the civil society dialogue meetings reported on the DG Trade website’—sessions also attended by companies—’there is a parallel world of a very large number of intimate meetings with big business lobbyists behind closed doors—and these are not disclosed online.'”

“TPP does expand the liability and the danger much more than we had before, because not only does it increase the number of treaties that companies can use, but it’s he first time that the United States has had this type of mechanism in a treaty with multiple developed countries. Before, the only developed country we had ISDS with was Canada, under the North America Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. And so there weren’t that many Salvadoran or Peruvian companies in the United States that could launch these cases. Well, with TPP, now there are Japanese companies, Australian companies, who will be newly empowered to be able to use this mechanism in the United States” [Real News Network] (Melinda St. Louis is part of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch).



They all sound like lovely people [New York Times]:

The contrast between [Clinton staffer Huma] Abedin’s public and private faces can be striking. One scene has the couple in a small office working the phones for campaign contributions. Ms. Abedin uses a sweet voice when she is asking for money. “How was the engagement?” she says on one call. “I want all the details!”

The film then cuts to her hanging up, showing a total change in demeanor. “His wife is going to max out, and he’ll try to raise another five,” she says flatly.

One wonders how many maxed out donors Clinton has, and whether she’s going to run out of gas just when she needs to go on the offensive. Sanders, of course, doesn’t have that problem. It’s would be hard for 70% of his donors to max out at twenty or thirty bucks a pop.


“I Watched Michael Bay’s Benghazi Movie at Cowboys Stadium With 30,000 Pissed-Off Patriots” [Gawker]. Sheesh, you’d think Clinton would get some credit for her Iraq vote with this crowd, but n-o-o-o. Oh, and the heroes are mercs, uh, sorry, contractors. Fascinating to see all the “support the troops” stuff being privatized.

The Trail

Establishment Democrat trashes Sanders. Film at 11 [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. Fun stuff.

Establishment Democrat trashes Sanders. Film at 11 [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. What do the commenters say?

Establishment Democrat trashes Sanders. Film at 11 [Ezra Klein, Vox].

I don’t understand all the heart-burning about single payer, I truly don’t. To a Democratic loyalist, mentioning Canadian Medicare is like mentioning the Caliphate to a conservative; their knees start jerking, steam comes out of their ears, and they start typing furiously. Incidentally, if these clowns had a shred of intellectual honesty, they’d be coming up with ways to improve the policy — Krugman and Klein, at least, regularly claim to be wonks, not hacks — and sell it. Of course, they don’t, and they aren’t.

Good to see Brock leashed and collared, after he decided to attack Sanders’ health (a rather odd decision):

But isn’t it illegal for a campaign (Podesta being the head of Clinton) and a SuperPAC (Brock being the founder of the pro-Clinton American Bridge PAC) to “coordinate”? Well, apparently not. Of course, Sanders doesn’t have to pussyfoot through this ethical and legal minefield, because he doesn’t have any SuperPACs.

Trump deploys Ivanka in a New Hampshire radio ad [Yahoo News]. Sorry, can’t find anything quotable; I did look.

“3 things you learn watching Ted Cruz and Donald Trump court the same voters” [WaPo]. “The Texan, who at this point is unquestionably the best traditional orator in the Republican Party, speaks two kinds of sentences — applause lines and jokes. He often runs down a list, transforming into a human Buzzfeed, a guaranteed method of keeping an audience rapt. … Trump does not do this. Trump rambles. Trump steps on lines that could, untrammeled, become applause lines. This is not because he is bad at speaking, and from time to time, he obviously is repeating a thought to make sure it connects.”


South Carolinian responses to Nikki Haley’s VP audition in response to the SOTU not universally positive [New York Times]. “‘A lot of people aren’t pleased,’ said John Steinberger, a ‘fair tax’ activist from Charleston. ‘If you’re giving the State of the Union response, you should explain why you oppose the president’s policies instead of attacking fellow Republicans.'” Having experienced the “Why so angry?” trope as deployed by establishment Democrats, I have to sympathize.

The Hill

“Supreme Court declines to hear new ObamaCare challenge” [The Hill]. This was the case based on the Origination Clause.

Stats Watch

Housing Market Index, January 2016: “Home builders remain optimistic but are a little less so based on the housing market index which is down 1 point” [Econoday]. Present sales up, but traffic down. “Today’s results are respectable but won’t be lifting estimates for tomorrow’s housing starts & permits data which are expected to come in no better than mixed. The housing sector has been showing life but isn’t yet a leading driver of economic growth.”

“Bank of England Carney Says Now is Not Time to Raise Rates” [Across the Curve].

