2:00PM Water Cooler 12/11/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, my brunch ran later than usual so this is light. I will add more in a bit. –lambert UPDATE All done!


“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.

We have new YouGov and Emerson (Iowa) polls, as of 12/11/2019, 12:00 PM EST. Biden leads, Sanders strong second, Warren six points back, Buttigeig trailing (Bloomberg above the bottom feeders). This seems to be an established pattern (or, if you prefer, narrative). On to the next debate (December 19), and Iowa:

Here is the latest result, as of 12/11/2019, 12:00 PM EST:

Here is Emerson from Iowa, as of 12/11/2019, 12:00 PM EST: Buttigieg leading, Sanders closing, Biden still in the hunt, Warren fading.

Note the tiny and infrequent sampling, that Iowa voters are famously volatile, and caucuses are hard to poll.

CAVEAT I think we have to track the polls because so much of the horse-race coverage is generated by them; and at least with these charts we’re insulating ourselves against getting excited about any one poll. That said, we should remember that the polling in 2016, as it turned out, was more about narrative than about sampling, and that this year is, if anything, even more so. In fact, one is entitled to ask, with the latest Buttigieg boomlet (bubble? (bezzle?)) which came first: The narrative, or the poll? One hears of push polling, to be sure, but not of collective push polling by herding pollsters. We should also worry about state polls with very small sample sizes and big gaps in coverage. And that’s before we get to the issues with cellphones (as well as whether voters in very small, very early states game their answers). So we are indeed following a horse-race, but the horses don’t stay in their lanes, some of the horses are not in it to win but to interfere with the others, the track is very muddy, and the mud has splattered our binoculars, such that it’s very hard to see what’s going on from the stands. Also, the track owners are crooked and the stewards are on the take. Everything’s fine.

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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Bloomberg (D)(1): “Bloomberg denies trying to buy White House election” [BBC]. • Not the kind of headline a campaign likes to see.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Here Are the Lobbyists and Corporate Execs Collecting Checks for Pete Buttigieg” [ReadSludge]. I’ll start with the update: “Shortly after this article was published, the Buttigieg campaign announced it would release its bundlers names by the end of the week and allow press in fundraising events, confirmed by Senior Advisor for Communications Lis Smith.” • Which is good, and doesn’t prevent the bundlers listed here from being extremely unsavory.

Sanders (D)(1): “Don’t Think Sanders Can Win? You Don’t Understand His Campaign” [Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, New York Times]. “Mr. Sanders has reached the typically invisible, downwardly mobile working class with his language of “class warfare.” He has tapped into the anger and bitterness coursing through the lives of regular people who have found it increasingly impossible to make ends meet in this grossly unequal society…. Since Mr. Trump’s election, “class,” when it’s discussed at all, has been invoked for its hazy power to chart Mr. Trump’s rise and potential fall. Recall the endless analyses of poor and working-class white voters shortly after his election and the few examinations of poor and working-class people of color. But the Sanders campaign has become a powerful platform to amplify the experiences of this multiracial contingent. Under normal circumstances, the multiracial working class is invisible. This has meant its support for Mr. Sanders’s candidacy has been hard to register in the mainstream coverage of the Democratic race. But these voters are crucial to understanding the resilience of the Sanders campaign, which has been fueled by small dollar donations from more than one million people, a feat none of his opponents has matched. Remarkably, he also has at least 130,000 recurring donors, some of whom make monthly contributions.” • Unsurprising, when you think about it. Of course the working class is multiracial. Far more so than the Democrat based in the 10%.

Sanders (D)(2): “Defense Industry Gives More To Bernie Than Any 2020 Candidate” [The American Conservative]. “Despite his frequent votes against defense bills, Senator Bernie Sanders has collected more presidential campaign contributions from defense industry sources than any other candidate, including Donald Trump. That’s according to data on 2020 funding at the OpenSecrets.org website, which is sponsored by the Center for Responsive Politics…. As of early December, Sanders had out-collected Trump $172,803 to $148,218 in defense industry contributions, a difference of 17 percent. And his margin had been growing in October and November…. Sanders also out-collected all of his Democratic rivals…. The implications for the relationship of defense industry contributors to Sanders and the others may, or may not, be everything you might assume. Defense industry PACs, and the corrupting influence they have over compliant politicians, are not the source of this money…. Instead, it all comes from what the OpenSecrets.org data show as “Individuals”… From OpenSecrets.org, it appears that Sanders has thousands of individual contributions from people who identified affiliations with Boeing and Lockheed Martin, though no donations appear to amount to the legal maximum, and most seem to be from engineers, technicians, and other non-management types.” • Nevertheless, industry influence is industry influence, and the writer brings up, as they ought, the basing of the F-35 in Vermont.

Sanders (D)(3): “Bernie Sanders is breaking barriers with young Latinos. Now he just needs them to vote” [CNN]. “Recent polling suggests that Sanders has a clear advantage with young Latino voters, who could, with even a modest growth in turnout, fundamentally alter the composition — racially and ideologically — of the Democratic electorate.” • This is so hilarious. For years, liberal Democrats have waited for demographics to do their work for them. Now Latinx voters have arrived — and Sanders is hijacking them with a policy-based appeal. And he doesn’t need to carry hot sauce in his purse or call himself mi abuelo!

Sanders (D)(4): “Grandpa Slacks Are The New Dad Jeans” [Elle]. “When you think of style icons, Bernie Sanders is probably low on your list. I’m not referencing campaign trail Bernie, with his hypebeast parka and sleek navy suit. I’m all about Bernie off-duty: the one who visits Ariana Grande concerts or walks around in stained button downs. His style should be dissected with the same fervor we approach female politicians. Feel the Bern, because at a second glance, his style is, looks at notes, cool. Canceling student debt is nice and all, but let’s praise his presidential crusade for the next it-pant: grandpa slacks.” • This here is what they call earned media. Next week: Hair styles.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(5): “The Trailer: What Nevada could mean for Bernie Sanders” [WaPo]. On the Weigel flight jacket incident (yesterday): “It was a warm moment, it led local news, and it grew organically from the Sanders strategy to win Nevada. The senator from Vermont has poured money into organizing, just like in other early states, with the campaign planning to hire its 100th Nevada staffer by this weekend. And just like in other early states, Sanders focuses his speeches on voters with something to lose…. more than Iowa or New Hampshire, it could prove whether the Sanders strategy is working at scale, ready to be expanded into the next 47 states.” • Nevada is Harry Reid’s patch, and Reid supports Warren. The Nevada press, aided by the local Democrat establishment, faked the chair-throwing incident at the state Democrat convention. And the Culinary Workers have concerns about #MedicareForAll vs. their union plans. So Nevada is no cakewalk for Sanders, despite his strong Latinx support.

