2:00PM Water Cooler 10/23/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Politics

2020

“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

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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 10/23/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

And here are the latest results:

dk went ahead and added states, which as readers know have smaller samples and are less frequent. Since IA was yesterday, here is NH as of 10/22/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

And the latest result:

I know Massachusetts is Vermont’s neighbor too, but Sanders seems low.

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.”

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Biden (D)(1): “Biden’s Attacks on Medicare for All Undermine the Entire Democratic Agenda” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “If you are committed to abetting the meteoric rise of private health-insurance premiums, a debate moderator will not ask you to level with the American people about how much your approach to health-care policy will cost them. If you are committed to reducing overall health-care costs by expanding the public sector’s role in medical provision, you will be ritually scolded for the extraordinary (and extraordinarily decontextualized) fiscal price of your program. As the party that favors higher levels of taxation and public provision, Democrats have an interest in contesting this norm. Biden’s agenda may be less ambitious than Sanders or Warren’s. But he still (officially) aims to raise taxes and increase spending by trillions of dollars. A political discourse that treats taxation as presumptively suspect (even as it treats private rentierism as presumptively legitimate) will not be a favorable one for any Democratic president.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders Pledges Not to Use Espionage Act on Whistleblowers as President” [The Intercept]. “The century-old law had largely gone out of fashion until it was deployed heavily by the Obama administration, which prosecuted eight people accused of leaking to the media under the Espionage Act, more than all previous presidents combined. President Donald Trump is on pace to break Barack Obama’s record if he gets a second term: He has prosecuted eight such whistleblowers, five of them using the Espionage Act, according to the Press Freedom Tracker. Asked if it is appropriate to prosecute whistleblowers using the Espionage Act, Sanders said, ‘Of course not.'” • NippersMom commnts: “I think this is pretty important. The MSM should be all over this as it would protect them were they actually doing their jobs, but of course they aren’t.”

Sanders (D)(2): “Colorado endorsements for Bernie Sanders show Working Families Party split with national group” [Denver Post]. “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced endorsements from 14 Colorado progressives Tuesday, including two Democratic National Committee members. Most of the endorsers are associated in some way with the Colorado Working Families Party. Their backing of Sanders contrasts sharply with the national Working Families Party’s endorsement in September of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.”

Trump (R)(1): “Trump calls impeachment probe a ‘lynching’ ahead of scheduled visit to SC black college” [Post and Courier]. “resident Donald Trump’s description of the ongoing impeachment inquiry as a “lynching” ignited yet more controversy in an already polarizing political process Tuesday…. Trump’s ‘lynching’ tweet also comes just days before he is scheduled to speak in South Carolina at Benedict College, a historically black campus in Columbia where students established an NAACP chapter in 1937 to support a nationwide campaign against lynching. Trump will be at Benedict on Friday taking part in the school’s 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum. Several of the Democrats in the 2020 field will also attend beginning Saturday, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.” • Well, that should sharpen the contradictions.

Warren (D)(1) “Examining Elizabeth Warren’s Political Identity: Is She Really a Rose?” [Ghion Journal]. From September, still germane: “An argument (unpersuasive, in my estimation) could be made for Warren’s progressive bona fides on the basis of the CFPB being a progressive institution. The problem is, it isn’t. As argued by UK sociologist Frank Furedi, consumer activism, which is what drives to CFPB, is really an alternative to direct political engagement. It’s a form of activism that essentially thrives under conditions of social and political alienation, wherein citizens find a decreased ability to directly effect policy change…. It makes sense that an agency focused on citizens—in relation to capitalism, rather than in relation to their overall needs and desires—is not progressive. The CFPB has offered useful reforms, to be sure, but nothing durable, as evidenced by the massive profits credit card banks continue to make from gouging customers on fees, despite the CFPB’s existence.”

Warren (D)(2): “The Wall Streeters who actually like Elizabeth Warren” [Vox]. “I spoke with more than three dozen people from across the financial sector — professionals who work at hedge funds, big banks, and private equity funds, in asset management, financial advice, investment banking, trading, research, and compliance — who support Warren’s presidential bid. They know if she lands in the White House that may make their jobs a bit different, their companies a little less lucrative, or mean they’ll pay more in taxes. And they think that’s great. They support Warren because of her policies, not in spite of them. ‘Even though, on a personal basis, Elizabeth Warren may be bad for me economically, she would be better for society, which I want my kids to grow up in,’ a director at Citi told me.” • I’m totally here for optimizing society on behalf of a Citi director’s kids. What kind of monster wouldn’t be? Worth reading in full.

UPDATE Warren (D)(3): “Leaked Video Shows Elizabeth Warren Backing Away From Bernie’s Medicare for All Plan” (video) [Mediaite]. “[A] leaked video of a private meeting with union officials.” • I don’t think much of Mediaite, but I haven’t heard they fake videos. What I don’t see is a date on the video, so I don’t know if this comes before or after Sanders’ clarification on existing union plans. Here’s their partial transcript (which doesn’t include the opening where Warren says she’s going to be more “open-textured,” yech).

[WARREN:] And for me, I think of it like that way I think of trade, and that is, it matters who is at the table. I want to make sure that the folks who are at the table are folks who don’t have health care coverage – I want to make sure they’re there – but also folks who do have health care coverage. I want to make sure the unions are there. And I know not all of the unions are on the same place because they have members that have — they’re in different places on health care. This is going to be a process that is fundamentally about respecting the fact that we’ve got to work together on this. For those for whom it is already part of their compensation package, then we’ve got to think about adjustments in the law that make sure, not just out of the goodness of their hearts, that some employers will make up the difference, but that that is part of the legal structure. For people who don’t have any coverage, we’ve got to make sure that they’re represented about how fast we can get them into the system, so when I hear people say, well, we’ll do 55, 50, 45, well that’s great if you have health insurance. We’ve got to find a way to get people into Medicare for All as quickly as we can. So, it’s not that I have a plan that says we’re going to do this part and then we’re going to do this part and then we’re going to do this part. No, instead my plan is we’re going to get to a table like this. We’re going to make sure that everybody gets represented. We’re going to understand the urgency of the moment to get this solved with people who aren’t covered, and get ourselves on a path where everybody can get there and everybody can get covered at the lowest possible cost. That’s what Medicare for All is all about.

(1) Warren does not have a plan on health care. She has a plan to have a plan. A commitment to process is not a commitment to policy. (2) Why is it important that “everybody” is represented? Why should health insurance companies be at the table at all? (3) Every bill in Washington — and this includes the Sanders bill that Warren refused to endorse on the trail by bill number — is written by people “around the table.” Can Warren truly believe that Sanders and Jayapal’s bills were put together by staffers with no outside input? (4) None of the other Warren “plans” are being subjected to this “everybody round the table” foo-fraw. Why not? (5) Warren has said she’s going to produce a “pay for” scheme for some unknown variant of #MedicareForAll. Is she going it alone on that, or will everybody be round the table there, too? (6) We see here even more clearly that crawfishing (“I support a lot of plans”) really is who Warren is on this issue, and that goes along with her crude rebranding of #MedicareForAll as a “framework.” UPDATE And one more (7): “the lowest possible cost” leaves the door open to co-pays, deductibles, even networks. #MedicareForAll must be free at the point of delivery, because otherwise the entire industry that currently manages complex eligibility requirements gets to be part of the system. Granted, complex eligibility requirements are a Jobs Guarantee for the liberal Democrat professional base, but that’s not necessarily a point in their favor.

* * *

“Anxiety rises among Democrats worried about party’s prospects in 2020” [WaPo]. ” Clinton, according to two people close to her, has not ruled out jumping in herself, a sign that she is hearing similar dissatisfaction.” • Do it, say I. It would be wonderfully clarifying!

UPDATE “How Centrist Democrats Botched the 2020 Primary” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “So, how did center-left Democrats end up in a position so desperate, the concept of “John Kerry 2020” strikes them as cause for consideration instead of laughter? There are probably an infinite number of (partially) correct answers to that question. But if I had to limit myself to three: 1. Kamala Harris doesn’t have “it.”… 2. Joe Biden is losing it (and much too slowly). … 3. The outsize role of money in politics now puts corporate Democrats at a disadvantage (in Democratic presidential primaries, anyway). This point may be controversial (and a little premature). But small-dollar online fundraising seems to have radically changed the political economy of presidential campaigns…. progressive Democrats don’t just tweet more than moderate ones — they also spend more of their disposal income on politics. Thus, candidates who command the enthusiasm of progressive news junkies now have a much easier time making payroll than those who don’t. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren aren’t just out-raising their rivals, they’re doing so without having to expend precious time and energy on ritzy fundraisers.” • The candidate’s time is a campaign’s single most precious resource. It’s an interesting angle that small donor campaigns deploy their candidate more effectively. (I might add that all of the classist eruptions — Obama’s “bitter”/”cling to”, Romney’s “47%,” and Clinton’s “deplorables” — came at high-dollar fundraisers, which apparently are more risky than they might seem.)

Health Care

UPDATE “Stop fearmongering about ‘Medicare for All.’ Most families would pay less for better care.” [Donald M. Berwick, USA Today]. “With costs rising painfully, insurance companies denying care and nearly 30 million people still uninsured, America desperately needs an honest health policy discussion. That’s why it has been so disappointing over the past several weeks to watch multiple candidates parrot right-wing attacks on ‘Medicare for All,’ like claiming that it will greatly increase spending on health care or ringing alarms about raising taxes on the middle class. The truth is the opposite: Medicare for All would sharply reduce overall spending on health care. It can be thoughtfully designed to reduce total costs for the vast majority of American families, while improving the quality of the care they get. But covering all Americans through a single-payer, federal insurance program would now be a wiser path. President Obama has said it himself: It is now time for “good new ideas like Medicare for All.'” • Berwick was administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Obama administration. Note that Berwick supports genuine, single payer #MedicareForAll, not some Tanden-esque “Medicare for Some” ersatz subsitute, or Warren’s crawfishing “framework,” or gutless “progressive” jibber-jabber about the “north star” of policy.

