2:00PM Water Cooler 6/27/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, as Yves approaches escape velocity from New York this week, I will be taking on more posting duties, and so Water Cooler may appear at odd times, although not today. –lambert

I will also be Live Blogging the second Democrat Presidential Debates. The debate starts at 9:00PM EDT, and the pre-game festivities will begin at 8:30PM (when this link goes live). Here is a cheat sheet.


“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] (average of five polls). As of June 26: Biden flat at 32.0% (32.1%) and Sanders still rising at 16.9% (16.5% ). Warren up 12.8% (12.4%), Buttigieg down 6.6% (4.0%), others Brownian motion, though maybe not Harris, who just pulled even with Buttigieg. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point.

* * *


“First Democratic Debate, Summarized” [Caitlin Johnstone (CI)]. Not completely fair, but very funny. “Cory Booker: In my very poor neighborhood they call me Crazy Eyes. They say it’s because my eyes are so normal.” • None of the candidates looked good, either the makeup or the lighting or both. Booker did look kinda pop-eyed, Klobuchar looked her face had been partially paralyzed, something horrid happened to Warren’s hair, etc.

“The first Democratic debate revealed who the real climate candidates are” [Grist]. “What is the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States? That was the question NBC’s Chuck Todd posed to 10 Democratic candidates for president during the first primary debate on Wednesday night. Four of them said climate change: Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Julian Castro.”


Readers said that the moderators “protected” Warren.

* * *

Castro (D)(1): “Julián Castro: the US should launch a Marshall plan in Central America” [Guardian]. • From March 14, still germane. This isn’t a bad idea; certainly it’s an improvement over sponsoring coups and invasion, and torturing nuns. However, while I don’t think Castro did a terrible thing by p0wning Beto on Section 1325, why on earth focus on that instead of this “big, structural change”? It’s almost as if the immigration discourse in the debate was strictly policed….

De Blasio (D)(1). Bill.

The candidates couldn’t bring themselves to say that Russia was a bigger threat than climate. Not even to service Maddow. A better outcome than I expected.

Inslee (D)(1): Jay.

(I view this is a tactical blunder, and probably not disqualifying for voters, since his closing was good. But holy moley, the moderator serves up a high floater, and you don’t hit it out of the park?

Festival of Sanders:

Sanders (D)(1): Sanders throws down on his theory of change:

It’s one thing to have a “plan.” It’s quite another to have a strategy.

Sanders (D)(2): “Fact Chucking” [Eschaton]. • WaPo’s Glenn Kessler explains why 8 million isn’t millions.

Sanders (D)(3): “Bernie Sanders is using his massive email list to warn immigrants about ICE raids” [Vox]. • So far as I can tell, Sanders is the only candidate who uses his list to help others.

Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie Sanders is about to become a Twitch streamer” [PC Gamer (ZP)]. “The Sanders campaign plans on using Twitch alongside Facebook and YouTube to stream up-to-the-moment live videos in which Sanders and his staff discuss his presidential campaign and issues of the day. The channels will kick off tomorrow in the leadup to the first round of Democratic candidate debates, with commentary before and after the debates. After that the campaign plans on producing regular live shows, said Josh Miller-Lewis, who runs the digital communications arm of Sanders’ campaign. ‘We’re moving toward doing a lot more live content on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook, tapping into an audience where there’s not a lot of political content already,’ Miller-Lewis told Recode.” • Do we have any Twitch users in the readership? What’s the culture? What are the pitfalls? The advantages?

Sanders (D)(5): “Bernie Sanders is winning the internet. Will it win him the White House?” [Recode]. “Video is ‘something that’s been part of Bernie’s entire career,’ Josh Miller-Lewis, the digital communications director for the Sanders campaign, said. He pointed to the videos Sanders created in the 1980s as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, that surfaced in May on Politico and The Daily Show. ‘What we’re doing now sort of follows that same instinct of his, to talk about issues that may not be covered by the mainstream media and to give a voice to people who don’t otherwise have a voice.'” • This is good reporting, with a lot of detail, well worth a read. What I’m not seeing is what’s happening on the ground, which is not Recode’s beat in any case.

Sanders (D)(6): “Trump Is the Worst Kind of Socialist” [Wall Street Journal]. The deck: “His policies coddle fellow oligarchs while leaving ordinary people at the mercy of the free market.” Here’s a PDF of the entire article:

Sanders (D)(7): “Sanders Claims 2016 Primary Was Rigged, Won’t Commit to Supporting Winner” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. That’s the headline. Here’s the body: “Sanders clearly resents being asked hypothetical questions that force him to entertain the prospect he might lose.” So that’s what “won’t commit” boils down to. More: “[But] only Sanders gets asked this question because [1] only Sanders has ever claimed to have been the victim of Democratic Party rigging, and [2] only Sanders selected a slate of delegates who tried to disrupt their party’s convention.” • [1] Chait seems to have forgotten that Wasserman Schultz was heaved over the side for election rigging, and the Unity Reform Commission curbed the power of Superdelegates for the exact same reason. Not to mention that Clinton in essence purchased the entire DNC apparatus by paying its debts. [2] Good gawd. Has Chait never heard of Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Party? How is it that a columnist this disingenuous and ignorant still has a platform?

Trump (R)(1): “Rothenberg: The 2020 Presidential Race is Still Tilting Democratic” [Inside Elections]. “Trump, of course, remains unchanged. He is the same person he has been, and there is no reason to believe that he will change… Dozens of important questions remain unanswered, but the 2020 contest still looks to be more of a referendum on the president than anything else. And because of that, and the polarization evident in the nation, a close race is likely…. Given Trump’s inability to broaden his appeal and the likelihood that Democrats will be more united and energized than they were in 2016, the Democratic ticket deserves to be given a narrow but clear advantage.”

Trump (R)(2): “Trump’s Pivot on Immigration Won’t Help Him Win the Middle” [Cook Political Report]. “From Trump’s standpoint, shifting the focus of the fight from the wall, which is clearly not happening, to a more realistic policy of deportations, makes sense from now through the election… The Fox poll showed Trump with between 39 and 41 percent of the vote against Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, with the Democrat in each case getting between a low of 41 percent (Buttigieg) and a high of 49 percent (Biden). Taking into account the strong first-quarter economic growth, and the lowest unemployment rates in 49 years in April and May, those numbers have to be deeply troubling for Republicans. His numbers seem impervious to favorable economic news; his approval ratings just don’t fluctuate much with new developments, positive or negative. ”

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren Takes a Huge Risk by Calling to End Private Health Insurance” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. • Warren raised her hand. In the debate, she didn’t crawfish. I have to give credit. But Chait’s gotta Chait.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Rucho v. Common Cause” [SCOTUSblog] (5-4) and “Lamone v. Benisek” [SCOTUSblog] (5-4). “Partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” • Of course, Democrats could seek to expand their base by bringing millions of disaffected poor and working class people into the system, and then figuring out how to win their votes. But (a) proles smell funny and (b) the only person who upholds this theory of change is a racist and sexist old man, and everybody hates him. So clearly that’s impossible. NOTE There will no doubt be some voter registration drives before election 2020 — I read somewhere that Obama was taking that very seriously — but they will be siloed by demographic, targeted only at “winnable” districts or states, and will be promptly dismantled in 2021, having been donor-funded. Then we can all give money for more lawsuits, NGOs designed to pack the courts, and so forth. Not that I’m bitter.