“Everyone likes to look at the charts” [The Reformed Broker]. “Price creates the reality for investors, because investors take their behavioral cues from price and the media fashions its headlines from it. Technicians find truth in price, rather than attempting to parse the impossibly conflicted and intentionally obscured opinions of the commentariat. Technicians find meaning in the actual buying and selling activity happening today, not in the dusty old 10Q’s of 90 days ago or in the projected estimates being bandied about among the discounted cash-flow analysis crowd on the sell-side.”

“The U.S. is taking a step toward increasing oversight of Treasuries in response to complaints from both traders and government officials that the market is too opaque” [Bloomberg].

Honey for the Bears: “IMF downgrades outlook for world economy” [WaPo].

Honey for the Bears: “The North Dakota Crude Oil That’s Worth Almost Nothing” [Bloomberg].

Exteriors of skyscrapers built with combustible “aluminum composite panel cladding” burn like “kindling” [New York Times]. “Local experts have suggested as many as 70 percent of the towers in the Dubai may contain the material, though they acknowledge the figure is only an estimate as there are apparently no official records.” It took a long time to crapify the skyscraper! But we’ve done it!

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 13, Extreme Fear (previous close: 10) [CNN]. One week ago: 17 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).

Militia Watch

They get letters [The Oregonian]:

Federal land: The Oregonian’s A1 headline on Sunday, Jan. 17, “Effort to free federal lands,” is inaccurate and irresponsible. The article that follows it is a mere mouthpiece for the scofflaws illegally occupying public buildings and land, repeating their lies and distortions of history and law.

Ammon Bundy and his bullyboys aren’t trying to free federal lands, but to hold them hostage. I can’t go to the Malheur refuge now, though as a citizen of the United States, I own it and have the freedom of it. That’s what public land is: land that belongs to the public — me, you, every law-abiding American. The people it doesn’t belong to and who don’t belong there are those who grabbed it by force of arms, flaunting their contempt for the local citizens.

Those citizens of Harney County have carefully hammered out agreements to manage the refuge in the best interest of landowners, scientists, visitors, tourists, livestock and wildlife. They’re suffering more every day, economically and otherwise, from this invasion by outsiders.

Instead of parroting the meaningless rants of a flock of Right-Winged Loonybirds infesting the refuge, why doesn’t The Oregonian talk to the people who live there?

Ursula K. Le Guin

Northwest Portland


“Giant icebergs could account for up to 20 percent of carbon sequestration” [Ars Technica].

“Local authorities in Quebec are warning of a looming environmental disaster if nothing is done to salvage a discarded bulk carrier,” the Kathryn Spirit [Splash247]. It’s only oil. Not lead.

Our Famously Free Press

Univision acquires controlling stake in The Onion [NPR].


Hudson Valley Democrats tap Zephyr Teachout as their preferred House candidate [Daily Kos].

Class Warfare

“On the origins of corporate evil—and idiocy” [The Atlantic]. “The sociologist Diane Vaughan coined the phrase the normalization of deviance to describe a cultural drift in which circumstances classified as ‘not okay’ are slowly reclassified as ‘okay.'”

“Normalization of Deviance in Software: How Completely Broken Practices Become Normal” [Dan Luu (MR)]. Lengthy but interesting. And who hasn’t been there?

“[If] you’re under too much pressure in your life and you don’t have any free time, keep in mind it’s happening to just about everyone, and it’s not your fault. It has to do with the way the economic system we live under us putting the squeeze on most of us” [Nick Fillmore].

“Most of [the “sharing economy”] innovation is in the way they deal with regulation, rather than technology advances. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of smart people building new code for what they do. But a lot of people are saying the innovation is ‘a new app’. The app is just the foot in the door. That’s not the key to the business” [Tom Slee, The Register]. “There’s $7bn of VC money that’s betting on Uber being a monopoly market. If it isn’t, then the VCs take a bath. A lot of well funded effort is going to make it a monopoly market.” Wait, what? Monopolies are the innovation?

News of the Wired

“‘123456′ Tops Yearly List of Most Common Passwords (Again)” [Yahoo Tech].

“Genius lets you add line-by-line annotations to any page on the Internet” [Genius].

“Implicated in everything from traumatic brain injury to learning ability, boredom has become extremely interesting to scientists” [Nature]. With Boredom Proneness Scale! I’m 5/28!

“Tinder is more than a dating app — it is a metaphor for speeding up and mechanizing decision-making, turning us into binary creatures who can bypass underlying questions and emotions and instead go with whatever feels really good in the moment. Its mechanisms perfect the similar either-or options other social media platforms have offered, the yes/no, like/ignore, retweet/pass dichotomy that leaves no room for maybe” [The New Enquiry].

