2:00PM Water Cooler 10/1/2019

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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

* * *

2020

Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. Here is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of 10/1/2019, 1:00 PM EDT:

Holy moley, Undecided pulls into the lead! (And how useful this feature is; thank you, dk.) All together, now: “That’s just one poll!” Nevertheless, Reuters/IPSOS is B+ and respected. Power lying in the street, here, if the numbers are correct. And here are the poll results:

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 2019-09-24: These screens are from a revised version that now includes Undecided-Refused, which is in grey.

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): From the chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, of all people:

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Pete Buttigieg Pitches Himself to Moderates as the Biden Alternative” [Bloomberg]. Buttigieg: “‘She and I are after the same goals,’ he said of Warren. ‘But her pitch has a lot more to do with fighting — she’s more interested in the fighting part of it. I’m more interested in outcomes.'” • Ryan Grim: “Power concedes nothing without first being asked politely.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders sets high bar with $25.3 million Q3 haul, Buttigieg falls short of his Q2” [ABC]. • Drop out, Bernie!

Sanders (D)(2): “More money in your pocket”:

Sanders (D)(3): “Ten Recent Democratic Primary Polls Good for Bernie Sanders Ignored by the Conventional Wisdom” [Counterpunch]. “The conventional wisdom for the Democratic Primary right now is that Senator Bernie Sanders is fading while Senator Elizabeth Warren is rising into a two-way race with former Vice-President Joe Biden…. I am a bit loathe to engage in the exercise that follows — that is to highlight the evidence that runs counter to this narrative. While it feels a bit like cherry-picking in the opposite direction, it also just is a necessary counter-weight to a herding instinct that does not adequately describe where the race is currently on average…. Here are ten polls since Debate 3 that show Sanders doing quite well, but that you would have heard hardly anything about if your primary source of information is major newspapers or television news programming.”

Sanders (D)(4): “Sanders aims to fix one of his campaign’s biggest problems: winning older voters” [McClatchy]. “In the coming weeks, the Sanders campaign is planning to address this weakness with a Medicare for All message that’s more tailored to older voters. Campaign aides in Iowa have already drawn up new placards featuring hearing aids and eyeglasses to highlight the benefits of Sanders’ health plan, which has been increasingly assailed by his moderate rivals. They’re also looking to center Sanders’ return trip to Iowa next week around a set of issues designed to resonate with retirees, including pension protection, expanding Social Security and in-home health care. ‘We are telling senior citizens in Iowa and New Hampshire that Medicare is a strong program, we’re going to make it stronger,’ Sanders said. ‘I’m not saying we’re going to win older people by a huge number, but we’re going to do a lot better than we are right now.'”

Trump (R)(1): “Trump cranks up grievance machine” [Politico]. “Donald Trump’s campaign aides expected months ago that Democrats would try to impeach the president — and he needed a way to exploit it. So this summer, Trump 2020 officials spliced news clips of Democrats discussing impeachment into a 90-second video montage, punctuated by the president imploring supporters to help him “stop this nonsense.” Aides quietly filed the spot away until last week, when it was released as part of an online counteroffensive to the impeachment push that brought in 50,000-plus new donors and raked in $8.5 million in two days — the campaign’s biggest digital haul since its June launch.” • Notice how this directly contradicts the “chaos in the White House” talking point (below).

Warren (D)(1): “Grading the Democratic Presidential Candidates on Marijuana: Elizabeth Warren” [Canna Law Blog]. From July, still germane: ” Warren receives a “B+” grade on cannabis. She obviously wants to come across as a long-time advocate for marijuana reform. Despite her claims, however, Warren did not consistently support legalization of marijuana before 2016. Additionally, the statement on Warren’s website regarding marijuana calls for decriminalization, rather than legalization, even though Warren herself has called for legalization. Fortunately, Warren’s recent legislative action surrounding marijuana is promising, indicating Warren would likely reform marijuana laws if elected President.”

Impeachment

“Schiff becomes key Democrat in battle with Trump” [The Hill]. “[T]he unfolding Ukraine controversy has put Schiff and his panel in the driver’s seat on impeachment among congressional panels jockeying for influence.” • “His panel” is the House Intelligence Committee. Pelosi, let us remember, is a member of “The Gang of Eight,” “a set of eight leaders within the United States Congress who are briefed on classified intelligence matters by the executive branch.” One big happy!

“Trump team scrambles to formulate an impeachment plan” [Politico]. “White House has yet to converge on any single plan, strategy or even unified messaging to fight back. All the talk about setting up a so-called war room inside the West Wing, similar to the approach of the Clinton White House, has gone nowhere.” • Maybe. But we hear this over and over again, and then it turns out that Jared Kushner organized a digital operation nobody knew about, or two obscure lawyers are controlling Trump’s RussiaGate defense (and did very well). Chaos is a ladder. And a smokescreen, too.

2019

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Next Big Effort: Tackling Poverty” [New York Times]. “[H]er anti-poverty initiative, ‘A Just Society,’ is six fully formed bills, written in legislative language — another sign of serious legislative intent…. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged the package’s ambitions. ‘I don’t think there’s any shortage of obstacles that we have ahead of us, but I don’t think that we not do things just because they’re hard,’ she said. ‘In fact, sometimes the hard things to do are the most worthwhile.'” • So often, the hard things are nice things for working people. Odd.

Health Care

“The false choice over “Medicare for All”” [Randi Weingarten, Politico]. • Union bosses against #MedicareForAll should be a PAC.

“One Member/One Vote: Health Care Workers Show How To Endorse, Democratically” [Counterpunch]. “As Labor Notes just reported, this top-down approach is increasingly controversial, particularly among Bernie Sanders supporters who were not consulted about their unions’ ill-fated embrace of Hillary Clinton three years ago. To avoid being by-passed again, some union activists are demanding a bigger say in 2020 presidential primary endorsements. Now, thanks to the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), they have a good working model for making candidate endorsements more democratic, by opening up the process to all members.” • Crazy talk. Obviously, the “leadership” should have superdelegate-like powers, following in the footsteps of the Working Families Party. Big-D Democratic Centralism, as it were.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Vast majority of the 180,000 Ohio voters purged because they didn’t vote” [Columbus Dispatch]. “Most of the voter registrations purged from Ohio’s rolls were canceled under the more controversial “supplemental process” that eliminates registrations for those who have not cast a ballot for six years, a Dispatch analysis of data from 88 county boards of elections shows. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office said those registrations could be duplicates, belong to deceased voters or those who have moved but didn’t notify the U.S. Postal Service. But voting rights advocates say it shows flaws in the system, which can sweep up eligible voters among those who should be canceled.” • Six years? 2019 – 6 = 2013, i.e., a voter who — for some reason, I just can’t imagine why! — dropped out during the second Obama administration. This is going to make it harder for Sanders, who has staked a lot on bringing non-voters back into the system. Nice work, Frank!

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index, Seotember 2019: “[N]ear stagnant conditions but a little less stagnant than prior readings” [Econoday]. “The best news is an upturn in new orders that, however, is centered entirely in domestic markets as exports sales fell at one of the very sharpest rates of the last five years…. The report describes the sample’s confidence as ‘gloomy’, hiring as ‘tentative’, and inflation pressures ‘subdued.'”

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, September 2019: “Contraction in export orders is severe and is pulling composite activity for ISM manufacturing’s sample under water” [Econoday]. “Total new orders in September’s report are… below breakeven… to indicate outright monthly contraction. Backlog orders… have been in contraction for this sample since May, and evaporating backlogs are not a positive signal for employment… Other details include flat price pressures for inputs, contraction in inventories, and improvement in delivery times — all consistent with a sample that is sinking. This report is very closely watched, whether among policy makers or among US manufacturers themselves who frequently cite it in their own statements and forecasts. Slowing in global trade has hit this sample hard and confirms the concerns at the Federal Reserve which started its move to rate cuts in July citing the risk that slowing global demand would specifically hurt US manufacturers.”

