2:00PM Water Cooler 12/6/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

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

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

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

We have a new Ipsos is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of 12/6/2019, 12:00 PM EST. Biden leads, Sanders strong second, Warren five points back (!), Buttigeig trailing. This seems to be an established pattern (or, if you prefer, narrative). On to the next debate (December 19), and Iowa:

Here is the latest result, as of 12/6/2019, 12:00 PM EST:

Again, Bloomberg buys his way in at a relatively high level; I don’t know what motivates this, but my guess is name recognition.

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

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

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Biden (D)(1): “If you want to beat Trump, be honest about Biden” [Carl Beijer]. “This is not just the goofy, gaffe-prone Biden we remember from the years before his retirement – that Biden was undisciplined, but he was diplomatic and sharp. This Biden is unpredictable, often confused, and occasionally flat-out disturbing. When he speaks he spins his wheels, meanders onto bizarre tangents, and stumbles over simple points of fact. When he interacts with people he veers from uncomfortably familiar to wildly aggressive.” • This is the video:

Note, however, the audience reaction.

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “Biden Super-PAC Makes Ad Buy in Iowa: Campaign Update” [Bloomberg]. “Unite the Country, a super-PAC started by former aides of Joe Biden, is launching a $650,000 advertising campaign in Iowa promoting his candidacy. The group’s first spot features a montage of photos starting with Biden as a young man and excerpts from a speech in which Biden highlights his stance favoring marriage equality, his sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act and the assault weapons ban enacted as part of the 1994 crime bill he sponsored.” • The campaign coverage policy Bloomberg the Firm announced forbids “investigating” Bloomberg and his rivials, but allows publication or summary of other investigative work made by “credible journalistic institutions.” Also: “Bloomberg News will cover the campaigns of the Democratic candidates, including Bloomberg’s. Micklethwait said the outlet will carry polls, interview the candidates and track their campaigns.” So I guess this story falls within those parameters.

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(1): “Bloomberg terminal shortcut sent users to presidential campaign site” [Financial Times]. “Michael Bloomberg’s flagship news and information terminal was promoting the billionaire media mogul’s run for the White House as the company faced questions over how to cover his candidacy. Until the FT reported on the practice, users of Bloomberg terminals were funnelled to the Bloomberg 2020 campaign website merely by writing MIKE. This functionality was in contrast to the treatment of other notable individuals on the terminal. Users are typically directed to a simple, standardised biography page which includes business information, a photo and recent news stories.”• Whoops.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “A secretive corporation won’t let Pete Buttigieg talk about three years of his life” [Los Angeles Times]. Almost a decade after leaving McKinsey in 2010, Buttigieg is still bound by a nondisclosure agreement that his campaign says McKinsey is refusing to lift, leaving a large hole in the 37-year-old’s otherwise closely examined life story. ‘We have asked McKinsey to be released from the NDA in full, and we have asked McKinsey if we can release a list of clients,’ campaign spokesman Sean Savett said. ‘To date, they have not agreed. We will continue to ask and are eager to share more about his work as soon as we are able.'” • It doesn’t speak well of McKinsey that they’re placing their putative corporate values over the electorate’s need to make an informed judgment. Nor does it speak well of Buttigieg’s Presidential capacity that he cannot get them to see reason, whether through jawboning, or muscling, or some form of selective disclosure. “I do think it would be a good thing for that to be released [sigh –lambert]” doesn’t cut it.

Buttigieg (D)(2): “When Pete Buttigieg Was One of McKinsey’s ‘Whiz Kids'” [New York Times]. • Not impressed Buttigieg has gotten his personal network to testify on his behalf. This is no substitute for eliminating the NDA.

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(3): “‘I Want Him on Everything’: Meet the Woman Behind the Buttigieg Media Frenzy” [Politico]. From April, and entertaining, but germane for what it omits: Lis Smith (the woman of the headline) was also a spokesperson for the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC) in New York. New Yorkers probably know what that entailed, but just in case, a thread:

Harris (D)(1): “Vultures pick over remains of Harris campaign” [Politico (Nippersmom)]. “‘I am of a generation and gender that does not just drop the F bomb on Twitter, but I’m telling you, yesterday, I was within half a hair,’ Sue Dvorsky, a former Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman who had endorsed Harris, said on Wednesday, after witnessing the instant recruitment of Harris’ still-sobbing staff.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders’s ‘Secret Weapon:’ Strong Latino Support” [New York Magazine]. “The evidence of Sanders’s strength among Latinos is everywhere, most recently in a University of California IGS survey of the Golden State, where Sanders led the field, in no small part because of his 32 percent showing (Biden is second at 19 percent) among Latinos.” • Hilarious to see Sanders hijacking big portions of the liberal Democrat’s so-called coalition of the ascendant. No wonder Pelosi decided to go after suburban Republicans.

Sanders (D)(2): “New poll of California Democrats shows Bernie Sanders leading as Elizabeth Warren nosedives” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “A new poll from the UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies conducted for the Los Angeles Times shows that Warren lost seven percentage points since the poll was last conducted in September, and is no longer leading the Democratic primary field. The new leader is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is up five percentage points since the poll was last conducted.”

Sanders (D)(3): Sanders steals an issue from Warren:

Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie Sanders unveils plan to boost broadband access, break up internet and cable titans” [CNBC]. “[T]he Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate calls to treat internet like a public utility. His campaign argues that the internet should not be a “price gouging profit machine” for companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon… Several of Sanders’ top Democratic competitors have called to pile more money into high-speed internet development. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg released plans to invest at least $80 billion into rural broadband, while former Vice President Joe Biden has proposed putting $20 billion into expanding rural internet access.” • Here is a map of broadband in Iowa.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(5): “Sarsour Saga Shows Sanders’s Continued Struggles With Jewish Voters” [Forward]. “… the latest example of Sanders, the most successful Jewish presidential candidate in American history, drawing anger from Jewish voters over what some see as his lack of concern for their specific communal issues…” • That is, Israel. More: “And Rabbi Jacob Herber of Wisconsin tweeted Tuesday in response to Sarsour’s remarks that despite the fact that he abhors Trump, ‘I’ll be damned if I’m going to vote for Bernie Sanders.'”

* * *

UPDATE “In 2020, Look at Sheriffs and Prosecutors Too” [The Appeal]. “Many of the nation’s most populous counties will hold high-stakes elections that will decide how much they overhaul their criminal legal systems in the years ahead. This includes Los Angeles, Cook (Chicago), Harris (Houston), Maricopa (Phoenix), Miami-Dade, and Tarrant (Fort Worth). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Approximately 2,300 prosecutors and sheriffs will be elected across the country, according to the Political Report’s new master list of 2020 elections…. These elections represent opportunities for the reform movement to replicate its recent successes.”

“The Kingmaker” [The Atlantic]. Reid: “”I answer their questions, try to be as candid as I can be. I want them to know that I’m not jerking them around. If they’re headed in the wrong direction, I’ve told them that on occasion. I think that our Democratic hopefuls have to understand the difference between a primary and a general, and I try to make sure they understand the difference. It’s okay now to try to—at some event where you have other candidates there with you—to try to move a little to the left. But I just want to make sure they understand that that’s the way the game is played, and they better be careful not [to] get out [so] far, they can’t turn around.”


