2:00PM Water Cooler 2/19/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, be sure to come back for the Democrat debate tonight. Doors open at 8:30PM ET (at which point this link will work).

Politics

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

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

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

* * *

2020

Sorry for the chart kerfuffle yesterday. Clearly, readers regard the charts as an important service, or they wouldn’t complain when they are off! (My error for not doing sufficient QA, but I move quite fast doing Water Cooler.) For readers who want to do more debugging, or simply play around with the charts, here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Today we have two new national polls from Emerson and YouGov, and new state polls from CA, MA, NC, NJ, and VA. As of 2/18/2020, 11:00 AM EST (three-day average):

The numbers:

A new poll from CA (% by day):

CA numbers:

And now the rest of the state polls, all with small samples, irregular, and more or less flaky. First, MA:

MA numbers:

Ouch! Sanders with a lead (albeit statistically insignificant) in Warren’s home state.

NC:

NC numbers:

NJ:

NJ numbers:

VA:

VA numbers:

Sanders doing surprisingly well everywhere, though we don’t know how soft his support is. (My uninformed guess is less soft than average, because the media vilifies him; it takes a bit of courage to go against that tide.) Bloomberg doing well in the South. The South has a rich populist history, though…

CAVEAT I think we have to track the polls because so much of the horse-race coverage is generated by them; and at least with these charts we’re insulating ourselves against getting excited about any one poll. That said, we should remember that the polling in 2016, as it turned out, was more about narrative than about sampling, and that this year is, if anything, even more so. In fact, one is entitled to ask, with the latest I boomlet (bubble? (bezzle?)) which came first: The narrative, or the poll? One hears of push polling, to be sure, but not of collective push polling by herding pollsters. We should also worry about state polls with very small sample sizes and big gaps in coverage. And that’s before we get to the issues with cellphones (as well as whether voters in very small, very early states game their answers). So we are indeed following a horse-race, but the horses don’t stay in their lanes, some of the horses are not in it to win but to interfere with the others, the track is very muddy, and the mud has splattered our binoculars, such that it’s very hard to see what’s going on from the stands. Also, the track owners are crooked and the stewards are on the take. Everything’s fine.

* * *

Bloomberg (D)(1): These are questions properly scaled to Bloomberg’s fortune (as opposed to this pissant tax return stuff). Thread:

Bloomberg (D)(2): “” [National Review]. “[T]he Republican Party has largely acquiesced to Trump….; some would argue the rest of the party has become subservient. Perhaps Democrats will elevate and acquiesce to Mike Bloomberg in a similar fashion. (The Bernie Bros look like a difficult challenge; Sanders’s national campaign co-chair labeled Bloomberg an ‘oligarch.’) If he beat Trump, he would end the Democrats’ current nightmare and do as they wished on gun control and climate change. But Bloomberg is skeptical of tax hikes on the rich (he wants to reduce, but not undo, the Trump tax cuts), opposes Medicare for All, he believes replacing private, employer-provided health insurance was financially impossible, and he’s a free trader. Bloomberg defended bonuses to traders at Wall Street firms that were being bailed out by the taxpayers. He has said he hopes the National Security Agency is reading every American’s email. He insists that China’s Xi Jinping is “not a dictator.” He’s called for raising the retirement age, and in 2013, Bloomberg said, “no program to reduce the deficit makes any sense whatsoever unless you address the issue of entitlements, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and defense spending.’ Asking the Democrats to nominate Bloomberg to stop Trump is asking them to give up a lot on a variety of fronts.” • But… but… but the money….

Bloomberg (D)(3): “Mike Bloomberg is not the lesser of two evils” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “Given his wretched politics, even Bloomberg’s superior competence is a mark against him. Right now one tiny silver lining of the Trump administration is that the people trying to commit atrocities through the federal bureaucracy are so inept they keep fumbling the legal procedures and getting stopped in the courts. Bloomberg is sure to appoint competent authoritarian maniacs.”

Bloomberg (D)(4): There’s always a quote:

Sanders (D)(1): “Fox Has Been “More Fair”: Why Bernie Sanders’ Team Has Had It With MSNBC” [Vanity Fair]. “Sanders’s legion of very online supporters are quick to share clips and gripes after any perceived slight against Sanders. The anti-Bernie highlight reel grew in recent weeks, with some moments verging on parody. Joy Reid hosted a body-language expert who said Sanders’s posture revealed that he was “lying” about a recent dispute with Elizabeth Warren. Chris Matthews’s appearances, meanwhile, have become appointment viewing for his anguished warnings about Sanders. On the day of the Iowa caucuses, a glum Matthews invoked the ghost of George McGovern in forecasting a wipeout for Sanders in the general election. “Bernie Sanders is not going to be president of the United States, okay?” Matthews declared. Following the most recent debate in New Hampshire, Matthews breathlessly offered another history lesson. “I have my own views of the word socialist and I’d be glad to share them…They go back to the early 1950s. I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War,” Matthews said. “I have an attitude towards [Fidel] Castro. I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed. And certain other people would be there cheering, okay?”

* * *

NV:

“Harry Reid Tells Candidates Hoping to Stop Sanders to ‘Speak Up’” [Bloomberg]. “Reid made clear to me that if the moderate hopefuls (and for that matter, Elizabeth Warren) want to stop the Vermont senator, they’ll have to stop shrinking from confrontation and go after him directly. ‘The American public will make that decision in little bits and pieces,’ he said, when I asked him to assess the primary race. ‘If Bernie is the one that comes out ahead, we’ll just have to see what happens. But if people don’t like what he does, they’re going to have to start saying they don’t like it rather than pat him on the back.'” • Open season!

I hate to quote Ralston, but:

The question is how they’re distributed. The Culinary Workers, for example, have caucus locations near to where they work (and good for them). But that’s not true everywhere:

Looks like voter suppression to me….

* * *

SC:

“The Republicans Planning to Vote in South Carolina’s Democratic Primary” [The New Yorker]. • Because elevating Trump worked so well for the Clinton campaign….

