2:00PM Water Cooler 10/30/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Iowa House: Clinton backs Braley, who supported Edwards and then Clinton in 2008 [Bloomberg]. If the Clintons aren’t holding a grudge, things are desperate indeed.

Steve Israel: Climate is worst “since 2010” [AP]. Forgive the lengthy quote, but since few state the obvious, see Down with Tyranny:

The Steve Israel Effect is when his grotesquely corrupt DCCC targets the wrong districts with awful conservative recruits, gets them to alienate grassroots Democrats with mealy-mouthed mystery meat positions by promising huge independent expenditures in their races— and then leaves them high and dry at the end of the campaign by withdrawing all the financial support and transferring it to even worse and more conservative (and corrupt) candidates. One of over a dozen examples in the last few weeks: Steve Israel just withdrew $2.8 million in support for moderate John Foust and gave the money to wretched Nebraska Blue Dog Brad Ashford and the shady little bank lobbyist Pete Aguilar.

One of the corollaries of the Steve Israel Effect is that it depresses Democratic turn-out. Grassroots progressives, who differ markedly and across-the-board from the corrupt Beltway Establishment, are not usually enthused by the horrifyingly low calibre of candidates Israel and other DCCC hucksters recruit. Garbage candidates like Jennifer Garrison— anti-Choice, virulently anti-gay, pro-NRA, pro-fracking… she’d be perfect as a Republican— do not draw informed Democratic voters. Conservative incumbents (Blue Dogs and New Dems)— encouraged all cycle by Israel and Hoyer to vote with the GOP on crucial matters— are now all in trouble and struggling to survive. It’s no wonder why. Conservative voters already have their candidates, i.e., Republicans. When grassroots Dems don’t see a choice, they stay home. And, sure enough, yesterday’s Hill broke the news that Israel and the other lame brains in the DC Democratic Establishment are panicking as they “suddenly” realize that many of their base voters won’t be showing up in 3 weeks.

Why anyone would think of Israel and his ilk as “the lesser evil” is beyond me. Dante put murderers in the Seventh Circle of Hell. But he put fraudsters and betrayers, like Israel, in the Ninth. People who vote for real Rs instead of Israel’s fake ones are taking a perfectly defensible ethical position.

Maine Governor: Independent Senator Angus King switches endorsement from Independent Eliot Cutler (19.3%) to D Mike Michaud (33.6%), after Cutler stays in race against R LePage (39.3%) [Talking Points Memo]. Cutler voters do seem to be shifting to Michaud [Bangor Daily News].

One-third of voters will vote early by mail [FT, “US election will be won at the letterbox”]. In the Maine 2010 election, ballots already cast by mail damped a late Cutler surge, one factor behind the LePage victory.


Doug Henwood: Clinton’s policies “won’t change the material or social well-being of women and children in any significant way” [Salon]. Wait, let me guess; Clinton’s words are “performative.”

Chris Cilizza: Clinton should announce now to prove she’s not a conventional thinker and to combat the forces already arrayed against here [WaPo]. Beltway scribes running out of things to write about?

Jebbie reels in trial balloon, says his son didn’t talk to him before saying he was “more than likely” to run [WaPo].

Elite R Executive Roundtable hooks up $25,000+ donors with members of Republican Governor’s Association, headed by Fred Malek. Malek: “Businesspeople like to get a return on investment” [WaPo]. You remember Fred Malek; the guy who, while drunk in college, was arrested as part of a group that killed, barbecued, and ate a dog?

Internal R report: Married women without a college degree are the only women who reliably prefer Rs to Ds [WaPo]. Hence, Sarah Palin.

Telephone surveys that overweight landlines and underweight some demographics based on out-of-date Census data undercount Democrats [Times]. Maybe, but this story crops up every election, and surely the pros are adjusting for these things?

TV ads can now target individuals [Bloomberg]. One more reason to unplug.

Stats Watch

Jobless claims, week of October 25, 2014: Higher but at “recovery” lows. “[U]nderscores yesterday’s upbeat assessment of the jobs market by the FOMC” [Bloomberg]. Translation: The labor force is now smaller, wages are lower, and jobs are more crapified. Mission accomplished! The only task that remains is cooling the marks.

