2:00PM Water Cooler 12/12/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

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

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

* * *


Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart.

We only have yesterday’s YouGov and Emerson (Iowa) polls, as of 12/12/2019, 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 12/12/2019, 12:00 PM EST:

For grins, here is another Tufte-style “small multiples” chart, with more candidates:

Biden is the only one with outliers (along with Undecided, which really leaps around, I assume because of methodology). Biden is also flat, in contrast to the steady rise of Sanders (and Buttigieg). Note that although one may think of Harris’s rise as steep, and her fall as precipitous, Warren’s rise and fall are steeper and more precipitous. Note also the slope of Bloomberg’s curve. He’s well-equipped to fight a post-IA/NH/SC/NV air war in California.

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.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden’s Individual Mandate Madness” [The New Republic]. “In July, Joe Biden said on CNN that he would bring back the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate. The scant coverage that Biden’s plan received failed to spark much of a broader conversation, despite the fact that there’s been a near constant demand placed on Medicare for All proponents to show how that plan would be financed. This is madness. The individual mandate was terrible policy and worse politics, and Biden has only set himself up for the kind of attack ads that supposedly make Medicare for All too risky to contemplate. It is, perhaps, no surprise that a party so steadfastly committed to not admitting its mistakes would toy with such a dangerous notion.”

Buttigieg (D)(1): Thread:

Warren (D)(1):

Harry Reid, who originally brought Warren into politics, is well-connected with the Culinary Workers.

* * *

“How the Candidates Stack Up” [Indivisible]. “We asked the 2020 candidates how they aligned with what Indivisibles care about. We will update these scores as candidates’ positions evolve—so see the results below and push the candidates to improve where they fall short.” Their results:

How on earth does Sanders get fined on “Building Grassroots Power”? Here is Indivisible’s methodology, which they call a “rubric”; it’s in GoogleDocs, so naturally I cannot simply copy and paste it. So here’s a screen shot:

So far as I can tell, Sanders got dinged for three reasons. The trivial reason is that he didn’t suck up to Indivisible by filling out their questionaire. The less trivial reason is that Indivisible seems to have confused Democrat party-building and support for the NGO industrial complex with grassroots power. Even less trivially — so far as I can tell; readers who want to get a really good insight into the Indivisible mindset could do worse than read their “rubric” — they aren’t giving Sanders any points for trying to bring non- and discouraged voters into the electoral process! So.

“The Grassroots Plot to Take Down Susan Collins” [Medium]. • In essence, Indivisible v. Collins. Maybe.

The Debates

“Democrats set early state primary debates for 2020” [The Hill]. “The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will sponsor four presidential debates in key early voting states in January and February, giving candidates a final chance to introduce themselves before the first votes take place. CNN will air the first debate of the new year at Drake University on January 14 in Des Moines in partnership with the Des Moines Register. Days after Iowans caucus, ABC will host a debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester with WMUR-TV and Apple News. That debate, the eighth of the cycle, will take place February 7. Two weeks later, on February 19, NBC News and MSNBC will host a debate in Las Vegas, just ahead of that state’s early caucuses. The television networks will partner with The Nevada Independent, a nonprofit news site run by veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston*. And CBS News will host a February 25 debate with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute at the Gaillard Center in Charleston. The DNC said Twitter would be a partner for the debate.” • The whole sorry spectable should be dynamited. NOTE * Yes, That Jon Ralston. See how virtue is rewarded at the DNC?

Our Famously Free Press

Sanders blackout (1):

Sanders blackout (2):

C’mon, man. Could y’all make it a little less obvious? This is just crass.


“Judiciary Committee clashes over impeachment ahead of vote to send articles to the floor” [CNN]. “Thursday’s committee vote to approve the articles sets the stage for a vote on the House floor that is likely to make Trump the third president in US history to be impeached. Democratic leadership sources say they could lose more than at least two moderate Democrats on the impeachment votes, but there’s no concern about major defections that could endanger the articles. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is not lobbying moderates on the fence to vote for impeachment. ‘People have to come to their own conclusions,’ Pelosi said. The speaker said the facts are clear, and she isn’t concerned about losing more Democrats on the articles of impeachment than the two who voted against the resolution establishing procedures for the inquiry. ‘People will vote the way they vote,” she said.'”

“Trump’s impeachment mood morphs from anger to mockery” [Politico]. “[Trump has] become so outwardly nonchalant about the Democratic impeachment push that he’s taken special joy in giving visitors a look at the private study off the Oval Office — playfully pointing out where one of President Bill Clinton‘s infamous dalliances with Monica Lewinsky occurred and ultimately triggered the 42nd president’s impeachment. It’s become one of many ways Trump has found his footing during the most serious threat yet to his presidency.” • So crass. Let’s impeach him for that.

Stats Watch

Commodities: “Diamond Crisis Gets Worse for Global Giant De Beers” [Bloomberg]. “Anglo American Plc curbed its plan to expand diamond production over the next two years after sales slumped in 2019 amid a wider industry crisis. Anglo’s De Beers unit will mine 1 million carats less than previously forecast in both 2020 and 2021, according to an investor presentation on Tuesday. That equates to less than 1% of global output, but slows the pace of the company’s expansion as an oversupply of rough diamonds weighs on the industry. De Beers’s buyers have grown increasingly frustrated with the cost of rough stones as the price of polished gems slump.”

Transportation: “Missed Signs of a Freight Rail Slowdown?” [Railway Age]. “Clair observes that the 2015 U.S. economy was about 75% larger than it had been in the base year of 2000. If we mentally adjust that downward for inflation, we might moderate this to a calculated 30% to 40% growth in the economy. On a carload basis, railroads didn’t keep pace. Where have railroads been succeeding? It is in the financial area. U.S. railroad management success between about 2004 and 2014 was in pricing leverage. In that recent decade, nominal rail prices increased significantly.” • Very interesting, and not the usual narrative of success post-deregulation.

