2:00PM Water Cooler 9/19/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


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

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

Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart:

And here is (are) the latest poll(s) as of 9/19/2019, 12:00 PM EDT

Biden, Warren, Sanders, Warren nonetheless dropping, with Biden. The swings of the candidates seem much greater now than, say, early August. (Note that the circles denote the size of the population(s) polled; so the big circles are Morning Consult). And the polling detail:

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. 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.

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Does Joe Biden have a race problem?” [New York Daily News (UserFriendly)]. “But for me, an African-American voter in his late 40s, there’s something missing in Biden’s candidacy. I view him through the lens of Clinton-era politics, when I cast my first-ever vote. Bill Clinton surely had his tensions with African-American voters, but ultimately, after he was elected in 1992, the party responded to Jesse Jackson’s calls for more inclusion. Ron Brown became first African-American Democratic National Committee chair; the White House political director and multiple cabinet members were black. Can Biden ultimately reflect the optimism of the Obama administration to which he was clearly devoted, or will he prove that outside of Obama, he may not really know us at all?” • Lok, the Democrats “responded” to Jesse Jackson’s calls for inclusion by throwing him under the bus for Dukakis and denying the Rainbow Coalition a place in the party. Where do these people come from?

Biden (D)(2): “Markos Moulitsas: The Idea Of A Biden-Trump Debate Actually Terrifies Me” (video) [RealClearPolitics]. Turn the sound down if you don’t want to hear Kos. “After seeing the word-salads, the jumbles, the half-truths that come out of Biden in last night’s debate and in recent weeks.. These two aging, macho white males, sort of puffing their chest and throwing out stories that are maybe half-true or not true at all trying to score points on each other is absolutely terrifying.” • I’m so very, very tired of the word “terrifying.” (“Now kids, don’t get excited.” “Who’s excited?”)

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Nearly 60 mayors and ex-mayors endorse Buttigieg” [Politico]. “‘We endorse him from heartland towns, coastal cities, suburban communities, and every other corner of our great country,’ the mayors wrote. ‘What’s more, in the spirit of the community of mayors, we are already offering Pete our best ideas and helping engage grassroots supporters all across the country.’ Although the mayors are largely white, Buttigieg picked up some key endorsements from mayors of color, a constituency of voters with whom Buttigieg has struggled to make headway, notably including in the key-primary state of South Carolina. Buttigieg picked up his first endorsement from a Hispanic official: Mayor Michelle De La Isla of Topeka, Kan., the city’s first Latina mayor. Former Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Mo., and Mayor Mark Barbee of Bridgeport, Pa., who are both black, also signed on to the endorsement.” • Ingenious. Maybe Mayor Pete can ask them for help in how to deal with his police department.

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders or Warren: Who gets more support from working-class donors?” [Open Secrets]. “In the battle for working-class donors, however, there is a clear winner between the [Sanders and Warren]. An OpenSecrets review of campaign contributions — including those giving small amounts through the fundraising service ActBlue — reveals that among the 2020 Democrats, Sanders gets the most support from Americans in typically working-class jobs — and it isn’t close. The Vermont senator is the top recipient among farmers, servers, social workers, retail workers, photographers, construction workers, truckers, nurses and drivers, among several other groups. Each of those professions — which don’t typically provide much campaign cash — earn near or below the median income, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sanders has raised $46 million in total, far more than his primary opponents, so it’s no surprise he leads among the most professions. But it’s his margin of victory that stands out. Of all the money going to 2020 Democrats from servers — one of the lowest-paying jobs in the country — more than half went to Sanders alone. As the first major presidential candidate to propose eliminating student debt, Sanders took in one quarter of all students’ contributions to Democratic presidential hopefuls. • Just to be clear, were not taking about the kind of server you keep in your bathroom, but servers at restaurants and the like. The sort of person you call the manager on.

Sanders (D)(2): Drop out, Bernie!

As readers know, I don’t put much stock in the individual polls. And state polls are less accurate even than national ones. Still, the narrative that it’s time to stick a form in Sanders does seem a little too transparently self-serving, does it not?

Sanders (D)(3): Drop out, Bernie!

Sanders (D)(4):

Sanders (D)(5): “The Growing Debate Over Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax” [The New Yorker]. “As Senator Elizabeth Warren prepares for Thursday’s Democratic debate, in Houston, she is the first viable contender for the Presidency in decades to have proposed a direct tax on wealth.” • Unless “viable” is doing a lot more work than any mere adjective should be called upon to do (White, of Strunk and White, Rule 4: “Write with nouns and verbs”), the New Yorker is lying. From Sander’s Senate site, September 6, 2014: “Sanders Proposes Wealth Tax; Piketty, Reich Applaud.” I say “lying,” because I assume the New Yorker’s vaunted fact-checking operation still exists; they had to know what they wrote was not true. Of course, in an all-hands-on-deck movement like preserving the power of the professional class in the midst of a legitimacy crisis, a little laxity is permissible.

Sanders (D)(6)(IA): “The Question Dividing Democratic Socialists” [The Atlantic]. “With just five months to go until the Iowa caucuses, chapters in the state have chosen to focus on local projects and tenants’-rights work rather than spend time and resources working for Sanders.” • Flagged here back in March. Maybe if DSA national had listened to — even empowered? — the rural chapters?

Sanders (D)(7) (CA): “California 2020: Biden, Sanders, Warren in Statistical Tie in Democratic Primary; Harris Struggles in Home State” [Emerson]. “The California Democratic Primary is shaping up into a three-way race; former Vice President Joe Biden is tied with Sen. Bernie Sanders at 26% and Sen. Elizabeth Warren is close behind at 20%. A significant drop is seen between this tier and the next group of candidates.” • MoE is 3.3%.  I know this is only one poll, but for some reason, it’s not getting a lot of space in the narrative.

Sanders (D)(8)(NY): Let’s have some blocking and tackling!

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Goes Bare-Knuckles Early, Setting Tone for a Bruising 2020” [Bloomberg]. “New evidence came Tuesday, when Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale posted a video calling into question the former vice president’s mental acuity. It spliced clips of Democratic rivals doing the same, alongside footage of Biden’s verbal faux pas and TV reporters discussing concerns within the party about the front-runner’s ability to handle a long and tough election.” Here’s the ad:

Trump (R)(2): “Silicon Valley held a secret fundraiser for Trump” [Business Insider]. “President Donald Trump’s Silicon Valley donors traveled to a secret location in Palo Alto, California, on Tuesday to attend a fundraiser for the president where tickets cost as much as $100,000 a couple…. Attendees weren’t told in advance where the event would be or who would be hosting. Instead, they were asked to meet at a remote location before being shuttled to the host’s house — reported to be that of the Sun Microsystems cofounder Scott McNealy.”

Trump (R)(3): “Trump takes aim at California over homeless crisis” [Agence France Presse]. Trump: “‘We have people living in our… best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings… where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige… In many cases, they came from other countries and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building. And they want to leave. And the people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up.” • Will noone think of the real estate developers selling pied a terres to wealthy foreigners?

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren Is Betting Young People Hate Corruption More Than Capitalism” [Vice]. “For all their rage at capitalism—as documented in poll after poll, as laid plain by the scourge of the student loan system, credit card debt, rent, stagnant wages—young people, or at least a generous slice of them, find the ‘sensationalism’ of Sanders, as one put it, tiresome. ‘I’m just super cautious about these people who have these huge goals that are basically unattainable,’ said Brooklyn Clark, an 18-year-old student from Texas.” • What do we want? Cautious incrementalism! When do we want it? Why not pretty soon? Wait ’til the debt kicks in, Brooklyn. We can talk more about goals then.

