2:00PM Water Cooler 4/16/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Exclusive: U.S. waters down demand China ax subsidies in push for trade deal – sources” [Reuters]. “The issue of industrial subsidies is thorny because they are intertwined with the Chinese government’s industrial policy. Beijing grants subsidies and tax breaks to state-owned firms and to sectors seen as strategic for long-term development. Chinese President Xi Jinping has strengthened the state’s role in parts of the economy. In the push to secure a deal in the next month or so, U.S. negotiators have become resigned to securing less than they would like on curbing those subsidies and are focused instead on other areas where they consider demands are more achievable, the sources said.” • Gotta move those 737s off the lot…

“U.S. Farmers Fear China Trade Deal Will Leave Them Worse Off” [Bloomberg]. “Many producers are alarmed by signs that the administration would accept Chinese purchase target pledges for commodities like soybeans and pork without a promise to lift retaliatory tariffs…. Many American farmers say today’s economic pressure is the most severe since the farm crisis of the 1980s. Profits have been shrinking since they peaked six years ago and last year fell to half of what they were in 2013. Years of bumper crops sent prices for key commodities such as corn and soybeans plummeting — down 40 percent since 2013. Trump’s determination to disrupt global trade abruptly compounded the financial damage last year.”


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

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune


WaPo reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee went through the Democrat candidates fundraising reports for Q1 2019. I turned her thread into a table, which I sorted on the “Donations Under $200” column:

Biden hasn’t declared, of course, so we don’t know where he will be. I’m not a campaign finance expert, but a few things stand out. First, Sanders is the leader in “Total Amount Raised,” “Donations Under $200,” and “Cash on Hand.” Second, Warren, despite her lack of press, is in second place (though notice her massive transfer from a past campaign, unlike Sanders). Third, Buttigieg has been extremely frugal during his “meteoric rise”; he’s spent under a million! Finally, centrists Harris, Klobuchar, Castro, and Inslee all seem to have a similar donor composition. Here is Lee’s article

“Early fundraising by 2020 Democrats shows they are in for a long, drawn-out fight” [WaPo]. “One reason for the relatively modest totals is that many wealthy donors and fundraisers are sitting on the sidelines — waiting for former vice president Joe Biden to join the field, or simply watching to see who rises and who flames out. Also, many of the candidates have focused on wooing donors who give in small increments online. Some Democratic strategists expressed concern about the early figures, which they described as lackluster. Rufus Gifford, finance director for Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, said campaigns are hindering themselves by failing to maximize all sources of money, which includes courting wealthier donors willing to give up to the limit of $2,800.” • Lol. Consultants want more billing!

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Biden Spanish-language ad becomes ‘hot mess'” [Politico]. “In the run-up to his expected presidential campaign announcement, former Vice President Joe Biden’s supporters cut a Spanish-language ad in South Florida over the weekend emphasizing healthcare, education and his biography. The Saturday film shoot was a hushed affair — paid local actors signed non-disclosure agreements promising not to discuss the job. But some posted images on social media of the Fort Lauderdale commercial anyway…. Biden is expected to announce after Easter Sunday — offers have been accepted by prospective campaign staffers and a state chairman is being lined up. But supporters caution that nothing is final until the former vice president gives the final word.” • Biden has form. Let’s get the implosion underway.

Biden (D)(2): “Ocasio-Cortez says a Biden presidential run doesn’t ‘animate’ her” [Yahoo News]. AOC: “I can understand why people would be excited by that, this idea that we can go back to the good old days with Obama, with Obama’s vice president. There’s an emotional element to that, but I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.”

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Secret tapes linger over Buttigieg’s meteoric rise” [The Hill]. “An Indiana judge will rule soon on whether to release five cassette tapes of secretly recorded conversations between South Bend police officers that led to the 2012 demotion of Police Chief Darryl Boykins, the city’s first ever black police chief.” • The focus is on racial issues, but in my reading there’s a subtext of Buttigieg having difficulty managing the police department, perhaps even being muscled by them.

Buttigieg (D)(2):

Like I said, some people think Listen, Liberal! was a blueprint.

Buttigieg (D)(3): “The Eternal Sunshine of Mayor Pete” [Rolling Stone]. “Buttigieg has a theory of how to oust Trump — not by fighting him tooth and claw, but by crafting an alternative vision of a future that people can hear and invest in — and he’s going to stick with it. His big finish on Sunday, after his imaginary visit with Young Pete, crystallized the approach perfectly: “Do we not live in a country that can overcome the challenge of a bleak moment?” he asked. ‘We’ve had it with winter. You and I have the chance to usher in a new American spring.'” • It’s morning again in America

* * *

Patient readers, there’s so much on Sanders because there’s so much: The FOX Town Hall, the battle with CAP, and his tax returns. The first two are shows of strength; the last, not so much. In his own way, Sanders is feeding the media, isn’t he?

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders pierces the Fox News bubble — but for only a flickering moment” [WaPo]. “[Fox anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum] would ask a question targeting Sanders’s rhetoric, and he would parry. The audience was largely sympathetic to his arguments, leading to an awkward moment when Baier asked whether attendees would be willing to give up their private insurance in favor of a government-run plan — and being greeted with loud cheers. At times, the hosts seemed to be back on their heels.” • So Sanders goes into enemy territory and comes out unmarked. Here’s a clip:

Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders takes on Fox — and emerges triumphant” [Politico]. “Bernie Sanders entered the Fox’s den on Monday night — and he not only survived the hourlong encounter, but often dominated. Appearing at a Fox News-hosted town hall, smack in the middle of Trump Country, the Democratic presidential front-runner played the part, swatting down tough questions from the hosts about health care, defense spending and his newfound wealth. At one point, the Vermont senator even led the network’s audience in a call-and-response that found them cheering loudly for his policies.” • Never thought I’d see a headline line that from Politico.

Sanders (D)(3): “‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum” [New York Times]. “The matter of What To Do About Bernie and the larger imperative of party unity has, for example, hovered over a series of previously undisclosed Democratic dinners in New York and Washington organized by the longtime party financier Bernard Schwartz. The gatherings have included scores from the moderate or center-left wing of the party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader; former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., himself a presidential candidate; and the president of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden.” • Hi, “Mayor Pete!” [waves]. UPDATE Sanders, as I keep saying, has an independent mailing list, an independent media operation, and is developing an independent canvassing operation. Pelosi, Schumer, McAuliffe, and Schwartz are right to be concerned. Unfortunately, their only option is to fight dirty, since they cannot compete on policy. So that is what they will do.

Sanders (D)(4): “The Rematch: Bernie Sanders vs. a Clinton Loyalist” [New York Times]. Neera Tanden’s mother: “Those Bernie brothers are attacking her [Tanden] all the time, but she lets them have it, too. She says Sanders got a pass [in 2016] but he’s not getting a pass this time.” • Thanks, Mom!

Sanders (D)(5): “Bernie Sanders Releases Tax Returns, Showing Million-Dollar Years” [Bloomberg]. “Sanders’s book royalties were larger than many of his 2020 rivals. Elizabeth Warren reported nearly $325,000 in income from her book. Kirsten Gillibrand reported about $50,000 of book deal profits. Since 2016, Sanders has published three books, including ‘Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In,’ which he used to launch his last presidential bid. ‘If anyone thinks I should apologize for writing a best-selling book, I’m not going to do it,” Sanders said Monday at a townhall event hosted by Fox News.” • Most people, when they put in the work, expect to be paid, and if somebody hits the winning number, good for them. So we’ll see how this plays with the base.

Sanders (D)(6): “Bernie Sanders’ Tax Returns are Irrelevant” [Benjamin Studebaker]. “Some people appear to believe that Bernie Sanders’ campaign is about vilifying millionaires and billionaires as individuals. But this is not what I hear when I listen to Sanders talk. Over and over, Sanders attacks the millionaire and billionaire class.” • If Sanders brings home #MedicareForAll, would it matter if his tax returns looked like Al Capone’s?

Sanders (D)(7): “Why Bernie Sanders Should Give His Millions Away” [Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs]. “Bernie declining to give his fortune away is a huge squandered political opportunity and needlessly creates a gigantic political liability. It gains him nothing to keep the money; he obviously doesn’t need it, as he was doing fine before he wrote a bestselling book. And yet by keeping it, he creates a distraction. Donald Trump will call him ‘millionaire Bernie.” • When I buy a book, and I buy a lot of books, I expect to pay the author, as (apparently) did millions of others. Robinson reminds me of the club-owner who expects musicians to play ‘for the publicity'”. And Sanders can’t backtrack now without looking weak. Anyhow, FDR was rich.

* * *

Trump (R): “For a tradition-smasher, Trump is running a very conventional re-election operation resembling Nixon 1972, Reagan 1984, Bush 2004: Building massive $ edge, eliminating intra-party opposition, creating GOTV machine, playing divide-and-conquer with large D candidate field, etc.” [Larry Sabato]. • And don’t imagine that the White House isn’t in full campaign mode, right now.


Pelosi (1): Meeting with Labour politicos (MH):

Because of course. She also (naturally) repeates the Blairite/Tory smear that Corbyn’s Labour is anti-semitic. Sound familiar?

Pelosi (2): “The 2019 60 Minutes interview” [CBS].

Lesley Stahl: You have these wings– AOC, and her group on one side–

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: That’s like five people.

Lesley Stahl: No, it’s– the progressive group is more than five.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Well, the progressive– I’m a progressive. Yeah.

In narrow party terms, Pelosi is correct; this is the situation she and the DNC/DCCC brought about as they structured the ballot choices in 2018! But this doesn’t square very well with the liberal Democrats narrative of unity.

Pelosi (3): Troll army revolts:

McElrath: “O’Rourke is like the guy who is all sweet and nerdy but holds you down and makes you cum until your calves cramp.” Who in the Pelosi apparatus thought it was a good idea to involve her?

Remember this?

(Thank you, Julian Assange.)

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Freedom Rider: Scoundrels and Reparations” [Margaret Kimberly, Black Agenda Report]. “Reparations should not be a topic for national discussion until there is something akin to a consensus among black people about what to demand and how to do it. The justness of the cause isn’t complicated but the how and the why certainly are.” • With some choice words for Al Sharpton: “A sure sign of a failed discussion is the involvement of people with bad motives, people like Al Sharpton. The Democratic Party has made the two-faced traitor the go-to guy for presidential candidates. This status of faux king maker is proof that the Democratic Party has no respect for black people, the group they depend upon the most to win elections.”

Stats Watch

Industrial Production, March 2019: “The U.S. industrial economy, and specifically the manufacturing sector, continues to sputter” [Econoday]. “Positive readings for business equipment and hi-tech do offer some offset to general weakness in manufacturing. Exports are not broken out in this report but weakness here is a likely culprit for a manufacturing sector that began to break down late last year and so far this year, does not look like it will be contributing much to overall economic growth in the 2019 economy.”

Housing Market Index, April 2019: “Builder optimism is inching higher this month” [Econoday]. “April is the beginning of the Spring housing season and very favorable mortgage rates are expected to provide badly needed momentum. Yet this report, which didn’t really beat anyone’s expectations, is hinting more at moderate strength than exceptional strength.”

