2:00PM Water Cooler 2/6/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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



She’s toast.


Click through to the audio, it’s not long. Slick as a whistle…

Booker: “St. Cory Booker: An Interview with Glen Ford” [Washington Babylon]. “If Cory Booker had won instead of losing by just a few thousand votes his quest for the City Hall in Newark in 2002, he would have been the Obama. He would have been the fair-haired Democratic Leadership Council Black politician of that time but we succeeded in defeating him and he didn’t gain that office until 2006. It does appear he can anticipate being next Obama in 2020 since everybody is bandying about his name. And if anything he will be a more right wing Obama, he is, as I said, the real article, a genuine Black corporate-to-the-bone politician who is if anything more fervent about school privatization than Barack Obama, who is the king of school privatization!” • Excellent background on Cory Booker and charters.


Good for her!

Biden: “Biden’s Anguished Search for a Path to Victory” [The Atlantic]. “Top positions for a campaign have been sketched out. Donor outreach has accelerated, with Biden himself telling staff at some events to write down the names of people who say they’re eager to help. A list of potential “day-one endorsers” among elected officials has been prepared. Basic staff outreach is happening. Biden has even joked to people that he’s upped his daily workout to get in shape…. This time around, multiple top Democrats who express deep affection for him say they also worry that he is underestimating how hard a campaign would actually be to pull off—let alone the damage it could do to his reputation or what the exposure would mean for his family.” • Story mentions “what the exposure would mean for his family” and “sensitive questions about his family.” Hmm…


“Beware Arrogant Candidates Who Can’t Win But Will Split the Vote” [Benjamin Studebaker]. Before today’s news: “I’ve made the case before that Warren isn’t that left-wing. But even if you think she is, her candidacy is a problem. Her favorability net rating–the difference between the number of people who say they like her and the number who say they dislike her–is remarkably poor. She is a weak candidate…. We need to send a message to Warren that when Sanders gets into the race, she needs to get out of it. If she stays in despite continued poor poll performance, we’ll know that she doesn’t intend to help the left win the presidency–she’s there to siphon votes away from competitive candidates and weaken our position. The same goes for Tulsi Gabbard, or for any other candidates who proclaim progressive credentials but poll in the single digits. If they really want to help us win, they’ll help Sanders. If they won’t help Sanders, they are there to help themselves.” • This is an important piece.


Readers, I have a good deal more to say on the SOTU, but it will have to wait ’til tomorrow. –lambert

“Full text: President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address” [Yahoo News].

“Read the full text of Stacey Abrams’ response to Donald Trump’s SOTU” [Quartz].

“Sanders Response to 2019 State of the Union Address” [Bernie Sanders].

* * *

AOC (1):

AOC (2):

Holy moly, dunking on Nooners!

UPDATE Sanders, forgot this one:

A house divided (1):

I will have more on this tomorrow.

A house divided (2):

AOC’s policy guy, note well.

“Why Trump’s zig-zagging speech made perfect sense” [Politico]. ” But taken as a whole, the address revealed a clear strategic purpose — one designed to revive and strengthen the ideological connection between the Trump of 2019 with the Trump who first began his astonishingly effective takeover of the Republican Party four years ago. That Trump stood in condemnation of both parties as mired in a swamp of self-dealing and dysfunction. Yes, it takes brass ones — no doubt he’s got ‘em — for this Trump to deliver a sermon on putting the national interest over vindictiveness and partisanship…. For all of Trump’s boasts that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without dimming the loyalties of his supporters, he knows that for many of them this is not true. They vote for him because they think the alternatives are corrupt or left-wing kooks. So it was no surprise that he found time to inveigh against “the new calls to adapt socialism in our country.”” • Pelosi applauded that line. Sanders and AOC, at least, did not.

“The State of the Union was Trump’s best speech in two years” [The Week]. “In remarks that ran to about an hour and a half there were, by my count, some 78 standing ovations from members of the president’s party and other guests. Many of these joined by Democrats as well. This was a tedious exercise, not least because getting up to clap for everything and everyone from the first lady to Buzz Aldrin to energy statistics made the whole thing last about twice as long as it might have otherwise. But the effect was unmistakable. Trump was working the crowd in front of him physically just as effectively as he was his intended television audience — i.e., the blue and purple-state moderates he needs in order to win again in 2020.” • Can readers confirm?

* * *

I spent most of yesterday processing this “controversy,” and my brain bleach wasn’t nearly strong enough, believe me.

“The controversy over Bernie Sanders’s State of the Union response, explained” [Vox]. “Sanders’s Democratic critics are accusing him of trying to upstage a black woman, part of what they say is a long-running blind spot on issues of race and gender. His supporters are countering that he’s speaking after Abrams, not upstaging her — and that the criticism is an example of party loyalists’ willingness to smear Sanders in advance of a potential 2020 presidential run. This is a petty fight, kicked off in part by a false report in a Capitol Hill trade publication. But it’s a revealing petty fight that shows just how deep the wounds from the 2016 primary remain in the Democratic Party — and how likely those divisions are to come back up if Sanders does, in fact, mount a 2020 run.” • This is vacuous take, even by Vox standards. The real issue is this, and it’s not petty: Sanders has two strategic weapons, as it were, in his campaign arsenal: The first, from 2016, is his funding operation, which is independent of liberal Democrat gatekeepers like the DNC and DCCC. The second, developed after 2016, is his “digital media empire,” also independent of liberal Democrat gatekeepers like the Times, WaPo, the networks, and people like Neera Tanden and the people in her Rolodex. This fight was about liberal Democrats attempting to determine when and how Sanders could deploy his digital operation (in this case, a Facebook feed after Stacey Abrams network broadcast. They failed to neutralize an important Sanders strategic asset, which is a good thing, if you’re a Sanders supporter. I will have more on Abrams tomorrrow.

Reality check:

Notice it? It’s subtle:

“Shutting up is free.” Let me translate: “Jews are cheap.” Nice!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“You won’t believe what ensued.” Yes, I will. Great thread:

This is a very good tactic:

Stats Watch

International Trade, November 2018: “A sharp pull back in imports, not strength in exports, led a much sharper-than-expected fall in November’s trade deficit” [Econoday]. “This points, despite general weakness for exports, to a neutral to improved contribution for net exports which may lift fourth-quarter GDP estimates.” And: “November 2018 Trade Data Worsens From Last Month” [Econintersect]. “The data in this series wobbles and the 3 month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3 month averages slowed for exports and imports. The trade balance worsened. Econintersect uses the trade balance as a factor in determining the acceleration or deceleration of the economy – but does not believe the negative trade balance per se is an economic issue.” And: “Exports are 27% above the pre-recession peak and up 4% compared to November 2017; imports are 12% above the pre-recession peak, and up 3% compared to November 2017” [Calculated Risk]. “In general, trade has been picking up, although trade has declined slightly recently.”

Productivity and Costs, Q4 2018: “Led by strength in durables, manufacturing productivity rose. Year-on-year, however, manufacturing output slowed.” [Econoday]. “Productivity for the manufacturing sector, because of the government shutdown, is the only data available for the fourth quarter.” And: “4Q2018 Preliminary: Headline Productivity Unknown” [Econintersect]. “A simple summary of the headlines for this release is that there was not enough data available to take a shot at productivity and costs except for the manufacturing sector.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of February 1, 2019: “Despite lower financing rates, purchase applications for home mortgages fell” [Econoday]. “The cooling seen in the last 3 weeks shows buyers more resistant to lower financing costs than at the start of the year and may point to less strength for the housing market’s upcoming spring selling season than initially indicated.” And: “According to the MBA, purchase activity is down 2% year-over-year” [Calculated Risk].

Housing: “Las Vegas Real Estate in January: Sales Down 18% YoY, Inventory up 106% YoY” [Calculated Risk]. “This is a key former distressed market to follow since Las Vegas saw the largest price decline, following the housing bubble, of any of the Case-Shiller composite 20 cities.”

Tech: “Churning Ad Machine Drowns Out Google’s Troubles” [Bloomberg]. “Facebook Inc. showed that last week by reporting a 30 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue from a year earlier. It was the lowest growth rate in the company’s short history, and the company has many challenges to keep growing, but it turns out that Facebook keeps making bank because its ads work and the company is willing to plaster them all over its internet hangouts. The same appears true for Google parent company Alphabet Inc. For the sixth consecutive quarter, the company’s advertising sales rose at least 20 percent, the company said Monday. It barely brushed that mark in the fourth quarter, but that’s a hard pace to keep up for a company with more than $100 billion in sales. Amazon does it, too, albeit with a fraction of Alphabet’s profits.”

Tech: “Teenagers stampede to a joyful online secret world” [Financial Times]. “Just who was this shimmering American 19-year-old, with fluttery lashes touching his eyebrows (‘on fleek’, as the kids say) inspiring a stampede at the Bullring centre?” • I’m just an old codger, but I think “on fleek” is quite last year. Can readers confirm?

Transportation: “‘Not everybody lives in California’: Tesla Model 3 owners are griping about frozen door handles” [Quartz]. “This winter, Model 3 owners have taken to social media to gripe about the vehicle’s door handles getting stuck in icy conditions. Normally, you push one side of the handle, and the other side pops out. But when they’re partially covered in ice, they can become stuck.” • Designed by Uber in California. As will the robot car training data, no doubt…

The Biosphere

“To Freeze the Thames: Natural Geo-Engineering and Biodiversity” [New Left Review]. The lead: “The idea of a ‘steady-state economy’, a signal theme in the environmentalist politics of the 1970s with understandable appeal, has been refloated by ‘no growth’ thinkers in France and, most recently, by Herman Daly, in discussion with Benjamin Kunkel in NLR 109. If, as I shall argue here, steady-state economics is an ambiguous construction that actually offers little to egalitarian environmentalists, then on what foundations might an alternative green political economy be built? Neither population nor GDP will be its fundamental metric, but rather land scarcity*. This is the concept that emerges—or rather re-emerges—as the most precious resource in any solution that brings the benign possibilities of geo-engineering to bear on the problem of faltering biodiversity and the entailments of an adequate deployment of renewable energy systems. A brisk panorama of the ‘Little Ice Age’ will help make these airy ideas solid.” • Interestingly, we had a discussion of the Little Ice Age in comments just last week. This is NLR, so very dense reading! NOTE * The question of where we’re going to put all the plantations for BECCS

“The Cautious Case for Climate Optimism: Believing in a comfortable future for our planet probably means some giant carbon-sucking machines” [New York Magazine]. “[T]here are, it is true, feedback loops in the climate system that we do not yet perfectly understand and dynamic processes that remain mysterious. But to the extent that we live today under clouds of uncertainty about the future of climate change, those clouds are, overwhelmingly, not projections of collective ignorance about the natural world but of blindness about the human one, and they can be dispersed by human action. The question of how bad things will get is not, actually, a test of the science; it is a bet on human activity. How much will we do to forestall disaster and how quickly?” • It’s not a matter of “the science” (though the science is “good enough”). It’s a matter of… [gasps] politics! Which the author does, in fact, say! And now to a decision we’ve been discussing this week: “[T]he math tells us negative emissions is also a last, best, hope….. Last June, a breakthrough in carbon capture was published by a team of scientists led by David Keith to much fanfare: “It’s Possible to Reverse Climate Change,” ran one representative headline. The paper showed that Keith’s company — called Carbon Engineering and backed in part by Bill Gates — could already remove carbon directly from the air at a cost of between $94 and $232 per ton. A short learning curve from now, Keith says, and you could get reliably under $100 per ton. At that price, it would, in theory, be possible to totally neutralize the entire global emissions level at an annual cost of about $3 trillion.” • This is a book except adapted from The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells. It’s well worth a careful read.

“Arctic scientists iced out by US–India radar mission” [Nature]. “Earth scientists in the United States have waited decades for NASA to launch a radar satellite to study natural hazards and changing ecosystems. But the design of a joint US–India radar mission planned for 2022 has divided researchers who study polar ice. Mission managers at NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) decided recently that the spacecraft, known as NISAR, will focus on the Antarctic at the Arctic’s expense.” • Beyond ridiculous that we have a resource constraint here.

“Companion and Commodity: The Victorian Dog” [Los Angeles Review of Books]. “Michael Worboys, Julie-Marie Strange, and Neil Pemberton’s The Invention of the Modern Dog: Breed and Blood in Victorian England offers a history of the birth of breed: that moment when dogs ceased to be dogs and became commodities — things that could be [x] quantified, [x] sorted, [x] shaped, and [x] judged. That this happened during the 19th century, and came largely out of Victorian England, is perhaps not coincidental; Victorians were in many ways obsessed with reimagining domestic spaces and who belonged in them — an obsession that was particularly acute in some of the most beloved literature of the time, from the Brontës to Dickens. Dogs in particular troubled such spaces, since they were seen simultaneously as domestic companions and as wild animals… Breed remains the most fundamental way we have of approaching dogs: it is the beginning and often the end of what a dog is, what defines them.” • Editorial comment from me added in square brackets.

