2:00PM Water Cooler 2/21/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

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

Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

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

And for South Carolina, coming soon:

And for Super Tuesday:

Super Tuesday states: AL, AK, CA, CO, ME, MA, MN, NC, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, and VA.

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2020

For readers who want to play around with the charts, here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Still waiting on post-debate national polls. we have one new state poll from NV. As of 2/21/2020, 12:00 PM EST (one-day percentage):

And the numbers:

These numbers don’t reflect the debate results, so Warren may claw her way over the 15% threshold (although there’s been a lot of early voting already (one reason early voting is so bad)).

I thought I’d put together a sampling of Super Tuesday results, with the caveat that most state polls are irregular, small, bad, and a lot of the leads are in the margin of error. But we carry on! (We seem to have only one poll for one or two, but that could be a data issue.)

CA:

CA numbers:

A eight-point lead for Sanders in CA is impressive, but I’m not sure it’s enough to overcome election chicanery, or Bloomberg’s money (he’s now in second, based purely on advertising).

MN:

MN numbers:

Klobuchar guaranteed some delegates.

NC:

NC numbers:

Sanders leading in a Southern state.

TX:

TX numbers:

Sanders leads in another Southern state (I’m guessing from the Latin vote).

VA:

VA numbers:

Bloomberg ties with Sanders; unsurprising given how many of the operatives and NGOs that Bloomberg has bought live in the Northern Virginia burbs.

Sanders should get delegates 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.)

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): People don’t appreciate the sheer scale of Bloomberg’s wealth:

Bloomberg (D)(2): Scale once more:

Bloomberg (D)(3): “‘It’s going to take a rich guy to beat Trump’: Why some Democrats back Bloomberg” [Philip Rucker, Bloomberg]. “[H]ere in Stockton, a central California crossroads where low-wage warehouse workers feel left out of the economic boom and the bustling immigrant community has been under siege by President Trump’s crackdown, voters have a different take on Bloomberg’s wealth. Many Democrats here said they didn’t know that much about the former New York mayor until he started popping up on television in recent weeks. But after an unprecedented advertising blitz in the run-up to the March 3 ‘Super Tuesday’ contests — when California’s primary will be the biggest prize of all — they have begun repeating Bloomberg’s slogan: ‘Mike will get it done.’… ‘I don’t care that he’s a billionaire trying to buy the election,’ [Lynn Silva, 66, a retired special-education instructor for incarcerated adults, is a lifelong Democrat] said. ‘If that’s what it takes to beat Trump, that’s fine. I loved [Sen. Kamala D. Harris], but look at her: Out. I loved [Sen.] Cory Booker, but look at him: Out. No money.’ ‘These aren’t regular times,’ Silva added. ‘We’ve got to get Trump out. That’s the bottom line.'” • I wonder if an FDR framing would bring Silva over to Sanders.

Bloomberg (D)(4): “Bloomberg is the Equal Evil” [Counterpunch]. “Bloomberg’s 12-year record as mayor of New York, his billions in personal spending as a political and “philanthropic” donor, and his many recorded public statements all suggest strongly that a Bloomberg regime would be at least as extreme, dangerous to democracy, lawless, and warlike as a second Trump term. I would never vote for either of these men, who are similar in all the ways that matter most, including a shared record as serial purveyors of misogynistic harrassment of women. Even were it possible to persuade me to “vote blue no matter who” in Bloomberg’s case, there is little point in trying. Tens of millions of others who might vote for a Democrat against Trump will never vote for Bloomberg, the Republican oligarch, if he seizes control of the party.”

Bloomberg (D)(5): “The Bloomberg Myth Explodes on Live TV” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. • This was in Links, but I cannot resist this great quote: “If Bloomberg can’t handle being asked by Warren how many NDAs he’s had signed, just imagine when Trump offers him a box to stand on and asks him how it feels to have to spend $4 million per friend.” • Yep.

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(1): “Buttigieg says he can win Republicans in a contest with Trump. The polls don’t.” [NBC]. “Buttigieg earned the support of just 5 percent of self-identified Republican voters in a potential matchup with Trump, who garnered 92 percent in a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey taken after Buttigieg tied for first (with Bernie Sanders) in Iowa and finished second in New Hampshire.” • To be fair to Buttigieg, the distribution of that 5% really matters, as 2016 showed.

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders’s Secret to Attracting Latino Support: Talking to Them” [The Intercept]. “Danny Parra, a 19-year-old student who played in the tournament, told The Intercept that he’s voting for Sanders specifically because of the campaign’s consistent outreach. He added that he doesn’t really “follow politics,” but became interested in Sanders because he was always seeing the campaign’s “little stands” on his community college campus… And out of all the Democratic candidates running for the nomination, Latinos gave the most political donations to Sanders, contributing almost $8.3 million to the campaign in 2019, according to an analysis of campaign finance data by Plus Three, a technology company. The analysis, first reported by NBC News last week, found that 36 percent of Latinos’ dollars went to the democratic socialist.”

Sanders (D)(2): “Inside Bernie’s Unorthodox Plan To Beat Trump” [In These Times]. “It’s hard to know how much weight to put on the Iowa and New Hampshire results. Both states are more than 90% white and heavily engaged every four years by presidential campaigns. The contests ahead will test whether Sanders can turn out new voters in states with significant populations of Latinos (who heavily favor Sanders) and where working-class voters may never receive another campaign’s knock… The so-called nonvoter group Sanders is going after includes the newly eligible young voter, the non-registered voter, the occasional voter and the regular voter who doesn’t primary. These nonvoters are younger, less affluent and less likely to be white. Most make less than $30,000/year. Reaching these voters costs money and can come at the expense of outreach to more reliable voters. Sanders, the primary’s most successful fundraiser, is using that money to “cast a broad net,” says Chuck Rocha, a senior advisor to the campaign. In the first five primary states, the Sanders campaign began door-knocking almost a year ago, talking with voters to “determine who is most likely to be energized by Bernie Sanders.” • CA will be interesting….

Sanders (D)(3): “To Dream of a Jewish President” [The New Republic]. “The rough cantorial rise and fall of his voice says Jew and Jew and Jew while it says justice and billionaires and health care.” • So when people say Sanders “yells,” this is what they are reacting to, and it does not speak well of them. This article is well worth a read.

Warren (D)(1): The unity candidate:

Warren (D)(2): Picking out the drapes:

Warren (D)(3): Oopsie (1):

Still up, as of this writing. Staffing problems?

UPDATE Warren (D)(4): Oopsie (2):

* * *

UPDATE Another multiple endorsement:

I’d like to have been a fly on the wall at the meetings that led to this outcome.

UPDATE Wowsers:

* * *

NV:

“Nevada Democrats to caucus workers: ‘Don’t make early dinner plans'” [CBS News]. “Seth Morrison, a Nevada precinct site leader, is encouraged that the Nevada Democratic Party invested resources into training, but told CBS News he had concerns that “the very dedicated people doing the training are not skilled educators. They tend to rush through the slides, don’t allow time for questions and discussion, and many of us have found it hard to absorb such a complex process.” • It would be really nice if Nevada weren’t, well, part of a pattern.

CA:

“Democrats try to blunt strong California showing for Sanders” [Associated Press]. “Sanders has been organizing intensively among Latinos and young voters, producing campaign materials in seven languages, going, as one aide said, “where most candidates don’t go.” Mike Bloomberg has tried to counter Sanders with saturation advertising, including buying time at television stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon that also reach California. Pete Buttigieg held three public events in the past week to capitalize on his early state momentum. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren remain competitive… Bloomberg’s advertising is buoyed by roughly 300 staff members on the ground, by far the most of any campaign, led by strategists with deep California experience. The campaign will have held 1,000 organizing events in the state by March 3, spokesman Mike Buckley said, including niche get togethers like “Surfers for Mike” and “Scientists for Mike.”… Biden, meanwhile, has only held public events twice in the state since November and has no television advertising…. Warren similarly has spent no time in the state this year, though her campaign is hosting multiple events targeting Latino voters this week and has more than four dozen staff members. A spokesman declined to say if she plans to run TV ads… So far, just 8% of Democratic mail voters have returned ballots, according to tracking by Political Data Inc. Just a fraction of the state’s 5 million independent voters have requested the ability to vote in the Democratic primary, prompting the Sanders campaign to schedule a Friday press conference to highlight and explain the process.” • The Sanders campaign is unforgivably late taking up how Democrat Party control over the ballot screws over independent voters. Readers will recall we’ve been pointing to this for months. This is a very interesting article, AP at its best, and worth reading in full.

Democrat National Convention

UPDATE “End Superdelegates Now.” [UnifyLabor.org]. • Handy list of superdelegates, with contact info.

UPDATE “Bloomberg quietly plotting brokered convention strategy” [Politico]. “Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him — and block Bernie Sanders — in the event of a brokered national convention. The effort, largely executed by Bloomberg’s senior state-level advisers in recent weeks, attempts to prime Bloomberg for a second-ballot contest at the Democratic National Convention in July by poaching supporters of Joe Biden and other moderate Democrats, according to two Democratic strategists familiar with the talks and unaffiliated with Bloomberg. The outreach has involved meetings and telephone calls with supporters of Biden and Pete Buttigieg — as well as uncommitted DNC members — in Virginia, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and North Carolina, according to one of the strategists who participated in meetings and calls.”

Health Care

“Medicare For All Will Help Improve The Lives Of Black Women” [Bernie Sanders, Essence]. “It is impossible for any rational person to deny that our current healthcare system is dysfunctional and cruel. As a nation, we spend more than twice as much on health care as the people of almost every major country on earth while achieving worse outcomes. Even worse, Black Americans see only a fraction of those sub-par returns… Medicare for All requires us to address racial health disparities. It creates an Office of Primary Health to make sure that people living in underserved areas receive the high-quality health care that they need and that we adequately train doctors, nurses and medical providers to eliminate the unacceptable disparities in healthcare in urban and rural areas. And by substantially increasing funding for the National Health Service Corps as well as fully funding all Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which have a proud tradition of graduating a disproportionate share of Black doctors and nurses, we can facilitate the education of medical professionals and make sure that Black patients are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.” • Nice venue for Sanders.

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “We Need to Learn Lessons From Labour’s ‘Antisemitism Crisis'” [Jacobin]. “The campaign to depict the British Labour Party as a hotbed of antisemitism was, in its profile and its protractedness, unprecedented in modern British politics. One study tallied 5,500 national newspaper articles on the topic between 2015 and 2019. This remarkable proliferation stemmed from the campaign’s novel political character. Although Jewish and pro-Israel groups had frequently leveled the charge of antisemitism against the Palestine solidarity movement in the past, Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader saw such charges weaponized by the full breadth of Britain’s establishment, as it sought to discredit and defeat a popular insurgency. Three distinct if overlapping networks pushed the story: the Conservative Party, the Labour Party’s own right wing, and Britain’s pro-Israel Jewish establishment. Each played an indispensable role. Tory and Labour-right allegations would have lacked plausibility without the validation of Jewish leadership groups, which also mobilized considerable resources behind the campaign.”

UPDATE “San Francisco official charged with corruption in FBI probe” [Press Democrat (calvin)] . “A top San Francisco public official and go-to bureaucrat to mayors over two decades was charged with public corruption Tuesday, upending City Hall as elected leaders scrambled to reassure the public that bribery and kickbacks would not be tolerated. The complaint unsealed against San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and longtime restaurateur Nick Bovis focuses on an aborted attempt in 2018 to bribe a San Francisco airport commissioner for retail space. It also alleges other schemes in which Nuru is accused of trying to help his friend score contracts to build homeless shelters and portable toilets, along with a restaurant at the city’s new $2 billion transit station. Nuru is also accused of accepting free labor at his vacation home and a John Deere tractor as well as lavish gifts from a developer, including a $2,070 bottle of wine.” • I don’t understand this; San Francisco is a liberal Democrat enclave. I do wonder what vineyard the bottle of wine came from, though…

UPDATE “Progressive Latino pollster: 98% of Latinos do not identify with ‘Latinx’ label” [ThinkNow, Medium (Cafefilos)]. “Over the past few months and years, several of our clients have noticed the term “Latinx” trending as a new ethnic label to describe Latinos. It has been used by academics, activists, and major companies, including NBC and Marvel, as well as politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren. We were curious about the appeal of “Latinx” among the country’s 52 million people of Latin American ancestry and decided to test its popularity. While my colleagues and I are progressive on social issues, as researchers, we have to put aside our personal biases and render advice based on the best available empirical evidence. To examine the acceptance of ‘Latinx’ our firm conducted a nationwide poll of Latinos using a 508-person sample that is demographically representative of Census figures, yielding a ± 5% margin of error with a 95% confidence interval. We presented our respondents with seven of the most common terms used to describe Latinos and asked them to select the one that best describes them. When it came to ‘Latinx,’ there was near unanimity. Despite its usage by academics and cultural influencers, 98% of Latinos prefer other terms to describe their ethnicity. Only 2% of our respondents said the label accurately describes them, making it the least popular ethnic label among Latinos.” • Thanks, PMC…

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.

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 15 February 2020 – Intuitive Sectors Return to Contraction” [Econintersect]. “We review this data set to understand the economy. The intuitive sectors (total carloads removing coal, grain, and petroleum) contracted 3.9 % year-over-year for this week. We primarily use rolling averages to analyze the intuitive data due to weekly volatility – and the 4 week rolling year-over-year average for the intuitive sectors improved from 0.0 % to -0.6 %.”

Trucking: “Trucking Industry Growth Likely Contracted Again In January 2020” [Econintersect]. “Headline data for the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the CASS Freight Index continue to provide opposing statistics – the question remains is trucking up or down? The CASS index is inclusive of rail, truck, and air shipments. The ATA truck index is inclusive of only trucking industry member movements (ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight). Even so, CASS breaks out trucking and claims it is down 6.3 % year-over-year and down 3.6 % month-over-month. I put a heavier weight on the CASS index which is consistent with rail and ocean freight. It is not logical that truck freight goes up when industrial production and ocean freight decline – not to mention the continuing affects of the trade war and the coronavirus. Econintersect tries to validate truck data across data sources. It appears this month that the truck employment rate of growth continues to slow.”

