2:00PM Water Cooler 3/24/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Clinton at CAP: People should “get out of the kind of very unproductive discussion that we’ve had for too long, where people are just in their ideological bunkers, having arguments instead of trying to reach across those divides and have some solutions” [Wall Street Journal]. Help me. Obama reached across the aisle by adopting a Republican health care plan.

Principled Insurgent

Republicans view Walker as a “scrappy survivor” [WaPo].

Clown Car

Cruz announces at a Liberty University convocation in front of 10,000 students who faced a $10 fine if they did not attend [National Journal]. Transcript [WaPo].

tedcruz.com owned by Obama supporter [Time]. Ya know, there’s a reason Cruz is in the Clown Car….

tedcruz.org, the donation page, doesn’t default to standard encryption [Slate]. Ditto.

“Who Is Ted Cruz?” [The Onion]. As usual, everything in The Onion is true.

“The sense within Cruz’s team is that he’s more ready for prime time and more polished on the stump than other rivals” [Politico]. Oh. OK.

Cruz’s wife takes unpaid leave from Goldman Sachs (how cozy), so Cruz can’t use her health insurance policy any more [CNN].

Top two Cruz industry contributors, 2011-2015: Republican/Conservative, then Oil & Gas [Open Secrets].

Cruz being born in Canada is such a non-issue [The Atlantic]. Tribalist Obots getting back at the birthers, and pushing Democratic oppo.

The Hill

Israel spied on Iran talks with US, then used the information to lobby Congress [Wall Street Journal].

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough says the United States expects the next Israeli government to clear the way for a Palestinian state [Al Jazeera]. Bibi really sh*t the bed, didn’t he?

Herd on the Street

Uber to turn into a big data company by selling locational data [Forbes].

Stats Watch

Consumer price index, February 2015: “Overall consumer price inflation rebounded 0.2 percent in February after falling a sharp 0.7 percent the month before” [Bloomberg]. Within expectations.

New home sales, February 2015: “[N]ew home sales picked up sharply in February to a 539,000 annual rate” [Bloomberg].


Unite Here Local 1 runs TV spots for Rahm [DNAInfo]. “An injury to one is an injury to all,” eh? The theme: “Rahm Love” [Chicago Tribune].

Rahm’s TV spots are, of course, garbage. But effective [Bloomberg]. Good quotes from Chuy, however.

“Rahm Emanuel is a cynical, mean-spirited politician who unquestionably would have fit right in with the liberal red-baiters of the ’50s” [The Week].

Rahm advisor: “Unless they get the crazy lefty money machine going nationally, it’s not going to matter that there’s a resurgent left” [New York Times].


Actually, California will run out of water in three years, not one [Wired].

Citizens bid for control of Thessalonikis water [136.gr].

The effects of climate change on public transportation [Philadelphia Inquirer]. Not pretty, especially with aging infrastructure.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

DOJ finds fatal police shootings, inadequate training cause “strife” between Philadelphia cops and residents [Los Angeles Times].

No Ferguson-related bills have made it to Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk [St Louis NPR].

After San Diego introduces body cams: “Complaints have fallen 40.5% and use of “personal body” force by officers has been reduced by 46.5% and use of pepper spray by 30.5%” [Los Angeles Times].

Police State

“In the Osmakac [sting] investigation, Aaronson said, [FBI] agents went to “great lengths to put $500 in his hand knowing he was broke” [Tampa Tribune]. That time when the FBI found those poor schlubs who were talking about a resistance Army, and hooked them up with a uniform supplier?

“Security guards patrol our neighborhoods, schools and shopping malls, but a lack of oversight has allowed anyone, from a failed police officer to a felon, to pursue a career in security, putting the public at risk” [Center for Investigative Reporting]. Not to mention outright crooks.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Singapore has become a laboratory … for determining whether technology can be used to engineer a more harmonious society” [Foreign Policy]. System design a linear descendant of John Poindexter’s Total Information Awareness system. Yikes!

Class Warfare

The decline in unionization in recent decades has fed the rise in incomes at the top [International Monetary Fund]. That’s not a bug…

At Twitter, upper management uses a mysterious “shoulder tap” process to let certain employees know about opportunities [WaPo]. No potential for abuse there!

Idea: Give the homeless housing [HuffPo]. Turns out that’s the cheapest and most effective solution, including doing nothing.

