2:00PM Water Cooler 1/23/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I must finish up a post, ‘Why I Am Worried About the Legitimacy of 2020 Election Balloting,” and so I will ask you to talk amongst yourselves. I regret that, because there’s so much going on! We do, however, have a new NH poll, so perhaps that will serve as a conversation starter. –lambert

The chart:

And the numbers:

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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 (KH):

KH writes: “December full moon set caught between palm and ironwood.”

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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. Carey

      Poor Mrs.Clinton is now a full-fledged laughingstock with everyone but the Elites/PMC axis. Meanwhile, Joe Rogan endorses Sanders..


      1. Tom Stone

        Can any lawyer types comment on the odds of Tulsi’s defamation suit actually going to trial?
        Gabbard is a public figure, so the bar is pretty high, however, as a layman I suspect Hillary may have jumped over it with her trademark cackle.

        1. Wukchumni

          Devin Nunes has unfortunately ruined the market for high ticket lawsuits of no merit by filing so many.

          If anything, her lawsuit unfortunately puts her in the same stead as Devin.

          1. Code Name D

            Very true. But that is also the problem. The courts will throw this out when it’s obviously valid. One should not be able to make such obviously damaging and incorrect statements without consequences. But laws are only meant to protect the establishment from the little people. Not to protect the little people from the establishment.

            The pint isn’t to win the case, but to expose the corruption in the court system itself.

      2. Daryl

        Two people I know who are dedicated nonstop MSNBC watchers were disgusted with this. People are done with her, for good.

      1. prx

        spoke with someone familiar with the campaign and MB’s strategy is to go all-in on super tuesday states

        he’s not on the ballot in NH

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          he’s not on the ballot in NH

          Writing off a whole state. He may be overqualified for Dem Leadership.

      2. BoyDownTheLane

        I think you meant “populous”. Southern New Hampshire used to be popular before it was trampled to death by Democrats fleeing high real estate taxes in Massachusetts.

  1. Hepativore

    So, I wonder if the Sanders ju-jitsu is going to work against Biden’s latest attack ad on television and there was that meltdown Biden had in front of CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe where he kept saying “why…why…why…” that looks like it is on its way to becoming a meme. Biden looked like his brain was having a “senior moment” there. What more evidence do you need to show that Biden is simply not cognitively fit to be president?

    I am hoping that it is sinking into the mind of the average voter that Biden will quickly crumble under the demands of being the president if he cannot even handle simple questions by news reporters at this point.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m no master of the martial arts, but it was either a Joe-jitsu or TaekwonJoe move on Bernie’s part {in best Howard Cosell voice}

      He could go all the way…

    2. Big River Bandido

      I was in transit and a packed work schedule the last two days, so I only read transcripts of the exchange between O’Keefe and Biden, and I didn’t really get what the big deal was.

      Then I saw the video. Whoa. Those optics are just terrible.

      Still, I think it’s the recording of Biden himself talking about how he tried to cut Social Security and Medicare that will be the real kiss of death for his campaign.

      1. YPG

        After watching the clip, I don’t think it’s such a big deal. If it gets made into one, I think that actually sucks. I’m Bernie all the way but I think the media class has nic-fits for stuff like that fits into a narrative that amuses them (i.e. foggy old-man Joe). I mostly just find it obnoxious but I was really expecting something more inflammatory after all I’d been hearing

    3. Bill Carson

      I’m a Bernie-guy, and I’m going to give Biden a pass on the “Why why why” video. It doesn’t IMO show a cognitive problem; just frustration with the media hounds. It may be meme-fodder, but it was a human reaction.

      1. dcrane

        I thought that one was overplayed too. Biden can be taken down if we just keep attacking his 40 year record. (But I do vote for jumping on any new hair-sniffing episodes!)

        1. xformbykr

          In the MSM, memes and tropes are repeated VERY often to enhance their chances of becoming “real”. Thus berniecrats should keep on keepin’ on with pointing out stuff from the 40 year record.

        1. jefemt

          +1 and dim sum. The Scream should not have ended Dean’s run…
          This shouldn’t on its face be consequential. Myriad of other issues? You Bet!

    4. Pelham

      Granted, Biden is looking a bit shaky mentally. But given the fact that a Biden administration would basically be an autopilot return to the sorry state of affairs that existed for decades pre-Trump, he needn’t be very sharp. He’d appoint a good-hands cabinet, and they’d run things with full congressional cooperation; Biden could just be rolled out for ceremonial purposes. Moreover, many voters may even like the idea of a subdued or even impaired president after all the Trump drama.

      1. Titus

        “full congressional cooperation”, – you mean a non Republican Senate? Not. Going. To. Happen. Getting rid of trump is one thing, getting rid of why he was elected in the first place is a whole other matter.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The GOP took back the majority in both houses and held the Presidency saying “no” to Obama and being overtly unpleasant. Repeating this process with Biden simply lets them go, “see, we are nothing like Hillary Clinton and David Brock who put out the birther stuff.”

          Republicans have no shame. This is what they will do.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        But far lazier with a President requiring significantly more explanation than Obama.

        I wouldn’t assume Biden would appoint a “good-hands cabinet” circa 2021. It might be old hands circa 1991.

        From personal experience with a couple of Biden people, I imagine Biden’s people couldn’t pass the interview process for the Harris campaign.

    5. JTMcPhee

      C’mon, Biden would not have to handle any tough stuff other than maybe signing things — he would, like Reagan before him, have “people” to take care of all that… “People” who would be happy to say “I’m (actually) in charge here…”

      In Reagan’s last years as president, I was pretty convinced that those “hearing aids” he wore were actually little earbud-type radio receivers. There were these pauses in his responses to questions in the rare event he was trotted out to meet the press, where he would cock his head not in that little ‘acknowledgement” or “disparagement” way he had, part of his acting repertoire, but more like he was listening to prompts before responding — with a long several-beat pause, as he seemed to be fitting the prompt into his train of thought.

      I’m sure implants exist that would enable Biden to be managed the same way, hearing aids and radio receivers have shrunk to near invisibility along with so much else…

      And what color was Reagan’s hair, really?

      1. Titus

        Bald. As to your point, is this what we want a remote controlled guy as opposed to someone who can operate on their own power? No offense, but the whole idea is insane. This is what it has come to – It being Trump derangement syndrome? Half dead guys being on remote control?

