2:00PM Water Cooler 12/30/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Thank you for all the excellent suggestions for books to read yesterday (and consider collectively taking yourselves up on your suggestions, too). I finished Snowden’s autobiography and am now starting Richard Powers’s The Overstory! (Several readers commented that they don’t read books anymore. Why?)

For by the duration of the Naked Capitalism holiday season, I’m going to run Water Cooler as an open thread (if I can manage to get WP to accept my having checked the “Allow comments” box).

Here, however, as a conversation starter, is a remarkable statement by Pete Buttigieg, only 29 seconds long. It’s all the more remarkable, since Buttigieg majored in history at Harvard:

Ellison is correct on the Declaration of Independence. He’s also correct that “they did it for the money” (see Dark Bargain: Slavery, Profits and the Struggle for the Constitution), but incorrect if he’s implying that’s the only reason they did it. I mean, there’s never a single reason for anything. Also, terrible advance work from the Buttigieg campaign. Who allowed that background?

Talk amongst yourselves! Do remember, however, that this is a holiday for the moderators as well, so don’t make them work hard. Be excellent to each other.

* * *

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: “I was wishing I had my regular camera because the thick fog was a pretty vail to the rising sun, when it occurred to me I have a new untested iPod camera. This grass with it’s oh so delicate feathery fronds was draped in sun-drop jewels. The camera has no exposure control, so it exposed for the bright sun, leaving lots of deep shadows—but still, not bad for a tiny auto camera.” Fun!

Again, if any of you go out on your Christmas walks with camera (or, I suppose, phone), I’m running out of plants. Wintry plants would be especially appreciated!

* * *

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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. Jen

      Because it is still to early for me to start drinking, I have yet to watch this clip with the sound on. The expressions on those kids faces, however, are priceless under any circumstances.

      1. Chris

        I don’t know about which Disney character he resembles. I do know around where I live it’s en vogue to say if you don’t like Mayo Pete you’re homophobic or obsessed with leftist purity tests or whatever new slander neoliberal wastoids are throwing around to support lesser of two evils voting.

        My response to this has been that I don’t care who Pete is sleeping with in the bedroom. I care how many people he’s screwed in boardrooms.

        I don’t trust a McKinsey alum like him anymore than I’d trust a Goldman Sachs alum. And the wine cave thing really is odious. I keep seeing Pete as this thing old rich white men are trying to make happen. Just like “Medicare for all who want it” – it’s supposed power players manufacturing something for the masses. But instead of boy bands, or New Coke, it’s Mayo Pete. If he had any ability to care for the moment he’s in he’d drop out now.

  1. cnchal

    Is that Mickey Mouse dressed in an American flag below the American flag? How appropriate. A true American cartoon hero.

    The descent to Hell is gathering speed.

    1. griffen

      Reminds me of a classic line from Aliens. “On an express elevator to hell, going down !”

      A film with many villains come to think of it, at least the creatures don’t know another way to reach their goal.

  2. jo6pac

    Reading books

    I have cataract in my left that makes hard to do a lot of things like reading. I hope to have it removed Feb. 27.

    All my comments this morning ended up mod mode.

    1. shinola

      I had cat’ removal done just over a year ago. I was really surprised at the remarkable improvement.

      Here’s hoping yours goes as well as mine did.

      1. katiebird

        Me too but my adjustment period was a little more dramatic than I expected. Light was SO bright! And it was a month or so before both eyes adjusted enough to read. Comfortably. Now I wear progressive glasses all the time but just have reading at the bottom. So I am always ready and able to read something.

      2. polecat

        Must be nice to have those medical means and wayz at one’s disposal .. something I can only dream of – within the fragmentary moments when I quit worrying about stuff, and can cycle through into fragmentary Rem Sleep … short of submitting to the Big Med/Hospital Complex, thus finding my way into cardboard refigerator-box living …

        I have a very close relative who has had a plethora of medical ‘interventions’.. courtesy of having previously retired from the State of Ca. EVERY time she expounds upon her life-saving/extending care, and all that goes with it … all that comes to My mind is – I AM F#CKED !! ..because I didn’t have the boot-strappin witherall to work for the Gov .. any Gov .. with all the perks, sinecures, and clout that being a government unionized worker has to offer …….. to some ! It’s even more insulting when My property taxes, rents, fees, assessments, utilities etc. are raised non-stop – in essence held hostage, in order to maintain the said perks, sinecures, and clout of people in governmental positions have obtained – be they Federal, State, or Local .. which are out entirely of my reach.
        I am Deplorable.

        1. katiebird

          I am lucky. That is very true. Also, things were very different when I was first told that I had cataracts. I would not have had the choices I had this year if I had to have the surgery then.

          I hate that you and so many others don’t have that choice. This is why I believe Expanded and Improved Medicare for Everyone is the most important issue of our time.

    2. jo6pac

      Thanks to both you on what happens and I do wish I had an extra $2500.00 progressive lens on my eye balls but I’ll go with Med-Care offer;-)

      1. katiebird

        I saved for a couple years to do it. I had to wait anyway because of high deductible with job insurance would have had me pay for the whole thing. Medicare was better but didn’t pay for the progressive or astigmatism correction. It was expensive. I guess now, I would hold off hoping Bernie could fix it once and for all.

    3. HotFlash

      A man we know was looking at cataract surgery for both eyes. He didn’t know what to expect, but feared The Worst, so he memorized all of Mozart’s piano sonatas while waiting for the cat’s to ‘ripen’. To his surprise and delight, his vision after the surgery and a bit of tweaking — his surgeon had him back every few weeks to take out another stitch or two until she was happy — he could see better than ever in his life, as he remembered.

      He could still play those sonatas like a demon, though.

      On edit: this was in Canada, so free at point of delivery. Cheesh, I don’t know what you people are waiting for. Make healthcare, not drones.

      1. RMO

        I had cataract surgery recently – in my late 40s (best the doctors and I could figure it was a combination of genetics and a lot of UV exposure from outdoor life and flying sailplanes). Worked out great, not even any real discomfort during the procedure and the healing. Just took the eye drops as prescribed and took it easy for a couple of weeks after each eye. After a life of being very near sighted I now have just better than 20/30 in both eyes, and don’t need reading glasses yet either. This was in Canada. Fully covered under BC MSP. If you get cataracts at a young age they apparently come in much faster and more aggressively than the way they do with most people who get them later in life. Because my symptoms didn’t match with the older people I know who had cataracts I was terrified it was something else. When I got diagnosed with cataracts I was actually happy because I knew that I had something that could be treated effectively! By the way – as for anything you may have been told about endless wait times under Canada’s “socialized medicine” the biggest part of my wait for the first eye surgery was caused by my not wanting to have it done until after Christmas. I was diagnosed in mid November and the first eye was done in January.

  3. ChrisAtRUinTT


    Ha! Yet another person who would have benefited from Eric Wiliiams’ “Capitalism & Slavery”. Something tells me neither Williams’ nor Goldstone’s book was part of the History syllabi at Harvard.

    ,,, but I could be wrong. ;-)

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Buttigieg would also do well to read Gunnar Myrdal, the Swede who crunched all the numbers and figured out just how big the big money in slavery really was. Once you realize healthy male farmhands were worth as much as $100,000+ in today’s money, everything about the ante-bellum South makes complete sense.

      1. Synoia

        Including the Civil War, where “property” was taken without compensation. A Southern Landowners fortune was tied up in Slaves.

      2. chuck roast

        Sven Beckert checked out myriad slave invoices for Slavery Capitalism. The price of a 23/4 year old male field hand was typically around $1,800.
        When you run the numbers from 1860 that’s around $51,000 in 2019 money.

      3. Heraclitus

        What makes you think the South made the money off slavery? New England was the provisioning and repair port between the UK and the Caribbean for hundreds of years, and was one end of the ‘molasses, rum, and slaves’ triangle.

        A slave acquisition voyage–on a British or a New England based ship–returned about seventeen times the cost. The wealthiest man in the United States was also the biggest slave trader, and he was elected to the US Senate from Rhode Island in 1820. Every large family fortune in Boston in 1800 was made in the slave trade. People now write on Wikipedia about the Boston trading families as having made their fortunes in opium. I call nonsense on that. It was slaves they made their fortunes on. That was said about the family of John Forbes (Perkins) Kerry in 2004. Today they are alleged to have made their fortune off opium.

    2. richard

      well if langley pete had real brass ones he could could just say:
      yeah, i’m from harvard, and oxford, and all that. and we really do have a different set of everything to differentiate us from you slobs. and yes, that includes different “us histories”. there’s the the real one we learn, and then the history we make sure is taught to you lot. deal with it suckers.
      But only if he had real brass ones.

  4. Summer

    “As happened in Germany, we are seeing the collapse of any set of common beliefs among Americans…”

    “Over the course of his life, he’d (John Dos Passos) come to see America as a permanently divided country. We’re often told, in hand-wringing tones, about the growing differences between red and blue states, and about our increasingly divisive political and social rhetoric. But, in Dos Passos’s view, division has been the rule in American life, not the exception; he considered it to be authentically American. The “U.S.A.” novels plumbed the depths of our rifts, and explored how they might be widened by a media-saturated age, and by the fragmentation of information and the latent social hysteria that come with it…”

    1. Wukchumni

      The one aspect of Weimar that’s very similar to us, is Germany was defeated in WW1, but not @ home which was barely touched.

      As we leave with our tales between our legs from various dispatches of dubious battle far from our shores, I suspect the caterwauling will be similar to what happened ‘over there’.


