2:00PM Water Cooler 5/20/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“Opinion: The global consequences of a China-U.S. cold war” [Nouriel Roubini, MarketWatch]. “The global consequences of a Sino-American cold war would be even more severe than those of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Whereas the Soviet Union was a declining power with a failing economic model, China will soon become the world’s largest economy, and will continue to grow from there.”

Politics

“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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Sanders (16.3% 18.8%) claws back 1.5% from Biden (39.8% 38.3%), others status quo, as of May 21.

* * *

“Top Dems see growing chance of brokered convention” [Axios]. As I’ve been saying for some time. “‘In this new political environment and with changes in technology, there are fewer barriers to entry for candidates to enter and remain in the race. These changes encourage more candidates to enter the race and stay in longer,’ — said Doug Sosnik, former White House political director for President Clinton.” • This is such ridiculous buck-passing. What’s the “technology” available in 2020 that wasn’t available in 2016? If the DNC didn’t want all these candidates to run, they wouldn’t be running! One can only why the DNC would feel such urgency to rejigger, let us say, the primaries as they have been doing. This is important–

“6 Phases of the 2020 Democratic nomination race” [Doug Sosnik (for Axios). “While the primary calendar has not been finalized, largely due to a record number of candidates and changes in the party rules and primary calendar, there is a very good cahnge that none of the candidates will have secured enough delegates to lock down the Democratic nominat ion for President after the final primary is held in June.” • You say “brokered convention like that’s a bad thing! Sosnik divides the primaries into six phases; we haven’t even reached Phase I, which is the debates. This is an important topic, to which I will return.

Allan Lichtman’s presidential keys as a meta-battleground:

Since Lichtman really is a very good handicapper, I think these keys are useful. They may also help model the Trump campaign (and the table shows that Trump is still in the game, just as he was until the very end of 2016). For example, Trump seems to be giving inordinate attention to foreign and military affairs, which account for two keys.

Biden (D)(1): Remind you of anything?

Good ol’ Uncle Joe’s first 2020 act of plagiaris….

Inslee (D)(1): “Jay Inslee Unveils $9 Trillion Climate Jobs Plan To Cut Emissions And Bolster Unions’ [HuffPo]. “The 38-page Evergreen Economy Plan promises at least 8 million jobs over 10 years, and offers the most detailed policy vision yet for mobilizing the entire United States economy to stave off catastrophic global warming and prepare for already inevitable temperature rise. The proposal lays out a five-pronged strategy to launch an unprecedented deployment of renewable energy, fortify the nation’s infrastructure to cope with climate change, spur a clean-tech manufacturing boom, increase federal research funding fivefold and level income inequality by repealing anti-union laws and enacting new rules to close the racial and gender pay gaps. By spending $300 billion per year, the plan projects another $600 billion in annual economic activity generated by its mandates.” • Hmm. No Jobs Guarantee?

Inslee (D)(2): “Jay Inslee is writing the climate plan the next president should adopt” [Vox]. “The headline of the plan is investment: roughly $300 billion in public investment per year, which would leverage an additional $600 billion in private investment, adding up to a total of $9 trillion over 10 years.” • Oh great. Public-private partnerships.

Sanders (D)(1): “‘I Did My Best to Stop American Foreign Policy’: Bernie Sanders on the 1980s” (interview) [New York Times]. The Times manufacturing some consent:

I think Sydney, with all due respect, you don’t understand a word that I’m saying.

Do you believe you had an accurate view of President Ortega at the time? I’m wondering if you’re ——

This was not about Ortega. Do you understand? I don’t know if you do or not. Do you know that the United States overthrew the government of Chile way back? Do you happen to know that? Do you? I’m asking you a simple question.

What point do you want to make?

My point is that fascism developed in Chile as a result of that. The United States overthrew the government of Guatemala, a democratically elected government, overthrew the government of Brazil. I strongly oppose U.S. policy, which overthrows governments, especially democratically elected governments, around the world. So this issue is not so much Nicaragua or the government of Nicaragua.

The issue was, should the United States continue a policy of overthrowing governments in Latin America and Central America? I believed then that it was wrong, and I believe today it is wrong. That’s why I do not believe the United States should overthrow the government of Venezuela.

Lot of pearl-clutching about how Sanders was rude to a Times stenographer reporter.

“The great Fox News debate consuming Democrats” [Politico]. “The town halls have become an unlikely inkblot test for Democratic presidential candidates. They have carved up the field partly along the lines of who wants or needs the most press attention — but especially based on how the candidates envision their path to the presidency: appealing to Obama-Trump voters who may watch the network, or activating Democratic base supporters who believe Fox’s primetime ‘gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists,’ as Warren said.” • Another example of Warren’s terrible political instincts. First, it’s good to go into enemy territory and defeat them there. Sanders has done this so often it’s almost a specialists. Second, “racists and corporatists.” Can Warren give an example of a network that doesn’t “give a megaphone” to corporatists? Finally, the whole idea that liberal Democrats get to determine which venues are legitimate and which are not is, at the very best, contested

Impeachment

“Harry Reid Remembers One Impeachment and Ponders a Second” [New York Times]. “Do you share Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s concerns about political backlash to some of her members, or to the nominee? The answer’s yes. Because you don’t have to go very far to remember what happened. I mean, Clinton was impeached — it helped him. And, you know, I’ve been saying that for several months.” • Was Clinton Derangement Syndrome (Bill, not Hillary) our very first Derangement Syndrome? No, I think, we can engineer them; but in the innocent 90s, I think we may have stumbled into the business model. Remember the crazypants stuff the Wall Street Journal peddled, right on the editorial page?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Democratic Party’s Tent Is Too Big” [Splinter News]. “If the Democratic Party’s big tent includes people like Bel Edwards, Milkovich, and Lipinski, it’s simply too big. The GOP is launching an all-out attack on Roe v. Wade across the states, and along with it reproductive healthcare for anyone who has a womb. There is no earthly reason why any Democrat—even in a state like Louisiana—should be lending them a helping hand to do it. Right-wing Democrats and their enablers can whine all day about imposing “litmus tests” and the like, but this kind of self-serving bullshit is just another way to obscure the fact that they don’t adhere to the professed principles of the Democratic Party.” • I dunno about that “professed principles” thing….

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, April 2019: “April’s very weak industrial production report pulled down the national activity index” [Econoday]. “April’s very weak industrial production report pulled down the national activity index.”

Tech: “We Are Tenants on Our Own Devices” [Wired]. “Today, we may think we own things because we paid for them and brought them home, but as long as they run software or have digital connectivity, the sellers continue to have control over the product. We are renters of our own objects, there by the grace of the true owner.” • Just in case anybody thinks I’m whinging:

(From a link enabling you to track the progress of. your account restoration, which you would think Apple would have hard-coded into the iOS UI, along with the useless links they did hard-code.) Note that — just to make who really owns the device crystal clear — Apple is still monitoring all my communications. The issue is not that that I don’t know how to get a verification code via SMS; that’s fine. The issue is that I can’t enter the only credit card Apple knows about, because I entered it years ago, have a new card now, and never updated it because I no longer buy anything from the Apple Store. (I have my apps, as the Boston Brahmin ladies said of their hats.) So it looks like, functionally, you have to have a credit card to own an iPad. Is that even legal?

The Biosphere

Happy #WorldBeeDay. Via:

“How honeybees get their jobs—explained” [National Geographic]. “Bees are very sensitive organisms whose hormones are closely tied in with the colony’s needs. “A colony of honeybees is, then, far more than an aggregation of individuals,” writes Seeley in Honeybee Democracy. “It is a composite being that functions as an integrated whole.” The colony is a well-oiled superorganism, similar to ant and termite colonies.” • Clearly written and fascinating.

“Bees: What’s the buzz about World Bee Day?” [BBC].

So what can be done to help?

  • Planting bee friendly plants like heather and daisies in your garden can help.
  • Leaving sections of the garden wild and letting the grass grow long gives the bees a place to shelter.
  • Leaving a small dish with a few pebbles and shallow water in can help if a bee is thirsty.
  • There are also special bricks which bees can live in.
  • Don’t use pesticides as they are really harmful to bees.

Many seed-sellers sell pollinator seed mixes (some for shade). I’ve head really good results from them, because they germinate and bloom in staggered fashion, across the whole growing season.

* * *

The Green New Deal needs to do this:

Game of Thrones

“‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 6 review: ‘The Iron Throne’ melts” [Alyssa Roseberg, Washington Post]. ” Benioff and Weiss’s [decided] to make two truncated final seasons of the show, a choice that may go down as one of the worst in recent television history…. It’s absolutely the case that ‘Game of Thrones’ ends on a note that is as fantastical and optimistic as anything that happens in the high fantasy it ostensibly critiqued. In under an hour of television, the beginnings of parliamentary democracy come to Westeros. The Unsullied and Dothraki don’t fight last stands or pillage Westeros. The Iron Bank apparently forgets the crown’s debts, and Bronn (Jerome Flynn), now the lord of Highgarden, is apparently set to become the realm’s bank and breadbasket. Women get to be knights*. Married men get to become maesters of the Citadel. Winter apparently skedaddles in a reasonably timely fashion. The Lord of Light decides he has had enough to do with this cursed continent and high-tails it back to Essos. And “Game of Thrones,” a show that once spent episodes trying to figure out how the Starks could get control of a single bridge, just sort of waves at it all and assumes that those of us watching at home will be fine with it. I actually sort of chuckled when Jon reunited with his direwolf Ghost, once a powerful magic creation but now reduced to a loyal, very big Good Dog. It was a fitting reunion, and conclusion, for a show that shrank itself down to size in exactly the same way.” • Ouch.

