2:00PM Water Cooler 1/20/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Seriously, Everything is Pretty Awesome” [Politico].

“45% of Americans say they’re satisfied with the state of the economy — the highest number in 11 years” [NBC]. Oh, okay.

Richard Edelman, head of world’s largest PR consultancy: “[A] sense that things are out of control” [FT, “Public trust slumps to financial crisis levels”]. Can’t imagine why.

White House uses social media to appeal to youth on SOTU initiatives [Bloomberg].

The White House used Facebook to announce Obama’s plan to make the first two years of community college free for many students, breaking its own record for video views on the site with more than 8 million. Upworthy became the vehicle for news about Obama’s broadband plans. LinkedIn was how senior adviser Valerie Jarrett announced the paid-family leave plan. Medium was where senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer previewed Obama’s State of the Union strategy. And the White House announced a call for input to put together a citizen memo to the president.

As a substitute for the delivery of concrete material benefits, of course. I mean, come on. Some community college, when Germany has real university for free?

“He will invite us all to seize this moment to begin again, and we should. We still can” [Boston Globe].

Herd on the Street

Christine Lagarde: Global growth outlook “too low, too brittle and too lopsided,” even though cheaper oil represents a “shot in the arm” [FT, “IMF cuts forecasts for global economic growth”].

IMF China growth forecasts weakest in 25 years [Economist].

Metal (and copper) prices firm after better-than-expected China growth report [FT].

Shenzhen property developers Kaisa Group “can’t repay a 2.5 billion yuan ($402 million) trust due tomorrow and the product will be transfered to a third party so investors can get their money back” [Bloomberg].

Revenues at Morgan Stanley’s fixed income, currencies and commodities business fell to $599m from $694m a year ago [FT, “Morgan Stanley hit by weak trading revenues”].

A top U.S. Honda executive says competitors are doing “stupid things” to boost auto sales, including making seven-year-long car loans that harm buyers [Bloomberg].


Hillary Clinton presiding over daily strategy sessions in her Chappaqua, NY home [WaPo].

Beauty contest with the Koch Brothers in Palm Springs, CA offers entree to 300 donors [New York Times]. Cruz, Paul, Rubio to attend, Walker invited, Jebbie has scheduling conflict (!).

Texas makes a Texas-sized contribution to Republican coffers [Bloomberg].

Jebbie to meet Tuesday with “some of the Beltway’s most prominent lobbyists, CEOs, and thought leaders” [National Journal]. I don’t think I’ve ever seen “thought leader” used without irony before.

The Mittster shows a softer side: “Our principles will bring opportunity to every American” [Bradenton Herald]. Sorry about the coffee, should have warned you about “principles.”

Adlai Stevenson III reminds the The Mittster that third time isn’t necessarily the charm [Bloomberg]. Ouch!

Christie uses tollbooth EZ Pass data against political opponent [ACLU]. Classy move!

Santorum blames himself for opening his mouth in 2012 and saying “dumb things” [NBC]. Moving up on the leaderboard!

No other way to say it: Bobby Jindal is a wanker. Doubles down on no-go zones, cites Daily Mail (!) as authoritative, when even FOX has backed off on this [CNN]. Along with the initial propagator of the meme.

The Hill

“GOP lawmakers plan to employ the seldom-used Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives lawmakers the power to formally disapprove of major agency rules” [The Hill]. Now that they hold both houses.

McConnell: Republicans won’t touch Social Security without Democratic support [Talking Points Memo].


The firm owned by DiFi’s husband, Richard Blum, stands to make $1 billion in commissions from selling U.S. Postal Service buildings [Alternet]. Disgusting. And we can’t turn post offices into banks if we sell them.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watchs

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies quietly deployed radars that let them effectively see inside homes, with little notice to the courts or the public [USA Today]. Yikes!


McCain on ISIS: “The reality is, we need more boots on the ground” [AFP].

Reduced wheat crop feared in Iraq ISIS areas, as farmers planted less [Reuters].