Warren (D)(1): “ELIZABETH WARREN” [Indivisible]. “Elizabeth Warren is the top-scoring candidate on the scorecard because she’s got both a bold progressive vision for our country and the day-one democracy agenda we need to make that vision a reality. She also earns the top score for building grassroots power.” • Oh.

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UPDATE “Pete Buttigieg Is Disclosing His Bundlers. What About The Other 2020 Candidates?” [HuffPo]. “What about the many, many other remaining candidates competing for the right to challenge Donald Trump, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker? They’ve been radio silent on the issue, a sharp break from more than a decade of established practice. Every Democratic presidential nominee in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2016 elections disclosed their bundlers, meaning this year’s crop of candidates has taken a direct step backward on campaign finance transparency…. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren don’t engage in high-dollar fundraising, and thus don’t have bundlers. A few wealthy candidates outside the top tier ― former Rep. John Delaney, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and businessman Tom Steyer ― are funding campaigns with millions of dollars of their own money.”

“How the New Primary Calendar Changes the Contest for Democrats” [New York Times]. “A variety of changes make the 2020 Democratic calendar more like a national primary. There are fewer caucuses and fewer election nights, and the primary season ends earlier. Increasingly, the calendar features a handful of big primary nights, each relatively representative of the country, at least compared with previous years…. Over all, 60 percent of delegates will be awarded by March 15. This is mainly because of California’s move to Super Tuesday, which comes just three days after the South Carolina primary.” • And Harris dropped out. What a shame.


I quoted Hamilton from Federalist 65 in comments here, but I quote it again to make an additional point

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.

This is prescient with regard to passions, but not with regard to institutions. RussiaGate, and now UkraineGate, are driven by the intelligence community, a political party, and the press (all of whom are interconnected through shared information and unshared secrets, through circulation, Flexnet-style, through these institutions, and by money (book deals, television appearances, even fundraising drives). These three institutions are most emphatically not part of the Constitutional order envisioned by the Framers, and yet they seem to have become co-equal branches of government, something Hamilton never envisaged.

“Trump, allies aim to delegitimize impeachment from the start” [Kansas City Star]. “[Trump’s allies] have belittled the impeachment process with mockery, schoolyard taunts and an unyielding insistence that Trump did not a single thing wrong. They have stonewalled, refusing to allow witnesses to testify; protested by declining to send their own lawyers to hearings; and dished out the ultimate Trumpian insult: calling the proceedings boring…. It’s a strategy borne of Trump’s instincts and informed by the results of polling and focus groups. The president and his allies believe the effort has been effective, especially when it comes to keeping independent voters skeptical of the process. It is also a reflection of the country’s increasingly polarized political environment… America First Policies, a nonprofit backing Trump’s policies, for instance, conducted focus groups early in the process that focused specifically on independent voters who might be open to voting for Trump in 2020. Kelly Sadler, a spokeswoman for the group, said the sessions turned up frustration with Congress over endless investigations and not perusing bread-and-butter issues. Many people, she said, felt the impeachment inquiry was highly partisan — a sentiment reflected in polling data — and felt the whole endeavor was a waste of time and money, especially given the quickly-approaching 2020 election.” • Liberal Democrats: The voters are wrong!

UPDATE “Can We Impeach The FBI Now?” [The American Conservative]. “The Horowitz Report is being played by the media for its conclusion: that the FBI’s intel op run against the Trump campaign was not politically motivated and thus “legal.” That covers one page of the 476-page document, but because it fits with the Democratic/mainstream media narrative that Trump is a liar, the rest has been ignored. “The rest,” of course, is a detailed description of America’s domestic intelligence apparatus, aided by its overseas intelligence apparatus, and assisted by its Five Eyes allies’ intelligence apparatuses. And the conclusion is that they unleashed a full-spectrum spying campaign against a presidential candidate in order to influence an election, and when that failed, they tried to delegitimize a president.” • Worth reading in full.

“Democrats’ January Plans Scrambled by Likely Impeachment Trial” [Wall Street Journal]. “Plans for a Democratic presidential debate in January have been complicated by the expected Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, which could tie up several 2020 hopefuls during the final stretch before the Iowa caucuses.” • I’m sure Pelosi is extremely unhappy that she threw a monkey wrench into the campaigns of Senators Warren and Sanders. Ditto Mitch McConnell. I wonder how he’ll maneuver to keep as many Democrats as possinble tied up during the home stretch in Iowa?

UPDATE From the archives:

And it was all garbage, wasn’t it. Lies. As the Horowitz Report shows. Who could have known?

Obama Legacy

“Michelle Obama Talks Bond with George W. Bush After Controversy Over Him Sitting with Ellen: ‘Our Values Are the Same'” [Elle]. “‘Our values are the same,” [Michelle Obama] said of herself and President Bush. ‘We disagree on policy, but we don’t disagree on humanity, we don’t disagree about love and compassion. I think that’s true for all of us — it’s just that we get lost in our fear of what’s different.'” • Oh.

Stocking stuffer:

The responses are not kind. That ObamaCare “costs less than a cellphone bill” was a lie when Obama said it in 2014, and it’s a lie now.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why this expert warns that a voting watchdog has ‘lost its way’ — and our elections are at risk” [Alternet]. “Verified Voting, the national advocacy group seeking accountable election results, has been “providing cover” for untrustworthy new voting systems and the public officials buying them, according to an esteemed academic board member who has resigned in protest… To be accused by the inventor of its “gold-standard” audit solution of selling out while states and counties are buy voting technology that will be used into the 2030s is remarkable…. Stark and other critics say that the cards produced by a so-called ballot-marking device (BMD) may not be accurate because potentially insecure software sits between a voter’s fingers and the printout. Thus, Stark contends that his audit tool cannot assess if the reported result is correct. Also, BMD systems are far more costly than hand-marked ballot systems, he and other critics have said. They note that the acquisition costs are followed by per-machine service agreements designed to generate millions in annual revenues for vendors.” • On BMDs, see NC here. From that post, I reprint this chart:

“Harris County to seek vendor proposals for new voting machines” [Houston Chronicle]. “Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved County Clerk Diane Trautman’s plan to seek vendor proposals for new voting machines… “We did establish a community advisory community and met with them, and we received written and online feedback,” Trautman said. “We also had an election machine vendor fair where the community came out … the next step is to start the RFP process.”… Her office will consider whether the new machines should produce a paper record. Shortly after her election, Trautman said voting machines must produce a “verifiable paper trail.'” • So, ballot marking devices. Once again, I’m persuaded that the only reason (besides corruption) officials would buy voting machines is to steal elections. The science is clear.