      Drove by Weimar yesterday, the California variant.

          1. Samuel Conner

            By the hundreds of thousands, IIRC what I have read. It was one of the reasons Hitler wanted all that land in the East — it was better farmland than what was available within the vaterland. It was his version of “never again.”

            1. Alex morfesis

              Meanwhile the spanish influenza had no effect on anything in germany at that time….to suggest anything mein dummkompf said or did had any basis of fact or reason is very
              black diemonde-ish….

              dog bless the a/o and all the secret weapons which

              “wood hav 1 da wore”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I remember watching a PBS biography about Harry Truman once. In WWI, Truman was a Captain of Artillery in France fighting towards Germany. The program read something from a letter Captain Truman had written his mother about the Allied Acceptance of the sudden German armistice.

          I can’t remember the exact wording but it was basically this: that the armistice should not have been accepted and that the German Army should have been forced to fight and die and lose all the way into every part of Germany itself. The reason Captain Truman gave is that because Germany was not defeated so comprehensively and totally that the Germans KNEW they had been defeated militarily, that they would bide their time, re-arm, re-prepare, and start another such war ” in twenty years”, forcing us to go to Europe again and “fight them again”.

          Was Captain Truman wrong?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Probably. If there had been an unnecessary invasion of Germany there would have been widespread destruction and mass civilian deaths. Not to forget that there would have been tens if not hundreds of thousands of Allied deaths as well, American too. If anything, the resentment would have been worse after this.
            As an illustration, think of how the people in the former Confederate States felt about the Union after the invasion & occupation of their former country. Was there any resentment in the South about this? Did they hate Northerners because of this? Yeah, exactly. A case in point – Vicksburg fell to the Union on the 4th July and that day was not celebrated there for nearly a century, such was the bitterness.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        Actually, France, Germany and UK all bombed one another with as much gusto as the tech of the time allowed. The Zeppelin and Gotha raids were famous but the French bombed German cities also. They didn’t have a way to bomb Berlin or they would surely have. To their credit, they focused on military targets.

      2. vegasmike

        The German death toll was extremely high. It was approx. 1.7 million. Death must have touched most families.

      3. Chris

        I love “tales between our legs”!

        Both because it immediately conjures the image of a dog shying away from a fight but also because we have completely lost control of the narrative surrounding the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Tales between our legs indeed :)

    2. DJG

      Summer: Thanks for the mentioning the brilliant U.S.A. Trilogy by John Dos Passos. Let’s get it on this thread and see what the commentariat make of it.

      I am currently reading another trilogy: Jean-Paul Sartre’s Roads to Liberty. Wow. He certainly understood sensuality and sexuality. Usually, we think of Jean-Paul as rather bloodless, gruffly sending away Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion. Not so.

      One of the oddities of the essay that you link to is the author’s attempt to make it seem that Fitzgerald may be more worthwhile than Dos Passos. Fitzgerald is more famous! But I was intrigued to discover on Christmas Eve that three of my nieces and I think of Fitzgerald as a fairly crappy writer, not worth reading. Gatsby? Meh.

      1. Summer

        Fitzgerald made it seem glamorous. That’s the hold he seems to have over some….stars in the eyes…

    3. Watt4Bob

      in Dos Passos’s view, division has been the rule in American life, not the exception

      Kevin Phillips wrote a book called ‘The Cousins’ Wars’ in which he explains our nation’s divisions as rooted in the English Civil War, and that those divisions were based on religious schism that carried on in the new world much as it did at home in England.

      Phillips contends that division can be traced all the way down to the county level in America, as people tended to self-segregate, and settle close to those who worshiped, and thought as they did.

      Phillips follows this division through the American Revolution and ultimately to the American Civil War, and makes a convincing, if revisionist case that our country’s political divide has always been there.

      In Phillips reading, aristocratic Cavaliers and bishops lost, while Yankee Puritans won.

      …all three wars.

      1. Joey

        David Goldfield’s. “America Aflame” is excellent summary of US civil war through this perspective.

        Also loved “Lawrence in Arabia” for blood-for- oil backstory.

  5. Robert Hahl

    What are you reading now?

    I am in the middle of two:

    The Great Class War 1914-1918
    by Jacques R Pauwels
    In part, it was a war to end the threat of lasting peace.

    Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72
    by Hunter S Thompson
    Matt Taibbi said he rereads this book every four years, to get ready for the presidential campaigns.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I like to read books that are made into movies. “Let Me In” by John Alvide Lindqvist is my current read.

      They made a Swedish Version and later an American knockoff starring Chloe Grace-Moretz.

      Basically a Swedish Vampire Pedo story that gets real weird.

      1. richard

        I used to have a thing when I was a kid about reading books made from movies. I was probably the only 10 year old to go out and buy the novelizations of Capricorn One, or The Bad News Bears.
        I was a weird little kid.

        1. wayne's world

          I did that too, same age. Novelizations of Hatari! and Son of Flubber stand out in memory. The photo insert in Hatari! with Elsa Martinelli wearing only a man’s shirt was added value…

    2. John C

      Campaign Trail 72 is just a remarkable collection of reporting. HST got people to open up (esp McGovern) in ways that no one else seemed to be doing at the time. And of course he described campaign scenes that no one else would, in ways that no one else would. Plus he made some news of his own with Muskie. Definitely worth re-reading from time to time!

  6. Karla

    In kabuki, audiences will accept anything, a man dressed as a woman, or vice versa, a statement made with assertion and in the background, the incessant beating of a drum. Kabuki’s highly lyrical plays are regarded as vehicles for actors to demonstrate their enormous range of skills in visual and vocal performance.
    Mayo Pete reminds us how Amerikabuki is dumbed down for for a much less sophisticated audience.

    1. DJG

      Karla: Sorry, Mayor Pete has nothing to do with kabuki, which is an artform that requires remarkable acting skills and understanding of gesture.

      The artform that Mayor Pete reminds me of is those big novels with a melodramatic strain in which a father who (presumably Dad Buttigieg) spends years building up the family estate, building the family business, living the shadow of the heroic grandfather (Gramsci), and along comes the young scion, who is ready to squander it all. Ohhh, there goes the cherry orchard.

      1. Karla


        I should have been more brutal…

        I’d say Pete’s long term political artform is more like an instruction manual than a novel;
        “Some assembly required, allow 40 years, previous versions not superseded,
        user assumes all risks, mandatory arbitration in a court of our choosing…”

  7. Wukchumni

    I’m reading CDB! while under the influence of minimalist sentences, IMNXTC, even though i’m half a century past the suggested reading age, and it’s a New Year’s gift for a neighbor’s 6 year old son he’ll be receiving tomorrow.

  8. Hepativore

    So, I have not seen any state or national polls showing the status of the 2020 race. I am assuming not much has changed with Sanders in second and Biden in the lead. I am also curious to see if Buttigieg’s recent scandals in regards to faking support from certain demographics has affected his numbers any, particularly in Iowa.

    As it is, Buttigieg, the Boy Wonder has now taken to boosting his numbers with imaginary donors:


    The Biden leading/Sanders trailing pattern really has me nervous. I know that we will get a clearer picture of where things are once Super Tuesday starts, but it seems that no matter how many gaffes Biden makes or how many people point out his horrible voting record and policy ideas, he still remains in first. Biden is like a lingering fart that will not drift away. I fear that the reason that he has so much popularity is that the vast majority of his supporters are trapped in their own bubble and are too oblivious or uncaring as to how shoddy of a candidate he really is.

    I know that Sanders does not want to burn political bridges, but he is going to have to take the gloves off when it comes to dealing with Joe Biden. The trouble is, I am not sure what can be done to the Biden campaign to land a killing blow. Biden has already shot himself in the foot multiple times, yet still shambles along like an unkillable zombie.

    1. Summer

      “Biden has already shot himself in the foot multiple times, yet still shambles along like an unkillable zombie.”

      Even though he’s named Biden, he’s more like Bernie from “Weekend At Bernies,” but in this movie he’s a corpse being propped up by media and pundits at some retreat.

        1. Karla

          He’s sounding the Tocsin, or in this case, political toxin.

          Bernie or Trump–it’s up to you Democratic voters.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          “republican VP?”
          bloody(metaphorical) stumps for feet, and still in first place(tm).
          he really is the Dem’s trump.
          and yet my befuddled, simplistic stepdad(short term memory is shot) is outraged when he discovers anew each time i cook over there that I refuse to vote for Uncle Joe(behold the target audience for MSM!).
          at this point, i reckon the official polls are like the drunk under the lamppost, looking for the keys.

    2. Grant

      One thing to keep in mind is that the polls are often not a reflection of reality and are problematic for a number of reasons. In fact, not only are the polls often used to manufacture consent, but the campaigns likely have better and more accurate data internally. My guess is that their internal data is different than the polls and this is why the Bernie can win stuff is coming out. They are ringing the alarm bells and are set to amp up the propaganda war.

      Having said that, it is depressing that more than a dozen people at this point support Biden. Even if the polls are likely overstating his support and showing lower support for Bernie than he likely has, Biden’s campaign should be DOA. For voters roughly 50 and younger in those polls, it is.

      1. Trent

        “In fact, not only are the polls often used to manufacture consent”

        I agree with this. Not sure why everyone gets so hung up about polls. They all said trump was going to lose in 2016 and they all said Brexit was going to lose in 2016.

