2:00PM Water Cooler 1/14/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

The Onion is really on fire today, and how badly we need that. –lambert


“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 ton of new polls today: Quinnipiac and Morning Consult nationally, and IA, NA, NV, and CA, as of 1/14/2020, 11:00 AM EST. On the average, the pattern of Biden first, Sanders strong second, Warren fading, and then Buttigeig is more pronounced, with Bloomberg still closing on Buttigieg, which is interesting or concerning. NOTE: If we take out the averaging, Sanders is back in second, and Warren 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.

From the Morning Consult poll:

And the numbers:

And now the states (all of which look encouraging for Sanders, though all the leaders are in the margin of error; we’ll see if the current conflicts with Warren move the polls at all). Starting with IA:

IA numbers:

Top three are Sanders, Biden, and Buttigieg. Warren trails.

Here is NH:

NH numbers:

Top two are Biden and Sanders. Warren trails.

Here is NV:

NV numbers:

Biden first by 5, Sanders second, 5 over Warren in third.

Here is CA:

CA numbers:

Sanders and Warren are top two, Biden trails. I’m stunned that Sanders is leading in California, given that this is a liberal Democrat heartland.

Summary: Biden juggernaut rolls on, Sanders challenging strongly, Warren in difficulties, Buttigieg patchy.

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

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

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Buttigieg (D)(1): “Swing Voter Really Relates To Buttigieg’s Complete Lack Of Conviction” [The Onion]. “‘As a generally noncommittal person without any firm ideas about how our government should be run, I can see a lot of myself in this up-and-coming young leader with no discernible political identity,’ said [swing voter Chris Fernsby], who added that Buttigieg’s vague but carefully focus-grouped positions on Medicare for All and police reform perfectly captured his own indecisive and shifting mindset when it came to issues at stake in the 2020 election.” • To be fair, I shouldn’t fall into the trap of blaming voters, but this is still pretty funny.

Booker (D)(1): “Cory Booker Drops Out Of 2020 Rat Race After Falling In Love With Small-Town Iowa Life” [The Onion]. “‘I’ve spent my whole life worrying about my career, chasing the next big position, but after spending all this time in Iowa, I’ve realized it’s community and family that count,’ said Booker.”

Gabbard (D)(1):

Somewhat against interest for Gabbard, given that the Sanders campaign has not been notably supportive of her candidacy (although to be fair, it’s a primary, and primaries have a single winner).

Sanders (D)(1): The Sunrise Movement endorsed Sanders. Thread:

Importantly, the Sunrise Movement isn’t just a Beltway NGO. They bring their own ground troops.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “Nevada’s Largest Teachers Union Is Endorsing Bernie Sanders” [Buzzfeed]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders won the endorsement of an influential teachers union in Nevada on Tuesday morning, a key sign of support in the early voting state where unions have significant political power. “We appreciated that Sen. Sanders came to us, very much reached out to us, and wanted to speak to us,” Clark County Education Association President Vikki Courtney told BuzzFeed News on Monday night. Sanders was the clear leader in a recent straw poll of union members, she said, which was a major factor in the decision. The union represents 19,000 teachers and other educators in Las Vegas and is the largest teachers union in Nevada. The Clark County School District is the fifth-largest school district in the country.” • Good for the Sanders campaign, but the Culinary Workers are the real power. Here from their site: “This year, the Culinary Workers Union is focused on health care and keeping the plan they have. With concerns over proposals for Medicare-for-all, they’re asking candidates directly where they stand on issues related to health care. The union, mostly made up of Hispanics and women, is described as the largest immigrant organization in the state. Their key endorsement is expected to be announced sometime early next year.”

Trump (R)(1): “Trump’s data operation is targeting women voters amid warning signs” [McClatchy]. “President Donald Trump carried non-college-educated white women — 20% of all voters in presidential election years — by 27 points in 2016. But the group shifted by 13 points in the 2018 midterm elections, and in recent months warmed to the prospect of impeaching and removing Trump from office over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a domestic political rival…. The campaign launched its Women for Trump group last year and says it has attracted 30,000 members ever since. Out of all of its “coalition” events targeting individual subgroups — including veterans, Latinos, evangelical Christians and African Americans — 63% have been held for women voters. But it is unclear whether the campaign is making progress, as polls show growing disapproval of Trump among white working class women and suburban women — two critical subgroups in the upcoming general election.”

Warren (D)(1): On CNN’s story in which Warren-adjacent persons accused Sanders of sexism:

Taibbi is not a fragile flower. So his reaction is interesting.

Warren (D)(2): Silver isn’t a fragile flower either:

Warren (D)(3): “Sanders-Warren feud takes a turn onto the dangerous turf of gender” [WaPo]. Here is WaPo’s reporting on the same incident “reported” by CNN: “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.” • “A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.” –Terry Pratchett, The Truth. (The Truth is a wonderful novel about the newspaper business, which you should read if you have not.) This reporting is against interest, since WaPo is not known for stanning Sanders.

Warren (D)(4): “CNN’s Sanders Hit Piece Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test” [FAIR]. “CNN (1/13/20) has an anonymously sourced hit piece out today on Bernie Sanders, claiming that at a meeting in Elizabeth Warren’s home on December 18, 2018, he told her “a woman can’t win” the presidency. The article, by CNN correspondent MJ Lee, is so journalistically shoddy that someone reading only the first few paragraphs would end up believing that it is a fact that the current top-polling candidate for the February 3 Iowa Caucus actually said that. Never is Sanders’ ‘quote’ prefaced with the term ‘allegedly.’ None of the four anonymous staffers/friends making the charge of Sanders sexism were actually witnesses who were apparently in the room that day. Two, according to Lee, spoke to Warren ‘shortly after’ that meeting. The other two ‘sources’ were described only as people who ‘knew about the meeting.'”… Why were CNN’s sources allowed to makes such an explosive, far-fetched claim anonymously? Anonymity is most justifiably granted to protect sources from retaliation for revealing damaging information about their superiors; would Warren staffers (assuming they were the source) be fired for giving an accurate account of their candidate’s conversation?”

Warren (D)(5): What Warren could have said:

Both in the “trashing me” flap and the “Sanders is sexist” flap, the Warren campaign did not use surrogates; they put Warren right out there as a spokesperson (directly quoting her in a campaign press release in the latter case). That seems risky and weird to me.

UPDATE Warren (D)(6): “#RefundWarren Trends as Elizabeth Warren’s Offensive Strategy Divides Progressives” [Paste Magazine]. • This is a really excellent summary and timeline of the two weekend, pre-date controversies fueled by Warren personally. (The headline is a bit click-baity; I haven’t seen any numbers on #RefundWarren.)

