2:00PM Water Cooler 8/2/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“5 Smart Reasons to Tax Foreign Capital” [Michael Pettis, Bloomberg]. “Senators Tammy Baldwin and Josh Hawley have introduced a bill that would require the Federal Reserve to manage the foreign-exchange value of the U.S. dollar to achieve balance in the U.S. capital account…. The bill would task the Fed with implementing a variable tax on foreign purchases of U.S. dollar assets whenever foreigners direct substantially more capital into the U.S. than Americans direct abroad, something they have been doing for more than four decades…. Today’s U.S. trade deficits are driven mainly by capital flow imbalances, and so the most effective way to reduce them is with restrictions on capital inflows. Tariffs are much less efficient and only work by distorting the real economy and rearranging bilateral imbalances.” • 


“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 July 31: Biden dips to 32.0% (32.2), Sanders up to 16.4% (16.2%), Warren up at 14.8% (14.3%), Buttigieg flat at 5.6% (5.5%), Harris up at 11% (10.8%), others Brownian motion. All the bottom-feeders — except O’Rourke! — went down.

* * *


“Detailed Maps of the Donors Powering the 2020 Democratic Campaigns” [New York Times]. “Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has a huge lead over other Democratic presidential candidates in the number of individual donors they have each accumulated so far.” • This is very good data-driven reporting. Kudos to the Times. Here is a map of individual donors for all the candidates:

And here’s a map of all the candidates but Sanders:

I think the story these maps tell is the strong influence of local oligarchies, not just for “favorite children” like O’Rourke and Klobuchar, but for Biden and Harris as well. Sanders, by this metric, is the only truly national candidate, with Warren reaching for that status, but doing poorly in the South.

* * *

Candidates Answer CFR’s Questions: Joe Biden Council on Foreign Relations

“What role will climate change play in the 2020 presidential elections” [Yale Climate Connections]. “The roughly two dozen Democratic presidential candidates by and large have voiced support for a debate devoted exclusively to climate change and climate policy. The Democratic National Committee has remained reluctant to hold single-topic debates, but outside groups are planning a presidential candidate climate forum on September 23rd…. At that point, both major political parties increasingly see the writing on the wall, and candidates from both sides of the aisle will come to compete for the voting public’s favor on climate change. The heat is rising.”

“Why We’re Challenging the 2020 Democrats to a Climate Summit [Updated]” [Gizmodo]. From last week, still germane: “On September 23, 2019, The New Republic and Gizmodo will host a presidential climate summit in New York City. We’ll be joined by the League of Conservation Voters, giving us a leg up on the candidates’ environmental voting records and 2020 climate plans. We’ve also brought on Columbia University’s Earth Institute, ensuring our questions will be in line with current climate science… We hope all the candidates in the 2020 Democratic field will find a way to take part, because the climate crisis deserves to take center stage in the 2020 primaries. For now, this will be a forum-type event; candidates will appear on stage one by one, to be asked questions by our moderator and others. During that time, they’ll be asked to respond to key policy statements and claims now shaping the emergent Democratic climate agenda. We are, however, prepared to change our summit to a debate if the DNC changes its rules, which bar candidates from participating in non-DNC hosted debates. We are also willing to work with the DNC to make our event the officially sanctioned Democratic climate debate of the 2020 election. Either way, we intend to host a robust discussion with and among the candidates.” • Yet again, the DNC pins the bogometer.

* * *

Gabbard (D)(1): “Tulsi: A Living Reminder of Iraq’s Liars and Apologists” [The American Conservative]. “When Chris Matthews asked Gabbard about Biden’s support for the Iraq war, she said, ‘It was the wrong vote. People like myself, who enlisted after 9/11 because of the terrorist attacks, were lied to. We were betrayed.’ Her moral clarity is rare in the political fog of the presidential circus. She cautions against accepting the ‘guise of humanitarian justification for war,’ and notes that rarely does the American government bomb and invade a country to actually advance freedom or protect human rights. Gabbard’s positions are vastly superior to that of the other young veteran in the race, Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend recently told New York that one of his favorite novels is The Quiet American, saying that its author, Graham Greene, ‘points out the dangers of well-intentioned interventions.’ Buttigieg’s chances of winning the nomination seem low, and his prospects of becoming a literary critic appear even lower. The Quiet American does much more than raise questions about interventions: it is a merciless condemnation of American exceptionalism and its attendant indifference to Vietnamese suffering.”

Harris (D)(1): “Victims question Kamala Harris’ record on clergy abuse” [Associated Press]. “Survivors of clergy abuse and their attorneys say that Harris’ record on fighting sex abuse within the Catholic Church is relevant as the U.S. senator from California campaigns for the presidency as a tough-on-crime ex-prosecutor who got her start prosecuting child sexual abuse cases. They complain that Harris was consistently silent on the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal — first as district attorney in San Francisco and later as California’s attorney general. In a statement to The Associated Press, the Harris campaign underscored her record of supporting child sex abuse victims but did not address her silence regarding victims abused by Catholic clerics.” • So Gabbard was pretty nice; she didn’t mention Mnuchin, and she didn’t mention sex abuse either.

Harris (D)(2):

People who get totally owned are always “prepared to move on.”

Sanders (D)(1): Holy moley:

Sanders (D)(2): “What the Left Must Do” [Jeremy Toback, Medium]. “Sanders is building his campaign around a clear commitment to transformative universal policies, which create the solidarity necessary to win them. The others are not. Sanders is using his campaign infrastructure and volunteers to create solidarity on the ground with workers and unions. The others are not. Sanders is coalescing the movement necessary to win the fight against powerful, monied interests. The others are not. None of the DEM candidates allegedly in Sanders’s lane exhibit even the most rudimentary understanding of the scale of this fight or the political power needed to win it. Sanders has made political revolution a mantra.”

Warren (D)(1): “The old Democratic trade paradigm is collapsing. Good riddance.” [The Week]. “Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is now proposing a bold overhaul of how the U.S. conducts its trade negotiations. It’s only a matter of time before the old trade paradigm dies an ignoble and well-deserved death…. [Warren] would replace the current wildly business-slanted negotiation process with one that is carried out in the open, and prioritizes “labor rights, human rights, environmental protection, combating climate change, heading off international tax avoidance…. Critically, Warren would also include the welfare of other countries as part of the considerations.” • Warren’s plan just got savaged on the WaPo Op-Ed pages, so that’s a good sign.

Yang (D)(1): “Yang campaign slams DNC over poll qualification criteria for September debate” [The Hill]. “Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign accused the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of rejecting one of the two NBC polls that the tech entrepreneur had promoted as having qualified him for the September presidential debate, which left him short of making the stage for the crucial showdown…. ‘A particularly important rule in our debate framework is the requirement that candidates’ initial qualifying poll be conducted by different sponsors, or if by the same sponsor, in different geographies,’ [DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill] wrote [in response]. ‘The intent of this rule is to avoid scenarios in which a single poll sponsor or media outlet is responsible for qualifying a candidate through multiple sets of results in the same geography.'” • Which is fine, but isn’t Cahill’s hidden assumption that the pollsters are independent of the party? MSNBC certainly isn’t!

MI: “Democrats Spend Little Time Courting Union Voters in Debate in Crucial Michigan” [Bloomberg]. “Hillary Clinton lost Michigan by less than 11,000 votes out of almost 4.8 million cast. In doing so she got 75,000 fewer votes in Wayne County, which includes Detroit and nearby towns, and 26,000 fewer in Genesee County, which includes Flint, than Barack Obama did in 2012. There are votes to be had if Democrats can bolster turnout. In a mostly white, working-class county like Macomb — a swing district and much studied as the birthplace of Reagan Democrats — Obama won with less than 52% of the vote. It’s always hotly contested.” • Learned nothing, forgotten nothing.

