2:00PM Water Cooler 12/18/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente



“It is concerning that Sanders decided to embrace the 2°C framework. Former NASA scientist James Hansen has repeatedly described the 2°C temperature target as a ‘prescription for disaster'” [The Climate Mobilization]. By contrast, “the necessity of a wartime-scale climate mobilization is essentially a hidden consensus among environmental experts.” Not sure where Clinton fits in, here; her 2016 stance isn’t mentioned.


“Both liberals and conservatives use dark money groups to influence elections, and a dark money group is currently supporting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. However, [Jordan Libowitz of CREW] said watchdogs have mainly targeted conservative groups because conservatives spend much more dark money than liberals and openly exploit the tax code. Libowitz said Democrats are not taking some kind of moral high ground when it comes to dark money; they simply have been slower to adopt the tactic” [Truthout].

The Voters

“‘Member of the 1%’ shocks Reddit: ‘I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. Here’s why'” [Reddit].

“Dr. Laura Pressley, a Texas candidate, has filed an historic election contest which has uncovered electronic voting machine corruption errors, security breaches, and missing election data” in her 2014 Austin City Council run [Public Intelligence Blog].

The Trail

“The next Democratic debate is this Saturday at 8 pm Eastern. It will take place at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, and will air on ABC” [Vox]. “it will take place on the weekend — when many fewer people are expected to watch.” In a hockey arena, so bundle up.

“Hillary Clinton’s dream debate is one nobody watches” [New York Post].

“When you look at Sanders’ percentage in the national polls and what that represents among Democrats (which is a larger pool than GOP voters), he actually has more raw support than Trump. In fact, in polls done this past fall, Sanders actually bested Trump by a larger margin than Clinton did in a general election” [ABC]. And: “We haven’t focused enough on Sanders and the anti-establishment grassroots he has highlighted.” Oh, really?

“Bernie Sanders Campaign Fires Staffer for Allegedly Accessing Clinton Campaign Data” [ABC].

It all happened Wednesday when the vendor [NGP-VAN] who maintains the voter file [sic] for the DNC applied a “software patch.” As a result of that, every campaign could have accessed the data all the others were – a glitch. The Sanders camp noticed it and accessed the Clinton files. Then they (and another campaign) told the company, and within half an hour they shut it down.

Sounds like an IT disaster at NGP-VAN, if nothing else (and one of a series). Surely there are alternatives to pushing untested updates live?

The fired staffer: Josh Uretsky (dead LinkedIn profile), National Data Director of the Sanders campaign for all of three months [Heavy]. “He worked as a staffer on Patrick Murphy’s Congressional campaign in 2006. From 2007 to 2008 he was a “grassroots leader for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign in Philadelphia,” serving as a co-chair of Philadelphia for Obama. ”

The self-justification [CNN]:

Uretsky says he got into the system to create a record to make it clear to anyone with NBG-VAN knowledge that he was “going through stuff that I wasn’t supposed to have access to.” … The point: He wanted people with knowledge of the voter files to be able to clearly see that he was testing the depth of the breach.

Which is just what an unseasoned and not-especially-politically-savvy tech dude, exasperated beyond endurance by a buggy system, might do.

The “glitch”: Data could only be viewed, not saved [Bloomberg].

The bug allowed users who already had access to voters’ files to search by and view—though not export, save, or act on—attributes added to those files by other campaigns.

So if the Sanders staff couldn’t save the data, there’s no data to “discard,” as the DNC is demanding the Sanders campaign prove was done.

The timing: Very, very bad [CNN].

The suspension comes at a terrible time for Sanders: One day after one of his strongest 24-hours of the campaign and one day before the third Democratic debate on Saturday. Without the data, it is near impossible for the Sanders campaign to target prospective supporters.

Since it would be irresponsible not to speculate, one might imagine a DNC honey-trap: Expose Clinton data to newb Uretksky’s staff, and if they view it, nail them. DNC is surely malevolent enough, but NGP-VAN, who would have to be involved, is supposed to be a neutral party, since their data is used by multiple campaigns (making the glitch all the more curious, since firewalls between campaigns are fundamental to their business model). Then again, with the stakes this high, who’s neutral? I wonder if any of those great Philly bloggers (that’s not irony) know anything about Uretsky. And I’m sorta waiting for Sanders to say, in debate, “I understand Secretary Clinton knows everything about securing servers. Perhaps the DNC should have consulted her.”

“A Few Words About Future Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan” [Esquire]. The beard is for gravitas. Presidential.

