2:00PM Water Cooler 5/1/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Selling Out the Constitution and Main Street on Trade” [Washington Times]. “The TPP and other trade agreements surrender American sovereignty.” This really is the killer argument because it applies across the spectrum.



Nader: “We don’t want a coronation of Hillary Clinton. We want a vibrant debate in the televised primaries next year, and Bernie Sanders will provide an alternative view of where the country should be going” [Democracy Now].

The S.S. Clinton

Larry Flynt supports Clinton because Supreme Court [Bloomberg].

Bernie helps Hillary: “Hillary’s Harlem (err Brooklyn) Globetrotters now has its Washington (err Vermont) Generals” [NBC]. Granted, the Democrats can now have discussions on “income inequality, curtailing the role of big money in presidential politics, climate change.” And that’s good, and kudos to Sanders. But let’s be clear about the limits that discussion will have. I got my fundraiser mail — subject line: “Bernie Sanders!” — from DNC 2016 this morning.

“[Clinton’s] conservative adversaries are seizing on the unrest in Baltimore to repackage small-government nostrums as the solution to issues most of them have made their careers ignoring” [The New Republic].

Charlie Cook: “Why are so many Republicans running for president? [National Journal]. So it’s not free money from squillionaires and a job for life. Good to know. To be fair, this is actually worth a read.

Because SuperPACs can raise unlimited amounts of money, candidates will outsource as many functions as possible to them [Wall Street Journal, “Roles of Presidential Super PACs Expanding”]. Presumably, candidates will keep “core functions” in house. But what are those functions?

Republican Establishment

Jebbie: “We need to be engaged in this debate as conservatives and say that there’s a bottom up approach and it starts with building a capacity so people can achieve earned success (by) having higher expectations and higher accountability and dramatically different kinds of schools” [Tampa Bay Times]. So the answer is charters.

Jebbie: “If you’re born poor today, you’re more likely to stay poor We need to deal with this” [National Journal].

Republican Clown Car

Huckabee to run against “Bill Clinton’s Arkansas” [Political Wire]. I understand that Huckabee can stomp Democrats, but Walker does it harder, and in living memory, too.

A primer on Bridgegate, in which Chris Christie is still mired [New York Times].

Podcast recommendation: I’ve been listening to two podcasts a lot over the last few months (to be fair, I use them as sleeping aids). One is is Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome, and the other is Revolutions, which so far has covered the England, the United States, France, with Haiti next up. The lesson I take away is the scale and complexity of these events, and how history offers a baseline for today. In particular, lots of smart, hard-working people knew the ancien regime was broken in the 1740s, and tried to fix it. But it wasn’t fixable. However, chance has its role to play as well: Louis XVI, like Charles I, was not a particularly competent king. Geography counts too: The continental scale of the American revolution was key to victory; as was the concentration and intensity of Paris, which gave the sans culottes an important role. Oh, and a key event that ended feudalism in France was when the peasants burned all the land records. Duncan’s history is definitely popular, and to my taste focuses far too much on elite maneuvering, but then again elites matter, he has a taste for vivid set pieces that decribe key incidents, and its very good to get the timelines fixed firmly in one’s mind.

Stats Watch

Jobless claims, week of April 24, 2015: “Initial claims, not skewed by special factors, plunged 34,000” [Bloomberg]. “The Fed is ready now to pull the trigger at anytime and today’s jobless claims data may have their finger a little itchy.” Boo hoo, no more free money for rich people (Cue mental reaction: “I’m not really rich.”) Missed this stat yesterday; sorry.

Construction Spending: “March construction spending dropped 0.6 percent against expectations” [Bloomberg]. “While weather can still be blamed for some of the decline, a basic weakness in the building sector was apparent.”

PMI Manufacturing Index, April 2015: “Production is the softest it’s been all year” [Bloomberg]. “Despite all the weakness, employment, as it has in other reports, continues to expand and at what this report describes a “robust” pace. But strength here will prove fleeting if orders don’t pick up.”

