2:00PM Water Cooler 1/8/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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


“Wall Street executives are hearing from Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and other Democrats as they gauge interest in possible 2020 presidential campaigns” [CNBC]. “Despite the left’s outcry against Wall Street money, political financiers believe candidates are going to have to appeal to both the grassroots and big donors in order to compete with Trump’s massive campaign warchest…. ‘I think you have to have to do both or you’re not going to have a campaign,’ said a Democratic bundler who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘If you don’t take big money at all, that’s going to be a problem. I would be very surprised I saw anybody say I’m only doing the low end. They are probably going to start with that.'” • The bundler — and the story! — somehow omit to mention Sanders did exactly that in 2016.


“THE TRUTH ABOUT ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: The inside story of how, in just one year, Sandy the bartender became a lawmaker who triggers both parties” [Business Insider]. • Not even a hit piece! Toward the end: “‘She seems quite charming, she seems quite open and accessible and likable, and I think some people will be surprised at how much they like her,’ the strategist said. ‘What she does with that and how she uses it to advance her goals, that will show whether she is savvy.'” • I think the Democrats have quite enough “savvy” people as it is. That’s why they are where they are.

“‘Cops have blood on their hands’: Protests erupt outside wealthy Democrat donor Ed Buck’s home after SECOND man dies there in 18 months as police are criticized for failing to investigate death of male prostitute properly” [Daily Mail]. “The retired donor was again interviewed by police yesterday after another black man, in his 50s, died in his presence although the cause is not yet known.” • Quite a lot of detail. Buck “has donated “nearly $30,000″ to Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton, Ted Lieu, Pete Aguilar and Raja Krishnamoorthi as well as the Getting Things Done PAC.” Oh.

2016 Post-Mortem

“I Was Sexually Harassed On Bernie Sanders’ Campaign. And No One Cared.” [Forward]. “In the days after my encounter, I discovered it was impossible for a volunteer to find protocols for dealing with harassment of any kind, or the names, titles, and contact information for the personnel. I spent day and night calling and emailing dozens of campaign representatives to find out how to report it, but no one answered.” • One error in the article: “Last week, Politico uncovered an internal Sanders campaign document alleging staffers had botched addressing sexism and harassment in 2016.” Politico was given a letter to the Sanders campaign, not an “internal Sanders campaign document.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“DSA Two Years Later: Where Are We At? Where Are We Headed?” [New Politics]. “We have not had such a vibrant left in America for forty or fifty years, no socialist group this big in 70 years, and nothing exactly like this ever. Everyone on the left should celebrate this remarkable development. Which is not to say there are no problems, but many are good problems, almost all of them necessary ones, and only a few of them seriously troubling. The real issue is the direction: where is DSA going? And the biggest question regarding the group’s future is its relationship to the Democratic Party, a party itself in flux. Will DSA, whose rebirth began in Sanders Democratic Party primary campaign, be able to attain escape velocity and become a truly independent socialist organization, or will the greater gravity of the Democratic Party—its size, money, influence, connections, power—succeed in keeping DSA within its orbit?” • A long read, but a must-read. If Politico were any good, they’d be publishing pieces like this.

“What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency” [The Atlantic]. ” Unknown to most Americans, a parallel legal regime allows the president to sidestep many of the constraints that normally apply. The moment the president declares a ‘national emergency’—a decision that is entirely within his discretion—more than 100 special provisions become available to him. While many of these tee up reasonable responses to genuine emergencies, some appear dangerously suited to a leader bent on amassing or retaining power. For instance, the president can, with the flick of his pen, activate laws allowing him to shut down many kinds of electronic communications inside the United States or freeze Americans’ bank accounts. Other powers are available even without a declaration of emergency, including laws that allow the president to deploy troops inside the country to subdue domestic unrest. This edifice of extraordinary powers has historically rested on the assumption that the president will act in the country’s best interest when using them. With a handful of noteworthy exceptions, this assumption has held up.” • “”If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” This edifice seems to be built on the notion that Presidents are, in fact, angels. I mean, I know Obama was an angel, but what if — hear me out, here — we got a President who lied us into a war?

“Progressive Ideas Matter to Voters. So Why Do Democrats Fixate on the Identity of the Messenger?” [Briahna Gray, The Intercept]. “The thing is, although much is made of the browning of America, the country is still 70 percent white, and electoral strategies that are wholly dismissive of that population set themselves at an unnecessary disadvantage….. [M]delanin doesn’t guarantee Democratic support. Of the 4.3 million Obama voters who stayed home or voted for third parties in 2016, a third were black. So as important as it is to register voters, ensuring access to franchise is not enough. Americans need a reason to go to the polls — something that makes them feel like their vote matters. Something more than being anti-Trump. Something ideological.”

“When ex-spies go rogue by becoming lawmakers” [WaPo]. “Ex.” How do we know that? Spanberger: “Leaving the CIA was the biggest loss of my life. I mourned the agency. I miss it every day.” Oh.

Stats Watch

“Economists Turn to Shutdown-Proof Reports as U.S. Data Delayed” [Bloomberg]. “The U.S. government shutdown has thrown some key economic measures into the dark, forcing analysts to focus on alternative data to gauge the effects of a trade war and the pace of growth in recent weeks…. As for the Fed, MFR’s Shapiro said the lack of data means policy makers will spend more time on the ground speaking with their members. More broadly, the delays in key gauges of the economy are likely to make already-skittish markets more volatile. ‘What happens in a vacuum is it gets filled with all sorts of stuff, and you have no idea of the quality,’ he said. ‘And there’s already too much of that to begin with.'” • Rather like the Chinese government pushing underwear sales as a proxy because nobody trusts the official figures..

* * *

JOLTS, November 2018: “Strains in the labor market eased in November as the number of job openings fell” [Econoday]. “The rise in the unemployed is a major plus for the economy, suggesting that discouraged workers, seeing plenty of help-wanted signs, are back pounding the pavement. And though a decline in job openings in this report isn’t really welcome, it does, along with the decline in quits, ease strains in the labor market, in turn pushing back wage-inflation risk and perhaps helping to slow the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike plans.” And: “Job openings remain at a high level, and quits are still increasing year-over-year. This was a solid report” [Calculated Risk].

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, December 2018: “Optimism among small business owners drifted slightly lower as [sic?] expected in December’ [Econoday]. “Overall, despite the extension of the cooling seen in November, many of the December survey responses remain at historically high levels of optimism, indicating continued solid strength in the small business sector.” And: “December 2018 Small Business Optimism: Unchanged But Remains Historically High” [Econintersect]. “Unfilled jobs and the lack of qualified applicants continue to be a primary driver, with job openings setting a record high and job creation plans strengthening.”

International Trade, November 2019: “Note this report will be delayed because of the government shutdown” [Econoday].

Redbook, January 5, 2019: “Redbook’s same store sales begin the new year with exceptionally high year-on-year growth that is more than twice as strong as at the start of last year, pointing to robust strength in ex-auto ex-gas retail sales” [Econoday]. • Since we don’t have government retail data…

The Law: An unnerving development:

One more reason to get yourself off all social media platforms.

The Bezzle: “The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018” [Ars Technica]. “In the self-driving world, there’s been a lot of discussion recently about the hype cycle, a model for new technologies that was developed by the Gartner consulting firm. In this model, new technologies reach a ‘peak of inflated expectations’ (think the Internet circa 1999) before falling into a ‘trough of disillusionment.’ It’s only after these initial overreactions—first too optimistic, then too pessimistic—that public perceptions start to line up with reality.” • Seems teleological.

The Bezzle: “What do startups do when their investors implode?” [Recode]. “[J]ust as startup drama can be a reputational risk for investors, investor drama can be a reputational risk for startups. That’s true for startups with ties to the Saudi Arabian government, like those backed by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. It’s true for startups with ties to firms accused of bad behavior like Binary Capital.” • 

Tech: “SoftBank to slash planned WeWork investment” [Financial Times]. “Japan’s SoftBank has radically scaled back plans for fresh investment in WeWork, the lossmaking shared-office provider, following the recent tech stock rout and concerns among investors in its $100bn Vision Fund…. The scaling back of the planned $16bn investment, which would have been the largest ever in a tech start-up, underlines the rapid shift in investor enthusiasm for technology shares that is now spilling into even the best-known privately held groups.” • I should probably file this under the Bezzle, but today is my day to be kind.