Construction Spending, August 2019: “consensus range though just barely” [Econoday]. “Yet this report, especially what it indicates for housing, is a positive, suggesting that low mortgages together with strong employment are setting up housing for a late-year rally.”

Commodities: “Global ambitions for electric vehicles appear to be racing far ahead of the raw materials production need to keep the cars moving. Supplies of the nickel that is a key ingredient in electric-vehicle batteries are running short… and pipelines for new output are thin after years of low prices stalled mining investment” [Wall Street Journal]. “AlixPartners estimates auto makers will launch more than 200 plug-in electric vehicles through 2023, but the technology drive remains linked to the fundamentals of commodity production. The ore commonly used to produce nickel is mined in only a handful of places, many of them politically or operationally challenging. BHP Group Ltd. is investing in production, and has lined up Asian buyers for the launch of a large nickel-sulfate plant next year. But betting on demand in mining is a tough business, especially for a niche commodity that isn’t easily priced or hedged.” • Hmm….

Commodities: “The American shale boom appears to be cooling down at just the wrong time. Growth in U.S. oil production is slowing as output from new shale wells slows…just as shale’s importance in global markets is reaching new highs following an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure” [Wall Street Journal]. “The latest reports from the oil patch suggest there are limits to the shale innovations that have helped overhaul international energy markets. Slowing shale growth this year is driven at least partly by core operational issues rather than concerns over pricing, with new wells producing less than expected.”

Real Estate: “[Blackstone Group Inc.] is buying a clutch of U.S. industrial sites from Colony Capital Inc. in a $5.9 billion deal… extending Blackstone’s substantial bet on the growth of e-commerce. The acquisition solidifies Blackstone’s role as a major financial force behind the logistics market, following its $18.7 billion deal in June to buy the U.S. warehouses of Singapore-based GLP and last week’s move to create a separate business in Europe for ‘last-mile logistics’ properties [Wall Street Journal]. “The latest buy is the result of two firms going in different strategic directions in infrastructure. While Blackstone is expanding its place in the changing business of moving goods, Colony is pivoting away from traditional industrial real estate toward digital infrastructure such as data centers and fiber-optic networks.”

Tech: “AI used for first time in job interviews in UK to find best applicants” [Telegraph]. • Tech bros reinvent phrenology.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 49 Neutral (previous close: 54, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 54 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 1 at 12:29pm.

The Biosphere

“Cows Burp Out Tons of Methane. Feeding Them Seaweed Could Help” [Discover]. “[C]ow burps, (not farts, as often believed), release a considerable amount of methane into the atmosphere. The EPA estimates that cows and other ruminating animals, like cows and sheep, produce an estimated one third of U.S. agricultural methane emissions. And although agriculture accounts for a smaller percentage of greenhouse gas production than other sectors like transportation and energy, it produces more methane, which warms the Earth up to 84 times faster than CO2. ‘People have been looking for a way to reduce methane for quite some time,’ [UC Davis researcher Breanna] Roque says. It turns out seaweed, particularly A. taxiformis, can help ruminating animals produce less gas.”

“Antibiotic resistance: researchers have directly proven that bacteria can change shape inside humans to avoid antibiotics” [The Conversation]. “We have directly shown that bacteria can ‘change shape’ in the human body to avoid being targeted by antibiotics – a process that requires no genetic changes for the bacteria to continue growing. Virtually all bacteria are surrounded by a structure called the cell wall. The wall is like a thick jacket which protects against environmental stresses and prevents the cell from bursting. It gives bacteria a regular shape (for example, a rod or a sphere), and helps them divide efficiently. Human cells don’t possess a cell wall (or ‘jacket’). Because of this, it’s easy for the human immune system to recognise bacteria as an enemy because its cell wall is noticeably different. And, because the cell wall exists in bacteria but not in humans, it’s an excellent target for some of our best and most commonly used antibiotics, such as penicillin. In other words, antibiotics targeting the wall can kill bacteria without harming us…. Our battle with bacteria is ongoing. As we come up with new strategies to fight them, they come up with ways to fight back.”

“Cooking shapes the structure and function of the gut microbiome” [Nature]. “we show that a plant diet served raw versus cooked reshapes the murine gut microbiome, with effects attributable to improvements in starch digestibility and degradation of plant-derived compounds. Shifts in the gut microbiota modulated host energy status, applied across multiple starch-rich plants, and were detectable in humans. Thus, diet-driven host–microbial interactions depend on the food as well as its form. Because cooking is human-specific, ubiquitous and ancient6,7, our results prompt the hypothesis that humans and our microbiomes co-evolved under unique cooking-related pressures.” • We don’t know anything, do we? (I find that hopeful.)This study is super-neat. And just imagine what processed food is doing to our gut microbiota. Sure, we can adapt (over time) but do we want to?

Water

“U.S. mining sites dump millions of gallons of toxic waste into drinking water sources” [Chicago Tribune]. “Every day many millions of gallons of water loaded with arsenic, lead and other toxic metals flow from some of the most contaminated mining sites in the U.S. and into surrounding streams and ponds without being treated, The Associated Press has found. That torrent is poisoning aquatic life and tainting drinking water sources in Montana, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and at least five other states. The pollution is a legacy of how the mining industry was allowed to operate in the U.S. for more than a century. Companies that built mines for silver, lead, gold and other “hardrock” minerals could move on once they were no longer profitable, leaving behind tainted water that still leaks out of the mines or is cleaned up at taxpayer expense. Using data from public records requests and independent researchers, the AP examined 43 mining sites under federal oversight, some containing dozens or even hundreds of individual mines.”

Guillotine Watch

Today is my day to be kind, so….

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Why Underachievers Dominate Secret Police Organizations: Evidence from Autocratic Argentina” [American Journal of Political Science]. ” Low‐performing officials in hierarchical organizations have little chance of being promoted or filling lucrative positions. To salvage their careers, these officials are willing to undertake burdensome secret police work. Using data on all 4,287 officers who served in autocratic Argentina (1975–83), we study biographic differences between secret police agents and the entire recruitment pool. We find that low‐achieving officers were stuck within the regime hierarchy, threatened with discharge, and thus more likely to join the secret police for future benefits. The study demonstrates how state bureaucracies breed mundane career concerns that produce willing enforcers and cement violent regimes. This has implications for the understanding of autocratic consolidation and democratic breakdown.” • Interesting, but with no obvious contemporary relevance.

Class Warfare

“Harvard’s Affirmative Action for Rich Whites Exposes Myth of Meritocracy” [New York Magazine]. “Last week, three economists unearthed one stunning fact hiding within that data: Between 2009 and 2014, 43 percent of the white students admitted to Harvard were either athletes, legacies, faculty kids, or the offspring of major donors. And white students with these characteristics were held to a decidedly less-demanding standard than those who lacked them: Roughly three-quarters of these applicants would have been rejected, had they lacked athletic skills or connections, according to the economists’ analysis. Critically, athletic admissions often function as a proxy for familial wealth and/or connections.” • “Athletic” admissions….” So, optimizing for elites — with brain damage? That explains a lot.

