2:00PM Water Cooler 10/25/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The window for passing the Trump administration’s renegotiated trade deal with Mexico and Canada may be closing. U.S. lawmakers worry that progress on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, could fade against political priorities in the coming election year if negotiations in Washington over the pact don’t conclude soon” [Wall Street Journal]. “Democrats and the administration are at odds over how to ensure that new labor rules in USMCA are enforced, a priority for U.S. unions aiming to deter companies from moving production. There’s little progress so far, although U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with lawmakers on Wednesday.”



“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 10/25/2019, 11:00 AM EDT:

This time I didn’t smooth the results by averaging over seven days. So, with a more and bigger poll, maybe we’ll see if Biden is undergoing a blip, or a nosedive.

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 Tuesday, NH Wednesday, NV, as of 10/25/2019, here’s CA as of 10/25/2019, 11:00 AM EDT:

Warren, Sanders, Biden (!). What a debacle for Harris. It turns out that the Hamptons have wretched political judgment. What a shocker! And the latest result:

Note the tiny, tiny samples in the state polls.

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): “In A Reversal, Joe Biden Wants A Super PAC” [HuffPo]. “Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign said Thursday it would welcome help from a super PAC, a total reversal from Biden’s stance at the beginning of the campaign and a decision reflecting his diminished standing in the race…. Many Democrats view super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited sums and often rely on checks of tens of thousands of dollars from wealthy donors for funding, as a malignant force that represents a big-money era of politics the party is nominally dedicated to ending…. The Biden campaign said President Donald Trump’s false attacks on the former vice president made it necessary for it to welcome the help of a super PAC.”

Buttigieg (D)(1):


Ryan (D)(1): “Tim Ryan drops out of 2020 presidential race” [The Hill]. “In the video, titled “Giving Voice to the Forgotten,” Ryan said ‘I’ll be returning home to my family and friends and community in Ohio to run for reelection for my congressional seat.’ The filing deadline for primary candidates in Ohio is Dec. 16.”

Sanders (D)(1): Sanders and elders:

And speaking of elders, Lambert here: An alert reader tossed a brilliant suggestion over the transom, addressed to the Sanders campaign. Here it is:

To reach elders, the Sanders campaign should include MeTV — “America’s #1 Classic Television Network” — in its Air War arsenal, and sooner rather than later. If The Sanders campaign wants to reach voters who watch Perry Mason re-runs regularly, or the Big Valley, or the Flintstones — and it should! — this is the network for them. “As of November 2017, MeTV has current or pending affiliation agreements with 203 television stations in over 185 television markets encompassing all 50 states the District of Columbia, and the border regions of Canada, covering approximately 92.54% of the United States; this makes MeTV the largest subchannel network by population reach percentage.” I don’t have a rate card, but I hear you can actually pick up some Me TV stations on rabbit ears! So some MeTV media buys should be thrifty. The reader was concerned that the youth focus of the Sanders campaign would bypass voters who are never going to use the Sanders app, because they have flip phones, and who won’t see the videos that the Sanders media operation puts out, because they aren’t heavy Internet users (and may not have good connections). In terms of messaging, it seems to me that a Perry Mason watcher would be very amenable to the retro aspect of the Sanders campaign: Returning the Democratic Party to its roots in the New Deal of FDR’s time, just better. Like Medicare with vision, dental, pharma coverage, no complexity, and above all no co-pays or deductibles or monthly payments. Also, give Social Security a boost. In fact, an ad done in black and white, Perry Mason-style (including the musical theme) might even play well with the youth!

Sanders (D)(2): At a NewsMax (!) town hall:

Sanders (D)(3): “Bernie Sanders, returning to Iowa after heart attack, claims no lost momentum” [Des Moines Register]. “There is one week until the Iowa Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice dinner — a key event that has acted as a turning point in the sprint to Caucus Day — and there are just over three months until the caucuses…. However, the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed him slipping from second to third place behind U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joe Biden. ‘Today, your poll is good; tomorrow, it’s bad,’ Sanders said, dismissing the often up-and-down nature of presidential polling. ‘At the end of the day, especially in a caucus state, the results will be determined by one factor, and that is voter turnout. And I think we have the capability of bringing out our supporters in very large numbers, and I think we stand a great chance to win here in Iowa.'” • We’ll see!

Warren (D)(1): “Warren cutting into Biden’s lead in new SC 2020 Democratic poll” [Post and Courier]. “Biden’s lead in South Carolina, which had hovered around 20 percentage points since the summer, has shrunk… Biden received 30 percent to Warren’s 19 percent. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 13 percent and California Sen. Kamala Harris at 11 percent are the only two other candidates with double-digit results in South Carolina…. The biggest gains in the latest poll came from fifth- and sixth-place contenders, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.” • Everybody loves a winner, but the gains in the third tier show SC is still fluid (though perhaps not a firewall for Biden).

Warren (D)(2):

Yet another case where Warren’s problem statement isn’t commensurate with the proposed solution….


“Republicans criticize House impeachment process — while fully participating in probe” [WaPo]. “Then the questions begin to fly, largely from the expert staff hired by lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee and other panels participating in the probe. Each side gets an equal amount of questions, as dictated by long-standing House rules guiding these interviews. ‘It starts one hour, one hour,’ said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), explaining how the questioning moves beyond one-hour blocks for each side. ‘Then it goes 45, 45, 45, 45, with breaks, occasionally, and breaks for lunch.’ Meadows, one of Trump’s staunchest allies, said each side has been allowed an unlimited amount of questions they can ask of witnesses.’… Those participating in the closed-door depositions generally say that these interviews are very professional and that both sides have operated under rules that were approved in January.” • As I’ve said, I don’t like the policy on transcripts, and my litmus test for legitimacy is that there’s no secret evidence at all. I don’t much like that Republicans can’t subpeona witnesses, either.

The Debate

“MSNBC names four renowned female journalists as moderators for November debate” [NBC]. “Moderating the Nov. 20 event, which is being co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post, will be Rachel Maddow, host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC; Andrea Mitchell, host of “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC and NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent; Kristen Welker, NBC News’ White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a White House reporter for The Washington Post.” • The count of journalists is off by at least one.


