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Wal-Mart's CEO Provides The Starkest Visual Of The Modern Bread Line Yet

Tyler Durden's picture


In today's Art Cashin Comments there is a stunning admission by none other than the CEO of Walmart on what modern day bread lines look like. To wit:

Profits And Baby Formula – Our pal, Rich Yamarone, over at Bloomberg picked up an eye-opening statement made by the Wal-Mart CEO last week.

I don't need to tell you that our customer remains challenged…You need not go farther than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it's real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m. customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items – baby formula, milk, bread, eggs – and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight when government electronic benefits cards get activated, and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher.

Talk about shopping only for necessities. The mid-night trip for baby formula says it all.

Luckily the NBER said the recession ended. Hurray:

So The Recession Ended 15 Months Ago – A Bloomberg report on lagging jobs got superseded by the FOMC statement. Here’s the opening line from the Bloomberg report:

Payrolls dropped in 36 U.S. states in August, led by Michigan, indicating the labor market will take time to rebound from the worst recession since the 1930s.

A little later in the article, it was noted how broad the job weakness was:

Texas lost 34,200 jobs, and California eliminated 33,600, the Labor Department said. The number of states where payrolls dropped was the highest this year.

More job losses in more states. Thank the gods that the recession’s over.


The country is collapsing everywhere and all the leaders can do is lie to their electorate that things are great. Images of the Titanic come to mind.

And some other observations from Art Cashin:

You Must Be At Least Four Feet Tall To Go On This Ride – For most of Tuesday’s trading session, the averages looked like the EKG on a Maine Potato.

From the opening bell, stocks snaked around the unchanged level for four and a half hours. The numbing lull was in anticipation of the 2:15 FOMC statement.

When the statement hit, things got really whacky.

In the first two minutes, stocks plunged. Then, suddenly, they reversed and began to spike higher. Within five minutes, the Dow was up 50 points.

That rally stopped on a dime. In the next two minutes, trading turned choppy. Then stocks began to retreat. That retreat lasted about five minutes.

Suddenly, the bulls returned, spiking the Dow to the plus 82 level. The bulls had no chance to pop the champagne cork. The rally ended instantly and stocks began to fade and by about 3:40, the Dow had turned mildly negative.

If you thought the frenzied trading in stocks was jaw-dropping, all you had to do was to look at other assets.

The dollar got pounded. Gold soared and then eased off somewhat. Treasuries rallied sharply with the yield on the ten year dipping below 2.60% (a record low). It was a stunning pyrotechnic display.

By the closing bell, stocks seemed exhausted by the spastic trading. They limped to a mixed and uncertain close.

We’ll Be There For You – That seemed to be the message that the FOMC tried to deliver in its statement yesterday.

They tried to walk a fine line, avoiding looking too worried while noting some concern.

The key phrase (to us) was in the fourth paragraph when the FOMC said it “is prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery and to return inflation, over time, to levels consistent with its mandate.”

While not specifically detailing their concerns about deflation, they strongly hinted at it by the suggestion that they wanted to return inflation to an appropriate level.

The image of the Fed actively seeking to promote inflation helped crush the dollar and spike gold. The wild-eyed saw risks of a Weimar-like inflation. Treasuries chose to ignore it.

Cocktail Napkin Charting – Today marks the Autumnal Equinox which brings historical aspects of volatility, as we noted last week. In addition, there is a full moon and an unusual proximity of the planet Jupiter. Keep your telescope handy.

Yesterday’s unusual action had several aspects of a reversal day. Additionally, there are mounting indications that the September rally may have been propelled by a short squeeze. We’re still checking out the hypothesis.

For today the napkins hint resistance in the S&P at 1148/1151 and then 1156/1160. Support looks like 1129/1132 with a backup at 1118/1122.


On this day in 1776, an American legend was born. Well maybe that's not exactly correct. The guy was born about two decades earlier.

This guy was a bright young fellow from Connecticut. He had graduated from Yale University (where some schoolmates thought him a bit of a showoff at games). Nevertheless, he was a good scholar and had a real gift for the classics. He became a schoolteacher and looked to be headed for the role of solid citizen. Then the American Revolution broke out and he (and five of his brothers) immediately joined the rebel cause.

He rushed about trying to get into whatever was the battle du jour. Somehow, he always seemed to be a day late. And when, in the final week of August, the troops of Washington barely avoided defeat by slipping out of New York City, he was one frustrated guy.
So, when Washington asked for guys who might sneak back into New York City to set fires and map the defenses, the schoolteacher was first in line. And, when his fellow officers asked how big a unit he would need, he said he'd go alone, in civilian clothes, using his Yale diploma to prove he was a schoolteacher.

For two days, he roamed successfully making detailed drawings of British defenses and describing them in notes of classic Latin to confuse anyone who questioned him. Then he bumped into his cousin, Samuel, who was working for the Tories. Sam said, this is my cousin, Nathan Hale, he’s a rebel spy. Hale was so proud, he said, "Yup, that's who I am!" (Or the Yale equivalent.)

So, on this day, the Brits hung him. The Rebs remembered his last words as --"I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." It made him a martyr and a hero. Revisionist scholars would claim that what he said was --"It is the duty of every soldier to obey his commander."

But given Hale's classic education, it is more likely that he used the first version since, as you know, it is as a paraphrase of "Cato."
There was nothing classic or quotable in Tuesday’s action. There was a lot that was confusing however.


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Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:46 | 597380 Battleaxe
Battleaxe's picture

BIG market drop coming in the next day or so:

1. Autumnal Equinox

2. Full Moon

3. Jupiter's up Uranus!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:35 | 597566 crosey
crosey's picture

By Jove that's a tight fit.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 13:47 | 597764 Miramanee
Miramanee's picture

"How I rectum the economy", a new novel by Ben (dover) Bernanke.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:23 | 597868 MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Rectum?  Hell, it damn near killed 'em!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 16:21 | 598301 Battleaxe
Battleaxe's picture

Damn, I nearly Saturn some shit!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:03 | 598831 surfsup
surfsup's picture

Damn Venus_ian  Lombard like circulation freeze...  

Mon, 09/27/2010 - 05:38 | 606754 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture

Careful ... you might get some on Uranus

Mon, 09/27/2010 - 07:14 | 606799 kathy.chamberli...'s picture

i really like your dirty talk.

Mon, 09/27/2010 - 05:33 | 606750 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture

Taking it in the rectum .... LOL

This guy put it in the Bankster's rectum .... love it

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:41 | 597586 apberusdisvet
apberusdisvet's picture

Please please use K-Y, please

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:55 | 599021 Battleaxe
Battleaxe's picture


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:10 | 597823 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

This has always been so.

Nobody ever noticed that reserving a table in a restaurant is always more easy the 4th week of every month?


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:32 | 598133 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You live in Belgium. Are you talking about Belgium or America? Because the article is talking about America.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:17 | 598966 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Thank you.

I thought it was just me with this guy supposedly speaking from the heart of the EuroPeso conglomerate with armed men disgorging from a white van running up my driveway...or some damn thing...LOL.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 05:59 | 599370 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

So you think Americans are non typical?

Americans are the most mainstream people on earth. And that's not something bad.

I'm in Marketing and all my studies have always been about the American consumers.

I might be from Belgium, but I know more about Americans then a redneck like you.

Chocking he? People outside America... being smarter then you?


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:01 | 598591 1100-TACTICAL-12
1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

I was @ the grocery a couple hrs ago, this black guy (not being racist) rolled right by with about 3 packs of huggies & 2 cases of Bud. They got his plate #.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 19:10 | 598751 NoVolumeMeltup
NoVolumeMeltup's picture

They see me rollin'.