“The Shaw Family Admission Plan: One Wall Street billionaire and the ultimate college hedge.” [New York Magazine]. “[Wall Street billionaire David E. Shaw] has even devised a model to protect his family from the possibility of loss or disappointment (what some might call the stuff of life itself) in that most uncertain of contemporary futures markets — namely, the college-admissions process. Like other couples of ample means, Shaw and his wife, financial journalist Beth Kobliner, have sent their three children to an elite prep school, supported them with hyperqualified nannies and tutors, and encouraged their extracurricular interests. But while the typical snowplow parent quietly eliminates potential obstacles by clearing the road ahead, Shaw and Kobliner have seemingly bulldozed an entire mountain. Even though their children were by all accounts excellent students, the Shaws pursued a remarkably elaborate and expensive pattern of philanthropy to seven of the most renowned universities in the country.” •

News of the Wired

“Borges’s mirror” [The New Criterion]. “‘In the hallway there is a mirror which faithfully duplicates all appearances’: the author invites us to consider the implications of this mirror, from which ‘men usually infer . . . that the Library is not infinite (if it really were, why this illusory duplication)?'” • It’s too bad Borges never encountered Twitter. Or Instagram influencers…

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral 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 (petal):

Fungi are honorary plants. Now, how about some coral?

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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.

159 comments

  1. Roquentin

    I did Google News for a few minutes this morning and saw this story on AOL about Giuliani, but the shocking thing was it reported Biden’s involvement in Ukraine as “unfounded claims about the Biden family, Trump’s 2016 political rival Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.” (https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/10/01/rudy-giuliani-laughs-at-subpoena-on-fox-news-they-seem-to-forget-that-im-a-lawyer/23824337/) . I really wish I were making this up. I guess it really sunk in that most of the liberal media outlets are just as venal and sleazy as Fox News.

    II should be an easy sell for the Democratic party. I dutifully voted for them in ever single election since I turned 18, with only a small handful of exceptions. But I look at this Ukrainegate stuff and I almost can’t control the contempt and spleen. I always think, “If I’m feeling this way, image what someone with right-of-center politics is feeling.” It can’t be good. I just don’t think Dems really grasp how widely they are hated, much more widely than most people think.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Communication is key. The absence of strong regional and “legitimate” news sources is problematic as not towing the party line means a news person is looking at driving for Uber.

      Atrios dwells in the shadows of Philadelphia while the person I assume is his archenemy is free to spew garbage at the NYT whenever he feels like making up a story about taking a cab, Tom Friedman. People might be disassociated from Team Blue, but I don’t think they have a clear understanding of why they should be mad. Even recently, I’ve seen people question “what happened to Pelosi.” They simply had no idea she was a clown the first time because its not on the front page of the NYT.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        Speaking of Fox News, yesterday (Monday Sept 30), Tucker Carlson hinted at the US’ Maidan op in Ukraine and asked, “why can’t we have peace with Russia?” He also questioned the US’ weapons shipment to Ukraine, used in the US proxy war with Russia:

        “How did the president jeopardize our national security? By delaying, they say, military aid to Ukraine. That jeopardizes our national security. Uh-huh.

        Yes. If anything jeopardizes our national security, it’s sending — mindlessly sending — military aid to Ukraine in order to antagonize Russia. What do we get out of that? Quick – what’s the answer? Oh, there is no answer? Right. We don’t get anything out of it — at all.

        But of course, no one in the press pauses for 30 seconds to question the core story at the bottom of this, which is we’re sending close to half a billion dollars in military aid to Ukraine because, why? Because a couple of neocons think we should. Please.

        But while we’re at it, by the way, another thing that puts our national security at risk – for real – is when you make it impossible for the president – any president – to have private conversations with his counterparts in other countries, with other foreign leaders. Remember, the closest the world ever came to nuclear war was in 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. How did that end? How did it deescalate?

        Well, it ended when our president reached a deal with the Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev secretly. They made concessions to one another secretly. They couldn’t have done it in any other way.

        If there were self-righteous leakers around in 1962, the world would have blown up. That’s probably not an overstatement. So it’s a huge problem if this president or any president can’t proceed with the expectations that his phone calls, the core of his job, will remain private.”

        https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-trump-ukraine-national-security-biden

        Yes, Carlson hosts a myriad of unsavory characters and sometimes makes outrageous statements.

        But is there any other MSM pundit who dares expose the crux Ukraine-gate (the CIA Obama Nuland Maidan op and the US proxy war with Russia)

        Otherwise—-

        Today, the memes on Twitter are that Trump helped Putin take over eastern Ukraine because the media is reporting Zelensky is contemplating a plan to end the Donbass / Donetsk war.

        https://twitter.com/yashalevine/status/1179166712379379713?s=20

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Even stranger than you think. In opposition to the Washington establishment and the main stream media and their demands for war, Trump is often the peace candidate.

            Reply
            1. jsn

              One party says we can only end permawar by ending LGBT rights, the other that we must continue to fight permawar to preserve LGBT rights.

              At least they both agree that with more racial and ethnic minorities in formal positions of power we can continue to ignore or exploit all remaining such minorities.

              If Trump weren’t the burn the planet for progress candidate, I could get behind his shameless peace mongering!

              Reply
    2. Lee

      I’ve heard the “unfounded claims” term used similarly more than once on NPR and PBS.

      Also, I’ve posted a couple of times on Daily Kos about the bipartisan persecution of whistleblowers. These postings are so far studiously ignored. With a few exceptions they are a morally bankrupt lot.

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        it is sickening the way they talk about Trump and the need to protect whistle blowers with Snowden and Assange hanging in the wind and Chelsea Manning locked up.

        No shame. btw excellent 2-part interview of Snowden on Democracy Now. The second part where he talks about where the real threat of authoritarianism comes from is MUST LISTENING.

        Reply
        1. TroyIA

          Whenever sometime starts to mention Trump and the need to protect whistleblowers I like to point this out –

          As for Obama’s record, here’s what history will show: In his eight years in office, the Obama Justice Department spearheaded eight Espionage Act prosecutions, more than all US administrations combined. Journalists were also caught in the crosshairs: Investigators sought phone records for Associated Press journalists, threatened to jail an investigative reporter for The New York Times, and named a Fox News reporter a co-conspirator in a leak case. In Texas, a journalist investigating private defense contractors became the focus of a federal prosecution and was initially charged for sharing a hyperlink containing hacked information that had already been made public. . .

          The Obama administration has deployed the Espionage Act against whistleblowers with such devastating effect that it punishes leakers who believe they’re acting in the public good and creates a chilling effect from national security agencies on down—a show of force that may make potential whistleblowers to think twice about disclosing information, according to rights groups and whistleblower advocates.

          “The Obama administration has presided over the most draconian crackdown on national security and intelligence community whistleblowers in US history,” said Jesselyn Radack, a whistleblower herself and a national security attorney, at an event last February in Washington, D.C. to support the imprisoned whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, a lawyer and former CIA employee. “The Justice Department has used the antiquated Espionage Act as a bludgeon to threaten, intimidate, silence and imprison whistleblowers for allegedly mishandling classified information.”

          Obama’s Legacy: A Historic War On Whistleblowers

          Reply
      2. Roquentin

        I am at least somewhat skeptical that this was a “whistleblower” so much as an intentional leak from the CIA in an effort to unseat Trump. Even a glance at the track record of how establishment political and media figures have treated genuine whistleblowers such as Assange or Snowden makes their sudden enthusiasm suspect. It certainly doesn’t seem to me, at least on the surface, that this is an instance of someone bravely defying internal corruption within the CIA or some such thing.

        I also really, really don’t like the long term implications of the CIA basically pulling off a coup in the US, the same as they have in so many other places. It’s not surprising, and neither is the liberal enthusiasm for it, but it’s a bad omen just the same. They’ve let their hatred of Trump and the humiliating sting of being beaten by him destroy their critical thinking skills.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth Burton

          I smelled the proverbial rodent the minute I read the “whistleblower” “leaked” to the Washington Post, that bastion of journalism ethics that has yet to acknowledge its owner has a $600 million contract with the CIA when reporting on matters related to that agency. Then there was a follow-up from Voice of America, another well-regarded mouthpiece for the CIA supporting the report. All it took was the name of Joe Biden and suddenly it was no longer politically inexpedient for the Democrats to launch impeachment.