The Bezzle: “How to Scan Your Airbnb for Hidden Cameras” [Slate]. “[D]oing network and port scans for suspicious devices on the local Wi-Fi network doesn’t require as much technical knowledge as you might fear. Nor does it require expensive gear.” • Sounds like a tax on my time…

Tech: “Hands-On Huawei P30 Pro Review: 10x Zoom, Killer Design” [Tom’s Guide]. “After seeing Huawei’s foldable Mate X at Mobile World Congress last month and now the P30 Pro, it’s clear that Huawei is pushing the entire smartphone industry forward — at least when it comes to hardware.” • I’ve gotta say that even for a smart phone hater like me, the cameras (plural, developed with Leica (!)), are impressive. No wonder Apple wants to get out of hardware and go into the movie business.

Transportation: “The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities” (PDF) [Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State]. From 2018, still germane: “The arrival of ridesharing is associated with an increase of 2-3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents. This increase is not only for vehicle occupants, but also for pedestrians. We propose a simple conceptual model to explain the effects of ridesharing’s introduction on accident rates. Consistent with the notion that ridesharing increases congestion and road utilization, we find that the introduction of ridesharing is associated with an increase in arterial vehicle miles traveled, excess gas consumption, and annual hours of delay in traffic. On the extensive margin, ridesharing arrival is also associated with an increase in new car registrations. These effects are higher in cities with higher ex-ante use of public transportation and carpools, consistent with a substitution effect, and in larger cities and cities with high ex-ante vehicle ownership.” • So, if you’re an exterminist, what’s not to like?

The Biosphere

“The Coming Desert” [New Left Review]. • This is a long, but truly fascinating article. I had no idea that Kropotkin (that Kropotkin) was also a geographer and a climatologist!

Class Warfare

“Wrenching video from Pine Island dairy farmer highlights desperation on the farm” [Star-Tribune]. “Dairy farming is collapsing a way of life around the country. The median income at a dairy farm in Minnesota dropped by nearly two-thirds last year, from $43,000 to less than $15,000. And one out of 10 Minnesota dairy farmers ceased operations. Smaller operations, such as the Bergs’, struggle to survive with milk prices hovering around break-even for years. Large-scale operations have emerged with lower costs and high output…. Near the end [of the Video], [Mark Berg] described feeling irritated by a call his mother, Penny Berg, received from Beth Ford, chief executive of Land O’Lakes, the agricultural cooperative based in Arden Hills that is one of the nation’s largest producers of dairy products. Ford reached out after receiving a letter from Penny Berg outlining the family’s struggles. Mark Berg gave Ford credit for reading the letter and then calling his mom, but he was upset that she offered to help his mom find other work. ‘Find another job? My mom wakes up at 5 in the morning every single [expletive] morning and works until 10 o’clock at night,’ he said.”

News of the Wired

Game of Thrones pre-cap:

“The truth about cat and dog owners” [Financial Times]. “The answers suggested that dog owners only attached significant value to their dogs if they had raised the pets themselves — and the perceived value of dogs collapsed if owners were asked to imagine that a dog behaved like a cat, ie in a very independent and self-sufficient way.” • So [ducks] dogs are authoritarian followers?

* * *

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 (PG):

PG writes: “I started some seeds this year – total investment is 25 bucks in seeds plus another 60 ish for potting mix and some bulbs for perennials and pots. The trays are coming up and I never expected that checking the trays would be the first thing I think of every morning.”
Bonus plant:

* * *

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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. Carolinian

    Game of Thrones is here, not imminent. Just hoping they don’t hurt any more dragons.

    And couldn’t your defense of Bernie’s defense also apply to Obama and his wife–that they are simply being rewarded for their natural talent?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I view Sanders books as part of a larger political project for which I have sympathy. I view the Obama family’s various enterprises as venal. I view Clinton’s books as both venal and part of a political project.

      Most Presidential candidates write books. And if the books don’t end up in the remainder bins, they get to make money for it!

      1. Deschain

        You also seemingly get rewarded a lot more when you are a centrist ex-president than when you are a lefty senator. What did we say about the definition of corruption? The use of public assets for private gain?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > What did we say about the definition of corruption? The use of public assets for private gain?

          That’s fair. However, somebody once described Sanders speaking as a “45-minute ‘white paper with elbows'”, and I think the books are a direct extension of that, both in content and style. So I file it under the heading of Ben Franklin making money printing inflammatory pamphlets on his press, as opposed to (say) charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speech.

          1. Wukchumni

            How come when an ordinary stiff writes a book they’re destined to lose money on, they call it ‘vanity publishing’ and you have to pay to play, whereas with any recent politician of note, it’s always play & get paid, with up the ante publishing?

            1. Geo

              That’s just the way it works. People buy media featuring people they already know about, not stuff from unknowns. Same reason Tom Cruise movies have a built-in profit (and he gets a big chunk of it) whereas films with Tom Nobody struggle to even get distribution and rarely make their budget back.

              I’ll bet if Bernie released the books five years ago (even then an established senator) he’d have made next to nothing on them.

              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                Also, Tom Cruise has Christopher McQuarrie, John Woo, Doug Liman, Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone, et al directing.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > vanity publishing

              Sad to say, most manuscripts are in fact very bad; I speak as one who has been small publisher-adjacent. (People confuse sharing their feelings with writing.) And even a good manuscript won’t necessarily sell. Publishing is a sporty game. (I think a JG ought to cover books and art generally, because I think the society-wide value of hidden gems would far outweigh the dross, but most manuscripts are in fact dross).

              As for books by politicians, a campaign book seems to be a mandatory test of seriousness. A publisher might take such a project on because the author is a star, they might take a flyer on a politician who is not, or they might take on the project because that’s how some entity is laundering campaign contributions (I think that Regnery et al. used to do this.)

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        My favorite is the “he should give all the money away! i thought he was a socialist!” from the chattering class who knows journalism and traditional publishing are dying while they’re paid for clicks on articles.

        I guess it’s like the old saying goes: the person with no honor cannot imagine the trait existing in another.

        1. redleg

          Giving it all away doesn’t solve the problem. Just like “then you pay more taxes” doesn’t solve the tax burden problem.

      3. Cal2


        You can bet that Bernie didn’t charge $3,000 for a ringside seat and an autographed copy.

        Last week, Michelle Obama announced her nationwide book tour of “Becoming,” her first memoir. Nosebleed seats start at $30, while front-row seats go for $3,000 and include a pre-show photo opportunity with the former first lady, a signed book, and other “VIP” gifts.”


        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          This grifting just enrages me.

          Bernie writes an excellent book that anyone can buy, get at the library, it’s all out there. HRC give one speech for what $400,000? (whatever, it’s lots of money) to Goldman Sachs and only they, the entitled get to know what she said. The moral difference is monumental.

          Saddest moment ever was seeing former 2016 HRC staff, lower level, but paid, who all bought tickets to go see her when she finally showed up in Wisconsin on her book tour. Seeing that pic made me sad beyond words.

      4. Pat

        Venal is a good word for it. I’m not sure the Obama enterprises aren’t also a political project as well. It may not be a direct one as in make Michelle President, but more protective of his position. Despite all the indications that no matter how bad a President you are people will still pay/listen/admire you, I believe Obama also wants the status quo in American politics to continue. He can’t have people noticing how little was really accomplished or that they even wanted to accomplish, and how what they did accomplish was so contrary to the will of the American people. Have to write the history and sweep the truth under the rug so to speak.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I’m not sure the Obama enterprises aren’t also a political project as well.

          It could be that the horrid Obama Presidential Center could turn into a second ClintonWorld, it is true. I don’t think it has yet, though.

      5. Carolinian

        But, but….what about your link’s suggestion that Sanders doesn’t personally need the money? After all “to each according to his needs” is a socialist slogan and Obama has never claimed to be that. Bernie has.

        Just playing the Devil’s advocate here–personally I don’t care if Sanders is a millionaire–but politically these stories may reenforce the likely line of attack–that Bernie is a middle class savior with tenuous connection to the common man. They won’t make much difference to Dems. They may in a general election. As we’ve seen the press don’t need much of a peg on which to hang their hatchet job hats. And they will be going after him.

        1. polecat

          Perhaps Sanders could have pointed a snarky finger in Mikey Bloomberg’s direction, noting how many million, and billions HE be worth ! .. as just one example .. sauce to gum up the workings of the honking goose klaxons, right ?

        2. jhallc

          If they were willing to go after him on his charter Plane rides to stump for Hillary, this is going to get them all up in arms. Now that they have to drop the, where’s your taxes trope, this is the next one in line.

        3. Mo's Bike Shop

          I already knew he was pulling down 170 Large. What were these bluestocking arbiters of class definitions doing when that was going down? /wink

          Seems like a tremendous opening for discussing what class is.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > 170 Large


            I can see however both liberals and conservatives, for their own separate reasons, wanting to make make taxes a central issue (“How you gonna pay for it?” vs. “Tax cuts”) — i.e., the same sterile arguments on fiscal policy that have given us generations of austerity. Positioning Sanders as a hypocrite is a way to remove his standing to speak on this issue.

      6. DJG

        Yes, and another difference to keep in mind is that the Multi-Benjamin $65 million advance to the Obamas was for their memoirs. The memoirs have done pretty well for their publishing houses, but candidate Obama didn’t command such an advance. Nor would Sanders.

        And the vanity children’s books are the big tell here. Let me know when Sanders comes out with It Takes Democratic Socialism to Raise a Child, illustrated by Ted Rall.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “Poor Like Me.”

          “Uninsured Like Me.”

          “Out Of Work Like Me.”

          The writers of these books would be convincing when authentic.

          “Black Like Me” came along when the South was still segregated. The author, per Wikipedia, had to move to Mexico, for a number of years, for safety. As well, he did not have to experience as a black all his liife.

          That is a particular distinction and relates to the unique idea that only when you’re a member of X can you competently speak up for or represent X.

          “You’re not poor/discriminated/assaulted/etc, you can not understand.”

          For those who see it that way (and there are some who don’t), a poor, uninsured person can speak with authority, better than another who is not.

          1. a different chris

            Yes and that’s why we never hear any poor, uninsured people. So we take what we can get.

      7. John k

        65 mil.
        Didn’t matter where obama s books ended up, or whether they saved the trees and jus printed one. He did fine… though I wonder if the contract was bank funded.
        I imagine hill gnashing her teeth whenever she thinks about it.
        Still potential… he might soon pen a book titled ‘why I support biden’.

    2. nippersmom

      I don’t recall anyone complaining about the earnings for Obama’s pre-presidency books- the ones where he got paid for actually selling books to individuals who wanted to buy them. Not sure the huge advances for his post- presidency books (or his wife’s) are quite the same thing.

        1. polecat

          Remember when Obama made jack happen ?? .. neither do I.

          If, however, you were ALREADY a made man (or woman, or ..??) wanting ever moarrr benjamin$ to burn, well then .. JumpinJack Berry was your guy !

    3. Pat

      The likelihood is that Michelle Obama has earned her share of the $65 million advance that was made to the both of them. Sadly her bunkum has sold over 10 million books. I’m assuming that deal has her getting the percentage of list price regardless of what the book actually sold for so that would likely mean she did make over $30 million.

      But I’m still pretty sure she and Barack will never really earn the money Netflix has paid them outside of the publicity they have given the streaming service.