They hatin'

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 03:12 | 599306 bigkahuna
bigkahuna's picture

don't hate the player - hate the game


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:04 | 598832 ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

Then what were you trying to add to the story by telling us he was black?

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 03:44 | 599327 Martel
Martel's picture

I love the smell of Political Correctness in the morning.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 06:24 | 599383 ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

I really could care less.  Just giving him the needle because he had to point out to us that he wasn't rascist.......

The unsolicited denial was the only thing that made me think twice.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:57 | 598927 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

I think you forgot that everyone is "equal" and such talk is not proper table manners.

Do yourself a favor and don't buffer your views. If you don't want to risk offending precious minds you are better off focusing on your own aims, projects, and desires. It is what is it is. You see what you see. You can't help "them" by sharing your view.

You and I have better things to do. Mass starvation is a simple database failure away.

Status quo implosion can't be far off when social-networking skills provide a better living than skills.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:35 | 598992 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Although I would wager those databases are the most secure, most redundant on the planet. Not even the GPS coordinates of JFK's brain are more important! This is the one grayed-out menu option in the Central Planning Buddy Software Suite (TM).

Until the inevitable, unrecoverable black swan that everyone "sans télévision" is apprehensively expecting. Karl Marx erroneously equated capitalism with corruption; the effect is the same: "Et bien, après moi, le déluge."

It holds water until it doesn't.


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 23:39 | 599148 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Oh, if you are not pleased, fuck you. I was born free. I will die that way.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 23:51 | 599161 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

And hey! Angry youth will always help tell the story:


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:38 | 598996 johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

Huggie Buds? I've never smoked those before.....

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 00:17 | 599196 Jonathan E
Jonathan E's picture

It's a classic marketing trick.  Although I've never actually seen it being employed myself.  It's probably more for 24 hour stores.

They put the beers close to, or in line of sight of the nappies, because the man generally goes out to buy the nappies, certainly at night and he gets tempted to buy the beers while he's there.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 06:55 | 599397 Bob
Bob's picture

I was at ZH this morning and this white dude (not being a racist) found it necessary to include the race of a guy who jacked some diapers and beer from a store in his colorful comment. 

I was unable to see the relevance of the white dude's color . . . but was thrilled to hear that he was not a racist. 

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:02 | 598593 kathy.chamberli...'s picture

it's my B day on friday, as well†

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:42 | 598691 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Happy Bday!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 22:20 | 599045 Best Satan in Town
Best Satan in Town's picture

Are you trying to one-up Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's pokies?

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 00:11 | 599187 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

Happy Birthday,kathy. I will think of you on friday - in that yellow top.  I always liked that yellow top. Enjoy your birthday.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 10:12 | 599693 kathy.chamberli...'s picture

wish you were here, cause im so damn lonely†

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:44 | 598915 Turd Ferguson
Turd Ferguson's picture

From The Mossad to all of our European ZHers: Be careful out there!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:49 | 597388 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Paycheck to Paycheck economy....


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:52 | 597398 -Michelle-
-Michelle-'s picture

More like government payout to government payout economy.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:04 | 597409 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

How's the newborn baby doing Michelle? And how are you doing for that matter? Getting any sleep? Is hubby helping out? If not, smack him across the head and remind him that his 30 seconds of pleasure is now due and payable. :>)

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:07 | 597464 -Michelle-
-Michelle-'s picture

She's a doll, so far.  I've always heard girls are easier than boys and she's proving it.  My husband is definitely pulling his weight, mainly by playing hard with our little guys so they get to sleep early at night and stay asleep.  He's also entirely wrapped around Little Miss's tiny finger already, but that's to be expected I suppose!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:59 | 597638 JR
JR's picture

My husband is definitely pulling his weight, mainly by playing hard with our little guys so they get to sleep early at night and stay asleep.  He's also entirely wrapped around Little Miss's tiny finger...

I’m reminded by this of a cartoon that goes something like this:

Little boy, who looks like he’s about six, goes to his father and says: Dad, a great program’s just coming on TV.  Can we say up and watch it?

His dad says: No! You have to go to bed.

The little boy goes back to his little sister, who’s about four, and says: Maybe you could ask Daddy..

Little sister goes in, doesn’t say anything, but looks tragically sad with the potential of great tears starting to well in her eyes…

Daddy acquiesces, gathers her up his lap and says: Kid, you have potential.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:38 | 598676 Montgomery Burns
Montgomery Burns's picture

Easier until they hit about 13, then hold on.  Enjoy it until then. (the voice of experience)

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:04 | 598597 kathy.chamberli...'s picture

you are a woman, thought so.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:22 | 598977 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Good call...LOL.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:47 | 597605 Joeman34
Joeman34's picture

Of course, this is the problem...  I realize there is a sizable %age of the public that are seriously struggling and in need of assistance.  However, there is also a sizable %age of recipients of government aid that are simply lazy, ignorant, and content to subsist off the government dole.  Until incentives change for these people, i.e. they're incentivized to turn off their TVs and get their fat-asses to work, nothing will change.


America is the only country in the world with fat poor people...

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:54 | 597625 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

America is the only country in the world with fat poor people...

I followed your logic right up to your last sentence. Since 60% of Americans are "fat", it stands to reason 60% of poor people are fat. Maybe even more, since poor people can't afford a well balanced diet when fatty packaged food is cheaper than fresh food. And many poor people lack the education, training and upbringing as well as incentive to know how to eat well/better on less money.

So do you have a chart or link or a doctor's scale that would back up your supposition that poor Americans are fatter than poor Britains or Germans at a greater percentage than the general population? Your last sentence definitely feeds into stereotypes and popular public myths. But is it really true?

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 13:10 | 597668 Joeman34
Joeman34's picture

How do all the midnight shoppers get to their local Walmarts?  I'm willing to wager the majority drive their own car.  I'm also willing to wager the majority have cable TV, internet, and cell phones.  Point being, it is far too easy to obtain government hand-outs today and until incentives change, this type of behavior will not change.  Maybe if the 'poor' were to forgo luxuries such as those I list above, they could afford a healthier diet.  Also, Americans have the right to get as fat as they wish, as long as they're not using my tax dollars to balloon-up.  And as for the 'it's not their fault - it's societies fault' line of logic, I don't buy it for a minute.  The opportunities are there - though maybe a bit more difficult to procure today.  The onus is on the individual to seek them out and exploit them to the fullest extent.

CD - I've read many of your posts here on ZH and greatly respect your input and opinion.  I'm unable to provide specific reference for my claims as I don't have the time to find applicable research - but your misconstruing my point to some extent.  It's sort-of OT, but I was merely expressing my anger and frustration at the amount of government waste that is reasoned to be social welfare [see Ripped Chunk's comment below].  Just another example of our broken system...

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 13:32 | 597721 fiftybagger
fiftybagger's picture

+ 13.5 trillion

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:16 | 597843 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

That $13.5T wasn't run up due to welfare.   You think the huge deficits in the Reagan years were welfare payments?   Clinton actually cut welfare, and then came Dubya.   You can't explain $13.5T by blaming welfare (unless you want to count Dubya's Medicare Part D...that's a bit of it).  Put down your political preconceptions and look at where the money is actually being spent.   These people in line at WalMart are a drop in the bucket.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:29 | 597885 MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Personal welfare is for creating helpless dependents.  CORPORATE welfare is for wasting the REALLY BIG BUCKS.