Hong Kong

Mainland ratchets up the “outside influences” talking point [CCTV]; crude. At least in foreign policy, Putin was right: “Anything US touches turns into Libya or Iraq” [RT]. That this has not happened in Hong Kong is the surest sign U.S. influence isn’t in any way dominant. So far, no clusterfuck of epic proportions!

Christians play prominent roles in the leadership of pro- and anti-occupiers; Carrie Lam, for example [Bloomberg].

Poems on the protests [Asian Review of Books].

Dan Garrett must be the world’s worst spy [New York Times].

Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and KPMG place ads against Hong Kong unrest [WSJ].


Holder says need for “wholesale change” in Ferguson PD is “pretty clear” [MSNBC], as we implied yesterday. And please, let’s get it done before the mid-terms!

St. Louis County prosecutor McCulloch says leaks on Darren Wilson Grand Jury investigation came from hacked twitter account [Free Press].

Where’s Kanye? [HuffPo]. Same place as Beyoncé. Et cetera. Why would that be?

Visitor to Ferguson: “It isn’t until the police show up that I feel unsafe” [Beacon Reader].


Corrupt D goon and control freak Cuomo gutted a second Moreland Act-based Commmission he himself set up: The one to investigate how one million Long Islanders lost power in Hurricane Sandy [The Albany Project].

Cuomo of Preet Bharara on FOX: “Prosecutors are a lot better at starting investigations” [Capital New York]. Wagons successfully circled?

Cuomo calls public schools a “monopoly” he wants to “bust up” in favor of “real performance measures with some competition, which is why I like charter schools” [Daily News]. The real “performance measure” for charters is — ka-ching! —  looting and corruption, so Cuomo’s views are not surprising.

Zephyr Teachout will not endorse Cuomo [New York Observer]. What remains to be understood is how anyone could.

“Sharing” [cough] “Economy”

I had no idea the highly principled and liberal David Plouffe, former top advisor to Barack Obama, was now Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy at gliberatarian cesspit Uber [Bloomberg].

Uber PR sock puppet impersonates driver, tries to scam LA Weekly into placing puff piece [Pando Daily]. Plouffe’s strategy?

Uber PR flacks lie about how much money their drivers are making [Business Insider]. Plouffe’s strategy?

News of the Wired

  • Social scientists can’t predict when unrest will turn into an uprising [Dart Throwing Chimp]. So, pace Steve Jobs, the best way to predict the future is to destroy it?
  • World count of billionaires doubles since 2007 financial crisis [Oxfam]. Doing God’s work!
  • Explainer on Snowden “second source,” likely a contractor, but not known to be arrested, although their home was reportedly raided [WaPo]. Not to overegg the tinfoil, but could an arrest have been secret?
  • Weather channel says global warming is real and its position is “unwavering,” despite founder’s disagreement [Talking Points Memo].
  • Big data and “the Netflix of business appraisals” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. Just think of the possibilities if not only MERS, for title “transfer,” but appraisal were automated!
  • Secret Service sex scandal investigator resigns over sex scandal [Guardian].
  • MIT “Smart Sewage” project measures waste to spot proliferating viruses and bacteria before epidemics happen [CNN].
  • Soyuz T-13’s mission to save Salyut 7; awesome courage and ingenuity [Ars Technica]. Let’s look at this thing from a… um, from a standpoint of status….

* * *

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 (Kurt Sperry):


Poppies from Le Jardin de Plantes, Paris. As readers now, I have a soft spot for botanical gardens.

Again, I’m running just a bit short. Fall foliage would be nice!

Talk amongst yourselves!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. cwaltz

      I hope that the left is able to articulate better on this than they did on health care or the deficits. As it is it seems far too many people don’t actually understand how the SS Trust fund works. It isn’t “broke.” The IOUs are bonds. Anyone who thinks of that as nothing ought to tell that to investors like China or banks that invest in bonds because it is one of the safest investments a person can make. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to be articulated is that the reason we are having this discussion isn’t because the system is “broke” at all. It’ because the next group of retirees means that there won’t be as much excess for the government to use as their own personal slush fund, it’d be used to actually fund retirees as intended.

      At the same time I hope that the left pushes hard on raising the cap. It’s about time the Mitt Romneys and other special snowflakes had ALL their income considered so that when push comes to shove they don’t have practically the same tax bracket as a 20 year old making a low five figure salary.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There has been consistent support for stealing from Social Security for years in D.C. Its been stopped by the voters every time. In 2005, it was stopped by Republicans. Terry Schaevo was cooked up to stop the bleeding among older boomers and seniors in the GOP. Polling data proves that circus was a success.