ISM Manufacturing Index, April 2015: “There’s a new unwanted wrinkle in the ISM report and that’s weakness in employment …. Employment has been holding strong in other reports [Bloomberg]. “Other indications, however, are positive. New orders actually rose.”

Consumer Sentiment, April 2015: “Strong,” both for expectations and current conditions [Bloomberg]. “[D]espite the strength in the overall reading, strength in sentiment has yet to translate to strength in spending.”

“Note the inventory build” [Mosler Economics].

Health Care

State exchanges wrestle with surging costs, especially for IT and call centers — and tepid enrollment numbers [WaPo]. And a lousy product.

Republicans prepare for horse-trading if the Supreme Court rules against subsidies in King v. Burwell [WaPo]. “A number of key swing presidential swing states are home to high numbers of people who could see subsidies evaporate.” Coincidence?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Guess who:


Answer below*.

Detroit prosecutor Teana Walsh: “‘Solution. Simple. Shoot ’em. Period. End of discussion [Daily Mail].

Baltimore suspended legal procedures and imposed bail bonds of up to half a million dollars on the city’s most impoverished residents [Guardian]. Sounds like law enforcement for profit, just like in Ferguson. The jail part makes it a two-fer.

Baltimore prosecutor Mosby indicts cops on Freddie Gray: Six officers face multiple charges. “Gray suffered a ‘severe and critical neck injury’ as a result of being handcuffed, shackled and being unrestrained in the van [Baltimore Sun]. “The highest charge, second-degree depraved heart murder, went to the driver of the van, Officer Clarence.” I like “depraved heart.” That’s a keeper. Best snark: “It’s not the prosecutor’s job to make the defense’s case for them. This isn’t St Louis.”

Law enforcement for profit: “A Baltimore Sun review of 63 recent drug-related cases in Maryland showed that property was forfeited in 30 of them, even though court records showed no conviction” [Baltimore Sun]. I’ve been told that law enforcement for profit happens in Baltimore, as in St Louis, and I’m looking for the mechanism and the numbers; I’m not turning up fines. Am I wrong? Readers?

“[T]he problem rests on the continued profitability of racism” [D.B. Connolly, New York Times]. “[H]ousing and commercial real estate have come to occupy the heart of America’s property regime, replacing slavery.”

“It is all too common to live in a city with a wide variety of ethnic and racial groups — including Chicago, New York, and Baltimore — and yet remain isolated from those groups in a racially homogenous neighborhood” [FiveThirtyEight].

“The Clock Didn’t Start With the Riots” [Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic].

Movement conservaties on Rodney King [The Atlantic]. Where are they now?

U.K. Election

“14 Photos Of British Politicians Improved By “Game Of Thrones” Quotes” [Buzzfeed].


BFFs Christie and Cuomo veto NY, NJ to “de-politicize” New York Port Authority [Bloomberg]. Interesting read that zooms out to infrastructure issues (but “depoliticize”? I’m sure that Bloomberg has privatization and “public-private partnerships” in the back of its tiny collective neo-liberal lizard brain. Those are as “political” as it gets.

Politically wired Chicago “community organization” and the board of the charter whose buildings it owns are feuding [Sun Times]. Of course, the public is picking up the tab for it all, because markets.

Medical marijuana in New York: “Some bidding groups – acting on inside information – staked out dispensary locations months ago and will have no problem in meeting all of the requirements on a 30-day deadline” [NY2NY].

Yahoo gets half a billion in subsidies for locating in desperate upstate New York [Investigative Post]. And they’ll pick up and move in a heartbeat.

How the Texas Tea Party came to love corporate subsidies [The Atlantic].

Gun Culture

Officer from McConnell’s security detail left his Glock in the bathroom of the Capitol Visitor Center; then an officer from Boehner’s detail did the same thing [Roll Call]. A worker found the first, a child the second.

