2:00PM Water Cooler 2/12/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I deferred Water Cooler in order to get this post on the NH primary out sooner. So if that’s what you want to talk about — and who wouldm’t — please go there. I will put together a Water Cooler now; please check back in a couple hours. UPDATE This is as much as I can do today!


“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

* * *


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

We have a new national polls from YouGov, as of 4:00 PM EST. This is the three-day average:

The numbers:

Sanders leading. The polls may only be useful for narrative, but what a narrative!

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 I 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.

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden’s Campaign Was a Disaster for Liberalism and the Democratic Party” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. “Biden’s presidential campaign is now almost certain to fail, but he has done more than any other candidate to shape the outcome…. For most of the last year, Biden sat on the largest piece of real estate in the Democratic party. He has commanded the loyalty of voters who fondly recall Barack Obama’s presidency and wish to replicate it, and whose primary goal is to assemble majority coalition. They are disproportionately black and occupy the center-left heart of the party’s base. Biden’s candidacy almost single-handedly stunted the growth of every other center-left alternative.” • I was nodding my head, something I don’t often do with Chait, until I came to this: “Only now are Bloomberg and Klobuchar – along with Pete Buttigieg, who has won a sizable niche with well-educated white voters that he seems to have difficulty expanding – beginning to try to consolidate the party’s center-left vote.” • Klobuchar, and Buttigieg are center-left? Really? Bloomberg??

Biden (D)(2): “Biden super PAC: Donors could create ‘doomsday scenario’ for Democrats” [The Hill]. “‘Donors hedging their bets on Biden because of [Mike] Bloomberg could be creating a doomsday scenario for Democrats everywhere,’ the group’s treasurer, Larry Rasky, wrote in the memo, Politico reported. Bloomberg, a billionaire self-funding his campaign, announced he’d be skipping the first four nominating states. Despite his late entry to the race and not having participated in a single debate, the former New York City mayor has been rising in recent polls.” • I would say Biden is a hedge on Bloomberg.

Bloomberg (D)(1): On stop-and-frisk:

Bloomberg (D)(2): “Michael Bloomberg PAC backing Michigan ads for Gov. Rick Snyder re-election bid” [Mlive]. • Of Flint fame. He’s a real Democrat!

Bloomberg (D)(3): “Bloomberg Surrogates Have Seats on DNC Rules Committees” [Sludge]. “As the Democratic National Committee establishes procedures for the Democratic presidential nominating process, two members of DNC rules committees simultaneously work on the campaign of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Having surrogates on the Democratic National Convention’s Rules Committee and the Standing Rules and Bylaws Committee could be a boon for Bloomberg if nominating rules are re-opened for amendment ahead of the July convention. Some DNC members who are concerned about the polling support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) have discussed reversing rule changes limiting the power of superdelegates that were put in place after the 2016 election, according to a report from Politico. Those discussions have been sharply rebuked by DNC leadership.” • Of course they have.

Klobuchar (D)(1): “Listen to 392 – Live from New Hampshire: Full Rat Mode (2/10/20)” (podcast) [Chapo Trap House]. • Here is an extremely rough transcript (I couldn’t separate out the CTH voices, the tape they play is not good, and there’s a lot of cross-talk:

“We have caught our third Pokemon. We have caught the wily Klobuchard [applause]…. And this was actually pure Kismet. This was a random one, she appeared in the wild in front of us, and we got it on tape. So here was Matt and I. Meeting. The Klob.

“[KLOBUCHAR:] Hey guys, how are you? I hear the coffee’s good here, huh? [CTH:] I’m here supporting another candidate– [KLOBUCHAR:] I can see that– [CTH]: I just wanted to say, thank you for absolutely bodying Pete Buttigieg the other night. Well done. …[KLOBUCHAR:] See you guys later.”

OK, OK. I don’t know if you could hear all of it… And I said, “Thank you for putting that little twerp in his place,” and look at her! She was laughing! [She immediately moved away from the camera because she knew she could not suppress her grin. It wasn’t nervous laugher, it was delighted conspiratorial laughter] Look, look, Amy obviosly shouldn’t be in charge of anything. But. Under the proper authority [oh gawd] she could be muscle. And we need strong people. She’s a killer. She’s the Frank Sheeran, potentially. “Hey, you wanna be part of this history? You wanna put all these Wall Street guys in jail? I could do that for you.” No again, we could get her to yell at the generals. She would be amazing. Every day I wish for an Amy Klobuchar with actual good beliefs. Yeah, Amy did some genuinely horrible things as Minnesota Attorney General and Hennepin County DA, but right now, just at this moment in history, you should 100% be rooting for her to beat the sh*t out of The Rat.

I believe I’ve said that I find Klobuchar’s viciousness attractive, and she could be the Rahm Emmanuel that President Sanders needs. Kidding… But not entirely.

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders’ early strength worries Democratic leaders” [Financial Times]. The reporter emptied their Rolodex of Democratic strategists. At the end: “‘[There is a] pretty significant chance that this is going to come down to Sanders and Bloomberg, especially if the non-Bernie lane does not consolidate before Super Tuesday,’ said one Democratic strategist, citing Mr Bloomberg’s virtually unlimited funds. (He is worth an estimated $61bn and has already spent more than $300m on his campaign.) ‘Bernie will stay in until the bitter end,’ the strategist added. ‘It is the benefit of having a committed, core group of supporters who won’t leave you no matter what.'” • If I were Sanders, I would welcome that. Clarifying!

