2:00PM Water Cooler 12/5/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The WTO’s trade dispute appeal system could end on Dec. 10. Here’s what you need to know.” [WaPo]. “On Dec. 10, the World Trade Organization appeals tribunal, the Appellate Body, won’t have enough members left to rule on trade disputes between countries. That’s a problem, given ongoing trade wars between the United States, China, and Europe, and some 60 cases pending before the WTO. Without a functioning Appellate Body, countries can block progress on disputes between the organization’s 164 members simply by filing an appeal. How did we get to this point? The U.S. government has blocked all new appointments to the Appellate Body, to protest what it claims to be “persistent overreaching” by Appellate Body members in their rulings. The United States also threatened to cut its contribution to the WTO budget, to stymie the Appellate Body and a European Union proposal that other countries could use former adjudicators to decide disputes…. Our analysis suggests U.S. ire at individual adjudicators may be misdirected. This could be a good time to take a second look at the Secretariat’s mandate, and the behavior of diplomats and private lawyers litigating WTO disputes. Trade negotiators also have work to do — updating and clarifying the legal texts that WTO adjudicators have to work with can provide critical guidance for the WTO Appellate Body.”

“USTR proposes up to 100 pct tariffs on French products over digital services tax” [Xinhua]. “U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said Monday that he proposed additional tariffs of up to 100 percent on some 2.4 billion U.S. dollars worth of French products. In a statement released Monday afternoon, the USTR said he has completed the first segment of the investigation under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and concluded that France’s digital services tax discriminates against U.S. companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon…. Lighthizer added that he is exploring whether to open Section 301 investigations into the digital services taxes of Austria, Italy, and Turkey.” • Making the world safe for ginormous monopolies…

“Exclusive: White House considered kicking Huawei out of U.S. banking system – sources” [Reuters]. “The plan, which was ultimately shelved, called for placing Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], the world’s second largest smartphone producer, on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list…. Administration officials drafted a memo and held interagency meetings on the issue, according to one of the people, showing the extent to which administration officials mulled deploying the United States’ most aggressive sanctioning tool against the Chinese company…. Its use was tabled in favor of other measures, such as placing Huawei on a trade blacklist, which forces some suppliers to obtain a special license to sell to it.”

Handy chart from the IMF:

Goods, not services. Nevertheless.


“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.

Since we have no new polls, I redid yesterday’s poll to include the bottom tier. This is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of 12/5/2019, 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 (December 19), and Iowa:

Here is the latest, including the bottom tier, as of 12/5/2019, 12:00 PM EST:

Interestingly, Bloomberg enters at a relatively high level; I don’t know what motivates this, but my guess is name recognition.

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): “Joe Biden’s “No Malarkey” bus is smarter than you think” [Mic]. “Biden employs a corps of public relations experts who read the same websites, listen to the same podcasts, and follow the same people on Twitter as you do. They aren’t blind to the fact that ‘No Malarkey’ sounds like something that a guy from a 1950’s MST3K educational short about why men should feed their families roast beef every night would say. In fact, they’re counting on it. They’re well aware that Biden, and the slogan, are brutally corny. Guess what: People like corny shit. Especially old people, who are the bulk of Democratic primary voters…. His eleven point lead in the RealClearPolitics average reflects the decisions made by the people running his campaign. This includes naming a tour bus ‘No Malarkey’ specifically because it will light up zones in the brains of millions of elderly Iowans who haven’t received a thank you note from their TikTok-addled zoomer grandkids since the Obama administration. In 2016, 71 percent of Americans over 65 voted in the presidential election, as opposed to 46 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds. Playing to the elderly is a winning strategy, and the Biden PR machine knows its audience.” • Attractive thesis for counter-suggestible me. (It does, however, assume that Biden is well-funded.) But remember Hillary speaking to virtually empty auditoriums? Not dispositive, but certainly a sign of problems. I’m waiting for the equivalent kind of images from Biden to show up in my feed. Hasn’t happened yet! (I’ve seen exactly one: Some dude in a diner watching TV instead of Biden. Show me six like that….)

Biden (D)(2): “Biden says he would consider Harris for vice presidential slot” [Reuters]. “‘Senator Harris has the capacity to be anything she wants to be,’ Biden told reporters, according to a video posted by CBS News. ‘I talked to her yesterday. She’s solid. She can be the president one day herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice.'” • Oh good.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “McKinsey Employees Open Their Wallets for Alumnus Pete Buttigieg” [Sludge]. The employees who maxed out are interesting:

The Pete for America committee received a maximum contribution from Gary Pinkus, chairman of McKinsey North America, who is touted as “a global leader in private equity and investment, with deep roots in healthcare.”

Another McKinsey executive who maxed out to Buttigieg, giving $2,800, is Kausik Rajgopal, managing partner of the firm’s Western regional operations and a senior partner in the Silicon Valley office. On Oct. 21, Rajgopal was interviewed about a McKinsey report on the financial positions of global banks, and he advised banks to outsource more functions, such as trading and compliance; cut costs, including through zero-based budgeting; and expand through acquisitions.

Gretchen Berlin, a D.C.-based partner in the health care sector, also contributed the maximum amount to Buttigieg. Last month, Sludge reported on Buttigieg’s transformation into a leading critic of a single-payer Medicare for All system as he scored donations to his campaign from individuals in the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Other McKinsey employees maxing out to Buttigieg include Nikhil Patel, a partner based in Houston with the Global Energy practice and focusing on oil and gas. Alexandra Nee is an associate partner in D.C. with expertise in Private Equity and Aerospace & Defense, according to Nee’s LinkedIn profile, among other industries. Samir Khushalani is a partner in Houston consulting for energy companies, as is Adam Barth, who serves electric and gas utilities. Zac Townsend, an associate partner who works on fintech with banking clients in San Francisco, nearly maxed out with contributions totaling $2,550.

Buttigieg (D)(2): “The trips to war zones that Pete Buttigieg rarely talks about” [ABC]. Missed this at the time: “But what the 37-year-old South Bend mayor didn’t mention, and virtually never discusses in his run for the nation’s highest office, were other trips to Afghanistan and Iraq years prior to his military deployment, when he was a 20-something civilian contractor for the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company…. Buttigieg worked for McKinsey from 2007 to 2010, after completing post-graduate studies at Oxford. In his memoir, ‘Shortest Way Home,’ he mentions his involvement in domestic projects for the firm like doing energy efficiency research in the U.S., and goes into particular detail about one that involved analyzing North American grocery prices. But when it comes to his work abroad with McKinsey, he only drops hints about working on ‘war zone economic development to help grow private sector employment’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also refers to a ‘safe house’ in Baghdad. The book doesn’t say exactly when or how long Buttigieg was in either country.” • So Mayo Pete was (?) a spook? No reporting on this; the story just disappeared.

Buttigieg (D)(3): “Pete Buttigieg scores endorsements from former Obama officials” [CNN]. “Obama’s former special assistant and personal aide Reggie Love is endorsing Buttigieg, the campaign said. Love, who began his time with Obama as deputy political director in his Senate office, was a ubiquitous presence at Obama’s side during the 2008 presidential campaign and at the White House through most of his first term…. Buttigieg is also being formally endorsed by Austan Goolsbee, who served as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama, and Linda Douglass, the former director of communications for the White House Office of Health Reform.” • Looks like Obama has sent out a signal. And nothing against Reggie Love, but Obama’s body man? Really?