Warren (D)(2) (IA): “Elizabeth Warren nabs 2020 backing of Iowa’s state treasurer” [Associated Press]. “Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has announced the endorsement of one of Iowa’s last two uncommitted Democratic elected officials, state Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald… Asked what stood out about Warren in a field of Democrats often aligned on key issues, Fitzgerald declared that Warren ‘is a Democrat, she is a capitalist, and she wants to make our system work.” …. Warren’s organization is seen as one of the strongest in Iowa, but compared with the other top-tier contenders in the field Warren has been relatively slow to roll out endorsements in the state. After a trickle of endorsement announcements, her first major haul of supporters in Iowa came out just last week, after her strong performance in the primary debate in Houston.”

* * *

“There’s A Better Case For A Top 2 Than A Top 3” [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight]. “Empirically, the best way to look at the primaries apart from polls is through a ‘Party Decides’ perspective, wherein so-called ‘party elites’ — influential Democrats such as elected officials — are instrumental in picking the nominee, or at least are a leading indicator of voter preferences. Sanders is a problematic and even implausible nominee by this metric; he rather proudly doesn’t get along with the party establishment (and technically isn’t even a Democrat*) and instead is running more of a factional campaign where he hopes to win the largest plurality of voters rather than necessarily uniting the party.” • Leave it to Nate to conceptualize the working class as a faction — although technically he’s right, if you view, with Madison, factions as expressions of property interests (e.g., in Madison’s time, slaves). NOTE * As I understand it, Democrat party membership is determined by state parties, not any national Democrat organization (because what would that organization be? The DNC lol?) The Vermont Democrats say Sanders is a Democrat, ergo, technically and in every other way, Sanders is a Democrat.

“DNC Creates Super-Duper Delegate, Just in Case” [Beet Press (DonCoyote)] “According to the DNC, the super-duper delegate will be the previous party nominee and will comprise 50% of the vote in the third round of voting.” • Seems to be satire, but I’m not so sure.

“Kennedy to challenge Markey for Massachusetts Senate seat” [Politico]. • So will the DNC/DSCC blackball anybody who works for Kennedy? And where does Warren stand? How about Sanders, given that Market introduced the GND with AOC?

“Democratic donor Ed Buck charged with operating drug house after 2 men found dead in home” [Los Angeles Times]. • Ed Buck? Who’s he?

“Republicans Rake in Campaign Cash in August: Campaign Update” [Bloomberg]. “The Republican National Committee raised $23.5 million in August and ended the month with $53.8 million cash on hand as it continues to stockpile money for the 2020 election. It was the third consecutive month that the RNC raised more than $20 million, and the biggest August total in a non-election year for the party. The Democratic National Committee has yet to crack $10 million in receipts in 2019.”


“Pelosi and other Democrats say no to Kavanaugh impeachment” [CNN]. • And it seemed so promising for awhile. If only the Times hadn’t blown its opening salvo!

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to ‘crisis in democracy’ in the US” [The Hill]. “Clinton said she had been counseling Democratic White House hopefuls to warn them that voter suppression, hacking, fake news stories and a lack of election security in 2016 had contributed to her own election loss and that a failure to address those issues could lead Democrats to defeat once again in 2020.” • Never take responsibility for a loss. Never. If you’re a liberal Democrat, you have to sign a blood oath never to do that.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Changing Shape of the Parties Is Changing Where They Get Their Money” [Thomas Edsall, New York Times]. “Money is the mother’s milk of politics, as the old saying goes, and the slow motion realignment of our two major political parties has changed who raises more money from the rich and who raises more from small donors. First: Heading into the 2020 election, President Trump is on track to far surpass President Barack Obama’s record in collecting small donor contributions — those under $200 — lending weight to his claim of populist legitimacy. Second: Democratic candidates and their party committees are making inroads in gathering contributions from the wealthiest of the wealthy, the Forbes 400, a once solid Republican constituency. Democrats are also pulling ahead in contributions from highly educated professionals — doctors, lawyers, tech executives, software engineers, architects, scientists, teachers and so on.” • Gee.

“Reform of the Gig Economy A Wonderful Thing” [East Bay Express]. “Shockingly, California has the highest poverty rate of any state today. Gig jobs are part of this travesty…. Silicon Valley’s gig revenue is often based on eviscerating the entire structure of protection for low-wage workers, thin as it is…. while liberals around the Kamala Harris campaign and discredited former progressives shilled for Uber, it was a coalition of established unions and new union formations in the driver community that won the day. Construction unions were the strongest labor supporters of these drivers. While they are often derided as primarily just white Trump supporters, construction workers are more and more Latinx.”

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of September 14, 2019: “Jobless claims have been edging lower to confirm that layoffs are low and the job market strong” [Econoday].

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, September 2019: “Ongoing strength not weakness is the signal from the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing sample where September’s headline index came in… better-than-expected: [Econoday]. “But there is one signal of moderation in today’s report and that’s the 6-month outlook which fell … Confidence in future orders is down sharply this month…. Yet the sample is adding employees, unfilled orders are building and supplier delivery times are slowing, all consistent with healthy activity.”

Existing Home Sales, August 2019: “Existing home sales continue to move higher” [Econoday]. “Home sales have been struggling to move higher in 2019 but move higher they have, though year-on-year improvement is still subdued… which, nevertheless, is the best showing over the last two years. Housing, unlike manufacturing, is not a concern for the Federal Reserve right now.”

Leading Indicators, August 2019: “After a sharp rise in July, the index of leading economic indicators could manage no better than an unchanged reading in August” [Econoday]. “A slight positive is mixed readings, apart from the ISM, for manufacturing with an imputed dip in August consumer goods orders offset by an imputed no change for August core capital goods orders. The trend for this index has been mixed and consistent with slowing conditions six months out.”

Current Account, Q2 2019: “The US current account narrowed in the second quarter” [Econoday]. “Income flows helped the second quarter as the surplus on primary income, boosted by 2017 tax cuts on foreign dividends, rose… These offset a rise in the US goods and services trade gap.”

Shipping: “AAR: U.S. Rail Traffic Still Declining” [Railway Age]. “For this week—as has been the case in week’s past—total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 526,734 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.8% compared with the same week last year…. One of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018. It was motor vehicles and parts, up 299 carloads, to 17,339. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included commodities such as coal, down 4,950 carloads, to 80,753; grain, down 2,915 carloads, to 18,337; and metallic ores and metals, down 2,360 carloads, to 22,766.” • Interestingly, both Canada and Mexico are up.

Shipping: “FedEx Corp. is feeling the pain after saying it will deliver cuts in its troubled Express unit on a deferred basis. The delivery giant’s shares plunged by the most in a decade after the division showed its vulnerability to global trade disruptions” [Wall Street Journal]. “FedEx is trying to cut Express costs aggressively by pulling older planes from its fleet, but that won’t happen until after the holiday shipping season. At the same time, FedEx is pouring money into the business, projecting $5.9 billion in capital spending over each of the next two fiscal years. Some analysts question that investment amid falling revenue and profit margins in a business undergoing major structural changes. Demand is moving away from premium services toward ground parcel delivery, and e-commerce and digital trends are transforming the economics of express operations faster than FedEx can pull down its planes.”