        1. jsn

          Here’s the really fun part: if polls (now clearly affiliated with parties) can keep up the Biden illusion to primary/caucus day, because the voting machines are mostly hackable now, whoever actually controls them can show a significant closing of the gap between Bernie and Biden to account for the Sanders get out the vote campaign and still hand a fraudulent victory to Biden in the primaries for Trump to walk away with in the general.

          Narrative control all the way down.

          1. dcblogger

            lambert and Cenk Uygur paid attention to polls in 2018 and called it correctly, But I think that Iowa is impossible to poll because if the inherent volatility of the caucus process. The only numbers that mean anything right now are the Commit to Caucus numbers, and those numbers are very tightly held.

          2. Carey

            Very plausible, i’m sorry to say. The polls are not believable, despite Ball and Enjeti’s claims to the contrary.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        All the millions of Black voters who still worship the “Great and Powerful” Obama will transfer their worship to Biden because Biden was Obama’s Vice President and reflects the light from Obama’s halo.

        1. mraymondtorres

          Where have you seen evidence that there are millions of Black voters who still worship Obama?

          I ask because all of the Black voters I know were never huge Obama fans, although they almost all voted for him (as did I), given the alternative. Many of my Black friends seriously consider his presidency a major setback.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          OK so here’s a scenario: the recipient of the “Obama Mantle” (Biden or Deval Patrick, depending how the convention goes) wakes up to his surprise a month before the election to the headline “Obama Indicted for Ordering FBI Abuses Against Trump”.

          Brennan and Comey are already making noises about throwing the boss under the bus.

          And I’ve not heard mention of Nancy Pelosi’s sons dealing with Ukraine. She appears in the video of one of the Ukrainian energy companies, son was paid $180,000. No wonder she wont send impeachment to the Senate.

          1. Samuel Conner

            Perhaps she’s waiting until 2021 when, she hopes, the Ds will control the Senate. Good luck with that.

          2. Karla

            Here’s the video:

            Pay attention to 1:13 in this video as it has been removed from social media


            Here’s another video NRGLab posted the SAME DAY confirming in the Youtube text description they did energy business in Ukraine: “For example, Mika Newton helped to secure the rights to build a plant for the production of SH-boxes in Ukraine”


            I love the smell of narrative collapse in the morning.

        3. The Rev Kev

          I have my doubts here. In 2016 several million black voters – after eight years of Obama – simply stayed home and did not vote through disappointment. And many of them were in key battleground States which helped decide the election. After all, what can Biden seriously offer black voters?

          1. Isotope_C14

            He can offer touching his legs in the pool, and watching his hairs pop up in the water, and cockroaches, and he loves having kids sit in his lap.

            1. John A

              He can out pushup fellow septuagenarians (but only if they look in less good shape to start with probs)

        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          My slim reed of evidence is the excuses our black co-workers have made for all the bad Obama actions, even though they are smart enough to know better. Also Mr. Ta-Nehesi Coates worshipfully regarding Obama’s Presidency as somehow suggesting that American black people had serious governmental/social power and that Presidency Obama was good and uplifting for black people. Also self-adoptive American comedian Trevor Noah’s statement of support for Obama’s after-office corruption and acceptance of vast rewards for favors done to the upper class.

          Those are slim reeds of evidence, to be sure. It would be an interesting political-psychology experiment for Obama to campaign overtly in public for Biden. If he did that and his endorsement and support turned out to be the kiss of death which caused Biden to get thousands instead of millions of black votes during the primary process, then I will swallow my embarrassment and admit how badly wrong I was.

      3. Jackson

        My landline phone is getting overrun with out of area numbers. I just will not answer and there is no message left. I have got to turn the ringers off. Polling is such bull*shi*. As an independent in a red state, I will write in Bernard J, Sanders for President.

        1. HotFlash

          Jackson, beware!!! It seems that Senator Bernard Sanders has no middle name or initial. Well, a search indicates that Democratic Underground thinks it is F***g, but wiki and other sources do not confirm. So, if you are writing him in, it’s just “Bernard Sanders”

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I wonder if people with time on their hands and a mean streak in their hearts will start “trolling the pollsters”

          If one is prepared to waste a half-hour of one’s time on the phone with a pollster, there must be creative ways to waste the pollster’s time as well, and dispirit and demoralize the pollster as well . . . after enough good trollings.

      4. sleepy

        I have lived in Iowa for 20 some odd years and have never seen a campaign as well organized for the caucuses as Bernie’s, not even Obama in 2008. My county of 40,000 has Bernie caucus training sessions every weekend and the 26 precincts have precinct captains to work the room and verify the votes on caucus night.

        This is a semi-rural working class county that voted dem for president in every election beginning in 1984, yet voted for Trump in 2016. Sanders won handily over Clinton in those caucuses. I anticipate a similar win this go around.

        1. sleepy

          Sanders won handily over Clinton in those caucuses

          By that, I mean Sanders won my county, not the state. The state was won by Clinton after three or four coin flips.

          1. Samuel Conner

            “… after three or four coin flips”

            Thank you for today’s deep ventilation belly laugh. Those are supposed to be very good for one’s physical health.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The whole entire Clintobama wing of the Democratic Party is driven by hatred for Sanders. If the Clintobama voters outnumber Sanderbackers by just a little bit, then Biden will keep winning the polls by just that little bit.

      Then, too, the pollsters may be engineering their poll-taking methods to fabricate the Biden-lead they want to announce, in order to create an ongoing bandwagon effect to discourage Sanderbackers out of still backing Sanders and get ” just enough” Sanderbackers to resign themselves to the reality of a Biden Candidacy.

      But what if not one single Sanderbacker will accept a Biden Candidacy? Never? Ever? Well. . . if its nominee Biden anyway, then Trump will win and the Clintobamas will be well pleased. Given that they prefer Trump Term Two over a Sanders Term One.

      1. Vegetius

        Their fear of losing position greater than their loathing of Trump, Neoliberal Democrats are much more comfortable losing with Biden than they seeing Sanders smashed BoJo-style, which is what will happen barring some major economic collapse or war, and maybe even then.

        It is clear that the DNC is totally out-of-touch. But I am concerned that many prog/left Democrats share the mindset of the Momentum people in the UK: utterly without situational awareness regarding actually existing conditions outside of their own postal codes.

        With a message focused on economics, Sanders might well win back some of the white legacy Democrats that Trump took in the Midwest. But there is no indication that nonwhite elements of the coalition will turn-out for Sanders under any circumstances. And since the GOP is clearly going to smear whoever is the nominee as an anti-Semite, Sanders’ ethnicity may both fail to shield the party from this line of attack while simultaneously depressing the nonwhite vote in states like Minnesota.

        Still, I think a Sanders-candidacy, either as the Democrat nominee or as an independent is something to be desired. Getting new ideas in front of people when they may actually be paying attention is, in the long run, more important than short-term electoral success – which will be resisted by the same bureaucratic actors who tried to overthrow Trump.

        1. Librarian Guy

          The DNC Crew would rather lose than permit a (moderate) “Socialist” like Sanders as the standard-bearer . . . look for every attempt at a brokered convention if Sanders is strongly leading (kind of a repeat of nominating Hubert the Hump in ’68, a hugely anti-war year in the then-Dem party), or inviting Bloomberg in to run 3rd party in hopes that one NYC billionaire or another will hold on to the presidency for the Elites.

          But clearly all the polling is BS, Sleepy Uncle Joe is not long for the nomination, & Bernie will face the hatred of the Media & Political elites if he ever gets the nomination.

          1. Karla

            “Corporate Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose…”

            You HAVE read this haven’t you?


            I’ve printed a couple hundred copies of this, lent them to every Democrat I know and gave it to my students as an end of the year assignment. Bonus points if they get their parents’ participation and proofreading.

        2. Grant

          “But there is no indication that nonwhite elements of the coalition will turn-out for Sanders under any circumstances.”

          Where is the evidence that they won’t? What evidence could there be either way at this point, we haven’t even had the first primary yet? Who does better with communities of color? Since people of color, the poor and younger voters tend to vote in lower numbers than older white people and at least middle income people do, who has a better chance of inspiring people in those groups to turn out? Who is more likely to do better because of this than the polls are showing? Right now, Bernie is doing really well with young to middle aged black and Latino voters. It is the older voters, according to those problematic polls, that are propping Biden up.

          I don’t agree with taking solace over potential gains in the long term, or trophies for tenth place. With the environmental crisis alone, we simply don’t have tons more time, and given the candidacy to anyone else on that issue alone has dire consequences. Biden and Trump are both absolutely disastrous, and anyone that they would rig the thing for would be too. None of them will likely beat Trump. What good anyway is getting ideas out there if the same corrupt power structure is in place? The left’s ideas have been popular for some time. The problem is that the left, in this corrupt system, can’t get enough power to implement them. Either those in power are challenged and either that party is radically changed or replaced, or nothing will change, things will continue to get progressively worse. Sick of kicking the can down the road. That is how we got here, and look at the shape of our democracy, environment, infrastructure and society.

          Personally, what I think is staring the Democratic Party down is an existential crisis that it has simply never faced. This isn’t 1968 or 1972, things have gotten much worse almost across the board, the environmental crisis is global in scale, we are now a declining power and we are having an election now after decades of neoliberal destruction. If those in charge of the Democratic Party think they can be cute with a brokered convention, especially if Bernie wins more than anyone else, and not pay massive consequences they are deluded. If the situation is bad enough for those trying to rig it, they may roll the dice anyway. But still, the Democrats like Pelosi, Hoyer and Schumer could not be a worse position. A fascist/neoliberal alliance is a near certainty in the coming decades if things don’t quickly change. Cause keeping on this same path with no radical changes is not going to be able to be maintained in a democracy tons longer. Thatcher said at one point that she couldn’t do what Friedman wanted her to do in a democracy. That reality held her back a bit. That notion is now gone with many of those in power. They no longer assume that they will control a political system that is democratic, even superficially.

