2:00PM Water Cooler 8/30/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Politics

“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

Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. Today, I figured I’d include all the bottom feeders, and used a “stair step” presentation, which, although a little jarring, conveys the idea that polls are only slices in time; it’s the voters who move in curves, whereas the polls really are jagged proxies for whatever is happening out there in the dark matter of the electorate:

And here are the numbers as of 8/29/2019, 12:30 PM EDT:

Sanders took a big hit in the YouGov poll, the latest. However, Biden’s trendline is clear. I think DK has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.”

UPDATE 2019-08-30: Now the polls aggregated (all available) are shown at the bottom of the poll; unlike RCP, there is no “secret sauce” for poll selection. We also give more detail about each poll than RCP, and allow candidates to be selected or deselected. That’s three reasons what dk is doing beats RCP, and if we can make the individual polls selectable/highlightable, that will be four reasons. With more to come, grid willing.

* * *

2020

Biden (D)(1): “Biden recounts war story rife with inaccuracies in latest gaffe: report” [New York Post]. “”This is the God’s truth,’ Biden insisted. “My word as a Biden.‘. But virtually every detail was wrong, the [Washington Post] reported, adding that Biden apparently conflated several actual events to come up with his story.” • Dude.

Biden (D)(2): “If This Is the Democrats Best Hope, They Better Start Praying” [Dana Milbank, Reader Supported News]. “I am so certain that Biden’s gaffes will propel him to victory that I have written him a draft acceptance speech, based on actual Bidenisms, for the Democratic convention in Milwaukee: Hello, Memphis! Ladies, gentlemen and other genders — there are at least three! — I say: This is a big f—ing deal! I see poor kids in the arena and I see white kids. I see Grandpa Finnegan, God rest his soul! I would not be here in Manchester accepting your nomination without the support of articulate, clean black people. And you disabled veterans — stand up! I have known you intimately. And so I say: I would rather be making love to my wife! You are a dull audience.” • 10%-ers going all-in for Warren?

Gabbard (D)(1):

I have yet to see the DNC’s rules for candidate selection in the debates published anywhere; the whole process reminds me of how a Third World military junta manipulates an opaque and arbitrary process to stay in power.

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders” (interview) [Council on Foreign Relations]. Sanders: “My administration would not be in the business of regime change.” • BOOM. As they say.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders, Killer Mike talk income inequality, health care” [The Hill]. “Killer Mike, who endorsed Sanders’s 2016 presidential bid, told the Vermont senator that his economic policy was ‘the only policy that matches up with the Poor People’s Campaign,’ the sweeping effort led by Martin Luther King Jr. to combat income inequality. The two went on to discuss health care and income inequality, and how the issues relate to the black community. ‘Black people are more disproportionately affected by diabetes than any other group,’ Killer Mike said. ‘So when you say diabetes and are talking about free health care, I want people who look like me on the other side of the camera to recognize this is a black issue.'” • If you have a baseline, and some people are further beneath the baseline then others, then bringing everybody up to the baseline benefits the most disadvantaged the most! Why is that so hard to see?

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “Bernie Sanders’s supporters find anger not as compelling this time around” [WaPo]. • Sigh. Another hit piece, based on five quotes (and I would very much like to know how those five were selected and what questions were asked of them). Sanders certainly didn’t seem all that angry having fun with Cardi B. Or Killer Mike.

UPDATE Trump (D)(1): “A rattled Trump scrambles for victories ahead of election” [CNN]. “President Donald Trump has become increasingly rattled over the potential of an economic downturn and is spinning to find victories to sell to voters. He and his economic team, who are often at odds with one another, have been searching for ways to prevent market anxieties from spilling over into next year’s presidential election, but have yet to agree on a solution. They have wavered between floating tax cuts to insisting they aren’t considering tax cuts. They have feuded privately over which direction to take. They have contradicted each other publicly.” • In other words, business as usual. I don’t want to say there’s won’t be a real economy-driven recession next year, just that outfits like CNN seem a little anxious to talk themselves and Mr. Market into one; who created “the potential,” after all? It’s also odd, or not, that CNN omits the factor of fiscal stimulus — which is good, actually, given that the central banks shot off all their ammo in the last debacle — and that the budget deal that (idiot) Trump cut with (genius) Pelosi allows such stimulus next year.

Warren (D)(1): “Before Politics, Elizabeth Warren Gained a Following With a Personal Finance Book” [Bloomberg]. “For thousands of readers, Warren’s book on personal finance [All Your Worth] was their introduction to the Democratic presidential candidate, then best known as a Harvard professor who studied bankruptcy…. The advice lines up neatly with her campaign: “All Your Worth” tells readers to pay off debt; the Warren campaign wants to cancel $640 billion of student loans. The book advises keeping the cost of necessities such as child care below half of your income; the campaign wants to ensure that no family spends more than 7% of its income on child care. “All Your Worth” advises black and Hispanic homebuyers to watch out for racial bias; the campaign wants to create a down-payment assistance program for areas that faced racial discrimination in mortgages. The book led some readers to support the Warren campaign.”

* * *

UPDATE “A Smaller Debate Lineup Ushers In the Next Stage of the 2020 Democratic Primary” [The New Yorker]. “Ten candidates means that ABC will be able to keep the debate to a single night. And it means that the candidates with the highest poll numbers, biggest campaigns, and most money in the bank will be onstage together during prime-time television for the first time. That’s a useful thing, up to a point. Voters have yet to see Warren and Biden side by side, for instance. The very real differences between the leftward turns advocated by Warren and Sanders and the more traditional approach pushed by Biden have, at times, been obscured by the sheer number of candidates running and the glut of plans and policy proposals on offer—Medicare for All, Medicare for America, Medicare for All Who Want It, Medicare X. In practice, though, ten candidates onstage still means ten candidates onstage. The September debate is likely to feature the same ping-pong arguments and jostling for air time that the first two rounds did. It’ll just be one night of it instead of two.”

“NH Pollster: ‘Our Polling Schedule is Determined by CNN'” [Medium]. “In an exclusive comment to CitizenSource, the University of New Hampshire Survey Center — one of the only DNC-approved pollsters in New Hampshire (due to the fact that they are ‘partners’ with CNN) — explained why they wouldn’t be conducting a poll this month in the battleground state before the crucial September debate. Director Andrew E. Smith responded: ‘The UNH Survey Center is funded by grants and contracts. We have contracted with CNN during this primary cycle as we have since 2000. Our polling schedule is determined by CNN and their polling budget.'” • Oh.

