2:00PM Water Cooler 1/10/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

The news seems a bit light, as we all sink back exhausted from the war scare, now rapidly dropping off the front pages. –lambert

Trade

“U.K. Tells Trump That American Chicken Is Still Off the Menu” [Bloomberg]. “With the breakup near, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration is preparing to negotiate trade deals this year with the EU and the U.S. Typically such agreements take years. The timetable for these talks is months. With reelection on the brain, President Donald Trump is ogling the opportunity. “This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the EU,” Trump tweeted in December. While there are plenty of sticking points, count chlorine-washed chicken as early out of the gate. Most Americans aren’t fussed by domestically produced poultry parts bathed in a water-and-chemical bath to kill bacteria — per capita consumption will approach 100 pounds this year, double the level from 35 years ago, according to the National Chicken Council. But U.S. chicken imports offend British sanitary sensibilities. Not just for the safety of people who ingest it, but mainly because the process compensates for less stringent health standards when the chickens are being raised.”

Politics

“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:

* * *

2020

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

We do not have new polls today, so yesterday’s YouGov poill is the most recent, as of 1/8/2020, 12:00 PM EST. On the average, the pattern of Biden first, Sanders strong second, then Warren and Buttigeig is stable, but Bloomberg is closing on Buttigieg, which is interesting or concerning. Of course, these are national polls, about to be massively thrown into confusion by IA, NH, SC, and NV — and then CA.

And the numbers:

The chart from South Carolina:

And the numbers from South Carolina:

Steyer??

And now California:

The numbers from California:

Sanders solidly in first. That’s quite remarkable.

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.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Most Likely Democrat to Beat Donald Trump, Party Members Tell Pollsters” [Newsweek]. “However the latest [Reuters/IPSOS] poll found that 40 percent of Democrats thought the ability to beat Trump was the ‘most important character trait,’—far outweighing other considerations such as ‘strong on healthcare’ (12 percent) and ‘strong on the economy and job creation’ (10 percent).” • Somehow democracy has turned into a Keynesian beauty contest. Not what do you think, but what do others think….

Bloomberg (D)(1): “Opinion: Trump has been great for people like me — but I’ll be great for you” [Mike Bloomberg, MarketWatch]. “Again and again, candidate Trump made economic promises to working people that he had no intention of keeping. And, sure enough, he has broken all of them. In fairness, we faced serious economic problems before President Trump took office. That’s one of the reasons he won. He promised to fix them. Instead, he has made them worse. We need to elect a leader who can actually deliver real change — not just talk about it — and create more good jobs, with good salaries, all across America. And I know I can do that, because I’ve done it. As mayor of New York, I helped to create nearly 500,000 new jobs, most of them outside of Manhattan.” • Bloomberg also touts his effort to “rebuild Lower Manhattan” after 9/11. Local New York readers, comments?

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Pete Buttigieg Woos ‘Future Former Republicans’ in New Hampshire” [Bloomberg]. “Pete Buttigieg likes to invite “future former Republicans” and independent voters into the fold, and the fiercely independent people of New Hampshire seem to be open to that offer. In a state where residents cherish their “Live Free or Die” motto, 42% of voters are not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party, and they range from progressive to conservative…. The lack of a serious Republican primary may also help Buttigieg. Kathy Sullivan, the former chairwoman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, predicted that moderate independents would play a larger role in this year’s Democratic primary, which is open to all voters.” • He’s a real Democrat!

Sanders (D)(1): “Democrats slept on Bernie Sanders. Now he’s surging as Iowa approaches” [CNN]. “with less than a month before the Iowa caucuses, this volatile 2020 presidential primary has taken yet another eye-popping turn: Bernie Sanders is being recognized by the Democratic establishment, sometimes in puzzlement and others in fear, as the real deal — a legitimate contender, even a front-runner, to become the party’s next presidential nominee. It happened slowly, then, as the year turned, seemingly all at once. Maybe it was his fourth quarter fundraising total — $34.5 million, more than anyone else and a personal best — or the recent early-state polls, which suggest a Sanders sweep of Iowa and New Hampshire is very much in play. The 78-year-old democratic socialist always had the firmest voter base. He has not made any meaningful adjustments to his campaign strategy. What’s changed is that he is beginning to show concrete signs of expanding his support in a way that few outside his loyal circles predicted.” • Of course, we haven’t counted any ballots yet.

Sanders (D)(2): “Democrats need to face facts about Bernie Sanders, his heart attack and his health” [Kurt Bardella, USA Today]. “At the risk of incurring the online wrath of the “Bernie Bros” who might point out that former Vice President Joe Biden is 77, the fact is that 1 in 5 people who have a heart attack will be readmitted for another one within five years of their first. According to the American Heart Association, there are about 335,000 recurrent heart attacks in the United States each year…. Under these circumstances, why would Democrats give Republicans the gift of a nominee whose health could derail the campaign at any moment?”

Trump (R)(1): “Trump, in a raucous rally, takes on Democrats and touts Soleimani killing” [Politico]. It’s not a “killing.” It’s an assassination. “[Trump mocked] House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as ‘you little pencil neck’ and then added ‘He buys the smallest shirt collar you can get, and it’s loose!'” • Well earned mockery, too. Three years of breathless hysteria on Russia, and in the end it never made the articles. More: “Trump is expected to increase the number of rallies he headlines now that Democratic voters are beginning the process of choosing a nominee to face him in November. He has two others scheduled for this month — in Wisconsin on the 14th and in New Jersey on the 28th.” • It would be interesting to see the two Borscht Belt comedians — Trump and Sanders — duke it out. I don’t see how any other candidate, including Bloomberg, could deal with Trump’s mockery any better than Clinton did. Clutching their pearls and heading for the fainting couch doesn’t work. And there’s no manager to call.

Warren (D)(1): “Progressive Coalition Makes Case for Unity Deep Into Primary” [The Intercept]. • This is in essence wrapped around a press release from DFA, whose membership is split between Sanders and Warren. We didn’t hear this unity talk when Warren was leading. Now that she’s fading, we hear it. Odd. One important issue is that Warren’s price would probably be a place on the ticket. Warren shouldn’t be anywhere near the ticket. First, she has terrible political instincts — see her failure to launch in 2016, DNA debacle, and the butchered MedicareForAll rollout. Second, assuming she were on the ticket as Vice President, she’d still to try to run everything from a subordinate position; Yves characterizes Warren as a “High D” personality. Warren would make a good Secretary of the Treasury, assuming Kelton was somewhere to get the macro right, and that’s a fine and important position.

Williamson (D)(1): “Marianne Williamson ends 2020 presidential campaign” [CNN]. “‘I stayed in the race to take advantage of every possible opportunity to share our message. With caucuses and primaries now about to begin, however, we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now,’ Williamson wrote in a message to supporters. ‘The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them,’ Williamson continued. Williamson had not qualified for the Democratic debate next week.”

* * *

2016 Post Mortem

About electability:

Impeachment

“Pelosi will send articles of impeachment to Senate next week” [CNBC]. “‘I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,’ Pelosi wrote to House colleagues.” • Not to quibble, but “send” is not the same as “be prepared” to send. More:

Stats Watch

“U.S. creates 145,000 jobs in December as hiring slows and wage growth softens” [MarketWatch]. ” The economy created 145,000 jobs in the final month of 2019 to cap off the ninth straight year in which new hires topped the 2 million mark, but workers still aren’t reaping a windfall from the strong labor market through rapidly rising pay. The increase in new jobs fell short of the 165,000 forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch. Wall Street was expecting a drop-off after a surprisingly robust 256,000 gain in the prior month. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, stayed at a 50-year low of 3.5%. The sturdiest labor market in decades has shielded the economy from a broad slowdown in global growth triggered in part by the U.S. trade war with China. Skilled workers are so hard to find companies are afraid to lay anyone off in case the economy speeds up. The low unemployment rate hasn’t produced fatter paychecks for American workers like it usually did in the past,however. The pace of hourly wage growth fell below 3% in December for the first time in a year and a half.”