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“Economic anxiety”:

UPDATE “Dangerous Spaces” [Verso]. From the UK, but relevant here: “We have quickly discovered that door-knocking is horrible and brilliant, fraught with risk and potential. On the doorstep, no one cares what pronoun you prefer or whether you have social anxiety. It is a kind of political primal scene. Just you and a stranger. They can slam the door. They can call you a terrorist. They can complain about Jeremy Corbyn or Brexit or immigrants or their landlord, or assholes like you turning up unannounced, or about all of this at once. They can listen to your patient explanation or your frustrated ramble. They can laugh in your face. They can invite you into their homes, forcing you to make a snap decision about your potential safety in their domestic space. You always say yes. They can offer you a cuppa or ask for a sticker or introduce you to their nan. They can commiserate with you at the state of the world. They can change their minds and you can change yours. Often, in these conversations, a soundbite is rehearsed (‘I just don’t see Corbyn as a leader’), and we can see the way that media rhetoric becomes woven into the demotic. But while there’s no real talking back to Rupert Murdoch, on the doorstep there is sometimes the chance to contest his logic with some of our own.” • Worth reading in full. Do we have — what’s the word? Surely not door-knockers? — canvassers in the readership? What do you think?

Stats Watchd

Tech: “Apple’s pricey new $6,000 screen for the Mac Pro can only be cleaned with a special cloth from Apple” [Business Insider]. “It’s also worth considering that, like the Mac Pro itself, the display Apple is selling to go along with it is likely meant for professionals. Video editors working in the film industry, for example, are probably more likely to benefit from the Pro Display XDR’s high color accuracy, wide-axis viewing angles, and 6K resolution than everyday consumers.” • Fair enough. They should also be able to afford the $400 set of wheels.

Manufacturing: “TUI Warns of $700 Million Hit If Grounded Max Misses Summer Peak” [Bloomberg]. “Travel giant TUI AG said it has racked up 293 million euros ($325 million) in expenses from the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max and could take a further 400 million-euro hit if the jet stays idle next summer…. In a worst-case scenario, expenses from leasing-in planes to cover for the Max will exceed $700 million over two years, based on the latest estimates.”

Manufacturing: “FAA let Boeing 737 Max continue to fly even as review found serious crash risk” [Guardian]. “US regulators allowed Boeing’s 737 Max to keep flying even after their own analysis found the plane could have averaged one fatal crash about every two or three years without intervention.” • Oh.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 11 at 12:41pm.

The Biosphere

“Call centres of life” [Kew Gardens]. “Beneath the ground, within the soil, an important hidden fungal network exists that connects plants through their roots.” • With video:

“Politicians And CEOs Could Face Criminal Charges For Environmental Destruction” [HuffPost]. “‘Current law is so deeply anthropocentric,” she explains. “It’s the Earth itself that needs a really good lawyer.’ [Jojo Mehta, co-founder and director of Ecological Defence Integrity,] believes ecocide should work as a deterrent. ‘In an ideal world, we would see as few people in the dock as possible because the crime is no longer happening,’ says Mehta. Big companies often have budgets set aside for civil litigation against them to cover any fines, so ‘it doesn’t stop them from engaging in destructive activities,’ says Mehta. But criminal liability brings with it the possibility of prison time. The role of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, in the developing crisis in the Amazon is a good example of why we need criminal accountability for environmental destruction, argues Mehta. He is the “poster boy for the need for the crime of ecocide,” she says.” • And so is Cargill, one of the corporations on whose behalf Bolsonaro is doing what it is doing.


“The Deep Sea” [neal.fun]. • A lovely, lovely graphic on what lives in the ocean depths.

Class Warfare

“The number of workers on strike hits the highest since the 1980s” [CNBC]. “The number of striking workers balloons to nearly 500,000 in 2018, up from about 25,000 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the largest number of people who have walked out on work since the mid-1980s.”

News of the Wired

The shape of things to come:

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Via BLCKDGRD, an old-school blog I enjoy checking in on.

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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. T

    Need Latinos (and whoever else) to vote? Wish these stories would focus on our need to be sure their votes are added to the totals.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’ve consistently covered voting machine issues. There was a great deal of coverage of election issues, shall we say, in 2016; Brooklyn, California. I’m not sure what kind of coverage you have in mind or where to find it.

      1. D. Fuller

        blackboxvoting.org and bradblog.com, is where you can find decent coverage of voting machine issues.

        How about Chicago and the voter commission making their totals fit the number of votes back in the Democratic primaries in 2016?


    2. D. Fuller

      Since 1986 and the immigration reform signed by Reagan, The Democratic Party has been wishing for a demographic tidal wave. Of course, when Democrats would rather service business and Wall Street over the middle class while pursuing suburban Republican voters (lily White voters)?

      One thing about Latinos and immigrants from south of the border? Catholic and Conservative also.

  2. katz

    Re Indivisible

    Was trying to figure out how a group like this gives Elizabeth Warren a higher score than Bernie Sanders on “building grassroots power” and came across an interesting data point:

    “Senator Sanders lost just a few points in this part of the scorecard. He has only endorsed one progressive congressional primary challenger so far this cycle, and he declined to participate in Indivisible’s candidate interview process, citing scheduling conflicts.”

    1. Another Scott

      After watching the grassroots endorse someone who in 2016 was an anti-M4A, Clinton-supporting, minimum wage-opponent two years later, I’m reluctant to trust any primary challenger, let alone use it as a basis of a candidate’s grassroots support.

    2. DonCoyote

      To be fair, Indivisible does publish all of their rubrics and weighting (as opposed to MSNBC’s Mima Rocah: “Bernie Sanders makes my skin crawl, and I can’t even identify for you exactly what it is, I see him as a not-pro-woman candidate”). And Bernie Sanders does the best in Policy Platform, which is 50% of the total, and there are a lot of good progressive questions in there. And it does at least group Klobuchar and Biden as the hopeless non-starters overall ( less than 50%).

      Having said that: some of their questions are dicey, especially in the section that Bernie only gets 70% in “Day-One Democracy Agenda”. It has questions about SCOTUS term limits, adding SCOTUS seats, support of HR-1, and statehood for the District of Columbia while leaving out things like hand-marked paper ballots, ranked-choice voting, and eliminating the Electoral College. Or, more cynically, it seems like like a Democratic Power Consolidation agenda than a Democracy Agenda (the fact that Buttigieg scores 91% here is a further warning).

