2:00PM Water Cooler 5/22/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

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

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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Sanders (18.8% 18.2) 0.6 down (38.3% 37.6), Warren blips up, as of May 22. Who knows, maybe it’s just noise….

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Biden finds unexpected success with low-dollar donors” [Associated Press]. “Biden is a relative newcomer, though he did have one major advantage: Obama’s email list.” • That’s the lead, buried nine paragraphs down.

Biden (D)(2): “Why Joe Biden is the Least Electable Democrat” [Ted Rall, Counterpunch]. “The party is ramming Biden the corporatist down the throats of Democratic primary voters using classic divide-and-conquer. It will work. The Democrats will emerge from this nomination fight even more divided than the last cycle. Like the Mad Queen at the conclusion of ‘Game of Thrones,’ Biden will inherit the ruins of a party he destroyed.” • Rall says “a party he destroyed” like that’s a bad thing. That said, the party is genuinely divided, from voters to electeds to donors, from top to bottom (rather like Brexit, in fact). That situation wasn’t created by the Party apparatchiks.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Why I’m Not Here for Pete Buttigieg’s Moderate Politics in the 2020 Primaries” [Teen Vogue]. “Buttigieg’s focus on political narratives—as opposed policy ideas—is the political playbook that Democrats have run on for years. And while Obama’s hope-and-change campaign had great success in 2008, mainstream attitudes toward LGBTQ rights aren’t the only things that have shifted on the left since then—there’s also, I believe, a growing sense among even centrist liberal voters that style without substance isn’t the answer to the questions of our nation’s future.” • Ouch!

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie’s new approach to raising cash: ‘Grassroots fundraisers'” [Politico]. “The Vermont senator has decided to hold in-person fundraising events where donors of all means will be invited and the media will be allowed. He has also hired a fundraiser to oversee the effort, a position he did not have in his 2016 bid. The moves, described by campaign sources to POLITICO, amount to an acknowledgment by Sanders that his online-only approach to raising money was leaving significant amounts of money on the table. That cash could be decisive in a primary with nearly two dozen candidates competing fiercely for money.” • So, even if most of those candidates fall by the wayside, they will have served their purpose…. (Also, fundraising events with big donors are typically closed to the press — a practice that has in fact caused many gaffes, as candidates say the quiet part out loud, as with Clinton’s “deplorables,” Romney’s “47%”, and Obama’s “bitter” people who “cling to” guns and religion.)

Sanders (D)(2): “The Exact Way the DNC will Deny Bernie Sanders the 2020 Nomination” [IVN]. “Having many candidates is a standard Democratic Party tactic to draw down support for any insurgent candidate. When it was just Bernie vs. Hillary, all the anti-Hillary Democratic voters had to go somewhere, and they all went to Bernie. But now Bernie’s votes will be split with progressive icons like Warren and Gabbard, as well as with progressive-sounding corporate politicians like Buttigieg, Harris, and Biden. It will be impossible for any candidate to secure the votes needed to win on the first ballot, at which point the super delegates will anoint their corporate-approved candidate.”


“Calls for Trump’s impeachment grow in the House” [Los Angeles Times]. “But the move toward impeachment on Tuesday puts Pelosi in the middle of a divided House Democratic caucus. She has advocated for a cautious approach, arguing that she would only support impeachment if it is bipartisan and amid overwhelming evidence. She has called a closed-door speaker’s meeting with her members for Wednesday morning to discuss where the House’s many investigations and lawsuits stand. Several Democrats on Tuesday came out publicly in support of an impeachment inquiry for the first time. Among them were prominent Democrats such as Reps. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Pramila Jayapal of Washington, co-chairs of the influential Congressional Progressive Caucus; freshman Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, vice chair of the Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, who is also on the panel.”

2018 Post Mortem

“Voter Turnout Rates Among All Voting Age and Major Racial and Ethnic Groups Were Higher Than in 2014” [United States Census (Rolling Mountain)]. Here is a summary:

National averages conceal. But the highlighted categories of voters… They aren’t really brunch-adjacent, are they?

Realignment and Legitimacy


Oddly, or not, Obama didn’t reverse the trend.

“DCCC Vendors Work for Corporations Lobbying Against Democratic Policies” [Sludge (DK)]. “Consulting firm Vision Strategy and Insights has gotten $7,500 from the DCCC so far in the 2019 election cycle for strategic and political consulting services, and it scored nearly $6.6 million from the DCCC in the 2018 cycle. On its website, Vision Strategy and Insights’ client list includes multiple health care and pharmaceutical companies that are members of trade associations in the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF), a “dark money” group with a stated objective to “change the conversation around Medicare for All” and “minimize the potential for this option in health care from becoming part of a national political party’s platform in 2020.” The Vision Strategy and Insights clients affiliated with PAHCF include Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson.” • So working with PAHCF is jake with the angels, but working with challengers is a mortal sin. That’s our Democrats!

“Changing the party rules” [Newsday]. “New York Democrats have reached a deal on when voters can join a political party. They will shorten what has been the nation’s longest deadline to switch parties before an election to only 60 days, and 25 days when voters are not members of an established party.” • Good news!

“A Comprehensive Guide to Rahm Emanuel’s Failures as Mayor” [The Intercept]. “A national audience deserves to know what those of us in Chicago have already figured out: Emanuel’s mayoral administration is littered with failures and false claims, and the recent elections in Chicago represents a complete repudiation of the Emanuel years. The new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, was one of Emanuel’s foremost critics on police reform. Alderman Patrick O’Connor, Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, a 40-year incumbent, was one of several top mayoral allies who were defeated — in O’Connor’s case, by a young Latino Democratic socialist. Meanwhile, Emanuel’s finance committee chair is now facing federal corruption charges, and his zoning committee chair disappeared in December when word leaked that he wore a wire for the feds after coming under investigation himself. And on a significant range of issues, Chicagoans are turning away from Emanuel’s initiatives.” • Holy moley, Obama’s chief of staff. How did that happen?

Stats Watch

There are no statistics of note today.

Contracts: “ALI Consumer Contracts Restatement-What’s at Stake” [Credit Slips]. “The American Law Institute’s membership will vote next Tuesday (the 21st) on whether to approve the ALI’s Consumer Contracts Restatement project. Let me recap why you should care about this project: it opens the door for businesses to use contract to abuse consumers in basically any way they want. The Restatement would do away with the idea of a “meeting of the minds,” as the touchstone of contract law for consumer contracts, and allow businesses to impose any terms they want on consumers, even if the consumers are unaware of the terms and haven’t consented to them. Under the proposed Restatement, a consumer would be bound by any and all of a business’s standard form terms if the consumer (1) assented to a transaction, (2) had notice of the terms, and (3) had a reasonable opportunity to review the terms. In other words, the consumer would not actually have to know or agree to any of the terms to be bound by them. The Restatement would replace meaningful assent with a legal fiction of notice.” • Dark patterns, here we come! Fortunately, alert reader AF forwarded us this from Litigation Daily: “After sharp pushback from 24 state AGs, consumer advocates including Sen Elizabeth Warren, more than a dozen trade groups and even some stalwart business champions, the elite and highly influential group of 4,000-odd judges, legal scholars and lawyers postponed its draft restatement on consumer contracts.” • Dodged a bullet there! For now….