      1. mrsyk

        HC’s book is a mainstay at the many thrift stores I frequent. I’ve yet to see Sanders’ book on the cheap.

    4. DonCoyote

      Was at a “Progressive Comedy Tour” show Sunday night (Ron Placone/Graham Elwood), and Ron did a bit at the show comparing GoT to current American politics

      Wildlings = Libertarians (live beyond the wall on their own/want no govt interference)
      Tyrells = Democrats (inherently weak/like to rub elbows with power/some good intentions )
      Lannisters = Republicans (in bed with big banks/rub elbows with fringe religious groups/like war)
      John Snow et al/Khaleesi = Progressives (tired of status quo/want to build a better world/good with animals)
      White Walkers = climate change (Progressives very concerned, Repubs not convinced they exist)

      Disclaimer: I’ve never watched GoT beyond a few clips, so I can’t say how well the parallels work.

      1. polecat

        Mental Dwarves = Never having to say your sorry while watching your party affillations pounding leftward beetles with rocks .. “cunk, cunk, cunk !”
        Manevolent Princelings (And Princesses- you listening Nerra ?) = talking smack, likes to pull wings of bees, and always in the ready to aim that crossbow at what’s good and just for the Common ‘folk’ .. right Clintonoids ?

        I can think of many other GoT ‘equations’ …

    5. Yikes

      Game of Thrones is here, not imminent. Just hoping they don’t hurt any more dragons.

      Keep them out of Yemen, Venezuela, Iraq, Afghanistan, …. or anywhere with brown people who have something the US wants… and they will be just fine. Doesn’t seem to leave many places, does it.

      1. Carolinian

        The dragons are the best part. Whatever one thinks of the show, it gets and A plus for how it visualizes Martin’s books. I doubt he has any complaints.

        As for suggestions it’s really about current politics, that really would kill all the fun. Let’s hope not. Escapism needs no excuse if its good.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          A friend from Chicago SF fandom takes credit for talking Martin into having dragons in the book.

          Mostly I just think that the politics and machinations in the books are some of the best fiction about politics I’ve ever read. There have been no shortage of Red Weddings in recent political history.

        2. Yikes

          A finer quality of Marx’s opiate, but then I’ve always been for legalizing drugs… so many of them already are.

        3. polecat

          Wasn’t HER-> recently on some venue, wearing a GoT inspired tunic .. *

          I seem to remember Lambert mentioning something about ‘a nice Waffen SS coat .. but maybe he errored at both the time (near past) .. and the place (not of this Earth) ….
          And as for Lannisters … if She’s not the epitome of an aged old Circe turned White Walker, I’ll eat my weight in Dragon Glass !

        4. Lee

          The dragons and Peter Dinklage. The rest can all cut each other up into itty bitty pieces and I wouldn’t care that much. In fact, I’m looking forward to it, followed by an HBO version of the The Walking Dead with higher production values.

    6. Plenue

      GoT has overtaken the books and now consists of the showrunners writing bad fan fiction. So for dragons, you just have to ask yourself at any given moment “would it be stupid to kill off a dragon now?”. If the answer is yes, start being worried for them.

      Here’s hoping Martin lives long enough to finish the books, and doesn’t just keel over from too much pizza…or whatever it is he does all day.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Martin has no idea how to finish what he started. If he did know how to tie together all of the strings from Dance of Dragons, he would have done it by now. Don’t blame the show writers for finishing the mess that they were left with by using a ton of fan service.

        1. Carolinian

          Indeed. The last of Martin’s books was a bit of a mess. He quit because he had written himself into a corner.

          Martin was, perhaps still is, one of the show’s listed producers so anything that is done is done with his approval. Perhaps we should be grateful that this TV show is at least going to give us a climax and not peter off into the ether like so many others.

        2. Plenue

          They aren’t finishing the story of the books though. They’d diverged from the plot of the books even before overtaking them in terms of timeline. There’s an entire faction that simply doesn’t exist in the TV version.

          That aside, the TV writers literally don’t understand the material they’re working with. What they did with the weird idiot caricature of Baelish last season is a really striking example.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > If he did know how to tie together all of the strings from Dance of Dragons, he would have done it by now. Don’t blame the show writers for finishing the mess that they were left with by using a ton of fan service.

          Extremely late capitalist! (Though I hate the teleology of “late”).

      2. Lemmy Caution

        As far as I’m concerned, the source material was lame. I tried to read Game of Thrones and quit after 100 or so pages. I could not for the life of me keep track of all the characters, even though I had printed out an GoT “org chart” for reference that showed all the bloodlines, marriages, alliances, etc. I found myself stopping frequently to consult the chart to try to keep all the threads straight. That was annoying. Plus, the writer seemed to take the easy way out sometimes. For example, building up to a great battle and then skipping ahead to refer to the battle in the past tense. A literary yada, yada, if you will. To steal a Dorothy Parker quote: “This is not a novel that should be tossed aside lightly; it should be thrown with great force.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > As far as I’m concerned, the source material was lame

          Like Tolkien (and LeGuin) Martin is a great travel writer for an imagined world. And books about how the powerful wield think of and wield power tend to sprawl (C.P. Snow’s “Strangers and Brothers” series; Balzac; even, I suppose, the Forsyte saga). And some of the characters really are terrific: I think of The Hound, and Jaime Lannister; Lady Oleanna; although I do agree that an entire book (part of a book?) written from the inside of the bucket of snakes that is Cersei’s mind could be dispensed with. Ditto some of the settings: Castle Black, especially for me. So, no, I don’t regret reading the books at all. For some reason, however, they are not books I reread (unlike LeGuin, who I reread often). I don’t know why that is.

          But I agree that Martin seems to have written himself into a corner (unless commercial considerations dictate he not release the book until the TV series is complete, so that he has the final word).

          1. Yves Smith

            My view is simpler and more conventional. The first three books were terrific (way better than the TV version which played up the violence and sex) but Martin couldn’t sustain it. And the novels were regularly more powerful. The scene where Dany hatches her dragons is epic in the book and the TV rendering wasn’t close.

            Four and five had too many plots and characters, and I couldn’t get interested in many of them. And too many people made out to have been killed who either weren’t or were resurrected.

    7. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Anyone else here think Season 8 Episode 1 kicked major ass?!


      And i cant watch that Marxist analysis cuz im afraid itll spoil or ruin the plot. GoT still has an element of mystery and lets keep it that way.

      Also wow bernie killed it on Fox News. Knew he would from watching his campaign rallies on YouTube.

  2. John A

    Buttigieg “And this one, were he tells Parisians, he shares their pain -in French.”

    Wow, he’s breaking bread with the cheese eating surrender monkeys’

      1. zagonostra

        Excellent analogy, Buttigieg is very much like Macron in appearance and policy, or lack of policy (which will of course be written for him by his donors if he were to be elected).

        1. polecat

          Who knew the BORG were French .. what with the likes across the pond of Mach Frie-s like Boggy Pete … !

            1. Eclair

              Nah, ‘borg’ looks Swedish when it’s written. Spoken, it is pronounced more like ‘bouree.’

  3. Wukchumni

    We had a trying week away, with the paterfamilias of our kindle in one of those bowl-shaped clear apparatuses positioned around his neck post-getting stitched up @ the vet, escape the inside world he was sentenced to for a fortnight, and stay missing on vacay for 5 nights/6 days in the Sierra riviera, or wherever it was he went. We figured he was a goner until last night, as meanwhile the matriarch of our brood was up on the roof and wouldn’t come down for 4 days, and bit me on my arm-necessitating anti-biotics for 10 days, grrrrr. She finally flew the coop up top the other day, snarling at us in a ‘help has no fury like a tilted woman’, as we prodded her slightly with plastic poles, to please climb down the plum tree oh pretty please, pussy!

    …30 minutes later she was cooing contentedly on my lap

    Dog owners think their pride and joy will come to their help if requested, cat owners are resigned to the idea that it’s pipe dream.

    1. Jerry B

      ===Dog owners think their pride and joy will come to their help if requested, cat owners are resigned to the idea that it’s pipe dream.====

      Dogs have Owners. Cats have Staff.

      1. Yikes

        Most dogs have masters, it’s paper pedigree dogs that have owners.

        As to cats, they have an emergency larder supply if that crazy lady dies in bed while they are locked in the house.

    2. Jen

      Both of my dogs are well versed in the art of selective deafness. Both of them can hear the scrape of a dish from half a mile off, but if they have something better to do, I could be calling them from 2 feet away, and they’ll sit there looking the other way as if I don’t exist. However, even they are more responsive than my cats.

      1. Janie

        I dunno. Our three cats are addicted to one flavor of treats. They have all decided that they should get a treat when the dog gets hers after a relief walk. They now grace us with their imperious meows at every opening/closing of the door and with every timkle, no matter how muffled, of the crystal lidded containers.

        1. Wukchumni

          Temptations treats are kitty cocaine, and I too have the power to make them come, with the crisp sound of the triangular plastic latch opening being their siren song.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Same here. The neighbors dont know it yet but Loki, Teddy, and Lady Bell defected to Team Becnel.

            I use the yellow temptations, salmon flavor IIRC. The pussies like it more than cans of tuna. It truly is kitty coke.

          2. MichaelSF

            Our visiting (most weekdays with good weather when he’s put out to roam but comes to be indoor with us instead) cat is dead keen on the salmon temptation treats. They encourage him to live up to his monikor, Tom Drooley. He knows what that sound means.

        2. Svante Arrhenius

          I’d remembered taking very bad mass transit to my mom’s house only to discover she already had the neighbor’s pretty obsequious daughter 15′ up a fragile tree, dangling 70′ above a busy road, a cat staring off into space (apparently awaiting rescue by some intelligent life form only he could sense). I sauntered past both, into her kitchen, opened a beer. Opened the back window. Opened whatever can looked least disgusting, with the Big Lots cat disgorging implement. Then, once the cat ran down the tree, tried to figure how to get a drunk, terrified teenager out of a tree, alive?


    3. JBird4049

      The answers suggested that dog owners only attached significant value to their dogs if they had raised the pets themselves — and the perceived value of dogs collapsed if owners were asked to imagine that a dog behaved like a cat, ie in a very independent and self-sufficient way.

      Who are these people? I have had both kittens and puppies as well as cats and dogs. I have never put any “value” on them. Although I must agree that cats usually deign me with their presence whereas dogs usually are just ecstatic with my presence.

    1. Geo

      underpaid around $4,000 because of incorrectly deducted medical expenses.

      Maybe after this he’ll rethink his feelings in Medicare for all?

  4. Carey

    ‘The Hidden Price of Cashless Retail’, notable more for the source, I guess:

    “..So far, the debates leading up to these laws have mostly centered on how cash-free establishments impact the many low-income people who lack bank accounts and credit cards. But there’s another major problem with going cashless. Cashless retail—and credit cards in general—allow a handful of giant banks and credit card monopolies to siphon more and more revenue from the productive economy, at the expense of consumers and businesses.

    Retailers are essentially locked into a “partnership” with financial services monopolies. To get a sense of how inflated our rates truly are, the EU has capped rates at one-seventh of ours and, believe it or not, credit cards are still a profitable and growing business in the European economy..”


