2:00PM Water Cooler 2/18/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“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:

* * *


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

Today we have two new national polls from Marist and Zogby, and a new polls from NV. As of 2/18/2020, 11:00 PM EST (three-day average):

The Zogby numbers:

The Marist numbers:

Note the small sample sizes. (However, I thought the jump in Sanders’ numbers in the YouGov poll yesterday was an artifact of the methodology; here we have two more polls. So….)

And a new poll from NV (% by day):

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.

* * *

Biden (D)(1):

The Democrat Establishment — and that includes not only Clinton, but Bloomberg and Warren — is trying to delegitimize the Sanders canvassing operation (in other words, an actual assault on voters from the top down).

Biden (D)(2): “More Than 1,200 IBEW Members Call on Union Leadership to Retract Biden Endorsement” [In These Times]. “The letter, from ‘IBEW Members For Bernie,’ blasts the union’s leadership for endorsing Biden without a vote of members. ‘The leadership of the union had previously provided reassurance to the membership that they would trust the judgement of rank-and-file leaders and members to represent their own interest in the 2020 presidential primary, and we are disappointed that the International has instead thrown their weight behind the Biden campaign without member consultation,’ it reads. The letter says that those who sign it support Sanders’ ‘transformative vision for expanding the labor movement, as well as the democracy and the solidarity that his campaign embodies.’ It concludes, ‘We are calling on the International Officers to immediately retract their endorsement and call for the rank-and-file to participate in a democratic endorsement process by participating in an in person vote at their March local union meeting.’ It is signed by more than 1,200 IBEW members from across the country, including dozens who identify themselves as officers or members of the executive boards of their locals. Signatures were still being added as of Monday night.” • This split between leadership and the rank-and-file keeps happening: The Nevada Culinary Union and the Working Families Party come to mind.

For reasons that I think are obvious, I’m filing this under Bloomberg (D)(1): “Stacey Abrams ‘absolutely’ wants to run for president one day, but says she’d accept a VP slot in 2020” [ABC]. Abrams: “My best service is to be in that neutral space where it’s not about who the nominee is — it’s about making sure no matter who the nominee is, any person who wants to go and vote, can vote. That’s what we’re doing through Fair Fight 2020.” • Fair Fight, to which Bloomberg gave $5 milllion. Ka-ching.

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(2): “Mike Bloomberg just made the debate. Can he keep his cool?” [Politico]. “Bloomberg has a history of losing his cool in public. He once grew visibly annoyed at a reporter in a wheelchair who interrupted his news conference when he dropped a recording device. More recently, he urged a reporter to “get on with it” when he was pressed about his controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic. Snapping at other candidates or a moderator could undermine his efforts to convey empathy and contrition.” • Love to see Bloomberg explode if Sanders does a Borscht Belt routine: “Mike Bloomberg is struggling. Hes down to his last $60 billion.”

Bloomberg (D)(3): “Michael Bloomberg Isn’t a Smug Technocratic Centrist. He’s Something Far Worse” [Jacobin]. “Bloomberg is an emissary of something far more sinister than smarmy, professional-managerial class centrism. Bloomberg is a genuine admirer of dictators, violent foreign interventions, mass surveillance, and sprawling police states. His ascent to the presidency would represent the apotheosis of a certain sophisticated, immovable global elite that disdains, above all, popular dissent… Swapping kakistocracy for oligarchy will not undo the damage of the Trump presidency. It will merely calcify the rot.” • If we elect Bloomberg, we will have crossed the Rubicon. There’s a long line of much younger squillonaires waiting in line to run (Zuckerberg comes to mind). One of them will break through. And then another, and another, and another.

Bloomberg (D)(4): “As Bloomberg rises, Democrats are stumbling toward disaster” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. “It’s now a reasonable possibility that the nominating contest could winnow down into a sustained brawl between Bloomberg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the front-runner. What happens if Bloomberg spends massively from his fortune to try to demolish Sanders, whose tremendous success in stockpiling small-dollar donations is forging a new, people-powered model for funding presidential campaigns as we speak?” • Every Democratic strategist and consultant gets a third boat. What’s the issue here? More: “What message will it send if Democrats allow this new model to be snuffed out under an avalanche of one billionaire’s spending from his plutocratic fortune?” • It would send this message:

“They are who we thought they were!”

Bloomberg (D)(5): Shot, chaser:

Kevin Sheekey is Bloomberg’s campaign manager. He is also Global Head of Communications, Government Relations and Marketing for Bloomberg L.P. Not sure what that says about Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg (D)(6): “Bloomberg’s Rise in Democratic Race Provides Foil for Sanders” [Bloomberg]. The parenthetical: “(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)” • Fine, but since the management hierarchy, not just a theoretically arms-length owner, has picked a candidate, how can their coverage be trusted? For example, if Bloomberg really does have a garbage barge of Sanders oppo, why was it not already published as news? Did Bloomberg news organization hold back on it to benefit the Bloomberg campaign? Supposing there to be a difference between the two?

Bloomberg (D)(7): News you can use:

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(8): “Sekiko Sakai Garrison v. Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg, L.P.” (document) [WaPo]. • (Here’s the full article.) Pretty disturbing:

Worse than anything Trump ever said. And to a subordinate, too. Maybe Bloomberg could release all these women from their gag orders? Oddly, the Clintonites and bourgeois feminists seem to be awfully quiet about all this. I’d expect them to be all over this in the age of #MeToo.

Sanders (D)(1): Recall that Jim Messina worked not only for Obama but for Theresa May:

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “The Cosmic Irony of Bernie Sanders’s Rise” [Jacobin]. “As a result, there are millions of loyal Democrats whose loyalty stems from no other source than the belief — the touching faith — that the Democratic Party is there to stand up to powerful interests on their behalf. The public personas of Obama and Sanders may differ wildly along a hundred different dimensions, but ideologically, tens of millions of Democrats see Bernie Sanders simply as Barack Obama, only more so…. It’s not hard to see how this puts the Democratic elite in an agonizing bind. There is an ideological struggle going on within the party, even if many ordinary Democrats hardly notice it. But it’s a struggle that dare not speak its name. Whatever popular legitimacy the party possesses depends on its followers’ belief that its principles are the very same ones now most closely associated with Bernie Sanders. That makes it excruciatingly difficult to craft an effective anti-Bernie appeal.” • Hence the attacks on voters, his supporters?

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Democrats worried about Trump’s growing strength” [The Hill]. “The chief worry among congressional Democrats is that if the party doesn’t settle on a nominee until the convention in mid-July, Trump will have a substantial organizing advantage. ‘You hear everybody talk, ‘If we take all that time [until the Convention], how are they going to be able to get organized to combat what [the president] is doing?’ the senator said.” • Um, there’s one campaign that’s already organized to scale out to the general. More: “Democratic lawmakers, however, were dismayed by signs that Trump’s approval ratings got stronger over the course of the impeachment process, which fired up the GOP base and failed to register as a priority among independents and swing voters.” • Everybody who was wrong about this is still in power, and everybody who was right is marginalized or an insurgent.

Warren (D)(1): “The Latest: Warren calls for party unity in taking on Trump” [Associated Press]. “Elizabeth Warren is preaching Democratic unity in taking on President Donald Trump, a challenge she framed as an existential crisis for America… The Massachusetts senator also spoke about how she’s adopted policy plans and hired staff from Democrats who have dropped out of the race, including New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Obama administration housing chief Julián Castro, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and California Sen. Kamala Harris. Warren said culling those ideas builds a Democratic Party and coalition ‘that works for all of us.'”

Warren (D)(2): “Warren says Sanders ‘has a lot of questions to answer’ about his supporters’ online attacks” [NBC]. Warren: “We do not build on a foundation of hate.” • Clinton tried that (the truly hateful and demographically false “Bernie Bros”), and it didn’t work in 2016. And “we” is doing a lot of work, there. “Unity” must not mean what I thought it means.

Warren (D)(3): “How Elizabeth Warren’s Camp Is Seeking to Regain the Spotlight” [New York Times]. “Grievance can be a powerful motivator for political campaigns, bonding supporters against a common enemy, driving small-dollar donations and volunteers, and helping to create an organic network of support, particularly online and on social media…. But the tactic can also be a sign of a campaign in decline. Supporters of Ms. Harris, Mr. O’Rourke, Mr. Castro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York all criticized outside factors, such as media coverage and the debate rules set by the Democratic National Committee, before their favored candidates exited the race.”

Warren (D)(4): “The Woman Behind Elizabeth Warren’s Foreign Policy” [The Nation]. “This delay in getting my article into print was largely the result of lengthy interactions with members of the Warren campaign’s communications team, which, while friendly and professional, dragged out the reporting process. Initially, they declined to let me interview Baker on the record. Eventually, they agreed to let me tape interviews with her as long as that information would be considered off the record by default, meaning I couldn’t quote anything without clearing it with them first. A communications staffer sat in on our phone interview in November and our in-person interview in January at a pub near the campaign’s headquarters outside Boston. Based on discussions I’ve had with other reporters, this did not reflect any personal animosity toward me; the Warren team is cagey and does not generally make policy advisers available for on-the-record interviews.” • Confidence builder!

* * *

* * *


“Early voting a boon for Las Vegas Strip workers” [NBC]. “Early voting began Saturday and will go on through Tuesday. Twenty-six thousand people voted across the state in the first two days alone…. Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents the largest segment of workers on the Strip, was influential in pushing for the nearby polling sites. That the caucuses take place on a Saturday can be challenging for the shift workers who keep the hotels and casinos running.”

Our Famously Free Press

Watch Bloomberg’s anti-Sanders video on mean tweets propagate in real time. Thread:

Stats Watch

At reader reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please leave links in comments.

Manufacturing: “February 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Index Again Improves” [Econintersect]. “Key elements significantly improved. I would consider this report is again better than last month.”

Debt: “November 2019 Loan Performance: U.S. Overall Delinquency Rate Lowest for a November in at Least 20 Years” [Econintersect]. “As of November 2019, the foreclosure inventory rate – which measures the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process – was 0.4%, unchanged from November 2018. The November 2019 foreclosure inventory rate tied the prior 12 months as the lowest for any month since at least January 1999. Measuring early-stage delinquency rates is important for analyzing the health of the mortgage market. ”

Shipping: “Ship Owners Burned By The China Slowdown” [Forbes]. “Traffic jams are a nuisance for road users but off the west and east coasts of Australia there are marine traffic jams as bulk carriers which normally carry iron ore and coal to China are riding at anchor because even if they take on a load there’s no guarantee they will be able to unload… A measure of the problem for ship owners caused by China’s virus fight can be seen in a usually reliable form of economic activity, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) which provides a composite picture of the cost of hiring a bulk carrier. Last week the Capesize component of the BDI, which measures the cost of hiring a bulk carrier capable of carrying between 150,000-and-400,000 tons of dry cargo (mainly iron ore and coal) fell into negative territory for the first time since it was created in 1999. The index fall from 5000 points in the middle of last year to less than zero means that some ship owners are almost certainly running at a loss.”