      And just a note about the “Building Grassroots Power” above: it also weights endorsements, and includes endorsements from the WFP (first listed) and some of those dicey NCOs that NC/WC have discussed recently.

      1. Grant

        “Warren…also earns the top score for building grassroots power”

        Absurd. You have to create a ridiculous definition of grassroots power to justify that, which they did.

  3. Jeff W

    The Hill’s Krystal Ball’s take (“Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie will break the establishment?”) here on how Bernie Sanders as mayor dealt with obstruction from the Burlington, Vermont city government and how that informs his theory of change:

    What really fascinated me though [about the NYT’s piece “Bernie Sanders vs. the Machine” (27 November 2019) here, referenced in the 11/27/2019 Water Cooler by bassmule here] was what happened after [Bernie Sanders] was elected [mayor of Burlington].

    So there he was, after this stunning upset as mayor of Burlington, and all of the powers that be, whether they were Republicans or Democrats decided, in Sanders’s words, that he was a fluke, that, since they still had control of the Board of Aldermen, basically their City Council, they could just obstruct him completely, keep him from accomplishing absolutely anything, and then everything could get “back to normal.” In words frequently applied these days to Donald Trump, he was an “aberration.”

    So the Board of Aldermen blocked all of his key appointments. They even blocked his secretary. He was forced to try to run the city with all of his predecessor’s obstructionist people. In the interview Sanders compares this situation to Trump having to run the government with all of Obama’s cabinet members, which, of course, is, more or less, what Trump thinks has happened to him. But while Trump has collapsed into an endless stream of conspiracy-mongering and Twitter grievances, Sanders actually figured out how to get around that obstruction and govern the city according to his values.

    So what did he do? Well, he got together some of his top supporters and formed essentially a shadow government to help craft and execute on ideas. He also relied directly on the people of the city, delegating power to neighborhood councils. Each borough was given its own budget that it could allocate independently to suit the needs of the community.

    So, one year into his administration, seven of the 13 aldermen were up for re-election in what Sanders describes is, essentially, a referendum on his administration. This was truly a do-or-die moment for him. Would his political revolution be upheld or rejected in Burlington? So Sanders fields his own slate of five candidates. He tells the New York Times that he works harder than he’s ever worked in his life, knocking on almost literally every door of the city with the candidates by his side. And when all the votes are counted, three of Sanders candidates have won outright and two [have] forced the incumbents into runoffs. The remaining Democrats were actually forced to team up with the Republicans in order to keep control of the board. It was the Burlington equivalent of Chuck Schumer voting for Mitch McConnell for majority leader.

    But, perhaps most significantly, in one year’s time, Sanders doubled voter turnout, dramatically increasing the level of popular participation and bringing the citizens back into engagement with their city government. Sanders could no longer be written off as a fluke but rather a force in his own right, with a base of power independent from any political party. He then went on to win reelection three times, including once against a candidate who was backed by both major parties—because, you know, the one thing that brings establishment Democrats and Republicans together is their commitment to defeating anyone with their own working-class base of support.

    He told the New York Times: “What that tells me is that if government does respond to the needs of working people they will come out and participate.” It’s a simple statement but one at such odds with the suppression, manipulation, caricature, and derision that working people are typically subjected to. To me this interview was so revealing because you can see all of the parallels with his political philosophy and theory of change today. He has faith in this idea of a political revolution because he’s done it and he’s seen it.

    Remember this moment recently when John Harwood [of CNBC] asked how he would handle someone like Joe Manchin opposing Medicare-for-All. Take a listen:

    [CNBC clip]

    John Harwood: …is Joe Manchin going to vote for your program? Is Jon Tester going to vote for your program?

    Bernie Sanders: Yeah. Damn right they will. You know why?…We’re going to go to West Virginia which is maybe the poorest, well, one of the poorest states, in this country.

    Your average politician sits around and he or she thinks, “Let’s see. If I do this, I’m going to have the big money interests putting 30-second ads against me. So I’d better not do it.” But now they’re going to have to think, “If I don’t support an agenda that works for working people, I’m going to have President Sanders coming to my state and rallying working-class people.”

    You know what? The 1 percent is very powerful — no denying that. The 99%, when they’re organized and prepared to stand up and fight, they are far more powerful.

    [End clip]

    If McConnell and Manchin and Pelosi et al. stand in his way and blocked passage of popular legislation to benefit the working-class citizens, he is counting on a reckoning, on a massive show of electoral force that would bring a tidal wave of new voters into the system, creating a new accountability for those who would stand in their way. That is what political revolution looked like in Burlington and that is what he believes it will look like in DC as well.

    [My transcript.]

    Compare with Elizabeth Warren’s theory of change [from here]: “When I win, I will turn around to all of my Democratic colleagues and say this is what I ran on. It’s there. And that’s what the majority of the people in the United States said they wanted.”

      1. Jeff W

        Thank you! I thought other readers might appreciate Krystal Ball’s take (and I know lambert likes transcripts).

          1. GramSci

            +100. A great model for us all, Lee. I can’t door-knock because a family emergency is relocating me to Spain for a few months, but I will pledge to follow your example and become more pro-active on line — not so much here, where we are all more or less of one mind, but on the sites of the petite bourgeoisie, like Daily Kos.

            I would like to hear at what other sites other NC readers have been able to begin to evangelize and organize.

          2. Jeff W

            The resistance over at Daily Kos is fascinating—and disheartening. People seem to be unable to conceive of the current constraints as anything other than an immutable given.

            One commenter says

            If [Bernie Sanders] thinks that as a Northerner he can walk into West Virginia and suddenly transform it’s population (which moved from conservative dixiecrat to conservative Republican) to progressive he is not being realistic.

            But, of course, Sanders had a group of about 250 self-described Trump voters in Wheeling, West Virginia, giving him standing ovations in March, 2017 on things like Medicare-for-All.

            And, then, again, here’s Krystal Ball, talking about West Virginia (and Kentucky) about a week ago:

            …But there are also just really specific things that I’ve seen in politics that give me reason for optimism. Two that I’ll lay out for you [are]:

            You know, I was really involved in West Virginia politics last cycle and was there in the state when teachers were storming the Capitol. And, you know, you talk about a state that’s been exploited—this place, since it’s been a state has been, I mean, just unbelievably exploited. People [were] living there and New Yorkers came in and bought their land rights out from under them before there were railroads built to get coal out. So people were—it was, like, meaningless—so people were. like, “Sure, I’ll take the money.” And then the moment that all the mineral rights were sold to out-of-staters, then the railroads are built and the coal mines open. And it’s just been a history of exploitation. But it’s also a history of, like, militant radicalism. I don’t know if you all know where the term “redneck” comes from it. It comes from the Battle of Blair Mountain, right, where militant coal miners trying to unionize— they tied red bandanas around their necks so they would know who their comrades were in arms.

