2:00PM Water Cooler 1/7/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this Water Cooler will be shorter than it should be. I slept badly and late, and have places to go and people to see. Tomorrow will be better! –lambert

Trade

“Rising tensions in the Middle East are reaching grain farms in the U.S. Midwest. Fears of retaliation for a U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani have sparked concern that U.S. wheat growers will lose access to Middle Eastern markets” [Wall Street Journal]. “The Middle East has been a growing destination for U.S. grain exports, particularly as American wheat farmers have sought alternate markets to make up for the impact of the U.S.-China trade war. Wheat futures have been sliding since the U.S. airstrike, and the Jefferies Shipping Index tracking maritime companies has been rising on a forecast that freight carriers will get ‘hazard pay’ for operating in the region.”

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Here is a second counter for the Iowa Caucus, which is obviously just around the corner:

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2020

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

Today we have a nice big sample from Morning Consult, as of 1/7/2020, 12:00 PM EST. On the average, the pattern of Biden first, Sanders strong second, then Warren and Buttigeig is stable, but Bloomberg is closing on Buttigieg, which is interesting or concerning. Of course, these are national polls, about to be massively thrown into confusion by IA, NH, SC, and NV — and then CA.

And the numbers:

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): “The unsinkable Joe Biden? Many months and many gaffes later, Biden is still ahead” [CNBC]. “Biden hasn’t increased his support and is still relatively weak as a leading candidate. But he’s held steady atop a crowded field when other candidates who have climbed quickly have found it difficult to maintain momentum, and that might be enough for Biden to win… Both Biden and Trump were written off by both rival campaigns and many opinion leaders in their own parties, such as donors, strategists and ideological columnists, despite consistently leading in the polls. And both have a connection to their base that is more personal, making them somewhat impervious to criticism about their ideological purity or consistency.” • Another upraised middle finger, this time from older and more comfortable liberal Democrats….

Klobuchar (D)(1): “Amy Klobuchar: The favorite Democrat of Senate Republicans” [WSWS]. “As county attorney, Klobuchar oversaw the systematic cover-up of police murders and violence. During her approximate tenure as county attorney, the city of Minneapolis paid out $4.8 million in legal settlement fees for 122 police misconduct incidents. Meanwhile, during this same period, local police and Hennepin County sheriffs killed 29 people. Klobuchar did not once file criminal charges against police for misconduct, even when they killed people. Instead, she put such cases for decision by a grand jury, a process which was heavily criticized for its secrecy and for having the reputation of allowing testimonies in favor of police…. Minneapolis police union leaders backed her candidacy for Hennepin County Attorney in both 1998 and 2002, when the Republican Party tacitly supported her as well, failing to field a candidate to challenge her reelection.” • Amy Klobuchar is a cop…

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders’ Proposals Are The Largest Middle Class Tax-Cuts in US History” [Medium]. “Medicare for All can be phrased as a tax cut that saves the average American family at least $10,000 a year. Not to mention the compound gains that families will enjoy if they no longer need to assist their children with college tuition. And for those of you wondering whether these tax cuts will be completely offset by the tax hikes needed to pay for the programs themselves, fear not. Free college tuition costs less than half a percent of US GDP, that’s a mere $80 Billion a year and is paid for in its entirety by taxing Wall Street day trading and speculation. The working and middle class will pay zero in taxes for making public college tuition free.

For the 63 million Americans who are making less than $15 an hour, Sanders has a tax cut intended especially for them too. In this case, it will come in the form of raising the minimum wage to a living wage.” • Very ingenious framing!

Sanders (D)(2): [Toledo Blade]. “Mr. Sanders’ enduring strength comes, first, from authenticity — the quality that was supposed to help Mr. Biden. But Mr. Biden is, it turns out, mostly an authentic lifetime pol — weighed down by contradiction and a lifetime of deals, even if legal. Bernie Sanders is rooted in a set of values and he has been utterly consistent about them for 40 years. You may not agree with him on everything, but you can respect his sincerity and rootedness. He’s like Ronald Reagan that way. He also has character. He’s not for sale. He’s not afraid to stand alone. He will take on the establishment in his own party, as Mr. Trump has. And he is, as well, a very different person in one-on-one interviews than when on the stump, when he is often a hectoring, shouting bore. We don’t need that guy. We don’t need more anger and yelling at this stage of our history. We don’t need class warfare. But I have seen this other quiet, reflective Mr. Sanders several times. The best recent example is an interview with Joe Rogan. Here the interviewer was thoughtful and clearly did his homework, but Bernie came off as unpretentious, thoughtful, and intellectually honest. And also as a person who is interested in people and their stories. Again, he is, oddly, like Reagan: He knows who he is, he likes people, and he believes in the country. Not politics, in D.C., by the elites, but the country.” • Interesting, that Rogan interview. Many readers recommended it. Here it is again:

Sanders (D)(3): “Will Bernie voters vote for Biden when he wins?” [The Week]. “It would be one thing if 2016 had never happened. But it did, and many of Bernie’s supporters feel like they got burned badly by the Democratic establishment not once but twice four years ago. First, their hopes were raised by Sanders’ surprising success across the country and then dashed by his inability to overcome Hillary Clinton’s strong institutional support. Then they settled for Clinton as a consolation prize in order to defeat Donald Trump in the general election only to have her lose to him. As far as they’re concerned, they’ve been fooled two times already. It’s passion that explains Sanders’ incredible success at fundraising — with $34.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, a number that is likely to dwarf everyone else’s in the race. It’s even more impressive when we factor in the Sanders campaign’s emphasis on collecting small donations. That shows a lot of devotion by a lot of people. So far there’s no sign that it’s enough people to win the race for the nomination. But it would be more than enough to torpedo Democrats’ chances of taking down Trump in November.” • The power to destroy a thing…

Warren (D)(1): “What Happened to Liz Warren?” [Inside Sources]. A conservative source gleefully quoting centrist Democrats, but this is interesting: “Warren supporters are quick to suggest that she’s the victim of misogyny, that conversations about authenticity and likeability are just code words for being uncomfortable with a woman nominee. But that hardly makes sense in New Hampshire, where three of the four Democrats in the congressional delegation are women, the two previous governors were women and where Hillary Clinton won both the 2008 primary and the 2016 general election.” •

Warren (D)(2): “Warren Takes Aim at Biden With Plan to Bolster Bankruptcy Rights” [Bloomberg]. “Elizabeth Warren rolled out a plan Tuesday to restore bankruptcy protections repealed in a 2005 law championed by Joe Biden, taking an implicit shot at the Democratic presidential front-runner just weeks before the first nominating contests next month…. The battle over the bankruptcy measure is part of a longstanding struggle within the Democratic Party between a business-friendly faction and a populist wing hungry for confrontation with Wall Street. In 2005, Biden, then a U.S. senator from Delaware, clashed with Warren, a Harvard law professor whose specialty was bankruptcy and who waged an unsuccessful campaign to thwart the legislation, which was enacted by President George W. Bush.” • Which is all well and good, and Warren’s area of academic expertise. Leading to the natural question: Why didn’t she introduce this legislation before?