“‘Game of Thrones’ series finale recap: A disaster ending that fans didn’t deserve” [USA Today]. “It was probably too much to hope for after two bad seasons, but it would have been nice to watch a finale that felt like it was part of the same story we started with in 2011. Finding happiness and self-actualization may be the proper ending for a Hallmark movie, but not for “Game of Thrones.” • Ouch. “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.” –Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Neoiberal Epidemics

“We Should Cure the Ills of Society to Combat the Depression Epidemic” [Psychreg]. “The recent increase in depression diagnoses and antidepressant prescriptions suggests that emotional reactions to socio-economic hardship are increasingly treated as medical conditions. Although certainly unpleasant and burdensome, emotions such as sadness, despair and sorrow are not necessarily symptoms of brain pathology, but rather normal reactions to severe but common life stressors. Except perhaps for some cases of endogenous (melancholic) depression, the vast majority of current major depression diagnoses are not indicative of inherited brain disorders. We should thus not be surprised that there is no specific and consistent aberration in brain functions related to major depression and no candidate genes for major depression. Moreover, polygenic risk scores derived from genome-wide association studies explain at best 1–3% of variance in the risk of major depression. Just as falling in love, winning at the lottery and professional success make us happy, loss of a beloved person, financial problems and career failures make us unhappy. In contrast to genetic and neurobiological factors, socio-environmental risk factors, including in particular maltreatment and stressful life events, are thus strongly and consistently related to the occurrence of depression.” • I don’t think Big Pharma would like this.

Class Warfare

I don’t know what’s gotten into the AFL-CIO:

“Opinion: Capitalism is failing America, says a conservative Republican” [Marco Rubio (!), MarketWatch]. “His exhaustively researched report released last week, “American Investment in the 21st Century,” puts the blame squarely on institutional changes in corporate management and capital markets that demand a single-minded emphasis on short-term financial results over sustainable growth…. Rubio argues that the prevailing business model of shareholder value — the idea that the only goal of a corporation is to return the maximum value to its owners — is ruining us. The main task required of a successful economy, Rubio argues, is “developing productive, long-life capital assets.” In America, that task has always fallen upon the business sector, but American businesses aren’t even trying anymore.”

News of the Wired

“Saving AI from catastrophic forgetting” [Axios]. “Perfecting memory could unlock AI “that can actually make insightful predictions and imagine what’s going to happen in the future,” Richards says. That’s a crucial building block toward common sense, long a holy grail for AI researchers.” • Lol, why don’t we just ask mainstream economists?

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BS writes: “I always look forward to April when this gorgeous Magnolia on 150th/St. Nicholas Pl. blooms. Today the sun was bright and made my day.”

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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.

179 comments

  1. Carolinian

    A little rebuttal to the above chosen reviews.

    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/bastard-machine/game-thrones-series-finale-review-did-it-stick-landing-1212166

    Really it boils down to whether you think onetime television writer George R.R. Martin is a brilliant sociologist offering a trenchant debunking of fantasy fiction or a talented practitioner of that very genre who ran out of steam.

    It’s just a TV show folks. The producers did a great job with what they had.

    Reply
    1. Ned's Dead, Baby

      With respect,

      It’s just a TV show, yes, but many diehard fans out there have dedicated countless hours exploring the lore surrounding the show; 5 books with the latter few each pushing 1000 pages, prequel novels and world-building encyclopedias, carefully crafted theories using context clues from the books about what characters were planning what… To see so many satisfying character arcs gutted and completely flipped on their heads after 7 years of emotional investment left people with a really sour taste in their mouths.

      In my opinion it has less to do with George R. R. Martin and more to do with the showrunners D&D running out of the dense source material from which they could adapt the show. That, and the eagerness to get on with, in their eyes, bigger and better projects. It even came out that HBO offered them additional funding and longer seasons if they wanted it but they chose to wrap things up expeditiously and without much consideration for answering questions. A real disappointment.

      Reply
      1. JohnnySacks

        Not as much of a disappointment as the books – countless more hours invested in that stillborn mess compared to mindless TV watching. And now hopefully, we never get to hear of George RR Martin again.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          I believe he worked on the prequel series, the pilot of which has just been finished. Or so I saw in “the trades.”

          And to me, you read those books and they are mostly entertaining but you say “where is he possibly going with all this?” Will zombies indeed take over the earth? The ideas are scaled to the max, and the show’s writer/producers had to somehow figure out how to turn them into television and an ending. It was a thankless task–as we are seeing–but I’m glad some of those final shows exist because some are very good indeed.

          Last night’s show was visual storytelling at its best. It probably wasn’t what Martin would have done but that was his choice.

          Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Exactly. I haven’t heard this mentioned yet, but S8E6 looked like Zack Snyder directed. Great Music and Cinematography with ZERO emotional investment in the characters.

            I love the books. From the first scenes with Benjin and the Dire Wolf Cubs…

            D&D rushed the ending. I guess cuz Disney offered them piles of gold to make ANOTHER F STAR WARS TRILOGY???

            And Samwells Direct Democracy vote gets a hardy life? The actual people and workers of the realm 1- wouldve never worshipped that weird religious cult 2- wouldve never went into Kings Landing knowing a dragons coming. Whatever, its not like these commentators care. At least, in the end, i got to see my favorite characters running the realm – Bronn, Tyrion, Davos, and Samwell.

            Reply
            1. Carolinian

              Please no! Zach-Batman Versus Superman-Snyder is awful. And you must not care for these actors if you think there was no emotion.

              It may seem that I’m pooh pooh-ing George R.R., but he’s light years ahead of the Marvel and DC Comics super hero movies. Those films have no intellectual content whatsoever. It’s all just CGI with some arch dialog thrown in to keep the audience onside with the lameness of it all.

              Reply
              1. Plenue

                Wish you would make up your mind. Because everywhere else you refuse to acknowledge GoT ever had any substantive content to begin with. You insist you haven’t noticed the massive decline in writing quality since the show overtook the books.

                Reply
                1. Carolinian

                  My point is not that Martin is bad at what he does (although we disagree about what that is) but that the people who created this show are really good. Martin is a listed producer on the show and has written at least one episode so the parties are not at odds. As my link above says, the show has gone out of its way to mostly follow Martin’s story for as long as the book’s lasted. I seriously doubt he has much to complain about. While the books were popular, the show has made him world famous.

                  Reply
                  1. Plenue

                    “the show has gone out of its way to mostly follow Martin’s story for as long as the book’s lasted”

                    Weiss and Benioff were able to use the source material as a crutch. Their tweaks and additions were mostly not particularly good. Once that crutch was removed, we got three seasons of crap.

                    Reply
              2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                Ill see ur Batman v Superman and raise you a ‘300’

                I enjoyed BvS until the CGI fake hulk monster battle at the end.

                I agree that Snyder is awful on the whole. What i meant is that DnD did a poor job of filming Dany and Aryas emotional arcs. Like it wasnt believable enough.

                Reply
                1. Plenue

                  300 is actually good though. It’s a pitch-perfect adaptation of the source material.

                  Now, whether that source material was any good to begin with is another question. A lot of people think it’s fascist propaganda, but I always read it as literally being propaganda within the context of the story itself. The entire thing is being told by the one-eyed Spartan who was ordered to leave, to the Greek army right before the Battle of Plataea. The fact that he ‘recounts’ events that happened after he left is kind of a big clue.

                  At one point in the letters section of the comic Miller directly addressed a complaint about how he has the Spartans mocking the Athenians as ‘boy-lovers’, when Sparta itself also practiced pederasty. His answer was that of course the Spartans were hypocrites. I think this reinforces the interpretation that 300 is meant to be a lie even within its own frame story.

                  Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > In my opinion it has less to do with George R. R. Martin and more to do with the showrunners D&D running out of the dense source material from which they could adapt the show.

        Would the writers who wrote the last episode have written “the Red Wedding”? I doubt it very much. That was another show….

        Reply
    2. voteforno6

      It is just a TV show. That being said, I’ve long thought that the most satisfactory conclusion would be for them to smash the Iron Throne to pieces. What happened instead was, well, a good first step.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Like pro sports, a great way to distract people from constructive conversations about things that truly matter.

        Reply
          1. jrs

            because we need a distraction from our troubles? Individually we sometimes do!

            But collectively all we do is distract ourselves to death 24/7/365. This species has amused itself to death.

            Reply
            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              And in these times, what strikes me most about the finale is how much it came down on the side of fate vs free will.

              Ultimately a very regressive message, whether or not there was a queen in the North. All the main characters fulfilled their preordained destinies it seems, however much sound and fury came before.

