2:00PM Water Cooler 5/12/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Key Senate vote today (May 12) on fast track, so call your Congress critter (Senate; House)  [The Hill]. The Machiavellis have managed to embody the political conflict in procedural issues, as usual:

But with most Democrats now demanding that all four trade bills — fast-track, TAA, a customs enforcement bill and a package of trade preferences for African countries — move in a single package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will have trouble rounding up enough votes.

It’s unclear if the White House and GOP leaders can get the necessary 60 votes to advance the legislation. Senate aides on both sides of the debate anticipate a close vote.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, one of seven Democrats to vote for fast-track in the Finance Committee last month, said Monday afternoon he would not vote to end debate on the motion to proceed to trade legislation unless all four bills are combined.

He said the Democratic caucus is unified on the question, kicking the ball back into McConnell’s court.

It would be nice, however, to see a good old-fashioned real filibuster, with no bathroom breaks and Senators sleeping on mattresses. 

Fourteen Senators urge labor protections before TPP is passed in letter to Obama [The Hill]. 

The Democrats signing the letter were Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Ben Cardin (Md.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Al Franken (Minn.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

Who is writing the TPP? [Elizabeth Warren, Boston Globe].

Most Americans don’t think of the minimum wage or antismoking regulations as trade barriers. But a foreign corporation has used ISDS to sue Egypt because Egypt raised its minimum wage. Phillip Morris has gone after Australia and Uruguay to stop them from implementing rules to cut smoking rates. Under the TPP, companies could use ISDS to challenge these kinds of government policy decisions — including food safety rules.

Maine has, through immense effort, developed a strong industry of local farms growing food that is “good, clean, and fair” and anybody that cares about local food sovereignty should resist the TPP vehemently. I absolutely want Maine farms protected from foreign food because when the trucks stop, we need to be able to feed ourselves. 

“Clinton’s silence on trade, coming at the worst possible time for Obama, dovetails with her transformation into a presidential candidate eager to align herself more squarely with the liberal wing of her party” [WaPo]. I like her silence, but I’d like a full-throated denunciation even more. 

Now that he’s got his Foundation up and running — ka-ching! — Obama feel free to show his rather unlovely pissy and arrogant side [WaPo]. And Representative Levin of House Ways and Means calls bullshit on him:

So I have deep concern — and some dismay — when the president says that “we are just wrong,” or we are “satisfied with the status quo,” or worse, we are “making this stuff up” when we express concerns about the status of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.

House Democrats know a progressive trade agreement when we see it because we are the ones who built the foundation. We think the TPP agreement, as it stands today, falls short of what is needed. And we don’t want to give up our leverage by granting “fast-track” authority until we know that TPP is on the right track.

“Concern,” in the Beltway, is something you have when you’re about to say “I’m not saying ‘No.’ I’m saying ‘Hell, no!’,” or when you are about to pull the plug on a major program or, in general, break somebody’s rice bowl.



“When it comes down to it — he’s doing this not just because he’s trying to demonize the industry but this populist stuff is popular with his base,” a second banking lobbyist said” [The Hill]. That’s ignorant or deceptive. On the ground, the right hates the banks, too, and that’s hardly Sanders’ base.

The S.S. Clinton

Respected watchdog Charity Navigator executives complain Clinton Foundation operatives tried to muscle them behind the scenes to get off the CN “watch list” [New York]. Thughish and meta at the same time.That’s so cool.

Republican Establishment

Bush cloaks campaign advisors from FEC scrutiny with non-profit [WaPo].

Republican Principled Insurgents

Rubio seeks to keep USA PATRIOT Act intact [The Hill]. But Paul may filibuster against it [The Hill].

Scott Walker to kiss Bibi’s ring on Israel visit [CNN]. Oh wait. It’s a “listening tour,” nothing to do with the campaign [New York Times]. Sorry. But haven’t I heard that phrase before?

“The promised revenues from Walker’s previous budget moves have not fully materialized” [WaPo]. True throughout Kochistan. It won’t matter to the base, though, any more than it has in Kansas, since Walker stomps Democrats.

Walker still running the cheap-shirt-at-Kohl’s riff [Detroit News]. If you’ve got the coupon! Note to staffers: Need new material.

Republican Clown Car

Christie spent $82,954 at the Metlife Stadium (East Rutherford, New Jersey) concession stands [Watchdog.org]. For those following along at home, one 16-ounce beer at Metlife Stadium costs $8.75, so that translates to 9480 beers. As is my policy, I have resisted making jokes about Christie’s girth. Hitherto.

