2:00PM Water Cooler 6/2/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Wikileaks crowd-sourcing $100K as bounty for complete TPP text [The Week]. Seems low for a career-destroying move. And Snowden didn’t need a bounty.

Barney Frank on Obama negotiating: “He’s dealing with the people who want to kill every other part of his agenda, and giving them what they most want — trade — without getting anything in return. Let’s do a little trading at home” [HuffPo]. Frank Op-Ed: “In Congress, I was disinclined to help people who were killing legislation important to my values without some discussion of mutuality.” [Boston Globe]. “Mutuality,” for Obama, is funding for his slush fund Presidential library. That is the “return.” End of story.

A Singapore ISDS tribunal is hearing a “lost profits” Philip Morris Asia is bringing against Australia. In secret [Australian Financial Review]:

The case is proceeding under a version of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) procedures that the US insists must be embedded in the TPP. ISDS tribunals are not courts, don’t follow court rules, nor publish transcripts. They allow investors to seek compensation for the loss of future profits due to policy and administrative changes, or even judicial decisions, in host countries.

“[T]he White House has been left to whip votes [in the House] without the public support of a single Democratic leader in Congress” [The Atlantic].

Sherrod Brown on why trade is like baseball: “I like to look at things in baseball terms. Lauding gains from exports while ignoring a flood of imports – and skyrocketing trade deficits – is like reporting half of the score of a baseball game. The Cleveland Indians scoring three runs doesn’t help the team much if the Yankees scored six runs” [Times-Journal].

“[T]he TPP would allow domestic food inspections to be outsourced to foreign countries if they merely claim that their food processing standards are equivalent to our own standards even if their standards violate key U.S. food safety principles” [Honolulu Civil Beat]. When Chinese mainlanders go to Hong Kong to buy baby formula

“Only 17 Democrats out of 188 have come out in favor of so-called fast-track authority — and many of them are being hounded by labor and environmental groups to change their minds. Opponents of the trade deal say just seven Democrats remain truly undecided” [New York Times].

Letter to the editor, Texas: “Most of what I’ve read and heard about TPP tells me that former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk was right in saying the reason the treaty has to be kept secret is it couldn’t be adopted if people knew what was in it” [Statesman-Journal].

Letter to the editor, California: “As a person of faith, I have deep concerns that the TPP will harm the very people Jesus said we should be most concerned about: the poor, the widow, the orphan. It will make medicine more expensive for the poor in many countries and could make it harder for poor countries to protect the health and safety of their citizens. ” [The Union].

Austrialian legislators told they can view the current Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiating text if they sign “a four-year confidentiality provision” [Guardian]. That’s a confidence-builder!

SEIU throws AFL-CIO under the bus on making example of Congressman who took union cash support and voted for TPP [Politico]. 



More debates: “I have been hearing concerns from voters about the need for vigorous candidate debate” [Time]. “The people of this country are tired of political gossip, personal attacks and ugly 30-second ads.” True enough. Getting rid of that stuff would break a lot of rice bowls, though: campaign consultants, oppo researchers, access journalists, the networks, cable, the pollsters to measure the effects….

Sanders agrees with Paul on surveillance [HuffPo]. “I wouldn’t say in lockstep, but we both have the same concerns.”

Chuck Todd tries to bait Sanders on Press the Meat, but Sanders outsmarts him [Christian Science Monitor]. Granted, that’s not hard.

The S.S. Clinton

Clinton to hold formal launch June 13 on Roosevelt Island [Wall Street Journal]. I’d like it to be the Roosevelt part that appeals, but perhaps it’s the island…

“Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top campaign lawyer has filed a second voter-access lawsuit accusing a Republican-led state of trying to suppress the vote” [New York Times]. Good!

Press ticked off that Clinton campaign doesn’t give them enough access, so they can’t do access journalism [WaPo]. Idea: Stop whinging, start reporting? Make some calls? Do a public records search? 

“For the ‘Conversation with Hillary’ earlier that day in Boston, a ‘Friend’ of the campaign can attend for as little as $1,000” [The Intercept]. One more reason to hate that word “conversation,” at least when used by Democrats.