Class Warfare

“California’s low-wage workers are older and more educated than they were three decades ago — but they earn less, according to new research from UC Berkeley” [Los Angeles Times]. So wait, education wasn’t the answer?

Squillionare Peter Thiel: “Always aim for a monopoly. It’s one big transgressive idea, and you’re not allowed to talk about it. That’s a clue that it’s an under-explored idea. There are questions on what point is it good or bad for societies. From society’s perspective, it’s complicated. But from the inside, I always want to have a monopoly” [Business Insider]. Thiel was interviewed by Niall Ferguson, which is practically pornographic. “Transgressive,” eh? “From the inside,” eh?

News of the Wired

  • Drone vandalism begins wtih “epic NYC tag” [Wired].
  • Music, reading-aloud, digital techs opens up new interpretations of Finnegans Wake [Guardian]. I hope so. I’ve tried, I’ve really tried….
  • “Why Are We Losing in the Middle East? Too Much STEM, Not Enough Humanities” [HuffPo].


“Rumsfeld: Looting is transition to freedom,” UPI, April 11, 2003.

* * *

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 fifth of “Spring is here!” week one:


This is a picture of my hugel bed. Underneath the top layer of leaves and twigs and grass is a big pile of scrap from the firewood pile. When I cover this with earth and then sheet mulch, the tomatoes I plant in it are going to be very happy!

I’d like more pictures of people’s gardens. As this image very clearly shows, they don’t have to be pretty!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the soil, seeds, Fedco Tree sale, and planting 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. RabidGandhi

    I was gonna complain about there being a watercooler on International Workers’ Day when we’re all supposed to be off, but I’m here myself, so I guess it’s a moot point.

  2. LucyLulu

    Re: “for profit policing”:

    “Civil forfeiture differs from criminal forfeiture, in which an individual must be convicted of a crime to lose his or her property. Unlike in criminal cases, property owners who cannot afford legal representation are not appointed counsel, and even for those who can afford an attorney, the value of the assets seized is often less than the cost of legal representation and missed work. Further, the burden of proof is on the owner of the property; to contest a seizure in Maryland, an individual must prove that the property was wrongfully seized or that the owner had no actual knowledge of the action. As a result, many civil forfeitures go uncontested. Only one-sixth of seizures examined as part of an investigative series by The Washington Post were legally challenged.”

    In addition to the above, the lack of any requirements to report the amounts or nature of civil forfeitures makes tracking this kind of information quite difficult.
    Civil Forfeiture Assumes Guilt

    1. fresno dan

      Not being a lawyer, I have never been able to square that with,
      “….no person …. shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”

      I would have thought that meant that you had to be convicted…. Of course, slavery was legal, so being legal, within the law while being just are two different things.

      5th amendment:
      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

      1. LucyLulu

        “Not being a lawyer, I have never been able to square that with,”

        Not a lawyer here either, but you’re preaching to the choir. This is only one of many examples, from being denied, often using violent methods, the use of public property to stage peaceful protests all over the country (pepper spray of seated students at UC Davis is my favorite example) to extra-judicial assassinations of US citizens. By my analysis, foreclosures were essentially another form of civil forfeiture, but by private entities, that placed the burden on the property owner to prove their innocence.

      2. Mel

        The joke, the left-cerebral-hemisphere wrinkle in that, is that the relevant law makes the case against the property. It’s not you being deprived of your property because the court case will be something like “The state of X vs. the property at 13 Maldoror Drive.” Legally the property is being deprived of you, but property has no constitutional rights. Somebody, maybe John Oliver, covered that.

        1. skippy

          Property might not have rights but, it does grant them, I think that is how gold got its show on the road.

    2. Calgacus

      Many prominent legal thinkers think civil forfeiture is completely cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs.
      See e.g. Leonard Levy’s A License to Steal: The Forfeiture of Property
      If one has the latitude to twist the plain meaning and intent of words, of rights and constitutions to the point that a license to steal like civil forfeiture – or foreclosures under MERS – is allowed, why bother having them at all?