“Seventy-one percent of Americans are Christian, an almost 8-percentage-point drop since 2007” [The Hill]. I can’t help but think that policy outcomes and perceived competence of the explicitly Christianist Bush administration have something to do with this.

Stats Watch

JOLTS, March 2015:  “very soft as is today’s JOLTS report where job openings fell 2.9 percent,” well below consensus [Bloomberg]. Mr. Market breaths sigh of relief, as Fed loanable funds-based free money policy for those who already have lots of it is likely to continue. “Despite the March fall-off, workers appear to be confident in the labor market judging by their willingness to quit.” Either that, or the jobs are so crapified almost anything would be better. Mosler: “And you have to read pretty far into this story before you realize the numbers were down vs the prior month” [Mosler Economics].

Redbook, week of May 9, 2015: “Soft” [Bloomberg]. “Retail sales picked up slightly in the May 9 week as Easter-effects finally fade.” But don’t worry! Mother’s Day is coming! Then graduation!

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, April 2015: “rose solidly,” “higher than expected” [Bloomberg].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Dear Idiots On My Facebook Feed: Here’s Why Calling for Protests Over Slain Cops Makes No Sense” [Alternet]. “It’s simple: one doesn’t protest something the system already agrees is bad. That’s it.”

“Running From Police Is the Norm, Some in Baltimore Say” [New York Times]. Since anybody who doesn’t run deserves a Darwin Award, well, yeah.

St Louis municipalities extort citizens by holding up their driver’s licenses until they buy stickers, even though that’s not permitted by statute [St Louis Dispatch]. What we have here is not only “a secretive, self-policing municipal court system designed to pump revenue into many cities,” but a judicial system that’s acting with legislative powers — one of Madison’s criteria for tyranny. I read this shit, and it’s entirely out of my experience, and I’m amazed that the entire city of St. Louis hasn’t been burned to the ground by an outraged citizenry. The local power structure should consider themselves very lucky.

“Oprah is one of a new group of elite storytellers who present practical solutions to society’s problems that can be found within the logic of existing profit-driven structures of production and consumption” [Guardian]. Headline: “Oprah Winfrey: one of the world’s best neoliberal capitalist thinkers.” Ouch!

Baltimore public defender questions legality of mayor’s curfew [Baltimore Sun].


Game theoretical look at corruption: “In righteous societies, police were not a separate, elite order. They were everybody. When virtually all of society stood ready to defend the common good, corruption didn’t pay” [Aeon]. Thinking of witness via cellphone cameras, I find this hopeful. Can readers actually conversant in game theory assess?

Looks like Obama’s going to follow the Clinton model, and set up a foundation [WaPo]. Here’s the site. With [gag] the Obama “O” trade dress. In Chicago, naturally. The patterns of corruption seem to follow partisan culture: Republicans seem to have no problem giving fealty to a squillionaire, while Democrats set up complex systems of obfuscation under the cover of public purpose. But it all comes to the same thing in the end, as Hillary’s privatization and subsequent destruction of her email at State proves.

[OBAMA:] I’ll go back to doing the kinds of work that I was doing before — just trying to find ways to help people, help young people get educations, help people get jobs, help bring businesses into neighborhoods that don’t have enough businesses.

Translating, servicing Chicago’s real estate interests any way he can, through gentrification, especially. And no doubt Rahm has plenty of privatization deals teed up, and the Obamas will get their cut. Then of course there’s Michelle’s Senate seat. These grifters will be with us a long time, sadly.

Gov. Chris Christie on Monday conditionally vetoed a bill that would have added reporting requirements for tax incentive-based economic development programs based on detailed performance indicators, saying they were too narrow [Star-Ledger]. “New Jersey has awarded more than $5 billion in incentives under the Christie administration.” Ka-ching! Turning economic development programs into cookie jars, sometimes privatizing them, is a common thread in Republican states, including Wisconsin and Ohio.

Cuomo throws donors more bond fees [David Sirota, International Business Times]. Ka-ching!


Pro-train bomb Big Oil sues Feds over train safety rules [McClatchy]. Take the brakes off!

Class Warfare

Reporter goes undercover as an Uber driver [City Paper]. $9.34 an hour. That explains Uber’s valuation, I guess.

“Cuba has for several years had a promising therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer. The 55-year trade embargo led by the US made sure that Cuba was mostly where it stayed” [Wired]. Gee, it sure is odd that a communiss country like Cuba can do this, and Big Pharma can’t. Almost makes you wonder whether the capital market serves any useful social function whatever.