* * *

Shipping: “CargoMetrics data reveals depth of China cargo collapse” [Freight Waves]. “CargoMetrics has spent the past decade amassing and analyzing ship-movement data, discerning patterns and developing quantitative predictive algorithms. It’s now bringing its powers to bear on what’s happening in China…. After Feb. 7, volumes began to nosedive, with the pace of declines accelerating through Feb. 17, the last day of the index data provided by CargoMetrics.” • Handy chart for imports:

Handy chart for exports:

Yikes.

Retail: “Clicking Buy on Amazon? It’s Trying to Prevent a Coronavirus Caveat” [New York Times]. “Over the past few weeks, Amazon has responded to the crisis by making larger and more frequent orders of Chinese-made products that had already been shipped to the United States, according to company emails and consultants who work with major brands. Some of its suppliers have cut back on advertising and promotions on the site so they don’t run out of products too quickly. Amazon also sent an urgent email to brands on Wednesday about Prime Day, its midsummer mega sale, indicating that it has begun worrying about inventory for the event. And the company has contacted some of its third-party merchants, whose dog leashes, crayons and other products account for about 60 percent of its sales, to figure out how their flow of goods might be impeded. “Hello!” read one recent email from Amazon to a seller, which The New York Times reviewed. “We have identified that part of your supply chain process might be China dependent and in light of the coronavirus outbreak effecting manufacturing and logistics in China, we are reaching out to you to understand its impact on your business operations.” With its reliance on Chinese manufacturing, Amazon is turning into a case study of how a giant retailer grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus and what may lie ahead for other stores.” • Great.

Tech: “Google Just Gave Millions Of Users A Reason To Quit Chrome” [Forbes]. • “To understand why requires a brief guide to how ScrollToTextFragment works. The simple version is it allows Google to index websites and share links down to a single word of text and its position on the page.” • So if that single word of text is “cancer,” well… That’s valuable data that could be sold.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 45 Neutral (previous close: 49 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 21 at 12:28pm.

The Biosphere

“Jeff Bezos’s $10 Billion Climate Pledge Is Actually Tiny” [David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine]. “what is significant about the scale of the gift isn’t its largeness. It’s its tininess. Judged by the standards of the climate crisis, $10 billion is pathetically little — practically speaking, almost nothing. The most optimistic assessment I know of suggests that decarbonizing the planet’s economy would cost, up front, $73 trillion dollars — meaning that Bezos’s unprecedented commitment amounts to less than one-seven-thousandth of the job.”

“The public is helping us see Jupiter like it’s never been seen before” [CNN]. “Since 2016, the Juno spacecraft has circled Jupiter, scanning the atmosphere and mapping its magnetic and gravitational fields. It’s also carrying JunoCam, a camera specifically designed to record images of the poles; areas of the gas giant not previously well documented.

“We do not have a formal imaging science team on Juno, so we have turned to the public to help us out,” says Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, Juno co-investigator responsible for JunoCam.

The amateur astronomy community assists with planning, she explains, determining when JunoCam should photograph the planet and where. Once images are sent back to Earth, the public has access to raw data, which, with a little photo editing know-how, have been processed into some of the most stunning images yet seen of Jupiter.” • Citizen science! And a really gorgeous gallery.

“The Battle for the Future of Food in Africa” [Independent Science News (SV)]. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiated the latest effort to modernize African agriculture. It launched the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in 2006 with the ambitious goal of doubling productivity and incomes for 30 million farm families by 2020. There is little evidence AGRA will come anywhere near achieving those goals. Fed by heavy doses of government subsidies for commercial seeds and synthetic fertilizers, evidence suggests that AGRA has promoted monocultures of a few staple crops, reduced crop and diet diversity, undermined soil fertility, and produced disappointing gains in productivity and farmer incomes. Ten years into AGRA, Global Hunger Index scores remained in the “serious” or “alarming” categories for 12 of the 13 AGRA countries. Productivity has risen very slowly even for AGRA’s narrow range of priority staple crops. Of Africa’s top five corn producers, Nigeria and Kenya actually saw declining yields. Even where production increased, such as in Zambia, the gains failed to translate into reductions in rural poverty. Some 78 percent of rural Zambians still live in extreme poverty.” • The same will be true for billionaire climate efforts, like Bezos’s pissant $10 billion project.

“Oh, No, Not Knotweed!” [Slate]. “Knotweed has flourished in the U.S.—especially in the past few decades, driven by construction and flooding. Experts also believe that climate change plays a role, with disruptions like heavier rainfall, warmer winters, and the desynchronization of native plants and animals all favoring hardy invaders like knotweed. Knotweed is “out of control,” says the New York City Parks Department, which has spent almost $1 million treating just 30 acres of knotweed citywide since 2010.” • Nasty stuff. I had some once, and I could actually see it change in height, as I sat in the backyard for an hour. I destroyed it, or at least thinned it out, by growing a tomato patch over it.

Health Care

Social distancing on the Mainland:

“Five Years Later, HIV-Hit Town Rebounds. But The Nation Is Slow To Heed Lessons.” [KHN]. “With support from his family and community, [26-year-old Ethan Howard] is making his way as a musician after emerging from the hell of addiction, disease and stigma. The former intravenous drug user was among the first of 235 people in this southern Indiana community to be diagnosed in the worst drug-fueled HIV outbreak ever to hit rural America. Now, five years after the outbreak, Howard counts himself among the three-quarters of patients here whose HIV is so well controlled it’s undetectable, meaning they can’t spread it through sex. He’s sober in a place that has new addiction treatment centers, a syringe exchange and five times more addiction support groups than before the outbreak. But as this city of 4,100 recovers, much of the rest of the country fails to apply its lessons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed 220 U.S. counties vulnerable to similar outbreaks because of overdose death rates, the volume of prescription opioid sales and other statistics tied to injecting drugs. Yet a Kaiser Health News analysis shows that fewer than a third of them have working syringe exchanges.”

Class Warfare

“Frederick Douglass Railed Against Economic Inequality” [Jacobin]. Douglass: “The Spartan lawgiver who discouraged the accumulation of wealth, because of its tendency to impair the liberties of his country, was fully justified in the extreme measures he adopted, by the universal experience of nations, and the fate of his own country; the fall of Spartan liberties dating from the introduction of wealth and consequent luxury of her citizens. His aim to exterminate wealth and refinement entirely, was, perhaps, not wise; it is not wealth of itself that produces the dreaded effects, but its accumulation in the hands of a few — creating an aristocracy of wealth, ready to be the tool of an aggressive tyranny, or to become aggressive upon its own account. With an increase of wealth comes an increase of selfishness, devotion to private affairs, and a contempt of public — unless politics can be made to minister to the all absorbing selfishness of the individual.”

News of the Wired

UPDATE Late-breaking news on Valentine’s Day:

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “Here’s a winter tree for you. It’s in Huntington Central Park (Huntington Beach, CA).”

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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.

307 comments

  1. antidlc

    Fierce S. Texas race brings together Pelosi and the Koch brothers as the left targets Henry Cuellar

    https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2020/02/21/fierce-s-texas-race-brings-together-pelosi-and-the-koch-brothers-as-the-left-targets-henry-cuellar/

    A revolution may be brewing in South Texas, where Henry Cuellar — one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress — faces a young immigration lawyer backed by a who’s who from the party’s left wing, including presidential front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    Millions in outside spending have poured in as abortion rights groups, unions and a long list of progressive groups pitch in for the 26-year-old challenger, Jessica Cisneros.

    The incumbent, a pro-gun, pro-trade centrist who hasn’t had a serious challenge since winning the seat 15 years ago, is getting help from one of the most peculiar alliances in memory, a team that includes Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the party’s House campaign arm and, startlingly, the donor network created by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      cuellar is a piece of work.
      sounds just like about a million randian goptea-ers i have known.
      Bootstraps, baby!, while palming the check.
      he’s been about as clear an indicator that the demparty is broken and colonised as you could wish for.
      pelosi reaching across the aisle like this cinches it.
      there’s far too many republicans in the democratic party.

      Reply
  2. ChiGal in Carolina

    an FDR framing won’t bring anybody over to Sanders unless the campaign makes more use of it.

    my comment yesterday and a useful suggestion from Dan in response:

    ME: my 90-yo mother is gnashing her teeth about how stuck in the rut of his preferred narrative Sanders is (she supports him). She thinks he needs to start responding to the socialist rap by hammering home that he is a New Deal Democrat in the tradition of FDR, who saved this country.

    At least as often as he thunders on about how immoral it is for such a wealthy country to allow so many to die for lack of affordable health care and how corrupt the corporations are, he should shout to the rooftops, I AM A NEW DEAL DEMOCRAT LIKE FDR, WHO SAVED THIS COUNTRY!

    She thinks this is the only way he can get his numbers high enough to avoid a second ballot at the convention because the enormous appeal of this framing to older people will outweigh the negative force field of the socialist label.

    Thoughts? And if so, how to get the word to his campaign?

    DAN: Yesterday there was a twitter feed that voiced concerned over possible shenanigans in the early voting in Nevada. A couple people in the thread said to “dm @ChuckRocha” with the information immediately.

    Chuck Rocha is the Sanders 2020 Senior Advisor and President of Solidarity Strategies. I don’t know that he would be the one to contact about this, but my point is that I imagine a lot of campaign ideas are shared this way, i.e. by direct messaging via twitter.

    I’m not on Twitter myself so I’m not privy to the inner machinations of that world. Hopefully others can expand…

    ME: anybody on Twitter (I’m not) willing to pile on?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      What’s left of FDR’s New Deal legacy, aside from Social Security, price supports on Ag, the right for unions to organize (what few still exist), the SEC (ha ha!) and FDIC insurance on bank deposits?

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        what’s left is the memories of people my mom’s age,as well as a lot younger, who benefited enormously from the New Deal well into the 70’s.
        who’s early years often had FDR in a framed picture on the wall
        and who’s parents sang his praises until the day they died.
        ie: “Boomers”.
        not all of them have been so thoroughly corrupted that it wouldn’t tickle the hypothalamus.
        and given that voting behaviour increases with age in this country, it’s sure worth a shot.

        I’m also not averse to a political campaign teaching a little history…especially history that has been glossed over since my own childhood(50).
        worked for Ross Perot.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          FDR was beloved by the public, hated by the bankers.

          We could have easily gone the route of a demagogue the likes of our current President in the 30’s, but we got lucky.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            I read, either in Conrad Black’s biography or Schlesinger’s history of the New Deal, that FDR once said that Huey Long was one of the two most dangerous men in America. The other was General Douglas MacArthur. We forget how popular MacArthur was for burning out the bonus army’s camp.

            Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          one of teh comments:” a commercial for pitchforks”
          lol.
          let that guy walk a few miles in my shoes.
          i couldn’t tell anything about conformity or marbling, though…it’s the same with angus in the wrong light.

          Reply
      1. skookum red

        I’ve had success responding to the emails I get from Sirota and the Bernie Campaign (bulletins or soliciting $$$ or asking me to get active). Perhaps one out of five times I have received responses specific to the point I made with assurances my observations would be passed up to the appropriate people. I am a regular $$$ contributer to Tulsi, and it works with her staff, too. There is time delay of course because everything I presume filters through volunteers. Gravel’s campaign was responsive, too. I started doing this because of the periodic “surveys” all the campaigns put out that end in dunning for $$$. I didn’t like the selection of topics, no space for me to sound off on my priorities. And I couldn’t find a way to complain about that. I just started sending my priorities and gripes to the source of the surveys with explanation, hey, this is what I think Bernie should talk about in the debates…now I sound off via these emails as long as I can be brief, pointed, and knowledgably frame the topic.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          ive done that with the text messages i sometimes get from people out this way(but much closer to civilisation—like fredericksburg(50 miles) or boerne(90) or dripping springs(70-ish).)
          I didn’t expect it, any of those times, and was pretty surprised that they would do that…it’s so very different from my experience with campaigns or even the texas demparty(who, for a long while, didn’t seem to have a working email or anyone who knew how to pick up a ringing phone)
          where i live, especially, but also those closer in places, i always wrote off the absence as lack of bang for the buck…further out you get from I-35, the sparser the population gets.
          no excuse if they wanted to actually build the party, however.
          so color me impressed with the bernie operation.
          i just wish i had the wherewithal to make those drives when they have barn raisings or whatever.(imagine…someone besides me in Texas with more or less my politics,lol…i’d be like a wiggly dog when you get home)

          Reply
        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          wow, I had no luck with that; I felt the same way, the endless surveys that were really solicitations for donations, and I put something fairly detailed in the text box about M4A—crickets.

          but will try again with this, thanks! and thanks to Dan for his suggestion: I did forward the info to some activists I know who do use Twitter.

          Reply
    2. Samuel Conner

      I don’t know how well this history (highly relevant history, but out of living memory of nearly all) will persuade people.

      I do think that if Sanders gets hit by deficit scolds in debates or the general election, he can accurately point to the massive deficits required to win WW2, that let to enormous economic growth and arguably the best conditions, post-war, for American workers since the founding of the Republic. Of course, along with those deficits there were massive restraints/constraints on civilian consumption.

      But climate change will require similar mobilization and there will be major “side effects” on the civilian economy.

      Reply
      1. Lowell

        Yep. And despite having Stephanie Kelton as adviser, Bernie still couldn’t seem to adequately answer the “how-are-we-gonna-pay-for-it” question.

        Why couldn’t he say something like, “We are going to pay for it in the same way we pay for the trillions upon trillions we allocate to our MIC.”

        Money’s not the problem, political will is.

        Reply
        1. Copeland

          He does say that we “health-care consumers” in the USA are currently being relived of twice as much money per capita as all the other countries that already have medical care for all, and we have worse outcomes.

          So it is already being paid for, twice over. Why doesn’t he say “It’s already paid for, twice over!”???

          Reply
        2. Samuel Conner

          The analogy to MIC funding is certainly valid, and that’s a good way of framing it, since it’s clear that MIC-oriented deficits aren’t burying us in inflation; our productive capacity is not (yet) overtaxed by our imperial exertions.

          I think that Sanders must understand MMT; he had Kelton as senior economic advisor for multi years, IIRC.

          Sanders also has IMO a very accurate sense of what it is politically safe to say, and while MMT is true and useful, it is still politically beyond the pale. MMT purists should not be offended by Sanders’ silence on the subject.