I supposed one could view Medicare Part D as being composed of both types of welfare.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:41 | 597930 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

A lot of money goes to people who don't need it or deserve it, but it would cost us MORE to support the bureauocracy necessary to sort that out.   It's cheaper just to throw money at the problem and then bitch about those who suckle at the government teat.

I'd favor a meritocracy where the weak and useless would be mercilessly weeded out, but most Amercans would consider that sort of government intrusion into social life unacceptable. 



Wed, 09/22/2010 - 17:47 | 598553 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture


"A lot of money goes to people who don't need it or deserve it,..."

Yep, including any number of illegals.  We're having great fun (better to laugh than to cry) with Our Dear President's aunt, slurping on the public teat for all the last decade. e.g. (and Howie is pee-your-pants funny).

You're proposing the government do the weeding?

"I'd favor a meritocracy where the weak and useless would be mercilessly weeded out,..."

You and Wilson and TR are quite simpatico.

- Ned

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:23 | 598647 Something Wicke...
Something Wicked This Way Comes's picture

Wait until interest rates ratchet up. Those wheels on the debt clock will look like verical gyroscopes. Sweet.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 13:34 | 597729 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Fair enough. I understand your anger. And I get your point, which was the reason I said I followed you up until the last sentence. But please consider that you might be spreading a stereotype and are striking out in frustration at the wrong people. Should you be angry with the trained rat who shits on your bed or the person who trained the rat to shit on your bed?

BTW, the government is not using your taxes dollars to pay these beneifts. They are printing money out of thin air by way of the Fed/Treasury duoploy to "pay" those benefits. Just take a gander at this years' deficit. And I understand that you might say "but we are on the hook to pay that money back", but this would also be incorrect. There is not intent on ever paying it back.

If however you said "But CD, my tax dollars will go to pay interest on those loans" we might be getting somewhere. Right up until we start printing money to pay the interest on the printed money. :>)

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:05 | 597808 Oquities
Oquities's picture

i object!  you are saying that cretaing new "thin-air" dollars to pay for some social services does not injure other dollar holders?  absurd.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:56 | 597979 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Where are you getting this? What comment are you responding to? 

I never said nor inferred dollar holders would not be injured. I never even discussed dollar holders being injured or debased by the printing of more dollars. I was responding to the concept that taxpayers would be responsible for paying back those created out of thin air dollars that are paid for social services. All I said was those dollars would never be paid back, but the interest on those created out of thin air dollars would need to be paid. And the interest would eventually be paid by created out of thin air dollars at some point.

Try reading again slowly.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:15 | 598064 Oquities
Oquities's picture

you seem to imply that the taxpayer is not harmed simply because his taxes are not used for social benefits.  i'm saying that the dilution of the taxpayers current dollar holdings results from this money creation for social spending, so what's the diff?   taxed, borrowed, or created, it still detracts from dollar value.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:26 | 598099 Joeman34
Joeman34's picture

Not to mention the implicit tax that results in a reduced standard of living for the rest of us when resources are wasted by the government....

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:49 | 598190 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

This is what I said.

BTW, the government is not using your taxes dollars to pay these benefits. They are printing money out of thin air by way of the Fed/Treasury duopoly to "pay" those benefits. Just take a gander at this years' deficit. And I understand that you might say "but we are on the hook to pay that money back", but this would also be incorrect. There is not intent on ever paying it back.

If however you said "But CD, my tax dollars will go to pay interest on those loans" we might be getting somewhere. Right up until we start printing money to pay the interest on the printed money. :>)

I was implying that based upon the fact that over 40% of the US budget is printed out of thin air, the dollars used to pay those social benefits are being printed and those dollars will never be paid back. Of course that's harmful. I also said it's only the interest that's being paid on printed dollars.......that will never be paid back. Of course that's harmful. No where do I say or imply this doesn't harm the dollar or the public, just that the dollars aren't coming from the tax payer, but from printing.

In fact, I'm suggesting this is enormously harmful because to eventually print money to pay interest on printed money is insanity and terribly harmful. I don't know how long you're been reading my comments or articles, but I have always said that printing money is harmful. In fact I consistently describe this entire situation as insanity. Please stop reading into my comments something that isn't there.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:44 | 598175 Oquities
Oquities's picture

as soon as those dollars are created and distributed, they compete with my/your dollars for limited goods and services.  and any payback that my children incur or default that settles the matter also harms me/mine/you.  everyone except the fiat-creation recipient is damaged.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:51 | 598195 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Of course it is. You're misreading my post and intent. I've consistently said this entire process is insanity.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 16:04 | 598239 Oquities
Oquities's picture

so to clarify, you generally don't support money creation for excess social services, but if it's done, you would prefer that the money come from printing rather than tax receipts?  i still don't see the difference.  and please don't re-quote yourself or ask me to read slowly.  that's rude.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 16:24 | 598311 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Clarify all you want. Something I wrote has triggered you and there is nothing I can say that will get past your trigger. You have twisted this way past the intent of my comments. Enjoy yourself.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 17:43 | 598546 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

This is the best way I've seen to end an online back and forth.


I am saving it for use in the future both on this board and others online.


If you like, I can credit you when I do use it, such as "The above statement is the original work of Cognitive Dissonance from Used with permission"


(may come across as sarcastic, but it actually is not)

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:11 | 598616 kathy.chamberli...'s picture

he/she is basically very protective of his written word. like defensive. like my daughter.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:21 | 598639 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Please use it without public attribution. They are your words now.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:51 | 598713 kathy.chamberli...'s picture

hey you're right on T O P of everything, as usual, CD.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 22:51 | 599081 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Either you quit your narco habits or you are not Velobabe.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 02:04 | 599263 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Ya. It's kind of strange that she isn't drunk and stoned out of mind. What is up with that?

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 23:15 | 599118 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Awesome & Thanks

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 00:51 | 599220 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

"Clarify all you want. Something I wrote has triggered you and there is nothing I can say that will get past your trigger. You have twisted this way past the intent of my comments. Enjoy yourself."


"This is the best way I've seen to end an online back and forth."


imo - the highlighted portion represents a "fair" draw.  If that's that's what you are looking for.





what's with the big spacing? what am I doing to make this happen?















Thu, 09/23/2010 - 02:58 | 599297 Double down
Double down's picture

CD is the ninja of Kung Fu

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 00:42 | 599217 Seer
Seer's picture

"my children incur"...

Ack!  You're breeding?

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:55 | 597977 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

CD, both the rats and their trainers are responsible for the shit in my bed and I hold them both accountable...  it's not an either/or proposition. 

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:01 | 597999 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

At least you recognize there are more sides to the argument than the one that fits preconceived political stereotypes. I agree that both are to blame. In fact, we are all to blame, whether we are the rats or the trainers or the payers or the manipulators or so called innocent bystanders. We collectively and individually are the problem. One cannot divorce ourself from a closed system.

Of course that doesn't fit our worldview where we are innocent and everyone else is the problem.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 16:14 | 598273 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

That's not to say that we're all equally culpable, but we are all culpable to some degree, even if through our apathy.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 16:30 | 598336 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Never said, never implied and never thought we are or were equally culpable. All I said is we collectively and individually are the problem.

I do think that once we start trying to decide who's more culpable or who's less, what we're really saying is "I'm not going to do much of anything until that guy or gal over there does more because he or she is more culpable than I". Which means nothing gets done and the shit pile grows larger.

Not saying you're doing this MachoMan. Just making an observation.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 17:41 | 598545 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The problem with egalitarian justice is equity theory...  the same feelings that make us mad at our fellow co-workers who get the same pay for less work also flare up when we're equally punished for acts not our own.  It may be an achilles heel of initiative, but it's also something that must inevitably be worked through. 

