2:00PM Water Cooler 2/17/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, Mac is turning into Windows. I foolishly let my battery run out, and so had to reboot. When I did, my mouse did not work for some reason. Hence, when Apple put up a dialog asking me whether I wanted to upgrade or not, I tabbed to the “No, ffs, not now” option, saw the blue border meaning that I had in fact selected that option, and hit Return. Apple then proceeded to install the update anyhow. The process was agonizing: Multiple reboots, all with dark screens and slowly moving progress bars, with no information given, culminating in with a progress bar and another notice saying that Apple was completing an upgrade, and it would take 48 minutes. Needless to say, this was not what I wanted to hear when I had just sat down to write Water Cooler, so I hauled out my second Mac, found a power cord, booted it, started fighting to get it to recognize my Bluetooth devices, when I looked over at the upgrading Mac and saw it was finished (in other words, that Apple had lied about the 48 minutes). So I put the other machine away, and now I am typing on an upgraded machine. Who knows that they broke; there’s not even an explanation of what they did, though at least through my strategy of masterful inactivity, I avoided getting an early, i.e. even more buggy, version.

The only difference between this process and what Windows does was that Windows will actually seize control of your machine while you’re working — at least it has done so for me in the past — and Apple was more sneaky. Otherwise, the opacity and the stress level were exactly the same. Not exactly what a professional working to deadline wants from their machine, but then Apple wants to drive away all its professional users anyhow. Snarl.

* * *


“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 Nevada Caucus, which is obviously just around the corner:

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

Today we have a new national poll from Ipsos/Economist, and new polls from NV and SC. As of 2/17/2020, 12:00 PM EST (three-day average):

The numbers:

From Yahoo: “A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that Sen. Bernie Sanders would defeat each of the other Democratic presidential candidates in a one-on-one race — in many instances by double-digit margins.” So the methodology accounts for the spikes. Note, however, the rise of Bloomberg.

And a new poll from NV:

NV numbers:

Not hearing good things about how Nevada will count the votes, though, as readers know.


SC numbers:

Sanders within striking distance of Biden, Steyer within striking distance of Sandersl.

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.

* * *

Bloomberg (D)(1): “Michael Bloomberg’s Campaign Is Huge. That’s The Point” [Buzzfeed]. “The sheer hugeness of the former New York City mayor’s campaign is its defining feature. It is the Death Star of presidential campaigns. Bloomberg employs more — much more — staff than any other candidate, and pays them unusually well. And not only that, he offers them three meals a day and iPhone 11s. Bloomberg’s campaign events have everything: catered food, more than enough free t-shirts for everyone, highly produced stages with themed backdrops and lecterns. Bloomberg is carrying out the largest advertising campaign in the history of American presidential politics, with over $400 million spent on ads so far and counting. Bloomberg is cornering the market on available staff for other campaigns that might need them…. The overwhelming size and scope of Bloomberg’s campaign is more than a gimmick: It’s a validator for more moderate Democrats looking for a stable home in a tumultuous primary, a signal that while other candidates may stumble in the primary or later against President Trump, Bloomberg’s operation is too big to fail. The Bloomberg strategy is to vacuum up delegates from states that offer many of them, instead of scrabbling to win the delegate-poor early states. The campaign is focusing now on the Super Tuesday states, which vote on March 3rd. Though Bloomberg’s name won’t appear on a ballot until that day, he’s become an increasing presence in the race. Everyone is suddenly talking about Bloomberg.” • Have I said this? There are around 3,000 counties in the United States. Bloomberg could set up an office in every county and give it a million dollar budget, and not even feel it. He could probably take it out of cash flow. But “Too big to fail”? Hmm…

Bloomberg (D)(2): “Mike Bloomberg Could Pull It Off” [Peggy Noonan]. “There’s the money, Bloomberg’s solid rocket booster. People say he could spend $1 billion, maybe $2 billion. He’d spend more if he has to. In for a penny, in for a pound. He didn’t enter this to preserve his fortune. His social media is witty, weird, dryly subversive. That would mean little except for what it implies, that the people hired to do it are allowed to be creative and daring. The campaign is not playing tight but loose, which you do only when you’re confident. His strengths: resources, relationships and a real biography. For 12 years he was mayor of New York. He governed the ungovernable city that is a microcosm of the world. It is noted that as mayor he was a Republican. No one in New York thought he was a Republican, he was a Democrat who could get only the Republican nomination. After he won he treated Republicans collegially and with respect, which wasn’t hard as a New York Republican is essentially a Democrat with boundaries. Before that he invented a business product that first seemed useful, then necessary. He created a company that became a huge national brand. He is one of the world’s great philanthropists. He is what Mr. Trump claimed to be and probably wishes he were. And he isn’t afraid of the president. Whatever he says, Mr. Trump, who respects money more than anything, would be afraid of him. When Mr. Biden leaves the race, where will his supporters—many of whom feel increasingly outside the party they grew up in—go? Quite possibly Bloomberg.” • I have a soft spot for Nooners, as readers know; she’s like an ancient Sibyl, whispering her prophecies. But reading her work on impeachment, I came to think her time has passed. I am also extremely dubious that Trump is afraid of Bloomberg. I mean, Trump’s first move was to say that Bloomberg would need a box to stand on in the debates. (Incidentally, “philanthropy” doesn’t mean “Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me.” But Bloomberg — and the recipients of his largesse — seem to think it does.)

Bloomberg (D)(3): Bloomberg attacks Sanders supporters:

Not clear to me that “Twitter is a hellsite” is an answer. But it is:

Oh, the humanity! I lived through the 2008 Democrat primary. This is nothing.

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(4): “Bernie posters: don’t back down” [Carl Beijer].

These people are running a well-funded highly-coordinated opposition campaign against Sanders, and they’re leveraging their control of large social media platforms to disseminate their attacks. The only thing you can do to slow this down is to get into their replies, tell the truth, and encourage your friends to join you.

Yes, they are going to tell you to stop. Yes, they are going to try to spin ordinary criticism as “harassment.” Yes, a handful of posters are going to inevitably f*ck up and step over the line – and Bernie’s critics are going to use this to talk about a ‘culture of problematic behavior,’ to demand that Sanders himself should decry his own supporters, and to insist that you personally are complicit in what happened. Yes, Sanders himself will periodically issue some ‘let’s all be civil’ statement, and his critics will try to use that to vilify any pushback to anything they say.

You cannot listen to these people. They are being dishonest and they want you to lose. They are fine with you going without healthcare and with seeing Social Security and Medicare gutted; many of them are even fine with four more years of Trump if that’s what it takes to stop Sanders. And because that’s what is driving their complaints about Bernie Bros, no good behavior or non-engagement on your part is going to make that attack stop.

So never stop posting, don’t let them guilt-trip you for it, and for the love of god never, ever apologize for it. This primary isn’t going to be won in the media, and it’s not going to be won online – but every little bit helps

Bloomberg (D)(4): Non-endorsement:

Atrios is a good bellwether for the sane center-left, which does exist.

Bloomberg (D)(5): “#MyBloombergStory: Occupy Wall Street” [Six Perfections (DJG)]. “Anyway, Bloomberg didn’t care about a little pesky thing like the judicial branch or freedom of speech or court order. He had the cops raid and destroy the camp in its entirety. He promised to preserve the collected library on site. The NYPD burned and threw away the books. The city also stopped the media from filming anything. Bloomberg said the media blackout was to ‘protect them.’ The organizers were harassed, fined, thrown in jail…for a peaceful protest that was being protected by the Supreme Court. Didn’t matter though. This kicked off hundreds of raids across the nation in Oakland, SF, Los Angeles. The physical space for OWS was wiped out b/c they were ‘troublemakers’ and ‘socialists’ and ‘up to no good.’ Yes, Mayor Bloomberg actually did this in broad daylight in the media capital of the world. He broke the law, violated freedom of speech, banned the media, burned books, beat and jailed citizens…’in order to protect us.’ #myBloombergstory.” • Destroying a library. Centrists.

Bloomberg (D)(5): There’s always a quote (1):

So much for the midwest!

Bloomberg (D)(6): “Not long ago, Bloomberg likened Putin’s attack on Ukraine to America’s annexation of California” [WaPo]. • Wow, open season.

Buttigieg (D)(1): I’ve never understood the enthusiasm, but it seems to be real:

(I assume the “folks” weren’t staffers.)

Buttigieg (2): “Reading Buttigieg” A former teacher’s perspective” [Commonweal]. • An impressive piece of hagiography from a true believe.