The Debates

“The Democratic Debates Were Built to Fail” [Frank Rich, New York Magazine]. “In the end, perhaps the most salient fact to be taken away from the debates is the collapse in viewership: 8.7 million viewers tuned in the first night (second-night figures are not yet available as I write this), as opposed to 15.3 million viewers for the first Democratic debate a month ago and 18.1 million for the second. We’re down to the hard-core, highly engaged base of Democratic voters who probably are the least in need of the debates to make up their minds, plus Trump campaign strategists and scattered hate-watchers from the other side. It’s not hard to see why other viewers are staying away. The election is more than a year away. There are too many people onstage. The format is both counterproductive and actively annoying. There is no new face or new story that the broader public is thus far panting to see — and no new one emerged.” • MSNBC ran a far worse debate and got the best ratings. That’s life. Meanwhile, why can’t we put the debates on C-SPAN? Then this won’t happen:

This YouTuber, among others, was deplatformed for using short, fair use-style clips from CNN’s “exclusive” coverage of the debates. That’s ridiculous and anti-democratic. If the debates were on C-SPAN, they’d be in the public domain, and the public wouldn’t be at the mercy of YourTube’s capricious moderation policies.

“Debates Identify Plenty of Democratic Divisions, but Not a Consensus Favorite” [New York Times]. “After nearly 10 hours of nationally televised and often contentious candidate forums, the Democratic hopefuls and their voters are plainly torn over how best to take on Mr. Trump and how aggressive a program they should embrace, particularly on health care and immigration. And far from coalescing around a possible nominee, Democrats are also sharply divided over what kind of standard-bearer would best bridge the larger generational, gender and racial differences shaping the party in the 2020 race.” • Nice erasure of class in that last sentence.

“The Real Winners of the Second Debate Were Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders” [The Nation]. “Granholm sighed after the second group of 10 Democratic presidential candidates finished the second night of the the second round of the exercises that the Democratic National Committee refers to as ‘debates.’ ‘This was a joyless debate,’ said Granholm. She was right. The front-runner, former vice president Joe Biden, took his expected hits on Wednesday night. The other leading contender on the stage, California Senator Kamala Harris, took some unexpected hits. Biden and Harris pushed back, sometimes effectively, sometimes not. But the second night of debating lacked the electricity, the energy, and the clarity of purpose that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders brought to the first.” • Very true. However, I would like to see, for want of a better word, a little more “joy” from both Sanders and Warren. They’re both at the top of their game in the most important election of their (and our) lives, and I think a little exhiliration is in order. Oh, and Neera Tanden agrees with Frank Rich:

Maybe if we rebranded “Medicare for America” to “Medicare Advantage Plus for Americans Who Want It.” Yeah, that’s the ticket…


It still goes on, presumably funded:

First, #MoscowMitch. Now, #LeningradLindsey. What poor soul is being forced to come up with this reflex action-only nonsense? “Leningrad” was changed back to “Saint Petersburg” in 1991!

Realignment and Legitimacy

DSA National Convention in Atlanta:

Can’t really opine; I don’t know enough! There do seem to be rather a lot of factions. But somebody’s thinking:

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, July 2019: “How far along the rate-cut path will the Fed go? Maybe a bit further given a middling employment report where an important detail is pointing to big trouble for the next industrial production report” [Econoday]. “But a key detail is a decline in manufacturing hours… Even if wages aren’t rising that much, the availability of labor does show some tightening.”

Factory Orders, June 2019: “Capital goods that surged in last week’s advance data are revised down a bit in the factory orders report, limiting June’s monthly headline increase” which is still in consensus range [Econoday]. “Capital goods orders had been softening and duly raising concern at the Federal Reserve over the health of business investment; June’s jump does not fit into this pattern. If strength continues to appear in this reading, then a central concern for the Fed and its policy shift will be less pressing.”

Consumer Sentiment, July 2019 (Final): “Consumer sentiment did fall noticeably in June but stabilized well in July” [Econoday]. “The consumer, backed by solid job growth, looks to remain in place as the fundamental driver of the economy.”

International Trade, June 2018: “[B]oth imports and exports contracted” [Econoday]. “June’s trade report edges the trade debate deeper on the troubled side, but only slightly. Yet if the pattern continues and both exports and imports contract, the Federal Reserve’s concerns over the effects of slowing global trade, expressed by this week’s rate cut, will look more and more justified.”

Employment Situation: “Has the Jobs Report Become Irrelevant?” [Bloomberg]. “Everyone knows the labor market is the one part of the economy that is in stable shape. But even though unemployment is at a 50-year-low, it hasn’t been strong enough to keep growth from decelerating while Trump ratchets up the trade wars. And while the Fed knows the U.S. has held up better than most other economies, that won’t last forever given how interconnected the world’s economies are today…. The bond market is pricing in two more rate cuts for this year, just like it had before the jobs report. Going forward, the more important data for markets will be those reports that show how the broad economy, especially manufacturing, is responding to the escalating trade wars rather than what is happening with jobs and wages.” • “Everyone knows.”

The Bezzle: “Brixmor and former executives charged with accounting fraud by SEC, Justice Department” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “MarketWatch reported on Feb 11, 2016, that Brixmor used a non-GAAP metric that triggered incentive bonuses called “cash NOI” that starts with total property revenues and then also subtracts straight-line rent, above- and below-market rent amortization, and Brixmor’s share of cash net operating income from unconsolidated joint ventures. [Brixmore executives] Carroll, Pappagallo and Splain were each awarded bonuses in 2014 for exactly meeting the targeted $2.79 per share on the NOI measure. That non-GAAP metric was one of three quantitative metrics used to determine bonuses for the executives. Carroll received a bonus of $800,000, Pappagallo received $750,000, and Splain got $210,000.” • All in the six figures. Clearly, these pikers didn’t steal enough.

The Bezzle: “How Jaywalking Could Jam Up the Era of Self-Driving Cars” [New York Times]. “In New York, the unwritten rule is plain: Cross the street whenever and wherever — just don’t get hit. It’s a practice that separates New Yorkers from tourists, who innocently wait at the corner for the walk symbol. But if pedestrians know they’ll never be run over, jaywalking could explode, grinding traffic to a halt. One solution, suggested by an automotive industry official, is gates at each corner, which would periodically open to allow pedestrians to cross.” • As I keep saying: If your algo doesn’t work, change the inputs, in this case by. mandating on enormous infrastructure investment that would also destroy the street life of the city. On the bright side, we could sell advertising on the gates. Captive audience!

The Bezzle: “Electric scooters aren’t as green as they seem” [Axios]. “Electric scooters are often worse for climate change when compared to the transportation methods they’re displacing, according to what is likely the first-ever peer-reviewed study on the new trend…. The report’s ‘results show that dockless e-scooters consistently result in higher life cycle global warming impacts relative to the use of a bus with high ridership, an electric bicycle, or a bicycle per passenger-mile traveled. However, choosing an e-scooter over driving a personal automobile with a fuel efficiency of 26 miles per gallon results in a near universal decrease in global warming impacts’… The study finds that the global warming impact of an e-scooter, including how it’s made and during its use, is equal to about half the impact of an average gasoline-powered car per mile traveled.” • As usual, Silicon Valley dumps something into the public space and lets others handle the externalities.

The Bezzle: “Goldman Sachs is spending $100 million to shave milliseconds off stock trades” [CNBC]. • No capital allocation issues in our economy, no sirree.

Honey for the Bears: “Wall Street’s Least-Loved Stock Is Now a Personal Loan Company” [Bloomberg]. “World Acceptance Corp., a company that specializes in small loans to people with limited credit, was already having a rough day after its first-quarter earnings miss. Now, an analyst downgrade has made it the least-loved stock on Wall Street…. World Acceptance is one of the largest small-loan consumer finance companies, operating 1,218 branches in 16 states as of June 30.” • So, we’ve got this great labor market, but…

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 35 Fear (previous close: 43, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 2 at 1:01pm. • Restored at reader request. Note that the index is not updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

“These scientists found 2,500 years of economic history frozen in ice” [Grist]. “Lead pollution topped out near the end of the 20th century thanks to the 1970 Clean Air Act, which banned leaded gasoline, among other pollutants. The result: an 80 percent decrease in atmospheric lead levels, according to Chellman’s team’s findings. There’s still 60 times as much lead in the atmosphere as there was during the Middle Ages, but it’s evidence that regulatory measures are working.” • Onward to carbon!

