2:00PM Water Cooler 12/4/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Falling impeachment support raises pressure for Democrats on trade” [The Hill]. “The drop in support for impeachment in the polls is increasing pressure on Democrats to strike a deal on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)…. Polling on impeachment has found that a majority of respondents support the process, but support has dropped from key groups of independents as public hearings got underway. An Emerson poll in November found 43 percent of voters overall supporting impeachment compared with 45 percent opposed. That represented a 6-point swing from the pollster’s survey in October. If that trend continues as the inquiry heads to the House Judiciary Committee this week, Democrats could become more mindful of notching a major bipartisan accomplishment.”

“U.S., China Move Closer to Trade Deal Despite Harsh Rhetoric” [Bloomberg]. “The U.S. and China are moving closer to agreeing on the amount of tariffs that would be rolled back in a phase-one trade deal despite tensions over Hong Kong and Xinjiang, people familiar with the talks said. The people, who asked not to be identified, said that U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments Tuesday downplaying the urgency of a deal shouldn’t be understood to mean the talks were stalling, as he was speaking off the cuff. Recent U.S. legislation seeking to sanction Chinese officials over human-rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang are unlikely to impact the talks, one person familiar with Beijing’s thinking said. U.S. negotiators expect a phase-one deal with China to be completed before American tariffs are set to rise on Dec. 15, the people said. Outstanding issues in the talks include how to guarantee China’s purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and exactly which duties to roll back, they added.”

“French exporters from the vineyards of Champagne to Chanel workshops are looking at their supply chains as a tariff dispute between the U.S. and France flares up. The magnitude of the proposed 100% tariffs on $2.4 billion in exports threatens to bite a luxury-goods industry that seemed relatively insulated from trade tensions” [Wall Street Journal]. “The dispute is rooted in questions over taxation of digital services from big tech companies… Shifting their specialized production would be hard for many of the brands. Still, conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE has three U.S. workshops and others outside France that could take on production to avoid the levies.” • See “President Trump and Bernard Arnault of LVMH to Open New Louis Vuitton Factory in Texas.”

“Forget the paper trail — blockchain set to shake up trade finance” [Financial Times]. “On average, a cross-border transaction requires the exchange of 36 documents and 240 copies, says Kerstin Braun, president of Stenn Group, which provides trade finance. By 2050, experts suggest blockchain could provide a digital record of transactions. This would streamline the paper trail and improve transparency between parties, allowing the introduction of practices such as ‘dynamic factoring’, where interest rates change as goods approach their final destination.” • And then we could speculate on dynamic factoring! Anyhow, 2050?


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

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

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

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

Here is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of 12/4/2019, 12:00 PM EST. Biden leads, Sanders strong second, Warren five points back (!), Buttigeig trailing. The tiny YouGov poll follows big fat Morning Consult. This pattern seems temporarily stable. On to the next debate, and Iowa:

Here is the latest, as of 12/4/2019, 12:00 PM EST:

Changes: Harris out, Bloomberg in. Also, we can now show events (e.g., debate #3).

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

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

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Biden says Buttigieg ‘stole’ his healthcare plan” [Reuters] • Two rats fighting over the same stale slice of pizza….

Biden (D)(2): Classy:

I’m not much of a Rothko fan, but even I wouldn’t want Biden’s latest gaffe to be putting an elbow through a large and expensive painting.

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(1): ” In Appeal to Hard Left, Bloomberg Praises Chinese Communism” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. The editor who wrote that headline needs to be spoken to. The “hard left”? Who, exactly? Bob Avakian? Wu mao tankies? Levitz himself: “it is remarkable how much the patron saint of neoliberal paternalism’s views on China overlap with those of “tankie” Twitter. It’s hard to imagine that a figure like Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could have argued that Xi is not a dictator — and that the Chinese Communist Party is accountable to majoritarian opinion — without suffering broad bipartisan condemnation. Yet Bloomberg’s remarks in September prompted few calumnious columns on the authoritarianism of the anti-populist center. Which is unfortunate, since the U.S. business community’s interests in Beijing make this political tendency a genuine threat… Donald Trump has tried to paint his Democratic opponents as cosseted coastal elites who are in bed with China, exert undue influence over the mainstream media, and want to tell working-class Americans how to live [and die. –lambert]. If Democrats somehow nominate Bloomberg, Trump’s ideal foil will be made of money instead of straw.”

Buttigieg (D)(1): “What’s Really Behind Pete Buttigieg’s Lack Of Support Among Black Voters?” [FiveThirtyEight]. • This looks to me like a long list of rationalizations for Buttigieg’s black support, which in my view boil down to (a) charitably, a tin ear for black concerns and worldview, and (b) bad and/or painful policy in the South Bend with the police, housing, and now desegration. “These people all talk to each other,” you know. As for example:

Buttigieg (D)(2): “Pete Buttigieg’s Willful Illusion” [New York Magazine]. “During a campaign stop in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Buttigieg admitted to Reverend William Barber that he’d underestimated how badly segregated schools still were in South Bend. ‘I have to confess that I was slow to realize — I worked for years under the illusion that our schools in my city were integrated,’ Buttigieg said. “Because they had to be, because of a court order.’…. For Buttigieg, knowing that segregation was still a problem wasn’t just a matter of easily-ascertainable testimony provided in local newspapers and by any black parent whose child attended a local school. It was the subject of one of the city’s longest-running civil-rights mandates, and thus an odd thing for its mayor to be unaware of, even if the schools weren’t under his immediate purview…. [A]s he spins his proclaimed ignorance into a self-deprecating campaign-trail story about personal growth, he’s mystified the issue further by locating the problem far afield — in segregation patterns in the surrounding county; in desegregation processes he didn’t realize were ongoing, despite their decades of continuous implementation.” • For years! (Does anybody know if the road to the South Bend airport passes through an obviously segregated neighborhood?)

Sanders (D)(1): “The case for Bernie Sanders” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “This brings me finally to theories of change. Either Sanders’ or Warren’s full agenda would be non-starters in the current Congress, and probably not much more likely after 2020 if current trends hold. Sanders argues that he can upturn the political landscape by activating the enormous population of disaffected non-voters, who are disproportionately non-white, young, and less educated, both to elect new representatives and senators and pressure existing ones. (And sure enough, his base of support is more rooted in these groups than any other candidate.) This is the formula he followed as mayor of Burlington, which was a smashing success, though at an obviously far smaller scale. To be sure, this is a pretty optimistic idea. But it’s also the only strategy even proposed that would change the political system fast enough to deal with the multiple crises bedeviling the United States — above all climate change.”

Sanders (D)(2): Good crowd at Morehouse:

It’s an hour long. No doubt other campaigns are mining it for oppo as we speak.

Warren (D)(1): “Some Elizabeth Warren backers urge the ‘plans’ candidate to get more personal” [Boston Globe]. “As her standing in the polls slipped, Warren took the unusual step of shaking things up this week. At two campaign events in Iowa, she chopped her policy-dense stump speech by more than half and answered four times as many questions from voters than usual, allowing for more unplanned moments of levity and emotion.” And:

Warren supporters in Iowa were delighted by a more personal exchange that unfolded Sunday in a windowless gymnasium in Marion, when a young voter with tears in her eyes asked Warren if there was a time when she was not accepted by someone she looked up to. Warren, who generally launches into her answers with an expression of joy (“Oh, that’s fabulous!”) and a policy prescription, gripped the microphone and paused to steady herself.

“My mother and I had very different views of how to build a future. She wanted me to marry well and I really tried and it just didn’t work out,” Warren said, her voice seeming to [(!!)] break as she described calling her mother to tell her about her divorce in 1978.

“I heard the disappointment in her voice, I knew how she felt about it, but I also know it was the right thing to do,” Warren said.

Then Warren and the voter embraced. As the video went viral, Warren’s supporters hoped it signaled a new willingness by the candidate to move away from dense policy in favor of more humanizing exchanges that could help her with her next challenge: Getting more voters to like her enough to vote for her, even if they do not always agree with her.

Lots to ponder here. First, note the lack of agency in “the video went viral.” Warren personally tweeted it out! Second, Sanders embraces people on the trail too, generally after they’ve told some horror story about our horrific health care system. Emotion and policy are not in contradiction, as this article implies. Third, “likeability.” Come on, man. Fourth, this is Warren’s home town paper. Are we looking at staff panic, or jitters? (Again, how on earth could a competent staff have allowed Warren to tweet out her deeply sincere video personally, instead of having it spontaneously appear from a supporter? Is their online presence that weak?)

UPDATE Yang (D)(1): “Andrew Yang’s Staff Pulls Him Back From Spraying Whipped Cream Into Mouths of Kneeling Supporters” [Rolling Stone]. • Oh.

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“Democrats value diversity, but the presidential field is increasingly white” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘No matter your candidate, you have to recognize that going from the most diverse field ever in January to a potentially all-white debate stage in December is catastrophic,’ said Leah Greenberg, co-founder of Indivisible, a Democratic activist group. ‘The implicit racism and sexism of ‘electability’ is deeply damaging to democracy.'” • Well… This seems to be the line taken by the Harris campaign. To me, it looks like the Clintonites in Harris’s campaign refusing to take responsibility for a loss. As usual.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Old Jewish World: From Leftists to Neocons to…Bernie Sanders” [Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon]. “Thinking back to my time [in liberal Bay Area circles] through the 1990s, I now realize that the general vibe of the Jewish-American community was very aggressively PMC — full of mildly apologetic Zionism, liberal interventionism, progressive neoliberalism. Everyone was either a corporate lawyer, a doctor, or worked in finance. As a fresh-off-the-Boeing immigrant with no historical roots here, I had no clue that another type of Jewish culture had existed in America not that long ago — a culture that actually fought power rather than accept establishment and big business dogma. I can’t recall this history being taught in my Sherith Israel Jewish Sunday school classes. Or maybe it was taught but quickly and superficially, because it never lodged in my memory. And, anyway, why would my school focus on this history? For a totally integrated neoliberal Jewish community, that old Jewish leftwing world must have seemed quaint and kinda embarrassing — an anachronism that had no relevance to an America that had just triumphed over communism and socialism… Actually…while writing this I just now realized there is another big echo of this failed leftwing Jewish world: Bernie Sanders. Guess that’s why PMC Jewish-Americans hate him so much.” • Hah.

“Stacey Abrams Hires Palast Investigations Team for Massive Federal Suit to Restore Voting Rights” [Greg Palast]. “Stacey Abrams’ non-profit Fair Fight has retained the Palast Investigations team experts to provide court testimony, based on our six years of investigation, in Fair Fight’s federal law suit to overturn Georgia’s massive, racially biased purge of voters.” • Good move by Abrams.

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, November 2019: Way below consensus [Econoday]. • Prose snippets still the consensus outlook, even after the data is printed. May have to seek out a new source.

Purchasing Managers Manufacturing Index, November 2019: Above consensus [Econoday].

Purchasing Managers’ Services Index, November 2019: Upper end of consensus [Econoday].

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, November 2019: Within consensus [Econoday].

Shipping: “The maritime world’s big new clean-air deadline is arriving with clouds on the horizon. Authorities in Greece want the rule requiring a steep cutback in sulfur emissions to be pushed back… [T]he opposition is significant because Greece is the world’s biggest ship-owning nation, and because it raises doubts about the industry’s ability to meet other ambitious targets in coming years” [Wall Street Journal]. “Shipping companies have taken different paths to cut sulfur emissions, with some opting for exhaust-cleaning scrubbers and others banking on new, more expensive fuel. Pushing back enforcement will leave carriers that acted to meet the deadline shouldering the cost burden and suggest that future goals could be more malleable.” • Ugh.

Shipping: “Swift confirms driver leader instructed truckers to drive in inclement weather” [Freight Waves]. “Some truck drivers for Swift Transportation, a unit of Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (NYSE: KNX), said they received messages via their onboard computer messaging systems around 7 a.m. Dec. 2 instructing them to chain up and drive in inclement weather to get their loads delivered on time….

Big Ag: “Poor Potato Crops Could Lead to a North American French Fry Shortage” [Smithsonian]. “The trouble started in October, when cold and wet conditions left potato growing regions covered in frost. Farmers in Alberta and Ohio were able to salvage and store some of their crops, but farmers in other areas, like Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota, had no choice but to give up on their beleaguered potatoes. Back in November, the United States Department of Agriculture predicted that production outputs from the country’s top nine potato producing states will fall 6.1 percent in 2019. Crops were down three percent in the autumn season alone, which, according to the United Potato Growers of Canada, ‘is one of the lowest crops on record.'”