Buttigieg (3): “After saying Keegan-Michael Key supports Buttigieg, the former mayor’s campaign says the actor hasn’t endorsed any candidate” [CNN]. “After touting Keegan-Michael Key’s support for Pete Buttigieg, the campaign told CNN later Saturday that the actor will now appear at the Buttigieg campaign events simply to encourage early voting and voter registration — not officially endorse the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor as the Democratic candidate for president.” • Oops.

Sanders (D)(1): “This One Chart Explains Why the Kids Back Bernie” [New York Magazine]. “[M]ost competent commentators give the Great Recession a starring role in their narratives about the Sanders phenomenon. Their story is straightforward: Americans under 35 saw capitalism discredit itself in world-historic fashion while their worldviews were still taking shape. They proceeded to watch a putatively liberal government bail out the very financial institutions whose malfeasance had birthed the crisis, and then preside over a historically weak recovery that left many a millennial college graduate debt-burdened and underemployed. This created a burgeoning market for market-skeptical critiques of Democratic politics as usual — and progressives and socialists ably served it. I think this narrative is largely right but incomplete. The 2008 crash was central to the radicalization of the millennial and Gen-Z cohorts, but the broader economic system that both enabled and survived that crash is also implicated.”

Sanders (D)(1): “New Hampshire Highlights Continuing Problems With Sanders’ Strategy” [Benjamin Studebaker]. “[T]he demographic composition of Sanders’ coalition has shifted substantially. So far, Sanders done much better with rural voters in 2016 than in 2020. The drop in rural support has been partially offset by stronger performance in cities, but ultimately Sanders is only winning because the centrist vote is thoroughly divided among three candidates–Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar. After South Carolina, this will increase to four, if Bloomberg enters and none of the preceding three drop out. We discussed the evidence for this in Iowa in the previous post. When we look at New Hampshire, we see a similar trend.” • Yes, that’s worrisome.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “Inside the Horror Show That Is Congress” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. • Taibbi on Sanders in 2005. You could see Sander’s goal of becoming “organizer-in-chief as an end-run around this entire process, which Sanders obviously knows very well.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie Sanders pranked by Russians posing as Greta Thunberg” [Associated Press]. “Russian pranksters claim they called U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders pretending to be climate activist Greta Thunberg and offered Thunberg’s support to his campaign. Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, who have fooled many high-profile victims around the world, posted a recording of the phone call on YouTube on Thursday. The call itself took place in early December, but the duo decided to release it more than two months later because of Sanders’ success in Iowa and New Hampshire, Kuznetsov told The Associated Press in a Skype interview. A representative for the campaign didn’t comment Friday on the authenticity of the call.”

Trump (R)(1): “Kellyanne Conway: Bloomberg’s sexist comments ‘far worse’ than Trump’s” [Politico]. “‘The way Michael Bloomberg treated female employees … to have created that kind of culture, that unsafe workplace, to feel that you’re being harassed because of your gender, that is problematic,’ Conway said. “I think you’re going to hear more of it.'” • Where’s the lie?

* * *

“What Obama Is Saying in Private About the Democratic Primary” [Gabriel Debenedetti, New York Magazine]. “The truth of Obama’s silence on the 2020 primary is that it’s not just about his obvious wish to stay out of the spotlight, but it also reflects a choreographed strategy. With the race looking more and more likely to grow bitter and messy, and maybe even wind up in a contested convention, the former president and those around him are increasingly sure he will need to play a prominent role in bringing the party back together and calming its tensions later this summer, including perhaps in Milwaukee, where the party’s meeting is scheduled to be held in July…. And he’s being careful to ensure he can be seen as an honest broker in June and July…. ” • Then again, if you watch what Obama does, as opposed to what he says–

“Prominent Obama donors will hold Chicago event for Bloomberg” [Guardian]. “Two prominent Democratic donors in Chicago with deep ties to Barack Obama will next week co-host an event for former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg. John Rogers and Mellody Hobson will co-host a briefing in downtown Chicago. Rogers is a philanthropist, investor and founder of Ariel Investments who was co-chair of the former president’s Illinois finance committee. Hobson, a prominent Chicago businesswoman, is a former chair of DreamWorks Animation and a major Democratic donor.” • Of course, they don’t have to hold a fund-raiser. What do you give to the man who has everything? Except for ritual fealty, of course.

* * *

* * *


A good thread on Nevada politics:

(Ralson, let us remember, will be a moderator for the Nevada debate; Snopes on the chair throwing incident.)

UPDATE Somehow, I doubt these lines are randomly distributed:

Though I appalud the dedication of the voters.

* * *


“DNC sets qualifications for South Carolina debate” [The Hill]. “The DNC scrapped a donor threshold for the debates last month. The qualification kept Bloomberg off the debate stage since he is completely self-funding his campaign.” • The DNC is like a Third World regime that keeps changing the rules to get the outcome it wants.

* * *


“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they didn’t rig the Iowa Caucus” [The Outline]. “It’s part of the point of social power that it does not require elaborate plots to carry out and enforce. This is why, when debating the details of whether or not some particular incident took place — say, the rigging of an election — we risk obscuring the knowledge that the exercise and abuse of power is abundant.”

Our Famously Free Press

Victory lap:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Neera has gone offline since this report came out:


UPDATE “MIT: Hackers could alter ballots in widely used voting app” [Associated Press]. “An internet voting app that has been used in pilots in West Virginia, Denver, Oregon and Utah has vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to change a person’s vote without detection, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The analysis of the Voatz app, which has mostly been used for absentee voters and overseas military personnel, found that attackers could “alter, stop or expose how an individual has voted.”

Stats Watch

Tech: “I Got a Ring Doorbell Camera. It Scared the Hell Out of Me.” [New York Magazine]. “If you strip away the touchy-feely marketing or rhetoric about making wholesome local connections, Neighbors is a social network for crime. I’m not sure how else to describe it. If you open Neighbors and create an account with your home address (you don’t need a Ring camera to download or use it), you’ll find a list, arranged in the familiar, reverse-chronological feed format of your social network of choice, of nearby crimes. Or, maybe not crimes, but things that appear to be crimes, or seem like they might eventually become crimes, or should be crimes, or are, in someone’s mind, crime-adjacent. Besides dry summaries of local police scanner chatter posted by the ‘Ring News Team’ — ‘There are reports of a stabbing near 3rd St & 3rd Ave.’ — the Neighbors feed consists mostly of videos recorded by people’s Ring cameras. In most places this means videos of package thieves and “suspicious” strangers. (“Who is this?” asks one Brooklyn neighbor, captioning a video of a man in an undershirt walking up to the door. “Should keep doors locked at all times,” observes Neighbor27.)” • Fear is extremely profitable.

Tech: “Cute videos, but little evidence: Police say Amazon Ring isn’t much of a crime fighter” [NBC]. “Ring promises to “make neighborhoods safer” by deterring and helping to solve crimes, citing its own research [lol] that says an installation of its doorbell cameras reduces burglaries by more than 50 percent. But an NBC News Investigation has found — after interviews with 40 law enforcement agencies in eight states that have partnered with Ring for at least three months — that there is little concrete evidence to support the claim.” • No doubt voyeurism for owners is the selling point…

Tech: “COVID-19 spells fresh start for digital economy” [China Daily]. “Another heartening outcome is that this sudden epidemic not only made people pay more attention to public health but further promoted the transformation of the Chinese society from a traditional society to an information-driven one. Only by better utilizing the role of emerging technologies in national governance, social governance, and economic development will it be possible to cope with similar crises, if any, in the future.” • Well…

The Fed: “Wringing the Overoptimism from FOMC Growth Forecasts” [Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco]. “Growth forecasts by Federal Open Market Committee meeting participants were persistently too optimistic for 2008 through 2016. The typical forecast started out high but was revised down over time, often dramatically, as incoming data failed to meet expectations. In contrast, forecasts for 2017 through 2019 started low but were revised up over time. Cumulative forecast revisions for these years were much smaller on average than in the past. These observations suggest that participants have adjusted their forecast methodology, including lowering estimates of trend growth, to eliminate the prior optimistic bias.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 57 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 14 at 6:30pm. President’s Day.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Earthquakes. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. Finally, the Corona Virus shows up, but under Interest Rates, not Plagues. And then, under Plagues, no mention of an actual Plague of Locusts. What is this, end-time regulatory capture?

The Biosphere

“In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, this year’s Great Plant Picks focus on ‘Plants for a Better Planet'” [Seattle Times]. “Lately, leading voices in ecological garden design are calling on us to loosen our grip and let a little wildness into our cultivated landscapes… Don’t worry; [author Thomas] Rainer doesn’t mean unkempt, simply more lived-in — literally, lively gardens that attract life. Nature is adaptive, resilient and responsive: a dynamic dance between plants, animals, birds and insects — and we’re all a part of that wild mix. Furthermore, nature wants what most of us do — an always-changing, ever-blooming landscape filled with flowers and fruit for as many months of the year as possible.” • What’s wrong with unkempt? If it’s growing, it’s kempt!

