2:00PM Water Cooler 1/15/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this will be longer on politics and with more UPDATES than usual, because I had to run down some rumors about the debates. –lambert UPDATE All done. If you’re returning, I did so much re-arranging and tinkering with the politics section that I didn’t mark each change.


“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 two new national polls today: HarrisX and YouGov nationally, as of 1/15/2020, 12:00 PM 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. 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:

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.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Biden Allegedly Told Bush He’d Get The Nobel Peace Prize If He Could Invade Iraq Quickly” [HuffPo]. “‘ got a commitment from President Bush he was not going to go to war in Iraq,’ said Biden. ‘He looked me in the eye in the Oval Office; he said he needed the vote (authorizing the war) to be able to get inspectors into Iraq to determine whether or not (Iraqi dictator) Saddam Hussein was engaged in dealing with a nuclear program. He got them in, and before we know it, we had a shock and awe. Immediately, the moment it started, I came out against the war at that moment.'” • Leaving aside “the moment it started,” this anecdote doesn’t build my confidence that Biden will be able work across the aisle successful. Bush took him. Bush.

Klobuchar (D)(1): “Why Voters Are Nervous About Amy Klobuchar” [Politico]. • Shorter: Klobuchar is stuck in fifth because of misogyny (and not, just saying, because she throws binders at staff or pursues them vengefully).

Sanders (D)(1): If the Sanders campaign played rough:

Sanders (D)(2): “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has doubled his lead over President Donald Trump in a hypothetical general election match-up, according to new polling from Morning Consult. The latest data, which was drawn from surveys of more than 40,000 registered voters from January 6 to 12, showed Sanders beating Trump by 4 percentage points, up from a previous 2 percent lead, at 46 percent compared to the president’s 42 percent. Although Biden still performs slightly better—46 percent compared to 41 percent for Trump—Morning Consult noted that Sanders outperformed Biden among independents and young voters, or those 18 to 29 years old” [Newsweek].

Sanders (D)(3): “National immigrant rights group endorses Sanders” [Politico]. “Make the Road Action, an immigrant rights group, is endorsing Bernie Sanders for president, lending the Vermont senator significant political muscle in the early caucus state of Nevada and a delegate-heavy group of northeastern states.The 10-year-old organization, which mobilizes immigrants and minority communities for political action in Connecticut, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, has not previously endorsed candidates in presidential races.” • More troops in the field, adding to the Sunrise Movement.

Steyer (D)(1): “What The Hell Is Tom Steyer Doing On That Debate Stage?” [Buzzfeed]. “Some of the candidates who aren’t there also raised and spent millions. But only Steyer exploited the DNC’s complex system, in which you need to meet percentage requirements in a series of polls to qualify for the debates. He realized that popularity in South Carolina in December and January can be bought relatively cheap — and converted into a coveted spot on the Des Moines stage. And so he essentially converted an investment in a strangely early advertising campaign in South Carolina — when he was basically alone on the air there — into poll results that got him into the debate. Soon, the system leaves the hands of the DNC and enters (mostly) the hands of Democratic voters. You probably can’t arbitrage your way to the nomination.”

Trump (R)(1): “Trump takes Sanders’ side in tiff with Warren over prospect of female U.S. president” [Reuters]. “”I don’t believe that Bernie said that. I really don’t. It’s not the kind of a thing he would say,” Trump said, adding that he did not know Sanders and did not like him.” • Donald Trump, master troll and shit-stirrer extraordinaire.

Trump (R)(2): “Poll: Majority supports Trump’s decision to not strike back against Iran” [Politico]. “An overwhelming majority of voters support President Donald Trump’s decision to not pursue military action against Iran last week after Tehran launched a missile strike targeting two air bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found.”

Warren (D)(1): The Third Rail of Calling ‘Sexism’ Warren tried not to talk about it.” [Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine]. “On Monday, CNN’s MJ Lee reported that according to several sources, during a private 2018 meeting between Warren and Bernie Sanders…” • “Several sources,” none of whom were at the meeting, and all of whom, therefore, derived their information from Warren. So there’s only one source. More: “What has been exposed here are some of the complicated, painful, difficult dynamics that have kept women from the presidency for the country’s entire history.” • It’s not complicated. It’s simple. Warren needs not to fall below the 15% threshold to get delegates in the Iowa caucuses, and she’s hovering at that level now. She needs to take voters from somewhere, and decided to take them from Sanders. (There is also the account that she wants to be Biden’s Vice President, but I don’t think wants to watch his back all the time. or make sure all his meetings with Warren get recorded. Of course, the Biden campaign could certainly have given Warren a different impression.

Warren (D)(2): “#Refundwarren Trends After Elizabeth Warren Accuses Bernie Sanders Of Saying A Woman Couldn’T Beat Trump” [Newsweek]. “It was not immediately clear how many Warren donor refunds ActBlue is processing or if the refunds were offset by higher donations. Newsweek asked ActBlue for comment by email and will update this article if one is provided.” • I can’t find any number on this. I do think refunds are a terrific feature and a good way to hold candidates accountable.

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“Warren, Sanders backers feud after ‘Pocahontas’ text message” [Associated Press]. “A text message that referred to Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” that was sent through rival Bernie Sanders’ volunteer messaging system led to social media feuding and confusion among supporters of both candidates. It turns out the text message came from a rogue Sanders campaign volunteer believed to be a supporter of President Donald Trump, the campaign told The Associated Press. The individual was removed from the system.” • It seems clear to me that there will continue to be such individual cases — whether spontaneous or ratf#cking — in an enormous volunteer-driven canvassing system. It would be best of such cases were treated as non-stories, instead of making individuals proxies for entire campaigns. Patterns of behavior would be an other thing.

The Debates

Debate Numbers

Viewership: “Democratic Debate Viewership Rises, But Still Far Off From Ratings Highs In 2020 Cycle” [Deadline]. “CNN’s coverage of the Democratic presidential debate drew an estimated 7.3 million viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen Media Research. That’s a slight uptick from the the 6.17 million who watched the debate in December, sponsored by PBS and Politico, and the 6.5 million who watched November’s event, hosted by MSNBC. But the debate numbers are a big drop from those held earlier in the cycle.”

Social media:


Fundraising: “Despite the pummeling by moderators, a staffer for the Sanders campaign said it had its best fundraising hour of any debate thus far, with more than 15,000 contributions. The campaign said the donations, which totaled $1.7 million by the end of the night, accounted for 43 percent of all money raised on the Democratic fundraising site ActBlue during that period of time” [The Intercept].

* * *

Warren refuses to shake hands with Sanders

Bloomberg video:

Warren wringing her hands in the video is so suggestive. Macbeth, Act V, Scene 1:

LADY MACBETH: Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!

DOCTOR What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.

GENTLEWOMAN I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.

“Can a woman win the presidency? Clash exposes deeper issue” [Associated Press]. “Warren responded, ‘Bernie is my friend and I’m not here to try and fight with Bernie.” She then drew sustained applause by noting that the male candidates on stage had lost elections while she and the only other woman participating, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, have not.” • Breaking off here for Matt Bruenig’s comment:

Sanders should have made this point himself. (See also the Lowell Sun, “Peter Lucas: A rigged Democrat political system? Ask a beneficiary, Elizabeth Warren” for detail on Warren’s 2012 election.)

Back to AP: “After the debate, video showed Sanders extending his hand but Warren not shaking it, and the pair engaged in a subsequent brief but seemingly intense discussion.” • This is really astonishing to me, not least for its lack of logic; how can Warren simultaneously run as/be framed as a unity candidate, while refusing a basic gesture of courtesy and respect to an opponent, especially one she was calling a “friend” only minutes before? The campaign must surely have gamed this out, since the debate format is very stylized, and the cameras still run, but… What’s the endgame? Driving the Sanders faction out of the Party?

Naturally, people are trying to lip-read the video. Here is an example of the genre:

Let’s give Nina Turner the final word. This video is worth watching:

I’ve only seen Turner from afar, on the stage. She’s pretty impressive close up. Smart, aware, funny, ironic, on task, and very stylist. My heavens.

* * *

“Democratic officials have reason to hope for a happy ending. The debate shows why” [WaPo]. “The Democratic Party’s dream is that at the end of the convention, as the balloons fall from the rafters, all umpty-seven candidates who started the race can come onstage and join hands in unity against Trump. Tuesday’s debate didn’t change the race, but it did give Democratic officials reason to hope that the happy ending they seek for might actually happen. These were not bitter rivals. They actually seemed to like each other.” • Oh?

Our Famously Free Press

People are starting to stare:

Naturally, people are writing out new scripts for the CNN moderators:

And from the post-debate analysis, where CNN defended its “reporting” on Warren’s planted story:

With enemies like this, who needs “friends”?

“CNN Has It In for Bernie” [Jeet Heer, The Nation]. “CNN was so consistently aligned against Bernie Sanders that it compromised its claim to journalistic neutrality…. CNN’s treatment of Sanders raises a major problem that he’s going to have to confront going forward: Some major players in the mainstream media are clearly unafraid to cover him in a biased and one-sided manner. But this problem also has an upside: Sanders thrives under adversity, and he can use these examples of bias to fundraise and to mobilize his base. The Sanders campaign is a gamble, and one major uncertainty is whether his base is strong enough to overcome consistently negative media coverage.” • And another “pillar of the regime” begins to crumble. NOTE: I believe that Sanders came out in support of a union at CNN. But I haven’t been able to find the link again. Can readers help?


“Senators Prepare for Trump Trial That Could Run Into February” [Bloomberg]. “McConnell has said the procedures would hew closely to the initial rules set by the Senate in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. That would allow votes on witnesses and documents only after both sides have presented their cases and senators have asked questions. That process alone is expected to take about two weeks, running right up against the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses. The four Democratic senators running for president — Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet — will be largely off the campaign trail and sitting in the trial, potentially prohibited from even using their cell phones during trial proceedings.” • So this time around, the Democrat leadership has rigged the calendar in favor of Joe Biden?

