2:00PM Water Cooler 1/13/2020

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 national poll today from IDB/TIPP, albeit with a very small sample, as of 1/13/2020, 11:00 AM 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. NOTE: If we take out the averaging, Warren is in second, and Sanders is in third. The last week has been volatile. 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:

Cory Booker (see below) has dropped out, so I take this opportunity to see what all the bottom feeders are doing:

The numbers:

And here are the campaigns as small multiples:

You can see how Booker basically flatlined from Day One, unlike Yang, Klobuchar, and Steyer (also plugging along buying his way in). Gabbard pretty flat too, but her message and campaign are very different from Booker’s.

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.”

* * *

Readers, I will have a bonus post in a short while about Politico’s story on the putative Sanders’ campaign script “trashing” the Warren campaign (on which Warren is already fundraising (!).

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Biden (D)(1): If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog:

Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden’s Vote for War” [New York Times]. “On Oct. 11, he was one of 77 senators to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. Twenty-three colleagues, some of whom harbored grave doubts about the danger Iraq posed at the time, refused to back the president’s request…. [T]he Iraq war vote is part of the extensive record he cites, and he has struggled to accurately account for it on the campaign trail, repeatedly suggesting he opposed the war and Mr. Bush’s conduct from the beginning, claims that detailed fact checks have deemed wrong or misleading.” • Those of us who were alive and paying attention in 2003 would be extremely surprised to learn that Biden opposed the war.

Booker (D)(1): “Senator Cory Booker Ends Presidential Campaign” [HuffPo]. “Booker often found himself in a political never-never land of sorts, stuck in the middle of ideological war between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the left and Biden and host of other candidates in the center. He tried to focus his campaign on love and unity, a message that was sometimes out of sync with the fighting approach many Democrats hope a nominee would bring to a general election battle with Trump.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders leads the Iowa Poll for the first time, just weeks before the Iowa caucuses” [Des Moines Register]. “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the Democratic field three weeks ahead of Caucus Day in Iowa — narrowly overtaking his closest competitors, who remain locked in a tight contest just behind him…. After a surge of enthusiasm that pushed Pete Buttigieg to the top of the field in November, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor has faded, falling 9 percentage points to land behind both Sanders and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Warren is at 17%; Buttigieg, 16%; and former Vice President Joe Biden, 15%. ‘There’s no denying that this is a good poll for Bernie Sanders. He leads, but it’s not an uncontested lead,’ said pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. ‘He’s got a firmer grip on his supporters than the rest of his compatriots.'” • A prestigious poll. More below.

Sanders (D)(2) “Iowa caucuses: Very close and never more important” [Bleeding Heartland]. “Before looking at the numbers, a reminder: a 5-point gap between first and fourth isn’t statistically significant. The Selzer poll is widely regarded for a good reason, but the first thing to know about Iowa is we really don’t know who is ahead…. There are really two fights going on at once. The first is an ideological fight between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for the left and Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar for the right. The second fight is among those who think Democrats need new leadership (and have therefore ruled out Biden and Sanders). This dispute is not really ideological and is primarily between Warren, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar. People may be surprised to hear this, but I hear from staff working for Warren and Buttigieg that a fair number of voters are trying to decide among those three candidates. Other less likely but possible contenders for this group are Andrew Yang and Cory Booker. The polling suggests that this second fight is the most unsettled and the most volatile. History tells us this later fight will not break evenly. One of Warren, Buttigieg, or Klobuchar will likely win that vote decisively, and if that happens, that person will probably win Iowa.” • This writer certainly knows the Iowa electorate better than I do. But classifying “Sanders” as “old leadership” seems odd. And the concept does come from Warren and Buttigieg staffers….

Sanders (D)(3): Sanders makes Trump look like the straight man feeding him a line:

[rimshot, laughter]

Sanders (D)(4): “While Bernie Sanders has always stood up for African Americans, Joe Biden has repeatedly let us down” [Nina Turner, The State]. In South Carolina: “Biden has repeatedly worked with Republicans to try to slash Social Security even though “almost three-fourths of African American beneficiaries rely on Social Security for at least half their income,” according to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Sanders, on the other hand, has fought to block those cuts and has proposed expanding Social Security.” • An appeal to older black voters — as is the whole piece, really, since an older voter is more likely to be familiar with Biden’s entire record.

Sanders (D)(5): “Democrats voice concerns over Sanders” [The Hill]. “‘Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Party’s version of Donald Trump. Thank god we are smart enough to stop him,’ said Democratic strategist Michael Trujillo, who served as an aide to Clinton.” • They weren’t smart enough to stop Trump, but are smart enough to stop Sanders?

UPDATE Sanders (D)(6): “Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren in private 2018 meeting that a woman can’t win, sources say” [CNN]. • Seems to be a bit of a pile-on right now. The sourcing:

The description of that meeting is based on the accounts of four people: two people Warren spoke with directly soon after the encounter, and two people familiar with the meeting.

That evening, Sanders expressed frustration at what he saw as a growing focus among Democrats on identity politics, according to one of the people familiar with the conversation. Warren told Sanders she disagreed with his assessment that a woman could not win, three of the four sources said.

Sanders denied the characterization of the meeting in a statement to CNN.
“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders said. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Warren’s communications director Kristen Orthman declined to comment.

So, the source is the Warren campaign, then. Seems not in character for Sanders:

It also seems odd that if Sanders really believed that, he would be stupid enough to tell Warren.

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IA: “How Local Dems Plan To Win Back Obama/Trump Counties In 2020” [Iowa Starting Line]. “In all, Iowa has 31 counties that voted twice for Obama before for going for Trump, the most of any state in the nation. That’s made for an attractive campaign target for the Democratic presidential candidates here over the past year. On nearly every trip a candidate makes in Iowa, their campaign is sure to point out how many Obama-to-Trump counties they’re visiting. With a Democratic base concerned about electability, the message is simple from the White House hopefuls: they’re the one who can win those Iowa pivot counties back.” More: “The dislike of Trump has been a motivating factor for many Iowa Democrats since 2016. ‘As soon as he was elected, we saw an increase of a huge number of people who showed up at our events and meetings,’ [JoAnn Hardy, in Cerro Gordo County] said. ‘There are more people involved in politics. We found out we can’t sit back and just expect things to be OK, so I expect a lot better participation in this election cycle.'” • This is the “revulsion” of which Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen recently wrote; it’s real. A fascinating report from the trenches and well worth a read.

“Endangered Democrats sound the alarm on Bernie and Warren” [Politico]. “A slate of endangered House Democrats is coalescing behind Joe Biden for president as the Iowa caucuses approach — a surge of support triggered by fears that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren at the top of the ticket would cost them their seats. More than a dozen swing-seat freshmen have taken part in at least one private call session with Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Pete Buttigieg in recent weeks. A handful have already gravitated toward the former vice president, and more are expected to follow before Democrats start voting on Feb. 3, according to interviews with 15 lawmakers, aides and campaign strategists.” • Meanwhile, Obama lost a thousand seats, and none of ’em turned a hair. They’ll all do fine on K Street. So what’s the real issue, here?


“Pelosi warns senators will ‘pay a price’ if impeachment witnesses are blocked” [MarketWatch]. “The Democratic-run House is set to vote this week to send over the articles of impeachment after Pelosi ended a more than three-week delay…. The date is not yet certain and Pelosi will meet behind closed doors with House Democrats to decide next steps on Tuesday morning ahead of the party’s presidential primary debate that evening, the last before the Iowa caucus Feb. 3.” • Fortunately Cory Booker will have more time to join the deliberations.



Stats Watch

Shipping: “Bigger trends show hiring in the logistics sector slowed sharply last year as an industrial downturn took a toll on some business and even operations tied to the e-commerce seeming to pull back” [Wall Street Journal]. “Some of that may be a matter of how the jobs are counted—the government counts holiday-season warehouse staff brought on through staffing agencies as temporary workers. But truckers added just 2,200 jobs overall last year, down from more than 44,000 in 2018, while rail employment fell by about 20,000 last year under efficiency initiatives at the freight railroads.”