“Department of Commerce v. New York” [SCOTUSblog]. “The Secretary did not violate the Enumeration Clause or the Census Act in deciding to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire, but the District Court was warranted in remanding the case back to the agency where the evidence tells a story that does not match the Secretary’s explanation for his decision.” • A tactical defeat for the Administration, assuming that the Commerce Department can come up with a better reason for doing what they want to do in time for the Census forms to go to the printer.

* * *

“Poverty Doesn’t Make You Racist” [Dissent (DK)]. “As the data show, among high-school-educated white voters, it is the richer members of that group who most dismiss the salience of racial discrimination. The poorest white people are the only income group where a majority believes racism drives the racial economic gap—undercutting the idea that racism is the result of economic suffering. The denial of racism is strongest among high-school grads making $90,000 or more a year. The same is true of college grads and those with graduate degrees: those with higher incomes generally deny the prominence of racism at higher rates than lower-income members of the same educational level. Rather than racism being driven by personal economic pressure, far more compelling are theories that see white racism as stemming from voters justifying their own relative economic success, and their “fear of falling” (as Barbara Ehrenreich put it) if society became more equal.” • DK writes: “Certainly matches my observations in the wild. And [high-school grads making $90,000 or more a year is] my cohort too, the people most likely to regard me as a peer on face value, buddy up, and speak candidly to promote bonding/networking. It’s also the group most likely to earn promotion from their position of entry; they benefit the most from racial (and gender) discrimination (although gender isn’t mentioned in the piece, these are the most frequently misogynistic).” • Labor aristocrats!

“America’s new redneck rebellion” [Financial Times (JB)]. “America’s poultry farmers are the rural equivalent of Uber drivers. Nominally independent, they rely exclusively for their inputs and outputs on one of the handful of huge agribusinesses that between them control the vast majority of the US poultry market. Americans, like most people, tend to romanticise rural life. In reality, almost every farming sector is dominated by a few giant corporations. Though he had 90,000 chickens, Weaver could afford only one part-time employee. The company that he dealt with, Pilgrim’s Pride, bought the chickens from him at an average rate of 21 cents each. In 15 years he never had a raise. ‘They control everything you do, without taking any responsibility for it,’ says [farmer Mike Weaver].” • I assume Pilgrim’s Pride is experimenting with AI and robots….

“The Rules of the Game” [Michael Tomasky, New York Review of Books]. “There are reasons to think that this time the nomination battle could drag into June 2020, when the primaries end, or even, some have suggested, all the way to the convention in July… The reasons have to do, first, with new rules the party wrote after the Clinton–Sanders battle in 2016, and, second, with a growing schism in the party between its two poles of influence in the age of social media: the younger, urban, and more left-leaning people who carry out a daily and often pestiferous political dialogue on Twitter, and the older and more traditionally liberal-to-moderate people who make up the actual backbone of the party across America. If there is a division within the party that will bring it to ruin in 2020, this is it.” • Indeed. Never talking about class is absolutely the #1 rule in the game.

Crapification Watch

Alert reader SC threw the following document over the transom:

SC writes:

I have an HSA through my job. Nice benefit, but pretty complex as it is. Very hard to get a checkbook for the account, for example, even though it is held at a bank. But the account does pay interest.

At least, it did. This month there was, tucked into a promotional looking envelope, a notice that my deposit account agreement had been changed (attached). Now, if I close my account, they will keep accrued but unpaid interest. They pay interest quarterly.

Just interesting. I can visualize the corporate meetings on this point. The young guy who figured out this could be done, the accounting charts showing the net benefit to the company, less the cost of these mailers. Did anyone even consider the account holders? I doubt it. Their “customers” are the HR people who select the benefit providing Bank, not the account holders.

Readers, if any of you have encountered similar efforts, I’d love to post them. See below for how to contact me.

Stats Watch

GDP Q1, 2019: “The outcome was expected but not the mix. The third estimate of first-quarter GDP rose… and is unchanged from the second estimate. But consumer spending did not live up to expectations” [Econoday]. “Making up the difference is an upgrade to nonresidential fixed investment…. Making up the difference is an upgrade to nonresidential fixed investment… . Sharp inventory growth made up for thin levels in prior quarters but with inventories still rising so far in the second quarter raise the question, given the slowing in consumer spending, whether inventories will begin to slow and pull down GDP. Net exports so far in the second quarter are clearly negative as imports are widening vs exports.”

Corporate Profits, Q1 2019 (Revised): “After-tax corporate profits rose a year-on-year 2.3 percent in the first quarter, revised from an initial 1.6 percent increase and down from 11.2 percent growth in the fourth quarter” [Econoday]. “When including inventory valuation and consumption adjustments, after-tax profits of $2.012 trillion were up 2.4 percent. Taxes on corporate income, at a $239.2 billion annual rate and which are calculated on this basis, rose 12.8 percent from a year ago.”

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, June 2019: flat [Econoday]. “Like other regional surveys recently, today’s report signals that manufacturing continues to falter and is either approaching or already in contraction.”

Jobless Claims, week of June 22, 2019: “Higher than expected” [Jobless Claims]. “Levels of claims, as they have all year, continue to be consistent with strong demand for labor, though it’s important to note that this strength contrasted with what proved to be a weak employment for May.”

Pending Home Sales Index, May 2019: “Up-and-down but along a rising slope is a fair description of this year’s housing data” [Econoday]. “Tuesday’s sharp drop in new home sales is part of the bad news for the sector but not pending sales of existing homes which hit the top end of Econoday’s consensus range.”

Commodities: “Lower for longer: Supply glut in focus as Asia’s biggest coal meet begins” [Reuters]. “Slowing economic growth in China is weighing on demand expectations for thermal coal in the world’s biggest market for the fuel, while global moves towards cleaner energy are compounding problems arising from a glut in supply.”

Banking: “BOE’s Carney Says Some Funds With Illiquid Assets Built on a Lie” [Bloomberg]. “‘These funds are built on a lie, which is that you can have daily liquidity, and that for assets that fundamentally aren’t liquid,’ he added. ‘That leads to an expectation of individuals that it’s not that different than having money in a bank. You get a series of problems, you get a structural problem but then you get a consumer issue.'” • This is about the “flagship” LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, but the problematic vehicle is not named. A “series of problems” sounds like Brexit, to me. Perhaps the UK’s rentiers have finally gotten their heads round the possibility of a crashout, and are seeking liquidity?

The Biosphere

“How the Soviet collapse cut greenhouse gas emissions” [Anthropocene]. “The global food system is a key driver of climate change, responsible for around a quarter of manmade greenhouse gas emissions. And this system changes drastically when there is a political and economic shakeup. That is exactly what happened when the USSR split into independent republics in 1991. And a new study calculates the fall in greenhouse gas emissions from the fall of the Soviet Union. Between 1992 to 2011, there was a net reduction in carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of 7.6 gigatons because of a ‘massive restructuring of the domestic food system…and a major restructuring of agricultural trade,’ researchers write in the study published in Environmental Research Letters. That is about a quarter of the carbon dioxide emissions that were generated due to the deforestation in Latin America in the same time period… The dismantling of the Soviet Union triggered an industrial collapse. Subsequent high product prices and lower purchasing power slashed consumption of animal products. This drop in demand led to a halving of pig and cattle numbers. And it also led to one of the biggest land-use changes of the 20th century because farmers abandoned huge swaths of farmland especially in Russia and Kazakhstan, and headed to work in cities. As plants took over these abandoned croplands, they sequestered carbon into the soil, making the farmlands massive carbon dioxide sinks.” • So, elite blueprint for the United States?