The Hill

“Ryan and Pelosi corral votes as $1.1T funding bill speeds to floor” [The Hill]. Ugh. It’s bipartisan, like the Iraq war. I wonder how many more Easter eggs there are?

Stats Watch

PMI Services Flash, December 2015: “slowing sharply” [Econoday]. “This is the lowest reading in a year reflecting the slowest growth in new orders since January and a fifth straight month of contraction in backlog orders.”

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, December 2015: “Inflation expectations over the next 12 months remain soft but did edge higher this month” [Econoday].

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, December 2015: [Econoday].

Shipping: On rail, “Bad Data Continues And Marginally Worse Than Last Week” [Econintersect].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 (-1); Fear [CNN]. Last week: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).

Police State Watch

“A former police lieutenant forced out of his department after he pointed a semiautomatic rifle at protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and threatened to kill them testified this week that his life was “ruined” during the subsequent fight to keep his law enforcement license” [HuffPo].

“Virginia police misinformed state investigators about their use of force against Linwood Lambert, a man who died after officers repeatedly tased him in a hospital doorway, according to files from a state criminal investigation” [MSNBC]. “The records offer new clues about that lengthy process, revealing a prosecutor who initially leaned against charges but sought a review of that call; state investigators who accepted police claims even when contradicted by videos of the tasing; and State Police officials increasingly pushing for a decision by the prosecutor, privately calling her ‘indecisive’ and ‘unsure’ about ‘what to do.'”

The 420

“Feds Want Nebraska, Oklahoma To Quit Harshing Colorado’s Mellow” [HuffPo].

Heatlh Care

“Few Uninsured Know Date of Pending Deadline for Obtaining Marketplace Coverage; Many Say They Will Get Coverage Soon, Though Cost is a Concern” [KFF].

“Prices for brand-name drugs are typically higher in the U.S. than other developed countries. The drug industry has argued it’s misleading to focus on U.S. list prices that exclude discounts struck behind closed doors with insurers” [Bloomberg]. “A Bloomberg News analysis finds that even after these discounts, prices are higher in the U.S. than abroad. Seven of eight top-selling drugs examined still cost more in the U.S. than most other countries.”


“Climatologists say Syria is a grim preview of what could be in store for the larger Middle East, the Mediterranean and other parts of the world. The drought, they maintain, was exacerbated by climate change” [Scientific American].

“As China’s demand wanes, the golden age of coal comes to an end – IEA” [Reuters].

“Scientists manipulate consciousness in rats” [Deep Stuff]. “‘Our results suggest the central thalamus works like a radio dial that tunes the brain to different states of activity and arousal,’ said Jin Hyung Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology, neurosurgery and bioengineering at Stanford University, and a senior author of the study.” What could go wrong?

Guillotine Watch

“The best recent bathroom innovation may be: a showerhead with a Bluetooth wireless speaker, like Kohler’s Moxie model. You forget that the acoustics in your shower are some of the best in your house” [WSJ, “Designer Celerie Kemble on Flea Markets and Showerheads”]. You do?

“‘People say we cater to celebrities,’ Pastor Carl tells me. ‘And I say, yes, we do. Celebrities deserve a relationship with God. Celebrities deserve a place to pray'” [GQ].

Class Warfare

“Fortunately, at least in an analytic sense, when it comes to inequality, all the surveys point in the same direction: toward greater economic distance between people and households in their economic outcomes” [Talking Points Memo]. A “deep dive” into income inequality. Unfortunately, the dive master is Democratic apparatchik Jared Bernstein, so I’d want to check the dive plan very carefully.

“Almost half of Britain’s private wealth owned by top 10% of households” [Guardian].

“Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame” [Fusion].

News of the Wired

“Tokyo’s solution to rogue drones? Drones with nets” [Engadget]. Meta-drones!

“The self-driving car, that cutting-edge creation that’s supposed to lead to a world without accidents, is achieving the exact opposite right now: The vehicles have racked up a crash rate double that of those with human drivers” [Bloomberg]. “The glitch? They obey the law all the time, as in, without exception. This may sound like the right way to program a robot to drive a car, but good luck trying to merge onto a chaotic, jam-packed highway with traffic flying along well above the speed limit.” The obvious solution is to outlaw human drivers entirely, which sits uneasily with Silicon Valley’s glibertarian mindset, but ka-ching. And somebody needs to ask Google how badly support for their self-driving car will suck.

“On December 10, the New Zealand Gazette, which publishes official notices for the government, posted Marriage Notice No. 22, which declared the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster “an approved organization for the purpose of the Marriage Act 1955.”” [The Diplomat].

