2:00PM Water Cooler 5/16/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient eeaders, my workflow remains disrupted because Apple has not yet returned control to me of the tablet I putatively own. So this is a little unbalanced. If any of you want to send me Water Cooler-appropriate links — especially from sources I don’t read, and also not already having appeared in the morning’s Links — that would be helpful (and fun). Thank you! –lambert


“China Promises Response If U.S. Slaps Tariffs on all Remaining Imports” [Bloomberg]. “China’s government promised to respond to a U.S. proposal to tariff the rest of the goods it buys from China, raising the stakes for the dispute between the world’s two largest economies. ‘The U.S. bullying and application of extreme pressure goes against multilateral trading rules,’ Chinese Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng said in Beijing on Thursday. ‘China is strongly opposed to such practices. If the U.S. persists, China will be forced to take necessary actions.'”


“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


“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Sanders (16.3%) claws back 1.6% from Biden (39.8%), others status quo, as of May 14.

“*” = New candidate.

* * *

A tranche of mail I sent to myself before Apple took control of my machine away from me emerged from email purgatory, so I’ve used the material that didn’t seem stale.

Biden (D)(1): “Biden tops field of 2020 Dems in digital spending” [The Hill]. “Biden’s $1.2 million in total ad spending on the two platforms is topped in the Democratic field only by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), all of whom have been on the campaign trail for months longer than Biden. Biden’s spending in the days after launching his presidential campaign nearly matches that of Sanders, who has spent roughly $1.22 million advertising on the two platforms since his February campaign announcement. Last week, the Vermont senator spent about $57,000 on Facebook and Google ads.”

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Buttigieg making inroads with West Coast donors who helped fuel Obama’s rise” [NBC]. “As dusk descended Thursday over the posh hills of Brentwood, actor Martin Sheen gathered with his former ‘West Wing’ co-stars Bradley Whitford and Mary McCormack to open up their checkbooks for Pete Buttigieg. Hollywood mogul Rob Reiner was also there for the event at actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s home, along with President Obama’s former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and several former ambassadors who showed up to get a glimpse at the South Bend, Indiana mayor, two sources with knowledge of the event told NBC News. It was just one of nearly a dozen high-rolling fundraisers that Buttigieg has been holding this week in Los Angeles, San Diego and finally San Francisco, where he is collecting money Friday from Silicon Valley execs at a trio of fundraisers — including one hosted by Michelle Sandberg, sister of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and her venture capitalist husband Marc Bodnick…. As he works to solidify his place in the top tier of Democratic presidential candidates, Buttigieg is making inroads with the same coalition of West Coast Democratic donors who provided critical fuel to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and Hillary Clinton’s eight years later: The Hollywood glitterati, tech entrepreneurs and major LGBT donors.” • The race to see which candidate is most West Wing-Adjacent™…

Buttigieg (D)(2): “President Trump Insulted Pete Buttigieg With a ‘Mad’ Magazine Reference. Mayor Pete Might Be Too Young to Get It” [Time]. “In an interview with Politico released on Friday, Trump derided Buttigieg’s 2020 run, saying, ‘Alfred E. Neuman cannot become president of the United States.’… ‘I’ll be honest: I had to Google that. I guess it’s a generational thing. I didn’t get the reference,’ Buttigieg said. ‘It’s kind of funny, I guess. He’s also the President of the United States. I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal.'” • Plenty of dunking on Buttigieg for this from people who look, from their Twitter profiles, like they’re more or less his age:

More pointedly:

I would say the teenage Buttigieg was too busy buffing and polishing his resumé for Harvard to read Mad Magazine.

Gravel (D)(1):

And see Warren below.

Klobuchar (D)(1): “Coons and Klobuchar: Most Americans can’t save for retirement. We want to fix that” [By Senator Chris Coons and Senator Amy Klobuchar, CNN Business (RH)]. I read this twice, and I don’t understand it. Here is the key paragraph: “We both believe in the power of capital markets to create broadly shared wealth, but we’ve also seen that parts of our financial system have been badly broken, and the savings crisis is a perfect example of that. Despite the relatively strong economy, too many American workers make too little to invest any savings in capital markets, and as a result, they don’t benefit when the market succeeds. To put it simply, if you don’t have enough money to invest, you don’t benefit when the market rises. The Saving for the Future Act is a way to help all American workers hold some equity in the economy so that when corporations do well, they do, too.” • So, apparently, the bill credits workers by “topping up” their wages per hour worked along with voluntary contributions. That’s where the “Saving” comes from. But Coons and Klobuchar never do say how the “savings” get invested. So to me, it looks like laundering a subsidy for the capital markets through workers savings accounts. I’ve never understood the whole “saving for retirement” paradigm anyhow. If Social Security were properly funded, add-ons like this wouldn’t even be needed. So why not do that? Oh, and there are tax credits. Because there are always tax credits.

O’Rourke (D)(1):

Yeah, but what about nose hair?

Sanders (D)(1): Sanders organizing kick-off video (via DCBlogger). This is a long video, but important:

Lambert here: The Sanders canvassing operation will include voter registration and appeals to the “disaffected” as well as GOTV. There has been very little coverage of this so far; the Intercept focused on the canvassing app, about which there was a brief moral panic, even though every other campaign does the same thing. Politico focused on scale, and framed the effort as a repeat of the 2016 operation, done right. CNN focuses on the house parties, and the risks of a bottom-up, DIY campaign culture. I’ve been saying that the Sanders campaign has three strategic strengths or pillars that make it unique: The mailing list (independent of the Democrat Party); the media operation (exemplified in this video, also independent); and the canvassing operation (also independent of the Democrat Party). I’ve been asserting based on pure logic [lambert preens modestly] that the Sanders campaign must expand the base (which is both addled by RussiaRussiaRussia, and also contains a significant faction that prefers an Obama restoration in the form of a Biden Presidency); now here (hat tip again, DCBlogger) is the evidence that is exactly what they are doing, with the logic fully worked for the organizers. Note that the structure of the Sanders campaign does not support existing narratives at all (even “frontrunner”), one reason — the other being opposition, or even hatred — that it has gotten little coverage in the press. The metric for the mailing list pillar will be donor numbers; the metric for the media operation will be negative: attacks that fail to get traction in the mainstream, where one might have expected success (the Sanders open-access videos in Burlington come to mind), because there is a countervailing force in the media operation; and I’m not sure what the metric for the canvassing operation would be. Votes, obviously, but before that! I don’t think house party counts are a good metric, because what if everybody just went home from the party feeling good about themselves, and then didn’t canvass? I’d have expected to see little incidents on the Twitter by now, as with DSA; perhaps the campaign has a policy against that. If so, good discipline! I guess I’m looking for the equivalent of yard signs…

Sanders (D)(2):

Support for union actions is a regular part of the Sanders campaign. It certainly is odd that he’s the only one. (All do this to a degree, but Sanders is the only one who is relentless about it.)

