2:00PM Water Cooler 10/22/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



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

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

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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 10/22/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

The biggest sample, Morning Consult: Biden juggernaut crushes all, Warren and Sanders in second, Warren by a nose:

dk went ahead and added states, which as readers know have smaller samples and are less frequent. Here’s IA as of 10/22/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

And the latest result:

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): Attaboy:

Booker (D)(1): “Booker urges voters at Dartmouth to ‘fight for something'” [Valley News]. “Booker, a former mayor of Newark, N.J., reminded the crowd of moments in history when grassroots organization has brought about major changes, such as the civil rights movement and women getting the right to vote. In one poignant example, Booker recalled the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in which poor working conditions resulted in the deaths of 145 factory workers in New York City.” • Stealing Warren’s example? Really?

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(1): “As He Attacks Medicare for All, Mayor Pete Gets Campaign Cash From Health Care Executives” [Sludge]. “Responding to criticism of his vague health care policies in early 2018, Buttigieg ‘declared’ on Twitter that, ‘Most affirmatively and indubitably, unto the ages…I do favor Medicare for All.’ Later, as he entered the Democratic presidential primary, he landed on a kind of compromise: a single-player option he likes to call ‘Medicare for All Who Want It’… Over 100 individuals in leadership, legal, consulting, or financing roles in health sector donated $200 or more to Pete for America between July and September. These donors include pharmaceutical industry leaders such as the chief corporate affairs officer at drugmaker Pfizer, the president of Astex Pharmaceuticals, a state lobbyist for Biogen, a vice president of public policy at Novartis, and the deputy vice president at the nation’s largest pharmaceutical trade association, PhRMA, as well as attorneys for AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck. The donors identified by Sludge gave a total of close to $97,000 to the Buttigieg campaign in the third quarter of 2019.”

UPDATE Castro (D)(1): “Julián Castro Says He Will End His Presidential Campaign If He Doesn’t Raise $800,000 In The Next 10 Days” [Buzzfeed]. “Castro’s campaign has very little cash on hand compared to most of his competition, according to the most recent FEC filings. His campaign, which raised $3,495,406 and spent $3,960,970.81 last quarter, had $672,333 on hand as of the end of September. The highest-polling candidates have millions of dollars on hand, and even low-polling candidates like Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. Steve Bullock who have not qualified for recent debates have more on hand than Castro.”

Gabbard (D)(1): “Clinton Fuels New ‘Red Scare’ With Political Attacks Against Gabbard [Jonathon Turley]. “These comments by Clinton seem right out of the infamous Republican National Convention speech by McCarthy in 1952, in which he painted a widening group of Americans as Russian assets. He declared, “Our job as Americans and as Republicans is to dislodge the traitors from every place where they have been sent to do their traitorous work.” It is an irresistible temptation to portray opponents as Russian cutouts or conspirators, so perhaps it was only a matter of time before accusations of Russian conspiracy moved from Republican to Democratic rivals.”

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “The Bernie Rally Felt So Much Bigger Than Bernie” [New York Magazine]. Final paragraph: “‘Bernie’s for working people, and that’s what I like,’ said Carla, a 17-year-old Latina from southern Queens whose parents are both airline employees. She will turn 18 days before New York’s primary election, and intends to cast her first-ever electoral ballot for Sanders. When asked about whether she had qualms over voting for an old white guy, she rolled her eyes. ‘Like, my father’s an old white guy!’ she said. ‘He’s okay! We welcome anyone into the movement, anyone who is on our side.'” • This election depends on how many Carlas there are, and how many of them (are allowed to) vote (and have their voters counted).

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2):

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): A liberal Democrat shares his thoughts:

(Democrat strategist Parkhomenko was co-founder and executive director of Ready for Hillary.)

UPDATE Sanders (D)(4): A conservative Republican shares his thoughts:

(Cheong is Managing Editor of Human Events.)

UPDATE Sanders (D)(5): “Ocasio-Cortez on Why She Backed Sanders Over Warren” [The Intercept]. “‘For me, it wasn’t even about helping the senator. It was a moment of clarity for me personally in saying, What role do I want to play?’ Ocasio-Cortez told NBC. ‘And I want to be a part of a mass movement.’… She told CBS News that she had met with Elizabeth Warren before making the announcement. ‘I think she’s a fabulous candidate,’ Ocasio-Cortez said. ‘Frankly, Senator Sanders, Senator Warren, and myself are all on the same team in the party.'” • I think AOC is a talent that comes along once in a generation. She’s also very young, and could be more disciplined in her thinking, and if she is not, others will be happy to discipline her themselves (as Pelosi yanking her choke-chain on staffing shows). Still, her joining Sanders is very good news.

Warren (D)(1): “Socialization of Risk: Bankruptcy Law and Financial Institutions” (video) [Elizabeth Warren, YouTube (Fern)]. Here’s the video:

The podium was “The Federalist Society” on it, unsurprisingly since Warren was then a Republican. Alert reader Fern suggests starting at 51:08, so I did. This is a transcript made from cleaned up YouTube closed captioning.

“We bought labor peace in the ’70s and ’80s by promising those employees that they were gonnna have retirements like you wouldn’t believe. You know what? They shouldn’t have believed. Because what’s happened [laughter]. Because what’s happened, is that now it’s time to pay the piper. LTV is just the first of many we gong to see along these lines. The question is what happens to all those promises you made to the employees with this steel business simply will not support that kind of payment. They all get dumped into bankruptcy when the markets change.

But now I’ll come to my final point and that is, it hurts not to be paid. I don’t like it any more than anyone else does. Makes me very angry. There are losses in bankruptcy to be distributed. That’s what bankruptcy’s about and that’s why it’s always fun to blame the bankruptcy for distributing the loss. If we’re really taking about responsibility here, the point I’d like to make is that the bankruptcy system is something for which we should say a little prayer every night, because what it does is it stands between keeping this as a private loss and moving it over to a genuine socialized loss.

You know, we had a very significant thing happen in the late 1970s, and that was that Chrysler announced that it was tottering on the brink of bankruptcy. And at the time they announced this, the new Bankruptcy Code was not yet in effect. There was a lot of dissatisfaction with how chapter 11 worked. Do you remember the pressure at that time for those of you who were reading the newspapers back then? The pressure was enormous: the banks, the insurance company, the pension companies that pressured their Congressman to say “Come in and help Chrysler out.” The big businesses who said “Help Chrysler,” and that’s what Chrysler was doing right? Lee Iacocca was livin’ here in Washington. The investors who said “Help Chrysler out,” and the employees who staged rallies, “Help Chrysler out.” And the government said. “Okay, we’ll do loan guarantees.” They helped Chrysler out, because they were afraid that if they didn’t help Chrysler out, the consequences maybe would be economically untenable, but more to the point they were politically untenable.

Eventually we got a little more experience with chapter 11. Johns Manville got into trouble, and you know what Johns Manville said? They went to Congress and said “Help us out.” […] Their victims went to Congress and said “Help us out.” Eastern got into trouble, said “Help us out.” Continental Airlines, Braniff Airlines said “Help us out.” even Wicks Lumber wanted help for “Help us out.” But by then the answer was “Uh uh. That’s what Chapter 11 is there for.” You creditors, the debtors, go work it out privately. Work it out. You got into this arrangement without our help, you’ll deal with the losses, distribute the losses through Chapter 11 and you’ll survive on the other end without our help.” Chapter 11, no, it’s not working perfectly. Judge Jones is exactly right. But given the job that it’s got to do, I think the alternative at best is maybe some tinkering around the edges but to keep the system very much intact.”