Achieving Peak Pasture Breakthrough


“Timeline: The Wolverine World Wide, 3M Scotchgard contamination” [MLive]. “2012: Michigan DEQ scientist Robert Delaney warns upper management that PFAS contamination is likely widespread throughout the state’s environment and argues, in vain, for decisive action to test drinking water supplies. A year prior, Delaney told Rockford activists to look for PFAS near the tannery.” • The connection between scientists and citizen activists is very important and worked in Flint, too (until it didn’t). I think when that connection fails, it’s because “the cost of citizenship” is too great (which means we should fund it).

Health Care

“The Hidden Cost of GoFundMe Health Care” [The New Yorker]. “The true mark of class vulnerability today isn’t the capacity to run out of money but the capacity to run out of options. In the blind alleys of public health, GoFundMe has become both a first stop and a last resort.” • Hmm.

Police State Watch

“Cops on a Crime Spree” [Reveal News]. “The Gun Trace Task Force targeted both drug dealers and ordinary citizens. In one of their favorite tactics, they’d speed their car toward a street corner where a group of men were standing. Then they’d chase whoever ran and shake them down. On top of all this, the officers falsified their timesheets to almost double their salaries.”

Class Warfare

“There Are Really Two Distinct White Working Classes” [Thomas Edsall, New York Times]. “[Michael Podhorzer, a former political director of the AFL-CIO] argues that in the 2020 battleground districts and states the contest will be fought over the 13 percent who are swing voters, a group he calls ‘partisan bystanders.’ He described them as ‘voters who either have a very negative view of both parties or do not have strong feelings about either party. These voters favored Democrats in the 2018 midterms by 11 points after favoring Trump by 6 points in 2016.’ According to Podhorzer, almost half (46 percent) of the partisan bystanders are ‘white non-college, so this group, especially white non-college women, is going to be a battleground for both campaigns.'” • More than two, surely.

“Travelling in the Wrong Direction” [London Review of Books]. “[T]he period since the end of feminism’s ‘second wave’ – roughly since the early 1980s – has also been one in which things have in many respects got worse for the majority of women. In the rich nations of the global north, women have been disproportionately affected by the dismantling and privatisation of public services, in particular the provision of care for children, the disabled, the sick and the elderly, areas in which women perform the majority of the labour, paid and unpaid. Women in the global south, in addition to economic hardship, have to contend with the effects of climate change and with endemic conflict (including a seemingly endless series of Western wars of intervention). As with austerity, the greatest costs of ecological disaster and modern warfare are inflicted on women and children. What is so disorientating isn’t just that the feminist movement has attained apparent maturity and success just when the conditions of so many women’s lives are desperate and deteriorating, but that it should also be necessary – yet oddly so difficult – to argue for the relevance of those conditions to feminism. Austerity, war and climate change have not been prominent concerns in the most visible feminist campaigns, which have focused instead on a relatively narrow set of issues: increasing women’s representation in various spheres, or pursuing legal, policy and cultural changes in the areas of sex, sexuality and the body – the law against ‘up-skirting’ is a recent example.” • As I keep saying — and I’m either a lonely voice or not reading the right sources — the vicious rollback of “reproductive rights” is a debacle for feminism at every level, and yet there seems to no self-reflection whatever (rather like the lack of a 2016 post mortem from liberal Democrats.

“NewsGuild Challenger Calls for Rerun Election” [Labor Notes]. “What became abundantly clear was that major improprieties held down the turnout. A thousand members never received a ballot, in a vote that was largely conducted by mail. Two thousand new members who recently organized with the NewsGuild were barred from voting because they are not yet paying dues. Headquarters didn’t inform them how they could become eligible to vote until after the deadline had passed. The Guild represents journalists and media workers at many U.S. and Canadian news organizations, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It also represents language interpreters, nonprofit workers, and union staffers.” • Sounds like CaPERS.

News of the Wired

‘Dark patterns’ are steering many internet users into making bad decisions Los Angeles Times

“‘Dark patterns’ are steering many internet users into making bad decisions” [Los Angeles Times]. “[The DETOUR Act] would make it illegal ‘to design, modify or manipulate a user interface with the purpose or substantial effect of obscuring, subverting or impairing user autonomy, decision-making or choice to obtain consent or user data.'” • It’s good that “dark patterns” have made it out into the mainstream; NC readers have been familiar with the concept for some time.


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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 (Eric W):

Eric W writes: “The lichen is from February on a hike in Maine. An outrageous lichen, IMO. Never seen anything so extravagant in a lichen.”

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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. dearieme

    “What is the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States?”

    Why, the government of the USA of course.

    1. jrs

      I groaned too, such a softball. But the other candidates aren’t necessarily any more real climate change candidates, they all just piggy backed on Beto saying “climate change”, before that none did, after that everyone.

      But Beto is really a johnny-come-lately to the issue. Taking oil money and then pivoting to climate change like Beto, come on, Inslee at least has some real record of work on the issue, even if imperfect.

      1. nippersmom

        I am sure Beto’s fans are giving him plenty of credit for originsting that response. Some of us remember Sanders being derided for providing the same answer in the debates during the 2016 campaign.

        The range of acceptable opinion really has changed.

        1. Svante

          But, I thought… Bernie had been concerned about mitigating the worst effects of Climate Change? Especially as these have affected the planet’s most vulnerable (invisible), well before the richest US 20% ever acknowledged any problem. Beto’s just scared, the biosphere’s demise will harsh his doner’s buzz?

      2. 3.14e-9

        Inslee has a “real record” on environmental issues, alright, but calling it “imperfect” is like saying Obama has a real, even if imperfect, record of regulating Wall Street. More in comment below (reply to anonymous at 7:54 pm).

    2. willf

      “What is the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States?”

      Debate moderators.

    3. KevinD

      “What is the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States?”

      Why, the corporate takeover of the U.S., of course!!

      I’m surprised to see so many here say “Big Gov” – the conservatives screaming about “Big Gov” is what got us where we are!!

      1. nippersmom

        I don’t see anyone saying “big gov”. I believe those responding “the government of the USA” are referring to the slavish dedication of our government to the MIC and wars and regime change for profit, not to its size.

      1. Stadist

        Thanks, this was nice read. That book went to my order list and I’m getting it as soon as it’s out.