“‘Even Worse Than the DCCC Blacklist’: Schumer Accused of Effort to Hamstring Progressives Trying to Unseat GOP Senators” [Common Dreams]. “[T]he Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee—controlled by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer—is reportedly taking the policy of its House counterpart ‘one step further’ by undermining progressive candidates attempting to flip Republican-held seats. The Intercept reported Thursday that Andrew Romanoff, a Medicare for All and Green New Deal supporter running for Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-Colo.) seat, has had ‘multiple consultants’ turn down offers to work on his campaign due to ‘pressure from the DSCC.’… On Twitter, Romanoff suggested his support for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal is unacceptable to the Democratic establishment, which has thrown its support behind the anti-Medicare for All and pro-fracking Hickenlooper. As Sludge reported just before The Intercept’s story was published, the DSCC “raked in cash from healthcare and fossil fuel lobbyists before endorsing Hickenlooper.'” • I’ve been saying forever that party politics is not a spectrum of left to right, but a terrain of liberals, conservatives, and (for want of a better term) “the left.” The pattern couldn’t be more clear here, as liberals and conservatives gang up against their common enemy.

“Candidates hope to replicate Ocasio-Cortez’s tactics across the country” [Yahoo News]. “Jessica Cisneros, a 26-year-old first-time candidate, is among the Democratic contenders attempting to connect to voters in similar ways [to AOC]. Cisneros, backed by the Justice Democrats, is challenging eight-term incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, with a platform that includes free college, Medicare for All and the Green New Deal…. In Maryland, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is being challenged by Mckayla Wilkes, an African-American mother of two. Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, has held his seat since 1981.” • Not if Schumer gets his way!

* * *

2019

The AOC I like to see:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“A Former White Supremacist Explains How to Combat White Supremacy” [Medium]. Interesting article, but this caught my eye: “Since abandoning the skinhead movement in the mid-1990s, Picciolini has dedicated his life to white supremacist outreach. But the Free Radicals Project is now in danger: Under Donald Trump, the Homeland Security Department has rescinded a major grant, issued during the Obama administration, to fund the group’s work.” • Absolutely typical of the liberal nomenklatura to fund anti-fascism through an NGO and a grant ffs.

UPDATE “The Antifascist Question” [The Baffler]. “The function of fascism, when capitalism is in crisis, is the destruction of workers’ movements that might apply the death blow; behind their cartoonish performance of hypermasculinity, fascists’ primary concern is the violent defense of capitalism and the racial order that maintains it. The real question, then, should not be how to make antifascism more palatable to mealy-mouthed liberals or reactionary leftists whose squeamishness is premised mostly on unserious—or even, to invoke a favorite accusation of such critics, bourgeois —arguments about aesthetics, but how to make antifascism a core principle of a mass, working-class movement. Without a mass working-class movement, antifascist organizing is doomed to failure; but without antifascist organizing, so too is a mass working-class movement. Just as capitalism will not be defeated at the ballot box, fascism will not be defeated in the streets; nevertheless, electoral campaigns and community defense both offer opportunities to build toward something more radical and liberatory.” • This is very good. Watch out for the Proud Boys.

“The DNC Doesn’t Want a Climate Debate for a Reason” [Jacobin]. “While tech money is important, the biggest donors to the DNC in the 2020 cycle are overwhelmingly financial companies, whether hedge funds, private equity, or more traditional investment management. Obviously, most of these firms want to be able to continue to invest in fossil fuels as well as in companies looting the Amazon. Such companies are run by — and depend on the continued existence of — the very rich, our planet’s biggest liability. (Not only do they create immense pollution through private jets and multiple homes, the rich also support such lifestyles through immensely planet-ravaging investments.) The finance class does not want to hear plain talk about solutions to climate change; in many cases, they are getting rich from destroying the planet and do not wish to stop doing this. That’s probably why DNC head Tom Perez called the idea of a climate debate ‘dangerous.’ The DNC also seems to be trying to avoid two likely outcomes of a climate debate: Joe Biden looking bad and Bernie Sanders looking good.” • Ka-ching.

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, July 2019: “Two dominant themes of the economic assessment have been confirmed: consumer spending is very strong and inflation is very flat. Consumer spending jumped an outsized 0.6 percent in July to hit the top end of Econoday’s consensus range” [Econoday]. “The consumer, benefiting from a strong jobs market, is spending aggressively even though wage growth continues to lag. Yet it’s the lack of wage growth that is contributing to the benign inflation outlook that itself is pointing to lower interest rates and the prospect of future acceleration for employment and wages. Yet in a note for savers, today’s report is not favorable showing ongoing deterioration in interest-bearing income and the hint of further deterioration ahead.”

Consumer Sentiment, August 2019 (Final): “Add consumer sentiment to the list of multi-year lows, falling well below low expectations” [Econoday]. “Rhis report contrasts sharply with the consumer confidence report which showed resilience in data released Tuesday, and given acceleration in consumer spending and strong demand for labor suggests that the likely state of the consumer’s mood probably lies somewhere between and remains, at the worst, solid to moderately strong.”

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, August 2019: “Shot higher” [Econoday]. “There’s more good news than bad news for this report which should firm expectations for a plus-50 score in next week’s ISM manufacturing report and a solid score for ISM non-manufacturing as well.”

Employment: “Job Satisfaction at Highest Level in 20 Years: Conference Board” [Industry Week]. “Conducted by The Conference Board, the survey shows that about 54% of U.S. workers are satisfied with their employment. This marks the second-biggest increase in the survey’s 32-year history. An improved labor market has played the main role in boosting job satisfaction, which has risen in each of the past eight years. ‘In today’s strong jobs market, people are quitting their current positions at the fastest pace in over two decades,’ said Gad Levanon, Conference Board’s Chief Economist for North America.” • If the quits rate is high, that’s another indicator that a recession is not imminent.

Employment: “Horrified Amazon Worker Awakes From Warehouse Accident To Find Jeff Bezos Welding Mechanical Limbs Onto Stumps Where Arms Used To Be” [The Onion]. • I’ve gotta say I trust The Onion more on job satisfaction than I trust the Conference board, especially since The Onion is now unionized.

The Bezzle: “Experts say we’re decades away from fully-autonomous cars. Here’s why.” [Business Insider]. “Level 5 is full automation. In this hypothetical situation, the car drives you, and there isn’t even a steering wheel. So what level are we currently at? Most experts would agree: somewhere between Levels 2 and 3. However, one of their biggest concerns is the public’s misconception* that we’re much further along. Now, I’m not saying that that’s not the future. It is the future. But, as many have begun to admit publicly, that future is further away than anybody has realistically considered, to date…. [T]he timeline to driverless technology changing how I live and move is probably in the order of several decades, if not further away.” • As I wrote back in 2016 — just let me break out my calculator, that would be 2019 – 2016 = 3 years ago, and multiplied by some hype factor we’d come to the number of robot car hype stories published since then — “Level 5 isn’t happening any time soon; Shladover’s Level 4 ‘low-speed shuttles’ sound like a solid little product, but not exactly what Kalanick has in mind, eh? What that implies is that self-driving car technology companies should be valued a lot more like GM, or Delco, rather than at the stratospheric prices of Silicon Valley unicorns.” #JustSaying. NOTE * However could that have happened?

