2:00PM Water Cooler 2/22/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

More tranches to come! –Lambert UPDATE 2:42PM First tranche. 3:09PM Second tranche. All done!



“A company run by Keith Schiller, who was one of President Trump’s closest associates when he abruptly left his job as director of Oval Office operations in September, has received $75,000 from the Republican National Committee under a contract to assess security at possible 2020 GOP convention sites, according to records and a party official” [WaPo].

UPDATE “Eric Holder Flirts With Presidential Bid, Hooks Up With Hollywood” [The American Conservative]. Based on what? Zero prosecutions of thieving banksters? ZOMG, Holder’s going to get a TV series. And he’s executive producer. Please kill me now.


Pennsylvania: “The GOP Is Serious About Impeaching P.A. Judges for Reversing Their Gerrymander” [New York Magazine]. Republicans are feral. They don’t yammer and whinge about norms; they get right to it.

UPDATE New York: “Former MSNBC news anchor Dylan Ratigan, who stepped away from TV in 2012 and started a hydroponic farming company, is running for Congress in upstate New York” [New York Magazine]. “Ratigan, who worked at Bloomberg News and hosted a show on CNBC before joining MSNBC, joins a crowded Democratic primary. There are already nine candidates in the race, but none with Ratigan’s name recognition or connections. The 45-year-old old has reportedly signed on longtime Democratic strategist Joe Trippi to advise his campaign.” If Ratigan wins the Democratic primary, he’ll face an uphill battle against Stefanik, who ended 2018 with $1.12 million in the bank. Donald Trump won the rural 21st District 54–40 in 2106, a swing from Barack Obama’s 52–46 win in 2012.” Ooooh, this one of the districts Trump flipped! Should be interesting. I believe we have some readers in upstate New York…

UPDATE Virginia: “Democrat vying to challenge GOP Rep. Scott Taylor voted for him twice” [RIchmond Times-Dispatch]. “Elaine Luria is one of the Democrats vying for the chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor, R-2nd. She has the blessing of the party elite in Washington. One thing not on her résumé: She voted for Taylor in a Republican primary in 2016 and again in the November general election, when Taylor defeated Democrat Shaun Brown to win the seat.” Well, naturally. How are you supposed to appeal to wealthy suburban Republicans if you don’t vote for their candidates? Let’s be reasonable, ehre.

New Cold War

Not a good look:

Since neither the liberals nor the conservatives will give Sanders any credit for kowtowing to this narrative, why do it?

And then there’s this:

No, no, no, no, no. The key issues are 1) how we prevent the witting manipulation of our electoral and political system by billiionaires and 2) exposing who was and is actively colluding with their attack on our democracy. This is really not hard to see. I understand why “he has to say this” — partly because it’s as essential to talk to Clinton voters as it is to talk to Trump voters, and partly because the Beltway has gone crazypants and I’m sure he hears this everywhere — but I think we have the right to ask Senator Sanders to recognize McCarthyism and warmongering when he sees it, and, at a minimum, to contextualize it.

UPDATE “Bernie blames Hillary for allowing Russian interference” [Politico]. This looks like gotcha journalism from Poltico, but from the quotes, there was a good deal to be got. “Sanders has faced questions since Friday about why he has not more strongly condemned the Russian actions that benefited his campaign. On Wednesday, liberal writer Joan Walsh of The Nation tweeted in response to Sanders’ comments about Clinton: ‘Seriously, this could be the end of Sanders 2020. Someone who cares about him ought to tell him how badly he stepped in it today.'” “Why will my opponent not condemn_____” is one of the oldest plays in the book (probably because it works). Walsh’s concern trolling is pretty hoary, too.

“Did banks’ KYC controls fail in Russian efforts to swing election?” [The American Banker]. “The alleged use of fraudulent financial accounts by Russian internet trolls, who authorities say were trying to tip the 2016 election, reveals yet another fault line in banks’ efforts to truly ‘know’ their customers. The indictments announced Friday in the Russia special counsel’s investigation illustrate how banks can be exploited by bad actors, but once again the key questions are: What did banks know, and how could they have stopped it?” Nice work by Bob from Legal, that “alleged.”

2016 Post Mortem

“‘A sub-par TED talk’: Why Hillary Clinton’s tour is a rip-off” [The Sidney Morning Herald]. “Hillary Clinton’s book tour is now scheduled to make waves here in Australia in May, and for a whopping $195 you’ll be able to have “an evening with Hillary Rodham Clinton” in balcony seating, and this, mind you, doesn’t include a copy of her book. For that you’ll have to fork over $495 for a VIP ticket that comes with access to a pre-show party….”


“Is this nationwide network of students organized enough to take on the gun lobby?” [McClatchy]. It would be nice if rot didn’t rapidly set in after Oprah’s $500K. So far, the “kids” seem to be doing OK, at least on television. It’s righteous and proper to see Marco Rubio p0wned by a high schooler.

Accepting this as true (and it is true that our famously free press misquotes Trump consistently)…

… it’s still a dumb idea:

And by dumb, I mean “supremely dumb”:

“Florida survivors confront NRA spokeswoman in heated town hall meeting – as it happened” [Guardian]. “There were numerous tense exchanges about assault rifles, with the crowd at one point cheering for a ban on all semi-automatic rifles.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Voters upset after discovering they were removed from voter rolls” [Green Bay Press-Gazette]. “Dozens of active Green Bay area voters went to cast their ballot in Tuesday’s primary election only to find they had been removed from voter rolls. Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney attributed many problems voters experienced on Tuesday to a multistate electronic tracking system the state started using in 2016 to update its statewide voter rolls. He said the system sent postcards in November to close to 400,000 voters the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, identified as people who moved and would need to either confirm their details or register with updated information.” So, caging works!

UPDATE “Stelter: How to clean up the conspiracy theory ‘pollution’ that’s making us all sick” [CNN]. “Criticism of policy positions is one thing. But lies and hoaxes are another thing altogether. These lies are like a form of pollution, poisoning our media environment and making us all sick. Case in point: The claims that student activist David Hogg is a “crisis actor,” paid to pretend that he was a Parkland survivor so that he could lobby for gun control. He felt compelled to publicly deny this in an interview on CNN Tuesday night. He expressed sympathy for the alienated people who spread this stuff. ‘I’m just so sorry that these people have lost their faith in America,’ he said…. Many experts fear that so-called “fake news” is going to become more and more potent as audio and video manipulation tools get in the hands of hoaxsters. The result will be even more pollution — unless there are concerted efforts to clean up the environment.” Pollution is a nice metaphor. But I’m not seeing a solution, here, and that’s probably because the problem statement isn’t clear.

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, January 2018: “The index of leading economic indicators points to robust economic growth ahead, accelerating in January” [Econoday]. “Contributing most to the unexpectedly large gain in January were building permits, stock prices and once again ISM’s new orders index, where unusually strength has not yet been translated to similar gains in government data. Steady contributions continue to come from average initial claims, consumer expectations, the interest rate spread and the report’s credit index.” I think Econoday means to write “where, unusually, strength” as opposed to “where unusual strength.” What they did write makes no sense. But: “Because of the significant backward revisions, I do not trust this index” [Econintersect].

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, February 2018: “Manufacturing activity in the Kansas City Fed’s district posted very solid growth in February” [Econoday]. “production component of the index rose 5 points to 21, as factory activity increased particularly for the production of metals, machinery, and plastics.” And: “Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts and their index improved. Key internals remain strong” [Econintersect]. And: “So far all of the regional Fed surveys have been solid in February, and most have been above the January levels (most indexes suggest faster growth in February than in January)” [Econoday].

Jobless Claims, week of February 17, 2018: “Initial jobless claims continue to post very favorable readings that remain near historical lows” [Econoday].

UPDATE Commodities: “The push for raw materials in technology supply chains is turning into a race. Apple Inc. has reportedly been in talks to buy cobalt directly from miners to ensure it has enough of an ingredient central to components in its iPhones and other electronics. The talks… are the latest sign of the stresses that are developing in the tech world as a flood of smartphones and the new and growing production of electric vehicles triggers booming demand for cobalt—an essential ingredient in lithium-ion batteries” [Wall Street Journal].

UPDATE Retail: “The post-holiday hangover for Toys “R” Us is getting worse, and raising new questions for suppliers. The iconic toy retailer plans to close another 200 stores and lay off a significant portion of its corporate staff following a disappointing holiday sales season” [Wall Street Journal]. “The latest wave of closings would cut nearly in half the number of U.S. stores it had before its bankruptcy filing. The company had poor holiday sales during a high-stakes period when toy retailers traditionally rake in a big share of their business. Suppliers that have seen a major outlet deteriorate in the changed retail environment now will be weighing how much to feed into Toys “R” Us distribution channels while they consider whether to look for new pipelines to customers.”

UPDATE Shipping: “The improving commodities picture is giving new life to the dry-bulk shipping business. Analysts at Alphabulk say ship orders in the sector are rising after the order book for bulk vessels reached its lowest level in 16 years by one measure at the end of 2017” [Wall Street Journal].

UPDATE Shipping: “Maersk CEO outlines plans to become integrator of the seas” [DC Velocity]. “The CEO of Danish container line giant A.P. Moller-Maersk laid out one of the most ambitious strategies in liner shipping history yesterday by vowing to transform Maersk into a global integrated carrier to match the likes of FedEx Corp., UPS Inc., and DHL Express over the next three to five years. Speaking at the company’s “Capital Markets Day” event in Copenhagen, Søren Skou said the overarching mission is to deliver simplified, interconnected, end-to-end services with Maersk being the customer’s only point of contact. As Skou envisioned, Maersk would expand or deepen penetration in areas like trade finance and facilitation, and warehousing and distribution. A soup-to-nuts strategy would enable Maersk to charge a decent premium for its services, and make it less reliant on volatile freight rates for its profits, Skou said.”

UPDATE Shipping: “80% of ships sent for scrap last year ended up on the beaches of the Indian subcontinent” [Splash 247]. “According to new data released by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, 835 large ocean-going commercial vessels were sold to scrap yards in 2017. 543 were broken down – by hand – on the tidal beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan: amounting to 80.3% of all tonnage dismantled globally.” Horrible work. “According to new data released by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, 835 large ocean-going commercial vessels were sold to scrap yards in 2017. 543 were broken down – by hand – on the tidal beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan: amounting to 80.3% of all tonnage dismantled globally.”

UPDATE Supply Chain: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture is advancing changes in oversight in pork production by allowing meatpackers to slaughter hogs faster and play a bigger role in policing food safety on their own. The moves are aimed at freeing up government inspectors while making plants more efficient” [Wall Street Journal]. “Policing food safety on their own.” Let me know how that works out.

UPDATE Supply Chain: “H&M and Others Tied to Chinese Prison Labor, What About the U.S.?” [The Fashion Law]. “As [Peter Humphrey] told the Financial Times, “The prison was a business, doing manufacturing jobs for companies. Mornings, afternoons and often during the after-lunch nap, prisoners ‘labored’ in the common room. Our men made packaging parts. I recognized well-known brands, including [but not limited to] C&A and H&M. … While the Constitution – by way of the Thirteenth Amendment – forbids slavery and involuntary servitude in the U.S., that does not apply when the work is being fashioned as ‘punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.'”

Five Horsemen: “Apple and Facebook, the pokiest performers of the Fab Five, have beaten the S&P 500 index by nearly 7 percentage points over the past ten months” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Feb 22 2018

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Extreme Fear (previous close: 17, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 11 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Feb 20 at 7:00pm. Now only lagged by two days. Not helping with the fear, dudes!

Health Care

UPDATE Neoliberal health writer endorses neoliberal health care “solution”:

Amazon-Chase-Berkshire: “A company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is….”

Here’s what you do at the doctor’s office if you’re not a neoliberal:

UPDATE “Liberal think tank releases universal coverage plan” [The Hill]. Liberals working overtime to destroy #MedicareForAll; this plan, Amazon-Chase-Berkshire, and @USofCare are all currents in the same movement. This: “There is not yet an estimate of how much the plan would cost; CAP says it is working on one.” Just imagine the fingerwagging and pearl-clutching if the left released a plan without the financing.

UPDATE “California Department of Insurance opens investigation into Aetna” [San Francisco Chronicle]. NC posted on this immediately, but I juxtapose with the above link to show the kind of company that Neera Tanden’s CAP wants to keep in business.