* * *

IA:

“Sanders To Ask For Recount Of Iowa Caucuses” [Forbes]. “Bernie Sanders will ask for a partial recount of the Iowa caucuses due to apparent mathematical mistakes and reporting errors, the campaign said Tuesday, two weeks after the caucuses descended into chaos after technical glitches caused the results to be delayed and called into question… ‘While it is clear that Sen. Sanders won the popular vote in Iowa by 6,000 votes, the recanvass process reduced the State Delegate Equivalent deficit by 97 percent,’ Sanders Senior Advisor Jeff Weaver said in a statement. ‘We now believe a recount will give Sen. Sanders enough State Delegate Equivalents to put him over the top by that metric as well.'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

Hmm:

“TV Executives Celebrate Bloomberg’s Unprecedented Spending” [The Intercept]. “The 2020 campaign is shaping up to be an incredible financial opportunity for media companies.” • I’m sure they’ll plow the profits into the newsrooms.

“Adolph Reed JR: Neoliberal Democrats & Bloomberg Are Scared of The Sanders Movement” [YouTube (JM)]. Reed is always worth a listen:

Obama Legacy

“How the cowardice of the Obama administration foreshadowed the impunity of Trump” [Alternet]. “Thanks to the cowardice of the Obama administration, no CIA officer or any higher official in the administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, no psychologist, no doctor, no one at all has yet been held accountable for the years of torture practiced on a global scale in the war on terror. Donald Trump himself, of course, got elected while publicly proclaiming about waterboarding that “I like it a lot” and he reportedly considered Gina Haspel’s black-site torture experiences a positive part of her resume when considering her for CIA director. … Is it really so surprising, then, that we now have a man in the Oval Office who believes he has ‘the right to do whatever I want as president’? The history of the twenty-first-century war on terror suggests that, if he doesn’t have the right, he certainly appears to have the power.”

Stats Watch

At 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.

Producer Prices: “January 2020 Producer Price Final Demand Year-over-Year Growth Jumps To 2.1%” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year Inflation pressures significantly grew this month.”

Household Spending: “Year-over-year Inflation pressures significantly grew this month.” [Econintersect]. “The [Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) Household Spending Survey] shows the highest reading for monthly household spending growth compared to a year ago since April 2015. The share of respondents who reported making at least one large purchase in the last four months also reached a new series high. Year-ahead total household spending growth expectations, however, were substantially lower compared to levels seen in the previous year. Median year-ahead expected growth in spending on clothing, food, medical care, housing, and transportation all declined.” • Stocking up on generators and canned goods?

Shipping: “Thousands of Frozen Meat Containers Pile Up at Chinese Ports” [Bloomberg]. “Thousands of containers of frozen pork, chicken and beef are piling up at some major Chinese ports as transport disruptions and labor shortages slow operations, people familiar with the matter said. Deliveries are mounting at ports including Tianjin, Shanghai and Ningbo because there aren’t enough truck drivers to collect containers due to travel curbs imposed in the country to control the coronavirus, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly. Ports are also starting to run out of electricity points to freeze the containers and some ships have been told to reroute to other destinations in mainland China and Hong Kong, the people said. China is a massive importer of meat from South America, Europe and also the U.S., and has been boosting purchases to help ease shortages caused by African swine fever.'” • So we have the intersection of two epidemics: #COVID-19 and African swine fever.

The Bezzle: Hoisting this from comments. Arizona Slim writes:

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.

Bezzle (Smile Direct) layered on bezzle (co-working). Impressive.

The Bezzle: “Blue Apron Seeks Funds or a Sale as It Shutters a Facility” [Bloomberg]. “Blue Apron Holdings Inc., which kicked off the meal-kit-by-mail fad, is evaluating options to rekindle the business, including raising additional capital or selling assets, as it struggles to find new customers or profit.” • “Rekindle.”

The Bezzle: “Groupon’s Worst-Ever Decline Drives It to Record Low Amid Revamp” [Bloomberg]. “Groupon Inc. plummeted a record 38% to an all-time low after delivering worse-than-expected results and announcing plans to stop selling goods — a retreat for a company that once aspired to be a major shopping service.”

The Fed: “How Millennials Could Make the Fed’s Job Harder” [New York Times (KW)]. “A young generation of aggressive savers could leave central bankers with less room to cut interest rates, which they have long done to boost growth in times of economic trouble. To leave the work force early, millennials would need to build up massive retirement funds and consume less in the process. That hit to demand could slow growth and force rates to drop ever lower to entice spending. And if today’s workers actually managed to retire young, it would exacerbate the situation by shrinking the labor force, further weighing on the economy’s potential.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 51 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 19 at 12:59pm.

The Biosphere

“Panicking about societal collapse? Plunder the bookshelves” [Nature]. “Turchin has been compared to Hari Seldon, science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s “psycho-historian”, who studies the past to statistically predict the future. He belongs to a new breed of scientific historian taking a big-data approach, and argues — controversially — that societal spasms are cyclic. This idea itself comes and goes: the ancient Greeks took the cyclic nature of history for granted, but it has been unfashionable since the Enlightenment. Today, we tend to have a linear concept of progress, in which life generally improves for most people over the long term. Works such as Turchin’s see this trend as superimposed on an inherent cyclicity in the evolution of societies.” • An interesting review of the literature!

“Has the wooden skyscraper revolution finally arrived?” [CNN]. “Soaring above the neighboring Mjøsa lake, more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Oslo, the 280-foot-tall Mjøstårnet tower became the world’s tallest timber building when it opened last year. The 18-story structure contains apartments, office space and the aptly named Wood Hotel. And beyond putting a small town on the world map, it has added to a growing body of evidence that timber can provide a sustainable alternative to concrete and steel… The record-breaking feat was realized thanks to a type of engineered wood called cross-laminated timber, or CLT. Part of a larger group of materials known as mass timber, it is produced by gluing strips of laminated wood together at 90-degree angles to one another, before they’re compressed into huge beams or panels under extreme pressure…. The construction and operation of buildings accounts for 40% of the world’s energy consumption, and approximately one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. But while concrete emits a huge amount of carbon, trees instead absorb it throughout their lifetime.”