Retail: “Sales results from the holiday season show the U.S. retail sector running on two very different tracks. J.C. Penney Co., Kohl’s Corp. and Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands Inc. all reported lower sales in the critical months of November and December… as Americans shifted their purchases online and to other retailers” [Wall Street Journal]. “The winners in the bid for sales look to be those that have undertaken aggressive efforts to meet changing consumer buying patterns, including so-called omni-channel strategies that blend physical stores with e-commerce fulfillment. Walmart Inc. and Target have reported rising sales and store traffic as they have ramped up online ordering and in-store pickup services. But same-store sales at J.C. Penney fell 7.5% in the nine weeks ending Jan. 4.”

Shipping: “California’s bid to toughen its trucking regulation is facing more roadblocks. A state judge says the state’s new ‘gig-economy’ law raising the bar for use of independent contractors doesn’t apply to truck drivers… ruling that the federal oversight built around interstate commerce preempts California’s law” [Wall Street Journal]. “The ruling in a lawsuit involving port trucking operations joins another case in federal court that takes aim at the law known as AB-5.”

Tech: “Police call for ban on anonymous pay-as-you-go phones” [Guardian]. “One flaw in any crackdown would be criminals moving to internet phone services via Skype or WhatsApp, which are encrypted. Law-abiding people who prefer contract-less mobile phones would be inconvenienced.”

Tech: “Why is a 22GB database containing 56 million US folks’ personal details sitting on the open internet using a Chinese IP address? Seriously, why?” [The Register]. “A database containing the personal details of 56.25m US residents – from names and home addresses to phone numbers and ages – has been found on the public internet, served from a computer with a Chinese IP address, bizarrely enough. The information silo appears to belong to Florida-based CheckPeople.com, which is a typical people-finder website: for a fee, you can enter someone’s name, and it will look up their current and past addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, names of relatives, and even criminal records in some cases, all presumably gathered from public records. However, all of this information is not only sitting in one place for spammers, miscreants, and other netizens to download in bulk, but it’s being served from an IP address associated with Alibaba’s web hosting wing in Hangzhou, east China, for reasons unknown.” • Oh.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 92 Extreme Greed (previous close: 93 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 93 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 9 at 12:21pm.

The Biosphere

“Climate change fueled the Australia fires. Now those fires are fueling climate change.” [Grist]. “The most obvious climatic impact of the fires is that they’re spewing millions of tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to a vicious feedback loop of heat and flame. But the fires are also kicking up lots of soot, creating a smoke plume that’s circling the globe and could hasten the melting of any glaciers it comes in contact with. Preliminary evidence suggests some of that smoke has even made its way into an upper layer of the atmosphere called the stratosphere, buoyed aloft by rare, fire-induced thunderclouds. That, too, could have subtle but far-reaching climate impacts…. As fire seasons become longer and more intense across the world, understanding this complex web of planetary impacts will only become more urgent.”

“Seaweed Chronicles” [Orion]. “[G]rowing industrial harvests, by companies using tools both effective and destructive, threaten rockweed forests along Maine’s coast and the species that need them for survival. Biologists are studying cutting techniques and are researching how cut areas can return to full ecological function, but much remains uncertain — especially the human ability to moderate harvest, a familiar challenge. Maine is ‘new to the pressures of this accelerating seaweed harvest. . . . But we know a lot about plunder. We’ve been doing it ourselves for years.’ As oceans are plundered, some coastal citizens are acting to protect rockweed’s wild habitat and curb industrial harvest. The Rockweed Coalition is one group, among others such as the Nature Conservancy and the Seaweed Council, questioning seaweed harvest and the policy guiding it in Maine. These groups debate who owns the rockweed — coastal landowners or the public — how to reap its abundance sustainably, and where not to cut it at all.” • Hmm. We don’t know who owns the rockweed?

“Despite everything, U.S. emissions dipped in 2019” [Grist]. “[T]otal emissions fell 2 percent compared with the year before, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm that frequently crunches climate numbers. The reason for that decline? The U.S. is burning less coal. That’s been driving down emissions from electricity generation. But the way we get around, heat our homes, and manufacture our stuff, hasn’t had much of an effect. ‘It’s a good-news bad-news story,’ said Trevor Houser, a partner at Rhodium and author of the report. ‘In the electricity sector we had a banner year — we had the largest decline in coal generation in recorded history. But in the other 75 percent of the economy, emissions remain stubbornly flat.'”

Health Care

“Costs, Benefits, and Sacred Values — Why Health Care Reform Is So Fraught” [Lisa Rosenbaum, New England Journal of Medicine]. “In the face of complex trade-offs, it’s tempting to reach for simple solutions. [professor of health policy Ashish Jha], who is often asked why the United States can’t have a single-payer system like those in some other high-income countries, explains that ‘there is almost no health care system that can be transplanted without the host rejecting it.’ He paraphrases the late health economist Uwe Reinhardt who, when asked about praise for the Danish health care system, would say something like, “Denmark has a great health care system. But if you want me to adopt the Danish health care system, you must also give me the Danish political system, and it would surely help if you also gave me the Danish people.” Whereas Denmark’s population, roughly the size of Wisconsin’s, is relatively homogeneous, including in its embrace of communal values, America’s large and diverse population is deeply divided on some central issues — for instance, the power of a free market and the appropriate role of government in our lives.” • Right, right, Canada’s population is totally homogenous and the Tories and the Liberals and the NDP and the PQ live in total harmony. Holy moley, with a straight face? In a flagship publication like the NEJM? (Note that no argument like this can give an account of the the presence or the success of existing Medicare.)

“High-Deductible Plans Jeopardize Financial Health Of Patients And Rural Hospitals” [Kaiser Health News]. “Plans with annual deductibles of $3,000, $5,000 or even $10,000 have become commonplace since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as insurers look for ways to keep monthly premiums to a minimum. But in rural areas, where high-deductible plans are even more prevalent and incomes tend to be lower than in urban areas, patients often struggle to pay those deductibles. That has hit patients like Flowers hard as they grapple with medical debt when emergencies happen — but small rural hospitals like Lincoln Community are suffering, too. These facilities often stabilize critically ill patients and then transfer them to larger regional or urban hospitals for more definitive care. But when the hospitals submit their claims, bills from the first site of care generally get applied to a patient’s deductible. And if patients can’t afford to cover that amount, those hospitals often don’t get paid, even as the larger urban hospitals where patients were transferred get close to full payment from the health plan. ‘As soon as we send them to the city, those things start being paid by the insurance company,’ said Kevin Stansbury, CEO of Lincoln Community, ‘while we’re still chasing the patient around for collections.'”

Class Warfare

“Increasing the minimum wage can reduce suicide rates, study finds” [Global News]. “A study published Tuesday in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health examined the link between minimum wage increases and suicide rates among various groups across the U.S., between 1990 and 2015. For every dollar added to the minimum wage, suicide rates among people with a high school education or less dropped by 3.4 to 5.9 per cent, the authors found. The effects were more pronounced during periods of high unemployment.”

