2:00PM Water Cooler 2/4/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this Water Cooler will be Iowa and not much more, because my other Twitter persona was limited, probably because the word “ratfucking” hit a tripwire, so my research tool got trashed, and then my iPad did its trick of leaving links I’d sent to my browser persona in the Outbox, without telling me, naturally. So my workflow was completely, toothgrindingly disrupted. –lambert UPDATE All done.


“Coronavirus Threatens To Disrupt eCommerce Supply Chain” [PYMNTS.com]. “Visa’s 8 percent [earnings] tally excludes China and the U.K. And as CEO Al Kelly said on the call: ‘Planes are being halted both in and out of China, and you’re probably reading, as we are, that companies were telling their employees to stay home. So, even for the eCommerce world, [if] employees are staying home – who’s picking goods and shipping them?’ Separately, Sachin Mehra, CFO of Mastercard, said on the earnings call that ‘…fortunately, a decent portion of our inbound and outbound cross-border from China is [eCommerce]-related. So it provides some level of a hedge. And we will continue to monitor the environment. It’s too early to tell at this point in time, how this thing plays out.’ Since those comments were made, avenues of transport seem to be getting increasingly choked off. That means goods that have already been produced, or have been ordered or are getting ordered, are unlikely to arrive on doorsteps. As we noted in this space, Cathay Pacific, which is also a major cargo airline for China and Hong Kong, has said it will reduce flights to mainland China by 50 percent through the end of March. UPS had canceled 22 flights to China. Beyond that, if supply chains are truly disrupted (we’re thinking here about consumer goods, such as tech-related or pharma items), the ripple effects may be that inventory in the pipeline is held up, and it will take a while for that new inventory to reach end customers, and then for new demand to materialize and bring those plants back online.”

“A weakened bulk shipping market is proving highly susceptible to China’s coronavirus. A bellwether of the global commodities shipping market plummeted deeper into negative territory this week… in a stark sign of how the fast-spreading virus and uncertainty around its impact on the world’s economy have rocked markets and sent commodities prices to multi-month lows” [Wall Street Journal]. “The Baltic Exchange’s capesize index, a part of the Baltic Dry Index, tracks the largest dry-bulk vessels carrying raw materials like iron ore and coal. Bulk carriers have already been under pressure from weakening factory activity and excess shipping capacity. Now China’s lockdown aimed at containing the coronavirus is extending factory shutdowns, crimping demand for industrial transport.”


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

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

Here is a second counter for the New Hampshire Primary, which is obviously just around the corner:

* * *


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

NOTE: We still do not have results from Iowa as of this writing, although the count is expected to be completed today. So there’s no point speculating on a Biden implosion, any more than a Buttigieg victory. However, if Biden did in fact drastically undperform the polls — unlike Sanders, then Buttigieg and Warren — I would speculate conventional wisdom needs to be inverted: The youngs turned out, and the olds did not.

We have two national polls, Morning Consult (big sample) and Atlas, as of 2/4/2020, as od 12:00 PM EST. Biden and Sanders are the pick of the litter, trailed by Warren and, horridly, Bloomberg, as in the polls we saw yesterday, has lapped Buttigieg. I have returned to three-days average.

The numbers:


NH numbers:

Sanders running away with NH, as indeed he should.

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.

* * *

Iowa meltdown:

UPDATE “Partial Iowa caucus results to be released this afternoon; timing of full release uncertain” [Los Angeles Times]. “Partial results of the Iowa caucuses will be released at 2 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday, according to officials from several campaigns who were briefed about the Iowa Democratic Party’s plans…. State party officials told campaign leaders that 50% of the results would be released Tuesday, but no timeline yet exists for a full release.” • The bleeding continues. Ya know, when I was living in Montreal years ago, the Quebecois, six million people, used hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, and had a result the same day. #JustSaying. It’s not just the app that’s shambolic, it’s the entire voting system, root and branch, top to bottom.

“Tech problem with mobile app causes Iowa caucus chaos” [Associated Press]. “A new mobile app was supposed to help Democratic officials quickly gather information from some 1,700 caucus sites throughout Iowa. Instead, a “coding issue” within the app is being blamed for delays that left the results unknown the morning after the first-in-the nation presidential nominating contest… The party said it expects to release unofficial results later Tuesday after manually verifying its data against paper backups. Unlike the November election and state primaries administered by state and local election officials, the Iowa caucus was administered by the Iowa Democratic Party. Nevada Democrats also have plans to use a mobile reporting app for their caucuses set for Feb. 22.” • First, Nevada should obviously not use the tainted app (and especially if its paper backup system is not as robust as Iowa’s). Second, why on earth didn’t the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) simply go to the University of Iowa’s Computer Science Department, and have them write an open-source app? If they didn’t want to use Microsoft software, as they did in 2020? That said, why on earth did the IDP choose the vendor they chose?

“This Is The Buzzy Democratic Firm That Botched The Iowa Caucuses” [HuffPo]. “A tech company affiliated with and funded by Acronym, a Democratic digital nonprofit group that has rapidly expanded in recent years, was responsible for building the Iowa caucus app… State campaign finance records indicate the Iowa Democratic Party paid Shadow, a tech company that joined with Acronym last year, more than $60,000 for “website development” over two installments in November and December of last year. A Democratic source with knowledge of the process said those payments were for the app… Gerard Niemira, a veteran of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is the head of Shadow. He previously served as chief technology officer and chief operating officer of Acronym, according to his LinkedIn page. In 2019, David Plouffe, one of the chief architects of President Barack Obama’s wins, joined the board of advisers for Acronym. Acronym spokesman Kyle Tharp put out a statement distancing the group from Shadow, saying that Acronym is merely an investor in the for-profit company.” • Because of course they did; this was a nearly contemporaneous report; good job, HuffPo! More on Acronym President McGowan, who seems to be rather well connected:

So, let’s say you have a political party divided into two factions: Faction A and Faction B. (Faction A was sub-factions, but they are united in their hatred of Faction B.) Faction A and Faction B participate together in an election, which Faction B is expected to win. The software to count the votes is written by Faction A, and the software breaks down, denying Faction B, at the very least, a traditional victory speech. At the very least, is that a good luck?

I have to break off here, on a very CT-ish note (which I don’t really support as a method on principle, but time presses). More soon.

Now the losers:

1) Shadow, Inc.: “Nevada won’t gamble on vote results app that derailed the Iowa caucuses” [Daily News]. “Democratic officials in the home state of Las Vegas insisted Tuesday that they will not gamble on the now notorious election app that virtually singlehandedly destroyed the credibility of the Iowa caucuses. ‘What happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada,’ William McCurdy, the state party chairman, said in a statement. ‘We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus.'” See also: “Investors Rush to Downplay Ties to Firm Behind Iowa Clusterfuck” [Daily Beast].

2) ClintonWorld: “Clinton campaign veterans linked with app that contributed to caucus chaos” [Des Moines Register]. “The smartphone application blamed in part for the ongoing delay in reporting results of the Monday Iowa caucuses is linked with key Iowa and national Democrats associated with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign…. The app was issued by Jimmy Hickey of Shadow Inc., metadata of the program that the Des Moines Register analyzed Tuesday shows. Gerard Niemira and Krista Davis, who worked for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, co-founded Shadow. Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price worked as Clinton’s 2016 Iowa political director. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday about the relationship between the party and Shadow… Shadow collected $153,768 in 2019 from seven different Democratic or advocacy campaigns, mostly for technology, software and subscription services such as text messaging, according to Federal Election Commission data. Among them were the presidential campaigns of former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as well as the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, according to the federal reports.” • Why hasn’t every participant in the 2016 Clinton debacle seriously considered leaving public life? Read Shattered and Chasing Hillary!; shambolic isn’t in it.

3) The IDP: Not only for its odd software procurement issues, but for its performance on the day itself. Problems were known instantly:

And from the Department of Schadenfreude:

To be fair to Clintonite Price, “the most prepared” does not actually mean “prepared.”

4) The campaign volunteers and staffers:

The staffers will dine out on this in ten years. But for now, it hurts, and it should.

5) The campaigns: “3 Big Questions After The Iowa Results Meltdown” [NPR]. “[T]he winner is not yet known and, above all, this debacle robbed whomever that is of a chance to have their moment in the sun. The campaigns worked so hard in this state because it has been predictive of who has become the Democratic nominee — the last four and seven of last nine have gone on to be the party’s standard-bearer over the past 40 years. Iowa, being first, also serves to winnow the field and help elevate front-runners. That’s especially important in a year like this with a record number of candidates running. Whoever actually won was stripped of the potential momentum they were banking on to catapult them into New Hampshire and beyond…. At this point, it is all spin. But imagine, for example, if on caucus night, it was known in prime time that Sanders and Buttigieg were the top two. And imagine what that would mean for Biden’s candidacy — and fundraising. Eventually, the result will be known, though, and what will that mean for Biden’s hopes next week in New Hampshire? Sen. Amy Klobuchar used the lack of results as a reason to continue on to New Hampshire. What would have happened if she finished fifth with that result known on caucus night? Now, the moderates in the race may continue to split the vote for longer than they would have liked. What the delayed result did was stall the race — after a year of time, money and effort expended.”

6) The Iowa Caucus as such: “R.I.P. the ‘First-In-the-Nation’ Iowa Caucuses (1972-2020)” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “The “first-in-the-nation” Iowa caucuses died Monday night after a protracted battle with advanced-stage omnishambles. Or so we can hope. Iowa’s eccentric, endearing — and wildly anti-democratic — nominating contest has always been an indefensible institution. There is no reason why the most politically-engaged and/or time-rich citizens of America’s 31st most populous state should have the power to veto presidential candidates before anyone else in the country has a say. And yet, few of Iowa’s bitterest critics ever dreamed it would subject the country to something like this.”

7) The Democrat Party: “Joe Biden flopped in Iowa. And so did the Democratic party’s reputation” [Nathan J. Robinson, Guardian]. “If you’re the type of person who thinks the Democratic party is a creaking, incompetent entity whose leadership needs overthrowing, the Iowa caucuses certainly validated your point of view. None of us knew who would win, but we had at least expected a result. We didn’t get one, at least not on caucus night.”

8) The entire election: “Iowa Might Have Screwed Up The Whole Nomination Process” [FiveThirtyEight]. “we estimate — based on testing how much the results in various states have historically changed the candidates’ position in national polls — that Iowa was the second most-important date on the calendar this year, trailing only Super Tuesday. It was worth the equivalent of almost 800 delegates, about 20 times its actual number…. The point is that the lead story around the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses is now — and will forever be — the colossal shitshow around the failure to release results in a timely fashion…. the failure to release results in a timely fashion.”

9) The voters : I loath the phrase, “our democracy,” because who’s is it, anyhow? But the voters need to be assured that their votes will be accurately counted. That’s especially true for the non-voters that the Sanders campaign is trying to bring in.

10) The idea that government can solve problems: “Why the Iowa voting fiasco matters” [The Spectator]. “This failure makes the Democratic party look ridiculous. The damage is compounded because they are the ‘party of government’. That’s their brand, and it has been since Franklin Roosevelt proposed the New Deal. Democratic policies almost always call for more government, run from Washington. When people point to social or economic problems, Democrats reflexively respond with laws, regulations, and bureaucracies to tackle them (and taxes to pay for them). That prospect looks a lot less appealing when you can’t count the votes in a high school gym. It doesn’t encourage people to say, ‘These are just the people to handle my healthcare.'” • Well worth a read in full. In tweet form:

The winners:

1) Whatever state replaces Iowa. Obviously.

2) Possibly, if the winner is Sanders, Sanders: It is true that the Sanders supporters, if indeed their candidate is the winner, will have every reason to believe that their candidate was hard done by — since the clusterfuck, at every stage, can be laid to their adversaries in 2016, who did indeed cheat. This will certainly solidify Sanders base. Will it bring in the undecided, and above all the non-voters? Hard to say. My feeling is that if you want to bring in non-voters, it’s probably best not to start out by explaining to them that their vote may not count.

Lambert here: The entire episode reminds me of a sclerotic Third World authoritarian regime with democratic trappings. When such a regime establishes a Constitutional order, they deliberately introduce complexity, so that “outside forces” can step in when failure inevitably happens, and they deliberately install cronies at key points in the system. Elections then fail, either because the cronies are incompetent (it’s not necessary to be competent at anything but being a crony to be successful crony) or, when things get real, through outright sabotage. The result is that voters tend to lose faith in democracy as such, and the system falls into clientelism, where everybody is somebody’s crony. Of course, the cronies fight viciously to retain their positions, not only because of ego, or the Dunning-Kruger syndrome, or ideology, but also for genuine moral commitments, as to family and friends. We see all these symptoms of decay in today’s decadent Democrat Party.