“Warm Weather Brings Major Melting to Greenland” [NASA Earth Observatory]. “In late July 2019, a major melting event spread across the Greenland Ice Sheet. Billions of tons of meltwater streamed into the Atlantic Ocean throughout the month, making a direct and immediate contribution to sea level rise.” • Which, sadly, is not quantified in the article. There was apparently a similar, but less intense, event in 2012.

“Economics of the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet” [William Nordhaus, PNAS]. That William Nordhaus. From the abstract: “A key finding is that, under a wide range of assumptions, the risk of GIS disintegration makes a small contribution to the optimal stringency of current policy or to the overall social cost of climate change. It finds that the cost of GIS disintegration adds less than 5% to the social cost of carbon (SCC) under alternative discount rates and estimates of the GIS dynamics.” • Here is one comment on the Nordhaus paper. Thread:

Health Care

“When Did You Realize American Health Care Was Broken?” [New York Magazine]. From mid-July, still germane. An aggregation of horror stories, of which there are many: “Much of access has to do with money, but it also has to do with information — who can get it, and how it is (or isn’t) communicated. Below, we share stories from women who’ve experienced devastating (but not uncommon) encounters with the health-care system at every level: insurance companies, debt collectors, emergency rooms, and more.” • Yes, “access” is a red flag, but access to information adds a new wrinkle. More: “‘When I had a terrible stomach bug last year and couldn’t stop vomiting, I took an ambulance to the hospital. They gave me an IV, some strong anti-nausea meds, and a vanilla milkshake (I’d been vomiting for hours, so I was very dehydrated), and a few hours later, I was discharged. They charged me over $4,000 (and I have health insurance!) just for the ambulance ride! It shouldn’t be like this. $4,000 for an ambulance ride is ridiculous!’ — Madeline”

“Cancer patients are being denied drugs, even with doctor prescriptions and good insurance” [Fresno Bee]. “Norma Smith was diagnosed with stage-three cancer in December… Smith, a retired special education teacher in Fresno, and her husband, Rodney, a retired school psychologist and director of special education, consider their ‘very expensive’ health insurance coverage to be ‘the best.’ But that insurance didn’t ensure Smith would get the drugs she needed when facing CVS Specialty Pharmacy – the pharmacy their insurance required them to use. Cancer drugs prescribed by Smith’s oncologist were denied because they didn’t follow the standard protocol sequence of medications that Smith’s pharmacy benefit manager, CVS Caremark, had in their guidelines. That means pharmacy benefit managers have the authority to trump a doctor’s medical judgment without seeing patients or knowing their full medical history, and without accountability for the consequences of what happens to sick people. Smith is among thousands of documented cases of patients who have been denied needed medications in this way. Doctors and other medical professionals say these denials are only expected to get worse as the country’s largest health insurance companies and pharmacies are increasingly joining forces. These elusive middlemen with the authority to deny doctors’ prescriptions based on company policies are sometimes referred to as PBMs for short. ” • PBMs are being run by the Harkonnens, it seems.

Guillotine Watch

“Two Iowa football assistant coaches reach $800,000 in base salary” [Hawk Central]. “Iowa football strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle and defensive coordinator Phil Parker have reached the $800,000 mark in annual base pay, according to documents obtained by the Des Moines Register through an open-records request.” • You could pay an entire department with that kind of money. And that might even have something to do with the university’s putative educational mission.

Class Warfare


“Acts of Kindness, and the Underlying Rot – When `Good Stories’ Happen for Bad Reasons” [Portside]. “Sweet stories like these, the critics say, hide an underlying rot. Individual acts of kindness don’t solve systemic problems — in fact, they can do harm by glossing over deeper issues. ‘They reveal the deficiencies of public policy, but the interesting thing is people may not make that connection because a feel-good story has short-circuited that connection,’ said Lessie Branch, an academic with the Scholars Strategy Network and a senior fellow at the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy. She added, ‘So the frame, essentially, is individual deficiencies — not systemic issues — for why people need the rescues that we’re seeing.'”

“Review: Unions keep watch on corporations — Steven Greenhouse digs into labor’s battle” [Los Angeles Times]. “If labor’s predicament seems dire, its future may lie in a new approach — organizing low-wage workers whether or not they can be unionized. LAANE’s success is one example. Greenhouse describes others: the Coalition of Immokalee Workers raised pay for 35,000 workers and fought sexual abuse in Florida’s tomato fields with a successful boycott of Taco Bell; the Fight for $15 movement, funded by the Service Employees International Union, mounted a global campaign to raise pay at McDonald’s, and then branched out to support minimum-wage hikes in cities and states across the country, benefiting some 22 million workers. Those efforts may be having an impact. Public approval of unions has risen to 62%, the highest level since 2003. But the path forward for a diminished labor movement is far from clear. ‘In the balance,’ Greenhouse argues, ‘is the future of our economy and our democracy.'”

News of the Wired

“Tinkle, booger, flapjacks, schmuck. What makes a word funny?” [National Geographic]. Handy table:

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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 (EW):

EW writes: “I was struck by the intense green in early April, low tide seaweeds.” From Maine.

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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. Lee

    Harris lost half her support in the most recent Daily Kos straw poll. His nibs, Kos hisself, scratches head and wonders, “Not sure what happened to Kamala Harris. Ouch. Her support runs hot and cold, doesn’t it? She shows flashes of brilliance, inspiring people to rally around her, and then people get afraid and back off.”

    Well, duh, Mr. K, Tulsi Gabbard happened. I posted words to that effect in the comments section. Wow, there sure is a lot of hate for Tulsi over there. I do so love rattling their cages at DK. I’m such a meanie.

    1. jrs

      I’m beginning to have sympathy for her, no not because she’s any good at all, one of the most conniving and compromised, but because either her or age related dementia guy polling 1st and .. uh … he seems not all 30330. That might become a big problem … and he’s still polling first (when will it end!?!)

      maybe if they get really desperate, the mainstream Dems would allow a Warren, probably not but …

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Forgive the metaphor, her support (O’Rourke, Beta, etc for that matter) was due to her being the “great white hope.” She’s newish and doesn’t have much of a federal record as a result. On the surface, she checks boxes. After all, she’s not another old white guy…and she can put the fussin’ and feudin’ of recent years behind us. The youngin’s will love her as a result uniting them with the wizened elders who didn’t understand why the kids didn’t love Saint Hillary. This is the basis of the appeal of O’Rourke and Buttigieg for their supporters as well. Its not about values but bringing the kids in line.

      Like every “great white hope”, they get tested. Are they Larry Legend (I can’t Dirk Nowitski heralded coming up; like all successful great white hopes, they lose the moniker because they belong or are the best) or are they Adam Morrison (who was that kid Larry Brown wouldn’t play on Detroit)?

      Maybe in another era, she might have been a better candidate, but she came without sufficient talent or drive for 2020.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      “I did the work…of…reforming the criminal justice system of state of 40 million people…”

      is not an answer

      1. Carey

        Aah, went over there and read those KosKomments.
        Yikes: if “Russia” likes someone then that means they’re
        bad? If Russians like to, say, *breathe air*, then, I’m
        not supposed to go along and like it, too?

        kool-aid yeesh

    1. ewmayer

      And earth’s surface area is A = 4*pi*r^2 with r ~= 6378km, so A ~= 5*10^8 km^2. Ocean covers ~70% of that, so ocean area ~= 3.6*10^8 km^3; divide your total meltwater volume figure by that to get a sea level rise of a little over a half-millimeter, which is big for just a 1-month melt: if we averaged that every month it equates to 6 mm per year or ~2 feet per century, which is double the NOAA estimate of current rate of sea level rise.

      OTOH, it makes sense that there would be a lot more melting in summer in the N hemisphere, so July having 2x the annualized rate may not in fact be particularly notable against the backdrop of an already “we are totally screwed” rise rate.