Guillotine Watch

“Five Hedge Fund Heads Made More Than $1 Billion Each Last Year” [Bloomberg]. “Twelve billion dollars. It’s more than JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid all 56,000 of its investment bank employees, and almost twice as much as gamblers lost in Las Vegas last year. It’s also what 15 hedge fund managers collectively earned in 2019. Five of them—Chris Hohn, Jim Simons, Ken Griffin, Steve Cohen and Chase Coleman—reaped more than $1 billion each, according to estimates by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.The rewards for the men—and they’re all men—are notable, especially given only a third of the 15 managers on the list beat the S&P 500 Index’s 29% gain last year. It also comes as the hedge fund industry has been grappling with closures and mediocre returns.” • Nobody’s worth that much, especially hedgies.

“After learning of Whitey Bulger LSD tests, juror has regrets” [Associated Press]. • What a headline. I can’t even.

Class Warfare

“Huge companies are a problem. So are tiny ones.” [The Week]. “Life under the giant nation-bestriding private goliaths of modern American capitalism may be an alienating and anti-democratic mess, but there’s no intrinsic guarantee life would improve under giant nation-bestriding socialist institutions. And one strength of the anti-monopoly tradition is it deals with the nitty-gritty of these questions, like the design of institutions and the structure of power relations — questions which, in a socialist world, would make the difference between Soviet-style tyranny and genuine democracy and freedom.” • Mention’s Stoller’s Goliath a lot. (On Goliath, see NC here).

News of the Wired

“Neuroscientists discover ‘engine of consciousness’ hiding in monkeys’ brains” [Live Science]. “Using electrodes, the researchers sent small electric impulses into different areas of the monkeys’ brains when they were asleep or sedated using several types of anesthesia. Mostly, the monkeys stayed asleep. But sending an impulse at a specific frequency to the central lateral thalamus woke the monkeys up — even from deep anesthesia — and allowed them to experience the world…. Recording from the monkeys’ brains as they went back and forth between conscious and unconscious states, the researchers narrowed down consciousness to two key ingredients. “Consciousness always coincided with two activated pathways,” [Michelle Redinbaugh, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison] told Live Science. One of these critical circuits carries sensory information from the thalamus to the cerebral cortex, the brain region that does many forms of complex thinking. Both that circuit and another pathway — one that ‘carries feedback about predictions, attention priorities and goals in the reverse direction’ — needed to be active for consciousness to function, Redinbaugh said.” • Please don’t tell Marketing.

“Sturgill Simpson on Trillbillies Podcast: 5 Things We Learned” [Rolling Stone]. “”You don’t want to be the Nissan commercial song guy, and I haven’t been, but those are tough decisions when they offer you more money than my grandfather made in his life for 45 seconds of some jingle. You gotta wake up and look at yourself…How much do you need, man? I don’t need that,” Simpson said. “In the mainstream country world, there’s guys that for all intents and purposes have the talent and ability to make the most beautiful traditional country music you’ve ever heard, but they keep pumping out formulaic horseshit to sustain a lifestyle, or I don’t know, maybe it’s to pay the people they’re now responsible for with their giant careers, I don’t know,” he continued. “How much do you need? You know, how much do you need to where when 50 people get shot to death at a music festival and your string pullers tell you you’re not allowed to answer questions about gun control, that everybody’s too afraid to say shit. You’ve got 45 million fucking dollars in the bank. What are you scared of, man?” • I am a Trillbillies fan; the humor, when not ribald, is very, very dry. Here’s a link to the episode.

“Explain away: ‘How can I decline engagements without seeming antisocial?'” [Guardian]. Answer: “I have a friend who routinely just leaves things when he wants to…. I admire him for this with the kind of fever most people reserve for professional athletes. I mentally rate his exits by degree of difficulty and panache in the execution. It’s the effortless unselfconsciousness that makes it true greatness…. The solution is not to perfect the explanations we offer. It’s to turn inwards and make sure our preferences seem authoritative to ourselves. This is not a matter of thinking more. It’s a matter of doing; of making your choice and then just gliding, with the unselfconscious assuredness of someone who knows what they’re doing.”

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JJ):


JJ: “(La Perouse) The garden is small but gives me so much pleasure. Nearly everything in it was given to us – plant sharing is the best!” Plenty of time to plan still!

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About Lambert Strether

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

135 comments

      1. Carolinian

        I would object to this slur but it’s hard to defend a state that has produced both Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham.

        One should point out that the New Yorker writer doesn’t seem to have made it out of the upstate which is the most conservative region.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Not to mention John C. Calhoun and the “Fire Eaters.”

          That said, I don’t know SC well. NC is seriously contested — that’s where William Barber comes from. Is SC more like NC than I think?

          Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Hendrix: “I’d like to dedicate this show to the American deserters.”

          Holy cow. Nice to imagine that music echoing out over the hill country… (Not all the time, of course.)

          Reply
  1. zagonostra

    >Hari Seldon, Asimov’s “psycho-historian”

    We sure could use a “Mule” right now to bring stability to the world…going back 40 years I can still re-collect the thrill of reading the Foundation Trilogy as a young teenager.

    Reply
  2. David Carl Grimes

    I wish he did primary Obama. 2011 was the height of Occupy Wall Street. Bernie would have gotten a lot of traction and maybe Obama would have been forced to prosecute some bankers. Bernie would have tarnished Obama’s reputation earlier. And maybe he would have been President by now.

    The Hidden History of Sanders’s Plot to Primary Obama
    Democrats’ previous president and maybe their next one have a particularly fraught relationship.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/02/sanders-obama-primary-challenge/606709/

    Reply
      1. flora

        Reid is agnostic and neutral about the source of large money funds candidates in a race. heh.

        “Reid initiated the program, which ultimately spent more than $20 million, through an earmark after he was persuaded in part by aerospace titan and hotel chain founder Bob Bigelow, a friend and fellow Nevadan who owns Bigelow Aerospace, a space technology company and government contractor. Bigelow, whose company received some of the research contracts, was also a regular contributor to Reid’s reelection campaigns, campaign finance records show, at least $10,000 from 1998 to 2008. Bigelow has spoken openly in recent years about his views that extraterrestrial visitors frequently travel to Earth.”

        https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/12/16/pentagon-ufo-search-harry-reid-216111

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The relative cheapness of u.s. politicians has always been the most out of this world thing. $10k! That’s it!

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The relative cheapness of u.s. politicians

            To quote Ian Welsh:

            [Politicians sell out cheap] because it’s not their money. It’s like selling your neighbor’s car for twenty bucks.

            Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i think, rather, that we probably HAD to go through all that(and more!) to get where we’re at , now…when how a person reacts to the word “socialism” indicates reliably whether they are amenable to conversation about Reality as a shared experience.
      it is perhaps more noticeable, here(my range is the texas hill country and san antonio and environs.)…where everyone is assumed(even by ourselves) to be a right wing nut job.
      πάθει μάθος

      Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    “Groupon’s Worst-Ever Decline Drives It to Record Low Amid Revamp” [Bloomberg].
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    When I first saw the name, felt sure it was an orgy meet-up site, but it was a ménage mirage.

    Reply
  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    % of each candidate’s supporters who believe that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide:

    Klobuchar 42%

    What color is the sky in their world?

    Reply
        1. ambrit

          Oh come on now. The man is a politician. You want authenticity too?
          He is a basic ‘salaryman.’ You have to ‘take him’ with a kilo of salt.

          Reply
            1. ambrit

              Greetings! Our ‘dry’ humour is intact.
              The real flooding is happening around the Jackson area. Jackson, the state capital, is on the upper Pearl River. That’s a good ninety miles north of here. The flood crests will be some time in making it down the Pearl River, which Hattiesburg is not near. Our old stomping grounds were at the mouth of the Pearl River, but by then, the river has debouched into the Honey Island swamp system and river delta system. The flood crests are thus diminished in height as the flood waters spread out to cover more area.
              It is looking like a new ‘North American Gulf South Monsoon Season’ is developing.
              Welcome to the “New World Climate Order!”

              Reply
        1. flora

          note to Buttegeig: if you don’t already know this, the ‘J’ is pronounce ‘ee’, as in Bjorn (B-ee-yorn) and Fjeland (Fee-el-and). Have your programmers look into this. /s

          Reply
          1. rusti

            That’s not accurate for words like “skjedde”. The “skj” formulation is pronounced more like “sh” like in shirt (skjorte). Also the Twitter poster (AlexBerish) didn’t transcribe the attempted translation correctly.

            When I heard the claim that Mayor Pete could speak Norwegian I searched for videos. I could just find a few clips of people asking him to say things as a party trick like this one. It would be interesting to hear a longer-form interview to give him time to change mindset, flipping back and forth isn’t instantaneous if you’re out of practice. But I suspect (based on the clips I could find) his proficiency is fairly low, especially if the point is just to impress other people the threshold isn’t all that high.

            Reply
        2. Howard

          He probably fell into this “can speak 7 languages” thing because some people were impressed by a few things he knew and then he got stuck owning it. In my case, I did manage to learn Spanish really well in my 20s (I actually work now as a simultaneous interpreter) and then mostly as a consequence of that got a decent, somewhat stumbling reading knowledge of Italian, French, and Portuguese and can limp through a conversation in any of them (laughter and puzzlement however are usual results of my attempts). I have looked at enough German to be a little lower than that level with it. I can sound out Russian and Hebrew words and know a smattering of their grammar and I can read the New Testament (more or less) in the original Koine Greek because I’m a preacher’s kid and already know what it says. Oh, and I spent two years in the Basque country and at one point was conversational. But does that mean I know nine languages? My friends think I do. I think I know two.

          Reply
    1. CGKen

      I’m guessing that these poll results are showing how much the respondent depends on “traditional” media for news. My mother is a huge Klobuchar fan and gets her news from CNN, MSNBC, and the local newspaper.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Pavlovian, including the salivating.
        My Mom is the same, predictably switching who she’s
        “For”, as the news cycle(sic) evolves.
        she is unaware of this phenomenon in herself.
        “we’ve always been at war with east asia”

        i may prod her sometimes, in my great ardor,…but not if i want her cooperation($) with infrastructure.

        I laid 2000 foot of pipe monday and tuesday.
        she got the pipe(collected over a year, to minimise the shock/attention…she didn’t know til i asked for a ditchwitch)…and the Machine.
        I got the labor(EITC)
        and taught two young men how to do plumbing, Amfortas Style.
        (FWIW)
        now i have water everywhere, and can cut down on the hose dragging madness, and can finally use fire for some needed clearing.
        I got through it with grit teeth and beer and weed.
        I ain’t worth shootin’
        Bruxist Tenacity is a form of Hubris, after all.
        Nemesis found me wanting on the second day.
        I’m high as a kite and drunk as a skunk in her honor on the Third.
        it is as if a stone wall has fallen upon me.

        (and , continuing the Amfortas gets to do the playlist:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtT_8pEjHgo
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPFB-z2ezXk

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Oh yes. Labouring in the fields of the lord.
          Was it the hand drug Ditchwitch or the ride on type? That makes all the difference. (I’ve used both types.)

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            it was a walk in front of(one goes backwards)
            with tracks instead of wheels.
            whole lot better than the giant tiller models of yore.
            my ass is less kicked than it would have been with one of those.
            (still kicked enough)
            would have taken the three of us a week to dig all that by hand.
            it did have a hard time digging through the county road.
            didn’t get it near as deep as i wanted it,there, but with the steel pipe sheath, it should be ok(I’ll mark it with a sign for the graders)

            added feature, it’s the speed bump i’ve longed for…exactly where it will slow down my hot-footed neighbor lady at the end of the road.(3 dogs, 4 goats, and a goose are on her kill list, so far)

            Reply
          2. WobblyTelomeres

            FWIW, I have a cousin who did some hard time for selling weed. One of the things that didn’t get confiscated was a bulldozer he had taken in trade. Kind of a kick to visit him, over in the Magnolia State, on the 300 acres he inherited from his dad, and watching him in the field bulldozing whatever-the-fook he wants to, 78yo, high as a kite.

            Reply
              1. WobblyTelomeres

                Not gonna happen. Put a camera on him and he’d probably kill himself trying to jump a ditch. He’s already dozed up a couple of mounds he likes running over.

