2:00PM Water Cooler 12/17/2019


“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.

Nationally, we have new polls from Morning Consult and Quinnipiac of 12/17/2019, 12:00 PM EST. Biden increases his lead (!), Sanders strong second, Warren drops, Buttigeig drops, Bloomberg up, though still flirting with the bottom feeders. The top four seem to be an established pattern (or, if you prefer, narrative). On to the next debate (December 19), and Iowa:

And the numbers

I confess to a certain amount of schadenfreude at Biden’s continued lead; nobody thinks it can last, yet it lasts; nobody understands why, but nobody even tries beat sweetening to explain it ([hums] ” … You in mid-air… “).

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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UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(1): “‘Mayors for Mike’: How Bloomberg’s Money Built a 2020 Political Network” [New York Times]. “As Mr. Bloomberg traverses the country as a presidential candidate, he is drawing on a vast network of city leaders whom he has funded as a philanthropist or advised as an elder statesman of municipal politics. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has assets totaling $9 billion, has supported 196 different cities with grants, technical assistance and education programs worth a combined $350 million. Now, leaders in some of those cities are forming the spine of Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign: He has been endorsed so far by eight mayors — from larger cities like San Jose, Calif., and Louisville, Ky., and smaller ones like Gary, Ind., representing a total of more than 2.6 million Americans. For all of those endorsers, Mr. Bloomberg has been an important benefactor. All have attended his prestigious boot camp at Harvard that gives the mayors access to ongoing strategic advice from Bloomberg-funded experts. More than half have received funding in the form of grants and other support packages from Mr. Bloomberg worth a total of nearly $10 million, according to a review of tax documents and interviews with all eight mayors.” • That’s not “Mayors for Mike,” it’s “Money from Mike.”

UPDATE Booker (D)(1): “Cory Booker on socialism, “identity politics,” and animal rights” [Vox]. Booker: “My talking about justice is not in any way a politics of identity. It’s a politics of trying to create again this understanding that we’re all in this together — that you cannot have a nation that’s [divided] along racial lines and think that you are going to have a nation of strength economically, morally, and competitively on a global context. We’re a nation that does best when we tear down walls of division or inequity and build larger coalitions. The Democratic Party is a party that does best when it revives what Jesse Jackson called the Rainbow Coalition, what many people now call the Obama Coalition.” • Booker was doing pretty well, up to that point. It’s absurd to compare Jackson and Obama’s respective coalitions. Interesting interview, but wowsers.

Buttigieg (D)(1):

For those with long memories, John Ralston was the “journalist” who propagated the fake “chair throwing” incident attributed to Sanders supporters from Nevada 2016, and never retracted it. His online newspaper is also one of the sponsors for the February debate.

Sanders (D)(1): Cheeky:

There are times, however, when I worry that the Sanders campaign is too extremely online. We shall see!

Sanders (D)(2): Then again, perhaps Sanders has always been extremely online;

Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders surges ahead of Iowa caucuses” [The Hill]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is rising in the polls ahead of Thursday’s pivotal debate in Los Angeles, reestablishing his standing in the top tier of Democratic contenders with the Iowa caucuses less than 50 days away…. Sanders appears to be hitting his stride at just the right moment, surging past Warren and cutting into Biden’s lead in new national surveys. Sanders leads in the RealClearPolitics average of polls in New Hampshire, and is in second place in Iowa, only 3 points behind Buttigieg.” • People know what I think about RCP; it’s not about polling, but narrative. RCP could be seen as raising an, er, red flag.

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “‘The grand finale’: Inside Trump’s push to rack up political victories as impeachment looms” [Daily Progress]. “On Tuesday, President Donald Trump and House Democrats announced a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. On Wednesday, the House passed a military authorization package that included paid parental leave for more than two million federal workers and the creation of the president’s proposed Space Force. And on Thursday, top congressional negotiators unveiled a deal in principle to approve a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill for 2020 that will likely avert a government shutdown next week. By Friday, even as the House Judiciary Committee passed two articles of impeachment against Trump, the president had begun telling allies that maybe impeachment wasn’t so bad after all.” • Idea: Let’s give history’s worst monster a Space Force!

Warren (D)(1): “In a rhetorical shift, Elizabeth Warren emphasizes ‘choice’ on health care” [CNN]. • What a weathervane.

Warren (D)(2): “Warren reacts to Obama’s remarks about female leadership” [Radio Iowa]. “A man in the Fort Madison crowd read recent comments former President Barack Obama, suggesting women are better leaders. ‘(Obama) said: ‘Now, women, I just want you to know you’re not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us men,’ a man named Joe said. Warren laughed and replied: ‘Just quit there.'” • So Obama’s endorsing Klobuchar?

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The California ballot (1):

The California ballot (2):

Note that “American Independent Party” scam; we drew attention to it the other day.

The Debates

“Here are the 7 Democrats who qualified for this week’s debate … and 8 who missed the cut” [The Courier]. • Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang.

“Democratic debate, once in turmoil, to move forward as planned after labor union reaches agreement” [ABC]. “The Democratic primary debate slated for Thursday will move forward as planned, after negotiators announced Tuesday they had reached a tentative contract agreement in a labor dispute entangling Loyola Marymount University, the site of the final matchup of the year…. The union, UNITE HERE Local 11, which announced the breakthrough, had enlisted the top-polling seven candidates qualified to participate in Thursday’s face-off in their fight for better wages and benefits — with the slate of contenders announcing late last week they ‘won’t cross the union’s picket line’ to participate amid the impasse.”


UPDATE An English major weighs in:

UPDATE “The key number you need to remember about Trump’s impeachment polls” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. “What [the data from Bush, Clinton, and Obama] makes clear is that there are always around 3 in 10 Americans who are ready to impeach a president at any time…. There’s a gap between that 30-ish percent willing to always impeach a president and the 45% who currently say that of Trump. A BIG gap.

And that’s the number that matters here — whether or not Trump is impeached by the House (he will be) or removed by the Senate (he almost certainly won’t be.) It’s not whether the number of people supporting the impeachment and removal of Trump has dropped marginally — from 50% to 45%. It’s that the number of people supportive of impeaching and removing Trump is far larger than it has been for any of the past three presidents — including one who was actually impeached!”

“Opinion: How Democrats can call the Republicans’ bluff on impeachment” [Los Angeles Times]. “The time has come for congressional Democrats to call the Republicans’ bluff: They should go to court to compel testimony from key members of Trump’s inner circle who have firsthand knowledge of the president’s dealings with Ukraine, including former national security advisor John Bolton and White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. These witnesses should tell the House what they know, under oath, even if that means delaying a vote on the articles of impeachment.” • But the impeachment train has already left the station. The House should have done this, surely? And didn’t?