    4. anonymous

      Todd’s question followed a foreign policy discussion and was directly preceded by an exchange between Ryan and Gabbard on Afghanistan. Todd said that he “wanted to finish up foreign policy” with this question. He asked the question at first using both “what” and “who”, then omitting a pronoun when he repeated the question for Delaney, who answered China as a geopolitical challenge, and nuclear weapons as a threat, saying those were answers to two different questions. Inslee (who probably formulated his answer when he heard the “who”) answered that the “who” was Donald Trump, Gabbard answered the “what” foreign policy threat with nuclear war, Klobuchar answered foreign policy threats with China and Iran, then O’Rourke didn’t quite answer what was supposed to be a foreign policy question (although I realize climate change needs to be a global project) with the answer that “our existential threat is climate change.” Warren, probably realizing that climate catastrophe overshadows everything, followed with the same; Booker said nuclear proliferation (which I’m guessing would have been his answer if not for Beto, since Todd asked for one word only) and climate change, Castro said China (which I assume would have been his answer) and climate change, then Ryan and De Blasio took it back to foreign policy with China and Russia, respectively. I don’t think any conclusions about which candidates are more committed to mitigating climate change can be drawn from the answers to Todd’s question.
      “TODD: I want to go down the line here, finish up foreign policy. It’s a simple question. What is our — what is the biggest threat — what is — who is the geopolitical threat to the United States? Just give me a one-word answer, Congressman Delaney.”
      Transcript here:https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/full-transcript-first-democratic-primary-debate-2019-n1022816
      Both the NBC and WaPo transcripts show Inslee answering climate change when Warren was asked. I know I heard her answer. Not sure whether that is just a mistake, or whether Inslee added climate change simultaneously.

      1. 3.14e-9

        Inslee accidentally gave himself away last night – no surprise to me. I saw through him years ago when I lived in Washington, downwind of a supposed clean, safe methanol plant for which he helped broker the deal.

        In response to an abbreviated version of this comment that I posted last night on the excellent live blog hosted by Lambert, Seattle resident Wellstone’s Ghost (11:05 pm) nailed it: “Inslee is corporate DNC all the way. Even after they told him to STFU about climate change. Jay Inslee’s idea of leadership is to lick his finger and see which way the wind is blowing.”

        That’s also a perfect description of his “commitment” to the environment, as illustrated by his involvement with methanol and LNG. In 2013, a Chinese company proposed building a methanol plant on the toxic site of a closed aluminum smelter in Tacoma. The methanol was to be shipped to China to make plastics(!). Inslee helped craft the deal, which he pitched as a creator of jobs. All of the negotiations were done behind the scenes, and by the time the public caught wind of it, it was mostly a done deal. Naturally, there was a huge outcry among environmental activists, not to mention local residents. Inslee stream-rolled right over them, claiming the plant was good for the planet, because it would be cleaner than if it was built in China. This article from 2016 gives a very good feel for his MO (great local reporting!):

        Methanol proposal arrived in Tacoma after extensive Inslee courtship

        The Chinese investors hadn’t been prepared for the public backlash and found another location in the state. Inslee blamed them for not “communicating” with the public, but remained a cheerleader. Meanwhile, back at the Port of Tacoma, Puget Sound Energy proposed building an LNG plant near the smelter site. Inslee wholeheartedly backed that project, too, unfazed by protests and tribal considerations.

        Then, lo and behold, when Jay decides to run for president in March, he suddenly develops a conscience:

        Inslee in flip-flop: Opposes two big energy projects he touted

        Others here have commented on the number of candidates likely being a DNC strategy of shutting down Bernie for a brokered convention. Jay proved his fealty to the party in 2016 by spurning voters and endorsing HRC, but isn’t it a safe bet that he was offered something in return, and might he now be betting double or nothing? While it might seem logical that he’d want EPA, there’s not much payoff there. I’m guessing Energy or Interior.

    5. ChrisPacific

      I would have said the economic doctrine of endless growth. Which is just one of the reasons why I’m not a Presidential candidate (“vote for me and I’ll guarantee a recession!”)

      I liked Inslee’s closing if the Guardian’s report was accurate. Except that on his last day on Earth I will (hopefully) have another 20+ years to go still, and I’d rather not spend them toiling in the fields as penance for the sins of my generation. If we think Baby Boomers get it tough these days, just wait and see how the millennials treat us if we drop the ball on climate change.

    6. Darthbobber

      One potential answer:
      “The mistaken habit of equating the interests of the United States as such with the interests of whatever collection of sleazeballs contrive to have control of its institutions.

  2. dearieme

    Elizabeth Warren Takes a Huge Risk by Calling to End Private Health Insurance”

    Good grief: even in NHSland we are allowed to buy private health insurance. Sur le Continong it’s often the basis of their “socialised medicine”.

    I suppose I can safely assume that no American politician has even glimpsed at how they do these things in Germany or the Netherlands. Or, on another Continent, Singapore.

    1. Robert Valiant

      “Allowed to buy” and “utterly dominated by” are two very different things. As a “dyed in the wool capitalist,” I imagine that Warren is referring to the latter.

      1. PKMKII

        Most likely, have large chunks of the M4A administration run by contractors who just happen to be the same private health insurance companies nominally “ran out of business” by the implementation of M4A (experts in the field, don’tcha know?).

        1. Robert Valiant

          Probably. Personally, I’m neither a fan of Elizabeth Warren, nor of the insurance industry.

          “Kinder, gentler capitalism” is an oxymoron, IMO.

        2. Leftcoastindie

          Yes. Medicare claims have been processed by insurance companies for years. That’s where Ross Perot made a lot of his money putting together the computerized claims systems used by insurance companies to process those claims. The company was/is called EDS if I remember correctly.

  3. Cal2

    “The denial of racism is strongest among [white] high-school grads making $90,000 or more a year.”

    Of course it is.

    That is the economic and educational group most affected by affirmative action in public hiring, the last jobs left with full benefits, a pension and normal working hours.

    They are pissed and will be voting for Trump.

    The Democrats in the debate blab about the getting back the working class, but never that.

    1. Geo

      Is affirmative action really that big a deal or just a boogie man? It’s not something that has ever impacted me (that I’m aware of) but I’ve witnessed firsthand the difficulties of non-whites and women to get inside the doors of the clubhouse.

      Granted, I’m far removed from the world of college admissions, resumes, hr departments, and all that stuff. But, I know plenty of actors and filmmakers who gripe about this push for diversity in film/tv and how it’s harder for them to get gigs now. My response is twofold:
      1. Grow a pair. 2. Audiences have seen enough white guys doing white guy things over the past 100 years of entertainment. They’re liking the change and the numbers speak to that. My film’s distributor started picking up “urban” movies a few years back and those films are making almost ten times what the white people movies make for them. Movies with women leads do better than male leads in all but action or sports categories. They have a new romcom featuring Indian people that’s doing well too. So, as white guys, we need to step up our game to compete.

      That’s my two cents from the indie film world’s diversity squabbles. Again, not sure it relates to the real world of college and jobs so I’m curious how affirmative action impacts others.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I’m not sure how things are now that I’m long out of the game. Affirmative action really did have an impact when I started working many years ago. At my first real job, I heard of a management memo that specifically stated all promotions into any of the extremely limited supervisory positions were to be given to women candidates unless no one suitable could be found. I didn’t see the memo but found it’s existence and supposed content credible. The chief impact was in lowering my future expectations. I moved on before I noticed any noticeable impacts on the number of women in supervisory positions.

        Later I worked as a contractor for various portions of the US Army. There were definitely impacts in the Army, most of them very beneficial. At various times I worked for Colonels and Majors of just about every race, race combination, and sex and in general they were all quite excellent. I also noticed how the lower ranks I encountered uniformly treated each other with genuine respect … unless they already had long standing very personal reasons for tendering that respect with more ceremony than feeling. I didn’t hear any of those very personal reasons that weren’t specific to incompetence or past misunderstandings. I also heard complaints from a few of the more senior officers who joined the firm I worked for that at higher levels of the command structure race, sex, and politics could have considerably greater bearing on promotion than competence and that this had been a consideration in their departure from the service. One specific complaint along this line which I heard from a co-worker was his concern that he did not want to be at a higher level of command because he felt he would not be able to deal with the incompetence of some of those at the next lower layer of command for whose actions he would be been responsible.