“When 140 million Americans are poor, why has poverty disappeared from public discourse?” [Des Moines Register]. “‘It’s hard work being poor,’ said John Campbell of Des Moines, a black man of 63 who works at Bridgestone Firestone and is active in the steel workers’ union. Raised in poverty by a single mother of four who died of lung cancer in her 40s, Campbell enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves and later in the Army from 1973 to ’78 to escape his battles with drugs and alcohol. He went on to have sustained employment and an education through union programs. But recently, he’s been out on disability, living on $300 a week. He had to refinance his house to pay the $3,000 deductible for the first of two knee replacement surgeries.” • We are ruled by House Harkonnen.

“Working in the restaurant industry will haunt your dreams” [The Outline]. “The restaurant industry has one of the highest rates of mental health issues in the country. As restaurant owners begin to address that crisis, they need to include trauma-induced chronic nightmares along with depression and addiction. The haunting might end, long after the aprons are hung up.” • Servers have “waitmares” — nightmares about waiting on tables.

News of the Wired

“U.S. Plagued By Widespread Website Crashes After Mouse Gets Into Internet” [The Onion] • Happened to me yesterday!

Tricoteuse?

“Exercise Is the Answer for All That Ails You” [Medium]. “The idea that exercise is good for the human body is a truism. No one doubts it. According to a large 2015 perspective paper on the health benefits of exercise published in the journal Cell Metabolism: ‘The human species evolved to perform and endure habitual [physical activity] … it is not surprising that its absence can lead to devastating physiological and clinical consequences.’ But until recently, few people regarded physical activity as a form of medicine capable of managing or treating disease.”

* * *

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

TH writes: “I just liked the lighting on this one, but I won’t be sad if you don’t care for the jumble of spent flowers.” I think this is just what a flower garden should look like — from ground level. I like the jumble!

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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.

113 comments

  1. ptb

    “Joe Biden Most Likely Democrat to Beat Donald Trump, Party Members Tell Pollsters”

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask that question to independents? (who are as numerous as Dems, depending on the exact definition. States w/ closed primaries create a strong disincentive to register as an independent, but voters still consider themselves indep.)

    Reply
      1. Jen

        Wait, what? Bloomberg.com is suggesting the Biden is slipping in the polls because of Russian meddling? Isn’t Mike Bloomberg running for president?

        Perhaps among the editorial staff they think it more likely that Putin would put a dent in Joe’s polling numbers than their boss.

        Reply
    1. Burr

      The “Democratic Party” has *no* members. It is an *institution* legally established under a self-coopting management, as it has defined itself in unequivocal court filings. In no way is it what the world knows as a “political party.”

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        A Political Party is conceptually and legally an institution, Is it that the Democratic party is an institution and a corporation without accountability to it’s membership that is the crux – nor, I would add, in any meaningful way representative of the majority of its members.

        It’s interesting to re-frame the Democratic Party as other than a Political Party. Didn’t Marx say that a political party was nothing more than “a committee for the ruling class?”

        Reply
        1. Acacia

          Elsewhere, Lambert has mused about what, exactly, it is. I think “criminal organization” was near the top of the list.

          Reply
        1. Jen

          ““To have people try to purify the caucus because they don’t agree with them – 100 percent, I certainly don’t agree with that,” said Texas Representative Henry Cuellar, one of the Democrats Ocasio-Cortez is trying to replace with a more progressive candidate, in this case Jessica Cisneros, for whom she raised $35,000.

          “Hopefully, we will start to get away from this circular firing squad,” Cuellar said.”

          Dude, the firing squad is totally linear.

          Reply
          1. Samuel Conner

            “Hopefully, we will start to get away from this circular firing squad,” Cuellar said.”

            he’s dismayed that Progressives are starting to shoot back.

            Reply
        2. Big Tap

          Interesting that when Tulsi Gabbard was still running for reelection for her House seat Neera Tanden was asking people to support, most likely financially, Gabbard’s opponent. Thought that was against DCCC rules helping the opponent of an incumbent Democrat. With the DCCC it’s OK to go after an incumbent if their on the Left.

          https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj0jN6I8vrmAhUDxVkKHU4EDw0QFjAAegQIBxAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fneeratanden%2Fstatus%2F1186780891101716481%3Flang%3Den&usg=AOvVaw3XPoeQ2i2Q0Sk7DjYUpHeq

          Reply
    2. Grant

      Like with all of these problematic polls, who knows who they actually polled. My guess is that those polled watch a lot of CNN and grew up in a particular era. But, to think that someone with Biden’s record, his corruption and cognitive decline, and given the changes we need, for them to think he is the best bet to beat Trump is mind blowing. However, the Democrats are now only about a third of the country. There is good reason for that, and they don’t have a good record in picking people that are appealing to most outside their party, and they have an even worsr record of choosing people that supportgood policies.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I believe people’s perception of themselves matters a great deal. Most Americans are totally ignorant, but Democrats have lived with the Democrats are fact based and Republicans are dumb dumbs for so long so many Team Blue types have internalized the idea they are super informed voters who put a great deal of thought into their views.

        Biden as Vice President became simultaneously famous and was removed from criticism and scrutiny especially with the SS Clinton on the horizon. The ignorant from a class where they don’t perceive themselves as on edge perceived Biden as someone who wouldn’t cause any of the bad feelings of the 2016 primary because he was a name they knew with none of HRC’s baggage. When confronted with Biden’s record, they also have to recognize their own ignorance. This isn’t a single bad vote (the Iraq War was particularly heinous) but decades….decades of wretched behavior by a man who might not be as famous as a member of the Cardassian family but he’s been around. Finding out he’s terrible requires 2 or 3 minutes of actual research in the internet age. Having Biden’s awful nature exposed by young whipper snappers is humiliating and strikes at the identity of wise fact based Democrats.

        Reply
      2. Matthew

        These are the same people who talked themselves into Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis. You would probably be better off choosing a candidate at random than following Democratic instincts.

        Reply
    3. D. Fuller

      Biden is the best chance for Trump to win. Especially if Biden doesn’t have a plan to re-register voters kicked off the voting rolls through Republican voter suppression efforts. Hillary failed to do that. The result was that Trump won with 250,000 votes in 15 States for 304(?) Electoral College votes. She instead spent $700 million on five of her contractors (close associates) for them to run millions of computer simulations that told her that she had 340 EC voters. Interestingly enough, Greg Palast – who has been instrumental in gathering evidence of Republican voter suppression efforts used in recent court cases – Palast was warning as early as May 2016 that Hillary had a problem with Republican voter suppression.

      Biden should be well prepared since he was part of the Obama campaign where Obama did make the effort to re-register voters. However, that won’t counter lack of enthusiasm among voters for a Business Shill Centrist Democrat.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama’s plan to register voters was purely personality based in 2012 and he used the promise of being “free” in a second term to con people. As far as organizational capacity, Obama completely eliminated the recent work of the 50 state strategy, what little capacity was left after Team Clinton losers had previously wrecked the place, and I can’t not stress this enough basically eliminating ACORN which specialized in registering voters in places white bourgeois “meritocracy” types would never dare trod.

        Does anyone remember when Obama would “take it personally” if there was low black turnout in 2014? The guy was a pig.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i forgot about the destruction of Acorn…it was never a thing where i roamed, and i was distracted during that destruction, anyway.
          but after the fact, i definitely felt a disturbance in the Force.
          of course, in Texas, dems have been supine and all but invisible for decades…still, it boded ill.
          at first i thought it was all a combination of ego(obama) and neglect(dnc, et al), but now it sure feels like the transformation into the Moderate Wing of the GOP was completed in those years, and they simply came out as terrified of democracy.
          (and i think it’s crazy that the gop is often more democratic than the Democratic Party–witness Tea and Trump, for starters)
          in the early 90’s i cooked for a time(filling in for a friend) in the little cafe in the basement of the “Democratic Building” in Austin(bullock liked runny fried eggs). the sense of Paternalism and We Decide was sort of shocking to me…even though they were all mostly personable towards me, behind my grill(Anne Richards was a gem).
          it was a different flavor of elitism than the rabid righties i had grown up around…these elitists really cared, but didn’t trust the hoi polloi to make the right choices.
          it was pretty eye opening

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            There is still nothing more these people hate than seeing someone complete a NYT crossword puzzle.