Shipping: “Precision Pushback: How CSX Is Changing The Rules Of Railroading” [Jacksonville Business Journal (Another Scott)]. • I would like to know more about “Precision Railroading,” but can’t get behind this paywall. Readers?

Retail: “The Rise of the Zombie Mall” [Smithsonian]. “Over the next 40 years, another 1,500 enclosed malls would dot the landscape, from suburb to shining suburb, insinuating themselves into everyday life so profoundly that just “going to the mall” became a pastime. Hundreds of malls, meanwhile, have closed and been demolished or converted, overtaken by a renewed emphasis on walkable neighborhoods and challenged by that overwhelming force of 21st-century living: online shopping. Americans still go to the mall, spending some $2.5 trillion in 2014, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers… But rumors of the shopping mall’s death may be premature, if the mega-mall opening this October is any indication. The $5 billion, three-million-square-foot American Dream complex in northern New Jersey houses a theme park, a water park, a ski and snowboard park, an ice rink, an aquarium, a movie theater and a Ferris wheel. Oh, and stores. Hundreds of luxury and designer stores.” • I dunno about this. Eschaton has been making fun of the American Dream mall for years. NJ readers, is that mall legit, or a ginormous boondoggle?

Retail: “Creating Competitive Advantage: The Growth of Independent Bookstores in the U.S. 2009–2018” (PDF) [Publishing Research Quarterly]. “Independent bookstores (often called “indies” or “independents”) sustained threats to their basic business model because of the growth of national bookstore chains and the proliferation of book sales online, in price clubs, supermarkets, convenience stores, mass merchants, and specialty stores, the emergence of digital e-books and eReaders, and the U.S. recession of 2007–2009. These events triggered the closing of hundreds of independent bookstores. In spite of stiff online and brick-and-mortar competition and the recession, many independents were able to grow in size and importance. This article outlines the competitive advantages utilized by many inde-pendent bookstores between 2009 and 2018, resulting in an increase in the number of independent bookstores between 2009 (1651) and 2018 (2470). • Awesome!

The Bezzle: “Dark crystals: the brutal reality behind a booming wellness craze” [Guardian]. “Five years ago, crystals were not a big deal. Now, powered by the lucrative combination of social media-friendly aesthetics, cosmic spirituality and the apparently unstoppable wellness juggernaut, they have gone from a niche oddity associated with patchouli and crushed velvet to a global consumer phenomenon. On Instagram, hashtags for #crystals and #healingcrystals tick into the tens of millions…. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, but beneath its soil is a well-stocked treasure chest. Rose quartz and amethyst, tourmaline and citrine, labradorite and carnelian: Madagascar has them all. Gems and precious metals were the country’s fastest-growing export in 2017 – up 170% from 2016, to $109m. This island country of 25 million people now stands alongside far larger nations, such as India, Brazil and China, as a key producer of crystals for the world…. While a few large mining companies operate in Madagascar, more than 80% of crystals are mined ‘artisanally’ – meaning by small groups and families, without regulation, who are paid rock-bottom prices.” • Love that word, “artisan ally.” And yes, “wellness” is a bezzle, totally.

Tech: “Smart TVs sending private data to Netflix and Facebook” [Financial Times]. “The smart TVs in our homes are leaking sensitive user data to companies including Netflix, Google and Facebook even when some devices are idle, according to two large-scale analyses. Researchers from Northeastern University and Imperial College London found that a number of smart TVs, including those made by Samsung and LG, and the streaming dongles Roku and Amazon’s FireTV were sending out data such as location and IP address to Netflix and third-party advertisers. The data were being sent whether or not the user had a Netflix account. The researchers also found that other smart devices including speakers and cameras were sending user data to dozens of third parties including Spotify and Microsoft.” • Never buy a product that’s smart!

Tech: “Pay to Play” [Real Life]. “Sex robots can be endowed with relatively meager capacities because they don’t need to pass the Turing test to be considered functional. After all, they are being developed not as experiments in machinic autonomy but as consumer entertainment experiences, with a potentially vast market. There is a tendency to perceive the demand for sex robots as an esoteric niche, but sex tech, which comprises technology designed to satisfy, enhance, and innovate the human sexual experience (e.g. vibrators, massagers, etc.), is already a billion-dollar industry, while internet porn maintains a dominant role in online content, with PornHub accruing 33.5 billion unique visits in 2018…. From that perspective, it’s clearer to see that the ‘intelligence’ of sex robots will not need to be directed toward appealing to the lonely or socially estranged to be commercially viable. Instead their technology will eventually be oriented in the same direction as existing entertainment technologies, toward compelling predictable patterns of engagement that manufacturers can exploit. In other words, sex robots share the same imperatives as comparable products like video games, gambling machines, and social media apps, all of which implement feedback reward structures that have been found to engender compulsive behavior. With their more intimate interfaces, sex robots would seem to allow for a more thorough implementation of such “gamification” strategies.” • Wait. The article starts out by saying that sex robots are, incorrectly, treated as “a dystopic menace rather than a banal present-day reality.” But it’s a dessert topping! It’s a floor wax!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 66, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greeds). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 19 at 12:12pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

“What if the Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t the ocean’s biggest plastic problem?” [Grist]. “The science of ocean plastic pollution is so new, it’s still hard to tell what’s doing the most harm, and what most needs fixing. Macroplastics like single-use bags get into sea turtle stomachs, but microplastics are small enough to embed in organisms like shellfish. Scientists still don’t know how the chemicals that leach off plastics might affect marine organisms like the bacteria that produce our oxygen.” • Ulp.

“Alternative meat products are not the answer for poorer countries” [Financial Times]. “In many developing countries and less affluent economies, animal-source food is less a consumer product than a vital source of income, food and livelihood. For the one in 10 people living on less than $2 a day, ‘alt-meats’ are unlikely to be a viable dietary solution for the simple reason that most people would be unable to access or afford them. Samburu livestock herders in northern Kenya, for example, live in rural areas with little access to grocery stores that might sell plant-based meat or soy milk. Instead, they rely on their cows, goats and sheep for both food and income.”

Health Care

“Health Insurance That Doesn’t Cover the Bills Has Flooded the Market Under Trump” [Bloomberg]. “On her way out, Marisia gave the billing clerk David’s health insurance card. It looked like any other, listing a copay of $30 for doctor visits and $50 for ‘wellness.’ She’d bought the plan a year earlier from a company called Health Insurance Innovations Inc., with the understanding that it would be comprehensive. She hadn’t noticed a phrase near the top of the card, though: ‘Short-Term Medical Insurance.'” • I’m sure you can guess the rest of the story. Never eat at a place called “Mom’s.” Never buy a product that’s “smart.” And don’t do business with a company that has “Innovation” in its name!

Police State Watch

“‘I’m the bad guy now’: A retired cop on outing police misconduct” (interview) [Chicago Reader]. • A whistleblower. “Has the ostracism been worth it? I know right from wrong. I couldn’t perceive what good you did by putting an innocent man in jail for something he didn’t do. I know it’s the perception of some officers: We know he’s a bad guy, so we’re gonna slam him on this [other thing]. That’s not justice, that doesn’t work for me.”