The DNC really poisoned the well by making pollsters into players. Now there’s no room for accidents:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“From Beverly Hills to Miami Beach: who are America’s richest zip codes backing in 2020?” [Guardian]. “Americans who live in the country’s 20 wealthiest zip codes have donated the most to the moderate Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Booker and Joe Biden, a Guardian analysis of presidential campaign finance filings for the first nine months of 2019 found. The vast majority of the fundraising from the 20 wealthy areas went to Democrats. Residents of these bastions of actual limousine liberals – including Westchester, New York, Beverly Hills, and Greenwich, Connecticut – have ponied up nearly $880,000 for Senator Harris and nearly $600,000 for Mayor Buttigieg. Booker and the former vice-president Biden raised more than half a million dollars each. Donald Trump cashed his share of checks, too. The president raised more than $500,000 in total across the 20 locales, and was the top recipient in three: Palm Beach, Florida; Newport Beach, California; and Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump spends significant time at his private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach and his golf club in Bedminster. Meanwhile, the senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are among the frontrunners nationally, have amassed the largest campaign war chests of all the Democratic candidates while refusing to hold high-dollar fundraisers and calling for higher taxes on the wealthy. Their aversion to the rich appears to be reciprocal.”

Stats Watch

Consumer Sentiment, October 2019 (Final): “Consumer sentiment fell back in the latter half of October compared to the first half but still showed solid improvement from September” [Econoday]. “Current conditions are the big plus for October… Expectations also improved…. A clear negative in the report, at least for Federal Reserve policy makers who are trying to give a lift to inflation, is weakness in inflation expectations.”

Retail: “Expanding its own shipping services is taking a toll on Amazon.com Inc.’s bottom line. The e-commerce market leader’s profit fell 26% in the third quarter even as revenue grew 24%… as world-wide shipping costs soared 46%” [Wall Street Journal]. “The $9.6 billion in shipping expenses was even more than Amazon spent in last year’s busy fourth quarter and a sign of the tumultuous changes underway in the company’s logistics operations as it handles more of its own packages. Amazon is taking on those costs as it rolls out one-day shipping for Prime subscribers, promising to bring its best customers faster and cheaper delivery. In The results suggest that Amazon is struggling like other retailers and parcel carriers to cope with the costs of e-commerce delivery, but it’s not slowing the company down.”

The Bezzle: “Leaked transcript: Read what WeWork’s new chairman told anxious employees at an all-hands meeting” [ReCode]. Marcelo Claure, SoftBank’s COO and the former CEO of Sprint, at an all hands meeting. The choicest bit: “Layoffs, it’s in everybody’s mind, layoff, severance, right? I don’t have all the answers. I wrote you a letter yesterday. Are there going to be layoffs? Yes. How many? I don’t know. It’s day one. But what I will guarantee you is whoever is asked to leave this family is going to do … We’re going to make sure that they leave with dignity, that we’re taking proper care of them, and that we’re rewarding them for them having taken a chance on WeWork. For the ones that stay, we’re going to give you total transparency. You’re going to be a partner. We’re going to figure out a way how you share in whatever we create together, in all of the value that we create together. We’re going to be realistic about valuations. We’re going to be very honest about how much this company’s worth.” • That will be a change!

Tech: “Smart home tech can help evict renters, surveillance company tells landlords” [CNET]. “A smart intercom company called Teman GateGuard has been pitching its surveillance technology to landlords in New York as a way to sidestep rent-control regulations in the city, according to emails reviewed by CNET. The email’s subject line says, ‘GateGuard: 3 Steps to de-stabilize NYC units — even after the new law!” and opens with the sentence, ‘You CAN raise rents in NYC!’… ‘Use the GateGuard AI Doorman Intercom to catch illegal sublets, non-primaries, Airbnbs, so you can vacate a unit,’ GateGuard’s sales team wrote in the email. ‘Combine a $950/mo studio and a $1400/mo one-bedroom into a $4200 DEREGULATED two-bedroom.’ … [Ari Teman] founded GateGuard in 2016, after he started SubletSpy.com to help landlords find Airbnbs and sublets hosted in their buildings. He was inspired to create the SubletSpy website after he rented his own apartment on Airbnb in 2014 and it was used for an orgy that cost him over $23,000 in damages.” • Unintended consequences of disruption…

Tech: “Amazon Ring: Home Safety Device or Ohio Civil Rights Concern?” [Cleveland Scene]. “Homeowners use Ring to record video of anyone who comes to their front doors. Police officers are then coached by Amazon to request access to the private videos. Malachi Robinson, campaign director of the civil rights advocacy group Color of Change, one of the organizations that signed the letter, says that could lead to abuses of civil liberties…. Robinson says once the surveillance footage is collected without a warrant, law enforcement can use it to conduct facial recognition searches, target teenagers for minor drug possession or share it with other agencies such as ICE.”

Tech: “Google and IBM Clash Over Milestone Quantum Computing Experiment” [Quanta]. “In their new paper, Google demonstrated that their 53-qubit quantum computer performs a certain specialized computation (called “random circuit sampling” — see our recent explainer for more details) in fast polynomial time. Meanwhile, there’s no evidence that any classical computer can perform the same task in anything better than slow exponential time. That’s far more important than the time frame involved… What matters is that Google’s machine is solving a computational problem in a fundamentally different way than a classical computer can. This difference means that every time its quantum computer grows by even a single qubit [quantum bits], a classical computer will have to double in size to keep pace. By the time a quantum computer gets to 70 qubits — likely within the next couple of years — a classical supercomputer would need to occupy the area of a city to keep up.” • Maybe Google could use all that power to build a decent search engine. What are the odds?

Tech: “Google Says New AI-Powered Search Update Is ‘Huge Step Forward'” [Bloomberg]. “Google is injecting its search engine with new technology to better interpret the billions of web queries it handles every day, a change top executives described as one of the most significant in the company’s history. This shift, announced Friday, moves the world’s biggest search engine from spitting out results based on keywords to ‘something closer to language,’ said Ben Gomes, the search chief for Alphabet Inc.’s Google. ‘We’re very far from solving the problem fully, but this is a huge step forward,’ he said at a press briefing. Google has no peers in web search.” • We’ll wait to see if this “step forward” reverses the crapification of Google search. I’m guessing no.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62 Greed (previous close: 57, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 25 at 1:02pm.

