2:00PM Water Cooler 8/15/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


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

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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five four polls). As of August 15: Biden flat at 30.4% (30.3%), Sanders down to 17.2% (17.5%), Warren dives to 16.8% (18.5%), Buttigieg down to 5.6% (6.3%), Harris down at 8.0% (8.3%), Beto rising from the bottom feeders once more. Others Brownian motion. So back to five polls again, which no doubt accounts for the fluctuations. Again, I could use some transparency on why these choices are made!

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Biden allies float scaling back events to limit gaffes” [The Hill]. “Allies to Joe Biden have been floating the idea of altering the former vice president’s schedule in an effort to reduce the gaffes he has made in recent days…. Biden has a tendency to make the blunders late in the day, his allies say, particularly after a long swing on the road, like he had last week in Iowa. They say something needs to be done to give the candidate more down time as the campaign intensifies in the fall…. ‘A lot of people are nervous that he’s lost some of his mojo,’ said one major Democratic donor. ‘They’re getting nervous about him going toe to toe with Trump. But the problem is, there doesn’t seem to be an alternative.'” • Lol, now they know ho TINA feels. And it looks like Trump was right with “Sleepy Joe.” Hey, if Michelle doesn’t want to run, how about Bloomberg?

Biden (D)(2): “Biden keeps large lead in SC’s 2020 Democratic presidential primary” [Post and Courier]. “Despite two shaky debates and some recent misstatements, South Carolina Democratic voters still prefer former Vice President Joe Biden in the South’s first presidential primary…. His advantage dropped by only one point from the last poll taken two months ago…. But the vice president under Barack Obama dominated among black voters, who account for more than 60 percent of ballots cast in South Carolina Democratic presidential primaries. At 45 percent, Biden received three times as much African American support as Harris and Sanders. He used a trip to South Carolina in July to apologize for his remarks about working well with segregationists.”

Hickenlooper (D)(1): “AP source: John Hickenlooper ending his 2020 White House bid” [Associated Press]. “ohn Hickenlooper will drop out of the Democratic presidential primary on Thursday, according to a Democrat close to him. The former two-term Colorado governor, who ran as a moderate warning of the perils of extreme partisanship, struggled with fundraising and low polling numbers. His planned departure from the 2020 race was confirmed Wednesday night by a Democrat who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly before the announcement….

Sanders (D)(1): “Why the Rich Want to Bury Bernie, the Not-Really-Socialist” [Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report (CI)]. Really excellent. Here’s “why”: “The reason the ruler’s have decreed ‘anybody but Bernie’ is that Sanders’ (and to a lesser perceived degree, Warren’s) campaign proposals challenge the austerity regime that has been relentlessly erected since the 1970s precisely to set American workers and the whole capitalist world on a Race to the Bottom, in which each year brings lower living standards and more insecurity to the population at large. The obscene increases in wealth inequality are the desired result and true essence of austerity.” There’s much more, but this on local oligarchies is important: “the top one-tenth of one percent (.1%) of the population — households making $2.757 million a year — now number almost 200,000 families, a cohort big enough to create and inhabit a large and coherent social world of its own. From their rich enclaves in every state of the country, this formidable “base” of truly wealthy folks effectively dictate the politics of their regions for the benefit of themselves and the oligarchs at the top of the pyramid. ”

Sanders (D)(3): Our famously free press:

Sanders (D)(3): From yesterday, the “Hoarse Wisperer” [sic] Twitter account spotlighted by MSNBC has a name:

I’m not sure how the connection was made, but remember the Democrat operative who said Beto made her calves cramp? She confirms it:

UPDATE Steyer (D)(1): “Democratic official sees Steyer with early on-the-ground ‘advantage’ in Iowa” [The Hill]. “‘Tom Steyer starts with a little bit of an advantage in that he’s had organization on the ground here for a long time through NextGen,’ Troy Price, who is chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, told Hill.TV, referring to the billionaire philanthropist’s nonprofit environmental advocacy group, NextGen America. ‘They organized on dozens of college campuses last couple of election cycles,’ he added. Price’s comments were in response to a recent Monmouth University poll, which found Steyer with 3 percent support among likely Democratic caucus goers in Iowa.” • Working through a shell was smart of Steyer; regulatory arbitrage!

* * *

“The Democratic Party’s future is at stake in state legislative races” [WaPo]. “This is the last election cycle before redistricting could lock them out of power in key states for another decade — and severely hamper their ability to keep their majority in the House. After losing nearly 1,000 seats during the Obama years, Democrats need to win back as many state legislatures as possible by the end of next year before states redraw their state and congressional election districts based on new 2020 census population data… It wasn’t until Democrats’ disastrous 2016 election, when the GOP won control of all of Washington, too, that they realized what a dire situation they were facing ahead and how little time they had left to fix it. After Barack Obama left the White House, his former attorney general started the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to call attention to the plight. ‘After 2016, we started a national conversation about how you need to rebuild the party from the ground up,” [said Jessica Post, president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC)]…. ‘We’re still paying the price for getting wiped out in 2010,” said Matt Harringer, communications director for the DLCC.'” • Thanks for everything, Obama! “A national conversation,” forsooth.

Our Famously Free Press

Y’all may return from the fainting couch now. The Times says Sanders was right about WaPo:

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“Sacha Baron Cohen Says He Turned Over Disturbing “Who Is America?” Footage to the F.B.I.” [Vanity Fair]. • Look, it’s not like this is ubiquitous among elites. Oh, wait…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Judge: Georgia must scrap old voting machines after 2019” [Associated Press]. “U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s order on Thursday prohibits the state from using its antiquated paperless touchscreen machines and election management system beyond this year. She also said the state must be ready to use hand-marked paper ballots if its new system isn’t in place for the March 24 presidential primary election.”

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of August 10, 2019: “Claims data rose in the latest report to indicate easing but still very strong demand for labor” [Econoday]. • No signs of recession in this leading indicator.

Retail Sales, July 2019: “Unexpected strength has not been an overstatement in recent retail sales reports including July’s where all major readings easily surpass Econoday’s consensus range” [Econoday].

Business Inventories, June 2019: “Business inventories were unchanged in June and were slightly on the low side compared to business sales” [Econoday]. “Low inventories may be a negative for inventory change in the GDP report but they are a strong positive for business health and the outlook for future production and employment growth.”

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, August 2019: ” Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing sample has really snapped back” [Econoday]. “This report has been unusually volatile in recent showings but nevertheless contrasts with mostly soft readings in other manufacturing data.”

Empire State Manufacturing Survey, August 2019: “Empire State’s sample is reporting improvement reflected in a better-than-expected… headline in a report that includes a solid snapback for new orders [Econoday]. “The gain in new orders is of paramount importance and does speak to the strength seen in the Philadelphia Fed’s report… The factory sector, at least based on these two reports, is having a solid month so far in August.”

Productivity and Costs, Q2 2019 (Preliminary): “Output was respectable and hours worked dipped while compensation rose favorably, making for a positive second-quarter report” [Econoday]. “The decline in hours does raise the issue whether demand for labor will continue to rise. This topping is also hinted by this year’s leveling in job openings though evidence of slowing in payroll growth is hard to find, at least yet. The gains in compensation, though negatives for corporate profits, are a strong positive for the consumer and are undoubtedly reflected in the strength underway in consumer spending (evident once again in this morning’s retail sales report).”

Industrial Production, July 2019: “A jump in utility output couldn’t save industrial production in July which, pressured by contraction in both manufacturing and also mining, came in near the low end of Econoday’s consensus range” [Econoday]. “The weakness in this report was signaled by declines in hours worked in the July employment report, yet the results are more negative than expected and will boost arguments at the Federal Reserve for further interest rate cuts. The Fed is especially focused on manufacturing, a sector that is directly exposed to global slowing and global trade tensions and which is structurally considered to account for most of the domestic economy’s cyclical variation.”

Housing Market Index, August 2019: “The improvement in traffic may well reflect this month’s drop in mortgage rates, a decline tied indirectly to last month’s rate cut by the Federal Reserve and directly tied to demand in the financial markets for the safety of the bond market” [Econoday].

Shipping: “Amazon-FedEx split draws battle lines in online delivery feud” [MSN]. “The loss of a major courier ahead of the peak holiday season increases the risk for Amazon as it promises quicker deliveries, said Marc Wulfraat, a logistics consultant and founder of MWPVL International…. FedEx will seek to ‘get Walmart to realize that they’re not working with Walmart’s biggest competitor and to have Walmart make FedEx their primary carrier,’ Satish Jindel, founder of SJ Consulting Group, said.”