Health Care

“‘On the brink’: Trump’s push for Medicaid transparency could worsen rural hospital crisis” [NBC]. “But critics say CMS’s proposed rule, one that could be calcified soon after it completes another 60 day comment period, is just the latest attack in an ongoing Trump-led “regulatory war” that aims to undermine entitlement programs, like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps… The White House declared this month that it would allow states to receive Medicaid funding as a block grant, or a lump sum, which critics said could lead to limits on benefits and decrease enrollment for a program that provides health care coverage to more than 70 million Americans.” • I need to look into all of this. But there’s so much…

Sports Desk

“Baseball, Fiction, and Life: Roger Angell’s Era-Spanning Career at The New Yorker” (inteview) [The New Yorker]. “In 1962, [Editor William] Shawn decided that The New Yorker needed more sports pieces, and, knowing that I was a fan, asked if I wanted to go down to Florida and write something about spring training. I was surprised he even knew there was such a thing. I’d never been to spring training, so I said yes, thank you, and went down to the White Sox camp, in Sarasota, where I found the little wooden stadium jammed with elderly fans watching the young stars….The piece, “The Old Folks Behind Home,” ran a few weeks later in the magazine, and everybody seemed happy with it. It happened without any plan at all from me. I didn’t see it as a career move, I mean. And the long trail of those pieces and books happened one by one and grew only out of my own pleasure and excitement over the endless complexities and beauties of the game.”

“Astros, rivals wage cheating scandal war of words that won’t end soon” [ESPN]. Æ The tentacles of baseball’s cheating scandal are long and abundant. All of the Astros players, past and present. Their front-office members. Their opponents. Manfred and his associates. The MLB Players Association. Team owners. Fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch. Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, both of whom lost managing jobs on account of their involvement. It is a wide swath of characters with competing interests and self-preservation in mind, each with a story to tell. Already those involved are trying to game the timing, to ensure that their version does not find itself lost amid the morass of takes…. Yes, baseball is burning, and nobody — not the Astros, not Manfred, not the rest of the players — can stop it. Only time will slow it, and until then, as baseball’s cheating scandal metastasizes, as it dirties all it touches, remember that what caused it in the first place will guide its direction going forward: the choices of individuals looking out for themselves.”

Police State Watch

“Courtroom psychology tests may be unreliable, study finds” [Associated Press]. “Courts are not properly screening out unreliable psychological and IQ tests, allowing junk science to be used as evidence, researchers have concluded. Such tests can sway judges or juries and influence whether someone gets custody of a child or is eligible for bail or capital punishment…. “If psychologists are not willing to regulate their own field, it’s a real problem.'” • Failure of professionals to regulate their fields is a general problem, not peculiar to psychologists. See Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead

Groves of Academe

“No room for you in lectures, top universities tell first-year students” [Guardian]. “The Observer found that students paying £9,250 or more in Manchester, Nottingham and Lancaster, had struggled to get a seat in lectures. Manchester University maths students in a 600-capacity hall were given slips with a link to a YouTube live stream and told they could “sit in a coffee shop” and watch. They were also given the option of sitting in a separate overflow theatre to watch the stream, without being able to participate or question lecturers.” • Lots of excuses from administrators.

News of the Wired

“The Map of Mathematics” [Quanta Magazine]. “Here is a map of mathematics as it stands today, mathematics as it is practiced by mathematicians. From simple starting points — Numbers, Shapes, Change — the map branches out into interwoven tendrils of thought. Follow it, and you’ll understand how prime numbers connect to geometry, how symmetries give a handle on questions of infinity. And although the map is necessarily incomplete — mathematics is too grand to fit into any single map — we hope to give you a flavor for the major questions and controversies that animate the field, as well as the conceptual tools needed to dive in. If mathematics is the poetry of logic, as Albert Einstein once wrote, then through this we hope to provide an appreciation for all the beauty that it describes. Scroll down to begin.” • Despite the word “scroll,” scrolling on a laptop seems to do nothing, although swiping on a tablet does. Sigh.

UPDATE In honor of the holiday:

“And if you’re talkin’ about a poor man’s friend / Grant will get you out of whatever you’re in”

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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 (IM):

IM writes: “Plus a stump. I recall you’re a fan!” I am. Also of gorgeous black-and-white photography.

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

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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. Jason Boxman

    Had the same result from that latest OS X update. It rebooted, then seemed to be updating. Then rebooted multiple times to a mostly useless update screen with no information. Was afraid the update bricked it. Then finally rebooted again into the 40+ minute update screen. It did take at least that long.

    Works now, but agree it was unnerving.

    Still find Windows 10 worse, would rather never switch. It installed updates automatically, as it always does, then after rebooting, sitting idle for 10 minutes, reported a crash and claimed to be collecting information about it before rebooting. Huh?

    Confidence boost.

    1. diptherio

      Linux hasn’t turned into either Windows or Apple yet, and seems unlikely to do so. I really like MX Linux. Just sayin’.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I quit desktop Linux for a Mac in 2016. Would never go back. Just installed latest Fedora with KDE on a new laptop. Oddly hung on a clean shutdown, no idea why, beyond caring about debugging such things. I can’t turn off the KDE notifications, which like to popup and stay until acknowledged. Installing updates that include to KDE while its running causes weird errors, because the dynamic libs changed out from under it.

        I could go on, but it’s just silly nonsense I refuse to deal with again in my life. Time is too valuable.

        I’m glad it’s working well for you though.

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          No KDE! And don’t even bother trying it on a Mac! Too complicated! Try LinuxMint cinnamon on any PC.

          1. Jason Boxman

            It was a Lenovo laptop. There was a time when KDE was fantastic; I even got a feature request accepted, but this was KDE 1 beta 3, at least 15 years ago.

          2. JacobiteInTraining

            I second the Linux Mint Cinnamon recommendation.

            I haven’t used a Mac since the Mac Plus days, but ever since Windows 8.1/10 betrayed MSFTs intention to take control of all aspects of it, I have no personal devices using it…nor will I ever. (I am forced to use a Win10 OS laptop for work, but it is segregated to the ‘dirty’ portion of my DMZ)

            Mint, meanwhile, maintains the sane update policies of yore: Fully configurable by me to update all I want, whenever I want, or never if I want.

            1. shtove

              Me too. No more wheezing updates or mysterious background processes. I had been content with Windows7Pro, until the support shutdown. Oddly, the couple times I’ve booted back into “the old country”, it spends a few minutes … updating. Anyway – done with that racket.

      2. fajensen

        Sure it will. At some point in the not so far future, the Linux kernel will be subsumed into ‘systemd’, like the logging system was, because “we” can’t have any data that flows around ‘systemd’s binaries. It (Linux Mint 19.3) has already started on the whining about ‘upgrades requiring a reboot’, soon it will force them.

        I use Linux a lot but it has it’s own particular set of stressors and annoyances too.

    2. Krystyn Walentka

      ClearLinux developed by Intel is becoming quite a substantial OS and I feel will rival MacOS and Windows in a year. Fastest Linux is out right now because they tweak it to run faster on their chips.

      Buy a second cheap old laptop and start practicing using Linux. You sanity will thank you.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I have an Ubuntu Linux-based laptop. Works pretty well, but there is that problem with software that’s only available for Mac and Windows.

    3. Junez

      Win 10 now has an option to pause updates. Go to

      Settings/update and security/windows update/advanced options/pause updates/[select how many days you wish to postpone them]

      1. jen

        Our IT department controls the release of our Win 10 updates. Once the update is released MS gets very passive aggressive if you postpone the update. Something – and always a different something – stops working until you surrender. My favorite and most recent example was a password on a protected file that stopped working.

      2. jo6pac

        Yes the magic word is pause updates. In 7 you could stop them and pick the one you wanted not any more. I have paused my updates but the machine does them when it wants.

    4. NorwegianRockCat

      On the Mac, the Enter key always activates the default button (i.e., the blue button that used to pulse back in the day). That’s how Apple defined their default button semantics:

      Configure a push button the user is likely to select as the default. A default push button is prominent in appearance and automatically performs its action when the user presses Return. There can only be a single default button in a view.

      The Space Bar will activate the button that has the focus ring around it (assuming you’ve enabled Full Keyboard Control), which it sounds like Lambert did.

      This has been like this for years and I have learned it the hard way too: in a very similar way to how Lambert did with his upgrade. I think this was back in 2006-7, when Macs just started forcing a logoff for installing updates. It also will get you when you tab to “Don’t Save”, but those dialog boxes show up less and less.