            My general view is that much of what the “elites” do is so effing easy they don’t want anyone to catch on how little they actually do. Elon Musk in the last few months has invented subways and skyscrapers. If the little people catch on, the jig is up. This is the fundamental reason they hate Sanders. He in the end is asking people to think for themselves and take action. This is a threat to their myth and status.

            James Carville has made a career out of adding a bit of hokey jargon to “run to the left in the primary and the center in the election.” Ezra Klein went a few years with a monthly column claiming Paul Ryan was brilliant and then lamenting why Ryan seemed to be giving into the radical right. Deep down the “front row” kids know which ones were nothing more than apple polishers and being recognized is a threat to their status, and they know most of the kids in the class are as smart as they are. Look at ole Pete. He does a few tricks, but then turns around and says things like “I didn’t know we had a segregation problem in Indiana.” He might be lying, but even his lie makes him sound like a moron.

            Reply
      2. Titus

        Biden can’t win, not in Michigan, being ‘electable’ over trump doesn’t matter, doing something about not having any money and crappy healthcare does.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My guess was Trump would win 39 or 40 states against Biden in 2016. He had all the weaknesses of HRC with none of the charisma (I know) or nostaliga/token value.

          Reply
      1. John k

        And Obama.
        You really shouldn’t dismiss the smarts that brought these worthies to power. When donors pick somebody, they’re gambling… will the person stay bought once in office? The donors have consistently picked well. Smart.

        Reply
        1. John A

          will the person stay bought once in office?

          It’s more the case of keeping them bought with the promise of riches beyond the dreams of avarice after office. How much are the Obamas getting for their book deals? Wall Street speeches, netflix programs? All rewards for ‘doing the right thing’ while in office.
          Back in Truman’s day, the understanding was to give former presidents a decent enough pension so they would nt need to grift or hustle afterwards. Now, however much a presidential pension is, the Clintons, Obamas etc., see that as peanuts compared to what they can make just by dint of doing the right thing in office.

          Reply
  2. Off The Street

    Endorphins, God’s gift to humans to encourage and reward exercise.
    Oxytocin, for exercising with a partner.

    Nota Bene: no deductible on the above :)

    Reply
  3. Hepativore

    If the anti-Sanders concern trolls are really worried about his health, then why do we not see more articles questioning Joe Biden’s state of health? He is not much younger than Sanders and he has shown worrying signs in public of cognitive decline and senility. Yes, Sanders’ heart attack could be a cause for future concern, but Biden is clearly mentally impaired and unfit to be in office. Biden himself has also said that he also plans on only being a one-term president if he is elected as he wants to resign in four years.

    Hypothetically, you would have somebody who has had trouble remembering Obama’s name or what state he was visiting in charge of our country’s nuclear launch codes. Finally, Dick Cheney has not had a “pulse” for years, yet it did not stop him from being Vice President under W. Bush.

    Reply
    1. kimyo

      it’s not binary. one can have concerns about sanders and yet not be a biden supporter.

      also, it appears that fraudulent science was used to create the guidelines re: stents vs. surgery. i am concerned for everyone i know who has had them inserted, not just bernie.

      Surgeons withdraw support for heart disease advice

      The European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery (EACTS), which helped draw up the guidelines, told Newsnight if the information on the trial is proven to be correct, “the recommendation is unsafe”.

      “It is a matter of serious concern to us that some results in the Excel trial appear to have been concealed and that some patients may therefore have received the wrong clinical advice,” Prof Domenico Pagano, EACTS secretary general, said.

      Reply
    2. Geo

      Taking their glib bate: I’d gladly take 5 seconds of a Bernie presidency followed by whomever is his VP than any of the other candidates. Even as merely a symbolic victory his presidency would be wonderful.

      That said, I worry more about the risk of the CIA on his “health” than his mortal body.

      Reply
    3. False Solace

      Eisenhower had a heart attack in office and was promptly reelected. That was in an era with much worse medical science and lower life expectancy.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        My memory is a bit fuzzy here but wasn’t his heart attack used by such actors as the sugar industry to crack down on “unhealthy” fats in American diets instead of them?
        Just went looking and found that the brain circuits were still working. Here are two links-

        https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-10-opinion-revelation-big-sugar-heart.html

        https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/book-excerpt-lipophobia-and-the-bad-science-diet

        Per your comment, going by this medical science as actually gotten much worse since then, not better.

        Reply
  4. Jason Boxman

    If USA Today wants to go down that path, isn’t it fair to look at the mortality rate for people over 70? Why isn’t everyone over the ripe age of 45 disqualified?

    Reply
    1. Sol

      The theory is that if the field comes down to equally qualified candidates, and yet one is elderly with medical issues, then age and infirmity become an issue.

      It’s interesting to watch the beard-stroking when most of the contenders are well past retirement age, though. Not because the objection means anything, but because the objection tells you they’re looking for reasons to object.

      Reply
  5. Bill Carson

    “…the fact is that 1 in 5 people who have a heart attack will be readmitted for another one within five years of their first.”

    So what you’re saying is that there is a 4 in 5 chance that Bernie WON’T have another heart attack within five years?? Woo! Go Bernie!

    Reply
      1. Tvc15

        Maybe JFK Jr. would still be around had he heeded the small plane advice. I think Sanders regularly flies commercial, usually Delta. So, if you happen to be on an aircraft with Sanders you may want to consider another flight. I’m sure the ruling class have all kinds of new tricks to make it appear Sanders died of a natural event if they can’t keep him from winning through the normal procedures like election machine rigging, polling manipulation and media smear campaigns. Is it possible Chavez’s death from cancer was was not an organic event? The CIA wouldn’t do that would they?

        Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. You have odds or probabilities, while everyone is unique.

      2. The relevant comparison, I believe, is to contrast that with 1 in X number of people without a heart attack who will be admitted for a first one in the next 4 plus years (5 years minus the number of months since Sanders’ a few months ago).

      For example, if X is 10, then we have 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10, and the likelihood is doubled here.

      3. Go back to number 1. Everyone is special.

      Reply
      1. Bill Carson

        I agree that this is how the statistics are usually played, which is why I don’t take statins. “It cuts your risk of heart attack in half!” Yeah, from about a 2% chance to a 1% chance (or whatever); BUT now you have an absolute 40% (or higher) chance that you will experience side effects, like muscle weakness, memory loss, etc. etc. Knowing how those statistics work, why would anyone want to take the HIGH chance of side effects for just a 1% reduction in the chance of a heart attack?

        Reply
    2. RubyDog

      The relevant question is which 20% of people will have another heart attack. It’s not random. Easily 20% or more of people will not improve their diets, will not start exercising, will not quit smoking, will not be compliant with medication, etc. The 20% will be heavily represented by this group.

      Reply
    1. carl

      Yes, experience with the system tends to make one a believer. Those who haven’t have to rely on second hand reports or those from people they know.

      Reply
    1. Timmy

      my version was dishwashing dreams of infinite chains of bus tubs filled with enchilada boats crusted with salamander-burnt Monterrey jack

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        I’ve been out of high school for about a decade and still have nightmares about it. Glad I’ve never been a waiter, having one experience that gives me nightmares years later is enough.