              Reply
              1. Carolinian

                The three eyed raven saw it all. We finally know what that was all about.

                And you could say the show is giving us a very anti-war message with those Hiroshima like images at the end. I do believe these guys catching all the flak are liberals. Their next project was going to be Confederate–about what would have happened if the South had won. That may be off now that they are going to Disney.

                Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        For the characters to destroy the Iron Throne, it just wouldn’t fit their own Overton Window and perceptions of peace and prosperity where they don’t get hanged. After all, the last scene is a discussion of food moving from one kingdom to the other kingdoms. Dany’s “breaking the wheel” turned into a Cersei versus Dany problem and then Dany versus everyone else.

        Sansa like all older siblings chose to embarrass her brother in front of everyone by pointing he can’t have children just like the first Constitutional President of the United States, George Washington, a condition with a certain appeal for a ruler in a shaky time.

        Reply
      3. polecat

        The most important GoT questions that I have … is WHY the Mother of Dragons hasn’t choked of any bugs whilst in flight ! Doesn’t she have any googles lying around in that stuffy Mareenian pyramid of hers ? … Do they NOT have any flying insects in their world ??
        …. and how come Daenerys NEVER, EVER rips her queenly gown as she straddles ol’ ‘Stickle-back’…

        To me, this is a really big deal man ! … Why has her Hand not put forth these important issues ??

        Reply
      4. Plenue

        Ending the game of thrones by smashing the throne itself would have been a fitting, if somewhat predictable, final twist. Especially if Jon Snow was the one who did it. It would be an appropriate inversion of the reluctant ruler trope, and of the idea that the most qualified to rule are those who least want it. Instead of Jon’s character arc being that he learns how to be a good king, he would come to realize that kings themselves are an effing terrible idea and he wouldn’t continue the institution.

        Reply
    3. Kurtismayfield

      D&D cut off the third leg of the story, which they would have explained Dany’s and Jon’s behaviors much more clearly. By cutting the third heir from the story they zipped up the ending, but they made it too simplistic. If Young Griff is in the series it makes Dany’s choices much more logical, and gives a much more plausible reason for Jon to keep his lineage secret. The producers would have needed another season to do it though, which is not what they wanted.

      Reply
    4. Chris Smith

      I thought the last two episodes of this season brought the show back. Yes, the show could have developed it better, but Dany nuking King’s Landing for not kissing her great-white-savior ass quickly enough did not exactly come out of left field. The “well NOW what do we do” conference of lords depicted a set of people trying to muddle through a new set of circumstances. Scheming to continue in a generation or so …

      Much better then Jon Snow (You know nothing – about tactics) putting his army in front of his fire trench and sending his cavalry in a direct change instead of flanking. Or worse yet, Jon Snow’s “To Catch a Wight” plan from last season.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        I actually like the Mad Queen ending for Daenerys, as a concept. It really is a plausible endpoint for her character. The problem is the execution. There’s about a dozen steps between ‘is ruthless to her enemies’ and ‘will massacre an entire city Mongol style to send a message’ that Weiss and Benioff simply skipped over because they wanted to get GoT over and done with so they can move on to (further) ruining Star Wars.

        I hope it’s one of the ideas that came from Martin and is in the last two books, because he’ll doubtless pace and justify it a hell of a lot better.

        You’re right that there are a lot of people who seem to have missed all the signs of her inclination to horrible violence; there’s a significant ‘yas queen!!1’ fanbase for the khaleesi who genuinely think she’s a hero figure (she isn’t a good person; none of the characters vying for the throne have been). But the execution in the show has also been completely awful.

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP*

          *longest YUP in becnel history.

          Reply
    5. Katy

      The showrunners chose to make it a Lord of the Rings (the movie) ending. Everyone is happy, and peace reigns once again in the land. With zero political, economic, or emotional fallout from the death and destruction caused by the many, many wars that had been ravaging the land for the past 10 years.

      It is unlikely that A Song of Ice and Fire will end that way.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Everyone is happy, and peace reigns once again in the land.

        All our surviving characters are rich…and…a bunch of depleted armies…so what exactly is wrong with the ending? The Pax Romana started after a couple of major wars, arguably with happy endings. Between wars, there is often peace.

        Reply
      2. Deschain

        You must have watched a different finale than I did.

        You have a broken king ruling a broken kingdom. That meeting in the dragon pit? That’s basically everyone left in Westeros that has a scintilla of authority. Yes, there is hope that things will get better, but as Tyrion says, ask me again in ten years.

        Dany has died a villain (even though she did in fact break the wheel), Jon is sent into exile while having to live with what he did and the question of whether it was the right choice. Tyrion is back in the job he though he wanted, but now knows is more curse than blessing, and also has to live with his many failures.

        The last season definitely wasn’t perfect, and a lot of the criticism of how they got to the end is justified. But I’d also ask, how should it have ended? How would you have written the ending?

        50% of the critics seem beholden to the myth of redemptive violence, and the other 50% appear to want to have seen everyone wind up a corpse.

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Arya shouldve killed Dany, stolen her face, and tricked the Dothraki n Unsullied into giving up.

          Reply
    6. Plenue

      “It’s just a TV show folks.”

      This…isn’t an argument. It’s barely even a statement. Yeah, it’s in the same medium as a dumb sitcom…okay…and? Would you apply this kind of thinking to any other medium? “It’s just an epic novel folks.”

      If you mean “it’s not real, this ultimately doesn’t matter”, okay, sure. But A Song of Ice and Fire actually did have a point, and set out with an intent. That you refuse to engage with it (or even acknowledge it exists) doesn’t change this fact. Martin wrote something big and layered and intended to be analyzed and dissected.

      Weiss and Benioff took a freaking chainsaw to the thing and you insist that you didn’t notice anything different.

      “The producers did a great job with what they had.”

      No they didn’t. It doesn’t even feel like the same story, world, or characters. This has been a problem since season six, but they cranked it up to eleven for season eight.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Martin….poor him. I wonder how much money he has made while they butchered his work of art. Here’s betting it’s a lot. He always had the choice not to sell the books to H’wood.

        And you are right that I don’t share your high estimation of his intentions. Sometimes pop culture is just pop culture–including books. It’s there to be enjoyed–perhaps not even to be argued over.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          Again, you’re not actually making an argument. I never said anything about feeling sad for Martin. Though I imagine when he sold the rights, he didn’t expect it would be adapted by blithering idiots.

          The fault lies with Benioff and Weiss being talentless hacks who wanted to just get the show over with so they can move on to more big bucks crapping over another franchise. That you apparently didn’t even notice as the story and characters were debased into fan-pandering caricatures is…well, it’s something…

          As for ‘pop culture’, why can’t popular culture be genuinely meaningful? Further, who gets to decide what is ‘pop’ and what is ‘real’ literature/art? You? Why is A Song of Ice and Fire not worthy of consideration as serious storytelling?

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > As for ‘pop culture’, why can’t popular culture be genuinely meaningful?

            Shakespeare was an excellent businessman, and made sure the groundlings got their fan service. But Shakespeare didn’t tack a happy ending onto Hamlet, if you see what I’m saying.

            Reply
      2. Kurtismayfield

        The worst part is they way the show shifted focus from the beginning.. in the beginning it was “Do what is best for my house”. At the end it became “Do what is best for me.”

        Jon did nothing to help his house, except for the Battle of the Bastards.

        Tyrion destroyed his house.

        Dany didn’t even pretend to care about her house, if she did she would have pressed Jon in the TV show. (I doubt the whole R+L = J thing will be what divides them in the books).

        I understand that because of the war the houses got atomized, but the Starks had four members left. None of them made a decision to save their house.

        Reply
    7. The Rev Kev

      Just had a wicked thought. What if the last season of “Game of Thrones” had been directed by J.J. Abrams. Can you imagine? No, no – wait! What if the last season had been directed by – Paul Feig who did the last “Ghostbusters” movie. People would have really screamed then.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        Uh, lots of verbiage above…I must have missed something.

        I got the first season out of the library. Ho, hum. Then borrowed the first disc of the second season. That was it for me. I thought I had it figured out…a nihilist survival saga starring a bunch of swinish, self absorbed royalty. And it took them all those years to kill one another off? Jeez…what a torture chamber.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I only ever saw the first season of GoT but then our local video closed down so saw no more except for clips on YouTube. So, not a fan myself. Would have been more realistic though if by that last season a problem was that they were running out of soldiers and had only the very young or very old left because of all those losses over the years. Or that all those wars were leading to major disease outbreaks like would happen in medieval style armies. Wouldn’t make great viewing though.

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            Well, that the countryside has largely become a burned, broken hellhole is explored in both show and books. There’s an entire minor faction made up of deserters from the various armies attempting to be a kind of vigilante police force amid the ruins.

            Reply
        2. Plenue

          The overarching theme of the books is that all the idiot royals are fighting over a throne while ignoring an existential threat. The show lost sight of this.

          Reply
    8. Deschain

      It may be just a TV show, but it is also probably the last TV show that will be shared as a collective experience. Streaming, binge watching, and the atomization of content are making television a solo experience. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up for debate, but I’m going to miss conversations with my co-workers on Monday morning.