          Ptui! I’m sick and tired of being taken for an idiot.

          Reply
        2. InquiringMind

          Assange and Snowden are outlaw whistleblowers whereas this most recent one was following a law designed to protect the process.

          So whatever you think about the quality and end result of their information, the process is, in part at least, what is getting this recent whistleblower different treatment. He followed the law…which is going to be important to lawmakers.

          Also, there is evidence that he was ‘selected’ to be the whistleblower because of the very fact that he is part of the intelligence complex. The law used in this instance was created to open an avenue for intelligence operatives to reveal wrongdoing in the intelligence world. White House staff don’t have such an avenue. They’d have to do it the old-fashioned way and meet up with a reporter in a dive bar somewhere. The deal here is that the staffers knew that the CIA guy could pass the information under this protected avenue, hence the reason why he didn’t have first-hand knowledge of the specific calls. He’s a messenger more than a whistleblower.

          Of course, if everything that happens is either a CIA conspiracy or CIA counter-conspiracy, then, yeah, we’re all f’d.

          Reply
      3. Craig H.

        On the BBC article about the Houthi capture of three Saudi brigades today 3/4 of the article is throwing feces at the reliability of the report.

        At least it is so obvious who they are rooting for that only the most ignorant 5% ain’t gonna pick it up.

        Reply
        1. Drake

          I had a different reaction. I was quite gratified to read a news story that actually tried to establish the accuracy and trustworthiness of the available data. I had nearly forgotten that journalists are supposed to do that sort of thing for all stories, as opposed to taking dictation and making stuff up.

          Reply
    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      can’t remember where I read this, or it might have been a BBC interview, but the gist was that the prosecutor Biden wanted out really was thoroughly corrupt do-nothing, and not just the US but many in Ukraine wanted him gone. Ousting him would have made it more, not less, likely that if Biden jr’s company was corrupt it would be identified and prosecuted.

      Reply
      1. ForFawkesSakes

        I think it’s odd that a source for this claim of Biden fighting corruption can’t be produced, however the sources which review the dubious qualifications of Messrs. Biden & Heinz (Kerry’s son) to be appointed as Board Members for Burisma, while sparse, can easily be found.

        I would love to believe Biden was operating in good faith, but he doesn’t have a record of ever acting in good faith, so why should this instance be any different?

        Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Consider the source. Omidyar, who invested in Ukraine regime change according to Mark Ames, has been trying to swat away Biden gate corruption charges.

            Reply
      2. kiwi

        Of course that is the reason Biden and Clinton disliked the guy. Because he was oh-so-corrupt himself!!

        As if Biden and Clinton are pure as the driven snow……

        Reply
      3. chuck roast

        …but, the prosecutor may have been sitting on the case because his crew was happily squeezing Junior and Archer. The old man may have wanted to to get his “solid guy” in as the new prosecutor to quietly close the case and end the grift.

        Reply
      4. Oregoncharles

        I think that was Mackey in the Intercept. They’ve been generally on the other side on that issue.

        However, if it’s true that the fired prosecutor was a do-nothing (as well as a Russia advocate – so that Ukrainian issue makes interpretation even more difficult), then how is it bad tthat Trump was asking for the investigation be re-opened?

        Both sides can be at least partly right.

        Reply
      5. ewmayer

        The Hill‘s John Solomon details the evolution of the counter-narrative you describe in his latest article:

        “Biden has faced scrutiny since December 2015, when the New York Times published a story noting that Burisma hired Hunter Biden just weeks after the vice president was asked by President Obama to oversee U.S.-Ukraine relations. That story also alerted Biden’s office that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin had an active investigation of Burisma and its founder.

        Documents I obtained this year detail an effort to change the narrative after the Times story about Hunter Biden, with the help of the Obama State Department…”

        Reply
    4. Titus

      How widely they are hated? based on what? Gore won. H. Clinton won. The House just took back control. Up to 24 dem governors, with 27 state capitals under control. Last election, here in Mi. we made dope legal, raised the min. Wage to $15 including restaurant workers. Here in Michigan we have gone on strike, sued the leaders of the UAW because we don’t just want money we want what’s right. I got asked at my grocery store yesterday if I wanted to donate to a food bank for the UAW. Way cool. And, I know the owner is is a republican, like Lincoln.

      News flash – trump raised $56 apiece from the k***, er ‘his’ base. Beer money for a week. I don’t care about the legacy media. I don’t care about fox. Giuliani should go back to his coffin – where the dirt is. Here’s what folks in these part want: money to live on, decently. Straightforward healthcare. Lower college tuition – kinda thing a summer job can take care of. A stop to housing speculators, like black-rock. Protect the environment and go carbon neutral. Trumps toast anyway. Neolib promised us many things, they broke all their promises but one, they promised to take every last cent and they did.

      Reply
      1. Roquentin

        Oh, I agree completely about what people actually want and support nearly everything you mentioned, but the mistake is thinking that the Democratic party, at least at the national level, wants those things too. If anything, these scandals are a way to distract everyone from that sort of Sanders-style social democratic politics.

        Reply
      2. anon in so cal

        Here’s a summary of Obama’s two terms:

        “….The reality, however, is that Obama’s presidency was a sordid compendium of reactionary policies that barely deviated from those of his predecessors or his successor. The attempt to characterize Trump as an aberration obscures the fact Obama’s legacy is one of death and destruction abroad, and austerity and graft at home. Far from representing the beginning of the imperialist spread of tooth-and-nail neoliberalism across the globe, the transition from Obama to Trump is more akin to ripping off the mask that obscured the hideous face of the monster beneath…..”

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/08/20/bidens-association-with-obamas-toxic-legacy/

        Reply
      3. Big River Bandido

        I must object to the idea that “Hillary won”. I suppose if you look at the national popular vote, she won. But so what? Her entire margin of “victory” came from a single, corrupt, politically dysfunctional, one-party machine state (California) whose politics and politicians are despised by huge numbers of people who live in places not shown on the cover of The New Yorker. Take California out of the result (or more realistically, look at it the way a presidential politician *should* given the rules), and Clinton did horribly — it’s especially obvious in states a Democrat cannot get to the White House without (WI, IA, MI, PA, etc.). Clinton damn near lost in *Minnesota*, for Chrissake. Even John Kerry drew more votes throughout the country as a whole.

        As for the House…the “Democrats” just aren’t likely to hold on to it for long. That which is gained by false pretenses (pretending to be “progressive”) is usually quickly lost, after just one or two cycles. (Who remembers Bill Owens, Heath Schuler, or Patrick Murphy? And who cares, considering what toads they all were?)

        Impeachment will only make things worse for the Democrats.

        Reply
        1. Drake

          Agreed. The “Hillary Won” thing was idiotic in 2016 and still is. What constitutes a victory was laid out in the Constitution and we’ve been doing it that way for nearly 250 years. Trump won.

          Football teams don’t win based on time of possession. Chess isn’t based on who has more pawns at the end. You don’t get to change the rules to “whatever lets my team win.”

          Reply
    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Every year we have an art fair in my college town. There is a space for political and non-profit booths. Over the past 20 or so years I have found the Republicans at their little booth interesting and fun to talk to, however wrong they may be about this or that. Whereas I have found the Democrats at their little booth to be boring irritating little Hasbarists for whatever Clinton, Obama, Biden, Pelosi, or whatever other Catfood Democrat has its hands on the control panels to whatever Brain Implants the Democrats at their little booths may be wearing.