      2. Cal2

        Granted, I’m far removed from the world of college admissions, resumes, hr departments,…”

        The group to which I referred, those employed by federal, state and local governments, according to The Bureau of Labor Standards, only adds up to
        21,995,000 workers.

        And Then there’s 12,329,000 employed in the manufacturing sector.

        And we might as well add those seeking work in private colleges and universities, which only adds up to another measly 7,021 private post-secondary institutions employee’s.

        Won’t even mention the military.

        Glad 1 out of 1,000 people of color that want to get acting jobs are making in in Hollywood.
        That should offset any of the hiring grievances within the groups above.

        Geo, you guys, gals and ?, should vote for Kamala. The billionaires who you are making money for, that control indy film distribution, donate heavily to her. Good luck in your career.


        1. Geo

          I’m about as much a part of Hollywood as NC is part of the MSM. There’s a big difference between what I do (and my life/values) and the vapid Hollywood establishment.

          Not sure what you read in my comment that made you think I was some Hollywood hotshot but you’d think just the context of me being an NC reader would be enough evidence that I’m not palling around with Clooney, Kamala and Mnuchin. The films I make have budgets that those people wouldn’t even lift a finger for but the low budgets give me independence to make films with purpose and voice instead of being watered down for the masses.

          1. Cal2

            Being an N.C. reader elevates you beyond Hollywood hotshot IMHO.

            “films with purpose and voice” Cool. But does anyone see them?
            “My films?” You shooting 70mm, 35, or 16?

            Video equipment is so cheap and common now that the good news is almost anyone can make 4K+videos.
            The bad news is that anyone can make 4K+videos, thus a sea of competition.

            “My film’s distributor started picking up “urban” movies a few years back and those films are making almost ten times what the white people movies make for them.”

            10x what? You talking, The Great Gatsby, or some white skate rat with sewer pipe segments in his ear and a cell phone camera?

            Darius, I take it that you have not interacted with public employees in San Francisco or L.A.?

        2. laughingsong

          Watch that broad brush Cal2, I am public sector and I am not anything like this, nor are any of my co-workers in this and other government spaces that I interact with.

          This is the kind of thinking that gets us nastygrams all the time. Depressing.

      3. Darius

        The pay disparity is wide still where I work. It’s not blatant bigotry. White men still tend to be “a better fit” when pay and promotion decisions are being made.

  4. neo-realist

    Betting 3 to 1, one of the moderators brings up the reparations issue—primarily to distract from Bernie’s message about inequality, to take him down a few pegs in front of the AA audience and to do the usual left fracturing.

    1. Geo

      Might backfire if they do considering Biden and Buttigieg don’t have great records with black issues either.

    2. Svante

      They HAVE to pull this on Bernie (as they pulled gun “confiscation” on Sen. Warren). These, after all, are the anointed gatekeepers of our liberal, creative class. Duh!
      So, “senator” Sanders… while you were singing the Communist national anthem with Stalin and your shiksa
      khorz, Mary Jane O’Meara, did you not promise a gold Cadillac…

  5. dearieme

    Perhaps the UK’s rentiers have finally gotten their heads round the possibility of a crashout, and are seeking liquidity?

    No, much simpler. Woodford’s funds were doing badly so people wanted their money out. The trigger was when Kent County Council Pension Scheme asked to remove (about) a quarter of a million pounds. Oops. The bloody fool had put so much of the capital into illiquid shares that he couldn’t lay his hands on the money. So he closed the fund to removals while he goes about trying to sell his illiquid holdings. He’s been a dolt. Whether he’s broken any laws I don’t know. Chatter is about his arrogance rather any suggestion of dishonesty. But once people start investigating ….

    1. dearieme

      Oh dear. I meant a quarter of a billion pounds. I must be getting old. Or tired. Or old and tired.

      1. Monty

        A hundred million here, a hundred million there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money!

  6. L

    I haven’t seen this posted in the links today but it appears germane: Stealing Clouds a long-form report by Reuters about Chinese state-sponsored hacking teams being implicated in a years long effort to attack HP, Ericsson Mobile (competitor to Huawei in 5G), a Navy Shipbuilder and others. This despite the hacking truce negotiated by Obama.

    Per the report the hack went on for some time and involved work by the FBI, CIA, and others. Curiously (sarcasm) the one group not involved were the end customers of HPE and the other cloud providers who opted not to inform people.

    The fact that this is coming 2 before Trump talks to Xi is, I am sure, a mere accident.

          1. Phillip Allen

            No, the habit is all wrong, and staghorn won’t survive (I don’t believe) outdoors in Maine.

    1. LaRuse

      It is very “Green Man” if you are inclined to see it that way. Very impressive regardless.

  7. Another Scott

    I watched the first half of the debate while doing a few other things before heading to bed. But two things stuck out: Gabbard did very well and Castro came across as a bully. He seemed to talk over the other candidates on immigration and aggressively challenged them into his position. I also seem to remember him using the first name of an opponent. The details of the differences on the issues were lost as I wasn’t paying full attention to the nuances of immigration, but his tone remained harsh and he seemed to think that if he raised his voice.

  8. anon

    Twitch (owned by Amazon) largely markets itself to video game streamers, think young and male. Not a huge game changer, but a respectable move to reach out to the yutes.

    Cory Booker beat him to the punch already with an appearance on the wapo twitch channel last October (lol). https://www.twitch.tv/videos/323968801

    1. JohnnyGL

      Twitch (owned by Amazon)

      Interesting, didn’t know that. They’re taking a shot at cutting into Youtube? They probably just acquired it and will euthanize it at some point. Monopolists NEVER compete!

      After all, Google did it with Orkut and Google+.

      1. maxi

        not quite, twitch is focused on live content whereas youtube is still dominated by recorded videos that are then uploaded. both video, true, but not quite the same.

  9. diptherio

    I’ve only ever dipped the tiniest toe into the twitch world, but it is a rather odd place. The main form of content is people streaming themselves playing video games and interacting with people watching the stream via “the chat”. The people in the chat rooms seem to communicate largely in terms of “emotes” which are little images that have some customary meaning in the culture of twitch. Like emoticons, only it’s often not obvious what their meaning is unless you’ve been around for awhile (I don’t really get most of them).

    Also, the viewers hanging out in the chat room give donations. That’s the real weird thing for me. People give 5, 10, 50 bucks to the streamer just so they can have their message appear on the stream and have the streamer thank them. It’s kinda crazy and seems super-lucrative for the popular streamers.

    I think the Bernie people are very smart to be getting on the platform.

    1. JohnnyGL

      There’s a very similar gaming culture on Youtube, too.

      I think it’s probably sensible to think of them as simultaneously an extension of the marketing dept of various video game studios (they often get early access to newer games), but some cultivate an independent streak (I’m giving an unbiased opinion, this game is $h!t) and a reputation for strong skill/knowledge levels, maybe act as coaches, critics. Some do minor modifications to games, or do demos or tests of other people’s mods. They may do experiments or other ways to inform/entertain about the game. Some even dabble in small-scale documentaries….for history-based games, using the engines of the games themselves, or collaborating with graphics designers. The best ones even cites their sources!