The Bezzle: “Den Automation raised millions to ‘reinvent’ the light switch. Now it’s lights out for startup” [The Register]. “Den Automation, the once-promising UK smart home startup that raised nearly £4.5m via equity crowdfunding and boasted former Amstrad chief Bob Watkins as CEO, has agreed to go into liquidation… Den Automation was founded in 2014 by Yasser Khattak, a 17-year-old wunderkind from Maidstone, Kent, who came up with the idea for the business while studying for his A Levels. Khattak subsequently dropped out to focus on the business full time. The concept behind Den Automation was simple. It built ‘smart’ light switches and wall sockets that were visually indistinguishable from their ‘dumb’ equivalents and could be installed by a layman, rather than a trained electrician…. Part of the problem is that hardware is… well… hard. Bringing any kind of physical product to market is difficult, as manufacturers have to wrestle with supply chain and certification issue. Den Automation was no exception. As the product neared its promised release date, it was beset with repeated delays. One delay, which added more than eight weeks to the company’s delivery schedule, was to address a flaw that could potentially result in a fire hazard.” • Oops. But wait, there’s more: “After six uneventful months, things started to go sour. On 5 October, the company’s servers were switched off without warning. This rendered all previously sold switches and sockets useless.” • The machine stops.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 63 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 4 at 11:59am. Bit of a rebound (toward Greed).

The Biosphere

“The Hidden History of American Anti-Car Protests” [City Lab]. “But all over America in the 1950s and 1960s, residents, particularly women, organized demonstrations against car traffic—and their street protests often closely resembled the Dutch Stop de kindermoord protests that would come in the 1970s. They demanded slower driving, usually seeking stop signs, streetlights, or crossing guards. Some demanded pedestrian over- or underpasses. Most such demonstrations were in dense residential districts of large cities, but many occurred in small cities, suburbs, and towns. Though white women predominated in many or most such demonstrations, black and Hispanic people organized some and participated in many. Men participated too, though generally as a small minority of the total. The decline of the protests signaled the now-preferred path to traffic safety: parental chauffeuring and the abandonment of children’s independent mobility. Many demonstrations—particularly the biggest ones—were triggered by the injury or death of a child.” • So, all those bikes in the Netherlands…. Came from U.S. protests!

“The impact of high ambient temperatures on delivery timing and gestational lengths” [Nature]. “Evidence suggests that heat exposure increases delivery risk for pregnant women. Acceleration of childbirth leads to shorter gestation, which has been linked to later health and cognitive outcomes…. Evidence suggests that heat exposure increases delivery risk for pregnant women. Acceleration of childbirth leads to shorter gestation, which has been linked to later health and cognitive outcomes.”

Health Care

“State lawmakers acknowledge lobbyists helped craft their op-eds attacking Medicare-for-all” [WaPo]. “Lobbyists either helped draft or made extensive revisions to opinion columns published by three state lawmakers in a way that suggested Medicare-for-all and other government involvement in health care posed dangers, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. Montana state Rep. Kathy Kelker (D) and Sen. Jen Gross (D) acknowledged in interviews that editorials they published separately about the single-payer health proposal included language provided by John MacDonald, a lobbyist and consultant in the state who disclosed in private emails that he worked for an unnamed client. Gross said MacDonald contacted her on behalf of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a multimillion-dollar industry group founded in 2018 and funded by hospitals, private insurers, drug companies and other private health-care firms.” • The vile, loathesome, and lethal Partnership for America’s Health Care Future is run, let us remember, by Lauren Crawford Shaver, says Politico:

… a former Obama health official who is now the Partnership’s executive director and runs its day-to-day operations…

Oddly, or not, Politico omits Shaver’s work both the 2008 and 2016 Clinton campaigns. Never, ever. One might almost think liberal Democrats are why we can’t have nice things.

The Carceral State

“With Prison Staff Shortage, Oklahoma Looks to Hire Teenagers as Guards” [Oklahoma Watch]. “Teenagers, fresh out of high school, could be hired to guard and oversee hardened criminals in Oklahoma’s chronically overcrowded and understaffed prisons. In a little-noticed action, the Oklahoma Board of Corrections passed a set of legislative requests earlier this month that include allowing prisons to hire corrections officials as young as 18. Currently the minimum age is 20. The Department of Correction has struggled for years to attract and retain workers for the job, which now starts with a salary of just under $33,000 a year.” • Let it never be said there are no jobs!

The 420

“Feds clarify it’s OK for banks to serve hemp companies; guidance could ease transactions for hundreds of Nevada hemp growers” [Nevada Independent]. “Federal regulators say banks should treat authorized hemp businesses the same as other legal companies, drawing cheers from Nevada cultivators who have faced strict scrutiny in their financial transactions because hemp’s close cousin, marijuana, remains illegal at the federal level. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant used to create everything from textiles and paper to dietary supplements and CBD oil, but that unlike marijuana used as a drug, doesn’t contain enough of the psychoactive substance THC to get a person high. It was legalized through the federal government’s 2018 Farm Bill, but banks encountering hemp customers have continued to follow the protocols they use for marijuana companies, including reporting their activity to the federal government through suspicious activity reports (SARs) even if state law makes marijuana legal.” • Hemp not being the same as marijuana. So modified rapture.

Thanksgiving Post Mortem

They get letters:

“Performative” has indeed come to mean ersatz, contra Butler, because politically empowered professional symbol manipulators have indeed confused words and deeds (“shifting the Overton Window”?).

Groves of Academe

“The Growing Partisan Divide in Views of Higher Education” [Pew Research Center]. “A new Pew Research Center survey finds that only half of American adults think colleges and universities are having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days. About four-in-ten (38%) say they are having a negative impact – up from 26% in 2012. The share of Americans saying colleges and universities have a negative effect has increased by 12 percentage points since 2012. The increase in negative views has come almost entirely from Republicans and independents who lean Republican.”

Class Warfare

“Modern Slavery” [Council on Foreign Relations]. “Slavery, long banned and universally condemned, persists in many corners of the world, victimizing tens of millions of people.” • Lots of good data here, including definitions of various kinds of slavery (e.g., bonded labor), but presented in a horrid mobile- and swipe-friendly format that is very hard to read on a productivity tool, like a laptop or desktop.

News of the Wired

“Towards a comparative science of emotion: Affect and consciousness in humans and animals” [Science Direct]. “In posing questions about conscious affect in animals, much (though not all) work starts with the human case, where understanding is facilitated by subjects’ emotional reports (as well as the informal introspection the researcher employs in interpreting such reports). The human models are then used to identify candidate criteria for conscious emotion, which can be applied to observations of brain, behaviour, and physiology in different animal species.” • That’s the best nugget I can find in this review of the literature.

“A Genetic Model of the Connectome” [Neuron]. From the abstract: “The connectomes of organisms of the same species show remarkable architectural and often local wiring similarity, raising the question: where and how is neuronal connectivity encoded?” • Beyond the first sentence, I get a little lost, but word of the day: Connectome.

“Trailblazing Star Trek Writer D.C. Fontana Dies at 80: ‘She Was a Pioneer'” [MSN]. “Not only was Fontana responsible for creating much of Star Trek canon, she also ‘helped blaze a trail for female writers in sci-fi television,’ the official website said in its obituary. ‘Fontana’s credits to Star Trek cannot be understated, both as a writer of great stories and as a trailblazer for other women.'” • Lots of good detail here.

“The Dead & Company Edition” [Why is this interesting?]. “John Mayer, he of the voluminous Instagram comments, has been sharing the stage with a unit comprised of three of the original members of the Grateful Dead (Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart), as well as a handful of other sidemen … What’s fascinating about this particular incarnation of the Dead is that after any number of attempts to fill Jerry Garcia’s shoes, this one is sticking. From Furthur to the Other Ones, and Phil Lesh and Friends to the Fare Thee Well Shows in Chicago with Trey Anastasio, the other post-Garcia line-ups paid service to the music but did not inhabit it as this current grouping does. The root of the Grateful Dead has always been an all-hands on deck allegiance to the great God of improvisation, and Mayer’s managed to become the straw that stirs the drink in this latter-day configuration…. Mayer’s blues idiom is one of the reasons the band sounds fresh, as the other stand-ins for Garcia came from a rock and roll background where Mayer, for all of his flaws, is steeped in the blues, like original vocalist McKernan. Something about it works particularly well with the band’s signature blend of psychedelia, country, and improvisation breathes new life into each song in ways both surprising and uniquely satisfying… By recreating the psychic improvisational synergy of the earliest Dead shows with this line-up, the love affair between audience and band has been rekindled and while there are criticisms that the band is slow, their ability to dive into the layered architectural nature of the music is at this point revered.” • As a former Deadhead, I am here for the focus on improvisation, while questioning whether any unit without Phil Lesh can be called an “incarnation of the Dead.”

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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. WheresOurTeddy

    “‘No matter your candidate, you have to recognize that going from the most diverse field ever in January to a potentially all-white debate stage in December is catastrophic,’ said Leah Greenberg, co-founder of Indivisible, a Democratic activist group. ‘The implicit racism and sexism of ‘electability’ is deeply damaging to democracy.’”

    Because when I want a take on diversity, I go to :::checks notes::: “Leah Greenberg”

    Sanders is Jewish, and last I checked Yang, Gabbard, and Booker still exist

    1. Big Tap

      And Deval Patrick and Julian Castro too are people of color. Maybe the MIC, corporate, SJW Democrats are mad at their African American voters supporting white people. Are they implying they’re racist? Probably they remember Obama doing little to nothing for black people over eight years.

  2. nycTerrierist

    Nina Turner for Bernie’s VP!

    I’ve heard this speech before and still tear up listening to her

    1. Danny

      Tulsi as V.P., if the Democrats want to win.

      Assuming they want to win by nominating Bernie to begin with.

        1. Robert McGregor

          “Tulsi as VP for Trump”

          That would be an intriguing sleight-of-hand for Tulsi to say, “You won’t nominate me–well guess what, I’m going over to the dark side to be Trump’s VP nominee.” If the Dems chose Biden, then I would think I would have to vote Repub on rational grounds: A president has more influence on foreign policy than on domestic policy. Even though I would prefer Biden’s domestic policy to Trump’s, the 2020 president’s impact on foreign policy would be more consequential. And Tulsi (T & T) could give Trump the extra ballast to really attack the MIC.

        2. Sol

          R) Donald Trump/Camille Paglia

          D) Tulsi Gabbard/Bernie Sanders

          I) Jill Stein/James Kunstler

          The 2020 race America would get, if I had any say over this timeline. Now this would be worth watching.

    2. neo-realist

      Tammy Baldwin – potentially the least polarizing VP candidate – white female dem from a swing state -Wisconsin. Votes on the progressive side.

      1. Yves Smith

        I also think Baldwin will be the pick if Sanders wins. As much as I like Tulsi taking a firm anti-war stance, she does not bring useful regional ties and she doesn’t stand at all for Sanders’ economic values, which are core to his campaign.

        1. inode_buddha

          And yet, Sanders has already stated that AOC will occupy a very important position within the White House if he is elected. It was in one of his campaign videos on Facebook a few weeks ago. What else could there be? Chief of Staff?

        2. Voltaire Jr.

          I have voted for and donated to Tammy. She’s a class act. I concur with Tulsi’s anti-war stance.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Baldwin [x] gay [x] woman, hence unassailable by liberals; and with the Midwest thing Klobuchar has going for her, but without the binder-hurling. I’d be interested in what our Madison readers have to say about her.

        From Baldwin’s WikiPedia bio:

        In 2009, when the House voted overwhelmingly to defund ACORN, Baldwin was one of 75 House members (all Democrats) who voted against the measure.[94]

        That speaks well of her, given that gutting ACORN also gutted the Democrat’s NGO for voter registration among poor and working class people (surprise, surprise).

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          She is 1) mostly right on the issues, 2) has outstanding political instincts, and 3) has strong Democrat credibility.

          On 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammy_Baldwin#Political_positions

          On 2: the fact that she is an out lesbian and atheist and that many people here don’t know that and/or don’t care is a tribute to her skill as a politician. She is the best politician I have ever seen that is not a two-faced liar (i.e. Slick Willie). She has strong support among veterans, in the white working class, and across the state. She won 55% of the vote statewide in 2018, which is as close to a landslide here as you are ever going to get – our new Dem Gov won 49.5%.

          On 3: She endorsed HRC relatively early in 2016. And she won her first race for State Rep by squashing my Labor-Farm candidate in a race we actually thought we had a chance to win – this was 1992.

          She also has a great back story – single mom with mental health issues, mostly raised by her grand parents. She speaks with great authority on opioids, health care, etc.

          Unlike, say, Sanders, she has never been hugely productive in DC, so I don’t think she would be a huge loss in the Senate. And because we now have a Dem gov., no seat would be lost in the Senate.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I still wonder why an ACORN 2.0 has never organized itself into any kind of existence. It makes me still wonder whether an organization so totally dependent on politically-voted-for funding was simply an inflatable model of an organization. And letting the air out ( no more voted-for gover-funding) revealed ACORN to never have actually existed as a real organization ever at all to ever even begin with.

          1. Jack Parsons

            Good point. The kind of people who start something like ACORN are different than the kind of people who take it over and keep it going. I think the black activist community has enough of the latter, but the kind of people who can start it are sucked into the center- DeVal Patrick/Cory Booker types. Those types now have access to the Gravy Train and they did not used to.

