2:00PM Water Cooler 2/27/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I need a day off. So I’m taking it! Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Here is a conversation starter. Sorry to stan for Sanders, but this is one of those things I could never have imagined happening in my lifetime:

The rhythm guitar, or whatever it is, just slays me:

“Silly rabbit!”

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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 (eurekaspringer):

eurekaspringer writes: “Forty feet high Ylang Ylang trees in full bloom surround our Costa Rican vacation home. The Ylang Ylang is among most intoxicating flower I’ve ever experienced. Similar to a mixture of gardenia, magnolia and wisteria all in one.” Photo a bit out of focus, but what a flower!

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Sam

      I just went to his rally here in Winston-Salem. Incredible energy and it built as the rally went on; with students loving the local Black Panther party founder’s comment “Trump and Bloomberg are two cheeks on the same ass” as well as minimum wage and marijuana. As a student at a relatively politically inactive college, it is great to be a part of other schools and students fighting to give themselves a future we can confide in and he and Nina Turner are great at providing incentive to vote. I hope he begins to tie Medicare for all to COVID for it is the only sensible way to combat it and would leave everyone in the dust on the issue.

      1. Carolinian

        He is here tonight. I didn’t go since i saw him last year. They had to move the venue to a local college’s basketball arena because of the projected crowd size.

    2. D. Fuller

      The question being… “Is there anyone to fill his shoes?”

      Someone who possesses the stature of Bernie Sanders. AoC isn’t quite there yet in my opinion.


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        One hopes the SanderBackers organize themselves into the sort of deeply informed and envisionated movement-community which can do things even with another Big Leader to fill the Big Shoes.

        It only took the Establishment one single decapitation strike to defuse and diffuse and defeat the MLK anti-poverty movement.

        Whereas if the current movement can become a self-cohering bunch of smart people . . . . ten million pairs of little feet filling ten million pairs of little shoes, then a decapitation strike will reveal the nature of the Establishment without weakening and disorganizing the Movement.

  1. JohnnyGL

    Re-upping this one that I posted from this morning.

    If there’s such a think as ‘political hostage taking’ this is it.


    CNN really finds the worst takeaways from its own focus group discussions. Did they seriously watch the same focus group?

    Panelists: “Police behavior is a real problem, bloomberg is embematic of that. We’re struggling with poverty, gentrification and crumbling schools.”

    CNN: “Ah ha! We have found voters who will suck it up and ‘vote blue no matter who’, because trump”

    These look like voters who are ripe for Bernie’s pitch. I hope he’s managing to reach them. That one poor guy looks like he’s got Stockholm Syndrome!

  2. Hepativore

    So, what we suspected is true has come straight from the horse’s mouth. Superdelegates admit that if it comes to a contested convention, they would vote to award the nomination to somebody other than Sanders even if he got the most delegates. They would apparently do this even if it possibly means the destruction of the Democratic Party. Whatever empty rhetoric that the Democratic Party has put forth about resisting Trump is a red herring as it has been confirmed that they would rather let him win than risk losing their corporate donors and consulting jobs under a Sanders presidency.

    Here it is, courtesy of the Rising today with Saagar Enjeti and Krystal Ball…


    Since they are willing to put the existence of their own party on the line in order to stop Sanders, I wonder if Tom Perez and pals are also planning to change the rules mid-election to stop Sanders by allowing superdelegates to vote again on the first ballot or even use the “nuclear option” in the event that he gets a majority of delegate votes.

    The Democrats are basically playing the part of the aristocracy on the eve of the French Revolution at this point, and they might well even suffer the same fate if they are this determined to go down this path.

    1. dcrane

      I wonder if Tom Perez and pals are also planning to change the rules mid-election to stop Sanders by allowing superdelegates to vote again on the first ballot

      Yes, a trial balloon went up on this several weeks ago. Wouldn’t put it past them for a second. Maybe I’m getting too hopeful about Sanders (as I did with Obama) but he looks to be an existential threat to the way of the life of the super-rich and their political servants at the likes of the DNC.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        They will retain enough big donors to keep the party shell and machinery alive as a velcro-decoy hologram-of-a- party to be a roach motel decoy for millions of cult-members.

    2. Anarcissie

      Is this news? I thought I saw something a couple of months ago to the effect that numerous big-time Democrat donors said they would support Trump before Sanders. I assume the thing that matters most to the superdelegates, based on their behavior, is their jobs and their money.

    3. Jeff W

      Superdelegates admit that if it comes to a contested convention, they would vote to award the nomination to somebody other than Sanders even if he got the most delegates.

      Well, given that superdelegates exist to perform that function—there could, otherwise, simply be a rule giving the nomination to the person who has the plurality—it’s not that surprising. One has to admire their brazenness in stating so plainly their willingness to sink the ship if they can’t remain in first class.

      1. Procopius

        After the 1968 Democratic National Convention, at which pro-Vietnam War liberal Hubert Humphrey was nominated for the presidency despite not running in a single primary election, the Democratic Party made changes in its delegate selection process to correct what was seen as “illusory” control of the nomination process by primary voters.

        From Wikipedia: Superdelegates. “… to correct.”

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      the nyt art they’re riffing on:

      FTA:”From California to the Carolinas, and North Dakota to Ohio, the party leaders say they worry that Mr. Sanders, a democratic socialist with passionate but limited support so far, will lose to President Trump, and drag down moderate House and Senate candidates in swing states with his left-wing agenda of “Medicare for all” and free four-year public college.

      Mr. Sanders and his advisers insist that the opposite is true — that his ideas will generate huge excitement among young and working-class voters, and lead to record turnout. Such hopes have yet to be borne out in nominating contests so far.”

      “limited support”…”hopes not borne out…so far..”

      and their source for this earth shattering news?
      Sydney Ember.

      I assume there’s a poll or something down that rabbithole of links within links, but i didn’t bother.
      at the very, very least…as in “well, at least there’s still gravity..”…we’ll have a demparty naked and shit smeared in it’s corruption and perfidy.
      whether that makes a damned bit of difference, long term, is…sadly…frighteningly…up for grabs.
      after all, I’ve been pretty much waiting for the Dem Base to notice that it’s not the Democratic Party any more since around 1993.
      if this doesn’t do it, what will?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and the article that THAT one uses to source the claim(a la warren in the vid) that “Bernie changed his tune from 2016″…

        FTA:”Mr. Sanders expressed frustration that Mrs. Clinton had won superdelegates even in states where he won the primary. In Washington State, where he won almost 73 percent of the vote, Mrs. Clinton has 10 superdelegates while he has none. In Colorado, Mr. Sanders won 59 percent of the vote, but again Mrs. Clinton has 10 superdelegates from that state and he has none. Sanders aides handed out a list showing similar situations in states like New Hampshire, Kansas and Maine where he won more votes but has fewer superdelegates than his rival.”

        gish galloping all over the place, with the thin shroud of “umm…yeah…that makes sense…”
        it’s infuriating.
        back when, when i first noticed the Right doing this sort of thing…misremembering history, even when there was video evidence, I’d sometimes feel compelled to undertake to link bomb whomever was putting it on FB.
        but it never worked.
        it never worked in 2016, either, with the Hill Trolls.

      2. inode_buddha

        “after all, I’ve been pretty much waiting for the Dem Base to notice that it’s not the Democratic Party any more since around 1993.
        if this doesn’t do it, what will?”

        Maybe they can change the name to the Fox Party
        (watching the henhouse, eh?)

      3. dcblogger

        I will be interested in seeing how this conversation changes if House Democrats opposed to Medicare for All start losing to challengers who support Medicare for All. If opponents to Medicare for All start losing their primaries the conversation about a brokered convention will shift. This ain’t about Bernie, it is about Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and the rest of the program.

    5. OIFVet

      Warren is such a brazen liar in that clip. I would never consider her as my second choice, nor would I consider anyone but Bernie. And should we manage to defeat the establishment at the convention, Warren should have no part in his administration. Snakes should always be kept at an arm’s length. Besides, let her prove her alleged legislative prowess by fighting to pass Bernie’s agenda there ;)

      1. chuckster

        I’ll take the opposite stand. Since she can “do things” that Bernie can’t put her in charge of the Treasury Department and tell her to get her Wealth Tax done, make sure to get the stock market transaction fee enacted and clean up Wall Street. That would allow him to focus on M4A

        1. OIFVet

          You assume she is serious about her own platform. I’ve become too jaded to believe even that much, and that’s the direct result of her own actions since New Year’s. I wish I didn’t feel this way, but right now I would check my watch if she were to wish me “good morning.”

