2:00PM Water Cooler 4/17/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“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


Buttigieg (D)(1): “Pete Buttigieg, Barack Obama, and the psychology of liberalism” [Ezra Klein, Vox]. “Buttigieg’s rise has been unexpected and, to be honest, a bit weird. Young mayors of midsize cities don’t typically vault ahead of talented presidential fields to poll third in Iowa and New Hampshire before they’ve even officially announced their campaigns. ‘Candidly, I don’t even know all the reasons why this is going so well,’ Buttigieg told New York magazine. But there is a reason, and it’s bound up in the psychology that attracts liberals to the word ‘hope.’…. But this is still the Democratic Party that elected Barack Obama twice and that adores him today. A lot of liberals still want a candidate who sees the world the way Obama did, because that’s the way they see the world, too.” • I don’t buy Klein’s self-serving pop psychology distinction — you’ll have to read the article — between “openness-minded liberals” and fearful, close-minded conservatives. Try mentioning Susan Sarandon in a Clinton forum if you want spectactular displayes of close-mindedness. Or Russia. (Oh, and “candidly.” Plus “all the reasons.” How about some of them?

Buttigieg (D)(2): “Buttigieg is the Democrats’ flavour of the month. Just don’t ask what he stands for” [Nathan Robinson, Guardian]. “Buttigieg represents the apex of a kind of “politics of demographic.” … He’s a man who checks all the right boxes. In fact, that’s even how he pitches himself. Asked what sets him apart as a candidate, Buttigieg says: ‘You have a handful of candidates from the middle of the country, but very few of them are young. You have a handful of young candidates, but very few of them are executives. We have a handful of executives but none of them are veterans, and so it’s a question of: what alignment of attributes do you want to have?” • “Alignment of attributes” sounds kinda McKinseyeque… But seriously, with [x] black [x] woman and [x] gay [x] youth both on offer, how on earth are we to choose? (And what kind of politics is this, anyhow? The concept that fitness for office, fitness for public service, is a straight readout from an “alignment of attributes”? Is there a nation on earth that has even used this logic? I suppose you could see it as a variety of sortition….)

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(3) “Pete Buttigieg suggests national service program” [Politico]. “Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Monday night advocated a form of national public service for all young adults as a way to create unity among Americans. ‘We really want to talk about the threat to social cohesion that helps characterize this presidency but also just this era,’ the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. ‘One thing we could do that would change that would be to make it, if not legally obligatory, but certainly a social norm that anybody after they’re 18 spends a year in national service.'” • It’s festival of liberal Democrat fetishes! We’ve got unity! Random eligibility requirements! The Norms Fairy! And, naturally, the suppression of the real policy option here, a Jobs Guarantee.

UPDATE Buttigeig (D)(4): Reading The Shortest Way Home:

So, “innovation” was on the implanted chip. Smart move.

Gravel (D)(1):

Happy days are here again

UPDATE Harris (D)(1): “Harris building support in South Carolina” [Politico]. “Sen. Kamala Harris is making inroads with elected officials and leaders in South Carolina ahead of her fourth visit to the crucial early-voting state this week — snagging the much-sought endorsement of former state Rep. Bakari Sellers on Monday… Harris has made early investments in the state given its central role in her fight for the nomination. Ahead of her presidential announcement — and before she and top surrogates began holding events across the state — Harris attended a gala for the nation’s oldest black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Nearly 4 in 10 voters in the 2016 South Carolina Democratic presidential primary in the state were black women — and Harris has been working to lock down local endorsements….” • How’d that work out in 2016?

UPDATE Harris (D)(2): “Kamala Harris is crushing other 2020 Democrats in California fundraising” [McClatchy]. “Sen. Kamala Harris used her home-state connections to raise more than $4.3 million from California donors in the first three months of the year, far more than any of her Democratic rivals in the 2020 presidential race. All told, Californians accounted for 57 percent of the money Harris raised from donors who gave at least $200 from the time she launched her campaign in mid-January through the end of March, according to an analysis of newly filed financial reports.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie’s clear lane to the Democratic nomination” [Matthew Walter, The Week]. “Sanders’s willingness to go into the [FOX] lions’ den shows that he already sees himself not as someone contending for the nomination of his party but rather as a de facto nominee pitching his ideas to the wider American public. This confidence puts him in a rhetorically advantageous position.”” • I dunno. Picking out the White House drapes early in the race is never a good sign.

Sanders (D) (2):

Omar’s Bernie’s coming!

Sanders (D)(3): “Bernie’s a millionaire now. It doesn’t matter.” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “Nor is there any suggestion that Sanders would moderate his anti-plutocratic politics to benefit him personally. On the contrary, he promised to raise his taxes sharply in the statement accompanying the release of his returns: “I will continue to fight to make our tax system more progressive so that our country has the resources to guarantee the American Dream to all people.” Indeed, Sanders would no doubt love to have had much higher taxes in the past so as to keep his wealth from getting even that high. As James Adomian’s Sanders parody character put it in a video about him scrambling to finish his tax return: ‘They are not taxing me at a high enough rate. Jane, is there any way we can pay an alternative maximum tax?’ It would be wise for Sanders to make these points explicitly. So far he has been (as usual) a little prickly about his money, saying ‘I didn’t know it was a crime to write a good book.'” • My Father, a Depression-era child who remembered FDR, behaved exactly as the parody Sanders in real life.

Sanders (D)(4): FOX recap:

Non-Sanders supporters may find Dore’s cheerleading excessive (though at least he’s out front about it). But since I’m not a TV watcher, I also found Dore’s “close reading” of the role played by the announcers interesting. I mean, of course the anchors have a producer yammering at them in their earbuds; but that isn’t the first thing that occurs to me.

Sanders (D)(5): “For First Time, Major National Poll Shows Bernie Sanders at Top of 2020 Democratic Pack” [Common Dreams]. “Emerson’s poll put Sanders in first place with 29 percent support, Biden in second with 24 percent, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in third with nine percent.” • Front-runner status isn’t necessarily a good thing. But it would be sort of amazing of Sanders led out of the gate and won going away.

Trump (R): “There’s a growing amount of evidence that Trump has a great shot of being reelected in 2020” [Business Insider]. “In mid-April back in 2011, shortly after Obama announced his reelection bid, his approval rating was hovering between 43% and 45%— right on Trump’s current level…. The president raised $30 million in the first quarter of 2019 and has about $40 million in cash on hand. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, who are leading Democrats in terms of money raised, raked in $18.2 million and $12 million respectively in the first quarter. At the same time, voters seem to overwhelmingly approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, which also bodes well for him… A CNN poll from mid-March found 71% of Americans said the economy was in good shape. That was the highest percentage to express this view since 2001.”

Warren (D): “My plan for public lands” [Elizabeth Warren, Medium]. “Any serious effort to address climate change must include public lands — fossil fuel extraction in these areas is responsible for nearly a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The Trump administration, with its casual denial of science and apparent amnesia about massive crises like the BP oil spill, has also proposed opening nearly the entire U.S. coastline to seismic testing and offshore drilling…. on my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands. I’d also reinstate the methane pollution rule to limit existing oil and gas projects from releasing harmful gases that poison our air, and reinstitute the clean water rule to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, and the drinking water they provide… As President, I will set a goal of providing 10% of our overall electricity generation from renewable sources offshore or on public lands. That’s nearly ten times what we are currently generating.” • Kudos to Warren, who is in there punching on policy.


“Nancy Pelosi: Glass of Water Could Take Districts Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s—’That’s Not Where We Have to Win the Election'” [Newsweek]. • I guess Crowley wasn’t a glass of water, then?

“Ocasio-Cortez admits bungling the Green New Deal rollout” [Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News]. “Ocasio-Cortez called the resolution itself ‘very solid,’ but conceded that competing documents — including an erroneous FAQ — were rolled out prematurely and ‘muddied’ the messaging surrounding it. That allowed opponents to mischaracterize what’s in the plan…. ‘It was done in a way that it was easy to hijack the narrative around it,’ Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with the Yahoo News podcast ‘Skullduggery’ on Sunday. ‘It was too fast.'” • Or understaffed. I say be audacious!

But now there’s this:

(Interesting tie-in with Sunrise Movement, AOC, and The Intercept). Caveat that the GND is necessary but not sufficient.

UPDATE “Kentucky Republicans Worried Inviting AOC to Meet with Coal Miners Might Backfire” [GQ]. “Kentucky Republican congressman Andy Barr invited Ocasio-Cortez to come meet coal miners in his state ‘who will tell you what the Green New Deal would mean for their families, their paychecks.’ His concern, he said, is that the Green New Deal would phase out U.S. reliance on coal and fossil fuel, which would wreak havoc on the lives of people who work in those industries. Ocasio-Cortez accepted, saying she’d be ‘happy’ to go, adding that the Green New Deal was written to fund coal-miner pensions. ‘We want a just transition to make sure we are investing in jobs across those swaths of the country,’ she said. All in all, it seemed like an uncharacteristically cordial exchange for two members of Congress. And not even a month later, that cordiality is out the window: Barr has reportedly withdrawn his invitation, saying that Ocasio-Cortez has to first apologize to Texas representative Dan Crenshaw for a completely unrelated event before he brings her to meet with miners.” • Ballsy move by Barr! (And can’t AOC visit all on her own?)

Health Care

I hope Neera didn’t hurt Topher:

Spiro being Economic Policy and VP, Health Policy, CAP.

Realignment and Legitimacy

No time to play. Readers?

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of April 12, 2019: [Econoday]. “Refinancing activity continued to ease from its great surge at the end of March…. Purchase activity has also benefited from lower rates but less dramatically.”

International Trade, February 2019: “First-quarter GDP looks to get a major boost from improvement in the nation’s trade deficit which, for February, came in…. much lower-than-expected” [Econoday]. “[T]he positives are more than just a technical calculation as exports, driven by aircraft, jumped 1.1 percent in the month on top of January’s 1.0 percent gain.” • Um, about those aircraft….

Wholesale Trade, February 2019: “The big build in wholesale inventories eased sharply in February which is good news for production balance but won’t be giving any additional boost to first-quarter GDP” [Econoday].

The Bezzle: “Mark Zuckerberg leveraged Facebook user data to fight rivals and help friends, leaked documents show” [NBC]. “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data, according to about 4,000 pages of leaked company documents largely spanning 2011 to 2015 and obtained by NBC News… Facebook ultimately decided not to sell the data directly but rather to dole it out to app developers who were considered personal ‘friends’ of Zuckerberg or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own valuable data, the documents show.” • Well, that’s wonderfully clarifying.

The Bezzle: “Cruise control” [Reuters]. “Alphabet has direct investments in both Lyft, which listed its shares in March, and Uber, which has filed to do so soon…. The $848 billion company is at once a supplier, an investor and a rival to the two ride-hailing apps. Whichever wins the fight for investors’ favor, Alphabet is the one that holds the keys.”