Republican Establishment

Poll of 120 people who worked for W show 25 support Jebbie, 50 neutral, and 45 did not respond [New York Times].

Republican Clown Car

Trump’s interview with the Des Moines Register, annotated [WaPo].

“Run Warren Run” suspends activity [Politico]. That Ilya Sheyman….

Stats Watch

Portuguese 10-year bonds: “GSPT10YR:IND Yield 2.84; up 0.10; change: +3.80%” [Bloomberg]. Still going up, so Mr. Market is nervous about Greek contagion.

Gallup Economic Confidence, May 2015: “Declined to an average of minus 7 in May, down from minus 3 in April. This drop continues the monthly downward drift since confidence peaked at plus 3 in January” [Bloomberg]. “Confidence remains much higher now than what Gallup has found in most months since Americans started to feel the recession’s effects in 2008.” Pretty low baseline!

Factory Orders, April 2015: “fell 0.4 percent in April for the 8th decline in 9 months, a depressing streak” [Bloomberg]. The bright spot: Civilian aircraft. “Ugly.” ” The data is contracting year-over-year” [Econintersect].

Redbook, week of May 30, 2015: “[C]ontinues to report low rates of year-on-year sales growth” [Bloomberg].

Motor Vehicle Sales, May 2015:  “Steady but not accelerating” [Bloomberg]. “Vehicle sales offer the very first hard data on any month’s consumer spending. ”

“The latest Blogger Sentiment Poll released 01 June 2015 by Ticker Sense shows bloggers are neutral or bearish in their view of the markets” [EconIntersect]. “This blogger poll is noisy,” so FWIW.

Police State

“Two major news investigations have shed new light onto who dies at the hands of the police—and how” [Mother Jones]. Too much to summarize, but good reporting. Amazing, or not, that there are not already government figures.

Police reform bill banning chokeholds and requiring body cams to be on “most of the time” clears Illinois legislator [Crains Business Chicago]. To be funded by — get this — ” a $5 hike in fines for some traffic violations.” So we just intensified law enforcement for profit.

“The Counted,” interactive graphic of police killed this year [Guardian]. It would be handy to have a date filter on the map view (the list view has one).

“A recruitment video used by the [Portsmouth, Virginia police] department features a team of officers in military-style uniforms staging a Swat raid on the house of a robbery suspect. A sniper in bush camouflage lies in wait ready to take out escapees” [Guardian]. And they got the personnel they recruited for….

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker: “The whole notion that NSA is just evilly determined to read the law in a fashion contrary to its intent is bullshit” [Guardian]. Alrighty, then.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Protesters Were Tased on Sidewalk Before Arrest for “Impeding Traffic,” Video Shows [Riverfront Times].


The Cuomo administration “is blocking the release of details about transactions between the state and the governor’s top campaign donor. [New York] state’s housing agency says it cannot release the documents because it is ‘cooperating’ with a federal prosecutor’s probe of financial relationships between New York lawmakers and campaign donors in the real estate industry” [International Business Times]. ”

Squillionaire Watch

Koch calls for speed-up clemancy for non-violent offenders [USA Today].

Class Warfare

Interview with Josu Ugarte, the president of Mondragon International [Too Much]. Important!

News of the Wired

  • “Augur: a Decentralized, Open-Source Platform for Prediction Markets” (PDF) [Augur].
  • “Djibouti books Iron Maiden frontman to manage its new cargo carrier” [The Loadstar].
  • Blatter quits [Reuters]. So, corruption is sorted, then.
  • “What we know about false rape allegations” [Vox]. Parallel story on “high profile” accusations [WaPo].
  • Winter arrives [AV Club]. “Recap: Game Of Thrones S 5 E 8 Hardhome” [TV Tropes]. TV Tropes is an amazing site. I wish there could be a site for political tropes.

* * *

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 Gardens, Week Five (Diane):


Diane: “My Montana garden.” Way ahead of mine!