Warren (D)(1): “Trump backers applaud Warren in heart of MAGA country” [Politico]. West Virginia: “It was a startling spectacle in the heart of Trump country: At least a dozen supporters of the president — some wearing MAGA stickers — nodding their heads, at times even clapping, for liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren…. LeeAnn Blankenship, a 38-year-old coach and supervisor at a home visitation company who grew up in Kermit and wore a sharp pink suit, said she may now support Warren in 2020 after voting for Trump in 2016. ‘She’s a good ol’ country girl like anyone else,’ she said of Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma. ‘She’s earned where she is, it wasn’t given to her. I respect that.'” Also: “The 63-year-old fire chief, Wilburn ‘Tommy’ Preece, warned Warren and her team beforehand that the area was ‘Trump country’ and to not necessarily expect a friendly reception. But he also told her that the town would welcome anyone, of any party, who wanted to address the opioid crisis.” (More on West Virginia in 2018. Best part is a WaPo headline: “Bernie Sanders Supporter Attends Every DNC Rule Change Meeting. DNC Member Calls Her a Russian Plant.” • Lol. I’ve been saying “lol” a lot, lately.)

Warren (D)(2): “Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change” [Elizabeth Warren, Medium]. “In short, climate change is real, it is worsening by the day, and it is undermining our military readiness. And instead of meeting this threat head-on, Washington is ignoring it — and making it worse…. That’s why today I am introducing my Defense Climate Resiliency and Readiness Act to harden the U.S. military against the threat posed by climate change, and to leverage its huge energy footprint as part of our climate solution. It starts with an ambitious goal: consistent with the objectives of the Green New Deal, the Pentagon should achieve net zero carbon emissions for all its non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030….. We don’t have to choose between a green military and an effective one…. Together, we can work with our military to fight climate change — and win.” • On the one hand, the Pentagon’s energy footprint is huge, and it’s a good idea to do something about that. On the other, putting solar panels on every tank that went into Iraq… Well, there are larger questions to be asked. A lot of dunking on Warren about this. It might play in the heartland, though.


Across the aisle. Thread:

Realignment and Legitmacy

“College Democrats’ Protest of Democratic Campaign Arm Grows to 70 Chapters” [Newsweek]. “In just two weeks, the Harvard College Democrats-spearheaded boycott of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) over a ‘blacklist’ of vendors who work with Democratic incumbent challengers almost doubled in size [from 40 to 70]. Representative Cheri Bustos, DCCC chairwoman, told Politico in January that her job was to ‘support Democrats in the House,’ not primary challengers. In April, during another interview with Politico, she reiterated her stance, claiming Democratic leadership supported the policy. ‘We’ve got a policy that the caucus supports, the leadership supports, and it plays the long game,’ Bustos said with regard to reversing the policy. ‘That’s where things are right now.'” • Plays “the long game” by denying young challenger the ability to run? And not merely by remaining neutral, but by blacklisting vendors who help challengers?

“DCCC Chair To Help Anti-Abortion Dem Fundraise Amid Severe Abortion Laws” [Talking Points Memo]. “‘Extreme and unconstitutional state abortion laws in AL and GA put women’s lives at risk, and we won’t stand for their assaults on our fundamental rights,’ the DCCC tweeted. ‘Democrats in Congress will continue to fight back while working to expand access to quality, affordable health care for all.’… When asked how the DCCC’s position on the abortion laws squares with its endorsement of Lipinski, DCCC communications director Jared Smith told TPM that it was a matter of the organization upholding its mission to help incumbent Democrats.” • It’s a lot simpler to understand establishment Democrat if you abandon the idea they’re capable of taking a principled stand on anything.

“If Liberals Want to Change Minds on Abortion, We Must Understand Why People Oppose it” [The Stranger]. “However, when you look at data, this picture gets a little more complicated. According to a 2018 Gallup survery, Americans are evenly divided on abortion: 48 percent of respondents said they were pro-choice; 48 percent said they were pro-life. That’s not too surprising: Abortion is one of the most divisive issues in the country, and the numbers have been relatively stable over time. What is surprising is the breakdown by sex, because there are nearly as many women who call themselves pro-life as there are men. Forty-nine percent of male respondents said they were pro-life and 47 percent of women agreed with them. And this includes women in power: The Alabama representative who introduced this anti-choice legislation, is, herself, a woman, as is Governor Kay Ivey, who signed the bill into law on Wednesday afternoon…. It’s not easy to change people’s firmly held beliefs, but it can and does happen. Take gay rights.” • Well worth a read.

“Sick Of 2020 Already? Most Voters Aren’t.” [FiveThirtyEight]. “Democrats have lost their edge in voter enthusiasm, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this week. When asked how interested they were in the 2020 elections on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most interested), 73 percent of Democratic registered voters and 75 percent of Republican registered voters responded with a 9 or a 10. At first glance, this doesn’t look good for Democrats…. To me, the real takeaway from this poll question is not the enthusiasm gap between the parties, but the high level of voter interest overall at this point in the cycle. Voters are currently more interested in the presidential election than they were at this point in the 2016 cycle.”

“Reading polls” [Charles Franklin, Medium]. • Useful.

Stats Watch

Retail: “How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All” [The Atlantic]. “Our ability to know the price of anything, anytime, anywhere, has given us, the consumers, so much power that retailers—in a desperate effort to regain the upper hand, or at least avoid extinction—are now staring back through the screen. They are comparison shopping us. They have ample means to do so: the immense data trail you leave behind whenever you place something in your online shopping cart or swipe your rewards card at a store register, top economists and data scientists capable of turning this information into useful price strategies, and what one tech economist calls ‘the ability to experiment on a scale that’s unparalleled in the history of economics.’ In mid-March, Amazon alone had 59 listings for economists on its job site, and a website dedicated to recruiting them.” • That’s great. What could go wrong with an enormous experiment on consumers run by mainstream economists?

The Bezzle: “Google Payment Privacy Settings Hidden Behind Special URL” [Bleeping Computer]. “It has been discovered that Google is hiding three Google Pay privacy settings unless you access the service’s Settings screen through a special URL. These settings allow you to restrict whether Google Pay shares your creditworthiness, personal information, or Google Pay account information.” • Google “fixed” this, certainly. But how many other Easter Eggs like this are there?

Tech: “Tesla Fires Sound Alarms About Safety of Electric-Car Batteries” [Industry Week]. “For EVs, the risk of a fire or explosion is comparable — or potentially slightly lower — than for gas or diesel-fueled models, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, safety risks may increase as manufacturers work to boost performance and push battery cells closer to their limits, the study found… Rapid growth means the sector ‘will no doubt see increasing quality control issues with the supply chain,’ [Simon Moores, London-based managing director of industry consultant Benchmark Mineral Intelligence] said. ‘The biggest challenge for all EV makers is to ensure quality and consistency runs right through the supply chain — from raw material selection to chemicals to battery cell — and into the pack and vehicle.'” •

The Biosphere

“Lenders Scolded for Climate Ignorance in ‘Insane’ Florida Real Estate Deals” [Bloomberg]. “[I]nvestors have yet to pay any kind of meaningful attention, buying up long-dated debt and financing real estate decades into the future. That kind of market neglect means the Florida economy can be expected to ‘go to hell,’ warned Spencer Glendon, a senior fellow at the Woods Hole Research Center and a former partner and director of investment research at Wellington Management. ‘No one should be lending for 30 years in most of Florida,’ he said at an investment conference in New York last week. ‘During that time frame, insurance will disappear and terminal values’ — future resale income — ‘will shrink. I tell my parents that it’s fine to rent in Florida, but it’s insane to own or to lend.'” • And where is that not true…

Class Warfare

“We froze the salaries of 20 executives – and it improved the lives of 500 employees” [Guardian]. “Raising wages in the midst of a business turnaround was not easy. We needed our executive team to buy into a vision of business success where every employee had a fair shot at success. It worked. Our business has tripled over the past five years. Our minimum wage is now approaching $16.50 per hour and last year we broadened profit sharing to all levels of the company. I share my story at CareCentrix so that politicians and the public remember the role and responsibility of the business community in contributing to the success of the American Dream, and so that business leaders understand that an investment in the workforce is one of the best financial decisions to make.”