Warren (D)(7): “NYT Columnist Touts Warren as ‘Unity Candidate’…While Also Disclosing Her Husband Works for Warren Campaign” [Mediaite]. “Goldberg’s husband, Matthew Ipcar, is the executive creative director at Blue State Digital, a digital strategy and technology firm based in Brooklyn. But the relationship between Blue State and the Warren campaign goes beyond mere vendor and client. Blue State’s founder and CEO, Joe Rospars, who led Obama’s digital campaign in 2008 and 2012, is also Warren’s chief campaign strategist and, as Politico story noted last summer, the company has been closely working with the Massachusetts senator since the very beginning of her 2020 run. According to the most recent, 3rd quarter FEC filings, Blue State was paid $327,000 from July through September by the Warren campaign (the 4th quarter filings are not yet publicly available). Combined with 2nd quarter ($571,000) and 1st quarter 2019 payments ($183,089), Warren paid Blue State nearly $1.1 million in total through the first nine months of the year.” • A New York Times Op-Ed is actually product placement for the Warren campaign. Isn’t this corruption? A million bucks is real money for a Democratic strategist!

UPDATE Warren (D)(8): “My Plan To Cancel Student Loan Debt On Day One Of My Presidency” [Elizabeth Warren, Medium]. As so often with Warren’s plan, the headline makes a pitch, but the detail doesn’t close the sale: “I’ll direct the Secretary of Education to use their authority to begin to compromise and modify federal student loans consistent with my plan to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for 95% of student loan borrowers (about 42 million people).” • So, means-tested and not universal.

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UPDATE IA: “Why Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are fighting” [WaPo]. This is very interesting. Monmouth ran a simulation of the Iowa Caucus, and: “Warren’s problem is this: She is very disproportionately the second choice of voters whose first choices are already the other top candidates. Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray told me she takes 83 percent of her second-choice votes from the triumvirate of Biden-Buttigieg-Sanders. By contrast, the vast majority of people who don’t support a top-four candidate — 75 percent — go for a top-four candidate as their backup. And that’s an issue in Iowa. It means the other candidates have more to gain from the 15 percent threshold. And it essentially means that Warren probably needs to have one of them stumble to build out her base of support and actually win the state…. The same national Quinnipiac University poll, in fact, shows that Warren is the second choice of 57 percent of Sanders supporters, and Sanders is the second choice of 52 percent of Warren voters. Neither of them are the second choice for more than 12 percent of any other candidate’s voters.” • In other words, the soft left that presented Warren and Sanders as interchangeable (“two good choices!”) helped to bring on Warren’s attack. Well played, all.

NV: “Exclusive: Nevada poll shows Biden-Sanders showdown in a tightening Democratic race” [USA Today]. “It’s not just Iowa: An exclusive Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll of Nevada finds another early-voting state where the Democratic presidential race is tightening, former Vice President Joe Biden is struggling to hold front-runner status and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is showing strength.” • Nevada is Harry Reid’s patch, and Reid got Warren into politics. So…

“Steyer, Bloomberg’s 2020 delegate gambit is an effort to change the political map” [ABC]. “In the final push before the first debate of 2020, the last before voters have their first say, the two billionaire Democratic presidential contenders have zeroed in on strategies that leverage two precious assets for any campaign: time and vast amounts of money in states that could help net delegates…. Steyer has swamped competitors on the airwaves in early states, playing retail politics with boots on the ground as well. Moreover, his campaign has just hired Jeff Berman, a banner name among the pundit class who quite literally wrote the book on delegate strategy. Berman was an instrumental force in engineering Barack Obama’s 2008, and a major role in Clinton’s run eight years on. Earlier this cycle, he was also on for Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke team. Bloomberg, meanwhile, is throwing out the rule book altogether: bypassing the early states entirely, honing directly in on the delegate-rich Super Tuesday spots like California, Texas, and Florida.”


“House to vote Wednesday to send impeachment articles to Senate” [CBS]. “The House will vote Wednesday on a resolution to name impeachment managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate for President Trump’s trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday…. Pelosi did not reveal the names of the impeachment managers in the meeting, but several members said they assume the team will be led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who both spoke in the meeting and laid out in detail how the Senate trial will work.”

“Chief Justice Roberts won’t compel witnesses to testify at Trump impeachment trial, legal expert says” [Yahoo News]. “Chief Justice John Roberts is almost certainly going to avoid weighing in on whether President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial should include testimony from witnesses, legal expert Jeffrey Rosen told Yahoo News. ‘I can’t imagine him playing a really substantive role about whether or not to hear witnesses,’ said Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center… Rosen said he thinks Roberts ‘will do anything possible to avoid weighing in on that.’ ‘The main thing he can do is show up and be neutral and nonpartisan and dignify the procedure,’ Rosen said.” • Not an easy task!

Our Famously Free Press

UPDATE “Establishment Pundits Go Nuts Over New Russian Hacking Conspiracy” [Caitlin Johnstone, Medium]. “The New York Times reports that GRU operatives launched a successful ‘phishing attack’ on the Ukrainian gas company at the heart of scandalous allegations about Joe Biden, and establishment pundits are falling all over themselves to tweet the hottest take on this exciting new Russia conspiracy. The story itself fails the smell test on a number of fronts. It falsely claims that allegations of Biden’s corrupt dealings with Ukrainian officials as vice president have been “discredited”, and its only named source is a cybersecurity firm with foundational ties to the NSA and to Crowdstrike, which you may remember as the extremely shady Atlantic Council-tied company at the heart of the plot hole-riddled 2016 Russia hacking narrative (whose CEO is now a billionaire). The article also of course lacks any hard evidence for its claims, and is of course completely silent on any details as to how the security firm knows that the alleged hackers were both (A) Russian and (B) tied to the Russian government. This is par for course with mass media news reporting on anything negative about Russia.” • Groundhog Day. Johnstone might have mentioned that CrowdStrike was also the DNC’s IT vendor.


UPDATE Very enjoyable:

Stats Watch

Tech: “Grindr Shares Location, Sexual Orientation Data, Study Shows” [Bloomberg]. “‘Every time you open an app like Grindr, advertisement networks get your GPS location, device identifiers and even the fact that you use a gay dating app,’ said Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems. ‘This is an insane violation of users’ EU privacy rights.'”

Manufacturing: “Boeing posts negative commercial airplane orders in 2019 for first time in decades” [CNBC]. “For all of 2019, Boeing lost orders for 87 commercial airplanes, meaning it had more cancellations than new purchases, the company said Tuesday. The final tally included the cancellation of three orders in December when customers changed plans to buy 787 Dreamliners. A Boeing spokesman said he wasn’t sure when the company last lost commercial plane orders for the year, but ‘it definitely has not happened in the last 30 years.’ The negative number is especially painful when compared with European rival Airbus, which logged orders for 768 new planes for 2019.” • Problems with our national champion…

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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.

The Biosphere

Winter (1):

Winter (2):

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“Europe Could Lead Way in $10 Trillion Fossil Fuel Capex Ban, UBS Says” [Bloomberg]. “A $10 trillion ban on fossil fuel capital spending could hold the key to net-zero emissions by 2050, according to UBS Group AG. To achieve such a freeze on emissions, there would need to be enough global restrictions to reduce cumulative fossil capex by two-thirds of the current amount, or about $10 trillion, UBS analysts led by Sam Arie wrote in a note assessing the outlook on energy and climate change. Europe will likely be the starting point for such a move, according to them. ‘We expect to see increasing legal and financing restrictions on fossil capex — taking effect more quickly than any moves towards a global carbon tax, and inevitably accelerating convergence of the energy and utilities sectors,’ the analysts wrote.” • Hmm.