                Reply
    2. Matthew

      I’m guessing it’s the Clinton people who need to get past the possibility/probability that Bill fiddled some kids.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        That issue has been raised concerning both Clintons.
        Alas, we will never truly know until un-doctored photos of either Clinton surface showing said proscribed behaviour.
        Otherwise, we will have to rely on psychological analysis of the person’s “character.”
        As Mr. Barnum would probably have signified: “This way to the ‘Lepus Foramen.”‘–>

        Reply
        1. flora

          I knew a guy connected with the Air Marshalls Service back in the day. So this is only hearsay and at a time distance. ( disclaimer ). According to him, back then, your “concerned both Clintons” comment is spot on.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Ouch!
            One can never be too cynical.
            I always wondered why Webb Hubbell never claimed paternity….if only to protect his daughter.

            Reply
    3. Shiloh1

      However the sky is in the all-is-well white, upscale suburban, angry pink hat wearing, working Moms world.

      I identify with the Tulsi fans on this. Too many of the moneyed and powerful would have went down if Epstein talked, right Bill Barr and SDNY?

      Reply
    4. Robert Hahl

      This Epstein result might be explained by the fact that Klobuchar’s supporters are mainly from the mid-west. Many folks from there simply will not attribute bad behavior to bad motives unless the evidence is undeniable. I’m married to one so my sample may be biased, but she is definitely not the only one.

      Reply
  5. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: The Epstein murder and Democratic supporters

    Can we expect much out of Senora Elena Klobuchar’s supporters?

    Re: Obama and torture leading to Trump.

    This is the case for every thing. The whole notion Obama knew better than long standing laws such as his claimed worry that prosecuting white collar crime would tank the economy would only lead to outward displays of pilfering and those who desperately want to pilfer or sign their own pardons in the case of Bloomberg.

    Reply
    1. Hepativore

      On the other hand, could this not have a silver lining? What would stop Sanders trying to implement things like Medicare For All and other programs through Executive Orders? The precedents have already been set by W. Bush, Obama, and Trump, so it seems to me that somebody like Sanders could use the increased power of the presidency to push aside a belligerent or unhelpful congress. Since W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security and the indefinite detention programs through Executive Orders, I do not think that Medicare For All would be any more excessive.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        The other possibility is that the Congress uses a Sander’s presidency as an excuse to reign in the Executive branch, while stealthily protecting the previously enacted Oligarch benefiting measures.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          You got it. Only works for a Trump-type character, who knows how to wield impunity like a sword. Sanders is still mired in “rule of law” thinking. Or maybe he is channeling FDR, though without the family wealth connections and whatever else made the New Deal possible?

          One has to wonder who his cabinet and shadow cabinet would be. Is Jane another Eleanor? And what would be up on his First 100 Days list? Other than “uh, uh, uh, uh, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive”?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I can see someone in the Sanders apparat setting up a cadre of committed and dangerous young combat veterans to support and protect Sanders under the rubric: #socialistlivesmatter.
            Given that the Establishment types think of Sanders as a latter day Lenin, then who will be his Trotsky? He will need one.

            Reply
      1. John

        Hedgies have somehow convinced really rich people that they are doing them a favor and deserve really obscene amounts of money for doing so. Scrooge McDuck is a philanthropist by comparison.

        PE shoots the wounded and sells the bodies.

        Reply
  6. Oregoncharles

    See what happened to the poll charts as soon as there were actual votes? That’s a direct measure of how unreliable the polls are – and maybe also how atypical Iowa and New Hampshire are.

    I’ve been commenting for months how flat most of the lines were. Gone.

    Reply
  7. Lee

    FWIW, Kos himself has come out strongly against Bloomberg (he likes Warren at present), as have many at the Daily Kos. I have been doing regular anti-Bloomberg bombing and strafing runs in the comments there that have been well received. Material here at Naked Capitalism has been my arsenal.Thank you one and all.

    Reply
    1. urblintz

      …and thank you for doing the dirty work! A lot of us here were banned there so to know that Moulitsas isn’t a complete fraud is somewhat helpful. However, he’ll need to do a lot more to compensate for his blatant move from “storming” the gates to manning them.

      Reply
      1. Splashoil

        I wuz blown out of Kos by a HR lynch mob for talking about single payer, Medicaid clawback,
        And the ACÁ in general. They called me a RW troll! Never been back. Here to stay and thanks to all that have made this place so great!

        Reply
    2. Hepativore

      Are you also going to try and take on the fervently anti-Sanders commentariat over at Balloon Juice, as well? You would have your work cut out for you, though…as now many commenters are throwing their weight behind Bloomberg now that it seems evident that Warren’s campaign will be over soon. They are some of the most rabidly #NeverBernie people I have run into.

      Reply
      1. Biph

        Wasn’t he making noises about running as an independent if it looked like Trump and Bernie were going to win their respective nominations in 2016? As for Bernie beating Trump in 2016, yeah and water is wet.

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yep. ‘Kos’ is not his name, but a ‘handle’ for the site “collective.” “We are the Kos. #resistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated.”

        Reply
  8. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: California poll–

    An interesting data point and yet another demonstration of how Grace Slick was right: Jennifer Palmieri and Andrea Mitchell trying to figure out who was to blame for scheduling that California primary so early.

    Reply
  9. Oregoncharles

    ” “January 2020 Producer Price Final Demand Year-over-Year Growth Jumps To 2.1%” ”
    That’s more than you can get presently on a money market account, at least from a reputable bank. If it’s the real inflation rate, savers are really taking it in the shorts.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      That’s the whole idea. Wring out every last cent from the 99%. That’s right, 9%ers, you think your Patróns aren’t coming for you, too?

      Reply
  10. Grant

    May I suggest that articles about Bloomberg go in the class warfare section? Even if he polls this or that right now, he is running to if anything intensify the class war. Given that he is far more competent than Trump, he would be even worse on many fronts.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      “Bloomberg’s superior competence is a mark against him”

      What I’ve been worried about until recently was the possibility of the Dems anointing Biden or a similar candidate and the slight chance that a candidate like that might best Trump. I figured another four or eight years of Clintobama style neoliberal policies – now with added neocon warmongering and neoMcarthyist attacks on freedom of speech! – would leave the field wide open for a really competent charismatic authoritarian dictator-in-all-but-title. Bloomberg has been a surprise. I seriously doubt that he can win the nomination let alone the election but the possibility that he might has given me a new nightmare inducing worst case scenario. All the bad policies of the GOP, personal nastiness at least as bad as Trump, the ability to be approved of by the media and the DC pundits and elites (despite policies and personal qualities nearly identical to Trump), the fact he seems far more competent and able PLUS having all that money to buy whatever support he needs or to make any opposition go away makes the remote possibility of a Bloomberg White House terrifying. That’s without even getting in to the crossing the Rubicon lie precedent of someone essentially outright buying the Presidency.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        Although I think any assumption that Trump is largely incompetent is simply wrong, he’s largely competent in ways that matter (yea he really doesn’t care about most of the MAGA stuff) and bad.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          He has some degree of competence but I’m thinking of the sort of “competence” of Dick Cheney… or Stalin, Mao or Hitler – the ability to install people totally loyal to him at every important level of the government machine and industry and thus to have effectively complete control and power. Trumps inability to make the MIC and security blob fall in line and inability to make the national press say what he wants make him less than frighteningly “competent” in my book. OI could see a Bloomerg having no difficulty at all managing to succeed in that regard.