        Reply
  6. ambrit

    Former tux suited waiter here. Except for a few ‘high dollar’ venues, most wait jobs are woefully underpaid.
    Waiters, and waitresses, are considered to be “tipped employees.’ So, they are legally paid sub-minimum wages.
    Also consider the demands of the job. One needs to have a pretty good memory, or a habitual list keeping personality. Multi-customer tables can be a b—h! Add in drinks, and a stoned busboy, and you have the ingredients of a headache producing shift. (I could never function whilst “under the influence.” Make that the influence of anything, legal or otherwise.) Then deal with the harried denizens of the kitchen. (Amfortas the hippy can bear me out on this. He was one.) Then, deal with the importunities of less than honest overlings. (We used to have to split off ten percent to the Captain [Head waiter, the person who seats the parties.] to insure an even distribution of decent tables.) Then the hours. Catfights over shifts and hours were a constant.
    I could go on, as with the dangers, in the French Quarter, of ‘very friendly’ customers, but you get the idea.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      for many years after i “retired”, I’d still hear the damned bell i’d hit when an order was ready.
      and yes, i still dream about being in the weeds, making 20 tickets at once, and calling out for waitstaff who were not johnny on the spot(cold food is usually blamed on the cook…and professional waitstaff were a rare joy to work with.)
      i was always the ninja general in the kitchen…rarely took more than 2 shifts to be deferred to by almost everybody except the half-a$$ed waitstaff…and often to the bosses’ eventual chagrin, as i was more respected than them,lol
      sad that there was never any money in it.

      Reply
      1. Roland

        Funny, years of dishwashing and short-order cooking at a busy highwayside restaurant only left me a few physical scars from cuts and burns. Mentally, I enjoyed the license to act crazy that the crazy job gave me. Mind you, our kitchen was enclosed, so we could freely yell, swear, and hit things. The walk-in freezer was a favoured retreat for primal screams and acting out. One time I bloodied all my knuckles from punching a stack of frozen french fry boxes–I can’t recall why.

        Mostly I remember the colourful personalities I got to work with, and of course the poverty and lack of respect that comes with being a proletarian in the service sector.

        The jobs that gave me bad dreams and a feeling of depression were treeplanting and telemarketing. Piece work and sales work are the shits, and worse, neither of those of those jobs had the camaraderie of a good restaurant staff.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Re: cool to be crazy.
          even almost 13 years after i had to stop cooking, my personae reflects my 25 years in kitchens.
          from management/instruction-giving style to arid sense of humor to hurrying though a meal(still in Hobbit-Mode, there, as well…6 or so small “meals” per day.).

          the only open kitchens i worked in were on Sixth Street in Austin…so fraternity crowds coming drunk and late. they paid us gnomes no mind, but we watched them like primatologists.
          as is the norm in that world, i prolly had a hundred jobs in my time…from west texas to the florida panhandle…mostly mom and pops, where i could charm, then manage, the bosses(i hated corporate kitchens)…introducing efficiencies and sometimes radical ideas for specials.
          it’s different from other “industries”…both in the work, itself(get ready–waitwaitwaitwait-lunch rush!–waitwaitwaitwait), as well as in the sociocultural idiosyncrasies.
          everywhere i worked, someone always had a glass of beer tucked up on the spice shelf…sometimes even the boss. frozen wet rags around our necks, waiting for the terrorist bus to disgorge(“tourists”), 6-way flirtation circuses with the waitstaff(martha walks by with a broom.”you goin home?”)….and the rush of the Rush.
          most i ever made was $15 an hour….no bennies, no pension…and i can count on my hand the number of xmas bonuses i’ve had.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Oh yes, the Rush.
            The “High Dollar” tourist trap I mainly worked in had a calendar up in the passe’s office with all the local conventions circled in red. You finagled yourself a few night shifts on Fridays and Saturdays when the “Association of Associated Associates” was in town. After a while, you also learned where the “Professional Pickup Drinking Establishments” were, and their hours.
            “Hey Buddy. Where can a guy dig up some action around here,” was a not uncommon question to hear from the convention crowd. I found it best to dive right in with the counter question; “You like girls or boys?” “Boys! You think I’m some sort of..” “This is the French Quarter Mister.” “Oh. It’s like that, is it?” “Yep. You can also just take a look see and tell the folks at home about it. Some places are safe for straights.” “Man. Boy girl couples too?” “Sure. But check the goods first, if you catch my drift.” Get them laughing and you are home free.
            Agreed in spades about the difference between ‘Mom and Pop’ places and ‘Corporate Eating Venues.’

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i was strictly back of the house, until i had my own place…then I was “The Chef”(hat and all,lol), so didn’t hafta kowtow all that much.
              the difference with corporate kitchens: division of labor,a gal making salads, a guy making one kind of desert, an expediter, etc etc=boring. widgets in a machine….and the impersonality and buck passing(when they weren’t being imperious) of the management…then the suits would show up from their floating cities of light and stand around with their thin ties and make everybody nervous,lol.
              mom and pops were much more fun…and you knew who to yell at when the paycheck was short.
              also the quality. the corpse places were all just fancy tv dinners…(except for dan mcklusky’s)…frozen, already prepared in a factory kitchen somewhere, soulless and fake.
              watch an olive garden commercial,lol.
              delusional
              may as well get a stouffer’s lasagne and nuke it at home while smiling graciously at yourself in a mirror.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Put a Marie Callander pot pie in the oven, (our house is a ‘no nukes’ zone,) and try to weasel a tip out of the ‘customer.’
                Phyl worked kitchen staff in a few Natural Food restaurants around the New Orleans region back in the seventies. In one memorable case, she parted ways with an establishment when the new manager instituted a ‘Stone Soup’ policy. Everything not used from vegetables in the preparation of side dishes, (and some vegetarian entrees,) and I mean everything, was tossed in a stock pot for use later on as a base for soups. [Even the rotten bits.] It was not as if the prices at these places were low. Far from it. The ‘cachet’ was with such places then.

                Reply
  7. kimyo

    Apple admits to scanning user photos, presumably only to hunt child abuse

    “Of course everyone is for stopping child abuse, and that’s not the issue here. It’s that I’m simply not buying it,” journalist and political commentator Chadwick Moore told RT. “I don’t believe that Apple really cares about fighting crime.”

    Moore said the company has been excessively vague about the scans, noting “all it says is that they can scan all your images, flip through all your data, and look for potentially illegal activity, including child pornography.”

    it is astonishing to me that many here are still using apple products and services. apple seems to think that your data is their data.

    Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I suppose it’s just a coincidence that what has consumed so much inventive energy and capital over the last 30 years has resulted in something closer to a panopticon than Orwell ever imagined. Just that wonderful old Invisible Hand at work, I suppose. And we voluntarily carry them on our person nearly 24/7!

      Hey, what else might have borne fruit from similar attention? Climate change perhaps? Oh well. I’m sure our billionaires sleep better at night thanks to our increasingly surveilled lives.

      Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Pre-Internet relatives will remain a strong market. My brother started on a PC Junior, but he appreciates how the questions just stopped once Mom got an Apple after a series of PCs.

      My mother is from a generation where you learned to use a typewriter, camera, TV, or stamped envelope once, and you were set. Yet she can take a video and email it with Apple, send links, the whole shebang. Maybe they’ll screw that up too. Phone/Email/Messaging/Browser/Camera is all most people want, and I fail to understand, since the desktop-only days, why there aren’t more products that just do that with a good user interface. Yeah, the bubble-level app was cute, but I played with it 3 times and deleted it.

      Reply
  8. zagonostra

    >CheckPeople.com

    Just typed in my name, scary sh*it on how much data they have. What really pisses me off is they have names of my siblings and family.