          I got really steamed some weeks/months ago watching the congressional hearing at which Prof Wray testified. The ignorance (affected or real) of both parties was appalling and infuriating (though more so on the R side. The smugness of one swashbuckling R representative as he affirmed his preferred falsities about budget constraints still angers me when I recall it). But this ignorance is widely shared in the electorate (and I shared it until the mid-late ’00s) and people are vulnerable to manipulation by false narratives. I think that Sanders is wisely avoiding that.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Sanders also has IMO a very accurate sense of what it is politically safe to say, and while MMT is true and useful, it is still politically beyond the pale. MMT purists should not be offended by Sanders’ silence on the subject.

            Agreed. I think, very sadly, the same thing goes for RussiaRussiaRussia.

            Reply
      2. RubyDog

        I’ve felt for awhile that Bernie needs to broaden and improve his messaging overall. Bashing billionaires and greedy corporations is all well and good, but will not win the election in and of itself. Too many Americans think that billionaires are fine symbols of American success and simply products of our wonderful and superior free enterprise system. Young people may not fear “socialism”, but for the boomer generation that grew up during the cold war and its’ attendant propaganda, it still has a negative and “foreign” connotation.

        There is a positive economic case to be made for Medicare for All, and Bernie needs do a better job of making that case.

        IMO, the best approach would be to use language congruent with All American values, such as FREEDOM! and LIBERTY!

        FREEDOM from worry about making a choice between paying for your prescription and paying your electric bill.

        FREEDOM from the possibility of bankruptcy due to medical bills, which even happens to people with insurance.

        FREEDOM to change jobs, and not be stuck in a lousy job you hate because you need the health insurance coverage.

        FREEDOM to start a small business without worrying about how to pay for health insurance, not only for your employees but for your own family.

        I think this kind of messaging is needed to counter the “how ya gonna pay for it” and “taking away peoples’ choice” narratives.

        Reply
        1. Typing Chimp

          There is a positive economic case to be made for Medicare for All, and Bernie needs do a better job of making that case.

          This is actually probably best done through super PACs. And YouTube videos. And so on.

          Reply
        2. Michael

          I think Bernie needs to begin to burnish his democratic socialism spear with a message of personal responsibility regarding his proposals.

          Its not a free lunch. We expect people to up their game as citizens.

          Less talk more walk. Exercise economic power. Do with less happily.

          If he doesn’t believe that is part of modern Socialism he is in trouble.

          Reply
    3. hunkerdown

      I don’t think that’s the best message yet. That’s powerful dry powder that, IMO, would be much better deployed in the general to sway the not-quite-so-right wing of Republican voters, than sprinkled on the centrists who know full well that FDR means the end of their upwardly mobile “life plans” they made in high school and mostly successfully “executed” in their lives since then.

      Reply
      1. chuckster

        While you are at it, tell him that branding himself a “democratic Socialist” may have been the biggest exercise in political malpractice since “Read my lips/ No new taxes.”

        Reply
        1. Samuel Conner

          Agreed. Perhaps if the Senator had been calling himself a “New Deal Democrat” or an “FDR Democrat” for the last 50 years, those terms might have more currency now, and perhaps might have stimulated the political consciences of the Democratic Republicans with whom he has been caucusing.

          Reply
          1. Anarcissie

            I thought Sanders’s use of ‘socialist’ was actually a kind of rhetorical judo, since he is not, in fact, a socialist in the traditional sense, but was likely to be called one by his opponents — at least, by his earlier or more elderly opponents. For many, many years conservative Democrats have been claiming the mantle and aura of the New Deal, but in a tedious, defensive way that seems to put people off and causes them to doubt the sincerity of the claimer.

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              For many, many years conservative Democrats have been claiming the mantle and aura of the New Deal, …

              Do you think so? I don’t think they’ve really broadcast it, but one of the basic choices of the Democratic Leadership Council was to spurn the Unions and suck up to Wall Street. I often recommend Al From’s book, The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power. He’s very explicit that this is what the politicians he recruited, like Dick Gephart and Bill Clinton, believed: that the New Deal is outmoded and must be abandoned. Privatize, deregulate, more cops, harsher prison sentences, less spending, welfare “reform,” this is what will win the Presidency, and nothing else matters.

              Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > branding himself a “democratic Socialist” may have been the biggest exercise in political malpractice

          That toothpaste is never going back in the tube. And it does seem to appeal, and rightly, to those whose prospects were blighted by the Crash, and who saw the perps go unpunished.

          Reply
    4. upstater

      A great takedown of Medicare Advantage plans by the Grey Lady:

      Medicare’s Private Option Is Gaining Popularity, and Critics

      I’m not sure, but I think this morning it had the word “Irrevocable” was in the headline… the gist is that in 46 states, the traditional Medicare’s supplemental plans can exclude you for pre-existing conditions. Thus, if a person signs up for a [dis-]Advantage plan and experiences a medical catastrophe and the narrow networks, you’re screwed. You can’t get out of the [dis-]Advantage plans.

      And all the D’s except Bernie are OK with the status quo…

      Reply
      1. flora

        Thanks for the link.

        The ‘better benefits’ of Advantage plans are at the inexpensive end of the medical care scale, such as gym memberships, etc. If a really expensive medical problem occurs traditional Medicare is much better, imo.

        From the linked story:
        ‘ “It gives people in Advantage plans more flexibility to make changes in their coverage,” said David Lipschutz, an associate director at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. “People enrolled in traditional Medicare with a stand-alone prescription drug plan don’t have that flexibility.” ‘

        Good rule of thumb: When a company or booster talks about more flexibility, they really mean for the company, and to the company’s benefit, not yours.

        Yes, the traditional Medicare trust fund is being raided, imo, to subsidize private insurance company Advantage Plans. And, as the story says, CMS is pushing Advantage Plans in its literature. One thing to be aware of is this: The traditional Medicare medigap PLAN C is not the same as the advertised Advantage PART C, though they sound almost identical. PLAN C is traditional, and PART C is Advantage.

        Choosing Advantage isn’t *technically* irrevocable. When you first enroll when you become eligible, in either a traditional or Advantage plan, you’re not subject to medical underwriting to determine you plan premium rate.

        About the one-way ratchet effect: If you start with traditional Medicare, then next year switch to an Advantage, then the following year switch back to traditional Medicare, you may have your premium rates determined by medical underwriting, since you would have a gap in traditional Medicare coverage. Insurance companies are allowed to do medical underwriting in that case.

        If you switch back when you’re in an expensive medical crisis, the medical underwriting could set the premium rate very high for the Medigap policy you want to switch into, or may deny you.

        https://medicare.com/medicare-supplement/can-i-switch-from-medicare-advantage-to-medicare-supplement-insurance/

        Lots of information on the web and at Medicare.gov.

        Reply
        1. flora

          Shorter: traditional Medicare is the much better program for insurance coverage in an expensive medical emergency, imo.

          Reply
          1. Anarcissie

            I studied what the purveyors of these plans alleged, and some of them, including one I chose, claim to do better than the 80% coverage Medicare gives against large claims. Maybe they’re lying? I guess I could go back and look at them again. My finances are such that I’m mostly interested in defenses against catastrophe-level medical expenses.

            Reply
    5. richard

      Yes it has been applied before and yes it is an awesome approach, imo. We have fewer secular gods on the left in ‘merica, fdr and mlk and ? ? (debs? che?? mostly dead gods is what we have tbh)
      we need to invoke the ones we have; use them or lose them!
      Sorry, I have no idea how to get the word out other than what we’re doing now :/
      Think ‘32 everyone

      Reply
    6. Bugs Bunny

      Talking about FDR today is like talking about U.S. Grant in 1940. History books were read back then, but now?

      I think M4A and Student Loans are the USP. They grab young people by the collar. It’s a wake up call. I’ve got 20 yo sons and daughters of friends telling me they’re gonna canvas.

      Reply
      1. Expat2Uruguay

        As you said Bugs Bunny, they grab young people by the collar. When people are talking about language that evokes FDR, they’re talkin about appealing to older people, grabbing them by the sweater, as it were

        Reply
    7. HenrysChoice

      Chigal, I wish I had videoed this to share with you:

      Took my mother to CVS to buy some stuff. Long line, many people waiting at the one register. “Would you like to donate to the American Heart Association?”, the clerk points at some gimmicky little buttons below the credit card screen.
      Mother, who just paid cash for her stuff says “what”?
      I say, “You know, the Chief Executive Officer of this company, Larry Merlo, makes over TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR! How much of that is he donating to the Heart Association?
      When’s the last time you got raise?
      Turn to the line behind me, big smiles, a thumb’s up and one guy clapped. Not sure if he was being cynical or not.

      Reply
    8. Titus

      As I said yesterday simply saying ‘FDR” & “New Deal” doesn’t meaning anything to 90% of the people. FDR was playing off the Great Depression as well. And I got the data to prove it. Listen I respect all of you commenting on this. That said focusing on actual problems people are having in simple terms (because that creates memes) would be very effective. Another president who was extremely effective at making an argument that government should work for citizens was John Quincy Adams. He wanted roads, bridges, and flooding controlled. He wanted slavery abolished. The guy was a senator, president & US representative. And had a great influence on the man who gave his eulogy – Abraham Lincoln.

      Reply
      1. flora

        You’re missing the point.

        Sander’ critics want to paint him as either a scary or out-of-touch socialist, as if the programs he’s offering are wholly alien and unAmerican.

        FDR’s govt run safety net programs and environmental programs – soil conservation, price supports to let ground lie fallow, etc, infrastructure building projects, refute Sanders critics of his programs; using a big govt to do big things for most of the people, not just the favored few. FDR’s programs are now part of the US economic and farming and physical fabric, they haven’t destroyed the country: SS, Medicare (LBJ – the last New Dealer) , soil conservation, regulation of predatory finance, etc. That’s the kind of socialism Sanders is proposing, it isn’t scary or alien…. no matter what Tweety says. ;)

        Reply
        1. flora

          adding:
          More than simply putting people to work, these New Deal projects and laws built the new base for the US’s future prosperity. Expanded roads and highways (transportation), large dams and the TVA (electicity generation, flood control, public water works ), the rural electrification program, Glass-Steagall to create confidence in the financial system, these propelled the US from the physical and economic infrastructure of 1910 to the modern world of 1940 and on.

          No private company or combine of companies could or would do these things. They were rail, monopoly, and laissez-faire economics bound. By 1930, that old way had gone as far as it could go.

          The New Deal was a reset.

          The past 40 years, from 1980-2020, was a return to laissez-faire economics (using new language) and ‘small govt’ when it came to regulation, large public projects, and protecting the public interests. “The era of big government is over,” said Bill Clinton in his 1996 inaugural address. Modern laissez-faire has now gone about as far as it can go. It’s stuck in a rut. It’s no longer creating broadly enjoyed prosperity, or even modernity.

          It’s time for another reset.

          Reply
          1. John

            And, what impresses me most about AOC are her very positive references to FDR and the New Deal. She knows her history as well as a lot of other things.
            The American oligarchy of the 30’s hated FDR to the same degree as the current crop hates Bernie.

            Reply
    9. hoki haya

      The word is received. The modus oprandi at present, largely, is to subsist above the fray. References to FDR, whle empathetic to those who read this site, tend to polarize at best; more frequently it’s non-impactful.

      Reply
      1. hoki haya

        just to add (as i edit lithuanian into armenian with the sun speaking most loudly and first), i claim no special knowledge or connection but feel it safe to say that of course this website is given attention to by several camps, and also that it’s quite easy, in my experience anyway, to communicate with the Sanders campaign directly. Not as easy as communicating with Tulsi’s people, but still, a thoughtful message is usually met with a thoughtful response. goodluck in Nevada!

        Reply
  3. Carey

    “..Democratic strategist Lynda Tran said Biden “had the strongest debate performance of the primary cycle by a mile. And he showed his supporters the fighting Joe they have been standing with for his many years of public service.”..”

    these people

    Reply
  4. clarky90

    Is it anti-semitic and hateful to criticize or make fun of Michael Bloomberg?

    “His family is Jewish. He is a member of the Emanu-El Temple in Manhattan. Bloomberg’s paternal grandfather, Alexander “Elick” Bloomberg, was an immigrant from Russia. Bloomberg’s maternal grandfather, Max Rubens, was an immigrant from present-day Belarus.”

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      Of course not. It’s antisemitism to criticize him because of his religion. Or to insinuate it makes him take certain views. Or that he has split allegiances. Or anything to do with stereotypes of Jews. I could go on…

      Most liberal thinking people know antisemitism when they see it.

      Shabbat Shalom.

      Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Has anyone done an analysis of how landlines map onto keeping cable news on in the background, because it’s like radio with fewer ads?

      Mind you, as a cynic and homeowner, I’m thinking about adding a landline back to my DSL, because it has more protections of connection. And I’d listen to radio in the background if it had fewer ads.

      Reply
  5. Grant

    “‘It’s going to take a rich guy to beat Trump’: Why some Democrats back Bloomberg”

    This mentality is really frustrating. I sometimes think that if Cheney switched parties, was polling well and was .00000001% better than Trump, they would support him. It is mindless. Okay, you beat Trump and things continue to get worse. What about the context that produced Trump? Is that going away? And how does it make sense to give power to a right wing oligarch buying an election, especially when that oligarch would be much more effective at pushing for far right policies? Then there is the environmental crisis. We have a few years to put in place radical changes, and these people ignore that (or maybe aren’t aware) and support someone running explicitly to stop the very policies that give us at least a small chance to deal with that crisis. People just think of one thing at a time. Beat Trump = Good. That’s it. How did Trump emerge? What did he emerge from? What came before him? Was the country, our democracy, our environment, infrastructure, in good shape? If they support someone literally buying support and superdelegates, how is that good for their party or the country? Nope. Beat Trump = Good. Depressing. My six year old son thinks with more complexity.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      It is mindless.

      Hear hear. And in any case most of the country isn’t quite so infected with TDS so it’s dubious that Bloomberg could beat Trump anyway–particularly if he can’t even win the Democrat voters in the primary.

      Reply
    2. Woodchuck

      This is the result of being fed by MSM day after day about how Trump is the worse thing to ever happen to the US in the history of the universe. I mean I despise him, but it’s also not hard to realize that it would be FAR worse to have someone competent with Trump’s ideologies (well, mostly self-interest, that’s his main ideology…) than having Trump. And Bloomberg could very well be that person. He wouldn’t be as scandalous as Trump and occupying 95% of news air time. But he WOULD probably “get things done” far better than Trump does. Sadly, it would probably be most of the same things, where it matters anyway.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        As if Trump being gone will make things better. If he left office today, we’d have President Pence. And I don’t think he’d be an improvement.