News of the Wired

Via SlayTheSmaugs, “Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury,” Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

* * *
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 (ChiGal):

ChiGal: “Reflected tree in a car windshield caked with pine pollen: an abstract.” This must have been fun to notice — and take.

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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. Deschain

    Re: How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All

    This ties into the loot box/pay-to-win and social media stuff. Basically we are building machines that are designed to target our very human weaknesses, and giving them millions of datapoints with which to refine their logic.

    Dystopia looks like an ad for something delivered at the very moment you are most susceptible to being convinced by it.

    1. Goyo Marquez

      This happened yesterday.

      My son was playing a trivia game app, Trivia Crack, on his phone, against a friend. At one point the friend spent a dollar to get more time to answer.

      Trivia crack, ha ha, at least they’re open about their intentions.

  2. SlayTheSmaugs

    Hey, the link for the album by the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy of is right, but the embed is something else, at least on my screen. In any case, I recommend tracks 1 & 3 in particular (if you don’t like old school hip hop, just read the lyrics). When you do, remember this came out in 1992.

    1. tokyodamage

      Rono Tse’s beats were great on that album, but if you compare Franti’s lyrics here to his former group (the Beatnigs), it’s a big step backwards – no surprise he turned into a coffee-house acoustic guitar clown. The Disposable Heroes’ dead kennedys cover was good, I guess.

      1. SlayTheSmaugs

        I happened to catch the band on tour for this album senior year of college, really enjoyed the show, got the disc and then didn’t play it too much. But I hung on to it with other discs and put it on for the first time the other day. I was struck by how relevant some of the lyrics still were, so I sent it on to Lambert. I’ll have to check out Beatnigs, thanks for the tip.

    2. Geo

      Great album and Franti is one of the artists who has inspired me most over years. His diehard commitment to making music with purpose is, to me, what all artists of conscience should aspire to do.

      1. ChrisPacific

        I discovered him quite late but I’ve become a big fan. I have also been struck by how many of his lyrics sound like they could have been written today (“Wall street crime will never send you to the slammer,” 2006). Even when you are listening to what sounds like a normal feel-good track like ‘Rude Boys Back In Town’ he will do something unexpected, like name-drop Tame Iti.

    3. Carey

      ‘TV- Drug of a Nation’ was a real good track on that album, though that title would need to be amended, these days.

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    The Mad Magazine “generational divide” tells me Buttigieg, of seven languages, may have been the recipient of hands on helicopter parenting.

    Or more accurately how does a seven year old unloosed not gravitate towards MAD on their own? I think Mayor Buttigieg is the grown up version of a three year old who was forced to randomly learn the names of the Presidents’ pets as a parlor trick.


    Besides can we really trust anyone who didn’t watch The Simpsons or never wondered what MAD was while watching The Simpsons? He’s in peak viewing age for Seasons 2-9. Classic Simpsons, not Modern or HD era Simpsons. Yeah, its been on a long time.

    1. Judith

      Mad Magazine was first published in 1952. When I was a kid we rode our bikes (unsupervised) to the corner store for Archie and Superman comics, Mad Magazine, 1-cent bubble gum, and Chesterfield Kings for my mom (no questions asked, so a long time ago). Maybe Buttigieg is a replicant.

        1. Carey

          Apt description.

          It’s like they have *dozens* of these slippery types ready to go.

      1. sd

        What 10 year old doesn’t read MAD? It’s funny, raunchy, vulgar, and everything else your parents tell you not to be…

          1. polecat

            I’ll bet a big black monolith that mayor pete had never read, nor seen the film version of what MAD MAGAZINE had parodied …

      2. Procopius

        I usually walked to the drug store. It was less than half a mile. Anyway, I remember it first as Mad Comics, not Mad Magazine. Indeed, I was somewhat resentful when they changed the format, and was less likely to check it out every month. It was the first time I paid attention to the names of the artists. At one time I knew several of their names, but the only one that stays with me is Will Elder. “How’s your mom, Ed?”

    2. a different chris

      A “parlor trick” — heck a whole slew of them it seems. I think we need to spread “parlor tricks” as a Buttigieg meme.

      I do wonder how an actual speaker of each of those languages would rate him (FYI: an US-English speaker I would say he pretty much doesn’t say anything useful but the grammar is good). Here they are according to Wikipedia:

      , he taught himself to speak some Norwegian and has some knowledge of Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari Persian, and French,

      May be tough to find a native Maltese speaker, but you never know. Interestingly enough, the Wiki goes on to say this:

      though it is unclear to what degree he knows these languages.

      He’s the type of guy you get tired of real fast, methinks.

      1. Olga

        Maybe it`s not saying much, since Maltese is a mix of old Arabic and has “been influenced by Sicilian and Italian, to a lesser extent French, and more recently English.“

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        Actually, the MAD parody ‘Gopo Gossum’ centered around “learnin’ parlor tricks an’ joinin’ a party”. Not so far from the Walt Kelley original of course.

    3. Cal2

      “Of seven languages?” I don’t know about the other five, but his Spanish is pathetic, and he lives right next to Mexico.

      Another Buttgig gem inspired by Mad Magazine:

      From the
      Yet Another Candidates Designed To Destroy Bernie By Siphoning Off Delegate Votes

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe they will destroy Sanders by siphoning off.


        But for sure they have destroyed affairs of state discussions amongst Sanders supporters (hat tip to DJG below).

        “First, they do or talk about some non-policy things. Then, they get their victims to actually spend time responding.”

      2. Oregoncharles

        South Bend, Indiana is not right next to Mexico. I grew up in Indiana, a hundred miles closer, and my exposure to Spanish, or even Chicanos, was zero (this was a long time ago). This caused me to embarrass myself when I got to college in Oregon, so it’s a vivid memory.

        Granted, these days he’d have a chance to practice street Spanish most anywhere.

        I think you confused him with O’Rourke.

        1. Cal2

          Forehead slap! It’s
          John Francis O’Rourke I was thinking of.

          “Bird’s of a feather”.

          How does that guy claim to be Mexican?

      3. Harold

        Also the Norwegian author he wanted to read writes in a “primitive” style and specializes in children’s books. Not that it isn’t admirable to learn to read even a very simple book in another language. But the hype can only backfire.

    4. DJG

      NotTim and Judith: I’m glad that we are discussing affairs of state. And how can Young Buttigieg prepare himself to be an executive of the intelligence community if he has never read Spy v. Spy?

      Having listened to his French broadcast about how Notre Dame is a “cadeaux,” I can assure you that his accent is tolerable and his word choice is inept.

      I will await the Italian broadcasts.

      Does this mean that he doesn’t know who Casper the Friendly Ghost is?

    1. Carolinian

      BTW the large green wall in the Harlan and Wolff picture is likely a portal to the show’s most important location: the inside of CGI computers where those dragons live.

    2. Stephen V.

      Really appreciate this Carolinian. Am really tired of the insides of the heads of the show runners.

  4. Wukchumni

    As an aspiring juvenile delinquent I cut my eye teeth on MAD, and it turned out to be starter humor leading to Cracked (a not as worthy rip-off of MAD), National Lampoon, Private Eye & Spy.