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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:


First flower grown in space! (Or, more precisely, in a space station.) I’m also a huge zinnia fan!

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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. rich

    Hillary Blames Bernie for an Old Clintonite Hustle, and That’s a Rotten Shame

    The Clintons have no shame, that much you can count on. That stupefying arrogance was on full display in the most recent presidential campaign debate when Hillary Clinton countered Bernie Sanders’ charge that she was compromised by her close ties to Goldman Sachs and other rapacious Wall Street interests with the retort: “Sen. Sanders, you’re the only one on this stage that voted to deregulate the financial markets in 2000, … to make the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission no longer able to regulate swaps and derivatives, which were one of the main causes of the collapse in ’08.”

    Hillary knows that the disastrous legislation, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), had nothing to do with Sanders and everything to do with then-President Bill Clinton, who devoted his presidency to sucking up to Wall Street. Clinton signed this bill into law as a lame-duck president, ensuring his wife would have massive Wall Street contributions for her Senate run.

    Sanders, like the rest of Congress, was blackmailed into voting for the bill because it was tucked into omnibus legislation needed to keep the government operating. Only libertarian Ron Paul and three other House members had the guts to cast a nay vote. The measure freeing Wall Street firms from regulation was inserted at the last moment in a deal between President Clinton and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who had failed in an earlier attempt to get the measure enacted. Clinton signed it into law a month before leaving office.

    Sanders soon figured out that he and almost all other Congress members had been tricked into providing a blank check for the marketing of bogus collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps made legal by the legislation, of which a key author was Gary Gensler, the former Goldman Sachs partner recruited by Clinton to be undersecretary of the treasury.

    Eight years later, when President Obama nominated Gensler to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, it was Sanders who put a temporary hold on the nomination, stating: “Mr. Gensler worked with Sen. Phil Gramm and [former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman] Alan Greenspan to exempt credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of AIG and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history.”

    Today, Gensler is the top economic adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

    Who are these Clintonites who now have the temerity to blame Sanders for the economic hustles they authorized?


    1. Oregoncharles

      Thanks for the full story. I wondered.

      Even so, it remains an example of his go-along-to-get-along approach to the Democrats. He voted with them 98% of the time. Less guts than Ron Paul?

  2. allan


    [Sanders] has tugged the terms of the political debate leftward in a way both moderates and left-wingers could appreciate. … At the very least, the conclusion that Obama’s policies have failed to raise living standards for average people is premature. … Even liberal labor economists like Alan Krueger, who have supported more modest increases, have blanched at Sanders’s proposal for a $15 minimum wage…. Nobody on the left wants to defend Wall Street or downplay the pressure on middle- and working-class Americans. But Sanders’s ideas should not be waved through as a more honest or uncorrupted version of the liberal catechism. The despairing vision he paints of contemporary America is oversimplified.

    Nuance! Serious people demand contextualized nuance!

    You can take the hippie-puncher out of The New Republic, but you can’t take the TNR out of the hippie-puncher.

    1. Tom Allen

      “Nobody is defending [X], but….” always precedes a defense of [X]. It’s a rhetorical law.

    2. James Levy

      How long do we have to wait to see if Obama’s policies have raised living standards for average people? What indication is there that these policies will have such an effect? What indication do we have that any American president’s policies have significantly raised average American’s living standards since the end of the Johnson Administration (OK, since Nixon closed the gold window in 1971)? Perhaps we should still be waiting to see if Bush’s policies did that?

      Chait wouldn’t know the average American if he fell over one. The average American in white, female, Protestant, and lives in a household that makes about $50,000 a year. How many people like that does Chait interact with in a week who are not serving him coffee or handing him the keys to his hotel room or rental car? I’d guess none. My politically incorrect opinion is that in his mind such people are dumbass goys who if they grew up in a culture that appreciated Law and Learning wouldn’t be standing around with their palms out waiting for help from people like Mr. Chait.

      1. cwaltz

        It hasn’t raised the living standards for average people. If it had, he wouldn’t be offering those forced to take jobs for less than median wage a yearly $5000 stipend for 2 years to cover the difference between the job they lost and the job they have now.

        A raise in standard of living would mean more earning power for workers or at the very least better benefits.

        Last I saw benefits have eroded(to the point that the federal government had to step in on health care) and already had to step in to cover underfunded retirement accounts.

        Anyone who thinks these are examples of a “raise in the standards of living” for average people needs their head examined.

