2:00PM Water Cooler 1/9/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51


Trump Wall Speech (1):

It could be that Trump has a cruder yet more direct metric for the success of his Wall speech than media reaction and polling?

Trump Wall Speech (2):

The flags tho. (Lots of dunking on this image on the Twitter; this is the one I thought was funniest.)

“Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution Will Start A Campaign To Draft Him Into The Presidential Race” [Buzzfeed News]. “On Monday evening, the group notified members that it would ‘activate’ the draft effort, making Our Revolution the second group to encourage Sanders to run for president, following the launch of ‘Organizing For Bernie’ last month. Both efforts are separate from the official Sanders operation but run by aides who are closely linked to the senator and his staff. Turner, the head of Our Revolution, regularly travels with Sanders, joining him most recently on a nine-state tour ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. And ‘Organizing For Bernie’ is headed by a longtime former aide, Rich Pelletier.”

“The G.O.P.’s Plan to Take Down Beto: Unleash the Bernie Bros” [Vanity Fair]. “Bernie Sanders devotees are already primed to question O’Rourke’s progressive credentials. ‘They think the Establishment is always looking for someone to go against Sanders—to run against progressives in the party and stop them from being ascendant,’ Georgetown University historian Michael Kazin recently told my colleague Peter Hamby. ‘I think they are suspicious of Beto because he has taken oil and gas money, he’s becoming the darling of big donors, and Obama likes him.'” • Incroyable….

It certainly is odd that no other Democrat is saying anything like this:

2016 Post-Mortem

About polling data, “shared” or otherwise:

SC: “Analysis of the Election Data from the 6 November 2018 General Election in South Carolina” (PDF) [League of Women Voters]. “By ‘clean’ data we mean primarily that questions that would be raised about the process or the results of the elections of 2016 and 2018 can in fact be addressed by analyzing the data. We cannot determine if the actual cast votes are what voters intended, but at least we have the data to examine and we can answer questions that are raised. We believe this to be a major improvement in the ability to justify the results to the voting public. Transparency, however, does not equate to correctness.” • This is brutal. And: “Problems with the system have nearly always been laid at the foot of ‘human error’ rather than flaws in the election system. We do not agree with this glib dismissal of responsibility. The ES&S election system is complicated, with (per the EVEREST report) more than 515 thousand lines of code in nine different programming languages on five different hardware platforms.” • Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. It’s hard to imagine why there’s so much resistance to that…

GA: “UC-Berkeley Elections Expert Says Georgia’s Lt. Governor Contest Is ‘In Substantial Doubt'” [Law.com]. “Philip Stark, associate dean of UC-Berkeley’s Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and an expert in election statistics and post-election auditing, said he discerned a noticeable disparity in [Republican Geoff]Duncan’s contest with Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico between undervote rates of paper ballots and those cast on the state’s obsolete electronic voting machines. Stark said his analysis—included in an affidavit filed in a pending legal challenge to Duncan’s election—’strongly suggests that malfunction, misconfiguration, bugs, hacking, or other error or malfeasance caused some [direct-recording electronic] voting machines not to record votes in the lieutenant governor’s contest.'” • As above.

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “How a little-known Democratic firm cashed in on the wave of midterm money” [WaPo]. From the article:

The solicitations piled into voters’ email accounts — sometimes multiple times a day. And they carried alarming messages, often in blaring capital letters.

“We’re on the verge of BANKRUPTCY.”

“Our bank account is ALMOST EMPTY!”

“Trump is INCHES away from firing Robert Mueller.”

The catastrophic language yielded a fundraising bonanza for clients of Mothership Strategies, a little-known and relatively new digital consulting firm that raked in tens of millions of dollars from a tide of small donations that flowed to Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections.

The firm’s ascendancy as one of the highest-paid vendors of the election since its launch four years ago speaks to how lucrative the explosion of small-dollar donations has been for a group of savvy political consultants who saw the wave of cash coming — and built a business model to capi­tal­ize off it.

So, about those “small donors”…

“Democratic voters increasingly embrace the ‘liberal’ label – especially whites, Millennials and postgrads” [Pew Research] “In 2015, half of white Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters called themselves liberals, up 22 percentage points since 2000 (28%)…. By contrast, more black and Hispanic Democratic voters characterized their views as moderate than liberal in 2015, and the self-described political views of both groups have remained stable in recent years. Last year, 42% of black Democrats called themselves moderates, 29% said they were conservatives and 27% called themselves liberals. Among Hispanic Democrats, 39% described their political views as moderate, 35% as liberal and 24% as conservative…. Democratic voters with higher levels of education are more likely to call themselves liberals than are those with less education…. It’s important to note that how people describe their views and their actual political attitudes and values are different things, though clearly they are strongly related.” • So, assuming the label “liberal” is meaningful…

“The Tests Facing California’s New Governor” [Capital and Main]. “[D]espite its enviable economy, its abundance of billionaires-in-residence and laudable array of social services, California still has the highest poverty rate in the U.S., nearly half of its children live in poverty or near-poverty, and merely finding an affordable place to live has become an existential challenge for many. These and similar factors superimpose on the state another kind of fault line, that of economic inequality. Most of the new governor’s time will be spent wrangling crises that spring from this disparity.”

“‘West Wing’ star Richard Schiff reveals Aaron Sorkin is interested in reboot: ‘He said he wanted it to happen'” [Independent]. “The actor discussed his vision for a potential reboot which, unlike the original show, wouldn’t focus heavily on the White House but on other aspects of politics such as the grassroots or state level.” • Hmm…

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of January 1, 2019: “Bouncing back from a sluggish holiday season mortgage activity surged” [Econoday].

Employment Situation: “Does The December Labor Report Change The Outlook?” [Econintersect]. “The December labor report was strong in every way as headline job creation beat estimates, the revisions to previous months were positive, wage growth was strong, and new people joined the labor market which pushed up the participation rate. 312,000 jobs were added which beat estimates for 184,000. This was the biggest beat since the May 2009 report which is when the economy was first exiting the recession. This was the 6th biggest beat since 1999. The prior two reports were revised to show 58,000 more jobs were added than were reported last month The labor market is considered a lagging indicator, but when there are huge prints with 300,000 or more jobs created, it usually means a recession isn’t coming in the near term.”

Banks: “No Bank Failures in 2018; First Time since 2006” [Calculated Risk]. “This is only the third time since the FDIC was founded in 1933 that there were no bank failures in a calendar year. The great recession / housing bust / financial crisis related failures are behind us.”