Our Famously Free Press

“WaPo No Longer Discloses Its Owner’s Uber Investment” [FAIR]. “Despite California legislators’ clear intent that the new law applies to ride-hailing companies, the Post says it doesn’t. In a recent news story, Post reporter Faiz Siddiqui offered this questionable legal opinion as fact…. Siddiqui’s Uber-friendly legal opinion, which he later (accurately) attributed to Uber…may have been an innocent mistake (albeit one the Post has yet to acknowledge, as no correction has been posted), but it looks less innocent when considering Bezos’ ties to Uber. Bezos is a major Uber shareholder, whose stock in the company is worth an estimated $400 million. The Post’s recent pro-Uber reporting is not an anomaly, but part of a pattern at the paper (HuffPost, 6/21/16), which no longer bothers to inform readers of Bezos’ ties to the ride-hailing company.” • For some definition of “worth.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Seriously, this sh!t again? 24m medical records, 700m+ scan pics casually left online” [The Register]. “Around 24 million medical patients’ data is floating around on the internet, freely available for all to pore over – thanks to that good old common factor, terribly insecure servers. German vuln-hunting firm Greenbone Networks found 590 “medical image archive systems online” containing a startling 737 million images, of which it said around 400 million were downloadable…. Dirk Schrader, a cyber-resilience architect at Greenbone Networks who led the research, said today: ‘A significant number of these servers have no protection at all, they aren’t password protected and have no encryption. Indeed, everyday internet users could gain access to these servers with very little effort – there’s no need to write any code or deploy any specialist hacking tools.'” • That’s a lot of pre-existing conditions!

Class Warfare

“Local UAW Shop Chairman Says Unions Are Prepared for Up to a Year of Striking: ‘As Long as It Takes'” [Industry Week]. “According to Al Tiller, shop chairman of the Local 1005, United Auto Workers members are in for the long haul in their strike of General Motors. ‘We’ve been getting everybody ready for a year for this strike,’ he said, speaking in the parking lot of the Parma, Ohio union headquarters. Members have been discussing the necessity of saving money at union meetings, and dues were temporarily increased from two hours’ pay a month to two and a half hours’ pay in preparation. That extra money will go towards augmenting workers’ $250-a-week strike pay and providing benefits while GM isn’t. Despite the bruising loss of income, Tiller says members are ready and willing to strike for much longer than the last UAW strike of GM in 2007, which lasted less than two days. ‘We’re prepared for six months to a year,’ Tiller said. He emphasized the necessity of the strike by claiming that GM owed its continued existence to the UAW, and that it was time for the workers to share GM’s current success: ‘We’re the reason they’re open still.'” • Which is always true.

News of the Wired

“Enterprising Florida Woman Makes $100,000 a Year Off of Tongue Pics” [New York Magazine]. “Mikayla Saravia is not like other influencers. In addition to standard Instagram fare (butts, bikinis, etc.) the 21-year-old has gained internet fame by elevating an unlikely asset: her tongue, which stretches an impressive 6.5 inches long…. Like any good entrepreneur, Saravia has leveraged her tongue into a larger brand proposition, selling merch like apparel, sex toys, and phone chargers via her app and website, supplementing the cash she makes with Instagram ads. It’s enterprising to say the least, and absolutely genius when you consider she’s making roughly around as much as an investment banker in 2019.” • And to be fair, she does a lot less damage than the typical investment banker.

“How Did Lauren Duca’s Revolution Backfire?” [Buzzfeed]. “Duca also spent this past summer teaching ‘The Feminist Journalist,’ a six-week New York University journalism course for both high school and college students. Nearly four weeks after the [Duca’s course ended, however, her students sent a collective formal complaint to the heads of the NYU journalism school about Duca’s conduct. ‘We are disappointed at the department and NYU for hiring a professor with more interest in promoting her book than teaching a group of students eager to learn,’ they wrote. In the days after the course ended, several of the students also reached out to me to share more of their concerns. ‘Her ability to exploit the movement is really frustrating,’ one former student said.” • But those are very important lessons!

“”Wanderlust: The Amazing Ida Pfeiffer, the First Female Tourist” by John van Wyhe” [Asian Review of Books]. “When [Pfeiffer] became famous, she got used to being treated to free hotel accommodation and tickets on steamers, and sometimes reacted angrily when these were not forthcoming, especially (as in Montreal) the clerks issuing them didn’t know who she was. She may have been too parsimonious to pay for first-class accommodation, but when it came free she was gracious enough to waive any objections she may have had to it. None of this, however, takes away from the sheer courage, endurance and stubbornness Pfeiffer displayed on her travels, even when she was confronted by head-hunters, cannibals, thieves and horrible weather. Having narrowly escaped (with a little help from her friend Count Friedrich von Berchtold, a Czech botanist) being fatally knifed in Brazil, for example, she finally decided to carry a pistol, as Isabella Bird would a few years later. In Canton, against male advice, she cheerfully wandered the streets without an escort, was attacked by a huge snake in Singapore and went on a dangerous tiger hunt in India. In her last travels she went to Madagascar, where she survived intrigues at the court of the murderous Queen Ranavalona I, aka “the female Caligula”, whom she charmed by giving a bad recital on an out-of-tune player piano.”

“Amish man and teen drinking in horse and buggy run after police pull them over” [MSN]. Says the teen: “I started running because I’m underage and I was drinking. I know it was a stupid mistake because you don’t know what a horse has on his mind — what he is going to do.”

* * *

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 (CW):

CW writes: “My wife and I were in Ecuador a year ago and I found these big ferns fascinating as they were in the process of unfurling. It was in a cloud forest where we were staying — Mindo is the nearby town.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser.Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Kevin

    That fern looks like our midwestern fiddleheads. They are my absolute favorite veggie. Thank you for posting!

    1. lordkoos

      We have them in the Pacific NW too, also called fiddle-heads. Some restaurants even serve them as an exotic.

      1. IowanX

        Agree, Lambert. I tried it myself, I guess you vote by <3 votes, but somehow you got to be logged in, which it wouldn't do for me even using the FB login. Evidently the voting for the finalists ends this weekend, with a final round, (I assume the top vote-getters) set for next week. Even the underfunded good guys are like CALPERS. Let's see what diptherio says.

      2. UserFriendly

        I assume you just create an account and click the heart for who you are voting for. You can vote for as many as you like.

  2. Chris Smith

    ‘Latinx’ needs to go. Precedent indicates that is should be pronounced like ‘sphinx’, ‘jinx’, and ‘syrinx’.

    1. ambrit

      Not so fast there compadre! In Nahautl, the Aztec tongue, the letter ‘x’ is pronounced, ‘sh,’ so that would be, phonetically speaking, latinsh. I make the point because, in general, the terms under dispute, eg. latino, latina, and latinx, all generally refer to persons of New World origin. In proper Spanish, there is no letter ‘x’, but the sound is taken care of by the letter ‘j.’ As, for example, Mejico for Mexico in Continental Spanish.
      See, oh seeker after knowledge: http://www.native-languages.org/nahuatl_guide.htm

      1. Chris Smith

        I suspect ‘latinx’ is not a Nahautl word, but will not discount a lost Roman expedition turning up in ancient Aztlan. Perhaps ‘latinx’ declines the same way as ‘rex’?

        Sin embargo, lxs muchachxs no dicen este palabrx in Espanol.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I guess it’s Latinx, and not Latiny, becuase humans have xx and xy, with ‘x’ being common to both.