Tech: “Why the iPhone Is Finally Fading” [Slate]. “But if the iPhone isn’t yet a thing of the past, it also no longer feels like a harbinger of the future. It has embedded itself deeply into so many people’s lives, but it’s no longer the source of magic and delight that it once was. Which raises the question: What’s next?…. The voice AI revolution is not a certainty. Well-founded privacy fears could hinder its advance, or the technology could hit roadblocks on the path to conversational fluency. But it’s better positioned than any other fledgling platform to take on the sort of central role in our lives that the smartphone has. A new Google Home Hub may never light up the FedEx courier’s face the way a new iPhone did. But have you seen the face of someone who asks it a question for the first time, and hears its perfect reply?” • The face of stupid?

Tech: Apple iPad review from [Verge (DK)]. Start here:

You can’t just plug a USB hard disk into the USB-C port and have the iPad read whatever files are on it. And it’s all like that. Despite Tim Cook’s blandishments, iOS is not a suitable operating system for professional use. “The iPad Pro is just an accessory to my laptop, not a replacement for it.” Disclosure: I’n on my third, and I completely agree.

Tech: “WordPress Gutenberg will be the end of WordPress” [Dedoimedo]. I’ve tried Gutenberg, and it’s horrible. Good for making memes, maybe. But I’m linking to this post for this quote, which ties in to the iOS problems above: “WordPress Gutenberg seems to fall into the touch category. It is a product that seems optimized for mobile, but it has no place on the desktop. And if you wonder whether this is a good idea, just remember Windows 8…. Touch can NEVER replace the desktop because it is a less optimized form of content creation. It is a one-dimensional medium whereas keyboard+mouse (and the separate screen) is a two-dimensional medium. Writing on a keyboard is faster than touch. Desktop screens allow for a large number of items to be displayed due to the use of a high-precision pointer, minimizing hierarchy depth, and increasing situational awareness and overall work efficiency. These are given. Fighting against them leads to a sub-optimal product.” • Touch might be able to replace the laptop if Apple CEO Cook succeeds in his campaign of crapification. After all, just because a product makes its users less productive and stupider is no reason it can’t succeed in the marketplace, especially if it’s thin!

The Fed: “Powell Muddies Fed’s Monetary Message to Calm Markets for Now” [Bloomberg]. “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has managed to assuage fickle financial markets by muddying the central bank’s monetary message. The question is how long that pacification strategy will work. Speaking to economists in Atlanta on Jan. 4, Powell raised the possibility of a pause in the Fed’s interest-rate hiking campaign and an alteration in its balance sheet reduction plans in response to the downside risks that investors perceive to the economy. That formulation was a lot less clear than just over two weeks ago.”

The Fed: “On the Economy: Could Trump Be Right about Rate Hikes?” [Roosevelt Institute]. “Critics of the president who argue that the economy is already at full employment risk replaying the 2016 election, where the Democrats were perceived—fairly or not—as defenders of the status quo, while Trump spoke to and for those left behind by the recovery. And they risk throwing away one of the best arguments for a progressive program in 2021 and beyond. The next Democratic president will enter office with an ambitious agenda. Whether the top priority is Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, universal childcare, or free higher education, realizing this agenda will require a substantial increase in government spending. Making the case for this will be much easier if there is broad agreement that the economy still suffers from a demand shortfall that public spending can fill.”

Health Care

“Newsom Comes Out Swinging On Day One For Single-Payer, Immigrant Coverage” [Kaiser Health News]. “Within hours of assuming office Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a defiant challenge to the Trump administration with sweeping plans to expand health coverage to more Californians, pushing for a single-payer system and insurance for undocumented young adult immigrants. He also called for new state-funded subsidies to help people afford health insurance, coupled with a requirement that all Californians have health insurance. And he signed an executive order that directs state agencies to work together to negotiate prescription drug prices.” • There seem to be a lot of moving parts here. Would any California readers care to comment?

“De Blasio says every resident in NYC will be guaranteed health care” [Pix11]. “De Blasio took to Twitter after his Tuesday morning appearance, writing ‘Today I’m announcing a plan to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers. Through our own public option and a new program called NYC Care, we’ll ensure the first stop for people isn’t the emergency room.’ Under de Blasio’s program, 600,000 estimated uninsured residents will soon be insured. De Blasio also said the city would not raise taxes to pay for the program and will use the city’s public health care system to fund it.” • I’m glad more people will get care, but I don’t like that the public option zombie is still shambling around

“250 more hospitals just joined in on a plan to make their own drugs and the effort could upend the generic pharma business” [Business Insider]. “Hospitals have a creative plan to tackle the high price and frequent shortages of generic drugs… To start, Civica will focus on making 14 drugs that are used in hospitals, typically injectable drugs. Those are expected to come in 2019. The company’s priorities include making essential medicines that have been on the FDA drug shortage list, and taking on decades-old drugs that have artificially higher prices because they don’t face any competition.”


“As Fires Ravaged California, Utilities Lobbied Lawmakers for Protection” [New York Times]. “Realizing that their potential fire liability is large enough to bankrupt them, the utility companies are spending tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions. Their goal: a California law that would allow them to pass on the cost of wildfires to their customers in the form of higher electricity rates…. ‘The common thread seems to be negligence on the part of PG&E.’ [State Senator Jerry Hill, a Democrat] said. ‘I’ve come to the conclusion that the investor-owned utility model that they have and use is not providing the priority of safety as it should. Their priority is to shareholders and maximizing profit and not safety.'” • More on PG&E and California fires at NC here, here, and here.

Class Warfare

“Cooperative Enterprise as an Antimonopoly Strategy” [SSRN]. From the abstract: “Corporations threatened by cooperatives have used the antitrust laws to frustrate the growth of these alternative businesses. To insulate cooperatives from the antitrust threat, Congress has enacted exemptions to protect cooperative entities, notably a general immunity for farm cooperatives in the 1922 Capper-Volstead Act. As part of an agenda to tame corporate monopoly, all three branches of the federal government and the states should revisit these ideas and seek to protect and enable the cooperative model across the economy. While protections that farmers fought for a century ago may seem obsolete in an era of big-box retail and online platforms, matters of ownership design have at least as much relevance today and should be a part of the antimonopoly arsenal.” • The online platforms of today are the railroads of the Nineteenth Century. Makes me wonder if the technical model of federation could be integrated with a business model of co-ops.

“On Being a Woman in America While Trying to Avoid Being Assaulted” [The Paris Review]. “I park close to the gym. I get catcalled; I pretend I didn’t hear him. It’s after nine at night, so I decide not to walk home alone from my subway stop, paying instead for a short Lyft ride. I make sure the license plate is correct before I get in. The bar bathroom’s in the back, through a dark hallway; I have to piss, but I decide I’ll hold it, I’ll wait until I get home. I stand at a distance from the subway tracks: a friend who works in public transit once told me women are more likely to be pushed than men. It’s dark, and I park beneath a light. A stranger on social media sends me a direct message: “hey beautiful.” I ignore him. No, I block him. I walk through the parking lot with my keys out, bright points spiking between my fingers, in case I require a weapon.” • Another must-read.

“How to Dodge a Market Dip That Threatens Your Retirement” [New York Times]. • Choose to be born on a different date, obviously.

News of the Wired

“UVA tells Latina sorority studying 25 hours a week is hazing, lawsuit says” [NBC]. “A predominantly Latina sorority [Sigma Lambda Upsilon] says it was wrongly punished for hazing by the University of Virginia after requiring its members to study 25 hours a week.” UVa suspended the sorority, and the sorority sued. “The university claimed sovereign immunity in a November motion to dismiss, but the judge allowed the sorority to add university officials as defendants on Wednesday.” • Oops. This isn’t a good look for UVa. What should the members be doing instead of studying? Drinking?