        2. Samuel Conner

          > “focus on M4A”.

          which, I think, would mean driving the neoliberal majorities out of (or subjugating them in) both houses of Congress through a massive bully pulpit campaign and test votes in Congress to smoke out the opponents. I suspect that we would see Sanders “in his element” in such conflict.

          But since the opponents are likely to be in the leadership of both houses of Congress, my guess is that there will be a low-intensity conflict over procedure (the leaders will not want the test votes to take place) that will start on the first day of the legislative session and continue uninterrupted for as long as Sanders continues in office.

          Discharge petitions, anyone?

        3. Potted Frog

          Why do you think Warren can “do things” that Sanders can’t?

          Do you really think the oligarchs will play nice with Warren because Warren?

          Everything will be a massive fight. There is no middle.

          1. Samuel Conner

            My perception is that Warren’s claims to be more effective than Sanders are premised on her belief (or, perhaps, hope) that Sanders would get nothing done because the political realities in DC would not change (Sanders wouldn’t be able to mobilize effective public pressure on Congress) while Warren’s approach would be gradual enough that the political elites would not feel so threatened that they would completely obstruct her.

            The “progressive change” that she claims to regard herself to be the only hope of achieving would in practice be partial and sluggish, and IMO quite possibly, “never”.

            Better to leave her in the Senate, IMO. With progressive pressure coming from below in response to Sanders’ bully pulpit campaign, she would get with the program and quite possibly be highly helpful.

          2. Yves Smith

            I do think Warren really does hate bank execs and is serious about wanting to put them in jail. The way she went after Bloomberg, although extremely effective and great fun to watch both times, had an element of lack of self discipline. It would have been even more brutal if she had been cooler about it. Bloomberg, even though he was a partner (I recall on the equity side) of Salomon Brothers (that is how he made his $ to seed Bloomberg, he was one of six partners fired and cashed out when Phibro bought Salomon), was never the type of banker she hates. But she seems to loathe him by virtue of being a member of that breed (and perhaps due to his funding her opponent?)

            1. vlade

              I tend to agree. I believe Warren would make a great head of Fed or SEC under Bernie, but I now come to believe she’s too tunel vision for a general executive.

              1. Procopius

                Definitely SEC!!! No more “deferred prosecution agreements,” no more “consider the economic consequences,” of bringing criminal charges against corporations. No more of “the company did not admit guilt or wrongdoing.” Billions of dollars in fines are chickenfeed to some of them — they have insurance for it.

    6. Seth A Miller

      I understand the anger at Warren, but the right play is to make sure she realizes she is not going to be the annointed one, and make a deal for her delegates by any means necessary. Seriously, this is politics, and Bernie needs to play to win. IMHO he should be calling on her to drop out at this point, as frontrunners generally do, without anyone thinking it’s odd.

      At the convention, the superdelegates may think they can deny Bernie the nomination, but let’s be clear about how strong Bernie’s hand will be even if he doesn’t make it past 50% on the first ballot. On each subsequent ballot, whoever is annointed must still get 50%.

      From “270 to Win” (https://www.270towin.com/content/superdelegate-rule-changes-for-the-2020-democratic-nomination): “All delegates become unpledged, with an estimated 771 superdelegate votes coming into play if the convention is contested (i.e., more than one ballot is needed to select a nominee). For those subsequent ballots, a majority of all 4,750 delegates (2,375.5) will be needed to secure the nomination.”

      So if Bernie gets, say, 40%, he first needs to hold them. He would have 1,900 and would need another 476. The supers could only throw the election to an individual candidate if they stay unanimous and if their chosen candidate has 1,605. That’s around 33%. Those are big “ifs.” If Bernie’s at 40 and Warren has 10% of pledged delegates, Bernie could cut a deal with her to get them and win. She can’t cut a deal to win, and the supers don’t want her anyway, for the reasons Krystal outlined, so that would be the best deal she could get.

      By the way, Bernie could cut deals with anyone else in the same way, including the “centrists”: he would be in the driver’s seat. He just needs to be a little bit Machiavellian about it. Bottom line is that the plurality candidate has a better chance of navigating even a wired up convention than “party leaders” who only control 771 delegates. IMHO.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “IMHO he should be calling on her to drop out at this point, as frontrunners generally do, without anyone thinking it’s odd. ”

        but they would think it odd…scandalous, even.
        “see, he’s a misogynist!”
        “…and he hates democracy!!”
        “…he wants to be a dictator!…just like Stalin!”
        and millions of people like my mom who don’t get their news from anywhere but msnbc and kos will believe it.

        1. OIFVet

          + infinity. What would be perfectly normal for an establishment candidate, is borderline criminal if Sanders did it. I just had a lengthy argument on faceborg with a liberal friend who has bought everything emanating from the DNC and their propaganda outlet hook, line and sinker. He is hopeless, all he could do is talk “electability” (me: see the polls from swing states), extremists proposals re M4A (“ah, of course people want to incur debt to be seen by a doctor” and “yes, indeed we don’t have money for healthcare. Say, stopping the endless wars would pay for it and would have enough left for other things, won’t we?”), and that perennial hit, “Russia Russia Russia.” I had the small satisfaction of telling him to surf the rising tide rather than to seek false comfort in the learned helplessness instilled in him by MSDNC. People like him are cowards, that’s what has become crystal clear to me.

          1. Seth A Miller

            yes, but criminal or not, Bernie has to have a convention strategy. For my part, I don’t care if he has to offer Biden the Vice Presidency (again), as long as he locks up all the delegates he needs. The MSM kvetching is just a distraction from what he needs to do here. He has to make better offers than what the existing clown car can get from the DNC.

            Strategically, the DNC completely blew it, by the way, by signaling to the NY Times that nobody who will have actual delegates will be the annointed one. These guys are all playing for president or VP, and the main prize just came off the table, in favor of who? Sherrod Brown? Michelle Obama? So what deal can the DNC offer any of them, in exchange for delegates, that Bernie cannot beat? Bernie only needs to get to 50%, and that means, in all likelihood, offering a suitable position to only one of his rivals, who will know that the deal is not contingent on anyone else playing ball. No complex “unite all five moderates plus Warren by making five sets of promises, none of which involve the top slot” deal. (VP can only be offered once, obviously). It doesn’t take LBJ to figure out how to play Bernie’s hand. The DNC, in control of the stage or not, still has a harder hand to play.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I thought the same thing about Biden, once you get over your initial revulsion it has some logic to it. MSM, Crooked camp, Mellifluous Melanoderm camp would struggle to complain about it. Imagine if those forces plus Bloomberg/Steyer money got behind it.

              I know Bernie wants a real movement but appointing Nina Turner et alia has so much risk to it. Just keep Biden on the same meds he was on the other night and he’ll do fine in a Pence debate

            2. Jeff W

              “Bernie has to have a convention strategy.”

              I would bet my bottom dollar that the Sanders campaign has gamed this scenario out every possible way (and probably has since day one)—and it’s very familiar with the DNC from its dealings with it in 2016. Sanders is not a novice player here. That doesn’t mean he will actually get the nomination in the absence of having a majority of the delegates—it just means Sanders will be going into this situation, if it arises, with the best possible hand he can play.

    7. Tom

      It’s hardly a secret. Thomas Frank said in 2016 that the Democratic Party hates economic populism more than it hates Trump.

      And since then Bloomburg bought even more of them.

  3. johnherbiehancock

    I love “Don’t Believe The Hype”… that whole album is killer. Best PE album in my opinion.

    Love that PE is back in the news! Back in the timeline!

    1. shinola

      Surely there must be some “innovator” out there who can unlock the profit potential of this thing.

      1. Robert Hahl

        The S&P 500 has dropped all the way back to where it was last Halloween. Just a little volatility, that’s all.

        1. D. Fuller

          IIRC correctly, the majority of the worst drops in Dow History have now occurred since January 2017.

          While some of the largest budget deficits – which are far higher than officially reported – have occured since January 2017. Unofficially, those budget deficits exceed any under Obama.

          While Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, aid in approving those budgets.

          Much like Tip O’Neill aided Reagan in producing the first massive deficits.

        2. curlydan

          The 10 yr Treasury fell all the way to 1.24% this morning (an all-time trading low) before it closed at 1.29%–still an all-time low for the close.