Readers, the weekend’s discussion for “Open Thread on Water” was terrific. So many interesting projects! Please, send me pictures of your projects, at least if plants are involved, and when aren’t they? If only of maple twirlers in gutters!

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!)

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

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Anon

    Re: Game of Thrones

    While that was a nice experiment on the screen (with regards to deviating from the books), the real test will come next season, when there is very little/no more book to adapt, unless we get Winds of Winter this year. I hold out hope! Alternatively, a prequel Robert’s Rebellion season would also work.

    As for Bernie, you’re right in saying that it’ll piss a lot of people off, but I am fond of this quote here (parts of it bolded for my emphasis):

    “We need a lot more debates in this campaign,” Sanders said Sunday on Meet the Press. “I hope very much that we can begin with the Democratic candidates at least as early as July, and also [have] Republicans in those debates, as well.”

    Sanders’ plan to have Republicans on stage would run into the GOP’s own exclusivity rules and the RNC’s better-organized debate process.

    In his letter, Sanders argues that beginning the first debates in the coming weeks will boost voter turnout in the primaries and caucuses, as well as next November’s general election.

    If they do that, then it’ll be like the Fairness Doctrine came back, which is a net good. Awareness leads to participation, after all.

    1. craazyboy

      That’ll be a refreshing change. I remember the last Prez debates where Prez O joked that he and Candidate R were so similar in policy positions, that there was little to debate. Frustrating for voters, that.

    2. Carolinian

      G of T….Looks like the show runners are kissing the books goodbye and in a good way. George R R is a producer so maybe he had something to do with it. Or maybe not. Personally I think the tv show is a lot better than the books anyway (no brickbats, please).

      And Bernie’s all party debate suggestion: in what universe? The horse race is just fine with every candidate but him and nobody should be surprised that Chuck Todd or the rest of the political press see it that way. If he breaks through it won’t be with any help from them.

    3. optimader

      Awareness leads to participation, after all.
      Or horror, revulsion, withdrawal?

      Funny on BHO –for opposite reasons both his drones and his opposition didn’t believe his contention about similarity on policy position w/ the R place markers. Turns out that was about the only thing BHO was candid about.

      As CBoy alludes, “debate” presupposes opposing views. We’ll see if the candidates can differentiate between “contention” and “attack” without being disparaged in the media, tagging the latter as the former, and using that as basis to marginalize candidate(s).

      I remember the pussy footing around Bush “the War President” for fear of the media foisted BS about “patriots” rallying around the POTUS during a time of war.
      The elective/ preemptive war policy (Bush Doctrine) was basically off limits and candidates seemed good with that in spite of the fact that there was the legitimate opinion held by some (many?, some?, well me at least) at that point that it was clear he was a war criminal.

  2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    “And they got the personnel they recruited for….”

    I was at a luncheon some years back and I swear that the Oregon State Police lieutenant who was speaking was physically aroused at the idea of OSP getting their hands on all the combat vets coming back. Scary. Very very scary.

    1. Oregoncharles

      did you look at the Guardian stats site? Oregon is TWELFTH – 12th – in number killed per capita. Might be a one-year fluke, but this is not good.

  3. diptherio

    Spring started in Feb. this year! The warmth has been nice, but the rivers are already high and most of the snow’s out of the mountains…it’s looking like we could be in for a bad fire year. On the upside, the plant life seems to be digging it…

  4. Matt Alfalfafield

    The big news out of Canada today:

    Canada’s residential schools cultural genocide, Truth and Reconciliation commission says

    Lots of detail of the decades of abuse against First Nations people in the report, and also, importantly, some explanation of why it happened:

    ““These measures were part of a coherent policy to eliminate Aboriginal people as distinct peoples and to assimilate them into the Canadian mainstream against their will,” says the 381-page summary of its final report released Tuesday in Ottawa.
    “The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources,” says the report.”

    This is, of course, a dynamic that continues to this day, albeit via different methods. Our current government is intent on ignoring or destroying treaty rights to speed up the extraction of tar sands and LNG and to pipe it across First Nations territory, with destructive consequences for indigenous folks.