    1. Cal2

      The profit margins of many small businesses are 2-5% of retail prices.
      Credit card charges paid by the merchant often exceed that, hence the “Cash Only” businesses.

      I make a point to only use cash in small businesses–unless I don’t like them, then it’s the CC.
      More expensive items, I offer to split the savings of using cash versus a credit card for a reduced price.

      i.e. $1000 item. With credit card, at best, merchant gets back 980 dollars from CC company, maybe less.

      I pay cash, they get $1000. We split the difference, I get the item for $990, they save $10.

      1. polecat

        I make a point to only use cash in small businesses–unless their cashless merchants, then it’s “No bidness for You !” ….*

        *at which point I do my utmost to discourage other would be partons NOT to patronize said retailer !

    2. crittermom

      My local grocery store (part of a major chain) made this announcement last month:

      “Effective April 3, 2019. Due to excessive bank fees, we will no longer accept Visa credit cards.
      We will gladly continue to accept Visa debit cards, plus all other major credit and debit cards”.

      I had a friend from my former state tell me that he’s seeing that same thing happening there, too.
      Has Visa gotten too greedy for their own good?

      1. Wukchumni

        WinCo Foods has around 120 supermarkets in the west, and it’s either cash or debit-no credit cards.

        I like their style, and the store is a little survivalist’y. Last time I was there they had Mountain House freeze-dried entrees near the checkout. You never see backpacking food where snacks & candy rule the roost.

      2. Schtuas

        More likely they signed an exclusive agreement with Mastercard that gives them a discount.

      3. Tom Bradford

        I have a credit card I rarely use and a debit card I do use to the point of rarely carrying cash. I don’t know what the retailer’s fees on the use of a debit card is but in my neck of the woods many businesses large and small no-longer accept credit cards but do accept debit cards so I assume they take a smaller bite of the transaction.

        1. Carey

          Debit cards are better for the merchant, here in the exceptional nation, but bad for the user, because one’s account can be cleaned
          out in an instant.

          “Sure, we’ll look into™ it.”

          When I use plastic (as little as I can), it’s a credit card, only.

  5. barrisj

    Perhaps this has been cited already, but there is an intriguing article in the April edition of LMD devoted to the Irving family of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, where the province is likened to a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately-held conglomerate. Oil, timber, and mining are amongst its huge holdings, and the Irvings have been making strong moves for some years now to “colonize” Maine as well. Rebuffed initially by the Maine legislature to “open up” Bald Mountain to copper and zinc mining, the Irvings are hard at it to gain permitting rights through extensive lobbying and cultivating “relationships” with willing politicos. The company has already received large concessions in timberland, and presently is the largest private landowner in the state.
    If one isn’t a resident of Maine, it’s a “who knew?” story of how a foreign conglomerate can create a substantial economic and political footprint in a state eager to promote “jawbs-jawbs-jawbs” to boost local economies.


    Also being covered here, in Maine:


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I would have linked to the Le Monde article if it hadn’t been paywalled.

      The Irvings are a plague. That was one of the justifications for the East-West Highway — mining at Bald Mountain. So much for the Penobscot watershed!

      1. Yikes

        There is good to great chances they are a, if not the, the power behind Reade Brower. They have tried to buy Portland Press Herald directly in 2008, and if that didn’t work you can rest assured they would not stop at indirect methods, ala 2015. Getting nearly all the Maine rags would be their goal.

        1. wilroncanada

          Two powers in New Brunswick, both aggressive and corrupting in their intent to create monopolies: the Irvings–oil, forestry, mining, subsidies; the McCains–agriculture, meatpacking, newspapers, subsidies.

      2. eg

        The Irvings are a deeply repugnant hive of destructive selfishness. Of course they decamped from Canada for tax purposes — would that they had taken their environmental rapine with them …

    2. Synapsid

      barrisj, Lambert Strether,

      The Irving Oil Refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, is the largest refinery in Canada. Irving also owns the only oil refinery in Ireland.

      You’re up against the big leagues.

  6. Wukchumni

    I never met a vegetable pun I didn’t like, although a lot of them are corny.

    I knew somebody in the midwest clandestinely growing those little corn abortions you typically only see brazenly displayed @ the Sizzler salad bar (have they no shame?) that was forced to grow soybeans instead.

  7. DonCoyote

    Just finished listening to the whole Sanders appearance on FOX last night, and just wanted to highlight one thing: he explicitly used “deaths of despair” framing when talking about falling life expectancy in the US. This is one of several framings that I would expect to resonate more with the working class voters Sanders is trying to reach by going on FOX (maybe he’s been using it at his rallies too–I haven’t listened to any of his recent ones).

        1. Isotope_C14

          I just finished watching it too – many apologies, time delay in the Deutschland.

          Bernie just won the election.

          Now it is up to the “Democrats” to lose the general through the primary process.

          Too bad the Neera class won’t let us have the last president be someone that isn’t a reality show TV star that has to pay for “friendship”.

          1. richard

            Bernie tore it up. Give him another 10 minutes alone with that crowd, and they would have been carrying him out of the room on their shields, like claudius with the german imperial guard.
            He spoke very bluntly about an injustice that nearly every usian feels intensely in their heart. I have no health care. Or I have health care, but the deductable is too high for anything preventative. Or my deductable is not bad, but the whole thing is tied to my job, and I can’t change jobs or take time off without risking everything. That probably covers 3/4 of us, our lives twisted, shortened and ruined because of this vile horseshit. Roosevelt ‘32 if he starts showing some teeth.

          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            My thoughts exactly.

            Im telling you Bernie looked motivated and FINALLY came out swinging. This is it. Bernie or Bust (or Gabbard (or Gravel ;))!

        2. Summer

          Trump saw it.
          He and Melania are announcing they will speak about opiod addiction next week in Atlanta.

        3. paintedjaguar

          Lots of “how you gunna pay for ‘dat!?!?!?” and lots of “How much you gonna raise taxes!?!?!”

          Also a good bit of “when are you going to stop beating your wife?” stuff i.e.:
          “Why don’t you just give away all your money?”
          “Why don’t you just send all your money to the government if you like high taxes so much?”

          Yes, literally in that wording. This hoary old Bircher garbage was actually thrown at Bernie by the FOX bimbo in charge of the event.

      1. aleph_0

        Yes, he did. It was fantastic.

        Just watched it this morning, and now I’m polling my rural, fox news-watching family for what they thought.

        1. Procopius

          I’ve only seen the clip of the portion where the guy asked the audience how many of them had health insurance through their employer, and then asked them who would be willing to switch over to M4A. It was not just that “the hands stayed in the air,” as I saw reported at some “centrist” blog, they cheered and hooted and whistled. He couldn’t quite keep his poker face. Tried, but couldn’t. I liked that.

  8. nippersdad

    Re: “Why Bernie Sanders should give his millions away”

    The “distraction” of Trump calling Sanders “millionaire Bernie” sounds like it wasn’t very well thought out. Would someone that is supposed to be a billionaire want Bernie pointing out that he has lost more money in enterprises like Trump steaks, Trump casinos and Trump university than he would have if he had just golfed his life away and left the money he inherited in a fund? At least Bernie MADE money; not something that can be said for Trump, however hard he may have tried.

    I like the idea of Bernie pointing out in public that he is a self made man vs. a man made by his father’s money. It just might take the smirk off of all of those MAGA people’s faces.

    1. Roger Smith

      Robinson here is foolishly invoking the radicalized left purity test of ‘Money=Capitalism=BAD!”. The kind of money made and how it was made is absolutely important and the most mainstream message is one that accepts the general realities of capitalism. There isn’t necessarily wrong with capitalism so long as the right modifications are made and monitored where needed. Individuals can still achieve based on skill/merit and everyone’s work can also benefit everyone else. Both tribal sides fail to understand this and instead, think in terms of a two dimensional scale while demonizing the other side.

      1. nippersdad

        I agree. His only excuse need be a two word response.: nursing homes.

        The policies that he advocates for are not present realities, and one needs to plan for the future regardless of one’s political aspirations.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        In my perhaps too simple view: Socialism is about putting the means of production under democratic control (and, if you do the math, that means putting them under working class control). It’s not about confiscating “private property,” except insofar as that property is part of the means of production. It’s not about seizing your clothes*, your car, or your house (though granted landlords are an edge case).

        I don’t think a socialism that results in less art or less creativity is worth the candle; it would be nice if the relation between reader and writer were a gift relationship — as here! — without the idea of exchange, but I don’t see a principled objection to paying artists for their work (presumably, there would be a lot more of it, so we would avoid concentrated quintessences like stars).

        This is all separate from the issue of hypocrisy, etc. — surely the stupidest of all charges in American political life, and (hence) popular among liberal Democrats.

        NOTE * In LeGuin’s The Dispossessed there is a mention that Shevek and/or Takver go to the commissary to get a nail, with which to hang a picture. I don’t think we are likely to approach that level of scarcity, even after the Jackpot

        1. Wukchumni

          The Visalia dump in the Central Valley is a thing of wonder, for a century it’s been filling up, and a truckload of whatever you have to throw away is $15, just drive up on the elevated ramp to one of 24 large bins below and drop your booty and say bye-bye, easiest dump ever!

          I suspect in the distant future, people will be paying $15, to be able to go in and look for useful items from the past.

        2. MK

          I’ve got a bucket in the basement full of odd screws and nails that I can’t bring myself to throw out, but haven’t sorted them out yet either . . .

          1. polecat

            Keep them long enough, and at some point in their second life they’ll be calling on you to utilize them for the project components they were meant to be !

          2. MichaelSF

            I did a major clean up of my garage/shop and I kept finding containers of miscellaneous fasteners long after I thought I must have finally found them all. A lot were new ones I’d pulled out to use and never put away afterwards. I think it ended up being 55-65 pounds of inch and metric fasteners, and I spent several days sorting them out/organizing them. But now I have a lot of labeled containers that give me a good chance if finding an M7 fine thread cap screw if I should need one.

        3. Jeff W

          The way I see it—and I think Benjamin Studebaker’s view is close to this—is that socialism is a systemic/structural critique. It doesn’t posit that individuals should “give away” their money or if that someone (say, Sanders) is advocating an x% marginal tax rate, that he or she, as an individual, should pay that percentage to the public coffers as a voluntary donation. (If anything, such voluntary individual actions would run counter to socialism as a kind of liberal meliorism.) There’s nothing even remotely hypocritical about Sanders being a millionaire or making gobs of money off his book and keeping every cent of it.

          Nathan Robinson makes a big deal about what, in his view, socialists generally find acceptable (e.g., sharing) and unacceptable (e.g., hoarding) in indivuduals—and all of that might be true—but those don’t lead to socialist critiques because socialism doesn’t critique what this or that individual does as an individual under capitalism. If “the optics” for Sanders look bad, which seems to be Robinson’s argument, Sanders giving away his money is worse. It’s not because it makes him look weak, though that might be true—it’s because he’s acceeding to some “principle” that has nothing to do with socialism.

        4. Phil in KC

          I recall Bernie saying that in his version of socialism he didn’t want to take over the corner grocery store or the factory. He described himself as a New Deal Democrat.

          I wonder how many Democratic Party bigwigs can properly claim the mantle of FDR?

          1. Procopius

            I wonder how many Democratic Party bigwigs can properly claim the mantle of FDR?