    Gives you a bit of a shock and brings the fear of an impending life under the “Surveillance State” down from the abstract to the concrete.

    Reply
    1. jo6pac

      I did mine also and 80% is wrong but yes had my brother, deceased parents but according them they’re still alive and former wife but under her new last name. The phone and address were correct. But yes it’s scary.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        As I keep saying about AI (facial recognition and whatnot), it’s what it will get wrong is the really scary part.

        The racism was pretty impressive.

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      They are not alone. I have seen other companies like this online. They take public information and then charge you to access their version of it. It gets better. Imagine what the big boys in Silicon Valley have on you.

      Reply
    3. shtove

      I’m in the EU, so tried it for a laugh – and laugh I did when this popped up:

      We need the information below
      to save your results

      Don’t worry, your search history will always remain
      PRIVATE and nobody will EVER know about it!

      Reply
      1. BillS

        I am in the EU too. Tried it using a false name and a temporary email address. At the end, it wanted my credit card information to “activate the account”. No family blog way! I never got to see the report.

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        And see how many supposedly “Independent” sites have Spokeo as the data source. Whenever i see Spokeo pop up, I know something crooked is on the way. It is fun to see these data scrapers always trying to rope you into a monthly subscription. The online vitamin stores are trying something similar now. They are offering a percentage off for automatic monthly renewals of purchases. It looks very much like the old ‘Book Club,’ or ‘Record Club’ scam.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I dunno. Back in the early ’90s I was a member of the Atlantic Records cassette tape “club” and got some pretty good jazz from them at a decent price. I was kind of leery at first, expected a scam, but it turned out to be the real deal. Wonder if I missed any other good deals because I was skeptical.

          Reply
  9. John k

    One in five with heart attack have another in five years…
    One in five have no or crappy health care, so won’t get needed drugs or exams.
    Plus, costs from the first attack may have bankrupted some, eliminating or reducing access to healthcare.
    Bernie as senator gets great health care, even better as potus.

    Reply
  10. Expat2uruguay

    Lambert, not to quibble but you teased that there was “more: ” on the impeachment, but the space is blank. Is there something more you wanted to share with us?

    Reply
    1. Jen

      Well, there’s this from BBC News:

      Senator Dianne Feinstein called on Mrs Pelosi, her fellow California Democrat and ex-neighbour, to “send it over.”…

      Senate Democrats said prolonging the stand-off would be pointless.

      “The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes,” Senator Feinstein said on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported.

      “So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over.”

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51042196

      Reply
      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Will the Sending of the Impeachment become the replacement for Brexit is Coming? So five years max.

        What a great week to try to impeach Trump, this city on a hill responds to a smackdown like a bronze age warrior king. And the smackdown has been narrated.

        Is anyone writing on how this Intermediate Range Diplomacy is being conducted? This is the umpteenth time since Syria began that I’ve been noticing that the confrontation is diffused by the missile salvo.

        Reply
  11. Adam1

    “According to the American Heart Association, there are about 335,000 recurrent heart attacks in the United States each year…. Under these circumstances, why would Democrats give Republicans the gift of a nominee whose health could derail the campaign at any moment?”

    I’m more worried about Sanders riding in small single engine airplanes or his brakes failing on his car than him having another heart attack before November.

    Reply
    1. marku52

      Why the heck would the DeFeatoCRats be so stupid as to nominate a candidate under a declared FBI investigation?

      When it was already known that she had broken the law, and the only question was the punishment?

      Reply
    2. HotFlash

      “Democrats need to face facts about Bernie Sanders, his heart attack and his health” [Kurt Bardella, USA Today]

      So what? FDR had serious health concerns before he even entered politics. Democrats were glad to vote for him again and again while Republicans gnashed their teeth and imposed a term limit for the presidency.

      Eisenhower had a well=publicized heart attack, a stroke and other health problems in his first term, campaigned for a second and won handily.

      JFK’s health problems are better-known now than then, but he campaigned through them and governed through them and as we all know, it took a bullet to stop him.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Wrong about FDR. He was the Democratic Party Vice Presidential nominee in 1920, and didn’t contract polio until the following year. He was an Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I. I’d have to look up more to get details, but he was actively involved in New York politics for years before he was partially paralyzed. The main idea is right, though. A lesser man would probably not have been able to overcome the disability.

        Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Obama era, besides being a do nothing era, was also an era where no one distinguished themselves or was in an environment to move against Obama’s “lets do nothing and call it victory” administration.

        When you get down to it, there is no bench. I mean 8,000 people voted for Pete Buttigieg, obviously the Republican bench, in his only successful election, and he’s considered a contender by the msm types. People dismiss Truman, but prior to being FDR’s running mate, his committee had uncovered somewhere around $200 billion in fraud. Our Congress can’t find trillions, and Truman’s committee was operating when we were trying to win a way.

        Harris as Senator from California has had opportunities to make a mark, but she’s a cop. Booker is Spartacus and bravely released publicly available information. O’Rourke was running for GQ Man of the Year and then wanted to be edgy by cussing more than the usual adult but less than post-movie South Park episodes. Warren has the CPFB and had a cakewalk of an election after the Coakley debacle in a safe blue seat and…and…then…

        In fairness to Representatives, its hard to break through. Workers who don’t flirt with the media won’t break through. With the senior brigade in the race, it boils down to who is most trustworthy to start the project and pick the next President.

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          Howard Dean as DNC chair was working on building a bench with a 50 state strategy, helped win democratic majorities for Obama. Obama kicked him to the curb following his 2008 victory after which the sterling leadership of Tim Kaine and Debbie Wasserman Schultz caused the dems to lose hundreds of congressional seats and to arguably became the buttboys of the GOP.

          I suspect as far as a neo-liberal like Obama was concerned, mission accomplished.

          Reply
    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Nothing on you, but I would prefer links the next time this argument is put forth as something other than sarcasm. And even then maybe ask first if it helps. ‘They’ wouldn’t just go through denial and obstruction like the establishment has with Trump? Far more likely would be that the people who think that wealth extraction is a value would perform a capital withdrawal and propaganda campaign while they wait for these silly ideas to be proven wrong. Because that’s what they did the last time. And the up-out-of-sight are more international now.

      Human life is fragile and unpredictable. W choked on a pretzel. JFK wasn’t going to declare the Federation of Planets. Gerald Ford. Free floating pessimism isn’t deep without documentation for its relevance.

      You want pessimistic? What happens to the winning coalition when President Sanders can’t just wave his wand to make the MIC go away? I expect dissonance. Good.

      Reply
  12. a different chris

    >Most Americans aren’t fussed by domestically produced poultry parts bathed in a water-and-chemical bath to kill bacteria

    Is that from a decent, supportable poll? Because I suspect the reason “most” American’s aren’t “fussed” is that “most” know jack all about where their food comes from.

    In an unrelated comment, much as I hate him and as much more as I’m getting an uneasy feeling he will be the nominee, I *will* in his defense contest this:

    “I don’t see how any other candidate, including Bloomberg, could deal with Trump’s mockery”

    Seriously? Bloomberg has 50 bucks for every buck Trump supposedly has. He can offer to buy Trump better fitting clothes in the middle of the debate. And he’s also a street-brawler, not an effeminate Richie Rich. Finally, he’s a New Yorker…. I think the mockery will go solely the other way if that’s how this plays out.

    Reply
  13. jsn

    “Bloomberg also touts his effort to “rebuild Lower Manhattan” after 9/11. Local New York readers, comments?”