    2. Hopelb

      I remember reading that they estimate the Greenland melt has led to .5 ml increase in sea levels, but am unsure if this includes the 2012 melt.

  2. Camp Lo

    Why can’t we put the debates on C-SPAN? Because C-SPAN is exclusively funded as a non-profit by the same companies who own CNN, Time Warner and friends. Cable and dish companies charge subscribers a direct flat fee to provide the C-SPAN service. Since the debates demand production values beyond what a local library could provide, advertisers cough up the scratch to air commercials during the ancillary coverage. Even without corporate contributions to campaigns, the hoopla is very much staged to capture your eyes and ear-balls. The actual debate viewer numbers is irrelevant. The non-stop media pony show is what sells the detergent.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      “Since the debates demand production values beyond what a local library could provide”

      Do they though? If so, why?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        My thought exactly. I don’t demand it. In fact, the slick production is to me more a distraction from the content than it is a helpful to it. Any small city library with a public room, pro-sumer video and lighting equipment and reasonably smart, experienced people to run it should be more than adequate.

      2. Big River Bandido

        The 1976 debates between Ford and Carter were extremely low production value. For several minutes one night the sound went off and the two candidates stood there, just smiling and standing by for the “technical difficulties”.

        For all the lack of production, those debates had more drama. And substance.

    2. Carey

      I think the debates’ “production values” have been absolutely horrific
      so far, and judging by the viewership numbers, my opinion is widely
      shared. That gesticulating moron they had on on MSDNC with the
      (false!) polling numbers *had to be* imposed purely to drive viewers
      away; there is no other reasonable explanation.

      Bring back the League of Women Voters running the thing, yes,
      in a public library somewhere, and put it on C-Span, as mentioned

      1. Big River Bandido

        The parties should not be allowed to control or sponsor debates nor restrict candidates’ participation in them.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        CSPAN would probably never allow it. NPR and PBS would absolutely never allow it.

        Perhaps a You Tube channel could be created to run it on.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      If you spend 60 years running your Presidential elections like a beauty pageant, someone who actually knows how to run a beauty pageant will become your President.

      Our elites fear looking unpolished nowadays. A few dropped mikes could get a whole new angle on the democracy-consumming demographic.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        If you spend 60 years running your Presidential elections like a beauty pageant, someone who actually knows how to run a beauty pageant will become your President.


  3. Stanley Dundee

    Excellent update on preparations for the Persian War, by John Helmer:

    The escalation of US military threats against Iran so far this year is well documented. Each move has been matched by a Russian Defence Ministry and General Staff response, a few of them made public by the Iranian side; far fewer by the Russians.

    Includes valuable links and highlights how our maximum pressure campaign is driving Russia and Iran closer together. Compare to the new levels of strategic coordination between Russia and China. Mackinder-followers like old Henry Kissinger must be grinding their teeth.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Trying to gin up a Maritime Convoy Force in the Gulf may be seen as fun and games, especially when eventually this will be transformed into a Iran Blockade Force, but when the Russian Navy announces that they are going to be doing military drills in the Gulf with Iran, then that may explain the reluctance of US allies to get between a hammer and an anvil-


  4. johnherbiehancock

    University of Michigan alum here… Regarding Iowa assistant coaches making $800K/year, our assistant coaches have been at the SEVEN figure mark for years now. Our most recent offensive coordinator is at $900K base salary, with “up to” $400K in annual incentives. oh, and a $200K signing bonus. AND… he’s only 35

    The Leaders and Best!

    The link also references other obscenely paid overgrown phys ed teachers making $1MM+ at other schools.

    1. Polar Donkey

      Football coach pay being obscene is going down to high schools. Head coach in Mississippi can get paid $100,000+ and not have to teach a class. Many coaches are totally mercenary as well. No problem ditching a school with almost no notice to go to the next bidder. A lot of talk of Jesus and molding young men, yada, yada, yada too, but that is just pr for the chamber of commerce members and local churches.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        re: high school coach salary…yep…even way out here in the boonies, the head coach(“AD”) makes as much as the superintendent.
        almost 4 times starting teacher pay.
        and let us not even mention the Aides…without whom the whole enterprise would fall apart.
        I guess it’s not too surprising…our priorities are rather screwed up. our civilisation values warlords(and Warladies! Check!) and grand larcenists more than anything else.

        1. pretzelattack

          at least one of the local high school teams has it’s own fancy stadium. i think it’s one of the plano schools. vast sums of money are spent on the civic religion, football.

      2. Massinissa

        Molding young men for the military, maybe. Reminds me of George Carlins Baseball vs Football sketch.

        1. laughingsong

          A classic!

          “In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! – I hope I’ll be safe at home!”

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          this being a tiny place, i know all the coaches(hell, wife was a tennis coach). I was surprised(sort of) to learn that they all play chess and can quote Sun Tzu.
          at least two are conversant with Clausewitz and the campaigns of Napoleon and Sam Houston…which leans way into the weird.
          of course, my sports fandom extends to liking tennis skirts, and no further…i despise friday night gladiatorial excess, and all the militaristic claptrap that goes with it.
          i realise that this is regarded by all and sundry as heresy, and incomprehensible, and have learned to live with my shame.

          1. steve

            I’m in a Deep South college town neighbor community that sounds like your place.
            I’m also the odd one out re. the sports business, which infects everything and seemingly everyone.

            My first encounter with a tricked out stretched full size 80’s van gloriously sporting the team colors orange and blue and emblazoned with the team mascot, was at a local mall in center court, a few weeks before Christmas. A promotion for a local dealership. Standing there thinking the color scheme looked shit, and not knowing I was viewing a holy and much lusted after paean to the football warriors, or not, I commented to the wife “this looks shit!”. I was overheard by an ardent fan for the rival team who I suppose was there to hate-view the thing, much approved of my assessment and felt compelled to share with friends or family across the way, out loud and proud, and soon I found myself witnessing a shouting match between loyal fans in the middle of a busy mall, in December.

            1. Mo's Bike Shop

              orange and blue

              UF ain’t Deep South. Probably why you were not eaten.

              Florida is more of a Frontier State, 1 million in 1950, 20 million now. Florida Man comes from y’all.

      1. curlydan

        Maybe UMich could give the players a bigger “dividend” than free tuition, room and board.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Those are salary numbers that Wall St would envy, made possible of course by the $1.4 trillion in Insta-Money conjured at will by The Fed, then passed like a hot potato til it lands in the lap of a hapless Sociology major at a Tier 3 school. He gets the monthly payment/ ball and chain, the college gets the vanity/advertisement football team, and JP Morgan gets the loan servicing fees. What’s not to like?

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Some of UMich’s programs make money, for what that’s worth.

        Are any of those people who are making money actually the people throwing the balls around?

        To be fair, the Administration here works just as hard at ripping off grad students.

        Our “Incubators” make an even better turnaround. Prof gets in on an IPO, students get a CV entry.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Break up BIg College Education?

      Separate atheletic programs from purely mental ones?

      And then, put a tuition cap – tuition control, if you will.

      That will make shelter and education more similar. You ger rent control, and tuition control as well. No one is proposing free shelter; the equvilanet would be not proposing free college tuition. But if we can start to embrace the idea of free shelter, then, we can talk about free college tuition (the cost of both, by the way, have gone up a lot more than inflation in general).

      For some (or many) people, shelter is more basic and immediate than college tuition, for survival. And it is an issue for people of all ages, not just mainly to a certain age group, as is the case with college tuition.

    3. ewmayer

      Another UM alum here – yes, obscene, especially since they *still* can’t beat that team from Columbus. :)

  5. Off The Street

    Iowa, associated with the writer’s workshop and related functions, should receive some multiple amount of the strength coach money. They could have some strengthening of writing for journalists to benefit the news-consuming populace. One initial application would be to help reverse the use of those read-from-the-bottom-up stories that plague The Grey Lady and other outlets.

    1. Steven

      Iowa alum here. My first thought upon reading those six figure salaries was, “They have a long way to go before they catch up to some SEC schools!”