Manufacturing: “Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire, Part 6” [Leeham News and Analysis]. Useful to contrast Boeing and Airbus: “A Classical mechanical system, as exemplified by the Boeing 737 system, employs flight laws where the pilot moves the control surfaces proportionally to his movements of Yoke and Pedals…. A feedback FBW system like the Airbus A320 (plus all Airbus aircraft after the A300 and A310) can go further in helping the Pilot…. In an A320 the Pilot in normal flying gets the same pitch load factor for the same stick deflection, irrespective of speed and altitude. In roll, he gets a pitch rate. The pedals are footrests, as there is no need to kick rudder in normal flight, all turns are 100% coordinated. Further, you don’t apply pitch up in a turn, you just deflect the stick sideways and the aircraft does a clean turn without losing altitude. It is then logical the FBW does the trimming for you. When you release the stick the aircraft remains in this attitude until the Pilot commands an attitude change. This means the system handles all Speed, Altitude, Configuration and Mach changes.”

The Bezzle: “Uber, Lyft, DoorDash Put $90 Million to Possible Ballot War” [Bloomberg]. “Ride-hailing and food-delivery companies that rely on contractors who aren’t guaranteed employment protections like overtime and unionization have been scrambling to address the threat posed by a state legislative proposal that would make it much harder to claim their workers aren’t employees.”

Mr. Market: “The Big Short’s Michael Burry Sees a Bubble in Passive Investing” [Bloomberg]. “Michael Burry shot to fame and fortune by betting against mortgage securities before the 2008 crisis, a trade immortalized in “The Big Short.” Now, Burry sees another contrarian opportunity emerging from what he calls the “bubble” in passive investment. As money pours into exchange-traded funds and other index-tracking products that skew toward big companies, Burry says smaller value stocks are being unduly neglected around the world. In the past three weeks, his Scion Asset Management has disclosed major stakes in at least four small-cap companies in the U.S. and South Korea, taking an activist approach at three of them.” • I love this clip:

(Christian Bale plays Burry as slightly autistic, albeit highly functional.) Taking the mug is a great touch.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 27 Fear (previous close: 26, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 18 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 30 at 11:59am. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

“Six Things to Know About Hurricane Dorian” [Weather Underground]. “[T]he highest high tides of the year, known as ‘king tides,’ are expected this weekend in parts of Florida. King tides occur several times a year, and when combined with a major weather system, the floodwater inundation can be much more significant.” • Like Hurricane Sandy.

“An introduction to the state of solar power in the U.S.” [Yale Climate Connection]. Good wrapup, but here is the conclusion: “Solar is a super-abundant resource, but its stepped-up use calls for fundamental changes in the way we generate, store, and use electricity. The dimensions and dynamics of an economy substantially fueled by renewable energy are just beginning to take shape.” • It doesn’t seem like we’re moving as fast as we ought to be on this, partly because of the opposition of utilities.

Water

“SC regulators tell Google ‘yes’ on groundwater plan but Mount Pleasant gets a ‘no'” [Post and Courier]. “Google gets to pull the groundwater it wants. Mount Pleasant Waterworks doesn’t…. Google wants to be able to pull an additional 1.5 million gallons per day from the aquifer, enough to fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools. The water would be at least a back-up to cool servers installed for its $600 million service center expansion, which is already under construction…. Groundwater is a concern because residents and industry in South Carolina already are drawing it from wells faster than it can replenish below the surface. The levels are dropping in many of the monitoring wells and have never really recovered from the drought 20 years ago, according to state monitors. The drop in groundwater, along with more pressure on surface water supplies, has the makings of a water crisis.” • When the locals in flyover come for the data centers bearing torches, this will be one reason.

The 420

“Weed From Well-Known Lifestyle Brands Is Next Stage of Legal Cannabis” [Bloomberg]. “In July, to commemorate their first anniversary, a Colorado couple in their 30s wanted a treat that would help them extend the high of their special day: custom gold-foil-tipped marijuana cigars. They went to Made in Xiaolin for a $1,200 set of “cannagars,” made with premium flower and bearing the wedding date stamped on the rolling paper. “We compare it to popping bottles,” says Christopher Louie, the founder of the company 30 miles southwest of Denver. He has aims on Aspen’s party scene next. Four-figure blunts are but one part of a burgeoning market for personalized, high-end cannabis products, especially on the West Coast, where growers often have a glut and are trying to find new ways to market their harvest. Oregon and California, two states with a long history of cultivation, have experienced oversupply since marijuana was legalized.” • Meanwhile, the black and working class people who made the market rot in jail, thanks to the War on Drugs. I should really file this under Guillotine Watch.

Our Famously Free Press

“15 former spooks who work at CNN and MSNBC now” [BizPac Review]. “CNN added to its deep roster of former FBI and CIA officials-turned-analysts Friday with the hiring of Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director fired for lack of candor during an investigation last year…. Jack Shafer, a media critic who writes for Politico, noted the potential pitfalls of networks like CNN and MSNBC having a stable of ex-spies and G-men as paid, on-air contributors. ‘But the downside of outsourcing national security coverage to the TV spies is obvious,’ Shafer wrote in a Feb. 5, 2018 article at Politico. ‘They aren’t in the business of breaking news or uncovering secrets. Their first loyalty — and this is no slam — is to the agency from which they hail.'” • A conservative source but oddly, or not, this doesn’t appear in outlets like WaPo or the New York Times.

“Local journalists uncovered sex cult Nxivm years before Hollywood paid attention” [Poynter Institute]. “It took less than five hours for a jury this June to convict Keith Raniere of everything he’d been charged with – sex trafficking, forced labor, posession of child pornography, sexual exploitation of a child, obstruction of justice and more…. The Albany (New York) Times Union’s coverage of Raniere and his alleged cult, Nxivm (pronounced nex-ee-um, like the medicine) began in 2003. It included Raniere’s attempt to build a headquarters, countless lawsuits against detractors and defectors, his questionable business, his history of preying on minors and the group he built around himself. A reporter working at Metroland, an alt-weekly in Albany, uncovered Raniere’s tactics for persuasion, how he silenced critics and his obsession with a former girlfriend. But nothing stopped Raniere or the group until that 2017 New York Times story.” • Seems like the same dynamic with the Miami Herald and Epstein? Or Gawker and Epstein.