Retail: “Map of Amazon Ring Partnerships” [Shreyas Gandlur]. “Ring has partnered with “over 225 law enforcement agencies,” according to police memos obtained by Gizmodo. However, as Ring has repeatedly declined to reveal information about their agreements, the extent of their partnerships has been unknown—until now. Compiled using a combination of news reports and press releases, the map above contains 238 law enforcement agencies partnered with Amazon Ring.”

The Bezzle: “Companies are pressuring auditors to leave criticism out of audit opinions, research finds” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “Companies pressure auditors on fees and even fire them when they disclose information that’s critical of management in their audit opinions, according to new research. The penalties are even bigger for auditors who step up and do their job when the client is more well-known and the criticism is more severe, according to the working paper, “Don’t make me look bad: How the audit market penalizes auditors for doing their job,” by Elizabeth N. Cowle, an accounting Ph.D. candidate and Stephen P. Rowe a professor of accounting at University of Arkansas…. When an auditor issues an internal control material weakness, or ICMW, that should tell the company and investors that the auditor conducted its work well enough to identify a weakness and then communicated that information to investors via its opinion…. However, other research has found that ICMWs damage client reputations, and sometimes share price, and that the reputational impact of ICMWs for the client and auditor diverge — they are bad for clients and neutral or positive for auditors. Supplemental analyses by Cowle and Rowe found evidence that companies at greater risk of ICMWs avoid hiring auditors with a reputation for issuing them. ”

Tech: “AT&T workers took $1 million in bribes to unlock 2 million phones, DOJ says” [Ars Technica]. “A Pakistani man bribed AT&T call-center employees to install malware and unauthorized hardware as part of a scheme to fraudulently unlock cell phones, according to the US Department of Justice. Muhammad Fahd, 34, was extradited from Hong Kong to the US on Friday and is being detained pending trial…. A Pakistani man bribed AT&T call-center employees to install malware and unauthorized hardware as part of a scheme to fraudulently unlock cell phones, according to the US Department of Justice. Muhammad Fahd, 34, was extradited from Hong Kong to the US on Friday and is being detained pending trial.” • Well, well.

Tech: “It Sure Feels Like the Headphone Jack Is Dead” [New York Magazine]. “[T]he headphone jack was also universal: if you had headphones, they would work with the jack. It was nice, simple. Now we are in a hell wear you either have to have specialty headphones with a specific connection mechanism, or have to remember to charge your headphones — one more thing for me to forget — or use the dongle, which will fray and you will lose. I hate it. (Personally speaking, I tried to be a dongle holdout but have switched to a pair of cheap Bluetooth headphones from Anker. I will be dead and in Hell before I buy a set of AirPods or pay four figures for a smartphone.) There are still approximately 600 bazillion devices that still feature the headphone jack. A total and complete phase-out, if it ever truly happens, will take years if not decades to truly take effect. And then we’ll be stuck with headphones that are not universally compatible, or rely on batteries that wear out and eventually need to be replaced. The fight to save the headphone jack is over. It sure seems like we lost.” • And as usual, Tim Cook’s Apple led the way in degrading the user experience.

Manufacturing: “With the Boeing 737 MAX Grounded, Top Boeing Bosses Must Testify Before Congress Now” [Ralph Nader]. “As for Boeing, the company cannot afford another one or two crashes attributed to continued indifference to longstanding aerodynamic standards of stability. The issue for Boeing’s celebrity, minimally experienced Board of Directors is how long it will tolerate Boeing’s management that, over the judgement of its best engineers, has brought the company to its present predicament. How long before the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Department of Transportation or the Congress and the betrayed airlines themselves call for the resignation of both officers and the Board and, end the career conflict of interest these failed incumbents have with the future well-being of the Boeing Corporation itself?” • Everything is like CalPERS. Ergo, Boeing is like CalPERS.

Manufacturing: “U.S. Navy Sub Firepower Upgrade Delayed by Welding Flaws” [Bloomberg]. “Welding flaws by subcontractor BWX Technologies Inc. are delaying delivery of the first missile tubes for a U.S. Navy submarine weapons upgrade by at least seven months, according to the service…. The previously undisclosed seven-month delay by Lynchburg, Virginia-based BWX was due to “substandard welding” and “improperly administered” testing, the Naval Sea Systems Command said a statement…. The welding flaws were similar to those the company acknowledged last year for missile tubes that will go on the new Columbia-class submarines. Those continue to be repaired…. The U.S. shipbuilding base ‘has diminished significantly since previous major submarine construction in the 1980s.'” • Welders, who needs ’em in a service economy. Hey, why don’t we just ask China?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 20 Extreme Fear (previous close: 21, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 15 at 11:19am. • Restored at reader request. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

“South America’s Glaciers May Have a Bigger Problem Than Climate Change” [Bloomberg]. “Chile has one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water outside the north and south poles, but the abundant glaciers that are the source of that precious commodity are melting fast. That’s not just an ecological disaster in the making, it’s rapidly becoming an economic and political dilemma for the government of Latin America’s richest nation. A toxic cocktail of rising temperatures, the driest nine-year period on record and human activity, including mining, is proving lethal for the ice of Chile’s central region. Built up over thousands of years, the ice mass is now retreating one meter per year on average. Glaciers happen to cover some of the massive copper deposits that make Chile the world’s largest producer of the metal, with about a third of the world’s copper output coming from its mines each year. Mining is key to Chile’s economy, making up 10% of its gross domestic product and comprising just over half its exports. That economic reality is at the heart of the government’s quandary, evaluating the trade-offs required to protect the environment while supporting an industry worth some $19 billion to the economy.” • $19 billion? That’s all? Why don’t we just write them a check?

“Climate deniers get more media play than scientists: study” [Phys.org]. “From 2000 through 2016, hundreds of academics, business people and politicians who doubted global warming or attributed rising temperatures to ‘natural’ causes got 50 percent more ink than an equal number of top scientists, according to a study in Nature Communications, a peer-reviewed journal. Even in a more select group of mainstream English language news outlets with high standards of evidence—from the New York Times and The Guardian to The Wall Street Journal and the Daily Telegraph—sceptics were still cited slightly more often.”

“Climate expert at CDC poised to file whistleblower complaint over treatment” [Science]. “George Luber, who led the CDC’s Climate and Health Program, plans to file his complaint this week, E&E News has learned. It will allege that the agency retaliated against him for speaking out on climate change and will raise concerns that the CDC is shifting climate funds to other programs…. Luber [is] still employed at the CDC and holds his official title, according to [Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)] staff counsel Kevin Bell. However, he is not allowed at his former office unsupervised, and he works from home 5 days a week. Bell said that when Luber does go to the office, he is accompanied by an armed escort. ‘He was one of the world’s leading experts of the public health impacts of climate change,’ Bell said. ‘He has essentially been gagged at the agency.'”

“Alaska governor halves massive funding cut to state university system” [Nature]. “The agreement spreads $70 million in cuts over 3 years, beginning with $25 million this year. Governor Michael Dunleavy, who faces a mounting effort to remove him from office, announced the compromise on 13 August at a press conference with John Davies, chair of UA’s governing board…. When asked about how the $25 million in cuts will be distributed this year, Davies said that the board will prioritize student programmes and reduce administrative costs.” • Attaboy. Gut that adminstrative layer.

Health Care

“ACA market continues to lose those who don’t qualify for financial help” [Health Care Dive]. “The gap between those on the exchanges with subsidized coverage and those without it continues to grow. Last year, the subsidized market was 122% larger than the unsubsidized…. What’s staggering is the number of states that lost at least 50% or more of their unsubsidized shoppers. Iowa lost nearly all of its unsubsidized enrollment by 2018. From 2017 to 2018, the state experienced an 85% drop among its shoppers who didn’t receive subsidies. Five other states lost 50% or more of its unsubsidized market over the same period, including Georgia, Nebraska, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky…. recent KFF analysis found that affordability depends largely on where shoppers live, based on 2019 premiums. For example, a 60-year-old earning $50,000, or slightly above 400% of the federal poverty level, would spend 32% of his or her income on the lowest-cost plan in Thomas County, Nebraska, or $1,314 in average monthly premiums. But that same 60-year-old would spend only $384 in monthly premiums, or 9% of income, in Albany County, New York.” • So, if you live in Albany County, you go to HappyVille. If you live in Thomas County, you go to Pain City. Random discrepancies like that are why I hated ObamaCare from the beginning, as I pointed out “relentlessly” in 2013.

“Obamacare’s Unpopularity Suggests Medicare For All May Be A Hard Sell” [FiveThirtyEight]. “The ACA also highlights an important difference between how policymakers and the public think about a complex policy. For the ACA’s architects, the legislation was an integrated whole, with various provisions working in tandem to increase access to comprehensive insurance. The individual mandate, for example, was thought to be critical to driving younger, healthier people to buy insurance and to keep overall costs down. But when making sense of that same policy, citizens focused on just a few of its most salient — and controversial — elements. In other words, when it comes to public opinion, the ACA made it clear that the whole is often not the sum of its parts — and that could spell trouble for other big policy proposals.” • A Rube Goldberg device is “an integrated whole, with various [parts] working in tandem.” Maybe a program with fewer moving parts will not only work better, but be easier to sell?

