2:00PM Water Cooler 3/23/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


O’Malley: “We have a responsibility to put [another Wall Street meltdown] outside the realm of the possible — by reinstating Glass-Steagall and holding people accountable when they break the law” [Daily Iowan].

“If it’s the ideas you’re interested in, it’s worth paying attention to former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley who is actually waging the campaign people want to see from Warren” [Yglesias, Vox].

“Progressives may not be able to change who is nominated but they can affect who is in the room with the nominee and the forces the nominee has to contend with if they reach the Oval Office” [Salon]. So therefore they don’t need Warren to run.

“What has been clear, or should have been clear, since Clinton’s rise to the top of the 2016 field, is that such controversies are what you get with the Clintons—take it or leave it” [WaPo]. We’re getting not just a dynasty, but a dynastic network.

Being part of the Clinton family has provided Mr. Mezvinsky [Chelsea Clinton’s husband] with another perk: “access to wealthy investors with ties to the Clintons” [New York Times]. “Tens of millions of dollars raised by Eaglevale [Mr. Mezvinsky and his partners’ hedge fund] can be attributed to investors with some relationship or link to the Clintons,” among them Lloyd Blankfein. How cozy. Let the oppo begin!

Hillary Clinton: “I think we have a fun deficit in America” [Bloomberg]. Well, the median household wealth level dropped 43% from 2007 to 2013. So perhaps there’s not a lot of fun to be had at prices people can afford. That’s why it’s good to be a hedgie!


Perry locking down donors in Texas [Wall Street Journal].

Jebbie and the Rush primary [Politico].

George W. Bush has better numbers among Republican primary voters, core Republicans, and self-described conservatives than Jebbie does [Wall Street Journal]. Help me.

Principled Insurgents

Walker gets coaching to tone down his Wisconsin accent [New York Times]. Doesn’t matter. He stomps Democrats.

“During his very recent campaign for a second term, Gov. Walker said his primary focus after election would be governing Wisconsin, because that would be the best credential if he were to run for the presidency” [Journal-Sentinel]. “How’s that working out for us?”

Clown Car

“Cruz led a shutdown of the federal government in October 2013 as part of an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act” [Houston Chronicle]. So into the Clown Car he goes.

Cruz throws his hat in the ring at Liberty University [Daily Beast]. “The Cruz strategy will not include aggressive, direct attacks on Paul. Instead, the Texan’s strategy will be passive aggressive: Cruz will praise his opponents on the issues they have common ground on, while the real criticism will be left unspoken and implied.” Passive aggressive? Sounds like a Democrat, to me.

The trick for Cruz it to be not only be the preeminent figure in the Tea Party lane but also the preeminent Social Conservative [WaPo]. It’s going to be entertaining to watch.

“In the 2012 presidential race, conservative candidates similar to Cruz often pulled the GOP primary field along with them” [National Journal].

The Hill

Obama “froze out” the State Department when negotiating with Cuba [Reuters]. Starting in 2013, so it’s Kerry, not Clinton.

Herd on the Street

Financing surgery with peer-to-peer loans [Bloomberg]. What could go wrong?

Retirement accounts are now likely to include riskier private stocks from Silicon Valley start-ups like Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest [New York Times]. What could go wrong?

IBM must help China build its IT industry rather than viewing the country solely as a sales destination or manufacturing base, said CEO Virginia Rometty [Reuters].

Google is sticking with Glass “because the technology is too important to scrap,” says glassholes’ glasshole Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt [Wall Street Journal].

Stats Watch

Existing Home Sales, February 2015: “The housing market is soft though there are some signs of life in this report including the month’s gain for single-family sales. New home sales, like sales of existing homes, have also been soft and a decline is expected in tomorrow’s data” [Bloomberg].


Garcia on budgeting: “If we’ve learned anything over the past four years from this administration, it’s that there’s good reason to think that the books are cooked” [Sun-Times]. Be nice if a scandal about that blew up just about now.

Garcia announces his support of a national tax on financial transactions aimed at big banks [In These Times].

“Since 2009 the Chicago Police Department has opened at least six investigations that involved spying on citizens, internal police records show. Four of the investigations were launched during the first term of Mayor Rahm Emanuel” [Chicago Reader].

“Back in 2006 … there was one Democrat who quickly determined that [the] nascent progressive movement was a major threat to the status quo. His name was Rahm Emanuel” [Salon].

