2:00PM Water Cooler 11/21/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Huge Revolution Day protests in Mexico City’s El Zócalo, others round the world; pictures [Guardian].

Marches across Mexico, largest 10,000 in Monterrey [Al Jazeera].

Ciudad Juarez and El Paso hold simultaneous events [Telesur].

Photos: All the photo editors like the masked dude with the molotov cocktail flaring in the background because photogenic [Guardian].

Zapatisto-like “community policing” said to spread to 80 municipalites in Guerrero, the state in which the massacre took place [Truth Digest].

More on Mexican first lady’s mansion: [Latin Correspondent]. “Imagine if Michelle Obama bought a multi-million-dollar mansion from a U.S. government contractor that had just been granted a concession worth billions of dollars in highly suspicious circumstances.”

General strike was called, but there seems to have been little uptake.

Buzzfeed looks for Mexico City reporter [Greenhouse].


Grand Jury deliberations, like, totally secret. Oh, except for leaking all of Darren Wilson’s testimony. C’mon [Bloomberg]. Can do better.

Darren Wilson in talks to resign [CNN]. I smell “compromise.” Six months before Wilson starts raking in the bucks on the conservative circuit? As long as a year?

Holder urges calm [Talking Points Memo].

Protests and holiday shopping [Times]. They called out the National Guard because shopping?

Governor Nixon puts Teach for America’s Brittany Packnett, also a protester, on Commission [HuffPo].

Hong Kong

Senior Triad member “Mr Kong” says Mainland paid triads to infiltrate Occupy, citing Legco storming as an example [South China Morning Post]. Maybe Obama shared the DHS handbook with Xi? Probably not, actually, since the Chinese no doubt has expertise of their own.

Mainland immigration blacklist from Hong Kong [Roydon Ng]. And self-selected unscientific online poll: Does the Umbrella Movement represent the Democracy Movement? 44% yes, 44% no.

Activists protest at British Embassy [Straits Times].


Prosecutors in Manhattan and Vegas probe casino operator Wynn Resorts for money laundering [WSJ].

Mahbod Moghadam, co-founder of Genius, publishes guidebook to shoplifting at Whole Foods [WaPo]. Here it is, an extended Rule #1 violation and meditation on what happens when we grant elites impunity. Best quote:

Unfortch, the best Whole Foods tend to have asshole security whereas the more “ghetto Whole Foods” (especially “college town / college campus” Whole Foods) have friendly security.

Priceless. Maybe Zuckerberg could hire this guy for PR?

“Mr. Krone, by then a millionaire” [New York]. This is supposed to be a story about tensions between Obama and Harry Reid. It’s really about incest in the political class. Also too ka-ching.


White House  Chief of Staff Podesta’s on strategic planning at the “mantra-like insistence on engaging the private sector” (ka-ching) [Politico].  Beat sweetener?

Clintonland gears up, but concerns surface about campaign chaos again [Bloomberg].

Cory Booker “acting like a conventional pol” [Dana Milbank, WaPo]. Nobody could have predicted….

Methodology: “We use education as a proxy for class” [WaPo]. At least they mentioned the word….

Republicans should change what has been working for them as a party [George Packer, New Yorker].

Imperial Collapse Watch

The conquest of Presidentialism [David Sirota, HuffPo]. Hail seizure!

“Terror threat raised as Cotswolds Vicar declares Church of England Caliphate” [News Biscuit].

Class Warfare

13 percent of global wealth held by 0.004 percent of the population (211,275 people) in 2014, says Swiss bank UBS [RT]. There are not very many of the Shing.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Cable and Wireless worked with UK’s GHCQ to build surveillance system Snowden exposed [Channel 4 (Christopher)]

Stats Watch

Kansas City Manufacturing Index, November 2014: Activity expands at slightly faster pace [Bloomberg].”[D]ifficulties in attracting and retaining certain key workers.” If only there were some way to solve that! Some invisible hand!

News of the Wired

  • We are now 3D printing tissue. Next, organs? [New Yorker].
  • Neuroscientists and simultaneous translation [Mosaic Science]. “[M]any of our most sophisticated abilities are made possible not by specialist brain areas dedicated to specific tasks, but by lightning-fast coordination between areas that control more general tasks.”
  • Rare tapeworm found living in British man’s brain [ITV]. Four years of pain and memory problems.
  • UKIP beats Tories and Labour in Rochester by-election [FT, “What Ukip’s win in Rochester means for its chances in 2015”].
  • Lockheed Martin seeking contracts under UK’s NHS privatization [Guardian]. Ka-ching.
  • Rape culture at the University of Virginia [Rolling Stone]. “Don’t you want to be a brother?” Horrifying, sick, self-perpetuating, institutionalized. Also shows the degrading influence of party culture and alcohol. And if you react against the phrase “rape culture,” read the article, first, because it is not being misapplied here. Remember Kathleen Sullivan, heroine of resistance to the hare-brained scheme of UVa’s Board of Vistors to turn the university into a MOOC mill, when that was still faddish? She makes another appearance.

