2:00PM Water Cooler 9/7/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I owe you a double apology: First, that I spaced out and didn’t post a Water Cooler yesterday, Tuesday, with no announcement or anything. That happened because I’ve been going mad buttoning the house up and painting rooms and shelving books and heaving out stuff generally, and mulching the front lawn to kill off the last of the grass that isn’t quack grass (sigh), and happened yesterday because yesterday was a travel day for me, and I had somehow gotten into my mind the idea that I was traveling on Labor Day, and hence, travel equaled holiday equaled no post. Unfortunately for us all, Labor Day was Monday. And not Tuesday. I get calendar slippage whenever I go mad. Sorry!

Second apology: This is a vacation week for me, and so I will be posting very light Water Coolers through and including Tuesday of next week. Sorry!

* * *

You might like to peruse this article by the normally astute Matt Taibbi: “How Donald Trump Lost His Mojo.” When you unwrap the opinion from the reporting, you’ll see it’s a trip report from a Trump rally.

We’ve seen a number of such reports; some we’ve linked to (here, here, and here) and others we’ve posted (here, here).

Now we have this trip report from Taibbi, and I’m interested to find out what readers think about the reporting, in comparison to the other reports. Exercise your mad critical thinking skillz!

* * *

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 (CF):


CF writes: “I spotted this flowering plant at a rehab center in Florida, where my Grandmother is currently recovering from a stroke (all things look good!) She liked the flower a lot, maybe it truly is a plantidote!”

* * *

Readers, if you can, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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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. catlady

    that is oleander. it is highly fragrant, and highly poisonous. so you can look at it, smell it, admire it, but don’t eat it. so beautiful!!!!

    1. Roger Smith

      Ha! Oh dear, I guess my Grandmother might be in danger then! I love the irony of that plant being at a rehab center/nursing home… maybe it is intentional? NO VACANCY.

      And on the note of our healthcare system, while I was down there with her she was being moved from the hospital to the rehab center. It was a mess of little to zero explanation of what was going on, what the plans were, etc… etc… It illustrated well our system that holds no one accountable because every single component is a separate entity, none of which are ultimately responsible for a patient’s care. It is a system of incompetence by design.

      She is doing better now, at least physically, and is back at home (in Florida). Apparently the doctor diagnosed her with Alzheimer’s a few months back (no one in the family knew). But she is still basically herself which is nice.

      1. Martin Finnucane

        But she is still basically herself which is nice.

        For the last ten years of her life, my grandmother never knew what year it was, what day of the week it was, or who was president. She was also a gift of grace to everyone with whom she came into contact. “It’s my mind I miss the most” she’d say in her Southern mill town accent – and laugh. And we’d all laugh with her.

      2. Katharine

        Contrary to the annoying ads that used to come from the Alzheimer’s Association, the self is the thing that sticks. Skills go, conversation goes, but the person who is continues to be. Enjoy her, and avoid caregivers who treat her like a diagnosis instead of a person.

    2. hunkerdown

      Unless you’re trying to escape the draft, are in the induction process at that very moment, and are short on options and long on resolve. It worked for a past neighbor of mine.

  2. PeonInChief

    Don’t plant oleander if you have pets. They probably wouldn’t eat enough to kill themselves, but could make themselves sick.

  3. Steve H.

    – TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!” shouts the virtually all-white, mostly male crowd of fifty- and sixty- and seventysomethings. Trump’s speeches increasingly look like VFW raffle nights.

    Kind of Taibbi to let his readers know their demographic distance in the third paragraph.

    He really needs to read Scott Adams on A-B testing. This is a long way from the vampire squid.

    1. rusti

      Am I the only one who has been extremely unimpressed by Scott Adams’ writing in this election cycle? For all of his hugely smug columns and interviews I have yet to see a single compelling argument that any of these things will scale into electoral success. But he still predicts “Trump in a landslide” and any other result will probably be dismissed as a problem with the voters and not his analysis.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It will be dismissed as a problem with continuing rigging since Iowa, Arizona, etc. earlier this years.

      2. different clue

        I notice that every Adams blog article ends with “Buy my book!” I wonder how many new drive-by readers Adams gained for his blog by writing about his predictions for Trump over and over and over again. I wonder how many of those drive-by readers have become set-and-stay readers impressed by Adams’s self-advertised expertise in the dark arts of hypnosis and persuasionology. I wonder how many of those new readers will go on to Buy! His! Book!

        This could all be a clever project on Adams’s part to increase readers in order to increase book sales as a percent of those increased readers.

      3. fajensen

        dismissed as a problem with the voters and not his analysis.
        I fear that “They” already have Putins evil Hax0rs lined up for the occasion, should Hillary lose the election. Fear – because that would be really ugly. “They” would need to kick off WW3 immediately to avoid Civil War II at home.

        Which I think she might well do. There just too many loose skeletons rattling in her closet. Containment is failing and Hillary is just not putting up a good show.

    2. rich

      Speaking of the squid….