Class Warfare


The saddest tweet:

Or not:

News of the Wired

Speaking of gutting the administrative layer:

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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 (Expat2Uruguay):

Expat2Uruguay writes: “These pictures are from a plaza near Parque Rodó in Montevideo, Uruguay. The trees are Magnolias and I love how their roots crawl all over the stones in the plaza! It’s the middle of winter here, but today is a warm day in the 60s.” Black and white is very appropriate to the subject matter, too. This seems to be the week for roots!

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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. Stephen V.

      Thanks so much for that link Diptherio. I’d forgotten about Henri. 2 trips to the vet today. Henri’s anomie was very helpful!

    2. ewmayer

      Whenever I see a good b&w cat photo – though today’s antidote is really “tree with cat” I think of photographer Walter Chandoha, who died just this past January, at the ripe old age of 98. The photo at top of the linked article is one of my favorites of his.

    3. Olga

      Oh, thanks! Takes me back to the 1960s, when French cinema was at its best!
      Henri is a ‘slow’ kitty.

    1. WJ

      When almost every other airline safety administration in the world decides otherwise, what will we say?

      1. Carey

        Interesting question. I wonder how much int’l credibility and pull the FAA has these days. Thinking of China, for one.

    2. The Rev Kev

      When they said that “The company and its “captured” FAA want to unground the MAX as fast as possible” I was thinking for a brief moment that they said that they want to “underground” the MAX as fast as possible which gave another spin on that story.

  1. JBird4049

    That economic reality is at the heart of the government’s quandary, evaluating the trade-offs required to protect the environment while supporting an industry worth some $19 billion to the economy.”

    What’s the quandary? Without a (secure) source of water for drinking and watering crops, and livestock, there is no settled society, or at least civilization, which is one of the reasons we have civilization. Water management and food production are the primary reasons for its creation, not war, nor religion, or really anything else.

    Unless one can drink and eat money?

  2. LaRuse

    Biden has a tendency to make the blunders late in the day,

    As someone dealing with a family member deep in the grips of Alzheimer’s, this quote stood out like a lightning bolt. Sundowning, anyone?

    1. T

      They call it sundowning for a reason, but if his handlers institute more naps who knows how far he can go? Naps worked for Ronald Reagan, why can’t they work for Joe?

      1. Kurtismayfield

        If the man cannot campaign, he needs to bow out. If he can’t handle campaigning then how is he supposed to handle being President??

        This is just more information that supports that Biden is a straw, and is only in the race to get to the convention.

      2. Whoamolly

        Joe doesn’t have Reagan’s powers of persuasion and acting.

        Reagan looked presidential. Joe looks slow.

        1. ambrit

          Dore et. al. quote Mark Penn, a major Hillary political adviser to the effect that Hillary will start in by the Iowa primary. I’m less sanguine and expect a brokered convention to let Hillary get the candidacy through the ‘back door’ of a smoke filled back room.

          1. JBirrd4049

            A brokered convention to get Hilary Clinton the nomination?

            I realize that with a system so broken things like the Lolita Express and being suicided, AKA murdered, to protect the powerful, or the ongoing climate change and ecosystem collapse is being minimized because those in power are detached from real life. However, they might not believe its existence, it believes in them.

            I believe that If Clinton gets the nomination via a brokered convention she would not only lose the election, there would be civil unrest approaching the level of 1968-69. IIRC, the current system of primaries was put into place because people did not like brokered conventions.

            It has been so long since we have had them that merely having one would explosive especially if we have all gone through the fabulous torture of the primaries. The optics alone is bad enough, but having tens of millions of Americans heavily invested in the elections and more so then in generations, having their choices stolen would be very bad.

            A system can survive only if people believe in it. If they do not believe in it, it goes away regardless of its money and weapons.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Biden is actually 1 year younger than Sanders but speaks and moves like he’s 20 years older.

      I hope to still have Bernie’s Age 78 Vitality when I am 58.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Sundowning, anyone?

      Sundowning, for those who came in late.

      Alzheimer’s isn’t a bug. It’s a feature. The billionaire class did very well under Reagan, after all.

      Note that I’m weary of armchair diagnosis. Remember Terry Schiavo? But if the Biden campaign keeps Biden under wraps, that will be a bad sign. I’d love to see somebody — Sanders violating comity, perhaps? — jump in and cross-examine Biden in one of the debates. I would bet Biden cracks, worse than Rubio when he turned into a robot.

      1. LaRuse

        My apologies for the armchair diagnosis. Admittedly, I am a bit hypersensitive to dementia-related symptoms, so the reference got my attention. FWIW, I tend to make most of my blunders late in the day too and mercifully, I am too young to call it sundowning. :-)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I collected this and the link above but couldn’t get to them. It’s generally 2020, business news, climate news, pick two of three, and then both Epstein and Sanders’ press critique come down, I get a little backlogged.

    2. JBird4049

      I have done nada research or even a little reading on GE for quite a while, but since Boeing has had its little Max problem, I would not be surprised by almost anything that Citizen GE might have done.

      It’s a little off topic, but if the report is overblown that would not be surprising.

      So much insanity has been spewing all over us retaining any ability to calmly and intelligently think about things above the level of seeing that the sky is blue is hard; that’s until the sky’s color is blamed on the Russians or the SJWs of course.

  3. dcblogger

    I have been trying not to think about Epstein, as the whole thing has me so upset. dunno why this is worse than the Iraq War, poisoning Flint, etc, but somehow it is more upsetting.

    It is not just Epstein who has to be silenced. Hundreds of people had at least some knowledge of what was going on and it would be a little conspicuous to murder ALL of them. What better way to murder Epstein than in such a way as to provide plausible denialbility, yet everyone understands it was a murder. What better way to intimidate potential witnesses. Who murdered him? Such a long list of powerful actors will a vested interest in burying this.

    We owe a great deal to those of his victims who came forward.

    1. skippy

      Agreed on your perspective generating such a visceral response from such a wide selection of individuals and groups. Whether its a build up over a protracted period or a unique touchstone that transcends ideological barriers is too soon to tell – gamers will always game … could touch on the democrat angle but work calls E.g. shades of Brexit.

      That said … historically its more normative than not, he is only one of many and something that occurs daily around the orb in various guises and at different social strata.

      Only thing for certain is sales of rose coloured glasses is taking a beating …. that in itself is kinda scary because of what brand will replace its market share and whom will “manufacture” it …

      1. RWood

        Manufacturing normality is taking a turn for the worst.
        The spectacle is becoming instructive.
        Watch carefully.
        Please do not attempt to adjust your screen.

        1. skippy

          Ref – Epstein

          Maybe Hassanal Bolkiah rubbed him out to take back market share … on the other hand … actual child sex and slavery is committed on a global scale and on offer from top to bottom of the social strata – where is the moral out rage been for so long … eh …

          What Epstein did is no different to say the actions of the cocaine cowboys during the period from the 70s to the 90s, islands and all, bikie gangs included, heck the entertainment industry in L.A. or elsewhere for that matter and numerous family sex cults of note and in some cases religious organizations.

          Young [16+ years old] inexperienced young lady’s seeking the big world and bright lights get caught in stuff they don’t have the mental capacity to deal with, don’t understand they are just others toys [self gratification], then grow older and regret their actions. Down the track they can externalize – all – the personal baggage on the older people that they engaged with, per se Maxine seems to have had a past and managed to ride it to bigger and better things. So how much of this is a case of not having made it onto “bigger and better” vs deprivation of liberty, drug induced stupor [Bill Cosby], coercion by force, et al.

          I don’t know if this is a python skit where people are cast into water to see if they float or not, determining if they are ev’bal or not. Yet at the end of the day all of this is being utilized for reasons far beyond what may or may not have happened and that is were critical thinking should be applied.

          This is all Bernays on Roids to levels that usually only occur during war time …. its like Von Newman, Nash, McNamara, et al distilled into some AI PR game theory

      1. todde

        from the article:

        which totally ignores a cardinal rule when dealing with state agencies: They will only admit to incompetence if the truth is worse.

        LOL. Mirrors what I said earlier.

        true, so very true.

    2. cuibono

      this makes he most sense of anything i have read. create fear. if i were a potential witness right now i would be darn scared.

    3. Acacia

      Yes, create fear. I keep thinking about the “letter scene” in Eyes Wide Shut. Is that about where we are now? Is this part of the reason why our fabulously free mass media has been so reticent to actually investigate l’affaire Epstein? Or, is it just incompetence?