“Don’t think of yourself as a good person—think of yourself as ‘good-ish'” [Quartz]. “[T]here are a few big downsides to believing in our own fundamental goodness. For one thing, a person who thinks of themselves as good is more likely to get defensive or shut down when confronted with evidence that they’ve fallen short of their moral aspirations. ‘Psychologists call this a moment of self-threat—our identity is being challenged or dismissed,” [Dolly Chugh, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business] explains. ‘Just as moments of physical threat trigger a hyperfocus on self-preservation, moments of psychological self-threat do the same.'”

* * *

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: “Yucca in bloom at winter solstice. I don’t know if this is normal or an example of global weirding. There are some plants here in the SF Bay Area that do bloom during our moderately cool winter months. I saw bumblebees on a flowering shrub a few days ago during breaks in the rain. To the right of the main subject you will see the standing dead remains of our sunflower patch. It makes be think of one of Bashō’s last haiku:

Ill on a journey
My dreams wander round and round
over withered fields.

To which I will add one of my own on the occasion of a winter wedding:

In the season when
All that flourished withers
Laughter, lace, and wine.

Big Bashō fan here.

* * *
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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. Anthony Wikrent

    “Economists Turn to Shutdown-Proof Reports as U.S. Data Delayed” 

    So, how is the government shutdown affecting the Federal Reserve board and the Fed banks? I’ll bet no one has been furloughed at the various Federal Reserve banks, especially not New York.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Another, perhaps more insidious question, is what might be going on unreported that Republicans are happy to have remain in the dark for awhile? You can do a lot of waste, fraud, and abuse when nobody is looking, making a note of it, and reporting in. Trump may be an incompetent president, but he is very good at diverting attention from his screw ups or damage control efforts.

  2. diptherio

    I need to read more Basho. The only one of his that I can recall is

    summer’s grass
    of stalwart warriors splendid dreams
    the aftermath.

    1. Lee

      Are you familiar with author R.H. Blyth? He produced four volumes on Haiku as well as one of my favorite books Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics. These books might be a bit hard to find but if the subjects interests you, they are well worth reading.

      Blyth was a very interesting fellow.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Yes, I have ZELOC, but I confess that I find it not my cuppa. If anyone has Haiku I’d happily trade.

    2. Steve (@saltopus_rex)

      Great stuff. I grabbed a Penguin collection of his stuff years ago and you don’t even have to be into poetry to dig on it.

  3. ambrit

    The campaign against Sanders and the nascent “left” in American politics is ramping up.
    Yahoo, who I and everyone here should know by now is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Neo-Liberal Dispensation, is putting out “news” items such as one with a picture of AOC and the caption, “Why U.S. will never again have a 70% tax rate,” and a headline that says, baldly, “Mike Pence struggles to defend Trump’s lie…” The MSM has dropped all pretense at journalistic accuracy or fairness. No wonder the younger cohorts are abandoning the MSM in droves.
    Anyway, as I began with, the campaign against Sanders has begun full strength. I think that Sanders should begin, if he already has not done so, to build his Third Party Presidential Campaign instrumentality. That or set up a Splintered Democrat Party, shadow organization. Start now. Next year will be too late.

    1. Roger Smith

      A serious person in Sander’s position would have started a Third Party effort the moment he lost the DNC primary in 2015. As he has consistently demonstrated, Sanders is not serious.

      1. thepanzer

        Do enlighten us on who the serious people are then. No, seriously. Give some names. Aside from AOC, who mainly won because her incumbent opponent took the race for granted and basically didn’t campaign. So who are these mystery serious people in the current political field?

        1. Code Name D

          There arn’t any. THAT IS THE PROBLEM! Berny, when he decided to not form a third party, basicly drew out the rug under any real opposition. All of the resorces were directed at getting “progressices ellected,” ending up with nothing to show for it.

          Now as he considers running, he is vunerable to these kinds of smear campains with few opptions at a responce.

          Predictable and predicted. I don’t question his sensarity – I question his results.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I hope that (an over confident opponent) doesn’t mean AOC is not a serious winning candidate.

          Still, that asterisk will always be there, until proven otherwise (maybe 2020?).

          In any case, she is here and the best chance is for Sanders to work with AOC, and for AOC to work with Sanders (for example, joint announcment to update Sanders’ 2016 top marginal rate proposal of 54% to 70%, for example).

          As it is, I feel (sometimes) that there is subtle competion, among supporters or commenters, about who is better, AOC or Sanders.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          who mainly won because her incumbent opponent took the race for granted and basically didn’t campaign.

          Given the nature of SMDP districts, this is the only reason front runners and incumbents lose. Obama beat HRC because she simply didn’t understand delegate allocation and pissed away resources.

        1. Code Name D

          And if ballot access was inportant – that might mean something. The progresive cacsus in the house caved with the very first vote. So clearly just getting progresives elected isn’t enugh.

          A political party is also about ideas, comunication, networking, reserch, arkiving, orgnizing, and agendas. None of this is posible in the Democratic Party – hence the need for a third party. A lot more needs to be done that just “winning elections.”

          1. barefoot charley

            I entirely agree–but just because we need a third party doesn’t mean we can have one. Bernie knows that better than anyone, as he’s lived without one. The duopoly makes third-partying a humiliating waste of time in far too many states. Our only hope imho is for a schism in the Democrats, created by party leaders who can ‘never, ever’ serve the people, finally driving out many elected progressives who also attract more than a handful of sane Republicans to their side. If the new party doesn’t begin with a large slice of an existing one, it’s even more doomed than we are.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Yes, ballot access is the biggest legal hurdle to new parties – even long-existing ones. (Footnote: although ballot access in Oregon is relatively easy, a number of years ago the Socialists lost theirs; as a result, most of its leadership joined the Pacific Green Party. In Oregon we ARE the socialists. We also know that ballot access is the family jewels.)

          However, it was not much of a hurdle for Bernie when he made the decision.

          This is because it’s all about numbers. Even in states where it’s unconstitutionally difficult (as determined by a federal court, in Georgia), the barrier consists of requiring impossible numbers of petition signatures over a short time. Implicitly that’s also a money barrier. But Bernie had those numbers – even a portion of his active campaigners could have put him on the ballot all by themselves, hence virtually overnight. Furthermore the offer was from the Green Party, which already had ballot access at that point in enough states to elect a President. His own campaign could have focused on the holdout states.

          Consequently, I think Bernie’s refusal reflects his political philosophy. He set out to capture and presumably reform the Democrats, not to overturn the party system. Despite being an independent for so long, he was operating as a Democrat. I’m not saying that “wasn’t serious;” I’m saying it’s evidently his choice of approach, for whatever reason. Maybe he just doesn’t like the Green Party (there are some significant differences, especially on foreign affairs); maybe he thinks overthrowing the party system is too dangerous. I don’t know. But that’s his history, because he’s had that offer from the Greens before (no link – I was told by a member active in the national party.)

          And all of that still applies, because he’s the most popular politician in the country. If he ran on a third party ticket, that would be a major party overnight. (After all, the “major” parties are down to about 30% each. There’s a huge gap to fill.) Ballot access would be a chore, but not much of a barrier.

          1. Acacia

            It’s hard for me to see that Bernie has any chance as a third-party candidate.

            Don’t forget that aside from ballot access, there’s also the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which is controlled by the duopoly and will no doubt find a technicality to exclude any third-party candidates. Just ask Ralph Nader and Jill Stein. The MSM will doubtless largely ignore any candidates who can’t make it to the 2020 debate (or were arrested trying, as Jill Stein was in 2012).

            Bear in mind that under the CPD “rules” Nader was excluded from the national debate in 2000 and only got 3% of that national vote. Ross Perot was allowed into the 1992 debate and got 19% of the national vote, but didn’t win a single state. The last time a third-party candidate won any states was in 1968, when George Wallace — who supported segregation of blacks from whites — won five states in the south. The third-party candidate that won the most votes in US history was Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. Still, he lost to Woodrow Wilson.

