2:00PM Water Cooler 5/30/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this is a little short because I’m traveling tomorrow, and my suffered a little schedule slippage on my arrangements. –lambert


“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

Biden (34.8% 38.3%) and Sanders (16.4% 17.7%) stabilize. Warren, Harris, Buttigieg et al. do Brownian motion, as of May 28.

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Tells 10-Year-Old Girl: ‘I’ll Bet You’re as Bright as You Are Good-Looking” [Glamour] and “‘I’ll bet you’re as bright as you are good-looking,’ Joe Biden tells 10-year-old girl at town hall” [Houston Chronicle] vs. “Joe Biden told a 10-year-old she’s ‘good-looking’ and touched her shoulders a month after vowing to respect women’s space” [Business Insider]. • Business Insider’s headline tells the whole story. Glamour and the Chronicle focus on what Biden said, and not what he did.

Biden (D)(2): “Why Trump is happy to start running against Joe Biden now” [Ed Morrissey, New York Magazine]. “Biden represents the status quo ante that Trump campaigned against so effectively in 2016. He is literally the reset option for Democrats and other voters unnerved by Trump’s chaos-agent campaign, a comfort food menu choice in the Democratic primary that would endorse the old order over Trump’s swamp-draining paradigm. Making Biden his central foe plays into that narrative again for Trump, even before Democrats choose Barack Obama’s former vice president as the nominee. If Trump sees Biden as his most effective potential opponent, then the time to attack is now — he could effectively pre-define the general election race regardless of what strategy Democrats try to use to challenge his incumbency — as long as he’s convinced that voters don’t want a return to a safe status quo ante.” • I use the word “restoration” instead of “reset option” because, IIRC, it was the Bourbon Restoration that gave Talleyrand occasion to remark, of the Bourbons, that “they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.” Sound familiar?

Sanders (D)(2): “In Appeal to Moderates, Sanders Calls for Worker-Ownership of Means of Production” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “Bernie Sanders appears to understand all this. Which is why the 2020 candidate is preparing to shift the focus of his economic message away from divisive “tax and spend” liberalism and toward more broadly popular approaches to reducing inequality — like, say, worker ownership of the means of production. As the Washington Post’s Jeff Stein reports: “We can move to an economy where workers feel that they’re not just a cog in the machine — one where they have power over their jobs and can make decisions,” Sanders said in an interview. “Democracy isn’t just the opportunity to vote. What democracy really means is having control over your life.” Sanders said his campaign is working on a plan to require large businesses to regularly contribute a portion of their stocks to a fund controlled by employees, which would pay out a regular dividend to the workers. Some models of this fund increase employees’ ownership stake in the company, making the workers a powerful voting shareholder. The idea is in its formative stages and a spokesman did not share further details.

IA: “Trump trade bailout complicates tough decisions for farmers facing water-logged fields” [Des Moines Register]. “Massive rainstorms have flooded Iowa farm fields — some drying just in time to get soaked again — causing historic planting delays and forcing growers to make tough financial decisions this week on millions of acres…. USDA announced a second round of aid last week, designed to offset harm caused by ongoing trade disputes with China, Canada, Mexico and other countries. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said trade assistance would only be provided on acres that have been planted. sThat appears to close the door on farmers who have been inundated by rain.” • Whoops.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Ugh, barcodes:


“A Paradigm Shift in Macroeconomic Finance” [Stephanie Kelton]. • Kelton’s website refreshed. Kelton’s new book, The Deficit Myth, is coming out June 9.

Health Care

“Labor Unions Are Split On Single-Payer Healthcare For NY” [Gothamist (WT)]. “‘We have been successful at negotiating good quality health care for many of our members and many don’t pay for health care right now,’ said Fran Turner, director of legislative and political action at the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), which represents 300,000 members and retirees throughout the state. ‘This plan would impose a cost they are not used to paying.’ Some CSEA members do currently pay fees for health care such as copays and deductibles, Turner said. Under the New York Health Act, they would not have to worry about those costs but would instead be responsible for covering 20 percent of the payroll tax levied to pay for the program, with their employers covering the other 80 percent. But, as Turner put it in her written testimony, “Twenty percent of what?'” • Employer-based health insurance seemed like a good idea at the time…

“Report: Babies Are More Likely to Die in States That Didn’t Expand Medicaid” [Governing]. “As the country grapples with increasing rates of maternal mortality, a new study from the Georgetown University Center of Health Policy found that one of the biggest things a state can do for the health of new mothers and babies is to expand Medicaid… The United States is the only developed country [sic] where the maternal mortality rate has increased, doubling over the past two decades.”