            None of them. Al From, in The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power says that one unifying idea of the New Democrats/Third Way/Democratic Leadership Council was that the New Deal was outdated and must be replaced. They are the ones who have control of the Party now and they still firmly believe.

        5. Brendan

          To me, the better framing is that Bernie didn’t make his million stiffing workers or destroying the environment. He didn’t lobby for perks or benefit from a monopoly. He’s a popular politician whose books people want to read.

        6. Redlife2017

          I find it weird that Robinson has come out on this in that way. I mean Engels didn’t give his money all away! He ended up becoming a partner at his father’s factory in the North of England in order to support Marx’s work.

          We live in a world ruled by capitalist financialised markets. Middle class people listen to my opinions because I’ve done well in that awful environment. We need people from ALL classes to revolt against this crapified life.

    2. jrs

      Self-made man oh yea, you didn’t have parents, family, teachers, friends, huh (true there are some people who really have none of these – their parents molest them or beat them with 2 by 4s, and they just shine and shine, but it’s exceptional). I think he should reject that framing. I think he should reject the “earned it all” framing, that’s capitalist, just desserts framing, and not the world we live in.

      He should just say: “I’ve served as a Senator, I wrote a book, and I’ve been lucky”.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’ve been lucky

        And working to make everyone as lucky as I am. (A million can disappear pretty fast into an illness or a nursing home, too; it’s amazing to me that liberals are yammering about it; it’s a big number in a vanished world, exactly as the hysteria about Russia derives from a vanished world.)

        1. Chris

          Sanders actually mentioned that in his time on Fox. He specifically says not everyone is a senator and that he’s been fortunate. This is another one of those two reality deals I think. Sanders has come up with a way to speak to the deplorable class so the DNC has to find another reason why he isn’t the right choice for the election :/

      2. nippersdad

        One’s teachers, family and friends didn’t give him the impetus to run for mayor, house of representatives, senate or the presidency after having voluntarily lived in a freezing cabin in the Vermont woods. Initiative can be inculcated but it cannot be dictated. It would have been a lot more lucrative for him to have sold out, as shown by the history of the Clintons and Obamas, at which point I would be questioning the value of the words “self made” man.

        The Waltons and Pritzkers, for example, were of no help to Bernie.

        The guy is a democratic socialist (or is it social democrat? I get them mixed up), he isn’t against capitalism he just wants it regulated so that everyone can can benefit from the fruits of their labors.

    3. dcrane

      If I were Bernie, I’d say that yes, I’m just like all of the other millionaires who want to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for guaranteed heath care for the working classes.

      Seriously, he ought to have no issues swatting this aside. And no, he shouldn’t have to give his money away either.

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    Ah so, Buttigieg is the grown up version of those kids trotted out on tv for reciting the Presidents in order when they are three years old.

    1. DJG

      Mayor Pierre in French: We share your sorrow. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is a gift to the human species. Etcetera. There is no there there in two languages. “Cadeau” isn’t exactly the word the French would be seeking at this moment.

      Meanwhile, at that amazing article in the NYTimes in which our betters get together over amuse-gueules to tell us what to do. Yes, nothing like Claire “I see hammers and sickles” getting out the vote. I pull four yumlicious paragraphs.

      Or, as former Senator Claire McCaskill put it: “One thing we have now that we didn’t in ’16 is the uniting force of Trump. There will be tremendous pressure on Bernie and his followers to fall in line because of what Trump represents.”

      Howard Wolfson, who spent months immersed in Democratic polling and focus groups on behalf of the former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, had a blunt message for Sanders skeptics: “People underestimate the possibility of him becoming the nominee at their own peril.”

      The discussion about Mr. Sanders has to date been largely confined to private settings because — like establishment Republicans in 2016 — Democrats are uneasy about elevating him or alienating his supporters.

      The matter of What To Do About Bernie and the larger imperative of party unity has, for example, hovered over a series of previously undisclosed Democratic dinners in New York and Washington organized by the longtime party financier Bernard Schwartz. The gatherings have included scores from the moderate or center-left wing of the party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader; former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., himself a presidential candidate; and the president of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden.

      Doing my Where’s Waldo political analysis: how is Buttigieg not like the others? He’s younger. He is also an old person’s idea of what a young person should look like in this day and age. (They don’t want someone “mouthy” like AOC.)

      En effet, this old person’s young person act has been tried many times before. [Avertissement!, M. Strether, I am not thinking The Aristocrats here.] I seem to recall that Debby Boone never became a rock star. Let’s just say that Buttigieg isn’t Henry Rollins.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        What Buttigig said sounded like someone who doesn’t speak French (or hasn’t spoken it since college) speaking French, for what it’s worth.

        1. Harold

          “Un cadeau” ! Notre Dame is a “gift” — in the sense of “present” “treat”, “surprise”? Makes it sound like a pair of earrings or fancy pastries. To be charitable I suppose he was caught off guard.

  10. Roger Smith

    Neera Tanden’s mother!? My god, how pathetic can you get!? And what pass did Bernie get? He lost and worse, so did Clinton! Are these people brains rotting from sniffing their own farts? I mean that seriously. What on Earth else can account for the sheer lack of ignorant stupidity that continues to spew forth from these doofus hydra heads?

    1. nippersmom

      Come on now, Rodger. There is no “lack of ignorant stupidity”. These people have ignorant stupidity in abundance ;-)

      1. Roger Smith

        OOPS! Neera’s rubbing off on me. Related, why is it that the edit button sporadically does/does not appear? Hopefully the sentiment carries through that shameful gaff.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      he got a total pass when they rigged the primary, he didn’t fight back, and they let him live, i guess?

        1. Roger Smith

          You’d think… only this nonsense shows otherwise. Tanden wants to double down on making sure Trump wins again.

          1. Jen

            She keeps dumping on Bernie, I don’t think it’s going to work out the way she thinks it will. Might as well sign up as his fundraiser.

            1. Carey

              This. Keep talking, Ms. Tanden, you’re doing good!

              CAP/DNC can then buy more ads aimed at…

              1. cuibono

                it is the secret strategy ,dontchaknow..
                just like trump and assange really being about disrupting the deep state, dontchaknow

        1. dearieme

          Maybe I should have said Paul was wrong. Was Tim 1 one of the epistles that Paul wrote or one of the fake ones?

          1. WJ


            Historically the love of money and the desire for domination (libido dominandi) are not easily disentangled.

            1. Inode_buddha

              I have long observed that those who most desire power over others often have the least over themselves. Often they are trying to fill a spiritual need thru worldly means. It is a form of addiction and like all progressive diseases it doesn’t end well.

      1. Craig H.

        I tried to look up the Diogenes quote but wikiquote claims it was another cynic, Bion of Borysthenes who I don’t recall having heard of until now.

        Love of money is the mother-city of all evils.

        The fellow who wrote the epistle to Timothy was using a well-known proverb from the pagan world!

    3. Brindle

      “Those Bernie brothers” have been identified…and they bear a strong resemblance to Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi circa 1978. They are masters of surreptitious placement of whoopee cushions at CAP fundraising events. Pelosi was a recent victim at a well attended Georgetown gathering. Their reign of terror continues along the ACELA corridor—-third way centrists always checking their backs.


    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Low information” voter has class connotations, but I like the phrase because it applies to so many regardless of class. Myth instead of facts dominate. One myth is Bill Clinton is a political genius and as a result all of his friends are, including Neera. When Tanden says Sanders gets a pass, this resonates with donors who are “low information” voters who are relying on the myth. They don’t want to hurt the party, but the political geniuses told them Sanders will melt if exposed to water. That’s all they need. Low information voters are relying on Neera to assure them.

      Because Sanders has to prove a negative, the counter to this myth is to recount his entire life, and with the exception of Obama, most people don’t write autobiographies until late in life when they have something to write about. Now that Obama has been President, his wife has published a memoir. We are still waiting on the former President’s.

  11. nippersmom

    “The answers suggested that dog owners only attached significant value to their dogs if they had raised the pets themselves — and the perceived value of dogs collapsed if owners were asked to imagine that a dog behaved like a cat, ie in a very independent and self-sufficient way.”

    I can’t read the FT article since it is behind a paywall, but I am curious who provided these “answers”, as this does not reflect the attitude of most, if any, of the dog owners I know and interact with. There are whole groups devoted to lovers of specific breeds (such as Great Pyrenees) who are known for “behav(ing) in a very independent and self-sufficient way”. And I know literally no one who attaches significant value to their dogs only if they “raised” (which I take to mean have from puppyhood) the pets themselves.

    1. Jerry B

      “The answers suggested that dog owners only attached significant value to their dogs if they had raised the pets themselves — and the perceived value of dogs collapsed if owners were asked to imagine that a dog behaved like a cat, ie in a very independent and self-sufficient way.”

      I disagree with the above as well. To the first point of only valuing a dog if we had raised it ourselves, my wife and I have had two Golden Retrievers from rescue organizations or shelters. Our first Golden lasted a few years before getting sick and passed away. Our most recent Golden, Chance, passed away recently after almost 9 years with us. To say that losing both dogs but especially Chance was heartbreaking is an understatement.

      To the second point of the perceived value collapsing if the dog behaved in a very independent way. Our recent Golden, Chance, was one of the most independent, self sufficient, and strong willed animals I have ever known. He had the energy of two dogs and at 60 years old I do not have that much gas in the tank to be the playmate for an overly energetic Golden Retriever! That being said and even with all his personality quirks I miss Chance like the Desert misses the rain and if I had to I would walk him with a cane as far as he wanted to walk if it meant he was still here. So the value collapsing if a dog is independent is hogwash IMO.

      1. Avalon Sparks

        Hi Jerry – I loved your sweet words about Chance, what a lucky dog he truly was to have you in his life.
        I’m sorry to hear of your recent loss, he sounds wonderful and so do you! – Ava –

  12. prx

    wondering if anyone has a report from either the green new deal event or the debt jubilee event held last night in new york. couldn’t attend either.

  13. Cal2

    Realignment and Legitimacy

    “Reparations should not be a topic for national discussion until there is something akin to a consensus among black people about what to demand and how to do it.”

    At least Kamala’s crowd wouldn’t be able to dip their beaks; She’s half Jamaican.

    Even her own father has distanced himself from her, so on that scores, her AfroPatrolineage is bogus.

    Professor [Donald] Harris has issued a statement to jamaicaglobalonline.com in which he declares:

    “My dear departed grandmothers as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with [Kamala’s] fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.

    1. Deschain

      Yeah that is absolutely correct. I worry a little that the data she is citing could actually be % of contributions and not % of $ (most journalists wouldn’t understand the difference). But, taking it at face value:

      Bernie’s share of Q1 total $: 23%
      Bernie’s share of Q1 $ from contributions under $200: 42%
      Bernie’s share of Q1 $ from contributions over $200: 7% (I will admit to being in this bucket – from each according to their ability)

      In a field as broad as this one, 42% looks like a winning type of number.

      1. Deschain

        Add: Here’s total dollars raised from donations of over $200:

        Delaney $12MM (he loaned himself most of this for his vanity campaign)
        Harris $7.6MM
        Booker $4.3MM
        Klobuchar $3.4MM
        Sanders $2.9MM
        Buttigieg $2.6MM
        Gillibrand $2.5MM
        Warren $1.8MM
        Hickenlooper $1.8MM
        Inslee $1.5MM
        all others sub $1MM

        I would say that if you’re a centrist and can’t outraise Bernie from big donors, you’re probably already dead.