          Worldwide QE + Covid19 = panic

    2. Barbara

      On Euronews, just caught it briefly as I came in the door, a doctor said that SARS medication may help.

  4. shinola

    Which is/will be worse?

    The direct, actual disruption caused by by a coronavirus pandemic?
    Disruption caused by the panicky over-reaction to the potential of of a pandemic?

    1. Daniel'sHat

      “After a Solano County resident tested positive for COVID-19, federal officials told the Fairfield-Suisun School Unified School District to prepare school sites for a potential outbreak of the pneumonia-like coronavirus.” San Francisco Chronicle

      Right next to Travis Air Force Base to which the virus sufferers were brought.
      Great job of containing it, no?

      Now is the time to point out why Bernie Sander’s health plan, had it been implemented after he took office in 2017, would have helped prevent a pandemic. Hindsight is 2020

    2. ajc

      The actual disruption of the pandemic.

      CNN is reporting multiple medical personnel were exposed to coronavirus from the first community spread victim because the CDC or whomever wouldn’t allow testing since the patient was outside of the federal guidelines. This is with doctors requesting it. This is with the case occurring in the same county as Travis AFB, where people repatriated with coronavirus are being quarantined.

      Coronavirus will thrive because of corporatist, neoliberal, admin and management in healthcare and government. Because the people in those roles are promoted and lionized for their lack of imagination and inability to be perturbed by a threat to the status quo. Iran is more a prediction of our future in the US than China. Can you even imagine a months long heroic effort by American medial staff like the Chinese? Our medical pros at university hospitals can’t take enough precautions with a suspected coronavirus case to keep dozens of them from being possibly infected.

      The death of neoliberal magical thinking is going to require many deaths in the heart of empire, while the economy crumbles. And even then, that may not be enough, if the heroin epidemic is any indicator.

      1. SufferinSuccotash

        The heroin epidemic could be characterized in racial terms (very convenient!). Not this baby. Anyone who sat in an airliner in the last couple of months is a candidate.

        1. jrs

          That’s richer people though mostly, flying for fun (a sick relative or a funeral or a wedding is a bit different) is a PMC indicator if ever there was one.

      2. Yves Smith

        I don’t want to sound like I am defending the CDC, because the decision process is way too slow, but I think they don’t have remotely enough kits, which is leading them to be way too stringent.

    3. clarky90

      “Eric Feigl-Ding
      Gee- +505 new #COVID19 cases in South Korea since yesterday, up 40% in one day! Crazy they’ve done also >13,000 tests in just one day to find the new 505 cases. SKorea has now completed 66652 total Test tubetest runs! America needs to match that. #TESTVIRUSNOW https://cdc.go.kr/board/board.es?mid=a30402000000&bid=0030

      USAian authorities (Our NZ authorities as well) have a ingenious, outside-the-box plan. If we do not run covid19 tests (like the naive South Koreans do), we will not find any infections! THUS, brilliantly avoiding any panic by the public. “Don’t worry, Grandma probably just has the flu, or a cold.

      Also think of all the money saved by not buying or administering the covid19 tests!

      “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and perception….”


      The cover-up of the Ukrainian Holodomor comes to mind.

  5. Oso

    Media ignored as expected but i thought some folks here might find this interesting, Mrs Sanders came to Alcatraz to see the native 50th occupation exhibit from native PoV. she was very down to earth, very engaged in the dialogue. she and the Sanders people were good with native security, can’t imagine any of the other dem candidates doing that.


  6. JohnMinMN

    More solid analysis at CBS This Morning, from yesterday’s post debate confab. This is “Democrat Strategist” Joel Payne’s final comments.

    “…outside of the debate, Bernie Sanders is making buys in Massachusetts, Minnesota…he’s not in party unification mode. He’s still very aggressive…trying to attack, trying to take out Elizabeth Warren. Trying to take out Amy Klobuchar. So he has not decided to bring the Party together yet. He still deciding, I want to go after people and I want to be on the attack.

    See for yourself at the 5:40 mark:


    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Someone running in a primary which is yet to determine a winner daring to point out the differences between him and the other candidates!?! How toxic!

        1. Samuel Conner

          I would suggest amending this to: Official D policy: “no candidate who intends to govern in the interest of the entirety of the citizenry should seek the nomination of this Party”

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            It’s been said anyone crazy enough to run for President shouldn’t be let with in miles of the office.

      1. JohnMinMN

        I’d like to join twitter so I can join in the fun more directly. What’s holding me up is that I’m not social media savvy at all, plus I can see it being a real time suck. Hints anyone?

        1. Monty

          You don’t need to use your real name or picture. I never post anything, nobody cares what I think. I only follow a handful of accounts and that seems to be enough.

            1. Monty

              Since you come here, and you want fun, you’re going to love @MSDNCNEWS

              Why not sign up and start there?

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          no followers, no photo, no likes, no retweets, and only follow people who interest you?
          congratulations, you use Twitter as a news feed just like my significant other!

    2. Darthbobber

      Party unification mode comes after achieving a winning position. I saw a few Warren and Pete supporters (not many) opining that not campaigning in an opponent’s home state is an ancient and inviolable Democratic Party norm. Forgetting that literally everybody was campaigning in California while Harris was still a candidate. In 08 this would have required Obama to stay out of New York and Clinton out of Illinois.

      Clearly nobody is, or can afford to be, in unification mode right now. Duh.

      1. Darius

        Utter, self-serving BS. They’re just making that up. That only works if the favorite son or daughter can enforce it. I don’t think Warren is strong in Massachusetts, nor is Pete strong in Indiana. They’re fair game.

  7. Pat

    Got to listen to someone who I find myself disagreeing with on a regular basis today. We both consider Bloomberg to be effective and competent. The difference is that they think he would be an okay choice for President and I’m terrified at the damage a competent and effective Trump could do in a society won’t bother to notice he is being just as horrific because he doesn’t offend them.

    He made an observation/wish that Biden does well enough to blunt some of Sanders momentum so that people give Bloomberg another look for the Super Tuesday and the primaries coming soon after that.

    I’m going to make a birthday month wish: That Sanders holds his own on Saturday, does amazing on Tuesday . That voters find Bloomberg’s attempting to buy the nomination offensive and unacceptable, and him to be a pompous jerk. And that his vote totals make Amy and Pete look like winners with their 2-5% of the vote.

    That may be asking too much, but I’m still going to keep my fingers crossed.

    1. dcrane

      On hoping that Sanders does well on Tuesday –

      Saagar Enjeti on the show Rising pointed out that Sanders supporters could be in for another long wait for the ultimate good news on Super Tuesday, since the big state of California (where Sanders has a large lead) won’t be reporting until very late and since many of its votes are postal ballots that won’t be counted for some time. Meanwhile, results from eastern states where Sanders is not so clearly dominating will be in.

      1. Pat

        It isn’t just Tuesday, It is going to be a long few months.
        No matter how well he does, the usual suspects aren’t going to give it up to Sanders. Mark my words, he could have more than 50% of the delegates and they will be attempting to get them to switch, or will be trying to change the rules or….

        And I am not a nice human being. I want the humiliation to start early and continue as long as possible for Bloomberg and not just because he is trying to be a spoiler. (Sanders winning NY by a lot over him would also be nice, but unfortunately there are a lot of wealthy bubble dwellers in this state who not only like him but think America wants a good manager like David Brooks. Arggggh.)

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The suggestion of Mark Warner as the “unity” candidate besides being one of the dumbest suggestions imaginable also has the added benefit of sticking it to Tim Kaine. Who is Tim Kaine, you ask? Exactly.

        2. David R Smith

          Dont mean to crash the party, but I do think Bloomberg is best equipped of the group, probably best among almost anyone in the country, to deal with the coronavirus. He has a grasp of public health that few others share. Maybe Trump will take him out of the race by appointing him Virus Czar.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              He posed for pictures with David Koch at Memorial Sloan Kettering?