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 (craazyman):


Beach roses… Could be Maine, but is Cape Cod.

Talk amongst yourselves!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. James

    Darren Wilson: Conservative White Martyr and new Cultural Icon? Now there’s a twist I never expected. But I could definitely see it playing out that way. Gotta hand it to them, these rascals are nothing, if not opportunistic!

      1. Strangely Enough

        Bernard Goetz is still alive and kicking. And hasn’t shot anyone that I know of in decades…

      2. Ivy

        When I see Olive North appear on TV, I change the channel.
        How anyone would want to see that guy after what he did is beyond me.
        My old Marine buddy would say that Ollie was ‘soiling the green’.

    1. James

      By the way, looks like it’s pretty much official now:


      “We are Darren Wilson” T-shirts and bracelets aside, this looks like a good decision for PR reasons at least. But I wouldn’t want to be a white cop walking, err…. riding a beat in Ferguson anytime soon. Although something tells me just the opposite’s actually the case.

      In all honesty, I never would have thought it would come to something like this 50 years after all the mindless bloodshed of the 60s. The seething hatred of African Americans especially, but people of color in general, by seemingly normal white middle-Americans is truly pathological, and I don’t think anyone – academic, literary, or otherwise – has ever adequately explained it (although Samuel Clemens certainly confronted and documented it better than anyone before or since). I think Ebola might be the least of our problems. We’ve got a cancer of the soul!

  2. dcblogger

    That story about Harry Reid, his Administreate Aide, and Obama, it is clear that the custom of speaking off the record is poisoning our government.

  3. craazyman

    that pic was in focus when I took it! :-)

    something horrible must have happened between my SENT message email and the NC server. Either that or somebody spread Vaseline on my computer screen right above the flower pic box on the Watercooler web page and the Vaseline follows the page up and down when I scroll.

    1. abynormal

      now this pic makes sense…yesterdays thru me (couldnt tell if they were berries or apples)

      if its blurred is it porn or art…sorrie, can’t remember :-/

      ps, i appreciate your work/keen eye

      1. craazyman

        I wouldn’t call it “work” :-) faaak. I hate work.

        this one really is in focus. I don’t know what Lambert did to it!

        I sent him a bunch of snapshots. some are pretty good, some are so-so.

        Hopefully he’ll run the good ones and make me look better than I am. haha

        1. John Zelnicker

          craazyman – The focus looks fine to me. Is the file size unchanged from what you sent? If Lambert had to reduce the size, the focus might have suffered. Still, it looks great from here. Wish I could be there.

      1. ambrit

        I vote for the Larry Flynt of plant porn. Larry is the politically motivated pornster. (Remember Bob Livingston?)

  4. Adam S.

    Re: Mahbod Moghadam, co-founder of Genius, publishes guidebook to shoplifting at Whole Foods [WaPo]. Here it is, an extended Rule #1 violation and meditation on what happens when we grant elites impunity.

    I’m struggling to comprehend the mindset that engenders this kind of attitude. How does this not end him up in jail, if not blacklisted from every professional connection ever? Is Silicon Valley that corrupt?

    (Also, his profile says he was at one point an attorney. I’m assuming this means he passed the bar exam. How has he not been disbarred?)

    1. different clue

      Good questions. As to the lawyer-bar one, I imagine someone would have to gather all this evidence and go through some formal process petitioning the Department of Lawyer Privilege or whatever to have him disbarred.
      Such a petitioner would also have to have evidence that he ever actually stole anything or seriously meant to advise anyone reading his piece to steal something. He could call it all satire, and who is to prove differently?

      It is a basic predasitic wealth-seeking attitude applied to a small and petty sphere. Abbie Hoffman wrote something like it once called Steal This Book. Hoffman claimed he was hoping to recruit millions of readers to the sacred cause of crashing the body political-economic down to zero by stealing from it till it collapsed. Then the HippieYippieZippies would rise from the wreckage to build a new society. I wonder what cause this Silicon Yuppie is claiming to serve with his “steal this food” advice. If enough people could do enough of it before Whole Foods could stop it, Whole Foods could be driven bankrupt and into liquidation. Then there would be no Whole Foods left to steal from. Then what? On to the next store-chain?

  5. Jess

    Typo alert?

    “Prosecutors in Manhattan and Vegas probe casino operator Wynn Reports for money laundering.”

    Wynn Resorts?

    Otherwise, just another outstanding day of topics and links.

  6. prostratedragon

    Having a moment, I decided I was game to click on the WaPo article about bragging shoplifters and bullying gangsters. For lagniappe I got the sponsored content, “The color of urine and what it means for you.”