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Caroline Kennedy backs Biden, calls him Democrats’ best bet” [ABC]. “‘We need a nominee who can compete in every state, who can bring wandering Democrats and independents back to the fold, and even attract some Republicans,’ Kennedy wrote. ‘Biden at the top of the ticket is our best bet to win the White House, keep the gains we made in the House, and put the Senate in play.'”

Buttigieg (D)(1): Mad respect to Buttigieg for claiming victory when no offical vote count had been released.

Sanders (D)(1): “DNC Mulls Asking Donald Trump To Run As Democrat In Effort To Stop Sanders” [The Onion]. “At press time, Perez was in negotiations to ensure Trump was on every Democratic primary ballot for Super Tuesday and changing the requirements to allow Trump to qualify for the next Democratic debate.”

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Job Approval at Personal Best 49%” [Gallup]. “Trump’s approval rating has risen because of higher ratings among both Republicans and independents. His 94% approval rating among Republicans is up six percentage points from early January and is three points higher than his previous best among his fellow partisans. The 42% approval rating among independents is up five points, and ties three other polls as his best among that group. Democratic approval is 7%, down slightly from 10%. The 87-point gap between Republican and Democratic approval in the current poll is the largest Gallup has measured in any Gallup poll to date, surpassing the prior record, held by Trump and Barack Obama, by one point.” • Still waiting for the genius aspect of Pelosi’s strategy to kick in.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump’s Super Bowl ad featured Alice Johnson, who Kim Kardashian West campaigned to free from prison” [Business Insider]. “President Donald Trump aired a campaign ad Sunday night during the Super Bowl featuring Alice Johnson, whose life sentence for nonviolent drug offenses was commuted by Trump in June 2018. The 63-year-old grandmother gained national attention after her case was championed by Kim Kardashian West. Her sentence was commuted just one week after Trump met with Kardashian West at the White House to discuss criminal-justice reform.” • Only Trump could call a black woman “the least among us,” and get away with it, because the liberal Democrats were already howling in outrage and fact-checking before they even got to that point.

* * *

“Bice: ‘An unacceptable and upsetting environment’: 2020 Democratic Host Committee under investigation” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]. “The two top officials overseeing Milwaukee’s host committee for the 2020 Democratic National Convention were sidelined Monday amid allegations of a toxic work culture. … In interviews with the Journal Sentinel over the weekend, two experienced political hands who have worked with the host committee described it as having a toxic culture rife with power struggles, backbiting and mismanagement. They accused the top two officials, Gilbert and Alonso, of giving contracts to their friends in New Jersey, calling meetings and then failing to attend them and being more focused on accumulating power than promoting Milwaukee. A New Jersey firm with strong ties to the New Jersey Democratic Party, for instance, developed the website for the host committee and manages its email platform. Both Gilbert and Alonso are top-ranking Democratic operatives in that state.” • Wait, these are Democrats. Cronyism and greed? Say it’s not so! More: “The host committee — the civic, nonpartisan arm of the convention — is responsible for raising $70 million to stage the July event at Fiserv Forum and recruit some 15,000 volunteers.” ¨• The Democrat National Convention is July 13. By my count, 160 days. Not a lot of time to build an organization from scratch. The whole article is worth a read; there are plenty more seamy details.


“Hillary’s Selective Memory” [Juanita Jean]. “Obama won enough delegates to clinch the nomination at the beginning of June. Hillary refused to endorse until the second day of the convention in August, over two months later. I attended that convention and ended up somehow with a room at the Clinton headquarters hotel. I remember the seething crowds of Clinton supporters filling the hallways, lobby and bars, angrily plotting how to steal the nomination from Obama. Up until Hillary finally caved on the second night of the convention, no one knew what she was going to do. I believe that she only endorsed him after he promised her Secretary of State and to hand her the DNC after the 2012 election (which is exactly what happened). Even still, her PUMAs opposed Obama deep into the election, and many voted for McCain. That’s a fact.”• 2008 was not a civil campaign at all.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Very Real Mental Ramifications of Extremely Long Elections” [Vice]. “Vin Arceneaux, a professor of political science at Temple University, said that we’re in uncharted water when asking how long campaigns will affect people’s political involvement, because previous studies looking at campaign length and behavior studied election cycles that were much shorter than what we have today—the cut-off for a longer campaign could be defined as anything above six weeks, an amount of time that feels utopian, compared to current campaign lengths. What we do know: ‘They are telling us they feel tired,’ Arceneaux said. ‘They feel less interested in following along with what’s going on. And we know that, outside of politics, people have a certain emotional reserve to deal with things. After a while, you just run out of emotional wherewithal to respond.'” • I personally am not tired, because this is the most fascinating election of my life time, from the technical perspective, even if you leave out the enormous stakes. But I can see why voters would be,

Stats Watch

Shipping: “The global shipping industry’s investment in a cleaner future is increasingly looking like a bet on natural gas. Several big carriers are pressing ahead with ships that will be powered by liquefied natural gas… even as questions about the fuel’s environmental impact are growing” [Wall Street Journal]. “At its best, LNG will get ship operators only part of the way toward the International Maritime Organization’s target of cutting carbon emissions by half by 2050. Environmental groups say the picture is even worse because methane, a key ingredient in LNG fuel, creates highly toxic emissions. It’s one sign of the tough questions transport operators face as they try to get to a carbon-free future while technology lags behind.” • Or maybe with less globalization there will be less transport.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 46 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 4 at 1:04pm.

The Biosphere

How Chickens Became Like Apple and Android Phones Heated

“How Chickens Became Like Apple and Android Phones” [Heated]. “Today, 90 percent of the 23 billion chickens eaten every year are either Cobb or Ross broilers.” • Cobb is Tyson, Ross is Aviagen. More: “Both companies understand that, to keep growing, they need to find new markets for their chickens. As the global population surges from nearly 8 billion today to 10 billion in 2055, they say their poultry can be a main protein source for all the new mouths to feed.

But what both companies are effectively doing is exporting environmental dilemmas that haven’t been solved in Europe and the U.S. to developing countries that are even less equipped to deal with the pollution that livestock leaves behind.”


“Andy Ostmeyer: Unsettling questions linger along Ozark rivers” [The Joplin Globe]. “This is [Aldo] Leopold, 80 years earlier: ‘The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: ‘What good is it?’ If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”” • Sounds a lot like the Precautionary Principle (and puts the “conservative” in “conservation,” of course.)

Health Care

19th Century hygiene:

What good is a partial travel ban?

Groves of Academe

“Student loan refinancing site LendEDU sold positive reviews, FTC says” [CBS (RH)]. “Popular personal finance website LendEDU has long touted itself as an impartial source of reviews of different student loan products. In fact, it sold its rankings to student-loan companies, the Federal Trade Commission alleged in a complaint unveiled on Monday…. LendEDU did more than lie about its rankings, the FTC said. The website allegedly tried to boost its own ratings by having employees, their friends and family members write positive reviews on other ratings sites.” • Constant drip-drip-drip of stories on meritocrat corruption…

“Family gets 55,000 duplicate letters from loan company” [Associated Press]. “An Ohio man is pondering what to do with the 55,000 duplicate statements addressed to his home by a student loan company…. ‘I just hope it doesn’t happen again,’ Cain said. ‘I might just have to return to sender.'” • Why wait?

Class Warfare

“Instacart Workers Win Historic Union Election” [Vice]. “A group of Instacart employees in the Chicago suburb Skokie voted to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1546 on Saturday—a historic win for the grocery delivery platform. The vote was 10-to-4 in favor of the union, according to workers…. The union victory sends a message to other gig workers around the country who are fed up with working conditions at Silicon Valley tech companies like Instacart—which has faced months of backlash in the form of worker-led strikes, protests, and online boycotts.”

“E. P. Thompson’s Romantic Marxism” [Jacobin]. “Despite his failure to adequately understand race and gender as constituent features of class formation, Thompson’s Romantic Marxism of the incipient working class of eighteenth century England still offers a compelling antidote in the twenty-first century to the sterility of developmental evolutionism and economic reductionism, which continue to haunt various modes of Marxist inquiry and political practice.” • Wokeness aside — a link to the theorist who does “understand race and gender as constituent features of class formation” would have been extremely useful — I don’t see Thompson as capital-R Romantic at all. Making, as was the brilliant Whigs and Hunters, about the enclosure movement, was about meticulous examination of records: Letters, minutes, broadsides, etc. I’m hard pressed to think of the Romantic with that methodological approach.

News of the Wired

“Disabled Train and Power Failure Bring Delays for Thousands at Penn Station” [New York Times]. • Let them take helicopters…

* * *

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FM writes: “Shore pine, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon.” Portland has a Japanese Garden and a Chinese Garden?

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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. T

      Dunno. Seems like Iowa caucuses went well enough, and then the Dem App came into play, and then everything went south.

      Am I missing something?

      1. Tvc15

        I’ve been reading the Dune quote about treachery every water cooler since it was first posted and wasn’t 100% certain why until the IA f*uckery…very apropos Lambert.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Thank you! To be clear, I generally eschew CT because it is rigid and mechanical, and by Occam’s Razor. Old players know each other’s moves, and know their enemies. It’s not a matter of Dr. Evil picking up the phone. After you’ve refreshed your browser, see my comment on Third World countries. That’s where we are.

            1. James

              Errr… I’m new around here, and there’s a lot of shorthand thrown around with which I am unfamiliar. What is CT?

          1. John

            Two comments: paper ballots, lots of pencils, lots of counters and why pay any attention to the “result” from Iowa?

            Too much time for jiggery-pokery or shennigans or other nonsense to creep in.

          2. roadrider

            Some CTs are pure BS but others are valid. Its not about whether something is a “conspiracy theory” or not. Its all about the evidence. And some conspirators or partners in collusion (see under IC folks) are experts in deflecting blame, disseminating disinformation and tampering with or hiding evidence.

            1. JP

              I kinda see CT as a thermodynamic problem. It takes a lot of energy to support a CT. That energy is abundant on the web but still the energy it requires to support a given CT is probably inversely proportional to its veracity.

          3. hoki haya

            An astute analysis. It’s been clientelism, often unabashedly, for quite some time.

            The legality of the IDP choosing to use an app whose company has multiple intimate ties to Clinton and Buttigieg needs to be dissected in court. That’s where the focus/outrage should be.

        2. Plenue

          For me, the Dune quote started to lose meaning after months of seeing it every day.

          But then Warren pulled her pathetic backstab move, and its meaning suddenly snapped back into focus for me.

      2. urblintz

        mine was a comment left before lambert’s full WC appeared and was meant to be ironic. that everything went south after the Dem App failed is precisely the point.

        seems like Bernie still won which offers a small modicum of hope that his campaign is too strong to be defeated by DNC “meddling.”

        1. Hepativore

          I would not be surprised if the Iowa total is not released until after the New Hampshire primary, showing that Buttigieg mysteriously won.

          Stay tuned for more bloopers in Nevada and other states as the DNC forces them to use this app that nobody asked for which has proven itself to be seriously flawed.

            1. Greg

              I want to know what other work Shadow has been doing. $153k isn’t enough to run even a one-dev team for six months, so clearly there must be much larger jobs elsewhere.
              Unless “Shadow” is in fact just a paper company that exists to channel grift, as hollow as the app they delivered.

            2. ChrisAtRU


              In a sense, undone by their own incompetence. With the light fully shone on their shadowy creation, the embarrassment of the Iowa clusterFamilyBlog surpasses what modicum of shame the DNC is capable of feeling about entire spectacle.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > his campaign is too strong

          Not only did the Sanders campaign build an entirely parallel app, they deployed their results carefully (minimal attack surface). That speaks well of them. Like, Buttigieg was tweeting out images of the caucus tally sheets (which unbelievably had PIN numbers on them) and the Warren campaign offered to help. Neither of those is in the same league as building a parallel app.

          1. Knifecatcher

            This was the most promising piece of info that came out last night IMO. Bernie is playing to win – and if the “official” DNC numbers in the various caucuses don’t match the Sanders campaign’s data I fully expect them to call out the ratf*ckery. And after Iowa can anybody really blame them?

          2. Late Introvert

            Warren people had their own app as well, I spoke with a volunteer who was the guy running the app her campaign at one of the Cedar Rapids sites.