Hedgie squillionaire Paul Tudor Jones gives TED talk on pitchfork prevention Justice, capitalism and progress [TED].

Philly squillonaires plan to buy mayoralty for charter schools shill Anthony Williams [Philadelphia Daily News]. Because wait for it: “We’re all about the kids.” Just like Rahm!

News of the Wired

  • NSW Electoral Commission scrambles to patch iVote flaw [ZDNet]. Hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots, publicly tabulated.
  • Feminist hacker magazine issues call for contributors to first issue [Recompiler].
  • Drone-hunting drones [Telegraph]. “Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em….”
  • “Jupiter’s ‘Smashing’ Migration May Explain Our Oddball Solar System” [Space].
  • Stars sing to themselves [WaPo].
  • Deep ocean virus targets one of its own genes for mutation (!) [Phys.org].
  • Time-lapse rebuild of Chevy V-8 “Small Block” engine [YouTube].
  • “What had been the norm a generation ago, that kids would enjoy a measure of autonomy after school, is now seen as almost a crime” [New York Times]. Well, it’s important to begin the compliance training when kids are very, very young.
  • As it turns out, twelve years in Gitmo does a lot of damage, even if you’re innocent [WaPo]. Digusting. Read it all.
  • How the Romans did their business [Ciencia Histórica].
  • Neuroscientists have begun to map empathy’s pathways in the brain [New York Times].

* * *

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 second of “I Wish It Were Spring!” week two (JG):


Hawaiian Mangrove trees, we think, and it’s spring all the time in Hawaii, isn’t it? Quite the contrast to yesterday’s plant!

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. 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

    What do you think about this topic?

    1. edmondo

      Is the money why the candidate won or does the money merely follow the candidate who is most likely to win? Chicken or egg?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Let’s face it, since Citizens United the primary schedule has changed, the races are underway now, in backrooms and board rooms in the race for boatloads of the required cashish. Once the winner has been selected, they will still be asked to show up in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, pour encourager les autres. The media of course will breathlessly record each inside baseball campaign move and studiously avoid any serious discussion of issues. A “race” will ensue, and a variety of astroturf groups will sway the “debate”. Once the malarkey is over people can settle down to the next chapter of business-as-usual corporo-fascism, Permanent War, unlimited spying, and destruction of the middle class.
        If this was a cable channel I would happily just unsubscribe.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I can do what, with the caution that funding doesn’t translate directly to electability. After all, Clinton was well-funded in 2008, and all Sheldon Adelman’s millions couldn’t lever Newtie out of the clown car.

  2. Working Class Nero

    Charlottesville police make clear that Rolling Stone story is a complete crock


    After months of delay, the autopsies on the U-Va rape hoax are finally starting to appear. The Washington Post are hitting the story hard while the NYT continues to hope against hope that the imaginary rapist Haven Monahan will someday appear in Aryan fratboy flesh and blood.

    No word yet if the Social Justice Warriors, who held a mini Kristallnacht by smashing windows at the frat house where the imaginary events took place, will be arrested and tried for their crimes.

    The Columbia Review of Journalism will soon issue a report that should ensure that the journalist responsible for this atrocity will be fired for her incompetence.

    1. cwaltz

      Actually what it says is they can’t find evidence. That’s a big shocker considering they are investigating 3 years after the alleged rape occurred.

      Next up: If they can’t find a body then a murder never really happened. LOL

      1. Working Class Nero

        Not true. They have plenty of evidence in the form of emails and phone records from the time the imaginary attack occurred. The “rapist” Haven Monahan was emailing and texting with Jackie’s friends — and continued to do so after the “attack”. The slight problem is that Jackie “catfished” this blond fratboy Haven and the phone numbers were controlled by her. Even “his” letters professing undying love for Jackie (written of course by Jackie) were plagiarized from a Dawson’s Creek episode.

        1. cwaltz

          Here’s a quote directly from the article since you seem to have some reading comprehension problems.

          A lot of time and energy went into tracking down people,” said Longo, who made clear that the department’s failure to corroborate the allegations in the Rolling Story doesn’t mean that nothing traumatic happened to Jackie that night.

            1. craazyman

              The Post Mortem was written long ago . . .