Buttigieg (D)(4): “A Protester Disrupted Pete Buttigieg’s Black Allies’ Attempt To Show Their Support, And It Was Really Tense” [Buzzfeed]. And: “Despite the suggestive billing from Buttigieg’s campaign, South Bend council member Karen White made clear at the outset of Wednesday’s forum that remarks from the participants were not necessarily endorsements but, rather, testimonials of how black leaders have worked well with the mayor. Buttigieg’s team saw the event as an opportunity to answer critics and skeptics.” • “Testimonials.”

* * *

“One-night only, Iowa caucus night red-eye to New Hampshire offered for campaign staff and reporters” [USA Today]. “This year, staffers and journalists who don’t make it onto a candidate’s private plane have the option of taking the Granite Express, a one-night-only charter flight from Des Moines to New Hampshire which leaves the Hawkeye State at 1 a.m.” • Um, shouldn’t there be two planes?


“‘Our Democracy Is at Stake.’ Pelosi Orders Democrats to Draft Articles of Impeachment Against Trump” [Time]. With autoplay video. “”The President abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.” • So now when a President doesn’t allow The Blob to dictate Ukraine policy it’s an impeachable offense? Really? Yasha Levine quotes Democrat impeachment witness Karlan (see below) but the point is the same:

So fomenting on a war on Russia’s border is, it appears, self-evidently aids our national security. What’s next? A war scare? Ramping up MH17?

“Read opening statements from witnesses at the House Judiciary hearing” [Politico]. “Democrats’ impeachment witnesses at Wednesday’s judiciary committee hearing plan to say in their prepared remarks that President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine were the worst examples of misconduct in presidential history.” • So again, it’s all about Ukraine. I feel like I’ve entered an alternate dimension. Aaron Maté comments:

My very subjective impression: I’ve skimmed three, and read Turley. Karlan, in particular, is simply not a serious effort. Turley may be wrong — a ton of tribal dunking on Twitter — but at least he’s making a serious effort. I’m gonna have to wait to see if somebody, say at Lawfare, does a serious effort on Turley. Everything I’ve read hitherto is and posturing and preaching to the choir. (Sad that Larry Tribe has so completely discredited himself, but that’s where we are.)

While on Turley, see this from his testimony:

Hat tip to alert reader David in Santa Cruz for his early call on “inchoate”:

Lambert, while Trump was unable to complete his attempt to extort the President of Ukraine, as someone who practiced the criminal law for 34 years, let me be the first to clue you in to the concept in the criminal law of the inchoate offense. This is criminal law, not contract law.

An inchoate offense includes an attempt, a conspiracy, and the solicitation of a crime. All focus on the state of mind of the perpetrator, and none require that the offense be completed — only that a person or persons having the required criminal intent took material steps toward completing the crime. Such a person becomes a principal in the contemplated crime, and in the eyes of the law is just as guilty as if he or she had completed the attempted offense.

(The details of Trump’s offense differ from what David in Santa Cruz said they would be.) “Inchoate” appears only in Turley’s piece, indicating, to me, that his was the only serious effort.

Realignment and Legitimacy

I made this diagram comparing hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public to the VSAP system in Los Angeles, which uses extremely insecure “ballot-marking devices.” I wrote up the debacle in this post. Perhaps the diagram will be more clear than my prose:

Stats Watch

Economic Calendar isn’t updating its prose snippets anymore, so I need to look for another source.

* * *

Banking: “Banking regulator rebuked Wells Fargo’s HR department: WSJ” [Reuters]. “The [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] asked the bank, among other things to address issues regarding thousands of employee complaints, an inadequate policy for clawing back compensation from executives and poor controls around pay.”

Tech: “Google Founders Give Up on Being the Warren Buffett of Tech” [Bloomberg]. “The Google founders’ decision to step down ends a multiyear effort to turn their company into the Berkshire Hathaway of technology by embracing Warren Buffett’s hands-off management style…. For many at the company, Alphabet’s purpose and structure was never really clear. Placing the head of Google, which contributes more than 99% of Alphabet’s sales, at the helm of it could call into question the entire purpose of Alphabet, one former Google senior employee said. Another former Google executive said the change will mean Pichai is stretched even more thinly. They asked not to be identified discussing private matters…. Financially, Alphabet was a win because it showed investors that the company wasn’t spending too much on ambitious “moonshot” projects, while highlighting the huge profitability of the main Google business…. But operationally, the structure has been in near-constant tumult and has struggled to produce a new business remotely close to Google in size and scope….. “Going forward, the story is much simpler: Sundar is the only sheriff in town,” analysts at Evercore ISI wrote in a note on Tuesday. Drummond will now report to Pichai as the head of Alphabet.” • This is the best coverage I’ve seen because explains the institutional factors.

Honey for the Bears: “Goldman Sachs says that every one of its private equity clients is preparing for recession” [Business Insider]. “According to the bank’s chairman of investment banking, ‘Every one of our clients is focused on being prepared for a recession.’… Goldman’s own economists are more bullish on the economy in 2020, seeing a 20% chance of recession.” • Sounds like a lot of those private equity dudes are swimming naked, and know it.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 5 at 11:56am. Needle hovering where it is, not moving decisively to neutral (then fear).

The Biosphere

“Swedish toxic waste poisons Chilean community for 30 years” [Deutsche Welle]. “In 1994, the Chilean government erected a social housing development next to an industrial site on the outskirts of the city. Families moved in, and children began to play on mounds of dust beside their new homes — sledging down them, modeling the dust like clay, and walking it back into their homes. What residents didn’t realize was that the children’s playground was in fact a toxic waste dump. A decade before the housing development went up, Swedish mining giant Boliden paid a Chilean contractor called Promel €1 million ($1.1 million) to process some 20,000 tons of smelter sludge from copper, lead, silver and gold mines in the Scandinavian country. But Promel didn’t process the waste. Instead, it was left unprotected on the industrial lot next to the company’s processing plant — at that time about three kilometers from Arica homes.”

“These corals could survive climate change — and help save the world’s reefs” [Nature]. “[Anne Cohen’s] team has found three ways in which reefs beat the heat. Some corals live in naturally warm environments and are genetically adapted to deal with scorching temperatures. For example, reefs off Palau’s Rock Islands withstood major heatwaves in 1998 and 2010. In the nearby barrier reef, where the water is typically cooler, coverage dropped to 5–6%. Other reefs are simply lucky in location. Some benefit from cold currents that protect them from hot spells4. Others are served by currents that provide a constant plankton buffet. Even if they bleach, these corals remain well-fed and survive.”

“The Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post Climate Change Survey” [KFF]. “The poll finds that eight in ten U.S. adults believe that human activity is causing changes to the world’s climate, and two-thirds think the U.S. government is doing too little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet while many see climate change as an urgent issue, most are not discussing it often with their family and friends, and most are not willing to make personal sacrifices such as paying higher taxes at the gas pump or on their electric bills.” • Full of interesting charts, including these two:

The crazy uncle problem? Or lack of occasion? Hard to imagine a family that gardens wouldn’t talk about climate, but how many familes do that? And:

As shown by the gilets jaunes.

“The Politics of Climate Change” [Verso]. • A reading list.

Health Care

Hoisted from yesterday’s comments. From alert reader 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.