AQAP is really a media company [Bloomberg].

Stats Watch

Housing market index, January 2015: “Solid conditions.” Present sales steady, traffic down, future sales down [Bloomberg].

Class Warfare

International Labor Organization predicts global rising unemployment for next five years [ILO].

“[A] positive correlation between the amount of effort the workers said they put into building contacts—inside and outside their offices—and their pay rises and career satisfaction” [Economist]. Hence the creation of the precariat, arbitrary shifts, etc.

American households increasingly multigenerational [Pew].

“Beyond the Non Profit Industrial Complex” [Incite].

News of the Wired

  • Those Communists in Chattanooga, Tennesse set up municipal broadband and now they’ve got decent speed [Alternet].
  • TurboTax brings uniformity to its desktop and mobile platforms by dumbing down the desktop and raising the price [Los Angeles Times].
  • “Stories from 716 women who left tech show that the industry’s culture is the primary culprit, not any issues related to science education” [Fortune].
  • A.J. Rowling plotted Harry Potter on a paper spreadsheet [Open Culture].
  • Astronomer’s calculations show the solar system is likely to include two more planets [Agence France Presse].
  • The Sun will no longer feature topless women on Page Three [BCC].
  • Grateful Dead re-union with youngster Trey Anastasio taking Garcia’s place [Billboard].
  • Cass Sunstein on The Gambler’s Fallacy (“the hot hand”) [Bloomberg]. Given that it’s Sunstein, there’s probably some horribly twisted, nudge-style hidden agenda, but it’s still interesting.
  • Five years ago an international group of scientists unveiled nine biological and environmental “boundaries” that humans shouldn’t transgress to keep the earth liveable. We just crossed the fourth [Scientific American].

* * *

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:


A Monkey Orchid….

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat:

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. bob

    Google Life, Heath and Transport-


    The submitter on Slashdot is a long time, well known, dipshit. Google wouldn’t dare touch insurance…they’ll just CONTINUE to sell all the data to the insurance companies. They’ll probably handle all of the back-end for the websites and their internal finances and risk assessment too.

    Much more close to a “franchise” type system, buy an insurance company from google! Or maybe like amazon marketplace, amazon, but not really….

    Google must be spending millions, possibly billions, a year to lobby against anti-trust enforcement now. Remember when microsoft got anti-trusted for bundling the web browser with the OS?

    Adding an insurance arm, in public, would cost them a lot more for lobby cover. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

    1. curlydan

      When you look at how Google dominates search and is a huge source (e.g. normally the majority) of any website’s traffic, they should be treated as a trust and appropriately busted.

    2. Randy

      Any thoughts on Oscar? Are they unhinged? I interviewed there and was very intrigued but didn’t get much detail on how they plan to disrupt health insurance.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Audacity. The man has it.
      Last election he got caught saying F*** 47% of the voters — because the are the Takers. Then he only agreed to show 1 year of taxes, even tho he has nothing to hide hahahha.

      So this year, he’s a new man. “Je suis MiddleClass”.

      He’s Toast. No way he will sell that sh1+ to the Repub donors, much less The 99%.

    2. Randy

      Hating is just human. But that dummy thought $200000/year was an average middle class income. Someone so out of touch doesn’t stand a chance.

  2. Pepsi

    The destruction of the post office, sponsored by campaign contributions from fedex and ups, makes me fucking sick. The blatant corruption at the heart of the dismantling of an institution is a cassandra for the neoliberal dismantling of our economic infrastructure for quick profits. Disgusting. I’ve called my congress people but no one seems to want to do anything to stop this.

    1. Bill Frank

      I applaud your effort to do something but the sad reality is that “calling congress” is virtually a meaningless act. We do not live in a representative democracy.

  3. bob

    No one is covering it either. By chance I caught a story a few months ago about how the USPS was “giving up” next day mail. Now, who on earth could be the beneficiaries of that? How much are Fed ex and ups expecting to make off this change? Exactly as much as the USPS will lose, at the very least. Much, much more in practice, with less “competition” and more “pricing power” accruing to UPS and FedEx.