        1. Chris

          There’s a great moment in Frank Miller’s first “The Dark Knight Returns” sequel where Lez Luthor is beating the technician who screwed up the holo image of the president and tells the poor bastard to “turn up” the president’s emotionals because he’s coming across as too phony. With deep fakes and my fellow citizen’s lack of memory, I don’t think we’re too far away from that kind of spectacle :/

    6. Carey

      Did you notice just how in his face Biden got to that reporter, jabbing at him?
      Dude is *unwell*. It’s ok though, JB is likely a placeholder anyway.

      Consent-manufacturing is looking a little tougher, this year.
      Wondering when Zappa’s Maxim will come into play..

      1. Wukchumni

        Joe is trying to channel his inner Howard Beale by posing as if he’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore, which just might come true in post-caucus Iowa.

    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      > and there was that meltdown Biden had in front of CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe where he kept saying “why…why…why…”

      I saw the clip, and to me it looked like Biden was exasperated at constant chivvying by the press. It didn’t look to me like he had medical issues at all (and I wish we’d stop with the armchair diagnosis). What he apparently does have is an enormous sense of entitlement (and Sanders’ “don’t play media games with me” has exactly the same content, albeit more artfully expressed).

      For decades, liberals have been deploying the trope of medicalizing their opponents. Reagan, Bush the Younger, Trump*, and now Biden. And in those decades, it has never worked. This trope is cheap, easy, lazy, and a loser. Perhaps that’s why liberals find it so attractive.

      If you’re a Sanders supporter, this trope have the effect of driving away old codgers who may see themselves in Biden and who Sanders desperately needs. Plus, the opportunity cost of spending time on this stupidity is spending time on Biden’s Social Security record, which should peel off those same voters you’re alienating. Finally, it makes little sense of attack Biden on health grounds when your own candidate just had his bloodflow restored by inserting a tube in one of his arteries after a heart attack. The stupid! It b-u-r-r-r-r-r-n-s!!!!!!

      NOTE * Reagan actually did lose his mind, but the press covered for him. Politically, pragmatically, there was no way to make the case, especially since Reagan was still capable of rising to the occasion. Clinton was different for me, because she was known to take coumadin (which I know to be dangerous because of my own mother’s health history).

  2. ambrit

    I am also worried about the security of the vote tallies.
    In police procedural speak, the Dems have Means, Motive and Opportunity. Now to connect the dots….

    1. flora

      Another Thomas Frank essay from 2017,

      The Democrats Davos ideology won’t win back the midwest.


      Reading his now 3-5 year old essays I first think Frank was precient, then I remember he’s studied the Dem party and its neoliberal turn for a long time. He projected the Dem party’s past behavior into the future.

      Now comes guppy Schiff “warning” about voters voting the “wrong way”. Instead of accepting the voters voting against neoliberal Dems have good economic reasons to vote the way they do. The GOP never pretended to represent the work-class economic interests. The neolib Dems pretended to represent those interests on the campaign trail, then sold them out once elected. imo.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Reading his now 3-5 year old essays I first think Frank was precient, then I remember he’s studied the Dem party and its neoliberal turn for a long time

        I am waiting eagerly for Frank’s next book.

    2. Titus

      Ah that would be prosecutorial procedural work. Cops always start with working it backward – as in who likely did it and what evidence can they collect agaisnt you. At least the cops in my family. Wonderful bunch. But to your point, I don’t think the Dems have any opportunities, more Republicans in control, but truth be told more opportunities for hackers.

      1. carycat

        For the primaries, the big blue states are under DNC control, so they do have the means and opportunity. If Bernie gets into the general, the DNC will surely go bi-partisan with the GOP eager to accommodate them. It’s too bad we cannot have paper ballots, hand counted in public (which still leaves all the voter suppression dirty tricks, the nomenklatura gets paid big bucks for this).

        1. JTMcPhee

          Just remember the lessons from a lot of places, including Chicago and Stalin’s Russia, where there were hand-marked paper ballots, counted nominally “in public,” yet somehow a certain clique always managed to pull out a win, sometimes by 99% margins. Was it Stalin who said something like “I don’t care who casts the votes, I care who counts the votes”?

          Chicago Machine did a masterful job for decades, generations even, of disappearing ballot boxes from unfriendly precincts and then miraculously discovering them again, with a whole lot of identically marked ballots.

          And Lambert’s Maxim ought to be amended to include “hand-marked paper ballots, marked in private, and hand-counted in public.“

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Chicago Machine did a masterful job for decades, generations even, of disappearing ballot boxes from unfriendly precincts and then miraculously discovering them again, with a whole lot of identically marked ballots.

            Very true but why, I would argue, the entire system needs to be federalized. It also takes an entire machine to accomplish that.

  3. Titus

    Lambert, just finished – William Gibson’s ‘Agency’, long awaited by you, his publisher and many readers. I enjoyed it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I just finished Agency.

      Why did you enjoy it?

      Spoiler alert: The climax involves bailing President Clinton out of a nuclear confrontation with Russia in Syria, through the emergence of the world’s first sentient artificial intelligence.

  4. Big River Bandido

    I am skeptical of this poll, only because it’s such a tiny sample size.

    I am not skeptical of this poll when I think about the result from 2016. Sanders may have racked up his largest vote percentage of the entire 2016 cycle in NH, although I don’t recall the exact numbers. There was no question as to who NH Democrats preferred 4 years ago.

    Probably more significant was the piece yesterday pointing out that Sanders was surging among NH independents. That would be consistent with this overall number, plus his 2016 showing.

    1. Grant

      I would be logically skeptical of all the polls, as I think they are often understating Bernie’s support. When I see Bernie doing well with these polls, the actual support is likely (at least slightly) higher. If Bernie can inspire a large number of people to vote that didn’t last time and from groups that traditionally vote in lower numbers, it isn’t impossible to see 2016 Michigan-like scenarios emerge. But, I think it is fair to say that the polls are understating his support by at least a few percentage points, if not more.

      If you read the NY Times article about a year ago about the anti-Bernie people (Tanden, Pete, Pelosi, Brock) meeting, they wanted to avoid what looks to be coming. They realize that if he does really well, it is going to be hard to give it to someone else, even if he can’t avoid a second-round superdelegate mess. All their propaganda and money and they still aren’t in a great position. It isn’t a given that Bernie will win obviously, but it is not at all impossible either. They were hoping at this point that it would be impossible.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The question is what is happening relative to “undecideds” and “shallow Biden (mostly him) supporters”.