      1. dk

        Yes, good summaries diptherio and JohnnyGL.

        There are also some other niches, I follow a couple of programmers who livestream themselves coding/analyzing and talking about it. Other creatives as well, musicians and artists exposing their process, practicing, getting feedback from the chat… sometimes quite good. Some take the camera along while trekking/climbing/hunting (mostly weekends). Just stumbled on a duet of singer-songwriters, pic-in-pic… lovely.

        And people rambling, like free-access cable TV used to be. There are streams from all over the world, so language creates domains.

        Favorite thing: all streams start muted when you come in. I usually have silence and solitude, but sometimes when working, I’ll put on a stream and not watch (much) just keep working… more soothing than music, like working next to someone who’s working too.

        Creepy? Sure, I guess. There is a certain kind of gregarious exhibitionism that usually reppells people who don’t have some of it themselves. Many that do are very disciplined about their boundaries, some aren’t, and some are predatory. YMMV.

        1. diptherio

          Good to know about those other niches. I have a feeling there’s a lot of untapped potential in the culture of donations that the platform has, for funding lots things that might otherwise struggle to find it.

      2. diptherio

        And then there’s the IRL streamers. It seems to be becoming a fairly varied platform. Personally, I like it because it seems so strange to me…not the watching other people play games part (uh…pro sports?), but the donation thing. It seems like there’s a lot of potential there for…something….

    2. Michael

      Viewers are gathering on Sander’s Twitch page right now, so pay a visit if you want a preview.

      Twitch is a relatively small platform. A wildly successful event can expect viewership in the low hundreds of thousands.

      The Twitch community tends toward irreverence, and the mob can get out of control past 10,000 viewers or so. Expect the chatter to be sparsely moderated and often incomprehensible.

      The demographic is up Sanders’s alley, but chat will be full of ostensible Trump and Yang supporters as well, not to mention apoliticals who just want to enjoy the show. And all of them will be throwing shade — half-serious trolling is the national pastime.

    3. JohnnyGL

      That’s the real weird thing for me. People give 5, 10, 50 bucks to the streamer just so they can have their message appear on the stream and have the streamer thank them. It’s kinda crazy and seems super-lucrative for the popular streamers.

      I think of it like online street performances (playing music/dancing/magic/acrobatics). The streamers are entertaining people and people are grateful for the service and don’t mind throwing them a few bucks.

    4. ChrisPacific

      I watch Twitch for coverage of eSports events, which has always lived in the on demand world – mainstream TV doesn’t cover it, and wouldn’t be the choice of viewing platform for most fans even if it did. I have also dabbled a bit in streams, and spent a couple of months regularly watching a popular streamer who was a skilled player of one of the games I enjoy.

      Done well (which this guy did) it’s kind of a combination of tutorial, reality show, and variety show. The best ones are a bit like late night TV show hosts. You get into the habit of spending a piece of your day with them, and they provide you with entertainment. In return they get the ad revenue and donations, which pop up on screen with your name and a sound effect and are graciously acknowledged by the host in real time (this is super high priority and they will do it even in the middle of the action, delaying by a few seconds at the absolute most). In essence it’s a curated media persona which is partly ad libbed and interactive (they will take questions from chat sometimes, for example) and partly a performance. I looked up some revenue stream numbers and calculated that my guy was probably making low to mid 6 figures a year from it, which is pretty impressive (however, only a tiny fraction of streamers make this kind of income).

      Besides being entertaining I found him interesting to watch, as he was quite adept at looking for learning opportunities in what was going on – he would regularly explain why he did what he did in a given situation, talk about other factors to consider, and so on.

      Downsides: the chat was a cesspool and I usually kept it switched off. The overall culture runs very dudebro gamer – this guy was clearly making a conscious effort to keep things PG in order to expand his audience, but he was one of the few doing that, and he wasn’t always entirely successful at it. For all that he did a good job of making it fun it was clearly work for him. One night he was on a losing streak, obviously frustrated and in need of a break, and ended up speculating about whether his streamers would follow him if he stopped and played a different game for a while. He concluded that no, they wouldn’t, took a moment to mentally gird himself, then queued up for a game again. So it’s still a day at the office even if the office is a bit unconventional.

      1. pretzelattack

        i’ve seen good programs on chess and poker on twitch. the chat is usually pretty useless.

  10. willf

    “There Are Really Two Distinct White Working Classes” – Thomas Edsall

    My tiny hypothesis is that, if you can’t use the term “working class” without appending the word “white” to it, you are not really on the left. Looking at Edsall’s other articles does nothing to negate that hypothesis. Though I certainly hope to be mistaken, here.

    If there are two distinct “white” working classes, then how many distinct non-white working classes are there?

    A silly question, which delineates the silliness of the original article.

    There is one working class. I don’t see why it has to be carved up and set against itself, other than that’s what the moneyed powers wish to see.

    1. Roger Smith

      This will only serve to make her more popular on the cross over. Then again, that is assuming any one reads MJ AND talks about it.

        1. turtle

          Hmmm, I wanted her to do well because I agree with her anti-war message, but don’t really feel that she did. I had never seen her on camera before, and I thought that she came across as pretty stiff and awkward – kind of a stereotypical military type. I think that even if the downward pressure from the MSM and the blob were not there, the best we could hope for would be for her to hang in there as long as possible to keep pushing her message.

          1. Carolinian

            The whole thing was a bit weird and not the least Rachel Maddow who with those enormous eyeglasses looks like Phil Silvers. I’d say Gabbard scored by seeming halfway normal.

            And yes she does play up her military background but her theme–that the president is commander in chief first, domestic czar second–is not wrong. Trump can’t even get his wall built but if he wants to bomb Iran there is seemingly nobody to stop him.

            1. turtle

              Oh yes, Gabbard did have good moments even under difficult circumstances (particularly being given very little time/opportunity to speak). But I just feel that overall she didn’t come across as president/vice-president material in our current environment, as unfortunate as that sounds (not that anyone on the stage yesterday did that much better – I feel that Castro and possibly Booker improved their lots a little, with Castro coming across as possibly the most presidential of the lot). This is why my best hope for Gabbard is that she keeps putting pressure and spreading and reinforcing her message as long as possible.

    2. Geo

      Well, they’re not necessarily wrong but That they think it’s a bad thing speaks volumes about what a dumpster fire MJ has become.

      For us anti-war types that feel we have no political home we are forced into having strange bedfellows. Greenwald, Carlson, Assange, Ron/Rand Paul, Gabbard, etc. We’ll take our allies and advocates where we can get them. If not bombing another country means we have to align with Tucker Carlson then so be it.

      Funny how MJ hates bipartisanship that ends wars but loves bipartisanship that starts them, rigs the financial system, and overall is anti-humanity.