  4. JohnB

    Cross-posting from other links thread (let me know if this is frowned upon):
    There is a popular idea – that Lambert expressed in yesterdays links – that Quantitative Easing is basically (indirectly) doling out money to the wealthy and finance; I’ve believed this until recently, but now I’ve gotten very skeptical – are there any sources to back this view, particular describing in detail, exactly how that transfer of wealth works?

    For example, here is an MMT-based article from NEP, which seems to play-down that idea (specifically the idea of the transfer of wealth, happening through commodity prices) – and this adds to my skepticism – but I’d be very interested in hearing views that favour the idea:

  5. Jackrabbit

    Seriously, Everything is Pretty Awesome

    Crossing of Biological and Environmental Boundaries


    It was the best of times, it was the end of times.

    H O P

  6. Paul Tioxon

    Bobby Jindal, evoking Bobby Kennedy?, says it’s all over for the unknown immigrant. In his London speech, he said, ““But I am explicitly saying that it is completely reasonable for nations to discriminate,” he will say, “between allowing people into their country who want to embrace their culture, or allowing people into their country who want to destroy their culture, or establish a separate culture within.”


    Holy Robert E. Lee Day Bobby!!! Not only does Dixie have its own heroes, but its own flag, regularly seen just about everywhere South of the Mason Dixon line and at better Klan and Nazi splinter groups up North!
    You can get your own Bobby Jindal approved Louisiana State License plate with a Confederate Flag! Order yours today from the state capital of Louisiana and let everyone know that you want to destroy America and set up your own no go zone with your own culture!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the native culture is to worship Mammon, lord over serfs and affirm wealth inequality, then, we shouldn’t discriminate against those who want to bring over a different culture.

    2. hunkerdown

      Piyush is right, like the stopped clock that he is — somehow the Democratic Party only likes consent when they manufacture it or when it makes their oligarchs rich.

      But hey, that’s exactly what’s to be expected of a nation that believes civic life is an appropriate place to act out one’s perversions nonconsensually on others.

    3. ambrit

      Funny that. Bobby Jindal is the poster child for “Successful Immigrant Family Day” festivities.
      He held the House seat previously held by Vitter, and now held by Scalise. I have heard him referred to by some of his constituents as “our sand n—-r in Baton Rouge.” (Which shows the lack of rigour employed by Sothrons. He’s the son of immigrants from India, not the Middle East.)
      Oh, and as for the Confederate Battle Flag, it’s in the state flag of Mississippi. (We seem to be the bitter enders in this regard.) I have always liked the Louisiana state flag, with the Pelican and her young. No word yet on returning the Confederate Battle Flag to any other state flag. (Don’t hold your breath.)

  7. Banger

    It’s taken quite a while but increasing numbers of people are cool with the new normal which doesn’t surprise me. Most people are doing fairly well and don’t care if the very rich are getting richer even as they stay more or less stagnant and the poor and lower-middle live closer to the edge. We live in a society with relatively cheap goods and services for those with good incomes as well as amazingly diverse and tailor made (to various demographics) entertainment–so what’s not to like?

    Blogs from a variety of political points of view are predicting disaster as they did last year, as they did the year before and the year before and the year before–no disaster has befallen us no matter how well-reasoned the prediction. Somebody, some group of oligarchs as doing a pretty decent job keeping things afloat with smoke and mirrors and the confidence fairy–and these things must really work because essentially the economy is about confidence and positive thinking–it has to be because the fundamentals look bad on the surface. Somehow we’ve missed something. I think what we’ve missed is the culture–we need to be more aware of cultural forces that are more dynamic and more important than economic data.