Tech: “The $848 billion company is at once a supplier, an investor and a rival to the two ride-hailing apps. Whichever wins the fight for investors’ favor, Alphabet is the one that holds the keys” [WaPo]. “A new YouTube tool for battling misinformation failed in a highly public way on Monday, wrongly linking video of the flaming collapse of the spire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks…. The 9/11 tragedy is a frequent subject of hoaxes, and the information panels were posted automatically, likely because of visual similarities that computer algorithms detected between the two incidents. YouTube began rolling out the information panels providing factual information about the subjects of frequent hoaxes in the past few months.” • Well done, that algo!

Tech: Thread:

The only two platforms I know of that actually hate their users are Apple and Twitter, and I’m on both.

Honey for the Bears: “Bulging Stockpiles to Weigh on U.S. Growth Throughout the Year” [Bloomberg]. “Inventory accumulation added an average 1.2 percentage point to U.S. growth in the third and fourth quarters, government figures show, and were a key to the year’s 3 percent expansion, the fastest since 2005 and President Donald Trump’s annual goal. Reversing that buildup will trim growth in 2019, likely starting in the second quarter and continuing through the rest of the year, according to a Bloomberg News survey of 20 economists last week.” • So, get it out of the way before the election…

The Biosphere

“CO2 levels at highest for 3 million years — when seas were 20 meters higher” [CNN]. “Using a new computer simulation, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), in Germany, found that the last time the earth’s atmosphere had a CO2 concentration as high as today’s was during the Pliocene epoch, the geological period 2.6-5.3 million years ago… This research isn’t the first to suggest that today’s CO2 levels are the highest since the Pliocene, but the Potsdam researchers say their work is the first to combine ocean-floor sediment data with analysis of past ice volumes, and is more sophisticated than other model studies.”

“Leading climate lawyer arrested after gluing herself to Shell headquarters” [Climate Home News]. “After decades working inside the law, international climate lawyer and diplomat Farhana Yamin charged through a police line, dived under the arms of an officer and superglued her hands to the pavement outside the London headquarters of oil company Shell…. Yamin is a legal expert who has advised various developing countries in climate negotiations and is an associate fellow at Chatham House. On Tuesday, she told Climate Home News that the Paris Agreement, which she helped negotiate in 2015, was ‘not delivering.'” • Certainly an interesting (and courageous) tactic!

“Deciding on Geoengineering Will Be Harder Than Doing It” [Medium]. “At the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi last month, we got a sneak preview of the future geopolitics of geoengineering as we followed events surrounding a draft resolution put forward by Switzerland. Hopes were initially high. The Swiss proposal was modest and was backed beforehand by a diverse group of countries, from Mexico to Montenegro. It did not call for a moratorium on or even a code of conduct for geoengineering. It simply proposed an expert study of the risks and benefits of geoengineering techniques, as well as ways each might be adequately governed. As alarm calls go, it was more of a cuckoo clock than a siren. It should have been an easy first step toward avoiding the free-for-all that Ban Ki-moon has warned against. But the negotiations collapsed almost before they had begun. Determined opposition, primarily from the United States and Saudi Arabia, killed the talks. After several days of fraught debate, the Swiss threw in the towel and withdrew the resolution.” • As a foreign policy realist, I think it’s dumb to get bent out of shape over Khashoggi. As a non-exterminationist, I think it’s dumb not to get out of shape when carbon isn’t left in the ground.

“World Atlas of Illicit Flows” [The Global Inititiative against Transnational Organized Crime]. “The illicit exploitation of natural/environmental resources, such as gold, minerals, diamonds, timber, oil, charcoal and wildlife, is the single-largest overall category of threat finance to conflicts today, estimated at 38% share of illicit flows to armed groups in conflict. When incomes from these natural resources are combined with their illicit taxation and extortion (26%) by the same non-state armed groups, the figure becomes as high as 64%.”

“Groups sue Iowa, claim farm fertilizer runoff hurting Raccoon River, Des Moines drinking water” [Des Moines Register]. “”Iowans are tired of being told that our interests — our water, our health, our enjoyment of public waters, our drinking water, our pocketbooks — must be compromised or balanced with those of corporate ag and other industries willing to destroy our lives for profit,” said Adam Mason, [Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement’s] state policy director.” • Now, if the Racoon River were a person, like Lake Erie

“BP Funded Smarmy Opposition Ads Against Toledo’s ‘Lake Erie Bill of Rights’ Ballot Initiative” [Cleveland Scene]. “With foreboding music in the background, the narrator said that ‘outside special interests’ were the ones behind pushing this Lake Erie environmental rights mess. Oh, the humanity! But in the ironies of all ironies, the ones that bankrolled the ads that bemoaned the ‘outside special interests,’ were in fact, ‘outside special interests.’ In post-election campaign finance filings released last week, it was revealed that nearly all of the smarmy ad funding came from a $302,000 donation from BP Corp. North America, affiliated with Houston-based BP America Inc., the subsidiary of one of the world’s largest oil companies, formerly known as British Petroleum. You know, the one that caused the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.” • Good local reporting, here! Oh, and: “One more point: Markie Miller and Crystal Jankowski, both members of the Toledoans for Safe Water organization and originators of [putting Lake Erie personhood on the ballot], have been asked to address the United Nations in New York on April 22. Good for them.” • Animism is the only form of religion that makes sense to me…

Health Care

Another in a continuing, never-ending series. Thread:

“Millions already lose or change health plans every year” [Axios]. “Critics and skeptics of “Medicare for All” worry about eliminating people’s existing coverage because most people are relatively satisfied with their employer-based plans. But millions of workers and their families already switch or lose their insurance from their jobs… It’s therefore reasonable to estimate at least 2 million workers and their families lose or transfer to new commercial health plans every month.” • An argument Sanders made very successfully on FOX, as Jimmy Dore showed.


“Modern Monetary Theory, explained” [Vox]. The deck: “A very detailed walkthrough of the big new left economic idea.” Notice the unself-conscious use of ‘the left,’ appropriate because, in general, liberal Democrats (e.g., Krugman) reject MMT (and embrace austerity). More: “The theory, in brief, argues that countries that issue their own currencies can never “run out of money” the way people or businesses can. But what was once an obscure ‘heterodox’ branch of economics has now become a major topic of debate among Democrats and economists with astonishing speed.” • Grizzled veterans may quibble at “astonishing speed”; MMT’s first mainstreamed idea, the Platinum Coin, as this data series shows, began in a blog post in 2010 and propagated to the blogosphere until 2013, at which point (due to the efforts of this blog, among others) it exploded. And that was six years ago. Still, it’s good to see MMT treated in an even-handed way in Vox; here is a threaded critique from Rohan Grey.

The 420

“Police say missing marijuana eaten by mice” [Local 10]. • Sounds legit.

Our Famously Free Press

Very good advice:

Neoliberal Epidemics

“These 5 charts show inequality is bad for your health — even if you are rich” (charts) [MarketWatch]. From February, still germane: “‘It’s not just the poor who are affected by inequality, we’re all affected by inequality. Our colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health describe inequality as a social pollutant because it’s like air pollution — you can’t escape it, it’s in the air, we all feel it,’ [British epidemiologists Kate Pickett] said during a recent book talk at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. [Pickett and British epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson] have written a new book called the ‘Inner Level,’ which focuses on wide-ranging psychological detriments from the experience of stark inequality, including feelings of inadequacy, depression, envy and other negative emotions. … ‘What the research shows — not just ours but that of hundreds of researchers around the world — is that inequality brings out features of our evolved psychology, to do with dominance and subordination, superiority and inferiority, and that affects how we treat one another and ourselves, it increases status competition and anxiety, anxieties about our self worth, worries about how we are seen and judged,’ [Pickett] said.”

Guillotine Watch

“Tiger Woods and the Game of Life” [Thomas Friedman, New York Times]. “The biggest takeaway for me is the reminder of the truism that golf is the sport most like life, because it is played on an uneven surface and everything is on you.” • Well, except for the parts that depend on other people. The Moustache of Understanding does not disappoint!

Class Warfare

“The world’s largest hedge fund breaks down how the US workforce got screwed over the past 20 years” [Business Insider]. “The biggest driving factor behind soaring profits, Bridgewater reports, is the decline in the share of profit that workers receive. The decline in unionization among US workers, and to a lesser extent the advance of technology and outsourcing of jobs, are driving worker wages down.” • It’s almost like… class warfare.

“1 in 5 Bus Riders in New York City Evades the Fare, Far Worse Than Elsewhere” [New York Times]. • Maybe make public transportation de jure free, as opposed to de facto?

News of the Wired

“A struggle for the soul of theoretical physics” [Nature]. “The worry — expressed by a number of theorists and writers over several decades — is that theoretical physics has become a monoculture too focused on a small clutch of concepts and approaches. Those include string theory, overstated predictions of new discoveries, over-reliance on mathematical elegance as a guide and a general drift into what physicist and writer Jim Baggott, in Farewell to Reality (2013), called ‘fairytale physics’, divorced from its empirical base.” • Sounds like macro. More: “The long experimental search for the Higgs [boson] was motivated by the fact that, before we accepted the existence of a quantum energy field that fills the whole Universe — part of the theory that predicted the particle — we demanded more evidence than ‘it makes the maths come out right’. The need for evidence is even stronger if the argument is ‘it makes the maths look beautiful’. The Universe might speak in numbers, but it uses empirical data to do so.”

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

Conner writes:

“My ‘prized’ purple milkweed (a lot of effort trying to start from seed, with only two plants ‘making it’) was badly chewed by Monarch caterpillars last year and died back to nothing over the winter. To my relief, it did survive and in mid-April is poking out of the ground, with what seem to be well-formed leaves already on the stems as they break through the soil. There was only one major stalk last year, but there seem to be a half dozen growing up now. I hope to get blossoms and viable seed this year; will send updates as interesting things happen.”

Always a great moment when a perennial pokes through the earth, especially one that is beneficial to insects. I look forward to the updates.

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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. Isotope_C14

      Thanks Elissa3,

      This is a neat video and, well sadly, not a very realistic prediction of the future.

      Someone should send everyone at the intercept and AOC the new book by Dahr Jamail, “The End of Ice”.

      On top of the obvious catastrophic heating events coming to your neighborhood in the near future, you would also need to get rid of congress-parasites like Pelosi and Feinstein. The latter making absolutely clear to the little kids, that she has her own “Green Deal” which I think has something to do with Benjamins.

      Plus Pelosi said there’s only like 5 of those “Green new dream or whatever” candidates.

      These two corporate parasites will never step down as long as they have monetary incentive, and they couldn’t care one bit about the lifeless planet they are about to bequeath to the young.

      1. Grant

        She made it with Klein, who wrote a book called “This Changes Everything” (among other good books) that deals with the reality of what we are facing. In giving interviews, she said that she could have focused on some of the types of things Jamail is focusing on, but she thought that it would lead people to not act and try to do something. As someone with kids, regardless as to what happens, I want to tell them that I tried. I wasn’t indifferent to what world I was handing over to them, even if sociopaths with power were.

