2:00PM Water Cooler 4/13/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


The S.S. Clinton

Clinton and staffers (Huma Abedin and spokeswoman Nick Merril) head to Iowa — by van (the “Scooby Doo”). Press not invited [Los Angeles Times]. I’ve never felt that Clinton was imaginative. This is imaginative. 

Clinton video: “America, under Obama, moved from economic collapse to a frail recovery. And I’ll get you the rest of the way home” [Los Angeles Times].

Clinton video: “[A]ll the people in the video express cautious optimism about the next chapter in their lives. The key here is the tone” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. “Clinton’s agenda will look a lot like the ‘inclusive prosperity’ blueprint from the Center for American Progress.”

Clinton Video: Jared Milrad and Nate Johnson, Chicagoan gay couple from video invite Clinton to their wedding [McClatchy]. Good for them!

“[T]he question is becoming not whether Hillary should be the nominee but what sort of nominee you think she should be. Constituency groups are not sizing up different candidates but trying to define what a Hillary Clinton candidacy and presidency would look like” [Talking Points Memo]. Hence, Deblasio’s “mild’ non-endorsement.

“Clinton will hold conversations [ha] with voters [in Iowa] on Tuesday and Wednesday and slowly make a more detailed case for her candidacy and specific policy proposals, ahead of a more formal kickoff of her campaign in May” [New York Times]. Masterfully sucking all the oxygen out of the room….

“Soon, the Clinton team’s view of Ready for Hillary would shift from annoyance to acceptance. The energy the organization was harnessing reminded them of the kind of grassroots movements they jealously watched mobilize around Obama in 2008” [AP]. Hmm. 

“[O]n the weekend of Hillary Clinton’s announcement of her presidential campaign, her 35-year-old daughter showed up on the cover of ELLE magazine, in a $1,500 Gucci dress and $7,000 Cartier bracelet” [Politico]. Apparently, Chelsea has “fought her way back from tough economic times.” Attagirl.

Rubio Announcement

Rubio will make his presidential announcement around 6:00 pm ET from Miami’s Freedom Tower [NBC]. Because freedom.

“U.S. Senator Marco Rubio will make a muscular foreign policy a focal point when he announces his presidential candidacy on Monday” [HuffPo]. What, more muscular than setting the Ukraine and the Middle East on fire?

“Rubio can credibly tell Republican activists that he’s one of them ideologically and tell the establishment that he can win” [FiveThirtyEight]. As long as he doesn’t lunge for any more glasses of water.

“Rubio’s pollster, Whit Ayres, told reporters…  that the GOP must double its support among Hispanics if the party is remain competitive in national races going forward” [The Hill]. Hence the Hispanic small businessmen in Hillary’s video,

Rubio’s track record of youthful defiance inevitably draws comparisons to an object of Mr. Rubio’s disapproval: Mr. Obama [New York Times]. Beat sweetener.

“Rubio is likely to benefit from the campaign process in Iowa and New Hampshire, which requires meeting with small groups of voters in tiny towns. The Florida senator is affable and personable, like Obama” [NBC].

Tea Party feels they elected Rubio, and he threw them under the bus [Daily Beast].

Rebublican Establishment

Hank Paulson backs Jebbie [USA Today]. ZOMG, the kiss of death?!

“More than 78 percent of our Florida Insiders said Bush would be the stronger candidate against Clinton in Florida” [Tampa Bay Times].

Republican Principled Insurgents

“On the one hand, [squillionaire Robert] Mercer’s support is fantastic for Cruz (having a billionaire in your corner is nice). On the other hand, Mercer’s hedge fund—Renaissance Technologies—recently faced an unflattering congressional investigation, the results of which indicated that it used complex and unorthodox financial structures to dramatically lower its tax burden [Daily Beast]. While Cruz denounces crony capitalism.

Politifact rates Walker’s claim that Clinton, Obama backed laws similar to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act [Politifact]. “For a statement that is partially accurate but takes things out of context, our rating is Half True.”

Walker’s proposed subsidy for a new Bucks stadium, which Walker labels “Pay Your Way,” relies on an accounting gimmick — pretending to earmark the future tax payments of NBA players to cover the costs of the tax-free bonds to finance the stadium [USA Today]. Now that’s out-of-the-box thinking! I hope… 

Republican Clown Car

Huckabee at NRA convention: “Because [the German Jews] had been disarmed — 1,700 guns confiscated, 2,500 handguns — they had no ability or capacity to resist” [USA Today].