        Also worth noting that Beto is missing from the data.

        1. Jen

          Indeed, the absence of any data on Robert Francis does seem odd. I wonder if it looked like this:

          Total: $6M
          Donations under $200-0
          Additional Transfer from previous campaigns – $6M

            1. Jen

              Perhaps I’ll revise my hypothesis:

              Total $6M
              Donations – $0
              Additional transfers from previous campaigns $6M

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  Yeah, I didn’t see any either.
                  Did the math yesterday and it was something in the high 50s (percentage-wise) in terms of donations under $200. But $6.1 million in the 1st 24 hours and another $3 million in the 2 weeks after? Seems more fizzle the sizzle there…

          1. Jen

            Squillioniare and former congresscritter, Maryland. He’s been loitering in NH for quite some time.

            1. petal

              Ugh I keep getting his ads popping up on youtube. So annoying. Thanks, Jen-I didn’t know who he was.

              On the way home today, the classic rock station I have my car radio set to ran a short bit apologising for the upcoming season of political ads and started it by essentially saying how the upcoming race could be the ugliest/nastiest in memory, and explained how they have to offer airtime equally to all candidates even though the candidates’ ads/views could offend some listeners. First time I have ever heard anything like this.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Perhaps I’m not getting it, but from further down in the thread:

      This isn’t that hard. If I have 100 donors and 98 give $20 while the other two max out at $2700, 98% of my donations were under 200, but only 27% of my money was and my avg donation is $74

      I think that 98 of 100 is a proxy for the class composition of the candidate’s base. Here, we have a lot of people and two class traitors. Don’t the averages conceal that? What am I missing? Since it’s math….

      1. Jeff W

        I agree with you. The averages do conceal that. (That’s why we often hear about the median income—the number at the halfway mark—because the much higher incomes at the higher end skew the average upward.) The “percentage of CONTRIBUTIONS under $200” is not a meaningless stat at all.

    3. dk

      It’s really not; remember volunteers, the nearly-free-labor lifeblood of grassroots/field campaigns.

      A greater portion of under-$200 donors than over-$200 donors will also volunteer. They may only have a few hours per week to give, but unpaid feet on the ground throughout the campaign correlate pretty directly to effectiveness of election-day GOTV (primary or general). It’s a long primary cycle so a lot can still change, but Sander’s net haul and under-$200 percentage reflects more than just dollars.

      The FEC counts individuals, not raw donations, so the “Donations under $200” column is the percentage of the number of donors. Even if we’re unreasonable and say that all candidates have the same number of donors, Sander’s 84% represents a larger potential volunteer pool than the rest of the field. If one doesn’t have as many volunteers, one either pays fund-raised money for the balance of staff, or one’s field operation is smaller. That’s a value multiplier inside the small-dollar donor pool. Delaney will be hard pressed to get the same kind of bang for all of his bucks.

      And just to the side, in the general, a lot of Dem vols in the field puts pressure on the GOP to match the effort. Whether primary voters recognize it or not, the candidates with the biggest volunteer base come more equipped to beat the GOP nominee (we may think we know who that will be but again, a lot can change).

      And to the side of that thought, IMO debate performance against Trump (assuming) is likely to be a make-or-break factor for the eventual Dem nominee. Sander’s confident and policy-rich yet accessible performance on FOX should give every other Dem candidate pause to reflect how their stump messaging will play on a stage against an aggressive and chimeral performer like Trump.

  14. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities:

    I think they buried part of the lead: “Depending on the quality of the new rideshare driver entrants as compared to the driving quality of former drivers who now ride in a rideshare, this may also lead to a potential change in the average quality of drivers on the road.“, and there’s more on page 13, though they don’t draw any conclusions on the quality of drivers as contributors to accidents.

    I also found this quoted statistic interesting, particularly in light of the argument that ride sharing is more efficient: “…that rideshare drivers on average drive 2.8 miles while waiting for a fare, 0.7 miles to pick up the fare, and 5.1 miles with a
    passenger in the car, implying a 59% utilization rate.

  15. Pat

    Besides entering the lions’ den and emerging victorious, Sanders wasn’t the only winner last night. Fox News also won. This Town Hall was a ratings winner.

    Sanders clocked nearly 2.6 million viewers from 6:30-7:30 PM Monday; that includes 489K in the 25-54 news demographic. Sanders logged the highest rated weekday delivery of the year in the news demo ,and the second highest weekday delivery in total viewers among cable news networks.

    The event that so irked President Donald Trump and FNC primetime star Sean Hannity thumped its cable news competition combined in both metrics.


    I’m pretty sure it didn’t just irk President Trump and Hannity. Let’s add both Clintons, Pelosi, Schumer, Tandem, et al to the list.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Fox News also won. This Town Hall was a ratings winner.

      This is extremely funny, because this is what Trump did in 2016!

      (Of course, the political class loves to pull the wings off flies, and they’d as soon do that with Sanders as see him win, but for now, he seems to be doing OK.(

      1. JohnnyGL

        From the Deadline link above: “We may never know how many Fox News Channel viewers were hate-watching the current lead Dem among those bidding to unseat Trump in 2020. At least two viewers fell into that category: Trump and Hannity.”

        One of the understated lessons of 2016 was just how much Fox news viewers, allegedly the core of the Repub base, actually hate Fox news (or at least refuse to take their instruction). People forget that Fox News, with Megan Kelly in the driver’s seat, went hard at Trump in the debates before it was clear he was going to coast to the nomination.

        It seemed clear to me that the order was given from above to take Trump down. They thought he was toxic. The Repub base didn’t follow the instruction. In fact, Trump went UP in polls, it seemed.

        I think there’s a chance we’re underestimating how much people really hate cable news.

  16. acf

    Re the contributions:

    1) Where are O’Rouke’s #s?
    2) per dcblogger & Deschain, what is the % of money from under $200 donations?
    3) also, what percentage of $ from donors giving a total of less than $200? If one person makes 10 contributions of $199/each, that’s 10 contributions under $200 but one contributor of $1999.00.
    4) while number of contributors is a statement of breadth of support, number of contributors giving a total of under $200 is also potentially quite informative about the type of support in the breadth of that support.

    Re the

    1. acf

      so, this article has the numbers, and the stats above appear to be about donors giving less than $200, which is what I was looking for, not ‘donations’ under $200. O’Rouke got 40.8% of his money from big donors (over $200 total each), and Sanders got 14% of his money from big donors. That’s the smallest percentage of all the candidates except for the self-funded Delaney, with Yang second at 19% Gillibrand has almost that little, but it’s deceptive b/c most of her money is transfers from prior fundraising, and who knows what that money is. Yang has no transfers, and 80%+ small donors. Sanders has 74% small donor $ and 12.1% transfers. Again, who knows what that money is, but it’s a small percentage overall.


  17. Chris Cosmos

    The comment on antisemitism by Pelosi speaks volumes. Apparently that is the critical issue in the US and the UK. What is this about? Why is this so important. I see little antisemitism in Corbin or Sanders or any progressives Pelosi opposes. This canard has been used way too much in our culture and is now used as a reason why the mainstream will not recognize figures considered antisemitic like Chomsky or Finklestein or any others who seriously question the nature of the Israeli state and, increasingly, the neo-fascist culture of Israel.

    1. John

      Has it come to such a pass that even a scintilla of skepticism about the policies of the Israeli state and especially of the right wing expansionist Netanyahu government evokes loud pained cries of antisemitism? If so, it sounds to me like fear cloaked in self-righteousness.

      1. ambrit

        At the degree it is now being observed ‘in the wild,’ this egregious resort to the anti-semitism smear betokens hubris on an Imperial scale.

  18. Fiery Hunt

    Nice to see Robert O’Rourke released his 1st quarter numbers…oh wait…

    Bet that’s gonna be a long wait for a train that don’t come.

  19. Roger Smith

    Gravel Update: I just received an email indicating that Gravel is somewhere under 20,000 “unique” donations of the required 65,000. They set 20k as their goal for today.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ll be goddamned if that image of Big Brother at the top of that article does not resemble former right-wing Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

  20. Pookah Harvey

    From a Guardian opinion piece, “Pete Buttigieg is the Democrats’ flavour of the month. Just don’t ask what he stands for”‘ by Nathan Robinson

    In fact, for progressives there are very concerning signs about Buttigieg. After Israel massacred Palestinian protesters, Buttigieg appeared to pin the blame on Palestinians. He has professed himself “troubled” by the clemency Barack Obama granted to Chelsea Manning, even though Manning is a national hero who was tortured after blowing the whistle on US government crimes. He has called for “democratic capitalism”, the same phrase used by Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council in the 80s as a euphemism for corporate-friendly neoliberalism. When his words aren’t vacuous, they’re troubling.

    Here is what Buttigieg had to say about Israel:

    Last May, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg went to Israel with the American Jewish Committee and two weeks later discussed his trip with that organization. At the time Israel was killing Palestinian protesters at the Gaza fence– 60 on one day within days of Buttigieg’s visit, getting global attention — yet Buttigieg repeatedly praised Israel’s security arrangements as “moving” and “clear-eyed”, said the U.S. could learn something from them, and blamed Palestinians and Hamas for the “misery” in Gaza.

    He also faulted fellow Democrats for making snap judgments based on “90-second cable news versions of what’s going on over there.”

  21. dcrane

    Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders takes on Fox — and emerges triumphant” [Politico].

    Feisty and confident, Sanders ended the engagement by gently ribbing the hosts of the network liberals despise. “Thank you very much,” he told Baier and MacCallum, “and I hope I wasn’t too hard on you.”

    Really satisfying to read this.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > and I hope I wasn’t too hard on you

      Ouch! (And Republicans, at least, understand open conflict, unlike the civility enforcers on “the other side.”)

  22. Wukchumni

    “U.S. Farmers Fear China Trade Deal Will Leave Them Worse Off” [Bloomberg].
    A friend has an orchard with around 1,500 walnut trees, and we were having breakfast and I asked her what she got for her latest effort, and she kind of dejectedly spit out seventy five cents, and I compounded matters by saying that’s not a lot, and she salvaged my savaging comments by redeeming her nutmeats, in countering with “yeah, but if I had the wrong variety of walnut, those are only worth 35 cents a pound.”

    Walnut prices peaked 5 years ago @ $2.12 per pound…

  23. Carey

    Sample size of one, but I offered a 10%er a Sanders2020 sticker today; despite
    this person being, or claiming to be, a Sanders supporter in ’16, I might as well
    have offered them a scalding, red-hot poker, today. My impression is that there
    is some big-time cultural enforcement going on among the few and their
    acolytes. For context, this is someone I’ve known for many years, who went
    to an Ivy, and sent at least one of their kids to one.

    I think it’s going to get interesting.

    1. JohnnyGL

      There were what 538 called, ‘shy’ trump supporters in 2016.

      Perhaps among 10%ers, there might be Bernie supporters who feel compelled to stay under the radar?