              Note I agree with the OP assertion that Bloomerberg is effective and competent at what he does. Too bad his commercials don’t highlight that. /s

              1. David R Smith

                He ran NYC for 12 years, and fought real hard for good public health policies. Much of his philanthropy, particularly with Johns Hopkins, has focused on the same subject. If he’s concerned about his legacy, one would think he would want to be remembered for that, as not as a damn billionaire who has set himself to buying the presidency and the Democratic Party

                1. Grant

                  Us having our inefficient, chaotic and deadly healthcare system will make a pandemic far worse. The idea that a person opposed to a rational and efficient national healthcare system would be a good match for a pandemic is a bit absurd. Trying to plan a system like this is infinitely more difficult. If he wants to help with a pandemic though, he doesn’t have to be president. Let him spend the money he would spend to buy the presidency in opening healthcare clinics in rural areas and poor communities, people who would be least able to see a doctor if they think they may be sick. And people who would be far more likely to use public transportation, which would quicken the spread of the disease.

                  I used to live in China. Because of my work schedule there, I had to shop on the weekends. It was a special form of torture. The buses would all be so packed you couldn’t move, and the stores themselves weren’t tons better. Ever shopped in a store so packed with people you could barely move? Imagine black Friday all the time. So, if a person had the virus and didn’t know it in China, they would almost certainly get around by public transportation, absolutely packed with people, and then would go to crowded places to shop. When I say crowded, again, not something that could be put into words for you all to understand, it must be experienced. The situation in rural areas is often the same, high density, heavy reliance on public transport, and there is far less of a healthcare infrastructure in rural areas. So, not only could people be sick and not know it, not only would they get around in packed busses and trains, not only would they shop and go about very densely populated cities, in rural areas people are poor and access to doctors and nurses is often lacking. The government has tried to create in recent years a “socialist countryside”, where there are investments in rural areas, hospitals, public housing and the like, but there is still a massive gap between living standards between coastal areas and inner China, and rural and urban areas. Here in the US, one thing going for us is that people in many parts of the country get around in private cars. That lessens the exposure to a virus, which could maybe buy us a little more time, having such a car-centric mode of transport. But, one thing we do have that other developed countries don’t, is a horrible, inefficient, chaotic healthcare system. And that is why things could get worse here in ways it wouldn’t if we had single payer. Bloomberg opposes a system that could deal with this, is indifferent to 68,000 a year dying from this system, and seems even opposed to moderate improvements that would at least inch us closer to such a system. And keep in mind, the costs of the pandemic among those with insurance will be transferred to those paying into insurance pools managed by private corporations. We will socialize costs in very inefficient ways. We’re doomed if he gets power. He and Biden should be non-starters.

                  1. blowncue

                    For the life of me I don’t understand why Mike doesn’t get up and say hi I’m Mike Bloomberg and I promise to put a chicken, a Covid 19 test kit, a hazmat suit and a respirator in in every pot. In fact I’m going to go broke starting today doing just that.

                    And I’m going to make damn sure that if you are a community physician and Bethesda is not listening to you I’m going to take your call and I’m going to throw as much money as needed to make what needs to happen, happen.

                    And then walk off the stage.

                    Nobody from that moment forward would give a damn about his negatives. And I say that as a Sanders supporter, who admittedly does not think that Elizabeth Warren is Jack Kemp in a dress.

                    One thing that I do want to throw out to the commentariat is that we’re going to see and we’re seeing it now, the dynamic where DC and Bethesda have their head up their ass and local community providers scream bloody murder and that gets things moving.

                    For example where UC Davis Physicians want the CDC the test for the coronavirus and the CDC says no, based upon what is now outdated criteria.

                    South Korea has done like what 20,000 tests they have drive-thru testing!

                    Back in the 1980s clinicians in Manhattan. (CRI/Sonnabend), and SF started small-scale clinical trials especially focusing on opportunistic infection treatment which Bethesda was completely neglecting as they were shoveling out AZT for HIV like it was candy.

                    Now the same dynamic is happening only with test kits.

                    1. NotTimothyGeithner

                      Bloomberg has an ideology. He’s lying as much as he can, but he’s a guy who wants to live in a proper oligarchy where the rich make all the rules and have little to any control over them but have major control over the little people reaching down to the size of soda. This is the connection to guns. Like the Republicans who think they will fight off the government with guns, Bloomberg is worried the little people will use guns to take from him. Remember he’s from Medford, Mass, its reasonable to assume he is aware the rabble in the colony of Massachusetts controlled the royal governors through a combination of controlling the salary and fear of being tarred and feathered.

                      Like all villains, he’s the hero of his own story. I doubt he can make those promises as it would be too much of a stretch.

                2. Yves Smith

                  You can’t run what isn’t there.

                  The Federal government does not control public health or the public health system. It’s entirely state and local.

                  And his “good public health policies” were taxing the hell out of cigarettes (which I agree with) and his business about sugary drinks.

                  I do not recall him doing bupkis re real public health issues that involve medical care, like homelessness or the absolutely terrible state of NYC hospitals. They are a housekeeping disaster, even the nominally elite ones.

                  One of my friends, a biomedical engineer by training, daughter of MD, first job for the NIH, second job at Big Pharma, would never go to NYC hospital unless she absolutely had to (like having to go to the ER when in NYC) and then she’d get a private duty nurse ASAP. She said your health is at risk if you don’t have one. And it’s not as if she’s rich and could readily afford an expense like that.

          1. Darius

            Bloomberg opposes M4A. Our corrupt and collapsing health system is the biggest impediment to an effective coronavirus response. Bloomberg is more worried about the health of Wall Street than the health of millions of people.

            If you look at all the dough he’s blowing in his campaign on stupid s&#t, it gives the lie to his supposed competence.

        3. inode_buddha

          There’s a reason why most of us in Buffalo/Niagara can’t stand anything east of Syracuse. Bubble dwellers indeed! It might as well be a completely different country. Much in the same way that Chicago is the tail that wags the dog known as “Illinois”.

        4. Efmo

          I think Bloomberg wasn’t as competent as mayor as everyone thinks. I remember reading in the Daily News in 2015, I think, about how over budget and rife with fraud and waste NYC’s 911 system update was during his administration. I think it was about a billion over budget and many years behind schedule. No one ever brings it up. I think everything about him is bull puckey.

    2. Samuel Conner

      This reminds me of the famous two-axis (intelligence, diligence) typology of military officers (I think Lambert posted this some time in the last year or two)

      One wants an intelligent but lazy commander in chief, who will delegate his responsibilities to intelligent and diligent staff officers. The stupid and lazy elements of the officer corps (which is the vast majority) can be assigned routine tasks, but the stupid and diligent ones must at all costs be kept away from anything important.

      Perhaps one could posit a similar two-axis typology for political leaders, with the two axes being “public spiritedness” and “diligence”

      It doesn’t map perfectly to the hilarious military typology; Sanders is highly diligent and I think would make a good chief executive; I do suspect that he would make a greater effort in terms of ongoing political mobilization rather than absorption in policy minutia. Perhaps the typology needs to be expanded into a 3rd axis.

      To your point, neither DJT nor MB is public-spirited, but MB would be a much more diligent chief executive than DJT has been, and might do much more long-term damage. He must at all costs be kept away from every lever of power that is not already under his control.

      I earnestly hope that Saturday, Sanders is able finish first or a not-deep second. I have no confidence in the stability of the convention rules and I think that every possible indication that Sanders is the preference of the voters is needed to frighten the Party powers into acceding to the public’s wishes.

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Mini Mike “effective and competent”? I wonder. His clientele was on the receiving end of $29 *trillion* (GAO figure) of bailout funds. Selling into that tsunami of money, especially while exorting your salespeople to “give bl*wjobs to close the deal” does not necessarily require a high level of competency IMO.

      1. Pat

        He managed to annoy the hell out of me on a regular basis here in NYC. And I can think of a few areas where his decisions and actions hurt the city.

        (Amazing how many of our Corporate leaders aren’t quite as effective and amazing without a lot of public support or out right theft of the public.)

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          As a NYC public school teacher and union rep during those dark years for public education under Bloomberg, let me assure you he is one vicious bastard, and that those working under him were either willfully clueless or themselves pretty monstrous.

          And the”efficient businessman” label is a canard: the incompetence at his Department of Education was a constant, except when it came to closing public schools and promoting charters.

          1. Pat

            You (and I) had distinctly different priorities than Bloomberg and his cronies did for education. Closing public schools and advancing charters WAS the priority. Oh and gaming the statistics in particularly nasty ways to look good. Educating NYCs children was not on his agenda.
            Actual affordable housing not on the agenda. But they did manage to get a whole lot of real estate interest priorities through.
            Once you look at the Bloomberg terms through the eyes of what made wealthy financial sector asses happy, it was pretty efficient.