Commodities: “China Raises Threat of Rare-Earths Cutoff to U.S.” [Foreign Policy]. “U.S. oil refiners rely on rare-earth imports as catalysts to turn crude oil into gasoline and jet fuel. Permanent magnets, which use four different rare-earth elements to differing degrees, pop up in everything including ear buds, wind turbines, and electric cars. China supplies about 80 percent of the rare-earth elements imported by the United States, which are used in oil refining, batteries, consumer electronics, defense, and more. ‘It would affect everything—autos, renewable energy, defense, and technology,’ said Ryan Castilloux, the founding director of Adamas Intelligence, a strategic metals consultancy….Those concerns became a lot more tangible this week when Xi, accompanied by his point man for U.S. trade talks, visited a facility in the heart of China’s rare-earths industrial complex.”

Tech: “Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are parasites. Maybe they should disappear: Senator” [USA Today]. “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — they devote massive amounts of money and the best years of some of the nation’s brightest minds to developing new schemes to hijack their users’ neural circuitry. That’s because social media only works — to make money, anyway — if it consumes users’ time and attention, day after day. It needs to replace the various activities we enjoyed and did perfectly well before social media existed.” • Hawley again. But wait! Facebook is “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward“!

Tech: “Apple Finally Did the Right Thing (Sort of)” [Gizmodo]. “With today’s announcement [of updated MacBook Pros], Apple has now, finally, done the right thing. All MacBook models with butterfly keyboards—all three generations of the design—qualify for free repairs. The company also announced new MacBook Pro models with a fourth-generation butterfly design that uses a new material for the keyboard mechanism, although it stopped short of saying what that new material is. There are a couple of caveats. The repair program only covers MacBook models for four years after the original purchase. That means some people who bought a 13-inch MacBook in April 2015, when the new model came out, do not qualify for a free repair. Apple also says that only MacBook models with third-generation keys will get the new fourth-generation keyboard from a free repair.” • There’s considerable skepticism that the “new material” for the butterfly keyboard will fix the issue; all we can do is wait for user reports.

The Biosphere

Following up on #WorldBeeDay:

“Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz” [Nature (Phil)]. “[T]his is the first paper that investigates the exposure of electric fields with RF frequencies associated with 5 G wireless communication and that shows that the absorbed power in insects is expected to increase in unchanged environmental conditions with respect to the one of current wireless communication systems (3 G and 4 G)…. A shift of 10% of the incident power density to frequencies above 6 GHz would lead to an increase in absorbed power between 3–370%. This could lead to changes in insect behaviour, physiology, and morphology over time due to an increase in body temperatures, from dielectric heating.” • The 5G spectrum, apparently, includes 6 GHz.

“Changes in honeybee behaviour and biology under the influence of cellphone radiations” (PDF) [Current Science (Phil)]. From the abstract: “Honeybee behaviour and biology has been affected by electrosmog since these insects have magnetite in their bodies which helps them in navigation…. We have compared the performance of honeybees in cellphone radiation exposed and unexposed colonies. A significant (p < 0.05) decline in colony strength and in the egg laying rate of the queen was observed. The behaviour of exposed foragers was negatively influenced by the exposure, there was neither honey nor pollen in the colony at the end of the experiment." • Thanks to alert reader Phil for finding these two studies. Why do we need to do 5G, again?

* * *

“Virtual Pipelines: A Dangerous New Way to Transport Fracked Gas by Truck” [DeSmogBlog]. “[Virtual pipelines involve] loading cylinders filled with compressed natural gas (CNG) onto specially designed trucks and hauling the gas between existing pipelines or to areas not connected to a natural gas distribution system, such as rural towns, and remote factories, universities and hospitals…. ‘The concept,’ wrote Pennsylvania energy expert John Siggins in a 2016 report, ‘was born out of the lack of pipeline infrastructure in the New England area,’ and a natural gas boom in nearby Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale play that lowered gas prices. ‘As the shale energy revolution took off,’ wrote Siggins, ‘a system for off-pipeline natural gas deliveries became of interest.’ The 2016 report lists nine virtual pipeline companies, operating from Texas to Maine. Two of the most prominent companies are Xpress Natural Gas (XNG), based in Andover, Massachusetts, and Vermont-based NG Advantage….. Meanwhile, for retired New York Department of Transportation commercial vehicle inspector and whistle-blower Ron Barton, the calculus on virtual pipelines is much more simple. ‘These containers,’ he said, ‘should not be on the road.'” • One more example of hydrocarbon projects that should be opposed where found.

“Rewilding feral horses to reinvigorate grasslands” [Anthropocene]. “[R]esearchers think that Gotland ponies—an ancient breed thought to be derived from a now-extinct horse subspecies called tarpans—could perform some of the ecological functions once fulfilled by their ancestors. Foremost among these is the sustenance of grasslands, which in the absence of horses were maintained by traditional pasture-based farming practices. As small farms are abandoned, though, and remaining farms become intensified and industrial, grasslands are in danger of vanishing…. Over the course of three years the researchers tracked plant and pollinator populations inside and outside the enclosures. Where horses grazed, the total number of plant species increased, as did populations of butterflies and bumblebees. The vegetation shifted towards a grassland state. “Ecological replacements of extinct wild horses can have significant effects on the functional composition of grasslands,” write [biologists Pablo Garrido and Carl-Gustaf Thulin, both of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences].”

Health Care

“‘Medicare for All’ Falters as Top Democrats Fret Over Backlash” [Bloomberg]. “The House Budget Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday to explore ‘design components and considerations for establishing a single-payer health care system,’ which could serve as a preliminary step toward overhauling how Americans get health insurance coverage…. ‘The caucus understands that we’re not going to pass Medicare for All this year,’ Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky said in an interview. He said it would be a ‘long process’ to develop consensus legislation and “nobody’s going to wade into the weeds and spend a lot of time developing a bill.'” • Defense in depth to protect the health insurance industry. That’s our Democrats!

“CBO: Medicare for all gives ‘many more’ coverage but ‘potentially disruptive'” [The Hill]. “Republicans pressed the CBO officials for a cost estimate of the proposal, a crucial figure, but Hadley replied that ‘we don’t have an estimate yet,’ because how the system is designed would greatly affect the cost.” • Odd, since the CBO was certainly able to give an estimate for the ACA.

The 420

“Exclusive: Facebook will not allow marijuana sales on its platform” [MarketWatch]. “Overall, Facebook executives and staff determined that because cannabis laws around the world vary widely and are unstable, it would be impossible to roll out a feasible, global policy on pot sales. The company also said that, partially because of regulatory uncertainty, it would be ‘operationally difficult’ to implement policies — for example, determining who is a legitimate operator and who is not, across hundreds of jurisdictions.”

Class Warfare

“Tech billionaires who donate millions are just “bribing society at large,” Anand Giridharadas says” (interview) [Anand Giridharadas, Vox]. “If you watch Downton Abbey, you understand the idea. There’s a guy in a castle, and then no one else owns land in the show. And any time that people who don’t own land get a weird idea about how maybe they should own stuff too, they die in a car accident. And the rich people are nice, but they’re in charge of how the help works. They’re in charge of shaping the society through their kindness, through their generosity. And this is the Zuckerberg model.” • A little meandering, but definitely fun.

“‘MissionRacer’: Amazon turns tedium of warehouse work into a game” [Seattle Times (RS)]. “Developed by Amazon, the games are displayed on small screens at employees’ workstations. As robots wheel giant shelves up to each workstation, lights or screens indicate which item the worker needs to pluck to put into a bin. The games simultaneously register the completion of the task, which is tracked by scanning devices, and can pit individuals, teams or entire floors against one another to be fastest, simply by picking or stowing real Lego sets, cellphone cases or dish soap. Game-playing employees are rewarded with points, virtual badges and other goodies throughout a shift. Think Tetris, but with real boxes. Amazon’s experiment is part of a broader industry push to gamify low-skill work, particularly as historically low unemployment has driven up wages and attrition. Gamification generally refers to software programs that simulate video games by offering rewards, badges or bragging rights among colleagues…. In at least one warehouse, said an employee, workers have used high achievement on the games to push managers to reward them with extra Swag Bucks, a proprietary currency that can be used to buy Amazon-logo stickers, apparel or other goods.” • So Amazon pays you with junk from the company store. Cool, cool.