The Biosphere

“Exxon Hid ‘Catastrophic’ Climate Prediction, State Suit Says” [Industry Week]. “Exxon Mobil Corp.(IW500/1) was sued by Massachusetts for allegedly hiding its early knowledge of climate change from the public and misleading investors about the future financial impact of global warming, two days after a trial started on similar claims in New York… According to the complaint, Irving, Texas-based Exxon went so far as to disregard the findings of one of its own scientists, who decades ago correctly predicted the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in 2019 and said that climate change would become “catastrophic.'”

“Booming Green Power Not Enough to Meet Climate Targets, IEA Says” [Bloomberg]. “‘Renewables are already the world’s second largest source of electricity,’ said Fatih Birol, the [International Energy Agency (IEA)’s executive director]. ‘But their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals.’ As countries in China, Europe and the U.S. increase deployment of wind turbines and solar panels, the share of renewables in global power generation will rise to 30% in 2024, up from 26% now, the IEA said…. A majority of those gains, about 60%, will be achieved by solar power. Costs of both utility-scale and distributed solar PV generation are expected to decline as much as 35% by 2024. That will help make costs of utility-scale solar plants equal to or cheaper than new fossil fuel plants in some countries.”

“Navajo company shuts coal mine in dispute over sovereignty” [Wild About Trial]. “One of the largest coal mines in the U.S. was indefinitely shuttered Thursday in a dispute over whether its new owner should be immune as a tribal entity from future lawsuits for environmental violations or reclamation costs. The Navajo Transitional Energy Company blamed the state of Montana for the impasse over the Spring Creek Mine near Decker. Its executives said they were standing up for the company’s sovereign rights as an entity wholly-owned by the Navajo Nation…. “NTEC (Navajo Transitional Energy Company) will not operate Spring Creek until such a fully-effective, complete and approved waiver has been agreed upon,” wrote Matthew Dorrington, coal program supervisor at Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality. The main area of disagreement between the state and company is a Montana law that allows citizens to file lawsuits over alleged violations of reclamation rules, according to the letter.” • Hmm.

“Democrats Criticize Trump For Attacking Greta Thunberg Instead Of Praising Her Bravery, Ignoring Her Later” [The Onion]. Said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: “‘I want to say right now to Ms. Thunberg that Donald Trump’s dismissive comments do not represent the country as a whole. I assure you that the next time you want to speak to leaders who could benefit from being associated with climate activism, the Democratic party is here for you as long as the cameras are rolling and not a second longer.’ Hoyer went on to condemn Fox News for launching ad hominem attacks against Thunberg instead of merely criticizing her proposals as unrealistic and anti-business.”


“The promise of the Yazoo Pumps” [Southerly]. “Even if the Yazoo Pumps are revived, it could be decades before work begins again; there is currently a nearly $100 billion backlog in Army Corps infrastructure projects. People on both sides of the argument told me they figure the pumps, in the end, might never be built.” • Worth a read to understand something of water projects on the lower Mississippi. I don’t see a happy ending for anybody.

Health Care

“The Urban Institute’s Single Payer Cost Estimate: False Assumptions False Conclusions” [David U. Himmelstein, M.D., and Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., PNHP]. The Urban Institute study was instantly signal-boosted by CNN, the Hill, and The Atlantic, among others, and seems to have led to the “pay for” questions in the last debate, and Warren taking on the task — not planned already? — of writing a tax proposal for whatever she determines Medicare for All to actually be. “Administrative savings, Part 1: The UI report assumes that single-payer reform would reduce insurance overhead to 6% of claims ($234 billion) from the current level of about 10.6%. In contrast, overhead in Canada’s single-payer system is only 1.8%, and overhead in the fee-for-service Medicare program is 2%. The UI group justifies its 6% estimate by claiming that a single payer system “…would require a host of administrative functions to effectively operate, such as rate setting for many different providers and services of different types; quality control over care provision; development, review, and revision of regulations; provider oversight and standards enforcement; claims payments to providers; and other functions.” UI’s claim ignores the fact that all of these functions are currently carried out by both Canada’s program and the fee-for-service Medicare program.” • This is a brutal takedown of the Urban Institute study, which you should read in full.

“What the Health Care Debate Still Gets Wrong” [Adam Gaffney, The Boston Review]. “[T]his entire edifice of reform [ObamaCare ACOs] was built on sand. Quite simply, as a nation, we actually do not use too much health care; if anything, we use fewer services than people in other high-income countries. While ‘overutilization’ may indeed be a major problem in some areas (and who wants an unnecessary slice from a scalpel?), it cannot, simply as a matter of basic accounting, explain our total off-the-charts spending. In particular, it cannot account for the fact that we spend more than $10,000 per capita on health care—approximately double that of Canada—nor for the nearly six-fold rise in inflation-adjusted healthcare spending from 1970 to 2017, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The real cost problem, all along, has been the other half of the spending equation: not the quantity of medical services rendered, but the prices paid by insurers for each unit of care provided. So what can? It turns out that the real cost problem, all along, has been the other half of the spending equation: not the quantity of medical services rendered, but the prices paid by insurers for each unit of care provided. This simple but crucial insight is most frequently attributed to the legendary health economist Uwe Reinhardt.”

“A New Generation of Activist Doctors Is Fighting for Medicare for All” [Time]. “[Travis Singleton, executive vice president of Merritt-Hawkins], whose firm conducts a biennial survey of doctors’ opinions, says that while there are myriad reasons for an uptick in political involvement, one of the most compelling is simple: doctors see the dysfunction of the health care system on a daily basis. As health care costs ballooned and the private insurance industry expanded, the job of being a doctor changed. Instead of just treating patients, doctors today must battle with insurance requirements, manage arcane reimbursement systems and juggle enormous administrative costs, Singleton’s firm found. Much of this is a direct consequence of physicians’ early opposition to health care reform, explains Beatrix Hoffman, a history professor at Northern Illinois University. By pushing back against government involvement, she says physicians created the system that is now dominated by private insurance. ‘We’ve heard so many horror stories from doctors who have come before us about spending hours on the phone negotiating with insurance companies,’ says Scott Swartz, a 28-year-old medical student in San Francisco. ‘That’s not how we want to spend our time.’ All of these factors have combined to shift doctors’ politics to the left.” • But patients love their insurance companies. Right?