      There are so many basic points concerning his “death” that remain vague. We don’t even have a photo of the jail cell, it seems.

    4. Voltaire Jr.

      We sure do owe them gratitude. Without their courage, this situation would never have seen the light-of-day.

      I’ll be interested to see a book come out in a few years by a dedicated researcher that combines stories of the rich and famous exposed as well as heartbreaking stories by victims.

  4. foghorn longhorn

    Can’t wait until the day they have to chunk sleepy joe face first into the waiting get a way van.
    This really has a groundhog day feel to it.

    1. nippersmom

      If he can’t handle the rigors of his extremely light campaign schedule, why should we believe he could handle the rigors of the presidency? (Not that any rational person who isn’t himself a corrupt corporatist warmonger would consider voting for him anyway. )

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Yeah but, ‘it’s his turn’ and ‘there is no viable alternative’.
        Who will they blame this go around when they lose with another, past its sell by date, candidate?
        Of course Bernie first and foremost, maybe give russiarussiarussia another try, how about chinachinachina.
        We are running out of reds, dammit.

        1. jrs

          they = the voters in the Dem primaries? because absent vote hacking (and what is anyone doing to assure that doesn’t happen?), that’s the royal we who will be responsible for it if the nominee is biden.

          1. Grant

            “they = the voters in the Dem primaries?”

            Isn’t it interesting that the Democrats are only about a third of the country now, but because they and the other rotten party have rigged our political system so no other parties can emerge, that they essentially will determine who will go up against Trump? The Democratic voters are just as lost as the politicians they vote for. Turnout is often low for primaries within that party, in a party that only a third of the country identifies with, and there is little chance that anyone will get a majority of voters. So, it is entirely possible that the person chosen to go against Trump will have support of, what, 4-5% of the US electorate? And if they are stupid enough to choose Biden, and they are, the general election will be Biden vs Trump. The USSR at least ended in interesting ways. We’re just going to vote in two corrupt, out of touch and mentally declining frauds to throw hot garbage at each other, and what is the left supposed to do? There will never be a better argument for a third party if those two are the options given to us by the duds in the two major parties. I can’t even contemplate who Biden would choose as his VP, and possibly lock us into a decade of hell, and then the environmental crisis hits.

            1. notabanker

              If the US electorate allows 4-5% to decide, then they deserve who they get. It’s not difficult to vote in a primary.

              1. Grant

                It is not an issue in regards to difficulty, generally, it is the options people are given and how often it is that the options people are given are net negatives regardless as to who wins, and people realizing that what the general public wants is not reflected in policy. Bernie is an exceptuon, and look at all the nonsense thrown at him, and all the undemocratic means those in power use to maintain their power. I am not saying that justifies inactivity, but it does help to explain it. But, lets say Biden or someone similar is chosen by Democrats in the primaries. What percentage of the electorate, given all I mentioned, will have chosen him?

                1. Tyronius

                  In 2016 fully 45% of the registered Democrats in my precinct showed up for the caucus, and over 80% of us voted for Bernie. Even CNN was there- and as soon as the results were in they shut off their camera and left, because they were there to report on a Clinton victory, not any news they might have inadvertently stumbled upon. This isn’t hearsay; I was there, holding the door for them.

                  1. Voltaire Jr.

                    ++ The way the world works is exceedingly odd. Both the political and physical world continue to be stranger than we can imagine.

              2. edmondo

                If the US electorate allows 4-5% to decide, then they deserve who they get. It’s not difficult to vote in a primary.

                Depends where you live. If you live in most states and you want to vote in a Democratic Party presidential primary, you have to be registered as a Democrat. Here in AZ I can vote for every office except president by being a No Party Preference voter registrant. If I want to vote against Joe Biden, I have to change my voter registration to “D”. Not gonna happen.

                1. notabanker

                  “Not gonna happen”

                  Why? You’d rather not vote then vote for the only candidate that has a prayer of changing anything?

                  Then you deserve what you get.

                  1. JBird4049

                    Here in California, owned and operated by the Democratic Party, voting for someone other than the approved candidate could quickly get your vote “lost” or “disqualified” and that is not mentioning the rigging of convention delegates.

                    So no, I don’t think that my vote matters in the primary especially in the Bay Area or L.A. Since more than half the state’s population are in those areas…

                    The Republicans or at least some credible party(s) are needed in California. That or a truly massive reform movement is needed.

                    1. Grant

                      “Here in California, owned and operated by the Democratic Party, voting for someone other than the approved candidate could quickly get your vote “lost” or “disqualified” and that is not mentioning the rigging of convention delegates.”

                      This ultimately why Bernie is up against it. I think he has a real shot to win and am not very concerned about the polls, he is doing well despite all that is aligned against him. Palast showed what that rotten party did in 2016 in the primaries (it is entirely possible that Bernie won the state or at least came even closer to winning), and you could include tons since. My favorite was how they used superdelegates at the state level in California to get Bauman to lead the state party, and he had to resign in shame. He was previously a pharma lobbyist that was paid to lobby the state against bargaining down the price of drugs. Then there is stuff like this:


                      As the DNC has argued in court though, they don’t have to run a fair primary and can pick whoever those at the top of the party want, right? It would be amazing if someone within the DNC and the state party here (I live in Southern California) would leak what they are doing. Not expecting it, but it would be great.

                    2. Lambert Strether Post author

                      > It would be amazing if someone within the DNC and the state party here (I live in Southern California) would leak what they are doing

                      Here at NC, through our work at CalPERS and also in the “robosigning” scandal, we have the ability to accept documents thrown over the transom, archive them in our troves, and preserve anonymity.

                      So, if you’re reading this…

                  2. Grant

                    I think most here are glued in and will likely vote. I think it is different when we are analyzing why so many others don’t vote, and the ease of voting itself isn’t often the issue. Black people vote far less than white people. The poor vote less than middle income and rich people. The young vote less than the middle age and older demographics. Why? I think a good chunk of that is what they have to vote for and how little they think what they want matters or will change things.

              3. Big River Bandido

                You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. It is NOT easy to vote in the primary for a party that doesn’t want you, and exercises numerous strategies for vote supression. The Democrat Party in New York is just one filthy example of many.

        2. Off The Street

          Once people spoke of TINA. Biden’s campaign now gives rise to VANITY.

          1. edmondo

            There is a kind of clarity to a Trump-Biden general election.

            One is a racist Republican corporate tool who is way too old to be president. And so is the other one.

          2. Librarian Guy

            It doesn’t acronym-ize so nicely, but the truth is “Viable Alternatives Not Allowed This Year” (or any, for that matter). It’s still Wasserman-Schulz’s and Tom Perez’s & Pelosi’s party– nobody even vaguely left is allowed in. (“The Squad” is an honorable exception which they will work to crush)

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          ‘there is no viable alternative’

          yeah. i saw that line when i was in the waiting area and laughed really loud and scared all the old folks.
          maybe Mad Magazine didn’t really die, they just somehow infiltrated Clintondom and no one noticed yet.
          as for Uncle Joe’s running mate…I’ll lay odds on Warren, in a facile attempt to fool the Left and Left-ish into swallowing the LOTE pragmatism again.
          and a preemptive shame on her(wags finger) for taking the job under such circumstances.
          second odds are on Harris…given that Uncle Joe is long in the tooth, and appears to be entering the prop him on the porch phase. Machine might not trust Warren to toe the line after assuming the Big Chair(too much crimethink out of her here lately)

          1. John k

            Veep not picked until after pres. If progressive doesn’t win, doubt we get progressive veep… and banks won’t accept. Biden would maybe pick fake pro like Kamala if not too much bad blood… or Beto. Or Pete, whichever brings the most bucks. Maybe billionaire.

          2. WheresOurTeddy

            Why is The Hill’s youtube channel so much better than the tripe they write on their website? Weird.

          3. JBird4049

            I don’t think Warren has a chance of being a VP candidate unless, maybe Sanders is actually chosen. She is really a moderate conservative of the old Republican Party, perhaps akin to Eisenhower and Rockefeller. Heck, the conservative faction of the Democrats Party, maybe. She is a little bit too conservative for me.

            The thing is that she seems to be one of those old law-and-order anti Tammany Hall type politicians. I would walk many, many miles to vote for her. Probably a whole bunch of Republicans as well as Democrats too.

            However, both parties are almost completely corrupt and probably have plans to stop her becoming President as that might interrupt the trough’s latest slop bucket. Having either or both Sanders and Warren as President and VP candidates would probably have the Democratic leadership trying to throw the election to keep President Trump in office for another term seems to be a reasonable possibility. Trump really is good for business for too many people.