“Contra Vance” [The Baffler]. “For every depiction of Appalachia that depends on classist, dysgenic, and monolithic tropes, there is an Appalachian voice with a response. People from other regions can continue to diagnose the problems in Appalachia and posit solutions—things like teaching unemployed coal miners to code—but none of these solutions will be adequate, helpful, or non-exploitative unless we stop giving money to figures who perpetuate the deeply flawed images of the Deliverance effect in action. America already loves to hate the poor and have their classist beliefs confirmed. It feels good to assign racism and structural inequality to an imaginary region, because to do so assuages the guilt of the white middle class. If we didn’t use Appalachia as a scapegoat, we’d have no one to blame for national economic suffering but ourselves.”

News of the Wired

“A top ‘Fortnite’ player who won more than $500,000 is suing his team over an ‘oppressive’ contract. Here’s why other YouTubers are taking notice.” [Business Insider]. “In a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Tenney alleges that FaZe Clan retained 80% of the revenue generated from his sponsored videos and advertisement deals, as well as 50% of the revenue generated by his in-person appearances. ‘Faze Clan’s goal is essentially to ‘own’ Tenney and other content creators/streamers and professional gamers,’ the lawsuit alleges. ‘FaZe Clan, which is not a licensed talent agency, exploits young artists like Tenney through oppressive and predatory long-term contracts whereby FaZe Clan essentially ‘owns’ the artist and the artist’s career.'” • Sounds like K-Pop. Or MoTown.

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

Timotheus writes: “Some pretty things in Isham Park, which your highly informed readership will be able to identify if you like them enough to use.” Readers?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Michael Fiorillo

    While I’m glad that a critique of so-called charitable giving by the likes of Giridharadas is seeing the light of day, it doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    As a public school teacher who was deeply involved in the struggle against corporate education reform and privatization, let me assure you there is absolutely nothing “nice” about the Overclass predators and parasites who oversee Malanthropy – the use of of non-profit entities to reinforce their political and economic interests – or their factotums, whether in their personal behavior or policies.

    These were/are vicious, dishonest bastards who cynically hijack the rhetoric of social justice to serve their monstrous appetites for power and wealth.

    1. TroyMcClure

      If one’s political rhetoric can be so easily weaponized against those it purports to serve, one wonders what use it is?

    2. Plenue

      The funny thing is that Downton Abbey itself basically agrees with you. Not by design though. Show creator Julian Fellowes, himself a noble, is completely infatuated with this fictional family he’s created and simply doesn’t grasp that he writes them as actually terrible people.

      So we get insane story arcs like when one of the daughters (who we’re supposed to like and feel happy for when she does things like actually gets a job) takes a long trip to have a secret baby, a baby she then give to one of the tenant families to raise as their own. But the daughter can’t handle this, and eventually publicly admits the kid is hers and takes it back, while the tenant family, where the wife has become extremely attached to the kid, simply ups and moves out of their home to spare the daughter continued awkwardness. This is presented as noble (hah!) on the part of the poor family, and never is the rich daughter presented in a negative light. The whole thing is just a privileged person smashing up the lives of ‘lesser’ people and not caring.

      1. Solar Hero

        Yeah but Dude that peasant family got a dowry making life much better for them!

  2. Watt4Bob

    Why do we need to do 5G, again?

    We need 5G because the ability to triangulate a person’s position is only accurate with half a mile or so with 4G, but because 5G towers are located much closer together, it’s possible to locate a device/person within a few yards.

    If the 1% feel they can safely find you when they think it necessary, maybe they won’t have to move to Mars, or build bunkers in New Zealand.

    1. Summer

      Part of it….they’ll have to keep track of their robots within a few yards. Those will be the workers

  3. Roger Smith

    It’s bad enough that MSM can’t stop calling Gabbard a Russian plant for daring to suggest our bloated, republic subverting, totalitarian military apparatus is a bloated, republic subverting, totalitarian military apparatus. Now we have IVN portraying Gabbard as some carrion waste, making Bernie’s ascension all that much more difficult. This is entitled nonsense, the same as having to ‘just vote Hillary because otherwise republicans might win’. Why is Bernie entitled to win? There is one sure way for Sanders to win, get the votes.

    1. JohnnyGL

      That article (at least from the paragraph cited above) falls into the same mode of thinking seen a lot of this site by many (myself included) in divvying up voters the way we divvy up party elites.

      Sanders/Gabbard/Warren may be on the same team, to a degree, on policy and priorities. All else may be on another team or teams.

      But, if you take the weekly Morning Consult polling data at face value (which you can’t, but it’s not nothing), then you can’t avoid the conclusion that there’s a LOT of overlap and fluidity between and among the bases of support of all the candidates. Biden voters #2 choice is Bernie and vice-versa.

      Of course, it’s early and things are very fluid, still.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > you can’t avoid the conclusion that there’s a LOT of overlap and fluidity between and among the bases of support of all the candidates. Biden voters #2 choice is Bernie and vice-versa.

        I do think it’s important that the great number of candidates makes fundraising hard. And we already see Sanders changing his fundraising strategy.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It also makes noticing differences harder as we are forced to deal with items such as cookie recipes from 50 to 70 different people. Getting Barack Obama’s name right was hard enough in the 00’s (Baraka is a Mortal Kombat character with swords for arms), now people have to navigate Beta, Mayor Pete, Kamala, Klobuchar, the legion of White Random White Guys running on long shot Republican candidate pablum (vague national service campaigns in lieu of simply paying people to do jobs)

          For some reason, effing DeBlasio is running. Is the “Rent is too Damn High” guy busy?

          1. JohnnyGL

            I was looking at polling data the other day and saw that DeBlasio has the highest negatives of any candidate.

            That made me laugh. People are ALREADY primed to hate him! :)

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Negatives aside, he has a real job, making him jump out (it’s a job where you can be someone worthy of jumping to the White House; they usually choose to be bums). He’s not mayor of South Wasilla. He’s not a rando congress critter like the Legion of White Guys. With candidates such as Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard who have actual points, DeBlasio is really awful, especially with the now decidedly pointless Gillenbrand in the race. Klobuchar for example thinks she has a regional selling point.

              Outside of Biden, who is comically evil, I think DeBlasio might be the most insulting candidacy thus far. Buttigieg is way too much of a tool, eager to impress a 10th grade teacher with a stellar essay to be insulting. Beto is just kind of dumb.

              1. Pat

                I am going to be differ on this, De Blasio is far less insulting than Biden, Buttigieg and Beto. He is less a tool and far more left than any of them. And while he shouldn’t be President, that is largely because he is easily rolled.

                I admit some of this is because I find him such a relief after Bloomberg, but also because I know how many of his supposed problems can be directly laid at the feet of Coumo. His run is ridiculous but his having more negatives than Biden only shows how little the public knows Biden’s record.

        2. JohnnyGL

          Huge number of candidates, in my view, does at least 2 things.

          1) favors top tier candidates through name recognition and ‘electability’. That helps Biden, Sanders, maybe Warren, maybe Harris. DNC prob doesn’t necessarily like that because it is stuck backing a very shaky Biden as it’s favored horse (since Harris, Beto, Pete have all turned out to be duds).

          2) Permits the DNC to accomplish its real goal….squeezing Gabbard and Gravel out of debates. They’re already working on changing the rules to make the debate stage. 1st debate is going to be huge.