“Ladies And Gentleman Of The Jury, Would You Impeach?” [The American Conservative]. “Just in the last two decades, we’ve had a president who lied us into war, set up a torture program, spied on Americans, and sat on his hands while the economy crashed. No impeachment. We had a president whose military incursions into Libya, Syria, and Yemen created the worst refugee flows Europe has seen since World War II, who illegally spied on Americans (complete with a whistleblower), assassinated his own citizens by drone, and gave trillions to Wall Street while Main Street floundered. No impeachment. But an internal power struggle between careerists and political appointees over Ukraine supersized into a made-up crisis, now that is what the Founders had in mind? That’s where I’m stuck.” • And neither party can say that, because both are implicated.

“Barr’s handpicked prosecutor tells inspector general he can’t back right-wing theory that Russia case was U.S. intelligence setup” [WaPo]. “The prosecutor handpicked by Attorney General William P. Barr [(John Durham)] to scrutinize how U.S. agencies investigated President Trump’s 2016 campaign said he could not offer evidence to the Justice Department’s inspector general to support the suspicions of some conservatives that the case was a setup by American intelligence, people familiar with the matter said.” • Big if true. I’ll wait for the report. As readers know, my focus is on the Constitutional order, though of course the salacious details are always interesting. More: “The draft, though, is not final. The inspector general has yet to release any conclusions, and The Washington Post has not reviewed Horowitz’s entire report, even in draft form. It is also unclear whether Durham has shared the entirety of his findings and evidence with the inspector general or merely answered a specific question.” • So.

UPDATE “Timeline Of Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment” [The Onion]. •


Drag ’em:

2016 Post Mortem

“Who Put Trump in the White House? Explaining the Contribution of Voting Blocs to Trump’s Victory∗” [Justin Grimmer, William Marble]. From the abstract: “A surprising fact about the 2016 election is that Donald Trump received fewer votes from whites with the highest levels of racial resentment than Mitt Romney did in 2012. This is particularly surprising in light of a social science literature that has documented the “activation” of racial conservatism during the 2016 election: the increased relationship between vote choice and attitudes about race among individuals who turn out to vote. But attitudes being activated provides almost no information about the number of votes candidates receive from individuals who hold particular attitudes. To understand the contribution of voting blocs—demographic characteristics, socio-economic status, or attitudes—to a candidate’s vote totals, we must also take into account the size of voting blocs and the blocs’ turnout rate. Once we take bloc size and turnout into account we find that Trump underperformed Romney with whites who have the highest levels of racial resentment, obtained more net votes among whites with moderate immigration attitudes than conservative immigration attitudes, and received approximately the same number of votes from whites who report voting for Obama in 2012 that Romney received from whites who reported voting for Obama in 2008. We show that Trump’s support increases the most among low-socioeconomic status whites who are independents and ideological moderates.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Firm tied to political donor to pay $110M in federal probe” [Associated Press]. Bipartisan, too! Both Trump and Clinton. So that’s impressive.

Stats Watch

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

* * *

Employment Situation: “U.S. Payroll Gain of 266,000 Trounces Forecasts as Wages Heat Up” [Bloomberg]. “U.S. job gains roared back in November as unemployment matched a half-century low and wages topped estimates, giving the Federal Reserve more reason to hold interest rates steady after three straight cuts. Payrolls jumped 266,000, the most since January, after an upwardly revised 156,000 advance the prior month, according to a Labor Department release Friday that topped all estimates in a Bloomberg survey calling for 180,000 jobs.” • Adjustments to come, of course. Nevertheless!

Retail: “Hoverboards’ brief ride as a consumer toy of choice a few years ago has left behind major legal questions for Amazon.com Inc. and other e-commerce companies” [Wall Street Journal]. “The popularity of the self-balancing scooters flamed out in a series of fires that hit households in 2015 and 2016, causing some $2.3 million in property damage and triggering at least 17 lawsuits against Amazon…. The hoverboard cases have produced a trove of documents that show the vulnerability in the vast scale and relatively anonymous structure of Amazon’s platform.” • Oh, let’s just give Amazon immunity, and put the final nail in the coffin of bricks and mortar.

Manufacturing: “The electrification of vehicles is triggering bigger changes in automotive supply chains. General Motors Co. and South Korea’s LG Chem plan to jointly build a $2.3 billion battery-cell factory in Ohio… the latest example of how auto makers are plowing big money into technology that is transforming the sector” [Wall Street Journal]. “Consultancy AlixPartners LP says auto makers are gearing up to spend $225 billion over the next few years to develop new electric vehicles and are partnering with and investing in battery makers to help provide the power.” • Not as much labor needed because the drive train is much simpler.

Tech: “Apple Explains Mysterious iPhone 11 Location Requests” [Krebs on Security]. “Apple’s privacy policy says users can disable all apps and system services that query the user’s location all at once by toggling the main ‘Location Services’ option to ‘off.’ … users can achieve the same results by individually turning off all System Services that use location in the iPhone settings…. What prompted my initial inquiry to Apple about this on Nov. 13 was that the location services icon on the iPhone 11 would reappear every few minutes even though all of the device’s individual location services had been disabled…. “It is expected behavior that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled,” Apple stated in their initial response. “The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings” [emphasis added].” • Oh. See also.

Human Resources: “Emotional Baggage” [The Verge]. “The cutthroat culture allowed the company to grow at hyperspeed, developing a cult following with celebrities and millennials alike. But it also opened a yawning gap between how Away appears to its customers and what it’s like to actually work there. The result is a brand consumers love, a company culture people fear, and a cadre of former employees who feel burned out and coerced into silence.” • Yet another start-up horror story.

Fodder for the Bulls: “Wall Street Scraps Recession Assumptions After Robust Jobs Data” [Bloomberg]. “Between a strong economy and ammunition for more Federal Reserve rate cuts, investors showed they are happy to live with the former Friday, bidding up equities after the biggest addition to U.S. payrolls in 10 months…

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 6 at 1:33pm. Let’s see if the needle keeps moving!

The Biosphere

“Toronto’s secret success: Suburban buses” [Globe and Mail]. “Transit fatalism has meant governments have rarely deigned to provide decent transit service in suburbs…. There are established formulas for transit service that deem many parts of suburban Toronto too low-density to support more than one bus an hour. When I speak to U.S. audiences and show them pictures of Finch Avenue in Toronto, they all say that they’d expect it to have hourly service. And yet, Finch has peak scheduled service every 90 seconds – better than every five minutes off-peak – and those buses are packed. It performs better financially than even busy downtown streetcar routes. These formulas shape policy in countless cities, including in Canada, and they need to be revised in light of Canadian experience.”

“Shedding Light On The Sunrise Movement” [Medium]. “Sierra Club has also had the backing of the enigmatic billionaire donor network Democracy Alliance, which was founded by the granddaddy of Democratic mega-donors, George Soros. As I’ve touched on in a previous article, Democracy Alliance’s primary function is to basically put together a politcal investment plan for various nonprofits — mostly 501(c)(4)s — and have the mostly anonymous network of elites help those organizations meet and exceed their budgets. With Sierra Club’s track record of secrecy in regards to their donors, there is no concrete way of knowing how much money has been injected into their coffers from Democracy Alliance affiliates — and Sierra Club is far from the only group associated with the Sunrise Movement that can be financially traced to the dark money super network.” • Any account of the Democrat Party as an institution also has to give an account of the NGOs.

