2:00PM Water Cooler 10/19/2015

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 685 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in financial realm. Please join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our fourth target, 24/7 coverage, 365 days a year.

* * *

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Prospect of TTIP already undermining EU food standards, say campaigners” [Guardian]. “Opponents of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership say EU negotiator has admitted to approving entry of banned goods.”



UPDATE Turing CEO Martin Shkreli so mad at Sanders he “could punch a wall” [CNN]. Represent, dude! (Hilariously, this story is featured in Good (Motto: “Start your day with something GOOD.”)

“In fact, the triumvirate of crazy — Trump/Carson/Cruz — has about three times as much support as the combination of Bush, Rubio, and Kasich. It’s amazing” [Paul Krugman, New York Times].


UPDATE “Biggest 2016 Advertisers Have Little to Show in Polls So Far” [Bloomberg]. “After at least $18.5 million in television commercials, the candidates they’re backing are among those doing the worst in the polls. Those findings, from a Bloomberg Politics analysis of broadcast advertising data, raise questions about the return on investment so far for the mega-donors mostly responsible for super-PAC financing.” Did all the squillionaire donors get suckered by fast-talking political operatives with bad hair in rumpled suits? I certainly hope so!

The Trail

“Both na­tion­al and state polls show Trump open­ing a sub­stan­tial lead among Re­pub­lic­an voters without a col­lege edu­ca­tion al­most every­where. And in al­most all cases, Trump is win­ning more sup­port from non­col­lege Re­pub­lic­ans than any can­did­ate is at­tract­ing from Re­pub­lic­an voters with at least a four-year edu­ca­tion” [Ron Brownstein, National Journal].

“Bush claims the party establishment’s mantle, Rubio wants to be the party’s fresh national face” [Yahoo News]. “Bush now routinely compares Rubio’s background to Barack Obama’s before the Democrat became president.” Bush is wrong about that; we know a lot more about Rubio than we knew about Obama.

“George W. Bush’s military lies: The real story about the undeniable service gaps he got away with” [Salon].

Jebbie: Mr. Inevitable no more [WaPo].

Christie guts housing program for chronically ill and disabled, stranding 3000 [Star Ledger]. “Jeanne Chiaravallo is a 57-year-old partially blind amputee from Lambertville who needs an oxygen tank to help her breathe and a home health aide to help her shower and take her medicine. By this time next month, Chiaravallo expects she will be homeless.” I think Christie knows he’s doomed, and he’s just trying to damage as much as he can on his way out.

The loveable goof, Joe Biden, is going to make up his mind in 48 hours [NBC].

The Hill

Citi’s Treasury Secretaruy Jabob Lew: “I certainly hope you’re not wrong that Congress will act to raise the limit. I think it is very important to remember that only Congress can act to raise the debt limit. I will have used all the tools that I have as of November 3” [Market News].

Stats Watch

Housing Market Index, October 15:  “A strong gain” [Econoday]. ” [T]his report is a standout for the housing outlook and will raise expectations for strength in tomorrow’s housing starts & permits report.” And: “Housing is important both as a reflection of consumer behavior (concurrent) and also as a driver of economic growth (leading). It is especially interesting since it is not related to the Chinese economy on first-order effects” [Econintersect]. Other than housing, this week’s reports are unusually thin.

“FASB says it’s just a clarification,” says University of Denver law professor J. (Jay) Robert Brown, Jr., a member of the IAC and its secretary. “This is anything but just a clarification. There’s no way this cannot be seen as an effort to reduce disclosure” [Francine McKenna, Market Watch]. Confirming Dayen’s exclusive at NC here.

Canadian air traffic control as a model for U.S. privatization [Wall Street Journal, “Nav Canada Draws Interest in U.S.”].

“Vote Yes on Prop. F: Fix the Airbnb mess” [Diane Feinstein, San Francisco Chronicle].

Ag: “A former Chicago Board of Trade director, and floor trader, urged smaller limits on the derivatives positions that can be held by grain speculators, cautioning over volatility caused by hedge fund deals” [Agrimoney].

The Fed: “U.S. monetary policy can’t decouple from the rest of the world right now, according to [Deutsche Bank’s fixed income strategists], and liftoff could end up being perpetually delayed. A different kind of unconventional stimulus might be in the cards: Twist 2.0” [Bloomberg].  No rate rise ’til after Xmas. Think of the children!