        Reply
      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        When Jeb! was governor of the great state of Fladida, new employees at our state’s flagship university were told in orientation that they were, in no way, state employees. Popping that belief in authority was a regular entertainment at one pub that flourished back then.

        Remember Schiavo? Cops nearly shot each other. Trump has no ability to give away the store in the way that Bush III could have.

        Reply
    3. Geo

      Anecdotal but have a family member who is all in on Bloomberg. Her “political awakening” after a half century of pretty fairly non-political life was Trump’s election.

      Oddly, she distrusted Buttigieg and Warren early on so gotta give her credit for that. But, sadly, Bloomberg’s ad blitz has sold her.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        Yes, because we need the GOOD New York Billionaire to beat the bad New York Billionaire. Sigh.

        Hopefully she’ll still vote Bernie if Bernie makes it past the primary.

        Reply
    4. dcblogger

      my personal theory is that Obama encouraged Bloomberg to run when it became obvious that neither Biden nor McKinsey Pete was going to stop Bernie. Note also the appearance of that article about Bernie’s push for a primary against Obama (which did NOT achieve what the sources for that article hoped). It is all part of something, anything, to stop Bernie. There is a real chance that Bernie will sweep Super Tuesday and no one will be able to raise money after that. Bloomberg can keep going, but I think it will be bruising to his ego to be beaten again and again, especially if the margins are overwhelming.

      Reply
      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        I find it hard to believe that Obama could/would offer anything to Bloomberg. No one talks about the Obama coalition. And Mr. Diffidence never goes for anything that isn’t a sure bet. And he wouldn’t risk the difference for his ‘legacy’.

        Reply
      2. Yves Smith

        No and please stop this. It verges on CT. It looks as if you bought those carefully cherry picked Bloomberg ads implying that Obama was Bloomberg’s BFF, when it’s clear that Obama was merely making obligatory polite noises when at a NYC event during Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor where Bloomberg was in the room and perhaps introduced him or was slotted to say something.

        Bloomberg thought about running in 2016. His remarks then suggested he did some focus groups. He said something to the effect of “I concluded a short Jewish billionaire couldn’t win.” This was when you has the presumption of two anointed candidates with huge name recognition and better experience than his (governor is perceived to be better than mayor): Hillary and Jeb.

        Things have changed since then.

        1. Trump

        2. Badly divided Dems

        Reply
    5. Amfortas the hippie

      or my geese(adequate analog of a group of small-c conservatives)
      even they eventually go through the open gate to the green grass over there…after the requisite muttering and side-eye.

      it’s the boob-tube…and likely the way the elder of them use the intertubes.
      …latching on to one site…if not an online version of whats on tv in the living room, then something mentioned there.
      mom, for instance, doesn’t understand favorites, after years of explaining, so types in the 2 sites she can remember.(kos and democratic underground).
      i know lots of older folks like that…who just barely are able to interface with the tech we take for granted.

      Reply
  6. foghorn longhorn

    Feels like mini mike is tossing away 5k a minute here in NE Tejas
    Has a commercial or two run every hour on my am sports radio station daily
    Saturating local and national tv with hundreds of ads a day in tyler
    No other ads for ANYBODY running at this time

    This kind of money to burn will make him seem inevitable, it is only mid feb, should be an entertaining summer for damn sure

    Reply
    1. Dan

      I think it’s going to have negative effect. People are going to be sick of Bloomberg real fast, if they aren’t already. He’s one of the most unappealing people on the face of the earth.

      Reply
    2. Daryl

      I find the constant Bloomberg advertising oddly reassuring on a personal level — I haven’t gotten any of it despite other people I know complaining. I guess I’ve effectively suppressed ads.

      Or adtech is so good now that they already know I’m not a good mark.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Rovian tactic would be to turn Bloomberg’s strength (the air war) into a weakness.

      One or two viral videos would do that in the political class.

      Not sure what would work out in the biomass, but presumably relational organizing has an answer…

      Reply
  7. antidlc

    ” I wonder if an FDR framing would bring Silva over to Sanders.”

    My 2 cents. If you want to woo over seniors…

    I think the Sanders campaign is doing a poor job of explaining the benefits of Medicare for All vs. current Medicare.

    It is extremely easy to sign up for Medicare part A. Takes about 10 minutes online. There are no premiums for part A. Part B is pretty easy as well (unless you work past age 65 and sign up during a special enrollment period… cannot be done online.)

    The problems come after that –when the insurance companies get involved (Medigap, Medicare Advantage, part D). That’s where all the so-called wonderful “choices” come in. The whole process is confusing and once you make a selection you cannot easily change from one Medigap plan to another or switch from Medicare Advantage back to Medigap without underwriting (depending on your state.) With part D, you have to re-evaluate EACH YEAR to determine whether what tier(s) your drug(s) are in. The whole process is set up to be extremely confusing in the hopes that you will make a (very expensive) mistake and choose unwisely so the insurance companies get more $$$.

    Bernie’s campaign needs to emphasize that all of these Medicare landmines go away with Medicare for All. You don’t have to worry about choosing the wrong plan(s). There is one plan, one pool, everybody in.

    jmo

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      Excellent point. I think I have some communications from the campaign that might actually provide an opportunity to respond; I will try to share this suggestion with them.

      Reply
    2. antidlc

      The reason I mention this is because I have seen a lot of complaints on other discussion boards about Medicare for All. People think it will be the same as current Medicare. And people have problems with current Medicare because of all its “landmines” for the parts where the insurance companies are involved.

      Reply
    3. John k

      Odd to me sanders org isn’t scouring progressive sites like this every day for ideas. Seems a little top down.
      And people running the sites not to even have a way to push the occasional diamond in the rough…

      Reply
    4. lambert strether

      > I think the Sanders campaign is doing a poor job of explaining the benefits of Medicare for All vs. current Medicare.

      This podcast:

      Listen to S7: Episode 7 – Breaking Down The Democratic Debate from Unauthorized Disclosure on Apple Podcasts. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/unauthorized-disclosure/id824470090?i=1000466298315

      has an excellent clip of Sanders explaining #MedicareForAll to rank-and-file Culinary Workers, who were cheering and whooping (!). It’s much better than his debate presentations

      Sent from my iPad

      Reply
      1. antidlc

        Thanks, will listen to it.

        But I don’t think the info is getting out to everyone. People are lazy and don’t try to inform themselves.

        And I think the name “Medicare for All” is misleading. It should be Enhanced Medicare for All or something like that.

        (I seem to remember the original bill was going to be called something other than Medicare for All, but the new name wasn’t included.)

        Reply
      2. Aumua

        Well at least we know what device you posted from. I feel privileged to be in the company of an Ipad user, good on you.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Uuuhh, Yves and Lambert have mentioned many times over the years that they use Apple gear so no biggie. There are many readers here using many technological denominations but few judge them on their technological faith. My son has even be know to use Centos but I don’t hold that against him.

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            I’m really just commenting on the propensity of Apple (and other) devices to try and insert advertisements for themselves into every attempt at communication.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Noticed the same myself with some people that I am in email contact with and I totally agree that it is an unnecessary annoyance. Do not be surprised if one day we have adds scrolling through the task bar.

              Sent from My Windows™ desktop

              Reply
    5. jrs

      You are right they are doing an EXTREMELY poor job, now that may also be that people aren’t informing themselves of course. It takes two to tango. But the info is not getting out period. And if you are running a campaign it does no use to blame the citizens for not informing themselves, even though they should, you have to get the message out there period.

      People on Medicare think it’s just the existing complex Medicare system extended.

      Reply
      1. antidlc

        “People on Medicare think it’s just the existing complex Medicare system extended.”

        Yes, that’s the problem.

        Reply
        1. grayslady

          Speaking as someone who has been on Medicare (not Medicare Advantage) for the past 7 years, I can assure you that we are more than well-aware of the existing shortcomings of Medicare and the massive improvements Bernie’s program would represent. All the septuagenarians and octagenarians I know are voting for Bernie. They have children and grandchildren that they want to benefit from Bernie’s programs, as well.

          If older people are not predisposed to vote for Bernie it’s because they and their families are doing very well financially and don’t really care about how others are doing. Sorry to be so blunt, but there are many people who are just selfish. Harking back to FDR isn’t going to move those people because they’ll never acknowledge how the post-war regulation of business and institutions and the FDR social programs contributed to their current wealth.

          Reply
          1. antidlc

            “I can assure you that we are more than well-aware of the existing shortcomings of Medicare and the massive improvements Bernie’s program would represent. ”

            That has NOT been my experience from other message boards that I follow and some of the ridiculous comments acquaintances, friends, and relatives have made.

            Reply
          2. Fiery Hunt

            Loves me some, grayslady….gives me hope.
            Convinced my Mom (70’s…) it’s the primaries, go ahead and vote for the good guy!
            Chalk up another vote for Bernie here in CA.

            Thank you and yours!

            Reply
        2. a different chris

          It can’t be the problem because the people on Medicare are…. already on Medicare.

          If you are trying to say that the people who are experiencing Medicare have to explain it to the people who have an employee health plan, well OK.

          However, people who currently have an employer health plan can tell you all about “complex”. We have 3 plan “levels”. You pick a level and one of two companies to administer it. How you pick the company is roughly if you live roughly in Pittsburgh, pick one if you are a suburbanite pick the other. Go to the wrong place, pay out-of-network costs (and if you happen to be in a hospital, you can quite often see the other provider’s hospital from your window… I don’t know what you do if you are in a car crash, hope I never find out. We are going to have to get “Highmark” or “UPMC” tatooed on our foreheads, methinks)

          The level is a whole ‘nother deal. My coworker decided to switch from the high price, low deductible level to the one where you can do all those stupid savings programs for a couple of hundred bucks less a month premium. Sounded good because she is a really, really organized and smart person and can do HSA/FSA, whatever you can do on a spreadsheet she has it nailed.

          What the spreadsheet couldn’t help her with is, when she went on January 8th to get her husband’s slightly unusual quarterly medication refilled, it was no longer covered as before. So it went from $0 to $1000/qtr. And there went all their health care “savings.”

          Reply
          1. antidlc

            Yes, it IS a problem for people who are on Medicare. If you are on Medicare, you cannot easily switch from one Medigap plan to another or switch from Medicare Advantage back to Medigap without underwriting (depends on your state).

            And if you have a Medicare part D plan, you have to re-evaluate it each year to find out if your medications have switched from a less expensive to more expensive tier or whether they are in the formulary at all. The tiers can even change in the middle of a plan year! You have to continually be on guard with these plans.

            Reply
          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > What the spreadsheet couldn’t help her with is, when she went on January 8th to get her husband’s slightly unusual quarterly medication refilled, it was no longer covered as before. So it went from $0 to $1000/qtr. And there went all their health care “savings.”

            That script would write itself, for a clever YouTuber who wanted a volunteer Sanders ad to go viral.

            Reply
    6. furies

      Seniors still think Trump’s claim that he’s not touching Social Security is true. I’ve had more than one person tell me “you heard Trump isn’t touching SS”….when he most certainly is. More needs to be done to emphasize that.

      The media just repeats empty headlines.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        Many people don’t know how to deal with a guy who lies so blatantly. Not just makes campaign promises he then breaks when he gets in office, as of course many do. But literally says he won’t cut social security when *RIGHT NOW* he is cutting social security. That takes lying to the extreme.

        And some people get that this is the game we are now playing with Trump, a game of in your face bold obvious lies, but some don’t, it’s the big lie, a lie so obvious and extreme, people believe it.

        Reply
    7. Vex

      Can confirm this is an issue that would be helpful to point out.

      Was talking to a lady on Medicare while I was going in for some PT. Not only did she have a $3000 deductible she complained that she had signed up for the wrong program and was under the understanding that she could not change it.

      Reply
    8. skk

      I think most people have joined some sort of health care plans over the years so they ought to kinda get it already so when Sanders’ website has these bullets:

      – Create a Medicare for All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service.
      – No networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays, no surprise bills.
      – Medicare coverage will be expanded and improved to include: include dental, hearing, vision, and home- and community-based long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, prescription drugs, and more.

      It looks good to me EXCEPT there’s no statement about the quality of service. I’ve known the UK NHS system and the US one too and I’d naturally want these aspects covered:
      1. Reasonably prompt service – in ER or Urgent Care, for non-emergency surgeries, doctor appointments etc.
      2. augment the service – none of this its this stuff as chosen by some medical panel or nothing ( so you have to pick up the full whack).

      Overall I’d want the M4A to give commitments on the quality of service and I don’t see that in their basic plan statement at: https://berniesanders.com/issues/medicare-for-all/

      Because I would definitely not want the quality of service that one gets in the UK for me but something better – my other experience of healthcare is in France – just once – and that was fine -but that’s a mixed funding model.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        Well this is not a health care program that the government provides, such as in the U.K. so I would assume that the standard of care would remain somewhat close to what it is now, with somewhat the same providers that exist now. I would also like to see that clarified though too on Sanders’ website and elsewhere.

        Reply
    9. Amfortas the hippie

      i didn’t realise it was that bad(still 12 years away for me, and mom, etc is VA and tricare. medicaid and chips i know about)

      the campaign ads almost write themselves, because they are exploiting Seniors routinely and shamelessly…and see my above about lack of tech-savvy in the olds in my life…makes it even worse.
      i recommend stocks and pillories across the land for predators like that.
      put that and fdr-ism adjacent to matlock and i’ll bet a beer that there’s a bump.

      Reply
  8. Carolinian

    Re Amazon–it would be interesting to know what percentage of the items they sell–by sales volume–come from China. Here’s betting it would be far larger than Walmart which also sells lots of groceries and paper goods that source domestically. Some obscure Amazon Chinese items even come direct complete with Chinese postage.

    Could a global epidemic deal a fatal blow to the low margined online behemoth? Should we worry or celebrate?