            It is a shame that being honest can be considered a political liability.

      2. WJ

        Biden is not going to be deciding *anything* once he’s elected. He’ll just make occasional speeches, take long naps, and “delegate” his presidency to his corporate military-industrial complex “advisors.” This is so obvious to me that I can’t believe people are acting as if Biden actually has any ideas and proposals of his own.

          1. notabanker

            But if Bernie did, it would be breaking, red line crawling news across every cable channel in the known universe for months.

            The charade is up. MSM have outted themselves and critical mass no longer buys it.

            1. Librarian Guy

              I hope you are right viz “critical mass”– to me, that would be enough “floor” Bernie voters to get him wins in 2-3 of the first 5 major Dem primaries and advance him to the nomination . . . if that doesn’t occur, it’ll be a contest between Trump and LOTE, with Biden as “Trump the Lesser” if he’s the LOTE “choice” (sic).

  5. Ranger Rick

    The reigning conspiracy theory re: headphone jacks disappearing: “closing the analog loophole.”

    The theory goes that because people could record whatever came out the headphone jack without any effort, rightsholders groups have been striving mightily to keep them out of electronics that consumers have access to. Once the jacks are gone, they (the rightsholders) can more effectively prohibit copying audio output.

    1. Off The Street

      Long gone are the days of “You can have my soldering gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

        1. hunkerdown

          It is true that they could use something like pulse density coding to move the speaker cone one way or the other, which they sort of did in the “Super” Audio CD for security and cost reasons, but 1) it will most likely be reduced to analog before it goes over any significant length of wire, due to FCC residential limits on unintentional RF emissions, and 2) in the end there must be an analog signal to be captured because that’s what the ear deals in.

      1. Whoamolly

        Re: What’s to stop anyone from splicing…

        Problem: Teeny copper braids require special soldering iron, current skill, a jig to hold things, and special solder.

        your also need Small diameter heat shrink tubing and a heat gun that won’t boil the insulation off the wires when you finish up the job and cover the newly soldered joints.

        Oh, and tiny, steady, delicate hands.

        Plus a trusted wiring diagram showing whether the Chinese manufacturers or the U.S. designers did something non-standard.

        Thanks, Apple.

    2. Carolinian

      I have lots of electronic gizmos and every single one of them has a 1/8 inch stereo headphone jack. Obviously the folks at New York magazine only buy Apple and think the endtimes are at hand.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      For a few of us, the Jack battle is won. This year, Phonak, a hearing aid company, released the first android bluetoothe hearing aid – the Audeo-M. I have been wearing aids since Vietnam. I was lucky to get one of the first Phonaks this spring. Any audio coming from my phone (rings, alerts, music, or phone conversations) is heard – crystal clear – through my tiny re-chargeable hearing aids. Anything I say, as well sounds in my immediate area, are transmitted back to my cellphone – while in my pocket! My Phonaks run about 24 hours before needing to Tesla up to re-juice vs 6 hours on my old earbuds. Oh yea, as hearing aids, I hear better than I have in three decades.

      1. Whoamolly

        I wear earlier generation phonaks. Bluetooth comes through a clunky, unreliable streamer hanging from my neck.

        I am delighted to hear that the current generation plays well with a phone. Thanks!

  6. JohnnyGL


    For those who find it handy to have a 1-stop shopping, 6-min video of why Biden’s bad record is really so horrible. This video with Sagar and Krystal Ball lays it out nicely. It’s not even a non-mainstream news site…it’s The Hill….a very insider-y DC publication.

  7. John k

    … was extradited from hk to us…
    So big hk fear is not extradition, but extradition to China.
    Who fears the most? Businessmen that do business in China. And what has happened to business people in China when their factory goes under and workers lose jobs provides solid basis for the fears.

    Hk rich can easily fund banners and gas masks, granted so can us gov. Maybe they’re working together.
    Would demos stop if extradition bill is permanently dropped? Or does China prefer to move in and declare martial law?
    Might see more hk rich leave no matter what… so far easy to leave, easy to take money with you. Maybe not tomorrow.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure it’s just the rich in HK.

      Not a few protestors cover their faces. I think that should be viewed in light of Beijing’s social credit score system on the mainland.

  8. Grant

    “But the vice president under Barack Obama dominated among black voters, who account for more than 60 percent of ballots cast in South Carolina Democratic presidential primaries. At 45 percent, Biden received three times as much African American support as Harris and Sanders.”

    Just mind blowing, given his decades long record of supporting policies that have decimated black communities. If Biden was never named Obama’s VP, no chance in hell he is polling anywhere near what he is. His lead, at least according to polls, among black voters is entirely his connection to Obama, and Obama picked him to appeal to white people, not because of his (overall deplorable) record on issues impacting communities of color. It is really depressing how many people in this country attach themselves emotionally to particular politicians (Trump, Obama, HRC, Biden) and refuse to do any critical thinking when it comes to them, their records, their policies and their corruption.

    With Biden though, his support is particularly strong with older black voters, and I would imagine that those older voters are getting polled far more than younger black voters. It’s a huge lead though.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > With Biden though, his support is particularly strong with older black voters, and I would imagine that those older voters are getting polled far more than younger black voters. It’s a huge lead though.

      I believe the Sanders campaign is addressing this, per my comment yesterday. That’s a benefit to Sanders from this absurdly long campaign season, one that the DNC et al. may not have considered: It gives Sanders time to adjust his ground game in a way that the 2016 campaign did not.

      1. Grant

        I really hope so, and I like your comment. There are a lot of bad candidates running in the Democratic Party, but he might be the worst. There are others that are just as bad as far as corruption and how right wing they are, but they at least are functioning mentally. Biden of 15 years ago would be a horrible candidate today, but Biden today is no better than if Louie Gohmert had switched over to the Democratic Party and was leading in some polls.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          If it was just ‘some polls’ tho.
          He is leading by 2 to 1 in every poll.
          Blacks, check
          Men, check
          Women, check
          Olds, check
          Youngs, check
          Ad infinitum
          They, DNC, don’t just have their thumb on the scale, they are giving it a whole body slam.
          Then there will be shock and dismay when goofy don dismantles the doddering old fraud.

          1. nippersmom

            But is he really? How many of each of these categories are they actually polling? Pollsters can tailor their sample group to get the results they want.

            1. Carey

              I’m less worried about these polls™, because of
              structural strengths in the Sanders campaign that
              Lambert has documented, than I am in the question of how accurately the votes will
              be counted.

              “so many ways..”

              1. WheresOurTeddy

                How many campaigns have a million volunteers and 800,000 individual donors? Oh, just one, and everyone else has 1/3 or less of the volunteers and 1/2 or less of the donors? How odd.

          2. Monty

            Better Trump than Sanders as far as the Dem 1% base is concerned. Just don’t say it out loud! Put a senile corporate stooge against Trump instead, then it’s a Win-Win… The generosity of most Americans extends only until it endangers their 401k or property values.

          3. Grant

            Well, it is the polls, that is the data we are using to discuss this stuff and I have not seen any poll where he is leading all those groups, especially the young. Last time I checked, Bernie was leading with voters 55 and younger, younger women and there is great variation among black voters in regards to age. And I have to say, those doing the polls have not done anything to give me confidence in them. Not just the biases of many of those conducting the polls, but who they poll. CNN on more than one occassion has cited polls that essentially ignored voters younger than 50.

            1. foghorn longhorn

              All of the pollsters ignore those who don’t fit into their narrative.
              Trump and Bernie are the only ones who can fill stadiums for their rallies.
              Biden and the rest of the clown posse can’t even fill a high school auditorium. Even the sainted hills couldn’t even fill an auditorium.
              That’s why they don’t hold rallies, they have town halls in extremely small venues.
              But if cnnmsndccbsfoxnbcpbsabc538 tell you every frickin day that sleepy joe is up 2-1 on everybody, from the first day of his campaign no less, even tho bernie is leading in individual donors by probably 3-1, it just becomes sort of inevitable that he is the one you need to vote for. Especially because everyone wants to be on the winning team.
              Just like last time it comes down to vote Bernie in June or get goofy don in November.
              FTR, am not a berniebro but sweet jesus, I can read the tea leaves.

              1. Cal2

                “Biden and the rest of the clown posse can’t even fill a high school auditorium. Even the sainted hills couldn’t even fill an auditorium…”

                Seen the video of the shill in the gym chanting
                “Hill-a-ry!” “Hill-a-ry!” She realizes no one is copying her. She claps and chants again. Finally gives up when some guy laughs at her.

                Sioux City population is 83,000. The Kamaleon was crowing about the fact that her speech in a hall for 150 had 300 people? That’s hardly an enthusiastic turnout for a presidential candidate.