            So that history is there and runs deep as well. So being there and watching these teachers who the first ones—and I wasn’t in the room for this meeting—the first ones were in Mingo County who decided to shut the schools down to strike. And Mingo is one of the poorest counties in the country. And [it]…now…you know votes for Trump overwhelmingly. although it has long been a Democratic stronghold, strong labor area, et cetera. And they were in a room with these UMWA retired coal miners and they basically said what should we do? And these coal miners counseled them on how to grow this into a movement and make it stick.

            And so, in a state that was wholly controlled by Republicans, these teachers shut down every school in the state and had the backing of every community in the state. And, ultimately, even though Republicans, who were hostile to their interest, controlled everything, they could not take the heat and the pressure, and they totally folded and crumbled.

            So when I hear Bernie Sanders talking about we’re gonna, you know…get Medicare-for-All through— we’re gonna bring the movement to Joe Manchin’s backyard or whatever—I’ve seen that work, I know that works.

            …[A]nd, by the way, I mean, it was incredible thing to see—’cause it was mostly, like, white middle-class women, not the most, like, typically radical group. And this strike was technically illegal— like, these people could have lost their jobs, been arrested, et cetera— and they said “F— it—we’re doing it anyway.” And it was amazing to behold.

            So one other very specific example that’s recent, that I know you all will connect with, is what just unfolded in Kentucky, which is a state that I used to live in until quite recently.

            And so, you know, you had this governor [Matt Bevin] who won—this Republican governor, total assh—, I mean, he’s just like this brash businessman, he’s very Trumpian in his affect right? So he wins actually in 2015… and it’s very much canary in the coal-mine for Trump because, even though we think of Kentucky as a red state, Kentucky was electing Democratic governors right up until this guy. They just lost control of the State House, Democrats, did in 2015 in Kentucky. So it has that legacy as well.

            And so he wins… He comes, sweeps into office and he starts passing every right-wing priority you can imagine—you know. right-to-work, …other attacks on labor rights, lots of like social conservative legislation— and then he went for teachers pensions and they said “Hell, no!”

            So [a] teachers’ movement springs up there. They’re holding signs that say “Don’t make us go West Virginia on you,” which is an amazing thing to say.…

            So how did the Democrats run against Bevin, right? They nominate a guy Andy Beshear, whose dad had been governor. Look, I I know Andy— he’s a nice guy, he’s got a good heart, good character, he’s a terrible politician. he’s just not charismatic at all…very boring.…

            But what did they do? Very disciplined…they focused like a laser on health care, on right-to-work, on pensions and teachers— working-class issues. And Andy Beshear—as we see with the Democratic trend across the country, yes, turnout was up in the suburbs, yes, he did very well in the suburbs—but the reason that he won was because of coal country, because some of those counties in coal country that had a legacy of militant unionism and Democratic voting— they turned back when we were talking about working-class issues.

            And, look, it takes a long time to undo the damage that neoliberalism has done to the Democratic Party across the country. But that this one race could be won in this way should give us all hope for the type of politics that could succeed almost everywhere in this country.


            [My transcript, edited lightly, link added]

        1. Expat2uruguay

          Jeff W. Thanks for your effort creating a transcript. I watched the video and in it Crystal Ball recommends that the viewer watch the segment of Bernie Sanders, the newly-elected mayor of Burlington, being interviewed by Phil Donahue on the show Good Morning America in 1981. Since a link wasn’t provided, I had to go and find that segment myself, and it’s definitely worth watching. Delightful

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Whoa Bernie and Donahue…yeesh, they just need a couple more and they’ll have MSNBC’s Legion of Doom.

    1. dcblogger

      I went to a meeting of Our Revolution the other night, it was a national event, with an invited audience, speakers from all over the country, livestreamed. Well, the major point was that Our Revolution had won many victories in 2019 and was gearing up for more.

      Just think, you are a member of Congress, mebbe a Democrat, mebbe a Republican, and the Insurance industry is putting pressure on you to oppose Medicare for All. You look at your district, and the city councils, county boards, are all full of elected officials that came out of Our Revolution. You know that one of those elected officials is thinking about challenging you in the primary if you are a Democrat or general if you are a Republican. If you oppose Medicare for All you are handing your future opponent a giant bat to hit you with. So you support Medicare for All. And that friends is how Bernie is going to pass Medicare for All. Elect as many Medicare for All Democrats as possible and put the fear of God into everyone else.

    1. D. Fuller

      Why Didn’t Goodyear Recall An RV Tire That’s Linked To At Least 98 Deaths And Injuries?

      Executives knew about the defective tires for eight years.

      No one was charged with murder that I know of.

      The Capitalist’s view of justice is: payoffs = justice. Someone dies because a Capitalist knowingly sold a dangerous, defective product they knew could result in death? Payoff = justice.

      How many opioid deaths as the Sackler family knowingly assisted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands? The death toll from that probably exceeds the Rwandan genocide. The punishment? Seems to be… payoffs = justice.

      1. JBird4049

        The wergeld was ideally supposed to be painful or punitive, equitable, and most important, honestly recompensatory. Today, it is just, at worse, somewhat annoying cost of business or, at best, a fabulous way to avoid any responsibility for anyone or anything. As in “Here’s some scraps of silver for your dead, peon. Go away.”

        Capitalism. Cheapening the value of everything except for the profits.

  4. dcrane

    Re: Horowitz report.

    The report says that the IG found “no documentary or testimonial evidence” that politics played a role. To me all this means is that nobody explicitly wrote down the biased intent, and that nobody openly admitted that they were biased. That’s a ridiculous standard of evidence.

    1. integer

      Yep. Here’s whar Barr had to say about it in an interview with NBC yesterday:

      WILLIAMS: So, the inspector general says he found no evidence to indicate that the FBI’s decision to start this investigation was based on a political bias. Do you agree?

      BARR: Well, what he — what he actually — I think you have to understand what the IG’s methodology is. And I think it’s the appropriate methodology for an inspector general.

      He starts with limited information. He can only talk to people who are essentially there as employees. And he’s limited to the information generally in the FBI. But his approach is to say, if I get an explanation from the people I’m investigating, that is not unreasonable on its face, then I will accept it as long as there’s not contradictory testimonial or documentary evidence.

      In other words, it’s a very differential standard. And all he said is, people gave me an explanation and I didn’t find anything to contradict it. So, I don’t have a basis for saying that there was improper motive. But he hasn’t decided the issue of improper motive.

      WILLIAMS: Have you?