    Reply
    1. VietnamVet

      I am not a Prepper but a Suburban Isolate Family. I’m trying to prepare to extend the weekly supply run to monthly. Amazon would make it easy. But I am afraid no one is telling Jeff Bezos that his billions are about to vanish. The Amazon logistic system needs product to ship and assurances to his customers that Amazon packages are sanitized; not to mention, workers healthy enough to deliver the packages and not leave a trail of coronaviruses in their wake.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The Amazon logistic system needs product to ship and assurances to his customers that Amazon packages are sanitized; not to mention, workers healthy enough to deliver the packages and not leave a trail of coronaviruses in their wake.

        1) On shipping fomites:

        a) IIRC, cardboard, like fabric and unlike metal, absorbs viruses, so they do not survive on that surface

        b) I’m not sure about bubble-wrap

        c) I’m not sure about the product itself

        2) workers healthy enough to deliver the packages and not leave a trail of coronaviruses in their wake

        Quite right. Our complex supply chain seems suddenly very, very fragile. Of course, people can hide in their houses, anxiously watching for deliveries with their Ring cameras, but that won’t really help, because of all the other places that the drivers go during the day.

        Reply
  9. Daryl

    > I get real stuff done. I don’t want to be president just to yell at people,

    Funny, her debate performances seem to suggest that this is exactly what she does.

    Reply
    1. Matthew

      Not to mention, the first part of that line is from Delaney, the second is from…Tim Ryan? The “You don’t have to yell!” guy, Warren is turning herself into a Frankenstein of chumps, apparently deliberately, and I’d really like to hear what the theory behind that is.

      Reply
  10. Hepativore

    So I heard from the Hill today that Biden might even come in fourth place in Nevada and be unable to be awarded any delegates. If that is the case, would that be enough to convince Biden that it is time to drop out and retire to manage his melting brain? He is already running out of money so I do not see how he can withstand much more of a beating. I also hope that if Warren gets as poor of a showing as she is projected to get in Nevada and North Carolina that it would also be a sign for her to read the writing on the wall and withdraw. Her funds are also not unlimited.

    I know that the strategy for many of the other candidates is to stay in the race as long as possible to try and rob enough delegates from Sanders to force a brokered convention. However, I am hoping that we get more of these neoliberal cling-ons weeded out very soon. I am not sure what the current projected odds of a brokered convention are, but the Democratic Party has demonstrated that it is perfectly willing to blatantly steal the nomination from Sanders even if it means that their party will go down in flames for many decades to come, if not permanently.

    Still, perhaps the DNC leadership sees itself as being martyrs for their donors and wants to throw themselves on the bonfire and go out in a blaze of glory.

    Reply
    1. John k

      I want them to all stay in bc it cuts down on blooms support more than sanders… used to be that sanders was many supporters second pick, imo sanders rise is on account of many of these migrating to him, leaving behind mostly neolibs.
      Explaining bloom begging them to drop out.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        That might have been true earlier in the race. But now, it’s clear Bernie is threatening to run the table on Super Tuesday and wrap this thing up.

        A win in MA should finish off Warren.
        A win in SC should finish off Biden.
        Pete and Amy will run out of money.

        Sanders is hitting fresh highs in each national poll that comes out. There’s no longer a need to split votes and win pluralities. The voters want to unite around a winner. It’s becoming clear that it’s Sanders.

        Reply
        1. Typing Chimp

          Unless Bloomberg *greatly* improves his performance soon, it actually seems increasingly likely that Sanders may win the presidential election in a landslide (over 330, and very possibly over 350 EVs).

          I’m not sure why this isn’t obvious to everybody yet, but I think that it is far clearer to Trump than it is to the Democratic party.

          And PS–MB: You can go through my posts on NC over the last few weeks and get a decent idea as to my accuracy. if you want to reduce Bernie’s victory margin, I am happy to help out on a performance-basis. I charge a very modest $10m per EV reduction from the 370EV mark, which is both going to turn out to be **far** cheaper and more effective than your current ad campaign. We’ll both end up a lot happier (you may save a few House and Senate seats and therefore inhibit legislation you don’t want), and you can even push the animal rights angle by demonstrating that you treat chimps well :)

          Reply
            1. Typing Chimp

              What I still genuinely don’t understand (this isn’t rhetorical):

              If Bloomberg is such a poor debater and was obviously so poorly prepared, why did he manoever himself into getting into the debate instead of deciding to not debate at all, and just get his message through via buying media? Who spends a ton of money to act as the pinata (even if he doesn’t care to actually win the election)?

              Most candidates need to go through this debates ordeal in order to get contributions or their message heard. Bloomberg doesn’t.

              Some candidates don’t find debates to be an ordeal, but rather a key strength. Bloomberg clearly doesn’t.

              So which idiot recommended this course of action to him, how much is (s)he getting paid to provide such lousy advice, and why are there no indications that they are even adjusting their strategies going forward?

              (PS, MB–That one was for free, largely because you can’t undo that decision and you can’t refuse to debate in the upcoming weeks given your disaster of a performance. Think how valuable that advice might have been beforehand, though…Anyway, for $10m/EV vote, I’m willing to provide you a way out…)

              Reply
      2. John k

        I retract the above. Looking at recent second choice poll, I see that sanders generally gets a third of a candidates supporters when that candidate drops out. Most states show three candidates above 15%, sanders leading. So a 1/3 gain brings sanders closer to 50%, and also seems to show sanders above 59% in any race reduced to two.
        And sanders usually outperforms the polls.
        But this would mean bloom is wrong to call for others to drop out… could 61b be wrong?
        Guardedly optimistic.
        Barring outright cheating..

        Reply
    2. Copeland

      Ryan Grim was saying on Rising that having a lot of contenders not doing well but staying in the race would actually lead to even more deligates going to Sanders *because the DNC rules are so non-democratic*

      So the only guy in the race who believes in democracy could benefit from non-democratic rules!

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        It’s best to master the rules, then play the game by the rules, unless you can make your own rules (maybe Bloomberg as CEO of the Democratic Private Club, also known as the DemonicNasty Calvinball…)

        Her Royal Cockamamie and her succulents failed on all counts. Here’s hoping the Bernie organization is on top of all the rules and the ways greasy thumbs can be pried off the electoral scales.

        Reply
        1. Hepativore

          It is one thing to master the rules and use them in your favor, but it is quite another when your opponents do not want to honor their own rules and make up new ones or break them as they go along.

          The DNC has openly said that it does not feel bound by its own regulations, and now that the DNC has changed their policies to allow Bloomberg on the debate stage while previously denying Gravel and Gabbard under the same clause shows how much they value consistency. Even now there is talk in the DNC about reinstating superdelegates to vote on the first ballot. Finally, Tom Perez could simply say “no” to Sanders’ nomination and end it right there if he really wanted to. It would be dangerous to the party if Perez did this of course, but the Democrats seem determined to snatch defeat from a Sanders victory.

          What we have here is a huge game of political Calvinball.

          Reply
          1. urblintz

            “…it would be dangerous to the party.”

            It would be death to the party.

            If they steal the nomination from Bernie and Trump wins anyway, which he will, then the destruction of the Democratic Party is the best we can hope for in 2020

            Reply
    3. Bugs Bunny

      I think they’ve got him on beta blockers to keep gaffes to a bare minimum. Seems to be working but it makes him about as interesting as a broom stick.

      Reply
  11. John Beech

    Regarding the NDAs Elizabeth clobbered Bloomberg with during the debate, I’m not so sure this is as bad for Bloomberg as is being made out. I voted for the President, and am supporting Sanders in the primaries in a couple weeks (central-FL). Anyway, when Bloomberg spoke of being a manager and doing a better job than the President, I listened. Honestly, I liked what I heard.

    As for the NDAs Warren beat him over the head with, while entertaining (immensely), the facts are these don’t give me pause. None, whatsoever. Why not? Simple, it’s because I feel you can’t tell a joke these days without someone taking offense . . . and everybody knows it.

    Finally, regarding her shtick about drafting a contract releasing those involved from their NDA, I can’t help but remember this is the lady whose morals were sufficiently flexible she had no qualms with checking the box claiming to be Cherokee. And sufficiently flexible to change her mind regarding Super PAC funding. My point being; she has a lot of chutzpa in putting herself out there as the adjudicator of anybody else’s morals. Next?

    Last point, if Bernie stumbles, would I support Mike Bloomberg. No, probably not. And maybe not for the reasons you might think. The answer has to do with his proposal (seriously) to limit the size of soft drink purchases in the Big Apple. Think about, in a country presently engaged in legalizing weed, wrestling with opioid addiction, and facing a backlash regarding police tactics (maybe justified but if I were a cop I’d also be spring loaded to shoot first), and ‘this’ was the hill he chose to die on, the size of my soft drink? Good grief!

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      I admit I enjoyed Warren taking down Bloomberg, for the same reason I enjoy seeing blows land against Buttigieg: I like seeing arrogant sociopaths being called out. However, I do agree with you that Warren is not really in any position to claim the moral high ground. She has shown herself to be a dishonest opportunist.

      Reply
      1. Typing Chimp

        Maybe, by now, she has recognized that she is incapable of winning but is clearly able to damage other candidates’ ambitions. Perhaps after a couple more of these attacks, Bloomberg will be happy to pay her a couple of hundred million to just walk away and shut up.

        Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      Ryan Grim pointed out that she’s probably too late to save herself. However, by smashing everyone else on the stage, she might have helped cleared the way for Bernie to run the table to the nomination.

      I think the drubbing Bloomberg took was less about the specific issue (important as it certainly is) and more about showing how thoroughly unprepared the guy is after constantly repeating how he’s going to ‘get it done’.

      Buckets of cash aside, Bloomberg’s pitch is built on electability and competence. In the space of 2 hours on stage, he showed a complete lack of both qualities.

      Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          Grim didn’t think she was doing it to help Bernie by design, — she’s clearly trying to save herself. If she helps him, it’s incidental.

          She’s tried hitting Bernie, it hasn’t worked very well, at all.

          Reply
          1. Geo

            Seen a few takes like this popping up. Even ones saying bloomberg is unintentionally helping Bernie.

            Personally, I find them to be wrongheaded. Bernie, his supporters, and his campaign are helping Bernie. That Democrats are incompetent is well known and That so many candidate’s incompetence is “helping Bernie” only highlights why “He’s not a real Democrat” is Bernie’s best asset going into the general election. Democrats are professional losers (The Washington Generals of politics). In sports no one says the losing team helped the winner and in movies no one says a bomb helped a blockbuster.

            Instead of saying so-and-so is helping Bernie, the headlines should be so-and-so is incompetent at campaigning.

            Reply
            1. Massinissa

              ” in movies no one says a bomb helped a blockbuster.”

              I actually see that case being made in some circumstances, actually, usually in the context of bombs that were assumed to be big successes before reality bites.

              But anyway, your reasoning is sound.

              Reply
          2. Samuel Conner

            It is a bit amusing to observe EW’s predicament. Her straddle is not working. Rhetorically, she seems to want to appeal to Sanders supporters — so she can’t attack Sanders on policy substance. But her small-ball slow-walk implementation proposals don’t excite the left, while she may be coming across in her rhetoric as too progressive for the center.

            I hope she stays in a while longer. She’s helping the left without trying (or, I suspect, meaning) to.

            2016 was her moment, but IMO it’s wonderful good fortune that she didn’t run then, so that Sanders could get “the political revolution” up and running and substantially de-bugged. It probably was also useful in terms of plumbing the depths of the DNC’s bag of tricks, though there may be some surprises still in it.

            Reply
            1. JohnnyGL

              Warren’s got some good policy ideas and a solid record of managerial competence.

              However, she’s not a very good politician, and, in particular, she’s a really bad liar and she picked dumb things to lie about.

              The space she’s trying to carve out is a very tough needle to thread, not least because the party isn’t interested in moving in her direction at all. As Lambert has pointed out a number of times, Pelosi and the party elites that run the DNC and DCCC have worked diligently to move the party to the right.

              Reply
    3. False Solace

      If Bloomberg successfully buys himself the presidency, all future presidents will be billionaires. It will mean our system is so corrupt and money is so powerful that nothing can prevent oligarchs from buying the office outright, even a substantial grassroots campaign like Sanders’. It will mean the effective end of democracy on the presidential level.

      I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a good argument for dustbinning Bloomberg’s candidacy. No matter how great a ‘manager’ he is. If his idea of managing people is to punch down while telling gross jokes about people with less money than he has, it tells me his employees tolerate him only for the paycheck.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        +1

        Of course neither paying nor avoiding paying taxes on soft drinks is a hill I’d die on (have decent policy and record and take any possible position you want on soft drink taxes, I really don’t care), but yea an oligarch buying the Presidency, that’s a problem. Not one that would ever if heck froze over have me voting for Trump (not voting is an option though but NeverOrange) but yea …

        Reply
    4. Shonde

      http://www.startribune.com/bloomberg-says-3-women-can-be-released-from-ndas/568086602/

      “Bloomberg didn’t automatically revoke the agreements, but told the women to contact the company if they would like to be released. The three agreements he’s willing to open up relate specifically to comments he’s alleged to have made. His company reportedly faced nearly 40 lawsuits involving 65 plaintiffs between 1996 and 2016, though it’s unclear how many relate to sexual harassment or discrimination.

      Bloomberg said in a statement he’d done “a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days.”

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        That was stupid that. By saying that he will open up on three agreements, people will not only know that they are mild but that their attention will be on all the others much more now. Somebody tell me again how smart he is supposed to be?

        Reply
    5. bassmuleb

      ” Simple, it’s because I feel you can’t tell a joke these days without someone taking offense . . . and everybody knows it.”

      I’m sure many of us have felt that way at one time or another. But this is no joke: “Court records reviewed by ABC News indicate that at least 17 women have taken legal action against the company over the past three decades, with three of the cases specifically naming Bloomberg for his role in the company’s culture. None of the cases made it to trial – four were either dismissed or withdrawn, while five were settled out of court. Three cases remain active.”

      Reply
    6. Mo's Bike Shop

      Simple, it’s because I feel you can’t tell a joke these days without someone taking offense . . . and everybody knows it.

      I have been following your series. Interesting hill to stand on. Your definition of a joke is that someone has to be belittled. Unless you’ve changed your mind, which I seriously doubt, because I would have felt the tremor in the earth.

      “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana”

      Who was belittled?

      “Who’s on second?” “Exactly!”

      Who was belittled?

      There are a lot of jokes outside of your specific definition of a joke. Which seams to focus on belittling people.