Stats Watch

Real Estate: Thread:

Real Estate: “How Did Alleged Ukrainian Money Launderers Buy Up Downtown Cleveland?” [Belt Magazine]. “In May 2019, a lawsuit “alleging massive money laundering via American real estate by Ihor Kolomoisky” was filed by the Ukrainian financial institution PrivatBank. The suit claims that Kolomoisky and Ukrainian associates funnelled illegally-obtained funds into American real estate deals. During the course of this alleged money laundering, they became the largest property owners in Cleveland. They purchased, under the name Optima Ventures, five skyscrapers between 2008-2010: One Cleveland Center, 55 Public Square, Huntington Building, AECOM/Penton Media Building, and the Crowne Plaza Building. Then they let those buildings deteriorate, and sold them at a loss. (They also bought a steel mill in Warren, which has since gone out of business, its 162 workers laid off.) It’s an astounding story with national implications, and features some of our favorite characters from the news, including Rudy Giuliani, Dmytro Firtash, and Igor Zelenskiy.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing hasn’t hit bottom yet. Neither have suppliers.” [Leeham News & Analysis]. “When Boeing restarts production, it won’t be turning a key and resuming rate 42/mo, which was in place when production shut down this month. Based on available information, the initial production rate will be between 10-15 MAXes per month. The return to rate 42 likely won’t occur until 2021. Achieving rate 57/mo, which was the goal by the end of 2019, now likely won’t occur until late 2022 at the earliest. This is one of dozens of scenarios Boeing has gamed out. It’s the one that, at the moment, stands out. This, like so many other things, could change…. It will be challenging for Small suppliers to stay in business…. A slow return to full production also places [Boeing] jobs at risk…. The disruption to the airlines and lessors will be huge… Boeing’s cash flow will be reduced for years to come. The 737 accounted for about 40% of Boeing’s profits before it was grounded. The dramatic production decline will eat into this cash flow proportionately.” • Oof.

Manufacturing: Ouch:

“Flaps down.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 88 Extreme Greed (previous close: 90 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 92 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 15 at 12:31pm.

The Biosphere

“Does Consciousness Pervade the Universe?” [Scientific American]. “Human beings have a very rich and complex experience; horses less so; mice less so again. As we move to simpler and simpler forms of life, we find simpler and simpler forms of experience. Perhaps, at some point, the light switches off, and consciousness disappears. But it’s at least coherent to suppose that this continuum of consciousness fading while never quite turning off carries on into inorganic matter, with fundamental particles having almost unimaginably simple forms of experience to reflect their incredibly simple nature. That’s what panpsychists believe…Consciousness, for the panpsychist, is the intrinsic nature of matter.”

“Australians ‘may become climate refugees’ as global temperatures soar: US expert” [SBS News]. “‘It is conceivable that much of Australia simply becomes too hot and dry for human habitation,” Dr [Michael] Mann, who is director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, told Reuters. ‘In that case, yes, unfortunately, we could well see Australians join the ranks of the world’s climate refugees.'” • Not, I would bet, the aboriginals.

“Ashes to Ashes” [Grist]. “The view from above is dramatic, but the two Altamaha Riverkeeper employees are more interested in the thick black sludge darkening the ground below. Once coal becomes ash, Georgia Power mixes it with water and stores it in ponds collectively large enough to hold roughly 4,700 Olympic-sized swimming pools of contents. But whereas in a pool, the cement barrier keeps water from spilling out, no protective lining exists between the waste and the land underneath.” • Oy.

“Nutria: The Invasive Rodents of Unusual Size” [LiveScience]. “Nutria, also known as coypu or swamp rats, are large rodents that live in areas with lots of freshwater…. Nutria have a voracious appetite for wetland plants and will chow down an entire plant… [N]utria aren’t considered picky eaters as they’re often caught eating crops such as rice, sugarcane and corn.., Nutria are now considered one of the most ecologically harmful invasive species on the planet…. Nutria eat about 25% of their body weight each day in plants and their roots, wreaking havoc on the native ecosystem. Because the animals eat the entire plant, the vegetation are less likely to grow back…” • First feral hogs, now this. Though on the bright side, I thought the headline implied that new, giant-sized nutria had appeared, but it seems nutria have always been of unusual size. Phew!

Health Care

“How the Health Insurance Industry (and I) Invented the ‘Choice’ Talking Point” [Wendell Potter, New York Times]. “There’s a dangerous talking point being repeated in the Democratic primary for president that could affect the survival of millions of people, and the finances of even more. This is partly my fault. When the candidates discuss health care, you’re bound to hear some of them talk about consumer ‘choice.’ If the nation adopts systemic health reform, this idea goes, it would restrict the ability of Americans to choose their plans or doctors, or have a say in their care. It’s a good little talking point, in that it makes the idea of changing the current system sound scary and limiting. The problem? It’s a P.R. concoction. And right now, somewhere in their plush corporate offices, some health care industry executives are probably beside themselves with glee, drinking a toast to their public relations triumph. I should know: I was one of them.” • Potter should really have mentioned the lobbying muscle (and money) of P4AHCF — that’s what moved the needle on “choice” (beyond the usual liberal Democrat cravenness and faith in the magic of the marketplace).

Class Warfare

“FedEx mounts big-money push to head off unionization by US workers” [Guardian]. “The Guardian obtained recordings of meetings that were mandatory and required workers to sign in, according to a FedEx employee, held at FedEx facilities in 2015 and 2016, where managers and union avoidance consultants lectured workers on unions as the Teamsters was attempting to organize FedEx drivers at several locations around the United States. ‘It’s time to campaign. If you don’t want this third party coming in putting a wall between us, it’s time. Because when you campaign and tell them you don’t want them here, eventually it becomes loud and clear to them. You can do that,’ said a FedEx human resources manager in a July 2016 captive audience meeting.”

“The Crippling Effect of Incarceration on Wealth” [Prison Policy Initiative]. “Once an individual is incarcerated, they often lose what little wealth they have and are left with little to no wealth accumulation. Once released, that individual may make gains in wealth accumulation, but they will always remain at significantly lower levels of wealth compared to those who are never incarcerated in their lifetime…. White men that never experience incarceration will accumulate the most wealth compared to Black and Hispanic men regardless of incarceration status. At the other end of the spectrum, Black men that are incarcerated at some point in their lifetime accumulate less wealth compared to all other groups regardless of incarceration status. Later in life, this disparity endures. As the survey respondents got older, white men who experienced incarceration reported higher levels of wealth compared to Black men who had never experienced incarceration.”

“Another Timothy Geithner Scandal” [CEPR]. “Tim Geithner might have left his job as Treasury Secretary seven years ago, but his legacy lives on. The Wall Street Journal reported that the financial firm Morningstar had reached a settlement with the SEC over marketing it had done for firms whose bonds it had rated. SEC rules prohibit rating agencies from doing promotional work for firms whose bonds it rates. This is done to prevent the obvious conflict of interest, that it may give better ratings as part of a promotional effort…. This was one of the problems that led to the run-up in the housing bubble, the collapse of which caused the Great Recession. [Franken’s] amendment [to Dodd-Frank] would [have required] issuers to contact the SEC, who would then select the rating agency. This would eliminate the incentive to give good ratings to attract more business. The Franken amendment passed with bipartisan support, getting 65 votes in the Senate. Unfortunately, as he discusses in his autobiography, Tim Geithner arranged to have the amendment killed in the conference committee. Ensuring that the corrupt system we had in the housing bubble years was left in place.” • No scandals in the Obama years, no siree!

News of the Wired

“Why the game of Life used to have poverty, suicide, and ruin” [Vox]. “Bradley’s morals were deeply embedded in the original game of Life in other ways, too. Unlike later versions, the original game didn’t have money — it relied instead on points on squares to calculate the winner. The goal wasn’t a fat retirement fund, but rather ‘happy old age.’ Those who achieved it did so through industrious living (and by playing the game prudently). An early brochure for the game claimed that “it is only by constant and renewed exertion that lost ground can be regained.” And victory was obtained by being appropriate — not by gaining cash. That meant players had to run the risk of landing on depressing squares, like suicide, that showed the consequences of playing Life (and living life) the wrong way. If you hit the suicide square, you were thrown out of the game. ‘Milton Bradley envisioned happy old age as the goal of the game of Life,’ Snyder says. ‘It was much more moral in its original interpretation.'” • I wonder if the old vesion exists anywhere, so it could be played.

“You will be helped! Research using real-world situations fails to replicate the ‘bystander effect'” [Boing Boing]. Genuinely good news:

For decades, the “bystander effect” (previously) has been a bedrock of received psychological wisdom: “individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present; the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that one of them will help.”

Some experiments seem to have borne this out, though these experiments were, of necessity, contrived: “it is ethically and practically difficult to simulate violent emergencies.”

Now, an international team of psych researchers have created an empirical account of the bystander effect that punctures the received wisdom, finding that in 9 out of 10 times, bystanders do step up to help; and the more bystanders there are, the greater the likelihood is that you will receive help.

The researchers used police CCTV video footage of “conflict between at least two individuals” and analyzed whether bystanders intervened to help. The footage came from central districts Cape Town, Amsterdam, and Lancaster, providing data on cities with very different public perceptions of the likelihood and severity of violent crime.

The researchers concluded that not only did one or more people intervene in 90% of conflicts, but also that the likelihood of intervention went up with the number of bystanders present.

I guess we have to raze the psychology departments along with the macro-economics departments?

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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: “Backlit Ivy covers a tree trunk.” Indeed! Backlighting is hard…

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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. D. Fuller

    It is theoretical that Warren was promised something in return for launching an attack on Sanders. Maybe a VP position in a Biden Presidential nomination? Or that her seat is safe from Democratic Primary challengers…

    1. Baby Gerald

      I think your intuition is spot-on, D. Last night she became a kamikaze drone aimed at the hull of the Battleship Bernie. As a self-proclaimed ‘player in the game’ Warren could easily be maneuvered into such a despicable position with promises of future payoffs. This all could have been a plan-B all along in the case that she didn’t establish herself as the front-runner they thought she would be.

      Disgusting political opportunism on full display.

      1. Monty

        The new Queen of The Despicables! Hillary can finally walk the woods in peace knowing there is a new torch bearer, ready to hand off to Nicki Hayley in 2024.

        1. ambrit

          Hold it! Warren is the John the Baptist figure to Hillary’s “Savoir” figure. The ego and ambition on display in American politics today would satisfy the most discerning Greek Tragedy audience member.
          To think that we are using ideas and words thought up over 2500 years ago!

      2. voteforno6

        I think the simpler explanation is that Warren and her campaign are just bad at politics. Someone in the campaign probably thought up this hit, thinking it would knock Sanders back on his heels, and help her campaign. After all, the Obama campaign did something similar to Clinton back in ’08. Of course, they were much better at hiding the fingerprints, and, frankly, they had an easy target.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The fact that she supported it and identified totally with it shows what she really is and really stands for.

          I wonder if someone should make satirical signs modeled on the ” I’m with Her” sign, reading . .. . . . ” I’m with Despiccable Her”

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          It’s both, character and politics, and there have been occasions where those flaws overlapped in public. Last night’s episode was one.

          There’s been a great deal of (self) myth-making about Warren, much of it belied by facts and reality. When she was needlessly nasty to Amy Goodman a few months ago, you saw her unpleasant brittle side. And with Trump playing her over her Cherokee claims, she showed her clumsiness. Trump would gleefully eviscerate her in a one-on-one.