“Former Koch official runs EPA chemical research” [Politico]. “David Dunlap, a deputy in EPA’s Office of Research and Development, is playing a key role as the agency decides how to protect people from the pollution left behind at hundreds of military bases and factories across the country….. President Donald Trump has not nominated anyone to run the office. That effectively allows Dunlap to avoid the Senate confirmation process while overseeing a central part of EPA’s work that could impose cleanup costs on companies that have used the chemicals, including major Koch subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. The paper and pulp conglomerate is already facing at least one class-action lawsuit related to the chemicals…. In his LinkedIn profile, Dunlap describes himself as the ‘lead and subject matter expert’ on water and chemicals issues for Koch’s entire suite of companies during his eight years there.” • Refreshingly open!

“South Carolina Wasted $9 Billion on a Failed Nuclear Project. So Why Can’t We Find Money for a Green New Deal?” [The Intercept]. “South Carolina, in a bid to expand its generation of nuclear power in recent years, dropped $9 billion on a single project — and has nothing to show for it. The boondoggle, which was covered widely in the Palmetto State press but got little attention nationally, sheds light on just how much money is genuinely available for an industrial-level energy transformation, if only the political will were there.” • $9 billion is real money, even today!

“Endless Combustion” [Bill McKibben, The Nation]. A review of the literature: “Though the 2018 midterm elections were fought largely on the issues of health care and the need to check President Trump’s abuses of power, the great unresolved issue of the 20th century for Americans is the onset of climate chaos, which guarantees that energy will be front and center in our politics for years to come. That’s why these lessons are so important: This is the biggest challenge that humans have ever faced, and after waiting so long to do something about it, we have no margin of safety left for taking routes that turn out to go nowhere.” • See NC on McKibben here, here, and here.

Health Care

“ACA Was A Failure” [Eschaton]. “The failure was the exchanges. Now we’re supposed to talk about all of the other good things in ACA, but remember back in 2009, the exchanges *were* Obamacare. They were the plan. Everything else was tinkering. The exchanges were going to free us from employer-provided health care (a good goal!) by letting everybody buy “affordable” individual health insurance. The exchanges were going to be great, because there’s nothing we love more than buying health insurance every year through a website, and employer-linked health insurance would, over time, just fade away. ACA wasn’t about the exchanges because a few million more people would be able to buy insurance. ACA was about the exchanges because the exchanges were THE FUTURE OF HEALTH INSURANCE, my friends. Nobody involved wants you to remember this. And the same people are going to bullshit you in 2020 and beyond.” • Markets can never fail. They can only be failed. And when you’ve lost Atrios….

Class Warfare

“Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s minimum wage plan: $9.25 by 2020, $15 by 2025” [Chicago Tribune]. • He’s a real Democrat!

“Socialism and Freedom: Karl Polanyi’s Early Writings” [Los Angeles Review of Books]. “Polanyi [via The Great Transformation (see NC here)] has become a cornerstone for contemporary accounts of the return of unregulated capitalism. But this posthumous intellectual fame, based on just this one book, has come at a cost. Polanyi is seen today as the great theorist of regulation and social protection, of the integrated welfare states of the Trente Glorieuses — and so a thinker who reinforces a melancholic lament for a lost order. His early writings reveal this view to be mistaken. Written while Polanyi lived in Vienna during the city’s remarkable experiment in municipal socialism, these essays and lectures reveal Polanyi as one of the greatest thinkers in the socialist tradition — someone who envisioned a democratic-socialist future that would build on, even as it transcended, the terms of the midcentury welfare state.” • More books to read, dammit!

“It’s Time to Try Fossil-Fuel Executives for Crimes Against Humanity” [Jacobin]. “More immediately, a push to try fossil-fuel executives for crimes against humanity could channel some much-needed populist rage at the climate’s 1 percent, and render them persona non grata in respectable society — let alone Congress or the UN, where they today enjoy broad access.” • I think taking away their private jets might be more practical, but I like this idea anyhow.

“Scaling Down Inequality: Rating Scales, Gender Bias, and the Architecture of Evaluation” (PDF) [Lauren A. Rivera, András Tilcsik American Sociological Review]. From the abstract: “This study examines how gender inequalities in evaluations dependon the design of the tools used to judge merit. Exploiting a quasi-natural experiment at a large North American university, we found that the number of scale points used in faculty teaching evaluations—whether instructors were rated on a scale of 6 versus a scale of 10—significantly affected the size of the gender gap in evaluations.”

News of the Wired

“It’s Not A Lie If You Believe It: Lying and Belief Distortion Under Norm-Uncertainty” [Cristina Bicchierii, Eugen Dimant, and Silvia Sonderegger SSRN (DK)]. n=300. “These findings are consistent with a model where agents are motivated by norm-following concerns, and honest behavior is a strong indicator of disapproval of lying but disapproval of lying is not a strong indicator of honest behavior. We provide evidence that supports this hypothesis.” • So the Norms Fairy does disapprove of lying….

* * *

Fun with aircraft:

Something missing:

Lust (if you assume vanity is pride).

Takes a minute:


* * *

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 (TH):

TH quotes the arboretum label: “The Ombu at the Fullerton Arboretum has a single trunk rising from a large pedestal of roots, unlike the more usual form of multiple trunks. The trunk may eventually attain a girth of 40 to 50 feet. The ombu was 12 feet tall when planted in 1979 and is now over 100 feet tall.”

* * *

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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. Grant

    Okay, well since we are going to just throw out BS to people that dare to respond to president Trump, Neera Tanden and her ilk are clearly anti-Semitic. Bernie Sanders is Jewish and if they have a problem with him responding to Trump, then it is because they hate Jews and they were trying to take away an elderly Jewish man’s opportunity to shine. Let’s all be mindless silly people like these hacks are. And how horrible is it to hire someone like Adams and then clearly show that rotten people like Tanden will then use her identity to attack people she wants to attack (for ideological reasons and because they pose a threat to her parasitic power). Are these people sociopaths, or do they just rationalize their behavior in some way to live with themselves?

    1. tokyodamage

      Well said.

      Have any of the academics who invented identity politics ever stepped up and said, “These politicians are using my ideas the exact opposite way I intended, please don’t listen to them if you believe in identity politics”?
      Have any of them ever publicly said, “I’m sorry I invented concepts and arguments that were so nebulous that anyone could use them for evil,I’ll do better next time”?

      I’m honestly asking; maybe they have and it’s just not reported?

      Also, what’s everyone planning on drinking when Neera finally slithers off the planet?

      I’m planning on a few shots of vodka, same as i did when Bin Laden got killed.

      1. JBird4049

        Have any of the academics who invented identity politics ever stepped up and said, “These politicians are using my ideas the exact opposite way I intended, please don’t listen to them if you believe in identity politics”?
        Have any of them ever publicly said, “I’m sorry I invented concepts and arguments that were so nebulous that anyone could use them for evil,I’ll do better next time”?

        The Combahee River Collective was apparently the coiner of the term “identity politics,” but they meant it to be used in a more inclusive, not exclusive, way, and it only existed from 1967 to 1980. The corruption of the term happened right around the collective’s closure, which is interesting.

        Don’t get too angry with them. People’s ideas are often hijacked.

        The ideas behind Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace Theory of Evolution were perverted into Social Darwinism. Even the coiner of the word “eugenics” as well as a supporter (which Darwin was not) of the idea, Frances Galton, has his own ideas twisted. None of them supported what their ideas and theories were used support like like letting the poor and the sick die from want or sterilization of the poor, mental ill, physically disabled, minorities, or prison convicts (all of which happened in the United States) or its ultimate expression of first sterilization, and then later extermination of the previously mentioned expanding to political prisoners, Jews, and others deemed undesirable.

        The theory of evolution was published in 1858, Galton’s book in 1869, the first American sterilizations around 1900 (I’m too tired to pull out my books), the Nazis sterilizations in the late 1930s, the euthanasia of the disabled shortly after (what was learned in murder them was used in the later efforts), the Holocaust pretty much with Poland’s invasion. So 1858 to 1938 or 80 years.

        If we are looking at Neoliberalism, the initial efforts to create the ideology of Neoliberalism was around 1943, Pinochet’s coup in 1973 and imposed neoliberal “reform” as well as its gradual imposition worldwide. And now it’s 2019. 76 years.

        Interesting. Both eugenics and early neoliberalism received much financial support from the foundations of major companies like Ford. Much support.

          1. JBird4049

            I just subscribed to their Patreon feed, but thanks because I can always use some suggestions. And I’m relistening to that episode after your suggestion. It’s good stuff.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes. But I think at some point these issues need to be confronted. IMNSHO, the Sanders brains trust needs to be working on this, because the assaults using weaponized identity will be relentless (especially since that’s all liberal Democrats have, at this point.) I am not sure that Sanders has the mental flexibility to do this; being relentlessly on message has its down-side. (To put this another way, when the messaging is perfected, he’ll be very disciplined with it, but if the messaging is developed in public, there will be inevitable mis-steps, constant dog-piling, etc. This is compounded by the fact that the usual suspects will attack him on this no matter what he does (“being not doing”). Nothing will ever be enough. Not an easy problem.

        1. Carey

          “Yes. But I think at some point these issues need to be confronted.”

          Something like “back off Mofos, because the whole country has my back!”

          They’ll keep doing this until required to stop. That’s what bullies *do*.

    2. Cat Afficionado


      “…her race and gender will be wielded like a cudgel…”

      It is written about a different person, but the tactic is the same. The dumbest part about all of this identity-insanity is that it serves only to further grow the “alt-right” as the purveyors of rabid intersectionality alienate more and more people who don’t check the right identity boxes. Finding the intersection of sets, in the mathematical sense anyway, can only serve to shrink the final set since it excludes elements not common to all sets. It’s a dead end as far as being the basis for any kind of movement.

      Or, put more plainly, “this is how you get more Trump.”

      1. fajensen

        That is, I.M.O., the true purpose behind the liberal application of Identity Politics to any situation possible: To drive out any sanity from politics once and for all!

        When the democratic process can no longer compromise and agree on solutions to anything that actually matters, then corporations and the 0.0001% can plunder and pillage pretty much as they please.

        This, they very much like and they are investing heavily in fomenting uncoordinated dissent; It has surely been noticed, at the very least by Russia, that the rise of the internet has created the perfect spawning environment for weaponised identity politics.

        It helps our adversaries that in the world of the advertisement-driven and MI-powered internet media landscape, those page-views and click-through Machine Intelligence metrics have become substitutes for journalistic relevance.

        The present-day internet is becoming a dystopic crap-sack world where some blatant lunatic-only issue powered by sheer naked human anger and outrage, will easily drive millions of page-views and therefore be promoted and spammed all over every available channel by add-bots fighting over scraps.

        I know the creators of the internet did not want this to happen either. They really believed that free information, everyone communicating with everyone, would lead to enlightenment and progress.

        1. makedoanmend

          Well said. Whether the increase of “noise” and the persistent polarisation of opinion is coordinated doesn’t really matter. I suppose is only takes one stink-tank to seed the internet with a barrage of opinion or whatever to pollute dialogue. (I also suppose that is why NC moderation policy works so well for us readers as well as the site itself.)

          But a part of me doesn’t care any more. If someone had told me that this much information (and even disinformation or misinformation) would be available outside of a library and at my fingertips at home before the web arrived, I would have thought it improbable. Right now I just use whatever skills I have to separate the signal from the noise.

          And NC (shameless plug) does so much sifting for me.

          The way to utopia is straight through hell, and then when you get to utopia you find it’s not all that you expected. But the journey was fun. As Billy Connolly once related: you go on the holiday from hell but when you return home it turns into great amusement when you tell your mates down at the pub. Rough with the smooth, I suppose.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or straight-faced literal here. The internet is really a very bad place to try doing snark or sarcasm or satire or any such thing.

      I wish people would mostly usually just stop trying.

        1. Grant

          I think the logic people are using to critique Sanders is ridiculous. I was trying to point out how silly it was. I think it was obvious, wasn’t trying to be clever. I do think you using the word koans in a sentence about someone else being oh-so-clever is ironic though.

          1. Carey

            I hope you don’t think my comment was directed at you, Grant; I value
            and pay attention to what you write. Your last sentence goes over my head, though. ;)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The worry I have is having a Twitter account, and no followers (except oneself).

        I think that’s stopping me from having one, among other reasons.

        1. bruce wilder

          I have a Twitter account on one ‘puter. Boring . . . until I stumbled into pretty people doing roll your own porn, promoting themselves and their fun time on the twit. Now it is very entertaining. But, I cannot retweet anything because I would be totally embarassed.

        2. Charlie

          The thing about Twitter is that when you haven’t paid for fake accounts and you’re anti-neoliberal/neocon, they ban you the minute you start developing a following.

          At any rate, I don’t miss it.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          If you don’t have time to do a significant amount of curation, I don’t think Twitter is worth it.

          I make that time, because — in my never-ending blue whale-like search for information krill — I get information from Twitter I can’t get anywhere else.

          And Pass The Savings On To You!™

          1. JBird4049

            And thanks for wadding through the muck of the Twitterverse. If I went there regularly, I’d lose my mind.

    1. bob

      Without a “social media team” facebook only has downside.

      You can read twitter without participating, so slightly better.

      1. shinola

        And those of us who don’t have or desire FB or twitter accounts (or smart phones for that matter) thank you for for your sacrifice.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        I was thrown off facebook, possibly because
        I had no followers
        I followed nobody.
        I guess Tom Tom was not considered a real name.

        Does that mean I should be upset?