“Cuomo/Emanuel’s electoral problems flow from a fundamental disconnect with voters over economic issues. Candidates supporting austerity, supply-side economics face electoral trouble, especially in Democratic primaries” [HuffPo].

If you can believe the Sun-Times, Rahm has a 16 point lead [Sun-Times].


San Francisco Catholic church installs watering system to spray on homeless people [Boing Boing]. Priorities!

“The rainiest months in Southern California are December through March. Since Oct. 1, downtown L.A. has recorded 7.4 inches. About 12.8 inches would be considered normal. The total in March has been a paltry .87 inches” [Los Angeles Times].

Organizers said 80,000 protesters marched in Dublin on Saturday in the latest mass protest against new water charges [Reuters]. Many held Greek flags “in solidarity with the stricken euro zone member.”

So much water is being pumped out of the ground worldwide that it is contributing to global sea level rise [Center for Investigative Reporting].

Health Care

How American health care turned patients into consumers [Bangor Daily News].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

UVa students discuss tensions with police [WaPo]. “[P]hotographs showed student Martese Johnson with his face covered in blood as white officers held him to the ground.”

Review: Ferguson Burger Bar [Riverfront Times]. Local (not chain) food always being a sign of civic health.

Gee, Florissant seems just like Ferguson [Riverfront Times].

Ferguson Alternative Spring Break [USA Today]. More originality from #BlackLivesMatter. I don’t recall any movement-building organizing like this from Occupy, for example.

Two more deaths of Black men in Ferguson, neither resolved [Daily Beast].

Ferguson home values are plummeting, and residents are feeling the pain [Fusion]. Idea: If cops stopped whacking black people, property values wouldn’t tank.

The thin blue line of entitlement [Popehat].

News of the Wired

  • “Our reading of the Second Amendment needs to be updated to include computers, software developed for hacking, training for hackers and research on hacking” [Another Word For It].
  • Medium: The billionaire’s typewriter [Practical Typography].
  • Inexpensive DIY techniques to investigate environmental concerns [Public Lab].
  • Argument cultures and unregulated aggression [Kate Heddleston].
  • “The Urban Death Project is a compost-based renewal system” [Urban Death Project]. What it sounds like!
  • Interview with DJ Patil, new White House chief data scientist [FiveThirtyEight].
  • Review of Gene Sharp’s The Politics of Nonviolent Action [Fragments].
  • DLL Hijacking Works Against OS X [Threat Post].

* * *

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, the first of “I Wish It Were Spring!” week two (JN):


Well, dammit.

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the heating season!

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. diptherio

    I have to say, it really does seem like the #BlackLivesMatter organizers are kicking our Occupy hienies when it comes to effective, long-term movement building. We’ve got a thing or three to learn from these social-justice rockstars. I hope Graeber et al are taking notes…I sure as heck am.

    1. hunkerdown

      They do have an “honest signal” (in the signalling theory sense) indicating group membership and a strong history of successful political action based on it. Whitey doesn’t so much.

      #ClassMatters *sips latte*

    2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      I wish the blacklivesmatter people the best, but I suspect that if the PTB felt it threatened them in the way Occupy did- not about race but about explicit class struggle issues- the thing would be crushed by snitch jacketing, police infiltration and other such tried and true tactics.

      1. neo-realist

        I also wish them the best of success to effect fundamental change. However, I suspect those PTB provocateur moves may be happening now, but on a very subtle level.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I should have mentioned Occupy Sandy. But I don’t think the cases are comparable; it looks to me like Ferguson ASB is about building infrastructure (which the left is famously bad at) for more protest.

    3. dk

      Supporting and advocating disenfranchised people is a lot easier and less risky than going after the super-enfranchised (or the franchises themselves for that matter).

      Help people in need, and they’ll look you right in the eye and thank you, and if what you’re doing isn’t helping, they’ll tell you that too. You want to help some people rise a rung or two near the bottom of the ladder? The powerful may smile indulgently or frown in irritation, but that’s as much of a reaction as you’ll get from them.

      Interfere with the wealthy, even unintentionally, and they’ll go after you fast and hard, with law enforcement, in the civil courts, in your workplace, through private channels. They have no problem going to your family, your friends, your associates. And if you’ve already got nothing to lose, you don’t have much to fight them with.

      I mean no disrespect at all for BlackLivesMatter, on the contrary, it’s a worthwhile and necessary cause. But comparing it with Occupy is apples to oranges; different ballgames, different stakes. That’s just how it is.

