2:00PM Water Cooler 8/13/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“‘Very Painful’ Trade War Has Tech Suppliers Moving Out of China” [Bloomberg]. “From Inventec to Apple-assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Taiwanese companies that make most of the world’s electronics are reconsidering their reliance on the world’s No. 2 economy as Washington-Beijing tensions simmer. Rising tariffs on Chinese-made products threaten to wipe out their margins and up-end a well-oiled, decades-old supply chain. Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc., Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. are said to be among those now weighing their options away from the line of fire, such as Southeast Asia and India. Alphabet Inc.’s Google has already shifted much of its production of U.S.-bound motherboards to Taiwan, Bloomberg News has reported.”

“US Delays 10% Tariffs on Some Chinese Products” [Industry Week]. “The Trump administration will delay until mid-December the 10% tariff on some Chinese products on many holiday-shopping lists. By granting a grace period for everyday items like phones and toys, the U.S. concession appears designed to avoid any disruption or price increases for American consumers heading into the final four months of the year — from back-to-school purchases to Christmas shopping. Any goods imported for holiday sales would need to arrive several weeks before Dec. 15. The announcement also came as the two sides spoke for the first time since the recent escalation in tensions.”


“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 August 12: Biden down to 30.8% (31.4), Sanders flat to 16.5% (16.6%), Warren leaps to 18.3% ( 15.5%), Buttigieg 60 at 6.5% (6.0%), Harris flat at 8.3% (8.4%), Beto back among the bottom feeders. Others Brownian motion.

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “What will it take for the Democratic establishment to abandon Biden?” [The Week]. Concludes: “Democrats value unity and loyalty and knowing one’s place in the pecking order more than they do anything else, including winning elections. We saw this in 2016, when at least 10 of today’s candidates running against a non-incumbent Trump would have had a better shot than Hillary Clinton, whose serious weaknesses were as apparent long before Iowa as they were on November 9. Hillary wanted for her turn. Now it’s Joe’s.” • The aristocrats!

Sanders (D)(1): Let’s stop thinking small:

Warren (D)(1): “Betting Markets See Warren As Likeliest Democratic Nominee for the First Time” [New York Magazine (re Šilc)]. “For the first time since the beginning of the Democratic presidential primary, Elizabeth Warren took the lead in PredictIt’s online betting markets over the weekend. Shares of the Massachusetts senator were going for as high 29 cents on Sunday, one cent more than Joe Biden’s. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders were a fairly distant third and fourth…. Warren’s ascent comes as Biden falls.” • November 8, 2016: “Markets predict Clinton will beat Trump.”

Yang (D)(1):


* * *

“DNC Chair Tom Perez Introduced a Resolution That Could Kill a Climate Debate” [Mother Jones]. “When members of the Democratic National Committee meet in San Francisco later this month, they will likely consider a resolution introduced by DNC Chair Tom Perez this week that activists say would kill chances of a formal, DNC-sponsored debate devoted to climate change. …[P]erez has been reluctant to hold a climate debate, fearing it would lead to a proliferation of single-issue debates.” The title of the resolution is rich: “Resolution Recommitting the Democratic Party to the Work of Combating Climate Change and Creating Jobs by Growing Our Clean Energy Economy.” “While reaffirming Democrats’ commitment to fighting climate change [lol], at the very end of his proposal is a section that suggests the existing debate formats plus the two unofficial climate forums that are already scheduled in September should take the place of a debate.” • Hard to see what issue is more important, but then liberal Democrats aren’t about the issues, are they?

Our Famously Free Press

I thought privieleged cis-het males were supposed to learn to code switch?

Well, you know how they are…

More in sorrow than in anger:

Required reading: “Sydney Ember’s Secret Sources” [FAIR], “Washington Post Ran 16 Negative Stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 Hours” [FAIR‘].

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

One for Mayo Pete’s dad:

Only if you believe that what everyone who is anyone is telling you is true.

Maybe if the Times hadn’t gutted its copy editing department:


Another pollster says the quiet part out loud:

Who’s “you?” “We”?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Meet the titans of finance, tech and philanthropy funding New York’s socialist surge” [Crain’s New York Business]. “A Crain’s analysis of the financial base of the three most prominent socialists in New York politics—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, state Sen. Julia Salazar and Tiffany Cabán, who lost the Queens district attorney primary by just 55 votes—reveals a startling pattern: all three drew substantial support from finance, technology and nonprofit leaders. This is a marked divergence from the city’s real estate industry, which generally supported their Democratic primary opponents.” • Hmm. Readers?

“Quiz: Let Us Predict Whether You’re a Democrat or a Republican” [New York Times]. “This quiz, based on recent surveys with more than 140,000 responses, presents a series of yes-or-no questions to predict whether someone is more likely to identify as a Democrat or a Republican. It captures divisions that should make you worried about the future of American democracy.” • It would be fun to run this again with ranked-choice voting and multiple parties (maybe even some regional). A lot of the “polarization” is manufactured.

“Right-Wing Literature in the United States since the 1960s” [Oxford Research Encyclopedia]. “Examining fiction and nonfiction written explicitly by and for members of right-wing movements provides a deeper understanding of points of affinity as well as contention in the midst of increased polarization in United States political culture. Primary materials include fiction penned by conservative politicians and pundits, fiction written by right-wing agitators, and nonfiction movement literature such as periodicals, advice books, and tactical instruction guides. Since the middle of the 20th century, right-wing literature has sustained and motivated an increasingly formidable political force that undermines democratic ideals and encourages reformatory or revolutionary action.”

“Overcoming the Global Despondency Trap: Strengthening Corporate Accountability in Supply Chains” [Alice Evans, King’s College, London]. “Many activists are stuck in a despondency trap. Never seeing radical reform, they assume it is impossible, moderate their ambitions, and invest in more feasible but sub-optimal alternatives. This creates a negative feedback loop, in which the dearth of radical reform becomes self-fulfilling. But if reformists see advances at home and abroad, they may become more optimistic about collective mobilisation and break out of their despondency trap. This is shown by tracing the drivers of ground-breaking legislation. From 2018, large French firms must mitigate risks of environmental and human rights abuses in their global supply chains, or else be liable. This bill – the world’s first of its kind – was vociferously contested by businesses. But French campaigners and politicians persisted for four years, because fortuitous circumstances fueled hope for reform. The outcome of their campaign was highly uncertain and contingent on many idiosyncratic factors unique to France. But legislative success in France delivered a positive shock to activists across Europe, who were emboldened to launch similar campaigns and escape their despondency trap.”

“The Left Needs a Language Potent Enough to Counter Trump” [George Packer, The Atlantic]. “[The language of the contemporary left is anti-populist. Its vocabulary, much of it taken from academia, is the opposite of accessible—it has to be decoded and learned. Terms such as centered, marginalized, intersectional, non-binary, and Eurocentric gender discipline separate outsiders from insiders—that’s part of their intent, as is the insistence on declaring one’s personal pronouns and showing an ability to use them accordingly. Even common words like ally and privilege acquire a resonance that takes them out of the realm of ordinary usage, because the point of this discourse is to create a sense of special virtue. The language of the left also demands continuous refreshing and can change literally overnight: A writer is told that the phrase born male is no longer okay to use and has to be replaced with assigned male at birth. Many of these changes happen by ambush—suddenly and irrevocably, with no visible trail of discussion and decision, and with quick condemnation of holdouts—which gives them a powerful mystique. The language of the left creates a hierarchy of those who get it and those who don’t.” • I know, I know. If only there were a candidate on the left who used simple language like “the billionaire class.” If there is, Packer doesn’t mention them.