        If you look at these people as offering something, Warren, Buttigieg, Biden, and whoever else is left are largely offering the same thing which is pretend Obama was super awesome and swear to go back to the era that produced Trump. Bloomberg desperately wants to get invited to the 41 Blue Blood country club. If he’s President, he might be able to swing that.

        Steyer is something sort of new at the moment, so he can be expected to jump as each candidate has a moment in the sun. Still, its largely a banal call to unity minus any effective movement. Despite calls to not build Keystone, he never put his money behind progressive primary challengers.

        If age isn’t deal breaking, “undecided” Democrats are probably going to break for the one most likely to be deemed a “generic” Democrat which is Sanders. If you want a “generic” Democrat, Buttigieg especially won’t pick those votes up. He might get “Team Blue no matter what” votes, and there are many of those.

        1. Grant

          I think the undecideds are important, but these polls will not capture those that didn’t vote last time, groups that will vote beyond what they normally do (the poor, the young, people of color). If that happens, and Bernie is doing best with those groups of people, then it isn’t just about a given pool of voters that the polls are capturing. If turnout is roughly the same this time as it has in the past (which will be the case in some states), then maybe that is of fundamental importance. It surely is important. But, if Bernie inspires new voters more than the other candidates, a good bet, then the polls are understating his support. The more he does, the more off they will be. It is possible for any increase in voters can be offset by a decline in support from people going to other candidates, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. If Bernie is doing well with this pool of voters, the actual support is probably even larger. My contention has been that the internal polling data that the campaigns have is different than often openly problematic polls the media uses and cites. I think that is likely why a few weeks ago the narrative in the corporate media changed and they started to acknowledge Bernie doing well. I could be wrong about all of this, but I am confident I am not. Having said that, the Democratic Party will count the votes and I don’t trust that party.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > But, if Bernie inspires new voters more than the other candidates, a good bet, then the polls are understating his support. The more he does, the more off they will be.

            Since the Sanders campaign strategy is unique and novel — trying to win California with the ground game is extraordinarily audacious — it makes sense that pollsters do not have models that give a good account of it.

            I also think we have the same wildcard with internal polling. I agree that candidate polling is far more likely to be on-point than public polling, and that internal polling leaks within the political class (but not outside of it) exert an effect on their efforts to shape public opinion.

            However, if we assume (a) that at least some data from the enormous canvassing operation is being fed upward to the campaign, and (b) that the canvassers really are speaking with new voters, then there’s an entire data flow. The Clinton campaign threw this data away, IIRC. Mook had his software. (Not to say other campaigns didn’t do this. But the scope and application of the Sanders campaign is new.)

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the smugness hasn’t lessened since april,lol
            “fall in line”, “get behind..”,”guardrails”…and the notably unspoken assumption that they have any right at all to “stop him”.
            or us, for that matter.
            i loathe pretentious bullshit.

            1. inode_buddha

              You have more guts than me. I hate to give the NYT a click, but I tried, man I couldn’t get through that without yelling. It really bugs me that I’m in the same state with those people. At least I’m 8 hours away from them, be thankful for small mercies.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                i think in a link, here, in the general vicinity of joy reid.
                ie: of that ilk.
                i was pointing from that article out into the more sweeping tangle.
                it’s an unfortunate addition to the Official Discourse, although it may have less purchase with non-city dwellers(we drive on untracked dirt quite a lot where i live.)

      2. False Solace

        The polls might be understating Bernie’s support, on the other hand that might be useful as a correction for the shenanigans of the DNC and local party operatives. For example, Hillary mysteriously won every single coin toss in Iowa in 2016 despite the overwhelming odds against that happening. The presence of electronic voting machines in most states isn’t exactly confidence inspiring. And we can expect the establishment to double down on voter roll purges, vote caging, and anything else they can think of. In fact, polls merely biased in favor of landlines and the elderly probably isn’t enough.

        If Bernie loses Iowa the path to nomination becomes much more difficult. The burden is on those of us who support him to volunteer Right Now And I Mean Now to prevent that from happening. (Tons of volunteer opportunities available, check out his website and app.)

        1. sleepy

          I live in an Obama-Obama-Trump county in Iowa and my completely subjective, non-scientific take is that Sanders will win the state.

          As you say, four years ago Hillary won on a coin flip, but since then her wing of the party has done nothing to show concern for this part of deplorable-land. Neither has Trump made life better for most folks.

          Small towns are still dying, stores are still closing, and there are few good jobs. All Sanders has to do is maintain his base and flip a few Trump voters which I don’t think will be difficult.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > All Sanders has to do is maintain his base

            Sanders base, however, is smaller than his vote total in 2016, because some of those votes were due to antipathy toward Clinton. Plus, this field is larger.

            Sanders must earn new votes, in Iowa and everywhere.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Hillary mysteriously won every single coin toss in Iowa in 2016 despite the overwhelming odds against that happening.

          Well, it can happen…. That said, I think Sanders supporters and the Sanders campaign won’t make silly assumptions that the voting process is on the level this time.

          This is, incidentally, one of the good things about the caucus: The votes are visible, physically.

    2. JohnnyGL

      It’s home turf for Sanders. He’s got to be able to win in his own backyard. NH voters are comfortable with him. But, that said, it’s not insignificant.

      Iowa is still the key. Bernie has to put up Ws on the scoreboard. If he wins Iowa, he’ll win NH. If he’s putting up wins, it’s very hard for establishment dems to kneecap him without being seen as ‘helping trump’.

        1. John

          Indeed it is but Bernie has more time on the ground. Warren is something of a wonk; I think Bernie’s persona plays better to the “man in the street”.

          I am looking for and hoping that his performance makes it all but impossible for the corporoids who imagine themselves the soul of the Democratic Party to job him out of the nomination, but I never underestimate the possibilities of treachery.

        2. Kurtismayfield

          Warren is a creature of the 495 circle.. once you cross that line, her support disappears. She will be lucky to place 3rd in NH.

          1. floydguy

            I’d go further and suggest she is a creature of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Newton and Wellesley. I am not even going to give her the 128 circle!

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          New Hampshire has enclaves like anywhere, but its not Newton, Massachusetts and other similar suburbs of Boston. Its more like Vermont than most Vermonters are willing to accept.

    3. nippersdad

      IIRC, his best showing was in WV, where he won every single county and then lost the state due to the superdelegate vote. Seems like I remember hearing that he got more votes in the primary than Clinton and Trump got in the general combined. I’d check it but, IPad. So, again to your point, there was no question who the preferred candidate in that race was, either.