Lambert here: Several comments. (1) As reader Fern points out, “The key thing here is that she gave this speech in 1991, well after she said that studying bankruptcy in the mid-80’s made her feel the pain of ordinary people.” I agree. I’m seeing zero empathy for workers here. Warren thinks they’re chumps! (2) Warren seems to have no understanding that there might be a power differential, even a class conflict, between workers and owners: “You got into this arrangement without our help.” But this is silly; are the managers managers, or not? Are the owners owners, or not? (3) It doesn’t seem to enter Warren’s thinking that owners or management might deliberately create bankruptcy to escape their pension obligations. (4) What’s wrong with “socializing losses” for workers? (5) Warren’s technocratic bias is on full display. Finally, (6) Warren’s insider-to-insider “joke” — “You know what? They shouldn’t have believed” — should be applied with full force to Warren’s campaign and plans. (“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” –Maya Angelou.) (7) If the Sanders campaign won’t start differentiating Warren from Sanders, then volunteers should make videos that do that. Clips from videos like this would be a good place to start.

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UPDATE “Anxious Democratic Establishment Asks, ‘Is There Anybody Else?'” [New York Times]. “Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bloomberg have both told people privately in recent weeks that if they thought they could win, they would consider entering the primary — but that they were skeptical there would be an opening, according to Democrats who have spoken with them.” • Oy.

UPDATE “Mitt Romney is the leader the #Resistance deserves” [The Week]. “Those of us who (barely) remember the heady days when George W. Bush was Hitler but dumber are moderately amused by what a lovable teddy bear he has become in his post-presidency. Bush was always a charming guy — that was exactly the problem, as far as his opponents were concerned. Which is why the transformation of Willard Romney, him of the “binders full of women” and the infamous 47 percent remarks, into #Resistance hero is even more entertaining. When Mitt says that he would theoretically consider voting to remove Trump from office, we are not only supposed to be shocked at his courage, the almost indescribable sacrifice to his own political fortunes this selfless patriot is making at the altar of principle. We are also supposed to forget that only a few years ago he was roundly considered just as vile as Trump — and for mostly the same reasons.” • Fun article, but the writer disses Teen Vogue. Teen Vogue has been unexpectedly great!

Is the country headed in the right direction (here’s hoping the model accounts for the nihilists):

Note the independents.

“Facebook takes down Russian, Iranian accounts trying to interfere in 2020” [The Hill]. • They were “engaging in inauthentic behavior.” Oh.

“The Coming of the Purple Better One” [William Burroughs, Esquire]. From (Chicago) 1968, still germane. NSFW.

Stats Watch

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, October 2019: “Fifth District manufacturing activity surprising bounced back into expansion in October” [Econoday]. “Today’s report hints at a possible rebound for the factory sector where persistent weakness this year has provided some of the arguments for Fed rate cuts.”

Existing Home Sales, September 2019: “Existing home sales fell back but from a tough comparison against a strong August” [Econoday]. “Low mortgage rates, now under 4 percent for conventional loans, are a major plus for the housing sector which continues, despite sometimes uneven monthly performances, to move ahead in what, compared to a disappointing 2018, looks to be a respectable year.”

Banking: “Goldman’s Unwelcome Streak: A String of Insider Trading Charges” [Bloomberg]. “Bryan Cohen, a Goldman investment banker in New York, was arrested Friday over allegations of insider trading, court records show. It comes just months after another banker was sentenced to three months in prison for sharing illicit deal tips. And a third pleaded guilty last year to leaking information to a National Football League linebacker in exchange for tickets to games. Such accusations strike at the sanctity of the business where corporate titans seek out the advice of large investment banks to navigate discussions over deals that can move billion of dollars in market prices. The allegations highlight the struggles of even top-tier banks in trying to successfully clamp down on such misconduct. For Goldman, the cases against these junior bankers each seem to have been carried out independent of each other.” • Sanctity!

Shipping: “M&A bankers are looking for Amazon-proof logistics businesses” [Freight Waves]. “Kristopher Hopkins, head of transport and logistics at Houlihan Lokey, said that companies were already trying to diversify away from the concentration risk of having Amazon as a large customer.” • “Concentration risk.”

Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “The Problem With Bringing Muni Bonds to the Masses” [Bloomberg]. “The $3.8 trillion municipal-bond market, which traces its roots back more than two centuries, easily swatted away a startup that sought to ‘disrupt’ the way states and cities issue debt. For the most part, they were common pitfalls of Bay Area upstarts. Profligate spending? Neighborly embarked on a company trip to Hawaii after its first debt sale. Erratic behavior? It frequently shifted focus away from underwriting, annoying employees who were pulled off projects for new ones and sowing doubts among municipal finance officers. It even faced a lawsuit that accused it of a ‘racially and sexually hostile environment.’ In other words, it’s tricky to tell whether the company simply did itself in or if the business proposition just won’t work.”

Tech: “A Top DHS Staffer Who Defended The Muslim Travel Ban Now Works At Google” [Buzzfeed]. “Miles Taylor, who previously served as chief of staff to former DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, started at the search and advertising giant last month as a government affairs and public policy manager. His LinkedIn profile confirms the change, though he lists his title on the professional social network as ‘head of national security policy engagement.‘” • Yikes.

Tech: “Facebook and Amazon Set Lobbying Records Amid Washington Scrutiny” [Bloomberg]. “Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. set federal lobbying records in the third quarter as Washington ramps up oversight of the tech giants’ business practices. Facebook spent $4.8 million, an increase of almost 70% from the same period the year before…. Amazon spent $4 million on lobbying, the most the e-commerce giant has ever spent in a single quarter.” • Ka-ching.

Tech: “Amazon’s First Fully Automated Factory Is Anything But” [New York Times]. “While it’s true that Amazon has automated much of the process of sorting, distributing and delivering goods and eliminated much of the repetitive and backbreaking work it once took to do all of those things, the work of human employees is a necessary part of the facility’s operations. By insinuating otherwise, Amazon is disempowering and even endangering those employees. I know, because I’m one of them. I have worked at this ‘human free’ facility since it opened, performing maintenance on its fleet of robots when they need repairs. I am part of what Amazon refers to as its ‘contingency network’: the third-party contracting companies that hire human workers to keep the automated facility running. Each of these companies categorizes workers like myself as independent contractors, so they don’t have to pay for health care coverage, time off or workers’ compensation insurance. We are the technicians who repair the machines when they break down. The janitors who clean up the messes the robots make when other robots can’t do the cleaning or when management decides it would be cheaper or faster for a human to do the task instead. The programmers who fix glitches in the logistics software. And, yes, the pickers who help their robotic counterparts find the right items by hand when the robotic arms get jammed. Working in a supposedly automated warehouse is hard, lonely and often unsettling. Because of the employment structure — or, rather, the lack of one — there are no managers or authority figures employed by Amazon on-site. Instead, we are under continuous video surveillance.” • What a dystopian hellscape.