  5. diptherio

    Attn all Commoners:

    Commons-based Coalition Wins Big in Barcelona Election

    Part of what makes Barcelona en Comú’s [Barcelona in Common] electoral victory so exciting for advocates of commons-based change is the extent to which the organization itself represents an authentic departure from business as usual. As Colau herself explained in an op-ed for openDemocracy, “it isn’t enough just to win elections; we have to change the rules of the game.” Barcelona en Comú’s first order of business was to crowdsource a code of political ethics for candidates—a code that includes salary and term limits as well as a commitment to financial transparency. “Only measures like this can prevent us from becoming the people we seek to replace,” said Colau. The coalition took a similar approach to writing an election platform, using feedback from over 5,000 participants to craft a “living document” emphasizing guarantees for basic rights and the democratization of public institutions.

    New Documentary Examines Cooperative Management in the Siuslaw National Forest

    Environmentalists won their lawsuit in 1991 when a federal judge issued an injunction that in effect shut down timber operations in the Pacific Northwest of the US. While the endangered northern spotted owl was the focus of much of the debate, the health of the entire ecosystem was at risk, including the Pacific salmon, which swim upstream to spawn.

    There is often no substitute for litigation and government mandates, and the 1991 litigation was clearly needed. But what is really interesting is the aftermath: Rather than just designating the forest as a wilderness preserve off-limits to everyone, the Forest Service instigated a remarkable experiment in collaborative governance.

    Instead of relying on the standard regime of bureaucratic process driven by congressional politics, industry lobbying and divisive public posturing, the various stakeholders in the region formed a “watershed council” to manage the Siuslaw National Forest. Twenty years later, this process of open commoning has produced a significant restoration of the forest ecosystems, implicitly indicting the previous forest management regime driven by politics and the formal legal system.

  6. craazyman

    I’ve noticed the plantidote flower pics are getting better of late. Better compositions, better colors, better “gesture” (you may not think flowers can have gesture, but your wrong, even though it’s admittedly a subtle form of anthropomorphically structural analytic projection). Anyway, the lighting is still usually a bit “blah” but they’re getting better! The formula is easy “keep your back to the light source, don’t overexpose or underexpose, think about the composition and don’t have dead dark shadow black spots in your picture if possible. You’d like it to be uniformly radiant with color, hopefully with thoughtfull chromatic relations. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid the “holes” in your picture from dark shadows, if you have shadows from leaves or petals. That’s a situation where a professional photogrpher might consider a form of artificial lighting. But that’s over the top for recreational garden photography. If your too lazy for that sort of technical exertion, don’t worry. You can do surprising things with these easy tips. These hints are simple for anyone to follow in the comfort of their own home or garden, or in a park, or walking on a street. It’s not as hard as it looks to take museum quality flower photographs! Anybody can do it, with a little contemplation.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks! I don’t really sort on artistic quality but on plant content. That said, if readers are spontaneously submitting “better” pictures then more power to them! (And I do think plants “gesture,” because they are tropic to so much, curling toward the sun, for example.)

      In a perfect world, I would have an old-fashioned view camera so I could be much more contemplative in my own photographs, do the tilt/shift thing, and even get f64-style really deep focus, which is more how I see things). But view cameras don’t come cheap, especially those with digital backs.

    2. craazyboy

      Soon I will have my cinematic work cut out for me. Sitting here patiently waiting for my GoPro clone to show up in the mail.

      It’s going on my quadcopter. Been practicing flying the past couple months. Only crashed once early on. That resulted in only 1 broken arm and 1 broken prop. Easily fixed w/ minimal expense. So now I got to the point where I’m more confident flying, so the next step is to add the camera. Trying it without a gimbal first. Some people have success with various vibration isolation and damping methods and get good video. What works varies with the frame dynamics, so it will take some experimentation. But if I can get things to work out ok I save $65 and conserve some flight time. So far I can get 18 minutes from my LiPo pack now. Adding the camera will reduce it about 1 minute and a gimbal would knock off 2 minutes. I’ve also read I should get a ND filter. Both vibration and strong sunlight contribute to “rolling shutter” problems in the video.