“New Research: Calculating The Carbon Emissions Of Holidays” [Responsible Travel]. “A ground breaking new study highlights the pressing need for the tourism industry to carbon label holidays and design trips with lower carbon footprints. Although transport is the number one concern when we’re considering the carbon impact of our holidays, findings show that carbon emissions from the food eaten on holiday – the foo(d)print – can also be a very significant part of the overall emissions from a holiday. In fact, emissions associated with food can potentially exceed a trip’s transport emissions, and that of accommodation. To become more carbon efficient in the future, it is vital that the tourism industry makes important emissions reductions across food, accommodation and transportation and presents CO2 information to travellers as transparently as possible.” • Interesting, albeit consumer-driven, perspective.

“Imperial Oil, Canada’s Exxon Subsidiary, Ignored Its Own Climate Change Research For Decades, Archive Shows” [The Intercept]. “Imperial Oil, Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, is a household name in Canada thanks to its ubiquitous Esso gas stations. Exxon owns 70 percent of the company… The cache of documents shows that as far back as the 1960s, Imperial had begun hiring consultants to help them manage a future public backlash over its environmental record, as well as conducting surveillance on its public critics. The documents also show that, as the company began to accept the implications of a warming planet, instead of acting decisively to change its business model, it began considering how a melting Arctic might open up new business opportunities.”


“‘The colour is blue’: Strange changes to Mekong River as hydropower dams and climate change make their mark” [Channel News Asia]. “here is something wrong with the Mekong. The ‘Mother of Water’ as this great river is known throughout the regions it passes, is sick. As hydropower dam projects come online, at the same time as the effects of climate change start to manifest, the Mekong’s even flow has been disrupted. River levels are fast changing as water is stored and released. Dry and wet seasons have become confused. Fish breeding is irregular and passage has become problematic as water levels drop to record lows. The Mekong is defined by its colour – a deep ochre that reflects the life-giving sediment that feeds its fauna and enriches the soils that countless communities depend upon. At present, in parts, even that has changed.”

Health Care

“Taiwan’s single-payer success story — and its lessons for America” [Vox]. “In Taiwan, everybody is covered. The Taiwanese health care system is built on the belief that everyone deserves health care, in Xiulin just as much as anywhere else. The costs to patients are minimal. In the 1990s, Taiwan did what has long been considered impossible in the US: The island of 24 million people took a fractured and inequitable health care system and transformed it into something as close to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s vision of Medicare-for-all as anything in the world.” • But Taiwan is a First World country, so they can pay for it. (Interestingly Uwe Reinhardt played a huge role in getting Taiwan’s system fixed.) The article is well worth a read, and I’d welcome thoughts from any readers famliar with Taiwan.

“A Healing Place” [Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs]. “Bad experiences at hospitals are incredibly common. A close relative of mine called me today having just been released from the hospital, and having had to fill out papers while in horrible pain, then sitting for hours in a harshly lit room being ignored. What’s strange to me about the bad experiences people have is that they are some of the easiest possible things we could change about medicine. You can’t cure cancer, but you can certainly cure paperwork. You can cure depressing architecture. You can cure indifference and bureaucracy and discomfort. The problems with hospitals are strange, because they violate the first principles we would use to design a ‘healing place.’ The first thing you should do when designing a place to make people feel better is to make sure they suffer no unnecessary stress or confusion or unpleasantness there. In fact, there is apparently hard evidence that this can make a difference to patient outcomes, which is why sensible hospitals have gardens. I’d like to suggest, though, that ‘first person experience’ needs to be put at the center of every single discussion of healthcare.” • Yep. Avoiding hospitalization at all costs is a major driver for me.

Class Warfare

“”Somebody’s gotta stand up”: Miners block coal from leaving Pike County after weeks without pay” [WYMT]. “Around 12:30 p.m. miners said they could see a pay stub for two weeks’ pay show up in their work accounts, but the money has not arrived in their bank accounts yet. ‘Never in my life did I think I would be standing here on a rainy day, on a train track, holding a train. I never in my life thought that it would come to this,’ one miner added. Several miners and their families stood on the tracks leading from Quest Energy in Blackburn Bottom Monday afternoon. A train loaded down with coal is stuck on the tracks. A CSX crew went to the tracks to get the engine and left the loaded train cars there. Miners said they worked from mid-December until now without getting paid for that work. They said they came home last Thursday after a 17-hour shift, expecting to be paid Friday, but that check never came. They were told to wait until Monday and then the date was pushed back again. Now they just want to get what is owed to them.” • Of course, one view is that they’re owed a lot more than a wage….

“A Way Out” [Popula]. “The generous answer is that society is imperfect: people have needs that the government cannot meet (and that corporations refuse to meet). But the cynical answer is that there’s money to be made in nonprofits. Not for the people actually working at them, of course; they make very little. But for their extremely wealthy patrons, the rich people who want to protect their capital from being taxed and expropriated by the government, nonprofits are not only lucrative—they’re an effective way to provide legitimacy to the ruling class. The scale of the industry is phenomenal. As Elizabeth Kolbert recently pointed out, the growth in foundation assets has exploded in the past eighty years, from ‘less than a billion dollars to more than eight hundred billion dollars.’ In the next two decades, ‘affluent baby boomers are expected to contribute almost seven trillion dollars to philanthropy.’ Nearly 10 billion dollars a year is spent on shaping public policy alone.” • Euthanize the NGOs. The Trillbillies are very sound on this, being from coal country, where this article is set.

News of the Wired

“Top-secret UFO files could cause “grave damage” to U.S. national security if released, Navy says” [CBS]. “The [Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)] also admitted to possessing at least one video of unknown length, classified as ‘secret’ by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). ONI didn’t reveal whether this footage is the same 1-minute video that was leaked online in 2007 and widely released by The New York Times in 2017. However, in November 2019, several naval officers who witnessed the incident aboard the Nimitz told Popular Mechanics that they had seen a much longer video of the encounter that was between 8 and 10 minutes long. These original recordings were promptly collected and erased by ‘unknown individuals’ who arrived on the ship by helicopter shortly after the incident, one officer said.” • Oh.

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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 (LO):

LO writes: “This is what ‘wintry plants’ look like in my coastal California garden–young garlics. I plant cloves saved from last year’s crop around Halloween, harvest after Memorial Day. There’s something innocent and optimistic about them at this point that touches me.” That looks like one happy garlic bed!

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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. Off The Street

    Boeing trip will include some stopover in DC to get the usual suspects on board for some federal money to be extracted from taxpayers, underwriting, bonds and any other omnibussy sources. ETA of promises is prior to this November, subject to gate changes.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      And don’t underestimate how many Californians (even in the SF Bay Area) are exhausted, stressed and fed up with the neoliberal endless increases in health care costs, housing costs and hours needed to be worked to keep up with those costs.

      Talked to an older black guy today, shooting the bull on the sidewalk…diehard Trump supporter. Likes how he “tells it like it is…no weasling. Democrats have been lying to us (blacks) for decades and them screwing us after we vote for ’em”…direct quote.