    One surprising thing in the NBC report is how Americans now believe it is essential to fight ISIL–all due to beheadings! See how easy it is to get Americans to march off to War! Since Americans of all intellectual abilities and frameworks believe history is bunk (Henry Ford’s assertion and Alexis de Tocqueville noted) then every few years we are ready to forget Vietnam, Central America, Afghanistan and Iraq and go back to fight again some new villain or set of villains and the same actors make a ton of money pretending to fight those horrible villains and the cycle starts again.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      There is no pain you are receding
      A distant ship smoke on the horizon
      You are only coming through in waves
      Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying

      So, how many years has this economy been on ZIRP? A historic duration I’m told. What happens when the ZIRP needle is taken away. Junkies get ugly when they are missing their fix.

      1. Banger

        Well, like I said smoke and mirrors works–if not ZIRP then something else–and why not? What the current regime has done is, essentially, privatize key aspects of national economic policy. It’s a new dispensation for all of us and old rules no longer apply.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Yup, Privatization Of Government Services, Yay! The Neoliberals have been so very busy. Perhaps Milton Friedman should replace Washington on Mt Rushmore.

        2. Bill Frank

          By and large agree with what you’ve said however even the almighty Powers That Be can’t control everything despite their never ending efforts to do so. Unexpected events do occur and sometimes the grab for more exceeds even the longest reach. Smoke and mirrors have worked well but when that’s all that props up the entire economy, the unexpected event or over reach can blow away the smoke and smash the mirror.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            It can, and when it does we will all say we knew it was coming. But we will be lying, because all we can do is guess.

            I think inertia is underrated. This is a really big country and even when things are not going well for most people, they are still going just fine for millions and millions. And when the MSM has a strict happy-to-sad ratio, there are plenty of stories that confirm things are just fine.

            The thing that scares me the most are people who think the push back will come as soon as things get bad enough. That is a recipe for 1) tolerating a lot more pain for a lot more people and 2) an unpredicatable push back when it comes.

            1. DanB

              I agree with you in the main but add that ecological forces must be considered. Overshoot cannot in any way be conceptualized by the neoliberal ideology-that is, seen- let alone be addressed. We are in overshoot and every article about how good things are is an attempt to placate and soothe anxiety.

    2. Ulysses

      “Most people are doing fairly well”

      Well sure, if by “most” you mean about 20% of the population. Or, as is more likely, you mean most of the people you, Banger, meet in your own affluent suburban circle of friends and neighbors. Go back up to Providence, and go anywhere but the East Side– and then come back and tell me “most people are doing fairly well!!”


      1. Banger

        Au contraire–most of the people I know are all over the place–I don’t live in the suburbs, btw, but in an old section of a small town with trailers two blocks away and in the other direction a mansion a block away. I see all kinds of people and most are doing ok financially if they’re older like me–younger people aren’t doing so well. Don’t assume anything and avoid straw men. Whether you like it or not most people do think they’re doing well even when they’re not. I actually think people deceive themselves in a major way as I’ve said many times–we live in the land of phantasy and phantasms. Me, I’m living in a nice house (slowly crumbling because we can’t afford to fix anything) but as a small business owner I’m broke and contemplating closing down but that’s a long story.

        1. jrs

          I would think the hardest age to be economically would be middle age. Too young to retire and collect the paltry SS checks, too old to start over (can’t just live with the ‘rents and go back to school and get a brand new career like a younger person). What does one even do in that situation. I don’t know.

        2. Ulysses

          If what you meant by “most people are doing fairly well,” is that, as you now say, “people deceive themselves in a major way,” then I am in full agreement with your point. Objectively, however, 99.9% of us are seeing no significant improvement in our economic circumstances, and only about 20% of us are doing any better than living paycheck to paycheck.

  8. Doug Terpstra

    In his SOTU speech tonight, Obama will focus on policies to benefit the middle class, especially now that there is not the slightest chance of any such policies passing the GOP-controlled Congress, unless it’s some version of the survivalist Hunger Games. So expect him to introduce as a very special guest from the balcony at least one of the middle class’s five remaining members, accompanied by raucus applause from both chambers on bothe side of the theater.