UPDATE Warren (D)(3): “Elizabeth Warren’s Support For Trump Trade Deal Chafes Climate Allies” [HuffPo]. “[Warren] had previously panned an earlier version of Trump’s deal as “NAFTA 2.0″ and vowed to oppose it in the Senate, saying it ‘won’t stop the serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers.’ … The announcement marked a split with Warren’s main progressive rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who said he opposed the deal during last month’s televised primary debate. (Sanders did grant that Trump’s pending deal was ‘a modest improvement over what we have right now.’)… [T]he new pact doesn’t even mention climate change, and the final version includes provisions that make it cheaper to export Canadian tar-sands oil, give corporations more power to undercut Mexico’s environmental policies and allow foreign companies to challenge proposed regulations in the U.S. or request the repeal of existing rules.” • I don’t think Sunrise Movement is gonna be happy about this.

Impeachment

UPDATE 28 days ’til the Iowa Caucus. Suppose Pelosi throws the articles over the wall to McConnell tomorrow. It takes a week for the Senate to react, because the Senate is the Senate. That’s 21 days. Then we fight for a week about the rules. That’s 14 days. Suppose the trial starts immediately, and takes two weeks, completely before the Iowa Caucuses. Really? Does that calendar seem remotely plausible? If not, suppose the trial overlaps the Iowa caucus, leaving Biden a clear field, and forcing Warren and Sanders to stay in DC. I imagine Pelosi would like that, but would McConnel? Suppose we manage to dodge the Iowa Caucus. The same arguments apply to New Hampshire, on Tuesday, February 11. Surely the insiders have gamed this out. But what does the game look like?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has funneled over $20 million to Democrats” [Recode]. “Mind the Gap pitched donors in 2018 on a counterintuitive message to successfully take back the House: Don’t fund the congressional races that are the likeliest to flip. Those are already overfunded. Instead, fund the slightly less likely to flip races …. Wealthy people from tech attracted by the vernacular of risk and return flocked to the group, packing donor briefings at ritzy spots in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood and sharing the endorsement list with their friends across the tech industry. Those donors then flooded Democratic challengers like Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico and Lauren Underwood in Illinois with as much as $640,000 in high-dollar donations. Mind the Gap “infused into their campaigns almost overnight” an average of more than $500,000 each, according to a separate, year-in-review memo distributed to donors last month and obtained by Recode.” • Small and Underwood are hardly progressive firebrands…

Stats Watch

Private Equity: “Dairy Giant Borden Files for Bankruptcy Protection” [New York Times (DK)]. “‘The biggest cause, if you dial it back, is a circumstance where we have debt that is inappropriately sized for the company,’ [Borden’s chief executive, Tony Sarsam] said… After making a number of acquisitions in the late 1980s, the company entered a turbulent period resulting in its 1995 sale, for $2 billion, to the private-equity giant KKR. Over the next decade, the company was slowly whittled down, with many of its divisions and brands sold off, Borden said in the filing.” • I’m sure KKR made out just fine, though. As they do.

Shipping: “Pitchbook counts some $1.2 billion in U.S. venture-capital deals since 2015 in logistics-focused robotics and automation companies, including self-driving truck startups and companies that specialize in freight data and tracking” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Seizures of cocaine aboard commercial ships and private vessels world-wide more than tripled over the past three years, according to Resilience360, to 73.2 metric tons in 2019” [Wall Street Journal]. “Experts say that is because commercial shipping has grown increasingly attractive to smugglers. The biggest container ships have doubled in size in the past decade, and ship operators are under pressure to deliver big amounts of cargo on time. That means relatively few containers are checked, raising the need for safeguards and intelligence aimed at rooting out smuggling.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing Reassigns 737 Max Workers With Factory Shutdown Looming” [Industry Week]. “Boeing faces a complex task managing the shutdown and eventual restart of the 737, one of its main sources of profit, amid the tightest U.S. job market in decades. The Chicago-based planemaker doesn’t expect to lay off or furlough workers because of the production suspension, Stan Deal, chief executive of Boeing’s commercial airplane division reiterated in a separate message to employees. Within its Seattle-area manufacturing hub, Boeing plans to ‘loan’ 737 mechanics, engineers and staff to the 767, 777 and 777X programs at its Everett wide-body factory. South Carolina employees who work on the Max’s propulsion systems will be shifted to the 787 program in North Charleston, Boeing said.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 89 Extreme Greed (previous close: 93 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 93 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 7 at 1:00pm.

The Biosphere

“‘Arson is not caused by climate change’: Row breaks out over real cause of Australia’s bushfires after it emerges more than 180 people have been arrested for starting them” [Daily Mail]. As usual with the Daily Mail, the headline tells the story. But: “Scientists believe climate change is amplifying the conditions necessary for firestorms to form. Physicist Scott Menor said that even if all the fires were started by arson, ‘climate change made the difference between throwing a match in water to throwing it in gasoline’.” • There seems to be no suggestion that even a significant number of the fires were started by arsonists. And then: “Mitch Parish, a former arson squad detective, said the international frenzy surrounding the bushfire crisis would only increase a ‘vanity arsonists’ desire to light an inferno. ‘It’s got to the stage where they’re seeing all the publicity on the fires … and they get bit of a buzz because of all the attention,’ Mr Parish said. ‘People get very emotional and passionate (about fires) and feel a lot of power because it’s a very ­destructive force.'”

“Opinion: Why green “climate gentrification” threatens poor and vulnerable populations” [PNAS]. “[R]ecent research suggests that green infrastructure planning for climate change is rooted in a green and resilient city orthodoxy that integrates nature-driven solutions into urban sustainability policy. This orthodoxy, as we have argued in previous research, either overlooks or minimizes negative impacts for socially vulnerable residents while selling a new urban brand of green and environmentally resilient 21st-century city to investors, real estate developers, and new sustainability-class residents.”

“Seven Arrested for Boarding Offshore Rig in Scotland” [Maritime Executive]. “Police in Dundee, Scotland have arrested a group of protesters with Extinction Rebellion after an unauthorized boarding of the jackup rig Valaris JU-122 (Ensco 122) on the River Tay. Three of the environmentalists climbed aboard the rig and stayed for about five hours, leaving when weather conditions began to deteriorate…. The rig is operated by Valaris and is due to drill several wells for Royal Dutch Shell in 2020. In a statement, Extinction Rebellion Scotland said that the action was targeting Shell…. [Oil & Gas UK] CEO, Deirdre Michie also called for cooperation and pointed to Oil & Gas UK’s plans for carbon reduction, including the reduction of emissions from production and the deployment of future carbon capture and storage technologies. ‘If Extinction Rebellion is serious about net zero then it needs to become serious about what will be required and recognize the critical contribution our industry could make . . . This is an industry in action, and we are committed to working with anyone to find solutions and deliver the low carbon future we all want to see,’ she said.” • Oh.

Health Care

“Despite provider claims, hospital M&A not associated with improved care, NEJM finds” [Health Care Dive]. “Hospital consolidation is associated with poorer patient experiences and doesn’t improve care, according to a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, refuting a common provider justification for rampant mergers and acquisitions…. It’s further evidence that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to hospitals, and adds onto a heap of previous studies showing provider mergers lead to higher prices for commercially insured patients.”

“It Looks Like Health Insurance, but It’s Not. ‘Just Trust God,’ Buyers Are Told.” [New York. Times]. “More than one million Americans, struggling to cope with the rising cost of health insurance, have joined such [Christian health care sharing organizations], attracted by prices that are far lower than the premiums for policies that must meet strict requirements, like guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, established by the Affordable Care Act. The groups say they permit people of a common religious or ethical belief to share medical costs, and many were grandfathered in under the federal health care law mainly through a religious exemption. These Christian nonprofit groups offer far lower rates because they are not classified as insurance and are under no legal obligation to pay medical claims. They generally decline to cover people with pre-existing illnesses. They can set limits on how much their members will pay, and they can legally refuse to cover treatments for specialties like mental health.” • Seems rather like Pascal’s Wager in reverse. If you really just trust God, why pay for insurance at all?