      This is not exactly new. I recall in the 80s when Hayden Fry (legendary football coach 1979-1998) was demanding funds for an indoor practice facility at a time when U of I faculty salaries were the lowest among Big 10 universities.

  6. Lambert Strether Post author

    As I do all too often, I got a late start and so added some more material. Please refresh your browsers not least because there’s an important remark from Sanders.

  7. fdr-fan

    The Sanders heat map is remarkable. Very few candidates ever reach such widespread support.

    Those favorite son regions may not reflect local pride… Those donors may be recognizing that their local candidate is going to remain local. They’re simply donating to a re-election campaign while calling it ‘presidential’.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I love maps anyway, but this is a fantastic graphical exploration of where the individual D candidates money is coming from within the US from the NYT. Sanders is lapping the field in terms of numbers of contributors and geographic spread, but unsurprisingly gets less per donor than most. It also shows his broad strength in swing areas and rural America, where people don’t really expect to see it.

      Worth exploring these maps. Sanders strongest in NYC in an area bounded by E Williamsburg – Bed-Stuy – E NY – Howard Beach up to Middle Village and North of the East River up to the Bronx. Sanders conspicuously has almost no support in the DC Metro lol.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “Sanders conspicuously has almost no support in the DC Metro lol.”

        He should put that on his anti-endorsements page, which was another brilliant idea.


      2. IowanX

        As a color-blind guy, these maps are sort of useless to me, until I have my wife explain them. I’m glad the NYT did two maps: Bernie and everybody, where the map looked pretty much all Bernie blue, with Klobachar in MN and Beto in TX, then the second map, where Warren looks like a national candidate as well. This bodes well for team Left, except that Tom Perez still “runs” the DNC. More DNC shite to come.

        1. Carey

          It’ll all be crystal-clear after the Democrat Convention,
          what *must be done if there is to be any hope* for the
          great majority of the USian citizenry.

        2. Lunker Walleye

          Some family members are visiting from Florida and my sis and I clashed over Russiagate and crappy cable tv. Sis says Fox ruined everything. I said So did MSNBC and CNN — they are merely entertainment channels. Sis says Bernie is too old. I say no, he isn’t. Young people love him. Then I showed her the two maps. She said (jokingly) “Fake news”. I told her it was from the NYT. That surprised her. She was impressed by Bernie’s broad following.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is an appeal to the idea you are touching the President. There is a story about Obama making inroads with major Democratic donors, and a few of the donors who switched were simply miffed HRC didn’t take their calls.

      They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

      This description applies to much of the donor class. They have so much money they don’t care about the utility of these donations, just the perception its buying them something. A rich guy in California will always be in line behind a rich guy from Texas in O’Rourke’s eyes because the California guy didn’t bet on him then. For the most part, they aren’t considering who or what can win. Harris’ past positions are probably complete mysteries. They know she’s not a communist, but that’s about it.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      This map tells me Warren is going to get crushed in South Carolina worse than Bernie did in 2016. All the corporatists will hang on to at least SC for this reason.

      You have to admit, having the most conservative black voters in America choose third every time and usually following them up with a wide swathe of the rest of the South immediately after BigAg Iowa a lily-white New Hampshire is a great way for the DNC to ensure we never get somebody too progressive for their liking. They can shape a narrative that any progressive who doesn’t do well in SC can’t connect with African Americans (because SC AAs are a monolith and not an aberration that skews overwhelmingly old and religious compared to the AA community in America as a whole) and thus has a “problem with black voters”.

      “You didn’t do well in the deep south states we’re going to lose 60-40 anyway! You’re obviously unelectable!”

      1. Andy Raushner

        It also make sense for Bernie to drop out and support Biden with a deal on the VP, who is the likely 2024 candidate. I wouldn’t want to be President during the 2021-24 cycle anyway with the bursting junk bond bubble aftermath. Let the old man take the heat.

        1. Massinissa

          If not now, then never, at least not with Bernie. Besides I’m sure Bernie can think of something, and I hope that something is prison sentences for the issuers of said junk bonds.

      2. Jhallc

        Yup, which is why I favor some sort of a rotating state primary schedule every 4 years. The first shall be last.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          “Yup, which is why I favor some sort of a rotating state primary schedule every 4 years. The first shall be last.”

          Amen. As a Californian, this is the first time in my LIFE that my primary vote will not be an afterthought. The AP called CA for Clinton the DAY BEFORE THE PRIMARY in 2016.

          Hasn’t South Carolina contributed to the decline of this country enough?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Having done a campaign in New Hampshire and gone up there other times for fun, I like the size of NH for a primary. It does give the small candidate a chance while still eliminating the cranks. It removes the gatekeepers such as MSDNC and puts it in the people’s hands. I know Reid was doing Nevada a favor, but I loved moving up Nevada as a small improvement. I despise the states in general.

            So I would love it if Team Blue would subdivide the country into New Hampshire or Iowa population units and do it by lottery with a rural, semi-rural, urban early choice.

            1. IowanX

              I actually like that, but the State Chambers of Commerce will never stand for it. Democracy v. Hotel Rooms? Sell the rooms at inflated rates NOW!

      3. Carolinian

        Hey don’t go blaming it on us. Blame the Dems!

        And the demographics of this state are slowly changing and possibly moving leftward. My library is now a “safe space” and we have Leningrad Lindsey. A commie trend?

        Sanders got a good reception when he came to my town but downstate the black leadership, or as BAR would say misleadership, may have more sway and go for the establishment candidates. That said, Sanders still isn’t even close to Biden in the national polls so it’s not just regional.

    4. dk

      NYT manages not to mention the obvious, donors translate to voters. The DNC sinks that donor investment at their peril. Not that it’s stopped them before.

    5. Hopelb

      Magnify DC, which is going for Butti, Warren, and Biden and look at the neighborhood breakdown. It is most illuminating.

    6. Mo's Bike Shop

      “Look at the deep divisions in our country!”

      It’s quite a thing looking at that. Maybe we all should have encouraged Bernie earlier?

      Lavender for Buttigieg? Fracking NYT Bros.

  8. Cal2

    “So Gabbard was pretty nice; she didn’t mention Mnuchin, and she didn’t mention sex abuse either.” Harris “Running as a progressive prosecutor?” Hmmm…

    Long. Involves federal and state court’s catalogues of her deficiencies.

    More examples:

    “Attorney General Harris’ office, citing state court precedent, tried to argue that the prosecutor’s action “was certainly conscience shocking in the sense that it involved false testimony by a prosecutor in a formal criminal proceeding. But it did not involve ‘brutal and offensive’ conduct employed to obtain a conviction.” In other words, the defendant’s false confession wasn’t beaten out of him, and therefore didn’t violate his constitutional rights. The judge disagreed and threw out the conviction.”

    “[9th Circuit Judge] Kozinski threatened that “it would look terrible in an opinion when we write it up and name names.” After the video of the hearing—the courtroom equivalent of a snuff film—went viral in law circles, the California A.G.’s office filed a motion dropping its opposition, “in the interest of justice.” Harris had announced she was running for the U.S. Senate about two weeks earlier.”

    More “progressiveness”
    “in 2014. A federal judge ordered that all non-violent second-strike offenders be eligible for parole in California in an action against constitutional prison crowding. Attorney general Kamala Harris…argued in court that by releasing these inmates early,
    prisons would lose “an important labor pool.”


    Bet they love that in the upcoming South Carolina primary.
    Cue Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”

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

      1. ewmayer

        No, no, no – you’re thinking baseball; football season starts in August now. And ESPN went straight from the NBA playoffs to NBA summer league games, so basketball is apparently year-round now.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It would seem to support my theory that “anti-Sanders” “commenters” in some Warren threads are/were false-flag Clintonites and black-advance flying David Brockmonkeys all along. And the two candidates and the alert parts of their respective support bases are so far carefully not-taking the bait.

  9. CarlH

    I was heartened to see that in the map of just the SF Bay Area in the NY Times article with maps breaking down the candidates donors/donations the Peninsula (where I live) is solidly Sanders. This in spite of being part of SV and full of very wealthy communities, such as Hillsborough. This is a reflection I believe of the enormous number of people who are struggling here, by far the majority though they can sometimes seem unseen depending where you are.