    Bloomberg was a more than competent administrator for the city, which has a problematic legacy I’ll get to below. But as the guy who made a fortune selling shovels (terminals) to gold speculators (Wall Street), and it must be added a massive beneficiary through that channel of the $29T bailout, his perspective on “public goods” is exactly what you would expect from one of his class: while “public private partnerships” were well administered under his team to minimize graft, it bequeathed machine pols like DeBlasio a system built for real estate patronage, of which DeBlasio has taken fullest advantage. Being a boy scout conceals from you the inherent opportunities for graft you build into a system that relies on you being, yourself not interested in the pecuniary opportunities of public service.

    I moved my office from Brooklyn to the financial district after 9/11, taking advantage of a grant program that greatly reduced our rent. That and the initial spate of “spot zoning” did help revitalize lower Manhattan to the extent that it’s now been digested by the Global PMC Monoculture that had already made the rest of Manhattan a “career” theme park for the children of the global ruling class who don’t really need careers.

    When you boil it down, Mayor Mike is taking credit for the gold rush that happened on his watch.

    Reply
  14. chuck roast

    Seaweed:
    It’s my understanding that coastal property owners in Maine own all the property between their lot lines and the low tide line. Apparently, that’s the only way they could get people to build wharves. If the property extension was to the high-tide line then there was no point, because a property owner would then be unable to establish wharf ownership.
    I have heard tell of Maineiacs walking down to the shore with shotguns to shoo off the industrial harvesters.

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      That makes me sad. In the 70s in Bass Harbor it was Mean High Tide. Or at least that’s what everyone abided by. Low tide in front of our house was over 100 feet of ‘land’. Do boats have to stay outside of someones low tide zone during other hours?

      Reply
  15. PKMKII

    The big problem with Bloomberg’s claim about the lower Manhattan rebuild is that most of the big, public facets of that rebuild were outside of his realm. The Fulton Center rebuild was done by the MTA, which is a NY state authority. The PATH station/occulus was a Port Authority project, which is joint NY/NJ state authority. One World Trade Center was between developer Silverstein, the Port Authority again, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, a NY state public benefit corporation. And of course, a large chunk of the funding for all sorts of lower Manhattan rebuild projects came from the feds, who have their own rules for projects using their funding that would have further removed Bloomberg’s agency over rebuild projects.

    Reply
  16. Sol

    J.C. Penney Co., Kohl’s Corp. and Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands Inc. all reported lower sales in the critical months of November and December… as Americans shifted their purchases online and to other retailers”

    Selling overpriced, cheaply made products the likes of which can be found anywhere surely takes some portion of blame. Raw fabric edges, exposed seams, unclipped threads; JCPenney goods have become bad home ec projects.

    Nothing against anyone able to find a good deal at those stores lately. I look too, I’m just perhaps not lucky enough to find anything decent.

    Makes me wonder if this isn’t opening up a market for seamstresses again. Anyone who can make a $20 shirt that both looks respectable in public and can be trusted to survive the laundry could make a living if this keeps up.

    Reply
      1. Sol

        I… don’t know how to respond that doesn’t imply an insult. I shall have to rely on your good nature, which is a gamble when people no longer seem to have that, let me tell you.

        A ladies’ shirt – long sleeves, extra fabric allotted for fashionable bits, small to medium size, no extra for striping or diagonal matching or any other fancy things wot need extra fabric – will take 3/4 to 1 1/2 yards. Good fabric will run $5-15 per yard, and at that upper end I’m talking georgette and velvet shirts like a pirate. Muslin can be had for a dollar by the bolt, sometimes less, but then it’s muslin.

        I can make an old blanket into a rug and houseshoes in less than an hour. I can turn out a shirt nearly as quickly – including buttonholes. Four hours? There had better be flocking involved. I can make an entire corset in four hours.

        I don’t mean to insult you. I have a family member who sewed for a living, so my circumstances were favorable to picking up a needle.

        It’s a skill. With sufficiently developed skill, it’s feasible. That’s riding the line at this moment, since the investment into skill development is costlier for most than the cheaply-made store shirt, and that’s my point. If the crapification continues, the incentives will make the ROI of investing time into getting skilled more favorable.

        Like Aesop’s fable. The shaft of the arrow was fletched with the eagle’s own feather. We often give our enemies the means of our destruction. Now that few sew, stores accustomed to selling to a captive audience may lead people to becoming skilled at sewing if they stop making decent clothes.

        Reply
        1. steve

          Obviously your standards are not mine. A small workshop devoted to men’s dress shirts, with the process split among specialist, and commercial equipment (not automated) purposed for the work will take 1.5/2.0 hrs to cut and assemble a men’s long sleeve dress shirt. Measuring and fitting eats an additional 0.5 hrs. (A modern automated sewing factory doing quality work with standard off-the-shelf sizes will spend a minimum of 3/4 hrs.)

          A professional seamstress doing the occasional shirt will spend twice that time, easily.

          A classic fit solid men’s Large dress shirt requires aprox 3 yds of fabric, plus interfacing, stays and buttons.

          Good quality cotton chambray starts at $6/yd. retail ($4/yd wholesale by the bolt).

          Collar and cuffs account for half of that time, if done properly.

          Your original post “Raw fabric edges, exposed seams, unclipped threads…” intimated an expectation of quality work and finish. That takes time, skill and experience. You are not doing seamstress’ any favors trivializing the time required to do quality work nor are you helping the many small workshops that fight against these misconceptions on a daily basis with clients, despite having 0 experience, think everything is as easy and simple in the real world as it is in their heads.

          Reply
          1. Sol

            My bad, I thought you were addressing me in good faith.

            My grandmother is a seamstress. I grew up hanging out in her shop. I am not so skilled as her, and can turn out quality shirts faster than you claim possible. She is faster still. You are incorrect, and yet there is no means of explaining this to you if you have already decided you know better.

            Congratulations. I’m sure you feel pleased at successfully putting me in my place. Enjoy the dopamine as I realize my place is not in this commentariat. NC is yours. Resist the elites, corps, and Republicans without me. May the odds be ever in your favor.

            Reply
  17. Marky Mapo

    USA Today needs to face the facts. Bernie Sanders in is excellent health and takes care of himself. He could certainly shoot hoops around Joe Biden. My experience taking care of post open heart patients for decades has proved to me that even people in their 80’s lead long and productive lives after a heart attack when they take care of themselves. The stats presented by the AHA do not take this into consideration. Studs Terkel had open heart surgery when he was in his fifties and was active and productive into his nineties. Besides, Sanders only had a stent placement, a minor and very common procedure. USA Today might look into the health of our current POTUS for a real story. He looks like a heart attack waiting to happen.

    Reply
  18. Jeff N

    anecdote – some Canadians were visiting us this here in Chicago, and they drank very little water from the tap. always bottled water, coffee from donut shop instead of office coffee, bottled beer at night…

    Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      Jeff N
      Did you ask any of them why? What part of Canada did they come from? Since there are only 36 million of us,I might know one of them, since I know personally at least 35 million Canadians. Canada is a big country; I’m sure that some Canadians, one of whom I know, collect plastic bottles to supplement their welfare to pay for the prohibitively expensive Canadian healthcare. So, if you are willing to pinpoint their locations, I can send my acquaintance to pick up after them and make a few loonies. He can hitch rides every day from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland/Labrador to save you from your worry about all those bottles. You do worry, don’t you?

      Reply
  19. Pavel

    I just saw someone theorize on Twitter that Pelosi is timing the sending of the impeachment articles so as to force Bernie off the Iowa campaign trail just before the vote there.

    I wouldn’t put it past her.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      Yeah, heh. Iowa can listen to Nina Turner and AOC preach it while Bernie’s stuck in DC. The Berners will know what’s up and who did it. And you can bet that AOC and Nina will say all those things about Joe that Bernie won’t. Bring it!

      Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      I doubt that was Pelosi’s intent, but it if was, it’s a late and short attempt. In a caucus, organizing is more important than “campaigning”. The time to be doing either in Iowa was 2019.

      Reply
    3. lambert strether

      I keep imagining that Sanders will hijack the entire impeachment mishegoss with a brilliant floor speech on The Crimes of Trump, causing an enormous collective liberal Democrat intracranial splatterfest

      Reply
    1. Massinissa

      I didn’t even realize for-profit shelters were a thing.

      Are there lobbyists for those shelters who make sure the homeless problem stays unsolved the way prisons have lobbyists who lobby for harsher sentencing?

      Reply
      1. smoker

        HUD Housing is generally set up as For Profit Sheltering, many (understatement, likely most, or all) of the investors making millions as slumlords and abusers of humanity and human ‘agency.’ This is not to say that there should not be Nationally Funded DECENT Housing – a decent roof over the head should have always been declared a human right – just noting how it seems to have been historically set up.

        Reply
    2. proximity1

      All shelters–like all charity operations–are for “profit” from the moment we understand that they are schemes by which some people, whether private ‘for-profit’ or private ‘not-for-profit’ or Co-Op-run, or what-have-you, depend on, for their operations’ existence, their excuse, their Raison-d’être, the presence of needy and vulnerable people (read: poor people). Without these needy people, the people who are paid employees of the charity would have to find other work or they, too, should find themselves out of a job and at risk of ending up on the street. Charities are big business and without the vulnerable people they “serve”, they couldn’t exist.

      To the homeless and hungry person, it makes no difference whether the person who tells him, “No, you may not have a sandwich; now go away!” says it from a for-profit or a not-for-profit stand-point.

      Charities are establishments which can and do operate with the maximum leeway for arbitrariness. They may give, or not, what they please, to whom they please and in the manner in which they please. They have no statutory obligations to any of their victims (those who you’re probably inclined to describe as their “beneficiaries”, but, then, you may have no personal experience of the joys of living on the street and being told wait outside in the cold for some unsold fast-food-stuff to be handed out to you without allowing you any occasion to choose what you might prefer. It’s free, after all. It’s charity, after all. And that’s the point. If you don’t like it, no one is making you accept it, now, is he?

      The basic alternative to charity, which may readily be denied you for any reason or even no reason at all, is some sort of statutorily established public (government) relief for which, under law, you’re probably legally entitled to get (provided of course that your profile meets the program’s requirements. But, when it does, you may not (legally) be arbitrarily excluded or denied just because the person with whom you’re dealing doesn’t like you or has a standing-grudge against you.

      There’s a large and very profitable chain of fast-food “restaurants” in this town which, through a highly-rationalized plan and program, collects its end-of-the-day* unsold food, that is, sandwiches, salads, fresh-fruit cups, desserts (all that isn’t prepared and kept hot for sale and consumption to the paying customer) from each of its many branches and donates them to some central or area-wide charitable collection-point. From there, these are stocked over night and go, (the next morning) to various charity sites (soup-kitchens, morning-only breakfast and tea centers for the homeless, church assembly halls, etc.)

      Now, according to the formal rules, these shops are forbidden by the terms of their agreement to give any of this unsold food directly to an individual homeless person who comes to their shop in the final minutes of the business day. Unless the shop’s line-service staff, or, almost unknown, the shop’s own manager, decides to bend or break the rules, the hungry person is sent away with nothing except, “sorry, we donate all our (cold) unsold food to the poor.” But, by “to the ‘poor’ ” they’re really talking about to the rich charities which have captured and control this resource for their own uses. If a line-server does allow a hungry person to have some food, (which of course could include unsold soups, still hot and relatively good–and, destined to go straight into the rubbish bags and placed in lock-room trash-depositories (yes, these “charitable” donor- restaurants do that) unless its given to an individual in need that very night–if the server does allow a hungry person some food, he or she is risking a reprimand or worse, being transferred or dismissed from his or her employment. (fired, sacked.)

      So, here’s the picture for you:

      It’s evening and you, hungry and homeless, are at a shop where there is ample (at least for a few demanding individuals’ needs) unsold food then and there, in need and ready and able to take and eat this food (food which, if hot, is going to be thrown out anyway); rather than being given something, or, even better, allowed to choose what you like from the unsold articels, you’re are told to go away and wait until the next morning, where, if you can get there, a charity center shall put some of this food out for those in a line of needy people to scramble for it.

      Maybe those in line shall get a sandwich, some fruit, if they’re lucky, but the organizers shall decide how much to put out, how much to to distribute one-article-per-person at a time, or otherwise. Etc. These, of course, become useful and effective tools to hold over the vulnerable people in need and if you think these charity-workers simply could never give vent to a sadistic impulse to use that leverage, my friend, you are very naive and it is very nearly a dead certainty you don’t know what it is to live on the street.

      In all other respects, of course, private enterprise is nothing if not efficient in all things and in all ways. Efficiency is the name of the game. Right?

      For the poor, however, it’s “Sure, we have food we. And we’re donating it to charity. But that’s for tomorrow and you should leave now and go elsewhere to find it tomorrow morning.”

      ____________

      * typcially, though it can vary, this is between say, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. with very few places closing later than that.

      Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    But until recently, few people regarded physical activity as a form of medicine capable of managing or treating disease.”

    On this Tahoe/Mammoth ski trip, our ages are 58, 60, 65, 66 & 69. There’s about 240 years of experience between us on piste de la resistance.

    We skied 5 to 6 hours a day this week, and nobody takes any pharmaceutical drugs, although vitamin Ibuprofen comes in handy @ the end of the day.

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      few people regarded physical activity as a form of medicine capable of managing or treating disease

      Experts continue to wonder why people go pfft! at their deep insights.

      Jaded cyclist in a pre-50s grid, but people in general, not necessarily just the precariously affluent, seem to feel guilty if they don’t let their cars eliminate as much physical effort as possible. Then they do diets and gym subscriptions.

      So yeah, plan more exertion into your every day schedule, so you can indulge your indolence if you so need (reading in my case).

      This link entry made me think of a Nova from the 80s, Nomads of the Rainforest, after following this hunter through the show, as he climbs up a tree to retrieve the monkey he has killed, they mention that he’s in his late 50s. At the 48 minute mark. That example has stayed with me.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn8gk67s6YM

      Reply
  21. smoker

    Re: Police call for ban on anonymous pay-as-you-go phones

    That’s sickeningly priceless.

    Unbeknownst to me until the last year, apparently the Police at some point in the last however many years (at least in the California Bay Area which surrounds and encompasses Silicon Valley) have been calling from even worse than anonymous phone numbers, which note this phone is not in service when one tries to immediately phone them back. I’ve witnessed this in regards to a crime against a loved one. (Not to even mention the fact that many elderly people rely on pay as you go phones as an affordable, easily payable method of long distance contact when necessary.)

    Due to the stunning amount of corruption overwhelming everything worth living for, not having telephones people can call from anonymously is a threat against humanity. there was a reason Public Phone Booths were obliterated, and it wasn’t for the benefit of mankind. An anonymous phone call was the only way someone could say they were at immediate threat from a high powered person or entity.

    And I thought Yates famous poem could never have been more prescient than during the Cheney/George Walker Bush Reign.

    Reply
    1. smoker

      Oh sigh, my brain cells are sometimes back firing under the constant stress of attempting to vet out which route to take, and sort out truth from deception, negligence, or dangerous naivety.

      Yeats, not Yates.

      Reply

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