From a budgeting perspective, it's akin to the policemen saying "why do we have to reduce our budget when the fire department doesn't have to"?  Fine, you'll both be out on the street when the city goes bankrupt.  However, eventually, we'll have to make a collective decision who we value the most and apportion their budgets accordingly.  (this is also one of the reasons budgets go out of control, because no politician is strong enough to tell all aspects of the tit suckers to keep their mouthes the hell away).

And yes, I'm doing this...  and it generally causes me to be apathetic to the process.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:43 | 599004 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"From a budgeting perspective, it's akin to the policemen saying "why do we have to reduce our budget when the fire department doesn't have to"?  Fine, you'll both be out on the street when the city goes bankrupt.  However, eventually, we'll have to make a collective decision who we value the most and apportion their budgets accordingly."

And somewhere on the astral plane Diogenes can finally rest ;-)

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 01:00 | 599230 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

"No man is hurt but by himself."


Is this the Diogenes you are referring to? Pulled a quote.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 06:01 | 599373 nmewn
nmewn's picture


My reference is to him carrying a lamp through the city in daylight looking for an honest man because what the poster said in my opinion is true. In the effort to support all, at any cost, injury will come to all.

There has to be a question where no is the correct answer ;-)

Of course I'm not advocating masterbating in public (or as Al Gore would say releasing his chukara...LOL) but we do need someone from time to time to challenge widely held views in order to test or refine them.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 09:49 | 599622 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

I agree.  btw, did you ever go back and check out my reply on the Japanese flag burning post?  I was really misinterpreted, so clarification was warranted. Not a big deal, but...

Sun, 09/26/2010 - 06:23 | 605268 nmewn
nmewn's picture

No I haven't.

I'll see if I can find it.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 10:10 | 599681 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The saddest part is that our observations are inherently incorrect with regard to the sustainability of governmental spending.  We're not talking about looking out into the ocean for the first time and thinking it's flat and being amazed when the boat that sailed off into the sunset returns the next day, not having fallen off the world.  With the "free lunch" theory of economics, people inherently know their position is incorrect and untenable, the difference being, they refuse to acknowledge the fact due to incentive and we have no undeniable, objective, contradictory source (which is the only thing sufficient enough to change their minds).  The only time when a truly objective reference point is available (aside from the countless examples of other countries unsuccessfully attempting the same thing) or we gain the ability to fruitfully present our side is after the dead weight becomes so heavy the beasts of burden cannot drag it any longer, i.e. after systemic collapse.  This is where we are presently...

Sun, 09/26/2010 - 06:32 | 605273 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"The only time when a truly objective reference point is available (aside from the countless examples of other countries unsuccessfully attempting the same thing) or we gain the ability to fruitfully present our side is after the dead weight becomes so heavy the beasts of burden cannot drag it any longer"

I think so too.

Much ink has been spilt over low voter turn out. Perhaps the "sheeple", as they are called, were way ahead of the curve. That is, maybe by withdrawing they were saying OK fine. It will happen...let's get it over with and rebuild again on known principles.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 13:52 | 597777 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

A couple of comments:

1. Watch "Food Inc." the documentary. Much of what is sold as food these days is nothing more than processed carbs and corn, subsidized by the government. The whole food chain is controlled by the mega-corporations that produce cheap food for profit. There was a good segment on how it's cheaper to 'feed' your family at the dollar menu than with fresh fruit and veggies. Is the government intentionally sickening our citizens and dumbing them down? 

2. Being poor is expensive. Read "Nickeled and Dimed in America". Short-term rentals, predatory banking/check cashing, etc. all make it expensive to be poor. It perpetuates the cycle. 

3. Most of our welfare programs create incentives to stay poor, i.e. the 'marginal tax rate' to leave the program is huge. Again, is this by design?

I'm not trying to disagree with some of your comments, but simply arguing that there are some factors at play here...

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:11 | 597822 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

good retort, as is CogDis above you. . .

to your points I will add flouride & chlorine in the water supply, mercury in fillings, chemicals sprayed at altitude over whole populations. . . tell me it's not deliberate.

and all of you with a knee-jerk to "fatlazy" amrkns living off yer taxed dollahs - well done for your ability to repeat the meme fed you daily by the me-dyuh. . . no doubt when TSHTF, you'll be happy to kill off any humans other'd by those who know "divide 'n' rule" is the easiest way to keep control over the sheeple. . .

you have a list of 'em, amirite?

The Story of Your Enslavement

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:33 | 597908 MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

any humans other'd by those who know "divide 'n' rule" is the easiest way to keep control over the sheeple. . .

"OTHERED" -- I like that.  It is a very expressive neologism.  Can I use that?

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:00 | 598586 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

+1,  knock yourself out.

"when in rome. . ."

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:04 | 598945 Misstrial
Misstrial's picture


Thank you for adding fluoride, chlorine and mercury to the list. I was living in Los Altos, CA when we were all sprayed with malathion by helicopter on orders from Jerry Brown. You cannot imagine the rage.


Thu, 09/23/2010 - 00:12 | 599189 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

I was living in europe at the time, but was visiting friends in Los Angeles. . . I remember there were flyers sent out re: the dates of spraying, and instructions to cover vehicles outside on spray nights. . .

wouldn't want to harm the paint on your car now, no mention of lungs, etc!

mind boggling - and yes, I can imagine the rage, I watch the jets, up to 5 at a time, crisscrossing the blue skies, I hear people in my small town talk of trips to emergency rooms with breathing problems, etc.

best to you.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 01:07 | 599237 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

I was in a field down in Mexico and got blasted by Paraquat.  Studies do show that exfoliation of the skin can eliminate a lot of the airborne pollutants that circle around us.  Go buy some "shower wash mitts" and scrub yourself down every day.  Or better yet, have someone do it for you.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 06:45 | 599394 ego contemno TPTB
ego contemno TPTB's picture

Aren't there Environmental laws against this sort of thing?

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 13:29 | 600244 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

well, when it's the gov't doing the spraying, who shall we ask to stop?  it's all denied in the name of "national security," yeah. . . it's bio-warfare, in the guise of "controlling the weather" systems to be used against "other" nationstates, but since they have a captive audience (amrkns) they can continue their "tests". . .

amrkn gov't has a long history with experimenting on the populace, this is just the latest chapter - it's all over youtube & the web, but if you don't re-cognise what's going on, you may not realise it. . . by the way, it's happening in most nato countries. . .

as to "scrubbing" in the shower, the trailing contains aluminium & barium, among other lovely additives, which are inhaled. . .

      Trimethyl Aluminum (TMA) and barium are just two of the toxic chemicals used in recent atmospheric heating and testing programs according to NASA.

if you're genuinely curious, there are plenty of youtube vids & websites with information about this, here's one:

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:10 | 598841 surfsup
surfsup's picture

Factors that play in here:  usury.  End of story all else evidence... 

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 13:59 | 597786 Ben Fleeced
Ben Fleeced's picture

I live near this particular WalMart. What you say is true. After being downsized (2008), I took up a job as a fry cook in a local pub leaving shopping for food time 4AM until my next shift started at 3:30P. WalMart was it if I wanted sleep. The link is a description of said store. This WalMart CEO is relaying no new information to the residents of the second poorest/highest welfare/worst educated state.