  3. Off The Street

    John Mayer was just a name in the entertainment news that I glossed over, until I saw him perform with Dead & Co. He, Weir and their stage mates rekindled my enjoyment of Grateful Dead performances from concerts long ago. Quite a talent and a welcome addition for this fan.

        1. Off The Street

          Dodger Stadium, most of the audience was 30-50 and about half smoking a lot of pot, no walkers seen.

        2. Voltaire Jr.

          “Must be quite a scene, a hall filled up with OK Boomers held up by walkers tripping on acid.”


      1. Wukchumni

        Sooner Boomer was that rare Oklahoma deadhead whose claim to fame was smoking a fattie with Jerry in Enid after a show in the 70’s, which led to giving him some autographed guitar picks that brought $38 and $27 when Sooner sold them on eBay a couple years back.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Episode 4 there! I think what happens is that since Boomer doesn’t have an Internet connection in his RV, he has to borrow a connection somewhere, so he pulls up at some Chris Arnade-like McDonalds, and has to have the local denizens walk him through selling on eBay. Hilarity ensues.

          Alternatively, he could stop at a Dunkin Donuts and the cops would help him. Over to you!

          1. Wukchumni

            Sooner Boomer has a Polaroid SX-70 from the seventies, and initial image insertion attempts online went poorly, but he’s getting the hang of it now, and only if he had more debris to sell, maybe he’ll go search out garage sales for goodies.

            Oh, and Sooner isn’t a Phish fan, but if you had a free ticket, he’d begrudgingly go.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        Lol…Yeah, never got the Dead thing….too much masturbation, not enough song.

        And John Mayer is just a wanker.

        1. jeremyharrison

          Old joke –

          What did one Deadhead say to the other when the acid wore off?

          “Huh. This music kinda sucks…..”

          1. ambrit

            Hah! After a while, the ‘acid’ never wears off. As an example, today’s delusional political scene.
            Another version of that joke; one Party Stalwart to another after the propaganda wore off: “We voted for who???”
            Early Dead, especially Robert Hunter penned songs, are truly sublime. A long departed friend once called the Dead music style “Folkadelica.”

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wonder what retro-novelty Nostalgia Acts the OK Juniors will be listening to in 50 years.

        1. Jack Parsons

          I’m a fan of 90s techno and that’s now Oldies music, and has a steady presence on the local community college station (KFJC) which is staffed by middle-aged volunteers.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I really disliked the first John Mayer song I heard, and didn’t form a positive impression of him from media. But as time has gone by and I’ve heard one song after another of his and was surprised by how much I liked them, I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that he’s a talented musician.

        1. tegnost

          Jerry was a great and innovative guitarist, lots of chromatic riffs and the declining scale thing, when it’s more common to ascend, and mayer gets that in his way. But yes it’s a holistic thing and no no phil lesh leaves a lot out of the end product. I’m glad thy’re doing it though.

      1. Carolinian

        Blogfather–does that mean that someday he will call on you to do him a service?

        I used to like Atrios but he seems to have dropped off radar screen just like Talking Point Memo (still around? right?)

        Wonder why that is.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      “Jesus wept.”

      No clue how often he still uses it but I never tire of how he can snap everything into focus with a two-word Bible verse everyone learned about from reading Tom Sawyer.

    2. Louis Fyne

      IMO, Buttigieg is a resume politican who’s shown up to the party one generation too late.

      Rhodes scholar, US Navy officer, Harvard, McKinsey. all the checks, ticked and would have been a perfect Dan Quayle II.

      But I’d argue that a big chunk the polity is cynical, wants systemic change, and sees all through that—especially with a platform that is vague enough to waffle with most cross-currents within the Democratic Party.

      1. John

        Mayor Pete: All those credentials and not to know that the schools are segregated in South Bend? As Charley Pierce would say, “Unpossible!” Climb down Pete and find out how the rest of us live.

      2. Danny

        Rhodes scholar, just like NAFTA Bill Clinton, Dean Rusk, Walt Rostow, the people that brought us the Vietnam War? Admiral Stansfield Turner, James Woolsey, CIA, Richard Lugar, head of The Aspen Group, Strobe Talbott, Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae, Susan Rice, Rachel Maddow and last but not least, Chesa Boudin, about to plunge San Francisco into the new dark ages.

        “U.S. Navy officer”~cum chauffeur for officers, his father a Cultural Marxist:
        “Professor, and translator, of Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks in English. Professor Joseph Buttigieg, started his academic progression with Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees at the University of Malta. He then pursued a second Undergraduate at Heythrop College in London. He then proceeded to study for a doctorate from the State University of New York at Binghamton in New York. Professor Buttgieg was lecturing in English at William R. Kenan, before taking up a Professorship of English at the University of Notre Dame until 2017.”

        If that isn’t an introduction to a not so covert intelligence asset, I don’t know what is.

          1. John Zelnicker

            @a different chris
            December 4, 2019 at 4:08 pm

            I think Danny was trying to identify Franklin Raines as the CEO of Fannie Mae at the time of the housing crisis.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > “Cultural Marxist” is a really right-wing term, an information-free expletive actually,

            Yep. There’s no such thing. Can’t be, because Marxists don’t regard culture as a driver, by definition (which is not the same as saying they give a good account of it).

            Incidentally, Gramsci translation is highly contested in Italy, so it would be interesting to know where Buttigieg père fits into that.

        1. Darius

          What’s a cultural Marxist? Marx was about winning material benefits for the working class. Gramsci was about achieving that goal. Are there cultural capitalists? Isn’t capitalism all about material benefits also? But just for the winners?

          Cultural Marxism is a fiction invented by a couple YouTube charlatans. Or am I missing something?

          1. Danny

            Since Google is unavailable at your end, I will paraphrase common understanding for you as fast as I can type:

            Once the Marxists realized that an economy they had created in the Soviet Union was a failure for common people, but did benefit party insiders, sort of like our current economic situation, and thus would never be accepted worldwide, especially after they got rid of the competing ideology of Trotsky by assassinating him, they then zeroed in on culture as a means to destroy the west from which they were often excluded and alienated.
            After their New School in Germany and its officials were kicked out by the Nazis, they formed the New School For Social Research in New York City. Most of the communitarian social and personal identity liberation movements in the U.S. got their financial, academic and media impetus from graduates of that school after a decade or so. Yes, capitalism most definitely controls culture, via media, advertising and now censorship.

            Rather than face a growing resistance to calls for peace and reforming the economy during the Vietnam War protests, the elite formed distractions such as feminism, via the CIA funding Ms.Magazine, music, “everybody must get stoned” and identarian grievances that became “Studies” in various universities. These served to divide America, while creating a multiplicity of and a blanket of distractions to prevent a common civic consensus that might have helped prevent the financial disasters and the elite feasting off the American middle class.

            That’s my understanding and quick resume of what is Cultural Marxism. Others may disagree, but history is made of facts and it does rhyme. Mayo Pete is definitely part of that package by easily researchable connections.

            1. Darius

              My understanding of Marx is all about improving the material conditions of the working class, not academic politics. If any of that other stuff has relevance, it’s only that improved material conditions should be for all people regardless of their sex, age, ethnic origins, spiritual beliefs, or any other conditions secondary to basic humanity.

            2. Darius

              I reject your description of academic navel gazing as Marxism. I happily accept it as the milieu that gave rise to Mayor Pete, whom Atrios aptly characterizes.

            3. pretzelattack

              gish gallop of the day award contender. that “they” covers a lot of ground, way too much ground for one group. marxists created feminism? did they also create the whole women as property of their husbands thing from the middle ages and earlier?

            4. GramSci

              Danny, I agree that the elite launched projects like “everybody must get stoned” to defuse the Vietnam War, but it was the corporate interests–as you say “the media, advertising, and the media”–that seduced Dylan with recording contracts. Idpol followed as the capitalists’ historic, pro forma strategy to divide and conquer the masses.

              I think the New School and Marxism, “cultural” or otherwise, had little to do with it. The New School for Social Research was formed long before, in 1919, and among its early leaders was Thorstein Veblen, who was a critic of capitalism but in no way a Marxist. Trotsky wasn’t assassinated until 1940.

              Beginning around 1933, and perhaps to your point, the Rockefeller Foundation did relocate scholars fleeing Mussolini and Hitler to the New School. Leo Strauss was perhaps the most celebrated faculty member of the New School during this era. Some call him the first neoconservative. You apparently style his influence as “cultural Marxism”. IMHO, nothing was at the New School during this era was as influential, and as culturally divisive, as Rockefeller money.

              As to Trotsky, I believe he was assassinated because Stalin was advocating “Communism in One Country”, i.e., Russia, as opposed to Trotsky’s idea of global revolution. Trotsky’s push for global communist revolution was undercutting the tenuous alliance Stalin was trying to form with FDR to hold off Hitler’s anti-communism and imminent aggression (which was simultaneously being promoted by capitalists in the West).

              I don’t know about Daddy Buttigieg’s motives for translating Gramsci, but Mayo Pete is pretty clearly just a spoiled little prig who obediently learned how to kiss up to the Rhodes Scholarship Committee and was vigorously promoted by the greater Notre Dame community to gain influence and profit. Being devout Papists, I don’t believe they saw any money in “cultural Marxism”.

            5. jrs

              If he’s a Marxist maybe I should reconsider and vote for him. Here I thought he was just some lame ol centrist.

              But material benefits for the working class only very narrowly defined as in white working males I have no use of (heaven forbid women get childcare). Let the working class go to hell if that’s what they want. To heck with your revolution and you can’t dance at it.

            6. Oregoncharles

              Your def. of “Cultural Marxism”:
              aka, The Sixties. I was there, it grew organically out of conditions then, such as the Vietnam War and American Apartheid. Yes, some leftwing leadership – “red diaper babies,” they were called – were important. But I, for instance, was not a Marxist at all, nor were the New Left.

              IOW, it’s right-wing silliness. If you want to say that former Marxists focused on “cultural” issues after the Soviet Union collapsed, you might have a point. But that was later.

              And Trotskyism did not go away just because he was dead. It’s still around, in various forms, and today, more viable than Bolshevism, since it isn’t a proven failure, because it hasn’t been in power.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > former Marxists focused on “cultural” issues after the Soviet Union collapsed, you might have a point.

                That would be some former Marxists. Hardly E.P. Thompson, for example. I mean, The Making of the English Working Class has that title for a reason.

            7. Lambert Strether Post author

              > “the Marxists”

              That’s like saying “the Catholics,”* or like saying “the French painters,” instead of “Impressionists,” say. “Cultural Marxists” is too abstract, ahistorical, doesn’t take account of either factional infighting, or genuine differences in principle.

              I hold no brief whatever for The Frankfurt School, but they don’t deserve to be dumped into a bowl of oatmeal like “cultural Marxism.”

              * Or for that matter, “the Protestants.”

              1. skippy

                Ugh …

                Cultural Marxism generally refers to one of two things:

                First — extremely rarely in popular discourse — “cultural Marxism” (lower C, upper M) refers to a strain of critique of popular culture by the Frankfurt School, framing such culture as being imposed by a capitalist culture industry and consumed passively by the masses.

                Second — in common usage in the wild — “Cultural Marxism” (both uppercase) is a common snarl word used to paint anyone with progressive tendencies as a secret Communist. The term alludes to a conspiracy theory in which sinister left-wingers have infiltrated media, academia, and science, and are engaged in a decades-long plot to undermine Western culture. Some variants of the conspiracy allege that basically all of modern social liberalism is, in fact, a Communist front group.

                Everything else is just a mental roundabout as ideologues seek merging … and market share …

          2. DJG

            + + + Darius:

            I have read many of Gramsci’s letters from prison, many of his articles, parts of the Notebooks (which are deeply moving to see if you ever get a chance–humble school notebooks that we would buy for a dollar or two apiece), and a considerable number of his pieces of theater criticism and reviews of shows, which are perceptive, witty, and sometimes biting.

            Maybe Danny is referring to Gramsci as a man of culture, a remarkable cultural figure of our times, who didn’t disdain going to the theater. Gramsci, who somehow balanced being a humanist and a revolutionary. Gramsci, who wrote about the sparrows who visited him in his cell while the Fascist State kept him in prison and let his health deteriorate. As it is said:

            «Per venti anni dobbiamo impedire a questo cervello di funzionare». È la frase che avrebbe pronunciato il pubblico ministero nel processo contro Antonio Gramsci.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Prison Notebooks is terrific, but also necessarily fragmented and gnomic, given the conditions under which Gramsci wrote. I love that kind of literature. I think the idea that state and civil society are to be separated only as objects of analysis is important; Flexnets the PMC “connectome” — is another way of approaching that concept.

        2. GramSci

          Thanks for this timely bit of research, of which I was about to also inform my wife, who suffers from TDS and idolizes all Rhodes Scholars in honor of Rachel Maddow.