UPDATE “Idaho is ignoring Obamacare rules. That could set off a catastrophic chain reaction.” [Vox]. “What’s worrisome about Idaho, legally speaking, is not that it won’t enforce the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, the federal government can’t direct state officials to enforce federal law. That’s why the ACA has a backup. When the states fail to “substantially enforce” the law, the Department of Health and Human Services is supposed to enforce it for them. The agency has already done so in four states that want no part of Obamacare: Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. Instead, what’s worrisome is that Blue Cross of Idaho intends to disregard its own obligation to comply with federal law. The ACA prohibits all insurers in the United States from discriminating against the sick and imposing annual caps, and states have no power to undo those prohibitions. So Blue Cross knows full well that it will be breaking the law if it takes up Idaho’s invitation. It just thinks it’ll get away with it. Unfortunately, Blue Cross might be right.”

UPDATE “Mexico achieves universal health coverage, enrolls 52.6 million people in less than a decade” [Harvard School of Public Health]. From 2012, still relevant. Mexico did it, so can we! Of course, the United States is a Third World country….

Zeitgeist Watch

One of the best corporate logos ever:

Yes, but with what? A question raised by an extraordinary find by Nippersmom: Sherwin-Williams Learning Center, with their ColorMix Forecast for 2018. The video, as a source for continuing education credits for designers, requires registeration, but the “course description” is available:

This course will take the participant on a visual journey with stimulating imagery, factual statistics and perceptive research that supports the 2018 forecast for color and design trends. We will explore the drivers influencing future color and design trends that include global, technological, historic, psychological and economic factors with specific information on the three dominant color stories: Sincerity, Connectivity and Unity.

Hoo boy. Nippersmom registered, and reports:

It purports to be about new/trending color palettes for 2018, and introduces their three collections: “Sincerity”, “Connectivity”, and “Unity”. As may not be surprising from the collection names, the intro sounds like it was written by a political spin doctor. It only gets worse. “Sincerity” fails to see the irony in pushing mass-manufactured items purposely deigned with flaws to make them appear hand-crafted, or in promoting tech solutions to technology overload (as opposed to just going out into nature, turning off technology oneself, etc.). “Connectivity”, under the auspices of a design color update, promotes robotic assistance and hails data-mining as a positive feature, as well as containing this gem: Having grown up with technology, Generation Z has the attitude that there is “no question that can’t be unanswered.” In “Unity”, we are treated to a discussion “everyday nomads” in which it is explained that with easy, 40-minute flights to places like Berlin, Paris is no longer the gateway merely just to France, but all of Europe. After all, “anyone can adopt this multicultural approach”, because anyone (who matters) can afford airfare to and around Europe.

I like “factual statistics” in the course description. Because who doesn’t?

New of The Wired

UPDATE “How to Identify Whales in your Game” [Game Analytics]. “Monetization has been a hot topic in the games industry over the past years, ever since the rise of free to play games. How to optimize monetization, how to define correct pricing buckets or how to better convert players are just a few of the widely discussed questions concerning the topic. In this article, however, we’ll be approaching monetization from a different angle. Rather than discussing how to achieve a high conversion rate, we will dig into the differences in behaviour between converted players and non-monetizers.”

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (CC):

CC: “Freezing fog came in early this morning followed by a light freezing drizzle which coated everything in a crystalline white by early afternoon.

Thanks so much for the water cooler. Its absence makes the weekends long, and its return makes Mondays all the more bearable.”

[lambert blushes modestly]. This photo makes even February bearable. Well, perhaps I exaggerate….

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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. Jim Haygood

    Always-on PCs:

    Qualcomm is set to launch its “Windows 10 on Snapdragon” line. Partners including Amazon, Microsoft, Verizon and AT&T will provide cellular LTE connections to maintain an “always-connected” state for PCs.

    An “instant on” button without a boot or wake-from-sleep process is a touted feature; [long] battery life is the other tent pole. It appears that Amazon will be handling a lot of [consumer] education and cellular activation.

    Consumers will not pay exorbitant amounts to add a device to their existing cell-phone plan. But providers may be hesitant to offer discounts for a platform that inherently will have potential for greater data consumption and creating an additional strain on the networks.


    It’s a win-win: recurring rental income for the telco oligopoly; plus 24/7 reporting to Redmond, Langley and Fort Meade of details about your location and your suspicious activities and friends.

    Dystopia, comrades: every day, in every way, it’s getting better and better.

    1. Carolinian

      The San Diego-based chipmaker is set to launch its “Windows 10 on Snapdragon” line. Partners including Amazon AMZN, +0.11% Microsoft MSFT, +0.61% Verizon VZ, +0.23% and AT&T T, +0.66% will provide the cellular LTE connections to maintain an “always-connected” state for PCs, and the retail and online locations to purchase them.

      The usual suspects. Adding Redmond to the spyware mix seems a bit redundant.

      Some of us prefer an always not connected PC (except for times like right now of course).

    2. Jean

      On the positive side of things:

      One way to hammer down what Comcast, Cox and other ISP’s will charge–threaten to go to the competition.

  2. nycTerrierist

    Et tu, Bernie?
    Genug with the Russian hysteria…

    Bernie, please stick to your hitherto unwavering focus
    on the real issues: e.g. material concrete benefits.
    Disappointed to hear him joining the Democrats’ answer to the Birthers.
    (h/t to the commenter here who coined that delicious analogy)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Someone commented the other day that they will use the Russia-favorable-to-Sanders in the latest news out of that saga against him.

      If so, that proves a pattern – Sanders will defend those who oppose him.

      First, by campaigning from one coast to another for Hillary, after not passing along Donna Brazile’s insider scoop on election rigging to the real victims (the voters).

      Now, joining the Russians-interfered-for-Turmp/Stein/Sanders crowd.

    2. Code Name D

      So when is he going to surrender for trial? Dosent he know he is one of the accused? The guy is proving to be out of touch after all.

    3. Lemmy Caution

      Instead of a “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” moment all I got instead was a lousy Stockholm syndrome victim.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Joseph Welch, Chief Counsel for the United States Army:

        “May we not drop this? You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency? I will not discuss this further with you. And if there is a God in Heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further.”

        Who will speak those words? Looks like it’s not Bernie. What is it about the man, so right on so much and yet so very wrong (Hilary, War, Israel, Russia)

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Someone please explain to me why Bern happily amplifies the highly suspect message that a Russian troll farm is a serious threat to our Democratic process and institutions, while not saying bupkiss about the actual subversion of our Democratic process and institutions that occurred during the 2016 election and of which he was the actual target!
          I hate to ask this Bernie, but would you know a rigged election if it hit you in the a**?

      1. Richard Musser

        I just can’t get past this: he’s letting the establishment gaslight us. He’s gaslighting us. This huge, obvious lie that distorts everything around us, that minimizes huge earth changing problems and magnifies triviality, that is okay now. Just part of the cost of doing business?

      2. Aumua

        I echo that this really looks like some of Sanders’ harsher critics may have been right. This may be the last nail in the coffin of my support and enthusiasm for him. The guy is just not telling the truth any more, while also making himself look like a class A fool. I feel sad and angered to see him like this. He’s making all of the truths he told for years look like BS. He’s causing untold damage to the public perception of the ideals for which I supported him to begin with.

        1. nowhere

          It’s possible to agree with someone on points A, B, C, and disagree on D. That doesn’t invalidate their stated positions with which you agree. If he could enact A, B, and C and holds D to be true… I think that’s a worthy trade.

          Perhaps being a Senator he has information to which we aren’t privy, amongst other possibilities.

          1. Paul Cardan

            If he’s saying these things on the basis of information to which the general public does not have access, then he needs to explain as much. Otherwise, he’s lending credence to a terrible case for a consequential claim about the last election. I say “terrible” because much of the reasoning involved with Russiagate consists of textbook examples of informal fallacies (of at least ten different kinds, by my count, to this point). I agree with the other commentators: this makes him complicit with gaslighting.

            Some people will defend the move, assuming it’s insincere, on Machiavellian grounds: he’s so close to the White House, where he could do a lot of good; it already appears to the general public as though Russia “hacked the election” (or successfully “sowed division” or whatever they’re saying today); the indictments are considered proof; his public disagreement with what’s becoming public opinion wouldn’t change the latter, and would only undermine his chances in 2020; and if he’s not at least a front-runner, this train-wreck we’re living through is only going to get worse.

            I understand. But then I think of this essay by Kant called “Theory and Practice,” where he considers the objection to an ethical politics that runs along roughly the following lines: that may be good in theory (i.e., sticking to your principles, keeping your integrity) but not in practice, because circumstances sometimes demand that we abandon our principles for the sake of achieving some desirable outcome. Kant’s response, if memory serves, is twofold. First, anyone who so reasons doesn’t understand what morality is. Morality has to do with principles that rule out some actions, no matter how desirable their consequences seem. For instance, it might be desirable to dis-empower an organization such as ISIS; and yet morality forbids intentionally turning children into pink mist as a means to this noble end. Second, anyone who so reasons (“that may be good in theory, but . . .”) has a burden to bear, the burden of the actual consequences of their action. If the end justifies the means, then the end also damns the means. If this is a cynical gamble on Sander’s part, it had better pay off. Else he’s damned.

            1. Swamp Yankee

              +1,000! The thoroughly fallacious arguments, the purely specious and sophistic reasoning — they are very dangerous in my view. And then there is the real threat of edging towards a confrontation with a nuclear-armed Great Power.

              And thanks for the excellent Kant reference, too! Very apposite.

            2. John Wright

              >Perhaps being a Senator he has information to which we aren’t privy, amongst other possibilities.

              That “the government knows something we don’t” was heard frequently during the Vietnam War era.

              Maybe the statement was true, the USA government appears to have known the Vietnam war was not going well but did not want to contradict the public message that the war was justified, necessary and winnable.

              I’m skeptical there is evidence that the Russians has any significant influence in getting Trump elected.

        2. Jean

          Listen Pal, those Russian Hot Dog Sellers hired a great firm to promote their product.

          Think of the damage they did to our democracy by buying ad space on Facebook, why it’s worse than Civil War!


          Heard the Rosskies put out 1/24,000th of the content of facebook with their devious plot to destroy the republic.

          Hey, did Putin ever address the U.S. congress and scold them like that other guy did?

        3. macnamichomhairle

          Yes, it’s upsetting and disappointing.

          Also, none of us are socialist Senators trying to maintain a national (and state) position from which he can, in an utterly corrupt system that will completely demolish you if you cross certain lines, bring evil foreign threatening socialist (or whatever) ideas into national conversation, and actualize them over time.

          I turned away after he supported Hilary, but I know from long familiarity with him as an elected official, that he is committed enough to socialist ideals, and intelligent enough as a politician, that if he supported Clinton in the election and is going on about evil Russians, then these are evidently lines that the power structure has set, and that stepping over them means that the wild dogs will come for you.

          The fact that these are lines is the actually frightening part.

          1. JTFaraday

            If one is a democrat or a democratic socialist, one should in principle support electoral integrity. Those are the lines that matter.

            Sanders is nothing if not principled.

    4. Lee

      I guess it is now considered unpatriotic to criticize the control of our political process by our own homegrown, squillionaire oligarchs. The empire of the 1% strikes back and Citizens United now r us. Wouldn’t it be nice Sanders were playing a fiendishly clever Machiavellian game against the Dem establishment. Alas, I sometimes get delusional to fend off disappointment and despondency.

    5. Carolinian

      Given his age is it even conceivable Sanders would run in 2020? Maybe he’s pushing the Russia stuff because he actually believes it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It is true, I think, that one reason the Clintonites are pushing the Russia narrative so hard is that they’re leveraging decades worth of strategic hate management left over from the Cold War.* Whether this affects people born after the Wall fell is not clear to me.

        * And many of the Cold Warriors are still in charge in DC.

        1. JBird

          And l think that many of us are peons remember the terrifying insanity of the Cold War; anyone wanting to resurrect it especially for mere political power is an enemy.

    6. Miranda

      It’s very unfortunate that Sanders has felt the need to jump on the Russiagate bandwagon. I wonder how much his recent statements have to do with 1) the part of the Mueller indictment that quoted Boris and Natasha claiming they were supporting Sanders and 2) the fact that Jeffrey Sachs, who advised Sanders during the campaign and is currently a fellow at the Sanders Institute, has also worked with Robert Glaser’s Glaser Progress Foundation. Glaser is a prime funder of the Russiagate journalism enterprise at Mother Jones.