      Goldman Sachs bans employee donations to Trump, not Clinton

      Goldman Sachs has banned partners of the firm from donating money to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, multiple sources reported late Tuesday.

      “The policy change is also meant to minimize potential reputational damage caused by any false perception that the firm is attempting to circumvent pay-to-play rules, particularly given partners’ seniority and visibility,” the firm wrote in the memo to employees. “All failures to pre-clear political activities as outlined below are taken seriously and violations may result in disciplinary action.”

      But what Goldman Sachs has not clarified is why top employees are still allowed to financially support Hillary Clinton’s Democratic bid.


      Hillary’s Goldman handcuffs,,,,,,,,,,,,Hillary Clinton is looking into it…….


      1. rich

        More squid…..

        Wall Street’s Latest Retail Fleecing Product is Revealed – Structured CDs
        Michael Krieger

        Ms. Bailey, the Citizens Bank customer in Massachusetts, had sold a condo in Maine in 2013, a year after the death of her husband, who she says had handled their finances. She went to a Citizens branch in Arlington, a suburb of Boston, to deposit the money. She says bank employees pressured her not to just park the money in a savings account.

        She says she was directed to Citizens broker Andrew Jurkunas, who steered her to a CD called the

        GS Momentum Builder Multi-Asset 5 ER Index-Linked Certificate of Deposit Due 2021.

        It is one of a series of CDs based on a Goldman Sachs-designed index that tracks the performance of up to 14 exchange-traded funds and a cash-like holding.

        The index aggregates the performance of different combinations of some or all of the underlying funds, relying on a complex formula designed to smooth volatility.

        When Ms. Bailey received her first statement showing that the value of her CD had dropped by more than $4,000, she complained to Massachusetts state securities regulators. This January, the office filed civil charges against the bank alleging that Mr. Jurkunas, who wasn’t named or accused of wrongdoing, didn’t adequately disclose the risks of the market-linked CD.

        – From yesterday’s excellent Wall Street Journal article: Wall Street Re-Engineers the CD—and Returns Suffer

        “Banks have to be delighted with these structured products,” said Steve Swidler, a finance professor at Auburn University. “There’s virtually no risk to them, and [the banks] sit back and rake in fees.”

      2. Daryl

        Citizens United is all about freedom of speech, and money is speech, so you can spend it however you want, unless a private corporation decides you can’t.

  4. Tertium Squid

    It was his reporting on Trump that made me realize that Taibbi has some very big blind spots in his political perceptions. Add to it the fact that Taibbi wrote this when Trump was considered to be in free fall and went ahead and posted it even though the tone of the race coverage has changed since then.

    Taibbi-on-Trump is like PJ O’Rourke on anything – read it for the entertainment value, not incisive content. Scott Adams is just having fun trolling right now but he still makes more sense than Taibbi.

    1. clarky90

      In the last few months, I have groked, (from Stranger in a Strange Land) that the Main Stream Media is owned by, and completely controlled by, the 1%. We are living, right at this very moment, in a Totalitarian World, but one that is being advised by behavioral psychologists. (It does not seem so bad, does it?)

      When Taibbi described “the Vampire Squid”, I was enthralled. BUT, nothing happened! If fact, it was as if Goldman Sacks reveled in the description, and continued on to greater “enterprises”.

      Trump is describing The Matrix (which is fine with TPTB), AND promising to end it, which is NOT OK!!!!!!! (Imagine a hysterical and screaming voice)

      Mat Taibbi is just another one of their (1%) hysterical hostages. He fears (vilifies) Donald Trump, because Donald Trump is rescuing him. (It makes sense when you go down the rabbit hole)

      Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be perceived as a threat.”


      As ever, IMO.

    2. hemeantwell

      I first became aware of Taibbi years ago when a friend sent me a xeroxed copy of a piece he did on a state fair. Utterly hilarious and trenchant. However, when surveying mass political opinion he seems to lose control of the humor, his analytic sense of responsibility dwindles. He can blend humor with analysis; his writings on finanzkapital in its squid phase have put us in his debt for that great popularization. But his work on Trump tends to replay the state fair stuff and, though he tends to beat out the crowd of others taking the same approach, it’s like something out of Comedy Central, mostly lampoon and dismissal.

  5. Robert Hahl

    Some tunes.

    Tracy Chapman – Stand by Me (Live). Letterman almost remembered how to smile at the end.

    Merle Haggard – Mama Tried (Live)

    Edsilia Rombley – Metropole Orkest – Get Ready. The Dutch have turned Motown into a classical music form.

    I Can’t Go For That —– Cee Lo Green Live From Daryl’s House

    Honest Man – Little Feat – LIVE at Bonnaroo

      1. Robert Hahl

        Those van sessions are surprisingly entertaining. It may have to do with memories of singing in the car on family trips. Unfortunately for mine, I can barely carry a tune or keep the beat.

    1. Daryl

      > I Can’t Go For That —– Cee Lo Green Live From Daryl’s House

      I find it somewhat distressing that Cee Lo Green performed in my house without my knowing about it.