“Why Is Joe Rogan So Popular?” [The Atlantic]. “In the more progressive corners of culture, it’s become a familiar rallying cry to wonder out loud, ‘What are men even for now?; That’s an excellent question, but you can maybe understand why it rings a bit more ambivalently in the ears of men trying to find their footing in this new world. A brighter and more virtuous future? Wonderful! If you need anything from us, we’ll just be over here peering into the void. Meanwhile, the irony is that so many of the men who demonstrate a level of intelligence and empathy worth aspiring to—they’ve pretty much all been on Joe Rogan’s podcast. There’s a tendency right now to make every single thing about Donald Trump, but if you don’t see the dotted line connecting the president to a wave of men who feel thwarted and besieged and sentenced to an endless apology tour, then you’re not paying attention. Lots of these panicked men, as it happens, despise Trump every bit as much as they love Joe Rogan. But that’s just a healthier response to the same core stimulus: a plunging sense of self-worth caused by a rapidly changing society.” • I’d like to see some income statistics here. Nothing on class in the article. I’m guessing not many 0.1%ers listen to Joe Rogan.

Class Warfare

“No Kentucky coal company has complied with a law designed to protect miner wages” [Herald-Leader]. “Not a single coal company formed in Kentucky within the past five years has posted a bond required by state law to protect miners’ wages if the company suddenly shuts down, according to records obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader. In addition, officials in Gov. Mat Bevin’s administration urged lawmakers last year to pass a bill that would have eliminated the requirement.” • So, the Democrats are running a candidate against McConnell who says that McConnnell doesn’t support Trump enough.

“NLRB Says Misclassifying Workers Doesn’t Violate Labor Law” [Law360]. “A split National Labor Relations Board ruled Thursday that misclassifying employees as independent contractors doesn’t break federal labor law because it doesn’t interfere with worker organizing rights — even though independent contractors can’t unionize. The NLRB affirmed an agency judge’s ruling that a company misclassified its workers as independent contractors but did not agree that the move violated the NLRA. The board’s three-member Republican majority affirmed an agency judge’s ruling that medical logistics company Velox Express misclassified its workers as independent contractors but did not agree with the judge that the company’s move violated the NLRA. The board’s decision means employers will not face NLRB litigation for misclassifying workers absent some other labor law violation. …. But Velox did violate the NLRA by firing driver Jeannie Edge after she complained about being misclassified, the majority said, affirming another part of Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan’s decision.” • Phew.

“States are trying to change a system that keeps poor people in jail. The bail industry is blocking them.” [CNN]. “As structured, the bail bonds industry survives largely off those who don’t have the financial resources to post bail. Overwhelmingly, the service of a bail bondsman is their only way out of jail. Bail bond companies make money by charging a fee — typically 10% of a defendant’s bail amount. So if a defendant has bond set at $50,000, the bail bond company charges $5,000 to get them out. No matter what, the bonds company will collect that charge — guilty or not guilty. Even if the charges are dropped. That is the price and process of release. Those who can’t afford the 10% the bond company charges can set up a payment plan, usually in small installments like $100 a week until the big bill is paid off. Contracts like those tether vulnerable families to debts that can linger on for years — landing them in court for missed payments, with garnished wages and accruing interest. Experts say defendants will sometimes plead guilty to lesser charges, even if they are innocent, in order to avoid the bail system and get out of jail sooner. More affluent defendants, who can afford to post bond with their own money, go free and get the money back provided they show up for their court dates.” • Of course.

News of the Wired

This is violence:

Many hilarious examples in the responses. First they try to kill the Oxford comma, now, this.

* * *

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 (Carla):


Carla writes: “From Wanakena, New York (northwestern Adirondacks).” As readers know, I like photographs of stumps!

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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.

97 comments

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for these links. Lining up the polls in each:

      First and Second Third
      Associated Press Associated Press
      ABC News ABC News
      CBS News CBS News
      CNN CNN
      Des Moines Register Des Moines Register
      Fox News Fox News
      Las Vegas Review Journal
      Monmouth University Monmouth University
      NBC News NBC News
      New York Times New York Times
      National Public Radio (NPR) National Public Radio (NPR)
      Quinnipiac University Quinnipiac University
      Reuters
      University of New Hampshire University of New Hampshire
      Wall Street Journal Wall Street Journal
      USA Today USA Today
      Washington Post Washington Post
      Winthrop University. Winthrop University

      I’d wonder why the changes, especially why Reuters/IPSOS was removed. And I’d also wonder what the selection criteria are. Comparing the polls DNC chose to the ones in the list dk helpfully compiled for the chart, where are Absence of Emerson (B+), IBD (A-), Morning Consult (B-), Pew (B-), Suffolk (B+), Survey USA (A), and YouGov (B)? They didn’t even get all the A-listers!

      Reply
  1. Stratos

    RE: Bail Bond industry

    When some people write about the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), they rarely mention the Bail Bond industry and their Insurance underwriters. They act as the payday lenders of the PIC.

    There seem to be endless tricks and traps in this country to consume the wealth of working people.

    Reply
    1. Fiery Hunt

      It’s not “tricks and traps”. It’s graft and extortion. As always, Warren’s framing is small and accommodating.

      She’s an Obama-like fake.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Putting it into context, Warren is, even this early in the primary, already to the right of where Mister Obama was in the 2008 primary. She’ll surely pivot to the people™ soon, though.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          At least as far as health care, that’s not true. Obama’s health care plan didn’t have a mandate, conventional wisdom at the time. Even Krugman dinged him for it. Neither candidate supported single payer, for which Warren has yet to produce a “plan,” but as far as getting to universal coverage, a mandate was deemed essential at the time.

          Reply
  2. Synoia

    Comments of the presentation of “Polls and used a “stair step” presentation”

    I agree a poll is a point in time, but the convention we always used for graphs was to project (or eyeball) a smooth line through the field of points. After 10 years of Science, at school in the UK, one became skilled at drawing those lines by hand.

    It is easier for me to spot trends with a smooth line, because while a poll is a point, the field is a continuum.

    The “jitter” in the samples also raises questions, either people change their minds frequently, which is doubtful, or the sampling system samples with jutter or noise.

    If the samples are always random, and not polling the same individuals repeatedly, that would introduce some randomness (noise) into the measurement.

    I like combining all the polls possible to get a better projection, that’s very clever. Theoretically this reduces error – and should reduce noise, if the polls sampled are proper measurements.

    How honest are the people behind the polls?