    7. Montanamaven

      I was not a fan of Bernie’s even though I liked some of his domestic policy ideas like “single payer” and “auditing the Fed.” He is a creature of Washington and shows little curiosity for our place in the world so he seems to know or care little about foreign relations. I am more than disappointed in his joining the McCarthy like Russian Tea Party (yes, delicious analogy) in attacking the Russians and declaring WWIII along with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner. I am mad at him. It’s irresponsible and dangerous. Ann Garrison over at Black Agenda Report comments on this latest stupidity by our fearless leaders. She first quotes Sanders:

      “What we have got to do—and I think Senator Langford talks about some of the issues—front end, front end, what we have got to say to the Russians: “You are doing something to undermine American democracy. You are not going to get away with it. This is a major assault. If you do that, there will be severe, severe consequences. We’ve gotta protect states and communities to make sure that their voting is not compromised.”

      Seems kinda reckless to accuse the nation with the second greatest number of nuclear missiles in the world of a major assault and then threaten them with “severe, severe consequences” just because 13 Russians have been noodling around on social media, maybe helping to organize a few pro-Trump rallies. Not that the number of nukes really matters since both the US and Russia have enough to destroy all but the faintest traces of life on earth. A member of the Russian Parliament said Mueller’s story is straight from a Hollywood crime comedy, probably with the title “Thirteen Friends of Vladimir Putin,” but that doesn’t mean that the country’s military strategists aren’t taking further steps to defend themselves.

      Reckless Resistance
      I wonder what Jimmy Dore is going to say about Bernie now?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > shows little curiosity for our place in the world

        I agree! That’s why Sanders did all those town halls out in Trump country and got conservatives to admit that #MedicareForAll might be a good idea!

    8. Roy G

      Even though I hate the term, I have to say that Bernie has been cucked. The original ‘Russian Hack’ after all was the revelation that the DNC was totally corrupted and in the bag to nominate Hillary. Of course, ‘they’ would never sow disruption and dissension, unless of course you were a Deplorable, or worse, a’Bernie Bro.’

    9. FluffytheObeseCat

      It will probably come as shock to all you fervid anti-Democrat zealots here……. but Sanders is still a senator, with a constituency in Vermont that expects him to represent them.

      Sen. Sanders could flamboyantly blow off Russiagate witch hunters in order to please you and other internet contrarians, but it won’t win Vermont any fiscal favors or amend any legislation if he does so. I do not know if his support of the witch hunters is wise, but the Republican right is not going to do anything except thwart his agenda. He owes them nothing politically speaking.

      Even cursory glances at “liberal” media coverage make it obvious that the Clinton era elite see Russiagate as a useful tool against Sanders, and the nascent left. They know they can’t touch Trump et al., right now, and they are shifting focus to use the present hysteria against everyone to the left of Eisenhower. I see Sanders as having his back against the wall at the moment. He is no longer needed in any way by the Right, and they would be happy to see him neutered by the Joan Walshs of the nation.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It will probably come as shock to all you fervid anti-Democrat zealots here

        Let’s not insult the other guests, mkay?

        > Even cursory glances at “liberal” media coverage make it obvious that the Clinton era elite see Russiagate as a useful tool against Sanders, and the nascent left. They know they can’t touch Trump et al., right now, and they are shifting focus to use the present hysteria against everyone to the left of Eisenhower. I see Sanders as having his back against the wall at the moment

        I don’t think Sanders has his back against the wall as long as he has his list and can draw a million viewers to listen to those whacky Canadians talk about #MedicareForAll. That said, I think he’s in the fight of his life, and since the intelligence community has now emerged as an open political player, against them as well. It’s a new situation. That said, he needs to straighten out his message tout suite, and he had better make damn sure he’s not making inappropriate judgments of good faith with his Democrat associates, most of whom (maybe not Warren) will cheerfully knife him in the back to suck up to the donor class.

    10. Swamp Yankee

      This is very bad. Too soon to say, but Bernie may just have lost my vote. I’ve been, in my own life, shouting to the heavens for months to fellow Bernie voters who were willing to entertain the McCarthyite “Russia!
      Russia! Russia!” (“Outside Agitators!” as Lambert says) smear/conspiracy theory that this was not only ridiculous on the face of it, but would in time — a very short time as it turns out — come to be used against the Left. This is why an assault on basic standards of fairness, evidence, presumptions of innocence and rights to due process must be defended no matter what, even if it benefits someone we find politically objectionable. These were among the basic premises of Anglo-American jurisprudence that John Adams was defending when he represented the British soldiers accused of murder in the Boston Massacre, and that is still true today. Either everyone has these rights, or no one does.

      A sad, sad day. For shame, Bernie!

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Very sad day for me too. If he goes along with this to get along, who knows what else he’ll turn a blind eye to.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          What is this, amateur hour? Here’s the context for “go along to get along,” from The Class of ’74: Congress After Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship:

          The interchange between William Barrett and Tom Downey captured in a microcosm the awkward adjustment required of many officeholders in a new post-Watergate era. It was, as political scientist Burdett Loomis has said, a “break point in American politics.” For as long as anyone could remember, junior members were expected to accede to the accumulated wisdom and experience of more senior members. “Don’t try to go too fast,” legendary Speaker Sam Rayburn cautioned incoming members anxious to promote their personal agendas. “Learn your job. Don’t ever talk until you know what you’re talking about.” The key to a long and successful career in the House, the Speaker advised, was deference to your seniors. “If you want to get along,” he famously counseled, “go along.”

          “Getting along” and “going along” meant rarely speaking in caucus or committee meetings or during debate on the House floor, and even less rarely offering amendments. It was the rare newcomer who had the opportunity to see a bill he had authored taken up for consideration, and even more extraordinary for a novice to manage a bill on the House floor.

          “Get along to go along” is about making a political career in the House of Representatives in the days when the seniority system was strong and the Speaker was dominant. The state of play today is completely different: We’re in a full-blown legitimacy crisis for pity’s sake. We use the word McCarthyism, but I think the situation is actually far worse than that — off the top of my head, because then we were an ascendant imperial power, and now we are a descending one.

          I’m really getting a trifle vexed at all the “Bernie is dead to me because ______!” whinging. Personally, I’m happy that #MedicareForAll is on the agenda, corporate dominance is on the agenda, democratic socialism is on the agenda, there is insurgency inside the Democrat Party, there is insurgency outside the Democrat Party (DSA). All that is down to the Sanders campaign, at least as a catalyst. When somebody better on policy and strategy comes along, do feel free to strongly support them! Holy moley.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            In what sense were we an “ascendant imperial power” after Vietnam and Watergate, Lambert? The opposite was the case. This is just the historian in me coming out.

            My main points are several:

            1) It is passing ironic and darkly bemusing to see the hosts such as yourself and Yves making the same arguments that were used against you by the Clintonistas — that those who disagree with you are obsessed with purity as against incremental, achievable reform.

            2) You ask Fluffy the Obese Cat not to insult the other commenters here. Very well. But does this injunction not apply to you and Yves as well? You have decided we represent “amateur hour” because we disagree with you on politics; Yves has, in her usual way of talking down to people*, declared she wants none of us as political advisers. That’s also fine. But let me say that I wouldn’t want Yves as a candidate. The skills useful in high finance do not translate into winning votes (see note below). Which leads me to —

            3) It’s rich that Naked Capitalism should promote Greer’s excellent essay on the “Babbit Fallacy”, in which he suggests ways of losing your argument before it has begun have become the standard today. Both you and Yves fail to heed Greer’s advice, gratuitously insulting your readers in both your responses. Physicians, heal thyselves.

            4) IIRC correctly, straw-manning is prohibited at NC. Yet Yves does just that, suggesting her interlocutors somehow prefer Bernie to “take a bullet” (word choice?!) on the Russia madness rather than getting universal healthcare. There are many problems with this line of thinking — for one thing it is possible to be an advocate of both peace abroad and social democracy at home; for another thing it is shot through with binarism, the debaters trick where you force your opponent to choose between two options, even if those options don’t reflect reality.

            More importantly, I could just as easily turn it around and say that you and Yves and other defenders of giving Russia!Russia! a pass view Medicare for All as more important than due process, the 6th Amendment, and peace with Russia. This, indeed, is the kind of argument Clinton voters used to make against Sanders and Stein supporters: “you’re precious moral purity is more important to you than the suffering of marginalized people.” This was fallacious, of course; it could just as easily be turned around to say, “you care about the maintenance of capitalism more than you do about lowered life expectancy in the US.” Sad to see the hosts at NC embrace this kind of sub-par argument when it suits them and their preferred candidate.

            5) In addition, Yves’ comment relies on a crucial conditional statement — if we accept that Russia! Russia! doesn’t matter, then Bernie’s move is defensible. But what if we do not accept that? It has moved the doomsday clock closer to midnight, has quite literally placed us closer to nuclear confrontation. How is that something that doesn’t matter? Is this not akin to HRC voters who said her warmongering was okay because Trump? Your argument is that Sanders’ capitulation to fanatical militarism is okay because Medicare for All. I disagree.

            6) Real Question: Are you British, Lambert? Honestly curious, as I know you aren’t originally from Maine. The “whinging” usage suggested you were, but I had always assumed you were not.

            7) Overall, I think, unfortunately, that you and Yves have — alas! — adopted the style of the “Church of the Savvy” as described by Jay Rosen. You embrace a certain kind of cynical knowingness and Machiavellianism, and castigate those who reject that in favor of categorical ethical principles, as Paul Cardan notes above with his excellent comment on Kant. Only this time it is favor of Bernie, not, as in 2016, HRC.

            8) Finally, I think some of the real divisions in your commentariat are brought to the fore by this issue, as Left in Wisconsin notes. I recognize that, based on previous statements at NC, that the hosts aren’t quite ready to give up on capitalism yet; I’m paraphrasing here, but within the last 24 months, somewhere, I remember Lambert stating wrt Capitalism that if it helps get us to a better system of say, Healthcare, then maybe it is defensible. This certainly makes sense as the position of, in at least Yves’ case, someone who has spent a career in banks, consulting, and the MBA world. Fine. We cannot extract the Capitalism from Naked Capitalism.

            But as you well know, this is a view that is not held by a great many of your readers, perhaps a plurality. Many of us are actual socialists, actual Christian radicals, or Trotskyists, or any other political grouping that is just as opposed to militarism abroad as we are to oligarchy at home. And this is why it is just as important to us to oppose the mad march to a new war as it is to fight for things like universal material benefits at home; indeed, it is many of our view that you can’t have one without the other (cf. Hobson, IMPERIALISM, 1902).

            This is why, for all your collective attack on liberals, especially top 10% liberals, is it not fair to say that crucial elements of NC are simply the left-wing of that liberalism? That you are left-liberals or social liberals a la David Lloyd George was pointed out by a commenter sometime last year; don’t know if he/she/they are still around. But I think they were on to something. I don’t mean that pejoratively, either — I want to be very clear about that. I simply think the line here at Naked Capitalism is pretty much that of Lloyd George or Franklin Roosevelt, not Tommy Douglas or Eugene Debs. NC, by its own lights, basically accepts capitalism, but wants to reform it rather than overthrow it. And that’s why I think we are arguing so passionately over this point.

            With respect,

            Swamp Yankee

            * I don’t know if Yves recognizes she does this, but it is her standard modus operandi rhetorically. I guess you can talk the woman of out Harvard and McKinsey, but not Harvard and McKinsey out of the woman. Then again, she’ll probably reply to this with “Good Lord” or “Help me”, one of the usual pat dismissals of arguments she utilizes. Wonder how that would play in Peoria!

            1. Allegorio

              RussiaRussia is being used as a smokescreen to divert discussion from the issues, like corruption, election engineering by the elites, Medicare for All etc. Other than being a distraction it is a big nothing.

              By criticizing Senator Sanders for paying lip service to the RussiaRussia you are validating the distraction. If Senator Sanders criticized the RussiaRussia it would be an even bigger distraction. By writing off Senator Sanders and all the good he has accomplished for not taking the bait and adding to the distraction, you are succumbing to the bait yourself. I do believe that is what is meant by “amateur hour”.

