2:00PM Water Cooler 11/21/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The U.S. portion of the Huawei Technologies Co. supply chain may be reopening. The Trump administration will allow some U.S. suppliers to resume shipping to the Chinese telecom giant easing export restrictions while U.S. negotiators struggle to wrap up the first stage of a trade deal” [Wall Street Journal]. “Last year U.S. semiconductor makers sent $44 billion in goods to overseas buyers, making it the fourth largest U.S. export. The next few months will determine how much damage Huawei’s blacklisting did to the industry’s supply chain. Huawei has said it found other suppliers to make up for the loss of U.S. chips and other components.”

“Trump considering whether Apple should be exempt from China tariffs” [Reuters]. “Apple announced in September it would make its new Mac Pro computers in Austin. The announcement came days after U.S. trade regulators approved 10 out of 15 requests for tariff exemptions filed by Apple amid a broader reprieve on levies on computer parts. Earlier this month, Apple also asked the Trump administration to waive tariffs on Chinese-made Apple Watches, iPhone components and other consumer products. Trump has made boosting the U.S. manufacturing sector one of the goals of his presidency, taking to Twitter to pressure U.S. companies into keeping jobs at home.”


“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

Here is a second counter for the Iowa Caucus, which is obviously just around the corner:

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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 11/21/2019, 10:00 AM EST. Biden leads, Sanders strong second, Warren third, Buttigieg third tier.

Here, the latest national results:

In Georgia, Survey USA has Biden leading, Sanders a strong second, Warren third 11/21/2019, 10:00 AM EST:

Here are the Georgia results:

I think dk has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.”

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Buttigieg (D)(1): “Why Buttigieg’s Shadowy Consultant Past at McKinsey Matters” [Vice]. “[W]hen pressed about the McKinsey ‘experience’ that has evidently helped formed Mayor Pete’s thinking, his campaign defers to the non-disclosure agreements by which it says he is still covered.” • So Buttigieg should ask to be released from the NDA. Good PR for McKinsey, right? What Buttigieg said in 2010: “I did math for a living around economics—the economics of energy and the economics of stabilizing very tough places around the world in order to make sure there’s less violence there.” If you leave out the self-serving stuff, it sounds a lot like Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(2): “Is Pete Buttigieg’s climate adviser a fossil fuel shill?” [Heated World]. “The drama between Victor and climate activists is symbolic of a larger conflict emerging in the climate world, between those pushing for radical societal change via a Green New Deal and those who worry that such a push will ultimately be unsuccessful because of the powerful forces that would rather see the planet burn than accept such a shift.” • Well, both sides have a point. (Make up your own minds on the headline.)

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(3): “As President, Pete Buttigieg Wants To Give 25 Percent Of Federal Contracts To Minorities. As Mayor, He Gave 3 Percent.” [The Intercept]. “ONE OF THE main tenets of Pete Buttigieg’s plan to address racial inequality if he becomes president is a proposal to increase the number of federal contracting dollars going to women- and minority-owned businesses to 25 percent. But in South Bend, Indiana, where he has been mayor since 2012, less than 3 percent of city business has gone to minority- and women-owned businesses in recent years, according to annual audits conducted by the city.” • I’m sure everything will be easier at the Federal level.

Trump (R)(1): “Tim Cook Appears Alongside Trump in Re-Election Campaign Ad Shot in Mac Pro Plant in Austin” [Daring Fireball]. “This is how Apple chose to unveil the packaging for the Mac Pro — in a poorly-shot overexposed propaganda video by the White House, scored with bombastic music that sounds like it came from an SNL parody of a Michael Bay film…. A low moment in Apple’s proud history, and a sadly iconic moment for Tim Cook. I hope avoiding those tariffs is worth it.” • Lower than getting rid of the MagSafe connector? I don’t think so.

* * *

The Debates

“Watch the full fifth Democratic presidential debate” (video) [WaPo]. • If you must….

“Read: Democratic debate transcript, November 20, 2019” [NBC] • Ditto.

* * *

It’s hard to have a hot take on something so lukewarm. Nevertheless:

“The unbearable persistence of Joe Biden” [The Week]. “The most noteworthy event at Wednesday night’s Democratic debate in Atlanta was something that didn’t happen: Nobody did anything to change the fact that former Vice President Joe Biden is the seemingly unshakable front-runner for the nomination of his party. It’s easy to lose sight of how consistent the race has been since Biden announced his candidacy last spring…. The former vice president was at 32 percent on June 26, and today he sits at … 30.7 percent. … The need to become The One Who Can Step Into Biden’s Shoes, combined with Buttigieg catapulting himself into the lead in the first two states to vote, set up what many commentators expected to be a tense evening, with several candidates gunning for Mayor Pete. It never happened. Aside from one testy exchange with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard toward the end of the debate, Buttigieg kept his powder dry, and none of the others did much to touch him. It was a civil and somewhat bland night overall, with each candidate working to stand out individually while avoiding nasty confrontations.”

“Last Night’s Democratic Debate Was Really Bad” [Jacobin]. “While a few candidates undoubtedly faced critical moments, MSNBC’s moderators (true to form) seemed to reserve the most negatively framed questions for Sanders — the Vermont senator having to field a range of queries that included: “Is President Obama wrong?”, “They’ve chanted ‘Lock Him [Trump] Up’ at a recent World Series game in Washington [and] at least two of your campaign events recently. Senator, should Democrats discourage this? Or are you okay with it?”, and “Would you cut a deal with the Taliban to end the war even if it means the collapse of the Afghan government that America has long supported?” For good measure, the network’s coverage was bracketed at each end by substance-free anti-Sanders barrages from some of its talking heads.” • I’m shocked.

UPDATE “The fifth Democratic primary debate showed that a cull is overdue” [The Economist]. “In reality, just four candidates dominate the Democratic race. Judged by polling data, fundraising, betting odds, attention in the press and so on, that pack has looked unchanging for months. Joe Biden, despite not raising much money of late, and Elizabeth Warren remain the front-runners…. Bernie Sanders, despite his heart attack, preserves a solid core of support. He said nothing new that would expand his appeal beyond the party’s far left. Pete Buttigieg, by far the youngest of the Gang of Four, is also holding his own.” • No need for a cull if you want a brokered convention, though.

UPDATE “They Don’t Believe Buttigieg Will Be the Nominee” [Politico]. “[T]he expected did not happen: Mayor Pete wasn’t the center of attention despite his upward trend in some polls… Maybe his opponents were afraid their attacks would raise his profile further. Just as likely, they are taking the long view, and they don’t believe Buttigieg will be the nominee. It’s hard to see how he can solve his biggest problem—a near-total lack of appeal among African Americans and Hispanics. Minorities are a big chunk of the electorate in South Carolina, Nevada, many of the Super Tuesday states and so on.”

Speaking time:

Shouldn’t the speaking times be equal?