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, July 2019: “Emerging pressure in medical costs and steady pressure in housing are providing fundamental lift to consumer prices” [Econoday]. “Three tenth gains for the monthly core are rare and a back-to-back 0.3 percent gain is even more rare with June and July this year showing the most two months of core pressure since 2005. Whether some of this emerging pressure is tied to higher tariffs is hard to pin down in the data but questions over this possibility are certain to be discussed by the Fed. Whether including food and energy or stripping them out, consumer prices may be turning higher and pose a counter-policy signal for extension of lower rates.”

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, July 2019: “Small business optimism recovered in July” [Econoday]. “Sentiment readings in general, whether for business or the consumer, have been recovering from downticks in May and June that were tied to escalation in US-China trade tensions.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 27 Fear (previous close: 23, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 22 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 13 at 12:00pm. • Restored at reader request. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

When a lovely flame dies:

“The future of groundwater in sub-Saharan Africa” [Nature]. “The population of sub-Saharan Africa is currently about 1 billion, and is predicted to double by 2050 (go.nature.com/2zj9kca), whereas the region’s climate is predicted to become drier during the same period1. Clearly, the demand for fresh water will increase. Whether groundwater can satisfy this demand is a looming question. Little is known about the rates at which water is replenished to groundwater aquifers in that region, and thus the rate of sustainable withdrawal. Writing in Nature, Cuthbert et al. identify the processes involved, and examine the long-term trends of aquifer replenishment in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors conclude that future drying climatic trends could affect surface-water supplies, but might not decrease groundwater supplies.”

“Fields on fire: Alternatives to crop residue burning in India” [Science]. “Although intentional use of fires to transform land has decreased globally, particularly among highly capitalized countries through regulatory and market-oriented approaches and moral suasion, regulatory strategies have been less effective in southern and eastern Asia. Some densely populated agricultural regions in China and India buck the global trend, showing increases in agricultural fires. This is particularly true in northwestern India, where rice residue burning makes a substantial contribution to air pollution and short-lived climate pollutants. Regulations are in place to reduce agricultural fires, but burning continues because of uncertainty regarding policy implementation and regarding access and returns to alternative technologies.” • In Thailand, the farmers of the Northeast, when asked why they continued to burn off the fields illegally, answered that they could not afford tractors. (That’s how “uncertainty regarding policy implementation and regarding access and returns to alternative technologies” translates on the ground.)

“The New Outlooks: Will El Niño’s Demise Boost the Atlantic Hurricane Season?” [Bob Henson, Weather Underground]. “In a press conference, [Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center] noted that there is some persistence to El Niño-related weather patterns that can suppress Atlantic hurricanes, so part of the influence of the 2018-19 El Niño is already baked into the seasonal cake. However, the just-ended El Niño was a weak event to begin with. NOAA’s May forecast was predicted on a 60% chance of El Niño continuing, so the event’s demise helped push the August odds toward a busier-than-usual season, though a near-average season would still fall within NOAA’s forecast range.” • The headline is a little deceptive; Henson doesn’t mean demise demise, just this year’s end.


“How Removing One Maine Dam 20 Years Ago Changed Everything” [The Revelator]. “As soon as the dam came down, the river rebounded. Fish immediately had access to 18 more miles of habitat, up to the town of Waterville at the mouth of the Sebasticook River. Atlantic sturgeon began to swim past the former dam site, and alewife and shad soon returned. Within a year seals could be seen chasing alewives, a type of river herring, 40 miles upstream from the ocean. And with alewives coming back, so did everything that eats them — river otters, bears, mink, bald eagles, osprey and blue herons. But the best indicator of the ecosystem’s recovery was the resurgence of aquatic insects like mayflies and stoneflies, which signaled improved water quality.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Great Land Robbery” [The Atlantic]. “TIAA is one of the largest pension firms in the United States. Together with its subsidiaries and associated funds, it has a portfolio of more than 80,000 acres in Mississippi alone, most of them in the Delta…. Unlike their counterparts even two or three generations ago, black people living and working in the Delta today have been almost completely uprooted from the soil—as property owners, if not as laborers. In Washington County, Mississippi, where last February TIAA reportedly bought 50,000 acres for more than $200 million, black people make up 72 percent of the population but own only 11 percent of the farmland, in part or in full…. This is not a story about TIAA—at least not primarily. The company’s newfound dominance in the region is merely the topsoil covering a history of loss and legally sanctioned theft in which TIAA played no part. But TIAA’s position is instrumental in understanding both how the crimes of Jim Crow have been laundered by time and how the legacy of ill-gotten gains has become a structural part of American life.”

“Colored Property & State Debt with David Freund” (interview) [Freund]. “My first book–Colored Property–is centered on a story about the federal government’s role in creating a racially segregated housing market in the United States after World War II. Many people might be familiar with the story of the Federal Housing Administration and redlining…. Ultimately, it’s a story about mortgage lending and the creation of debt instruments… as I was encountering this story about money and debt, it seemed very odd to me. The documentary evidence showed me that government policy was creating debt instruments and that those debt instruments were creating conditions under which new homes were literally being built. Public policy was creating wealth. Meanwhile, I saw how those policies explicitly channeled that new wealth primarily to white people, especially to white men. People of color and single women were usually denied these new mortgages and this was by federal mandate. To me, that suggested that the government was creating wealth for some and not for others.”

“The New Deal State and Segregation” [Jacobin]. “In turn, it is hard to cleanly align the local politics of racial segregation with class rule. While realtors, developers, and other property interests exploited and profited from racial occupancy and racial transition, the defensive localism that maintained the color line in northern cities was rooted in white anxieties and prejudices.” • I’m not so sure. “Property values!”

Guillotine Watch

“Blankfein and Bezos Party With Geffen on a Yacht in the Balearics” [Bloomberg]. “Ex-Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein is taking time off from feuding with Bernie Sanders on Twitter to hang with billionaires and celebrities — including Jeff Bezos and his new girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez — on David Geffen’s mega-yacht off the coast of Spain… While it may not rival the Gilded Age gatherings of Astors, Vanderbilts and Mellons, the assembled group has a net worth in excess of $120 billion.” • For some definition of “worth.”

Class Warfare

“The New Servant Class” [The Atlantic]. “In an age of persistently high inequality, work in high-cost metros catering to the whims of the wealthy—grooming them, stretching them, feeding them, driving them—has become one of the fastest-growing industries. The MIT economist David Autor calls it ‘wealth work.’ Low-skill, low-pay, and disproportionately done by women, these jobs congregate near dense urban labor markets, multiplying in neighborhoods with soaring disposable income. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of manicurists and pedicurists doubled, while the number of fitness trainers and skincare specialists grew at least twice as fast as the overall labor force.” • So open borders is not just for yard men and someone to take care of little Madison. Good to know.