        1. nippersdad

          Thanks for the correction. It would appear that the IPad is not the only thing around here in need of a new squirrel.

  5. Grant

    Well, Biden will come back. See, the lies about his record to this point are just trial balloons, the good lies are coming. So far, he has had to lie about his support for the war in Iraq and his long record of supporting cuts to Social Security. But, the lies he will tell about him being more hawkish than Reagan on the drug war (while having a son that long struggled with drugs), and him teaming up with his pal Strom on harsh anti-drug laws, those lies will really impress you. Delving more into the bankruptcy bill, his support of horrible deals like NAFTA, among other things? I can’t wait to hear the spin. I really don’t need the Onion in times like this.

    I especially like Kerry going out there on his behalf. When I was pretty young, I was a precinct campaign for Kerry’s campaign in San Diego. I was embarrassed by his run, and hated him by the end. But Bush started that illegal war, wash pushing to privatize Social Security and a host of other horrible policies (including being open to the advice from the “free market environmentalist” Terry Anderson early on to privatize all public parks), so I worked to get him out of office. But, Kerry was a horribly weak candidate, ran a really bad campaign and backed a large chunk of the same policies that Bush did. My favorite was when Bush pushed to privatize Iraq’s oil and to hand it over to Western interests. The Iraqis were polled about that and overwhelmingly opposed it. They also opposed Bremer’s 100 orders, which essentially attempted to turn Iraq into something like Chile under Pinochet. The orders and the CPA at the time said that Iraqis could not reverse those orders in subsequent elections. But, we were there to support democracy, right? Kerry supported all of that. Great person to stump for Biden. Utterly worthless.

    1. Titus

      Agreed, sadly waste of space (Kerry). As to Biden, might be a fine person, I don’t know, but no way I’m voting for a guy based on what he has done, nor do I have any reason to expect him to do anything needing to get done. We don’t have forever, daylight’s fading, people’s got problems and it’s going to take a lot of energy fighting the klepto-class (William Gibson).

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      My favorite part of the Kerry campaign was the Ohio result. I went to bed that on Election night — which I was live-blogging — thinking he would challenge it, because that’s what his press secretary (IIRC) said. When I woke up, he had caved. The beauty part is that Kerry had fund-raised for such a challenge….

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        H Jon Benjamin is a national treasure

        He was Coach McGuirk to real fans long before either of those shows aired. :::NERD FLEX:::

        1. diptherio

          Used to watch Dr. Katz and…that other one with the kids and Coach McGuirk…what was it called? This is gonna haunt me.

          1. BostonTeacher

            Home Movies. That’s my 2nd favorite show of all time after Frasier. He played Coach McGuirk and Jason.

          2. Hepativore

            Do you mean Home Movies? The one with the kids who liked to make amateur films?

            I always liked the Drinky Crow Show, myself, particularly Crow’s alcoholic bad-influence monkey friend, Uncle Gabby. Sadly, the Drinky Crow Show folded because of the animation costs and it was produced by a small studio.

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            Oh my! He was Dr. Katz’ kid! I never made that connection. I haven’t seen Dr. Katz in years.

    1. polecat

      When is he going to release one on his idea of a competent U.S. foreign policy … cuz right now, all I hear are crickets …………

      1. Geo

        Competent U.S. foreign policy? Is that even possible with our deeply entrenched MIC? If he did it should be titled: “Bernie’s Plan To Be Assassinated in an American Coup”.

        Seriously though, his already stated foreign policy positions are less than ideal but light years better than our other choices. The last time we had a candidate propose competent foreign policy was Kucinich. He got banished from government and media except as an occasional punching bag on Fox.

        I’d love to have a rational peace candidate but also feel he’s wise to not stir the hornets nest before sitting in the Oval Office where it would be harder to give him the Wellstone treatment.

        Also, our foreign policy – as it currently is – is competent when looked at from the perspective of profiteering. A destabilized and factional planet is big money and seems to be setting up 2020 for another big year for the death merchants that actually run our policies. So, I guess it depends on how you want to define “competent foreign policy”.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        He probably won’t release any such idea, because he was always domestic-focused.

        If he wanted to send a “credible signal” on foreign policy intentions, he could announce that if nominated, he would ask Tulsi Gabbard to be his VP running mate . . . IF she were interested.

      3. Bill Carson

        There are enemies that a man can afford to have and enemies that a man cannot afford to have. At least until he occupies the Oval Office.

        1. polecat

          Well, we’ll see. If he get the nom. .. and becomes the runner to win the 2020 trac hurdle, then what ??
          … because unless he’s able to choose .. and fold, quickly !.. a very sharp, very focused, NON-corrupt cabinet, into selling a few* really important polices of Immediate material AND psychological benefit .. less corpserate inflenc za, of course !… to the plebs … aired live on all channels, waves, & half-tone dots… by presidential directive if neccessary, so as able to broadcast his message to the polity, without media interference !… then what’s the point of throwing down the gautlet, if the only other alternative is to command the ramparts .. and man the catapults, because unless we have a leader who tells it like it is, in no uncertain terms, without the hubristic ra ra, then the day remains the same !

          *by a few, I mean policies with immediate relief for those in need, like for instance, cut the Defence budget by 2/3rds.. with the spoils to be used to keep people safely housed, clothed, fed – BASICS.. that would go far towards giving the mopes some of what they paid in sweat, and labored via Their time and taxes, to make up for the greivous damage that the big ‘playas’ in previous Gov., Finance, Corporates, and NGOs have done for near on 50 years ! Other, longer-term policy changes can wait a bit. But, as I stated above, Sanders needs a cabinet that can translate policy into realistic goals benefiting the masses that Actually believe in playing the game by unanimous, and fair rules.

          Otherwise, it’s Distopia continued …

      4. pretzelattack

        i don’t know, and i don’t think it’s because he thinks he will be assassinated, or 11 dimensional chess. the cia is already doing to him what it does–the propaganda machine. despite movies, the cia is not some super competent assassination bureau, they’re the ones that came up with the idea of killing castro via exploding cigar, at kennedy’s behest.
        i’m left with naivete, and maybe being in the bubble too long. i’m hoping he will win and appoint tulsi gabbard sos, i think he is capable of learning unlike so many democrats.
        he’s a new deal democrat, and fdr had his foreign policy failures, too. i’m thinking of policy toward japan pre ww2, cutting off their access to iron iirc, followed by sending americans of japanese heritate to a more benign version of concentration camps after pearl harbor.