              If this is all that it takes for you to write off the only politician that has offered any positive agenda, then the RussiaRussia ploy has worked.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        ^^”Either everyone has these rights, or no one does.”^^

        I’ve been flinging this in my last remaining lib/prog arena, to little to no avail….regarding #metoo(due process), russia!(evidence, mens rea?some focus to the investigation?), as well as chiding Team Blue for calling for essentially genocide of(depending on the day) men, white men, republicans, hetero’s, and just about everybody except oligarchs.
        Now Bernie has apparently had “The Talk” in a basement somewhere, and the “revolution” is over.
        Reckon I might shift more of my efforts into the farm.
        I’m sick of news, and I despise my country.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            the most disillusioning part of all this is that I’ve been hearing almost the exact same rhetoric and arguments that used to be made by randian libertarians and crazed birchers and teabillies, now being made by “progressives”>
            and I find I’m using the same counter-arguments as back then…but now against “my own side”.
            I get what Yves is saying below…and I respect her views more than the vast majority of others…but it’s still lesser evilism.
            Cave on one issue, and they have you.
            One must resist the Borg, at all costs.
            I’ve been shocked, repeatedly, over the past 2-3 years by Liberals/Progressives condescendingly pooh-pooh-ing the very Idea of Integrity…of having a Conscience…of having some Moral Standard that means enough to me that I am willing to fight to the death over it.
            as if that is some luxury, to be set aside when inconvenient.
            It’s a mirror image to Darth Cheney’s “we must work on the Dark Side”.
            I understand that my standards are rather high,lol…given our currently fallen state….but like I keep saying in that last Liberal Enclave, I consider my Vote far too important to just give away for expediency.
            I keep telling them: my vote is to be earned, not expected.
            and for this, I’m apparently a Russian.
            at least in the first go-round of McCarthyism, Dissenters had backing(the Dems, Morrow, etc)…this iteration, I have nowhere to go, save Third Parties purposefully locked out of any influence.
            It’s disgusting.

            1. Waking Up


              the most disillusioning part of all this is that I’ve been hearing almost the exact same rhetoric and arguments that used to be made by randian libertarians and crazed birchers and teabillies, now being made by “progressives”>

              Immediately after Barack Obama became President, people who had previously been fervently anti-war suddenly went silent on drone warfare and endless wars. Why was it suddenly acceptable just because Obama was president? Then you had the immediate issues of what Bill Black calls “control fraud” in the banking industry and Obama’s refusal to indict any TBTF bank CEO’s. How about the back room deals made by Obama with Big Pharma and the Health insurance industry? The list goes on.

              Now we have a situation where people defended the Democratic party for years on issues of war, bank fraud, and a health care system which leads to so many deaths in the name of profits. It appears to me as if many people just want to proclaim their allegiance to and be part of a particular group. I’m no longer surprised that people who already compromised their integrity and moral standards want to call those of us who aren’t willing to do the same “purists”. Well at least some of us “purists” do not believe intentionally and endlessly killing people to maintain our military industrial complex and profit is even remotely ethical. All of those who went silent on war issues during the Obama years can’t suddenly change their tune just because Trump is in office. Instead, they are pushing the Russia Russia Russia B.S. to hide what a poor candidate Hillary was and push us towards another cold war. If Russia is in some way compromising our elections, then deal with it in courts. I don’t want to get into another Cold War situation over our elections.

              1. JTFaraday

                Is electoral integrity an important principle in a democracy or social democracy or democratic socialism, or is it not? Entirely possible Sanders, the “socialist” (which has a history riddled with authoritarianism), had to face that question and answer it for himself.

    11. drumlin woodchuckles

      Sanders grew up during the “popular front” era and the McCarthy Era after that. So he may have a deeply programmed fear of getting McCarthyised and may be seeking to pre-immunize himself from McCarthyite accusations. If so, he will keep giving himself booster shots in public view over and over again.

      Then too, if he remembers the New Dealers making their gains by having all the lefts and the near-lefts and the liberals all acting together for some things, he may still be trying to make the Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites feel validated and loved and sympathised-enough-with to where they won’t all quit the Democratic Party if a rising young majority makes the Democratic Party “sanderist”. If that’s what he thinks, he is wrong of course. The Clintonite fan base is a Jonestown Movement. And Hillary is the Keeper of the Koolaid. He will NEVER win them over. Never ever.

      Then three, if he remembers how the Soviet Communists tried to suborn, take-over , and/or destroy every non-Soviet left-wing grouping; he may have a fear-and-hate legacy reflex against Putin as a legacy Communist of some sort.

      These three sets of reasons ( if correct) would all keep Sanders committed to his loyalty to the “Putin Diddit” line of thought and action. All we can do is support the agenda-Sanderism, reject the Sanderist Clintonism-on-Putin, and keep working for younger post-Sanders sanderists who are not dogged by these legacy tendencies.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > All we can do is support the agenda-Sanderism, reject the Sanderist Clintonism-on-Putin, and keep working for younger post-Sanders sanderists who are not dogged by these legacy tendencies.

        Agreed. The “Sanders sucks! I’m done with him forever!” narrative doesn’t forward that strategy. In fact, I’m not sure what strategy it forwards (modulo the Greens) except quietism. (And for some odd reason I sure didn’t hear any voices raised in cries of outrage or betrayal after Stein bought into Russian hacking in her quixotic 2016 lawsuits. Odd.)

        1. Skip Intro

          The ‘Sanders Betrayal’ meme was one of Brock’s million-troll-army stratagems, though purity policing is a standard part of the community disruption playbook. I think Sanders has anticipated that he will be smeared as a Russian tool, and had to get out in front of the charge and inoculate himself by paying lipservice to the dems’ current mass hysteria.

    12. The Rev Kev

      By buying into the whole Russia thing, he just set himself up. It is only a matter of time until some reporter will sandbox him by trying to get him to admit that the only reason that he did well in 2016 was because of Russia. Thus as he makes a run in 2020, any support that he gets will be, by extension, under suspicion of being because of Russia.
      I have seen how low the media is going here. Just this morning I read of how CNN went to some woman’s home (https://www.rt.com/usa/419571-cnn-florida-russia-trolls/) who supported Trump and demanded to know what part she had in Russia collusion. They even helpfully published her name so that she could be attacked online by other people. And this is a national news organization. Real classy that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > By buying into the whole Russia thing, he just set himself up. It is only a matter of time until some reporter will sandbox him by trying to get him to admit that the only reason that he did well in 2016 was because of Russia. Thus as he makes a run in 2020, any support that he gets will be, by extension, under suspicion of being because of Russia.

        Which is, of course, one of the many points of this liberal Democrat exercise in McCarthyism. I’ll say again, what worries me more than this clumsy response — see the Politico headline — is the fact that he was evidently not prepared for it. But it was obviously coming.

        One thing about Sanders we know is that he is relentless on message. Where was the message here?

    13. Yves Smith

      It’s so easy to be armchair critics.

      Pray tell, what do you suggest that Bernie say instead?

      If he criticizes the Russia narrative, the Dem hacks and MSM will grab his remarks and run, saying that his failure to condemn the pretty much universally accepted as true RussiaRussia narrative (don’t kid yourself as to how much in the minority the Consortiumnews/Counterpunch/Moon of Alabama/NC views are) is proof he’s a Russian stooge or at best their useful idiot. He was already being criticized for his near silence on this topic.

      So if he takes the brave position you advocate, he’s done as a political force. He may be done regardless by being tarred as benefitting from Russian interference, but any course of action other than the one he took would guarantee he was over.

      So you are basically saying that having Sanders take a bullet over RussiaRussia is more important to you than having him advocate for single payer and free college. Honestly, I wouldn’t want any of you as my political advisors.

      1. moving left

        Not only would he be done as a political force, so would anyone else who has openly allied with him.

        I’m not so much disappointed in Bernie as I am disappointed, well, fed up, actually, with the system that necessitates his response.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Agreed that the Russiagate thing is not a hill worth Bernie dying on. But something shouts to me that is never, ever a good idea to play a game where the other side gets to set all the rules. I learnt that lesson from reading military history.
          Besides, I think that he is already a done force. He gave Hillary a free pass during the debate over the emails, went whole hog campaigning for her during 2016, and now 50c and all the thanks he received from the democrats won’t get him a cup of coffee. Folding over the whole Russia agitprop job just makes him look like he will always fold if put under enough pressure.
          Even if, miracle of miracles, he got to be President or vice-President, he would be in a worse position than Trump as he would be sand-bagged in by the Democrats, Republicans, media and deep state. He will never be allowed to do anything of consequence if he ever got into power. And that is the long and short of it.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > never, ever a good idea to play a game where the other side gets to set all the rule

            That’s why I found the clumsiness of the Sanders operation in the Politico article so distressing.

            > He gave Hillary a free pass during the debate over the emails, went whole hog campaigning for her during 2016, and now 50c and all the thanks he received from the democrats won’t get him a cup of coffee.

            That’s not the point. Democrats yammering “Nader! Nader!” after Florida 2000 was damaging to the entire left (including the Greens, I might add). By campaigning for Clinton, Sanders at least gave the left the ability to push back against a similar narrative in 2016. Yes, the liberal Democrats have tried to make their narrative stick, but outside their bubble, I don’t think they have.

            I think Sanders knew the Democrats well enough not to expect thanks. He did it for us and for his policy goals.

      2. Lemmy Caution

        It’s kind of a drag when the most popular politician in the country gives credence to the whole “Russian meddling in our election = Pearl Harbor + 9/11” madness. And it is sheer madness what is going on. If someone like Bernie doesn’t call it out for B.S., then who will? I don’t buy this crap that Bernie has to do this or else he’ll be done for. What does he even stand for any more if he morphs into just another gas lighting politician who plays fast and loose with the facts in order to line up some votes. To me this whole “the ends justify the means” argument just jumped the shark and became the latest version of the “lesser of two evils” schtick. All it does is get another compromised guy elected who is then shackled by the same lies that were necessary to get him into office.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > All it does is get another compromised guy elected who is then shackled by the same lies that were necessary to get him into office.

          Your view is that there’s an uncompromised politician around to elect? Who would that be? Ideas? And please leave the usual perennial candidates off the list.

      3. Summer

        I suggest he say “I’m running as an Independent (or ——). We will be having a party convention on X date and will be presenting a platform.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think that this suggestion is a wee bit facile.

          1) Sanders would have to spend an enormous amount of energy and money on ballot access. If he runs on the Democrat line he doesn’t have to do that.

          2) One way or another, the Clintonite/liberal death grip on the Democrat Party needs to be loosened. It’s has never been clear to me that going around them via an independent/third party strategy is better than going through them with the insurgent strategy.*

          3) Why throw all the Sanders supporters who have been working, with some succcess, to take over state parties under the bus?

          * It is true that the Whigs split over slavery and the Republican Party sprang into existence very rapidly. But there is no issue that unites/divides “the country” like slavery (and both liberals and conservatives are doing their utmost to make sure no such issue emerges).a

      4. Ed Miller

        I agree with Yves, especially because of the videos of William Binney on TJDS which were posted by the commentariat in today’s Links. From this first video I went to several more. My conclusion is that people in Washington are under tremendous duress applied by the alphabet agencies (and others).
        This one is on Mindblowing Corruption at FBI. Listen to this one and then go to more videos.


        If you have been paying any attention to what is going (wrong) in the last decade plus, then you must realize that anyone trying to do the right thing must be very careful to pick his/her fights. Otherwise the media dogs and the insider crooks will bury you.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          If you support an inside/outside strategy, as I do, then you want somebody on the inside who’s competent at electoral politics. I wrote:

          I understand why “he has to say this” — partly because it’s as essential to talk to Clinton voters as it is to talk to Trump voters, and partly because the Beltway has gone crazypants and I’m sure he hears this everywhere

          Now, if The Blob gets us involved in a shooting war with Russia, and Sanders doesn’t run as a peace candidate in Trump-voting districts — who bear casualties disproportionately — I’ll write inside/outside off. By the side of that issue, the Russian hysteria is pretty small beer.

          That said, what really bothers me about the response of the Sanders team is in the Politico piece; the sloppiness of the Sanders team in getting out front on this issue, to (a) not tick off his supporters and (b) get a proper defense against all the Beltway hacks who are trying to knife him. I mean, when Joan Walsh is trolling you even half-way successfully, that’s very bad.

      5. integer

        Pray tell, what do you suggest that Bernie say instead?

        I would suggest he mention Buff Bernie (haha – still makes me laugh whenever I see it), and ask the audience to make up their own minds as to whether this sort of thing had any effect on the people who voted for him in the rigged D party primary. If challenged on the “rigged” assertion, he could point out that others, such as Elizabeth Warren, agree with him. He could also mention that as of yet there is no proof that any of the “Russian meddling” was done on behalf of the Russian government, and that equating it to Pearl Harbor is reckless in the extreme. Clinton cultists voters already hate him, and almost certainly won’t vote for him, simply out of spite, in the extremely unlikely scenario of Sanders becoming the D party nominee in 2020, so there’s no point trying to cater to their delusions.