      Told him there were only 2 non-bought politicians running…he said, “Trump’s one of them.” I said Bernie’s the other.

      He’s wasn’t buying it.

      Gonna be a loooong year.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner


      This is the key word. Team Blue enjoys the support of people who believe they support the generic democratic platform. Feinstein and Pelosi have used this cover for years now. It wears thin over time especially when they aren’t producing.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > California may be the liberal Democratic heartland, but it’s also 39% Hispanic

      I would expect the liberal Democrat oligarchy to have its population under better control. Perhaps its grip is weakening.

      1. Carey

        They’re lazy; and so far, why not? They figure to fix it in the Mix, if necessary. ;)

        First slowly

        1. pebird

          And stupid. If you half a brain and want to accomplish something with no BS, you’ve been shunned by party for years.

      2. WJ

        The machismo element in Latino culture is what drives their support of Sanders…or at least that’s what a Warren surrogate leaked to me.

          1. turtle

            Right, and that’s also why the two largest countries in Latin America have not yet had women presidents years ago.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          It’s probably best to pretend that the site rules require a slash-ess tag on all purely sarcastic posts once the primary starts. I will endeavor to do so. I think we already passed the Poe’s Event Horizon over the weekend. I used to think Warren would be better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick if she had any chance of winning.

            1. Mo's Bike Shop

              Competitive judging of satire might spice it up a bit, but that would be a pain for our hosts.


              Unless they monetized it! /s

      3. John

        Key word ‘oligarchy’. Perhaps if this closed corporation ever listened, ever looked at anything but its own reflection, ever actually did anything, but kiss the ring of the donor of the moment, perhaps then they would have the support of whichever population they are taking for granted today.

        For president: Bernie Sanders and none other.

  2. Bill Carson

    TL/DR Version—The tiff between Warren and Sanders is really over second-choice votes, and it could really hurt both of them.

    Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong, but if I understand the way the Iowa caucuses work….there will be an initial vote, and if a candidate does not receive at least 15% of the vote, then that candidate is out and they vote again. In the second vote, the people who voted for the candidate who did not receive 15% are able to vote for their second choice.

    From the polls, it appears that Warren is in danger of not receiving 15% of the vote. In that event, her voters will get to vote for someone else in the second round, and polling indicates that Sanders is the second choice of 31% Warren supporters’. If WHOEVER (the Establishment/Biden/Buttegieg) can create a rift between Warren and Sanders, then Warrens’ voters won’t vote for Sanders in the second round, thus helping other candidates and hurting Sanders.

    To put in another way, this dustup could initially hurt the Warren campaign, preventing her from getting to 15%, and then it hurts the Sanders campaign when Warren bitter Warren voters refuse to support Sanders.

    1. Bill Carson

      I see that the ramifications of this are addressed in an UPDATE in the body of the Water Cooler, and that paragraph claims that 52% of Warren supporters’ second choice is Sanders, but this progressive civil war will change that, and I would be willing to bet that this percentage drops precipitously. IOW, Sanders and his supporters need to be careful not to alienate Warren supporters.

      1. Grant

        “IOW, Sanders and his supporters need to be careful not to alienate Warren supporters.”

        Yes, but her supporters have to think a tiny bit about why people are angry and be willing to critically think about how their chosen candidate has acted. Look at the situation that Warren created, in this critical election, weeks before the primary, when someone as bad as Biden could win. It is hard not to see this as an attempt to make sure that if she does lose, Bernie will not win. Cause that is decently likely, and ultimately, she would accomplish what the media, the DNC and the consultant class could not to this point. Some legacy, especially if Biden gets the nomination and loses to Trump. We could have had a Tommy Douglas like politician, but it was derailed by a horribly manipulative attack by someone that the media said was an ideological ally. Maybe I am assuming that people will be rational, and they likely won’t be.

        1. inode_buddha

          “Yes, but her supporters have to think a tiny bit about why people are angry and be willing to critically think about how their chosen candidate has acted.”

          I am doubtful that they will think. Certainly doubtful that they will think outside of narrow class and party interests.

          1. Bill Carson

            Yes, people use emotions to make decisions, and then they use reasoning to rationalize those decisions.

    2. Grant

      “To put in another way, this dustup could initially hurt the Warren campaign, preventing her from getting to 15%, and then it hurts the Sanders campaign when Warren bitter Warren voters refuse to support Sanders.”

      Possibly. But, are some of her supporters not a tiny bit turned off by her actions? The assumption would be that they are now emotionally tied to Warren and will just support her no matter what she does. Trump said that he could go out and shoot someone in public and his supporters would fall in line. Well, if that is the assumption, then maybe. But it also shows how little critical thought goes into wide societal issues when picking a candidate and how little, once many of her supporters have emotionally tied themselves to her, they are willing to critically think about actions by her that are objectively vile. If Bernie did this, I would think less of him and would feel a bit of sympathy for Warren. But, if my brain was thereafter gone and who I supported was overwhelmingly about that particular individual, then anything Bernie did would be defended, and anyone he attacked is then the enemy. It is mindless tribalism. There should be some shared common decency, and some thought process that looks beyond the immediate, which is winning an election and steamrolling anyone in the way regardless of the tactics. They destroy Bernie, provide cover for her actions, and then what? When our country is facing these massive issues, Biden is then left standing? Biden, with his obvious corruption, horrible record, mental decline and bad personal conduct? It is a shame that Bernie has to operate in this party. It is a train wreck and many that vote the primaries seem utterly lost. Don’t whine about how bad Trump is and how toxic the political environment is if you provide cover for how Warren has acted. It got this way because people excused that type of behavior.

      1. Bill Carson

        It helps me to remember that not everyone is at the same place on their political journey. Sanders has really moved the Overton Window. One of the biggest and (for some) most controversial issues in ’16 was the $15 minimum wage, and it feels like we’ve moved way past that.

        Warren is kind of a stepping stone for corporatist Dems to try on progressivism and see how it fits. We (Bernie supporters) need to encourage people to do that, and we need to be careful not to chastise them too severely for not moving to the left fast enough. But it’s just a thought.

          1. Isotope_C14

            We’re actually full-on screwed.

            I would really like to make an NC group up in upper MN, I gots land in Western ON. Not a bad trade. I can show ya’ll how to fish.

          2. Mo's Bike Shop

            We don’t have time for coddling

            The time to get started was the 1970s, and people did. My dad, a fan of appropriate technology, took me along to any tour he could finagle of solar-maximizing houses on the mid-Maine coast. Wood pellet stoves, etc.

            When I got to this Burg in 1980 there was a store in a mini strip mall selling street-legal electric cars. Our airport was powered by a solar thermal system.

            All gone by 84 or so.

            Anyway, we are past urgency, it’s triage now. We’re heading toward a brown future, even very good solutions are going to suck, and Americans™ expect simple solutions. Selling urgency-and-fulfillment will bring disappointment. Sanders or a GND will be hard pressed to send funds to anyone but the usual contractors, for plans written up when we we could employ competent people at 40:1 eroei.