              “Well!” he said, “are you going to sit there and let a black son rape a white woman on the streets of Jefferson?”
              Butch sprang up again. the silk of his shirt clung flat to his heavy shoulders. At each armpit was a half moon. “That’s what I been telling them! That’s what I –”
              “Did it really happen?? a third said. “This a/n’t the first man scare she ever had, like Hawkshaw says. Wasn’t there something about a man on the kitchen roof, watching her undress, about a year ago?”
              Maclendon whirled on the third speaker. “Happen? What the hell difference does it make? Are you going to let black sons get away with it until one really does it?
              ‘What is is captains?” the negro said. “I aint done nothing ‘For god sake Mr. John'” Someone produced handcuffs. They worked busily about the Negro as though he were a post, quiet, intense, getting in each other’s way. He submitted to the handcuffs, looking swiftly and constantly from face to face. “What’s here, captain?” he said, . . . “What you say I done Mr. John? I ain’t done nothin. I swear ‘fore God.”
              McLendon jerked the car door open. “Get in” he said. “Get iin”, he struck the Negro.
              The barber leaned suddenly forward and now touched Mclendon’s arm.
              “Let me out John,” he said.
              “Jump out niggerlover,” Mclendon said without turning his head.

              -William Faulkner, Dry September

          1. Working Class Nero

            In other words they cannot prove a negative. They also would have troubling proving that she was not abducted by aliens that night either. But the important fact is that there is substantial evidence, all surrounding the Haven Monahan character, that she made the entire story up. Now sure, who knows, maybe something else happened, no one knows. Maybe she got attacked at a football team party but decided to blame it on frat boys instead? But what was claimed to have occurred in the Rolling Stone story just never happened.

    2. Jake Johnson

      “Social Justice Warrior” is the worst right-wing dog whistle. Stop spamming over here.

      1. Working Class Nero

        The Rhetoric Police have made an appearance!

        While I think the label Social Justice Warrior fits the bill perfectly, perhaps you can suggest a Left Wing friendly term for what this mob did?

        Here is the money quote from a Washington Times article where the lead SJW defends his actions in attacking a fraternity over a fake rape:

        The young man, the progeny of a privileged family, readily and unrepentantly admitted his role and described the attack his friends carried out in details that match police and eyewitness reports. He also said he knew his actions would be considered illegal.

        “I texted one of my friends and I was like, ‘Let’s throw bottles at the Phi Psi house tonight,’ and she said, ‘Yes!’ I think that the article made it clear that victims at the university have no legitimate channels to take action, and I think vandalism is a completely legitimate form of action when like, legitimate authority is corrupt. I think it was justified,” he said in an interview with The Times…

        The student who claimed to participate in the attack said he had no regrets despite the fact that the accuracy of Jackie’s story in Rolling Stone has come under significant doubt, including the name of the fraternity where the alleged attack occurred. Asked whether he felt at all bad about attacking the wrong fraternity, he showed no remorse and justified the attack on the broader woes of “social injustice.”

        “I’ve done some thinking about that, but the answer is no. Everyone knows this is a house that does not respect women. They are part of the problem, and I do not feel bad. We have an objective set of laws that empowers the police to kill black men with impunity and protects white rapists at U.Va. from prosecution. The laws are only legitimate when they work. This is not a particularly radical campus, but we’re mad.

        Wow a rich kid using a fake rape to stir up racial tensions among the peasants. Who would have thought that would ever happen???

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “Wow a rich kid using a fake rape to stir up racial tensions among the peasants.” Since, IIRC, you were the one with a rigorous class analysis, you might consider adding a little rigor by showing that (1) the “rich kid” knew the rape was fake at the time, (2) that the “racial tensions” weren’t present because of prior events, and (3) what the heck “peasants” means. I mean, I don’t think I’ve seen the corvée at UVa, am I right?

          That said, kudos for pointing out that the first one to advocate violence is always… a Rule #1 violator. People who might actually suffer consequences tend to be more thoughtful.

          1. Working Class Nero

            1. The super rich kid doesn’t care in the least whether the charges are true or not – they are just a vehicle to advance his class interests. He will be on to the next divisive cause by the time the actual truth comes out.

            2. The racial tensions are certainly present in a large degree due to exasperation by the wealthiest classes to make sure non-rich whites and blacks never join forces together against them. This is a classic divide ut regnes strategy that is repeated so often over and over again in many human societies.