Game of Thrones

“How Game of Thrones Should Have Ended” (video) [Think Story, YouTube]. First the problems: The Night King, and chararacter arcs. Then the rewrites.

I’m not going to do any spoilers…

Class Warfare

“Mulvaney Tightens Grip on Labor Chief After Trump Allies Grumble” [Bloomberg Law]. “President Donald Trump‘s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has seized power over the Labor Department’s rulemaking process out of frustration with the pace of deregulation under Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta… This has led to an acceleration of previously languishing rules on overtime pay, job training, and workplace safety that businesses have sought during the first two years of Trump’s administration. The White House intervention also signals more contentious regulations—such as rules to bolster union oversight or restrict workers from taking medical leave—could now be in the pipeline at a department that appears less likely to embody its secretary’s risk-averse style for the remainder of Trump’s presidency.” • Plus the decision on adjuncts…

“I got terribly sick and made a full recovery. Here’s what I learned.” [Jared Bernstein, WaPo]. “My big life lesson, however, is personal, not technical. The outpouring of deep-felt support I received was an existential reminder that taking the time to listen, talk to and connect with the scores of people we encounter from all walks of our lives is a lot more important than I realized. In fact, it may be among the most important things we do.” • This is a touching article, and the author is to a degree self-reflective; he credits his luck to “white privilege,” of course, not class. Here I’m thinking of the ~24% of poor people who can’t vote because of illness or disability. Their stories are never told. Certainly not in WaPo.

News of the Wired

“Is It Time for Safeguards in the Adoption of Robotic Surgery?” [JAMA Network]. The abstract: “On February 28, 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety communication that cautioned patients, surgeons, and health care organizations about the use of robotic-assisted surgical systems for the management of breast cancer and other cancers. This safety communication cited concerns that evidence to support the use of robotic-assisted surgery for the management of these cancers was limited and may even be associated with shorter long-term survival compared with other surgical approaches.” • Ulp.

“Algorithmic Governance and Political Legitimacy” [American Affairs Journal]. “[D]ecisions made by algorithm are often not explainable, even by those who wrote the algorithm, and for that reason cannot win rational assent. This is the more fundamental problem posed by mechanized decision-making, as it touches on the basis of political legitimacy in any liberal regime.” • Hat tip for this excellent article to alert reader Stanley Dundee.

* * *

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 (Angie Neer):

Angie Neer writes: “’Tis the season for cottonwood seed pods in the Pacific NW.” Fa la la la la!

* * *

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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. TonyinSoCAL

    Pending home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.5% in April and were 2% lower than a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said. The trend is solidly downward. April marked the 16th-straight month of annual declines. Housing seemed to be bouncing back from the rough patch at the end of 2018, but as 2019 winds on, that picture is becoming more blurry. On Tuesday, the widely-followed Case-Shiller index showed home prices had risen at the slowest pace since mid-2012 in March.”

    Don’t worry folks, Econoday knows best and this housing market will surely carry this economy through 2019!

    The sluggish Southern California housing market showed signs of perking up in April, as prices ticked up one month after they fell for the first time since 2012. However, the annual gain in prices was far smaller than in recent years and the median remains $7,500 below the all-time high reached in June.

    That raises the prospect of declines in the future. And it suggests that while falling borrowing costs may have attracted more prospective buyers, they haven’t been spurred to engage in aggressive bidding wars.

    “Buyers are being pickier,” said Michael Nourmand, president of L.A. area brokerage Nourmand & Associates Realtors. “They think they can negotiate more than they could before.”

    To make deals go through, more sellers are trimming their asking prices. In Los Angeles County, 13.5% of listings had at least one price cut in April, up from 10% a year earlier, according to Zillow.

    Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, predicted Southern California homes prices will be flat or down a bit over the next year. “Prices,” he explained, “got too high.”

    Et tu LaLa Land? Hmm…

    1. Wukchumni

      They aren’t making really tired looking 3 br/1 bath 1957 tract homes in Reseda worth $600k, anymore.

      The market can’t be forced downward by capricious lack of demand, and garage mahals such as the aforementioned one will be at the vanguard of richly deserved increases in value.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hydrogen-powered flying houses are not tired looking.

        I think a lot of potential buyers would be interested, and you don’t need much marketing to move these.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Price to rent ratios are still not at 2006 peak, but that is not something to aspire to:

      On a price-to-rent basis, the Case-Shiller National index is back to February 2004 levels, and the Composite 20 index is back to November 2003 levels.