“Cooling requirements fueled the collapse of a desert bird community from climate change” [PNAS]. “Climate change—especially accelerated warming and drying—threatens to increase extinction risk, yet there is little evidence that physiological limitations have contributed to species declines. This study links species-specific water requirements for cooling body temperature to the collapse of a Mojave Desert bird community over the past century from climate change. Species occupying the hottest, driest sites were less likely to persist. Birds with the greatest water requirements for cooling their body temperature experienced the largest declines. Large-bodied carnivores and insectivores were especially vulnerable to cooling costs because they obtain water primarily from their food.” • As we saw, I think, with elephants in Links this morning.

“Nitrogen crisis from jam-packed livestock operations has ‘paralyzed’ Dutch economy” [Science]. “Last week, Dutch farmers across the country parked their tractors along highways in the third such protest since October, when they jammed traffic while driving en masse to The Hague, the nation’s center of government. They are protesting a Dutch high court decision that in May suspended permits for construction projects that pollute the atmosphere with nitrogen compounds and harm nature reserves. The freeze has stalled the expansion of dairy, pig, and poultry farms—major sources of nitrogen in the form of ammonia from animal waste. Also blocked are plans for new homes, roads, and airport runways, because construction machinery emits nitrogen oxides. All told, the shutdown puts some €14 billion worth of projects in jeopardy, according to ABN AMRO Bank. ‘It has really paralyzed the country,’ says Jeroen Candel, a political scientist at Wageningen University & Research.'”

“Can We Identify Invasive Species before They Invade?” [Scientific American]. “[T]he models affirm the great importance of shared history. Researchers have long suspected the impact of nonnative insects in North America’s forests depended on the relationships between the native trees, the nonnative insects and the relatives of both.” • Worth reading in full, at least for horticulturalists.

Police State Watch

“Details emerge about UPS driver killed in shootout after being taken hostage in police chase” [CBS News]. “Four people, including a UPS driver and a bystander, were killed after robbers stole the driver’s truck and led police on a chase that ended in gunfire at a busy Florida intersection during rush hour… A senior law enforcement source told CBS Miami that 19 officers from five different agencies fired at the truck.” • Details emerge.

“‘I was in fear of my own life’: Ex-sergeant explains why he helped plant evidence in Texas inmate’s cell” [Houston Chronicle]. “A former prison guard who helped plant screwdrivers in [prisoner Neil Giese’]s cell said he did it because he was afraid of retaliation from the Ramsey Unit major who allegedly ordered the misdeed….. ‘When I listened to the testimony, it made me cringe,’ said John LaGrappe, the Houston attorney representing Giese in his federal suit against five former Ramsey Unit officials. ‘It really makes me wonder what else goes on those prisons that we don’t know about.'” • Indeed.

Class Warfare

“Care Work In & Beyond the Labor Market” [Law and Political Economy]. “[F]ocusing on universalizing access to better paid work submerges two other longstanding elements of critical feminist analysis of care work. These are particularly pertinent to LPE conversations about the political-economic centrality of markets. First, feminist accounts of social reproduction have long highlighted the extensive, essential, but systematically devalued or outright ignored work performed outside conventional labor markets in families and communities. This includes especially direct care work and housework or other household production, but also broader forms of civic participation often denoted ‘volunteering.’ Second, attaching economic resources to nonmarket social reproductive labor starts to loosen paid work’s iron grip on household income more generally. That grip creates a legitimated dependency on labor markets that undergirds power relations both between labor and capital and, within families, between market ‘breadwinners’ and those more conventionally labelled ‘dependents.’ Valuing care thus could facilitate both reimagining work and decentering markets. None of today’s leading child care proposals conceptualize or institutionalize support for care in this broader fashion. One obvious mechanism for doing so would be to structure publicly supported child care to give parents control over how care was provided.”

News of the Wired

“Frontal cortex neuron types categorically encode single decision variables” [Nature]. “Individual neurons in many cortical regions have been found to encode specific, identifiable features of the environment or body that pertain to the function of the region. However, in frontal cortex, which is involved in cognition, neural responses display baffling complexity, carrying seemingly disordered mixtures of sensory, motor and other task-related variables. This complexity has led to the suggestion that representations in individual frontal neurons are randomly mixed and can only be understood at the neural population level. Here we show that neural activity in rat orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is instead highly structured: single neuron activity co-varies with individual variables in computational models that explain choice behaviour.” • Please, nobody tell Bezos.

“Early humans domesticated themselves, new genetic evidence suggests” [Science]. “Domestication encompasses a whole suite of genetic changes that arise as a species is bred to be friendlier and less aggressive. In dogs and domesticated foxes, for example, many changes are physical: smaller teeth and skulls, floppy ears, and shorter, curlier tails. Those physical changes have all been linked to the fact that domesticated animals have fewer of a certain type of stem cell, called neural crest stem cells.

Modern humans are also less aggressive and more cooperative than many of our ancestors. And we, too, exhibit a significant physical change: Though our brains are big, our skulls are smaller, and our brow ridges are less pronounced. So, did we domesticate ourselves? • Molecular biology, apparently, says yes!

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

TH writes: “Sage bloom.”

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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. Daryl

    > Bernie Sanders unveils plan to boost broadband access, break up internet and cable titans

    Sanders has the only viable, novel plan here. The only places in the US with real competition and consistently good services are those municipalities with their own broadband service, ironically often smaller cities like Chattanooga, TN. On that note, urban areas also have severe internet access issues with local monopolies often making service terrible and expensive even in places like SF etc. Any plan to address internet should not be limited to rural areas, although making it a focus would also be great.

    Giving large sums of money to telecoms for rural broadband has been going on for decades and is equivalent to setting money on fire. They pocket it and do nothing.

  2. Danny

    Vultures link doesn’t work: This does


    Her “California connections?” Universal hatred from real progressives in the town she helped ruin when she pretended to be San Francisco D.A, Oakland, that she abandoned for Baltimore? WTF? What, lots of gullible black people who might be hoodwinked into thinking she was one of them?
    Then there’s the Uber and Beverly Hills connections.

    1. Carey

      Hear, hear! I always knew Harris had no organic base of support
      here in the Golden™ State, but for awhile I thought, based partly
      on her haughtiness, that the fix was in for her. Guess not. )-:

      Alas; so sad.

  3. dcrane

    This was linked in the American Conservative article. Apologies if it has been posted here already.


    “A former FBI lawyer is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, several people briefed on the matter told CNN. …

    It’s unknown how significant a role the altered document played in the FBI’s investigation of Page. The alterations were significant enough to have shifted the document’s meaning and came up during a part of Horowitz’s FISA review where details were classified, according to the sources. It did not change Horowitz’s finding that the FISA application had a legal basis.”

  4. John

    Mayor Pete cannot reveal 3-years of his life because of a corporate NDA? And he expects people to vote for him? He is so young that those three years are a significant portion of his adult life. Are we supposed to trust him? Why?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This is not the same*, but I am reminded of the book, ‘The Missing Years of Jesus.’

      *Not even close, I should add. I am reminded, nevertheless, because the mind has a mind of its own. So, don’t ask me to connect the invisible dots.

  5. xformbykr

    “A secretive corporation won’t let Pete Buttigieg talk about three years of his life”

    I read in this that McKinsey did/does contract work for the intelligence community (IC). The IC would have NDAs for corporations as well as individuals in those corporations. McKinsey would not want to risk its relationships with the IC by lifting NDAs, assuming that it had the authority to do so.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If he was just a low grade private-contract spook-flunky, McKinsey might not care whether he gets nominated or not.

        What if McKinsey was no more impressed by Wuttipieg’s service for McKinsey . . . . than we are now impressed by Wuttipieg’s service for South Bend?