            I’m more, ‘Vote for Sanders, and then maybe your grandkid will have the pony they need to get around.’ (We lament noise pollution, but boy howdy, horses have a lingering aroma.)

        1. Phenix

          No. People are dying. We can not wait for corporatists/PMC/blue fascists to try on progressive clothes. Bernie must win and/or the current Democratic party must be destroyed for the US to see any progressive change. Let the blue fascists pound sand while a multiracial intergenerational coalition beats Trump.

          Or Bernie could lose and people like me will work to get Trump re-elected in battleground states while team blue runs up the score in New York and California.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Do you think they will run up the score there?

            If its Biden, there is no token reason to vote. No one is going to tell their grandkids about how they voted for the third confirmed brain dead President of the 21st century. There isn’t an appeal there.

            Secondly, Trump won in 2016. There won’t be an inevitable Hillary Coronation. We don’t know how that will affect voting patterns especially ones in the MIC heavy spending corridors.

            As far as “centrists” go, Hillary was a better candidate than people realize when compared to the other “centrist.” The policies are disastrous, but they don’t have any real emotional cachet.

        2. Grant

          I get it, but let’s be honest, we are talking about economically comfortable people here. Working people in modern America don’t need to come around to anything, they are being crushed by this system. They have simply never had any real changes on the menu, and so they have largely checked out of this political system. It doesn’t work for them, they don’t then bother to take part in it. The corruption that some liberal types might find distasteful, it is outright deadly to working people, poor people, the environment, cause that corruption leads to policies that harm actual people, ecosystems, etc. It has massive real world repercussions. The thing you describe is real, but it is more than anything economically privileged people starting to have a tiny bit of a social consciousness, realizing that the world outside their bubble doesn’t look like the HOA meeting they attend. They can vote based on ideology, but that is a privilege. Most working people don’t have the luxury of voting based on ideology, they have to consider how policy actually impacts them in ways the privileged don’t when the politicians offered up by the two parties are people like Biden and Trump. Part of that awakening should be THEM realizing why so many are angry and are pushing so hard for actual changes, trying to put themselves in the shoes of people not as fortunate. I come from academia, I was and often am surrounded by these people. They like to write about this or that in the abstract, they impress themselves at making simple things sound really complex, but they don’t like to be confronted with real world implications for the people and policies they support. They’d prefer that we just hear them say that they care about this or that, but not prove it with who they vote for or the policies they support.

          Given the environmental crisis anyway, they need to grow up a bit. Because Bernie is ultimately offering a very moderate platform, relative to what we actually need as far as long overdue structural changes. And these people have in fact voted us to the brink of societal collapse. Long story short, while I get what you are saying, much more should be expected of them than us being nice to them. Tell a family whose loved one died because of this healthcare system about pragmatism, and justify a candidate they tend to support that is paid to not change that system. They shield themselves from having to confront stuff like that, and it’s deadly and tiring.

            1. Mo's Bike Shop


              Grant, I enjoyed that, and have your comment open in a link for reading earlier in the evening tomorrow.

              Technical support for third generation Academic Administration PMCs has been very, very good to me. But I still have culture shock because I grew up around people who felt you should be good at at least one thing.

        3. jsn

          Warren is a wedge to stop the swing of the Overton door that’s opening where the window once was.

          Real material benefits for normal working people are something you can’t just see, they are something you can walk through to and inhabit.

          The oligarchy is doing everything money can buy to prevent that.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Overton window, Shmoverton Shwindow.

            What happens if the hierarchical system stops responding? Our–Impeachment! Nearly a War! But back to Impeachment! During the Primaries!–elites aren’t showing much on the cunning plan side. If this year isn’t 68, 21 will probably be ugly. Uglier. Like Nixon or Reagan being reelected. We all know how that turned out.

        4. False Solace

          > One of the biggest and (for some) most controversial issues in ’16 was the $15 minimum wage

          Don’t know how we’ve “moved past” it when the federal minimum wage is still $7.25/hour. Maybe you mean among Democrats? But even in Democrat controlled states, the highest minimum wage is $13 for medium+ employers in California, up from $12 as of 1/1. Doesn’t look like we’ve moved past anything to me.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Oof dah. I am having an ‘OK, Gen-X’ moment. I mean minimum wage crept up under Reagan. But not Obama. Um, this is awful? I’m sorry I missed that, I haven’t washed dishes in a while. Arrgh.

      2. russell1200

        As someone who has been supportive of Warren, all I can say is that this little dust up has not impressed me.

      3. nippersmom

        #Refundwarren trending would suggest that some of her erstwhile supporters are more than a tiny bit turned off by her latest specious display.

          1. Aumua

            Not good enough. How about “it should be obvious to anyone that Bernie sanders is not sexist, not racist and is as genuine a person as you’re going to find in this campaign. Any remarks that seem to imply otherwise were taken out of context”

          2. Grant

            LOL! Her campaign is a mess. Hire a bunch of Clinton flunkies and this is the drivel they come up with. Going to be hard to repair herself in the eyes of many on the left, and young people are pretty solidly on Bernie’s side. I would love to be a fly on the wall near AOC. She has said pretty supportive things of Warren, can’t imagine this is playing well with her, Omar or Talib. Have any of them commented on this? I think his sexism would be news to them.

            1. Jeff W

              Warren’s campaign is a mess and I’d surmise that the damage to her is irreparable—although, really, her campaign was basically damaged by her Medicare-for-All rollout.

              But this deescalation has the (perhaps, inadvertent) effect of helping get Warren supporters to vote for Bernie Sanders when Warren fails to hit 15% in Iowa because it delegitimizes viewing Sanders as sexist. Warren supporters don’t have a reason to be “bitter” when a Warren staffer is saying, credibly or not, “no one here is actually claiming Bernie himself is sexist.”

              Sure, none of this—the original claim, the walk-back—makes any sense but I’d surmise that those Warren supporters who are most susceptible to the original claim are also those who would most influenced by the walk-back.

              I’d surmise that Warren herself will walk it back, too, along the lines of “No, I don’t think Bernie is sexist” while continuing to insist that he “disagreed” with her that a woman can win in a presidential election. It would be typical of Warren to equivocate after making some claim that doesn’t have quite the effect that she expected.

          3. voteforno6

            This seems to confirm what I said in a previous comment thread (this morning’s, maybe), that her campaign seems to be focusing on tactics, with very little sense of strategy. What the fork did they think would happen, by unleashing this? What kind of tactical victory did they think would be worth risking this sort of blowback? More than likely, they didn’t think this through at all.

            I stand by my previous comment – those Clintonites that Warren has surrounded herself with are bad at politics. I think it demonstrates that they don’t actually believe in anything more than “winning,” whatever that may entail.

      4. Knifecatcher

        My wife was on the fence between Bernie and Warren and this has caused her to completely dump Warren.