      2. a different chris

        >as they have monetary incentive

        It’s not monetary. It can’t be. They would have quit to enjoy it years ago if that was the motive. It’s power, simple and not-so-sweet. It’s thinking you know more than anybody else, can do things nobody else can. And making sure anybody who thinks differently than you doesn’t even get a chance, subconsciously in case they might be right.That’s what drives Pelosi and Feinstein, same as most zillionaires (they must be sniggering at Bernie’s pathetic bare-7-figs).

        “The graves are filled with indispensable men” doesn’t just mean somebody isn’t indispensable, but is a warning to those that think they are, to uncouple and enjoy life. Pelosi et. al. just aren’t human enough to understand that.

        1. LifelongLib

          Graveyards are also full of people who got there sooner than they would have if some indispensable (or at least vital under the circumstances) person had not preceded them. Individuals matter.

      1. elissa3

        Indeed you did! I guess I skimmed your daily post far too fast today. Not enough time. . . So glad you posted it.

      2. Expat2uruguay

        yes you did Lambert. And I really wanted to share that to my Facebook feed, but I don’t know how to do that with a tweet. So it was great to come here and find this link that I immediately shared to Facebook. And the “contained in an article format” is nice because it explains the context of the video, which I didn’t realize was set in the future, given the Tweet posted by Lambert.

    2. Krystyn Walentka

      I do not like that video at all. Though I cannot conceptualize why I do not like it. I think because it is so heavy in identity politics. “The children were so inspired to see this new class of politicians that reflected them…” Really? “..navigating the halls of power.” Oh, maybe that is it, still about power.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        I didn’t like it either. In addition to the excessive identity politics that will drive a significant percentage of the population away, it was utterly devoid of details as to HOW we would reduce our CO2 emissions by 50% or more in 12 years. How many solar farms and wind turbine farms will we have to build? How many 100+ MWh battery stations or pumped storage stations must we build? How many thousands of miles of new high-voltage transmission line will have to go up? Will people’s existing CO2-spewing cars and furnaces have to be scrapped? Will any new nuclear power stations be part of the GND?

        And in terms of new jobs created, how many people will have to climb around in attics, re-insulating homes and businesses? How many people will do heavy construction on pumped storage facilities? Or in lithium mines? How many electricians will be required to wire up all those solar panels? How many hyper-competent & grid-savvy IoT programmers will be required to write the software necessary to manage over-generation curtailment events fairly, securely, and reliably? How many people will be required to make all this happen, and what sort of skills must they have?

        AOC should have firm answers to all these questions. But I saw zero evidence of that here. All we got was identity politics, gripes about Big Oil (then quit buying their products, dammit), and the rather weird platitude of “We can be whatever we have the courage to see“. That’s a slogan from a second-rate motivational speaker. Not a plan.

        1. bassmule

          Oh, please. Who else has a plan with the detail you show? It sure isn’t anybody in the Democratic Establishment, and to be sure if there is a Republican plan it involves getting to Apocalypse as soon as possible.

          1. a different chris

            Yup. The people who can’t lead always are looking for more details. And more, and more, and then they want the first set gone over again for clarity… and finally you realize the whole project is out of time and they were never going to be of any help anyway.

            Often they dump those people on young enthusiastic engineers in order to cool their jets and learn why they aren’t gonna be the boss.

            1. fajensen

              Often they dump those people on young enthusiastic engineers in order to cool their jets and learn why they aren’t gonna be the boss.

              In my experience, one of those people will become manager, then another, then critical mass is reached and one becomes ‘the boss’, thus spreading the Injelititis-infection to the entire organisation and it is dead, but, now too stupid to realise it so it lumbers on regardless.

              When one sees that one of those people are promoted to “team leader” or such, it is time to update the CV and stay the hell away from the afflicted team / project – They are used effectively by Machiavellian management to shut down offending projects and make their staff leave voluntarily, thus saving on the outplacement packages.

        2. nippersdad

          The GND is just a resolution at this stage, not legislation. The details are usually hammered out in committee, something that has been denied her in this Congress by Nancy Pelosi, so I don’t really get the beef that it hasn’t been fleshed out yet.

          You are presenting a pretty high bar for someone with very little power who has only been in Congress for a few months now. High expectations are good, but realistic expectations are also required.

        3. fajensen

          AOC should have firm answers to all these questions.

          Really? Like DEMANDING that Kennedy should have a firm answer on how many rivets were needed to get Saturn 5 to the moon before earning the right to create the lunar program would get anything to the moon, never mind off the ground!?

          Leaders sets out the direction and makes the goal interesting enough for people to care about. Planners, designers, engineers and many others figure out how to get there – and competent people are not silly enough to pretend to be able to guess in advance what all the intermediate steps and put enough “resourcing” on them so that the beancounters will be contented and see that all is Good.

          Clue Card: The beancounters will never be contented!

      2. Aumua

        Without endorsing everything that is said in the video, I’m still glad to see we have someone in congress who is willing to go out on a ledge like that. It does inspire me in some way.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      I wish the press et al, would stop acting like AOC only appeals to Millennials. In my 70’s, I wish we had 50 AOCs in Congress trying to make the country better for all rather than trying to stay in political power with no clear direction beyond satisficing donors and protecting party an economic status quo which is status malum for a growing percentage of Americans.

      Sure, AOC has made some mistakes. She’s inexperienced, but she seems to be a quick learner.

    1. JohnnyGL

      While we’re doing this….

      Omar does eye-witness testimony in Bird’s murder trial

      “I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase…..it’s all in the game, though.”

      I feel like I read somewhere that David Simon, the writer, had real people in mind when he wrote most of the characters from the Wire. However, I think I read that Omar Little was made up from scratch. He was such a great addition to the show.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        A little disappointed Lambert and Yves haven’t been covering the Writers Guilds East Union cutting out the middlemx aka firing their greedy agents.

        David Simon, inter aliis, is in the Vanguard.

        I predict tv n film gets more Marxist.

      2. richard

        I have to watch this show again. That will be about my first thing.
        I have a big / little problem and I wonder if anyone can relate, or knows anyone else like this. For the past 5 years or so, I have rarely been able to finish a novel, or a movie that isn’t a documentary, with just a few exceptions. Things that are familiar are sometimes okay. But most fresh narrative fiction sends me scurrying away, I think from general anxiety and fear about rabbit holes. Like, I’m afraid to visit other worlds at this point. Afraid of disappearing there. Afraid of what’s happening in my absence. Along with the general anxiety are attention span issues, personal and societal.
        I know how tiny this problem is, even just relative to my own problems! Not really a problem at all perhaps, though I do miss fiction.
        I would be interested in knowing if anyone else was showing “symptoms” like this lately.

        1. fajensen

          Well, somewhat, I have to work a little at reading fiction, a task which was effortless before.

          Being totally not a medical professional in any way, my opinion is: You have better watch out, this could be the first signs of increased stress and an upcoming burnout episode. That can very quickly get so bad that one cannot do *anything* without making enormous mental efforts, which creates a spiral of doom with one not being able to do some simple tasks then berating oneself over it, which saps the energy, then even fewer things get done and so on until clinical depression and many months of sick leave.

          Maybe it’s a good time to book an appointment with a psychiatrist trained in cognitive therapy, if you have that possibility.

          What I learned was: Remember to always treat yourself and your body exactly as you would be treating an old friend. If you forget to do something or can’t because the mental energy is not there right now, then just let it go and offer support like you would do with a friend.

          It is weird but the change of perspective on oneself really works. Not criticising or blaming yourself, just doing something else that is positive instead of the failed task, that will build up the energy and then that difficult task is suddenly easier.

          If nothing in particular is stressing, then it could be the case that you are too much online and therefore spending far too much time “inside of your own head” as it were:

          The symptoms could mean that your poor brain is being overloaded and fatigued by all the outrage and panic being crammed into every bodily orifice 24/7 and it is telling you that: ‘Enough is Enough!’

          The best self-medicine is to Dramatically Cut Down on the consumption of ALL internet media, especially ‘news’ and ‘social’ media! Only read mail twice a day, take several days off-line each week, do all the internet chores like paying bills in one sitting once per week, and so on.

          I.M.O.:’Social’ media is addictive and insidiously toxic. Probably causing a long-term accumulating damage to both cognition and the human psyche, that will only be fully understood in 30 years time and by then will run up enormous sums to clean up. ‘Social’ media is the asbestos and the leaded gasoline of the digital age!.

          I.M.O.:Printed media, books and fiction are good because they make the mind slow down with the effort of creating all that imagery inside of ones head. Opera, concerts, theatre, art, the same.

          I.M.O.: Physical exercise is good. Walking, Running, Hiking, if you have the opportunity. Don’t bring a smartphone, use a dumb-phone for security. Maybe bring a camera.

          I.M.O.: TV-shows where someone are building something or fixing things can be therapeutic to watch.

        2. SJ

          yes, I understand exactly what you mean. I think that to enjoy reading a novel you need to be able to safely ignore reality and dive into the fictional place, but if you feel that reality is just too risky or dangerous then, maybe like animaly in the wild who sleep with their eyes open, you can not relax enough to be able to cut yourself off from it. It perhaps also has something to do with the stress of being trapped on a hamster-wheel, getting older, and no longer seeing a way out. If relaity is bleak enough then you can’t ameliorate it with a book, you need drugs…

  1. WheresOurTeddy

    “The world’s largest hedge fund breaks down how the US workforce got screwed over the past 20 years” [Business Insider].

    Just the last 20? Odd time frame to focus on. I guess Reagan, Bush, and Clinton were Tribunes Of The Plebs who fought for the common man…

        1. prx

          there are actually a lot of similarities between BW line of thinking and Keen / Kelton / other NC favorites

          RD has written extensively about debt jubilees, direct transfers, and debt monetization as stimulative remedies to a deflationary depression

          1. Robert Valiant

            Yeah, I wasn’t really trying to complain about the article – sorry. From the graphs, it’s pretty clear that something hit the fan around 2000, so that’s about 20 years, and certainly associated with Bill Clinton. End of growth? Well, excepting the growth of BS.

            I do think Americans tend to have shorter memories as time goes by, unfortunately, and maybe by design.

            1. prx

              no apology necessary. I think the mistake is BI’s and wanted to share my opinion that the report / source are actually pretty good.

              I agree with your commentary about shorter memories. This article has a good section on how technology might be speeding the decline.

              The other thing that happened around the late ’90s is a long-lasting regime of easy monetary policy, which helps the wealthy disproportionately.

    1. Judith

      Orlov is sometimes maddening but always interesting. From the interview:

      “If the Ukrainians continue to surrender unconditionally while placating themselves with pipe dreams of EU/NATO membership, the country will depopulate, the land will be sold off to Western agribusiness, and it will become a sort of agricultural no man’s land guarded by NATO troops. But that sort of smooth transition may be hard for the EU and the Americans to orchestrate. The Ukraine is rather highly militarized, is awash with weapons, full of people who have been circulated through the frontlines in Donbas and know how to fight, and they may decide to put up a fight at some point. It must be remembered that the Ukrainians, in spite of the decay of the last 30 years, still have something of the Russian fighting spirit in them, and will fight like Russians—until victory or until death. NATO’s gender-ambivalent military technicians would not want to get in their way at all.