          Gabbard is the most important because she can say, and is saying, things that Bernie can’t/won’t because he’s trying to thread a needle. I think even Gravel, himself, would (and maybe already has) openly admit(ted) the importance of Gabbard.

          If FDR wanted to go left, he needed Huey Long to pull him that way. Bernie needs Tulsi the same way.

          1. Cal2

            IMHO, I think Bernie with Tulsi as Vice President would be all round winner in November 2020. Would safeguard him from induced harm and she could take over should he have health problems or just want not run in 2024.

            Progressive Democrats, the real ones, would vote for this ticket, as would veterans, active military, peace activists, those who support M4A, fiscal sanity, a lot of Trump voters and women candidate supporters. Trump loses.

            Those voting against Sanders-Gabbard in the primary; Wall Street shysters, MIC execs, neo-con artists, big insurance profiteers, pharma bros and the others who support Status Quo Joe, Chip On the Shoulderpads Kamala and Buttalicious.
            If they are nominated; Trump wins.

            Regarding those “It’s important to defeat Jeff Sessions!” fundraisers, just tell them that after Bernie’s the nominee, you’ll send the Democrats a thousand bucks. If he’s not nominated, you’ll vote for Trump.

            It’s as effective as shooing fundamentalists away from your door by telling them you are a Catholic.

            1. Brindle

              I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance in hell that Bernie would choose Gabbard as his VP. Bernie would likely choose Warren, Klobuchar, Harris or even Stacy Abrams. Bernie does have a pragmatic streak and his VP choice would mirror that.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                That’s not pragmatic. Sanders knows we need an FDR style operation, not undercutting his message with a Liebermanesque pick. Biden was only tolerable because it was preferrable to setting up Bayh or Timmy Kaine to lose in 2016.

                It’s Khanna or Gabbard if she earns it. We’ve seen “pragmatic” picks on losing tickets.

                1. Cal2

                  Harris is political poison.

                  If Bernie picks Harris, I and a lot of people, especially from California, who have watched her jump from job to job, would vote for Trump rather than have her anywhere near real power.

                  From Partyless Poster, in today’s links:
                  “ID politics are destroying the left, I read a post on FAIR where someone claims a natural history museum is white supremacist because it assumes a white audience.”
                  Ridiculous of course, but this is the kind of nonsense that Harris echoes, endorses and there’s hours of video that Trump would use in the campaign against Bernie, who has been true to his policies for decades.

                  Any ticket with Harris on it loses the white male vote to Trump, and probably a lot of females as well who have worked their way to the top without having to get their start servicing the needs of a powerful politically connected boyfriend like did Harris.

                  Even black people hate Kamala The Cop, and would probalbly vote against her or stay home. Why do you think she moved her campaign from her alleged base in Oakland, to across the country in Baltimore, where no one knows here? For that reason.

                  Warren as V.P. would be great too.

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    Yeah, but is Sanders going to be President in 2025? Sanders age would normally be a bad thing, but the Democratic Party is such a waste land due to various problems, the next best candidate is an effing Republican, Warren.

                    To a certain extent, there have been leadership problems, so I can see people coming in and being misled by Pelosi. I use to think she wasn’t terrible. February 2009 was so long ago now.

                    To a certain extent, a vote for Sanders is very likely a vote for him make a judgement about who should be the next President in 2025. FDR had polio, but his age meant he was more likely to be President longer.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > IMHO, I think Bernie with Tulsi as Vice President would be all round winner in November 2020. Would safeguard him from induced harm and she could take over should he have health problems or just want not run in 2024.

              I’ve also considered whether Sanders, if he wins the nomination, is elected, and is allowed to take office, would not serve out his term. If so, and assuming he can put a real mandate in place with his first 100 days — which he will need a brutal and effective White House staff to do — then his VP would need to be able to execute. I don’t see Gabbard as having executive experience. Warren meets that requirement. Maybe Inslee (assuming a local reader doesn’t tell me his climate proposal is a scam).

        3. barefoot charley

          I gave to Bernie in the beginning, and am besieged with the usual emails. Last week I’m sad to say they upped his game: I was called at dinner by a case-hardened professional always-be-closing, never-say-goodbye fundraiser. I was disheartened, said it wasn’t the time to listen to her script. “Oh, I can cut it short: won’t you give an additional monthly contribution of just 12 dollars a–”

          Gag me with a robo-call. We can tell Bernie’s brilliant campaign manager resigned. I hope his campaign can prevent becoming like all the others, because I didn’t give to get arm-twisted out of a boiler room until 2021.

          1. JohnnyGL

            Yeah, I got another text, today, in fact.

            I suspect they’re getting a bit anxious, but they know Biden’s shaky and that they’ve got a real shot at this.

            I saw somewhere the campaign wants to get an early knockout. I’m not sure that’s the right strategy, but the narrative around ‘electability’ makes that possible, even likely. If Bernie’s organization can help get a solid opening win in Iowa, and he’s already strong in NH, he needs to win or stay close down south and probably win CA. Once he’s established at the front-runner, he’ll be really hard to dislodge.

            1. dcblogger

              I think that an early knock out is their best strategy. Easier said than done but 4 straight wins in Iowa, NH, Nevada, and SC would make very tough indeed for anyone to take it away from Bernie.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                SC with its larger primary bloc is the toughest nut. Clinton had to employ every trick she could to basically tie in Iowa and Nevada as well as have a second go and unlimited cash, and Reid is a former Senator, he might as well be dead. I’ll probably go on vacation to SC next year.

                4 wins and it’s over. No one else really has a point to stay.

                1. Cal2

                  Remind the people in South Carolina that Kamala’s a Neocon cop. Don’t forget newspaper comment lines. I think she’s assuming people will vote for her because of the color of her skin, not the content of her character.

                  “While district attorney of San Francisco, Harris tried to combat waning school attendance by criminalizing truancy. She was then able to use the threat of fines or jail time for parents of children who missed too many school days. Harris never sent a parent to jail while overseeing this initiative as San Francisco’s chief prosecutor.

                  But when she became attorney general of California in 2011, she implemented the policy statewide. Prosecutors across the state took parents to court, and some were jailed.”


                  “Most of those prisoners now work as groundskeepers, janitors and in prison kitchens, with wages that range from 8 cents to 37 cents per hour. Lawyers for Attorney General Kamala Harris had argued in court that if forced to release these inmates early, prisons would lose an important labor pool. Prisoners’ lawyers countered that the corrections department could hire public employees to do the work.”


              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                > IA, NH, NV, and SC

                IA: Maybe. Strong ground game

                NH: Probably. Proximity, strong ground game

                NV: Maybe not. Culinary workers; Dems stole it once, can do so again

                SC: Probably not; the firewall. OTOH, if Sanders does win or even come a strong second in SC, that will cause a lot of heads to explode.

          2. Spring Texan

            Yeah, I give but the “Bernie beg” emails make me furious and I unsubscribe as soon as I get back on the list by donating.

            And I hate the constant harping on deadlines if I get an email like that I wait even if I was gonna give.

            Have to say I give to Warren too and her campaign is MUCH BETTER on this (like Bernie’s was in 2016). [But I still like Sanders better.]

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I was called at dinner by a case-hardened professional always-be-closing, never-say-goodbye fundraise

            I think they’re doing it wrong and this is a strategic error. This is not how a movement operates. This is totally top-down, and moreover a form of human interaction people legitimately hate.

        4. Earl Erland

          So, is it all about the Benjamins for Bernie? Bernie strikes me as the type of guy who would ride a bus or nurse a beer alone just to listen. The bonus for Bernie being there is the interaction, the candidate/potential voter dance. And, is that not what Iowa and New Hampshire is all about? So he is starting it early, and, most likely, in places it does not typically occur.