        That said, I think Sanders, for all his good intentions, has been way out of his depth since he left his position as the “ammendment king”, and would have been immediately rolled by the neocons and intelligence agencies had he won the 2016 election. At least Trump knows how to fight. FWIW William Binney, when pressed by Jimmy Dore, gave Trump a 20% chance of reforming the intelligence agencies, which is pretty significant imo.

        1. Yves Smith

          Please read up on the Creel Committee or watch the BBC series The Century of the Self. Sanders is outgunned in a full bore propaganda campaign. If he tries fighting frontally, he’ll be accused of being a Putin stooge. His words will be distorted. Being reasonable in the face of hysteria is a losing strategy.

          And you are seriously telling me Trump knows how to do anything? Flailing about is not fighting. He has learned squat since he took office and appears completely uninterested in learning anything. All he has done is go along with packing the courts with conservative judges. His team didn’t even come up with a tax plan. Their plan was an embarrassing napkin doodle, but the Rs had plenty of draft language from 2014 and earlier, so the Congresscritters did the heavy lifting. And the Rs are good at cutting taxes. Trump actually impeded getting that bill done, but the Rs were very committed to getting that legislation passed.

          By contrast, as I said, Sanders has not only managed to get single payer regularly mentioned as an important policy option, he has got the Dems working hard to try to stymie it. Sandernistas have also been winning local races. He warned that building a revolution didn’t happen overnight and people needed to carry the ball for it to happen.

      6. integer

        Adding: I think there is a hierarchy of issues that will need to be addressed before a platform like the one Sanders campaigned on could ever be realized in the US. I expect a whole new political structure will have to be built before any durable progress on fronts such as heathcare and education will occur. The foundation of this new structure would be created by bringing the intelligence agencies to heel, as well as making significant changes to media ownership laws. Those two issues intersect significantly. A free and fair press would go a long way to improving politics in the US, however this will never happen until the two aforementioned issues are resolved. After those issues are resolved, it would become possible to begin to objectively tackle the issues of perpetual war and the MIC, along with other structural issues such as reforming campaign finance laws. If all that were to occur, then issues like healthcare and education could begin to be addressed. This is, of course, a vastly simplified explanation, however hopefully it gets the point I am trying to make across, which is essentially that serious structural change is needed before a policy platform like that of Sanders will be viable. Just my opinion, of course.

        1. Yves Smith

          Sanders was polling in 1:1 matches against Trump at a minimum 10 point lead, and often as high as 20 points. A debate would only have helped Sanders. The fact that Sanders got so close to winning despite the MSM doing everything it could to bury him says how weak the elites hold on power actually is. The over-the-top, desperate effort to unseat Trump is another proof. The ham-handed show of force against objects not worth that expenditure of effort is desperate. Things are closer to a realignment or some sort of fracture than you might think.

        1. lambert strether

          I have often said that I don’t like bare video links with no explanation given of what they are or why I should click on them.

          In this case, I did click through and was rewarded by a song from the Ventures.

          Since the bare link was given in response to my request for evidence that Sanders had chastised his own supporters, I assumed, as might other readers, that the link provided that evidence. Of course, you cannot have meant to do that, since that would have been dishonest.

      1. Foppe

        You may be strictly correct, but going by the reporting here, it seems very unwise to me that he is saying ‘they used my supporters against HC’s campaign’. Firstly, it partly reduces human beings to cheerleaders/sheep — do you support sanders because you dislike HRC’s platform, dislike HRC’s platform because you ‘are a sanders supporter’, or do you dislike HRC’s platform and like Sanders’s because you have arguments/principles? Second, while he’s not explicitly stating that all ‘Sanders supporters’ were against HC’s platform because of talking points thought up by the Russkis, he certainly isn’t saying ‘there were good reasons not to like HRC’s platform, and to the extent the Evil Russian Adbuyers were able to motivate people to agitate against HRC’s campaign at all, it was because those things bothered them. So go fish.’

        (As for the politico piece — while they are obviously hating on him, his statements do sound rather defensive/reactive. Worrisome.)

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          This illustrates the problem when people who don’t spend time on social media regularly attempt to analyze a political campaign.

          The bulk of those supporting Bernie and HRC were little more than cheerleaders. It’s inevitable when political campaigns are presented by the media as sporting events with themselves as the referees. Bernie managed to excite a whole lot of people who had never given politics much thought, but most of them never got any further into the subject than that. Likewise, the HRC campaign mavens managed to turn a slew of people on by convincing them any criticism of their anointed was “misogyny” and/or “a right-wing conspiracy”; and pounding home the “Rah! Rah! She’s the most qualified!” cheer.

          How effective that agenda to make important political events into gladiatorial contests was can be seen every time someone says “I reject Bernie because he did/didn’t do X.” All that does it surrender to the ongoing effort to sanctify personalities over principles. I don’t condemn anyone for doing it simple because I cringe inwardly, too, when a candidate I otherwise admire (like Alan Grayson) begins reciting the Russia! Russia! mantra or, as Randy Bryce started doing, focusing on the other candidate(s) instead of staying on the message that made them competitive.

          One doesn’t overcome 50 years of propaganda in a year, even when one recognizes it.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Re: personalities vs. principles.

            I’m sorry, perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but this seems to impute criticism of Bernie on policy grounds (i.e., surrender to fanatical militarism, say) to political immaturity, which is belied by the many principled critics of militarism in this very thread.

            Indeed, just the opposite could be true — your argument could just as easily be turned on its head by saying those who excuse Sanders’ attempts at placating the militarists do so because they have a soft spot for a candidate whose personality they like, rather than a defensible and reasonable case for doing so. It also seems to me to be the very opposite of rah-rah gladiatorialism to say, “I am a peace voter, and I will withdraw support from a candidate who doesn’t support that end, even if I agree with other aspects of their program.” And lest this descend into a replay of accusations of political immaturity a la 2016, recall that Grover Norquist’s single-issueism around taxes has been immensely successful at getting his policy preferences turned into law.

            Or, third option — both critics of Sanders’ move vis-a-vis Russia! Russia! and supporters of it could be making principled choices based on real differences over policy issues, whether that’s militarism abroad or social democracy at home. I myself could certainly learn to remember this when debating this issue, so, mea culpa in that regard.


            Swamp Yankee.

          2. Foppe

            Be that as it may (and my point in no way was to deny that), it’s still unwise to go along with this trope, because it will be used against you, and it contributes to the insanity in which $100k worth of ads will lead to enormous changes wrt what is/isn’t allowed, censorship, etc.

    1. Dr. Roberts

      Fortunately in Wisconsin we have same-day registration at the polls so when the Republicans figure out a way to disenfranchise you, you’re really just met with an inconvenience. I had a friend who had to return to the polling station three times due to the voter ID laws Walker passed, but he was still able to vote. In other states registration is a real nightmare.

  3. Mark Gisleson

    I got a postcard. The USPS forwarded it to my new address in Minnesota. That’s not how verification works. The USPS should not have forwarded the postcard but rather bounced it back to the sender. By forwarding, they preserve the disenfranchisement formula. It’s not about proving you still live there, it’s about proactively responding to a very insignificant looking postcard because if you don’t, you’ll be purged whether you’ve moved or not.

    It’s dastardly but only a small part of a much greater effort. Proof of residence is much worse as it’s very difficult to establish residency if none of the bills are in your name OR you use a PO Box for mail.

    FWIW, in the three years I lived in WI, I had to register four times. WI Republicans are VERY aggressive when it comes to purging because Ds and Indies move far more often than Rs. But WI does have same day registration with registrars at every polling place. You may have to stand in line three times, but if you have the time, you will get to vote. Each time I found I’d been struck from the rolls I just reregistered on the spot and still got to vote.

    They can’t stop us, but they think that if they slow us down or inconvenience us, we won’t bother.

  4. Summer

    Re: Nippersmom
    “Unity”, we are treated to a discussion “everyday nomads”

    Is that the new neo-liberal term for “homeless”?
    Like “sharing economy” is the neo-liberal term for “working without benefits?”
    They won’t let a thing like truth get in the way of that narrative of ever increasing progress.

    1. nippersmom

      No, this is the opposite end of the economic spectrum, who can afford to travel the globe, experiencing and thus enhancing their appreciation of other cultures, including their design aesthetics.

      They do make a point of touting Uber, Airbnb, and other standard-bearers of the “sharing economy”.

      1. Summer

        I stand in awe at all the futuristic planning America does for the rest of the world.

        What ever would happen if they finally say “no, thanks?”

          1. Summer

            Which usually happens after coddling some corrupt puppet gov’t in the same country. Arm ’em today in order to fight ’em tomorrow.

            Time to abandon the Eagle as a national symbol and go with the Coyote – as in Wyle E. Coyote (all his plans met with blowback.)

      2. Enquiring Mind

        That paint thing reminded me of so much Silicon Valley effort to make people the product. Volunteer info, help humanity thrive, get validation from the new 1985 scheme, but hurry as the new 86ers are on the way.

      3. lambert strether

        Sherwin-Williams: The thing to remember is that some executive signed off on it.

        “Just what the country needs!”

        Everyone (whomis anyone) is saying it!

  5. Wukchumni

    My favorite, and only giant sequoia tree joke went down like this…

    About 20 years ago in the Giant Forest of Sequoia NP, there used to be a bar called the “Fireside” and it came complete with a quarter pool table and a jukebox that had 93 good selections and 7 iffy ones.

    One night a friend is manning the bar and an out of uniform NPS employee is nursing a beer @ the counter, when a touron comes in and asks:

    “Where’s the Sherwin Williams Tree?”

    And said NPS employee holding a barley soda aloft says w/o missing a beat:

    “It’s closed for painting…”

  6. Synoia

    I like “factual statistics” in the course description. Because who doesn’t?

    Does that make Economics “fatuous statistics” in the course description?

  7. Elizabeth

    I’m very disappointed in Bernie for going along with the Russiagate hysteria. If he was planning to run in 2020, I would have voted for him – but not so sure now. What does he have to gain with this? Is it go along to get along?

      1. Buck Eschaton

        The account says “Tweets by Staff”. May have been infiltrated by an hysteric who wants to divide us. A divisive hysteric.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Russiagate hysteria should last about as long as Charlie Sheen’s #Winning campaign in 2011.

          Like the dastardly Russians, ol’ Charlie may get indicted soon.

          Washington DC is where memes go to die.

          Cthulhu 2020!

            1. foghorn longhorn

              Remarked a couple of weeks ago about the dems “gut shooting” Bernie.
              Didn’t realize he was going to purchase, load and aim it tho.

          1. Ed Miller

            I disagree. Russiagate is a core belief fostered on the public by TPTB so it will only end when something better comes along to bump up the DoD budget.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      1. If Bernie wants to run in ’20, he’ll need to run as a Democrat. A major segment of the party establishment has completely bought into the Russian narrative. As someone pointed out earlier, he will need those voters, who would reject him flat if he went against the narrative.

      2. It’s important to review carefully any report of his supporting said narrative, i.e., find the full text of his remarks, if possible, and check for context and full wording. There is an active movement to undermine him by hitting this particular dissonant melody, because as dense as they are the party establishment still has “experts” who know how to push the buttons.

      3. By embracing this issue as a deal-killer, one is doing precisely what those aforementioned experts want one to do—throw out the baby with the bathwater. Who cares if Bernie repeats the Russia narrative? If it’s a non-issue, as I and I believe most here think, what does it matter? Does that change the fact that he still supports the progressive People’s Platform in toto, and is raising money for like-minded progressives, and planning to work hard to get them elected? Priorities, people.

      4. Finally, Bernie is not a hero. He said so. He said it’s up to us to fix things; he’s just here to help as much as he can. Yet it seems even those who see through the propaganda machine’s fog are still subject to knee-jerk responses it’s generated.

      I’ll end by noting I completed my Texas D-primary ballot, and in the list of issues the Democrat Party should focus on in the coming battles, Medicare-for-All was specifically listed. That wouldn’t have happened without Bernie Sanders, because the D Party here has been in cryonic suspension for decades. Does it bother me he seems to have bought the myth? A little. On the other hand, I’m still journalist enough to consider he may have information I don’t, and old enough to know nobody’s perfect.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        OMG not again, “let’s do something wrong because Dem Party politics”. Then you turn around, and not only do you not have a party any more, you don’t even have a country.