      I’m not going to dispute that Mac is becoming more like Windows 10, but this UI gotcha has been there since the beginning of Mac OS X

  2. Samuel Conner

    There’s a scale issue in the dk chart and numbers list today (that is hinted in the chart in that ALL candidates are suddenly “up”)

    The numbers look like they sum to about 150%.

    Perhaps an improvement to the code went awry?

  3. Carolinian

    Bloomberg actually did this in broad daylight in the media capital of the world. He broke the law, violated freedom of speech, banned the media, burned books, beat and jailed citizens…’in order to protect us

    Not totally unrelated–France, #Me Too, Polanski and censorship.


    Polanski did drug and have sex with an underage woman (with the apparent knowledge and acquiescence of her mother), pled guilty and served 42 days, then fled to France when the case was reopened. The victim has said the case should be dropped but many women don’t agree. Should all of his movies be banned because of this? If we only accept art from nice people then there will be many bare spots on museum walls.

    Meanwhile his highly praised J’Accuse not able to be seen in the US. Bloomberg, sexual harasser and new Dem hero, rising in the polls.

    1. JBird4049

      Money… it changes everything. Money cleanses you of all sin and Bloomberg has plenty of soap. Some might treat it as a personal dispensation from God to be bad as he wants to be. Seriously, it does as in our culture wealth makes you virtuous, although that contradicts every major religion.

      Also, many people are co-opting Me Too and using it for censorship. Artists of all kinds, too which one can often add some of the Intelligentsia, has always been great at showing those inconvenient truths, which is why censorship is extremely important. It could be the brutality of a bullet in Lubyanka, or a trip to the Gulag Archipelago, or having your entire print run bought and pulped, being suddenly unemployed and unemployable, or becoming an unperson whose paintings, words, or music has never existed. Down that Memory Hole. It is too bad that not enough people realizes the what, where, and how of that term.

      The Tea Party and Hands Up, Don’t Shoot were co-opted by the political leadership and their monied backers into propaganda tools of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

      Movements created by people to fight injustice and create good changes, but zombified by the political Cordyceps that seek out and turn them into movements of unchange or control.

      Things like rape, political corruption, or murder are really not that important and shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with the grifts. /s

      1. Carolinian

        I’d say the jury is still out over whether Bloomberg will be “cleansed.” There have even been hints from some directions that Bloomberg is considering pre-announcing Hillary as a VP choice as part of his stop Sanders campaign. But perhaps even she would balk at explaining support for this noted “bro.” Some people are just not very likeable and Bloomberg could be that.

        As for Polanski, he has spent the rest of his life dogged by what happened in California so it’s not as though he got off scot free. His Hollywood career was ruined and he was a leading director in the 1970s.

        1. chuckster

          But perhaps even she would balk at explaining support for this noted “bro.” Some people are just not very likeable and Bloomberg could be that.

          Hillary would do ANYTHING to be Mike Bloomberg’s running mate. If he told her to stand on a box and bark like a seal on national TV she would ask him what color box did he want. The thought of being the running mate of a 79 year old president with a heart murmur is enough to put the Clinton Foundation back in the chips. OTOH – if Hills ends up being VP on January 21st I wouldn’t put much stock on Little Mike surviving to see 80.

          1. JBird4049

            Clinton is definitely Machiavellian enough to think of being VP and having the President have a very convenient illness or accident; I just do not think she is ruthless or immoral enough to actually do so.

            She does seem to be an almost demonically ambitious egomaniac who has a very convenient memory and very flexible ethics and morality when it comes to that ambition; however, it is one thing to crow “We came. We saw. He died.” when Muammar Gaddafi died, and a much harder thing to arrange the murder of one of your fellows that you might actually know.

            Restates, it is much harder to personally do evil on someone you know than it is to be a part of the larger system that you allow to commit that evil. The banality of too many evil people who don’t think that they are evil. They don’t pull the trigger and the dead were probably guilty of something. Let’s walk the dog.

            Also, Hillary Clinton is sometimes treated as some kind of monstrous woman who wants to queen of America, eats babies, and worships Ba’al. Let’s have some perspective here.

            1. ambrit

              Let us be forthright in the eyes of the Gods. Hillary obviously worships Mammon, a true Ba’al, the ‘Demon of Money.’ Like many in her class, she worships at the New York Temple of Mammon, conveniently located at 11 Wall Street. She was the grateful recipient of the burnt offering of a catacomb of beeves back in 1978-79.
              So, the obloquy of the masses is well deserved.
              I still wonder if she was just incompetent or evil in the failure of her Health Initiative back in 1993.

            1. JBird4049

              Just because The Onion is finding being satirical mag much harder than being an actual news rag hard to do…

            2. ObjectiveFunction

              Bloomberg (D)(5): There’s always a quote

              Q. Another Yankee, huh? Well, there’s just two kinds’a Yankees. There’s smartass Yankees, an’ dumbass Yankees. Which one are you?

              A. I’ll let you know when I find out.

    2. Basil Pesto

      a shame, as Polanski tackling the Dreyfus affair is something I’ve been very interested in since it was announced

  4. Jason Boxman

    I think I received a postcard in the mail welcoming me to “Neighbors”. They must blanket entire areas they want to deploy in. It felt like it must be some kind of scam or useless social network. I hadn’t realized it was more nefarious.

    Anyone else get one of these?

    1. 3.14e-9

      Not me, but a friend in a neighborhood adjacent to SEATAC. You can do an Internet search for independent reporting about them. “Interesting” business model. Advised my friend to suit up before handling, kill it with fire and flush the ashes down the toilet.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I’m on NextDoor. And, let me tell you, it makes Facebook look sane.

        I never knew that so many of my neighbors are unhinged. Yet another reason why I enjoy Naked Capitalism.

        1. The Historian

          I’m on NextDoor too and I agree with you. I live in an area with a lot of parks and a lot of people walking their dogs or just walking and that drives some of the more paranoid homeowners crazy – and of course they have to post pictures they took of the “perps” – I think every walker in this neighborhood has had their picture posted at least once by the loonies. And God forbid if someone in the neighborhood calls Uber or DoorDash – that strange car MUST be casing their house. It seems to have gotten much worse since all those Ring scare ads have been posted. I should also mention that this neighborhood has an extremely low crime rate – the local sheriff makes a very visible patrol every so often to make the paranoids feel safer – especially because some of the paranoids have been talking about shooting people who come to their door. I long for the days when people just reported lost dogs and cats.

          1. JBird4049

            Some nice music from Men at Work?

            Who can it be knocking at my door?
            Make no sound, tip-toe across the floor
            If he hears, he’ll knock all day
            I’ll be trapped and here I’ll have to stay
            I’ve done no harm, I keep to myself
            There’s nothing wrong with my state of mental health
            I like it here with my childhood friend
            Here they come, those feelings again

            Who can it be now?
            Who can it be now?
            Who can it be now?
            Who can it be now?

        2. The Rev Kev

          If people get this paranoid and fearful about their own homes through these devices, then what would happened if some company did the same for cars and their onboard cameras? Would you be afraid after being updated over a shooting a coupla miles away while driving down the road, looking suspiciously at your driving ‘neighbours.’ Would you try to zoom away from what looks like suspicious cars? Would you be worried about the cars behind you?

        3. fajensen

          The Purpose of these media is to make people unhinged – maybe the proper term is ‘drive them to distraction’. Make people waste the one thing they have that money will never buy more of: Time! The squillionaires have taken all the fruits of our labour and now they want to make sure that we don’t make any more, keeping some of them for ourselves this time. That is the purpose of “social media”.

          By keeping people occupied with petty hate, suspicion and fear, those people will never manage to do something in the physical world, with their own lives or worse – do something political with others, especially that upsets established interests.

          I used to comment on some of our newspapers, then they changed to using FaceBook for commentary and almost within a month, every comment on anything became retarded and I stopped ‘being seen with those people’.

          Today, somehow everything printed today on any subject at all is now so related to Islam or ‘muslims’ that it kicks off in the 3’rd comment … nobody sane gets involved with any of that.

  5. antidlc

    Something I did not know about Bloomberg…

    The New York City Council has approved changes in the term-limits law that will allow Mayor Michael Bloomberg to seek re-election next year.

    The council passed the bill Thursday by a vote of 29-22. The bill gives city officeholders the option of three consecutive four-year terms.

    Bloomberg announced his plans to change the term-limits law and seek re-election three weeks ago. His second term ends in 2009. He had opposed changing the law earlier in his administration, but now says he needs a third term to deal with the city’s financial crisis.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Funny how a 3rd term was seen as justifying a coup in Bolivia, but when Bloomberg does it….only the crickets complain!!!

  6. ChiGal in Carolina

    ugh, just voted in the primary here in NC and called up the Indy recommendations for the races I knew nothing about. The Indy is this area’s version of the Chicago Reader.