        1. T

          Either way, this argument is garbage. Right now, McKinsey is submitting proposals and interviewing people from, I don’t know, PWC and whatever Eric Prince is calling his freebooters today – people who have an NDA in place. There are things one can say, without “a list of clients.” Like the things he said in a dang book.

          Garbage garbage garbage.

          Why, even our humble bloggers have made remarks about “clients” without compromising any agreements.

          Garbage. He is hiding behind this “list of clients” BS.

      2. maxi

        in my opinion, it probably behooves McKinsey to stay in the shadows with a typical status quo candidate feeding them as per usual (Biden) vs. exposure, public outrage, investigations etc. if Buttigieg oppo really ramps up. risk/reward is too negatively skewed from my perspective.

        1. Tom Doak

          Bob Rubin disagrees, and thinks it’s better to have his minions at all levels [levers] of government.

      1. Misty Flip

        For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 24:6

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.Luke 8:16-

          i’m more than a little tired of not knowing what ‘my’ government is doing.

    1. WJ

      See Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton’s interview with State Department veteran bureaucrat and whistleblower Peter Van Buren. Van Buren suggests that Buttigieg is intentionally adopting an overly broad “reading” of the NDA so he doesn’t have to talk about his likely role in the disastrous and corrupt economic restructuring of Iraqi industry that extended through the Bush and Obama years. Van Buren is very knowledgeable about the details of how consulting firms were employed in Iraq and is pretty convincing in my view.


      1. Darius

        Excellent interview. The Moderate Rebels podcast is on iTunes. Highly recommended.

        I hope some good reporter uses this as an opportunity to investigate McKinsey. I’m sure there’s a lot that’s public record.

    2. Pookah Harvey

      The Buttigieg article notes:

      He also found time in the summer of 2008 to travel to Somaliland, the autonomous region in the Horn of Africa. He went as a tourist, but while there talked to local officials and wrote an account of his experience for The International Herald Tribune.

      Going to that article (which was picked up by the NYT), it states:

      Peter Buttigieg is a management consultant in Chicago and a fellow at the Truman National Security Project.

      Who sits on the advisory board of the Truman National Security Project?
      According to Wikipedia:

      former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who once infamously said while advocating the bombing of Bosnia, “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” She also said, when asked in a 1996 interview about the estimated half a million children dead due to Clinton’s Iraq sanctions, that “we think the price is worth it.”

      former Clinton Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, who is now at the conservative Hoover Institution

      former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, who now runs the Center for American Progress

      Will Marshall, head of the Progressive Policy Institute, Clinton’s old centrist “idea mill.”

      Wiki notes:

      At its (Truman National Security Project) 2005 conference one of the panel discussions was on “what Democrats did wrong, Republicans did right, and neo-cons did better” and “the need to increase the size of the deployable military.”


      The TNSP homepage states:

      Truman National Security Project, along with our sister organization Truman Center, identifies, trains, and positions leaders across America who share this worldview.

  6. drumlin woodchuckles

    I am not sure that the antidote picture is really of a sage bloom. The color certainly looks like that of many sage blooms. But the structure reminds me of the various ” bee balms” (Monarda).

    Here is a bunch of sage bloom images.

    Here is a bunch of Monarda bloom images.

    Which set of images does the antidote image more closely resemble? To me it more closely resembles the Monarda bloom images in structural terms. But if others see a closer resemblance to the sage bloom images, I will read every comment making that case.

    1. DJG

      drumlin woodchuckles: I am glad that you are on the case. My first glance at the photo also brought bee balm (Monarda) to mind. The reddish phase is more common here around Chicago, but I like the azure bee balm and see it fairly regularly.

      1. Harold

        I second Monarda fistulosa. The lilac one that tolerates drier soil than the red kind and grows in prairies. They all have a lovely fragrance.

        1. Harold

          Both it and sage are members of the Labiatae or Lamiaceae genus, which includes the mint family. There is a family resemblance, I think, but it’s all rather confusing (at least to me.)

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The salvia blooms are a single “layer” deep going up and down a vertical stem.

            The monarda blooms all come out of a central “spherical” head-thing, like pins sticking out of a pin cushion.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Yeah, I thought so, too. They are both mint family plants and fairly closely related – note the tubular flowers. Monarda, like sage, has a pleasant, minty smell.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Maybe a closeup of a small sage blossom? Because otherwise I first thought it was bee balm too.

  7. TroyIA

    We show that Trump’s support increases the most among low-socioeconomic status whites who are independents and ideological moderates.

    So maybe it wasn’t a good idea to spend the past 3 years calling Trump voters racist and stupid? Oh well, the demographics are in the Democrats favor.

  8. Bill Smith

    “Barr’s handpicked prosecutor tells inspector general he can’t back right-wing theory that Russia case was U.S. intelligence setup” [WaPo]. “The prosecutor handpicked by Attorney General William P. Barr [(John Durham)] to scrutinize how U.S. agencies investigated President Trump’s 2016 campaign said he could not offer evidence to the Justice Department’s inspector general to support the suspicions of some conservatives that the case was a setup by American intelligence,

    This last part that I bolded changes from story to story. Sometimes it is that the FBI didn’t spy on the Trump Campaign. Alas, Professor Hapler was paid by the Pentagon not the FBI.

    My guess is that the report will be like those class action settlements -> nobody did anything wrong but we promise not to do it again.

  9. Linden S.

    The Sunrise Movement article is depressing. I know you need money to get anything done, but it would be nice to think that grassroots movements don’t have to kowtow to billionaires. Would be curious to hear others opinions on it, perhaps this is just an inevitable part of being any kind of group like Sunrise and I’m being naive.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Sanders can do politics without big shadow donors, movements can do movementics without big shadow donors. They just have to figure out how.

      Probably it would take a new set of people growing a new movement without big shadow donors to begin with . . . to figure out how. And once they figured out how, they would have to make rejecting big shadow donations a part of their founding charters and bylaws. Because the big shadow donors would certainly try to infiltrate them and subvert them with big shadow money . . . maybe smurfed into hundreds of thousands of straw donations. Which would also have to be watched out for.

      1. jrs

        The tall order there is the money gets diluted. Sanders ok but if people are not just donating to Sanders, but to every decent non-bought off person running for mayor, and city council, and House Rep and state Reps and etc., and all of these positions matter some. And then funding movements as well.

        And among the non-rich maybe only the middle class even have much in the way of disposable income for this anyway, and only so much, and only sometimes the right sympathies as they don’t automatically – as by definition they are comfortable enough to have disposable income.

    2. Shonde

      Linden, after reading the article and noting the movement of money, I put my tinfoil hat on and said, “Yeh, the Sunrise Movement was set up by the billionaires for proactive control of the narrative”. This is not kowtowing to contributors.

      1. Linden S.

        That makes sense to me. Depressing. After a few years all this energy and enthusiasm will just be converted into broken promises and bitterness.

    3. jrs

      A movement can also be perhaps too radical to co-opt, I can’t say for sure, as well what hasn’t been on the spooks payroll at one time or other almost? But for sure some messages ARE easier to co-opt than others, but not everyone wants to sign up with a radical movement, but it seems harder to co-opt.