Pollsters

Going through CNN’s latest. Thread:

I can’t vouce for this, because I’m not enough of a poll expert. That said, the thread’s indictment of RCP for gaming the polls it includes for its chart, which everyone uses, seems plain enough. dk’s charts do not do this.

Impeachment

“McConnell to Republicans: Defend Trump on process” [The Hill]. “McConnell recognizes that some members of his conference are uncomfortable defending Trump on charges his administration linked aid to Ukraine to that country’s government running politically motivated investigations meant to help the White House. As a result, he’s telling his members they have plenty of reason to offer a vigorous defense of Trump, as the president publicly urged them to do Monday, by focusing on Democratic tactics that McConnell and Trump view as unfair. Senate Republicans also privately make the point that it’s difficult to defend Trump on the substance of the charges against him because so much remains unknown. GOP lawmakers don’t know the identity of the whistleblower who filed a complaint against Trump or what exactly House Democrats have discovered in their investigation, which has been conducted largely behind closed doors.”

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“SEX SLAVE FILES Jeffrey Epstein ‘sex slave list’ soars by hundreds as new 10,000 page document is made public in Virginia Roberts trial” [The Sun]. • Very bad. Now what about the billionaires?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Hunton Andrews Kurth Taps Terry McAuliffe for Cybersecurity Think Tank” [The National Law Journal]. “McAuliffe, Virginia’s Democratic governor from 2014 to 2018, was named global strategy adviser for the Centre for Information Policy Leadership, a Hunton subsidiary that counsels with industry leaders, regulatory authorities, and policymakers on global cybersecurity issues.” • Awesome. A Clintonite bagman cashes in.

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 18, 2019: “Housing data have been improving but today’s purchase applications index, down…. won’t be lifting forecasts for home sales. [Econoday].

FHFA House Price Index, August 2019: “There have been reports of price traction developing in the housing sector but strength isn’t apparent in FHFA’s August data” [Econoday]. “Despite this year’s emerging but still uneven gains for home sales, FHFA’s data have been trending consistently lower for the last year-and-a-half as have Case-Shiller’s numbers.”

Banking: “Nearly 60% of banks need to make changes or they’ll struggle during the next downturn, McKinsey says” [Business Insider]. “‘The global industry approaches the end of the cycle in less than ideal health, with nearly 60% of banks printing returns below the cost of equity,’ [McKinsey & Company said in its latest global banking review]. ‘A prolonged economic slowdown with low or even negative interest rates could wreak further havoc.'” • Seems to me like McKinsey is looking for work. Anybody with more reliable views?

Banking: “TARP auditor wants bank CEOs to certify they’ve checked for fraud” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “Christy Goldsmith Romero is the current independent watchdog, or SIGTARP, for the federal law enforcement agency that targets crime by financial institutions and executives who received TARP funds. Her latest report to Congress says the agency has assisted in recovering $10.29 billion through its investigations, including $8.2 billion paid back to the federal government and $2.1 billion paid to other fraud victims. But Romero is not yet satisfied. ‘While SIGTARP’s law enforcement has led to indictments of executives at mid-sized and smaller banks, we found it difficult to prove the criminal intent of senior executives at large financial institutions,’ she told MarketWatch. Wall Street culture ‘isolates these leaders from knowledge of fraud’ in their organizations, she said.” • Watch out, Christy. You’re gonna end up like Bill Black you keep it up:

(Long-time readers know I love this video from the Crash, but not everybody may have seen it.)

Retail: “Walmart stores post ominous signs warning of a ‘national supply shortage’ of dish soap that’s expected to persist for weeks” [Business Insider]. “In a statement to Business Insider, Procter & Gamble, which makes Dawn and Gain, confirmed a dish-soap shortage.” • I can see how this would happen with vaccines, since they’re a low-margin, one-time use product that only saves lives, but dish soap?

Shipping: “United Parcel Service Inc. is flying high on the push for faster delivery. U.S. next-day air shipping volume jumped 24% in the third quarter, pushing the company’s profit to $1.75 billion as it works to lower costs through automation and other measures” [Wall Street Journal]. “UPS expects the surge to extend into the holidays… as U.S. consumer strength and the rise of online shopping offset softening industrial production and weak global growth. Those latter elements may be casting a shadow over UPS’s freight division.

Manufacturing: “Tesla Model 3: Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide To Known Issues, Problems” [Inside EVS]. • Plans Mars flight, can’t manage a paint shop. Fine.

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s Crisis Grows: Tense Meetings, Falling Stock, Angry Lawmakers” [New York Times]. Congressional hearings coming up: “[M]embers of Congress… are preparing intensely for the hearings. On Oct. 8, staff members for the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee gathered for a meeting on Capitol Hill for a briefing by Phil Barnett, who worked in Congress for years before starting a nonprofit consulting firm, Co-Equal, that helps lawmakers prepare for hearings. At the briefing, Mr. Barnett and his colleagues walked the congressional staff members through effective questioning techniques, and played video clips from past hearings demonstrating moments when lawmakers got the upper hand on executives.” • Wait. Congress (a) doesn’t already know how to question witnesses and (b) has to outsource the training?! This is late Roman Republic stuff.

Manufacturing: “Boeing earnings call: still hopes for 4Q recertification” [Leeham News and Analysis]. “CFO Greg Smith outlined a host of caveats for future financial performance. No guidance was provided, given the variables facing Boeing.” • The piece includes a summary of analyst reactions.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 59, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 47 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 23 at 12:00pm. Yay! Back to greed!

The Biosphere

“The United States leads the global green economy. For now.” [Anthropocene]. “The green economy in the United States employs the equivalent of almost 9.5 million workers, the researchers found. Both employment and sales in the green economy grew by more than 20% between 2012-13 and 2015-16. Currently the green economy accounts for about 7% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). China has a similar number of green economy workers as the United States, but this represents a much smaller percentage of its workforce. Green economy sales per capita are higher in the United States than they are in China, the G20 nations (consisting of 19 large-economy countries plus the European Union), or the OECD (a group of 36 mostly high-income countries).” • Despite the powers that be doing everything they can to oppose it. Yes, this is not enough on its own, but I’d rather we go in the right direction than the wrong.

“How to Sell a Pretend Climate Movement: Reading Act IV of Cory Morningstar’s Series on the NGO Industrial Complex” [The Ghion Journal]. “I noticed how [Morningstar] highlighted elite use of nuanced language—language that smacks of lawyerly thinking—as one of the key methods members of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) industrial complex use to mask the basic assumptions behind the solutions they want the world to adopt….. About a quarter of the way through the piece, Morningstar notes the use of a very specific phrase in the proposals of NGO-connected elites to define their specific goal for reducing carbon emissions: ‘Net Zero Emissions.’ As she explains, this is a very precise modification of carbon goals articulated by NGOs in previous years, and certainly a departure from what grassroots climate activists seek. Because ‘net zero emissions’ doesn’t mean a massive reduction in the amount of carbon we’re pumping into the atmosphere: ‘Rather, it is the amount of emissions being put into the atmosphere being equal to the amount being ‘captured.’ To achieve that carbon capture, the NGO industrial complex is seeking huge investments for carbon capture storage technology, investments they don’t want to make with their own money but want to take from pension funds and our tax dollars. And, as Morningstar laid out in Act III of her series (which you can listen to here), they want to securitize these investments in green technology so they can become a series of financial products that invigorate growth in a now perpetually sluggish capitalist economy.” • On carbon capture, see here on BECCS. On Morningstar’s series, I’m intrigued but leery (one chapter that I did read seemed light on sourcing, in the sense that screen dumps substituted for URLs; they should accompany each other). That said, when I was writing my piece on coral, I skipped writing up what looked like an interesting case study in Madagascar (IIRC), first because the language sounded driven by marketers (“blue carbon”), second because the project was driven by carbon credits. So Morningstar is onto something.

“Climate Change and Capitalism: A Political Marxist View.” [New Socialist]. “To date, resources have not been conserved under capitalism. Rather when we become more efficient or find new resources, this frees up resources that are used by other parts of the capitalist machine. This explains why, for example, renewable energy and nuclear power remain only a small part of the global energy system (Figure 2). Under capitalism, low-carbon energy sources have grown but they have not replaced fossil fuel at any meaningful scale. Instead low-carbon energy is simply another energy pot available to fuel growth in economic activity in order to generate profits.” • True? Rather like building more highways makes for more cars….

“A Textbook Evolutionary Story About Moths and Bats Is Wrong” [The Atlantic]. “The standard version of the tale—the one told in textbooks and hundreds of scientific papers—goes like this. Millions of years ago, bats evolved a kind of sonar, allowing them to perceive the world by making high-pitched calls and analyzing the rebounding echoes. This ability, known as echolocation, allowed them to pick out and pick off flying insects, even in total darkness. In response, moths repeatedly evolved ultrasonic ears that could detect bat sonar, giving them time to make evasive maneuvers. An evolutionary arms race began. Scientists have been studying this ancient battle for 50 years, but they’ve been laboring under a critical misunderstanding for all that time. A team of researchers led by Akito Kawahara of the University of Florida has now shown that moth ears almost always evolved before bat sonar. They came first, by at least 28 million years. Their original purpose is unclear—but spotting bats wasn’t it. ‘I think it’s going to be a bit of a bombshell for the field,’ Kawahara says.” • Waiting for the young Earth creationists to jump on this one.