      3. HotFlash

        What is the James Bond maxim? First time is happenstance, second time is coincidence, third time is enemy action.

        Another ancient adage to ponder: the first rule of self defense is to recognize when you are being attacked. At some point “they wouldn’t do that!” is wilful blindness and self-destructive.

        1. Geo

          When accidents always fall one direction (away from progressives) it’s hard to see it as accidental. Like the 6-for-6 coin toss wins by Hillary in the last Iowa primary. Luck? Maybe. But seems the odds are always one way.

      1. Lunker Walleye

        Iowans are very sad to say the least — doesn’t matter who you caucused for — on the verge of tears the whole day. Maybe Iowa does not deserve to be first, but whoever is, we ask the “powers that be” to not disrespect the people by making us look like fools. My thanks to all volunteers.

          1. Toshiro_Mifune

            Just do all 50 on one day and get it over with.
            That would make sense but it offers no one a chance to game the system

            1. Rostale

              There is a good argument for staging it out to allow weaker candidates a chance to challenge the favorites and build momentum, but I don’t see any good reason to allow the same state to always go first, it should either be random or at least choose swing states to go first.

              1. Jason Boxman

                Bloomberg is about to show us all how to buy an election. It may be that staggered primaries don’t help that much in the billionaire era.

                1. Dan

                  That’s certainly their strategy:

                  In an interview on Monday in Compton, Calif., Mr. Bloomberg was unusually blunt about his campaign spending strategy and his intent to seek advantages while his rivals toiled in the four early states, which have relatively few delegates needed to win the nomination.

                  “It’s much more efficient to go to the big states, to go to the swing states,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “The others chose to compete in the first four. And nobody makes them do it, they wanted to do it. I think part of it is because the conventional wisdom is ‘Oh you can’t possibly win without them.’”

                  Later, he added, “Those are old rules.”


                  Bloomberg is in Michigan today.

              2. Big River Bandido

                This argument is childish. There are solid, practical reasons for Iowa being a lead state, and for keeping it that way.

                Iowa is by definition a “swing state”, in which the parties all quite evenly balanced and no party dominates. Iowa has also become a “bellwether” state, usurping the role that Maine and Missouri used to play (before Maine “turned blue” and Missouri “turned red”). In every contest since 1980 (except 2000), the candidate who won Iowa in the fall won the entire general election. Well, gee, that’s the kind of place that political professionals like to start. Small states are chosen to go first *because* they are small — large states are too high-stakes to put at the beginning of a primary sequence because once the large states have voted, the results get “baked in”. There’s no way in that system for politicians to actually test their ideas out on voters.

                As for why it’s always Iowa? Iowa is critical to the White House hopes of both Republicans and Democrats — especially for Democrats. The reason is that no Democrat can win the White House without winning Ohio. And no Democrat can win Ohio without showing sufficient strength to win Iowa. They are really that close in terms of population makeup, economy, topography, culture, etc. Ohio is Iowa on a larger scale. There is no other small state that can effectively serve as an electoral proxy for the Upper Midwest. (Indiana, culturally and politically, is a real outlier among these states). So if you want to have some idea how your candidate might do in the big industrial states of the Midwest, you need to have a small place to test those ideas. That’s why Iowa gets chosen.

                As for the notion that “Iowa is unrepresentative of the country as a whole”…so what? Unless we’re talking about Illinois, there’s no state in the Union that is truly “representative” of the whole — and no politician wants to start in Illinois. It’s too big. If you flop, there’s no recovery. This is even more of a reason to have an extended primary. Because after all, would it be better for New York, Massachusetts and California to choose the nominee for us? They already have an outsized say in everything else. With a one-day “national primary”, what’s to keep a plutocrat like Bloomberg from hijacking the party?

                1. Monty

                  In modern times, this tedious procession around the country serves no purpose other than to feather the nests of political consultants and media company shareholders. If you haven’t heard what they have to say for themselves by now, you probably just don’t care enough to cast a vote, so don’t.

                  “what’s to keep a plutocrat like Bloomberg from hijacking the party?”

                  Nothing, same as now, as I think we are about to discover.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Well, shorter at least. I like the idea of a campaign trail, because it tests the candidates stamina and ability. But we’ve had a year of this thing and we’ve only had their first vote?

            Something like:

            1) 90 days for the campaign

            2) Regional blocks

            3) Publicly funded

            4) Only print advertising (yeah, subsidy for local newspapers. And?)

            5) No polls published in the last 30 days.

            6) League of Women Voters sponsors debates.

            7) Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

            Does that cover everything?

            1. montanamaven

              Let’s make it happen. Our elections are about getting politicians’ friends cushy consulting jobs. Enough. Make it short and sweet. I agree with everything on this list.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Works well in Australia. Campaigns are short enough for people to pay attention and give a cr*p about them:

                The Commonwealth Electoral Act fills in the process with a series of minimum and maximum boundaries. The significant provisions are for a minimum of 33 days and a maximum 68 days from the dissolution of the House to polling day.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > we ask the “powers that be” to not disrespect the people by making us look like fools. My thanks to all volunteers.

          It’s definitely not the volunteers (just as it was not the volunteers in the hanging chads debacle in Florida 2000). The volunteers took their duties seriously. It’s the party that is the issue.

          1. Watt4Bob

            I’ve heard that the Iowa Caucuses were expected to attract 250K voters.

            In all, it looks like aprox 170K actually participated.

            I listened to a precinct leader today on the radio, he said he had expected 240 people, but only 150-170 showed up. That looks like confirmation of the scale of the problem.

            Could it be that Iowa’s voters were so demoralized by their experience in 2016 that they failed to show up this year?

            IOW, the Iowa Caucus is toast, and it’s the cumulative effect of DNC skulduggery over two election cycles that toasted it.

            1. Watt4Bob

              I looked into the turnout numbers.

              Democrat on TV (I think the Iowa Party head) said there was record turnout.

              Not true;

              2008 had a turnout of 240K, 2016 had 170K, and it looks like 2020 had about the same.

              The IDP leader I quoted above was being a loyal party member by not mentioning that it was the DNC that imposed the KILLER APP on Iowa democrats.

              He also commented that everything went well, until the end.

              Looks to me as if Iowa voters are not excited to participate in a system ‘fixed’ by the DNC machine.

              The Iowa caucuses were an important part of the political process, until the end.

            2. Yves Smith

              I don’t think that it true.

              Many pictures of record crowds in various caucus stations.

              If Dems won’t have the vote results for days (at this rate), they won’t have the total votes either.

              The early #s based on the app. What other source could they have? Many precincts unable to get to the mother ship.

        2. Shonde

          Why is anyone blaming Iowans? This is a clearly a Clinton crony fiasco from the DNC to the IDP chiefs. Put the blame where it belongs. Stand proud Iowans. You did good. You still deserve to be first but first make sure the Clinton cronies are tarred and feathered and banished from the state.

        3. IowanX

          I’m with you on this, Lunker. I appreciate the time the caucus-goers spent, as well as the countless hours of volunteer time for the caucus organizers and each of the campaigns. The corruption in the current D Party has likely killed the Iowa Caucus as an institution forever.

        4. inode_buddha

          The “powers that be” have no self-respect because they already sold their souls long ago. Why would they care about respecting you?

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      The last 36 hours are one of the best arguments I’ve ever seen for a rotating 1st primary.

      Iowa, you had your chance and you blew it in front of the entire world.

      Lost in the entire news cycle:


      1. Shonde

        Stop blaming Iowans. Point your finger at the Clinton cronies. This mess positively shows why Hillary lost. Total Clinton crony ineptitude. They must be removed from party control and only Bernie can achieve that objective.

        1. cm

          Election is run at the state level. Blame falls on solely on Iowans (the Iowa D leadership) for using an untested application. There’s no reason people should have been downloading the “app” the day of the election.

          1. Big River Bandido

            The DNC (the national committee) forced those changes (including the app) on the Iowa state party.

        2. Doncoyote

          Just a few quick notes on caucuses:

          1) Supposedly from a Native American word meaning “to gather together and make a noise”. (and the noise is still being made)
          2) In 2016, 13 of the states (and several territories) used caucuses for the Democratic Party primary. Because Bernie did so well in most of them they are undemocratic, only four states are using/have used them in 2020.
          3) Caucuses were one of the items discussed by the Democratic Unity Reform Commission (final report here. According to them, why have caucuses?:

          The Commission respects the role caucuses play in the presidential nominating process and realizes caucuses are important for Party building and increasing opportunities
          for voters to decide the leadership and platform of their respective State Parties. At
          a time when voting rights are under attack in many places, the caucus also allows the
          Party to conduct its affairs without the overlay of state-imposed voter suppression and
          disenfranchisement. The Commission also recognizes that in instances where states do not
          fund a government-run primary, the caucus system is often the only method available to
          allocate national convention delegates.

          All of these sessions are on Youtube somewhere.
          4) A lot of people who don’t like Iowa being first are seizing on this problem to propose some sort of order reshuffling. It’s been proposed before and will no doubt be proposed again, but I don’t see what the failure of an app has to do with being first in the nation.

    3. dcblogger

      From Bleeding Heartland:
      This year the party introduced “preference cards,” with complex rules on when to fill them out, how to fill them out and to whom to submit them and when.

      To show America that in Iowa, high technology isn’t confined to the latest tractors, the party designed iPhone apps to tally and compute results, and automated phone lines to report them. Both crashed Monday, putting the result on hold, like a full jetliner waiting for hours on the tarmac.

      Let me make my position clear, as caucus secretary for Des Moines precinct 62: our team and I have nothing to feel ashamed about.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Thank you for doing your part.

        Do you have any observations on the notion that the Democratic rulership is gaming the system once again, to be sure the only real progressive in the race gets kneecapped? Any sense of “irregularities” to report?

        Shortly after I got my first law job with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, I and the other attorneys there were assigned to go out and monitor the voting activities in the 1976 election. I watched Dem captains going into voting booths with voters, buttonholing people waiting to vote in violation of electioneering laws, and of course there were lots of other scam activities in play. There were Republican and independent poll watchers and officials on hand, and people from Legal Elections in All Precincts (“LEAP”) trying to stem the redirection of the election, collecting lots of individual anecdotes to make the case that once again, the Democratic Machine had jiggered the results. My boss, Don Mulack, was running for State’s Attorney, and had lots of endorsements and a good campaign. He lost a “very close election,” got congratulated for “making such a strong showing.” The Machiine could not have tolerated having Mulack, a “good government” type who would likely have put a lot of Chicago pols in prison (actually, quite a few end up there even with the strong bias of the enforcement structure against prosecuting Machine pols.)

        Politics as practiced in Chicago is maybe different than it was in the Windy City, but where so much is at stake and the DNC is kind of unarguably steaming down an “anyone but Bernie” path.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        From that link to Bleeding Heartland:

        Democrats throughout Iowa should demand a reckoning from their party leaders…. And now, betraying the tens of thousands of Iowa Democrats who gave up their time because they believed in the process and were proud of it.

        The betrayal isn’t just to our psyches. The caucuses have been credited with bringing millions of dollars to our state and communities — $11 million to Des Moines alone, according to one estimate. We will never get that money back. Candidates, who relied on the results to springboard their campaigns, will never trust us again. But worse, the Iowa Democratic Party has been justifiably humiliated before the world. And it will take a long time for it to recover–if it ever does.

        Reminds me of the old saying: The Republicans fear their base, the Democrats hate theirs. Hence the betrayal.

        Still, I do notice, that after everything, there’s one word missing from that moving piece: “Clinton.” At every step of the way, from the vendor to the party chair, a Clintonite failed.

        1. Shonde

          Thank you Lambert. Yes. Yes. Yes. Another fine Clinton mess!

          Get on Twitter. Call this what it is: a Clinton Crony Iowa Fiasco.

      3. Bill Carson

        Can you tell us how Iowa tallied the votes and delegates and reported them to HQ before there was mobile technology? Thanks.

        1. russell1200

          In 2016 they sent in the results using an App produced by Microsoft. Probably just a system using one of their cloud sharing apps. But this year, with the a larger number of results being tabulated, they went with a new system.

          Previously, the person in charge of the precinct called it in.

    4. elissa3

      Suggestion to Lambert for a new subheading: DAYS UNTIL THE IOWA CAUCUS RESULTS ARE KNOWN–NEVER

      What a disgrace!

        1. Late Introvert

          We had one of the bigger sites, second only to City High in Iowa City, and the Biden camp was maybe 20 people out of 853 (I think, or close to that). It was a gym full of people, on the floor and in the bleacher seats. But it was lower turnout than in 2016, or 2008.