  6. Jeremy Grimm

    Lambert — you shouldn’t feel any need to make apologies for taking a vacation. As for spacing out on the day of the week after travel — I lose track of the day of the week constantly. I often have to check my cell phone to make sure what day it is if I have an appointment coming up. I constantly wonder how you’re able to generate so much thoughtful and well written analysis. Thank you for all the hard work you do keeping us well informed and on our toes when we comment.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        By the way, we serfs all can use a 4-day long weekend…

        I promise I will not argue with those who would say 5 is better than 4.

  7. armchair

    I heard Lambert had been kidnapped from an Acela and taken to a black-site on Princeton campus to be re-programmed by Paul Krugman.

    1. Jess

      I believe that the black site you refer to was moved to NYU when Krudman decamped for his new position at said institution of questionable learning.

      1. armchair

        Thank you for pointing that out. I just gained NC-cred for not even knowing Krugman’s current redoubt.

      2. nonhumanist

        CUNY, not NYU, the public institution which in its recent contract managed to find extra money to hire “stars” like Krugman while letting its adjunct army continue to earn poverty-level wages.

        1. Tom Allen

          I think the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg still pays him a quarter million a year (through the non-profit Luxembourg Income Study Center) to ponder inequality. That he also defends the virtue of multinational non-profits with wealthy donors is totally unconnected with this.

  8. GF

    I thought it was one of Matt’s better posts. He’s been on a role lately. I think he has a different perspective from the other examples of trip reports due to the fact that he doesn’t follow Trump to every speaking event. It was a good analysis of the early Trump versus what the campaign has become. He has great metaphors too.

  9. Ike

    NO matter the multitudes of articles that slam TRUMP, I will not and cannot find myself voting for HRC. I am an avowed Leftist, I guess. Or maybe it’s just the insanity of the Democratic Party being SO UN-democratic? As the Talking heads croon; Stop making Sense.

    We were really sold up the river with the Obama administration/noecons and now that river is drying up faster than anyone could have predicted. Maybe a Trump Presidency will force us to face reality faster than under a Clinton one?

    1. jgordon

      This is my actual feeling on the matter: There is a good chance that I would have supported Bernie over Trump. Trump does have his problems after all. And what I can’t get over is that even though there is abundant, empirical proof that Bernie Sanders was ROBBED of the nomination by a hardened criminal like Hillary, plenty of his former supporters are now going to reward her by either voting for her, or by not supporting her most viable opponent.

      It looks like Hillary has a good read on people; she really knows who she can bend over for profit without suffering consequences. It’s no wonder there is so much hippie punching going on. With such a feckless and spineless group of people (in general) there’s really no harm that can come from it.

      1. rich

        “Clinton Foundation Is Charity Fraud Of Epic Proportions”, Analyst Charges In Stunning Takedown
        * * *

        Overnight, on his website, Ortel released the long-awaited executive summary of his numerous, and at time confusing, findings: “Beginning today, and regularly thereafter, numerous detailed Exhibits will examine the known public record of the Clinton Charity Network within the context of applicable state, federal, and foreign laws.”

        And while we await the upcoming exhibits to his summary, here are the main highlights from the executive summary, which we urge all visitors – who have an even passing interest in the effort that has consumed the Clintons’ time and energy for the two decades, and brought them substantial wealth – to read.

        * * *


        Understanding the Clinton Foundation Public Record in Proper Context: 1997 to Present

        To informed analysts, the Clinton Foundation appears to be a rogue charity that has neither been organized nor operated lawfully from inception in October 1997 to date–as you will grow to realize, it is a case study in international charity fraud, of mammoth proportions.

        In particular, the Clinton Foundation has never been validly authorized to pursue tax-exempt purposes other than as a presidential archive and research facility based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Moreover, its operations have never been controlled by independent trustees and its financial results have never been properly audited by independent accountants.

        In contrast to this stark reality, Bill Clinton recently continued a long pattern of dissembling, likening himself to Robin Hood and dismissing critics of his “philanthropic” post-presidency, despite mounting concerns over perceived conflicts of interest and irregularities.

        Normally, evaluating the efficacy of a charity objectively is performed looking closely into hard facts only -specifically, determining whether monies spent upon “program service expenditures” actually have furthered the limited, authorized “tax-exempt purposes” of entities such as the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, its subsidiaries, its joint ventures, and its affiliates (together, the “Clinton Charity Network”).

        At this point, Ortel previews the 40 detailed Exhibits which will be published starting September 7 on http://www.charlesortel.com. As a preview of the extensive analysis contained in these Exhibits, “these Exhibits document an escalating pattern of lawlessness and suggest that trustees of entities in the Clinton Charity Network exhibited gross negligence and reckless disregard in performance of their solemn duties.”

        The exhibits can be read in their entirety in the pdf attached at the bottom of this post.


        Hey P.K. take a look…..

  10. Paid Minion

    Looks like Taibbi has joined the “Anyone but Trump” crowd. Yeah, we get it Matt, you think Trump sucks.