      In real terms, prices are back to late 2004 levels, and the price-to-rent ratio is back to late 2003, early 2004.

      So no we are not at 2006 hysterical pricing levels, but compared to historical levels we are a bit high. Renting is still really attractive.

  2. jo6pac

    Oh No an open thread. I think I’ll take a nap until some really smart people come by with some fun things to read.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Duh…Ulysses! Its totally Mayor Pete’s favorite book! And he knows like thirty to fourty language including Queyna and Sindarin!

    1. martell

      Thanks. So, it seems to me that we’re going to have states for the foreseeable future and states must exercise control of some kind over the flow of people, goods, and services across their borders. This is best done by law. The state is, furthermore, a means for exercising democratic control over markets, thereby limiting the well-known and deleterious effects of treating land and labor as commodities. Where labor is concerned, limitation sometimes amounts to de-commodification. So, for example, we don’t let the price of labor be determined solely by fluctuations in supply and demand. This can be done in a number of ways, one of which is to limit the supply through immigration controls. Whether and how this should be done are empirical questions, to be resolved by considering the likely consequences of proposed legislation. What, for instance, would be the consequences of open borders on working class people presently in the US? What would be the consequences for working class people who remain in the places from which their fellow citizens depart? What would be the consequences for the immigrants themselves? How does any of this compare with the alternatives? I don’t know the answers to these questions. Does anyone at DSA? I would like to think so, but my impression is that the debate has focused on principles of political morality and nuances of public relations.

      At the risk of sounding like an ecofascist, I will note that ecological considerations should probably also play a role in reasoning about this issue. Arguably, the human population already greatly exceeds the carrying capacity of the land in many parts of the US. The merits of markets being what they may, respect for ecological thresholds has never been one of their strong points. If we let markets decide where people get to live in, say, North and South America, I very much doubt that the markets will arrive at an ecologically sound distribution.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the DSA’s long-range vision for the future is a “World Without Borders”, then the DSA is as evil and immoral as that evil and immoral vision.

      Ask the American Indian Nations if they benefited and benefit from a “World Without Borders”.

    3. Allegorio

      Seems to me that whoever is making this proposal is trying to sabotage the DSA. Beware the fifth column.

      1. JBird4049

        Yes, that would be an excellent way to split up the DSA and keep others from joining or allying with it. Much of the working class would be alienated from it.

        1. jrs

          And the rest of the working class alienated from taking the opposite position. It’s really no win in some ways, though they have guts.

          1. JBird4049

            Somehow the DSA must create and articulate a short, medium, and long term goals, the problems of reaching them, and the plans to succeed. It does no good telling the masses of the poor (like me), and the working, or even the middle classes who are often un(der)employed, facing or actually are homeless, and sometimes hungry about having open borders.

            For example:

            Short Term: We cannot have more undocumented immigrants. Period. Undocumented immigrants as well as the use of H1-b visas are used to literally replace American workers, drive wages down, have been used to destroy unions. They are a tool used by 10% and even more the top 1% to oppress everyone else. More undocumented means a bigger mallet.

            Medium Term: We cannot ignore or mistreat the undocumented. They should not be here, but they are suffering human beings fleeing what our country did to theirs. Most of the immigrants on the southern border are fleeing countries that the America has spent more than a century laying economic and sometimes military waste too; there is very little effective government or much of a functioning economy; the Central American states have been colonies of the American Empire since the early 20th century. Both the Central Americans as well as American citizens need and deserve having their countries rebuilt with the local ruling oligarchies tossed out. People would not need nor want to leave their homes to sneak into foreign lands like the United States.

            Long Term: Opening the border requires an equality of wealth, resources, and comfort over the entire Earth. Getting there requires creating, then expanding, and at the same time protecting those areas with an equality of wealth, resources, and comfort as well as an agreement over the rule of law. Realize that borders that are too open too soon allows the wealthy, the powerful, those threatened by this new world to destroy it.

            Getting something like this requires something other than slogans or feel good statements. It requires breaking down a situation clearly for everyone to follow and come to an agreement. That is hard enough to do one on one.

        1. Isotope_C14

          Great find!

          I am looking over his collection of essays, and it looks like must-read content.

  3. diptherio

    Black Women Teachers and Youth: How to Turn Self-Hate into Self-Reliance

    Resilience is the foundation for many people of color and resiliency is something that can be taught, if given the right class, curriculum, and teacher. I propose that Life Skills classes are needed in the American high school setting and that black women should teach those survival/resiliency skills in Life Skills classes…

    The article points out some aspects of school integration that I’d never considered before: specifically that while the students were integrated, the teachers were not. That’s such an important aspect that I’m a little flabbergasted I’d never read or thought about it before.