UPDATE “Googled ‘Impeachment’ Lately? First Result Is a Bloomberg Ad” [New York Times]. “Mr. Bloomberg got this prime internet real estate by purchasing a Google search ad off the word ‘impeachment.’… The Bloomberg campaign is spending an immense amount of money on Google ads — $7.5 million over roughly three weeks, according to Google’s ad transparency report. The Trump campaign, for comparison, has spent $9.1 million over the course of the entire year.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “How New Voting Machines Could Hack Our Democracy” [Jennifer Cohn, New York Review of Books]. “As we barrel toward what is set to be the most important election in a generation, Congress appears poised to fund another generation of risky touchscreen voting machines called universal use Ballot Marking Devices (or BMDs), which function as electronic pens, marking your selections on paper on your behalf. Although vendors, election officials, and others often refer to this paper as a “paper ballot,” it differs from a traditional hand-marked paper ballot in that it is marked by a machine, which can be hacked without detection in a manual recount or audit. These pricey and unnecessary systems are sold by opaquely financed vendors who use donations and other gifts to entice election officials to buy them.” • This is a must read. And allow me to repost this diagram (from this post). Red = hackable:

UPDATE “We have Mortally Wounded Jim Crow Program” [Greg Palast]. “It took us six years of investigating and reporting on the nationwide Jim Crow Interstate Crosscheck purge operation that cost more than 1.1 million voters of color their registrations and elected Donald Trump. But, finally, Kansas, which generates the Crosscheck secret scrub lists for other states, has agreed to kill the program. This effectively ends the entire national purge operation.” • Which is very good!

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“Democracy Grief Is Real” [Michelle Goldberg, New York Times]. “Lately, I think I’m experiencing democracy grief. For anyone who was, like me, born after the civil rights movement finally made democracy in America real, liberal democracy has always been part of the climate, as easy to take for granted as clean air or the changing of the seasons. When I contemplate the sort of illiberal oligarchy that would await my children should Donald Trump win another term, the scale of the loss feels so vast that I can barely process it.” • Oddly, or not, “deaths of despair” by Acela riders are not statistically significant.

“What Jeremy Corbyn’s Defeat Means For the Democrats, By an American Journalist Who Has Never Been to the UK” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. “It is dangerous to draw conclusions from the elections of a country you don’t understand. But also, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn is bad news for the campaign of Bernie Sanders, another left-wing candidate currently campaigning in a country with a different political system a mere 4,000 miles away.” • That stings, because I’ve certainly done this!

Stats Watch

Shipping: “Amazon bans third-party merchants from shipping with FedEx” [Ars Technica]. “The Wall Street Journal obtained a copy of a message Amazon sent to its third-party vendors Sunday night explaining the prohibition. Starting this week, marketplace vendors offering Prime shipments will not be allowed to use FedEx Ground or Home services. This ban will persist “until the delivery performance of these ship methods improves.” Third-party retailers accounted for about 58% of Amazon’s retail activity in 2018, company CEO Jeff Bezos said earlier this year, and sold a cumulative $160 billion worth of goods. The vendor marketplace is on track to be at least as large a share of Amazon’s retail business in 2019.”

The Bezzle: “We Kept Almost Making Money” [Bloomberg]. “There is a standard story of WeWork, one that I frequently tell around here, that goes like this: Certain investors, particularly nontraditional venture investors like SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, love to invest in fast-growing money-losing companies. Rapid customer growth is the main thing they want, and if that growth comes by losing money on every sale, well, that’s something to figure out later. The growth is the important thing; once you’ve achieved world domination by selling the product at a loss, you can find ways to make money from your large and locked-in customer base. Some big investors in private companies believe something like this, and they set the price in private markets, but the big investors in public companies don’t especially believe it, and they set the price in public markets. And when the fast-growing money bonfires try to go public, either it’s a disappointment (Uber), or it’s a disaster (WeWork). WeWork reached a $47 billion valuation on private-investor optimism, and then crashed into public-investor skepticism.” • This is well worth on read, on the WeWork debacle (I mean, except for Adam charismatic Founder creepster Adam Neumann, of course, who got rich. No debacle for him!)

Tech: “The Terror Queue” [The Verge]. “Google and YouTube approach content moderation the same way all of the other tech giants do: paying a handful of other companies to do most of the work. One of those companies, Accenture, operates Google’s largest content moderation site in the United States: an office in Austin, Texas, where content moderators work around the clock cleaning up YouTube. …. Peter is one of hundreds of moderators at the Austin site. YouTube sorts the work for him and his colleagues into various queues, which the company says allows moderators to build expertise around its policies. There’s a copyright queue, a hate and harassment queue, and an “adult” queue for porn. …. Workers on the site describe feeling anxiety, depression, night terrors, and other severe mental health consequences after doing the job for as little as six months. … Managers for Accenture routinely force employees to work into their break time and deny them vacation time to accommodate overflowing queues.” • The dark side of “scale.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 84 Extreme Greed (previous close: 82 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 16 at 12:39pm. Mr. Market delivers his verdict on impeachment?

The Biosphere

“COP25: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Madrid” [CarbonBrief]. “Although the world’s major emitters were never expected to announce fresh climate pledges at COP25, there was still hope that they might collectively send a strong message of intent for next year. However, talks quickly became bogged down in technical issues, such as the rules for carbon market mechanisms, which have eluded completion for years. There was a growing sense among many attendees of a disconnect between these slow, impenetrable UN processes and the action being demanded by protesters around the world. This was summarised by the executive director of Greenpeace Jennifer Morgan, who told assembled journalists that despite the ‘fresh momentum’ provided by the growing global climate movement, it was yet to penetrate the ‘halls of power.'” • It’s almost like there’s some sort of structural issue with NGOs. Anyhow, the headline is very neutral, but the content is discouraging. The COP model seems to be “increased ambition” on goals, but that doesn’t take into account the idea that elites may well have their own ambitions, like bringing on the Jackpot from Festung Aspen, or wherever. Well worth reading in detail.

“U.N. Climate Talks Collapsed in Madrid. What’s the Way Forward?” [New York Magazine]. “It was, of course, the 25th COP, and judging by the only metric that matters — carbon emissions, which continue to rise — the conference followed 24 consecutive failures. Emissions set a new record in 2018, and are poised to set another again in 2019. Just three years since the signing of the Paris accords, no major industrial nation on Earth is on track to honor the commitments it made in Paris. The apparent failure of those accords follows the undeniable failure of previous agreements reached in Copenhagen in 2009, Kyoto in 1997, and Montreal in 1987. The original host of COP25, Brazil, backed out when it elected a climate sociopath, Jair Bolsonaro, as president; the replacement site, Chile, canceled their event just a month before, amid civil unrest sparked in part by rising transportation prices. And when Secretary-General António Guterres, fearing that few nations were ready to make more ambitions decarbonization pledges at COP25, staged a special climate action summit during the U.N. General Assembly in September — a summit designed to whip up new commitments ahead of COP25 — no one aside from the smallest countries came armed with anything more than lip service. And yet COP25 stings.”

“Exxon Well Blast Caused Huge Methane Leak in Ohio, Study Shows” [Bloomberg]. “Using data from satellites, the researchers found that a well explosion in Belmont county on Feb. 15 of that year discharged the potent greenhouse gas at a rate of about 80 tons an hour and lasted for nearly 20 days. The end result was more methane in the air than the oil and gas industries of France, Norway and the Netherlands emit over a 12-month period, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

“Global coal demand to remain stable up to 2024: IEA” [Reuters]. “Global coal demand is expected to remain stable until 2024 as growth in Asia offsets weaker demand from Europe and the United States, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.”