  1. Samuel Conner

    There was a “headline” at HuffPo today to the effect that “when Mayor Pete said ‘victorious’, he meant something else”

    I didn’t read the article, but the word that immediately came to mind (I have to give credit to Murray Gold, whose “Doctor Who” compositions I was listening to while awaiting caucus returns; this is not normally in my vocabulary) was


  2. Lambert Strether Post author

    Sorry for the delay; see the tooth-grinding workflow issues at the top of the post. I also had a minor site failure backstage exactly at 2:00. Do talk amongst yourselves; I will have more Iowa disentanglement by 3:00.

    UPDATE All done. I threw a lot commentary into buckets, mostly buckets of failure.

    1. ambrit

      Disentanglement is exactly right. The Iowa caucuses look to be a real world example of Quantum Politics. The results can be anything you want until you look in the ballot box. Hence, Stalin’s quip about who cares about who votes as long as you get to determine who does the vote counting. Who could have known that the DNC was taking lessons from Stalin of all people? (New Meme: SovietRussiaSovietRussiaSovietRussia.)

      1. katiebird

        I was thinking that very thing when I went to bed last night. At that moment Bernie had both won and lost. I was so nervous when I woke, I debated (that dialog in my brain) even coming here to NC. But I did. So odd to find that the Caucus results are still mostly in a box.

  3. Samuel Conner

    I have noticed with pleasure that the “betting odds” table at the upper right corner of the Politico.com home page has flipped from Sanders close behind Biden to Sanders ahead of Biden and slowly pulling away.

    I have no idea whether these markets are useful for prediction, but it is a nice antidote to the dreary news.

    For Doctor Who fans, the Mayor Pete reference was to “The Master Vainglorious”; which actually may be a good fit.

    And, when I get down about the world health situation, I console myself with “Dream of a Normal Death”, a much more soothing composition.

        1. Dirk77

          Bloomberg buying his win might be a good thing. Sanders splits and runs as an independent, and Trump and Bloomberg fight over the plutocratic vote, enabling Sanders to slip in.

    1. Chuck T.

      Hopefully they spend more than 60k for it and at least boot it up once before using it in production. Seriously $60k is friggin peanuts for this, and no software developer worth a damn would make it for so little money.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Which does rather raise the question of why the Clintonite and Buttigieg-adjacent firm took on the work, doesn’t it? Perhaps there were ancillary benefits of some kind?

      2. TheMog

        Very much agreed. I was originally under the impression that the $60k was “only” for the app, but supposedly (according to an article at the Verge, IIRC) it was for two apps (Android and iOS) plus the backend. Unless this was the share of what the Iowa Dems paid rather than the whole price for the tool, this is pretty ludicrous.

        I did a quick back-of-the-smartphone calculation – if we assume $100/developer hour (which is reasonable for a mid-level developer plus some grifting, err, overhead) that’s about 15 person weeks to develop two apps, a backend and test the whole thing to make sure that it works. Clearly they skipped the last part, but unless all the app was supposed to transfer was “Bernie lost”, it’s a completely ridiculous timeframe. Of course you can do it cheaper if you outsource the development to a 2nd or 3rd world country and find the people who were working on 737 software for $9/h, but that’s not what I’d call a recommendation for quality software either.

        A lot of the reports are a bit short of sources, but to me it looks like there was a lot of corner cutting going on. Like, sending out an update to the application two days before the caucus. Not to mention that apparently Shadow had people side load the app via a testing tool, at least on Android, which prompted security warnings from the system because the app wasn’t verified by anybody.

        To me as a multi-decade software development pro, I find it amusing that they ended up tallying the paper ballots and phoning them in. They could’ve done that $60k ago.

        Oh, and Bloomberg (the service, not the candidate) reported that the DHS offered to pentest the application. That offer was refused. Makes me wonder if it was a case of “you can’t penetrate what doesn’t work”?

        1. Chuck T.

          Thanks for the well described insanity of the dev process that would be involved in building this for only $60k. That sounds very plausible.

          So we’ve got:
          1) An underfunded, untested, rushed product that was developed by Clintonites and funded by a mayo Pete billionaire donor
          2) DNC preemptively hiring staff to patrol social media and accuse anyone questioning the results of spreading disinformation
          3) Mayo Pete declaring victory immediately after the delay is announced
          4) Bernie’s internal tracking showing 40% of precincts reporting him at 30% and mayo Pete at 25%
          5) partial official results (62% reporting) show Pete at 26.9 and Bernie at 25%.

          Now, I’m not a statistician, but there’s bound to be a good deal of overlap in the precincts from the two sources. My laypersons gut says the numbers should be closer. Hopefully we’ll have the full picture soon.

          I understand that Bernie’s got the lawyers ready to go if the numbers don’t match pretty closely. Not sure if that would be a wise move though, the corporate media would be all over him accusing him of playing into Trump’s hand. But what can he do? Either let them cheat him or call them out. Rock and a hard place. The only hope is that voters see through the blatant skullduggery and donate in droves and come out in droves for him in NH, NV and SC.

  4. WheresOurTeddy

    The amount of blue checkmark gaslighting about “the conflicts of interest that aren’t really there, why are you trusting your lying eyes, proles?” is absolutely FIRING UP the Bernie people.

    This is a gift from the Establishment. They should have taken their 28-24 loss and tried to blunt Bernie’s momentum after. But they didn’t want him to get to make the speech. So Juan Guiado – er, I mean Pete – claims victory with 0% counted.

    New Hampshire is going to be a Bernie landslide.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It is, but Sanders won’t get elected on only Bernie people. He needs other voters, and especially non-voters. I’m really concerned that if the very online message that “Your vote will be stolen!” gets amplified — say by some powerful political or entertainment figure who likes to tweet a lot — that non-voters will be harder to persuade. See the Ryan Grim article I linked to yesterday.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Re: concerns about voters getting demotivated by rigging

        1) Sanders is still rising in polls, and gaining donors at an accelerated rate.
        2) If/when Bernie drops a 20 point drubbing on the entire field in NH (which is looking very possible) it’ll be clear the vote counts very much and people are getting on board with Bernie.

        Re: turnout concerns


        Very valid point from Irami in here. Bernie’s fighting to pump up turnout with the media only talking about impeachment-Russiagate-Ukraine for years and burying primary coverage. In effect, by having their insider-y conversation about what THEY think is important, the media is actively working to suppress turnout in the dem primaries. They’re sending a message that “your concerns don’t matter and aren’t worth covering as a story. This foreign policy minutiae is what’s important”

        Bernie himself might have misjudged the turnout issue for the primary. Bernie doesn’t need to win a ‘wave’ election in the primary, though the general is a different matter. What Bernie’s showing here is that he can win in a LOW turnout situation, too. Biden’s base checked out, Bernie’s delivered. Keep in mind, that’s how AOC won.

        Perhaps this primary isn’t a high-scoring shootout, but a low-scoring defensive grind?

  5. BrianC - PDX

    Yes indeedy, Portland has both a world class Japanese Garden *and* a world class Chinese Garden.

    Along with the Rose Test Garden. :)

    1. Off The Street

      Does Portland have craft sake brewers to join their legions of craft beer brewers? Either one could be tasty after garden tours.

    2. JustAnotherVolunteer

      Not to mention the Arboretum and the rest of Washington park along with Mt Tabor, a dormant volcano inside the city limits.

      Great garden town and world class geology as well.

    3. Janie

      Portland also has a Beverly Cleary statue series in a park not far south of the airport – you know, Ramona the Pest, Henry and Ribsy. She lived nearby as a child.

  6. YankeeFrank

    Niko House is reporting on youtube that Bernie actually had two monitors at each of the roughly 1700 caucus sites last night. One was the precinct captain and the other was apparently unknown even to Bernie’s precinct captain. They both kept records of the entire caucus voting process and outcomes at each and they are now aggregating all the data with Bernie’s team of lawyers in order to ensure the count is honest and complete.

    So it sounds like Bernie learned his lesson quite well from 2016 and isn’t letting the DNC get away with anything this time. This whole scheme was kept completely on the DL from the DNC, etc.

    Here’s Niko’s report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo7PurlupoE

    1. YankeeFrank

      And here’s the body of an email I just received from Bernie’s campaign:

      Last night was a bad night for democracy, for the Democratic Party, and for the people of Iowa.

      But because you have done so much for this campaign, and in the interest of full transparency as we wait for the Iowa Democratic Party to release results, we want to share the numbers that we have at this moment:

      As a result of an extraordinary grassroots campaign, fueled by thousands of volunteers who knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors, our internal results sent to us by precinct captains around the state indicate that with close to 60% of the vote in, we have a comfortable lead. Our numbers also show Pete Buttigieg is currently in second, followed by Elizabeth Warren, then Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden.

      Let me reiterate that these are unofficial results, but we wanted to share them to let you know we feel very good about where we are at right now as we head to New Hampshire.

      But we need your help to win in New Hampshire, and Bernie cannot do it alone:

      Can you make a $27 contribution to our campaign? If we continue to fight, we are not only going to win in New Hampshire, but we are going to win this nomination, defeat Donald Trump, and transform this country.

      It is simply unacceptable that the Iowa Democratic Party cannot release votes in a timely way, so we will continue to update you with our numbers as we await a final, official result. But again, we feel very good about where we are right now, and you should too.

      All my best,

      Faiz Shakir
      Campaign Manager

    2. katiebird

      That is an amazing level of organization. If true it will be wonderful. I almost have a movie playing in my head of your description and my imagination filling in the Reveal scenes.

    3. dcblogger

      One was the precinct captain and the other was apparently unknown even to Bernie’s precinct captain.
      Nico House is a troll, a grifter of paranoia.

        1. dcblogger

          his entire career. He burst upon the Internet in 2016 alleging that Bernie’s SC campaign had been deliberately sabotaged, pointing a finger at the person who headed Bernie’s spectacularly successful Michigan campaign. He has been feeding off the paranoia of Bernie followers ever since.

          1. Liberal Mole

            My recollection of Niko House was that he was suspicious of Symone Sanders, not Faiz Shakir. Seems to me her subsequent actions shows he was right to suspect her as someone who was willing to sabotage the Sanders SC campaign. Perhaps I missed something.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Or go with Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Niko House is reporting on youtube that Bernie actually had two monitors at each of the roughly 1700 caucus sites last night. One was the precinct captain and the other was apparently unknown even to Bernie’s precinct captain.

      If true, that’s very impressive, and not just for the numbers. An appropriately paranoid mind thought up that structure.

      1. YankeeFrank

        I’m hearing that the “discrepancies” being reported last night that caused the DNC to hold back the result counts were due to Bernie’s team auditing the results coming in. It sounds like the DNC was caught in the act.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            I haven’t worked Iowa in a long time but I can read the spreadsheets they’ve turned in and they’ve done an absolutely stunning job of cherrypicking the results. Almost all the places I’d check first have yet to be counted.

            There is good news in those uncounted stacks.

      2. ObjectiveFunction


        Where are you taking me?
        To the Front.
        And where is the Front?
        Good question. The Front is wherever there are enemies of the Revolution.
        Wherever there is one gang of White Guards, one battalion of foreign interventionists, that is the Front.
        And wherever there is one resentful bourgeois, one unreliable schoolmaster, one dubious poet hugging his private life….
        That, too, is the Front!

    5. sleepy

      Not exactly true. I was a Bernie precinct captain. We were supposed to have 2 other volunteers–a Bernie precinct chair and a “gofer”–but I was the only one who showed up. There were only 56 at my caucus so all results were easily verifiable and I have no problem with what happened at my precinct level. It was honest–votes were counted individually by raising hands and a few minutes later by counting hand-marked ballots.

      Everyone was in agreement with the votes tallied by the party precinct chair. We all went over the math and signed the official form listing the voter count and the delegates awarded. The problem was in the transmission of that data to the state party in Des Moines.

      Sanders workers are still at it though. An hour ago I got a call from the Sanders operation asking me to verify the tally for each candidate.

      1. YankeeFrank

        Apologies if it sounded like I was suggesting there was funny stuff going on at the caucus sites, I haven’t heard anything like that. What I heard was the issues were in the transmission of the data same as you. I can imagine not everyone showed up at every precinct who was supposed to but its heartening to know Bernie’s team is proactive enough that they attempted to do so and that they were on top of the counts enough to shut down the DNC’s delegate theft attempts right at the start.