Sanders (D)(2): “New Hampshire 2020: In Supreme Irony, the Horse Race Favors Bernie Sanders” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. Taibbi is very much a “glass half full” guy (I am the opposite). But this rings true: “For Sanders supporters, the calculation has always been simpler: Are you bought off, or not? Just by keeping to the right side of that one principle, Sanders will hold his 20-to-30 percent and keep grinding toward victory, “narrow” wins or not. It’s a classic tortoise-and-hare story. When you know where you’re going, you tend to get there.” • Yep. Clarifying!

Sanders (D)(3): “Bernie Sanders Leads All Democratic Candidates in Support From Non-White Voters, New Polls Show” [Newsweek]. • It would be nice if we could get “multi-racial working class” in there, somehow. Although this should — but won’t — put a stake in the heart of the “Bernie Bro” narrative.

Warren (D)(1): Oof:

Warren (D)(2): “What’s happened to Warren, Biden? Dismal showings and questions about the future.” [NBC]. “Earlier Tuesday, Warren campaign manager Roger Lau had sent a memo to supporters arguing that no candidate was likely to consolidate the field and that anything could happen with a wide field of flawed candidates.” • Translation: Spoiler at a brokered convention.

* * *

NH. Some links I couldn’t get to in this post:

“New Hampshire Democrats want to beat Trump but can’t agree on how, exit polls show” [CNN]. • This “want to beat Trump” talking point is so vacuous. “Boston fans want to beat the hated Yankees but can’t agree on how.” Maybe take the field personally?

“What New Hampshire’s exit polls tell us about the primary” [Politico]. “Much of Sanders’ support was locked in earlier in the race. Only 38 percent of voters on Tuesday said they decided for whom they would vote before this month, but more than two-thirds of Sanders’ supporters said they made up their minds before that.” And: “Warren pitched herself as a unity candidate, but she ultimately had a small core of support with the party’s liberal wing, and no traction with moderates.” • Oddly, or not, Politico (uhnlike CBS) doesn’t even mention income. (They do mention age, but a Sanders pivot to Social Security — Buttigieg has already identified himself with deficit cutting, Biden really is a hopeless cause on this — should take care of that. Also, dental and eye in #MedicareForAll, plus no co-pays or deductibles.)

* * *

NV: Getting ugly:

Nevertheless, a problem the Sanders campaign should already have resolved — if possible in Harry Reid territory.

“Pro-Israel Group Led By Top Democratic Pollster Planning Anti-Bernie Ads In Nevada” [Mediate]. “The pro-Israel group’s ads against the man who could become the first Jewish president in American history, will also likely have unintended effects. In Iowa, their ad buy was for $800,000, but Sanders raised $1.3 million through a message to his large and hyper-engaged email list that an “outside spending group” was targeting it with negative ads. Sanders himself then posted a video on Twitter saying “It is no secret that our campaign is taking on the political establishment and the big-money interests, who are now running negative ads against us in Iowa.”


“Former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera will challenge Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in House Democratic primary” [CNBC]. “Caruso-Cabrera, who became a CNBC contributor when she left the network in September 2018, serves as a member of the board of directors for financial services firm Beneficient. She will take a leave from her role as CNBC contributor for the duration of the campaign, a CNBC spokesperson said.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“About that Democratic Primary …” [Baseline Scenario]. “Now, the issue on everyone’s minds is electability. Sure, we may want Medicare for All—but what most people want more than anything else is to defeat President Trump. And many people think that the most electable candidate is the most right-wing candidate. This is based on the theory of the median voter. The idea is that you can line up all voters on an ideological spectrum, and they will vote for the candidate who is closest to them—which means that we want to nominate someone in the middle (or, more accurately, someone just to the left of Trump). The median voter theory is nonsense. If it were true, Donald Trump would not be president today. Nor would the Republicans have a majority of the Senate, and a majority of governorships, and a majority of state legislatures. They have achieved this electoral success despite running far to the right of where most Americans stand on just about every issue—immigration, abortion, gay rights, taxes, you name it. We have to give people a reason to vote for us. The problem is, for decades, Democrats have not given people a reason to vote for them.”

“Here They Come Again: The Kind of Neoliberal Democrats Who Prefer Trump to Sanders” [Adolph Reed, Common Dreams]. “I have no doubt that the Democratic liberals who fear that Sanders is ‘unelectable’ are genuine in their belief. They also want and need for him to be unelectable because for them the really significant divisions in the society must not be those between economic classes…. From the standpoint of those liberals tied to investor-class interests, a Trump victory in 2020, even if it were to raise a serious threat of authoritarianism, could be less disturbing than a Sanders-led, left-tacking political realignment. And, much as the Clinton administration’s liberal architects of welfare reform dismissed their left critics as tendentious and naïve—until those critics were proven right—liberals’ insistence that Sanders can’t win preempts, at least for now, questions about what they would do if he were to win the nomination. Would they support him? Would they follow Bloomberg, or someone else, on a third-party ticket? ‘From the standpoint of those liberals tied to investor-class interests, a Trump victory in 2020, even if it were to raise a serious threat of authoritarianism, could be less disturbing than a Sanders-led, left-tacking political realignment. We don’t know the answers to those questions, but I have my suspicions.” • Indeed!