    1. Cal2

      Yeah, that theater MFA has a lot of ideas…Narcissists do not make good teachers.

      It’s my experience, as a white male growing up around many urban black males and the father of two female teachers who taught in urban schools, that black males respect their own grandmother, and sometimes their own mother, but they won’t pay attention to, nor respect, a black or white woman. Yes, I am generalizing.

      What they do respect is a black man who is as tough, or tougher than they are and who has useful skills that he can teach them. It’s an offshoot of athleticism, I believe.

      1. Plenue

        From my annectdotal observations, urban black culture distinguishes between ‘women’ and ‘hoes’. Women deserve some level of respect, hoes none at all (their thinking, not mine). And most females not closely related or attached to any particular black male will likely be viewed by him as hoes. Also hoe is a category any women runs some risk of being downgraded to if she ‘transgresses’.

        1. El Justo

          And it’s my experience as someone who grew up with a very diverse set of friends and classmates that young white men do the same thing, it’s not just “urban black males.” They may not always refer to them as “hoes” (maybe “sluts”) but they can be just as sexualizing and disrespectful. I challenge you to make a comparison between your notions on “urban black male culture” and “white frat culture.”
          Misogyny is color blind!
          Come on guys. I expected more from this commentariat.

        1. Cal2

          I suspect that the social dynamic of black men and boys in rural areas, of which I have no experience, is different.

          Do you have any particular insight? Are, were, you a teacher in urban situations?

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Are you saying that Plenue’s view is basically incorrect? If so, what is the correct view and what is the reality-based evidence?

          I don’t want to leap to any conclusions on a subject I know nothing about. Also, is “urban” too broad a category? Should some narrower focus on “slum-ghetto” be used?

          I do know this: the theoretical attitude that females are indeed either women or hoes . . . is a sick and depraved attitude. If there is any culture which really does maintain this attitude, then that is a sick and depraved culture.

          Is “urban” black culture sick and depraved in the way Plenue describes? I hope Plenue’s comment is incorrect.

      2. Chef

        Just wow.

        “It’s an offshoot of athleticism, I believe.”

        >Aside from playing to obvious pre-Civil Rights stereotypes, it’s not like unathletic people (like Asians if we were to follow the caricature) ever submitted to an authoritarian, right?

        “From my annectdotal observations, urban black culture distinguishes between ‘women’ and ‘hoes’.”

        >Depends on which subset of uban black culture. Sure, you have an extremely ghetto “project” aka gang culture (which is hardly a culture at all) where that may apply, but you also have the urban black Church culture, the urban black gay culture, the urban ‘boogie’ black culture, all which don’t fit in that broad stroke.

        And yes I was a teacher in the Austin area of Chicago which is about as hood as it gets.
        And yes, I have

  4. Tim

    I had a bit of clarity, not necessarily an epiphany, about the current state of the Democratic party and the 2020 Presidential election:

    1. The Democratic establishment knows Joe Biden is their only hope.
    2. The entirety of Biden’s campaign can be distilled into the following one liner: “Vote for Joe Biden, the name you know that doesn’t end with “Trump.'”

    Once you understand those two things everything makes a lot more sense.

    1. MK

      That outcome will likely result in another 4 years of Trump. Unless the Bernie Bros that sat out last cycle b/c Hillary change their course, or they put Sanders on the ticket (2 old white dudes!), Biden might just be the worst possible candidate the Dems could put out there.

      I don’t think anyone who voted not-trump last time would change to him this time, and trump could certainly lose a few 2016 voters (possible gain a few voters too young or didn’t vote in 2016). TL;DR – Trump can be beat, but likely not by Biden.

      1. sharonsj

        I am a staunch Sanders supporter and not a Bernie Bro. Most of his supporters that I know ended up voting for Hillary. I hated having to do it, but I did it too. However, if the establishment rigs it for Biden, I’m probably going to leave the Democratic party altogether. Biden is just another Hillary and will do nothing to help the 99%. I’ve already gotten my yellow vest and I need to clean my rifles. I honestly think another four years of Trump will see the U.S. in constant turmoil, a good deal of it violent.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i couldn’t find it in myself to vote for Herself…so I “threw my vote away” on Stein.
          my mom insists, to this day, that that means i voted for trump.
          i’ve been called everything from Vlad to Traitor—by “Liberals” and “Progressives”, no less— in the last 3+ years.
          I find that i despise the demparty even more than i despise the odious and hateful gop.
          enforcing LOTE is unamerican, in my considered view.
          I want desperately to vote FOR someone or some thing, rather than against the usual clown aircraft carrier of idiotic repubs.
          if sanders gets sandbagged again, I’ll prolly burn my voter registration card and give up on all but local politics:ie: caring only about races where i know where the candidates live… at least in those circumstances I have the option of actually showing up at their doorstep to express my displeasure.