“We Found Over 700 Doctors Who Were Paid More Than a Million Dollars by Drug and Medical Device Companies” [Pro Publica]. “Back in 2013, ProPublica detailed what seemed a stunning development in the pharmaceutical industry’s drive to win the prescription pads of the nation’s doctors: In just four years, one doctor had earned $1 million giving promotional talks and consulting for drug companies; 21 others had made more than $500,000. Six years later — despite often damning scrutiny from prosecutors and academics — such high earnings have become commonplace. More than 2,500 physicians have received at least half a million dollars apiece from drugmakers and medical device companies in the past five years alone, a new ProPublica analysis of payment data shows. And that doesn’t include money for research or royalties from inventions.”

Our Famously Free Press

“The boss said ‘run it.'”

“Rupert Murdoch wanted Mark Zuckerberg to pay him for news stories — and now Facebook is going to do just that” [ReCode]. “Facebook’s news section… will give some publishers, like News Corp, millions of dollars a year for making their journalism available to Facebook… Facebook will roll out its news section Friday as an “alpha” launch, available to a couple hundred thousand US users; it won’t get a wider release for a few months…. Users who click on the icon will see headlines for a handful of top stories, selected by Facebook editors — from partners like the Wall Street Journal (which is owned by News Corp), Business Insider, and BuzzFeed — and a personalized selection of headlines selected by Facebook’s algorithmic software. Clicking on those headlines will send users to the publishers’ own sites, where Facebook users can read the entire story for free. And while sites with subscription-based business models will have to let Facebook users see individual articles without paying, they’ll be able to keep their paywalls mostly intact: If you click on a Wall Street Journal article via Facebook’s news section, you’ll be able to read that one story, but if you click on a subsequent WSJ piece, you’ll be asked to pay up….. the program Zuckerberg is announcing Friday appears rather straightforward: Facebook will pay publishers for work they already make and then share to the platform, which means it is pure profit.” • I’d be interested in screen shots and any reactions from any NC readers who (still) use Facebook are serving as guinea pigs for this program; my email address is below.

News of the Wired

“A Power Law Keeps the Brain’s Perceptions Balanced” [Quanta]. • Interesting, although with rare exceptions (above) I find Quanta almost impossible to excerpt!

“The Sonic Episteme” [The New Enquiry]. • I’m not sure whether this is a parody or not.

“Mark Zuckerberg’s fascination with Augustus Caesar might explain the Facebook CEO’s haircut” [Business Insider]. “Facebook did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on where Zuckerberg drew inspiration for his ‘do, so while we don’t know for sure, it’s possible the Caesars’ iconic cuts were the source.” • Tyrell Corporation has difficulties integrating harvested human follicles with artificial android flesh. That is the real problem with Zuckerberg’s hairline.

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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 (IM):

IM writes: “The leaves are just mellowing into fall now. Hornbeam backed by an old row of firs!”

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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. zephyrum

    Of all the adjectives to be applied to Zuck, I’m pretty sure that “august” would be among the last.

    1. Quentin

      Curiously Aaron Mate’s hairline is not so different. Further there is no possible comparison. Mate is a gem, Suckerberg, well, a Zuker.

      1. DJG

        I skimmed the Business Insider article quickly: I am reminded over and over how the WWW has enough virtual space for endless pointlessness.

        Almost all Roman men kept their hair as short as Julius Caesar and Octavian (his early name). Just take a look at portrait busts throughout Rome and in the museums. Roman men set the style for hair that continues to this day. In contrast, the Greeks wore their hair long, tied up, braided–hair was complicated for men in Greece. (And on a recent trip to Athens, I noticed an Orthodox priest (monk?) with extremely long hair, sort of man-bunned, the Greeks still being good at man buns.)

        It is more likely that Zuckerberg’s bad haircut derives from the trend in U.S. culture for a great deal of hairlessness among men. There is lots of info about manscaping out there. Men’s hair, evidently, has many taboos about showing it. Also, you have the Bezos buzz-job–the guy who is just too darn busy looting the country to have hair. Zuckerberg’s hair is mainly just–short.

        One thing that I learned about that Roman attitude toward men’s hair is that the Romans didn’t fetishize hair, unlike other cultures that require men to wear beards or cultures that frown on men cutting their hair. (Let alone the fetishizing of women’s hair. But let’s stick to Zuck today.)

        1. Plenue

          There’s a trend now for baldness among some, but there’s also a big trend for men having many different kinds of (usually hideous) haircuts. I think it would have been called ‘metrosexual’ fifteen years ago, but now it seems to be commonplace.

      2. metannoya

        funny comparison. I always saw edward snowden and zuckerberg together They’re only 13 months apart (Snowden’s older) In February 2004 Zuckerberg friended the internet from his Harvard dorm room, three months later, in May, Snowden enlisted in the Army Reserve to serve in the war on terror. Their life choices, world views, ambitions, public statements, track each other and the main events of our time. They’re at interesting stages now. Snowden has more friends

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        My favorite meme on that was:

        What do you call that hairstyle?

        Default Texture

        Heartily agreeing with DJG, there’s a lot Romans who were trying to look Kirbyesque.

    2. The Rev Kev

      When asked for a comment, Augustus Caesar said it wasn’t he that wanted that stupid haircut but that it was his wife Livia that made him do it because she thought that it made him “look regal”. “Nobody else I know has that stupid 1st century hairstyle” he added, “and it is only because I am Emperor that the other fellows don’t laugh at him”.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The Me TV concept is an excellent idea. Not only does the network get a lot of the right eyeballs, they’re in a pleasant, and possibly more receptive, frame of mind–lots less ornery “get off my lawn,” and far more of the optimism and possibility of their “youth.”

      I know. I go there often.

      There are lots of these kinds of channels on the dreaded “cable.” I’d also hit the ones that show The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Bob Newhart. Hard to be in a lousy, defensive mood when you’re watching those.

      P.S. You can get Me TV with an antenna if you live close enough to a major market.

      1. Dan

        Bernie, were he to use this ad market, should talk about the economic plight of the viewer’s children and especially their grandchildren.

        Riff on the bumper sticker
        “Ask Me About My Grandchildren!”

        Change it to:
        “Assure My Grandchildren’s healthcare ~Sanders 2020”

        1. Jen

          And climate change. One notable exception to the dearth of political signs in my area is a plethora of “Climate Emergency-act for our children” signs (though mostly across the NH border in VT).

        2. False Solace

          Oh man that’s a good one.