Health Care

Whistleblower accuses Group Health of millions in Medicare fraud Seattle Times

Police State Watch

“In north Louisiana, sheriff and private prison operator trade prisoners for ICE detainees” [Times-Picayune]. “As the number of immigrants held behind bars nationwide has grown under President Donald Trump, ICE has turned to Louisiana sheriffs and private prison operators. Louisiana is now the No. 2 jailer of immigration detainees, behind Texas…. The boom in immigration detention in Louisiana stems from the availability of cheap jail beds in rural lockups like Brown’s. Sheriffs and private prison operators are happy for the business…. The ICE deals have also been a boon for jail employees. Federal contracts dictate minimum pay that’s often far above what entry-level employees at rural lockups make. In Jackson Parish, pay now starts at $17.31 an hour, Brown said, more than many long-tenured employees used to make. Supervisors got raises as well, Brown said…. ‘In a small community I’ve been able to create over 200 jobs, and it’s very meaningful in our parish,’ said [Jackson Parish Sheriff Andy Brown]. ‘And these jobs, not only the pay but they get health benefits. And so I’m proud of that fact. I don’t back away from being able to do some of the things that we’ve done.'”

Guillotine Watch

“Lori Loughlin, more parents face new bribery charge in college admissions scandal” [USA Today]. “The new charges do not allege new actions. Prosecutors are looking to ramp up pressure against the remaining 23 parents, coaches and other defendants who have not caved and are preparing for trial in the ‘Varsity Blues’ casel.”

“WeWork Needed a Bailout—But Adam Neumann Still Leaves a Billionaire” [Bloomberg]. “WeWork’s value has tumbled, about 2,000 employees are being cut and many investors are nursing losses after the firm’s bailout. But founder Adam Neumann is still a billionaire. SoftBank Group Corp.’s proposed rescue package of WeWork involves Neumann selling about $1 billion of stock and getting a $185 million consulting fee from the Japanese firm.” • Has anybody made book on whether the Japanese are stupider than the Saudis?

Class Warfare

“New Jersey school district proposes banning students with lunch debt from field trips, prom” [The Hill]. “Under the policy, students with a negative balance will be able to get a hot meal, but not a la carte items. The if debt goes over $75, high school students will be prohibited from going to school dances including prom until the debt is fully repaid.” • Train ’em up young.

“Auto Workers Ask: If We Can’t Win It Now, When Will We?” [Labor Notes]. “GM has maintained all the tiers that it had before. Second-tier workers—those permanent employees hired after 2007—will still receive a 401(k) for retirement rather than a defined pension. They are not eligible for retiree health care, and their Supplemental Unemployment Benefits when laid off will last half as long as first-tier workers’. GM workers at warehouses and at four ‘components’ plants will continue to make far less than assembly workers, with an eight-year grow-in. And temporary workers will continue at pay barely more than half that of Tier 1 workers. GM can continue to use them as probationary employees–with a very long probation.” • So. Is the UAW a business union, or a solidarity union?

News of the Wired

Chesapeake, VA, what has gotten into you?

“[T]he city wants everyone to come out for a night of safe family fun” [WTKR].

“Consciousness is one of science’s final frontiers” [Financial Times]. “Human consciousness is a remarkable phenomenon: the means by which we comprehend the world, but seemingly impervious to scientific inquiry. A deeper understanding may allow us, for instance, to more accurately infer levels of consciousness in locked-in patients and non-human animals. Then again, some philosophers and scientists think human consciousness itself is an illusion, a charade in the cranium destined to keep us fooled.” • I can’t think of any scientific advance I’d rather hand over to corporate marketing departments.

“More and more people are finding out there’s no substitute for margarine”:

What would the subsitute be? Drippings? Crankcase oil?

* * *

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 (JS):

JS writes: “Greetings from the Nordics! I’m in my final year of landscape architecture school. Here’s a picture I took back in August in the river valley of Vålådalen in the Swedish mountains. Aconitum lycoctonum ssp septentrionale, or Northern Wolfsbane is quite common and around here grows in rich soils, meadows, mountain birch woodlands, gullies, screes or beaches.”

Bonus plant (I think):

These look like fall leaves, even if they are not. Very pretty.

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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.

214 comments

  1. Summer

    RE: WeWork Bailout
    “Has anybody made book on whether the Japanese are stupider than the Saudis?”

    “Hit and Run” by Nancy Griffin…about Sony’s Hollywood education. Blurb from Good Reads:

    “Hit and Run tells the improbable and often hilarious story of how two Hollywood film packagers went on a campaign to reinvent themselves as studio executives — at Sony’s expense. Veteran reporters Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters chronicle the rise of Jon Peters, a former hairdresser, seventh-grade dropout, and juvenile delinquent, and his soulless soul mate, Peter Guber — and all the sex, drugs, and fistfights along the way. It is the story of the ultimate Hollywood con job and the standard by which every subsequent business blunder has been measured. Hit and Run delivers rock-solid business reporting liberally laced with inside gossip and outrageous scandal — plus a new afterword bringing us up to date on the latest fallout from the Guber-Peters …”

    Reply
    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Matt Levine at Bloomberg today had a pointed retort to the news that Newmann is walking away as wealthy as ever:

      Well obviously there will be a Harvard Business School case study about WeWork, but what will it say? What is the lesson? It’s a good lesson, right? A lot of kids starting at Harvard Business School next fall will be hanging up posters of Adam Neumann in their dorm rooms. Neumann, the founder of WeWork, will walk away from this corporate bonfire with a billion dollars and a bunch of fancy houses. His great-grandchildren will be prominent philanthropists with their names on museums and universities, the strange origin of their fortunes long forgotten. Neumann did a certain sort of capitalism—one with some cachet at HBS!—as well as anyone has ever done it. It is one thing to build a successful company that creates a lot of value and take some of that value for yourself; Neumann created a company that destroyed value at a blistering pace and nonetheless extracted a billion dollars for himself. He lit $10 billion of SoftBank’s money on fire and then went back to them and demanded a 10% commission. What an absolute legend.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      I sense a business opportunity here.
      Start up a workspace sharing group aimed at Wall Street.
      Call it “WeBet.”
      Tons of possibilities.
      In regard to Neumann’s ‘escape,” the WeWork deal should properly be referred to as a “Golden Drogue Chute.” I would not be a bit surprised to see Neumann return with another “crazy idea” in the future.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        Works best if you have particular “dude bro” qualities…may be the main qualification for outrageos loans and compensation.

        Reply
  2. Monty

    “Consciousness is one of science’s final frontiers”

    If you fancy going down the rabbit hole, and have some time to ‘waste’. Start reading what Eric Wargo is writing. His book, “Time Loops” and his blog The Nightshirt are very interesting and fun speculations about the mind. Great long form writing with a neat thesis.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Could be intriguing this. Robert Heinlein posed the question ‘How does Consciousness hook into matter?’ a very long time ago and I do not see a satisfactory answer yet after all these years.

      Reply
      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        ‘How does Consciousness hook into matter?’

        Love me some RAH, but that really is a great example of mid-century materialist reductivism. I think of tailfins when I read it. Now it’s more how does consciousness burp up out of matter?

        Full disclosure, I’m in the ‘if it avoids being eaten, it’s on the consciousness wagon’ school. Even if it’s really slow about it.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > ‘if it avoids being eaten, it’s on the consciousness wagon’ school. Even if it’s really slow about it.

          Christopher Alexander believes that rocks are conscious. Just not very. Animism makes a lot of sense. Certainly opposed to Sky Gods.

          Reply
      2. dglo

        For now one can evade the FT paywall by coming in from the Google newsfeed. What Templeton are doing amounts to doing science in a reality-show format and bribing the leading advocates of various theories into accepting the results as final.

        Because treating the results of unreplicated studies as established fact has always worked out so well in the past.

        Reply
    2. Late Introvert

      @Monty, thanks for the tip on Eric Wargo. Sadly my local library doesn’t have his book but I will request they purchase it. I have been lost on his blog for hours, and my next novel to read is Picnic at Hanging Rock.

      Reply
  3. FreeMarketApologist

    “Walmart stores post ominous signs warning of a ‘national supply shortage’ of dish soap that’s expected to persist for weeks”

    Hmmm. Close of the fiscal quarter was end of September, so I can’t cynically ascribe this to an effort to goose revenues through panic buying. So, a warning to all the kids who are organizing fundraiser car washes that there may be disappointment ahead? An ‘attaboy’ to the preppers for their cellar full of Dawn? An admonishment to moms who run their household by ‘Just In Time’ supply chain theories?

    I may have to stay up late worrying about this…

    /sarc

    Reply
      1. smashsc

        Re: canned goods It was just 2 SKUs from one supplier that were out of stock for less than 6 weeks. When I went to Wal-Mart to see what the noise was about, I found every other canned vegetable SKU (store branded or big brand) overstocked. A big nothingburger

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        “The Seventh Seal.” Didn’t you have a lobby poster for that as an antidote yesterday?
        As to cheese shortages. I remember getting the dreaded “Government Cheese” at the quarterly federal food giveouts to the impoverished. This was, of course, back when government did things for people. In this case, poorer people got basic food items and farmers got subsidies through government setting floors on agricultural prices. All pretty cheap as well.
        I loved those five pound ‘boxes’ of American Cheddar. We ate a lot of veggies with cheese sauce back then.
        All that stopped a while ago. So there it is. The ‘Cheese Seal’ has been opened.
        What next? “Salami and the Dance of the Seven Food Groups?”

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Those commodities got us through some grim layoff times. That and a small vegetable garden. Oh, don’t forget the wild bunnies in the pot.

            Reply
          1. ambrit

            I used to love mixing that cheese in with baked beans over toast. Nothing like a little ‘creativity’ to stretch the food budget.
            Remember the powdered milk?

            Reply
              1. ambrit

                It can be surprising to discover how much of “regional cuisine” is the result of adaptation to poverty.
                Humans are omnivores, which is a big reason why we can overcome adverse conditions so much more easily than most other species.

                Reply
        1. polecat

          My dear departed Mom utilized quite a bit of U.S.D.A. government surplus back in the day (1970s) when she managed the cafeteria at our high school .. eggs, butter, cheese, flour, sugar .. vegies, beans, in no. 10 cans …… she and her staff got pretty creative with all that stuff, us youngins chowed down without many complaints. Now, it’s all outsourced to what, Sodexo or some such ?? I very much doubt the food quality is any better .. probably worse ….