Revolving Door: “Another senior Gov.UK bod makes a dash from public sector, falls into AWS’s arms” [The Register]. “Amazon Web Services has once more dipped into its public sector employee tech training academy – also known as Her Majesty’s government – and made off with another senior head to bulk out its division. Holly Ellis has crossed the divide into the private sector, and joined AWS as senior manager for solution architects for the public sector UK and Ireland, following other senior personnel that left government positions for a new life working for Jeff Bezos. Prior to landing at AWS, Ellis was director of digital, data and technology (DDT) for the Department of International Trade.” • Yeah, good time to leave that sinking ship….

Tech: “The Influencer and the Hit Man” [OneZero]. “”Okay, motherfucker,” Deyo recalled him saying. “GoDaddy.com.”

The man handed him a piece of paper, which contained handwritten directions on how to transfer the domain name DoItForState.com from Deyo to someone else. Deyo knew the domain name well; ever since he and his brother purchased it two years earlier, DoItForState.com had brought them nothing but grief.

To most of the public, “Do It For State” sounds like a word salad or a patriotic call to duty, but on college campuses around the United States, the four words have become shorthand for a burst of online notoriety. “Do It For State” is the hyperviral tagline associated with the social media company State Snaps, which aggregates and posts debaucherous college-aged behavior on its Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter accounts for the entertainment of millions of adoring, chuckleheaded fans.” • I hope somebody’s optioned this.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 12 at 12:49pm.

The Biosphere

“Putting a Price on Pollution” [International Monetary Fund]. “A $35 per ton carbon tax by itself would exceed the level needed to meet mitigation commitments in such countries as China, India, and South Africa, and it would be about right to meet pledges in Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. But even a carbon tax as high as $70 per ton (or equivalent measures) would fall short of what is needed in some countries like Australia and Canada (Chart 1). These findings reflect differences not only in the stringency of commitments, but also in the responsiveness of emissions to taxes: emissions are most responsive to carbon pricing in countries consuming a great deal of coal, such as China, India, and South Africa…. Although nearly 60 carbon tax and trading systems are in operation at the national, subnational, and regional levels in various countries, the average price of emissions worldwide is only $2 a ton—a small fraction of what is needed. This underscores the political difficulty of ambitious pricing.”

“Hot Earth Rebels” [New Left Review]. Long interview with Extinction Rebellion member: “The starting point was the need to find a more effective form of protest than what we’d all been doing to date. Pretty much none of this came out of our own innovative thinking. It was about looking at the research, adding up the facts. Conventional A-to-B marches don’t work: millions of us demonstrated against the Iraq War and it didn’t make any difference. A key piece of research was Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan’s Why Civil Resistance Works. They take data from hundreds of 20th-century social movements and analyse what they did right and what they did wrong. The most successful ones, those that had their demands met, used forms of decentralized, non-violent civil disobedience—large-scale direct action. The tipping-point, Chenoweth and Stephan found, was to get 3.5 per cent of the population involved.”

The vulnerability of the supply chain:

You criticize society and yet you are part of society:

Health Care


I don’t know about Utah, but 48 would be an appreciable percentage of the jobs available at any one time in Bangor, Maine. Holy moley.

The 420

“Sinclair Stole My Stash” [The Baffler]. “On a Thursday morning in March of last year, television viewers in Baltimore who tuned into WBFF Fox 45 were treated to a cheery report on medical marijuana. ‘Cannabis dispensaries are opening up in Maryland,’ morning-show anchor Tom Rodgers noted. ‘One of those centers is looking to set itself apart.’ Rodgers then introduced a bearded and bespectacled pharmacist named Brian Sanderoff, who appeared on the TV studio set with an array of products from a business called Curio Wellness. Rodgers paused for a casual disclaimer: ‘And we want to note, David Smith, chairman of our parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group, is an investor in Curio Wellness.’ The two then proceeded to discuss Curio’s offerings, with Sanderoff noting that it’s the THC in marijuana that gives the high but ‘there are a whole host of other cannabinoids’ that have different effects. There were even some products that were designed to calm the anxieties of pets. It made for a strangely incongruous moment, with a super-square anchor on a renowned right-wing station talking about weed and wellness.” • While the entrepreneurs who made the market, mostly black, are still in jail under the War on Drugs legislation. Take a bow, Bill! Joe! Barry!

Groves of Academe

The beatings will continue until morale improves:

Xmas Pre-Mortem

Bolivia still in the news:

Guillotine Watch



Class Warfare

“U.S. Employers Spend $340 Million a Year Busting Unions” [Vice]. “A new report on employer opposition to union campaigns released today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that employers spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year against union organizing efforts, and were charged with breaking federal labor laws in 41.5 percent of union campaigns in 2016 and 2017. While the authors of the report, who gained access to unfair labor complaints through FOIA requests, could not comment on specific cases, they say the newly organized tech industry is no exception.”

“Two Texas Billionaires Think They Can Fix Philanthropy” [Bloomberg]. • Euthanize the NGOs would be my approach. Then tax the billionaires at Eisenhower-era levels.

News of the Wired

“What Are Your Options for Cognitive Enhancement?” [IEEE Spectrum]. “However, a new generation of engineers and software coders, centered in Silicon Valley but not limited to the world’s premier innovation hub, are now imitating Jobs in a rather dramatic way. They are routinely dropping “microdoses” of acid—about one-tenth the amount of the standard recreational dose—in order to achieve higher levels of creativity on the job, and greater intensity and focus.” • It certainly does seem to be working out.

“Porn Is Demonic, Says Top Occultist” [The American Conservative]. Quoting John Michael Greer (!): “2) Yes, using less porn will starve it, but of course it’ll double down at first, trying to get fed. If you go to the Magic Monday FAQ cited in the post, you’ll find instructions for a hoodoo protective bath, and for an amulet using salt and a bent nail. Both of those would be useful in your situation.” • Oh.

“Do I Have a Normal Penis? 8 Myths to Stop Believing About Your Penis” [Teen Vogue]. “No matter what body parts you have, you get to define your own gender identity. There are men without penises, and there are people with penises who don’t identify as men.” • Oh.

Next year’s color, auspicious or inauspicious?

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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: “A prickly pear cactus at the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. I use the ‘single point’ focusing mechanism on my camera and I had the little red dot right over that bright orange flower, but alas, I think the camera and I had a misunderstanding, as that is not the sharpest spot of this image. I guess I’d better play with the other options.” It’s fun to experiment!