  3. nycTerrierist

    I’d like to know if any rich proponent of test-driven charter schools would
    ever send their child to one? Somehow, I doubt it…

    1. abynormal

      Rich white kids: The wave of the charter school future?
      “Making your “public” school cost $1,000 a year, require private transportation, and not offer free or reduced-price school lunches is slightly more subtle than naming it “No Poor Kids Academy.” But only slightly.”

      The ‘niche’ effect of charter schools guarantees a swift and vicious deepening of class and racial separation.
      Jonathan Kozol

      1. abynormal

        Very few charter schools are being created in some of the best school districts in the state. If you’re an educational innovator, that isn’t where the greatest need is.
        John Engler

  4. DJG

    Did you have to quote Nader? I’ll be counting the seconds till the Democratic loyalists swoop in, undies pre-bundled.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Retrospectively I wish I’d voted for Nader instead of Gore but I was in many respects a right wing mainstream Democrat back then so that wasn’t happening. Nader seemed like a pointless distraction to me at the time, but the political debate, even today, would no doubt be healthier if he had gotten more votes and thus more play. He called the stupidity of the trade deals, the later disastrous financialization of the economy and corporate influence of government like a real pro–three critical issues that have proven him correct all along.

  5. LucyLulu

    Big kudos to Mosby for filing charges against the six officers. Five are already in custody. Baltimore residents are celebrating and Freddie’s mother has been quoted as saying her son can now rest in peace. However the biggest gratitude should perhaps come from fellow officers who serve their duties with courage and integrity and treat those they serve and protect with appropriate respect. Perhaps they can recover from the fallout from the deaths of innocent victims caused by fellow officers, while adding insult to injury by maintaining nothing wrong was done.

    Still, there were leaks of information that painted a negative portrait of the victim, that he’d been arrested for carrying an illegal switchblade and his fatal injury was self-inflicted. Both have now been said to be untrue, and Freddie Gray had committed no crime………… other than failing to run fast enough. The source of the leaks are unknown but only the interest of the police would have been served. Furthermore, the police commissioner made a promise, later declared to be a misunderstanding, that the details of what happened would be made available by today but until completed, the details of the investigation needed to remain confidential to ensure its integrity. Even if the misunderstanding was unintentional, the police commissioner allowed it to stand uncontested and reported widely by the media for several days, until Wed. evening. There was additional erroneous information released about how many stops the van had made. When the fish rots, it starts at the head.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I have nothing but respect and admiration for Marilyn J. Mosby. Coming from a family of cops as she does, I am sure she is acutely aware of the enormous can of worms she has opened up and the myriad of ways she will be retaliated against by Baltimore’s “finest.”

      She obviously takes her position as a “public servant” very seriously. Her courage and commitment should put an invertebrate like Hillary Clinton to shame, and I can only hope that Loretta Lynch is taking notes.

      1. jo6pac

        Thanks for the added info on Marilyn J. Mosby brave indeed but she is in the right. The chance of LL taking notes would only to be in the way of a trial.

  6. snackattack

    History of Rome podcast is so good! Haven’t listened to Revolutions much, I found the first episode (in the England subseries) a little overwhelming with all the names and events.

    Two other awesome history podcasts:
    12 Byzantine Rulers by Lars Brownworth
    The History of English by Kevin Stroud

    1. norm de plume

      Have listened to all of the above and enjoyed Kevin Stroud most of all; he has a fascinating audiobook on the history of the alphabet too. One thing that jumped out to me is how important the advent of writing was in civilisational advance, on a par with that of speaking I guess. All that Greek achievement began to occur, or at least be recorded and therefore archived, within a couple of generations of the intro of the Greek alphabet, adapted from the Phoenician, probably by traders who needed it to buy and sell in the Med market. There had been the Linear scripts of Crete and Mycenae before that of course, but its no surprise that the period without script in between was called the Dark Ages.