Infrastructure: “Highway construction is kicking into higher gear across the U.S. even if lawmakers in Washington aren’t taking any new steps to help. State transportation departments are pumping more money into projects to clear up traffic-clogged highways and modernize aging infrastructure… with budgets buoyed by a recovering economy and increases in tax revenues” [Wall Street Journal]. “The 50 states collectively spent $113.2 billion on transportation in fiscal year 2019, a 9% jump from the previous year and the biggest jump since 2015. Transportation industry trackers say they expect spending to continue to grow this year.”

Tech: “Skype audio graded by workers in China with ‘no security measures'” [Guardian]. • Cool, cool. Jaw-dropping:

A Microsoft programme to transcribe and vet audio from Skype and Cortana, its voice assistant, ran for years with “no security measures”, according to a former contractor who says he reviewed thousands of potentially sensitive recordings on his personal laptop from his home in Beijing over the two years he worked for the company.

The recordings, both deliberate and accidentally invoked activations of the voice assistant, as well as some Skype phone calls, were simply accessed by Microsoft workers through a web app running in Google’s Chrome browser, on their personal laptops, over the Chinese internet, according to the contractor.

Workers had no cybersecurity help to protect the data from criminal or state interference, and were even instructed to do the work using new Microsoft accounts all with the same password, for ease of management, the former contractor said. Employee vetting was practically nonexistent, he added.

“There were no security measures, I don’t even remember them doing proper KYC [know your customer] on me. I think they just took my Chinese bank account details,” he told the Guardian.

Tech: “San Diego’s massive, 7-year experiment with facial recognition technology appears to be a flop” [Fast Company]. “Since 2012, the city’s law enforcement agencies have compiled over 65,000 face scans and tried to match them against a massive mugshot database. But it’s almost completely unclear how effective the initiative was, with one spokesperson saying they’re unaware of a single arrest or prosecution that stemmed from the program.”

Tech: “Dark Patterns after the GDPR: Scraping Consent Pop-ups and Demonstrating their Influence” (PDF) [arXive.org]. “New consent management platforms (CMPs) have been introduced to the web to conform with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, particularly its requirements for consent when companies collect and process users’ personal data. This work analyses how the most prevalent CMP designs affect people’s consent choices. We scraped the designs of the five most popular CMPs on the top 10,000 websites in the UK (n=680). We found that dark patterns and implied consent are ubiquitous; only 11.8% meet the minimal requirements that we set based on European law… This study provides an empirical basis for the necessary regulatory action to enforce the GDPR, in particular the possibility of focusing on the centralised, third-party CMP services as an effective way to increase compliance.” • For more on dark patterns, see NC here.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 89 Extreme Greed (previous close: 91 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 93 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 13 at 12:07pm.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Earthquakes. “Puerto Rico shocked by a series of massive quakes” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 18t4. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. I would expect the Rapture Index to jump if evangelicals thought impeachment was likely to hurt Trump. So it looks to me like this index is delivering a verdict on impeachment as well.

The Biosphere

“Australia is promising $2 billion for the fires. I estimate recovery will cost $100 billion” [John Quiggin, CNN]. “Perhaps largest of all, but impossible to measure, is the destruction of natural ecosystems. It has been estimated that 480 million native animals have died, and whole species have almost certainly been wiped out. The results of billions of dollars spent on preserving these ecosystems have been wiped out in just a few weeks.

To prevent this type of massive destruction in the future, we will need a fully-fledged national organization, capable of mounting a rapid response to disasters requiring evacuations, relief efforts and the rapid mobilization of large numbers of personnel. A budget of $1 billion a year (or $4 billion over the four-year budgeting period used in Australia) would be conservative at best.” • Sounds like a job for public-private partnerships!

“The tragedy of the climate dildos” [Heated]. “On Thursday, an Australia-based company called Geeky Sex Toys unveiled “The Down-Under Donation Dildo,” the proceeds from which will go toward relief for the country’s devastating climate-fueled wildfires… the Down-Under Donation Dildo story is downright tragic. The first reason—and I can’t believe I’m writing this—is that we shouldn’t have to sell silicone penises to pay for the effects of climate change.’ • OK, the headline is clickbait (though kudos for the Garett Hardin reference). Still a good wrap-up. Though consumerism is hardly the driver of climate change, IMNSHO.

News you can use:

But shouldn’t the radio in your emergency kit be a wind-up radio, not a battery-powered one?

Health Care

“Op-Ed: Using artificial intelligence to diagnose cancer could mean unnecessary treatments” [Los Angeles Times]. • That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

The Carceral State

“This True Crime Podcast Is Brought To You By The Prison Industrial Complex” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. “But first, a word from our sponsors. GEO Group is a full-source incarcerator that brings people together. With state-of-the-art turnkey facilities in 28 states and numerous complementary public-private partnerships, like the state of Louisiana and the Chicago Public School System, GEO Group is the disruptive, evergreen investment to round out your portfolio.”

L’Affiaire Joffrey Epstein

“Jeffrey Epstein Gave MIT $850,000, and Senior Staff Kept Quiet” [Bloomberg]. “Senior Massachusetts Institute of Technology administrators knew for years they were accepting donations from convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein but decided to keep it quiet, and one professor even took money personally, a report by an outside law firm found. Epstein, a financier, gave a total of $850,000 and visited the Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus nine times between 2013 and 2017, according to the report, published Friday. At times, Epstein arrived with one or two female assistants who appeared to be in their twenties, something that made observers uncomfortable, witnesses told the investigators. Seth Lloyd, a professor of mechanical engineering, was placed on paid administrative leave because he didn’t disclose that Epstein was the source of two donations to support his research in 2012, and he received a personal gift of $60,000 from Epstein in 2005 or 2006, the university said.” • Did all Lloyd’s personal gifts take the form of money, or were some, er, in kind?

Groves of Academe

“Nixed CCSF Classes for Older Adults Diverted to Nonprofits” [SF Weekly]. “Mayor London Breed and several supervisors stepped in Monday to save some community classes for older and aging adults threatened by class cuts at City College of San Francisco. When the college suddenly cut 288 spring classes in November, it wiped out nearly all the classes in its Older Adults Program serving seniors and adults with disabilities. Breed and supervisors Norman Yee, Catherine Stefani, Ahsha Safaí, Aaron Peskin and Rafael Mandelman on Monday announced a funding plan to restore some of those classes. …The City will use $216,000 annually from the Dignity Fund, which voters passed in 2016 to support older adults and adults with disabilities, to fund 17 of the 50 classes cut in the program. Nonprofits like the Jewish Community Center, Self-Help for the Elderly, and YMCA Stonestown will take over the administration of the classes, which are expected to serve about 1,000 people…. ‘The announcement from the mayor today is certainly concerning, because it suggests [The City will] allow the defunding of a public institution and give city funding to private institutions,’ said Jenny Worley, president of the college’s faculty union AFT 2121. ‘We have created these programs, we have the infrastructure and the experience to run them.'” • So, very progressive [x] black [x] woman Mayor London Breed is busting a union and giving their programs to some NGOs? That’s what this is about? How unexpected.

Class Warfare

Thanks, Obama!