“Healthcare Consumers Lack Knowledge Of Basic Health Insurance Terms” [Forbes]. “Findings from a recently released survey by Policygenius show how challenging health insurance is for many American consumers to understand…. The Policygenius survey results are consistent with a 2017 survey conducted by UnitedHealthcare, which showed that only 9% of Americans demonstrated an understanding of all four of these basic health insurance terms: Health plan premium, health plan deductible, out-of-pocket cap or maximum, and co-insurance… Perhaps it’s a good time to revisit the importance of educating future consumers.” • “This is a rack. And this is a thumbscrew!”

“Genetic variation in health insurance coverage” [International Journal of Health Economics and Management]. From the abstract: “Using a twin-design that compares identical and non-identical twins from a national sample of US twins from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, we find that genetic effects explain over 40% of the variation in whether a person has any health coverage versus not, and nearly 50% of the variation in whether individuals younger than 65 have private coverage versus whether they have no coverage at all. Nearly one third of the genetic variation in being uninsured versus having private coverage is explained by employment industry, self-employment status, and income, and together with education, they explain over 40% of the genetic influence. Marital status, number of children, and available measures of health status, risk preferences, and prevention effort do not appear to be important channels for genetic effects. That genes have meaningful effects on the insurance status suggests an important source of heterogeneity in insurance take up.” • Nothing on methodology in the abstract, sadly. But WTF?!?!?!?

Groves of Academe


Class Warfare

“‘Culture of Fear’ Grips UPS; Workers Say Injuries Underreported” [Bloomberg]. “An Occupational Safety and Health Administration report chastises management at a United Parcel Service Inc. facility in New Hampshire for placing a worker with “visibly broken bones” into a package cart, pushing it into the parking lot, and driving him to the hospital rather than calling an ambulance in response to an accident a year ago. The report states the delay ‘increased the likely hood [sic] of further injury, permanent injury or death.’… The exponential growth of Amazon.com and other e-commerce companies over the past decade has put considerable strain on the big package delivery firms, which have seen revenue rise as more and more Americans buy practically everything they need online. And Amazon itself is becoming a direct competitor. ‘Amazon does many things UPS does not, but one of Amazon’s activities that competes with UPS is package delivery,’ said David Michaels, former assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, and a professor at George Washington University. ‘Amazon uses contractors and gig economy workers, and of course these workers have much fewer protections. This puts pressure on UPS, which then pressures its workers, because the workers at Amazon are paid less and pushed by algorithm to work more quickly.'” • Thanks, Jeff!

About that “ok boomer” thing (1):

About that “ok boomer” thing (2): “‘I’m working until I’m 75′: Factory worker describes family’s student debt nightmare” [Yahoo Finance]. “A recent survey by Freedom Debt Relief found that 37% of 1,506 American adults said their children’s college education cost has made them feel financially overwhelmed. And 20% said that the stress has contributed to mental or emotional health issues. More than 40% said education costs impacted their retirement plan, with 31% indicating that they had ‘given up retiring when they initially desired.'” • Yes, but er, “Freedom Debt Relief”?

News of the Wired

“The Long Road to Maxwell’s Equations” [IEEE Spectrum]. “How four enthusiasts helped bring the theory of electromagnetism to light.” • Victorian science, and if you tinker with electronics, you’ll enjoy this.

Signs of the times:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TD):

TD, back in October: “Still no frosts in Oklahoma, so we are still getting blooms.” Lovely!

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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. Samuel Conner

    The thought occurs that a possible down-side to “No Malarkey” is that it rhymes with “Joe Malarkey”.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        I’m one of those olds (61), and find this to be pure spin from doh’s camp.

        No Malarkey is as dumb as “I’m With Her —>”.

        Hold a rally at Iowa State University and see how few people come out to see old joe.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’m fairly certain the class of people who like this slogan were the same dopes who liked that Joe vowed to keep making women and children uncomfortable with his aggressive touching.

          They don’t really care as much as they want to be recognized for knowing Biden use to be the Vice President and don’t want to acknowledge that knowing this isn’t impressive.

    1. Angie Neer

      One day, teaching a middle school class, my wife used “malarkey”, the way uncle Joe does, as a synonym for nonsense.
      1) None of the kids knew what she meant.
      2) There was a kid in the class with the family name Malarkey.

      Until that time neither of us realized the word is an Irish surname. Just another anti-Irish slur inherited from our ancestors?

      1. Oregoncharles

        “Origin unknown.” But it’s a name, so probably a reference to somebody known for flamboyant nonsense.

        There’s also a good-sized building supplies maker by that name, and an obscure Oregon author.

    2. dearieme

      “No Malarkey”: I vaguely remember a Dem candidate who had a boat named “No Monkey Business”. Or was it “Monkey Business”?

      1. Tvc15

        Maybe they just updated McCain’s Straight Talk Express buses. I think we are living in an idiocracy and agree with foghorn longhorn it’s as stupid as I’m with her. Pulling for the asteroid to start the societal do over.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What I have read is that it was not Hart’s boat. Hart was somehow susceptible to being lured aboard that boat so as to be ambush-photographed on it and getting back off it.

          One could say that Hart got “Darwinned” for failing to understand the black advance and ratphuqur environment he should have been smart enough to know he would be operating in.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I feel like the “malarkey” article is an attempt to explain the joke to protect a friend. Though, I usually hold most of the Democratic strategerist class in utter contempt, the two Biden higher ups I know are spectacularly stupid.

      1. Yves Smith

        I’ve only tested “No Malarkey” on one person over 70 so far, telling him this was the slogan on Biden busses in Iowa. He pulled back in his seat and made a face as if he’d put a piece of rancid meat in his mouth.

  2. Hepativore

    Wow, Sanders has really been pulling ahead of Warren if the polls over the past few days are to be believed. I am hoping that this trend continues. Warren’s overly-complicated healthcare proposal which she decided to backpedal on at the last moment seems like it has really cost her.

    I kind of wonder at this point why Warren decided to run for president in the first place. She seems like the type of person who would rather follow than lead, and would be ill-suited to be president as she would be forced to take a position on something. Warren would have been better served to be clear about what her actual positions are instead of trying to have it both ways. Her constant mind-changing and backpedaling in response to whomever has the political upper-hand at the moment has angered both the DNC establishment as well as the progressive left.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Or, as Abraham Lincoln put it in a letter to “Mr FJ Hooker” as he was contemplating a push across the Rappahannock in the wake of Lee’s move westward in June 1863,

        “like a bull stuck across a fence that cannot gore to the front or kick to the rear”

        I think it was you, Lambert, who drew my attention to “Rich and Tracey’s Civil War podcast”, and I am grateful.

    1. katiebird

      Could Sanders’s rise in the polls combined with Warren’s fall have something to do with Hillary’s visit to the Stern show?

      Hillary Clinton drops biggest hint yet that she’s mulling a 2020 presidential run

      She hasn’t closed the door on 2020. Just this past weekend, during an appearance on the UK’s “Graham Norton Show,” Hillary said she’d been “deluged” with pleas to run again.

      “I’d have to make up my mind really quickly,” she said, “because it’s moving very fast.”

      A reference, perhaps, to latecomer Mike Bloomberg?

      Stern was an able ally, allowing Hillary to expound on her ability to work across the aisle (despite no signature legislation while serving New York in the US Senate), her support for the Osama bin Laden raid and her role in advising the president, her plans for her first 100 days as president (health care), and her concerns for the future of the country, which felt especially raw during Trump’s inauguration.