          To the above, one might add John J. Tigert, who brought football to American Universities; John Marshall Harlan, the Republican “great dissenter of the Warren Court”; Whizzer White, famous football player who with William Rehnquist dissented from Roe v Wade; Walt “Whitman” Rostow, architect of the Vietnam and Future Wars; Larry Pressler, author of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, of which Eduardo Galeano wrote, “never have so many been held incommunicado by so few”; Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Walter Isaacson, CEO and Chairman of CNN; Nicholas Kristoff, Virtue Signaller-in-Chief; George Stephanopolous, Heart-throb-in-Chief; Cory Booker, next President of the United States, Pete Buttigieg (op cit.), also next President of the United States; and Bobby Jindal, formerly next President of the United States.

          To be fair, amongst the jocks and testosterone-addled diplomats, there have been a few decent American Rhodes Scholars, including Jonathan Kozol and Russ Feingold.

          Despite my handle, I have not read and have no opinion on Joseph Buttigieg’s translation of Gramsci.

        3. Andrew Thomas

          I have no personal acquaintance with Mayor Pete’s parents, but have known for 50 years a couple that know them very well. Knew, in the case of the mayor’s father, who died about a year ago. From what I have been told, he was an authentic, decent man who thought Gramsci was important enough that his notebooks deserved a complete English translation. Neither Mayor Pete’s mother nor his father deserve the abuse they are getting here, of all places. My impression of Mayor Pete is that, for all his obvious brilliance, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and there are lots of very important things that just never interested him. On those issues, he is shallow, and utterly conventional, with no critical faculties engaged at all. And, remember, his most impressive asset, his facility with languages, requires a lot of intelligence, but not critical intelligence. As far as segregation in South Bend goes, it was very clear it existed, but not in the high schools. But my k-8 school was 100% white when I was there, excluding one family of children who had an Asian mom. But one of the racist jokes at that time (late 60s) was, “ What’s the border between Africa and Poland?” Answer-Western Avenue. As for getting to the airport, it depends from where you start out, but the lower middle class neighborhoods everywhere in South Bend are in seriously bad shape compared to what they were before deindustrialisation, which got a head start in South Bend when Studebaker closed in 1963. You can’t miss it, or the clearly African-American areas, unless you aren’t paying attention.And, like a lot of brilliant people, lack of interest translates into no more knowledge than you had in high school. Think Barack Obama. And, if you are so damned young, you don’t even remember anything before deindustrialisation. He is just not, for lots of obvious reasons, a good candidate for President.

          1. Andrew Thomas

            Just thought of something; the high schools had been desegregated. However, there were changes. By the 1965-66 school year, Adams, where I went , and which was maybe 10% African-American, had been greatly expanded. Two new high schools-Jackson and LaSalle- opened. LaSalle was integrated. Jackson, to the best of my recollection, was not. Then, Central was closed in 1970. That closure must have had an impact on racial disparities in other schools, as Central, while integrated, was majority black by then, or close to it. Sorry about the omission.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Thanks for this. I wanted to know about the quality/viewpoint of the elder Buttigieg’s scholarship; I don’t see that as abusive. Thanks for the info about the airport. “None so blind as those who will not see.”

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          This (from the OP Tweet) is solid gold:

          The worst of my generation. A resume padding try-hard who thinks career success is a legitimate reason to be as shitty as you want.

      3. jrs

        a resume politician without the resume of relevant experience for that office. Governors and Senators, those are the resume politicians, they go out and get the relevant experience and climb the ladder, but this is more like “why are you giving me your resume again, for what position were you applying for again?””Oh I see, we were very impressed with your resume, and wish you well on your future endeavors, but we have chosen not to proceed on this.”

  4. John Beech

    Two rats fighting over the same stale slice of pizza….

    Lambert, is this your commentary? Good grief I spewed Coke Zero out my nose when I read that! How about a little warning next time?

        1. Hepativore

          Back in my Balloon Juice days, I remember hearing somebody compare the bickering between the Blue Dogs, and their mirror image, the neocon Republicans as a pair of turds arguing over whom smells the best as they both swirl down the same toilet.

  5. John Beech

    “These people all talk to each other,”

    Is it just me or does ‘these people’ sound racist?

    Anyway, I listened to the birther reference and even though I was primed to take offense, I didn’t and if this is the best the anti-Buttigieg crowd has they had better keep looking.

    Me? I’m still on the Bernie bandwagon, and as a reminder, I’ve voted Republican since 1980 and recently changed my voter registration (central-FL) to Democrat. Guess this means I’m independent in my views and don’t want to get left out of the selection process. Me? I wish primaries were open. They’re not so I have to do things like this to have my say. And note; if Senator Sanders is the Democrats’ nominee, I’ll follow through and vote for him.

    1. a different chris

      I wish the primaries were open also – don’t they want the clearly best person to beat the other teams guy? You’re never going to find that out by just having a scrimmage.

      Since I can’t help myself here is another stupid analogy: In American Football if your defense is horrible against the pass how do you know if your offense’s passing attack is any good when you just practice against each other? The preseason is tiresome but it exists for a reason.

      A strong party would not only have open primaries, but would possible have more than one as they whittle the field down. Of course we all hate electronic voting here, but in this case I think online voting would be usable enough. Better than land-line polling, for gawdsakes.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Ranked Choice Voting is ideal for choosing one of multiple options (it doesn’t apply if there are only 2).

        However, adopting it would make the primaries superfluous, unless the parties wanted to us it internally. Big advantage: shorter, cheaper campaigns.

      2. Oregoncharles

        The Independent Party here in Oregon used onlive voting internally until they qualified as a major party, so the state pays for their primary now. (Yes, open discrimination.)

      1. Danny

        In California, if you are “Decline To State” party preference, and want to vote for Bernie by mail, you need to change your registration to Democrat soon. Take warning.

        1. Jeff W

          That is false. (And, FWIW, there is no such thing currently as a “Decline to State” party preference in California. There are No Party Preference voters.)

          Here is what the Secretary of State of California site says:

          No Party Preference voters who vote-by-mail will receive a postcard from their county elections official in advance that will allow them to select an American Independent Party, Democratic Party, or Libertarian Party ballot. A No Party Preference voter may simply select which party’s ballot they would like to vote for and return the post card by mail. These postcards will be sent in advance of vote-by-mail ballots being sent out.

          No Party Preference voters who do not respond to this postcard will be mailed a ballot without any presidential candidates listed. If this happens, they are still able to request a crossover ballot from their county elections official via:


          Voters can also take their non-partisan vote-by-mail ballot to their polling place (or any vote center in a Voters’ Choice Act County) and exchange it for a ballot with presidential candidates from the American Independent, Democratic, or Libertarian Party.

          It is slightly easier if you switch your party affiliation to Democratic—because then you’ll get a ballot with the Democratic candidates and you won’t have to request one—but you can very definitely vote for Bernie by mail (or in person, whether or not you are a vote-by-mail voter ) as a No Party Preference voter.

          1. Big River Bandido

            The 2016 CA Democrat primary was a travesty. The wholesale vote suppression practiced against independents, recent Democrat registrants, and anyone with a voter profile that suggested “Sanders supporter” was outlined in the documentary Uncounted. NPP ballots were one of the primary tools used to suppress the vote in California.

            Sure, you can cast your NPP ballot. But it won’t be counted.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Well, it’s interesting on a couple of levels.

      If you’re an easily-offended, Obama-loving, PMC librul….then dabbling in birther-ism is evidence of a willingness to dabble in racist, xenophobic conspiracy-theory stuff which is disqualifying.

      For the rest of us, it just shows he’s a shape-shifter who doesn’t really believe in anything and is only really driven by a thirst for power and prestige.

        1. GramSci

          It’s been in Links a lot the last few days. I believe most take “PMC” to mean “Professional-Managerial Class”.

        2. BobW

          Looked at Wikipedia, and I would say precious metal clay or professional-managerial class look like the best fits.

    3. Darius

      There is so much fertile ground on which to excoriate Obama. His supposed birthplace isn’t on that ground. There is nothing positive from bringing it up. Ever. Even if one supposes one is humoring the audience. It’s not winning anyone over to anything good. It’s always bad faith in every instance.

      1. ambrit

        Considering that Obama’s entire political career was based upon ‘bad faith,’ anything slimy and despicable to defame him with is fair.

    4. russell1200

      I agree. Not a big fan of Mayor Pete. But he was saying that birthers are fact free, or as the Big Donald would say “Fake News”!

      Some people work very hard to be offended I guess.

  6. Glen

    If Dems are worried about “controlling the narrative” with support for impeachment dropping, they just need to get serious about passing M4A. They have an M4A bill they could push forward. Support for M4A is what gave them a wave election. It’s incredibly popular with the American people.

    But they will not.

  7. Wukchumni

    Two rats fighting over the same stale slice of pizza….
    That DW video yesterday on the poor in the USA had a homeless fellow living in his car in San Diego, who had an arrangement with a local pizza place, that he would take all the stale single display pieces of pizza @ the end of the day, and then he shows up back @ the parking lot, distributing the booty to others in the auto hooverville, pizza man-he delivers.

    1. Danny

      Speaking of that excellent video, the woman in the white minivan, why didn’t she get half of her and her husband’s property after he walked out on her? California is a community property state.
      What’s not stated in that video is that people from Tijuana can and do ride the Trolleycar across the border into San Diego to do jobs far cheaper than any American can, then go home to dirt poor T.J. to live at night. Some Americans have even moved to Mexico to live. Good extortion kidnapping targets for local cartels though.

      “Left Behind, America’s Homeless Crisis” is another YouTube video that is much more informative, especially the San Francisco segment. It shows how bad the city has become, and with Chesa Boudin about to become the district attorney, it will get even worse, as basically nothing will be prosecuted by his office, except serious felonies, (his words.) And since he has stated that he will end racial disparities in incarceration, we figure that he will play, “Enny, Meeny, Miney Moe” and will only prosecute every fourth criminal who is actually caught, arrested and for which there is evidence, with a reduced plea bargain sentence if convicted.

      1. Darius

        Boudin said he would focus on policing bad landlords as prosecutor. Rather than focusing on railroading poor black and Hispanic males as every other prosecutor has done.

        I’m not a big Bill Ayers fan, but Boudin at least hit the right notes.

        1. Danny

          Not surprising that Chesa Boudin wouldn’t enforce the law against street criminals. His adoptive parents were Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

          His real father and mother
          David Gilbert (born October 6, 1944) grew up in a Jewish family in Brookline, Massachusetts, He was a founding member of Columbia University Students for a Democratic Society and member of the Weather Underground.

          Kathy Boudin (born May 19, 1943) She was raised in Greenwich Village, New York City. Her family was Jewish. Her great-uncle was Louis B. Boudin, a Marxist theorist. She is a former member of the far-left domestic terrorist[1] group Weather Underground who was convicted of felony murder .

          “rather than railroading poor black and Hispanic males as every other prosecutor has done.”

          In other words, he won’t bother prosecuting those finally arrested by the police, identified by witnesses from their own community, tried, convicted by juries of their peers, and sentenced by some of the most tolerant and progressive judges in the nation?

          Chesa Boudin said upon his Saturday night election victory: “We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes. Crimes such as public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc., should not and will not be prosecuted.” Meaning the police won’t even attempt to do so. Watch the Youtube video
          “Left behind, America’s Homeless Crisis”
          to see how horrifying the streets are now, before he’s even in office:

          Imagine if your mother, your wife or your 12 year old daughter is walking down the street, even in the best area of the city. A man starts following her and says; “Hey baby, how about sucking my ***, I will give you five dollars…”
          A cop standing there will now just shrug his shoulders, because soliciting or offering sex in public is to be a non-prosecutable event.

      2. Wukchumni

        Haven’t been to SF in a long time, so I live vicariously through others, and last month we met up with my Calgarian cousins in LA, and they had been in SF for 4 days, and one of them couldn’t get over what it had become, he was regaling me with tales of The City where everybody dressed up and there was an air about the place when he first went way back when, and he figured that there must’ve been 40 visits in the meantime.

        Say, real estate is all about location-location-location, and if some event were to push those precariously close to the precipice over the edge into homelessness, all of the ‘good’ spots have long since been claimed by others, new arrivals would have to live further out, or perhaps form what was termed ‘jungles’ in the 30’s.

    1. barefoot charley

      That would be Professional Managerial Class, an older coinage than neoliberal (or Blob) now describing the Democratic Party’s worker-purged base. It was cited in a post here a day or two ago.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks. That article is interesting.

        I have a theory that the tremendous contribution made by the Jews in the 20th century was because they were largely outsiders who weren’t vested in the establishment (“to think outside the box you have to be outside the box”). And now?…

        Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss says the old attitude of victimization still persists despite the widespread change in circumstances. Armies are always fighting the last war as it were.