Shipping: “Container shipping lines are bracing for steep financial blows as operations at China’s ports grind to a near halt. Carriers have canceled more than 50 sailings from China since the outbreak of the coronavirus…and logistics operators say remaining ships serving the country’s troubled ports are leaving China with only a small fraction of their capacity filled” [Wall Street Journal]. “Several carriers say privately they are preparing for a heavy impact on earnings as they scramble to cut sailings in line with the diminished demand.

Shipping: “Refrigerated cargo is being diverted from Chinese ports” [American Shipping]. “The Chinese population still has the same demand for food, but a major logistical hurdle has emerged to the import of perishables — and the consequences are reverberating across global agricultural export markets, including in the U.S. Perishables are imported in refrigerated containers or “reefers.” When they’re unloaded at the destination terminal, they must be connected to power via “reefer plugs” until they’re picked up by trucks. Terminals only have so many reefer plugs, and given delays in inland truck transport due to coronavirus restrictions, reefer plugs are now full in several top Chinese ports.” • Not just exports; imports.

Manufacturing: “Global automotive supply chains are getting sicker from the coronavirus outbreak. Volkswagen AG is postponing the reopening of some of its China plants for at least another week… highlighting the challenges industrial companies face as they try to resume stalled production” [Wall Street Journal]. “About 41% of companies in a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said lack of staff is their biggest challenge, while 30% call logistics problems their greatest headache. The shuttered automotive production is triggering a domino effect on overseas operations. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is suspending production at a Serbian factory because it can’t get parts from China, the first publicly disclosed closure of a large car plant outside Asia. Union officials warn parts shortages at General Motors Co.’s U.S. factories…. but the automaker doesn’t expect an impact soon on production.”

The Bezzle: Totally sustainable and not at all fragile. Thread (dk):

The cream of the jest: “we called a tow truck on our own and made it back to our Airbnb. TBD on whether I’ll be refunded for this.”

The Bezzle: “Galaxy Z Flip durability test calls Samsung’s Ultra Thin ‘Glass’ into question” [The Verge]. “Samsung’s claim that the new Galaxy Z Flip uses “Ultra Thin Glass” sounded like a true breakthrough when the foldable phone was announced last week. Until now, foldable screens have used plastic displays, which can be easily scratched with even a fingernail. The Z Flip making the switch to glass, however thin it might be, had us hopeful that it would hold up better to long-term use. But it seems that might not be the case. Zack Nelson has gotten his hands on Samsung’s second attempt at a foldable phone, and the results of his JerryRigEverything durability test do not inspire confidence… ‘This screen is in no way scratch resistant whatsoever,’ Nelson says near the end of the video. At the end of the clip, he begins poking holes in the screen that make the OLED panel go on the fritz — but there’s no sign of any glass fracturing…. Nelson thinks Samsung could be using a hybrid plastic polymer (with microscopic bits of glass mixed in) so it can advertise this display as ‘glass.'”


* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 55 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 56 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 14 at 6:30pm. President’s Day.

The Biosphere

“Electric bacteria create currents out of thin—and thick—air” [Science]. “Generating electricity from thin air may sound like science fiction, but a new technology based on nanowire-sprouting bacteria does just that—as long as there’s moisture in the air. A new study shows that when fashioned into a film, these wires—protein filaments that ferry electrons away from the bacteria—can produce enough power to light a light-emitting diode. The film works by simply by absorbing humidity from the surrounding air. Though researchers aren’t sure exactly how these wires work, the tiny power plants pack a punch: 17 devices linked together can generate 10 volts, which is enough electricity to power a cellphone…. Researchers are also just starting to learn how electron-conducting bacteria function.”

“Bezos launching initiative that commits $10 billion to combat climate change” [The Hill]. • The decimal point is in the wrong place. Anyhow, we need to euthanize the NGOs; they have a miserable track record and are weak substitutes for a functional state.

Health Care

A thread of dental horror stories:

There are so many threads like this. But people love their insurance.

‘Things didn’t feel right’: Some SmileDirectClub customers report problems” [NBC]. “While SmileDirectClub, the largest at-home dental alignment company, and others promise to leave patients smiling, an NBC News investigation into a growing list of complaints found that this new trend in straightening teeth is leading to painful problems for some people. The Better Business Bureau reports more than 1,800 complaints nationwide involving SmileDirectClub. Most of the complaints involve customer service issues — such as broken aligners, delivery issues and payment problems — but dozens describe concerns about treatment results: complaints like broken teeth and nerve damage.” • Brain surgery self-taught!

Groves of Academe

“This college was accredited by a DeVos-sanctioned group. We couldn’t find evidence of students or faculty.” [USA Today]. “Reagan National University was supposed to be a place of higher learning, but it was unclear how it awarded degrees. By all appearances, at present, it has no students, no faculty and no classrooms. An agency meant to serve as a gatekeeper for federal money gave the university approval to operate anyway. That accrediting agency, financially troubled and losing members fast, exists mainly because it was saved by the Education Department in 2018. Accreditation might be the driest part of higher education, but these independent groups have huge importance: If they approve a college, the government agrees to give federal grants and loans to the students there.” • “Reagan National University,” I love it. Another failure of professional regulation, sadly.

Class Warfare

“Kickstarter Employees Win Historic Union Election” [Vice]. “Kickstarter employees voted to form a union with the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which represents more than 100,000 white collar workers. The final vote was 46 for the union, 37 against, a historic win for unionization efforts at tech companies. Kickstarter workers are now the first white collar workers at a major tech company to successfully unionize in the United States, sending a message to other tech workers.” • I wonder if Bloomberg LLP is unionized…

“‘We can’t afford healthcare’: US hospital workers fight for higher wages” [Guardian]. “Hospital and healthcare workers across the US are launching union drives and organizing protests in order to win higher wages and better working conditions, saying their industry exploits them and leaves them often unable to afford healthcare, despite working in the sector.” • Many examples.

“A shocking number of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck” [MarketWatch]. From January, still germane. “how many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck[?] Depending on the survey, that figure runs from half of workers making under $50,000 (according to Nielsen data) to 74% of all employees (per recent reports from both the American Payroll Association and the National Endowment for Financial Education.) And almost three in 10 adults have no emergency savings at all, according to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index. Even many in the upper class are seeing their six-figure incomes slip through their fingers. The Nielsen study found that one in four families making $150,000 a year or more are living paycheck-to-paycheck, while one in three earning between $50,000 and $100,000 also depend on their next check to keep their heads above water.”

News of the Wired

“Sorry!” [The Civil War: A History Podcast]. “Hey, everyone. We wanted to let you know that some stuff has come up the last couple of weeks and as a result we haven’t had the time or energy to record… but as soon as Real Life permits, we’ll be back with a new episode.” • I love this podcast, and I hope Rich & Tracy are OK. We’re just getting rolling with Gettysburg!

“Mediterranean diet intervention alters the gut microbiome in older people reducing frailty and improving health status: the NU-AGE 1-year dietary intervention across five European countries” [Gut]. “Adherence to the [Mediterranean] diet was associated with specific microbiome alterations. Taxa enriched by adherence to the diet were positively associated with several markers of lower frailty and improved cognitive function, and negatively associated with inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein and interleukin-17. Analysis of the inferred microbial metabolite profiles indicated that the diet-modulated microbiome change was associated with an increase in short/branch chained fatty acid production and lower production of secondary bile acids, p-cresols, ethanol and carbon dioxide. Microbiome ecosystem network analysis showed that the bacterial taxa that responded positively to the MedDiet intervention occupy keystone interaction positions, whereas frailty-associated taxa are peripheral in the networks.” • Popular version from CNN here.

“Return of cybernetics” [Nature]. “In an Article in this issue, Yeo et al. demonstrate a compact and lightweight, scalp-wearable device that reads out visually evoked electrical signals with high resolution. A deep learning algorithm is trained to classify the signals and can be used offline. In one experiment (with able-bodied subjects) it is shown that a wheelchair can be controlled in real time, demonstrating the practical promise of this approach…. It seems likely that the field of brain–machine interfaces will evolve quickly, especially given the promise for a multitude of medical applications. At the same time, ethical concerns arise, especially regarding invasive devices that do not just read out but also stimulate neural activity, such as treatments for Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy patients4. Such neural manipulation can affect a patient’s autonomy and sense of personhood5, and it is a challenging task to weigh complex neuroethical concerns against medical benefits.”

* * *

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 (Amfortas the Hippie):

Amfortas the Hippie’s sig:

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin – more even than death… Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

–Bertrand Russell

* * *

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:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Woodchuck

    What is up with the poll numbers since yesterday?

    Aren’t those percentages supposed to add up to 100%? Marist numbers are closer to 200%

        1. SKG

          But (total = 100) + (total = 100) + (total = 100) = 300 then divide by 3.

          The total should still be 100.

          Am I missing something?

          1. thoughtful person

            That makes sense.

            Nice to see Sanders moving ahead. Might get more STDEs for once esp if the competition doesn’t break 15%.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The national chart again shows most candidates (yesterday it was nearly all, including undecided) up in the polls.

      There is a bug in the national chart plot code (or whatever is feeding into that) that does not seem to be present in the state charts.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        As it says: “… the process of developing the following interactive chart.”

        So, if y’all have spotted a bug, that’s a good thing. I’ve contacted dk.

        (I think the occasional bug is a price worth paying for charts we can be 100% are not being gamed with secret sauce.)

        1. Samuel Conner

          Maybe the smoothing algorithm is buggy. Yesterday the national %s added up to close to 150%, as if divided by 2 rather than 3.

        2. dk

          Sorry for the confusing display!!

          What’s going on is that the YouGov polls of 2/13 are a new configuration that my pre-processing code is not handling well.

          Most standard polls are in the format where the pollster presents a full list or candidates, and respondents are asked to chose one. Even when results vary greatly, such polls can be directly compared to each other and summarized.

          An occasional variation is a series of head-to-head matches: Biden-Sanders, Sanders-Warren, Biden-warren, etc. In these cases I accumulate the total responses for each candidate and divide by the product of respondents and questions. This usually produces results in some proportion to straight series polls, out of scale bumps in some cases.

          But these new YouGov polls are different again. They’re a combination of limited selections (like Sanders-Warren-Biden-Buttigieg but no Steyer or Bloomberg, skewing results) and head-to-head matchups (including Bloomberg etc). In other words, hard to summarize consistently with the other formats. Because the H2H and limited-straight polls are from the same pollster (YouGov) and all end on the same day (my basis for summary), my pre-processor tries to combine them.

          I am going to experiment with filtering out the H2H polls for 2/13, or some other kind of isolation, at least in a way that Lambert can filter them (with Consolidated polls option under States and Populations). But honestly, no promises on the final product and it may take me a few days. Again, sorry for the glitch(es)!! Politics is heck!

            1. Chris

              dk’s evaluation tool – still better than anything produced by Shadow or the DNC :p

              Thanks for going through the data so we can enjoy it. Cheers!

    2. dk

      Sorry again, I’m not sure what’s going on, I’m unable to reproduce Lambert’s screenshot.

      There may have been a data entry error over at 538 (my data source) that has since been corrected. Maybe Lambert can put up another series of screen grabs, or offer a more correct chart tomorrow.

    1. dcrane

      So disappointed in her joining the concern trolling over online “tone”. Sanders will deal the enthusiasm of his base a blow if he offers her the Veep.

      The term “bernie bro” is itself an online smear.