OT: 1987: Bonfire of the Vanities "...will be the first generation of downward mobility". I just felt my collar pop up!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:14 | 597839 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Anecdotally of course, but my fiance has to provide counseling services, often times going into houses.  Now, virtually all of her services are paid for by medicare/medicaid because the clients are too poor to have private insurance.  She is routinely surprised when she enters the houses and sees flat screen televisions in every room (we don't even have that), iphones (no joke), and other luxury items.  The people often ask her to give them rides to and from places because they cannot afford to travel and then once arriving at the destination, attempt to get her to pay for their meal, coke, etc.  They also skip sessions to go to vacations and other events, e.g. the fair, despite being too poor to pay for any of it...

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:15 | 598062 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Maybe those tvs "fell off a truck?"

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:19 | 598073 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Of course the poor abuse the system. Just like the rich. Only the rich can console themselves with the belief that they earned the right to abuse the system. It's the middle class that pays the freight all the way to thermonuclear fiat extinction.

<sarcasm half off, half on>

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 16:16 | 598124 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

We should give no person nor entity the opportunity to game the system.  (this will get corrected through credit contraction to a large extent...  of course, then we'll have to deal with whips on our backs).

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 00:53 | 599224 Seer
Seer's picture

"We should give no person nor entity the opportunity to game the system."

The SYSTEM is all about gaming!  It's human nature.  Despite what all the libertarians believe, that there can be limited govt (serving only "good" people) and compliance/enforcement (regulations etc.), it ain't going to happen.  Corruption and deception is part of human nature.  Any argument that we'll actually enforce laws/regulations (though libertarian types don't want regulations- not sure how they reconcile this) falls flat in the face of history's lessons. NOTE: yes, I'd like it to be as you state, but reality says that it's just not likely to happen, sigh...

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 10:27 | 599718 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I think you're confusing anarchists and libertarians...  there is a general misconception that libertarians wish for there to be no government, no law, no society...  clearly this is incorrect (aside from obviously being untenable).  The libertarian perspective is that given the inherent nature of man (to game the system), we should reduce the system to as small as possible, to ensure gaming is kept to a minimum and we actually have some semblance of a chance to maintain it (which includes regulation).  Politically, this approach is far on the conservative end of the conservative-liberal spectrum.

This concept is in dire contradiction to both the popular republican and democratic parties, each of whom are desperately liberal, desiring to ensure the expansion of the size of the government, and thus the ability to game it as well as the ability to control the populace with an iron fist, regardless of the sustainability of such actions.

In short, the best form of government acknowledges human nature and, more importantly, our ability, or lack thereof, to control it perpetually...  this is why our founding documents are so insightful...  despite glaring transgressions of the ideals by many of our founders.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:58 | 598724 1100-TACTICAL-12
1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

Truer words have never been spoke....

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:56 | 598932 Dburn
Dburn's picture

That seems like another elitist  talking point from a person who has never been there or seen it. As mentioned below, being poor is expensive. Not only in food, but insurance is 3x more because of the areas they inhabit from renters insurance to home-owners should one have the money for a shack , car insurance and health insurance. Of course it's all junk insurance that rarely pays claims because who are they going to call? The insurance commissioner? 

Food stores are expensive and poorly stocked as transportation to a cheaper competitor is not in the cards for most.Many of the "Wal-Mart poor" may get there in Church vans. They may have a car but its either stolen or on it's last legs.

Hospital ERs average 8 - 10 hour wait times.  Predatory businesses locate down there for the sole purpose of taking as much money as they can. Sure it's dangerous, but the money is well worth it for Pawn shops , convenience stores ( who hire people that are expendable) and a variety of other places that serve the "special needs " of the poor.

In other words once you get down in the muck, it's damn hard to get out. So where is that job? Someplace they can't afford to get to unless it's the city and public transportation is ok. Right. Nothing.

But for those who do get to a job, they have child care to worry about and they can look forward to minimum wage with no chance of advancement.

Is it any wonder drugs and crime is a rampant problem?

As far as those who do get fat,  sugary, Carbonated drinks are cheaper than milk. What milk they do get goes to the kids. Convenience store living is not for weight watchers

That's what happens when there is no hope, but nevertheless they still have it better than a good portion of the middle class do now who can't qualify for any of the public welfare programs.

Why? The middle class who never had welfare and were raised to always work who now can't find any job anywhere and have no place to go for medical care unless they get rid of everything they own. Crime and drugs? I don't think those of you who make these standard "The poor has cable TV, are fat, have cell phones, are lazy and need to get there fat asses to work" are going to like it when the middle class who hasn't pawned their guns decide to go hunting for food in your neighborhood.

By the way, I 've mentioned cable and people's preconceptions that all have cable when in fact it gives them internet access, phone and basic TV for free. If they are to look for a job they can't be without a phone and they certainly can't be without email . Libraries just can't serve thousands.

Finally on that cell phone nonsense. Most of the cell phones the poor own cost as much for one year of service compared to what most here pay in one month. It may also represent their only line if they can't get cable or they can't get the poverty phone from the phone company. The cell phones are the prepaid phones which went bought right are about $10.00 for the phone and 25 cents for the minutes you need down to 10 cents. I use them . Emergencies only. But I could easily see someone using it as a main phone for about a $100 a year.

These stereotypes are corrosive and show how poorly informed people really are as a result of being out of touch by virtue of a little luck. There are no studies that can be cited yet the source of it seems to be a passed around within families who have a certain sense of entitlement to the finer things in life and don't want to see their "tax dollars " used for these things".

Look up the percentage of your tax dollars that are used for this for those of you who do pay taxes, and then measure it off against a full time security company with armed guards outside your house and driving the kids to school over dead bodies. Once you go through that , it will seem like the cheapest choice to keep them out of your sight because you do know that nothing says "target" more than someone who likes to show off their success with ostentatious displays of material wealth. Your guns won't do you much good either. A Master Sergant from WW11 asked his  son, who proudly showed him the new 9mm he got: "Did you shave the sight off?"  His son answered "why would I do that?" "So it won't hurt as bad when someone is shoving it up your ass"

I lived down in the poor end for 8 years to get my business off the ground for cheap warehouse space. It is no luxury party on taxpayer expensive where I was and I was not on taxpayer expense. You would be surprised at how few actually are.

One woman caught a bullet in the throat as she was walking out of all night Shell station right around where I was. It came from a drive by shooting about a mile way. Pure horrible luck and timing. Imagine that, walking out of a door , turning and a bullet hits you right in the throat. Those deaths are not usually immediate. They are horrible. That is an example of the living conditions. Automatic gun fire is almost a nightly feature as gangs shoot it out for a few bucks or to "right a wrong". Here they are starting to make their way to "where the money is". More and more couples in the nice neighborhoods are found dead after a couple of days from a midnight robberies and killing.

It can only be contained for so long and there really is no defense. So when some of you who look with disdain at the poor, think twice about that new German or Italian car. It says "Money and success" right? It also says "target"

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 22:01 | 599028 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Always appreciate your posts, Dburn. I too am fed up with "blame the poor for being poor". People who do that are hypocrites, whited sepulchers incapable of empathy. The least we can do is realize how lucky we are if we are not victims of poverty ourselves. Your idea of becoming a target by wearing high quality clothes or driving a high quality car is interesting. We do those things for status primarily, to give us the feeling that we are insulated from poverty--how ironic that this could get us killed.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 22:55 | 599084 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture


We ignore our harsh mistress: history.

Millions will die. Reset. Inevitable. Recurrence.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 23:53 | 599163 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The problems in our society are so pervasive, they transcend any socioeconomic status, religion, education, and familial structure.  It's perfectly acceptable to blame the poor, so long as you also blame the system that helps to perpetuate their status and its enablers.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 03:26 | 599315 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Pretty much. I hate repeating myself, but:


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 22:15 | 599037 Lonewar
Lonewar's picture

Ok, that was from your view, now its my turn.