“A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort” [WaPo]. Well, fine, I suppose, but what’s with the decades-long lag?

The Hill

Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) on Loretta Lynch nomination [National Law Journal].

I hoped and expected to like Loretta Lynch and I did like her. I think she’s been an extraordinarily talented lawyer and I have a great deal of respect for her. I hoped to be able to vote for her at the end of the day, had she given me anything that could have led me to believe that she sees some significant limits to prosecutorial discretion and to a president’s ability to effectively render large swaths of federal law a nullity.

This position is “not insane!” (as Firesign Theatre would have it). The left might connect this with Obama’s claim to have have the power to whack U.S. citizens without any due process; that, too, has rendered law, as such, a nullity.)

Stats Watch


Kinder-Morgan to run natural gas liquids through World War II Kentucky pipeline designed for natural gas [Courier-Journal]. What could go wrong?

Vast majority South Philly air pollution comes from Carlisle Group-owned “Philadelphia Energy Solutions” refinery, and 11% of it (40 tons) is carcinogenic benzene [Inquirer (PT)].

“[I]n just 18 months, thirteen Bakken- or oil-sands-related derailings have randomly wreaked havoc wherever the oil trains traveled – they derailed in Washington, North Dakota, Alberta, Alabama, New Brunswick, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ontario, West Virginia, and Illinois” [Juan Cole].

Police State

Free-range kids ratted out by park-goer, nabbed by cops again [New York Daily News]. “Meitiv says to get their children back she and her husband had to sign a safety plan that forbids them from leaving the children unattended” [WJLA].


Michael Hiltzik: “Most important, it may be time to look at the state Constitution’s mandate that all water use be ‘reasonable and beneficial … for the public welfare'” [Los Angeles Times]. But his solution is market-based, and markets tend not to be strong on public welfare.

Bhutan seeks help from Wall Street to protect its water [Bloomberg].

Nestlé’s permit for bottling California’s water has expired [Mercury News].

Forget almonds. Let’s talk about cows [Bloomberg].

Health Care

Uninsured rate lowest since Gallup began tracking it [Gallup].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Audio recording of Walter Scott shooting [Guardian].

How a six-grader became a criminal for kicking a trash can [Reveal News].

Cleveland officer Michael Brelo fired 137 shots while killing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, but can’t remember a thing [Guardian].

“Predatory ticketing” in St Louis County’s night court [Think Progress]. “It’s racist as hell.”

 What Happens When You Build a Town Around a Prison?  [Vice].

Class Warfare

Health and income improve together all the way up the economic pyramid [Bloomberg].

* * *

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 five (diptherio):

apricot blossoms

Apricot tree. The other day the tree was literally humming, there were so many bees feasting on the flowers.

Does anybody have any gardening photos yet? Too early?

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

    Wishing I had lightened up the exposure a little bit before sending that one off….ah well…

    Here’s a great interview w/ Boston Tech Collective (and SF Tech Collective founder) Yochai Gal on Rich Wolff’s weekly podcast (skip to 29:00 for the interview):


      1. diptherio

        We had a typical Montana April snow storm the other night and it’s not nearly as pretty now. Hopefully everything got pollinated in time. I’m really looking forward to making a bunch of apricot wine and jelly this year.

    1. craazyman

      keep your back to the sun! ( . . . and your shadow out of the picture).

      Kick back and let nature do all the work.

      That’s photography!

      1. hunkerdown

        Actually, “letting nature do the work” in photography means working around and finding the right angle on nature. Shooting on cloudy days let you use the whole sky as a wrap-around soft box without having to worry so much about your photo going viral as a demonstration of cacophonous color temperature. TheMoreYouKnow™

        1. craazyman

          you gotta walk before you can run! :-)

          my personal experience is that there’s considerable variety in the nature and quality of light on cloudy days. sometimes it is a gentle enveloping light that almost seems to moisten and enflame the colors so they shine with an inner illumination and look almost like wet oil paint. other times it’s a harsh bright gray that deadens color into a dry reflective glare. These conditions are evident just walking down a street. a lot depends on air moisture, light volume, cloud altitude, cloud type and light color. even gray light has a range of wavelengths. sometimes it’s incredible how illuminated color can be, other days it’s like “faak this is just totally awful, just visual misery.” anyway, back to money and economics . . .

          1. optimader

            seems to moisten and enflame the colors so they shine with an inner illumination and look almost like wet oil paint.