And “Top 2020 Democrats played it safe at the Atlanta debate” [NBC] and “Beating Trump, rather than beating up on each other, was focus of fifth Democratic debate” [WaPo] and “Here’s the real Democratic debate: Which one can defeat Donald Trump?” [USA Today]. • It’s like they all decided to write the same story…

Our Famously Free Press

What again?

Last debate, WaPo gave some of Sanders’ best lines to Warren. Why are the “mistakes” always one way?


“Do Americans Support Impeaching Trump?” (charts) [FiveThirtyEight]. 80.3% Democrats, 41.0% Independents, 12.2% Republicans.

“You Can’t Ignore Politics in Impeachment” [National Review]. “The simple reality of American politics and the Framers’ constitutional design is that presidents do not get removed from office unless and until there is a strong bipartisan majority of voters that wants them to be. The politics always matters.”

UPDATE “Impeachment inquiry: Trump seemed vulnerable. It didn’t last” [CBC]. “For the rest of the day, Republican members of the House intelligence committee pounded back at the witness and exposed vulnerabilities in his testimony. Sondland granted them an opening. He insisted he’d only drawn his conclusions about a quid pro quo based on his own logical reading of the situation, and not on anything he was actually told by Trump.” • This is a cool-minded, non-hysterical summary — thank you, Canada! — and well worth a read. The weird thing was that the yammering died down on the Twitter by late afternoon, and didn’t pick up again. I’m all for reasoning, but I don’t see a prima facie case that The Blob is any better at it than the Republicans, who set a very low bar.

Beat sweetener:

No mention, oddly, or not, of LaRouche.

Health Care

“Fact checking claims from the Democratic debate” [Boston Globe]. “Former vice president Joe Biden: “The fact is the vast majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for All.” THE FACTS: That statement is at odds with a Kaiser Family Foundation poll out this week. It found that 77 percent of Democrats support Medicare for All. Even more — 88 percent — support a ‘public option’ proposal such as the one Biden advocates.”

“Democratic naysayers are wrong on Medicare for All” [CNN]. “(CNN)The American political debate over health care is absurd. Americans pay twice as much as any other nation for health care, and then are told daily that they “can’t afford” to switch to a lower-cost system very similar to those of Canada and Europe. If President Donald Trump and the plutocratic Republican party were the only ones carrying this ridiculous message, it would be understandable. Yet this message is also coming from media pundits aligned with the Democratic Party and the most conservative wing of the party. Let’s be clear on the central point. Medicare for All, as first proposed by Bernie Sanders and endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, is affordable precisely because it is cheaper, much cheaper, than the current system…. In other countries, the government sets delivery prices and typically pays the health bills through the budget. In the US, the monopolists set the prices.” • For some definition of “endorse,” but yes.

“Reeling progressives meet behind closed doors after ‘Medicare for All’ barrage” [Politico]. “Now, leaders of the left — suddenly reeling after seeing the Democratic health care debate shift dramatically in their direction the past few years — are strategizing on how to retake the offensive. At a closed-door meeting Tuesday, Congressional Progressive Caucus leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) had a message for her fellow supporters of Medicare for All: Unite against the moderates and don’t fight about whether Warren’s plan is too mild compared to Sanders’.” • The issue, ffs, is not whether Warren’s “plan” is “mild.” Note this falsehood: the “plan” is a “two-stage transition plan in a nod to those concerned about upheaval in the health care system.” Warren’s “plan” is not two “stages.” It’s two bills. We’ve seen this movie before. The subtext here is that the activists are pissed, and the Beltway NGOs are telling them “we got this.”

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of November 11, 2019: “The risks of marginally slower payroll growth in November as well as an incremental rise in the unemployment rate are the indications from initial unemployment claims which, in data that track the sample week of the monthly employment report, came in… higher-than-expected” [Econoday]. • Hmm.

Leading Indicators, October 2019: “The index of leading economic indicators continues to signal slowing growth going to into year end and next year” [Econoday]. “Weakness in manufacturing components has been the persistent theme in the slump with easing in labor strength also a negative factor for the index.”

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, November 2019: “The Philadelphia Fed’s index has bolted back to the top of the regional manufacturing reports in recent months” [Econoday]. “New orders have been on a tear in this sample… Amid the recent surge in this report, some volatility in the readings may be appearing and fairly raise the question whether monthly sample sizes have been low and uneven. But at face value, this report is pointing to significant year-end acceleration for a manufacturing sector that hasn’t had a good year at all.”

Existing Home Sales, October 2019: “Favorable mortgage rates together with high levels of employment are giving housing, a sector that had been flat, a strong lift going into year end” [Econoday].

Banking: “Ghost funding and sandbagging: Wells Fargo’s sales tactics on trial” [American Banker]. “The broad outlines of the nationwide sales scandal at Wells Fargo are well known. Low-level employees, under heavy pressure to meet sales quotas, misbehaved on a massive scale. But less well understood is exactly how this pressure was transmitted through many layers of management at the bank, and how it felt to employees on the front lines. [Kathleen Fitzgerald’s] lawsuit offers a rare look into the granular details of what happened at the branch level…. ‘I did not agree with any of it, I really didn’t, but she was my boss,’ Fitzgerald testified. ‘She taught me, I learned it from her, and she learned it from her bosses, and it all trickles down.'” • And lots more.

Shipping: “Ohio logistics firm on the hook for $300,000 in lobster heist” [Freight Waves]. “Failing to thoroughly vet a subcontractor — a driver who allegedly disappeared with a pricey load of lobster — will cost an Ohio logistics company nearly $300,000. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani ruled on Nov. 19 that Seneca Logistics Group LLC, based in Tiffin, Ohio, is on the hook for the never-recovered load after agreeing to haul it but then outsourced the job to Rapid Logistics Services Inc. A truck driver for Rapid, Ernesto Perez, allegedly stole the load of crustacean.” • Outsourcing for the win!

The Bezzle: “Hedge Funds and Private Equity Need Full Disclosure” [Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg]. “The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is considering letting nonaccredited investors put money into closely held investment pools such as hedge funds, private equity and venture capital. This alone is reason to reconsider the issues of transparency and disclosure by these investment alternatives… [T]he SEC should mandate full disclosure for investment funds that accept money from public pensions, college endowments or not-for profit foundations. It also should require disclosure for funds in which the partners get a tax benefit from the carried-interest loophole, which lets them pay taxes on their earning at rates about half those on regular income.” • Ritholtz is always interesting and early; this connects to the resurgence of financial reform proposals we are seeing Democrats, well, butcher. As usual.

The Bezzle: “Local officials around the U.S. are paying more attention to how the companies in the fast-growing [food-delivery] sector charge for their services…potentially opening a rift between jurisdictions and the companies and even between the operators themselves” [Wall Street Journal]. “The dispute opens a new area of debate over how e-commerce fits into the larger tax system. Tax charges on orders can vary by company even within the same jurisdiction, and uniformity could raise costs for customers and make the companies liable for incorrect collections in the past. With fees projected to reach $10.4 billion by 2023, there are big stakes for all sides.”