I work in a welfare office in Southern California. MOST of my clients have cell phones (Only telephone), and MOST of those cell phones are either IPhones or Smart Phones.

Some of my clients drive Cadillac Escallades.

Most of my clients work under the table and only declare enough income to keep them out of the Welfare to Work program (to us), but then claim a different amount that allows them to maximize their EITC to the IRS.

Most of my clients have Section 8 housing and live in reasonable neighborhoods because Section 8 pays a majority of their rent (Like $1300 of the total rent of $1400 per month).

ALL of my clients have better health care coverage than I do. Major medical plan that covers everything my policy does with $0 ZERO co-pays or deductibles.

Most of my clients have a hell of a lot more disposable income than I do. When you are getting $~500 per month to feed a family of 4, another ~$700 per month in Cash Aid, have a $100 rent payment, ~$100 in total utility payments, $0 Medical care costs, $0 insurance costs, you can afford to splurge on the nice things in life. Especially when you have a few baby daddies that are paying some child support under the table, and have a job working for cash.

This also doesnt count those who bought a house in the 90s, refied in the 00s, and are still living there rent free trying to be foreclosed on. Yes, I know of a person who refied and took $200,000 out of their home and then got pissed when we cut them off from Cash Aid. So they bought the Escallade cash, took a few vacations (Bahamas, Hawaii, Europe) and was back in the office 3 months later and on aid again.

And I hate to say it, but the Escallades, and Accords, and Lexus dont say target because everyone in the neighborhood knows that that is Joe Blows car, and he is packing heat, and if you mess with it, he will kill you, and your family, and your friends, and your pets, because Joe Blow is a crazy mo fo.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 23:01 | 599091 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Which is why I have an ASP, a 9mm, and an M1A.

Some people deserve less resistance than others. Plan for escalation - hope they choose life.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 07:12 | 599405 uno
uno's picture


Back in High School in the 70's I worked in a Winn Dixie store.   Food stamps were big there, most of the time enormous women with bratty kids used them.  They got there and left by taxi, sometime we had to call taxis for them.  

So many tried to sneak in cigarettes and booze in with the food.  Back then it was a real pain.  As a cashier I had to ask everyone before ringing up anything if they were paying by cash, check or food stamps.  The standard answer with these welfare queens was cash, so I would type in the dollars and cents (before bar codes), get the total and then they would give me the food stamps.  Then you would have to go deduct the cigarettes and booze (already bagged, have to dig them out), get manager approval, use the handouts for everything else, and then separately ring up the cigarettes and booze to pay by cash.  Typically this was done on weekends since the lines were long and they thought they could game the system.

BTW, my family qualified for food stamps, did not take it, we had to go shop by bus to the same food store on Friday and Saturday I eventually worked at, did not have a phone at home (used a neighbors when needed), no car.

There is a difference in living in poverty and living off the government handouts.  Poverty can be a great motivator (worked my way through high school and college), government handouts are the complete opposite.  The system was corrupted back in the 70’s (I’m sure before then also), from the stats it is much worse today.  Now it is so easy to get Social Security Disability, just claim depression.  You will be turned down, just keep re-applying, finally people get it for life with free Medicaid.  Problem is the middle class has to pick up the tab.


It does get old listening to limousine liberals or anyone not put in the situation talk about living in poverty.  There are choices even in poor conditions, many people make the sacrifice and do succeed.  



Thu, 09/23/2010 - 07:48 | 599421 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

Junked you for 'limosine liberals'. 

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 11:52 | 599978 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Junked for not explaining.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 08:48 | 599441 Bob
Bob's picture

I'm truly impressed by your liberal use of the word "most" in your characterization of the poor, Lonewar.  What a picture you paint!  MOST? 

What a bunch of twisted bullshit. 

In my 30 years of work with the same population, I've been greatly impressed by the distorted perceptions of my professional peers of the people whom they serve.  Contempt is the most common attitude I have found.

That contempt is what enables most of them to rationalize the half-assed quality of their work and the outsized salaries and benefits they receive for it. 

Sorry to hear you have a medical co-pay.  But surely having CalPERS funding your early retirement in high style is some compensation for the daily indignity you suffer in working with the "undeserving." 



Thu, 09/23/2010 - 07:57 | 599419 Bob
Bob's picture

" Point being, it is far too easy to obtain government hand-outs today and until incentives change, this type of behavior will not chandisge."

The "behavior" you condemn being having "cable TV, internet, and cell phones," Joeman. 

Ahh, the luxury of fat ignorance fed by no real knowledge of how the poor survive.  It keeps the precious resentment of those at the bottom of society flourishing in America. 

As someone who has known, personally and professionally, the poor in America--of all colors--here's what I know.  The majority don't have cars and those who do are driving clunkers that are out of service as often as they are running.  Hussling rides from those who have cars--as long as they've got gas money to kick in--is a way of life.  Ride an urban bus system and check the socio-economic status of most riders. Most live in multi-generational and mixed family households that manage, between them all, to scrounge up money for the cable, although service interuptions due to inability to maintain payments are common.  Likewise for household utilities such as heat and electricity.  And likewise for cell phones (which, of course, are necesary for hussling rides, having a chance of finding work, etc.)  Internet and computers, not so much--which is why the web is dominated by elitist ignorance.

The underlying assumption of the condemnation of the poor seems to be that the "welfare state" is what keeps "these people" unemployed.  Yet experience shows that they are "last hired, first fired" in America.  In Econ 101 I learned a little concept called "Structural Unemployment" that explains this state of affairs.  The system is designed to maintain about 3% unemployment in order to keep labor on their toes.  Is it really difficult to understand why being poor becomes a way of life for those born into it? 

Yeah, I know, Horatio Algers tells a different story.  As a white man born into abject poverty in a family of people of sub-normal intelligence (somebody has to occupy the low end of the bell curve, otherwise it would not exist) and no heritage of education, I know Horatio is full of shit.  Yes, I went to college and became a professional who can easily hang with people at any level of society without them imagining my origins.  I've been scrubbed clean of all signs, as it were.  As they tell their stories of how they got to where they are as a result of only their own hard work and character, I get a kick out of telling them where I came from.  Gee, somehow they never run into people like me--wonder why that is? 

Now, I could join into the self-congratulatory celebration of achievement that these folks so enjoy--as so many who "rise" out of poverty and ignorance do--but I know better.  I was lucky beyond belief--born with a bizarre aptitude for academic achievement to go with "intelligence" above the 99th percentile.  Yet I stuggled like a mo-fo to get there.  Did I earn the basic advantage that enabled me to do that?  No, it was nothing but dumb, genetic luck.  Not that I didn't have to work every bit as hard as my middle class peers to get there, but what I had to do was not only beyond what others in my family were capable of, but also beyond what the middle class people who are now my peers woud have been capable of. 

If I had been black--knowing what that really means in our society--I really don't know if I could have overcome the additional obstacles, in spite of my--and I use this term literally--"gifts." 

Most middle class people wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning if they faced the lives that the poor wake to every day.  The sad thing is that they just don't have a clue.

But that doesn't stop them from condemning the poor in stunningly perverse envy. 


Thu, 09/23/2010 - 13:53 | 600354 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

brilliant post Bob.

as someone with very similar origins, I can only nod at all that you share. . . few middle class people can appreciate how embedded they are in the culture that encourages them to succeed, with all the family networks that assist in that, including the often unspoken expectation that the world is set up just for them. . .

which it probably is, how else to expand "wealth" prior to pulling the plug.

it's takes an outsider to see the whole picture.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 15:35 | 600646 Bob
Bob's picture

Thanks, CA, and congratulations to you on "making it."