            1. ambrit

              Oh boy. Latinx or Latiny, another foray into idpol, gender style. I vote for the last of the terminal trio and go with Latinz. That has cachet! Plus mucho multiferous street cred!

                1. JTMcPhee


                  Precedent: Chair-one, c. 1975? “Chairperson” not back then acceptable because “son” (MALE GENDER MARKER) included in the word. See “chair-MAN.”

          2. Cal2

            Plenue…Micks is an anti Irish slur…

            “While they are often derided as primarily just white Trump supporters, construction workers are more and more Latinx.”

            And, they are the most likely to vote for Trump because they don’t want their well-paying often unionized construction salaries threatened by an endless ant line of cheap wage undercutting scab labor…

            1. ambrit

              I can see the signs in shop windows now; “No Latinx need apply.”
              My Irish forebears would counter that, after a few drinks, most Irish slur everything.
              I love the construction, “>>>white Trump supporters,…” As if there is a Trump of another colour? Orange?

            2. McAnonymous

              As slurs go, I don’t think Mick is that offensive. And besides, I don’t care what Im called as long as I have M4A. To me, Social Security proves the lie of idpol. Every month millions of SSI checks go out and it’s not known what the recipients sexual orientation may be, what their race is, whether or not they’re an atheist, and so on. In my view, this is blind justice, and why Sanders is the superior candidate.

        1. ambrit

          Well, if it does, that gives support to the long standing conspiracy theory that a Treasure Fleet made it to the New World via the North Pacific Gyre. Some contact between the Orient and the Pacific coast of the Americas did happen, just the frequency and the intent to travel there are in debate.
          I have not read that Nahautl was an inflected language, but, stranger things have happened.

        2. jessica

          Actually it is. Well close anyway. It is like ‘sh’ only farther forward in the mouth.
          In an older Romanization scheme, it was written “hs”. You still see that in Taiwanese names.

        3. Procopius

          It represents a sound a little more sibilant than ‘sh.’ In the Wade-Giles system of expressing Chinese sounds in Latin letters it was ‘hs.’ If you say ‘sh’ a native Mandarin speaker will probably understand you. Everybody knows big noses can’t speak language. /s For some reason the term “romanization,” which is what the books used when I was learning Mandarin, is deprecated and they now insist on “transliteration.” Anyway, I find Pinyin unintuitive.

    2. Dan

      On that model, the plural is either ‘Latingoi’ (if Greek) or Latinces (if Latin). No question that Latinx is Latin in origin, so Latinces it is!

      I hate this word too. I’m happy to just use ‘Latinas and Latinos’ myself and avoid doing violence to the entire Indo-European language family.

      1. polecat

        But if you happen to be ensconsed within the seemless realms of idpol academia, it don’t matter one wit-less !

        … in which case, I’d use latrino, or latrina ….

        1. polecat

          Next thing you know some sj Einstein will come up with some suffucix .. and other spelling changes, for all those mean, scary cis white dudes, all of which need to be exterminated … like Caukkkaxian, or worse !

    3. Utah

      Language doesn’t have to follow precedent. I like Latinx because it allows succinctity. Rather than saying “Latinos and Latinas” you can say Latinx. I also have preference for gender neutral terminology because I personally hate being called a guy- as in “how are you guys?” I’m a cis woman, and from the Western US, where we are less formal, but I like formality. I’d much prefer a greeting of “how are y’all.” So I’m happy to use Latinx as a gender neutral way to say “a group of Latin American people” or speak about one person who is a non binary Latin American person.

      1. 00000

        Why not just “Latins”?

        (And if your answer is “possible confusion with ancient Romans”, I’ll just say I have a hard time imagining any RL conversation in which that would actually happen.)

    4. ewmayer

      Spanish already resolves such “how to refer to multiple things having a mix of the 2 genders” conundrum by defaulting to the masculine form, e.g. “my children” is “mis hijos” and “my parents” is “mis padres”. So what next from the IdPol SJWs, “mis hijxs” and “mis *adres”?

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        How is ‘Latinx’ not colonialism? ‘We’ve got a new name for you people!’

        I was musing that personally ‘Germanx’ looks stupid. But then I realized ‘Polishx’ is a little evocative of the mother caregiver tongue.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Yeah, people of Chinese heritage might not be so keen on the suffiX either….

          When will this irruption of cultural Red Guards finally produce its Lin Biao?

      2. Chris

        I have no idea. As far as I know, “latino” is a geographical reference and “hispanic” is a language reference. You can be latino, as in you came from Latin america (Mexico, Central America, South America) but not Hispanic (e.g., Brazil). You can also be Hispanic, but not latino (e.g., Spain). Beyond that I don’t know what to make of the Latinx designation.

    5. Oregoncharles

      I English, it would be simply “Latin.” Will do for persons or memes, either one. What the “x” is supposed to be doing is beyond me.

  3. archnj

    Accessible PSR link (or at any rate I hope so):


    The theory behind PSR is that, by getting trains out of yards on a rigid schedule and by forcing shippers to be timely in turning over cars in order to fill out those trains, you increase the velocity of cars around the system (more loads in less time) thus reducing the cars needed to be owned, maintained, etc. You also in theory reduce the need for yard space (since less switching and less storage is required) freeing up illiquid land to be sold off and liquidated. Of course you are also eliminating those yard jobs.

    The other facet is increased train length – down by the CSX tracks you will now frequently see two-to-three-mile-long trains with distributed power (remote-controlled midtrain or end of train power), reducing the number of trains moving at any one time and therefore less crews (more jobs cut).

    Unfortunately it is more or less a fancy, investor-friendly cover for massive asset stripping and mass layoffs. Wall Street likes it, but for everyone else that has to actually run or ship on the railroad it is a mess.

    1. jo6pac

      Thanks for the link. It looks like they changed their business model to a well fargo model. I’m glad I don’t have thing to ship by rail

    2. Cal2

      “reducing the cars needed to be owned, maintained, etc…”

      Sidetrack: Many railroad cars and sometimes even engines are leased, not owned, for tax reasons.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      I captured these snips earlier this year. I’m pretty sure they come either from the WolfStreet commentariat or from someone on here, but I regret that a DDG search doesn’t yield a footnote….

      “Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) is ‘crapification’, basically asset-stripping. The idea is a railroad is a conveyor belt and it is loaded to maximum capacity and everything else to provide resilience is gone. They intentionally drive away entire classes of customers and only cherry-pick.

      “When there are bumper harvests or winter weather, everything gets tied in knots. PSR is not hub-and-spoke. In fact, PSR eliminates Hubs (which are large freight classification yards). In addition to shutting yards, there are massive layoffs, storing of locomotives and cars, shutting down repair facilities, etc.

      “Costs go down, share buy-backs far exceed capital investment for all of them. Railroads are common carriers and oligopolies or outright monopolies. Light-touch regulation has allowed this. The public ultimately pays with higher rates and prices, congested highways chocked with trucks and more pollution. “

          1. JTMcPhee

            Has there been, or is there likely to be, any other workable and successful model of political economy for humans to form up around? I think our natures, at least the prime drivers of too many of us, drive us to this endgame. Greed and growth. Metastatic cancer.

    4. Railfan Rob

      CSX was the last railroad run by E Hunter Harrison, the inventor of precision railroading. He went through Canadian National and Canadian Pacific before CSX, giving them all huge gains in share price and lots of disgruntled employees.