      Reply
  2. AtlReality

    “In this new political environment and with changes in technology, there are fewer barriers to entry for candidates to enter and remain in the race. These changes encourage more candidates to enter the race and stay in longer.”

    The only change in “technology” is that we have Citizens United. That means that if you have a sugar daddy who pays the bills, you can stay in the race as long as you want to. This is why you had so many Republicans past their sale date in 2016.

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      In the end, there was one candidate who differentiated himself from that field, while all the others cancelled each other out.

      If the voters have their way, the same dynamic is possible in the Democrat Party. That’s still a big “if”, but it’s possible.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        If you end up with first ballot delegate percentages that look like these entirely made-up numbers:

        40 Sanders
        30 Biden
        8 Warren
        5 Buttigieg
        5 Harris
        4 Assorted riff raff/local oligarchs
        4
        4
        —-
        100

        You will notice that : 40 + 8 + 5* = 53 (Warren + Sanders + …. who?)

        But 30 + 5 + 5 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 52 (Biden + everybody else)

        And you can bet that somewhere, in some back room, there are people gaming this out, in detail. Rather like a junta rigging an election in some Third World country with a taste for indirection and complexity…

        Another way of putting this is that Sanders is the candidate who most benefits from a first ballot majority, and is most likely to lose in post-first ballot maneuvering. Another way of saying this is that he is the only candidate who must run a truly national campaign.

        NOTE This is my first cut at gaming this out. On reflection, I think Harris is low, because CA is delegate rich. But you see the idea.

        Reply
  3. Arizona Slim

    I just encountered a guy who was registering people to vote. He was wearing one of those anti-Trump buttons with the slash through The Donald’s last name.

    Well, I told him that you have to do more than be against Trump. What are you for?

    His answer: “Well, I’m registering people as Democrats!”

    Bzzzt. Wrong answer.

    I gave him a street corner-sized piece of my mind. Said that the Ds were just as controlled by the corporations and the rich as the Republicans.

    He didn’t like that very much.

    I guess I was supposed to say, “Ewwww, Trump!” Instead, I said, “I’m NOT a Democrat!”

    And then the light changed.

    Reply
    1. Adam Eran

      I’ve had similar conversations when socializing with my Democratic friends. They’re interested enough in public policy to join a Democratic club, but are supremely uninterested in hearing anything uncomplimentary about the record of Democratic betrayals (cf. Thomas Frank’s Listen Liberal). So meetings of these folks turn into bitching sessions about just how bad is Trump.

      I’ve asked them how they can pick the mote from Trump’s eye and ignore the beam in their own…and have not been a popular attendee. I guess that mote/beam thingy is just for Sunday school now…

      Reply
        1. richard

          Frank Church was my guy, growing up in Idaho in the 70’s. Beaten by the abominable steve simms, i believe riding reagan coattails in 80. Maybe it was ‘78? Anyway, church was idaho’s last remaining link to sanity; simms signified that yes, we had officially been sold to the hucksters, and it was all over. Every politician Idaho has produced since simms has been either a grim joke, or a jolly corrupt one. And I don’t think that leaves anyone out.
          The democratic party has a lot to answer for, and even little old idaho makes the list. It’s been a one party state for 40 years, and like people most everywhere, idahoans do not love their leaders. Try a populist, dumbasses. Run on grass, med4all and higher minimum wage and watch repubs suddenly look very f*%&i*& mortal. Establishment dems don’t truly want to win there of course. Nothing gives them the fear like landslides.

          Reply
  4. Geo

    What dimension did I wake up in today? Marco Rubio an the AFL-CIO are Bolshevics to the left of Bernie now?

    Reply
    1. jrs

      Marco Rubio at best is arguing for an economy that makes capital investments. He doesn’t mean environmental sustainability.

      The AFL-CIO can not be trusted for broader leftist goals as they have always been a conservative union, though if one is a member and wins a labor dispute they have used it for what it can be useful for.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        I don’t trust either of them but it’s fascinating to see. At the very least it’s a sign of a changing tide. If only the Dems would try catching the wave instead of fighting the tide. But, they’ve tied themselves to the Biden anchor it seems.

        Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          Biden is just the flavor of the month for the Anyone But Bernie crowd. He’s a terrible campaigner and well past his sell-by date. They’ll latch on to someone else after Biden crashes and burns. I don’t expect him to even make it to Super Tuesday.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            HeyZeus on a trident ! … the DNC might as well put Eddie Lampert up there on the top ticket … at least he’s an honest dishonest thief …
            Hell, Julius of Orange might just meet his match !

            But no, they back Burmisa Joe …

            Reply
      2. John

        The essential point is that the “enhancing share-holder value” as the only goal is viciously destructive is correct and either will change or will destroy the capitalist model root and branch. Marx’s critique of capitalism caught its essence 150 years ago. Rubio notes the dystopic nature of the current model. So why are we soldiering on with it like doomed front line grunts forever charging the machine guns?

        Reply
        1. WheresOurTeddy

          some people make a lot of money manufacturing of the guns and the bullets, both metaphorically and literally

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          In Vietnam, the soldiers started fragging officers who actually did that, so everybody started just pretending. Except the Viet Cong, of course.

          Now, how do we get there?

          Reply
      3. John k

        Rubio is arguing for companies to create long term capital assets – which would in fact boost a company’s long term health vs today’s refusal to think beyond the next quarter – but the quote doesn’t mention concern with the ongoing pauperization of the working class. So continued pushing down of wages probably good policy.
        The afl cio clip is interesting. Getting behind Bernie, are they?

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Susan Nelson, of the flight attendants union, is challenging for the AFL-CIO leadership. Trumka and his ilk probably need to shore up their support by at least pretending they are vaguely useful to the membership.

          Reply
        2. readerOfTeaLeaves

          Amazing to see this. Rubio’s work is surely shocking — if he keeps this up, he’ll be an MMTer by 2020 ;-)

          But more seriously, it’s interesting to see Rubio show this kind of pragmatism and analysis.
          He seems to understand that the business sector has become so impaired by ‘shareholder value’ hullaballoo that it’s already imploding. I hope the GOP doesn’t make him a pariah, because what he’s saying is long overdue.

          Reply
      1. Geo

        The clearest sign that the Dems have become the party of conservatives. They’re all about preserving the status quo. “America is already great!” Getting is back to normal, etc…

        The GOP is the party of radicals (extremists). The Democratic Party is torn between the old school FDR types that are fighting to retake it from the GOP-refugees that have taken over and made it into the disappointment it is today.

        So, yeah, attacking them from the left is easy since the establishment of the party is right wing.

        Reply
        1. John k

          Yeah. I hate their centrist label… they’re pretty far to the right of Nixon and Reagan… remember Nixon finally got us out of Vietnam, and proposed univ health care, while Reagan pulled troops out of Lebanon after we were attacked and raised taxes six times.
          imagine pelosi calling for higher taxes! Or peace with Iran! To say nothing of Russia…
          the big tent has been welcoming right wing ideologue warmongers for years.
          Dem elites are not centrists just because gop has gone berserk. They’re ultra right wing corporatists.
          I think I’m a centrist, and I probably don’t agree with her on any issue.

          Reply
          1. Henry Moon Pie

            “Nixon finally got us out of Vietnam”

            Please let’s not start this trope.

            The country couldn’t maintain the war effort any longer not so much because of domestic opposition but because the draftee Army was in all-but-open revolt.

            Nixon was happy to gun down college students demonstrating against the war. Kissinger was happy to destroy Cambodia to “end” the Vietnam War.

            Those [family blogging]-holes were war criminals, not peacemakers.

            Reply
            1. VietnamVet

              This month is the 50th anniversary of Hamburger Hill. A month later I flew into Cam Ranh Bay. A big reason I am still here is that Dick Nixon did acknowledge that the U.S. Army was in a silent revolt and decided to withdraw from Vietnam (although I didn’t know it at the time). I got out early in 1971 because draftees were surplus. Nixon may not have been forced to resign if he had kept the war going but the American Empire would have ended a lot earlier with a military in open revolt than the impending collapse today from the escalation of the Middle East Mini-World War, the resumption of the Cold War with Russia and China, climate change, resource depletion, and the revolt of the working class in the West against inequality and neoliberalism. The difference is between then and now is the truth verses creating one’s own reality. I really don’t know what in the world Donald Trump, Mike Pence and John Bolton are thinking. A hot war with Iran and economic wars with Russia and China at the same time are incredibly dangerous.

              Reply
            2. Jeff W

              And we can’t forget that President Nixon tried to spoil the peace talks with the North Vietnamese in late October, 1968. From this piece in the New York Times:

              Richard M. Nixon told an aide that they should find a way to secretly “monkey wrench” peace talks in Vietnam in the waning days of the 1968 campaign for fear that progress toward ending the war would hurt his chances for the presidency…

              Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Rubio is right that we have enormous, society-wide problems in capital allocation; it’s pleasant that this idea has finally penetrated the elite hive mind. Of course, his remedy will not be putting capital under democratic control; it will be the restoration of some pre-financialization order.

      It does make me wonder whether “Little Marco” is preparing to challenge Trump (maybe with Hawley as his Veep?)