Honey for the Bears: “But while stocks are ebullient at the thought of the Fed’s 0 percent interest rate policy continuing into its ninth calendar year, the bond market is decidedly less bubbly. In fact, the fixed income market is sending a number of warning signals that a long and powerful credit cycle is ending” [Fiscal Times]. Man, I hate to quote the Fiscal Times. But this recovery is so long in the tooth, crappy though it may be…. Disclosure: I’m a Maine bear, and this confirms my priors.

Honey for the Bears: “US Manufacturing Production slows as doubts over rate hike grow” [Warren Mosler interview, Russia Today].

Honey for the Bears: “[P]rojections for the third quarter just gone don’t justify the current stock market confidence” (with handy charts) [The Next Recession].

Honey for the Bears: “The New York Times seems disingenuous at best and conspiratorial at worst: admitting in an editorial that it blew it big time in advocating for the repeal of Glass-Steagall while hiding in the wings as its writers are allowed to push a false narrative that the New York Times refuses to correct” [Wall Street on Parade]. Our famously free press and Presidential candidates carefully airbrushing the role of Glass-Steagall in the 2008 crash. It’s almost like they’re getting ready for something… 

Honey for the Bears: “Is China really growing at 6.9%?” [BBC]. Betteridge’s Law… 

Fear & Greed Index, October 19, 2015: 48 (-1); Neutral [CNN]. Last week: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).

Rapture Index:  Down 1 on oil (180) [Rapture Ready]. (Higher moving faster towards pre-tribulation rapture.)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“I have covered countless wrongful convictions in nearly two decades of work as a legal analyst but I don’t think that any case, any cause, ever touched me the way the Glenn Ford story did. Here was a man, an uneducated black man in the South, who was railroaded into a murder conviction and death sentence” [Brennan Center]. “He then was left to languish in solitary confinement for decades in one of the most despicable prisons on Earth, and then upon his belated release denied the compensation he was owed by the state of Louisiana, by some of the very officials who allowed his false conviction and sentence to fester for 30 years in the first place.”

“For the second time this year, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office has subpoenaed St. Louis Public Radio and ‘requested’ that we keep silent about it” [St Louis Public Radio]. “For the second time, we’re speaking out because the public — you — has much at stake when a prosecutor goes on a fishing expedition in a news organization’s files.” The Mansur Ball-Bey case….

Police State Watch

“Homan Square revealed: how Chicago police ‘disappeared’ 7,000 people” [Guardian]. “82.2% of people detained at Homan Square were black, compared with 32.9% of the Chicago population.” “Nearly 65% of documented Homan Square arrests since August 2004 took place in the five years since Rahm Emanuel, formerly Barack Obama’s top aide, became mayor.” I guess Rahm saw what Obama was doing with his “kill list” “disposition matrix” and emulated it, eh?


Oregon shooting victim Chris Mintz recounts ordeal, takes on conspiracy theorists [Los Angeles Times]. “‘Just because you don’t believe it’s real doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,’ Mintz wrote in a follow-up post Saturday. ‘Some of those that passed were my friends I loved them and your disrespect for them sickens me, instead of spewing your hate bring yourself to our community and see for yourself you don’t believe I am real come talk to me face to face.'”

Health Care

“Health insurance startup joins Illinois market in flux” [Chicago Tribune]. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, the state’s largest health insurer, is eliminating its popular individual plan that had the largest network of doctors and hospitals.” I like this: “Plans and pricing for 2016 are expected to be available as early as Sunday on Healthcare.gov for consumers to begin window shopping.” Yes, “window shopping,” as if trying to decipher this year’s health insurace scams is a joyous holiday experience…. 


“[A] clutch of local seed-makers are refusing to pay royalties for using the US company’s gene technology to produce seeds for pest-resistant cotton” [Financial Times, “Monsanto faces growing troubles in India”].

“Researchers at the University of Birmingham have highlighted significant similarities between the behavioural effects of oxytocin and alcohol” [Eurekalert]. “Oxytocin increases prosocial behaviours such as altruism, generosity and empathy; while making us more willing to trust others. The socio-cognitive effects come about by suppressing the action of prefrontal and limbic cortical circuits – removing the brakes on social inhibitors such as fear, anxiety and stress.”