Tech: “Video-editing upstart bares users’ raunchy flicks to world+dog via leaky AWS bucket” [The Register]. “Research by Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, for security biz vpnMentor, revealed that VEED.io left an AWS bucket completely unsecured and hosting what they summarised as ‘10,000s of videos’ that were accessible to anyone visiting the bucket’s URL. VEED bills itself as an online video-editing service that lets users add subtitles, text, effects and more to uploaded videos. A free tier allows this to be done for videos in 240px quality; anything better than that needs a subscription. Rotem and Locar found that one could visit the landing page hosting the videos with a web browser and theoretically look through them at one’s leisure without needing to provide login details.” • “And then dance and drink and screw because there’s nothing else to do…”

Mr. Market: “Inside the Strange, Unlikely Battle for Clever Ticker Symbols” [Marker]. “Playful tickers date back decades, most notably when Southwest Airlines first christened the space with its symbol, LUV. (The reference was to the company’s genesis at Love Field ahead of its IPO in 1977, but over time became synonymous with the brand’s folksy ethos.) But now it seems a new class of inventive ticker symbols is emerging. They run the gamut from WORK (Slack) and BYND (Beyond Meat) to GRR (investment firm Asia Tigers Fund), BDAY (children’s party supplier Celebrate Express), and WOOF (veterinarian services company VCA Antech). ‘Some people don’t care about tickers,’ says Patrick Healy, a corporate adviser who frequently deals with ticker symbols. ‘But other people lock in on it, and it’s almost like a vanity quest.'” • Indeed.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Extreme Greed (previous close: 74, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 83 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 19 at 12:52pm. Still drifting toward neutral. Now the needle is swinging toward neutral. I wonder if it’s impeachment?

The Biosphere

“LBA-ECO LC-14 Modeled Deforestation Scenarios, Amazon Basin: 2002-2050” [ORNL DAC (IE)]. Handy map (interactive at the original, so you can play with the sliders and see the projections). As of today:

“The Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon” [Mighty Earth]. “But the incentive for the destruction comes from large-scale international meat and soy animal feed companies like JBS and Cargill, and the global brands like Stop & Shop, Costco, McDonald’s, Walmart/Asda, and Sysco that buy from them and sell to the public. It is these companies that are creating the international demand that finances the fires and deforestation.” • Bolsonaro is a particularly ugly front man.

* * *

“We Need to Talk About Peat” [Nautilus]. “Peatlands have been a repository for eons and a source of hearth fuel for thousands of years. They’ve been known as a carbon sink for about a century, certainly since the 1890s when carbon dioxide was understood to be a greenhouse gas. Peatlands cover just 3 percent of the earth’s land surface yet hold five times more carbon dioxide than forests, which cover 31 percent of the land surface. In Europe, peatlands contain five times more CO2 than forests…. Peatlands are waterlogged landscapes—from bogs to wetlands to swamps—composed of various plants. Peat is the coarse soil, which we know from our potting mixes, that makes up the surface. Because the underlying plants haven’t decayed in the watery areas, they contain huge amounts of carbon, fixed in them by photosynthesis. As a result, peatlands play an important role as carbon sinks, keeping excessive greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.” • Well worth a read.

“Population densities predict forebrain size variation in the cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus” [Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences]. “The ‘social brain hypothesis’ proposes a causal link between social complexity and either brain size or the size of key brain parts known to be involved in cognitive processing and decision-making. While previous work has focused on comparisons between species, how social complexity affects plasticity in brain morphology at the intraspecific level remains mostly unexplored. A suitable study model is the mutualist ‘cleaner’ fish Labroides dimidiatus, a species that removes ectoparasites from a variety of ‘client’ fishes in iterative social interactions. Here, we report a positive relationship between the local density of cleaners, as a proxy of both intra- and interspecific sociality, and the size of the cleaner’s brain parts suggested to be associated with cognitive functions.” • Co-operation = bigger brains?

Health Care

“The Effect of Large-scale Health Coverage Expansions in Wealthy Nations on Society-Wide Healthcare Utilization” [Adam Gaffney, Steffie Woolhandler, David Himmelstein, Journal of General Internal Medicine]. From the abstract: “We reviewed the effects of 13 universal coverage expansions in capitalist nations on physician and hospital utilization, beginning with New Zealand’s 1938 Social Security Act up through the 2010 Affordable Care Act in the USA. Almost all coverage expansions had either a small (i.e., < 10%) or no effect on society-wide utilization. However, coverage expansions often redistributed care—increasing use among newly covered groups while producing small, offsetting reductions among those already covered. We conclude that in wealthy nations, large-scale coverage expansions need not cause overall utilization to surge if provider supply is controlled. However, such reforms could redirect care towards patients who most need it." Groves of Academe

“New Data Shows Slowdown in Growth of International Students in the U.S.” [Foreign Policy]. “The lowest growth rate in a decade could impact the bottom line for some universities.” • I’m so old I remember when universities didn’t have bottom lines. I guess it’s time to fire a few more adjuncts. Pour encourager les autres

Guillotine Watch

“World’s Rich Are Rattled and Seeking Old-Fashioned Security” [Bloomberg]. “‘We’ve seen extraordinary demand for safe-deposit boxes ever since we started offering them in 2015, and that demand has really gone up since the late summer,’ said Ludwig Karl, a spokesman for Swiss Gold Safe Ltd., which operates high-security alpine vaults. ‘Most people say they are planning for difficult economic circumstances.'” • The rich are different…

Class Warfare

“The Characterless Opportunism of the Managerial Class” [Amber A’Lee Frost, American Affairs]. The bottom line: “The PMC can—and should—be brought to commit to its own abolition, but attempting to evangelize a class that has so much dif­ficulty even acknowledging its own existence is a futile endeavor. At this rare and fragile moment of opportunity for socialism in America, the best bet for Berniecrats is to build a strong base of workers com­mitted to social democratic reforms. The PMC will follow, as they always do; they’re the cart, not the horse.” • Perhaps longer than it needs to be.

“The Trump NLRB’s Stealth Blow Against Campus Solidarity” [OnLabor]. “The Trump NLRB is receiving comments on its proposed rule to exclude university teaching and research assistants who are also graduate students from the coverage of the National Labor Relations Act. That proposal has generated a fair amount of media coverage and teaching and research assistants across the country have been organizing to submit comments explaining to the Board how absurd it would be to declare them non-employees. But last week, without any fanfare, the Board issued a decision in Amnesty Intl. of the USA, Inc. that would mean that other campus employees (at least those without their own union contract) could be fired for coming to the aid of teaching and research assistants if the Board follows through on its threat to deny them employee status.”

There’s already so much stupid money floating about that investors don’t know where to put it. So what would an investor strike look like?

News of the Wired

But why?

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “My favorite nursery: Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach, CA.” By a happy coincidence, alert reader CM of Tuesday’s plant worked in a garden center!

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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. nippersmom

      I’ve known people who stuttered who still managed to be coherent. Stuttering also doesn’t explain contradicting himself or outright lying.

