2:00PM Water Cooler 3/3/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Clinton email

“[Hillary] Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act” [New York Times]. One might wonder if Jebbie released all his email (albeit clumsily) because he got a heads-up?

“The fact that Clinton’s emails were not a part of official State Department records until recently means many of them would not have been located in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, subpoenas or other document searches conducted over the past six years. That omission seems certain to generate controversy, litigation and more news coverage as various entities demand access to the email trove just as Clinton’s campaign for the White House is expected to be getting underway” [Politico]. It’s like meta-oppo!

“There is simply no way that, when Clinton decided to use her personal email address as Secretary of State, she was unaware of the national scandal that Bush officials had created by doing the same” [Vox]. I hate to admit this, but Vox is right. They refer to the gwb43.com scandal of 2007, where the Bush administration fired a bunch of U.S. attorneys and got investigated by Congress, whereupon Congress discovered that not all internal White House mail was available, because it had been sent via gwb43.com, a domain controlled by the RNC (!). Clinton’s behavior is consistent with a dynastic member who regards their correspondence as family property, but not with that of an official who regards their office as a public trust.

Twitter goes nuts [WaPo], with memes undoing all the good PR of “Texts From Hillary.”

The Times doesn’t mention Clinton’s actual address. Via [WaPo], was the email domain clintonemail.com? [Gawker (2013 (!))].

Clinton apparat issues talking points on Clinton Foundation [New York Times]. That was yesterday.

Bill Clinton’s portrait in the National Galley has a shadow of the blue dress in it, “subtly incorporated” by painter Nelson Shanks [Inquirer]. So where did Shanks subtly incorporate Hillary’s “cattle futures” loot? Is that the leafy green stuff on the mantlepiece?

Buffett on Warren: “I think that she would do better if she was less angry and demonizing” [Bloomberg].

Because demographics will ultimately break Democratic, there’s no reason for Democrats to do anything now on policy (paraphrasing) [Chris Cilizza, WaPo]. But then, there never is.

Clown Car

“Under Chris Christie, the New Jersey pension system paid more than $600 million in fees to financial firms in 2014 — 50 percent more than a year ago, and a higher rate than almost any other state reports paying for pension management” [International Busines Times]. Yikes!

“The higher fees are a result of the Christie administration shifting billions of dollars of pension money into high-fee hedge funds, private equity, venture capital firms and other so-called alternative investments in politically connected Wall Street firms. … [U]nder Christie, the New Jersey pension system has delivered returns that have trailed the median for similarly sized pension funds. The state’s high-fee alternative investment portfolio has also lagged behind the S&P 500.”

The Hill

Machers and schnooks at AIPAC [Bloomberg]. Kaching.

Netanyahu to Congress (!): “The days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of [enemies] – those days are over” [Live blog, Guardian]. “‘But I know that Israel does not stand alone, I know that America stands with Israel’ – and here the cheers of the crowd rising to its feet drown out Netanyahu’s voice.” Wowsers.

“I want to place blame where it rightly belongs – with the CIA, to be sure, but also with specific high-level officials and lawyers outside the agency who were directly involved in reviewing the CIA’s tactics, and either said yes or failed to say no” [Just Security]. Important article from the heart of the national security class.

History of attacks on the U.S. Capitol [WaPo]. Including Bill Ayers, bless his heart.

Stats Watch

Gallup Economic Confidence Indicator, February 2015: Edges down. [Bloomberg]. Shift downward in last two weeks of February as the price of gas went up.

Redbook, week of February 28: Soft, meets expecations [Bloomberg].


Google to offer wireless phone service, but only on a small scale. Meanwhile, the balloons in Africa are going well [Yahoo].

“Geneva-based Silent Circle said it booked $750 million in sales in 2014 after launching its first phone in June, with a third of that coming in December after the high-profile hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.” [Wall Street Journal, “Silent Circle Details New Secure Devices—Mobile World “]. “[A]pps like Signal go a long way to making mass surveillance of billions of innocent people infeasible” [The Intercept]. See also [Fusion]. Still plenty of other surveillance-related reasons not to have a SmartPhone, though.

“[I]t’ll need some hardware evolution before most Android users get their paws on some serious privacy” [The Register].


“Gov. Bruce Rauner has called former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson twice to encourage him to endorse Mayor Rahm Emanuel in April’s runoff election” [Chicago Sun-Times]. Those Republicans stick together!