    4. chuck roast

      This is my favorite Sierra Club story.
      A few years ago I was heavily involved in the Green Party (profuse apologies to the brethren). At the annual party meeting a Sierra Club guy who had a display at the back of the room, gave a presentation on how the city needed an extended commuter rail link to relieve traffic. He was passing out an 8-10 page blurb hyping the project prepared by Parsons-Brinkerhoff or one of the usual suspects. I looked at the blurb and it was clear that the whole idea of the commuter rail extension was a real estate scam to turn perfectly good farmland into subdivisions serviced by rail stops with 800 space parking lots.
      Since I was not laboring under the illusion that all commuter rail was a good thing, this pissed me off mightily. As a long time member I demanded time on the agenda to speak to this bogus nonsense. After finally getting the podium, I pointed out that this BS Sierra Club “study” was funded by the local real estate pressure group and was not intended to reduce traffic. It was green-wash nonsense to induce more suburban sprawl. The clown Sierra Club “transportation expert” turned out to be a real estate broker in his day job.

      1. Danny

        Guess what? It’s now almost state law in California: payback to the developers that donated to The Party. Mostly market rate condos and a few low income units that might go to peope based on a lottery, not residence, history, or contribution to a community.

        “Originally, the bill would have required all California neighborhoods within a half-mile of a major public transit stop to allow apartment buildings four to five stories tall. No longer would cities be able to restrict zoning around transit to exclusively single-family homes, for example.”


  10. doug

    Bloomberg: His ads are everywhere during local news morning/noon/night in Raleigh Durham area. The first few frames look slick, but that is all I have seen before I skip ahead.

    1. Knot Galt

      I have a friend on FB that lives in Idaho. Bloomberg is on all the channels 24/7 according to him.

    2. turtle

      Saw (actually heard) it a few times during the morning local news in California. From what I recall from only partially listening/paying attention, it seemed to emphasize what he did to restrict access to guns and increase access to abortions. There could be (probably is) more to it.

      1. Danny

        Latest meme from a friend who goes to a megachurch:

        “Compare the death rate per hundred thousand guns in the U.S. to the death rate per 100,000 abortions.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Tell them “If people had decent wages, work conditions and health care in their lives, then they would not need to have those abortions as they would have the resources to have those kids.” Quote them Matthew 25:36-40 for good order. Not religious here but I do remember that parable given.

        2. cgregory

          The so-called “pro-lifers” are really into death, mainly because they have issues about the total oblivion to which they will pass when they die. This is why deaths of fetuses play a part in their allegorical war with Death.

          One of their tactics is a story about The Abortion Store. I wrote its counter, The Baby Store. Here’s a bit of it:

          “This story is not told by so-called “pro-lifers”:

          “In America, a child is born approximately every nine seconds, about 7 per minute, about 400 per hour, 96,000 per day, 3.5 million every year.

          “Imagine if you will these newborns coming out of the Baby Store, most of them brought out by a parent (in half the cases, two parents).  Every nine seconds, the door opens up and a new baby comes out.

          “Due to the sheer force of probability, each one of them has a destiny fairly well shaped for it as soon as its mother decides to carry it to term:

          •Every eighteen seconds a child is born who for most of his life will barely, if at all, know his biological father
          •Every 27 seconds, a baby is born whose parents never intended for him to exist
          •Every thirty-six seconds, a baby is born who will not graduate high school
          •Every thirty-six seconds, a child is born to a life without health insurance
          •Every thirty-six seconds, a baby is born who will live in a family with an alcoholic parent
          •Every forty-five seconds a child will be born to live in poverty
          •Every sixty-three seconds a child is born who will be left alone at home unsupervised between the ages of five and fourteen
          •Every eighty-one seconds a baby is born who will come home after school to an empty house
          •Of the ten babies born every minute and a half, four are born to mothers weren’t “elated about their condition.”
          •Every minute and a half a baby is born whose family pays more than half of its income for rent- two and a half times the national average
          •Every minute and a half a baby will be born to a child. . . . . .”

          Their fixation on abortion is so great they cannot deal with real human life.

    3. jeremyharrison

      I’ve seen a dozen Bloomberg commercials on TeeVee – pablum, plus every one ends with the same photo of a side shot of him lecturing while leaning into a dias – in which he looks like a very old man shakily leaning into his walker.

      Not a good look….

    4. WJ

      I’m sorry, but I have a hard time making sense of Bloomberg’s instantaneously polling at 5% without first putting on my tin-foil hat. I just don’t buy that his name recognition among a genuinely randomly selected pool of the general electorate is so great as to explain this result. I have to believe that there is something funny going on with either the selection process or the weighting mechanism of these polls to produce a result “acceptable” to the corporate media that is driving the narrative. In the same way, I cannot bring myself to believe that Pete Buggigieg has the actual level of support he is projected to have in Iowa.

      Biden’s numbers make more sense to me; Warren’s numbers make more sense to me. But Bloomberg and Buttigieg?! Can’t get my head around them.

      1. jrs

        No it’s not, it’s not any greater than Kamala Harris, unless alright you live in NYC. But so what? The governors that ran had tons of name recognition in their states … This really doesn’t translate into national name recognition. He’s known in New York period and for soft drink bans. Mostly the most famous thing about him is his publication of the same name.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Ah, I can explain that. The MSM is absolutely lying their faces off about the actual figures. Go watch this recent Jimmy Dore clip where Andrew Yang is complaining about his censorship on the MSM. I can recommend to everyone that they watch the first three minutes of this clip but absolutely watch from the 2:00 mark onwards. Absolutely stunning-


    5. jrs

      He won’t get in the debates probably, he doesn’t care, he’d rather straight out buy an election than even engage in the debates (flawed as they may be, and who the debates allow in is pretty flawed to start).

  11. a different chris

    > “And Rabbi Jacob Herber of Wisconsin tweeted Tuesday in response to Sarsour’s remarks that despite the fact that he abhors Trump, ‘I’ll be damned if I’m going to vote for Bernie Sanders.’”

    Awesome. So the Jewish people no longer have to stick together, everything on Earth is just peachy now! I was unaware that this had happened? I guess the whole point of Israel will from here on out be just to provide some nice beaches where most everybody can be counted on to speak Hebrew.


    Seriously, I know and admire the fact that internal contention is a part of Jewish life. But POTUS (for the first time ever) is far from something to sneeze at, even if you are part of a rather successful group, is it not? This is honestly unbelievable, Bernie is hardly Che Guevara.

    1. jsn

      From the top right corner of the Overton window, Che & Bernie are indistinguishable.

      The air is thin and the view poor from over there.

    2. Wukchumni

      “Well, speaking as a Christian, I would like to say that I find the Apostle Paul appealing and the Apostle Peale appalling.”

      Adlai Stevenson

      Opening sentence of remarks to a Baptist convention in Texas during 1952 Presidential campaign. In his introduction the host had said that Stevenson had been asked to speak “just as a courtesy, because Dr. Norman Vincent Peale has already instructed us to vote for your opponent.”

  12. a different chris

    “The Kingmaker” – yeah, for example that Trump guy didn’t listen to all the wise men of the Republican party and see where that got him!

    Oh, wait…

    Shorter me: OK, pre-Boomer.

  13. pjay

    “And Rabbi Jacob Herber of Wisconsin tweeted Tuesday in response to Sarsour’s remarks that despite the fact that he abhors Trump, ‘I’ll be damned if I’m going to vote for Bernie Sanders.’”

    As today’s links demonstrate, the press has not been able to ignore the fact that Bernie topped the California poll. So perhaps it’s time for a little Jeremy Corbyn treatment.