  2. diptherio

    I know Greece is usually a morning links thing, but this just came across the Twitter feed:

    Ouzo-drinking Lazy Greeks? ‘Map’ of every grassroots group in Greece.

    I guess they’re not just sitting around waiting for German handouts afterall…whodathunkit?

  3. timbers


    “Clinton, at a discussion about urban areas, cited the benefits of partnerships between the private and public sectors and updated policies to improve social mobility. The policy event offered a preview of economic themes she is likely to address in a campaign.”

    Translation: I’m going to privatize education, water, roads, bridges so my donors can rip you off. Because a progressive tax is too easy and my donors wouldn’t allow it.



    “Obamacare Is Turning 5, And The Debate Has Not Changed”


    How about discussing the fact Democrats have lost more offices in history since enacting Obamacare or put another way more Republicans have been elected in history in two of the biggest off year waves of Republican landslides in history since Democrats passed Obamacare. Time to wake up, Team Blue.

  4. Kurt Sperry

    “Tens of millions of dollars raised by Eaglevale [Mr. Mezvinsky and his partners’ hedge fun]”

    Hedge fun? I like it.

  5. lightningclap

    From “Hope and Change” to “Fun and Games”. Hey, the clown car could be a part of the Bread & Circuses!

    1. Tom Denman

      I have to admit that the word “fun” doesn’t exactly come to mind in connection with Hillary Clinton.

  6. grizziz

    Dear Lamber,
    I just want to thank you for keeping up the posting on “Emanueldämmerung.”
    Best regards,

  7. ShamanicFallout

    Please help a poor non-Constitutional scholar and tell me how Ted Cruz, born in Canada, can become President?

    1. NoReply

      Just like Bush Department of Justice attorneys issued a ‘clarification’ (fatwah) stating that ‘torture is not torture’, the Obama Department of Justice attorneys issued a ‘clarification’ (fatwah) stating that a ”natural born citizen’ means any person born anywhere on earth to at least one US citizen parent, who was a US citizen, at that specific moment.

      More worrying to me seems to be US media’s trend to portray Benhamin Netanyahu as a POTUS ‘heir apparent’. Given the RINO-RINO Congress, Citizens United and pending market collapse, Bibi just might be POTUS 666. It’s unlikely, however, that US will survive as we know it today, until the elections in November, 19 months away.

    2. JerseyJeffersonian

      Initially, this is a poser, indeed. But first, consult the Wikipedia article on Senator Cruz, and examine the two subsections, Early Life, and Personal Life, to frame the discussion:


      Found in the footnotes to the Wikipedia article is useful information speaking to the legalities and the current status of Senator Cruz’ sole citizenship of the US:



      Relevant sections from the U.S. Code on the topic of citizenship:


      And two links concerning his renunciation of Canadian citizenship:



      So, no birther drama here, regardless the delicious irony that this would evoke.

      Now, off to moderation for being thorough in supplying so many links.

  8. DJG

    I realize that Ted Cruz isn’t as tasteful as Rick Santorum (arch-Catholic), but Santorum had the good sense to announce his run for the presidency (and the slang dictionary) at a courthouse. Liberty University? Can I foresee some church-state issues? Or, as always, does “American religion” get a pass?

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Church-state issues”? Only if there’s enough residue of “constitutional rule of law” and distaste for our Talibanners to make an issue, and then what are the chances that Leviathan will stir itself, through the limb marked “Supreme Court” (which only seemingly has any attachment to the Bill of [except #2, of course] Rights and its traditions when those “lines of decisions” can be read to support the Kleptotheocracy), to “accept jursidiction” and issue another what, Citizens United ruling?

      Interesting that us mopes still place all kinds of faith in the Great Rule of Law and Its Institutions, as if those clubs are not used to beat us ever more effectively and completely and “legally” out of our homes and property. One thing the Supremes have had to worry about since Marbury is what happens if one party says “A fig for your decision” and the rest of “the government” also declines to enforce whatever it is. An exceedingly thin patina of “civilization” left, and seemingly no memes or tropes or models that trend in the direction of comity, decency, stability, sustainability. Just iMotifs, iStuff, More For Me and Screw The Rest of You…