      Ms Never-Ever is going to fix health care in her first hundred days? This sounds like an actual campaign statement to me. (No quote given so it maybe not be serious?)

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . if the Dems pick Clinton as their Brokervention Nominee, I will certainly vote for Trump again.

        1. Hepativore

          Here is a clip from the Hillary interview with Howard Stern courtesy of Secular Talk…


          Clinton apparently has super-special powers for sniffing out Russian mischief-makers that mere mortals like us cannot comprehend.

          Also, she says that she refuses to go away because “that is what her adversaries want”. I knew that Hillary was a narcissist, but this takes being a sore loser to a whole other level. Somebody like this as president would be just as bad as Trump, and Hillary would have the entire DNC leadership apparatus to carry out her royal decrees.

          1. fajensen

            Hillary would be Worse, Much, Much Worse.

            Donald Trump has the attention span of a fruit-fly steeped in methamphetamine, which limits his evil a bit because it is scattered all over and diluted by Trump himself always starting up additional conflicts with everyone while never finishing any, at every level, even with trolls on Twitter.

            Hillary Clinton would, single-mindedly and with un-wavering persistence, go to work on only one, single, thing: Defeating Russia. For the regime-change failure in Syria, ‘costing her the election’ and of course the personal humiliation of losing to Donald Trump (The latter is the real reason for ‘holding Russia to account’ as they say)!

    2. WJ

      Said it before and I’ll say it again, Warren’s personal ambition is often what manifests her poor political instincts. Why did she claim Native American Heritage? Why did she endorse HRC in 2016? Why did she ambiguously support, then unambiguously back away from, M4A?

      This trend leads me to suspect that she will not easily back out of the race, and cannot be trusted finally to endorse Sanders in 2020 any more than she could be in 2016. I suspect, in any case, that many of her voters would not default to Sanders but to Buttigieg in any case. They seem to be mostly white professionals between 30-60yrs old who make $120,000/year.

      1. Darius

        I think Warren is running for treasury secretary in a Biden administration. The theory being that that will be her reward for stopping Sanders. Everybody has an angle. Except Bernie. Can someone show me his angle?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Warren may be many things, but she despises Biden. She has enough self respect to never work for the turd.

          1. hunkerdown

            No neoliberal should be assumed to have self-respect. If they did, they wouldn’t be neoliberals.

        2. richard

          Busting some s&*^ up is his angle :)
          He might not see it that way, but i do,
          If it does nothing else, a sanders presidency will show everyone where everyone is really standing
          it will clarify things brilliantly
          to borrow the house verb

        3. Yves Smith

          Not plausible. She clearly was high on how she being treated as a potential nominee. I see that as contributing her recent missteps.

          Plus if she wanted to win favor with Biden’s backers, she would not be bashing PE and talking up busting up companies.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Three things:

      -one, 2016 what ifs.

      -two, how does Warren look in the light of Sanders and a few newer types like AOC or Omar? If there is no Sanders, she is the nominal left, a former Republican which shows how right wing Team Blue is. Zebras don’t change their stripes, but I think what is and isn’t acceptable does change. The three I mentioned moved the perceptions of enough people who otherwise would support Warren. Warren is a day late and a dollar short in 2019. Okay, she’s $0.02, but she is still short of where she would need to be to take her advantages over Sanders to next level.

      -Misinterpreting popularity. One of the more detailed ratings of Warren a few years indicated she wasn’t wildly popular in Taxachusetts, but she was very popular with a narrow subset of women around the country. In a sense, she is trying to grow from this group instead of understanding a big tent is the only way forward if you aren’t an effective incumbent or VP. Its similar to Clinton’s 90’s worship of “soccer moms” (surburban white women), basically the only group that outpaced or met expectations in support for Bill and company. Instead of recognizing problems with the generic Democratic coalition, they worked to make their friends really like them.

      -not recognizing, the importance of sitting out in 2016. She didn’t win friends. She relied on msm punditry instead of recognizing politicians and elections are about pushing, not waiting for David Brooks to weigh in. She failed a basic leadership test because she was afraid of offending Hillary Clinton who was going to collapse over the finish line and then have been on the defense before she was even inaugurated.

  3. a different chris

    >Senator Harris has the capacity to be anything she wants to be

    Senator Harris has the capacity to appear to be anything she wants to appear to be.

    Fixed it for them.

    1. chuckster

      Yeah, that’s the ticket – Biden/Harris 2020!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      What would their slogan be? “Just wanted to prove to you that Clinton/Kaine wasn’t the worst ticket we could come up with”

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Senator Harris has the capacity to appear to be anything she wants to appear to be.’

      There is a word for that. It is a chameleon so yeah, Kamala Chameleon works. But Biden picking her as a running mate would be the same as back in 2008 when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as a running mate which went down like a lead balloon.

      1. Brett

        I can hear the stage entrance song now.. Kama Kama Kama Chameleon. Boy George can open for their rallies to appeal to the IdentiPol crowd.

  4. a different chris

    Man what a whiner those college students are. “All over”???!!!?? I only saw one (1) rat. /s

    I do own a cat that would probably solve* the problem, as I have detailed before. I own 2 others that would be more horrified by that rat than I would.

    *His latest trick was to hold down a mouse with one paw while he ate his cat food. He eventually decided that was too much trouble and he wasn’t ready for dessert, so he let go. A few hours later he caught it again and ate the head, leaving us with the rest of course.

    1. polecat

      Aren’t house cats just precious that way … especially when they leave you ‘presents’ .. like 2 steps inside from the door threshhold, or, even better .. deposited on the human’s bed pillow …..
      Little furrry, purring bundles of joy !

    2. Oregoncharles

      I gather house cats don’t do too well on rats – Coon Cats, maybe.

      They need a couple of male ferrets (twice as big as the females, which can’t really cope with rats). Or rat terriers.

      Messy looking place; I didn’t SEE food lying around, but I bet there is.

  5. Danny

    A different Chris,
    “Senator Harris has the capacity to appear to be anything she wants to appear to be.”

    “The Kamaleon”

    Biden with Harris as v.p.? Great way to derail the Bernie, especially with Tulsi as v.p., freight train into the white house.

    In other words, a backdoor for Harris to be president when Biden withdraws for health reasons, forgets who he is, or trips over his teeth and hits his head. Perfect control mechanism for Mnuchin and his people, Silicon Valley and Wall Street controlling the presidency.

  6. Deschain

    Re: Reggie Love. Also known for:


    The article says ‘lipstick’ but there were also pictures of (family blogs) around his face. Things I know as an ACC basketball fan.

    (To be fair he was a kid then and kids do dumb things. But still, Mayo Pete? Hasn’t outgrown poor choices yet . . .)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Reggie Love went to Duke, so you know he has poor character. This is just a fact. The people at DBR are okay. I assume they suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

      If K is suspending a player, they either personally irritated K (it could be as simple as not referring to K as a “leader of men” when addressing K) or did something really bad.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Goodness no. Carolina sucks. I’m far too classy for that trash. Who am I kidding? I love ole’ Roy. He’s a trip.

          Besides Tarholes would never acknowledge DBR as a decent place.

  7. Matthew G. Saroff

    On the Democratic side of the Presidential campaign, mayor Pete “Sentient Mayonnaise” Buttigieg is literally this election cycle’s Theodore Bilbo.