      I don’t think everyone in that bucket feels a kind of aura of safety and security in their life that the status quo is delivering wonderfully for them. They may feel like they don’t belong or that their time in the upper-echelons may well be limited.

      Or maybe they’re just fooling themselves?

      1. Carey

        “I’m waiting to see how the field shakes out. Thanks, though!”, while pointedly not accepting a free sticker, and shutting down conversation in that vein.
        You had to be there, I guess.

        I cannot be certain, but my guess is that this person will not be voting
        for Sanders in either the primary or general election.

        1. WJ

          Propaganda works and white professional 10%ers who read the Times, Post, listen to NPR, etc have been subjected to three years of unchallenged statements and insinuations that Bernie “lost” the election for Clinton in 2016 and was supported by Putin and misogynist deplorables etc etc etc.

          If people expose themselves to three years of such media with even a neutral attitude toward its claims it will have an effect.

          I have found that lots of these white professional 10%ers who I thought would be Sanders supporters are currently enthralled with the idea of “Mayor Pete”–a phrase I cannot hear without wincing.

          1. Carey

            Thanks for this comment. #keepthepartygoing2020 seems to
            be the refrain from those of your last paragraph.

  24. nippersdad

    This is what it must feel like to be winning!

    Concerning Omar and anti-semitism: “Pelosi doubled down Tuesday that Omar herself is not anti-semitic. “We have no taint of that in the Democratic Party,” Pelosi said. “Just because they want to accuse somebody of that doesn’t mean that we take that bait.”


    Which is quite the turnaround from last week when the Israeli Mafia in Congress was still demonizing her. I guess sounding like Trump isn’t the politically winning proposition that Schumer et al thought it was. I guess this must have changed some minds.:

    “No one person — no matter how corrupt, inept or vicious can threaten my unwavering love for America.” Omar said after having raked in $827,000, a jump from the $41,000 reported from the previous fundraising cycle.


    Tanden backs off Sanders after his campaign goes after ThinkProgress, and now Pelosi backs off Omar after Tlaib says that there is little actual support for diversity within the Dem caucus and Omar fundraises off of them. That is a lot of winning for one day!

    1. JohnnyGL

      Wow, $827K is a lot.

      Now voters are speaking a language that even dem leadership can understand.

        1. polecat

          That’s quite the benjamin$ boomerang .. well done Omar !

          So, revenge is Also a dish of served ‘green$’ as well .. who knew ?

    2. RandyM

      Omar is the first politician I’ve given money to in fifteen years. Her courage is very rare.

  25. Pelham

    I’m not quite getting the kerfuffle over Sanders being a millionaire. In his age bracket, everyone is supposed to have $1 million socked away — at the barest minimum. Otherwise, any kind of retirement is out of the picture.

    Granted, Sanders’ rhetoric has invited the finger pointing. But even a moment’s thought would banish any such impulse.

    I guess a moment’s thought is too much to ask.

    1. Wukchumni

      You don’t even want to know about his golden fleece, er parka. Something only a thousandaire could afford.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In his age bracket, everyone is supposed to have $1 million socked away

      Fed survey shows 40 percent of adults still can’t cover a $400 emergency expense CNBC

      I grant that a house, into which most of the million in “wealth” has been sunk, isn’t readily convertible into cash. However, “studies show” (too lazy to find them) that most Americans think that the extreme concentration is wealth is much more extreme than it is, and so “million” seems a lot like “billion” and both seem rich. (And to somebody very poor, a million is rich.)

      Now, I don’t think Sanders flaunts the class markers of wealth (the parka, the hair). The Sanders persona travels by coach. But remember Karl Rove’s strategy: Attack the enemy’s strength. That’s what Sanders opponents — liberals, so far, more than conservatives, because conservatives just don’t have it in them to attack somebody for making money; think of how many liberals that workers at NGOs should be poor — are doing. After a year of it, they might succeed. I think Sanders needs a better approach than he’s taken so far; although Robinson’s suggestion to give the money away is inane; showing weakness is never good.

  26. ewmayer

    Re. Buttigieg: “Today, I saw a video clip of @PeteButtigieg playing classical piano. Another were he speaks in Spanish. And this one, were he tells Parisians, he shares their pain -in French. Just imagine having a President whose intellect exceeds that of a root vegetable…for a change.” — A member of the Dem credentialist class speaks! And with the combination of hubris and condescesion so typical of the tribe. Thomas Frank nailed these folks in Listen, Liberal. As to the particular of the above charming image:

    o I recall Condi Rice making a showing of playing classical piano – I’m sure the fact that she is haute-cultured and high-IQ-certified was a great comfort to the victims of her warmongering.

    o Re. the by-now-obligatory pandering to Latinx voters (I suggest a new word for this: “Spandering”) – so is Señor Pedro going to be those voters’ Abuelo or their Tío?

    o So Buttigieg told Parisians “I share your bread”? (Personally, I would’ve gone with a Berlin-airlift JFKesque “Today, we are all Parisites.” As long as it was in French!, But then again, I don’t “speak 18 languages, including Gramsci”, or however that inane credentialist-fawning quote yesterday put it. I’m so Deplorably non-credentialed, I didn’t even know Gramsci was a language!)

      1. ewmayer

        Maybe he’ll be spotted palling around with a wealthy Arab oil magnate, Sheik Yerbouti. /zappa

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > How soon will it be before someone starts calling him Mayor Butticall


        Well, we’ll need to take a hard look at his donations. The headline does write itself, I agree.

  27. Carey

    Who are the “we” mentioned in the quote below, by a Mr. Gifford?

    “..Mr. Gifford, who has gone public in recent days with his dismay over major Democratic fund-raisers remaining on the sidelines, said of Mr. Sanders, “I feel like everything we are doing is playing into his hands.”

    But the peril of rallying the party’s elite donor class against a candidate whose entire public life has been organized around confronting concentrated wealth is self-evident: Mr. Sanders would gleefully seize on any Stop Bernie effort..”

    “You can see him reading the headlines now,” Mr. Brock mused: “‘Rich people don’t like me.’”

    1. Cal2

      Remember “Correct The Record,” his online army of trolls in 2016?

      “The plan comes as Clinton operatives grapple with the reality that her supporters just aren’t as engaged and aggressive online as are her detractors inside and outside the Democratic Party.

      The lack of engagement is one of Clinton’s bigger tactical vulnerabilities, particularly when compared with rivals like Donald Trump, whose viral social media attacks are legion, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is backed by a passionate army of media-savvy millennials.

      Some experts on digital campaigns think the idea of launching a paid army of “former reporters, bloggers, public affairs specialists, designers” and others to produce online counterattacks is unlikely to prove successful. Others, however, say Clinton has little choice but to try, given the ubiquity of online assaults and the difficulty of squelching even provably untrue narratives once they have taken hold.

      At the same time, however, using a super PAC to create a counterweight to movements that have sprung up organically is another reflection of the campaign’s awkwardness with engaging online, digital pros said.”


  28. Hameloose Cannon

    The Trump war chest is $41 million and climbing, raising more in Q1 than Sanders and Harris combined. The primary will result in heavy internecine casualties and depleted assets because Sanders is incapable of strategic cooperation with his primary competitors given two realities:
    1) Sanders supporters are convinced the common good is self-evident. Anybody not onboard is considered corrupt and deluded. Sanders is unwilling to protect any freedoms that subtract from the duties owed to the working class. Belonging to a political party that negotiates a plurality of ideals is wrong in Sander’s view. Sanders is unable to accept that his personal policies can be insipid or other criticism. This hampers his ability to correct mistakes, of which any political campaign is a series.
    2) Sanders himself suffers from catastrophic optimism. Believing that after 40 years the country is suffering enough to accept his ideals, existing institutions must be demolished [as opposed to a constant deconstruction], and his idea of “working class” is accurate, yet, timeless, despite a changing world, all of which do not account for complexity nor chance.
    [“Working class” is a borderline pejorative form of “peasant”, substituting the lord’s land with a factory. Tradesman, craftsman, contractor, small-business owner, the skilled, give people some agency and distinction, please. Marx was reducing reality to describe relations, not defining reality. Politics, remember?]

    FoxNews handled Sanders with kid gloves. Because Sanders won’t be poaching from the Dark Money Forest, whose creatures, of late, run roughshod over democracy. The reality of the Republic, the US has not had a regime change since Washington packed it in. The Civil War was dicey for a minute, but no political reformation. The US system of government is old, ancient, compared to other democracies in their third or fourth republic. That’s quite a record for the establishment’s self-determinism. Hard truths. Entrenched financial interests practiced in the electoral arts of nativism, fear of the other. Proceed with caution.

    1. ACF

      What do you mean by this: “Sanders is unwilling to protect any freedoms that subtract from the duties owed to the working class.” Concretely, with examples. Fn the statement.

      Also, remember that more Sanders asked his voters to support Clinton in the presidential in 2016, and in fact more Sanders primary voters voted for Clinton in the 2016 presidential than Clinton primary voters voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential. Isn’t that ultimately the test of cooperation? Delivering your voters to the party’s ultimate candidate?

      Last, regardless of whether Fox handled Sanders with kid gloves, Sanders was very effective in that town hall. Why isn’t that smart campaigning?

      1. Hameloose Cannon

        Curtailing the freedom to sell insurance policies for medical coverage, to enter a contract without gov’t interference, seems to be at the top of Sander’s “to-do list”. Why not “Medicare for anyone” as opposed to “Medicare for all”. Take on the health insurance juggernaut obliquely, rather than head-on, especially since Democrats don’t control the Senate nor the judiciary, making “Medicare for all” moot. –Personally, I believe in the right to put one’s freedoms ahead of virtues [duties to one another]. Which makes me a liberal. However, I also agree with Leo Strauss, when he said [paraphrase] liberalism is essentially nihilism because it preserves the freedom to act in bad faith, to act for the consolidation of power, and basically be a mad b*stard. But choosing not to. – Trump’s campaign would love to run on protecting the country from Bernie’s bong-brigade [their words, not mine]. Because the Republican right-wing has conducted a phantom revolution [Southern strategy, capture of state legislatures, gerrymandering, leaving Fed agencies leaderless, etc.], the appropriate response is to adopt asymmetry as a strategy.

        1. Yves Smith

          Making shit up is against our site Policies. Insurance products are regulated everywhere in the US, you moron (and you asked for it by spewing false libertarian crap, so the alternative is that you are a deliberate liar). Insurance is regulated on the state level with extensive supervision as to the solvency of the insurer, since insurers take money up front and pay out later. If you ever bothered getting the statutory filings of insurers, you’d see the level of financial disclosure is far more extensive than for banks, which are also heavily regulated.

          See here for a general overview of insurance regulation:


          Health insurance is regulated at the state and Federal level. In New York, and the government regulates policy terms, including in many states, premium levels. Health insurers are also required to pay out a certain % of premiums on claims. The requirement that large employers provide health insurance to employees is another example of regulation.

    2. a different chris

      1) Stop listening to voices in your head.
      2) ‘Catastrophic optimism.’ Ok, nobody really knows what you think you mean. I’ll agree, though, if you admit that sensible people just don’t run for President.
      3) – I think you meant to put a 3- Fox News did not handle Sanders with kid gloves, they got their behinds unexpectedly kicked.
      4) “regime change since Washington” — yeah, I think FDR might have something to say about that.