          Comfortable Boomer grandparents don’t care a fig about anyone’s health care but their own. When their kids don’t have health care they tell them to go find a better job (because it’s that easy). The only thing that will get out of their recliners and into their mobile scooters is threatening their Medicare. So that’s what the corporate owned politicians will say — M4A means taking away your Medicare! And Boomers will eat it up.

          Old people are not friendly to progressives. They support Biden and Trump. They don’t understand how much the economy has changed. Things worked for them as a generation. More so than for us.

          And before you go #notalloldpeople, yeah, I get it, you’re one of the good ones. I speak in general terms.

          1. False Solace

            My comfortable Boomer mom doesn’t support M4A. I told her she was lucky to have health care courtesy of my dad’s (vanishingly rare these days) retirement pension. “Lucky? I worked for everything I have,” she told me. She also has a horrific degenerative disease that has left her partially crippled and will result in her death. I bet she worked hard for that too?

            Don’t underestimate the ability of people to believe mutually contradictory things, especially when they justify their own good opinions of themselves.

          2. Darthbobber

            I think you speak in bare assertions with no offer of evidence or even argument.

            Perhaps we should just add that entire demographic to the list of “deplorables” who just can’t be appealed to by any conceivable method?

            And to what end?

          3. Yves Smith

            That is complete horseshit.

            1. My current gym, in the South, is heavily geriatric. MSNBC on 3x as much as anything else, including sports

            2. This very site disproves your contention. Readership skews older, educated, and male.

            3. And if we are going to drag mothers into this, my mother has taken note that her only 2 years of college union member son has a higher net worth than the son who graduated from UVA in an honors program. That despite union member son’s paper mill having been ruined by private equity, leading him to retire early (they put everyone on physically punishing shift schedules to force the older men to quit). She’s a registered Republican and Sanders is the only Democrat evah to whom she has contributed. She thinks Trump is a turkey, Biden is an embarrassment and the Dems are shooting themselves in the foot with their huge number of contenders, silly unending debates, and fixation on impeachment rather than on what they are going to do to help voters.

            1. orlbucfan

              I liked the horses in those old shows including Mr. Ed. I thought they had more class than the human stars.

      2. Carolinian

        There’s an OTA channel that has old Dick Cavett shows (they are owned by him). Watching these can cause one to purr with satisfaction.

        1. polecat

          Dick Cavett was Great ! Often hilarious, sometimes just plain weird, but great just the same. Also Phil Donahue, Mike Douglas, and the esteemable Jonathan Winters.
          Now, we look forward … or maybe it should be backward, to the likes of The View ?? Yuck ! Gag my with a spoonbill.
          Is everything daytime tv/cable* Idiocracy now ??

          *having owned no idiot box since 2002

      3. jrs

        Yea you do go there. Old people are statistically happier than younger people. It’s young people who are all: get off my lawn! (if I owned a lawn …).

    2. Big River Bandido

      I like the idea. Another channel watched by this demo (e.g. my parents) is Turner Classic Movies — but I have no idea whether their business structure would make a blanket ad buy simple and cost-effective. As a composer, I would not recommend the “Perry Mason” theme. It’s a bit too “dark and smoky” for a campaign commercial. (Compare the mood of that music to the Simon and Garfunkel spot they produced in ’16.) Unless you generated an ad that actually played off the Perry Mason character or storylines in a clever or quirky kind of way, the music would probably seem gratuitous or at worst, send the wrong vibe. I’m not sure how to draw a narrative connection between Sanders and Perry Mason, other than the fact that both of them are badasses with no fear. However, there might be another show where the teevee theme could work. (You could relate the nation to the seven castaways on “Gilligan’s Island”…but again, I don’t think that would make a very effective campaign ad unless it was meant to be quirky and show Sanders in a human light.

      Related anecdote: My sister was en route home to Chicago after visiting the folks in Davenport a few weeks ago. She ended up riding next to an 85yo man canvassing for Sanders. He lives in the southwest burbs, takes the train from Chicago to Galesburg then a bus to Davenport every weekend. So, he *does* have support from seniors. What if the Sanders campaign were to run an ad profiling this man, and other seniors about why they’re volunteering for Bernie?

      1. Big River Bandido

        The theme from M*A*S*H* is also out of the question, I’d think. The Johnny Mandel tune has lyrics: “suicide is painless”. Not the right message, either.

        1. Dan

          “The Fishing Hole” would be a good choice.

          Theme from the Andy Griffin Show.

          A pro-Sanders, pro M4A, mock big pharma ad, showing old people going broke or selling the house in order to buy essential medicine, could use
          “The Wheel of Fortune” as its theme song.

        2. JBird4049

          /And it brings on many changes/ And I can take it or leave if I please/…

          Maybe not the best message, but perhaps someone should write a modern protest and/or campaign song.

          Even reuse all the pre1960s pro union or the Vietnam/civil rights era protest songs I had to listen later on the radio. Eve of Destruction might be a start.

      2. Another Rev

        Good idea but TCM doesn’t run ads, except for its own programing. Other than religious channels, it might the only one left that doesn’t.

      3. Mo's Bike Shop

        Back in the day I responded to a tough but fair Grad English Professor’s challenge that we had no shared canon, like in the day of Dryden and Pope, by starting the class into singing the Gilligan’s Island theme. There wasn’t even a hitch at the Professor and Mary Ann part. Go with what you have.

    3. CGKen

      My 90-year-old grandfather watches a lot of TV and watches only three things: sports, Fox News, and Westerns on MeTV.

      He and my grandmother (who has dementia and doesn’t watch much of anything) are currently living in my uncle’s house and are paying for an in-home aide, but I know that he is worried about running out of money to pay for the aide. My grandmother seems to be outliving all expectations for someone with her advanced dementia.

      Anyway, running ads on MeTV can’t be all that expensive. A lot of the ads are for local lawyers or used car places.

      1. polecat

        Back in the day, those of us suffering from dementia, or other debilitating illness/disease/ infirmities .. would have been given the shamanic rights to the spirit world, and left by the tribe/clan on some sacred place .. for the Saber-toothed Cat, Cave Bear, or Dire Wolve to dispatch …

        Not a bad way to go, considering … unlike today, where Vulturecapitalists rule the Earth !

    4. Michael

      Found some Nielsen stats for Me TV: 702,000 viewers last year on average, at least 80% of whom are 50 or older. More than I’d assumed. By comparison, around 5.5 million 50-or-older people on average watched NBC.