      1. hunkerdown

        Yes. It can be translated as “Bernie is a traitor to the firm because he’s not managing down!”

      2. anon

        I’m hoping he does not pick Warren as his VP choice. She has proven herself to be untrustworthy. I’d rather he pick Yang or Gabbard.

    2. John k

      I’ll say.
      Or maybe under ‘enlightening’.
      Her decisions don’t seem in her best interest… maybe that is bad decisions…

    3. Grant

      Bernie’s run has revealed a lot about this system, the media, the Democratic Party and all of the affiliated think tanks and annoying media commentators. Anyone paying attention knew how utterly corrupt and worthless most of these people are, but man has his run really pulled the curtain back.

      I have heard from some people that still defend Warren that he campaign devolved and collapsed because of advisers. But, I don’t buy that. Bernie could not be talked into running a campaign like hers. He wouldn’t hire some advisers that would get him to walk away from things like single payer. Warren revealed herself with the people she chose to adviser her, and she doubly revealed herself with how willing she was to ditch many of the things she initially ran on, and her willingness as far as going at Bernie in a way that was really dishonest and underhanded. Turns out, her critics to her left were correct. They didn’t trust her because she wasn’t to be trusted, they pointed out that she was in fact very different from Bernie because she is and they pointed out that she wasn’t a good general election candidate. I think that should be obvious at this point. If she gets clobbered in NV, I don’t see the logic of her staying in the race, doubly given that she has basically destroyed any notions of being a “unity” candidate.

      1. Off The Street

        Reading about Nevada shenanigans and ballyhoo, I am encouraged to review my go-to sayings.

        Current formulation: Everything is like CalPERS
        Proposed formulation: Everything is like the DNC

        But fear not, CalPERS has a way of surprising people when they least expect it. They are like mutant roaches that scurry away only to return fortified.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        “OMG Russia” saved a bunch of parasites, the courtier class” in Team Blue.

        A Sanders win plus the age break down would be a direct demonstration of how little value and control over the electorate these people (ex. Chris Matthews) have. My guess is there would be a purge and a search for little Mayo Petes, cheaper and with less baggage.

        The freak out over the call to remember names of who works for Bloomberg is a problem. Most of these people are barely remembered. Take James Carville. After feeding his wife, a Bush Cheney henchman, information on the Kerry campaign/recount strategy, he wasn’t exiled. He slithered back to CNN’s Crossfire posing a Democratic Strategerist until Jon Stewart wrecked the show. Yes, he plays Mr. Clean’s skeletal deliverance cousin on tv, but his whole schtick works because people don’t know how bad he really is.

      3. zagonostra

        The operative phrase in your statement is “anyone paying attention.”

        I had dinner with friends and family a couple nights ago and I mentioned “false flag,” two of the ladies at the table, both college educated and around 60, didn’t know what the term referred to, I was truly startled. I think recent events will have have only “revealed a lot about this system” if people are paying attention. Unfortunately most/enough live in what Caitlin Johnston recently referred to as the “Narrative Matrix.”

      4. Knifecatcher

        Pete Buttigieg has been running for office longer than Elizabeth Warren. She’s really not very good at it.

    4. josh

      I have noticed a number of my friendly PMC acquaintances announce their support for Warren on one social media platform or another over the last week. It’s very strange. Like they just now realized that there was an election as the train is leaving the station. Ultimately, they don’t really care that much about politics (it’s mostly signalling), and they have very little experience with actual boots on the ground activism.

      Warren is bad at this. Warren’s staff are bad at this. Warren’s supporter base is bad at this. This isn’t an exam or debate competition. Correctness, fairness, or civility are irrelevant. The only points that familyblogging matter are the delegate counts.

    5. John Beech

      Warren will never be president because she was snookered by Clinton into not running for 2016 when, honestly, it was her time. Sad for her, she was schmoozed into waiting her turn, which honestly, more than anything shows she is/was a lightweight. Basically, just not tough enough to be leader of the free world.

      Speaking of HRC, were she not morally corrupt, it’s my personal view Clinton would have been a marvelous President. However she is exactly what everybody not in Clinton-world knows her to be, and thus, despite winning the popular vote I’m glad she’s not president. She disgusts me more than Trump, which is no small undertaking!

      Regarding Mr. Bloomberg, it’s my opinion he’s a nutter. Smart, capable, rich, yada, yada, yada . . . but a nutter. Just his ideas vice soft drink packaging for NY, NY opened my eyes.

      Bernie? He’s a different kind of nutter. But one I’ll vote for despite the certain knowledge he won’t get any more done than President Trump because the machine will convulse and recoil in revulsion at working with 46 – just like it has for 45. They will undermine him at every turn and he’ll turn out to be another Jimmy Carter tut-tutting.

      I wish Mitt Romney had never been caught on the cell phone video yapping about the 47% just before the 2012 elections. It’s my view ‘that’ was the pivotal moment he swan dived with the undecided. Nevertheless, despite my feelings for him now (negative since he voted against the president recently in his impeachment), I will go to my grave believing he was the right man for the job at the right moment in history. Instead, Obama became 44 and the rest is history.

      1. chuck roast

        Yes John Beech, vulture capitalists are the right men for the job in the US of A. And the job would be spearing litter along I-95.

      2. Grachguy

        Hold up… In a matter of paragraphs you go from excoriating Clinton, presumably for being a corrupt shill for the machine, to saying that Mitt f***ing Romney was the right man for the job? Unless there is some Marxist accelerationist point here that I’m missing, this is an impressive amount of cognitive dissonance.

        Oh and it was McCain that ran against Obama for his first term, not Romney.

      3. Ed Miller

        Obama became 44 in 2008, not 2012. McCain ran against him in 2008. Romney would have been 45 in 2012 but he would not have been the right man at the time any more than Obama was.

  2. Bill Carson

    Is there anywhere where I can find information about student loan debt? I know that the total amount of student debt is closing in on $1.5 trillion, and that 43 million people have student loan debt. I would like to find out the aggregate amount of monthly student loan payments.

    I have found one source that states that the average student loan payment is $393 per month, and if there are 43 million people making payments, then that would be nearly $17 billion per month. I’m trying to fashion an argument to show the effect of student loan debt on consumer spending and discretionary income. TIA

      1. Bill Carson


        A facebook friend of mine posted an article from the Federalist about how “You’re student loan debt is not my problem.” I don’t understand why so many people are unable to perceive that we are all in this together.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You could point out to your facebook friend that after graduation, those indebted students cannot afford to buy new cars, set up businesses, buy homes through mortgages, buy furniture and all the other paraphernalia that a home requires, marry & raise future tax-payers for their old age pensions, etc. Considering that our economies are based on the function of “consumption”, this is a road to financial hell – and that your friend will be riding coach on it.

          1. jsn

            If they’re posting The Federalist without irony “quotes”, the Neoliberal virus has crossed the blood brain barrier and there’s nothing to do but move on to the uninfected where reason can still penetrate.

        2. Foy

          Tell him, along with what The Rev Kev said above, it’s going to be his childrens problem, and that when your friend is in older expecting his kids and grandkids to support him and perhaps have time to look after him when needed, they might be so stressed from their chronic debt and their kids’ increasing personal debt levels that the whole family is on the brink, or just very very difficult to deal with, snappy and rather angry with older people who lived by the motto “it’s ok, I’ve got mine Jack”…unless they are of the 1% or perhaps the higher end of the PMC – in which case they may have a different set of psychopathies….

    1. John Beech

      What’s wrong with you? Use the number you have. $17B/month is money but it’s not world shattering money. Not for the multi-$T US-economy. I buy the argument the student debt is holding millennials back, but it’s not enough to alter the course – not in the grand scheme of things.

      1. Chris

        Let’s take all that at face value… you are correct 17 billion US$ distributed across our entire economy is not a big deal. 17 billion US$ distributed across broke 18 – 30 year olds, many of whom make important decisions which will limit their economic participation over the next 30 years of their life, many of whom take on that debt and don’t graduate because they are stuck with too much debt that still can’t cover their school expenses… that is a big deal. In a non-financial context, these are the small pebbles that cause the avalanche further down the slope.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Twenty-years-olds have nothing. Here take this $60k dead weight and pay it off starting at 23. Have you bought a $15K car yet? That’s indispensable too. For paying off your loan. Oh, and we just somehow tripled the cost of housing since 2000.

        Can’t imagine why there aren’t more garage startups.

      3. Kael

        I know, right! Mitt Romney already told Americans how to deal with this. Just have your dad stake you a business!

      4. Bill Carson

        If the average student loan payment is $393/mo, or $4,716/yr, which is pretty significant. According to an article posted in Inc. magazine from last summer, the average salary for college graduates is $47,000 per year. This means that the average college graduate is paying 10% of pretax salary just to service student loan debt. What are the debt/income ratios for buying a house?

        So let’s assume you are a single person living in Denver, Colorado, just graduated from college, earning the average starting salary $3,916/mo gross. ($47,000/yr.)

        Taxes will cost you $813/mo, leaving you with $3,103/mo net.

        Then average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Denver = $1,406/mo.

        Utilities including electricity, gas, water, garbage = $124/mo.

        Internet/cable = $100/mo.

        Cellphone = $114/mo.

        Transportation = $350/mo.

        Food, cooked at home = $298/mo.

        Healthcare = $197/mo.

        Student loan payment = $393/mo

        That leaves you with a discretionary income of $121/mo.

        I hope you don’t want to eat out, go to a movie or concert, buy furniture or clothes, join a gym, save for retirement, have a child, need a car repair, go to the dentist, travel, donate to charity, or own a pet.

        1. Rod

          I think bringing numbers into the dialogue is illustrative when talking budget examples.

          Markeplace radio has a new discussion segment that uses this method in discussion called:
          This Is Uncomfortable
          because they talk real money in a real life with a real person.

          I like the shows title because it reflects the real reticence Americans have discussing their own personal economy with real numbers. My wife and child are economic enigmas to me, despite the conversational queries over a lifetime, while I feel I am an open book–with index and bibliography to them.

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    Does anyone remember how pre-Bloomberg we use to say this was a clarifying election?

    Re: Jim Messina

    This is accurate. It must have killed him to admit women (Warren and Klobuchar) could be like Obama.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Not so fast. Obama people other than Messina muddied the waters today. As Bloomberg released yet another “Barack and Mike Are Buddies” ad, three top level Obama aides, including Favreau and Pfeiffer on Andrea Mitchell, criticized the ad as unfairly representing the relationship between Obama and Bloomberg. Pfeiffer pointed out that Bloomberg voted for McCain in ’08 and didn’t endorse Obama until 5 days before the election in ’12. Also today, some unnamed Obama aides gave those NYT interviews where they claimed that Obama would not intervene before Super Tuesday. They said that he wanted to be a peacemaker in the summer. On top of that, they described a problematic situation where Bernie ended up with 30-40% of the delegates and no one else had more than 20%. That could be taken as implying that Obama would counsel against denying Bernie the nomination if he has 40%+.

      Maybe Obama worries about his future relationship with the Democratic Party if it becomes a full-blown subsidiary of Bloomberg, Inc.

    2. nippersmom

      And he and his ilk simply cannot comprehend this is exactly why so many of us will not vote for any of the other Democratic candidates.