      As people, the Democrats I meet at the little booths are disgusting and dispiriting specimens, and sometimes quite hateful as well.

      Reply
  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: the polling, and it is one.

    The youth and cell phone situation are one thing, and I suspect results will be very different from polling without changing minds. My guess is the polls are tracking the early parts of the cycle for the candidates. On the surface, Warren suffers from the same problem Sanders has for a shallower Democrat blinded by Third Way propaganda: “can she win from a blue state like Taxachusetts?” and her age.

    Sitting out 2016 probably hurt her more than people realized. She didn’t fight when she needed to. Now she wants to be President when its an easier path.

    It might even be similar to the GOP shopping in 2012 when the anti-Romney forces were left to find a unifying figure they didn’t really have.

    I also sense there is a voting bloc eager to put the Clinton-Obama and Clinton-Sanders feuds behind them by finding a figure who will make young people think old people are cool again, ignoring young people have never once in history thought old people were cool. Whether its Mayor Pete, Beto and his hackey sack (the kids will love him), Kamala Harris because she lied about smoking pot while listening to Tupac in college, and Biden because he knows Barack Obama, professional “kool cat.” See my crazy spelling? Its about the millennials!

    For the “I’ve got mine crowd” (outside the rich, but people who are an emergency away), healthcare and JAWBS isn’t an immediate concern whereas a desire to return to an era where Pelosi can sassy clap Trump away is a goal.

    As for Warren, she can sell plans, but her baby is the CFPB. How did it stop Wells Fargo?

    Reply
    1. Dan

      Please note:

      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/01/kamala-harris-tells-big-lie-2012-mortgage-settlement-good-deal-homeowners.html

      “A former Wells Fargo executive who defended the bank during its massive fake accounts scandal is hosting a fundraiser for Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign on Saturday, according to an invitation obtained by HuffPost.”

      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kamala-harris-wells-fargo-miguel-bustos_n_5d1545fde4b07f6ca57ab47e

      Reply
    2. Hepativore

      I do not think that young people do not think that “old” people are uncool, just that they are tired of being talked down to or ignored by previous generations when said previous generations have had things and opportunities in life that “generation-X and “millennials” after them have never had access to. The only people who seem to care about Sanders age are his political opponents, such as the Clinton/Obama/Pelosi Democrats.

      As Warren has now exposed several areas where she is very vulnerable, Sanders and his campaign needs to start laying the groundwork to deal with Warren. I know that he has been holding back because of Biden’s lead, but Warren should not be taken too lightly. Many casual political observers seem to think that Sanders and Warren are interchangeable in terms of their policies. This is far from the case of course, but Sanders has his work cut out for him in this regard.

      At best, Warren is diet Sanders with two X chromosomes. At worst, Warren increasingly seems like another neoliberal in progressive clothing. In any case, regardless of her policies, she seems like she will follow the path of least political resistance depending on the attitudes of her cohorts regardless of her stated positions.

      Reply
    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Warren had barely announced her candidacy before she hied off to CAP and chatted with Neera Tanden, Stacy Abrams, et al. Within a week her media coverage went from barely polite to glowing praise of her “progressive” plans.

      Since then, she’s met with Wall Streeters, and spent quality time with Hillary Clinton. She says things that would have any other candidate being laughed out of the room, and the MSM not only ignore it but ramp up the praise when they aren’t attacking women who refuse to vote for someone on the basis of their genitalia for being “sexist”. That last, btw, came on the heels of a Twitter campaign called #womenforbernie.

      The candidate people need to stop obsessing over is Biden. His job is to hold on to the votes of all those older people, and the low-info straight-ticket voters to draw them away from Sanders. Meantime, the media used cooked polls to make it appear their opinion Sanders is tanking is based on actual data. The most recent was an alleged poll of 586 college students, exactly campus unspecified, who were all in for Warren.

      The only way the Democrats can stop Bernie Sanders is the same way they did last time—cheat. Or worse. Many of us old people for Bernie still remember June 1968, and lie awake nights waiting for a “crazed lone gunman” to murder hope for the people again.

      Reply
    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      How was CFPB supposed to stop Wells Fargo when the President and the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury were all friends of Wells Fargo?

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its not. Its more a case of how its been presented. Its more than HRC’s post office and work with Joe Lieberman and Tipper Gore to make sure parents didn’t buy rap music (which predominantly produced by African Americans; i’m sure it was merely a coincedence). Our problems aren’t going to be fixed with fines.

        Why this is a problem for Warren is the CFPB has never really had the bailiwick and power to protect “consumers” (it should be citizens or just people).

        Reply
  3. Henry Moon Pie

    “Global ambitions for electric vehicles appear to be racing far ahead of the raw materials production need to keep the cars moving. Supplies of the nickel that is a key ingredient in electric-vehicle batteries are running short… and pipelines for new output are thin after years of low prices stalled mining investment”

    Can you hear the Earth groan?

    Reply
    1. Phacops

      And, funny how the carbon cost of all this mining and refining (including production and use of mining equipment, refineries/foundries, and the energy to run them) is never captured for what amounts to batteries and machines that are near impossible to recycle at end of life.

      The only sustainable solutions of degrowth and depopulation are never considered.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If you can suggest a “no Jackpot” way of “soft depopulation”, you might receive a hearing.

        Especially if you can suggest a de-wealthing and a de-consumption initiative against the Upper Classes and the Overclass.

        Reply
      2. Chris

        I had a terrifying conversation with another person last weekend, where this individual told me they put their faith in Darwin and too many people were being protected from their own stupidity. That if we stopped making it hard to smoke or drive while drunk, we’d quickly thin the population down to those who can contribute to society.

        After I swallowed my bile I mentioned that the reason we enforce things like DWIs is because a lone drunk at home is not necessarily a problem but a drunk behind the wheel can kill several people who you wouldn’t want dead. Inwardly I also thought of all the stupid things I’ve done in life and how if someone took a snapshot in time I might not make the cut of being a worthy person.

        I don’t think anyone will ever be able to successfully argue for regrowth or depopulation. I think we’ll be left with Mother Nature’s remedies for any animal population that grows beyond its ability to feed and sustain everyone: Famine and Plague. I have no doubt Death and War will be involved too. Especially after the plague.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          You were also dealing with someone who is obviously operating from a severe misconception of Darwin and evolution by natural selection so don’t feel bad if you think you didn’t have much effect on their thinking.

          Reply
          1. Drake

            Yeah, like, if someone can reproduce before dying from lung cancer or drunk driving then evolution doesn’t really come into play. But it’s gratifying that he at least believes in evolution, if only enough to think it will kill off everyone he disdains.

            Reply
        2. Blowncue

          Rather than Darwin I think this individual has put his or her faith into Ayn Rand. Or a kind of social Darwinism that as you have highlighted ignores exponential damage to the community that surrounds the addict.

          Also the argument is unsound. A policy of acquiescence, or so-called benign neglect will not produce a residual population that is stronger or somehow more evolved.

          Even if I indulge the argument that eventually the residual homosapien descendant would be impervious to addiction, the time required to arrive at that feature would be, what, a thousand years, ten thousand years?

          Addiction is not a function of stupidity, nor is it a marker of subpar character. Ulysses S. Grant was a brilliant general. Tennessee Williams, a brilliant playwright.

          It is a disease. Many addicts self-medicate because of prior trauma.

          Successive generations do not become less vulnerable to the consequences of deleterious diet and lifestyle. Mainland Chinese do not get evolutionary credit with which to purchase avoidance of the negative health consequences of leaving behind a plant-based diet. I’m not less susceptible to alcoholism if I leave behind a strict kosher lifestyle that is light on consumption of alcohol.

