Announcing 2020 Mini-Fundraiser for Water Cooler!

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Dear Readers,

As you know, I am diffident, and as a good WASP, I hate talking about money — and if you cringe to hear me talking about about I hate to talk about, you can just jump down to the tip jar — and this year I have even more excuses for diffidence. However, this is the time of year for the Water Cooler annual fundraiser, and I hope that you — even in the teeth, or rather the spikes, of the corona virus — will do what it takes to keep Water Cooler going. Our goal is 300 donors. What Yves wrote in 2017 is still true:

Besides providing general business news, Water Cooler files all the scamming and grifting and phishing under the heading of “The Bezzle,” provides a contextual view of official statistics, maintains a watch on important indices, and follows shipping and supply chain news as a non-financial window into globalization. In politics, Water Cooler provides detailed, gritty coverage of important races, of sausage-making on policy, especially health care, and tracks the continuing legitimacy crisis of the political class as a whole, especially out in the “flyover states.” In addition, Water Cooler covers ecological news under climate change, and gives dispatches from the front of Class Warfare. That’s a lot of material to cover and bullshit to wade through on a daily basis!

To 2017’s work load, I’ve also added a regular polling feature based on the work of alert reader dk, counters for the primaries, and at reader request, coverage of #COVID19 statistics, as well as the Greed and Fear meter and Rapture Index. I sit down and open a new file at 11:30AM (if I don’t oversleep). When you count in selecting the day’s plant, I’m finished with the regular features and in a little under an hour. I then have perhaps 90 minutes to write the rest of the post! Granted, I do updates, but you can see I’m very, very productive (and this doesn’t count reading to stay on top of the news flow, which I do constantly). I’m not lollygagging about!*

A word on #COVID19, part of the constant reading and link curation that I do: I am covering this topic — especially the epidemiology, policy, and pragmatic aspects (masks; isolation projects) — with sufficient care, I trust, but I also feel it’s necessary to create some space that is not about #COVID19. Hence, I continue coverage of climate, the 2020 campaign, and by a natural extension of thought topics like the Internet of Sh*t. I hope that is congenial to you.

2019’s reasons for donating still hold true:

1) You should support Water Cooler to protect us all against increased levels of ambient bullshit. If we had Bullshit Meter, in 2020 it would be pinned.

2) You should support Water Cooler to help us become even more knowledgeable citizens and voters. This includes all aspects of citizenship, from elections through sewing masks, if need be.

3) You should support Water Cooler for random, serendipitous reasons. Like lots of cryptic allusions, ancient reggae 45s, snowclones, and under-rated tweets. Also, although I do not wish to bring the really personal aspects of my life into the blog, I do have people who it is my pleasure and duty to support, and I really, really, really want to keep doing that for them, especially now.

So, if you can’t contemplate social distancing without the day’s Water Cooler, please go to the Tip Jar and give what you can. If you can give a lot, give a lot. If you can give a little, give a little. Yellow waders don’t come cheap! Thank you!

NOTE * It would be remiss of me not to mention all the plant images, links, and suggestions sent in by readers. The NC commentariat is truly the best commentariat, and Water Cooler would not be what it is without you.

* * *

2019’s Water Cooler fundraiser went very well, and we would like 2020’s to go just as well. Our goal is 300 donors. What Yves wrote in 2017 is true this year as well:

To be crass, Lambert is making well under a living wage for his work on Water Cooler and that is not right. We need you to live up to what we hope is one of the widely-held values in the commentariat, that people should be paid fairly for their work, especially work that has already been done! That means digging into your wallets, whether a little or for a lot, and chipping in for Water Cooler.

Readers, I couldn’t write Water Cooler without independent funding from you; there’s no mainstream market for calling out bullshit. You are paying me for work I have already done — unlike the Naked Capitalism fundraiser proper, which sets the budget for the following year — and so having played the fiddle, I am now passing my cap. Please click the Donate button below and contribute what you can. Even if you can only make a small contribution, we’d still appreciate that, because we also have readers who can make much bigger donations. Again, our target is 300 donors, and we’d like to return to our regularly scheduled programming as soon as possible. I really enjoy writing Water Cooler, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Thank you!