“Strikes Are Hard Work” [Labor Notes]. “Some kind of movement is developing. Perhaps, after decades of lethargy, workers across industries are ready to once again leverage our power to disrupt—by withholding our labor—and win. Certainly, workers are learning from each other, and the strikes are opening up a renewed understanding of what’s possible when we activate the full force of our power. In a recent conversation we hosted about the educators strike in Chicago, some listeners wanted to know when we would talk about a national strike. Big wins in tough times can inspire us to think bigger. But when we hear about successful strikes, we don’t always fully listen to the work it took to get there. Members of the Chicago Teachers and school employees in SEIU Local 73 developed contract action teams and community coalitions to confront a powerful mayor. It took years to build the relationships, trust, and collective power that sustained them through a difficult fight. A national strike will involve a protracted struggle. It will take serious preparation. It will take serious power. It’s something to build towards—one step at a time. One-day strikes that flex our muscles will bring new people into the struggle. That’s great. But we want more than participation; we want transformation. And what transforms us isn’t the highs of excitement and inspiration. It’s keeping on when the struggle gets tough—discovering within ourselves the reservoirs of courage, fortitude, commitment, and rock-solid solidarity. It’s sharing the work of organizing each day, and the next day, and the next.” • So, we are far away from being able to do what France has done?

“American Deaths of Despair Aren’t the Whole Story” [Noah Smith, Bloomberg]. “At the American Economic Association’s big annual conference last week, one of the most-attended sessions was a panel entitled “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism.” The panelists included economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton.” • Quite the time lag, there, given that Case Deaton’s have been publishing on this topic since 2015. Smith writes: “But the narrative that U.S. society is coming apart needs some perspective. Some trends are bad, but others are positive…. For example, the U.S. is much less violent than it used to be… A modest increase in homicides in 2015 and 2016 turned out to be a temporary blip. Domestic violence has fallen significantly… Meanwhile, young Americans are engaging in less risky sexual behavior… Thus, a broader look at U.S. trends show a society that is coming apart in some ways but has knit itself back together in others.”

“Labor Department replaces Obama-era ‘joint employer’ standard” [MarketWatch]. “The new rule, which will take effect March 16, provides a four-part test to determine whether a company is a ‘joint employer.’ The tests are: Whether or not it can hire or fire the employee; whether it supervises the employee’s work schedule; whether it sets their pay; and if it maintains their employment records….The Economic Policy Institute, a pro-labor group, has argued that the new rule ‘dramatically narrows’ the likelihood that a company can be considered liable for overtime or minimum wage violations. It provides an incentive for companies to outsource more jobs and avoid that responsibility, the EPI said.” • Oy, they could outsource the employment record-keeping?

News of the Wired

Evolving meme:

“Excited Park Rangers Announce Lincoln Memorial Actually A Girl After Statue Gives Birth To Litter Of Tiny Marble Abraham Lincolns” [The Onion]. • And we’re only two weeks into 2020…

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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 (LR):

LR writes: “I’ve seen a lot of plants, but I’ve never seen this one before. It’s springtime here in Uruguay and this is a small tree of about 15 feet high. What is it?” Readers?

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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. John A

      Do you mean the delay in posting the plant photo from Uruguay? It must be closer to autumn than spring there now.

      1. russell1200

        Add 6 months. The equivalent of our mid-July.

        Summer starts December 1, so they are only a little way into Summer.

  1. Grant

    New hit piece out claiming that Bernie told Warren at a meeting last year that a woman could not win. Warren’s camp has declined to comment, which of course feeds in to the propaganda. Two sources cited by CNN are connected to her campaign. She is really dishonest and manipulative, and the reality of who she is is radically different than the image I had of her when she first announced. And she wants to pretend to be someone that can unify the party. She is a bad general election candidate and this reflects badly on her character.

    It was obvious that these attacks were coming, but it wasn’t certain that Warren would help like she has. I live in California, it will go to the Democrat and there aren’t many running I will vote for, especially Biden. She is now on that list for me, and she was highly problematic before these attacks happened.

      1. Grant

        A reputable paper would not allow a rival campaign to make a claim like this unless they go on the record and had some actual proof. I know some norms in the political world, but it essentially then becomes an issue of trust, and basically just propaganda. Who do you trust, the anonymous sources (who are obviously connected to Warren), people that want anything to attack Bernie with, Bernie and his supporters? It’s similar to the WFP endorsement, which was beyond shady and which the Warren camp was more than happy to accept. They knew that it was not done in a transparent and democratic way, people close to her (including her daughter and a large donor high up in her campaign) had financial connections to the WFP, it didn’t matter. It helped her, and she didn’t care. Bernie simply has more character than she does and would not do stuff like this to win. I already had major problems with her, she is already not very good as a candidate in many ways, and I don’t think she should would be a good matchup with Trump. But, she was okay enough that I would think about voting for her if she was the nominee. I live in California, the Democrat will win, and I will not vote for her if by some miracle she is the nominee. And it has nothing to do with her gender. If AOC was running, I would be all in. But she isn’t AOC. She isn’t tons different than Obama, but on a few select issues. If she had character, she would denounce this, as she and everyone else knows Bernie would not say something like that.

        In 2016, I lived in another state that was going to go to the Democrat, and it was stuff like this that made it impossible for me to vote for Clinton. These stupid attacks turn me off, and they should anyone that cares about integrity and wants someone to have power that may be able to push through needed changes. If she wins Iowa by doing stuff like this, she and her supporters can push off. She’s just another creature of the system, a player in the game.

        1. Jeff W

          “If she had character, she would denounce this, as she and everyone else knows Bernie would not say something like that.”

          The one saving grace in this latest sordid episode involving Elizabeth Warren is that she demonstrates yet again, as she unfailingly does, that she has none. I can’t imagine that will be lost on many voters.

          1. tegnost

            Were she a good politician she would denounce resolutely knowing that her intended audience would believe it anyway

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Good point. Warren would have lost nothing by maintaining her facade of friendship with Sanders. As it is, her campaign is calling for unity while driving an enormous wedge into one of the fault lines of the 2016 campaign. It is true that liberal Democrats seem to see no contradiction in this sort of behavior (and it would indeed be reconciled by kicking Sanders and his supporters out of the party; then there would indeed be unity).

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > as she and everyone else knows Bernie would not say something like that.”

            Well, everybody knew John Kerry was a war hero too. Until they didn’t.

            Big test for the Warren campaign. Interestingly, Sanders said, straight up, that the Warren staffers were lying. So, (a) no more unity, (b) Warren burned her bridges, and (c) never go into a meeting with Warren without a recording device (all candidates take note).

            1. Cuibono

              This is the final straw for me with Warren. She has proved herself to be a liar beyond a reasonable doubt

      2. Jen

        Especially since he begged her to run in 2016 and then jumped in when she wouldn’t. Anyone want to start a pool on Bernie’s fundraising tally for today? I already hit the donate button once, and plan to do so again as soon as I get home.

        Not sure this is going to work out for Warren the way she thinks it will.

        1. russell1200

          I had forgotten that.

          I have been O.K. with Warren. But for someone who has done awfully well in life, she seems to like playing the victim card a lot.

      3. Arizona Slim

        It does seem out of character. I don’t think that his wife, a former college president, would put up with such talk.

        1. Wukchumni

          To piss off the distaffplorables is a move no male politician in this day & age would ever contemplate, except perhaps the current President.

      4. dcblogger

        Judging from by my Twitter feed, Bernie world seems to be countering this by circulating ancient videos of Bernie saying “of course we could have a female president” from 1988 and earlier.

    1. petal

      After her rally, I felt like I needed a long shower. Ugh. It was like watching a shyster/not very skilled actor at work-I could see right through her but I don’t know if I was in the minority. So fake.

      And funny that Biden is doing the dog thing now, too-just like Warren dragging along her golden retriever Bailey to use as a prop(nice dog, can’t help who his parents are). There must be a certain income they are targeting for donations by using the dogs.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I almost feel its less about income than an example of how little talent there is in the Democratic courtier class. To me, it seems like they borrowed a screen writing handbook on how to establish a character is a “good guy.”

        General Maximus has a dog and isn’t an invader.

        These are people who believe “The West Wing” is an “intelligent” show.

        1. petal

          Good point on turning their character into a good guy. You are right.
          Funny, I’ve never even seen one episode of “The West Wing”, nor do I ever want to.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The first episode is how Rob Lowe’s character is such a sexual dynamo a prostitute slept with him for free. As you can see, its all the rage among “centrist” and very serious Democrats.