      After I get this sorted out, then I will upgrade my simple flight controller to a full featured autopilot with GPS and telemetry. The telemetry will radio back things like battery life, signal strength and GPS coordinates. Ground station software is available that will run on a tablet and display a icon showing the quad path realtime on a google map. Also has a panic button where you can make it automatically fly home.

      Finally, I’ll add a video transmitter so I can send a bird’s eye view back to the tablet while the GoPro also records HD to it’s flash card.

      This will be really cool when I’m all done.

      1. craazyman

        that’s awesome. you can put a camera on that and fly it over backyards and take pics of naked women by their pools. I don’t know if you’d get arrested or, if you made a photo book with the pics and did gallery shows with fine art prints, you’d be a real big swinging art dude. haha. That’s the thing, if they think you’re a perv they’ll press charges, but if they think you’re an artist, they’ll follow you around and want to pose naked for you.

        1. craazyboy

          I’m gonna play it safe and wear one of those French berets artists wear. Unlike CA, things could go either way in AZ.

          1. ambrit

            If you want to “go both ways,” well, come on over to the DofC Lounge! Ditch the beret chum! That’s too ‘artsy crafty’ for todays professional perv. Cruise on over to “Fredericks of Langly.” They’ve been the ‘go to’ place for “undercover wear” since 1947.
            When you get the ‘copter’ up and running, might I suggest that you work out some sort of automatic streaming on the internet? Them, if anything “untoward” should happen to you while flying the beastie, we’ll all know where to send the cartons of cigs.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Actually… It occurs to me that a garden flythrough would be really keen. In fact, you could put a filter on the lens, for “as a bee sees the world,” “as a bird sees the world,” etc.

  7. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    I’m an Australian taxpayer, next time an Obot says the fears on the TPP are overblown have them contact me. The highest court in the land here (equivalent of the Supreme Court) said Philipp Morris could not sue for lost profits because of plain packaging laws. So PM just went to handy Singapore and sued under ISDS…and now the number being touted is $400M.
    These are not hypotheticals, that’s hard cash that could be spent on daycare, healthcare, education, highways, etc…and wait until the other multi-nationals pile onto this gravy train. National sovereignty and any right of a people to govern their own nation is a joke under TPP.
    Obomba deserves a lamppost and a rope for this one. Hilary is worse.

      1. Ned Ludd

        In contrast, “multinationals are defined by only one home country” when it comes to human rights cases.

        The Philip Morris cases also show a legal hopscotch that deepens the divide between corporate and human rights. Philip Morris is legally a U.S. company, but it was able to use its foreign subsidiaries to choose which trade agreements it preferred to use to sue Australia and Uruguay — a practice known as forum shopping. (It used Australia–Hong Kong and Uruguay-Switzerland agreements, both of which recognize ISDS jurisdiction.) Yet when human rights practitioners have tried to sue multinational corporations in U.S. courts for alleged human rights abuses abroad, the U.S. legal system has said that multinationals are defined by only one home country, as in the 2013 case Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell, which the U.S. Supreme Court said could not be tried in the U.S. because Shell is a Dutch company and the case did not “sufficiently touch and concern the territory of the United States.”

        1. EmilianoZ

          Very interesting, thanks.

          Yves put a link to Maude Barlow in today’s links. I remember her from her interview for the DVD of the documentary “The Corporation” (2005). She talked about the water war of Cochabamba. So, water was privatized in Cochabamba (Bolivia). It was even illegal to try to collect rainwater. The corporation that did the privatization was Bechtel. After major riots, water was returned to the public. So, what did Bechtel do? They found out that Bolivia had those bilateral agreements with the Netherlands (which allow the ISDS stuff). They sued Bolivia for the cost of their lost investment through the Netherlands as if Bechtel were a Dutch company.

    1. AlanSmithee

      Can’t happen here. Our brave progressive representatives will stop it with their progressive bravery and hope for change we can believe in. Just you wait. Yep. Gonna happen any time now.