    3. Martin Oline

      They process in Iowa, a number of years ago when I last attended several, is not to take a vote, but to count the total number of people attending who will be casting votes. They then determine the number of people it takes for the supporters of each candidate to reach the 15 percent threshold at that precinct, plus one, unless it happens to be an even number which is rare. Attendees then separate into groups of supporters and count themselves to see if they reach that threshold. If they do not but are close, they then try to recruit others to join them. If they are short of that number, they are lobbied to join another group.
      There are no initial votes taken as that is a waste of time, and a great deal of time is used at the beginning with passing resolutions and other party business. Not a great difference but that is how it works.

    1. JTee

      He doesn’t mince words here on the role of war and the US state. Saw him the other day on the Grayzone in another good segment as well.

    2. John Wright

      After watching this I remain astonished that Wilkerson assisted Colin Powell in making his case for Iraq WMD.

      He was 57 years old at the time (2002), but apparently believes:

      “We have become the law of the jungle, rather than, as we have been since 1945, the greatest supporter of international law and the rule of law in general across the face of the globe.

      The USA is “The greatest supporter of international law” after 1945?

      Since 1945 we have deposed foreign leaders (Chile, Iran), propped up foreign dictators (The Shah, Marcos), launched the Vietnam War, and launched harmful embargoes ( Cuba since 1962)

      Wilkerson had his crucial moment to shine in 2002, when he could have told Powell to simply say there is no reason to rush to war with Iraq as the evidence that Saddam Hussein had any desire to unleash USA military against his country made no strategic sense.

      Where was the Lawrence Wilkerson of today when the USA (and the world) needed him in 2002?

      1. John

        Guess you don’t believe in seeing the light or in the power of redemption. Would you be more comfortable if the man had never changed his mind?

    3. Procopius

      Haven’t watched the clip yet, but I have been skeptical of Wilkerson since I read his claim that he and Colin Powell really, really examined the underlying intelligence on every single point in the UN speech. I watched a video of that speech at the time (twelve hour time difference, I couldn’t watch it live), and just based on the CBR training I received in the Army and reading of common magazines and newspapers it was obvious that everything he said was a lie, and he should have known it better than me. Then there was the article Wilkerson wrote that, no, really, it wasn’t about the oil, really, really, please believe me.

  3. Donald

    The CBS story on the Navy UFO tape is both typical and infuriating. They are obviously embarrassed by it and refuse to treat it seriously. I see four possibilities. Maybe others can think of something.

    1. For some reason, the US Navy is engaged in a very elaborate hoax.
    This could tie into possibility 2–

    2. The US or somebody is developing highly advanced weapons, though I doubt anyone truly has the ability to do the things the UFO’s are supposed to do, so some of the reports might be deliberately exaggerated to throw people off. If it is a UFO story most reporters will avoid it. So make the subject ridiculous so if anyone does report seeing a secret test craft, people will laugh at them.

    I’m not sure that makes sense, but people do laugh off UFO’s, so it might make sense to hide a secret program by presenting it as something that only kooks talk about.

    It could also be some other country. But I don’t think we can build things that can come close to doing what UFO’s supposedly do.

    3. Take the story at face value. There really are craft that seem able to do what seems impossible to do. Then talk about all the cases where people made mistakes and speculate uselessly about whether or not aliens would or would not be here. Laugh nervously and change the subject.

    4. Maybe there is a mundane explanation besides hoax and the Navy is just amazingly incompetent.

    One would think a competent press corps would want to determine which one it is, but we don’t have a competent press corps. It seems like an important story even if it is just 1 or 4.

    1. ambrit

      As I commented this morning over on Links; what if the extended videos managed to get good close up shots of the “objects,” and they had Luftwaffe markings?

      1. MichaelSF

        Just like in “Iron Sky” with the moon Nazis, and then later in the sequel we find out the earth is hollow and filled with alien lizard Nazis riding dinosaurs. It must be true!

        1. Donald

          I forgot to include alien lizard Nazis on my list of possible explanations. I suppose they would be a subcategory under possibility 3.

          1. ambrit

            Yes, and, in the Iron Sky 2 teaser, it is a woman President who is working for the Hollow Earthers and brings about Surface Apocalypse. Talk about prescience, precision and precession!

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          I did not know there was a sequel. I’ve been following Torssonen since Lost Contact. The Palin expy in Iron Sky probably prepared me for Trump.

    2. Roy G

      When I hear “grave damage” to U.S. national security, I interpret it as ‘bad for the ruling class,’ and so, I hope this material does see the light of day in public and that it is a grave as advertised. At this point, I think we need a deus ex machina like this to dissolve the oligarchy!

    3. Wukchumni

      What if a ‘undocumented alien’ who looked just like us, got out of his spaceship that landed on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and produced a checklist of around 30 items, and told fearless leader that he was just doing a 10,000 year checkup on the planet we call Earth?

      1. polecat

        It would be the supreme irony of ironies, if our alien overlords (should they in fact, exist) stated bluntly .. that they intend to take ‘their’ oil from ‘our’ Earth.

        1. ambrit

          Being an advanced “alien” culture, what would fill the function in their culture that petroleum fills in ours? How to ‘power’ a culture?

    4. Rosario

      I think when faced with a fate similar to James McDonald (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_E._McDonald) few scientists are willing to humor UFO research in any regimented and open way. As a result, the methods contained in item #2 on your list have likely been used by the US military establishment, this independent of whether or not UFOs are real.

      I’ve heard a lot of fun theories out there on UFOs. The most fun of them go into elaborate detail about shadow governments and the utilization of alien technology, etc. This typically given as the nightmare scenario. Though I find it far more bizarre, terrifying, and realistic to imagine that governments are fully aware of and have information on UFOs, but they know about as much as we do. In addition to this, they use UFOs as an on-again/off-again Macguffin to distract and disorganize research in military affairs. Potentially exposes a whole new dimension of cynicism in the US military.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are they time-traveling aliens or not?

        Could someone have been tipped off by a Back-To-The Future alien kid in the 1980’s to become a billionaire today?

    5. petal

      There’s a Barney Miller episode where Wojo sees a UFO over Staten Island, and the air force/govt sends a guy up to talk him out of it/give the official line that it was a weather balloon. heh. That aired in 1978!

    6. The Rev Kev

      It could be that orders have been given to try to shoot one down so that the wreckage can be salvaged and learned from. I think that orders for this to happen was given in the 50s but there was such an outcry the orders were rescinded. You could imagine how tempting a target an advanced ship would be for a corporate Pentagon and how anything salvaged could be monetized. Certainly Trump would give the go ahead for such an order as being quite natural to do. After all, what could possible go wrong?


      1. Procopius

        John W. Campbell, editor of Analog Science Fact and Fiction Magazine ran an editorial describing how a then-current ram-jet guided anti-aircraft missile would have appeared to scientists in the 1930s if one were somehow transported back in time. The principle of jet engines was known, but a ramjet would have baffled them. No way it could work. They probably could have figured out from the resistors and condensers that the radio was an electronic device, but no vacuum tubes? And what are these incredibly pure germanium things for? At the time they did not have chemical analysis techniques adequate to detect the trace elements in the germanium that let electrons move, and even if they had they didn’t have the theory to explain transistors. It was a very interesting discussion, and I’ve probably forgotten a lot more that he included. Of course technology today would be even more baffling to them. That was a difference of only twenty years. I have little doubt that if we did manage to shoot down one of the alleged craft we would be faced with similar barriers.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Ever thought that if you could go back in time say, about twenty years, with your mobile in your pocket, that that mobile would be worth billions because of the technological differences?