  4. jo6pac

    Well this is enough for me to vote for Berni and if they can stop him I’ll be voting Green again.

    “Jim Messina on MSNBC asked which candidate aligns most with the ideology of Barack Obama, he first demurs and then says “they all do except Bernie Sanders”

    1. Grant

      Which is telling. Bernie supports pretty standard social democratic policies, basically many of the things he wants other developed countries already have, because people like him won in those countries decades ago and put those things in place decades ago. So, if I was to take a right wing and corrupt Democrat like Messina seriously (and why would I?), how does that comment reflect well on that party or the bad options outside of Bernie? If Bernie is a social democrat and is out of bounds and unacceptable, I can think of no better illustration as to why the Democratic Party is a wet pile of socks. In a logical world, in a system not as corrupt as this one, Bernie would be on the conservative side of those running for office, given that radical changes we need in response to the environmental crisis alone.

      It’s basically Bernie and a big sea of nothing as alternatives.

      1. Bill

        Or, put another way,

        it’s Bernie + Trump = President Sanders
        Trump + nothing = President Donald Trumps Second Term.

        “President Sanders”
        go ahead, let that roll off your tongue, it has a sweet ring to it doesn’t it?

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Third Way’s whole pitch was the country was uber conservative and only by tricking Republicans on an issue such as guns or sacrificing abortion could Democrats ever actually win. If a Democratic candidate could win on not being a heinous prick, then so much of the courtier class would simply become obsolete.

        If Sanders wins, why would the UAE continue to invest in say an outfit such as CAP? Neera would have failed again and demonstrated she isn’t coming back. We are seeing it with Mayo Pete. He’s a second rate Obama, but unlike Corey Booker, he is new.

        Every year that passes we lose a whole years worth of Clinton ’92 voters. The people making excuses for Bill and attached to nostalgia aren’t growing.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Neera pushing a shopping cart down J Street.
          a delicious idyll.
          fit for the Big Oak.
          i wish it were warm and sunny.

            1. polecat

              I much prefer a cart, crashed and berned .. tesla-like, askew in the Kst. gutter … with a disheveled Neera sprawled on the left median .. having thrown up her brunch !

  5. Samuel Conner

    my vote for crowd-sourced campaign slogan for MB2020:

    “If you’re poor, don’t seek medical care until you’re confident that you already have viral pneumonia”

    The medical practitioners and public health people will love that one, too.

    1. John k

      Yes… even if you have a some crappy plan, if it has big copays you might think I’ll just wing it until I’m desperate… maybe god will help if I go to church… if not, maybe my girl and I’ll get a lift at the movies…
      I hear China was like us, had to pay before getting admitted to hospital until some bright person decided maybe that’s not a good policy just now. We don’t seem to have bright ones over here, still gotta be insured or have good credit here.
      Bernie should talk about this.

  6. Matthew

    I have at least two cavities like the one described above, possibly three now. I’ve been having symptoms like a sinus infection on and off for two months now. Insurance companies can burn in hell and so can anyone who defends them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m sorry. The only thing I can suggest is the periodic free dental clinics (which I know are not a substitute for Medicare for All), or possibly foreign travel. If you need a lot of work, the price differential will cover the airfare, plus you get the travel experience. Plus, American dentistry fills me with fear, as does the health care system generally. Neither seem designed to avoid pain.

      1. carl

        In spite of my close proximity to Mexico, I’ve been going to the same dentist since I was 16 years old (so that’s like 40 years or something). He used to be the cheapest guy in town and worked some really insane hours, I’d guess trying to serve the poorer neighborhood he officed in. He’s no longer the cheapest dentist, but he did fill a cavity for me a couple of months ago, with no anesthetic and no pain whatsoever.

        1. Gregorio

          Great affordable dental care in Mexico. I live in one of the most expensive regions of Mexico, and one can still get a crown at a quality dental office, for the equivalent of 300 bucks. I pay 800 pesos, (less than $40) for a regular check up and cleaning.

          1. Am Expat in Mindanao

            It’s $200 here in the Philippines but a lot farther away than Mexico. Fillings $20. My dentist is really good too. Certainly the equal of any I saw in the States.

    2. Darius

      My wife and I have “good” insurance. She had foot surgery last year. I am having a dental implant. So far, it has cost us $8,000-plus out of pocket. Every time I get a surprise bill I get down on my knees and thank God. That’s how I know I live in a free country and not one ruled by socialism [spits out last word].

      I love my insurance and will right up to the point I lose my job.

          1. inode_buddha

            Yeah, but the other Dem canidates are pushing the line that people love their insurance… wouldn’t want anyone to actually believe that.

        1. GramSci

          Yeah. Even if you haven’t traveled much–you’ll find friendly English spoken everywhere outside the US. (Except, of course, in banks.)

      1. chuck roast

        My ex-dentist suggested that she install a dental implant where my perfectly good 40 year-old Maryland Bridge resides. A bridge, by the way, that has been admired by dentists from coast-to-coast. So, I committed the ultimate medical faux pas and asked her how much it would cost. She replied, “$10,000.” I laughed and responded that my Chevrolet teeth chewed from point A to point B with reasonable efficiency, and at my age I didn’t see the point of buying a Cadillac. I was being kind. What I wanted to say was, “I ain’t puttin’ your kid through Princeton lady!”

    3. dk

      Chronic tooth infection can be very dangerous, my mom had a crummy implant that hosted an infection that migrated to her sinuses and at one point threatened to infect her brain. I myself had chronic cavities during a period where I was involuntarily “out of the system” and no ID to show.

      My personal strategy was/is to cut out all sugar from my diet (or as much as possible). The infections feed on sugar from the bloodstream, starving them makes them shrink, although it won’t cure them. This works with most kinds of bacterial infection including colds. People find sugar hard to give up, but relief comes in 12-18 hours (faster if one drinks a lot of water), so the experiment is fairly straightforward and low-risk.

      My sincere and empathic sympathies, I hope you find relief one way or another soon.

      1. rowlf

        I did side work on a racing team in the past that had a Detroit auto fabricator and machinist on it. A real SOB to everyone but an artist with metal, made car show cars for the auto companies and nothing like the hammer mechanics you see on the tv shows. He died from complications from an abscessed tooth. It still pisses me off that if we could have just beat him with dimensional lumber and got him to a dentist he would maybe still be with us.

    4. Shonde

      Check to see if there is a community clinic near you. Some of those provide dental care on a sliding fee scale.

      Good luck.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      If you do nothing, your teeth may need to be extracted … and the holes left will require dental implants [$$$$ per] or bridges/appliances [$????] or as I overhead at a truck stop — “Damn I sure miss those big ones in the back!”. If you have a tooth abcsess it can affect your sinuses, nearby teeth, and diminish jaw bone-tissues possibly making later implants “problematic”. I am not a dentist or physician — and my advice is not advice but mere suggestion based on my experiences and situation … [I have an abscessed tooth and a root canal scheduled at [$$$$] cost] … [I am not rich, but reasonably well-off, and live a very ‘small’ life — which I strongly DO NOT recommend for anyone younger than my father’s father — deceased.]

      Do not put off getting an abscess treated. [You can see and verify an absess in one of your dental X-rays as a dark half-moon above the root of a tooth — and should confirm that, you probably have an abscess]. Usually an abscess is treated with a root canal [As far as I could determine — the costs for which have roughly doubled since root canals and extractions became a dental specialty in my state]. If your problem teeth are co-located with an abscessed tooth you must make a best choice for which is the one to treat first. The second tooth might … repeat might … repeat might … improve.] But DO NOT put off doing something about absdessed teeth … at least until you know more than your comment contains and — do follow Shonde’s [4:52 pm] advice. Most dentists are not yet that far removed from being ‘real’ people.

    6. jhallc

      I’m not 100% sure but, I believe that some dental schools will have students work on folks for much less $. I’m pretty sure that the Dental Hygienist schools do this for cleanings.

  7. derechos

    Trump is on a pardoning spree today. Michael Milken, Rod Blagojevich, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers football team all pardoned. Warming up for pardoning Roger Stone (but needs to wait until he’s sentenced later this week). It’s a great week to be a criminal.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Trump’s been making overtures toward the black community. If he pardoned a big pool of non-violent drug-offenders, he could seriously threaten a big pillar of the democratic party.

        Sanders fans should be thankful there’s an opening. If trump was savvier, he could have pushed his approval rating to 60-70% if he’d done a big infrastructure bill, hiked the min wage, and mandated lower drug prices.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          And if Nancy Pelosi, as majority leader in ’17, had worked with him on those, wide cracks would have opened in the Republican Party.

          But no. Russia!Russia!Russia! was the Democratic Party’s strategy, and the Republicans are amazingly united after a failed impeachment, especially considering Trump accomplished a hostile takeover just four years earlier.

          And it all has worked for Bernie’s benefit. And ours in the longer term.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I assumed Blago was directed at Obama. Blago wanted to sell the seat instead of doing what Obama told him to so if I recall, but then again Blago has been on reality tv. So…this is it.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The weird thing about a possible RS pardon is that the crimes of which RS was convicted do not appear to have been committed for the purpose of helping DJT, and arguably created trouble for DJT by feeding the Russian interference narrative.

      These two Craig Murray posts are illuminating:


      and especially the Randy Credico interview:


      1. urblintz

        Thanks for highlighting this.

        Aaron Maté tweeted at the time: “Roger Stone was found guilty on charges stemming from his false claim of a Wikileaks backchannel. In reality, he had none. Let that sink in: the top proponents of Trump-Russia-Wikileaks “collusion” are now pretending that this verdict doesn’t undermine their conspiracy theory.”

        1. Este Profani

          Rick Gate’s testimony places Stone and the Trump campaign preparing no later than April 2016 to coordinate with a wikileaks email dump [hack #2]. Somebody told Stone about the material obtained and how it was to be deployed. This is what Stone is holding.

    2. LawnDart

      Trump may as well issue a few pardons to well-connected shiiii… scum. Just in case, a bit of quid pro quo, CYA, or what-have-you.

    3. Este Profani

      If Roger Stone is pardoned, Stone would no longer be able to plead the fifth against self-incrimination because accepting a pardon is tantamount to a confession of the deed. A pardon would oblige Stone to perjure himself over material Stone thought was worth witness-tampering. — The 7-to-9-year Damocles sentence-hang: standard kingpin-ing. We move up the chain and you avoid dying incarcerated. — Sentencing Stone to a light term, one he can do on his head, removes the pressure to explain the obstruction. The recent flurry of pardons will placate Stone into thinking he’s getting the pardon as promised [further testimony, be-damned], all the way up to that morning’s hearing. But remember: Stone can accept a pardon [which is considered a confession of guilt], thereby compelling Stone to testify at the risk of perjury, or he can reject the pardon, thereby remaining silent, as his right.

      1. Anonymous

        Nonsense. Pardon does not equal guilt. Not even in the bankrupt legal ideology currently poisoning our environment.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve never understood accepting a pardon to be in any way an admission of guilt/
        supporting statute or case?

        1. divadab

          According to Wikipedia, in some jurisdictions, accepting a pardon is viewed as an implicit admission of guilt. I seriously doubt a character like Stone would refuse a pardon on that basis, especially if he is facing years in the pen.