        1. Jessica

          Generalizing sociologically, they were outsiders where they came from, they were outsiders here, most of them came from areas of much social turbulence (such as the periphery of Tsarist Russia) and radical politics, and up into the 1800s, they were blocked in many countries from many of the traditional paths such as the military and land-holding, so they had poured extra energy into education.

        2. Jessica

          There is a theory that Hollywood happened in America because in other countries there were ‘organic intellectuals’ who dominated culture enough to determine the course of new media, such as movies. In the US, immigrants had no ties to the American ‘organic intellectuals”. Think of Italian-American and Irish-American Catholics and New England (very Protestant) Brahmins. Add to that mix an outsider group (Jews) and you get a movie industry that catered to mass tastes rather than elite tastes (or at least upper middle-class tastes).

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I was wondering too. I missed that. So thank you and now I know.

        Surely Thomas Franks could come up with a more brain-gripping acronym for these people.

      3. dearieme

        describing the Democratic Party’s worker-purged base

        In that case shouldn’t PMC stand for Pretentious Mendacious Conceited?

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        I believe “PMC” comes from Barbara Ehrenreich, who got some shout-outs in Brooklyn a month or so ago.

        The issue is, is the PMC (which I identify with “the 10%”) really a class, and I would argue yes, since the rent derived from credentials is like a property interest. The fragility of transmitting that interest over generations is the PMC’s existential problem, hence college admission cheating scandals, etc.

    2. Synoia

      PMC Jewish American…

      Pre Menstrual Condition Jewish American?

      That the only PMC Acronym I can recall.

    3. John

      You are not. I checked the acronym finder. It wasn’t there, but eventually, why I do not know, it came to me.

      1. JBird4049

        >>…while writing this I just now realized there is another big echo of this failed leftwing Jewish world: Bernie Sanders. Guess that’s why PMC Jewish-Americans hate him so much.<<

        Funny enough, I grew up with the knowledge of all those Jewish communists, and leftist, or at least social reformist, Christian churches both Protestant and Catholic. Heck, the religious communities were heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement, but that is all forgotten along with the Union Movement and the connection of both to fighting poverty.

        All that is left in the national pseudo-memory seems to be an outline of a proto-IdPol movement that strips the broad, often united, struggle of class, equal rights, the respect of the humanity for everyone by people of every class, religion, and race.

        It was not perfect, what with people being people, but it was a far more universal and human than The Powers That Be and much of the credentialed class want to acknowledge. Now is it all about money and identity (and identity of a most pale, unobtrusive sort).

    4. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

      No! And if things are not explained I start by making my own meaning up to fit before searching W.pedia. Some are not repeatable in sensitive company:

      Partly Moist C**** for example; Or from 2008: CDO = Crap,Dung, Ordure.

      It reminds me of ‘The Economist’ and their somewhat quaint little explanations along the lines of ‘Substandard & Poorer, a credit ratings agency’, but at least you know.


    5. RubyDog

      If so many people don’t know what your acronym means, and it’s difficult to find in an online search as well, you probably should not have used it.

      FYI, according to Urban Dictionary, the top meanings of PMC are:

      1. Private Military Contractor
      2. Pre-Mihai Cycle
      3. Post Meal Cigarette
      4. Prolapsing My Colon
      5. Preventative Maintenance Checks
      6. Potential Man Candy

      There’s more, but it get increasingly NSFW

  8. Grant

    “If that trend continues as the inquiry heads to the House Judiciary Committee this week, Democrats could become more mindful of notching a major bipartisan accomplishment.”

    Yes, just passing something is an “accomplishment”, just like the initial NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, the Telecommunications Act, the war in Iraq, among other horrible things they two parties have done. Now, the chapters in NAFTA that deal with investor-state disputes, intellectual property, government procurement, the fact that there was nothing really in NAFTA regarding labor or the environment and that the pathetic side agreements aren’t worth the paper they were written on? Who needs to think about the actual impact of deals like that? Who needs to think about who was or wasn’t at the table when these deals were negotiated? They worked together, and working together is the end, right? Certainly not the means towards actually good policies. Are corrupt elites always this collectively stupid and worthless?

    1. JBird4049

      Are corrupt elites always this collectively stupid and worthless?

      Why yes, yes, they usually are. Rather explain much, does it not?

      1. BobW

        But they had the bigger sticks and heavier rocks initially, then spears & swords, then pistols, rifles and cannon. Cross them and men with guns will come to your door… if you still have a door.

      2. Jessica

        Our elites now are particularly corrupt, stupid, and worthless for anyone but themselves.
        Since the transition from industrial capitalism to knowledge-driven capitalism, our elites have no goal, no purpose, nothing to hold them together, nothing to keep them in power but the inertia of their weapons, both physical and mental (narrative control*), and our psychological shackles.
        *Hat tip to Caitlin Johnstone, @caitoz on Twitter

    2. Darthbobber

      So the author would like me to see some logical connection between the popularity of impeachment and support or non-support of new, improved NAFTA, but I can see no more connection than between any 2 other random things.

  9. Plenue

    Anyone else been paying attention to the production of Denis Villeneuve’s film version of Dune? It’s the first movie I’ve actively anticipated in a very long time. I think film, at least outside of Hollywood, is in a better place now than it’s perhaps ever been as the costs of production and especially distribution have fallen through the floor, but on the other hand there isn’t a lot I eagerly await these days. Movies are scattered among dozens of different platforms; it can be hard to even know that something you might be interested in is even being made or has already been released. With most of Hollywood being creatively bankrupt, the stuff that manages to penetrate the public consciousness is mostly big-budget fair that plays it safe.

    Villeneuve is perhaps the best mainstream, AAA Hollywood director at work today. All his movies have been extremely good (I have problems with the plot of Arrival, in that I view the mother character as a terrible person who chooses to have a kid that she knows will die young, but it was exceptional in terms of filmmaking), with Blade Runner 2049 in particular doing the seemingly impossible and being both at least as good as the original, while meaningfully continuing the story and expanding the setting (it isn’t a mere retread). And from everything I’ve read he actually gets Dune, and wants to do a faithful adaptation of the source material. So far the casting choices seem appropriate and the script is being done by Villeneuve and Eric Roth, who have writing bonafides, and Jon Spaihts who, er…really doesn’t (his involvement gives me pause). Villeneuve even wants to split the project into two movies (both covering just the first book). I have high hopes for this production.

    Dune may even be timely, with its combination of environmental message and extreme wariness of ‘Heroes’ (‘Not me. Us.’ We need mass movements, not individual saviors).

    I sort of dread the public reaction though. I can already predict what many of the criticisms from the ‘woke’ crowd are going to be. They aren’t going to like the portrayal of women (here at least there are valid criticisms to be made; and Herbert’s ideas in this area got even weirder as the novels went on. But also Dune is set in an unjust feudal society. Portrayal is not the same thing as endorsement). They’ll claim it’s a white savior narrative, thus revealing just how much they’ve missed the point. And they’ll call it Islamophobic for its portrayal of a bloodthirsty jihad, again revealing how they’ve missed a key point*.

    *the point being ‘heroes’ as a social construct. Protagonist Paul Atreides pulls a Lawrence of Arabia in order to achieve his goal in the full knowledge that people will turn him into a mythological figure and develop a cult around him, unleashing a fanaticism that Paul himself will not be able to control and that leads to mass death and suffering. Paul’s story is one of a villain, masquerading as a coming-of-age hero adventure story.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Blade Runner 2049

      I saw Blade Runner 2049 on a long-haul and I thought it was a brilliant exercise in world-building, far better than the “original.” I don’t think the rest of the movie quite lives up to the stunning opening scene, but it’s very, very good. So this is good to hear.

      I never did see the first Dune movie. My impression is that it was a farcically bad boondoggle?

      1. Carolinian

        farcically bad boondoggle

        David Lynch tends to do his own thing. I don’t think he took the material very seriously.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Oh . . . I don’t know . . . Lynch’s Baron Harkkonen was convincingly scary and repellent. And so was some other stuff.

          1. HotFlash

            Repellent, yes, but truly scary? Don’t think so. The Baron Harkkonen character was out of a comic book — disgusting but not deeply frightening, as he should have been. And Sting, in a fiberglass bikini bottom? I laughed out loud in the theatre.

            1. Yves Smith

              I didn’t think the Baron Harkkonen in the novel was scary in his person as much as scary in his use of power. He was described as looking almost like a joke with being so fat as to need supports and having gross personal habits. But I agree the Baron was off.

              And I thought Sting was the closest to the novel version, although he should have been more understated and smug.

              The problems were rife, the Paul was terrible, the blue eyes special effects and the Bene Gesserit with shaved heads all called attention to the wrong things.

      2. Elim Garak

        The first Dune movie was certainly an atrocious attempt, and it soured me to David Lynch’s work more than I’d care to admit. I’ve seen it recommended here before, but there’s a great documentary that does a deep dive on the first attempted adaptation called Jodorowsky’s Dune. Absolutely worth the watch if for nothing else than to understand just how difficult it would be to translate the spirit of the book to the big screen.

        I’ve tried my best to steer clear of any info about this iteration because I don’t want to prime my expectations only to be let down again, Dune is one of the greatest sci-fi series (beyond simply the first book) and to see another adaptation flop would be quite excruciating.

        There are so few films coming out these days that try to be more than lowest common denominator money makers, but two fantastic ones that come to mind are The Lighthouse and Parasite, the former I’d recommend for any arthouse movie fans, the latter I’d recommend to anyone at all.

        1. Plenue

          The intended message of the Jodorowsky’s Dune documentary is for us to be in awe of this man’s genius vision, and resent all the evil studio producers who got in his way and wouldn’t let him do it.

          I was suckered into that for a while, but upon further reflection, and especially after reading this article https://www.tor.com/2017/05/02/jodorowskys-dune-didnt-get-made-for-a-reason-and-we-should-all-be-grateful/ I’ve come to the conclusion that not only were the producers right to reject his proposals from a financial point of view, but that it’s also probably a good thing his movie was never made. Jodorowsky himself is a huge dick; who thinks nothing of making people miserable in the name of his ‘art’. He’s appealingly manic and enthusiastic, and has a certain strange charisma, but underneath all that is just kind of a big jerk.

          In terms of Dune specifically, he clearly had zero interest in making a faithful adaptation. His vision of Dune was basically as a monumentally expensive vehicle for him to masturbate over. He gleefully talks about ‘raping Frank Herbert’ in the documentary. He wanted to make Paul immaculately conceived, which undermines a huge chunk of the plot (a bunch of these ideas, which are interesting in and of themselves, but bad for Dune, would later be used in Jodorowsky’s comics work, which I’ve heard is extremely good, so there is that).

          Also from a practical standpoint it wouldn’t have worked. He had all these grand visions that simply couldn’t have been done with 1970s film technology. And before you say ‘well, maybe he would have pioneered Star Wars special effects before Star Wars’, the 1984 Dune was made both post-Star Wars and post-Blade Runner, and still couldn’t convincingly get the job done. It’s possible that only now have special effects gotten to the point where it can be convincingly done. Jodorowsky had all these ambitions, but it’s very easy to promise the sky. Producers were wise to not just give him vast amounts of money to do something he probably couldn’t have ultimately delivered.

          All that said, while I think it’s good his version of Dune was never actually made, the pre-production of it brought a bunch of people together who would later work together on other projects, most particularly the original Alien movie. So the failed production of Dune did have important consequences.

          1. Elim Garak

            I absolutely agree with you that Jodorowsky was an eccentric maniac who was Kubrick-level terrible to his actors, there’s no disputing that–just look what he did to his own son! Making him practice all forms of martial defense for 8 hours every day for a year, all for a part that he would never play.

            Still, I respectfully disagree with you that the intended message of the doc is to be in awe of his supposed genius, I feel more like you say in your final paragraph: the intent is to show how this production, even in failure, went on to influence all the major works of science fiction cinema that followed it. I’ll always be thankful to Jodorowsky for bringing together Dan O’Bannon and H.R. Giger because Alien is one of the greatest action sci-fi films of all time.

            What makes thinking about a Dune adaptation so difficult, in my mind at least, is that the series doesn’t hit its best heights until God Emperor of Dune (Book IV), and I can’t imagine we’ll ever get a faithful story that brings us all the way to Leto’s Golden Path. The first book is a classic, absolutely, but it’s really just the beginning of a much grander narrative that often gets overlooked.

            1. Plenue

              I’d completely forgotten what he did with his son. For those who don’t know, he imagined his kid Brontis in the role of Paul Atreides, and went to extreme lengths to prepare the kid before the movie even reached real production.

      3. Plenue

        The 1984 Dune is…weird. It’s not really good, by any objective measure, but it’s fascinating as an ambitious attempt. There are lots of choices made that are interesting, if not always wise. It can be an interesting thing to delve into from a production standpoint, but the end result isn’t really a good movie. The Princess Irulan introduction though is kind of mesmerizing, even though objectively it’s a clunky ‘tell, don’t show’ info dump (made even worse in the extended cut where the entire universe’s backstory is spelled out with the camera moving around static pieces of art): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6H5jeLxUy-0

        Strictly in terms of being a Dune adaptation though, it’s an utter failure. It completely misses the point of the original, and turns Paul into an actual savior who brings rain at the end of the film. It basically takes the plot at face value and misses all the, well, it’s not even really subtext is it? That Paul is fitting into a pre-established messiah mold that was artificially instilled in the Fremen is explicit in the book.