          Reply
          1. texas girl

            Sodexo has just taken over the Fort Worth ISD school lunch program (second largest school district in Texas) and brought in about a million dollars worth of additional management. Just another private company siphoning federal dollars out of the system.

            Reply
            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Sodexo seems nice. There’s also a Sodexo Justice division. It’s only in the UK now, but the school-to-prison pipeline in this country surely provides ample sites into which Sodexo can insert its sucking mandibles.

              Reply
          1. ambrit

            You got me there.
            The best I can come up with on short notice is something lame about methedological deficiencies in the the Pinniped Poll.

            Reply
    1. Darius

      Matt Stoller has written about the current rage for monopoly resulting in weird shortages because markets for basic commodities get cornered.

      Reply
          1. ambrit

            Heaven help us if the Politicos manage to combine Peak Corruption with Peak Efficiency.
            The worst of all possible worlds?
            That’s one big reason why I expect the Jackpot to come true. We live in an age of mediocritys being stupid.

            Reply
          1. ambrit

            Wow! That’s a very obscure reference to the English ‘Kerry On’ film series! Koo-dohs!
            (True observation; there is a “cheap pizza” brand sold at ‘gas station/convenience stores,’ called ‘Hunt Brothers Pizza.’ Their logo was a ‘cartoon’ pizza maker who looked suspiciously like Saddam Hussein. [One cannot make some of these things up.])
            See: https://www.huntbrotherspizza.com/locations/
            Saddam Pizza: https://ifunny.co/meme/uztf7uVN1?gallery=tag&query=saddam

            Reply
  4. Stormcrow

    THE REPORT
    Powerful new film on US torture

    This is what America has become. The atrocity against Assange is America.
    The film focuses on Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Driver), who begins to investigate the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, a group created in the aftermath of 9/11. As he continues to dig, he uncovers horrific realities that the nation’s top intelligence agency has gone through great lengths to destroy.

    View the trailer

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmzl3K4P-G4&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2QfHKy2AWgZUigEShqDleIFvG771zmOGIgEWSnTLMDIfopofs2-wQKliM

    Reply
    1. Darius

      I saw it in Toronto. It’s great. It is too kind to Dianne Feinstein, but is brutal on John Brennan. Obama White House looks like the weasels they were.

      Reply
  5. BoyDownTheLane

    “Massachusetts is Vermont’s neighbor too…” but only along a short strip of that section of the State of Massachusetts which is, alternately: a Rockefellerian enclave; a district given over to fine arts (by Deval Patrick, once a resident along the New York State border); a wide swath of what I call “middle earth” that is patrolled only by the State Police and governed by the state in the Berkshires through the county; dominated by BigStateU and its Zionist tendencies; home to failed cities (North Adams, although that city is still breathing thanks only to museums), and Springfield, home to crime and casino). Generally speaking, anyone inside the 128 Beltway can barely pinpoint that end of the state on a map, and rarely goes there without the expression about being out in the woods a long way.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Fay

      I love it out there. It’s the thought of winter that keeps me from moving. One night at dinner my wife overheard the bartender say he couldn’t stand another season of knee deep snow, I’m going to South Carolina. She put the band on house hunting from Springfield to No. Adams.

      Reply
  6. Darius

    Whistleblowers are another area where Obama thought, if I show Mitch McConnell what a pr!(k I can be to powerless people, then he’ll like me and bipartisan kumbaya will reign. People of good will, coming together to put aside petty partisan differences and throw whistleblowers, immigrants, the unemployed, homeowners, Yemen, Venezuela, etc.,ad nauseum under the bus!

    Reply
  7. dcblogger

    OK, I am officially worried about Bernie’s polling numbers. NH is a must win for him. I was worried earlier this year about Warren having the best ground operations, and that Sanders shook up his Iowa and NH operations indicates that Sanders was concerned. Presumably his staff has some remedy for this. For those of us who support him the only thing to do is get active
    https://map.berniesanders.com/

    Reply
    1. lamber strether

      > OK, I am officially worried about Bernie’s polling numbers. NH is a must win for him. I was worried earlier this year about Warren having the best ground operations,

      Me too. I do think those numbers are low, but they need to be much, much higher. It could be that calling just doesn’t do it, maybe even door-knocking doesn’t do it. (For example, I wonder if fresh-faced college kid volunteers are going to be able to change the electorate. DSA has the same kind of problem. Too many people with successful dissertations.)

      I wish we had better proxies for a ground operation-driven campaign.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        He certainly shows up in my facebook feed, and hundreds of comments every time, sometimes multiple instances in a day, always different topics. Email too. I’ve no idea about other platforms. I wonder if his campaign is getting numbers from those, which regular polling doesn’t have access to?

        Reply
          1. petal

            The turnout for his event at Dartmouth this time was not anywhere close to what it was for his event here for the 2015-2016 campaign. Just a shadow. It was eye-opening. And the weather was a heck of a lot better this time, too-no waiting in 10F for ages just to get in for one of the overflow rooms. No palpable excitement or energy surrounding the event like last time, either. I will be shocked if his result in NH is competitive with Biden and Warren. I hope I’m proved wrong because I know a lot of you are backing him but I have a bad feeling about him this time in NH, guys. Sorry.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              I keep reading similar stories lately. Well, if it does come down to Hillary 2020, I would counsel Sanders to go out and campaign for Trump. A Scorched Electorate campaign aimed at destroying the Establishment Democrat Party. Out of the ashes, etc. etc.
              Yes, ‘Anyone But Hillary’ will be a viable campaign.
              If Trump was smart, which is still up in the air, he could also knobble the Dems by promising Gabbard something like the DoD head job or head of the VA. Director of the VA would be a perfect fit for her, no matter who wins. It would also be excellent training for a later run at the top position.

              Reply
              1. albrt

                I would not vote for Gabbard in the future if she takes a job with Trump. She’s smart, but so was Obama. Selling out is selling out.

                Reply
            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              Yikes.

              We haven’t started seeing leaks from staffers, yet (who will, after all, move on to other campaigns). That would be a very bad sign.

              Can you speculate on why that is? Why the turnout in Brooklyn, not at Dartmouth? Are there examples of rallies at Dartmouth that were successful?

              Reply
      2. JohnnyGL

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiELcfWfFZU

        Ryan Grim, pointing out TV still matters. Say what you will, but Tad Devine cut good ads.

        It’s the 65+ crowd that’s killing Bernie. The Dr. Oz appearance was good, but he’s gotta do more to bring in some of that demographic. People like my mother (age 77) view him favorably, but the Bernie blackout on cable and broadcast TV is very real and he’s not reaching my mother.

        Reply
        1. chuckster

          Yeah, it’s hard to believe that people who are getting by on a regular social security payment and some reasonable healthcare don’t want to vote for “a revolution”. Branding may not be everything but it still means something.

          Reply
          1. JohnnyGL

            My dad doesn’t like sanders, but doesn’t hate him. He’s prob not gettable.

            My mom DOES like sanders, but she feels like he’s not even relevant in the race because all she hears about is biden, warren (she hates her), etc.

            I tried to explain he’s a serious danger to their business model and they’re blacking him out.

            News media is winning in their attempt to manufacture consent with my mom.

            Reply
            1. chuckster

              There are very few revolutionaries with hip replacements. If you are a senior getting by (not living large, getting by) than Bernie is a threat, not a savior. It’s not like there’s a market for 80-year-olds in the workplace (except in the race for the Dem nomination). It’s a little hard to give up what you have for a promise.

              Reply
              1. dearieme

                It’s not like there’s a market for 80-year-olds in the workplace (except in the race for the Dem nomination).

                Bravo.

                Reply
              2. Phacops

                Of course there isn’t, but from where I stand (70 next year) my unwavering support for Bernie is due to what I see as his drive for justice to make all our lives better. It aligns with the work I do for my township, the conservation district, and schools. While retired I still work, but differently.

                I realized quite a while ago that my quality of life depends on my neighbors doing well. That, and a people who are insecure in their health, in their sustenance, shelter, and remunerative work are easily manipulated.

                Isn’t that what our political elites want, though? Bernie threatens that.

                Reply
                1. richard

                  “people who are insecure in their health, in their sustenance, shelter, and remunerative work are easily manipulated”
                  well said as a reason to support sanders
                  my own clunky version is Sanders 2020: Because Every Alternative Is Waking Nightmare
                  a little long for a bumper sticker
                  also prob. not true of tulsi
                  tho I am still mightily pissed at her waffle on the number 1 domestic issue, med4all
                  but, like many others, I was won back a little by “queen of warmongers” :)
                  her taste in enemies is sublime

                  Reply
              3. pretzelattack

                why is he a threat? why is a threat to health insurance companies’ profits a threat to make 80 year olds work? sounds like propaganda to me.

                Reply
                1. chuckster

                  You mustn’t be very tall because the point went right over your head. Seniors are risk adverse. They have limited incomes and are dependent upon the current system to survive.. Asking them to “join a revolution” might not be the smartest appeal to people who have a somewhat comfortable existence (many for the first time). You can believe anything you want but they are very less likely to want “change” if they think they are able to survive in the current regime..

                  Reply
                  1. Grant

                    They are risk averse, so they support candidates who are far more certain to not do enough in response to the environmental crisis? What exactly is less risky about making sure their kids and grandkids don’t suffer in the healthcare system, does the risk of modern society for others (family members, friends, etc.) matter? Is sticking with economic policies that are clearly making things progressively worse less risky? I can accept arguments about where they may choose to get their information, how they choose to make sense of that information, but supporting Joe Biden is less risky using what logic? Less risky for which groups of people?

                    Reply
                    1. Monty

                      I think it boils down to 401k & retirement savings and also property values. They would rather glide out in peace without any major upheavals negatively effecting their net worth.

                      Another concern I have heard from older folks is that “they had to work and contribute their whole life to earn their medicare, so its not fair if others get it without putting in the work first…”.