    2. petal

      So if my train of thought completely derails for several seconds, and/or I look like I’m not sure I know where I am or what I’m doing, I can blame it on a stutter? Got it. Cool.

    3. HotFlash

      How are Biden’s breathtaking non-sequiturs or the repellent Cornpop story the result of a stutter? No, I don’t buy it.

    4. Big River Bandido

      There are hours and hours of Joe Biden speaking in the Senate. His speaking was usually self-serving, disengenous, and meandering (as Senators do), and frequently plagiarized (as Biden has long done).

      But he was never…foggy, or confused. After him being out of the limelight for so long (including during the vice presidency), it’s shocking to watch him these days and see his decline.

    5. richard

      I don’t remember him stuttering when he supported GW’s lawless invasion of Iraq. Or when he gave young people borrowing for college the awesome gift of unescapable debt, regardless of the terms. He didn’t stutter when he clamored for longer sentences for crack possession, or three strikes your out.
      Not worried about his mental fitness or how he says things. I object to his shite decisions.

  1. Louis Fyne

    –The Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon”—

    exhibt #1,539 on why the US needs more tariffs on everything from Made in China Siberian-wood furniture to Brazilian beef.

    The transoceanic, hydrocarbon-fueled supply chain makes no sense when the US can produce so much locally. (but of course cheap imports make sense for Target, Amazon, WalMart, McDonalds, etc)

    Just because Orange Man is pro-tariffs doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      When a Third World country like our own wants to build up its manufacturing that’s what it does. What Trump really needs is an industrial policy, but neoliberal ideology forbids that.

      1. Gary

        Tariffs are what you do BEFORE you lose all your industry. I am sure everyone has heard of closing the barn door after the horse has ran off. In our case, the whole damn barn has burned down.

      2. Ignacio

        I have compared the 2018 images of Google Earth with the LCA deforestation projection “business as usual” and the projection “Governance” in the region of Roraima and fortunately in this region deforestation has gone more slowly than anticipated in both models. In 2004 under Lula Brazil started the monitorization of agricultural development through an agricultural census and in 2006 a moratorium on soya was stablished to prevent deforestation. The culture of soya in this region diminished until Rousseff replaced Lula in 2010 when soya culture resumed growth in this area. Probably this was coincident with the construction of a road through Guyana providing market access to the region. Bolsonaro is a fervent developer of roads for agribusiness and mining.

        On the demand side, blame China and Europe.

    2. Lee

      I can’t think of a country more well suited to autarky than the U.S. And when things fall apart internationally, it’s good to have control of your primary resources, provided you have retained within your population the skills to utilize them.

      1. JTMcPhee

        US as autarky? Maybe not.

        As to “our” primary resources, let’s see — depletion, huge depletion of topsoil; extraction of almost all the easily recoverable petro and mineral “wealth”; massive and increasing depletion of “fossil water” groundwater resources, and waste of huge amounts of surface water, with contamination of both with persistent toxic substances; paving over and building on vast parts of the livable terrain; domination of ownership of everything by a self-interested tiny fraction of people with zero loyalty to or affection for “America;” vast gulf between the shibboleths regarding “government” written down by the “Founding Fathers” and peddled and perverted by media and educational institutions infected with privatization, and the “harsh realities” of life under neoliberal oligarchy; chemical contamination and wastrel land use affecting what, 20% of the continent, and I am sure I am forgetting a whole bunch of other realities characterizing the real resources that are available to 327 million people that might hope to establish anything even close to the autarky level of Russia.

        Oh, let’s not forget that a bunch of idiots who put their medals on upside down (https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/02/07/general-apologizes-wearing-upside-down-ribbon-rack-state-union.html, excused with a joke and a “strategic apology”), have mistresses and lavish lifestyles and revolving doors to pop through and engage in corruption, have control of not only 6,500 nuclear weapons with 1,800 on ready alert (enough to end “civilization,” whatever that means) but are busily developing any and every “lethal technology” their “scientific minions” can imagine.

        All part of the Great Game? Which one? The Game of RISK ™? Do us mopes have anything to say about what game gets played with us as the pawns and megadeaths?

        And speaking of Russian autarky, and I am sure that notion is vastly debated by the blind philosophers touching different parts of the Pachyderm and arguing from the basis of their specialties and personal interests, there is this: http://blogs.reuters.com/anatole-kaletsky/2014/05/01/why-the-russian-sanctions-dont-work/

        My sense is that Russians as a population have a lot more of the skills needed to live life on the basis of their own territorially bound resources than the people in this country.

        1. HotFlash

          Another is Cuba, thanks to USSR collapse and US sanctions. Needs must, dear boy.

          And WRT the exemptions for Apple (“Trump considering whether Apple should be exempt from China tariffs” [Reuters].), does this man not know that the whole point of tarriffs is to encourage domestic supply? So no exemptions, home grow whatever, no matter how loud the domestic consumers of foreign stuff howl.

    3. jrs

      Is Trump even pro-tariff or just pro-tariff on the enemy du jour? Let me know when Trump pushes tariffs on Brazilian beef.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      The problem is . . . is that Mr. Big Orange Julius Caesar is not smart enough to understand the deeper needs and meanings.

      Its not just a problem of good deals and bad deals. Its a problem of the architecture of trade and the current anti-national anti-sovereignty purpose of Free Trade and all the agreements and treaties which have engineered it into existence.

      On the OTHer hand . . . the PROSpect is that President Trump has created a space of permission to question Free Trade-ism itself. Maybe smarter deeper thinkers can rush to fill that space of permission with coherent attacks and debunkings of the whole Free Trade ideology and mindset itself.

      Free Trade is the new Slavery. Protectionism is the new Abolition.

      ” Hey! Dem’s fightin’ woids!” ” Yeahhh . . . them’s fahtin’ wurds”.

  2. Wukchumni

    I keep a stash of gold wrapped bouillon cubes, and watch the spot price for poultry on a daily basis.

    “World’s Rich Are Rattled and Seeking Old-Fashioned Security” [Bloomberg]. “‘We’ve seen extraordinary demand for safe-deposit boxes ever since we started offering them in 2015

    1. Pavel

      Just BTW, that reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) story of the wealthy Chinese man who wanted to get his money out of the country. He converted his wealth to platinum and then used it to make coat-hangers. He then hung shirts and jackets on them and smuggled the platinum out in garment bags. Not a bad ruse!

      1. John k

        Heavy hangers.
        Palladium is better these days…
        I remember Russia’s ore was 1/3 platinum, 2/3 platinum, s Africa was the reverse, good then for the latter… Russia doing well now with their ratio.

      2. Wukchumni

        Platinum’s (‘little silver’ in Spanish) main use* in the 19th century was in the counterfeiting of gold coins as it had a very similar specific gravity (heft, if you will) and was worth a pittance in comparison.