    2. Lee

      My Fremontodendron (flannel bush, although ours is tree sized) should be a blazing mass of yellow blooms right now. It is a rather rare, drought tolerant CA native. Alas, it was blown over in one of our vanishingly rare storms and it may be dying. We have propped it up and hope it will survive its roots having been so disturbed. It’s few flowers have dropped off and many leaves have withered but there are tiny new green ones sprouting here and there.

  2. hemeantwell

    Re the Cleveland police barraging of a couple in a car, the amnestic cop, Brelo, fired 15 shots, not 137. He would have had to go through at least 7 clips to fill in for his buddies in carnage. Official commendations would likely ensue.

        1. bob

          49 is a lot, but somewhat believable that one person could carry that much ammo. Completely excessive, but believable. It speaks to the character of the person and the department that he had ready access to that much ammo. I think glock makes a 21 round mag, one of the biggest. Conservatively, that’s at least 3 very large mags, or two extra, and one in the gun. On his person?

          Plan for war, and wow! you’re in one!

          Bullet control.

          1. bob

            This could be a very good question, which will probably prevent it from ever being answered on any widespread basis.

            When an officer is on patrol, how much ammo does he have? In what forms? By person, and carried with that person in the patrol car.

            In the case of a very big 21 round clip, one officer with one back-up mag can fire at least 42 shots.

            Is there a limit? A guideline? Any sort of national policy?

            My guess would be that a lot of cops (including the car, and it’s contents) go out with more ammo than military patrols in hostile territory, on a bullet per person basis.

            1. bob

              In what sense? The pop culture “no-guns”(they do have guns) and full surveillance police, or the mercs they send out into other countries? I don’t like either option.

              I’d like to go back to the 6 shooter. If you need more than that, you need more people, which is why we give cops a radio. Apparently tanks too, these days.

              1. optimader

                In what sense?
                Mostly in a tongue and cheek sense but more seriously in the much higher threshold for resorting to firearms to resolve a situation.
                and full surveillance = different thread
                the mercs they send out into other countries = different thread

                I’d like to go back to the 6 shooter

                I prefer accurate and modern firearms with completely different rules of engagement and serious sanctions for misuse that are at least as draconian as those applied to civilians.

        2. optimader

          Some 49 to 137 too many..
          Skip the article, just the pictures.

          The unintended (the optimist in me) consequences of populating civilian police with “our best and brightest”. The two pictures tell the tale. (His piece btw is a handgun designed first and foremost for the military).
          Completely out of control, and I don’t doubt he doesn’t remember getting jumping on the hood. Shooting 15 bullets through a windshield is a pretty good indication of out of control blind range.

          1. bob

            It looks like the only area they didn’t manage to shoot was where the driver should have been, their supposed “deadly threat”. Just an observation, I don’t know where all of the shots came from, but it sounded like a confined alley, where the cops were shooting from both directly in front of, and behind the car that was shot to pieces. Before the hero jumped up on the hood.

            The dents in the hood show where his feet were. Real last action hero type shit. Balls out, literally.

            1. optimader

              Real last action hero type shit. Balls out, literally.
              out of control blind rage.
              The haircut at arraignment and after perp coaching from the defense team is not lost on me.

  3. diptherio

    Free-range kids ratted out by park-goer, nabbed by cops again [New York Daily News]. “Meitiv says to get their children back she and her husband had to sign a safety plan that forbids them from leaving the children unattended” [WJLA].

    “Free-range” kids or, as they were called when I was a kid, “kids.” WTF, NYC?

    The Conspiracy Theorist in my thinks this is part of a long-term conditioning process to get people used to constant surveillance…where’s that tinfoil?

    1. Vatch

      Maryland, not New York. This situation is crazy. Kids often go to the park without parents.

      1. diptherio

        My bad!

        Adding, whatever happened to the term “latch-key kid” (which is what I was)? No one ever got their latch-key kids taken away, did they?

        1. kj1313

          I see latchkey kids in NYC. Regarding the situation in Maryland I think a busybody is targeting the family.

          1. bob

            Even if that were true, what gave the right to the cops to haul away the kids?

            They’re people, not machines. They don’t have to shoot every black guy they come across and they don’t have to pick up every kid who they see “alone”.

            I have no idea on criminal law in MD, but normally for cops to “takes someone away” they need to come up with some sort of narrative, or “probable cause”, for even questioning, let alone taking someone prisoner.