    4. Darius

      A vote for Warren or anyone other than Sanders is a vote for a brokered convention, which will elect Trump. Put that in you pipe an smoke it.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          A few reasons:

          -no volunteers
          -a disaffected electorate; people need to care about voting by early October to deal with GOP shenanigans and just other problems such as moving. Without enthusiasm or volunteers, this sneaks up on people
          -Trump is already President. Republican voters, who may have viewed HRC favorably due to certainty of Trump keeping the MIC funding going, are probably not going to be reliable Team Blue votes going forward.
          -nostalgia and token voting. HRC and Obama ate up a great deal of this, and Warren and Klobuchar despite their efforts don’t have the same reach as Hillary. Pete’s sexuality isn’t remotely the same as being black in America. Not enough people care to make it a chance to tell the grandkids you voted for this person.

          Ultimately, the goal is to get to get 270. Warren pre-December or so maybe could have put together a coalition to win, but none of the others can credibly put together a coalition. Biden and Pete are segregationists, hawks, and largely disasters on most domestic policies. Klobuchar with her “no we can’t” routine isn’t going to reach the disaffected, and Bloomberg is running in the wrong primary. How are any of these characters going to win Ohio? PA? Michigan? And so forth.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Which isn’t to say Sanders will win (he probably would), but he’s the only one offering up a path to victory which is still winning the electoral college.

            1. Titus

              Thoughtful, but I don’t think the the community @NC is typical of the 50% + 1 vote of citizens going to vote in this election. In Michigan we want our issues dealt with, actual action. Trump’s never going to do anything except make things worse. Many may not like this, but Sanders, Biden or Bloomberg will all win over trump. It’s not even going to be close. In 2016 trump’s support didn’t show up in the polls because who’d want to admit to it. The same is going on in reverse. And the same thing is going on with Sanders. No one wants to say “stuff’ out loud.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                This isn’t about NCers. This is about actual voters. Republicans are loyal. They will come home, and Democrats have done nothing to earn loyalty or be rewarded. HRC ran up the score in safe states, but in competitive states, she did worse than Kerry in a bunch, not Obama, Kerry.

                Things like wealth inequality are real problems. Unless it hits the GOP turnout, there are no swing voters out there. There is no equilibrium between elections. Bloomberg is a Republican and a monster. At the end of the day, the disaffected aren’t coming over, and neither are the moderate, suburban Republicans because they don’t need to jump ship to guarantee success. They are already incumbents.

                The idea Trump will make things worse is going to fix electoral fortunes is naïve. This was the prediction made about McConnell all these years and the “party of no.”

        2. Darius

          A brokered convention that nominated someone else would see a mass walkout of the Sanders people. None of the others would have come close to earning it and would get the nomination only through a thoroughly corrupt and rigged process. The superdelegates already are strategizing how to get anyone but Sanders. This will make Chicago 1968 look like a love fest.

          This will tear the party apart. I think the Democrats could go the way of the Whigs, although legal and institutional inertia could keep the shell going for a while. These Hillary-Obama Dems are so horrified at the prospect of Bernie, they would slit their own throats if they have to.

          Any of these other Democrats carry such liabilities, Trump will have a field day. A bunch of people won’t turn out for Pete. He doesn’t give anyone a reason to vote for him, except for those taken in by his rhetoric, which doesn’t soar to Obama’s heights, but rather glides at about 5,000 feet. Warren says things that aren’t true, but isn’t an epic liar like Trump, who has perfected the big lie. Warren tells fibs that are easily attacked. Biden can’t remember what office he’s running for. Amy has the same problem as Pete. Can anyone name a single proposal of hers? And she’s bizarrely mean and abusive, as well as reflexively reactionary, which ties back into the question of why she’s running except for personal ambition.

          Any of these candidates would emerge from a brokered convention almost fatally wounded and would have few resources on which to draw to recover. Only Bernie leads a movement. And people instinctively trust him.

          1. tegnost

            “These Hillary-Obama Dems are so horrified at the prospect of Bernie, they would slit their own throats if they have to.”

            I think they should go make the republican party better rather than being embarrassed republicans living in a closet

          2. Darius

            And Bloomberg is just money bags who wants to take away your guns and your Coca Cola, and regiment your life.

    5. inode_buddha

      I’ll make a wish for your birthday: I hope and pray that Sanders can get out the Latino vote in Texas enough to flip the state Blue. You can sit back the next morning with the beverage of your choice and watch the heads explode.

      (I never said I was a nice person)

      1. Titus

        It’s not the Latino vote thst will cause the vote to flip, in Texas, it is like Arizona, transplants from California.

  8. Samuel Conner

    That’s an amazing flower, sort like a Mandlebrot set of living matter.

    Visited some elderly friends earlier today to help recover an AOL password that stopped working. Very strange; the password had previously worked (after a long period of disuse and a recent change because the prior pwd was no longer working). Has anyone seen this before? The recent login history has been inconsistent; does AOL mail get spooked if a password is changed after a long period of not logging in?

    I made some lowish-key suggestions for preparations as if they were expecting a major storm. The gentleman told me that the local home improvement store is completely sold out of respirators. I suppose that the unusually mild weather might have led to more construction activity than the head office was stocking the shelves for, but my intuition is that that is not the explanation.

  9. urblintz

    Is this for real?


    “The World Bank did launch Pandemic Bonds…they pay out to poorer nations in the event of a pandemic of any one of 6 virus types (including coronavirus). In fact, the World Bank is holding around $425 million dollars of Pandemic Bonds investments.

    Pandemic Bonds only release finds to poorer nations if the World Health Organisation declares a pandemic (defined as a highly infectious disease simultaneously affecting more than two regions of the world).

    If no pandemic is declared by the WHO before July 2020 investors get their money back plus interest plus a bonus.”

    And if it is for real… hmmm… will WHO declare a “pandemic” before 7/20?

    1. polecat

      Which WB financial inhouse-media Brainiac decided “Pandemic” Bonds was a selling point .. when using ‘Pandora’ would have had much greater cachet.


      It’s like they Haven’t ever heard of Eddie Bernays

  10. jax read

    Lambert, I’m right with you on rhythm guitar. You must be a fan of Stax Records!

    Thanks for all you do!

  11. chuck roast

    The Right Honorable Craig Murray reports that the great Baltasar Garzon is one of Julian Assange’s lawyers. Who knew!

    In a blast from the past…

    you may recall that the Great Garzon came close to putting Henry Kissinger, one of history’s all time war criminals in the can.

    Garzon appeared lost in the murky past after he was relieved of his duty by revanchist Spanish toadies around the turn of the century. Garzon is still on the job. This is a good day.

  12. Bill Carson

    Fellow Bernie Supporters—–WHAT THE HECK HAS HAPPENED??

    Since this morning, the Nate Silver model has gone from Bernie having a 44% chance off winning more than half the delegates before the convention, down to 33%.

    Plus all of Silver’s models have changed, so that they show Biden winning most of the south and Texas, plus Klobuchar winning Minnesota.

    What happened?

      1. chuckster

        Sirota needs to chill. You can’t pick fights about hypotheticals. We need to stop worrying about June if it’s only February

      2. Dan

        The Sanders campaign needs to come out with a missive that states in no uncertain terms that they’ve been consistent in their desire that the popular vote winner should be selected. The media is having a field day with this and the Sanders campaign hasn’t effectively explained why they took the position they did in 2016 and why they’re taking the one they are now.

        As was pointed out on Rising with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti this morning, the Sanders campaign would ultimately like to do away with Superdelegates entirely.

        The campaign needs to clearly explain this so it doesn’t look like they are two-faced. It’s about the popular vote and it always has been.

    1. voislav

      A bunch of new polls came out in some key states, swinging the projection against Bernie. South Carolina is now projected to go to Biden with a wide margin, there was a swing in Texas as well, which is now projected to narrowly go to Biden.

      That’s the problem with models, they don’t differentiate the quality of input. We’ll see how realistic the new projection is on Saturday. Anything but a Biden landslide would swing the projection back to Bernie.

      1. Bill Carson

        And of course having Biden at the top of that poll this close to the vote is a huge advantage because people like to vote for the winner.

        But these last minute polls have raised my level of anxiety to new heights. Something is rotten in Denmark.