Tech: “Facebook is the new crapware” [TechCrunch]. “Yesterday Bloomberg reported that the scandal-beset social media behemoth has inked an unknown number of agreements with Android smartphone makers, mobile carriers and OSes around the world to not only pre-load Facebook’s eponymous app on hardware but render the software undeleteable; a permanent feature of your device, whether you like how the company’s app can track your every move and digital action or not. Consumers who do not want their digital activity and location surveilled by the people-profiling giant will likely crave the peace of mind of not having any form of Facebook app, stub or otherwise, taking up space on their device. But an unknown number of Android users are now finding out they don’t have that option. Not cool, Facebook, not cool. Another interesting question the matter raises is how permanent Facebook pre-installs are counted in Facebook’s user metrics, and indeed for ad targeting purposes.” • A very good question. Assume the worst!

The Bezzle: “How’s that prediction for the utter disruption of the finance industry going?” [Quartz]. “80% of incumbent financial firms will be ‘irrelevant’ by 2030, a Jan. 29, 2018 report by the global research firm Gartner claimed. Fintech disruption will cause these traditional institutions to “cease to exist, become commoditized, or achieve zombie status,” the analysts wrote…. [T]here’s a view that starting a tech company is as much about ignoring profit-squeezing rules as it is doing technology things. Take Uber, the taxi service that broke into the sector without originally being regulated like one. Will watchdogs allow financial startups to sidestep the usual rules?….For Gartner’s sugar-frosted disruption prediction to come true, financial startups will have to be a lot more mindful of government watchdogs than Uber seems to have been.” • You’d think they’d squeeze “Gartner” into the headline…

The Bezzle: “Crypto mining giants in Japan and China close up shop” [Asia Times]. “As prices plummeted over the course of 2018 the level of difficulty in minting new digital coins remained high, leading to falling profitability. This has resulted in an exodus from large-scale mining operations which are no longer viable as the cost of hardware and power is greater than the value of the coins mined.”

Fiscal Policy: “December 2018 CBO Monthly Budget Review: Total Receipts Up by 1% And Spending Up 9% in the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2019” [Econintersect]. “The federal budget deficit was $317 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, CBO estimates, $92 billion more than the deficit recorded during the same period last year. Revenues were about the same and outlays were $93 billion (9 percent) higher than during the first quarter of 2018.” • Seems weird we’re talking ourselves into a recession in the midst of stimulus.

Health Care

“AMERICANS’ HEALTH AND EDUCATION PRIORITIES FOR THE NEW CONGRESS IN 2019” (pdf) [Politico/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health]. From the poll:

The report keeps mentioning opportunities for bipartisan co-operation, but somehow I don’t think #MedicareForAll is what they mean. Still, those are impressive numbers….

Our Famously Free Press

“2 deaths at Ed Buck’s home and West Hollywood is asking agonizing questions about race and class” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘If a young man was found dead in my house, I would have been handcuffed, publicly humiliated in front of my house, in front of my neighbors,’ said [Jeffrey King, founder of In the Meantime Men’s Group, a South Los Angeles outreach organization for LGBTQ black men], who is black. ‘They would have placed me in a car, held my head as they lowered me down into the backseat. They would have taken me to the station. … But that did not happen to Ed Buck.'” • This is a good story, but you can imagine the wall-to-wall coverage if Ed Buck were a Republican donor, instead of a liberal Democrat one. Or if he had donated to Sanders.

The 420

Ro Khanna is correct:

It’s ridiculous that the entrepreneurs who built a multi-billion-dollar industry are in jail. Cory Booker, bless his heart, got this one right; prior convictions should be expunged.

Neoliberal Epidemics

“Smoking is at a record low in the U.S., but the benefits aren’t shared equally” [Los Angeles Times]. “A new analysis of health data from the nation’s 500 largest cities shows that the people who live in neighborhoods with the highest smoking rates are more likely to be poor, less likely to be white, and more likely to have chronic heart or lung diseases. ‘The degree of inequity was surprising,’ said study leader Eric Leas, who conducted the work as a postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Prevention Research Center….. when an unequal outcome could have been avoided, you have a case of inequity…. Raising taxes on cigarettes to make them more expensive would probably reduce demand among low-income smokers, helping to erase at least some of the inequity, they added. The findings also suggest that smoking cessation programs would do more good if they were “targeted to resource-poor communities,” they wrote.” • I’d speculate that it’s very stressful to be poor, and the poor are self-medicating with nicotine. Cessation programs would be a benefit to the professional trainers, but probably nobody else.

Class Warfare

“Highly paid substitutes, lessons in large spaces — how L.A. Unified is preparing for a teachers strike” [Los Angeles Times]. • Scabs, naturally. Though if I were a parent, I don’t know how good I’d feel about L.A. Unified’s plan to “ease background checks for parent volunteers.”

“Surely You’re a Creep, Mr. Feynman” [The Baffler]. “In addition to cataloguing the trespasses of individual scientists who abuse the cultural power of their position, we have to dismantle the structures that have allowed their abuses to continue with little to no disruption. Just for starters, this means abandoning the myth that the science can be separated from the scientist.” • Hmm. “The science” is doing a lot of work there; the author seems to mean the process of doing science, rather than the deliverables of science. That said, I remember reading The Double Helix when I was in the sixth grade or so. A friend of my mother’s gave it to her; and I read it. Thinking back to Watson’s passages on Rosalind Franklin, read by me naively then, it seems to me now that my mother’s friend had something other than “the science” in mind when giving the gift.

“Econ, Too” [NPR]. “At 8 a.m. on Saturday (ouch), we dropped in on a session called “How Can Economics Solve Its Gender Problem?” It turned out to be well worth the sleep deprivation. The women on the panel — and they were all women — shared stories of navigating a maze of sexism.” • It’s not clear to me that mainstream economics — unlike genetics — should exist as anything other than a minor branch of the humanities that uses a wierd notation. Sexism or no. If Pinochet’s economists had been the “Chicago Kids,” instead of the “Chicago Boys,” would the fate of tortured Chileans have been different? The case of Gina Haspel, shatterer of glass ceilings, would argue no.

“Why should I support a political party that is marginalizing me out of existence?” [Jennifer N. Pritzker, WaPo]. “To me, restrictions on transgender military service are personal. I am a transgender woman…. I ask Republicans to prioritize policies that improve our country for all Americans. When the GOP asks me to deliver six- or seven-figure contributions for the 2020 elections, my first response will be: Why should I contribute to my own destruction?” • Well. Amazingly, WaPo doesn’t mention that the author is one of the Chicago Pritzkers, “one of the wealthiest families in the United States of America, being near the top of Forbes magazine’s “America’s Richest Families” list since the magazine began listings in 1982.” So “destruction” is doing a lot of work, there…..