          1. jrs

            I think worrying about debates with Trump whatsoever is a complete and total waste of time, they aren’t going to happen, unless Trump wants them period, he might if he thinks he can win. He calls the tune and never has to debate anyone. The campaign isn’t going to be fought that way unless he wants it to be.

            1. Michael Fiorillo

              “… unless Trump wants them…”

              Which, if Warren is the nominee, he most assuredly will.

        3. Carey

          >I think the simpler explanation is that Warren and her campaign are just bad at politics.

          benign dumbness rather than malevolence, then? Even after the so-calculated non-handshake?

          Mmm, maybe; felt like a Monty Hall moment to me.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Given the longstanding policy (and possibly personal) differences between Biden and Warren, a deal between them is highly implausible. If the party bigwigs got her to do it (or forced her to), that too is a major miscalculation.

      Occam’s Razor applies here, as it usually does in these situations. Warren’s candidacy in Iowa has tanked in the last 6 weeks. In any precinct where her vote total drops below 15%, she gets eliminated. If your statewide support goes below 15%, your campaign is in big trouble because your candidacy is not viable in enough places throughout the state. That has a geometric impact on your final statewide numbers. It’s conceivable that a candidate who registers, say 13% in polls, could end up with only 5% of the statewide delegates. That’s Warren’s problem.

      She has merely chosen to do exactly what countless other candidates have done in such situations: “go negative”. This, too, shows Warren’s terrible political instincts, because this tactic has always backfired in the Iowa caucuses. Sanders is vulnerable if voters perceive him to be feeding the fire or playing into it. (This is why the video of Nina Turner is so significant.)

      1. a different chris

        Would like to agree but can’t.

        Nothing about the current state of either Joe Biden or Liz Warren indicates that they would *not* be susceptible to that kind of pressure.

        “Joe, you need to put Warren on as VP to get over the top with those stupid progressives and women voters, you don’t have to pay any attention to her after the election”.

        “Liz: look at that near-carcass of a man. Who wouldn’t want to be VP when the vultures, real ones, are already circling?”

        An arranged marriage.

        1. Yves Smith

          Come on. Who exactly is the muscle person in your scenario? I can’t name anyone.

          And the idea of Biden and Warren as a team makes no sense because both are too old and both are from the East Coast. An old guy like Biden MUST have a VP under 60, preferably under 50.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > She has merely chosen to do exactly what countless other candidates have done in such situations: “go negative”

        It would surely have been possible to do that without stabbing a “friend” in the back as a sexist. And her refusal to shake hands with Sanders? Frankly, I’m reeling. What’s the logic? That’s more than “going negative.”

        1. JohnnyGL

          I called her Senate office this morning and gave them an earful.

          I explained that I’m a constituent, a donor, a consistent voter and a fan (having a couple of her books around) I really appreciated her academic research on bankruptcy.

          I asked, “Does the Senator know who the enemy is? It’s Joe Biden with his corruption and his 40 yr track record of being wrong on almost every major issue. Biden wrote the awful bankruptcy legislation that the Senator is proposing to overall. It’s been 5 debates and she hasn’t once taken a shot at him. Instead we’re debating whether or not senator sanders made a sexist remark a year ago. Who cares?

          Right now, we’re on track to lose this election to Trump because the Senator and the rest of the democratic party won’t challenge Joe Biden’s awful, corrupt record. Biden’s a disaster in the general election, Trump will run over him like a lawnmower.

          I’m really frustrated with the way she’s running her campaign and I don’t see how I can support her campaign for the presidency.”

          1. Bill Carson

            The saddest thing about Warren’s attack is that even if Sanders said that, it’s not necessarily a sexist statement. I know one woman who can’t beat Trump, and that’s Warren. Her electoral vote count would make Dukakis look good.

        2. Big River Bandido

          I agree. Bad enough to go low in Iowa, but the way she did it is mind-bogglingly stupid. Not only terrible political instincts but terrible tactics. I think your supposition she’s being advised by Clinton people is spot-on. I recognize the same mean, tone-deaf, ham-fisted Mighty Wurlitzer playing style.

          But that’s how they see it.

            1. jrs

              Honestly it could be interpreted many ways, body language isn’t entirely clear cut, it really never is. It’s why people get it wrong even when interacting inter-personally. Only Tom Steyer knows what went down but he ain’t saying (which actually speaks well of him).

              However what she said when asked the question in the debate itself for all the whole wide world to hear is not so much up for interpretation. She could have been nice, she wasn’t.

                  1. Carey

                    I’m probably gonna get hammered for saying this, but she didn’t do women-as-a-group
                    any favors there, either.

                    1. Yves Smith

                      Doesn’t offend me. I can’t stand women being treated as if they are somehow nobler than men or more nurturing, or other crap.

                      Climbing the greasy pole usually requires various forms of ruthless behavior. Men are acculturated differently because men beat up each other, while women rely on more emotional manipulative strategies because unless they are exceptional specimens, they will get the crap beaten out of them in a physical confrontation with a man, so they get a ton of programming to play nice and not get aggressive. Men also play sports way more than women do, which has another set of behaviors it inculcates.

              1. Chuck T

                The conversation is online now. The mics were hot as was known to all the candidates, Warren knew exactly what she was doing when she strode over to Bernie. It was the final twist of the knife. CNN has the audio, which I won’t link here, but this is the text:

                Warren: “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”

                Sanders: “What?”

                Warren: “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”

                Sanders: “You know, let’s not do it right now. If you want to have that discussion, we’ll have that discussion,”

                Warren: “Anytime.”

                Sanders: “You called me a liar. You told me — all right, let’s not do it now,”

                He then walks away clearly upset.

                Dirtiest thing I’ve ever seen in politics. But I wasn’t there the night in 1944 when Henry Wallace got screwed.

                1. Bill Carson

                  With the audio, she really comes off as a hothead who doesn’t have the temperament to be President. If that’s the way she responds to slights, then no wonder nobody called her out for claiming to be Native American. Well, until Trump called her out anyway.

                  Man, Trump would be pushing her buttons and she wouldn’t react well.

        3. Jeff W

          It would surely have been possible to do that without stabbing a “friend” in the back as a sexist. And her refusal to shake hands with Sanders?

          Of course it would be but we’re talking Warren here. Her political instincts are, as we all know, notoriously bad and she unfailingly makes wrong choices. If she’s listening to Clinton apparatchiks, that “sexism” insinuation (which no one could possibly believe) would be right up their angle.

          And that refusal to shake hands with Sanders? I’d view it as an attempt to buttress the claim—“You scum! You know what you said! I’m not even going shake hands with you.” It would be petty if the claim had even a scintilla of a chance of being true but it just comes off as a bit deranged—“I’m going to double down on this transparent fabrication because, well, it’s the only thing I know how to do.”

          Postscript: Seems like Bandido and I are on the same page here.

          1. jrs

            Well what if it was true and what if it was about that comment and not anything else, it would mean she can shake hands with Biden despite the bankruptcy bill, but not Sanders despite a comment. Really interesting priorities there …

            1. pretzelattack

              it’s a black and white issue. did he say it or not? i believe him. his past record supports that, and she hasn’t shown that much integrity.

              1. Briny

                One thing certain about Bernie, he is not your typical politician. He flat out tells you what he believes to be the truth, zero sugar-coating. Despite a chasm between me and him politically, it the one thing that got my attention and will my vote.

              2. jrs

                It’s black and white, but completely unknowable, therefore no you can’t submit it as evidence either way. However who would want some of the Dem electorate as a jury of their peers?

                However choosing to try to releases it as evidence at just this moment is evidence of something.

        4. Alternate Delegate

          Betrayal works, though.

          That before/after FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll claims the debate gave her +3.9% net favorability, and hurt Sanders to the extent of -3.6% net favorability.

          This could always be a short term gain for a long term loss, but maybe it sticks. Then this move doesn’t look so stupid, from a purely amoral selfish point of view.

          Worse slander than this has stuck.

        5. Carey

          >Frankly, I’m reeling. What’s the logic?

          There’s likely plenty going on that we don’t know, here.
          Just glad Warren outed herself now (those superb pol instincts, again!).

        6. jaaaaayceeeee

          I’m not sure Warren is politically savvy enough to even have been refusing to shake hands – she could have been, for all I know, urgently trying to claim she had no idea it would “come off” the way it did or something.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Bernie told her she let herself get suckered by the Clintonites and shouldn’t be alienating her best allies.

    3. jaaaaayceeeee

      Brilliant though Sen Warren can be, and better than Obama at explaining pocketbook issues (often better than Bernie, too), she is very junior still, at politics.

      I think Warren went full Gillebrand, trying to take short cuts to ding a rival, opportunistically, becoming convinced, of whatever characterization of Bernie would divide voters.

      Which ever Rovian Clintonites egged her on, he/she may increase their billing (for successful Bernie denting), knowing the buck for her campaign stops with Warren, for killing her own campaign.

      1. Tim

        Intelligence and wisdom are two entirely different things.

        The later requires some imagination of cause and effect, something I’m not sure Warren has, given her (lack of) political savy and (ineffective) plans to fix things that are broken.

      2. polecat

        “Rovian Clintonites”
        If that isn’t a contradiction of Snakes, I don’t know what is ..

        Carry on ..

    4. Tom Doak

      Biden’s VP candidate (if he gets that far, God I pray not) is the DNC-approved (x) black (x) woman Stacey Abrams. Gotta go max idpol if he is going to have any chance against Trump, and she is 100% (x) controllable.

      Assuming, of course, that Michelle Obama doesn’t want the job.

      Warren is naive if she thinks any of this is going to help her with Biden. And yes, ahe is proving to be very foolish, but I think it’s more desperation as her ship started to take on water. Ironically, she had a tactic up her sleeve, but she has no plan for how to win.

    5. russell1200

      You need to get to the 15% threshold in Iowa if you aren’t going to fall off the cliff. She is at 14%. Sam Seder was saying that it is clearly a ploy to grab a few Biden or even Buttigieg voters. And that seems reasonable. She isn’t going to pull loose any Sanders voters with it.

      But it’s foolish. It makes her look weak and sneaky.

      1. jrs

        But why would it pull ANY Biden or Buttigieg voters? Out of shared dislike of Sanders? I doubt Dem *voters* have that much dislike of Sanders even if they aren’t voting for him to vote on that alone. And btw Biden voters second choice actually IS Sanders! Maybe to strengthen her existing base to turn out through getting them angry, rather than to win anyone new.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Yeah, this whole thing has clinton hoof prints all over it.