“Why the Democratic and Republican Establishments Can’t Stop Insurgents” [Jacobin]. “As various political scientists, most famously Peter Mair, have long pointed out, the capacity of many major political parties to represent their traditional constituencies in a democratic way has been in decline for a few decades. Peter Mair called it “ruling the void” — political elites and their parties retreat from their constituencies, seeking alternative ways of ruling, while their members withdraw their consent in various ways…. There are important national variations in these developments. But what Mair noticed about all of them was that there was an important decline in party loyalty, increasing distance between leadership and membership, ideological disorganization of existing parties, all symptomatic of the deeper hollowing out of the parties themselves. Where political parties were created to represent segments of society to the state, they had over time become ways of representing the state to society.” • Liberal Democrat operatives and elites may be stupid. But the collective Democrat hive mind is not. The Democrat Party — the party of Buchanan, McClellan, Wilson, and Obama — is the oldest political party in the world. In other words, it’s displayed adaptability.

Stats Watch

The Bezzle: “Meet the Guy Selling Wireless Tech to Steal Luxury Cars in Seconds” [Vice (Re Silc)]. “‘Honestly I can tell you that I have not stolen a car with technology,’ “Evan” told Motherboard. ‘It’s very easy to do but the way I see it: why would I get my hands dirty when I can make money just selling the tools to other people.'” Digital = hackable. No surprise here! Interesting tech, though.

The Bezzle: “How Two Dallas Restaurants Are Bearing the Burden of Food Delivery Apps” [D Magazine]. “When Dahlke, who owns Ten Bells Tavern in Oak Cliff, read about Techamuanvivit’s experience (customers were ordering from what they believed to be her restaurant, but her Michelin-starred eatery doesn’t do takeout), it made her curious. “[Techamuanvivit] mentioned all these sites that her restaurant was on. I’m like, ‘Oh, there we are on Grubhub, Postmates, all these things,'” says Dahlke, who then looked up how much they charged for an order of Ten Bells fish and chips. It’s $14 at the tavern, but $33 on Grubhub. ‘Just order from us,’ she tweeted.” • Sweet!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 59 Greed (previous close: 56 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 12 at 3:45pm.

The Biosphere

“New Research Rewrites the Demise of Easter Island” [Smithsonian (original)]. “But in recent years, evidence has mounted for an alternative narrative—one that paints the inhabitants of the island they called Rapa Nui not as exploiters of ecosystems, but as sustainable farmers who were still thriving when Europeans first made contact. In this account, other factors conspired to end a pivotal era on Easter Island… Eventually, however, a still-mysterious combination of factors shrank the population…”

“The lost continent of Zealandia hides clues to the Ring of Fire’s birth” [Live Science]. “The hidden undersea continent of Zealandia underwent an upheaval at the time of the birth of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Zealandia is a chunk of continental crust next door to Australia. It’s almost entirely beneath the ocean, with the exception of a few protrusions, like New Zealand and New Caledonia. But despite its undersea status, Zealandia is not made of magnesium- and iron-rich oceanic crust. Instead, it is composed of less-dense continental crust. The existence of this odd geology has been known since the 1970s, but only more recently has Zealandia been more closely explored. In 2017, geoscientists reported in the journal GSA Today that Zealandia qualifies as a continent in its own right, thanks to its structure and its clear separation from the Australian continent. Now, a new analysis of chunks of Zealandia drilled from beneath the ocean floor in 2017 reveals that this continent underwent a paroxysm of change between 35 million and 50 million years ago. As the continental collision process known as subduction started in the western Pacific, parts of northern Zealandia rose by as much as 1.8 miles (3 kilometers), and other sections dropped in elevation by a similar amount.” • A nice lesson on geological time.

“The mattress landfill crisis: how the race to bring us better beds led to a recycling nightmare” [Guardian]. “Mattresses are a global environmental nightmare. The US throws away 18.2m mattresses a year, but there are only 56 facilities available to recycle them. Changing consumer behaviour is behind this ever-growing mattress mountain. Time was, you would change your mattress every eight to 10 years. But with online retailers offering more choice than ever, we have learned to expect better mattresses, and to replace them more frequently.” • No, we have not learned to expect better mattresses. Mattresses were crapified by private equity!


“There Are Rivers in the Sky Drenching the U.S. Because of Climate Change” [Bloomberg]. “Atmospheric rivers are narrow ribbons of concentrated moisture that originate in the Pacific and can flow thousands of miles before dropping rain and snow on land. Scientists are ramping up their research into the systems this winter fearful that warmer temperatures tied to climate change will boost the moisture they carry, supercharging them moving forward…. A study released in December by Scripps and the Army Corps of Engineers found that atmospheric rivers caused 84% of the flood damage suffered in 11 western states over 40 years through 2017. The average annual cost: $1.1 billion, according to the report.”

News of the Wired

“Listen to Department Of Evil: ‘All Of You Must Die'” (podcast) [The Topical]. • Dreaded Secretary of Evil Hammand Reynolds laid out details for a comprehensive plan to scorch the earth and exterminate every living American in a press conference outside the DOE….”