        And finally, we come to what are among the most curious counterfeits of Isabel’s reign: the gold coins of Isabel II composed of platinum covered with a thin layer of gold. During this period platinum was far less valuable than gold. Despite efforts to refine and make it more workable in the preceding century, the upheaval of the Napoleonic Wars and limited uses for the metal left Spain with a surplus of platinum in the 1820s.

        Up to that point many refiners discarded it as a waste product, often times at government direction. In the 1700s the Spanish government had recognized the potential for mixing platinum with gold to imitate gold items. In fact, a few counterfeit gold coins of Spain did appear in the 1700s and early 1800s. As its density is slightly greater than gold, coins made of platinum and covered with a thin layer of gold could be made to nearly match proper weight for coins of the type with minimal difference in thickness or diameter. When this idea was paired with high-quality designs and production methods, a most devious counterfeit was born.


        * Russia was the only country utilizing platinum for monetized coins.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Having all those safe-deposit boxes all in one place may prove to be very tempting that. Back in 1988

      “three men broke into the Haymarket branch of the National Australia Bank from a neighbouring building and looted a fortune from 80 safety deposit boxes.

      The thieves made a clean escape with gold bars, rare coins, bracelets and rings of gold, antique jewellery, jade statues set in gold, set and unset diamonds, emeralds and rubies, as well as bundles of cash in various currencies.

      Only 42 bank clients came forward to list their losses. The rest were reluctant to admit to the police – and the Tax Office – what they were keeping in the bank’s security boxes.

      The value of the loot has never been properly quantified but detectives on the task force estimated it was somewhere between $10 million and $100 million.”

      Because this was a Chinese part of Sydney and so many of the people robbed were Chinese, this famous robbery came to be known as the “Great Chinese Takeaway’.

      In any case, in States like California people have discovered that if there is a budget shortfall, the State government gave itself the power to rat through people’s safety deposit boxes.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        You know what would have been funnier? If the breaker-inners hadn’t stolen anything. But had instead coated all the gold and things with Cobalt 60. And then snuck silently away.

    3. Jeff W

      “Gold[-wrapped] bouillon”—ha! Our resident wit never disappoints!

      For some reason it reminds me of the Steven Wright line

      I have a large seashell collection which I keep scattered on the beaches all over the world. Maybe you’ve seen it.

      (Pavel’s story is way more enjoyable, though.)

  3. SpringTexan

    Are commenters on NC now prohibited from posting links? When I post a link the post seems to disappear. Yet David Grimes, above, has posted a link. And I could in the past, though I rarely have. What’s going on?

  4. Grant

    “Reeling progressives meet behind closed doors after ‘Medicare for All’ barrage” [Politico]. “Now, leaders of the left — suddenly reeling after seeing the Democratic health care debate shift dramatically in their direction the past few years — are strategizing on how to retake the offensive.”

    Biden, a few months ago, said that he welcomed a “debate” with Bernie and others on single payer. He welcomed it because he has been given a ton of space to lie and gaslight. He knew he would be able to lie, and frankly Bernie has been very weak in calling out his lies. He still does that tiring “my friend” nonsense. Biden uses propaganda straight from the insurance and drug companies and even uses his own dead son to prop up this system. It isn’t as if the defenders of the far more efficient and humane system are on the defensive in any way because they have been met with really good critiques of single payer. They are on the defensive because those that run their own party and most of those in power in their party are just as opposed to single payer as the Republicans and the media are. The Republicans and the media have long been really ineffective opponents of single payer. The Democrats are in fact the most effective opponents of the left, because them lying about and misleading people regarding single payer has a big impact on the people in their party, and those in their party say at least that they favor such a system. The rank and file in their party say that they favor single payer in large numbers, but only one person running actually supports single payer. Over the twenty some odd nothings running for the nomination, only Bernie strongly supports single payer. So, is it any surprise that the defenders of the system are on the defensive? One of the biggest reasons why they had momentum among those in power was that many of the leading Democrats that are now running for president pretended to support single payer up until a few months ago. Even good ole mayor Pete, Gillibrand, Harris and Tulsi said that they support it, and everyone one of them, along with Warren, have come out and essentially admitted that they never did. Fact is, there is still strong support for single payer despite the bi-partisan hatred of the idea, and the media being entirely against it. That alone speaks to the power of the idea. But, if it is ever to become a reality, most of those in power and most of those in control of the Democratic Party have to be removed from power. That is really the issue. If Jayapal is serious about getting single payer implemented, she has to be serious about those in her own party, including Warren, that oppose it or give lukewarm support for it. If she is serious about pushing it through, she needs to be willing to offend and challenge her colleagues, often supporting primary challengers. There is no reasoning with Pelosi. If she wants single payer, she might want to start campaigning for Buttar.

    1. Lee

      The Democrats are in fact the most effective opponents of the left

      Truly. I’m so fed up with them that I am considering converting to Deplorableism. I’ve got a lot of sympathy for those who voted twice for Obama and then for Trump.

      1. jsn

        I became a deplorable in NYC in 2012.

        I’ve had to bite my tongue alot, but it’s otherwise liberating.

        If it’s broadcast or corporate owned, I can just ignore it and watch the blunt truth unfold in front of unseeing eyes…

  5. toshiro_mifune

    Lower than getting rid of the MagSafe connector?

    Remember they described the decision to dump the 3.5mm jack as “brave”. So they can get lower

    1. The Rev Kev

      We’ve all heard the line “You can’t handle the truth!” from “A Few Good Men” but it seems that Apple is a believer in the saying “You can’t handle nice things!”

  6. grayslady

    Having spent a fair amount of the morning watching clips of the debate, and listening to and reading related critiques, I think last night’s “debate” was far more important than many may realize. What I learned is that the DNC donor base (the people who truly run the DNC) have decided that Mayor Pete is the candidate they’re going to push–pretty obvious from media and suspect polling treatment–and that a deal has already been struck with Kamala to be his running mate. It fits in with the DNC’s continued idpol push–one gay, one black–and is intended to be virtue signaling only. Why else would Kamala take a pass on going after Pete on racial issues when she was given the chance?

    Mayor Pete has zero black support, and, if anything, made it worse this week with the “I’ve got 400 black supporters in S.C.” fiasco. The problem with offsetting that deficit with Kamala Harris is that Harris doesn’t seem to have black support either. Neither does Cory Booker, so he can’t be paired with Pete; but since Kamala is a female, the DNC is simply trying to check all the idpol boxes. Since neither Harris nor Booker seem to have a path forward for the top slot based on polls, and nobody is really interested in Amy Klobuchar, the only one who is going to be hurt by the timing of the impeachment in terms of campaigning is Bernie Sanders. If I can figure this out, so can the DNC.

    1. NotReallyHere

      Thanks for that. It makes a lot of sense the the DNC will go for double identities in this election. Cos the one identity campaign failed in 2016, the obvious solution is to go with two – or even three! Just imagine, instead of “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support women” we coul call anyone who doesn’t vote for Buttigieg and Harris homophobic misogyracists. It’ll definitely work.