    As an aside, I hope this will persuade some people to quit making blanket statements about the people who live here. I grew up here around solidly middle class people, the majority of my friends fathers working as mechanics at United or associated with United in some way (one of their maintenance hubs used to be here. A few years ago they all had their pensions and healthcare slashed when United went through bankruptcy). All went from solid middle class to the precariate in the times since. We loathe and resent our tech and financial overlords more than people who haven’t lived through the take over of a once beautiful place to live and grow up in could possibly imagine. So aim your hate where it belongs, not to a region filled with good people struggling to get by, but to the people who colonized us and eventually the world. Specificity is clarity and helps direct energy where it belongs.

    Maybe I just need to smoke a j. Sorry for the rant.

    1. urblintz

      You deserve to smoke a j, with no apologies required.

      It’s maddening to hear people talk right past that truth. I’ve a very dear friend, gay, intelligent and although his “liberalism” confines him to a status quo that my radicalism rejects he falls well on the left side of the spectrum. After a recent visit to SF he said to me “I don’t understand why people insist on living somewhere they can’t afford.” I tried to correct him by saying a lot of those people had lived where they live their entire lives and asked if they should be forced to leave because the cost of living has increased beyond their means. He seemed confused by my response and changed the subject.

      Rant away, friend.

    2. deplorado

      Amen. Same here. So glad to see strong support for Sanders on the Peninsula (btw, eff DC).
      I hope when Tulsi drops out (although I wish her success and staying in as long as possible), she gives her funds to Sanders.
      I hope Gravel’s campaign did that too (does anyone know?).
      And we all need to chip in more to keep him pounding the message across the nation. He for real can win it all. Also look at the NYT map article comments – people get it. Starting to get it.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Sanders doesn’t need the contribution as he can raise his own money (not that people shouldn’t donate to Sanders). The other funds would be much better reserved for would-be AOC’s who might not be able to walk their district. Its like Kickstarter campaigns. Ugly people don’t raise as much. I usually don’t like to bring up AOC’s appearance (c’mon guys who mention her appearance, everyone gets it. You don’t need to prove you can see it too), but would she be the star she is if she looked like Kerri Harris? Remember the leg cramping garbage with O’Rourke.

        You and I (all individuals) might not be shallow on an individual basis, but overtime, we (you and I and everyone collectively) gravitate towards attractive people, even on a more subconscious level. Would you put an interview with AOC on in the background or an invisible person saying the exact same thing. I think Gabbard and the Gravel kids should look to bring attention to people who aren’t simply going to be stars with the support of a nameless organization (I think Our Revolution went to bat for AOC, but she was picked as the candidate to really back).


        Who remembers this?

        Certainly, I think the internet and a rerise of text based news might have altered the way people view things (example, Sanders and Gravel’s popularity with the kids), but Gabbard and Gravel could really help in a way a random donation from a plebe can’t.

      2. Dan

        I hope that Sanders chooses Tulsi as his Vice Presidential running mate.
        They would obliterate Trump and restore the country.

        Or, if not her, he nominate her for secretary of defense.

        Warren for Treasury, Ryan for Agriculture.

        1. IowanX

          Lord almighty, NOT Ryan for Ag Sec. Something more like @Austin Frerick. What we MUST do is bust up the Ag land ownership fiasco, and make Agriculture US production for US consumption, based on distributing land back from the consolidators back to the actual producers. Can this be done? IDK. China owns Smithfield Farms, for crying out loud. Matt Stoller is wise to whine. President Trump just dumps $ in the Ag trough, but he don’t know, and he don’t care.

          1. Dan

            I liked Ryan’s commentary on restorative agriculture. Frerick wasn’t in the debate. I will investigate him.

      3. tsyganka

        deplorado: Update: Tulsi has now met the 130,000 unique donor requirements. GOOD. She’s the only one who focuses her campaign mainly on peace and essentially the only one who’s had the courage to tell the truth about cruel, dishonest Kamala Harris’s piss-poor record.

        My first time commenting here, so pardon me in all directions if I’m ignorant about how to do this.

    3. JBird4049

      Sorry for the rant.

      Don’t be.

      I think most anyone who has lived here more than thirty years, native or not, has some issues with the destruction of not only the San Francisco Bay Area, but the all of California really. Just ask anyone who has lived through it. My God, the changes from the 60s to now have been vast and usually made things worse.

      One does have to be careful about ‘the good old days,” and some of what was, was just not that good, like the racism and the homophobia, but the orchards, factories, and fisheries of my grandparents’ days, the jazz scene, the schools, the whole working class community, and the jobs of my parents are all gone. The black communities have been vaporized as has much of the variety of jobs, the labor unions especially in construction and agriculture are, not completely gone, but are busted.

      I would not blame the increased population too much. That has caused some problems, no doubt. I do think we have too many Californians, but the refusal to plan and build, or rebuild, the infrastructure from housing, roads, water both sewer and the canals, electrical grid, and transportation such as buses, ferries, trains, and even something like an expanded BART, or a standard subway system like New York’s through out the state’s heavily populated areas like Los Angeles are the real causes.

      Reports and news stories have been on this for over forty years and nothing changes. More corruption, more gridlock in everything, an ever growing number of the poor and the precariat, and now the homeless though. Always, always more growth in those things.

    4. WheresOurTeddy

      FarNorCal voter here. Damn Near Oregon. Socialist.

      Very encouraged to see Bernie do so well in the most expensive city in America that has been ruined by Silicon Valley. Shows Yang’s support is a mile deep and an inch wide.

      Kamala Harris will be lucky to finish in the top 3 in California. She is NOT popular here among anyone but the “idPol and nothing else” crowd.

      1. Tomonthebeach

        My reaction Yang’s whining about Debate creds was “Oh, shuddup.” 80% of the DNC primary contenders are really interviewing for cabinet posts.

    5. laughingsong

      You mean the big United Airlines building across 101 from San Bruno? All those towns (Daly City, South SF “The Industrial City”, San Bruno, even Millbrae) were all working class, at least back in the day. Heck, back then even Burlingame (my town), San Mateo, etc. were like that, except for the hills (ah yes, Hillsborough – wouldn’t even let Willie Mays live there). Didn’t get tony until around Atherton.

      I very much do aim my angst at SV – all those who paved over SANTA CLARA Valley thanks very much. Was a great place once upon a time.

      I too will self-medicate as I wallow in nostalgia.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Your town was Burliingame?

        I would say there were parts that were middle to upper middle class, back in the 70s, especially areas west of El Camino, near Millbrae.

        There were doctors, teachers, accountants, etc, I recall.

        1. JBird4049

          Marin County was mainly working, with a large dash of middle class, and San Francisco with its then functioning into the 60s as a working port, Oakland was working class, and San Jose with its manufacturing and had its unionized canneries and other supporting businesses for Santa Clara’s agriculture, South San Francisco with its iron works and shipyards.

          Over the decades, the entire Bay Area was mostly reduced to a gigantic bedroom and office space for Silicon Valley. There is still the tourism industry, which is so blasted annoying. Swarms of people with cameras everywhere. Traipsing among the homeless and the poo. It is slightly better outside of San Francisco, but the sameness, the blandness is spreading.

          I think that the reason I am so focused on this is because much of the rest of the country has gone through similar experiences. Yes, the housing crisis is much worse, but the disparity between income and expenses along with the employment monoculture is much the same. It is depressing to think about.

          1. Dan

            JBird, Tam or Redwood?

            Maybe San Domenico or Branson with your SJW lite cred.
            Take that as a compliment.

  10. laughingsong

    ““After nearly 10 hours of nationally televised and often contentious candidate forums, the Democratic hopefuls and their voters are plainly torn over how best to take on Mr. Trump?”

    I of course am not certain, but IMHO the only reason that Democrats are “plainly torn” is because the DNC/DCCC/Clintonian?MSM axis keeps fighting what would otherwise be the obvious path (refer to the helpful donor map above).