            Yes, that Rob Lowe who was caught having himself screwing a minor at the 1988 DNC.

            The accusations of “Bernie Bros” were absurd, but the “Bro” culture is very much alive among Team Blue politicos.

            1. petal

              Oh yuck. How can people watch that stuff? Nevermind. Rob Lowe always gave me the creeps anyway-perhaps I subconsciously avoided that show.

              1. Plenue

                All of the characters, or at least all of the men, in The West Wing are actually villains, but the writers are oblivious to what awful people they are.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  Dule Hill (Gus on Psych) played the lone black character in a Democratic Administration, and his job was to carry the President’s bags. Also, I think his mom was a cop, and the President randomly yelled at him in the first episode. It was okay because Martin Sheen apologized later and let him carry his bags.

                  Yep, the “woke” love this show.

            2. Plenue

              The best part is that that prostitute plot thread continues for most of the first season. The West Wing Thing podcast concentrates heavily on it. They point out how ‘I’m going to rescue the prostitute’, which is what it develops into, is the fantasy of a teenage boy, and embarrassing in a grown man. Sorkin plays it unironically.

      2. The Rev Rev

        I don’t know what this thing about dogs is all about. Maybe ‘Biden entered the search term ‘dogs playing poker into Google Images and got wrapped up in what he found. That meme goes back to the 1890s so it would be all familiar to hm.

      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Warren makes it clearer every day she would just rule in full Saint Obama mode: “we’re working toward…” and “we’re reaching across the aisle…” and “we’re transitioning…”, with the net effect of simply maintaining the horrible corrupt deciduous status quo. She can make Obama-esque flowery speeches full of populist code words while meantime pushing the next iterations of the TPP, regime change wars, privacy destruction, financial evisceration, and the plebes would be none the wiser. She is not there to be the vanguard of the proletariat, she is there to slow down the vanguard of the proletariat, and honestly there is no reason for her candidacy other than this.

        This is a monumental fight and epic power struggle on the grandest possible scale and we need a bruised up savvy street fighter not a basically nice lady appeaser. When she was lecturing at Harvard nobody ever stood up and screamed in her face “I think you’re stupid and wrong and ugly and I’m going to smash you!” so she freezes whenever there’s even a heckler in the audience, what would she possibly do when confronted by actual power. To wit: she doesn’t know how to fight, she only knows how to lecture and argue, and to her power is something you accrue for your intellect, not something you gain by grabbing an arm twisting it off and then gnawing triumphantly on the bloody stump.

        You get that killer fighting instinct by what’s in your heart not what’s in your brain. Lady is a friggin ex-Republican and the current Senator from Raytheon fer chrissakes, in case you wonder what’s in her heart. Bernie/Tulsi/Yang if we want a change, Liz and the rest of the field if we’re happy being chumps *yet again* and are willing to just go gently into that good night.

    2. katiebird

      This is so depressing. Using exactly what Sanders isn’t to attack him. I happened to stop by The Confluence just now and Riverdaughter seems to totally believe it is true. But she has been very disparaging of Sanders so I shouldn’t be surprised.

      How does a campaign fight this claim? I like the video Bernie posted. That has to help. Doesn’t it?

        1. JohnnyGL

          Worth nothing that Sanders has been doing the same thing against Biden (but in an honest, rather than a slimy way).

          Nina Turner op-ed on Biden’s record with black communities.
          Sirota talking up Biden’s history of advocating SS cuts.

          Older black voters are Biden’s core source of strength. Finally, Bernie’s going right at them!

      1. Jeff W

        “…Riverdaughter seems to totally believe it is true.”

        How can anyone believe that it’s true? Not only is it totally out of character for Sanders, not only would he, of all people, having run against Hillary Clinton, know it isn’t true, not only would he find categorical assertions of just who—a socialist, a Jew, a woman!can’t win anathema, he’d have to be an idiot to state it—and he’s not that.

      2. Plenue

        Oh my. She’s unironically a Klobuchar supporter. Warren is vaguely understandable, but that’s just embarrassing.

        She also claims the 2008 primary was rigged against Clinton, but 2016 wasn’t rigged. Or something.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > She also claims the 2008 primary was rigged against Clinton

          It was rigged. Specifically, the Obama campaign stole the Texas caucus* (though not the popular vote, they couldn’t). Important for the Sanders campaign to remember that in Iowa.

          * Two documentaries were made on this, with caucus attendees; both are now lost in the mists of time and Internet link rot. IIRC, only one was released, and the documentary evidence (caucus tallies and records) though real, was not released. It’s my personal and entirely unevidenced belief that these records were what Clinton held over Obama’s head at the Denver Convention, and why she could cut the deal to be his secretary of state and heir presumptive).

    3. John k

      Warren needs to be careful… only one person would consider giving her veep or treasury. So she needs to win the pres herself or help this person win it. And very shortly we will have the first two primaries, and seven weeks from tomorrow super tue March 3, in which Bernie has big Ca lead.
      Not impossible for Bernie to win both Ia and Vt, deflating Biden’s electability claims, and boosting Bernie in coming primaries. If Bernie does well early, dem desire for electability might quickly coalesce around him in a way not possible for any other candidate, bc progressives are not going to settle for lesser evil. (Yes, many progressives and I might well settle for warren, but she is not threatening to win any primary.)

        1. Grant

          She is so craven that she might accept it. But, I doubt it. They don’t have a great personal history and it would be impossible for her to reconcile her past comments about Biden if she was on the same ticket. Maybe an actually talented politician could pull it off, but it would be a series of dear in the headlights moments. Just a few days ago, reports were coming out that she was increasingly targeting Biden. But, she really wants power, and so does Biden, so who knows. But, I think that chances are, it wouldn’t work. If Biden thinks she is serious about any of the things she says she wants to do, she would be unacceptable to him (or more particularly, his donors). I think it is almost certain to be Harris, if Democrats are stupid enough to nominate Biden.

        2. JohnnyGL

          Warren should have learned that the establishment won’t respect her, post-2016 with the HRC betrayal.

          She’s been pining for Obama’s endorsement. She’ll never get it….but perhaps his team is stringing her along, deluding her into thinking that she can get the Obama endorsement.

          The video of Warren’s reaction to the campaign’s talking points about electability was bizarre. She seemed so genuinely disappointed and hurt by it.

          I was in NH in December and we were told to play nice with Warren. Perhaps someone at the campaign isn’t on message? Nevertheless, if this is Warren’s reaction….it’s an obnoxious escalation.

        3. Geo

          Possibly but no matter how hard she tries I doubt the establishment will accept her. Most likely she’ll get the Clinton treatment again: paraded around at campaigns then dumped for a “safer” VP.

          1. Massinissa

            Maybe Biden will put his money where his mouth his and make his ‘safer’ vp choice a Republican like he mentioned he might.

            Would show everyone where these centrists really stand.

      1. jrs

        Not impossible but with Iowa I would not believe a thing from polling, as I highly suspect Bernie won in 2016, only he didn’t … that’s the thing with caucus states …

        So even if he was the most popular candidate, it might matter very little.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Times piles on: Sanders Is Said to Have Told Warren That a Woman Could Not Win the Presidency. Again with the sourcing:

      In a private meeting in 2018 between Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mr. Sanders said that he did not think a woman could win the presidency, according to two people familiar with the discussion.

      Ms. Warren subsequently told associates about Mr. Sanders’s comment, according to people with knowledge of her remarks.

      Read that carefully. Who are the people “familiar with the meeting”? Likely candidates staffers? From Warren campaign? When is “subsequently”? Last week?

      1. Darius

        Sanders needs to say Elizabeth knows this is bulls&$@, and say she needs to rein in her staff publicly and repudiate the report.

        This is the opening of the Corbynizing infowar. I hope Sanders saw it coming and is prepared. I’m not seeing evidence of it.