          I’m really not sure about the rest of the argument – can it be so that if you accept a pardon you forfeit your 5th amendment rights? Seems a stretch….

    4. The Rev Kev

      Bernard Kerik? I recognize that name. He was trying to run Iraq at one point after the 2003 invasion because he was some sort of super cop from New York and failed. Afterwards he ended up in all sorts of legal trouble for corruption.

        1. Harold

          He was originally Giuliani’s chauffeur, a colorful character with a mane of long hair down to his waist. He had been a high school dropout but had obtained a GED (equivalency degree) and had spent time in Korea as a military MP and later as a security officer in Saudi Arabia. According to Wikipedia, “Kerik worked from 1982 to 1984 as chief of investigations for the security division of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Six members of the hospital security staff, including Kerik, were fired and deported after an investigation in 1984 by the Saudi secret police.”
          Apparently, Kerik was also working as an undercover narcotics cop at the time he did duty as Giuliani’s driver, but people were very surprised when Giuliani appointed him Commissioner of Prisons and then of Police. Kerik then worked for Giuliani’s consulting group and was sent to Iraq to organize security there, as well as doing consulting in Jordan and other places. Mysteriously, George W. Bush appointed Kerik as Director of Homeland security. But he was not approved when it was discovered that he employed an undocumented nanny. Somehow, Kerik managed to amass large sums of money before going to jail for various financial crimes.

  8. JTMcPhee

    On Bezos and billionaires throwing money at “the climate crisis,” I recall that Bill Gates and two others are going deep on “stratospheric aerosols” (essentially trying to mimic the effect of volcanic eruptions that have demonstrated, not necessarily beneficial, cooling effects.) I believe Bezos is on on this too.

    Seems there are lots of unanswered questions about this vast intervention, outlined here and in lots of other writings on the subject: http://www.geoengineeringmonitor.org/2018/06/stratospheric_aerosol_injection/

    Of course implementation of these “interventions” would not have either “transparency” or any kind of “democratic” component. If the Billionaires decide to “‘just do it,” because having figured out how to arrogantly loot themselves into Great Wealth they are obviously smarter than everyone else, they can — with cooperation of some friendly government to provide the runways for the dispersal fleet, and lots of captive “scientists’ willing to work up the details and provide “scientific” support — like the doctors who shilled for Camel and Lucky Strike cigarettes back in the day, or the shillentists who helped ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and the other Big Oils sell the Big Doubt about the clear existence of human-induced (from carbo-combustion) climate change.

  9. a different chris

    Ok in my wanderings about the Internet I found this thread, as linked from a persuasive “Bloomberg is a waiting disaster” piece. Anyway, it is from 2010 and it is a major battle between the “we must vote for Dems and try to fix it up afterward” and the “screw that, vote for who you think should have the office” lead post of my old internets buddy, Dsquared.


    The “must vote Dems” side looks pretty sorry, at this point, IMNSHO. Because underlying the whole thing is that Trump wouldn’t have happened. You would get “more and better Democrats” to quote another now-discredited blogger, big at that time.

    But people did that. And yet Trump did happen. And now we are looking at… Bloomberg. So how did that all work out, again?

    The simple, and continually repeated but ignored, statement was made in the comments that you send a long term message with your vote. You tell people where to go, to get it when they need it. (Of course that doesn’t guarantee what they’ll do in office, sigh, but at least it gives you a fighting chance)

    PS: the funniest, in a admittedly mean “so sad to see such a good person, be so naive” way, was the “work hard in the primaries for your guy, then if he doesn’t win support the D that does in the general” comment. Well guess what, TPTB won’t support your leftish guy in the primary, in fact they will do everything to knock him down, and they they will pat you on the head and tell you that they did you a favor because “he could never win in the general”. I hope that guy finally spit out the KoolAid.

    PPS: the yahoo thread https://www.yahoo.com/news/mike-bloomberg-not-lesser-two-104502751.html

  10. marku52

    So Sanders is the only one who isn’t a lying POS who won’t do anything he campaigned on?

    That’s helpful!

  11. flora

    Re:Bloomberg (D?)(8): another Bloomberg employee’s story –

    “I am one of the many women Mike Bloomberg’s company tried to silence through nondisclosure agreements. The funny thing is, I never even worked for Bloomberg.

    But my story shows the lengths that the Bloomberg machine will go to in order to avoid offending Beijing. Bloomberg’s company, Bloomberg LP, is so dependent on the vast China market for its business that its lawyers threatened to devastate my family financially if I didn’t sign an NDA silencing me about how Bloomberg News killed a story critical of Chinese Communist Party leaders. It was only when I hired Edward Snowden’s lawyers in Hong Kong that Bloomberg LP eventually called off their hounds after many attempts to intimidate me.”


    1. Bugs Bunny

      Perhaps this piece could have used an editor to get it on track.

      As it is, I don’t understand how the events fit together or even the relationship between the spouses. There are tons of gaps in the story and all she seems to remember clearly is the names of law firms.

      If the author is a PhD and a “scholar”, standards have nearly touched the bottom.

      Of course I like a hit piece on Bloomberg as much as the next rabbit, but how about some narrative skills?

  12. RMO

    RE: The Gig app-controlled car rental leaving the customers stranded, helpful suggestions from the company such as “sleep in the car on the roadside and try again tomorrow,” paying for the tow trucks themselves and the possibility that after it started working again the next day that they may have used up their allotment of starts so the car could be dead forever if they shut it down. The most relevant part of the thread in my opinion?

    “I will also probably use Gig Car again because I apparently value convenience over my sanity but will never take it somewhere I cannot Uber home from again!!”

    It strands them, they need to pay for a tow truck, have to leave the car running and may not be refunded for any of this. And this lackwit is still going to give them more money. And of course they were staying at an AirBnB and the first thing they think of as an alternate mode of transport if Gig screws them again is Uber. If course.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      If your business depends on a platform, you’re going to get Stockholm Syndrome.

      Car share would be amazing if it were good. I use z1pcar, which is okay, but really limited and not growing, with a scary level of internet-enabled distancing.

      I wonder what little car share lots every quarter mile could do to reduce road traffic and parking congestion.

  13. Frank Little

    Can’t help but laugh with professional politicos shine a flashlight under their chin and intone darkly about all the opposition research that the GOP (or whoever) has on Sanders. If it existed we would have seen it as soon as it became clear that Hillary’s run was not going to be the coronation that she hoped and if it had turned up post-2016 you can bet we would have seen it as soon as it started looking like Bernie could do well in early primary states.

    The things that they are treating as opposition research are just his beliefs, some of which may have been well left of center at the time, but they are just his beliefs. Of course they won’t be shared by everybody, but it’s not nearly as bad as Elizabeth Warren pretending to be Cherokee or Pete Buttigieg touting his military service despite taking a shortcut to becoming an officer to help his political career or Joe Biden’s family obviously trading on his public career. The latter are personal scandals that lend themselves very well to attack ads because they don’t require a ton of context and invite viewers to draw conclusions about their individual moral character.

    Maybe there is some scandal about obvious hypocrisy or self-dealing about Bernie out there, but I can’t imagine any of the people looking for it would still be sitting on it. So long as this supposed dirt is just his own public statements, however heterodox, about things like US foreign policy that only redounds to Sanders’ benefit because they’re policy issues, not events in his personal life. Show me someone who would vote for Trump over Sanders because of his support of the Sandinistas and I’ll show you someone who already voted for Trump the first time.

    1. Deschain

      Wasn’t there a tweet here a few weeks ago from a former Clinton staffer who said something to the effect of ‘I’ve seen the oppo book on Sanders and it’s empty’?

      1. Charger01

        It wasn’t a staffer, but reformed Hillary supporter Peter Doau. He’s internet famous, plus he has the support of Chapo Trap House for his famous Twitter rants.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I’d love to know the percent of likely voters who can even identify Sandinista as something other than the name of a Clash album. I agree. If there was anything that was going to sink Sanders, it would have come out in 2016. If a 30+ year old comment about the Sandinistas and an even longer ago honeymoon in Russia is all they got…

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Kavanaugh. They don’t need no stinking reality.

      Now, they did fail miserably with Kavanaugh, whose actual professional history is full of juicy appalling facts.

      I do agree they are trying to leverage the Bernie Blackout into ‘who is this stranger, why has he gotten a free ride?’

      Cable News convincing my mom that Bernie is too angry is ironic to me. I just can’t even watch MSM video for all the haranguing. I probably need to send her some videos of him playing softball or doing street politics.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Thank you as well. I’m not even a fan of this kind of thing, but I’ve never regretted eating a good bowl of oatmeal either.

        Can an existential crisis roll over a Minsky Moment? Or is this the fiscal crisis of the late 13th century? We’re dealing with the physical dislocations of a real war. Great stuff.

  14. Pelham

    Re living paycheck to paycheck, including households with six-figure incomes: USA Today a few years back calculated the income that would be required for an ordinary family of four to live a bare-bones middle-class life without going into excessive debt. The figure: $130,000 a year. At the time, the median income for a four-person household was less than half that.

    The story, however, created barely a ripple, though it struck me as quite the shocking conclusion. I wonder what the comparable figures would have been, say, 50 years earlier.

    1. Moshe Braner

      By some extravagant definition of “a bare-bones middle-class life”. Certainly not the definition you’d get if you’d ask the other 90% (the rest of the people on the planet).

      1. JBird4049

        Apartments are extravagant? Looking at income means nothing without looking at cost.

        A San Francisco Bay Area two bedroom apartment can easily cost 36,000 a year. A one bedroom cannot be had for less than 18,000. Similar figures for LA.

        You could rent or buy a large two story house on a large lot in much of depopulated United States for that, but I doubt that many people there will be offered the Bay Area’s usual minimum wage of $15 per hour either.

        1. inode_buddha

          Yeah, but who wants to live there? its too extravagant. That same money up here (NY-27) would let me pay off every single debt I ever had, buy a place out in the country, and start a small business — all in the same year. And wages are hovering around $15 anyway.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Ninety five percent, I believe. And our bilingualism has dropped a lot in the last hundred years, so we probably couldn’t even ask.

    2. John Beech

      I’ve always been terrified of someone else controlling me and thus, living paycheck-to-paycheck has never in +40 years of marriage happened to us. Seen it more times than I can count. Most often see it start with a new car. Then spouse has to have one also. In our case, it’s always been my spouse I’ve been most concerned with and she’s always had the ‘best car’. Occasionally it’s been a new one but in recent years it’s more likely to be several years old before purchase. House? Paid for. Cars? Paid for. Airplane? Paid for. Credit cards? Zero balance. Children? College degree, no debt, married and on her own with working husband. Occasionally ‘help’ them. Probably shouldn’t but can’t help ourselves. You reap what you sow has always resonated and I have zero fu*ks for those who can’t control their spending. Medical spending is different, which is why I’m going to vote for Senator Sanders this time around.

  15. JohnnyGL

    I’m itching for a bit more polling, and, of course, some hard voting numbers, but it seems like bernie’s going to win NV, and possibly by a healthy margin if vote counting is allowed to take place. If that happens, i think SC swings toward Bernie (which ends biden).

    Super tuesday could be close to a clean sweep for bernie. With some new polling having him up 10+.

    For all the talk of a brokered convention, there is another scenario where bernie has it wrapped up by mid-late march.