      2. jrs

        8 years is too short. They’ll be pie in they sky when you die … and what is it really in geological time? A mere blip …

        The argument was there was slight uptick in wages that took 8 years. Meanwhile cost of living …

    3. cwaltz

      How dare Sanders expect employers to pay their workers more, he should totally do what President Obama has suggested and offer wage insurance(where federal taxpayers are going to get to pay, yet again, for what he’d have us believe is the declining value of labor!)

        1. cwaltz

          EITC already is supposed to “help cover the costs” for families who don’t earn enough and have low income jobs, now as taxpayers we’re supposed to subsidize the people who once had middle class jobs(now gone thanks to trade deals) so they too can hold a job at McDonalds.

    4. Steven D.

      Hillary is like Fitzgerald in The Revenant. Always putting a new distortion on reality and seeing if anyone remembers the truth.

    5. 3.14e-9

      The funny thing about this “old hippie” thing is that Bernie was never a hippie. He was a radical activist, but more wonk than hip.

    6. jrs

      ” In his opening statement at the debate the day after the Paris attacks, Sanders briefly and vaguely gestured toward the attacks before quickly turning back to his economic themes.”

      yes it was fantastic the way he directed the conversation. They wanted to talk about terrorism, and Sanders noted the reality that most EVERYONE and that really is most everyone, the precariat and the middle class as well, has more to fear with the economic terrorism of losing one’s job for instance, than the small chance of some Muslim terrorist attacking them. He told the truth about what keeps people up at night IOW, and it’s not Muslim terrorism.

  3. ChuckO

    Regarding the remarks about Uber and the VC’s who are betting that it becomes a monopoly. One thing I’ve never been able to understand is how market fundamentalists fail to understand that unregulated markets tend toward monopolies and cartels. There are so many instances of that happening that I don’t see how one could fail to see it. A prime example of that was the Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, and I could name many more.

    1. GlobalMIsanthrope

      Oh, they understand perfectly. They don’t think there’s anything wrong with monopolies and cartels as long as they’re produced by the market. Get it?

    2. pcle

      of course they understand, and have done so for 200 years:

      “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

      Adam Smith, 1776

  4. craazyboy

    Surfin’ USA – Beach boys

    If everybody had a market
    Across the U. S. A.
    Then everybody’d be surfin’
    Like New Yawk-i-a
    You’d seem ’em wearing their Armanis
    Edward Greene shoes too
    A bushy bushy greying hairdo
    Surfin’ U. S. A.

    You’d catch ’em surfin’ at The Dow
    The Nasdaq and Russell
    Australia is a has been
    All over Manhattan
    And the BRICS are in

    Everybody’s gone surfin’
    Surfin’ U.S.A.

    We’ll all be planning that route
    We’re gonna take real soon
    We’re riding down that tunnel
    We can’t wait for June
    We’ll all be gone by the summer
    We’ll be on food stamps to stay
    Tell the broker we’re all done
    Surfin’ U. S. A.

    Everybody’s gone surfin’
    Surfin’ U.S. A.
    Everybody’s gone surfin’
    Surfin’ U.S. A.
    Everybody’s gone surfin’
    Surfin’ U.S. A.

    1. craazyman

      it could be time to buy some nice dividend stocks and lay around. I bet there’s some good yield plays in the market now

      Mish has a link on his site some dude who’s a dividend stock guy. The dude has a bunch that yield north of 10%, 15% and more! Obviously, you could lose a lot if you’re careless and It’s not exactly 10 bagger territory.

      But even if somebody as 5 bags they can buy some of these suckers, collect dividends and lay around all day doing nothing of any value. That’s my goal anyway. I’m too lazy to even think about the required securities and market analysis. That might involve hours of boring reading, 10Ks, annual reports, research, etc. That’s so unpleasant — just to think about it exhausts me — so I’ve decided to work the day job instead and maybe work myself up to being able to do something like that in the future. Its so much easier just to buy 1 thing and have it go up 10 times in price. Preferably very quickly. You’d like it to happen when you’re not paying attention and be pleasantly surprised one morning

      1. cwaltz

        Now, now- if you are an investor than you automatically are a job creator. Woohoo, automatic market value! You’re not like the taker class that earns their living and is unfortunate enough to have one of those jobs the job creators created that essentially earns so little that tax payers are forced to subsidize your income.

        Don’t undervalue your contributions to the market.

      2. craazyboy

        I don’t like buying trailing stock dividends, because someone else got ’em, and when earnings evaporate, I’ll get the new “reality” dividend.

        Maybe in a year or two, then pick up Vanguard’s div fund at a good price.

        It’s looking doubtful we’ll ever see “fixed income” again.