“What Materialist Black Political History Actually Looks Like” [Adolph Reed, Nonsite.org]. • This is quite a salvo by Reed, who seems to be sharpening his polemic so that mere mortals like me can recycle it. The potted history of reactions to the 2016 election in the lead paragraph is great, and the “postulates about black American political history” at the end are illuminating, but these two paragraphs really caught my eye:

The race-reductionist argument is propelled by a combination of intense moral fervor and crude self-interest. I’ve argued in 2018 articles in nonsite, The Baffler, and Dialectical Anthropology, that, as it has evolved, the post-2016 debate has thrown into bold relief the class character of antiracist and other expressions of identity politics. That could be a salutary product of the controversy. It’s good in this sort of debate for the mist of ideology to burn off and the material stakes involved to be clear and in the open. However, many people who have followed or even participated in the debates have not connected the dots to see that obvious point or to acknowledge its implications. One reason for failure to do so is summed up pithily in Upton Sinclair’s quip, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Not only would pursuit of an agenda focused on addressing “horizontal inequality,” if successful, disproportionately benefit upper-status, already well-off people—as Walter Benn Michaels and I have noted tirelessly over the past decade at least, the reality of a standard of justice based on eliminating group disparities is that a society could be just if 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources so long as the one percent featured blacks, Hispanics, women, lesbians and gays, etc. in rough proportion to their representation in the general population; also, advocacy of defining the only meaningful inequality as disparities between groups is itself a career trajectory in the academy, as well as in the corporate, nonprofit and freelance commentary worlds. There’s no point trying to communicate with those whose resistance stems from such material investment; no matter what their specific content, their responses to class critique always amount to the orderly Turkle’s lament to McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—”This is my f*cking job!”

We all have to eat. The question is wnat.

News of the Wired

I should have posted this for Xmas. Sorry:

About your cellphone;

* * *

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 (Lee):

Lee writes: “Maple leaves on a bed of pearly spring hail.” In the San Francisco Bay Area.

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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. NotTimothyGeithner

    A “grassroots” style West Wing reboot.


    “The West Wing” ruined a generation, but this could work. Can you imagine that week neoliberal morons try to organize with similar style speeches?

    I particularly enjoy the optics of a “free trade liberal” explaining the wonders of free trade to a cop, which of course have their own unions. Then again, “The West Wing” was a show for Republicans who don’t like Country Pop music.

    This episode was brought to America by MSDNC’s very own Lawrence O’Donnell. His credits include the episodes which generally glorify the GOP and right wing economics.

    1. Carolinian

      Apparently Aaron Sorkin’s latest is a B’way version of To Kill a Mockingbird with the kids played by adults. Thinking outside the box.

      As in The West Wing, his persistent conceit is that we are ruled by fast talking smart people–good or bad ones–despite all evidence to the contrary. And re

      highest smoking rates are more likely to be poor

      don’t forget the movies where actors all these decades later continue to puff away onscreen so they will look cool and have something to do with their hands. Perhaps poor people are overly influenced by cinema’s bad example.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        As in The West Wing, his persistent conceit is that we are ruled by fast talking smart people–good or bad ones–

        The lesson of “The West Wing” is they are all good people who are merely debating.


        The author of the article is a fan of The West Wing but seems to be under the impression a right wing conservative crank is a good balance to an extreme liberal, identified because she’s pro-abortion (not pro-choice; just pro-abortion). Oh how America will be benefits from these debates….

        It was basically the Big Bang Theory for people who read Politico. The show was so damn dumb.

        1. Off The Street

          The lesson of “The West Wing” is they are all good people who are merely debating.

          All those long, hard years on the debate, er, forensics team will finally pay off when the new Midwest Wing rolls out, followed by the South Wing and the sought-after Hawaii and Guam Wing. Politics as sports for nerds, new and improved with major and minor leagues. The draft picks and signing bonuses should be interesting, to be announced at the intersection of Graft Avenue and Venal Place.

  2. JohnnyGL

    Those M4A numbers are pretty stark….here’s the question:

    Would Bernie shutdown the government for M4A? Would be it be a good idea? Would congress-critters shutdown the government on behalf of the health insurance industry and the donor class?

    I wonder how it would play out in public view. I think the left should think about how much hardball it’s willing to play to win some part of its agenda, because it may well come to that sort of thing.

    1. dcblogger

      No, Bernie would do no such thing, he would send out a call to his email list and ask them to go to the district offices of their Senators and Representative and demand single payer. Or perhaps he would ask them to picket the offices of a pharmaceutical giant, the possibilities are endless. But under no circumstances would he shut down the government. His supporters however, might very well shut down the annual conventions of AHIP and PhRMA. The possibilities are endless.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Homogeneity as a double-edged sword.

        To the oft-heard lament, “Why can’t we be more like the Scandinavian countries,” I have responded before by commenting that their ethnic homogeneity makes it an easier ask for people to sacrifice to lift up others–they’re all in the same tribe.

        Today I ran across this horrifying bit in a publication linked here for another piece, can’t remember which right now:

        The Danish parliament has designated 25 “ghetto” areas — Denmark’s term — which Muslim immigrants are crowded into. Families living in “ghettos” must send their children — starting at age 1 — to schools for 25 hours a week, where they’re taught about Christmas, Easter, and the Danish language. Failure to do so can result in a welfare cutoff.

        1. JerryDenim

          No different than requiring kindergarten attendance, but age 1??? Pol Pot re-education camp for babies. Wow!

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Crucial difference: in US preschools they teach about all the holidays, not just the Christian ones.

            Separation of church & state…

        2. Carey

          Tangential, but I read recently that 31.7% of the populace now in Sweden
          were foreign-born. I have not been there for a few years, but someone I
          know there (lives in Roslagen, works in Stockholm) has said recently that it is “very changed”, probably with the typical understatement, and I didn’t get the impression that it’s for the better.

    2. False Solace

      In 2010 Bernie Sanders filibustered the Senate for 8+ hours, back when Obama and the Democrats wanted to make Bush’s tax cuts for the rich permanent in exchange for a temporary 13 month extension to unemployment benefits. (As usual Obama defeated himself on the deal, he could have accomplished far more with the leverage.) You could say the filibuster accomplished nothing. The deal had already been done. But it put Sanders on the radar of myself and many other people. It was a passionate punctuation mark in a long string of actions that eventually led to 2016 and, hopefully, 2020.

      As for shutting down the government, I view it as theatrics. It’s bad for workers who need a regular paycheck to keep the lights on and it’s part of the right-wing strategy to make government seem unnecessary to people. And it’s not something a Senator can do on his own AFAIK.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Senators such as Sherrod Brown who had followings outside their home state took a nose dive. It reinforced the notion of the rotating villain strategy and the fecklessness of the Dems.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Since Obama supported making the Bush tax cuts permanent all along, and carefully conspired with Boehner and McConnell to make sure the Bush tax cuts were made permanent; how can Obama be said to have “defeated himself on the deal”? When making the Bush tax cuts permanent was the whole point of Obama’s conspiracy with Boehner and McConnell? ( And part of what Obama expects to be rewarded for now that he is “private sector”?)

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        I keep asking this question, which the media busy making money screaming about “Trump’s shutdown” seem disinclined to do.