            3. Peasants would be what the super rich see everyone else as….

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Actually, “Social Justice Warrior” (along with “SJW”) is very precisely a GamerGate dog whistle. Ugh. Not here, please. Seriously.

        And just to keep this on track with really being about journalism — i.e., how Rolling Stone butchered a story in a way that really damages people trying to solve a real problem — yes, party culture and abuse of women in fraternity settings is an real problem; as living in a college town I can testify to from personal experience as well. Granted, that means I have priors.

        NOTE I hardly think that pointing out the provenance of talking points and memes constitutes a “Rhetoric Police.” This being the NC comments section, presumably your words were carefully chosen.

  3. Matt Pappalardo

    Not even Paul Krugman is a real Keynesian: Two economists argue that John Maynard Keynes’s insights have yet to go mainstream – Boston Globe

    …Keynes’s insights have enormous practical importance, according to Lance Taylor and Duncan Foley of the New School. Temperamentally opposite — Foley a brilliant theorist, Taylor a pragmatist influential in developing nations — they jointly received the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute on Monday.

    But isn’t Keynes now mainstream? No, say Foley and Taylor. The mainstream still sees economies as inherently moving to an optimal equilibrium, as Wicksell did. It still says demand causes short-run fluctuations, but only supply factors, such as the capital stock and technology, can affect long-run growth.

    EVEN PAUL KRUGMAN, a self-described Keynesian, Nobel Laureate, and New York Times columnist, writes in the 2012 edition of his textbook: “In the long run the economy is self-correcting: shocks to aggregate demand affect aggregate output in the short run but not in the long run.” He says Keynes and Wicksell are in key respects “essentially equivalent…”

    1. Benedict@Large

      Krugman describes himself as a Keynesian? Where?

      Krugman is actually a New Keynesian, which is actually a form of Monetarism. New Keynesianism might better be described as a demand-side monetarism.

  4. diptherio

    As the smoking ruins of the American Dream smolder around us and the powers that be reach for their pitchfork repellent, the Solidarity Economy movement is creating new options for autonomy and collaboration:

    Solidarity Economy as Political Economy ~Yavor Tarinski

    But the solidarity economy should not be viewed as just an alternative economic practice, but as part of the broader frame of the creative resistance. The logic of creative resistance is to serve as a basis for alternative structures inside the cracks of the contemporary system and not to allow them to become isolated islands of freedom. Instead of aiming only to destroy the contemporary system, creative resistance encourages the creation of the cells and building blocks of a future society founded on solidarity and autonomy, showing that it is possible in practice. And the solidarity economy in particular, by allowing people to lead their lives independently (as much as possible) from the state and capitalist markets, sets the conditions for the creation of a new anthropological type — something that is necessary to create a new world that is more just and democratic.

    However we shouldn’t be too eager for quick results, because there is a difference between desire and action. We should always consider our local context and its limitations and try to act in accordance. Creative resistance acts as a water drop that, with perseverance, breaks the rock.

    1. diptherio

      Actually, the author is Bulgarian, so I probably shouldn’t say “American Dream”…maybe “capitalist dream” or “liberal dream” would be better…

  5. timbers

    “If the Russians and Chinese do not expect a pre-emptive nuclear attack from Washington, they will be destroyed.”

    Paul Craig Robert’s last sentence in his Saker interview.

    Considering what Obama is doing in Ukraine/Putin is not unlike what GWB did in Iraq/Saddam, the silence from Dems is deafening. And one big difference between the two is the media is worse today than it was during the run up to the Iraq War.

  6. Yves Smith

    The real story in the NYT story about free range kids is the way the Times distorted the comments. The comments skew overwhelmingly to agreement that children aren’t allowed enough autonomy. One buddy went through 450 comments and found 97% arguing that kids are too controlled now. But ALL of the comments arguing for more supervision were selected as “recommended” so the “recommend” comments skewed 2/3 arguing for more freedom, 1/3 citing horror stories like “I was raped”. Even with rape, that’s a dubious factoid, since overwhelmingly, child sexual abuse is perpetrated people known by the child, like relatives and neighbors.

    In other words, one of the arguments of the op-ed was that overprotective parenting resulted from media hyping dangers to children. So what does the Times do? Curate the comments so as to prove the article’s thesis!