    I rely upon current events for comedy relief now…

    1. barefoot charley

      I would have been a much more demented child if Mad Magazine hadn’t confirmed for me all that adults denied. The Simpsons picked up that blessed gauntlet in the 80s, since dropped by its Harvard-processed content-providers. Where can kids go to get realitized anymore?

      1. Geo

        South Park picked up the Simpson’s mantle in my opinion. Their ability to weave heartfelt and biting sociopolitical satire into a show that is consistently funny is amazing.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          IMNSHO Rick and Morty is South Parks successor.

          Season 4 starts in November just in time for ‘Ricksgiving’


          Trey Parker and Matt stone are bullshit Liberals if i had to guess.

          The fact that they wrote a whole season expecting Killary to win tells me all i need to know.

          1. cm

            “Trey Parker and Matt stone are bullshit Liberals if i had to guess.”

            Nope. They wrote a savage satire on Muslims that the network refused to air.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Simpsons picked up that blessed gauntlet in the 80s, since dropped by its Harvard-processed content-providers.

        Err…yeah…you might not be aware of this but the writers were basically all Harvard Lampoon alums. They were from places such as Lowell.

        Though I might suggest they represent Lisa Simpson and Pete Buttigieg is represented by Martin Prince in their approach to learning.

      1. Olga

        In case this gets forgotten:
        W on MAD
        And if anyone has too much time…

  5. WheresOurTeddy

    AOC 2028

    Also, props for posting a jimmy dore link this morning – i know SO many people who make <$40K/yr who know Democrats aren't their friends and now understand there's a faction of progressives who hate Corporate Democrats as much as they do because of channels like Jimmy; And now they know that they can vote to evict the Crowley types! To a person they all love AOC and are voting Sanders, Warren, or Gabbard. Organizing is happening earlier and more widespread among the working class than I've ever seen.

    In addition to Jimmy, the very combative Kyle Kulinski is great for meeting people where they're at too. Cracks me up every time he quotes some absurd thing Biden or someone else says and deadpans into the camera: "Citation f***ing needed, dog."

    Youtube is free for the user. Some of these shows have hundreds of thousands of subscribers and frequently get 100K+ views on a video. And people are cutting those cords more every day. The reading-inclined ones I also send to nakedcapitalism, but 5-10 minute digestible clips about why the ruling class is full of it and the emperors have no clothes? Doable even for the overworked and underpaid, most of whom aren't going to read longform journalism with their limited time.

    Just one man's report from the lower tax brackets.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      We need NC on YouTube!!!!

      I say we do an Around the Horn/Pardon the Interruption format with Lambert/Yves hosting. We can invite all our favorite journalists like Dore, Taibbi, Johnstone, Kelton, Black, Hudson, Hitchens.

      Time for a FREE PRESS V 3.0

      1. Cal2


        There’s a sort of workaround for that I discovered on a desktop or laptop.
        Home Made Radio.
        Go to the system preferences of your Mac, (or Windows equivalent, I ignore its further steps)
        choose Accessibility,
        then Speech,
        select a Voice, male or female,
        a key to trigger that voice,
        highlight the text or article you want to hear and hit the key.

        That way you can do things with your hands while listening to Naked Capitalism Radio.
        Lambert’s 5-10 minute digestible clips (below) would be ideal for that.

        Unfortunately it reads dates and times on comments and all text that one’s eyes overlook. Lambert, or some software knowledgeable person, could dates and times of comments be made into images at your end, not read by the voice, above the actual comment?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The reading-inclined ones I also send to nakedcapitalism, but 5-10 minute digestible clips about why the ruling class is full of it and the emperors have no clothes? Doable even for the overworked and underpaid, most of whom aren’t going to read longform journalism with their limited time.

      If people will start sending me short digestible links to such clips I’ll do my best to curate them, and very happy to do so. I don’t have the time or the ability to go hunting for them on my own, at least until I find my footing in the medium.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Lambert, as a long time reader and big fan of the site who discovered MMT here years ago, please do not take that previous comment as anything other than an assessment that some of the guys I work with in the warehouse are unlikely to read anything i send them, and many don’t do email at all. as a smartphone is essentially non-optional at this point, that’s the main point of access and communication for people who aren’t very online otherwise. for many of them, text and youtube are the only 2 things they use the phone for. i set my watch by the morning links and 2:00 water cooler and annoy people with links and recommendations for the site all the time. unfrortunately the attention span of the average person has collapsed, and for those at the bottom of the income scale perhaps even more so; only weird bookish autodidacts like me (and so many of us here at NC) that have a foot in both “real world” and “ideas world” and compulsively consume information are willing to put in the time when it’s easy to check out and despair. many i work with are Case-Deaton deaths of despair waiting to happen, but everyone loves to laugh, even if it’s gallows humor at Jimmy Dore pointing out what a fraud Rachel Maddow is when she gets contradicted by the crawl on her show IN REAL TIME. That one got a good laugh

        TL;DR I try to give them books but some only eat the covers; but we all love humor and that’s how we get to the non-intellectuals and the just plain tired…

        1. Procopius

          I don’t know why, but Jimmy Dore just turns me off. It’s like he’s just discovering stuff that I thought was obvious. And then he’ll look at the camera like he was expecting a response. He has some good information sometimes, but I can’t bring myself to watch his show often. Aaron Mate is much better, in my opinion.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        The only thing I don’t like about her is she can’t run til 2028. That rumbling they hear is the Earth moving beneath their feet.

  6. Summer

    And in other “if we act like it is still the 19th Century, then maybe it will be so” news:


    “Asked when the prime minister should depart, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the 1922 treasurer, told Sky News: “Personally, the sooner the better, and that’s not being unkind to the prime minister. I just think the longer this goes on, it’s not in the nation’s interests, it’s not in the party’s interests. We’ve got European elections looming. Goodness knows what the results of that will be.

    “I think the genesis of this all started at the beginning of the negotiations,” he said. “If she had been much tougher on the negotiations – instead of allowing the Europeans to set the timetable – if she had said: ‘No, no, no, this is how we are going to do the negotiations, if you don’t like it, we’ll leave without a deal,’ then I think we would be in a much better position now.”

  7. anon in so cal

    It was raining this morning in Los Angeles. A homeless person was asleep on the floor of the elevated bridge that connects the LAX parking lot to the AA terminal. This is the first homeless person I’ve seen right inside LAX. Other airports have homeless populations, including San Francisco.

  8. Summer

    “I would say the teenage Buttigieg was too busy buffing and polishing his resumé for Harvard to read Mad Magazine.”

    That’s a thing I’ve noticed about the professional class and its aspirants. They may be cynical, but never irreverent about the status quo.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Chris Arnade had the article the other day about being exposed to the other America that didn’t exist in his head. Arnade acknowledged he was a front row kid, but he realized he didn’t know much about the world around him. MAD isn’t National Geographic, but its similar and has mattered to people coming on down.

      I do have an Alfered E Neuman statue (for over 20 years now…), but MAD is part of the culture that questions what and how the world works. By not knowing this at Pete’s age because he isn’t that young, he’s demonstrated a loyalty to authority that requires no questioning. He’s not questioning what motivates the jesters.

      That year, he was the recipient of a first prize for the JFK Profiles in Courage Essay Contest awarded by the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. He traveled to Boston to accept the award and met Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy’s family. Buttigieg had written about the integrity and political courage demonstrated by U.S. Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of only two independent politicians in Congress.