  5. Rick

    On the article about problems with software – in 5k+ words there is no mention of Robert
    Glass, Tom Demarco, Edward Yourdon, nor Fred Brooks. These problems are not new, nor are approaches to fixing them.

    For some reason in SW engineering there is no past and we seem to be doomed to an endless cycle of rediscovery.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Look up Kenneth McLeod’s “Cassini Division,” a science fiction novel set in a socialist anarchy – with a military. It’s part of a whole future-history series; in at least one, I think C. D., a programmer’s union is a crucial plot factor. Their headquarters is a fortress.

        I recommend McLeod’s books highly, especially the political ones.

  6. Ed Walker

    I see Chait manages to not mention the thing that drives at least one Bernie supporter (me) absolutely wild about Obama: None of the Wall Street criminals went to jail under the unholy trio Obama Holder and the loathsome Lanny Breuer; and these still on the street criminals are HRC’s special wallets and friends.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Chait and many of the pundit class are facing a reality where bean counters will see the pundits could be replaced by trained animals and would receive the same viewership. Without access to power, they have nothing. Even a crippled Hillary still exposes the pundits as nothings.

      For Chait and his ilk, Bernie is a real threat to their livlihoods.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      That particular fish rots from the head, though; easy to say that in the general, and there’d be broad agreement across the spectrum; not so in a Democratic primary.

  7. ekstase

    In the “Atlantic” article on corporate misdeeds, there is a great description of how the Johnson & Johnson credo led to an “incremental descent into integrity, a slide toward soundness,”

    So it can be done. It has been done: set up a culture that leads people to do the right things. Since the 80’s at least, we’ve been told that this idea is for the foolish. Cheat your way to the “top” and your methods of having arrived there will be quickly erased by your “peers.” But it isn’t really true, and we’ve exhausted that philosophy and ourselves in the process, (by “we” I mean the others, of course.) The article on hospital administration today is another sign that this is breaking down. I blame the internet for letting people find out that other people have a conscience. Too late now!

  8. shinola

    Sorry to be so ignorant but:
    Who is Zephyr Teachout & why is the article about her under “Corruption”?

    I know I’ve heard/read the name before but I can’t recall the context.
    (Wikipedia wasn’t much help)

      1. Steven D.

        Teachout challenged sitting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 primary and held him below 2/3 of the vote. It was considered embarrassing for Cuomo and a blow to his White House hopes. The issue on which she challenged Cuomo was obvious: corruption.

      1. edmondo

        You think it’s unethical to pay people to say nice things about your candidate? Have you ever heard the term “Public Relations” before?

        1. bob

          Wow, never saw the deails on that. 2 bloggers at $3k a month?

          That’s nothing, you can get 15 for $200 a month these days.

          I’d bet the Koch’s, alone, employ at least a few hundred.

          Uber probably has thousands. They’re trying to push for a law change here and there is nowhere that isn’t completely dominated by them on the internet.

          1. jgordon

            That just proves how ethical she is. Truly corrupt politicians wouldn’t pay their employees/shills so well.

  9. GlobalMIsanthrope

    Re: “3 things you learn watching Ted Cruz and Donald Trump court the same voters” [WaPo]. “The Texan…

    I’m willing to grant that he may indeed be a natural born citizen, but I draw the line at claims that this douche-bag meets Antichrist is a Texan!

  10. GlobalMIsanthrope

    Wait, what? Monopolies are the innovation?

    Yeah, but these aren’t retro, they’re bespoke.

  11. Timmy

    Technical analysis is a widely and thoroughly discredited form of “analysis” (see The CFA Institute). One of the biggest popularizes of such “analysis”, Ralph Acampora, formerly of Prudential Securities, was widely followed by, surprise, retail Financial Advisors. Why? Because a price chart of some carefully selected time period for a specific stock or bond or mutual fund is like a Rorschach ink blot to a securities salesperson: it can be made to say anything that the “analyst” wants it to say. Technical analysis is thus simply a means to facilitate the sale of securities products to laymen. It is snake oil sprinkled on an unread prospectus.

    1. TA

      What nonsense !

      I know independent traders, who have been paying their entire bills since 2001 through trading, and who use TA as one component of their method (along with sentiment). I understand being lucky for 1, 2 or 5 years, but doing so through two bull and bear markets is a bit of stretch.

      Would you please support your comment with a bit more information?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There are times when I think the Sanders campaign is not quite as agile as it could be. (Flint, for example, is right in Sanders’ wheelhouse, since the whole Emergency Manager structure is there to extract the last pound of flesh from the banks, after private equity broke up our industrial infrastructure for parts.)