      Reply
  5. a different chris

    re the AI piece (why oh why do I read those things?)

    > like a language learner forgetting their native tongue.

    Did the writer come up with this, or, as I strongly expect, it was an example given by an AI “Researcher” — I’m sorry, but the quotes are almost necessary at this point.

    I really don’t know, I barely have a grip on one language but I was under the very strong impression that it was even more hardwired than the classic “riding a bike” example. I suppose somebody should ask Pete Buttigieg if he’s forgotten any. :)

    Reply
    1. fajensen

      Probably the latter, there is a lot of pure bullshit being peddled by the Big Data Blob. Journalists are not all domain experts and they have very limited time to understand the issues and communicate them. Even good, honest, journalists can fail and they often do. I have been personally working at events that are widely reported by media, I observe that: They spend a whole day there interviewing and preparing, then they compress everything down to 8 minutes on TV, sadly, while getting 30% of the facts wrong, losing the key points and emphasising the trivial / random ones :).

      Going back to the subject of Big Data Blob bullshit, we have that the entire “Singularity University” – the name itself is already the first lie – is stuffed all the way with consultants, communicators and facilitators – with nary a single, genuine, AI or MI expert researcher amongst them, probably not even an engineer. Ok, maybe I go overboard here: They could be the kind of company who generously Empowers the janitors by giving them the position of ‘Sanitation Engineer’.

      Some of their events have been recorded and put on the Internet (where YouTube tries to “sink” it), the stuff is toe-crinkly Dire – “Aflyttet” – Danish Radio Programme on ‘Digitalisation’ – around the middle we see Danish politicians spouting their programming, in poor English too, making it so much worse.

      I.O.W: Big Data have teams of well funded, very effective salespeople slinging a deluge of PowerPoints with clever verbiage and ginned-up statistics at politicians and journalists, who are too easily impressed or overwhelmed!

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      He’s sort of forgotten his French or else it was only a grade above tourist French to begin with. His condolences for the Notre Dame fire were close to a gaffe but that wasn’t well reported in the fawning American press. And French is almost English, highest commonality of vocabulary.

      Reply
  6. Higgs Boson

    In practice, Rubio thinks that “developing productive, long-life capital assets” means plundering natural resources from other countries, such as Venezuela.

    Reply
    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Sorry?
      I didn’t get that same message from the reading about his study.
      Link..?

      FWIW, if you are interested in the environment, read up on Inslee’s plans. He’s thought a great deal about these issues.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        “rushing on to the bee!”
        Well, for their sake, it’s a good thing you’re not a WASP, Lambert.

        … oh wait.

        Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Nothing like a magnolia, entirely on your neighbors’ property. A sheer delight from afar.

      Reply
  7. Hepativore

    Oh, how the Democratic Party leadership is probably drooling over the prospect of a brokered convention. This way they can disregard those pesky Sanders supporters once and for all and install a REAL Democrat like Biden, Buttgieg or Harris. After all, how dare those ungrateful peasants express their discontent with what their social superiors have the good sense to realize? Why, it is almost like the serfs think that they are entitled to have a say in how their lords govern the kingdom!

    I am not sure if this is part of the reason why there are so many candidates in the Democratic primaries or if it is simply a coincidence as the Democratic Party seems to be incapable of planning ANYTHING with an eye towards future consequences. However, I would not be surprised if there is a huge push too keep in as many candidates as possible in an effort to stop somebody like Sanders or Gabbard from winning the primaries. It may cause the Democrats to lose to Trump, but this would be a win in the eyes of the Democratic Party as long as their corporate donors come out on top.

    Reply
    1. John

      Biden, Buttgieg or Harris: Let’s shorten that to BiBuHarr. Wouldst vote for BiBuHarr? How do they collectively or individually differ from the Clinton, Obama, Clinton which is ClObClin?

      A brokered convention means more of the same in the campaign, likely another Trump victory. Who will be blamed this time? The Ruthenians or those canny Wallachians?

      Reply
    2. JBird4049

      It may cause the Democrats to lose to Trump, but this would be a win in the eyes of the Democratic Party as long as their corporate donors come out on top.

      I really have to finish my tome (800+ pages in size 10 font) the American Whig Party or at least dive into the pages and pages of cites. It was, and the Democratic and Republican Parties have come close to, dissolved because of the inability to change or deal with controversial issues like slavery.

      The Civil War started when it did when the South got mad over the North’s recalcitrance over slavery, growing judicial corruption over it, and let’s not forget the South’ control over the Federal government due to it being the richest part of the country and the whole ⅗ Clause giving it unfair representation in Congress. The South wanted all that and to allow slavery’s expansion to the entire West especially the Southwest and hopefully, eventually the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. The ruling Southern Plantation Class was not thinking small; it wasn’t going to happen if the rest of the United States had a say. So the Succession.

      So what does it have to do with the Democratic, and even the Republican, Party? The South could have probably kept its peculiar institution for decades longer if it had not been focused on having it all. No one wanted a war, but the North was not going to acquiesce to everything that the South wanted although perhaps most.

      Our current political parties, actually almost the entire ruling membership of the political economy wants everything to remain just as it is feeding them all increasing wealth, power, and prestige. That is not going to happen. The more the system refuses to deal with the problems, the more the pressure will increase. The more the pressure increases, the greater the changes and probably the more catastrophic the process of change will be.

      If despite running a clean, well organized, well financed, deeply supported, and winning the delegate count, outside of the superdelegates, Bernie Sanders does not win the nomination I predict the effective end of the Democratic Party. It might take a couple of campaign cycles because of its size and financial power but it would end. Its roots are already rotting and the foliage is mostly paper already. The Republican Party is just 1-3 campaign cycles behind.

      I could be wrong and both parties have shown fantastic resilience and are deeply enmeshed with and supported by the vast resources of the ruling regime. People like AOC could successfully reform both parties like before, but real change will happen. There will be extreme resistance to this.

      Just as spying, bribes, blackmail, framing, assassinations, and propaganda were used to destroy the three American Communist and Socialist political parties, retarded the Civil Right Movement as well as split off and destroyed the economic rights from civil rights; the War on Drugs and the Southern Strategy developed by President Nixon, Identity Politics, Neoliberalism as a handy replacement for liberalism, and the War on a Tactic Terror.

      It is a long history of shamefully bloody illegality and oppression. However, it worked. It will be tried again. Actually, just look at what was done to Occupy Wall Street to know that it has never fully stopped.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > as the Democratic Party seems to be incapable of planning ANYTHING with an eye towards future consequences.

      With one single exception: Maintaining power for themselves in the party (and collecting from donors). At that they are very, very good.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        That’s just it. Maintaining power within the party, but not maintaining the party’s power or at least its ability to function. Maintaining one’s position inside a rotting zombie that’s moaning moneeeey to the donors while bits of it fall off seems stupid. More people are starting to see the corpse and are wondering if it is worth attempting a resurrection.

        Reply
  8. yoghurt

    Regarding the large field of candidates, dems 2020 and republicans 2016, I have a partial explanation.

    The super-pacs enable a large field. With the super-pacs, each candidate has a pac that is theoretically independent from them. Now, the independence is mostly just for show, but if that candidate were to drop out, the pac can switch its money to back another candidate. In the past, the donors would give directly to the candidate and if they didn’t succeed, then the money would be lost. With the pacs, money can be given to marginal candidates and not lost if/when they drop out.

    Does this make sense or is it too small an effect or have I gotten it totally wrong?

    Reply
    1. John k

      Sounds good.
      In this era there’s a lot billionaires, and they can be a player with just a 20 mil pac, plenty to get the ball rolling. Throw some bucks to a couple reporters, a few puff pieces easy to clear with the Ed for all the pro Corp wannabes, and they’re off and running.
      The 65 k donations might be tough for some of these. And maybe the number is going up…
      But my guess most wont get many electors in the primaries. Harris is running third behind Biden and Bernie (B&B?) in Ca.
      The big question is, will biden repeat and crash and burn after the debates? If yes, it’s Bernie. If no, it’s biden.
      I assume biden will know the questions…

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        Is it tinfoil hat territory, John k, to also suspect that the DNC could change the rules of the debates to give candidates air time according to their positions in polls, with the committee deciding which polls, taken of course by the party in its own inimitable way, to be counted to determine air time?

        Reply
    2. voteforno6

      I don’t know. I think it has a lot more to do with there being a power vacuum in the Democratic Party. The Clintons are done, and the Obamas seem more interesting in building their own personal brand.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s a personal dilemma for Obama: Nominal Party leader while at the same time staying passive-aggressive (and on a parallel track, cashing in).

        I suppose Obama becoming a bundler by setting up that Unity Fund for the winner is one way to square that circle.

        Reply
  9. JohnnyGL

    Someone should show the Sanders interview with NYT to Elizabeth Warren and conceal the source and ask Warren what kind of media outlet she thinks would conduct an interview like that.

    That’s worse than just about anything I’ve seen out of FOX since the Bush II administration.

    Sanders: “I did everything that I could as a mayor of a small city to stop the United States from getting involved in another war in Central America trying to overthrow a government.”

    NYT translation: Read how Mr. Sanders tried to infuse left-wing foreign policy into Vermont politics in the 1980s.