    Trump is a Salesman/Bullshit artist. Fact checking guys like him is like shooting fish in a barrel. Too bad Hillbot will never see the same scrutiny. Notice how her weasel-words about the TPP disappeared from the headlines.

    What’s interesting is the reaction out here (about 90% Republican). Everyone KNOWS a President Trump will be a:
    – Disaster, or
    – He recognizes he’s in over his head, and is playing kissy face with the Republican establishment, so they can stage a defacto takeover once elected.

    And he sure seems to be pizzing off the “right people” so he can’t be all bad.

    But even with all of these negatives, he’s still going to get a ton of votes. As far as the “Racist White Guys” are concerned, anyone voting for Hillary is ethically compromised/as big a sleazebag as she is.

    In the meantime, I need to find one of those “Meteorite 2016……Let’s just get it over with” bumper stickers.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Just when you’ve almost convinced yourself that Trump is the less effective evil compared to the ‘beest, he goes and shoots off his big mouth:

      Donald Trump laid out plans Wednesday to jettison current defense-spending caps and embark on a military buildup that includes big outlays for ships, planes and troops, as well as bolstering the nation’s missile-defense systems.

      “Today, I’m here to talk to you about three crucial words that should be at the center, always, of our foreign policy,” Trump said. “Peace through strength.”

      “As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military,” Trump said. “It is so depleted.”


      Sure, we get the Reagan tropes. And the utter incoherence of questioning NATO while promising to build a bigger feeding trough for fat cat, unproductive defense contractors to slop at.

      But the big picture is that America cannot be “made great again” with military spending leeching away 5 or 6 percent of GDP, two-thirds of which ought to be invested instead in R&D, education and infrastructure.

      With his utter ignorance of economics (other than the economics of leveraged real estate speculation using other people’s money), Trump is paving the way to put America’s imperial decline on turbo boost.

      The Crook vs The Flake: any way you look at it, we’re screwed.

      1. polecat

        “imperial decline on turbo boost.”…..

        OK …. sounds good to me !

        Something’s got to give sooner or later …. might as well be sooner …!!

        “Mr. Sulu …ahead Warp 10”

      2. JohnnyGL

        “Just when you’ve almost convinced yourself that Trump is the less effective evil compared to the ‘beest, he goes and shoots off his big mouth:” — ain’t that the truth!

        Is it time to dust off the old Paul Kennedy books and revive the “imperial decline” thesis, yet?

        “With his utter ignorance of economics (other than the economics of leveraged real estate speculation using other people’s money), Trump is paving the way to put America’s imperial decline on turbo boost.” – Whoa, whoa, whoa….using other people’s money is at the CORE of how our economy operates! Student loans, car loans, mortgages, medical debt….these are CENTRAL to our business model! Nobody moves IOUs around like ‘Merica!!!

        Also, from an external perspective, that’s also the burden/privilege of being the issuer of the world’s reserve currency. You gotta run CA deficits.

      3. clarky90

        Here is the speech that JH is referencing. Trump also says “wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia”, to great applause from the audience. This is the problem when someone (Jim Hayward for instance) lets someone else (Market Watch, for instance) tell them how to interpret the World.

        Watch for yourself and form your own opinions.


        Full Speech: Donald Trump Rally in Greenville, NC 9/6/16

        At 43 minutes, Trump says, “Clinton is being protected by the Media, by the Press, like no-one in the history of our Country!”

        Then something amazing happens;

        The camera pulls back to a wide shot of the crowd. The crowd has turned around to look towards the back of the Meeting Hall, at the assembled Media. The crowd boos the Media and shakes their fists at the TV cameras.

        The People are waking up! Wow, wow!

        1. Jim Haygood

          A transcript shows that the quotes excerpted by Marketwatch are accurate. Promising to bust the sequester and “rebuild” the “depleted” military is pretty unambiguous. Defense is where the big money is in the discretionary budget.

          Trump added, even as he raged against “endless wars and conflicts”:

          “I am also going to convene my top generals and give them a simple instruction: they will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for defeating ISIS.”


          Cuckoo … cuckoo … our current “endless wars” are based on a 14-year-old AUMF which sets out the goal of defeating al Qaida … who seems to be our sometime-ally in Syria. Whatever — more of the same, piled higher and deeper, against the shape-shifting nemesis du jour.

          This speech is incoherent, delusional word salad from a flat-out flake. That I agree with his comments about Hillary doesn’t change this.

          “Jobs will return, prosperity will rise, and new factories will come rushing back to our shores.”

          Not with this program. You can pencil in the next bone-crushing recession for 2017-2018.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            1. He wants to make the military great again.

            2. He wants to get along with Russia.

            3. He wants to defeat ISIS.

            It’s possible to have all 3.

            4. Defending the South China Sea (not sure why he didn’t include this one).

            As for the next bone crushing recession – that one has many fathers and mothers.

          2. clarky90

            I am assuming that Jim Haywood must be a Donald Trump supporter because of this unequivocal statement. I am quoting JH exactly from his above post;

            “I agree with his (Trump’s) comments about Hillary”.

            My point is, you have to read the entire post by JH to get it’s true sense.