“Identity theft protection firm LifeLock has agreed to pay a record $100 million fine to settle a government lawsuit that it had deceived customers about how secure their data was” [The Hill].

“More than 131 hanging wooden coffins, balanced on the side of a 100-metre mountain side, have been discovered in China. The mysterious find, believed to be about 1,200 years old, were located in China’s Hubei province” [International Business Times].

“From pandas to pot to the pope, and everything in between, these were the stories that D.C. talked about in 2015” [Washington City Paper].

“Iris hacking, though more difficult, can be done by scanning the iris and printing it on a glass eye” [The Economist, “America is to tighten its visa-waiver programme”]. “In China, there are mail-order services that can replicate a person’s print or iris and courier it back to the purchaser in 48 hours.” Well, so much for biometrics.

Samuel Delaney reviews the original Star Wars [JustPaste.it].

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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 (PP):

A reminder for dark days of winter - first cherry blossoms January 2011 Hiram Chittenden locks Seattle

PP writes: A reminder for dark days of winter. First cherry blossoms, January 2011, Hiram Chittenden locks in Seattle, WA.

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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. Waking Up

      Unless there is a massive uprising in this country against the Democratic and Republican parties, expect to see these results for many more years to come.

      As Bill Moyers and Michael Winship state, “For 40 years, Republicans and some Democrats have been demanding an end to the ban on crude oil exports. The omnibus bill lifts that ban just as the world community meeting in Paris agreed that emissions released from fossil fuels must be lowered if the planet is to escape incineration. Selling off cheap oil abroad is — you should excuse the expression —like throwing gasoline on the fire.”

      As for that “some Democrats”, if the party truly wanted to stop it, they would have…they didn’t.
      President Obama and our congressional members never had any intention of honoring those talks….

  1. timbers

    Caught some of Obama’s news conference on NPR – says unemployment is awesomely low, Obamacare is awesome record number insured, wages rising faster than ever, and he’s beating ISIS & Co at incredible awesome rate.


    1. Jason

      It becomes clearer every day that the only possible outcomes are the 1% owning the rest of us, the 1% destroying human civilization, or human civilization destroying the 1%.

      1. jrs

        yea problem is they own/are (with revolving doors) the government, so it’s easier for them to kill us en mass than it is for us to kill them en mass.

      1. Vatch

        But are the profits on sales outside the U.S. or on sales inside the U.S.? Just because an Apple subsidiary is based in low tax Ireland doesn’t mean that all of that subsidiary’s sales occur outside of the U.S. There are plenty of foreign companies that sell products in the U.S. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s where some of Apple’s Irish subsidiary’s sales occur.

      2. alex morfesis

        Why cant i drive 95 mph in a 928 down I-75 ? Last I checked apple developed its products and its original market share in these united states. Next time apple needs something from the us state department or customs, they should be directed to call ireland…i am sure the chinese red army is not raping apple on its intellectual property rights because they fear the irish navy…do the irish even have one vessel in their military force which can actually do an ocean voyage?

    1. nycTerrierist

      and more:


      “The campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) held a fiery press conference on Friday afternoon where he threatened to sue the Democratic National Committee for blocking the campaign’s access to its voter files and accused Democratic officials of trying to “sabotage” Sanders’ presidential bid and help Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

      Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver announced at a Friday press conference that the campaign may file a federal lawsuit against DNC later that day. He accused the DNC of holding the campaign’s data “hostage.”

      “They are not going to sabotage our campaign,” Weaver said.”

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      That Slashdot article makes a pretty good case for the likelihood that it was a Clinton Campaign sabotage job. Thanks for posting. And of course, the general public doesn’t know what the heck a firewall is, so they will believe the MSM hatchet job that calls Bernie a Crook.

      Hey Bernie, that knife in your back has the word “Hellery” etched on the handle.

    3. bob

      Bernie has plenty of support of the ground. Can’t use “their” database?

      Come up with your own. Then, share it, with everyone.

      What do they need? 50 separate voter rolls? That’s not a huge problem. And getting the bern away from the DNC ‘support’ would help him a lot more than trying to defend himself against a hacking charge from a woman who should be, by all reasonable accounts, in jail because of her private and unprotected email server.

    4. Chris in Paris

      The Hill People expected the public to believe the bogus excuses for the mail server at her house so I imagine that they thought everyone would swallow this obvious setup as well. Somebody needs to get the forensics going on this.

    5. RUKidding

      I really do try to reserve judgment until all the facts become clear. Unfortunately, these days the facts are often difficult, at best, to obtain beyond a shadow of a doubt.