      “How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb?” “A fish”

      “How’s the Mercedes running?” They all look like crap lately.

      Reply
    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      “Bloomberg Will Release Some Women From NDAs If They Ask” [Bloomberg (ha ha)].

      Confirming that Bloomberg is a lousy candidate (which isn’t the same as saying he can’t buy the election, given a level of effort).

      1) This won’t make the issue go away, because with stuff like this, a partial release is never enough (same with tax returns, health records, all the other standard gotchas), and

      2) This makes Bloomberg look weak. He changed course because he got beat up in a debate? Really?

      Reply
      1. Carey

        > 2) This makes Bloomberg look weak. He changed course because he got beat up in a debate? Really?

        Emboldening the opposition. Bad move, MB.

        Reply
  12. John k

    Bezos pissant 10 bil…
    He could leverage half of it… and I’m sure he knows how. Money is speech, right?
    Give each member of Congress 10-mil to pass the gnd,
    Don’t need to give trump, who he doesn’t like, anything, 100% of congress is veto proof.

    Reply
    1. False Solace

      If billionaires like Bezos chose, they could buy every city council, every mayoralty, every state legislature, every congressperson in the country and not put the smallest dent in their pirate hoard of loot. As we’ve seen with Bloomberg’s mayor endorsements.

      If they haven’t yet bothered to buy up government outright it’s because it already works for them. The danger is when one billionaire goes up against another — Bloomberg vs someone else with an equivalent pile. That’s when things start will start to look like they did in Caesar’s Rome. Not a fun era.

      Reply
  13. Elizabeth Curtin

    The best thing (or one of the best things) about the Useful Idiots podcast, is that we can now read all @mtaibbi’s quotes in his own voice, which make them even funnier.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Agreed. Have spent years looking up Taibbi interviews for that reason. So glad I get a weekly dose of his spoken wit now days!

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Taibbi has a wonderful “radio voice.”

      I only wish there were transcripts. Who has an hour each to listen to all the podcasts that are worth listening to? (Blogging really was a better platform, before liberal Democrats decapitated the blogosphere, and then Facebook and Twitter dismembered the body).

      Reply
  14. smoker

    About that knotweed, maybe New York City can start up a publically owned lyme clinic.

    02/21/20 Japanese knotweed could be key to fighting Lyme disease

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analysed the effectiveness of 14 plant-based extracts compared to the currently used Lyme antibiotics doxycycline and cefuroxime.

    They found that although extracts such as sweet wormwood and Mediterranean rockrose were helpful, by far the strongest performers were Ghanaian quinine and Japanese knotweed.

    Researchers tested plant extracts against the bacteria which causes Lyme disease and found just a one per cent solution of Japanese knotweed was enough to kill the bug.

    It’s also used for other medicinal purposes in Asia.

    Reply
    1. skookum red

      Last summer I stopped into my local bourbon distillery. They had fresh bottles of knotweed honey on sale that had been aged in their used barrels. The honey is from a bee keeper friend of the distillery owner who established his bee keeping business in the Cascade foothills (in which my town is situated). The bee keeper advertises his honey as organic, no traces of chemicals as are found in farm valley honey where chemicals are used. I bought a couple of bottles. The honey is dark or light depending on season. And it has a very distinctive flavour. I alternate between the knotweed honey and maple syrup in my coffee, makes a great change up. Now the medicinal feature is a nice additonal touch.

      Reply
      1. smoker

        Now the medicinal feature is a nice additional touch

        Yeah. A lot of Sometimes Dangerous ticks in the Pacific Northwest. I had one imbed in my head as a child when my dad worked at Boeing, during the JFK years. As I recollect the rural doctor my parents stopped at, since we were traveling from a camping trip at the time, put turpentine on that likely Spotted Fever tick, and then gently tweezed it out (gotta remove that front end of the tick, where all the legs and burrowing activity is, first and foremost).

        Mehbee you could put some of that honey in some of that bourbon and create a new delight!

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Warm up some of the honey in some water, mix with lemon juice and bourbon and voila: A Knot Toddy.
          Perfect for this time of year. Puts a new twist in “medicinal spirits.”

          Reply
          1. smoker

            Too bad I’ve never cared for whiskey, don’t like the smell. If I could afford it I’d opt for Remy Martin with a tad of medicinal honey, and a squeeze of lemon.

            Hope you and Phy are doing okay.

            Reply
    2. CoryP

      Boo, I got paywalled. I assume those extracts were tested on B. burgdorferi, and not the mystery Rickettsial that may be co-infecting some Lyme sufferers….

      (This is mainly a plug for that book “Bitten”, about the biological warfare origins of Lyme disease, which I just finished reading. The book didn’t disappoint, even after having consumed several interviews of the author.)

      Reply
    1. BlakeFelix

      I find it quite tasty actually. It’s kind of like rhubarb, you can eat it raw or cooked. I used to love it for stick fighting when I was a little kid, then I didn’t like it because it was not native and invasive. Now I am back to liking it, being tough and delicious goes a long way in my book. You want to get it before it gets woody though, and I would make sure no one has dumped poison on it trying to kill it or whatever. Thistles are pretty good too, but they are a lot harder to eat.

      Reply
  15. Watt4Bob

    WRT knotweed;

    A guy I used to work with told me that the way to get rid of unwanted weeds was to enclose the area and add chickens. Chickens will eat every thing that grows and leave bare dirt.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      That’s entirely correct – ” Wellcome to Mordor ” … Chicken style. No Mt. Doom needed, because the All-Seeing-Eyes .. have it down .. every Speck !

      I know of which I speak. All the pulled weeds yanked from our surrounds go straight into the neodino’s domain .. green one day ..ungreen the next.
      What’s better than turning weeds, once digested, into future post-composted gold ?

      Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      I can attest to that. Neighbor B has chickens. The difference between the fenced-in part of the yard where the chickens are — and the outside area — is striking.

      Alas, our locale has some super-motivated Cooper’s Hawks. So, Neighbor B has to keep the girls cooped up unless she and/or her fiance are watching them.

      Reply
    3. ronnie mitchell

      When I moved into an old house out in the countryside in east Texas you damn near needed a machete to go across the property until I started staking out my goat in one area after another with the critter eating anything and everything within its reach. Goats don’t stop mowing.

      The goat not only cleared the property it got fertilized at the same time (chicken poop is too hot for fertilizing) and the big plus to this all is that I really like goats milk which is three times easier to digest and healthier than store bought cows milk.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        mix chicken manure with sawdust or similar (paper or straw would do), let sit till it turns dark; excellent fertilizer.

        i used to buy it by the pickup load from a broiler farm, but he went out of business. now i use composted yard waste; good stuff, smells much better unless it goes anaerobic.

        Reply
  16. Jeff N

    saw this, this morning

    “‘Here is how I feel about this: I do not think that anybody — Bernie Sanders or anyone else — should simply get the nomination because they have 30 percent of the delegates and no one else has that many,’ the longtime senator told The Washington Post.

    Continuing, Reid said: ‘Let’s say that he has 35 percent. Well, 65 percent he doesn’t have, or that person doesn’t have. I think that we have to let the system work its way out. I do not believe anyone should get the nomination unless they have 50-[percent]-plus-one.’

    Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Sarc detected, but still; Jill Stein isn’t running. Green nominee will probably be Howie Hawkins, who wrote the Green New Deal and ran for gov. of NY on it twice.

        Reply
  17. martell

    Given the state of play of discourse on the left, invoking Frederick Douglass is a wise move. Nicely done. But, having read the two appended articles by Douglass himself, I wouldn’t say there’s a lot to learn from. Much of the first article is warmed over Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy in particular. Machiavelli, it seems, was something of an institutionalist, presuming that institutions and individual human behavior, its motives and purposes, are interdependent. For example, individuals are likely to act in such a way as to preserve a republic if institutions stand in the way of accumulation of vast individual fortunes while providing ample opportunity for public service, duly honored. Douglass would seem to agree. But Machiavelli also says, paraphrasing, that if you want to have republican institutions then you have to eliminate all the gentlemen. Who were those gentlemen? They were people with vast fortunes who, safe behind the walls of their fortresses, were able to mobilize private armies for narrowly self-interested ends. Machiavelli is saying that republicans have to get rid of these people, people who are able to unassailably, and thus unaccountably dominate their fellow citizens. You don’t get rid of them by limiting the size of the fortresses or forbidding the construction of new ones. You tear the fortresses down. Now, who are our gentlemen these days? What are their fortresses? How do we tear them down? For answers to those questions, one of Douglass’ well known contemporaries is a far better source. He was born the very same year as Douglass. Also bearded.

    Reply
  18. Howard

    Sanders is running against so many powerful interests and chicanery and has of yet not made many mistakes. It’s easy to give advice but he announced his campaign a year ago and here we are a year later. He won the first 2 contests and has a double digit lead in NV. He has led in the last dozen or so national polls. I would of not believed this a year ago, so while the journey is a long one I hope he continues to execute his campaign as he and his advisors see fit. I will continue to donate money and time and continue the fight long after.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Agreed. There’s no such thing as a perfect campaign (or candidate) but what Sanders and his team have accomplished is amazing. It’s not just “David v. Goliath” – it’s him vs a multitude of candidates, the entire media ecosystem, a deeply entrenched political party, the rich & powerful, and decades of misinformation and propaganda. That he hasn’t been “Kuciniched” (marginalized) but is actually winning is amazing.

      Even a pessimistic nihilist like me is learning to embrace this weird emotion I’ve been feeling lately that others have told be is called “hope”.

      Reply
      1. Expat2uruguay

        Geo I agree with you strongly that what Sanders has accomplished is amazing. So much so in fact that I decided to make another donation to Bernie. I think it’s my third time, the first two times there was the option to make it monthly, but I was concerned that then I would have to come back and make the effort to cancel it after the primary or the election and so I’ve never wanted to make it monthly. But tonight I noticed it said to make it monthly until the end of the primary in June, so I happily checked it. Fortunately, before I completed the process I noticed that instead of saying make it monthly, it said make it weekly. My $30 a month was going to turn into $120! not what I wanted to be doing and I think that’s what they call a dark pattern. It’s really distressing when my hero and only hope for a more just future is using a dark pattern to take advantage of my support. I went ahead and made the original $30 one-time donation, but I didn’t feel as good as I would have if I could have made a $30 monthly donation. (That wasn’t an option)

        Reply
  19. Darthbobber

    Ooh… Reichstag fire time already. Someone spray paints f_bloomberg, Oligarch, and Resist on a Bloomberg campaign office in Knoxville, Bloomberg immediately blame Sanders people, based on “similar vocabulary”, tpm already up with a piece affecting to take this seriously

    Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        If I were to attribute that to anybody, based on no evidence what so ever, it would be either
        a. A Bloomberg staffer, or

        b. A Knoxville coffeehouse “anarchist”.

        By tomorrow, I’m sure Joy Ann Reid will have found a self-proclaimed spray paint writing expert who will compare his psychological profile of the spraypainter with one he or she has constructed for an hypothesized archetypal berniebro, and Joy Ann will nod along with that scrunchyface look that reflects gravitas in somebody’s mind.

        Reply
      1. flora

        Billionaire Tom Perkins thought the Occupy movement was a modern Kristallnacht. In 2014, he wrote an op-ed to the WSJ to that effect. (you can’t make this stuff up)
        https://www.cnet.com/news/tom-perkins-apologizes-for-his-kristallnacht-reference/

        per Bill Moyers:

        By now you’ve probably heard about Perkins’s infamous letter to The Wall Street Journal (whose editorial page is the rich man’s Pravda of class warfare) in which he wrote, [about the Occupy Movement]“I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich…’ This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”

        It’s astonishing how ignorant (not to mention crude and cruel) the very rich can be.

        https://billmoyers.com/2014/01/30/advice-to-perkins-time-to-shut-up/

        Mr. Perkins also thought the rich should have more votes than the less well off.
        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10640443/Rich-should-get-more-votes-says-billionaire-Tom-Perkins.html

        Reply
  20. a different chris

    > just imagine when Trump offers him a box to stand on and asks him how it feels to have to spend $4 million per friend.

    My imaginary Bloomberg (and the “real” fake one – that is, the one that emerges on TV if he goes to Hollywood and spends the money needed to create a facsimile human) will ask “no biggie, BTW how much for your vote?”.

    Trump does not have the leverage on Bloomberg that Sanders has. Trump presents himself as a successful rich guy, and that’s his main schtick. But Bloomberg makes him look like a piker when it comes to money. Trump needs to never, never get into any (family blog) measuring contest over money with Bloomberg, because if Bloomberg somehow pulls this off it means he (Bloomberg) has found and listened to somebody that will script him appropriately.

    Reply
  21. Oregoncharles

    Giant knotweed (Giant is important – there are lots of knotweeds, most much friendlier):

    There was a patch getting started along our driveway, actually on a neighbor’s property. Next door neighbor, shared driveway, took the initiative; cut it down and injected hollow interior with (yes, in this case) glyphosate. Took persistence over a couple of years, but it’s gone.

    i’ve been keeping the blackberries down on the same space, so we’ll see the knotweed if it magically reappears. As it might.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      I had a place on which a previous owner had planted ornamental knotweed. I could have killed him. In seven years I never got rid of it. I used glyphosate, pulling, digging, and black plastic. It was still there when I moved away.

      Since it’s all the same clone, I wonder if it’s vulnerable to a pathogen that would wipe it all out.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I wonder what would happen if one were to cut the knotweed stems off flush at ground level, and then put a pile of dry sugar on each fresh-cut stem. Would the sugar remain osmotically sap-sucking long enough for the knotweed roots to bleed out ( sap out) into the sugar and die?

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Worth a try. you can use salt this way, too; but the hazel stump i tried to kill that way is sprouting vigorously.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Thank you for the kind words.

          The reason I didn’t suggest salt this way is that I am afraid that using enough salt to do the job would leave spots of salt toxicity in the soil wherever the knotweed roots had been. Whereas sugar would not pose that problem. As semiliquid it would attract all kinds of insects, and when it began fermenting, much wildlife would find it and be very happy.

          And if the amount put on did not seem to kill, make fresh wounds in the stump tips and put more on. Eventually I should think enough sugar would be able to bleed the stump-tipped roots to death.