            The pattern here is that in all of US history, no third-party candidate has ever come close to winning in the presidential election.

            Is it “different this time” ‘cuz Twitter?

            1. Oregoncharles

              Aside from Abraham Lincoln.

              Can’t say what the CPD would do; as it stands, they’ve set a hurdle Sanders would clear very easily – again, most popular politician in the country. If they tried to keep him out, their legitimacy would be gone instantly and he could set up competing debates; if the others don’t show, he gets to make a long speech and they look like the cowards they are.

              And he’s now Too Big to Ignore – as Trump was. The MSM can pretend the Green Party doesn’t exist; they can’t pretend Sanders doesn’t exist. If they try, he can set up competing channels on the internet and take away even more of their audience.

              It’s too late for that strategy.

              OTOH, all that would be disruptive as all hell, which I consider a good thing – but I now suspect that Sanders himself does not.

              Important point: despite the rhetoric about a “political revolution,” he is not a radical. He works within the system, he’s good at it, and ideologically he’s an updated New Deal liberal. To be honest, I’d rather him than anyone else in the running, so that isn’t exactly a criticism. I think we need radical approaches, but going back to the New Deal/Great Society would be a huge improvement – looking back, I wonder how the hell we got here.

              The other big change is those very low “major”-party affiliation numbers, especially combined with Trump’s successful hostile takeover of the Republicans. The traditional parties are in very bad shape. The signs are the party system is collapsing, and little wonder. Another bad recession and they’re gone – but the decline started in 2006, 2 years before the Great Recession, and it was political, because the Democratic congress proved so useless.

              To answer your question: I’m not on Twitter, so I don’t know how much of a factor it is. But it’s a platform, and Yves has something to say about those. They serve their own agendas.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Movements on that scale aren’t done by an individual.

        I saw a few tweets where its been noticed that Sanders sounds leftier since AOC has been around. Onerous struggles aren’t accomplished alone, and fellow travelers provide courage.

        If clods like Beta and Biden can beat Sanders, the left can’t form a third party. They aren’t HRC. “Beta and Biden, Obama and Hillary if they were completely pointless.”

      3. Steve (@saltopus_rex)

        That is probably going too far. He’s pretty old to even be running in 2020. Carving out a third party was tough in Lincoln’s day and the deck has been stacked even more since.

      4. macnamichomhairle

        It’s easy to throw stones, sitting in your armchair.

        If he had run independently, he would have lost, and so would Clinton, but the Democratic establishment would have blamed it on Sanders, and any left-wing or socialist ideas would have been radioactive for many many years to come.

        I was heartbroken back then too, but the reason left-wing or whatever ideas are now able to be discussed in the mainstream is that Sanders played the long game, instead of demonstrating moral purity, or speaking truth to power, or ascending into the heaven of leftist failures. His choice to swallow shit personally is why these leftist ideas and specific proposals are now out there, instead of confined to a few pure blogs or magazines. Adolescents do not make change..

    2. JohnnyGL

      It’s a wasteland, isn’t it?

      Regarding the media offensive against Sanders….I wonder if he’s going to hold back a bit on running to let the MSM hatred ramp up a bit more. There was an amusingly bad editorial recently from a VT newspaper begging Sanders not to run! and hold on….the Boston Globe would like to drill down on the same points and #metoo him some more! https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/01/07/bernie-sanders-shouldn-run-for-president/RgOn6EepyxduOoXE2qP6KM/story.html

      The anti-Warren voices are warming up a bit, too. But, for now, WaPo and NYT are behaving, more or less. My inner-Thomas Frank is wondering if Warren is more culturally acceptable to NYT and Wapo because she’s built her career in academia. Nevertheless, I’d expect the hatred to ramp up if she catches any kind of momentum. She had her chance on prime time Maddow to join the war pigs and she took a pass! At the moment, she’s got the stage to herself. Let’s see what she can do with it.

      With Warren, AOC, Ro Khanna, and Sanders himself, it’s getting harder to cast the left as a kind of ‘fringe’ thing in American politics.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My inner-Thomas Frank is wondering if Warren is more culturally acceptable

        Culture is a bs argument. The issue is an understanding of the rule of law. I’m not a Warren fan, but for the fecklessness of the CPB, it was basically the best part of the Obama Administration besides removing Biden from a powerful job to a useless job.

        Can the system survive even mild examination? Look at the crazed reaction to AOC. Democratic losers are lined up to explain how AOC can’t win. In the case of McCaskill, she lost while progressive positions won on the ballot. Anyone other than a President who simply wants to be a temporary ceremonial monarch is a threat.

      2. nippersdad

        I saw that Argus article a couple days ago and looked into it. I find it fascinating that a two man operation (owner and editorial writer) with a circulation of 8300 is getting the kind of press that it is. This editorial is everywhere, and in none of its’ various iterations does it mention what a small operation it is, nor do they mention how out of sync the editorial is with the local viewpoints.

        Looks like Brock bought himself a newspaper in the heart of Bernie country.

              1. nippersdad

                I put those in the wrong order, former owner, but fascinating nonetheless.

                The lengths to which they will go for PR.

      3. hemeantwell

        My inner-Thomas Frank is wondering if Warren is more culturally acceptable to NYT and Wapo because she’s built her career in academia.

        Very true if Krugman is any indication. His piece on her in today’s Times was full of appreciation for her for offering well-tuned analyses and proposals that reflect her academic background. To his credit, he also took a hard swing at stupefying press coverage, such as the Times purveys, that dwells on whether she is likable and if the genetics flap will hurt her chances.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Krugthullu made plenty of good points up to 2009 too. He warned about the economic and political dangers of not doing enough to address the healthcare crisis and then went full Obama.

      1. JerryDenim

        Agreed. The days of Sanders being a dark-horse sleeper candidate are over. This time Sanders has a giant bullseye on his back. The ammo has been distributed and the orders to shoot to kill, and shoot often have been passed down in newsrooms across the land. A defensive posture will keep Sanders from selling his winning message and policies, and instead insures he plays his opponent’s game by generating more negative headlines and squandering his airtime defending himself against false charges of tax evasion, sexism, racism, anti-semitism, pedophilia, necrophilia, terrorism, etc. You name it, the media will go there. Talk is cheap, innuendo is cheaper, and sensational but misleading clickbait headlines have been perfected in the Trump era. If you’re explaining you’re losing. If you’re constantly defending your character, you’re really losing.

        Sanders should take a page from Trump and FDR, go bold, be loud, and be combative. “Welcoming their hatred” seems to be the only game plan with a chance of winning.

      2. Steve (@saltopus_rex)

        Only Trump is courageous enough to say that out loud. The Dems are sooo..’moderate’.

      3. Big Tap

        Another option is for Bernie Sanders to channel his inner Don Corleone. Tell the Democratic party establishment that he’s no longer their punching bag and announce that he will run for president on the Green Party ticket in 2020. Many empty heads will explode.

    3. Grant

      If Sanders runs and wins, he will splinter the Democratic Party. The same could be said of Beto, Booker and the like. That party has no ideological core, no coherent policy or vision, and there is a huge gap between what the rank and file want versus what those running the party want to do or are willing to do. It seems like a coalition that can’t really stay together, especially as the status quo’s policies have been a decades long disaster. I mean, there is far more ideological diversity in the Chinese Communist Party than there is within this system, but the Communist Party in China can at least argue that it has accomplished things since 1949, and since the late 70’s reforms. Whatever they are unwilling to do, because the elites have no excuse anymore, they try to argue isn’t realistic or possible. Those structural changes will likely not happen in the short-term, they require taking on powerful interests that fund their campaigns and they require people to envision a different society. Think Hoyer or Pelosi have any interest in that? If Sanders wins, a portion of that party will not vote for him, and I would bet that they would behind the scenes try to get others to vote for someone Bloomberg if he runs, to prove that social democratic policies and campaigns don’t work and can’t win nationally. There is a lot at stake in a Sanders loss. If Trump wins, they might not like it, but people like David Brock and Neera Tanden maintain their access to power. If Sanders wins, and thereafter people like AOC, what the hell worth do Brock and Tanden bring to society? What is their social worth? I think that they realize this too.