News of the Wired

  • “Mother Still Searching For Preschool That Focuses Exclusively On Her Son” [The Onion]. Dateline Boulder. I would have thought New York.
  • “Whistleblower accuses cybersecurity company of extorting clients” [CNN]. It’s an updated version of the business model Crassus had for fire-fighting just before the collapse of the Roman Republic.

* * *

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 Garden Week (Marise):


Marise writes:

Out west we didn’t have a winter so the garden got away from us. We are luckier up here in the Willamette Valley in Oregon because we finally got some late season rain and snow so we are no longer under drought. The clover needs no watering and fixes nitrogen. We just need to beat it back from the blueberry bushes constantly or it’ll steal all the water. Other than that, most of what you see volunteered.

The idea of that garden looks like the idea of my garden: A lovely place to sit, with lots of volunteers. I’m a huge fan of clover because I can seed it early, and you see green in about three days, which is a huge morale builder in that awkward time between the end of mud season and Memorial Day.

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the soil, seeds, flats, and planting season!


(Readers will notice that I have, at long last, improved the hat!)

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. Anon

    Re: WaPo

    Get a load of this guy:

    He said one of his Democratic critics’ arguments “doesn’t make any sense,” another is “pure speculation,” and others are “made up” or unrealistic. “There’s no logic that I think a progressive should embrace that would make you opposed to this deal,” he said, accusing those who disagree of taking the “not smart” position of trying to “ignore the fact that a global economy is here to stay” and of acting to “shrink the overall economic pie just because we’re mad about some things that have happened in the past.”

    Why not just say it to their faces as opposed to standing on your high stoop, Obama? Fun activity of the day – let’s see if we can figure out which elected officials he’s referring to based on the quotes! “pure speculation” is probably Warren, but I can’t put a name to the other two. Anyone?

    1. Pepsi

      I suppose if Warren was to become pro TPP tomorrow she’d be praised by Obama for “being realistic” “making tough choices” “employing vision to help us enact strategic partnerships” and other bullshit rhetoric of that nature.

  2. John

    Looks like Obama is finally getting around to arranging for the post presidential payday(s). A guy has to make a living. I’m sure he’ll be dead broke on leaving the WH. Just like the Clintons.
    That freedom market sure does work.

  3. grayslady

    [OBAMA:] I’ll go back to doing the kinds of work that I was doing before — just trying to find ways to help people, help young people get educations, help people get jobs, help bring businesses into neighborhoods that don’t have enough businesses.

    Apparently, being President made it impossible for him to do these things for everyone while he was in office….

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Arms manufacturers, drug dealers, and the sex industry have all really taken off. Seniors have found opportunities in the part time work force they never dreamed possible.

        Obama never gets credit for this from crazy leftists.

  4. Lambert Strether Post author

    Senate blocks TPP; Democrats block cloture vote.

    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”

        1. dSquib

          Just caught this detail in WSJ on the Trade Adjustmant Assistance program “The program would provide $450 million a year through 2021 for job training for workers displaced by trade deals”.

          You’ve probably heard of it, but it made me laugh. Insurance against the effects of our shitty agreement.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Yep, and walking around money for (Democratic-leaning) trainers in the non-profit community.

            How about compensation for “lost wages”? That would be a show-stopper!

            1. dingusansich

              Why, Lambert, that almost sounds like compensation for the loss of expected future profits. What an idea! Are laborers unaware that job choice entails risk?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If what’s past is prologue, anything ‘desirable’ will get a second or a third chance.

      That was what happened with NAFTA and the bank bailout.

      “You will keep voting until we get the right result.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yep, TARP was voted down the first time too, after which Reid came back with the “Christmas Tree” bill, Obama whipped the Congressional Black Caucus, and it passed.

        But this is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick or a slap in the belly with a wet fish, and surely we’d rather be going forward on this basis, than an outright loss.

      2. hunkerdown

        And the God-and-Jerusalem plank in the 2012 Democratic marketing plan, I mean, platform. And Irish accession to the EU.

        But all that nonsense? Voting is infallible. If a vote produces an undesirable result, clearly the desire is always the problem.

    2. Alan Smithee

      Oh man, somebody forgot to grease Wyden! Hilarious! Even now I can hear the yelps echoing from Capitol Hill.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Alan: I really deprecate such metaphors. Forget that this is a family blog, as they say; such metaphors perpetuate category errors (as in “government is like a household”) because sexual relationships are at the very most a subset of political/power relationships, and it is the latter that are at issue here.