        1. sleepy

          Oh no, I didn’t think you were insinuating that. My only disappointment at the precinct level was that Bernie only got 16 out of 56 attendees, including a Yang guy who realigned with us. Though that was the largest bloc, I was hoping for a figure closer to half. Buttigieg and Warren each got 10 votes. Klobuchar and Biden got 9. In 2016, my precinct gave Sanders about 60% over Hillary.

    6. False Solace

      > Niko House is reporting on youtube that Bernie actually had two monitors at each of the roughly 1700 caucus sites last night. One was the precinct captain and the other was apparently unknown even to Bernie’s precinct captain. They both kept records of the entire caucus voting process and outcomes at each and they are now aggregating all the data with Bernie’s team of lawyers in order to ensure the count is honest and complete.

      I watched that Niko House vid, that’s not what the video said. He peppered everything with a lot of “If”s. He has no confirmation anything like that happened, he’s just speculating and there’s no point in discussing it further IMO.

      It is true that Bernie has his own app, his campaign said so in an email, and according to them they have data for 60% of precincts which shows them with the highest vote count. I think that’s all we can say at this point.

  7. dbk

    Interim good-news report: Offspring #1 went to IA last week and canvassed intensively for Bernie. He was a precinct captain in a remote area of Black Hawk County. Spoke with his Dad a few hours ago while in transit back to NYC, and he was on a total adrenaline high. Very proud he’s been bitten by the grassroots bug. On to ? NH?

    He didn’t mention the software/app – he’s tech-savvy and I assume that his precinct had no particular issues.

    Things he noted to his Dad: Buttigieg’s ground operation was impressive, Biden’s, not so much. His precinct had captains supporting Bernie, Warren, and Buttigieg only.

    More later if I catch him between flights.

      1. dbk

        Will do.

        Just spoke with him extensively. As a precinct captain, he communicated with Bernie’s headquarters directly via phone – no issues, immediate response. His caucus chair didn’t bother to use the app at all.

        He was actually sent in the end to Butler County, to a tiny village of 600 residents. Caucus number: 18. Half immediately went to Bernie. On the second round, no one did. So: 2 delegates Bernie, 2 Warren.

        Hard to convey his excitement at the whole process, but I feel buoyed by his enthusiasm and devotion. Next stop: probably NH.

  8. Cuibono

    “That said, why on earth did the IDP choose the vendor they chose?”

    I am assuming this is tongue in cheek?

  9. zagonostra

    >Iowa DNC Treachery

    So after spending years campaigning in the State, millions and millions spent, and they F%ck it up because of a “coding issue?”

    You could have counted results on a spreadsheet there was less than 2K people in precincts. Something is rotten in the State of Denmark (and it’s not Epstein’s decomposing body).

    I have a feeling they saw Sanders picking up momentum in the final days indications that Tulsi and Yang were besting the establishment candidates…..damn shame that this sham goes on without mass uprisings.

  10. Pelham

    Is there any possible media collusion in the Iowa fiasco? Only now am I being informed that the developers of the infamous app had Hillary/Obama//Buttigieg connections. That would have been useful to know going into the caucuses.

    That said, now is an opportunity for truly fair-minded Iowa caucus officials to shine by pointing out digital misdeeds, if any.

    1. Grant

      I don’t think that they are going to be able to fix the data, it is harder to do with a caucus and with a paper trail, however imperfect that process is. However, they have already denied Bernie giving his victory speech, and that would have added to his momentum. It also denied us all getting to watch MSNBC and CNN, among others, totally melting down. I was so looking forward to that, but NH is right around the corner. So, I may get my chance.

      My prediction though is that very soon people in the DNC are going to line up behind Warren and she will willingly go along with the plan, and will lean heavily in on the identify politics. I could be wrong, but that is where I see things headed and if Biden continues to tank, I don’t see anyone in his rough ideological area that can win. Warren would be the as close as they will be able to get, and she already showed she is willing to attack him in horribly dishonest ways. If Biden does collapse, it will be interesting to see where his voters go. And that is, ultimately, why I think Sanders has been shying away from attacking Biden too much, focusing on parts of his horrible record. Many of his voters pick Bernie as the second choice, and he seems poised to benefit from a Biden collapse in SC and some other states too. But, who knows for sure, and who at this point trusts the DNC at all anyway? If I were Bernie, I would demand a paper trail or create backup data independent of the data given to the DNC.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > will lean heavily in on the identify politics.

        Guaranteeing a loss. I mean, Buttigieg beat her. And in a state where she spent a ton of money on a ground game. I also think that Warren is evidently not agreement-capable, as her use of her “private” dinner with Sanders shows. There needs to be honor among thieves. Everyone she meets has to put themselves in Sanders’ chair at that dinner going forward, and there aren’t enough PMC bourgeois feminists in the Democrat Party to form a base. .

        1. Grant

          Totally agree. Warren transferred a ton of money from previous campaigns to her current campaign, focused heavily on Iowa, I think she had the largest paid staff in the state, and still looks like she will come up in third place. If she doesn’t do well in NH, I don’t see a path forward for her at all. I think she may try to stick with it until the end to be the “compromise” candidate, but that went out the window when she pulled her nonsense with Bernie, and I don’t think she was ever a good general election candidate. I also would think that she is going to have issues with having the money to stay in it, or at least to effectively campaign. She was for some time running a decent, but problematic, campaign. But she was too clever with her policies and her waffling on single payer did her in. From there on, she has just went down, and went from the woman with a plan to Clinton 2016. But, if she thinks her path forward is identity politics, I think that is really off. She doesn’t even mention single payer anymore though, thank god. She did the push for it no favors.

          The crazy thing is, according to reports, when she had that meeting with Bernie, she was of the mind that he wasn’t running and that she would be the left flank in the race. She seemed to think that she would just have taken his support, as if there was little difference on policy, records, worldview, etc. Thank god that wasn’t the case.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Well put. Since the 80s, when someone starts maundering on about how the pendulum swings left and right, I will mention ‘so does a ratchet’. No one’s ever been offended by it, but the conversation always turns to something else.

      2. Bill Carson

        I don’t have any doubt in my mind that CNN and Warren’s attacks at the last debate were intentional and designed to create animosity between Sanders and Warren supporters, and it worked. Now Sanders supporters, already leery of Warren after ’16, are unlikely to back Warren as a second choice, and they are very vocal about this (mea culpa). So last night, in precincts where Warren was not viable, her supporters realligned to ABS: Anyone But Sanders.

        I’m not sure what Sanders needs to do to heal this rift and to appeal to mainstream Dems. He keeps issuing new plans to deal with various progressive causes, but the more he does that the more extreme he sounds, and the more he alienates voters he needs to defeat Trump. The latest one was a bill to ban fracking. A good cause, to be sure, but there are lots of workers in the oilfield and related industries who need to eat. Before this there was a new position statement about gun control. Again, a very divisive issue that will appeal to people who already support Bernie.

        1. jrs

          “A good cause, to be sure, but there are lots of workers in the oilfield and related industries who need to eat”

          EYEROLL. So what? Make them get severance and retraining like health industry workers (the M4A bill). What makes them such special snowflakes anyway? Not them/me us.

          Yes Sanders is releasing more bills, yes they might make him sound extreme to some (he’s going to be smeared that way anyway of course). But they are GOOD bills, what needs to happen.

        2. Grant

          Well, one thing they can to is to hold on to the integrity that she clearly lacks and to be willing to critique her when she deserves it. She linked arms with Bernie for months and was warm to him in previous debates. So, remain thinking adults and don’t fall prey to propaganda that assumes you won’t be logical thinking adults with character. What could Bernie possibly do, given that he denies what she claimed he said? He hasn’t attacked her and she did turn off a lot of people with what she did. So, don’t go the Clinton route and just talk among the bubble as if everyone outside the bubble doesn’t matter. I don’t have a problem with her supporters, provided that they aren’t logically unreachable.

  11. chuck roast

    A “coding issue.” I’m guessing…and this is wild speculation…that it is the ex-coal miners fault. We all know that these guys have been losing their jobs in droves and the Dems’ solution to all this has been to teach these people “coding.” Now there are dozens, scores even thousands, and maybe even millions of “ex-coal miner coders” diligently at work in the digital world doing “coding.” To my genius Cartesian mind it is a straight line from the coal-face to the Iowa FUBAR. I think Neera will buy into this.

    1. Off The Street

      Pajeet-In-Time, the software version of just-in-time, now available exclusively to DNC outposts in all 50 states. Modest extra time and fees for validation testing.

    2. Doncoyote

      I just have three words wrt whose fault it is:


      {*paid for by CARS, the Center for Anti-Russian Studies}

    3. Cat Burglar

      According to one report, the Iowa Dems adopted the app on the advice of people from the DNC. It will be interesting to see if the DNC people are named, and what their connections are.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Twitter is showing the CEO of Shadow dancing at her birthday party a couple of days ago in Des Moines. Her dance partners included the IDP chair and Jon Favreau. Turns out the IDP chair was Hillary’s state chair in 2016. They’ll blame the IDP, but the fault lies elsewhere.

    4. josh

      So you joke about this, but check out their linkedin profiles: https://www.linkedin.com/company/shadow-inc-io/people/

      These are “history major coders”. The CEO Gerard just sort of fell into an engineering management role while at Kiva.org. COO is a music major from Oberlin who bounced from job to job every year or two. The junior employees seem to be recent code academy grads. The only one I have any hope for is their CTO, Krista Davis, who has a legit computer science degree from UWashington and spent 8 years at Google (though on 4 different projects so who knows).

      Hanlon’s Razor applies here. Our technocratic elite has fallen so low that they have zero ability to determine actual competence.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Our technocratic elite has fallen so low that they have zero ability to determine actual competence.

        Not fallen, competence outside one’s certification has always been declasse for the management class. The big project is devised. The big project is implemented. The big project falls face first into the dirt. The last you hear are a few congratulatory PR releases before the funding finally gets cut off. You can be sure it’s listed on everyone’s CV. On to more innovation.

      2. Lemmy Caution

        Looks like the Shadow Inc. people may be out of their jobs. Maybe they could learn to code.

  12. Grant

    Buttigieg is many things, but he isn’t stupid. He has no chance in a general election, and would get destroyed by Trump. But, people should keep in mind what his role in this entire process. He was part of the anti-Bernie Democrats that the NY Times wrote about a year ago. He has been an attack dog against most of his ideas, even though he pretended to support many of those policies just a few months ago, using a right wing framing that could be used against any universal program. He pushed to not have the poll released on Sunday, financially supported that app, and declared victory when no data that has come forward shows him actually winning. Even if he pulled off a narrow victory (which would by itself be a story, since that app showed him receiving 8% less support from people choosing their first candidates of choice and still losing by 3-4% thereafter), he has little chance in most any state thereafter too. But, he can play a role in knocking off a few delegates, and can deny Bernie a victory speech and some momentum in Iowa. Even if Bernie does in fact win, which he should based on the data we have seen, he already missed his big moment, and he denied us all the pleasure of seeing CNN and MSNBC melt down. So, if he can do that, they will pat him on the head, say job well done and he’ll make a lot of money at the CAP, as a consultant, or as some hack MSNBC contributor. He will play a role, Biden has played a role, Warren has too to an extent, and of course Tom Perez is the king. He’s running this corrupt network at this point, and Pete is a small piece of a larger project. I can’t imagine that he is deluded enough to think he can win the nomination, but even if he did, he will never be president anyway.

        1. urblintz

          sorry G… it was meant as scorn for the little mayor

          I met georgie porgie once… totally fake.

    1. Judith

      From Jacobin:


      “And we’ve seen who takes over in their absence. Pete Buttigieg’s campaign lobbied CNN to spike the most consequential poll in American politics — which had correctly predicted the last three caucus victories — just forty-eight hours prior to the caucuses after the poll reportedly showed him in third place. And last night, with no votes verified, Mayor Peter declared victory. As comedian Ian Fidance put it, “Mayor Pete was the kinda kid who unplugged the Sega if he was losing.”

      While no single fact proves corruption, piece it together — along with the unfolding drama about the mysterious new app used to report results — and there’s an eggy aroma in the air, to say the least, and it seems to be emanating out from the Buttiegieg camp. All of this only deepens the suspicion that Mayor Pete is, in fact, an objectively creepy figure, practicing the kind of shadowy corporate black ops for which his former employer McKinsey & Company is infamous. That he is so disliked by the American public while Sanders is so beloved is one of many facts that should hearten us all.”