            I guess with as with “swatting” PC now comes via a phone call. No cop, or judgement needed. “Send in the storm troopers, we just got a call!!”

            Where is the cop union on this? Are they asking to be replaced by terminator?

          2. Gaianne


            Unless Silver Spring MD has instituted a general lock-down on children –which should show up in the police blotter–that pretty much has to be the explanation: The family is being targeted with harassment.

            I wonder why.


  4. Pat

    So the uninsured rate is the lowest since Gallup started tracking it. Sounds good, doesn’t it. Successful even. Well if having insurance was the goal that is. Health care, well that is not doing so well. There is more and more data out there showing that people are still forgoing health care. So more people are giving insurance companies a significant portion of their income (with or without subsidies) to get little or nothing in return.

    I know I’m stating the obvious for most of the people who read Naked Capitalism, but insurance does not equal health care. And we now have a system where the insurance companies have a captive consumer base and no real requirement to provide much actual health care. We have a law so toothless, insurance companies are gaming said system to provide less and less every year. Yup, the ACA is a leading candidate for an example of American Exceptionalism at its most oxymoronic.

  5. DJG

    ScoobyDoobius and consequences beyond HRC’s control. Lately, I’ve been thinking about Antoninus Pius, of all people. We could use an A.P., a respite from our ambitious senators. Yet Antoninus Pius was unintended, even for Hadrian, who was much shrewder than Clinton and more talented than Obama and who evolved more on gay issues than either, what with Antinous and all.

    A squib about AP that I stole from some history site. =
    Despite his consulship and remarkable conduct as governor of Asia, Antoninus’ experience of government was fairly limited. Then, on his 62nd birthday (24 January AD 138) Hadrian, by now of failing health, announced he was to adopt Antoninus Pius. The adoption ceremony was held a month after, on 25 February AD 138. The ceremony revealed Hadrian’s plans for the empire. In adopting Antoninus, Hadrian just sought a safe pair of hands into which to trust the empire for the immediate future. But 51 years old at the time and childless, Antoninus was not to be the main aim of Hadrian’s intentions. For the ceremony in which Hadrian adopted Antoninus, simultaeously had Antoninus adopt Marcus Annius Verus (Marcus Aurelius), Hadrian’s young nephew, and Lucius Ceionius Commodus, young son of the deceased Lucius Ceionius Commodus, who had been Hadrian’s first choice as heir.

    In short: It is eighteen months to the election.

  6. dodahman

    ‘What, more muscular than setting the Ukraine and the Middle East on fire?’ that had me laughing. thx.
    But, he is saying it up front and from the get go. to make sure no one lays a peace prize on him?

  7. LaRuse

    “How a six-grader became a criminal for kicking a trash can”
    Ugh. This is absolutely true of Virginia. It happened to a family we are friends with. Their 13 year old daughter ran up behind her friend, threw her arms around the girl, and happened to have her hands brush her friend’s breasts. School cop saw the incident and charged her with, no kidding, sexual assault. The friend protested, the girls parents protested, and if my friend hadn’t lawyered up, his daughter would be a registered sex offender. To get the County to drop the charges, mother and daughter had to take, of all things, anger management counseling.
    I note that one of the middle schools specifically called out in the article will be my own daughter’s future middle school. I better get a lawyer on retainer.

    1. ambrit

      The ‘money quote’ in your comment for me was, “School cop.”
      In “Ye Olde Days” that function was undertaken by one or two ‘Assistant Principals.’ These people would also have education degrees. Uniformed cops would only show up for riots or ‘Officer friendly’ shows. This militarization of society proceeds apace.

    2. vidimi

      i don’t understand why there isn’t a greater diaspora of americans fleeing to safer lands. is it because you’re all taught that the world is such a dangerous place?

  8. gonzomarx

    a Coalition gift in time for the election.

    Bringing back debtors’ prisons (to the UK)

    Election coverage: how the parties and leaders are faring on television (round up of the 1st week)
    In the first week of campaigning, the election dominated half the airtime on the major UK broadcasters’ evening bulletins

    Labour manifesto 2015 – the key points

    SNP has almost doubled lead over Labour in Scotland, poll shows

    1. Oregoncharles

      At this rate, the SNP, in a truly superb irony, will wind up governing the UK. Hilarious.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In California, we may have to cut back on our water cooler and go to wine cooler.