Tech: “At an Outback Steakhouse Franchise, Surveillance Blooms” [Wired]. “According to Presto CEO Rajat Suri, Presto Vision takes advantage of preexisting surveillance cameras that many restaurants already have installed. The system uses machine learning to analyze footage of restaurant staff at work and interacting with guests. It aims to track metrics like how often a server tends to their tables or how long it takes for food to come out. At the end of a shift, managers receive an email of the compiled statistics, which they can then use to identify problems and infer whether servers, hostesses, and kitchen staff are adequately doing their jobs.” • At last, we’ll be able to automate flair minimums:

Tech: “The Case for an Outright Ban on Facial Recognition Technology” [leapsmag]. “In a surprise appearance at the tail end of Amazon’s much-hyped annual product event last month, CEO Jeff Bezos casually told reporters that his company is writing its own facial recognition legislation….. Industry-friendly regulations won’t fix the dangers inherent in widespread use of face scanning software, whether it’s deployed by governments or for commercial purposes. The use of this technology in public places and for surveillance purposes should be banned outright, and its use by private companies and individuals should be severely restricted…. We need spaces that are free from government and societal intrusion in order to advance as a civilization…. If the U.S. government had ubiquitous facial recognition surveillance 50 years ago when homosexuality was still criminalized, would the LGBTQ rights movement ever have formed? In a world where private spaces don’t exist, would people have felt safe enough to leave the closet and gather, build community, and form a movement? Freedom from surveillance is necessary for deviation from social norms as well as to dissent from authority, without which societal progress halts.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Greed (previous close: 56, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 42 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 22 at 11:58am. Yay! Back to greed!

The Biosphere

“Quantifying operational lifetimes for coal power plants under the Paris goals” [Nature]. “National targets, communicated through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement, articulate goals for lowering emissions but not explicit plans to move away from coal. The lack of alignment between current NDCs and the 1.5 °C to 2 °C goals, in terms of both total emissions and sectoral transformations being planned is attracting increasing attention.” Handy chart:

“Climate Change Enthusiasts Will Create an Energy Crisis” [The National Interest]. “Whoever controls energy—mainly oil, natural gas, coal and increasingly nuclear power—rules with an iron fist or a benevolent one. But the world is in a stage of chaotic order with China, Russia and Iran challenging the U.S.-led liberal order in place since the end of World War II. Energy is the new superpower. Never before has energy and electricity played the leading role in alleviating poverty. Social order, religion, and family structure are still important—though all three are under attack over environmental extremism—but nothing has done more for human achievement, increased life expectancies, and ameliorating hunger like access to oil, natural gas, and coal that brings scalable, reliable affordable, abundant and flexible energy and electricity. Allowing the Guardian newspaper, and green clergy parading as environmentalists such as Bill McKibben, Paul Ehrlich and John Holden to determine energy policies that lead to poverty is evil and shameful. These men then attack human reproduction, productivity, longevity, and technological progress through delaying or crushing enhanced infrastructure projects.”

“Trading tires: How the West fuels a waste crisis in Asia” [Reuters]. “Global trade in waste tires has almost doubled in the past five years, mainly to developing countries like India and Malaysia, according to customs data provided to the United Nations. Britain is currently the largest exporter, followed by Italy and the United States. India is by far the biggest buyer, accounting for 32% of global imports last year, up from 7% five years ago, the U.N. data shows.”

“What to Expect When It Gets Hotter: The Impacts of Prenatal Exposure to Extreme Heat on Maternal and Infant Health” [Jiyoon Kim, Ajin Lee, Maya Rossin-Slate, NBER]. From the abstract: “prenatal exposure to extreme heat increases the risk of maternal hospitalization during pregnancy, and that this effect is larger for black than for white mothers. At childbirth, heat-exposed mothers are more likely to have hypertension and have longer hospital stays. For infants, fetal exposure to extreme heat leads to a higher likelihood of dehydration at birth and hospital readmission in the first year of life. Our results provide new estimates of the health costs of climate change and identify environmental drivers of the black-white maternal health gap.”

“A Field Guide to Commonly Misidentified Snakes” [Cool Green Science]. “I like to make the analogy that recognizing snakes is a lot like recognizing family and friends. You would not measure the length of Uncle Michael’s mustache to figure out who he is or examine the color patterns of Aunt Rochelle’s highlights before you gave her a hug; you just look at them and you know who they are! Identifying animals is similar; once you know them well enough, you can recognize them at a glance. Focusing on specific features may be helpful when you are first learning your snakes, but they should be considered only one step toward achieving the ability to identify them.”

Bee hotels:

Police State Watch

“California’s historic overhaul of cash bail is now on hold, pending a 2020 referendum” [Los Angeles Times]. From January, still germane: “Bail groups fought the legislation since it was first proposed three years ago, saying it would result in the release of violent offenders to the streets and decimate a $2-billion national industry, including 3,200 bail agents registered in the state. A day after Brown signed the law, a national coalition of bail agency groups launched its referendum drive, raising about $3 million and collecting more than enough signatures to qualify the measure in just two months…. Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), who coauthored the legislation, said he was confident it would remain ‘the law of the land. We know that private equity firms poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into this campaign — not to protect public safety, or decrease the number of innocent people in jail, but to protect their bottom line,’ he said in a statement.” • Bail bonds are not an “industry,” for pity’s sake, any more than health insurance is.

Class Warfare

“The geography of desperation in America: Labor force participation, mobility trends, place, and well-being” [Brookings Institution]. “Desperation – and the associated trends in premature mortality – are concentrated among the less than college educated and are much higher among poor whites than poor minorities, who remain optimistic about their futures. The trends are also geographically dispersed, with racially and economically diverse urban and coastal places much more optimistic and with much lower incidences of premature mortality (on average). Both death and desperation are higher in the heartland and in particular in areas that were previously hubs for the manufacturing and mining jobs which have long since disappeared. Our earlier work shows that the geographic patterns in lack of hope, worry, reported pain, reliance on disability insurance, and deaths of despair are remarkably consistent across these places. Monnat and Brown (2017) find that counties with higher levels of poverty, obesity, deaths due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide, more non-Hispanic whites, individuals on disability or other safety nets, and smokers were the same places where Trump “over-performed” in terms of predicted votes.” • Everything’s going according to plan except for the Trump part, and RussiaGate UkraineGate will solve that minor problem.

News of the Wired

“How Porn Changes Teens’ Thoughts About Sex” [MedPage Today]. “We realized, by starting to experiment teaching some classes and consent respect in pornography, that trying to scare adolescents into a particular point of view or jam a one-sided argument down their throat about pornography not only probably does not work, but really doesn’t model the kind of respectful, consensual behavior that we want them to learn. Our approach, what we call pornography literacy, is about presenting the truth about pornography to the best of our knowledge, given that there is an ever-changing evidence base.”

“Matreon: The Patreon Platform for Emotional Labor” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. “Dear Guy Who Can’t Read The Room….”