      Also the dream of a depopulated Ukraine to be turned into a playground for Western agribusiness may be hindered somewhat by the fact that the Russians take a very dim view of Western GMOs and wouldn’t like to see GMO-contaminated pollen blowing across their border from the West. They would no doubt find some least-effort way to make the attempt at Western agribusiness in the Ukraine unprofitable. Orchestrating a smallish but highly publicized radiation leak from one of the ancient Ukrainian nuke plants would probably work. Rather weirdly, Westerners think nothing of poisoning themselves with glyphosphate but are deathly afraid of even a little bit of ionizing radiation.”

      1. Carolinian

        He’s been pushing nuke power lately on his blog. But when it comes to Russia he seems to know what he is talking about. At least it’s interesting.

        1. Phenix

          That is an understatement. He is an expert in the true sense of the word. He is not always right and I do not always agree but he is a great resource.

  2. WJ

    “Candidly, I don’t even know all the reasons why this is going so well,” says Buttigieg. Apparently, Ezra Klein has no idea either.

    Maybe I can help them out.

    From yesterday’s New York Times article on Democratic donors’ fear of Sanders:

    “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 of California; Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, 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.”

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      2016-2019 “Party Unity! Party Unity!”
      Sanders becomes clear frontrunner in 2019: “Anybody but Bernie! Stop Sanders! Save the donor class!”

    2. Arizona Slim

      This morning, I opened my Daily Bernie Email, only to find that it’s raising money. Again. Today’s theme: A 48-hour emergency fundraiser.

      I gotta say that Bernie’s a clever guy. The establishment has secret dinners that aren’t so secret, and Bernie uses them to raise a ton of money.

      1. Robert Valiant

        What if we just put the US presidency up for auction on EBay? Everybody could just add bids from the close of the latest election to the new one. Cut out the middlemen and bureaucrats.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is too much money in politics.

        Do we accept that money talks or works, and instead of trying to win without a ton of money, we aim to have more money than others?

    3. XXYY

      Thanks for posting; I was going to post this, also.

      Obviously and unequivocally, Mayor Pete is an establishment shill and ringer. His vacuous policies and the continual emphasis on his personal qualities and accomplishments are reminiscent of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who quickly rose from obscurity after the “money primary” to become the favorites of the MSM and the monied class.

      Strange that the mayor of a smallish town is taken seriously in a presidential contest; I can’t remember this ever happening.
      Maybe he bribed Rick Singer to inflate his test scores and get him in the side door?

      1. jrs

        Considering who is President, all standards went out the window, who knows when or if they will return. Qualified? What’s that? Every other job on the planet wants you to have prior relevant experience but not being President apparently …

        1. Debt is the New Slavery...

          I do not think it is just President etc, no senior government official has a requirement for “prior relevant experience”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Mayor Pete is an establishment shill and ringer

        A Hasbro action-figure Obama….

        NOTE Can we please say “Buttigieg”? “Mayor Pete” is this guy’s branding earworm.

    4. polecat

      “center-left wing” …. That’s a knee slapper !

      Sure NYT … go ahead, pull the other one …
      Can zomeone explain to me WHY is the NYT is STILL in bidness ?

    5. The Rev Kev

      Gotta say, when I see turkeys like Buttigieg and O’Rourke, I am reminded of an old 1972 film called “The Candidate” with a young Robert Redford. Anybody remember it?


      Only difference is that the Robert Redford character had qualms about what he was doing.

      1. LifelongLib

        My mom was on our town council when the movie came out. When I told her the ending, she said “He’ll go to meetings. Lots and lots of meetings.”

  3. Summer

    Re:”.. if not legally obligatory, but certainly a social norm that anybody after they’re 18 spends a year in national service.’” • It’s festival of liberal Democrat fetishes! We’ve got unity! Random eligibility requirements! The Norms Fairy! And, naturally, the suppression of the real policy option here, a Jobs Guarantee.”

    I suppose it’s a temporary job guarantee for participation in regime change around the world and if you’re not into that…DIE!!!
    If they were for national service for the services for people in the USA that would need funding and that is frowned upon funding.

    1. Arizona Slim

      In addition to the military, I think we need a Green Force and a Climate Corps. And not just for the kids. Heck, even I would volunteer for one of them.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Just pay people to do government jobs. The whole national service is just an excuse to pin the blame on young people for what Buttigieg’s preferred demographic old, rich white people have wrought. Same as it always was.

        Maybe its just me, but I’ve often noticed politicians who advocate for a “national service” are also staunch capitalists.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think we first give him a chance to detail the national service proposal.

          Particularly if anything to foster teamwork and cooperation among those in the service.

          Some sort of indepence of the service from the government may be helpful, as we want an option other than just the military (completely under the government).

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            He’s been unofficially running for President of the United States for three months now. He’s had his chance. He’s not serious enough.

            Three months, and Buttigieg is still going on about hope. Why is he running for President? A mandatory service scheme with no details? Good, he should start a blog or write an LOTE. Then he has the nerve to say he isn’t ready to roll because policy is complicated. Right now, he seems like a less clownish O’Rourke except O’Rourke has at least been a Congressman.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Grump Engineer above was talking about the lack of details as well, on another idea/proposal.

              For a while, the same question was asked of M4A (Sanders’ version, or another one’s). After months, the details were put forth.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Sanders has a point. As a larger project, he is calling for an end of Clinton style politics. Buttigieg is lamenting a lack of social cohesion and placing the blame on teenagers. One person isn’t paying attention.

                He’s been at this three months, and his diagnosis is teenagers are lazy. Holy contributing to the delinquency of minors, Batman!

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  He may want to address his children’s issues with that, but the idea itself is separate from any person, and is it to early to say anything about any national service ideas?

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    If we have demand, pay for them. People will do jobs if you pay them. Its simple. They pay soldiers. Even drafted ones when there is a theoretical need for national defense.

                    1. Expat2uruguay

                      Are national service programs always understood to be unpaid? That’s the sense I’m getting from your comments, and I would be interested to get more information on this subject. Link if correct?

                    2. NotTimothyGeithner

                      You don’t need mandatory programs if they are paid. Its diversion to blame the powerless for the state of society. He’s saying the youth aren’t clapping because they are lazy and need some hard work.

                      Lots of service organizations exist, and they turn away people all the time. This whole service plan is b.s. to avoid talking about funding these kinds of operations. If Buttigieg and his ilk gave a damn, they wouldn’t put the onus on kids they would call for more funding.

                      By forcing people into these program even if they are paid, they lose their negotiating power as labor.

                    3. NotTimothyGeithner

                      Its one thing if there is a national emergency, but Buttigieg brought this up as a response to negative emotion. It has nothing to do with wealth inequality or that we don’t pay for services we use to pay for.

                      Buttigieg is running for President, and his big idea is a rehashed bs. 1000 point of light crap.

      2. Carolinian

        There was that whole Peace Corps thing….think it’s still around. Peace, not so much.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      National service fetishists are also moral cowards blaming young people for societal flaws.

      I propose we hold a national service for people who are worth a million or more and are under the age of 70. Make them work the fields. Room and board will be provided, but the decision makers need to give back.

      1. NoOneInParticular

        How about a mandatory year of pubic service at age 18 for everyone physically capable in which they would pick crops, and get paid for it?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’m point out the absurdity of this national service bs.

          Kids are complaining about the state of the world. Old, rich people instead of addressing the problems they’ve created are blaming kids for not having enough character. Now, they have the teacher’s pet blaming kids for not putting more effort into society. If they want more, they can pay for it or get out and do it themselves. Just like 41’s thousand points of light crap.

          Buttigieg isn’t being close to intellectually honest. If he wants more people “entering” service, pay them more. We have a glut of qualified people. The problem is local governments who run these kinds of things don’t have the money or lack the appropriate tax mechanisms.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Local and state governments run all kinds of programs, and they would run more if they had more money. There is no need for any kind of mandatory service. There is a need for more funding for existing programs.

              Given the realities of state and local funding, what is the point of a youth service program? What is wrong with the kids that they need these ethical lessons of mandatory service or requirements for college?

              I’ve heard this bull for years and not once have I heard why this is good for kids, and I don’t see a lack of young people willing to do good things. I see a lack of access and means to do good things, but the only lack of experience comes from rich s@#theads.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                ‘We really want to talk about the threat to social cohesion that helps characterize this presidency but also just this era,’ -Teacher’s Pet Pete.

                Yeah, its those effin kids who need to be put to work doin’ service for folks!

                1. notabanker

                  National Service needs to start with Banks, Insurance, Hedge Funds, Tech, Pharma, Industrial agriculture and Fossil Fuel companies. The “threat to social cohesion” can be traced back directly to them.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Is it mandatory or voluntary?

                Would the latter be more acceptable?

                If mandatory, can it be thought of as additional high school education, which is mandatory currently? Does it reduce labor supply, and maybe put more pressure for higher wages?

                Should high school be 4 years? Can kids be let free after 2?

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  Goddamn, PrimeBeef…there’s a beauty to your outlook! But here’s the thing: do you really think the point of Mayor Privilege is to foster a better sense of community? A better MORAL cohesion? Or do you worry it’s just more manipulation to keep the status quo? I’ve seen nothing, heard nothing, in fact read and heard the opposite, that it is exactly more of the neoliberal playbook of denying the issue of class privilege…in fact trading on it. Do you believe ol’ Mayor Privilege would somehow solve the age-old issue of privilege -avoidance?

                  I ask honestly. ..does your clarity acknowledge expected deception? At what point, do you say “I can’t take what they say at face value? “

          1. polecat

            Me thinks Mr. Buttigieg been dosing on too much Verhoeven …

            All though, there HAS been much in the news lately concerning space forces & bugs …

            “BECOME A CITIZEN !” … “WANT TO LEARN MORE .. ??”

        2. Darius

          Summarizing a longer comment that got eaten instead of posting. National service is a vanity neoliberal distraction. It doesn’t address any of the dire challenges we face. It sort of sounds nice and public spirited but is a waste of precious time and energy. No one should focus their organizing efforts on this.

      2. Pavel

        Here’s my national service proposal: any politician who votes for military action has to serve in the military on the front lines for the duration of the war, along with all the members of his or her immediate family.

        How are you liking your 18 years in Afghanistan, Chelsea?

    3. jrs

      “Without saying the program would be mandatory, Buttigieg did suggest colleges and employers ask applicants about participation in it.”

      Ok so it’s obligatory, or “democratic capitalism”, which I have a sneaking suspicion is just plain old capitalism and thus couldn’t be less democratic.