        1. Alan Smithee

          Lambert: I’ve read your post several times and I honestly haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re on about. What about my post is in the least bit sexual?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Pigs are sweet, intelligent animals. You couldn’t be comparing one to a U.S. Senator. At least, that’s what I thought.

            1. Alan Smithee

              Okay, now I’m completely confused. But, as my grandnephew is wont to say – ‘whateva whatevs.’

            1. vidimi

              i think alan meant greased as in greased his palms as in bribed.

              if that derives from a sexual metaphor then i did not know that either.

                1. Chris in Paris

                  I read it as greased as in “greased palms” too. I guess I’m stupider than I look.

  5. AQ

    Fourteen Senators urge labor protections before TPP is passed in letter to Obama

    Why even bother? If we already know that Egypt can be sued over a minimum wage law, then how can any labor protection law in the US at this late stage of the game be consider anything more than pure unadulterated theater?

      1. giantsquid

        “The injustice industry by Benoît Bréville and Martine Bulard There is a major legal business in corporate lawsuits against governments, seeking either a change in proposed legislation to suit corporate demands, or compensation. Under TTIP, European governments could face the same claims”.
        https://tinyurl.com/o26wkxq (full article cached)

      2. Sanctuary

        It’s hard to find a link that specifically discusses that case. I can ascertain that the company is a French company known as the Veolia Group, that it sued Egypt in June 2012 for increasing its minimum wage after the 2011 protests, and that all of the proceedings are secret. The only link I know that discusses it at length is with Le Monde Diplomatique, but it is subscription only and I’m not paying $45 for a subscription to get one article. Here are some others that just reference the case:


        and here is the Le Monde article in case you guys have a subscription:

    1. James Levy

      Because way too many Americans, even (or especially?) those with wealth or in positions of power, believe with all their hearts that “they won’t DARE do that to us.” You see, we’ll use this treaty to “batter down Chinese walls” (you know, like that guy said 150 years ago) but those foreign rubes will never have the smarts or the guts to use these mechanisms against us, and if they try, we’ll do like we do with the IMF and World Bank–fill all the positions with our stooges! What can go wrong? I mean, sure, we’ll let them gut a few of our environmental and labor laws, but the real money won’t be touched, and we can use these abstruse laws and opaque institutions to ram our ovipositor down their throats and insert our parasitic financial institutions into their bodies politic. It’ll be great!

  6. DJG

    Not just the Clintons? “Thuggish and meta at the same time.That’s so cool.” Thuggish, meta, and cool–that’s the ethos of the postmodern era. Besides Bill Clinton, you have Peter Thiel. It seems to Carly Fiorina’s self-shtick, too. And there’s always Sarah Palin.

  7. JTMcPhee

    “One small step for man, one little pebble on the path to the bottom…”

    Re the FEC, watchdog of our electoral process, maybe this was already mentioned here, but that Agency chief says the reg- cap is so rotten among her staff that there’s no effective enforcement of what’s left of “the law.”. https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=15/05/05/1348221&from=rss, and http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141083392 (linking NYT article.) ” beyond dysfunctional: ” depends on what the function is actually supposed to be, I guess…

    And here’s a neat paper from Covington$Burling, Very Connected Big Law Firm:

    “The Department has long held that it will act when the violation of FECA crosses a monetary threshold and is committed with specific criminal intent. In addition, it should involve a situation where the application of the law to the facts is clear, the violation touches on one of the “heartland” provisions of the Act, and there is evidence that the violation was knowing and willful. Certainly for some, the notion that payments to the mistress of a politician fell into the realm of campaign finance law was a surprise. There are those close to the Department of Justice and Public Integrity Section that detect an ongoing willingness to take cases beyond those alleging unambiguous violations of the core provisions of the Act, and perhaps even a sense at the Department that if the FEC is unlikely to enforce the law, the Justice Department must play a more vigorous role in doing so. Time will tell if these prosecutions reflect a trend, or simply the product of the facts and circumstances of those cases.” http://www.cov.com/files/Publication/2835826c-aee9-4f0c-bf6a-0592ec41ebd2/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/1ea384a9-0c23-410b-a6a4-18f005a45f15/FEC%20Year%20in%20Review%202012.pdf. There is so very much packed into those closing paragraphs, isn’t there?

    How it REALLY works…

  8. Jess

    “Fourteen Senators urge labor protections before TPP is passed in letter to Obama.”

    A little confused by the presence of both Warren and Wyden on this letter. Is Warren meaning to sellout on ISDS if she gets “labor protections”? Or will she insist on both labor protections and elimination of ISDS?