      What is going to happen is that the media will continue to be the capitalist version of Pravda, and it will turn off people on the left enough that they will probably be more likely to support Sanders. Sanders better run too.

      1. Whoamolly

        I keep thinking the term “Narrative Industry” is more descriptive of the current than “Main Stream Media”.

        H/T to Caitlan Johnstone for writings on narrative.

    1. tomk

      While that article may be largely accurate, saying that the Gettys “informally adopted” Gavin is a wild overstatement. After his parents divorced he spent his early years in a small apartment with his hardworking single mom and sister. At some point they moved to a nice but modest house in Marin. He did spend time with the Gettys, but they did not adopt him.

      Newsom can seem like an empty suit, but let’s hope that he can be a force for good, and do the right thing.

      By the way check out his great-grandfather, Thomas Addis, a remarkable medical researcher and activist. A biography of him has recently appeared, authored by Frank Boulton.

      1. Tom Doak

        That “empty suit” forced the issue of gay marriage on his own when he was mayor of San Francisco, didn’t he?

        1. JBird4049

          As far I can see, Governor Newsom is an amoral, ambitious, and opportunistic politician first and last; the Gay marriage issue was a no-brainer as such. He was the mayor of the City and was probably angling for governorship of California for some decades.

          At least the empty suit isn’t Kamala Harris.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        , but let’s hope that he can be a force for good, and do the right thing.

        When you hire someone for a job such as a contractor, do you hope they do a good job or do you expect it? He’s being paid. Politicians are staff, and they need to be treated as such. If a politician says something is hard, tell them to quit. If they say the experts say, get new politicians.

      3. barefoot charley

        It was actually Gavin’s father Judge Newsom who was adopted by the Gettys. He spent the last decades of his career managing their family office. Which was curious and almost charming since he’d seemed from the bench to be a mad-dog liberal as I remember. Anyway that’s the genesis of the Newsom-Getty connection through the ages, wherever the young pup had slept.

        1. Duck1

          Young Newsom went into business with some of the young Getty opening bars and restaurants in the fabled Balboa triangle.

          1. Steve (@saltopus_rex)

            I know a restaurantuer who fled San Fran- he says the waiting list for a liquor licence is about 5 years long. What heavy connections must one have to just ‘open bars and restaurants’?

  4. Summer

    Re: Ed Buck

    The more local paper for the area “Weho Times” broke the story about a year ago.
    (WeHo is what they call West Hollywood for the uninitiated.)

  5. EGrise

    If you don’t take big money at all, that’s going to be a problem.

    Seems to me this is pretty much the definition of talking your book.

  6. Summer

    “The rise in the unemployed is a major plus for the economy, suggesting that discouraged workers, seeing plenty of help-wanted signs, are back pounding the pavement. And though a decline in job openings in this report isn’t really welcome, it does, along with the decline in quits, ease strains in the labor market, in turn pushing back wage-inflation risk and perhaps helping to slow the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike plans.”

    “The rise in the unemployed is a major plus for the economy”

    “The rise in the unemployed is a major plus for the economy”

    “The rise in the unemployed is a major plus for the economy”

    Does this sound like an economic system that wants policy that creates jobs?

    “Interest rates”
    “Interest rates”
    “Interest rates”

    No concern mentioned about the Green New Deal.

  7. Summer

    Re: “The rise in the unemployed is a major plus for the economy”

    So why all the stigma for unemployed people?

  8. foghorn longhorn

    The ‘On being a woman…’ article sounds like good, common sense throughout the history of this crazed country.
    Another bit of advice from an article yesterday, stand up straight, shoulders back, and project a don’t eff with me attitude.
    Bullies, creeps, and predators, 2 or 4 legged, are looking for the easy score.
    Make their effort more trouble than it’s worth.

    1. johnf

      What may be good, common sense gives me the creeps. None one should have to be so cautiously wary of bullies, creeps and predators while passing through a civilized society.

      I recently finished Tuba Sarica’s book, “Ihr Scheinheiligen!”, which closes with the reasons why she loves Germany and chose German citizenship (rather than Turkish). The most beautiful thing to her, the thing she enjoys the most about Germany is that as a women, she can run around, alone, at four in the morning without serious concern of being attacked. That, to her, is what makes a land worth living in. Unfortunately, that long standing security is become less and less true.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        The US of A is NOTa civilized society.
        If it were we not endure our current medicine for profit predicament.
        We wpuld not endure our current shoot first, ask questions later policing predicament.
        It is somewhat ironic that you reference Germany, as we bombed the eff out of it and then rebuilt it to this idyllic state, that is NOTHING like it is here.

        1. Steve (@saltopus_rex)

          The Germans always really just wanted to be Americans anyway. You can find multitudes of stories about German soldiers cut off and isolated in fortresses in France trading jazz records with American soldiers. (I’d guess Django for Satchmo)

        2. roxan

          That IS how women live. That is how I always lived. Those who ignore caution, tend not to live to tell the tale. I have seen that, too. One day, I just got tired of living that way. The only solution is carry a firearm and know how to use it. I highly recommend all women do so. Having worked with murderers of all sorts, I know there is nothing one can do to avoid someone intent on mayhem. They are opportunists who simply try every door or window, or look for stranded motorists. If a woman’s car breaks down along the road, she is virtually assured only monsters will offer a ride–that could include cops, too.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        I have not felt that way since I was a kid. It is just the air we breathe, and so I don’t think about it much and it isn’t hard for me to be as vigilant as I need to be. But I have long since registered that something precious has been lost to me. I cannot go out at night alone to contemplate the stars. Unless I am with a man.

        I am more assertive than the author however and have mostly spoken up loud and clear with men who made unwanted sexual advances.

        One time I even tried to chase a guy down at a lakefront park cuz I kept hearing these noises coming from a few tiers of limestone up from where I was lying down reading and when I finally looked up realized he was jerking off to the sight of me–man was I pissed!

        I will never forget that the first thing I did was jump up and loudly inform him that what he was doing was against the law. Then I started running, hollering at the lifeguards along the way to radio the cops. But he got away.

        I will also never forget how taken advantage of I felt and how for the next several weeks whenever I encountered a stranger in the store who fit his physical profile I glared at them, just in case they thought they had gotten over on me.


        1. JohnnyGL

          Yikes…just a whole set of problems us guys don’t have to deal with…

          I think I read somewhere a good description of the worries that sit in the back of the minds of women revolve around “fear of rape”. When I heard it described like that, I thought about the numerous times I’ve been alone and out-and-about for one reason or another and realized those are times women would get worried.

          On a side note…good on you for being brave enough to try and chase the guy down…give him a little something to worry about before he does that to the next girl.

      3. Geof

        I agree that no-one should have to.

        At the same time, I’ve seen a huge upsurge in fear over the past couple of decades. Fears of terrorism, of kids being unsupervised, of all sorts of things. I can’t speak to this woman’s personal experience, but this rings false:

        Sometimes, I’ll read a novel written by a man in which a woman walks home alone, late at night, in America, without having a single thought about her physical safety, and it’s so implausible that I’ll put the book down.

        My wife is 5’2″ and beautiful. From her 20s on she has walked alone in the dark, at any hour, without fear (the only person who has ever been concerned is me). She takes the bus from work, and the walk in the dark that goes with it. You might say, Ah, that’s Canada! But she used to drive alone to and from Vancouver to Utah.

        There are risky places, and there are sensible precautions. I have no difficulty believing there are legitimate concerns. I could practically taste the atmosphere of fear and loathing when I visited New Orleans before Katrina. After my experiences of being accosted or threatened a couple of times in France, I’m probably more fearful than my wife is. But to a significant degree, fear is a choice. My wife chooses not to fear. There is It’s not the universal female fear that this article claims.

      4. swangeese

        Well I live in Louisiana, am a middle-aged woman, and I like to start jogging an hour before sunrise. I’ve never felt particularly unsafe however I am vigilant of my surroundings and do not wear headphones. Even if creeps didn’t exist, cars and nearly silent vehicles do.