      The other cast I like is Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time, which can be a bit crusty but is often very good, and with 2 or 3 plummy dons disagreeing politely in between Lord Mel’s avuncular probing I have found it the best insomnia treatment of the lot.

      1. JEHR

        Yes, I am a fan of these podcasts too. I walk in the mornings for about an hour and a half and listen to these podcasts (and others) plus music. In a year, that’s a lot of information to take in!

      2. snackattack

        I will have to check out In Our Time — thanks for the suggestion!

        And I agree, the history of the alphabet book is super interesting. Looking forward to listening to Kevin Stroud’s “Beowulf Deconstructed” as well.

    1. DJG

      Wonderful speech by Coates. The comments are like one more glimpse into the national id, which is like Dante’s Inferno, to put it politely. What resentments.

      1. EGrise

        I’ve stopped reading comment sections on most of the sites I visit. I looked at the one over there and it just confirmed my decision.

        1. jrs

          It’s getting worse perhaps, the national id, or at least it’s getting worse as much as the national ego is supposedly getting better.

          There were news articles recently on the Armenian massacre, which is of course tragic and vicious, as much so as later mass killings. It’s not within our lifetimes and it’s not anything anyone has that much reason to get reactive about except maybe the government of Turkey. But of course comment after racist comment with racist garbage about Armenians on those articles of all things.

  7. Elliott

    Teena Walsh “‘Solution. Simple. Shoot ‘em. Period. End of discussion” resigned.

    Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Teana Walsh has resigned following a controversial post that began circulating on social media…

    1. hunkerdown

      My god, she looks like a disgusting person. What is it with the bottle-blonde Stepford look that makes it the parasite class’s favorite uniform?

  8. Kurt Sperry

    I think this similar Rumsfeld quote feels a little more apropos of Baltimore: “While no one condones looting, on the other hand, one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who have had members of their family killed by that regime, for them to be taking their feelings out on that regime,” he said. “And I don’t think there’s anyone in any of those pictures … (who wouldn’t) accept it as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.”

    1. jrs

      It’s not that looting or rioting is the answer really. It’s that while you can condemn the “pathology” of looting on the one hand (maybe some just steal because it’s the only way they’ll ever get a whatever it is that gets stolen). I think most of society is equally insane when it doesn’t even PROTEST everything that is going on. Passive middle class white society wants to present themselves as the ideal (they would create god in their image – they are that narcissistic), only they are quite entirely off their rocker. Apathy in the face of the corporate and the more old fashioned kind of dictatorship and destruction of the world, and it’s as bad as can be conceived.

      While some countries manage to have general strikes and so on, in the U.S. most are utterly apathetic, while meanwhile ghetto residents periodically riot and destroy only their own communities in what mostly seem acts of profound futility that white America just shakes their head at (although there’s tactical problems of not living there, I also wonder is the ghetto afraid to riot in the rich areas? Maybe anyone who did would be slaughtered in cold blood like in any dictatorship and the iron fist behind the invisible hand would show as it periodically does). These riots are allowed, they mostly hurt the poor neighborhoods, long since written off, maybe they are the equivalent of periodic “controlled burn” to the powers that be. And meanwhile no unity, majority apathy, occasional riots in the ghettos and everything goes from bad to worse ….

  9. ProNewerDeal

    I am happy to see Sanders run for 2016 Pres. I am skeptical about Sanders’ ability “to highlight ignored issues & push Hellary to the left” will have any effect on a possible Pres Hellary in Jan 2017.

    Has somebody, perhaps a political scientist like Prof. Thomas Ferguson, studied
    1 The connection between a Pres’s campaign promises & actual policy
    2 Any negative PERSONAL political or financial damage a Pres experiences from blatantly doing the opposite of his campaign promise.