          Reply
          1. Blowncue

            The key determinant is the choice made by a community. Consider the oft singled out African village who cannot bear the thought of not touching the deceased kin who died of Ebola. We shake our head at such ignorance.

            Meanwhile how many Americans died from gun violence per year? Who is more ignorant? Do we not have minds that cling as violently to paths that lead to our destruction?

            Reply
  4. Quite Likely

    Does that Dem Primary Polling chart have a home somewhere online besides this site? It is indeed an interesting project and I’d like to see some more of the details. In particular I don’t see that huge plunge for Biden or Sanders passing Warren in the recent results elsewhere.

    Reply
    1. Tim

      Did the prior polls come out after the Ukraine call and impeachment thing really got going?

      The change between Biden and undecided are proportional.

      There is a strong chance people are looking harder at Biden and backing off rapidly like “whoa this dude is not who I want,” which would lead them to be undecided in the short term rather than “Oh, I changed my mind and now I like so and so.”

      Pushed off team Biden rather than pulled away by somebody else so to speak. We’ll have to wait and see with additional polls though.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More undecided now – it’s not due to Hillary ‘running again,’ is it?

        I read about the new candidate somwhere today.

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          During the NFL games this weekend, they were pumping HRC and Chelsea’s appearance on one of the not so late shows. My spidey senses were short circuiting.

          Reply
  5. dearieme

    “Grading the Democratic Presidential Candidates on Marijuana: Elizabeth Warren”

    FDR ran on a platform of preserving Prohibition.

    “Cows Burp Out Tons of Methane. Feeding Them Seaweed Could Help”

    Then eat lamb from the Orkney island where the sheep are penned out of the fields so that they eat seaweed on the beach. Because otherwise you face a haulage problem.

    As we come up with new strategies to fight them, they come up with ways to fight back.

    Darwin was right: world reels in astonishment.

    just imagine what processed food is doing to our gut microbiota

    That would be easier if the media would report a scientific definition of processed food (and, indeed, ultraprocessed food). Come to think of it, if they want to stigmatise certain foods shouldn’t they refer to them as neoprocessed foods? That should do the trick.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      FDR and the Democrats ran on a wet platform in 1932. Repeal was one of the first things that got done in 1933. “America needs a beer,” Roosevelt said.

      Reply
        1. skippy

          Not that the Prohibition was a grass roots response to cheap sugar, lowering the price of Rum or other Spirits, unleashing a domestic violence culture epidemic which IMO threatened families well being.

          But yeah … freedoms vs totalitarianism … where self responsibility is akin to judgement at the pearly gates of the Market – like a never ending ground hog day. Some then ponder increasing social dysfunction.

          Dearime … Shareholder value outcomes wrt basic needs like what you eat resembling the health – insurance industry, you don’t say …

          Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If feeding seaweed to the cows reduces cow-methane by more than the methane-warming-power-equivalent of the carbon emitted to get the seaweed and get it to the cows, then it is a de-warming positive.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        Oh great! So in feeding seaweed to eliminate global bovine burptations of methane, we end up depleting that particular type of seaweed .. and, by extention, screw up the ecosystem on which other species that live amongst said seaweed rely on for their Own survival ! Does anyone stop to think of the possible unintended consequences of such ‘scientific research’ ??

        Why can’t we humans just STOP screwing with the rest of nature ? Quit with the God complex, for Gaia’s sake !!!

        Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        Somebody here said it isn’t such a common type of seaweed.

        The answer is probably to find the component that works, then produce it some other way, bu not from fossil fuels.

        Or just feed them on grass, the way Nature intended.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          That would be best. The more people are ready to pay the higher price for beef raised on grass, the more farmers can afford to take the risk of going into the “just feed them on grass” bussiness.

          The farmer can’t do it alone.

          Reply
  6. Romancing The Loan

    Re: the insane Marketwatch post – something everyone in the otherwise excellent linked thread seems to have missed is that the mortgage is actually crazy low for the listed price of the property – I played around with a mortgage calculator and even with excellent credit you don’t get that low on even a 5/1 ARM without significantly more than a 20% down payment- as in 2-3 times more.

    My guess is their parents gifted them close to a million dollars for their new house and they’ve never had to afford or even think about paying for anything before in their lives.

    “Struggle” – my god. Yes, time to give up and eat the children Buffy.

    Reply
      1. nippersmom

        Really. Anyone who takes two “destination” vacations a year plus a “staycation” and on top of that has a budget item for $500 a month(!) for entertainment is hardly struggling. What a pair of spoiled brats.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          A friend runs a sightseeing tour in the National Park, and related recently “what question do you think I get from the Europeans on the tour, on a regular basis?”

          He told me they all ask:

          “is it true Americans only get a few weeks of vacation a year…?”

          Reply
          1. jrs

            Yes 3 weeks vacation a year is a mark of EXTREME privilege in the U.S.. Who has that? Oh rich people earning some 300k a year, ok.

            Reply
            1. steelhead

              When I graduated from college in 1980, I had a seasonal job with a company years before. When the job was terminated, the company forgot to terminate the subject to recall clause in the union contract. Much to my surprise, instead of 1 week of vacation when I started to work for the company again, I was entitled to 3 weeks vacation after the probationary period.

              Reply
            2. nippersmom

              As a state employee, I do get three weeks of vacation a year. The difference is, I can’t afford to actually go anywhere. And I can’t begin to imagine complaining about “only” having $121 discretionary income a month after already earmarking $500 for entertainment and weekend getaways, plus $70 per day on food, including a weekly date night. Do these prats realize that for most people, there is nothing left after rent, utilities, insurance, and car payment (if there’s even enough to stretch that far) and “date night”, vacations, and many other items on their budget list are luxuries?

              Reply
                  1. inode_buddha

                    I really do question the assumptions and priors of the author of that article. My parents did quite well on far, far less than that, and I could too.

                    Reply
            3. David Carl Grimes

              I find the vacation expenses on the low side. If you have to fly anywhere, that could be $300 per person in airfare alone. For four people that’s $1200. Two destinations, that’s $2400. Then eating out could be like $2000 for three weeks. Plus all the other miscellaneous stuff.

              I think they overspent on the house. $1.8 million house on $350K salary? That’s 5 times income. It should be less than 4 times income.

              Reply
              1. polecat

                My vacation time is spent at the polecat hacienda during the spring/summer season watching the birds and the bees. Total costs – $0.00
                … well, occasionally, it costs me a sting or two …. but I can live with that.

                Reply
        2. dearieme

          They’re not putting enough aside for property maintenance.

          How on earth do they burn through $4,200 p.a. on “baby items”? Surely the two year old should be mainly using hand-me-downs from the four year old?

          The lack of Gucci and a Range Rover is heart-breaking, I’ll give them that.

          They’d be wise to stop the charitable contributions while living and replace them by a bequest in the will of the survivor of them.

          Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            Agreed – that one jumped out at me too. A lot of deferred maintenance going on there.

            The other thing that struck me is if you add up the amount they’re paying on taxes and on things that should really be provided by the state (healthcare, college, preschool) they are probably paying more for all of it as a percentage of income than I do, even though I live in a supposedly tax-and-spend socialist country. Corporate welfare doesn’t come cheap.

            As others have pointed out, they are hardly struggling. 401(k) contributions, paying down mortgage principal, college fund all count as savings, and property appreciation has a way of adding a bunch of unearned wealth (that you somehow never get to realize, as the next property you buy likely went up by the same amount or more).

            Reply
    1. Summer

      MW often has these kinds of articles.

      Insane budget items to many treated as necessities.

      Some people don’t think they are real. I don’t know. There could be people that detached from reality.