    1. Carey

      >Bernie topped the California poll. So perhaps it’s time for a little Jeremy Corbyn treatment.

      Oh, they’re *just getting started*.

      Sanders 2020

    2. jrs

      They’ll say Cali is liberal, too liberal to signal the whole country. Shrug I have no idea about the country but sure it really is pretty liberal at this point, with polls, how people vote on propositions generally etc.. But a bit apathetic to move the needle on state and local governance YET …

  14. Mark Gisleson

    Thx for the Iowa broadband link. It looks very similar to a map of the most rural parts of Iowa. My family’s farm in north Iowa gets its internet from a Rube Goldberg wifi relay system that’s probably making illegal use of telephone poles.

    This is why I get angry when rural areas default to “red” America because all they have is broadcast TV news. What internet they have isn’t fast enough for streaming and just gets used for email and texting. (Currently the only broadcast station I get in my rural part of Minnesota is Fox.)

    Rural high speed internet would move the Overton Window well to the left of where it is now. I don’t think city folks appreciate how limited rural news options are, and how much of an impact that’s had.

    1. turtle

      This is a really interesting comment. I had never thought of these effects of limited internet access on rural areas. Definitely food for though on why some people may be motivated to keep rural areas without high-speed internet.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Our location isn’t all that rural, but we get our internet over the air, via an antenna high up in a Douglas Fir. Just encountered the disadvantage: it needs a repair, which requires an arborist to get up there, so it’s scheduled a bit far out.

      Otherwise, I think this could be a solution for rural areas, esp. flat ones. Could actually use cell phone towers, if that could be arranged. Not everyone has tall trees, but farms usually have something high, like a barn. Avoids stringing a new set of wires everywhere – and we’re on it because it’s greatly superior to internet over the phone lines. For one thing, the service is far better than our phone company, which on the whole was worse than useless.

      Ours is a local business, but it could be done by local governments or civic groups, too.

  15. Appleseed

    re: “Toronto’s secret success: Suburban buses.” Jonathan English’s more expansive piece, Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S., was posted to CityLab in Oct. Read it while riding the bus. Some great common sense ideas for improving transit from around the globe: “The key to great transit service is not about getting 100 percent of people to ride transit for 100 percent of trips. It’s about giving people a viable choice of getting around without needing to drive.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If this concept were rolled out strongly in some green-minded Blue Cities and Blue Towns, the suburbanites around those Blue City Towns could stay in their suburbs and turn their suburbs into garden zones or even Permaculture Suburbs if they wanted to, as per David Holmgren.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      that’s an excellent, if infuriating, article.
      I rode the DC and Toronto public transit when i was a kid on family vacation…so don’t remember/wasn’t paying attention.
      my adult experience with public transit is with Texas cities…which seem to have designed their systems with punishment foremost in their minds.
      main experience is 25 years ago in Austin.
      I lived off of South Lamar, maybe 4 miles from the River, and worked on 6th street, downtown.
      parking garages had no discernable access for Sixth Street workers, so it was the Meters….most of which were for no longer than 2 hours at a time. there were like 10 meters that i knew of for 8 hours, all taken very quickly.
      so one had to leave work to feed the meter, which the boss, of course, frowned upon.
      so i(and everyone else) got towed quite often.
      my usual shift was from 2pm to 11pm or later.
      weekdays, kitchen closed at 10, and it was a rush to clean and get out of there, and literally run the 6 blocks to congress avenue, where the 3 busroutes that went to south Lamar were. Those buses stopped running at 10:30-11.
      so the choice was: get towed, and pay the extortionate wrecker/impoundment, plus parking tickets(still have a municipal warrant for my arrest, 25 years later, due to lack of parking,lol)….or ride bus to work, and walk 4-5 miles home in the dark, uphill.
      the people who cook your food, and otherwise keep the engine running are an afterthought.
      and to add insult to all this, the official impoundment lots are well off the bus routes…so to get your car back from the buzzards, one must either bum a ride, or walk way out into the pastures…no sidewalks, etc.
      1/2 the time i did this, they were already trying to auction my damned car by h etime i managed to find it, get the money together and get there.

      all this may have improved in austin…it HAS been a quarter century, after all….but somehow I doubt it,lol.
      all this extra time, energy and money spent on purposeful cruelty contributes to, and perpetuates, poverty and homelessness.
      and no one knows about it unless they’re living with it
      Poor People Problems don’t get a hearing.

  16. Summer

    RE: Human Resources: “Emotional Baggage” [The Verge].

    Won’t be complaining about my job for a while…

    1. Bob Haugen

      Possibly working link (working right this minute): https://ucb03f89ed1d3279d6bcc67ab91b.dl.dropboxusercontent.com/cd/0/inline2/Atx5SfzgXYzPVzZGuTkQcLqlAxhySfKwhOAsikWIJQqC-efZRCiYf9Csuq8mYB64XvJHyjBXibvdsV0LRqAvCOz_IKIgkMJ8pL-KgwnVOeRZiHC4y_A_EbWw764z2fsOIiYNWPQlLg5QtBK4Sfv1X_axG_qn3g8tqdqgId9xwvWLDtMtdrQv1WJUt5Lfkuyen2eXFdOxkt6_7XNzZgao3INVAeLgPS_IlV-q8MpjgIGDDrsyXDrc5gvqk79vjmv4rkNV2-7A9uoGSnCI0VsT6BhFEaW-qkd4HkBBw0B0RAVnDA_F3uGC6AuETvcNl3nYihXIztjnvXXX4VrsAFileSA5jnVOVbkzavDUktDBNB7olQ/file#

  17. David Carl Grimes

    Jimmy Dore does a good job of demolishing the impeachment’s star witness in a very clear way that an ordinary person can understand. Karlan is completely partisan and opines on what our foreign policy is, which completely negates her purpose for being there – to convince the public that Trump committed an impeachable offense.


  18. ptb

    “Lis Smith (the woman of the headline) was also a spokesperson for the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC) in New York”

    I did not know that, actually. Boo.
    guess Boots is even more of a DINO than I thought…

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Oh, he’s a Democrat. ..a Hillary/Warren, that’s-why-we-can’t, never-ever, have-nice-things-for-the-deploribles, Democrat.

  19. Carolinian

    So belief that “Russia case was U.S. intelligence setup” is a “right-wing theory” according to the WaPo. This provokes a conspiracy theory that the WaPo is trying to label all suspcions of the IC as right-wing conspiracy theories. Of course it could be they don’t read The Nation (or NC) at he mighty Washington Post. I prefer the CT.

    1. WJ

      Some other “right-wing conspiracy theories”:

      1. There is no direct evidence of Russian hack on DNC servers, which were never examined by the FBI.
      2. Crowdstrike, which was employed by the DNC, should not have been trusted to investigate the claimed “hack” of the DNC.
      3. Seth Rich was the likely source of the leaked DNC emails.
      4. Ukraine sought to prevent the election of Trump in 2016.
      5. It is odd that Hunter Biden was named to the Board of Burisma despite having no experience in any relevant field.
      6. Wikileaks did not coordinate with Russia to screw the DNC.
      7. Brennan and Clapper misrepresented intelligence findings re: election “interference.”
      8. Mueller’s assertions about Russian meddling are just that and nothing more.
      9. The OPCW falsified their finding on Douma and can’t be trusted.
      10. Mifsud is a western intelligence asset and not a Russian spy.

      I could go on and on….

      What does it mean that I am on the left and I believe all these right-wing myths?!