      BARR: No.

      WILLIAMS: Do — do you —

      BARR: I think we have to wait until the investigation — the full investigation is done. And that’s the fundamental distinction between what Durham is doing and what the IG is doing.

      Durham is not limited to the FBI. He can talk to other agencies. He can compel people to testify.

      One of the — the problems in the IG’s investigation, I think he would agree, is that Comey refused to sign back up for his security clearance and therefore couldn’t be questioned about classified matters. So someone like — someone like Durham can compel testimony, he can talk to a whole range of people, private parties, foreign governments and so forth. And I think that is the point at which a decision has to be made about motivations.

      And I think we can — right now it would be premature to make any judgment one way or the other.

      Full Interview: AG Bill Barr Criticizes Inspector General Report On The Russia Investigation RealClear Politics

  5. Late Introvert

    An incomplete report from an Eastern Central Iowa town on TV ads and yard signs. No cable here, this is strictly free over the air TV.

    Excellent Bernie commercial featuring a local farmer, with his name and town listed, saying how Bernie isn’t with Wall St., or big Pharma, or Big Insurance, or Big Anything (paraphrased of course) – He’s with Us. Very well done, I don’t have a link but it’s out there I’m sure. That has been playing the last couple weeks.

    Then last night there was a new Poot Edge Edge ad with anonymous “Iowans” saying how Pete is for Us! It was blatant. Sadly people here are falling for his weak and bland feel-good talk. His yard signs blossomed about 3 weeks ago but there are no new ones since then and more Bernie and Warren signs popping up, in two yards they have one of each. My daughter gets constant Steyer ads on YouTube and we get tons of Yang and Steyer mailers. I’ve cursed out the corporate stooge Dems enough that I doubt we’ll get Bloomberg stuff but I’ll report back if I do.

    And no, there have been no ads on Antenna TV or CW or any of the other rerun heavy channels. Hopefully Bernie’s people are reading the NC comments. I’ll include a note when I send my next check to Vermont.

    1. D. Fuller

      Reminds me of Pend Oreille County in WA back in 2016.

      Lots of Sanders signs. Four Trump signs. And one Hillary sign (destroyed eventually). And that was in a Deep Red County, also one of the poorest in the nation. After Clinton “won” the nomination? Sanders signs were replaced by Trump signs.

      Interesting note about the county caucus for selecting the Democratic nominee? The instructions were so confusing that not even the local Democratic party rep could figure them out. Eventually, Clinton received one more delegate than she should have.

  6. TroyIA

    Matt Taibbi retweeted this thread from Techno Fog about all of the reporters who had incorrect stories or tweets about the Carter Page FISA application.

    Since the IG report definitively shows that the FISA application relied on the Steele dossier yet all of these reporters have stated the opposite we are left with 2 options.

    The reporters made up their stories with no independent verification from credible sources.


    The sources the reporters relied on deliberately fed them bad information and ending up burning them.

    One last thing that I didn’t know is that The New York Times had a reporter who was leaked a copy of the Carter application so they KNEW that the FISA court application relied on the Steele Dossier yet they still reported the opposite. I’m in agreement with Matt Taibbi that Russiagate will end up damaging the credibility of the press as much as WMD’s did.

    1. Off The Street

      Eagerly awaiting retirement announcements of numerous newsreaders, panelists and other mendicants and prevaricators.

    2. chuck roast

      Please, do you have a citation for this. All I get is he said/she said and I am not reading the entire report.

      1. Off The Street

        See CTH for many docs about FISA, hearings and related topics, including many links to FOIA, DOJ and other source docs.

    3. John k

      How many reporters were sacked bc they passed on the wmd lies they were fed?
      Just guessing, here, I’d say none. In fact, I’d bet these guys have been promoted for doing exactly what mgmt did and does want.
      Yes, fewer people pay attention to msm, even some old farts like me. But they’re not gonna change.

  7. XXYY

    The Nevada press, aided by the local Democrat establishment, faked the chair-throwing incident at the state Democrat convention.

    This was later updated to chair brandishing, which has become one of my favorite phrases in the English language.

    1. mle detroit

      Nevada is Harry Reid’s patch, and Reid supports Warren. … And the Culinary Workers have concerns about #MedicareForAll vs. their union plans

      The Culinary Workers (and all other union members) could usefully ponder this, from deep down in the “Workplace Democracy” issues page of Bernie’s campaign website:

      A fair transition to Medicare for All: Bernie will require that resulting healthcare savings from union-negotiated plans result in wage increases and additional benefits for workers during the transition to Medicare for All. When Medicare for All is signed into law, companies with union negotiated health care plans would be required to enter into new contract negotiations overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Under this plan, all company savings that result from reduced health care contributions from Medicare for All will accrue equitably to workers in the form of increased wages or other benefits. Furthermore, the plan will ensure that union-sponsored clinics and other providers are integrated within the Medicare for All system, and kept available for members. Unions will still be able to negotiate for and provide wrap-around services and other coverage not duplicative of the benefits established under Medicare for All.

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    “Liberal Democrats: The voters are wrong!”

    I think that was the rallying cry at DailyKos about 2004. These days, it’s more along the lines of:

    The voters are racist!

    The voters are dumb!

    The voters should hurry up and die!

    Dialing up the intensity doesn’t seem to be helping much.

    1. hunkerdown

      When the government is run like a business, citizens are reduced to mere employees. Decisions get made based on which vendor has the cuter sales reps or buys management the best lunches.

      This is why you must never let the PMC get near power.

  9. Camelotkidd

    “Our values are the same.”
    Well that explains a lot about the Obama administration’s continuation of Bush’s regime change wars, drone strikes, torture, spying on American citizens, bailing out the banksters, etc.
    What a fine bi-partisan group of sociopathic elite we have

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is the charming thing about Michelle and George. Their friendship and affection for each other proves that there is no black and there is no white – there is only green!

  10. Lemmy Caution

    Just found out a mid-level ACA plan would cost $1,800 per month for my spouse and me: two healthy adults in the 55-65 age range. We don’t qualify for subsidies, so that would be $20,000 or so per year. Deductibles for plans in this range are around $6,500. Thanks Obama!

    1. Quentin

      Mr. and Mrs. Obama have proven themselves to be no more than ordinary ladder climbers, sycophants of US aristocracy and corporate Simon Legrees.

    2. john ashley

      Yes, that monstrosity was/is a terrible joke on the country.

      You have to be too low income to use it in order to qualify for a decent rate.

      When they passed that pos I quit working and reduced taxable income to a level where I could grift on the aca subsidy plan at 0 cost.