    2. Vsy

      With the rapid movement to push the big commercial sites to curtail free discussion…er…”protect social media users”, why is no-one talking about Usenet? It’s pretty moribund now, much like I remember Fidonet being back in the heyday of Usenet, but it still seems to be functional and there’s a handful of active groups.

      It might make sense for activists to find some abandoned *.politics.* group and use it as an auxilliary (or even primary) online forum in case FB or Twitter makes a surprise move against them.

      I think there’s already a sort of “learned helplessness” setting in though, an idea that big online media companies posses a sort of moral or even legal authority to determine what it is and isn’t permissible to say, and objections to such judgments should be brought to the companies themselves and if they fall on deaf ears…well…such is life. Simply “voting with your feet” and moving to some other venue seems to be regarded by some as anarchy. (Geez, just how did we ever get by before Zuckerberg et al came along?) And I’d bet the majority of such Stockholm types wouldn’t hesitate to use BitTorrent. Maybe Usenet could be sold as “BitTorrent for social media” or somesuch.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Lambert linked to some info on Gopher a while back. Usenet is probably more viable though. It’s mostly used for uploadz now.

        Those old protocols sit out there like free beer that no one bothers to drink.

      2. h2odragon

        Usenet was “store-and-foward” like fidonet etc. so the owner of the server hosting your local feed might be legally liable for the pR0nz flowing across their node.

        Good bye store and forward networks.

        but people do have and use private, non major forums all the time. this is one. commenters here even have physical meetups, which puts them one step below a terrorist organization or a cult in terms of how dangerous social movements are.

      3. Joe Well

        I remember Usenet and also how it was the “electronic equivalent of a lavatory wall.” And still I’m intrigued by your suggestion. What’s the best way of getting on Usenet? Also, how about irc? I thought the sysadmins were still using it.

        1. Inode_buddha

          What little is left of Usenet is now owned by google, look for “google groups”. I dunno about IRC, you have to check around… most chans are dead it seems unless there is a thriving “real life” community around a given topic

        2. Vsy

          Usenet is a network of individual news servers, it’s similar to irc but with forums instead of chatrooms. Various free and commercial servers exist, “getting on” Usenet basically just means connecting to a news server.

          Basically, download and install a newsreader (I’m not sure what the best ones for reading news are these days–most reviews seem to concentrate on binaries capabilities. I use slrn but obviously console-based apps aren’t most people’s cup of tea.) Configure it to connect to the news server of your choice, set up a screen name and subscribe to one or more groups of interest. If the server has long retention times you may want to download only the most recent messages as getting all of the messages in a high-traffic group (not that there’s many of those left) may take some time. Quoting conventions etc are a bit different than web forums so you may want to read about these before posting.

          Irc isn’t as moribund as Usenet but it has declined somewhat. The #hashtag originates with irc, and was really only taken up by Twitter as a way of appropriating the anarchic cachet of the ’90s Internet–crude escape tokens like ‘#’ were hardly really necessary by then. Ironically Twitter’s ironic use of “#” has been ongoing for rather longer now than irc’s heyday lasted.

        3. Carey

          I’ve been on a couple of Usenet groups, even recently. Seems viable enough
          to me, and I like the limitations. This online stuff can be disabled in an instant,

          things more durable

      4. Procopius

        I think Usenet (which I loved) is pretty much monopolized by trolls and flamers, now. Windows usenet news readers, except for Agent, did not have decent killfiles. There was a free add-on killfile program for Free Agent (I don’t remember if Agent, which was payware, already had it built in), and it was as functional as the Unix killfile. I remember particularly there was one troll who kept changing his username, but I was able to get rid of him by banning his IP address. Can’t do that with any other Windows news reader I was able to find. I think Agent (and Free Agent) died years ago. I used to post daily on soc.culture.thai, and some of the guys who were regulars there are now friends of mine on facebook.

      5. fajensen

        Usenet is still going. You may have to pay for it from a third-party provider like deja-news because the ISP’s are not hosting it anymore.

        There seems to be a lot of older engineers still hanging out on News, and of course a lot of spam-bots.

    3. jrs

      possible some of the ability to even know what people are talking about when they talk about such things, so cultural literacy of a sort yes. But you can create a play account for that and delete it not too long after and actually it’s true you don’t even need an account to read twitter.

    4. Carolinian

      On Twitter you are missing the Blob’s latest propaganda operation apparently.


      Meanwhile Caitlin Johnstone has a good column on the growing use of “Putin enabler” to try and shut up all disagreement with the aforementioned Blob.


      1. Carey

        Seems like the time is right to voluntarily and humorously take on the identity of
        ‘Putin Enabler’, no? Maybe I’ll print up a few T-shirts and see how it goes.

        Our ruling class and their minions have *no legitimacy*, and IMO that
        should be pointed out at every opportunity.

        “Putin-lovers for decent healthcare!”

    5. Am I Alone?

      Am I alone in that my interest in the Water Cooler is inversely propoportional to the number of tweets listed?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Then you’re missing out, for a few reasons:

        1) So far as I know, there is no other source with the immediacy and granularity of Twitter, particularly for political news, which often appears on Twitter an entire news cycle before it hits the majors. (This requires very careful curation, of course.)

        2) Some material is simply original to Twitter. A serious example is the Manhattan dinner party story from Anand Giridharadas today. Other examples are subject matter experts and scholars (particularly, for me, in health care) who tweet on current research (or highlight older important or seminal research).

        3) Because of the on-going destruction of the press, if I did not use Twitter for coverage of the political economy, I would be much more reliant on the usual suspects: WaPo, NYT, etc. Not only are they often corrupt, their coverage is often too narrow. Then of course there is the increasingly pervasive issue of planted stories and propaganda. (This is true of Twitter too, of course, but I can filter for it, sometimes with literal filters).

        4) Twitter includes “marginalized” communities that are not otherwise covered at all. This includes Black Lives Matter, which would have been impossible to cover or understand without Twitter, and Black Twitter generally (which is often quite raw and extremely funny).

        5) Twitter is, AFAIK, the only forum in which the press and the great unwashed interact in real time on political issues. In this way, it is reminiscent of the blogosphere, 2003-2006, where the exact same process happened, with salutary results (until the liberals decapitated it, and people like Yglesias went off to Vox, and people like, well, me went off into the wilderness). If you want to see “the narrative” take shape in real time, or even shape it, Twitter is the only venue.

        Of course, people are free to read what they like. I can’t force anybody to read the tweets. Since nice things are nicer than nasty ones, my suggestion would be to skip the nasty tweets and read only the nice parts. Or, if you have better sources that deliver the same functions listed above, to feel free to suggest them. I’m omnivorous!

        * * *

        Adding, 6) there are also quiet backwaters in Twitter. I get a lot of photography and art material, with no flamewars at all. For example, I wouldn’t know about Simon Stålenhag without Twitter.

        NOTE I’ve tried Mastodon. I didn’t think I’d have problems with Federation, but I do. I would rather curate Twitter’s firehose of information myself in real time than research and subscribe to vertical after vertical (and the verticals are hard to find anyhow). It’s also hard to find those verticals; you have to go to them, they do not come to you. Another way of saying this is that I like serendipity, and Twitter is the most serendipitous platform out there. Also, although Twitter’s UI/UX is by no means perfect — no edit button! Jack crapping around with the algos! — it’s better than Mastodon, which IIRC is also a one-man show (one programmer) hence a single point of failure (until that programmer becomes the Linus of social media, I suppose). I’d like to be proved wrong on this….

    6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Youre missing Solidarity.

      Facebook and Twitter haven’t gone full 50s HUAC yet…

      1. JBird4049

        “Yet” is the key word. Get it time.

        HUAC (House Un-American Activities Commitee) was very useful for destroying the American Left. Being just a communist or a socialist was considered an evil thing. So the many people who were, had been, or knew about others in the several communist or socialist parties were often blacklisted.

        I almost expect to hear someday “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America?”

    7. Alex V

      Instagram is somewhat useful if you only follow certain people, usually on hobbies or interests. I use it almost exclusively for seeing what other handbuilt bicycle frame builders are up to, so for inspiration and to steal tips and tricks. @humansoflatecaptualism is also worth following. It’s like NC, but in meme form.

      1. Carey

        Sounds like you’re a framebuilder. too. It’s a wonderful skill. I’m not one, but had
        a good friend who was. RIP Miguel!

        Keep it up, it’s good Work.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I have heard other people say the same thing of Instagram. I’m not sure of reach beyond tiny verticals, though. (One of the big differences between Facebook and Twitter is that Facebook makes you pay for reach more than — IIRC!!! — one hop out on the social graph (“friends,” so-called) and Twitter doesn’t restrict reach. In consequence, curation is key with Twitter.)

    8. WheresOurTeddy

      Anything you’d find interesting or funny will be covered by websites you go to. “XYZ Breaks Internet” followed with 4 tweets that got a lot of likes is a legitimate article now.

      The sports sites are especially abysmal now.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Anything you’d find interesting or funny will be covered by websites

        Like this one, perhaps? Depends on whether you want your political news a day late and warmed over, or fresh. I prefer fresh, especially because it might be possible to do something about it (Modulo blogs like Eschaton, which I still check, the rest of the political blogosphere having sadly degenerated from the rich variety of a decade ago.)

  2. Wukchumni

    Lizzy Warren took a whack
    A not for long contender in the pack
    When they found what she had done
    Sitting bullshit would put paid to her run

    1. Buttinsky

      Hope is the thing with feathers
      And war paint DNA
      That whoops and chants without the cred
      And never got to play.

      1. EricT

        I think it’s more ratf’ing. If you look at the card, American fills the whole line for ethnicity. If you look at the “d” in Indian it differs from the “d” in the above lines. Its not out of the question considering hackers altered party registration card images in Arizona prior to the 2016 primaries changing party affiliation from dem to rep.

        1. Carey

          Is your contention that someone other than E. Warren filled out that card?
          Seems like someone from her “team” (I’m getting to hate that word) would
          say so, if so.

  3. DJG

    Holey Moley.

    Anand Giridharadas Twitter thread. Worth a read. And it isn’t just that these were rich clowns who wanted to trap a writer as entertainment: This is also the state of U.S. culture these days. Burdened with pretensions, money, and self-censorship. Every time you see the Pearl Muffintop Curator of Javanese Art listed at a museum, you are seeing a museum that is selling access to a person desperate for access–with plenty of strings attache.

    I guess that they didn’t like that he was kind-a spicy and unwilling to self-censor.

    Can anyone tell who the dis-invited writer was? Giridharadas was the replacement.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would like a museum of museums, where they display all the unearthed museums from the dawn of civilization till now.

    2. TroyMcClure

      Dan Mallory i think. There’s a link to the story on him up above in the New Yorker. Must read.

  4. zagonostra

    >Glen Ford “There is nothing the least bit progressive about Cory Booker except his public stance on mass incarceration. That is the issue in which he speaks out rhetorically with some force, although in substance he’s really no more progressive than a whole bunch of libertarian Republicans.”

    Reading BAR and the alternate Black YouTube channels on Kamala Harris, I get the feeling that that demographic won’t be fooled twice, at least I hope so…

    I wonder why I don’t see Glen Ford on DN! anymore, not that I go there much these days…

    1. Joe Well

      He’s also, sadly for me, by far the leading Senator on the issue of cruelty to animals.

      According to Glenn Greenwald, this may be Corey Booker’s very rare heart-felt progressive stance.

      Sanders is pretty mild (but still well left-of-center) on this issue.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sometimes, it’s an insult to say humans are animals.

        Other times, it’s enlightening to say humans are animals.

    2. RopeADope

      DN changed after Amy Goodman was arrested. It seemed as if there was a fear of power after that episode and adjusted their newscasts accordingly. Only recently has DN given the impression of wanting to exit their defensive shell, but that two year period has likely permeated their culture by now.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Ugggh AG is Trump Trump Trump all the time.

        Saw her do a Lecture at LSU back in 05/06 on how the DoD sells prepackaged videos to the MSM.

        Even got her to sign my passport!

  5. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    I bet 9.25$ an hour doesn’t go too far in Chicago. It would get you a place by the freeway in an old plastic tent in Portland OR….

    1. BobW

      I got a new tent and a new sleeping bag and a parka with the price tag still on it in NW Arkansas when not working at all. Clothing weekly, shower, coffee and hot food daily. The walk up a hill to the best camping site in town was a killer, but it kept the riff-raff out. ;-) Then 2 years in a dorm at $200/mo. working p/t at fast food place. Good times.

  6. makedoanmend

    Warren: “She is toast”.

    I’m rather sad about this. My inner geek liked her. I came across her long before she pursued politics. She had written an article years ago about how she used Federal data to research bankruptcies due to health costs in the USA. She was so enthusiastic about having access to the data and that her government had the foresight to collect the data for decades.

    President Trump: State of the Union Address:

    From what I’ve read on NC (especially in the comments), it seems President Trump gave a rather subdued speech. I’m wondering if he has been tamed. Tamed, not by some deep state organisation, but by the enormity and complexity of the job.

  7. Seth Miller

    You say “she is toast.” I’m not so sure. I’m trying to picture exactly who it is that might have voted for her yesterday, but won’t today because of her Texas Bar application. I don’t think it’s alot of people.