    They endorsed Warren for prez—wtf?! So much for their advice…

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      Ha! That is SO RDU. Chapel Hill urned from having anarchist bookstores to being just another main Street McDisneyland. So much money in that area no wonder.

      I was a poor hippie in Carrboro till all the hipsters found out about it.

      1. Jason Boxman

        That worked so well in the last election, when the message from the Clinton campaign was essentially that stupid young people need to shut up and vote for team D.

        Clearly the condescension worked brilliant, if the goal is to win. But that’s always suspect with the Democrat Party. Grift is the aim!

    1. inode_buddha

      Yes, we need to remind the DNC and Pelosi to unify around the canidate that We the People choose. Because this is supposed to be a Democracy, not a Hypocracy.

    2. Pat

      I have a multitude of reasons for wanting Sanders to be the Democratic nominee for President.
      One of the minor ones is watching Pelosi either have to give tacit approval and support to him OR to watch her be decimated by various journalists who won’t let get away with just being quiet. You can substitute a multitude of names in for Pelosi on that. There are a whole lot of Democratic jerks who need to be beat over the head with their “unity” position.

    3. urblintz

      The calls for unity have been out there for a while but this one seems a bit more desperate, as if Pelosi and Co. have finally understood the degree of alienation they’ve inspired. It’s clear to me the Dem mis-leadership has pinned its hopes on Bloomberg either forcing a brokered convention or winning outright but now knows its playing with dynamite should either outcome be attained.

      1. Chris

        I think you’re assuming a level of self awareness Pelosi and others do not have. They want the process to work how IT SHOULD work dammit. Why let democracy get in the way?

        1. Chris

          And here is Pelosi proving my point. From the article blurb mentioned above:

          “Said Pelosi: “I can’t even envision a situation where he would be reelected. But we are not, we don’t take anything for granted. As I say, we have to have our own vision for the future. But everybody knows that we must be unified in making sure that he does not have a second term.”

          Are you kidding??? I can barely imagine a scenario where Trump is not re-elected. And “we don’t have to have our own vision for the future” ??? Lady, why do you think he got elected, survived impeachment, and is now more popular than Congress? Yes, you need your own vision for the future. And yes, you should think Trump can be re-elected. Now get to work trying to do something worthwhile so that doesn’t happen.

    4. Otis B Driftwood

      At the Sanders rally yesterday in Richmond, Shahid Buttar, who is mounting a serious challenge to Pelosi for her seat, was outside working the crowd. I was happy to shake his hand and let him know he had my support.

      It is, however, disappointing that Sanders hasn’t endorsed him. Or, for that matter, that Michael Moore continues to give Pelosi pass after pass.

      As we all know, Sanders leads a movement. Getting people like Buttar elected is key to the success of that movement. So why no endorsement?

      I reckon Sanders hasn’t taken this step for the same reason Barbara Lee hasn’t endorsed him. The Democratic establishment in California is formidable and they are not going to give up power easily. Pelosi, Harris, Feinstein will eventually give way to progressives. It’s just a matter of time.

  7. Plenue

    “I lived through the 2008 Democrat primary. This is nothing.”

    There are people who unironically declare they won’t support Sanders because they think his supporters are ‘too mean’. Here’s an example from a Kamala Harris loyalist: https://bravenewsblog.com/2020/02/13/oh-yes-i-can-blame-bernie-for-the-toxicity-of-his-movement-and-withhold-my-vote/

    I don’t have a Twitter account, but I have spent a fair amount of time clicking around the Sanders sphere of the site. It’s true that he has enthusiastic supporters on the internet, and anything negative said about him is likely to get ratioed and swarmed with many responses from Sandernistas. But from what I’ve seen very few of those are ever actually hostile. Being challenged on your views, or people saying things you don’t like (like ‘Obama wasn’t actually a very good President, and here are some reasons why’) is not the same as being attacked.

    And, as you say, they apparently flush 2008 entirely down the memory hole (or project all the negativity onto the Obama campaign), and have a very twisted memory of 2016, where apparently Sanders supporters were a bunch of rabid dogs, Sanders himself was an evil backstabber, Clinton supporters were honest and pure as the driven snow, and David Brock’s million dollar troll farm literally didn’t exist.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Me? I remember the 1968 and 1972 elections. Remember that little break-in that happened in June of 1972? That thing really had consequences.

  8. Plenue

    To expand on a question I had yesterday: is American Liberalism effectively dead? I honestly don’t see how it survives this year. Either:

    1. The Sanders movement wins the nomination, and goes on to win the Presidency, which will completely destroy all the ‘moderate’ arguments about how “oh, we’d like to be progressive, but that just can’t win”. A Sanders victory would also completely demolish the notion that politicians have to rely on a corporate money spigot, will show just how weak the mainstream media is, and weaken it further, and severely hurt the consultant class (though of course Sanders himself hires consultants).

    2. They succeed in stopping Sanders, and nominate some photogenic neoliberal non-entity. This might have beaten Trump at some point, but the current ‘front-runners’ in this category, Buttigieg and Klobuchar, have literally zero minority support. They’re dead candidates walking. 2016 will happen again, and the hollowness of neoliberalism will be revealed to all.

    3. They contrive to give the nomination to Bloomberg. At this point it won’t matter if he wins or losses the election (though I think he’d lose, probably badly). Liberals will have sacrificed whatever is left of their credibility by throwing in with a literal Republican oligarch. They’ll also have completely shredded the trust of voters going forward.

    The only possible case I can see where Liberalism survives is if Sanders wins the nomination but loses the election, which is a horrifying scenario that would destroy any progressivism for at least another generation.

    1. Carolinian

      It’s not dead–just pining for the fjords.

      And Sanders being stopped by the Dems–those runway foamers–wouldn’t necessarily indicate the death of the left. The “two wings of the same bird of prey” were flapping long before our era.

    2. Dan

      The only possible case I can see where Liberalism survives is if Sanders wins the nomination but loses the election, which is a horrifying scenario that would destroy any progressivism for at least another generation.

      I used to think this as well, but now I’m not so sure. Whoever becomes president, if it isn’t Sanders, won’t be making life any better for the vast majority of people. The anger and intensity will continue to grow. Bernie will no longer be the vessel, but the movement, the people, will remain, provided of course there is another vessel to steer the energy. It may be AOC, or it may be someone else. But I don’t see all these “kids” quietly resigning their fate to their new masters, same as their old masters. I think these progressive ideas are entrenched in a majority of young peoples’ minds at this point.

      1. ronnie mitchell

        I agree, and in 2016 there was one Native American tribe that honored Bernie Sanders with a name that translates (roughly) as ‘someone that starts a lot of small fires’.
        These fires won’t be extinguished by a loss by Bernie Sanders, they are just getting started.

            1. ronnie mitchell

              Thank you, I forgot who bestowed it on him but I couldn’t forget how spot on the name was whatever it was, and I should’ve remembered because it was from this area.
              It was also a lot better than what I thought I remembered, but it wasn’t all that different.
              ” the one lighting the fires for change and unity,”

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        Making sure the commentariat doesn’t miss this gem, vintage Taibbi, from the 2005 piece.

        When a photographer approaches to take a picture of the line, all the line-standers but McCall refuse to be photographed and cover their faces with newspapers. I smile at this: Only the homeless have enough sense to be ashamed of being seen in Congress.

        In reality, everybody in Congress is a stand-in for some kind of lobbyist. In many cases it’s difficult to tell whether it’s the companies that are lobbying the legislators or whether it’s the other way around.

    3. Lost in OR

      Now deal in two wild cards:
      Pandemic- impacting public health, health care, the economy, globalization.
      Climate change- if it wasn’t real before, when North America burns like Australia, it will be.

      The complacency of my friends and associates in the face of these threats is epic. Life could be very different for us very quickly.

  9. Jason Boxman

    This is too stupid for words:

    How Millennials Could Make the Fed’s Job Harder

    Not sure who all these Millennials that are making so much, we can retire early and blow up the Fed’s ability to raise interest rates again, ever. Nor am I sure how it is we aren’t seeing inflation. I certainly notice annual increases in rent and groceries. I can’t be the only one.

    Article never does mention what percentage of Millennials even have a 401k, but of those lucky few, “43% expect to retire before the age of 65”. Good for them!

    What a stupid article. If Millennials achieve the good life, the sky must surely fall! Good for all of us neoliberalism hosed us good, so this likely will not come to pass. One can only weep for the Fed.

    1. FriarTuck

      As a millenial, I want to retire early and pursue my own personal interests.

      Will I actually be able to? 95% chance not.