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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. Wukchumni

    Evangs are way sensitive about LBGTQ and in particular the T, and what passes for our Chief Executive just photoshopped his head on Greta’s body on the Time Person of the Year cover, he’s kind of an up to his neck in it transsexual.

    Yeah, it doesn’t mean anything, but they’re pretty fervently anti-trans. Be nice to have a little infighting going on over much ado about nothing.

    Oh, and you can’t spell Greta without Great!

  2. Summer

    “Here’s what Utah is going to require for its Medicaid expansion beneficiaries on 1/1/20 as a result of their unique work requirement.
    Among other things, no coverage unless you’ve applied for a job w/ 48 employers…”

    They should make sure to send in applications for those state jobs monitoring the work requirement.
    And be sure to send in applications and resumes for all govt staff positions. Every week.

        1. Synoia

          Yes, but one needs to write one application and have it autodelivered with an audit trail.

          I know! One of our public spirited lage internet companies could help by minimg the information automatically!

          Finally, we have found the first public service app from for Facebook!

    1. richard

      That is like the most evil thing i’ve read all day
      and yet somehow the same as always
      government is an open trough for the rich
      a grudging, suspicious, maddening, and senseless bureaucracy to practically everybody else
      but especially if you’re poor
      there is a sliding scale

    2. jrs

      Yea, there aren’t necessarily going to be 48 jobs one is qualified for especially if one’s skills are a bit niche. And yes, every job hunter sometimes applies to jobs they aren’t remotely a fit for, not just to appease the authorities, but because RANK DESPERATION, but still … it’s just doubling down on existing dysfunctionalities

      So yea just spam more and it makes it harder for employers to actually make real hires of people with somewhat relevant experience, and so ATS screens more and more (including screening out more and more qualified people) and the job market becomes ever more of a hopeless MESS where good people can’t get jobs because it’s so rigid and dysfunctional.

    1. Rhondda

      Oh! The Trinity Sessions. So wonderful! I listened to that until the cassette literally discombobulated.

  3. Expat2uruguay

    I present this for those with an interest in Latin America.

    Titled “Latin America says ‘No to neoliberalism!’: Ecuador’s ex-foreign minister talks uprisings and Assange.

    “The Grayzone premieres it’s new show Red Lines with Anya Parampil with an interview with the former foreign minister of Ecuador, Guillaume Long. We discuss the coup in Bolivia, the anti-neoliberal uprisings sweepingLatin America, US Monroeism and the OAS, CIA spying on the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and President Lenin Moreno’s betrayal of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
    We are seeing “a big geopolitical return of a very hawkish and aggressive United States trying to force Monroeism in the region, the old Monroe Doctrine – ‘it’s our backyard’,” long explains.”

    As to observations here in Uruguay, my paranoid brain has noticed that the US embassy, which looks like an absolute fortress, has been having some sort of construction project going on now for two years…is it being “hardened”?

  4. toshiro_mifune

    “Porn Is Demonic, Says Top Occultist” …. This has to be a Rod Dreher article…. …. and, it is.

      1. toshiro_mifune

        Oh, the article is a good ‘un. I have to admit I know the name John Michael Greer, but not much about him since I don’t follow those circles (ha !) much anymore.
        From Rod’s article he seems to have discovered a kindred spirit in Pagan ascetics

          1. Janie

            John Michael Greer moderates his comment section and keeps it civil. It’s an interesting site. I enjoyed his previous site’s subjects more than the recent focus on occultism, but I remain in awe of his range of knowledge and his out-of-the-box thinking. (“Retrotopia” and the one about the ruin man were good.)

            1. Plenue

              He also moderates it to eliminate criticism.

              I ventured onto his site recently where he had an article talking about stories. At some point The Last Jedi came up, and despite confidently talking about it, he eventually admitted to, uh, never having seen it. So he operates thoroughly in the pretentious Louis Proyect school of ‘I’ve seen/read so much stuff I don’t even have to see/read new stuff anymore to know what it’s about’. In point of fact he very clearly had no idea what he was talking about, and my comments pointing this out were sent to oblivion.

              1. Copeland

                Yes, I’ve tried to point out how he is unable to say one bad thing about the Great Orange One yet he berates “the left” (whatever that is) every single week.


                1. LifelongLib

                  Glad I’m not the only one. I got banned from the Archdruid site after suggesting that he discuss his more-technology-is-bad philosophy with someone sitting in a wheelchair. Ok, maybe I should have been more nuanced…

                2. Donald

                  Yeah. He is interesting to read in a limited way, if you need to learn that centrist liberals aren’t as smart as they think they are. But he has been beating that drum exclusively for the three years I’ve been reading him.

                  1. Plenue

                    But that’s an incredibly easy target. I can get that kind of criticism from at least a dozen different places.

          2. Oregoncharles

            From Greer’s linked response:
            “Yes, I know Christians disagree with that. They’re entitled to their opinion, even if it’s wrong.”

            He’s almost always worth reading, if only for morsels like that.

            1. Plenue

              I’m all for crapping on Christianity, but when your position is ‘magical spirits literally exist, Christians are just wrong about their nature. Also I’m a ‘real’ Pagan, not a silly nature worshiper’, you’re in absolutely no position to act smug. Greer has no justification for saying the magical thinking of someone else is wrong; he himself is just a different flavor of idiot.

          3. Plenue

            “a) malign spiritual entities exist, and can manipulate the minds of unwary human beings;”

            Thanks for the reminder of why I don’t pay attention to Greer.

            1. Morgan Everett

              If you’re going to choose to not pay attention to someone, maybe find a better reason than their religious beliefs….

              1. Plenue

                Magical thinking is an entirely valid reason to ignore someone. If he genuinely believes in fairies, I have no reason to trust his judgement on any other issue.

        1. russell1200

          I have read a lot of John Michael Greer. I seriously doubt they are kindred spirits.

          I think it is just the surprise of a Christian that pagans can have their own sincerely held moral beliefs.

          Recall that it is a fairly common argument that religious (which within the context of our current society means Judeao-Christianity with Islam allowed in by some, but not all) belief is needed if we are not going to have the complete collapse in morality and civil society.

    1. Plenue

      Conservatives sure love their ridiculous culture wars, don’t they?