          A stunning case of pulling defeat from the mouth of victory, as only those two grifters can.
          How many more arrows can her feet take?

        2. Big River Bandido

          Most polling data I’ve seen suggests that there’s more overlap between Warren and Buttigieg voters than with Warren and Sanders. That actually makes a great deal of sense. Both Warren and Buttigieg are fighting for the same, highly educated, white, PMC voters.

      2. Jeff W

        “You need to get to the 15% threshold in Iowa if you aren’t going to fall off the cliff. She is at 14%.”

        We can all imagine, I’m sure, when Warren fails to make the cut, Bernie Sanders, secure in his volcanic lair, his white Persian in his lap, cackling maniacally and saying “That fool! I told her what would happen!”

    6. Grant

      How, at this point, would she be a net positive to Biden’s campaign if he (god forbid) won? Other women would be far greater net benefits, would scare his donors less than she would and she has burned a bridge not only with many on the left but others who are now questioning her integrity. Maybe, like in 2016, they dangled that in front of her, but she is a sucker if she believes that. It was far more logical in 2016 than now. Biden is already a horrible candidate, no chance they add to their problems by choosing someone with her baggage.

      She just massively harmed her own career, she never had much of a chance and she burned a bridge with many on the left whose votes she would need to win. Zero chance she would beat Trump, and it was highly unlikely before her ridiculous actions the last few days.

      This could help Biden or it could help Bernie. I can’t imagine that voters in Iowa feel more drawn to her now. People are going critique Bernie and I can understand on some levels. I would have pushed back more forcibly on how the questions were framed. But, he was under attack by the media, every candidate on stage and dealt with ridiculous moderators the entire debate. I always take into account the context. Pick anyone else on stage and put them on the receiving end of all of that, and being the only candidate whose policies actually align with the rank and file. Would any of them have even held up? Hell, the hack attacking him was just a few days prior losing her mind over a talking point some volunteer had. She is going to take on Trump? Biden, with his record, corruption and mental decline? Bernie did well given the context, not great but good, and he is the only one with any chance of beating Trump.

      1. Jeff W

        She just massively harmed her own career, she never had much of a chance and she burned a bridge with many on the left whose votes she would need to win. Zero chance she would beat Trump, and it was highly unlikely before her ridiculous actions the last few days.

        Exactly—the only thing that is more mind-boggling than the claim about Bernie Sanders itself is how incredibly self-defeating this tactic is. Just when it seems that Elizabeth Warren’s political instincts can’t get any worse, she manages yet again to surpass herself. It’s like some character in a Greek tragedy who is compelled to play out his or her hamartia ineluctably, except that, unlike those characters, Warren seems utterly oblivious to hers (and, given her patent disingenuousness, she doesn’t engender a whole lot of sympathy).

        The only good thing here is for those people who were—inexplicably—still “on the fence” as between Warren and Sanders, she’s clarified quite a bit which side of the fence it’s best to be on.

  2. D. Fuller

    Sorry to hog posting so soon… if anyone is interested for more news of the wired…

    What links trendy .co domains, two warring registry giants, and Colombia’s curious approach to technology tendering? We’ll tell you…

    ICANN finally reveals who’s behind purchase of .org: It’s ███████ and ██████ – you don’t need to know any more

    I recommend The Register. Look up BOFH under Data Centre for some Admin training.

  3. Harold

    Mighten this ploy be a lot like the (non) chair throwing (non) incident at the 2016 nominating convention?. The idea is to provoke Sander’s supporters into doing something that will discredit him.

    1. Baby Gerald

      An interesting tactic– provoke supporters of one candidate into doing something discreditable… by having one’s supporters do something discreditable first. This is the Machiavellian mindset gone awry.

      1. Pat

        The most disgusting version of this was the Wellstone funeral/memorial where supporters booed Trent Lott and it was decided that it was too partisan because a couple of the people who spoke were adamant about Wellstone’s beliefs and policies. I wondered what critics were talking about the next day. And the fallout was overwhelming. And that was how we got Norm Coleman.

        The double standard and hypocrisy was toxic and unending but nothing cut through it. So a man whose record and policies were probably to the left of Bernie’s had that used against his memorial in order to make sure a right wing corporate stooge could rubber stamp the worst of the Bush policies would replace him.

        (I’m still not over it.)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The idea is to provoke Sander’s supporters into doing something that will discredit him.

      Watching the online reaction (snakes, etc.), I’d be worried about that if I were the Sanders campaign. “Channel the aggression into canvassing and phonebanking” seems to be their answer. Bears watching.

      1. clarky90

        Iowa Sanders Organizer, Kyle Jurek, has been recorded, by Project Veritas, Denying The Gulag. (They were merely reeducation camps with conjugal visits and good food).

        Project Veritas has released it on Twitter.

        1. pretzelattack

          project veritas organized a smear campaign on acorn. i wouldn’t trust them any more than bellingcat or the atlantic council.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Mr. Okeefe has been known to make and release fake videos in the past. Just because he calls his effort Veritas doesn’t mean his videos aren’t just as suspect now. I am not inclined to trust Okeefeepoo and his Project Verifake.

      2. Barbara

        The postcards for Bernie should be arriving in Iowa mailboxes soon. They went to a service before mailing out. The deadline for returning the postcards to the mailing outfit was Jan 9, before all this blowup. I’m sure they’ll take a quick look through what people have written to cull anything improper from the mailings.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Two things about last night’s debate:

    Bernie may have dodged a bigger bullet. It seemed obvious to me that the debate moment was scripted. Moreover, it was designed to give Bernie the maximum disrespect by besmirching both his integrity and his feminism, two things that matter a great deal to him. If Bernie had responded as perhaps his baiters hoped, with a red-faced tirade against the “moderator,” it would have made an ugly picture for Bernie. It would not surprise me if the colluding (what a fun word!) “reporter” had a line in waiting if Bernie blew his top. But Bernie responded with a rueful laugh. He’s seen it so many times for so many years.

    The whole thing has the stink of Clinton on it, especially the partnership with media. Remember Jonathan Capehart?

    All that aside, the most important and long-lasting development may be Bernie’s ability to completely dissociate himself from the Democratic Party’s neoliberal stance on trade. It’s wonderful he’s free from that.

    1. pretzelattack

      i think you’re right about the script. they were of course expecting him to say “no, i didn’t say that” so the mod had the tactic of pretending he was lying, or just ignoring what he said, in her followup question to warren. they weren’t expecting his reaction, but if they were any good at that clinton wouldn’t have lost in the first place—“of course those deplorables will vote for clinton, what else can they do”?

      they suck at game planning, they aren’t even that good at game rigging; fortunately for them a lot of the rigging is already baked in.

  5. Big River Bandido

    Having invoked “The Scottish Play”, are you now required to run around the building 3 times and perform other purification rituals? :) Or does this superstition and stricture not apply to family blogs?

      1. richard

        a favorite episode, thanks for that!
        I never get tired of watching blackadder take revenge on those actors

    1. DJG


      More relevance from the Scottish Play:

      A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once
      the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of
      watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides her
      walking and other actual performances, what, at any
      time, have you heard her say?

      That, sir, which I will not report after her.

      You may to me: and ’tis most meet you should.

      Neither to you nor any one; having no witness to
      confirm my speech.

      Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper

      Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise;
      and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

  6. Anon

    You’ll probably update the Cooler with this, but for some more context on the “handshake”:


    People familiar with the exchange said Ms. Warren walked over and told Mr. Sanders that she was concerned that, during the debate, he had mischaracterized a conversation they had in 2018 about whether a woman could win the presidency. She has accused him of saying that a woman could not; he has denied that remark.

    Appearing frustrated, Mr. Sanders asked to discuss the matter at a different time, said the people, who insisted on anonymity to discuss a sensitive, private conversation. He pointed his finger toward her, then back at himself, before turning and walking away.

    Given that there’s only two people, looks like Warren did it, no?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There are only three “people” who could be familiar with the exchange, if you watch the video (absent lip reading) Sanders, Warren, and Steyer, who thought to break in and shake hands with both and quickly moved off. Looks to me like Warren is shoving the knife and Sanders back a third time.

      1. RopeADope

        The corporate Dems made a deal with the GOP to protect GOP senators from a Sanders 2020 down ballot ticket. Warren takes down Sanders and the GOP keeps a majority in the Senate and Schumer does not have to fight or do anything.

        And a Dem President gets nothing passed…

        Also a good chance Schumer is screwed over like last time because he does not understand power.

      2. katiebird

        I will have a comment below that is in moderation but CNN is reporting a hot mike situation. With transcript

    2. The Rev Kev

      When reading that: “On Monday, CNN’s MJ Lee reported that according to several sources, during a private 2018 meeting between Warren and Bernie Sanders…” • “Several sources,” none of whom were at the meeting, and all of whom, therefore, derived their information from Warren.” I suddenly realized where I had seen this before.
      This is Trump’s phone call to the Ukrainian President all over again where the Democrat’s witnesses had never actually listened in on the phone call but were informed about it by third parties that had. In both cases this is what is known as “hearsay” and is worth zip in a real court of law.

  7. Cuibono

    “Human beings have a very rich and complex experience; horses less so; mice less so again.”
    Not quite sure that is anything but conjecture…

    1. a different chris

      Haha had the exact same thought… it’s hard when I see my dog/cat suddenly focus 6 super-tuned senses on something that I have no idea is going on to believe that crap.

    2. coypoo

      a mouse’s experience, to a mouse, I conjecture, is as rich and complex as a mouse could possibly want.

      a nutria, however, was simply renamed that when someone was trying to market them as food.

      1. Wukchumni

        Dormouse was quite the delicacy in ancient Rome. You wouldn’t order it in a spicy Arrabiata sauce though, on account of tomatoes being something in the distant future.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          The dormouse is unfortunately endangered now. I had one in my house but I think he moved on. Adorable thing, I found him sleeping soundly on a timber on the second floor. Couldn’t bear to even try to trap him so I just closed all the holes except for one upstairs and he moved on. He really didn’t do anything wrong except for some little poops and digging in the insulation.

          BTW, the name comes from the French “dormeuse”, sleeper.

    3. polecat

      Horses, nor mice, to my knowlege, will stick a shiv into you just for the pleasure of seeing you writhe.

      Nothing complex about that.

    4. boots

      “he said he had seen the souls of horses and that it was a terrible thing to see. He said that it could be seen under certain circumstances attending the death of a horse because the horse shares a common soul and its separate life only forms it out of all horses and makes it mortal. He said that if a person understood the soul of a horse then he would understand all horses that ever were.” –Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses, p. 111.