“What the New Deal can teach us about winning a Green New Deal: Part I” [Monthly Review]. “What the experience of the Great Depression shows is that years of major economic decline and social devastation are not themselves sufficient to motivate business and government elites to pursue policies likely to threaten the status quo. It was only after three and a half years of organizing had also created a political crisis, that the government began taking halting steps at serious change, marked by the policies associated with the First New Deal. In terms of contemporary lessons, this history should serve to dispel any illusions that simply establishing the seriousness of our current multifaceted crisis will be enough to win elite consideration of a transformative Green New Deal.”

News of the Wired

Zeitgeist Watch:

“Tourism Is Eating the World” [Noah Smith, Bloomberg]. “As the Everest example shows, travel to the most popular destinations is subject to what economists call congestion externalities — when you go to a famous place, your presence makes the experience just a little less convenient and comfortable for everyone else. Multiply that effect by the millions, and the world’s tourists are crowding each other out of a good time…. [E]ventually there will be no choice but to start charging tourists a fee…. The inevitable rise of congestion pricing will be bad news for the emerging global middle class. It means that the dream of cheap globetrotting will never be for everyone — at least, not if you want to go to famous places.” • That sounds good.

“”Maslow’s pyramid” is based on an elitist misreading of the psychologist’s work” [Quartz at Work]. “Though Maslow gave us the hierarchy of needs theory, he did not envision his framework in pyramid form at all, according to a new study published in the Academy of Management Learning & Education journal…. The effects of the colorful final product, they argue, have not been benign. What we know as Maslow’s pyramid has tainted our view of work and our expectation that people are concerned with “higher” or “lower” level needs depending on their income or professional status. It gives the impression that some employees need to have their hearts and souls attended to, their creativity tapped and fostered, while others are merely concerned with covering the rent every month and putting food on the table.” • Fascinating history, well worth reading in full.

* * *

Live blog from Hong Kong: “LIVE: Violent clashes between riot police and protesters at Hong Kong airport” [Sky News]. “US President Donald Trump has tweeted claiming that the Chinese government is moving troops to the Hong Kong border.” • Reinforcing the mainland’s line…

* * *

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 (TH):

TH writes: “This June’s new leaves on our King Sago Palm. Which, like all other Sago Palms, is actually not a palm, but a cycad.” It’s another alien being, is what it is.

* * *

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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. JohnnySacks

        The left wing needs it’s online sewer too. I got sick of being reprimanded every time I offered any minor criticism to wherever theme the sewer’s hive mind managed to put forth in redundancy. Decided it was easier to leave and haven’t looked back.

            1. polecat

              Quite the case of cognitive ‘dissentiousness’ ..

              Pretty much explains the whole clinton ethos.

              1. JBird4049

                I don’t know about anyone else, but I tend to think of politically left, right or center meaning something other than being the Pravda and Izvestia of the political establishment much like the New York Times, Washington Post, and the National Review are. I am not sure that the current dailykos and RedState are much different from them or each other. Somebodies get get together and decide what is the Word today and the minions and useful fools spread the word.

                I used to read RedState and it wasn’t bad even for this leftist. Then the founder left and the site mutated from fairly conservative and sane to batcrap crazy reactionary. Like praising Augusto Pinochet for his coup and murderous repression after his death. Sometimes people lose it especially when others want them to. (Shrugs)

                Obama the Kenyan Socialist. Bernie the Communist Russian Dupe.

                Then again there is Jeff’s Lolita Express.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            I’ll be generous and say a large minority of the remaining hostages are probably left curious. My only reason to check a posting there is to scan the comments. The tame dissidents wouldn’t exist under their rating system if there weren’t some cohort who can be kept in the Stockholm Syndrome ring.

            Daily Kos: Where free speech stops at calling a Troll a “Troll”. And “apologist” is a hate word.

            I’m probably being sentimental, I similarly think Ex-Catholic is one of the more civilized and enlightened religions we’ve come up with so far.

          2. Mattski

            Jesus, that annoys me, too. Let’s stop calling people who yearn for the status quo ante and another good 4-8 years’ sleep the “left.” Utterly anhistorical.

            Now, if you want to call them liberals, be my guest. The last avatars of a morally and historically bankrupt creed that was never the tiniest bit revolutionary, start to finish. Look at England and the earliest stirrings, you see that all these people have ever wanted was the right of the bourgeoisie to enjoy the pleasures of the aristocracy.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The left wing needs it’s online sewer too

          We don’t have a political spectrum any more. Conservatives, liberals, and the left are forming the opposing apexes of a triangle. I use the progressive tense (ha) because the liberals are doing everything they know how to prevent it.

          1. Matthew Kopka

            A helpful visual, for sure, and maybe illustrative of the fact that there is a real space for a new party and politics.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Read bout half the comments, and hoo boy, lots of jaded Hillary supporters claiming Clinton had the most negative stories and that Bernie didnt campaign hard enough for Hillary. This is what happens when a Party goes full Russiagate instead of asking why their candidate lost.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          Sydney Ember is at it again. She’s saying that Bernie can’t connect with the voters.

          “DES MOINES — Bernie Sanders examined the butter cow. He power-walked by the Ferris wheel. He gobbled a corn dog.

          He spoke to almost no one.

          Most presidential candidates use the 10-day Iowa State Fair to showcase their retail campaigning skills, because it is one of the best opportunities to meet a wide cross-section of voters before the caucuses in February. Mr. Sanders’s approach to the event on Sunday — stride briskly, wave occasionally, converse infrequently — underscored how he has grounded his campaign in championing ideas rather than establishing human connections.”


          1. ewmayer

            True, Bernie would be well-served by cultivating a HillBillary-esque phony-baloney “Ahm just one of y’all country folk” accent, like HRC used to deploy whenever she was “in country”. /s

            I notice Ember‘s hubby is a private-equity weasel, which may help explain her priors … yah, those nice PE folks, they’re all about establishing human connections…

            1. pjay

              Ember’s own background also arouses suspicion. It would be great if she was deluged by reader comments that simply linked to the FAIR expose that Lambert cites above.

      3. clarky90

        Re; “The language of the left also demands continuous refreshing and can change literally overnight: A writer is told that the phrase “born male” is no longer okay to use…..”

        This is a description of a dysfunctional social group -terrorized by “the top dog/s (any age or gender)”. The under-dogs must tiptoe around the boss sociopath/s- always alert to their current mood. Rules apply to some people but not to others. “The Rules” themselves are fluid; being modified, disappearing or being added to constantly. The underdogs are forced into a perpetual state of alert anxiety.

        Most of us have been in this situation (more or less) at one time or another- at work, at school, playing, or in a family. A petty tyrant, in any position of power, can make life a misery, no matter how diligently the target/s attempt to comply and mollify.

        Personally, I am remembering my mother-in-law, my father, my Masters Degree supervisor……

        The “tails I win, heads you lose” game is not sustainable.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Where do I apply to get German Americans, Irish Americans, Irish-Catholic Americans, and Italians, to name a few, broken out of these people’s definition of White? I’m feeling Colonized.