    I understand that there really isn’t room for Warren and Bernie to be running at the same time, splitting the left. But if she ends up being the only left candidate, she would make a good president.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Here again she’s making an identity-based claim, false at the time according to the only people who have the power to decide (the Cherokee nation), so it’s the Harvard story all over again. Plus, it’s hard to believe she didn’t know about this buried body all the time. Warren strikes me as detail-oriented. She didn’t remember what she claimed when registering for the Texas Bar? Not likely. At the very best, we’re back to square one on an issue that should have been put to rest long ago. I think that’s she’s a good scholar, a rarity these days. That doesn’t mean she’s a good politician.

      1. FriarTuck

        Lambert, please review the current President’s history: in business, in gender relations, in politics. Review how none of those transgressions were apparently enough to knock him out of the race, let alone out of the big chair. Then apply that same standard of review to fibbing based on a family mythos on the “exposed” bar form.

        Do you really think in today’s political landscape, this will upset the apple cart?

        1. Chris Cosmos

          I agree with you. I certainly don’t care about how people choose to identify particularly in the remote past. We obsess far too much about tribalism.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > We obsess far too much about tribalism.

            Um, because this issue involves “tribes,” that doesn’t make it “tribalism,” at least in any sense I understand. It’s one thing to say you’re a Cherokee* when you’re telling stories about your own family with your family. (My own family has stories that I’ve researched and found to be nearly true, but not true; transmission errors, need to look good, all the usual motives). It’s another thing to make that claim in one’s professional life on official documents (twice) and (in the case of Harvard) for professional advantage.

        2. RUKidding

          I agree with most of what you said. However, there is a distinct difference, imo, in how Democrats are treated in the M$M v. how Republicans are treated. One could posit that Dems are held to a higher standard, than Reps. Perhaps not the best terminology to use, but while Trump’s many transgressions were announced in the media, he was still treated with a ton of deference and free media time for his many rallies, including cameras trained on empty podiums.

          As well, Republican voters tend to forgive the transgressions of their politicians more readily than Democratic voters will. This is just my anecdotal observation, so YMMV from mine. But the Republican “machine” typically backs “their people” to the hilt – see also, Kavanaugh, Bret. Whereas, the Democratic “machine” typically does not – see also, Franken, Al.

          So I’m not so sure that Warren’s “problem” vis self-identification as a Native American will be overlooked in the same way that the media and, to a certain extent, the voters have overlooked the many (and imo more glaring) transgressions of Trump (or Kavanaugh).

          JMO. I could be wrong.

          1. integer

            I disagree that that the R party gets an easier ride in the establishment media, the majority of which is liberal, however D party politicians do occasionally get hoisted on their own identity politics petard. WRT Trump’s empty podiums receiving media coverage, don’t forget that the Clinton campaign, employing their hilariously flawed “pied piper” strategy, actively encouraged the liberal media establishment to focus on Trump during the R party primary. Lastly, and I expect it goes without saying, the establishment media treats both liberal and conservative politicians significantly better than they do those from the left.

            1. Terry H

              I beg to differ on your “majority of establishment media is liberal.” Right now they’re all doing their best to keep old wars going and starting new ones.

              1. integer

                The liberal media establishment has never been anti-war, or if it was, it has been a long time since then. NYT, WaPo, CNN, and MSNBC are all liberal media outlets. AFAIK, the only equivalent conservative media outlet is Fox.

            2. Carey

              Seems to me that “liberal” is an almost but not quite useless term,
              these days.

              definition requested

          2. Skip Intro

            It is not that the Republicans are treated more gently, it is because their ideals are different. They make no bones about being all-in for their donors, and corruption is a qualifying rather than disqualifying trait. Like their voters, they’re in it for the money, and assume everyone else with a clue is.

            They can’t be tarred as hypocrites if the espouse no ideals.

            The only exception is for (rabidly anti-homosexual) politicians who get busted with live boys and meth, and then they only need to lay low for a year and find Jesus, and they’re back in the game.

        3. Fiery Hunt

          Trump’s always been seen as a lying bloviator elected for the purpose of shoving a finger in the eye of the 10%ers. He ran as a good-hearted villain and remains consistent…

          Warren has, and continues to try, to cultivate an image as the plucky, honest, and courageous academic. Lying for personal advantage? And then doubling down on it? Missing the bigger picture for her own defense? And getting called on her dishonesty by both Trump and the Cherokees? So bad…

          She’s burnt toast.

        4. lyman alpha blob

          In today’s political landscape, Al Franken resigned a Senate seat over some fairly weak allegations while Trump remains in the big chair. So yeah, this has a good chance of sticking.

        5. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Do you really think in today’s political landscape, this will upset the apple cart?

          Trump is quite a different sort of political figure, who introduced himself to the public over many years on national television (The Apprentice; professional wrestling). Everything we so decry with Trump is “in the price,” so to speak, with voters. Not so with Warren.

          I mean, how does Warren’s campaign make this argument? “Trump set the baseline, so everything is permitted”?

        6. Skip Intro

          Trump is really sui generis, a one-off. If Elizabeth Warren were spitting on elite idols while portraying a rich, successful, big-daddy figure, she would have a lot more slack.

          Instead, the image echoes the old joke, but in this case a Democrat is a Republican who learned she could get ahead by claiming minority status.

          The whole thing, even if she fully believes and has sufficient evidence to claim that she has aboriginal ancestors (IMHO, this is not up to tribal leaders), undermines the concept of affirmative action. We see see a woman who suffers none of the disprivileges associated with oppressed minorities trying to take advantage Democratic programs to compensate historical discrimination.

          I like her policy for the most part, but I think the underlying politics in this is very bad.

      2. Carolinian

        Someone around here used to talk about “a long time in politics.” So I’m not sure she’s toast either. Isn’t all this a bit of an identitarian gotcha? Should the left adopt DT’s talking point?

        However I’m more interested in Gabbard’s prospects. As we are seeing, even a goof like Trump has a great deal of power when it comes to foreign policy–much less when it comes to domestic affairs.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yeah, I’m in agreement with you on this. We need Gabbard’s voice in the room more than we need Warren’s. But I think both are helpful, not hurtful to the left right now. So, I’d disagree with Studebaker. I don’t want to be like Democrats and police the field of candidates. If people want to run, let ’em run! That’s democracy. We can cull the herd later.

          Now, that dynamic changes in, say, 6-12 months time when we get down to vote counts. But, right now, we’re setting the shape of the table for the 2020 race and Warren’s wealth tax idea and Gabbard’s air-tight stance against regime change and wars of opportunity are very important for the public to hear as often as possible.

          I want as many left voices in the debates and in the media as possible. I want people like Booker and Harris dancing aroudn policy proposals as uncomfortably as possible because they feel the pressure from polls and from other candidates to commit to a stance and they really, really don’t want to promise anything to anyone right now.

          When you’ve got clownish sounding candidates like Gillibrand saying I like Medicare for All, but the filibuster is more important, so we need 60 votes before I’ll pass it, and maybe not even then….I want as much contrast with what she’s saying as possible.

          Warren and Gabbard prob can’t win, but they can get cabinet jobs and they can help steer the conversation.

          When Gabbard says, “hands off Venezuela” it makes it a lot easier for an AOC or Sanders to get stronger in their critique (though they have yet to do so, so I could be wrong on this). But if you see Gabbard pick up a few points in the polls, she’ll start to move the conversation in the right direction.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I want as many left voices in the debates and in the media as possible.

            I agree. That’s not the same as splitting the left vote for Presidential candidates, amiright? Especially when the DNC superdelegate rules seem optimized for a brokered convention?

            1. tegnost

              certainly the centrists are throwing anything and everything at us trying to dilute the message. IMO the strategy is to put some sure losers out there with known weaknesses so that later they can say “look at all the choices we’ve given you and you don’t like any of them, we must all agree to compromise on this centrist (whoever that turns out to be) so from that perspective, more left candidates is essential to stabilize the overton window, which has now pretty clearly moved to the left. See trump and pelosi agreeing re: socialism when anyone with half a brain can see that we currently have socialism for the rich, and those f@&ker$ want to keep it that way. As the necktie wearing comedian on the dore clip quips, “well let me ask you this, how do you propose we keep the status quo?…” By the way it’s really disturbing to listen to the harvard not even be able to come up with a ballpark definition of toady. That’s the “smart people” folks…

        2. integer

          I think Gabbard will be the most interesting candidate in the D party primary, and I hope she relentlessly campaigns on her anti-war platform until it becomes clear that she doesn’t have the numbers to win, which IMO is inevitable, and then endorses Sanders (again). If Sanders ends up winning the D party primary, which I highly doubt the DNC will allow to happen, I hope he chooses Gabbard as VP. Unfortunately though, I expect the D party will find a way to install another neoliberal candidate into the general election.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I like what she’s saying, too. Especially since nobody else is saying. (My outlier opinion here is that Sanders could fill stadiums in the Heartland with a “bring the children home!” message, as Trump, in his clumsy and weird way, proved in 2016. Trump votes correlate to war casualties, let us remember.)

              1. integer

                Not an outlier opinion, at least AFAIAC.

                FWIW (and I’d really prefer this comment not to be let out of moderation), in case you guys are wondering, my prolific commenting of late is due to me being in a remote part of the far north-west of Western Australia, where I don’t really know anyone, applying for acoustic/vibration engineering jobs in Melbourne and Sydney (which don’t come up very often but all of a sudden there has been an influx of opportunities, and I’m feeling somewhat confident I’ll get one of them). So, my 24/7 lurking is not going to be a permanent thing. On the bright side, if I do get one of these jobs I’ll be able to start contributing to NC fundraisers again, which I haven’t been able to do for a couple of years for financial reasons, which were in turn caused by other complications.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > an identitarian gotcha

          A false claim made in the context of documents used in one’s professional career is a little bit more than a “gotcha,” especially when your party’s base is made up or professionals.* What next? Resume fabrication is OK?

          * It also really bugs me that her first step wasn’t to consult with the Cherokees. If she had done that, none of this would be happening. But she just bulled ahead.

      3. Chas

        No, apparently the Cherokee Nation are not the only ones with the power to decide, at least according to the New York Times and Wikipedia. Their 20 to 30 year effort to remove black or African-American Cherokee members (the Freedmen, who had been Cherokees by law for roughly 100 years and longer through blood or by being owned by Cherokees) from the tribe was overturned by the courts.

        Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

      4. Seth Miller

        I doubt that the Texas Bar registration can be spun as something done for “professional advantage.” Is it even public? Did anyone know about it at the time?

        In the world of identity politics and the Republicans’ overreaction to it, Warren’s case is a strange one. My take, for what it’s worth, is that she was not trying to advantage herself at all by claiming a Native American identity. Rather, she wanted to help Harvard with its phony claim to be “diverse.” She was helping the team!

        Republicans don’t see this because they see everything through the lens of individualism: what Warren does must be for Warren’s benefit. This is an issue of collective, not individual, identity: we are Harvard and we are diverse.

        Anyhow, the Texas Bar registration doesn’t fit any “professional advantage” narrative that I can fathom, but it might have made it easier for her employers to claim to have hired a diverse staff.

        I’m willing to forgive her on this. Hell, maybe she can turn it around by saying she was pressured by all the political correctness out there in Academia.

        1. Yves Smith

          I hate to tell you, but Warren was alone on the Harvard law faculty as not coming from a top tier school. Law schools are such snobs that even the faculty NOW of on the cusp of first tier law schools (Northwestern) have on their law faculty virtually solely grads of Harvard and Yale law school, with the occasional Columbia grad. Rutgers was even further down the prestige chain when Warren joined the Harvard faculty then than it is now.

          I have had more than one lawyer from top schools say they strongly suspect that Warren’s supposed American Indian status did play a role in her getting her Harvard post. Even though she never listed it on any forms, if she mentioned it as part of her personal background discussion, it might have been weighed as part of the evaluation. How would anyone have known to ask her to put it in that Harvard material if she hadn’t mentioned it upon occasion?

          1. Seth Miller

            Fair point, but then which is the chicken, and which is the egg: “professional advantage” or “institutional need to appear diverse”? Her claim could have originated as a way to climb the ladder, but it could also have originated with the people at the top of the ladder, telling her how to climb. Funny how only the individualistic way of looking at it gets interpreted as dishonest, but the institutional way of looking at it does not.

          2. pjay

            I personally think Warren has a number of positive qualities that could be useful for certain positions in government. But as a resident of the Heartland (or “flyover country” to coastal elites), I don’t think she would have a chance in hell against Trump in a presidential race. A “liberal” Harvard academic from Mass. who is vulnerable to Trump’s twitter baiting skill? Yes, I know she is from God’s Country herself, but that would not matter. It is hard to put into words, but her “populism” comes across as more cerebral (or something), and not as authentic as Bernie’s, which a lot of people out here do relate to — even if he is a socialist Jew from Vermont! Of course Trump was a loud-mouthed as****e New Yorker, and he played pretty well out here too.

            1. Carey

              I fully agree with you. Warren would not do well in huge swathes
              of the country, either electorally or in governing.

            2. Fiery Hunt

              That’s the true kind of insight that this blog’s commentariat offers!
              I’d say the Democratic Professional Grifters would, and should, pay good money for it but hell, they don’t want to win…

            3. Lambert Strether Post author

              > vulnerable to Trump’s twitter baiting skill

              I agree. Trump got in her head. Doesn’t happen with Sanders or Gabbard (or AOC, for that matter, at least so far). For the rest of the pack, I think Trump (and Republicans generally) lives in liberal Democrat heads all the time (“My goodness, what will they say on FOX?” etc. etc. etc.)