        1. Tom Stone

          Pretzalattack, Earl Warren was Governor of California at the time the property seizures ( Are you surprised?) of and internment of Japanese Americans occurred.
          I suspect guilt over what happened affected many of his decisions as a Supreme Court Justice.

          1. pretzelattack

            sadly, no i’m not. i certainly hope bernie wouldn’t continue the blob’s policy, and i think he can learn. at any rate, he’s the best we can hope for right now.

    2. Bill Carson

      I like the fact that he is finally making the point I have been making for a while—-WE PAY FOR ALL THE HEALTHCARE NOW! We claim we can afford it now. All this plan does is shuffle around HOW it is paid for to make it more equitable. Right now we pay for healthcare through premiums (some employer-paid), co-pays, deductibles; government spending; AND if someone CAN’T pay and stiffs the hospital or doctors, then the rest of us pay more to take up the slack.

      It’s not as though healthcare spending is something brand new, like cell phone bills were fifteen or twenty years ago. Will it cost more than we spend now? If you don’t control costs, then certainly it will. (See Medicare Part B). But there is a much greater probability that it will save money.

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    It is beyond hilarious that one of the biggest venues for Russiagate gaslighting on the Internet, Daily Kos, shows up “red” on Newsguard’s “fake news” protector. Maybe Kos isn’t CIA after all.

  7. polecat

    When is Sanders going to release a video on his idea of a competent U.S. foreign policy … cuz right now, all I hear are russian crickets …………

  8. carycat

    For the primaries, the big blue states are under DNC control, so they do have the means and opportunity. If Bernie gets into the general, the DNC will surely go bi-partisan with the GOP eager to accommodate them. It’s too bad we cannot have paper ballots, hand counted in public (which still leaves all the voter suppression dirty tricks, the nomenklatura gets paid big bucks for this).

  9. petal

    NH Primary Source: Bill Shaheen leads group of longtime NH Democratic leaders backing Biden:
    “Bill Shaheen is on board with the former vice president. The longtime Democratic National Committeeman and husband of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen gave his highly sought-after endorsement to Biden because, he said, “We need a president and a Senate who can bring dignity back to our country and immediately command respect on the world stage. Joe Biden can do both.”

    Joining Shaheen with Biden are former state Senate President Sylvia Larsen, former state Democratic Party Chair Joe Keefe, longtime campaign strategist and former Cory Booker senior adviser Jim Demers and former U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, who had been the state campaign director for former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson.

    Also with Biden are Hodes’ wife, Peggo Horstmann Hodes, former state Sen. Peggy Gilmour, former Carroll County Democratic Chair Chris Meier and Manchester attorney and former NHDP vice chair Maureen Manning….

    Larsen is a former 20-year state senator who served 12 years as leader of the Senate Democrats, four of them as Senate president. She has been a friend of Biden for many years and was a leader in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.”

    1. Carey

      All these types lining up for Biden is perfect; could not be better for Sanders, IMO.
      There was a guy on Hill/Rising, formerly with the Kerry campaign, so-confidently pontificating on what Sanders and Biden “should” be doing right now.. it went unremarked that loser Kerry lost to effing *Dubya*! Yeah, line up those Corporatist endorsements, fooles..

      1. petal

        Shows how incestuous it is. They rely on each other to keep feeding at the trough for decades.
        (and I am chuckling at Carey…Grant. Almost Cary Grant!)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Primary Kerry or general election Kerry?

        I’ve been in a room “how the hell is this guy not President yet” Kerry, and I’ve been in a room with “that’s why he isn’t President” Kerry.

    2. Grant

      I look at that group of people and could really give a damn. Maybe others will have reverence for those people, who knows. All of those people have had a lot of power in the system and look at the shape of the country. Why would any logical person that wants things to change look at an endorsement from someone that led us here and think anything positive about it? Oh, Cory Booker’s senior adviser says blah blah blah. Who cares? They’re backing a rotten candidate with a rotten record, so why care about the bumper sticker nonsense they’ll spew out in some speech?

    3. Jen

      Second only to the joy of Bernie winning the nomination would be the prospect of him explaining to our lamentable NH delegation the new reality of their political situation in a language that they understand.

      You bet your a$$ that I will be reminding Senator Windsock Shaheen that she co-sponsored Bernie’s Medicare for All bill on a daily basis.

    4. WJ

      “We need a president and a Senate who can bring dignity back to our country and immediately command respect on the world stage. Joe Biden can do both.”

      Does anybody really believe this is true? I mean, the guy is corrupt, cognitively impaired, and creepy. The videos the media *could* be showing of Biden but are choosing not to….can’t wait for Trump to haul those out in the general.

  10. ChrisAtRU

    Our #wagTheDog media/punditry is apparently trying to either:

    … goad Obama into saying something about Sanders
    … or float a trial balloon to see whither the wind blows before Obama goes for Bernie’s knees

    Exhibit A from Twitter … which was quickly followed up by Exhibit B in protest. So which is it?
    I’ll reiterate my opinion: Obama is going to stay quiet. He’d be a monumental fool to do otherwise. But perhaps that’s who he is …

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama is about Obama. The question is can he help Warren. Buttigieg is a clown, and Biden would be an indictment on Obama regardless as they pimped Biden too much when he was basically just selected because Bayh and Kaine were too obviously clods.

      1. ChrisAtRU


        Not sure how much Obama helps Liz while “HeirB&B” (Biden and Buttigieg) are still in the race. If team #PaidToLose really wanted to win, they’d sacrifice the cross-generational B’s toute-suite on the altar of “Bernie Must Not Win”, let Liz inherit the numbers and go toe to toe with Bernie. Maybe Obama will wait till one or both B’s fall off the edge of the cliff, but by then Bernie’s lead and momentum may well be unassailable.

        Thing is, by all appearances, the DNC backroom calculus seems to be: keep as many candidates in the race to split the delegates as much as possible to prevent Bernie from hitting 51%. I don’t think it’s outlandish to suggest that the “pied piper” brain trust has gotten it completely wrong given the field.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I don’t think he can help Warren anymore any more, but there was a time for a path to victory if he had come out and knifed Biden early. Harris maybe too…but I’m not sure how she really would have fared given her terrible Cali numbers anyway.