  4. RubyDog

    Taiwan Healthcare system.

    This is just some anecdotal stuff, as I have no knowledge of how the system is financed and organized. My son recently spent a year there as an ESL teacher. He was fully covered. Fortunately he had no major health issues, but the few times he went for some minor problems, he got efficient care for $5 US out of pocket. He also had some dental work that involved multiple visits, each time was $5 out of pocket. When we visited him, we saw numerous storefront type medical clinics that were open into the evenings. Waiting rooms were always full.

    1. a different chris

      >Waiting rooms were always full

      See? Seeeee!!!! People will over-consume healthcare if not given barriers! I bet (looks around nervously) those people weren’t even, well we’ll call it “melanin-challenged”, huh!!! /s

      Moving to being half-serious:

      >The Taiwanese health care system is built on the belief that everyone deserves health care,

      Honestly, in this country I’m not sure that in addition to the earnestness of that statement, Sanders surrogates and the like should also pull long faces and say sotto-voice stuff like “do you want your little ones to catch something from your un-or-underinsured maid or teacher?? Do you really want to risk that?”

      I mean appealing to people’s worst instincts is a proven success track. There was a story from a very long time ago that car companies did much better if they followed the results of the survey question “what kind of car would your neighbor buy” – which led to detailed outrage over the neighbors flashy tastes – rather than the results of “what car would you buy” which always came up with a 4 door sedan with 3-on-the-tree and a “reliable” 6cyl.

      Which actually sold like the opposite of hotcakes, as fond as my memories of my dad’s ’64 Rambler were….

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Two points about the Taiwan system:

      1. The article doesn’t point out how starved of resources it is – they spend something like 5.5% of GNP on healthcare, compared to 7-8% for countries like the UK and South Korea/Japan, 10-12% for France/Germany, and 17% for the US. There is a huge focus on keeping costs low rather than giving the best healthcare. The problems with overcrowding and poor conditions for doctors should be seen in this light.

      2. The overuse of hospital seems to reflect a poor system of family doctors/GP’s. Most countries with single-payer or government healthcare use family doctors or clinics as the ‘gateways’ to the hospital. In other words, unless its an emergency, you only get treated if you are referred by your doctor (or you get charged). A feature of many Asian countries is that they have a poor system of general doctors which means everything gets dumped on hospitals. This I think is one area where single payer insurance systems are weaker than NHS type systems – with single payer systems there is a focus on hospitals as its much easier to control them cost-wise than lots of small medical practices or clinics.

  5. ambrit

    Re. the philanthropy article. This morning I took all our plastic over to a collection station set up by the local State University. On the way out of the “Education Exclusive Enclave,” ‘EEE’ for short, I passed some medium sized ‘lawn signs’ set up in the median in front of a recently built student housing building, (think big boxy condo building.) They read; “Thank Philanthropy for these new student housing buildings.” What happened to the days of unassuming private benefactors? It’s bad enough that the really wealthy indirectly impoverish the rest of us. Now they want us to “kiss the whip” too!

    1. Bill Carson

      If “Philanthropy” paid for the student housing, then it must be free for the students, right?

  6. Tim

    “I’m stunned that Sanders is leading in California, given that this is a liberal Democrat heartland.”

    That it may be for the aging establishment voters, but California was, is and always will be progressive, to the purest definition of that word. Hence the saying, as goes California so goes the nation.

    So, you shouldn’t be too surprised by this, and it’s a really big deal for winning the nomination given the population.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Jumanji 2 came out over Xmas and both Danny DeVito and Danny Glover are main characters. Couple the movies success with DeVitos underground fame as Frank Reynolds on FXs Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Bernies got himself a very good endorsement.

        Theres a famous meme of DeVito as Reynolds on a News Show with guns in his hand. The caption reads, ‘So anyways, I started blasting.’

    1. jrs

      The funny irony is that progressives may well take the coasts, yes Sanders may well win the left coast!, and who would it surprise if they did, not many who live there, even though hating coastals is a popular past time.

      But maybe CA has NEVER been liberal democrat as far as voters, it was at one point a pretty seriously divided state with a strong *Republican* presence, Prop 13, Prop 187, Pete Wilson etc. But that was decades ago, and long gone.

      Liberal democrats may get elected but if that’s who is on the ballot and a token Republican, and so that’s who people vote for, urban Californians do not like Republicans with very good reason of course. And the rural areas vote Republican but are greatly outnumbered. Noone can vote for someone not on the ballot (well they can with a write-in, but that never accomplishes anything). I don’t think all Californians are heavily involved in politics, so apathy, rather than liberalism is probably an accusation with more merit.

      If anyone paid attention not to the politicians but to ballot measures they’d see the state has been leaning pretty seriously left recently. So does that mean all offices easily fall to progressives, no, that’s not happening easily ANYWHERE (can anyone say anywhere it is, more than a district here or there?), but it might eventually.

    2. Procopius

      … California was, is and always will be progressive, to the purest definition of that word.

      Have you ever read Grapes of Wrath? I recommend it.

  7. Tim

    “Both in the “trashing me” flap and the “Sanders is sexist” flap, the Warren campaign did not use surrogates; they put Warren right out there as a spokesperson (directly quoting her in a campaign press release in the latter case). That seems risky and weird to me.”

    One of Warren’s political vices is appearing to be a whiner, sore loser, type to the electorate. This fits with that take. It is indeed very risky, as she is clearly lagging Sanders at this point.

    1. Darthbobber

      These were clearly teed up together. The “trashing me” thing is designed to allow a “they started it” justification for the second, “Bernie said a woman can’t win” potshot.

      Warren’s staked out some uncomfortable ground, here. Since she’s clearly the source and the person who gave the go-ahead, the “we’ll let this private chat stay private” line is too cute by quite a bit.

    2. Bill Carson

      Can anyone confirm that if Warren fails to garner 15% in the Iowa Caucus, that her voters will be released to vote for someone else?

      If this is the way it works, I can’t think of a better motive to drive a wedge between Warren and Sanders’ supporters at this crucial time.

      1. katiebird

        In caucus states any group that doesn’t meet the 15% threshold does not receive delegates. Often there is campaigning to get members of larger groups to join the sad ones. And of course campaigning from the larger groups to get the sad ones to join them. It can be intense.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      This makes me wonder if Warren hasn’t been an undercover Clintonite all along. With Clinton operatives guiding her campaign at key points.

  8. Jason Boxman

    Indeed, I got a Sunrise email today trying to raise funds to send volunteers to Iowa for Sanders.

  9. Plenue

    Yesterday katiebird linked to Riverdaughter’s Confluence site. I want to, uh, thank her, if that’s really the right word to use here.

    Before I was dimly aware of the existence of diehard Clintonites who hated Obama (as opposed to the much more common standard clueless liberal who loves them both), but had never bothered to observe them myself. Now I have.

    It was like staring into a vortex of pure madness.