      There are real criticisms of porn that can be made, chiefly how downright meanspirited so much of it is, and how the mainstream stuff is mostly produced and run by utter sleazebags. Porn addiction may even be a real thing for some people.

      But the absolute last person I’m going to go to for a reasoned critique of pornography is an Eastern Orthodox convert (he’s an Orthodox Christian, because of-freaking-course he is. Do the Orthodox look at idiot Catholic reactionaries and feel some need to one-up them?).

      Always fun to see conservatives suddenly be in favor of government censorship and restriction when it’s some kulturkampf issue that makes them feel uncomfortable.

  5. Dr. John Carpenter

    Last year WalMart sold a shirt with Santa dabbing over a background of pot leaves. I think that same year they were also selling a t-shirt with the Nazi skull and crossbones on it. So this is all in a day for Wally World’s clothing department.

    1. polecat

      Sound like a collector’s series in the making. Of course, it could be that the clothing purchasers have been mirco-dosing a wee bit too much these last few years.

  6. Tim

    I like the new polling chart. It shows Sanders up down movements are the inverse of Warrens.

    It confirms a significant number of potential voters waffle between the two. If Warren were to fall significantly for any reason I would expect Sanders to pick up more of her votes than anyone else. That goes both ways.

  7. Samuel Conner

    Listening earlier today to the House Judiciary committee arguing about amendments to the articles of impeachment, I got a sense that the Rs may be salivating over the opportunity to call witnesses in a future Senate trial. Witnesses #s 1 and 2, called for the purpose of providing circumstantial evidence of the validity of DJTs “request for cooperation” from Zelensky, would be Joe and Hunter Biden. I wouldn’t be surprised if they sought testimony from Victor Shokin, in terms of what he was investigating at the time he was sacked at JB’s insistence.

    JB has already pledged to not appear. It’s hard to see HB standing up well to questioning designed to cast doubt on his credibility as a witness; perhaps he would not appear either.

    When this is all over, I suspect that it may be the case that two of BHO’s most senior political lieutenants will have had presidential aspirations torpedoed on suspicion or evidence of corruption. What a legacy.

    It’s going to be a messy 2020, me thinks.

    1. rps

      Evelyn Woods reader here. I quickly scanned “Impeachment” – sources say they could lose more [..] moderate Democrats on the impeachment votes, but there’s no concern about major defections […]House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said […] she isn’t concerned about losing more Democrats

      I’m thinking no sh*t Sherlock, the Dems sold out their moderate base (middle and working class) awhile ago- beginning with Jimmy Carter’s 1979 Chrysler bailout and UAW agreement to substantial concessions. That was the beginning of the end in the downfall of unions.

      As New York Times correspondent Judith Miller ( ahem- yah, that Shock and Awe Miller) put it in 1979, “there was widespread agreement … that workers must make sufficient ‘sacrifices’ to help their employer recover.” The senators bullied, cajoled, and blackmailed the UAW, Garn threatening the union….” One of many more egregious act of the democrats who sold-out their base.

      My Evelyn Woods read is closer to the truth. Pelosi and her cabal have effectively pulled open the curtain and exposed their shenanigans for the past 8 years under Obama. Trump isn’t the career politician selling out the American public for decades, but they are, and caught red-handed with the former VP Biden’s hands and family in the cookie jar.

      Pelosi is right- she isn’t concerned about losing more Democrats- she’s headed for retirement. And in my neck of the woods, the 2020 presidential election will be a turning point for many moderate democrats who are done with the ‘hope & cha-ching’ democrats, and will be quietly voting republican for the first time or once again, not voting at all.

      1. Mike Mc

        Or these moderate Democrats could vote for Bernie in primaries and send the Bidens home.

        A second Trump term will make this one look like a walk in the park.

    1. Ranger Rick

      If there’s one thing we lost in the transition to web-based news it’s that “corrections” and “retractions” are invisible and unannounced. Happens in the NYT all the time.

      1. Baby Gerald

        Exactly, Ranger Rick. Not just corrections and retractions, but now even story headlines will change from one hour to the next. I’ve been taking screen shots of NYT headlines that show up on my news aggregator app Feedly. Typically, a headline that catches my attention will get a capture.

        On December 9, they ran a story by Trip Gabriel with the title:

        ‘Did Pete Buttigieg Help Black People In South Bend?’ followed by a subhead that reads weakly ‘The mayor of South Bend, Ind., has some local black leaders vouching for him. But that hasn’t stopped his opponents from criticizing his record.’

        Two hours later, the story reappears under a new headline: ‘Buttigieg, in Search of Black Support, Looks Homeward’. The subhead and photo were unchanged. But just compare those two headlines. One can picture a copy editor somewhere at the Times yelling ‘How the hell did that headline get up?’ and ordering toadies to change it to make it look better for Sneaky Pete.

      2. Synoia

        Yes, but one needs to write one application and have it autodelivered with an audit trail.

        I know! One of our public spirited lage internet companies could help by minimg the information automatically!

        Finally, we have found the first public service app from for Facebook!

  8. a different chris

    >the product was sold by a third party seller and does “not represent Walmart’s values”.

    Once upon a time, companies took some responsibility over whatever it was that they used to separate you from your money. They hired people to actually take charge of this.

    Now they just suck blood out of desperate creative types and blame them when things go wrong. “This isn’t us”, says Walmart.

    It sure as family-blog is, guys.

    1. Geo

      Imagine any small business or individual trying to use that excuse… “oh, sorry, didn’t realize this bootleg I was selling was actually drug paraphernalia. I don’t pay any attention to what I’m selling. Heck, for all I know I’m selling Nazi propaganda made by children in death camps… oh, I am? Oopsies!!!”

      We’d all be run out of business, at best. The Invisible Hand apparently only squashes the little people.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Go to Sears, decide what you want from Hotpoint to Kenmore, take a look at the models in that range, pay money, make an appointment for delivery, installation. and take away. Remember to fill out and send in the warranty.

      So glad we innovated beyond that.

  9. Lee

    “Do I Have a Normal Penis? 8 Myths to Stop Believing About Your Penis” [Teen Vogue]. “No matter what body parts you have, you get to define your own gender identity. There are men without penises, and there are people with penises who don’t identify as men.” • Oh.