  10. CanCyn

    “No room for you in lectures, top universities tell first-year students”
    The community college from which I recently retired (Ontario) regularly scheduled classes in classrooms that were too small for the number of students registered. Admin actually admitted that their assumption was that not all students showed up for class, feeling that they were doing a good thing, registration fees of course being more important that anyone actually learning anything.

    1. Daryl

      Not a smart move by the administrations, since if they’re learning through YouTube anyway they might question why they can’t just stop attending and learn from freely available and higher quality materials.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Exactly. Universities and colleges don’t sell an education; they sell a credential, and all the privilege that credential conveys.

          1. CanCyn

            Right on. I keep waiting for the admins to figure out that they just need to offer exams and hand out diplomas … who needs teachers or classes? So inefficient!

            1. fajensen

              Donald Trump cornered that market long ago, but, with the proper franchising model I am quite sure that Donald Trump will allow at least the likes of Harvard University to join the brand. They should think about it, it will be a great opportunity.

  11. a different chris

    >he offers them three meals a day and iPhone 11s.

    I hope at least some of these campaign workers, who the young ones especially are there because they don’t have very good job prospects, will enjoy the meals and the iPhones… and solidify their desire to burn the whole thing down. I mean if you can’t afford that stuff and here’s a guy who can pay for it every day for 10s of thousands of people without even noticing — that’s got to really bring it home. And you have to live with the fact that if you get Bloomie the nomination, the day after the election you got no meals anymore and he will still be rich and likely the President.

    And I say likely because I totally disagree with this:

    >I mean, Trump’s first move was to say that Bloomberg would need a box to stand on in the debates.

    Yeah and the neighbor’s chihuahua’s first move was to act like it’s going to bite me. Its next move was to run like heck when I acted like I was going to kick it.* Trump is a fraud, a New York dandy, why do you ascribe “real man” behaviors to him? He is terrified of Bloomberg for 60 billion real reasons- as we all should be!

    *good friends, now!

    1. Carolinian

      Has been studied and the shorter candidate usually loses. And Bloomberg’s response to the taunt didn’t exactly suggest Churchillian wit (nor those over the years “gaffes” that the WaPo printed). If Bloomberg does get the nom maybe he should avoid the general election debates as well–just buy himself a cable network.

      1. a different chris

        “Usually” isn’t always, and Bloomberg can hire the entire Seinfield writer’s cast if he wants to up his game.

        Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.* A person so reviled she fell well short of 50%. Two candidates, where despite the fact that it was gonna be one or the other more than 5 out of 100 people said “screw this, I’m voting for somebody who can’t win instead of being associated with one of these clowns”.

        That’s a pretty big middle finger, really.

        Trump’s vote total was pathetic. There is no other way to describe it. He’s got a lot of ground to make up — to get to 50% he needs almost 9% more voters in 2020. His only path is *both*
        1) Voter suppression
        2) The Electoral College

        Not saying he couldn’t do it, but if I had to put money, the safe money is on the Democrat. No matter which part of the spectrum he’s on.

        *who was also shorter and female and a Clinton, for god’s sake

        1. Yves Smith

          Huh? Trump performed spectacularly given that he mowed through a field of established Republicans, beat Hillary, who has been a national figure far longer than him and has held real political post and also spent twice as much money as he did. He’s also largely succeeded in effecting a hostile takeover of the Republican party, as attested by them standing behind him on impeachment.

          Trump may be totally undisciplined and regularly his own worth enemy, but do not underestimate him.

          The incumbent has advantages that Trump did not have as a candidate. The professor with the predictive model for Presidents that has an unmatched track record in calling wins still has Trump as a victor. Only recently did he waffle based on one indicator….and I think beating the impeachment rap would flip that one back to Trump’s side.

          And in the wake of the impeachment damp squib, his approval ratings are at a high. Mind you, the level still sucks compared to genuinely popular Presidents. And the Democrats are in the midst of a civil war.

          His odds of winning are still very good. What is most likely to sink him is the economy.

          1. a different chris

            Huh back at you. He got less votes than anybody could even imagine for a winning candidate. 30k votes spread between Michigan and Pa puts him in history’s dustbin.

            I don’t care about “established Republicans”. It was a protest vote. Hillary’s “national figure” was a very negative figure.

            I’m,not underestimating him. The fact that I don’t identify him as roadkill should be enough to prove that. I have no idea who is going to win, nobody does. The problem with an “unmatched track record” is that the likelihood is a return to the mean. Anyway if Trump was a Democrat, rather than leading a party of slavering authoritarians, he would have no chance at all.

            As it is, he’s in coin flip territory. A few more stupid things will come out of his mouth. We’ll see how that goes.

            1. a different chris

              God I just realized that Bloomberg, had he thought of it soon enough, could pay to move 100000 Californians to Pennsylvania and Michigan for like 2 years. Jesus is this system messed up.

              1. a different chris

                PS: that “huh back at you” was supposed to be followed by a smiley face. I’m not disrespectful of your opinion, I just don’t share it!

            2. Yves Smith

              Stupid things came out of his mouth constantly while he was campaigning. He even doubled down on stupid things, like his row with the Gold Star father.

              I have to tell you, I run into educated people who are unabashedly pro-Trump. They like what the stock market has done during his time in office. Despite being unashamedly offensive in how he depicts them, Trump’s policies are pretty mainstream Republican: cut taxes, deregulate business, reduce social safety nets. You can make a credible case he’s done much less damage to the US than W did via the Iraq War. Hard to top that one. And as we’ve chronicled, many of the policies that get Dems upset are actually continuations and only somewhat intensification of Obama policies.

              The place where Trump has done lasting damage is to the judiciary, where again like any good Republican, he’s gotten conservative judges approved, and to our alliances overseas, by treating EU nations with contempt.

              1. Barry

                And I see him pulling out of Afghanistan and declaring victory after the Dem convention -saying -See W and Obama couldn´t do it – Where´s my Nobel? -A real one – not like the fake one you know who got!

              1. BillC

                Good description of what the poster saw and of her reactions to it. However, she concludes by saying she’ll vote for Buttegeig in the primary. So, a question:

                If Sanders wins the D nomination, which way do you think she and “middle of the road” folks like her will go in the general?

          2. Jonhoops

            The scandal key doesn’t get flipped back In Trumps favor. The key is triggered by scandal so it stays in the Dems column once triggered.

            Lichtman was arguing last year that the Dems needed to go for impeachment to trigger the key if they wanted a chance to win back the whitehouse.

            1. phemfrog

              Might be triggered for the Professor, but I think a huge chunk of the electorate did a big yawn at WHAT he was impeached over. I think the Dems picked the wrong scandal. So not really tripped, IMO.

        2. Roland

          What’s pathetic is that Bloomberg has no way in except by cash purchase of organizers.

          Question: is this about the prostitution of the organizers, or is it about Bloomberg’s achievement as a human trafficker?

          Regarding Trump, in 2016 he defeated two political dynasties to gain the presidency. Trump has advantages in 2020: now he’s a known quantity. He’s not a fascist. The world didn’t end. If he’s no better than his predecessors, at least he’s not obviously worse. Indeed a good argument can be made that Trump is America’s only Peace President in this century. There might be a lot of people willing to vote for him in ’20 who would have been afraid to do so in ’16.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Bloomberg’s position in the latest Rasmussen national poll: #1. I think it’s over folks.

        Mini Mike had 26%, Biden 22%, Sanders 18%, CIA Pete 12%, BlobKlob 7%; Warren 6%.

        Sanders would need to pick up an awful lot of Biden’s castoffs (after he quits prior to SuperTues.).

        Yes, it’s possible. But I think November will be a choice between two Republican billionaires.

        I think I’ll take up underwater basket weaving…or move to Montana and raise the waxed string used for dental hygiene. Maybe there’s a spot left at the back of Plato’s cave.

        1. Dan

          Trump’s favorite pollster, well known for blatant conservative bias. This can only be good news for Bernie.

    2. RMO

      ““For an iPhone? Why Richard, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for an iPhone!”

  12. Plenue

    Re: Buttigieg

    God, I can’t wait for this rat-faced psychopath to just get steamrolled and go away already. Even a terrible abuser of her own staffers like Klobuchar can see through this guy.

    Of all the people the DNC’s attempts at sabotage could have been used to artificially boost, why did it have to be this irritating rodent?

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Wow mate, maybe dial back the demonology a bit.

      I’m the first to vote down Teachers’ Pete and the callow PMC for which he stands. Serve a couple of terms as Indiana Governor, kid, and then come back to us with an actual record.

      But I have seen and heard nothing that says Mr. Buttigieg wouldn’t be perfectly good company at brunch (lol), or be happy to pick up my kids from school in a pinch if we were neighbors. He seems a pretty normal guy, just not ready for the job he’s running for. His political PR machine is what it is, playing the game.