    This is a guy who threw people of color out of their homes to give the property to white developers, demoted a police chief for uncovering racism in the ranks, and said that he was unaware of segregation in South Bend schools despite the school district being under a consent decree for longer than he has been alive.

    If you think that black and Hispanic turnout was low for Hillary Clinton, just wait for Buttigieg to be on the ticket in the general.

    No nomination for him, no spot as VP, no kidding.

    Also, he is still covering up whatever evil he did when he worked for McKinsey, and we know that it was evil because it was McKinsey & Company, and it will come out if he gets the nomination, and you can be sure that whatever it was, it WILL come out in the general election.

    1. allan

      But the good news is that he’s a Very Serious Person when it comes to deficit spending:

      Liz Goodwin @lizcgoodwin

      “My party’s not known for worrying about the deficit or the debt too much but it’s time for us to start getting into that,” Mayor Pete says in NH town hall in response to voter anxious about debt. Says everything his campaign has proposed is paid for. …

      Mayor Pete expanded on this in the gaggle: “I believe every Presidency of my lifetime has been an example of deficits growing under Republican government and shrinking under Democratic government, but … my party’s got to get more comfortable talking about this issue” …

      “And we shouldn’t be afraid to demonstrate that we have the revenue to cover every cost that we incur in the investments that we’re proposing.”

      Looks like MMT is not a McKinsey-approved management tool.

  8. grayslady

    Regarding the Kaiser/WaPo survey:
    1. To say that people don’t discuss climate change is disingenuous. It’s like saying people don’t discuss “the economy.” People absolutely discuss aspects of issues that they observe are affecting them directly, such as an unusually rainy spring, or the absence of certain insects, but those are not just climate change issues–they can also be issues of over-development in areas that used to control flooding, or habitat destruction by Big Ag and so forth.
    2. The survey’s proposals for additional taxes on utilities are incredibly regressive. A $10 per month tax on electricity hits the poor a lot harder than it hits the wealthy. Further, most utility taxes are already backdoor taxes by states and municipalities to pad revenues in a way that they hope won’t be as obvious as increasing real estate taxes or sales tax. The taxes on my electric bill represent 11% of the entire bill; the taxes on my phone bill represent 50% of the entire bill. As far as I can tell, none of those taxes is going toward offsetting climate change.

    1. Jen

      Can’t think of a single person on my road who hasn’t made some reference to climate change in at least one conversation over the past 6 months. I live in rural New Hampshire, among a decidedly diverse cohort, both economically and politically, and these are not deep conversations. This is, like, a 5-10 minute hi-hello-how-are-you while I’m walking my dogs.

      Can’t think of a single guy who’s done work on my house in the past 5 years, who hasn’t talked about climate change. Again, these are not deep conversations. This is something that comes up while someone is measuring for a window. I have friends in their 50s to 70s who’ve lived up here since they were kids, and you better believe they talk about climate change.

      Whether any or all of these people see climate change as an existential threat, I don’t know, the idea that people don’t discuss it us utter bollocks.

  9. Angie Neer

    Lambert, I think your diagram of the ballot flow is very helpful. However, in the interest of accuracy, I think there should be a box labeled “human tabulator” between the ballot box and tabulation table.

  10. WJ

    “Genetic variation in health insurance coverage” [International Journal of Health Economics and Management

    Is this arguing what I think it’s arguing? That there is a *causal* relationship between a person’s genes and whether that person has health insurance? It can’t be seriously arguing this, right?

    1. anon y'mouse

      the only causal relationship that makes any sense is that families generally sign up under one plan, if possible.

      but “genes determine”? hahahahahaaaaa

      btw, -they- loooove genes. they want to find a way to explain most differences through genes, even if their study finds an actual connection so low it is within the margin of error. it lets them off the hook for everything else. you just blame your own genes and fall back into slovenliness for which you were predestined. no reorganizing society necessary.

      NC highlighted such a study a few years back. about your genes driving your GPA or somesuch.

      everything is religion. how many angels are dancing on a pinhead?

    2. marku52

      If they haven’t corrected for socio-economic status, it’s totally bogus. Or, malarkey perhaps.

      Because income is very likely to co-vary across twins, so of course insurance status will as well. Nothing to do with genes.

      Stupid. Maybe purposefully so.

    3. Yves Smith

      This is utterly ridiculous. WTF do they mean by “genes”? Did they parse the DNA of a bunch of people???? They can’t possibly have done a real analysis.

      The fact that this is a “Journal” for health economists (translation: second tier economists) and managers tells you what you need to know about its probably rigor.

      1. BlakeFelix

        Looks like they compared identical to fraternal twins, which actually does seem to me to be a pretty good way of isolating the genetic element. And 40-50% seems in the ballpark for nature/nurture effects. I am kind of curious if it would hold water, although it seems mostly to highlight how stupid and unfair it is to deny basic healthcare to poorer/possibly more genetically defective twins. It’s amusing though, I’ll give it that

  11. Fiery Hunt

    Hey NCers…I’ve got a question.

    Does anyone know how the delegates are allocated based on the 15% threshold?

    For example, today’s CA poll has Sanders at leading with 24% and Warren the only other candidate above 15% (at 22%).
    My preliminary search says if you get x% of the vote, you get x number of delegates….

    So what happens to the 56% of delegates that correspond to votes for people other than Sanders and Warren? Or do Sanders and Warren split them somehow?

  12. shinola

    Time warp alert!

    Per that Brandi Buchman tweet:

    Karlan: “This is not just about our national interests to protect elections or make sure Ukraine stays strong and fights the Russians so we don’t have to fight them here, but it’s in our national interest to promote democracy worldwide.”

    Is this accurate? Did that Karlan person really say that? Now? In the 21st century?
    Or did a TV signal from 1962 somehow bounce back from space & interfere with the broadcast?

      1. RMO

        I give it a week before one of these loons starts ranting on air about saving the purity of our precious bodily fluids from Russian evil.

    1. Big Tap

      Karlan is a Domino Principle advocate. No wonder she hates Trump. Let me know when the Russians are attacking New York. They only have one ship to do it.

      1. Redlife2017

        Oh man…the Dominos. Learning international politics in the mid 90s from a realpolitik acolyte of Henry Kissinger, we just laughed at how stupid the people in the 50s/60s were. Do I really have to live through that crap in my middle age?

        I mean, I’m sure there have been plenty of papers and books about why that was the dumbest fracking way of looking at the world that may have ever been invented by humans…Partly based on theories from John Nash, a nutjob paranoid. Ahh…the Nash equalibrium. And the Dulles brothers were also nuts. And Robert McNamara. Why do the Democrats want to do this?

        Karl Marx had something to say about this sort of crap:

        “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

        The bearded one then continues:

        “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”

        Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

        He may have been wrong about solutions but damn if he couldn’t see the conditions of how things happen…

    2. fajensen

      Well, one of the few basic requirements for assuming political leadership or strategic policy advisory roles in the USA seems to be that the potential candidate is a certified nutter. Being a fanatic also helps a great deal.

  13. Summer

    ” Policygenius survey results are consistent with a 2017 survey conducted by UnitedHealthcare, which showed that only 9% of Americans demonstrated an understanding of all four of these basic health insurance terms: Health plan premium, health plan deductible, out-of-pocket cap or maximum, and co-insurance… Perhaps it’s a good time to revisit the importance of educating future consumers.”