    Undoubtedly there will also be a maimed and disfigured VIP veteran to remind us of the essential working class sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan for America’s freedom, as well as a reminder to generously support the desperate need of so many wounded veterans’ charities.

  9. Llewelyn Moss

    Truth In Naming: Fate Of The Union (FOTU)

    Tonite we’ll hear what a True Progress would do to improve the sorry state of the USSA. If Only…

    If Only Obama were a True Progress rather than a Chicago School Scum Sucking Neoliberal.

    1. jrs

      And we may also hear what they’ll REALLY do, watch for some vague mumbling about trade for instance, and how Obama is opening up trade but we need to make sure workers are prepared (what the fictitious college funding that will never pass is for) and congress needs to cooperate etc. (and that would be the veiled reference to TPP Fast Track and passing an entirely secretive trade – make that an 1000 year corporate rule – agreement with almost no debate. But they’ll get away with it since the mainstream media doesn’t report on it anyway).

      Of course they could decide not to be vague but they usually are. SOTU, where they have previously talked about ethanol subsidies and clean coal etc. and made it sound like a good thing!

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Yup, TPP and Privatization of SocSec will be the Biggest Turds on Obama’s Steaming Legacy Pile. All nicely word-smithed so the unwashed masses think it’s been done a huge favor by Obama the Exultant One.

  10. barrisj

    Re: SOTU speech

    FoxNews online is SHOCKED, I say SHOCKED, that the O-man is nattering on about “free community colleges”,
    “tax hikes” (for the ultrawealthy!), “diplomacy with Cuba”, etc., etc., but nothing about the terror threat!!

    Terror threat taking back seat in State of the Union?
    Ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address, the American people have heard about tax hikes, community college, diplomacy with Cuba, and mortgage insurance.

    What they haven’t heard much of is how the administration is adapting to a changing terror threat — a sprouting hydra rearing its many heads across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and even cyberspace.
    [blah, blah, blah, yadda…]

    “A sprouting hydra…even cyberspace”!!! Holy mo’fo’, this is serious shit, and nothing from Obama? Really classic fearmongering, if one has the stomach to read the article in its entirety. Preaching to the converted.

    1. Banger

      That seems to be the plan of attack for the right–talk up the terror “threat” and show that the Democrats are afraid to break eggs to make an omelette. My real enemies are not the handful of terrorists who kill a few people here and there but Wall Street, the MSM, and the MIC and and so on. Most of the “threats” are made up an stage-managed by the FBI or other security services around the world.

      1. skippy

        Here we go again banger… to a fault.

        What may surprise you is those are not your so called enemy’s, that would be the people that established such institutions, staffed them and then ran them for their agendas. Ebbs and tides noted wrt public service outcomes. When you have the time, it would be helpful for you to unpack the identity’s of which I speak and what motivations possessed such advocacy.

        Skippy…. its sloppy histrionics with a hint of CT boogeymen are everywhere tropes, which then is used to disenfranchise any sort of Government.

        PS. @barrisj… CNBC trotted out the Lawrence Kudlow tool to decry high corporate taxes and sniff about the middle class having stagnate wages during the last economic expansion. His palliative is lower corporate taxes to boost the economy so sharing can happen.

        1. barrisj

          Ah, yes…the ineffable Kuds…recovered cokehead, seemingly getting phased out of even CNBC, but always good for a laff, as is his shipmate on Fox Bidness News, the fearless Lou Dobbs.

        2. optimader

          I was going to chuck this out in a previous thread that was connecting the CT “malevolent coverup” dots, but I might as well post it now.

          The point is, there were/are both Agency cultural as well as legal firewalls that inhibit information sharing between FG agencies. Serious end of career felony shit to stumble into just by forwarding an email if one chooses to risk being the proactive Jack Bauer superstar.