          Bernie’s Iowa road show: an Excellent Adventure!

        5. wilroncanada

          Unfortunately, it isn’t so hard if you can corral a couple of billionaires, or a classroom full of multimillionaires, and can get some or all of them to organize pacs to bring along their friends?/ debtors/employees.

          1. Earl Erland

            A True History in 34 words. But, my question stands: is it about as a fundraising? Lambert phrased it as a fund raising issue.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Now we have IVN portraying Gabbard as some carrion waste, […]

      Where do you get that? From the article Lambert linked to, all I find is,

      But now Bernie’s votes will be split with progressive icons like Warren and Gabbard, as well as with progressive-sounding corporate politicians like Buttigieg, Harris, and Biden.

      That seems more like portraying Gabbard as a progressive icon; hardly carrion waste. Just because having many candidates is a standard tactic of the DNC doesn’t mean the DNC is specifically behind Gabbard entering the race, and even if it were, it certainly doesn’t mean the author of the article is portraying Gabard as “waste.”

      Do you have some other article or source in mind?

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Note, I could be wrong and the author may indeed resent even the “progressive icons” entering the race when they know it will have negative effects (such as fund raising), but I don’t see it in the text which directs it’s ire pretty much exclusively at the DNC.

  4. Summer

    RE: Biden is a relative newcomer, though he did have one major advantage: Obama’s email list.” • That’s the lead, buried nine paragraphs down.

    More than one way to endorse preferred candidates. Would be interesting to know who else in the primary has the list.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I doubt the Obama list is that good anymore. Its the Democratic Party’s ultimate macguffin. For candidates who need name recognition, it matters especially when you are trying to get Presidential only voters to focus on other elections. Once Obama shut down OFA and the 50 state strategy and largely stopped having a point to his Presidency, the list likely withered as emails changed or people simply unsubscribed as they felt betrayed.

      Didn’t Obama give it to HRC? And used it in the 2014 midterms? Obviously, its had a profound effect on the electorate. Basically, the Democrats only lost 1000 seats because of the Great MacGuffin. Like the One Ring, the Holy Grail, the Maltese Falcon, and whatever was in the brief case in Pulp Fiction, the Obama LIst is more important to the feelings of main characters than having any actual use.

      1. Pat

        But thinking that is the reason rather than, well, people gaming the system with lots of small donations not only boosts Biden’s pr position, it also helps keep the Obama team were brilliant alive.

        But that’s just me.

      2. Cal2

        The ultimate reason for the Democrats to not nominate Biden+Harris or whatever…

        The list of student debtors, now numbering 45 million, 22% of whom are in default, with that number expected to rise to 40% by 2023.

        Joe Biden Backed Bills to Make It Harder for Americans to Reduce their Student Debt


        In your daily travels, ask every person you speak with if they have student debt.

        “You know Joe Biden, the guy that’s running for president? He’s why you can never get out from under that student debt until you die…remember to vote for Bernie Sanders, he wants to make it easier on you, not doom you like Biden.”

        Already have seen some home made billboards on overpasses;
        “Biden’s our foe, vote for Bernie,”
        “Bernie or Trump 2020”
        “Biden, student loan gravedigger-Vote for Bernie”

        Recycled cardboard, junk paint, a home theater projector, and you can spread your message to a 100,000s of people in a few days.


  5. NotReallyHere

    Looks like Leocojum ( white large snowdrop like flowers) with Kerria … both spring bloomers ..

    1. Summer

      “While the Tories are ripping themselves apart, our country is in crisis. The Government has made a catastrophic mess of the Brexit negotiations, our steel industry is under threat and universal credit is pushing people into poverty. ”

      Wonder what “universal credit” means in the context being used in Britain? Not familiar with the term.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        “Wonder what ‘universal credit’ means in the context being used in Britain? Not familiar with the term.

        Re-badging of Tory social austerity, in a nutshell.

  6. Summer

    RE: “A top ‘Fortnite’ player who won more than $500,000 is suing his team over an ‘oppressive’ contract. Here’s why other YouTubers are taking notice.”
    ” ‘Faze Clan’s goal is essentially to ‘own’ Tenney and other content creators/streamers and professional gamers,’ the lawsuit alleges.”
    Does Fortnite own any stake in “Faze Clan”?

    Check out this type of fraud going on with music streaming:

    “There’s a rapper on Spotify named Lil Kambo who’s racked up 2 million streams and counting on his song “Kid Carti.” This would be a significant feat for any unsigned, self-releasing artist in the modern day. The only problem is that “Lil Kambo” doesn’t exist and “Kid Carti” is a pitch-shifted leak of Playboi Carti’s yet-unreleased track “Kid Cudi” (previously referred to as “Pissy Pamper”), a song the rapper’s been teasing for some time and even playing out live. Lil Kambo isn’t a viral hit—he’s a fraudster.

    This unofficial leak, uploaded to Spotify on April 19, racked enough plays in recent days to top the U.S. Viral 50 chart on Spotify, as Genius pointed out earlier today. A peek around the metadata gives us a couple bits of information: “Kid Carti” is credited on Spotify as being written and performed by Lil Kambo, and it was uploaded to the platform via Distrokid, the digital distribution company in which Spotify owns a minority stake as of last year. The only other songs on Lil Kambo’s profile, “Diamonds Real” and “Made It Back,” are previously leaked Lil Uzi Vert songs….”

    Note that line: Spotify owns a minority stake in Distrokid. But of course it’s all too much being uploaded for it to be their responsibility to keep track of (so the excuse goes from them and all of their sickening apologists). I’ll bet despite all the “overwhelming” amount of uploads, they haven’t lost track of one nickel owed to them.

    1. MK

      My brain hurts reading all these modern cool names and stuff. Now – get off my lawn!

      1. Summer

        Yeah, I may change my tag to Lil Summer…
        maybe I could get some checks from rapper tunes.

        But “Lil” is just short for “Little”.
        Little Richard
        Little Anthony
        Little River Band
        Little Steven
        Little Willie John
        Little Walter

        And on and on…

  7. Jason Boxman

    My only encounter with Emanuel was at a Red to Blue fund raiser for a terrible FL blue dog, where he turned to me and asked the name of the place we were at. I think he spoke. I don’t remember what he said. I believe the fundraiser was for Suzanne Kosmas.

    She won and was placed on whatever House finance committee Grayson was on. From what I heard, while Grayson was attending meetings, she was out fundraising. Probably doing her DNC call time.

    From Wikipedia:

    Kosmas was defeated for re-election by former State Representative Sandy Adams on Nov. 2, 2010 by a 60% to 40% margin. Ironically, two years after handing Feeney the largest margin of defeat for a Republican incumbent in the 2008 cycle, Kosmas herself lost by the second-largest margin of any Democratic incumbent in the 2010 cycle.

    Another useless blue dog.

  8. Pat

    Well, how does Chait feel about his columnist Rahm now? Oh, wait, I forget it was a win win. IF no one notices what a failure Emanuel’s administration was as Mayor, he can help direct people to candidates who only talk a good game but have no intention of following through. If they do notice, his advancement of policies hated by the donorship class increases the odds that people will consider them the usual neoliberal bait and switch even if they aren’t.

    Or maybe I’m just reading too much into Emanuel finding a soft place to land that isn’t limited to a boardroom or trading floor when he should be toxic.