How's this as the ultimate ironic confirmation of your assertions: My eldest daughter, now an attorney, counts herself as a "self-made" success, citing the difficulties she suffered along the way (it wasn't a bed of roses, since she was born when I was 21 and I didn't get the first degree until age 33) as proof.  After all, compared to her solidly middle class peers, she was arguably "poor" at times. What she absolutely fails to comprehend is the advantage of growing up under the influence of an intelligent and  educated parent, which provides an entirely different world of understanding and perception than the one I knew.  It makes almost all the difference.  She didn't have to be--and, indeed, isn't--a genius.  But she could easily relate to everything she had to do.  For her, it was merely a relatively simple matter of doing it. And there was no ignorance or mystery involved.

To her credit, she is not one who looks down on the disadvantaged, yet it does seem surreal to me that she regards herself as one of those who "overcame grave disadvantages." 

I guess that's "success" of a sort, progress over the course of a generation: My own kid is,  to a large extent, as clueless as the rest about herself. 

But, hey, that's a luxury everyone should enjoy.  

Too bad they don't.   

Sat, 09/25/2010 - 00:35 | 604056 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

. . . "self-made success" - hmmm, I don't think there IS such a creature, tho' it's part of the amkrn mythology, so who can point fingers at her, eh? *grin*  she only has your stories as to what hardship might be, it's not lived in her body as memory, as it is for you. . . first hand experience cannot be shared as a felt sense, only as words.

you are so right to point out the head-start having an "intelligent and educated parent" gives an individual. . . beginning with not having to scrabble for the essentials to live, not having to move regularly because of drama, not having to put up with mom's current "lover" who has zero affinity (and often lots of resentment) for her children, which would be "you" and your (probable) siblings. . . these things can and do happen throughout the financial-family spectrum, but tend to pool at the lower extremes. . .

as for my "making it". . . hmm, some would disagree with you, even amongst (some) of my friends, who profess to worry about my lack of monetary motivations. . . I'm mostly self-educated, so no degrees leading to better "jobs" - in fact, I loathed being an employee because most people in charge of my work(ing) are relatively dumb, and dumb with power over sucks on the receiving end. . . not having a family tradition of go-getter, or even any real awareness of finances beyond balancing acts,  I just did whatever I wanted to, and didn't really "plan" long-term (mmmm, family imprinting, lol). . . but I'm not stupid, and I have something of a gift for spotting talents to develop, so I did well as a rock band manager whilst hanging in the UK, and subsequently lived off the platinum sales royalites. . . unlike most though, I didn't set myself up as a management company and make BANK, but bailed on the whole stink of an industry and through frugal living, travelled & picked up life-lessons along the way - now that's not what most would consider "successful" eh?   but you can see the "echo" of a chaotic upbringing in the distaste for following the rules, (not)planning for "retirement" lalalala etc. . . which, of course, comes back to snap at your ass as you age, mmmmhmm.

I do admire your sticking to the responsibilities of successfully parenting children - which is a huge job, and committment, particularly given that the "culture" works so hard against you. . . I occasionally sit with the discards and duped kids of today, trying to give them a piece of something that may help one day down the road (not in a paid capacity, but as an interested bystander prone to planting seeds). . .

anyhow, just wanted to thank you for your posts here, they stand out, and come from a voice not often heard, nor listened to.

Sat, 09/25/2010 - 08:30 | 604155 Bob
Bob's picture

Now that's a prodigious display of self-awareness that I don't think I've ever heard at this level of understanding before.  Family imprinting captures so much. 

One would wish that such rare and painfully earned understanding would provide commensurate benefits . . . but I find that, in reality, it is merely an additionally bittter pill to swallow.  It's tough to make a sow's ear into any kind of purse.  

Keep up the good fight, CA.   

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 14:05 | 597807 Sausagemaker
Sausagemaker's picture


Michael Pollan (Omnivoire's Dilemma and In Defense of Food) has done some interesting writing on this subject. In short, he argues that US agricultural policies and farm subsidies have lead to a food production and distribution system that encourage the production of the greatest number of calories at the lowest cost. This manifests itself primarily in the form of corn, soy, and wheat. He further argues that people in the US have suffered from a form of nutritional inflation. He says that your body requires a certain amount of nutrients that these grains do not supply. Therefore people eat more calories than they require to get the vitamins and minerals they require. Interesting stuff...


Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:15 | 598058 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I very familiar with this concept and I'm in general agreement. Even at it's most basic, it's an example of how corporations, which are working hand in hand with government, are making decisions that do not benefit those who they purportedly serve, the end user or citizen.

Of course, what's really surprising about this? We're talking about the sociopathic corporate structure and the corruptiable guardians of the public that is government. When the citizens look away (or are willingly distracted) we should not be surprised when we are poisoned, robbed and raped. Yet we are. Why? This is what continuously leads me deeper into our social denial and myth making process.

Daddy, tell me another lie so I can believe it's the truth.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 17:38 | 598540 malusDiaz
malusDiaz's picture

Thank you for using the word "Citizen" so often confused with "Consumers".

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 00:59 | 599229 Seer
Seer's picture

Here, here!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:08 | 598604 moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

I remember what people ate 40 years ago, and it was in no way healthy than now. Look at a cook book or picture of a meal in the 50s or 60s...crapola. Maybe some rural people that had more access to gardens back then and there are a bit less of them but other than that Mad Men were eating and drinking like crap 40-50 years ago. 

And people really are not that less physically active. The guy 40 years that had a short commute home instead of being in car for an hour, what did he do when he got home, run laps, tai chi? hell no, he was in the recliner, grilling, watching sports on TV whatever...

yeah kids were outside more before TV, before radio, before video games, but were they in a constant state of aerobics, or were they fishing, building forts, arguing and daring eachtoher, hanging are stoops, whatever...I don't think kids are way less active than the have been since TV showed up.

Something else is going on, we were unathletic crap eaters 40 years ago too.

I see same thing in MX...when I first visited 20 years ago most people were thinner than Americans, now some many Mexicans are way chubby. Are they too suddenly less active and suddenly way more into sweets and fats and carbs?

Something in the food or in our bodies is working against us and it keeps getting worse

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 19:20 | 598763 MurderNeverWasLove
MurderNeverWasLove's picture

Something else is going on, we were unathletic crap eaters 40 years ago too.

I see same thing in MX...when I first visited 20 years ago most people were thinner than Americans, now some many Mexicans are way chubby. Are they too suddenly less active and suddenly way more into sweets and fats and carbs?

Something in the food or in our bodies is working against us and it keeps getting worse

Search "obesogens"

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 19:23 | 598769 Big Corked Boots
Big Corked Boots's picture

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)?

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:10 | 598843 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

+1, and I'll raise you Bovine Growth Hormone, rBGH. . .

geee thanks Monsanto ----------> Eli Lilly! 

of course, most western countries BAN it, silly them. . . works for amrkns!

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:01 | 598943 Misstrial
Misstrial's picture


Thu, 09/23/2010 - 12:21 | 600055 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

The Ministry of Truth is changing that to "corn sugar".

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 01:03 | 599235 Seer
Seer's picture

"Something else is going on, we were unathletic crap eaters 40 years ago too."