          1. Librarian Guy

            I agree with you– it’s been consistent that Sanders polls highest with potential Latino Dem voters, & I’m sure they’re not the only non-whites who know he’s on their side. (Not that Latinos don’t have white members as well)

          2. Vegetius

            If you think a fascist /neoliberal alliance is even theoretically possible you understand neither fascists nor neoliberalism.

            The Bolshevik view of fascism has always been wrong: although it may arise during periods of economic duress, it is not primarily an economic phenomenon.

            The fascists will liquidate the neoliberals (and vice-versa) long before they get to the Sandernistas.

              1. Vegetius

                >A fascist/neoliberal alliance is a near certainty in the coming decades if things don’t quickly change.

                1. jsn

                  “If you think a fascist /neoliberal alliance is even theoretically possible you understand neither fascists nor neoliberalism.”

                  “>A fascist/neoliberal alliance is a near certainty in the coming decades if things don’t quickly change.”

                  Okay, what am I missing here. I’m having a little trouble squaring these two claims.

            1. Grant

              Making claims isn’t an argument. Then there is actual history, which you can brush up on if you’d like. The US government, under neoliberal leadership, has supported outright fascist or proto-fascist elements since at least early on in the 20th century. Who do you think the NED, the CIA and USAID was supporting in Bolivia and Venezuela during the Obama years? Who in Bolivia led the movement to break away in the Media Luna area? People like the woman declaring herself president, carrying around a huge bible, killing people that oppose her rule and attacking indigenous people. Any neoliberals here providing cover for that? Have the neoliberals not supported far right elements that kill union organizers, social workers, human rights advocates, journalists and those seeking land reform in Colombia? Was there no alliance between liberal governments in the 20th century and fascist and fascist like states, especially when leftist groups were a threat? If you deny this, maybe you can explain the support of the then liberal US government for what happened in Indonesia in the mid to late 60s when the Communist Party was a major force, or the support that some liberal elements gave to the Nazis when the leftists were a real threat to take power in Germany. Hell, the Social Democrats in Germany played a role in beating back the leftists taking power. Or even FDR playing some games in Spain and not really being neutral, when the Spanish Republic was there and the left was dominant in many parts of Spain. I don’t think it is naïve at all, as I don’t think many of the neoliberals in power care tons about anything other than their own power and wealth and maintaining as much of this system as they can. In order for the interests to keep the current trajectory of the country in place, democracy itself will have to be done away with, and the neoliberals have already done a lot of work on that. What else is the WTO and deals like NAFTA but the neoliberals undermining democracy to the benefit of capital? Would fascist elements turn on neoliberals in the future, when there is absolutely no hope to implement a leftist platform and no threat from the left? Likely, vise versa too, but there is a long history of neoliberals and liberals siding with fascist type elements when the left is an actual threat. Read Kalecki’s “The Fascism of Our Times.” I am sure you have more respect for the knowledge of Kalecki than little ole me.

              1. Vegetius

                >Then there is actual history, which you can brush up on if you’d like. The US government, under neoliberal leadership, has supported outright fascist or proto-fascist elements since at least early on in the 20th century.

                I was specifically speaking of neoliberalism. You are suggesting that neoliberalism existed since early on in the 20th century? The actual history I learned taught me that it was primarily an immediate post-war intellectual phenomenon that did not begin to exist as practice until the 1970s.

                > Who do you think the NED, the CIA and USAID was supporting in Bolivia and Venezuela during the Obama years? Who in Bolivia led the movement to break away in the Media Luna area? People like the woman declaring herself president, carrying around a huge bible, killing people that oppose her rule and attacking indigenous people. Any neoliberals here providing cover for that? Have the neoliberals not supported far right elements that kill union organizers, social workers, human rights advocates, journalists and those seeking land reform in Colombia?

                I wouldn’t call any authoritarian government in Latin America “fascist.” Maybe rightwing authoritarian, but not fascist. There were fascist movements, yes. None took power. Some would argue that Peron was close, but I think even that a shaky claim.

                My definition of fascism is sort of a fusion of Payne’s and Paxton’s – illiberal ultranationalist political behavior based on a sense of national decline – not the Big Lebowski’s or Leon Trotsky’s. Marxists – like Kalecki – tend to misunderstand fascism (and everthing else) because they are ruled by a materialist view that does not accord with most of what we know about human nature. This is why they always blame the people (imprisoning, starving, and shooting far more of them than fascists ever managed to) when they fail to behave according to theory. It’s a defect in all liberal thought.

                >Was there no alliance between liberal governments in the 20th century and fascist and fascist like states, especially when leftist groups were a threat? If you deny this, maybe you can explain the support of the then liberal US government for what happened in Indonesia in the mid to late 60s when the Communist Party was a major force, or the support that some liberal elements gave to the Nazis when the leftists were a real threat to take power in Germany. Hell, the Social Democrats in Germany played a role in beating back the leftists taking power. Or even FDR playing some games in Spain and not really being neutral, when the Spanish Republic was there and the left was dominant in many parts of Spain.

                Yes, but so what? Alliances (ought to) come and go, based on the perceived needs of the moment and the long-term national interest. Only Americans seem to think otherwise. The most important alliance of the 20th Century was between two strands of Liberalism, your ‘liberal governments’ and the Soviet Union, with the aim of crushing fascism in Europe. Of course, once the calculus changed, the alliances would change, which is what happened. You will note that before this, Nazis and Marxists were allied for a time.

                >I don’t think it is naïve at all, as I don’t think many of the neoliberals in power care tons about anything other than their own power and wealth and maintaining as much of this system as they can. In order for the interests to keep the current trajectory of the country in place, democracy itself will have to be done away with, and the neoliberals have already done a lot of work on that. What else is the WTO and deals like NAFTA but the neoliberals undermining democracy to the benefit of capital?

                I agree with much of this. But just being anti-democratic does not make one a fascist, or even a rightwinger. More to the point, the power and profits of neoliberals depend now upon the continued spread of atomizing globalism, which is more or less what progressives seem to want, too, albeit with a different end state in mind. I thought this was obvious, but fascism is opposed to both social atomization and globalization, as both are seen as threats to the nation.

                Fascism is nation-centered, and while not socialist definitely more receptive to economic ideas that are to the left of anything the DNC would accept. There is actual history here, too, both in interwar Germany and Italy.

                Moreover, if neoliberals were as close to fascism as you seem to think, they would likely not be filling the screens with things fascists are known to dislike (homosexuality, interracial relationships, and what was once commonly understood as perversion in general) nor de-platforming all manners of rightwinger from social media. State-funded schools are full of books on Marxism, classes on Marxism, tenured Marxists, etc. I don’t know of any actual fascists teaching anywhere at the moment, do you?

                >Would fascist elements turn on neoliberals in the future, when there is absolutely no hope to implement a leftist platform and no threat from the left? Likely, vise versa too, but there is a long history of neoliberals and liberals siding with fascist type elements when the left is an actual threat.

                Where have you been? Actually existing fascists, as well as “America First” and other civic nationalist types, have already turned on neoliberals of the ‘conservative’ variety in the US and of the left strain everywhere else. I mean, Tucker Carlson (not long for FOX in my opinion) is now to the left of the DNC on economics. How Trump manages all this may have more to do with his re-election chances than anything else.

                What is true is this: no populist authoritarian movement has ever taken power in the West without some sort of alliance with native conservatives. That is real conservatives, not the American kind. But I have no doubt that when push comes to shove rank-and-file Republicans will go right and not left.

                And this is why the real fight on the right – which is only just getting started – is between nationalists, ethnonationalists, and neoliberal globalists. The goal of the first two seems to be to eliminate conservatism as a viable alternative while deliberately provoking the woke left to act stupidly (not a heavy lift) and abandon the middle ground. This internal division could be exploited by the left, if they could only get past the Marxist delusion that Fascists and Republicans are somehow in lockstep on all issues and only pretend otherwise for the cameras.

                1. Grant

                  You know, I felt uncomfortable in a post above because I thought it was a bit too long (this is too long, but it is my last). Then I read your post. You don’t need to quote me at length. I know what I said, and if anyone reading this wants to know what I said, they can see my post above. Your post was long enough as is, quoting me at length made it unnecessarily long. Just get to your argument.

                  Neoliberal ideas were present very much by the end of the 19th century when neoclassical economics was being developed. But, they were cemented by people like Hayek and von Mises in the early 20th century. Mises’s “Economic Calculation in a Socialist Commonwealth” is a radical neoliberal argument against socialism, planning, hell the government doing much of anything. Did Mises support fascists, because it was a means to fight communists? Yes. Did Hayek and Friedman support Pinochet in Chile because of the threat posed by Allende and socialists? Yes. It doesn’t matter if the term neoliberal existed then any more than it mattered if there was something called punk rock when the Stooges started gigging. The basic ideas were there, and there are radically different conceptualizations of terms like neoliberal or fascist. Pardon me if I don’t just accept your definition and how you are framing things. Read “The Left Wing Origins of Neoliberalism” by Bockman for an idea as to what I am talking about. Your explanation of what differentiates fascism from “right wing authoritarian” isn’t clear, and I don’t get exactly what your problem is as far as what Marxists have said about fascism. Which Marxists (since there are so many different Marxisms) and which thinkers? Kalecki is different than Adorno on fascism, and they were both Marxists, yes? You also seem to think that far right and fascist elements can’t also be neoliberal in many ways. George Rockwell objected to being called a national socialist because of the word socialist itself and preferred to be considered a defender of free enterprise. Was he too not a fascist? Kalecki’s article actually focused on just that kind of fascism. I did recommend a particular article, by a particular economist, so maybe just read it and critique Kalecki. I am not moved by your argument, but I am sure you don’t care, which is fine.