      2. Annotherone

        I’m going with #3 – thank you Elizabeth! If anyone else as nearly “on our side” as Bernie turns up in the future then, and only then, I might have a re-think.

        1. HopeLB

          I also agree with you Elizabeth. Kucinich and Stein are “on our side”, are even less likely to continue the perpetual state of war than Bernie, but have no chance of winning the Presidency and the bully pulpit that goes with it. Additionally, Bernie had the Cold War scare drilled into him at an early age and is probably still susceptible to this latent fear.

          Glen Ford has a fantastic “Russiagate” article on Truthdig;


      3. Left in Wisconsin

        This is really clarifying. If one’s view of Bernie is: he is the most progressive potential winning 2020 Dem candidate and it would be dumb to crucify him for a position that every other potential winning 2020 Dem candidate will also take, that absolutely makes sense.

        But if the whole point of Bernie (#4) is that he is a socialist first and a Democratic politician second (only as a means to win power as a socialist, in order to help bring about socialism, which is something he can hardly do by himself), then craven political moves to preserve his personal 2020 viability (according to his political advisors?) are a big problem. Perhaps this seems like an incredibly naive socialist view in that, on straight policy terms, he is only a socialist if one adopts a generous definition of socialism. But a lot of us respect Bernie as someone who thinks hard and tests the boundaries of what our political system is capable of at any given moment. At least until now.

        Maybe I’m wrong but I’m already starting to sense that Bernie’s focus is shifting from building toward a socialist future to personally enjoying the ride that he earned in 2016 from here on out. Why is he not calling for socialists to run in every federal and state district? If he is planning to run (and win) in 2020, and he is not expending real effort trying to get more socialists elected (at every level), then he loses credibility as a socialist and becomes simply a really progressive Democrat (not a high bar). Maybe that is the best we can do at this point. But it is no longer testing the boundaries of what the electorate will support or tolerate. And it’s certainly not socialism.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          I quite agree with this — Bernie is by leaps and bounds my favorite politician here in the USA; it is for precisely that reason that I would caution him to look at and consider this excellent poem from Edgar Lee Masters’ immortal Spoon River Anthology:

          George Trimble

          Do you remember when I stood on the steps
          Of the Court House and talked free-silver,
          And the single-tax of Henry George?
          Then do you remember that, when the Peerless Leader*
          Lost the first battle, I began to talk prohibition,
          And became active in the church?
          That was due to my wife,
          Who pictured to me my destruction
          If I did not prove my morality to the people.
          Well, she ruined me:
          For the radicals grew suspicious of me,
          And the conservatives were never sure of me—
          And here I lie, unwept of all.

          * William Jennings Bryan; the reference in the next line is to the Election of 1896 (-ed.)

            1. Swamp Yankee

              Edgar Lee Masters may just be my favorite poet.

              SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY is to my mind the greatest single volume of American poetry, better even than LEAVES OF GRASS.

  8. hemeantwell

    Re the Sherwin Williams logo, snipping off the “Sherwin Williams” at the bottom gives the Socialist Workers Party a good poster, if they want to do the Red Tide thing.

  9. allan

    Europe’s first cave artists were Neandertals, newly dated paintings show [Science]

    … Now, archaeologists may have to accept that Neandertals were the original cave artists. A team of dating experts and archaeologists reports that simple creations—the outline of a hand, an array of lines, and a painted cave formation—from three caves in Spain all date to more than 64,800 years ago, at least 20,000 years before modern humans reached Europe. …

    Sure, but without financial innovation were they truly human?

    1. Wukchumni

      The problem with their wall art, it was really difficult to transport to art shows held @ museums around the world, so it never caught on as a popular medium.

      1. Darius

        Neanderthal tastes were vulgar. It was all representationalism. It took the Cro Mags to achieve the sophisticated appreciation of abstract imagery.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Is it possible that we find out in the future that the Cro Magnons learned painting from the Neanderthals?

            Those deplorable, club-toting, violent knuckleheads?

            1. allan

              To paraphrase Picasso,

              It took me four years to learn to paint like a Cro Magnon,
              but a lifetime to paint like a Neanderthal.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I only wish I could paint like that, or just could appreciate using their all-natural materials like they did.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Shades of the old GUM department store in Moscow, which only accepted foreign currency in Soviet days:

    The website through which a so-called pre-sale of the Petro digital token began Tuesday is only taking U.S. dollars and euros, and rival coins Bitcoin and Ether. The offering ends March 19. President Nicolas Maduro says the cryptocurrency will be backed by Venezuela’s oil reserves.

    Venezuela forbids its citizens from buying foreign currency. The restrictions mean that not accepting bolivars in the Petro pre-sale effectively shuts out residents in the country.

    Twitter users swung between annoyed and amused after finding they couldn’t buy their own country’s cryptocurrency. User @JanethMcc said “I only have my currency, the bolivar, and I can’t access the Petro. I demand an explanation as a Venezuelan.

    “At the right price, people will buy anything. Even Venezuela’s latest joke,” Russ Dallen of Caracas Capital said.


    Sad to say, the grand gesture of announcing “I demand an explanation as a Venezuelan” carries about as much weight these days as “I demand an explanation as a US citizen.” Gov doesn’t cater to the likes of you. :-(

    Petros — like dashas, caviar and Bentleys, only the nomenklatura will have them in the Workers Paradise.

  11. FreeMarketApologist

    Re Ratigan for Congress: Not my district, but: the 21st is the northern ‘triangle’ of the state: North of Albany* to the Canadian border, and from the NY/VT border east to the Canadian border, with the southern east to west border running just north of I-90 (so does not include the larger cities on 90, like Utica). Essentially incorporates all the Adirondacks, and is pretty thinly populated.

    This was Jacob Javits’ district, along with various generations of Hamilton Fishs.

    (*but does not include Saratoga Springs, for some gerrymandered reason, I’m sure)

    1. Adam1

      It’s also quite economically depressed too. On the political interesting side, Sanders beat Clinton in every voting district here and with the exception of one or two districts Sanders rolled over her at over 60%. Several well over 70%.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I’m pretty old and I only remember Javits as a Senator. But wikiP says he represented Manhattan was back when he was in the House. And it is definitely not the district that Hamilton Fish represented – that is the Hudson Valley district that, more or less, is the district that Zephyr Teachout ran in.

      This district is way up north.

  12. Summer

    Re: Gunz

    You know what’s not quite right about these narratives? It’s like living in the age of “pop-up movements.” Not saying the ideas aren’t good or bold, but let’s see some staying power before we label every gathering a movement. That also sets up unrealistic expectations and disappointments. When everything is a movement, nothing is a movement.

    The “hashtag” is where movements go to die.

    Here’s a real movement – that has stood the test of time because it does the dirty work and it does it covertly as well as overtly:
    The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is an American nonprofit organization that advocates for gun rights.[5][6][7]
    Founded in 1871, the group has informed its members about firearm-related bills since 1934, and it has directly lobbied for and against legislation since 1975.[8] It also claims to be the oldest continuously operating civil rights organization in the United States.[9]

    1. wilroncanada

      I know a movement when I feel? it.
      The Possum Lake newspaper on the Red Green show was called The Daily Movement.

        1. polecat

          Oh Great !
          I can just envision an ED-209 to be assigned to every homeroom …**

          “Testing time is up …YOU HAVE 15 SECONDS TO DROP YOUR PENCIL !!”

          ** then I guess the teachers would feel compelled to have grenade launchers at hand, should ol’ ED .. uh .. ‘malfunction’.
          .. or better yet, a dogbot to break through the classroom door, and take down any unruly student yammering on their cell phone !

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The other tech option (with billions in money to be made) is Judo robots, or bullet-proof shielding robot

            The 3rd option is those ferocious, door-opening dog robots (or robot dogs).

            All very profitable solutions (for our tech lords), if only they would stop charging into the NRA machine gun nests.

            These options actually might save lives, sooner.

            1. polecat

              “These options actually might save lives, sooner.”

              You mean the robots, right

              Bot lives matter …..
              All other lifeforms expendable ………………………

      1. John Ashley

        Yes,all those mass shooter events on airliners prove this point.

        It is astounding that so many will deny the reality of now for an ideological game point.

      2. Anon

        Well, it’s being reported that there was an armed police officer at the Florida high school—during the massacre. So much for good guys restraining bad guys.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That officer will obviously be looking at his/her robot-dog replacement soon.

          Imagine all those robot-dogs stationed all around the campus, ready to defend.

          Here, sadly, this neo-Luddite has to meditate on this robot future, where human-cops have no place in it.

  13. MikeW_CA

    UPDATE Neoliberal health writer endorses neoliberal health care “solution”
    Elisabeth Rosenthal may be a Neoliberal health writer. Her book An American Sickness
    is still a worthwhile read.

  14. DJG

    Question: Does anyone believe that Bernie Sanders is writing his own tweets? “Unwitting manipulation by ….foreign governments”? “Consort”? Consort? And the manipulation is unwitting? They didn’t know themselves that they were doing it?

    I am detecting a taste for the florid and the baroque that seems especially strong among those in their 20s and 30s, the kind of people who refer to men as “the gentleman.” It was the same kind of overwought style that I read at the Guccifer 2.0 site that convinced me that Guccifer is a U.S. production by a rather spunky but overwritten 29-year-old.

    I’m not excusing Bernie Sanders’s moral confusion on this issue: [Yet: Read Masha Gessen’s latest article in the New Yorker, linked at NC yesterday.] I’m wondering if it is an organizational issue. Has anyone seen any of Debbie Wasserman Shultz’s many interns and hangers-on lately?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Too bad. The only one I actually watched where he was asked about it, he gave a quick, obligatory ” Of course we should look into it” type of response and then proceeded to talk about the issues which made me think he wasn’t buying the narrative.

        Definitely not a good look with those tweets, even if he didn’t personally write them.

    1. integer

      Sanders’ tweets are written by his staff, unless they end in “– B”, in which case they are written by Sanders himself.

  15. John

    The Russian and US/Anglo oligarchies are just like two rival gangs in a prison. Gotta keep chaos going. Gotta kick the cage, continuously. There is constant rivalry within and among the gangs. Everybody jockeying for position. Bernie’s just doing what he got to do. First of all, pretend loyalty to one of the gang’s. And then try to make a move on the capo. I’m not quite sure he understands the part about the shiv between the ribs being a necessity. All of the Russian stuff is just rival gang theatrics.
    Anyone ever hear of “The Great Game”. You might want to look it up. Been going on for a while. Just because the Imperial Capital moved from London to Washington doesn’t mean it’s different.
    Just a little pre chaos warmup to the big time Mother Nature is getting ready to have.

  16. Lynne

    Interesting decision today: the South Dakota Supreme Court held that law enforcement who arrested someone could not require them to supply a urine sample without a warrant. Note the question in the concurring opinion:

    I write only to note the inevitable question looming on the horizon: what steps may be taken when a person refuses to submit to a search warrant authorizing collection of a urine sample? May law enforcement forcibly restrain and catheterize the suspect when the warrant does not specify the method of urine collection?

    And in a note clearly meant to send the answer:

    Courts should bear in mind that they may disallow search methods when issuing a warrant, and a search authorized by a warrant must nonetheless be reasonable in execution.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Despite Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort index easing to 56.6 today from 57.0 last week, firmness in industrial materials prices and a decline in the 4-week average of unemployment claims to 226,000 propelled Ed Yardeni’s fundamental indicator to a fresh record. Chart:


    Consistent with Yardeni’s indicator, Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow projects 3.2% growth in this quarter as the economy trundles along.

  18. marym

    CAP health “coverage” plan

    Medicare-based means tested public option. Employer-based insurance remains as an option. Medicaid and CHIP eventually rolled into new system.

    Renames but retains Medicare Advantage, 8 year implementation plan, some financing alternatives

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Ugh, thanks for the synopsis. All I need to know.

      Heading out the door cuz we are screening Fix It for the community, but wanted to hop on just to say a big THANK YOU to Lambert who has absolutely been killing it on health care lately. You are an invaluable resource for our group!

  19. Jason Boxman

    Given the hopelessness of this country, I’m surprised I haven’t seen a series on how to leave the country. I’d certainly be interested in this.

    1. jsn

      For people without means, that is an existential question and more are choosing to leave. Our Russia/deregulation obsessed political class couldn’t care less.