Senator Mark Kirk (R): “The people who are running against Rahm don’t have the gravitas with the bond market” [USA Today].

Chuy: “Working class folk who stepped up in this campaign feel that Chicago needs to be responsive to the neighborhoods and toward ordinary people and we delivered. It may be the retooling of a Democratic coalition, maybe with a small ‘d’.” [HuffPo]. What was that phrase? Working… Working what?

Rahm was Bill Clinton’s finance director in 1992, while also working for Goldman Sachs [Salon]. How cozy.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Ferguson Commission delivers first report. Polled, “about two-thirds [of attendees] thought racial and ethnic relations were ‘somewhat likely’ to improve in the next three to five years” [St Louis Public Radio].

“Mother calls police to help schizophrenic son get to hospital. Police shoot him” [Fusion].

The Roy Clay Sr. Tech Workshop was aimed at teaching selected St. Louis candidates how to do coding, with the goal of strengthening local, black-owned businesses, as well as nonprofits and other social movements in the area [The Root]. Another Ferguson effort.

“Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Monday issued an apology to the family of Tamir Rice, stating that city lawyers used insensitive language in answering a lawsuit filed after the 12-year-old was shot and killed last November by a Cleveland police officer ” [Cleveland Plain Dealer]. City lawyer: “The lawyer who wrote the document was using a routine defense against such claims.” No doubt!

Health Care

The Washington health exchange took the wrong amount, sometimes triple, out of the accounts of 13,000 customers had an to pay their insurance premium this month [AP (MR)].

Oracle blew through $300 million of Federal money and never launched Oregon’s exchange. Oregon is suing Oracle for fraud, false claims, breach of contract and civil racketeering” [KOIN (MR)].


Former Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon D. Fox is expected to plead guilty in federal court Tuesday to charges of bribery, wire fraud and filing a false tax return [Providence Journal]. Amazingly, the story doesn’t mention his party; Fox is a Democrat. And there seems to be rather a lot of Democratic corruption coming to light recently.

Philadelphia’s Superintendent of Schools: “I recommended the approval of more than 30 charter schools because I thought it would improve educational opportunity for our 215,000 students. The last 20 years make it clear I was wrong” [Baltimore Sun].

News of the Wired

  • Lenovo bagged a grand total of $250,000 from the deal that saw it install the Superfish “certificate slurper” onto PCs [The Register]. Yikes! What would they do for more than petty cash?
  • First photo of light as wave and particle [Science Daily].
  • Interactive timeline of Miles Davis’s oevre [Fathom]. Fun stuff.
  • Police Accountability Tool [Mapping Police Violence]. Most dangerous, and most death; either way, a power curve. Take a bow, Albuquerque! Take a bow, Chicago!
  • Common Core butchers the distinction between facts and opinion [New York Times]. Agnotology!
  • Medical pot sales increase in Maine, along with tax revenues [Portland Press-Herald].

* * *

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 Plants in Snow Week (craazyman):


Readers! How about sending me some plants under snow and/or ice? Seems appropriate? And if that doesn’t sound like a good idea, how about some humorous vegetables?

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

Yes, I’ve got to fix the hat! Thank you all for your generous help in the mini-fundraiser!

Talk amongst yourselves!

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

About Lambert Strether

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


    1. edmondo

      The Clintons bring a whole lot of drama with them. don’t they? I see her losing in 2016 as people begin to remember the “Clinton Years.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That time when real wages were rising, you mean? You’d think “progressives” would take a cue from that; despite of all the mud hurled — some legit, most not — Clinton remained popular to the end of his administration. As a Pennsylvania truck driver noted of Clinton opponents in the 2008 primary: “What part don’t they like? The peace, or the prosperity?” A far cry from what Democrats bring us today.

        1. Gerard Pierce

          I don’t have the link any more, but I remember a convincing argument that much of the supposed economic gains during the Clinton Administration were a result of the dot com boom. By the time it all fell apart, Clinton was safely out of office and able to point with pride at whatever.

    1. edmondo

      It’s nice to be exceptional at something!

      A 16-cm (6.3-inch) erect penis falls into the 95th percentile:

      1. hunkerdown

        Well, that’s the “problemo Estadoamericano”, isn’t it? Perhaps masculines would do well to apply a little less narcissistic self-regard to said subject matter, and a bit more skill, care and integrity in the use of same. I would be a healthier basis for comparison, if one really must regress so.