                  “You will note that before this, Nazis and Marxists were allied for a time.”

                  I will not, what are you talking about? When were Marxists “allied” with fascists? There are plenty of Western governments that supported fascist and far right governments and groups, going back decades, especially as a means to fight back the left. Heck, Reagan in Central America. Please, explain when Marxists were aligned with fascists. Not being at war with fascists doesn’t mean they were actually allied. Haven’t a clue what you are getting at. You are missing the damn point and are getting lost in your own sense of brilliance and your own semantics. In 2019, the far right authoritarian elements and the neoliberals support the same system, capitalism, and they have a common enemy, the left. The environmental crisis cannot be solved by capitalism, but they will not let socialism emerge. Since the environmental crisis alone signals the end of the capitalist system as we know it one way or another, they are and will be opposed to workplace, political and economic democracy and a democratic and equitable means of dealing with the crisis. Democratizing the economic system means they have less power. They both support a hierarchical society and economic system. The only group, broadly, that wants to bring about an equitable and democratic alternative to capitalism is the radical left, and there are countless examples (some of which I gave above) where the liberals and neoliberals united with fascists (or far right authoritarians) against the left.

                  “Fascism is nation-centered”

                  Nonsense. Hindu extremist nationalism exists in India even when they don’t have state power. You don’t need state power to the type of stuff we saw in Gujarat in 2002. Paramilitaries in Colombia are fascistic and are private militaries, not part of the state.

                  I have no interest in continuing on. But, if it helps you, replace the word fascist in my post with “right wing authoritarian”, and replace neoliberal with “free market”, or even capitalist. Do whatever you want so you can move on from focusing almost entirely on the semantics.

                  1. Vegetius

                    Marxists interpret fascism as an economic phenomenon. As I said, fascism can arise in response to economic duress but it is not an economic phenomenon. Marxists used to refer to it as the last stage before the final crisis of capitalism, which turned out not to be the case.

                    Never heard of the 1938 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (the Nazi-Soviet anti-aggression agreement) or its secret protocols which provided for the division of Poland? I realize a lot of Communists want to ignore this. Are we going to play the Stalin-Wasn’t-A-Real-Communist game now?

                    Also, I think you are confusing nation with state. Maybe this is where you are having problems. If you move on from semantics without understanding what words actually mean you are simply going to square your error.

                    A nation is a people and/or the land occupied by a people.

                    Fascism is nation-centered. Not state or even nation-state centered, although state-power is the ultimate but rarely achieved goal.

                    Believe me, I can understand why you don’t want to continue this.

                    Fascism is a difficult to define and resists most popular misunderstandings about it. For example, did you know that from the 1920s until 1943 Jewish fascists served under Mussolini? More actual history people would rather not contemplate.

                    But I suggest you consider the possibility that Marxian analyses of Fascism are not only not objective but wholly partisan, that is to say, agitprop.

                    And, more importantly, following Marxist practice (i.e. calling everyone you don’t like a fascist, mentally-ill, and/or a racist/sexist/homophobe/etc.) seems not to be having the intended effect in the actually existing world.

                    1. Yves Smith

                      You have repeatedly engaged in violations of our written site Policies, including making shit up (agnotology), straw manning, and gratuitous nastiness.

                      I’m not going to waste my energy on your numerous misrepresentations, but let’s use one as an illustration: the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. It is widely recognized as a matter of convenience. Hitler didn’t want to worry about his Eastern front as he was preparing to mobilize and push to his West. Stalin had already realized he was vulnerable to a Nazi attack and felt the USSR needed more time to fortify. In fact, Stalin had been trying hard to find other alliances v. Germany and had been rebuffed, so this was his fallback. You imply it was a sign of some sort of greater mutual interest which is laughably false.

                      Please go spread your disinformation elsewhere. It’s not welcome here.

                2. lambert strether

                  > The most important alliance of the 20th Century was between two strands of Liberalism, your ‘liberal governments’ and the Soviet Union

                  Certainly a unique historical perspective on liberalism…

                  1. Vegetius

                    “Strands” may not be the best word. But the two share some modern (an in my view flawed) assumptions that permit a grouping, at least when compared with both pre-modern and fascist ideas.

                    But both liberalism and Marxism are universalist in a way that fascism is not, and both depend on blankslate assumptions concerning the malleability of human individuals and the species as a whole that are also at variance with fascism.

                    I would also argue that anti-nationalism was implicit in liberal philosophy from the very beginning, while this was explicit in the case of Marxism.

          3. richard

            Couldn’t pelosi and hoyer and schumer be part of the incipient fascist/neoliberal alliance? Give them some credit for undying evil.
            You do some great writing on here btw, and it seems like i always get something from checking what you have to say.
            It does have the sense of a charade or con that someone is determined to play too far
            because they believe they’re immune from history now

        3. dcblogger

          Sanders has been consistently out polling Trump in every match up poll, that was NEVER true of Corbyn. The US and UK are different countries.

          1. Vegetius

            Ten day of Trump hammering Sanders as a godless anti-Semite will rectify those polls, especially among black voters in North Carolina and Florida, but also Latinos in Arizona and Nevada. When Sanders tries to defend by pointing to his ethnicity, this will hurt him in Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, and Philadelphia – as well as Arizona and Nevada.

            1. polecat

              I think that promising everything to everybody is going to reflect badly on Sander’s campaign. He should’ve stuck to a couple of core changes he’d like to institute, once elected .. rather than promise the world to his followers … essentially too much too fast ! .. giving his detractors fuel for derision and scorn.
              I believe that MC4A + a rational foreign policy (without all the RussiaRussia! Impeach!! nonsense) is a good place to start, then, once achieved, move on from there. Giving free medical care to foreign illegals, free college – with no mention of the uselessness of obtaining degrees (regardless of costs) as it is .. and the non-jobs that go with them .. rather than pushing for needed vocational training, and an nebulous green new something or another that is unarticulatingly vague, is the wrong way to go.

            2. kiwi

              IMO, Trump can’t do that much damage to Bernie. Trump doesn’t even dislike Bernie that much, while Trump has complete disdain for some of the other candidates.

            3. hunkerdown

              I think you’re oversimplifying and not taking into account the context of Israel explicitly backing the Latin American far-right evangelical death squads these days. (Bolsonaro’s kid even has the Mossad T-shirt.) Also, Sanders is of Jewish descent and therefore can quite effectively handicap the neocon right as the mentally ill people they are.

              1. Vegetius

                Perhaps. But I think anti-Semitism is as deep if not deeper in both latino and urban black populations than it is among whites. I also think that preference falsification regarding Trump among blacks may actually be higher than it is among whites.

                The NeoCon right is not mentally ill. They are simply recovering and second generation Trotskyists who have replaced class struggle with ruthless ethnocentrism while hiding behind oxymoronic constructions like “Judeo-Christian”. Also, they seem to be moving towards the Democrats.

            4. Grant

              It is rare to see someone say such outlandish things, claims without any supporting logic or data, and say it with such bravado. I wish I had that type of confidence, if you want to even call it that.

              Explain the magic of Trump calling a Jewish man who lost family members to the Holocaust an anti-Semite and it being a slam dunk propaganda win. Doubly this really appealing to Latinos and black people, who for some reason love right wing attacks against vulnerable populations, and then him being hurt by simply defending himself against horrific propaganda.

              By chance, who do you support, if anyone, in the primaries and the general election?

              1. Vegetius

                We are talking about democratic politics, same as it ever was, where saying “outlandish things, claims without any supporting logic or data, and say it with such bravado” is how the game is played.

                Facts, logic, reason ought to have more to do with it than they do. But they don’t. Under conditions of tribalization they will become even less important. This is why it is silly to imagine that one can simultaneously push both identity politics and facts, logic and reason. Even if they are not in all instances mutually exclusive to begin with, in practice they will become that way.

                Trump moves people by speaking to what lies beneath the conscious mind, where things don’t follow the liberal logical-positivist rulebook.

                In politics, it does not matter if an attack against Sanders as a godless anti-Semite (or more likely in his case, a fellow-traveler with and apologist for anti-Semites) is ridiculous on the face of it.

                What matters is whether the attack will move some groups towards a certain outcome (either supporting Trump or staying home) while Sanders’ defense moves other groups towards a similar outcome (either supporting Trump or staying home).

                It should by now be clear that anti-Semitism is not solely or even primarily a white thing, and to think that Trump will not attempt to plays both ways simultaneously is naïve.

                All that aside, I want to see a Gabbard-Sanders/Sanders-Gabbard ticket run on an unapologetically anti-interventionist, economic populist platform that acknowledges the need for national borders and forcefully eschews suicidal identity politics, either under the Democrats’ banner or their own.

                I think this is at present the best configuration to challenge Trump (who had not yet begun to fight, not really), but I think its ultimate value is more cultural-intellectual than political. But it just might lead to a third political arrangement which can begin planning for the next opening that presents itself, ala 2008.

                1. Carey

                  Good thing you’re around to set us all straight, and on so very many topics:
                  Bolshevism, Neoliberalism, Sanders supporters, Electoral Realities™..