          1. Hopelb

            As a Pittsburgh Pa Bernie campaigner and one who sent him money and emails begging him to run for President when he was still in Congress, I believe that Stein was actually better/ more knowledgeable than Bernie on foreign policy.I voted Stein. My husband wrote in Bernie. Take some solace in the fact that had Hillary won, we would be at war, and that those apolitical citizens who have been sitting on the sidelines, would not have begun close attention.Too bad those very same recently woke citizens are mostly misinformed by npr and the msm, but some have sought out altmedia and that’s a start. Plus, just imagine if our unelected deep state managers are unmasked by Barr, Horowitz And Company! Now that would be a serious dose of “hope and change”.

            1. Svante

              Had Hillary won, the Tag-team Kleptocrats would probably have sufficient leverage to frack more than the airports and ET? You’d doubtless have Shell’s 97 mile ethane line running under the Montour Trail, and it’d doubtless have been rolled at a recently reopend mill with novice hands. DCCC would’ve stomped down some of the pretty marvelous folks actually sounding, voting and ACTING like Keynesian Democrats. And it’d be damn hard to argue politics, facts or ethics with pissed off coworkers, deluded by the media (right or RIGHT lying jackals).

              John, Debbie, Robby & David wanted to WIN?

          2. Lunker Walleye

            “Threw my vote away too” on Stein, but was happy to vote for a woman who seemed more qualified than most others on the ballot. Had dinner with old friends last night and made it clear I’d never vote for Joe. Everyone at table looked at me quizzically, thought I was joking and then had expressions of horror on their faces and then all said “I would”, because TDS.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I wonder what would have happened if you had asked them whether they would have confidence enough in “Uncle Joe” for him to babysit their kids? If there is no reaction on their faces to that question, then you know that they are not even listening to all the information out there.

              1. Lunker Walleye

                They might consider it an honor to leave a child with Joe since they are deeply entrenched in “The Word” of MSNBC, CNN, etc. Sad. I met Joe a couple of times here and in D.C. and thought him desperate to connect with eye contact, handshake, etc.

      2. Synoia

        I believe that is the plan. Not in power in both houses and the presidency, Blame the others….

      3. Allegorio

        “That outcome will likely result in another 4 years of Trump.”

        That’s the whole point of Joe Biden, isn’t it? The establishment Democrats are a faux resistance to Trump. What’s not to like? Tax cuts for the donors, destruction of any potential threats to Tel Aviv, roll back of regulations, eternal war machine profits, resource wars for Wall Street. Added bonus he allows the corporate Democrats to avoid issues, it’s just Trump bad, Trump very bad. Trump fools the “rubes” so much better than Biden. Lying about policy is so much more effective than avoiding talking about policy. No?

        Senator Sanders is the only candidate that can defeat Trump’s faux populism with real populism. He is the only candidate that Trump cannot attack from the left. That is how he won in 2016, and that is how he plans to win in 2020. Trump is already attacking Biden on mass incarceration from the left, and that is just fine with the corporate Democrats.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Joe Biden is the DemEstab’s only hope? Only hope of what?

      Of preventing any decent Democrat from getting nominated? Not necessarily. The Catfood Democrat Establishment has a lot of Catfood Democrats it can use to prevent a decent Democrat from getting nominated.

      Of actually getting the DemPrez nominee elected? Maybe a very faint hope. Not a very strong hope. Debt-Slavemaster Joe is a weak reed upon which to hang any hope of victory.

      1. Tim

        “Of preventing any decent Democrat from getting nominated?”


        I disagree with you that any other catfood dems have any chance. The left equivalence of populism is getting too strong. Harris and others don’t have the slightest chance.

        1. epynonymous

          Harris et. al. are running for 2024, when they will blame Biden and Bernie.

          Ol’ Joe should run for Vice President. Also, if Bernie does well, it’ll be fun hearing the hand-waving on ‘electability.’