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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 (JK):

JK writes: “Never planted, but somehow maintaining colors through repeated frosts and thaws.” As long as its happy!

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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. DJG

    It being the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, I will post here an article from the Land of Lincoln about the statue of Lincoln that Chicagoans call Abe the Babe:


    12 February 1809 was also the birthday of Charles Darwin. What trines and squares there must have been in the vault of the firmament, which planets aligned midheaven.

    So there are things to celebrate.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      My own perennial Lincoln’s birthday favorite, and very much in tune with these twisted times, is a *very* dark humored, even surreal Brad Neely short. NOTE: probably NWS (not least because of the score, which I’d love to have as a ring tone).

      Nat Turner (also featured in the short) interpreted the solar eclipse of February 12, 1831 as a black man’s hand covering the sun and a divine portent for his rebellion.

  2. Robert Hahl

    A musical interlude, just in time for another Roaring ’20s.

    Swingrowers – Dreamland

    Caravan Palace – Lone Digger

    Swingrowers – Butterfly

    JSM Hallway Dance (Jamie Berry feat. Octavia Rose – Lost in the Rhythm)

    One-year transformation of Electroswing shuffle
    A video genre that I think was invented on youtube: time lapse of beginner to expert.

  3. zagonostra

    If I’m not mistaken the Unite Union runs their own Healthcare plan that employers can opt into and which they try to steer employers when negotiating. I just hope that in Nevada the rank and file break with the corrupt Union Leaders.

    At the same time, the leadership of the powerful casino workers’ Culinary Union — Unite Here Local 226 — ramped up its attacks against Sanders on Tuesday with English and Spanish-language flyers, texts, and emails to its 60,000 members.


    1. sd

      I don’t understand union opposition to Medicare for All. 2% of Medicare goes to administrative costs vs +30% of most insurance coverage. Just a small portion of the savings under Medicare for All could instead be used to build up pension plans or increase wages.

      1. Woodchuck

        Just a guess as I’m not that familiar with these worker unions in the US, but wouldn’t it be because one of the major thing workers look for in their unions is actually health benefits (since those are so valuable in the US) and that they might feel threatened they will lose members if health care isn’t something they have are providing anymore?

        1. JBird4049

          It would be the union leadership, not the members, that would be the most threatened by M4A; just compare it to the Democratic and Republican Parties’ leadership and apparatchiks to the average party member. If the members don’t really matter except as something to be used, what does this mean for most Americans or the rest of the Earth even.

          1. Woodchuck

            Oh I fully agree that it’s the leadership that would feel threatened. It’s also the leadership sending out those leaflets and deciding to pay for ads.

      2. Keith

        Because it is an added benefit that union leadership can sell their members on, keeping the leadership happy and the rank and file happy. After all, people do not want equality for all, just for others. People want to be a head of their peers, and a high value medical plan is one way to achieve a little more status than others.

        1. chuckster

          Look, I don’t pretend to know the intracacies of the Culinary Workers Health Plan but I did work for a similar type plan that was part of a municipal workers plan on the East Coast.

          Everything in America can be understood if you follow the Benjamins.

          The entire plan is funded by contributions from the employer. If employee A works 30 hours in a week, the casino contributes a fixed amount per hour to the healthcare plan for that employee. Multiply that by 160,000 employees and you have a sizable amount of dollars going into the fund every week. The heathcare plan operates the office, hires doctors to work there on an hourly basis and hires support staff like a mini-medical center for union members (and their families in the case of the CWU.) Like all businesses, if it costs a million to fund this operation but you get a million and a half from the casino owners, you make a profit. The trustees of the healthcare plan are union members who are compensated rather well for their vision and oversight. It is not unknown for a union official who is making waves to be asked to leave the union and take a position on the Board of Trustees to keep him at bay. Also a great place to golden parachute a longtime union official to make room for up and comers.

          The CWU heathcare plan is actually not a bad deal. Visits are free and prescription prices are minimal. However, M4A threatens union control, removes the employer funding and takes decision making out of union control. They will fight this tooth and nail.

          1. sd

            Typically the funds include pension. So the health care portion would shift to whatever the share is for Medicare for All. In theory, there would be a sizable savings as administrative costs drop. That savings, even only in part, could be shifted to pension funds and/or wage increases.

          2. pretzelattack

            thank you. i suspect this is going to be part of the dnc attack on sanders, and wonder if it is being coordinated like the iowa travesty.

    2. Grant

      Look at their “fact sheet”. They draw a big distinction on healthcare, “forcing” people into a superior system, but then draw no distinctions on any other issue. So, Biden and the other right wing Democrats, and Bernie are equally good on the other issues. I was a former union steward and the leaders of the large unions are just as worthless as the leaders of the Democratic Party. Logically, taking away the need to bargain for healthcare strengthens labor relative to capital, but these unions long ago got rid of the radicals among the leadership and ultimately could care less about the working class broadly speaking. This does seem like a Harry Reid operation and the person that first broke this, Rolston in NV, if you remember was the source last time for the claims about chair throwing. But, good to know the union leaders are willing participants in trying to take down the most pro worker and pro union candidate in the race. Bernie, by the way, DID modify his single payer bill to account for unions that negotiated for their healthcare. My guess is that the union leaders know this and don’t care. Like with Democratic leaders, single payer could negatively impact them, as some of their worth is the capacity to bargain for good healthcare benefits, so throw out any concern for the collective good of the poor and working class. Bernie’s run sure has laid bare the immoral and corrupt nature of this system, and most of those that control it.