        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          I too would like to see Mr. Sanders concentrating very much on race-neutral economic issues.
          The other DemParty candidates are trying to lure him into SJW traps of various kinds to trick and/or pressure him to bend towards the SJW Wokenism set of concerns. He wouldn’t really like it, but he might give into it just a little too much.

          I have read suggestions that some young and youngish non-white-identified people understand themselves to have economic situation problems which may be addressable by economic policy approaches. I think some of them may vote for Sanders throughout the primary process as long as he can stay focused on ” Its the stupid economy”.

          If Sanders loses the DemNom, he will “lose like a winner”. And if he somehow gets nominated and then loses to Trump, he will still “lose like a winner”. And if a Trump Term Two creates an economy which is good for many or most of the people whose support Sanders sought, then more Sanderism won’t be necessary anyway. But if chunks of the economy go badly for chunks of people, the Sanders effort will have left in place a whole movement-load of people ready to advance “New Deal initiatives” to meet the “New Deal opportunity”.

          1. lambert strether

            I think Sanders’ branding on class/economics is so strong that he can try broadening his appeal to the “woke”. The phrase I’ve seen is “the multiracial working class,” and I think that’s exactly right, especially if you try out, as alternatives, “the multiracial PMC” [lol] or “the multiracial billionaire class” [hilarity ensues]

            1. Carey

              >The phrase I’ve seen is “the multiracial working class,” and I think that’s exactly right

              Indeed! Excellent, reality-based framing; also, very hard for the Few/PMC axis powers to divide once it gains traction, as it’s doing right now.

        5. lambert strether

          > But there is no indication that nonwhite elements of the coalition will turn-out for Sanders under any circumstances.

          Which totally explains why Sanders polls better among Hispanics than any other candidate

          > short-term electoral success – which will be resisted by the same bureaucratic actors who tried to overthrow Trump.

          One halfpennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack..,,

      2. VietnamVet

        Joe Biden is the Plutocracy’s candidate for world ruler. It is just the Elite want everyone to think he was elected. In 2003 I knew the Republicans were crazy to invade Iraq. Knowing what side buttered my bread, I couldn’t admit that Democrats were insane until 2014 when Joe Biden was Point-man for the seizure of Ukraine and the restart of the Cold War with Russia. Sanity has yet to reappear. Adam Shiff is proof.

        Donald Trump’s Administration just bombed Shiite militias which are members of Iraqi military. That is guaranteed to make the US Iraqi occupation untenable. The judge declined to postpone General Michael Flynn’s sentencing despite proof that he was setup in a FBI perjury trap. There is too much money in play and the facade of normality will be maintained at all costs till it cannot be anymore.

        Joe Biden verses Donald Trump election campaign will be historic. It is likely to be the last one. The September drone attack of Aramco’s oil facilities is a harbinger of a Hegemon in a fatal dive. The USA is unable to defend its national interests. Either it withdraws or the Middle East will blow up, crashing the global economy at minimum.

    4. John Beech

      I’m not quite sure why the Democrats hang so loyal to Biden. It’s my opinion Trump will have his way with the guy because of his track record against busing for racial integration, in favor of removing the best bankruptcy option for American families, in support of the Iraq War, etc.

      I totally get why they’re terrified of Sanders, but so are Republicans since they’re the flip side of the same coin. me? I changed voter registration so I can support Bernie when the circus rolls into Florida.

      1. HotFlash

        Thank you, John Beech. As a Canadian I believe that Bernie is our last chance to save the planet. Our guys here, J Trudeau’s Liberals (not actually, he is the Liberals’ J Trudeau, just a pretty face on the machine) are going to sell tar sands oil to the last drop. This election is our do-over, and I don’t think we’ll get another chance.

      1. Neophyte

        A lingering fart that won’t go away means someone pooped their pants. So, to continue with this metaphor, Biden is the load in the DNC’s pants.

    5. Howard Lippitt

      I am not too worried about the polls. According to RCP, Biden is 3rd in both Iowa and NH. If he gets trounced in those two states I believe you will see his “firewall” crumble.


    Despite technically being a northern state, there were a lot of families that migrated up from the South to Indiana and thus a lot of pro-confederate sentiment in the state. So that’s what “centrism” and “reach across the aisle” looks like there, apologia for the slave plantation system.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Yeah, “Back home again, in Indiana…”

      The History of Hate in Indiana: How the Ku Klux Klan took over Indiana’s halls of power, https://www.theindychannel.com/longform/the-ku-klux-klan-ran-indiana-once-could-it-happen-again

      Too bad progressives have generally lacked the ability to coalesce around a central theme and “take over,” most places… So very hard, building and maintaining all those Multi-branched “coalitions” of prickly “issue partners…”

      “Of course there’s a class war, and my class, the rich class, is winning.”

      1. JBird4049

        That is the point in *modern* establishment progressivism. Create coalitions of separate groups to apportion rights and benefits instead of whole movements made from all the people giving equal rights and equality with guarantee of needs such as healthcare being met. Meritocratic identity with a camouflaged class system against the common humanity.

        1. Rhondda

          Indeed, JBird. And “the meritocracy” underpinning those “identities” has been shown to be a sham. Camouflage not working so well these days. Huh.

  10. martell

    Regarding Buttigieg, I agree that his comments are ill-advised. But did slaveholders know that slavery was wrong? The draft of the Declaration of Independence is somewhat ambiguous on this issue, at least as I read it. The author objects to commerce of a certain kind, commerce in people, as well as to theft of people. That’s different than objecting to slavery as such. He also, interestingly, objects to the King’s efforts to incite slave rebellion against colonial slaveholders. This is an odd view for someone who thinks slavery an “evil” to have.

    Though I am no historian, it seems to me that there have been slaveholding societies in which pretty much everyone, including the slaves themselves, found the institution of slavery unobjectionable. The only contentious issues had to do with who should be a slave (e.g., only barbarians or Greeks too?). In these societies freed slaves would often go on to own slaves themselves. So, it is at least conceivable that late 18th century slaveholders would also fail to judge slavery wrong.

    I will hazard a guess that what colonial American slaveholders knew is actually very complicated, with some thinking slavery morally permissable if not obligatory, some thinking it wrong but temporarily unavoidable in view of competing ends (e g., a functional federation of republican states, and, of course, money), and some either engaged in various forms of self-deception or never really having any one view of the matter at all.

    1. Daize

      Well said, martell; I would guess that is probably the most accurate description of the various viewpoints at that time.

      1. Trent

        Most of the northern people were just as if not more racist then southerners. We’ve screwed up the history so bad that people today think the north was full of angels smiting demons in the south. Our most just war!

        1. Yves Smith

          FWIW, police in the South don’t whack African Americans more than whites, contrary to popular opinion in the North. I featured a link on this recently…and due to the state of Google, can’t find it again. So I am not sure if the factoid relates to shootings or more general definitions of violence. The group that wrote the report was surprised at the finding, so this was not a case of cooking data to produce a particular result.

          However, in the South, there is also a lot of prejudice against so-called “poor white trash”…..so the policing may still be discriminatory, but more on income lines than elsewhere.

          1. anon in so cal

            This study?

            “Concerns that White officers might disproportionately fatally shoot racial minorities can have powerful effects on police legitimacy (31). By using a comprehensive database of FOIS during 2015, officer race, sex, or experience did not predict the race of a person fatally shot beyond relationships explained by county demographics. On the other hand, race-specific violent crime strongly predicted the race of a civilian fatally shot by police, explaining over 40% of the variance in civilian race. These results bolster claims to take into account violent crime rates when examining fatal police shootings (20).”


              1. D.M. Dunkle

                It’s a known fact that some of the most virulent KKK groups were located in the midwestern part of this country.

                1. Wukchumni

                  You don’t really think of the KKK and California so much, but Visalia 40 miles down the road from us was a real hotbed of hate, once upon a time…

                  In the late summer of 1931, more than 500 members of the Ku Klux Klan from throughout California descended on Visalia for the hate group’s annual California State Klan Convention dubbed the Klan Kloero.

                  Visalia seemed to welcome the visit.

                  The Visalia Times-Delta reported that hundreds of Klansman openly paraded down Main Street “clad in the white robes of the order.”

                  While the general public wasn’t invited to the Klan meeting held at the Odd Fellows Hall — which still stands today in downtown Visalia — non-Klan members were invited to Visalia’s municipal building where a dramatic pageant portrayed “the principles and ideals of the Klan,” as described by the Times-Delta.


          2. Amfortas the hippie

            I’ve replied to many a Team Blue-er that i sure didn’t feel all that privileged when the (mostly white) cops were beating on me.
            all it takes in the south(or anywhere else, I would hazard) is to be regarded as a Threat, however subjectively defined.
            In my case, what began as a powerful local mogul’s defense of his right to beat his daughter(i gave her a ride, and was thereafter the victim of official persecution…from “kidnapper/rapist” to ” drug lord/revolutionary leader”), became a crusade against all things Me: weirdo, long hair, too smart, too well read, lefty, bisexual,libertine, outspoken, etc etc.
            my pale skin didn’t privilege me near enough to mitigate all that.
            the upside, and my own personal revenge, is that i(or my aliases) am still a sort of mythological figure in that part of the world, like Billy the Kid, Robin Hood or Myrddn Wilt, some 30 years later.
            while my tormentors are all died hated and alone.

    2. marym

      In the video he’s talking about the amendment process and said the people who wrote constitution didn’t know slavery was wrong. This is false.