          1. Pat

            Sadly, I am beginning to think if they manage to lose in 2020 there is no avoiding Buttigeig. Obama Jr as I think of him is managing to get people I consider intelligent waxing rhapsodic about how erudite he is and saying if he were a 50 year old straight male there would be no stopping him this time.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i get the same from my boomer folks.
              he’s dreamy, apparently.
              the documented record of his life is of no consequence…but my folks have never come near to homelessness.
              and they’re all glued to msnbc.
              it’s similar to what happened to my grandmother when (local affiliate of)fox was the only news available on her rabbit ears
              .that similarity is what’s most frightening, perhaps.

              1. JBird4049

                but my folks have never come near to homelessness.
                and they’re all glued to msnbc.

                Being on the margins does make for an interesting experience. It sucks bigly, but it can get you out of your social bubble or at least look at your opinions.

    1. a different chris

      Oh my that was wonderful.

      When I thought my jaw couldn’t drop any lower, there came this:

      “Pinker cites popular songs like the Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?” to show that standards of punctuality and self-control were breaking down.”

      I was a freaking pre-teen and even I knew that song wasn’t about punctuality. For god’s sake that is the stupidest take I could imagine. In fact I couldn’t have imagined it, as a kid back then or an adult today.

      Do I again have to make my claim that the Ivy League is not only overrated, but so overrated that it’s actually turning out stupider people then good old State U? Yes, I think I need to point that out again.

      1. Synoia

        Your point is that a Moneytocracy is less intelligent than a meritocracy?

        Have to agree.

        I also believe a Gerontocracy in Government is unwilling as well as unable to have vision or implement change.

      2. Allegorio

        “Do I again have to make my claim that the Ivy League is not only overrated, but so overrated that it’s actually turning out stupider people then good old State U?”

        That is the whole point of the Ivy League Mafia. Who is it that invented “Neo-Liberalism”, academics. Where did Zbigniew Brzynski and Madelaine Albright come from, Academia. Who bred the brutal and rapacious professional classes that are raping this country, Academia.

        Academic bureaucracies are just as sinister as corporate bureaucracies, and government bureaucracies. The one thing Steve Bannon gets right is the critique of the administrative state. It is time for the left to understand the tendency to bureaucracy is a curse on the nation and the downfall of the left project. The bureaucracy, “Kiss up, and kick down.” That is the one lesson that the corporate universities excel at teaching.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I have been waiting for three things for more than 40 years:

      1) flying cars;

      2) UVa winning March Madness; and

      3) world peace.

      Twelve months ago, I had given up on all three. Now it’s two down, one to go!

  5. nippersdad

    I thought that this was just too funny not to share.:

    “With the US in another record setting year of natural gas production, I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of US freedom to be exported to the world.”


    Meanwhile down on the farm, look at whose freedoms are being exported one molecule at a time.:


    Let the punning begin.

    1. Cal2

      Time to rewrote the old Air Force bumper sticker:
      “Sonic booms, the sound of freedom!”


      “Breaking wind, the sound of freedom!”

    2. Synoia

      The protesters have had their Freedom Molecules freely extracted and expensively exported.

      We than them for their service.

    3. ewmayer

      Hmmm … freedom molcules – well, the chemical-bond-describing word “covalent” is basically Latin for “stronger together”. That would make a great political slogan for someone! /s

  6. diptherio

    Three of us here in NW MT were talking just the other day about what we could make with all the cottonwood buds. Pillows, maybe?

    1. Oregoncharles

      I believe it was used instead of kapok in life jackets.

      The actual buds are covered with a sticky resin that smells heavenly. My wife keeps little bowls of them around the house. We’ve been given perfume made with it, but never figured out how to extract it ourselves.

  7. Edward

    I think the reason Trump is attacking Biden is because he wants to brand all the Democrats with Biden; Biden reminds voters why they hate the Democratic party. Sanders and a few others, however, create a positive image of the party.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does Trump want people to think Biden would be harder than, say, Warren, for him to beat?

      Or is this his attempt at reverse psychology?

      1. Edward

        This isn’t necessarily about the primary. I suspect this is Trump’s way to go after the Democratic party.

        1. wilroncanada

          I suspect this is Trump’s way to open his mouth and say something–for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
          Except, perhaps, he hadn’t reached his 400 tweets a day yet.

    2. Cal2

      No, he’s smart because he is creating a knee jerk reaction
      among ‘democrats that
      since Trump doesn’t like Biden,
      then Biden’s the man to run against him.

      Smart Democrats will nominate Bernie. That’s who Trump is really afraid of.