      Must confess that my first thought when reading this is that it’s a move of desperation by HRC. It’s my understanding that Sanders has a huge groundswell of support. As more info is provided, well, let’s just say that my first impression hasn’t been disproven.

      Can we all recall together the “Dean Scream”… which was really not a scream but manipulated to make Dean look ridiculous and then played endlessly 24/7/265. Put paid to Dean’s up till then rather successful campaign.

      The DNC is no less mendacious than the RNC, other than, these days being slightly more subtle (note: I said “slightly”).

      And remember: the 1% will NOT tolerate the 99% getting what the 99% wants, unless it matches exactly with what the 1% wants. HRC is Wall Street’s & the MIC’s candidate. I doubt either of those loosely knit groups wants Sanders to be successful.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        After DWS attacked Marijuana legalization efforts in 2012, she pretty much destroyed her chances to ever win statewide. Her only opportunity for political advancement is through brown nosing.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s a great link. The bottom line:

      And social media is blowing the hell up, not unreasonably, because it’s a goddamn hatchet job combined with a kneecapping to yank access by the Bernie campaign to its OWN DATA because a guy from the Bernie campaign passively browsed through a firewall he didn’t himself disable, a firewall run by a company controlled by Clinton partisans which had been going down already for reasons unknown.

      I do note, however, that the “Clinton supporter” is not named. Let me go look…

      UPDATE Stu Trevelyan, Clinton Gore “war room,” 1992. That’s going back a long way. I’m not sure one ever really leaves ClintonLand….

    7. Higgs Boson

      As a result of that, every campaign could have accessed the data all the others were – a glitch. The Sanders camp noticed it and accessed the Clinton files. Then they (and another campaign) told the company, and within half an hour they shut it down.

      So theoretically, the Clinton campaign had the same opportunity to access Sanders and/or O’Malley campaign data? How can anyone determine if that did or didn’t occur; apparently the only reason NGP-VAN knew about it is the Sanders campaign “and another campaign” reported it.

      Doesn’t pass the smell test.

  2. Pavel

    So one of the lead items on Zero Hedge today is how Congress snuck the CISA act into the spending bill (as thought that’s where it should be, right?) without any debate or announcement.

    Here’s how the Newspaper of Record [sic] buried that information waaaaay down in their article on the bill:

    In response to concerns raised partly by recent terrorist attacks, the spending measure requires more vigorous security checks as part of the visa-waiver program, by which millions of visitors enter the United States under an expedited process. The package also incorporates legislation that expands the sharing of information between private firms and federal security agencies to prevent cyberattacks.

    Congress Passes $1 Trillion Spending Measure

    Here is just the first few ‘grafs from the Zero Hedge item (still at the top of their list as I type):

    Back in 2014, civil liberties and privacy advocates were up in arms when the government tried to quietly push through the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, a law which would allow federal agencies – including the NSA – to share cybersecurity, and really any information with private corporations “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” The most vocal complaint involved CISA’s information-sharing channel, which was ostensibly created for responding quickly to hacks and breaches, and which provided a loophole in privacy laws that enabled intelligence and law enforcement surveillance without a warrant.

    Ironically, in its earlier version, CISA had drawn the opposition of tech firms including Apple, Twitter, Reddit, as well as the Business Software Alliance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and many others including countless politicians and, most amusingly, the White House itself.

    In April, a coalition of 55 civil liberties groups and security experts signed onto an open letter opposing it. In July, the Department of Homeland Security itself warned that the bill could overwhelm the agency with data of “dubious value” at the same time as it “sweep[s] away privacy protections.” Most notably, the biggest aggregator of online private content, Facebook, vehemently opposed the legislation however a month ago it was “surprisingly” revealed that Zuckerberg had been quietly on the side of the NSA all along as we reported in “Facebook Caught Secretly Lobbying For Privacy-Destroying “Cyber-Security” Bill.”

    CISA Is Now The Law: How Congress Quietly Passed The Second Patriot Act

    Compare and contrast, as my 9th grade English teacher used to say. And bonus points for spotting Zuckerberg’s duplicity. Quelle surprise!

  3. cwaltz

    The DNC is idiotic. So let me get this straight? They found a glitch in the software and within a half hour notified the DNC of it and the result is the DNC PUNISHED them for it?

    Can’t say I think much of Sanders for firing him either. Geez. The guy NOTIFIED the DNC that they had a problem.

    1. Ed

      No, there is an argument that if he notified the DNC about the problem, he is too stupid to be working that position. Of course, the Sanders campaign wouldn’t publicly come out and say that.