  1. Robert McGregor

    “the three most prominent socialists in New York politics—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, state Sen. Julia Salazar and Tiffany Cabán, . . . drew substantial support from finance, technology and nonprofit leaders. This is a marked divergence from the city’s real estate industry, which generally supported their Democratic primary opponents”

    The Real Estate Industry is the quintessence of exploitation in the Marxist sense–they make their profits on rent-seeking, and after “flipping” a property after the application of minimum “lipstick” (“Hey, put some lipstick on that pig.”) Real Estate operators represent capital in one of the purest senses, and hence they have the biggest stake in maintaining the present “preference for capital” system. Whereas finance, technology, and nonprofit leaders at least once in awhile “add some real value,” and operate in the real world, and see the place for democratic socialism.

  2. JohnnyGL

    “While realtors, developers, and other property interests exploited and profited from racial occupancy and racial transition, the defensive localism that maintained the color line in northern cities was rooted in white anxieties and prejudices.” — huh?

    From the look of that quote, I was going to yell, “anxieties and prejudices? No, it was Federal policy through the FHA!”. So, yes, to Lambert’s ‘property values’ remark. Racism doesn’t come from ‘tradition’ and feelings of insecurity. It’s ALWAYS rooted in money and power.

    The article was better than that little snippet. I’m thinking of getting Rothstein’s book.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      rooted in white anxieties and prejudices.

      There is no Society. Only Consumers. Duh.

      Why did consumers decide to trade their light rail for buses? Probably anxiety and prejudices. Of course.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Somewhere I saw the distinction made that “Sanders is for workers, Warren is for consumers.” Never mind the overlap; how do you conceptualize your voters?

        1. ambrit

          Alas for the “theoretical politicos,” in the ‘real’ world, once one “conceptualizes” one’s voters, they do not automatically appear like some sort of ‘Zero Point Voter Effect.’ Also, there is a subtle distinction between the two categories of Terran Human. ‘Workers’ theoretically create “value” while ‘consumers’ utilize “value.” This is not a variation of the old “which came first, the chicken or the egg” question. The flow is manifest; first come the eggs, second come the raptors. Some eggs produce raptors. Some eggs are ‘consumed’ by raptors. Under all circumstances, ‘workers’ must work, or starve. Workers can be considered as a subset of the class ‘raptors,’ but not it’s totality.

  3. flora

    re: Another pollster says the quiet part out loud.

    The NYTimes is doing its part: about the Sanders’ crowds at the Iowa State Fair:

    “Yet even as his campaign seeks to project its strength in early primary states, there are signs — in Iowa polls, conversations with local officials and discussions with dozens of voters — suggesting that Mr. Sanders, 77, may be struggling to gain traction in the state that fueled his political rise.

    “It is a dynamic that was perhaps most evident last weekend at the state fairgrounds: As voters talked up first-time presidential candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Mr. Sanders was often an afterthought.”

    Ad: Sign Up for [NYTimes] On Politics With Lisa Lerer

    A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know. (a guiding hand!)


      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        this juxtaposition of links is another example of what makes the commentariat here so great.

        thanks, Flora, one sweet link (the date under your first comment if I understand correctly) sent out to all my MSM-addicted peeps.

        1. pjay

          I know everyone (including me) keeps saying this, but it’s like they don’t even have to pretend to tell the truth anymore. More and more I’m reminded of the famous Zappa quote.

          1. richard

            pjay, what is the famous Zappa quote?

            the only Zappa quotes I can supply are song lyrics from Joe’s Garage

            1. pjay

              Sorry. There are probably many famous Zappa quotes. But this is the one that comes to mind:

              “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

              They are starting to get a little lax. I can already see a few bricks behind the curtain.

                1. ambrit

                  I’ve been wondering if that FBI “raid” on ‘Orgy Island’ is to gather evidence or to destroy it.
                  Then again, the FBI here could be reverting to it’s original purpose; the gathering of blackmail material against American politicos, movers, and shakers.

    1. urblintz

      The transparency with which the anti-Sanders machine spews its venom is as astounding as it is depressing. Talk about making one’s skin crawl…

      1. polecat

        anti-Sander skin crawl .. there’s a creamed for that.
        How else is one to attain that luxurious “V-like” lizard skin texture … ??

        There are Plenty of Human itarians for the virtuous pickings ! Just ask the middle-salt-of-the-earth Deploristanis, for example .. well, those that haven’t been predated on yet !

        1. ForFawkesSakes

          Our current elite madness makes me really wonder if we aren’t currently living in the actual “V” invasion.

          Time to find and watch that one again!

      2. Carey

        As I see it, it’s a very short-term holding action by the explaining-
        class types: anyone who actually listens to Sanders, say, will quickly see that it there’s anything he is not, it’s an opportunistic
        bullshitter, so the aforementioned class’s bona fides will be under
        some real pressure from the many.

    2. DonCoyote

      From none other that Bernie-hating NYT “reporter” Sydney Ember. Lambert just reposted it, above, but go see Katie Halper’s expose of Sydney on FAIR if you haven’t yet.

  4. doug

    Mr. Nate S screwed the polls so bad last big election, why do we still hear from him???
    But now that we have, it was not unbiased, like I would expect from a ‘pollster’…

    1. Pat

      Silvers was one of the first people I knew to push Buttigieg. And that was even as his own people were treating that as the absurdity it was and should have remained.

      He has a brand and an agenda.

      1. JohnnyGL


        Nate, amusingly, admitting ‘the party decides’. Did he not see the media’s attempt to give Harris a big push into the top tier? They’ve tested Buttigieg and Beto, too. Booker before that. None have been able to get momentum. Of course, Harris chose a marginal, awkward issue (busing) to have her ‘moment’ built around. And she almost immediately pulled the rug out from under her own big moment by saying her policy wasn’t really different.

        But Nate also shows a misunderstanding of how the party works. Team Dem provides a buffet of pre-approved options and…..then, and only then….the PEOPLE decide! :)

        1. Massinissa

          “Of course, Harris chose a marginal, awkward issue (busing) to have her ‘moment’ built around.”

          Maybe she just needed better messaging? The content is never at fault, its always the messaging to these beltway types.

      2. ChrisPacific

        The thing that confuses me is that he was self-aware enough to recognize how he screwed up (viz., moving from statistics into punditry) but apparently not self-aware enough to stop doing it.

    2. roadrider

      LOL Nate Silver (should have stuck to baseball). I guess he didn’t have a problem with Hellary’s sense of entitlement in 2016 or Obama’s in 2008 and 2012 (when he should have been primaried into non-existence).

    1. ewmayer

      There was a discussion re. lab-grown meat in yesterday’s Links … this fits right in!

      (And in fact, the Onion headline is more or less true re. ‘legacy’ admissions.)

  5. richard

    You know, you get these hints (actually steaming heaps, sorry) of entirely unironic cluelessness from Nate Silver, i.e. using words like “entitlement” about politicians who deserve it not one whit. Almost like he was asleep or something in 2016? Like he missed his chance then to use the word properly, about the most entitled presidential candidate in u.s. history? You get that sense.

    1. polecat

      Sounds like RiP VaN SiLvEr could use a point shave.
      Those hirsute statistics don’t drop by themselves, you know.

  6. XXYY

    Would have thought Sen. Sanders was better than this

    One of the thousands of weird things emerging in the Trump Era is this: If you criticize the corporate-owned, highly concentrated, for-profit, advertising supported, elite-run information system in the United States, you are now a Trump supporter!