    And then there’s this:

    Dear Mary: I’m a lesbian in a man’s body

    Not to make light but this sounds like a pick up line to me.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I actually know one, a friend and colleague, although it isn’t a man’s body any more. Married to a lesbian.

      1. lambert strether

        I am resisting this because “you get to define” is idealist (and see Adolph Reed here).

        I’m also resisting “you get to define” because of the consequences; it seems to me to put gender determination into the hands of marketers and profiteers, because in our society, who gets to define? We have ample evidence of all sorts of facets of the human condition being monetized, and I don’t see why “definition” would be any different.

        1. Plenue

          There’s an upcoming video game, Cyberpunk 2077, that caused some minor contrived internet controversy because a preview screenshot of it featured an in-game ad exploiting a transwoman. The developers defended it by claiming it being corporate exploitation was the point; it’s just another piece of the corporatized hellscape that is the game’s dystopian setting.

          But it occurs to me that trans identity is to some extent itself a bit of corporate exploitation. Telling people to mutilate their bodies and ingest hormones is great, if you’re the one selling the services and hormones.

  10. a different chris

    >You criticize society and yet you are part of society:

    I’m not sure of Lambert’s point, here? I mean I’m really not sure, not arguing it….we have discussed I think the fact that if you aren’t “part of society” nobody is going to hear you scream. In fact it’s best if you are a bog-standard upper middle-class white male with a house in the suburbs and two cars.

    Anyway, *my* interpretation of Puchalsky’s thread, and I don’t think I’ve read anything else from him so it’s just that, is
    1) Individual virtue ain’t gonna make a difference
    2) In fact, if you utilize an SUV in the greater good of stopping a fossil fuel power plant from being built that’s fine. You don’t have to bike there.

    But I would disagree somewhat, or maybe I’m misunderstanding, with the “fly a plane ….to [block] a coal train” (hey it rhymes!!) part of the thread. First:
    1) He started the thread by pointing out the plane is gonna fly anyway? In fact, that means that the SUV trip is actually the one that *adds* to GHG as it is actually something you control.
    2) Even if that is not true as you are Cameron Celebrity and fly your own plane, one thing Hollywood types do understand is the power of media. If Matt Damon shows up in front of a coal train that’s gonna get a lot more pub than if I do, for sure. It will not only delay the one train but maybe bring some more to a dead stop. Me, not so much and I am even willing to bike within reason to the site.

    Again, maybe I’m misunderstanding him.

  11. a different chris

    Oh I have to say – Ms Thunberg’s constant changing of her Twitter profile bio to reflect the “advice” given to her by her elders has my by this point literally trying not to laugh out loud here at work.

    They keep seeing a “little girl” and they keep getting Mike Tyson roundhouse punches in the face. Trump is the best, as he actually thinks he is in her league with this. Hint Donald: better quit now.

    1. chuck roast

      Allow me to slip in an Ali “anchor punch”. The Malizia is a 55′ composite monohull. Probably around $5M to build and no doubt with pricey carbon fiber sails. Well, that’s one way to sequester carbon. Particularly when you are using a s**t-load of it.

      She should have given me a call. We could have made the crossing in my crappy old Cape Dory replete with canvas sails. But my equally crappy 24 hp diesel engine would have been way to carboney for her. And think of the trashy je ne sais quoi.

      Please, give the gal the Nobel Prize already so we can put her the appropriate pantheon.

      1. a different chris

        Yeah, um she wants a better world, she doesn’t want to die for it on an undersized old boat in the middle of the Atlantic methinks.

        But you be you!

        1. RMO

          I’m wondering where the canvas sails on that Cape Dory came from. They’re not exactly easy to get and haven’t been easy to get for many decades. And yes, they’re generally solid boats.

    1. JohnnySacks

      I’ve been enjoying Krystal Ball in her recent reincarnation. When I saw her as the host of ‘Rising’, I remembered her as an MSNBC pundit and wondered why she ‘left’. Then after seeing ‘Rising’, I pretty much guessed the most likely reason she wasn’t on MSNBC any longer.

      That being said, I hope Sanders deftly leverages the media’s disdain for him, the knives are sharpened and the radar tuned for anything remotely playable as whining, justified or not.

    2. richard

      the times also apparently can’t help itself from lying about med4all
      calling it government-run healthcare

  12. Sam Adams

    Re: “And CBS News will host a February 25 debate with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute at the Gaillard Center in Charleston.“
    The Gaillard center is new and pretty but inaccessible to many people due to its location off Calhoun. The city is gentrifying and moving the black population further north and outside the downtown areas. Traffic is awful and pray there is no flooding. Parking is a nightmare, there is no public transportation and parking lots are small and expensive in downtown Charleston. Many people outside the city avoid going downtown precisely because it’s become so difficult to move around the city. It’s a perfect place if you want to skew the type of Democrats who show up to the well heeled, the retirees or the professional and managerial classes.

  13. XXYY

    A short thread on individual actions to reduce carbon footprint

    What this dude is really saying, in a long-winded and confusing way, is that individual symbolic or virtue-signaling actions against climate change do little, but collective actions targeting large scale polluters and emitters have the potential to do a lot.

    The latter category includes direct action, boycotts and social media campaigns, electoral politics,and legislative and legal attacks.

  14. MichaelSF

    Pelosi’s daughter tweeted this somewhat creepy image of her mother in an embrace with the Constitution. I don’t know if this ranks even with the paintings of Bush/Trump with the Founders in an afterlife or not, but it shows that hagiography/iconography doesn’t seem to care about political stances:


    I saw people posting in response to the tweet that Dems should start wearing Constitution lapel pins. I guess that would one-up all the flag pins worn by their so-called opponents.

    Which makes me think of John Prine’s “Your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore”


    1. The Rev Kev

      A nice bookend to that image is when Trump hugged the American flag. One is as shameless as the other.