  11. Wukchumni

    Americans, like most people, tend to romanticise rural life. In reality, almost every farming sector is dominated by a few giant corporations. Though he had 90,000 chickens, Weaver could afford only one part-time employee.
    Poultry in motion and I appreciate it, the appeal of the rural life, all the de-beaking you can handle while really getting a handle on animal husbandry, doesn’t get much better than this, I reckon.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To those farming families making $8,000 a year (I found out and posted a quote here the other day), perhaps a min. income (to go along with the min. wage of $15) of $30.000 a year, in order to encourge more people to go to farming.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        but the Machine doesn’t want more farmers. it likes Hydraulic Despotism…Monopoly and Monopsony, with the tiny few sitting atop the spigot.
        more farmers undoes that…gives people choices…can’t have that.
        might have to actually compete for market share.
        it’s funny how the creatures that yell the loudest about “free markets” are the most afraid of them.
        grow wheat? you can contract with “delta” or “pioneer”….or go pound sand.
        grow cows?…there’s fifty middlemen wetting their beak between you and IBP(or whatever they call themselves, now:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBP,_Inc. note the mob connection!)
        grow veggies?…may as well feed them to the chickens, because you’re not in the club.
        I can’t figure out how to get over the FT paywall…but I know this story by heart.
        I’m pleased that it’s finally making it into the mainstream.
        for a long time, the gop and the corporate dems have had farmers(actual farmers, not the paper kind) convinced into voting to be screwed further…or about ancillary things like abortion, queers, and what have you…while the neolib articles of faith made sure that no one would sit down and compare notes about how bad things were(individulaised failure and shame=>suicide rate in the hinterland).
        judging by what i overhear in the feedstore, that’s not working as well any longer.
        as i’ve said a million times…a New New Deal would win hands down out here…among all this salt of the earth….if only someone would come among them and talk about it.

  12. RopeADope

    Twitch was bought out by Amazon so Bezos will be able to feed data to the GOP election campaign.

    Oh and before I forget, don’t store your campaign emails on an AWS server.

  13. RudyM

    So far as I can tell, Sanders is the only candidate who uses his list to help others.

    But not to help the United States, obviously. Democratic presidential candidates mostly don’t seem to believe in the continued existence of the United States as a sovereign country.

  14. Geo

    As I keep saying — and I’m either a lonely voice or not reading the right sources — the vicious rollback of “reproductive rights” is a debacle for feminism at every level, and yet there seems to no self-reflection whatever (rather like the lack of a 2016 post mortem from liberal Democrats.

    This has been bothering me a lot as well over the past few years. Much of the energy within the feminist movement has been on representational fights or small targets like the one you mentioned. There is very little on systemic power structures which is essential to long term success for all civil rights victories. Pro-Choice is one of these.

    There’s an old book from 1902 called “The Religion of Woman” that I’ve given to a handful of my feminist activist friends because it brilliantly tracks the rights of women over the millenia and parallels those rights to religious and political power structures of those times. As of its writing during the Suffrogate era it concludes that women had more rights of self agency in past civilizations than today (1902) and lays out the need for foundational change once women rise in power once more to protect them from another millenia or two of a dark ages. That letting old books of patriarchal mythology define social morality (the Bible), and militaristic and economic institutions that thrive on “might makes right”, are inherently designed to oppress those who possess the least might. And that once a society built on those foundations falls it will be those who possess the most might that prevail.

    That is why systemic change is needed where might does not equal right. Where representation doesn’t mean equality if that representation abides by old systems. Having a woman in power that wields it like the men do (H. Clinton, Albright) changes nothing. Removing a Harvey Weinstein or Roger Alles from power without placing a reformist woman in their place is just shuffling the chairs on the titanic.

    Seeing this new crop of strong women advocating for systemic change like AOC, Talib, and Omar gives me some hope this new generation gets the message and sees representation without systemic change is just lipstick on a pig.

    This isn’t a push/pull fight for rights. History shows that once women lose rights they’ve acquired they don’t have them again for a very long time. Where are the protests? They should be fighting for their very lives.

    As an male ally of feminists I feel weird being so critical but I worry for the near future of women’s rights. It’s teetering in the edge right now and I see little push back by them. I see more squabbling over intersectional conflicts and IdPol than about the foundation of power dynamics and how it’s wielded.

    Like you, maybe I’m just not plugged in to the right channels but I’ve looked. Not seeing it and that worries me.

    1. dk

      I’ve seen some good at least initial discussions on Twitter, which is such a big/wide firehose that individual conversations hardly count, and Twitter is not really the medium for it.

    1. gardenbreads

      Lungwort usually means the shade loving perennial pulmonaria. I often call my plants by Latin names – though I get called snobbish – because common names often refer to extremely different plants.

      1. polecat

        True that. Different genera may often have been give the same common name, depending on the culture, or geography. Latin is definately KING, when it comes to plant nomenclature/ I d !

    1. Susan Mulloy

      fdr-fan: What is AMLO? Does this acronym stand for the new president of Mexico? And is there an English version of your link? Thank you.

  15. Eduardo

    None of the candidates looked good, either the makeup or the lighting or both.

    I thought Tulsi looked both “good” (hair, makeup, clothes) and presidential.

  16. Ranger Rick

    Ten-thousand-foot view: Twitch is Amazon’s TV network, which is currently mostly occupied by teenagers and the attention-seekers that cater to them. This makes Sanders uncomfortably close to endorsing Big Tech.

    Tactically, it’s a good choice because the kind of people who visit Twitch are the kind of people who don’t consume other types of media (TV/print/radio). You just have to be aware that campaigning on Twitch is a risky business considering the kind of people you’re rubbing shoulders with. Similar things happened when people made the mistake of thinking Second Life was going to be a good platform for communicating with the masses.

  17. Pelham

    Re Achieving peak pasture: Wait a minute. Grassland that animals graze on is the same as pasture, right? Didn’t I read from a link I found here that grassland is more efficient at storing carbon (in the soil) than forests? And that 2/3 of the Earth’s land surface is suitable only for grassland and not for crops and forests? And that grasslands thrive best when herd animals graze them?

    So why should we celebrate a reduction in pastures/grasslands? Shouldn’t we encourage the spread of grasslands by eating more beef and consuming more milk and the like so more grassland can absorb more CO2?

    1. Jeotsu

      It very much depends *how* you graze the pasturelands.

      Adding lots of nitrogen (urea) will boost pasture growth, but tends to burn the organic carbon out of the soil quite quickly. As one neighbor (5th generation farmer, now in his 70’s) phrased it “nitrogen is good for the father, but bad for the son.” Profit today over degraded land tomorrow.

      And it’s not just the nitrogen. Anthelmenthics — compounds to treat internal parasites — pass through the animals (to a greater or lesser degree) and go out onto the pasture in the faeces. The problem is, most of the internal parasites they are treating are nematodes. Earthworms are also nematodes. So you can end up wiping out large numbers of earthworms, which seriously messes up your soil biota/ecology.

      Farming…. it’s complex at times. :)

      1. bruce

        The other problem is, herd animals fart methane, which is a significantly more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

        Earthworms are not nematodes, they are annelids. Nematodes have no segments. The drugs are actually intended for the platyhelminthese, flatworms like flukes and leeches, but they are all susceptible to the same poisons.

        1. Jeotsu

          Thanks for the taxonomy correction!

          Methane is certainly an issue. I’ve seen arguments and counter-arguments about where we should be concentrating our efforts. Yes, methane is a more potent greenhouse gas. But it is (relatively) short lived, and it is not a geologic carbon source we’re tapping out.

          We should certainly cut cattle numbers, for many reasons beyond just methane. But I’d be curious what the steady-state methane production was from wild ruminants (buffalo, etc, which once grazed in their multi-millions) before industrial civilisation replaced them all with beef and dairy cows. That might give us some idea how much is too much, in regards to methane. (Though that number might need adjust for the next few centuries to take into account the melting permafrost.)