  13. cocomaan

    It looks increasingly to me like Bloomberg will be the candidate. The DNC is broke and this 25 candidate field has only succeeded in creating war chests for individual candidates for their runs for other offices in succeeding years.

    My mother, who is a democrat voter every election and will be until she dies, does not like Bloomberg. She has been in for Biden.

    The DNC needs the money for down ballot races. I think Democrats, if they are smart (and they are not) will use Bloomberg to try and take back Congress and let him waste his time on the presidency. Trump will likely win 2020 no matter what the democrats do at this point. That means the judiciary becomes Trump dominated, though, which the Democrats always seem to forget.

    1. Massinissa

      If as you say the Republicans win no matter what, then I would rather lose with Bernie than lose with Bloomberg. If anything Bloomberg is hurting down ballot races by hoovering up all the eligible staff for down ballot races for his quixotic big money presidential campaign.

      1. cocomaan

        It’s not going to be a choice, I think. Bernie will not be allowed get the nomination. Iowa proved that the Democrats are not above using dirty tricks to take him down (again).

        I am also concerned about his turnout. Bernie had a ludicrous turnout in NH in 2016. This time he had far less people who actually voted for him. He cannot afford that.

        But I agree with you, Bloomberg’s ridiculous quest is not a good thing for the democrats, no matter how they slice it.

          1. cocomaan


            I also think that the impeachment trial meant that senators had to sit around for a lot of January. That was, of course, orchestrated on purpose by Pelosi.

        1. ronnie mitchell

          That observation keeps getting repeated with no thoughts about the difference in the number of people on the ballot.
          In 2016 there was only Bernie vs Hillary and Martin O’Malley (who hardly registered in the polls) which is lot different than now with at least 8 people getting votes.

          1. cocomaan

            He halved his number of voters, though. That’s my point. If his base is actually only 76,000 people instead of 150,000, he should be responding to that.

            1. PewPew

              This indicates, in my mind, that a large number of his 2016 voters were voting against Hillary more than that they were voting for Bernie. This isn’t, however, so bad for Bernie as it might seem, as all of his opponents have negatives – and people who want to vote against them – as well. Right now people who dislike like this or that candidate still have many options. If it comes down to a specific corporate candidate vs Bernie, a lot of them might return to the fold.

              What exactly do you think Bernie should be responding with?

    2. Pat

      Oh, they don’t forget it. They just participate. Oh, they pretend to be pragmatic so making deals to fast track candidates so their members can go campaign is not a betrayal of their voters or Democrats.

      Only voters who have not been paying attention buy the judge BS. Not that they can stack the courts, they already are and have been for three decades. The BS is that the Democrats are going to fight that or do any differently. Not only do they not use every option they have to stop it. They continue administrative measures that the Republicans don’t in order to make sure they can’t. And they nominate judges that aren’t even remotely the offset to the Corporate Conservative Right Wing Federalist goons. They just aren’t quite as conservative on social issues even if not willing to fight for those issues.

      1. cocomaan

        I’m as cynical as you about this, trust me, but I actually do think that appointment of federal judges would have been far different under Hillary. And SCOTUS noms too. And they would probably be far different under Bloomberg than Trump.

        I could be wrong, but even a sellout like Obama still appointed fairly liberal justices, compared to Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

        1. a different chris

          Far different, agreed but Kavanaugh and Gorsuch shouldn’t be running the neighborhood carwash.

          The problem with Obama, and I would have expected with Clinton, is that they “bluewash” people like Merrick Garland.

          And you are stuck with them forever. Which is the real problem.

          1. Dan

            Vaunted “liberal” justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in Watters v. Wachovia Bank that essentially took away states’ abilities to regulate National banks.

            This decision can easily be shown to have directly caused untold misery for millions.

            The dissenting opinion, penned by justice Stevens, was signed by “conservative” justices Scalia and Roberts.

            Justice Stevens, in his dissent, wrote “Never before have we endorsed administrative action whose sole purpose was to pre-empt state law rather than to implement a statutory command” and while he agreed with the majority that the regulation was not unconstitutional, the court should be aware “that its ruling affects the allocation of powers among sovereigns.”

            It’s hard to imagine justice Ginsburg wasn’t well aware of such implications.


    3. neplusultra

      The Trump fatalism is so tiresome. He won in 2016 by the slimmest of margins and only because of colossal campaign missteps by one of the most hated candidates in modern history (who still won the popular vote by millions)

      1. cocomaan

        Incumbents have the advantage and the Democrats are a disaster right now. Iowa showed that the party infrastructure is not up to the task. While Buttegig shows how he filled a gymnasium, Trump is filling the biggest arenas in entire states with people standing in the rain to watch it on monitors.

        It’s Trump’s to lose.

          1. cocomaan

            He’s the only candidate other than Trump that can draw any kind of crowd like this. It’s a big deal, although insider Democrats and insider Republicans hate this kind of populist stuff.

            1. Dan

              It’s a huge deal, and I think we’ll see his crowds getting even bigger as more people are exposed to his campaign. He does a great job illuminating the sheer nonsense spewed forth by the vast majority of the political and media mainstream.

              The hardcore PMC class, as with hardcore Trump voters, won’t budge, but hardcore centers are always surrounded by followers and hangers-on, and a lot of those folks – both PMC’ers and sorta/kinda Trump people, are going to support Bernie when it’s all said and done.

              The light of integrity will shine through and shatter today’s vile norms.

            2. Dan

              Thousands lined up hours early for the rally in Tacoma tonight. Tacoma holds 29,000 and thousands will have to be turned away. The mainstream was all over Trump’s huge rallies in 2016, Bernie of course not getting nearly the same attention for similar sized and often larger crowds.

              Bernie’s potential mass is so much larger than Trump’s it’s not even worth discussing. He just has to continue to tap into it.


          2. Kurt Sperry

            Bernie’s doing an appearance at the Tacoma Dome tonight here in WA State. It’s a pretty bold move I think as the venue is huge and it’ll take a *lot* of people to fill it. I’d like to go but I don’t want to face a long drive with Seattle rush hour traffic — even for my man Bernie.

            1. Dan

              The doors are closed. Latest estimate 17,000 people inside and counting as the upper decks are now being filled. People were in line for hours today. See video posted above.

  14. clarky90

    Re the novel corona virus and USAian neo-healthcare

    I am concerned about the coronavirus because it is “novel”. Nobody, anywhere, has ever encountered this bug. So, (as far as I can understand), it will sweep around the world in successive waves, over decades, until everybody(!) (there is no longer anyplace, in this connected World, to hide) has encountered it, developed an immunity, or has succumbed.

    This will carry on until an effective vaccination is discovered and mass produced. Or until there is a herd immunity. Disclaimer; This is only my opinion..

    Everyday, I follow pulmonologist Dr. Seheult’s series on the Coronavirus


    Coronavirus Epidemic Update 19: Treatment and Medication Clinical Trials
    11,049 views•Feb 18, 2020

    Today Dr. Seheult said that “Chloroquine” was being trialed as a treatment for the coronavirus.

    “Chloroquine is in the “The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (EML), published by the World Health Organization (WHO), containing the medications considered to be most effective and safe to meet the most important needs in a health system……”


    Here is the kicker…

    “Chloroquine was discovered in 1934 by Hans Andersag.[3][4] It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.[5] It is available as a generic medication.[1] The wholesale cost in the developing world is about US$0.04.[6] In the United States, it costs about US$5.30 per dose” (That is 135.3 times more (135,300%) that USAians must pay)


    Everyone of the “Essential Medicines” that I have looked at (just a handful) have cost hundreds of times more in the USA.

    You have a problem….

  15. ACF

    I don’t understand how early voting mixes with the NV caucus. Early voting sounds like a primary. Can anyone explain?

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      I think early voters get the chance to express multiple preferences, as in Instant-Runoff Voting a/k/a Ranked Choice Voting. Once their votes are allocated to the proper caucuses (however that’s being done — I dunno), these early preferences are combined with those expressed by people at the caucuses. If an early voter’s first choice isn’t viable (doesn’t reach the 15% threshold, same as in Iowa), that voter’s vote goes to the next highest preference . . . or if that candidate isn’t viable, down the list until either it goes to a candidate who is viable or there are no more preferences on the ballot — it’s “exhausted” and gets put aside.