  12. Frenchguy

    I find Krugman more and more disappointing. When talking about Greece he brushed off every political and technical problems which were actually extremely important (Greece can’t force Germany’s hand). Now, with Sanders’ health care plan, technical and political problems are evidently huge but they can be overcome (that’s the whole point of campaigning, to convince people!). But, in this case, Krugman just throws in the towel: “nope, can’t do it, vote Clinton”. He’s actually sounding like those VSP he used to decry.

    Kevin Drum had a much more constructive approach of Sanders’ plan by the way…

      1. Frenchguy

        Sorry, here it is…


        “But my take is that Sanders was trying to accomplish something specific: he wanted to show that universal health care was affordable, and he wanted to stake out a position that Democrats should at least be dedicated to the idea of universal health care. I’d say he accomplished that in credible style. It’s fine to hold Sanders to a high standard, but it’s unfair to hold him to an Olympian standard that no presidential candidate in history has ever met. We health care wonks may be disappointed not to have more to chew on, but that’s life. We’ll get it eventually.”

        Sounds right to me.

  13. JohnnyGL

    Re: “Establishment Democrat trashes Sanders. Film at 11”

    Is it too early to speak of the “Corbyn-ization” of Bernie Sanders? When the media turned on him, harshly, it probably worked in his favor. Will we see the same with Sanders? Has trust in the media in this country fallen enough to see the same phenomenon take place?

    Some of the health care plan criticism is valid, in principle, but irrelevant because every health care system has to ration care somehow. Look at this from Ezra Klein “The issue of how often the government says no leads to all sorts of other key questions — questions Sanders is silent on. For instance, who decides when the government says no? Will there be a cost-effectiveness council, like Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence? Or will the government basically have to cover every treatment that can be proven beneficial, as is true for Medicare now? What will the appeals process be like?”

    But really, I’m thinking, can it possibly be worse than what we have now? Right now, a lot of those “hard decisions” are privatized. Your employer and your insurance provider makes those choices for you. These things should be decided in the public domain, not privatized.

    To paraphrase Churchill, “Single payer is the worst system of health care, except for all the others”

    1. marym

      Ezra: ” questions Sanders is silent on”

      or not


      Subtitle A—General Administrative Provisions
      Sec. 401. American Health Security Standards Board.
      Sec. 402. American Health Security Advisory Council.
      Sec. 403. Consultation.
      Sec. 404. State health security programs.
      Sec. 632. Procedures for reimbursement; appeals.

    2. Carla

      “every health care system has to ration care somehow” — so much “health care” is so damaging that we really need to “ration care” ourselves, for our own good.

      Yves pointed out this morning that when she was in Australia, the docs (working in a single payer system) were good at taking a “wait and see” stance:

      “When I was in Oz, I experienced what would be characterized as saying “no” under this framework. First, doctors were vastly more inclined to adopt a “wait and see” attitude (and they’d keep on top of the situation; Australia had a regime that allowed doctors to deal with established patients much more on the phone and by e-mail than here for follow-up and monitoring) and they were extremely aggressive about drug prices. The Therapeutic Goods Administration would read the medical research on various new drugs, and was generally loath to buy them, since over 85% of all “new drug applications” are reformulations of existing drugs (like a med you had to take once a day reformulated to be twice a week) with big upcharges for marginal improvements. Because the public was not told to push their doctor for the latest, greatest med on TV, I never encountered or read in the papers about a single person in Oz who complained about not being able to get drugs they needed, or for that matter any aspect of medical service.”

      Anyway, that’s not rationing, it’s just common sense. Under our fee-for-service system here, over-treatment and mis-treatment are rampant, and they do real harm.

      1. MikeNY

        I heard an advert for a new treatment (read: pill) for a medical condition of which I was unaware: painful sex during menopause.

        I am unqualified to opine on the prevalence and severity of this ailment. I’d welcome informed opinions.

  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    Many years ago my uncle took me on a trip to Steen’s Mountain and the Malheur Wildlife and Bird Refuge in the remote high desert of SE Oregon. That trip as a young man was formative in terms of how I view our publicly owned lands, wildlife and our interaction with them.

    Completely agree with the letter from Ursula Le Guin to The Oregonian newspaper regarding the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon by a small group of armed individuals attempting to take our publicly owned lands and resources for their own private use by armed force. I hope the Department of Justice and local and state law enforcement authorities will enforce all applicable laws and prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law for any damage they have caused to public property or wildlife; deprivation of the rights of the public to visit and enjoy the refuge; threatening behavior they have engaged in against government employees, employees’ family members, visitors to the refuge and area residents; or economic, physical or emotional damages they have caused others stemming from this incident.