    I can remember when Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman wrote a whole book about this, and were considered leftists for it.

    1. Grant

      Yeah, but if you are a really deep, nuanced thinker like many self-described “centrists”, it is really hard to notice qualitative differences between Chomsky’s and Herman’s critiques of the media, and Trump’s comments on the media. They both critique the media, and so they are both exactly the same. In fact, since Trump critiqued the media (and to be fair, some of it deserved), one comment below that Tweet even called Bernie “Trump lite”. Trump is now the scale that we will all be measured against. The FAIR piece on the NY Times hack that was hired out of the financial industry (with no history of covering politics) to attack Bernie? Trump lite. So, there you go. I remember though that Clinton critiqued the media for giving Trump so much free airtime, blamed that in part on her losing. So, she too is “Trump lite” I guess.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        And I’ve been calling Biden “Trump Lite”! He’s a much better fit for the epithet than Bernie though.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it is really hard to notice qualitative differences between Chomsky’s and Herman’s critiques of the media, and Trump’s comments on the media.

        Well, in the same way that liberals + conservatives are enemies of the left, left + conservatives are enemies of liberals. It makes sense they’d lump their enemies together. Though I’d argue (A) that liberals and conservatives are united ideologically by neoliberalism. I’m not sure what liberals think unites the left and conservatives: (B) Sexism, I suppose, or possibly white supremacy. Though I can’t see why anybody sensible would think (A) is false, or (B) true. But perhaps that’s my viewpoint and priors talking.

    2. Geo

      I also remember when being against imperialist wars, against torture, and for government transparency where considered Lefty traits but apparently thinking we should get out of Syria, descalate tensions with Russia and N. Korea, and let Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange go free makes one a Trump supporter now too.

      It is clearer than ever that the Democratic Party (from top to bottom) has become the Conservative party. There are a few fringe ones that still cling to the lefty version of the party but the majority of elected reps and true-blue supporters are conservatives.

      The Republican Party is the regressive reactionary party.
      The Democrats are the conservative establishment party.
      The progressive left just clings to the Dems like a stray cat rummaging through the trash for scraps. The Dems aren’t our home but every now and again they leave us some leftovers on the back porch.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        a stray cat rummaging through the trash for scraps

        A stray cat that never learned mousing from her clowder.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The Republican Party is the regressive reactionary party.

        I wonder if it might make more sense to think of the Republicans as the truly revolutionary party. I don’t much like their revolution, but they seem to be serious about grasping and holding power in a way that Democrats are not.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the Anti-New Dealers(or, more broadly, Anti-Enlightenment Faction of the Aristocracy(1100AD with high tech for the Lords and Ladies)) is a Counterrevolutionary movement.
          if one reads this( https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf ) in that light, and observes how so many of those tactics and strategies–honed abroad–are being applied domestically, it tends to clarify things.
          In this Model, the Clintons represent to hostile takeover of the Other Party by the Machine….per the strategy laid out so helpfully by Lewis Powell.

    3. hunkerdown

      You’re not just criticizing the bourgeois liberal press machine, you’re threatening the jobs of the bien*-pensants*! Real*, live* humans[citation needed] who, by and large, are entirely and deeply dependent on others (“wealth work”) to provide their elevated standard of living to which they are righteouslyfully entitled* because they think the right** thoughts*. Muh jobs (and muh obedient, pure-in-thought nanny)!

      A commenter over at Ecosophia hit on a very interesting theory: that all this scolding and other management isn’t so much meant to improve the working class, but to keep it on the reservation and thus from withdrawing from bourgeois society, taking with it their increasingly onerous material support of said non-productive professional/management class. Russiagate was supposed to have been an electric fence of sorts. No surprise that inside baseball writers and magazines want to stay in business. A world that serves the broad interests of the public has no use for the sorts of “monitoring commitments” that the Clinton Global Initiative and the Beltway lords’ gazeteers employ tens of thousands to enforce.

      * Rice-Davies, Mandy, personal communication.
      ** “The ruling ideas are in every epoch the ideas of the ruling class” – The Bearded One

  7. Cal2

    Report from the sore loser Trumpenleft:
    “he feels as though that by virtue of having been the runner-up last time, he’s entitled to the nomination this time…,” From the still licking his wounds, Nate Silver.

    So called ‘democrats like Silver and the slimey little Tom Perez, are why we have President Trump. Give any creedence to deluded clowns like them, and and we’ll have a second term of President Trump.

    “Runner up”:, my ašš.
    “As reported recently in The Hill, Trump’s own pollster, Tony Fabrizio, stated flatly at a recent Harvard University Institute of Politics event that
    Sanders would have beaten Trump
    . He said Sanders would have run stronger than Clinton with lower-educated and lower-income white voters. I could not agree more, on both counts.”

    Bernie or Trump, it’s up to the Democrats (again).

    1. Pat

      “I came to praise Yang, not to bury him”.

      Pretty sure Musk is the last tech giant you want endorsing you…

    2. jrs

      if your math has never consisted of the math needed to pay your bills, then you think $1000 a month is enough to live off of. And that is probably the case with the rich. I think it would help some of the destitute and do little for anyone who wasn’t.

      1. Massinissa

        Its worse when you remember that Yang’s plan to ‘pay for’ the BGI is to institute: A 10% federal sales tax, to go on top of state sales taxes.

        BGI could be done in a progressive fashion, but not when ‘paid for’ with just about the most regressive tax imaginable. $1000 dollars a month won’t help the poor who now need to pay an extra dime for every dollar of groceries and other necessary products

        1. WJ

          You could “fund” the $1,000/month national dividend through a modest tax on financial transactions, no?

          But providing tuition free public college would provide in my opinion a far greater boon to our country and political culture than giving everybody $1000/month.

      2. richard

        yeah, I never got why $1000 a month was sounding good to people, especially considering how little attention Yang gives to any other concrete material benefit.

      3. Briny

        I get $1108/no in VA disability (60%). You can live on it, barely, in a room and board here in Fresno, CA. The board is a misnomer in my case as my conditions severely restrict what I can eat and drink; once a month when the pain is manageable, I get in a Smart & Final run. Otherwise, everything I have is pretty much a decade old, or older, with clothing from Mom and Sis on birthday and Christmas. Forget even thinking about an apartment with related bills.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Bad luck. (A lot of that decade-old stuff will be less crapified than today. The only place I can buy a well-made men’s shirt these days is the thrift shop.)

      1. richard

        the mighty euphemism! Not to lift (or even fool) the downtrodden but to console the powerful.

  8. Carey

    I thought the Matthew Walther piece on Biden was very good, and
    asking the question that’s exceedingly obvious to anyone not paid,
    directly or indirectly, to think otherwise. Yes; late USSA, here we

    Another from Walther on the same topic:


    Meanwhile the comfortable-class types say Sanders “makes my skin
    crawl” and that he has “a sense of entitlement..”. Do tell us more,
    “folks”, and please: provide some specifics for once, hmm?

  9. UserFriendly

    Re NYT quiz… Hummm Apparently if I was straight I’d be R+19 but my gayness makes me D+79.