        Obama was stopped in 2012/2013 by Democrats hearing from their votes. Eventually Democratic Congress critters grew too afraid to move, and much of the GOP will never work with the Democrats to accomplish any scheme.

        Social Security is one thing the voters seem to have under control.

        1. Bill Frank

          “Social Security is one thing the voters seem to have under control.”
          Interesting. I don’t see any issue, including this one, that voters have under control. Actually, I believe it is exactly the opposite. Voters have no control of anything other than some local, minor issues. Social Security? It’s only a matter of time. It will be “reformed.”

          1. James

            We’ll see. I thought the Shrub was going to pull it off during his second term (Remember his famous “I’ve earned political capital, [long pause with typical eyebrow gesticulations] and now I intend to spend it” statement in the afterglow, right before things turned to shit?), but no dice. SS is one issue that’s totally non-partisan, especially the more the economy turns to shit. Cat food commissions sound like a good idea in theory, until you remember that even most of the 1% have poor and ailing elderly relatives that they would otherwise have to make at least token monetary gestures toward in SS’s absence (The horror! The horror!). I think it’s at least as likely that the Gov as we know it will just go tits up altogether in the coming meltdown and default on pretty much everything, (including my paltry military retirement) as it is spinless pols will be able to remove the proverbial third rail without getting spiked in the process. But I’m equally sure they’ll keep on trying in the interim nonetheless.

  1. Brindle

    re: 2016 Zephyr Teachout in 2016?

    Not likely, but she has been quite active recentlyin supporting progressive Dems in NY.
    In this 10/29 Politico piece on Warren, Z. Teachout shows how much she would make 2016 entertaining if she would enter the Dem primaries:

    —-Zephyr Teachout, who challenged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the left in a September Democratic primary, denouncing him as a product of special interests, said “there’s an extraordinary opening” for a populist Democrat in 2016.

    “Just looking at [Clinton’s] past, she can’t start saying populist words and feel like they resonate with people’s experiences with power,” Teachout said. “She continues to show she’s missing where the country is. … the modern American experience right now is one of a real sense that economic and political power are getting concentrated, and people [are getting] left out.”—-

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/elizabeth-warren-not-running-still-vexing-hillary-clinton-112330.html#ixzz3Hf9JrZun

  2. john

    Just bought a generic 3 cheese pizza in the NE area, and it only came with pepperoni (made with pork, chicken, and beef.)

    Usually I go for 6 cheese, but hidden inflation is afoot!

    Also, the latest PBS newshour (Wed.) has some good infor 3/4ths through about how our NASA contractor had a lift blow up (with refurbished 60’s gear) … partially because a consortium of Lockheed (former pres. being Cheney’s wifey) and Boeing (lost the new JS Fighter contract to Cheney’s wifey) are buying up all the excess Russian rockets.

    Truth is, our rockets don’t work, and our food is shit.

    1. hunkerdown

      Actually, if it *were* shit, it would be better food than the chemically-laced “colored sugar-coated lard squares” on offer, and M. Dumile wasn’t that far off the mark seeing how much of the food today is PHSO, HFCS, TVP, maltodextrin and artificial flavoring.

      A bit surprised that today’s ADR (Dark Age America: Involuntary Simplicity) didn’t make it into the rolls today, seeing as how it deals with the economics of collapse per se. Anyway, I take the liberty to hoist a quote from their comments… one, invoking the old French cliché that “bureaucracies expand to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy”, observes, “it’s as though we’re finding ways to get sick in order to meet the “needs” of the healthcare industry.”

  3. hunkerdown

    Edward Snowden gives a shout-out to the basic income guarantee and burnishes his social justice bona fides. (The Nation)

    Wouldn’t that be a fascinating angle if Snowden were Handling Ukraine for Omidyar Network sub rosa?

    (Technical issue: the italics button creates <em> tags, which the site’s stylesheet prevents from being styled as italics.)

      1. hunkerdown

        My bad… actually, the bug is that effects applied by the buttons don’t take effect in the live preview until the next keypress. Sorry about that, chief.