          If I ever have this problem, I will try it to see if it really does work. Then again, I might try maintaining a little patch of the japanese knotweed
          for food and medicine and pollinator attraction in September if I feel satisfied I can prevent it spreading around.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I just had a thought-refinement. If one cut the “other end” out of an empty food can, so that it was now an empty metal food cylinder, one could jam it into the soil around the target root-stump
          about a half-inch deep. Then one could put some sugar in the can and even as the sap bled out into the sugar in the can, the still-saturated sugar solution would not spill or ooze away from the bleeding stump. The can-contained sugar juice could keep on bleeding-out the stump till the sugar solution had become no more osmotic than the bleeding sap itself. Unless the roots bled all the way out and died even before the sugar was all-the-way osmo-equalized.

          I also wonder whether the extremely saturated sugar solution known as honey would have the same effect to a lesser degree. If so, one could use honey in the can and direct one’s ” kill the knotweed” money to the beekeepers.

          Reply
    1. Daryl

      Ah, I was wondering when “our intelligence community” was going to put the thumb on the scale. Of course, they’ve been crowing about this for so long that it’s entirely possible they believe it fully as well.

      Reply
    2. Carey

      >Bernie Sanders has been apprised that Russia is helping his campaign:

      Our Nat’l Security State: “Lose, for the good of the .01% + PMC..”

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        From the Guardian link:

        “Sanders said in a statement:“In 2016, Russia used Internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020. Some of the ugly stuff on the Internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.””

        *chef’s kiss*

        Reply
        1. Henry Moon Pie

          That sly old Bern. He turns one smear into a defense against another. Then, on the tarmac, he shows he can wag his finger at Putin with the best of them. As he walks away to the plane, he signals to the cognoscenti with a little sarcasm that he knows the score.

          Not a bad day’s work when the Establishment is doing its best to bring you down.

          Reply
        2. Aumua

          Here another zinger from the Post:

          “I don’t care, frankly, who [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wants to be president,” Sanders said in a statement. “My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.”

          Hell yeah, Sanders is smacking these out the g-d park! It’s almost like he knew this b.s. was coming and was ready for it.

          Reply
      2. Daryl

        Not that it matters, but I wish that rather than denouncing this, he had asked for any evidence that it is happening.

        Also, according to the same page, the Russkies are helping Sanders AND Trump. Playing both sides of the field. n-th dimensional chess for sure.

        Reply
        1. chuckster

          If Bloomberg had given a tenth of what he’s spent on ads to the damn Russians, he’d be the Democratic nominee by now. I have never seen a more effective, dynamic and single-purposed group of political operatives in my life.

          Reply
        2. Deschain

          In an ideal world, yes, but Bernie realizes this is part of the bullshit he has to fight through to get the nom. If he does anything but exactly what he’s doing he gets painted as a conspirator. Better just say ‘plz stahp grandmaster Putin’ and move on and let it die. At least this dropped on a Friday afternoon and not the Monday before Super Tuesday. (Though there may be something worse planned for that.)

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            It did drop on the eve of an early caucus though, didn’t it.

            Bastards, but I really think this is going to backfire. People have had enough of it.

            Reply
      3. Darthbobber

        Missing equally from this or the breathless “Russians helping Trump” companion pieces is any mention of what, if any evidence was provided, or what form such assistance was taking. (If there is assistance, it presumably must assume some tangible form in the material world?)

        Absent evidence, this is another Praetorian Guard press release.

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          And the fact that it gets taken as Moses and the Prophets by our heroic 4th estate and elected politicians is in itself a measure of the severe decay of our ostensibly democratic institutions.

          Every time this happens, they just remind me that there’s a cabal of people I trust even less than I trust Donald Trump.

          Reply
        2. anon in so cal

          Evidence? For the Russiagate psy ops bs? No evidence was / is ever provided or needed.
          All these “Russia interference” allegations are 100% fabrications. And, because the lies are repeated over and over by the complicit MSM, a huge % of the US populace is brainwashed.
          As the WSWS noted a year ago, this psy ops conditions the public for war with Russia and serves to suppress dissent.

          Matt Taibbi on Twitter:

          “The stupidity of the American commentariat has never been more glaring. I’m in a state of complete disgust. I can’t imagine the mind that would take this horseshit seriously.”

          Reply
            1. Aumua

              It sucks, but I think his response was the best possible one. There is no way he could deny or cast doubt on the intelligence “findings” at this juncture. It would not come off well. Instead he acknowledged them but spun it into a message of why he should be president. He can go against that grain and work with Putin or whatever later, when he is in office. Now is not the time.

              Reply
      4. ObjectiveFunction

        But I’m Afraid of the Russians!

        I’d like to feed the children,
        Find a cure for disease,
        Rebuild the cities,
        Plant a lot of trees

        I’d like to help the sick,
        Build factories,
        Give money to students,
        Hospitals and galleries

        But I’m Afraid of the Russians,
        I can’t sleep at night….

        And spies everywhere

        Reply
          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Lol, not clicking the bait! My wife finds that in my Panopticon history, and I gots some ‘splaining to do….

            Those Moscow girls really knock me out / and leave the West behind

            Reply
          2. notabanktoadie

            Actually, I don’t think those pictures do justice to how drop-dead gorgeous some Russian women are.

            Russians are scary though – in a good way.

            It’s too bad the US MUST find enemies to justify its MIC budget – so much for jawbs over justice.

            Reply
    3. Arizona Slim

      Yikes! I need to double down on that Russian pronunciation course I’ve been meandering through!

      Because the Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

      (Have I used enough exclamation points?)

      Reply
    4. Darius

      Liberals having a field day on Twitter. I used to call myself a liberal. Now I can’t stand those f@&$ers. Liberal is just another flavor of reactionary.

      Reply
      1. Daryl

        I need to stop looking at twitter. I accidentally stumbled onto woke liberal twitter the other week and felt like I needed a scouring of Hillary’s server-scrubbing bleach on my brain.

        Reply
        1. pjay

          I accidentally saw this “breaking news” on NBC when I forgot to turn the channel after watching the local news cast. The “story” was incredible enough. But then they had Bernie on going right along with all of this bulls**t. His full statement was ridiculous. Does he think this will get the Establishment to ease up on him?

          As far as this election goes, I think I’m probably done.

          Reply
    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > briefed by U.S. officials

      The same ones who fell for commmissioned the Steele Dossier?

      If you think of voting as a supply chain, the Democrat Party’s unique institutional competence is controlling the ballot: Who goes on it, how it is counted.

      The intelligence agency is, as it were, engulfing the Democrat Party by attacking the supply chain at both ends:

      1) Candidates on the ballot: Now the intelligence community is trying to delegimize Sanders as candidate, exactly as they did with Trump

      2) Counting the ballot: They have the capability to delegitimate an election because of hacking or meddling. So wait for that…

      Reply
  22. allan

    Nevada Democratic Party asks caucus volunteers to sign confidentiality agreements [CNN]

    The Nevada State Democratic Party is asking site leaders for Saturday’s caucuses to sign non-disclosure agreements that would prevent them from speaking to the media.

    … Seth Morrison, who had planned and trained to be a site leader, was presented with the agreement Friday and wouldn’t sign it. After the party failed to convince him to sign it, he was then offered a lower level volunteer position and quit.
    Morrison says the party told him that the reason for the NDA was for the “security of the election process” because site leaders have access to sensitive information that in the wrong hands could compromise the vote.
    “The wording of that agreement is very broad,” Morrison told CNN, noting that the confidential information covered a lengthy list of business methods, practices and other information. “If I were to quote disparage the party or talk to the media without their permission, they could sue me for everything I own.” …

    I’m Michael Bloomberg and I approve of this message.

    Reply
    1. Code Name D

      NDA = Not Democratic Anymore

      Sanders needs to call this what it is – an attack against free speech in order to protect establishment entitlement.

      Reply
  23. ChrisAtRU

    Morning Consult Post Debate Is In!

    Article

    TL;DR

    #FirstChoice
    Bernie(+2)
    Warren(+2)
    Bloomberg (-3)

    #NetFavorables
    Bloomberg (-20)

    What a wonderful kickoff to the weekend!!! ;-)

    Reply
  24. freedomny

    Knotweed – you can eat this stuff – I happen to like it. Kind of like rhubarb but not sweet. You can use it in pies and also in savory dishes. It’s pretty surprising how many weeds are edible and nutritious.

    Reply
  25. Carey

    My strong impression is that Sanders is going to *crush it* here in the CA Primary.
    Whether the votes will be accurately counted remains to be seen (sent in my thoroughly-photographed mail-in ballot today).

    Reply
    1. Jack Parsons

      The problem is Cali seems to be either proportional or winner-take-all per district. I did not really get it after reading my sample ballot. Anyway, this means the campaign has to win every little precinct or get fiddled with after the fact.

      I’ll be volunteering for whatever I can.

      Reply
  26. Expat2Uruguay

    That was a great discussion in links today regarding water content and humidity in the air and their possible affects on coronavirus spread. Thank you Ignacio. There are days here in Uruguay in the winter when there is a heavy Mist in the air, sort of like London Fog. It’s one of the things that makes the experience of Uruguay Winters much colder than what the thermometer reads. It never snows and rarely freezes here, but people from Missouri and other northern states will tell you it gets damn cold sometimes. The freezing winds blowing off of Antarctica also can make the perception of cold much more intense than the thermometer reading.

    Anyway, I’m considering spending a few months near the equator this year. I’ve been wanting to travel around Latin America, and this might be the time to do it. I think I’ll wait a several weeks before I buy any plane tickets though.

    My son is still in Vietnam, super bored and unemployed since he is a teacher and they shut down the school till the end of the month or longer. It’s kind of overkill because I think Vietnam has about five cases now, after having 10 or so resolve well. I saw an article about how stressed families are there because they’re worried about losing their jobs because they have to stay home with children who can’t go to closed schools.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >.The freezing winds blowing off of Antarctica also can make the perception of cold much more intense

      Jeebus I shivered just reading your post!

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe your son could offer lessons over something like Skype. It may not be perfect but it would keep your son teaching and help some students at the same time.

      Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. finally got around to that wapo article:
      ““Russian attempts to sow discord in the Democratic primary would be consistent with its strategy of undermining Americans’ faith in democratic institutions and processes,” said Laura Rosenberger, a former National Security Council aide in the Obama administration who is now an election security expert with the Alliance for Securing Democracy. “We have seen consistent messaging from Russian sources pushing the narrative that the primary process is rigged, and driving the idea that the ‘establishment’ favors some candidates over others.””

      every statement attributed to Russia! can more plausibly be laid at the feet of the two party duopoly and their corporate overlords.
      but it’s a charge that’s almost impossible to fight against…i fully expect to hear this from my mother in the next few days, that i’ve been influenced by russians to be a radical libertarian socialist…there’s simply no other explanation!
      i certainly couldn’t have arrived at this place 30+ years ago due to …like…learning and stuff….
      Fie!

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        The way Rosenberger puts it, “narrative that the primary process is rigged, and driving the idea that the ‘establishment’ favors some candidates over others”

        seems to me to elide the possibility that this “narrative” is a reasonably accurate summary of the present state of affairs.

        The Russians are said to be trying to undermine Americans’ faith in democratic institutions and processes because …

        they are calling attention to the way American elites have undermined democratic institutions and processes.

        Who is the greater threat to democracy in America?

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          it’s like some hellspawned hybrid of passive aggressive projection, a gish gallop and peewee herman (i know you are but what am i?)
          insidious…leaving you unsure where to even start.
          that wapo article raised my BP a few points.
          maddening.
          and it will work…at least in certain circles.
          i’m sure the team blue twitter hordes are all up in arms.
          but will it work outside of msdnc-land?
          after all, neither twitter, nor msnbc, is the country.
          not every potential dem voter hangs on every word from balloon juice.
          i don’t know for sure, but that lot…like the tea people before them…feels more loud than numerous.
          regardless…also like the tea people before them…they can do a lot of damage.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i don’t do twittering, but i went and wandered around in expanding concentric circles from neera’s cesspool…louise mensch is on the case!
            it’s pretty crazy over there.
            much hate for sanders.
            glad i’m in a texas backwater.

            Reply
          2. JTMcPhee

            You should read what passes for thought over at Daily Kos, “the reality-based community.” I looked, so you don’t have to. The ignorance is horrible.

            Reply
  27. turtle

    Regarding canvassing in California: I’ve been doing it for a few weekends now, and once the mail ballots were mailed out to voters (Feb. 3rd), our strategy changed. Now, once we identify a Bernie supporter we also ask them to vote on the spot and give us the sealed ballot for hand delivery (it then goes to the field workers who then deliver it to the county). This is legal in California. It felt a bit awkward to ask at first, but a few people have been receptive and I have no trouble asking anymore. Some people were actually happy that this was an option. I think this definitely lowers the barrier to getting non-voters to actually vote.

    So when you hear the Bernie campaign saying they’re trying to get non-voters to vote, don’t think they’re just blowing steam and hoping for the best. The campaign is actually making it happen. I learned quickly that canvassing is a low-yield endeavor, but this has to help effect the desired outcome.

    Reply
  28. False Solace

    Chapo Trap House Episode #394 – This was a misc episode with only a few political takes. My favorite bits:

    49:40
    America after Bloomberg, I can’t even imagine what day to day lives look like. But the political environment would be, just roving bands of marauders go from billionaire estate to billionaire estate trying to convince their eldest son to join their cultural liberal or culture conservative warrior affectation. And just convincing them to put their hat into the race for next king. What a f****g nightmare. Better hope if you’re religious you can get to one of the pizza company Catholics. If you’re a lib you can get to one of those f****g tech CEO freaks.
    — Who has like a foundation.
    — A Zuckerberg presidency WILL–
    — Comes immediately after.
    — That’s the next President. Will be Zuckerberg.

    50:36
    The thing that’s exhilarating about this is because we’ve talked on the show about how the Trump thing, one thing about it is that we’ll never be the same after that. A lot of people, a lot of Democrats, are voting based on who can bring it back. That was the Biden dream. Who can just snap their fingers and make it 2008 again or something. And it’s just, that’s not gonna happen man. Things are different now.