          3. Mr. Bill

            Liz Warren may be toast but I raise my glass to her. Let’s face it, had she not claimed Native American heritage, she would not have been given the chance to accomplish what she has.

            America has become more about who you know than what you know. People from the wrong (right) side of the tracks have to take chances to overcome the entitled society.

            1. Yves Smith

              Um, I know people who came from the wrong side of the tracks who didn’t misrepresent their background who have done extremely well, like people younger than me who were first in their family to go to college (several like that, in fact). Society was much more mobile in her day than now.

              And as I indicated elsewhere, what got her was that she made it clear she was extremely uncomfortable about this question. Had she batted it away and said she one of her grandparents was Cherokee, it would have gone away. If it had later come up that this was a family story that wasn’t true, she could have said, “How was I supposed to know that? This is what all of my family told me, I didn’t have any reason to second guess that, I’m really shocked to learn otherwise” and she could talk about Madeline Albright learning at an advanced age that she was actually Jewish.

          4. David Carl Grimes

            If Harvard and Yale select their faculty based on pedigree and not scholarship, then they will evolve to have a very narrow and specific point of view. Not good for the pool of future Supreme Court candidates.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      She voluntarily got played by Rush Limbaugh on Limbaugh’s own terms. I’m not signing up for 4 years of someone who does not understand even bullies.

      And her campaign presented the DNA test as ‘proof’ she was ‘right.’ She should have addressed this years ago with a statement and an apology. Terrible indication of her ability to take criticism and get out of her own bubble.

      1. Carey

        If Warren can’t get even this trivial stuff right, in which she keeps digging herself a deeper hole, can you imagine how she’d govern?

        “We’ll appoint a blue-ribbon commission!” all over again, to the same results

        Maybe that’s the Plan


        1. Yves Smith

          IMHO, the issue of her past representations about her American Indian heritage are not the issue.

          What got her in hot water is how she completely fell apart when the question came up. Her reaction screamed “something to hide,” particularly since she’s normally unflappable.

          If she had said, “My (whichever parent it was) said they were half Cherokee, and their [father/mother] had been disowned for marrying a non-white” and let it go at that, she’d have been fine, because that seems to have been true.

          She appears to have had no reason to doubt these family stories until it became a controversy, so what she said at the time was arguably true….well, but now we have this drivers’ license. But I doubt anyone would have dug if she had calmly batted the issue away.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > What got her in hot water is how she completely fell apart when the question came up. Her reaction screamed “something to hide,” particularly since she’s normally unflappable.

            Makes me wonder if this Texas Bar thing is the only buried body…

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I think if you steal from corporations then it’s not so bad. It may be better than the usual passive attitude of nost workers.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Stealing from the Pentagon which supports many corporations is worrisome.

        What will happen to those F-35’s?

        On the other hand, I did enjoy watching Eastwood stealing the Firefox from the Soviets.

    2. JBird4049

      Pay people starvation wage while stealing from the customers, or selling crapified products might, make employees lazy, larcenous, and selfish? Who knew? /s

      This ain’t rocket science. Treat people poorly, especially with deliberate intent and contempt, while stealing from them and they will do it right back at you. This really true when it’s done for greed and not to feed one’s starving family.

  8. Hameloose Cannon

    There are far worse myths for Elizabeth Warren in which to believe than claiming kinship with First Nations people, right? Meaning, a myth passed down in the family to explain away incongruencies, a white lie for polite company, and kids way up past their bed time. Nobody is who they think they are, really. Should we group, say, economics, with fiction and mythology as sub-disciplines of neurology, all just different maps of foggy human desire? It’s all answers of “Umm, no, actually it’s *insert presumption here*.” And that’s groovy. –Presumption. Mathematically, after 32 generations, human kin are no more genetic-identifiably related to ancestor zero than a stranger, given diploid chromosomes. [And away we go.]

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In trying to make sense of today’s world, what should one do in filling out the various forms one encounters?

      Should one write whatever one wants? Whatever one believes, with or without certainty? Refuse to answer? Demand the question be removed from that form, affirmative action or not? Demand it be removed from all forms?

      1. jrs

        Write down that race is a social construct of course. if one is a blue eyed blond is one Hispanic? Maybe, if one thinks (or if one knows) one can trace their ancestry to latin america. The ruling class in Latin America is that white. Etc.

        Granted tribal identification is not race.

        1. Joe Well

          Many non-“Brown” Latinos in the US do put a lot of thought into this issue and voluntarily decide not to check the Latino box when they could benefit from Affirmative Action. It makes what EW did galling if she did derive any benefit from it, but, however, it seems that she did not.

          In fact, this issue is why some people say “Black and Brown” rather than “poc” or “black, Latino and Asian.”

        2. Procopius

          Actually there are blond or red-haired, blue-eyed Mexicans, born in Mexico, speaking no language but Spanish. Germans, Irish, and other Europeans migrated there during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and even before. Haitians, too.

  9. pretzelattack

    wow, some of those comments on the eschaton article btl. “aoc is going to give you everything free after she runs a train on your bank account” etc.

        1. Skip Intro

          I’d like to see the top rate policy goal described as “Return to the top marginal tax rate under Eisenhower”.

          Mostly to confuse millennials ;-)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A companion comment to Steve H.’s below – putting it all on one individual is flawed.

      Look at the Yellow Vests. Name one individual.

      I can’t (perhaps some can).

  10. Steve H.

    AOC. There is another.

    Studebaker is wrong. Putting it all on one individual is fatally flawed. Fatally.

    McKibben’s last sentence sounds good, but has the same fundamental flaw. Exclusivity. Read Cory Morningstar about him, and Buffet & Gates joint tar sands adventures that he enabled.

    Oh, and The Uninhabitable Earth is still sugar-frosted, yet reviews are saying it’s so bitter. It’s not. And I’m not here to comfort anyone about that fact.

        1. jrs

          Also he might not run, he hasn’t declared he’s running yet. It seems like he will, but he needs to declare, otherwise putting it all on him is going to look really silly. Of course that’s beyond the silly of putting it all on a President anyway.

        2. Harold

          Life expectancy for Sanders is not 79. That is life expectancy at birth. Life expectancy at 77 is 87. And if he lives to be 87 then add another 4 or 5 years.

          1. Steve H.

            Thank you, Harold, that’s cause for optimism!

            From the particular to the general, it’s still terrible strategy to put it all on one person. Not only because any one person can die at any time. JohnyGL above: “When Gabbard says, “hands off Venezuela” it makes it a lot easier for an AOC or Sanders to get stronger in their critique”

            It wasn’t just Sanders not clapping.

          2. John k

            And quite a few that are 77 now aren’t in his apparent good health. If you take out all those that are sick the number would be higher.
            Meanwhile, living to 87 is good enough.
            Plus, I’d a lot rather have an old guy with the right policies than a young one with bad policies.

          1. Steve H.

            “From the point of view of the left, the 40-60 group is a lost generation.”

            I don’t disagree with that in general. Putnam clearly showed decreasing civic engagement, looking at decadal cohorts. And the strongest voices other than Sanders are under 40. Could that mean that conditions have changed enough to trigger re-engagement, in a 21st century mode?

            Think back to Trump kicking the other dwarves off the stage, I still remember Jeb! blinking into the lights, wondering what happened. We need the argument to be about how to pay for Medicare-For-All; tax the rich, tax everyone, straight up bond sales? If Sanders is the only voice arguing for M4A, it’s never ever going to happen. Bringing those other voices along, training them up by trial through fire, is not about just building the bench. A choir has more decibels than a soloist, and a decibel is a measure of power.

            One hope I have is that I trust Sanders as much as I trust any pol. I expect his choice for VP to be worthy, even if I don’t know who that is. He also kicked ass in debates, to the point that the DNC spent social capital for donor capital, openly suppressed opposition, and trained a generational cadre in the need to play hardball. Point being, if we try to fix it for Bernie, we have already failed.

        3. Procopius

          Life expectancy in America is 79.

          True, but that’s an average, counting those who died at age 2 and age 12 and age 20 and …, and then dividing the sum by the number of dead. There are separate set of statistics for life expectancy if you’re already 70 or 65 or whatever. I’m 82. Are you telling me I died three years ago? I agree he’s pretty old and may not have a lot of years left, plus there’s physical and mental deterioration/breakdown to consider, but lots of countries have had operating gerontocracies.

          1. Steve H.

            > Are you telling me I died three years ago?

            Why, no. No I’m not.

            I’m pushing sixty myself, and use a sell-by estimate of 92 to decide what to do with the time that is given me. But I have a plan in place for Janet if I get hit by a bus before then.

            I oversimplified for brevity, and got called on it. I underestimated how personally several commenters would take that, the relevance to their own lives. We guard our hearts against the inevitable voids left behind. And try to ensure those we care about don’t collapse into the void that we will leave.

            A word we use for great esteem is love. I love Bernie, as much as I can love someone I don’t know. A Hero. His life expectancy now would just have him alive through two terms. But of presidents who have died, only 15% made it to that age, and none of them in office. It would be negligent to assume he will be hale and hearty through 2028. And then what?

        4. the suck of sorrow

          Life expectancy in America is 79.

          That is for an infant born today. That is not the same as the expectation for how many more years a 77 year old person today will keep a pulse and respiration.

          This is the same bullshit trick conservatives pull concerning the establishment of Social Security, “Life expectation was only 59 at the inception of SS. We can’t afford it!”

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        It does sound a little like the line the little girl Newt said in the movie “Aliens” – “They Mostly Come At Night… Mostly”

    1. jrs

      They should help Sanders, afterall the reasoning goes: Sander’s helped Clinton, once it was her or Trump.

      1. John Ashley

        amazing that the “race” must be given to a specific candidate.
        Doesn’t sound very progressive to me. Sounds exactly like the HER TIME crowd last time.
        Also, how soon the great Trumpian victory over the mass candidates of the right and monied classes , the 1percent is forgotten.
        If the candidate is too weak to take out the other contenders then she should not win.

      2. Adam Eran

        The trick here is the timing. I’m already getting mail from my Democratic friends proposing corporate D’s as a compromise candidate…and demanding that the left pre-emptively resign from any threat to abandon the candidate, or not vote….Before any candidate has been selected!

        This is roughly like a union pledging not to strike before salary negotiations. Bizarre! So…just hand management (or the corporate D’s) all the cards?

        At least have the negotiation before you counsel giving up!

  11. clarky90

    Re; “There are, it is true, feedback loops in the climate system that we do not yet perfectly understand …”

    “…but, disregarding our lack of understanding, we CAN, still make it all better for a very reasonable, $3,000,000,000,000. How would you like to pay? By cash, check or credit card- or Easy Monthly Payments, at zero % interest for the first 12 months, increasing to a very affordable rate there after?”

    My friendly local plants, all love CO2. The more the better. They say it is completely organic and non toxic. (unlike the poisonous, filthy invented chemicals that Monsanto etc. (also) “do not yet perfectly understand”, that they are “lovingly” drenching everything alive with, whether we agree or not.)

    The climate has always changed. The climate will always change.Everything always changes! The wish for no change is essentially infantile. “Please God, I want Mummy and Daddy to get back together, so we can be a happy family again! I never want to grow up!

    Impermanence, called anicca or anitya , is one of the essential doctrines and a part of three marks of existence in Buddhism


    1. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t get it. Change is a constant, certainly. If my temperature goes up two degrees I can still function if I start at normal. If my temperature is 104 and it goes up two degrees I will shortly be dead. Same two degrees. Nature operates as a system and all systems are not linear. The positive feedback loops involving methane being released from the arctic tundra will likely be disastrous for all of us but the super rich who are already making preparations for that eventuality.

      1. clarky90

        As the climate changes, plants and animals have always re-located, adapted or died out. If you are seeking cooler, then move higher up your mountain, or closer to the Arctic or Antarctic (move North or South), or closer to large bodies of water. People and populations that are unable to move will have to adapt (for instance, plant shelter trees.) We were all once nomadic peoples. Now that we humans are sedentary (stuck in on spot) we demand that the climate “must settle down” too. hahaha……

        For millions and millions of years humans, plants and animals have moved, in the face of “change”, if they are able to.

        Not that long ago, the Antarctic was swarming with dinosaurs and palm trees! A veritable Jurassic Park! Damn you Climate Change!

        1. Chris Cosmos

          You ignore what I just wrote. How do you adapt to massive species die offs which we are in the midst of and temperatures that could go up about 5 centigrade and eve more that could make the world uninhabitable for most mammals including us. You’re fine with that? Or even if you are skeptical of science wouldn’t even the risk of that happening be reason to take action?

          1. clarky90

            The Ancient Tropical Forests of Siberia


            “Something happened about twelve hundred years ago to the Siberian climate. It went from a warm semi-tropical climate to a butt freezing icebox, in just a few short years and most of the inhabitants moved ….”

            Our species did not die off during the previous four million years of climate change. Are we especially fragile now?

            Re “Taking action now”. My personal carbon footprint is consciously, small. I used about 1200-1500 kWh of electricity for all of a year.= an organic garden, -repair and reuse and recycle…..

            And I live near the 45th parallel South (coldish, cheapish and less populated). The majority want to live nearer to the equator (hot, crowded, expensive), and then complain about the climate? That makes perfect sense….?