    1. Steven D.

      I know I’m proposing something I won’t be able to participate in, but it would be great if someone would organize a group of people to attempt the lawful use of the refuge for its intended purpose and then sue the government for deriliction of enforcement when the welfare cowboys flash their weaponry and deny the group access to the refuge and its facilities.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Birders are, apparently, quite organized. I’m wondering if a birder organization could be induced to support/back such an intervention? (Perhaps a local, not a national.)

          1. different clue

            They would all need to take camera cell phones with them to video every single thing that every single deadbeat carpetbagger welfare rancher there does in response.

            Because if it isn’t recorded, it never happened.

          2. different clue

            Now that I think about it, I dimly remember Malheur as being a migrating duck stop on the Pacific Flyway. Big bunches of birdwatchers could go there for the Spring Bird Count, together with all kinds of videographers and etc. This is assuming that the carpetbagging welfare ranchers are still squatting in the peoples’ refuge.

  15. allan

    Cowliphate the victim of judicial overreach. Where overreach = judges doing their jobs.

    9th Circuit sides with BLM in Nevada grazing case

    A federal appeals court is siding with the U.S. government in a decades-old legal battle over livestock grazing rights in Nevada.

    In addition to overturning an earlier ruling in favor of Nevada ranchers, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals strongly admonished a district judge in Reno for abusing his power and exhibiting personal bias against U.S. land managers.

    In a pair of opinions issued Friday, the appellate court in San Francisco ruled the late Wayne Hage and his family were guilty of trespassing cattle on federal land illegally without a grazing permit and should be subject to fines.

  16. optimader

    Exteriors of skyscrapers built with combustible “aluminum composite panel cladding” burn like “kindling” [New York Times]….It took a long time to crapify the skyscraper! But we’ve done it!

    Who is the we in we’ve done it?
    This mat’l is not code construction in the US, and was promptly banned in Western countries IIRC after the first incidents of curtain wall fires some years back.

    This my friends is just a peek behind the curtain (pun intended) in the Miracle of Dubai! A shiny unsustainable city filled with miscreant Arab masters of the universe occupying towers built on sand and constructed w/ Flammable Plastic Curtain Walls and wet concrete pours!

    These idiots pay foreign Contracted Architects to bribe foreign Contracted Code-writers to specify this kinda construction for rip & run foreign Building Contractors that bribe the foreign Contracted Building Inspectors so they can build using the lowest possible bid shit manufactured in China utilizing the services of foreign Day Labor Contractors that have herds of disposable indentured East Asian construction slaves who’s passports they confiscated to throw the stuff up.

    Combine the Arab version of Pride in Workmanship with decade low crude prices, what could possibly go wrong here?
    Am I being overly harsh?

    January 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    “… basic problem is that they consistently are idiots.
    Many of their high rise buildings are roman candles due to this inappropriate veneer construction matl…”

      1. optimader

        In this case Product of China sold in Dubai –well after the flammability properties were well established.
        the subject “we” are undoubtedly responsible for endless crapification idiocies, but this one happens to be a special version of crazy owned by the Buyer and their rip&run suppliers.

        So, in a way I see it as a variation on the theme of they reap what they sew, They have built these absurd tinderboxes in an absurd city by exploiting slave labor. I feel no sympathy for their having victimized themselves. It’s not even like someone tricked them, the properties of these composite panel are in the public domain.

        Far more interesting:
        http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/12/fruit-walls-urban-farming.html great stuff, great reference links, still working through them.

        and http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/12/reinventing-the-greenhouse.html

  17. fresno dan

    First flower grown in space! (Or, more precisely, in a space station.) I’m also a huge zinnia fan!

    I’m a YUGE zinnia fan – but I don’t know if that is a space zinnia – there are no tentacles!!!! And I’m thinking there has got to be tentacles!
    I’m gonna try and grow an acre of zinnias this year…..unless its really hot, in which case I’ll just take a nap…and I have to have some irrigation pipes installed on my lot.

    like these:

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I love zinnias, bees love zinnias, the people walking by love zinnias, they’re easy to grow, hard to kill, last into the fall, and are beautiful to photograph.

      1. optimader

        Zinnias are old school. I collect the seeds in fall and scatter them around randomly in the yard in spring. The honeybees and bumble are always all over them.

  18. Paul Tioxon


    I guess the Bundy Group is just plain old jealous that they are missing out on the mining Bonanza everyone else seems to be in on! Now, at least that makes some sense out of their demands to have access to federal land for their private enrichment. They want to get theirs!