        However I live in a low crime area. There are the occasional creepy men, but my main problem is dogs. I run in a neighborhood and there are plenty of poorly trained and loose dogs. I have considered carrying pepper spray to deter some of the more aggressive ones. Fortunately those encounters are rare.

        But in other places, I would question jogging during the day as a single woman much less at night. I would imagine that the same is true for most countries.

  9. Another Scott


    I’m not a Joe Biden plan, but this article really misses the mark. An excerpt.

    “By fixating on the Rust Belt states that narrowly cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, they’re neglecting the much broader swath of core Democratic voters who can deliver a victory against a historically weak president.”

    Does this sound like people want a real analysis of why Democrats lost in 2016?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The former vice president thinks his appeal with white working-class voters

      Given his previous efforts in Iowa and New Hampshire (both states known for their cosmopolitan and multi-cultural populations)…Biden and the centrists skeptical of his viability can both be wrong.

      Biden won a race in Delaware decades ago and aligned himself with the dominant corporate interests. He’s kept a close enough eye on the state not to get AOCed, but Biden is basically just a dumb centrist.

    2. a different chris

      BIden is probably the one person that would for sure lose to Trump.

      However, I agree with you. I couldn’t specifically glean it from the text, but it does have the air of “yet another writer that doesn’t understand the Electoral College”.

      We have plenty of Democratic votes. We don’t have them distributed effectively, and I don’t think hordes of Californians are going to be persuaded to move to Wisconsin. And even if they do they probably won’t get their votes counted — if the Dems cared about people outside the 10% they would make sure they could vote. But they don’t and won’t.

    3. Jen

      Maybe they should ask Nate Silver:

      “The 538 model, which was based on publicly-available polling data, said the campaigns should target WI and MI. You didn’t have to have any proprietary info to know they were important states. You just had to look at the data and not be huge dumbasses like the HRC campaign was.”


      When you’ve really, really lost Nate Silver…

  10. DJG

    I Was Sexually Harassed on the Bernie Sanders Campaign.

    Some problems here. First, the headline implies that it was from the campaign’s own structure. That isn’t true. Someone came in, asked for a t-shirt, and groped her. Her options were to find another staffer immediately while the harasser was present or to call the police on the guy immediately. It turns out to be an isolated incident by someone unknown the campaign.

    Instead, she spent time complaining to the hierarchy. Did she offer to i.d. the guy? Did he ever come in again? Did she give a description? None of this is clear.

    Naturally, I will be accused of being grossly insensitive, but why has she turned something that she claims to have bothered her greatly into a story about her battle with the bureaucracy? Is this “agency”? And, in a very real way, what does this incident say about anyone?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      That we the people are not keeping our eyes on the prize. It’s all about personal grievances and attention. And the internet aids and abets. See, now I am guilty of investing my precious time on this bullsh*t.

      1. JerryDenim

        I’m a Gen-X’er that married a early cusp millennial. The wife just went back to school after a 12 year absence from higher Ed and she was shocked by how much things have changed on campus. Even gender pronouns like “she” are considered offensive these days. Despite multiple small scandals on campus involving academics and eye-watering surprise tuition hikes, the student body is prone to calling meetings and attempting to form lynch mobs usually over some asinine identity grievance like an insufficiently contrite apology over some tiny verbal affront, or an administrative employee wearing an insensitive outfit (Not like a Klan robe or swastika, but mildly insensitive like a woman of asian ancestry dressing in Native American garb for Halloween) Her classmates are motivated by these identity issues but are apathetic in the face of other issues that have a large negative material effect on the entire student body, like the surprise tuition hike I mentioned. Even worse the agitators never really have any demands other than their hurt feelings be acknowledged and in some extreme cases they may call for someone’s resignation. They never offer any constructive ideas how to address their grievances. Almost anything can be a ‘trigger’ and almost any behavior can be considered sexual harassment. Asking a classmate on a date or offering to buy them a drink is faux pas likely to get you into hot water with the Me-Too police, regardless of your sex.

        What I’m getting at here is expect any political campaign staffed by people in their twenties to be chock to the gills full of of sexual misconduct allegations. The bar is insanely low and almost anything can be construed as harassment according to your average twenty-three year old these days. It doesn’t matter if the harassment is real or even if it comes from a campaign official. If a volunteer is made to “feel” harassed, threatened, objectified, by anyone in the course of their campaign activities you can expect them to lash out at candidate themselves because the current generation of twenty-somethings expects to be protected from any unpleasantness, always, in every circumstance imaginable by some top-down paternal figure they expect to all-powerful. I think it is the by-product of helicopter parenting, but regardless of the “why”, the media doesn’t have to manufacture controversy to sully a candidate anymore, the current generation of recent college grads are addicted to controversy and they seem addicted to drumming it up for attention and grievance points even when it is detrimental to causes they claim to care about. Being a hack journalist charged with personally smearing a candidate is currently the easiest job in the world thanks to the current generation of campaign volunteers.

        1. jrs

          I don’t know about campus culture I suspect it has to do with what one studies, social science maybe, business or physical science maybe not so much so.

          But a lot of identity things are built into college *policy* at this point. So CA state university system asks not just your gender pronoun preference and what gender you present as but your sexual preference in the *college admission application*. Seems excessive. At 18 I hadn’t had anything close to sex of any type with anyone period so if I was answering that at that age it couldn’t have been more irrelevant!!! And supposedly young people don’t have sex now.

        2. paros

          I have worked at a university for a number of years. I think your analysis of the causes of this phenomenon is incorrect. My opinion is that elites have been able to channel the extraordinary energy of our youth away from class-based discourse and activism towards an identity-based discourse, through a media message that advances identity and ignores class. The other thing is that identity-based discourse is easier for many students on college campuses (especially elite universities like the ivies) than class-based discourse because a large fraction of the student body is from the upper classes. Identity-based discourse does not require those students to confront their own class advantages. As a last point, some of the biggest proponents of the identity-based discourse are international students. These days they tend to be from the upper classes, though in the past there used to be a larger fraction of international students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

        3. MK

          The only positive that comes from current campuses is that most of these children will not have children of their own.

          That is, the behavior you correctly describe is akin to the single child policy of China; Self defeating in the grand scheme of things.

    2. Darthbobber

      She’s probably mined her experience for this story because she’s a grad student in journalism.

      Curious if she was alone in the south Bronx office. On the morning of primary day this would be unusual in my experience. I would assume from how she describes the incident that she was, but she doesn’t directly say so.

      She’s focused on the lack of a reporting mechanism. (and any structure at all for dealing with such a thing.) This would have hardly been the only area lacking structure and organization in the 16 Sanders campaign. It’s a minor miracle that it ran as well as it did.

      Once a guy known only by his first name has disappeared back onto the streets of the South Bronx, there is indeed not much to be done in terms of dealing with the offender. And to the extent that there is, that would be the NYPD’s jurisdiction.

      FWIW, it was always my sop to try to keep 2 people on hand for a storefront kind of campaign office. Just because there’s a lot that can go wrong with just a single person. But even if you schedule it that way, volunteers are volunteers so it doesn’t always turn out as planned.

  11. Arizona Slim

    Key point from the WordPress Gutenberg article:

    While most of the content is consumed on the mobile, most of the content is created on the desktop. It makes sense. The desktop is an infinitely superior platform for writing and image processing. The full keyboard + mouse combo and the multi-application usability beat all and any touch solution.

    I do not consider social media “updates” content. I consider content to be meaningful articles that provide new and unique information, of which there is less and less every day. I am extremely confident than the vast majority of actually valuable articles and posts are made using the classic desktop formula. Just imagine writing 500 words on a keyboard versus touch.

    To which I say:

    I agree. When it comes to banging out work in a hurry, I’ll turn to my desktop, with its keyboard and mouse, every time.

    1. Mark Alexander

      Agreed on the keyboard and mouse (TrackPoint in my case).

      The article didn’t mention one likely result of the WordPress crapification: forking. Some energetic programmers are likely to take the old, good source code of 4.x and create a new project based on it.