      Reply
      1. Anonylisa

        I have one personal friend who has a household income similar to that. They live in SoCal. she has complained about not haveing much money left over every month. but they drive new luxury cars, bought a million dollar house, travel, and pay for lots of things i do for myself (landscaping for example). they are TOTALLY out of touch.

        Reply
    2. inode_buddha

      It boggles my mind how anyone can struggle on that kind of money. I will make exception for those who live in insanely-high real estate markets (California, NYC). I’ve spent my entire life on 30k or less and no it has not been easy.

      One thing I would like to hammer into right-wingers is that half the country is living on 30k or less *through no fault of their own* but rather because some others (at the top of the food chain) want things to be that way… and de-industrialization was completely planned.

      And no there aren’t any good jobs for them all. And no, the Market is not God, nor is it a force of Nature. People decided these things. Somehow I need to find a way to get those concepts into the Conservatives.

      Reply
      1. Monty

        Exactly. It seems like modern conservatives have a built in contradiction in their world view. They love to claim “You get what you deserve for your hard work.”, whilst chastising poor people who complain about inequality, telling them “Life isn’t fair. Deal with it.”.

        Reply
    3. Bill Carson

      These people are putting away 50K a year into savings, plus reducing their mortgage principal by $24,000, PLUS the home is probably appreciating $90,000 per year (5%). So in short, this “barely scraping by” family is increasing wealth by $164,000 per year. Only $121 left at the end of the month my a$$!!

      Reply
  7. XXYY

    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.”

    I saw a Twitter thread this morning where the author did comparisons of candidates in specific primary polls over time rather than trying to “aggregate” them, and the trend information was much clearer, more compelling, and simpler.

    I’m thinking dk’s info should be organized in this way, since the variation across different polls seems to be creating so much noise that the signal is being drowned out. Maybe he should do a separate page for each poll, and you could publish a different poll each day.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Pretty pictures are nice and all, but where can I find a raw CSV or spreadsheet of the data used in dk’s graphs?

      Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      amazing, despite me ONLY GIVING ONCE over the weekend ahead of the FEC deadline, ignoring the continuing practically constant texts and emails and even phone calls begging me to do precisely what I had already done: donate ahead of the FEC deadline.

      it’s outreach alright, but it’s so scattershot it’s a real turnoff. I thought these young people are supposed to know how to use tech to manage data.

      Reply
  8. Tim

    I would like to comment on Sander’s campaign that it does seem stagnant in terms of winning over more voters.

    The campaign has focused on showing Sander’s is right, his message and that he has the moral high ground, but as we all know, nice guys finish last, as evidenced by the fact he is effectively being put in the shadows by the media.

    So my ears have perked up with the recent articles showing that the campaign is shifting into a mode to focus on trying to actually win a competition. As Sanders admits, he has a lot of enemies, if he really wants to win, he is going to have to focus on beating them. No more moral victories.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      Sanders is focusing on his ground game, supposedly, and building an army of volunteers to recruit nonvoters. The test will be the early primaries and caucuses.

      Reply
    2. notabanker

      What data are you basing this observation on? Polls done by pollsters paid by the DNC? The lack of press coverage by billionaire owned media?

      Reply
  9. dcrane

    Still wondering why half the visual area on the poll plot is wasted on whitespace. Y-axis should max out at 40 pct for now.

    Reply
    1. mle detroit

      Agreed. It’s hard to read on smaller screens. It’s a fine and much appreciated work in progress, and your suggestion would be progress.

      Reply
  10. JTMcPhee

    “Warren would likely reform marijuana laws if elected President.” This from the Left that I guess is not so concerned about one central element of Imperial America, the Imperial presidency. Even if she survives Trump somehow, it still is sort of the rule that Congress “reforms the laws.”

    Although legalization of pot, the end of that Prohibition, is far as I can see very much a “bipartisan” effort — just like gay marriage. Turns out a lot of “Family Values conservatives” are dopers and also gay. Now if only all their children were subject to a military draft to go fight all those foreign wars… but so many of them are happy to eat their children, it would seem…

    Reply
    1. Romancing The Loan

      Kudos to the jury, but this wasn’t charged as capital murder so she’s facing a minimum sentence of only five years (statute is 5-99). If the judge sentences very low it could still lead to riots.

      Incredibly wide range for a state you’d assume to be harsh – here in MA it’s life with parole after 15 at minimum even for second degree murder.

      Reply
  11. scarn

    That Marketwatch budget! I’m part of a family of four living in a very expensive metropolitan area, and we don’t spend anything like that much money a month. Those childcare plus preschool line items seem wildly inflated to me, along with many others.

    Reply
    1. Plenue

      Preschool is mostly a scam, and 2,000 dollars a month is a downright beautiful scam. Part of me wants applaud whatever parasite is managing to run a business like that.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        Especially since the grand majority don’t remember the names and faces of pre-school teachers…unless something outstandingly great happened or bad.

        Reply
  12. Phacops

    Fungi as honorary plants?

    What of my favorites, the cellular and acellular slime molds (Acrasiales and Myxomycetes)? The former are ameoba-like cells that aggregate to form a spore bearing fruiting body while the latter are one large multinucleated cell. I’d argue they are honorary animals.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      We recently had a a bright yellow slime mold in our garden. Alas, I failed to get a photo. I was edified to learn that when times are tough, they practice solidarity rather than competition. Slime mold as exemplar, who knew?

      Many slime molds, mainly the “cellular” slime molds, do not spend most of their time in this [visible aggregated] state. As long as food is abundant, these slime molds exist as single-celled organisms. When food is in short supply, many of these single-celled organisms will congregate and start moving as a single body. In this state they are sensitive to airborne chemicals and can detect food sources.

      Reply
      1. KLG

        Speaking as an evolutionary cell biologist (really), the cellular slime molds are our very close cousins. Work with Dictyostelium discoideum (Amoebozoa) has revealed the mechanisms by which our white blood cells find and kill bacterial pathogens, among other fundamental cellular processes. Fungi are more distant relatives, but still fairly close. If it were not for the budding (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and fission (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) yeasts, we would still be futzing about trying to understand the eukaryotic cell cycle.

        Reply
        1. Phacops

          Indeed. It had fascinated me that haploid Dictyostelium amoeba would fuse and the diploid cell would pulse cyclic AMP which oriented migration to consolidate the free cells and induce differentiation. Would have been an interesting model for development with possible connections to DNA mediated cell differentiation. Alas, in 1971 no prof. wanted to support that.

          Reply
    1. kiwi

      Just keep believing what you wrote.

      Believe it or not, Fox News actually presents opposing view points here and there. Chris Wallace is all over the map when it comes to Trump stories. Judge Nap is a frequent and regular critic of Trump on Fox News.

      Fox has Jessica Tarlov, Donna Brazile, Juan Williams, Douglas Schoen, Christopher Hahn, Cathy Areu, Marianne Marsh, and at least one other women I can’t recall the name of, just to name a few of the liberals or moderate dems that are on its shows. And I only primarily watch 3 news shows (and read the onsite stuff).

      But the Trump supporters aren’t going to abandon Trump. Sorry.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Not having cable I don’t watch Fox, but I did read Tucker Carlson’s book and he seems an unlikely impeachment supporter. The channel has allegedly moved a bit to the left since Murdoch’s sons took over.

        The Repubs are not going to give the Dems a big victory over Trump (and themselves). In fact you’ll notice that impeachment this time has been constructed as a highly partisan affair for that very reason.

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            It would be ironic if the Republicans moved enough to the left that it would leave the Democrats to the right of them. I can see it now – Tucker Carlson 2024 with the motto “Vote for the progressive candidate – Vote One Carlson!”