      1. foghorn longhorn

        That the effing video of biden, at cfr conference, bragging about withholding billions in aid to ukraine, unless they fired the prosecutor investigating his son, is a vrwc.
        Crazy effing world folks.

      2. Tom Doak

        Instead of invoking conspiracy theories, you could just assert that these claims have been “debunked,” without providing any links or evidence of such.

    2. RopeADope

      It looks more like a case of the CIA losing control of it’s network of arms dealers, child sex traffickers, war criminals and right-wing Israeli billionaires they use to promote American ‘values’ around the world. The nexus of effective control of this network may have shifted to Netanyahu due to over-expansion on the Ukraine and China front as well as McKinsey’s involvement. You will recall that Netanyahu was making many many trips to Russia, almost as if he had acquired something of value he was trying to bargain with.

      Haaretz has more information on the Adelson story that NC put up yesterday. Some of the actions of the Trump administration do not conform with Russia strategic interests but they do match China’s interests in the Middle East as well as some of the mafia ones. This also begs the question of whether Trump is causing American farmers to go bankrupt in order to get China to do favors for his #1 GOP donor instead of advancing U.S. national interests. For all that we know Trump may have fired the Secret Service head when they caught the Chinese spy at Maro-Lago because the Secret Service was good at it’s job and interfered with Trump’s personal mob business by actually catching criminals. This also would explain why the State Department is being crippled as State is a main source of intelligence.

      A more accurate moniker for what happened in 2016 would be Billionairegate or Brennangate due to Brennan’s criminal incompetence.

      And naturally Brennan is not going to own up to what happened so he had to construct a bat-shit crazy story to get the the investigation started.

      1. kiwi

        Just keep begging on this: This also begs the question of whether Trump is causing American farmers to go bankrupt in order to get China to do favors for his #1 GOP donor instead of advancing U.S. national interests.

        Are you serious? Trump doesn’t need Adelson’s money. Money has been flooding into repub coffers.


        Do you think that it was Trump’s ‘criminal’ activities that caused the trade deficit the US has run with China for years?

  20. Carey

    From JH Kunstler’s blog today:

    “..What is the Democratic Party today? Well, it’s the cheerleading squad for “seventeen” government agencies that add up to the craftily-labeled “intel community,” a warm-and-fuzzy coalition of snoops, false witnesses, rogue lawfare cadres, seditionists, and bad-faith artists working sedulously to hide their previous misdeeds with ever-fresh ones. They’re the party against free speech, the party against due process of law, the party determined to provoke war with Russia. They’re the party of sexual confusion, sexual hysteria, and sexual conflict, the party of kangaroo courts, cancel culture, erasing boundaries (including national borders), and of making up rules for all that as they go along — like the Nazis and Soviets used to do. The ideas and policies they advocate are so comprehensively crazy that their old support of slavery looks quaintly straightforward in comparison.

    It’s taken a while for the full efflorescence of these political pathologies to present. But now they are finally on display for all to see in what is supposed to be a climactic impeachment melodrama. The impeachment process itself has revealed the party’s genius for inventing new debaucheries of law and government misconduct — the latest being Rep Adam Schiff’s blatantly illegal cadging of his opponents’ phone logs. And now, after three years of unchallenged wickedness, they literally face the moment of truth..”


    Not so sure about the “moment of truth” part, but yeah.

  21. Valdis

    “Modern humans are also less aggressive and more cooperative than many of our ancestors.”

    “Many” is doing a lot of work in this sentence, if I may ape our dear host.

    Equally likely that wild dogs domesticated some early isolated Homo populations and we returned the favor a million or two years later.

    This could explain why dogs are consistently better people.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      “Modern humans are also less aggressive and more cooperative than many of our ancestors” is not a verifiable statement and a lot of anthropologists would disagree.

    1. flora

      adding: Thanks for the Carl Beijer link. Biden’s current campaign presentation isn’t the ‘genial Joe’ I remember.

      When he interacts with people he veers from uncomfortably familiar to wildly aggressive.

      “Wildly aggressive.” That is worrisome. I have no idea what has caused the change; Bloomberg entering the race?; campaign donations not keeping pace? No idea. But “wildly aggressive” is a hallmark of a form of unwellness that younger relatives of older family members suffering this form of unwellness know too well. I very much hope for Biden and his family that he is not suffering an unwellness, and that he is simply over reacting to a change in the campaign terrain he expected when going into the race.

      1. Robert McGregor

        Biden Link: I couldn’t believe how surly and offensive he was. Biden was trying to physically intimidate the questioner–not a good look. Even Trump doesn’t do that. Trump just tries to intimidate with his mouth and money. For Biden–serious “reaction formation” in psychological terms (Overcompensation). Overcompensation is not a good trait in a President! I wish I had asked Biden the questions, and Biden replied to me, “You want to have a push-up contest right now,” and I would have answered . . . “No, how about we just wrestle to submission up front?” {Does he have secret service coverage protection now or not?}

        1. integer

          I very rarely lol (in the literal sense) over political happenings but seeing Biden challenge an 83-year-old to a push-up and IQ contest, call him fat, and then tell said 83-year-old that he’s too old to vote for him did the trick. Biden is unhinged.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Having been through such unwellness with three relatives (so far), I’ve had this exact same thought about Joe recently. It’s not fair to play armchair doctor, but it’s also super hard to ignore a pattern you’ve seen several times.

    2. Darius

      Yang erroneously identifies the problem as automation taking away jobs. In the past, automation created jobs. The steam locomotive destroyed jobs in the horse drawn coach business but created many more in the railroad industry.

      The problem is financialization, not automation. Because synergies, finance puts people out of work as it destroys healthy businesses. No more production. Just wealth concentration.

      1. flora

        I agree with you. However, Yang at least see increasing unemployment in jobs that pay a decent wage as a serious problem.

        1. WJ

          I agree with this. However I do not understand how Yang’s basic income proposal is supposed to address this. If the problem is really as stark and unavoidable as he presents it, then $1,000 / month seems like far too little an amount. If however the problem is not unavoidable but rather a function of political choice rather than technological law, then what we need is not basic income but better labor law and a different approach to our economy. I just feel as though all of Yang’s major premises re: this issue are so obviously wrong esp in US context that it makes me suspect his good faith, because I don’t think he’s stupid.

          1. jrs

            My read on him is he seems to have good sympathies, but he really doesn’t understand the problems fully. At least he understands there are serious problems, that puts him light years ahead of a Buttigieg who REALLY doesn’t understand anything. But if you aren’t worrying about the costs eating Americans alive that $1000 won’t solve for the average person then it’s lacking. But I concede it will help the very poor, $1000 to the homeless would be a lot better than what they have now. Even if costs went up? Well yes, as there are people wandering our streets with literally nothing pretty much … and if seen from their perspective rather than a the struggling working and middle class who won’t be helped much as they have both more income and more costs to begin with then I could see some good.

        2. hunkerdown

          If only Yang’s solutions to the correctly identified problems weren’t tendentious, opportunistic, incompletely thought-through, and mildly sociopathic.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The problem is also Free Trade sending millions of American jobs into foreign exile and captivity.

    3. ptb

      adding to, and agreeing with the other comments on this…

      that was a great interview, i think Yang is super likable here, and makes some good points and some less so.

      For example, on public option vs single payer. I think Yang’s vision fails to fix the problem. US system is radically busted, bringing it up to 1st world level is necessarily a radical change that would dispossess rentiers pocketing a big part (I’d say 30%+) of the 18% GDP that is health care. No way they give that up without being forced by law.