    In reality the only thing my gayness does is give me insight into how other gay people, like nate silver, think. I’d put money on him dating some annoying cliche stereotype that was all in for HRC because girl power and gag me. And hates Sanders for challenging the queen. Now 100% behind mayor Pete.

    1. The other Jean

      On the interactive diagram, I followed the branches for various people I know, and the conclusion on party affiliation did not line up with their actual political leanings. The data used for the tree is from Harvard’s Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which uses opt-in yougov survey participants. YMMV, a lot.

    2. Quentin

      Exactly. The world of gay is a wondrous world of smoke and mirrors all in a class of its own (I know, I live it) At most it gives ‘…insight into how other gay people…think.’ In ancient times (like the 50s) homosexuals had the advantage of the outsider peering in: I can understand you (mommy, daddy and baby) but you can not understand me. Now the people who call themselves gay are all excited about not looking further than inside: Buttigeg got money from the largest number of billionaires of all Democratic candidates—Sanders not even one!

      Nate Silver is of the same caliber as the supporters of the aggression against Iraq: a complete failure in 2016—more wrong he couldn’t be–yet he’s still calling the punches.

    3. DJG

      UserFriendly. I was at the Market Days extravaganza on Halsted in Boystown in Chicago last weekend, doing a bit of work with an arts organization (which I discovered to be about the only arts organization at the corporate-dominated street fair).

      Pete Buttigieg had a booth, giving away Boot Edge Edge t-shirts and stickers. The emblematic moment for me was the guy with the Boot Edge Edge sticker and Top Siders–upper-middle class white gay guys in a predominantly upper-middle crowd. Boot Edge Edge is the Alex P. Keaton of the candidates.

      As to Nate Silver, his book The Signal and the Noise is the most boring book that I have ever tried to slog through.

      Ahhhh, the perils of assimilation into corporate America.

  10. Summer

    RE: Property
    “People of color and single women were usually denied these new mortgages and this was by federal mandate. To me, that suggested that the government was creating wealth for some and not for others.”

    Ya think?
    Engineered conformity….

  11. Summer

    RE: The New Servant Class

    After Epstein, you really think they want to hire people that can go to the police?

  12. John Beech

    Student loan debt? Can’t forebear it. Nope. And I’ll vote against any politician who does. What I can support 100% is rolling it over to 0% going forward.

    1. JBird4049

      How about elimination of all the interest payments and the reinstatement of the ability to discharge the debt in bankruptcy?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Or how about we just do the sensible thing and get rid of it?

        Those proposals are good, but why do we charge for education at all?

        By the way, those kinds of proposals have been offered up by the left, the same centrists who offer those as alternatives now fought tooth and nail against those proposals then. Never trust a centrist.

        1. edmondo

          Or how about we just do the sensible thing and get rid of it?

          I have no problem with that if they give me a chance to go run up some student debts first.

    2. hunkerdown

      I’ve always believed the secret ballot is an invitation to sociopathy. Everyone should have a right to know who is working against them.

  13. JBird4049

    A lot of the “polarization” is manufactured.


    I’m not so sure. “Property values!”

    Well, yes! Just as a lot of racism/classism was and is too. In places like Chicago and Detroit, there was an organized process by which parasitic scum real estate developers would steal buy at bargain basement prices whole white owned neighborhoods by an actual campaign of fear that “the blacks” were moving into the area. It is like the later campaign of demonization of the Deplorables except the by business interests not political party. Merely moving in would destroy property values of working class white families who would be offered a choice of selling at a discount to the vampire real estate company their house before a black family moved into the area or losing more selling later perhaps at a great loss.

    So, (secret) whisper campaign, paid advertising, secret invitations to black families to buy an overpriced house, which drives out the white families who sell their homes cheap to real estate companies that sell overpriced homes to desperate black families. Also, black buyers would buy using a “contract sale” and not a mortgage. Think of it as “renting to own” with one late payment meaning eviction and loss of all previous payments. The whole thing benefited real estate companies, white (and black!) property owners, payoffs to judges and politicians causing generations of corruption, black impoverishment and overcrowding, and white working class resentment and to a lesser amount, their own impoverishment.

    FDR had to acquiesce to Southern Democrats that the New Deal especially Social Security did not apply to black homebuyers or to housecleaners, almost all of whom were black, and to sharecroppers, a majority of whom were black as well. Note that Southern wing Democratic Party was willing to scuttle the New Deal if it benefited blacks at all. The fact that the many white sharecroppers were also hurt by the same restrictions did not matter either.

    I know that I sound like a broken record, but most of the racism and almost all the poverty in the United States is a result of deliberate policies. Just like how the native genocide was.

  14. Synoia

    Blankfein and Bezos Party With Geffen on a Yacht in the Balearics….

    Unfortunately I have mislaid my submarine and accompanying torpedoes.

        1. pretzelattack

          piracy, the real “oldest profession”. bankers and other financial scammers fighting to keep the tradition alive.

    1. cnchal

      > While it may not rival the Gilded Age gatherings of Astors, Vanderbilts and Mellons, the assembled group has a net worth in excess of $120 billion.”

      Whaaat??? Wasn’t Bezos worth 160 billion all by himself three weeks ago?

  15. urblintz

    re: right-wing Literature. Wow that’s a dense and thorough read which I have only begun to nibble at, but I’ll mention a few writers he’s looked at so far, just to start a conversation: Heinlein, Scott Card, Dos Passos. Heinlein I read as a kid with no eye/ear to his political philosophy, Scott Card I had enjoyed before his jarring conservatism became known, and Dos Passos I knew about going into and so stopped after USA trilogy to confirm my bias. The point being that I was never dissatisfied with any of those reading experiences yet I doubt I’d feel the same now if I were encountering them for the first time.

    Don’t know what that might mean… random thought actually.

    1. Rhondda

      When I first read the bulk of Heinlein I was in my mid-late teens and it was the 70’s. I did come to find him tiresome…but my criticism didn’t have any focus. Today I guess I’d call it bloviation. Back then I didn’t have that word. A woman friend and I were discussing him not too long ago and both re-read Stranger in a Strange Land. Neither of us could make it through. Ugh. Still, my brain is speckled with Heinlein quotable quotes…but meh, Johnathan Seagull is in there, too, so perhaps that ain’t sayin’ much!

      1. rowlf

        I read Heinlein as a mid teenager too. Later on I bought a bunch of the books I had read as a kid and was glad that I had moved on to Douglas Adams and Alan Watts. (Thanks WFMU!)

        I never read any Ayn Rand or L. Ron Hubbard stuff but I had the secret pleasure of moving their books to the children’s section of the used book stores whenever I could. Call it my George Spiggott moments.

        (Another George Spiggott moment: a co-worker was trying to plow through an L. Ron Hubbard series. He would read at break time and leave his paperback book in his mailbox. I would move his bookmark forward a chapter whenever possible. He claimed the stories were hard to follow as characters kept disappearing.)

      2. ambrit

        Plowing through Heinlein’s middle period stuff, like “Stranger…” “Friday” “Glory Road” etc. etc. is to view them through the lens of the fact that Heinlein believed his socio-sexual politics and lived them. If he still lived today, Heinlein would have been found on the passenger list of the ‘Lolita Express.’