      In my opinion, the phrase “Medicare for All” should be downplayed around older audiences. Frankly, their top concern will be ensuring their own care, while extending that care to others might even be seen as a negative. “Medicare [coverage] for dental”, “Medicare for hearing”, etc. would be more effective.

      (I notice that your Alert Reader doesn’t use the phrase “Medicare for All” either. I haven’t seen any Sanders ads, so I can’t speak to the campaign’s current strategy in that department.)

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Medicare Ultra? Medicare Extreme? Universal Medicare? Medicare or Else?

        I agree. If the opposition is going to try to subvert the particular phrase, like it would any particular leader, then it’s probably not a good idea to lean on one phrase.

        And boy howdy, Dental.

    5. katiebird

      Me? I love it. We watch a lot of the various broadcast TV stations (This, Antenna, Cozi, Me & Comet in Kansas City).

      Also, it would be a good way to target people who have cut the cable no matter their age.

    6. Baby Gerald

      It’s a brilliant idea. I’m definitely on the younger side of their demo, but I adore that channel and its ethos of offering the entire episodes of these classic shows in running sequence and with the same commercial break structure* that existed in the original format, as well. I’m currently addicted to the Beverly Hillbillies run which just started from episode one a couple weeks ago. The writing and acting on that show were just perfect. It’s no wonder it ran as long as it did. Some well-placed Bernie commercials would fit nicely with its audience.

    7. Gary

      Me TV is a perfect place to get the word out. In the DFW market, it is broadcast over the air so the people that can’t afford cable TV watch it. I would even add that if you have trouble getting to the polls, we can help!

    8. Never Again

      20 miles South of Columbus, OH I’m able to get ME TV off a standard inside antenna. Considering their shows, no cable bill and limited broadcast competition it could be the only channel some households watch.

    9. Carla

      Me TV sounds great, but the point made in a Jimmy Dore clip linked here on NC two or three days ago was very important, too.

      Dore pointed out that the only answer to “How you gonna pay for M4A” HAS to be: “What? How are we gonna figure how to pay HALF what we’re paying now, while providing healthcare to ALL our people, which we don’t do now? This is a problem by you?”

    10. jrs

      If it’s just awareness or overcoming anti-Bernie propaganda fine, and many people could be swayed, but I wouldn’t assume old people are stupid. In fact most people who follow politics are familiar with Sanders stances, you can’t not be. If they like Yang or someone better then maybe they just do. My mom a Silent is solidly in the Warren camp and she had no problem voting for Bernie in the 2016 primary and was supporting Bernie until she started hearing more from Warren in the debates etc.. I’m not sure what would change her mind.

      I think she relates to Warren on a personal level (hey I tend to like librarians and academics as people too), sees her supporting similar policy as Bernie (one may disagree but), has personally seen actual concrete material benefits from her policy (the consumer financial protection bureau), sees her as less likely to alienate people than Bernie. Problem is not everyone is seeking radical change. The young may be “the entire system needs to go” and they are not wrong. But …

      1. Geo

        My mom, a former librarian, can’t stand Warren and thinks she’s irritating. Thinks Bernie is too radical though (and angry).

        She watches CNN and loves Wolf Blitzer. Assuming she’s a Biden voter even though she’s probably afraid of admitting that to me considering I’ve made my views on him clear for a decade now.

    1. Clive

      Getting by as best he can Clive says George Soros ‘is the most qualified to be wrong on just about everything he says’

    2. polecat

      Why can’t he just zip back Tatooine, and like any self-respecting scummy villian, stay there to bar hop in retirement .. and leave us humans alone !

      I mean, sithlord knows he’s got more galatic credits then Huts have slime …

      Oh, and for good measure, expatriate the entirety of the corporate party Democrats, encase them in Carbonite, and be done with it !!! Trophies for your den wall.

    3. Procopius

      George Soros has been so demonized he could probably help progressives more by praising Trump. “Reminds me of the leaders when I was a child.” (i.e., [expetive deleted] Nazis).

  2. Matthew Selmer

    On Warren:

    There is a certain hypocrisy in chanting “Eat The Rich” at a private college, in the middle of a relatively wealthy neighborhood in St. Paul, in front of the brand(ish) new athletic center that cost millions of dollars at an NCAA D3 school which, at the very least, did not help with rising tuition, which is about $56,000 per year, up from less than $30,000 twenty years ago.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I would object that it is better to note that these silver spoons do not find that hypocritical. There are what, three, four divide and conquers going on class-wise. Maybe Warren is tapping a new demographic? Anxious Young Professionals? Precariapros?

      1. scarn

        My bet is that anybody chanting ‘eat the rich’ isn’t all in for Warren, and was there for the sightseeing.

        1. ambrit

          Look for the free beer booth. That’s a dead giveaway at any public gathering. (‘Things’ have been ‘engineered.’)

  3. Quentin

    What’s Buttigeg offering, actually?This set up would probably be even one step too far for Trump, even for the money. I’ve not heard the name Chasten before.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Chasten is his husband. The prize is a musical.

      Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I like musicals and many of my friends like musicals.

      Al Hamilton was a bastard.

      1. jrs

        a musical is fine, but it’s like a straight guy auctioning off a night with his wife (just the two of you!). It’s likely he just expects some friendly big donors to contribute and doesn’t even see the dirty possibilities in the mind of the masses (mostly if you are a gay guy, I guess if you are a straight woman who for some reason likes to fantasize about gay guys ..)

        1. pretzelattack

          afaik it’s the first propaganda musical. innovative. maybe ww2 era musicals should be considered propaganda.

          1. ambrit

            Read any “Official” history text book.
            Propaganda is an essential sub-plot in the various iterations of “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

  4. XXYY

    Residents of these bastions of actual limousine liberals – including Westchester, New York, Beverly Hills, and Greenwich, Connecticut – have ponied up nearly $880,000 for Senator Harris and nearly $600,000 for Mayor Buttigieg. Booker and the former vice-president Biden raised more than half a million dollars each.

    These are actually pretty irrelevant sums in the present context. Sanders, e.g., raised over $25,000,000 in the current quarter alone, exclusively from small donors. We seem to have reached a point where small individual donations can vastly exceed what the rich can (or will) contribute to a credible grass roots candidate. Good news.

    The amounts contributed here by the rich would not even cover Joe Biden’s private jet rentals.