          Buttigieg, Booker, and O’Rourke are all too goofy and bad versions of Obama. Castro never went anywhere. And lets be honest, there isn’t much stomach for a Tim Kaine type in the electorate.

          He’s set out to build a media empire, so its possible he really doesn’t want to risk offending anyone at this point. Being the guy who wore the “taupe” (is that a color?) suit that one time is probably not worth risking people learning more about his record. Thanks Obama for fracking!

        2. John k

          Never seems to have occurred to them the big field splits the non sanders votes to the point most don’t hit 15%.
          Be really funny if he was the only one over 15%.
          And the winnah is…

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Team Clinton is largely people pulled up by association with a former President and an inevitable future President who managed to blow it twice. Once to a guy named Barack Hussein Obama and then again to Donald Trump. Without the appeal of Mother, the Team Clinton missteps are on greater display or are ignored as the candidates simply don’t resonate.

        3. Carey

          Right now, it’s looking like the Official Numbers might not matter: the Elites and their minions seem to have a profound Legitimacy Problem. They can and probably will temporarily surmount that one, but doing that will present others.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Obama is about Obama

        Obama’s endorsement is a wasting asset. When the race is fluid, it could mean a great deal. When all the candidates are in their “lanes,” I don’t think it means so much. Until the convention, when he could sway superdelegates (there’s also some pay-off for him in that situation, and I do mean pay-off).

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Obama’s brightest timeline is to say nothing, Bernie wins, and he can retcon his entire past 12 months from now to say “I laid the groundwork for Bernie to be successful”.

      This will be repeated forever in the media and be believed in a handful of zip codes in Manhattan and Northern Virginia…and nowhere else.

      1. chuckster

        If he has to, Obama will endorse Bernie and then walk away and never be heard from again … until Bernie loses in November and Friedman and Krugman show up for an “off the record” dinner at the Obama estate in Martha’s Vineyard. They don’t want Bernie to get the nomination but they are petrified Bernie might win. Bernie losing is the ultimate goal. They will “endorse him” with their words and work diligently behind the scenes to make sure he loses.

        If you want to know what Bernie’s presidential campaign would look like, go see what they did to Ben Jealous when he beat the establishment hack in Maryland. Amazingly, a state with a 3-2 Democratic edge can’t defeat a cancerous Republican in an election. Bernie would be lucky to carry a dozen states.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Sir, if I may … ;-)

          In 2016, Bernard Sanders won 23 states with many thumbs on the scale and starting from zero national name recognition. I don’t think he walks back from that …

          Thankfully, team #PaidToLose is as pathetic as they were in 2016, so strategically empty-handed and desperate; they’re left to peddle lies and innuendo, which in 2020 is not creating the kind of manufactured consent/dissent it did in 2016.

          I’m not saying Bernie is home free … Lambert’s latest piece addresses the genuine vote rigging concerns. Those of us who remember 2016 will also understand that purged voter rolls and closed polling stations are probably gonna be on the menu again.

          So let’s see … at the end of the day, a bunch of people who don’t really know the meaning of hard work are going to have to work very hard to deny Sanders this time around. They face an uphill battle, and I remain cautiously optimistic that the Magnificent Vanilla Brutha and the team he has assembled can pull it off.

          1. chuckster

            If you think Bernie is winning Oklahoma or West Virginia (both state primaries he won in 2016) in any general election, your credibility is at stake to say the least.

            1. ChrisAtRU

              Again, sir … ;-)

              Oklahoma (7) and West Virginia (5) are not going to decide Sanders vs Trump.

              Michigan (16)
              Wisconsin (10)
              Ohio (10)
              Pennsylvania (20)

              … are more likely deciders … and are all potentially in Sanders’ wheelhouse. I also don’t discount him picking up a southern state like Georgia or even (gasp) Florida. I’ll bookmark this comment for November … ;-)

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Besides more awareness on the part of the Sanders voters, being willing to cheat on behalf of the Inevitable Mother as opposed to a rando is entirely different decision making process.

            None of these people have the control over state parties that Hillary did.

              1. The Rev Kev

                That’s not true that. I understand that Clinton sent back about 1% of all the funds taken from the States for their funding.

        2. Grant

          “Bernie would be lucky to carry a dozen states.”

          That’s a ridiculous statement. About as likely as Bernie winning Oklahoma. Don’t speak about the credibility of others if you say that. Will they throw the kitchen sink at him? Yes. Will they try to rig the vote? Yes. But, to think he goes from where he is now to Trump winning most every state is absurd.

          1. Carey

            A thought: mcVotes are good, but legitimacy’s better. Rogan’s endorsement (and the like) could be a watershed.

      2. ChrisAtRU

        LOL … Brilliant. Yes, many liberal denizens of the Acela corridor will bask in the warm afterglow of an Obama-laid-the-groundwork-for-Bernie mythology; but I’m pretty sure one person and those that are forever #StillWithHer will still be bitter.

  11. Jason Boxman

    So while getting out of the shower, this impeachment farce made me reflect: It’s not that our elites particularly care about Democracy, as they’ve shown on as many occasions as possible. Rather, unlike in more authoritarian regimes, like China and Russia, despite getting enormous wealth and power, you can get still get whacked if you fall out of favor. Not so here. So to that extent, I think they like their Democracy just fine. But when they speak about it, as Lambert frequently points out, “our” Democracy really means theirs.

    Happy Thursday!

  12. Carey

    ‘Boeing has been ‘our own worst enemy’ on missed deadlines for 737 Max, CEO says. He just set a new one. David Calhoun, in first call with media since becoming CEO, said he expects to resume production of the jet as soon as April.”


    Does this mean they’ll restart production without an FAA/EASA/China-approved fix?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Calhoun, in first call with media since becoming CEO, said he expects to resume production of the jet as soon as April.

      Since Calhoun is a finance guy, I wonder what his thinking was. Sort of a Musk-like “pull in some much-needed cash now”-style of thing?

    1. Phacops

      As a whitewater OC1 paddler, I like Bill Mason, and the style he preached is certainly good for tripping. I do think he created an overreliance on reverse strokes rather than the more aggressive paddling needed when in a small volume boat in heavy whitewater (I had paddled a Mad River Flashback, then a Dagger Impulse).

      I had paddled with people who would be backing through rapids and hated if they tried to lead off. That, and they could not play in rapids and rarely paused with the group as we played.