Guillotine Watch

“The Ladies Who Launch Lingua Franca and the rise of the resistance socialite.” [New York Magazine]. “Now, along with CALIFORNIA LOVE and EVERYDAY I’M HUSTLIN’, you can get Lingua Franca sweaters embroidered with I DIDN’T VOTE FOR HIM, NASTY WOMAN, or THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TWEETED. Connie Britton wore one of its POVERTY IS SEXIST, $380 retail but gifted to her from Bono’s ONE foundation, to the Golden Globes the year after Me Too, when everyone was wearing black. ‘I just don’t think a $5,000 gown would have added to the conversation in the same way,’ Britton tweeted.”  • It’s all relative, I suppose. Worth reading in full, if you’ve got any teeth you’d like to loosen.

Class Warfare

“Americans’ happiness is correlated with spending on public goods” [Boing Boing]. “Baylor University political scientist Patrick Flavin’s forthcoming study in Social Science Research finds that people in states with higher public goods spending (on ‘libraries, parks, highways, natural resources and police protection’) report higher levels of happiness. It’s not clear whether they are happier because they have better services, or whether people who choose to live in places where they don’t have to pay for their neighbors’ kids’ education, parks, etc, are selfish, miserable f*cks.”

News of the Wired

Pimping my ride:

No.

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NC writes: “Dug these out of my Korea archive from about six years ago.” Inspiring! That’s quite a sizeable onion bed!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

140 comments

  1. shinola

    From the ‘Toledo Blade’ article on Sanders:

    “We don’t need class warfare.” – Yeah, sez who?

    And from ‘The Week’:

    “Will Bernie voters vote for Biden when he wins?” – Hell no! I’ll vote Green (again) rather than another neolib. p.o.s. from the Obama/Clinton wing of the party.

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      Toledo Blade doesn’t recognize that we already have class warfare. The difference is, Bernie, unlike the rest of the Democratic cohort, is on the same side of the battle field as most of the public.

      Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        to channel Verbal Kint from “The Usual Suspects”…

        The greatest trick the [Democratic Party] ever pulled was convincing [its voters that class warfare] didn’t exist.

        Reply
      2. David J.

        Yes, if I were sitting in Keith’s office, as I did on numerous occasions when we both worked at the same newspaper in Connecticut in the early 90s, I would press him on that point. That said, this was overall a pretty good editorial for Sanders.

        Burris is a fine human being: thoughtful, a bit of an old-timey classical liberal (note his reference to RFK), and in some respects, socially conservative. Think “tweed-suit.” My take is that he is instinctively cautious and wishes that there were more level-headed adults in the room.

        FWIW.

        Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      I’ll do what 90,000 Michigan voters did in 2016. They voted down-ballot but left the presidential section blank.

      Reply
    3. aj

      I’ll do what I did last time: vote for the person on my ballot who I think would do the best job. In 2016 I had 4 options– Trump, Hillary, Johnson, and Stein. Out of those four, I pick Stein. I don’t support lesser-evil-ism or the buy in to the wasted-vote bullshit.

      Reply
    4. Jeff W

      I won’t vote for Biden.

      Regardless of the GOP candidate, the neoliberal Democratic candidates have to lose in order for the Democratic Party to move at all to the left—and, by “to the left” I mean even to where the right-of-center parties are in other countries. That might not be sufficient but I think it is necessary.

      If Hillary Clinton had won in 2016, there would be no space in the Democratic Party for a Sanders run in 2020. If Joe Biden gets the nomination and wins in 2020 (a win that I’d view as exceedingly unlikely), that would make a progressive run in 2024 nearly impossible; a progressive candidate could neither vigorously disavow the atrocious policies of a Biden administration nor effectively run on them—and that makes the electoral victory of a right-wing populist perhaps even worse than Donald Trump more of a possibility. You lose in the short run with a (supposedly) “lesser evil” candidate and you lose even more in the long run.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        Actually IF Biden is the candidate it’s not only not sufficient, but the idea that losing will move candidates left is very near entirely disproven as a theory at that point. Because that’s what Trump was supposed to do, and if Biden is the candidate it clearly didn’t work. I mean unless we’re in the realm of completely un-falsifiable theories where the excuse keeps being “give it another 4 years, then it will work”.

        Eventually, I have to conclude people just really like the idea that it would somehow move candidates left, no matter how little evidence there is for it. If you don’t want to vote for Biden, then don’t, I’ll vote Dem if I want and 3rd party if I want, I don’t sweat it that much, but this moving candidates left theory is getting questionable. Never mind where 4 years of not just neoliberal but extreme right wing rule is actually likely to move the country (not left)

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          Whats the alternative? Get 4-8 more years of Biden? At least not voting for Hillary in 2016 meant we get to potentially vote for Bernie in 2020.

          Reply
          1. Monty

            I was in agreement with you until this unfortunate business in the Middle East. I think there is an obligation to vote against him now, even if the alternative isn’t any better. You must register your disgust in the only way that matters.

            Reply
          2. Jeff W

            “At least not voting for Hillary in 2016 meant we get to potentially vote for Bernie in 2020.”

            That’s sort of how I see it, although I would state it as the inverse: if Hillary had won in 2016, we would not get to potentially vote for Bernie in 2020.

            It’s not that neoliberal Democratic candidates losing will make the Democratic party move to the left. It’s that neoliberal Democratic candidates winning assures that it won’t.

            Reply
            1. Carey

              I contend again that post-Democrat convention, destroying any shreds of that corporatist party’s
              legitimacy is the most, most important thing.

              “No career-path there at all, ambitious ones!”

              Reply
              1. Jeff W

                “…destroying any shreds of that corporatist party’s legitimacy is the most, most important thing.”

                I agree.

                I’d say that, given that, according to Gallup, “[s]ignificantly more U.S. adults continued to identify as political independents (42%) in 2018 than as either Democrats (30%) or Republicans (26%),” and that, at least according to one poll, “38% of respondents think the two-party system is seriously broken and the country needs a third party,” a sizable portion of people in the US might not be unaligned with that.

                Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i won’t vote for biden either….for anything under a cool mil.
        This paragraph is where I am, pretty much:
        “A movement firmly committed to bringing about the scale of changes Sanders has been advocating wouldn’t hesitate to “heighten the contradictions” — that is, allow things to get worse in the short term (by acting in a way that helps Trump to win a second term) in the hope that better long-term prospects for progress (namely, a big shift to the left in the electorate) would emerge from the mess. If nothing else, a second loss to Trump would ensure the overthrow of the establishment that has led the Democratic Party since 1992, thereby opening up the prospect of its takeover by left-wing populists by 2024.”
        (from The Week Link(lol))

        especially if there’s more shenanigans in the Dem Primaries…like engineering a need for a second ballot, so the superdelegates can come riding in as the “adults in the room” to “save us from ourselves”.
        in that case, i’d consider holding my nose and voting for trump.
        Basta!