  1. DJG

    General notes on the current idiocy:

    1. And who can forget the documents that went missing in the White House travel agency scandal, only to turn up miraculously later in some magic drawer? The Clintons, flimflammery at its finest. But that’s what Americans love most.

    2. Surely the current behavior of the Israelis must be hubris. Where is Sophocles when we need him? Or at least Thucydides to document the decline of empire.

    3. The torture memos: I am currently reading Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary. Wait till you get to the part about sexual abuse of inmates. Female torturers taking off their clothes and groping the inmates. Time to indict the torture ladies and their commanding officers? Absolutely nothing legal, let alone moral, about that behavior. And it even makes me wonder who is the torturer when women are forced / volunteer to behave like that.

  2. James Levy

    If it isn’t some kind of payoff or grand conspiracy, I have another theory for why a foreign weasel like Netanyahu gets to address joint sessions of Congress (which I thought Constitutionally only the President could call for but what would that matter these days): familiarity. Jewish people make up a little over 2% of the American population, but what percentage of the people Congressmen interact with on a daily and weekly basis are Jewish? I’d say a vastly higher percentage than that. Think lawyers, lawmakers, lobbyists, doctors, financiers, business executives, all occupations held exceptionally disproportionately by Jewish people. These are educated people who vote and contribute to campaigns, and if they are over the age of 35 the huge majority of them care profoundly about that little foreign land. Perhaps if we want to be generous about this we can say that Congress is so gung-ho for Likudnik Israel because Congressmen are confronted by people who care about Israel on almost a daily basis, and those people’s opinion (and money) matter. People tend to care about that which they know. Tibetans, Nicaraguans, and Palestinians for that matter, are unknown abstractions to the average House or Senate member, but Jews are real.

    1. hunkerdown

      Which raises an interesting question: why are lawmakers — ostensibly one of the few moving parts which citizens are allowed to influence — disproportionately Jewish? I think it has to do with cultural affinity — American folk religion (as distinct from Christianity) is remarkably compatible with, if not drawn from, the broad exceptionalism core to Judaic culture, as well as plenty of its finer points and fashions. Notice how there is very little room in Exceptionalism for humble folks like Jesus?

      1. alex morfesis

        I think you meant anglicans…2 % of population…8% of elected officials…god save the queen…

      2. different clue

        Unless they all co-conspired in secret to get eachother elected, they ran for office and earned their election the same as any other officeseeker. I read somewhere that we have a disproportionate number of Cuban lawmakers also. If ethnic disproportion is considered a problem, we could have a quota system for lawmakers. If Jews are 3 % of the population, they get 3% of the Federal Elective Offices and all Jewish officeseekers can run against eachother to fill that quota of seats. Likewise for Cubans.
        We could say that Cubans are 1% of the population and therefor get a quota of 1% of the seats, and they can run against eachother to see which ones get to fill that quota. Would that solve the problem?

        Or constituents can begin voting for officeseekers of whatever background who hold views other than the AIPAC-approved view. If such an officeseeker got elected in the teeth of AIPAC opposition, other officeseekers might be emboldened to run on the same thing.

        By the way, I heard on the news that one of the officeholders who boycotted the Netanyahu speech was Dave Cohen from a district within Memphis, Tennessee. If so, and if he runs again, should he be re-elected to show others that one can defy Adelson and live? In order to give heart to others? Or should he be removed next election as being a Jew-too-many?

        1. LifelongLib

          Cuba is another nation that concerns the U.S. far out of proportion to its actual strategic importance, so your statement about Cuban lawmakers reinforces James Levy’s point. You are right that the answer is voting for different policies, not an ethnic quota system.

        2. sleepy

          That’s Steve Cohen from a heavily democratic Memphis district which is 60% African-American. He’s one of a handful of white congresscritters who represent a majority black district. it was previously held by dem weasel Harold Ford, Jr. and his crooked father before that. Cohen is in his 5th term and can probably keep the seat as long as he likes.

          1. different clue

            Which goes to show that a mainly black constituency may well be worse represented by a black-identified officeholder than by a jewish-identified one. It comes down to what policies are being voted for by the electorate in question. Perhaps Cohen’s voterbase is what allowed Cohen to feel free to safely defy The Adelson.

        3. benjoya

          If ethnic disproportion is considered a problem, we could have a quota system for lawmakers.

          That’s how they do it in Iran. Just sayin’

  3. Anon

    Re: Netanyahu

    Most of us here would call it arrogance for another country’s PM to address the politicians of your own country on the best course of action. Honestly, the applause doesn’t surprise me one bit considering how much sway AIPAC holds. The better question would be what does Israel do for this country to allow them such influence?