            Therefore, you have to listen to or read Trump’s entire speeches AND realize

            Trump is building a coalition of the 99%, not of the 7.27% or the 3.94%.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Back in the day, back in 2008, when Obama would come out with some piece of Beltway crapola, like cutting Social Security, his supporters would go: “But he has to say that,” (and of course in his heart, he doesn’t believe it) because otherwise the political class and the press would cut him off at the knees.

          I would bet most Trump supporters think exactly the same way: “He has to say that.” They can distinguish the stuff Manafort put in there from the real Trump (who is not a disorganized speaker at all, just a speaker who doesn’t spoon feed the press the structure they expect). I don’t know the form of words they use to express this but I bet it’s true.

          So none of this stuff matters to Trump’s base in the slightest.

          1. jgordon

            Well I think that a good portion of Trump supporters want to puke their guts out in revulsion whenever they accidentally see a picture of Hillary. Like me.

            You could come out with ironclad proof that Trump is secretly a Lizardman from the Orion Nebula bent on enslaving humanity–and I’d think: “oh, that’s bad”. But my next thought would be: “wait. Hillary is still the alternative. Oh well guess I still got to support Trump anyway.”

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Peace through strength.

        And strength through joy (Kraft durch Freude).

        As the guys say in Animal House, it’s toga party time.

      5. clarky90

        Trump is building a coalition of the 99%. There are going to be plenty of his ideas that do not fit in with every individual’s POV.

        It is enlightening, to me, to watch “low class rednecks” having the grace and humility to accept and cheer for “getting along with The Russians”, “Protecting the LGBT Community” and “a New Civil Rights Movement for African Americans”. They are putting aside their World View for “The Greater Good”.

        Meanwhile, many “self described Progressives” bitch and moan about every point that Trump makes that does not fit scrupulously with their particular World View.

        Political change happens when big-hearted people in a shared situation (the 99%), put aside their myriad differences and coalesce. In 1860, disparate peoples joined together to end slavery in the USA. That Emancipation is celebrated to this very day.

        1. JCC

          The minute he said we need to rebuild our military, he lost me.That is a “99%” I will never support. He’s mouthing the words of Lyin’ Ted Cruz.

          We spend a fortune on our military and we are “rebuilding” every day. I’m in that business. Our military has more than enough money to do whatever they want to do, except win in the ME.

          Like HRC, he will say whatever it takes, he is just another bullshit politician. Unlike HRC, the closest he’s ever gotten to political corruption is jumping in bed with the NY City Mafia. He’s an amateur.

          1. clarky90

            When I say “the 99%”, I literally mean the 99% of Americans who are not billionaires or multi-millionaires. This includes the Evangelicals, bikers, small and medium business owners, pro-gun people, anti-gun peoples, pro abortion people, anti abortion people, blacks, whites, Latinos, native Americans, Asians……..all political/social POVs…almost every single one of us.

            He is trying to recruit everybody who is threatened by the New Slavery (Matrix), presently under construction, by the Democrats and their Republican co-conspirators.

            Trump is reaching out to all the people who do not have private fall-out shelters (under a remote mountain) stocked with 30 years worth of food and fuel, and access to a private helicopter to get there instantly. (This is probably more of a 0.001% thing than a 1% thing.) If you are part of the sub-billionaire 1%, IMO, a vote for Trump should be considered, if nuclear war with China and Russia bothers you?

            Like I keep saying, there is much that Trump is saying that is not how I see things, BUT, I look for the big picture. I hope Trump does not break my heart the way that smooth talking, grifting Bastard, O’Bomba, did!

    2. fajensen

      Maybe Matt has bills to pay and other obligations, therefore he may have to do work that pays the bills, but, he does not necessarily agree with personally.

      Sometimes you just have to shut up, suck it up and do what your told – Or Else.

      Cutting debt and expenses, aquiring more sources of income, is one way of getting out of this, but, this is not always possible for every one, and especially not right away.

      I like his articles in general. I have been in the shit myself so I wouldn’t be too hard on the guy.

  11. Kim Kaufman

    I’m glad to know you are OK, Lambert. I wondered if you had told us about a vacation that I missed.

    I think Taibbi is bored with the whole campaign, and especially Trump – but he’s got a job to do.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Thanks for the link. It’s a long read and, though I liked and learned a lot from the first part (about the intentional efforts to drive Southern Democrats from the party in the 1960s), and I think he mostly gets the history since right, I don’t think he ends up with a coherent answer to the question.

  12. cocomaan

    Hunter S Thompson, Tabbi is not. At least not in this article.

    Like this passage:

    Trump would have been better off just conceding the loss from the outset and spending the general-election season going up in flames, showing up at debates guzzling martinis and wearing a lampshade on his head, directing daily tirades at cancer kids and nuns, playing the election like an Andy Kaufman prank.

    It’s amusing, but not particularly illuminating. First, maybe I’m too young (millennial), but I don’t get the reference to Andy Kaufman prank.