    Maybe the next Q should be to ask if he stopped and prayed at Lenin’s preserved dead body, too?

    It’s good to see they’ve gone into full-blown hatchet-wielding mode this early!

    Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Only if you are capable of being yourself (the coached up version of yourself). Buttigieg is constantly a tool, so he will still be a tool on Fox. Sanders is Sanders. Warren is great on certain issues and a bland conventional wisdom panderer on others, and I’ve changed my mind about her appearing on Fox. I’m not sure she would do well if foreign policy questions were raised.

        Reply
    1. Geo

      I really want to like Warren but she makes it hard much of the time. Her heart seems to be in the right place but as NC says often, her mind for politics is terrible.

      It’s not the policy disagreements I have with her that upset me. It’s fine to have disagreements and still support a politician. It’s these boneheaded flailing for headlines that seem like they come from the Hillary Clinton book on “How to Campaign With a Foot In Your Mouth”.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        She’s a “nose to the grindstone” type. She’s great at what is in her field of vision, but anything else…is just…she shows a disinterest.

        Reply
        1. Hepativore

          My main problem with Warren is that while she considers herself a progressive in the same mold as Sanders or Gabbard, her hesitancy to support Medicare For All is more than a bit troubling. To me, that is one major litmus test on whether or not a 2020 candidate is viable to be president or not. We have had to put up with half measures like the ACA (Romneycare 2.0) Medicare Advantage, etc. for too long. We cannot afford to wait any longer to implement a single-payer healthcare system.

          Reply
      2. nycTerrierist

        Agreed. Painful to see her poor read of politics.

        She’d be good for President Sanders’ Treasury tho, no?

        Bernie was terrific in this interview!

        Reply
    2. Summer

      “..Democratic base supporters who believe Fox’s primetime ‘gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists,’ as Warren said.”

      Wait a minute…aren’t a good number of them on Trump’s host “Twitter”?
      And haven’t they attributed those traits to Trump for over 2 years.
      Warren is constantly battling Trump on Twitter (which also hosts FOX news hosts and personalities).

      Ridiculous.

      Reply
      1. Big Tap

        So Warren is implying that some people in the middle of the country that watch Fox are “racists and conspiracists” supporters. Damn that’s one better than Hillary’s “deplorables”. The Dems are out of touch and Warren being from Oklahoma could of had a regional appeal others don’t have. Missed opportunity. The candidates need to read up on something called the Electoral College. They already lost two elections this century by this method yet ignore all the warning signs.

        Reply
  10. mle detroit

    Yeah, Geo, I know the feeling. Especially since I’ve just read Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (published 1887) and its sequel Equality (published 1897) describing a world I’d like to live in.

    Reply
  11. John

    Is that Nat Geo bee getting high? Sure looks like a skinny cannabis bud and seed to me. We’re going to have to get on testing bees in the workplace now. Think of the baby bees!

    Reply
    1. crittermom

      Too funny!
      Actually, that does kind of look like cannabis.
      Maybe that’s why the bee appears to be sitting down? Good herb!

      Reply
    2. Kurt Sperry

      I’ve seen bees collect pollen from male cannabis plants. Cannabis is supposed to be wind pollinated, but the bees didn’t get the memo I guess.

      Reply
  12. Chris Smith

    Re:Marco Rubio

    We live on a finite planet with finite resources – there is no “sustainable growth.” We can either aim for sustainability and forget the growth, or we can keep growing until we hit resource limits and let those limits do the work for us. In fact, unless we think those nice non-USians (over 2 billion of whom are Chinese and Indian) are willing to live in squalor so that we can enjoy our current standard of living, we are going to have to face sustainable shrink instead.

    But I’ve got a bad feeling that as a species we are incapable of taking corrective action in time, so we are probably just going to hit that limits wall hard. As usual we will outsource achieving balance to the usual contractors: war, famine, and disease.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Throw down that keyboard, Human .. and Meet your new next-door Bottle-neck .. !
      They move in every couple million years or so, especially when growth is on the wane.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        If you’re talking population bottleneck, the last two were around ten thousand survivors each out of a population of five hundred thousand to one million. We have far less genetic diversity than chimpanzees. Anyways the cause was probably climate change with the last being around 75 kya when the Toba super volcano went kaboom.

        Climate change = mass death.

        Reply
  13. Rojo

    Yeah, I’m not ready YET to conclude that the crowded field is due to anything other than the whims of a bunch of narcissists and career-builders. Most of this seems like a bunch of people stepping on each other’s toes.

    The better move for the Dem poo-bahs (the Wassermaniacs?) would be to field just enough candidates to dilute the potential Bernie base — a Harris for the black vote, a Warren for women and progressives, a Beto or Buttigieg for young/gay voters. Eric Salwells and Tim Ryans seem counter-productive toward this end.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      Cause it is not a “big tent.”
      It’s the Divide and Conquer Tent. Get out while you still can.

      Reply
    2. WJ

      The bigger the field is in the early primaries, the less delegates any one candidate is going to win. The huge field is required to prevent Bernie taking a decisive lead early in the campaign. Candidates will drop away quickly after that with the mainstays of Biden, Buttigieg, Harris staying on till the end.

      What will Warren do when it becomes clear she’s only hurting Sanders? And when will she do it? Remember that she erred in 2016. Her instincts have not gotten better.

      Bernie’s people better have a ground game unlike anything people have ever seen or it’s Biden/Harris 2020….

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Exactly, especially the last sentence. And the devil of it is, the Sanders ground game will not be reported. Not even necessarily out of malice, but because expanding the Democrat base simply isn’t part of the narrative. A story on that would require actual reporting, not simply reshuffling existing tropes and quotes from the usual suspects.

        Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Yeah, I’m not ready YET to conclude that the crowded field is due to anything other than the whims of a bunch of narcissists and career-builders. Most of this seems like a bunch of people stepping on each other’s toes.

      It’s a “dog didn’t bark in the night” thing. If the DNC/DCCC/DSCC et al didn’t want this to be happening, they would have said something — maybe when there were only 10, or so. Instead, they accommodated the tendency, by splitting the debates into two nights, for example. If the DNC can enforce a policy that consultants can’t work for challengers and be recommended by them, the DNC could also have put out the world that more than 10 candidates (say) is too many. They have not, so what has happened is fine with them. All we’ve gotten is some mild tut tuttery that some candidates should be running for Senate, which they can still do.

      Reply
  14. SlayTheSmaugs

    re GOT, I’m not offended by–could even support–the ‘bones’ of the ending. I think it could be the ending the novels really were building towards. SPOILER ALERT.

    I mean, fine, someone who doesn’t want power and has historical memory becomes king; fine the monarchy isn’t genetic; fine arya goes adventuring, sansa queens a newly independent north; fine tyrion is hand, sam meister, fine Jon kills Dany and joins the free folk, fine what remains of the unsullied leave town etc. All those things have integrity with the structure of the story from the first five seasons. But the path to get to that outcome, in the past two seasons, has been so poorly created and out of character with the novel-driven seasons that there’s nothing really satisfying about it. Far too many interesting things were dropped, too many conflicts intrinsic in the path to that end ignored. To be sure, in the amount of minutes given the last two years, not sure there was a good way. Easily another 10 hours were needed to have a chance of telling the story in a way that had integrity with the other seasons, and even that may not have been enough. By this last episode I’d been so alienated by the poor storytelling of this season and last, become so disengaged–my husband too–that we only remembered the episode was on a half hour after it started. Once upon a time we’d imagined re-watching the whole thing, but to start, knowing the last two seasons are what they are–I can’t imagine we will now.

    Reply
      1. polecat

        Maybe the fine folks at Falcon Crest can answer that question .. birds of a feather (ok, maybe a Dallas-bound oil-soaked one for good measure !) and all that …
        Just watch out for the ewe baring a ram’s-horn hair do .. I hear tell she’s a tough old goat !

        Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > in the amount of minutes given the last two years, not sure there was a good way. Easily another 10 hours were needed to have a chance of telling the story in a way that had integrity with the other seasons

      Just business

      Reply
  15. Louis Fyne

    Condolences with the continuing tech problems.

    This isn’t for everybody but with storage so affordable, it doesn’t take much effort to have a redundant physical copy of whatever one uploads to the cloud.

    And there are so many used computers floating on eBay/your neighborhood and open source software that it doesn’t cost much effort to set up your own (encrypted if need be) data server.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      I agree with Lambert. No cloud!!! I get spied on enough as it is. Cloud makes it easier for big companies who have no loyalty to anyone small to turn over your data on very very thin pretenses.

      Reply
      1. Charles 2

        When Cloud storage is encrypted before transmission, your data is only a blob of random bits. They can give it to anyone for all you care. Cloud has its use as secondary backup when one has a connection that is good enough. For instance, on my MAC I use Arq which saved my beef once (silent failure of local Time Machine, together with data deleted on my primary backup clone).