      Big Tap,

      Professional camera crews follow a bartender around before she has even decided to run for congress, then a professionally edited, heart wringing documentary about her is shown on Netflix. Looks like controlled opposition to me.

      The main function of 20 or so ‘democratic presidential candidates? Take votes and super delegates away from Bernie. Why limit it to candidates?

    1. Phenix

      If AOC endorses Warren it is more evidence of her role as a Dem hack. I do not know how people can defend a DSA member endorsing a former Republican, Zionist, and neo-liberal reformist over an actual life long Democratic Socialist.

      Warren will never be forgiven in my circles for endorsing Clinton and the same will be applied to AOC.

      1. dcblogger

        my theory is that she will not endorse anyone until a month before the NY primary. Or so say I.

    2. Tyrannocaster

      It’s the Daily Wire. They wouldn’t stoop to disinformation, would they? Also in the article: “Warren is, of course, no less threatening to economic stability than Sanders”, which tells me what I need to know.

      1. polecat

        Could be that Wire is really nothing but a flimsy tinsel that blows to a mighty pulse of flatulence!

    3. Darthbobber

      Just another attempt at narrative setting by Dailywire and the Examiner, who they drew on for most of this. All selective reading of tea leaves. Pretty sure neither outfit is the recipient of anything that could be called knowledge of AOC’s intentions. I suspect she has no intentions at this point.

  8. Summer

    Re: The pols on Biden/ Bernie

    Let’s see…the Democrats promoted the narrative of electability. Then magic numbers appear to show those they depend on not paying attention who looks more electable. Same way they are selling Uber stock.

    1. dcblogger

      I hope Sanders’ team does not take that view. The past few weeks Warren has been gaining and Sanders has been slipping. So he needs to do something (and no, attacking Warren would not be clueful) he needs to find a way to remind everyone that he has the best plan to turn the country around. So I hop his team is working on that.

  9. epynonymous

    RE: GoT


    According to this chart, the WPM of Game of Thrones episodes fell from 60 to 35 between seasons 1 and season 8. (or less… episode 3 barely broke 10 words per minute, which hardly allows meaningful communication…)

    While I can’t recommend watching as many pop-culture reviews as I reguarly do, one Youtuber’s title was very eye-catching. “Vague Won: A Star Wars Review- the Rogue One review nobody wanted.” Otherwise, it’s quite skippable.

    Zeitgeisting is dangerously irrelevant and prone to over-simplification, but to do just that, Disney now owns LucasFilm, Fox, Marvel… etc.

    As the Wild West loses meaning and the real Space Race fades, we are left with a bit of a cultural vacuum. How many times can we blow up the Death Star anyways?

    Critics blame the “blurring effect” of niche media replacing the globally recognized brands of blockbuster movies, prime time TV, and rock stars.

    Bernie Sanders is not the only candidate saying something, but his crowd-funding speaks for itself. We live in the age of followers, subscribers, and patreons. It is a time of choice.

    NBC, CBS, and the other fossils are just like the Democratic Party. They can’t adapt to a bottom-up content-creation approach, because they were never meant to reflect our needs and feelings. They are meant to sell Pepsi and Coke.

    1. epynonymous


      For some non-mainstream entertainment, I can suggest “American Psycho : The Musical” (London cast recording) There is a New York recording, but it seems the Londoners took it a bit more seriously, while in NY it played to equally bad critical reviews as more of a farce.

      Written by the excellent, honest and thoughtful 90’s “one-hit wonder” Duncan Sheik, it’s been my go too album for the last few months.

      1. Massinissa

        As a Trekkie, I honestly don’t have much hope the Picard show will be any better than the trainwreck known as Star Trek Discovery, considering its being made by the same people. I would be happy to be surprised, but I have little hope.

        PS I only just now realized this was a joke by looking at the video, my bad lol

          1. epynonymous

            There is hope! Some hope, but hope!


            Before they shut down this production, where alot of the actors real-life relatives playing the original stars roles on the cheap, things were going just fine.

            Crowd-funded and fan-made, they shut them down too. Even Star Trek fan-sites seem strangely unaware of this little number.

            Funnily enough, CBS all access now advertises on their site.

            I will concede that “branding” is still highly effective, often long after the product and it’s reputation are trash.

            There’s other non-commercial Trek out there, I think I’ve only watched the Sulu episode made for some Japanese fan convention.


            (only 7K views, if you can trust those numbers)

            although my research just pointed me to some other episodes from a different production company.


            I may not be a lawyer, but apparently fan episodes have been offered a ‘licensing deal’ by the owners where they can produce 2 full episodes before shutting down.