“Indoor carbon dioxide can make us dumber, and that will get worse with climate change” [Popular Science]. “In recent years, several studies have found a link between high carbon dioxide levels indoors and cognitive decline. When we’re indoors, the carbon dioxide we breathe out becomes concentrated, particularly if there’s a lot of people breathing and ventilation is slow. Studies have found that poorly-vented classrooms are linked to poorer memory, concentration, even a dip in standardized test scores. In 2016, a Harvard study garnered a lot of media attention after researchers found that elevated carbon dioxide levels not uncommon indoors—950 parts per million—led to declines in a number of cognitive measures, from basic decision making to higher-level strategizing. With concentrations at 1,400 (which can occur in poorly-ventilated rooms), those abilities dipped even more—particularly for more complex tasks.”

“Date palm, Arab region symbol of prosperity, listed by UNESCO” [Agence France Presse]. “[D]ate palm-related knowledge, traditions and practices have been inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The tree, whose roots penetrate deep into the soil, allowing it to grow in arid climates, has not only been a source of food but also of economic gain. ‘Date palms gather in oases of different densities within desert areas indicating the presence of water levels suitable for irrigation,’ according to a nomination put forward by 14 countries — Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. ‘As a result, this aided mankind in settling down despite harsh conditions,’ said the document.”

“DNA recovered from Arctic lakes holds clues for our future world” [Science]. “High in the Canadian Arctic on Baffin Island, beneath 10 meters of water and many more of mud, sits a refrigerated archive of Earth’s past life. The deep sediments in a small lake called CF8 hold ancient pollen and plant fossils. But it now appears that the mud harbors something else: ancient DNA from as far back as the Eemian, a period 125,000 years ago when the Arctic was warmer than today, left by vegetation that otherwise would have vanished without a trace.”

Feral Hogs Return

“Feral Pigs Roam the South. Now Even Northern States Aren’t Safe.” [New York Times]. “But in recent decades, the pigs have been expanding their range — or more accurately, people have been expanding it for them. ‘It’s not natural dispersion,” [said Dale Nolte, manager of the feral swine program at the Department of Agriculture]. ‘We have every reason to believe they are being moved in the backs of pickup trucks and released to create hunting opportunities.'” • What? Does this strike readers as being remotely plausible?

Groves of Academe

C’mon, man, who doesn’t need to stable their horse? Thread:

Guillotine Watch

Servant problems:

Optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward:

Class Warfare

“Another Google Worker Says She Was Fired for Labor Advocacy” [Bloomberg]. “Kathryn Spiers, 21, said she was fired Dec. 13 after she developed a notification that told colleagues they had the right to participate in labor organizing when they visited the website of IRI Consultants, a firm that advises employers on how to combat unions…. Google responded by suspending Spiers without warning, ‘interrogating’ and then terminating her for violating the company’s security policies, she said… The world’s largest internet search provider has traditionally been open, with employees encouraged to debate company policies and speak up if they see something they’re concerned about. However, a series of internal protests in recent years has sparked a crackdown under Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai.”

“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” [Kim Kelly, The Baffler]. “[O]ur transportation infrastructure is vulnerable, and unionized workers can wreak real havoc on it.

This is something that unions like the Teamsters and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have always understood. Delivery drivers and transit workers are perfectly positioned to pull down—hard—on the levers of power.” • Something that seems to have been almost systematically not understood in coverage of the Black Jewel train blockade.

News of the Wired

“The Navy is building a ship named after Harvey Milk, six decades after he was pushed out of the military because of his sexual orientation” [CNN]. • An oiler…

“Coffee In Our Time: History (podcast) [BBC Radio 4]. • I forget which NC reader suggested this podcast, but I really enjoy listening to “Melvin and his guests.”

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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 (Phil H):

Phil H writes: “Township Road 9, Holmes County, Ohio, in late October. Trees are starting to turn as weather cools.” I grew up in the Midwest, and something about this scene says the Midwest to me, and not the East. But what?

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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. Tom Doak

    It’s a bad look for the Democrats to have 7 candidates eligible for this next debate. Too easy to mock. Of course the opponent is no Snow White, either.

          1. Massinissa

            I guess spending 2nd most to Bloomberg managed to *barely* get him into this debate.

            Seriously, the man was lighting money on fire at an unprecedented rate before Bloomberg joined and instantly starting outspending him. It would be pathetic if he *didn’t* qualify for the debate after spending tens of millions of dollars on ads.

      1. neo-realist

        She’s hanging to keep her notoriety up for the VP slot at the convention. She and many voters believe that a mid-western moderate (neo-liberal) swing state candidate on the ticket will help it in the swing states in the general election.

        1. chuckster

          I thought Booty-Judge was our favorite Midwesterner, neoliberal minority who no one cares about. Still predict a Biden-Booty-Judge ticket coming out of Milwaukee. (And that Biden doesn’t survive until the midterms in 2022.) Booty sure has a lot of billionaire friends all of a sudden. It’s no coincidence.

        2. Big River Bandido

          “Many voters”? Who, exactly?

          Certainly they aren’t basing their judgements on any thing rational, like how that went down in “swing states” last time.

      2. Danny

        WHO? Corporate parasites on the bones of our healthcare system, desperate to stop Bernie, and Medicare For All, that’s who.

        United Health Care, for example, headquartered in Minnetonka, her home.
        “UnitedHealth Group said its 2020 revenues will surpass $260 billion next year as the company prepares to unveil its business strategy Tuesday. Already the nation’s largest health insurance company, UnitedHealth is poised to grow its top line by about 9%. UnitedHealth operates commercial, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans via its UnitedHealthcare health insurance unit and is also expanding its medical care provider business across the country under its fast-growing Optum unit…
        Like UnitedHealth, rivals have also been expanding further into the provision of healthcare.”

        “A year ago, CVS Health, which operates drugstores, retail health clinics and a larger pharmacy benefit manager, acquired Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurer. And the health insurer Cigna a year ago completed its merger with Express Scripts, a larger pharmacy benefit manager. UnitedHealth rivals, including Anthem and Humana, have also been gobbling up doctor practices, clinics and other medical care providers.”

        Amy Kobluchar, D, Minnetonka Corporate Headquarters.

        1. Clodius

          Her candidacy can only help bernie–her vote makes it (marginally) harder for the other antiberners to reach a 15% level required to get delegates from any given state.

      3. JBird4049

        Klobuchar over Tulsi Gabbard. Interesting. I guess the American Permawars really must be permanent.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Gabbard refused to participate because she preferred to campaign instead. I don’t know what the strategy is though – anyone else here know?

          Maybe it’s just what she says it is. Now that would be interesting.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I think she saw she was not going to “qualify” so instead of sitting mute she decided to say she’s not playing. One way to try to avoid obscurity I guess.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Probably that new DNC rule that says that no Democrat candidate can qualify if they have the initials “T.G” in their name.

            2. Carey

              More to it than that, methinks, though I guess we could quibble about the meaning of “didn’t qualify”.

              1. JBird4049

                It means whatever the media minions want it to mean, which is why the League of Women Voters no longer run the presidential debates.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It has not been a bad number.