      They’re trite, but they’re cute:
      “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity,” http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/ , and a couple of commentaries on that, http://www.neatorama.com/2012/09/11/The-Basic-Laws-of-Human-Stupidity-Suggest-a-Better-Way-to-Choose-Politicians/ , also in shorter form and with many illustrative comments, http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/apr/09/improbable-research-human-stupidity, and in the present context with advice on a better way to “choose” politicians to manipulate and rule us, this: http://www.neatorama.com/2012/09/11/The-Basic-Laws-of-Human-Stupidity-Suggest-a-Better-Way-to-Choose-Politicians/

      And for all you libertarians out there, time to unlimber your strawman-shooters and big Definitional Debate Guns again: “The 24 kinds of Libertarians,” (there are many more, of course, all warped one way or another), http://leftycartoons.com/2010/06/29/the-24-types-of-libertarian/ And in case you have forgotten your forensics tricks, look here: “How to win the Libertarian argument,” http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/tactn/tactn008.pdf, which lays out a really good selection of Bernaysian/Gingrichian/Luntzian tricks and tactics, many of which could profitably be adopted by practitioners of the original Golden Rule to maybe, with the same dedication and application over time, maybe produce a more decent aiming point for the badly guided missile called “humanity.”

  9. neo-realist

    The best thing that could happen to a Bush candidacy for the Oval Office is for the wackadoodles like Cruz to get out there with their extremism–ban the IRS, close the EPA, etc. Bush comes in with his nuanced conservatism looking like a statesman and a safe bet for the elites in the general election, e.g., hellfire racist preacher George Wallace making the “New Nixon” with his respectful calls for order, respect for the laws, and peace w/ honor a safe choice in 68.

    1. NoReply

      That would be like comparing 1968 Afghanistan, at that moment in history the oil-wealthy ‘Paris of Central Asia’ with the 2016 Afghanistan, at this moment in history the USSA-occupied ‘Hell On Earth of Central Asia’. Right? The American TEALiban have been radicalized by the Oligarchs and their UNLIMITED Citizens United PSYOP.

      Rather than hope for a sober, stately King Bush III, Americans should pray that the DJIA remains above 10,000. Americans should pray that as a Pyramid of QEn Ponzi Bubbles collapse in a Pachinko Progression of Penury, that we still have two nickels to rub together at the grocery store, that we still have Two Red Cents in our savings.

      We are, after all -$18 TRILLION in illegal synthetic egregous onerous ‘debt’ to the Private Fed Banksters.

  10. gonzomarx

    Afzal Amin quits as Tory candidate for Dudley North after EDL plot allegations

    The conservative candidate was taped plotting with the English Defence League (Neo-Nazis)
    to plan a march through his prospective constituency which he could then take credit for stopping.

    I only mention it because of his former career as an officer in the British Army’s Counterinsurgency and Stabilisation Centre while serving in Iraq/Afgan.
    More evidence of how they did such a bang up job and that some have bought their skills home, the next election cycles will be such fun.

  11. NoReply

    Kiev Junta Billionaire Oligarchs and their “Pocket Armies”

    Kerry’s $5B Grift to Poroshenko Bears Evil Fruit for Americans

    I wonder if Americans realize they are ON THE HOOK for Kiev Junk Bonds!?
    Yes, Kerry pledged to UNDERWRITE whatever JUNK the JUNTA issues.

    I wonder if Americans realize they are ON THE HOOK for $40 B IMF bailout!?
    Yes, the US has pledged to UNDERWRITE whatever monies the IMF lends Kiev.

    I wonder if Americans realize their Congress is CUTTING -8% FROM ALL

    Read the last paragraph, direct from Kiev:

    “The situation now looks like Feudal Europe in early Middle Ages.”

  12. jjmacjohnson

    The core of the problem is that the typewriter was never a design tool. Just like a hand written draft. It was the designer who made it what we see in print. The writers words set by the designer. Ugh the whole argument is stupid. It is more about desktop publishing versus design and the writer.

  13. JLowe

    Urban Death Project. Sounds like something out of a Paolo Bacigalupi novel. Would also be a cool name for a band.

  14. ProNewerDeal


    In your 2016 Presidential election coverage, could you periodically (say monthly or quarterly), include fund raising (broadly defined including “uncoordinated” PAC groups) dollar amounts of the candidates? The atrocious reality is the biggest fundraiser tends to win the election. IIRC political scientist Dr. Thomas Ferguson had an NC article posted or linked here claiming this trend holds in something like 90%+ of elections, especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

    Thus, I feel that these fundraising data are (sadly) vital in understanding the election

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