Dear Old Blighty

“One solar executive says the 87% cut in state subsidy is ‘obscene’, and will lead to thousands of job losses” [Guardian]. Well, they would say that, but WTF is Cameron doing?

“Two aircraft linked to CIA torture flights have visited Prestwick on at least 19 occasions since the airport was taken into public hands” [Sunday Express].

“There is no doubt about it: Tony Blair was on the warpath from early 2002” [Guardian]. “Colin Powell’s memo confirms what is broadly known, but will add to pressure on Chilcot inquiry to clear up controversy over PM in run-up to invasion of Iraq.” Then we can elect Corbyn and try Blair for war crimes.

Class Warfare

“Disarticulation goes North”  [Global Inequality]. “But I think that it is insufficient to leave this argument at a very abstract level where one group of Americans would have a more cosmopolitan welfare function and better perception of global benefits of trade and another would be more nativist and ignorant of economics.” An interesting post that discusses Paul Theroux’s piece in the Washington Post on poverty in the American South, and Annie Lowrey’s response to it (shorter: “Children are starving in India”).

News of the Wired

“Everywhere I look I see a need for high quality, carefully tested, open source, portable modem software” [Rowetel].

“The Elephant in the Room” [Samantha Bielefeld]. Marco Ament leverages his millionaire status to launch a price war with his competitors, then claims anyone can do the same thing. The power curve is a slippery slope and a greasy pole.

“How Can We Achieve Age Diversity in Silicon Valley?” [Medium]. Make software development a public service?

“Ermahgerddon: The Untold Story of the Ermahgerd Girl” [The Atlantic[. “The whole phenomenon began, as so many do, on Reddit….”

“A Brief History of Dude” [The Atlantic].

“Huxley to Orwell: My Hellish Vision of the Future is Better Than Yours (1949)” [Open Culture].

Earliest Known Draft of King James Bible Is Found, Scholar Says [New York Times]. “[T]he earliest known draft, and the only one definitively written in the hand of one of the roughly four dozen translators who worked on it.”

“You’re not as virtuous as you think” [WaPo]. The Milgram Experiment as an example of The Milgram Experiment. “If we all maintain a healthy dose of moral humility, we can avoid the blind obedience of the subjects in his experiment, as well as the harm we can unwittingly cause when in positions of authority.” I wish this were true for Economics Departments, which the writer does not consider.

* * *

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 (Noni):

Sumac - Mankato MN

Sumac brings back such happy memories for me of late summer camping…

Readers, Water Cooler is funded solely by you, through the Tip Jar below; that is, the Naked Capitalism fundraiser going on now covers my regular posts, Links, and everything else Yves kindly mentions here, but not Water Cooler. And so far, your contributions have been generous enough to allow me to keep Water Cooler going. (I’m pretty fast, as readers see when I correct things on the fly, but it does take several hours of foraging and writing!)

If you can, and without detracting from Naked Capitalism fundraising week as a whole, what would remove a lot of stress from me and really take the edge off would be more subscriptions from you, in any amount, over the course of the year. 30 subscriptions and I’d be happy; 40, and I’d be ecstatic. Just click the hat below. Thank you!


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. JohnnyGL

    Lambert, spotted a lovely article of a journalist shopping for health care. The policy advocacy seems to change a bit when reality hits…


    “On the one hand, I did save my insurance plan about $400. If everyone at Vox shopped like I did, then that might do a lot of work to reduce our premiums. That would probably make us all pretty happy!”

    Sorry Ms. Kliff, it’s just going to boost margins for your insurance company. Premiums are NOT going down. I hate to break it to you but they’re not going to cut you in on the savings! There’s a thing called an ‘imbalance of power’ involved.

    The underlying notion here, that of an insurance company as some kind of passive pass-through mechanism for health care costs with no agency is really pernicious.

  2. CB

    If Martin Shkreli punches a wall, he’d better have bullet proof health insurance–which even great wealth might not provide today.

    chrisco is a sh*t, and too many of the putative NJ dems are in his back pocket, right next to his state funds filled wallet.