  20. Tomonthebeach

    Regarding Trump’s Stupid Armed Teachers Concept

    There have been numerous articles and comments the past 48 hours regarding this latest Trumpism. All have failed to mention the most damning aspect of giving civilians a pistol to kill mass murderers – even with range training. To paraphrase the NRA, guns do not kill people – people kill people. As a combat veteran, I have watched comrades freeze in battle when they actually have to kill or be killed.

    Killing another human being, even in defense of self or others, is not easy for the vast majority of people – not even those of us training in combat arms. The vast majority of Americans have never experienced the chaos and terror of an armed assault. Fear is the normal reaction, and that fear can often cause a person to freeze as their brain tries to sort out between the options of fight or flight. Bullets spewing from an assault rifle do not hesitate, and I have seen first-time combatants killed during that split second of hesitation.

    Consequently, as in all situations in which firearms are introduced, the likelihood of death by firearm for those in that environment always increases dramatically – even when that firearm is a locked-away pistol in the family gun case. [Note: Research findings like this are why NRA lobbied Congress successfully to ban federal funds for gun violence studies.]

    1. allan

      This. To which I would add an evergreen link: the 2012 Empire State Building shooting

      On August 24, 2012, a gunman shot and killed a former co-worker outside the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York City. Following the initial shooting, the gunman, 58-year-old Jeffrey T. Johnson, was fatally shot by police officers after raising his weapon at them. Nine bystanders were wounded by stray bullets fired by the officers and ricocheting debris, but none suffered life-threatening injuries. …

      Out of doors, in broad daylight, by highly trained professionals. Sadly, too many viewings of
      the Die Hard movies causes permanent cognitive impairment when it comes to public policy.

    2. Summer

      “Killing another human being, even in defense of self or others, is not easy for the vast majority of people – not even those of us training in combat arms. The vast majority of Americans have never experienced the chaos and terror of an armed assault…”

      A million film and tv shows are telling them otherwise.

      NRA is all over the media and there is a good deal of deflection to their argument. But a gun in Walmart is just a gun in a Walmart, but a gun in Tom Cruise’s or John Wayne’s hand is “sexy.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps deploying always-calm, never-panicking school robot guards is the way to go.

        Unarmed, they can shield or take down shooters like a good martial artist.

        Armed, they are less likely to shoot at innocent bystanders.

    3. John Ashley

      As a combat vet are you saying there are/were none you would think could handle the job.

      I guess all those carrying now should be disarmed?

      1. Darius

        On the what a hell of a way to die podcast, they were saying that depending on the number of entrances it would take a platoon or a company to adequately defend a school against someone carrying an AR-15. Overwhelming force and all. Essentially a school isn’t defensible under civilian conditions. Now we could turn schools into armed garrisons. Or the whole country for that matter. That would be a paradise for self-mythologizing open carry hero wannabes.

        1. allan

          The Hollywood version (sort of like The Dirty Dozen meets Stand and Deliver, but with heart)
          is to offer hardened criminal math teachers who’ve been sentenced to life in prison a chance
          on the outside if they’re willing to serve as armed Algebra II & Trig teachers. Like this guy.

        2. marym

          Or the whole country for that matter.

          Wouldn’t it have to be? Understandably the discussion is centered around schools right now, but there have been mass shootings in movie theaters, night clubs, churches. We’d have to make places like Fort Hood into armed garrisons….oh, wait…

    4. cnchal

      I was watching ABC nightly news with David Muir (every night it’s “breaking news as we come on the air”) where they showed parts of the meeting with Trump, and a guy on the edge asks the question about arming teachers. My first though was, is he an NRA ringer? Looking for moar gunz sales?

      This is the idiotic fight fire with fire meme, when to fight fire you do it with water. If moar gunz were the answer, the problem would be solved already.

      Totally forgotten is how this mentally disturbed kid was running around with a neon sign on top of his head flashing “check me out” which was ignored by the authorities. It was the last line of defense, and failed miserably.

  21. jsn

    Elisabeth Rosenthal: Why can hair salons keep to a sked and medical offices not?
    Because hair is a subset of the human body, not the other way around.

    Can people asking this kind of question really believe in what they are asking? Core stupidity or bad faith?

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Wow! I read that quickly an honestly thought she was joking with that tweet! That Rosenthal did not see the self-parodic character of her tweet shows just how thin the air is up among the rarefied set — Jiminy Christmas!

        Creative Class Privilege, indeed. Yikes!

  22. Enquiring Mind

    About that meat packer self-policing, I’m more inclined than ever to steer away from anything that includes everything but the squeal. Having seen the entire animal life cycle on various responsible farms and slaughterhouses, I can only say that there is likely to be a new side of neo-liberal-induced intestinal distress. (query: is a double-hyphenated word even kosher?)

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Big Meat is allowed to make its own employees inspect carcasses, Big Meat can persecute or fire those employees for finding something wrong. Therefor, nothing wrong will be found.

      Permitting Big Meat to make its own employees inspect carcasses will drive a lot of people to vegetarianism.

  23. PKMKII

    Bad sign on the Ratigan for Congress campaign: The website has been up for a bit now, still no “issues” page…

    On arming the teachers: the other overlooked problem with that scheme is that the hiring and vetting process for public employees who are armed as part of their work duties is drastically different than non-armed employees. The extra bureaucracy required, the union negotiations, probably some pay adjustments depending on the state/municipality, all make the idea a huge non-starter.

    1. Darius

      Arming teachers also would attract a completely different type to the teaching profession. I think of some of my favorite teachers. None of them would go for this. Some of my least favorite teachers would love having authorization to carry iron in class. And accidentally on purpose having it peak out of their clothing, or leave a desk drawer ajar serruptiously to make sure the kids could see it and be impressed or scared.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Darius —
        Exactly. This very much jibes with my own experience. Only the chicken[redacted] petty authoritarians will want to come anywhere close to that system; it’s pretty much self-selecting and nearly guaranteed to weed out people who are actually good at and care about teaching.

  24. fresno dan

    So it was HICAP training today and I actually learned a couple of things.
    1. Not a HICAP thing but there is a thing called the Patient Portal that apparently a lot of doctors in CA use where patients can access their own medical results. I get lab work done routinely and my doctor doesn’t automatically call me with the results and I forget about getting the result at the next appointment, so I am looking forward to seeing if this Patient Portal actually works.
    2. People who are covered by an EMPLOYER health insurance plan (from themselves or their spouse) do not have to take medicare part B upon turning 65(unless their employer health plan has a contingency that requires people to enroll in part B upon turning 65 to continue getting health benefits from the employer health plan) and can postpone taking Part B without penalty as long as they are covered by an employer health care plan.
    HOWEVER, if you have retiree health care coverage and elect to not take Part B coverage, if later you decide that you need Part B, you will have to pay the penalty for failing to have Part B coverage. In CA, this is important because most people can only afford long term care (nursing home care) by being on Medi-Cal (i.e., medicaid) and you can only be on Medi-Cal if you are covered by medicare Part B. This is important because a couple came in who are putting their mother into a nursing home and their mother did not enroll in medicare Part B because her husband had left her with an excellent retiree health care plan and the mother did not think Part B was necessary.
    The penalty for foregoing Part B is that the premium will now be more than double the Part B premium if the mother had enrolled when initially eligible. However, it seems unlikely to me that the mother would live so long that the penalty premium will be a larger sum total than the amount in Part B premiums saved if the mother had enrolled in Part B to begin with…a lot of contingencies of when you go into long term care and how long you live once your there.
    3. Who was the first former president to receive a medicare card? (answer tomorrow)

    1. RUKidding

      Good tips, Fresno Dan. Here’s my tip, relating to Number 2 in your post.

      If you are covered by an EMPLOYER health insurance plan when you turn 65, you do not need to enroll THEN in Medicare Part B. However, I would stronly recommend that you make an appointment with your local Social Security office (you may have to push for an appointment, or you may be forced to do a walk-in and wait appointment) to advise them that: 1) you are still employed, and 2) you are covered by said EMPLOYER health insurance plan. Make them send you a letter acknowledging this! They will if you push them. And THEN: ask them to enroll you in Medicare Part A, which is free and is said to cover you if you are hosptialized. Then you will be enrolled in Medicare at age 65.

      You have 8 months after you retire to enroll in Medicare Part B without incurring the higher penalty fee.

      Some people are on the fence about enrolling in Medicare Part B IF they plan to emigrate and live overseas somewhere (or across the border in Mexico). It’s my understanding that Medicare Part B will NOT cover anything outside of the USA. The example you gave, above, about the elderly lady who didn’t have Medicare Part B bc she had excellent retiree health care benefits MAY have been OK anyway, if she only had to pay the higher Medicare Part B rate for the last several years of her life. I won’t go any further with that. You would have to estimate your expenses over time.

      Anyway, get Medicare Part A when you turn 65, even IF you are covered by an EMPLOYER’s health insurance plan. That covers some of your bases.

      1. fresno dan

        February 22, 2018 at 5:50 pm

        Exactly right and good points!
        Part A is free for the vast majority, but for immigrants and a very few people who do not manage to amass the number of quarters of social security credit, one does have to pay a premium for Part A, and it is quite expensive (422$).

        I just had an interesting case about Part A a few weeks ago. I counseled a lady who came in who did not have Part A because she had never been legally married and her work history was undocumented. She had gotten a letter that she was no longer covered by Medi-Cal because she was not on medicare which of course terrified her as it was the only way to pay for an extensive number of prescription drugs she took.
        (I do not know if Medi-Cal is now reassessing recipients every year. She certainly still met all the income criteria for Medi-Cal. She was low income enough though that she was “medi-medi” (medicare premiums paid for by Medi-Cal)
        It was quite the bureaucratic snafu because to get Medi-Cal you had to be getting medicare, so the question arose: are you on medicare if you do not have Part A? Usually that question is addressed from the standpoint of having Part B – the portion of medicare paid for by premium.
        My view was how can anyone not be on part A? – its FREE! Long, long story short, as Medi-Cal pays her Part B it will also Pay her Part A.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Re: #3–

      A certain fellow who enjoyed bourbon and poker, enjoyed a walk around the block, never lived in his own house and had proposed something along the lines of Medicare when he was President?

  25. Rob P

    re: Rosenthal

    >SOS from the eye doctor’s office where I’ve been waiting for 45 mins. Why can hair salons keep to a sked and medical offices not? Bet Amazon-Chase-Berkshire can fix!

    Maybe because haircuts generally take an easily predictable amount of time. How are Bezos/Buffet supposed to make that the case for medical appointments? Maybe Bezos can make one of those electronic wristbands that track how quickly warehouse workers are working, but for doctors.

  26. John D.

    It’s a shame to see Sanders resorting to the Russiagate narrative, but (1.) the neoliberal centrist crowd still have a strangle-hold on the Dem party leadership positions, (2.) like Lambert, I can see where Sanders “feels he has to do this,” and (3.) he’s likely going to be the least objectionable choice come 2020…assuming he’s on the ballot. Bottom line: If I were an American, I’d probably hold my nose and vote for him. Despite this.

    I think a question you folks should be asking yourselves now is this: At what point does the work of starting a real alternative to the Democrats actually begin? Just how low do things have to sink before y’all admit the Dems truly are a hopeless case? From my vantage point here in Canada, I’d say it’s gone well beyond that magical moment. Things just get worse and worse and worse, and the corrupt monsters holding on to the Democratic leadership like grim death are contributing to that. They are not going away quietly, and they’re perfectly willing to cheat, as we have seen. And they’re willing to fight tooth-and-nail against people like us far more viciously than they ever have against the Republicans. So: At what point?

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      I was watching a TRN interview with Gabriel Byrne about climate change, and at one point he commented that the UK and Northern Ireland, like the US, are two-party systems. And you know—he’s right, because for all the many other parties that may be around the reality is there are always two major parties that dominate. If there are multiple parties, the identity of the two may change, but how often does that happen?

      The answer I give to people in the US who demand we need a third party now!!! is that it took at least a decade for the Republicans to replace the Whigs in the US, and anyone who thinks they can put together a party able to beat out the Big Two doesn’t know nearly enough history.

    2. RUKidding

      Eh? (sorry, couldn’t resist).

      Dems passed their sell-by date a looong time ago, as far as I’m concerned, but far too many US citizens are clueless about even rudimentary basics about what’s really going on politically. The brainwashing here not only applies to the Fox/Rush crowd, albeit that’s the strongest stranglehold on what passes for citizens’ “minds.” There is deep brainwashing on the so-called “left,” even though it’s marginal best and comes out of National Propaganda Radio and weak-tea MSNBC.