      This is from the wiki (admittedly, he might have made a cynical choice as most people would write about a physical act of courage), but what exactly is Bernie’s courageous act? I like Bernie. I have a new sticker. Not being a Democrat or a Republican is what he considers worthy of this. Maybe its about his student activism when Sanders was at the University of Chicago, but I’ll guess its not.

      And then he met Caroline Kennedy…hahahaha…how does this make it in? I’m assuming his staff is writing this now. But yeesh.

      1. dearieme

        the JFK Profiles in Courage Essay Contest : my how I laughed. JFK notoriously didn’t write the book himself.

          1. dearieme

            He didn’t write Profiles of Courage. He didn’t write his own undergraduate dissertation. Why should I assume that he did write Why England Slept?

      2. ChrisPacific

        I read MAD a lot when I was young and enjoyed it, but even so I kind of agree with Buttigieg on his generational point.

        For all those that seem to be backing up Trump’s statement: did they ever actually read the magazine? As I recall the writers generally stayed out of politics and limited themselves mostly to media and entertainment, but they were plenty sharp. If Alfred E. Neuman was a Presidential candidate I wouldn’t be too quick to write him off.

        1. Efmo

          When I was reading Mad, admittedly back in the mid 60s to early 70s, they didn’t shy away from political humor (the Vietnam war, the military and L.B.J. were all targets I seem to recall), but maybe that changed once they started adding advertisements.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      “They may be cynical, but never irreverent about the status quo”

      Indentured to Mammon, they do indeed revere the status quo with religious devotion.

  9. Tvc15

    Never expected to see a reference to Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy on NC, but that’s one of the many reasons I’ve been a daily reader for almost a decade. I’ve always appreciated their lyrics to their song Television from 1992. The message is still relevant today only with “better” technology to deliver the programming.

    Television, the drug of the Nation
    Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation

    Link to the lyrics if anyone’s curious.

    1. ewmayer

      I always liked what that American sage & poet Frank Zappa had to say about TV:

      I am gross and perverted
      I’m obsessed ‘n deranged
      I have existed for years
      But very little has changed
      I’m the tool of the Government
      And industry too
      For I am destined to rule
      And regulate you

      I may be vile and pernicious
      But you can’t look away
      I make you think I’m delicious
      With the stuff that I say
      I’m the best you can get
      Have you guessed me yet?
      I’m the slime oozin’ out
      From your TV set

      You will obey me while I lead you
      And eat the garbage that I feed you
      Until the day that we don’t need you
      Don’t go for help . . . no one will heed you
      Your mind is totally controlled
      It has been stuffed into my mold
      And you will do as you are told
      Until the rights to you are sold

      That’s right, folks . . .
      Don’t touch that dial

      Well, I am the slime from your video
      Oozin’ along on your livin’ room floor

      I am the slime from your video
      Can’t stop the slime, people, lookit me go

      I am the slime from your video
      Oozin’ along on your livin’ room floor

      I am the slime from your video
      Can’t stop the slime, people, lookit me go

  10. Summer

    RE: “Our ability to know the price of anything, anytime, anywhere, has given us, the consumers, so much power that retailers—in a desperate effort to regain the upper hand, or at least avoid extinction—are now staring back through the screen.”

    Maybe the real reason for “killing” retail? Those are places where the same price is listed for everyone to see.

    1. Cal2

      “…so much power that retailers—in a desperate effort to regain the upper hand, or at least avoid extinction…” are now vulnerable to our reasonable demands for service:

      “You want my money? Then hire native English speakers who are paid decently and treated right, to answer your phones, or staff your stores and respond to me in person. And, hire some of my cohort, not 20 year olds only. I may shop on your website, but no, I won’t type my credit card into your hackable site or interact with your “software store”. I want to deal with my fellow working citizens, voice to voice or face to face.”

      If their “business model” doesn’t accommodate that, then F* ’em.

      You can also call the help line of a product, or service’s company, Before you buy it.
      If they shunt you to their website or you end up talking to Asia or India, boycott them.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i consider myself a cosmopolitan guy…i generally revel in exotica and people and foods and music, etc from far off places.
        so i feel bad when i end up hating that “customer service” often connects one to bangladesh or mumbai.
        i’ll gladly have a coffee with abdul or kareem and talk about whatever…but when i need the damned win10 to work, i need english.

        recently while staying in san antonio for chemo the next morning, i had need of a cab. haven’t done that in 30 years.
        the dispatch for the san antonio cab company was in rio—-frelling Brazil!!!
        dude wanted the exact address of the hotel,lol…i kept saying, the one on i-10 at heubner.
        but someone in a brazilian favela wouldn’t know what that meant.
        the cab driver, “johnny”, was from afghanistan…had to leave his folks’ farm after he worked for usa as a translator, now in exile in south texas….we talked farm life, going and coming.
        and i got to use all 3 of my arabic words.

    2. False Solace

      I was interested in purchasing a new computer monitor before Christmas. I read a bunch of reviews and settled on a particular model. But the price on Amazon was a bit beyond what I’d hoped ($650). When I checked the page two days later the price had increased by $50, and a week after that it was more than $800. Over the next few weeks I continued to check Amazon’s price. It never returned to the price I saw the first day.

      I mentioned this to my mother, and she pulled up the same exact page on her computer. For her, the price was $650. For me, it was still $700. At the exact same time. So she purchased it for me and had it shipped to my house.

      The lesson I learned is this: Don’t tell Amazon what you want to buy, because they’ll make you pay for it.

      1. False Solace

        Oh, and I also learned that a local computer shop in St. Louis Park almost always beat Amazon prices and will gather all the items you want for free. All you need to do is drive over and pick them up. No messing around with shipping or returns or leaving large expensive items outside for hours. (In this case they didn’t carry the specific monitor I wanted but I bought my CPU, case, mobo etc. there.)

      2. Angie Neer

        Yeah, that’s another reason I avoid Amazon. During the brief period I subscribed to Prime, I accidentally discovered that if I went to a computer on which I had never used Amazon, and shopped without logging in, I was offered lower prices. As soon as I logged in and refreshed the page, the prices went up. I’ve wondered whether Expedia and/or the airlines do the same thing. I have no evidence either way, but they certainly have the means to do it easily.

        1. Summer

          Well, that should be a warning to compulsive shoppers. They may need to become compulsive IP address changers.

        2. dcrane

          ” I’ve wondered whether Expedia and/or the airlines do the same thing. ”

          I’ve been watching for this, but have yet to catch them in the act so maybe it’s not a thing yet for airfares.

      3. Summer

        Did you sign in or browse without signing in?
        Wonder how much that matters…

        I guess one could try having a computer or phone to browse with and a different one for purchases.

        1. Angie Neer

          That may not help, because they have sneaky ways to guess who is shopping. For one thing (the one that’s obvious enough for non-expert me to think of), if the two computers are on the same network they could be associated by IP address.

  11. Jerry B

    Lenders Scolded for Climate Ignorance in ‘Insane’ Florida Real Estate Deals=== but it’s insane to own or to lend. And where is that not true…

    While I am no real estate expert, but if a person is thinking in the Jackpot sense I would say that owning or lending is probably a safe bet in the top third of the US or any small, medium, or large cities. Viewed from a climate change perspective, roughly 30 – 50 years or less from now, if you extend a line from the border between Oregon and California across the US, those above the line might be ok. Those below the line are either going to be hot and dry or under water.