    It appears that 0bama has faced no substantial political or financial damage from blatantly lying in his campaign promises, such as being for Medicare-buy-in style Public Option, promising to be the “most Transparent Admin Eva TM” then being the most secretive & punishing to heroic whisteblowers, etc. I am cynical that Hellary could fake-agree to Sanders being for Medicare For All, anti-TPP, $12+ min wage, etc; then do the exact opposite in Jan 2017, just like her predecessor 0bama Reagan Jr. Willie & Hellary Clinton have gotten their multi-million fortune off of betraying campaign promises, and being hacks for Wall $treet Bank$tas and other Criminal 0.1% business groups.

    What do yall think about this notion of Sanders influencing Hellary’s policy?

    1. frosty zoom

      it would be nice if mr. sanders could incorporate himself into ms. clinton’s gut biome. however, i suspect he’ll only be a bit of up-burped hoisin sauce on iowa primary night for ms. clinton.

      “JEBILLARY BUSHTON 2016 – ¿why fight it?”

        1. abynormal

          THE quote that ignites All senses at once!
          (that frosty be at the top of my roll model list’)

      1. different clue

        Or maybe . . . Jebillary Bushinton. Whichever sounds more poetic and memorable.

    2. Steve

      Obama never had serious opposition on his left. Although in the past couple years, Elizabeth Warren has served somewhat as an annoyance to him with his raging centrism and coddling of billionaires. Now though he wants TPP so desperately he doesn’t care who or what he has to run over to get it.

      The idea behind Sanders is that he would constrain Hillary from going Stage 4 corporate, at least during the campaign, and pin her down on things in ways nobody ever pinned down Obama.

      I also think Sanders’ influence may become important in ways we can’t foresee.

      1. Kim Kaufman

        I’m beginning to wonder if the DNC didn’t say OK to Bernie only to make it look like there was not a total vacuum in the Democratic Party. I suspect there are limitations about what Bernie can say and still get $$ from DNC.

        My recollection is that when Dennis Kucinich was in the pres race, he was actually winning those debates but CNN and others manipulated the data to make it look otherwise – and the powers that be quickly conspired to take him out of the debates asap.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It will be interesting, and possibly a litmus test, to see if state and local Democratic apparatchiks put obstacles in his way (as they would a genuine insurgent).

          Regardless, he’s out there, and the discourse will be the better for it (with a level of effort….)

  10. Marko

    “…A statement from the United Nations said, “We condemn the militarization and police brutality that we have seen in recent months in America, and we strongly urge American state security forces to launch a full investigation into the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. There is no excuse for excessive police violence.” The U.N. called on the United States to make a concerted effort to make databases of police violence public to improve transparency and cut down on corruption in the justice system…..”

    “…International human rights groups have appealed to the global community to facilitate asylum for America’s ethnic black minorities. When asked whether the European Union was willing to take on more black refugees risking their lives in fleeing American state violence, an E.U. human rights spokesman said: “More black refugees? We are dealing with our own Mediterranean crisis, so now is not really a good time for that for us. Furthermore, we believe in American solutions to American problems.”


  11. gonzomarx

    Occupy Democracy – the Festival of Democracy – Programme May 1-10
    “We have come out in to Parliament Square which is a symbolic and iconic location for democracy in the world, supposedly, [and] seems like a sensible thing to do when there is so much spin being told to people.”

  12. Steve

    Podcasts or NPR help me go to sleep at night but I will relisten to the History of Rome the next day to make sure I don’t miss anything.

  13. upstater

    re. hugel bed: I think uncomposed wood draws a serious amount of nitrogen as it decomposes. I have always read wood or wood chips must be composted fully before applying in the garden. You may wish to check.

    1. lambert strether

      The scraps had been outdoors from last summer. All I can tell you is that is what I did with my first hugel bed, and ut worked great.