      And then… those who vote Big D are just sooooo disgusted (as I am – really) with the R-Team that they’ll reflexively vote Big D, just like their R-Team cousins reflexively vote R-Team. Tribal identities rule. Wave your pom-poms! Go TEAM! USA! USA! USA!

      It’s hard to break through the barriers of peoples’ mind-sets. I read here how D-voters are allegedly now “worse” than R-Team tribalists. I think that’s spurious, but certainly the Russia! Russia! RUSSIA!!! booga booga scary scary hype has worked on some.

      Sorry that Bernie has felt compelled to go in this direction. A real shame. Someone or something got to him. Can’t say what, but I do believe TPTB really REALLY didn’t like his truth-telling. So sad.

      We are so screwed here. Consider yourself VERY fortunate to be north-o-the-border. Lucky!

    3. Richard

      I don’t understand, and I don’t think Bernie or anyone else really understands either, how you can capitulate to such an enormous mistruth, and not expect it to have consequences to the rest of his program. This lie is the distraction that blinds everyone! It is the everything, it seems to me. How can we have a big fight for medicare4all when the russians are imperiling democracy itself, etc etc. That is exactly how it will be deployed, after all.
      I don’t get it. If there’s a long plan, I don’t get it. If it’s fear, I get that. I just don’t think he’s really a leader, is the big lesson here. Not the kind who is a lodestone to a whole movement, I mean.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        You’re basing this on an incorrect assumption, which is that the new crop of candidates running with the help of Our Revolution and Brand New Congress/Justice Democrats are doing so because of Bernie himself rather than because they embraced his platform. Yes, he can help if he actively supports their campaigns, but most of them were doing quite well before that happened.

        The revolution isn’t about electing Bernie Sanders. It’s about electing people committed to representing their constituents who aren’t employed by the oligarchy. That’s why the media’s constant references to them as “Sanders Democrats” is so insidious. It makes him the focus instead of them, with the likely result hardcore Clintonites will reject them for no other reason that that his name is attached to their efforts.

        And no, he’s not “really a leader.” He never said he was. Indeed, on more than one occasion he specifically stated that any revolution would arise from the bottom up, under the direction of the people, not because he swooped in to save the day. It’s extremely frustrating that so many people are determined he do just that, and then snarl at him because he refuses to do what he said he wouldn’t do.

        If change is going to happen, it won’t be because Bernie Sanders gets elected president. If that were to happen, it would just give the real revolutionaries—the men and women running for Congress and state and local office on the People’s Platform—a better chance of making those changes.

        Look, if I can change my entire way of looking at politics in the space of two years at three-score-and-ten, there is no excuse for anyone sitting comfortably in the quarterback’s armchair criticizing the guy who woke me and millions of other people for not fitting into their definition of who and what he should be. If you’ll pardon the cliché, if you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

  27. Altandmain

    Does anyone else think that Amazon is going to have a bubble like burst at some point in the future?

    It is always impossible to predict the future and precisely when the Amazon stock bubble is going to pop, but it will happen eventually.

    Amazon AWS is profitable, but even then there are bound to be limits. Amazon is best known for their online retail presence of course, but that is not really a profit maker. This is looking like a tulip bubble of sorts if the stock keeps rising.

  28. Darthbobber

    The Russia tweetstorm by Sanders is an effort to get past the drive-by shooting building up the day and night before over the somewhat out of context quotes from the vpr interview. His problem, of course, is that this idiotic narrative long ago took enough root among partisan democrats’ that winning democratic primaries is probably impossible if you step too far away from that narrative.

    Absent the vpr interview, today’s tweetstorm probably doesn’t happen.

    In politics, your strength is not in fact the strength of ten because your heart is pure. A fairly rare departure from the usual message discipline on his part, followed by a scramble to undo it.

  29. Darthbobber

    The new “sin” being hurled at the Sanderistas is that the evil Our Revolution (both the national and the local Ohio orgs) have endorsed the now-evil Kucinich for governor of Ohio.

    Kucinich’s great sin is that he has not only opined that there is an ongoing deep state effort against the duly elected president, but that he has done so on Hannity’s program. This is a fairly common one two punch.

    First effectively blacklist certain views from all big outlets other than Fox, then attack people for using the only significant network willing to give them a voice.

  30. Eureka Springs

    The latest call for an candidates issues page set me to thinking about what democracy in this respect might look like. I tend to think a bottoms-up developed/established party platform which candidates/office holders are bound to represent as much as possible would be best. However within those confines I could see where a district or state will differ from the larger platform and an issues page could be helpful in reflecting that. But the way we look to individuals to decide these things arbitrarily and so often with weasel words is just setting ourselves up for more whack-a-mole confusion.

    We desperately need to change the entire process. This begins in our head. Stop looking to others to lead/represent but instruct them to do so.

  31. The Rev Kev

    If, when Hilary Clinton finishes her book tour in Australia and returns to the US, do not believe her if she talks about being under sniper fire after landing at Sydney Airport. I am fairly confident that this is not likely. I guess that after the Australian Government gave her Foundation $88 million she may want to see if she cannot shake out some more. I can guarantee you that she is not here just to flog her books alone but there will be some governmental meetings lined up.
    Not saying that she may have to watch out for Drop Bears though when here.

  32. Brandon

    Considering how un-Bernie-like Bernie’s Russiagate comments are, should I take this as a sure sign he is indeed running in 2020? What other motivation would he have to jump on the Dem Russiagate bandwagon at this particular point in the timeline if not to appease the DNC and Hillary supporters?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The trick, as usual with anyone on anything, is balance, and not to be too eager to appease (peace in our lifetime) by giving away universal health care.

  33. Tom Stone

    Eric Holder could have a heck of a TV show based on the “Gun Walker” program, especially if they declassified the number of guns sold to the Cartels in violation of US and International law.
    Every week they could have brief Bios of five of the people murdered with guns supplied by the DOJ along wth videos of each type in use, there’s at least 300 weeks of content available!
    And he could explain just what weapon was used along with its good points and bad points.
    There’s plenty of content, at least 300 weeks worth.
    And it might be best to avoid mentioning the half dozen or so Americans killed with weapons sold to some of the most vicious criminals on earth with the connivance of the DOJ.
    The others who were murdered?
    They don’t matter.

    Read the press coverage if you don’t believe me.

    1. Darthbobber

      Since leaving office, he seems largely noteworthy for his efforts to help mgm fend off competition to its Springfield mass casino from a tribal rival in Connecticut. Believe Lieberman and Ken Salazar have also distinguished themselves in this battle.

  34. allan

    @BarackObama 8:00 AM – 22 Feb 2018

    Young people have helped lead all our great movements. How inspiring to see it again in so many smart, fearless students standing up for their right to be safe; marching and organizing to remake the world as it should be. We’ve been waiting for you. And we’ve got your backs.

    Just like Occupy … oh, wait …

  35. fresno dan


    So now, at 76, she earns $915 a month through Social Security and through Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, a program for low-income seniors. Her rent, which she has had to cover solo since her roommate died in August, is $1,040 a month.
    More and more older people are finding themselves in a similar situation as Baby Boomers reach retirement age without enough savings and as housing costs and medical expenses rise; for instance, a woman in her 80s is paying on average $8,400 in out-of-pocket medical expenses each year, even if she’s covered by Medicare.
    I just don’t think people realize how the portion of things not covered by medicare, and the co-pays, deductions, and “co-insurance” sums have increased.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “I just don’t think people”

      I suspect the elite don’t care enough to see this, but I suspect people know. I think the problem is they believe they are alone in their own struggles. The “OMG Russia” has many goals, but its clearly being used to drown out this conversation at town halls.


      Despite Republican sabotage attempts, I don’t think its been lost the Democrats made promises of ACA only needing one more Friedman Unit when every part came on line for everyone to see how awesome healthcare would be.

      It goes back to accountability. Rising costs have been around for a while, and warned about for some time.


      Here is the latest member of the #Resistance in 2005 discussing the “gig economy” without the branding. The various problems which can be best summed up with “wealth inequality” as a catchall were present if not as bad in 2005. They didn’t start with Trump, but the Democratic failure to address this crisis instead of re-branding has made a whole set of people culpable who weren’t before. For people who discovered politics in the last four or five years, the link is a video clip of Shrub congratulating a single mother on struggling to make ends meet by working three jobs. “Uniquely American.” Thats what Shrub said. The age of Trump started long before Donald entertained the idea of running for President.

  36. Darthbobber

    In the unlikely event that the Russian govt actually has anything like central control over the “bot platoon” so breathlessly tracked for us by our transparent and trustworthy guardians at the German Marshall Fund, they’re really missing an obvious play here.

    A couple weeks of them amplifying I the tweets of Tribe, Joy Reid, the wacky woman over at Mother Jones, et al should suffice to make some heads explode

  37. 3.14e-9

    Stefanik’s upstate New York seat is safe, according to several election trackers. Conversely, they identify the district to the south, New York 22nd, as a “race to watch.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has listed the incumbent, Claudia Tenney, as a target for 2018, while they aren’t going after Stefanik.

    Tenney was elected to her first term in 2016. The 22nd district voted for Trump by about the same margin as Stefanik’s 21st district, but it favored Romney in 2012 (by less than half a percentage point), and was evenly split between Obama and McCain in 2008. So, even though Stefanik’s district flipped and Tenney’s didn’t, Tenney is the one whose seat isn’t safe.

    Her main Democratic opponent is State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. Politico reported that Brindisi had raised nearly twice as much as Tenney in 2017 Q3. She also will face Republican challengers in the primary.

    I get Tenney’s weekly e-mails. Her positions are straight party line, although considering that her district is solidly Republican, she may actually be listening to her constituents. Also, she at least discusses the issues. To her credit, she doesn’t (she says) support Trump’s proposed budget cuts to social programs like HEAP, Community Development Block Grants, and a few others. She hasn’t said anything about Medicaid or SNAP (nothing about the food boxes), but I doubt she would support cuts, when so many of her constituents rely on these programs.

    This may be New York State, but it’s Rust Belt flyover country. Many people don’t know that this area was the original Silicon Valley, headquarters of IBM and the dozens of companies that sprang up around it. All of that is long gone now. Disastrous flooding in 2006 and 2011 further kicked the region in the head.

    Like the 21st district, the 22nd was solidly for Bernie in the Democratic primary. In fact, Bernie won all but three Upstate counties. It’s also interesting that both districts ultimately elected women. There goes the theory that the gun-toting deplorables rejected Hillary only because she’s a woman.

  38. Darthbobber

    So a St Louis grand jury indicted Governor Greitens today. The lad is still pretty defiant, but that seems unlikely to work? Btw, is being a former Seal who goes political a virtual guarantee that you’re a bad apple?

  39. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re: “’Eric Holder Flirts With Presidential Bid, Hooks Up With Hollywood’ [The American Conservative]. Based on what? Zero prosecutions of thieving banisters?”…


  40. JTFaraday

    If Bernie Sanders really wants to be active in 2020 then I think he has to play ball on the Russia hysteria to a certain extent. There is always time to open up the story about that hysteria to properly name it as a species of McCarthyite scapegoating and to assign responsibility to the the D-Party neoliberal nomenklatura for hyping it in lieu of taking responsibility for their 2016 loss to the most reprehensible candidate for the Presidency ever– another story line that Bernie has adopted, (for some very good reasons and there is no point in making any kind of excuse for Trump).

  41. albert

    Some of you have mentioned nuclear war as possibility. That’s the whole point of MAD. But nuclear war as always been a possibility since the 50’s. It’s unlikely to happen. Why? Because, crazy as some world leaders may be, there’s little to be gained by self destruction. The real danger I see is that of limited nuclear strikes. We are developing very low yield nuclear weapons, like bombs that penetrate into the earth before detonating (“bunker-busters”). The idea is that they will have less fallout than Air-Detonated Devices. ADDs are for strategic use, these new ones are for tactical use. -I- think it’s crazy, but that’s what we’re doing. While all-out nuclear war could happen, there would be milliseconds that I would have, to think “well, I guess I was wrong, maybe it’s better to die in microseconds, than to ‘live’ for decades fight a losing battle against cancer”. Small nukes (~300 kiloton) will still contaminate large areas, and even clean-up efforts will be futile (look at Chernobyl, and Fukushima). We have, in our own country, radioactive contamination that hasn’t been effectively addressed for 50+ years.

    Radioactive contamination is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s time to look at the providers of that gift. We are spending billions to make these weapons, and to hell with cleaning up the mess they make.
    . .. . .. — ….


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