      I remember the film, Seven Samurai, and also the Magnificent Seven.

  2. 2G

    The Jon Ralson Twitter embed says “28 people are talking about this” but only 2 replies show up when you click through to the thread. Hmmm.

  3. Geo

    “I confess to a certain amount of schadenfreude at Biden’s continued lead; nobody thinks it can last, yet it lasts; nobody understands why”

    Anecdotal but had a few interactions this week that shined a light on it. Both with “Millenials” who are quite smart and politically conscious (if not well versed). One had no idea of Biden’s past as the king of bankruptcy reform and believes Bernie is unelectable. Another felt Bernie’s economics were unfeasable and preferred Yang. Both felt Biden is inevitable as nominee which gave me flashbacks to 2016.

    Like the recent NC post about Social Security and a few articles in today’s links all spoke to: It seems there’s a general loss of ability to even imagine a society here that invests in humanity over greed and war. A fear of even thinking about the possible because our lived reality tells us it won’t happen and we’ll just get our hopes up expecting change and be let down when it doesn’t happen. Call it the “Post-Obama Malaise” or something but Biden seems to be the presumptive nominee because people don’t think we can do any better in our depraved and corrupted system.

    Just my anecdotal dime store analysis.

      1. Louis Fyne

        can’t decode/google-fu BGI and it’s driving me crazy.

        sure that it’ll be obvious in hindsight…d’uh to myself—assuming it’s basic guaranteed income.

        1. Massinissa

          What Dan said. Basic Guaranteed Income. Sometimes also BIG Basic Income Guarantee. Same proposed program.

    1. Grant

      Well, Bernie is killing it with younger voters, so I would argue that your experience isn’t necessarily something that can be generalized. However, we don’t have tons of time to put in place pretty large structural changes just to deal with the environmental crisis. Saying that Biden is inevitable means that societal collapse is too, cause he doesn’t do much of anything to actually deal with the environmental crisis. I would also remind people to think a bit critically about the polls. People on this very site have given thoughtful, factual critiques of the polls and they are almost certainly understating Bernie’s support. How much, it isn’t certain, but they likely are to an extent. There are many problems with many of the polls and those conducting the polls, and many of the polls seem to be just as much a weapon of propaganda as they are a reflection of reality. If we are to put all of our stock into the polls, if we are going to have every discussion on the election as if they reflect reality, what they show is that Biden is leading entirely because of older voters. It would be a shame, when society is at this stage and when young people need radical changes just to have a livable planet, if older voters in large numbers supported someone that gives future generations no chance at even having a habitable planet, forget all the other massive societal issues that he fails to offer much of anything.

      However, it is certainly true that those in power have beaten other futures out the heads of most people and don’t allow them to imagine policies and institutions that deviate much from present society, which increasingly doesn’t work for anyone but those in power. On the other hand, part of the reason that Bernie does so well with younger voters isn’t just his policies, or his record, but also because they haven’t been fed propaganda for nearly as long and don’t go to sources generally that feed them that propaganda. Since they traditionally vote in lower numbers than older voters, they have a chance to shock the system. But, they have to do it.

      1. Geo

        “But, they have to do it.”

        I truly hope they do. Totally agree with your whole comment. Maybe I’m just a pessimist but this really feels like our last ditch chance to salvage a livable future.

        1. HotFlash

          Yup. There is no other politician in any country of the world who has the interest or ability to fight climate change. If Bernie doesn’t win the whole wide world is doomed. Bernie is our last chance.

          1. polecat

            Not to get off thread .. but you can’t ‘fight’ climate change. You can only try to adapt to it !

      2. jsn

        There is also the corruption and inertia of the underlying system to consider.

        First, there’s the narrative control corporate media are ok at and social media even better, second is gaming of registration and access to the primary and general votes, third is a malevolent and dishonest couple of political parties, fourth is electronic voting which can more easily match the dominat polls than the actual votes cast if that’s the goal of those who control it. I hope Sanders has a strategy for all of these, but every such hope asks him to be superman.

        We are already in collapse, the question is how far it will have to go before it impenges on the perceptions of those enfranchised at least by the narrative. When the Soviets collapsed, their elite was mostly trapped by the history of containment. Our metastatic elite is transnational and will just co-opt whatever ecosystem is still viable unless some new ideology arises that cast them as the agents of evil they are. By then it’s likely to be too late. I’ve been having a lot of awkward conversations about this with PMC types, of which I am one, about how you know all of this stuff and yet are not acting: the clock is running down.

          1. jsn

            OK, most recently, a rare success.

            A childhood friend of mine from Austin rode the rocket of IT up selling “events” to the tidal surge of coastal digerati who flooded Austin in Dell’s wake in the years after I left town.

            I had dinner alone with him for the first time in probably 30 years last week and we got into politics, about which he’d also been a writer for the local weekly since college. He was, not surprisingly, chuffed on Butegieg. Over the course of the evening we went through Climate Change, Forever Wars, M4A and The Green New Deal.

            In the course of discussion the homeless issue out West came up and he told me when the Austin mayor recently “decriminalized homelessness”, the Governor intervened to intern the homeless in a camp outside town, to which I replied, “look at what we’ve become, concentration camps: that’s what that is! Is this really who we are?” I then told him Sanders and AOC are the only US politicians offering solutions comensurate with the scale of the problems.

            He bought dinner and we parted with soft plans to see each other again when I visit the wrinkle ranch to see my mother at Christmass. I sent him an email thank you with a dozen links (one of yours, one of Yves’ amongst them) supporting my position from our conversation. Apparently he thought the note was a good one, he said I should consider writing as a vocation in his reply (I must have been posessed, I’m an execrable writer) and PSed that he’d made his first donation to Bernie in my honor.

            I’m afraid it’s a one mind at a time approach, but it’s all I know how to do…

      3. WJ

        So I think that Sanders will eventually need to hammer both Biden’s record and the deceptive quality of his “policies” more directly and forcefully than he has done. I think this will need to happen soon. The good news is, if Sanders’ does do this–and it will be harder for the debate managers not to give him time enough to do so–I believe it could have a substantial enough effect on Biden’s levels of support to be worth the negative media backlash it will doubtless provoke. The bad news is, I fear that Sanders’ campaign staff is playing too nice and will continue to play too nice.

        1. Tom Doak

          That’s the other reason Klobuchar and Steyer et al. are still on the podium: they are the DNC’s human shields to prevent Sanders from getting too much air time or responding directly to Biden.

            1. Carey

              Mmm, I think we should give the eleven-dimensional thinking a
              rest, for now. Variations on #controlledOppo is a better fit, I think.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Biden’s numbers in IA and NH are going in the wrong direction. If your course correction is required, the need won’t be immediate.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > So I think that Sanders will eventually need to hammer both Biden’s record and the deceptive quality of his “policies” more directly and forcefully than he has done.

          What Sanders needs to do is take a slice of Biden’s demographic away from him; whether “hammering” Biden’s record is the way to do that remains to be seen. It could be a combination of dental + vision coverage, no co-pays & not cooking the world for the grandchildren would have appeal.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > they have to do it.

        That’s Sanders’ gamble (not just with young people but with non-voters and discouraged voters, too). The links to California ballots show just one way the political class discourages expanding the electorate, which Sanders must do.