      If earning a living depends on it, who cares if it’s legally obligatory it may as well be. National service or you get to be homeless and starving. But you have a choice … Why gee, thanks.

    4. DJG

      Whenever I see quotes like this:

      ‘We really want to talk about the threat to social cohesion that helps characterize this presidency but also just this era,’ the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. ‘One thing we could do that would change that would be to make it, if not legally obligatory, but certainly a social norm that anybody after they’re 18 spends a year in national service.’”

      I think of this:


      Somehow, young Buttigieg isn’t dealing well with his father’s study of Antonio Gramsci.

  4. Off The Street

    Fun medical billing story: I’m on a couple long-term meds — anti-depressant and a blood pressure med –that I get 90 day scripts for. Starting this year, my local pharmacy was for some reason only able to fill 30 days at a time, which was weird (1/x)

    Based on a sample size N=1, I offer the following: My suspicion was that doctors made you come in or otherwise refill every 30 days as there was more money in it for them through some medical coding options. That might seem far-fetched given medical office overhead, but there are likely ways to improve the office P&L on the margin. Combine that with some aggressive inventory management at the pharmacy and you might need to increase other meds to deal with the added stress.

    Some meds likely have specific requirements for doctor oversight, for example an anti-depressant. However if previously available for 90 days, then what else could explain the change(s)? I’m torn between the choices of malevolence and greed on one side and incompetence on the other side. YMMV and YRxMV, where an extreme case is all that opioid prescribing that went on in so many states with longer leashes.

    1. Christy

      I think you misunderstood the tweet.
      He didn’t say he had to return to the Dr every 30 days. Just that he must now visit his pharmacy every month to get it refilled, rather than once every 3 months as before (so it has nothing to do with the Drs office).

      Reading down further in the thread, it all boils down to the insurance company.
      Big surprise. /sarc

    2. notabanker

      Nope, this is strictly an insurance company / pharmacy deal. I’ve been on the same hypertension meds for almost two years, same dosage, doctors etc… Switched insurance companies and they started changing them all to 30 day fills. As I noted down thread, the Dr’s office even called me when the refills we up and asked if I was still taking them regularly and if I wanted 90 day fills, to which I answered yes. I have to have annual blood work to check my kidney functions and I have an annual visit with a cardiologist, none of that has changed. Just filling my scripts in 30 day increments because they want me to change my pharmacy from Walgreens to CVS. And of course, I have go through the PIA of changing it all.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Fwiw, whenever I visit my physician, I carry a list of the drugs that I can get filled for 90 days/$10 (generics, obviously) at various pharmacies in the area. When my physician suggests drug X, I check my list and suggest an alternative. Haven’t lost that debate yet. The pretty blonde pharma rep in the pencil skirt prolly doesn’t appreciate it, but I don’t really care.

        1. polecat

          Uh .. what’s a physician again …. ?

          Cuz I sorta, kinda, vaguely remember what they were SUPPOSED to be .. you know, Oath of Hippo and all that ! … before they all decided to dive into grift engine medical studies ….

  5. notabanker

    “Now, I’m a liberal from San Francisco,” Pelosi said on Monday night. “I can compare my liberal credentials across the board. And I said to them, anything that you’re about, I got that down in my basement 25 years ago. Single payer, all of this. Been there, done that, pushing a stroller many decades ago with all of that, so I share those values.”

    Must have been a future pharma exec in that stroller while she was contemplating binding arbitration, er, um, single payer back then.

    1. nippersdad

      I’ve noticed over the years that she is always pushing for things while out of power that immediately get taken off the table as soon as there is something she could actually do about it. Someone should ask her if those credentials are pre or post majority status.

    2. WJ

      I think she’s saying that no liberal has anything on her cause she’s been imprisoning popular democratic legislation in her basement for 25 years, all the while living a double life as a young stroller-pushing mom.

    3. flora

      I can compare my liberal credentials across the board.

      The Board of Wells Fargo.
      The Board of Goldman Sachs
      The Board of UnitedHealth
      The Board of Pfizer


    4. voteforno6

      It’s not a question of what she was for 25 years ago. What she supports now is much more pertinent, I think.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Climbing to the top requires punching up. Staying on top requires punching down. Oh, and the money is better on top.

  6. Summer

    “But millions of workers and their families already switch or lose their insurance from their jobs… It’s therefore reasonable to estimate at least 2 million workers and their families lose or transfer to new commercial health plans every month.”

    That’s because the ACA is about cost savings for businesses and the government. They save by shifting the cost to you. It still provides enough leeway for businesses to do that. But the businesses have to get tired of it. Eventually there will only be so much cost you can shift to the worker.

    1. polecat

      I thank HeyZeus knowing that this April is the last filing to include that noxious, and anaerobic Corpserate give-a-way coloquially known as Bamacarenot !

      1. Fiery Hunt

        I’ve paid over $5,000 for the privilege of being uninsured.

        Thanks Obama!*

        *neoliberal sh#thead

  7. notabanker

    Thanks for the twitter thread on pharma. I was wondering why they switched my scripts to 30 days when the Doctor’s office called me and asked if I wanted 90 day fills. I guess I can expect the “we’re not going to cover it unless you switch pharmacies” letter soon. The world needs more little plastic brown bottles I guess.

  8. Tree Frog

    “Pete Buttigieg suggests national service program”.

    We have one: Volunteer Military (Job Guarantee + National Service Program).

    Crib to cannon fodder is, of course, a feature not a bug.

    1. WJ

      I wonder about this idea, I really do…

      On the one hand, you can make an argument that reinstating the draft or something like it will serve as a stronger political impediment to US interventionism than anything else. (Cf. Vietnam and Pentagon’s desire not to repeat the bad press, protests, etc.)

      On the other hand, the tin-foil version of myself sees this plan as further consolidating the security state’s power over domestic politics by conditioning us to associate American public “service” with the military apparatus, thereby depoliticizing the military and enabling further erosion of civil rights in the name of “patriotism.”

      On the third hand, Buttigieg plays the piano and speaks a few languages and seems like a really nice guy. Lol

      1. Tree Frog

        Your tin-foil self speaks truth and the DCCC recruitment last cycle of security/military supports your anxiety. We’ve been normalizing the security state for a long time – and not for our security.

    2. VietnamVet

      I am biased. I survived national service. It gets Eighteen to Twenty-somethings out of the house. Provides order and training. Learning how to work. The Vietnam War ended because too many of the upper middle class ended up in the war. I went through advanced training with the son of the Congressman from North Dakota. The Endless Wars are due to the Volunteer Army and War Profiteers. If only a basic income is provided (not a guaranteed government job) the money will be siphoned off into the hands of the connected, just like Charter Schools. The CCC is a good model. Expanded National Service will provide specific number of jobs rebuilding critical infrastructure and mitigating climate change. It will be transparent and will get money moving through the economy where it is needed.

      1. ex-PFC chuck roast

        VV…I got out 3 months after Tonkin Gulf, and went to university on the “new” GI Bill – a flat $100/month. I was a simple accident of birth watching my friends try to decide whether or not to head for Toronto.

        But I am forever indebted to all the “US” guys (draftees) who expanded my horizons because they were from all stratas of society. And we are all indebted to the guys who resisted official stupidity from both the inside and the outside of the military.

        In my opinion the only way to really wize-up the official stupids is to bring back the draft.

  9. nippersdad

    Re: Kentucky Republicans are worried article and Lambert’s “Can’t AOC go to Kentucky on her own?”

    The best line in the article was from AOC spox Corbin Trent: “Luckily we still have open borders with Kentucky.” I really do love these people! They know when to let out the leash, and they also know when to jerk it back.

    1. Another Scott

      I really hate her or anyone using “just transition.” What is that supposed to mean? It sounds too much like “we’ll provide jobs training to displaced workers” that was said over and over again as jobs were shipped oversees, only to see the employment in those areas dry-up. My guess is the workers in the affected industries see it the same way. In my (admittedly limited experience), people in industries like coal mining, refineries and power plants understand the difficulties of their jobs, including the health and safety risks, but accept them because they are among the few well-paying jobs and are necessary to ensure that people like me have power and gasoline.

      I also dislike lines like that from her spokesman, they read like the classic coastal snark that implies that we’re better than people in the middle of the country.

      There is some material later in the text that may play better, so why not focus on it by saying something like “restore prevailing wage unionized jobs to Kentucky.”

      1. nippersdad

        What I loved about that particular line is that they used something that is routinely thrown in the face of Democrats to dramatic effect. The reason that we have such low wages in this country is because of wage arbitration. Wage arbitration that is dishonestly used by such as Trump, with his H2b staffed plantations, as an open borders argument that Democrats never actually made.

        Were we to have a decent trade policy it is precisely places like Appalachia that would benefit from jobs repatriated from places like China and Mexico; IOW, open borders for Kentucky.

        How did you miss that? Perhaps you are seeing what you want to see?

        1. MichaelSF

          I saw the comment more as “who is this Republican politician to tell Americans they can’t go to the state he claims to represent?”.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “we’ll provide jobs training to displaced workers” that was said over and over again as jobs were shipped oversees, only to see the employment in those areas dry-up.

        That’s what the Jobs Guarantee is for.

  10. Off The Street

    Re Zuck, there are more reasons to be concerned about the privacy and other disappearing aspects of modern life. It isn’t much of a stretch to get to a China-type social score. Here is one way that may happen sooner than people realize.

    If you know of anyone trying to get employed these days, they may tell you about automated resumé readers or applicant tracking systems (ATS in the trade, apparently) and about various psychometric testing services such as SHL (there are many of those). Cross-reference the testing service files with the resumé files, then apply some big data with or by Facebook or other social media and you have applicants that are far more exposed than they likely realize. Here is a quote I came across from a user.

    Between the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and now utilization of the SHL testing, we will eventually turn our society into “1984”. And if you don’t think so, look at the difference of 10-15 years ago as to how long it took an individual to find a job as compared to now. It was two to four weeks and now six months to a year. Add SHL will increase that time even more.

  11. Jeff W

    “Bernie’s clear lane to the Democratic nomination” [Matthew Walter, The Week]:

    Sanders’s willingness to go into the [FOX] lions’ den shows that he already sees himself not as someone contending for the nomination of his party but rather as a de facto nominee pitching his ideas to the wider American public. This confidence puts him in a rhetorically advantageous position.

    [Emphasis added.]

    Sez who? Betnie Sanders had no problem pitching his ideas before a cheering group of self-professed Trump voters in West Virginia in March, 2017, either. Sanders is confident but not in the sense of “picking out the White House drapes”—he knows that the policies he is promoting, hardly “radical” stuff but solidly New Deal, are broadly popular with the US electorate.

    We’re so used to Democrats in a defensive crouch, adopting the framing of inane Fox News talking points, that when someone chooses to make relatively obvious arguments—“let’s not pay twice as much as the rest of the advanced world for health insurance that leaves millions of Ameticans uncovered,” “let’s not have a tax system where the richest corporations pay nothing in taxes”—in a potentially hostile setting, that’s viewed as seizing “de facto nominee” status, rather than as, as it should be, what any reasonably competent politician even minimally interested in arguing policy would do.