            Reply
            1. kiwi

              Have you seen Tucker Carlson’s comments on Tulsi Gabbard and his interview of her?

              He is staunchly anti-abortion, and that would likely be a deal breaker for him….

              Reply
            2. polecat

              I’ve said it before … we are perhaps witness to a political dipole phase-change. So the gist of your comment would support that.

              Reply
  13. DJG

    Surely you are keeping Peter Buttigieg in the listings for sheer entertainment value. And yet: I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. The first “serious” gay candidate would have to be white-boy disaster asking for accommodation.

    The first “serious” and totally nonthreatening gay candidate would be someone who seems never to have heard of ActUp, never have known about Harry Hay, can’t imagine that such a thing as a Radical Faerie exists, and wouldn’t know of such oddballs as Walt Whitman, J.R. Ackerley, or Mario Mieli. Or Camille Paglia. Or Rita Mae Brown. Or Bayard Rustin.

    Please send Mister Safely Married back out to the sticks where he belongs.

    Reply
      1. chuck roast

        You know, apparently there is a documentary just out on that little reptile. It’s called, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”
        https://deadline.com/video/wheres-my-roy-cohn-review-documentary-donald-trump-former-lawyer-and-mentor/
        When I saw the article about it I thought, “Gee, he looks an awful lot like Rahm Emanuel”, whom my wife happened to be watching on one of the propaganda organs. Then I thought, “They both look like Joseph Goebbels!”
        Triplets. Spawn of the Devil! Cohn, Rahm and Joey G.
        Aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh….

        Reply
  14. Summer

    RE: Mark Zuckerberg Says What He Thinks About Elizabeth Warren In Leaked Audio

    The Facebook CEO singled out the 2020 Democratic contender, who has called for the breakup of tech giants.”
    Huffpo

    Shots fired…

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      And yet Silicon Valley has stated they are behind Warren all the way. Methinks those shots fired were blanks.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        It’s really too bad those shots don’t fire backwards ..

        It would save everyone that mattered, a lot of grief.

        Reply
    2. notabanker

      What a coincidence a July employee meeting audio recording was leaked today. Zuckerberg’s fan base is really going to be disappointed in Warren. That’s at least six votes down the drain.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        I hope you’re right about the fan base numbers.
        But remember people have been trained like little dogs to equate wealth with virtue.

        Reply
  15. Plenue

    >Sanders (D)(3): “Ten Recent Democratic Primary Polls Good for Bernie Sanders Ignored by the Conventional Wisdom” [Counterpunch]

    Counterpunch tacitly endorsing Sanders while continuing to hawk that book about his ‘failed’ revolution will never stop being funny to me.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      It’s like they have more than one writer they publish. I mean they do push a party line, but sometimes they have also had directly contradictory articles.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Even most of the polls cited still show Sanders well behind Biden and often behind Warren and the author is pitiching it more as a polling analysis. I don’t think this constitutes an “endorsement.”

      The late Cockburn used to call Sanders “the brass lunged senator from Vermont” and St. Clair wrote a snarky book about the “Sandernistas.” Their view has always been that Bernie has authenticity problems.

      But St. Clair also hates Trump and seems willing to entertain second thoughts about anyone who will turf him out.

      Reply
      1. pretzelattack

        and the late cockburn also thought global warming was a scam, afaik never recanted. otoh sanders isn’t perfect; i would prefer him not buying into russiagate, for example.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          He thought the low carbon push was a plot by the nuclear power industry to make a comeback–not entirely off the wall.

          The pair of them opposed Bernie for endorsing Bill Clinton’s Serbia intervention among other things.

          Reply
  16. Mark Gisleson

    The remark about secret police automatically made me think of South African Apartheid, the framework of which was mostly a jobs program for lower class Afrikaners.

    I have no idea who enforces Israel’s apartheid laws, but now I’m curious to find out.

    Reply
  17. inode_buddha

    Apropos of nothing, and since this is Water Cooler:

    I have recently determined that the price of whoopie cushions has deflated since I was in high school 35 years ago. Initial analysis would suggest that this means the economy is not so bad as everyone says. Therefore the election should be all about IdPol — I favor those hot, rich, Italian-American girls they had in high school.

    Reply
  18. Summer

    https://www.alternet.org/2019/10/nobel-laureate-paul-krugman-explains-why-elizabeth-warren-terrifies-wall-street-billionaires-they-expect-to-be-treated-like-kings/

    The point is that many of the super-rich aren’t satisfied with living like kings, which they will continue to do no matter who wins next year’s election,” Krugman observes. “They also expect to be treated like kings, lionized as job creators and heroes of prosperity — and consider any criticism an unforgivable act of lèse-majesté.”

    “Lèse-majesté” is a French term that means “to do wrong by majesty.”

    Krugman gets at an economic truth, not obscured by “economics.”

    Reminds me of a Wall St. type quoted by Micheal Lewis in Flashboys that what makes flying in first class worthwile is if his “friends” are in coach.

    That’s the level of depravity people are thinking is interested in any kind of negotiation.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Not that I’m a Warren fan, but I fully expect Wall Street to be in such a panic over the prospect of a vaguely honest DoJ or SEC in light the Obama and now Trump years that they will pull everything they would with Sanders with Warren too.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        If honesty causes a panic then there is something very, very wrong. I refuse to do business with the less than honest as much as possible.

        Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Harvard’s Affirmative Action for White People”

    Obviously America is not recruiting the best elite that they can have but are letting themselves be satisfied with second-raters that would never qualify if they had to stand on their own merits. So what happens when this elite is just not up to the job when they go head to head with their peer counterparts overseas? Maybe this goes a long way to explain why the US finds itself isolated and out-maneuvered on the international stage lately. But then as Donald Rumsfeld once said — ‘You go to the international stage with the elite that you have, not the elite you might want or wish to have at a later time.’

    Reply
  20. Socrates Pythagoras

    In 30 seconds I was able to pull $1000 of monthly low-hanging fruit out of that “middle class” budget without imposing any austerity. What am I missing?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s not about the money but keeping up with your peers in the middle class. What use to be called ‘keeping up with the Jones’. If you don’t take all those holidays, your fellows will think that you are poor and not invite you out with them.

      Reply
  21. richard

    re adam schiff taking the lead role in impeachment proceedings
    aaron mate has a good deal to say about schiff’s cash connections with weapons manufacturers who sell to the ukrainian government, and are directly affected by trump’s action of halting military aid.
    mate is especially good on how tired he is of spending time on all this bullshit, as we all are.

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      A week or so back, I posed the question: why impeachment now?

      Sunlight on the Ukraine runs the risk of exposing some very serious wrongdoing done there under the Obama/Biden regime, and there is an argument to be made for the Dems attempting a pre-emptive attack in the interests of narrative control. Still, over the past two days I’ve had a simpler thought about this…

      The Dems are out of ammo and they have become very worried they’ll lose to Trump in 2020.

      Could this be driving the sudden urgency to impeach?

      Reply
      1. richard

        my take is that impeachment is the dem elites losing on purpose
        a stiff arm to their left flank
        better trump than sanders
        or cast in a slightly different perspective
        a clear message to voters:
        “you want to get rid of trump? we only care about his crimes against elites. get on board with that.”
        and of course they don’t and oops we lost again

        Reply
  22. VietnamVet

    Harvard’s Legacies are what its former President, Larry Summers, called Insiders. Hunter Biden went to Yale Law school after Hillary Clinton. Both universities are for the connected. Aristocracy is an appropriate term for them. This is why Donald Trump is being impeached. He dared to expose the corrupt interconnections between the Intelligence Community Coup in Ukraine, Weapons Sales, the Fossil Fuel Industry, and the Democratic Party. Power is your son getting a $50,000 a month job for nothing.

    Reply

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