  4. Plenue

    “After seeing the word-salads, the jumbles, the half-truths that come out of Biden in last night’s debate and in recent weeks.. These two aging, macho white males, sort of puffing their chest and throwing out stories that are maybe half-true or not true at all trying to score points on each other is absolutely terrifying.”

    Lying. Why can’t anyone in the media just outright say the word ‘lying’? Lying, lied, lies, lie. I mean, for someone other than just Trump? It’s always something like ‘half-truths’. Biden has been literally lying for months, and the most we get is hesitant kid glove coverage of his deceit.

    1. sj

      Once upon a time (in my foolish youth) I thought Markos was kind of a smart guy. I have been disillusioned over time because of gibberish like this:

      “You said earlier this was sort of a contest between moderates and the Warren/Bernie wing of the party that want bigger changes. It’s not that at all. The question is people who support Biden, don’t support Biden because they want a moderate vision of America. They support Biden because there’s still this preconceived BS notion that being a white male gives you an advantage in a presidential contest.”

      As if Biden was the only white male in the race. So his tacit agreement to avoid the truth when it comes to even talking about the truth is perfectly in character. Plus, that guy can miss the obvious without even blinking.Is his blog still considered influential?

    1. La Peruse

      Australia’s unemployment assistance is the worst in the OECD. The work for the dole scheme is not employment as such, since participants only get $20/fortnight over their entitlement, which has to cover both transport and meals. It is a punitive scheme that comes under the rubric ‘mutual obligation’ that is designed to stigmatise the unemployed, and more importantly, provides ample opportunity to penalise participants and withhold payments for minor infringements. Both major parties in Australia have bought into the ‘dole bludger’ myth, so even though the Reserve Bank thinks 5% unemployment is the correct level for full employment (meaning 1 in 20 workers are structurally out of work at any given time), the government persists in blaming the unemployed for not a having a job and insists that forcing them to live in absolute poverty will somehow improve their character. The name is an oxymoron as is its underlying ideology, ‘compassionate conservatism’, and along with many other examples, include Australia’s offshore concentration camps, shows that at a fundamental level the country is morally bereft.

      1. ChristopherJ

        Thanks La Peruse, about sums it up. Current also are cashless welfare, so you can only spend your card on essentials, no booze, pokies… Pretty popular that one, as is the plan to drug test those on ‘NewStart’ (the dole), even though evidence shows such tests will only be positive around 1 per cent of time.

        Of course, mates’ companies are lining up to provide those services, cards, testing and so on.

        Yes, morally bereft, particularly at the business level. The lie that dole recipients steal money from other programs is pernicious and very effective at driving a wedge between everyone and those living in poverty in the program, forced to apply for 20 jobs a month and work as a slave.

        As our PM says, if they have a go, they’ll get a go. Very sad to witness the change over my lifetime.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think La Peruse and ChristopherJ have said it far more eloquently than I ever could. It is just another punish-the-poor program right out of Victorian times with the added benefit of enriching private companies providing ‘training’ and ‘services’ that have mates in the government. Thanks to the hard right, this is not the country that I grew up in any more.

  5. Stephen V.

    Apologies in Advance if this is duplicate posting!
    Interesting on the issue of Land Tenure (or lack thereof) in the Green New Deal:


    My take: (volunteers only please, not government enforced) Rents should arise from maintenance costs + 10% (I’m feeling generous). Without this relationship to actual costs, we are firmly in bubblelandia.
    What about farms you ask? Since the Farmer is maintaining your land not you, you should be paying him! Ownership per se, is not economically productive only use.

  6. Another Scott

    Warren has already endorsed Markey.


    Markey already has two challengers, the more interesting of which is Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor lawyer who has sued Amazon, Uber, and Lyft. (If you have time read about her case against a Boston-area pizza place called the Upper Crust). Although how a labor lawyer can afford to live in Brookline is a question that I’d like to see her answer.

    Given that Markey proudly takes credit for the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Bernie Sanders (and anyone who considers themselves on the left) should not endorse the sitting senator.

    1. Carolinian

      For those unfamiliar with that beast.


      Here’s the laughingly stated purpose.

      An Act to promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for telecommunications consumers and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies.

      Before the act you could get 30 or so channels of highly regulated cable tv for $20. I believe my brother said his most recent pay television bill was $150. The act wrecked radio. From Wiki:

      The Telecommunications Act was supposed to open the market to more and new radio station ownership, instead, it created an opportunity for a media monopoly. Larger corporations could buy out smaller independent stations, which affected the diversity of music played on air. Instead of DJs and music directors having control of what is played, market researchers and consultants are handling the programming, which lessens the chance of independent artists and local talent being played on air.

      It also helped spur the consolidation that is the cause of so much of our current media groupthink

      The Act was claimed to foster competition. Instead, it continued the historic industry consolidation reducing the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.

  7. Brindle

    re: Sanders Donors…
    Excellent Lambert—managers in retail and food almost have to have a sadistic streak in their personality to do what they do to workers—brow beating and veiled(or not so veiled) threats.

    –“Just to be clear, were not taking about the kind of server you keep in your bathroom, but servers at restaurants and the like. The sort of person you call the manager on”–

    1. Chris Hargens

      I’m constantly getting requests from the Sanders’ campaign for donations. It’s somewhat irritating, but I understand that’s how they have to proceed given that their money comes from small donations.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I’m a monthly donor. And I also get those constant requests. I just treat them as interesting information, and then I delete them.

      2. Geo

        Now we know what it must be like for big dollar donors and their burden of being constantly harassed for donations. It is annoying but until our election system is reformed I’d rather our candidates relentlessly pester us than big dollar donors.

    1. Geo

      No one is perfect. If he didn’t join their little club they’d call him a Marxist.

      “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”

  8. Plenue

    “I’m just super cautious about these people who have these huge goals that are basically unattainable,’ said Brooklyn Clark, an 18-year-old student from Texas.”

    I love how it’s human fictions like this where ‘American Exceptionalism’ falters. Building paved and painted roads connecting every military installation in the country, crossing rivers and mountains and baking hot deserts? We did it. Building secrets cities in our quest to rip the very fabric of the universe apart to create giant explosions? Did it. Rebuilding not just Western Europe but also Japan (in less than twenty years what started as a starving nation of burnt out wooden huts would have a bullet train better than anything the US itself had)? Sending people across three hundred thousand miles of radioactive void to land on a rock, and getting them back alive?

    The United States did all of these things and more. But no, having the government pay everyone’s medical bills, or forgiving debt, that’s ‘basically unattainable’. We can change nature, but can’t do anything about entirely fictional human constructs. Right.

    1. ambrit

      America didn’t help in the rebuilding of England after the War. So, as many have suspected, America, at least, does not consider the UK to be part of Western Europe.

        1. Procopius

          The Marshall Plan was a disguised subsidy to American businesses. Granted, the physical improvements ended up in the European locations, but the profits came to America, because at the time that was where dollars could be spent. I’m not complaining. It was a work of genius and George Catlett Marshall should have statues all over the world.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I’ve always felt that human sacrifice wasn’t so much eliminated as heavily sublimated.

      Maybe an ‘AI’ King of the May would help blow off some steam. But then I remember that the First Law of the Internet is ‘It will probably backfire.’