        1. Jack Parsons

          Lynch’s Dune was produced by, and boogered by, the De Laurentiis family. I think of it as an Italian “peplum” (swords & sandals & maybe sorcery) movie, and a good big-budget one.

          But if you’re an SF nerd, you shouldn’t watch any SF movies anyway.

      4. ptb

        Dune the movie? Far removed from what makes the book so epic*. Fun in a different way now just b/c Patrick Stewart and Sting. And not just weird. Really kindof disturbingly weird, quite different from how I imagined it… but that’s what you get for reading the book first.

        *tho my tastes have changed so I don’t even know if I’d like it now

      5. Grebo

        I recently watched the Alternative Edition Redux fan edit of Lynch’s 1984 movie (which I quite liked in 1984). Some of the acting and scripting is appallingly wooden but the look of the thing and most of the casting is excellent.

        The main problem with the theatrical release was it was savagely cut by the studio and hard to follow even if you knew the book. The fan edit is much better on that score at the cost of a 3 hour runtime. Legend has it that Lynch’s original cut was 5 hours long.

        I was surprised how closely it hewed to the book, though there are some important differences.

      6. laughingsong

        You didn’t miss much, I was hugely disappointed. Sting in a futuristic metal speedo? Ugh, I still can’t unsee it.

      7. Jessica

        I thought that Blade Runner 2049 also got a bit closer than the original to what Philip K. Dick was wrestling with in the source material Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
        Dick said that the 1982 movie looked just like he had imagined that world, but he also wrote that his book was part of the forces of good and the movie, by missing the true message so completely, was part of the forces of evil.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Dune should not be in the big screen as it’s too complicated for film-length. And too niche to make money at the box office. unless some serious shortcuts were made in the film

      would be perfect for a 12-episode show on a streaming service. just saying.

      1. Elim Garak

        Agreed. The best storytelling these days is taking place longform on streaming services, we’re truly in the golden age of television, as that’s where a lot of creative freedom is being granted. Especially in the sci-fi genre, it allows for much richer world building and character development. The Expanse is currently my most anticipated show in that category.

      2. inode_buddha

        So, sort of like Harry Potter (hairy pooper), then. That’s another franchise that got way too big.

      3. Adam Eran

        You’re right, a serial would be more like what works as a film. That said, Syfy network did a serialization that was far better than the first movie. Alejandro Jodorowski (El Topo, the Magic Mountain) also had a version in development that was never completed.

        1. Plenue

          The original Dune miniseries is quite good. Hampered by budget of course, but much more faithful than the movie.

          But they didn’t stop there; they went and made a sequel miniseries that covers the second and third books, and I’m quite a fan of that adaptation. Firstly just because they made it at all (I don’t think you can fully ‘get’ Dune without at least the first three books. It isn’t a coming of age adventure story; you need the sequels to fully understand what is actually going on in the first book and its ramifications. Without them you miss Herbert’s point. The first chapter of Dune Messiah especially is a brutal deconstruction of the events of the first book), but also because it’s genuinely good, especially the music.

          It’s also constrained by budget and special effects, but it still delivers some good moments, like this one at the very end (“puts his head in my lap and asks me to help him find a way to die”) https://youtu.be/xaPxKj1bjvc?t=122

          Also it stars a baby-faced James McAvoy, and Susan Sarandon, who it’s always worthwhile patronizing just to own the libs.

      4. Plenue

        I think Villeneuve agrees with you, which is why he wants to split it into two films. If that happens we’re looking at between 4 and 6 hours of film total. That’s still not a 10+ hour long miniseries, but it’s the better part of it.

      5. Oregoncharles

        Good point about length – though it applies to a lot of novels.

        Another big problem is that certain items in the book, like the “Voice”, can be written but can’t be visualized. Films are above all visual. A serial won’t solve that problem without some serious imagination – but I’d watch it.

          1. Plenue

            There’s a genuinely good movie in the Hobbit films though. It’s just buried under so much of cruft that you need to watch one of the many fan edits to find it.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      Cool thanks for bringing this up.

      1. Blade Runner 2049 is as good as the original and goes even farther with the themes it only touched on. It is beautiful in 3d. See it.

      2. If there’s any contemporary cinéaste who could make good on Dune, it’s Villeneuve.

      3. Lynch’s version of Dune is a masterpiece manqué. The studio cut 3 hours of it so what we see is only a shadow. It’s still a very beautiful film and the special effects were so innovative that I have never seen them used again. Check out Paul’s training or the rain planet. This is a seriously beautiful movie. If Lynch had had his way on delivering the final cut, it would be on the list of greatest films of all time.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Blade Runner ’49 is an absolute failure because it rewrites/misses the point of the original!

        Decker is a replicant in the original….and then human in the sequel? !?

        Such “I know…let’s make the main/pivotal character the opposite of canon and then twist it!” nonsense is why the originals are so great and the sequels so unimaginative.

        1. Plenue

          Decker isn’t a Replicant. Blade Runner was not written with him being one, he wasn’t one for much of the filming process, and Ford is adamant to this day that he isn’t one. The only one who thinks he is is Ridley Scott, who had the idea mid-way through production, thought it was clever and deep (it isn’t), and went ahead and filmed the unicorn footage against everyone’s objections. But the producers refused to allow it in, and it was only in 2007 that Scott finally got his way with the Final Cut.

          It’s a stupid idea, that raises lots of problems within the logic of the story, and undermines a central point of the plot. Regardless, 2049 doesn’t ignore it. It leaves it an open question as to whether Deckard is human or not.

    4. Geof

      Paul Atreides pulls a Lawrence of Arabia in order to achieve his goal in the full knowledge that people will turn him into a mythological figure and develop a cult around him, unleashing a fanaticism that Paul himself will not be able to control and that leads to mass death and suffering. Paul’s story is one of a villain, masquerading as a coming-of-age hero adventure story.

      Exactly. I was most puzzled to read Michael Moorcock calling Herbert a fascist. Here’s Jessica, Paul’s mother, in Children of Dune:

      The human sea emitted a sound like the hiss of a giant sandworm as Jessica emerged. She raised herm arms in the benedictory to which the priesthood had conditioned the Imperium. With significant pockets of tardiness, but still like one giant organism, the people sank to their knees. Even the official party complied.

      Jessica had marked out the places of delay, and she knew that other eyes behind her and among her agents in the throng had memorized a temporary map with which to seek out the tardy.

      As Jessica remained with her arms upraised, Gurney and his men emerged. . . . Quickly they fanned out through the human sea, leaping knots of kneeling figures, dashing through narrow lanes. A few of their targets saw the danger and turned to flee. They were the easiest: a thrown knife, a garrotte loop, and the runners went down. Others were herded out of the press, hands bound, feet hobbled.

      . . . When it was over – a few dead bodies sprawled on the sand, captives removed to holding pens beneath the landing tower – Jessica lowered her arms.

      The ascension of Paul and his family is horror, not celebration. To me, the lesson was that that you need power to make change and do good, but that power can make you a monster. Which Paul and his family quite literally became. Not exactly an endorsment of fascism.

      I also like Herbert’s sympathetic depiction of the insect people in Hellstrom’s Hive. Learning to understand and empathize with the humanity in totalitarianism prepares us to fight it. But people will have their simplistic readings, revealing more about themselves than the thing they criticize. I remember news articles here in Canada claiming that South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut was an attack on Canada, when it has to be one of the most pro-Canada movies ever.

      1. Plenue

        “The ascension of Paul and his family is horror, not celebration. To me, the lesson was that that you need power to make change and do good, but that power can make you a monster. Which Paul and his family quite literally became. Not exactly an endorsment of fascism.”

        I wonder how many of those critics actually read all the books? Dune has to be understood as a series, not individual volumes. The entire core plot element of the Dune novels is Paul’s son becoming an immortal dictator running a totalitarian state for thousands of years, precisely to psychically imprint a hatred of centralized power on the entire human species. He makes himself the ultimate villain to save humanity in the long run.

        Herbert seems to me like he was very far from being a ‘bourgeois reactionary’.

        1. Yves Smith

          Your point about a series is not quite correct. Dune was two novels Herbert combined into one; there is both evidence that he didn’t intend to write another Dune book originally, as well as evidence he’d left enough material on the cutting room floor that he was interested in another Dune book. But there appears to be no evidence he had what the full series turned out to be worked out at the outset.

    5. Oregoncharles

      ” They aren’t going to like the portrayal of women (here at least there are valid criticisms to be made;”?
      The Bene Gesserit are the prime movers of the story, as is a mother’s choice to betray them. Their project, and the whole organization, is a fictionalization of the very real role of females as the main selectors of the next generation – even when they don’t appear to be.

      No, I don’t suppose everybody will like that idea.

      1. Plenue

        Oh, they have plenty of agency, that isn’t the problem. But I recall Herbert shaded into a kind of ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ biological absolutism.

        Of course, much of the plot revolves around breeding super humans and literal genetic memory, so Dune biology is weird anyway.

  10. Carolinian

    This is the formula he followed as mayor of Burlington

    South Carolina ain’t Burlington (i.e. we say ain’t). Bernie got a good reception when he appeared in my town at the beginning of the year but immediately after someone connected to the black church venue–and a Biden supporter–pooped on his visit to the WaPo. He will have a hard time winning over many of the old time AA pols in this state and perhaps others. When he spoke here much of the crowd was white.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Aren’t a lot of the old AA pols in South Carolina a pack of vicious worshipful Jonestown Clintonites?

      There comes a point where Sanders’s “failure to connect” becomes THEIR fault and NOT his. I hope they don’t have the power to cheat me out of my Sanders all by themselves. Such an outcome would certainly motivate me to seek vengeance against them, if I could find a legal way to “reach out and touch them” for cheating me out of my Sanders.

      1. Carolinian

        Don’t be like Hillary/Norma Desmond (paraphrasing–“I’m still big. It’s the electorate that got small”). To assume black voters only do what black preachers tell them is kind of…you know. It’s Sanders’ job to connect with voters of all description and arguably as president that would be a much bigger part of his job that thinking up ideas for health care. Before he can change the world he first has to win. And before that he has to knock out Biden. We’re still waiting on that one.

        1. Grant

          Sorry, but you are treating black voters as a monolith, and Bernie has more support from black voters than anyone running, outside of Biden. Bernie has more support from younger black voters than Biden does. What you are saying is not reflected in the data. Biden leads with OLDER black voters. In fact, if people above 65 were not allowed to vote, Biden wouldn’t stand a chance in hell.

          For example, in your own state:


          But a South Carolina poll from Quinnipiac University this month, Biden trailed behind Warren and Sanders with young voters — 31% of voters between 18 and 34 support Sanders, 19% support Warren, and 15% support Biden.

          But, beyond that, Biden objectively has an absolutely atrocious record on issues impacting black voters. Do you really think, if he was never named Obama’s VP (and he was named Obama’s VP because Obama thought he could appeal to white working class voters, not because of his nonexistent great record on issues impacting communities of color), that he would have the support he has?

          It is odd to hear someone attack Bernie as if he isn’t appealing to black voters, which are not a monolith. Bernie has very diverse support, and he did really well with younger voters of color in 2016 too. Need I also remind you that whatever you experienced, or whatever happens in South Carolina, that South Carolina ain’t the US broadly? Biden will likely lose Iowa and New Hampshire and he is relying on your state to rescue his horrible campaign. Sadly, it might, at least for a little bit.

          1. Carolinian

            I’m not attacking Bernie but just reporting what I read and what i saw when Sanders visited here. I’m also not a political prognosticator and if you say Sanders has a shot in SC then perhaps that’s so.

            But I do think it is telling that even though Biden is a train wreck he is still ahead nationally. That does not suggest a groundswell of Sanders support in the party in general. Just getting the nom by attrition isn’t going to help Sanders beat Trump or accomplish all the things he says he wants to do.

            1. Grant

              “if you say Sanders has a shot in SC then perhaps that’s so.”

              I am not saying that. I don’t know that he does in that state, since Biden’s lead with older voters is so massive in your state. What I am saying is that black people aren’t a monolith and Bernie does well with middle aged and younger voters, regardless of race. You making claims that he is struggling with black voters is not accurate. In fact, outside of Biden, no one else is doing as well with that voting block. Biden is killing it with older voters, but not doing well with everyone else. There was a huge difference in voting among black voters in 2016, not just based on economic standing but also age. Older voters went all in on Clinton, younger voters went for Bernie. And Bernie’s support is really diverse, in every way. So, it is not accurate to say he is struggling with black voters, nor is it a good idea to say that what you see yourself, or what happens in your state can necessarily explain things nationally or in other states.