        I don’t see an alternative to Sanders’ strategy, but it worries me that all I see in terms of numbers is doors knocked and calls made. Those numbers are impressive, but the important thing is the conversion rate: Converting those contacts into votes. And we don’t know what that rate is (though presumably the campaign has data). But we won’t really know until the first primaries. “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    2. Chris Cosmos

      I think we are in very peculiar times. Democrat voters have changed dramatically in the past decade as many have pointed out but even more since Trump was elected. The most important political movement in the past few years has been the dramatic movement on the part of Democrats to believe everything that NPR, the NYT, or MSNBC says is true and thus accept the Cold War II narrative completely and thus, with warm feelings for the official media, they trust them to maintain the Narrative of evil Trump and Putin and good Obama and Biden. Sanders is seen as a bringer of instability even if it might be the right kind of instability–most prefer to get back to “normal”.

      I don’t think Biden can win if Trump is serious about winning another term. This has become a culture war and I think Trump is better situated and more skillful in that kind of street fight and Biden has severe problems if Trump chooses to play dirty.

      I think we are headed for catastrophe no matte who is going to be elected.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The most important political movement in the past few years has been the dramatic movement on the part of Democrats to believe everything that NPR, the NYT, or MSNBC says is true and thus accept the Cold War II narrative completely and thus, with warm feelings for the official media

        Let’s not forget fealty to the intelligence agencies and the cops!

        So much of this, I think, is fear. PMC precarity, and a general sense of angst, reinforced at every turn by “terrifying” in the headlines, over and over and over. Trump is seen as the cause of their fear, but of course that’s simply not true. There’s a psychological term for this; cathexis, I think?

  4. Wukchumni

    ‘We have every reason to believe they are being moved in the backs of pickup trucks and released to create hunting opportunities.’” • What? Does this strike readers as being remotely plausible?
    Sure, the sharing economy is everywhere now, Uboar drivers tend to pick up rides when they surge.

    1. jsn

      Uboar is hard to follow!

      Implausible is my take. They’re the craftiest beasts I ever hunted. Trapping and moving them would be difficult and stink to high heaven: much easier to imagine wild pigs expanding into whatever good feed they find. With the depopulation of the plains there’s little in their way. I saw my first New York coyote in Brooklyn in 1988, so ferral pigs are late to the party. Heck, there was a mountain lion tagged in Montana, IIRC, hit outside Bridgeport, CT ten years ago.

      Related, I saw a Coypu at Brookly Bridge Park last Friday, they look like humongous gunie pigs with a 12″ rat tail and really big teeth. These critters haunted the Lake Austin of my youth.

    2. Craig H.

      > Does this strike readers as being remotely plausible?

      There must have been an episode of Jackass that the government spokesman saw where they made up a domestic pig to look like a wild hog and coaxed it into the back of a pickup truck. So yes, it is remotely plausible in that it could be a plot point of a Jackass episode.

      What I object to there is the common appropriation of the noun jackass which is an insult to donkeys who are usually far more mellow than homo sapiens.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Here in Ireland, I’m aware of hunters having smuggled in illegal animals deliberately to create hunting opportunities. Its far harder to get a license for a hunting gun here and there is little large game, so its in their interest to have ‘pests’ that must be eliminated. Its widely assumed that Vietnamese Muntjac found its way to Ireland this way. There are no boars or feral pigs in Ireland according to available sources, but a friend of mine has a video of wild boar piglets that ran into his kitchen one day not far south of Dublin – presumably their mom wasn’t far away. The only reasonable explanation (there are no wild boar farms in Ireland) is that hunters imported them specifically to allow them to run wild and become ‘pests’.

      1. truly

        Yes. Hogs are a very popular animal to hunt. In particular “hog dogging” is a big thing. Mostly in the American south this goes on. Usually hounds or curs (black mouth or leopard) are turned loose to trail a hog. After the hog has been trailed long enough to tire it down it will back up into a brush pile or thicket and fight. Now more aggresive dogs are turned in to join the fight. Pitbulls or Rottweilers join in to bay them up. Now here is the odd part- the hunters usually want to catch the hog alive. With the dogs baying the hog the hunters slip in and literally catch the hog. Ropes around the feet and tied up like a roping calf at the rodeo. Dogs are pulled away and loaded into waiting trucks. Hunters carry the hog out live and load it into a truck. Hog goes to a holding pen where it eats corn to fatten up. Once the hog has been held in a pen a certain number of days it is technically a domestic hog and can be sold for meat. So the hog hunters have farmers they sell to. They get a per pound payment and can actually make a living catching and selling hogs. The landowners desperately want the hogs removed so they don’t ruin the eco system that they live in. Rooting around by hogs can ruin pasture in a hurry. So it is a win win situation for the landowners and the hog doggers. For those who don’t object to hunting, because it is a “no kill” sport, it is generally seen as quite beneficial. The downside is it can be really tough on the dogs. They wear kevlar vests but hogs can be quite ferocious.
        Increasingly hunters are moving the hogs north and putting them in pens where they can train and practice with their dogs. Generally no killing allowed in these pens. But on occasion the hogs get out and populate the general area. I know that there have been hog dogging pens as far north as Minnesota. And that there are now escaped hogs living sustainably as far north as Illinois and rumors of some wild ones on the Illinois Wisconsin border.

  5. zagonostra

    >74th CONGRESS 1935-1936 floor speech by Congressman Vito Marcantoni

    How some things never change.

    I believe that America is the richest nation in the world. In this nation, where we have more wealth than any other nation, I think it is proper we should establish the system…whereby there should be no hunger, no starvation, and no want; and that the unemployed of this nation, as well as the aged of this nation, should be taken care of by the United States of America, through taxation levied on the large incomes of this nation, putting the burden squarely where it equitably belongs, and not on the poor of this nation as the Doughton bill [H. R. 7260] intends to do …. Everybody recognizes that America’s problem today is lack of purchasing power on the part of the American workers; they have practically no purchasing power left.

  6. Carolinian

    Re feral pigs–in the northern part of my county are horse farms and some horses have been the victim of stabbing attacks. After a no doubt thorough investigation the state and local law have declared these the result of wild boar attacks. Horse owners scoffed.

    However the Appalachians do have wild boar and they were introduced decades ago so wealthy hunters could pretend to be medieval (or G of T) aristocrats. They have done great damage to the Smokies.

    Re Melvin and his guests–the coffee/slavery connection in Brazil is one of the little known sidebars.

    1. Tom Stone

      Russian boar were imported by California hunters in the late 19th century and they have since bred with escaped domestic pigs.
      They are now found in every California County.
      The limit is two in possession and two a day, year round and only a general hunting license is needed, no special tags.
      One of my clients used a crossbow from a Kayak on lake Sonoma, a very successful tactic.

  7. Jonathan Boyne

    “It’s almost like there’s some sort of structural issue with NGOs.”

    I worked 17 years as a librarian for the largest 24/7 .org online library reference service serving public, academic and special libraries worldwide, that started at a manageable traffic level then grew to sweatshop conditions with all policies serving management and ‘customers’ and none supporting but all rather oppressing workers.