    1. Wombat

      Wow, Thanks for sharing. Apparently this poll takes a “qualitative” rather than a “quantitative”approach… i.e. tis’ no longer even necessary to use manipulative techniques used for quantitative polling such as reduced sample sizing, p-hacking, selection bias (calling land lines only) and others. Nope, now you can just make it up… straight qualitative-fuzzy goo. Goodness! And the MSM is eating this tripe up, (naturally).

      Seriously though, what the firetruck is a “Qualitative Poll”? Polls are necessarily quantitative.

      A qualitative pollster: “She said Sanders, but I could tell she was feeling Buttigieg.”

  9. Divadab

    Re: New Yorker lying in favor of Warren and against Sanders:

    I’m not sure what happened to the New Yorker, but it used to be an interesting read, good for a two-hour plane trip. Now there are fewer cartoons and not as good, the writing is self-referential to a very narrow in-group, and it’s proving to be yet another arm of the dem propaganda apparatus. Perhaps ‘‘twas ever thus and I’m just more critical, but now the nyorker is a 15 minute read at best and just not worth paying money for, especially not the $8 (!) they charge at the newsstand.

    And frack them for lying in support of yet another crap candidate and against the real deal.

    1. Musicismath

      The double whammy of Remnick and 9/11. The notice of death was those fake Jeffrey Goldberg Iraq WMD stories in 2002 (or, perhaps more accurately, Remnick’s refusal to retract or apologise for them).

    2. Whoamolly

      Same feeling here. Cancelled New Yorker sub a couple years ago. Add recent NYT stumbles and I have to wonder what is going on in East Coast elite minds

  10. Morgan Everett

    Nice to see that Nate Silver is still on his Party Decides kick after having it lead to his spectacular failure to predict Trump in 2016. You’d think that after making the glaringly asinine statement that Trump has a better chance of playing in the NBA finals than winning the nomination he’d have learned to have a hint of doubt about it, but apparently not.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Ah, Nate Silver. Is he ready to start taking his own advice about sticking to statistics over punditry?


      Guess not.

    1. Carey

      Harris’s recent polling numbers in CA make me smile. People are getting savvier.
      They can always rig the primary (again), but..

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      I actually gained a tiny bit of grudging respect for the Kamaleon after reading the Politico piece.

      But in general, I think back to the hollow point cap Trump put in the moon-faced skull of the Bush dynasty*: “Maybe she should be running!”

      In other words, if Team D wants to run a ruthless, savvy, witty, keepin’ it real African American with a track record of getting what he wants, why settle for the apprentice shill? Why not the maestro himself: Willie Brown, 85 years young? He is the Democrats’ Trump.

      [A little tongue-in-cheek here but I’d take him over every Dem except Bernie. The 20% mandarinate would get more than they bargained for with Willie, that’s for sure.]

      * Another out of the box thought here: what if Trump keeled over and died tomorrow, coronary, aneurysm, whatever? Who would Team GOP run in 2020? I just can’t see Pence, even as a lameduck sitting Prez. He’d have to luck into a war or something….

      My guess is ¡Jeb! 2020. “Back from the grave and ready to party!”

  11. JBird404+9

    The data were being sent whether or not the user had a Netflix account. The researchers also found that other smart devices including speakers and cameras were sending user data to dozens of third parties including Spotify and Microsoft.”

    Wait, you don’t need an account for the motherless bastards to spy on you via your camera and speakers? God D—-! Are any new flat screens dumb or all they Big Brother’s little helpers? If businesses can spy on you whether you want it or not, you just know that the police will be right behind them “asking” for the information. Just like with Amazon’s friendly little cameras.

    1. inode_buddha

      Do what I did, create a border around the screen with Duct tape. Drip some nail polish into the mic. Done. I do this on my tablet, and tape over the camera on my phone. I refuse to own a TV.

      1. Oregoncharles

        We have a TV, but it’s far too old to be “smart.” And the camera on my wife’s laptop is taped over; this one doesn’t have one.

        I use the microphones for phone meetings, but could take off the tape when needed.

  12. scoaliera

    Warren has endorsed Ed Markey, and in unambiguous terms, though she’s being careful not to say anything nasty about Kennedy (who has endorsed her).

    For what it may be worth, Markey was the surprise sensation of the Massachusetts state Dem convention last weekend (which was pretty much WarrenCon; even the other leading candidates took what looked like a deliberate decision not to step on the whole Favorite Daughter celebratory business). He spoke last on Saturday morning, when the big-deal speakers were all scheduled, and though Warren had been the speaker before him and there would be a break after him, nobody seemed to be leaving; the hall was filled with Markey signs; and the floor demonstration seemed as loud and fervent for him as it had been for her.

    It may have been a response to Kennedy’s already-obvious decision to run. Which may be playing reasonably well with less tuned-in Massachusetts primary voters (you can tell they’re less tuned in, because they seem to be under the impression that Kennedy’s the progressive/lefty and Markey’s the moderate, which, ha ha), but reactions from the rank and file of the local ward committees and delegates seemed to run the gamut from unenthusiastic to furious.

  13. ewmayer

    “Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to ‘crisis in democracy’ in the US” [The Hill] — Well, she would know, having run perhaps the most effective voter suppression campaign in US history, a.k.a. her 2016 candidacy and nomination-cheating. HRH didn’t happen to say anything about the clear ‘crisis in democracy’ in the 2016 D-primaries, did she? Yah, I thought not – it’s only a crisis when the eevil people do it, when we do it it’s for your own good!

  14. ewmayer

    “Reform of the Gig Economy A Wonderful Thing” [East Bay Express] — On the theme of the rampant poverty in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs, this came across my Reuters newsfeed transom yesterday:

    San Jose moves to ban natural gas in new residential buildings – Reuters

    Fighting global warming, great, but no mention of likely price impacts. Silicon Valley is already a ridiculously expensive place to live, the army of “working poor” which provides the grunt work there can ill afford a further hit in form of much-higher utility bills. If the SJ city council and mayor had in parallel proposed a wealth tax or tax-on-tech to raise money to cover the hit to lower-income residents’ utility bills, I wonder how fierce the pushback from the virtue-signaling monied classes would’ve been.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Tucker Carlson had a guest last night commenting on this clinton screed. He was laughing. “Crisis in democracy?” he asked. “She lost an election. That IS democracy.”

      Kinda hard to argue.

      1. ewmayer

        Katniss, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and surmise that you were intending to reply to my preceding comment, the 19-minutes-past-the-hour one. I’m such a forum-spammer, it’s hard to keep up, I realize. :)

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Silicon Valley held a secret fundraiser for Trump”

    The host’s house was reported to be that of the Sun Microsystems cofounder Scott McNealy? I remember Scott. He is the guy that said twenty years ago: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” And now he is a Trump supporter. OK.

  16. Mark Gisleson

    “As readers know, I don’t put much stock in the individual polls. And state polls are less accurate even than national ones. Still, the narrative that it’s time to stick a form in Sanders does seem a little too transparently self-serving, does it not?”

    Since it’s still not corrected, I’m guessing there must be some stories out there about bureaucrats having it in for Bernie.

    That or you meant fork.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Lately a number of these links have been blank on my laptop browser but then appear on my tablet.

  17. Jeff W

    One more for Drop out, Bernie!

    Announced today, the Sanders campaign has garnered more than one million donors, with 2.5 million overall donations coming in from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

    Don’t these one million donors realize Sanders has lost his mojo? What do they think they’re doing?