        1. JohnnyGL

          The entire point of this episode is to get the two of them into a food fight and bring each other down. Sanders issued a strong statement, that should be the end from his camp.

          There’s going to be 10K Q’s about this at the debate….they’ll seriously waste like 1/2hr trying to get the two of them to hit each other. It’s going to be awful.

          Separately, this isn’t analogous to what they did to Corbyn. A project like that to ruin someone’s reputation has to be developed over months, years even.

          1. Grant

            It is obvious that Warren’s campaign was behind this, and she herself piled on the previous few days with the fake controversy over the Bernie volunteer. If this was a means to get them to fight, she could quickly put it to rest by having integrity and issuing a statement, which would have also made CNN look bad. She hasn’t done so because her campaign is clearly behind this. If she had integrity, she wouldn’t have taken that ridiculous WFP endorsement either. It is really disgusting, and revealing. Just another player in the game, right?

            1. JohnnyGL

              No doubt her campaign is behind this, but if she thinks this kind of stuff is going to rebound in her favor, she’s sorely misguided.

              The media’s agenda and the establishment’s agenda is to bury the two of them. If she doesn’t get that, she’s much more naive than I thought.

              If she’s trying to ‘send a message’ to Sanders as a kind of ‘payback’ for the campaign script, then she’s launched an idiotic escalation that’s going to hurt them both.

              1. Carey

                “good things come to those who wait.”

                Guessing Pocahontas is feeling little over
                her head ATM..

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          That’s the important thing to remember. Warren is a little tropical storm blowing through. Hurricanes (Obama-ites and Clintonites and Trumpites) are waiting offshore. Bernie gets to be the Rock of Gibraltar.

      2. jrs

        It might very well be TRUE that a woman can not win the presidency of course! I don’t pretend voters are prejudice free for sure. But still I don’t see Sanders saying it, it’s just not him.

      3. grayslady

        Notice that the NYT references the story initially coming from CNN. Guess who’s hosting the debate on January 14–CNN! Seems to me that CNN is trying to gin up a conflict in order to boost ratings. The fact that Liz isn’t trying to pour oil on troubled waters makes this look like her campaign is attempting a hail mary pass prior to national television exposure, and that Warren chose to leak to CNN deliberately, knowing that CNN would have monetary reasons to be receptive.

      4. Darthbobber

        Interesting that they only bothered to reach Warren’s communications flack, not Warren herself, and settled For the “no comment”. Given that Warren and Sanders are the only 2 possible real sources, I don’t think “no comment” is a very tenable position.
        By sometime tomorrow there will be considerable pressure to confirm or deny.

        Are we even sure this was her people? I can think of others who might be feckless enough to push this, and wouldn’t have any reason to worry about possible blowback, since it wouldn’t be headed their anonymous way.

      5. Acacia

        A few years ago, the NYT could have been renamed “Officials Said…”.

        Today it’s “People Familiar with Knowledge Said…”.

    5. teri

      Odd. It seems to me that if he thought a woman couldn’t win, he’d have used that line to or about H. Clinton back in ’15 when she was running against him. Or certainly after she was gifted [i.e.; grifted] the Dem nomination. But she got nothing but undeserved encouragement from him.

      I can’t recall him ever saying such a thing about her, Warren, or any other woman.

      1. katiebird

        I wonder if there were any debate questions about this during the 2016 primaries? There might be a good clip somewhere of him responding to this question. (Not that I am going to look for it)

      2. John

        Hillary Clinton lost the presidency by a whisker and had she run a very slightly more intelligent and perceptive campaign, she would be president today. To say that a woman cannot win the presidency is a statement best ended with ‘yet’.

        Once the primaries begin and once the field is winnowed to three or four, then we can begin to see who is most likely this year. On the basis of what is known, assumed, prognosticated the survivors look to be Biden, Sanders, Warren, and possibly Mayor Pete, although for the life of me I cannot figure out why he has not been dismissed as a lightweight who might have a shot in 2032 and thereafter. Where will Warren be after Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina? Where will the others be? It’s pre-season until then.

    6. Fern

      This is the second sleazy hit on Bernie from the Warren campaign in the last few days. The first was the claim that Bernie’s campaign has been instructed to say that Elizabeth Warren will only attract “highly educated, affluent voters”. The Warren campaign used this accusation in a fundraising letter, and Warren gave a feigned-outrage spiel about it when prompted by a reporter. In fact, this accusation was based on one post by a new poster and the post was removed immediately. I don’t think that Warren can win this one. Her native American claim was a big hit to her credibility and Sanders is universally considered honest and consistent, even by people who don’t agree with him.

      Here is a video explaining how outrageous Warren’s faux outrage is:


  2. Mark Gisleson

    DMRegister: “After a surge of enthusiasm that pushed Pete Buttigieg to the top of the field in November…”

    Translation: After spending over a month flogging Buttigieg on their front page, he got a momentary bump in the Iowa Poll which was once again conducted over a busy sports weekend.

    I’ve been battling with the DMR for over forty years. They are a very dishonest newspaper that busts its butt to sound fair while doing everything in their power to tilt the playing field. What’s stunning about this year is that the crew manipulating the Register’s coverage doesn’t seem to realize that both parties in Iowa fear the Register’s Sunday-before-the-elections endorsement because it typically backfires. Iowans may rely on the Register, but they don’t trust it.

    The only thing that could slow Bernie’s momentum in Iowa would be a Des Moines Register endorsement. That would sting!

    1. Darthbobber

      Probably no “bucking” here at all. Not that uncommon for locals to endorse when the national or international doesn’t.

    2. makesi

      Decertification is a process that the workers themselves can initiate if they do not want to be a part of their current union anymore. What you’re thinking here is about trusteeship, where the national union takes over the day-to-day operation of the union. Rules on that depend on the bylaws of the national union.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      That doesn’t implicate the Wagner Act, but locals have a contractual relationship with the international, and the international typically has the ability to put the local under receivership or trusteeship.

  3. allan

    America Drank Less Wine for First Time in 25 Years [WSJ]

    … The volume of wine consumed in the U.S. declined 0.9% in 2019, the first time it has fallen since 1994, according to industry tracker IWSR. The trend was ascribed to a generational shift as the number of millennials surpasses baby boomers, who drove strong demand for wine in America.

    “Millennials are just not embracing wine with open arms compared to previous generations,” said Brandy Rand, IWSR’s chief operating officer for the Americas. …

    As well as a decline in the number of baby boomers, the [millennial] generation is also drinking less because of lower disposable income, smaller homes—making wine harder to store—and health concerns, says IWSR. …

    It’s almost as if having not enough negative disposable income has real world consequences …
    Surely there’s a fintech innovation to deal with this glitch.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      As a Millenial Ex Drunk, I hated wine because of the bitterness and inability to drink it fast.

      Like say with a shot of Jaeger and Blue Moon with a juicy orange slice.

      1. Wukchumni

        Maybe I drank perhaps a dozen bottles of wine in total by the time I was 30. I’ve made up for it since, and i’d guess that my standard $6 bottle of Malbec from the Mendoza Line* (not that Mendoza Line!) is cheaper than beer & hard liquor.

        Young adults in the USA aren’t really wine drinkers are they?

        * Always under $10 a bottle and always delicious

    2. Wmkohler

      As a millennial who enjoys wine, I have to agree that the lack of disposable income is probably a bigger factor than a simple change of tastes. Given the state of things, they really ought to start allowing people to buy it with EBT…

      1. Yves Smith

        I have gotten very good at finding not very pricey roses. On sale too! A bottle will last 4 days once opened. I prefer reds but am not about to kill bottles or ante up for the ridiculous overpricing and limited selection of half bottles (which is still too much if you are surrounded by cocktail types).

    3. fajensen

      Too many millennials cannot cook a meal because nobody took their time to teach them. If one cannot cook, then one does not really get into drinking wine, moneyed or not! In my student days, we were poor as hell, but we would still drink wine with the food we cooked on weekends.