    1. Arizona Slim

      I think I can help define those four basic terms:

      1. Premium: Paying a lot of money for the off chance that you might actually get coverage when you truly need it. And those danged premiums only go one way: UP.

      2. Deductible: Something that’s way too high, and has the effect of making people think twice about using the health “care” system. Even when they need it. Oftentimes, people with high-deductible insurance avoid the care they need. And more than a few of them die.

      3. Out-of-pocket cap: If you thought your deductible would bankrupt you, wait ’til you get capped by this cap.

      4. Co-insurance: The thing that happens after you’ve blown all sorts of money on the deductible. Then you get partial insurance coverage for things like doctor visits.

      That’s enough snark for now. Here’s a fun party idea for everyone:

      When Medicare for All comes to this country, how about bonfires for those private insurance policies? Or, if you’d rather not pollute the air, how about private insurance policy shred-a-thons? I have a paper shredder that would be perfect for this kind of event.

      1. ambrit

        Here Down South, some people are up for burning Insurance Executives, something like the ending of the original “Wicker Man.” (The one with Christopher Lee as the Laird, not the ‘unfortunate’ remake.) Talk about a ‘Fertility Ceremony!’ Imagine how much ‘greener’ all those freed up resources would make America!

    2. meeps

      My son had his insurance plan meeting at work today. Third time the company has changed plans in the couple of years he’s been with this employer. He has until the 21st to decide what he’ll do. The only thing he said he’s sure of at this point is that it’s a scam.

    3. antidlc


      I am NOT a healthcare CONSUMER.

      It p*sses me off when these articles refer to healthcare “consumers”.

      We are HUMAN BEINGS with a right to healthcare.

      I don’t “consume” healthcare like I “consume” candy. Or alcohol.Or fruits. Or vegetables.

      Per AOC, healthcare is NOT a commodity.


  14. Trent

    I wonder what type of questions Harpers asked about with regards to people 30 and up getting financial support from parents. Those numbers seem really really high in my opinion. Then again I don’t generally go around asking people if they get money from their parents. Most of the people I know my age (36) seem to be doing better then me.

    1. petal

      I’m 41. Once I started thinking about it, most of my friends are getting financial support from their parents in one way or another, be it (free) childcare they’d otherwise have to pay for themselves, house downpayments, still living with their parents, cars, work on their house(remodels), cash money, etc. What’s funny is they are better off than I am financially and their parents are still helping out. Must be nice.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Is it the parents helping out which makes them better off than you financially? If they received zero help from their parents, would they be the same-off as you financially?

        1. ambrit

          To defend ‘petal’ here; the old joke about how a millionaire ‘made’ his or her money is; “I made mine the old fashioned way, I inherited it!” I can testify to this. We wouldn’t have the house we live in if it hadn’t have been for financial help from Phyl’s parents. They got most of their ‘fortune’ from a grandfather who was a ‘wheeler dealer’ style land speculator in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

      2. sierra7

        I don’t know maybe I’m just old fashioned but isn’t that what families do??????????? Help each other???????

    2. fajensen

      Most of the people I know my age (36) seem to be doing better then me.

      I still help out my adult children for some things. The idea that ‘everyone must stand alone’ is one of those tings ‘They’ want us to believe in to make us weaker and easier to exploit.

      ‘The System’ is set up to make everyone seem to be worse off than everyone else, to engender competition and make everyone work harder, on keeping their slot in the pegging order, producing and consuming more stuff, from which flows the rentiers derive their income. ‘Our leaders’ also like that everyone are watching each other for them and that everyone are too busy and stressed out to think!

      One way to break the ‘cycle of doom’ is to change one’s goals and efforts into whatever is in alignment with ones own values, rather than everyone else’s. The 21’st century version of ‘Tune Out, Drop Out’. Many of us are privileged enough to be able to live much better lives on a lot less ‘stuff’ – because we are so high up on the ‘consumption scale’ that ‘going without’ doesn’t mean that we will actually go without anything we need.

      This is demanding work, but also very rewarding when one finally begins to make progress away from being controlled by others towards being increasingly controlled by oneself. Controlling ones Time is what ‘wealth’ is really about.

      Maybe I should write a manifesto :).

  15. Misty Flip

    “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!”

    This was the response Rep Robert Goodloe Harpe, Chair of the Ways and Means, had in the summer of 1798 when French diplomats from their first republic attempted to pull the same crooked squeeze on the vulnerable John Adams presidency that the Trump Admin pulled on Ukraine. – Aaron Mate is Canadian, so he gets a pass for not knowing this motto of the United States. We do things differently here. It is now a fundamental principle of American diplomacy.

    The deed was simple, the language plain, the pattern established. Trump got burned when he shook down the Kremlin for political gelt in exchange for restoration of banking privileges. Trump got burned when he shook down Kyiv for political gelt in exchange for restoration of quartermaster privileges. Implausibly deniable. For what purpose should the American people allow this behavior to slide?

    1. hunkerdown

      Because it ruins the lives and careers of the Democrat establishment who has helped the GOP ruin the lives of the people. Isn’t that a good reason? I mean, doesn’t repeating the conventional “wisdom” ever get tiring?

    2. dearieme

      It is now a fundamental principle of American diplomacy.

      And yet the US paid tribute to be allowed to extract troops from Iraq without their being attacked. Even the USA can’t run on bombast alone.

      I dare say it’ll pay the Danegeld in Afghanistan too. The price of failure.

    3. integer

      I’ve read the transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky and there’s nothing there, so there’s nothing to let slide. As for Russiagate, it was a sinister intel op, nothing more.

    4. Procopius

      ??? French? I always thought the statement was in reference to the Sultan of the Barbary States (pirates) demanding payment (else why “tribute?”) to stop attacking American ships and seizing the crew to be sold as slaves. Guess I’ll have to look that up. Of course he was like Trump on NATO, demanding payment for protecting Americans from pirates. Is Trump demanding tribute from Europeans? (Spoiler alert: yes)

  16. Summer

    “So Mayo Pete was (?) a spook? No reporting on this; the story just disappeared….”

    Explains some of the state of race relations in South Bend…

    1. Donald

      Nina Illingworth was saying on her twitter feed a week or two ago that there was something weird about the whole Buttigieg thing. The mayor of a small city with no major accomplishments comes out of nowhere and seems (at the moment) to be the great moderate (and also white) hope. Why would he even think to run?

      Might be the Deep State candidate. I used to despise the sillier sort of lefty conspiracist, but these days, virtually everybody across the political spectrum is a conspiracy theorist of one sort or another. I don’t see a huge difference in silliness between the Maddow watchers and NYT readers and the people they laugh at.

      1. WJ

        Good recent episode on Buttigieg’s probable work in Baghdad on the podcast Moderate Rebels w Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton.

      1. bob

        He also specialized in developing markets and security while working in iraq, for McKinsey? There was a line about him working out of a safe house in Iraq. All follow ups are met with an NDA from McKinsey. The Company. Lots of blurred lines between Companies.

        I believe these details were revealed a his book? Too late here, can’t confirm.

  17. Off The Street

    Re Page and Brin

    Foily, but I expect some bad news in the Google realm that sheds more light on their departures. Housecleaning, news cycle rinsing prior to 2020.