    But what’s the most disappointing about this passage is that Trump’s campaign just isn’t this simple. He doesn’t go to rallies drunk, he doesn’t wear lampshades. He’s succeeding at continuing to do his caricature that doesn’t involve any of those things. The guy actually takes pride in not imbibing, from what I understand.

    Who could have foreseen we’d end up with the one thing more ridiculous than Donald Trump running for president: Donald Trump running for president and trying to be smart about it.

    But Trump isn’t trying to be smart about it. He has no reason to. He’s found enormous, staggering success doing whatever the hell he wants.

    Taibbi seems to want to get into real analysis but stops short, every time. What I think he really wanted to say was, “Trump has no intention of being president and is making a mockery of the process”. Which is an article I’d like to see Taibbi write, instead of this one.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Trump is trying to prove that he is not a racist to both avoid a blow out, and to salvage his brand for Trump TV (headed by Roger Ailes).

      1. pretzelattack

        well you can’t accuse clinton of trying to prove she is not a warmonger. she is providing proof of that in spades, with all the neocon endorsements.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      When I read the article, Taibbi seemed to be telling us. But he wasn’t showing us. Where was the detail on the rally? And where, above all, where the interviews with the real rally-goers? Tressy MC’s report was far superior.

      So I don’t like that. That flat, bland affect…

      1. apber

        Taibbi is good on finance, but fails on politics; that’s true of many pundits who claim to be journalists. No where in Lib publications or TV have I seen political commentators mention the 1000s at Trump rallies vs the mere 100s (if that) at Clinton rallies. This fact says more than all the analysis of each candidate’s words or arguments.

      2. fajensen

        I think he’s doing “contact work”, his heart is not in it, but it pays.

        Now, it didn’t say in that contract that he put his heart in it, only the number of words and “negative on Trump”.

        It’s unusual that Matt Taibbi couldn’t find something to parody mercilessly on both candidates.

    3. uncle tungsten

      Taibbi is not anywhere near as funny, incisive and interesting as is his norm. He really sounds distracted and unable to engage with the opportunity to lampoon Trump and his policies.

      He normally writes better and uses anecdotes that are truly imaginary and off the fence. I guess he is now in an echo chamber where his editor is backing the other loser and counterfeit candidate who he would rather flush down the nearest drain. Such is the neo-journalists life but I have trust that he will yet find the dagger to forensically flense both of these charlatans. I’ll go back to reading Charles Ortel for my ‘fun’.

  13. Robert Hahl

    There is no real support for Trump on the internet that I can see. Lots of McCain and Romney supporters sounded like they meant it, but not this time. Probably because Billery could drop out due to scandal or ill health and Trump would still lose. He could go 0 for 50.

        1. cocomaan

          I’m not sure where your threshold for real support begins and ends, then, if you ignore things like message boards. Clinton apparently has many followers on twitter, but hundreds of thousands are bots controlled by one of her subcontractors.

          So I’d agree with you if you said that actual support for any candidate is muddied by manipulation, but I’m not clear on no support at all.

          1. Robert Hahl

            I am not ignoring the message boards, I am interpreting them. It’s a bit like hearing the author’s “voice” in a book. I just do not hear “real” support, as in lots of people going to show up on election day.

        2. afisher

          Amen to to that sub-reddit. It started out as an almost normal site and has devolved into pure nonsense, few articles, just twitter comments. It is pretty abusive and welcomes no one that dares to question their POV.

    1. Tertium Squid

      I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon.

      -Pauline Kael, 1972.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I get Trump ads in my Twitter feed all the time.

          Also, people aren’t mentioning email chains. Email chains, often with memes, are huge on the right, I am told.

          And let’s not forget that three (IRRC) anti-Clinton books are at the top of the Times best-seller list. The right often does well with books, even taking bulk buying into account.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Engineers, IT, and computer science people are a conservative crowd. The GOP has used computer/internet organization and messaging since the www went live In 1991.

          2. Steve H.

            3. ARMAGEDDON by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
            7. CRISIS OF CHARACTER
            12. HILLARY’S AMERICA

            Two on T:

            15. TRUMP REVEALED

            I don’t know the tenor of the T books.

            Also relevant:

            2. HILLBILLY ELEGY white working class
            5. BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates
            8. WHITE TRASH white poor
            11. LIARS by Glenn Beck

  14. shinola

    What “mad critical thinking skillz” are required for evaluating Taibbi’s piece? As Lambert states “When you unwrap the opinion from the reporting, you’ll see it’s a trip report from a Trump rally.”

    It’s pretty much a nothingburger; unusually dull reporting from from a usually interesting journalist. I did not read completely through each of the comparison articles, but what I did read seemed to “pop” more than Taibbi’s.

    Perhaps Matt was tired, bored & had to come up with something before deadline.

  15. Paid Minion

    This story is too good not to share……

    “70 year old man allegedly robs bank to escape home and wife”


    “He didn’t make the traditional bank robber escape………, Instead, Ripple took a seat in the bank lobby and waited. When a security guard approached him, he reportedly said “I’m the man you are looking for.” , handed over the money, and waited for police.”