      And Bernie is weak against this stuff. He caved into DNC pressure in 2016 in an attempt to hold the party together. So that now he trots out the same name calling lines that the DNC created in 2016.

    2. MillenialSocialist

      She’s 20 years his senior. So the woman who is also black who is also in her late 50s is going to run with the white Male 37 year old as his VP? So much for ‘top tier candidate’, eh Kamala?

      1. jrs

        She came across as feeling really sad in the debate. This can’t be a woman that has been promised much or not much of what she wanted at least, because that was not the look of a woman getting what she wanted for sure. Almost pitiful.

        It was more the look of she ALREADY has a date for shutting down her campaign. Besides VP is a step DOWN from CA Senator in many ways. If she’s been offered the VP, it’s clear she doesn’t really want it, whether she would take it, well anyone’s guess is as good as mine.

        1. chuck roast

          Let us all remember that The Prime Directive of the Democratic Party is to talk a good game but “Lose Lookin’ Good.” It is most important to have maximum cover for doing nothing while the cash keeps rolling in. In terms that everyone can understand…”ka-ching!”

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Pete Buttigieg more or less spouts GOP talking points, so I’m not sure they even talk a good game.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Harris is a party regular, to the core. She has no other resources upon which to call other than the support of the machine. If the machine were to tell her she had to run for VP as a service to the party, she’d comply.

          But the weaknesses of Harris and Buttigieg, in my view, will prevent the nomination of either one of them.

      2. jrs

        Not just a white male 37 year old, one with NO qualifications except mayor of nowheresville, the 4th largest city in Indiana, when she is Senator from California. She is already representing millions more people! Not well? Yea well, since when does CA have decent representatives really? All while Kamala played the game, climbed the ladder rung by rung.

      3. grayslady

        The May-December combination is exactly what happened with Bush-Cheney and Obama-Biden. Although the idea that Kamala, with less than one term in the Senate is the eminence grise is laughable.

        1. Carey

          >Although the idea that Kamala, with less than one term in the Senate is the eminence grise is laughable.

          Thank you. Defeated someone named Loretta Sanchez (for whom I voted).

    3. Danny

      The only candidate who can beat Trump is Bernie.

      If Bernie’s not on the ticket in November, I stay home on election day.

      Ticket with Kamala on it?, means this Sanders supporter goes to the polls and votes for Trump, to reward the Democrats and help obliterate them from U.S. history.

      Harris, Nuchin’s get out of jail card, PG&E’s blind eye liberator, the asleep at the switch voice of the people where it counts, unless it counts for her, is reviled and will get more cross over votes for Trump than anything else hat the Democrats could do.

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      the only one who is going to be hurt by the timing of the impeachment in terms of campaigning is Bernie Sanders

      Yes, as well as dampening any news buzz about the the impending primaries. Wouldn’t want to grow the electorate.

      But, it does give their pals in the MSM a new hit of Trump! to keep everyone in the zone. Primaries are snoozeville.

      My considered analysis is that the ‘plan’ is to remain directionless and at cross purposes, achieving only on the ‘safe’ solutions, and stand around goggle eyed come November while looking around for new saboteurs. Could the Dems at least check out a globe for some more interesting Evil Nations? Togo could probably benefit from all the attention of being the next Latveria. Andorra looks pretty shifty too.

      Any bets on the Dems having a train wreck in March? Like pieces of the party not working together anymore? Watching leadership prepare this damp squib, again, is getting on my last nerve.

    5. Tom Doak

      Yeah, after last week’s debacle it makes sense that Mayor Pete would have to have a black running mate. Without such cover, Dems couldn’t criticize their own base for not turning out and helping to re-elect Trump.

      And they would absolutely bury Kamala if she said no. She would be the new Jill Stein.

    6. ptb

      Interesting theory. Strikes me as a desperation move but unfortunately quite plausible.

      They would have to get Biden to agree to this however – it doesn’t like like Harris wil get enough delegates without Biden out of the way. And I don’t think Biden would go willingly now, nor later if he goes into the DNC with smth like 20% of the delegates. OTOH if he implodes / fails to make the 15% threshold in IA and NH, all bets are off…

      1. grayslady

        Biden doesn’t have to agree to anything. If the big money donors decide he’s toast, all they have to do is make sure his funding dries up.

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      All the DNC wants to make sure of is no Sanders and no Gabbard on the ticket. The Obama group might want ” no Warren” as well. Does the Obama group have the power to enforce its wishes in that regard?

      The DNC will run whatever cans of catfood it has to run . . . so long as there is no Sanders and no Gabbard on the ticket. No Sanders and no Gabbard is victory enough for the DNC.

      The only hope that Sanders/Warren/Gabbard have for getting one nomination between the three of them is to pool all their delegates going into the Convention and have all those delegates vote for whichever of the three arrives at the Convention with the most Ballot Number One delegates to begin with. Now . . . even if the three nominee-wannabes came to understand that, could their devoted supporters understand that? If not, then it will never happen.

  7. anon in so cal

    John Helmer on Fiona Hill:

    “Before Hill joined the US intelligence services, she held an operational post at the Eurasia Foundation; that is a State Department contractor for regime change operations in the former states of the Soviet Union. The State Department rationale for the Eurasia Foundation, its establishment documents show, was “to accelerate and broaden American engagement in the development of civil societies in the Commonwealth of Independent States.” At the Eurasia Foundation Hill was employed on assignments devised with the State Department’s Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs and the US Agency for International Development. Altogether, the foundation has received $327 million in State Department grants over the decade, 1993 to 2013. Hill spent 1999 to 2000 at the foundation, then moved to the Brookings Institution. Her salary at the think-tank has been paid by Stephen Friedman, a Goldman Sachs banker who was the chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Board (PFIAB) between 2005 and 2009.

    This month, a few days before her NSC staff appointment was announced, Hill gave an interview to a New York periodical in which she declared war on Russia. “I think we are in a hot war with Russia, not a cold war. But we have to be careful about the analogy. It’s a more complex world. There is no set-piece confrontation. This is no holds barred. The Cold War was a more disciplined competition, aside from the near blowups in Berlin and Cuba, where we walked back from the brink. The Kremlin now is willing to jump over the abyss. They want to play for the asymmetry. They see themselves in a period of hot kinetic war. Also, this is not just two-way superpower. There is China, the rising powers. I almost see it as like the great power competition from the time before the Second World War.”

    Hill’s work in stoking Kremlin regime change schemes during the Obama Administration and at Brookings with Strobe Talbott, Clifford Gaddy, and Robert Kagan (husband of Victoria Nuland), was reported here…”

    Is there a way to fire these dangerously deranged bureaucrats?


    1. marym

      Like most of the people testifying, she’s been appointed to positions by multiple administrations of both parties (in her case Bush, Obama, and Trump), and “serves at the pleasure of the president.” Within an infrastructure of civil service and re-appointments across administrations, any president wanting to change policy direction from an entrenched bi-partisan elite consensus would face great challenges, but also has some responsibility here – like an orderly transition, vetting of appointees, and actually developing and communicating policy.