        Assuming there has been a shift and it’s not just a polling error, I have to think about two things:
        1) the debate was horrible all the way around; and
        2) Bernie made a huge blunder when he announced how he would pay for his plans (just like EW did four weeks ago or so), and people are afraid of taxes.

        Say what you will about the RNC, at least they weren’t corrupt.

        1. Grant

          There isn’t any actual evidence of a huge swing against Bernie. That simply isn’t true. He is doing well in many super Tuesday polls. Two outliers came out in South Carolina that are highly problematic in regards to their methodology. They are done to make you anxious and to try to build momentum for Biden. The Monmouth poll massively oversampled older voters, as did the Clemson poll (look it up), the Monmouth poll has a margin of error of 9%, and they have inflated Biden’s support by 10% in Iowa and NH. And how did him coming up with a “way to pay for his plans” (I know the MMT implications of that phrase) hurt him? Everyone knew taxes would go up, he said as much. He has said that out of pocket expenditures would more than offset that. Warren went down for a number of reasons, the biggest of which was that her single payer plan wasn’t serious and she was clearly backing away from it.

          I have to say, it is really frustrating when I go to a site that poster after poster looks at methodology in polling and can critically analyze problems, but then forget to look into the methodology of these polls. Some of these polls are trying to capture the objective reality, some have other motives.

          1. inode_buddha

            Why would creating anxiety change my vote? If anything, it only strengthens my resolve to shove Sanders across the finish line, over the DNC’s dead body if need be.

            1. Grant

              Anxious may not be the best word. Bernie has momentum, he does have the best path forward, and they want someone else to get momentum. And I find the actual evidence of a huge swing to be a bit suspicious. There are two joke outlier polls and a tight race in Texas. I personally think Bernie has a good shot to do really well in Texas and there is a huge enthusiasm gap with Biden. And people in Texas started voting days ago and turnout was really high. Outside of Florida, Bernie is doing well, and these are largely right wing states. If people are actually supporting Bernie, maybe remain logical and don’t feed into propaganda. Biden may win SC, but it isn’t impossible for Bernie, and if Bernie wins, he is in even better shape.

              1. inode_buddha

                Mentioned above, I hope Bernie can flip Texas blue. Very long shot I know, but — the latino vote. I would be laughing for a week if that happened.

      2. Grant

        “South Carolina is now projected to go to Biden with a wide margin”

        Not based on what I have seen. Two outliers came out, both massively oversampling older voters with huge margin of errors. Monmouth has had Biden doing far better in Iowa and NH than he actually did, I think the margin was 10%. Colorado and Virginia came out with Bernie far ahead. California looks good and Bernie is right there in Texas, with a large Latino population. Bernie is right there in NC and Georgia too. There are some states where Bernie might not do great (Florida), but he looks to pick up delegates in most every state. Not sure that is the case with anyone else. And he is doing well in Midwest states too. Biden has underwhelmed to this point and there is an enthusiasm gap. We’ll see I guess.

        But, I don’t trust the judgement of Democrats one bit.

          1. turtle

            There was going to be a story this morning on NPR about “why SC reverted to paper ballots for this election”. I didn’t get to listen to it though.

        1. Bill Carson

          Down to 31% now—worse one day slide than today’s Dow.

          I think Sanders need to capitalize on how M4A is a national security issue not with these global pandemics.

          1. Grant

            Which should cause a logical person to question that. Two days ago there was a bunch of articles on Bernie closing the gap in SC, all polls showing a close race. Everyone acknowledges that if he wins in SC it is close to over. Then, two joke polls come out within hours showing a 20 point gap, huge outliers, and the media then ignores the other polls and goes with a poll from Monmouth that massively oversamples older voters, has a 9% margin of error and from a source that gave Biden 10% more in Iowa and NH than he actually got. The Clemson poll was an outright joke. Bernie is well situated in every super Tuesday state, other than Florida, and early voting started in TX and California days ago. We know how propaganda works, right? I think Biden may win in SC, I would be shocked if it wasn’t decently close. Find me a poll with good methodology that has Biden running away with it. Let’s also not pretend that Silver himself is objective. He is the Neera Tanden of people that analyze data.

            1. Dan

              Grant, I’ve been following your analysis and I agree wholeheartedly. I’d be shocked, and obviously very suspicious, if it isn’t a very close contest.

              The Post and Courier Poll is the one that still has Bernie closest, within the margin of error.

      3. Carey

        >South Carolina is now projected to go to Biden with a wide margin, there was a swing in Texas as well, which is now projected to narrowly go to Biden.

        What has changed to make either of these factoids become true?

        Biden doesn’t know where he is, or what office he’s running™ for, for dog’s sake.

        #riggedPolls (and likely, #riggedVotes)

        1. Grant

          Norhing. Most polls show a tight race in SC. Two ridiculous polls came out and the media, and Bill, are focusing on them. In the case of the media, for obvious reasons. Don’t know what Bill’s motivation is.

          1. Bill Carson

            Bill as in me? My motivation has always been for Bernie to win. But yeah, I’m freaking out right now because Bernie had a huge win in Nevada and he had the momentum. On Silver’s prediction model, he was up as high as a 49% chance of winning enough delegates (1991+) going into the convention to secure the nomination, and the next most-likely result was “nobody gets to 1991,” which was around a 39% chance, and then Biden was at 10%, and everybody else combined was less than 1%. Plus, Silver’s model predicted Sanders would win every state except one—Florida, I think. And Sanders’ chances dipped down to about 42 or 43% as of this morning—no big deal. And I’m in meetings all afternoon and log in at 4pm and suddenly Sanders is down to 31-32%, Biden up to 17%, Bloomberg up to 2%, etc., BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, the model was now giving Biden a 95% chance of winning SC, and showed Biden likely to win a ton of Super Tuesday states (Texas and Klobuchar winning Minnesota, etc. etc.

            So I didn’t know if Bernie had come down with Coronavirus or what, who knows? But suddenly it feels like all of the momentum is gone. It’s almost as though the DNC and media believes Trump when he claims that Bernie is the cause of the selloff in the financial markets, which is absurd.

            1. Stephen The Tech Critic

              You’re looking at the FiveThirtyEight forecast right? The percentage is the “probability of outcome” spit out by the model and is not a vote share or win margin or anything like that. The model likely ascribes a lot of importance to the outcome in SC, and the recent polls may have nudged the model to think Biden is looking better there now. Either way, it’s a pretty small fluctuation.

              For comparison, suppose that tonight you listen to the weather forecast and learn that there’s a 50% chance of rain on Sunday. Then you listen tomorrow night and now they’re saying that there’s a 30% chance of rain. Is that really a big change?

              Please try to be careful when reading and interpreting numbers, wherever you encounter them. Understanding the context behind them is essential to properly interpreting their meaning. Unfortunately, it’s a very common mistake. To give another recent example, note how the stock market has performed relative to trends official COVID-19 numbers vs. the underlying reality. Oops!

            2. Grant

              Bill, a few months ago, it was not looking good at all for Bernie on super Tuesday. In fact, Biden was absolutely dominating most of the states, which is why Bernie doing well in the first few races meant a lot. If he lost in Iowa, NH and Nevada, it would be hard seeing him win. I went through the polls on super Tuesday. No way, as a Bernie supporter, I would trade Bernie’s position with Biden’s. Bernie is either leading or in second in every state but Florida. Biden is not. Again, as of a few months ago, all of that was reversed. And there is nothing logical what so ever to point to some collapse. Bernie is the first person to ever win the first three, just came off of a crushing win in Nevada and is doing increasingly well nationally. Logically, there is nothing to point to for some surge with Biden. The totality of this supposed momentum is two ridiculous polls in SC with bad methodology The reality is that while Biden may be favored to win in SC, Bernie is right there. Not impossible for him to win. If he does, gonna be hard to beat him. So, making it seem as if Biden has tons of momentum is a bit nuts. He might not even win a state he has for months relied on as his firewall, a state he was leading by, what, 30 points as of a few months ago. If Bernie doesn’t even win but is really close, what momentum is there? And as I said, in Texas, they started voting days ago and turnout is much higher than in years past. Given what we saw in Nevada with the Latino vote, that may very well be good news for Bernie. And people seem to forget, Trump lost a number of states in 2016. Towards the end he racked up a number of victories, but other candidates won a dozen states or so. Happens when there are so many candidates.