  13. shinola

    To get an idea of the msm’s take on the Iowa sh*tshow I’ve had CNN (I know – ewww!) on in the backround for the last couple of hours. Their main take, so far, seems to be that this may mean the demise of the Ia. caucus.

    (Switching on the phony concern voice): Awww, that would be such a shame.

    1. Wukchumni

      Humbly report, sir, everything is in order. Only the cat has got into mischief and eaten up your canary in the coal mine.

    2. Biph

      I feel bad for the caucus goers in Iowa they did nothing wrong and I think there is some merit in starting off the primaries with 4 small States that represent 4 regions of the country (midwest, northeast, south and west) but perhaps it would be better to switch the order of those 4 States each cycle. If we are going to have the system we do then starting off with small States is a good idea so a giant campaign war chest and national name recognition aren’t requirements to win as they would be with a single national primary day.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It wouldn’t be that hard to cut up states. So instead of Iowa, NH, SC and, Nevada, its part of California, the Bronx, West Virginia, and both Kansas Cities :) , than 4 more regions, and on and on.

        Though rationally, ending the State based Senate and abolishing SMDP districts is probably easier.

        1. Biph

          Bit too convoluted, give credit to IA and NH voters they take these things pretty seriously. Although I wouldn’t be against having 4 different regional smallish states every cycle, say NM, CT, LA and WI next time.

      2. Big River Bandido

        It’s not just regional considerations behind those choices. Primaries and caucuses are like the out-of-town “tryouts” for a Broadway show. This allows the producers to mount the show in an out-of-the-way place where they can get some feedback and determine what adjustments need to be made before bringing it to Broadway.

        The Iowa caucuses have always served as the “test market” for Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and to a lesser extent Michigan and Pennsylvania. A Democrat *must* carry all those states to win the White House. Ohio? That’s the tough one. And a Democrat who can carry Ohio presupposes the electoral strength also to win in Iowa. (Go ahead, go back and look at previous results.) This makes sense…the balance of economic activity, racial/ethnic identities, occupations, political parties, culture — in nearly every sense, Ohio is Iowa on a larger scale. That’s why the Democrats have always wanted an early start there. (In addition to the seriousness of purpose which Iowans bring to politics.)

    3. Samuel Conner

      I tuned in to NPR Monday night around 9PM hoping for caucus results. There was, of course, nothing to report, and in that absence the commentators fell back on what I interpret to be a favorite topic: their opinions about the ‘unelectability’ of Senator Sanders. I quickly switched them off and went back to listening to Murray Gold’s composition “Doomsday”, which feels very topical these days.

      Out of curiosity, I may dip toes into ATC this afternoon to get a sense of who they want to boost today.

      1. jrs

        Oh yea Amy Goodman, and I like her just fine, limited hangout some might say, but regardless, she’s generally good at what she does, had a show of Frum debating someone from Jacobin on “is Sanders electable?”. This was Pacifica.

        OMG I can’t think of garbage I’d less like to listen too, nothing but naked bias on all sides. Because you don’t put a Republican who just wants Republican-lite that’s NOT Trump versus may as well be the DSA official publication and expect objectivity, if that were even possible anyway.

        1. curlydan

          Yes, Frum on Democracy Now! this morning was pure garbage. He said things along the lines of “Sanders has never been tested in an election. The Sanders camp has no idea what kind of things Trump will throw at him.” Uh, neither does Frum! And of course, no other candidate has any idea what Trump will throw at him/her. Frum’s arguments had logical holes the size of semi-trucks, and neither the Sanders rep or Amy or Juan would challenge him. Blech.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the demise of the Ia. caucus

      If there is CT to be had, we might throw into the mix the other state parties that wanted to get Iowa out of the way. Like academic politics, vicious exactly because the stakes are so low.

    5. Bill Carson

      On behalf of television news producers and campaign volunteers everywhere, I’d like to nominate Hawaii to be the first caucus or primary.

  14. KevinD

    Iowa – never have so many panties been bunched by so few. You’d think we had never had election issues…

  15. Andrew

    “How Chickens Became Like Apple and Android Phones”

    Two years ago I starting raising meat birds without any experience and the hardest part was finding a butcher for such a small amount (25 birds). I chose the roasters instead of the broilers because of the health problems with broilers. I noticed early on how dependent farmers were to companies supplying the chicks. Most, like me, ordered from Murray McMurray or went to the Tractor Supply Store. Definitely see how easily this could prevent people from being self sustaining if/when the next depression happens.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I know nothing about raising chicks or chickens — but no matter where you get them from aren’t there any females among the chicks? If not, what prevents you from getting some hens as layers and keeping your best roaster as a cock?

      1. Kfish

        Most of the commercial meat birds are first-generation crosses of two separate breeds. Trying to mate those with each other will result in a second generation that throws back to the original breeds, and does not resemble their parents. There are heritage breeds – strains of chicken that will breed true with other members of that breed to produce chicks just like the parents – but they are more expensive to obtain, and take longer to mature. The people who continue with these breeds say that they taste better, but the time to maturation is closer to 20 weeks than the standard 10 – 12 weeks for a crossbreed on a factory farm.

        Also, the heritage breeds are a fairly small number in comparison to the gigantic operations producing commercial cross-bred chicks, and would take a while to scale up to industrial numbers.

    2. Bruce F

      I had the same problem when I started raising birds (chickens, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, turkeys) 5 years ago. I have them in part for tick control (Lyme) as well as having other living creatures roam around the farm. But I’m not going to feed water them all winter (in northern WI). So I learned how to slaughter them myself, usually with the help of 1 or 2 family/friends.

      This book, “Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering”, has been my bible. I’d recommend it highly.

      It’s an intense experience, one I take seriously. I think everyone, or at least those who eat chicken, would benefit from the practice.

      1. Janie

        Various family members/friends in the country killed and dressed chickens way back when. Messy and bloody, but not a technical challenge. It’s an education to learn how your meat gets to the table.

      2. ambrit

        I used to help my now departed father-in-law kill and dress the turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas, along with the occasional chicken or guinea fowl whenever needed. Indeed, an intense experience. It made me work very hard at trying to understand the metaphysics of killing to eat. I finally understood how so called “primitive” peoples experienced their surroundings. A little bit of awe and a little bit of terror.

    3. Andrew

      I don’t know if it’s done artificially now but from the little I know by the time broiler hens start producing eggs their weight is so high they succumb to broken legs, wings, and heart attacks. Even the males can get too heavy to breed a hen. I need to do more research on it. Thanks Bruce for book recommendation, I definitely need to learn how to do it myself and save 4-5 dollars per bird.

      1. Kfish

        Broiler hens are bred for a single, specific purpose: to get as big as possible as quickly as possible. Everything else is sacrificed to that goal. Like the ISA Brown industrial laying breed: good for about two years of intense egg production, after that massive health problems caused by a reproductive system optimised for short-term gain.

  16. XXYY

    Quote from head of shadowy vote-tech firm Acronym, which acquired shadow-ier vote-tech firm Shadow (you can’t make this up) that single-handedly discredited the whole state of Iowa:

    With Shadow, we’re building a new model incentivized by adoption over growth, with a deep focus on building the underlying tech infrastructure that will enable campaigns to use the most effective new tools in smarter ways & better integrate + leverage data across platforms.

    All known buzzwords in a single tweet. That takes smarter skill and deep focus.

      1. Calypso Facto

        I speak startup, let me help translate:

        – we = this is not a solo, self-funded entreprenurial venture
        – new model = there is no plan to make the product ‘viable’ in the sense of charging for it “yet” (maybe ever)
        – incentivized = how they are justifying the venture capitalist or donor cash for their endeavor (others have already run the numbers and they don’t seem high enough for what was needed so there may be other investors)
        – adoption = how many active users (in this case it would be campaigns consisting of individual voters)
        – growth = consistent increase in adoption numbers over time that can be planned against (quarter 1 we had 1 campaign of 1000 voters, quarter 2 we had 4 campaigns with 40000 voters)

        So we’re building a new model incentivized by adoption over growth = a group of interests have funded the creation of a vote tabulating app with the goal of being used in as many elections as possible, not necessarily in order to be a profitable product. The rest of the blabber is basically stating that once it reached mass adoption they would be in place to have analytics, reporting or data mining.

  17. Doncoyote

    I know it’s not a “Talk Among Yourselves” day, and this is not especially apropo to anything in particular, but I felt the need to share this gem I stumbled across here (Written in 2007 about the housing crisis. You can substitute in NC for CR.)

    UberNerds, as regular readers of CR know, are those tedious people who want to understand how things work, as much as they can, so that should they feel inclined to have an opinion on some matter of public policy or economic activity, it can be an informed opinion. Not all UberNerds agree on what the goal is, but they try to all agree on what the facts are. They are particularly suspicious of emotionally or politically loaded phrases or slogans that often seem designed more to push people’s ideological buttons than to advance the ball of information toward the goal of thought.

    For reasons that might not surprise anyone, UberNerds tend to get downright impatient with the Big Paid Media, who seem content to remain UnterNerds: parties whose topics of conversation might well be nerdy, but whose grasp on the details is firmly below the median. UberNerds realize that someone–approximately 50% of someones–need to be below median. We sometimes fail to understand why that always has to be the press.

    1. John k

      There was a time when incisive, investigative reporting was highly valued and attracted smart, hard working idealists. But such reporting always meant goring somebody’s ox.
      Nowadays those with oxen have bought the rags, and what is valued today is the correct narrative. Any credentialed person from a correct school can copy and paste, resulting in precisely the reporting the oxen owners wish to see and hear.

  18. Samuel Conner

    Perhaps this is an impolitic thought, but since “Acronym” is in the news, I wonder if it would not be too far out of the wheelhouse of the ‘blog to engage in a diversion I’d like to call (perhaps others precede me in this)

    “fun with acronyms”

    My contribution:

    DNC: “Democrats [who] Need Corruption [to win elections]”

    1. Doncoyote

      A little meta:

      You can’t spell aCRONYm without CRONY. As in crony capitalism, aka jobs program for Hillaryworld and Obamaworld residents.

      1. allan

        and you can’t spell “BesT elEctoral meltdown evAh” without “BETA”:

        The app that broke the Iowa Caucuses was sent out through a beta testing platform [The Verge]

        … The app was not deployed through traditional app stores or even sideloaded using an enterprise certificate. Instead, it was deployed through the TestFairy testing platform, which is similar to Apple’s TestFlight and used predominantly for Android and iOS apps that are not yet finalized. … it looks like the company used the version of TestFairy anyone can try for free, which deletes any app data after 30 days and limits the number of test users that can access the app to 200. …

        1. Mo's Bike Shop


          Working in IT, I am totally unsurprised though. Will the Democratic Party cease to be a coherent organization by March? I keep having that hunch and not believing it. But this level of flailing makes me doubt my doubts. Can’t imagine the mechanics. Maybe the House takes a vote on war with Iran the day before New Hampshire?

  19. Rosario

    Lambert, WRT the voting app, I say, no need to fear being considered a conspiracy theorist at this point. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

    Incompetence can be intentional. A conspiracy of incompetence is probably the most effective kind. There is an infinite amount of plausible deniability.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        No, it’s not.

        It’s one thing to throw a wrench (or a shoe) into a machine.

        It’s another to buy a poorly designed machine from a crony and launch it without testing it.

              1. bob

                How about rig by appointing and paying for incompetence?

                This whole mess has INTENT written all over it.

                1. Calypso Facto

                  yeah maybe the funding of the app and Shadow was intent… maybe they intended to use it to change the vote, but it failed or they got caught. Reading more about the startup it seems like they wanted to but also seems (based on how bad the app was, the hiring of the extremely junior programmers, the CTO who was a part of Clintonworld and Google) like they were technically incompetent and the leadership was high on their own supply.

              2. tegnost

                If you have the intent to rig, would it not be useful to appear incompetent? To clever by half is what it looks like to me…

                1. tegnost

                  So we’re building a new model incentivized by adoption over growth = a group of interests have funded the creation of a vote tabulating app with the goal of being used in as many elections as possible, not necessarily in order to be a profitable product
                  from your above comment, we’re not after money (we’ve got an unlimited supply delegated to beating that crazy socialist) we’re after control, which is how we consistently get away with fraud

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Incompetence is the better story line. Average people still don’t know the PMC acronynm. Shadow is an excellent example of what happens when you have all bosses and no workers.

          Everything about Shadow and the app reinforces why we need Bernie. His campaign lowballing this is strategically brilliant. Instead of erasing his win, they’re letting the DNC slow walk it into an end of the week headline which will impact the NH primary more than usual.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Weaponized Incompetence would actually be heartening at this point. These are people who forgot about Michigan.