      Re-read my #1, and take a break to think about it.

  29. Tommy S.

    yes. Kropotkin. He was actually so popular and well read, that Lenin could not put him in jail. Emma Goldman’s auto bio goes into this. Well worth a read, as are bread and conquest and other stuff…

  30. Synapsid

    Lambert S,

    Thank you for the article by Mike Davis in the New Left Review. It’s as well-done a synthesis of the various lines of thinking and approach to understanding the history of climate change on the planet as I’ve ever read, and broader in scope than any other.

    1. Wukchumni

      The 5 year drought here nearly had California going on tilt, a few more bad years and the state would’ve emptied out quick.

      Now, imagine a 200 year drought?

      A deep lake near Lake Tahoe @ 7,000 feet in the snow-catching Sierra Nevada emptied out in entirety, to allow trees to grow as high as 100 feet, before the lake filled up again.

      This botanic relic is one of several medieval trees, ranging from 68 to 100 feet tall, standing upright at the bottom of the lake. They grew during a 200-year megadrought in the Sierra Nevada between the 9th and 12th centuries, when precipitation in the area fell to less than 60 percent of the average between 1969 and 1992. Fallen Leaf Lake dropped about 150 to 200 feet below its current level, allowing the trees to grow above the lower shoreline. In the wetter years that followed, the lake quickly refilled, drowning the trees and sealing them in a liquid catacomb, safe from insects and fungi in the deep, low-oxygen water. There are also three older trees, which drowned between 18 and 35 centuries ago, standing upright on the lake floor, which suggests that severe droughts struck even further back in time.


      1. Carey

        I haven’t read Planet of Slums, but City of Quartz is superb. What a researcher
        Davis is!

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    This Benjamin is welcome?

    “Bernie Sanders’ Tax Returns are Irrelevant” [Benjamin Studebaker]. “Some people appear to believe that Bernie Sanders’ campaign is about vilifying millionaires and billionaires as individuals. But this is not what I hear when I listen to Sanders talk. Over and over, Sanders attacks the millionaire and billionaire class.”

    How does it contrast with ‘Every billionaire is a policy failure?”

    Here, it’s every individual of that class. Is the emphasis on all of the individuals or the class?

  32. Todde

    Dogs are authoritarian followers?

    True. I never seen a cat work with the police to bust a drug stash.

    1. Wukchumni

      You never hear of a cat that gets swept up in a swift river, and the owner jumps in to save it and dies, while the feline calmly swims to safety.

      That’s a dog trick.

    2. witters

      A piece of advice: When those THC sniffing dogs retire, see if you can buy one. They are incredibly fun to walk with in local forested areas…

        1. witters

          Well that, as my youngest son says when he doesn’t want to do anything – like clean his teeth – “is too dangerous!”

  33. The Rev Kev

    Lambert mentioned about ‘It’s morning again in America…’. I looked up the original ad from way back then and here it is-


    No doubt most of the people in that ad are long gone through old age and the young people in that ad are old age pensioners and the like. The reason that I bring this up is to point out that due to the ‘revolution’ that Ronald Reagan ushered in, that when you crank in factors like inflation and so on, wage earners in the US today earn the same amount that people earned in that era.
    Democrat strategists are seeking to divide their voters on the issue of black reparations. Forgetting the fact that you would have to take a DNA test to see your amount of ‘blackness’, how about wage earners instead get reparations for about forty years worth of lost pay raises and benefits by making present wages & benefits reflect the way that trends would have evolved? Now that is a tide that would lift all boats – black, white, hispanic, whatever. The billionaire class would scream like stuck pigs but the smarter ones would realize that wage earners would have more in their pockets to buy stuff that they made and make back that money again.

  34. Dwight

    I think Bernie should keep his money. It opens up conversations about taxation, earned vs unearned income, and Trump’s receipt of more money from his father before he turned ten than Sanders earned after a lifetime. Also the distinction between the millionaire class and the billionaire class, and gradations of each. Bernie can praise free enterprise and personal achievement while calling for social justice and real opportunity. He can also say he is happy to pay taxes on his income/wealth. He will have to quit calling his policies “socialist,” though, which is fine because they never were.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s a funny thing…

      A billionaire’s car, boat or plane can go only marginally quicker than I can using a Toyota, cruise ship or commercial airliner. Certainly very little difference, as say, opposed to their net value versus mine, which would have them going 73,482 mph in their tricked out Bentley while i’m doing 65.

      …their ace in the hole being exclusivity & creature comfort

  35. Octopii

    I’m admiring Mayor Pete and would be very happy with either Sanders, Warren, or Buttigieg as the nominee. From what I’ve heard him say and write, the shade of Thomas Frank is unjustly thrown his way.

    1. Carey

      What have you heard Mr. Buttigieg say or write that leads you to this conclusion?

      Say something, and clearly, “Mayor Pete”, so that we might *judge you* as a Presidential candidate.

      “I love Mom and Apple Pie” is not going to cut it in 2020. Or as NTG said here, Buttigieg is for Good things and against Bad things.

      Clown, but a dangerous clown.

      1. Octopii

        I’ve read his book and listened to a couple of speeches. The guy appears to me to have a good grasp of the forces at work. And he doesn’t speak in sound bites, so you might have to pay just a little bit of attention to understand his positions.

  36. Detroit Dan

    Yeah, nothing against Mayor Pete here. The man is accomplished, which is no small thing. I’m a Sanders supporter, and also admire Warren. But the younger generation may surprise to the upside if we give them a chance. Not saying I support Buttigieg over Sanders or Warren, but let’s give him a chance to forge an identity beyond elitist success story.

    1. WJ

      Nobody’s preventing him from “forging an identity” (like a blacksmith? like a counterfeiter?), whatever that means.

      The guy has no clear ideas or principles or policies; he is all superficial puff; when context does force him to speak in specifics, he sounds like a power-worshipping, down-managing, credential-whoring, self-unseeing, typical member of the MBA-JD elite.

      It’s not my job to “give him a chance”–in the course of his Presidential campaign — to convince me he’s not the Macron-Obama figure his background and actions strongly suggest he is.

      On the campaign trail, after all, forged identities are usually just that.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > let’s give him a chance to forge an identity beyond elitist success story

      I don’t think a Presidential campaign, let alone an actual presidency, is the place to stage a bildungsroman (“Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race,” James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, just to run down the reference.)

      1. WJ

        That line from Joyce, translated into Maltese, is actually the standard opening of Buttigieg’s stump speech.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Buttigieg is running for President, not training wheels. He’s not ready to roll which means he’s not treating it with the responsibility needed for the White House. It’s not his age. He’s too immature to be President. My gut is he will never be ready to be more than an Obama redux.

  37. dk

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Well, the progressive– I’m a progressive. Yeah.

    Lest we forget, the term “progressive” came about towards the end of the Clinton years when FOX News was on the rise, Clinton had incarnated then-still-undefined neoliberalism, and the term “liberal” had become broadly pejorative beyond the Phil Ochs left, so what should less-than-conservative centrists who were certainly not anti-American (red “Communist”) call themselves?

    Progressive! Pelosi came up in that context, she certainly is that. But etymologically it’s specifically distinct from the peer-collectivist class-flattening labor-empowering political vector known for better or worse as the Left, and not to be casually confused with it, especially when wielded by the Dem Establishment. Oh the tangled web.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I was present at the creation of “progressive” back circa 2003. Liberals felt, correctly, that Newt Gingrich-style Republicans had poisoned the well for “liberal,” and so they needed a new word for themselves. So they rebranded as “progressive.” Progress toward what, some of us asked at the time. (Velocity = speed + direction, so all “progress” promises is speed, correct?) And in any case, if we look back at the epitome of the Progressive President, quondam university president, his legacy is pretty ambiguous. Resegregating the Federal Civil Service, the White House showing of Birth of a Nation, the World War I debacle, the Palmer Raids, jailing Eugene Debs….

      1. dk

        Wilson. I think you pointed it out some time ago but it kind of sailed past me that time. Something about doom and repetition… no matter: progress! We’re making progress just by using the word!

        First time I heard the term was on the 2000 Gore campaign, a fresh-face WH staffer lectured me on how it was the new way, and dinosaurs like myself (with my, at the time, 87% win rate) would be irrelevant in the new-new politics. We eked out a win in New Mexico despite them. Second most mismanaged Presidential after Gore04, which was more actively sabotaged, I guess somebody learned something.

      2. ambrit

        Well, what did you expect? Wilson was the quintessential “Credentialed Professional” plus an “Academic” to boot!

  38. ambrit

    With the indulgence of the site admins, a short report on the presentation by Robert Ballard at our local State college.
    First, this program came with an extensive slide show. Ballard is smooth and practiced at public speaking. He also interacts with the audience at the end of the program in a question and answer session as if all were sitting around a big living room chatting.
    He opens the program by setting out baseline information. He is dyslexic, dealing with which he says helped him to focus. He has been a career Navy officer, in Naval Intelligence no less. He focuses on the ocean as being most of the surface of the terrestrial globe. In such, he considers the sub sea to be a new frontier to be explored and utilized for human purposes. Later, he presented the new wave future of American oceanic exploration as being integrated telepresence. This endeavour was presented as being in the roll out stage.
    The story about finding the Titanic he gave was different from the earlier popular press version. In it, Ballard states that he was tasked by the Navy with finding and expolring the wrecks of two American submarines that sank in the Atlantic, the Scorpion and the Thresher. He mentions that the Navy, (I keep wanting to type ‘the Admiralty,) wanted to discover the status of the atomic power plants that went down with the vessels and the atomic tipped torpedoes that went down with the Scorpion. Another reason for the search he mentioned was the desire to see if the Russians had been to the wrecks themselves. To keep the old Soviet Union from suspecting the true nature of the expeditions, Ballard says he raised the desire to find the Titanic. The Navy, according to him, agreed to the idea, seeing the search for the wreck as being perfect cover for the main reason for searching. He says that after they found the two submarines, they turned around and found the Titanic in the eight days they had left in the schedule. Eight days is all it took. He said that several times during the evening, as if he was still amazed himself with that feat. As a postscript, he mentioned that the admiral who had approved the project was upset when told that the titanic had actually been found. Ballard says that he was told that:”You were told to look for the Titanic. Not to actually find it.” Ballard told that tale with a straight face. In the q&a session at the end, he mentioned that the other shipwrecks they looked for and found almost all took longer to find than the Titanic.
    Ballard used this venue to strongly argue for more STEM education learning. He told a young questioner to “do the mental pushups” to learn the science for whatever she was interested in. In this, Ballard focused a lot on the youngsters in the audience, favouring their questions in the q&a session. To that end, he had a short monologue about using the teachings of Joseph Campbell to guide his path. Several times he admonished the adults in the room to, as he put it one time, “never laugh at or belittle a child’s dreams.”
    Finally, his new oceanic program includes sea floor mining and sea resource farming. He differentiated between the present sea exploitation methods, which he characterized as being “at the hunter gatherer level.” and what he stated the new methodology should be, “like when early man domesticated animals and crops.” He sees a ten billion person human population in the near future as being sustainable, though he characterized the necessary future diet as being “nearly vegetarian.”
    All in all, quite an eye opener, and, yes, a good time was had by all.

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