      This happens all the time in the free software world, and I’m very grateful for the results: things like Mate (a fork of Gnome 2 made in response to the crapification in Gnome 3), and Pale Moon (a fork of an older Firefox that I started using after Firefox 57 broke most of my favorite extensions).

  12. NotTimothyGeithner


    Looks like “Snowflake” Corey Stewart had a rough day.

    The Virginia Republican who campaigned heavily on preserving Confederate monuments and attracted right-wing extremists during a failed U.S. Senate bid says he’s leaving politics “until and unless the Commonwealth is ready” for his views.

    “Politics sucks,” Corey Stewart told The Washington Post in a story than ran Tuesday. “On a personal level, it’s been a disaster.”

  13. curlydan

    The sexual assault article reminds me of indie rocker Courtney Barnett’s “Nameless Faceless”:

    “I wanna walk through the park in the dark
    Men are scared that women will laugh at them
    I wanna walk through the park in the dark
    Women are scared that men will kill them
    I hold my keys
    Between my fingers”


    1. Bob

      Yawn. I see one of two solutions. 1) women should carry guns or 2) strict Islamic style separation of the sexes.

      1. BoyDownTheLane

        I agree that carrying a duly-licensed small handgun (available for under $500) is the premier option for a woman; those squeamish or with a sound argument or reason not to carry should have — in order of priority — Mace, a high-decibel alarm, and regular and continuous training martial arts.

      2. makedoanmend

        What we “see” could be improved by more depth perception. We might as well leave empathy out of it since it’s more subtle than the mechanics of sight.

      3. ChiGal in Carolina

        Yawn? Wake up and think a little harder and maybe you’ll come up with better solutions.

        Can you imagine what it would be like not to be able to go out at night alone to look at the stars?

        I have not felt such freedom since I was a kid, but apparently in Germany women do, see johnf’s comment above.

      4. super extra

        We could also start enforcing the laws around assault, rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, etc so that there were actual penalties for those who attack women. Separation of sexes hasn’t worked out terribly well in most places and America is already flooded with guns.

      5. johnf

        Just a couple thoughts from a lay observer who is probably out of his element. I think a land in which women can be at ease and need not be wary of men, needs a common culture – so that you know how another person will behave – a culture inculcated from a young age, of self-control and a shared sense of propriety.

        Germany has largely had that. Lately, however, it has been importing folk from elsewhere who are wedded to other ideas, and is slowly becoming a multi-tribal society. Unfortunately, some of those tribes bring cultures that are bad news for an enlightened, humane society, especially for its women.

    2. Summer

      Women do all of that only to most likely be killed or assaulted at home and/or by someone they know…not a stranger…although who’s to say the stranger danger wouldn’t be worse without the precautions….

  14. George Phillies

    “UVA tells Latina sorority studying 25 hours a week is hazing, lawsuit says” [NBC]. “A predominantly Latina sorority [Sigma Lambda Upsilon] says it was wrongly punished for hazing by the University of Virginia after requiring its members to study 25 hours a week.” ”

    Also, UVA pretends to be a university, which by this report it provably is not. Add class hours to this, and you get a 40-hour academic week. As I reguarlly told my students, some of whom even listened, if you are shelling out a gazillion dollars for a college education, a 40 hour academic week is a bad joke. UVA students are competing with students at good schools for which completing 40 hours of academic work for the week is called “Wednesday evening”, with days to go.

    Students who want a 40 hour academic work week should focus on one key line for their future employablity:

    “Would you like fries with that?”

    Also, anyone who thinks that studying, at a university, is ‘hazing’ needs as a modest step to be given alternative employment.

    1. prx

      Ease off my alma mater because you’re missing the point. The University is (for misguided reasons) telling the organization that it can’t make that a requirement, not saying that the students can’t study that much.

      The organization has been under pressure to show it’s got a handle on the greek system and other extracurricular groups (see: the lacrosse team, the university guide service). If I had to guess, it’s going after the Latina sorority because they’re outside the formal greek system, which has the backing of big bucks from donor alumni.

      I don’t know how to attribute this among the administration, but my view of the new president is positive; he recently announced UVA would be completely free for students from lower-income families (who actually have access to this school). Previously, UVA met 100% of demonstrated need; now there’s no need to demonstrate.

      -public ivy > ivy ivy

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t know much about Ryan (did you know he ran a marathon? I hate that guy), but Casteen and to a lesser extent Sullivan were out to shut down the fraternity and sorority scene for obvious reasons, not misguided (these organizations promote binge drinking and don’t provide the claimed benefits). Based on what I’ve seen, Ryan is a blander version of the two. The Rolling Stone article probably set them back. Someone managed to get rid of Easters

        Besides with the increased amount of housing available, the importance of the fraternity/sorority houses has diminished. When my sister was in undergrad, she lived in an apartment for three years that only rented to grad students when I was in undergrad.

        More importantly, when does the does conference play start? I thought it was Saturday, but they let the manager play.

  15. ChiGal in Carolina

    Quartz article is very goodish! Reminds me of Betelheim’s concept of the good-enough parent

  16. JohnnyGL

    This appears to be the best hot-take I’ve seen in a LONG time.


    By attracting the intense ire of the GOP, AOC activates the negative polarization of lib pundits and makes them look for ways to defend left policy items they’d attack in any other scenario. It’s very effective at pushing the discourse forward.

    It implicitly, and correctly, captures that the right wing loons drive the discourse and libs reflexively follow as they thrive on constantly pointing out that the right wing loons are…..loons!

    1. Geo

      Letting the rightwing drive the narrative is a huge annoyance for me. Too many “Lefty” blogs dump a days worth of articles about what right wingers are saying – whether to show off what looms they are, or rejoice when one says something critical of Trump.

      All this does is let them define the conversation. It’s one more reason why NC is a great place for news: they actually let us know what the Left is doing and saying.

      1. Summer

        “Letting the rightwing drive the narrative is a huge annoyance for me. Too many “Lefty” blogs dump a days worth of articles about what right wingers are saying – whether to show off what looms they are, or rejoice when one says something critical of Trump.”

        It’s been referred to as “narrowing the terms of debate.” MSNBC are masters at it.

        News fits in time and space and this narrowing is intentional.

        1. BobW

          Reminds me of the old Mad Magazine motto, instead of the NYT “all the news that’s fit to print,” it read “all the news that fits, we print.”

        1. CoryP

          That was a good interview. I’d heard vaguely about her PETA activism and support for Julian Assange, but it was interesting to read her cogent opinions on the state of politics in Europe.

          I think I’ll be paying more attention to what she says and does.

    2. JohnnyGL


      I then saw someone asking the “why they hate Bernie when he’s pushing the same agenda?” question.

      And I realized Bernie is a kind of path-breaker of a figure. Curt Flood or Colin Kapernick got similar treatment when they dared to challenge the establishment in MLB or NFL, respectively.

      Everyone always hates the 1st one who breaks down the door and messes up the previous consensus. Even if Bernie doesn’t win the presidency, he’s already kicked the door open for lefty primary challenges. Dem party hacks will never forgive him. History will be far kinder, I suspect.

      1. Darthbobber

        They don’t much care for her, either. And when opportunity offers, they are dismissive of her policy positions. But she’s not (yet) a major threat for higher office, and they entertain hopes of corporations, hence different tactics.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          But she’s not (yet) a major threat

          AOC is a threat. Its why she’s morphing into public enemy number one. McCaskill called her a “bright shiny thing.”

          The Bernie Bro narrative can’t be flung at her to distract people who would listen but have reasons for not supporting a nominally white male (Bernie is still Jewish; anyone who doesn’t toe the Clinton line is being accused of working in Bernie’s global media empire.).

          Boston University (my mom went there, so I have absolutely no respect for the place) isn’t even a public Ivy. So what does that say about the recent run of elite university products in U.S. politics? The Vanderbilt on CNN seemed confused by marginal tax rates.

          The U.S. msm tried to pitch Paul Ryan as a wonk.