    1. Michael

      From the article:

      But Sanders’ previously unreported comparisons between the conditions of Vermont workers and that of enslaved people evoke a different element of his campaign—assertions by critics that he tends to view systemic racism primarily through the lens of economic disenfranchisement.

      Accusing water of being even wetter than previously thought.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I honestly believe there is no oppo book on Bernie. That makes him sooo dangerous, and doubly so if he wins it all. When was the last time we had a POTUS that the spooks had no killer dirt on to control them with? Unknowable, but if I were playing the mighty Wurlitzer I’d damn well do my best to make sure nobody got near the levers that I didn’t have kompromat on. Trump sometimes acts like he isn’t under the spooks’ thumb, but you never know. It’s hard to believe that the best those spooks really have on Donny J is the bullsh*t Steele dossier or the Access Hollywood footage. At the time I thought the Access Hollywood tape release was meant as the death blow, and when it failed, there was a disruption in the force.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I honestly believe there is no oppo book on Bernie

        The Clinton campaign prepared one; Daou saw it; he says it’s no good.

        > Trump sometimes acts like he isn’t under the spooks’ thumb, but you never know

        Speculating freely: I think that when Clapper showed Trump Obama’s memo (with the Steele report as an Appendix) on January 17 (was it?), Trump — being both from New York real estate and construction — knew it for what it was: A shakedown (“It would be a shame if this ever released”). Trump told them to get stuffed, they leaked it, and off we went to the races.

        And whatever else Trump may be, he’s not a typical mark. The piss tape came to nothing. The Clinton campaign emptied a dumpster load of oppo. Trump’s been on Howard Stern for thirty years. What could they have? (Something financial, perhaps, but is it worth taking down Deutsche Bank to take down Trump? It’s another variant of “when you owe the bank a million bucks, it’s the bank’s problem.) So I would say that Trump’s relationship with the spooks is adversarial, not master and slave. Plus, Trump gave Latin America to Bloody Gina to chew on. So she must be busy and happy. That leaves FBI counter-intelligence types, and they’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer…

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          The FX series, “The Americans,” had two deep mole Russian spies (and this was the 80s) living next door to an FBI counterintelligence officer. And the FBI guy never figures it out until very near the end when he’s devastated to learn that his best friends are Reds.

  13. FreeMarketApologist



    Federal regulators announced settlements with three former top executives at Wells Fargo, including former CEO John Stumpf, as well as civil charges against five other high-level ex-officials at the scandal-plagued bank.

    Stumpf, who resigned in October 2016 following revelations that bank employees opened millions of potentially unauthorized customer accounts, agreed to pay a $17.5 million penalty, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which announced the charges on Thursday. Stumpf also agreed to a ban from the banking industry.

    1. Carey

      So subtract $17.5 mil from Stump’s so-generous severance package, and he’s left with a mere.. ? Senator Elizabeth Warren raised her voice™ at him on tee-vee, though, so it’s
      all good.

      No wonder Sanders is doing so well.

  14. Grant

    What do the folks here think of Krugman and his ridiculous defense of Biden? I recently read about how Krugman treated Galbraith in the 90’s when people were critiquing Krugman’s “Ricardian” (don’t believe he read Ricardo) arguments in favor of “free trade”. Who turned out to be correct? I know this site also has major issues with ISLM, for good reason, and Krugman’s loanable funds model. I don’t frankly see tons of Keynes in Krugman, but I find him to be rich, out of touch and basically worthless as far as solving our largest societal issues. Anyone here like Krugman? If so, what do you like about him?

    1. Carey

      You sound much better-versed on the particulars than me, but I read Krugman’s defense
      of Biden, and thought he sounded 1) testy and 2) nervous. They’re feeling it, at least a little.

      One POV.

      1. Krugman's Cat

        ‘Seems’ is a long way off from ‘is.’ I have been forced to stoop so low as to beg for the occasional treat, only to be told that promises of free treats are Bernie Sanders’ populist demagoguery, and then he makes me watch Klobuchar’s debate clips to learn the virtue of “sober pragmatism.” It’s psychological torture and I need professional help to deal with the scars, but the man is too cheap to provide me with decent health insurance so I can afford neither counseling nor antidepressants. Medicare For All Felines Now!

    2. False Solace

      During the second Bush administration Krugman was one of only a few mainstream voices to loudly oppose continuing the Iraq war. He also argued for a much larger stimulus package after the GFC. Unfortunately it’s difficult to think of a good take since 2015 or so. He’s definitely not a leftist and he despises (while not fully understanding/engaging with) MMT. It sorta seems like he gave up the ghost in the mid 2010s in the hopes that Hillary would give him a cabinet position.

    3. Adam Eran

      For the best take-down of Krugman, read Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor Dethroned by Steve Keen. The book is dense and cranky–frankly, I’d be cranky too if I were an MMT professor, given the vapid opposition–he makes a few telling points, has every single citation and reference you’d ever want…and several you could just as well do without. (the book needs better editing)

      Meanwhile: Krugman never stops citing IS/LM as a viable model, but the guy who invented it (Hicks) declared it non-Keynesian after all, and abandoned it…as Keen points out.

  15. Carey

    Musing: wonder if or when we’ll see some more defections from the Corporatists, a la Peter Daou, any time soon. Yes, that side pays their minions well, but they’re also very used to being Hip To It; and Corporatism is *fast losing that cachet*, best PR efforts from them aside. Of course they can always get The Talk, or likely, already have..

    1. inode_buddha

      Pretty sure the car you drive isn’t a protected category under the EEOC (race, gender, religion, etc.), so yeah that could be an interesting lawsuit.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        So there is the possibility of letting people go for having tasteless cars? Like an H2 or almost any recent Audi. Conversely we could promote people who own a Citroen DS or SM.
        Maybe we could extend this sort of thing to people’s album/cd/Spotify playlists. “Seriously Bob, you’re an ok accountant and all. But 987 plays for “Pour Some Sugar on Me” in the past 3 months? GTFO !”

        1. inode_buddha

          Sure they could let someone go, and they can also get sued for it. But the employee wouldn’t be able to use the standard EEOC categories, which makes it a bit harder, wrongful termination almost always comes down to “he-said, she-said”. I’ve wondered for years if it would be legally possible to simply record everything.