    2. Monty

      If Trump survives, those neocons you mention are surely in for a very bad time. We know he takes loyalty (to himself) very seriously, so they best not fail for their own sake.

      He should avoid grassy knolls in the meantime!

      1. JTMcPhee

        If you shoot at the king, you better be sure you kill him. Though that chestnut presupposes the king has a raft of loyal retainers who will facilitate his revenge…

      2. Danny

        Ever figure that this gives him an excuse to fire the whole lot? Which, for even him, pre-hearings, it not something he could have gotten away with?

  8. Pavel

    Re: the debate and media coverage: Glancing at Twitter and elsewhere, plenty of people are very angry about perceived (or real) corporate media and establishment bias against certain candidates: principally Sanders, Gabbard, and Yang.

    It seem so blatant at times that the media would seem to be trolling us, but they are probably not that clever.

    They are however really pissing off a lot of people. Do they really want lots of disaffected Bernie/Tulsi/Yang voters sitting on their hands (or another part of their anatomy) when Election Day rolls around?

    A good friend of mine who is a lifelong Democrat and was even a delegate to one of the conventions in earlier times told me the other day: “If they screw Bernie as they did in 2016 I am going to vote for Trump just to send a big F. U. to the DNC.”

    This is going to be a crazy election year. The establishment is playing with fire.

    1. Stormcrow

      Emerson Polling shows Sanders gaining momentum.
      Is this outfit credible?

      Sanders and Biden are tied with 27% support, according to Emerson. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) polled in third place at 20%, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg trailed far behind at just 7%.

      “Senator Bernie Sanders is gaining momentum in the race for the Democratic nomination, increasing 2 points from October,” Emerson noted. Biden’s support has held steady since Emerson’s October survey, while Warren declined one percentage point.

      The poll had a margin of error +/- 4.6% and a sample size of 468 likely Democratic voters.

      “Biden and Sanders continue to hold their bases, which should concern Warren, as she has waited for one of the front runners to slip these past few months—yet, their support seems to be crystalizing,” said Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson Polling.


      1. Grachguy

        They are credible – one of the most highly rated pollsters iirc.

        Would love to see a larger sample size there, but it is reason to be optimistic for sure. They also sample 1000 people with the dem frontrunners in a head to head matchup with Trump and find that Bernie did the best. So much for the gospel of electability according to our lords in the media.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Factors weighing against taking this poll too seriously: small sample size, and the fact that it’s a national poll. I didn’t notice whether there was a further link to crosstabs but it would also be important to know whether they polled cell phones and the age/race skew.

        OTOH, lots of factors are congealing that could indicate a surge in Sanders’ national support: Warren and Buttigieg have already run into the buzz saw and their campaigns may have peaked already, a bit too soon. Every time Biden opens his mouth he loses votes. And each new corporate candidate who parachutes into the race splits the neoliberal vote further — making it even more difficult for any of them to reach delegate thresholds.

        The typical pattern in Iowa is volatility during last six weeks of the campaign, so the experienced campaigner (Sanders is the only candidate who’s really run a national campaign before) waits to give the final push until November. If Sanders were to win there, now would be about the time his campaign would go all out. Setzer’s next Iowa poll might give a clue as to whether that’s happening. Or it might not; as Lambert says, the true test of Sanders’ machine won’t come until the actual elections.

      3. ptb

        yes, they’re a well regarded poll house.
        thing to remember, “likely voter” models add a whole another layer of uncertainty besides the statistical margin of error. Bernie attracts a good number of people who aren’t regular voters because they think both parties are full of #### – these people may show up in RV polls but not LV polls. So if Bernie and Biden come up tied for first in this format that is fantastic news. On the other hand the fact that older people vote more is very real and shouldn’t be ignored.

      4. ptb

        ok clarification… Emerson College is well known and well regarded. Not sure if these guys are the same. If they adopted an intentionally confusing name, that is a warning sign.

        1. integer

          About Us Emerson Polling

          Emerson Polling received recognition for accurately assessing voting intentions throughout the 2016 Presidential Election – including top rankings by Bloomberg News and Nate Silver’s’ FiveThirtyEight – using a landline-only sample design. In an ongoing effort to improve accuracy in 2017, Emerson Polling experimented with the use of online panels. Our analysis found that a combination of landline and online participants created a representative artificial sample.

      5. integer

        About Us Emerson Polling

        Emerson Polling received recognition for accurately assessing voting intentions throughout the 2016 Presidential Election – including top rankings by Bloomberg News and Nate Silver’s’ FiveThirtyEight – using a landline-only sample design. In an ongoing effort to improve accuracy in 2017, Emerson Polling experimented with the use of online panels. Our analysis found that a combination of landline and online participants created a representative artificial sample.

    2. Carey

      As far as I can tell, Team Dem™ are fine with us voting for Trump.
      Stopping Sanders, and any people-benefiting policy, is their Job #1.

      Sanders 2020

    3. ptb

      Heck, even if they “only” disrespect yang supporters, that may well be the general election right there. I have to conclude they don’t care about that much.

  9. Synoia

    Apple has announced a new version of the iPhoney with a one year factory charge, and no recharging port.

    The phone is available for lease for $300 per month, paid 12 months in advance. /s

  10. David B Harrison

    Let me just say it.Amber A’Lee Frost is a genius and so is Adolph Reed Jr.Their ability to eviscerate BS is a rare talent.

    1. Watt4Bob

      “The Characterless Opportunism of the Managerial Class”

      I think it boils down to the fact that once a person gets to the point that they are making $200K/yr, they’ll do anything in order to keep doing so.

      The professions used to be ‘callings’, now they’re just ways to make money.

  11. T

    Too bad Mayor Homework doesn’t know a lawyer who could negotiate scrubbed statements, like McKinskey uses in proposals every single day. Guess he lost touch with whoever managed the McKinsey info in his book.

    Poor Mayor Homework – He would love to be straight with us.

    1. jeremyharrison

      “Mayor Homework”. That’s priceless.

      I’ll bet that in elementary school, he had the nerdiest lunchbox imaginable – completely emptied before 10 AM by the bullies, although they left him the carrot sticks….

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Anybody else keep getting struck by the idea that the 10%ers are really just acting out revenge fantasies against the rest of us because they thought we were “cool” and “mean” and they always felt like “dorks” because they were always picked last for kickball?

        I am beginning to think that’s the truth behind Nate Silver, some media pundits, and supporters of both Mayo Pete and Liz

    2. Yves Smith

      I sincerely doubt that McKinsey makes consultants sign NDAs. This is not how they do business. McKinsey has for decades worked on exceptionally sensitive client matters like M&A with no NDAs. Similarly investment banks don’t have their M&A bankers sign NDAs. If it happens at all, it would be on an exception basis. And ex McKinsey people have always spoken after they left the firm about what clients they worked on and the sort of work they did in a general manner.