          Reply
        2. Grant

          I think that Bloomberg would get far more right wing policies passed, and he is well to the right of Clinton and Obama on a number of issues. I mean, he is absolutely atrocious on a wide range of issues, and I think he would do a far better job of getting those in power to just dismantle what remains that makes our society somewhat humane. Trump repulses people in ways that gets them to oppose him on policy, simply because they don’t want to be associated with him.

          But, having said that, I think there is a limit as to how much money can buy. My personal opinion is that Bloomberg is indifferent towards actually winning, but wants to stop Bernie and feels he can play an important role in doing that. Biden failed, and now it is his turn to play that role. If the Democrats choose him when they could have chosen Bernie and if he then loses, I don’t think the party will recover. It shouldn’t, it would prove that it cannot be reformed and something better will have to be built. I don’t think though that if it is Bloomberg versus Bernie that Bloomberg would win. Come the convention, trying to install him would cause utter chaos. Problem for people like Perez is that there is no one near Biden ideologically that is better as a general election candidate, so rigging it for someone likely to lose would have gigantic blowback.

          Reply
  11. Jason Boxman

    I looked at GroupOn last year in Boston to see if there’s anything interesting to do. It’s a ghost town, other than a bunch of vendors selling tours. A decade ago, all kinds of stuff was on GroupOn.

    It’s dead as a platform.

    All that’s left is for someone to turn off the light.

    Reply
    1. chuck roast

      Chances of a re-count are 100%, but its unclear to me what they re-count. Did everybody get a paper ballot? Are the ballots secure? Who controls them – the Cullinary Union? The Democratic National Corporation? How about my personal favorite…the OAS? Is there anything to recount?

      This is a total set-up. It goes like this…
      1. Bernie is the run-away favorite,
      2. The voting takes place,
      3. Shocking news! Mayor Pete edges out Bernie,
      4. Bloomberg wins Nevada by coming in third,
      5. It’s now a Mayor vs. Mayor heavyweight throwdown,
      6. Herself enters the race and is put on the SC ballot,
      7. NC disappears from the internet as all fellow travelers commit collective hari-kari.

      Reply
  12. William Hunter Duncan

    As to CLT laminate lumber, I remember when I was training to be a builder, my leads telling me, don’t get a sliver of that **** or the 70 chemicals in there are gonna turn your arm black and you could lose it.

    So I’m not necessarily sure if it is more green or sustainable than steel or concrete. Particularly not if we turn all the forests into monoculture industrial ag farms.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      My thought was what is the fascination with making skyscrapers out of ANY material? No doubt there are ‘studies” that “prove” they are “efficient” or some such crap. My urban planning prof called them “corporate phalluses.”

      Sorry if that term is politically incorrect../s One never knows, these days of instant high dudgeon at imagined slights, or quick-draw Idpol pistols to intimidate the ‘woke…’

      Reply
    2. Copeland

      Yep, and doesn’t all that sequestered carbon go “up in moke” during the milling, and milling, and milling, and gluing, and pressuring and heating, and cooking process?

      Good to see you on here;)

      Reply
  13. dcrane

    So the Russiagate zombie rises again.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51566470

    First article I saw on this presented the situation as Trump asking Assange to “conceal” the hack – a hack that hasn’t been very well proven in public. But the BBC suggests something more along the lines of Trump offering Assange a pardon for telling the truth (or, at least, something that Assange has long maintained which may well be true). And once again we have to wonder why, if the Russiagate conspiracy is true, Mueller never bothered to interview Assange…

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      You know how writers sometimes refuse ideas and art from fans, to keep from ownership disputes in case they use that idea? Clearly MI6 really doesn’t want Assange to breathe free air and they’re heading that (quite meritorious) pardon off at the pass.

      Reply
    2. ronnie mitchell

      People continue to conflate the prosecution of Assange with the 2016 election and Russiagate but his indictment is solely over the “Pentagon disclosures” in 2010.

      “Here we go again: Media report ‘Trump asked Assange to deny/cover up link with Russia’… quoting statement showing no such thing ”

      “Mueller delivered his report, finding no evidence of any Americans “colluding” with Russia in the 2016 election, on March 22, 2019. Less than three weeks later, on April 11, Assange’s asylum was revoked and he was hauled out of the embassy in handcuffs. The WikiLeaks publisher was thrown into a dungeon in Belmarsh, where he has been ever since. In May, the US government revealed the expanded indictment, threatening him with 175 years behind bars for “attempted hacking” – but in relation to the 2010 Pentagon disclosures, not the 2016 election. ”

      https://www.rt.com/op-ed/481238-assange-trump-rohrabacher-russia-dnc/

      Reply
    3. JTMcPhee

      I’m sure others connect Assange’s situation to that of Raoul Wallenberg, who also suffered from Swedish government perfidy. Here’s some info on Wallenberg, who saved a lot of Hungarian Jews from the German Reich, including how the Swedish government let him rot in the soviet gulag: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/raoul-wallenbergs-biographer-uncovers-important-clues-his-final-days-180957837/

      And the Swedish government has other dirty hands to wash: http://newsjunkiepost.com/2012/12/27/is-a-zionist-connection-at-play-to-frame-wikileaks-assange-in-sweden/

      I’d give greater beatification points to Assange, for daring to release the information he did, showing the day-to-day horrors we live with almost without notice.