  8. richard

    Nina Turner does have upclose charisma
    how is she not a leading contender for vp again?
    I know she has no history of elective office
    but neither did donny and i’m mortally f&^%ing tired of following rules the repubs won’t follow
    especially if those rules just happen to favor elites
    i’d like to hear turner on policy

      1. John

        Presidential counselor for eight years and then president. I like everything I’ve seen about the lady.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Watching Turner speak at rallies is a wonderful thing to see. I think shes better than AOC.

      Idk if id cross her off my VP list.
      1. We have to win Southern Black Voters during the primary. Shed be a hit in New Orleans/Louisiana I think.
      2. Yes, she has no experience, but seeing her live will change many minds.

    2. DJG


      Turner was on the Cleveland City Council for two years and in the Ohio State Senate for six years. So she’s mainly a local politician, not yet nationally known.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The first time she was on national TV was during the Ohio fight over SB5 when she was a state senator. That was back in 2011 around the same time as the Wisconsin fight over public employee unions.

  9. DJG

    I respect Rebecca Traister, who always marshals many facts, but I am also finding the Warren defense to be veering toward what we hear from many men: Well, it’s how I am. I don’t know why she’d be offended. I didn’t mean anything. I’m just being honest about my feelings.

    Traister goes on about how Warren was told repeatedly that a woman couldn’t go from Massachusetts to the Senate. Really? At a time when Margaret Chase Smith of Maine had already served, as had Carol Moseley Braun, the first black woman in the Senate, too? Warren had no evidence that women can serve in high office in the U S of A?

    And even if Sanders had said, I don’t think a woman can win this time around (sotto voce: after the typical Clintonian mess left by Hillary), she’s out there trying to accuse him of sexism? And did she take further Clintonian advice?: Go out there and tell a whopper and dare people *not* to believe it (RussiaRussiaRussia).

    This may be terribly patriarchal of me (all my friends call me The Patriarch), but I’d be as pissed as Sanders if someone was out there blabbing something that I had said in confidence, trying to make me look like a fool.

    Have we reached peak social media, or something?

    It’s always something.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > look like a fool

      Not just a fool. Persona non grata for all liberal goodthinkers. If not evil, certainly in need of thought reform from thoughtful identity politics practitioners. Warren’s accusation was really, really bad. I’m not exactly thin-skinned, but I was shocked by the accusation itself (not just the manner of it). Of course, its an amplification of Bernie Bro (also false). That, as this, was a Big Lie, and given RussiaGate, that seems to have become a technique of choice for liberal Democrat strategists.

    2. Medbh

      “And even if Sanders had said, I don’t think a woman can win this time around (sotto voce: after the typical Clintonian mess left by Hillary), she’s out there trying to accuse him of sexism?”

      This issue really bugs me for two reasons. One, it’s a type of “wokeism” where some thoughts are so “naughty” that you’re not even allowed to discuss them. People said the same things about Obama and racism. Even if Sanders expressed doubts about a woman being elected, there are legitimate reasons why someone might have concerns, and it’s better to refute them than pretend they don’t exist.

      Second, whining about sexism makes Warren look like a wimp. If talking to Sanders is so traumatizing, how is she supposed to communicate with people who are fundamentally opposed to her and her goals? Finally, even if you accept the idea that Sanders said something terrible, why bring it up now and in this manner?

      I don’t understand what she thought she was going to gain from this. The only thing it did for me (and I’m supposedly in her “strong” demographic of an educated, white, woman) was to make her a non candidate. Even if she’d win the primary, I wouldn’t vote for her. I donated to Warren last year, and asked for a refund. I want a candidate to focus on jobs, the environment, and Medicare for All. Everything else is a distraction and helping the other side.

      1. Anarcissie

        I think Warren’s calculation is fairly obvious. After her surge of a few months ago petered out, her only path to the nomination was as the compromise candidate between the conservative and progressive factions who are otherwise completely at odds. She is supposed to be a ‘progressive’, yet as a big capitalism fan and a warmonger, she is acceptable to the Deep State and plutocratic sides. However, as Sanders was going up in the polls, he might win the nomination on his own, leaving W. out in the cold. So now she has to remove Sanders, or at least weaken him if possible. It’s a sort of Hail Mary move, however, because it’s a long, narrow shot: if Sanders is not removed or seriously damaged, her bona fides as a ‘progressive’ will be spent, with nothing in return, and if he is too seriously damaged, then the need for a compromise nominee will also disappear — a conservative will be the nominee.

        1. Darthbobber

          And if Sanders were to be seriously damaged, her usefulness would be at an end. They only tolerate the prospect of Warren as long as Sanders is a threat.

        2. Donald

          Supporting your theory is the fact that Michelle Goldberg wrote a NYT piece proposing Warren as the compromise candidate. That suggests to me a multi- pronged plan.

          I liked Warren until literally last night. I am actually depressed by all this. I didn’t expect this from her.

        3. jrs

          Running for President destroys careers. She may not get the Senate next time, nor might Kamala Harris, and Tulsi Gabbards career as a politician seems spent. They all destroyed their careers for Presidential ambition.

          Warren probably could have tried to run as a somewhat younger version of Sanders, that is a real weakness. But there goes that, it’s spent, up in flames.

      2. Yves Smith

        What frosts me is the timetable. She’s been playing like Sanders’ in one of her political BFFs all this time, and NOW she decides to take offense at something he supposedly said two years ago? Really? This is patently contrived.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          And the post-debate attitude? The transcript says she said “I think you just called me a liar on national TV!” I think she was more upset at the “national tv” part than she was about being called a liar….she thinks it’s all a game.

          What’d ya think Bernie was gonna do with your smear, Liz?

          1. meeps

            > she thinks it’s all a game.

            That aspect of her maneuvering has me seething. She displayed a total disregard for the pressing issues of our time in her choice of target. Not a good quality in a leader, though not outside the mold of the self-dealers we’ve been getting—one after another.

            If she needed only a percent to meet the 15% delegate threshold, a strong debate performance would have sufficed.

            I won’t belabor the timing of the smears or the Brazile-esque scripting because others have already. Adding to those are the impeachment schedule, but also Obama’s recent Warren-endorsement murmurs. Is the idea to hobble Sanders as much as possible before Iowa, pull him off the trail (along with Warren, Klobuchar and Bennet) then Obama becomes the Queen-maker? Would it matter, at that point in time, how horrible her judgment was during this episode?

            1. meeps

              If I was Obama, my main objective in doing so would be to protect my signature legislation. Is that why Warren walked back her support for M4All, at cost to her?

            2. jrs

              Well many have said that she does not *GET* the pressing issues of our time.
              Climate change for instance doesn’t really fully register with her, though she’ll say the right things and has a plan. She maybe gets some economic issues somewhat, but honestly possibly less than Yang. $1000 would objectively help many people (not the middle class, they will see it in inflation, but the homeless and the like, of course it would). There is a lot that Yang doesn’t get either of course, but so what.

              Self-dealing and to heck with the issues, yep.

      3. Carey

        >This issue really bugs me for two reasons. One, it’s a type of “wokeism” where some thoughts are so “naughty” that you’re not even allowed to discuss them.

        Thank you for pointing out here what is at the very heart of idPol, along
        with distraction-formation (sorry).

  10. Tom Doak

    I only tuned into the end of the debate and then stayed for some of CNN’s post-debate analysis, which was disturbing.

    The worst of it was listening to Klobuchar and then Steyer. Klobuchar dismissed M4A as unrealistic on the grounds that Dem Senators and congresscritters are against it, never mind what their constituents think.

    And then one of them mocked the idea of withdrawing troops from Iraq – “We still have 16,000 troops in Japan and 53,000 in Korea”. Yes, we do, because of weasels like Amy.

    Also, the pundits were perplexed why Biden sounds so good in his closing remarks but not that confident durimg the debate. I have the answer for that one. Biden only gives his stump speech about We are the United States of America and we can do anything, when he goes last and there is no chance for anyone to ask the follow up question, “then why can’t we do Medicare for All?”

    1. a different chris

      >“We still have 16,000 troops in Japan and 53,000 in Korea”.

      That was supposed to be a counter-argument? Jeebus.

    2. Darthbobber

      Of course, neither Japan nor South Korea have formally asked us to remove our troops. To my unsophisticated mind that seems a not insignificant difference.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        The majority of Okinawans would like the US military to leave. The Japanese elite treat Okinawa like a colonial outpost where they send the undesirables (US military), while at the same time keeping Uncle Sam happy.

        1. Massinissa

          I mean, historically Okinawa wasn’t part of Japan and had their own, separate culture. It pretty much IS a colony.

          1. Massinissa

            I didn’t edit the comment in time, but Okinawa was the independent kingdom of Ryukyu for almost 500 years before annexation by Japan in 1872. Ethnic Ryukyuans make up the majority of Okinawa, but are discriminated against and are not recognized by the Japanese government as a separate people.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Ahhh, thank you for this.

              When I was 6 months old in 1984ish, my mom flew me out to the Marine base in Okinawa to visit my Enlisted dad. I like to think Okinawa helped me to have a universal perspective.

    3. Plenue

      “I only tuned into the end of the debate and then stayed for some of CNN’s post-debate analysis, which was disturbing.”

      That ‘analysis’ was shocking. There wasn’t even an attempt to hide the fact that they were all working toward a pre-planned storyline.

    1. Monty

      As far as I have been able to ascertain, there is no scientific explanation for the emergence of mind from no mind. Can you fill me in?

      1. Alternate Delegate

        There’s a long history of philosophers wrongly claiming the universe to be made of will or consciousness. This is easily debunked by repeated observation, also known as science, which shows the universe to be made of matter. Life, mind, and consciousness are therefore emergent properties of matter. Consciousness in particular is a rather obvious construct of computation, with watchdog processes continually watching each other. Not actually as mysterious as it looks at first glance.

        1. Monty

          “science, which shows the universe to be made of matter. Life, mind, and consciousness are therefore emergent properties of matter.”

          Thanks for your reply. I really don’t think this has the explanatory power you believe it does, or are you telling me that someone has shown experimentally how these “emergent properties” arose from nothing? I thought it was a mystery.

          1. Alternate Delegate

            Not from nothing, but from matter according to the well-understood laws of motion. And there is nothing other than matter from which they may come, if you believe that repeatable observation honestly describes reality. I choose to believe that; but if you choose differently, you have more explanations to deliver than I do.

            Whether you think the emergence of life and mind is mysterious may depend on the level of detail you require to be shown. Most of the steps have already been worked out in physics, chemistry, and biology, with the fastest rate of progress currently occurring in cell biology and genetics where we can finally start to see how cells do things and how we can go about fixing many different kinds of diseases. On another front, digital computers have reached capabilities that make the processes of the mind – to me at least – rather non-mysterious.