    Also when the fossil fuels run out or we get smart enough to realize that the remaining fossil fuels have to stay in the ground then the “oil” based, car dependent economy comes to a halt. When that happens anyone “owning or lending” in a decent size Northern metro area accessible by mass transit, bicycle, walking, etc. will do well. Everyone else will realize what the word dystopia really means.

    An example is the French Gilets Jaunes’ protests which started in response to a fuel tax imposed by Macron. The fuel tax was seen as regressive as many people in France are car dependent and drive long commutes to cities for jobs. What is going to happen to people living in rural areas when the fossil fuel era ends??

    The only thing that could change my above pessimistic scenario is as an earlier post today mentions, the US government deciding to engage in industrial policy, economic planning and management, and public infrastructure planning and management. I am not holding my breath.

    1. Gregorio

      The banksters making those loans will be long gone with their ginormous bonuses when the shit inevitably hits the fan, but never fear, the taxpayers will bail out the systemically important institutions they work for.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. my dad lives in clear lake, right off galveston bay. elevation:6′(hurricanes and even big storms flood his tony neighborhood with a will)
      brother in in kingwood, north of houston, on a hill overlooking lake houston.elevation:200′ (harvey hit all around them hard, and they had another 100 year flood last week)
      worst case,by the time my boys are my age, all that is gonna be underwater, and the “texas coast” will be around bastrop and luling and gonzales.
      coastal real estate is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons for the climate denial “movement”. it’s expensive, and it’s all tied up into the incestuous casino.
      if folks knew that that fancy house by the water will be IN the water all too soon,they’d buy elsewhere,and the whole mess collapses.

  12. nmtdoc

    For God’s sake Lambert,
    Don’t you think it’s even remotely possible that Mayor Pete knows exactly who Alfred E Newman is, and was just doing a nice rhetorical Jujitsu move? I know he don’t walk the same hallowed ground as Bernie Sanders, none of the Dem’s do, but at least give him some credit for deftly deflecting Trump’s attempted burn. The ability to adroitly use social media is going to be a major issue in the Presidential campaign, wouldn’t you agree?

    1. Alfred

      Agreed. And besides, of course Alfred E. Neuman can become president of the United States. He has already occupied the White House several times since 1952.

    2. nycTerrierist

      except that it wasn’t very ‘deft’ and came off as culturally clueless — esp. for his age – and age-ist.

      But thanks for playing, Mayer P!

    3. Otis B Driftwood

      Nobody’s giving Trump any credit. Mayor Pete really does bear a striking resemblance to Alfred E Newman. If Pete was actually adroit, he would have used this to his advantage. Instead? A predictable C+ response.

      Not even gonna ask if you (or Pete) know about Groucho. ;)

  13. Wukchumni

    Cruel haircut trick:

    When you go to a new barber or hairstylist for the first time and they’re using scissors, scream in pain when they make that first cut. This will really unnerve them.

    1. Synoia

      Not to mention the real scream when the respond and stab you with the scissors.

      I’m not convinced surprising someone with a sharp instrument in hand is a good idea.

    2. Angie Neer

      A barber is way, way, down on the list of people I would want to unnerve. Only slightly above surgeon.

        1. Angie Neer

          And I think there have been times and places where barber, surgeon and dentist were all the same person.

  14. Pavel

    Mirror mirror on the wall
    Who’s the biggest narcissist of them all?

    — Beto
    — Mayor Frigging Pete
    — Anyone running from Colorado
    — Bullock*
    — deBlasio*

    * denotes last minute entrant

    Of course one might argue that Trump retired the category already.

    And note the lack of female candidates on my ballot. I certainly have my objections to Harris (especially), Warren, and others but they don’t seem to have that “I was born to this™” trait as exemplified by Beto.

    The *non* narcissists would seem to be Sanders and Gabbard; the former running on the same principles he has espoused for decades and the latter on an apparent belief that we can reverse the USA’s “endless war” strategy. I do so wish her luck.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      Regarding Beto’s streaming of his haircut. All I can say is thank God Beto hasn’t turned 50 yet and his first prostate exam won’t be due during the primaries.

        1. h2odragon

          It worked for Reagan; and the debates have been boring anyway. Let’s take a good, up close, personal look at the stable of candidates this time around; really get to know them, deep inside.

      1. KevinD

        I’m trying to figure out why?

        What’s the message?

        Not to mention, who the hell would watch this?
        What’s next??
        “Beto stares at bread rising in oven” – video at 10:00!

        1. False Solace

          I dunno, watching harried amateur bakers peer into an oven while tik-tok music plays ominously in the background is one of the most nailbiting things I’ve seen on TV, but then the Great British Bake Off is among my favorite shows (previous seasons anyway).

          Maybe we could weed out the Democratic field by subjecting candidates to one of Mary Berry’s baking challenges. It would be good test of character.

    2. DonCoyote

      Possibly Abrams, if she actually ends up running for Pres. But, as you said, at this point they’re all fighting for runner-up. Donald “so much winning” Trump wins that one as well.

    3. Summer

      They kept saying Beto was like a second coming of ‘Bama, but the more I read the more he looks like the second coming of Blasio…at best.

      1. Massinissa

        If Beto is the second coming of Blasio, is Blasio the third coming of himself?

    4. Massinissa

      Isnt Klobuchar sort of narcissistic, though? At least more so than the other female candidates. I have my problems with Gillibrand but I’m not sure ‘narcissist’ is one of them, at least nowhere compared to the above male candidates.

      1. Procopius

        I was just trying to decide which was the lesser evil, Booker or Harris, and then I realized it’s been years since I was able to vote for the better candidate. I think the last one was Humphrey. I rather liked LBJ, but he sure had plenty of flaws. On the other hand he made Republicans who wanted a favor come beg him for it while he was sitting on the toilet. I felt some affection for him for that. Candidates I like this time are Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard. I’d write in Mike Gravel if none of the above are nominated. Interesting, I did a google search for “oldest democratic candidate” and all the responses came back Biden or Sanders. Hasn’t Gravel made the cut-off for the debates?

    5. Code Name D

      It’s Trump’s podeum all over again. See, he is one of the common folk. Anything to keep from even mentoning Sanders or Tulsie.

    6. Cal2

      Don’t you like
      Harris’ hand on chin looking off into the distance thinking deep thoughts look?
      She’s all shellac and color coordinated complaints. Intellectually, pffffttt.

      Go to Joe Rogan’s November interview of Tulsi Gabbard if you want to see what real gravitas looks like.
      Man, she is unflappable, cool and intellectual.

      1. Procopius

        Yes, I strongly recommend that interview for anyone who hasn’t already seen it. She’s impressive and comes across as authentic. On the other hand I saw a brief segment of an interview of the loathsome Debbie Wasserman Schultz, by some reasonably liberal interviewer, and she also projected authenticity, so that might not be a good metric. Or maybe I’m just a lousy judge.

  15. zagonostra

    >Yellow Vest/Security State

    I know police officers that when you include OT easily earn over $100K a year. They also have good benefits with pensions. So, what is stated below with respect to the Yellow Vest Movement (although I wouldn’t include them in the “1%” – they are more accurately part of the 10% who benefit from the 1%) is also true here in the U.S if a similar movement were ever to emerge.