    1. Shonde

      Just got this email a few minutes ago. Hopefully the crew at NC can help get Gravel on the debate stage.

      “I need your help.

      My name is David Oks, and I’m managing the Gravel 2020 campaign. A little about me: I’m a senior in high school. My family is Argentine-American, and I was raised by a single mother, a social worker. I see myself as a leftist in the vein of John Dewey, John Rawls, and Richard Rorty.

      This campaign has the potential to change this country. Bringing Sen. Gravel to the debate stage would bring new, radical ideas to public attention. It would provide cover for the anti-war leftists in the field. And it would allow Sen. Gravel to say what the other leftist candidates, burdened by a desire to remain “electable,” are unwilling to say.

      Right now, we’ve hit a quarter of the donors we need to get to 65,000 and qualify for the debates. Our movement is doing well; in the new Emerson poll, we beat Kirsten Gillibrand! But we need to get Mike to the debates. This is an opportunity—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—to change this country.

      If each of you were to just get three people you know to donate, we’d qualify today.

      Here is what I ask: get 10 people you know to throw in a dollar. I know, I know, it might be weird asking your spouse or partner to donate. But we’re trying to change the world. We’re trying to save this country. We need you to do everything you can to help get us 65,000 unique donors.

      Here are a few things you can do:

      Forward this email to 25 people you know.
      Get your partner to donate $1.
      Get your parents to donate $1.
      Talk to your friends about donating $1. Be an evangelist.

      I really am eternally grateful for this. Let me know if you’re ever visiting Ardsley, NY; and if you’d like to speak to me about anything, just email david@mikegravel.org and I’ll get back to you shortly. Please, please do this: I beg it of you.

      David Oks”

        1. Cal2

          Sr. Oks,

          Suggest that supporters carry a bunch of pre-addressed and stamped envelopes to the Gravel campaign so checks can be solicited and dropped in the nearest mailbox without procrastination.

          I got 47 for Tulsi that way.

          Sure would be nice if the address and payee were easier to find on the website.
          You may be missing out on a lot of unique donors and checks from people without smartphones and laptops otherwise.
          Make check out to:

          PO Box 1052
          Olympia, WA 98507

        2. MichaelSF

          I sent some $ to Gabbard to get her to the stage, sending some to Gravel for the same reason was an easy decision.

        3. Hdude

          Pass. I would donate a couple of dollars – EXCEPT – I don’t pass out email address and phone numbers (and I don;t use a cell phone). Too much phone and email spam already and no guarantee that this info wont be passed along elsewhere. These being required stops me

      1. Shonde

        Thanks all. I hope those running Gravel’s campaign decide to run for office someday themselves. If I lived in their district, I know I would be ready to vote for them.

  12. ChiGal in Carolina

    New sheriff in town (latest from the Jackson Park Watch):

    Greetings, all!

    Mayor-elect Lightfoot seeks citizen input, shows openness on key issues

    In a welcome change of pace, Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is asking Chicagoans for ideas! We urge you all to share your suggestions, questions, and concerns, in particular in relationship to the proposed Obama Presidential Center, the costly related road changes, and the proposal to merge and expand the Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses.

    Your ideas will matter as the Mayor-elect is already aware of the issues affecting Jackson Park. In another major change of mayoral tone, the day after her historic win, Lightfoot stated that she looked forward “to meeting with both sides, or multiple sides, to sit down and understand the nuances that have not been reported in the media” in relationship to the OPC.

    In a subsequent interview with the Sun-Times, Lightfoot reiterated her long-stated support for a Community Benefits Agreement that would provide for affordable housing, job training and local hiring in conjunction with the OPC development. In an additional boost for the CBA, recently re-elected 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston now says she supports a CBA and newly elected 20th Ward Alderman Jeanette Taylor has long been a CBA supporter.

    On yet another related issue, Lightfoot also noted in the same interview that she “not wild about” the proposed golf course merger, saying “It feels like it’s not a well-thought-out-plan.”

    Golf Course forum set for April 28

    Community attention to the golf course merger/expansion proposal continues to be essential. The engineering firm hired by the Park District in January is proceeding with the development of design and bid documents for the golf course expansion/merger project, even though at the same time top Park District officials have stated that no construction work on the golf course project will occur this summer.

    On Sunday, April 28, between 11:45 am and 1 pm, the First Unitarian Church (5650 S. Woodlawn Ave.) will host a forum presenting the cases FOR and AGAINST creating a professional golf course in Jackson and South Shore Parks. The forum follows the regular morning church service and is open to the public. We hope many of you will want to attend.

    Al Debonnett, Chair of the Jackson Park Golf and Community Leadership Alliance, will present the case FOR the pro golf course. Anne Holcomb, Chair of ETHOS (Environment, Transportation, Health and Open Space), a non-traditional block club with about 90 members from Southeast-side neighborhoods, will present the case AGAINST the pro golf course. Following a 15-minute presentation by each side, each presenter will be able to ask three questions regarding the other’s presentation. After that the forum will be opened to questions from the audience.

    Discovery, depositions taking place in POP lawsuit

    Despite the obstacles created by the City’s stable of lawyers, documents have been released to the Protect Our Parks legal team through the discovery process and depositions have been occurring as the POP lawsuit progresses. While POP supports having the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side, it is contesting the City’s decision to allow it to be sited in Jackson Park.

    As we have previously reported, Federal Judge John R. Blakey set April 19 as the close of discovery, a very tight timeline. He set an equally demanding schedule for the next steps in this case:

    May 3 as the date for the parties to submit motions for summary judgment, each asking the Judge to rule in its favor
    May 17 as the date for the responses to these motions;
    May 24 for the replies to those responses; and
    May 30 for a hearing on the motions.
    We will continue to report on progress in this important case, raising as it does key questions concerning the responsible safeguarding of invaluable public assets such as Jackson Park.

    PayPal new way to support JPW

    As always, we welcome your contributions. You can now contribute in three ways:

    You can contribute via PayPal here. You will have the option of using a PayPal account or using your credit/debit card.
    You can contribute via checks made out to Jackson Park Watch and sent to directly to Jackson Park Watch, P.O. Box 15302, Chicago 60615.
    You can contribute from donor-directed funds via checks sent to our fiscal sponsor Friends of the Parks at FOTP, 17 N. State St., Suite 1450, Chicago 60602. Such checks should be made out to FOTP with a note stating they are intended for Jackson Park Watch.

  13. Cal2

    “Kamala Harris is crushing other 2020 Democrats in California fundraising”

    Of course she is. The Republicans who want Donald Trump to win are hoping and praying the Democrats will be dumb enough to nominate her. Even Trump’s treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin donated to her senate campaign. He knew a good thing for banks and the elite* when he saw it.

    She’s backed by the Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Defense Intelligence Datamining Complex;
    “Sen. Kamala Harris of California will appear at a fundraiser hosted by Star Wars director J.J. Abrams and producer Katie McGrath at Los Angeles on March 20. Tickets are reportedly priced at $2,800; and donors who contribute $10,000 will be added as co-hosts, according to Variety.”

    Democrats, please nominate a real Democrat like Bernie+Tulsi if you want to win the white house.

    Or, maybe you’re rather lose again to Trump so you have something to whine about rather than win with real progressives?

    *“Harris declined to investigate Herbalife, the nutritional supplement company that has been accused of fraudulent marketing practices. Documents exclusively obtained by Yahoo News show that in 2015, prosecutors in the San Diego office of the California attorney general sent Harris a lengthy memorandum that argued for an investigation into Herbalife and requested resources in order to undertake such an investigation. Similar investigations into Herbalife were already taking place elsewhere. About three weeks after the San Diego letter was sent, Harris received the first of three donations to her campaign for the U.S. Senate from Heather Podesta, the powerful Washington lobbyist whose ex-husband Tony’s firm, then called the Podesta Group, had worked for Herbalife since 2013. Heather Podesta’s own lobbying firm, Heather Podesta and Partners, would soon be hired by Herbalife, too. Harris did not pursue an investigation…”

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      I’m convinced the people you’re speaking of would most certainly prefer Trump’s reelection to a Sanders-Gabbard administration.

      If Trump wins, they keep control of the administrative and money valves in the Party apparatus. If it’s Bernie-Tulsi, that’s the real stake in their hearts.

      Unless they were to align with the media and factions in the National Security State to manufacture a bogus story about Bernie colluding with a foreign power.

      But that’s just being paranoid and conspiratorial.

      1. Adam Eran

        I don’t know… I’m guessing they’re looking for the McGovern (vs. Nixon) outcome to be able to say “See! We told you those lefty ideas weren’t electable!”

    2. a different chris

      That’s probably all true but it’s simpler than that. Harris will not be POTUS, or even VPOTUS, she will go back to CA and be Important, maybe even governor someday.

      These people are paying to have her ear in California political issues. Oh such a shame, Ms. Harris, you would have made a great President! Anyway, there is this little damp spot that the enviro-nazis won’t let me build a golf course on, can you give it a look?

  14. Mark Gisleson

    Your comment on Apple and Twitter hating their users made me realize (as an Apple user on Twitter) that not only are you right, but that you just described the leadership of the Democratic party perfectly!

  15. JohnnyGL

    Re: Buttigieg

    Watch how fast the pundit/media/donor class throws Beto onto the scrapheap now that they’re swooning over the much smoother-talking Buttigieg.

    Beto got hyped by the consultants and their media contacts because he raised truckloads of money, but I’m guessing he fades fast in the polls and the money dries up rapidly for him. Don’t be surprised if he’s one of the first to drop out of the race.

    The establishment is a very fickle bunch and they’re swooning over Buttigieg’s resume and linguistic skills.

    1. nippersdad

      I get the impression that were he to think there was some campaign advantage to doing the tango with a rose in his teeth and castanets on his fingers we would soon find that he had taken a semester off to go into the Argentine and learn it from gauchos around the fire. He appears to be an Ed Sullivan variety show unto himself; a Saturday Night Live skit just waiting to happen.

      It is nice that he is so accomplished, but this really doesn’t seem like his best field of endeavor.

    2. John k

      Beto might las a bit, funded by father in law… in which case the young vacuous but pretty faces can duke it out for a while.

    3. Anonylisa

      I am still seeing a lot of BETO stickers here in Texas. Also gagged a bit when i saw the Beto for America stickers. He lost for goodness sakes. What makes them think he will be better for President!

  16. Roy G

    ‘Mayor Pete’ is the perfect metamodern candidate – a fresh telegenic new face for the media, a cover boy for the Dem fanbois/girls, a cash cow for the fundraisers, and a tabula rosa for special interests and power brokers to write on.

    Wasn’t it a feature of past dynasties/empires to have a ‘Boy King’ on the throne while the real power hid behind it and whispered to him what to say?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Cixi hated those Western imperialists.