    Can I get an “argh?”

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      So much harder for a progressive to get elected than a conservative. Conservatives have to run against their opponent. Progressives have to run against their party, the media, the rich who are attempting to gaslight all the non-rich in the party into voting against their interests, and if they get that far, the general election.

      Maybe that’s why the last progressive worth the name was nominated in 1944. For the 4th time. They have spent 70 years dragging the Overton Window to the right and they can never let that 1932-1945 happen again.

    1. Earl Erland

      The landing is of course, something else. But what I really love about this is the nonchalant manner in which the cop knocks on the airplane. Do you think he immediately asked for the pilot’s license and registration?

    2. Lunker Walleye

      This story reminded me of my brother who was a free-lance pilot as a young man in the 1960’s. He flew Oren Lee Staley, the President of the National Farmers Organization, and had to land on a highway in Kansas with 2 other passengers on board due to sabotage. I had always been told it was a soft landing but today I discovered an old newspaper online which reported that one man had a broken jaw and the other a broken leg. My brother was nearly unscathed. I’ll never forget my Dad taking that collect phone call in the middle of the night after the accident.

  11. DJG

    MoscowMitch and LeningradLindsay. What could possibly be the source of these?


    Lambert Strether, you have pointed out more than once that liberals’ main concern is destroying the Left. So these usages aren’t accidental. They are liberals’ way of practicing for the Big Red Baiting. And that will be Sanders.

    Où sont les rouges d’antan? Where is Claire McCaskill now, telling us about Bernie’s hammers and sickles? I’m sure she’s sharpening herself with Mitch McConnell.

    “In a revealing report from the New York Times Tuesday, Clinton supporters including Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) piled on in warning that Bernie Sanders could be an electoral liability for the party in 2016 if he managed to secure the nomination.

    “The Republicans won’t touch him because they can’t wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle,” McCaskill told the New York Times…

    My point is that accusations of being running dogs of Russkiy communists won’t hurt McConnell. But they sure will have an effect when the red baiting goes back into the Democratic Party, whence it came.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Liberals won’t quit with the red baiting because to them it’s 1981, still Morning In America, and they don’t know any newer songs. Besides, the tactic worked out so well for McCaskill…

    2. Andy Raushner

      Considering Mitchie’s ties to the Eurasian oligarchs, you may want to rethink this post.

    3. Darius

      Politics is a matter of reaction vs. liberty. If you’re attacking from the right you’re reactionary and against liberty. A difficult feat when your target is Lindsey Graham. So these liberals are ultra-reactionaries and enemies of liberty.

    4. ewmayer

      I wonder if the reason Team DNC haven’t deployed a similar red-baiting alliterative nickname for Sanders is because there just aren’t any major cities in Russia whose name begins with B. (For some reason “Bialystock Bernie” popped into my head, and then I realized I was thinking of The Producers. Springtime for PutinBros!)

      1. Guessed

        I’ve heard Tulsina Gabardova getting floated for Gabbard since she forgot her place and dared to go after Harris, but i’ve heard no such noise re: Sanders. Ofc, the preferred narrative there still seems to be that he’s a useful idiot rather than a Russian asset, so the 2° of separation attack on supporters as Bernie Bros brocialists seems like enough to keep that crowd content for the moment.

  12. flora

    re: Warren’s plan just got savaged on the WaPo Op-Ed pages, so that’s a good sign.

    I’m shocked, shocked to learn Wapo (owned by the man who also owns Amazon warehouses) has come out against “labor rights, human rights, environmental protection, combating climate change, heading off international tax avoidance…” /s

  13. prodigalson

    As for election 2020 and the Dems, i think the wonks and die hard politics nuts don’t realize it’s just too early for most people to care, and most of these early announcers will flame out from a combo of own goals and stupidity over the next 6 months.

    As for Mr. Biden, the establishment choice of Jeb! had what everyone would have viewed as a “lock” from the establishment at this point in the R process last time. That turned into a wooden nickel.

    459 days IS a long time in politics. We’ll see if Joe makes it to the last 180 days before getting taken out, ditto for everyone else in the field at this point.

  14. Jason Boxman

    If you never got around to reading Flash Boys, it’s a riveting read about the origins of high-frequency trading and its execution. That’ll put the Goldman story perhaps in deeper context. I picked it up at a used bookstore, somewhere, now I don’t even remember where… possibly UWS in NYC.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Lambert is absolutely right to crack wise about how efficient Capitalism is at allocating its namesake when $100 million is wasted this way. But $100 million is nothing compared to the human time and effort that Capitalism wastes each and every day.

  15. pretzelattack

    if harris ever winds up criticising clinton to save her campaign, will she be “kremlin kamala”?

  16. Summer

    Re: “I keep saying: If your algo doesn’t work, change the inputs, in this case by. mandating on enormous infrastructure investment that would also destroy the street life of the city. On the bright side, we could sell advertising on the gates. Captive audience!”

    This reminds me of the article on all the money being spent policing the Yellow Vests instead of using it to meet public demands.
    Imagine all the billions spent on sparkly gates for the convenience of the dumb car bezzle that could have gone to affordable housing.

    1. Summer

      A budget is about priorities more than money. And then we have this bizarre ideology throughout society that the only things that have value are the the things nobody else can have.

    2. Craig H.

      One solution, suggested by an automotive industry official, is gates at each corner, which would periodically open to allow pedestrians to cross.”

      What a moron. Gates are easily surmounted. What they need to do is line the sidewalks with moats. And fill the moats with piranha. The walk signal triggers a drawbridge. Where is the industry recruiting from these days?

      (ha ha I am just kidding)

  17. Jeff W

    “Detailed Maps of the Donors Powering the 2020 Democratic Campaigns”
    The methodology behind those maps says this:

    These sources combined account for 94 percent of dollars donated to candidates by individuals. Information about donors giving $200 or less directly to a campaign is not available.

    So the geographic information in the maps (how many individual donors are giving to each candidate where) is skewed against the candidates with higher proportions of individual donors giving $200 or less. If that information were available, even though the overall donor numbers (e.g. 746k for Sanders) probably wouldn’t change, the heat map probably would change quite a bit, even more in Sanders’s favor, because he probably has one of the higher proportions, if not the highest proportion, of those individual donors not included (those giving $200 or less).

  18. petal

    Another Steyer flyer in the mailbox today. That’s been one per week for at least the last month-for the folks hoping he’s burning through cash. This one had him next to an AA lady on the front. The focus was on her while he was standing there with his arms folded and a smirk on his face. This guy is something else.
    And great maps, thanks! Grafton County, NH sticking out like a sore thumb on the Bernie map. Looks like Warren is more popular around here according to the second map. I guess it fits with what we know about the population around here-advanced university degrees and high paying jobs. Still not seeing an uptick in bumper stickers, and just the one Warren sign seen (next to the Harris sign at the Love Me I’m a Liberal house). I did see an old(2016) “Hillary for Me” bumper sticker today, though. Fascinating stuff, really. Cheers.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Does Steyer lit have union bugs on them?

      He strikes me as too stupid or insufficiently informed to take care of simple items like this.

      1. petal

        I don’t know-I’ll look closer next time. I’m sure I’ll get another chance next week! ha! Just another dim fella with too much money on an ego trip.

  19. Carey

    “Sanders (D)(1): Holy moley:

    I’m not only going to be Commander in Chief. I am going to be Organizer in Chief. ”

    Sanders hitting hard with this. Bravo!

  20. SlayTheSmaugs

    Re quote on jaywalking. I grew up a Manhattan kid, and I realize jaywalking is trivial, but the quote is just wrong on several levels.

    “In New York, the unwritten rule is plain: Cross the street whenever and wherever — just don’t get hit.”

    No, not really. In New York, *the* unwritten rule is “do what you want, just don’t be in the way”. Under that rule, jaywalking is ok, all the time, so long as it’s done in a way that doesn’t interfere with traffic. Thus, if you force a car to change speed or lanes, you’re doing it wrong. Similarly, if you are forced to change speeds or stop in order to allow the car to continue, you’re doing it badly.