        According to an admittedly brief review of the events of 12/20, the only Congresscritters demanding Trump veto the spending bill were the ~36 members of the “Freedom Caucus.” That is, it would seem there were ample votes to override said veto, wall money or no. Yet when the veto happened, driven perhaps by nothing other than the ham-handed confrontation from Pelosi and Schumer, who surely had to know what confronting a raging narcissist on his pet project would impel, why wasn’t it overridden?

        And who is holding what over McConnell’s head since the recess to compel his refusal to allow a vote on the new version? Because it’s a complete 180 from what he said with regard to the earlier bill.

        As I said, my review was brief and superficial, but my Spidey sense says something’s really weird here, and not just that both sides are using federal employees and the entire economy as a political football.

  3. JohnnyGL


    Excellent job by Nomiki Konst of handling the fast-moving TV show format in a hostile enviroment like Fox News.

    Not to stir up trouble, but I think Nomiki’s better on camera than AOC in this kind of rapid-fire style format. I imagine whether or not AOC could handle someone like a Tucker Carlson, and I don’t think she is there, yet. Needs more practice at being quick on her feet. Nomiki Konst, on the other hand, would do just fine on Tucker Carlson.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Paul Begala and Donna Brazille could hold their own on Crossfire when “debating” Tucker Carlson, and they are morons.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I wouldn’t call them morons, just very bright people who have to twist themselves in knots because that’s what defending Team Dem requires their defenders to do.

        Anyone would have a hard time defending Team Dem, they’re so corrupt and full of contradictions it’s a nightmare to act as their PR flak.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Donna Brazille of Gore 2000? who pulled resources out of contested states to run up the score in places such as New Orleans in 2016. This is among her litany of failures but one of the more recent ones.

          And Paul Begala? I know he plays a Molly Ivins act, but something something Texas, Begala was pitching a strategy in 1992 that would lose to George HW Bush by not winning states.

    2. Geo

      It’s curious how much media exposure and the standards AOC is held to – not because of her age but because she is a freshman congressperson with no prior name recognition. To expect her to be as capable as she has already proven to be would be a huge ask of anyone, to expect her to handle a debate with a top ranked Fox News host is pretty audacious. How many other congresspersons succeed in such a setting?

      Yet, from what she’s already shown I can imagine she would do a wonderful job of getting her message out there. Plus, Tucker doesn’t seem to play the strongman tactics that O’Reilly did of mic cutting and yelling over his guests so she’d actually be allowed to speak. And as we all know, when a progressive message is properly communicated people seem to like it.

      1. JohnnyGL

        To clarify, I wasn’t knocking AOC, she’s clearly got buckets of talent and is just starting. Probably didn’t make sense to reference her in this comment. My bad.

        I was just wowed at how well Nomiki kept her composure and hit back with excellent responses. We need more voices on the left that can do that.

          1. Procopius

            You’re expecting the media to break their own rice bowls. They follow the orders of the people who pay them. Along with other monopolies, we need to break up the entertainment conglomerates. We need to elect people who will appoint regulators who will enforce the Sherman Act. Some of the freshman Representatives show a lot of promise. We need to replace a lot of Senators.

        1. nycTerrierist

          I really enjoyed seeing NK in action, she was terrific.

          Also love the host’s suggestion at the end of the clip:
          If Hillary really wants Trump to lose the next election, the most effective thing
          she could do is endorse him!

          that would be brilliant
          and of course, the last thing she’d ever consider.

        2. Geo

          Agreed. Nomiki is amazingly good at communicating economic messages. Wish she got more exposure for sure.

          As for AOC, I didn’t take your words as anyway negative about her but more about a newbie being in such a big spotlight. She’s handling it better than could have been expected for sure!

          1. woof

            Nomiki Konst is great! I too wish there were many more like her.

            But AOC is special. She has, in my view, a natural political grace that’s very rare. During the 60 minutes interview, I kept thinking of the millions of women of all ages, but especially those under 35, that might truly hear AOC, and that, had it been anyone else, they could’ve turned away or thrown up defenses. I hope she doesn’t change at all.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Think you meant, “And” rather than “But” to start your paragraph, but what do I know, maybe you did mean to compare and contrast the two ladies. It’s a false dichotomy though. They are both great, and I say bring on more just like them, and Tulsi, and Nina. That generation of women leaders in the USA is one of the few shreds of hope I have in America to get its shit together.

              If you go back and watch clips of Nomiki from TYT and during Democratic “Reform Committee” … she personally exposed a lot of corruption within the Democratic apparatus by name. It mostly fell on deaf ears. She is the real deal. Young, beautiful, intelligent, takes no shit, and speaks truth to power. That same combination in AOC scares the piss out of the oligarchy and their minions. It should. America, more leaders like this please.

              1. woof

                I did mean the phrasing I chose. And I do mean to contrast and compare. It’s possible to win a debate with Tucker Carlson (as someone suggested) and lose the audience — the very audience you’re trying to reach. (In my opinion, that’s one of the ways politicians, year in and year out, win such high disapproval ratings. Nobody understands this better than Rupert Murdoch et al.)

                Now, I have seen that tape of NK tsking on the DNC reform committee. i watched it a number of times when it first came out and Lambert has rerun it here recently. It’s breathtaking; I wish Nomiki were chairing the Senate Intelligence committe rather than DiFi. I have nothing but the highest regard for NK.

                But here is my main point. I once lived in the Bronx; I have spent my entire life around people who have had no voice what so ever at any level of this political economic system; a system that beats them and cheats them at every turn. They don’t know what a policy wonk is. They believe there’s nothing that can be done — or incredibly that it is even their own fault — or, worse (because of the media) they blame race, immigrants, especially Muslims, crime, the teacher’s union — in kid you not. AOC is such a rare voice. She has a sincerity, a credibility, that know PAC money, Dark money, or high priced handlers could conjure up. Just ask Elizabeth Warren.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Agreed. Nomiki is amazingly good at communicating economic messages. Wish she got more exposure for sure.

            I’m sure there will be plenty for her to do in New York City, which is also our media capital.

      2. Will S.

        Most congresscritters seemed incapable of even handling Stephen Colbert’s faux-stupidity (before he was lobotomized by the Blob) in the Better Know A District series, so I sincerely doubt any of them could handle an intelligent person asking pointed questions without having prepared answers.

        1. Procopius

          There’s nothing wrong with having prepared answers ready for an interview. Sure, they’re going to try to sandbag you, but you should have some idea of what the topics are going to be before you go for an interview, and a canny politician, as I think AOC is, will anticipate at least some of the gotchas they’re going to try to hit her with. I think it’s been amazing how few missteps she’s made.

      1. Big River Bandido

        I agree. I wish she wasn’t wasting her talents by running for such a worthless office as NYC Public Advocate.

  4. Gareth MacLeod

    West Wing Reboot

    Please no. Haven’t you done enough damage, Aaron? I was planning on writing my own post about how I learned to stop loving WW, but a few podcasts beat me to it (I think Citations Needed has a whole episode on this).