  7. Jerry Denim

    UVA Rape Story; Outrageous. The way the administrators systematically protect, cover-up and deny, shielding the perpetrators reminds me a little bit of financial regulators in this country.

    Its remarkable that these poor girls and their families haven’t turned to Virginia State law enforcement who I would think would be more than willing to go after a bunch of predatory frat-boy rapists. Does anyone remember the over-zealous Durham DA from a few years ago that went after the Duke lacrosse team solely on the word of a questionable witness? Why do these poor girls (survivors, sexual violence advocacy groups) keep wasting their time and efforts with these ridiculous school administrators who rely on UVA for their cushy jobs and generous salaries? Rape is a serious criminal matter for meant for serious law enforcement. REAL law enforcement, not the keystone campus cops. ‘Honor code’ and ‘disciplinary hearing’ do not belong in the same sentence or discussion with the word ‘rape’.

    Scary to think what lessons these sociopaths and future serial murderers/rapists are learning this weekend at UVA Frat parties.

        1. ambrit

          Considering that this is basic violence against women, the lesson would be, “Don’t be a p—-.” It’s elemental mysogyny as a philosophy of life. No good can come of it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Horrible. In Chile or Argentina, one reads of people who were tortured meeting their torturers in the street. This must be just like that, except the seminar or the classroom, not the street. Utterly vile.

      And if anybody lives in a university town with party culture, alchohol, and frats….

    2. thoughtful person

      I live in Charlottesville (home of U. Va.) with my family. My daughter recently graduated from another school here in Virginia. She has a friend who is still an undergraduate young woman at U. Va. Last night they had dinner, and the article in RS came up. The friend had not yet read it, but she reported one of her friends has experienced the same at the hands of the football team. The victim did not even know the extent of her abuse until a friend told that she had seen her in a video taken by the team of the gang rape, while she had been drugged (‘roofied’). The result was some players were suspended for a few games! I know this is 2nd hand, but it is very hard to excuse the administration at the school when there is video evidence of felony behavior. I guess there is a lot of money in college football, and the schools are desperate for funds. Still it reminds me more of Abu Ghraib, when Rumsfeld was shocked that the soldiers would document their abusive behavior.

      Today the university president suspended frats through January 9th (most of the time is Winter Break). At they had to withdraw their appointment of an independent counsel – turned out he was a former brother at the frat mention in the RS story.

      Seems to me like were just going through the motions, cover up 101. Concervirginia parent

      1. ambrit

        When I attended a certain Poison Ivy League University, I and some friends made the ‘mistake’ of ridiculing the football team. Some retaliatory violence ensued. The school ‘declined’ to intervene. I got fed up with being slammed around and signed up for jujutsu classes. The sensei, a WW2 Japanese Air Force veteran, figured me and my friends out quickly and taught us some ‘special’ moves that were painful but not crippling. (‘Special’ in that they were not considered kosher in formal competition.) We took senseis’ advice and the next ‘incident’ had one of my compatriots show the jocks how he could put them out of commission for the rest of the season. Their coach promptly put us ‘out of bounds’ for the team. He didn’t want one of his linemen out of play for the rest of that season.
        Why aren’t these young women being encouraged to learn basic self respect, and all that goes with it? This is a subject where Radical Feminism has it right.
        Also, why couldn’t the young woman prosecute? Drugging for immoral purposes has been a crime for centuries. Sorry to see it, but she has already done the walk of shame. Go all the way and make some of those jocks do the perp walk.
        (We have two grown daughters with daughters of their own. We encourage the granddaughters to learn self defense and self respect as much as we can from a distance. Every parent should.)

        1. savedbyirony

          You are so right about “radical” feminism being right about this (and plenty of other issues, such as all the misleading “gender” spin substituting for all biological sex discrimination taking place) and females need to learn real self-defense procedures. Plenty of times the police and “justice” system is just patriarchy and big money on steriods (can we say J. Winston and Ray Rice, for example) and sometimes these creeps need to plain have the sh*t backroom beat out of them.

  8. Jeff W

    “Senior Triad member ‘Mr Kong’ says Mainland paid triads to infiltrate Occupy, citing Legco storming as an example”

    Does “Mr Kong” cite the Legco incident? ? I’m not seeing that in the SCMP story. (Was it revised?)

  9. different clue

    Perhaps to capture the emopsycho aspect of the worship involved in Presidentialism, it should be referred to as Presidentianity?

  10. steelhead

    Kansas City Manufacturing Index, November 2014: Activity expands at slightly faster pace [Bloomberg].”[D]ifficulties in attracting and retaining certain key workers.” If only there were some way to solve that! Some invisible hand!

    Randian Econ @ its finest…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Even in their own terms, though, this continual bewilderment and head-scratching about “Why oh why can’t we find skilled labor?” rings a little false after awhile.

  11. Parajumpsers

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