                      To put it more concisely, “got mine, f*ck you.”.

                    2. pretzelattack

                      how many seniors have adequate retirement savings? many are looking at catfood and shopping carts. becoming homeless for the first time at 50 or 60 can sharpen your appreciation of how risky our current system is, as can choosing between that cat food and life maintaining drugs.

                  2. pretzelattack

                    (looks down) — well chuck, if seniors are risk averse they not want to risk dying because our healthcare system works like crap and because that puts them at the greatest risk of any demographic group. that’s a big “if”; check out the comments in the housing thread.

                    Reply
                    1. Lambert Strether Post author

                      I understand the argument. The response a Sanders advocate might make is: “Is there any other candidate you can 100% trust not to make a Grand Bargain” with the Republicans?”

                      It may also be that the only way to get #MedicareForAll passed is to multiply Barkan by 10,000 and have people with, well, wheel their beds and IV drips onto the Capitol Mall, or something similar.

                2. JBird4049

                  Being on a limited income and in bad health does not help with long term thinking. Your focus is narrowed down can I avoid homelessness this year and will I be able to buy my prescriptions this month or food next week. Yes, intellectually they might agree with you, but emotionally, especially if there are others depending on them, surviving and only that controls the mind.

                  If older, disabled, or just poor, often working, even under the table, is not an option. Even when it is, people with limited resources often live in areas where work is limited, but housing is affordable. Then transporting is also overwhelming. People don’t live in places like Paradise, California because they want to work 50, 60, 75 miles from work. They just don’t have any real alternative. So time becomes another resource sink. And if you have kids or anyone else depending on you, change, even good change is scary as Hell, because you have no fall back, if things go wrong. That is the biggest difference between the poor and working class to all the other upper classes. Living at the razor’s edge is limiting.

                  So Bernie Sanders’ proposed reforms are excellent, however for Americans, unproven.

                  Reply
                  1. inode_buddha

                    I hold up the rest of the world as proof. And then try to get people to see the propaganda they have been spoon fed for their entire lives.

                    Reply
                  2. pretzelattack

                    if you’re living on the razors edge, things have already gone badly wrong for you. why would seniors think getting rid of health insurers would be bad? they love their medicare, but not the part that requires health insurance and dealing with insurance companies. it’s not the poverty stricken seniors that support biden and the like, it’s the affluent ones.

                    Reply
                    1. Lambert Strether Post author

                      > they love their medicare, but not the part that requires health insurance and dealing with insurance companies.

                      Surely ending existing Medicare’s neoliberal infestation is, as it were, saleable. Better coverage and no co-pays or deductibles applies to elders, too.

                  1. Grant

                    Chuckster, you are making blanket statements, treating seniors as a monolith, and you are making claims about things like risk aversion without explaining whether the polls reflect a block of people largely voting in such a way as to reduce risk. They strongly support Biden. Explain how that is less risky, and who it is less risky for? Less risky in what way? I mean, even on something like Medicare and Social Security, not only has he long supported cutting those programs, he was just a few years ago arguing to means test those programs. Biden may be less risky for those funding his campaign, it is ridiculous to claim his candidacy would pose less of a risk for young people poor people and sick people in this healthcare system than a number of other people running.

                    Who do you support in the primary, or in the general election?

                    Reply
                    1. Fiery Hunt

                      It’s always the devil you know vs the devil you don’t.

                      Medicare for All is a complete unknown in America and seniors are afraid of losing what they have.

                    2. pretzelattack

                      a lot of seniors have lots of horror stories about dealing with, and getting screwed by, health insurance. and i expect they constitute a good percentage of medical tourists to places that have national healthcare, or buying drugs from places that have it.

        2. Tim

          I disagree. Changing old people’s minds is a fools errand, and anymore that’s the only demographic you’ll get with TV adds.

          Bernie clearly owns the youngest voters, so start showing up almost exclusively at colleges and other gathering places of the younger generation, saying “If you want a future, if you want me to win, show up at the primaries and the general, there are more of you than there are your parents and grandparents”.

          Reply
          1. flora

            You think olds aren’t open to Bernie’s New Deal messages, framed in modern speak? Don’t be so sure. I’m an old and have been a New Deal dem from the beginning. I’ve had some great confabs with 20-30 something ‘youngsters’ and we seem to be on the same page. (Spoken quietly lest dem estab followers overhear and go ballistic.) Maybe changing olds minds is a fools errand, but dismissing most olds as out-of-touch is a bit much. Bernie running as the ‘youth only vote’ would be a huge mistake, imo. It ain’t the age, it’s the outlook and hopes for the future. ;)

            Reply
            1. inode_buddha

              The older folks that I know, in my parents generation, think the New Deal was Soviet propaganda from a closet communist named FDR, who also got us into those stupid European wars. You know, because tanking the global economy is just fine because that’s how the Market corrects itself.

              Reply
              1. flora

                The older folks I know who were and are GOP voters certainly think the New Deal was a Soviet pr and that “FDR was a G*d D***d dictator!” (direct quote). This sounds to me like GOP virtue signaling from an earlier era.
                (At the height of the Depression a lot of GOP voters voted for FDR but never admitted they did.)

                Coming from life long Republican voters that outlook isn’t surprising. Fortunately, all olds aren’t all GOP voters.

                Reply
            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > You think olds aren’t open to Bernie’s New Deal messages, framed in modern speak? Don’t be so sure. I’m an old and have been a New Deal dem from the beginning

              Both my parent lived through the Depression and New Deal, and both would certainly have voted for Sanders.

              Again, thinking of the electorate as monolithic is not helpful.

              Reply
          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Changing old people’s minds is a fools errand

            I don’t think a blanket generalization like that is useful (and if the Sanders campaign staff believes it, it could be damaging).

            I think better questions to be asked are (a) can a useful percentage of older voters be shifted out of Biden’s column, and (b) if they cannot, can they be discouraged as voters?

            From the Sanders campaign’s perspective, he cannot be elected with the Youth Vote alone (even if his “change the electorate” strategy applies less to older voters, since they vote more already). So he had better work this out.

            Reply
        1. Tim

          Perhaps all Bernie needs to focus on from here on out, is “always be closing”, get the young people comprehend they can wrestle control of their future from the old people if they get out and vote.

          Reply
      3. sleepy

        I’m 68 yo. and just got volunteered as a Sanders precinct captain here in my Iowa town. Not too sure what it’s about, but there’s a couple hours training involved. Anyway, I’ll be good at rousing up the old folks.

        Told the kid on the phone that my uncle was a precinct captain in Chicago in the 50s and 60s–which was hard work but paid off, so it runs in the family. j/k

        Reply
      4. Phacops

        There is little that I dislike as much as going door to door. But it looks like I’ll just need to grit my teeth, drop a xanax, get my walking shoes on, and canvass for Bernie.

        Well, should an opportunist like Warren or the elite scum Biden get nominated I’m very tempted to give a middle finger to the Democratic party with my vote.

        Reply
      5. dcblogger

        The best way to reach voters is via peer group. Showing up to the doggy play group in a Bernie T shirt is more effective than knocking on doors, and vastly more effective than phone banking. But if, like me, you live hundreds of miles from the early states, then phone banking is the best thing you can do for Bernie. The thing about phone banking is that in the era of caller ID many people will not answer a call from a strange number, especially people hounded by collections calls, which would be Bernie’s base. So I assume the ground operation in the early states goes WAY beyond phone banking.

        Reply
    2. ambrit

      I am just cynical enough to wonder at the possibility of the polls, or at least, their presentation, being rigged so as to create a self fulfilling prophecy that Sanders is unelectable. If New Hampshire is critical for the success of the Sanders campaign, then all it takes for his opponents to kneecap him is to ‘engineer’ his “loss” in that state. A perfect focus point for political resources.

      Reply
      1. Dan

        Some very organized and proctored exit polls, especially in Los Angeles County, would be necessary to debunk this. If Bernie were to win a majority there and then be cheated by Alex Padilla, the current and past Secretary of State, who worked for Clinton’s campaign, and who rigged California in 2016, then it would be obvious the March 2020 primary was rigged.

        Reply
        1. inode_buddha

          Ditto NY. I found out later that there were only 3 Bernie voters in my district last time. Pretty sure somebody fudged the numbers. We have that electronic scanned paper ballot, in an area of ~1 million pop.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Hold it there pardner! Only three Sanders votes in your district?
            What was the turnout in that district?
            Were there any Sanders “Clubs” in the area? Even Sanders signs would be a proxy measure.
            Did someone bus in members of the Dominion Conservative Club and Fellowship Society from Kingstown and Ottowa so they could ‘participate’ in the “democratic process?”
            You are right to be skeptical.
            Has anyone seriously asked the UN to send election monitors for the 2020 campaign? I would.
            Of course, one of the ‘techie’ candidates will suggest “virtual” election monitors. “Mr. Fox. Welcome to the chicken co-op.”

            Reply
              1. ambrit

                Thank you for doing the work. I realized that it was an assignment, and apologize.
                Considering where you are, perhaps poll watchers from Canada?

                Reply
                1. inode_buddha

                  No, its ok, it wasn’t an assignment. I was the one that screwed that one up. Its more important to have accuracy and honesty, than pride.

                  Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    Too cool.
                    “Pride goeth before a Fall election.”
                    I think we both have seen cases where pride caused physical harms on construction jobs. Politics is but another form of job seeking.
                    Stay warm.

                    Reply
                    1. inode_buddha

                      Dunno about pride, but I’ve seen plenty of accidents due to not having the brain in gear before machine in motion.

                      In my neck of the woods, everybody goes Trump (or at least deeply purple) because of decades of Dem mismanagement in the state capital screwing everybody who isn’t in NYC. Cuomo just recently woke up to this fact, a few yrs ago. And that is why everybody gathers round the wood stove at the gas station/garage to watch Fox News.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Sending election monitors for the 2020 campaign? Good luck with that. There is a lot of hostility to that idea and in previous elections there have actually been laws in some States banning monitors from some countries being anywhere near voting stations under threat of arrest. It is almost they have got something to hide.