      Having said that, my generation (and income bracket) have acquired a tendency to drink wine or cocktails every day, which of course is not very sustainable. If nothing else because one gets belly fat from the alcohol, the liver and pancreas grows distant and stops talking to each other, Diabetes Type II arrives and kills all the partying!

      We’d want to avoid the inconvenience of all that so we (rather my class) have taken to exercising instead of drinking (instead off, because it is not fun to exercise while half pissed and one finds that the alcohol messes with the recovery process which a man of my age cannot afford to mess with in quite the same way that the younger me could).

      So ‘we with discretionary money’ are reducing drinking and overall spending, millennials never get into it. Good thing we have the FIRE freak show (and Asians) or Growff would be in peril!

  4. Jerry B

    ===Highway construction is kicking into higher gear across the U.S===

    I have seen this both in Illinois and Wisconsin. Big, wide, 8 lane highways. But most if not all of it seems to be geared towards the US car culture. But what about mass transit construction??

    ===The 50 states collectively spent $113.2 billion on transportation in fiscal year 2019, a 9% jump from the previous year and the biggest jump since 2015. Transportation industry trackers say they expect spending to continue to grow this year.===

    It is great that we are investing in modernizing aging infrastructure. But how about building some modern mass transit systems? Light rail, High Speed Trains, More Buses??

    Nah, perish the thought. Big Oil is going to drive the car for as long as they can get rich off it (Pun intended). And an added side benefit, due to our addiction to oil and cars we can justify raiding/bullying, and throwing our imperial weight around on other countries.

    Big Oil: We need more oil to feed an car addicted populace. They are not really addicted, we just did not give them a choice as we deliberately underfunded mass transit.

    US imperialists/Foreign Policy Hawks/ Military Industrial Complex: Awesome, another excuse to stick our noses where it doesn’t belong. We”ll just feed the public propaganda that we are spreading democracy but really it is mostly about Oil/Money, Power, US imperialistic exceptionalism, etc.

    Rinse and Repeat.

    BTW I am intentionally picking on the US. But the car culture is spreading all over the world too. Yes, Europe and Asia have extensive mass transit systems including buses, light rail, and high speed trains but China’s car culture is growing. GM sells more Buicks in China than the US. And Brazil and other southern countries are car heavy as well.

    And what are the automakers doing?? Building BIGGER Three Row SUV’s for the “lucrative” large SUV market! Jeep recently cut back heavily on small SUV production at the Belvidere IL plant near where I used to live. Why? Because they are devoting their resources to building a plant in Michigan that is going to make LARGE SUV’s.

    I give up. We are all just Slim Pickens riding the metaphorical bomb to destruction



    Thanks for reading my rant.

    1. Karla

      Large SUVs are the homes of tomorrow for destitute citizens, don’t forget that.
      House>>Apartment>>Studio>>Tiny House>>SUV

      Going long for car parks with individual electrical outlets and centralized blowers for hot or chilled air.

        1. wilroncanada

          Better Hovels and Gardens. Special edition–How to green-roof your rusty SUV with plastic flowers and “borrowed” gnomes.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Speaking of gnomes. I knew of these people who kidnapped a gnome from some old couple’s front yard. It happens. But then these old couple started to get postcards and holidays snaps with the gnome in Greece, in the UK, etc surrounded by all these locals and girls. Two year later the gnome re-appeared in their front yard surrounded by souveniers and holiday snaps. You gotta watch those gnomes.

      1. jrs

        Way way too optimistic. You assume there will be car parks for them. Why assume that? When right now campers of the homeless just park on the city streets, they line whole streets at this point. If we could get these type of car parks it would be a great improvement. Seriously. We afterall seem unable to even build temp housing that doesn’t cost a million per unit.

        But to the larger point YES I have even heard of people keeping their truck because what if they became homeless. Not so great to be homeless is a tiny sedan afterall! I don’t think it makes much sense for most to do that type of contingency planning and pay more gas the whole time, never mind the environment, but …. it’s out there, it’s not like noone thinks about it.

        1. Wukchumni

          NFL stadiums are used around 10x a year for football, and many of them were paid to be built by taxing both the citizens of the community and visitors, so why not allow homeless ‘tailgating’ in the expansive parking lot the other 355 days of the year?

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Back in ’03 I went to Norway, Sweden, and Finland. I am not kidding when I say that their highways impressed me. 16 lanes wide.

      Our cities got nothing on Stockholm, I thought.

  5. Karla

    War, war, war, Oh sorry Brooks, most of you don’t speak asinine invasion and occupation like the donors who have been war profiteering do.

    I’m writing to you because my dad Joe Biden–he’s running for president, you know) has a really big play coming up in just three weeks. Something about a covering up his voting record–I don’t know what that is, but it sounds pretty lucrative!

    To continue our family nepotism, along with Nancy’s boy and Hillary’s pet daughter, we need you to contribute whatever money you have left over after paying for medical care, student loans and those other nuisances, pitch in and help maintain the status quo. My dad with almost 48 years in the senate can bring change to the white house!

  6. XXYY

    So, the source [for the “Bernie said a woman can’t be president” allegation] is the Warren campaign, then. Seems not in character for Sanders.

    Not only is it not in character for the famously upright Sanders, telling fibs in service of career and to play the mysogeny card is in service for Elizabeth Warren. For example, she spent months last summer telling everyone that her (male) boss fired her when she became pregnant as an emergency credentialed part time speech therapist when she was younger. In fact, the school was happy with her and offered to renew her contract for the following year, and she herself turned it down.

    These kinds of silly and easily-disproven lies are not a big deal in their own right, but I think it’s fair to read a fair amount into them and to remember them when he said/she said questions arise.

    1. T

      Honestly, based on people I do know, it’s not difficult to believe that, rather than recall she didn’t want to or possibly even worried she might struggle to rack up the required credentials, her own brain long ago convinced her someone took away her dream job.

      But maybe it was a calculated fabrication.

      1. jrs

        True we all know someone with stories from back then who did indeed lose a job over pregnancy. It happened plenty.

  7. Doncoyote

    I blame Cory Booker’s lack of momentum on having to share the “love lane” with Marianne Williamson.


    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Besides running on nothing and his neoliberal record, Booker starred in two major stories:

      -killing efforts to allow Americans access to less expensive pharmaceuticals
      -his fraudulent “I am Spartacus moment.

      He also had the problem that the kind of people he was trying to appeal to already have a black friend in Obama. Being from a safe blue state, he couldn’t point to that either. As for his policy efforts, he co-sponsored a resolution to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday.

    2. John k

      They are a big deal. Lying to voters about personal history is no different than lying about current preferences… so I choose to believe she’s a capitalist to her bones and is lying about any and all progressive intentions.

  8. flora

    Nick Kristof has a heart breaking op-ed in the NYTimes

    ‘Who Killed the Knapp Family?

    Across America, working-class people — including many of our friends — are dying of despair. And we’re still blaming the wrong people.’


    It’s a good review of what is happening but avoids naming names.

    ‘Deaths from despair because the jobs went away because globalism’ – no mention of NAFTA or the tax law changes pushed thru by Clinton and the Dems in the 1990s.

    ‘Politicians need to start addressing these serious structural economic problems in a serious way but only Yang is trying to do that’ – no mention of Sanders.

    ‘Better medical care that includes everyone and doesn’t bankrupt people would help’ – again no mention of Sanders.

    His final idea to solve the problem is, you guessed it, more job training.

    Kristof doesn’t talk about Sanders or Sanders’ analysis of tax law, medical cartels, business monopolies, job offshoring as a result of tax policies, unpayable debt burdens, or anything else that would upset Wall St. It’s a column of hand-wringing, sincere hand wringing no doubt

    It’s an election year. The NYTimes is trying to look less indifferent to the half of the country devastated by NAFTA and other neolib Dem policies, imo.

    1. Arizona Slim

      One of my TDS-afflicted liberal friends emailed me that article. I read it with great anticipation, thinking that it would prominently mention Bernie.