      1. cwaltz

        Sanders has always struck me as a fairly ethical person. Not perfect for sure, but not someone who would want to exploit an unfair advantage. I have to wonder if it was the DNC that insisted the guy be fired. THAT I could see.

      2. different clue

        If he is a digital-culture-based person, then his “stupidity” would be facultative and digital-culture-induced, would it not? And therefor not really his fault, right? I hope some of Sanders’s politics people work with this young man and explain politics to him, explain to him that the DNC is The Clintonite Enemy, and that one never ever ever gives the DNC any technical knowledge or advice, unless that advice is necessary to protect one’s OWN interest.

        And if it looks like the young man can be made to understand that politics ain’t digital culture, hire him back quietly and discretely. And if the Clintonites complain, start using Clintonite methods against the Clintonites. One hopes the Sanders campaign has some deep and highly placed moles within the Democratic Party and the Clintonite Campaign . . . .planting remote-detonation bombs, attaching limpet mines, placing bugs and microphones and etc., and gathering weaponizably blackmailable material and cultivating the Jedgar Hoover style strength of will to use that information against the Clintonites and the DNCists if necessary.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I read that as part of the ritual. He’s a staffer, he didn’t make the campaign look good, so he has to go. Stop the bleeding. (“Politics ain’t beanbag.”) He’ll get work again after a decent interval (assuming various assumptions).

  4. Jake Mudrosti

    Self-driving vehicles have been on the Pentagon wishlist for decades. And boy howdy, there’s lots of money at stake. (And that’s before you factor in Amazon’s quest for profits, and other commerce). Meanwhile, even though the average driver would much rather see smarter traffic lights, and even though that would reduce gasoline waste with minimum investment, that’s *not* getting attention. The average commuter in certain cities is perfectly happy jumping aboard an electric streetcar (no big lithium batteries!), but that transportation model is *not* getting attention.

    Parts manufacturers contribute to the sense of inevitability of Internet of Things, self-driving-cars, etc, in their email spam. It’s similar to much news coverage of U.S. foreign policy: “Look, folks, this is already a thing, and it’s already happening. All that’s left is for you to ride this wave and come out on top.”

    1. polecat

      yeah…the ‘Minority Report’ film seems rather prescient in light of the development of self-driving car tech, the internet of ‘things’, and our newly passed cisa ? easteregg!

    2. craazyman

      Fun Fun Fun w/driverless cars!

      sorry for the edited double comment but this is a day of mental action and physical sloth! laying around. fukkn craccinng myselff up like a moron

      sorry Beach Boys . . .

      she programmed her daddy’s car, sent it cruising to the hamburger stand now
      seems she forgot all about the library like she told old her man now
      she got a burger, coke and fries and had it cruising home as fast as it can now
      and she’ll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes her remote away

      well the guys can’t stand her cause she never leaves her backyard pool now
      If they chauffer her around well she makes em feel just like a fool now
      she says “what you driviin for, do you wanna be somebody’s tool now”?
      and she’ll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes her remote away

      she rode it to the mall, jumped out and hit her prime shoppin pace now
      left it driving all around but it couldn’t find a good parking place now
      seems it caused a traffic jam, horns blastin with the cops in her face now
      and she’ll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes the remote away

      well you knew all along that your dad was gettin wise to you now
      he paid your $1000 fine and your thinkin that your fun is all through now
      but you can come along with me cause we got a lot of things do now
      and we’lll have fun fun fun now that daddy took the remote away

  5. dk

    Without the data, it is near impossible for the Sanders campaign to target prospective supporters.

    This isn’t strictly true. National voter data files (raw data) and data access services (web-based interfaces like VoteBuilder) can be obtained from other vendors, notably Catalist (http://www.catalist.us/product/product.html), which actually supplies DNC with modeled data.

    The most important loss for the Sanders campaign is their own tags, data that they have entered into VB across the country, or collected through automated phone-bank, email and fundraising interfaces. They have (doubtless) also purchased enhancement data from other vendors, which resides on the NGP-VAN platform for use. Both of these are THEIR data, not the DNC’s, although the DNC licensing agreement gives DNC rights to usage after the campaign.

    Legally, barring the Sanders campaign from their own data is at least as fraught a move as Josh Uretsky’s. although less spinable (stealing other peoples data and keeping it? who doesn’t do that already?)

    1. bob

      Just have bernis set up his own database, as you point out, not that hard.

      It also removes one of his biggest threats- the DNC, from inside his camp.

      This is honestly another reason I doubt the sincerity of his run. You’re using DNC infrastructure? Against the person in charge of the DNC?