  3. Brindle

    2016 Bush Trump….

    Trump posted this NYT link from three years ago on his twitter. Interesting how he is causing a re-look, however brief, of Bush admin incompetence, or worse, regarding 9/11.

    —Yet, the White House failed to take significant action. Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews—.


  4. Eric Patton

    Bush is wrong about that; we know a lot more about Rubio than we knew about Obama.

    Actually, people like Glen Ford, Adolph Reed Jr, and Paul Street wrote extensively about Obama prior to 2008. Street started writing about Obama in 2004, and Reed began writing about him in 1996.

    But few listened.

    Even now, they aren’t getting the credit they deserve for the work they did.

  5. ekstase

    “we found an example of US officials bullying the EU into dropping plans to ban 31 dangerous pesticides with ingredients that have been shown to cause cancer.”

    It used to seem that if you occasionally bought food imported from Europe, you could assume that it didn’t have poison in it.
    Oh well. Nothing to see here, folks! Keep moving.

  6. allan

    ” … as early as Sunday on Healthcare.gov for consumers to begin window shopping …”

    And the punchline is that no matter what policy you pick for 2016, it will no longer be offered for 2017.

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a health exchange welcome page
    stamping on a human face – forever.

  7. McWatt

    Re: Homan Square. Why does it take an English newspaper to break the story on a Chicago

    police cesspool?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      More to the point, why didn’t that outstanding Democrat, Chuy Garcia, try to hang it round Rahm’s pencil neck in the last mayoral election? The story broke during the election.

      1. neo-realist

        Secret deal as to how much and what kind of dirt can be revealed on competing candidates? Chuy, you don’t talk about black people getting disappeared by the police on my watch and I won’t talk about an issue or issues of yours. Preventing mutually assured destruction?

      2. CB

        Garcia is a Chigo dem apparatchik and likely didn’t want to foul his own nest. rahm is infamously vindictive.

  8. allan

    The sharing economy: share our pain, or else.

    Wal-Mart puts the squeeze on suppliers to share its pain as earnings sag

    Suppliers of everything from groceries to sports equipment are already being squeezed for price cuts and cost sharing by Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N). Now they are bracing for the pressure to ratchet up even more after a shock earnings warning from the retailer last week.

    The discount store behemoth has always had a reputation for demanding lower prices from vendors but Reuters has learned from interviews with suppliers and consultants, as well as reviewing some contracts, that even by its standards Wal-Mart has been turning up the heat on them this year.

    1. curlydan

      Preparation for all male representatives of vendors seeking business with Wal-Mart: Place testicles in vise. Turn. Now turn some more. Imagine teeny tiny profit margins slowly accreting to your bank account. Nickels and pennies only–don’t imagine dollars now! Turn some more. Imagine microscopic profit margins shrink more. Turn some more–don’t worry about children…if they existed they wouldn’t want your crappy Wal-Mart dependent business. Turn some more. Get significant other to call 911. Turn some more. Pass out. Done.

  9. curlydan

    “The loveable goof, Joe Biden, is going to make up his mind in 48 hours”…or to get down to brass tacks, what can Hillary promise him in the next 2 days to help his ego? It better be good.

  10. Ed Walker

    I’m in Paris right now. For dinner I bought some pork chops and sauteed them in olive oil, and served them with carrots, potatoes and three excellent cheeses. I come here in part because when I eat like this, I know I am supporting the magnificent farms of France. There may be caged pigs here, but I’ve never seen one. I am sickened by the prospect of screwing around with the food standards of this wonderful country.

    1. JTMcPhee

      …it’s not like the Empire and its Lords and minions are any strangers to assassinations and Lesser murders…

      Effing stupid vicious humans…

  11. Oregoncharles

    2016,the horserace: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/clintons-support-among-dems-jumps-by-10-points-after-first-debate/.

    Online poll, but before-and-after. Note that Sanders’ support remains exactly the same at 27%. That’s what you’re afraid of with an outsider/insurgent candidate, that there’s a built in ceiling to their support.

    Trump’s numbers are actually similar, but in the crowded field, they’re enough to put him in the lead – at least until the field clears out.

  12. Chris A

    Sumac is the only tree species native to all lower 48 states. They are so beautiful in the fall. One of my favorite trees.