    Reply
    1. dk

      Thank you for your gracious remarks. It may turn out that the combining of polls wasn’t such a great idea, but it was a starting point for a dataset to start building the visualization around. Every manipulation distorts, sometimes the distortion is advantageous for some purpose (like a magnifying glass, but you can’t see everything), sometimes less so (like a dirty windshield).

      I’m working on some approaches to cutting through the jitter. One is trendlines averaging a day’s polls with those of a few days before. Another is visualization of the sample sizes, this seems to show that larger poll samples show much more consistency than small ones. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the small ones are dishonest, or that the big ones (by different pollsters) are rigged, it tends to confirm statistical theory on confidence levels of samples.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It is easier for me to spot trends with a smooth line, because while a poll is a point, the field is a continuum.

      I’m not wedded to the stairsteps, but I think the advantage they have is that they hammer home the concept that the poll is only a proxy for the real action out in the electorate. A proxy that may, or may not be, adequate.

      Reply
  3. tgs

    Tulsi cannot appear in the next debate, yet according to your numbers, she polling the same as or higher than five or six people that made thee debate. According to realclear politics she is polling fifth in NH.

    Reply
    1. Zagonostra

      Driving down to south florida on I95 I spotted two billboard
      for Tulsi2020, I wish she would consider running as 3d Party… The Dem are corrupt to the core.

      Reply
      1. Big Tap

        Agree. Tulsi can take Bernie with her after the Democrats screw him over and they both can run together for president.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      On the other hand the media are arguably the ones blackballing Tulsi far more than the DNC–not that “media” and “DNC” are mutually exclusive.

      If it’s 2 percent rather than 1 percent that’s still not very much.

      Reply
    1. Craig H.

      > Why Is Joe Rogan So Popular?

      The Atlantic article is completely wrong. Joe is not gifted; he is not in-touch; he isn’t really smart or interesting or funny.

      He gets interesting guests and they talk at length and they say stuff you will not easily find elsewhere. The television talk shows aren’t even in the same league. His show is better on average than Oprah’s or Geraldo’s greatest hits.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        In other words, he invites people other than the usual grifters and they talk about stuff that is interesting, relatable, and maybe even important instead of Russia!Russia!Russia!, the Glories of the Techlords, or who is bopping whom in Celebrityland. How weird is that? :-)

        Reply
      2. ambrit

        Re. “Joe is not….” That seems to apply to a whole lot of people in this corrupt old world of ours. No wonder he is popular, along with his being relatively fearless about who he has on the program and how much leeway he allows them for comment and explication. In other words, Joe Rogan seems to be an all around good guy.
        Unlike most ‘talking heads’ we see on television and video feeds, Joe’s agenda, if he has one, is to learn interesting stuff and have a little fun. A d—-d good job if you can get it.
        (In the interests of full disclosure and fair play, I watch his show on youtube irregularly.)

        Reply
      3. Carey

        “..Joe is not gifted; he is not in-touch; he isn’t really smart or interesting or funny..”

        OK. Rogan (“Joe”) is also not a dissembler, and that matters more to me than the purported negatives mentioned above.

        “Smart” doesn’t seem to be helping we-the-people, these days.

        Reply
      4. scarn

        Rogan is hilarious, “in-touch”, and interesting. He’s a gifted comedian and interviewer. His tears ain’t crocodile tears. It’s not just the guests or the terrain of the conversations.

        Reply
    2. RubyDog

      Joe’s got his flaws, but so what. For my money, he’s the best interviewer out there today. But it does take a lot of your time, many of his interviews go over 3 hours. But that’s his talent, to get someone to converse and be interesting for 3 hours plus. I like to download and listen to some of his past episodes when going on a long car trip.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        I also was on that call. To me, it sounded like the campaign people were speaking from scripts. Not that those scripts were poorly written, but the delivery lacked a bit of oomph.

        Then came Bernie. I’m sure he was speaking from his notes — written by hand, of course. However, his delivery seemed more natural.

        As for organizing a Plan to Win house party, when the organizers asked for the “press one to say you’re in” response, I pressed one on my phone. I’ve completed the application form and am waiting to hear from the campaign HQ. Stay tuned!

        Reply
        1. dcblogger

          I had a very different impression. mebbe it was confirmation bias. It reminded me of the weekly Jimmy Carter staff meeting in Concord NH 1976. I listened closely to the Iowa field director’s remarks, and she had the tone of a field director who was hitting her targets. It just had the sound of a winning campaign, but again that might be confirmation bias.

          Reply
  4. JohnnyGL

    https://twitter.com/clairlemon/status/1167205882872025093

    “If you could press a magic button which would reduce US mass shooting deaths by 100% for one year, or drug overdose deaths by 5% for one year which would you chose?”

    The numbers aren’t even close. I do worry that my district in true-blue MA places more importance on the mass shootings issue. A recent town hall with Senator Ed Markey and Rep Katherine Clark showed me how much local residents are fired up by anti-gun campaigning….especially, compared to, say, M4A.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      That is partly due to to the Deplorables, including those in California, much more likely to die from those deaths of despair via drug overdose while the Good People in the Coastal 10% are more likely to maybe, perhaps, sorta, possibly know someone to die from a gun. 69,000 opioid deaths versus hundreds of deaths from mass shootings. Or 69,000 deaths from drugs compared to 39,000 deaths (20% homicides, 80% Suicides/Accidents)

      I do not agree with banning guns, but that is a desire that is understandable, supportable, even commendable. I do not accept that without a concurrent fight against drug deaths as the reasons for both are concomitant, but acknowledging neoliberalism responsibility for these deaths are verboten.

      Reply
    2. dcblogger

      this is NOT and either/or situation. no reason we can’t get rid of the guns AND pass Medicare for All. They have healthcare and gun control in Australia, we can have both here.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        It is not really about an either/or, but contempt of the lesser 90% as well as crass selfish class based greed as well as tribal and political virtue signaling.

        Personally, I am not really in favor of gun control, but I can certainly see why many people do want to ban them, but the struggle over guns like abortion is now political theater and social virtue signaling; people say they want to save lives, but many really don’t mean it.

        People do not have abortions because they want to and mass murderers do not day-dream of being so as children just as those who die from opioids did not. Our whole society helped to drive them to their actions. Sure, people are responsible for their actions, but society is responsible for the pressures put on its members; it’s galling to see people demand that others comport to their view of right and wrong without giving them the ability to do so.

        More directly, I think pro-life and pro-gun control is often just a cover for class repression. If people were not desperately poor or struggling, we would not have as much need to worry about life and death now, would we? And so long as we argue over the expression of symptoms and not the causes of the disease we don’t have to change anything.