    1. 4paul

      He doesn’t pop up often, but makes an impact when he does!
      Also, nice link to Jamarl’s Soapbox (now with new graphics). Maybe I started listening to him because of a link here. Big fan.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thanks for the link! If things continue to unravel as they are I may not be able to get to high ground and cover in the countryside before the “shit-hits-the-fan”.

    2. Milton

      Same head shot is used for Mary Matlin and Maria Bartiromo – not that it means anything. Seems like a pretty big oversight for keynote speakers at the conference. I’m sure they’re more diligent when it comes to patient billing, though…

  5. Summer

    “Every day we are sliding further away from democracy into an oligarchic form of government.”

    I don’t know. Maybe the reality is e every day more people are realizing we are IN an oligarchic form of govt.

    Proceeding as if one is preventing something from happening is different from operating to get out of something that has already happened.

    1. Geo

      A study back in 2014 seemed to confirm we already are an oligarchy.

      Was great to see the Sanders rebuttal last night too. He took the framing away from the manufactured crisis of immigration and focused on real problems facing the majority of Americans – and the world.

      Even the people of Daily Kos liked it!
      Bernie Sanders TORCHES Trump

      1. dcblogger

        Was great to see the Sanders rebuttal last night too. He took the framing away from the manufactured crisis of immigration and focused on real problems facing the majority of Americans – and the world.

        so good, it had to be repeated

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is that right that Sanders said ‘President Trump lies all of the time?’

        Acording to Merriam Webster, it (all of the time, or all the time) can mean

        1. every single time
        2. (informal) very often.

        If he meant the first, it would seem to me that Sanders lied on that occasion. If he meant the second definition, he is welcome to say that about Obama or Hillary as well, just to be consistent.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Neither Obama nor Hillary Clinton are President of the United States today, January 9th, 2019. Context matters.

  6. foghorn longhorn

    Looks like Schumer and Pelosi hooked up with the hillary p.r. firm.
    We Don’t Care About Optics Orange Man Bad.

      1. pretzelattack

        i could see comey as lurch. i’m sure there are suitable candidates for the thing and uncle fester, too.

      2. Christopher Fay

        That’s a slur on Morticia and Gomez. Actually Gomez hits a golf ball through that couple’s front window every day.

    1. Louis Fyne

      but a staffer did remember to bring the American flags for the cameras! Give me more cowbell! errr, US flags.

      As today’s nominally non-nationalistic/anti-populist DC Democrats tend to shy away from using Betsy Ross-type iconography.

      see the 2016 DNC convention logo, the sound stage for the 1st night, then contrast with the sound stage later in the week—-after the Twittersphere mocked the lack of US flags on stage.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I guess that their budget didn’t run to a second podium so they weren’t crushed together like that. And I thought that I was the only one to think of the Addams family-

        Their creepy and their kooky
        Mysterious and spooky
        Their all together ooky
        Schumer & Pelosi

        1. polecat

          Is it me, or does madamn speaker look rather A L I E N ish … as in an outer limits kind of way ?? … I mean those EYES !! .. “Yikes ” she’s creepin me out !

          I think the V, otherwise known as the Schumer, was between lizard tongue flicks in that photo ..

    2. Geo

      While it wasn’t unexpected, their approach of wanting to be “the reasonable people in the room” was a bit disappointing. The memes all portray them as parents scolding a child. I get why they think this message will resonate but they still fell into the trap of letting Trump define the narrative.

      As always, Sanders showed how it should be done by reframing the debate around all the big issues being ignored while Trump tries to manufacture a crisis for vapid reasons.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        It’s been like 45 years since civics class, but isn’t the house supposed to send up a budget?
        They haven’t forced him to veto jack, kabuki theater at its finest.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I forget the year, but the Budget Reform Act of X (1927?) largely requires the President to much of the heavy lifting by presenting a budget and presenting a budget by a certain date. Herding cats and such. Spending bills only need to originate in the House. Anyone can write a budget.

          American civics classes are terrible.

          Shrub presented budget which included major pork projects for blue districts to buy votes for other activities. Obama didn’t play ball with the GOP as individuals, believing the GOP Congressman would rather work with him on cutting Social Security before securing reelection, and focused on his own austerity efforts while the GOP Congressmen had their hats out as they didn’t want to cut Social Security without a corresponding show to distract.

          1. Darius

            For someone so supposedly smart, Obama was so clueless about DC Republicans. We can be thankful that, in the end, the Freedom Caucus couldn’t take yes for an answer. Obama wanted to give away the store for virtually nothing. They didn’t want the store. They wanted his head on a pole.

        1. polecat

          Tripped into the event horizon did you .. how were those stretching exercises ? .. lose some molecular weight from all that holydaze foo d ? .. gained a few billion inches in stature ? Red shift Blue shift ?

  7. Summer

    Re: Facebook App

    The first thing I deleted from my work issued Android.

    If I couldn’t?
    Dumb phone here I come.

    These are some desperate authoritarian SOBs!!!

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      …pre-load Facebook’s eponymous app on hardware but render the software undeleteable; a permanent feature of your device,…

      Microsoft pre-loading Internet Explorer on PCs that came with the Windows operating system ultimately got them in trouble. How is FB doing this different?

      1. none

        They’re talking about Samsung phones that undeleteably bundle Facebook. There are some posts on the tech blogs about it. One guesses Facebook paid Samsung for the bundling, a usual crapware thing.

    2. bob

      They don’t even need the facebook app installed. A lot of, if not most app developers, use the facebook SDK in order to build into their app facebook connections.

      It turns out that its impossible to remove the “facebook” from your other apps. The apps also default to sending info to facebook before even asking for permission to send the info, which would seem to be in violation of lots of laws.

      The presenters below have obviously been schooled by lawyers in how to talk “nicely” about facebook raping everyone who gets near an andriod phone.

      How Facebook tracks you on Android

      (even if you don’t have a Facebook account)


      ” It turns out that some apps routinely send Facebook information about your device and usage patterns – the second the app is opened.”

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        That’s why it’s better to bookmark sites and go there via DDG or some equivalent rather than use apps. At least I’m hoping it makes a difference.

      1. bob

        You probably didn’t even ‘disable’ it.

        I’d need to see packet logs before I believed it. Funny how no one seems to be doing that basic level stuff anymore.

        Are there any packets leaving your phone and headed to facebook?

        1. Chris

          Ok, I’ll bite. How do you sniff for packets on your android phone? I don’t even know how to tell if my apps are sending data to FB or not. I have uninstalled everything FB related and have not given any permissions to apps that I know would entail sharing my location. But how can you check your phone to see if some of your apps are sending data to FB regardless of attempts to prevent it on an android phone?

          1. bob

            It’s not easy.

            One way could be to only use wifi and sniff your local network/router.

            The video linked shows much better qualified people than me and they don’t have an answer to this. They do seem to demonstrate that facebook can’t be trusted to live up to any of what they say.