            1. pretzelattack

              we have a civilization, for one thing, it’s happening way too quickly, for another, and individual choices aren’t going to solve this or meaningfully mitigate it.

            2. Milton

              Written by that noted climate scientist, Ron the Siberian. I’m sure he has some knowledge about the area’s archeological past but to cite him has an authority regarding climate science is bordering on the absurd.

        2. Kilgore Trout

          The problem for plants and animals in adapting to the present warming is that it may be happening too quickly. As I understand it from my reading in the subject, past warming and cooling events–due to the Milankovitch Cycles (and excluding catastrophic events like giant meteors) have occurred over a sufficiently gradual time frame to allow species to adapt via migration/succession. That likely won’t be the case this time; for example, it may soon become too warm for sugar maples to survive in New England, many are already showing signs of stress.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The biggest problem is that for the first time in the planets history there are insuperable obstacles to plants and animals migrating in response to climate change – the obstacles humans have put in the way.

        3. Democrita

          “…always relocated, adapted or died out.”

          It’s the dying out that has us worried.

          Sometimes that ‘or’ is an ‘and’.

    2. JTMcPhee

      And was it Keynes who observed “In the long run, we are all dead.,” maybe as a way to comfort himself? As I get closer to that “end,” in the current context, it annoys me massively that the 1% and 10% get to keep eating high on the hog, and especially that they get to die surrounded by decent or at least attentive people who will see to their every need and comfort. Unlike the mope people talked over in the recent post, covering how most of our old folks get something not far from the “put ‘em on an ice floe” treatment. Though of course we are all guilty of the original sin of being consuming humans, mostly completely out of touch and sync with “the natural world.” And thanks to a couple of centuries of Bernays treatment, still trying to keep from drowning by standing on the submerged shoulders of our “friends, family and neighbors” who we have done our darndest to drown…

      And the Keynes quote usually appears without its context: “But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task, if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us, that when the storm is long past, the ocean is flat again.” A nice explication of the context is here: https://www.simontaylorsblog.com/2013/05/05/the-true-meaning-of-in-the-long-run-we-are-all-dead/

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they can get a spare billion or two from the Pentagon. After all, the Pentagon has now prioritized military expansion in the Arctic because Russia so you think that it would be interest to have an overview on what is going on there. But good point GF, a polar orbit does sound better as an option.

  12. integer

    No one told Bernie Sanders that shutting up is free

    Sanders will not receive any solidarity from the Jewish groups that monitor society for, and seek media attention over, what often amount to minor and/or ambiguous incidents of antisemitism. Remember the (only) Sanders t-shirt* that was sold at the 2016 D party convention? If an establishment politician who happened to be Jewish was ever the subject of a similar caricature, it would cause an absolute uproar over antisemitism in politics. Double standards? You bet.

    * Interestingly, although perhaps not surprisingly, the only article I could find covering this was at Sputnik.

    1. jrs

      I though the free comment was some type of slur on socialists and “free stuff”, which I don’t care because there is nothing wrong with socialists and free stuff afterall. But I’m naive I guess.

    2. integer

      the only article I could find covering this was at Sputnik

      Which, of course, is incontrovertible proof that Sanders is an asset of the Kremlin. Case closed!

    3. Hameloose Cannon

      For the last hundred and fifty years or so, the Russian government, in whichever ideological form, has been quick to claim antisemitism pervades everywhere except the places over which the Kremlin claims dominion. Protocol of Elder Zions. The Okrana. West German Neo-Nazis. The KGB. Ukrainian Neo-Nazis. FSB. Why? Who knows? If anything, I’d say Bernie Sanders is the victim of philo-semitism. People confuse him for the charismatic Yiddish anarchists who saw the writing on the wall and founded the State of Israel. Turns out, Bernie Sanders has claim to being the inspiration for the FBI’s most boring sedition file.

      1. integer

        Was Sanders a “victim of philo-semitism” when, as revealed by WikiLeaks, the DNC plotted to use his Judaism against him in the 2016 D party primary?

      2. GF

        A link for each (Protocol of Elder Zions. The Okrana. West German Neo-Nazis. The KGB. Ukrainian Neo-Nazis. FSB). would be good. And this “the FBI’s most boring sedition file”.

        1. integer

          I too would like to see some evidence that backs up the claims made by Hameloose Cannon, as without any, the above comment is just bafflegab. I also note that anti-Russian sentiment is a common thread that ties together many of the poster in question’s comments.

  13. ronnie mitchell

    Thanks for the link to the text of Stacy Abrams’ speech it is exactly what a few people said about it, calling it Oprah-esque , ‘another bootstrap speech’, platitudes to the max’ and so much more emptiness. How many people watching wanted to hear HER life story? What does that mean for them?
    Of course praising Reagan and sounding like him gushing about how great America goes without mentioning for whom it is great, but hey look even she made it so anyone that doesn’t make it good in the US have themselves to blame.Sound familiar?
    She correctly talks about all the hurdles most people have to clear in order to vote but she had nothing to say about her protecting the GOP gerrymandering in Georgia.
    The best tell of all is the news she has joined Neera Tanden at the ‘Center for American Progress’, CAP, aka neo-liberalism central. Yes that operation that has Saudi Funding because we all know they are so big on Democracy.

    On the flip side, not on network tv but Facebook Bernie Sanders nailed it hammering home one rebuttal after another of things tRump actually said then emphasized again most of things he has been preaching about for decades, the ‘human right‘ to healthcare, education and a healthy environment with a govt. working for the many not the few to name just a few of the items.

    However, first I will admit I did not listen to Copmala Harris whom I dislike for too many reasons to go into here, but here is my point, Bernie talked emphatically about the danger and urgency to do something now about climate change. Also about that closing window of opportunity to do so for our “children and grandchildren”, but my poker chips go on the spot that says Copmala said nothing about the dangers from climate change or anything about taking any action on it.
    If she did say anything I’d bet it sounded just like Hillary Clinton’s word salad of vague focus group tested memes.

      1. Carey

        Ahh, ok! Things begin to fall into place. Guvnor run, CFR, CAP, senator-in-waiting
        for the few..

        Maybe it’ll play out differently. She seemed dull to me.

  14. flora

    This fight was about liberal Democrats attempting to determine when and how Sanders could deploy his digital operation (in this case, a Facebook feed after Stacey Abrams network broadcast.

    Sanders has learned from previous campaignerss… even from the other party…


    1. flora

      adding, from Sanders’ Response to the SOTU :

      “People are not truly free when they can’t afford to go to the doctor when they are sick. They are not truly free when they cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they so desperately need. People are not truly free when they are exhausted because they are working longer and longer hours for lower wages. People are not truly free when they cannot afford a decent place in which to live. People certainly are not free when they cannot afford to feed their families.

      The reason that Congress isn’t doing what the overwhelming majority of Americans want has everything to do with the power of the monied interests. Let us bring our people together to take on and defeat a ruling class whose greed is destroying our nation. Our government belongs to each and every one of us, not just the few.”

  15. Craig H.

    What I am curious about is whether the Texas Bar Association insider gave this to the Washington Post or if they sold it? Does the Texas Bar Association care that they have leaker on their payroll?

    As for the Senator gaming the system I am cynical enough to assume that everybody is a cheater. It is easy to misunderestimate the value of having a clean conscience. It doesn’t have a lot of market value.

    1. jrs

      “As for the Senator gaming the system I am cynical enough to assume that everybody is a cheater. It is easy to misunderestimate the value of having a clean conscience. It doesn’t have a lot of market value.”

      assuming it was gamed and not an innocent error. But yea the same people that will judge her for that lie on their resumes.

      That’s why it’s all a lot of BS. The vast majority of people lie on their resumes, or such are the figures I’ve heard. I spin to make the best of it, 100% of people do that I’m sure, but nothing I’d call lying. But then I have a real hard time of it, maybe not helped any by the fact I don’t lie, so yea the market value of a clean conscience, oh boy, isn’t much.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        On ginning up the resume.

        My sgt wanted to nominate me for an Army Commendation Medal ARCOM.

        Im like what are you gonna say i did?

        He says im gonna put a little “Razzle-Dazzle” on it.

        Lol and i got the ARCOM.

  16. Joe Well

    AOC had a rare bad night, looking not spirited, warm and original as usual but sullen, teenaged and at a loss.

    The NC commentariate is understandably skeptical of the idea of generational divides/age discrimination against younger (as opposed to older) people. BUT…

    I’ve confronted this kind of condescension my whole life and I’m in my 30s. The one time I was a member of a union, I can’t begin to describe how dismissive the “leadership” was, not to mention the seniority-based pay scale that ended up hurting everyone.

    Once upon a time, people retired by the age of 62. Now, we (especially in the left-of-center) are ruled by a gerontocracy of septuagenarians and octogenarians. People who were able to cash in on the pre-Reagan, relatively equal economy (or even the Clinton boom such as it was) have a huge advantage that may never be available again and many of them lord it over us poor/less old.

  17. Eureka Springs

    It is easy to misunderestimate the value of having a clean conscience. It doesn’t have a lot of market value.

    Ha! That’s a keeper.

    1. The Rev Kev

      One author, Jerome K. Jerome, said that you could get the same sort of inner feeling by having a large, satisfactory meal. He said that it was both easier and cheaper and gave you the same sort of feeling of contentment and empathy.

    2. Carey

      Sadly, it is.

      That the market can be arbiter of all things says so much about our fallen condition, IMO;
      one that the Few and their enablers have worked for so diligently for the last forty-plus years. Now that’s all falling apart: what will replace it?

      Direct Action for the Common Good

    1. whoamolly

      NYT columnist comes across as someone who had a list of talking points handed to her, and then parroted them.

      Pretty clear she doesn’t even understand what some of the words mean.

    2. zagonostra

      Love Jimmy Dore, I saw that segment last night and it spoke volumes on the quality of NYT reporting…amazed at how unprofessional she was, it reminded my of some the young kids right out of college with absolutely no experience that the big accounting firms send out to audit companies I’ve work for…

      1. Baby Gerald

        I got exactly the same impression you did, zagonostra. What an abysmal person. Weiss couldn’t even answer Joe’s ‘What’s a toady?’ question without having someone look it up. Like Jimmy said, she was regurgitating a ‘received opinion’. Without looking up her resumé, I will go out on a limb to suspect that she graduated from an Ivy or Ivy-affiliated school (getting a strong Columbia/Barnard vibe off of her) and got into said school as a legacy. You can sleepwalk through most liberal arts college classes and get a B+, which makes you feel like you’re an expert about everything when you are in similar company. It’s not until you’re confronted by someone like Rogan who innocently posits simple questions that can’t you answer without a phone in your hand that you realize your education isn’t what you thought it was.

        I hope her friends and family roast the hell out of her over that interview, but they’ll probably give her support like she was some kind of victim.

        1. Carey

          Ms. Weiss did so “badly” that I do wonder if it was intended. Surely a NYT reporter could not be so uninformed, and unprepared?

          1. Mark Alexander

            It’s hard to believe, but no, it is not a joke. Weiss was amazingly incompetent throughout.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            Thats exactly what happened – it was toe curdlingly delightful. I almost felt sorry for her until I found out the sort of stuff she promotes.

            I’d strongly recommend that Jimmy Dore clip, its hilarious, well worth your time.

            1. Carey

              I think she was trolling us on behalf of her well-to-do benefactors.
              To not know the meaning or spelling of “toady”, after pointedly using the term?

              Nope, don’t believe it.

    3. bushtheidiot

      Really, maybe we can help her explain by looking at Tulsi’s record of supporting legislation to make it harder on refugees, introducing a resolution calling for a policy favoring Christians over Muslim refugees, having a full mental breakdown when Obama wouldn’t use the “Islamic Extremism” magic words, was against even civil unions at one point, getting close to right-wing racists in India, meeting with a mass murderer in Syria (even though he has murdered thousands of his own people–the very people she introduced a resolution to prevent from coming to the U.S.).

      Seems like she had a change of heart recently, but we have plenty of candidates who don’t need to fall on the “change of heart” excuse for prior nonsensical and right-wing tendencies.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Funny thing about that ‘mass murderer’ Assad….around 500K refugees have returned to Syria since the government has won back control of most of the land and major cities.

        If he’s so bad, care to explain why 500K people seem to eager to return to live under his reign of terror? And better yet, why they ran from the Al Qaeda-linked rebels in the first place? I mean, Libya turned out so well, don’t the Syrians know that? Maybe they’re not ‘woke’ enough to embrace the slave trade that’s come to Libya?

        Before we start calling other countries’ leaders various names, perhaps we can/should do a little finger pointing at our own body counts of our leaders?

      2. integer

        Have you even watched the video that you linked the words “full mental breakdown” to? Gabbard was clear and articulate throughout the entire duration of her interview with Blitzer. If that’s what you call a “full mental breakdown”, then I’d love to know what you thought of Clinton’s “why aren’t I winning by 50 points?” speech. IMO the fact that the D party establishment has its knives out for Gabbard only increases her appeal.

        1. Baby Gerald

          Great point again, integer. The Brock troll strategy of throwing a bunch of link-filled statements up, expecting an uninformed readership to take those statements as fact and not research each claim or even follow the links that disprove them might be a successful tactic in places like BoingBoing where clickbait headlines attract low-informed readership and meme-happy trolls spewing nonsense with little pushback. NC and its readership will not fall for these tactics.