      Reply
      1. John A

        Wallenberg most probably died not long after he came into Soviet captivity, whether by natural causes, neglect/ill treatment, or something more sinister. The USSR did not want to admit this and it suited western propaganda as another stick to beat them with.

        Reply
  14. GooGooGaJoob

    Re: Nevada Early Caucus Turnout

    Poor Ralston, he’ll now have to work twice as hard to rat(family blog) the narrative. I still have the belief the caucus is going to be as much, if not greater mess that 2016.

    That being said, it might be futile. Seeing the line at the UNLV gives me reason to think they are going to be swallowing hard when it comes time to announce the results.

    https://twitter.com/ItsJustMarkNV/status/1229908863974920194

    Reply
  15. Acacia

    NYT latest on the Coronavirus:

    Japan Lets Cruise Passengers Walk Free. Is That Safe?

    79 new cases aboard the Diamond Princess on Wednesday and three health ministry officials have fallen ill, but everybody else is free to go home, ride public transit, etc. It’s almost like govt bureaucrats want to make the whole situation worse, so they can appear to be “doing something about it”.

    The only upside I see to this is that when the 2020 Olympics get cancelled, Japanese business owners will be calling for Shinzo Abe’s head on a pike. Unlike the Fukushima debacle — which Abe’s LDP enabled but it didn’t happen on their watch — they will own this epic blunder.

    Reply
  16. Toshiro_Mifune

    How can I decline engagements without seeming antisocial?
    Somewhere in my 30s I stopped caring if I seemed antisocial to others. I finally came to the point where I was comfortable with myself and in my own skin that I could let it just go. So at social events I just started doing the “Irish Goodbye” wherein I said “bye” and just left. No need to hang around for any longer, time ticking away, I’m gone.
    My wife has accused me of being antisocial a few times. My response was that I have had a lifetime of experience telling me I don’t have anything in common to discuss with some people, so I’m not going to spend time trying. She isn’t always happy with that but hasn’t found a counter argument yet.

    Reply
  17. Judith

    Saagar Enjeti and Ryan Grim spoke today on Rising about Buttigieg’s latest lies in which he claims endorsements from prominent African Americans in South Carolina that the African Americans denied. They make the point that Buttigieg would never even attempt this about endorsements from white people.

    Buttigieg is quite the liar.

    Oh, and Adolph Reed, in a good interview, sounded worried about an authoritarian winning the 2020 election, and called PB a little Bloomberg.

    Reply
        1. Copeland

          That show is dense, they really cover a lot of ground an hour, and have excellent guests.

          And a conservative co-host that isn’t nausea inducing.

          Reply
      1. Jeff W

        Rising “SHOCK POLL: Sanders leads with African-American voters for the first time” here:

        Saagar Enjeti: But, Julia, what really is crazy is that Biden fell 18 points in this poll over—I think it’s a two-week period. I mean, it’s a massive, dramatic fall. Is that?…I mean…I don’t know…what do you make of that?

        Julia Manchester [political reporter for The Hill]: It’s probably really bad news for his campaign…

        Reply
  18. Monty

    Has everybody got the shots ready for tonight’s DNC drinking game.

    Rule #1 Every time you hear a fallacious, right wing talking point you must drink.

    Reply
  19. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    There’s always some study that purports to prove that ‘consciousness is simply a matter of whizzing electrons and chemical imprints but that monkey study isn’t convincing me of anything.
    They’d love nothing more than to be able to just turn everyone on and off with a remote switch. For millennia, its made the sociopaths who always work their way to the top and then abuse everyone and every thing else crazy that they can’t find the on/off button.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      It’s not “on-off,” more of a sliding switch or rheostat.

      A long-ago friend with several PhDs in the biosciences talked proudly about her project for General Mills. Involved wiring up “volunteers” and then examining with latest technology how their brains reacted to combinations of odors and colors. The goal of the research, not the stated one but the one she understood was the aim, was to “hidden-persuade” people to irresistibly reach for the cereal box that gave off the right combination of reflected light and pheromones, and drop it in the shopping cart.

      The research, of course, has been going on for over a century now…

      Reply
  20. chuck roast

    Re: Millennials Making the Fed’s Job Harder

    The younger generation of aggressive savers (those with cash anyway) is apparently not doing its civic duty and spending, spending and spending some more. Powell should complain to congress and they should criminalize this activity. What is it with all this rational behavior anyway? I thought these kids were seamlessly adopting the standard American sociopathy of Consumerism. They aren’t even buying cars anymore. Pretty soon they will be demanding improved public transit. What the h**l is the matter with these kids? Well, I’m blaming it all on the parents and those hand-thingys that they all walk around looking at. Put the darned machines down and shop!

    Reply
    1. jrs

      Well if you can’t afford to put your money into a mortgage, because you can’t afford a house at over-inflated prices, what else are you gonna do?

      Reply
    2. eg

      LOL — article manages to identify the problem of demand destruction associated with savings, but then wastes everyone’s time wittering on about monetary policy when the only solution is fiscal policy …

      Reply
  21. RubyDog

    “Turchin….argues — controversially — that societal spasms are cyclic. This idea itself comes and goes: the ancient Greeks took the cyclic nature of history for granted, but it has been unfashionable since the Enlightenment. Today, we tend to have a linear concept of progress”.

    Not sure why this is a controversial idea. The idea of linear progress in history is a recent, Western-centric notion belied by actual history, Steven Pinker notwithstanding. The Chinese have always seen history as cyclic, and have seen multiple repetitions of unified dynastic civilization separated by periods of disunity and chaos. At times China’s population declined by 40% or more during periods of civil war, famine and disease between dynasties. Today that would mean a loss of about 3 billion people world wide, which would be seen as utter catastrophe, but it’s nothing that hasn’t happened before.

    I might recommend Dan Carlin’s book, “The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses”, if you’re interested in societal collapse and its’ causes. You can judge for yourself where we stand now.

    Reply
    1. martell

      I believe Hans Blumenberg discusses the origins of the Enlightenment idea of progress in The Legitimacy of the Modern Age. As I recall, early modern philosophers/scientists were extremely impressed with mathematics, a field in which it looked as though knowledge had been accumulating over the course of milennia, things getting better and better all the time. Descartes is a case in point. Their intellectual descendants went on to infer that most any kind of human endeavor (e.g., politics, art, religion, morality) could (or even does) exhibit a similar pattern.