              Reply
          1. notabanker

            Ha, yeah, not joking. Massive rush in 2019 to install new electronic voting machines and local governments don’t have the budget. But it’s happening regardless.

            Reply
    3. HotFlash

      Been thinking about the reliability of polls the last day or so. Here’s I what I thought, from here in my “Bernie must be inevitable’ bubble and with tin foil hat firmly tilted at a rakish angle.

      1.) The purpose of polls is supposedly to predict election results, but also function to justify/support reported election results.
      2.) Elections have been demonstrably rigged, despite it being supposedly illegal to do so, in pretty full view, and with relative impunity.
      3.) “News” organizations are permitted to lie, as per the Supreme Court decision.
      4.) Poll results are probably much easier to rig than elections — not even a case of rigging a machine as we just have their word.
      5.) The stakes are huge and big money is available.

      Conclusion: the polls are most likely rigged.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Within a political campaign, what is the usefulness of polling? It must have some utility, else it never would have been promoted to begin with.
        Some here have been involved in political campaigns. Anyone know what the particular decisions are that polls influence?
        Allocation of resources; fairly obvious. To which end; the targeting of advertising, ground gamers and ‘opinion’ leaders seems a given. Secondarily, the effectiveness of various ‘tools.’ Are the canine-americans eating the latest brand of Dogfood? Which brand do they prefer?
        The recognition of ‘landmines’ to be avoided. The term “Third Rail” seems to still be appropriate.

        Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          The polls are bs.
          Noticed that the majority of them had trump smashing it a few years ago.
          Put your money where your mouth is…by that metric, last numbers I saw had
          trump 70ish
          sanders 30ish
          warren 20ish
          biden 9ish

          On a side note, noticed cnn is flogging a poll that says 50% want trump impeached and removed from office.
          Haha
          Guess that’s why we gotta have secret meetings and inquiries instead of just getting on with it.

          Reply
          1. chuckster

            “…noticed cnn is flogging a poll that says 50% want trump impeached…”

            Considering that 54% of American voted against him in 2016, does that mean he is more popular than he was?

            Reply
            1. foghorn longhorn

              You might mean 54% of the 40% that actually voted.
              The other 60% just said eff it.
              You know, the super majority.
              Being a part of the super majority, I’ve really got no dog in this fight.
              Impeach him, draw and quarter him, whatever, you will find the results are probably not desirous tho.

              Reply
              1. chuckster

                I couldn’t care less either but it seems the Democrats prefer to lose to President Pence rather than President Trump. The big problem with that is The Handmaid’s Tale may end up getting moved to the “How To” section rather than “Fiction”.

                Reply
                1. polecat

                  And the credentialed-class Democrats who can afford Not to be handmaidens .. well, other than when bending both knees to the Oligarchy .. would have absolutly no prob with a President Penance. The little plebs however ……

                  Reply
      2. Code Name D

        I have heard criticism that young voters are still under represented. Even when youth participation rates for the poll are reasonable, they are still weighted against participation in past elections.

        The problem with this is that when Burnie is on the ballot, young people turn out. Put a centrist on a ballot, young people stay home. Polls do not take into account that Bernie’s participation will change the youth turnout.

        When ever you see a poll sighting “likely voters” this may be what is happening.

        Reply
      3. Jessica

        It is much, much easier to convince people about what everyone else is thinking than about what they themselves are thinking.
        Polls could be used, either deliberately or somewhat unconsciously, to convince people, even dyed in wool Berners, that Bernie’s support is minimal. That in turn would affect some people’s actual vote. “I like Bernie, but he can’t win, so I’ll vote for…”.
        This does not mean that this is happening, just that it could be. The actual results should show one way or the other. As long as there is no cheating in the vote counting.

        Reply
    4. Acacia

      As I asked on a post the other day, doesn’t it seem that Bernie has absolutely NO chance of getting the nomination? At least not with the DNC we’ve got, and I don’t see any reason to expect them to change.

      Am I wrong?

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        We have seen this year the rise and fall of one phony media souflée after another: Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto!™Legcramps, Buttigieg, Creepy Joe, and now Pocahontas. One after another, they’ve all gotten caught in the buzzsaw. Now it’s Warren’s turn and she’s not handling it any better than the previous sheepdogs.

        Throughout all this — the ever-more desperate search for a candidate Not Named Bernie — Sanders’ numbers have remained largely stable and he continues to score political points by going into hostile media outlets and coming out a dragon-slayer. The only candidate without support from billionaires, Sanders has more money than any of them. Received AOC’s endorsement, which will be of no small help. Yeah, you’re right, it’s hopeless. Sanders is finished and should just quit now.

        It is never easy to defeat the establishment. Nevertheless, we attempt to do so now because it’s critical, and Sanders is the only instrument capable of doing that. So don’t let yourself be swayed by the exact media propaganda that doesn’t want you to vote for Sanders.

        Reply
  8. martell

    The FT article on consciousness is just as good as I expected it to be: it’s lousy. The word ‘consciousness’ is derived from an adjective, ‘conscious’ which means (and, to the best of my knowledge, always meant) awake. If having consciousness is a matter of being awake, then people very often have it. Obviously. There’s no illusion here.

    Of course, under the influence of philosophers like Descartes, ‘consciousness’ has come to mean more than just wakefulness but, in particular, thinking, willing, and feeling in all the many forms that each of them take. Now, each of our words for pretty much every kind of thinking, willing, or feeling is a bit of ordinary language such that norms of correct use are typically mastered well before learning anything about neurology. In other words, criteria for correct use have nothing to do with brains or parts of brains. The criteria have to do instead with behavior in settings. One implication of this is that a person is said to see or hear or remember, not just a part of a person. Another implication is that the terms have no application to stuff that doesn’t much resemble an organism interacting with environs. Hence the stunned disbelief with which panpychism claims are usually, rightly met.

    Two more points. Questions about the physiological underpinnings of the behaviors-in-settings that count as consciousness are interesting, but there’s no reason to think that some one distinct set of such physiological factors is going to make possible all and only those behaviors-in-settings. Also, it’s obvious that what someone experiences when they experience anything is almost always not something going on with their brain. Experiences are episodes like seeing or hearing. What does the seer experience? Things seen, like tables and chairs, and generally, objects in the immediate surroundings. How can I be so sure of this? I was taught to speak English at an early age.

    Reply
    1. Monty

      Apologies. I read the comment three times, and I am none the wiser. I am really curious to know what you are driving at though. It intrigues me. Please could you restate in plainer English?

      Reply
    2. witters

      True, and there are these four footed wooden things supporting a flat surface one can sit on there in front of me and I am tired. So yes, the language, and also the tiredness and these sittable things.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Quelle surprised!

        Is it a bad thing that I am not in any surprised? The only surprise would be not doing global censorship instead of just the United States. That’s just sloppy work.

        Reply
    1. polecat

      I think that in keeping within the Halloween spirit, that everyone should send the White-Walking Wicked Witch of the Demned, a pail .. horse that is.

      Reply
  9. Oguk

    I’ve been thinking about the Morningstar series (haven’t read all to be sure) and feel conflicted. I do see the danger posed by the “NGO industrial complex” in steering/hijacking/controlling the growing grassroots sentiment; and the weakness of that grassroots simply saying “do something!”. But I can’t imagine anything getting off the ground without tapping into their resources and then trying to re-hijack them – fight back against the efforts to control them. Sort of the fine line one has to walk in politics generally. Authentic grassroots movements will break free of their chains – or we’ll find out how shallow they actually are. And there are very dedicated individuals operating within them, I’m reminded of the analysts working under the IMF who tried to buck their leadership re Greece, unsuccessfully of course. We just need to see these rebellions everywhere.

    Reply
  10. Pavel

    From my POV, let’s hope the Queen of the Warmongers does in fact enter the Dem primaries. The resulting internecine battle and all the scandals that would be revived or revealed (Weinstein, Epstein, Uranium…) would no doubt finally destroy the Clinton Dynasty, the DNC and the Democratic Party, and a new party can arise from the ashes.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      tell you the truth, i don’t know if that would destroy any of them. maybe the clintons, and that’s something, but the dnc has a parade of grifters to take their place. i would have thought accusing tulsi of being a russian spy would have done more damage, but when you control the media and the narrative (h/t caitlin johnston among may others), it’s water off a duck’s back.

      Reply
  11. Titus

    Lambert – consider this: “Leaked Video Shows Elizabeth Warren Backing Away From Bernie’s Medicare for All Plan” given your responsibilities you may have missed the Paul ‘the nobel’ Krugman screed about her specifically not falling for the Medicare for all trap. *sigh* -NYT (I know Paul by way of Joe Weisenthal, – we’re related in a complicated way). He does not understand MMT & won’t. But minus MMT his and other lib dems arguments miss the point for reasons made here @NC and almost no place else. Not that we aren’t right but we are right. And have been right. Anyway, I don’t know is it worth pointing out how badly Krugman not gets this? And how often?

    Reply
    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Watched it earlier. Snowdon comes off very well. Some notes-

      I. He really wants Joe Rogan to read his book.
      II. Snowdon signed up for 18X and didnt train lol
      III. At 1.5m views a lil while ago
      IV. Chose Rogan after seeing his Bernie interview
      V. Lays out explicit ways to fix mass surveillance at a more technical level.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Somewhat OT, but I wonder, does Ed Snowden vote absentee? He is not, after all, a convicted felon, so anyone know what his status is for voting? What about Lindsey? OMG, an endorsement? Would Hillary’s head explode?