          I particularly love the ‘was against even civil unions at one point.’ That vague qualifier at the end of the sentence should set off alarm bells in even the most cynical reader. When was that point? Oh, back when she was a kid. Before her two terms of service in Iraq. Before she ran for office. That she clearly and thoroughly explained all of this in a video weeks ago, that she rated a 100 on Human Rights Campaign‘s most recent congressional scorecard and a 92 for the term previously are conveniently ignored.

          I mention BB above because I made the mistake of diving into a critique of a story there yesterday about how TG and David Duke are secret BFFs because he ‘endorsed her’ on Twitter. When I called the author out for intentionally omitting the fact that on the multiple attempts Duke has pulled this play TG has immediately denounced him and called him out for his racism, the author of the article took the ‘name one thing I said that isn’t a fact’ defensive tactic.

          ‘Oh a video apology! That settles it’ sarcasm was his next response to the facts I mentioned above, implying her shift derived only out of political convenience. Realizing the disingenuousness inherit not only in his original article but in his defensive tactics, I ended my time there by providing the vile propagandist and his troll swarm the following links to real, actual journalism which I provide again here for our newest troll to peruse in comparison:

          Hillary Clinton’s Gay-Marriage Problem The Atlantic – 06/13/14
          President Barack Obama’s shifting stance on gay marriage Politifact – 05/11/12

          and here’s an extra one in retort to the cheap ‘close to right wing racists in India’ claim:

          President Obama and India’s Modi Forge an Unlikely Friendship NYT – 06/06/16

          TPTB are afraid of Gabbard and that’s generally enough for me to like someone. That they’re afraid for all the right reasons gives me every reason to support her.

          1. integer

            I mention BB above because I made the mistake of diving into a critique of a story there yesterday about how TG and David Duke are secret BFFs because he ‘endorsed her’ on Twitter.

            Heh. FTR, David Duke once “endorsed” Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair “spot me 400 shekels” Netayahu on Twitter because Yair tweeted a cartoon of George Soros dangling the globe in front of a lizard person, which was dangling what I think is some sort of masonic symbol in front of what most would regard as an anti-Semitic caricature of a Jew, who was in turn dangling a wad of cash in front of a gentile.

    4. Rhondda

      My first Jimmy Dore and Joe Rogan experience. OMG! I’m hooked. My two takeaways from that gut-buster: “The Tulsi Gabbard Motherlode” and smugnorance. Frikkin genius. The perfect riposte to ‘deplorables’ talk and commenters like bushtheidiot, above.

      So wonderful to get my politics on — and laugh, too. It’s been too long!
      Thank you, NC-ers, for the introduction.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Rogan, who’s not intellectually well-equipped has absolutely the best talk-show I’ve ever seen and he goes in depth with often very unusual guests. A lot of his guests are pals who I’m not interested in but some of his guests are astonishingly articulate whose views are compelling. Tulsi had an excellent interview with him. I would not classify Rogan as left or right–he’s just Joe.

        1. Carey

          I don’t know if Rogan is intellectually well-equipped or not, but I think he plays his cards well. A good skill to have.

        2. ambrit

          I like Joe Rogan partly due to his embodiment of the “Simplicimus” character from older pedantic ‘stories’ and arguments. When dealing with social themes, what matter how the ‘specialists’ see things, if the ‘average’ person cannot understand. Compelling action without imparting understanding is pure coercion. As you pointed out, Joe is not afraid to jump “out of the box” a lot of the time. Seemingly, no subject is off limits on his program. A curious Everyman. Perfect for an imparter of knowledge.

        3. PlutoniumKun

          Rogan I think is the best talk show host I’ve ever seen – he lets his interviewers talk and express themselves without ever allowing them get away with BS or smugness. Anyone who can interview Mike Tyson and Roger Penrose and make both interviews classics is doing something right.

      2. Baby Gerald

        Welcome to the Dore following, Rhondda! Like you, the commentariat here led me to Dore in the spring of 2017 and I’ve been an avid fan of his ever since. His BS detector is honed and his DGAF attitude lets him call out whatever smells funny without pulling punches. Too bad you missed his live chat stream during the SoTU last night which covered all three speeches in real time, but be sure to check out his Superchat Saturday shows for a weekly sanity reset. It airs at 5pm Eastern Time and usually last two to three hours and will often include guests like Lee Camp, Abby Martin, and other like-minded journalists and commentators with integrity.

        In the meantime, enjoy reviewing his older clips and be sure to subscribe to get his notifications for new video drops.

    5. integer

      Check out Weiss’s Wikipedia entry:

      Weiss is a 2007 graduate of Columbia University. Weiss was a Wall Street Journal Bartley Fellow in 2007. Weiss was a Dorot Fellow from 2007 to 2008 in Jerusalem…

      Weiss was news and politics editor at Tablet from 2011 to 2013. She was associate book review editor at The Wall Street Journal from 2013 until April 2017, when she moved to The New York Times as an editor in the opinion section.

      It’s pretty astounding that she’s been involved in journalism for over a decade and is still so bad at it. One might even go so far as to speculate that she didn’t attain her positions on the basis of merit. Here’s a bit more from Wikipedia:

      Glenn Greenwald has criticized her pro-Israel and anti-Islam stances, calling them “shallow”. Andrew Sullivan described her as an “unhinged Zionist”, a label she happily accepts.

      1. Baby Gerald

        ‘Weiss is a 2007 graduate of Columbia University. Weiss was a Wall Street Journal Bartley Fellow in 2007. Weiss was a Dorot Fellow from 2007 to 2008 in Jerusalem…’

        Boy, I love it when my instincts are correct. When she’s getting called out from both the left and the right, you know you’ve got a winner!

        As an aside, I’ve been immersed in the Columbia environment for way too long- 5 years as a student and 22 as an employee. I can spot our/their kind a mile away.

        1. integer

          Adding: It’s funny thinking about Weiss and her friends sitting around talking about how Tulsi Gabbard is an Assad toadie (sic) without any of them actually knowing what it means, everyone wondering what a toady is but afraid to look dumb by asking so just going along with it because someone in the group, who never actually knew what it meant but heard someone else say it and thought it sounded smart, said it and everyone else is agreeing, because everyone else is agreeing, and they are afraid to look dumb by asking what it means.

  18. Carla

    “Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s minimum wage plan: $9.25 by 2020, $15 by 2025” [Chicago Tribune]. • He’s a real Democrat!

    I don’t get the snark on this particular one, Lambert — Didn’t Bernie just introduce a federal bill for a $15 minimum wage by 2024?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it’s possible that confronting China over trade, and reforming visa programs will finally get wage appreciation going, such that, $15/hr would be considered inadequate.

      In that scenario, wages all over the pay scale, except maybe those at the summit, will go up, and not just those below $15/hr.

  19. Carolinian

    Re that 9 billion dollars–one should point out that the drive to construct the first new reactors in decades in Georgia and SC was supported by Barack Obama as part of his own “green new deal.” The federal and state governments had to become involved because private investors had come to regard nuclear construction as too risky without government guarantees. So despite the Intercept’s spin, Green New Deal opponents are just as likely to point to what happened here as an example of government incompetence when addressing something as major as AGW, rather than merely the whim of backward southerners or business friendly conservatives. And if you read the story, state ratepayers (fortunately not including me) are on the hook for 2.3 billion, not the entire 9 billion lost.

  20. RUKidding

    I didn’t listen to/watch either the SOTU, Stacy Abrams’ rebuttal, or Sanders’ rebuttal.

    The whole froo-frah from some sections of the “left” or whatever vis Sanders is just so over the top and frankly quite ?? ridiculous? stupid? whatever. I’ve seen comments on blogs baldly stating that Sanders is a racist who “hates” Women of Color; that he did his rebuttal simply to “steal Abrams thunder;” and similar ilk.

    FFS, I believe this is the third or fourth year that Sanders has done his rebuttal (and possibly always on Facebook? not sure. I don’t “do” Facebook, so I’ve never seen his speech). It’s not new. This year it’s highly doubtful that Sanders was motivated to do this in order to steal Stacy Abrams’ thunder or whatever. Whether you like or hate Sanders, he’s been, imo, pretty consistent with speeches, talks, rallies and Town Halls for quite some time. PLUS he did the rebuttal AFTER Abrams was done.

    One could certainly identify a Sanders derangement syndrome. Some people have never forgiven him for allegedly causing HRC to lose. Of course these same people blame Ralph Nadar for causing Al Gore to lose.

    And so on… depressing but to be expected I suppose.

      1. RUKidding

        Depends on which way the wind is blowing, apparently. I’ve heard both stated and quite vehemently.

  21. Chris Cosmos

    I do believe carbon sequestration is theoretically possible. We will need a “race to the Moon” type of project to make it happen. But let’s be clear here most citizens and nearly all politicians and oligarchs who they represent have no interest in doing anything remotely friendly to the environment other than Obama-style hand waving. So I’m skeptical that there will be much interest in carbon sequestration either. Nevertheless other than aliens coming to our rescue that’s our only chance to avoid disaster.

    1. Rhondda

      It just blows my mind that the Jackpot wouldn’t be averted because some people might not get to keep all the money. The insanity of that…It is beyond reckoning, the worst bad and immoral thing ever. Like, Nazi10. Unbelievable.

    2. Synoia

      I do believe carbon sequestration is theoretically possible.

      Nice. But is it financially possible? It’s been mooted for years. Please check the thermodynamic calculations for cooling and liquefying Carbon Dioxide, and assume an efficiency of 35% for the liquefaction, and calculate the cost at commercial rates.

      This is not engineering: It is Physics.

      Hear’s an article with numbers:

      A typical 1,000-MW coal-fired plant requires 120 MW, or 160,000 hp of auxiliary power costing upwards of $180 million for a 3 x 50% CO2 compression system using current technology. The CO2 compressor power required for an integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant is approximately 5% of the plant rating. A 600-MW PC plant will require 30 MW, or 40,000 hp, at an estimated $45 million for the same 3 x 50% compressor configuration. The higher-pressure ammonia-based processes consume about one-half of that power at less than one-half the cost, but that is still a considerable first cost and operating expense.

      We have $45 million, over 10 years, plus the lost cost of electricity for compression:
      3,650 days or 8,727,600 hours
      30 MW

      Giving 261,828,000 MWH or about 262,000,000,000 KWh at $0.10 per KWH
      Lost opportunity cost: $26,200,000,000 or about $26 Million

      Total cost over 10 years $61 Million.

      Assuming 100% sequestration, containment, for eternity — We have no guarantees, no certainty, the captured, compressed CO2 will stay captured.

      Sequestration is an excuse by the power industry to put off their day of reckoning, by kicking the can down the road, with an expensive technology with no assurance the CO2 will remain captured.

      If capture fails, at some point he Power Station is generating only enough power to keep its effluent in the ground. After that point is it again releasing more effluent that it can ever capture.

      The phrase which describes that predictable event is called “Being buried in one’s own shit.”

      1. Grebo

        Most schemes do not require liquifying the CO2. Not that any of them are much more viable yet, but the ideas are getting more sophisticated so maybe a usable one will crop up eventually.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        If we are going to geoengineer CO2 sequestration I think I like the Salk Institute approaches better than dumping money into various schemes for CO2 sequestration — that appear a little too much like the latest efforts to monetize Climate Chaos. That Carbon Engineering website is very nicely done and attractive … but I thought it was a little vague on details. They definitely “welcome enquiries from strategic and institutional investors” and “global strategic partners including:Commercial plant developers to build and operate DAC and AIR TO FUELS™ plants
        Renewable energy providers interested in power purchase agreements for plants
        Industrial operators interested in supply agreements for atmospheric CO2 for permanent geologic storage and/or enhanced oil recovery
        Customers interested in renewable fuel supply agreements”

        On the otherhand: “Salk has a two-pronged solution:
        Use “ideal” terrestrial crop plants to capture a significant portion of human-emitted CO2.
        Maintain sequestration capacity of coastal marine environments by reversing seagrass loss.”

        “We realized that a crop with a larger, suberin-dense root would capture more carbon in the ground,” he[Joseph Noel] says. “Roots last longer than other parts of plants, particularly in perennial plants that live multiple years. Even in dead roots, suberin decays very slowly.” Suberin is the stuff cork is made from. It would hold sequestered carbon and add a mulching agent to the soil for holding moisture. “There is still a great deal we don’t know about how genes and molecular mechanisms determine how a plant root decides to grow to a certain size or in a certain direction in the soil,” Busch says. “To breed crops with large roots that produce a lot of suberin, we’ll need a better understanding of how to influence both aspects at the genetic and molecular level.” “Just as important, it will help the researchers find ways to grow plants in a variety of conditions.” Right now the “ideal” terrestrial crop plants Salk is starting with are varieties of chickpeas. I like humus and chana masala.

        “Coastal seagrass beds store nearly twice as much carbon per acre as terrestrial forests and account for about 10 percent of the carbon stored in the ocean. Unfortunately, due to dredging and pollution, seagrass ecosystems are seriously threatened around the world.”

        I don’t see much downside to the Salk Institute plan. But with the Carbon Engineering approach it’s hard to judge. I trust Synoia’s numbers and they don’t look so good.