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I voted Greens in 2016 using the “a pox on both your parties” theory. I was not prepared for how utterly bad Trump has been. Not even efficiently evil. Just Hannah Arendt level “banality of evil” Evil. I am forced to ask myself; just how bad do ‘things’ have to get to trigger the political regeneration cycle? Complete societal breakdown? That is what seems to be the case here. As Trump has given us all a master class in; breaking stuff is a lot easier than building stuff.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            aye. I voted for Stein(whom, based on the resulting acrimony, doesn’t count as a Woman,lol)
            I very likely will vote Green again…although voting for satan does have it’s nihilistic appeal…because, yes…the Aristocracy won’t let go the spigot(see: hydraulic despotism) until all is lost.
            when i see pics of people like pelosi, hoyer or mcconnel, i think about Buckley’s definition of “conservatism”—“to stand athwart history, yelling stop”.
            PTB wants to stop time in the late 90’s(see: Matrix), and just remain there, attached to our collective necks forever.
            The Skeksis also come to mind, sometimes:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeksis

            Reply
      3. Carey

        Short of electing Sanders, which I don’t see as “allowed”, though
        I’ll be working for it all the way- I see job #1 as *stopping the Democrat Party’s money-chain*. Really job 1, 2, and 3.

        Stop their money = stop their quasi-legitimacy / patronage circle-jerk.

        How best to do that is a work in progress, though I think it’ll
        clarify a bit around their ossified? convention. ;0

        Reply
      4. Altandmain

        Regardless of the GOP candidate, the neoliberal Democratic candidates have to lose in order for the Democratic Party to move at all to the left—and, by “to the left” I mean even to where the right-of-center parties are in other countries. That might not be sufficient but I think it is necessary.

        An even more radical idea, and I know many NCers might revolt at this, is if Sanders loses to vote for Trump. This will make things worse for the Establishment Democrats, especially if a Sanders-Trump vote becomes high enough in the “swing” states, the Midwest and Florida.

        The only case I see for “lesser evil” might be Warren, but her campaign doesn’t seem to be taking off all that much.

        An Establishment Democrat winning means no opportunity for a new left wing candidate until 2028, years of economic stagnation, rising inequality, efforts to undermine the left, and possibly another far worse than Trump Republican winning in 2024 because the Democratic has screwed up so badly due to their neoliberalism. An Establishment Democratic loss means another left wing candidate is a possibility in 2024.

        Ironically that may make voting for Trump a lesser evil the long run in 2020 should Bernie lose (or another serious case of the Democrats sabotaging the primary).

        Another big problem is that the Democrats are likely to try to sabotage Bernie should he wing the 2020 primary internally so that Trump wins and their claims about electability are validated.

        Reply
      5. Jessica

        It is not enough that the neoliberal Democrat lose. They have to be seen to lose because the left rejected them and the neolibs have to know that this will happen every time they run a pro-oligarchy candidate.

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        You will be faced with the same choice this November. Think, ‘brokered convention’ and ‘unity candidate.’

        Reply
        1. Carey

          Maybe it’s our job to provide candidate Biden with the
          lowest “Dem” GE turnout in recent electoral history?
          Our Dems are fine with that, of course; or at least, until the
          money stops flowing.

          “but Tiffany’s opthalmologist..!”

          Reply
  2. Hepativore

    At the very least, if and when Sanders wins the nomination, I will probably overdose on the schadenfreude from all of the howling from mainstream media sources, establishment Democrats, and not the very least…Daily Kos and Balloon Juice. Annie Laurie on the latter would be livid with rage.

    Of course, I would not be surprised if the mentioned people and organizations will immediately start throwing their weight behind Trump, not that I think it would do much to stop Sanders if he makes it out of the Democratic primary.

    Reply
        1. ambrit

          While the centrist Dems are the “Last Exit to Brooklyn.” (Obscure literary reference.) I can hear ‘Hands On’ Joe muttering to himself: “But it doesn’t taste like money.”

          Reply
            1. ambrit

              Why do the present day Dems remind me of the old Andy Warhol ‘Factory’ crowd?
              And as for who today fills the shoes of Ultraviolet or Edie….

              Reply
              1. polecat

                More like the flick ‘Blue Velvet’ … with Frank (the Dems) .. in a fit of pyschotic panic, reaching for that Oxygen mask (articles of impeachment) attached to, well .. nothing, as the loyal mopes brace for another stockholm syndrome brusing !

                (Huff huff) ..”Oh Mama !!” .. Wack!

                Reply
    1. John Wright

      There may be an actuarial table based Democratic ticket with Bernie as the President and a VP more to the liking of the Democratic elite.

      Bernie is old enough for many to believe he might die in office, allowing a elite favored VP to assume the presidency.

      Of course, Bernie would be wise to curry favor with the Secret Service, as some group might try to speed up Bernie’s exit from the earth if he is elected.

      Perhaps Elizabeth Warren will be the VP choice as she has shown an unwillingness to upset the apple cart (Medicare for all?) and the Democratic elite could grow to believe she will “get with the program.”

      Reply
  3. Grant

    “And both have a connection to their base that is more personal, making them somewhat impervious to criticism about their ideological purity or consistency.”

    What does ideology have to do with his atrocious record, his corruption or his clear mental decline? Would what I care if he had the same record and was as reliant on large donors, but identified as a socialist? What we are talking about with supporters of both Biden and Trump are two groups of people that don’t care about the real world impacts of their policies, or their corruption. Seems that if there is a similarity, it is that many of them aren’t logically reachable, a decent amount of them are economically privileged enough to not have to worry about such things.

    Reply
  4. a different chris

    >if they no longer need to assist their children with college tuition.

    Cue the “but what about me? I paid so much…” crying and whining. Well yoou know, my kids have graduated and have huge bills. But OTOH, I was born late enough not to have to go to Vietnam. That’s just how life works. Most trade offs take from something to redistribute elsewhere. This doesn’t even have a “trade off”, my kids bills don’t change, that is they are no worse off. Thus we have no reason to complain, really. Except for the “what took you so long” part, of course.

    >But it would be more than enough to torpedo Democrats’ chances of taking down Trump in November.

    Yes once again you need to be either a Rethug or a useless Democrat. Bleep that. I don’t have to vote for “the lesser of two evils”. I really don’t.

    >power to undercut Mexico’s environmental policies

    ??? I didn’t realize Mexico had any ???? Seriously, if somebody can point me somewhere I would be interested in learning.

    Reply
    1. dk

      Mexico’s environmental policies:
      https://insights.tetakawi.com/mexican-environmental-laws-unenforced-turmoil-or-evolving-success

      Underfunded and under constant attack from (largely foreign) industries/businesses, it’s not a pretty story, but Mexicans as a whole aren’t stupid or unsophisticated people. Their environmental goals equal or exceed those of the US.

      As Mexico quickly evolves and modernizes, a governmental framework exists to protect its environment while continuing industrial progress. Contemporary laws give prominence to Sustainable Development, and state governments take more responsibility for ecological reinforcement than ever before.

      Many people are quick to believe that Mexico has very loose laws when it comes to the environment without really knowing what environmental laws they enforce. But, the reality is that Mexico’s environmental policies not only resemble those of the U.S., but go beyond U.S. ecological legislation. Mexico’s encircling law better prepares the country for potential environmental problems.

      With the strict ecological legislation, businesses in Mexico must now conform to firm and precise federal, state, and local environmental restrictions. Companies should be sensitive to the environmental laws relevant to their conglomerate site. The first Mexican environmental law was broad and only at a federal level with amendments added to the law. More recently, many of the duties have now been delegated to state levels allowing for a closer monitor of environmental threats and changes.