    We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, some sunny day in Mountain View

  18. Carey

    Love all the Obama alums signing on with Mayo Pete, too. Perfect. That’ll get those missing Heartland votes for sure!

  19. ewmayer

    Wukchumni and I are both long-suffering fans of perennial-losing Rust Belt NFL teams (he: Buffalo, I: Cleveland), so Wuk, this update on “marches to his own drummer” Cle QB Baker Mayfield should amuse:

    BEREA, Ohio (AP) Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw in practice for the first time since injuring his right hand in Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh.

    Mayfield’s bruised throwing hand remains wrapped, but he zipped passes to Cleveland’s running backs and tight ends during the early portion of Thursday’s workout open to media members.

    Mayfield showed both touch and velocity – his last pass was a 30-yard dart – on his throws, increasing the likelihood he’ll start Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals (1-11). The second-year QB did not throw any passes on Wednesday but he vowed he would play, saying his mom “didn’t raise a wuss.”

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve dropped the ‘long-suffering’ angle, as it just doesn’t seem right with things going swimmingly awaiting the epic battle of never more forgotten B’s Buffalo & Baltimore, quote the Ravens.

      Being a memorable goofy NFL QB only works if you’re good at your craft, and there’s hope for Baker, although i’d worry about the Bengals, as they’re in the midst of a modest winning streak.

      1. John Beech

        Screw all of you whining followers of midwest football. I root for the Fins (and have since I was 12 y/o and just before Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris, and and the gang became immortal in 1972). And as an alum, I root for Alabama whose season this year ended with a whimper. Woe is me – sigh.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I see followers of that old creed. Sports is not a matter of life or death – it is more important than that.

        2. ambrit

          Yea and verrily! I didst go and see the pre success Dolphins play at the old Orange Bowl many times. Kick and Csonka were the best tag team running back pair anywhere. I remember Larry Seiple, the punter, for his status as “third string” ‘quarterback.’ Whenever he got the ball, the defense had to be ready for a possible throw.
          Dad had season tickets mid way up on the 35 yard line. After the ‘perfect season,’ he got fed up and traded them for a pair of season tickets to the UM Hurricanes and a couple of grand, cash. He always preferred college ball. More diversity and risk taking was his fancy.

    1. Yves Smith

      GW is the type of school that would have a good guess at the lot that was demanding his firing and would consider their hatred a badge of honor.

      Gawd, I hate defending GW, but they do know what side they are on and how the other side behaves.

  20. Shonde

    “About a third of the way into the film Dark Waters, Rob Bilott, played by Mark Ruffalo, is lying in bed with his eyes open, looking anxious.”

    That’s a quote from today’s NC article. I just received a Bernie email from Mark Ruffalo saying he was endorsing Bernie.

  21. anon in so cal

    Ruptly’s producer detained by police at the NATO summit, lost her accreditation:

    “”The producer of our video agency Ruptly, accredited to the NATO summit in London, was detained by the police right at the summit. They searched, interrogated, checked all journalistic documents and reported that his accreditation was canceled.””

    Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the RT broadcaster, has commented on search and questioning of a producer for Ruptly video news agency, an RT affiliate, who was detained during a NATO summit in London.”


  22. ewmayer

    “The Long Road to Maxwell’s Equations” [IEEE Spectrum] — Fun exercise for the math geeks: turn the 2 curl-involving ones of Maxwell’s Equations – note Wikipedia has the various constants in less short-handed notation – into a pair of classic-form second-order wave equations, and thus express the speed of light in terms of the permittivity and permeability of free space – this is “so-called empty space has nontrivial physical properties, as a medium for propagation of electromagnetic fields”, illustrated; there is no ether, but what is there is even weirder and more wonderful. (Hint: use the vector-field identity curl^2 = -Laplacian, and the commutativity of the spatial-derivative curl and time-derivative operators, due to equality of mixed partials.)

    My old college differential-geometry professor liked to point out that Einstein was a keen appreciater of Maxwell’s Equations because he realized that they constituted the first physical theory which was relativistically correct by construction – even the later Schrödinger equation of quantum mechanics lacked that property, and needed modification as a result.

    1. D. Fuller

      Forgotten giants of physics and ingenuity. Tesla was practically written out of American history.

      Another scientist not talked about despite one of the most prestigious awards being named after him? Charles Steinmetz.


      Steinmetz’s views on the electron, magnetism, and EM theory are very instructive, as well as controversial.

    2. Craig H.

      I found the article was a puzzle. The solution to the information implied and nowhere stated:

      Heaviside, Lodge, FitzGerald, and Hertz were the four support agents. After I got to Hertz, I realized that I had to throw out Poynting. This actually might not be right since Poynting’s result was after Maxwell and the article writer maybe considered FitzGerald and Lodge to each be worth a half.

      This is the same Lodge who spent a lot of his time going to seances and thought he was doing seance science.

  23. amfortas the hippie

    avoiding news today, but felt this was important
    on the way to sons basketball game, between eden an san angelo(west texas cotton country)
    thousands of boxcar sized bales of cotton under tarps on field margins
    as far as eye can see
    should’ve been shipped months ago
    i’d be interested in the negative multiplier effect
    , current suicide/i’d rate, rate of default etc
    giant blow for this area

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        returned after dark…first time on that highway at night in a year or more.
        it’s darker than it was…fewer yard lights, little house with lights on, etc.
        it’s never been densely populated by any stretch.
        but it’s noticeable.
        another thing i noticed on the way up there were several very large new ranches(you can tell by the paint and the new fencebuilding and giant new gates)…rich folks from somewhere else buying large swaths of rangeland, composed of many smaller former ranches. Legacy ranchers(sons of pioneers) selling out, due to lack of income, tax distress, or kids who aren’t interested.
        it’s happening where i live, too….for the last 10 years or so….but our ranches are smaller than those further west.
        from the length of the fences, I’d say 5000+ acres.
        and the town of Eden has been dying for years…hair goat subsidy went away late 90’s.
        the private prison(for illegal people) is all that’s holding it together.
        that prison closed down in ’12 or so…disaster for Eden!…but trump’s border belligerency caused it to re-open.
        the rest of the town is as dark as my dead end dirt road in the middle of nowhere…the prison is as in daylight.
        ghost towns.
        people on plastic chairs in front of falling down houses passing the whiskey.
        dinky xmas lights strung in a leafless trash tree.
        Third World America.
        Banana Empire.
        one hears TSEliot on the wind through the car window.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Pretty d..n poetic yourself, Amfortas.

          Any idea what happened to the market for all that cotton? People are still buying clothes, as far as I know.

          Would make really excellent paper, in a pinch.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            it seems we can’t make it here anymore…

            so…trade war. china apparently put retaliatory tariffs on cotton.
            that was my immediate thought.

            out west of Sweetwater, there’s a great big gathering place for cotton, where the bales are stacked on trains to be shipped west to some pacific port. haven’t been out that far in 16+ years, but it was impressive to come across it in those big empty spaces. they get the raw cotton, and send us back finished textiles. the chinese were expected to remain a peasant state, but didn’t.
            this was apparently a great surprise to the “smartest people in the room”.

        2. The Rev Kev

          @Amfortas I have read this comment two or three times now and it is very haunting and have reflected on it a coupla times today. Very disquieting.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “McKinsey Employees Open Their Wallets for Alumnus Pete Buttigieg”

    ‘Another McKinsey executive who maxed out to Buttigieg, giving $2,800’

    Very misleading that use of the words ‘maxed out’. It may be maxing out for most people but for McKinsey executives, it is simply digging behind the sofa cushions or raiding the office ‘blow’ jar.