    In March I laid out why the Yellow Vests are “Proving police are part of the 1%”: ironclad job security, early retirement, guaranteed pensions, chances for overtime pay, elevated social status, Mainstream Media worship, etc. The working class has none of those things. Therefore, claims that cops are “working class” …are absurd. No matter the circumstances of your birth: join the police force and you are no longer “working class”


    1. Phil in KC

      As I have understood it, the “middling class” was mostly composed of specialists and professionals who provided services necessary to the wealthy: architects, lawyers, surveyors, merchants, shippers, sea captains, etc. Everyone else was just a poor laborer or small landowner one step away from abject poverty. This was the English model of society which was imported to the Virginia colony. It is estimated that on the eve of the American Revolution the middling classes comprised about 10-15 percent of the population, which means that 84-89 per cent of the population of Virginia was lower class, or completely enslaved. The situation was somewhat better in the northern cities of the States, where manufacturing and free labor provided a higher standard of living.

      And yet, modern police forces came into being to protect the small middling and upper classes from the mobs of the poor who were concentrated in the cities. The police have always done the bidding, i.e. the dirty work, of the 1 percent, with the necessary approval of the supporting 10 percent.

  16. Synoia

    Tesla Fires Sound Alarms About Safety of Electric-Car Batteries… from raw material selection to chemicals to battery cell — and into the pack and vehicle.’

    Well, I believe it makes a good case for parking outside or in a detached Garage.

    And not next to a gasoline powered car.

    1. DonCoyote

      I gave this to Lambert when I submitted the link, but I guess I was too opaque:

      If a worker sticks with their own automatic contributions, which start at just 4% of pay, their savings over the course of a career would grow to more than $600,000 by retirement, according to the think tank Third Way.

      Third Way, the infamous neoliberal grifters triangulators. Their latest tweet:

      In Sunbelt states like AZ, “Democrats have an opening… if they focus on persuading the moderate voters that decide close races. But if they nominate a presidential candidate from the party’s progressive wing,” Dems can count Sunbelt states out.

      Butbutbut…Joe Biden has the most progressive record of anyone running or who would run. And Nancy Pelosi says she’s a progressive. So that progressive wing is awfully big. Who in the field to to the right of Biden & Pelosi?

      Third Way probably has a list of people lined up to manage these (supposed) Federal emergency savings/retirement accounts, and of course it’s a way to attack SS down the road (even if Coons/Klobuchar claim they aren’t trying to do it now). So what’s not to like?

      1. Synoia

        This cannot be correct. People already contribute 6% of their pay up to some limit, and do not get this size of a return.

        1. Summer

          Same thought here.
          They forgot to mention that means staying employed in jobs with such benefits for over 30 years? And even then you need to be lucky enough not to retire at time like circa 2008 or 1929.

          People don’t have enough retirement because they don’t stay consistently employed for over 30 or 40 years in jobs that have benefits. Companies go out of business. Sectors of industry concentrate with fewer available options. People get sick. And there are no job guarantees.

          Gig type jobs…savings has to be liquid enough to use in between gigs.

          They aren’t even trying to think outside their bubbles anymore.

        2. Phil in KC

          Average people don’t have enough for retirement because even if they do have enough money to tuck away for the future, then they don’t have enough other savings to take care of emergencies that arise before they retire.

          Remember that 40 per cent of households don’t even have $400 in cash set aside for a car repair or medical bill. I doubt these people have a 401k, and if they do, then they borrow from it, which erodes earnings even more.

          Simply put, average people need a big raise to catch up to the flat wages and salaries of the last 40 years. I’m not even going to say “nice try,” Klobuchar-Coons isn’t even a bandaid, more like scotch-tape and a piece of cotton. What kind of idiots do they think we are?

      2. Summer

        But the best answer to this is:
        “Yeah, and if I go to Vegas and keep rolling sevens the sky is the limit.”

  17. Ignacio

    Most Voters Aren’t.” [FiveThirtyEight]. “Democrats have lost their edge in voter enthusiasm, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this week. When asked how interested they were in the 2020 elections on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most interested), 73 percent of Democratic registered voters and 75 percent of Republican registered voters responded with a 9 or a 10. At first glance, this doesn’t look good for Democrats…. To me, the real takeaway from this poll question is not the enthusiasm gap between the parties, but the high level of voter interest overall at this point in the cycle. Voters are currently more interested in the presidential election than they were at this point in the 2016 cycle.”

    If anything, I think this is good for real progressive candidates if results in high turnout on D day. And I believe that If Sanders is not selected as candidate, interest would drop sharply, and mostly amongst democrats.

    1. Summer

      “Voters are currently more interested in the presidential election than they were at this point in the 2016 cycle.”

      Who doesn’t notice a clown car rolling down the street?

    2. Brindle

      Joy Reid has been, since 2016, one of MSNBC’s more vitriolic Sander’s bashers. I have not seen any Dem candidate making the winning Trump supporters “as the priority” and for her “the base” is obviously Hillary/Obama voters.

      –“It’s amazing in a party as dependent on diverse turnout as the Democratic Party is, how many candidates are jumping into the 2020 race premised on converting Trump voters as the priority, while presuming the base will just line up Obama election-style despite being back-benched.”–


  18. WJ

    Craig Murray’s latest offers a stirring riposte to the restorationist tenor of the Biden campaign and the elites that support it:

    “These are stirring times. The popular rebellion against establishment politics is continually portrayed as an unwelcome aberration. It is not – it is a reaction to massive corruption and outrageous inequality. Everybody should fan the flames of change.”

    1. Cal2

      Cheap matches:

      Ask anybody you meet if they have student loans, or parents or grandparents who guaranteed them. Mention how Biden, since he is the senator from Delaware, where all the banks are headquartered, made it illegal to go bankrupt on those loans, no matter what the circumstances.

      There are 45 million people with student loans in this country.
      22% of them are in default.

      “Nearly 40 percent of borrowers are expected to default on their student loans by 2023”

      Unless Biden is destroyed politically, and Bernie nominated and elected, the people you speak with may go to their graves owing money.

      Worse, they can lose licenses and their home:
      “The Department of Justice reports that in the past two years, over 3,300 student loan borrowers have been sued for defaulting. In almost every case, the borrower loses. If the government wins, they can place a lien on your home and even force a sale.”

      That’s not even mentioning the private bill collections that hound student debtors and cause suicides, divorces and ruined lives.

      The people you talk to, and the people they talk to, will know what to do on election day.

      1. Procopius

        I’m not sure if Biden put it in the bankruptcy “reform” or elsewhere, but you know, your Social Security pension is exempt from most types of garnisheeing. If you owe student loan money or interest it is not. They can garnishee your Social Security and take it before it reaches you. Up to 15%. How many people on Social Security can survive on 85% of the part that’s left after Medicare Part B is taken out?

    2. Carey

      I thought that Craig Murray piece you linked was really good, and hope others
      will have a look. Thanks.

  19. DJG

    Mayor Buttigieg, of a town that would fit inside a couple of suburbs of Chicago (or, Why the Mayor of Evanston Wouldn’t / Shouldn’t Be Taken Seriously), strikes me as wanting to be an influencer. Gwyneth Paltrow? Does this make him the candidate from Goop?

    Likewise Robert O’Rourke, who is beginning to have all the charm of that other Scion of Texas, George W. Bush. After the haircut, he should introduce the line of men’s fragrance: Musk of Beto.