  15. martell

    A couple of thoughts on Teen Vogue. First, I believe this use of ‘identify’ is relatively new. It seems to mean the same as ‘declare’ such that declaring makes it (whatever’s declared) so. It seems to me that the term had previously been used to mean roughly the same thing as either ‘pick out’ or ‘describe’ (in terms relevant for some inquiry). In both of the latter cases, the identification is correct or incorrect independently of what the speaker says. As for the assertion that “you get to define your own gender identity,” I doubt the writer could be persuaded otherwise by appeal to any possible observation, so I’m pretty sure this statement amounts to nothing more than insistence on how terms like ‘gender,’ ‘man,’ ‘woman,’ ‘male,’ and ‘female’ shall be used henceforth (as opposed to how they’ve been used in the past). Since those terms are bound up with a great many social practices, this is also to insist that those practices change. To which my response is: fine, if that’s something you’re willing to argue for, and something you’re willing to let others argue against. But it’s either dishonest or naive to present the new-gender-speak as a statement of fact.

  16. ptb

    Re: polls
    I mentioned this the other day… but look at the Biden vs Buttigieg lines. The dips in one correspond to the bumps in the other. Don’t know if this is data or methodology but would be interesting to investigate.

    1. John k

      They appeal to the same donors and therefore have the same ‘America is already great except trump’ views, and so appeal to the same Hillary wing voters.
      Would be ideal for them plus warren to each get 14%.
      And Bloomberg also wants that voting bloc… the more that fight over the status quo voters, the better.
      Always thought Bernie would do great in a neolib crowd.

      1. Tom Doak

        That “14% for each” scenario is EXACTLY the sort of situation where being able to adjust the vote totals just a little in the software would have a dramatic effect on representation at the convention for the all-important first ballot.

  17. Phemfrog

    Re: Puchalsky on twitter.

    I get the point he is making, but i have heard that argument so many times from people i know who want to throw up their hands in defeat and keep living their lives in the same materialistic, wasteful fashion.

    But what always pops in my mind is this: companies provide products because people buy them. When people buy less, eventually (not right away) the company will make less. If the trend goes all the way, the company goes out of business. This is not conjecture. It happens every day for products we dont like anymore. So why wouldn’t this process work for environmentally damaging things? Buy less virgin paper, eventually they cut down fewer trees. Fly less, and eventually the airline cancels routes. Stop buying single-use plastics, and some day they will make less. I’m not sure this would happen fast enough to stop climate change, but there are other ecological problems that need solving.

    I am not saying that the government has no role in this. There are things that we citizens cannot achieve alone. But this defeatist attitude that our individual choices make no difference just seems wrong. We just need enough individuals to do something to make a dent. (maybe its 3.5% like that political action study found) .


    1. The Historian

      I don’t think it is that simple any more. People now buy what they can get. When I want to go on a moderate to long trip somewhere, I have to fly, something I would never do if there were train service across this country – but there isn’t.

      If I want to buy I a new car I have to pay for things I don’t want or need, like all the electronic devices that are just distractions to me.

      When I go to the grocery store, I’ve noted that there have been fewer brands in the last 10 years than there were before. I don’t have the choices I used to have.

      I like glass bottles because they are reusable, but not much comes in glass bottles any more.

      When looking for new clothes, it is hard to find good quality clothing at reasonable prices any more, and most of them aren’t in the classic styles I wear any more.

      In many ways our consumerism has made us captive to those who decide what we are allowed to buy.

    2. Kate

      I get his argument, but there is more than efficiency/efficacy to consider. There is my relationship with my own conscience. If I love fish (that gorgeous ocean graphic from yesterday moved me deeply), I must stop using plastic to remain honest to my own soul. And thoughtlessly to fly ought to sicken me. We are not political-action machines. How we try to stay true to our own selves matters too.

    3. jrs

      It’s doubtful the path he is advocating works politically either because it doesn’t work as propaganda. Look we need systemic change, no one with a functioning brain argues otherwise at this point, and neither arguing with strawmen (I suspect there aren’t many people that believe individual change is enough, but there might (?) be a lot of people that are 100% hopeless about the political system) does anyone any good.

      But if people advocate systemic change (some more seriously and radically than others but regardless) and fly, there is a whole propaganda machine out to discredit them for even advocating systemic change. So he’s tone deaf really.

      And his examples are beyond stupid (what next a ticking time bomb example?). Why does he think driving hundreds of miles to comment to a utility has more effect than commenting where you actually live AND THUS, YOU KNOW, CAN ACTUALLY VOTE, and so they might care at all what you think?

  18. Tom Doak

    Three of the four newly scheduled debates in January and February are on weeknights, presumably a conflict with the Senate impeachment hearings. I wonder how they will resolve this conflict fairly to all candidates?

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      One can only hope that the mock exit polls were trolled by labor peeps wanting to freak everyone out…but I fear that we are on our way to fascism.

      1. Jokerstein

        Yes, but only in part. Quotes from people on why they fled from Labour are almost overwhelmingly attributing his lack of any firm position or leadership on anything.*

        *Note – this is from the BBC, so take it as you will. Also, the Beeb reported having seen a document from the Labour Exec Committee saying that in the case of a catastrophic loss, the ONLY talking point is Brexit, and nothing else.

        Basically, though, Corbyn is toast, and the likely outcome is, I think, that Labour are unelectable for another generation.

        1. Grant

          “Basically, though, Corbyn is toast, and the likely outcome is, I think, that Labour are unelectable for another generation.”

          Can someone knowledgeable about British politics make sense of this for me? Given how clownish Johnson is, how does he look good relative to Corbyn? Was it the massive propaganda war in the media? Given how utterly destructive the Conservatives’ policies have been, how is it that they get any support and how is it that people in large numbers sign on to an economic program guaranteed to worsen the lot of most people? Maybe that isn’t the perception, but it seems logically obvious.

          So, a Blair type figure to head Labour? Good luck to folks there and good luck to the NHS.

          1. notabanker

            Will be interesting to see how many incumbents were punished for the charade that has been Parliament since the last election. I’m a big believer in Blyth’s theory that sovereign governments have nothing left to govern and they are just going to keep getting flipped over in Democratic elections.

          2. Louis Fyne

            Tonight is the Revenge of the Rust Belt against smug bi-coastals (UK-style).

            The election isn’t a mandate for Boris to privatise NHS, it’s more about Brexit and giving a middle finger to tone-deaf London-centric Blairites and Corbynites.