      Benjamin Franklin in Pennsylvania, as well as John Jay and Alexander Hamilton in New York, served as officers in their respective state antislavery societies.

      [Jay] and Hamilton, whose youth in the West Indies embittered him against slavery, were among the founders of the New York Manumission Society in 1785, which established the New York African Free School in 1787. That year, during debate on the Constitution, one of the most-vocal opponents of slavery among the Founding Fathers, Gouverneur Morris, called slavery a “nefarious institution” and “the curse of heaven on the States where it prevailed.” (Link)

    3. Braddock

      That the dominant faction of founders (the Virginians) were slaveholders is far less important to US history than that they were all Land Speculators in stolen and to-be-stolen Native American land. Fuss about slavery is mainly a red (or black) herring serving to hide the fact that the American Revolution (whose origin is in the “French and Indian War”) was about Westward Expansion and, in particular, the Ohio Valley.

    4. Cuibono

      Hmmm, lets see.
      ” Slavery is an abomination and must be loudly proclaimed as such, but I own that I nor any other man has any immediate solution to the problem.”
      Thomas Jefferson

      1. KLG

        A longer excerpt from Notes on the State of Virginia, ~1740, with the famous quote in bold:
        “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.–But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one’s mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation.”

        And yes, I am aware that Jefferson owned slaves and fathered several children with one of them. As I.F. Stone reminded us, history is the stuff of tragedy, not melodrama, when he called himself a Jeffersonian Marxist. IIRC.

        Anyway, Mayo Pete was a Teacher’s Pet from the get-go. No shame in that but he has never transcended that role.

    5. jsn

      Check out Jill Lapore’s “These Truths”. She mines the historical record for what the founders thought and wrote, publicly and privately, about slavery. At the time of the founding, even the majority of southern slave holders thought slavery would fade away in the coming years, they didn’t know how but didn’t contest it’s immorality.

      It wasn’t until a generation latter that southerners began to idealize their system of hyper exploitation, which they were perfecting with Taylorist management techniques well before Taylor (see Ed Baptist’s “The Half Has Never Been Told”) and developed an ideology of White Supremacy to justify it (in only their own eyes, no one not already a slave owner was, to my knowledge, ever convinced by the ideology).

      I don’t know of any instances in which slaves have been given an un-coerced voice on their views of slavery where they haven’t come out firmly against it, but the morality of the debate at the time of the founding is one of Lapore’s focuses.

    6. JTMcPhee

      Maybe there are really good, power-based reasons why “the slaves themselves… found the institution of slavery unobjectionable.” I think that notion may be comforting to the owner types and class, but anathema to pretty much anyone else especially those enslaved.

      If you are under the whip and can be killed pretty much with impunity, how do you “object,” I wonder?

      1. martell

        I was thinking of ancient Roman and Greek societies. To the best of my knowledge, most members of those societies considered slavery natural, a fixed part of the order of things. This view is pretty clearly expressed by both Roman and Greek philosophers, both high born (Aristotle) and low (Epictetus, who was born into slavery and freed as an adult). Neither seems to have been expressing a novel, idiosyncratic view. In any case, people rarely object to that which they think cannot be changed.

        1. witters

          In general – and not perhaps wrongly – the Ancient’s thought of slavery as i) a necessity, and ii) a tragedy (for the enslaved).

          Aristotle was different – he offered a really terrible ‘ethical justification’ of slavery on the grounds that i) there were ‘natural slaves’ who ii) were therefore better off if provided with a master.

    7. Fiery Hunt


      How many freed their slaves after some period of time, usually after the master’s family’s death?

      Morality doesn’t depend on “circumstances”.
      Founders were brilliant but not without moral failings.

      Oh, and Mayo Pete is a devil’s child of the CIA and Wall Street.

  11. Carla

    I have just started reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Unsheltered.”

    On order at my local indy bookshop: “The Scorpion’s Sting” by James Oakes because of a reference in a WSWS interview with Adolf Reed, Jr., linked here on NC.

  12. rd

    If you haven’t read “The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein, I highly recommend it (although it is a very depressing read). https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853

    In essence, it is an open letter in response to Chief Justice John Roberts statement in a ruling that residential segregation “is a product not of state action but of private choices.” His stated goal in the book is to lay out how residential segregation in the US was “de jure” created by or greatly supported by federal, state, and local governments and therefore government action to reverse it is legally justified, unlike the Supreme Court’s current beliefs and position. Rothstein says that Robert’s ruling would be correct if the “facts” understood by Roberts and the Court were correct, but they are not. And he sets out to prove that in depressing detail. Very few aspects of current American life are unimpacted by what he lays out in the book.

  13. The Historian

    I’ve just got “Early Medieval Europe” by Roger Collins in the mail today and have just started reading it. In a little over 100 years during the 5th and 6th centuries, Rome’s population fell from about 600,000 to 70,000. Where did these people go? Not all of them could become farmers. How did that affect trade or other cities in the region? I’m hoping this book will give me some clues.

    Rome was sacked twice during this period but I haven’t heard of any mass murders taking place during that time. Constantinople had the plague in 541 which accounts for their population loss, but so far I’ve come across no evidence that Rome suffered from plague. So what happened to all these people? Most histories I’ve read about Rome seem to mention that yes, it happened, but give no details and then skip over it. It seems to me that a population loss that big would have caused some ripples somewhere!

    If any of you know of good books about the early Medieval people in Europe, let me know! It’s becoming my latest passion.

    1. Summer

      Check what was going on with “The Lombards”…may provide a clue. That group was active around that area around then (if memory serves).

          1. Oregoncharles

            I wish I could remember even the title, but Tuchman also published an article about the difficulties of researching “A Distant Mirror” that I found fascinating. She wrote about both the scarcity of documentation and their child rearing practices – barbaric, by present standards. I’m not that good at finding such things, but it would be worthwhile.

    2. Synoia

      Try Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire. Although I believe Gibbon biased, it is considered the definitive work.

      Decline and Fall is not easy reading.

      John Julius Norwich covered the same period and is very readable.

      1. flora

        Yes. I’ve been slowly working my way through Decline and Fall. The difficulty, for me, was realizing I needed to slow my 21th C written work uptake speed expectation and give the same mental processing and response time to D&F that I give to, say, the K.J. bible or Matthew Arnold. Decline and Fall cannot be taken in as a series of twitter posts, cannot be taken in at speed. Once I slow my response expectation from the 21st Century’s written word speed to the 18th C written word speed, a la the K.J. bible for example , then it’s golden. But, it takes several minutes reading to adjust to the slower, statelier, majestic pace of the work, to take it in. I have to bookmark my last point, then at next reading start before that endpoint to enter the pace and rhythm of his writing.

        That said, I’ve found it very much worth the effort. For instance: as the Roman empire grew it ‘adopted’ it’s new colonies and traded with them, giving them every reason to support Roman rule. But when the Roman empire decide ‘foreign’ entities were more important than its current colonies, and stopped support-by-trade with its earlier colonial conquests ,the earlier colonies drew away from Rome. (Can you say ‘rust belt’, boys and girls? )

        Note: Gibbon thought the fall of the Roman Empire was not complete until around 1500 a.d. , so encompaseed well within the range of medieval Europe.

        1. The Historian

          I’ve tried to read Gibbons a couple of times. Maybe it’s time to try again. I will check out Norwich!

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          Gibbon for all his prejudice is still my favorite on the matter of rome.
          and he’s got a sharp and arid wit, too.
          i’m currently reading(among other things) “the Inheritance of Rome(illuminating the dark ages, 400-1000)” by Chris Wickham.
          he focuses a lot on how folks viewed themselves…ie: small “i” identity, not Woke-ism…and has as much disdain as Gibbon for his fellow historians’ shortcomings and blindnesses.

          I do all my book reading in the very early mornings…especially in winter, when i awake at 3am(which is really 4am, which is preferred, damned clock meddlers) to tend the fires….when it’s quiet, and well before i get medicated due to winter weather pain and suffering.
          also in the pile of books on my bed is Maurice Manning’s “One Man’s Dark”, and Marx’ “Grundrisse”—which i haven’t been able to get into, yet, whether because of bad translation, or that the time of year is non-conducive to such density.
          it’s the same with Carol Quigly’s heavy tome, “Tragedy and Hope”…hurts my hand to hold it in bed while drinking coffee,lol.
          both of these latter will likely have to wait for Spring to spring so they can be laid upon the garden table with a reading rock holding them open.
          also been poking through Leaves of Grass, again, as the mood strikes….Uncle Walt is one of my heroes.

  14. Misty Flip

    “Prostituted his negative,” Jefferson accuses King George, abuse of the veto. The beef is over the importation of slaves, flooding the Colonial market, not the institution itself. Jefferson continues, “[H]e is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us.” Resurrection is the real fear. King George can create new slaves by warfare and the Colonialists cannot. * Buttigieg refers to a “bad thing” for his juvenile audience, as in “necessary evil”. And Keith Ellison is being a little disingenuous in implying bonding a servant to a landowner was believed to be taboo, as if the forefathers thought of themselves as syndicate traffickers. In comparison, “lawful” piracy was cool at the time. Regular folks also thought attending public executions was time well-spent.

    Within the Constitution, there are the tools necessary to be better people, was Buttigieg’s point. Who tellingly, is enough of an apparent threat to churn the memes. [He’s a Veep at best.] Do the Republicans do this to their own? Trying to shame a presidential political campaign as if it were a person? Each campaign is a machine; the Sanders machine will not run more effectively when the machine next to it is on the fritz. Focus. If Sanders is the nominee, he may need the affable Midwesterner’s devotees without wasting the effort of sheep-dipping the boy back to respectability.