    1. Massinissa

      The contender nobody likes is going to run for independent? Say its not so!

      Also, I have this feeling that he will only do that for real if Sanders wins…

    2. jo6pac

      Runs as demodog light, then will run as an independent. Oh and buy my knew book coming out? This a great campaign for potus if you have the $$$$$ to spend it works well with your knew book. (knew) not miss spelled) The new Brand of criminals.

      I would rather vote for dancing with the so called stars for potus and I have know idea who their are.

  13. allan

    File this under Too Many Zeroes: Deutsche Bank accidently paid client €5.3bn

    Deutsche Bank paid $6 billion (€5.3 billion) to a hedge fund client by mistake in a “fat finger” trade on its foreign exchange desk this summer that raises fresh questions about its operational controls and risk management. …

    The $6 billion trade was processed by a junior member of the bank’s foreign exchange market sales team in June while his boss was on holiday. Instead of processing a net value, the person processed a gross figure. That meant the trade had “too many zeroes”, said one of source.

    Maybe it’s a good thing that all these quants are no longer working at particle accelerators.

  14. optimader

    Turing CEO Martin Shkreli
    that picture makes it look like someone tried to garrote him at onetime in the past.

  15. Roland

    Various thoughts on Canadian election.

    1. Trudeau won majority gov’t in Canadian election, campaigning on tax hikes for the 1%, deficit spending and stimulus. It was the leftmost platform of the three parties. However, bear in mind that Liberals have the luxury of being able to campaign to the left and then governing to the right.

    2. On the other hand, what probably really what happened was just an old-fashioned case of “let’s throw the bastards out!” Governments don’t get voted in, instead people decide they want to change the gov’t, and then look for the likeliest alternative.

    3. NDP, ostensibly the leftmost party, got badly burned trying to run toward the centre. Why would anyone vote for NDP’ers trying to act like Liberals, when they could just vote Liberal and get the real thing? Serve the NDP right for triangulating.

    4. Greens go nowhere.

    5. Harper got flushed after the worst negative campaign advertising ever in Canada, and after openly pandering to bigots (his “Old Stock Canadians” rhetoric, and the promise of “Barbaric Cultural Practices” snitchline). So what’s not to like?

    6. Unfortunately, Canada now has its very own hopey-changey sunshine guy. Let’s see how it works for us.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      congrats on removing PM Harper & the other Conservatives from the Majority Parliamentary status!

      Is it clear that new Liberal PM Trudeau is a Lesser Evil than Harper? AFAICT he appears to be, but I don’t know much about CAN politics.

      Here in Murica, it is unclear if 0bama is a Lesser Evil than Bush43, as Glen Ford opines, 0bama may indeed be a More Effective Evil than Bush43, given the possible TPP & Grand Ripoff, his implemented ACA Individual Mandate precedent of forcing a citizen to purchase a crapified defective service from an oligopoly, the dictator-murder of US citizens outside of the US, among several other 0bama crimes.

      I drink a proverbial Molson to CAN’s future. It is hopeful to see an actually civilized nation as a neighbor, to me as an Murican in this Barbaric “Exceptional” nation.

      PS, I listened to a bit of the CBC Livestream on youtube. An advocate of proportional representation reform, which he claims the Liberal/NDP/Green all claimed they support in this campaign, complained how first-past-the-post parliament is a “bizarre exception among the OECD nations”.

      How refreshing! I do not recall any politician, BigMedia journalist, or even guest on a US BigMedia show openly claim that the US sux in a given issue compared to other OECD nations. I suppose the Murica Exceptionalist Propaganda is too pervasive. Although the OECD term wasn’t used, Sanders often claims Denmark/Scandinavia’s social insurance is superior to Muricas. In addition, several “progressive” pundits will note the US gun violence death rate as far worse than “other developed nations”. Only 2 examples I can think of at the moment, than conflict with Murica Exceptionalist Propaganda.

      1. none

        The US has first-past-the-post but it doesn’t have a parliament. The executive and legislative are separate government branches elected separately. In parliamentary systems it’s more like Congress chooses the president and cabinet. That changes the picture somewhat, at least in theory. Here (US), nobody cares who the speaker of the house is. In Canada the equivalent officeholder runs the country.

Comments are closed.