      1. Daryl

        The problem here I would imagine is that people in this database have consented to be contacted by the DNC/people who the DNC deems worthy of access. It may be more of a legal/privacy barrier than anything else. Plus as much as we make fun of the DNC on here, people on their list are probably much more likely to vote in Democratic caucuses/primaries than randoms out of the yellow pages.

        1. bob

          Voting rolls are public records.

          The yellow pages aren’t.

          And, as far as being contacted, pols and pol organizations were exempt from any “robo calling” laws. It’s why they still do it.

          1. Vatch

            But do the government voting rolls contain people’s phone numbers, employment information, and a list of the person’s favorite political issues? I doubt it.

            1. bob

              Do the yellow pages? I doubt it.

              Trying to use hillary’s machine to beat hillary isn’t going to work. Ever.

              I’d also like to see some evidence that this sacred database, with so much personal information exists, and if that information is at all accurate.

              Also, by admitting that they “hacked” the database, are they required now to tell the people within the database that their information has been compromised?

              The scared database of destiny. One database to rule them all.

            2. dk

              Well… ever hear of marketing? It’s a little like that.

              Data vendors enhance the voter records, adding/verifying recent phones, verifying (sometimes reformatting, or “sanitizing”) addresses, and work up profiles based on info in the voter records and any available demographics. The DNC (and RNC) buys this kind of data, and makes some of it available to campaigns; and campaigns can obtain it themselves.

              The results are not nearly 100%, but one works with what one gets. Some traction is more traction than no traction.

          2. Daryl

            The subset of people who might be persuaded to go vote Sanders is very much not public record.

            Sure, yellow pages aren’t public record, voter rolls are, whatever. Let’s assume you start with an address and a phone number for all registered voters. Now what? Heck, half of potential Bernie voters probably don’t even have a landline. Good luck paring that down and contacting everyone you want to in just a few months.

            1. dk

              For most state, you also have their registered party, and how often they voted. Not who or what they voted for, just that they participated, and (usually) in which elections.

              You don’t have to convince everybody. In fact, the committed supporters are less important to outreach (“field”) operations than the swingables and the occasional voters. Ignore your friends, ignore your enemies, talk to the people in the middle.

              You just have to find the few you can find and convince them to try to push your margin over “50%+1”.

              And this actually works, if one is smart about it (and the campaign can raise the funds to do it).

              I’ve worked in this field (heh) for decades; if I was working for Hillary, I’d be freaking out right now.This move by/through the DNC is a tell.

      2. dk

        It’s a calculated risk. The pool of campaign operatives who know how to use VAN/VoteBuilder is huge compared to anything else. A big sword doesn’t have to be as sharp as a little one.

        I think Bernie himself didn’t expect to get this far with this much support, he just wanted to bring up the issues. Are yesterday’s modest hopes today’s insincerity? But taking the point, I wonder that about Trump.

        1. cwaltz

          I actually tend to believe he’d hoped to get this far. I suspect that he underestimated how dirty the DNC could be toward someone they viewed as adversarial to their agenda.

  6. 3.14e-9

    I’ve worked the phone banks. The data are vital, because the on-the-ground team can focus exclusively on undecided voters and not waste time with Clinton supporters. It also ensures that once potential voters have been called, they won’t be called again, thus saving resources and respecting voters’ time. Wrong numbers are noted and not called again. It’s hard to imagine how they could start over with raw data.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        What I feel. If there’s a way Sanders can leverage the (massive) donor list he’s got — and maybe use what DFA has? — then I think he should kiss the DNC goodbye.

        I mean, dear Lord. I hate to be cynical, but the queries of the Sanders campaign, everything they do, go in the logs on a system campaigns don’t control. Are we really to assume that the DNC, Rove-like, and all-in for Clinton, didn’t already do exactly what they’re accusing Sanders of doing? Pas si bête.

        UPDATE Adding, I take 3.14e-9’s point. But it might be worth it to “get clean.” And I wonder what DFA has going for it…

        1. bob

          The way it’s been written about it seems as if it’s not even the DNC’s database. It’s a database that the DNC has access to. The database itself if the property of a privately owned company.

        2. 3.14e-9

          This just in: DNC caved and agreed to restore access in the morning.

          Maybe they decided it would look better to do it voluntarily than to be ordered by a judge. The complaint by the Sanders campaign included a copy of the contract between the campaign and the DNC, specifying terms under which it could be broken. Unilaterally denying access without warning is not among them. Nor is being cut off for taking advantage of a firewall breach.