      1. Big River Bandido

        the leaders of the large unions are just as worthless as the leaders of the Democratic Party

        As a member of the American Federation of Teachers, I second that. The way that Randi Weingarten (annual salary $300,000) scurried all around the country in 2018, in a desperate attempt to tamp down wildcat strikes in 5 states, was despicable.

        1. JTMcPhee

          What ever happened to Albert Shanker?

          I recall a joke from Woody Allen’s “Sleeper.” On being wakened from a long cryogenic slumber in a post-apocalypse Brave New World of orgasmotrons and stuff, where the history has been lost, the Brave New People asked him, “How did the Great War Happen?” His deadpan reply: “They gave Shanker the Bomb.”

          1. Jeff W

            The scene in Sleeper, in fact, went like this:

            Dr. Aragon (played by John McLiam): Now this is the Central Parallel of the American Federation. This district is what you’d probably call the southwestern United States. That was before it was destroyed by the war.

            Miles Monroe (played by Woody Allen): War?

            Aragon: Yes. According to history, over 100 years ago, a man named Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear warhead.

      2. Darthbobber

        Some of them see it as a plus that you need the union to obtain decent health insurance. Yes, I’ve met leaders with exactly that attitude.

        1. hunkerdown

          Of course. Within the union cell walls, they’re management and the union is their labor force, to be negotiated against.

    3. Fiery Hunt

      The follow up article..about mean Bernie Bros “attacking union officials” was based on a statement released by the Secratary of the Culinary Union…who just happens to be also a Committee Member for the Center for American Progress Advisory Board…..yep, Sneera Tanden’s CAP.

      So, will membership reject the corrupt leadership?

      (Sidenote: I, too, found last night’s primary depressing. But today I’ve remembered just how many entrenched powers are arrayed against us, how vile that opposition and their tactics are, and how long and how tough the fight will be. Just the beginning…and I’m here for all of it. Fvck ’em. Ain’t broke us yet.)

  4. BoulderMike

    Long story short – I never watch any cable news. But, my wife does. I just turned on the TV and CNN was on. Before I could turn it off I saw the following.
    They were interviewing a congressperson from CA, last name Porter. They had a clip of her at the hearing with Jerome Powell yesterday where she was asking him about his independence. The shocker is the reason she was asking is that he attended the Jeff Bezos Alfalfa after party recently. I confess to being surprised at how brazen it is for the Fed chair to attend a party with the .1% and not to even hide that they are his peers, and therefore the optics alone say he is corrupt. Just thought I would mention this as I haven’t seen mention of it anywhere else.

    1. chuckster

      Mittens was also there (guest of honor) as well as General Mattis. It’s almost like there’s a big club and we’re not in it.

      1. Tvc15

        Jared and Ivanka attended too. Wonder if Giselle Maxwell was there. Saw a picture of her with Lloyd Blankfein today. Big club indeed. I like Carlin’s other line, “it’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” I think the clueless misinformed Buttigieg & Klobuchar supporters qualify.

    2. inode_buddha

      “I confess to being surprised at how brazen it is for the Fed chair to attend a party with the .1% and not to even hide that they are his peers, and therefore the optics alone say he is corrupt. Just thought I would mention this as I haven’t seen mention of it anywhere else.”

      I think it’s because that kind of thing has been normalized and therefore not worthy of mention.

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      This not much different than the White House “Correspondents Dinner” where all the corporate media stars hobnob with the president and other political big shots. Corruption and cross contamination is widespread.

  5. shinola

    Strange (but not unpleasant) occurrence. As I type this, there are no ad’s showing in water cooler. I do not have an ad blocker activated.

    Probably just jinxed it by calling attention to it.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      y’all know that pansies are edible, right?
      i used to put them on cheesecake slices.
      dianthus, too…with powdered sugar, they taste like the little valentines heart candies.
      and nasturtiums!
      i live those.
      peppery weirdness in salads.
      i direct seeded those, today.
      and rose petals…
      and squash blossoms…fried in tempura(like grasshoppers) with honey…
      just don’t eat too many day lillies. cumulatively bad for you.

  6. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Chapo Trap House extract and commentary,

    I have read that every army needs sociopaths as trigger men; ordinary mortals with human feeling are not great at destroying enemies. But they — the sociopaths — mustn’t be allowed into highest command.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Should go without saying but Chapo got it wrong that Klobuchar was Attorney General of Minnesota. Quite honestly, I don’t think Minnesotans trust her that much.

  7. kareninca

    Two coronavirus anecdotes.

    Last night on a zoom meeting I talked with an acquaintance whose son and daughter in law (who is Chinese) are in China. I didn’t catch the name of the big city (and I did not feel comfortable asking) but he said it was pretty far from Wuhan. The city itself is quarantined. They run a TV (online?) cooking show from their apartment; that is the good news; they work from home. But they can’t get any more ingredients. They have face masks since the wife had the foresight to get some really early on. They can go out to a 7-11 (yes, really) every few days for basic food (it wasn’t clear whether they were not allowed to leave their apt. more often, or whether they are just being sensible). But they cannot run their cooking show. They have no idea when this will end. The guy’s father was pretty anxious about all of this.