              “But I do think it is telling that even though Biden is a train wreck he is still ahead nationally.”

              Bernie has the entirety of those running that party against him, the media is against him, the donor network is against him, most of those running in the primaries are against him and are funded by people that oppose his agenda and he is running against about 20 people. I think, with all that is thrown against him, he is doing amazingly well. In fact, it should be obvious that if anyone else had all of that thrown against them, no chance that they would be doing nearly as well. And I also question those polls, as do many others, for a number of reasons. CNN, for example, continues to do polls that are insane. In Iowa, for example, they polled people on the Democratic primaries a few weeks ago. When you look at the fine print, about half of those polled were Republicans that don’t plan on voting in the Democratic Party primaries. In other polls, almost none of those polled were 49 and younger, and Bernie leads by a wide margin with that age group. In another instance, CNN’s poll showed that Bernie was leading in a state (forgot which one) and they on air flipped their own numbers and give his support to another candidate. There is a lot of manufacturing consent with these polls. There are plenty of reasons, at least in a number of states, to think that he will do better than those polls are showing, although the gap will be larger in some states than others. There also seem to be a lot of crossover with those being polled and those watching networks like CNN and MSNBC. Older voters tend to watch those networks, and when those networks push for someone, they seem to jump up in polls. What is the average age of a CNN or MSNBC viewer?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > He will have a hard time winning over many of the old time AA pols in this state and perhaps others.

      It certainly is odd that liberal Democrats have selected them for veto power over the Democrat candidate.

  11. Carey

    With the eternal dissembling from the likes of that Shaver woman, it seems to
    me that the ‘PMC’ term, though not new, is gaining some badly-needed prominence. Maybe it’s a little simplistic to say that it’s the Elites and their PMC minions v the People now, but that’s how it’s looking to me at the moment.

    “like it, proles!”

    Mmm, no.

    1. Stanley Dundee


      it’s the Elites and their PMC minions v the People now

      My sentiments exactly. Bare simple model of class in America: Masters (.01%), Minions (9.99%), and Muppets (90%). Cf. Thomas Frank, Listen Liberal.

      1. Jessica

        There was also a large body of minion wannabes. The big change since the economic doldrums after the big crisis in 2007-2008 is that a lot of folks who would have been minion wannabes in the past now see clearly that their lot is with the muppets.

  12. anon in so cal

    Hillary Clinton re: Bernie Sanders, election 2016, and Russia (by way of journalist Michael Michael Tracey:

    “Hillary on Howard Stern today said the Russians were working to elect Bernie in 2016. “He hurt me, there’s no doubt about it,” she said re: Bernie, because he didn’t endorse her quickly enough. “I hope he doesn’t do it again to whoever gets the nomination, once is enough.”


    1. katiebird

      That is an unbelievably nasty statement. The primaries haven’t even started and she is wiping Sanders out of contention! How dare she say that he held pot too long before endorsing her? Do people really say things like that?

      That quote has more insults than I can count packed into one sentence!!

      (Raging, and sorry about it)

      1. Danny

        The good news is that all the Trump voters who voted against Hillary are possible voters for Bernie, who should broadcast her statements far and wide.

        Just like Tulsi Gabbard got a huge boost from Hillary’s
        “Russia Russia Russia, awwkkk!”
        from inside her loser’s birdcage, this slur can only do him good electorally.

        1. JBird4049

          I think that Clinton and many of her followers, it is not insulting. To her, she can never have failed, she can only have been be failed to. That being so, then somebody(s) else is responsible and should be marked.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            For the personality driven followers, they can’t even process the idea a candidate might have support outside of personality. Does Sanders command his voters? This is how they think.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hillary Clinton certainly speaks for Riverdaughter and all the other Jonestown Clinties who are still over there at The Confluence.

        And I continue to stand by the prediction I first made a couple of years ago now . . . that the Clintonites would be a deadly threat and a menace to political improvement in this country, in their millions.

        If Sanders is nominated, the Clintonites will conspire to make him lose. And not just the Clinton Mafia members and Democrapparatchiks within the Party infrastructure. The millions and millions of worshipful followers and accolytes whose like one can smell by opening up The Confluence and putting one’s nose close to the screen . . . will be part of the Never Sanders crowd.

        1. Carolinian

          Surely you can’t blame everything on Hillary. There’s also Pelosi.

          And if Sanders gets nominated then the entire establishment will be working for his downfall. This will cause them tremendous pain because they also don’t like Trump.

        2. integer

          Absolutely. Just think about the Olympic-level mental gymnastics that liberals have had to perform since 2016 just to keep their world-view intact, and then consider that they’re still certain they are “the adults in the room”. It’s a damn shame the Ds won the House in 2018; the last thing Sanders and the left needed was for liberals and the D establishment to have their politics validated in any way.

      1. ambrit

        I love the ‘smell’ of irony in the political ‘morning’ when I consider that Bush 41 popularized the meme “voodoo economics” during the 1980 Republican primary campaign.
        Whoever fed him that meme was dead right. We are still paying the price for those pernicious doctrines today.

    2. shinola

      Just what is it with HRC and her “Russia! Russia! Russia!” obsession?

      I would think she and/or her team could come up with something better than just dusting off old scripts & replacing the word Trump with Bernie.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What else is there for her?

        On paper, her candidacy was never a sure thing. Her vision was not unique enough to warrant her candidacy. Even her potential victory didn’t do anything to help down ballot races. Her whole candidacy and the support from the Democratic establishment was almost certain malpractice.

        Oh wow, she had more votes, but if not for that electoral college…between Gore in 2000 and Hillary’s own lack of knowledge about allocation in 2008, her whole team is demonstrably a group who should be treated like small children. Yeah, you can nod and be polite, but no one should take their advice.

        1. Plenue

          They’re worse than children. Children would at least have gotten the fairy tale right: they wanted to prop up Trump as their Goldilocks opponent, the one they could beat. Not the Pied Piper, which is what they called him, and what he actually turned out to be. That they couldn’t even get the childish analogy correct is emblematic of what a braintrust the 2016 Clinton campaign was. These people are morons.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        She began her political awareness as a Goldwater Girl. It probably colors her brain unto this very day.

        Her antiRussianitic racist antiRussianite antiRussianism is just as real as that of Zbigniew Brzezhinski and other such Russia haters.

      3. ewmayer

        “Just what is it with HRC and her “Russia! Russia! Russia!” obsession?” — Facing up to having lost the election to the worst nominee ever (the one she dreamed of running against because she would win so easily), despite having more or less the entire DC establishment and MSM shilling for her, and having that huge billion-dollar fundraising advantage, is a hell of a thing to face up to, even for someone capable of introspection, which she and her acolytes clearly are not, because introspection is kin to apostasy.

          1. inode_buddha

            Well, if she ever stopped believing her own BS, it would destroy her. Its the exact same mental gymnastics, and the same mental trajectory seen in cases of addiction: in this case, the addiction is Power.

            Usually people have to hit rock bottom before they finally become desperate enough to become honest. The question is whether they will survive the journey on the way to bottom. And then find the strength to start anew.

      4. John

        Once a Goldwater girl, always a Goldwater girl? Different expression of arrested development from Trump, but arrested development nevertheless.

    3. Big Tap

      Yet Bernie campaigned for that witch. Never got any appreciation for that work. I would think that’s an endorsement of Sanders action for her not words.

  13. Synoia

    Evidence suggests that heat exposure increases delivery risk for pregnant women. Acceleration of childbirth leads to shorter gestation, which has been linked to later health and cognitive outcomes.

    I get it. Hot women’s children are at risk…

  14. XXYY

    ‘Fontana’s credits to Star Trek cannot be understated, both as a writer of great stories and as a trailblazer for other women.’”

    Cannot be overstated.

    Maybe we need new trailblazing for copy editing at MSM?

  15. Grant

    ‘No matter your candidate, you have to recognize that going from the most diverse field ever in January to a potentially all-white debate stage in December is catastrophic…The implicit racism and sexism of ‘electability’ is deeply damaging to democracy”, said Leah Greenberg.

    AOC, if she was older and running now, would have done much better than Harris did. Harris was a bad candidate that ran a bad campaign. Maybe, just maybe, we should focus on ideological diversity a bit too, for once, because there really isn’t tons in that “progressive” party. Policies are what will impact communities of color and women. If Harris was elected president, would her being president make it so that communities like Flint don’t have lead in their water? Would it do anything about the housing crisis? Structural racism or sexism? No, policy would address those things. In fact, if I was part of the white male power structure and I (like the rest of them) really just cared about economic policies, I would try to support someone like Harris to provide cover for what I really cared about; my own class standing and my wealth/power.

    There is Bernie and there is everyone else on policy and ideology, with Warren on the left flank of the everyone else group. Without Bernie (and to a far lesser extent Warren or Tulsi), there really isn’t much ideological or policy diversity. Kind of fascinating too, cause while Harris is a woman of color, she was largely propped up by what many call the white male power structure. I sometimes feel as if people like the woman above would applaud someone like Mia Love taking part in Democratic primaries, because policy, economic class, worldview, ideology, takes a backseat to identity. Harris’s policies would not have benefited communities of color as much as Bernie’s would. But, it isn’t as if people like this care about who the policies would benefit. “Progress” in their mind is a woman of color sitting on top of the same inequitable, undemocratic and corrupt system. “Progress” is the existing power structure giving Obama power, then paying Obama to change little and rewarding him once out of office for changing little. Economic regression and police brutality in black communities? Yawn.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Leah Greenberg is a Goldman Sachs feminist, concerned with breaking through the Tiffany Glass Ceiling and with making the Oligarchy into a Rainbow Oligarchy.

  16. RMO

    “But wait, there’s more: “After six uneventful months, things started to go sour. On 5 October, the company’s servers were switched off without warning. This rendered all previously sold switches and sockets useless.”

    I won’t even buy a game that relies on a central server owned by someone else. The idea of a light switch or electrical outlet that is at the mercy of one is utterly insane.

    “Shipping: “The maritime world’s big new clean-air deadline is arriving with clouds on the horizon. Authorities in Greece want the rule requiring a steep cutback in sulfur emissions to be pushed back…”

    If only there were some way to propel cargo ships using a renewable energy source…

    (And, yes I am aware of how that would mean the death of the current just-in-time delivery system and the globalized manner in which products get shipped around the world multiple times in the process of manufacture/assembly before being shipped thousands more miles to the buyer but either that dies, or the biosphere does anyways)

    1. Glen

      I remember seeing sail power augmented cargo ships as recently as the 90s. These were used to reduce fuel burn instead of replace big diesels. I haven’t seen them recently.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Encouraging. The sails look oddly small in proportion – they aren’t trying to be Clipper ships, which were built for speed.

          Another design type uses a tall cylinder instead of a sail; not sure how that works.

          Modern sailboats almost always have an engine, for backup and for tight maneuvering. The biggest limitation is draft, which has to be deeper to keep the ship upright. Would favor select deepwater ports.

          Adopting this might be a way to save faltering shipyards, like the one my son worked at – their work got outsourced to S. Korea, and their drydock to the Bermudas. Good for France for still having operating shipyards.

          1. ewmayer

            “Another design type uses a tall cylinder instead of a sail; not sure how that works.” — A rotating cylinder in an air current acts like an airfoil, it generates ‘lift’, i.e. force in a direction perpendicular to the incident air. On an airplane fixed-wings are preferable because at those higher speeds the cylinder’s wake turbulence means lots of drag, but at cargo-ship speeds it’s a viable propulsion system, without the mechanical complexity and fragility of cloth sails.

            1. RMO

              I think the DynaRig concept is the most promising, essentially a modernization of the square rig with better windward performance and requiring a much smaller crew and reducing the need to climb high aloft to alter the sailplan for conditions. Unfortunately sail would need international regulations requiring a vast reduction in the use of fossil fuels to propel ships as diesels are not only faster and better able to hold to a tight schedule but the enormous costs they have in environmental terms aren’t currently being directly paid for by the shipping companies or the customers. Just-in-time and complex global supply chains have the same problem as much of their vaunted “efficiency” is from pushing costs into the biosphere.


    2. Bill Carson

      This is the same design problem that is built into Tesla’s solar + battery products: If they lose the internet connection to the Mother Ship (i.e., Telsa), then they turn themselves off. That’s not going to be very helpful during the zombie apocalypse. I don’t know whether Tesla cars are the same, but they might be. Have we forgotten the lessons of Y2K already?

    3. Plenue

      “I won’t even buy a game that relies on a central server owned by someone else.”

      I broadly agree, but also own lots of games on Steam, which provides a genuine service in exchange for that lack of future independence. I then slowly acquire such games as I view as truly exceptional as standalone exe’s through GOG.