  7. DJG

    From Ryan Cooper’s article, What Rahm Can Learn from Crazy Lefties, linked up top to The Week: “American liberals of the Emanuel-ian mode were eager participants in the First Red Scare, which obliterated those Oklahoman socialists, and in the second one, which made frenzied anti-leftism a precondition for mainstream politics. Left-bashing developed enough momentum to carry it far beyond the death of the Soviet Union — as late as 2004, Peter Beinart wrote in bold advocacy of purging antiwar voices like Michael Moore and MoveOn from the Democratic Party.” The Democratic Party, with liberals in control, moved farther and farther to the right, and now, it is engaged in careerism and in fighting over a sliver of the political spectrum with the Republicans. But leftism means a vision of equality and redistribution of wealth, and neo-libs and neo-cons wouldn’t want that breaking out. Again, Frum’s Law: The Democrats hate their base.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      As found in yesterday’s links section:


      Liberalism has come to have very little to do with the Left, both out of choice as well as out of pants-shitting fear of being tagged as “Leftist”. Republicans hammer away on the (increasingly ridiculous) contention that Democrats are indeed “Leftist”. So, in terror, today’s Democrat party obligingly runs away from any identification with the Left, and now even looks askance at being characterized as “Liberal”. Thus the Democrats’ ideological handle cranks, the ratchet spins, and every time the pawl clicks into position on the next tooth the party-acceptable line moves further and further toward the Right.

      Could it be any more clear that there is no place for a leftist or left libertarian in the Democrat party?

  8. DJG

    Further on the wages of Guantanamo: Harper’s Magazine, April issue, which is likely behind a paywall but still exists in a hold-it-in-your-hand-and-read paper edition. Pardiss Kebiaei’s “Life after Guantanamo,” about a father and son, also Syrian, arrested on the flimsiest of grounds. And if I may comment again on the neo-lib and neo-con distinction, I note that neither has accepted any responsibility for torture by the USA or proposed how to set matters right (which is going to mean a series of highly embarrassing trials). Torture delegitimizes the justice system and the state, which is the neo-con and neo-lib project.

    1. Jack

      Hey man, ‘mistakes were made’. No ones to blame. You win some, you lose some. It’s all a wash, let’s just let the past lie and look forward, not backward, to a brighter future (of further kidnappings, detentions, torture and now drone strikes).

      I mean, it’s not like aey-rabs are real people anyway…

      1. Jay M

        if the elite definition of looking forward is cover your ass then the future looks unseemly
        sniping muppets seems rather useless, rather than a test of upholstery

    2. Strangely Enough

      “[A]n endless horror story.” The Intercept:

      Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi, a Yemeni national who has been detained at the American prison facility at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, weighs only 98 pounds. Never charged with a crime, al-Alwi, now 35 years old, is one of many detainees at the camp who have gone on a prolonged hunger strike.

  9. Foy

    There’s been a few articles recently on kids playing outside, comparing to yesteryear etc. Here’s another to add to the sad pile…need another reason why kids wont go out and play? Try this for size…a mother’s 11 yo and 6 yo children were detained by police on 3 separate occasions when on their own either riding a bike out the front of their house or the 11 yo walking to the local library 6 blocks way (which the parents deemed quite safe as it was past the local school).

    The reason the police kept giving was that a ‘concerned citizen’ had reported the kids, worried for their safety…


    “Despite our best efforts to allay their fears, our children now won’t leave our property without our company, out of the legitimate fear that they will be stopped by police. Our youngest son (now 7) won’t even play in the front yard alone. He no longer rides his bike because there is nowhere flat to ride it unless one of us is able to make the time to go with him to the park (less than a block from our house).  “

    That ‘concerned citizen’ is working overtime. Why do I get the feeling that the end result of intimidated kids is a feature, not a bug, of a grander plan. The police state keeps ratcheting up the fear factor and closing in, …

    1. Demeter

      This is not unusual, not in this day and age. Fear is the only appropriate state of mind, because the State is fearful of its disenfranchised People, and the State has many ways to hurt them (us), pre-emptively, if necessary…and more evil designs are drawn up daily.

      We are raising a nation of emotionally crippled children who will rebel wildly (or not) to gain autonomy…or fail in the attempt. I’m mindful of the Japanese shut-ins…kids who never leave their rooms, and the parents who created them. Just as the US followed Japan into the Liquidity trap, so we are following them into other top-down-created disasters.

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