        Unfortunately, only the Boxers came to defend her cause. She didn’t have champions like Saigo Takamori who could explain to her how to profit from opposing court conservatives by throwing ‘open its door to foreign technology’ (someone would get very rich in the process).

    1. Phacops

      Wow, Markos has become quite the suckup in his quest to become a very serious person. Whatever became of his “better Democrats”?

      I was banned from Daily Kos after I suggested that Obama was the modern incarnation of Herbert Hoover when he unveiled his economic team. Don’t regret it as even then it was infested with status quo sad sacks keeping their powder dry.

  17. Epynonymous


    Our local supermarket Stop n’ Shop is on strike.

    “Some 31,000 Stop & Shop employees are striking to demand a living wage, pensions, and better healthcare. Stop & Shop says it is offering them a fair deal. Their last contract expired February 23.”

    Funny how even the conservatives rally behind them when a strike rolls around in the grocery store.

    Reportedly, the warehouses for our supermarkets have been having trouble for the last few years as they slowly integrate robots.

    This is definitely also related to staffing levels and the “self-checkout” lines.

    1. Cal2

      Self checkout? Help force grocery stores to lose this job destroying technology, strike or no strike.
      If you must use it, then abuse it.
      “Stack & Pack” is the motto there.

      Scan the bottom bar code of the pile, then into the bag it goes.

      “I don’t know ’nuffin about computers” if you get caught.

      More power to the strikers. The reason conservatives support grocery workers is that everybody eats and comes in face to face contact with the workers there at least once a week.

      1. Mel

        I am not a lawyer, but I love to pretend. My take is that the checkout process creates the “meeting of minds” between myself and the store that’s necessary for a valid contract. The store’s agent and I will both agree on the merchandise I’m taking away and what I’m paying for it. No doubt, no second thoughts

    2. MichaelSF

      The Safeway stores in SF are adding self-checkout lanes. I mentioned that I preferred to help save jobs to one checker who I think may also be an asst-manager. He told me that it wasn’t going to be a concern, that the “no human interaction (except when they crash and you need someone to reboot them)” was meant for the “younger” customers who actively prefer to not talk to a human during the check-out process.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the “younger” customers who actively prefer to not talk to a human during the check-out process.

        Assuming this is true, it does seem to connection to issues of depression and alienation….

        1. Cal2

          So, these are the people who will starve to death in a power failure rather than ask for help?
          We’ve seen what happens to this type when they follow GPS over a cliff or into snowy wilderness etc.

        2. polecat

          Some years ago …. whilst in a Deathway checkout, I casually mentioned to the cashier how main-stream news was nothing anymore but self-serving bunkum, and that one could find more truthful info on a number of excellent blog sites on the net.. she insinuated, with obvious hauty displeasure, that I was a tin-foil lune.

          Ever since that moment, I made a decision to use the self-checkout .. and avoid the human idiots who reside on their checkstand pedestals all together !!
          … and no, I will certainly Not starve, as I can and preserve a fair amount.
          BIG Corpserate Grocer can just DIE !

  18. Jerry B

    Lambert— I have a suggestion for one politics free Water Cooler a week! What do you and commenters think???

    With the recent Congressional elections, local elections, and now another Presidential campaign, it gets overwhelming and my head is about to explode from all the politics. Full disclosure: the politics and media coverage of politics in the US reminds me of American Idol, Survivor, or a very long High School class president election. But that is me.

    To borrow a line from I think the Black Socialists of America: We support only policies, never political parties or candidates. As Lambert has said, “universal concrete material benefits especially for the working class”!!!!

    From what I have read the majority of Americans want certain things which should be easy to turn into a Voter’s Manifesto. The first candidate that offers in a written promise most of the things on the manifesto gets voted President. Wait, if I remember from a previous Water Cooler there is one candidate that is doing that—-Sanders.

    I know my voters manifesto idea is a dream and idealistic, but I can dream…

    I have serious issues with Sander’s views on, from what I understand, keeping the status quo on the military and foreign policies of the US. That being said, one other thing I like about Bernie is he has been consistent with his message since the 70’s and he has repeatedly said that it is not about him but the movement!!

    So how about it Lambert?? One politics free Water Cooler a week???

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Why not you just NOT READ IT one day a week?

      I vote no on the motion. (note: not a democracy, I know).
      I love Lambert’s political takes!

    2. Geo


      Saw your comment in the Assange thread and wanted to follow up. Thanks for the interest in my films! The short films I did as a teen are sadly in the dustbins of time (pre-digital era) but here’s a link to my two features:

      Fray – the one about a returning combat vet that also tackled a common theme on NC about rural poverty and isolation due to financial burden.

      Blood From Stone – my new one that uses “immortal vampires” as a lens to explore the destructive nature of society and how old myths and eras won’t die by placing them in a small Nevada casino town.

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Im down for weekend thread topics.

      Ill vote yes.

      We can discuss –

      1 Dune
      2 Film
      3 Kink

      In this order.

    4. Oregoncharles

      At least one. I think it’s to early in the game to give it such intense attention.

      Of course, I do have priors since I’m not a Democrat.

      It does have a certain grim fascination, like a slow-motion train wreck.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > to early in the game to give it such intense attention.

        I disagree. This is the set-up stage. The sequential Harris-O’Rourke-Buttigieg bubbles show this at the very least. Act I of Hamlet is just as important as Act V.

      2. jrs

        I’m burning out on it, probably need to take a break. Too early. And to think it will be 2021 till any one of these will be in office (or even Trump in a 2nd term – ugh), and probably even longer till they pass any legislation (and depending on so many other factors, primarily congress, although mass movements can’t hurt).

        1. Jerry B

          Thanks jrs. Your comment elaborates on my comment. I must have been oblivious (to me it all blurs) to the election years as I thought the “presidential election” was this coming November. After reading your comment I looked up presidential election on Wikipedia and lo and behold you are right, the next presidential election is not until November 2020!!! A year and half more of campaigning???? God help me. #headondesk.

          My cynical and skeptical side believes the long campaign season in the US is just a way for the elites/oligarchs to distract the masses from the more serious machinations, corruption, etc. etc. going on in the US and the world.

          I think I will take Fiery Hunt’s advice and just scroll through the political stuff on Water Cooler really fast. Unfortunately, I like to read the intelligent comments of the NC commentariat on Water Cooler and all NC posts. But a concern is that many comments on Water Cooler from here to the election will be comments about politics/campaigns (already happening).

          This is going to be like watching most NBA basketball games in which when you watch the last five minutes of the game, you have seen the important stuff. Wake me in a year when there is six months to go in campaign season.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > One politics free Water Cooler a week???

      I could expand Biosphere or Business Coverage.

      OTOH, it’s a very dynamic situation; I’ve never seen anything like it. If I had a “Biosphere Friday,” I’d worry about getting overwhelmed with political news on Monday.

      Also, I do tend to respond to readers, and there seems to be a good response the the political coverage. And [lambert preens modestly] I am hard-pressed to think of another blog, and indeed many publications, that offer equivalent coverage. Readers?

      1. Eclair

        Well, Lambert, you can see that I am almost 24 hours behind on reading Water Cooler! But, Water Cooler reflects the taste, personality and idiosyncrasies of its creator. You seem to revel in the political stuff, and cover it really well. I skim through it daily (or try to) and find it keeps me current on what’s going on in the early jockeying for position in the next presidential campaign. My take, I think you should do what interests and excites you. It’s only five days out of seven, after all (smile).

  19. pjay

    I think a number of people here will appreciate this from Adam Johnson at FAIR (I don’t think it has been posted; if so, it’s worth a second look):

    “Maybe Rich Liberals Don’t Hate Sanders Because They Fear He Can’t Win, But Because They’re Rich”

    “The New York Times (4/16/19) profiled a network of “wealthy liberal donors” who, shockingly, are not fans of Bernie Sanders, who according to the same report has rejected their big-bundler funding and instead opted for small donations….That a network of multi-millionaire and billionaire donors would dislike a candidate who not only rejects their funding, but is actively trying to tax them at rates not seen since 1960, would surely be enough reason to explain why these wealthy elites would want to “stop” his nomination. But not to the credulous New York Times, which takes at face value rich donors’ claim to oppose Sanders because they believe he simply can’t defeat Trump…”

    It’s a very good take-down of a typically oblivious story.


      1. pjay

        I’ll try to be. But I didn’t see it in the links. I certainly meant no disrespect; just thought there would be some interest.

        1. Yves Smith

          Sorry to seem cranky. It’s just the way you provided the link had the undertones that we had missed it, when we can’t link to everything of interest even if we wanted to (both for reasons of our resources and needing not to overwhelm readers).

    1. Geo

      Sometimes it’s easier to judge a politician by their enemies. Bernie has all the right ones!

  20. John Beech

    Re: Buttigeig

    This FL-registered Republican-voter is listening with an open mind. As it happens, I think executive experience is important. I would value the mayor of a small city as more experienced and hence as more qualified than, for example, a senator whose background is as a DA (looking at you Kamala Harris).

    Youth? The problem with youth is they usually don’t have enough experience with treachery. In this, older is better in my view. Noting beats experience and having your head handed to you a few times teaches this better than anything I know. In fact, this is something I like about the former mayor of Burlington, VT.

    Gay? Don’t care.

    Poly-glot? Better than being comfortable with just one language – and barely in the case of the current occupant of the White House. However, you know the old saw regarding opinions and bellybuttons – and this is definitely just my opinion, but I like this factor a lot.

    White? Not a factor. Just don’t care. Those who would call me out on this and, for example, tout the one time candidate for the GA governorship because she’s a she and because she’s black, what I think is; if she were actually possessed of executive experience, and if she spoke more than one language, and if she had academic accomplishments out the wazoo – like this young white man – I would be considering her. Seriously.

    Meanwhile, I think Buttigeig is a bit fruity. And I don’t mean that in the anti-gay way but in his positions. For example, there’s not a chance in hell I support reparations for black people. And if you want to see another civil war, then keep on with that notion. This doesn’t end well, believe me. Speaking of me, I happen to think Senator Sanders has a better idea . . . help create jobs and the black ‘problem’ takes care of itself. After all, there’s nothing like a steady paycheck, a bit of savings, maybe a new truck in the driveway, plus a happy wife and children striving to make something of themselves in school instead of standing on street corners and dealing drugs because they have no hopes of a job to make race relations a non-issue for all races. Again, just my opinion but I really think Sanders has the right idea with respect to ‘reparations’ and young Buttigeig is simply smoking funny cigarettes (and good shit at that).

    Nevertheless, I can see the making of an interesting candidate in Buttigeig. No way I get 100% of everything I want. Not from him, not from anybody. Sanders has some nutty ideas as well. As President trump has learned, he’ll have to deal with Congress. In any case, I held my nose when I voted for Trump – but he had less baggage in my opinion (believe it or not) than HRC.

    Come 2020, Trump may be my guy again, but I’m not a lock and he’d better not take my vote for granted because I am seriously not happy with the health care industry being the winners and everybody, e.g. me, being the loser. That’s got to stop.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I read his piece in Medium and liked what he had to say about how local results are the ones that matter.