      All in all, Mexican environmental laws are often overlooked, with many failing to realize the stable structure that was established and built-up in such little time. Federal, state, and local regulations monitor industrialization and modern activity that could impact the environment, improving the health and welfare of Mexican citizens. Mexico’s environmental standards are heading in the direction of those that should be influential and copied, not underestimated.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      “Well yoou know, my kids have graduated and have huge bills. But OTOH, I was born late enough not to have to go to Vietnam. ”

      And that’s why Jill Stein proposed to forgive/pay all college debts.

      If you paid up front, you had the money.

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        “If you paid up front, you had the money.”
        Not necessarily. Some of us simply lived extremely frugally while paying for our progeny’s education.
        Obviously, one had to have a certain level of income, but not necessarily that high if you went without enough.

        Reply
  5. Karla

    “Lingua Franca sweaters embroidered with I DIDN’T VOTE FOR HIM, NASTY WOMAN, or THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TWEETED;”

    Add that to the $500 distressed bluejeans, artfully torn by children’s hands in China, the $5,000 purse and the visiting Buddhist monk they drive to the service in their new BMW X 7, exhorting their empowered daughters to describe the empowering activities they do in their private school, so as to avert their eyes from the Deplorables in the tents along the sidewalk.

    Meanwhile, their underpaid gardener takes his family to the Quinceanera in their old luxury ride with the faded Hillary Right pointing arrow sticker still visible.

    Reply
  6. Louis Fyne

    On paper Warren should be on fire in the polls. But I guess that she just isn’t a good kissing-babies politician? Maybe her senior staff are plain ol’ out-of-touch?

    First warning sign was Warren’s Instagram post of her hugging a Michelob in a misguided attempt to forge commonality w/the salt-of-the-earth folks..

    C’mon, Warren/Warren’s senior staff, people aren’t stupid.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      Several hypothesis:
      1) she is losing voters to Bernie, this would make too much sense and this is the American voters we are talking about …. But if there was any data, that that is where voters are going *from* Warren, then I will believe it.
      2) noone has done ANY thinking about the candidates really since 2016. The front runners now were big names then (Biden and Sanders). The electorate is paying no attention to the race at all really, and keeps hitting snooze.
      3) some people are impressed by looks (not that there are any particularly good looking candidates in this race almost but in the past races some candidates could be said to be attractive – so a non-factor in this race). But in the same way some people are impressed by charisma. I don’t get any of that. Looks and charisma in a politician = who cares. It does nothing for me and never has. What the heck does charisma have to do with whether one is a decent person or one’s policies? But yea some people care.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I would suggest they are the same phenomenon. The photo-op serves to drown out discussion of policy. The PBR incident was always meant to distract.

        Reply
      2. jrs

        Then explain Biden, Buttigieg etc. Because it seems if so we have a situation in which M4A can hurt Warren, but can’t possibly hurt the likes of Biden.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          Simple really, people that value single payer never supported Biden in the first place, while those supporting Warren did. When she waffled, it harmed her as some supporters cared about the issue. For that matter, if Bernie woke up tomorrow and adopted Biden’s platform his campaign would be over.

          Reply
        2. Carey

          Simples: Corporatist candidates get a free pass on policy;
          Warren, attempting to fence-straddle, gets a free pass from
          no one (once they’ve taken even a cursory look).

          Budweiser 25th Amendment for Big T Cherokee

          loser angry librarian (less-bad maybe than Biden and Booty, though)

          Reply
        3. polecat

          Because the open secret is that the polls, in the main … are a complete and utter farce .. unreliable, disingenuous … with the Corpserate/NGO/Stinktank thumbthumbs weighting down the scales for the status-quoites !! How else to explain why Unka Spongiform Joe is in the lead ….. Always !

          Phony • As • Hell

          Reply
    2. KLG

      My Life by Elizabeth Warren:

      In the 1980s I became a Cherokee to advance my career as a lawyer and academic, while voting GOP through 1996.

      In the late 1990s-early 2000s I became a Democrat to advance my career as a politician.

      In 2019 I became a pale, backpedaling imitation of Bernie Sanders to advance my career as a presidential candidate, which did not work. Alas.

      –h/t to all the others who have ghostwritten this same short book

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Maybe a technocratic old lady with a bad case of wonkspeak and a penchant for lecturing who collapses in a heap at the first sign of heckling at a rally and flops the most major and important policy position midstream and then gushes about her dog while wearing casual clothes in an attempt to “be like regular folks” is just not viewed by enough people as the vanguard of the proletariat

        Reply
        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          collapses in a heap at the first sign of heckling

          I think her lack of any concept of needing some instrumentality to implement any of her policy ideas is an unsung aspect of her decline. She’s the West Wing Candidate. Her late summer interviews about how she would implement her policies reminded me of the Blue Peter sketch by Monty Python*. None of this has ever worked like that. Made me think about how I can’t remember any legislation associated with Warren.

          Biden has and will twist arms, and has a solid record of dubious achievements that I could complain about all day. The only way I saw Hillary as ‘most qualified*’ was her ability to pull levers and get what she wanted. Bernie has an army, pushes amendments, and was resisting Authority before 8 Tracks. Trump has held the Media in thrall since his 15 minutes should have been up in the 80s.

          Warren has a narrative, no record, no henchmen, and projects a level of naivete that I find disappointing in a Senator. Mr. Smith demonstrated more clue about committeeology. And, her narrative quickly loses its luster under mere public scrutiny.

          *
          http://www.montypython.net/scripts/diseases.php

          **
          Aside from her concept of ‘truth’.

          Reply
    3. Jessica

      My guess is that for many people, Warren does not seem trustably genuine. She would have been better off running as a sincere nerd professor.

      Reply
  7. JBird4049

    Amy Klobuchar is a cop…

    Too many Americans who think that England’s Bloody Code of the 17th-18th is inspirational; the idea that one group of Americans consisting of the police, government officials, and the wealthy are either immune or get… easier punishment while everyone else gets harsh, almost automatic, punishment almost without regard of actual guilt is still unjust, an evil thing to them. Not that it matters to The Powers That Be.

    Reply
  8. Adam1

    “…Then they settled for Clinton as a consolation prize in order to defeat Donald Trump in the general election only to have her lose to him…”

    Far too many people confuse Liberalism with Leftist positions. If you’re a leftist, it doesn’t mean a liberal is a good substitute. Biden is just Hillary 2.0 (or are we up to 3.0?).

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I take exception with your labeling suggestions.

      Biden was the Beta Release of Neoliberalism. The Clintons were in Arkansas when he made his first run for Prez. Bill hadn’t even done The Worst Keynote Address In History yet.

      Reply
  9. Pelham

    Re rising Mideast tensions threatening Midwest grain farmers (and, for that matter, rising trade tensions threatening soybean farmers:

    Why must it be the case that in order to support our tiny, tiny, neofeudal and grossly under-compensated population of farmers they need to be exquisitely vulnerable to every overseas disturbance? With this as with so many situations, one gets the impression that the country and all its people are equivalent to utterly helpless single-cell organisms just waiting to be consumed, reprocessed and spit out by slightly larger, better-organized multi-cell organisms.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      IMO, “farmer” is another one of Those Words, used by our corporate media primarily to obscure. Which “farmers”?