    1. D. Fuller

      It would be interesting to know if McKinsey & Friends & Associates are donating to SuperPACs were donations are unlimited. One way foreign donations make it into American politics courtesy of Citizens United.

    1. ewmayer

      The mask slips – if you are a genuine folksian MeTV-demographic user of the word ‘malarkey’, when faced with what you deem (or wish to portray as) even more liarly material you don’t escalate into vile swearing like ‘d*mn liar’, you might instead express your outrage via a heartfelt “why, that’s a load of gosh-darn hooey!” Not that Biden being a gol-durn phoney should be news to anyone.

    2. Joey

      Wow, I hope someone does honest transcript.
      1. “That’s why I’m not sedentary’
      2. ” lets do pushups lets go run…[crowd cheering] iq test”
      3. “Listen fat”

      Allegedly third size-shaming comment is being denied as ‘fact’ misunderstood, but after the first two digs at the questioner’s fitness?
      Bullshit bigotry. Typical Biden.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Sounds like a good subject for his opponents to bring up frequently, since he loses it completely.

  25. dcblogger

    Bernie is going to win Iowa. Then we can look foward to attacks on caucus attendees as out of touch with mainstream America. They will be cassed fringe activists attempting to impose an extremist agenda of healthcare, debt cancellation, and the Green Deal instead of the centrist agenda of pervasive surveillance, endless war, and baby prisons.

    1. notabanker

      He’s going to crush opposition in the first half dozen states and things are going to get really, really interesting. MSM has completely lost the plot and the Dems are still listening to the idiots they hired back in 2014. The only way they can prevent it is to rig the boxes.

      1. Daryl

        I enjoy the optimism in the commentariat. I’m not so optimistic myself, but thankfully there’s only 60 days left until we figure out what happens.

      2. Oregoncharles

        And you think they can’t, or won’t, do that? Remember all those coin flips that all went the same way – in Iowa? And that’s without benefit of black box voting machines. Why do you think they were promoted so heavily?

        1. Hepativore

          If that does not work, Sanders could conveniently have a fatal accident on the campaign trail.

          That would be an extreme measure on the part of his political enemies, but I think that they would be so desperate to stop him at that point that they will secure any “victory” that they can no matter how pyrrhic.

  26. notabanker

    Thanks for the China trade war isn’t going to end soon tweet. The replies to that thread show the cognitive dissonance. The Chinese succumbing to US technology, losing an innovation race or posturing about superior IP laws is laughable. They have won the war, it’s over. There are some comments above about midwest NFL football. I got news, Americans are all Browns fans now. You can pretend there will be some return to 1960’s glory, but the reality on the field ain’t changing.

  27. smoker

    Re (Carey’s Medicare for All Alert): 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?

    Made the call earlier to Democratic Chair, Eshoo’s office, Carey, thanks for the heads up yesterday. Never had any good resolution from years of calling California Democratic Party Senators, or Federal and State, Bay Area and Silicon Valley Democratic Party Legislators. They’re all millionaires after all (Eshoo resides in Atherton, a town where the street signs appeared to be deliberately obscured when I first drove through it and got lost for about 20 minutes, regularly ranked as the most expensive ZIP Code in the United States. per wiki), who have always supported the DOD/CIA subsidized Technocracy Oligarchies, which made many of them millionaires many times over.

    Eshoo only has a Junior College degree, according to wiki. Now daze no one without inherited wealth, an Ivy league degree,or possibly a work visa, could even rent a tiny studio anywhere near her district on their own without substantial support from someone, let alone pay for healthcare, which California is now penalizing its citizens for not having, with an Obama inspired Mandate.

    (Speaking of (hit then miss) per wiki™, Eshoo’s wiki page needs to be updated for her 18th District also residing over Menlo Park west of Highway 101, where all of those multinational VC firms are located, on the Menlo Park portion of Sand Hill Road, between Interstate 280 and Alameda de las Pulgas: As of December 2014, Sand Hill Road is still the most expensive office space in the United States with annual rent reported at $111 per square foot, which was higher than Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue at $102 per square foot.[3] .)

  28. Daryl

    > Tech: “Google Founders Give Up on Being the Warren Buffett of Tech

    Was Alphabet ever intended to be th eBerkshire Hathaway of tech? Thought it was more of a tax dodge.

    edit before anyone catches me: Certainly Berkshire Hathaway itself is also a giant tax dodge, but I don’t think Alphabet was ever intended to acquire a bunch of non-related businesses and run them, although it does seem to do a bunch of investing

  29. Oregoncharles

    “The WTO’s trade dispute appeal system could end on Dec. 10. Here’s what you need to know.” [WaPo].

    So WaPo are globalizers? Based on my priors -this is the issue that brought me into politics – my reaction is “Good.” Even an ill wind can bring some good.

    That said, it makes sense to have some sort of adjudication process. Just not that one, which attacks regulation and promotes a race to the bottom.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      if the buffoon in chief trips over his own gut and damages the frelling WTO, that’s still a good thing, in my book, too.
      dems should have done it long ago…but for all the clintonist selling of souls, and all.
      maybe buffoon will have a brain fart while signing some idiotic executive order trying to stick it to schiff, somehow, and accidentally legalise weed….you know, like the texas lege did last year….
      it’s the results that matter to me, however arrived at.undoing the holy empire was never gonna be orderly and nice…or willingly allowed by the parasites who benefit from it.
      if it takes a narcissist moron and a bunch of blundering, so be it.
      sooner the better.
      let’s get the burning times over with already.

  30. Plenue

    Re: impeachment. I can’t be the only one still not convinced Trump actually even attempted to do anything, surely. Sondland has already backtracked on his statements, and that’s on top of the absurd hearsay nature of the ‘evidence’ (‘six people having four conversations in one sentence’)

  31. VietnamVet

    Redbaiting is back.

    Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-PA) on NewsHour said; “They don’t want to talk about a president holding up $391 million of congressionally appropriated aid to a country that is under attack, assault, and invasion by Russia. You will notice that what happens here is, it weakened their national security, it weakens our national security, because who benefited from that attempt to withhold aid, and, in fact, the withholding of aid? Putin and Putin’s Russia. That’s what this is about. Americans should have a chill from the horrifying obstruction by this president and the use of his office, the abuse of his office for personal political gain.”

    A Veteran of the First Cold War, the chill and sadness I feel is seeing the Big Lie reborn again. I cannot forgive corporate Democrats for propagandizing Americans and scapegoating Russia to enable more graft for war profiteers. Sevastopol Naval Base in Crimea has been a part of Russia since the 1783. The century before the USA annexed California and Hawaii for its Naval Bases at San Diego and Pearl Harbor. These technocrats are so detached from reality they don’t see that a nuclear holocaust is looming just ahead; either by mistake or the insanity of more war.

    1. Big Tap

      Even sadder is the fact that Dean is my congresswoman. People like her truly believe that Hillary Clinton won the election but it was stolen by Trump and Putin with help from Assange. Delusional stuff.

    2. Procopius

      Is it that they don’t see the risk of nuclear holocaust, or they believe that everything we were told about nuclear war from 1949 on was a lie? Do they really think that nuclear weapons are just big bombs?

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