      But Yang makes a good political point on why some people will resist the change – deconstructing the false “they like the insurance they have” talking point. It’s not that someone, esp. in a union, likes it. Its that they gave up other things to get it.

      The obvious response is that in a single payer system, employees and collectives would have more bargaining power b/c a brief period of unemployment wouldn’t be as scary in case kids sick etc. But that is a point to be stressed.

      1. Tom Doak

        The unions, except of course those who make $$ off the health care system, do not believe that Medicare for All is a problem.

        But it’s easy to roll a lot of union members by portraying others without jobs as their mortal enemy.

        Divide and conquer!

  22. Carey

    I wonder if one of the NC / WC movie mavens might know of a film I’m trying to find;
    shown to me by a close, now-passed friend, a few years ago, it made a minor impression
    at the time, but now I’d *really* like to see it again. The plot, as I remember it:

    Set and probably filmed in France, a single mother loses her manufacturing job in the provinces there, and moves temporarily to Paris to find work, starts cleaning house etc
    for a hedge-fund type dude, who on a bet (IIRC) sleeps with and casually discards her.
    In the last scene, she’s being arrested at a protest somewhere, and hustled into a police van (prescient!).

    If anyone knows the name of this movie, I’d love to know it. Thanks.

  23. Summer

    RE: Pete B /McKinsey

    Look at the New York Times article and read some of the top NY Times Leeter to the Editor Picks. I can’t help but think those type of “good puppy dog corpo lackey” responses are just the kind of responses the establishment is depending on as M Kinsey fishes and does its usual con job. The corp it is consulting now is Pete B. for President.
    Nothing like these “exposes” to also send out a dog whistle that Pete B. Is their guy to prioritize profit over people and has good training in doing so.

  24. Dwight

    Bernie should think bigger about the Postal Power. Rural (and why not urban) broadband is the 21st century equivalent of the Postal Roads.

    1. rowlf

      Could I pay my internet service bill to the Post Office? That and Postal banking (again) sounds like a winning combination. Who actually has a savings account anymore? That would be a big win in rural areas like mine.

      1. Carey

        Not complex™ enough, nor demanding high-tech, internet-enabled™ solutions™.

        simpler is better

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        “Who actually has a savings account anymore?”

        well,lol. I do.
        got about $2 in it right now.
        i make a penny a year in interest.
        i keep it because its no minimum balance, in case i have a check to cash or something…local bank, locally owned, everyone knows where the bank president lives, etc(a check on bad behaviour: shenanigans= upper management’s houses burn)
        as far as banks go, this one is how it should be.

        nevertheless, post office banking and post office internet service are great ideas.
        while we’re at it, might look into fixing their artificial pension problems, too(gop generated, dem approved)
        eviscerating the post office in that manner is unamerican. Ben Franklin would not approve.

        1. rowlf

          I forget where I ran across the premise that busting up the Post Office and hobbling the pension system was due to a bunch of nimrods being all wound up that people they didn’t like were getting good jobs. Remind me again on why space travelers would want to visit Monkey Planet.

        2. H

          Here in Canada, as in the US, privatization of the Post Office is a big neo-liberal target b/c of the the union membership it would scotch. The pensions — icing on the cake. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) led the fight here for 4% vacation pay and maternal leave, which were extended to all workers in Canada. Currently, their issues include the restoration of postal banking

          On edit — sorry, I am HotFlash, not H

          CUPW has also enthusiastically supported LEAP, which is sort of a Canadian version of Green New Deal, or at least transition, which includes, among other things, community broadband and green energy.. Naomi Klein is heavily involved with LEAP as well, and I am pretty sure that Bernie and Naomi have talked about this.

  25. ahimsa

    @Lambert and dk

    Thank you for the tracking the polls so well and offering the nice charts!

    I was wondering with regard to the 15% threshold rule if it would be interesting to depict how the current polling translates into delegates for the front runners?

    For example, if the latest national poll results were translated into pledged delegates, it would give Biden a clear majority:

    Biden 28.57% => ~60%
    Sander 19.42% => ~40%
    Warren 14.72%
    Buttigieg 8.97%
    Bloomberg 4.92%
    Undec 3.1%
    Gabbard 1.87%

    Interestingly, if Warren reached the 15% threshold:
    Warren leaps from zero pledged delegates awarded to 23%!
    Biden drops below a majority threshold to 46%
    Sanders stays closer to Biden
    While he and Warren combined form a majority 54%

    Biden 30% => 46%
    Sander 20% => 31%
    Warren 15% => 23%

    But an article at 538 explains that a candidate must also reach 15% at the level of congressional districts. So Warren might not get quite so many delegates if her 15% support was unevenly distributed in a state.

    It is of course more complicated in caucus elections because voters can still give their vote to another candidate in successive rounds of voting.

    All in all, I think the 15% threshold is quite significant due to the larger field of candidates this time round.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Yeah, been thinking about how all this translates to winning outright vs brokered convention.

      Unless Bernie runs the table Super Tuesday, I think we’re looking at a “brokered” rat (family blog)ing and 4 more years of Trump.

      Buckle up, folks.

      1. Carey

        Things have been clear for awhile now for those paying attention; after the Democrat Convention they’ll be clear to all, except those paid not to see.

        Sanders 2020

    2. dk

      Thanks! I see where you’re going with this, trying to get existing features smooth enough for a launch but may get something like this in at some point.

  26. Wukchumni

    The bird is the word…

    If you’re near Sequoia National Park in mid-December, consider dropping by the park on December 14 to help count birds.

    Each year from December 14 through January 5, tens of thousands of volunteers across the continent brave the elements to take part in this massive citizen-science project. The data collected in this long-running wildlife census is used to assess the health of bird populations, and to help guide conservation action.


  27. Riverboat Grambler

    Re: Biden’s incident, the spin among the party faithful is that Joe was right to insult the old man because he was obviously a plant from the Trump campaign. Apparently questioning Hunter Biden’s position on that board is enough to warrant being painted as a Trump shill, full-stop. Biden was “fighting back against the bullshit”.

    I think the liberal bubble is even thicker now than it was in 2016.

    1. Carolinian

      Guess we know why Biden always so reluctant run (2016 and this time)–problem child Hunter hard to defend.

      1. Off The Street

        Awaiting announcement next week that Joe will drop out of The Race to spend more time with his grandchildren. 1/2 s

    1. RMO

      If anyone feels lucky they could try using the term on Musk and see how things go – if an accusation of being a pedophile from one of the richest, most powerful and attention grabbing people on the planet can’t cause harm to a largely unknown person I think he would have to agree that the same accusation coming from one of us peasants who nobody listens to couldn’t possibly harm Musk, right?

      e.g. “I was shopping for an electric car and though the Model 3 was pretty good I went with the Hyundai Kona, because, you know, I don’t really want to buy a car from a company run by a Pedo Guy.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        What if thousands and then millions of people all called Musk ” PedoGuyMusk” on line at the same time? Could Musk sue them all?

        #PedoGuyMusk could it Trending?

  28. Carey

    Just received from National Nurses United:

    “..We just got word that our pressure campaign WORKED: An NNU nurse will be officially invited to testify on behalf of Medicare for All.

    This is indisputable proof of our grassroots power. Hundreds of you jumped on the phone and took to social media to pressure Rep. Eshoo, and it worked..”

    Most excellent! Solidarity works.

    Sanders 2020

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