        [I recall someone here at NakedCapitalism or one of the past links here pointing to a MacArthur Grant video detailing this Salk Institute initiative sometime in the past year.]

      3. BlakeFelix

        I would think making biochar would be a lot cheaper than that, heck, maybe throwing plastic in landfills… Mass liquid CO2 sequestration never made much sense to me.

    3. joe renter

      Don’t forget Divine Intervention of some form. I know it’s too popular of an concept these day. It’s running a bit behind in the time line, but some sources are still adamant. Really it’s a 2fer since the aliens are on the same team.
      Hang in there.

  22. Roger Smith

    Some comments on the politcal stories:

    1 – The Root is extremist garbage.
    2 – There really is something I cannot stand about opposing politicians showing up to the STOU to simply scoff, pout, and be angry the whole time. It looks bad. The President sucks sure, but he did before too, “but before it was our party in charge!”. Just don’t show up. Go do something productive. You knew what a snooze fest, platitude laden cesspool it would be before going. Besides, Congress is where the really deep rot is, where the lawmakers actually reside, or rather, where the lawmakers are soldered to their seats. STOU is just nonsense that promotes the false idea that the President does a whole lot on their own.
    3 – On that note I am very exciting about Gabbard running. I was hoping she would for a few years. Voting against the MIC/IC in any form is great, especially since that is something the President actually has control over (well… RIP Johnny and Bobby). I’ve already donated. I think this is the most effective oval office play at this time.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “We are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” Pres. Trump says.

    “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”


    There are times you know the name, but not reality referenced by the name. It might happen like that when you read a lot in a quite room, but rarely go outside.

    Other times, you know some thing or some process, but not the name for it.

    Now, progressives have many goals. With this gambit, is it advantageous (or presumed to be, by some) to only reference a name, a term, and not the details or the reality, or the substance behind it?

    1. Steve H.

      Go for the details, concrete material benefits. I can’t find the Corrente post, “Stop the Wars, A Jobs Guarantee..,” but that’s where I’d start.

      It looks like there is at least strong support for those policies when individually named. The -isms get semantically co-opted rapidly. Aim at the policy and avoid the label.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I agree.

        The question I am askiing is whether the name is invoked to gain some advantage with voters, or some voters, by reducing everything to one name.

        1. Steve H.

          Oh, I see. I think the answer is yes. I know that ‘socialist’ is a negative for many people, not because of policy but the National Socialist Party and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were The Enemy.

          In ‘Bowling Alone’ Putnam writes about Bridging v Bonding, with Bonding being exclusive and good for rallying to causes (Bridging is good for new jobs & outreach). Does Trump do positive labels? Socialist is what he says we Won’t be, not what we are. MAGA at root says we are Not great now.

          I just searched ‘Progressive’ and got this from the Atlantic: “Proud progressives Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, and Beto…” Oof. If they’re Progressive then I’m not.

  24. RMO

    “No one told Bernie Sanders that shutting up is free”

    Wow, just… wow. Apparently I need a better framework than Dylan Moran’s “WTF? to Oh FF’sS!” scale as that flies past it at 99% of the speed of light to “GFY” level. They’re not even trying to form an even minimally internally logical or believable argument any more are they? It feels like we’re only a step away from being desperate enough to actually outright rub out Sanders and any of the other leftists gaining popularity and power now.

  25. cocomaan

    Trump was working the crowd in front of him physically just as effectively as he was his intended television audience — i.e., the blue and purple-state moderates he needs in order to win again in 2020.” • Can readers confirm?

    The entire thing felt far, far different than previous years. It actually felt festive. At times positive. Pelosi lit up during Trump’s final bit (the only good bit in the speech, honestly). Lots more bipartisan standing than last year.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Lots more bipartisan standing than last year.

      That’s not necessarily a good thing (Iraq; Grand Bargain).

      Anyhow, presumably they aren’t standing to applaud a Russian stooge, so maybe we can finally put that one to bed.

      1. cocomaan

        Lambert, definitely, won’t have me arguing for bipartisanship, just saying that’s what happened.

        It did happen on weird things, too.

        At one point Sinema from Arizona stood up, there’s a clip of her clapping for something and her neighbor in Democrat White saying “Watch your ass”. Pretty amusing to see how hard Democrats are self policing.

  26. Darthbobber

    Am I supposed not to have noticed that Pelosi’s office was tweeting criticisms of the SOTU address while it was going on, preceding Abrams?

    Or that many other Democrats had their own responses up almost instantly?

    Guess none of them could afford free.

  27. djrichard

    If, as I shall argue here, steady-state economics is an ambiguous construction that actually offers little to egalitarian environmentalists, then on what foundations might an alternative green political economy be built? Neither population nor GDP will be its fundamental metric, but rather land scarcity*.

    Bankers need debt to grow for their business model to work. Can’t get that with a steady state economy. But something focused on land scarcity? I bet the bankers can get behind that.

    I would still argue that if we want to lower the fertility rate we should just let capitalism do its magic: indebt everyone to their max debt load, “inrisk” everyone to their maximum job precariousness. In fact, the more educated the rubes, the better.

    1. Summer

      “I would still argue that if we want to lower the fertility rate we should just let capitalism do its magic…”

      That won’t work because the fertility rate should have fell off a cliff along time ago – if people let lack of money keep them from having kids.

      And the USA will steal people from other countries to keep enough debt slaves in the que for the 1%.

      Still have missing children from the last border fiasco.

  28. notabanker

    1. Not seeing all of AOC’s tweets in my TL. Random user error / glich I’m sure.
    2. AOC moving into Trump takedown mode is bad news. The fight is within her party. If this doesn’t foment, she is best case marginalized, worst case useless.
    3. DCCC has to dilute the primary vote to super delegate Sanders out. Repubs don’t want to face him either. Who really leaked the Warren stuff?

  29. ewmayer

    Now that I’m on the wrong side of 50, as part of my latest physical my doctor prescribed a colon test. Thankfully she gave me option of the colonoscopy (more accurate but, erm, rather more invasive) and one of those home-poop-test (fecal occult blood test … not sure if it involves pentagrams and satanic rituals at the testing lab) kits, with the option of still doing the former should the latter indicate anything potentially worrisome.

    And here I thought I was done filling out little ovals on standardized test forms. Feco-calligraphy with those long-handled little sample brushes lends new meaning to “Using a number 2 pencil”. :)

    1. ambrit

      Uh oh. You’re drifting towards the dreaded “Constipated Mathematician” joke territory.
      Uh, well, there are some ‘sympathetic magic’ components to the testing regime. As performed in the Lab, the Pentagram used has the Logos of the appropriate Big Pharma Corps placed at the appropriate star points. Traditionally, all invocatory chants are done in Legal Latin, a very exoteric and convoluted tongue.
      Just remember to take the samples by the dark of the moon.

  30. The Rev Kev

    ‘AOC had a rare bad night, looking not spirited, warm and original as usual but sullen, teenaged and at a loss.’

    What that look was about was that she was fighting to get oxygen to her brain in that stultifying atmosphere.

  31. Synoia

    Neither population nor GDP will be its fundamental metric, but rather land scarcity*

    No it is not “Land Scarcity” which is the constraint. There is plenty of desert, but it is useless land. Yje Scarcity is land with rainfall, and no floods, which excludes large areas of land on our planet.

  32. Synoia

    Questions for Kamala, Cory, and the other Presidential hopefuls:

    Will you:

    – Guarantee healthcare
    – Guarantee childcare
    – Guarantee receiving a living wage
    – Guarantee higher education

    1. djrichard

      There’s a simpler question. Ask them if the Federal deficit matters. All their answers to other questions flow from that. And if their answers to other questions aren’t consistent with that, then you know they’re lying on their other answers.

  33. Carey

    Hell effing no! Preventing those things from happening is why Harris-Booker and the like
    get paid the big bucks; not so much now, but after leaving office™.

    See: Obama, B., for the latest well-paid example.

    Our Democrats™: Deterring Democracy since 1978 (at least)

  34. Carey

    “..“Joe Biden is someone who can reassert what our core values are. He can answer the big questions facing this country with real moral authority,” reads one section..”

    From the Atlantic piece.


  35. John Beech

    This is hilarious!

    What Democrats won’t do for white men either:

    – Guarantee our healthcare
    – Guarantee our childcare
    – Guarantee we receive a living wage
    – Guarantee our higher education

    . . . nor will Republicans.

    Could this be why I get up and go to work each and every day? Wanna bet it’s because I know deep in my gut nobody but me will watch out for me and mine? Darn tootin’.

    1. Carey

      I’ve lived in countries where quality healthcare for all is a given, and where one does not
      feel, as I do here in USA! USA!, that one is an illness or mis-step away from penury or homelessness.

      Those benefits were achieved through *collective action*, in those more civilized places.

      Direct Action for the Common Good

    2. Carey

      “…I know deep in my gut nobody but me will watch out for me and mine?..:”

      Are you certain that what you describe above is a natural, inevitable condition?
      As I see it, it’s *exactly* what the Few want us to internalize.

      Having lived in places where that was not the collective sense, I hunger (the right word)
      for that feeling again.

  36. anon in so cal

    Re: Elizabeth Warren

    Not to sound like an elitist b-_ch, but Elizabeth Warren’s undergraduate degree was from
    the University of Houston, which is not exactly an esteemed institution. From there she went
    to Rutgers, a step up. Then on to a faculty position at prestigious Harvard. She denies she used
    her race/ethnicity for upward mobility purposes, but it sure looks that way. She’s toast.

    1. ewmayer

      Lizzie Warren stood for the ba’,
      said “Pocahontas is my grandma”.
      When we saw what she had done,
      We told her please please please don’t run!

    2. Daryl

      Yes, it’s unfortunate that she tainted the respectable UH degree by attending Rutgers and then teaching at Harvard…

  37. David Carl Grimes

    If Harvard and Yale select their faculty based on pedigree and not scholarship, then they will evolve to have a very narrow and insular point of view. Not good for the pool of future Supreme Court candidates.

    1. Carey

      As far as I can see, the scenario you envision for the future has been in place for a long time. Look who’s there now; this latest dude being an example, but not a special one.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Dont forget the Yale Law School scandal with TIGER MOM Amy Chua steering attractive females to Brett Kavanaugh.

  38. Oregoncharles

    “Holy moly, dunking on Nooners!”
    AOC is just as much of a New Yorker as Peggy Noonan – who I notice includes the city in her Twitter handle.

  39. Carey

    From ‘Conscience of a Machine’ by Michael Sacasas:

    “..We have an unfortunate tendency to adapt, under the spell of metaphor, our understanding of human experience to the characteristics of our machines. Take memory for example. Having first decided, by analogy, to call a computer’s capacity to store information “memory,” we then reversed the direction of the metaphor and came to understand human memory by analogy to computer “memory,” i.e., as mere storage. So now we casually talk of offloading the work of memory or of Google being a better substitute for human memory without any thought for how human memory is related to perception, understanding, creativity, identity, and more.

    I can too easily imagine a similar scenario wherein we get into the habit of calling the algorithms by which machines are programmed to make ethically significant decisions the machine’s “conscience,” and then turn around, reverse the direction of the metaphor, and come to understand human conscience by analogy to what the machine does. This would result in an impoverishment of the moral life..”


  40. Carey

    This is the “magic of the market”.

    We’re living Thatcher’s dream now; how’s it working for the great majority of the citizenry?

  41. ambrit

    Zeitgeist Watch item.
    I was weaseling about the Internet and saw a clickbait headline, if I ever saw one, in the Yahoo “news” feed.
    “GOP boyfriend of accused Russian agent indicted.”
    All about a Trump lawyer being charged with a financial crime. Just an individual episode of financial felony. However, reading just the headline, one got the idea that the arrest was related to his work for Trump and Russian ‘meddling’ in American politics.
    So, being stupid, I went to the comment thread and put in a short blast against the framing of the headline and story. The comment is now not to be found. At least, I couldn’t find it.
    While looking for my comment, I started to read the comment stream. (Poor damaged brain cells!) I noticed the repetition of several anti-Trump memes, often with different ‘commenters’ using identical wording. Multiple disparaging comments by individual ‘commenters.’ The resort to shaming as a tactic against those who propounded opposing points of view. The use of repetition instead of factual argumentation to “win” arguments. “But they go to 11!”
    I’d love to see how much of the MSM commentariat are comprised of bots. The “useful idiots” comprised of “true believers” could be viewed as cybots. Lastly, I’d be curious to find out just how involved with the propaganda activities the upper echelons of the MSMs are. Does a class of functionaries have agency?

  42. Carey

    ‘Why the Freemans moved to Russia’:

    “..Despite the emphasis on individual rights, Mearsheimer contends we are profoundly communal in nature. We are born and raised “in community.” Society and culture are essential factors in our self-definition. He defines a major dilemma the liberal state faces: “For a society to hold together, there must be substantial overlap in how its members think about the good life, and they must respect each other when, inevitably, serious disagreements arise.” I doubt anyone reading or watching the debates about our cultural values in America would conclude there is a whole lot of respectful debate going on over our deep divisions in defining “the good life.”..”


  43. a different chris

    “[T]here are, it is true, feedback loops in the climate system that we do not yet perfectly understand and dynamic processes that remain mysterious.”

    Well that will make a nice carving on humanity’s tombstone.

Comments are closed.