      “Chicolini here may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

  20. farmboy

    Jeff Weaver of the Sanders campaign reporting their own tracking of 60%of Iowa
    Sanders 29.4%
    Buttigieg 24.87%
    Warren 20.65%
    Biden 12.92%
    Klobuchar 11.18%
    He’s confident final results will be these.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          The top story on yahoo an hour or so ago was Buttigieg in the lead. Then it was gone too.

          Somebody running it up the flagpole…?

          1. marym

            There’s only been the one publication of 62% of results, with Pete ahead in delegates (or whatever “delegate equivalents” means), and Sanders in the popular vote count. The differences are very minor so you can see the spin if a report says one or the other is “winning.” No word yet on when to expect additional results.

    1. Grant

      LOL! Great. Now, if Pete can step aside so we can pick someone to do that, I would appreciate it. Trump has more support from black people than he does, so whoever this person is that can unify people, it ain’t him, of course. I think we call can be unified though in our revulsion of sociopath Pete though. But, he put a massive amount of money in Iowa in the hopes that it could move him forward with some momentum. Will watch with glee if he crashes and burns.

  21. David Carl Grimes

    “In a way, the app had failed before Monday night’s caucus began. Rather than download it from an app store, precinct leaders had to side-load it onto their devices, a confusing process that many seem to have understandably not bothered with. Those who did install the app appear to have received little training on how to use it or even how to log in; it required a combination of security codes rather than a simple username and password. On top of that, the PINs that precinct leaders used to practice logging into the app expired before the caucus began.”


    1. Carey

      So, create an exceedingly rickety structure that no one is trained on at the last
      moment, then profess surprise when it fails?

      sounds like the 737Max too

  22. dk

    “…the Iowa Democratic Party paid Shadow … more than $60,000 for “website development” over two installments in November and December of last year.”

    Maybe it is a website? It’s actually kind of a gray area these days, especially in the context dual deployment for iOS and Android (can’t reasonably expect all precinct managers to be exclusively on one or the other).

    They’re not only different hardware platforms and operating systems and different core languages (iOS: Swift, Android: Java), but their respective users have different expectation of how an interface is supposed to work (Apple has one button, Android has three, etc.).

    Then there’s deployment, there are paths for corporate app deployment for each platform but those are two different processes to go through and they’re both pricey; DNC is very spending-adverse. Then there’s side-loading, bypassing the app-stores by getting the executable bundle onto each phone and walking users through a not-that-simple direct installation process. Lots of tech support and hand holding.

    This app could have been developed on a platform like Ionic Creator (https://ionicframework.com/creator) or BuildFire (https://buildfire.com/platform-overview/), both of which have deployment channels that can bypass both the app-stores, and they deploy over the web (more or less). Also, these platforms leverage HTML/CSS/JavaScript programming skills (Iconic uses the Angular framework); just the thing for a web developer.

    Or the really easy route, just build a web app, and give people a link to it. Simple, deployment can’t be easier, complete the project and test it lightly and feel confident that it will perform in full deployment. As far as security and defense of the goes, the problems are the same no matter how the user interface is implemented: if the API’s address is discovered, one is susceptible to all kinds of direct and indirect attacks (DDOS etc.). Services like Cloudflare or Akami can help to reduce the defense surface in the wild.

    Some users may notices the browser was doing the loading, some won’t. An app is an app, right? For example, last year Xfinity replaced its native phone apps with links that take customers to pages on the xfinity website. They have to be saving a ton of money and headache over maintaining native apps on two platforms.

    All hypothetical at this point, just offering some background context. The “website development” notation may not be particularly misleading or intentionally opaque.

    BTW Nevada says they’re not going to use the app, thanks anyway: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/nevada-democrats-won-t-use-app-caused-iowa-caucus-fiasco-n1129946

    1. Arizona Slim

      More than $60k for website development? Yeesh. I used to be in that business and didn’t get anywhere near that much.

      1. dk

        Not *just* a website. It also has/had to have a fairly complex back-end to collect and report the results, verify who attended, etc. (apparently the reporting is one of the parts that failed). $60k is pretty cushy but not absurd for a well developed and tested product of this scale, sold to a national organization (DNC must have put up the money) that intended to use it in other states.

        Assuming it actually works of course.

      2. Daryl

        $60k is small change for software development. I’d expect it to be even more expensive to get the kind of expertise to build the highly secure and ideally cryptographically verified system you’d want to use for recording election results, not that Democrats would know to or care about that aspect of it.

        Which is another reason it doesn’t make sense to do this instead of hand-counted paper ballots.

        1. dk

          Not disagreeing with your general point, but the app didn’t count ballots, it was only for the *relay* of the final result summaries. It is not involved in the actual “voting” selection of candidates by individual Iowans. It replaces phoning in (or emailing or uploading or scanning or photocopying or personally reporting) the precinct results back to state party HQ. Not actually that hard even with verification (I say that as someone who’s actually written this sort of thing in this scenario, just not as a phone app).

            1. dk


              Which is really a much better position to be in to cheat, “man in the middle.” Don’t get bogged down with individual votes and temporary tallies, catch the final data.

              IMO this who thing puts the pulling of the DMR poll in a somewhat different light. Because the last and famously reliable poll is now unavailable for contrast with the official results.

              Buttigeig being the candidate most closely connected to both the poll being pulled and the app that disrupted the compilation plan. And then announced emphatic victory very early.

              We should presume nothing of course.

    2. divadab

      Good advice, no doubt. But I suspect the cool kidz at Shadow lack anything like the skills to implement it, nor, I suspect, the competence to work out problems in real time. It could be that senior salespeople made promises and then expected their team of web designers to build a data system that included an app. Web designers are not necessarily data people, and it seems that Shadow’s team built something rushed and sloppy and unworkable and chose to release it rather than aborting with a plan b (an essential part of any data system build). I really wonder why the Democrat Party seems to select for incompetence, at best their selection criteria don’t seem to include competence, hence the cascade of shitshows.

      Go Bernie!

  23. Mark K

    Re: “Hillary’s Selective Memory” [Juanita Jean]

    As a total aside, the “Who We Are” profiles on Juanita Jean’s website are hilarious.

    1. Detroit Dan

      Thanks for pointing those out! It’s tragedies like this that bring us together, and eventually we’re able to see some humor in life.

  24. shinola

    A thank you to Lambert for the ‘Joplin Globe’ article on the Ozark rivers (“Unsettling questions linger along Ozark rivers”). A couple of lovely photos of the Ozark hills fall foliage there.

    I’d never heard of Aldo Leopold before. He certainly was ahead of his time.

    Having spent a lot of time in the ‘zarks of southern Mo. & northern Arkansas over the last 50+ years, I can attest to the natural beauty of the area. If you get off the beaten path into the deep woods, there is a certain feeling of “ancientness” (for lack of a better word) that I’ve not experienced elsewhere; it can almost make one believe in ghosts.

  25. flora

    re Des Moines Register:

    I think the Register suddenly finds itself in a desperate spot with regards to its reputation: quashing the final nationally regarded DRM poll right before the caucus; the possible damage to Iowa’s economy going forward; and possibly losing its status as a once-every-four-years national newspaper.

    1. divadab

      Well they endorsed Elizabeth Warren, too, so perhaps their desperate spot is one they put themselves in. Too bad so sad karma’s a bitch.

      1. Late Introvert

        Yesiree-Bob as they would say here. DMR has been on a downhill slope since the Gannet Purchase, and reaches a well deserved nadir in 2020. Nowhere to go but down.

        I spent my early reader years ingesting articles about Watergate and Vietnam on the front page of that once very decent paper.

    2. hoki haya

      Has it had a reputation worth protecting now for some time? I’d be glad to know it did. My grandfather used to publish what was (still is?) Iowa’s 2nd largest paper, The Upper Des Moines Register, based in Algona.FDR Democrat all the way. Investigative, analytical local/international journalism. Someone linked the other day to a piece from the Storm Lake paper, a series which won the Pulitzer. Proud to say my grandfather had the Cullen brothers on his staff when they got their start.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        And what does this forebode for the national convention?

        It makes me wonder if all of the delegates be in the same city.

    1. Plenue

      I look forward to what Current Affairs, and especially The Baffler, will have to say about all this.

  26. Mikel

    Re: “Lambert here: The entire episode reminds me of a sclerotic Third World authoritarian regime with democratic trappings.”

    Yes, it’s “spooky” in every sense of the word.

  27. Dr. John Carpenter

    Re: The Onion, hey! Why not? There’s already two former (?) Republicans running as Democrats and Trump has been a Democrat in the past.

    1. Detroit Dan

      Good God! He seems to peek at the coin, and then decide to flip it over. Could be taken out of context, but the way things have been going you can’t say.

    2. jrs

      Remember images online are not evidence, it can’t be repeated enough. They can be digitally altered, deep fakes, and are you sure you’d have the means to know if they were? Remember if this can be done to those one opposes, it can be done to those one supports as well. Nice rabbit hole to go down but where is it really leading?

    3. farragut

      You beat me to it, Roy. I was floored when I saw that. Without preamble, I showed this vid to my 14-yr old son. He watched for a few seconds then said, “Dude just cheated!”

      I routinely rant about institutional corruption in the US within earshot of my sons, and this was today’s example.

    4. Copeland

      So that’s how you flip a coin and always get the result you want, I was wondering how they pulled that off.

      1. Wukchumni

        Use one like this Washington Quarter worth around $100k

        The double-tailed quarter is one of the most unusual and highly coveted mint error in the modern U.S. series. Many people believe that they’ve seen one, but odds are if you’ve ever encountered a double-headed or double-tailed quarter in change then you probably had in your hand a novelty “magician’s coin”, a clever sleight-of-hand coin that merges two coins into one. A real double-tailed quarter is struck on an official U.S. Mint press using two reverse dies.


  28. Oregoncharles

    Lambert – should you really expose so much of your working process, with so much, well, ratf….ing going on?

    Also: you aren’t actually in Iowa, are you? Seems like some contagion going on.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. This Klarman guy and the K’s and Hizzoner… is there a GOP Billionaires Against Trump movement? /s

  29. Carey

    From the DMR ‘Shadows’ piece:

    “When a light is shining, Shadows are a constant companion,” it says. “We see ourselves as building a long-term, side-by-side ‘Shadow’ of tech infrastructure to the Democratic Party and the progressive community at large.”


  30. TonyinSoCAL

    “Still waiting for the genius aspect of Pelosi’s strategy to kick in.”

    This was the strategy; use the House majority to do nothing of substance, have no work product to take to the voters and blame the lack of results on the time commitment of impeachment. Sarcastically soft clap Trump at SOTU.


    1. chuckster

      You forgot the part where she loses the House and goes back to being Minority Leader. Same perks, same limo, smaller number of personnel issues.

  31. Kevin

    oh, I had no idea, thanks for the clarification. I’m sure we’ll have smooth sailing from here on as far as elections go…

  32. urblintz

    62% is surely going to satisfy everyone involved… not.


    but Sanders leads in the popular vote.


  33. Carey

    From the Guardian live blog:

    5.03pm 17:03
    Buttigieg on top, after the Iowa Democratic Party announces partial results

    Pete Buttigieg is on top, with a narrow lead over his 2020 competitors, according to the state Democrats, who have released partial results after an extended delay. These results represent 62% of precincts.

    Here’s a breakdown:

    Pete Buttigieg: 26.9%

    Bernie Sanders: 25.1%

    Elizabeth Warren: 18.3%

    Joe Biden: 15.6%

    The results could change after the remaining 38% of results are announced.

    Butti over Sanders? Looks like Shadows™ was a tidy little investment.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      By my reading of the Guardian article, It seems that Sanders is not challenging the somersault in results, only saying he has the highest vote count. If Sander’s numbers ARE correct and he doesn’t challenge those results, the DNC will assume it can walk all over him when and as it is strategically necessary. The clue for me is Biden’s rise to 15% in the DNC gambit.

      Sanders may have good reason not to push too hard on the DNC’s spiked numbers, but from here it looks ominously as if he is answering the question of whether or not he will stick up for himself when push comes to shove. It can’t be exaggerated. His intrinsic decency could prove to be an epic and historic Achilles heel.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      It took me a while to see the right fine print, but we do not know how many votes are left to count. The party won’t know until they’re done counting so the delegate equivalents are still largely a guess.

      They’ve saved Bernie’s strongest areas for last. This will have a happy ending.