    1. Greg

      That’s my fall back plan for when my retirement runs out. My Social Security only pays the rent, for now.

  16. allan

    Obama administration arms sales offers to Saudi top $115 billion [Reuters]

    U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, other military equipment and training, the most of any U.S. administration in the 71-year U.S.-Saudi alliance, a report seen by Reuters has found.

    The report, authored by William Hartung of the U.S.-based Center for International Policy, said the offers were made in 42 separate deals, and the majority of the equipment has yet to be delivered. Hartung told Reuters the report would be made available publicly on Sept. 8. …

    Giving new meaning to “going after the people who attacked us on 9/11”.

  17. DJG

    Now that the native American nations are back in the news, till they are ignored again, I’ll link to a site I found while doing some research:


    Language and culture of the Ojibwe, who are the largest group around the Great Lakes (U.S. side and Canada side). The Ojibwe language(s) are widely spoken on both sides of the border and down into Michigan and Indiana.

    I don’t know why I was surprised to run across the Ojibwe word for sandwich, but there it is.

    One of the factors that led me there was reading Louise Erdrich’s Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country (2003), which has aged well. In part, it is a memoir of traveling at the age of 48 through Ojibwe lands in northern Minnesota and southwestern Ontario with her baby of eighteen months.

  18. Kim Kaufman

    And on a lighter note, with a bit of schadenfreude thrown in…

    How Arianna Huffington Lost Her Newsroom
    The Huffington Post’s namesake founder, who stepped down as editor in chief last month, built an iconic media company in record time. Then, after a decade at the helm, she left suddenly. This article, the first in a two-part series, reveals one of the factors that may have contributed to her departure: a capricious management style that alienated many of the journalists who worked for her.

    by William D. Cohan
    September 7, 2016 5:00 am


    1. DJG

      Does “capricious” mean not paying people for their work? There’s that “management strategy,” too, I hear.

  19. Patricia

    Breitbart bunch might have finagled Trump into some speechifying in Sanders’ supporters’ direction. Likely not something Trump is all that excited about, since he is giving the speech, rote, in front of whoever happens to be there. Taibbi’s description of the Iowa barn rally made me laugh.

    Makes sense to me that Trump would keep media at arms’ length, since they’re ad hominem all the time. That Taibbi doesn’t see this means he hasn’t bothered to put himself in Trump’s shoes, not even only for a minute. Makes his writing flat and irritated.

    But seems Trump can say most anything and his bunch will put up with it. All of us plebs, one end to the other, are pinned against the walls. Maybe Taibbi doesn’t recognize that either. I’m assuming very low voter turn-out.

  20. Jim Haygood

    Comey gets pushback from da troops:

    In recent weeks, Comey has met with groups of former FBI agents as part of his routine visits to field offices around the country.

    In at least one recent such meeting, according to people familiar with the meeting, former agents were sharply critical of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe and particularly the decision to not recommend charges against Clinton.

    In a memo to employees Wednesday, Comey said the decision to not recommend charges against the Democratic nominee wasn’t a close call.


    “Not a close call” is what we call a confabulatory counterfactual. In reality, the FBI report details a thoroughly researched and documented litany of crimes, that any competent prosecutor could slam right out of the ballpark blindfolded.

    Simple fact is that from the FBI’s institutional viability perspective, angering the R party by not indicting Hillary is less dangerous than defying the president, which might bring serious, unpredictable consequences.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have been taught since pre-school to be a good student.

      Today, I am trying to learn, ‘There is nothing here to see. The FBI investigated and found nothing. Move along.”

      To get into a good school, I must ace this test.

      1. JCC

        You probably would not be surprised, then, to encounter all the conversations I have encountered with many “smart” people who have already aced that test.

        Keep studying, you can do it. But then you would have to live in an uncomfortable Brave New World.

  21. ekstase

    Lambert – It’s good to take a day off now and then. Sometimes I think our inner calendars turn off just to give us a break. And as commented above, you do an amazing quantity of really interesting work here.

  22. Anne

    Apologize if this has been posted – I haven’t read all the comments – but there is something just so offensive about this I can’t stand it:

    Bill Clinton said Monday that Republican attacks on his family’s foundation were “funny” and likened his actions as head of the organization to Robin Hood’s.

    “They even went after my foundation last week. Now that was really funny,” the former president told a crowd at the AFL-CIO’s picnic in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Labor Day.

    “I was sort of Robin Hood, except I didn’t rob anybody,” Clinton said. “I just asked people with money to give it to people who didn’t have money.”

    Yeah, it’s hilarious – I can hardly breathe I’m laughing so hard. Oh, wait, I think I’m actually gagging.

    And then, because I must have some sort of mental defect, I actually watched the NBC-sponsored Hour-O-Crap wherein Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump separately answered questions from military folks and Matt Lauer. Trump is a train wreck and Clinton can talk a better story, except I don’t believe a word she says.