    1. Jim Haygood

      WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was “near tears” during a speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

      Then she broke into the chorus of HaTikvah, as she did with her constituents in the fraught days after 9/11.

      Pelosi’s tearful endorsement of Boehner’s gross slight toward her own party’s president demonstrates that there is only one Depublicrat party … and its most important constituent is certainly not the American people, or even American.

      1. different clue

        Pelosi also supports Fast Track, as do all the D leaders I suspect. Do any of the D followers really really oppose it? Or are they just pretending?

        The Tea P Rs affect to oppose Fast Track. Do they really really oppose it? Or are they just pretending?

        Could enough economic patriot Ds combine with enough Tea P Rs to kill Fast Track? If they can, would that be a visible demostration of how things-in-general may be killed?

          1. different clue

            Well . . . 60 or so Democrats boycotted the Netanyahu speech. Could those same Democrats be counted on to oppose Fast Track? If so, are there enough TeaP Rs to combine with those 60 to make Fast Track impossible to move forward? (Assuming all the mainstream Depublicrats support Fast Track and assuming none of them can be tortured and terrorised into pretending to oppose it. Is that too pessimistic an assumption?)

            1. Yves Smith

              Far more were opposed to Fast Track in the House in the last Congress. 140 signed letters or made statements to that effect, and another 30 or 40 were expected to vote against it, along with at least another 30-40 Republicans.

    2. hunkerdown

      Branch management and cultural exchange (by which I mean military and police culture). Surely you didn’t think that “representation” was, and by design according to no less than James Madison, any more than tokenism and superficial grandeur?

    3. JTFaraday

      “The better question would be what does Israel do for this country to allow them such influence?”

      Down the road? Israel gets blamed for US foreign policy in the middle east. And it is a mess, so that’s something.

      1. Jessica

        Israel provides cover for vastly excessive military/security spending. If Israel and AIPAC were demanding increased social spending in the US rather than military/security spending, their influence would be far less.

  4. hunkerdown

    Superfish is the sort of thing that almost makes you want Microsoft to stamp out vendor distros of its OS.

    You just can’t trust anything preloaded anymore, can you.

    1. different clue

      I remember reading that this “superfish” is pre-installed on Lenovo computers. Lenovo computers are made in China. I believe China bought IBMs PC bussiness in order to make and sell computers to the world from within China. I remember thinking that of course China would put a spychip in every computer shipped in order to send every databit back to the Chinese Mothership from every little Lenovo computer in the field. I mean . . . why would NSA be the only people smart enough to think of this? I can imagine China saying “why should NSA have all the fun”?
      So I would regard Lenovo computers as being just as pre-compromised as any product or process touched by NSA and its collaborators and feltrav symps within Big Chip, Big Program, and Big Data. Would I be wrong?

  5. JohnB

    Is there a list of ways to avoid tripping the comment filter? I’ve tried to post something with no links in it, but can’t get it through, and reposting it multiple times with minor changes each time – to see what’s snagging – doesn’t seem a good idea.

    1. JohnB

      Have to say, it discourages me from commenting – probably about 2 out of 3 comments I try to make, get snagged like this, and the triggers for the filter are not at all obvious.

      1. ambrit

        Do not despair good sir. My experience has been that the “Moderation Event Horizon” comes and goes in a curious sinusoidal temporal expression. “Tomorrow is another day!”

        1. optimader

          Exactly Ambrit..
          just craft each comment so you don’t take it too seriously if the attack algorithms fire them over the shoulder of Orion. I watched blog comments glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments… will be lost in time, like [small cough] tears… in… rain. Time… to die…

          1. ambrit

            I concur. It has become clear that Android Apps Dream of making us Electronic Sheeple.
            (The perfect ‘sock puppet’ nickname would be Replicant.)

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If people want 24/7 near-real-time coverage, then the only thing required is a fat check to cover somebody’s time and effort.

          And suppose such a check were to materialize: Would it be better put to moderation, or to more reporting and writing?

          1. ambrit

            Er, was that aimed at me, or JohnB?
            My underlying point was that the moderation quandary is an example of YMMV in action. I thought I was counseling patience.

    2. LifelongLib

      I have to refresh the page after the posting process is complete to view my posts. Maybe it’s a Firefox browser thing?