    Then this:

    “It’s a practice that separates New Yorkers from tourists, who innocently wait at the corner for the walk symbol.”

    No, no it doesn’t. Tourists understand very quickly, no one wants to wait when they don’t have to. There are four kinds of pedestrians in NY: a) people who jaywalk well. b) people who jaywalk badly c) people who realize everyone else jaywalks and they join one group or the other very quickly and d) office workers in midtown who act like an organism to take and hold territory, deliberately being in the way to not precisely jaywalk, but rather to force cars to stop a bit earlier than they’d otherwise have to, or to block them from turning, so that the organism can cross the street en masse.

    “But if pedestrians know they’ll never be run over, jaywalking could explode, grinding traffic to a halt. One solution, suggested by an automotive industry official, is gates at each corner, which would periodically open to allow pedestrians to cross.””

    Is stupid. In NY, jaywalking has already long since exploded. Maybe they can change the inputs in other cities, but self driving automakers beware: When Guiliani tried to take quality of life enforcement to jaywalking, the cops refused. No one’s going to get NYC to pen people on corners for self driving cars.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > No one’s going to get NYC to pen people on corners for self driving cars.

      That’s the bottom line. But thanks for the anthropological excursion!

  21. Greg

    EW writes: “I was struck by the intense green in early April, low tide seaweeds.” From Maine.

    That’s the thing I love about the way these small round islands (skerries maybe?) merge with the fresh water layer on the top at doubtful sound.
    Here’s an amateur photo I took while fishing a couple years back https://i.imgur.com/Z2Rj0kp.jpg where you can see the same bright green just above the waterline.

  22. Summer

    RE: CFR questions / Biden

    “I would also ensure that all U.S. assistance to Ukraine is strictly conditioned on anti-corruption reforms, including the appointment of genuinely independent anti-corruption prosecutors and courts.”

    ‘Cause the USA wouldn’t stand for corruption???
    The world has to be counting the days….

    1. nippersdad

      Chakrabarti is a really entrepreneurial type, wealthy and is prolly starting to get bored. Not that pressure hasn’t been brought to bear by the powers that be, but he is wasted just managing the office now that Ocasio-Cortez is so well launched in her new career.

      His new effort sounds like it could be both interesting and challenging. Right up his street.

    2. richard

      I just got a (fundraising) email from omar that mentioned being with pelosi in Africa in the first sentence. Then proceeded to a bunch of trump hate (which granted, she’s got a more right than anyone to do) . I replied that if the pelosi name drop was a signal, I hated it, and why. But who knows? Probably innocent.
      Watch everyone closely, just like you always do, is all I got to offer.

  23. nippersdad

    Is it just me or are these people really cheap dates?


    What must the conversations be like?:

    “I’m sorry you got your legs blown off in a series of wars I should have ended. Have a cookie!”

    “Yay! I love you. Can we get a selfie?”

    I mean, really? And I am also totally confident that this has nothing to do with a Democratic establishment PR campaign the day after his policies were dissed multiple times at the debates. The guy has a mansion right in town, there, but this is the first heartwarming cookie monster story of the sort we’ve seen? Isn’t that just a little convenient or am I getting too cynical?

    1. ewmayer

      OMG, between your ‘cookie’ line and the Links-page “Robinson Buckler saved my marriage” insta-meme I’m gonna need to clean the residue of multiple spit-takes off my laptop keyboard.

  24. dk

    Re: hotel’s Green Choice programs…
    My last stay in a hotel (NYC), I was initially heartened to see a separate “Recyclables” bin in the room, and separated my waste accordingly. Later saw a housekeeper dumping them into the same bag on their cart as the regular trash and asked about it… “They all go into the same bin downstairs.”

  25. The Rev Kev

    Would it be too outrageous to suggest that CNN and MSNBC stop wasting people’s time with these useless debates for Presidential candidates and do something more interesting. I mean who made them the gatekeepers on who Americans get to choose next November anyway? So how about this. They still have the debates but the hosts are a combined CNN/MSNBC/Fox panel of moderators. And instead of asking the candidates, have one night where the people up for debate are the Democratic National Committee and the second night the Republican National Committee. Would that be any more useless than the debates that we have just seen?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Yes, suggesting pageants are stupid will always upset people who haven’t thought about why we bother to hold the pageants in the first place. Once upon a time, there was a point. For the sports team fan politicos, admitting they are in it for the spectacle is problematic because its politics not sports. Its not a game.

      “Oh man, look at Biden, he said 3030 not 2020. Putin will eat him alive”

      In reality, assuming Putin didn’t already recognize Biden as an idiot (lets assume Biden isn’t an idiot for this example), he most likely would look to the translator who would help Biden’s translator who then would tell Biden and Putin and a stupid joke would be said about getting ahead of ourselves.

      Being President pretty much solves most of the scoring points about debates.

    1. richard

      I do too. I’m not sure i’m right either, because some of my misgivings are more along the lines of feelings, and perhaps unfair. I don’t trust her like I do sanders; i know that for damn sure.

    2. Carolinian


      The true third rail of US politics is empire. Any candidate that is publicly against the empire is the enemy of not only the state, it’s quislings in the media, the corporations who profit from it and the party machines of both the GOP and the DNC.

      That is Gabbard’s crime. And it’s the only crime that matters.[…]

      And the response to her performance at the second debate was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. It’s also easily countered. Gabbard will face an uphill battle from here and we’ll find out in the coming weeks just how deep into Trump Derangement Syndrome the average Democrat voter is.

      I also think she’s the real deal. But of course the problem is that our political process isn’t.

  26. Carolinian

    Just a very late shout out to Taibbi’s piece from this morning’s Links. In taking on the Resistance and the Mueller cult he has found his metier. Great great stuff.

  27. Summer

    Re:Acts of Kindness, and the Underlying Rot – When `Good Stories’ Happen for Bad Reasons”

    This jumped out at me:
    “A 2011 report from the Brookings Institution surveyed the country’s 100 biggest metropolitan areas and found that Birmingham ranked 94th in terms of access to transit and employment. That means more people must rely on personal vehicles, which can be expensive to buy, maintain and refuel.”

    Gee…I wonder win Birmingham stopped investing in public transportation…

  28. Summer

    Holy —!!

    …the San Francisco Bay Area, has been under fire for its piloted project to prevent fare evaders. The idea to keep people from jumping over the turnstiles has physically manifested as guillotine-like pop-up modifications installed on the fare gates that are being tested at stations in low-income neighborhoods. It is the newest iteration of hostile architecture that afflicts society’s most vulnerable populations…”

  29. richard

    re You Tube and their latest f*&^ery with K. Kulinski
    not surprised in the least
    it is both the foundation of a great chunk of alternative media, and also completely unreliable to put it generously
    nationalize it brothers and sisters
    thanks Lambert and Yves and Jerri Lynn for covering twitter so well, by the way
    I am at least one person who doesn’t twitter and would lose a big part of things without your fill ins

  30. Steve H.

    > “Tinkle, booger, flapjacks, schmuck. What makes a word funny?” [National Geographic]. Handy table:

    Yucky for yucks!

  31. Samuel Conner

    re: ” PBMs are being run by the Harkonnens, it seems. ”

    I’m waiting for a public-spirited consortium of retired pharma engineers to build a facility for synthesis/purification of high purity syrosingopine. Metformin is already in the public domain and is inexpensive.

    The combination shuts down both glucose metabolism pathways in most cancers.


    (and many others)

    One expects that the researchers intend to make bank on their discoveries (the combination is already patented for cancer therapy, but is not in clinical use due to a lack of high purity syrosingopine) and the poor will continue to die of inability to purchase treatment even if this combination gets to clinical practice (under present health system arrangements, anyway).

    And perhaps the legacy cancer therapy industry will try to suppress the new approach.

    But if there were an independent low-cost supply of syrosingopine, perhaps cancer patients could “develop” hypertension and diabetes, and get treatment for that. The destruction of their tumors would be an “unintended” side effect.

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