        Reply
  16. Charles 2

    Lambert, You don’t need a credit card to have an AppleId : see here, but once you start to use Apple digital services, like subscriptions, you have to of course.
    SMS TFA for Apple products is quite weak from a security standpoint, because iPhones broadcast SMS on the message app to all devices with the same appleID, so a notification on a locked screen can give it away. This is why Apple wishes to have an extra step verifying. In the absence of a recovery key, they ask a credit card number. To avoid inconvenience, it is best to set a recovery key, print it and store it in a safe. It saved me more than once…

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, perhaps I should set a recovery key, ffs. Have it tatooed onto my body, so if I’m traveling I don’t have to get it out of my safe.

      Makes you wonder how the issue of stealing robot cars is going to be handled. Not well, I assume.

      Reply
      1. charles 2

        An easier solution is to have a password manager, with data synced across all devices. I use 1password because I bought it before they switched to expensive subscription pricing, but there are free open source alternative out there.

        Reply
    2. fajensen

      If you do set a recovery key, your device’s data will be encrypted with this key and when you don’t have it when you need to move your I-clouded data onto the new device. How could this be broken?

      Well, IT & I found out that:

      iCludge somehow hangs on to the FIRST KEY, so when you happily set ANOTHER KEY on the next device you’d think this is all good, and, then on migrating data to the next device after that (3’rd) the #€%%&/’s will demand the long-forgotten FIRST KEY to move your 2’nd device data which one assumed was to be using ANOTHER KEY into the 3’rd device ….. Aaaaaaagh!!!

      Lesson: Don’t trust Apple, Don’t rely on encrypted backups, Don’t do anything clever with backups, Just copy the damn files using RSync or something similar of very limited intelligence. Anything “smart” will absolutely bite you right on the bum when the opportunity presents itself and Apple will do it just for fun!

      Reply
      1. Charles 2

        Not encrypting data on anything that can be left on a taxi seat or in an airport lounge is not recommended. There is so much of our lives on these machine nowadays that such an event is worse from a privacy standpoint than a home burglary. This is why tables and laptop storage must be encrypted.
        One can pass on encrypting for desktop and server only if one is reasonably sure of the physical security. For instance, my networked Time Machine volume is quite hidden in my place so I don’t encrypt it.
        If you think that using Rsync is easy, especially across machines, well… don’t ! There are lots of potential pitfalls. Use a professional software instead that wraps over Rsync, but is user-friendly way, such as Carbon Copy Cloner.
        Apply 3 2 1 rule : 3 copies, 2 different backup systems, 1 copy off site

        Reply
  17. Summer

    Re: Game of Thrones Season 8

    Sounds like that Avengers writing. Total BS plots even for fantasy / Sci Fi.
    Sorry comic book fans. Those films are baaaaad writing.

    A lot has to do with lack of life experience fron writers or bubblicious living…

    Reply
    1. Summer

      And for anybody that says, “Well, box office…”

      I’m sure the butt and fart films in “Idiocracy” were blockbusters.

      Reply
  18. DJG

    Sanders at least had the sense to use Not Me. Us.

    “We” immediately makes my antennae go up. I am reminded of this insightful definition of “we,” and I’m stealing from a post by Azizi Powell:

    A very popular joke during the 1960s involved the Lone Ranger and Tonto. The joke goes as follows (this is a quote):

    The Lone Ranger and Tonto are watching a horde of Indian braves bear down on them in full battle fury. “Looks like we’re in trouble, Tonto,” says the Lone Ranger to his pal. “What you mean ‘we,’ white man?,” Tonto responds…

    And amazingly enough, this joke appears to have been coined by a classic Silver Age comic book creator.

    However, you’d be hard pressed to imagine WHICH one, as it was written by E. Nelson Bridwell, longtime assistant editor to Mort Weisinger at DC Comics! Before Bridwell went to work for DC (where he helped introduce a number of innovations when it came to the world of comic book continuity), he wrote gags for Mad Magazine. And the Lone Ranger joke was one of them.

    What do you mean by “we,” Biden? So it isn’t just plagiarism, or absolute laziness (which seem to be part of the Joementum, or lack thereof), but what does “we” mean to the official representative of the corporate interests of Delaware, America’s most fictive state?

    Reply
    1. Deschain

      He actually just wants everyone to chill and play video games, but he doesn’t know how to spell Wii

      Reply
    2. shtove

      I think Tonto would have been in most trouble, as he would have been slaughtered on the spot as a traitor, while the Lone Ranger would have been held for ransom.

      Reply
  19. Summer

    Re: Rubio on Capitalism
    “The main task required of a successful economy, Rubio argues, is “developing productive, long-life capital assets.”

    Business thinks everybody marketing to everybody else is the wave of the future.
    *You too can be an influencer*

    You look at my ads, I’ll look at yours…

    Reply
  20. Pat

    Nice of Marco to recognize that the short term investment strategy of American business is failing.

    I blame this on deregulation, the elevation of the MBA, AND our business press. I’m assuming Marco is not going to reregulate businesses, particularly the financial sector investment businesses. I’m also assuming that he is not going to point out that our business press has largely been cheerleading the destruction of our middle class, American production and yes business investment and innovation for the past thirty years that I can testify about.

    Look it is long past we had a constitutional amendment that states flat out that businesses are not persons and have no Constitutional rights but do have responsibilities to their workers, their customers and their communities equal to or greater than to their stockholders. That they cannot cheat, endanger, or harm any of the first three groups to enrich the stockholders. I realize that all that should not have to be encoded in the highest legal document in the land, but obviously in America it does.

    Reply
    1. Deschain

      The problem with this argument IMO is that disinvestment is a symptom of inadequate demand, not the cause. If I run a business, investing can increase supply, but if there isn’t demand to meet that, what’s the point? Yes if everyone invested more, especially in their workers, we’d be in a better place, but businesses invest individually, not collectively.

      Fix the rules so that labor starts seeing it’s fair share again, and demand will rise, and investment will follow.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        Fraud and rent extraction is always easier money than investment.

        Pats point, I believe, is that so long as fraud and rent extraction are legal, “deregulation” was nothing but a euphemism for their decriminalization, they will be more predictably remunerative than investment, which is inherently risky.

        Inadequate demand currently is a symptom of historical fraud and rent extraction, particularly, as Craig Murray put it, “the largest transfer of wealth from poor to rich in human history”, the 2008-9 bailout.

        Reply
      2. Yves Smith

        No, Kalecki wrote a classic paper on this very topic in 1943 in which he forecast negative interest rates, the UBI, and the Great Moderation. Businessmen don’t want full employment because the workforce gets too uppity and they don’t have enough income distance from them either (in their minds).

        https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/kalecki-on-the-political-obstacles-to-achieving-full-employment.html

        Businesses were net disinvesting as of 2003, see my article on this topic (as of 2005, this trend was two years underway):

        http://auroraadvisors.com/articles/Shrinking.pdf

        Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    This is about a month old, my mom clued me into the story of a homeless encampment ‘vacation rental’ about a mile from her assisted living place. The area has since been cleared of their belongings.

    WHITTIER (CBSLA) – A Craigslist ad offering to rent solar-powered tents with WiFi for $400 has some people outraged in Whittier.

    The tents popped up near a growing homeless encampment on a greenbelt along Whittier Boulevard, which is located on Caltrans property owned by the state.

    The ad – which has since been taken down – pictured what Gregory Williams says is a tent that is merely a solar-powered charging station, not a temporary housing solution.

    “It can charge up to 100 cell phones, it can also provide WiFi for up to 15 devices,” Williams said. “I offered it here for free for everyone to use.”

    But the now-deleted Craiglist ad – which had the headline “Solar Powered Wifi Tent For Rent $400 Monthly” – offered a 10×10 tent outfitted with “solar powered electricity, wifi, lock, trash and security”.

    https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2019/04/18/homeless-tent-solar-powered-wifi-whittier/

    Reply
  22. Roger Chittum

    So now that Senator Rubio agrees there is a problem with corporate decision-making around investment and disinvestment, are the Dems ready to test him with some solutions to that problem?

    BTW, the linked report is not the first or only Rubio report that seems to take seriously the plight of American labor and the failure of free trade agreements to deliver the promised benefits. https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/0acec42a-d4a8-43bd-8608-a3482371f494/262B39A37119D9DCFE023B907F54BF03.02.12.19-final-sbc-project-mic-2025-report.pdf

    Over to you, Dems.

    Reply
    1. Roger Chittum

      These are the Dems on Rubio’s committee:
      Cardin, Benjamin L. (MD), Ranking Member
      Cantwell, Maria (WA)
      Shaheen, Jeanne (NH)
      Markey, Edward J. (MA)
      Booker, Cory A. (NJ)
      Coons, Christopher A. (DE)
      Hirono, Mazie K. (HI)
      Duckworth, Tammy (IL)
      Rosen, Jacky (NV)

      Reply
      1. polecat

        What ?? .. I can’t believe that my OTHER senator, Ms. Reconciliation herself, Patty ‘teacherintennisshoes’ Murray, isn’t also on that list. I’m So Shocked !! /s

        Maybe Ass. Derek Kilmer (D) Big MIC can join in her sted … when he isn’t throwing crumbs our way …

        Reply
      2. Roger Chittum

        From Harold Meyerson today: “For all its shortcomings, however, historians will one day cite this report as evidence of how deeply dysfunctional American capitalism had become in 2019—so dysfunctional that even a standard-issue Republican senator nailed much of what ailed it, even as he failed to come up with a plausible cure.”