        1. JohnB

          Thanks for replying Lambert – is there a way for me to diagnose this if it’s a browser issue? I don’t understand why these smaller comments get through fine, but that larger one doesn’t.

          Certainly, I’d prefer the money I donate to go purely to writing – just would be good to have the niggles in the comment system figured out as well (would require less moderator intervention too, by avoiding false positives) – so I can contribute more to the site, with my comments/views too :)

          Thanks again.

  6. Foppe

    (Rhetorical?) Question: Is it normal/acceptable for bankrupt banks — say, Lehman — to continue to pay tens of millions a year in bonuses to its (remaining) employees, and for bankruptcy judges to approve said bonus pay-outs?

  7. Carolinian

    For those watching the return of House of Cards.


    I’d like to think that the producers used a corporate “Third Way” Democrat as a consultant because it suits Frank’s character. He’s amoral and incapable of empathy, after all, which does arguably make for a good fit. That doesn’t seem to be their motivation.

    As an audience we’re asked to believe that Frank Underwood has been liberated from the petty restrictions of conventional minds and sees the “truth.” But it’s a lie, packaged as truth and peddled by “House of Cards.” Why? A wise politician once spoke of a “conspiracy of shared values,” and that may be all there is to this story.

    Whatever the motivations, it’s a deception nonetheless. And since everybody in Washington watches the show, it’s a potentially destructive one.

    Personally I doubt the filmmakers think very deeply about any of the issues in what is, after all, a potboiler but there’s no doubt that the show is avidly watched by the DC elites and that’s because it’s the way they like to see themselves. Power is their drug. When Underwood’s wife says “we are murderers” and he replies “no, survivors” that could be a rationalization coming from any of our ruling class. One wishes the show could be better if only because its subject matter is something that should matter to all of us.

    1. Crazy Horse

      Since it is avidly watched by all of DC, its not surprising that House of Cards faithfully toes the USA propaganda line in its Putin portrayal. “Putin wants the Lexus”– ie the whole ball of wax— by demanding removal of NATO/US missiles targeted at Russia from the former Eastern Block countries. Conveniently forgetting the promise not to encircle Russia right up to its borders given by Bush I after the break up of the Soviet Union. Putin as the cold, devious womanizer. Although it is amusing that they chose an exceptionally tall and spooky looking actor to portray Putin, who is notorious for having to wear lift shoes.

      And I had to laugh at the ridiculous idea that Pussy Riot would be invited to a state dinner where Putin was the guest of honor.

    2. optimader

      The political cynicism pockets aren’t very deep compared to the original BBC House of Cards series, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Cards_(UK_TV_series)
      As is also the case for the satire of The Office
      And Finkelman’s fantastic CBC productions The Newsroom and More Tears? –the best satirical takedown of MSM I’ve seen.

      1. Carolinian

        I think American actors with their empathy training feel like they have to humanize the characters they play. Villains in long running tv shows often go soft. However the first season of H of C–the best one–tracked the British series fairly closely.

        The British show also went off the rails a bit toward the end. It’s a story that sets out to entertain us with villainy and then has to supply a comeuppance…the shift in tone hard to pull off.

  8. Emma

    Re Buffet on Warren
    Such tart licentiousness!
    Who would of thought the oinking mouth of a Buffet could present such malign fluid?
    Still, understandable in the face of Honey-Bunny Warren who represents ‘the mob’. It’s like Lady Chatterley’s Lover back-to-front with a micro-penis isn’t it?
    The terror of a rough bunny glaring down at the Buffet, seductively biting her top lip, so she looks like a piranha instead!
    Yeah Mr Buffet, hot frightening stuff of demonic proportions I’d say too…..
    You know, in this particular case, Buffet simply reminds me of a cartoon character who doesn’t change his clothes. And because Bunny Warren has a clever nose, she smiles Buffet a mile off.
    Perhaps that’s why it’s hellish for Mr Buffet.

    1. Demeter

      Warren Buffett has never experienced a woman’s anger…if that’s his idea of anger.

      I’d be willing to enlighten him, any time. Hell, I’d do it for free. I can get a little group of friends together and give him the Full Monty of Women’s Anger towards asinine, patronizing Old White Men. It would be a pleasure.

      1. optimader

        Passed it along to two people that played w/ Miles. Thumbs up.
        He was a brilliant guy, as well it turns I am told he was a solid on the commercial end as well. He taught one of them how to stay whole financially in the music biz and not get ripped off by the middle men.

Comments are closed.