    1. Dan

      From today’s links:
      The chart, Candidate support among selected occupations:

      Kamala Harris’ highest support levels
      Lawyers, Physicians and Surgeons, CEOs and Clergy IMHO, the most rarefied, overpaid and out of touch professions in America.
      That’s who lives in Westchester, Beverly Hills, and Greenwich.

  5. Seth Miller

    Re: “Smart home tech can help evict renters, surveillance company tells landlords”

    Here in NYC, greed makes the landlords into lying thieves, but as illustrated here it also makes them gullible.

    Teman is lying to them that they would be able to deregulate anything: deregulation is dead thanks to the last few years of organizing, culminating in this year’s revolutionary repeal of deregulation. He is lying when he says that keyless entry is legal, at least as the sole means of entering apartment buildings: the NYC Building Code forbids it. And as I said in the story (that was me quoted at the bottom), most of the time the “evidence” produced by these automatic devices, not monitored by any authenticating witness, is inadmissible.

    But the landlords will buy it anyway, and bring their bogus eviction cases, and lose most of them, because they think they can get away with a big payoff if they win one.

    1. Dan

      That was a plotline in Tom Wolfe’s
      Bonfire of The Vanities
      , remember?

      The surveillance system caught the

      1. Seth Miller

        Right: there was an illegal listening device in the tenant’s intercom, in the apartment. Based on a real case. Simpler times. Landlord knew the eavesdropping was illegal and, as I recall, the government found that it was an act of tenant harassment to have planted it. Nobody had the chutzpah to maintain that the surreptitious tapes would be admissible in evidence, let alone suffice by themselves to prove that the tenant was subletting without landlord permission. Surveillance of the front door is not illegal, but, at least for now, eavesdropping in a private apartment is a felony.

  6. Mark K

    Re: Expanding its own shipping services is taking a toll on Amazon.com Inc.’s bottom line.

    Has anyone seen an estimate of the environmental cost of Amazon’s push to provide one-day shipping for Prime subscribers? It is horrendously wasteful for all these services to be criss-crossing our streets to deliver small packages to residences. In any sane country that cared at all about the future of the planet the Post Office would be declared the sole provider of small-scale deliveries to residences. They are already visiting every house and apartment.

    1. Jen

      Was chatting with one of my mechanics this afternoon (with 240K on my car, I like to have a primary and several reliable backups). He mentioned a product he bought on Amazon and I said I didn’t shop there – giving my first reason as keeping my money in the local community, and my second and not unrelated as their horrific treatment of employees, suppliers and customers. Both arguments resonated with him.

    2. cnchal

      > . . . environmental cost of Amazon’s push to provide one-day shipping for Prime subscribers?

      The environmental cost is staggering, particularly when considering the astronomical 30% return rate and street level mayhem inflicted on pedestrians and motorists by the insane way the white van drivers, drive.

      Big and little governments approve this insanity by shovelling billions at Bezos for hosting their computer stuff, which allows the warehouse worker whipping and shipping stuff craziness to lose money hand over fist.

      It isn’t the 800 pound gorilla of retail, but the 800 pound bull in a china shop as far as I’m concerned.

      I wonder if Amazon will become truly a vertically integrated monopoly by buying entire forests and the mills and cardboard plants too. Then why not an automaker to make their own vans, and a few fracking wells along with refineries next to the warehouses, to make their own gas and diesel. All subsidized by the government because they are clueless about computers.

  7. ambrit

    As far as Google’s Quantum computer goes, the relevant question is; “Who are they searching for?”
    An ancient Greek philosopher had one answer for the question that could, if put to the quantum computer, cause a ripple in SpaceTime. (I’ll admit that I couldn’t hold a candle to him.)

  8. WobblyTelomeres

    Re: The promise of the Yazoo Pumps

    The only viable long term solution is relocation. I suspect everyone knows this, but the poor cannot afford to relocate (self-deport) and the Mississippi Big Mules surely aren’t going to pay to relocate the poor.

    1. ambrit

      The other “viable” solution, which is also the elite’s preferred solution is ‘letting’ the denizens of the Delta die in place.

  9. Steve H.

    Interview w John Robb:


    > Trump is a natural in terms of that maneuver based disruptive strategies. He has lots of what’s called a fast transiency. Moves from one topic to the next, one disruption to the next. There’s never really any time for the opposition to build a momentum in terms of opposition on any specific point.

    > The resistance is the network that’s been most effective at combating the insurgency. It found its purchase in the identity side, very values focused. Its pure tunicle. In many respects doesn’t put up with violations of values. It’s in the process of taking over the democratic party and we’re seeing the compromise mainstream candidates being thrown to the side like Biden and anyone who’s tried to straddle the middle ground. AOC for instance, is the perfect example of the resistance participant. Both of these networks are open source. Meaning there’s not anyone specific person that’s leader.

    > Yeah, the resistance is different. It fights in the moral [realm], whereas the maneuver is all about disrupting your ability to think rationally and cogently. The moral [realm] is about attacking your cohesion. The resistance was formed largely online just to fight the unstoppable Trump insurgency

  10. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Sonic Episteme” — Wow. The Duke University Press published the book.
    “In The Sonic Episteme Robin James examines how twenty-first-century conceptions of sound as acoustic resonance shape notions of the social world, personhood, and materiality in ways that support white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Drawing on fields ranging from philosophy and sound studies to black feminist studies and musicology, James shows how what she calls the sonic episteme—a set of sound-based rules that qualitatively structure social practices in much the same way that neoliberalism uses statistics—employs a politics of exception to maintain hegemonic neoliberal and biopolitical projects.” [from the Duke University Press blurb for the book] “Robin James is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte” [https://www.dukeupress.edu/the-sonic-episteme]

    Where does jazz fit into this analysis? Is jazz OK if it tosses in enough ‘blue-notes’?

    Such deep thought as this helps build a strong argument for avoiding the Humanities, especially philosophy, which is unfortunate. Robin James should set up a study group to design a bell or horn that could be used to disrupt the sonic resonances that support white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Maybe Abbie Hoffman has some designs to help get things started.

    I have a little bell I ring at Christmas after watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” to help more angels gain their wings.

    1. ambrit

      I got Phyllis a bell to ring when she needs my assistance. I’m afraid that the bell does the opposite of Clarence’s bell in the movie. Our bell makes my Infernal horns and tail grow bigger with every passing wavefront.