But... back then there were actually more minerals in even the crap.  And, this is the tough reality that we don't want to face: that we've mined the fuck out of our soils.  It's about interaction in minerals, about balance; and clearly, it's NOT getting any better, and it WAS better in the past than it is today.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 17:45 | 598549 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Pollan has done some great work and these corporations and the government know these effects. Hell, courts are ruling in Monsanto's favor when their "seeds" infect the neighbor farmers organic crop and they claim the infected plant is now their property and the farmer (a trespass / property destruction victim?) owes them money. We may all be responsible for what's going down but there are significant degrees to assign.      

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 19:23 | 598768 MurderNeverWasLove
MurderNeverWasLove's picture

What's worth is they are going around and killing crops by spraying them with Roundup.  Like the Salem witch trials, if your crops don't die, then you are guilty of unlicenced growing of "Roundup-ready" crops.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 23:11 | 599113 DaveyJones
Wed, 09/22/2010 - 17:50 | 598563 RobD
RobD's picture

I would argue the corn, soy and wheat are more posion then food. Our spear chucking ancestors withome we share 100% of our DNA evolved eating none of the above. If you could not spear it or pick it up off the ground and eat it raw at the time our paleo ancestors evolved you probably shouldn't eat it.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:43 | 598911 ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

Ding Ding Ding!!  We have a winner.  And if one looks into the relationship between high fibre/low fat, and the increase of IBD/digestive disorders, you might just put down that bran muffin and eat some side pork for breakfast tomorrow.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:51 | 598928 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

 - you're telling the truth, neurotoxins.


Thu, 09/23/2010 - 03:45 | 599328 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

No. Cooking is very important to human history. By cooking food we break it down and this allowed us a 25 percent reduction in digestive investment. All our atheletic potential derives from not carrying around and extra 15 to 20 lbs of digestive equipment. Look at cat and dog bellies they are huge compared to humans.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 16:49 | 598417 swamp
swamp's picture

l bleeding heart bullshit.

A bag of rice and beans cooked in water served with a cut of fresh vegtable of some sort is half the price of a greasy burger and fries and a coke. 

You are full of crap.


How many of these wal mart shoppers are illegal aliens.

No one speaks English in the wal mart closest to my area, 25 miles away.


Thu, 09/23/2010 - 01:13 | 599238 Seer
Seer's picture

"No one speaks English in the wal mart closest to my area, 25 miles away."

And you'd know it if you heard it? ("l bleeding heart bullshit.")

Fucking stupid-assed logic!  People don't speak English, therefore they are illegal!  Congratulations, you've passed entry into the haters' club, sponsored by the rich who are picking your pockets...

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:00 | 598585 FEDstidius
FEDstidius's picture

Cog, I've loved your writings and comments but I flagged you becuase I don't agree witht the statement that all poor people are uneducated. In fact, I would argue that the education they have recieved has set them up to be dependent on the state. Most poor people are also the products of public education which has been postulated to incoculate a sense of depedency. They don't know what to do because they've never had the chance to decide for themselves.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:32 | 598664 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Thank you for the compliment. However, I did not say "all people are uneducated". What I said was....

And many poor people lack the education, training and upbringing as well as incentive to know how to eat well/better on less money.

There is a big difference between "all people are uneducated" and  "many poor people lack the education, training and upbringing as well as incentive to know how to eat well/better on less money."

I spoke about poor education regarding eating well, not that all poor are uneducated. I said poor education about a specific subject, not uneducated about everything.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:45 | 598697 FEDstidius
FEDstidius's picture

I stand corrected. Thanks.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 01:16 | 599240 Seer
Seer's picture

Just curious, is that how "flagging" is to be utilized, because you don't agree with someone, not because they're introducing some sort of bigoted/hatemongering language or otherwise pure BS?

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:15 | 598625 minus dog
minus dog's picture

" Since 60% of Americans are "fat", it stands to reason 60% of poor people are fat. "

Not really.   You can't expect some sort of regular distribution to apply equally to all income groups when things like obesity and wealth each affect the other so much.  At least you seem to have a better understanding of how a lot of them actually live.

People like to hop on the "poor people are fat because they're poor" bandwagon.  I wonder how many who say that have actually been poor, because I see a LOT of fat people that blow more money on crappy food than I make in an average year.  These people are fat.  It is then not a stretch to say, instead, that they are fat people that are poor because they are fat?  

Fresh produce and meat are the most expensive part of my household's diet, but it's still nearly an order of magnitude cheaper than McDonalds.  We make nearly everything we eat from scratch, aside from some canned goods we rotate through.  I don't buy that packaged food is cheaper than fresh food - because I should know.  Through most of the last decade I ate on less than $2 a day.  I collected cans to feed myself and used sticks to retrieve change from under vending machines

Fast food is expensive.  Microwave dinners are expensive.  Junk food is rich in calories per dollar but still nominally expensive per unit and serving, plus opportunity cost - $5 of staples will feed me better and longer than $5 of crap, if I take the time to prepare the food.  (yes, I've survived on Grandmas Soft Cookies in the 2 pack when stranded places before... 50 cents for two 200 calorie cookies, bought with change scrounged from sidewalk cracks.  Sometimes calories are all that counts).  Vending machines, which actually make up a very large part of the low wage working class diet, are ruinously expensive.  Convenience stores are expensive.

Another reason a lot of "poor" people are "poor" is because they just plain suck at budgeting.  They're not really cognizant of how much money they blow on all of the above plus beer and tobacco, instead of simply packing a PB&J or bologna sandwich for lunch.  

For years I've driven nice cars, owned and aquired nice tools and equipment, lived in clean and well furnished apartments, etc.  I've done this on a fraction of the income earned by your typical poor, fat American slob.  It's hard for me to explain just how much these people drive me nuts.  I've never collected so much as a single cent of welfare, food stamps, unemployment, etc.

I don't know what the hell these people are going to do when they can't suck down Big Mac's, soft drinks and Ho-Ho's all day long.  They're not going to be very happy.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 18:38 | 598680 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I get your point. But I shall protest.

You're not being fair to me. I was responding to a person who just said poor people are fat. I was making quick general statements to refute his point. I was backing him down from his very broad and sweeping statement. Of course fat people aren't evenly divided among all social class.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 19:07 | 598740 ShatteredArm
ShatteredArm's picture

I don't think it's the price of the food that makes poor people eat unhealthily.  You also have to consider that poor people (ex food stamp recipients) are more likely to work two (or three) jobs, meaning they simply don't have time to fiddle around with preparing meals and so forth.  They don't eat fast food because it's cheap; they eat it because it's fast.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:56 | 598938 Turd Ferguson
Turd Ferguson's picture

"Don't believe in those who tell me there ain't no cure.

The rich stay healthy, the sick stay poor."

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 01:24 | 599243 Seer
Seer's picture

Actually, some time back I recall reading that "rich" people were actually NOT all that healthy, that the stresses of their cubicle-world lifestyle, along with all the ladder-climbing pressures, result in signficant stresses; and I think that it's pretty clear that contunued high levels of stress don't make a person more healthy.  I used to wear a pin that said "High on Stress," yeah, I was once one of those people, I have first-hand experience of nearly being killed by the stress (only it wasn't all that obvious- and, you don't go talking about it because that would indicate that you're weak- not something you do when you're trying to climb the ladder).

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 01:28 | 599244 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

Majic Johnson is a fairly recent example.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:55 | 597627 Ripped Chunk
Ripped Chunk's picture

40 million currently on food stamps.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:43 | 598912 THE 4th Quadrant
THE 4th Quadrant's picture

Atrophic American Dream's lead to the semiconscious implementation of the Cloward–Piven strategy.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 13:01 | 597642 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

"...until they...turn off their TVs and get their fat-asses to work"

Doing what?

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