          As for why the Sanders campaign doesn’t get its own list, it’s not like you just get a list and start making phone calls. You also need the program to manipulate the data, and that’s what the DNC has, via NGP-VAN. There is no way the Sanders campaign could have afforded to build anything like it, and certainly not in time to be useful in the early primaries and caucuses. The way it’s set up, thousands of volunteers around the country are accessing it at the same time, and it updates in real time so that no one duplicates a call once a potential voter has been contacted. Contact information includes how strongly they are leaning for which candidate. I attended a rally last week with Zack Exley and Claire Sandberg (both very smart and dynamic), who said it’s not uncommon for a potential voter identified in the initial phone call to get a knock on their door the next day. Also, if they say they are strong Bernie supporters, their names go into a list of potential volunteers, and they likely will get a campaign e-mail within 24 hours directing them to further instructions and training. The program has a verified sign-in process for every volunteer, and each time they sign in, they get a targeted list based on their time zone and the immediate needs of the campaign. There is no data entry required, making it faster and easier for volunteers.

          Incidentally, the Wikipedia page for Stuart Trevelyan, CEO of NGP-VAN, was just taken down for “copyright infringement.” And he’s not the only person at NGP-VAN with ties to Clinton and the DNC. The original company was founded by Nathaniel Pearlman, who was chief technology officer for HRC’s 2008 campaign.

          1. polecat

            so maybe the Bern this should make mendacious info public during the up-and-coming democratic debate……would like to see Hillary try to spin that!

  7. Strangely Enough

    Celebrities deserve a relationship with God. Celebrities deserve a place to pray

    Pretty sure there’s no “r” in pay…

  8. direction

    Andy Borowitz was hilarious in yesterday’s New Yorker

    “A criminal lawyer representing Turing Pharmaceuticals chief Martin Shkreli has informed his client that he is raising his hourly legal fees by five thousand per cent, the lawyer has confirmed.

    Minutes after Shkreli’s arrest on charges of securities fraud, the attorney, Harland Dorrinson, announced that he was hiking his fees from twelve hundred dollars an hour to sixty thousand dollars.

    Shkreli, who reportedly received the news about the price hike while he was being fingerprinted, cried foul and accused his attorney of “outrageous and inhumane price gouging.”

    “This is the behavior of a sociopath,” Shkreli was heard screaming.

    For his part, Shkreli’s lawyer was unmoved by his client’s complaint. “Compared to what he pays for an hour of Wu-Tang Clan, sixty thou is a bargain,” he said.”

  9. Propertius

    Since it would be irresponsible not to speculate, one might imagine a DNC honey-trap: Expose Clinton data to newb Uretksky’s staff, and if they view it, nail them. DNC is surely malevolent enough, but NGP-VAN, who would have to be involved, is supposed to be a neutral party, since their data is used by multiple campaigns

    So what? The DNC itself is actually supposed to be neutral in the nomination process, but I don’t think for a minute that that would stop “downer Debbie” from skewing things. I’m sure NGP-VAN would happily cooperate if the DNC wanted to set Sanders up.

  10. DJG

    Clergy of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Presiding at weddings? When did everyone get so churchy? I usually confine my devotions to offering incense to a box of De Cecco farfalle.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Terrible news; hope she lands somewhere where she can still do the same excellent work. I’d love to see someone like Jim Naureckas or Ed Herman take her place, but there’s no way on Vishnu’s green earth that’s going to happen. The cynic in me says they’ll pull someone like Bill Keller out of whatever K street foyer he’s been hiding out in.

  11. montanamaven

    RE: Guillotine Watch: Have you seen the commercial by “Interactive Brokers”? I was just flipping channels and landed on Bloomberg Politics. The commercial has a woman sitting down at a table in a fancy restaurant with a man. She says, “Did you hear about the NATO plane downed by a Russian jet”? Then talks about how the markets are going to go wild and she needs to make some trades. The man is not shocked at her callousness. He is shocked that she can get on line from anywhere to get a hold of her broker.

    1. Daryl

      Obviously, the next step in innovation is downing jets FROM a cell phone in order to manipulate the markets. Coming to an App Store near you.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Not quite. I think you mean “appear to down jets.” All that’s really necessary is that something colorable get into the news flow, after all.

        The app could have service grades: “Twittercast, bottom feeding message boards, major media outlet.” One time, or subscription. Come to think of it, Vocativ might be offering such services on a bespoke basis, but I would imagine the real money is in the mass market…

        Another phishing equilibrium…

  12. Skippy

    Was just playing around at another blog and thought this might be a bit of fun..

    There is romanticism and then there is history….