        Reply
        1. inode_buddha

          Bingo. I think if we had decent social safety nets and discouraged the constant portrayal of contention and militarization of everything, the USA would be a decent place. But no, the media has to keep everyone whipped up into a frenzy while the actual pincers of serfdom close in on everyone via divide and conquer….

          Reply
        2. dcblogger

          can you see into people’s souls? how can you tell who is acting out of conviction? mebbe people are sick and tired of living in fear and just want to live free of gun violence.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Pew:

            Though they tend to get less attention than gun-related murders, suicides have long accounted for the majority of U.S. gun deaths. In 2017, six-in-ten gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides (23,854), while 37% were murders (14,542), according to the CDC. The remainder were unintentional (486), involved law enforcement (553) or had undetermined circumstances (338).

            In other words, ~60% of gun deaths are “deaths of despair”-adjacent. I’d also speculate that unlike murders, and especially mass shooting, controlling or even eliminating guns would not affect that fraction.

            Also:

            While 2017 saw the highest total number of gun deaths in the U.S., this statistic does not take into account the nation’s growing population. On a per capita basis, there were 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 – the highest rate in more than two decades, but still well below the 16.3 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 1974, the highest rate in the CDC’s online database.

            After declining in late 1990s, U.S. gun suicide and gun murder rates have edged higher in recent years. The gun murder and gun suicide rates in the U.S. are both lower today than in the mid-1970s.

            (I know that averages conceal, and some neighborhoods have it a lot worse than others.)

            Granted, I don’t want to live in a world where teachers are trained to deal with sucking gunshot wounds (despite — because? — of all the “security” since 9/11). That said, I worry that we’re talking ourselves into this, and that the hysteria is directly proportional to liberal Democrat’s inability or unwillingness to do anything about it (as under the Obama administration, for example). For example, the El Paso and Dayton shootings, which seemed so important not so long ago, are already forgotten. An orgy of virtue-signaling, followed quickly by silence.

            Reply
  5. NotReallyHere

    The Big Short … great movie ….

    The nice thing is everyone in that room was proven to exactly right. The autistic guy was right that mortgage bonds would fail. And he was right to worry that the bank wouldn’t pay because it didn’t. You and I did.

    The Goldman people were right to think that they couldn’t lose from this deal. They were handed a fee-generating machine in which suckers would pay out EVERY MONTH on a product so complicated that only Goldman could set the official price at any time. And they used that power to suck every last cent of fees out of their customers. So the bankers got their multi million dollar bonuses.

    And when it came about that so many mortgages had in fact failed and it was impossible to hide the true value of the bonds (zero) the bank couldn’t possibly pay. But the federal reserve could and did. Bonuses saved.

    The bankers really were, in the end, the smartest ones in the room.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      “The bankers really were, in the end, the smartest ones in the room…”

      They were the only ones in the room that got the privilege of making up the rules as they went along with no fear of consequences.
      You’d look like a genius to if you could do that.

      Reply
      1. NotReallyHere

        I would. But going in (and looking from hindsight) – the uncertainty at that table was a) would the fed pick up the tab if the SHTF and b) who sets the end of day price of the security.

        The autistic guy was almost ruined because he overlooked the pricing detail. The bankers took the risk on a FED bailout but they know they had the power to price.

        I wasn’t saying the autistic guy was stupid, he is/was extremely smart.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Big Short … great movie

      Yves would say something along the lines that the movie diverges seriously from reality, being more or less “based on a true story” that wasn’t all that true from Michael Lewis. So beware!

      However, if I don’t think of it as anything like a documentary, but just as a movie, it’s terrific. The ensemble acting is great, the protagonists are not all righteous heroes, and as far as the conveying the overall rottenness and fraudulence of the system, it does a great jobs. It’s also very funny (as that scene shows).

      Reply
      1. elissa3

        A great complementary movie to The Big Short is 99 Homes. It tells the story from the ground up. Not nearly as slick or entertaining as The Big Short, and it is heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and sometimes hard to watch. But it rings of truth.

        Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “The Goldman people were right to think that they couldn’t lose from this deal.’

      Only if they knew they would be saved by the government, without getting nationalized, and knew also a savior would stand between them and the pitchforks.

      Luck or clairvoyance?

      Reply
      1. Martin Cohen

        And this is where I say “Damn Obama!”

        If he had gone after the bankers, we wouldn’t be in this steaming pile we are in right now.

        Reply
  6. Carey

    “‘Even Worse Than the DCCC Blacklist’: Schumer Accused of Effort to Hamstring Progressives Trying to Unseat GOP Senators”

    “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: “There’s no explanation or transparency around why certain polls are qualifying while other very credible, recognized polls are somehow not qualifying… Frankly the DNC has not provided any transparency to voters about how theyRep. Tulsi Gabbard: “There’s no explanation or transparency around why certain polls are qualifying while other very credible, recognized polls are somehow not qualifying… Frankly the DNC has not provided any transparency to voters about how they’re making these decisions.”

    Between these two actions, Our Dems are looking more like a criminal enterprise (h/t Lambert, I think) every day; and, they’re just getting started toward their goal, IMO, of losing in 2020.
    Democracy Dies in Darkness™!

    Reply
  7. Summer

    Mr. Market: “The Big Short’s Michael Burry Sees a Bubble in Passive Investing…”

    “This month Burry petitioned GameStop Corp., a video-game seller, and Tailored Brands Inc., a menswear retailer, to buy back stock…”
    Pump, pump, pump….

    Of course investors are more interested in passive funds, they can only get “front ran” so much before they take the path that minimizes it (in the sense of fewer buys to get front ran on).

    Reply
  8. Summer

    RE: Former spooks / CNN, MSNBC

    “A conservative source but oddly, or not, this doesn’t appear in outlets like WaPo or the New York Times…”

    “Oddly, or not…” cute…and “spooks”
    They probably should play horror movie music scores at the WaPo and NYTimes to fit their newsroom environment. They could probably pass for haunted houses.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      In a different universe, CNN, MSDNC, et. al. would’ve have their broadcasting licenses pulled, for the wholly spurious propaganda . er .. opinion that they spew !

      Sanders .. Should you make the high-hurdle, please re-institute the fairness doctrine !

      Reply
  9. Plenue

    > “The Antifascist Question” [The Baffler]

    “The real question, then, should not be how to make antifascism more palatable to mealy-mouthed liberals or reactionary leftists whose squeamishness is premised mostly on unserious—or even, to invoke a favorite accusation of such critics, bourgeois —arguments about aesthetics”

    ‘Reactionary leftist’? Eff this author if he thinks freedom of speech is an ‘aesthetic’.