    This .org like too many others, NGOs, etc. had the typical capitalist top-down totalitarian hierarchical structure that to their terminal detriment and cooptation ‘somehow’ has become the ‘norm’ for such organizations.

    Coop organizations have politics but at least aren’t turnkey totalitarian.

  8. Danny

    Remember, the largest slave owner in the world were the Jesuits in Brazil.

    “The Navy is building a ship named after Harvey Milk, six decades after he was pushed out of the military because of his sexual orientation” [CNN]. And, don’t forget a San Francisco Airport terminal has been dedicated to him as well.

    The U.S.S. Jeffrey Epstein…?
    Is this how a society dies? Or do you need a good press agent to smooth your way through life and death.

    “Milk committed statutory rape. In his [Randy Shilts’] glowing book “The Mayor of Castro Street,” he wrote of Milk’s “relationship” with the McKinley boy: ”… Sixteen-year-old McKinley was looking for some kind of father figure…. At 33, Milk was launching a new life, though he could hardly have imagined the unlikely direction toward which his new lover would pull him.”

    “Randy Thomasson, child advocate and founder of SaveCalifornia.com, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on Harvey Milk. Of the Shilts biography, Thomasson notes, “Explaining Milk’s many flings and affairs with teenagers and young men, Randy Shilts writes how Milk told one ‘lover’ why it was OK for him to also have multiple relationships simultaneously: ‘As homosexuals, we can’t depend on the heterosexual model.… We grow up with the heterosexual model, but we don’t have to follow it. We should be developing our own lifestyle. There’s no reason why you can’t love more than one person at a time.’ ”

    1. Geo

      SaveCalifornia.com is a Christian extremist site where the first few articles are about “where to buy ammo”, some anti-vaccine piece, one about the evils of atheists, and other “family values” junk.

      I don’t know enough about Harvey Milk to know about the merits of this claim but this is a terrible source for such info.

      1. Danny

        So what? You think Rachel Maddow or NPR would report these facts? Don’t be a news bigot. (Most) Readers are sophisticated enough to note the ads and not discard the content based on that.

        Shooting the messenger doesn’t change the content, easily verifiable, of the message.

        Here’s info on one of those quoted, lest you think they share your messenger-phobia.

        1. Massinissa

          I can’t find this information in non-right wing sources, or in any mainstream sources. Sounds to me like hogwash.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Just for the record, I thought it was hilariously peak identity politics that a ship delivering oil to our imperial war machine — a top climate destroyer — should be named after a gay icon, and that this would be treated as some sort of victory.

      As far as Harvey Milk’s biography, I plowed through the right wing fever swamp and found a good many sources all quoting each other, as usual, including SaveCalifornia.com and its so-called expert, Thomasson. If you’re going to throw bombs in the comment section, you need to get better sourcing. As for “we should be developing our own lifestyle,” polyamory is not unknown in the straight world (e.g., Roger Stone, IIRC).

      Looking at Milk as a historical figure, instead of the right-wing equivalent of a statue to be pulled down, I think the enormous movement to treat gay people as fully human moral agents — which was driven over the decades by countless acts of courage in the family and the workplace, i.e., “coming out” — was A Good Thing, both for the country as a whole and for the karma individuals involved.

  9. JTMcPhee

    About those feral hogs and “hunting opportunities:” https://www.themeateater.com/hunt/wildpigs/americas-growing-pig-problem-hunting-for-answers

    And it seems relocating “invasive wild pigs” for fun and profit is a thing:

    In fact, the demand for wild pig hunts has in some ways exasperated the spread of IWPs. Wild pigs sometimes manage to escape game farms and high fence ranches where wild pigs are actually bred for hunting purposes. Some misguided hunters have even trapped and relocated feral hogs in order to establish new hunting opportunities. These stocking efforts are akin to what’s known in the fisheries world as “bucket biology,” a practice that has had devastating effects on native fisheries throughout the country. https://www.themeateater.com/hunt/wildpigs/americas-growing-pig-problem-hunting-for-answers

    Nothing that humans can’t mess up because “freedom”…

    1. Arthur Dent

      The five “bucket biology” things that have really expanded non-native invasive species.

      1. Canals – they allow for fish to transit numerous physical barriers to enter new ecosystems. Alewives are believed to have entered Lake Erie and Lake Ontario with the Erie Canal in the 1800s and completely changed the biology of the Great Lakes. Canals in the midwest are spreading Asian carp, other non-native species.

      2. Highways – invasive plant species were planted on the shoulders and medians of highways in the second half of the 20th century and have spread throughout the country.

      3. USDA – the USDA views the planet as potential pastureland for cows. They specified “Conservation Seed Mixes” that are basically non-native grasses suitable for hay and pasture land for planting just about everywhere.

      4. Wood pallets – globalization meant lots of wood pallets that harbor insects that eat wood. some of those have been disastrous, including the emerald ash borer.

      5. Ornamental plants in landscaping – there are lots of pretty plants that become invasive and fill up the woods and meadows. This is a global issue as North American species have become invasive in Europe . The key reason is because local insects have not adapted to eat these non-native plants and so they remain healthy and uneaten, thereby having no mechanism to stop their spread.

      1. bob

        “This is a global issue as North American species have become invasive in Europe .”

        Plenty of European plants were brought to the US. Looking up where “wild” plants are from is very enlightening.

        These are examples which are both very, very plentiful in ths US-



        I also think on the power scale that native americans probably wern’t storming the shores of europe with earth and soil laden ships. In fact, it was the other way around.

      2. chuck roast

        6. Water Ballast – the green crab (Carcinus maenas) – brought to us by international shipping. Otherwise known as the neutron bomb of the intertidal zone.

          1. Wukchumni

            Don’t forget zebra mussels all over the lower Colorado River and in every reservoir in San Diego.

    2. jsn

      I stand corrected! Wow, your really right, nothing we can’t mess up for fun and profit.

      These are really smelly animals with musk glands all over their bodies and musk almost as tenacios as skunk.

      That’s a really putrid business!

  10. Hepativore

    So, the latest Sanders surge nationally and in Iowa will probably give us another backlash by corporate media. Since Buttigieg is taking a beating, and Biden is still flailing, this means that they will probably write another round of puff pieces for Bloomberg.

    As for Warren, I wonder how long her downward trend is going to continue. She really shot herself in the foot in terms of trying to pass herself off as a “progressive” while also trying to carry water for the DNC leadership and corporate elites. I wonder if she will hang around until the waning days of the 2020 race even if she is trailing badly like Clinton in 2008?

    Still, the DNC is probably going to blatantly fix a few primaries if Sanders continues to surge. They are getting so desperate, they probably will not care if the optics are poor and if they care caught red-handed. “Anybody but Bernie!” remains their philosophy.

    1. John Wright

      One can wonder if they are plotting contingency plans if Bernie gets the nod.

      Could be a reverse of 2016, where rather than hoovering up all funds to elect the presidential nominee, the DNC starves the nominee and moves the funds downstream.

      They must be planning for the possibility of Bernie as nominee that they need to non-support.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Bloomberg/Scarborough 2020: They are Republicans, but they use the correct salad fork…well Bloomberg does.