            1. a different chris

              “Not actually as mysterious as it looks at first glance.”

              Thank you, Dr. Watson. (rolls eyes)

            2. pjay

              LOL It must be nice to be so certain that “Science” is on your side to debunk those of us who remain a little more modest in our assertions. Your last sentence is especially humorous. I do believe there are a *few* respected thinkers who may still view the issues of mind and consciousness a little differently. And “repeatable observation” in regard to these subjects may be just a bit more problematic than you seem to “believe.” I certainly hope you are (1) young, and (2) a non-scientist. If so, there may be hope for you.

              Of course Plenue’s response is pretty certain as well. As I say, must be nice…

              1. ShamanicFallout

                Yes Monty- just to get the full McKenna quote here: “modern science is based on the principle “Give us one free miracle and we’ll explain the rest”. The one free miracle is the appearance of all the matter and energy in the universe and all the laws that govern it from nothing, in a single instant. The Big Bang is the limit case for credulity. In other words, if you can believe this, you can believe anything. It is a notion that is, in fact, utterly absurd, yet terribly important. Those so-called rational assumptions flow from this initial impossible situation”.

                I posted this a few weeks back on Chris Arnade’s twitter feed after someone asked him something like ‘name one thing everyone in your field (physics) knows but cannot admit publicly’. And he said “The Big Bang is just God dressed up in fancy math“. Beautiful huh?

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  Monty with the steal….he’s on the fast break, pulls up….and it’s a beautiful Ally-Oop pass! ShamanicFallout slams it home with a Dr. J rockthebaby dunk!

                  I do love this place.

                2. Plenue

                  I see you don’t actually understand how science works. No one ‘believes’ in the Big Bang. Instead it’s a theory that has supporting evidence. They didn’t start from an assumption and build everything else off of it, instead they developed a model that best explained the available evidence.

                  Show me the background radiation for god.

          1. Plenue


            The reality is that panpsychism has exactly no, what’s it called…oh right, ‘evidence’, to back up its ideas.

            On top of that it runs counter to a large body of evidence that the mind is inextricably linked to the nervous system. Mess with the brain chemistry and you can alter someone’s entire perceptions. Put a railroad spike through their frontal lobe and you can entirely alter their personality.

            All of the evidence is that ‘I’ is an activity carried out by the unique collection of matter that makes up a brain.

            1. Carey

              I suggest getting out from under/behind those backlit screens for awhile, and check out the unmediated world, if possible.

              YMMV, of course!

        2. Carey

          >Life, mind, and consciousness are therefore emergent properties of matter. Consciousness in particular is a rather obvious construct of computation

          Good thing there’s no dispute amongst reasonable minds, then.

          “To one with a hammer…”

        3. Anarcissie

          A machine can compute, but usually we do not attribute consciousness to machines. Or if we do, the panpsychists have won!

        1. KLG

          I was about to refer to Jaynes, who was interesting above all! My favorite anthropology professor was skeptical about the bicameral mind but willing to discuss it.

      2. ewmayer

        I’ll answer your question as soon as you convince me that there is such a thing as a “sad gluon”.

      3. Plenue

        God of the gaps. And probably not even as big a gap as you imagine.

        Sooner or later plausible explanations will be proposed, and those suggesting ‘magic’, which is what panpsychism amounts to, are going to end up looking like idiots.

        1. Monty

          I wasn’t appealing to God or magic. I just thought you sounded a bit cocksure, and wondered if you were in possession of some information I had missed. I guess you weren’t though.

            1. Plenue

              The default position on anything should be disbelief. Until you can present actual evidence, your ideas are useless.

            2. Plenue

              Everything is matter (or energy, which is interchangeable with matter). There is zero evidence for anything than than that.

              One thing I find funny about panpsychism in particular is how its proponents think it’s somehow more ‘enlightened’ or nuanced, when in fact it’s reductive. They think that consciousness is itself some inherent property that everything possesses to one degree or other.

              Whereas the ‘materialists’ follow the evidence that consciousness is an event, emerging from the myriad activities in the brain. It’s holistic. Which to me is far more beautiful than the panpsychism drivel.

      1. Plenue

        Sure. And one supported by evidence. I feel no more qualms asserting panpsychism is nonsense than I do asserting a child’s invisible best friend doesn’t actually exist.

        Evidence is apparently the big thing believers in woo can never grasp. It’s called inference. If you can’t actually give me evidence to work with, your knowledge claims are at best useless. Stop whining and give me evidence.

    2. Late Introvert

      Yes. Save us from academics, like economics professors and physics hipsters with their fancy fake math.

  11. a different chris

    Well not that “farm country” was ever going to vote for what the D party is gonna offer, but any thought of that is dead now:


    Short term pain for long term gain – even Trump in his messed up dotage gets that to win a negotiation, you have to, you know, negotiate. Let all the “free-marketeers” (who seem to need 1000 pages to define said “free” market) commence another higher level of pearl clutching.

  12. Oh

    “Donald Trump, master troll and shit-stirrer extraordinaire.” is an apt description of the slime king. He swims in the stuff and reeks of it.

  13. jsn

    This is just an attempt to solve the “mind, body” problem from the opposite direction as defining consciousness as an illusion.

    It’s hard to let go of what you don’t know once you know what it is.

  14. ChrisPacific

    The Biden/Bush thing brings a Terry Pratchett quote to mind:

    “…I wouldn’t mind betting a dollar that he thinks he can tell a man’s character by testing the firmness of his handshake and looking deeply into his eyes.”

    Except that with Biden you don’t have to bet, because he tells you (“He looked me in the eye in the Oval Office…”)

    1. False Solace

      And the bookend quote from Pratchett’s Going Postal:

      [H]e loved these people who looked him firmly in the eye to see his inner self, because he had a whole set of inner selves, one for every occasion. As for firm handshakes, practice had given him one to which you could moor boats. … That was the trick, the trick of all tricks. You changed the way people saw the world. You let them see it the way they wanted it to be….

      1. ChrisPacific

        Thanks for that – I had wanted to include that as well, but couldn’t find it and didn’t have the book in front of me.

        That is indeed my point. Think of which current politician springs to mind when you read that passage.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Viewership: “Democratic Debate Viewership Rises, But Still Far Off From Ratings Highs In 2020 Cycle” [Deadline]. “CNN’s coverage of the Democratic presidential debate drew an estimated 7.3 million viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen Media Research. That’s a slight uptick from the the 6.17 million who watched the debate in December, sponsored by PBS and Politico, and the 6.5 million who watched November’s event, hosted by MSNBC. But the debate numbers are a big drop from those held earlier in the cycle.”

    Just as a general observation, I see that Joe Rogans interview with Bernie Sanders has gone over 10 million views on youtube. Rogan of course asked calm, intelligent questions and allowed Bernie the time to answer long form without interruption.

    1. cm

      I’m watching a Malcolm X interview on YouTube, and one of the top comments is:

      You notice how everyone may disagree but they let the other finish their thought and address each other respectfully and without yelling.

      I’ve also been watching Steve Allen interviews — a completely different experience than anything found today. Turns out Idiocracy was in fact a documentary.

      1. paintedjaguar

        Yeah, you should try to find some instances of Tom Snyder’s “Tomorrow” show from the early ’70s or Lauren Hutton’s talk show in the mid-’90s. Mostly just a couple of people having a relaxed conversation. I think Joe Rogan has currently inherited the mantle. Although most of his guests seem to be MMA types or stand-up comics, he has on all sorts and isn’t pushing an agenda.

  16. allan

    “Australians ‘may become climate refugees’ as global temperatures soar: US expert”

    File under Nobody Could Have Predicted … wait … breaking … this just in … Jared Diamond
    devoted an entire chapter of his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005) to

    The Problems Facing a First World Nation, Australia

    1. The Rev Kev

      It may be a case more of the equatorial regions – which includes the north of Australia – being hard to live in due to increased temperatures and less water than just Australia itself. And you can bet that the Coalition would be investing money into building asbestos ships in order to keep on shipping coal to Japan and India if it happened. Would you believe that we have ads for the coal industry that play on our TV? Here is a spoof ad on one of these ads (some language)-


  17. Wukchumni

    Received an offer of a ‘High Yield Savings Account’ from American Express, and based upon their generous offer of 1.7% interest, it would only take me about 50 years to double my money.

    Comedy is almost too easy in everything these days…

  18. Big River Bandido

    The Politico piece on Amy! Just struck me as so pathetic…a limp, wilted word salad, meandering the landscape in search of a story.

    The elephant that can no longer fit in the room is neoliberal policy.

    1. Wukchumni

      Is it possible to also offer them Akron, Toledo & Youngstown as a package deal?


      Poor Moses Cleaveland, they couldn’t even spell his name correctly.

  19. Pat

    Remember how Sanders supporters shouted “English only” at Dolores Huerta in Nevada in 2016? Oh, wait that never happened and as far as I know the main pushers of that story Huerta and America Ferrara have never backtracked or apologized for it. Right up with the chair throwing that didn’t happen during the same caucuses.

    I came away from 2016 with no respect and a whole lot of disgust at both John Lewis and Dolores Huerta. Mind you I had little respect left for John Lewis even before the lies about Sanders and the Civil Rights movement, Huerta hurt, if she had spent years cashing in on her early fire brand leadership by selling out those same causes in small ways that add up I missed it. She didn’t need to support Sanders, she just didn’t need to take the low road.

    Elizabeth Warren has guaranteed that I will not and cannot ever support her politically again. Considering her background and entre into politics to embrace Joe Biden and attack Bernie Sanders. Not only it is politically tone deaf, it is deeply hypocritical. She has told us who she is, and it is a woman without judgment, a woman without ethics, a woman willing to sell out her supposedly deeply held convictions for possible political advancement and yes, a liar. I would, and do, despise men whose actions have told me the same. I do no less for a woman.

    I am not just gender blind, I am blind regarding tribe as well. For the record you can also replace men with Republican and woman with Democrat. Selling out is not a winning strategy. I’m beginning to think that I am not an outlier anymore. That this is becoming a more common reaction.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      I really do think that Sanders has the majority of the country behind him.
      The question will soon be if the voters get to vote. And if they do, will they grifters accept it?
      IMNSHO, it will all come down to how those votes are tabulated.

      That’ll be the last move for them.
      And the last straw for us.

    2. False Solace

      I wasn’t a Warren supporter before but I was Warren-persuadable. Until she reversed herself on M4A. After this latest stunt, I’m a full-blown hater. It’s made me reevaluate things that merely seemed “off” before. Like the way she called herself a Native American — to the extent that Harvard listed her as their only woman of color professor. That’s a lot worse than ticking a box on a couple surveys. She engaged in unethical behavior to advance her career. It’s a pattern.