    “When Steve Jobs recruited Microsoft to be the first third party applications software developer for the Macintosh, he was already concerned that they might try to copy our ideas into a PC-based user interface. As a condition of getting an early start at Macintosh development, Steve made Microsoft promise not to ship any software that used a mouse until at least one year after the first shipment of the Macintosh.

    Microsoft’s main systems programmer assigned to the Mac project was Neil Konzen, a brilliant young Apple II hacker who grew up in their backyard in the suburbs of Seattle. Neil started working at Microsoft while he was still a high school student, and single-handedly implemented the system software for their hit Z80 card that allowed the Apple II to run CP/M software.

    Neil loved Apple, so it was natural for Microsoft to assign him to their new, top-secret Macintosh project. He was responsible for integrating Microsoft’s byte-code based interpreted environment (which actually was a copy of a system used at Xerox that favored memory efficiency over execution speed, which was appropriate for the Mac’s limited memory) with the rapidly evolving Macintosh OS, so he quickly became Microsoft’s expert in the technical details of the Mac system.

    By the middle of 1983, Microsoft was far enough along to show us working prototypes of their spreadsheet and business graphics programs, Multiplan and Chart (they were also working on a word processor, but they neglected to mention that, since it would compete with MacWrite). I would usually talk with Neil on the phone a couple of times a week. He would sometimes request a feature that I would implement for him, or perhaps complain about the way something was done. But most of the time I would answer his various questions about the intricacies of the still evolving API.

    I gradually began to notice that Neil would often ask questions about implementation details that he didn’t really need to know about. In particular, he was really curious about how regions were represented and implemented, and would often detail his theories about them to me, hoping for confirmation.

    Aside from intellectual curiosity, there was no reason to care about the system internals unless you were trying to implement your own version of it. I told Steve that I suspected that Microsoft was going to clone the Mac, but he wasn’t that worried because he didn’t think they were capable of doing a decent implementation, even with the Mac as an example.

    In November 1983, we heard that Microsoft made a surprising announcement at Comdex, the industry’s premier trade show, held twice a year in Las Vegas. Microsoft announced a new, mouse-based system graphical user interface environment called Windows, competing directly with an earlier environment announced by Personal Software called “Vision”. They also announced a mouse-based option for Microsoft Word. When Steve Jobs found out about Windows, he went ballistic.

    “Get Gates down here immediately”, he fumed to Mike Boich, Mac’s original evangelist who was in charge of our relationships with third party developers. “He needs to explain this, and it better be good. I want him in this room by tomorrow afternoon, or else!”

    And, to my surprise, I was invited to a meeting in that conference room the next afternoon, where Bill Gates had somehow manifested, alone, surrounded by ten Apple employees. I think Steve wanted me there because I had evidence of Neil asking about the internals, but that never came up, so I was just a fascinated observer as Steve started yelling at Bill, asking him why he violated their agreement.

    “You’re ripping us off!”, Steve shouted, raising his voice even higher. “I trusted you, and now you’re stealing from us!”

    But Bill Gates just stood there coolly, looking Steve directly in the eye, before starting to speak in his squeaky voice.

    “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”


    So Xerox did the foundational works with heaps of Government money [cold war thingy] and the kids ran off with the keys…. sorta like the financial dramas…

    Skippy… Sorta a Lambert trains meets elder Galbraith thingy… goes Marx… wrt technoblibertarian transition to friction-less free market capitalism…

  13. allan

    The best way to steal a democracy is to own its mass media:

    Judges in Adelson lawsuit subject to unusual scrutiny amid Las Vegas Review-Journal sale

    Just over a month before Sheldon Adelson’s family was revealed as the new owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, three reporters at the newspaper received an unusual assignment passed down from the newspaper’s corporate management: Drop everything and spend two weeks monitoring all activity of three Clark County judges.

    The reason for the assignment and its unprecedented nature was never explained.

    One of the three judges observed was District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, whose current caseload includes Jacobs v. Sands, a long-running wrongful termination lawsuit filed against Adelson and his company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., by Steven Jacobs, who ran Sands’ operations in Macau.

    1. cwaltz

      I will give Bernie this, he’s a scrapper. If anyone doubted it the fact that he was going to sue them for breach of contract ought to eliminate that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m actually pleased with this. It doens’t make Sanders less loveable to sue for being ripped off to the tune of $600,000 a day. I think he got the best of the exchange.

  14. different clue

    Rogue-droners’ solution to drones-with-nets? Rogue-drones with net-cutters! Meta meta-drone drones!

  15. jjmaccjohnson

    “Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame”

    Finally people are starting to realize what a fine artist or writer , even a very successful one, has to do to get by. How few well known folks still work another job.

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