    1. clarky90

      Re; “Vision Strategy and Insights’ client list includes multiple health care and pharmaceutical companies that are members of trade associations in the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF), a “dark money” group with a stated objective to “change the conversation around Medicare for All” ………

      In yesterday’s Water Cooler, I remarked that Rahm Emanual is also a member of this Alistar Crowleyish, Magik Kult. Accepted wisdom is turned upside down and Inside out. Lies are the truth. Evil is really, good……

      These are not a few, random psychopaths fuming alone in their basements. But, they are organized, well funded, neo-anarchists; wreaking havoc on everything that touches their gaze.

      Follow this real-life, Game of Thrones serial! Lambert posts new episode every weekday.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Well, how does Chait feel about his columnist Rahm now?

      Where is this coming from? Chait is at New York Magazine; Rahm is at The Atlantic (The Atlantic is the one edited by a war criminal, if anybody’s keeping track of such things these days).

      1. Pat

        Thank you for the correction. I don’t know how I linked Chait to the Atlantic (other than maybe confusing similar DNC flavor of the week fluffing), but as you rightly point out it was wrong.

        My apologies.

  9. Pat

    Apparently few people were interested in Beto O’Rourke’s town hall on CNN.

    The 10-11:15 PM broadcast attracted only an average of 714K viewers. That includes 194K in the news demo, aka viewers 25-54.

    In the same block of time, Fox News Channel clocked 2.260M viewers and MSNBC logged 2.196M…

    Beto’s numbers fell 29% shy of CNN’s 2019 average in the Tuesday night block of time, and 38% short in the news demo.

    Beto bombs

    1. JohnnyGL

      He can’t last more than a few months like this. Fundraising is going to get cut off. Even his father in law will reign him in sooner or later.

    1. jo6pac

      Denton says that as she was writing the book, she was struck by the parallels between the treatment of Roosevelt and that of Barack Obama

      I want what ever she’s smoking. FDR did help Main Street against all odds and thanks to War is a Racket B. Smedely
      obomber helped his friends on wall street throw Main Street under the bus.

      Yes the forces will come out and try stop bernie. They won’t even break into a sweat. SAD.

      1. Wukchumni

        Imagines fireside chat, circa 1933:

        … the Smoot-Hawley tariffs passed by my predecessor were as hopeless as he was, so i’m raising them by 150% next week in my first act as your favorite President

    2. Spring Texan

      Yep. That’s why I’d love to see a Sanders/Warren ticket. Bankers would HATE IT.

  10. noonespecial

    Re Tech Billionaires – And the rich people are nice, but they’re in charge of how the help works.

    Bloomberg published the following on RV life next to Google’s HQ.

    From the article:

    Since 2014, Google has given more than $14 million to groups tackling homelessness in Mountain View. That includes $1 million for Destination: Home, and $1.5 million to help with construction of a 67-unit affordable housing development…the head of Destination: Home, thinks the North Bayshore plan should include a lot more affordable housing. But she and others say it’s not just about money. There needs to be political will—people have to want to help their neighbors in need.

    Some Silicon Valley residents don’t want new apartment buildings changing their suburban towns, and they get angry at the thought of affordable housing bringing poorer people to their neighborhoods. Two years ago, about 500 local residents showed up at a meeting to discuss small, temporary housing in San Jose. Many screamed and shouted at Loving and her colleagues. At one point, the crowd chanted “build a wall” to keep homeless people away.


    1. anon y'mouse

      that’s california in a nutshell. they talk a good game about being “for the little guy”, but the only guy they are actually for is their latino gardener. because paying him less than a citizen to slave in the undergrowth is their only desired mode of “helping the deserving”. all others than servants, preferably foreign, need not apply.

      its why native californios (no, not native-natives, just people born there) who can’t manage to strike it rich in the gold mines tend to leave.

  11. ewmayer

    From my Reuters newsfeed today: Half of American adults expect war with Iran ‘within next few years’: Reuters/Ipsos poll – Reuters

    “While Americans are more concerned about Iran as a security threat to the United States now than they were last year, few would be in favor of a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military. But if Iran attacked U.S. military forces first, four out of five believed the United States should respond militarily in a full or limited way, the May 17-20 poll showed.”

    Not that that bolded bit is any kind of invitation to a false-flag incident, or anything. Even more frightening is how decades of imperial propagandizement has caused most Americans to treat things like invading a country – especially one willing and able to fight back, even is such resistance will necessarily be of the asymmetric-warfare kind – so incredibly blithely: “If Iran attacked, however, 79% said that the U.S. military should retaliate: 40% favored a limited response with airstrikes, while 39% favored a full invasion.” History, terrain, Iran having powerful strategic allies and the US clearly lacking any kind of “coalition of the poodles” in the presence case make even the thought of an invasion utterly insane. But nearly half of Americans polled are effectively saying “if the government and MSM say Iran attacked the U.S., we should launch a full-blown invasion of that country.” Utterly deluded imperial madness.

    1. jrs

      It’s to the point where some Dems in congress are warning the Trump administration is inviting a ramp up with it’s policies. So yes, I’d worry.

      1. RWood

        According to WSWS, some Dems are gung-ho for the bar fight:

        In the midst of the provocative military threats against both Syria and Iran, a bipartisan Congressional group comprising the majority of both the House and the Senate signed a letter to President Trump urging an even more aggressive policy in the region and in particular in Syria.

        The letter amounted to a demand that the Trump administration maintain a strong military presence in Syria, escalating confrontation with the government of President Bashar al-Assad as well as Iran and Russia and unconditionally supporting Israeli attacks on the country.

        It was signed by nearly 400 members of Congress, including leading Democrats in both the House and Senate. The letter was issued in the names of the Representatives Eliot Engel and Michael McCaul, the chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Senators James Risch and Bob Menendez, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


        What, me worry?

    2. neo-realist

      The delusion is aided by 40 plus years of no conscription. Most Americans have no idea of what its like to have skin in the game of a shooting war; the corporate media, beginning with the Gulf War, present war like its a video game – shoot white darts at a person or a building and boom, success. Clean and antiseptic. No displays of flag draped caskets; No, nothing to worry your deluded heads about. War to our critical mass is spectator sport rather than something to be involved with as a matter of life and death.

      1. Carolinian

        Forty plus years of Brian Williams and his ilk saying cruise missiles are beautiful. It’s not just that people are disengaged because there’s no draft. They also get fed huge doses of unreality via tv news and the 24/7 cable channels.

        And none of it is new. If you read the history of European public opinion before WW1 there was widespread eagerness to “settle things.” Perhaps it’s a generational thing and some of us are horrified only because we have long memories.

        1. wilroncanada

          Thanks Carolinian, I think the sophistication and all-encompassing ubiquity has had the most pernicious effect on citizens. That, and the precaritation of the biggest proportion of people now means they have little to no time or strength to think, much less act, for themselves. I don’t have an answer for that, except long-term.
          As far as the draft is concerned, my wife’s cousins husbands, both of whom lived in the Seattle area, described the brainwashing along with the brutality of basic training, with trainers beating the crap out of you if you didn’t scream epithets like gook , scum, monkey, or worse as you crawled under netting and rose to bayonet a stuffed dummy, repeated over and over and over and over.
          Her male cousin, same family, was just young enough to miss call-up, but was preparing to come back to Canada, whence the family had started.

            1. Jessica

              Perhaps what is new (at least compared to the last few decades) is not the pro-war cheerleading from the mainstream media, but the presence of opposition that the MSM can’t ignore.

          1. Procopius

            Funny, I don’t remember “trainers” in the Army being allowed to touch a trainee, much less “beat the crap out of them.” I think your wife’s cousins exaggerated a little bit, perhaps to get a little more sympathy. We were not encouraged to scream anything when we crawled under the barbed wire with the machine guns firing over us. Believe me, you didn’t have breath left over to scream anything, except maybe “Yaaaaahhh” when you bayoneted the dummy. That was stupid training anyway. Even in Vietnam barbed wire obstacles like that weren’t used. That was World War I technology, trench warfare. Maybe all that’s changed and that’s why we now have so much sexual assault.