    Yesterday my husband left from SF for Belgium (stopover was Dublin). He said that he’d never SFO so empty. And that the flight to Dublin was only about a quarter full (!). And that the Dublin airport was empty. But that the flight from Dublin to Brussels was full. Of course, the empty airports and flights might not be due to the virus scare; that could be a coincidence.

    1. False Solace

      Here’s a lengthy reddit post from someone claiming to run a Youtube cooking channel and is under quarantine in China. The post is quite rambling but among the slalom runs of narrative the writer discusses how to make good use of pantry food and mentions having to deal with online food orders when vegetables are hard to come by and sell out fast.

      > There’s checkpoints and roadblocks entering and leaving the city. Hell, every time we leave or enter our apartment complex we’re checked for symptoms by the doorman. The only people that dare to go outside without a medical mask are those unlucky sods that didn’t get the chance to buy any before supplies ran out.

      1. kareninca

        Yes! I tracked down the last name of the person who runs the you tube channel with his wife; it is the same last name as my acquaintance’s (we are in the same zoom religious reading group). Also his voice has the same cadence as his dad’s. I’m not at foodie at all so I didn’t read his whole post; maybe it is so rambling since he has so much time on his hands now. Thank you for this.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m surprised that the flight to SF wasn’t full – it might just be a seasonal thing. There were also big storms here, that could have led to connecting flights getting delayed. There have certainly been reports of a slow down in air travel, but not between the US and Europe so far as I’m aware.

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    Don’t you imagine Bloomberg’s headhunters are calling Warren’s and Biden’s people? Or maybe he’s limiting his raiding to Bernie’s people as Chuck Rocha reported yesterday.

  9. Samuel Conner

    Re: ” the party of Buchanan, McClellan, Wilson, and Obama”,

    I couldn’t help but notice that “FDR” was not in the list. I concur.

    The present-day D party may be adaptable, but we have yet to establish that it is that adaptable!

  10. Daryl

    > “The mattress landfill crisis: how the race to bring us better beds led to a recycling nightmare”

    I went through this recently. My choices seemed to be either drive an obscene distance to a donation place that would actually ensure it would be re-used, or a number of options that would end up with it in a landfill.

    Serendipitously an acquaintance of a friend needed a mattress for the back of their camper van, so it’s going to be actually used.

    I am looking at relocating and I am thinking of not getting a mattress at all, just a mattress topper or some other lightweight alternative.

    1. Craig H.

      I do not understand the mattress market at all. Never in my life have I once entertained the possibility that a new improved mattress might be just the thing to improve my sleep experience. I think it is very possible that there are a lot of people out there living a life like a TV sitcom star or something and they wear out mattresses every few months because they have so much wild sex on them.

      Who is buying all these mattresses and what do they do with them?

      1. JTMcPhee

        As discussed in prior NC content, mattresses are crapified dreck as a result of
        Vulture Capitalists having bought and merged the vast majority of production. And have busily manufactured demand for these special-snowflake crap racks.

        Consumer Reports plays right along with the game, too.

        1. RMO

          I too take issue with the “with online retailers offering more choice than ever, we have learned to expect better mattresses, and to replace them more frequently” bit. I think the situation is more akin to Douglas Adams’ “Shoe Event Horizon” where the exponentially multiplying number of shoe retailers led to an ever crapifying and consolidated shoe manufacturing sector with the result that people had to replace their shoes more and more often as they got shoddier and less comfortable until eventually the whole economy was consumed with making and selling nothing but unwearable shoes. At least in that case the inhabitants of the planet managed to grow wings and renounce the ground forever whereas there’s not much hope of something similar happening with mattresses. I was lucky in finding an independent local manufacturer that made a really nice mattress for a decent price. Going on five years now and so far it’s still comfortable and holding up very well. Feels and looks almost new still.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera will challenge Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in House Democratic primary”

    From just the headline, it sounds like the MSM are now no longer content with demanding that people follow their recommendations on who to vote for and that their role of gate-keepers on who gets to run is no longer enough. This could be the beginning where we see members of the media, on detached duty so to say, to be elected themselves. For a lot of politicians, it is not a hard gig after you get elected. You just vote for what your donors say you should vote on while cashing out.

  12. Phacops

    I am just so tired of Chait attempting go gaslight us, as if we were ignorant of what constitutes the political right and left. He seems to pander to those who think that glibness is the same as intelligent analysis.

    I despair at the gullible taken in by Pete, Amy, and Mike, but then reflect that anybody serving jury duty on a tort case unserstands that people are susceptible to empty emotional appeals more than factual reality.

    If the Dems keep that up I can easily give them the middle finger by witholding my vote, or vote to increase the rate of societal dissolution by placing a bet on Trump.

  13. Darthbobber

    Perhaps I could clear up puzzlement on Chait’s ID of Pete and Amy as center-left. As far as I can see in his work, his conception of the party has no right, or even a center. There is only a center left and a “far” left. (Which lumps Warren effectively with Debs and maybe Lenin).

    All this means is that he and those like him actually are some sort of a left, which requires the epithet “far” to be applied to anything even vaguely resembling an actual left.