    I know all the beltway talk is of a brokered convention, but it’s also possible that the elites never get a real shot to launch their coup.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      that would be ideal, i think…if Bernie had it sewn up by the end of march, and it was all over but the shouting…notably and importantly, by the PTB’s own ordinary criteria…that they’ve used forever.
      to win their game is a heavy indictment of the machine.
      of what use are they?
      i mean…they can’t run a primary, apparently…or design an app…or come up with a believable conspiracy theory about why they lost to caught the car…
      I do have quite a bit of manure that needs shoveling and wheelbarrowing…so if the consultant gigs don’t work out….
      I’m relatively sparing with the whip.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Keep in mind, the Mexican authorities have been known to rig a few elections, but ultimately, they couldn’t stop AMLO.

        This can be done, and it’s absolutely happening. Of course, we’ve got to make his term a success. That’s the real challenge!

        1. David Carl Grimes

          There’s the nuclear option. Declare that Bernie isn’t really a Democrat but just plays one

          1. ambrit

            I had already posted my comment just below before I read your comment. I’ve been wondering about this “option” for a few weeks now. The wheels are coming off of the Democrat Nomenklatura’s “Little Anti-Red Wagon” good and proper now.
            Evidently, there are no depths that the DNC won’t plumb in pursuit of their interests.

          2. Daryl

            They’ve been doing that since the last election, unless you mean actually kicking him out pre-convention instead of just rigging it like they’re doing right now.

      2. ambrit

        My umlautless UberCynic notes that since the DNC is a private organization, and since that organization is still to some extent ‘under the thumb’ of the Clinton Foundation, that I would not be at all surprised to wake up one morning before the convention to read that the Chair of the DNC has declared Sanders to not be “allowable” to have the nomination because he is not a “real Democrat Party member.” Then a “Unity Candidate” will be put forward. (Three guesses as to who I think that will be.)

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          I’ve been filing that as the “Going off to Aspen” solution. “Jackson Hole”‘ might make for a funnier phrase. Seems not unlikely as April approaches.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, a couple hours later, I got my polling deluge…all national polls…

      SurveyUSA – Bernie +11 over Bloomberg
      NBS/WSJ – Bernie +12 over Biden
      Reuters/Ipsos Bernie +8 over Bloomberg
      Marist/NPR – Bernie +12 over Bloomberg

      It’s Bernie, by a mile. It’s happening, NC commentariat! Let’s hope they count the votes!

      If he can keep this up, he’ll run the table on Super Tuesday in a few weeks and be on a glide path to the nomination. Superdelegates can do all the frothing and stamping they want. They’ll be in the backseat, instead of in the driver’s seat.


      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        *George Costanza Voice*

        2020, BAYYYBAYYYY!!!

        YEAR OF THE RAT!!!!


  16. Amy Fargochar

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

    So true, James, so true. And what a reflection it is. Here’s your reflection, if you can keep it.

    It is incredible how twisted and distorted the constitution has become in the past two and half centuries. Like the bible, it’s all in the interpretation and considering that, lawyers are to the constitution what imams are to the koran.

    If the constitution is a mirror, it’s one of those antique mirrors that’s been clouded over to the point the reflection is impressionistic at best. Which is probably a good thing considering that opaque reflected image obscures the gnarly putrefied beast it represents.

  17. Samuel Conner

    Re: the menace to Sanders implied by Sheekey’s knowledge of oppo material:

    The thought occurs that drawing attention to old public “democratic socialist”-themed remarks by Sanders might actually improve his reputation with the younger voters he is hoping to bring in large numbers to the polls.

    Democratic Republicanism is not working out great for many of them.

    I am hoping that a lot of what both parties will try, in their attempts to stop Sanders, ends up backfiring.

  18. Moshe Braner

    “Bezos launching initiative that commits $10 billion to combat climate change”
    – is this the same Bezos that is building a space-tourism company?

    1. jrs

      No the same one promising MASSIVELY FOSSIL FUEL WASTING same day delivery. F same day delivery, F it to hell, and Bezos as well. Same day delivery is an obscenity.

      1. jefemt

        Wish he’d hustle it up and get going through Elon’s minefield of satellites, on up to Mars.
        Feel free to grab Zuck and Elon on the way.

  19. Ranger Rick

    I find it extremely interesting that the Kickstarter employees founded the union not because of working conditions or employee benefits but because the company didn’t operate in accordance with the ideology of its employees. (Kickstarter, as the article notes, was founded as a more progressive organization than its libertarian brethren.)

    We’re breaking new ground all the time in employer–employee relations.

  20. Moshe Braner

    re: Electric bacteria – like many such stories in the media, it gets the basic physics totally wrong. Volts is not energy (need to know the amps too). But more importantly, that electricity is not energy from thin (or humid) air, it is predicated on the bacteria’s energy source (food). TANSTAAFL.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I was thinking that a dead cellphone battery powered by these little guys might smell a bit. Maybe that’s a feature.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Not a natural at electronics, but that hit me as well. There’s a lot of energy out there, but the question for our current industrial society is how diffuse it is. Milliamp Hours per centimeter or bust.

  21. diptherio

    That thread on the Gig “car share” app disaster is crazy. The craziest part? After all that, this is how she ends the thread.

    I also will probably use Gig Car again because I apparently value convenience over my sanity but I will never take it somewhere I cannot Uber home from again!!

    What’s that thing they say about “fool me once…”?

    1. DJG

      diptherio: The interesting thing is that Gig is this:

      GIG Car Share is a carsharing service in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, created by A3 Ventures (a division of the American Automobile Association).[2] The company operates a fleet of Toyota Prius Hybrid vehicles and all-electric Chevy Bolts, with roof-top bike racks and features one-way point-to-point rentals.[3]

      What happened to the AAA? It once was a reputable organization.

      But I raise your Uber–one of her supporters tells her to start a GoFundMe page to cover the expenses of a refund.

      Young Internet Zombies in Love. Quite a spectacle. They have gone so paperless and saved so many trees that they are virtually clueless.

  22. Toshiro_Mifune

    Open question; What are the chances Bloomberg makes a 3rd party run should he lose party nomination?

    1. Deschain

      If he loses to Buttigieg, Biden, or Klobuchar: 0%
      If he loses to Sanders: pretty high, I’d think.
      If he loses to Warren: lol at this point

    2. Pat

      If Sanders is the candidate AND he does well in NY, CA, MA in the primaries, I think there is a good chance. Bloomberg is unlikely to hurt Sanders in the smaller must win electoral college states, it is only in the big numbers FIRE and Tech sector states, and that could be enough to make sure that Trump takes them.
      Which would mean that Trump wins.

      Here’s the thing, the only reason for that not happening is that Bloomberg (and his enablers) realize that is going to be the reason for a Sanders loss NOT that America wasn’t interested. And along with him losing, they would need him to lose because America just doesn’t want ___________(insert all the publically popular programs that our Oligarch masters and the political powerbase do not want). I think it all depends on how stupid they think the public is, and how much they think they have alternate news sources under control.

      1. Samuel Conner

        This is into “tinfoil hat” territory, but I wonder whether MB would be able to … umm … purchase changes in the State laws that specify how the electors are apportioned based on popular vote. Some (maybe it is only one) small states apportion by congressional district, with the plurality vote winner getting that district’s elector.

        I have seen proposals to apportion at state level, proportional to the popular vote.

        With a sufficient number of states switching to that approach to assigning electors (which could be advocated with a stealth coating of “democracy promotion”), it might be easier for a 3rd party candidate to muck up the electoral vote total of the ideologically less dissimilar competitor. (In this case, I don’t think that MB and Sanders are in any way similar, but one can imagine an MB protest vote by in-name D voters who dislike both DJT and Sanders).

        And MB has the funds to … umm … purchase practically any laws he wants.

        One of Sanders’ legislative agendas, should he be elected, must be to reorganize campaign finance to make this kind of corruption in plain sight much more difficult.

    3. jrs

      I really wish he had run as a Republican. Because he is one anyway. He wants to challenge Trump, well then why not within his own party?

      And anyway the R party can’t do any worse, or frankly at this point much better, they’ve bought the Trump koolaid wholesale. So the Rs are a *complete* dumpster fire anyway, so really why not? But oddly he chose to run as a Dem. Clarifying?

      1. Pat

        Once you accept that it isn’t about Trump, things get a whole lot clearer. Trump, while annoying and yes obnoxious, is not a threat to the Bloombergs of the world. They are doing just fine with him in office.

    4. Biph

      Low very low, if he were to run as a 3rd party he’d need to be doing it now to make sure he gets on the ballot in all 50 States or even enough States to hit 270. It’s not an issue of money so much as time to both get the signatures needed to get on the ballot and to vet the signatures. Sore loser laws in some States might prevent him from getting in the ballot, I’m not sure how those laws work for a presidential candidates vs say a congressional or gubernatorial one.

    5. Big Tap

      Most states have “sore loser” laws. He ran as a Democrat so he would be stricken as a third party candidate.

    6. jefemt

      Or, to flip that ‘Bloomberg loses’ rhetorical inside out and off a few degrees:
      what are the chances that if Bernie loses or gets shafted, that Bernie primary supporters don’t show up in November, or do show up and write in Bernie, with the obvious negative consequence?

      My diagramming has a spooky tendency to show all paths to Trump prevailing.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        In that event, one hopes the Sanderbackers are able to get Sanders’s name officially onto all 50 state ballots so that enough people can vote for him to cause the Democratic “nominee” to lose by 48-50 states.

        Such an outcome would reveal that the SanderMovement is a movement of Kingbreakers. It would be a display of power.

    1. urblintz

      Living in Manhattan when Bloomers ran for mayor.
      I was paid $15 on the street by a Bloomlet to answer a poll.
      I told the person I was voting for Mark Green.
      He said it didn’t matter, gave me the money anyway.

  23. Kurt Sperry

    “The Cosmic Irony of Bernie Sanders’s Rise” [Jacobin]. “As a result, there are millions of loyal Democrats whose loyalty stems from no other source than the belief — the touching faith — that the Democratic Party is there to stand up to powerful interests on their behalf. The public personas of Obama and Sanders may differ wildly along a hundred different dimensions, but ideologically, tens of millions of Democrats see Bernie Sanders simply as Barack Obama, only more so…. It’s not hard to see how this puts the Democratic elite in an agonizing bind.

    I’ve recently run into some of these Obama > Bernie converts who still nearly worship Obama, and while I’m happy to have them on board, they puzzle me almost no end.

    1. Pat

      In the cases I encounter, they really really believe that Obama wanted the same things that Bernie champions. They have bought Hook Line and Sinker the BS that he was held back by not having a true Democratic majority in the Senate. And nothing dislodges that delusional. Not even the laundry list of things that he could have done that the McConnell minority in the Senate did not have veto power over. Not the list of priorities for the Justice Department that included medical marijuana dispensaries and a brothel in New Orleans, no no that wasn’t about Obama’s leadership. (One was a little shook when I pointed out that both Kaine and Wasserman-Schultz were his hand picked leaders for the DNC, but they got over it. )

      Admitting you got hoodwinked is very difficult for people. Especially since it means that pretty much everything I’ve pointed out about the Dems for the last three years might be true (as in they aren’t really about obstructing Trump but about fundraising).