            With android phones you’ve got two levels of obscurity- Facebook running on top of google. Black boxes all the way down.

          2. Summer

            The best advice is not to download a lot of apps. Minimize the number of data collectors. Really minimal…

    3. The Rev Kev

      Got an old Samsung tablet that I use and it is not only Facebook that does this. I have Dropbox pre-installed but there is no way that I can delete it. It keeps on getting updates so they cannot be stopped either. Still, what can you expect from a company like Dropbox that has Condoleezza Rice on their board.

  8. hemeantwell

    Re the coercive Trump Wall speech solicitation, the layout looks a lot like Pelosi solicitation emails sent by the DCCC. (Usually Outlook junks them, but a recent update broke message rules…) The most recent in the series was of the same impatient, arrogant tone. Looks like when it comes to soliciting small donations both parties think arm twisting is the way to go. (and I’m not a DP member)

    Nancy Pelosi emailed you 5 times.

    She told you Republicans just launched unprecedented attacks against Democrats in 3O districts.

    She told you these attacks could destroy our new Democratic Majority.

    She told you she was personally triple-matching all Membership renewals until midnight to help us fight back.

    We don’t know what else to say — except that this is your last chance to renew your 2O19 Democratic Membership. Speaker Pelosi needs 4,861 more Democrats by her side.


  9. jsn

    I think it’s worth noting the chart says “providing health insurance coverage”, not actual health care: actual health care isn’t within the Overton Window quite yet, or if it is, all the carpenters are trying desperately to frame it back out!

  10. dcblogger

    for what it is worth, I think that the Democratic Presidential Primary will be Bernie, Warren and everybody else. Rather than dividing the progressive vote, they will make if screamingly obvious that the progressive vote owns the Democratic party and this time voters are looking at actual records.

  11. Summer

    Re: Baffler/Science
    “Just for starters, this means abandoning the myth that the science can be separated from the scientist.”

    Actually science needs to be separated from “THE” scientist in another sense.

    Science is the contribution of more than “one” man and the uses are determined NOT by “THE” scientist.

    So maybe alot of the problem stems from the desire to always prop up ONE GREAT MAN.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Or ONE GREAT WOMAN…even for someone as anticipated as AOC.

      And another point – scientific results can be, and often are, indiscriminately applied by one single human being (or more). This is really the fatal point of the Scientific Method (not so much what we do before or during the results, but afterwards).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Yes, but the Scientific Method can not apply the method by itself.

          The method needs someone (and in the only case we have so far, that means humans) to be ‘in use.’

          That’s the fatal flaw…unless, robots can practice the method and apply the results…objectively, altruistically and most carefully (meaning, to keep in mind always the best explanation is only provisionall and temporary, until a better best-explanation is in effect).

          1. The Beeman

            I took your comment to be about the application of the results, not the process of getting to the results.

            “scientific results can be, and often are, indiscriminately applied…”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              You’re right and perhaps I didn’t make it clear, but the results link back the method, and in that sense, it’s the flaw in the method (and many will say we should look at it separate from the results…as well the humans using it).

              1. pretzelattack

                that’s why you have multiple independent scientists doing multiple independent studies. then there work is critiqued by many more independent scientists when they publish. helps if it is a science in the first place, of course.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  That’s correct and brings us back to the initial comment that scientific results can be applied by just one man or one corporation, indiscriminately.

                  It’s the application part that is particularly problematic, it seems to me.

    2. Joey

      1. cough cough BILL CLINTON cough cough.

      Important serious men of power getting crucified hasn’t really taken off. I’ll be more impressed when someone more useful and less foolish than Weiner gets ousted.

      2. If Copernicus were an admitted racist, the sun wouldn’t circle the earth?

      I’m fine with ridding ourselves of mythic men hagiographies, yet the author seems to conclude herr scientists should become disappeared like Louis CK and Bill Cosby. I’m getting used to not seeing Fat Albert, but you can’t ghost out Feynman citations no matter how allegedly ill-mannered.

      1. Carey

        Maybe there’s an agenda at play having nothing to do with science?

        If one accepts that we’re in a dark age now (I do) the world and
        its knowledge, which is mostly provisional, look quite different.

        1. JBird4049

          Make an individual an unperson, which uncreates their contributions to society, because society has changed what is acceptable behavior. Said unacceptable behavior to determined according to the future changing diktat of the cultural elites upon the whole society. This has nothing to do with a quasi thought police of course.

  12. Watt4Bob

    Was watching the scientology expo hosted by Leah Remini last night, describing the fundraising tactics used by David Miscavige to raise funds for building new churches.

    Trump’s cult-like machinations to win friends, influence people, and BTW, make money, resemble Miscavige’s tactics.

    Now someone’s going to post a link to matching Democratic efforts?

    Everything is like Calpers.

    1. Carey

      We’re at the shouting-and-pointing stage, now. I wonder at how much different it could
      be, and have been doing so since late 1978.

  13. BlueMoose

    A general question since we are discussing politics: is anyone talking about term-limits? Or is it just totally not even on the radar? Why isn’t it on the agenda? It seems like a lot of other issues would go away if this was implemented. Who would waste their money on a two term senator? Congress critters wouldn’t have to spend so much time on the phone raising funds for re-election – they might actually find some time to do something for the proles that elected them. I know – dreaming….

    1. a different chris

      I talk to myself about it occasionally. What you say is an obvious positive.

      A negative: with the apathy of the electorate about doing it’s homework already then TPTB can pull strings where we get a slew of new faces with the same backers and thus the same laws… but nobody specific to point at when things go wrong. And if you have X years, you may be even more in their pocket, as if they can demonstrate that they’ll keep their promises to keep you fed after your term is up. And they will, this is all chump change.

      Imagine if Bernie had gotten flushed out at say 10 years. And do you think the people who vote for Mitch McConnell would vote for anybody substantively different?

    2. dcblogger

      because term limits are a completely horrible idea promoted by the Koch brothers to insure that there is no one in the legislature with any institutional memory and that the only career path is becoming a lobbyist. California’s hideous energy deregulation was passed after term limits were instituted, why that did not permanently discredit the idea I will never know.

      1. voteforno6

        That’s pretty much the argument I make whenever someone brings up term limits. I always ask, just what do they think that Congress-critter will be doing during that last term, when he/she isn’t able to run for reelection again?

    3. False Solace

      There are no term limits for lobbyists. No salary limits either. The lobbyists end up knowing everything. It’s not a good dynamic in states that have tried it.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      The President is limited to two terms because the GOP correctly recognized any President would prefer to die as President than as a private citizen. To do this, they would want to remain popular. Anyone with a time limit on the White House would seek to replicate the lifestyle of President which will require money. Although Presidential “libraries” were where they kept their papers for academic purposes, they’ve since become Ziggurats designed to rip up public parks while the former President hangs out with Richard Branson.