  14. Howard Beale IV

    Sheldon Adelson lectures court after tales of triads and money laundering: The Guardian

    The multibillionaire, judged by Forbes to be the world’s eighth richest man, earlier in the week denounced as “delusional and fabricated” allegations by the former head of his casino operations in Macao that the Las Vegas Sands’ subsidiary was involved in influence-peddling with a legislator in the Chinese enclave and used men with ties to Chinese organised crime gangs, the triads, to bring in high-rolling gamblers.

    Adelson is being sued for wrongful dismissal and defamation by the former CEO of his highly profitable Macao casinos, Steven Jacobs, who claims he was fired in 2010 because he stopped what he described as excessive payments to a Macao lawyer and legislator, Leonel Alves, on the grounds they might be in breach of US anti-bribery laws.

    Jacobs also claims Adelson objected to his efforts to end ties to the triads. The case is being monitored by the Nevada gaming authorities because it has implications for Las Vegas Sands’ licences.

    On Friday, Adelson again strongly denied any wrongdoing by his company as Jacobs’ counsel sought to portray the 81-year-old Las Vegas Sands chairman as far more hands on than he admits in the running of the Macao casinos. In response, Adelson accused Jacobs of planting stories in the Wall Street Journal alleging “Sands involvement in prostitution and bribery”.

    But little light was shed as Adelson repeatedly challenged even straightforward questions from Jacobs’ lawyer, James Pisanelli.

    “It’s an outrageous, overreaching nerve to ask me if I remember this meeting,” he said in answer to one question.

    In response to others, the Las Vegas Sands chairman launched into comments about burden of proof, spoke about how he trained as a secretary and lectured Pisanelli on the arguments the lawyer was permitted to make.

    At one point, Adelson started disagreeing with the judge, Elizabeth Gonzalez, over whether he had to answer a question.

    “Sir, you don’t get to argue with me,” Gonzalez told Adelson.

    Adelson is one of biggest GOP’s Sugar Daddy’s.

    1. Ian

      Sounds like a slimy POS that I had the displeasure of getting in an argument on FB about Harper. Evasive, accusatory, lots of derogatory personal attacks, avoided any substantive debate and when I shot down his counter points refused to acknowledge or deal with it and went on as if there where no counterpoints.At the end he was calling me an idiot and claiming to have mopped the floor with me. Very draining.

      1. inode_buddha

        I work with people like that on a daily basis. They usually don’t “get it” until they are led away in handcuffs. FWIW they tend to fit the “sociopath” profile so completely that its just a textbook example.

  15. Yonatan

    Famous Politician (paraphrased): “Always aim for a dictatorship. It’s one big transgressive idea, and you’re not allowed to talk about it. That’s a clue that it’s an under-explored idea. There are questions on what point is it good or bad for societies. From society’s perspective, it’s complicated. But from the inside, I always want to have a disctatorship.”

    1. jrs

      What years of not enforcing anti-trust will get you.

      They think they are subversive when they act like the economic man economists (probably goes back to Adam Smith) have long predicted they would without enforcing laws to force a more competitive marketplace.

  16. Yonatan

    “Why Are We Losing in the Middle East?”

    Too much killing of random people. Too much creation and support of false-flag wahhabist extremist groups.

  17. cripes

    From Steve above:
    “The idea behind Sanders is that he would constrain Hillary from going Stage 4 corporate, at least during the campaign, and pin her down on things in ways nobody ever pinned down Obama.
    I also think Sanders’ influence may become important in ways we can’t foresee.”

    Another way Bernie can influence the contest is to mobilize “leftists” to work within the democratic party structure is to campaign, lose and then exhort his disappointing followers not to waste all the wonderful work they’ve done, and be sure to vote for Hillary, who is surely less evil than whatever the repugs have dragged in this year.

    Mission accomplished.

  18. Walt Auvil

    Podcast suggestions will be explored. I have too many I can’t miss now, however. Democracy Now – not available over the air in WV – is a must IMHO. I know it is a different type of offering, but the Belabored podcast from Dissent Magazine might be of interest to Naked Capitalism followers, along with Richard Wolff’s Economic Update.

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