      1. Jeff W

        Sweating’s nice and all ;-) but only the nomination matters, really, at this stage. Power trumps emotional gratification—always.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Sanders was never going to be “allowed” the nomination. I think he and the Sanderbackers always knew they would have to take it by force, and that they will only have one single chance to do that ; namely the First Ballot.

            And only one way to do it . . . to join with the Warren forces to very carefully study which of the two ( Warren or Sanders) comes to Convention with more First Ballot voting delegates . . . and then see if the delegates of the one with fewer First Ballot votes can all be convinced to vote unanimously on the First Ballot for the one with more First Ballot votes.

            That is the One Way that either Sanders or Warren can be crammed down the Catfood Democrats’ throat. Without that one desperate gambit, Sanders will never be nominated. And if it is Warren that comes with the more delegates than Sanders, that is the only way Warren would be nominated on First Ballot for sure. Failing that, even an eventual nominee Warren would be very unlikely.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s a whole category on Youtube, with many contributors, some more annoying than others. The malls are less depressing than the houses or a few beautiful churches.

  18. VietnamVet

    “Crash Course” at The New Republic mentions NC in its most excellent rant on the 737 Max disasters and the new world order’s managerial revolution.

    To my mind everything that is going bad; homelessness, opioid crisis, propaganda, environmental disasters, and the forever wars can be traced back to the new order corporations that have usurped government regulation and taxes. Companies have gone rouge exploiting humans and the earth. The arrogance of the Elite encompasses everything; the Houthis are too primitive to extract revenge against the Saudis or Indonesian and Ethiopian pilots can’t fly modern jets.

    The only solution is enforce the RICO laws that are already in place to go after corporations that are killing people.

    1. Carey

      What a strangely flippant tone in that NR piece- I’ve only read the first ten or so paras, and don’t
      take issue with the facts presented so far, but..


      interesting times

    2. polecat

      Not • Gonna • Happen .. when we have unctuous swine for ‘regulators’. It’s totally endemic, coming from Both sides of the R/B divide, and has been in the works for decades ! I’m afraid that the only way that this will be reversed is through an economic collapse of such proportions that the plebs will literally be out for blood of the bureaucratic kind. By then, there may be little left to regulate …

  19. richard

    K. Kulinski comments on a very tasty daily beast story on who/what trump is scared to run against. Three guesses. If you like the kyle voices, he does a perfect centerist trying to sell biden.
    super tiny centrifical voice: “People don’t want to hear about eliminating debt! They want good, clean stories about record players, and people like corn pop…

  20. SlayTheSmaugs

    Re the NY deadline

    I was at a Sanders Plan to Win party tonight. The video was good. We all signed up to make 1 million phone calls between 9/27 and 10/6.

    The calls are for Iowa, NH, SC, NV and NY. Why NY? b/c of the deadline. If we make these calls, it’s a first pass at their entire target list in those early states, and a good chunk of NY calls. As a NYer, I was very grateful to hear that. As someone who has worked on local campaigns, that would be amazing–to try to reach all priority voters in 10 days. And this would be just the first pass.

  21. Summer

    RE: Democratic donor Ed Buck charged with operating drug house after 2 men found dead in home” [Los Angeles Times]. •

    No, he wasn’t arrested after 2 men were found dead in home. He was arrested after a third man barely escaped with his life from the home just this month. Two dead men didn’t prompt them to do a damn thing. Somebody had to live to tell the tale that people have been screaming about for a few years.

  22. Tomonthebeach

    The best thing to come out of today’s Trudeau crucifixion was some pundits off-hand remark that given how short Canadian campaigns are, the blackface scandal could be decisive.

    Then I read Lambert’s mention that there are only 5 more months till the Iowa caucus, and grabbed for the scotch.

  23. Oregoncharles

    ” a theme park, a water park, a ski and snowboard park, an ice rink, an aquarium, a movie theater and a Ferris wheel. Oh, and stores. Hundreds of luxury and designer stores.” • I dunno about this. Eschaton has been making fun of the American Dream mall for years.”

    Not in NJ so wouldn’t know, but I see what might be a very clever move: it’s more of an amusement park than a shopping mall – and it’s close to an enormous number of people. No telling whether they’ll pull it off ($5 billion? Seriously? they better), but it might be a solution to the mall problem.

    And incidentally, if you’re looking for a place to house a lot of homeless people, big deserted malls might fit the bill.

  24. Pat

    Regarding the use of viable, do not discount the self perpetuating bubble. Was at a talk in the UES of NYC last week where probably a third to half the audience laughed when one of the speakers said if “Sanders is the candidate” as in what an absurd idea never going to happen.

    I do have to give a grudging thumbs up to Jake Tapper who jumped in and in a very serious tone looking directly at the audience said “yes, if Sanders is the candidate”. Unfortunately I don’t think it made a dent in the ignorance, but then these are lifelong NY Times readers, not to mention New Yorker readers.

  25. Procopius

    I’m so very tired of the word “terrifying.”

    Me too. When I was 18 I was in the Air Force stationed on Paeng Yong Do, a small island that the truce line takes a jog north when it hits the western coast of Korea to mark as South Korean territory. One night we got word a North Korean ship was spotted by radar heading our way and was presumed to be carrying North Korean troops. We issued weapons and found we did not have enough to go around. I was terrified. I have never been terrified since, but I have been aware of my mortality. I do not think the word means what all these people think it means.

  26. Rebecca

    Re: DSA & Bernie — one thing these conversations often leave out is that DSA is running an independent expenditure (IE) campaign for Bernie. As a 501c(4), DSA chapters are (with rare execeptions) prohibited from coordinating with official campaigns in any way — including sharing data, turf lists, etc. (The same is true of Our Revolution, btw).

    In other words: DSA and OR chapters can’t organize events and canvasses using the BERN app. And none of the data they collect about likely voters, address changes, etc can be shared with the Bernie campaign.

    So running an IE campaign is an incredible responsibility. If you identify likely voters in the months leading up to an election, you better have your act together to get them to polls during GOTV. And it takes tremendous volunteer capacity (and underlying skill/knowledge base) to cut good turf, know how to use VAN, etc. Plus all that work is duplicative of and in parallel to the official campaign — you may end up hitting the same neighborhoods on the same days as the official campaign (which can really irritate voters, getting their doors knocked on twice in the same afternoon) … while other neighborhoods are ignored. Coordinating over this is illegal, so its just a giant guessing game.

    So IMO, if you have limited capacity as a grassroots org, it makes way more sense to encourage members to volunteer with the Sanders campaign directly.

    That doesn’t mean I oppose the DSA IE campaign everywhere. If your chapter has a lot of capacity: say you’re already doing regular M4A canvassing, and have a good data team and experienced canvassers and turf cutters, and can produce your own in-house lit with good messaging (illegal to use Bernie campaign lit) — well then adding in Bernie canvassing could be a great way to expand your list and bring in new people. It especially makes sense if you’ve got a slate of down-ballot candidates to promote.

    But to expect a chapter divert resources from important local initiatives to build up a parallel campaign operation with volunteer labor, in the shadow of a highly resourced operation (thanks to millions of grassroots donations)…. Why not just encourage the members who want to knock on doors to join forces with the official campaign? (Where their efforts are likely to be more impactful thanks to a robust existing infrastructure.)

Comments are closed.