      Not that I don’t think 9 out of 10 elected should be replaced because they have virtually no asset other than corruption, but term limits isn’t the solution. The problem isn’t age or longevity. Take former Senator Glass. He passed the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 and Glass-Steagall in 1933. World War I and the GOP control of the Senate put him on the back burner, but he knew what to do.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Why would they waste money on a two term senator? For the same reason they wasted money on the two term president Obama. Two terms was plenty long enough for Obama to audition for rich after-office rewards based on his two terms of action.

      Likewise, the two term limited Senator would spend the two terms auditioning for multi-million dollar rewards upon departure from office. Also, keeping the Senators limited to two terms would keep them ignorant of issues and mechanics and leave them at the mercy of the Corporate Lobbyist permagov. That’s why the upper class likes term limits for officeholders.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      Term limits are an awful idea, as we discovered in Maine fighting the landfill. The only people who understood what the statute meant, and what the history was (besides us) was the fancy law firm in Portland who wrote it at the behest of Casella. The legislature ended up with no institutional memory at all.

  14. a different chris

    The 538 model, which was based on publicly-available polling data, said the campaigns should target WI and MI.

    Ah, but a Russian Super-agent got the gig as Podesta’s limo driver. And at a quiet stoplight, he rolled down the separation curtain. Holding up two 8×11’s, one with the outline of WI and the other showing MI, he addressed Podesta in a low, mellifluous voice: “These are not the states that you are looking for”. The light changed, he raised the curtain and returned to the role of affable chauffeur.

    Only explanation that makes sense. Right?

      1. Hameloose Cannon

        Nevermind in 2016 WI and MI had a peculiar strain of Republican governors looking for distractions away from their own crises, governors whose antipathy toward Clinton was well-known, which would make good-faith cooperation, at the state-level with a partisan national presidential campaign, limited, to say the least. However, polling data at the time would be great for completing a cost-benefit analysis before green-lighting a “dirt for sanctions relief” offer by a foreign security apparatus. Data which is only useful to people participating in a campaign for one of two people. I just don’t see how Clinton campaign malpractice exculpates corrupt foreign influence. If the honestly charming Ms. Daniels can extort the President into making unlawful payments, how hard is it really for a foreign intelligence agency to do the same?

        1. Pat

          And I have a hard time blaming a politician’s loss on foreign influence when it is clear that politician’s campaign had no concept of math and how the votes were counted. Especially when there is evidence of foreign influence on said politician from other foreign countries from her previous post.

          Russia is a bullshit the dog ate my homework excuse. There is not one major nation of the world which isn’t trying to influence the foreign policy of countries that can have an effect on them, and that includes trying to help or hinder the elections. And that most certainly includes the United States of America, but in America my favorite is Israel. They don’t even bother trying to be covert for much of it anymore. it is part of the mix for every major national election. all of them. Clinton’s loss is Clinton’s loss no matter how much all involved wish it were otherwise. Clinton was a bad choice, a terrible candidate and despite trying to game the damn election ran a second incompetent campaign for President. Her arrogance and the bubble most of the Democratic leadership live in made them oblivious to the dissatisfaction of huge portions of the voting public. Russia didn’t make Hillary Clinton run a campaign that told voters nothing was going to change, not did it make her ignore the rust belt to spend time campaigning in places where she had already sealed the deal and a few places she had little to no chance like Arizona. Arizona!?!?! It wasn’t just the choice to spit in the eye of the working and middle class. Maybe the suburban Republican strategy could have worked for a different Democrat, and that is a huge maybe, but ignoring the decades those same suburban Republicans spent despising the Clintons was another arrogant delusion unforced by any outside influence, including Russia.

          Sorry, but not placing the blame for Clinton’s loss where it really belongs in Clinton, Obama, the DNC, and the feckless consultant class just allows that incompetence to survive AND continues the destructive policies that led to record Democratic losses over six years.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Follow with me,

      -David Brock spent much of the 90’s trying to destroy the Clintons
      -Brock started working for the Clintons and led them to two defeats.
      -What sane person would hire David Brock to help Team Clinton?
      -The obvious answer is someone who wanted Donald Trump, Kremlin plant, to win? Or another Kremlin plant.
      -Who brought Brock onto Team Clinton?
      -Bill Clinton who vacationed in the USSR, not the Russian Federation.

      Here we are, we are supposed to believe master politician Bill Clinton didn’t know how the electoral college worked…hmmm.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        As much as I hate to give credit to Bill Clinton for anything, he argued mightily against the campaign’s total reliance on data and refusal to give enough money to state parties to get the job done. At least, that’s the story in every retrospective on the campaign I’ve read to date. Hillary apparently hates crowds, and was more than happy to accept the assurance of her tech-kids the numbers had her winning a slam-dunk.

        And, of course, the famous Clinton penchant for carrying a grudge likely further complicated the situation, as she had a jones against MI and WI because they went full throttle for Bernie. Any excuse not to go there was apparently sufficient.

    2. Whoamolly

      The driver also waved his hand as he said “These are not the states you are looking for.”

      Sounds pretty damning to me!

  15. a different chris

    “[D]espite … its abundance of billionaires-in-residence …. California still has the highest poverty rate in the U.S


  16. nippersmom

    Part of a string of comments on another site regarding news that Bezos is divorcing his wife of 25 years :

    Has he ordered a new one yet?

    Don’t forget- free shipping!!

    1. Chris

      I hope she takes him for everything she can.

      I wonder if he’ll pull an Elon and start “upgrading” himself too so he appears to age in reverse according to public photos.

    1. voteforno6

      Ah, Toll Road Terry McAuliffe…I do hope that he runs for President, just so I can vote against him.

      Seriously, f**k that guy.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What toll roads? Did Terry sign new ones? A couple of those were signed by Tim Kaine, especially the Northern Virginia ones, absolutely hideous contracts.

        Compared to Kaine, Terry was alright. Kaine put an end to the felon voting rights restoration process by not doing it anymore, and Terry said the system was stupid and restored all the rights.

        I despise Terry, but Tim Kaine is a terrible human being who is overlooked because of his dopey nature.

        1. Pat

          Ah yes Kaine, another unforced Clinton error. He is a despicable human being, has a scarily bad political history. Yet maneuvered himself onto a winning but not so winning Presidential ticket. Don’t think maybe all the ways he dismantled the DNC before handing it over to Wasserman Schultz might not have helped.

          Of course the Clintons also love Terry. But I do think he has left slightly less destruction in his wake than Tim. Hell Cuomo,demon that he is, looks alright compared to Tim. But I would happily stuff all of them in barrels to go over Niagra Falls over and over again until.the Falls won.

  17. Summer

    Smoking is at a record low in the U.S., but the benefits aren’t shared equally” [Los Angeles Times].

    A good number of “closet” smokers out there…smoke shops abound in fairly well to do neighborhoods.

  18. Plenue

    >“Why should I support a political party that is marginalizing me out of existence?”