        1. The Rev Kev

          Was Heinlein what we would call a libertarian? Absolutely! Would he have been chasing girls just old enough to have had their braces removed? I very seriously doubt it and one of the themes that runs through his stories is the protection of children in a society. My own opinion is that he would have beat Epstein to death with his own Rolodex if he had come across him.

          1. ambrit

            There is credible evidence that Heinlein indulged in wife swapping his life long. He traveled in circles that staged impromptu “artistic photograph” showings, with young women a favourite. He was subtly lampooned by Pournelle and Niven in “Lucifer’s Hammer” as the scoutmaster who decamped to the hills with his troop and a troop of girl scouts to go “back to nature.”
            I was going to link to a NYT piece alluding to this from 2005 but discovered that even the NYT archives are now paywalled.
            Something more risque on Heinlein: https://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2010/08/polyamory-robert-heinlein-and-his-new.html
            Heinlein had a lot to hide.

            1. The Rev Kev

              A lot to hide? Only from Mrs Grundy which he made plain in his books. This is talking about grown adults making their own decisions about their own lives. He has hinted about this in his books and mentioned names but he also made plain that it was nobody’s business except the involved parties. And I have to say that I agree with this attitude. They were not doing anything criminal like blackmail or going after underage girls but were adults working out and agreeing on their own rules to follow.

        2. Oregoncharles

          I read him in the 60’s (and haven’t since). He may have been politically conservative, but his books, especially “Stranger…,” were a driving force in the socio-sexual revolution of the late 60’s. Not conservative in any usual sense; more of a radical.

          That said, he was an engineer and it showed; his stuff was always pretty diagrammatic, certainly not much in the way of literature. If someone found him “tiresome,” that’s probably the reason. Herbert was far more creative, and more of a prophet. Then there’s LeGuin, but I think her heyday was later. Other masters, like Sturgeon or Ballard, were both more literary and more astute politically.

  16. flora

    Computerized voting: what could go wrong?


    What could go wrong ?


    “Voatz is a recent startup company that is building and operating yet another Internet voting
    system intended for public elections. The system’s major distinguishing features are an
    elaborate voter authentication system based on automated facial comparison of a photo of a
    voter’s photo ID to a short selfie video, and a back end virtual ballot box in the form a closed,
    permissioned blockchain.
    “Some features of the Voatz system have been described in outline, but no detailed technical
    description has been published in spite of the fact that the system has been used in at least two
    public elections in West Virginia and may soon be used for another in Denver. Most of the
    details of the architecture and procedures are apparently confidential, though it is not clear
    why. The system has not gone through federal certification, or any public certification to our
    knowledge. The company has not disclosed its source code nor allowed its system to be
    examined openly by third party experts, as other Internet voting systems have. It has not been
    subject to open testing in mock elections, again as other Internet voting systems have. The
    company says it has contracted with several other companies to do a “security audit” of its
    system, but their reports and findings have not been made public. ”


    Paper ballots, hand counted in public.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Another phishing expedition.

      The main selling point of digital ballots is, I maintain, their ability to steal elections. That’s the only reason I’ve been able to come up with for the failure of “paper ballots, hand counted in public” to get traction.

  17. Grant

    The Tweet by Wesley Lowery and the comments below the Tweet are good reading. Many call him out, but my god, many of the silly people commenting equate Bernie with Trump because they both critique the media. One even calls Bernie “Trump lite” for critiquing the media. I guess Trump has a monopoly on this and we are all just in his shadow. Who can watch the dominant media in this country and not have major issues for what issues the media covers, what the media doesn’t cover, the views allowed or not allowed into the conversation, what facts are or aren’t mentioned, which politicians are supported and which are opposed? I guess Noam Chomsky is, what, Super Trump, if that is the silly mindset?

  18. Geo

    “Democrats value unity and loyalty and knowing one’s place in the pecking order more than they do anything else, including winning elections.“

    This sounds like they’re describing conservatives, which makes sense since the Dems have become the home of modern conservatism. Status quo protectionism as policy is their thing. Bowing to authority (“knowing one’s place”) ain’t exactly a quality the Left is typically known for.

    1. hunkerdown

      It sounds like Walther is describing every office I’ve ever worked in. In light of Conway’s Law the similarity between Democrat establishment politics and salary-class office politics can thus be explained.

  19. Pelham

    Re Epstein, I lift this from a CBS report:

    “On the morning of Jeffrey Epstein’s death there was shouting and shrieking from his jail cell, a source familiar with the situation told CBS News. Corrections officers attempted to revive him while saying “breathe, Epstein, breathe.”

    And then it goes on to talk about other related matters without ever getting back to the “shouting and shrieking,” which is one hell of a revelation to just let drop. This drives me nuts. As an editor I never would have let that paragraph pass. First of all, if the second sentence attempts to explain the first sentence, it should say something like, “Corrections officers WERE ATTEMPTING to revive …” And it probably should say a great deal more than that.

    As it stands, it’s rather peculiar. If the officers were the ones making the racket (or did the racket precede their arrival?), the word “shrieking” doesn’t fit. How does one shriek “breathe, Epstein, breathe”? Or is it possible Epstein was shrieking — hard to do if he wasn’t breathing. The source needs to elaborate. The reporter needs to go back to J-school.

  20. fdr-fan

    On New Deal mortgage segregation: Segregation was normal then. Home ownership was ALSO normal for BOTH races then.

    I’ve looked closely at the data sheets of the 1940 Census in a city I know well. In both black neighborhoods and white working-class neighborhoods, 60% of people owned their homes. No difference.

    There might have been a difference in policy, but it didn’t cause a difference in ownership so it didn’t matter.

    1. Tom Stone

      fdr-fan, I respectfully disagree.
      “Separate but Equal” is always about Separate, but never about Equal.
      Did White and Black neighborhoods have equally good schools?
      Did they have equally good roads?
      How about access to banks and grocery stores, equal?
      Were police and fire services equal for black and white citizens and neighborhoods?
      The first time I read a mortgage in full was when my parents paid off their loan on our home in Piedmont,
      The covenants were particularly interesting to me because they specifically forbade the original and all succeeding owners to sell the home to “Anyone of the African Race”.
      It was a selling point when that area was built during the late 20’s and early 30’s.

  21. Lee

    Hate to nitpick but I will anyway.

    Re Neanderthal hunting technology: Last I heard, Neanderthals did not use projectile weapons, as indicated by the fletched spear shafts in the guys quiver. They used stout stabbing spears, which would require a degree of courage greater than would be necessary to take down an animal from a distance.

    So Maslow’s pyramid of needs has been transformed into an updated version of India’s caste system? Neoliberalism poisons all it touches.

    New language of the Left: Whatever will the putative Left do about inherently gendered languages, where objects with no apparent gender are assigned one anyway? Wikipedia tells us:

    The situation of gender neutral language modification in languages that have (at least) masculine and feminine grammatical genders, such as French, German, Greek and Spanish, is very different from that of English, because it is often impossible to construct a gender-neutral sentence as can be done in English.

    I guess we English speakers are doomed to have some portion of our language disappear down a Lakoffian black hole. Where does Chomsky stand on all of this?