          What some “folk” choose to perceive as CT is actually the inertia of Leviathan Gumint agencies populated w/ career civil servants not wanting the screw the retirement pooch,

          information islands (who has served time in corporate life and hasn’t dealt with this? –“Uhh, what do want that for”? syndrome) and manifestations of ALL the other human frailties…

  11. vegasmike

    Until the 70s the City University of New York and the California States Colleges were tuition free. Most public universities had very low tuition for state residents. Since 75% of American students enroll in public universities, lowering or eliminating tuition would be a significant improvement for many families. It could be done.

    1. Banger

      It could be done theoretically but politically it can’t be done. If such a notion came up for debate the first thing would be how to pay for it and since few people believe in society (Maggie Thatcher said there was no such thing as society) then why pay for something that would benefit society. If I can afford to send my kids to college they will have a leg up–if poor people can send their kids to college then I won’t have such a leg up will I? The ethic today is to keep what I got and to hell with other Americans because we have lost a sense of having a common purpose and culture–every tribal group, clan, family and individual for itself. This is why few people have any interest in the fact most of the rise in income and wealth has accrued to the very top. I never hear a “normal” person bothered about that–instead all I hear is about Mexicans and African Americans getting free everything and not having to work for it.

      1. hunkerdown

        Could it be that you, or rather they, are hearing about AAs and Mexicans precisely because of the Democratic Party’s co-optation of those identities as captive poster children (compare the “Asian” captive constituency they’re supposedly trying to manufacture now, as recently linked), in combination with (was this your observation?) that the USA is a Judaic nation, not a Christian one, with all the different mix of good and evil that entails?

  12. vegeholic

    You mentioned the upcoming Koch brothers soiree in Palm Beach. The sponsoring organization is now called the “Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce”. I believe they chose that name because it is organized as a 501[c][6] entity (see Daniel Schulman, Sons of Wichita). This means that all financial contributions to that organization are tax deductible. And yet they go largely, via indirect routings through an opaque network of other organizations, to political candidates or groups supporting political agendas and candidates. My question is, how do they get away with having these donations be tax deductible? and anonymous? You and I are helping to fund all of this “libertarian” mischief. Can someone explain how this is possible, how this level of corruption is legal?

    1. hunkerdown

      “Because that’s what the machines we call representative government are meant to produce” isn’t enough of an answer for you? :)

      (If you think representative government was EVER intended to incorporate more than the most superficial of input from the governed, read Federalist #10, James Madison’s oh-so-reluctant aria to divide-et-impera…)

      1. Jim Haygood

        Could well be. But setting that gnarly issue aside for a moment, what is so sad is that after the generals were deposed and democracy restored in 1983, everyone in Argentina swore that the days of ‘dirty war’ and political murders were over, forever. Now it looks like maybe they’re not.

        Nisman’s allegations about a deal between Argentina and Iran amounting to obstruction of justice might have been overblown. If he’d had a chance to testify, such a judgment could have been made based on the quality of his evidence. That Nisman suicided himself the night before wrapping up ten years of work is about as probable as the fable that JFK was killed by a ‘lone gunman.’

        Maybe the fatal bullet came through the window from the Buenos Aires School Book Depository …

        1. hunkerdown

          I’m only offering that Kirchner and friends aren’t necessarily the only axis on which Nisman’s testimony may have been operating. Indeed, setting the dissonantly chipper interjection by Netanyahu aside as just more self-aggrandizement of the sort abusive parents engage in when dressing their families alike and ugly, you’ll have to admit that two governments beholden by secret treaty to observe and promulgate a history that never happened might well end the governments of one or both of these nations or, just possibly, the entire Westphalian system itself, and who’s Singer gonna squeeze blood from then?

          I mean, if a hypothetical likewise agreement existed between USA and Saudi Arabia regarding the events of 9/11, a public release of such WOULD shatter the empire — in which case all manner of dirty politics would be appropriate (from the standpoint of the state itself) as a self-defensive maneuver.