              1. Bill Carson

                Thanks everyone. I think I’m off the ledge. I was just hopeful, er, AM HOPEFUL that he will perform well in the South. I remember how frustrating ’16 was because HRC was lauded as an unstoppable front runner because she had won all of these red states that the Dems would never win in the general election. Let’s wait and see what really happens.

      4. Titus

        Not to argue, but good system models do in fact assign a series of class attributes to inputs. ‘Quality’, in this context is kinda meaningless. Any good sociologist or physicist, or medical evidence based analysis, knows how to analyze and assign ‘value’ to inputs. I think all these poli-science polling models are next to worthless. Clearly there is at any given time an actual reality of what citizen voters both believe and may act on. All polling should reach the same conclusions if any kind of science was being employed. There are several ways to analyze the earth’s shape but them come to the same conclusion- round (pear shaped actually). Zeitgeist is nice but it isn’t science.

    2. urblintz

      The Dem leadeship has finally found a full-proof method to mis-count the votes in favor of the guy with hair-plugs.

    3. Merrigold

      The Nate Silver model relies on “momentum” and carries the results of recent South Carolina polls over into southern states that they consider to be correlated to SC, so there is a reverberation across many states when a SC poll or two come out.

      Another problem I noticed with Nate’s model in Texas specifically is that every recent poll has Sanders tied or ahead, except for a Feb 24-25 PPP poll that asked specifically who would they vote for if Bloomberg wasn’t in the race. That one has Biden up 31-25 over Sanders and is also likely biasing the Texas results. Problem is that Bloomberg *is* actually in the race.

  13. Carey

    Bloomberg’s Game, by Jim Kavanagh:

    “..Stealing the nomination from Bernie for anyone will risk that radical rupture the party must try to avoid; stealing it for Bloomberg would guarantee that rupture. Bernie Sanders himself might withhold even pro forma support from Michael Bloomberg, and he certainly would not campaign for him as he did for Hillary. Bernie’s supporters would just leave the party, for good.

    A large chunk of his voters will stay home, as Trump plays Mini-Mike’s racist, sexist, austerity tapes on a loop and wins by a landslide. The Democratic Party will be reduced to Pelosi, Schiff, and Schumer fishing around for Russiagate 4.0.

    There must be a third candidate to whom the party can give the nomination, and it must be someone whom Bernie Sanders himself and a large chunk of his supporters might be persuaded to stay in the party and support.
    There is only one such candidate: Elizabeth Warren..”


    Seems plausible enough.

  14. Plenue


    Lots going on. The Syrian army continues to advance towards the M4 highway in the south of Idlib. I figured they would just got along the top and made a new cauldron, but no, they’re just fighting straight through, with great success.

    Meanwhile, the ‘rebels’, backed by Turkish support, counterattacked further north and took back the town of Saraqib and its crucial M4-M5 highway intersection (Erdogan is bragging up a storm. Any remaining pretense that the fighters in Idlib aren’t Turkish proxies has been dropped). The Syrian army is in turn counter attacking right now in that area.

    Also it seems that within the last hour there have been both Israeli attacks from the Golan Heights (drone and helicopter strikes), and a direct artillery attack from Turkish territory on the Russia operated air base at Khmeimim.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Perhaps they’re reluctant to form a pocket in which numerous civilians are trapped along with the jihadists.

      Better, perhaps, to push them straight back… toward Turkey.

      1. Plenue

        They cleared the Aleppo suburbs a couple weeks ago by forming a pocket, but leaving a corridor open that the fighters fled through.

    1. Lupemax

      I’m from Massachusetts. Warren is as phony as they come. She needs to go back to Harvard where blowhards/filpfloppers belong. When cafeteria workers were striking at Harvard for a living wage and health care, even though warren said she “supported” workers she did not join them on the picket line. Naive me I was shocked and remember that vividly. Opened my eyes to how bought off the democrat party has become. I also work with a candidate against her on the campaign trail in the primary for Senate. I never did get to shake Warren’s hand on the campaign trail. Too many young guards around her prevented me from getting close enough to shake her hand. Bernie is so much more genuine in caring about people (especially the 99%) than Warren. I hope Bernie wins in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I don’t read Kos anymore, but I can guess that the argument is basically that

      “for a candidate’s claimed commitment to “real” change to be credible, that candidate’s plan has to be achievable within the constraints imposed by present political realities, and assuming no significant change in the ideological composition of the Party delegations to the legislature or the partisan breakdown within the legislature, and assuming no consequential changes in the political engagement of the public”

      This seems to basically be Biden’s theory, too, of why he is the only “real Progressive” running, because he’s the only guy willing to compromise enough with the R Senate to “get things done”.

      The idea that the ideological composition of the legislature (dominated by neoliberalism at the moment) is not an unchangeable fact of nature eludes many people, and such people probably find Sanders to be beyond their comprehension.


      I confess that when I hear EW earnestly proclaim that “Progressives have just one chance to implement change” (with the implication that her candidacy is that one hope for progressive change), what I intuit she really means is “this is my one chance at becoming President”.

      I’m not with her.

      Here’s the deal: let JB and EW argue over who is the real progressive or the only hope for change. Meanwhile, Sanders will go on mobilizing voters and volunteer campaign workers.

      I hope it isn’t even close.

    3. Darius

      Kudos to you for getting banned at kos.

      Warren isn’t a viable candidate. Yet she is getting funding to keep going. I think she has a deal with the Hillary types to keep going as part of an effort toward a brokered convention and they will fund her. She may think she can get the nomination in a brokered convention, but she may be angling for Bloomberg’s VP.

      Everywhere you look with these people it’s just corruption and rot.

      1. Bill Carson

        …she may be angling for Bloomberg’s VP.

        Warren is angling to be Biden’s VP and they will use MB’s money.

  15. Carl

    I went to the grocery store this afternoon. There was no isopropyl alcohol left. Everything else (well, no face masks) was still “in stock” including the extra beer I purchased, just in case we have to stay home for a few weeks. Very crowded for a late Thursday afternoon. Left wondering how many shoppers were stocking up for a potential quarantine. South Texas.

    1. phemfrog

      I also went to the store in North Texas, and saw similar. The isopropanol was almost sold out, but plenty of everything else. I spent a few hundred bucks stocking up on rice, beans, ibuprofen, TP, beer, and various other food items. Didnt notice anyone else with larger than normal loads.

      I am of the mind better safe than sorry right now. We eat everything i bought regularly, so if the pandemic cools off, or we get a vaccine, nothing will be wasted.

      1. Bill Carson

        Same here, except we still had some isopropyl. That reminds me, I need to exchange one of my propane tanks.

    2. Jackson

      Let’s just tell it like it is. With Pence’s designation, nothing will be done for the 99%. A self quarantine or outright quarantine is nothing but a concentration camp…

      1. Samuel Conner

        It has been suggested that part of Pence’s job function may be to persuade the Evangelical mega-churches to suspend large meetings for a while. That IMO is going to be a bit of a hard sell because of the economics of those enterprises.

        Pence is one of them and may have more credibility with them than the President, who is basically (IMO) a sympathetic pagan (think “king Cyrus”), would.

        If that’s right, it’s a smart move by the Administration.

    3. polecat

      I was at our local Cosco casually shopping .. trying not to show my vailed, uh, ‘concern’ … they were completely out of chlorine bleach, which I thought ‘interesting’ .. scanned, while in chechout, what other’s were purchasing – didn’t see any serious pre-pandemic prep action. I suspect that as local cases of Covid19 become apparent/show up (won’t take but a few, to go from ‘if’ .. to ‘oh sh!t’ mode..) then things might get kinda weird ..
      Will make another foray to the various bigbox HungerGames cornicopias this weekend … will observe & record. Hopefully, any arrows will remain quivered.

    4. Daryl

      Here in Texas. I haven’t seen any prepping-style shopping, but then I always go at nighttime to avoid crowds. I also haven’t attempted to purchase any prevention-type supplies so I may just not have noticed.

      I am starting to get slightly nervous mostly because my diet doesn’t have much crossover with long shelf life meals. Maybe I’ll just make a bunch of pemmican.

    1. urblintz

      The comments were working when I read the article and the “Reader’s Picks” almost unanimously were angry and opposed.


  16. Anthony G Stegman

    If it is Trump vs Bloomberg I will vote for Trump.
    Trump vs Biden I will vote for Trump.
    Trump vs Klobuchar I will vote for Trump.
    Trump vs Warren I’ll hold my nose and vote for Warren.
    Trump vs Sanders I will vote for Sanders.
    Trump vs. Mayor Pete will never happen. If a crazy thing happens I will vote for Trump.
    Trump vs Steyer I will hold my nose and vote for Steyer.