      Be that as it may, I thanked my friend for providing me with so many reasons why I’m a Sanders volunteer and donor. His reply: “Good decision.”

      1. flora

        Thanks. Yes. Maybe that’s as close a Kristof could come to naming the reality and still get it published in the NYTimes.

        1. flora

          adding from Kristof’s ariticle:
          “Although he never took high school chemistry, Farlan became a first-rate chemist: He was one of the first people in the Yamhill area to cook meth. ”

          And so according the the Milton Friedman, neoliberal philosophy , Mr. Farlan was a success. He found a market need and filled it. In filling that need he ‘rationally’ increased his own economic well-being, and by doing so furthered the well being of society at large.

          I wish very much I could add a snark tag to this comment. Alas, I cannot. The modern Western neoliberal zeitgeist of our age makes a snark tag to this comment either superfluous or silly. (See: Decline and Fall, etc.) Apologies for the pedantry.

          I do think Kristof is trying to express something important outside of the officially approved of communication channels.

  9. Tim

    In sports we refer to fans that jump onboard when a team becomes a championship caliber winner. And inevitably they jump of when the reverse happens.

    Seeing that every time Undecideds spike it comes out of Biden’s count, I can’t help but think those are bandwagon voters, who will jump onto the Dem candidate they think is going to beat Trump.

    They are there for the taking of any candidate that can convince them they have the biggest edge over Trump, not Biden.

    Just my two cents.

  10. Jerry B

    ===American Deaths of Despair Aren’t the Whole Story====

    I think the author needs to take off his rose colored glasses. Yes some violence has declined as the author mentions in the article and Steve Pinker tried to show in Better Angels of Our Nature. But I think the author and Pinker are looking for things they want to see. Anybody live in Chicago aka Chi-Raq? Baltimore? I am pretty sure those cities are violent still. They are not as violent as in the heydays of the 90’s when Chicago had around 900 homicides. But Chicago still had 492 homicides last year.

    Also I would say that why our society may be less violent in terms of direct violence my sense is we are displacing our violence into others. One example is children. See the link below.


    From the article above

    “”Although Illinois’ population has been in decline, the number of child welfare investigations has climbed steadily, records show. DCFS said it conducted about 81,300 such investigations in fiscal 2018, a 20% increase over fiscal 2015.

    Hotline calls to DCFS also have grown by 20% in the past five years, according to a review by the University of Illinois’ Children and Family Research Center. The hotline can receive as many as 950 calls a day””

    And obviously let’s not forget mass shootings.

    This is also a counterpoint to the Smith’s rose colored view. It is from 2011 but still applies. Some of the things Maher talks about are getting worse including the Opioid Epidemic and Obesity.


  11. a different chris

    >capable of mounting a rapid response to disasters

    Yeah wouldn’t it have made (and still make) more sense to spend money reversing the dumb(family blog) behaviors and the policies that support them? Something about “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is starting to ring quite loudly around the planet.

  12. Doncoyote

    Biden Best Positioned to Win Primary, Lose General Election

    “Our best hope of losing in November is with Biden,” said Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, who explained “We can’t have a repeat of 2008, when the insurgent candidate Barack Obama came from behind to capture the nomination and then went on to win the presidency. Let’s not forget Obama nearly ruined the party.”

    1. Carey

      TFTL! More from it:

      >Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi worries that if Sanders wins the democratic nomination, he’ll ride a wave of populism into the White House, easily defeating Donald Trump, and forcing the party to adopt policies that benefit everyday Americans over the corporate interests that feed the democratic political machine.

      “Democrats raise a lot of money having someone like TruSpeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi worries that if Sanders wins the democratic nomination, he’ll ride a wave of populism into the White House, easily defeating Donald Trump, and forcing the party to adopt policies that benefit everyday Americans over the corporate interests that feed the democratic political machine.

      “Democrats raise a lot of money having someone like Trump in the White House,” said Pelosi, adding “and the chaos created by the Trump administration distracts voters from seeing that we’re working at the behest of the oil industry, big pharma, and the military industrial complex. I trust voters will make the right decision and nominate Joe Biden.”mp in the White House,” said Pelosi, adding “and the chaos created by the Trump administration distracts voters from seeing that we’re working at the behest of the oil industry, big pharma, and the military industrial complex. I trust voters will make the right decision and nominate Joe Biden.”

      1. Janie

        Yes to you and KLG. I lived in Oklahoma until i was on my 30s. Bud Wilkinson was OU football coach. His integrity influenced a lot of us who were not even sports fans, even though he ran for governor as a Republican. He lost by a narrow margin. Goldwater headed the ticket that year; Bud lost by less than Barry.

    1. Craig H.

      I do not get the problem with stealing signs. I thought this was always part of the game and it’s up to you to keep your signs from getting stolen. Didn’t Leo Durocher brag somewhere about they had a guy in the scoreboard with binoculars and a walkie talkie and Bobby Thompson knew what pitch was coming when he hit the shot heard ’round the world?

    2. Big Tap

      So now do the LA Dodgers get to claim the World Series championship for 2017 since the ‘winner’ cheated?

  13. Daryl

    > Tech: “Skype audio graded by workers in China with ‘no security measures’”

    Somebody on Twitter pointed out that the lunacy here is not who in particular ends up doing this, but rather our obsession with making sure that the proper “procedures” and “permissions” are in place when *spying on literally everything*. We have already lost the framing here in that it is considered acceptable for this to happen.

  14. Adam1

    “It also seems odd that if Sanders really believed that, he would be stupid enough to tell Warren.”

    Actually the moment I read this I agreed and then thought maybe someone meant Biden! It’s a gaff he would definitely make.

    1. John

      Boeing badly needs management that is focused on designing and building great airplanes and not the bottom line. Boeing is unlikely to survive the greed heads and bean counters and lest we forget over 300 died in the name of cost cutting and gaming the FAA.

  15. CarlH

    Looks like Warren decided to get ugly. If she was the only one present for the conversation then she has a duty to either confirm or refute this. Her silence, as they say, is deafening. If I had reservations about her before, and I most certainly did, this only cements my feelings further and not in a small way. I think she has made a serious mistake. Again.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Warren’s fundamental miscalculation was not recognizing climate change among other issues isn’t some down the road concern. Her pleas for false unity were only going to make her fade next to deranged Republicans like Biden or Buttigieg.

  16. Bill

    The flowering tree looks like a ceibo or erythrina crista-galli.
    It is the national tree of Argentina, and its flower the national flower of Argentina and Uruguay.
    It must be closely related to the “flame tree of thika” of Africa.

  17. Carey

    This latest from Senator Warren’s campaign is really telling, IMO: an anonymously-sourced accusation, on which the Senator herself has so far been conspicuously silent? Not lookin good for ya, Pocahontas..

    1. voteforno6

      Well, part of me thinks, she’s finally learning this politics thing. After all, as the saying goes, it ain’t beanbag. Why not give it a try? After all, the Obama campaign did something similar to Clinton in ’08, and it worked out pretty well for them.

      The Sanders campaign shouldn’t be surprised that all sorts of crap would be thrown at them. As unfair as this particular attack is, it is a test for Sanders. Is he able to take a punch? After all, if he continues to have a strong showing, a lot worse will come his way.

      Warren letting him twist in the wind on this is not a dumb move on her part. It looks bad, but if you’re going to be in politics long enough, you should expect this sort of thing.

      For the most part, the people getting riled up by this are the ones who are already predisposed to act one way or another.

      1. Carey

        not sure I agree about who’s twisting in the wind right now..

        We’ll see how the respective parties handle themselves, over time.
        Who’ll show themselves to be a BSer? I think one, will.

        1. voteforno6

          This is a test for both of them. Warren’s campaign obviously planted this. Sanders has been in politics long enough to have seen stuff like this before. He knows where it came from, as does pretty much every reporter covering the campaign. There will be attacks much more unfair than this one coming at him, the longer he’s in the fight. If he blows up at something like this, then how will he handle something much more serious, when the lords of capital really go after him?