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Fast-moving tight-packed herds of grazers moved from paddock to paddock to paddock of multi-species pasture and/or range are more and more being said to assist that pasture in retaining and storing some of the carbon the plants suck down every year. If the organic matter percentages in the soil under this system is measurably going up, then the system is indeed net-sequestering carbon.

          One molecule of methane is supposedly as strong a heat-retainer as 85 molecules of CO2. But methane breaks down to CO2 over a few decades. Still, it is a problem before it has broken down.

          SO . . . does the livestock on pasture system remove less than 85 molecules of CO2 from the air for every one molecule of CH4 it puts into the air? Then pasture-under-livestock is net-warming the global. Does the pasture-under-livestock system remove 85 CO2s from the air for every CH4 it adds to the air? Then the system is operating at warming-net-zero. Does the pasture-under-livestock system remove 86 or more CO2s from the air for every CH4 it adds to the air? Then pasture-under-livestock is net-global-cooling by just that much.

    1. Cal2


      ” her meeting with the president-elect was more than a bipartisan discussion—it was a job interview.” God, Trump sure is diverse in his hiring practices!

      Article by the same author as the hit piece you referred to:

      “On Foreign Policy, Bernie Sanders Is Just Another Tool Of The American War Machine”

      Uh, OK.

      1. deplorado

        Interesting, thank you.
        You always bring something new to the comments, I appreciate it.

  18. Geo

    That Caitlyn Johnston piece was hilarious. Now I’m really excited to find out more about candidate Jorp Japson and his (her?) views on health care reform!

    1. Carey

      Agree on the Johnstone piece on the debate. As for the two Chait pieces, that guy’s
      going to need to see a chiropractor, with that endlessly-tortured ‘reasoning’ of

      Bet he sleeps like a baby, though. “We got your back, JC.”

  19. JohnnyGL

    Abby Martin on Joe Rogan again. Always good stuff with her on.

    Here’s an interesting clip…
    Does Andrew Yang Have Answers Bernie Sanders Doesn’t?

    I would answer: “No, Yang is asking good questions and deserves credit for recognizing that there’s a BIG problem. But, he’s giving a lazy solution to fundamental problems of capitalism because he believes in technology and business. And why shouldn’t he? Everything in his personal experience has reassured him that business is a force for progress. What he’s doesn’t understand how political economy works and doesn’t recognize how power is distributed. Nor does he want to confront that power, he wants to accommodate it.”

    Irami Osei-Frimpong gave this nice little clip on why JG is better than UBI
    It’s got Paulina Tcherneva and Rohan Grey

    The only bit I’d add is to emphasize power relations….there’s power in production….strikes work better than boycotts

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Strikes vs. boycotts.

      The latter is longer lasting, I think.

      For example, boycotting meat for a while can lead to a permanent change in diet.

      Striking, on the other hand, comes with some cost (giving up pay for the duration), and it’s doubtful it can become permanent, unless one gets a new job elsewhere.

  20. flora

    re: on Chait

    [2] Good gawd. Has Chait never heard of Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Party? How is it that a columnist this disingenuous and ignorant still has a platform?

    Thank you for the Fannie Lou Hamer reference.

    Chait doesn’t have a platform as such; he has a memory hole he’s tasked to fill. ha.

  21. JohnnyGL

    interesting quick, light reads I found….signs that things are changing a bit…

    BOA no longer wants the reputational hit from doing business with private prisons.

    Chinese aren’t putting money into NY real estate anymore.

    Trump/Pompeo giving India a pass on H-1Bs….Steven Bannon would NEVER have let that happen!

    waterlogged farms in Ohio…mostly sending for the pics….BAD news on the corn crop…

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Good news for me as my farmer brother did get the corn planted on the field I inherited.

      I do not work this land, I have not stepped foot on it since the 1980s but because there were three brothers and three fields, we each got one when dad died.

      My youngest brother does all the work and then gives me half the money.

      Capitalism is the greatest system ever! The more other farmers suffer, the more $$$$ this absentee landlord will make. Sweet.


  22. Michael

    Re Brownian motion,

    ?”Brownian motion is the random motion of Candidates suspended in a TV time warp (fluid) resulting from their collision with the fast-moving Moderators in the (fluid). This pattern of motion typically alternates random fluctuations in a Candidate’s position at a podium (sub-domain) with a relocation to another (sub-domain).”?

    I would love to see a few candidates get untethered as in previous debates. Wandering and impolite staring. Butti shaking. Rapping or speaking in Chinese Go Andy! Go. Maybe singing…”You don’t know me” Marianne!.

    Too much improvisation could confuse Sleepy Joe! and he might ask Marianne, just to be cool, if he could accompany her…later…in another song…at a karaoke bar…with Andy!

    D #1 showed perhaps 3-4 candidates who wouldn’t be eaten alive on stage by DT.
    I expect tonight to reveal the same. Then D #2 will have a rerun of the 20? In the same groups? Winner KaChing & Ka Ching consultants

  23. John Wright

    I have written a small paper on Twitch. It surprised me in its importance in absolute numbers for those especially below 30. It is particularly popular in Japan and China. Downtown Tokyo is building a stadium to host events on Twitch with live spectators. It has made its mark through allowing spectator access to video game competitions. It has generated a whole economy that allows the best players to play professionally through commercializing access. It also transmits other types of gaming events — Dungeons and Dragons, for instance. It posts them and allows others to watch the proceedings. It is particularly popular among gamers. My sense was that it allows spectators to enjoy the competition and learn tricks/skills to enhance their own gaming. It is profoundly simple to set up and allows open access. My sense was that it does not allow trolling.

    I was unaware of any political usage of the platform to this point. When I visited the site, I saw only competitions, professional, semi-professional, or amateur. The platform could allow, I would think, the Sanders house gatherings to interconnect or to allow “attendance” for the live action without one’s actual physical presence. It is definitely a phenomenon among 35 – 12 year olds.

    John Wright

  24. barrisj

    CJ Roberts, writing for the Majority in the “gerrymander” suits, without any trace of irony, added that voters in states can effect their own remedies “at the ballot box”…oh, right, voting in wholly gerrymandered districts? Can this man be serious? Utter partisan rubbish.

  25. Darthbobber

    Did everybody note the somewhat misleading nature of the “show of hands” for all candidates who supported totally eliminating private “health” insurance? Which caused a supporter of HR 676 like Gabbard to keep their hand down because there’s a role left for private insurance in covering some elective things like plastic surgery?

    btw, are we to infer that Warren favors tax-funded plastic surgery for all? Is the lack of clarity accidental?

  26. flora

    Lambert –

    The “Live Blog: Democrat Presidential Primary Debate #2 in Miami (Second Night)”
    post link isn’t working. I get this error message from NC when I click the post link.

    “Sorry, we can’t find that page!

    You tried to find: live-blog-democrat-presidential-primary-debate-2-in-miami-second-night”

  27. The Rev Kev

    You know, I just went to take a look at Molly McKew’s twitter account as she featured at the top. We should really get her and Louise Mensch together. They would have so much to share.

  28. laughingsong

    “The global food system is a key driver of climate change, responsible for around a quarter of manmade greenhouse gas emissions”

    i see many articles about the evils of modern Big Ag vis á vis Climate Change. And yes, they are a large chunk . . . but I would like to see many, many more articles and much more discussion about the military’s footprint.


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