          All that speculation aside, “suicide” at home doesn’t look much like a typical South American junta’s typical problem disposal protocol, which tend more toward unmarked graves and the dropping of well-sedated dissidents into piranha-infested rivers, i.e. away from physical evidence. There’s also a certain tone-deafness in faking a Catholic official’s suicide in a Catholic country. To know whodunit, one would first need to know for whom exactly this fatal show was intended, which is probably related to who’s milking it the hardest — seems the Axis of Banality is all over it.

          1. Chauncey Gardiner

            Re: … All that speculation aside, “suicide” at home doesn’t look much like a typical South American junta’s typical problem disposal protocol, …

            Agree. Will be interesting to see how the Argentine authorities handle this matter and what, if anything, results from the investigation.

  13. optimader

    “45% of Americans say they’re satisfied with the state of the economy — the highest number in 11 years” [NBC]. Oh, okay”

    In the time domain, as the economic flight recorder plays out, the poll responder historical memory gets written over until there is a new normal.
    The longer you wait the better it gets, even if it doesn’t!

  14. Howard Beale IV

    Playing NSA, hardware hackers build USB cable that can attack
    With built-in USB hub and radio, cable can spy or launch man-in-middle attacks. Ars Technica

    NSA wanted $20k a pop, these guys did it for $20. Typical government waste…..

  15. Tom Stone

    Ah, the “Liberal” Mr and Mrs Blum are once again servicing the public!
    It’s nothing new, but the coverage is.
    The “Anderson Valley Advertiser” ran a very interesting series on DiFi and hubby a few years ago that laid out some of their conflicts of interest. DiFi was on the House Armed Services Committee and Mr Blum’s had and has lots of money invested in firms that benefitted from his wife’s votes. The Carlyle Group comes to mind…
    The story was very well documented but never picked up by the MSM for some reason.
    You can find it in the AVA Archives.

  16. Carla

    Re: DiFi and her lovely hubby, here’s a little more:


    I saw the following presentation live at the Public Banking Conference in 2013. It was very impressive! Unfortunately, a video of a video presentation does not really do the artwork justice, but maybe this you-tube will give you a flavor. In any case, Gray Brechin’s commentary is stellar.


  17. kimsarah

    You gotta hand it to Barry and his Republican supporters, still pushing for the secret, anti-U.S. jobs Trans Obama (Trade) Partnership.
    And while he boasts of all the new jobs created in the recent past, consider this factoid: Hiring from oil-producing states such as Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota has accounted for 67 percent of U.S. jobs growth since 2007, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
    And no mention that many of the jobs created are poverty-level minimum wage for household wage earners, and no mention of the millions still unemployed or who have stopped looking for work.
    You may want to check this site for the latest layoffs, bankruptcies and store closings: http://www.dailyjobcuts.com/

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s a great stat. Thanks! So, the rude health of the economy is all hydrocarbon manipulation: The fracking bubble, and the happy accident, or not, of a fall in gas prices. Gad.

  18. Sam Kanu

    “…As a substitute for the delivery of concrete material benefits, of course. I mean, come on. Some community college, when Germany has real university for free?..”

    – To be fair, in Germany “real university” is attended by a smaller percent of the population. They focus more on vocational education i.e. “community college”/polytechnic type of institutions that offer employer-linked formal qualifications.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with community college – not everyone needs a BA in classics in order to be valuable member of society. But then again this also requires American employers to give more respect and pay to people with these qualifications, as opposed to paying CEO’s tens of millions of dollars while the people below scrape by barely above minimum wage. That is also what’s a different in Germany compared to the US….

  19. c1ue

    International group of scientists employed at an NGO, funded by NGOs, unsurprisingly says its mission is important.
    Really, why does anyone give automatic credence to such institutions?
    Stockholm resilience was paid 28 Million Kroner by the Swedish Environment ministry, and reaped an additional 60 million Kroner from external grants – is it so surprising that they would churn out climate change messages?
    When will we ever learn that science is NOT the same as advocacy?

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