  17. Misty Flip

    Yiddish is High German written in the Hebrew alphabet to navigate modernity and Hebrew terminology to practice the traditional; an integration for immigrants learning the local language while studying Torah. After the Holocaust and Stalin’s inferno in 1948, Yiddish speaking anarchists saw the writing on the wall and founded the State of Israel. Kibbutzim *is* a socialist success, Yasha, but for militancy against the madness of the 20th century, socialist ideals would not be possible anywhere. What happened?

    German-Jewish exiles Adorno and Horkheimer sat around a NY kitchen in 1943 and fleshed out a theory that the Enlightenment, the supremacy of Reason and the attempt to synchronize with the great Universal logic machine, was a faulty return to classical Western mythology, a place where utility values of our actions are knowable by man. Using the Iliad as example of the ur-text of Western Civilization, Odysseus must find the right trick for a series of problems, execute sly interference in Fate’s affairs, to ensure self-preservation and avoid the consequences of Odysseus’s military campaign. [Beauty and poetry are nowhere to be found within the text.] Political philosophies regress into instruments for the technocracy to prevail in crisis. Which leads me to believe the Biden campaign could not find success without the specter of a Sanders campaign, a place where responsibility for the fatuous left can be dumped. If Sanders, or any other Democrat, is to prevail, he or she cannot be a predictable doctrinaire adversary.

    1. Jack Parsons

      Modern German is agglutinative- show me an agglutination in Yiddish!

      Yiddish speakers started in (roughly) Alsace, moved East, and maintained that very weird dialect as their private language. The modern Alsatian language is the closest thing to Yiddish. And when a German listens to Alsatian, you get a major WTF facial expression.

    1. The Historian

      I think an agreement was reached that the other NATO countries would increase their spending for NATO to 2% of their GDP by 2024. I don’t think it is 2024 yet. Isn’t Trump just trying to pick fights?

      And what everyone overlooks is that the biggest seller of weapons to NATO is the US. Isn’t the US already getting more than its fair share of the monies put in to support NATO?


      Sometimes I wonder how all those foreign pols even maintain their sense of decorum when meeting with Trump. They all know that at least ONE of them will be subjected to grade-school level name-calling after the meeting if Trump doesn’t get his way. This time it was Trudeau again.

    2. HotFlash

      Jilted Trump Announces Formation Of Cooler, Way More Powerful NATO With His New Best Friends Oman, Macedonia, And Suriname

      People, this is The Onion!

  18. zagonostra

    >Impeachment Headlines

    Fox: Gingrich says its ‘almost a joke’ for Dems to claim Trump committed impeachable offenses

    Vox: Impeachment hearings: Why Trump’s behavior is impeachable, in one quote

    Such is the clarity from the Media who are supposed to be informing the Public, a pitiful state-of-affairs. It is no mystery that there is such seething hatred for the establishment, i.e., MSM/Gov’t.

    1. Carey

      Yes, if you only casually pay attention to our political theater, you’d get the impresson that President Trump has already been convicted. It’s just a
      blizzard in the corporate media right now.

  19. Oregoncharles

    First: I think that’s licorice fern, which grows in the moss on hardwoods, mostly big leaf maples, in the NW rainforest. Stems do taste of licorice, though I don’t recommend eating a lot of it. My first reaction to the picture: “That’s around here.”

    Second: ” “Poor Potato Crops Could Lead to a North American French Fry Shortage”. Pardon my language; I planted a few potatoes, but not nearly enough. They’re one of the easiest things to grow in a home garden, at least around here. Now it’s too late. Hope the local supplies really are local. Might see if I can stock up before it gets worse.

    1. wilroncanada

      Have just a city lot. Too little space to grow potatoes. My wife grew a few in a pot last summer. One nice meal. On the potato front, I’ll have to check with friends on PEI (Prince Edward Island, speaking of using initials). I see a lot of red faces, but that could just be they’ve been in the dirt. Now that Bud the Spud has passed on, I wonder how McCains is doing? No doubt they’re still chippy.
      Speaking of potatoes, Here is a “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” for musicians;
      You say Suzuki, and I say Kodaly,
      I say Kodaly, and you say Suzuki,
      Suzuki, Kodaly, Kodaly, Suzuki,
      Let’s call the whole thing Orff.

  20. potted frog

    The absence of trust (contracts+enforcement) between counterparties was the motivation for the bitcoin blockchain.

    Since we have contract+enforcement in the non-crypto world, what purpose does blockchain serve? The answer seems to be: because cool.

  21. dcrane

    Sanders (D)(2): Good crowd at Morehouse:

    Minor point I guess, but the embedded pic that comes up for the Morehouse College Youtube doesn’t seem to be from that rally, but a much larger rally indoors somewhere. Ideally the campaign should avoid this sort of thing. Honesty and integrity are Bernie’s most important selling points. Anyway, it was a decent turnout at the Morehouse rally too.

  22. JohnnyGL

    “‘No matter your candidate, you have to recognize that going from the most diverse field ever in January to a potentially all-white debate stage in December is catastrophic,’ said Leah Greenberg, co-founder of Indivisible, a Democratic activist group. ‘The implicit racism and sexism of ‘electability’ is deeply damaging to democracy.’”

    I think we need to start talking about how the narrative of electability and the identity politics framing/understanding have now resulted in a kind of ‘blowback’ in at least 2 directions.

    Firstly, with Trump reinvigorating ‘white’ id pol, in opposition to ‘multiculturalism’.
    Now, again, with id pol, centrists have a built in excuse for failure with ‘electability’ being weaponized to explain it all away. This kind of poisoning of the environment helps block future women/minority candidates who get trapped in a self-reinforcing loop of never being ‘electable’ because they’re never ‘elected’.

      1. wilroncanada

        In addition, the statement by Leah Greenberg seems to be a lie, judging by the number of non-lily-white candidates named by the various respondents in above notes. Maybe she should learn to count.

  23. Synoia

    Amstrad chief Bob Watkins as CEO, has agreed to go into liquidation…Yasser Khattak, a 17-year-old wunderkind …On 5 October, the company’s servers were switched off without warning. This rendered all previously sold switches and sockets useless.

    So they did not understand mail order, and built in a single point of failure.

    1. Watkins should have known better,
    2. A 17 year old wunderkind needs some more experienced talent to produce a product, and Watkins should have known better.

    I believe both pf those are called “Experienced Management.” On of my previous bosses has retired and lives in Wantage, UK. They should have picked up the phone.

  24. laughingsong

    “Trailblazing Star Trek Writer D.C. Fontana Dies at 80: ‘She Was a Pioneer’”

    I remember being told that when she first started writing Sci-Fi, she abbreviated her first and middle name so that it wasn’t apparent that she was a woman. It was very much a man’s club back then.

    The Star Trek folks mirrored this in the Deep Space Nine Episode “Far Beyond the Stars”, where a kind of neurological dream state came on for Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks). In the episode he “goes back” to the 50s where he becomes Benny Russell, a sci fi writer at a pulp magazine called Incredible Tales. Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) is also in this sequence as a writer named Kay Eaton, but writes under the pseudonym K.C. Hunter for the same reason: she is hiding her gender.

    From the Memory Alpha site:

    “According to an interview in Star Trek Monthly issue 40, the Incredible Tales staffers were based on various real-life genre authors. For instance, Albert Macklin was intended as an homage to Isaac Asimov. Kay Eaton, who wrote under the name “K.C. Hunter” to hide her gender, was a version of Catherine Moore, who similarly wrote under the name “C.L. Moore”, as well as Star Trek’s own D.C. Fontana, who wrote for Star Trek: The Original Series.”


  25. Synoia

    Biden 28.34
    Biden’s Opposition in the D field 50.91%

    I don’t believe Biden will win the nomination. If Bernie were to get 50% of the non-Biden vote he’d beat Biden.

    Assuming that those not for Biden do not see Biden as their second choice.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The only way one of the Decent Democrats ( Sanders or Warren or Gabbard) will win the nomination is if one of them wins it on the First Ballot. From the Second Ballot onward, every delegate who was pledged to one of the Decent Democrats for the First Ballot only, will be free to sell or trade their delegate vote to the highest bidder from Ballot Number Two onward. And that is what some of them will do and will be doing.
      Not all of them I hope. Just some of them. But that “some” will be enough to make sure that no Decent Democrat can win the nomination on a Ballot Number Two or beyond.

      As Yoda would say . . . ” First Ballot or First Ballot not. There is no Second Ballot.”

      1. Carey

        Any nominee but Sanders (or, possibly, Gabbard) will ensure the lowest
        Dem turnout in the general election in recent history. I’m afraid, though,
        that Team™ Dem are fine with that.

  26. Summer

    RE:”In Appeal to Hard Left, Bloomberg Praises Chinese Communism” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. The editor who wrote that headline needs to be spoken to. The “hard left”? Who, exactly? Bob Avakian? Wu mao tankies? Levitz himself…”

    It’s especially bizarre because Neo-libs love them some surveillance state and surveillance capitalism and marval at what the Chinese are able to do…
    That’s called projecting…

  27. Fern

    Re Warren twitter post about her painful moment:
    Lambert’s link to the Warren Twitter post video seems to be broken, at least for my pc. Here it is:


    Look at it carefully. It’s staged beyond belief. The close ups of the emotionally overwrought questioner, the way the video switches back and forth from close-ups of the questioner with tears in her eyes to Elizabeth Warren’s “impromptu” response about her divorce and her mother, the spontaneous hugs and tears afterwords.

    This reminds me of Kamala Harris’ “this little girl was me” attack on Joe Biden — the one where preprinted t shirts adorned with the slogan were ready for distribution the morning after the debate. That approach didn’t end well for Harris.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Here is an embedded version:

      (I underlined the “viral video” text, but it’s not a link.)

      Anybody else see an adult hand come in at the left to give the kid a push to go up on stage? That to me screams staged more than the sentimentality.

      The kid could be “Warren’s biggest fan,” given the similarity in haircuts. But I would very much like to know who the kid is (remember how the loveable girl who propagated the “ventilator babies” story to justify the first Iraq War turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador? Which nobody mentioned or bothered to find out at the time?)

  28. Carey

    From NNU:

    “We just received major news: after months of pressure from activists around the country, the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee has announced it will be holding a hearing next Tuesday.

    Here’s the catch: not only is the hearing going to focus on several inferior health care bills in Congress, but we also have reason to believe that the committee is refusing to call an expert witness to testify on behalf of Medicare for All.

    This is unacceptable, and we can’t let this Subcommittee stack the deck against us. No one would make a better witness in this hearing than a bedside nurse from National Nurses United, because nurses — more than anyone — know what it takes to truly advocate for the needs of patients. And, everyday, nurses are on the frontlines of our country’s egregious health care crisis.

    We’re demanding that an NNU nurse be added as a witness. Can you make a call today to the Chair of the Health Subcommittee, Rep. Anna Eshoo, and demand that an NNU nurse be included as a witness?

    Or just directly dial (408) 245-2339, and use this script below:

    Hi, my name is [ ] and I’m calling to demand that Health Subcommittee Chair Rep. Eshoo invite a nurse from National Nurses United to be a witness in Tuesday’s Energy & Commerce hearing. Nurses have firsthand experience in our country’s broken health care system, and they are a crucial voice that must be included.Thank you.”

    I made the call, and later got an email from NNU saying that Rep. Eshoo is now “strongly considering allowing” somone from NNU to speak (generous!);
    hope others can make the call, too.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author


      She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, numbered as the 14th District from 1993 to 2013 is based in Silicon Valley, including the cities of Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto, as well as part of San Jose.

  29. lyman alpha blob

    re: Andrew Yang’s Staff Pulls Him Back

    Too bad – he was right in the middle of describing exactly how the political process works…

    1. Wukchumni

      Too bad – he was right in the middle of describing exactly how the political process works…

      Force-fed pressurized corn syrup?

  30. Big River Bandido

    NRe: two rats fighting over the same stale piece of pizza. First take, that summary is as pithy as it gets.

    Second take: whoa. Joe Biden is accusing someone else of plagiarism? On the one hand, that’s some serious chutzpah, right out of the Karl Rove playbook. On the other…it’s a desperate, pathetic move and shows how poorly Biden expects to do in IA, and probably NH as well. A guy who was at the center of power in Washington for 50 years has to attack a 37 incompetent whose biggest canvass got him 8000 votes and who no one had ever heard of 18 months ago? What a humiliating position for Joe Biden to be in. Such delicious schadenfiend. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Harvard Rhodes scholar rises to Biden’s bait, if only to score points with the Ivy League PMCs. He should. And I hope he does, because…

    Third take: the longer this fight goes on, the better. It really cuts the Gordian knot facing Sanders’ candidacy — Sanders needs Biden’s supporters. Polling suggests he’s the second choice of many Biden supporters, so he can’t afford to offend them by attacking their candidate. Buttigieg is no threat politically except insofar as he’s a proxy for the donor class. He’s the perfect stalking horse to take down Biden. And in taking in Biden, Buttigieg would start to alienate parts of the establishment who are partial to other candidates.

    If Sanders is lucky, the rats will tear each other apart, leaving him smelling like a rose.

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