    3. anon in so cal

      NeoCons psychopathic and suicidal enough to launch nukes?

      “Trump’s Annihilation Threat to Iran and WWI Déjà Vu

      …A senior Republican Senator, Tom Cotton, who is an arch war hawk on Iran, also appeared to endorse nuclear strikes if any conflict were to arise. He told Fox News that the US could defeat Iran with just two strikes, cryptically calling them “the first strike and the last strike”. That again leaves little doubt that nuclear annihilation is on the mind of Washington politicians with regard to prosecuting a war with Iran….”


      The total insanity of any US attack on Iran:

      “Yet no one in war-cheerleading US corporate media talks about the quadrillion derivative crisis that will gut the global economy if there’s an attack on Iran (I addressed it here.) Shutting down the Strait of Hormuz will bring down the 2.5 quadrillion world derivative market, largely wiping out the economies of all Western nations.

      No one talks about the massive arsenal of Iranian anti-ship missiles, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles, some in positions visible to US satellites and drones, deployed all along the northern shore of the Persian Gulf. Those include the Russian SS-NX-26 Yakhont, which travels at Mach 2.9 speed. Iranian – as well as Russian and Chinese – anti-ship missiles can knock out the entire US Aircraft Carrier Task Force before their planes are even in range…No one talks that it would take the US at least six months to place a proper combat army in Southwest Asia; the Pentagon scenario of a possible 120,000-strong troop deployment does not even begin to cut it….”


      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Yes, to the average American poll respondent all these bearded hankie-heads sound alike. Let Gawd sort em out.

        But the US unilaterally occupying the rugged homeland of 90 million heirs to a wealthy, accomplished and cohesive 5000 year old civilization is…. words fail me. Blowing up their tanks and ships, easy…. It is the war after the war that will be lost, horribly. Not with 10 times 120,000 men could America do this.

        The Persians have systematically beaten (Assyria, Rome, Mughals), outsmarted (Turks, Carter-Reagan) or outright assimilated (Alexander, Arab Islam, Mongols) every single foreign invader and remained masters of their own land. And in this case they will have active support from most of their neighbors.

        Ross Perot once described them, aptly, as the smartest business people on the planet. (their women are also by far the hottest imnsho). No wonder the Israelis and Gulf oil sheikhs want them kept isolated.

        While the Revolutionary period is not one of the high points in their ancient history, the regime and its social order does not lack popular support or cohesion. Like the Chinese, Japanese and Greeks, they flat out refuse to be told by outsiders how they should govern themselves and what values are universal.

  12. ACF

    Re the DNC approach to stopping Bernie via multiple candidates.

    1) The challengers have to get 15% to get an allocation; many of won’t.
    2) Bernie supporters need to turn out and turn out others, which includes engaging the electorate that doesn’t always vote or and those that aren’t even registered.

    That is, if Bernie supporters change the size and shape of the pie, and then show up en masse, he wins. And having many challengers is more useful than having a few because the more that are in it the less likely that people will get 15%. Now, maybe the huge field will winnow in time to have sufficiently strong alternatives to Bernie to keep him below 50.1%–Biden + 1 or 2 may be enough. We’ll see. But the rules are clear and known well in advance. And pre-the first debate talk is meaningless. We’ll see what happens as time goes on.

    1. UserFriendly

      Yeah, I would be shocked if more than 1 of Warren, Tulsi, and Bernie were still in past NH.
      But you are right on about where Bernie’s voters are:

      Support from voters paying “a lot” of attention to the primary
      Joe Biden — 42%
      Elizabeth Warren — 15%
      Pete Buttigieg — 9%
      Kamala Harris — 9%
      Bernie Sanders — 8%
      Beto O’Rourke — 3%
      Cory Booker — 2%
      Kirsten Gillibrand — 1%
      Amy Klobuchar — 1%
      Tulsi Gabbard — 1%
      Bill de Blasio — 1%

      Support from voters paying “little/no” attention to the primary
      Bernie Sanders — 28%
      Joe Biden — 23%
      Amy Klobuchar — 6%
      Elizabeth Warren — 5%
      Kamala Harris — 5%
      Cory Booker — 4%
      Tulsi Gabbard — 2%
      Beto O’Rourke — 2%
      Pete Buttigieg — 1%
      Julián Castro — 1%
      Andrew Yang — 1%

      1. SlayTheSmaugs

        Thanks for that data; what is the “n =” for each group? I don’t subscribe to the Post and can’t read the article.

      2. Brindle

        From my observations and interactions: Bernie’s supporters are more concerned about policy than those of any other candidate. They may not be so concerned about horse-race primaries but as long as they get out and vote that is the important thing.

        Capping the number of Dem candidates that get to participate in debates at 20 seems arbitrary—why not have 23-25 or whatever—just expand the length of each debate by half an hour.

        From extreme centrist Nate Silver’s site:

        –“The DNC has said that it will cap participation at 20 candidates, so the next candidate who qualifies, via one of the two criteria for entry, will trigger the tiebreaker rules.”–


    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > That is, if Bernie supporters change the size and shape of the pie, and then show up en masse, he wins.

      That’s the idea, yes. It’s also unprecedented. The only example I can think of on a nationwide scale is the pre-Civil War Republican Party. There are probably others, maybe the New Deal, maybe the populist era, but nothing in my life time, and certainly not the pissant Democrat efforts, which always involve getting a billionaire to fund outreach to some temporarily favored identity.

  13. ACF

    Re the DNC approach to stopping Bernie via multiple candidates.

    1) The challengers have to get 15% to get an allocation; many of won’t.
    2) Bernie supporters need to turn out and turn out others, which includes engaging the electorate that doesn’t always vote or and those that aren’t even registered.

    That is, if Bernie supporters change the size and shape of the pie, and then show up en masse, he wins. And having many challengers is more useful than having a few because the more that are in it the less likely that people will get 15%. Now, maybe the huge field will winnow in time to have sufficiently strong alternatives to Bernie to keep him below 50.1%–Biden + 1 or 2 may be enough. We’ll see. But the rules are clear and known well in advance. And pre-the first debate talk is meaningless. We’ll see what happens as time goes on.

  14. marieann

    RE: “Tech billionaires who donate millions, bribing society at large”

    “Charity is only possible without loss of dignity between equals.
    A right established by law, such as that to an old age pension, is less galling than an allowance made by a rich man to a poor one, dependent on his view of the recipient’s character, and terminable at his caprice.”

    “Charity is a cold grey loveless thing.If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly,not dole out money at a whim”
    Clement Attlee

    Clement Attlee

  15. UserFriendly

    I’m starting to like that author from Teen Vogue. She gets an A+ for her twitter handle: https://twitter.com/SatansJacuzzi
    She also gets points for dunking on Beto.
    And I am dying to hear more about this story:

    For me, it’s possible to criticize capitalism because of what I’ve witnessed in the lives and struggles around me: Seeing how some people are taken advantage of means it’s necessary to ask this question. It might be tempting to view my trajectory from emergency redneck plumber to a job at the World Trade Center as a celebration of capitalism’s possibilities. But it has never felt this way. Along the way, I’ve seen people struggle with the realities of capitalism — with wage theft, with crunch-time labor practices, and with the kind of sacrifices it takes to put yourself ahead of your financial well-being. I wish I could say more and share the stories of these people, but the threat of defamation lawsuits means it’s too risky.