                And all the candidates except Bernie do this: schedule speeches in preposterously small facilities so that they can claim even a ridiculously low turnout is some sort of smashing success, merely because it was bigger than the tiny hall they themselves scheduled.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Unless I’m overlooking someone, Biden is the only one running who stood with Shrub, the cough dropper dispenser, and voted for the Iraq War.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Just like hillary.
            Starting to notice a pattern here.
            Obama kept Gates on as sec. of war, blah, blah, blah.
            The last 40 years have been one long ronnie raygun term, with the dems accomplishing what the repugs couldn’t. But sure, your vote matters.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              when i was in fifth grade, our crazy, violently angry math teacher made us watch the debates between Jimmy Carter and St Ronald the Demented…on the newfangled VCR Machine under the big analog tv on a rolling stand that she stole from the library.
              my peeps weren’t overtly political around us at home, so i had no prior preference save for by osmosis.
              angry math teacher was obviously for St Ron, and when she polled us, i said something nice about Carter, and she sent me into the hall.
              I was never going to be a right winger anyway, but this episode set it in stone….I associate the Spawn of St Ronald with that evil woman.
              If she were still alive, I’d consider sending her a note to let her know it backfired, in my case.
              40 years of total bipartisan agreement where it really frelling matters, while they pretend to fight about a bunch of ancillary stuff(which was often important, too)…and it’s no wonder the polity is in the shape it’s in.
              “They’re tryin’ to wash us away…”

            2. Librarian Guy

              Yep. The “best” Republican presidents since Dwight Eisenhower were Bill Clinton (good economy in the 90s!) & the golden Orator of the Status Quo and meeting in the middle, Obama.

              Not really a fan of any of the Kennedys, but look up the speech Teddy made denouncing Robert Bork and what kind of America you’d be living in under his Supreme Court.

              St. Ronnie of the Death Squads and the Teflon covering the MSM gave him killed “the Left” in US politricks, at least until Bernie’s upsetting challenge to the Anointed One & Most Qualified Candidate Ever in 2016.


              1. JBird4049

                The American Left had been dying from the beatings of the previous decades until President Reagan’s administration was used as the shiv. President Clinton and the DLC was used like flypaper and arsenic to trap and kill the remaining Leftists with actual influence.

                IIRC, then Representative Newt Gingrich started his political fire bombing of the House of Representatives and indirectly the Senate at around the same time as the DLC’s coup I wonder if they are related. Clinton helped to finish the old Left and Liberal leaders of the Democratic Party while Gingrich helped to weaken both the institutional structures that kept both houses of Congress functioning and removed the Republican leadership.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  re: gingrich/clinton pincer attack:
                  that period was the first time i had cable, and thus CSPAN…and i remember watching and thinking “what the hell are they doing?”…the “liberals” were implementing all the stuff the reaganites couldn’t manage to push over the wall.
                  once i was able to therefore stop thinking of a D after the name as a sign of someone on my side, it all fell into place: after that, even the rhetoric looked just like reagan…all that law and order and “Markets!!!”.
                  and all the same rhetorical pablum we hear today…”bold”…”path to”…etc.
                  and of course, with the mellon scaife/coors project in full bloom, anyone who criticised the clintonites was obviously an irredeemable monster…fie.
                  it was a masterful performance, no doubt, and we’ve languished in it’s shadow ever since.

        3. Cal2

          No, he’s not the worst.
          There’s Kamala the cop, imprisoning mostly black parents for their kids missing school through illness or car breakdowns:

          Harris the handmaiden to the bankster who foreclosed on 30,000 mostly black and Latino homeowners,

          The shape-shifting Kamaleon, descended from Irish slave-owning Jamaican plantation owners and East Indians, is not going to go over well in South Carolina, not if anyone who can comment in newspaper articles about her can help it there:

          Bernie is the best to go the distance and beat Trump.
          Who says so? Trump’s campaign manager who thanks the ‘democrats for not nominating Sanders.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      legit question, not trolling:

      I get that 60% of SC democrats are African-American, and a (D) president has to get the black vote, but…

      The last 2 times SC went democratic in a presidential election was Carter in ’76 and Kennedy in ’60. Twice in 60 years. And it isn’t happening in 2020 either.

      With all due respect to our friends and allies in South Carolina, why should we care what your state thinks when choosing our nominee? And moreover, why is it the THIRD primary, placed after Iowa and NH? Is it to make sure nobody can win all 3 because you have to be a conservative blue dog democrat or check off ID boxes (or both if you’re Obama; or Obama-adjacent like Biden)?

      It’s like clutching your pearls about what Alabama or Mississippi democrats want. WHO CARES?

      1. Librarian Guy

        I made this same point a couple of days ago here . . . We heard ad infinitum in 2016 about HRC’s great primary “wins” over Bernie in racist hellholes like the Carolinas, Mississippi, etc, and there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell those places will go Dem. in a Presidential election with an Electoral College.

        That’s why the DNC/HRC dead-enders love to remind us “She got 3 million more votes” nationally than DJT– as if that mattered a whit.

      2. ambrit

        Speaking in proxy for Mississippi, we care. We don’t fool ourselves here that we really matter much on the national scene. So, we concentrate close to home. If the national parties give us short shrift, that’s going to be their problem; especially when it comes time for “The Gerrymandering.”

  9. Lee

    The U.S. shipbuilding base ‘has diminished significantly since previous major submarine construction in the 1980s.’” • Welders, who needs ’em in a service economy. Hey, why don’t we just ask China?

    My kid, having recently added welding to his growing list of manual skills, just built me a steel staircase stringer and deck frame. He’s a blue collar Renaissance man who can frame a house, wire and plumb it, tile it and do the finish woodworking. Plus. he also knows how to knit, sew, work leather, play the guitar and sing. To top it all off he is a gourmet cook. With more kids like these who needs an overseas workforce? Parasitic finance capital needs them, that’s who.

    1. Sylvia

      I love your kid–we need more like him. If I wasn’t 75 years old I would want to marry him!!!

    2. Toshiro_Mifune

      This quote seemed appropriate;

      A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
      Robert A. Heinlein

        1. ambrit

          You do other stuff. Just like we all do something we consider useful. Heinlein had an outsized ego and a bit of talent. His philosophy was for nut cases.

      1. Massinissa

        And by ‘insects’ he means ‘communists’, since it is Heinlein we’re talking about.

        Im not even kidding, the insects in Starship Troopers were his metaphor for communists.

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          Indeed they were. Heinlein is the Ur libertarian… Well, Lazarus Long was at the very least.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Heinlein in his later years turned more right wing and he a group of like minded writers were recruited by the government (CIA?) to put some spin into their stories that would have anti-communist messages. Same way that artists were supported by the CIA to do artwork that would undermine communism. Sad that.

          1. ambrit

            And ‘sponsored’ the Space Defense Initiative, which morphed into the Reagan era ‘Star Wars’ weapons proposal.
            The “movement” spawned a lot of sci-fi war porn. Which porn still haunts the febrile imaginations of adolescents of all ages today.

        3. VietnamVet

          I watched WWII movies on early TVs while growing up in the 1950s. The film was directed by Paul Verhoeven. I took Starship Troopers themselves to be next generation Nazis. The actual reality in the 21st century is that half of the force in America’s occupation of Syria and Iraq are contractors. They are being killed and maimed at the same rate as the military but are denied burial and medical care provided to veterans.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If he knows how to brew beer, he is the complete package then. Remember that in times of turmoil, nobody ever touches the guy who knows how to brew beer.

      1. ambrit

        If he or she can brew beer, then he or she can hire other people to do all those other things.

  10. Summer

    RE: Headphones and headphone jacks

    The headphone jacks 1/8 and 1/4 (old school terms) vs a dongle adapter for audio?

    Anyone who knows anything about audio knows the more connections between the source and the monitors is a potential source of audio signal degradation.

    Direct connections are preferred in pro audio situations. Wireless in situations where interference can be controlled or avoided.

    So making these adapters for audio sound like some kind of hi-tech improvement over a direct connect into a jack is BS.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      for us luddite napsterists, is there a way to make the sound go through the usb or something to the stereo?
      asking for a friend.

      1. Summer

        More adapters. “To the Stereo…” could mean a lot of things from the many things I’ve heard called a “stereo.”
        I’m just saying you want to use as few adapters as possible.
        It wouldn’t be the end of the world. Just more places for something to go wrong.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          so ive got a bunch of…say…random music files on the hard drive. and a 1/8 plugged into the headphone jack that runs through speakerwire to an actual analog stereo(i snatched up many backups for this over a ten year period, mostly for free, now waiting for their turn in a dark corner of the barn loft), that then runs to an a/b/c/d switch and to all the various speakers, from bedroom to the trees outside(my entire doomstead doubles as a beerjoint).
          when this laptop eventually goes the way of the dinosaur, and the replacement no longer has a jack, what do i do?
          with analog, i’m a master crackerrigger…it’s the digital source that befuddles me…as in getting the music out of the digital source when they see fit to 86 the jack.