            One’s mileage may vary.

            1. Grant

              “The election isn’t a mandate for Boris to privatise NHS, it’s more about Brexit and giving a middle finger to tone-deaf London-centric Blairites and Corbynites.”

              Well, in giving that finger they seem to have rewarded very reactionary oligarchs. So, those oligarchs have to be saying thank you very much. And it might not be that the population intended to give a mandate to dismantle the NHS, but that is the right’s intention and they may have given them enough power to do so. I mean, they gave more power to the very group that has starved the NHS of funds. But if not Corbyn, then who on the left has any chance at gaining power?

              I still don’t understand why Corbyn would be given the middle finger but not Johnson. As flawed as Corbyn may be in some peoples’ eyes, is he more flawed, out of touch and elitist than Johnson? I don’t want to assume that rational decisions are being made, and by rational I mean voting for someone and prioritizing how their policies and actions will impact them. Brexit is a complex mess, and the working class has been getting kicked in the teeth for some time. But the right will use Brexit, it seems, and the power now given to them to do what you say they don’t have a mandate to do.

              1. Chris Cosmos

                I think it’s a mistake to think that most people in the UK or USA for that matter vote out of concern for their personal bottom line. Myth, in today’s world, trumps facts constantly. Johnson represents himself as a decisive and bold leader and that’s what the UK wants–decisiveness particularly after the past few years of Brexit. Corbyn didn’t cut it.

                I’m always amazed when intellectuals are puzzled by the constant appeal of the right in the UK, USA, and Australia. The right-wing’s ability to use cultural and class issues to sink the left has been a constant since Reagan/Thatcher. This is one reason why the Democratic Party is constantly moving to the right and why the military, despite it’s poor results, is always the most popular institution in the USA–I don’t know about the UK but they have a pretty high defense budget–about equal with Russia, btw.

                1. JBird4049

                  Part of the cause of the liberal losing much of the lower classes is its denying group identity especially that of nations of people or nationality/nationalism. The American right cultivates, or more accurately corrupts, a jingoistic Americanism while the (neo)liberal American political side not only is helping the obliteration of the American economy, it is disparaging the 80% of the population that is not of the Credentialed Class. This includes not only the increasing poverty, but also the culture and patriotism as well.

                  A clued in American will know that the Republican Party is at least as responsible for all the problems that the United States has, but as least the outward condescension from them is not as strong.

                  I hope that the American left will be able to attract people without falling to Identity Politics.

                2. Grant

                  But, who is the left now? Every social democratic, socialist and labour party in the West long ago abandoned anything remotely leftist in their economic platforms. Their “leftism” increasingly focused on non-economic issues. Many of those stances turned off culturally conservative people that otherwise would have responded to the economic policies that an actual left might have offered, but doesn’t anymore. Brexit complicated this election, and we don’t have to deal with that. But, what happened when the “left” won in France, Greece and Spain? Largely, nothing. In many instances, things have continued to get worse.

                  But, what we are really saying is that increasingly, people are voting for reasons other than the impact policies will have on them. Is that in part not because there are no economic alternatives even on the menu? Hard to think that the capitalist owned media has nothing to do with this.

                  Here in the US, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the VA system, public education, public parks and libraries, that is all popular. Single payer, despite the massive propaganda against it, is still pretty popular. The policies in the GND are popular. Municipalities are increasingly taking control of ISPs, municipalities in California will soon be owning their own banks. Many cities are supporting worker cooperatives. The left’s policies here are popular. But, how many politicians in government support any of that? When someone in the Democratic primaries supports that, they are always massively outspent and the party always throws its weight behind right wing candidates. There are massive barriers within the more “progressive” party for candidates on the left. In most races, do either of the candidates in the major parties offer a leftist economic program? And we don’t even have the same constraints as countries that use the Euro.

                  Given the radical changes that we need in regards to the environmental crisis, hard to have much faith in humanity.

                3. Carolinian

                  And of course the overwhelming bias of the press in the UK and here has nothing to do with it.

                  In fact some would say Fleet Street infected the US press who looked down on Murdoch and his Fox News until they started imitating him.

              2. Rhondda

                I’m not British, but I know I lost respect for him, watching the way he (seemingly) allowed himself get his teeth kicked in repeatedly over the bogus ‘anti-semitism” issue. He should have hit back, and hard. Gone to the root of the problem and called it out for what it is. He lacked the courage, it seemed to me.

            2. jrs

              And then the NHS gets privatized anyway, well if they don’t get that blatant they will cut other social welfare programs at least, because it’s just in the nature of a scorpion to be a scorpion, whatever coded message people think they send.

  19. JBird4049

    150 million for a house. In an area with tens of thousands of homeless. Chartwell looks like a poor man version of the Hearst Castle, but I do think that Madam Guillotine would be very comfortable on the main lawn or maybe the large tennis court would be good for the symbolism.

    1. Jokerstein

      Three results so far, all showing a strong swing to Conservatives in the North. Blyth Valley has fallen to Tories, which is a major blow to Labour.

      1. makedoanmend

        In two of the constituencies in which Labour won, Labour still lost a goodly percentage of their vote compared to last time in 2017. The percentage lost went to the Brexit party for the most part. If that becomes a trend, it will turn out the Brexit party will have done more damage to Labour than it will have to the Tories. Interesting.

        On the other hand, if exit polls hold true, the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) will have a fantastic result – a better one than they dared hoped. It will be interesting to see if resurgent English and Scottish nationalism will clash.

        1. makedoanmend

          Trend continues where Labour is winning seats but losing sizable percentage of their vote to the Brexit Party. Nigel Farage is doing more damage to Labour than Prime Minister Johnson it seems.

  20. elkern

    I listened to some of the House Judicial Committee “deliberations” today, while driving around. One or two of the Democrats were occasionally competent; listening to them was mostly disappointing. The Republicans are all pure evil; I had to change stations for traffic safety (hard to control vehicle after head explodes). I missed some details, but it sounded like the GOP “members” were promoting an Amendment to change the bill to impeach Hunter Biden instead of Chump.