        2. Dickeylee

          True story. 25 plus years ago I worked for a French company. Plant manager, head accountant, chief engineer and production manager were all French , former French Air Force. Only American dept head was in HR. French complained constantly about lazy Americans and after about 18 months they called HR lead into the conference room and told him he was dismissed., told him he was too old and should retire all ready. He said that was a good idea, but could they put that in writing? Yes, absolutely! He said he could wait if they could take care of that right now. No problem said the plant manager. Had his secretary type it up and signed in front of everyone.
          Jack (my uncle) went straight to his lawyer.
          Yes, he did retire, very comfortably.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Heard about a guy that was in management and was comfortable in the job he was doing and wanted nothing to do with the next job in the promotion chain. So when all the big wigs got their new cars he took care that he upgraded to the previous model and always stayed one model behind. It worked as he was usually overlooked.

    3. Jen

      I have a 12 year old Honda C-RV with 242K miles on it. It still runs like a tank even if it isn’t much to look at it. I’m looking for a used one in the 2009-2011 range. Interestingly, the older models, if they’re in good shape with relatively low miles are almost as expensive as a 2014-2015.

      1. polar donkey

        2008 to 2011 are in short supply because of gfc. Not many cars sold those years. Putting a real stress on low income people now who purchase 10 year old cars.

    4. smoker

      UUUGH. Of course that shit is still going on. The highly touted WEB has allowed us to whistle blow on Ugly Biznest Crimes (and be tracked and fired for whistleblowing) but not at all stop it; with few exceptions. Those exceptions were so cruel the companies’ pretended to let up a teeny bit, but are very likely to still be firing/letting transgressors go who commit such crimes as the following:

      In the 80’s I had a conversation with someone who had worked as a staff accountant at an Arthur Andersen (of Enron Infamy) Accounting Firm office in Texas. She said they weren’t to be seen taking buses to work, going to lunch with secretarial and other ‘lower’ staff members, and not allowed to brownbag their lunch (pretty sure the pretty car requirement was in there also).

      1. smoker

        Oh, and that pay was not anything near what allowed a pretty car, after that college loan; unless the parents bought it.

  16. Chris

    I can’t wait for an actual vote and this weird quantum dual reality thing we have going begins to collapse to a definable set of results. I see all these polls and I have no idea how they relate to each other. I still don’t think anyone has a good basis for defining their likely voter model. I don’t even have confidence that these data sets can be combined using an averaging technique. I have zero confidence in anyone’s weighting for any reason. We’re all just blind people groping at an elephant to figure out what it is, only I think once we can open our eyes and see what we’ve got in our hands we’ll realize we though the elephant was warm and chocolatey because we were up to our armpits in a pile of manure…

    Whether the vote is allowed to stand or not, whether Schiff’s machinations mean Bernie has no chance or not, whether Trump wins or not, I am so tired of this interminable slog of a campaign. The reason for drawing this out is to make the wrong people in the media and consulting business a lot of money at the expense of us citizens. It only serves to scare reasonable people away from running for office at all levels of government. If we can’t institute some kind of rule to limit our official election season to 6 months can someone please make it stop!

    1. Jen

      I would happily vote for a border wall to keep all presidential candidates out of New Hampshire until 6 months before the primary.

    2. christofay

      It is a long march. On the other hand a candidate like Sanders needs time to plow through the official state media. “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”

    3. Jeff W

      “…some kind of rule to limit our official election season to 6 months…”

      The Brits mandate six-week-long election seasons,which the former editor of The Spectator (which is generally supportive of the Conservative Party) says is “too long”—without that rule, at least according to the piece, British elections might be shorter:

      One of the many faults to lay at the door of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act is its decree that a general election campaign must last six weeks.…On 7 February 1974, Edward Heath called a general election. It was held exactly three weeks later. This was quite long enough for him to ask his famous question ‘Who governs Britain?’ and for the voters to decide that they resented being asked. Now six weeks is the law of the land, ensuring boredom and disruption for all — another example of the pointless rigidity of legislation rather than the flexibility of custom.

  17. JTMcPhee

    Marketing Rules!

    A little snippet from VICE on the big trial going on at Guantanamo, Zubaydeh the would-be big time terrorist apparently falsely charged and “renditioned” to a CIA “black site” in Thailand and tortured, tortured and tortured again “because we could:”

    After his capture, Abu Zubaydah’s alleged connections to al-Qaeda were disproven; he was a jihadist but had no advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. In front of the military tribunal Wednesday, Mitchell recounted how a collection of videotapes, unknown to him at the time, had convinced the CIA of Zubaydah’s high value. They showed him taking credit for a number of attacks that hadn’t happened yet.

    When Mitchell learned of the tapes — well after he’d tortured Zubaydah — he said he asked the jihadist about them. Zubaydah explained his plan: He’d wanted to start his own terror cell but saw the United States rounding up al-Qaeda members. Zubaydah reasoned that he could make money by videotaping himself taking credit for terrorism that hadn’t yet happened.

    After he’d recorded his collection of tapes, he could get plastic surgery to change his appearance. Then, if and when the attacks happened, he could release his videos. By taking credit, he could get “investment” from terror-supporting groups.

    “There were organizations and groups that were willing to fund terror attacks, but they wanted to see results,” Mitchell explained in court. “So this was part of some marketing scheme that went horribly wrong.” (Zubaydah has long had mental health problems, exacerbated by his time in black sites and at Guantánamo Bay. His drawings depicting his torture were recently published.) From “They Said That We Were Pussies:” The Psychologist Who Tortured Accused 9/11 Plotters Says the CIA Wouldn’t Let Him Stop, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/884qk4/they-said-that-we-were-pussies-the-psychologist-who-tortured-accused-911-plotters-says-the-cia-wouldnt-let-him-stop

    “No matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up.”

        1. inode_buddha

          Now that is truly a surprise. A large number of them were stationed about a mile from me over the years (heavy lift and air refueling wing), you could always tell when they were taking off for Iraq at 3 AM… C-130 is a known capable plane, I wonder what happened?

          1. The Rev Kev

            No idea but there is a lot of mourning going on. It was contracted through a North American aerial firefighting company called Coulson Aviation but I am not sure if they were Canadian or American.

            A team from Coulson is on their way out here but nobody really knows what cause the crash. Hopefully the black boxes will give some answers. There is an image from the crash site and it is a burnt mess.

  18. Wukchumni

    Been wondering what kills the vacation rental market, and with the fear factor on the breach with Coronavirus, will that do it in?

  19. richard

    k. kulinski’s take on the gabbard lawsuit
    he doesn’t give the lawsuit much of a chance
    but he does make an interesting case for gabbard as a veep pick for sanders
    give it a watch

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