      2. Clodius

        Except that their plan, increasingly obvious in the latest rant from BO, is to dump biden and the other doofuses and anoint the BIG MO as the antibernie.

            1. Carey

              Thanks! I guess that’d work for the 10%. Not sure there’ll be enough implied consent in these neo-feudal “sharing economy” (heh!) days, though.

      3. HotFlash

        rather than hoovering up all funds to elect the presidential nominee, the DNC starves the nominee and moves the funds downstream.

        So smart of Bernie to raise $$ directly and be his own media. Another 4 years and the Internet will be totally controlled, this is truly our last chance.

      4. Carey

        In the most unlikely event they “allow” Sanders the nomination, he’ll get the McGovern treatment from Team Dem™. Don’t know if it’ll work, or not.

        Sanders 2020 “Organizer in Chief”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          McGovern opened himself up to the “McGovern treatment” when he tried to appease and win-back-support from the mainstream Dems he had just defeated. In particular, when he allowed them to infiltrate their Tom Eagleton onto his ticket.

          Just because the Catfood Dems will give Nominee Sanders the McGovern Treatment doesn’t mean that Sanders has to give them the McGovern Response. Sanders could make Gabbard his VP running mate ( if she is interested) and make it clear to the public that his campaign will be a series of Napalm Bombing Runs against the Clintonites and the StormTrumpers at the same time. No prisoners, no quarter, no mercy.

          If Sanders does it the “scanner way”, he will make the Clintonite-StormTrumper victory Pyrrhic for Clintonites and StormTrumpers alike. And then the SanderMovement will have a good chance to dominate the unstable landscape resulting from all that.

    2. Danny

      Her folding and going mute before one very mild heckler with the deer in the headlights, previews her first and last debate with Trump, were the Democrats desperate enough to nominate her to try and stop Bernie.

      1. Carey

        >Her folding and going mute before one very mild heckler

        Warren: “Don’t you people know who I am™?”

        Trump would have a *field day* w/ flexian Pocahontas

    3. WJ

      Again, Warren is the candidate that harms Sanders the most. Each is the second choice of the other’s supporters in Iowa. Warren will be attacked just enough to maintain her “progressive” legitimacy with the purpose, again, of drawing enough delegates away from Sanders such that he cannot win the nomination outright.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well then, they should each pledge their First Ballot delegates to the one-among-the-two who comes to Convention with the higher number of First Ballot delegates to begin with . . . . IF the bi-delegation totals add up to the magic 51 per cent. If not, then the delegates should just do what they please.

        First ballot or first ballot not. There is no second ballot.

    4. Big River Bandido

      Actually the biggest threat to Sanders from the Democrat establishment is the “glitch” in CA that switched thousands (millions?) of unsuspecting voters to No Party Preference.

      This is exactly how they stole the election last time.

      1. chuckster

        If you can remember four years ago, you might want to remember that Bernie’s people were totally lost by the time the California primary came around. No one on Bernie’s team even bothered to get people to try and register as Democrats (so they could vote for president preference portion of the primary) until after the date to change your registration had already passed. Bernie’s people also neglected to run any paid advertising in California until two weeks after the mail in ballots were allowed to be returned. They actually laughed at the Clinton campaign for running TV ads so far in advance of the primary date until they realized that early mail in balloting had started.

        Bernie may (or may not) be a great politician but his campaign hires have been uniquely terrible. There’s not a lot of strategic thinkers in that crowd and the tactics are pretty bad too. That “stolen primary” might be just a primary that was given away as much as pilfered.

        1. Carey

          Umm, are you in California? I am, and *do remember four years ago*, and what you describe was not my experience in 2016, to say the least.
          Delegitimizing non-Clintonite voters was the order of the day then, helped along by the *odd and conspicuous* lack of Primary exit polling, and I expect it’ll be the same in 2020. Sanders will make it up in sheer numbers, this time.


        2. JeffK

          Let’s not forget the less than noble moves by the Associated Press in 2016 in conducting the super-delegate poll right before the California primary – making their vote meaningless. I wonder who was responsible for that? Was it prompted by AP or HRC/DNC? Since then, I have no doubt that democratic intra-party backstabbing will continue in 2020. For all the moral outrage democrats voice over voter suppression and gerrymandering, the DNC appears to not be above crippling their own party.

        3. Big River Bandido

          There’s a big difference between 2016 and today: last time, Sanders’ campaign operation was a last-minute shoestring that managed to connect very quickly with voters. But his fundraising was always just a little bit ahead of the curve. During IA and NH he didn’t have the cash or the infrastructure to plan ahead.

          Not at all the case today. And the campaign has been trying to inform its supporters about the rules. Just hope they aren’t too late or too under-the-radar.

      2. Carey

        Looks like someone else has noticed the prevalence these days of the newly-loaded
        corporatist terms “glitch” and “snag”.

        “346 people died in last three months due to a snag™ with the 737MAX’s..”

  11. Oregoncharles

    “Are any of you or your friends and family registered American Independent Party and thinking you are registered as an independent? ”

    This applies in Oregon, too, though it’s just the Independent Party, and it’s sort-of liberal instead of right wing. Doesn’t really have much content besides election reform, but it’s our 3rd “major” party on the basis of registrations. Little voter loyalty, because of that plus a lot of their members don’t think they’re registered with a party at all. For that you have to be “unaffiliated.”

    Very clever political marketing.

  12. rd

    “I grew up in the Midwest, and something about this scene says the Midwest to me, and not the East. But what?”

    The answer is obvious – there is blue sky in late October instead of gray clouds

    1. kareninca

      I think there would be more pines in CT. Also it would be greener, even that late; lusher. And a dirt road would be more grown over, and darker. And the tree trunks would not be so thin.

      I actually find that photograph disturbing.

  13. Pelham

    Re lessons for Democrats from Corbyn’s defeat: I think there might actually be one.

    Polls just before the election showed the Labour economic program to be extremely popular. So the lesson can’t be that left-wing economics are not a good sell. If we set aside the minor factor of false charges of Labour anti-semitism, this leaves two possibilities:

    1) Corbyn and Labour failed to stand up forthrightly for Brexit, something of little importance to US Democrats;

    2) Corbyn’s and Labour’s insistence on linking left-wing social policy (diversity, more immigration, identity politics) hated in their working-class strongholds to their left-wing economic program (loved in their working-class strongholds).

    No. 2 suggests that Democrats here would do well to drop the identity politics and nonstop haranguing dying and indebted Midwesterners about their privilege and start playing up how they plan to offer any kind of material relief — however minimal — and pronto.

    1. Geo

      IdPol has been an effective tool of controlling the poor forever. One day soon it would be nice to see the poor realize they’re being pitted against allies in service of their oppressors.

      “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
      Lyndon B. Johnson

    2. Darius

      According to Asa Winstanley on the Unauthorized Disclosure podcast, the concerted but unanswered bogus media campaign against Corbyn supposed antisemism poisoned massive numbers of voters against him and Labour in general. They liked his program but despised him.

      Voters told canvassers, “I just don’t trust him,” but couldn’t put their fingers on why. Corbyn responded by appeasing rather than fighting. Can you imagine Trump, for example, responding the same way?