  24. DJG

    Si, si, Elizabeth Warren mi abuelita est! Authenticoissima!

    The NBC article is the usual attempt to drag misogyny into the equation–because of the lingering Bernie Bro meme that lives in the heads of Warren, Biden, and, of course, Hillary, Grand Dowager of the Democratic Fan Club. After the leaders of the Culinary Workers in NV were roundly criticized, it turns out that it is all misogyny. Yes, we must be civil and use our indoor voices and ask permission to criticize.

  25. Eclair

    My spouse and I rode the Sounder commuter train south from Seattle to Tacoma, yesterday afternoon, to rally with Bernie at the Tacoma Dome. More for the experience, rather than to hear Bernie, which one can do on YouTube, from the comfort of one’s couch.

    The Seattle Times reports a ‘boisterous’ crowd of 17,000, although from where we sat, the Dome, which officially seats from 20,000 to 23,000, was pretty packed. Lots of young people; families with small kids; Hispanic, Asian, not many African American; working class mostly, I would guess. Although, this time of year in Seattle/Tacoma, everyone is swaddled in black, rain-resistant gear with wooly hats jammed down firmly to eye level. Really upbeat spirit.

    Standing in line was markedly different from my experience at a rally with Bernie in Denver in 2016. There, people were unsure what to think, had questions on, ‘who was this Bernie Sanders and what did he stand for?’ Standing for almost two hours in line at the Dome and listening in to the conversations going on around us, was different. People were confident that Bernie was their choice, knew pretty much what views were. There were lots of earnest students discussing Marxism and Revolution, Climate Change (not an ‘issue’ in 2016), the necessity of working class solidarity.

    Once inside, we settled in to view the opening acts. My favorite: drummers, singers and dancers from the Coast Northwest indigenous nations, performing a prayer dance for the missing and murdered indigenous young women. The Protectors of the Salish Sea are fighting against the still-to-be-opened LNG terminal at the Port of Tacoma, as well as being in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en who are currently shutting down Canadian rail traffic in an effort to halt the encroachment of pipelines across their territory.

    Seattle city council members Sawant and Mosqueda gave rousing speeches, as did Pramilla Jaypal and Shawn Scott, the unsuccessful DSA city council candidate from Seattle’s University district. No sign of the local Tacoma mayor and city council members, who have endorsed Bloomberg. (Tacoma has a reputation as a gritty, working class town, and one wonders if Bloomberg has, perhaps, made a few promises to local politicians.)

    My spouse became best buds with the gregarious Teamster sitting next to him. Much clapping, cheering, stomping of feet from the union members in the crowd, when Bernie vowed to make it easier for workers to unionize. And, the young people sitting in front of us were literally jumping up and down in reaction to free college tuition and “bail-out the student loan debtors like we bailed out the bankers!”

    After it was over, hoarse, and high on being embedded in an excited and vocal crowd of almost 20,000 like-minded people (well, except for the two guys with the TRUMP banner,) we stood in line for another hour and a half, as as two buses back to Seattle filled up, packed to the gills, and departed. But periodically everyone broke out into chants of ‘Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.’ When the 10:00 PM bus arrived and we all crowded on, the standees were encouraged with shouts of “Stand for Bernie.”

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Thanks for the on-the-ground report. I really wanted to be there, but had to work and was up in the farther reaches of Snohomish county and travel time just wasn’t in my favor. Your description gave a good feel for the event!

    2. Bill Carson

      I attended Bernie’s Denver rally on Sunday, and my experience was much the same. The rally was originally scheduled for a 5,000-seat auditorium, but it was hastily moved to convention center exhibition hall, with no seating except on the stage, and a huge open room with concrete floors and walls. It was really loud. The official count, confirmed by the Denver fire marshal, was 11,400, even though this didn’t feel like a priority rally for Bernie. There were just a handful of local politicians and activists who spoke to warm up the crowd–no progressive celebrities like AOC, Cornell West, Danny Glover, Michael Moore, et al, with a local band playing before the rally began. Still, it was really good for all of those Bernie supporters to see how many of us are out there.

    3. Craig H.

      Thanks for this!

      Some genius needs to come up with a way of concatenating internet anecdotes as an antidote to fake news which the Be Powers cannot corrupt for their purposes. Samizdata.

    4. Jessica

      The loudest cheers of the entire Tacoma rally were when Bernie listed all those who are getting nervous about how well he/we are doing and he got to the Democratic Party establishment. The place exploded.
      Personally, I was struck by how the most radical campaign in decades is actually not asking for very much. Basically, get the government in our corner but otherwise leave the oligarchs with all the economic power. Of course, this is just the first step.

  26. T

    Bloomberg has a global media empire. CNN, NYT, MSNBC all review social media data every single day. So why don’t they have some data to prove this toxic Bernie Bro myth?

    Someone at MSNBC already drafted a report about who liked and shared today’s segment on Valerie Bertinelli’s wellness journey, with notes about percentages of aggresive, neutral, and positive online engagement. Yet they need doctored tweets to push the bro nonsense?

    These “victims” seem to believe their comtext-free anacdotal tweets are as fraught as photos of Bull Conner’s victims. If there was a scrap of data showing Sanders supporters as aggressive online, we’d see it.

  27. dearieme

    Wuhan: when the problem was first publicised I was cautiously optimistic that maybe it wouldn’t turn out to be too awful at least for those of us outside China. Even though the Chinese government had been slow off the mark, and was presumably lying on a large scale, still they seemed to be taking it seriously and taking firm steps to stop the epidemic. I’m much gloomier now, for two strong reasons and one weaker one.

    (i) The rather horrible experiment-by-neglect on the poor souls aboard the cruise ship at Yokohama makes it pretty clear that the infection spreads quickly.

    (ii) The sustained scale of the Chinese government’s draconian restrictions makes me suspect that the disease is much more lethal than they’ve let on.

    (iii) And one anecdote: a thirtyish acquaintance’s former classmate is a doctor in North China. His brother felt poorly one evening: the doctor told him to go to bed and if he felt worse in the morning he’d take him to hospital. In the morning he was dead. So: not Hubei; healthy young adult; medical expertise in the household. And still he died, and died suddenly after only mild symptoms.

    What’s a second-hand story worth? Dunno, but I do wish it pointed in the other direction.

    1. russell1200

      They were slower off the mark than we were at first lead to believe. So the initial spread was wider. Although the incubation is thought to be around 2-weeks, I have seen some speculation that it can be as long as 4 weeks.

      It does seem deadlier than 2%. But the real danger is that as it spreads around, its lethality might shift upwards. That is what happened with the 1918-20 Flu epidemic. The first wave was a typical Flu pandemic. Deadly, put not unusually so. The second wave is when it started wiping people out.

      They keep trying to get companies to reopen, and companies keep finding cases popping up at work. Which argues that they really don’t have a full handle on how widely spread it is even now.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Current (late Eastern time, 2.18 versus 2.17) ratio of “# recovered/# died” for “World ex Hubei” in last approx 24 hours is 85.3

        Assuming that both measures, # recovered and # died, are sampling the state of the epidemic at a similar point in past time, the inverse of 1 + this ratio (which in the last ~24 hrs, ex Hubei, is ~0.012 or ~1.2%) ought to be close to the true mortality rate.

        The ratio is increasing, which suggests that the # recovered may be sampling an earlier stage of the epidemic than # died samples (which seems plausible — it could plausibly take longer to recover than to succumb). If that continues, it seems likely that this seat-of-pants proxy for the mortality rate will fall below 1%

    2. Samuel Conner

      There are, per JHU CSSE “dashboard” two provinces in China, Henan and Heilongjiang, with unusually high “died/confirmed cases” and “died/recovered” ratios (leaving Hubei province out of consideration as the # of cases and # recovered there are certainly undercounted since surveillance started so late in the epidemic). If these two provinces are truer indications than the rest, the mortality rate could be a lot higher than current estimates.

      There are also several provinces with multi-hundreds of recovered with “died/recovered” ratios below 1%.

      I think we still don’t know enough.

      Perhaps watch the Diamond Princess in coming weeks. It’s perhaps the closest thing to a laboratory experiment we have at the moment.

      1. Samuel Conner

        This assumes that the data publicly reported in the JHU app accurately reflects the facts “on the ground.” One can imagine the possibility that that might not be the case.

        I’ve been following a province in south China for a few days as a friend has family there. The #cases reported has been basically static for several days. A week ago, the word was that people were hiding in their apartments for fear of exposure, which seems an over-reaction if the JHU data accurately reflects the dynamics of the epidemic in that province.

        OTOH, if the disease were more lethal than currently reported, one would expect word of this to be leaking out.

    3. polecat

      Just wait till that containment barrier gets hastily up around Caliphonia …

      ..complete with squadrons of attack helicopters making continual runs up and down the Left coast.

  28. Patrick Morrison

    On Bezos’ 10B donation: Having the CEO make decisions that change Amazon’s climate impact is a much larger lever than donating money. I’m not opposed to donations, but what the largest economic entities do on a day to day basis is where the real climate change action is… or isn’t.

  29. Bill Carson

    “Based on discussions I’ve had with other reporters, this did not reflect any personal animosity toward me; the Warren team is cagey and does not generally make policy advisers available for on-the-record interviews.”

    Squirrelly is a better term than cagey.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Very Bad Liar covers it better. Someone who habitually lies in ways they can’t back up and obviously is uncomfortable with the lies. The people who don’t have that ackwardness are called politicians.

      I wonder how that comes across on Cable. My mother finds her worth mentioning for dismissing, and I had assumed she might like her.

  30. Arizona Slim

    Slim checking in from Tucson. And Lambert, I gotta tell you this, you really posted a humdinger of a link today.

    I’m talking about the Smile Direct Club.

    Back in my coworking days, the Smile Direct Club moved into the space. Like a herd of elephants, they did.

    SDC rented five offices, kaching! And the company hired a dozen young women in blue jackets to staff them.

    We, the longtime coworkers, noticed that something was amiss right away. That blue jacket-clad dozen didn’t seem to have any work to do. So, they spent their days in the kitchen or on the patio, chatting with each other and messing around with their cell phones.

    The guy who sat right across me was especially disturbed by all the SDC foot traffic — patients and staff — that went right behind him. And he spoke up in a member meeting.

    Ba-a-a-ad move!

    He pointed out that the contract he signed said that he could not operate a business providing health care-related services. Nor could he be doing a retail business out of the coworking space. Or one that had frequent visits from the public.

    Well, the coworking space management was not at all amused. And they kicked him out of the space. I saw it happen with mine own two eyes.

    I guess that management thought that they would Make An Example out of my desk-mate, but the opposite happen. A lot of us got very angry.

    Me? My house was being renovated, so working there wasn’t an option. But, after my desk-mate and friend got tossed out, I never felt very enthusiastic about going down there.

    Over time, the Smile Direct Club started laying off staff and downsizing their presence in the coworking space. They went from five offices to three. For which they were still paying beaucoup bucks.