    And the proof of that is first of all, the shock of Trump winning discredited the Democrats enough Bernie has a chance. And the Democratic Party is so undermined and destroyed from within by its own rot it can’t mount a significant enough challenge. So that gleaming Terminator face of capital in the form of Michael Bloomberg has to step directly in and say, “Yes, this literally is about billionaires trying to maintain control of this country.” That is literally what is happening. There is no denying it. It is no longer hidden, any artifice or superstructure. That’s the reality. And now we’re confronting it. We have to deal with it.
    — We dont’t even have super PACs this time and where’s the money coming from? It’s all right out in the open.
    — No plausible deniability bulls**t.
    — And we are confronting it, and it’s so much easier now because everything is becoming clearer.

    52:04
    Look at the way liberal identity politics autoimmunity has revealed itself to be fraudulent. How many people spent 2016 saying Bernie wasn’t intersectional enough. Bernie didn’t understand black and brown bodies enough. And had been concern trolling him over being not attuned enough on race for his entire time in the public air. Who were talking about, “He said nice things about George Wallace in the 70s” as little as a month ago. And now, on a dime, they’re telling you that it’s actually racist not to vote for stop and frisk Bloomberg. A guy who basically is on record saying Blacks are inferior, and need to be controlled and contained, that that’s his job. I mean, we don’t have to say anything at a certain point. And that is… It’s exhilarating to be able to fight on these contours. In this reality…. At this point, it feels like bullets bouncing off Superman.

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      I wonder if those NDA’s are even legally enforceable. I mean, if the DNC wants to have a private club, fine, but I don’t think they should be allowed to affect public outcomes in that case. Their nomination can have zero standing to be president of the US, but they could be president of the DNC.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’m sure the DNC isn’t too concerned, as they are tickled pink to have the heir club for man dispensing the Benjamins by the bundles

        Reply
      2. Typing Chimp

        And even if they are enforceable, you really gotta wonder if the DNC is stupid enough to try to enforce them.

        I suspect the reaction would be something similar to the reaction if Boeing attempts to sue crash victim families for libel.

        Reply
      3. Daryl

        I’m not a lawyer, but my brief research as someone who has had to sign several of these as part of my job indicates that ridiculously broad NDAs actually do hold up in court. The whole non-X-agreement needs to be addressed from the top down becuse they are all quite insane.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          And that corrupt party surely has people to give legal advice. So, they could do this knowing they won’t enforce it just to scare people into silence. The corruption of this party is so blatant and deep it really is amazing. What type of sociopaths do this and can live with themselves? I couldn’t do this, out in the open, and be able to sleep at night.

          Reply
        2. Tom Bradford

          Two questions:

          1. Could any NDA enforce silence regarding a criminal act?

          2. Would knowingly interfering with the results of a public poll be a criminal act?

          Reply
      4. hunkerdown

        They don’t have to be legally enforceable, let alone against a whistleblowing defense due to public malfeasance, they just have to impose costs that the defending employee or volunteer may not be able to afford. Nudge theory!

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > they just have to impose costs that the defending employee or volunteer

          Hmm. I wonder if the ability to defend one’s self in court is above average among the volunteers, or below….

          Reply
  29. Left in Wisconsin

    So the list of super delegates is more interesting than I thought. Here is the list of Wisconsin’s 13:
    Khary Penebaker
    Mark Pocan
    Ron Kind
    Gwen Moore
    Tammy Baldwin
    Tony Evers
    Janet Bewley
    Martha Marie Love
    Felesia Martin
    Mahlon Mitchell
    Jason Rae
    Andrew Werthmann
    Ben Wikler

    Pocan is already with Bernie, I think Baldwin will go with Bernie if he has the lead and several others seem at least potentially reachable (Gwen Moore from Milwaukee, Janet Bewley is a State Rep from way up north, Mahlon Mitchell, even Wikler the state chair).

    Maybe Wisconsin is not representative but, if Bernie can wrangle 20-30% of the super-delegates, unless there is someone close behind him going into the convention I’m not sure they will be able to put someone else over the top.

    Reply
    1. Daryl

      An interesting exercise, thanks for looking at the list. If a couple progressives managed to sneak into larger states superdelegations (is that a word?), this may not be as dire as I thought.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i don’t recognise more than half of the texas superdelegates at a quick glance…few of the texas lege members are exactly household names—especially democrats– and state politics only happens every two years, de facto…and even then, unless you actively seek out information regarding what’s happening in Austin, it’s relatively easy for the average person to forget that we even have a state government, until the local news stations issue a 30 second spot about new laws every other september(after it’s a done deal).
        Texas state political coverage pretty much sucks, except for texas monthly, the big papers and a few online outfits that stay busy(Texas Observer)
        I will endeavor to scrutinise that list manana, though…as i am weary, and it takes a bit of effort to switch gears into Texas polisci.
        i usually take a run through all the texas stuff every month or two, depending on if they’re in session.
        it’s usually pretty boring, if it’s not infuriating…gop dominates, and say the same things over and over for 20+ years, punctuated periodically by pee peccadillos and perverse pols getting caught with the cash, or the girl or the boy..

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I will endeavor to scrutinise that list manana, though…as i am weary, and it takes a bit of effort to switch gears into Texas polisci.

          Thank you, Amfortas. That would be extremely useful.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            forgot that it’s Welding Day, wherein 3-5 of my eldest’s buddies come out to practice and learn metalworking(and i get rot-proof hoe handles and maybe eventually a fancy gate).
            so manana, again, for the deep dive.
            a cursory look at the wiki type bio’s of maybe 75% of them this early am with coffee: most are centrists, at best…and beholden to the Machinery.
            might be a handful who go with Sanders if it comes down to a fight, but it depends on a lot of factors.
            Loyd Doggett is probably my favorite of the lot…even corresponded with him, once, via the newfangled email contraption, back when i was in his district(i didn’t move, the district did, thanks to the Hammer’s redistricting nonsense, which was the last time i remember TexDems standing up for anything(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Texas_redistricting)).

            notably missing from the list is Jim Hightower.

            and like i said, Democratic Texas State reps and sens don’t tend to make a lot of noise outside their districts….and Dems are concentrated in Dallas and the Valley, which may as well be other states for me,lol.
            people like Senfronia Thompson(Houston) and Eddie Bernice Johnson(Dallas area) have literally been there forever, but pretty much just keep seats warm these days.

            as i’ve said, i cooked breakfast and lunch for a lot of these people for about 5 months in 95(Basement Cafe of the Democratic Building in Austin), after Lil George beat Anne Richards, and while they were still cold handed(!) politicians, and therefore not to be trusted, it feels to me like something was definitely lost around that time.
            Anne, and Bob Bullock, were Giants in the Earth, in those days…
            the Ardmore, OK Expedition in 03 was the last time they showed any spine, at all.
            Ergo, while i am decidedly way outside the loop(all “Loops” in Austin are slightly curving straight lines(Mopac,360, etc). go figger), barring some unforeseen instigation, i wouldn’t expect many of the Texas Superdelegates to buck the wishes of the DNC, et al.

            Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if Bernie can wrangle 20-30% of the super-delegates, unless there is someone close behind him going into the convention I’m not sure they will be able to put someone else over the top.

      Ray of hope! (I don’t know who Bernie’s delegate wrangler is, though. I hope he has a good one.)

      Reply
  30. dcblogger

    I watch a lot of youtube, and lately have been getting many commercials from GEO Group, who runs for profit prisons and babby prisons. I can’t figure out if it is because I live in DC and this is specifically targeted to DC residents, or the videos I am watching (majority report, Michael Brooks, the young turks, and similar videos.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The GEO group had many private prisons here in California, and once we banned such practices, they are being converted into ICE detention centers, right smack dab in the middle 90%+ Hispanic (read: Mexican) cities in the CVBB.

      Devin y Kevin turf

      Reply
    2. anon in so cal

      The GEO group was a contributor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. No surprise, really, because the Clintons and Obama were more ruthless in their drive to stop illegal immigration than Bush and Trump.

      “top firms like Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group have parlayed their enormous growth into political clout. In the 2016 presidential election cycle alone, the two companies have together contributed more than $130,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign”

      From: Jacobin: “No Friend of Immigrants”

      Reply
  31. David R Smith

    There’s a perfectly good English language word for Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking people that isn’t gender discriminatory — Latin. It’s the most commonly used term in speech. “He’s Latin, you know…” “The Latin family down the street….” It doesn’t sound downmarket, like Latino does. It even sounds sensual. But no, the chattering class demands that we use a new word in print that is self-consciously pro-transgender, but which no one in either English or Spanish uses in speech, and has no organic relation to either language.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i asked my spanish/esl teacher wife about this this afternoon.
      she knows exactly no one who uses it at all…and she’s been a mexican for quite a while, now.
      says it’s a made up word for people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
      if the same folks had made up a new word for black people, reckon there’d be more pushback?
      (perhaps they have and i missed it?)

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Agreed! On top of screeching its out of touch Park Slope ideologue origins, and signaling both ignorance and contempt* for Romance languages, as a word, Latinx is utterly sterile. Dehumanizing, in fact. The Other.

        “X”, as in negation. Cross out. Doubleplusungood.

        How does ‘Blax’ sound? And for people of Chinese heritage, umm well, never mind….

        * “Any sufficiently advanced form of incompetence is indistinguishable from malice”

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I hope researchers can find out whom to name and blame as the originator or originators of latinx. I think it was some crappy campus Social Justice Warriors looking for a way to accuse people of being racist if they don’t say “latinx”.

          Reply
          1. cripes

            drumlin:

            That is correct, starting around 2014.
            For gender neutral usage.
            Or ivory-tower authoritarianism, depending…
            I think the Spanish speaking world has managed well enough last 5 centuries without the intersectionalists…
            Just 3% of their target 18-34 demo uses the term, so hasn’t really taken…
            Wiki and other sources has the ugly details.

            Bonus: it’s unpronounceable, particularly in Spanish

            Reply
      2. JBird4049

        Well, “Black” as a term really got going IIRC during Freedom Summer in Mississippi as a replacement for the mainstream term “Negro.” Be Black and be Proud. Since it was pushed by those radical subversive civil advocates and by groups like the Black Panthers, it was considered a subversive word by the establishment.

        I have never understood why in the late 1980s the term African-American just popped up when the perfectly fine label Black was being used as the standard and only then for fifteen or twenty years. This feels like Identity Politics. The few times I have heard European-American I expect to see an alt-right speaker.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I never got the idea behind that term ‘people of colour’. It sounds so artificial, it almost sounds like a French term translated into English.

          Reply
  32. Expat2Uruguay

    I am at least the third person here to recommend Peak Prosperity videos for their Coronavirus updates. It appears to be a daily Edition on YouTube and today’s covers economic effects starting at around 16:30.
    Based on hours spent locating my own facts, this guy’s facts tend to agree what with what I can find from official sources. That’s why I’m happy to add my recommendation of this daily 30 minute update. Hear hear!

    Reply
  33. Samuel Conner

    Not sure how much credence to give these numbers, but after what I think is the last data dump out of China that will hit the Johns Hopkins CSSE “pandemic dashboard” today, the ratio of “# of diagnosed patients reckoned to be recovered” to “# diagnosed patients died” for the two days 2/20 and 2/21 (aggregating the updates for the 2 days into a single number), and considering all regions of China other than Hubei province, is about 200. The implied mortality rate, if this is representative of the entire population of patients over long time spans, would be about 0.5%

    The implied % for just 2/21 is lower than for 2/20, which is lower than the preceding time periods. The fact that this number is changing shows that it is not representative of the entire population of patients, but the fact that it is declining seems very hopeful to me.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      The Chinese CDC just published a paper saying the case fatality rate is 2.3%, so I don’t see any reason to be cheery.

      And we have the known unknown of at least 150,00 people in Wuhan at home asking for medical help on Weibo v. the 78,000 or so official cases.

      In other words, the Chinese don’t begin to have a handle on this even if they wanted to be 100% truthful.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > In other words, the Chinese don’t begin to have a handle on this even if they wanted to be 100% truthful.

        I was hoping for good data from Japan, but Japan just shat the bed on control measures — especially social distancing — with their handling of the cruise ship.

        Reply
  34. The Rev Kev

    Groan! When smart people find themselves saying stupid stuff. He accuses Trump of being a Russian agent but now he finds himself being accused of being a Russian agent-

    “BERNIE SANDERS has a message for VLADIMIR PUTIN”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVGG8kCu2xw

    I just wish that he would say that after becoming President, that he will make it law that all voting be done with paper ballots hand-counted in public to “prevent Russian hacking.”

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      This is an outstanding proposal. Turn “Russia! Russia! Russia!” against the DNC, the consultants and the griftware developers.

      Thank you!

      Reply
  35. JBird4049

    Oh, fuck me sideway. $5,000 per minute. $216,000,000 for a month.

    Let’s see. There are (officially) ~140,000 homeless Californian daily, which includes IIRC ~30,000 children. $5,000 would cover a studio or one bedroom apartment for two or three of those Californians for a month. One hour of the oligarch’s campaign spending would house 150 Californians for a month. A month’s campaigning would house 108,000 people.

    I get less than 20K a year and find almost impossible to get or stay on SNAP. All I can can say really is: Vive la Révolution!

    Reply
  36. allan

    Delays in 737 MAX certification flight may push off Boeing’s goal to win approval by midsummer [Seattle Times]

    The critical flights on the updated Boeing 737 MAX that must be flown by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilots before the plane can be certified again are now unlikely to happen before late April, according to two people familiar with the details.

    The delay of more than a month from recent plans means that Boeing’s publicly announced goal of winning FAA approval to fly the plane again by “midsummer,” previously considered a very conservative schedule, now looks tight and could slip further. …

    … it was just over two weeks ago that FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told reporters in London that a MAX certification flight could occur “in the next few weeks.” Since then, that schedule has clearly slipped considerably. …

    Time for another stock buyback.

    Reply
    1. allan

      Boeing finds debris in fuel tanks of many undelivered 737 MAX jets [Reuters]

      An update from the stories earlier in the week:

      … Boeing found debris in the fuel tanks of about 35 aircraft, a company spokesman confirmed on Friday. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that more than 50% of the undelivered 737 MAX jets inspected thus far have had debris found in them. …

      The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), when asked about the debris, said it could not confirm Boeing’s numbers. …

      So, Boeing is basically to aircraft inspections what China is to epidemic data.

      Reply
  37. djrichard

    10Y yield dropped below the 13 week treasury today. That’s the metric I look for an inverted yield curve.

    And the 13 week isn’t moving an inch. Fed Reserve will have to sit on its hands until it does.

    Reply

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