      1. Carey

        I will vote for Sanders (and hope the vote gets accurately counted), or I won’t mcVote. Team Dem are fine with a vote for Trump!; and indeed, may prefer it.

        And why not? effing loserCrats..

    1. Plenue

      Sanders or bust.

      Either give me actual progressive change, or I’m content with the more inept evil continuing in power. I won’t actively vote for Trump, but I’ll happily not vote for a Republican-lite against him.

      Dems are not entitled to me vote. I do, in fact, ‘have somewhere else to go’. Maybe they need to lose to the clown a second time for that point to be pounded into their skulls.

    2. Samuel Conner

      If one is going to vote DJT as a protest, at least vote “D” down-ballot (unless there is a clearly superior “R” on offer) so that the Party gets a sense of how many votes it lost to ticket-splitters.

      One can also simply not vote the top of the ticket to send the same message.

      I hope to not have to make such decisions, but it is worth thinking about it ahead of time.

      And maybe DNC lurkers are reading these threads. I hope they are dismayed by what they see here.

      1. John k

        Party doesn’t care about losing votes, explaining no 50 state strategy or fighting rep vote suppression.
        Job 1 is to simply keep the progressive from power. Trump is good for donors, so what’s not to like?
        Granted, they have to pretend they want to win, and individual candidates very much want to win, but winning is not at all important to the dem elites.
        Buffett of course said he’d pick Bloomberg over sanders. But the more interesting answer is whether he would vote for sanders over trump… not that I’d trust his answer. Sometimes it’s just more prudent to lie.

    3. Felix_47

      I have no problem with a woman……I would vote for Nina Turner for pres in a heartbeat. I love her speeches.

  17. JCC

    For those who got the UMG regional block on “Don’t Believe The Hype”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QwBmStwK2w with lyrics. Public Enemy picked up on Fake News long before Trump.

    By the way, here in CA I have been getting an 8-1/2×11 glossy every day from Bloomberg for the last week, along with an every 2 to 3 day spam phone call promoting Bloomberg.

    The glossy goes straight to the round file, and I won’t repeat my comments that I make to the ethics-poor but briefly well-paid schlubs on the other end of the line… I don’t abuse them at all, but I do ask them to send a pretty explicit reply to Bloomberg as well as let them know that Sanders is the only one that may be able to beat Trump. Of course while making sure they can’t get a word in edgewise.

    Unfortunately the only satisfaction I get from the above is that I wasted a few of Bloomberg’s bucks.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I wish they would print those things b/w on non-glossy paper and just use plain “lamp-black” style newsprint ink. Then I would feel safe enough to shred them and feed them to the compost worms. It’s a shame to throw so much cellulose into the waste stream (or, much the same, the recycling stream).

    2. JCC

      Replying to my own post… I meant to add this… the fact that it is surprisingly easy to keep the callers from getting a word in edgewise is also apparent as covered in The Rising.


      I’m not absolutely sure the above link will work for all, so if you are interested, it is the section of The Rising that covers a WP reporter, Ken Klippenstein, who has interviewed many of the Bloomberg Campaign Staffers.

      Spoiler Alert: Most just don’t care about Bloomberg. They’re in it for the money.

  18. Copeland

    I’ve been meaning to ask Lambert, Yves and the commentariat: I think we were expecting a certain amount –maybe a lot– of DNC rigging in the Nevada Caucuses, like what they tried to do in Iowa. Was there any rigging against Sanders, or was it actually a fairly democratic outcome, within the constraints of the rules as written by the DNC?

    1. Samuel Conner

      I think that caucuses are harder to rig because there is no “ballot secrecy”. You can see how many people align with each candidate in each vote. And each campaign is doing it’s own counting and verifying that the published totals match what it counted.

      I hope that Sanders has good tech consultants looking at the specific models of voting machines in the upcoming secret-ballot primaries, and good mathematicians evaluating the output numbers for traces of non-random features that could suggest tampering.

      Oh yes, and good lawyers standing by.

      1. inode_buddha

        Oh yes, and good lawyers standing by.

        I always recommend Cravath, Swaine, and Moore. Their reputation precedes them — they are outside counsel for IBM. Not cheap, but — they don’t lose.

        I mean, when you care enough to send the very best….

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Was there any rigging against Sanders, or was it actually a fairly democratic outcome, within the constraints of the rules as written by the DNC?

      I think that when the Sanders campaign took the Culinary Worker rank-and-file away from the leadership, they realized they had nothing, that Sanders’ margin was so great that rigging wasn’t worth the risk.

      We’ll see about CA (and TX)…

  19. WheresOurTeddy

    Bernie is supported by:

    Dick Van Dyke
    Ariana Grande
    Public Enemy
    the lion’s share of Latinos, nurses, people under 35, people under 30k/yr
    this poor rural California white person who should demographically be a Trump voter

    Who is the unity candidate, Liz?

      1. OIFVet

        I must admit, I was skeptical of her at first, but now that she has moved to the economically depressed part of Martha’s Vineyard I have come around. Only a true woman of the people would make such a move.

    1. urblintz

      Bernie is supported by this 64 yr old white male retired opera singer living not uncomfortably (at least for now knock on wood) who shouldn’t care about m4all because, well, I’ll get mine soon enough, but who cares a lot anyway, and understands that only Sanders is prepared to redirect $$ to expanded social services for the people from the way $$ is currently directed for anything military and corporate and wasteful (everything else is just noise) and who gets the urgency of climate change without offering profit oriented solutions, as I observe the splendid wreck that was once my future and gleefully imagine Bernie saying, in that untranscribable accent:

      “Ya know what Mr. Trump? You’re a liar and a criminal. The voters are gonna make sure you get a one way ticket outta the White House. And by the way… after you’re gone?.. we’re gonna come after you… with handcuffs.”

      Of course one shouldn’t presume what Bernie might say except that it’ll be better and classier than the above and it will be direct!

  20. polecat

    I only became a Mocking Jay voter in ’16, due to the Capital ratf#cking of Sanders. Will do the same, if the situation repeats again THIS quarterquel !

    1. bob

      Good line-

      ” She also seemed in her anger to be making the unfounded assumption that whoever took the photo from the public gallery on Tuesday was still there on Wednesday; I suspect not. Being angry at the public at random must be very stressful for her. I suspect she shouts a lot on trains. ”

      Although, in her defense, reading through the legal contortions and codex references dating back to King Henry would also make me want to shout at people in trains in the UK/England/Great Britain. Which is it? to begin with…..

      1. Samuel Conner

        Reading through the last 3 posts from Ambassador Murray, the thought occurs that the prospect of continuing under this kind of judicial oversight might be a good argument for exiting the Union.

        In that spirit, I offer this thought:

        Make Scotland a State Again

  21. John Anthony La Pietra

    To everyone here who is planning how best to vote tactically or strategically if Bernie Sanders is cheated out of the Democratic nomination for President again this year:

    I encourage you — even if (or maybe especially if) you don’t believe a different vote can do any good this November — to factor into your considerations the possibility of building something for the future. The day after the election, the day after the next inauguration, the next two and/or four years, all of the above and more . . . any and all future points within your vision.

    40 years ago, I was a small-g green kid trying to help bring together the best of both big parties in an actual National Unity campaign — John Anderson and Patrick Lucey. I was told at the time (mid-September?) that a private poll showed Anderson was much closer than many thought to both Carter and Reagan — and if the poll question asked voters who they’d support if they thought Anderson actually had a chance to win, he was ahead of both of them in the top 8-9 states. Dunno if that was entirely true, but it felt believable.

    20 years ago, I’d been active in local D politics enough to have seen establishment victimizing of popular candidates at the local, district, and state levels. So when I saw it on the national level too (Gore over Bradley), that pushed me back out into the wilderness — I helped the Greens petition to get on the ballot in Michigan. We’ve been there ever since, and I’ve been a Green ever since.

    So I’ll be comforted, in the midst of my sadness that the Ds had again not nominated their best candidate, if I see more similarly minded folks joining in building the party that already (IMO) has a 20-year, 20-state headstart on becoming a replacement for the D wing of the duopoly. But I’d be almost as glad to see other forward-looking building efforts getting some boost, too.

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