    Eight months after they moved in, the Smile Direct Club abruptly moved out of the coworking space. No one outside of management was sorry to see them go.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      RE: ” … SmileDirectClub …” —
      Least I be sued for “practicing” — a disclaimer: I am not a dentist nor an orthodontist and claim no expertise — these are my OPINIONS. My impressions of orthodontistry are that it is an extremely over-compensated specialty. Much of the the process for ‘fixing’ teeth and constructing a better bite is known — well-known. There may be some whose teeth and jaw deviate from the standard … but MOST do not. There is a progressive regime of shaping wires [based on shape-memory metal compositions like nitinol] which can “almost” suffice if properly applied to almost mechanically bring teeth into a new more aesthetic appearing and healthy bite. The costs for orthodontia in no way takes these advances into account in calculating professional fees.

      Computer analysis of a tooth geometry has been very successfully used to mill crowns. I have little difficulty in accepting that a computer analysis of a tooth configuration might be adjusted by the application of a particular series of shape memory appliances … for MOST cases. [And the patents on those appliances should either have expired or soon will!]. Is it wrong to ask — why is orthodontia so expensive?

      I am wondering why something like an “HONEST” — Smiles — cannot and should not be able to very greatly improve on the current state of orthodontia.

    1. RMO

      Wish there were some details as to just how bad the amount of stuff kicking around the planes is. There’s almost always something floating around in the bowels of the plane but it can range from completely inconsequential to “OH-familyblog-!!” The pilot of the DC-10 involved in the Windsor incident (where the rear cargo door blew open on climb depressurizing the aircraft) mentions how when the decompression happened he was hit in the face by dust, bits and pieces of paper, plastic, rivet heads etc. and didn’t seem too concerned about that aspect of the incident at least. I’ve had the pulse raising experience of finding a wrench in the tail of a fairly new glider, right where it could have jammed the elevator and rudder, when doing a lubrication job on it. It had only been flying for two weeks and because of the make of the wrench I’m positive it ended up in there at the factory. One of my fellow instructors said upon my telling him about this “I THOUGHT I heard some clunking when I was teaching spins last week!” A few years later we found a bucking bar (a metal tool used along with a rivet gun to drive rivets) in the tail of another glider which had been in for aft fuselage repair. The mechanics had lost it and didn’t do an in/out tool count when performing the repair.

      I even found a nice Snap-On offset wrench in the control tunnel of an Aerostar that had been doing fire bombing bird dog work previously. That could have given the pilot a nasty surprise.

  31. GF

    “Early voting a boon for Las Vegas Strip workers” [NBC].

    If Bernie leads with early voters, I will bet that those early votes won’t count as the party will come up with some excuse (Russia, computer hack, bad app, illegal migrants voting… ) not to count them. Can’t have the state party elites choice overridden by the people.

  32. DV

    Apologies if format questions like this are covered elsewhere but what do the “D”s in the individual candidate coverage sections stand for?

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          But now you are smarter. So celebrate community!

          And, personally, as a more and more reticent facilitator of internet services I multiply every one complaint I get by a thousand. And then I hope that’s all the people I’ve actually inconvenienced. Trolls have nothing on me some days.

          Asking is good.

    1. scarygales

      Removing the Missouri ‘Bootheel’ would clean things up and it isn’t like the rest of MO. But that would make it a part of Arkansas which is why it was carved out anyway (plus some additional business motivations). :-)

  33. Philonius

    I know Trump’s connection to pro wrestling has been discussed in NC comments in the past, so I thought this was interesting. Just saw a Bloomberg TV ad in Ohio with a pro wrestling or MMA theme. Someone in the Bloomberg campaign may be discussing the same thing.

  34. Wukchumni

    From NOAA, in Hanford, Ca.

    My colleagues and I have been wondering how many ways can you say dry. Well, I think we have hit our limit. I will not sugarcoat this, but things look bleak hydrologically speaking. At least for the next couple weeks. The blocking high continues to be a major player for our weather regime and looks to remain in charge. Of course a few minor disturbances are expected to attempt to dethrone the ridge but they really are no match and will not bring any notable precipitation. By not notable I mean maybe a couple hundreths of an inch at best and that is primarily for the higher elevations. One could argue that it is better than nothing but really more of just a horrible tease by Mother Nature. Like drinking an ice cold glass of water in front of a parched person. That analogy is really closer to reality than I would like.


    The precipitation catcher that is the mighty Sierra Nevada, is in a moderate drought right now…


    1. Carolinian

      Take our rainfall…please! The other week our town and my neighborhood were struck by a 100 mph tornado and 5 inches of rain in one day. The Southeast is being hit by one weather system after another coming off of the undoubtedly overheated Gulf of Mexico. The always prevailing west to east weather pattern means upstate SC and GA are continuously in the line of fire.

  35. John k

    Got a request from Bernie to vote early here in Ca… then, they want to know, if voting early, how I’m getting to the poll, how many I’m bringing, etc. doesn’t ask if I plan to vote by mail.
    I plan to vote by mail, as usual, probably tomorrow… anything wrong with that this year?

    1. Carey

      I’m in the same situation in CA, and also planning to mail my ballot tomorrow- I’ll
      be taking photos of my filled-in ballot before sending it, FWIW; maybe someone
      else will weigh in.

    2. Liberal Mole

      I went to a Bernie Barnstorm and Canvas on the weekend in San Luis Obispo. They explained that this year, campaigns can gather voters’ signed and sealed ballots and deliver them to the state for counting. To encourage voting and make sure the ballots are actually turned in. Good sized crowd at an open air eatery, 35 or 40 people. A hispanic organizer from Fresno led the event, the mayor of SLO was one of the speakers. Turns out the mayor was someone inspired by Sander’s 2016 run, went to the Democratic Convention as a delegate and returned broken hearted. But two days later she decided to run for Mayor….and won by 49 votes.

      I voted by mail over a week ago.

  36. Carey

    I thought the twit was rather strange, with its emphasis on MB’s racism and sexism;
    why no mention that his *policies* would be as bad as or worse than Mr. Trump’s?

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I think highlighting Bloomberg’s egregiously racist and sexist history is useful in a party whose identitarianism is attuned to such failings is a solid play. It doesn’t replace highlighting his other massive policy failings, but it has potential to usefully alienate certain core D Party demographics. Attack on all fronts at once.

  37. smoker

    Re: Bezos launching initiative that commits $10 billion to combat climate change

    Sure he is.

    Bezos and his stunningly homogenous ilk are the naked, murderous and hideous face of Technocracy, Capitalism and Meritocracy™. They are the epitome of what most kind, species and earth loving people strive not to be.

  38. flora

    re: I’m filing this under Bloomberg (D)(1): “Stacey Abrams ‘absolutely’ wants to run for president one day, but says she’d accept a VP slot in 2020” [ABC].

    Of course. She sounds like an estab Dem to me. From 2018.

    Georgia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Voted With GOP to Make it Harder to Hold Bank Executives Accountable

    “…the roll call opened, and Abrams cast a vote in line with nearly every member of the [Georgia] Republican Caucus in support of HB 192. Evans voted against it, along with 30 other House Democrats. ….

    Former state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, served as Democratic whip during the debate over HB 192, which Georgia Senate Democrats voted almost unanimously against. Fort is known nationally for his work crafting wide-ranging anti-predatory lending laws in 2002 that experts say could have prevented much of the housing crisis….

    ‘ “Bottom line, the bill would allow for the same kind of abuses in subprime banking that we saw in the ’90s and 2000s, and would have given even less accountability for bank officers and directors,” said Fort. “It was a red flag to me and that’s why I organized our caucus to fight against it on the floor.” ‘
    Abrams, notably, has received thousands of dollars in donations from the bank lobby groups involved in the HB 192 fight, including the Georgia Bankers Association and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. In her current bid for governor, she has received contributions from a range of financial services employees, including from Georgia-based banks such SunTrust and Signature Bank of Georgia.


    1. Daryl

      I’d personally also consider a VP nomination this year, although I am worried about getting RSI from all the hand-shaking and paycheck-cashing that job requires.

  39. Phemfrog

    Re: Smiledirect Club

    I used this product, and then had to stop. Here was my experience.

    I had been to several regular orthodontists over the years to correct some minor cosmetic crowing. All said i was a good candidate, doing xrays and exams, and i was even a candidate for Invisalign.

    All estimates were in the $4000 range. Not affordable.

    So this past year i went to SmileDirect. They did a 3D scan of the interior of my mouth. No xrays. They said I was a great candidate and I decided to try it. $1700.

    I assumed (my mistake) that my old xrays and advice were good enough, so treatment started. They hurt my gums a little, but i trimmed them and got used to it.

    After about 2 months, i noticed that my front bottom teeth were wiggly. Expected a little (had braces long ago), but these were very wiggly compared to all other teeth. So i decided to go to my dentist. He was concerned. I then went for a paid consult with an orthodontist. He recommended, after xrays, that i cease treatment immediately due to bone loss in the bottom jaw. i was not a candidate for the treatment plan SmileDirect was offering. I would require a different strategy to straighten those teeth and keep my bite aligned.

    If SmileDirect had done their due diligence (advertised as being licensed, professional dentists), they would have taken an xray. i would have been ruled out.

    I promised not to sue (to get my $ back), and I couldn’t afford the lawyer or the time to do so anyway, and i felt it was partly my fault.

    But i do think that someone should step in and put these companies under serious scrutiny. They should be required to have orthodontists on staff to do in-person evaluations and xrays at the beginning. I’m not sure i would label them as a scam. They do straighten teeth, and work for lots of uncomplicated cases. But buyer beware.

    I stopped treatment and requested a refund. I eventually (after a LOT of hassle, paperwork, and a signed statement from my orthodontist) got my money for the unused aligners ($1000).

    I admit my own responsibility and stupidity here, so i dont complain about my loss of money. My teeth have almost stopped wiggling.

    BUT these companies should not be allowed to do business without com

    1. Arizona Slim

      Slim here. Again.

      Phemfrog, please, please, PLEASE don’t beat yourself up. You weren’t irresponsible. Or stupid.

      I saw how the Smile Direct Club worked. Up close and personal.

      I watched unsuspecting people walking into the coworking space, not sure of what would happen. And then the VERY friendly blue-jacket crowd would give them the big smiley, super-friendly greeting.

      I mean, it was like those blue jacketed ladies had just met their new best friends. Yeah, right. They were nothing more than customers.

      I didn’t see what transpired in the exam rooms. Those had tinted glass and none of us could see through it. But, oh, were we longtime coworkers curious.

      Since I was so disturbed by how the coworking space’s management had bent all sorts of rules in order to get Smile Direct Club to lease so much square footage — and evicted my friend and desk-mate after he questioned what had been done — I started doing research. And I found a lot of stories like yours, Phemfrog.

      In short, you were harmed by a company that shouldn’t even be in business. And, if the FDA was really doing its job, the Smile Direct Club would be shut down forever.

      Oh, one more thing: SDC was in the coworking space for eight months. During that time, I never, ever, EVER say anyone who looked like a dentist. Those overly friendly blue-jacketed women were left to their own devices. Oh, yes, they had a company script to follow, but I doubt that they always did.

      1. phemfrog

        my only contact with a dentist during the process was over the phone. no way to prove it was even a real dentist.

        only thing happening in the exam room was that 3D scan of the teeth using a hand held wand device. cool tech.

        also, they did the typical upselling crap, offering whiteners and extras. also a big discount if you paid in full up front.

Comments are closed.