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (MF):

MF writes: “A Lady’s Slipper from the Red River Gorge in Eastern Kentucky.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


            1. Roger C

              Sorry about that. The link is to a one-hour lecture. There is no transcript, and I’m not going to create one. The general subject is, based on her studies of personal bankruptcies, that there is a “two income trap” and most people in BK were put there by medical bills. It seems highly probable to me that her world view was indeed transformed by this work (conducted jointly with her daughter, who is a trustee emeritus of Demos).

      1. lambert strether

        I hear populist descriptions of problems. Not necessarily for solutions. And “I love markets” is a constant from that day to this. The wrapping has changed, but has the package?

        1. Roger C

          Isn’t there a lot of overlap between Sanders solutions and Warren solutions? Free higher education. Wealth tax. Antitrust enforcement. Reverse Citizens United. Make sure all eligible citizens can vote in fairly-drawn districts. Higher minimum wage. Universal health care as a right.

          What, actually, are the important solution differences between them?

          1. hunkerdown

            They differ on whether it is desirable or necessary to try to use the market system to get private actors to provide the outcomes. Whether one should take money from or even fraternize with the people whose interests they claim to be opposing. Whether a giant bureaucracy of the inherently corrupt professional-managerial class needs to be created to verify complex eligibility requirements and be used to blackmail people into voting Democrat lest they lose their rights, or whether concrete material benefits should be universal. You know, neoliberalism. She’s a neoliberal. Therefore get rid of her.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I hear a lot of discussion about “market solutions” and capitalism. Would that we had some of either of those.

              I’m all for Liz’s “market solutions”. Let’s start with banks. No more multi-trillion dollar socialist handouts for them, if they fail well then that is capitalist “creative destruction”. That’s what deposit guarantees are supposed to be for.

              Next ones to receive all the benefits of capitalism and market forces are Big Oil. Let’s see how the companies earning the largest profits the world has ever seen somehow get by without socialist Federal handouts (that last year exceeded total Federal spending on education).

              Make your way down the list: Big Pharma, Big Surveillance, Big Prison. Market forces and capitalism, not socialist handouts for them.

              Big Military, including Liz’s own Raytheon, gets the capitalist treatment too. Opaque pricing, revolving door, no-bid contracts, Permanent War to move inventory. All out! Sink or swim.

              Mom and Pop get capitalism, market forces and creative destruction all the time as a matter of daily life. Let’s see how the paragons of the “American Free Enterprise System” like it.

          2. ambrit

            From the ‘cheap seats,’ the difference between the two seems to be that Sanders wants to overhaul the present system, perhaps reset the system to the parameters in place during the original New Deal days while Warren seems to be satisfied with the system as it is, with some ‘tweaks’ to adjust the running of the system.
            Basically, Warren is a self described Capitalist while Sanders self describes as a Socialist.
            There is a whole lot of difference between those two world views.

          3. Fern

            Besides concern over Warren’s stated commitments during this campaign, i.e., is it sufficient to “level the playing field” in a capitalist system rather than to redistribute the wealth and power, there’s also the issue of whether Warren can be trusted at all to fulfill even her limited campaign promises, and I would say there is ample reason not to trust her, given her past commitment to right-wing ideology and her present statements which appear to raise questions as to whether she has really changed.

            1. Jessica

              For me, the most important difference between Warren and Sanders is not so much what they say they will do, but my trust in their willingness to go to the mat to get it done.

            2. Roger C

              From Lambert: As reader Fern points out, “The key thing here is that she gave this speech in 1991, well after she said that studying bankruptcy in the mid-80’s made her feel the pain of ordinary people.”

              It appears the big bankruptcy study that Warren did (with two coauthors) was in 1999, not the 80s or earlier 90s. It was published in NYU L. Rev. in 2001. Link to Scribed, where one can read the abstract (and the rest of it): https://www.scribd.com/document/421747583/76NYULRev375

              This is the book she wrote with her daughter in 2004:

              Elizabeth Warren & Amelia Warren Tyagi, The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Parents Are Going Broke (Basic Books 2004).
              In this revolutionary exposé, Harvard Law School bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren and financial consultant Amelia Tyagi show that today’s middle-class parents are increasingly trapped by financial meltdowns. Astonishingly, sending mothers to work has made families more vulnerable to financial disaster than ever before. Today’s two-income family earns 75% more money than its single-income counterpart of a generation ago, but has 25% less discretionary income to cover living costs. This is “the rare financial book that sidesteps accusations of individual wastefulness to focus on institutional changes,” raved the Boston Globe. Warren and Tyagi reveal how the ferocious bidding war for housing and education has silently engulfed America’s suburbs, driving up the cost of keeping families in the middle class. The authors show why the usual remedies-child-support enforcement, subsidized daycare, and higher salaries for women-won’t solve the problem. But as the Wall Street Journal observed, “The book is brimming with proposed solutions to the nail-biting anxiety that the middle class finds itself in: subsidized day care, school vouchers, new bank regulation, among other measures.” From Senator Edward M. Kennedy to Dr. Phil to Bill Moyers, The Two-Income Trap has created a sensation among economists, politicians, and families-all those who care about America’s middle-class crisis.

              1. Fern

                Are you aware that in that very same book, Warren denigrated strong social safety nets, calling them “European-style, quasi-socialist safety nets”? Look it up.

              2. Fern

                No. Warren’s book, “As We Forgive Our Debtors”, was published in a 1989. She has explicitly said that it was her studies of ordinary folks undergoing bankruptcy in the mid 1980’s that caused her to learn to feel the pain of the little guys.

                From the NYT:

                (Warren’s) position was “savagely anti-consumer,” Mr. Johnson recalled recently, adding that it wasn’t unusual for her to espouse similar pro-business views on technical legal issues.

                Then something changed. He calls it Ms. Warren’s “road to Damascus” moment.

                “She started flipping — ‘I’m pro-consumer,’” Mr. Johnson said.That something, as Ms. Warren often tells the story, was her deepening academic research into consumer bankruptcy, its causes, and lenders’ efforts to restrict it. Through the 1980s, the work took her to courthouses across the country. There, she said in a recent interview, she found not only the dusty bankruptcy files she had gone looking for but heart-wrenching scenes she hadn’t imagined — average working Americans, tearful and humiliated, admitting they were failures:

                “People dressed in their Sunday best, hands shaking, women clutching a handful of tissues, trying to stay under control. Big beefy men whose faces were red and kept wiping their eyes, who showed up in court to declare themselves losers in the great American game of life.” — NYT

                Note: “through the 1980’s”.


    1. Mike

      My memory of the time is blurred, but her mention of LTV caught my eye. LTV had just bought Jones & Laughlin Steel for a sizable amount, and proceeded to modernize many of the mills, including one I had worked in during my college days. Spent $400 million on making the product end of the mill the shining example of American exportable metal production, able to compete with anyone. 3 years later, the mill was shut completely, and LTV walked away with fabulous tax breaks, free of payouts and pension worries. Since this occurred with every J&L mill they had bought, the anger at both LTV and Reagan (who helped engineer the final deals that turned into “rewards” after Carter & his Congress had presided over their initial setup) was palpable in the region.

      I read a few books about the closure mania that happened during the early 80s, but didn’t quite absorb the financial lesson of it. Would appreciate better sources or even thumbnail knowledge.