        Reply
  12. In the Year 2525

    “Nearly 60% of banks need to make changes or they’ll struggle” provoked a childish reflex toward a would-be gibe for the empty statistical mumble-core, true under all circumstances, but … but listen…
    *Nearly 60% of banks [temples] need to make changes or they’ll struggle during the next downturn, McKinsey says* is an economic koan. Struggle? Three out of five? McKinsey? The imperfect reciprocity invokes doubt like a village’s famine anxiety sublimating into malevolent spirits within the landscape. The abandoned local Chase branch shrine. The prominent blue manji symbol under which a daily purification ritual, performed to ward off the disfavor of the emerging spirit world.

    Reply
    1. notabanker

      McKinsey and the rest of the brains on a stick are hawking innovation and fintech to the smaller players for sure. But get past all the four quadrant nonsense and the winners and losers will be determined by 2 things:
      – Direct access to the Fed
      – Geographic location of the customer base

      The big squeeze is on for those disadvantaged in either of those spaces. I would expect the next wave of consolidation to wipe out most of the remaining regional players. YMMV.

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      That depends on what the ‘brand’ Democrat means today. From my debased vantage point, the term no longer includes the working class. Can Biden win with only the backing of the 10%ers? Sure, they have a decent amount of money to give, but as for total vote percentage??? The DNC runs the risk of becoming the head of a Rump Party.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          It always was about “winning” for Team ‘D’. However, the old line politicos understood the inherent quid pro quo of Party politics. If the Head Honchos got themselves some graft, they threw a good bit of it back to the people who elected them, who, by not “reforming,” allowed the Honchos to continue in business. Thus, civil infrastructure programs got done, hard times were dealt with one way or another, the ‘Appearance of Inpropriety’ was anathemized, and so on.
          With the one sided abrogation of the Post Great Depression Social Contract by the wealthy, those ground rules were abandoned. Now, events are building up to a point where those same feckless scapegrace elites are seeing the writing on the wall. The Wheel is about to turn yet again.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            It is nuts, isn’t that that the most basic things of almost any political system is the quid pro quo and trust. Maybe not always or fairly, but it was expected. Also dependability helped. Now it is lie, cheat, steal, and go die. We want the it all including the crumbs. Fairness is for fools.

            Just what do the people supposedly in charge think would happen? After 40-60 years of increasing dysfunction and corruption? Did they think nothing would change especially for their children?

            Reply
  13. JTee

    I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but my mother began pushing margarine on us children while keeping butter for herself. When we complained, she argued that due to our voracious appetites (6 children) it was too expensive to keep us in butter. Besides, she said, they’re the same! Ha! Margarine is pure garbage, and I’ll eat my toast dry before touching that dreck. Blah.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        There are too many opportunities for unpastuerized humour here. Even were we to restrict ourselves to the cream of the jest, we would still only be skimming the ferment.

        Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          You think it’s butter, but its snot, it’s Chiffon.
          Remember those commercials?
          Also recall when grandma tried to switch us over, was not gonna happen, that stuff is horrid.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Well do I remember those commercials.
            I even remember something packaged as “Vegetable Spread” in the ‘Super Cheap Foodstores’ “Dairy” section. (As if mere association will solve the inherent problems!)
            One of the primary uses for margarine I remember was for an activity generally restricted to teenage boys.

            Reply
    1. petal

      It was always margarine for us. Couldn’t afford anything else. I don’t think I really had butter until I was an adult.

      Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      My parents were Depression era and liked margarine. I gave up that and powdered milk when on my own. We all thought my father’s love of chicken wings was weird in the early 70s.

      But we kids did eat a lot and I liked stuff like Tang and Space Food Sticks back then, so no loss really. I’m not sure I could down a whole pixie stick today.

      Reply
        1. JBird4049

          And your pancreas hasn’t exploded from your body? In flames? I have the family curse of a serious sweet tooth but that is some sugar there.

          Reply
        2. ambrit

          Wow, just wow. I grew up hybrid Anglo-American and considered sugar as one of the Food Groups. Watterston, who does the ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ comic has his hyperactive protagonist breakfast on something called “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.”
          See, with shades on for safety: https://shirtoid.com/92601/sugar-bombs/

          Reply
  14. cuibono

    Re Softbank:
    wouldnt it be relatively easy to pay billions to the outgoing hack with the tacit understanding that this wealth might well be shared?

    Reply
  15. Lee

    If moths’ ability to hear the sonar of bats evolved prior to the latter’s echolocation capability, then its obvious that the moths’ hearing evolved, not as a defense against bat predation, but so that they could dance in the air to the music of celestial spheres. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

    Reply
    1. Jackson

      When you are competing with Mayo Pete for Silicon Valley money, it is not surprising that he threw MFA under the bus…

      Reply
    2. jrs

      Odd as M4A would be as logically consistent with his worldview as a VAT tax indeed is. If we accept his premise that we are all going to be automated out of jobs then:

      1) taxing income indeed makes no sense as there will be little wage income to tax, so there is a reason he talks VAT (far better to tax economic rents and externalities and etc. but then he’d be going full Henry George which I’d favor but ..)
      2) but neither does healthcare tied to employment make any sense if we are all going to be automated out of job (it makes only so much sense as is of course)

      Reply
  16. ewmayer

    Banking: “TARP auditor wants bank CEOs to certify they’ve checked for fraud” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch — I was not aware that Sarbanes-Oxley had been repealed, because said law required precisely such certification:

    Title III consists of eight sections and mandates that senior executives take individual responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of corporate financial reports. It defines the interaction of external auditors and corporate audit committees, and specifies the responsibility of corporate officers for the accuracy and validity of corporate financial reports. It enumerates specific limits on the behaviors of corporate officers and describes specific forfeitures of benefits and civil penalties for non-compliance. For example, Section 302 requires that the company’s “principal officers” (typically the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer) certify and approve the integrity of their company financial reports quarterly.

    Reply
  17. Tim

    The if debt goes over $75, high school students will be prohibited from going to school dances including prom until the debt is fully repaid.” • Train ’em up young.

    You aren’t being pessimistic enough. They are actively keeping them out of the reproductive pool.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      An argument can be made that childless people make better revolutionaries, especially when the state claims everything short of a property interest in one’s children (that being left for the parents). Kris Kristofferson’s definition of freedom might well apply here.

      Reply
  18. inode_buddha

    The whole school lunch thing just infuriates me. We’ve been spending like ~4 billion a month in the Middle East for almost 20 YEARS and here we are squabbling over paying for school kids lunches.

    You never hear a peep about how to pay for that 4 billion a month, do you?

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      Piffle. There’s only one authentic candidate in the race, and if the Democrat Party cheats him *again*, I will be happy to assist in their demise, if only out of spite.

      Reply
  19. Carey

    ‘Stop fearmongering about ‘Medicare for All.’ Most families would pay less for better care.’ (note author)

    “..We can discuss whether a Medicare for All program that uses our money to fund Medicare instead of financing private insurance companies is a good idea. But it is deeply misleading to pretend that this shift is an increase in family health care costs. It is not.

    And no one should buy the myth that Medicare for All represents a “government takeover of health care.” It does not. Medicare for All is about paying for care, not providing it. Not one proposal suggests that health care delivery should become a government function (beyond existing forms like the Veterans Health Administration). It offers Americans, at last, a simple way to assure that they have the coverage they need to see the doctors they want and use the hospitals they choose. Almost all doctors and hospitals would be in Medicare’s network, and no patients would have to check their insurance card to find out whom they can see and at what cost out of pocket..”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/10/22/medicare-all-simplicity-savings-better-health-care-column/4055597002/

    Reply
  20. Iapetus

    “WeWork Needed a Bailout—But Adam Neumann Still Leaves a Billionaire”

    I’m not entirely sure how all this will play out, but my feeling is the end result will be very bad. So Softbank has announced it will spend billions to bail out WeWork which apparently was on track to run out of cash by the end of next week. It looks like most of this bailout money is coming from the Softbank Group Corp, and not from its Vision Fund which is a pool of money funded mostly from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. This made me wonder how Softbank was able to independently raise so much money, without banks, in such a short time frame. Well – it just so happens that Softbank accounts for over half of all outstanding Japanese corporate bonds, and apparently accounts for a meaningful portion of newly issued Japanese corporate bonds.

    Global corporate debt markets have definitely jumped the shark. If these debt investors are lending so freely and so cheaply to enterprises which will never be profitable, then they have probably lost their ability to reasonably measure risks. I’m beginning to think we do not fully understand the true scale of this problem. A great nugget from the FT article on how Softbank is funded:

    “It is not hard to see why SoftBank’s debt is so attractive to Mrs Watanabe (the catch-all term for Japan’s army of retail investors.) While the typical corporate retail bond yields barely more than 0.25 per cent, SoftBank’s recent offering came with a 1.64 per cent coupon. On top of that, buyers receive gifts, some of them connected to the baseball team SoftBank owns. And, while the group’s ¥15.7tn of interest-bearing debt and ¥27tn of total liabilities may mean that western credit rating agencies class it as junk, on the grounds of its high debt and low cash flows, SoftBank has an investment-grade rating from the local agency, JCR.”

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Honestly, WHY are ‘people’ like this … and I use that word lightly … still among the living ??

      The guy’s nothing but a scoundrel and a thief !

      Reply
  21. Fern

    From yesterday’s Water Cooler:

    I’s interesting to me that the last two women front-runners in the Democratic primary were hard-right Republicans when they were young, and perhaps unsurprisingly, neither has completely left their past behind.

    Clinton, of course, was a Goldwater girl who now is conducting a bizarre neo-McCarthyist xenophobic campaign.

    And Warren is the leading progressive candidate even though she said she opposed publicly-owned utilities a few weeks ago.

    A good friend from high school, Katrina Harry, said: “Liz was not in favor of Lydon Johnson’s Great Society welfare or any of that and was all over me for four years about the “socialist” friends I kept. We joke around about it, and I called her an ice-cold Republican.” And: “Liz was a diehard conservative in those days”. Warren wrote right-wing Reaganomics papers as a professor.

    Both of these women went to high school and college during the Vietnam years — the years of peak anti-war, progressive student politics. Both were in the small minority of young, female college students who were outspoken right-wingers.