      Lambert’s remark about having to bring a tape recorder to private meetings with Warren — if I was drinking milk I would have spit it out. But you just don’t know what she’ll decide to say about you 18 months later. If it advances her career….

      In the meantime, it ain’t over yet so get knocking on doors! BernieSanders.us/berniebus has a list of trips. (It’ll ask for a google account, sorry.) They’ll literally drive you there and tell you what to do. Dress warmly my friends.

    3. chuck roast

      Ole Hillary, she was just your standard lyin’, grifter, opportunist. She could have been either sex. Actually, I thought that she was great in the early Bubba administration when she was put in charge of health care. “I like that woman! She’s got balls.!” But then she did what was expected of her and sold out to the insurance industry and health care reform went into the ash can of history for another generation.

      Now Liz, she reminds me of the nuns at St. Mary’s that were into putting the fear of god into 6 year olds. Getting wacked on the back of the hand with that ruler once or twice, got you on the chosen path. But I went off to public school in the third grade and was only in fear of the big-guy’s back-handers. That was a much more normal human fear. Please, no more nuns!

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      She has told us who she is, and it is a woman without judgment, a woman without ethics, a woman willing to sell out her supposedly deeply held convictions for possible political advancement and yes, a liar. I would, and do, despise men whose actions have told me the same. I do no less for a woman.

      well said, and worth repeating. She has thoroughly disgraced herself in my eyes.

      But Fiery Hunt, sadly I do not believe the majority of the country is behind Bernie. The readers of this blog are not a representative sample.

      I am continually amazed at how few people other than activists/leftists support him. To many he is invisible, or a curiosity. They do not take the trouble to inform themselves beyond what the MSM tells them, and they do not consider him a serious contender for their vote.

      It is disheartening.

      1. cm

        Agreed. I was at a (non-political) event put on by people who are Trump supporters, and their take on Sanders was that he appeared egotistical. I didn’t really have a good comeback to that reaction…

        1. Massinissa

          Even if that were true and Bernie was egotistical… Compared to Trump, literally everyone else looks humble.

          I don’t really find Trumps egotism to be particularly problematic personally, but if they actually thought egotism mattered they wouldn’t be supporting Trump, so I call BS.

  20. divadab

    Re: CNN has it in For Bernie

    When I clicked the article, an Elizabeth Warren “survey” ad popped up – I hope it does for you too. I had some fun telling them off and tried to donate minus 100 dollars, but they wanted a credit card number. ANyway, fire away – Lyin Liz deserves all the opprobrium we can throw at her.

  21. howseth

    “Geithner! Say it’s not so?” You helped squash the Dodd-Frank Bi-Partisan committee to reform how the SEC deals with the ratings agency’s shopping for business and giving bogus ratings? Why? I did not read your bio – and therefore your explanation.
    Anyway, you smooth SOB – seems like those conference committee people were oh-so-willing putty in your seductive hands. A child could understand how a change was needed – but not the committee?

  22. Tim

    “Consciousness, for the panpsychist, is the intrinsic nature of matter.”

    If one want’s to start framing the interaction with the laws of physics as consciousness, who am I to judge. It certainly makes quantum physics, the function of which which is predicated on observation, more normal.

    1. False Solace

      Observation in quantum physics has nothing to do with consciousness. It has to do with measuring state or position. The act of making the measurement disrupts the particles you’re trying to measure. That’s it. (Plus the underlying reality, as it turns out, is startlingly non-intuitive.) “Quantum” does not equal magic. Neither does consciousness.

      1. a different chris

        >It has to do with measuring state or position.

        Which requires a “conscious entity to do”… yes? Or maybe that’s what my back porch does all day, I bow to your (and possibly my porch’s) superior grasp of all this. (more eye rolling)

        1. Alternate Delegate

          A common misconception, unfortunately. Yes, I passed the relevant classes. For further reading, here is Hossenfelder thinking about these things in a more helpful way.

      2. Titus

        Maybe in your lab, but in my mine I’d say not exactly. Being ‘observed’ is not necessary the same as being measured. As to consciousness- one needs to define terms if we’re going to stay rational. Thing is science is good at qua science. This is not to say there doesn’t exist knowledge that science can not access. At least in the human brain, electrical noise is such that quantum effects, as far as anyone can prove, are too loud to allow any quantum effects. All of which are a tremendous over simplification of both the Problem statement and any approach to figure things out.

      3. Donald

        There is no universally accepted interpretation of quantum mechanics, precisely because nobody agrees on what the measurement process is. The version I was taught was a calculational tool— you make a measurement and the wave function collapses with the various probabilities given by the Born rule. But taken literally, that means the measurement process is nonlinear and not described by the Schrodinger equation. So people have proposed numerous alternative interpretations and none is universally accepted. Some people think quantum mechanics will be replaced.

  23. 3.14e-9

    Re: Nutria

    One man’s nuisance is another’s fur coat.

    There’s a link on the page to a NYT article from 2010. Some of the comments remind me of a woman during lap swim hours at the gym six or seven years ago trying to save a drowning wasp.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Or another animal’s lunch. I asked a friend from the south if there were nutria where she lived. She said they were everywhere and the alligators eat them like popcorn.

  24. Art Vandalay

    > No scandals during the Obama administration . . . only because the corruption was executed tastefully.

  25. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

    Re: Boeing

    Matt Stoller covered this already in his piece ‘Airplanes and Accounting Games’, but a sentence in the description of the Leeham News piece stood out: “The 737 accounted for about 40% of Boeing’s profits before it was grounded.” Was this measure of profit based on planes that had already been contracted to be sold, or was this figure obtained using the method mentioned in the Stoller piece (itself a quote from an earlier WSJ article) called ‘Program Accounting’?

    If it’s the latter, things could rather quickly take a turn for the worse at Boeing, since it seems this Program Accounting method requires some level of forecasting and wizardry that would normally not be allowed in GAAP and rules of revenue recognition. It seems rather bizarre and confusing, though whether coincidental or by design is something I can’t comment on. I still can’t really wrap my head around it.

    Also, the linked article has this little nugget all the way at the end: “Boeing put on hold the development of a new airplane, whether it’s the New Midmarket Airplane (NMA) or Future Small Airplane (FSA).” What are they thinking? Years ago was the best time for drawing up plans for a new plane, but barring that, right now works. They should have people going full speed, developing something new. To stay still now, hoping this issue passes, is corporate malfeasance at best.

    1. a different chris

      >They should have people going full speed, developing something new. \

      Huh? If they did that where please tell me would they get all the money to slavish around the “top” staff? Tell me that. You don’t expect them to drive just ordinary Mercs, do you? /s

    2. Carey

      Boeing chose to hot-rod the thirty-year-old 737 in 1997, around the time of their,
      um, merger with MD; and an case could arguably be made for that action, ATT.

      *Fourteen years later* they tried a three-peat with the so-called MAX, claiming to have been “blindsided” by the A320neo…

      who coulda ever. losers

  26. David R Smith

    Trump is already name-testing for Klobuchar. Reports say Nurse Ratched is way out front. Trump likes it because it easily can be shortened to Ratched

  27. CarlH

    I’m nearly 50 and I can not recall a political rat(family blog)ing like this. There has been plenty of evil, sewer grade politics (see Lee Atwater and Karl Rove), but I can not recall a personal and movement betrayal quite like Warrren’s. People like Clinton, Obama, and Warren are like Martians to me. I am usually able to put myself into other people’s shoes and at least understand where they are coming from, no matter how vociferously I disagree. But this kind of behavior is alien to me. I could sooner get into the mind of a Praying Mantis than one of these sociopathic career climbers.

  28. Misty Flip

    The Big Debate. Somewhere between Tom Steyer, hypnotist, staring into the camera, and some unexploded emotional ordnance deep down in Sanders detonating at the suggestion of him not being a full feminist, vis-a-vis the US Presidency [historical precedent would suggest atavism of the American electorate is something for which to plan, but Sanders got… -ugh- “triggered”, fair play or not], the whole circus of values became so mediated, the candidates might as well be addressing ghosts, or holograms. Any messages containing code words “economy” or “cost” is abstraction for things “not human”. The rest is cool brags like “100% rating from the Burger King Kids Club”, or whatever, and “we got a veto: half-credit!” I find the nature of corruption has everything to do with how the candidates, even the “good-guys”, find themselves on that debate stage in the first place. Piety will be poor consolation in the absence of winning.

  29. allan

    More Promises Made, Promises Kept™ for the back row kids:

    Kudlow says ‘tax cuts 2.0’ will be unveiled later this year during Trump presidential campaign [CNBC]

    National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, a top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, said Wednesday that the White House plans to unveil a plan for additional tax cuts later in 2020. …

    He also said at the time: “Whether we get to 15% on a middle-class tax rate — I don’t know. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me.”

    That may be in part to equalize some of the effect of the first round of tax cuts. Households with less than about $25,000 got an average tax cut of about $40, compared with about $33,000 in tax savings for those with $733,000 or more in income (the top 1%).

    To be paired with a balanced-budget amendment. /s

  30. Gregorio

    “Boeing hasn’t hit bottom yet.”
    No worries, the Pentagon will bail them out with some sweetheart contracts.

      1. Carey

        ..sounds like we-the-people will soon be “offered the opportunity to invest”
        in Boeing, whether we want to or not. I’m sure you remember the S&L scandal..

        “No, *of course* you proles can’t have healthcare. That money’s needed bail out the Rich again!”

        what a country

  31. The Rev Kev

    “An Enter Air 737 MAX 8 is being ferried from Warsaw to Tel Aviv. In order to disable MCAS the aircraft is flying with flaps down which limits the speed and altitude of the aircraft”.

    Maybe it would have been easier if they had removed the wings so that it could have taxied all the way down to Israel. Maybe taking a barge over the Bosporus but it might have been safer for those pilots.

  32. cocomaan

    Nutria had started to overtake the Eastern Shore / Delmarva penninsula but a great effort by the state game agency ended up eliminating them entirely. It’s doable. Requires work with private landowners.

    1. Oregoncharles

      In principle, the Equal Rights Amendment is already in the 14th. Women weren’t citizens when the 14th was confirmed, but they were once they got the vote, so it now applies to them.

      However, making it explicit would be much more judge-proof.