      Reply
      1. PhilK

        Which “farmers” indeed! Albert Jay Nock wrote:

        “A farmer, properly speaking, is a freeholder who directs his operations, first, towards making his family, as far as possible, an independent unit, economically self-contained. What he produces over and above this requirement he converts into a cash crop. There is a second type of agriculturist, who is not a farmer, but a manufacturer, as much so as one who makes woolen or cotton textiles or leather shoes. He raises one crop only — milk, corn, wheat, cotton, or whatever it may be — which is wholly a cash crop; and if the market for his particular commodity goes down below cost of production, he is in the same bad luck as the motor-car maker or shoemaker or pantsmaker who turns out more of his special kind of goods than the market will bear. His family is not independent; he buys everything his household uses; his children can not live on cotton or milk or corn, any more than the shoe-manufacturer’s children can live on shoes. There is still to be distinguished a third type, who carries on agriculture as a sort of taxpaying subsidiary to speculation in agricultural land-values. It is the last two classes who chiefly clamour for intervention [i.e. subsidies], and they are often, indeed, in a bad way; but it is not farming that puts them there.”

        Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      because “commodity crops” are just another weapon against the world.
      …and the gigantic parasites who have enveloped that weapons manufacturing project have engineered it to feed their gaping maws.
      “farmers”….the humans who actually do the farming…and just widgets in that process.
      industrial lubricants(canola) and diabetes progenitors(corn) and things chinese peasants used to like(soya) enjoy huge federal subsidies, that are all but a Third Rail come budget making time. Those gigantic parasites make so much of these “crops” that they have to invent things to do with them(ethanol, “amazing burgers”, HFCS, various experiments with plastics, etc)
      tomatoes, peppers, cukes and lettuce are, on the other hand, “specialty crops”, and enjoy very very few such subsidies….and often cannot gain market penetration, at all.
      (my local grocery chain requires me to drop off produce at the warehouse, in Houston, 350 miles away.(“it’s company policy”, said the manager with a shrug))

      Reply
      1. Pelham

        Exactly. The farmers are just widgets. And exceedingly small ones, at that. So it’s curious that they cast such a large shadow across the political landscape. Of course, this is because the “gigantic parasites” know well how to use farmers as a front.

        So I guess the really curious part is why ordinary people keep falling for this obvious lie.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Know yer Farmer.
          because the vast majority don’t.
          “Farmers” are bit characters in certain x-files and criminal minds episodes and can be seen shaking hands with politicians on occasion(always with rolled up sleeves). They are an advertising gimmick, like a certain gecko, and are portrayed with thousand yard stares in sweeping vistas when pols or corps(e) want to fool people about authenticity.
          when they speak on TV, they are usually as the Mouth of Sauron, giving friendly voice to Con Agra and ADM.

          Reply
          1. carl

            My beef rancher is named Bobby Joe and has one tooth up front. My root vegetable farmer is named Fernando and has an autistic son named Adam.
            Not kidding.

            Reply
  10. EarlErland

    Jonathon Brater has just been named by Michigan Secretary of State Joceylyn Benson as Director of Elections. In an interview with Michigan Public Radio this afternoon, he acknowledged that the gold standard in elections is Hand Counted Paper Ballots. He promised to use this standard in the March Michigan Primary to do what he said was a “Risk Limiting Audit.” The March Primary will be a test. He will also do the Audit in the General Election. He also said that the number of ballots to be tested by this standard would not be subject to an arbitrary number.

    Reply
  11. fdr-fan

    A useful reminder: Bernie’s $15 minimum wage is the same, after inflation, as Henry Ford’s $5 for an 8-hour day. Henry’s proposal was radical and extreme. Bernie’s proposal is radical and extreme.

    We’ve fallen back to the same situation that Henry was fighting against. At that time the $5 day was an experiment, and it succeeded. Henry got loyal and secure workers who stayed around long enough to gain experience and skills.

    We should have learned from the experiment, but we lost our memory due to the toxic drug called Share Value.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s a good comp, though in 1914 or there around, when Ford proposed that, nothing was taken out of one’s pay check for Social Security (and if MMT is right, there is no need to do that, if we are talking about funding it).

      So, maybe it needs to be more than $15 an hour, in order to be equal, post inflation.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        According to a official rate of inflation, which oddly does not seem to include housing and medical as I understand it, the minimum wage of $1.60 per hour in 1968, which was the highest ever in the United States, is $12.04.

        Roughly before 1975, increases in worker productivity was added to their wages as well. Combining both the rate of inflation and the increase in productivity would make the minimum wage north of $20 per hour.

        Since in some states the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, and no state minimum has kept up with both, you might ask just where has all the extra money has gone? Has anyone noticed the disparity of pay between workers and management in most American businesses?

        Reply
    2. mle detroit

      He got not only loyal and secure workers with experience and skills, he got people who could afford to buy his cars.

      Reply
    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      A troubled metaphor, the Ford and Five Bucks a Day thing. I haven’t brushed up recently on how that was basically PR with qualifications because people did not like working for that pre-Randian Randian.

      My anecdata is that my father, a tool and die machinist still working for his father, applied at Ford because of that buzz. And he was pleased in later life that he flunked out of the interview, because he later learned about Ford’s efforts to totally dominate the personal lives of its workers. Regular household visits by Pinkertons, etc. His sin was scoffing at growing a Victory Garden (pre-war).

      But I’m on board with paying people at least enough to keep the economy going.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Reading about Ford’s company town is fascinating, disturbing, and repellent. A panoptic dystopia masquerading as an realized happy working town. Nearly paradise and all it costs is your dignity, privacy, and self respect.

        Reply
  12. Louis Fyne

    From an eco point of view, the car of the future really ought to be a bus, tram or train.

    just saying 10 billion people with their own car, even if it’s EV, ain’t sustainable—-barring Star Trek levels of tech breakthroughs within the next 10 years

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      From an eco point of view, the car of the future really ought to be A pair of slippers, Walking Shoes or a Bicycle.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A horse was sufficient for thousands of years.

        And in future Venices of the world, a kayak for each citizen, or a sailboat (wind power).

        One more (for the more athletic) – a pair of roller skates.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          as for horses(and mules and burros and llamas(pack animals) and oxen), we’re gonna need the manure, too.
          I’ll take a few tons, right now.

          Reply
        2. JBird4049

          A very, very big reason that cars were adopted so quickly in the cities is because of the gigantic piles of manure everywhere with bonus dead horses. It was seriously thought that maybe it would become impossible to live in some cities right before the automobile was invented.

          Larger cities need more horses which means more poo everywhere. So much, that even places that had money and manpower still could not keep up. So the larger cities like New York and London were starting to panic especially after greater understanding of the connections between waste, sewage, and disease. Then came the internal combustion engine and the horseless carriage.

          Reply
      2. Bugs Bunny

        Sounds good. Peasants who live 10 or 20 km from the nearest village can walk or maybe get an ox cart. I don’t think that’s gonna get much enthusiasm out there.

        See, e.g. les Gilets Jaunes.

        Reply
    2. polecat

      Yep ! Gotta wonder what the geologic record will show regarding the Autoprocene Epoch …. future apex species will no doubt be puzzled, when they slice thru some chunk of breccia, only to find the fossilized remains of a slightly carbonized hominid in a burnt-out Tesla Truck … clasping a cellphone in one hand, and a faded Doritos bag in the other !

      Reply
  13. chuck roast

    “…suppose the trial overlaps the Iowa caucus, leaving Biden a clear field, and forcing Warren and Sanders to stay in DC.”

    I’m unclear why Warren, Sanders or any other US Senator would be “forced” to attend this Potemkin trial. Is there some sort of institutional/constitutional rule/law that would anchor the two of them to their respective senate seats while Chief Justice Roberts tries to stay awake and Rachel Maddow anoints us the truth of the matter.