      Reply
      1. Acacia

        From Rousseau’s Letters:

        I was going to see Diderot, at that time a prisoner in Vincennes; I had in my pocket the Mercure de France which I began to leaf through along the way. I fell across the question of the Academy of Dijon which gave rise to my first writing [Has the progress of the sciences and arts tended to corrupt or purify morals?]. If anything has ever resembled a sudden inspiration, it is the motion that was caused in me by that reading; suddenly I felt my mind dazzled by a thousand lights; crowds of lively ideas presented themselves at the same time with a strength and a confusion that threw me into an inexpressible perturbation; I feel my head seized by a dizziness similar to drunkenness. […] Not being able to breathe anymore while walking, I let myself fall under one of the trees of the avenue, and I passed a half-hour there in such an agitation that when I got up again I noticed the whole front of my coat soaked with my tears without having felt that I shed them.

        Reply
      2. Procopius

        I was terribly disappointed when I actually read Descartes. He claimed (and many of the people who told me about him did, too) that he used completely rational arguments, but very early on he admitted that he could not prove the existence or nature of God rationally so he decided there is an intuitive knowledge that is superior to reason and proceeded from there. Rationality, pfui. I can understand why he did not want to be surprised by the Spanish (or French) Inquisition, but more recent philosophers should be more free.

        Reply
    2. Darthbobber

      Or it could be neither linear nor cyclical, but a series of one-offs, each with unique causes. But that would really suck for the Grand Theorists of all persuasions.

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Some of our thinkers suggest the ages of Humankind are cyclical, endlessly repeating patterns of rise and fall as were characteristic of all prior ages of Humankind. Some make the weaker claim – the ages of Humankind rhyme across time. If so, the poetry is doggerel. I hope there might be a time in our future which might fashion heroic and lyric poetry. But for now, the future poetry sings of a bleak and difficult survival. There do appear to be patterns of historical dynamics that are fractal. Patterns in the small reappear at the larger scales. [Perhaps that explains something of why economists are so fond of their economic man.] Some components of historical dynamics derive from compositions of human dynamics.

      As the 2nd millennium passed into the 3rd it grew plain our Empire was crumbling and its last days would come within my lifetime. Empires have ended before – but this time is different. This end will be far more complete, further reaching, and perhaps more final than any collapse which occurred in the past. It will be the end of an Empire but also the end of the Age of Fossil Fuels. It is strange and eerie to live through last days – strange days watching the emergence of signs of collapse while completely powerless to halt or mitigate the ruin.

      Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    “Fox Has Been “More Fair”: Why Bernie’s Team Has Had It With MSNBC”

    So the Rev Kev fires up his DeLorean’s Flux Capacitor and goes back to 2016. Upon arriving, he makes a series of 10-to-1 bets that by 2020, that Fox News’s Tucker Carlson can be seen as being more trustworthy than MSNBC and CNN combined. Upon returning, collects on all those bets and has enough money to buy Australia as an island retreat.

    Reply
  23. tegnost

    Apologies if this has already posted…
    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazon-launches-app-based-health-care-service-for-seattle-based-employees/

    “For now, Amazon Care is limited to Seattle-area employees enrolled in an Amazon health-insurance plan — ruling out part-time workers, including many of the company’s warehouse and grocery employees, who are ineligible for health care through their employer.

    Improves access! I wonder where the S team stands on M4A…..

    Reply
  24. Senator-Elect

    The article on big and small companies by Jeff Spross is good. He starts to get at the big picture: what is an economy for?

    So many so-called economists can’t even come up for air from the theoretical deep end to explain why we should adjust the tax system in just such a way or boost productivity. An economy needs to serve people’s needs. Too often, supporting small business, preserving big business’s profits or enhancing competitiveness become ends in themselves rather than means to make people’s lives better.

    And, of course, none of them ever admit that this means it all comes down to moral and political choices….

    Reply
  25. kareninca

    Today, despite having the (regular, I presume) flu, I dragged myself off to take my elderly father in law to some appointments. The woman who did one of his scans was the same person who did it three years ago, and for whatever reason I happened to remember what she had told me about herself then (that she was from India; was a Jain; grew up in Northern India and her most powerful formative memory was the destruction of the Golden temple in 1984. I was in India then but really I didn’t even notice since I was 20 years old and didn’t buy newspapers). She was surprised that I remembered these things.
    So – I brought up the coronavirus, and that we were worried about being able to continue to get meds, since so many come from China (or India but with the precursors from China). She agreed that would likely be a issue. Then she said that she thought that presently China was simply killing people who had symptoms or who tested positive. That was interesting. The only news source she mentioned was RPC, which I think is reputable. I didn’t ask her where she read this in particular. It is the sort of thing that China might do, but still. We discussed India’s problems, and all of her views of them were normal (corruption; overpopulation; abuse of minorities; pollution; water shortages). So it’s not like she was coming up with a bunch of paranoid theories.
    I am relating this not because I have reason to believe it (I don’t have reason), but because a seemingly very normal person is convinced of it.

    Reply
  26. ALM

    Yes, we Bernie Bros are a problem, insurmountable in my view. As a Bernie Bro who also happens to be a 65 year-old woman, I will not vote for Bloomberg under any circumstances because he represents an existential threat to what remains of our democracy. Bloomberg has already demonstrated his willingness and capacity to buy the Democratic Party leadership and establishment Democrats, and he is well on his way to buying the Party’s nomination. He’s also on his way to buying the U.S. government because, unlike Trump, he has the fortune and demonstrated will to do it. Once in the Oval Office, what would stop Bloomberg and Bloomberg funded PACS from dropping multi-million dollar ad buys, backing primary challenges, and making generous “campaign” contributions to buy enough members of Congress to ram through his awful policies? Certainly not the zombie Democratic Party. And certainly not the Republican Party which has long sought the compete dismantling of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and the capitulation of the “lazy slobs” of labor to global capital.

    If the Democratic Party is so stupefyingly rotten, corrupt, inept, and feeble that it deploys a Republican strongman as its 2020 Presidential candidate, the Party needs to die. I am done voting for compromised compromise candidates who have brought us to this place where selling out constituents has become embedded in the Democratic Party’s platform.

    Reply

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