    1. inode_buddha

      All of the Fox news people that I know regard anything in the D party as “the left” without further analysis. Obama and Clinton were both Socialists leading the country to ruin with their grand social experiments etc etc…

      Their logic is simple: if it isn’t to the right of me, it must be left. That is the entire thought process of Fox viewers.

    2. Matthew

      Ah yes, the fondest dream of the centrist liberal. They aren’t any less moral than the ones who think that people shouldn’t have to ration insulin, they’re just more in tune with reality.

  14. thoughtful person

    On today’s flower, i do that every year here in central VA. On under 17 nights i take the pansies inside. Keeping them going until spring!

    This year spring has arrived a month early. Daffodils, vinca, snow drops, crocus are all up and blooming.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the oldest and biggest peach tree is in full bloom, here, more than a month early.
      same last year, along with a bunch of other too-early blooms…and we got a wicked cold front, and i spent 2 nights outside in freezing rain and 40 mph winds tending burn barrels strategically placed to create microclimates.
      saved about 75% and made a crop of various tree fruits.
      the ones that didn’t make(like the one in full bloom right now) are along the North-South driveway, which is like a wind tunnel in such circumstances, until the pines and bamboo and such on the north end of my place get big enough.
      it’s texas, so i don’t have to go to such extremes very often…usually(whatever that means any more) our hardest freezes are over by the end of this month.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Yes, they’re blooming here, too, along with our early rhododendron. I’ve seen the latter with 3 or 4 inches of snow over the blooms. Gorgeous, but spoiled the flowers when it melted.

      I haven’t kept track of the normal bloom times, but it does seem very early.

  15. bob

    Why Chicken Feet Matter to Business News
    Michelle Caruso-Cabrera


    “A website followed by many in the cable news industry questions why Sue Herera and I were discussing the size of American chicken feet and chicken breasts at the end of Power Lunch yesterday.

    And being a blog, it does so in a snarky way: “Don’t ask, apparently that’s an important business story.” Click here to read it.”

    For those not familiar with Caruso and Cabrera, it’s worth looking up a picture of her teetering on a stool while on CNBC at that time. How dare they question her journalistic endowment.

    1. bob

      Can’t help myself, from the link-

      “How did American chicken feet get so plump and juicy? Because American chickens are bred to have large breasts, in order to satisfy Americans’ taste which favors white meat.”

  16. nippersdad

    I just came across something that might become interesting. On the eleventh Perez attempted to throw Price, of the IDP, under the bus and it didn’t look like Price was having it. The last para looked like a threat to me.


    Fast forward a couple of days and Price is resigning his position with the IDP, announcing an independent investigation and putting an interim head in charge of the party. So the foreshadowing of Price taking down Perez may actually come to pass.


    It looks like the Democrats are in disarray again. This could get fun.

    1. inode_buddha

      IOW, the DNC was strong-arming the state party, and Price actually has a soul and can’t abide the BS on his watch. I wonder how impartial the investigation is going to be. My respect for the IDP just shot up through the roof. And Price needs to toss a few wrenches into the works for Perez.

      1. pretzelattack

        i’m not sure what his soul looks like. it looks to me more like a backstabbing party, something along the lines of “they had one weapon left and both knew it”. who gets thrown under the bus is the issue.

    2. flora

      Thanks for the links. Several state party chairs are unhappy with Perez throwing Price under the bus, especially since it was the DNCs forced changes to the caucus that caused the counting problems and delayed the results.

      1. inode_buddha

        Remember too, it was the DNC that bled the states dry during Clintons failure. Price could make all kinds of things public, I’ll bet. It would be wonderful if all the state chairs resigned en masse.

    3. Carey

      I’ll be quite interested to see where Mr. Troy Price lands after his resignation.

      Mission Accomplished / #failUpward?

  17. Carey

    “..In both the Max accidents and the 2009 crash, which involved a 737 NG, Boeing’s design decisions allowed a single malfunctioning sensor to trigger a powerful computer command, even though the plane was equipped with two sensors. For both models, the company had determined that if a sensor failed, pilots would recognize the problem and recover the plane. But Boeing did not provide pilots with key information that could have helped them counteract the automation error..”


  18. Eureka Springs

    I walked in Sears back in ’94 and said I want the hardest mattress you have. Guy said, well that will be our most expensive… He should have said, when moving, a piano full of bowling balls will be easier on you over the years.

    2020 it’s 99 percent of what it was on the day I bought it.

    1. Carey

      Thanks for posting that link. What’s being done to Sweden- a formerly homogenous,
      very well-functioning country- is an absolute crime, and to dissent from the New Orthodoxy is now cause for shaming from the (likely well-paid) WokeFolk.

      Our Globalizing Elites: “Always be closing.”

  19. dcblogger

    I am always optimistic, but I just don’t see a brokered convention. Of course Bloomberg’s $ changes the calculations a lot, he can buy up many endorsements, but even so. We are going into the industrial heartland, Bernie’s strength. I think that he can win the majority of pledged delegates on Super Tuesday.

    1. Senator-Elect

      In this relatively triumphant moment, the important thing for the left and all those who care about democracy is to be prepared for the very likely setbacks and defeats to come. Bernie may lose states, the billionaires may ride in to Biden’s or Pete’s or Amy’s rescue, the superdelegates may steal the nomination or the voting machines may give the general to Trump. People need to be ready to keep on truckin’ despite these speed bumps. It’s going to be a long, long uphill battle.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      … Good link, thanks! Yes, turnout numbers are saying something, and not just for Dems.