    ‘Reflecting on three years of antifascist organizing in Portland, Marquez emphasized how much he had been transformed by the struggles convulsing his city. “Some of my best friends and closest comrades are trans. I’ve learned so much from them. I still misgender people, but I catch myself. Before, I would never have caught it—I wouldn’t have understood why people were mad.”’

    Oh good, this nonsense has even infiltrated the ‘anti-fascist’ edgelord gang.

    I continue to side with Ian Welsh that all that has happened is that these two gangs of nobodies have been unscrupulously elevated to somebodies. The whole affair in Portland was a sad joke.

    Reply
    1. Rojo

      On Twitter, Kamala Harris is a Cop demanded I unfollow her for suggesting that the Portland street fracas was mostly theater.

      The real fascists have badges.

      Reply
    2. Acacia

      I have had several disputes with arch-liberals — some highly educated, as well — over this issue. They firmly believe that antifa is playing a very important role by keeping the Proud Boys at bay, that white supremacy is a huge presence in American society and rising threat. This and “racism” seem to be their primary concerns for the US (several contacts in particular now see racism as the beginning and ending of all political discussion).

      I formerly considered them left, we used to discuss politics and were generally in agreement, and am thus now rather puzzled about what exactly has happened. More recently, I’ve stopped engaging with this, as it seems to me that they are in the grip of “the hysteria”.

      At some point in the future, though, I know this will come up again, and I’m wondering how to respond.

      Any thoughts?

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth Burton

        “…the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” —Hermann Goering

        The White supremacists/neo-Nazis are this decades Islamic terrorists, their numbers and effectiveness deliberately exaggerated and their presence touted as having emerged full-grown from the head of Donald Trump in 2016.

        Antifa amazingly appeared, also full-grown, seemingly within days after the election to patrol the streets of DC and “police” the post-Inauguration pro-Trump demonstrations. In the last few years, both groups have become increasingly visible, and increasingly violent, usually with clear input from local law enforcement.

        I just read a Twitter thread of police in Boston charging nonviolent protestors at the “Straight Pride” parade, assaulting them physically, spraying Mace and teargas. It’s known the FBI is once again “monitoring” protest groups, having already essentially labeled any and all Black organizations “extremist”.

        Draw your own conclusions.

        Reply
  10. Summer

    “The DNC Doesn’t Want a Climate Debate for a Reason” [Jacobin]. “While tech money is important, the biggest donors to the DNC in the 2020 cycle are overwhelmingly financial companies, whether hedge funds, private equity, or more traditional investment management…”

    I sat and watched people writing something about “raising money” for a climate debate.
    You lost the climate debate right there before it started…IF it would have happened.
    Hell, if you have to “raise money” to have any kind of debate, you’ve already lost that debate.

    This is the point where you demand a climate debate or you do what was long overdue…dump the DNC. They aren’t negotiating with you. They are trying to defeat you.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      “..This is the point where you demand a climate debate or you do what was long overdue…dump the DNC. They aren’t negotiating with you. They are trying to defeat you.”

      Hear, hear.

      Reply
    2. jrs

      It could also be partly because it’s a political loser? Maybe Dems can’t win an election running on climate change? Maybe that is the real reason.

      Messed up if so, since of course it’s the biggest existential threat.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        “..Maybe Dems can’t win an election running on climate change?..”

        Somehow I just don’t think that’s it [scratches head].

        Reply
      2. pretzelattack

        if they were interested in winning, they would let tulsi in the debate and stop trying to undermine progressives. they are interested in keeping donors happy.

        Reply
    3. Acacia

      Does this analogy work?
      DNC = A large corporation
      It’s committee = C-suite executives
      Donors = shareholders
      Candidates = middle managers
      Voters = Temp workers
      Their wages = Hopium

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        More like:
        DNC = Large criminal organization
        Committee = Dons
        Donors = Capos
        Candidates = Tenentes
        Voters = Mooks
        Their wages = Vig

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Sad to say, but “The ballot, and the ballot boxes” has transmorgified into “The ballot, and the ballot data streams.”

            Reply
  11. Tom Denman

    “`Even Worse Than the DCCC Blacklist’: Schumer Accused of Effort to Hamstring Progressives Trying to Unseat GOP Senators” [Common Dreams]. (In 2020 links above.) [1]

    So progressives think they should have a voice in selecting Democratic candidates for open Senate seats. When will the lefties and those deplorable plebs learn that democracy can only work if they shut up and vote for who they’re told to?

    I should think that progressives would find Nick Brana’s call to build a new left party to be more compelling with each passing day.

    [1] https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/29/even-worse-dccc-blacklist-schumer-accused-effort-hamstring-progressives-trying

    Reply
    1. Carey

      I fully agree, and think that after the nomination is stolen from Sanders at the Democrat convention
      next year, and regardless of what he publicly says, all of his supporters shold move en masse to the Movement for a People’s Party.

      The organizing’s the thing. #boycott2020

      Reply
  12. Watt4Bob

    The dimensions and dynamics of an economy substantially fueled by renewable energy are just beginning to take shape.” • It doesn’t seem like we’re moving as fast as we ought to be on this, partly because of the opposition of utilities.

    Opposition of the utilities lasts right up until they figure out how to monopolize the renewable sector, and then they become champions of renewable energy.

    (Just like big pharma opposes legal cannabis, until they can figure out how to dominate the market, after that it’s all good, and the reefer-madness style propaganda will mysteriously disappear.)

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      Same mentality that Bill Gates displayed as CEO of MS. That which he cannot own, he tried to destroy utterly. I thank $DEITY he got married somewhere along the way, she probably toned him down a bit, but still…. I deeply recall the Early Struggles of the FOSS movement.

      Reply
    2. Another Scott

      That article was also written by the former president of the Conservation Law Foundation, which has had some notable successes, like supporting the cleanup of Boston Harbor. However, it’s views on energy should be viewed with more skepticism. It’s subsidiary consulting arm, CLF Ventures, has received grants from states to produce documents such as the wind siting guide in Massachusetts. More importantly, the organization’s CEO, Bradley Campbell is the founder of Swan Creek Energy, a behind-the-meter solar company (which leases PV to customers). When the CLF advocates increasing net metering in the Northeast, who’s interest are they really serving?

      Reply
  13. John

    Does the DNC actually want to win an election or simply keep the “wrong people” from have an opportunity to win an election?
    I continue to back Sanders-Gabbard because I think the pair would actually be beneficial for more of us than the “fat cats, fatter cats, and fattest cats” and to watch the DNC members suffer soul twisting heartburn.