    Tea leaf readers?

    1. Jess

      Oops. My mistake. Not Wyden on that letter. But my questions about Warren are still relevant.

    2. Carla

      Sherrod Brown told us in Cleveland last week that he has offered 13 amendments to the TPP, and if all were accepted, it really would no longer be the TPP we’ve come to know and fear. Perhaps something similar is true of Elizabeth Warren. I know she and Brown have worked together in opposing fast track and the TPP.

  9. Mark Alexander

    According to the article about Christie’s shopping sprees, he spent an average of $1441 on each of his visits to Wegman’s. Maybe I’ve been living under a rock too long, but how can you spend that much on one trip to the grocery store?

    1. barutanseijin

      You’ve seen a picture of him, no?

      He’s the guy who takes limos to go 100yds.

    2. CTH

      ^ Well – **pure speculation here*** – but one way to turn expenses into cash is to go deep on non-perishable commodities (e.g. 2-liter bottles of soda) and then sell them on the street for a *personal* profit. Folks have been doing that with their WIC and EBT funds for ages. Now surely the great and good wouldn’t be selling them out of the trunk of the car in the supermarket parking lot…but the basic business model might be the same.

  10. Rex Wahl

    On trade: New Mexico’s signature agricultural product, Green and Red Chile is protected by recent state law. Chile sold, if advertised or represented as NM chile, must have been grown in the state. Misrepresenting chile or chile products from NM when they aren’t is unlawful. I can easily imagine a multinational making the state pay via an ISDS claim that the state law costs them future expected profits, gutting the state’s meager budget. Both my Senators are on record as opposing. Presidential lies not withstanding.

  11. Jess

    I understand only one Dem senator voted for the Fast Track bill. Did a brief search but couldn’t find the vote breakdown. Anybody know which Dim it was? (Patty Murray, maybe?)

    1. Jess

      Just saw a comment on the Guardian who said the lone betrayer was Carper of Delaware (home to a zillion corporations).

  12. vidimi

    a friend of mine sent me this link: http://www.les-crises.fr/la-fabrique-du-cretin-defaite-nazis/

    it’s in french, but it shows the effect of hollywood propaganda on french public opinion. you can see how immediately after the war, a majority of french residents understood that the USSR was the country which most contributed to the defeat of Germany. Today, this has completely reversed.

    Also interesting is how the English see themselves. Anyone who’s lived there for any amount of time will have noticed their national obsession with WW2 (my theory is that it’s one of the few times in recorded history that they did not play the role of the villains) and may find it unsurprising.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      World War II was at least fought over their skies, and the British fleet was winning in the Atlantic and the British Army had turned the war in Africa as well as contributing to the uprisings in the Balkans. If the US wasn’t going to join, France would have become a hot zone much like the Balkans. With the main show, the Hitler regime would have fallen inevitably. It was an all hands on deck fight. The princess read to children in the underground after all.

      Yes, it’s no wonder Doctor Who is set in the UK, there is always a villain. Oh, the War of 1812. The U.S. invaded Canada and slaughtered civilians. The British burned empty government buildings in DC to send a message, but they never retaliated for American thuggery. I’m not exactly a fan of the Star Bangled Banner. The British thought loss of life was unnecessary and withdrew after sending a message.

  13. Adam1

    “Then of course there’s Michelle’s Senate seat. These grifters will be with us a long time, sadly.”

    OMG, I need a bridge! I never thought of this but OMG you’re right aren’t you!?!?!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m not as positive about this. Hillary was successful in NY because of an abundance of Democrats which prevented an anti-carpetbagging/celebrity candidate from forming especially because NY is a safe seat.

      The next President will be anti-Obama in some way, not Bill’s VP which was another Hillary selling point, and Illinois Democrats want to win. A ho hum first lady may not be welcomed when confronted with a race against a republican unlike NY in 2000.

  14. Sam Kanu

    “…Cuomo throws donors more bond fees [David Sirota, International Business Times]. Ka-ching!….”
    Stories like the above are exactly why I laugh when I see things like the Transparency International Corruption Index, which depict the US and Europe as “more transparent” than poorer countries:

    I mean the truth is everything and anything goes in the western countries. Main difference it’s all done “legally” and in the even that anything has to go to legal oversight, well the legal system there is designed to put the poor and powerless in prison and to gloss over anything done by the rich,

    “Bond fees”, “consulting fees” and the like are age-old methods of city hall and state capitol corruption in NYC. Apparently Cuomo has learned a lot in the family business. Some “democrat”….

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