      Corbyn also threw allies under the bus to prove his sincerity to the establishment. Just like Obama. Too often reactionaries are ruthless and supposed leftists are appeasers. It never works. Think Dukakis or Kerry.

      1. Dwight

        Dr. Leo Panitch, a Labour expert interviewed by Flowers/Reese on Clearing the Fog podcast, said it was Corbyn’s waivering on Brexit, with the antisemitism smear a secondary factor that made him seem strange or untrustworthy. He also cited canvassers that were told the antisemitism. I’ll listent Winstanley, but do you know what he said about Brexit? Thanks.

        1. Darius

          Definitely a huge factor. But he thought the antisemitism controversy made the public unable to believe anything Labour said. I see your point about Brexit though.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Alexander Mercouris at Consortium makes a strong case that the trumped-up “anti-semitism” charges against Corbyn did not stick. Luciana Berger, who left the party while making a big stink over anti-semitism, lost — among a heavily Jewish constituency, no less. LDP leader Jo Swinson, who also led the pack on the anti-semitism charge, was defeated by an SNP candidate to her left.

          Mercouris draws a pretty compelling case — by looking at the actual election results — that what sent Labour down in flames this time was purely its attempt to have it both ways on Brexit. I can totally empathize with working-class Leavers who looked at the Labour leadership’s tortured position on Brexit and figured they couldn’t trust their own leadership.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Or McGovern. McGovern was the Great Appeaser in the 1972 Presidential Campaign. Were the mainstream Democrats appeased? It would appear they were not.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I am accepting the Hunter S Thompson description/analysis of events. You are correct in that McGovern never appeased anyone. I believe Thompson is correct in that he sure tried.

            Picking a running mate like Jesse Jackson for instance would have signaled no mercy, no prisoners, no compromise. Picking Eagleton signaled ” please, don’t hit me”.

            If Sanders could torture and terrorise the Catfood Convention into making him the DemParty nominee, I don’t think Sanders would turn around and make Kamila Harris or Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden his running mate.

    3. Carey

      Agreed, if your notion is that the Democrats want to #win; but that’s not their job.
      Their job #1 is to stop any people-benefitting candidates or policies from getting traction.

      Evidence to the contrary is welcome.

  14. Matthew G. Saroff

    I would note about the Democratic Debates, Loyola Mayrmount is being disingenuous when it claims that it is not a part of the dispute.

    The food service workers are working for a contractor, and are being treated like crap, BECAUSE of a decision by the school to move its food services to s scummy contractor.

    30 years ago, they would have been university employees with decent pay and benefits, but thos multimillion dollar salaries for the college president have to come from somewhere.

  15. MT_Bill

    Feral hogs – Dale Nolte could have mentioned the DNA work they have been doing. When USDA – Wildlife Services removes a feral hog during control work, they collect tissue samples. That has been used to create a genetic map of feral pigs in the U.S.

    Pigs are generally poor dispersers on the landscape, so when one shows up that is genetically dissimiliar to the local population, its been moved by people.

    I think they shown pretty conclusively that this has been happening across the country. Montana had a case a few years back where they caught a guy bringing a truckload in an he admitted he was going to turn them lose for hunting.

      1. Carey

        >And NC has the best commentariat.

        Indeed! TAC’s is often very good, too- though I roundly hate their new, opaquer,
        website “upgrade”- as with so many sites these days.

  16. Wukchumni

    They had the Wright stuff today, 116 years ago, but were they 2nd?

    Richard William Pearse (3 December 1877 – 29 July 1953) was a New Zealand farmer and inventor who performed pioneering aviation experiments. Witnesses interviewed many years afterward claimed that Pearse flew and landed a powered heavier-than-air machine on 31 March 1903, nine months before the Wright brothers flew.


  17. The Rev Kev

    “How to vote in California.” Our system is a little different and goes like this-

    Are you registered to vote? No? Well go register. You can get a form at the post office.

    Election times. Go vote or get fined as it is compulsory.

    An example of the KISS process – Keep It Simple Stupid.

    1. jrs

      I re-registered Dem, was NPP (yes an actual independent registration, that is no party preference).
      I wonder if it’s too late and things get screwed up by re-registering and I should have just done a crossover ballot to be “safe”? Such a hard decision trying to game what the powers that be won’t manage to screw up in such a confusing system, where I think I’m following the rules correctly, but one can never be too sure. It’s Kafka in Kalifornia.

      1. Carey

        I think you did it the right way by registering Dem™, here in the Golden State. What I do is after registering, call the registrar’s office, *get someone’s name*, and make sure my info is right.

        (Just ask me about 2016™..).

  18. Wyoming

    ‘We have every reason to believe they are being moved in the backs of pickup trucks and released to create hunting opportunities.’” • What? Does this strike readers as being remotely plausible?

    It is far more than plausible. It has been done a lot actually. And it is still being done on the sly. For example:


    Feral pigs in the US date to the early Spanish explorers and also, of course, to the colonists later. Then some folks also brought in Russian boars. Some go wild and we are off and running.

    They are great hunting and dangerous as heck. When I lived in VA there was no need for a license and many farmers would pay you for each one you shot.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “DNA recovered from Arctic lakes holds clues for our future world”

    Thanks Lambert for linking this. A fascinating article. To think that all that DNA would survive so long and has the potential to reveal so much about life from so long ago.

  20. dk

    But the impeachment train has already left the station. The House should have done this, surely? And didn’t?

    Pelosi & Co may have thought that the inevitable stonewalling would drag things out and they’d “look weak” or something. Weak sauce.

    Per Axios: Poll: Majority of Americans believe top Trump aides should testify

    The poll is WaPo/ABC:

    8. Do you think Trump should or should not allow his top aides to testify in a Senate trial?
    – Should allow 71%
    – Should not allow 22%
    – No opinion 7%

    71% is quite different from ±50%, and 7% is tighter than the 10%-20% undecided.

    1. Big River Bandido

      And there is no institution more protected from and more contemptuous of public opinion than the U.S. Senate.

  21. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the Goody Weaver tweet

    A little way down the comment thread there is one that is blocked with a message saying “This media may contain sensitive material”, What is too dangerous for all to view without first being warned?

    A short clip of Mark Blyth mentioning that the Hamptons are not a defensible position.

    1. Synoia

      I believe The Hamptons are protected by flood insurance. Federally (Government) provided insurance.

      Socialism for me. Nothing for you.

  22. epynonymous

    I’ve been noticing what I believe to be a complete lack of Biden ads, which is wierd. Could just be clever strategy, but what is that strategy, exactly?

    Regarding baseball, their viewership has been down for years (it started before the lock out, but the lockout went a LONG way to ending it as a “serious sport” with regular joes.)

    People say today is peak crazy, but then again, Michael Jordan once decided he’d rather be playing baseball.

    1. Synoia

      Think of Biden’s Presidential Election fund as a retirement gift. Looking at it that way, would you spend it if it were your fund?

    2. Big River Bandido

      If you aren’t in IA or NH (or maybe NV or SC), I would be surprised if you saw any Biden ads. Dude has to hoard his campaign cash since it doesn’t come too easily to him.

      The only candidates you could expect to see on-air elsewhere would be Bloomberg and Steyer.

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