  1. Drake

    “The Coming of the Purple Better One” [William Burroughs, Esquire]

    “The youth rebellion is a worldwide phenomenon that has not been seen before in history. I don’t believe they will calm down and be ad execs at thirty as the establishment would like to believe.”

    Burroughs was one hella interesting guy, but he needed to turn in his prophet license after this one.

    A more realistic take:

    “So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Yep! The 60’s ended not with a world changing, but with a world gone aimless.

      “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
      – HST

      1. Brindle

        HST on the light going out on the sixties…

        “And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

        So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

        Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas– 1972.

        1. Jessica

          Better understanding why the wave broke and rolled back would be quite useful.
          One clue is that it rolled back everywhere in the industrialized world, even if not simultaneously. So explanations based on defects specific to US culture or society won’t work.

    2. Drake

      In Burrough’s favor, however, I have to admit that this part was eerily prescient:

      “The only establishment that is supported by its young people is Red China. And that is why the State Department does not want Americans to go there. They do not want Americans to realize that any establishment offering young people anything at all will get their support. Because the western establishments are not offering anything. They have nothing to declare but their bad intentions. Let them come all the way out in the open with their bad intentions, declare a Secret Service overwhelming majority, and elect a purple-assed baboon to the Presidency.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Americans went to Goa, India instead, when prohibited by Burrough’s State Dept. to visit China.

        And I wouldn’t be surprised that not just a few former members of the Red Guard became ad executives, among other occupations. While the government itself is relatively reticent to talk about the era (Xi was himself at 14 warned by them), it’s reported that many in China today are nostalgic about those days (unconsciously rebelling against Xi?).

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I prefer Burroughs in his full glory, in book form. This magazine piece cramped his style, I think, and made him seem a less interesting writer than he is. Hunter Thompson is a genuinely great journalist (even if he did fall for Jimmy Carter), and Fear and Loathing is a book for the ages, but Burroughs is weird and dark in a way that HST never quite is.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Naked Lunch is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Brilliant.

        Though I was young when I read it.

        Perhaps the best “contemporary” book I’ve read is the Brothers Karamazov. Or maybe Infinite Jest. Or Ada by Nabokov. Or The Bridge on the Drina. Or maybe The Quiet American.

        I read Fear and Loathing holed up during a weekend party at a lake house with a rugby team. Somehow it saved me from the debauchery surrounding me.

        I also love those books about the late 60s early 70s like Play it as it Lays or Dog Soldiers.

        Not sure. I guess I like “guys books”

          1. notabanktoadie

            I suspect it’s more than likely you’re a male to say so since as a male myself I have been embarrassed at times for females when reading the Bible.

            But, in my experience and to my surprise, the alleged victims very often don’t feel that way themselves and take no offense at the Bible.

            One woman, and very bright if not brilliant and in no need of a husband for her livelihood, explained it to me this way, she said “Women are only commanded to HONOR their husbands; men are commanded to LOVE their wives.”

            Not to mention you obviously haven’t even read the Bible much to conclude it is ‘the ultimate “guys book” ‘. Take it from a guy; it isn’t.

            1. Titus

              Ah, if you believe in god that’s where you’ll find the truth or not. The Bible not so much, I say as one who does believe. Be careful what you read, it is no more or less than what it is. God did not create anything in 7 days. On the other hand that we should love each other even if it should cause our death, yes, I live with that.

              1. notabanktoadie

                God did not create anything in 7 days. Titus

                Nor does the Sun go around the Earth – unless you use an Earth-centered coordinate system and then it does, I found out with a simple Solar System simulator. I saw epicycles too with a ECCS.

                And also this, would we want God’s Word (if so it is) to be so unambiguously THE TRUTH that it would COMPEL belief, much as the Law of Gravity does even among the most wicked hearted? Then how would we (or God) ever know who can be trusted and who can’t be?

                But you have my respect for having the kind of faith that matters, in spite of any flaws you may think the Bible has wrt what are really non-essentials anyway.

            2. Eclair

              Is the Bible the ultimate ‘guys book?’ Well, duh! Any ‘book’, or collection of folk tales, that assigns the role of the ultimate creator of life to a Male (when anyone with an eye in their head, sees that it’s the females that grow and birth new life), is a ‘guy book.’

              Other cultures, Native American for example, think of the creator as female; that’s what women do. And there are always lots of female deities; corn and bee goddesses, female rains, all those important fertility-related jobs. But, those Semitic tribes, they had to define just one Male God. The females are relegated, in NT at least, to being a Virgin or a Whore (rehabilitated, natch.) Or the housekeeper type, good for doing the cooking and cleaning. No mention of the female’s primary function, that of producing and nurturing new life.

              1. notabanktoadie

                But, those Semitic tribes, they had to define just one Male God. Eclair

                “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Matthew 23:37 [bold added]

                That’s Jesus Christ speaking. Does the bold text sound especially masculine to you?

                If man is made in the image of God then so is woman; so God has both masculine AND feminine characteristics.

        1. Drake

          A lot of the books I love come from that same time period. Never read Ada but really loved Pale Fire. Slaughterhouse Five, Catch-22, Fear and Loathing…, A Scanner Darkly, Solaris, etc. Unfortunately recently reread Catch-22 and it didn’t really measure up to my memories, though still good. I’m getting to where I fear rereading anything I have good memories of. I’m starting to reread books I hated to see if they improve any.

          1. Carey

            As long as we’re talking books I’ll mention a couple: Andre Gide’s ‘Strait is the Gate’ (tr Bussy) and ‘The Immoralist’ (tr R. Howard).
            With I could read them in French. Careful with that last one, though..

            1. ambrit

              Since we’re talking French writers, I’ll throw in Malraux. “Man’s Fate” and “The Royal Road” are milestones concerning the changing nature of human culture during the Industrialization period.
              There is so much to read and contemplate. It baffles the questing soul.

              1. Conrad

                Emile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart cycle is a comprehensive portrait of all levels of the Second Empire society. All 20 of them have some merit and I’d rate 4 or 5 of them as masterpieces. Aside from the usual recommendations (Germinal, L’Assommoir, La Terre) I think many if the readers here would enjoy L’Argent, for a look at a classic nineteenth century stock swindle.

                1. ambrit

                  Ah, L’Argent it is.
                  It’s bad enough for this Anglophone trying to understand French cinema. Literature as well!
                  As Spike Milligan said; “Ferme le port!.”
                  I don’t think that many people consider how large France really is. Plus, a history that goes all the way back to the Classical Greeks! (The Greeks established the port of Marseille back around 600 BC.)

            2. Harold

              Les faux-monnayeurs is his masterpiece, though. Pretty explicitly homosexual for 1925. Features a character who shoots himself out of an excess of happiness. I loved that book.

    4. JTMcPhee

      I finished up my college education at a small “liberal” Midwest college, starting in fall 1969 after I got out of the Army. The place was pretty pure hippie — lots of East Coast privileged youth that could not get into the Ivies. Lots of long hair and drug use and funny clothes and odd behaviors, and courses in New Age stuff. A very tolerant school administration especially on the drug front, until the dean’s daughter died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol. Active anti-war groups, counseling for dodging the draft, all that. A strange place for a Vietnam veteran indeed, but there were some great professors in history and poly sci and science. I have lots of anecdotes of what a feckless bunch most of the students were.