  8. superduperdave

    Nice to follow the eurozone bond yields, but they’re not going anywhere: There’s a new guy in town, the name’s Draghi, carries a big wad of cash. Heck, you could almost say he owns the place…

    1. Steve H.

      USA Today article this morning, begins with: “Only penny-pinching consumers tainted the picture…” Continues later with “Instead, Americans are using their extra cash to pay down debt and fatten their bank accounts.”

      Oh, THAT’s what I’m doing with all my extra wait, … what?

      Give me ZIRP, I’ll spend my ass off.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I felt like ranting, so I did:

      You guys cr@pified all our products and then stole our houses in the mortage crisis. Then you crashed the economy, took trillions in bailouts, and paid yourselves bonuses. But the average American lost 25% of their equity in the crash you clowns provoked and were never made whole. The streets are full of cops in Darth Vader uniforms and you’re recording everything we say on the phone, and everything we do on the Internet. The labor force is permanently smaller. And if you get a job your boss knows you’re terrified to lose it, and so the wages and working conditions are cr@pified, too, along with the products. Anybody would be nuts to put their money into financial products, because the entire field is full of grifters and fraudsters, and the market is rigged against the little guy anyhow. It’s even nutty to put money in a bank, because the fees are gamed, and that’s before we get to the chance of a bail-in in the next crash that’s inevitable because you never put the guys who caused the first one in jail. The only thing it makes any sense to spend money on is an expensive tangible that lasts a long time and that repo can’t take. Unless you’re a Brooklyn hipster with an iPhone. You want us to spend? Are you demented? Just for grins, why don’t you guys stop yammering into your cellphones on the Acela, open the window shades, and look out? The answer is right there.

      1. JCC

        Lambert, I saw that comment and immediately knew it was someone from this blog when I saw the word “cr@pified”, very good. :)

        Some of the comments are brilliantly sarcastic, particularly the ones that are calling for bullets, guillotines, lamppost hanging, throat cutting, etc. Every 5 minutes or so there are a couple of new comments and not one single comment compliments the writer, the Fed, or the WSJ. I’m curious to see how JH and the WSJ justify this wonderful outpouring of ire.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s not loading for me — I refuse to accept all their web bugs. I hope someone’s taking screencaps before they clean it up.

      2. Skippy

        I gave at the office….

        School of Chicago introduced NAIRU, which is preserve asset prices via scapegoating the least productive margin of the populace, and the future can look after itself.

        Right now, the western world suffers from understated inflation resulting in loss of real wages or labour, then wondering why we have a shortfall in aggregate demand because the rich are hording all the financial assets.

        To the height of absurdity QE et al is promoted as a miracle elixir without a comprehensive fiscal package nor across the board [room] institutional reforms to weed out endemic corruption. Its akin to pissing into a policy vacuum, it never ends and if it does…. another bucket for Mr. Creosote will not suffice.

        Skippy… Bon appetit~ Mr. Creosote… the meal can never end now…. from M – M to C – C~~~~ w/ a palate cleanser of NPV between courses…

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hilsenrath’s “humorous” editorial ends:

        Please let us know the problem. You can reach us at any of the emails below.

        Here they are:

        FEEDBACK LOOP: Send us your tips, suggestions and feedback. Write to: Jon.Hilsenrath@wsj.com; Victoria.McGrane@wsj.com; Pedro.daCosta@wsj.com; Michael.Derby@wsj.com; Nell.Henderson@wsj.com; Brian.Blackstone@wsj.com; jason.douglas@wsj.com; Ben.Leubsdorf@wsj.com; Paul.Hannon@wsj.com; Jacob.Schlesinger@wsj.com; Sarah.Portlock@wsj.com; Kate.Davidson@wsj.com

        Be gentle….

        1. Skippy


          I don’t know, something about distant drums in the jungle that screws with the white mans [fat finger] head.

          Having to explain’e to Mr Hilsenrath that not everyone outside his social peer group is currently or for sometime, enjoying the Fruits of their Labour” to do so would be an affront to such an esteemed professional and bottomless acumen [up in ones head].