    Listening just reinforced my pre-existing feelings: I’m exasperated with the Democrats, but I absolutely hate the GOP.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      . The Republicans are all pure evil; I

      They are just waitin’ for Joe Biden. The GOP has been pure evil since sometime in April 1865 (some exaggeration), but we are decades past the time where anyone droning on about bipartisanship is just as evil.

    2. pjay

      Regarding scales of “pure Evil”: how would you compare Trump to, say, the Clintons? Because on my “pure Evil” scale Trump, while a narcissistic con man whose policies have increased suffering significantly, is like WWF “bad guy” Evil compared to the Clintons. The latter, given the destruction they have brought to the Democratic party, the country, and the world, are the real thing. Their sycophantic supporters make it worse. If I had to compare, say, Mitch McConnell to Pelosi, let alone Adam Schiff, on the “pure Evil” scale, I’m afraid Mitch wouldn’t come close. McConnell may be old style Republican bad, but the current Democrat establishment is something else again.

      Be assured that a few years ago I would have thought such a view absolutely absurd, however “exasperated” I may have been with the Democrats.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Slaughtering great numbers of people for no good purpose in warfare is a pretty good metric; best of all, it doesn’t involve aesthetics like not being West Wing-compliant.

        Using that metric Bush is more evil than Trump, and Obama is more evil than Trump.

        I don’t know where Clinton is on slaughter in war, but he slaughtered flyover and the working class generally. So…

    3. John

      Yes, I listened today too.
      What the Republicans are going for is to make it impossible to bring them to justice.
      They want to stop the FBI and any other agencies from being able to expose their crimes.
      Sickening and extremely dangerous.

      The FBI needs to expose them all!

      1. bob

        The FBi is not now, nor has it ever been, a hero. Why do people keep trying to pretend they are, or that the FBI is anything but a cop for the upper class status quo?

        They were spying on a presidential campaign based solely on an oppo report, aka ‘steele dossier’

            1. John

              Well here’s where we differ.
              I believe he is an agent of a foreign power.

              As to the Ds and the FBI being dirty.
              Tired whataboutism.

              1. bob

                The tired scheme to install Pence as president that has been going on for over 3 years now?

                Is that how you spell Progressive®?

                Mueller, as head of the FBI, swore in front of congress that Saddam had WMD’s. That defeats any claim to morality that he, or the FBI, ever might have had. They then continued to not hold him to account, and going further, installed him as some sort of moral inquisitor. That he failed you and your cult like brethren is not surprising.

                I want him gone! WAAAHH!

                1. John

                  You know nothing about what I believe.

                  I certainly never believed Mueller, a lifelong Republican, was ever going to deliver anything that would remove Trump from office.

                    1. John

                      And you don’t have a clue why. I’ve spent years reading everything I could find to come to that conclusion.
                      You’re welcome to believe any fairy tale you want to.

                  1. Plenue

                    What if, stick with me on this, there was never anything for Mueller to deliver in the first place?

                    Trump will be gone, in two years or six, and the republic, such as it is, will continue on the downward trajectory it was on long before Trump showed up, though perhaps a bit more slowly.

                    Allowing an insane slow-motion coup conspiracy between a political party, spies, and the media, and the resulting permanent constitutional change, to succeed, all because Orange Man Bad™, is far scarier than Trump continuing to flail about like a drunken elephant for a while longer.

                  2. Plenue

                    Yeah, so when you believe in a fairy tale, you don’t get to mock other people as believing in fairy tales.

                  3. integer

                    I believe he is an agent of a foreign power.
                    You know nothing about what I believe.

                    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you an advanced case of TDS, symptoms of which include a total lack of self-awareness.

                  4. lambert strether

                    That’s a little confusing, because we were told for years that Mueller was A Hero Of The Resistance™️. Were all the Democrats who told us that part of some kinda deception operation?

                1. Fíréan

                  Who is Mueller ?
                  He’s closely related to two of the top CIA leaders sacked by Kennedy after the bay of pigs incident. Related to Charles Cabell by his wife’s family and related to Richard Bissell through his own family.

                  Through his wife’s family he is also related to one time Dallas mayor Earle Cabell, mayor of Dallas at time of Kennedy assassination.

                  If he is a “foreign power” it’s not foreign to the US yet foreign to the good citizens of the his own country

              2. lambert strether

                The Democrats don’t share your belief. If they did, they would have impeached him for it. Unless they’re Russian assets too, of course.

                1. John

                  If the Democrats wanted Trump impeached they would have chosen any other of the other high crimes and misdemeanors crimes he’s committed.

                  But look what they choose: the Ukraine, where the Democrat is as corrupt as Trump. Just to make sure the waters are muddied and Trump doesn’t even get impeached, no less convicted.

                  As to Russia, Trump never heard of it. And neither has anyone here. I know the site’s stance on this. I’m been reading this blog since it began.

        1. Samuel Conner

          Presumably the House Ds would have been more mellow about this JB investigation thing if it had been done by one of the President’s affiliated PACs or dark money groups, employing a chain of companies to put some distance between the final oppo product and the person on whose behalf it was produced.

          The President really was quite boneheaded to have not done it this way. The saying “worse than a crime — a mistake” comes to mind.

          (Not that I think this mistake was objectively worse than the charged crime of abuse of office — but it exhibits a degree of stupidity)

          Perhaps there should be a ‘political Darwin award’

          1. hunkerdown

            Trump’s crime was not hiring the professional-managerial class to do his dirty work. At their root, the vast majority of them really are just whiny, attention-seeking schoolchildren who need correction.

  21. Louis Fyne

    Lots of lessons available to US Democrats from the UK election….but doubt that they’ll be heeded.

    Cuz the holy constellation of DC, NYC, SF, LA is the center of the universe.

    1. Monty

      What’s the lesson? They have already been using their media shills to smear Trump since 2016… And calling him an antisemite is a bit of stretch!

    2. Plenue

      Oh, they’ll heed them. They’ll decide progressivism is a doomed platform, which will please them, because they’ll also decide (rather, have confirmed) that if they run neoliberal centrists they either win directly or get conservatives elected, which is fine with them.

  22. Basil Pesto

    I hope somebody’s optioned this.

    When I saw the story yesterday I made a note to read the court transcript with a view to using it as a jumping off point for a screenplay (no need to option anything if you go off the public record, either!

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