    There’s a permanent ‘An Invitation to Democrats in Exile’ post from 2008, which presents the site’s thesis. That thesis basically being that Clinton represents the old school, New Deal Democrats, while Obama was/is the soulless neoliberal who hates the working class and is buoyed by identity politics.

    I can’t even begin to grasp how someone can have such a worldview and be so completely oblivious to the fact that not only are the Clintons just as much empty neoliberals who have disowned working people, but that they were key to the party shifting to a neoliberal platform focused on minorities and highly educated professionals.

    And of course the site seems to be solidly anti-Sanders, who actually is the old school FDR Democrat. It’s literally making my brain hurt trying to figure out her perspective.

    1. katiebird

      In my defense, I referred to TC without linking. I was an early resident of the site but drifted away as it became more and more clear that I didn’t fit in. I haven’t been there for ages but checked in yesterday to see what they thought about recent events. Pretty shocking. And sad.

      I had my reason’s for supporting Clinton in 2008 but I guess I was never a diehard supporter.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      They hate Sanders more than they hate Obama. If Sanders is nominated they will either “not vote” or maybe even vote for Trump if they think that is what it takes to defeat Sanders. They hate Sanders for somehow “harming” Clinton’s chances in 2016, and they want revenge.

      I will remind people that I have said in the past that the millions of Clintonites would become a threat and a menace to civic survival of the United States.

      1. Plenue

        I would expect cynical party leaders to act like that, but the rank and file? They’ve been subjected to years of hysterical ‘Orange Man Bad’; how many will genuinely be able to rebel against that conditioning when it comes time to vote? I get that they loathe Sanders, but they also viscerally loathe Trump, convinced he’s a Russian fascist puppet etc.

        I suppose it’ll come down to a weird internal battle of propaganda in the minds of individuals.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          A co-equal part of those years of hysterical propaganda was ‘ evil Putin-stooge asset Sanders conspired against Clinton to help elect Orange Bad Man’.

          Disappointed ClintoWarrenite voters actually voting for Trump won’t amount to a hill of beans?
          Neither will disappointed ClintoWarrenite voters voting for Sanders. If Sanders gets nominated, he will get a few hundred to a few thousand ClintoWarrenite Pink Pussy Hat votes. No more than that.

          Just can’t believe that? Go look up Riverdaughter’s The Confluence blog. Click on it. Read it. And read the comments. Put your nose right up against the screen so you can smell the koolade.

      2. chuck roast

        Maybe. But as I recall the recent Bill and Hill Tour had a lot of empty arena seats disguised as human beings. Follow that up with Hill assisting on Chelsea’s Coming Out Tour. Another flat liner.
        We can only hope that the Clintons have finally and thankfully lost their luster.

      3. Kurt Sperry

        The crossover Clintonite votes to Trump if Bernie wins the nom won’t add up to a hill of beans. He is literally Satan to them.

  10. Jonathan Holland Becnel


    Clemson had a 29 game win streak and their last loss happened in 2017.

    There are rumors going around that the New Orleans Saints were sacrificed in some sort of Voodoo Blood Magic. Burrow was spotted with bloody lips while holding a goblet of feathers and bone.

    When asked about this at the Press Conference, Coach Ed ‘Eaux’ Orgeron reportedly took a few moments then said, ‘Geaux Tigahs.’

    1. Carolinian

      One of my neighbors had a Clemson tiger blowup in his front yard. This morning after the storm it was flat on its back. Kinda says it all.

  11. politicaleconomist

    Reinhardt did play a big roll in getting Taiwan to choose single payer and has been honored for it there, according to someone I know from PNHP. But, he withheld support for single payer in the United States. Kinda weird but this is what I come across all the time on this issue: THE UNITED STATES IS DIFFERENT they say. Someone who knew him told me that he wouldn’t budge. Victor Fuchs was also like this.

    1. jo6pac

      Well that’s easy because we in Amerika always hear that we can’t do that here because Amerika is to big;-)
      Finland education system, nope we’re to big.
      Real Heath Care system, Nope we’re to big
      Endless wars, Nope that how we stay big
      Helping and Helping the Homeless, Nope we need the money for taxes breaks for the 1%
      Helping GIs when they come home, Hope cost to much and are on the same health we all are own. Please hurry up and die.
      There a lot more but it’s time to light the pipe and have some Rum to dumb the pain of living in Amerika run by greedy little puppets.

    2. marym

      I’d read that William Hsiao (who has also studied and advised on healthcare systems around the world) was the lead in designing the Taiwan system. Just did a little checking to find both were involved. Sad to report that Hsiao has an article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs also saying the US is different. He suggests a gradual approach (that may take 2 to 3 decades) (repeat – decades!!) using private insurance, and (trigger warning) not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Sigh.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Establishment Pundits Go Nuts Over New Russian Hacking Conspiracy”

    Personally I believe that the Russians did hack Burisma. And that is the problem. They managed to download all those files before all the paperwork could be shredded and the computer files deleted and written over. And that is why the panic. The Russians have the goods on the Bidens. That is why the appeal by corporate media editors to refuse to publish the material or call it Russian disinformation. It is too hot. Remember that time CNN said it’s illegal for the public to look at Wikileaks Clinton emails but not for them and the public should trust them to say what was in them? I do. This is kinda like that.
    I love the smell of corporate media panic in the morning. It smells like a Bernie victory.

  13. anon in so cal

    Saw this on Twitter, know nothing about it, yet. Kyle Jurek? Is this related to Warren’s smears, or some new anti-Sanders scheme?

    ETA: It is apparently a right-wing attack, from Project Veritas.

  14. IMOR

    Nadler would have been decent manager of stronger impeachint articles…fifteen years ago. Schiff is the emblematic likely android replacement for Nancybot..So unbelievable they don’t realize how weak and sad this ooks to real voters…or authentic people. Should just wait two more weeks then drop it. Feeble.

  15. anon in so cal

    Is Pompeo threatening to assassinate Russian or Chinese generals?

    “Qassem Suleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by US foes that also applies to China and Russia, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has said, further diluting the assertion that the senior Iranian general was targeted because he was plotting imminent attacks on US assets.

    In his speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Suleimani. It only was in response to a question that he repeated his earlier assertion that pre-empting such plots was the reason for the 3 January US drone strike on Iran’s second most powerful official.,,,”


  16. Richard Hayes

    The article, by CNN correspondent MJ Lee, is so journalistically shoddy that someone reading only the first few paragraphs would end up believing that it is a fact that the current top-polling candidate for the February 3 Iowa Caucus actually said that. Never is Sanders’ ‘quote’ prefaced with the term ‘allegedly.’ None of the four anonymous staffers/friends making the charge of Sanders sexism were actually witnesses who were apparently in the room that day. Two, according to Lee, spoke to Warren ‘shortly after’ that meeting. The other two ‘sources’ were described only as people who ‘knew about the meeting.’”… Why were CNN’s sources allowed to makes such an explosive, far-fetched claim anonymously?

    This is the same level of direct knowledge as the Ukrainian Call Whistle Blower had. So now we know Shiff’s standard is the same as The Communist News Network: CNN.

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