      Not far down in that feed is a Fox graphic (also retweeted by Trump) showing Trump with 120k votes (86%).

      If true, that’s way up from Obama 2012 with 49k, Dubya 2004 with 53k, and Clinton 1996 with 77k.

      Honestly, that looks to me like a lot of the Change vote is sticking with Trump. Assuming this situation also obtains in other states, how does Bernie pull them away?

    2. Foy

      Yes but I’ve also read that the actual percentage of eligible voters voting was down. 29% of the electorate voted in the Democrat primary in 2008 while only 26% voted this time. So not sure what to make of that.

  20. polecat

    See, this why I question the vaunted sanctity the many put upon ‘unions’, when what they are really all about, is to the benefit of their members … and ONLY their members .. Not the public generally .. who ARE constantly hardpressed for Refief from ever increasing multipules of taxes, fees, assessments, levies etc., while things like energy, housing, food, HEALTHCARE !!, continue to rise stratuspherically .. who have absolutely no representation in their stead ! But ‘unions are a noble, a and necessary good somehow, for the rubes, right ?? I don’t see it … haven’t seen it in My lifetime, and I’m in my 6th decade of mopedom ! Don’t tell me that unions are working for My general betterment .. that’s a lie !

    this was in response to sd up above …

    1. rowlf

      Unions can be good, but most get corroded away by money going to leadership. (Automatic dues check off is evil, make the membership pay by check every month. Taxes should be manual pay too!) I used to belong to a very militant union where we took over our local, and when we resisted taking paycuts after an LBO, the International leadership threw out our local leadership on the grounds of being improperly elected. The new local leadership from another workgroup led another vote for paycuts that passed.

      Fast forward to when we changed unions we got an overly democratic union and we all got to see the past contract negotiating notes from the old union, which usually showed the company did more to get a usable labor contract than the weak sauce old union leadership. The new union believed in having the membership being able to sit in and observe contract negotiations, which drove the company nuts. The new union got an advantage on the company during negotiations and the company later broke the union in spite.

    2. PewPew

      People don’t support unions in a vacuum. They do it because the alternative is bosses/owners run everything exclusively to their benefit, and then no one has healthcare etc. at all. If you have an alternative to unions that doesn’t just hand power over to the rich, I’m sure we’re all ears.

  21. Wukchumni

    Perfect weather, sunny with a mild wind, but hardly any snowpack in the Sierra to speak of, and yet skiing on say 6 inches of snow hasn’t been all that bad, a bit icy in spots and powder, what powder? You really wanted your edges to be sharpened, and thank goodness for man-made snow, otherwise it might’ve been more like 3 inches of cover on many runs,

    207 inches of snow @ Mammoth last February, not one inch worth so far this month. Your basic zenith-nadir scenario.

    Last year’s memorable winter allowed everything to grow with a plethora of water, this one could starve them out if it keeps up, er down.

    This might mean more combustible materiel for wildfires to consume later in the year.

    1. Wyoming Doc

      I live in Wyoming near the Tetons.
      It has been one 12-18 inch powder dumpage after another since mid December.
      My yard is now under 12 feet of snow – that has never happened before.
      Jackson Hole Ski resort is just booming.

  22. ewmayer

    “There Are Rivers in the Sky Drenching the U.S. Because of Climate Change” [Bloomberg] — The west coast south of WA is saying “don’t we wish we were getting drecnhed by one of these babies.” Been bone-dry for going on a month; just as during the recent multiyear drought, there’s a big persistent high out in the Pacific W of CA which is diverting all the normal winter moisture far to north, to the Pacific NW and Canada. If we don’t get some serious rain soon, we are so screwed in terms of the coming summer and fire season.

  23. The Rev Kev

    Things turned nasty just now in Syria. An American armoured convoy was stopped at a Syrian Army checkpoint near the Turkish border and the locals turned up to demand that they turn back. Things got heated and the next thing you knew there was gunfire between the locals and the US troops with one 14 year-old killed. Pretty soon a Russian convoy turned up to separate the forces involved and the US convoy returned to base-


  24. ChrisAtRU

    #Culinary226 #NevadaDemPrimary2020

    Exhibit A – 19 Tweet Thread giving the skinny on the who/why/how of what very much seems to be a well coordinated attack against Bernie.

    Exhibit B – Shorter Thread of anecdotes about #Culinary226 members who suffered the consequences of inadequate healthcare.


  25. JBird4049

    So Mike Bloomberg supported stop-and-frisk as well as red-lining of those supposedly criminally inclined young, Black and Latino boys males and their families. Just how is this different than Hillary Clinton’s Super-predators remarks in support of the get tough laws ostensibly passed because of the supposed increase in crime?

    Regardless of race or class, people tend to use drugs at about the same rate with the difference being what kinds of drugs are used by what groups. Strangely, the drugs preferred by the upper classes are usually legal or have much lighter penalties. Then there is the fact that being white and/or upper class means being searched less often.

    But it’s the dangerous use of weed and the very occasional gun that requires the illegal stop-and-frisk millions of times along with the occasional use of planted guns and drugs. And people wonder why the police are often not trusted.

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