        Reply
  23. Summer

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/tips-from-a-guy-who-managed-to-live-in-manhattan-on-a-40000-salary-and-still-max-out-his-401k-contributions-2018-11-12/

    This should be titled:
    “Tips from a guy who graduated college with no student loan or credit card debt who managed to live in Manhattan on a 40,000 and still max out his 401k contributions”

    There were some tips and info missing in this narrative for sure. This was around 1999.

    However, the article qualifies it all with this at the end:
    “Of course, by the looks of how the stock market is behaving these days, that path looks a bit more sketchy.”

    The fun part is the zeros for paying for cable/tv/internet, gas, other insurance, mobile phone….all the things driving the stock market now.
    So all the kiddies can do what he did and what would hapoen to the stock market?

    You.Can’t.Make.This.Shit.Up

    Reply
    1. jrs

      It’s total garbage. 40k in 1999 isn’t equal to 52 k in 2018 even using CPI calculations. The BLS has an inflation calculator .. It’s more like 60k by the BLS inflation calculator. Now back in the real world, rents have actually doubled or more. His healthcare premiums are $840 a year? Even inflation adjusted that’s 1,250 a year. Only you can’t even get the junkiest narrowest network bronze plan possible for that.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        “zeros for paying for cable/tv/internet…”

        If the majority of people took that advice in 1999…no Netflix or Spotify…LOL!!!

        Reply
      2. Summer

        I’ll admit that I lived in LA around that time and was working on a similar budget, but I had to have a car. But I had to prioritize getting out of debt and helping a very ill family member before I could think about any stock market.

        Reply
      3. deplorado

        It is total garbage and the site where this originated, Financial Samurai, is about that the level of garbage. I used to read it for some time while I was learning things, but then got tired of his useless shtick.
        Don’t waste your time with that site and this Marketwatch article.

        Reply
    2. Summer

      Or another way of putting it:
      If the slightest financial literacy had infected the masses in 1999….no smartphones.

      Reply
  24. Sharkleberry Fin

    A political campaign is just a series of alienating mistakes. Going on FoxNews and not going on FoxNews are *both* mistakes in their own way. With a limited supply of lollipops, you give to some, and snatch from others.

    Re: AFL-CIO service message. — What happens when “Hegelian, roofer” tells the “Marxist, roofer” that his idea of roofing doesn’t exist, and that they should both seize the means of producing flooring, which is just roofing meant for conveyance? The “Marxist, roofer” would reply that the second-floor residents are an illusion propagated by the media. The dialectic suggests everyone just build ranches. The “Post-Marxist, roofer” would point out that seizing any means will land you in prison, thus discouraging others from change of any sort. And even if it doesn’t, the means of production will transfigure the workers into future owners, from which the means must seized again. But the subsequent time it will be harder because the owner’s have self-selected themselves as ruthless pirates, more into the seizing of stuff, less into the non-exploiting others, as opposed to the relatively spongy current leadership living in an outlying biological cul-de-sac of homozygous bloodlines.

    Oh, no. The “Archaeologist, roofer” points out that by examining trash piles of the past, the volume of material production is determined by a religious / agricultural cycle [Mandate from Heaven >> Golden Age >> Population Boom >> Corruption >> Instability >> Famine >> Civil War >> Mandate from Heaven Lost >> Population Shrinks >> One State Consolidates Power >> Mandate from Heaven >> Golden Age >> Population Boom…] rinse, wash, repeat — lose another election.

    Reply
  25. John k

    I dunno about that professional principals thing…
    Think of them as honest thieves… they stay bought, definitely a professional principal.
    And many of them are uncomfortable about promising what they have no intention of delivering, like Hillary with never ever. She could have said something vague about wanting to cover everybody and would revisit m4a and other options after election, consulting with congress, etc etc.
    Obama, on the other hand, campaigned on anti war. And fondly spoke of his walking shoes.

    Reply
  26. clarky90

    Re; “The Depression Epidemic”
    Is it possible that Al Gore is misguided and we are not all going to die from climate change?

    Why do people generally like to live in warm climates? Why do plants love high CO2 levels?

    People are transfixed by ruminant’s farts, but generally unconcerned about the millions of tons of invented chemicals being released into our environment. These poisons are not ONLY killing bees……..

    Human populations are also clearly under threat from these biocides and mutagens. My friends, my neighbors our communities.

    Welcome to a meaningless, Godless World of chemical/pharmaseutical solutions to every problem.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Yep. People seem to wuv their anti-priorities. Because .. no skin in game, unless it’s silicone, of course !

      Reply
  27. Robert McGregor

    We Should Cure the Ills of Society to Combat the Depression Epidemic . . .” (Anti-Depressants don’t work)

    I refer you to Lambert’s first principle of Neoliberalism, “Because Markets.” So how does this information help the anti-depressants market? It doesn’t, so it needs to be suppressed.

    Reply
  28. Wukchumni

    “Opinion: The global consequences of a China-U.S. cold war”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It’d be interesting if China systematically cut the flow of consumer retail goods exports to the USA in a manner not dissimilar to them not wanting our recyclables.

    …do they really need us?

    Reply
  29. pjay

    Re “Rude” Bernie vs. the NYT reporter

    I’m surprised no one has commented on this yet (at least not that I can see). The electoral politics game is so depressing I barely pay attention these days. But this grabbed my attention. Bernie *needs* to keep doing this. People will appreciate an *authentic* anti-war position, clearly stated, like they appreciate authentic support for M4A. And they certainly won’t care about his being “rude” to a NYT reporter. Rather, they’ll thank him for it. Just tell the truth — and give Tulsi some back-up on this crucial issue.

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      “not only will I give an answer to your condescending gotcha questions, I’ll highlight how you’re not covering a genocide in the middle east supported by the US”

      But hey, Pete slow jammed the news with Fallon, so…

      Reply
  30. Duck1

    I liked the second definition of rude which was :

    Having a startling abruptness

    Perhaps such will be the loss of power by the epigone of the Clinton clique

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thomas Frank, “Nor a Lender Be“, reporting from a conference sponsored by the Clinton Foundation:

      Everyone strode with polished informality about the stage, reading their lines from an invisible tele­prompter. And back and forth, the presenters called out to one another in tones of supportiveness and sweet flattery.

      In her introduction to the event, for example, the TV star America Ferrera, who has appeared at many Clinton events both philanthropic and political, gave a shout-out to the “incredible women who have brought us all here today” and the “amazing girls” whose conversation she had been permitted to join. Then Chelsea Clinton, who announced herself “completely awed” by the “incredible swell of people and partners” who had participated in some event the previous day, invited us to hearken to the “inspiring voices of leaders, of communities, of companies, of countries.”

      Those were just the first few minutes. It kept on like that for hours. When someone’s “potential” was mentioned, it was described as “boundless.” People’s “stories” were “compelling” when they weren’t “inspiring,” “incredible,” or “incredibly inspiring.” A Kenyan activist was introduced as “the incomparable.”

      Somehow I don’t think Sanders would do well in that environment.

      Reply
  31. Lambert Strether Post author

    > Does this make sense or is it too small an effect or have I gotten it totally wrong?

    I think the word went out that “Everybody into the pool!” was fine. If the Democrat establishment didn’t want this to happen, it wouldn’t be happening. The parties control the ballot. In 2020, what we have is a lovingly assembled obstacle course to a Sanders victory (the Party response to 2016, in fact. No post mortem because nothing was done wrong; no policy change because all the policy choices were right (and especially not #MedicareForAll; no expansion of the base, etc., etc., etc.)

    Sanders has assets in place that may defeat their strategy. That’s remarkable in itself. We’ll have to see.

    Reply
    1. Anon

      It’s why the Church of Satan’s lawsuit is masterful jujitsu: if a Satanic parishioner wants an abortion, why can’t her religious beliefs be respected?

      Instead of cowering in front of the religious right, attack, attack, attack..

      Reply
  32. none

    I don’t agree about Trump having no appeal beyond his base. I’m not anywhere near his base but he has some charisma. He’s on TV all the time and it’s refreshing to not hear the same bullshit from him that I hear all the time from Democrats. It’s different bullshit that’s just as bad, but I can understand why people like it. If the Dem apparatchiks nominate Clinton again Biden (Clinton redux) then Trump will probably win again.

    Reply
  33. Oregoncharles

    I didn’t watch or read GOT and didn’t participate in yesterday’s long, passionate discussion of it, but I wondered why that was on NC.

    Here’s an explanation: https://theintercept.com/2019/05/20/the-rise-of-game-of-thrones-was-part-of-the-fall-of-america/

    And a caveat: it’s a bit exaggerated; there’s always been blood-bath fantasy about just how awful people can be. I finally lost my taste for it. But it might explain both the extreme fascination with the series and the strong appearance that it has a political agenda, a bit beyond “power corrupts.”

    Reply
  34. jonboinAR

    Sanders to NYT interviewer:

    “I think Sydney, with all due respect, you don’t understand a word that I’m saying.”

    That was awesome!

    Reply

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