      The main thing that concerns me about him is that pretty much all the events of the past years and decades (that have contributed to Sanders and his position receiving so much support) have apparently passed him by. What’s his opinion on inequality? How did it come about, and why is it rising? What about the foreclosure crisis? Was it due to greedy borrowers taking advantage of overly-trusting bankers, or did the banks deliberately select for them so that they could profit? How about the mortgage fraud scandal, and the subsequent settlement? Was it fair? Has the problem been addressed? What about Trump? Why did so many people vote for him? Is he just a really effective con artist, or was he speaking to genuine issues?

      “I don’t know, but I’m smart and I’ll figure it out” doesn’t cut it as far as I’m concerned. Any regular NC reader could do better. He’s running for President – surely he has some idea of what the current problems are in the USA, and what the barriers are to fixing them?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Blaming young people is a pet peeve of mine, but this is the obvious flaw with Buttigieg. He seems to be running for the President of B plots in The West Wing.


        If there are enough public needs that every 18 year old should be conscripted and trained to do then in a year perhaps we should make these career jobs -Atrios

    2. a different chris

      >what I think is; if she were actually…, and if she …, and if she h… – like this young white man – I would be considering her.

      Bull(family blog). You think you’re open-minded, but there is always one thing, and one other thing, and one thing more… it’s BS. Complete BS. Buttigeig was the very young mayor of the fourth largest city in a second-rate state. But you think he’s cute or something so everything you said certainly applies to him, but somehow he is better than Stacey Abrams. Yet you found enough to not vote for him, fortunately for you.

      Go vote for Trump. I didn’t vote against him and I don’t feel bad about it, so I don’t begrudge you your delusions. But that’s what they are.

  21. IowanX

    Call me sceptical about Mayor Pete. I certainly smell a bit of CIA sulphur along with the MSM rosewater. What rich white guy joins the Navy in 2009 and gets sent to Afghanistan? A linguist is my guess. A spook is another.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Buttigieg was in the Naval Reserve and served as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan. It’s not clear to me what intelligence the Navy would find useful in land-locked Afghanistan.

  22. wilroncanada

    I haven’t commented on the Democrat ratrace before, so here goes.
    Buttitieg is the flavour of the moment, but I suspect there is a longer term plot afoot.
    I believe that Democrat insiders–DCC, DCCC, or whatever–realize that they are going to be unable, this time, to support a candidate in this field who will be able to overtake and unseat Sanders. I suspect that they will support Biden in not declaring officially that he is running, and do enough damage, along with supporting a number of puppet candidates in turn, to ensure Sanders is unable to win the nomination on the first ballot. Then, with a hung party, they will unveil a draft candidate, Biden, with the support of super delegates and most of the puppets, to crown THEIR candidate.
    As for winning the election? Pshaw

    1. WJ

      I agree with your assessment. For it to work, however, Biden has to perform passably well in at least some of the bigger primaries, and, pessimistic as I am about the electorate, I just don’t see that happening.

      1. Reify99

        Has Bernie made the pledge again to get behind the ultimate democrat candidate?
        (Like he did in 2016).
        If not, please don’t.
        It would be better to avoid making that pledge and instead call out every manipulation, scam and sham on the way to the convention, (reasons not to make that pledge),-while building a case to eschew the dems and draft Bernie as an independent when the superdelegates swoop in on the second ballot to pick their fave corporate approved candidate.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that Bernie is hoping that the democrats don’t do it to him again. Nothing has changed with the democrats but Bernie believes in using the power of wishful thinking in the hopes that it does not happen again-


          If they do it again, I think that he will fold like a cheap lawn-deck chair and try to get his followers to vote for whoever the democrats choose which might mean Pence or Harris.

          1. nippersdad

            Easy out for Bernie: A contract entered into with fraudulent intent is not enforceable.

            Count me amongst the three people who would love to see him dump the Party at the first sign of rigging (preferably at the brokered convention after the superdelegates rule against him) and run as an Independent. If you are going to be tarred with the brush of disloyalty regardless of what you do then I think you should own it.

          2. False Solace

            Some states have “sour grapes” laws that prevent the loser of a primary from appearing on the ballot under a different party. I’m not certain how those laws pertain to the Presidential election — it’s pretty wack that states could block a candidate for a nationwide election — but they manage to enforce their own idiosyncratic voting standards so who knows. To me it’s shady as hell but might keep a Dem loser off the ballot in those states regardless of pledge.

      2. wilroncanada

        What I am saying is that the party insiders keep pushing him, through compliant media–heaven knows there are enough of those–while keeping him out of any primaries so he doesn’t get his hands dirty in the infighting. In other words, he doesn’t declare at all, but because of his “friends” he is always there. I don’t think he has to ever actually declare, in spite of all the campaigning he can do, unofficially, along with fundraising, of course.
        If I’m wrong about that, maybe someone can correct me.

        1. jrs

          Boomers that got pensions and the like,whether that makes them top 10% I don’t know, but sitting pretty. Of course a few of those are even Sanders supporters so … can’t win them all.

    1. urblintz

      Dave Zirin has a piece in thenation.com demanding that, in the era of Kaepernick, Tiger must reject the Medal of Freedom from Trumpty Dumpty. I wrote the editors a note explaining that, in the era of Kanye (“George Bush doesn’t like black people”), I felt the same way when Twyla Tharp accepted the same award from Shrub.

      I am all for symbolic gesture and it would be great if Tiger told our comb-over chief to keep his medal. But Zirin could have made his case with better examples (because Trump offers a plethora of vulnerabilities) and without using Wood’s surprising and significant Masters win so cynically.

  23. Expat2uruguay

    I just got this from The Mike Gravel campaign an email.

    The teens behind our campaign talk with Evan McMorris-Santoro of VICE News tonight on HBO at 7:30 Eastern Time.

  24. Summer


    “The bickering was about as far as possible to imagine from the image of a united France the president painted when he gave a national address on Tuesday. Mr. Macron said “it is up to us to transform this catastrophe” into a moment to become “better than what we are.”

    The firestorm began when Jean-Jacques Aillagon, a former culture minister and now adviser to Mr. Pinault’s father, went on Twitter after Mr. Pinault announced his gift Tuesday to suggest that corporate contributions to Notre-Dame’s restoration be given a 90 percent tax deduction, rather than the 60 percent that corporations normally get for charitable contributions.

    “That’s when the whole thing exploded,” said Pierre Haski, a commentator for France-Inter, the public radio station. “That produced outrage, that this act of generosity turns into fiscal advantage.”

    The reaction was so intense that Mr. Aillagon went on the radio Wednesday morning to retract his suggestion. The Pinault family then announced that they would seek no tax deduction at all for the gift.”

    Not seeking ….for now…these folks are feral…

    1. notabanker

      Things have become so brazen it’s really very difficult to fathom. GJ has been protesting for how many months on tax relief? And 24 hours after Notre Dame burns down it’s tax breaks for the richest families in France. Outrage is really pretty charitable here, no pun intended.

    2. Acacia

      Pepe Escobar’s latest column also takes a jab at these wealthy donors.

      Regarding Macron’s claim that Notre-Dame will be restored in five years, one of my friends who worked in the UNESCO national heritage division said: “bullsh*t”. It will be “rebuilding” not restoring. For example, even the preliminary feasibility and assessment study (étude préalable) for restoring the Villa Cavrois by Robert Mallet-Stevens took 12 years, not including the work itself.

      Notre-Dame could be closed for a long while, or maybe the French govt figures out a way to partly reopen it to visitors, while the restoration work is being completed.

  25. Synoia

    Buttigieg (D)(2): “Buttigieg is the Democrats’ flavour of the month. Just don’t ask what he stands for”

    Easy Answer: Buttigieg.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Nancy Pelosi: Glass of Water Could Take Districts Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s—’That’s Not Where We Have to Win the Election'”

    Would that also include the glass of water that Obama pretended to drink in Flint, Michigan? At the very least, if it lost you could boil it down and use what is left to make a useful pencil.

  27. Oregoncharles

    “In the immediate aftermath, most news outlets are wrong.”

    For instance, a rare bit of happier news: contrary to what I reported in comments yesterday, the legendary Notre Dame organ did NOT burn. There might be water damage, but that is easier to repair.

    My apologies if this, too, turns out to be wrong.

  28. JBird4049

    >>>And what kind of politics is this, anyhow? The concept that fitness for office, fitness for public service, is a straight readout from an “alignment of attributes”? Is there a nation on earth that has even used this logic? I suppose you could see it as a variety of sortition….)<<<

    Didn’t we sorta do that in the past? As when the highest levels of American society was limited to white, male, heterosexual, non-Irish European, main-line Christian and preferable wealthy for centuries? If it worked for pre-Revolutionary America, and the British Empire why not go back to the past?


    Truthfully, there have been societies that reserved positions or ratios for designated religions, tribes, and ethnicities like pre-civil war Lebanon. Very often in writing. It is not something that I studied specifically, but they did/do(?) exist. It usually goes bad quickly especially if one of the groups tries to game the agreements.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I take your point, but even then we didn’t suggest that Gladstone and Disraeli’s policies were a straight readout from their identities as white males, or (more to the point) Lincoln and Calhoun (or even Lincoln and McClellan).

  29. Musicismath

    And what kind of politics is this, anyhow? The concept that fitness for office, fitness for public service, is a straight readout from an “alignment of attributes”?

    It’s very much the HR/university administrator world view, isn’t it? Fill in a form, tick some boxes, and we’ll work out how to classify you (for our benefit, obviously; not necessarily yours). It’s the logic of university admissions—we’ll “curate” an incoming class based on the boxes applicants tick on their forms, a class that will be doubtless radically unrepresentative of the world outside the university walls, but will reflect the class-inflected assumptions and biases of the admissions officers themselves. It will stem from their collective assessment of which “attributes” are desirable and which have no moral or market value.

    My guess is that enough D voters work in these classification and “form interpretation” fields (in corporate and state bureaucracy and administration) that they have thoroughly assimilated this world view. They are, according to Graeber’s typology, “boxtickers” and proud of it. Why wouldn’t they view Presidential candidates in the same way?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It’s very much the HR/university administrator world view, isn’t it? Fill in a form, tick some boxes,

      It is. And that’s where Warren went wrong.

      In fact — and thanks for this comment — Presidential selection requires a set of complex eligibility requirements! Needless to say, voters are an afterthought….

      On Graeber, I can’t find a copy of Bullshit Jobs, but his categories his categories are “flunkies, goons, duct-tapers, box-tickers, task-makers, and bean-counters.” Funny!

      1. Musicismath

        Thank you! And now I’m worried I’ve misapplied Graeber’s categories. I think I’m probably talking about “task-masters” rather than “box-tickers,” the task being making other people tick boxes and fill in forms. But there is something about this line of work that has a real effect on people’s personal politics, I feel.

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