    The US Department of the Interior announced the cessation of new leases for coal mining on public lands. This is a temporary review lasting 3 years to determine the environmental impact of coal mining and burning for electricity. 40% of the coal mined in the US currently comes from federal land. At the current rate of leasing and mining, there is a 20 year supply for power plants. However, coal mining is in direct opposition to the COP21 goals for the US. Apparently, the use of coal is directly under the control of the US Government for an enormous amount of the coal being burned for power. The US Government could phase this out entirely within the next 2 decades as we transition to solar, wind and fuel cell technologies. See more in depth at the following Scientific American link.



    “About 40 percent of all the coal produced in the U.S. comes from mines on federal public lands, mainly in the West. As of the end of 2014, there were 308 active coal mining leases on more than 464,000 acres of public lands in Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Montana and Colorado, with an additional 10,500 acres in Kentucky, Alabama and West Virginia.

    Burning coal and other fossil fuels for electricity is the largest single source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, accounting for about 31 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gases.

    The Obama administration has said the existing coal leasing program runs counter to its climate goals to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and slash carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants by 32 percent by 2030.”

  19. allan

    HRC endorses HRC:

    Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was endorsed Tuesday by the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. …

    The Human Rights Campaign announced its endorsement for the Democratic front-runner, which she is expected to accept at an event in Iowa next Sunday ahead of the state’s leadoff Feb. 1 caucus.

    Clinton’s views on gay marriage have evolved over time. She opposed gay marriage as first lady, New York senator and as a 2008 presidential candidate but backed it in 2013 after leaving the State Department.

    Evolved. Jon Chait would approve of the nuance.

    1. pollcat

      How ‘evolved is The Human Rights campaign if they’re endorsing ‘The Venal Yellow Hag’ ??? So they are all fine and dandy with wall street succubus slowly killing off the pleb,eh Just like Planned Parenthood…What’s with these orgs?!

  20. rich

    “For the Sake of Capitalism, Pepper Spray Davos”
    Michael Krieger | Posted Tuesday

    Yra Harris just posted a blistering critique of the crony capitalist crooks congregating in Davos. The first few paragraphs of his post, For the Sake of Capitalism, Pepper Spray Davos, are a must read.


    Please, PEPPER SPRAY ALL THE ATTENDEES OF DAVOS in order to halt the rape of taxpayers and consumers across the globe.

    This annual conclave is responsible for more wealth destruction and the widening disparity in GINI coefficients than any public policy.

    I believe that the cost of attending Davos is priced at such an extravagant rate because it is a giant insider scam.

    Hobnob with politicians and policy makers in an effort to be part of the “smart money” crowd. It was the great moral philosopher and economist Adam Smith who so presciently noted:

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for the merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

    The conspiracy against the public has been the financial repression of the global middle class in an effort to bail out those who are attached themselves to the public treasury to maintain the “animal spirits” of crony capitalism.

    The cost of an entrance pass to this private/public congress of mover and shakers should sound an alarm to all those who desire transparency in financial markets. In contemporizing the words of Adam Smith, Samuel Huntington was credited in the online research cite, Acton Commentary, as creating the phrase DAVOS MAN:

    “A soulless man, technocratic, nationless and cultureless, severed from reality. The modern economics that undergirded Davos capitalism is equally soulless, a managerial capitalism that reduces economics to mathematics and separates it from human action and human creativity.”


    1. SumiDreamer

      Must be fun to be in Davos, hanging out with Big Fat Wallets, Powerful Mandarins, Charlize, that Kevin Spacey guy, the Big O and other Beautiful People — while sipping Veblen cocktails. I hear they drink their hypocrazee straight up.

  21. abynormal

    HT Lambert…Darwinism Works
    Losing Wick / Lisa 2010

    There will be no wonder
    I know what comes next
    Cold rinses will deepen grime
    an the layers will not protect me
    Stalking my slumber hunger will
    roar with ruthless vengeance
    Brisk chills will feel warm once
    gushes of frost blow through me
    Amber glows will fade the worded
    books from where hopes lifted
    Shadows will haunt my face while
    fading the gleam of faith in myself
    My errors assemble while I
    search your stare for Mercy
    I thunder Prayers for one
    more inch of wick while
    Rocking you tight my child
    feel the hum in our song
    ‘I Love You Forever I Like You For Always’
    escape my trembling lips…

    ‘good night and good luck’

  22. Oregoncharles

    ““Giant icebergs could account for up to 20 percent of carbon sequestration” ”

    Iron fertilization. This article implies an argument for that form of geoengineering.

  23. Some Guy

    Between Krugman et al on Sanders and Brooks et al on Trump/Cruz, the whole Washington scam that there are two opposing parties (as opposed to one elite/plutocrat/villager consensus) is closer to being nakedly exposed now than I can ever recall seeing it before.

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