            Good news is, you can make as many episodes of “The Orville” as you want… at least before Disney catches up.

  10. UserFriendly

    opps, sorry lambert, I misunderstood your original message and thought this was going to be more of an open thread. Didn’t mean to hijack the post.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Was not going to happen. Daenerys was the daughter of the “Mad King” and the seeds of her madness were long there. Look at the first three minutes or so of the following clip-


      So Daenerys burning King’s Landing was basically the fulfillment of her father’s plan for it. Tyrion used that story as a warning which worked at the time but it is obvious that she never forgot it.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Okay, then the tweak is that she and the Night King fight it out at King’s Landing and she burns it: the absolutely necessary fix is that the battle with the Night King doesn’t take place prematurely given the way it was set up from the very first episode and all along to be the real existential threat facing them all, whether Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, etc.

  11. Geo

    Gotta love the recent interview with Corey Booker ripping on Biden for the ‘94 Crime bill. Booker is saying what the Left isn’t allowed to because “unity” and can get away with it because he’s on the DNC approved candidate list.

    Also, good to see Biden being attacked from the Left by both Trump and “Bain Capitol defender” Booker. If Biden really does win the nomination it’s proof the Dems have become the Conservative party.

    1. John k

      Reagan Democrats.
      Actually, dem elites are far to the right of Nixon and Reagan… the former proposed uni health care, wage and price controls, etc… the latter raised taxes six times. And threw 1500 bankers in jail after the s&l looting. And withdrew the few troops from Lebanon after they were bombed…

  12. John k

    Certainly not in wapo…
    Wapo neither speaks to, or listens to, the poor.
    I wouldn’t think the poor depend on wapo for information of use to them.

  13. John k

    Biden agreed to give women their space…
    He didn’t say anything about girls. So he’s good.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      sent to my high school senior’s faceborg for dissemination/infiltration.
      after all, all the righties i’ve known in my life had no qualms about indoctrinating the youth.
      so why should I?

    2. Procopius

      Excellent indeed. I’ve felt for a long time there’s a disconnect in the conversation. This points out the difference in underlying assumptions that I’ve noticed but wasn’t able to articulate. I think this is why the Cletus Safaris* seemed so unrewarding.
      * East Coast MSM reporters traveling to Peoria to interview Trump voters.

  14. VietnamVet

    Freedom Gas” is from the same simpletons who denied sailors entry to see the President in Japan because of the USS John S McCain patch on their uniforms. Corporate media has become a weird mixture Saturday Night Live’s News of the Week and the TV news reports in B movies that set the stage for the end of the world. It is disturbing when NBC just did this last week with China’s African Swine Fever outbreak; now there is the US Corn Crop failure.

    With Brexit, Russian Cold War, Chinese Trade War, Climate Change and the Occupation of Eastern Syria and Iraq what else could go wrong; besides short-term bonds having a higher return than long-term bonds. At least, John Bolton said today “The threat from Iran is not over but quick action from the United States has helped deter it.” With the Democrats blaming Russia for everything and “Joe Biden touching young girl’s shoulders after vowing respect women’s space”, and Robert Muller’s exoneration; it should be smooth sailing for Donald Trump. But his greatest enemy is himself. It is all the icebergs that he denies exist that are straight ahead.

    1. Procopius

      Errrmmm… That’s a link to sign up for her newsletter, not to read the article. I like her thinking and writing, but I really don’t like being manipulated to sign up for a newsletter.

  15. Wukchumni

    raisin d’être

    A sponsor has cut ties with a California minor league baseball team that played a Memorial Day video appearing to equate Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with the likes of Kim Jong Un and Fidel Castro.

    The Sun-Maid raisin company terminated its sponsorship of the Fresno Grizzlies on Wednesday, after the offensive video was played at halftime on Monday.

    The company acknowledged the Grizzlies apologized but said terminating the sponsorship was the right thing to do.


  16. RMO

    Anyone have any odds on whether Biden will plagiarize a speech this campaign? No way would he steal from Corbyn but I bet some of Blair’s stuff would fit his mouth perfectly.

    1. Big River Bandido

      He already plagiarized Sanders’ campaign slogan, as mentioned in this space a few days ago.

  17. Expat2uruguay

    Some people here might enjoy the comedy and political commentary from the Trillbilly Worker’s Party podcast. These are three young people in Appalachia County who think capitalism sucks and they have podcast whereare they cut loose and laugh about the crazy stuff going on today. Anyway, not all of their episodes are great of course, but this one is my favorite so far.


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