    Small ideas to save water:

    1. Only out-of-state bottled water allowed.
    2. No in-state beer brewing.
    3. Import Greek bottled water, helping them with needed dollars.
    4. Kill all lawns in baseball, football and soccer parks
    5. Out of state visitors must bring their own water
    6 Free government portable, personal desalinator

    These may not save much, but we have to start somewhere. Everyone is welcome to imagine other ideas.

    1. Lee

      We murdered our lawns quite some time ago and have been frugal with water to the point that our household use is considerably less than both the state’s and our water district’s average . Our water district is “asking” customers to cut by 15%. I assume pricing will be used to penalize those who fail to do so and I also assume they will be using our already very low usage as the baseline for determining pricey overages. If so, we will be penalized for being prematurely conscientious.

      1. danny

        @Lee: Hopefully your district is using tiered pricing, which is what most (all?) districts in the State are using to convince people to use less water. Each tier has an objective baseline for us to set goals against and pricing is relative to all residents as a whole rather than based on our own past use. It would be asinine – I believe the legal term is arbitrary and capricious – to only set the savings target against each household’s historical use since it punishes the savers and gives a free pass to the wasters.

        1. Lee

          Thanks. Hope you’re right but the water district’s current statement reads:

          “Currently, EBMUD asks you to cut back your water use by 15 percent compared to your use in 2013.”

          We had already cut our water use significantly by then and I have lodged a query/complaint with them and await their response.

  10. Blurtman

    The left’s racism, or at least profound ignorance, is certainly on display regarding Marco Rubio and Hispanic voters. If we are to take their lack of logic and apply it, then all Italian Americans should be expected to vote for Rick Santorum, all Panamanian Americans for John McCain, and All Mexican Americans for Mitt Romney. The absurd discriminatory expectations are appalling.

    Marco Rubio is white. There is nothing in Cuba’s water, or Argentina’s or any other Latin American countries’ water, that turns a pasty white guy into a minority. The Hispanic category is a fiction created by Richard Nixon that encompasses people of every possible race. And most folks seem to equate a category denoting area of origin, Latin American, with a quasi and poorly defined category of what exactly(?), Hispanic.

    According to the CIA Factbook, Puerto Rico is 76% white, and 12% black. Yet folks like Sonia Sotomayor make a career out of trumpeting a pseudo minority background. Enough with the self-serving racism!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Through genetics, perhaps, we can all look white (or whatever the ruling group) and have minority blood to put on application forms.

      “Yes, I look like Julius Caesar, but I have 99% Han Chinese blood. I qualify!!!!’

    2. ambrit

      What a can of worms!
      You want racism? Try wrapping your head around the degrees of Criollo or Indio blood recognized by Cuban and Latin American cultures. Rubio is considered “white” because he looks white.
      As for labeling, well, we all know how that game is played. Rubio uses his parents Cuban background for political effect. He’s from Florida, a heavily Cuban influenced place. Why shouldn’t he use the “ethnic card?” As for how well his Cuban background will help him with the Mexican community, who knows? We’ll have to ask Ted Cruz about that.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I wonder if I forgot to hit the send button on my ‘drought fighting wine, not water, cooler’ piece.

    In any case, I think California should allow only out-of-state bottled water, as well as preferential treatment of Greek bottled water (killing two birds with one stone – we help them with money and they help us with bottled water).

    Oh, all baseball stadium fields should be without grass…dirt fields only.

  12. Ulysses

    I wonder if today’s politicians even know how to pretend to be “populist” anymore?

    A long time ago, Eugene Debs said this:

    “If you go to the city of Washington, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of congress, and mis-representatives of the masses claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. I am very glad that I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.”

    Would anyone in the U.S. today be able to stand up and inspire people with honest words like these? Our elites are so removed from reality it seems hard to imagine, today.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Let me be perfectly clear. I am always a friend to the working man as long as I don’t have to become one.

    1. ambrit

      Debs had the courage of his convictions. He was unapologetic at his trial for sedition against American intervention in WW1. He went to jail without shame. His experience with “official” persecution mirrors the conditions present today. Human nature, both good and bad, doesn’t change easily or quickly.

  13. bob

    “Kinder-Morgan to run natural gas liquids through World War II Kentucky”

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that pipeline, underground. Very heavy ductile iron pipe. When they buried it, they were in a hurry, or so the story goes. Not much cover on it. One repair crew guy spoke of a break in the line in the middle of a farmers field in the middle of nowhere. They dug it up and found hundreds of plow “dents” in it, from where the farmer, plowing his field, would hit it every year.

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