    They should both be wearing poop hats

  23. robnume

    Interesting article. Since most of us know by now of Jann Wenner’s unequivocal support for Hillary’s bid for ‘thief in chief,’ I knew from the get-go that the piece would be highly critical of Trump. I thought the best parts were in his observational descriptions of events, not the snarkiness of the tone in relating those events. Trump is a train wreck, as any critical thinker out there must admit, but he did get the nomination fair and square and he did it using his immense sales skills, not his ability to ‘talk good.’ Attempting to run an old fashioned political race may be his downfall as a neophyte politician but I don’t think any of his supporters will hold it against him and I predict his star will not fade and he will get a bigger, better reality show than the reality show that is sure to be Hillary’s as she takes the mantle from Obama in January. I’m very ‘escared’ of Hillary and do not support Trump, so I’ll be sitting this one out.

  24. cwaltz

    I’m trying to figure out if Taibbi is scared or Taibbi is stupid. The reality is that it’s a very smart play for Trump to try and peel off lower class AAs and Hispanics. If Trump can get all the common man to agree that the 1% are the problem then the candidate of the 1% will be in trouble.

    I do think he’s trying a little late in the game but he’s absolutely right to try and peel off the Democratic stranglehold on minorities.

    I also think that a candidate that can unite the bottom 80% of us that have been repeatedly been screwed by our government’s collusion with corporate America could fix some of the inequality problems.

    Mind you I don’t think Trump is the guy he is pretending to be and I’d trust him as far as I could throw him if I were a minority but from a strategy standpoint I think whoever is advising him to make a play for AAs and Hispanic people is dead on.

    1. NYPaul

      Please ignore my taking a few, self-congratulatory, bows here. But, your comment affirms what I’ve been thinking, and, saying, for quite some time now. How ironic is it that Trump’s question, posed to an AA audience, “What, exactly, have the Clintons done for you?” is the question our main street media has, collectively, determined was unnecessary. Why, everyone knows that Bill Clinton was America’s “first black President,” don’t they?

      My understanding is that, while Hillary is slightly ahead in the polls right now, her lead in the “Swing” States are all within the margin of error. His reach out to minorities recently, counterintuitive to most of our (totally objective, I’m sure) “experts” may be exactly what puts him over the finish line on election day.

        1. BillC

          It will be a few years before we know whether Brexit is really the train wreck that the Serious People are convinced it is. I suggest we’d know how Trump works out after only a few months. OTOH, with HRC, no need to wait at all: a long and even mostly public record amply demonstrates who she’s working for … and against.

  25. Divadab

    Trump’s going to win thanks to the dems and their corrupt candidate. It’s terrible and ridiculous and it’s hard not to fall into the nihilist view .

  26. KW

    Unless you are actually at a political rally, hard to know what is the truth. Unless you listen to the entire speech, hard to know what is the truth. My husband and I went to Trump’s summer 2016 rally in Phoenix and the media representation of the event was not true. The crowd wasn’t extreme. If you watch a speech on the cable networks, the candidate keeps talking while the talking head panel splits the screen and drone on about whatever is on their mind. Might as well watch The View. Finding it more useful to watch the C-Span uninterrupted talks than what is filtered. Everything we watch is filtered. If you want to delve further, try to watch both ends of the spectrum and figure out what is true and in the middle. That is a challenge. Trump and Sanders seem to outdraw Clinton. That’s what I notice.

  27. Stephen Douglas

    I first discovered the marvelous Matt Taibbi in 2004 when he was writing for NY Press, a free weekly in NYC. I loved his style. RS snapped him up and then he flowered, writing the “vampire squid” artcile and many others. I would then watch him on Max Keiser and Democracy Now and thought he was the finest. I started following him on Twitter.

    But with this campaign, I’ve stopped all of that. The most amazing thing has happened to me, this radical/liberal: all of the radical/liberal media has gone batshit insane. Trump has better values in many, many issues than Clinton, but their constant crowing of “racist, fascist, the worst that could ever happen thoughout the entiriety of World History” is truly, truly preposterous nonsense.

    I blame a part of this on Gen-X snark. It infects Matt, it even infects Lambert (whether he is Gen-X or not). You can faceread Matt in his interviews and he’s got that disgust look to him. A combination of disgust and haughty sniggering disdain. I never tripped on this facial characteristic (which combined with his 500 Uh’s per minute vocal delivery serves to negate the effect of his video appearances), until this deal with Trump.

    It wasn’t just him: Jan Wenner, Amy Goodman, Thom Hartman, Glenn Greenwald, Noam Chomsky. And others. If the first paragraph of anything they say or write is all about how Trump would be the worst thing that could happen to the entire Universe, then bye bye. You aren’t impartial. You aren’t even rational.

    It is the greatest surprise of my entire 70-year old life to see these great journalists collapse into bigoted incoherency right before our very eyes.

    I don’t believe in shaming anyone really. I think it’s Victorian. But we live in Victorian times. So, shame on you, Matt. You spit on the gift you were given. As Assange has just said: you put the noose around your own neck and the neck of journalism in the United States by this sniggering snarky disdain.

    And that is truly a fucking shame.

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