      Anyhow, once the Draft went away, so did the activism. The place is now a buttoned-down business school, prep for the old MBA. Tale of our times…

  2. Pavel

    Wow. That chart about the “country’s direction” tells me that unless the Dems choose Bernie or Yang they will lose in 2020. The others have little appeal to independents (or will actively turn them off).

    I watched the video of Yang hanging out with the (Republican) truck driver. There seemed to be a genuine rapport and at the end the driver said he would vote for Yang.

    Biden, meanwhile, flies around in his private jet, spurning real voter encounters, and courts the big bucks. (His absurd plea for $5 to combat Russian bots notwithstanding. What are the bots doing, dialing “Biden30350” or whatever it was?)

      1. Arizona Slim

        I spent a good part of the summer in the Philadelphia area. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Biden was the *candidate* in this race. As in, the front runner.

        I couldn’t help thinking that the Inky got this one wrong. Because I saw NO on-the-ground enthusiasm for him.

        1. Mike

          The “Inky” is a thoroughly Republican publication (i.e., establishment Republican, as in old money with Comcast added), so therefore supporting a candidate like Biden by lying about his popularity and electability is only natural. Philly normally goes Democratic 5 to 1, unless the Dem is boo-hissed by the city established crooks known as incumbents. Then its 2 or 3 to 1.

  3. cocomaan

    “How Porn Changes Teens’ Thoughts About Sex”

    Teens having unlimited access to pornography always reminds me of this scene from the show Workaholics, where three idiots have to obtain clean urine for a drug test. They go to an elementary school parking lot to find someone who isn’t addicted to drugs (because everyone they know is). One kid seems game. The idiots try to barter for pee with Playboy magazines, only to find that the kid has several gigabytes of porn on a thumb drive already:


    1. sleepy

      I live in Iowa and haven’t heard one person talk about the caucuses, other than a Sanders worker who called me. I have seen one Yang yard sign, two Tulsi billboards, and one Amy for America bus rolling down highway 65. That’s about it.

  4. ThomG


    “Bark and similar tech companies are now monitoring the emails and documents of millions of American students, across thousands of school districts, looking for signs of suicidal thoughts, bullying or plans for a school shooting. The new school surveillance technology doesn’t turn off when the school day is over: anything students type in official school email accounts, chats or documents is monitored 24 hours a day, whether students are in their classrooms or their bedrooms.”

    Also see this tweet thread that quotes the article above describing how students have difficulty telling the difference between hospitals, schools, and prisons….https://twitter.com/thrasherxy/status/1186518615878754304

    Real grim stuff.

  5. notabanktoadie

    It’s a Bernie crowd. Imagine the smell.

    He who despises his neighbor lacks sense,
    But a man of understanding keeps silent.
    Proverbs 11:12

    He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker,
    But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
    Proverbs 14:31

    etc, etc, etc …

    But if we get full blown socialism, the people to blame won’t be Bernie Sanders and his supporters, but those who should have insisted that we have a just economic system but didn’t.

  6. Off The Street

    to your point 3 (shown below), for Warren and others, do they not understand the implications or are they being willfully obtuse or feigning ignorance as part of some sick role-playing? Was she not paying attention when all the PE investing was picking up steam? Didn’t she read anything about Mitt’s businesses, for example? Any casual observer could pick up from the Journal or other publications enough to see the game.

    One take-away is that some professors aren’t smart enough to gain admission to try to teach their students. Add that to event round-table questions that participants answer, along with:
    Could you afford to buy your house if you weren’t already living in it?
    Could you gain admission to your undergrad, let alone grad, institution now?

    (3) It doesn’t seem to enter Warren’s thinking that owners or management might deliberately create bankruptcy to escape their pension obligations.

    1. hunkerdown

      I don’t think one can gain admission to the academy without believing that the professional-managerial class it’s designed to produce is unimpeachably righteous and beyond reproach.

    2. Titus

      Lambert, thanks about Warren always thought she was bad news but that sealed the deal. If only AOC were older. You are so right about her.

  7. shinola

    Ok, someone help me out here. Wasn’t there a link to a ‘Vice’ article containing an excerpt from Matt Stoller’s new book “Goliath”? The title is “How Democrats Became the Party of Monopoly and Corruption”. I’m pretty sure it was linked here in Water Cooler before the update.

    Did it disappear or am I just confused?

      1. Geo

        Additional Clinton stuff that my tinfoil hat picked up recently: The Mint Press investigative report on Epstein had a section on Bill’s role in the Iran Contras which I’d read about years ago as well.

        “When one thinks back to the now-famous Iran-Contra scandal, President Bill Clinton also played an outsized role in the scandal — using his home state of Arkansas, where he was then serving as governor, as a sort of rallying point for the CIA’s U.S.-side of the Central American operation.


        But just last night I read that Hillary’s old law firm had been involved in the whole thing as well:

        (Obama-era DKos when Hillary was a villain and not a savior).

        It’s no wonder the Clintons and Bushes are close buddies. Been in business together from the beginning. Clinton’s greatest success was getting the Dem Party on the same side as the GOP. Similar to how Thatcher said her greatest accomplishment was “Tony Blair and New Labour.”

        1. Mike

          Well, there was always that story about Mena and the “drug” airstrip. Had to have a way to funneling those goodies to Ahmuraka so the contras could have AR-15s. Seems triangulation was a cooperative idea that had to have 3 sides…

          1. ambrit

            Other “drugs for guns” airstrips were located in Louisiana. One near to the camp where the CIA trained many of the Bay of Pigs Cuban counter-revolutionary volunteers.
            Many of the those flights were carried out under the guise of missionary work.

  8. Geo

    Regarding the AOC sentiment: She also announced an endorsement for a primary challenger against a conservative Dem in Texas. Good to see her going against the DNC/DCCC incumbent protection racket on this. She’s the first congressperson to endorse this candidate too. So, another sign of her courage to stick her neck out.


    If this kind of thing continues the highly paid strategists will be fighting over breadcrumbs and “pocket change” with the establishment candidates.

    1. ambrit

      Phyl just got yet another DCCC “Your Money Or Your Country’s Life” screed.
      It opens with this sentence; “House Democrats are courageously standing up for our democracy, our national security, and the Constitution by launching an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.” If I didn’t know better I would swear that I was reading something from the Republican Party of thirty or forty years ago.
      The counterattack on the progressive challengers within the Party is now on full time. The letter, along with the usual Trump Derangement Syndrome memes now has an amorphous group of ‘brave and stalwart’ Democrat Party “Frontliners.” Said “Frontliners” are presented as the Party’s best and brightest, without naming any names. They must be re-elected to stop the forces of Democratless subhumans from overwhelming and destroying “our country.”
      The missive ends with this sentence; “Phyllis, the survival of our democracy may literally depend on what we do here.” Unintended Irony abounds within the Swamp.

  9. JBird4049

    If the U.S. government had ubiquitous facial recognition surveillance 50 years ago when homosexuality was still criminalized, would the LGBTQ rights movement ever have formed? In a world where private spaces don’t exist, would people have felt safe enough to leave the closet and gather, build community, and form a movement? Freedom from surveillance is necessary for deviation from social norms as well as to dissent from authority, without which societal progress halts.”