    Why can’t senate Democrats spend their time attending the usual fund-raisers, taking selfies with their constituents and looking after their shoe-boxes? Or in the case of Warren and Sanders, go off and eat more corn-dogs in Iowa.

    Reply
  14. EarlErland

    Jonathon Brater has just been named by Michigan Secretary of State Joceylen Benson as Director of Elections. In an interview with Michigan Public Radio this afternoon, he acknowledged that the gold standard in elections is Hand Counted Paper Ballots. He stated the the Michigan SOS will use this standard in the March Michigan Primary to perform a “Risk Limiting Audit.” This will be performed by the SOS and will not require an election challenge. The March Primary will be a test. He will also do the Audit in the General Election. There will be no arbitrary limit on the number of ballots the SOS will review.

    Reply
    1. Isotope_C14

      Great link.

      After “The Real News Network” was gutted, I unsubscribed, and don’t really care about what they are doing there, sadly.

      Good to see Larry Wilkerson showing up on arguably the best new channel on youtube for the last year. I always enjoy Larry’s take as an insider on historical events. He’d be an interesting guy on a fishing trip.

      Reply
  15. Mark Gisleson

    Klobuchar has always been running for higher office. She got the nomination for the Senate seat by going to every county DFL event for years, ingratiating herself to party activists. Because the DFL’s flawed version of the Iowa Caucuses lets elected state convention delegates vote on the party endorsement BEFORE the state primary, delegate slots can be critical so instead of bringing in new blood like in Iowa, the MN Caucuses are about old hands trying to control the process which limits opportunities for new activists. It’s incredibly self-defeating and Klobuchar is an absolute master of intra-party warfare none of which ever helps in November.

    When she first ran in 2008, party regulars were openly angry that anyone would challenge her in the primary because it was “Amy’s seat.” She had a challenger [full disclosure: I worked for the challenger] but he had foolishly allowed himself to be suckered into agreeing to “abide by the endorsement” which was the phrase used by DFLers to chain D candidates to a system that literally lets a fraction of less than one percent of state Democrats pick the party nominee. After the convention, they expect other candidates to drop out and bizarrely most do. [This system has been imploding for a while; former Gov. Dayton notoriously sidestepped the endorsement process]

    Only recently have I realized much of my anger at Clinton’s DNC in 2016 was because they behaved just like Klobuchar’s DFL in 2008. They play with the rules while no one’s watching, then enforce them selectively. It’s a rigged game and I honestly feel like a sucker for having worked in it.

    All by way of saying that everything in that Socialist article about Amy is true and then some. She is not a nice person, never has been and is highly unlikely to ever get better.

    Reply
    1. KB

      Mark: I was a state delegate during that election..was it Patty Wetterling?….you are absolutely correct about the “rigged game”…I got elected during 3 cycles since the early 2000’s just to try and figure out what the heck was going on in our state party….I found out and haven’t tried to caucus/sub caucus since…..I felt like a sucker too, but no longer….I am wiser and stronger for knowing it and participating.

      Reply
      1. Mark Gisleson

        Ford Bell. Not a politician, heir to some of the General Mills fortune. Citizen candidate who was a good liberal and simply did not like or trust Klobuchar.

        I hate to sound simplistic, but moving the DFL endorsement convention to the weekend after the primary (like Iowa does) would fix most of the DFL’s problems. The endorsement creates a distortion field that lets big money consistently rein in what would otherwise be a fairly leftist state party.

        Reply
  16. John k

    It would be wrong not to speculate…
    Bernie’s been moving up in the polls as primary season begins… maybe people begin paying attention, particularly when their primary approaches… and maybe as they pay attention more and more realize it’s Bernie that’s talking about things important to them.
    If this is true he will continue moving up, and will peak just as each primary arrives.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      John k, I’d like to think you’re right, and hope you are.

      The way I see it, though, is the “polling” and corporate media bumping
      him up now, in rough coordination just before the early primaries, to provide further narrative distance (“did not match expectations, yadda-yadda”) for his pre-planned Fall..

      Sanders and his campaign have ways to make that stuff irrelevant- even absurd- though. ;)

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        Just wish Bernie Sanders would stop taking gratuitous shots at Russia and Putin, which he did again yesterday in a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper. I will accept the argument that, during the height of Russiagate, Sanders had to do this because so many have TDS and are propagandized. But does he have to continue to do this? Last night’s statement was parroting the worst of the Nuland NeoCon propaganda.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Yeah … WTF Sanders !! … Where • are • your • foreign • policy • ‘experts’ • on • this ???

          Reply
          1. Annieb

            Time to start emailing or tweeting him about this issue. Not ok Sanders to be sounding stupid on foreign policy. Or are you a neocon in liberal blue jeans?

            Reply
  17. Bugs Bunny

    “Opinion: Why green “climate gentrification” threatens poor and vulnerable populations”

    See, e.g. les Gilets Jaunes.

    Reply
    1. Phacops

      Think that America’s general staff will be stupid enough to put a naval group within Iran’s kill zone? Um . . . . yes.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “Update 12: Iran has warned that if there is retaliation for the two waves of attacks they launched their 3rd wave will destroy Dubai and Haifa.”
        (https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/missile-strike-reportedly-carried-out-against-us-base-iraq)

        and word all around is that the WH is considering a Presidential Address to the nation in a little bit.
        (sent someone out for a cucumber. waiting for them to return)

        and Putin is apparently in Damascus, which adds a little bit of intrigue to the timing(which also apparently coincided with when Soleimanni(sp-2) was killed)

        I expect much stupidity and hypocrisy from the Beltway, for the next few days, at least.
        we’re planning on filling all the gas(and propane) tanks first thing in the morning.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          Didn’t see this coming. I figured they would wait six months and kill an official or sink a small ship or something, with some plausible deniability.

          Now the ball is back in Trump’s court, and I don’t at all trust him or his cronies to be rational. We might find out just how accurate the Millennium Challenge 2002 war game was. It should be noted that apparently our base defenses in Iraq didn’t even see the Iranian ballistic missiles.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            I bet that it comes out that the Iranians gave the troops there a few minutes warning so that they could take cover. Maybe through the Russian-American hotline. American casualties would be seen as a negative rather than a positive – at this stage that is.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              as i faded out last night, multiple places were alluding to trump’s missile attack on an empty syrian airbase…where the ruskies and syrians were given notice ahead of time.

              msnbc and others said “face saving opportunity”.

              theater.

              which is just crazy,lol.
              and “putin in damascus as a human shield”
              lol.
              what a world

              Reply
  18. anon in so cal

    No reported casualties, but some reports are stating that U.S. bases in Iraq are under attack by the IRGC and Iraqi forces, starting with the Al-Asad base. Just hoping that the lunatic in the WH doesn’t do anything more. The fear is that any Iranian retaliation is just what Trump and Pompeo are hoping for.

    Separately, a WaPo article says Pompeo has been planning to murder General Soleimani for months.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/post-reports/inside-the-plan-to-kill-soleimani/

    Reply
    1. Daryl

      Ah jeez. Things are going to deteroiate rapidly from here.

      I hope that the early reports of no casualties are correct.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        They’re not correct.

        Wish everyone would call their rep and urge them to intervene to stop the madman in the WH

        Reply
        1. polecat

          I think “rep” is a mis-nomer

          ‘PLEASE ! CALL YOUR HOUSE FERENGI NOW ! …..
          Aquisitionists are standing by ….’