        1. Yves Smith

          You miss the point. Buttigieg repeatedly said he signed an NDA as his excuse for saying less about his work than just about any ex or even current McKinsey consultant would do. I’m in the process of running down if and when consultants sign NDAs.

  12. Plenue

    No one seems to have mentioned Google Stadia here yet. It’s Google’s attempt to get into gaming, but it’s failure thus far has a lot to do with the sorry state of US internet infrastructure.

    Basically it’s a controller with a streaming device. The actual games are running on a server somewhere, which receives your inputs and then streams video of the game back to you. It’s been a disaster so far. A lot of the problems are weird things like missing features that can be patched with time, but the fundamental flaw in the US is that most people’s internet isn’t good enough. Also using it as your regular way of gaming will chew through monthly data caps in no time.

    1. RMO

      I won’t even consider paying for a game which is online only – with the vast majority of them in anywhere from a few weeks to a few years after they come out the company decides it’s no longer worth the cost of keeping the servers running and presto! the game you paid for is dead as in only a tiny fraction of them does the company have an end of life plan besides “GFY” Unless the game has a large and fanatical base that also includes some geniuses who reverse engineer the server software it’s gone. And such games have prices about the same as ones which you can keep playing as long as you can keep your own hardware and OS running it. EA (no surprise) is just about the worst offender when it comes to killing their own games like this. I’m even less interested in streaming as the user has even less control over what they’ve paid for. The problems related to poor internet are just the crap icing on top of a cake of rottenness. I wouldn’t even go for streaming if it was from a company I trusted let alone from Google!

    2. scarn

      Google is not the first company to attempt this structure. They really flubbed the marketing and release, and the platform is largely a joke. The “gender neutral” marketing caused a lot of hilarity among every political subgroup. How is a video game controller gendered in the first place?

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If these facts became obvious to the Lords of Google, would that turn the Lords of Google into lobbyists for upgrading America’s internet up to EuroKorean standards?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Ohio logistics firm on the hook for $300,000 in lobster heist”

    Would this decision count as a legal precedent nationally? That you cannot fob off responsibility when you outsource (because you cannot do the job yourself but bid for the contract anyway) but still own responsibility? If so, this could be a game changer this.

    1. fnx

      I used to work for one of the largest worldwide 3rd party logistics firms, so was very happy to see the judge hold this broker responsible. One can only hope it’s the start of a trend!

      BTW – it wasn’t because Seneca couldn’t do the job themselves, it’s because their business model is to book the freight and farm it out to whichever driver or other carrier they could get for the lowest price. There was also no guarantee that the company/driver they booked didn’t then turn around and do the same thing. That’s very prevalent in the logistics industry.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Multi-level nested outsourcing where the last one in the chain is unfortunately a crook. The cross-(multiple)-border(s) aspect just adds another complication trying to track the theft down after the fact.


        A thief in Austria tricked a factory into giving him a 20-ton truckload of chocolate, police confirmed on Thursday. … The factory had asked a local company to drive its Milka products from Austria to Belgium. The Austrian company seconded the contract to a Hungarian freight firm, which then hired a Czech contractor to carry out the transaction.

    1. cnchal

      Of course. After the glutton has satisfied hissself, it is time for every one else to go on a diet.

      Obama said that modern culture today contributes to climate change by encouraging people to consume more. By way of example, he said that houses today consume more electricity than before.

      So vaccuous and ironic saying that at a Salesfarce conference, where the objective is to sell moar crap.

      Moar irony, the post office is trying to solve climate change all by itself, particularly the spewing of CO2 from burning fuel delivering stuff by crushing it with a 350% rate increase. Those peasants won’t be shipping anything anymore.

      Ah well, that just leaves moar CO2 spewing room for Amazon (am I bid a 40% return rate?), so from hissself’s position, its all good. Tomorrow is a new day and another private jet ride to be gluttonous and preach to the peasants all over again.

  14. allan

    From my inbox:

    Open Enrollment is Here! View Your Trump Medicare Options Here!

    Trump Care Medicare Mission

    The Healthcare landscape has been rapidly changing under the Trump administration, with his collective policy updates often being referred to as Trumpcare. For example, tax penalties instilled under previous regulation have been rolled back, along with the reveal of the “American Patients First” plan which aims to lower prescription drug prices for consumers. Under these revisions, seniors are expected to have more freedom in choosing their coverage. Our goal is to help demystify the confusing landscape of Medicare plans and help match you with a plan that best fits your needs and budget. …

    Political ad or affinity fraud? Opinions differ.
    Oddly, there is no identifying corporate information regarding these bottom-feeding grifters,
    but they clearly think that Trump supporters are an easy mark.

  15. polecat

    Perhaps its the climate in a possible ClubbedFed cell with his name on it that has him worried ..

    One can ‘Hope’ anyway …

    I guess you can probably tell that I’m not very fond of the former Poseur-in-Chief …

  16. JCC

    For those who like Mayor Pete, please consider my qualifications as the next Democratic Candidate to enter the race.

    I, too, served in a war zone, Iraq, for a Military Intelligence BN and primarily sat in front of a computer console albeit at a slightly different job (Systems/Network/SatCom Admin). But occasionally I, too, went “outside the wire”.

    But I can one-up him all day long. First, I did it for 1.5 years, but unlike the Mayor’s serving at the General HQ for the entire Mission, a “Green Zone”, I worked at Balad Airbase – also known as Mortaritaville – under daily mortar attacks the entire time I was there (Tulsi’s neighborhood, but started about 6 months earlier). Obviously, according to the the Mayor anyway, this is a very significant qualification.

    The only thing is that Mayor Pete might beat me out, since, instead of working as an Economic Hitman, I instead worked for a Machine Tool Mfg traveling around the country and overseas installing and repairing CNC Machinery in shops that, for the most part, no longer exist.

    For that matter, the Mfg company itself was recently taken over by a Private Equity Firm and may also go by the wayside within a few years (its stock value was 1/2 the value when taken over than it was when I left the company years ago when the writing was on the wall).

    On second thought, maybe I better rethink my candidacy. Working stiffs rarely beat REMFs.

  17. richard

    hey, for anyone who is on here late
    a clip from k.kulinski covering bernie’s knockout counterpunch to the gotchya msm framing on pulling out of afghanistan
    maybe you guys already saw it
    anyway, he got me up and shouting at the goddamn sky
    i completely agree with kulinski
    outstanding answer bernie, and i predict it plays very well

  18. anon in so cal

    Once again, David Stockman nails it:

    ” The Trump-hating Dems are so feverishly set on a POTUS kill that they have enlisted a veritable posse of Russophobic, right-wing neocon cretins – Morrison, Taylor, Kent, Vindman, among others – to finish off the Donald.

    But in so doing they have made official Washington’s real beef against Trump crystal clear; and it’s not about the rule of law or abuse of presidential power or an impeachable dereliction of duty.

    …..whether out of naiveté, contrariness or just plain common sense, the Donald has declined to embrace the War Party’s Russian bogeyman and demonization of Putin. He thereby threatens the Empire’s raison d’être to the very core.”


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