* * *

To make the business relationships clear, Yves writes:

Water Cooler is a separate store front within Naked Capitalism to pay for [Lambert’s] considerable effort on it over and above all the work he already does on the site… Yes, Lambert also gets paid out of the annual fundraiser, but that is for the considerable amount of work he does besides Water Cooler, such as DJing the site, helping manage the comments section, managing a lot of the tech issues, and helping in tooth-gnashing over other “business of running the business” matters.

* * *

Readers, you may donate here:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

If you hate PayPal — even though you can use a credit card or debit card on PayPal — you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check.

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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. Debra D.

    Put me down for $25/mo as of today. Thanks for your continued research, analysis, and commentary and for providing a forum for widespread commentary from around the world.

  2. Carla

    Happy to join with all my buds in the Commentariat — many thanks to you, Lambert, for all of your hard work on Naked Capitalism, and of course especially for Water Cooler and the Plantidote!

  3. Darius

    I think I’m already giving $5.00 a month, automatically. I’d do more, but I’m scheduled to be laid off. Strangely, the coronavirus crisis has delayed my lay off, for which I should have gotten the required 30-days’ notice already (union contract, and all). But it could come any day, as soon as they get the paperwork in order.

  4. LaRuse

    Sent a little, sorry it couldn’t be more. I work for a Critical Infrastructure/an Evil Empire so like all good stormtroopers, I am pretty secure, but the Husband works in education and so any moment, I expect to be the sole source of income. I appreciate the NC Crew and Commentariat and am grateful for external anecdotes and opinions during these days of isolation. Stay safe and well!

  5. kramshaw

    Water Cooler has absolutely been *the* place to be during the primary season and accelerating slowpocalypse. Thanks for all your hard work!

  6. Shonde

    I have been a solid Bernie contributor plus extra to Tulsi since January 2019. I looked at those donations as an investment in my and my families future. My investment appears to have created only marginal returns. So no more.

    I wish I felt free to send you monthly what has been going to them but probably like lots of commentators here I am currently feeling very insecure having no idea what my future may bring. Frankly I’m scared.

    So $100 to you today and hopefully if things settle down (ha, ha) more in the future. Can’t get paypal to work!!!!!!

  7. Peter VE

    Bonus! Paypal sends you an email with a name which may or may not be an approved alias for Lambert Strether of Corrente!

  8. Stanley Dundee

    Lambert, thanks for one of the best resources on the internet! Nothing quite compares to the Water Cooler and your work is hugely appreciated. Pace yourself and don’t burn out. Happy spring!

  9. ambrit

    I’m in joe6pack’s bracket, but with the ‘shelter at home’ kicking in, I can expect to save at least a pittance in petrol fumes this month to contribute.
    Watch out for the hay fever season this year. It is starting early here Down South! (The local cars parked on the streets and driveways hereabouts are beginning to look distinctly yellow from the pollen.)

  10. Lambert Strether Post author

    Thank you all very much (and I am behind in my thank you notes). We are still not quite where I had hoped to be, so if you are reading this for the first time, the tip jar is above….

  11. Eclair

    Lambert, I will get the check in the proverbial mail this weekend. Thank you so much for everything you do …. your level of commitment is amazing. Water Cooler makes me laugh. And cry. It raises my blood pressure. It exercises my brain (or what’s left of it.)

  12. Fastball

    Lambert I am going to donate to you again. Right now I have more than enough to go around.

    I have been enjoying your services for years, and not paying for them. I hope to correct that now.

    As you can imagine, I’m wary of monthly donations because this can have the effect of weighing down’s one’s ability to live.

    The needs are so vast, and I am one of the last ones left, who are quasi middle class, who even can donate. The predators are everywhere.

    I’ve not been bombarded by people in distress, I am seeking them out. I am finding many people in severe distress.

    Bottom line is, I need to do more.

    Right now I am trying to weigh helping the most good for the most number.

    I feel everyone needs you!

    You are needed and you are valued.

  13. Kurt Sperry

    Could’ve swore I posted here yesterday. I donated via PayPal (I know, I know) and had no difficulty.

Comments are closed.