    1. Carey

      ..and proofread within an inch of its life.

      Hepcat insider-ism is hard work! I hear it pays well, though.

  15. Carolinian

    I’m readingThe Lincoln Highway–Highway Across America.

    It’s about the first attempt to establish a transcontinental highway at a time when most roads outside cities were dirt or graveled tracks. It’s hard to believe that was only 100 years ago. Both Packards and Model Ts started taking the dubious journey to San Francisco with a lots of spare tires and equipment for extricating from the mud whenever it rained. More recently I drove the route, I-80 version.

    Ironically, as reported here, some rural states are now tearing up the asphalt and reverting little used roads to dirt and gravel to save on maintenance. Many young people don’t even own cars.

    But for those of us who grew up in the heart of that era it’s hard to shake the idea that car = freedom.

    1. Wukchumni

      We just drove I-80 from Cheyenne to Reno, and it’s not far from the route the 49’ers came overland on 170 years ago, and the Wyoming stretch is dreary high plains and natural sources of water seemed really scarce, as did trees, while the Nevada portion is endless basin & range.

      You can almost imagine in your mind, all the dust & horse poop in the air, a rather endless line of wagons made on a single track trail, en route.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I have got to find me a good book on those wagon trains and their long journeys out west. There would be amazing stories to be told. Anybody here with any recommendations?

        1. The Historian

          Try looking up diaries and journals of those who took the Oregon or Santa Fe trails. There have been many published in the past. Two I know of are “Days on the Road, Crossing the Plains in 1865” by Sarah Herndon, and “Across the Plains in 1844” by Catherine Sager. Neither of these books are PC towards Native Americans, but given the age, that was not uncommon in the US.

            1. flora

              adding: as you can tell, historical maps are a particular interest of mine. Not to tax the patients of NC readers too much, the Library of Congress (loc) has wonderful collections available online.
              This is a link to their ‘memory’ project collection. Some maps, some photos. some docs.:

              Specific to the Santa Fe Trail:

              The Library of Congress online collection is a wonderful resource.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                the Western Trail(one of Charlie Goodnight’s efforts) goes almost past my front door. Occasional reenactments plod up 87 and are cool to watch from the Falcon(ranch golfcart).
                my favorite books on all that are still McMurtry’s…although there are many more in my Library…but it’s too derned cold to go over there at the moment.

            2. Rhondda

              I’ll have the temerity to offer a correction, flora, as I live in Westport, which is actually in Kansas City, Missouri. That website mistakenly says Kansas. The Oregon and Santa Fe trails ‘originated’ in Independence, Missouri — not Westport. Westport Road heads out of Independence, and trundles over hill and dale to Westport (originally called Ol’ Possum Trot) which, as I understand it, was a major stopping-off point for provisioning the next leg of the journey. I’ll have to look next time I’m there; I think Westport Road “bottoms out” at Mission Road. As in, the old Shawnee Mission.

              Interesting letters at that website. The writers’ spellings let me hear their voices and accents, which was lovely! Thank you for sharing.

        2. Wukchumni

          On April 11, 1849, William Swain, of Youngstown in upstate New York, “”rose early. . . preparatory to leaving home on my long journey”” to the California gold-fields; for 203 days he faithfully kept his diary–leaving off still short of his destination–and, then and thereafter, wrote long letters home. From these accounts, the letters Swain’s family wrote to him, and other, supplementary firsthand sources, Holliday has reconstructed the total experience of the goldseekers–through their (often) empty-handed return home–


        3. Carolinian

          I-80 often follows the Oregon Trail although the pioneer route veered to the north in Wyoming and crossed South Pass. There are places where you can still see the wagon ruts.

          In Nevada the Lincoln Highway veered south of current I-80 to avoid the Utah salt flats. This central Nevada route from Ely to Fallon is now known as “the loneliest road in America.” There’s very little other than basin and range.

          And yes that Eisenhower saga was on the Lincoln Highway.

      2. Carolinian

        Then past Cheyenne you saw the large bust of Lincoln at the rest area at the Sherman Summit–the highest point on I-80 at 8,800 ft. This is the memorial to the Lincoln Highway. I thought the middle part in Wyoming a bit dull but the area around Laramie to be very pretty indeed. I camped near there. There are some spectacular cliffs near Green River.

        We kudzu clogged Carolinians trip out on the open spaces.

        And my bad–the subtitle of the book is Main Street Across America. It’s very good but may be out of print. I got a used version for Christmas.

    2. rd

      This is why I am cautious about prognostications about societal impacts of things like climate change looking out very long term. If you compare the human world today to 100 and 200 years ago, the changes are unimaginable.

      100 years ago, cars were just starting to become available, there was no road infrastructure, suburbs didn’t exist, antibiotics didn’t exist, airplanes were still largely small biplanes,etc. Warfare was the most industrialized thing on the planet with machine guns and artillery inflicting massive devastation on armies.

      200 years ago, the human world was entirely agriculture. Sailing ships were crude. The wealthy had decent carriages but few roads to drive them on. Most everybody else was lucky to have an animal to pull a crude cart. The steam engine and cotton gin were just starting to play a role in the coming Industrial Revolution. The cotton gin was just starting to fuel demand for cotton which resulted in a large increase in the demand for slaves in the US.

      We have the capacity to vastly change our society and planet in 100 years, for good and for bad.

  16. richard

    Here is k. kulinski commenting on Obama praising Warren and how he is poised to endorse her, should the Great Gray One get off to a good start.
    Get ready to make that endorsement buddy, she’s going to need it
    how much good your endorsement does will be interesting to see
    but if the ghost of 2008 is still as strong as i think it is
    you may experience a feeling of loss

  17. Carey

    I’m just starting T. Frank’s ‘Rendezvous with Oblivion’, from last year,
    and hoping it’s halfway as good as ‘Listen, Liberal’ was. He also has what
    looks like an interesting book coming out mid-next year, on populism.. ;)

    Just started Edith Wharton’s ‘Ethan Frome’, as well.

  18. The Rev Kev

    Started to read a book of a different nature called “Walcheren 1809” by Martin R. Howard which is about a failed British expedition to the Netherlands. About 40,000 men landed but Walcheren fever took hold and 10% of this force died to it. Combat deaths were negligible in comparison. This disease dogged the survivors the rest of their lives and many died early while most of the rest suffered malaria-like attacks for years after.
    Wellington eventually refused battalions from this campaign as reinforcements to his campaign in the Peninsular as too many fell sick and could no longer stand campaign duty. It may not sound relevant today but with so many troops from so many countries going to so many places back of beyond, who is to say that the same could not happen again one day.

  19. Basil Pesto

    I’m reading Dead Souls by Gogol. It’s funny and fabulous. Finished the completed first part and on to the incomplete second part. Will follow this with Nabokov’s lectures on Gogol (though not his book on the author, though I imagine there’s some overlap in material.

    For non-fiction, I’m chipping away at Sy Hersh’s ‘Reporter’

    1. BoyDownTheLane

      Am currently reading:
      by HG Wells, “Michael Strogoff” (based on its mention in a Quester travelogue video of a journey between Moscow and Siberia); see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Strogoff and see http://www.questardvdstore.com/Scenic-Routes-Around-the-World-6-pk-_p_379.html and/or https://www.hamiltonbook.com/scenic-routes-around-the-world-dvd

      the old classic “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat Moon.

      Expect to receive and begin very soon https://www.amazon.com/General-Who-Wore-Six-Stars/dp/1612349633

  20. Stadist

    I will have to challenge the accusations declaring the ‘not understanding slavery was wrong’ as incorrect statement. Let’s consider it this way, slavery is just an extreme example of inequality or class division. We have many wealthy, affluent and rich people who consider extreme wealth differentials as right or even just situation, i.e. there is nothing wrong with extreme poor but themselves. This is not defend slavery in any manner, I’m just trying to put it in right context and sort of spectrum.
    If people want to declare that todays extremely poor and slaves are completely different and not comparable or relatable because extremely poor have their human rights then consider this: In many western societies of today it actually demands quite considerable amounts of money to defend and exercise your rights (property being main example) through justice system. In my ‘exceptional nordic’ (this is sarcastic quip, don’t mistake for proudness) country, Finland, there are news all the time about some property litigations dealing with quality of construction where the litigation fees falling on the losing side accumulate easily up to 50 000€. Sure, this isn’t horribly large amount of money, but it’s large enough to deter even many middle class families (being encumbered by debt) from litigations and especially those of the less wealthy steps of society.
    Surely enough this sounds like I’m crying about some middle class first world problems, but this is how the justice system gets taken over by the wealthy and especially the larger companies. It’s also how justice system eventually dies as people realize the deep injustice of it and become cynical.

    But deep down I think it all circles back to the fact that those on the top steps of the ladder see nothing wrong with the system and might even consider it too just. Therefore the others don’t deserve the quality of life they are getting even right now. I see and hear quite commonly people claim that menial but absolutely necessary laborers (cleaners, nurses etc. low education demand jobs in general) can’t be paid living wages because their work isn’t valuable enough. The neoliberals will take us to neo-slavery in no time, but it will all be just and right, because that’s the real value of peoples work and time.

    1. Yves Smith

      I don’t mean to sound harsh, because I infer you are relatively new here, but I suggest you read comments before commenting. Your contention was already debunked by quoting specific Founding Fathers and pointing to activities of others. Buttigieg’s claim was about the drafting of the Constitution specifically.

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