    From the Guardian’s article:

    Unlike gun control, Marlow said, “Surveillance is politically palatable, and so they’re pursuing surveillance as a way you can demonstrate action, even though there’s no evidence that it will positively impact the problem.”

    For black students, and students with disabilities, who already face a disproportionate amount of harsh disciplinary measures, the introduction of new kinds of surveillance may be especially harmful, privacy experts said.

    Communists, socialists, civil rights activists, homosexuals, and other “deviants” were all heavily spied on by the FBI, the various state level police apparatuses like Georgia’s GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) and North Carolina’s SBI (State Bureau of Investigation), the San Francisco police department, and the NYPD.

    They were all not focused on crime like spying, murder, robbery or rape, but on what they considered as troublemakers. The various law enforcement agencies made very little distinction between social and political activity, social and sexual relations, or actual violent crime. Anyone deemed different was trouble and trouble was a threat to be dealt with using any, sometimes fatal, means.

    1. Dan

      Speaking of gun control, I take it that you and many others, would have no objections to firearms being used to take out facial recognition cameras when and wherever they appear?

      The problem with that is that people miss, and some poor kid might get hit by the bullets somewhere far away.

      I suggest instead, that as in Hong Kong, facial recognition cameras be used as target practice with harmless spitballs, paintballs, sprayed paint or slingshots, used with great care to assure no innocent victims. Scratching the lens is the easiest technique and only requires some cheap gritty sandpaper, either in hand at ground level or on an extendible painter’s pole up in the air.

    2. ambrit

      Don’t fool yourself. Societal “progress” can be rolled back in a heartbeat. See what is happening to all the environmental safeguards won with such sacrifice over the last fifty years? Look at what has happened to abortion ‘rights’ over the last few decades. The same can happen to socio-sexual progress. The New Model Panopticon can be focused on social and sexual “deviants” depending on who controls the system. Let the Ultra Fundamentalists gain control and all H— will be released upon the Earth.

  10. Phacops

    About Bernie:

    I really don’t know what to say anymore? Everything that I hear about him convinces me of Bernie’s unwavering ethical compass and I keep hoping that we deserve him and his movement, especially as I can remember some Republicans more liberal than modern Democrats.

    Unlike my demographic I find myself becoming more progressive as I age.

      1. JBird4049

        Same here. The older I get, the more social conservative I lean towards and the more I fear for the growing loss of thinking like religion; however, the older I get the more I see the whole whole system is rigged both to funnel all the resources into ever fewer hands while destroying first the dreams, then the hearts, followed by the souls and finally the living who are already dead, but haven’t the energy to physical die.

        This being true, who am I to judge how others live when the whole system has already decided that they should be composted? And if you think that we have at least more social rights than in the past, you are mistaken. Legally, discrimination against people of the wrong sex, race, or sexuality is forbidden, which is good.

        But while I want to go ranting, instead I will ask you to look up the old television shows and movie MASH and All in the Family if you can. Ask yourself, would they ever be allowed to be produced and shown today? I think that having even popular entertainment that would dare to question the system for years would be shut down. Just like certain books never, ever get a broad distribution.

        Next, look up the Free Speech Movement, which was centered around UC Berkeley. Again, ask yourself is there currently anything yet (and it might change) happening now and would something like that even even be allowed by the authorities to happen? Remember, Occupy Wall Street was a multi state peaceful protest movement. It was shut down in a multi state paramilitary operation.

        Here I am ranting again, but please ask yourself if we have any real rights or freedoms especially as all too many Americans have a sometimes impossible task of feeding themselves or being housed. The worse things get economically and the more chaotic the weather becomes the louder Identity Politics and Russia!Russia!Russia! becomes. Funny that.

  11. John Beech

    Enough with politics! The story about responsible pornography had me in stitches! I bet nothing has changed in like, forever! Boy want to play with their willies whilst watching and girls would rather watch sappy movies. To think someone ponied up to fund this. Good grief!

  12. Fern

    Concerning Warren:

    Warren’s right-wing beliefs are so strong and so persistent that more damaging information is likely to come out during the general election.

    Here are a couple of other examples of Warren’s persistent right-wing beliefs that she expresses AFTER she claims to have converted to liberalism:

    * Last month she said during an interview that she isn’t in favor of publicly-owned utilities.
    When asked point blank: As president, would you be willing “advocate for the public ownership of our utilities?”, she answered:

    “Gosh, you know, I’m not sure that that’s what gets you to the solution.”

    That’s astonishing, coming from a supposedly progressive candidate for the presidential nomination.


    *Back in 2003, seven years after she became a Democrat, she wrote in her book, The Two-Income Trap, that we don’t need “European-style, quasi-socialist safety nets”.

    *During Trump’s State of the Union Address, she stood up and applauded when Trump said: “America will never be a socialist country”.


    She differentiated herself from Bernie by proclaiming: “I’m a capitalist to my bones”.

    As I said yesterday, my most vivid nightmare is that someone will come forward with information that Warren was violently opposed to affirmative action. I think there’s a very good chance that she was. This would put her Cherokee claims in a new light, i.e., it was a gesture of defiance against the very concept of affirmative action, in other words, she was daring people to prove that she wasn’t a Cherokee.

    If something like this were to come out during the general election, it would depress Democratic turnout “like you wouldn’t believe”.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Without nostalgia and four less years of people who voted for Bill, not being clearly center left will be a disaster. For the “centrists”, Hillary really was the best they had to offer.

    2. scarn

      When the goal is protecting profit, then public ownership isn’t the solution. Very revealing.

      She is a terrible debater, and gets caught up easily. Biden did it to her last week. She will not respond quickly to Trump’s word salad and staccato BS. She doesn’t inspire passion in her base, as far as I can tell. The base I encounter is cerebral liberals with a rump of idpol people who find her appealing because she’s a successful and smart woman. Trump does his own white-guy idpol schtick, and he’s better at it than she is. Even without the Cherokee thing and further inevitable missteps on her part, I can’t see her coming close to beating Trump at all.

      1. Fern

        Warren’s strength is that she was a high school debate team champion, and I guess her weakness is that she is high school debate team champion.

    3. John k

      She’s trying to thread the needle between older conservative voters that have Medicare but maybe worry if everybody has it it might go broke plus like the tax cuts, and young voters that need better health care now and have years to go before they become entitled.
      So lip service to progressives but true to her long term neolib beliefs as she competes with Biden for oldies.
      And just as seniors trust both Biden and warren to protect their status quo interests (wishing for Obama), the under 50 crowd trusts sanders to do everything possible to deliver real benefits.
      The young are more desperate than the old, which is why I think the young turnout will surprise the pollsters, pushing well past the 2018 numbers.

      1. Carey

        >The young are more desperate than the old, which is why I think the young turnout will surprise the pollsters, pushing well past the 2018 numbers.

        Agreed. Will their votes be accurately™ counted?