  4. Jeff W

    “Mainland ratchets up the ‘outside influences’ talking point”

    Legco president (and founding member of the pro-Beijing party now known as the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong) Jasper Tsang Yok-sing apparently didn’t get the memo.

    According to the South China Morning Post, Tsang yesterday “disputed allegations that foreign forces were behind Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, contradicting claims by the city’s leader and Beijing.”

    (It’s difficult to imagine statements that would firm up the protesters’ resolve more than allegations that they are unwitting dupes of “outside forces,” in any case.)

  5. Kurt Sperry

    “You remember Fred Malek; the guy who, while drunk in college, was arrested as part of a group that killed, barbecued, and ate a dog?”

    I strongly object to the bolded bit. Sounds like a dog whistle for “he’s a good kid from a good family” white privilege, and is in no way shape or form exculpatory. As if it would have been any different if he’d been high on meth and going to auto repair school instead.

      1. ambrit

        That’s why the Aztecs bred chihuahuas. Meat on the paw, so to speak.
        Phillip K Dick has an anecdote in his introduction to the story collection “The Golden Man” about the vicissitudes of buying horse meat to eat in California when he was dirt poor. (I’ve hunted wild rabbits for the pot when I was laid off between commercial plumbing jobs in the past.)

        1. James

          Must have been some hard up Aztecs! I can’t imagine getting even a single value meal out of a whole Chihuahua. Mean little buggers though. I’ve had several set their sights on me as a meal and damn near succeed.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      In what sense is getting drunk exculpatory? Just because humans can’t hear something doesn’t automatically make it a dog whistle. Dealt with any drunk college kids lately?

  6. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    I’m thinking that if the past is any guide, if the Democratic Party were to show signs of being taken over by grassroots left ideologues in the way that radical authoritarians took over the Republicans from the Nixon Youth types, the response from respectable media would be immediate and shrill. I don’t see any alternative arising to the Steve Isrealification and ongoing corporatization of the party. It’s probably possible to have some wildcat organizing. Where I live it’s difficult for the Dems to find people to serve on things like precinct committees. This may have a lot to do with the fact that those who do find themselves shunted aside at election times by the creatures of the consulting firm that runs all election campaigns in Oregon, regardless of which McParty the candidates claim to serve.

    1. ambrit

      My Herr Generalfieldmarschall;
      They are merely heeding the advice of your esteemed colleague, von Schlieffen: “Keep the right wing strong.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Teh awsum.

        And the beauty part is that Schlieffen lost. Logistically, his plan was “a nonsense”; only so many troops would fit through so many French roads at such and such a pace, and not enough to deal the knockout blow Schlieffen needed (quote on request, I’d have to type it in, and it’s too late and I’m too lazy).

        The Schlieffen Plan was broken, and that’s why Moltke kept tinkering with it, and that’s also why the famous gap opened between the German armies that enabled the French to fight and win the Battle of the Marne.

        The operational ingenuity (and ferocity) of the German Army was not matched by their strategic abilities, as we see in both World Wars I and II — rather, again, like the Democrats….

        1. ambrit

          Oh my. I never thought of this. “Army Group Ukraine bogs down in battle for Volgograd. General von Clinton vows to “break this deadlock” through renewed offensive actions. In related news, the National Guard has called up rear echelon troops for deployment.”

    2. James

      The GOP beat them to the punch with the whole College Republican thing back in the 80’s, but even so, the American electorate has always leaned right, and for good reason. Remember, it was the Ds who got stuck bringing the South out of the Dark Ages in the 60s with Civil Rights legislation, and in the 70s with Women’s Rights, and so on. Add to that the Vietnam War resistance hangover and Carter’s bumbling with the Iran hostage fiasco and it’s no wonder that Reagan became the messiah he’s portrayed to be today. But make no mistake, Nixon was not a prototype for any of the non-sense that goes on today. He was considered far too soft for even the Reagan bunch that followed, nevermind the Cheney/Wolfowitz/Rice NeoCons that would follow them and lead us to where we are today. People tend to giddily discount the Rs now that they’re in their crazy phase, not fully realizing that all that we see now was a calculated strategy from the very start 40 years ago to reposition the entire political spectrum to the right, such that the hated “liberal dems” could actually be recruited to carry water for them in disguise during off election cycles, which 2008 and 2012 most definitely were. And now with the coronation of the nation’s first “liberal” Queen seemingly on the horizon, with all the baggage for better and worse that her Highness brings with her, it would seem that strategy has finally borne full fruit.