          1. Toshiro_Mifune

            USB to RCA cables would be the cheapest.
            A USB DAC is generally considered better for sound quality though as well as allowing more output options.

      2. Toshiro_Mifune

        You want a DAC, digital-analog converter. There’s a, quite frankly, bewildering number and variety available. Everything from $15 no names to $8000 “audiophile” level. Depending on if you’re going from phone to stereo or pc to stereo some very good options for not much money.
        The Schiit (that’s the company’s real name) Fulla works pretty well as a DAC and headphone amp for PCs. Not very expensive either.
        I have a Sennheiser GSX 1000 for my office which is more of an external sound card but has line out for DAC functions. It’s nice and looks cool

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          thank you both!
          reckon that solves the potential problem(and i might get one even before i need it)
          now if there was only an easier way to make the laptop play Mono….
          (the guys at the electronics store laugh at me about this, but when i first set the speakers up, and strung all that wire, the headphone jack on that laptop(so, 2 laptops ago?) was messed up and i had to weight it for it to play at all(like the penny trick with vinyl), and it did only mono…so the speakers are mono, unless i want to rewire the whole mess(might do one day, but low priority)…chaotic, complicated rube goldberg system, but it works for me(even unto old extension cords for the longer runs/weatherproofing)
          thanks, again, to you both.

          1. Summer

            Two rings around the male input jack are stereo.
            One ring around the male input jack will give you mono.
            Goes for whether it is an adapter or the end of a cable.

          2. Summer

            You may want to look into “audio patch bays.”
            There are expensive ones for studios and less expensive ones for home set ups.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              I remember those from the old days of PA’s and monitors. But i need a store to physically go into,lol. so i can look at things.
              i’m too long away from all that to do it online…my knowledge is currently obsolete.
              one of these days, perhaps.
              as for the stereo>mono adapters, i think i need to try a more expensive one.(or, it occurs to me, rig up a cable.i shall rummage in the boxes-o’-wires manana)
              i figured out how to do it with the software on Windows XP and 7…but win10 keeps turning stereo on again.
              i suppose a software fix to mono will be needed with a usb output(no cobbling together junk for that)

              1. hunkerdown

                Guitar Center, while it lasts. :)
                Your knowledge isn’t as obsolete as you might think. Voltage is still voltage and current is still current. The only new wrinkle is that output jacks on later-model computers and other low-cost/portable devices often drive the output “ground” above earth ground so that they can swing the output signal below it more easily, but you fix that the same way as any other ground loop.

                You could also pull the disk out of the laptop, once you get the glue unstuck, and install it in an enclosure to play on a new computer.

                1. scoff

                  A USB to IDE/SATA cable will allow you to use that old hard drive without having to install it in anything. I cannibalized the 240 GB SSD out of an old laptop and use it (with the cable) as a portable storage drive. Also can be used to connect DVD or CD drives without having to install.

                  Works great.

    2. Geo

      That’s only true if it’s an actual audio signal or electrical signal being sent. If it’s digital 1’s and 0’s then as long as those are passed along intact then it will come out the same. That said, I have no idea how Bluetooth headphones work.

      Also, anyone using consumer earbuds doesn’t care about audio quality. Some in-ear headphones are great but they ain’t cheap and they aren’t usually on offer in consumer retail sites.

      Personally, my taste is for open-ear headphones and I’ve had a set of AKG K240’s for twenty years that only get better with age. They’re great for audio work and listening enjoyment. Use my Grado headphones for listening to classical and jazz though. More expensive but have had them both for decades so the value is better than cheap units by far.

      1. Inode_buddha

        Used to have a pair of Koss studio phones back in the 80’s. Good stuff. Main speakers were Klipsch horns on a Scott tube amp with the center channel taken up by a pair of EV’s.

        Modern audio sucks.

      2. Summer

        If you have cord connections of any kind, any connections to that cord running between the audio source and monitors is a potential noise creator.

  11. ewmayer

    Re. “ACA market continues to lose those who don’t qualify for financial help | Health Care Dive” — For those NCers who have not yet read the re-post from Wolf Richter’s site today, “Inflation Data Shows Tariffs Are Not a Tax on Consumers but on Foreign & US Corporations”, the most interesting statistics from that for me was the following:

    “…health insurance … soared 15.9% over the 12-month period…”

    Gee, I wonder if that might have something to do with the loss of unsubsidized participants from the market. See, if more people were just *smarter* health-insurance shoppers, I’m sure we could knock those annual premium hikes down into a more resonable 14-15% range. /sarc

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “Obamacare’s Unpopularity Suggests Medicare For All May Be A Hard Sell” [FiveThirtyEight].

    Hmmm. This guy seems to be making some “significant” inferences from what, by his own admission, was an “unrepresentative,” online “survey” of “not randomly selected” participants.

    But once the law passed in 2010, it was generally rated unfavorably until President Trump took office and the prospect that the law would be scrapped became real.

    Not really surprising–lots of cutting off your nose to spite your face anti-Trump policy pushing since he was elected. Russia, Syria, Iraq, immigration policy, nato, trade, border security, industrial policy and even opioids–Trump says black and the other half of the country says white. Obamacare didn’t magically become better because Trump was against it. It was always bad and getting progressively worse.

    And by the way, wasn’t it Trump who got rid of the mandate?

    As for Medicare for All’s “complexity,” here’s the thing–everything will be exactly the same for everyone. Same doctors, same hospitals, same covered procedures, same costs ($0). Same everything.

    How “complex” is that?

    Fact is, since I have been on Medicare I can talk to anyone else on Medicare and understand exactly what they are saying about the plan. And they can understand me. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of “complex.”

    Having been abused for so long, I’d say the biggest problem would be convincing americans that it’s real.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > And by the way, wasn’t it Trump who got rid of the mandate?

      It was, and then ObamaCare didn’t collapse, and the liberal Democrats were all “Oh. Never mind.”

  13. DK

    “Come take a free tour at an Amazon fulfillment center and see what our warehouses are really like. Check out the locations and reserve your spot online.”

    Amazon’s new line of Potemkin villages, or Disney-like theme parks set in medieval times (look at the happy serfs)?

    1. David Carl Grimes

      Maybe they’re having trouble hiring people to work there? Because they’re so famous for bad working conditions?

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        even better if you ask while wearing a Marxist t-shirt that is only revealed after you take off your hoodie and are already on the tour

    2. The Rev Kev

      How do you know that the free tour is not a trap and that once you are inside, they will shut the doors and force you to work there? That is the capitalistic thought process at work there. A long time ago, mine owners in Scotland would roam the countryside kidnapping young men and putting them underground to work in their mines. How long till Bezos starts thinking of the same for his hellish fulfillment centers?

  14. hamstak

    Even in a more select group of mainstream English language news outlets with high standards of evidence—from the New York Times and The Guardian to The Wall Street Journal and the Daily Telegraph

    HA HA HA HA! Thanks for that, laugh of the day.

    1. Librarian Guy

      PBS “News Hour” today actually had the “Venezuelan Ambassador” on today– not of the established, sitting government, as one would expect of the “Freedonian Ambassador” or any other– a toady, US & “International Community” picked, representing the 1% light-skinned Venezuelan elites, evidently . . . I will stop even clicking across the “public” TV news after a shockingly fraudulent presentation like that.

  15. Kurt Sperry

    How can Steyer’s gazillionaire vanity candidacy not just further split the right-wing D vote and make the path easier for Sanders and Warren? Is he looking to entirely supplant Biden? I don’t see how this helps the status quo, thus I assume it will go nowhere.

    1. hunkerdown

      I’m no expert in campaign finance, and anyone better versed in it is invited to roast my theory, which I call “single transferable campaign finance”. The general idea is that all but one or two of those candidates serve as super-bundlers, transferring the bulk of their contributions to another establishment candidate and/or Party committee at the end of their own campaigns. Thus, the establishment front-runner acquires a huge early war chest, and large donors can appear 15x smaller on the books, great for those 0.1% family offices that like to lay low. If the also-rans keep their powder especially dry, I would read that as support for the theory.

    2. Hepativore

      I am not sure Steyer is thinking this far ahead, but there is the off chance that it will increase the chances of a brokered convention for the Democrats. Sanders will be stopped and then we could have a Clinton/Biden ticket. It will hand the presidency to Trump of course, but at least the donor class can rest easy that the Sanders problem has been dealt with.

  16. Matthew G. Saroff

    More problems later in the day is a symptom of dementia, but I’m an engineer, not a doctor, dammit!