    We might want to ask why, out of all of the women in the country, we have picked the two with a strong right-wing history to lead the Democratic party and even worse, picked one of them to lead the progressive wing. Why should we have to worry about whether or not they’ve “completely changed”, particularly in the face of a lot of evidence that they haven’t?

    Rhetorical question: What is it about our selection process that has produced this weird and depressing result?

    https://books.google.com/books?id=uENlDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q=Katrina%20Harry&f=false

    Reply
    1. Fern

      For some reason, perhaps because I was using the characters incorrectly, the program wouldn’t accept my corrections (I wish we had 10 minutes in which to make edits in order to allow our aging brains to figure out what we are doing wrong).

      I was trying to add this context to the top of my comment:

      From yesterday’s Water Cooler

      It’s interesting to me that the last two women front-runners in the Democratic primary were hard-right Republicans when they were young, and perhaps unsurprisingly, neither have completely left their past behind.

      Reply
    2. Fern

      For some reason, perhaps because I was using the characters incorrectly, the program wouldn’t accept my corrections (I wish we had 10 minutes in which to make edits in order to allow our aging brains to figure out what we are doing wrong).

      I was trying to add this context to the top of my comment:

      From yesterday’s Water Cooler: “These comments by Clinton seem right out of the infamous Republican National Convention speech by McCarthy in 1952”

      It’s interesting to me that the last two women front-runners in the Democratic primary were hard-right Republicans when they were young and perhaps unsurprisingly, neither one has completely left their past behind.

      Reply
    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m the kind of person who believes a million Americans are capable of being President. So why do the choices seem so bad?

      The GOP is the GOP obviously, so they are irrelevant.

      What does the DNC look for in a Democratic candidate starting out? A self funder with no particular attachments to issues or causes. The result is the candidates offered up are non-entities. This has been the post-Watergate candidate profile.

      In a state as blue as Taxachussetts, why was Martha Coakley running in the first place? Her embarrassing loss was so great Warren was brought in despite not being a politico in the state. Its not like the mob is still running the place. There should be competent Democrats, but the problem is they are these non-entities. So when a Warren is seen, she is so far beyond the average trash in the Democratic Party. AOC is a natural talent, but she isn’t a revolutionary thinker. Nothing she is saying hasn’t been said. A key aspect to her fame is she is a “generic Democrat” as described by FoxNews. She wants to tax and spend. We are on the fourth decade of “smart politics” amounting to Democrats trying to call GOP hypocrites over the national debt. Medicare 4 All isn’t polling at 30%, so why is only a handful of Democratic electeds actually for it?

      Reply
      1. albrt

        AOC may not be a particularly original thinker, but she has the courage not to abandon revolutionary principles.

        That is extremely rare among people who have the potential to be even a little bit successful today.

        Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        Its not like the mob is still running the place.

        I wouldn’t be so sure. MA has always been a national political backwater, and completely corrupt.

        Reply
    4. jrs

      Wikipedia:

      “The Warrens divorced in 1978, and two years later, [Elizabeth] Warren married law professor Bruce H. Mann on July 12, 1980, but kept her first husband’s surname. Jim Warren [her first husband] later co-founded a DNA testing company, Family Tree DNA.”

      Wow that’s crazy.

      Reply
    5. notabanker

      The Class Politics of Suburban Racism with Matt Lassiter

      Recently listened to this Dig podcast and thought it was really good. It’s seemingly tangentially related to your comment here as it’s premise is school desegregation in Atlanta and Charlotte, but it gives really solid background on white suburban politics in the US and goes to the very core of your question here. In the end, the authors conclusions really apply not to the just the Southern Strategy, but the Nation as whole. A well woven perspective on capitalism, race and class in the US post WWII to present.

      Reply
  22. dearieme

    a ‘national supply shortage’ of dish soap

    We’ve had a couple of shortages in the UK in the last couple of years hitting middle class essentials.

    (i) Rose’s Lime Juice: cause, a fire at the factory.
    (ii) Carr’s Table Water Biscuits: cause, a flood at the factory.

    Stuff happens.

    Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    “How Centrist Democrats Botched the 2020 Primary”

    I think that the Democrats now have the Hollywood Syndrome. In Hollywood you are getting an endless round of sequels and prequels made such as Transformers 24, etc. The same old names being dragged up and trying to be made new again to cash in on it as it was successful once. Little that is original. Now look at the name being considered for 2020 – Hilary, Kerry, Biden, Obama (Michelle). See the similarity?

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      Why does the party’s choice even need to campaign in his own hometown???

      Talk about wasting the most precious resource of a campaign (the candidate’s time)…

      Reply
  24. urblintz

    At times I wonder why the Democratic Leadership doesn’t support Bernie, because it seems to me the ONLY way the progressive agenda which they so desperately fear could be proven to be as “impossible” as they claim is if it were actualized and then fails… and I am sure they already have plans of Congressional opposition drawn up to make sure that it does.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      They’re scared to death of the 20% chance it would end up working anyway. Better to swallow it like Cronus swallowed his children so it doesn’t grow into a threat later on.

      The Democratic Party being the Graveyard of social movements wasn’t an accident, it was a strategy.

      Reply
      1. pretzelattack

        they don’t want him anywhere near power. the fix is in, once again, we just get to wait and see who they lose with this time.

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            I’d say that the end of representative democracy in America was when the Supreme Court gave the 2000 election to Bush.

            Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the ONLY way the progressive agenda which they so desperately fear could be proven to be as “impossible” as they claim is if it were actualized and then fails

      Which they will actively try to make happen.

      Reply
  25. barrisj

    Re: Boeing…new BoD Chair is a Black Rock/GE chappy,

    Boeing’s new chairman faces daunting task overseeing 737 MAX, CEO Dennis Muilenburg

    David Calhoun, who replaced the embattled CEO Dennis Muilenburg as chair of Boeing’s board of directors on Oct. 11, is known for his skills at steering troubled companies back to a profitable path.

    Those talents may get their biggest test as Calhoun takes charge of Boeing’s response to the 737 MAX crisis, a disaster that cost Muilenburg his role as board chair and on Tuesday saw the ouster of Kevin McAllister, Boeing’s head of commercial aviation.

    In coming months, analysts say, Calhoun will assume a much larger role at Boeing. He will oversee efforts to assuage distrustful regulators and skeptical customers and prepare for lawsuits by families of the 346 victims from two fatal MAX crashes. He will also have a greater hand in setting future strategy for a company that is falling further behind rival Airbus every day its MAX fleet remains grounded.

    But Calhoun’s thorniest task may be in deciding what to do about Muilenburg. The CEO’s effectiveness has been badly undermined by his handling of the MAX crisis and by lingering questions about what he and other Boeing executives knew about problems with MCAS, the automated flight control system implicated in both MAX crashes.
    […]

    A “graduate” of General Electric, where other prominent Boeing executives also have started out, Calhoun has been closely involved in the aerospace business since 2000, when he took over GE’s airplane engine division and then shepherded that business through the downturn that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    Calhoun also served as a turnaround specialist at other firms, including as board chair of Caterpillar when the heavy-equipment company faced a federal tax investigation.

    As important, in his current role as head of portfolio operations at Blackstone, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, Calhoun closely supervises management teams that are trying to boost performance at firms that Blackstone has acquired.
    […]

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeings-new-chairman-faces-daunting-task-overseeing-737max-and-ceo-dennis-muilenburg/

    Translate: Muilenburg goes voluntarily, or is defenestrated, though fitted with a parachute and tons of stock…a “soft landing”. Calhoun is the Welshian hitman, Dennis he gone.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > As important, in his current role as head of portfolio operations at Blackstone, one of the world’s largest private equity firms

      Is it too insane to wonder if Blackstone wants to take Boeing private?

      Reply
  26. richard

    I just had a random thought that I’d like to run through your collective wisdom
    how the modern republican party, and trump especially, is about little but power
    their narrative is all about power, and retaining it from those unworthies who might try to take it away
    take your power
    legitimacy is not a central part of their narrative
    it’s easier to win
    you don’t have to fake anything
    whereas the sad sack dems
    their narrative is all about being “good”
    ellen d.’s quote was the perfect distillation of this
    “for me, being kind means being kind to everyone”
    chumming with a sick murderer
    reframed as being “kind”
    like the perfect liberal
    no reference or relation to power
    just being “a good person”
    my experience of watching bootygig, or warren, or klobuchar, or biden, oh god especially biden
    is of watching someone try to imitate a human response
    even tulsi gives me this a little
    not bernie, though

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Huh? Maybe I’m just a culturally American barbarian, but what is outrageous about the motif itself ? It is not what I would have chosen, but it does not seem particularly terrible. Or remarkable.

      Reply
  27. Lambert Strether Post author

    I’m sort of amazed that Warren throwing #MedicareForAll entirely under the bus at a union meeting hasn’t garnered any reaction at all. (of course, her “pay for” proposal could change my mind on her, but I’m betting not. She loves things like co-pays and deductible too much, for starters).

    Reply
    1. jeremyharrison

      One gets the sense that her strategy to the nomination is:

      1 – Pretend she’s the new, shiny version of Bernie (people love new versions – old versions are stale. Bernie 2.0 – with female parts!)

      2 – Once in the top tier, if Biden stumbles enough, since this will be a brokered convention, start to play the inside game – work the super delegates to let them know that she’s actually Biden 2.0 – with female parts!

      3 – Perhaps by now she’s starting to cut deals with donors and superdelegates, promising to make Bloomberg her VP pick in exchange for their $$$ and votes.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        She probably has already made a deal with Hillary to be her Veep or, considering how “prickley” she is reputed to be, accept a Satrapy in the government.

        Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      Just like Biden, her strategy is to use union health benefits to obfuscate the issues and confuse voters. She has support in this effort from some of the most corrupt union bosses in the nation, including my own union president, Randi Weingarten (salary: $300,000/year).

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