    2. Biph

      Since I’ve done both I’ll give you a quick rundown of how it went in 08 & 16 when it was a typical caucus vs how it went on Saturday when I went this year.
      In 08 & 16 we lined up at the high school and had our names checked off as we entered, those who needed to register or change party affiliation where given forms at that time. You were given a ballot with a number indication of which caucus precinct was yours they were set up throughout the school. You went to your caucus precinct and waited for the voting to start filled out your first choice and gathered with those supporting your candidate. After that the non-viable candidate supporters were given a chance to move to another candidate and would mark their 2nd choice on the ballot if so desired. Then the number delegates for each viable candidate were announced those groups picked who the delegates for the State convention would be for their candidate and you dropped your ballot off in a box or gave it to your precinct captain and went home. The process took about 3-4 hours all told

      This time I lined up outside the convention center it took a bit over a hour to get to the front of the line. They took my name and gave me two pieces of paper after putting a same numbered sticker on each , one had my name and I had to write my address and sign it, the other, the other was the ballot for which I also had to fill in my address and there was a list of candidate names and an empty bubble next to each, fill in the bubble next to the preferred candidate. I had to make a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice (I went Bernie, Tulsi and Yang in that order) you had the option of up to 6 choices. You gave the non-ballot slip to one of Dem volunteers and put your ballot in a box. There was only one observer there and he showed up after I had gotten my ballot and said he was from the Buttigieg campaign (I asked him). All told it took me about hour and a half.

  16. Iapetus

    “Here is a map of mathematics as it stands today, mathematics as it is practiced by mathematicians.”

    Maybe all these neat relationships exist because the majority of mathematicians hail from just 24 scientific families. Famous mathematicians like Siméon Poisson had Joseph Lagrange and Pierre-Simon Laplace as his doctoral advisors, while Joseph Lagrange had Jean-Baptiste Fourier as a student and Leonhard Euler as his doctoral advisor.

  17. 3.14e-9

    Mac is turning into Windows. I foolishly let my battery run out

    I’d blame it on Mercury. Little [family blogger] turned retrograde yesterday at 7:54 p.m. EST and remains in “reverse” (optical illusion from Earth POV) until 11:48 p.m. EDT on March 9. Per the rules of mundane astrology (i.e., world events), Mercury governs newspapers and magazines, publishers, ambassadors, trade and commerce, the nation’s communication and telecoms industry, including the Internet, and pretty much anything to do with consumer electronics. Also, local transportation.

    Will be interesting to see how SNAFUs in Nevada caucuses compare to Iowa, which fell within the so-called pre-retrograde “shadow” period starting Feb 2. Counting votes on an untested computer app and sending the results to the cloud is asking for trouble as it is. Doing so while Mercury is Rx is a collective “letting the battery run down.”

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Fascinating. I saw the moon in Scorpio (my sun sign) this morning, odd stuff seems to happen when that’s the case. Q: is it possible to do a forecast on an entire nation? Perhaps focused on Nov. 7 2020?

      1. 3.14e-9

        Yes, OTPBDH, it’s not only possible, but in the case of the USA, it’s been the source of near-murderous arguments among astrologers. For starters, there’s major disagreement on the “correct” chart for the nation. The broadly accepted date is the signing of the DOI on July 4, 1776, but the time is in question due to conflicting historical records. The most-widely used chart was published in 1787 by English physician and astrologer Ebenezer Sibly (often incorrectly spelled “Sibley”). The Sibly chart gained more than a few converts after 9-11, given some startling alignments with the chart for the first attack. In my mind, 9-11 was a precursor to a bigger, more-complex planetary configuration that is gathering strength and will culminate in 2022 in what appears to be the REAL existential crisis. Many astrologers have been predicting a second revolution. Then, you don’t need to be an astrologer to see this happening, particularly not if you’re a frequent reader of NC.

        I’ve been poring over the USA chart in various combinations for more than 10 years and from the beginning saw signs pointing squarely toward totalitarianism. Trump opponents call him the totalitarian/fascist/dictator who will destroy Our Democracy®, but as I see it (with my admittedly limited knowledge of astrology), there’s still time for The New Hitler to appear. I have to tell you that when I first saw Bloomberg’s chart, alarm bells started going off. Ironically, that was the day before Lee Fang’s interview with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper. Until then, I knew very little about him. I’d be scared to death, had his past not started coming out, and quickly. Still, I need to get a grip and try to look at the charts with cold indifference before I make any predictions.

  18. dearieme

    The interesting question is whether Sanders will run as an Independent once he’s been diddled out of the Dem nomination.

    I’m mildly surprised that the potential epidemic doesn’t feature much in people’s thinking. Though I’ll grant that it’s only “potential” at least for the US. But what if it’s severe in Mexico? What then for the US?

    Beware of the bio bogles.

  19. MLTPB

    The most used math has always been inequalities.

    For example, one billion in equity is bigger than minus $50,000 (i.e. in debt).

    Most people know it, regardless of the grades they got in school.

    1. Calvin

      Encourage your Trump supporting friends to make it an easy win for their man!
      Urge them to vote for Bernie in their open primary. ?

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Bloomberg on why farmers can’t work in information technology”

    City boy here, born and bred. So is Bloomberg really that ignorant? I have a digital copy of a 19th century book on farming and even then, they reckoned that it takes about three years to train up a person to be a farmer. At that point, they no longer need to ask what needs to be done or what is the best way to do it. They just gather in the morning and get on with it. I suppose for Bloomberg that you could say that after your first hundred million, the money just keeps on making it self so you need so special knowledge after that point.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I guess it is wrong of me to fantasize about beating Bloomers with a knotted plow line in 95 degree heat in a field of corn whilst drinking some cold cool lemonade. Which he doesn’t get until he has finished hoeing out the weeds, or passed out from sunstroke…which ever comes first.

      Oh, and payment is in the form of last years leftover dried corn, maybe some dried peas too if there is any left, and a loan on next years rent down at the tin shack him and his family are squatting in.

      A guy can dream, eh?

        1. newcatty

          Crows are intelligent. They would just laugh at a pathetic shell of a “man” and pick the straw hat off his fake face and toss it to the ground.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “What Obama Is Saying in Private About the Democratic Primary”

    Not surprising that Obama wants to get his grubby mits on control of the results of the Democrat Primary. But as they say-

    “If you drag a hundred dollar bill through Martha’s Vineyard, you never know what you’ll find.”

    1. KLG

      Heard a Bloomberg commercial on the radio at the gym this afternoon. Mostly Obama mooning over what a mensch is Mike Bloomberg. The former president must be so proud! Really.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Fifty, sixty million and Obama will start flying with MB from state to state. Soaring rhetorical flourishes included.

  22. Mike Mc

    Lambert – professional Mac user since 1987, Mac sales & service since 1999, certified Mac technician since 2001.

    Resistance is futile. Latest Mac OS X 10.15 Catalina requires more user involvement as does OS X 10.14 Mojave. Likewise the MacBook Pro line from 2018-19 now have a T2 chip for “greater security” but can be a real pain when it comes to maintenance.

    Supposedly the newest 16″ MacBook Pro’s redesigned keyboard will spare Mac lovers from keyboard problems. Was hoping for a 13″/14″ inch model sometime this year… coronovirus may have killed that for now.

    Retiring this year, Apple and Mac paid the rent for a long time but no, I won’t be repairing Macs in retirement unless I have to.

  23. Pat

    Hey I get being cynical and pessimistic. I think that “the DNC has and will continue to cheat to try to deny Sanders the nomination” should be considered a statement of fact. With that all said, I also believe that everyone who thinks Bloomberg has this sewn up is not noticing that 1. Bloomberg has the charm of a dead fish, . 2. He has a hideous record, terrible for both progressives and conservatives and that record is being exposed daily, and 3. He was mayor of one of the most hated cities in America politically.

    So Rasmussen has Bloomberg beating Trump. And people are buying this?!?! If I am a Trump supporter and I get this call, I’m going to tell you the same thing. Trump will wipe the floor with Bloomberg. Bloomberg has got to be their preferred candidate. Seriously. Most of the South, Southwest, Rustbelt, upper West, and some of New England will stay home or vote Trump.

    Democratic voters may fall for the Bloomberg bait and switch ads in enough numbers in the primaries to send the convention into the hands of the super delegates, but he is never going to be President.

      1. JBird4049

        I think that much of California would either vote Trump or stay home. Certainly the ⅓ that is Red would once his support of gun control(elimination) and considering his racism, sexism and his support of Israel’s suppression of the Palestinians much of the other ⅔ Blue would as well. Then mention his deliberate efforts to turn Manhattan into a home for the billionaires. Just price the peons out. That will not be liked by Californians.

        He does have warehouses of cash and socially appeals to the Elites regardless of their ostensible political ideologies. I easily see him schmoozing with the old elite families of San Francisco, Sacramento, and even Los Angeles. Certainly have the Tech Lords. Maybe even have some of those of Oakland, San Jose, and perhaps San Diego come also. Once the phones of all the servants were confiscated. They must maintain appearances.

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