    (could not resist, I love going all reverse Dr. McCoy)

    1. ewmayer

      Tangential – A very lovely word (for a not so lovely profession) I learned from all the Epstein/Maxwell articles: “procuress”, the female version of “procurer”.

      Now, “procurer” has undergone quite the semantic shift over the centuries – my dictionary says

      ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting a steward): from Anglo-Norman French procurour, from Latin procurator (see procurator ). Modern usage dates from the mid 17th cent.

      And procurator is defined as “an agent representing others in a court of law in countries retaining Roman civil law. • historical a treasury officer in a province of the Roman Empire.”

      The reason this struck me was that earlier this year I finally got round to reading Bulgakov’s classic The Master and Margarita, wherein Pontius Pilate carries the title ‘procurator’. But while Pilate may have been a pimp for the empire in some fashion, he was not one in the literal sense. :)

      1. Olga

        There are languages – Russian included – that use the word ‘prokurator’ – it means ‘prosecutor’ (as in opposite of the defense counsel, or having a role similar to a district attorney).

        1. Librarian Guy

          And Hebrew “Shaitan” (Satan) is most literally translated as “Accuser”– so the semantic circle is complete.

    2. Librarian Guy

      That is hilarious, thank you for the link– & at first I misread that title as “The Book of Horror”- perhaps more fitting to the actual topic.

  17. Summer

    “Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s one-time girlfriend and alleged co-conspirator, was spotted Monday at an In-N-Out Burger in Universal City, California, of all places.”

    I pass this place nearly every day…
    Need me to grab her?

    1. Craig H.

      Is Universal City still where 90% of the porno studios operate?
      Maybe I have it mixed up with one of those other fine southern CA municipalities.

      1. Summer

        That would be deeper in the San Fernando Valley. But they could be edited there…
        Universal City is in the San Fernandod Valley…technically…right by the Hollywood Hills.

      2. Summer


        Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell Spotted at In-N-Out Burger

        The global hunt for Epstein’s former gal pal ranged from Massachusetts to France—until a shutterbug snapped a picture of her eating a burger in California.

        I answered your question. maybe you’ll see it one day. Nothing controversial about it except saying where Universal City is….

        1. polecat

          Well THAT’S gonna do wonders for the chain’s notoriety.
          Maybe that will allow them to regain top title within burger chaindom .. which they where recently bumped off of ..

        2. Oregoncharles

          You beat me to it.

          Not in New York, anyway. Is she hiding out, though? She’s certainly next on the list.

  18. Carey

    “Obamacare’s Unpopularity Suggests Medicare For All May Be A Hard Sell” (538)

    The “reasoning” in this piece is so twisted up and unsound, I can’t even…

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      hard to recall an organization going from such journalistic respect (for their modeling of pre-2016 elections) to complete punchline with their wunderkid tweeting out his feelings and getting ratio’d to hell with comments like “stick to the numbers, stat boy” as 538 has. Silver is a clown at this point.

  19. Craig H.

    > “Map of Amazon Ring Partnerships”

    Six months ago I went to my local police public relations meeting. They were peddling Rings. They are not on the map. I did not recognize the scripts in the story.

    Cops love cameras (as long as they are not on the police).

  20. CarlH

    Chapo Trap House went out of their way to belittle Tulsi and Jimmy Dore on their podcast today. I really don’t get why Sam Seder, Michael Brooks, and Chapo now feel such animosity toward these two. Constant attacks that were never provoked. It makes me not trust them and think they have an agenda.

    1. Lydia Maria Child

      I thought it was pretty mild, to be honest. Tulsi’s record isn’t as great as many want to believe. For example, notice her consistent and heavy emphasis on “regime change” wars…not anti-empire, not anti-torture, not anti-economic imperialism, etc. Never ever ever mentions the pain, suffering, and extreme injustice that the US inflicts on non-US citizens. If they aren’t from the US, they absolutely don’t matter, according to her rhetoric. She’s seemingly only very narrowly concerned with “regime change” wars…which is a pretty low bar. Unfortunately, that also makes her light years ahead of nearly all other US politicians on the national stage. She’s better than most, but not necessarily great. And therefore open to criticism. Like her ties to the fascist mass murderer in India, Modi. I think a lot of the NYC hipster podcast scene and followers, a younger crowd, also really dislike her for her earlier anti-gay beliefs, which some seem to have fixated on (even though she has moved beyond that herself a while ago). Jimmy Dore, who I also like, goes a little too easy on her, too.

      That said, I agree that Michael Brooks goes far out of his way to crap on Dore. I think it’s petty and personal with him. Good old circular firing squad! Really dumb. I listen to both of them, but support only one…

      1. Yves Smith

        I disagree. Tell me what war isn’t a regime change war. The whole purpose of war is to defeat the current government. We do massive damage with our nation-breaking.

        In fact, the “regime change war” is brilliant framing because it simultaneously encompasses formal wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, and our no/fewer boots on the ground exercises like sanctions against Russia, Venezuela, Iran, and our meddling in Syria AND delegitimates them. The fact that she talked to Assad and correctly defends that as reasonable is consistent with a broader definition of war. She’s spoken out against the sanctions against Iran, for instance:


      2. Reader

        Actually Tulsi has roundly criticized the way our govt feigns moral outrage at leaders oppressing their people in order to justify wars that then increase the suffering and death of those same people such as in Iraq and Syria.

    2. richard

      Yeah, I just listened to that (i’ve also been angry at cth lately for how they’re treating gabbard).
      Their mention of gabbard: Virgil Texas asks her at the press free for all thing: “Are you an anti-imperialist?”
      a fair question, one that I would ask her myself
      Her response according to cth was in the “if you’re asking me if I love america” vein
      They also critiqued her soapbox speech as being full of valor signaling, which I agree she does a lot, and it bugs me as well.
      I’m nowhere near as skeptical of her as chapo, but I think we must honestly recognize that gabbard’s oppositon to state violence is narrower than many would like
      the only mention of Jimmy was a “take that Jimmy Dore” aside by Will Menaker – referencing Dore’s support for Gabbard.

  21. ambrit

    A quick note on contemporary political mores.
    Got an e-mail from the local House Member. A Blue Dog Republican. Will I take the time to fill out his thirty second poll? Uh. Okay boss.
    One question; “Do you stand behind ICE?” A)Yes B)No C)Uncertain
    The kicker is that to submit your ‘vote’ you must sign up for an e-mail feed from the Representatives office.
    This looks like a pretty blatant attempt to create a proprietary mailing list, and just at the beginning of the election campaign cycle.
    I’m tempted to sign up just to see what sort of ‘communications’ are being crafted and sent. Plus, how far afield will this ‘community’ stretch?
    What does the Commenteriat think? (Serious question.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Only if you use a burner email address. You might find later that that mailing list will be monetized to all sort of commercial organizations that will flood your email inbox with junk email.

    2. foghorn longhorn

      Create a burner account and go for it.
      Give em the garbage in, garbage out conundrum.
      What’s the old adage, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

      1. ambrit

        Wouldn’t that put you on the NSAs list? (As if I’m not probably already there.)
        Given the admitted capabilities of the NSA’s server farm in the wilds of Utah I suspect that everything data linked is in the files. That might be an unintended consequence that saves us; too much information to analyze.
        See, if you can get clearance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The kicker is that to submit your ‘vote’ you must sign up for an e-mail feed from the Representatives office.

      Better than liberal Democrats. They make you give money to submit the poll. So it’s not really a poll.

      I would say sign up for it. I get something called “Train Democrats,” which is just the absolute worst; I think they’re from Mothership, real bottom feeders.

  22. Carey

    ‘Should Joe Rogan moderate a 2020 presidential debate? More than 120,000 already have signed a petition’:


    I don’t always agree with Rogan (at all), but he’d down a far better
    job than the corporate klowns’ sh!tshow (that Kornacki guy!) we’ve had so far. Driving viewers away seems to be the goal right now..

    1. ambrit

      Oh yes. I’d pay to see that. Joe introduces himself and the candidates and then lights one up.
      I can see him throwing the question card away and asking someone: “Hey wait. Do you really mean to say….”

      1. Craig H.

        He has done a number of shows with two guests. He would pull a gazillion views if he had Sanders and Gabbard together on set.

    2. dcrane

      Even better would be if every other candidate did a 1+ hour sit-down interview with him, like Sanders did.

  23. Oregoncharles

    ““Climate deniers get more media play than scientists: study””
    I don’t like to make excuses for the media, but this is the “man bites dog” phenomenon. Outliers get coverage BECAUSE they’re outliers, unless there’s a conscious decision to ignore/censor them. The interests of certain advertisers reinforce the effect, but it’s a built-in problem with news coverage.

Comments are closed.