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      I have a feeling that keeping the “wrong people” out of the election is a win for the DNC just as much as actually winning. In other words, they have no souls left to sell, they’ve already been bought and sold long ago and what we are dealing with now is just a zombie.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The beauty of the D party dropping some candidates now is that if Sanders is the eventual nominee, one of the dropped candidates (that he or she does not have to be a true progressive) can come forward and charge illigetimacy.

      Reply
  14. Another Scott

    I’ve been wondering who supported Buttigieg because I haven’t met anyone who said they supported him or even see a sign or bump sticker, but that changed today. I saw a big sign for him on the top floor of an apartment complex in the increasingly yuppified North End. By contrast, I’ve seen multiple Warren and Sanders signs in upper middle-class suburbs and Trump ones in lower middle-class ones.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      Sanders is the only one with any significant grassroots support here. But yes even though much fewer than Bernie stickers, I’ve seen a few Warren bumper stickers and talked to a young supporter, and seen one Kamala one and one Beto sign. However it could be that people that don’t care about politics enough to have a sign are those that end up electing Biden/Buttigieg, the people that neither know much about politics, nor have any ideology really, or care that much will end up deciding. Well that would be depressing.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s a good thing that Air Force One is such a huge plane. If you had Biden/Buttigieg in 2021, you wouldn’t want old Joe traveling around on any small planes, especially when you consider that Mayor Pete was once in intelligence.

        Reply
  15. ewmayer

    “Bernie Sanders” (interview) [Council on Foreign Relations]. Sanders: “My administration would not be in the business of regime change.” — Not generally a fan of lawyerly-parsing exercises, but that statement does leave open the possibility that a Sanders administration might still engage in regime change as a hobby, perhaps a serious one. But Bernie has never struck me as a practitioner of the kind of “public versus private position” weaselry as practiced by e.g. Biden and Harris and of course HRH Hillary, so I guess I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here. :)

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is replacing the Trump administration with Sanders administration ‘regime change?’

      Technically, the Trump adminstration would be replaced at the moment (or a mini second before) Sanders administration come into being. And when the Sanders administration comes into being, the former is history already.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Sanders has no problem with aiding regime change as long as it’s done at the request of the people living under the regime and is done democratically. He’s said that more than once, with reference to the kind of horrible dictators the US has installed by overthrowing elected heads of state.

      Reply
      1. turtle

        That’s a terrible loophole to leave open. In fact, that’s exactly the kind of reason that’s been frequently given in regime change scenarios of the last several decades: “the people asked us”. See Ukraine, Venzuela, etc, for some recent examples.

        Just Say No to regime change, regardless of who supposedly asked for it. Sending the bull into the china shop to save some of the china never, ever works right.

        Reply
  16. ewmayer

    “SC regulators tell Google ‘yes’ on groundwater plan but Mount Pleasant gets a ‘no’” [Post and Courier] — How ridiculous is the notion of pulling precious groundwater for the purpose of cooling massive data centers? No reason to waste potable water on that. I note that Goose Creek, home of said Google data center, is on/near 2 rivers … is there some reason (perhaps there is, but if so I’d like to hear it) they couldn’t use river water and cooling ponds/towers like the power plants do? Moreover, Mount Pleasant is not far from Charleston, i.e. from the *ocean*. You telling me a mega-wealthy corporation like Google couldn’t afford to “not be evil” by perhaps setting an example for the rest of Big Data by siting close enough to the ocean to use pumped seawater to cool their data center?

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Would such a data center “close enough to the ocean” to be coolable with pumped seawater be close enough to the ocean to disappear early in the sea-level-rise process? Would Google feel it could afford to lose a data center?

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        You really think GOOG located it in 46-feet-above-sea-level Goose Creek due to global-warming sea level rise considerations? Even were that true, choosing a slightly elevated site within a few miles of the ocean and/or piling up rocks to build an elevated base ain’t exactly rocket science, nor is pumping water from sea level to several-tens-of-feet higher. But of course that all costs a little more consideration and money, and Google exec-dom is too arrogant to afford the former and too greedy to afford the latter.

        Reply
    2. ambrit

      Pumping seawater corrodes the piping at a faster rate than fresh water.
      Something interesting about it: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4064120/
      Roughly speaking, corrosion increases from fresh water up to 3% salinity in salt water and then slacks off. So, where on the coastline the inlet pipes from the cooling system are located is important to the rates of replacement of the cooling water circulation piping are concerned. I’m sure that Atomic Power plants wrestle with this problem. Google should contact some of the Atomic Power industry engineers for advice. What an idea! Atomic Google! What’s next, Son of Amazon versus The Creature From Google Lagoon? The battle of the kaiju corporations!

      Reply
  17. Steve (@saltopus_rex)

    Clare Bronfman was the power behind Rainiere’s NXIVM throne. I think she had to pay a fine for some
    minor violation. Rainiere was the perfect patsy, a sleazoid new agey/tony robbins type with a soft shoe about.
    NXIVM’s operation, Hillary Clinton’s campaign headqurters and the locus of Marine Abramovic, pseudo occultist ‘performance artist’ to the well heeled were all in close geographical proximity as well. The decadence is terminal. Guillotine Watch indeed. These self titled ‘elite’ people take the Marquis de Sade and Gilles de Rais as their models.

    Reply
  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Six Things to Know About Hurricane Dorian” [Weather Underground]. “[T]he highest high tides of the year, known as ‘king tides,’ are expected this weekend in parts of Florida. King tides occur several times a year, and when combined with a major weather system, the floodwater inundation can be much more significant.” • Like Hurricane Sandy.

    ———

    Modern vs. feudal mentality.

    Is it not ‘president tides,’ instead of king tides?

    Maybe even General Secretary tides, or Man of Steel tides?

    Reply
    1. Summer

      Like I said in the wrong thread before:

      As Trump suggested, I hope they have the G7 next year in Florida during hurricane season….cross fingers.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      Uh oh. You missed one…”Man of Steal Tides.” Or; “The Art of the Steal.” (Not the book by Rickey Henderson.)

      Reply
            1. ambrit

              I’m guessing that Alan Shepard played golf on the moon because a baseball bat would have been too much weight to justify the expense of lifting it to the moon.
              A thread from the Guardian about this. Amazing the range of opinion.
              One comment mentions an astronaut taking envelopes to the moon and franking them there and later trying to sell them. Something Wukchumni might know about.
              An old friend of ours had a letter and envelope from an ancestor franked aboard the Hindenberg. The original ‘air mail.’

              Reply
  19. DAVID SMITH

    I looked at the You.Gov full document, and what I found interesting is that Elizabeth Warren is the consensus candidate among Democrats. More Democrats say that they’ve considered voting for her than any other candidate, and fewer than any other candidate say that they would be unhappy if she were nominated.

    Reply

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