    Likewise Stacey Abrams, who has a book out about voter suppression but can’t be bothered to run for the Senate to try to end voter suppression. This after a political career that consists of 10 years in the state house of representatives.

    Later on, they all will tour the country holding those pay-for evenings of Conversation with America. And a presidential archive with no archives in it.

    You can’t fool me: I’m detecting a trend. Luckily, the English are paving the way for us Usonians when it comes to decline. So we will fall more gently into our lassitude.

  20. martell

    Good article on abortion and changing minds. I’ve taught philosophical arguments on the morality of abortion on many occasions, and, in my experience, they do little or nothing to change minds. At best, hardliners on both sides come away with some appreciation for the weaknesses of the very simple-minded arguments that they’d been inclined to make. I was initially surprised by this, but maybe I shouldn’t have been. After all, it is not as though people on one side of the debate are just ignorant of relevant facts to which those on the other side are privy, or that they just can’t follow a straightforward deductive argument. Seems more like differences of opinion here stem from different ways of reacting to the same facts, different ways of finding the facts significant. I suspect that the author of the linked article is correct in suggesting that changes here are most likely brought about through “life altering” events, empathy with someone who can relate a detailed story of their own experience, imagination (possibly encouraged through literary fiction or film), and reflection on one’s own principles with an eye to their coherence (or lack thereof).

    I also agree that it is bad form to discount the reasons given by those on the other side from the get go. This isn’t how we ordinarily play the reason-giving game. A criterion for something being someone’s reason for doing or believing something is that they say that this their reason. Of course, there are occasions on which we discount what they’ve said (and this too is part of the reason-giving game), e.g., when the stated reason is clearly inconsistent with much of the rest of what they say and do. And then it makes sense to start talking about deception or self-deception. Showing contempt from the start for the reasons given by others amounts to treating others as liars or dupes from the start. If persuasion is the goal, that is not a recipe for success.

    One more point, regarding something the author says in passing. She notes her surprise that someone with scientific training could also be religious. Science, we are told, provides no evidence for the existence of God. That’s right, but the problem is that the author seems to think that this is just a matter of fact. It isn’t. It’s a matter of principle. It seems to me that physics (the science that most people have in mind when thinking about science), is largely devoted to finding functional relationships between variables the values of which are quantifiable by way of measurement procedures. The results of this project have been and continue to be very impressive, but it is misguided to believe that such a science could be decisive for the issue of whether the happenings of this world ultimately mean anything (whether, for example, we are all playing parts in some providential order of things). Answering the latter question is no part of the physicist’s job description. I mention this because it’s very tempting to be contemptuous of those we condescendingly regard as superstitious.

    1. MichaelSF

      Science, we are told, provides no evidence for the existence of God.

      Providing evidence of the existence of a deity is the job of those who propose that one or more exist. The burden of proof is theirs, and so far the evidence seems awfully thin on the ground.

      Superstition is as superstition does. As with the comments on cults/religions the other day, one person’s superstition is another person’s religion, the difference in the label seems to be down to the difference in the power wielded by those who hold the belief.

      1. WJ

        I believe it is true that there is a spiritual dimension to human existence. I believe that at their deepest levels the world religions offer different techniques for tapping into and developing in accord with this dimension. I am not sure that this is the kind of thing that can be proved discursively. I do think human existence would be impoverished if we were to lose an awareness of this spiritual dimension altogether. Obviously organized religion of whatever type often ends up occluding the spiritual dimension it is ostensibly supposed to channel.

        But it is not so easy to be a-religious. Everybody has first principles and commitments and practices to which they are bound or to which they bind themselves. Shopping, for instance. Or removing one’s hat during the national anthem. Or, at a more refined level, the belief that Justice is not just the will of whoever is stronger.

        The modern opposition between science and religion is a false opposition that has been reinforced by both camps unfortunately.

    2. jeremy harrison

      A Scientist who is surprised that Scientists can be religious really needs to get out more.

      At minimum, take a Philosophy 101 course that briefly touches on the Philosophy of Religion.

      Maybe read some Einstein….

    3. Procopius

      Science, we are told, provides no evidence for the existence of God. That’s right, but the problem is that the author seems to think that this is just a matter of fact. It isn’t. It’s a matter of principle.

      I would say it’s not a principle, but it’s an axiom. I struggled with the question for many years, but then I discovered non-Euclidian geometry. It turns out the Parallel Postulate, one of the 13 axioms considered the basis of Euclidian geometry, is not immutably true. You can choose any one of three possible postulates: (1) there is one and only one parallel line through a point, (2) there are an infinite number of parallel lines through a point, or (3) there is no parallel line through a point. Any one produces a complete, consistent, and coherent geometry. God is an axiom. If you believe there is one you can go on to make up an infinite number of systems of theology, but you can’t prove it. If you believe there is not you can’t prove it.

  21. Carolinian

    Moon makes some news?

    There were secret communications between the Obama administration and the Russian government about the alleged election interference and ‘hacks’ of the DNC and of Clinton’s campaign manager Podesta. They are not mentioned in the Mueller report nor in any other open source. As Russia wants these communications released it might be possible to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to press for their publication. The Trump administration response to such a FOIA request could at least reveal the reasons why it is withholding them.

    Or at least clarifies some news. Dubious, should the messages be revealed, whether that would calm any Dems. Russiagate can only be failed.


  22. Carey

    I destroyed my smart!phone the other night; physically folded it up in a vise
    and smashed the thing. They are the spawn of Satan, IMO, and I’m *so glad*
    not to have it any more.

  23. dcblogger

    Bernie is running his campaign like a union organizing drive, not a conventional political campaign. I was struck by that quality in 2016 and even more so now. He addresses his audiences as Brothers and Sisters, he signs his email In Solidarity rather than Sincerely yours.

    The Bern app should be compared to an organizing drive’s effort to get people to sign union cards. As Taibbi pointed out, to win he has to overturn and entire system, Bernie and his team know that very well. Ro Khanna’s father was a participant in Ghandi’s work in India. This really is a revolution, it is not just a rhetorical gimmick.

    The other thing is that the Bern app tells me that Bernie has zero intention of ever using the DNC’s Van system. That week he lost access to it in 2016 undoubtedly cost him an outright victory in Iowa. He perfectly understands that the DNC intends to cheat him again and plans to put that out of their power. From my point of view it is an entirely unique campaign in American politics.

    1. dcblogger

      the metrics of the Bern application and canvass should be obvious, the object is to build a list of supporters large enough to win an election, as simple as that. The other metric is that whenever you have canvassing activity there is an increase in traffic to the candidate’s website. Campaign managers have told me that you can tell when canvassers are out because the website starts getting traffic.

  24. R

    Lambert – why not try a change of workflow?

    For collecting links from Mobile (and desktop) I find the Telegram app very useful.

    You can make a private channel (as many as you want with different topics if you want) and then when you tap share on iOS and pick telegram it lets you pick a channel to send it to. Easy, comment optional.

    On desktop you can just paste links into the app.

    Or you could try a free app like Simplenote – you can paste into note files and it syncs well across all your devices. Works well, no fearture bloat!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link Carolinian. I thought that they had actually been arrested and taken away. I wonder if it was a case of the DC cops realizing that they had been played for suckers by being the ones nominated for breaking international law instead of the US Secret Service or the FBI. The shame is that a generation or two ago you would have had college students help protect that embassy and bring in food and water. Then again, it is Chinatown, err, DC.

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