      A complete scam for people that did not have the flexible means to skate around it.
      thanks barak and co.

      p/s — and still the medical scam continues and grows every year.
      the year over year cost can’t be sustained.
      I am glad I won’t be needing to take advantage of it one way or the other.

    3. Arizona Slim

      I just went through the same ordeal. Suffice it to say that I am no fan of Obamacare, and, IMHO, it can’t go away soon enough.

      And, to the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, I have this to say: Your ads may be stalking me all over YouTube, but you know what? Your scary talk about one-size-fits-all plans under government-run health care doesn’t move me. If anything, you’ve made me into much more of a Medicare for All supporter than I was before.

      1. RMO

        The approving comments to that twitter post worry me. I was hopeful about Obama with the first election. Many dismaying actions reduced that so that by his second run while I still would have voted for him (I’m Canadian so it’s not an option) I was rather less hopeful by that point. By the end of the second term I had truly had it with him though for me he could have redeemed himself a little by at least making a speech like Eisenhower or by doing the sorts of things Carter has after his Presidency. Eve that was too much for him to do and since then he’s been suckling at the teat of the MICC and doing his damnedest to stop any real change in US politics. If someone can manage to ignore all the wretched things he did, and is doing, and write Kool-Aid-Infused comments about how much they miss him and how wonderful he was they must be brainwashed cult-like zombies.

        1. Tom Doak

          To be fair, his legacy of “He would have changed things much more if the evil Republicans hadn’t stopped him” would be tarnished if a subsequent President didn’t fall back on that same excuse.

    4. Fiery Hunt

      Well, here in California the vile Democrats just re-invested in fining those of us who can’t afford health insurance. It’s the return of the “shared responsibility” mandate complete with a 2% of income “tax”.


    5. D. Fuller

      Anyone have a study on what the cost of health care insurance would be without ACA, after factoring in inflation, etc?

      ACA merely slows down – somewhat – price increases. That’s not “savings”. You don’t save anything when the price continually increases. Under the old system or ACA. The pro-ACA crowd hijacked the word, “savings”.

      The first year of ACA would have cost me around $15,000 for a bronze plan. A few years later, I priced another bronze plan. It was significantly cheaper then. With less coverage, more co-pays, etc. than the first year plan. That latter plan came in at $9,600 for the year.

      Pre-ACA? I couldn’t get insurance.

      Health insurance I had in Eastern Europe with my choice of doctors from a city-wide pool of every general practitioner in the city (now THAT is CHOICE)? About $1,500 for the year. No co-pays, no narrow networks, etc. Medications? About 1/3rd to 1/10th the cost found in America.

  11. jeremyharrison

    I don’t know whether James Comey has intimate relations with barnyard animals. It’s possible, but I don’t know.

    1. RMO

      I got put “in the grays” on Jalopnik (comments not visible unless approved) for over a year by positing the same thing about VW execs after the third post-Dieselgate outrage they committed was revealed!

    2. inode_buddha

      “I don’t know whether James Comey has intimate relations with barnyard animals. It’s possible, but I don’t know.”

      … as opposed to wild animals?

  12. Otis B Driftwood

    I support this site by disabling my ad blocker. But boy gosh, you have some awful ads coming through. Toy guns? NRA fundraiser/survey? And now a Pete Buttigieg fundraiser?

    Sheesh … the things we do for our friends. ;)

    1. ptb

      what kind of ads do you want to see?
      wanna see cars and truck ads? google chevy silverado. wanna see clothes? Google that… u get the idea.

      ps if you really like an ad and want to see it 100x more, click, put an item in a web store shoppong cart, and let it sit there. (you can close the tab, the ad system will remember you, no matter what your browser says)

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yeah, I did that, I guess, so now I mostly see rugs. Pretty, a lot of them. And I could actually use one.

    2. Alex morfesis

      Otis b….you realize your adz are an AI bernaze sauce algo reflection on your eyeball habits and has nothing to do with the krewe at naykid kapitalismo…

  13. zagonostra


    I received a phone text from MoveOn today asking me “Will you pledge to vote Democratic in 2020?”

    When I replied that “it’s Bernie or bust for me, in other words cheat Bernie again and I’ll vote for Trump” they replied “I am removing you from further texts from MoveOn immediately.”

    I wonder how they got my number. I hope Bernie/Tulsi list of donors is secure…

  14. PKMKII

    While I would definitely regard the intelligence community as a de facto branch of government not intended by the founding fathers, I wouldn’t regard the democratic party and the press as equals to the NSA/CIA/FBI/etc in that relationship. To use a slightly icky metaphor, they’re more like male angler fish that have attached themselves to a large, grotesque female. In an attempt to remain relevant, they’ve bonded with the larger, more powerful host until they’ve become part of it, but in the process they’ve become withered and shrunken, lacking agency and will of their own and only serving to propagate for their host’s needs.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Also, the press as a “4th branch” definitely WAS contemplated by the founders, hence “freedom of the press.” It was almost all openly partisan then – “balance” is a more recent aberration.

  15. Michael

    RE: Defense Industry Gives More To Bernie Than Any 2020 Candidate

    You’re right to note that Sanders has a *cough* practical attitude toward defense spending (“If money has to be spent, it may as well end up in Vermont!”) and isn’t a total dove. His defense industry support may be an expression of that.

    The American Conservative commentariat — by no means an unthoughtful bunch, apparently — prefer to attribute the donations to an affinity toward Sanders among the engineering and manufacturing folks that make up the defense industry workforce. Whatever the case, Sanders receives an outsize number of individual contributions from Americans in general, so saying that he leads among particular industries is a bit misleading on the author’s part. It’s possibly more meaningful to look at what percentage of each candidate’s contributions comes from the defense industry. Here’s what Excel tells me:

    Yang(!): 1.00%
    Sanders: 0.74%
    Gabbard: 0.64%
    Warren: 0.40%
    Buttigieg: 0.38%
    Biden: 0.26%
    Klobuchar: 0.16%

    But I believe the OpenSecrets figures don’t include dollars from individuals with donation totals under $200, so they can’t be taken completely at face value.

    1. Tom Doak

      That’s an interesting chart, especially since the article stated that Sanders was getting more from the defense industry than President Trump.

      So, it either means that the defense industry’s impact on elections is smaller than I had imagined,

      OR, that they are so secure in their funding that they don’t need to lean on individuals to donate politically, in the way that Wall Street does.

      1. Michael

        Trump! Knew I was forgetting someone.

        Looks like Trump gets 0.16% of his large-dollar individual donations from the defense sector.

  16. Anthony K Wikrent

    Regarding “Criminal Charges For Environmental Destruction.”