  11. ewmayer

    Re. Sanders airing ads on MeTV, that’s an excellent suggestion. MeTV regularly does clever mash-up ads where they explain some new twist in the programming by way of apt clips from their various shows, e.g. “Perry Mason now on twice per day!” is followed by a b&w clip of some character on a Perry Mason episode saying “you’re putting me on!”, another saying “you must be joking”, closing with one of Perry himself saying “it’s no joke!” Sanders could use a similar approach to explaining, say, that we don’t need t worry about how to fund M4A because the overwhelming majority of Americans will end up paying less (in not just money, but also time and frustration) under M4A.

    They could also have some grouchy-looking actor playing Establishment Domocrat by way of a Hamilton Burger-esque “your honor, it’s clear Mr. Sanders is up to one of his usual tricks!” Another tack might be a Sanders ad that is a parody of a typical Big Pharma ad – the currrent US healthcare nightmare-system would be the unaffordable drug with the horrendous list of side effects which are worse than the problem it purports to treat. God, a clever ad agency could have a lot of fun with this.

    Do we have any higher-ups in the Sanders campaign around here reading this?

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Amazon Ring: Home Safety Device or Ohio Civil Rights Concern? ”

    I don’t know if this is a factor or not for next year but this article suggested something to me. From what I read, people going door to door for a political candidate seems to be a big thing in the US. Using Amazon Ring, would there not be the potential to build up a database of these activists, who they support and how they go about delivering their message? Amazon would of course have access to all this information straight away from its servers and from there, who is to say where all that data could go.

  13. anon in so cal

    David Stockman on Democrats:

    “The Democratic Party Is Dead, and Everyone Knows It But Them

    Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, thought to have finally retired from politics after an embarrassing electoral loss to a politically-inexperienced reality show personality, is threatening to enter the 2020 race, serving up reheated Cold War fearmongering and an ironclad sense of royal privilege to a Trump-weary populace. A morally and fiscally bankrupt Democratic Party is poised to enable this sick drama with the help of a spineless and compliant media.”



  14. The Rev Kev

    Re Pete Buttigieg’s offer. Hmmmm.

    Firsts Prize – See Hamilton with my husband Chasten.

    Second Prize – see Hamilton with my husband Chasten – twice!

    Sorry but this still weirds me out on several levels. And the big hook is to see the play Hamilton? If it ever came out that old Pete use to borrow Mark Zuckerberg’s copy of “Atlas Shrugged” when they were at Harvard together I would not be surprised.

    1. ewmayer

      What kind of name is “Chasten”, anyway? Isn’t “chasten” what rich pervs pay dungeon mistresses to do to them? “You’ve been a very naughty oligarch! Diverting all those R&D funds into executive bonuses to yourself! And there is only one punishment in Castle Anthrax for oligarchical naughtiness – no, not spanking! – rather, it is to be forced to sit through a performance of Hamilton with some weird dude’s husband named ‘Chasten’.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Can’t say that it would ever occur to me to offer up my wife as a date for a prize and thinking that it would be a good idea. I can only imagine what my wife would say about such an idea.

      2. pretzelattack

        they’ve effectively legalized torture, forced hamilton watching (will the winner have their eyes taped open like malcolm mcdowell?) is the logical next step.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Hamilton. Exactly the kind of shallow, tone deafness I’ve come to expect from politicians with this pedigree, trying to appeal to regular people.

      No wonder this clown can’t break out of single digits.

  15. barrisj

    Re: MSNBC moderator line-up…surely a cardboard cutout of the late Cokie Roberts would perform better than Andrea Mitchell…oy vey.

    1. pretzelattack

      does rachel get to pick the questions? i am so looking forward to the smears on tulsi and bernie.

  16. JCC

    This is interesting: https://teamtrees.org/

    Here’s an article on the subject: https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/25/20926852/mrbeast-teamtrees-charity-donations-pewdiepie-mkbhd-youtube-trending-tree-planting

    Apparently, from what I’ve read, this kicked off big today and they’re well over a million $$ already in support of the Arbor Day Foundation.

    I know… mature trees are better so don’t cut them down until necessary, but you have to start somewhere, little acorns and all that.

    I already plant native trees where appropriate on my property here in the Mojave Desert, so I know I’m doing my part where I can, but I still threw in a couple of bucks. Maybe some good will come out of it, better than doing nothing, I think.

      1. polecat

        I’d say that political death becomes her … same as with notFeinstein. Where’s a good doctor when you really need one ? They’re not even fit for a Wax Museum.

    1. pretzelattack

      then they need to collect an honest coin for the coin flips. the last one was apparently weighted to land clintons.

      1. Late Introvert

        Iowan here, in the more liberal university grant town. Thanks for the Reddit link, I never go there but will have to check it out.

        I have donated more than I usually would, I have a yard sign, and I’m actively advocating for him, or at least his (the) issues, to family & friends, but also seniors and youth. I have a good window into both, working at a senior center situated in a college town.

        The problem here in Small Midwestern City is the well-off Libtard bubble. Many 1/10 percent types at the university and hospital and their allies in local government and real estate. Still, I feel there isn’t much need for Bernie to campaign here, it’s all of the other towns in Iowa that need campaign efforts. Spend my meager contributions on that Bernie 2020! I will recommend to them they should be following NC the next time they call my house, it’s been twice so far.

        Very many Bernie signs here, the local campaign office is in cheap space by the biggest Hy-Vee. Smart move right there. There is one yard with both Sanders and Warren signs. I have seen 3 Tulsi signs in actual yards, 3 for Pete (2 apartment windows, one bummer sticker on a BMW), and no Biden signs.

        I have seen Bernie’s commercial on both Fox and CBS local outlets, and it’s excellent. Probably better than any Me TV would do, but I also endorse that idea. Trump also has run ads here, very slick and angry.

    1. Hepativore

      The ACA would have collapsed on its own, anyhow. All Trump did was speed up the process.

      Obamacare (Romneycare 2.0) still does not prevent senarios such as workplace-offered bronze plans with premiums that are more than 9% of most employee’s monthly incomes with deductibles around $4,000 dollars. All it really did was force people to buy junk plans in many cases that they could never afford to use.

    2. scarn

      “The problem is not that they think Obamacare is a failure. The problem is that they don’t think it went far enough and that it left too many people still uncovered,”

      Yeah, we definitely think it’s a failure, bro.

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