          By his response, I suspect that he’s already seen it for what it is. By blaming it on anonymous staffers, he’s already given her an out, if she’s smart enough to take it. If her campaign tries to keep pushing it past the debate (assuming that Sanders doesn’t have some meltdown over this issue, which would be out of character for him), it would eventually bite her, since people might start asking questions about why she didn’t say anything before, if it really happened.

          This is also a test for Sanders supporters. More crap is coming, and if they get spun up over everything that gets thrown at him, they’re liable to have a collective meltdown. It certainly is not the way that most people would prefer this campaign to go down, but this is the sort of thing that’s happened in politics since about forever.

          1. Carey

            As said above, I think a firm but really pro-forma dismissal by Sanders himself, once, of the Warren campaign’s anonymous claim would be a good move.
            Then let Warren’s ship-jumping ready careerists keep pushing it, if they think it will help..

            10% is only ten percent, and that ship’s getting smaller by the day. Don’t see her humorlessness and sanctimony taking her anywhere good, now.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > a firm but really pro-forma dismissal by Sanders himself

              If I were Sanders, I would write two quotes down on a small notecard for the debate:

              1) “I’m just a player in the game,” and

              2) “I have no interest in discussing this any further”

              I imagine Warren is hoping to land a knockout punch in tonight’s debate. Dangerous move for somebody with a glass jaw. So far, the Sanders campaign has been very disciplined and methodical. We will see how well they have prepared Sanders for tonight’s debate (with CNN and the Des Moines Register, interestingly enough).

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > As unfair as this particular attack is, it is a test for Sanders. Is he able to take a punch? After all, if he continues to have a strong showing, a lot worse will come his way.

        Yep. I don’t see the Sanders campaign as being optimized for ratfucking, either to do it, or defend against it. We’ll see. Tonight’s debate should be interesting.

  18. Wukchumni

    A couple of skiers in our piste de la resistance movement carried surveillance devices with them on the slopes that tracked our every move and when we did it and how fast we went. I topped out @ 43.6 mph on one run, thank goodness I had ABS brakes installed on my boards.

    It’s some app on their handheld mini-monoliths (think 2001-A Space Odyssey)

  19. Wukchumni

    Before the turn of the century, admission of yes I cannabis, or having an undocumented alien as an employee, was curtains for a politician or chief justice’s chances of garnering the position, if news came out.

    What is the new Baedeker in terms of what isn’t allowable, what would it take these days?

    1. ambrit

      The ‘Bayou Gold Standard,’ is still being caught having either a dead girl or live boy in bed with you.
      Thank the Gods for “Fast Eddie” Edwards, politician extraordinaire.

  20. Wukchumni

    A primer of dirty duopoly tricks on a socialist…

    The End Poverty in California movement (EPIC) was a political campaign started in 1934 by socialist writer Upton Sinclair (best known as author of The Jungle). The movement formed the basis for Sinclair’s campaign for Governor of California in 1934. The plan called for a massive public works program, sweeping tax reform, and guaranteed pensions. It gained major popular support, with thousands joining End Poverty Leagues across the state. EPIC never came to fruition due to Sinclair’s defeat in the 1934 election, but is seen as an influence on New Deal programs enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    EPIC faced major opposition by the Republican Party and major media figures. According to Greg Mitchell’s 2017 article on EPIC in The Nation, opponents of EPIC “organized the most lavish and creative dirty-tricks campaign ever seen—one that was to become a landmark in American politics” involving “turning over a major campaign to outside advertising, publicity, media and fundraising consultants for the first time


    1. makedonamend

      Yeah, I had read about that episode when doing some research on Sinclair.

      What’s interesting is that many political parties, but Democractic Socialists in particular, don’t seem to have learned any lessons since 1934 or been able to devise strategies and arguments to counteract the array of tactics used against them.

      Is the Democratic Socialist message flawed – i.e. incorrect on a basic level?
      Have the DSs retreated into Liberalism as easy way to get politically credentialated without having to do the dirty work and take real personal financial hits?
      Are the DSs just naturally bad at politics?
      Too full of hopey, changey types and not enough p***-and-vinger types.
      Too Bolshie?
      Spend too much time soul searching?
      All? And more?

      Given all my question, that’s why I’m glad that DSA isn’t a political party, and I hope they don’t become one any time soon. They’ll be far more effective at backing like minded politicians, and especially independents, with resources fwiw.

    1. Carey

      Senator Warren: “I’m not going to say one single more word ever
      about Bernie Sander’s obvious, egregious misogyny™…”

      Glad Senator Warren did this just now. Brava, Lady!!!


    2. wilroncanada

      Poor LW! She’s claiming Sanders gave her the go-ahead to run in 2016. Now she claims he’s an Indian-giver.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for this. Of the many delectable portions of Warren’s “confirmation” — the pious profession of friendship is a hoot — I thik this is the tastiest:

      “II have no interest in discussing this private meeting any further”

      1) I’ll bet, and

      2) If you didn’t want to discuss the “private” meeting, why did you plant the story? Incidentally, from well-known Sanders boosters WaPo:

      Two people with knowledge of the conversation at the 2018 dinner at Warren’s home told The Washington Post that Warren brought up the issue by asking Sanders whether he believed a woman could win. One of the people with knowledge of the conversation said Sanders did not say a woman couldn’t win but rather that Trump would use nefarious tactics against the Democratic nominee.

      Not even WaPo is buying Warren’s version. (This is also something you can hear Sanders saying, and it is something anyone who follows politics would say.)

      1. polecat

        And all this time I had visions of Indian liz tepidly, and with trepidation, straddling the WAR Path against her main competition … but little did I realize how rapidly she appears now to have transmorgified into the establishment Dem equivalent of Lizzy Borden !

        Sooo, one hatchet-wack down .. how many more to go ?

  21. lyman alpha blob

    “Pelosi warns senators will ‘pay a price’ if impeachment witnesses are blocked” [MarketWatch]

    And back in ’06 it was ‘elections have consequences’ and yet there were none.

    I’m sure the republicans are quivering like 10 gallons of corn pudding and have abandoned all hope.

  22. Carey

    For those who think they don’t have balance issues, either physical or mental, JH Kunstler’s Monday essay today might test them… sorry, not gonna link it, you’ll have to look it up.

    might need to make a 3-D flow chart, though

    #justicewillbeDone #paidgoosechase ##deluded

  23. anon in so cal

    New anti Russia propaganda:

    NYT claims that, according to “cybersecurity officials” from the Redwood City, CA Area1Security, Russia hacked subsidiaries of Burisma to get info concerning Biden.

    Area1Security “was incorporated in 2013 by founders Oren Falkowitz, Blake Darché, and Phil Syme, all of whom were formerly employed by the U.S. National Security Agency.”



    1. Maurice

      I read that headline,that first paragraph, and the byline….couldn’t /wouldn’t read any further…thanks for the wiki….now I know why my time has been spared

  24. ObjectiveFunction

    Glad to see millenial firebrand Sam Kriss back in action after a self-inflicted exile due to a #metoo incident.

    His latest essay is wide-ranging and pungent, though uneven and, at first read, disjointed. I had to reread it closely to understand that it’s really an, umm, meditation [lol!] on aging and decline.

    Health warning: this piece will spike your blood pressure if you dislike hyperbolic rants about Boomers. Take it with a grain of…. whiskey?

    Sam, with his eloquent hatred of all orthodoxy, may evolve into the Millenials’ Christopher Hitchens. I do hope so! YMMV

    1. fajensen

      If I was playing there, I would be wearing one of these designer smoke masks, decorated in an instagram-able custom design, primarily to give a solid two-finger salute to Australia.

      I wouldn’t want to take several years off the top of my life expectancy by sucking down all those particles over some prize money so going home early would be Part of The Plan.

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