          Skippy…. can’t we just let them stew in their own juices with befuddled expressions for a bit.

    1. jo6pac

      The study will disappear, this can’t be good for the so-called health care corps.

      Thanks for the link.

      1. sufferin'succotash

        It’ll be the 100-mile to the gallon carburetor of 21st century physiology.

  9. ginnie nyc

    Re: Corruption-Cuomo-Litwin/Glenwood Management – It’s so touching to see little Andy passionately defend his Very Good Friend Leonard Litwin, saying he doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Gee, do you think an FBI investigation of his friend might indicate a little moderation of his ardor is in order?

    The IBT article notes that a Glenwood attorney had no comment. Which one? They have over 220. But none of them add very well, I can tell you. I fought for over 13 months to get rent overcharges negated, successfully. You wouldn’t believe the appalling lack of basic bookkeeping procedures…I guess that’s called control fraud.

  10. diptherio

    Thanks for drawing attention to the Mondragon interview. They get named-dropped constantly in the co-op world, but not many people outside the movement have heard of them…at least in the US. Definitely one of our major success stories. I’m working on polishing up a translation of Don Jose Arizmendiarrieta’s cooperative philosophy (the priest who started the whole thing) right now…watch for it.

  11. Andrew Watts

    Who says TVTrope doesn’t deal with politics?

    The sad reality is that America is run by Leeroy Jenkins. The characteristics of a person like Leeroy Jenkins could include the unwarranted confidence in an individual/group’s abilities, the overly optimistic conviction that any conflict will result in an ideal outcome and a total lack of planning, short or long term, with a less than casual disregard for any criticism that runs contrary to the personal bias exhibited by the individual.

    Which is to say that just about every conflict or proxy war waged by the US since the second World War from Vietnam and the Cold War to our current disaster in the Middle East is a classic Leeroy move.

    Vietnam? The War brought to us by the accountant geniuses who created the Ford Edsel.

    Iraq?* An exception to the rule? Probably not.

    Afghanistan? Nation building didn’t work in Somalia. For the first eight years (!!!) of this war the US military spent most of it’s time looking for Charlie. See Vietnam reference.

    Iraq? (Part 2 ~ 2003) Don’t even get me started on this one… I can just imagine Eric trying to explain to the idiots in the White House about the lessons learned from Bosnia.

    Syria? *Holds picture of burning WTC buildings on 9/11 w/ caption “Moderate Rebels”*

    Libya? You’d think they’d learn something from Iraq (Part 2) or Syria. But, no.

    Ukraine? Russophobia dressed up as clever geopolitical move that was less than clever against a strategist like Putin and his inner circle and the Russian military/intelligence apparatus.

    Iraq? (Part 3 ~ present) Deploying troops in Iraq is a stupid idea. If the warhawks have their way American troops will be caught in a two front war against the Islamic State on one side and the Shia militias on the other. Similarly not supporting Kurds, Shia militias, and/or the Syrian Arab Army with airstrikes was and still is a dumb idea. And that’s at least one of the reasons why Palmyra and Ramadi is in the hands of the Islamic State.


    TPP/Sino-American War/World War III? The Chinese have aircraft carriers. They’re called man-made islands and they don’t sink like our aircraft carriers or navy flotillas will do in the South China Sea. Mistakes are going to be made.

    If you ignore all the propaganda that lead up to the war(s) and/or any post-war rationalizations for the disaster that’ve unfolded and just scream “LEEEEEEEEROY” it makes total sense.

    *Arguably the first Gulf War is an exception to the rule of having no strategy or planning in preparation for destroying a country. But it was Dick Cheney who was front and center in the media stating the obvious reason why the US shouldn’t march on Baghdad. Why anybody should’ve had to defend such a moronic action is debatable so I’m including it.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Also see entry for My Country, Right or Wrong.