  22. Jeff W

    The Left Needs a Language Potent Enough to Counter Trump” [George Packer, The Atlantic].
    What exactly is George Packer blathering on about? It’s not as if there is a passel of left opponents to Donald Trump, all talking about how centered, marginalized, intersectional, and non-binary everything is. There’s—count ’em—one candidate on the left and, in a piece ostensibly arguing for what “the left” “needs” to do, Packer leaves him unmentioned, not least of all because that candidate, who is doing just what Packer suggests, renders the entire piece pointless and irrelevant.

    But Packer does find time to mention favorably Elizabeth Warren who “speaks with a natural plainness that reminds you of her prairie origins” but manages to ignore—or is maybe oblivious to—the fact that, as Benjamin Studebaker points out, she “tries very hard to exclude people she considers unworthy from her proposals.” That natural, homespun, corn-fed plainness of Warren’s speech with its prairie origins, direct from the heartland, is élitist to its core. (Warren never strays too far from her Republican roots.)

    All of that goes to show this all that hand-waving on the part of Packer about how this discursive “structural disadvantage” of “the left”—establishment Democrats? liberals?—must change ignores that fact that the underlying policies could remain—in fact, can’t do anything other than remain—resolutely neoliberal. Faux populism on both sides—”an equal and opposite force” in Packer’s strangely revealing formulation—is the solution. He would rather have us focus on the aesthetics than the substance—so maybe the subtext of the piece isn’t as pointless and irrelevant as it first appears—but he’s not all that interested in actually helping “the left,” anyway.

      1. Jeff W

        Thanks! “It’s all so complex!”—heh, yeah.

        Oh, “this all that” → “that all that” Oops!

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I do think simplicity is better than attempted all-inclusive woke “language” and virtue signalling.

        Tulsi: it’s all about the war, stupid. When you siphon trillions and waste them overseas then foreign policy *is* domestic policy

        Bernie: just needs to remind that we already have Socialism: handouts for Wall St, MIC, Fossil fuels.

  23. skippy

    Amends in advance …

    Up date on wife’s experiences at the rallye du canal du midi [NC did a post on it back in the day] …

    Anywho … it seems the whole thing is a piss take [aussie slang] on foreigners [mostly middle age or above] being physically challenged in the morning and then plied with copious amounts of yummy local food and alcohol [champs and wine]. Then sent back to the canal for further physical challenges in a slightly inebriated state.

    I would posit that its all filmed and then once the participants are long and gone the French setup secret local film viewing for a good laugh … oh the machinations of French humor ….

    Aside the wife was surprised at the homeless next to the canal upon entering Toulouse.

      1. skippy


        The post was in the context of positive social interaction vs various consumer driven alternatives and how it effects both individual and group perceptions about others from an international back drop – in the short and long term.

        Getting to know you in a physically challenging team pursuit, whilst enjoying the great hospitality of locals, and the greater comradery experience by the international aspect.

        Their accommodation is arranged in the fortified medieval city of Carcassonne, situated at the midway point of the route, with transport provided to and from the tour each day. Around 5 locks are negotiated daily by means of crews trolleying their boats round the lock to relaunch at the other side. Meal breaks are arranged alongside the canal at local towns serving up their noted favorite cuisine per se sausage white bean and chicken casserole with an entree of shredded local carrot and fresh bread, with copious amounts of slot wine and champagne on offer.

        Crews will rounded off the tour with some short sprint races against one another on the River Orb in Beziers on the final day before a reception at the town hall and departure.

        Its not your typical 4 or 5 star tourist designation for ego inflation or Instagram selfies of living it large for the gang back home …

      2. skippy

        Reply in queue Lambert.

        Darwin is a long way from France Kev and most the Regattas around Brisbane are Gold Coast or Northern New South Wales with occasional forays to Vanuatu et al. Plus I don’t think going up near Robertson Barracks and RAAF Base with our overseas guests would be a great holiday experience, let alone some of the other aspects.

        Had an affable client do some comms work up there, somethings really do never change I guess …

    1. Expat2uruguay

      Related to the white extremist movement in the u.s. is the anti-government movement.
      I wanted to recommend I really great podcast “Bundyville”, about the anti-government movement by the journalist Leah Sottile in partnership with Longreads and Oregon Public Broadcasting. If you like podcasts, or are looking to try one for the first time, this one is really gripping.

      The second season of the podcast is also available in print form here:

      Reply ↓

  24. ewmayer

    “VIDEO: Former pastry chef, Guido Camia, is now making a living offering Neanderthal survival courses in the Italian Alps” — Too bad the actual Neanderthals are no longer around to benefit from these!

  25. Tim

    IF Sanders somehow wins the Primary (and thus would win the general) it would be because he takes a page out of Trump’s book, to: A. know who his enemies are and B. acheive education of the electorate who his enemies are and help them realize their enemies are the same. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend). That sets Sanders apart from the rest of the Democratic field. This is the reason smear never works on Trupm, and it won’t work on Sander’s if he succeeds in getting the forementioned message out.

  26. richard

    Is anyone else getting the trump straws ad?
    does he know those are getting banned all over the place? a particularly pernicious form of plastic.
    I suppose he does know and it’s meant as an “in your face” to coastal elites.
    our donny does love to provoke them

  27. Chris

    I find the recent series of articles on how “some people” will never accept THE TRUTH about Jeffrey Epstein’s death more than a little galling.

    Here is a person who made their considerable fortune we don’t know how, serving the planet’s moneyed elite, consorting with presidents, running a sex trafficking and pedophile ring, getting away with all of it in plain sight for years, coming off a sweet heart deal for minimal punishment, who dies under circumstances where all evidence that would have been made public now has no where to go… but that’s Ok, it’s just a suicide. So now if you question the official narrative, you’re the crazy one!?!?

    I’ve seen four of these across my feed today. I’m truly amazed at how quickly the MSM has rallied around consensus talking points about what anyone can see is a collection of highly questionable details where the facts aren’t yet in evidence.

    1. Cuibono

      So quickly that it is almost as if they were ready for this narrative…

      Look, if Ike was worried about the MIC 58 years ago, imagine how much time they have had to strengthen their grip. Imagine how strong that grip is.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “How Removing One Maine Dam 20 Years Ago Changed Everything”

    This is quite a remarkable story on several levels. To remove a long-standing dam is almost an affront to the God of Progress, even if the thing was crumbling like a lot of infrastructure is today. What really snagged my interest was that in the arguments, they were doing a whole of economics analysis. What I mean is, the proponents of the dam were pointing out the (minuscule) amount of electricity that they were pumping out and threatening decreased property values if they removed the dam. The other side was balancing out this article by pointing out not so much the ecological benefits but the opportunities for fishing, tourism, water quality, canoeing and whose economic benefits far outweighed the argument of the other side and it has paid off. Now I would call that “real” progress.

  29. ChrisAtRU

    #NateSilver is a daft, dishonest #FamilyBlog-er

    Lemme fix his little disingenuous diatribe (from the re-litigating 2016 file):

    “You get these hints of a sense of entitlement from Hillary, i.e. she feels as though that by virtue of having been the runner-up in 2008, she’s entitled to the presidency this time, and if she doesn’t win it, it’s only because Russia/misogyny took it away from her.”


  30. pretzelattack

    oddly, haven’t seen any recent epstein articles at the intercept. perhaps i missed them.

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