      1. neo-realist

        That push to the right was also aided in large part by stirring up racial resentment amongst our fellow Americans—Nixon-Buchanan Southern Strategy, the Bakke decision by the Burger Court, Reagan talking about welfare queens, and campaigning in a town where Civil Rights workers were murdered. Race is an important foundation for keeping insecure white people on the defensive against those black ingrates who protested and rioted for a better deal in the 60’s and 70’s……….and insuring a solid voting bloc for the GOP.

        1. John Zelnicker

          Glad you mentioned the “Southern Strategy”. It’s importance in the rightward shift of American politics should not be underestimated.

          The insecure whites have always known that the only thing keeping them off of the bottom of the socio-economic totem pole is the color of their skin. The oppressed become the oppressors.

          1. ambrit

            That’s just American Black and White racial politics as well. Factor in other kinds of racialist belief systems from around the world and you have Le Grand Cluster F—. (The first example I could think of is Chinas policy of relocating Han Chinese populations, yes, it’s that big, into Tibet. Drown the native population out. Destroy their culture, and remake them in your own image. American Indian peoples can relate to that, I’m sure.)
            Now, I think we can agree, the strategy has shifted to a class based model.
            Pete Seeger singing “Which Side Are You On?”:

            1. John Zelnicker

              I agree with you except for the last part about strategy shifting to a class based model. Although the class based strategy seems to show up more often now, I think the race based strategy is also being used more frequently, and is more virulent than almost any time since the ’60’s. I’m thinking of the recent court decisions concerning voter disenfranchisement with politicians openly stating that the target is African-Americans; the “hot spots” of racial injustice like Ferguson, a symbol of law enforcement’s war against young, black males; and the continuing mass incarceration of that population (adding young, brown males where applicable, i.e., NYC).

    1. abynormal

      lifting head from toilet i think my stomach is empty now…“Of the 2+ million scanned plates, 12,216 were described as “hits”
      reason?…“This is part of a comprehensive safety plan for mall visitors, employees and tenants. Bloomington Police are limited to using the data from these readers for safety, security and traffic management purposes.”
      WHY?…As license-plate readers proliferate, law enforcement and private business are pooling surveillance. “The burden really is on the state to have a compelling reason to collect information on innocent people. It’s not the other way around.”

      “The fall of moral civilization has always been brought about by those who were “just doing their jobs”.”
      Jeremy Grantham

      1. Howard Beale IV

        And to think that Minnesota elected Jesse Ventura as Governor. Sure, he’s a 9/11 truther, but in many ways he’s much saner than the neoliberals and the neocons that currently roam the political landscape.

        1. abynormal

          i thought the same thing Howard. do people still say ‘ive done nothing wrong so i have nothing to fear’? let’s say your one of the 60 or 70% living paycheck to paycheck…surprise your short funds to cover your tag tax, due the month of your birthday, because you blew a tire or some such unforeseen life episode rang your bell???

          “I love my country, not my government.” Jesse Ventura
          sorrie Jess, presently not applicable

      2. bob

        There is a walmart near me that is the closest to the city. Lots of city folk drive out to the burbs to shop. The local town cops love their license plate readers. They can buzz through the parking lot at 40 mph looking for a “hit”, then wait until they try to drive away.

        Another reason not to go to walmart, or the mall.

        1. ambrit

          You can add Lowes to your “Avoid” list. I have personally seen local cops cruise the parking lot and then wait for the drivers to return and ticket them.

    1. amateur socialist

      It was in communications and was one of 5 schools she attended.

      But I don’t think the point is that she graduated. It’s more that she doesn’t threaten the delicate sensibilities of the women who are (still) reliable R voters. I.e. Uneducated and married.

    1. ambrit

      At least there are some people somewhere ready to mix it up with TPTB. Didn’t we do it at the Port of Los Angeles recently? Here is where the power of what Nixon so eloquently called “benign neglect” comes into play. How are people in general going to get mad enough to act if they aren’t being given the truth? Considering how important “Fringe Media” have become, Net Neutrality becomes more and more vital to the continued existence of civil society.

Comments are closed.