          One last thing, LBJ fired a press guy for writing Lyndon Johnson in a release because its “FDR, JFK, LBJ.” AOC rolls off the tongue so well.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > why they hate Bernie when he’s pushing the same agenda

        Because Sanders has the wrong ascriptive identity markers, and “Sandy” (nice euphony, there) has the correct ones. I think it’s as simple as that. She spoofs them. I hope.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Her age. If she can get into Congress, those other “meddling kids” are put there too, and Sanders isnt a cult figure working magic as much as a sea change. Beta isn’t producing the same kind of excitement. The Kennedy reject was met with derision. Harris is a cop.

          Jesse Jackson’s importance was he solidified the view of young blacks on civil rights and that King and Abernathy wouldn’t simply go away which meant the “black misleadership” class of the day had to play ball and couldn’t wait King out. After all, black ministers feared their wealthier congregants going to the wealthy churches.

          Could Lee Carter with a bit more focus on state issues be the next Governor of Virginia? The answer is he can.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I look at it slightly differently.

      I feel commentators, such as the one quoted above, are acting like they are looking at a abstract painting, and everyone is saying something different, based on what they want to see.

  17. ewmayer

    Was late to the manufactured kerfuffle described in yesterday’s 2pmwc about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez going by ‘Sandy’ during her school years … in fact, it’s a pretty straightforward nickname-ization of her first name. As with he male Alexander shortened to Xander, we have Alexandria shortened to Xandi and simply anglicized to Sandy – this is not rocket science. (And even had she gone as, say “Georgia-Anne”, so what?) File under Ridiculous Smear Tactics, which I expect to be a burgeoning category in her case, and pretty much the case of any genuine progressive Dem.

    1. Lee

      As a waitress who worked nights, my mom carried a gun. Over her lifetime she used one to discourage would be male attackers on three occasions that I know of. Not the preferred solution in the best of all worlds but we don’t live there yet.

      1. Geo

        It’s why, even when #metoo seems to overstep, I’ll defend the movement. No “overreach” that has come from their efforts to check men has come close to what so many women have to deal with.

        It’s also why I love Nina Simone’s song “Backlash Blues”. Well, it’s Nina so it’s hard not to love, but the message is great. Sadly, it seems the real backlash occurring today is of the white/male grievance variety.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “When ex-spies go rogue by becoming lawmakers”

    Is there such a thing as being ex-CIA? Is that like being an ex-Marine? Are you ever truly out? What is that old Godfather quote again? Oh yeah-

    “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

  19. allan

    Late to the Rashida Tlaib M*****F***erGate controversy, but here’s a golden-oldie:

    In Defense of the F-Word [Charles Krauthammer@WaPo (2004)]

    … Washington is abuzz with the latest political contretemps. Cheney, taking offense at Sen. Pat Leahy’s imputation of improper vice presidential conduct regarding Halliburton contracts in Iraq, let the senator know as much during a picture-taking ceremony on the floor of the Senate. The F-word was used. Washington is scandalized. …

    Ah, but the earnest chin-pullers are not amused. Cheney’s demonstration of earthy authenticity in a chamber in which authenticity of any kind is to be valued has occasioned anguished meditations on the loss of civility in American politics. Liberals in particular have expressed deep concern about this breach of decorum.

    Odd. The day before first reports of Cheney’s alleged indiscretion, his Democratic predecessor, Al Gore, delivered a public speech in which he spoke of the administration’s establishing a “Bush gulag” around the world and using “digital brown shirts” to intimidate the media. The former vice president of the United States compared the current president to both Hitler and Stalin in the same speech — a first not just in hyperbole but in calumny — and nary a complaint is heard about a breach of civility. …

    Odd. “Bush gulag” was in fact an objective description of the worldwide network of black sites.
    File under Smelling Salts for Me But Not for Thee.

  20. UserFriendly

    Re DSA. Sometimes DSA makes me want to scream. The “northstar caucus,” would be better off if it just left DSA and merged with CAP. Seriously Neera could have written this and I said as much in a comment that will undoubtedly not go live..


    As much as I would absolutely love to topple capitalism tomorrow, the resulting chaos would almost certainly make avoiding climate disaster impossible. I think pushing a green new deal to be as socialist as it can be will probably get more public buy in too. The resulting shift of priorities, combined with a job guarantee and the required social interaction would be a great chance to organize for a more socialist country. I mean, what exactly does socialist USA look like? Does anyone really think that joe-6 pack and the rest of his buddies, who have been fed a non stop dite of American Exceptionalism since birth are just going to keep their 5 trillion guns in the lock box while socialists decide to re-write the constitution?
    If that’s off the table than the best we can do is work within the system which means push for legislative changes to make the government more socialist. Which, IMO looks like more support for co-ops, ban on all private contributions to elections and only public funding, and extremely high wealth and income taxes for the top.

    1. a different chris

      >what exactly does socialist USA look like

      Well it used to look like the big European countries in the 80s. “Socialist Europe”. But then it was actually shown to work – “hey this BMW just rocks” – so TPTB redefined it into some kind of Dictator-Communism. Which doesn’t even make any sense but when do they ever?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      IIRC — not 100% sure of the timeline and factions/groupuscules — Mark Fisher “Escape from the Vampire Castle” was first published at North Star. It will be interesting to see what happens to it with the new owners.

      Is the prose below the link your comment?

      1. UserFriendly

        The comment I left on their site was more along the lines of Obama caused Trump and Anyone that doesn’t see that is asking for Beto or whoever to cause worse.. And you are right about Vampire’s castle. I honestly can’t imagine the team blue cheerleaders at northstar writing anything in the same continent, much less ballpark.

    1. The Beeman

      That’s pretty funny. For the life of me I can’t understand why they photoshopped his foot. Maybe the article goes into some justification for it, but honestly, what could have been there that was so bad if they left it alone?

  21. Wukchumni

    Fortuna smiled upon us, by delaying our drive to Lake Tahoe…

    A nice day of skiing @ Alpine Meadows under cloudy and occasionally sunny skies, and talked to a 40 year old woman working in the ski shop in regards to the storm, and she told me it was the worst of any in her lifetime of living in Tahoe, and rode up the lift with a local from Truckee, who related it took 5 hours to drive what would normally be 20 minutes, and was rear ended twice by the same driver 30 minutes apart between encounters.

    I see glorious leader got schooled on Syria, and his proclamation of leaving was just more hyperbole of no value, how surprising.

  22. Skip Intro

    Cory Doctorow has a short, must-read piece in Locus, Disruption for Thee, But Not for Me, detailing how the DMCA and CFAA combine to create a new legal weapon available only to digital companies.

    Together, the CFAA and DMCA have given digital businesses access to a shadowy legal doctrine that was never written by Congress but is nevertheless routinely enforced by the courts: Felony Contempt of Business-Model.

    The CFAA and DMCA 1201 have been carefully distorted into defensive, anti-disruption shields that are only available to digital businesses. Taxi medallion owners can’t use the CFAA and DMCA 1201 to keep Uber and Lyft out of their cities.

    But Uber and Lyft could use these legal tools to keep Meta-Uber out of their bottom lines. Uber and Lyft have lengthy terms-of-service that set out the rules under which you are authorized to communicate with Uber and Lyft’s servers. These terms of service prohibit using their servers to locate drivers for any purpose other than booking a ride. They certainly don’t permit you to locate a driver and then cancel the booking and re-book with a co-op app.

  23. Madmamie

    We have most varieties of yucca in the south of France and they tend to bloom in winter. Mine always blooms in Dec-Jan.( ” Once a yucca is mature and blooms, it generally re-blooms at the same time each year.” Taken from a source online)
    Even though the Med region is on approximately the same latitude as CA, perhaps there is enough difference in soil or…?…to explain the inverted blooming cycle.

  24. Bern

    Re: Newsom & California health care
    For background on this, see Healthy San Francisco. When Newsom was mayor he fleshed out the ideas former Mayor Willie Brown and Supervisor Tom Ammiano had championed. Newsom made it stick.

    I never used the service because I always had insurance thru work, but it clearly made (and still makes) a huge positive difference for thousands of San Franciscans.

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