  16. Fern

    I came across this article yesterday in National Defense magazine — a defense industry publication. I’ve no idea how valid it is, but this author says that the key is the rare earth metal refining facilities, which are all located in China. He writes that the processing is difficult and very polluting, and that a 2016 Government Accountability Office report estimated that it would take approximately 15 years to rebuild a domestic rare earth supply chain.

    He says that we have underestimated our vulnerability because we look at the extraction of rare earth metals at the mining and oxide production level rather than the refined metal level.

    He writes that: “… reporting solely on mined rare earths or purified oxides distorts government policy decisions because these materials have no significant technology or defense application until they are refined into metals. Only China has the capacity to do that. In fact, every non-Chinese rare earth mine ships its concentrates, or high-value oxides, to China for processing into rare earth metals, alloys, magnets and other high-value materials.”

    He writes: “Few if any U.S. policymakers understand these subtleties. Most would be stunned to learn that China could shut down nearly every automobile, computer, smartphone and aircraft assembly line outside of China if they chose to embargo these materials.”

    And apparently the Clinton administration sold off our stockpiles of rare earth metals. (I’d like to learn more about that. Like Obama/Clinton uranium sale?) He writes: “The U.S. government sold off its entire strategic reserve of rare earths between 1994 and 1998.”


    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for the informative link but the underlying assumption of course is that a potential threat to our defense technology sector is a threat to the country itself. In reality if China chose to play the sanctions game and gave us a dose of our own medicine using rare earths instead of banking restrictions then the hegemon would receive a well deserved spanking. And if they want to bring the US economy to its knees they would be killing off their best customer. Perhaps it’s a good thing that China has something to hold over our heads lest we become too cocky.

      Still this could explain the Pentagon’s recent obsession with China. Instead of “remember the Maine” it’ll be remember the rare earths.

    2. VietnamVet

      I really don’t know what they are thinking. I assume that they think because the USA did it in WWII that they can do it now. They can’t. There is no infrastructure left. United Launch Alliance (Boeing and Lockheed) uses Russian rocket engines to power its main rocket the Atlas V to launch military satellites. No doubt this was done to increase shareholder value. In the meantime the Cold War was restarted. But no replacement American rocket engines yet 4 years later. Likewise, Space X’s astronaut capsule blew up on the test pad last month. Russia is the only way to get to the International Space Station. I doubt John Bolton has told Donald Trump that if he starts a war with Iran and by extension Russia and China, he will be handing over the space station astronauts to the Russians. In a fit of anger because the trade war is going south and he could lose the 2020 election and be indicted, I’m afraid the Commander in Chief is going to decide to blockade Iran by seizing a tanker going to China filled with Iranian oil. All hell will then break loose.

    1. SlayTheSmaugs

      been meaning to ask for quite awhile, as I re-listen to the Gunslinger, if your handle’s first name is Roland.

  17. Alex V

    Regarding the insect/5G article in Nature, one of the conclusions is likely a bit of a stretch given the example results they cite from the simulations.

    “This could lead to changes in insect behaviour, physiology, and morphology over time due to an increase in body temperatures, from dielectric heating.”

    “Under the assumption that the insect has a specific heat capacity equal to that of water (4179 J/K kg), this RF-EMF exposure would result in a temperature increase of 3 × 10–6 K/s, in an isolated approximation.”

    So they’re in effect saying a change of 0.000003 degrees Celsius per second will make the bee physically change its behaviour or morphology? I think the weather may have slightly larger temperature swings than that…

  18. SlayTheSmaugs

    Re the increased turnout demographics from the census–thanks for the info–it’s not surprising that the people voting more were likely to be Clinton voters, or at least anti-Trump voters. It was the first election in which voters could pass judgment on Trump. But interestingly, all groups increased turnout–his first two years did not inspire anyone to stay home. Perhaps his supporters were also more motivated than usual to vote in the midterms.

    Now, what would be more interesting than the national average, would be the same look at districts that flipped red-to-blue. Did turnout fall in any groups in those districts? Did it go up? Which groups did it go up in? Similarly, what happened in the states where Senate seats flipped blue to red?

  19. Grant

    I dont agree with the article from Counterpunch on Biden and comparing him to Trump in 2016. In 2016, voters were sick to death of standard politicians, which is why Jeb collapsed. Trump was anti-establishment and policy wise was in line with his party. Biden has a good lead, although polls not over sampling older voters do show a smaller lead, but his record is absolutely horrible, he is corrupt and wildly out of step both with his party on policy and the mood of the country. So, he really isn’t like Trump in 2016 and I dont think that he will do nearly as well when he is on the stage with others.

    But, even in 2016, the article makes it seem that people settled on Bernie by default. He wasn’t the only person running then and a couple of the other candidates were fake center left types. Why was there not a huge push towards Martin O’Whatever the hell his name was, or Webb? Because people wanted change, they still do. If Biden is still strongly in the lead after a few debates, then we are in trouble and I dont mean we on the left. I mean the country, working people, the poor, communities of color, those that care about corruption and the environmental crisis. The idea of a Biden vs Trump election is shockingly horrible and the long term implications would be dire.

  20. Summer


    “The United Nations general assembly has overwhelmingly backed a motion condemning Britain’s occupation of the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean.

    The 116-6 vote left the UK diplomatically isolated and was also a measure of severely diminished US clout on the world stage. Washington had campaigned vigorously at the UN and directly in talks with national capitals around the world in defence of the UK’s continued control of the archipelago, where there is a US military base at Diego Garcia.

    The vote was in support of a motion setting a six-month deadline for Britain to withdraw from the Chagos island chain and for the islands to be reunified with neighbouring Mauritius. It endorsed an advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in February, calling on the UK to relinquish its hold on the territory in order to complete the process of decolonisation….”

    “…“As the US government has made clear, the status of BIOT as a UK territory is essential to the value of the joint facility and our shared interests – an arrangement that cannot be replicated.”

    The spokeswoman added: “We remain disappointed that this matter was referred to the international court of justice and the UN general assembly. The basic principle that the ICJ should not consider bilateral sovereignty disputes without the consent of both states concerned has been circumvented and this could have wide-reaching implications for all UN member states.”

  21. Wukchumni

    In a less than contentious version of the Kentucky Derby such as this year’s model which had as many entrants as those in the donkey show that have signaled that they want to be in it to win it. I halfway expect a city dog catcher to announce their intentions…

    Some of the field are there only on account of the vanity of the owners, as the horseflesh is weak. It will enable a grandson not yet born to brag that his family had a horse in the derby.

    In races with so many horses that the tote board can’t handle the action, you get what is called a ‘field bet’ which includes 3 or 4 long odds nags in 1 wager.

    You’d get Beto, de Blasio, Booker & Bullock, and no-combining a bunch of stiffs doesn’t make them any better.

    1. wilroncanada

      The Kentucky Der y a donkey show?
      So, how about four punch lines in a row?
      Father Murphy’s ass shows.
      Father Murphy’s ass out in front.
      Father Murphy’s ass back in place.
      Bishop scratches Father Murphy’s ass.

  22. RMO

    Apple is doing the right thing? Too late for me – my 13″ MacBook Pro just went flaky a few nights ago (various keys going unserviceable, iTunes spontaneously opening and closing and then it just wouldn’t start up again – fortunately I was able to do one last backup at the last minute) and died. Just under two years of service. The previous one lasted three… I’ve had it with Apple for a number of reasons. All my laptops until now have been MacBooks but no more. I’m not a fan of Microsoft but at least I was able to get a nicely equipped Asus for a very reasonable price – large hard drive, nice variety of ports, function keys etc. Maybe in the future I’ll try out a Linux variant.

    I didn’t really want to leave Apple, they drove me away.

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