      2. Pat

        “And just as seniors trust both Biden and warren to protect their status quo interests (wishing for Obama), ”

        Which only proves their judgment is impaired as that was asking the fox to guard the hen house, like missing that ACA included Medicare cuts. It is especially galling for those of us who spent so much time during his administration with our hair on fire from his multiple attempts at a grand bargain, not to mention having to be grateful to Tea Party newbies who ended his dream by voting it down as it didn’t give them everything they wanted tax cut wise.

    4. pretzelattack

      this is devastating. i think the ptb don’t really want her (haven’t we evolved beyond fighting corruption thurston?) but she is an backstop in case joementum falters and the need to stop bernie and tulsi demands it. thanks for finding and putting these together!

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > my most vivid nightmare is that someone will come forward with information that Warren was violently opposed to affirmative action.

      Presumably some intern or volunteer is combing the archives of the Federalist Society for more Warren speeches from the 90s even as we speak. Though to be fair to Warren, this isn’t her policy area. She may not have spoken on it. So one would have to listen to the Q&A…..

  13. Oregoncharles

    ““The Coming of the Purple Better One” [William Burroughs, Esquire]. From (Chicago) 1968, still germane. ”
    Gee, thanks for reminding me. /s That was the first year i could vote; I voted for the pig – the real one that the Yippies ran.

    Daley’s psychopathic cops lost Humphrey the election, with a lot of help from Hump himself.

    I’m not so sure it’s still germane; I do not see the revolutionary spirit of that year except in select other countries. But then, prediction: we’re going to have essentially the same choice, this time Biden vs. Trump, and the Dems are going to throw away the election, again.

    The only hope I see is in the kids and their Climate Strike. Just like it was in 1968. And they have the same dilemma we did.

    Boy, did that blast from the past make me cranky.

  14. flora

    C. J. Hopkins is on form.

    Ask yourself, what do Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, and Gabbard have in common? No, it’s not their Putin-Nazism … it’s the challenge they represent to global capitalism. Each, in his or her own way, is a symbol of the growing populist resistance to the privatization and globalization of everything. And thus, they must be delegitimized, stigmatized, and relentlessly smeared as “Russian assets,” “anti-Semites,” “traitors,” “white supremacists,” “fascists,” “communists,” or some other type of “extremists.”

    Gabbard, to her credit, understands this, and is focusing attention on the motives and tactics of the neoliberal establishment and their smear machine. As I noted in an essay last year, “the only way to effectively counter a smear campaign (whether large-scale or small-scale) is to resist the temptation to profess your innocence, and, instead, focus as much attention on the tactics and the motives of the smearers as possible.” This will not save her, but it is the best she can do, and I applaud her for having the guts to do it. I hope she continues to give them hell as they finish off her candidacy and drive her out of office.


    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Laying the foundations for Tulsi 2024.

      Q1; Have I ever heard of her? Check.
      Q2: Do I believe her? Check.
      Q3: Do I trust her? Check.

  15. Carey

    “Anxious Democratic Establishment Asks, ‘Is There Anybody Else?’”

    Funny piece- Sanders finally gets a mention at the very very end.

    That Parkhomenko dude and his ilk really don’t know what they’re getting into, I think.

    1. hunkerdown

      I think they know they’re quite literally fighting for the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed. There’s a lot of grift and illegal pleasures that come with being an insider. It’s people like Adam who need to be hauled in front of a popular tribunal and be forced to answer questions from the public until he has a breakdown, if only because they believe they shouldn’t have to answer to anyone outside their bubble.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Parkhomenko is clearly under mental stress. He’s the only young Democrat for Team Clinton, and Mook described him as a used condom. He’s basically treated like garbage by the people he worships, so its not really surprising he’s odd.

    1. ambrit

      The best defense is a strong offense.
      Don’t let the opposition set the boundaries of the debate.

  16. Carey

    From Taibbi’s latest, linked above:

    “..Even if you posit the most elaborate theories of Russian interference (which I don’t, but of course I’m denialist scum), what happened in 2016 was still almost entirely a domestic story, with Trump benefiting from long-developing public rejection of the political establishment.

    Rather than confront the devastating absurdity of defeat before an ad-libbing game show host who was seemingly trying to lose – a black comedy that is 100% in America’s rich stupidity tradition – Democrats have gone all-in on this theory of foreign infiltration. House speaker Nancy Pelosi even said as much in a White House meeting, pointing at Trump and proclaiming: “All roads lead to Putin.””

    Remember “reality-based community”? Good to remember that this is a tiny, tiny subset
    spewing this tripe..

  17. Chris

    Update on the school busing drama in my county.

    First, here’s a fairly polite public TV segment discussing some of the issues.

    Second, here’s what Mother Jones had to say about the issue. Fox News picked up on it too.

    Interestingly enough, the people opposed to the redistricting filed freedom of information act requests to get the addresses and names of the people who sent in the letters that were quoted by MoJo. They found that a majority of them, if not all of them, had fake addresses listing the street addresses for shopping malls and big box stores as the residence of the sender. Several of the members in the Board of Education found out about this and asked for the letters to be taken out of the testimony record from county citizens. Of course Mother Jones hasn’t edited the original article to reflect that…

    There are numerous public and private Facebook groups battling things out in the digital public space we have. Local housing developers and builders appear to be starting pages to push for the plan to keep capacities at the best schools within limits that allow for unlimited new construction. There are many new developments with houses starting in the “low” $ 800’s. There’s also established communities and developers who want to shift which schools their kids go to so that their property values get a boost.

    The issues involved are tied in a Gordian knot of so many problems we’re dealing with in the US today. Economic disparity between neighbors, lack of regulations for development, abuse of public resources for private gain, lack of good information to make policy decisions, fear of missing out applied to our kids, scarce resources for education, people who are seeking not just equity but equal outcomes in the public space, people who are trying to defend what they assumed they had, concentrations of affordable or section 8 housing contrasted with sparse rural housing, the professional 10% vs. the rest of the country, the list goes on and on. This is Chris Hedges’ front row vs. back row America conflict being fought in miniature on a narrow spectrum. And it is very ugly.

    Unmentioned in most of the discussions is that a new high school is supposed to open in 2022, so kids would be shuffled around next year, and then shuffled around again 2 years later. People are confused as to why we have the money to pay for the extra costs to bus children around next year but don’t have the money to pay for more teachers and classroom space that could help with the issues we have now.

    Fortunately we don’t have to make too many hard choices here. The school district is well funded with a 2020 operating budget of roughly $1 billion US$ to cover approximately 60 educational facilities attended by about 58000 students. This is nothing compared to our county neighbor to the south (Montgomery) or some public school district like LA. Charter schools aren’t available here. Private schools are rare. Pretty much everyone sends their kids to public school. Which is why they are fighting so viciously for what they want.

    My prediction is that this current policy has two potential outcomes: (1) it will be blocked, and the people pushing for “equity” will really resent it, causing lots of issues during the coming local elections which will make future battles even more difficult to resolve as a community. (2) it will pass, and this is what will spawn a serious movement for charter schools and school choice that will destroy the great public school system we have. I’m not optimistic anything good is going to come from this.

    I’ll post more as matters develop.

  18. Fern

    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.

    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 that she opposed publicly-owned utilities a only few weeks ago.

    A good friend of Warren’s from high school, Katrina Harry, said: “Liz was not in favor of Lyndon 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 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?


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