      “To be in a battle means to defend a cause against its peril, to protect a nation against its enemies, to strive for truth against error, to defend justice against injustice. To be above the battle means that we understand how imperfect the cause is we defend, that we contritely acknowledge the sins of our own nations, that we recognize the common humanity which binds us to even the most terrible foes, and that we know of our common need of grace and forgiveness.” -Reinhold Niebuhr

      Which is clearly demonstrated by the quote from Fallout: New Vegas.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Or Lawful Stupid for that matter.

        Woe be to the fellow party member who fails to live up to their obsessive-compulsive standards.

        This certainly doesn’t sound like an Obamabot or Randroid. /sarcasm

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Do feel free to drop these tropes in the appropriate context! I had in mind something tuned to political campaigns, but then, well, television…

  12. sleepy

    Harold Ford, Jr.—possible NYC mayoral candidate?

    “According to the Bloomberg article, Ford, an executive at the Wall Street firm of Morgan Stanley, “spends half of his time on the institutional side, half on wealth management.”

    The article quotes numerous members of New York’s elite financial community as extolling Ford. Ronald O. Perelman of MacAndrews & Forbes, said that Ford “still has the throbbing heartbeat of one day going back into public service.” More from Perelman: “He’s smart, tough, charming, clever, and in-you-face but at the same time, very smooth about it. We’ve had what my wife, a psychiatrist, called ‘man love,’ which is love without sex.’”

    At some point in the aftermath of his 2006 defeat for the Senate by Republican Bob Corker, Ford left Tennessee for New York and has clearly managed a successful personal and business transition to the Big Apple.”


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Wow. A Harold Ford candidacy would be a thing of beauty. As a Democrat, I would think. It would be fun to see a Harold Ford/Corey Booker Cage Match. Although they’d have to lay duck boards down on the ring. To handle the slime.

  13. vidimi

    Sherrod Brown on why trade is like baseball: “I like to look at things in baseball terms. Lauding gains from exports while ignoring a flood of imports – and skyrocketing trade deficits – is like reporting half of the score of a baseball game. The Cleveland Indians scoring three runs doesn’t help the team much if the Yankees scored six runs”

    now where have i seen that analogy before? i think it was an article posted here, albeit by a guest writer (michael hudson?). good to see that if you do get coherent arguments out, they will reach their targets. the TPP/TTIP will be the fight of the century but it is winnable.

  14. AQ

    Winter arrives: For me the nut of the TV show analysis was this:

    We strip humanity away from those we enslave, we bestow humanity on those we respect, and we steal it from those whose understanding of humanity differs from our own.

    And I didn’t make it through the first season of the HBO show, although I made it through 3 books, skimmed 4 and abandoned.

  15. Oregoncharles

    ” and giving them what they most want — trade — without getting anything in return.”

    Does anyone, including Frank, actually believe this? In the first place, it’s clear that “free trade” is in fact his own agenda, not something he’s “giving” the Republicans. No one says he’s stupid, so we have to assume this is essentially pure corruption: giving his funders what they want.

    In the slightly bigger picture, the Clintons are the example: he stands to receive his real payoff, in the form of “speaking fees” etc., after he leaves office.

    And about the text of the TPP: aren’t there quite a lot of people with access (making it odd that the secret has been kept as well as it has)? In that case, why would it be especially dangerous to send it to Wikileaks?

    And I’ll repeat my point about Congress: every one of them has full immunity if they release it. So far, only the very Republican Sessions of Alabama has had the nerve to even talk about it. And threats by the Trade Rep. to prosecute members of Congress for talking about it are a constitutional crisis all by themselves.

    I really wish this reality was more widely acknowledged and reported. Wyden actually admitted it to me in a Town Hall: it’s the “speech and debate’ clause.

  16. Oregoncharles

    “SEIU throws AFL-CIO under the bus on making example of Congressman who took union cash support and voted for TPP [Politico].”

    I don’t know about California or nationally, but in Oregon SEIU is rabid on the subject, along with the Steelworkers – and Oregon has 3 Democratic reps supporting TPA, besides Wyden. After last Saturday’s labor event, I’m looking forward to a VERY interesting election for the Green Party next year. Wyden and Obama have given us an opening to labor we’ve never had before.

Comments are closed.