          Better to go long beans and rice, while they’re still obtainium !

          Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i deigned to watch 10 or so minutes of chris matthews’ reporting on this(i still hear it in the other room), and no consideration is even entertained about whether trump should retaliate.
      only how he should retaliate.
      video of lights in the sky…but no “shock and awe”-style videography, as yet.
      repeated rhetorical tropes:” tit for tat”, “shooting war”,”American Interests”.
      all and sundry seem surprised that the revenge has been served hot, rather than cold, and by proxy.

      my youngest(almost 14) asks if he’ll be drafted.
      him and his buddies have been talking about the draft, apparently.
      I’ve told him for years that I’d as soon shoot his foot than allow that.
      he reports that i’m not alone….even parents that he knows are superpatriot republicans are saying the same thing to their kids, which i find fascinating.
      he then asks if iran will shoot missiles at us…i tell him “prolly not”…but do mention “scud in a bucket”, since we’ve seen the tankers and container ships lined up over the horizon waiting to enter the port of houston.
      (I’m sort of surprised that no one has tried that yet.)

      “tactical success without strategic vision”- josh geltzer, on msnbc a minute ago, regarding the sulleimein killing that started all this.

      Reply
      1. Daryl

        Not many people want their kids to go to war, aside from military families… other peoples’ kids are fine though.

        I personally will be opting out.

        Reply
      2. Phacops

        Draft? Wonder why we don’t draft the MIC and have them, including the administration, be paid a grunts wages?

        Reply
        1. Big Tap

          Before we think of bringing back the draft from the 1960’s and 1970’s it needs updating. If you’re going to have a draft it should be fair unlike the last one.

          No more college deferments (you can go to college at 30 if need be)
          No more religious exemptions (leave those people on the domestic front/no fighting)
          No more excuses like asthma (Biden), bone spurs (Trump), on a Mormon mission to ‘war front’ Paris (Romney)
          Do allow woman to be included (parents of young children can take turns)

          Legitimate disability claims including mental issues would exclude you.

          Reply
  19. anon in so cal

    Wish Bernie Sanders would stop taking gratuitous shots at Russia and Putin, which he did again yesterday in a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper. I will accept the argument that, during the height of Russiagate, Sanders had to do this because so many have TDS and are propagandized. But does he have to continue to do this? Last night’s statement was parroting the worst of the Nuland NeoCon propaganda.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Probably you only did it as Sanders was doubling down on Russiagate. Of the course the establishment’s gratitude for this and a dime won’t buy Bernie a cup of coffee.

        Reply
  20. Carey

    For anyone interested in writing to Julian Assange (I did):

    Mr Julian Assange
    Prisoner #: A9379AY
    HMP Belmarsh
    Western Way
    London SE28 0EB
    UK

    You MUST include your full name AND address on the back of the envelope or else the letter will not be delivered.

    https://writejulian.com/

    Reply
  21. 3.14e-9

    Just watched an interview with Bernie on PBS NewsHour, speaking about Iran, M4A, and election. Judy Woodruff asked if he would support Biden if Biden won the primary; he said he absolutely would. Reminding him of his criticism of billionaires buying their way into the primaries, she then asked if he would support Bloomberg. He went into irritated-Bernie mode and said he would support the Dem candidate, period. Any thoughts about how this will go over with his supporters?
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/bernie-sanders-on-iran-health-care-and-democratic-electability

    Reply
    1. Lunker Walleye

      Bernie supporter here. I did not vote for HRC when Bernie backed her and I will not support Joe if he is the candidate.

      Reply
    2. HotFlash

      He can support whomever he wants and/or has agreed to support, as I would expect Biden, Warren and the rest to support him if he wins. I seem to remember that last time he did not ask his supporters to vote for Hillary, although he did (eventually) endorse her and he campaigned heavily for her. He didn’t even say much nice about HRH, he just kept banging on about how bad Trump was. Boy howdy, that turned out to be quite true. Today I would perhaps prefer Biden to Trump, although I still think Hillary in 2016 would have been worse. I am pretty sure she would have gotten us into a hot war with Russia by now. At the end of day, Bernie is my choice but not the boss of me. There are other parties, other candidates and good, old-fashioned write-in.

      We live in interesting times.

      Reply
  22. ambrit

    I was just wrangling with Phyl about the background for tonight’s festivities. I mentioned that some around Trump were into bring about the Rapture, via Armageddon. She was wondrous piqued about that fact. “They really think that they can force God’s hand?” I replied; “Well, what if they do, and the wrong Gods show up at the Second Coming? Or, the Fenris Wolf makes an appearance?” She was not amused. Then she casually remarks; “Why is it that all the peaceful innocent people have to suffer for the deranged deeds of a few?” To which question, I have no answer.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Come the Rapture, if I’m around I’ll be a firm-beaked birdie, and will be looking vigilantly for that Pence dude.

      Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    Dinner talk over tamales included the idea of being in Mammoth, Ca. on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, as perhaps one of the best places to be in case of a nuclear missile attack strike in California, as there are no targets here, and 14,000 feet of mountains in between us and mayhem.

    Sad, that it even came up in conversation.

    Reply
    1. skippy

      Heh … I could be married and living there right now, father in law would own one of the lodges. Hear about that multi Phd living in that cave that comes down for a drink now and again.

      Reply
      1. makedonamend

        Hiya Skippy,

        I think the Boeing 737-800 has a pretty decent track record with regard to safety. Boeing was the standard for plane design and manufacture, and I suspect if the correct management and philosophy was in place that Boeing could, once again, become the leader. It just needs to overcome the neoliberal infestation and all that jjazz.

        Some snippets from Wiki:

        “… Launched in 1993 as the third generation derivative of the Boeing 737, it has been produced since 1997[5] and is an upgrade of the 737 Classic (−300/-400/-500) series….As of November 30, 2019, a total of 7,092 Boeing 737NG aircraft have been ordered, of which 7,046 have been delivered, with remaining orders for the -800 and -800A variants.[2] In December 2019, Boeing delivered its last built passenger 737NG, which is superseded by the fourth generation Boeing 737 MAX.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737_Next_Generation#Accidents_and_incidents

        Reply
          1. makedonamend

            Hiya Skippy,

            Yeah, I had a hard time interpreting the ramifications of the safety section you cite since the ‘jargon’ (such as fuselage piercings, etc.) kind of threw me for a loop. It seems most of these involve some sort of limited damage rather than catastrophic failure. I suppose I should have just pulled up another reference airliner from Airbus and conmpared, but I still would still be in the dark for the most part.

            Anywho, I’m lead to believe by other articles that the 737-800 is pretty safe. I think it is the successor to the 737 MAX that is currently having ‘difficulties’.

            Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Some comments on Twitter are suggesting that it was taken out by a panicky Iranian air defence crew. If the videos circulating are genuine (and they look genuine to me), the aircraft was on fire while crashing, which would strongly indicate it was shot down by someone.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Bellingcat has reported that a Russian Buk missile system was seen scooting back over the Syrian border to Russian forces stationed there – not.
            I’ll be waiting to see what the black boxes have to say after they have been retrieved and decoded. Pretty sure that the Iranians won’t be sending them to the US National Transportation Safety Board though.

            Reply
  24. anon in so cal

    We’re not out of the woods, yet. And Pelosi announced that Democrats will not move forward this week as promised on Rep Slotkin’s war powers resolution but instead push it back to next week.

    Reply

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