    I’ve gotta say, transgender activists are doing a hell of a job at attempting to push me away from supporting them. No need for active bigots; the incessant, well, whining from LGBTQIXBBQ circles does plenty of damage by itself. The sheer amount of focus put on their issues when they are, at most, 7% of the population, is maddening.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Transgender: 0.6% of the population.

      It’s almost like they’re trying to divert attention from the 90%….

      Adding, you can’t do both/and if you’re trying to merge different ontologies. I’d argue that universal concrete material benefits, especially for the working class*, would benefit trans people as such more than anything the identitarians can do, but what they cannot do is benefits the identitarians who are able to cash in, Deray-style, as the Reed piece — I’m really surprised nobody is commenting on this — points out.

      1. Carey

        I gave the Reed piece a go, and will try again later. So many words to get to a
        bit of meat, IMO, a la Giroux (I find myself saying “SAY SOMETHING!”) at the glowing screen in front of me). I did watch, in the interim, a video interview of him by Dixon, and what struck me was how directly articulate and personable he was in that realm; not what I expected based on what I’d read at all.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        My personal view is the Reptilians, er…Republicans, aren’t restricted to straight white males, but the GOP isn’t exactly a welcoming place. These natural Republicans gravitate towards the other means to power and rely on partisans who largely confine their efforts to cable news and social aspects and don’t pay much attention beyond jerseys to support them. Being natural Republicans, lying and being incapable of shame is an innate talent.

        Bill was too young and outside the solid South to become a Republican star, so he became a Democrat while the old powers joined the GOP, and Obama despite his obvious Reagan fetish became a Democrat. Aravosis worked for Ted Stevens (talk about soulless). Markos raised $80,000 to propose to Pelosi or something, but brutal policies towards immigrants were simply ignored for 8 years.

        Reed is giving these people too much credit when he brings up visions of justice. “There’s profit to be had” is the moral philosophy of so much of the Democratic elite these days.

  19. Carey

    From the Vanity Fair piece on O’Rourke:

    “…His legislative record is relatively short,” David Wade, a former adviser to John Kerry, told The Hill. “His problematic votes are mostly home-state votes that could be managed if his larger narrative proves durable…”

    1. Carey

      Thinking a little more about O’Rourke: I wonder if the Dem strategist/consultant class
      are maybe surprised about how much early pushback they’re getting on His potential
      candidacy, and I’m a little interested to see what kind of unlazy skills they (and their backers, of course) might have, “moving forward”.

  20. Off The Street

    The other article in The Baffler about Feynman et al may perk NC reader curiosity about other aspects of science. If so, here is a book review and discussion about Thomas Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions and related topics. Philosophy factors in, too.

    1. Carey

      I’m interested in phil of science and learning more about Kuhn and the book, so thanks for that link.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. One thing people forget about paradigm shifts is that you can only determine if they have happened retrospectively. Unless you’re running a grift of some sort.

  21. Carey

    I received the latest issue of the DSA’s magazine ‘Democratic Left’ today.
    The title/theme (fifteen pages, all of it): ‘Toward Socialist Feminism’.

    Why? The women good /men bad (unless they act like ‘woke’ women)
    framing appalls me. Why not just “a better life, and a commons, for all persons”?

    Wonder if they’ve been Mockingbirded.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Infiltrated, I can buy. They were themselves aware that James Avery was apparently sending in ringers to get incriminating clips.

      The problem with what passes for feminism…isn’t. It is and has been from its inception a movement of middle and upper class White women for their own sort, totally focused on equal pay and getting more women in power positions. Oh, and making sure Planned Parenthood is funded, which I suppose could be considered tossing a bone to their less-fortunate sisters. I suspect it’s inevitable that’s what the DSA version would look like, since it’s basically the only version all the women putting their version together know about.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Wonder if they’ve been Mockingbirded.

      I’m thinking along the same lines. Class interests factor in, too, of course. I don’t see a lot of workplace organizing going on. Appallingly, I’m seeing national DSA tweets supporting #OpenBorders and there’s a real circle to be squared with doing that and supporting #MedicareForAll. Identitarians are liberals with nose-rings, I guess.

      1. Carey

        And it’s not just the DSA, of course, but the whole presentation of the issue I mentioned seems designed to drive much of the citizenry *away*. It did me,
        though maybe for different reasons than the intended ones.
        Good summary in that last sentence, BTW.

      2. Carey

        I don’t want to beat this to death, but someone with a better, broader eye than mine could glean much from this issue’s cover, I think. Worth seeing.

  22. anon in so cal

    Regarding Pacific Gas & Electric and the California (Paradise, etc.) fires: (off topic)


    “Exclusive: California awarded a record-breaking $250 million #CampFire cleanup contract to Tetra Tech, the company at the center of San Francisco’s shipyard Superfund scandal after being caught falsifying soil tests”


  23. Some Guy

    I am de-lurking to first offer praise for your great work, and second to politely request that you stop, or at least reconsider, your “we’re talking ourselves into it” bit on the impending recession.

    This notion that the economy is a function of ‘animal spirits’ or confidence rather than monetary policy is a right-wing trope rightly mocked by Paul Krugman (who I lost all respect for during the 2016 primaries, but nonetheless can be on target with respect to the right wing in the U.S.) with his ‘confidence fairy’ locution.

    The reality is that the Central Banks control the economy. You can be sure that if the Fed wasn’t destroying billions of dollars every month and raising rates, nobody would be talking anyone into a recession, home sales and car sales and asset prices wouldn’t be falling (and not just in the U.S., but across the globe as central bankers coordinate a tightening cycle across the globe – do you really think every country just started talking themselves into a recession at the same time?).

    If workers get a hint of having market power / wage increases / etc, the central bank raises rate / tightens policy to make sure that doesn’t happen. That is exactly what is happening now, and pretending that the confidence fairy is to blame instead of monetary policy is just running cover for the people doing what they always do – making sure labor is always on the run.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. RL calls, so I will answer this hastily. You write:

      The reality is that the Central Banks control the economy.

      I’m not sure I agree. I would say that the 1% and the 10%, of whom the central bankers are a part, control the economy, the 1% through ownership, the 10% through managerial and symbolic skills (and perhaps a piece of the action, too).

      It’s important to think about how that control works. I don’t see it as mechanical; I see it as more of an a class-based aneural cognitive system (a “hive mind”) — not necessarily very knowledgeable or intelligent, though adaptive with strong survival skills — and I see policy as the result or summation of competing subsystems of that larger system. There are clearly subsystems within the elite “hive mind” that expect/prefer (the same thing, if you’ve shorted something) a recession, and I would bet taking “the economy” talking point away from Trump is the view of one such. Others want to screw over workers combat inflation, others are looking at proxies like an inverted yield curve. And of course symbol manipulators in the press are busily propagating all those views. That’s what “talking ourselves into it” is short-hand for to me. So I don’t think we’re that far apart…

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