    1. anonymous

      That’s by Virginia Heffernan, who also wrote:
      “Hillary Clinton’s name belongs on ships, and airports, and tattoos. She deserves straight-up hagiographies and a sold-out Broadway show called RODHAM. Yes, this cultural canonization is going to come after the chronic, constant, nonstop “On the other hand” sexist hedging around her legacy. But such is the courage of Hillary Clinton and her supporters; we reverse patriarchal orders. Maybe she is more than a president. Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself. The presidency is too small for her. She belongs to a much more elite class of Americans, the more-than-presidents. Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King Jr., Alexander Fucking Hamilton.”
      https://www.lennyletter.com/story/hillary-clinton-is-more-than-a-president (11-15-16)

        1. ambrit

          Good G-d. That woman is literally living in a bubble. However, this example of Hillary hagiography reinforces my prediction that Hillary will be trotted out as the “Unity Candidate” at a brokered Democrat Party convention this year.
          I can understand such a “radical feminist” attitude when I think on how difficult it is to make any substantive changes in the socio-political ‘order’ of our culture. Someone has to be the shock troops of any “movement.”

      1. Massinissa

        Actually, I agree with Heffeman, Hillary should definitely be in the same league as Alexander Hamilton, the guy who thought it would be a swell idea for presidents to rule for life.

        The Democrats obsession with Hamilton is downright bizarre.

    2. Darthbobber

      Not really according to the LA Times, but according to Virginia Heffernan in an opinion piece.

      A sample of Heffernan’s standards: she’s a creationist rather than an evolutionist on “aesthetic grounds”, because the scientific version leaves her cold.

    3. flora

      Except that… she walked over to him, several steps, in order to ‘brush him off’ ???
      hahaha. Is this high school?

    4. anonymous

      That’s by Virginia Heffernan, who also wrote:
      “Hillary Clinton’s name belongs on ships, and airports, and tattoos. She deserves straight-up hagiographies and a sold-out Broadway show called RODHAM. Yes, this cultural canonization is going to come after the chronic, constant, nonstop “On the other hand” sexist hedging around her legacy. But such is the courage of Hillary Clinton and her supporters; we reverse patriarchal orders. Maybe she is more than a president. Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself. The presidency is too small for her. She belongs to a much more elite class of Americans, the more-than-presidents. Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King Jr., Alexander F—–g Hamilton.” (cleaned up by anonymous – moderator, delete earlier post please)
      https://www.lennyletter.com/story/hillary-clinton-is-more-than-a-president (11-15-16)

      1. polecat

        That description comes off as a kind of ‘Caligulanian’ hagiography. An empress pretending to be Zeus in female form.

    5. Big River Bandido

      Wow. What a sleazy load of crap. Never heard of Virginia Heffernan before, but what hackitude!

    6. Peter513

      I am an LA Times subscriber who was aggravated enough by Heffernan’s piece to send the following letter to the editor:

      Dear Letters,

      Anderson Cooper pressed CNN reporters and made clear that Elizabeth Warren is the only first-person source to say that Bernie Sanders does not believe a woman can be elected president. This is literally a case of he said, she said. A definitive verdict is impossible and even probabilities stem solely from their respective histories.

      For decades, Warren concocted a fabulistic, frequently debunked autobiography involving Native American ancestors, eloping parents, and misogynism-rooted firings. Through those same decades, Sanders marched with feminists, publicly affirmed the viability of a female president, and developed a reputation as the most honest person in the Senate (according even to political nemesis Lindsey Graham). Perhaps the present kerfuffle is an improbable confluence where Warren tells the truth about her identity politics while Sanders lies. But it is at least conceivable that Sanders called Warren’s account “a lie” because it is, in fact, a lie designed to leapfrog her progressivism and feminist symbolism over his progressivism-only.

      Heffernan accepts Warren’s frequently unreliable word, for no apparent reason other than that she is a woman who can imagine a man being sexist. Apparently a politician lying for selfish gain is beyond her otherwise fevered imagination. Questioning a (documented unreliable) woman’s she-said is misogyny, but literally ignoring a man’s he-said is a “master class” pantomime of woke virtue. Heffernan’s vision of social justice is a circular firing squad where silos of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. savage each other on the basis of hearsay and reflexive loyalty rather than evidence. Her anarchic and vengeful vision of equality is not a world without public lynchings by angry white men, but rather one where every other demographic subset also forms mobs.

  33. Daryl

    Per Bernie, they’ve raised almost $4m since the debate last night from over 200k people.

    There are a lot of bros out there.

    1. Samuel Conner

      And at an average contribution of $20, many of them will be able to contribute again.

      I think EW did not help herself last night.

  34. lyman alpha blob

    Was just watching tonight’s Jeopardy and one of the questions in the US Representatives category was to name the person who was 1/53 of his state’s Congressional delegation, as they showed his picture. None of the contestants even tried to identify the man, who was one Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

    If that’s any indication of the level of concern regarding impeachment among the general public then the Democrats are even more [family blog]ed than I’d thought.

    1. Carey

      I’m still waiting for the day when #paidtolose is a less than fully adequate description for our Corporate Dems.

      Anybody hear from Jon Ossoff, lately?

    1. katiebird

      Is that this? Exclusive: Warren accused Sanders in tense post-debate exchange of calling her a ‘liar’ on national TV

      In a tense and dramatic exchange in the moments after the Democratic debate Tuesday night, Elizabeth Warren accused Bernie Sanders of calling her a liar on national television.

      Sanders responded that it was Warren who called him a liar and said they should not talk about it right then.


      The video of the exchange aired live with no audio.

      But sound of the moment was caught by CNN’s microphones and found Wednesday.

      “I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren can be heard saying.
      “What?” Sanders responded.
      “I think you called me a liar on national TV,” she repeated.
      “You know, let’s not do it right now. If you want to have that discussion, we’ll have that discussion,” Sanders said, to which Warren replied, “Anytime.”
      “You called me a liar,” Sanders continued. “You told me — all right, let’s not do it now.”
      After their exchange, fellow Democratic candidate Tom Steyer, who had been standing behind the two senators, can be heard saying, “I don’t want to get in the middle. I just want to say hi Bernie.”

      So, she holds back on a handshake and then directly attacks him On national tv with mike still on? All Righty then.

      1. flora

        wow. If that’s an accurate report then her smear of Sanders and her debate performance looks not just politically dumb-bad, but it also looks scripted, right down to the final camera.

        Is this how the Dem estab plans to marginalizing Sanders, by keeping the ‘narrative’ focused on a ‘feud’ between Sanders and Warren?

        Is she supposed to goad him into an angry outburst so the 2016 media phrase ‘angry Sanders’ can be revived? sheesh.

      2. jrs

        Also CNN the station that literally contributed massively to electing Trump in 2016 by giving hours of free coverage (not that it was the only one), is trying to do it again. Far right nut jobs and death to us all is all our corporate media ever gives us.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I really have to stop assuming people are intelligent by normal standards for being smarter than Joe Biden.

  35. flora

    Thanks for the links about the by-stander effect and the original Milton Bradly board game of Life.

  36. Carey

    The Glossy Ones are feelin’ it. It’s their paymasters, and their Fine Selves, v
    Everyone else now. Short term, I’m not betting; slightly-longer term… some hair’s
    gonna get mussed. I’ll go with those who’ve been there before.

    Sanders 2020

  37. flora

    From the Intercept:

    At the Iowa Debate, Bernie Sanders’s Most Vociferous Opponent Was CNN

    “Democrats assembled in Iowa Tuesday night for the opportunity to take him on in the upcoming general election. This time, though, it was CNN moderators who brought out the bat and swung it hard at Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont independent had topped a major Iowa poll last week, compounding fears that have only recently emerged among the party establishment that he may be on course for the nomination.

    “In contrast to Sanders’s treatment, former Vice President Joe Biden, the national frontrunner, was barely touched — either by moderators or his rivals.”


  38. Carey

    ‘Krystal Ball: Warren’s identity politics smear backfired spectacularly’:

    Yeah, yeah.. if it didn’t work on some level, they wouldn’t be doing it.
    Good thing is: Big Money is feeling it necessary now to burn some bridges.

    Too much harumphhing from both of them IMO, but Enjeti around 4:10
    and Ball around 7:20 are both worth hearing.

    Some entity had to have made some arrangement w/ Senator Warren.


  39. GeoCrackr

    “Why the game of Life used to have poverty, suicide, and ruin”

    This reminds me of The Game of Real Life, which my wife and I ran across at the Fremont Solstice Festival about 15 yrs ago being sold by its maker as a simple handmade package (poster-printed paper “board”, polished stone markers, etc, rolled up into a plastic bag). Features the possibility of being aborted (or orphaned), establishing class status, addiction, the vicissitudes of childhood and parenthood, nuclear armaggedon, and, if you’re lucky, ending life in a death spiral stuck in a nursing home. The goal is to end w/ the most happiness points, and at the end everybody narrates their “life story.” We’ve since upgraded to the “deluxe” edition and take it to board game parties.

  40. RMO

    “Human beings have a very rich and complex experience; horses less so; mice less so again…” So they’ve learned how to do a real world equivalent of the Vulcan mind-meld and thus know from the inside just what other beings experience? Or are they just talking out of their (family blog)s? My money is on the latter.

  41. John k

    Even tucker Carlson didn’t believe Warren. And certainly no progressive.
    I doubt her strategy picks up any Bernie votes, don’t know if she loses any of her gotta have a woman pres before I die voters.

  42. Richard H Caldwell

    I am mostly saddened, and a bit disgusted, by Warren’s acquiescence in this tactic of throwing shade on Bernie in an attempt to play the woman card. My take on Warren up to this point has been ambitious, but basically sincere and coherent. Ambitious and restless in her aspirations, but in service to seeking useful outcomes.

    Now I see that her ambition circumscribes her character, which is not something I wanted to see. That her restlessness stirs her ruthlessness and willingness to cut corners for tactical advantage. I used to include her as a possible alternative to Bernie, even though recognizing the very significant differences in their views on issues. Now, I can’t not see the art and craftiness peeking through the cracks in her aw-shucks progressive veneer. It’s useful to remind myself that she was Republican for much of her adult life.

    Bernie, whatever shortcomings one may wish to assign to him, is character writ large. See consistent in Webster’s. I love that man, and I am grateful to him for being willing to play the long game in service to the hope and possibility of facilitating permanent, durable positive change in our society. Do I wish he would accept some coaching to moderate his harping tone and expand his range of expression? Yes, though never at the expense of his message.

    Bernie is in a no-downside position because of his habit of authenticity. Because of his reflex to speak his mind rather than fall back on craft and sophistry to elide instead of enlighten. There is no illusion with Bernie—good… I am sick and tired of crafty people.

  43. Jack Parsons

    About Steyer’s clever strategy: nobody cared about the Iowa caucus before 1976, which Jimmy Carter spotted it as a great place to start. I consider strategy and competence to be very important in the president. It’s not a horse race, it’s a bunch of scheming swine trying to out-do each other. We need a president who is really good at this, at understanding the game board better than anyone else.

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