    I’m not certain, but I think that admiralty law includes some level of criminal liability for captains and owners of vessels. Any other readers familiar with admiralty law who can debunk or verify this?

  17. hunkerdown

    Under normal circumstances, the multiracial working class is invisible.

    If only they’d spent more time looking at them instead of trying so hard to make them all “white”, therefore enemies of freedom and progress.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hey, did you see this bit?

      Spending priorities such as education, infrastructure, and high-value research and development are underfunded, while our commitments to entitlements continue to rise indefinitely.

      What I translate to be saying is to privatize social security and use that money saved to fund causes that will directly benefit elite’s hobby horses and provide them with enormous profits. You would, going by that list, get more charter schools, more bridges-to-nowhere white elephants and more money to Silicon Valley & DARPA.

      1. John

        Every chance you get remind others that we could have rebuilt the entire infrastructure of America 2 to 3 times over for the money they wasted on their useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      2. notabanker

        You have to click through the links to see the true depth of the straw grasping exercise here. VAT tax, Carbon Tax, Unrealized capital gains tax, anything but a wealth tax. Education? Community colleges, yeah that’s the ticket. Social Security, health care, uh sorry, no deficit spending for you. Only for “investments”, like child care so you can work more.
        End game is coming, won’t be pretty for them.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the only thing on their site i saw about rural america:https://economicstrategygroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Expanding-Economic-Opportunity-for-More-Americans-Restoring-Economic-Opportunity-for-The-People-Left-Behind.pdf

          from the abstract:” I propose a two-fold strategy of bringing “people to jobs” and “jobs to people,” an approach that combines people-based and place-based policies. The people-based policies include relocation assistance payments for those willing to make a permanent move to a new job, as well as a short-term credit for commuting expenses tied to a new job without residential relocation. The place-based programs include a major one-time investment in rural broadband, a recurring program of loans and grants to enhance entrepreneurship and small business development, and a federal jobs program to revitalize rural infrastructure and amenities.”

          so “just move”, “get indebted” and ” better internet”.
          nothing about why i cannot legally sell an egg(except for “on-farm”)

  18. Anon

    I came across this exchange on Twitter; looks like @emptywheel is having severe denial about Ds supporting the surveillance state:


  19. Joe Well

    Do we have canvassers in the readership?

    It would be deeply depressing if we didn’t.

    I don’t canvass much because of busy-ness and constantly being out of the country, but it is a basic function of democracy, more important than voting.

    I have spoken to political consultants who say mailers are almost entirely wasted money, but canvassing door to door works, at least in local elections. For the majority of people who aren’t home or don’t answer the door, you can also leave literature under someone’s door, on a door knob (door hangers especially), which is far more likely to be seen than yet more junk mail.

    I have not experienced the kind of negativity the author did. I imagine it is different canvassing in New England vs. the UK. There is something to say in favor of a culture of “if you can’t say anything nice…” The worst people do is disagree in blunt terms, no insults. In terms of safety, as a single, young-ish man I am more concerned about how the people at home feel.

    Also keep in mind that in most canvasses you are canvassing people who have voted in the last few years, and so a self-selected group of people who care at least a little. Very often, you are canvassing people whom the campaign has selected as leaning toward your candidate.

    I know canvassing door to door can be off-putting, but phonebanking is much easier, a kind of dipping your toe into cold water. You can phonebank from home for Bernie Sanders here.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i’m an evangelist for a new new deal…and “bernie sanders” is a Synonym for that. I’ll talk to a fence post, but it’s totally random and ad hoc.
      i get a text every now and again from the texas bernie people, but they’re rightly focused on where the people are(county pop: 4500. there’s more goats than humans)
      i do this fieldwork out of habit…lay anthropology was how i coped with being a weirdo smart kid in an east texas backwater, and it stuck.
      that said, i’d welcome others out here, doing this. …especially in a more organised fashion, which i assume is what “canvassing” is.
      but people are known to have pulled shotguns on census workers out here, even when they were more or less locals….so methodology matters,lol(ie. better to drive a beat up farm truck when canvassing, than a new fangled citymobile…and there’s a bunch of ways not to approach a house in the sticks. in town, or the barrios, is prolly safer and more productive)
      since 2015, i’m still the only vehicle with a bernie sticker.

  20. dcblogger

    There is a ton of research that demonstrates that canvassing, door knocking, is THE most effective election tactic. Person-to-Person contact gets people to consider a candidate in a way that nothing else does. People are social animals, and the presence of supporters is the most effective way of reaching voters. Campaign managers tell me that you can always tell when canvassers are out because the campaign website site statistics light up like a Christmas tree.

    One note, NEVER go indoors. Always stay on the front stoop. It is safer.

  21. Pat

    I think we should demand that Obama put his money where his tweet is. That HE must pledge to personally make up the difference between the premiums for a middle silver plan and a person’s cell phone bill for a year for everyone who can show it costs more.
    I mean he is the most honest transparent President ever. Obviously he has to have the facts and those of us who can’t afford health insurance MUST be the exceptions. How better to show how well ACA is working.

    I started to put snark, but no I really want this to be demanded over and over. Loudly. If I can’t make sure the POS bankrupts himself in a matter of months, I at least want his supporters to finally get IT IS ALL LIES and They Know It, see N.Pelosi and WMDs.

  22. VietnamVet

    Joe Biden leads the pack even though he is a major participant in the decisions that resulted in today’s world.

    California and Australia wildfires or Greenland melting won’t dent the tempered identity politics that is shaped like a horseshoe with the right and left heels closing together. I am in the limbo of near emptiness in-between. It may not smoke-filled air or declining life expectancy but something will trigger an end to the autocratic neoliberal aristocracy that rules today. They knowingly risk lives to be profitable.

    Michael Kreiger spells it out. “Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust and Geopolitical”; “…The more the veneer of credibility disappears, the more unstable these major imbalances become. Generational change is on the horizon, keep your eyes wide open”.


  23. lyman alpha blob

    RE: voting integrity

    Rather than hiring “experts” and consultants who always seem to advise for the purchase of some very
    expensive and unproven new tech, why not decide on the best voting system to use by asking….wait for it….the voters?!?!? Doesn’t seem like the authorities who decide these things ever have.

    Maybe it’s time to make them. If it’s a choice between extremely expensive and unreliable tech or less expensive hand marked paper ballots counted in public, my guess is voters would opt for the latter. Maybe it’s time to get some referenda going to give voters a chance to vote for hand marked ballots and ditch the machines.

  24. Jack Parsons

    Every Democratic presidential nominee in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2016 elections disclosed their bundlers

    Waddya bet they all have the same bundlers?

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