  34. Michael Hudson

    I saw on TV last night that some caucuses were decided by a Coin Toss. And just as Hillary won 6 out of 6 in 2016, Buttigieg won the tosses last night.
    was anyone watching and saw this?

    1. hoki haya

      one commenter, in yesterday’s ‘links’ i believe, was a precinct captain and witnessed an incident at his caucus. username ‘sleepy’, iirc.

  35. Roy G

    Thanks for the check. It is so bad that I was doubting myself if it was real, so I did some digging on the provenance and the video was taken by BBC reporter Anthony Zurcher.


    He talked to the kid after that and said, ‘The coin-flipper was a student from Florida who came with his dad to Iowa to get an up-close look at the caucuses. He was picked by the precinct managers because he was an “impartial observer”’

    Regardless, they should have some real protocol to follow because this is just not how it’s done!

  36. Grant

    CNN reporting Pete with a narrow lead, with 62% reporting. None of the data supports that. If this holds, it is time for all out war. It is shocking how brazen this is. How can you try to change caucus results when the actual data is clear as day?

    1. jrs

      Politico as well (not unbiased but I bring it up because, oddly it is showing Sanders has more votes, but not more delegates). Yea I know, the popular vote doesn’t matter, not even in the primaries, you have to Game The System You Have, everyone should already know the rules, the U.S. is not a democracy and doesn’t want to be. One person, one vote, would be a horror to everything the founders stood for, yada yada.

    2. urblintz

      It’s odd… we were promised the results from 62% and CNN lead with Buttigieg’s delegate advantage… but CBS lead with Bernie taking the popular vote and their graphic showed that the state delegate vote, which the mayor leads, represented only 58%. That makes no sense… maybe CBS’ graphic was wrong as they did not point out the discrepancy.

    3. Deschain

      Here’s full Sanders est % (@ 60% precincts) v reported by candidate

      Sanders 29.4 v 25.1
      Pete 24.9 v 26.9
      Warren 20.7 v 18.3
      Biden 12.9 v 15.6
      Klobuchar 11.1 v 12.6

      So basically the three Clintonites – two of which paid the app company – gain share, Bernie and Liz lose share.

      I hope Bernie is on this with a full audit team, pronto. This is horseshit.

      1. OIFVet

        Shouldn’t be too hard, after all Tom Price insisted at least 15 times that there is a complete and verifiable paper trail. On second thought, he doth protested too much on that point. To me, the takeaway is that it doesn’t matter one bit whether the Democrat Party is cheating or merely deeply incompetent (or combination of both), I do not trust it one bit and I have lost the last tiny bit of faith I had remaining in their ability to run fair primaries. Sanders may be able to overcome the fixed game, but not without demonstrating willingness to play rough and name names, something he hasn’t done up until now. We shall see.

      2. Grant

        Here is the data, from Bernie, posted on Commondreams. Now, it is possible that the remaining areas went strongly to Bernie, but if this holds, the discrepancy is way too large to go unchallenged. This is more shocking, how screwed up and brazen this is. While it is just one state, it just shows how much they are willing to throw everything out to deny Bernie the victory, and is a sign of things to come.


        According to Weaver, the campaign’s latest internal figures were as follows after the first alignment: Sanders (29.08%); Buttigieg (21.63%); Warren (19.51%); Klobuchar (12.27%); and Biden (12.04%). After the second and final alignment, Weaver explained, the figures were: Sanders (29.4%); Buttigieg (24.87%); Warren (20.65%); Biden (12.92%); and Klobuchar (11.18%).

        1. inode_buddha

          It isn’t Bernie they are denying, it’s We the People. They would be well advised to keep that in mind.

          1. Plenue

            Echoes what Jimmy Dore frequently says: when the media lies, it isn’t lying to people who already don’t trust it: it’s lying to you, the trusting, and often paying, customer.

      3. Tvc15

        It does seem odd how Pete now leads and Biden is resurrected to above the viable threshold. Wonder if the DNC cherry-picked the precincts to report out on? I would hope the Sanders team was smart enough not to cherry-pick the results they released. Surely they know it would backfire if they did. Agree with Deschain and the others above probably more skullduggery. The Sanders team should address what has now been reported vs what they released.

        1. Plenue

          The Sanders campaigned first released 40% of the total, then later 60%. They seem to be double (or triple) checking their numbers before making them public.

          If Buttigieg ‘wins’, they better take this shit to court.

      4. Michael

        Quick back-of-napkin math on the NYTimes numbers says that if each precinct goes the same way as the rest of its county, the percentages will barely change. So those of you holding out for a shift, well, you’d better hope they backloaded the good Sanders precincts.

        1. Aumua

          Well they never said which 62% of the precincts they were going to report today. I guess everyone assumes it was just whatever they had counted… but who is to say? And if after a few more days go by it comes out that Sanders was actually ahead well, it will all be water under the bridge by then. Meanwhile Buttigieg is saved from his premature declaration of victory, and all is well in wonderland.

    4. Carey

      They don’t care; not in the least. Here’s what our Corporatist Betters are saying with their every action: “What are you going to do about it?”

      1. Hepativore

        Plus, if the Sanders campaign tries to contest the data of the Iowa election Sanders will immediately be painted by the DNC and its media sycophants as a sore loser.

        Any data that Sanders tries to put forth to bolster his claim will either be rejected as being illegitimate because of “Bernie bias” or he will be smeared as being an agent of Russia. Possibly both.

        For that matter, there are probably more surprises in store for us in New Hampshire.

        1. inode_buddha

          Plus, if the Sanders campaign tries to contest the data of the Iowa election Sanders will immediately be painted by the DNC and its media sycophants as a sore loser.

          As if they, themselves aren’t?

  37. cripes

    This just in from MSNBC: doesn’t matter if Sanders gets most votes in a twelve-way race, it’s still less than he got against HillBeast in 2016!

    Meantime, let’s go over and over all the little rural towns on the map where Buttjug is ahead so the image is burned into viewers eyeballs.

    Finally, after 20 mins of this, map guy’s 10-second closer is Bernie wins popular vote, Buttijug gets “re-aligned” count.
    How do I spell Manchur-ee-ayn?

    Can I re-align my vote if I don’t like first result?

  38. Swamp Yankee

    Re: Thompson’s romanticism.

    Oh boy, does this bring me back to grad school. First off, I wrote my dissertation based off of E.P. Thompson on the enclosures, only looking at colonial and early republican New England. I am a Thompsonist, though not a fundamentalist about it (contemporary historians Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker are notable followers, and do a great job). I fielded a question on these lines in my doctoral defense, and remember well these discussions in seminars.

    This charge of “Romanticism” was always the first line of attack from woke avant-le-lettre postmodernists who formed the shock troops of history’s Cultural Turn (early 90s to present, basically). Essentially it is a critique that comes out of the fact that they practice an arid scholasticism that has no concern, even contempt for, ordinary people. They say they are criticizing Thompson’s search for a useable past, but I think they are more broadly criticizing democracy.

    I’ll note that this isn’t limited to Wokistas in the historical profession. My doctoral advisor, who was himself a student and son of Alabama, studied with the great C. Vann Woodward (perhaps the 20th c’s greatest historian of the South), leveled this charge against Marxist historian Eugene Genovese’s masterful ROLL, JORDAN, ROLL: THE WORLD THE SLAVES MADE. But then, he was open — and to be fair, often justified — in his suspicion of 19th century democracy (his whole life’s work is to understand how some of the most democratic polities on Earth at the time managed to co-exist within, though sometimes outside of, a slave society). I view this second line of critique as distinct from, and far more worthy of respect, than the first, Wokista line.

    But then again we must remember that professional academic historians are an elite guild, and I was in a tiny minority in my grad program that came from a working class background. Most were literally sons and daughters of professors. There’s a reason they call them Ivory Towers — friends to the Common People they ain’t (to the extent that they’ll literally sneer at “popular historians” like David McCullough — yes, God forbid more people get exposed to John Adams or the Johnstown Flood!).

    1. curlydan

      I rank Thompson’s “Making of the English Working Class” as one of the most thought provoking and interesting works I’ve read…certainly one of the top 3 books I read in college. Truly an outstanding look at the painful and bumpy transition toward industrialization, but from the people’s and not the government’s perspectives.

      Strangely, I saw the book at a “friends of the library” sale a few weeks ago. Only $1, and somehow I can’t remember what happened to my old copy. How could I resist?

    2. Darthbobber

      And before them, it was the favored line of the Althusserians. Who as far as I (or Thompson) could see virtually evicted human agency from society and history.

      Roughly the same people who were accused of “humanism” by the high priests of neostalinism are now romantics to their Pomo cousins. Luxemburg and Grandkids “romantics”?

      I appreciated One of Thompson’s book length polemics “The Poverty of Theory” or “an Order of Errors.” It centered around a critique of Althusserian structural “Marxism”, and also set forth at some length what the practice of a materialist history meant to people like him and Hobsbawm.

      It also has a lot of useful material on other topics, though it both suffers and benefits from his somewhat idiosyncratic style and his willingness to pursue every tangent that arises.

  39. Dita

    All the DNC has proved with this Shadow app debacle is that Trump and Co is irrelevant since the DNC is equally venal.

  40. Plenue

    I knew there probably wasn’t much substance behind the Biden curtain, but the degree to which there wasn’t is shocking.

  41. Copeland

    I just hope that going forward, potential Sanders voters remember that he’s not an actual Democrat and just plays one on TV.

    Has Sanders ever explained in his own words why he didn’t try to build his own party, in 2016 or now?

    1. urblintz

      So… is the Iowa Dem machine admitting that it doesn’t trust 38% of the vote? Or have they simply not gotten around to counting all of them? The paper trail exists apparently so what else but distrust or suspected foul play explains the release of only a partial count? And if they have reason to suspect 38% of the vote, doesn’t that discount the entire cluster[family blog].

      1. flora

        Or the part about Obama shutting down Dean’s effective 50 State strategy work, the ending of which cost the Dems over 1000 seats in state houses during O’s tenure?

    2. Plenue

      Because he wants to achieve office and the power to actually do things.

      A viable third party is a long-term project. Sanders wants to hijack the existing apparatus of the Democrats to do things in the here and now.

  42. Balk Eyes

    The State of Iowa’s number one tax revenue stream is liquor excise tax. Iowa markets 49 million hogs a year, more than 30% of the US market, more hogs than any other state, thus possibly the most fragrant state in the Union. These are communities desperate for a familiar distraction from the infinite culling for the abattoir, that is not alcohol-oblivion. Is there a better explanation for the Democratic pre-caucus paddocks, the ritualized flock? Iowans, 4% share of the nat’l delegates, swoon for Pete the Sunday school shepherd. Hindsight is 2020.

  43. drumlin woodchuckles

    There must be ways to write words like ” rat-effing” in such a way that people will understand them but Artificial Stupidity Algorithms won’t. And won’t lock up various systems.

    Ways like spelling the word in question as . . . rattfukking. Or rahtphuquing. Or rutfacking. Or whatever.

        1. bob

          or a verb- rattery

          The rattery of the democrats, and their management consultant, led to questions about the integrity of all of them.

          rats do rattery.

          Update- it is a word, and the definition is beautiful-


          rattery (countable and uncountable, plural ratteries)

          (countable) A place where rats are housed in large numbers, usually for the purpose of breeding
          (uncountable, obsolete) apostasy; traitorousness

          Sidney Smith

          “the rattery and scoundrelism of public life”

  44. Synoia

    Still waiting for the genius aspect of Pelosi’s strategy to kick in.

    It did. A wonderful sinecure without responsibility, while her faithful D vassals kiss her every orifice.

    1. flora

      Most the the MSM has been focused on impeachment instead of, as in prior pres caucus years, on the Iowa caucus. This year was down to only something like 20% of the past election years’ media reporting anc coverage. If your planning to steal or f’ over an election (if necessary, and not saying they did) the last thing you want is lots of on-the-ground media coverage raising the country’s interest in the state-of-play, the process, and the outcome.

      We’ve been saying for some time the Dem estab would rather lose to T than win with Sanders (or any candidate representing the economic interests of the 90%).

  45. Darthbobber

    So after releasing some 62% subset of results at 5, we’re still sitting there at nearly 7:30. Clearly it’s not a case of continuing to release results as we validate them.

    If Pete’s lead is going to hold up we might see further results before the primetime window closes. If not, not. Good grief, Charlie Brown
    Meantime CNN and company continue to indefinitely spin that static 62% screen as if it were breaking news.

    As Phil Ochs once said now all the news commentators and the CIA are saying thank God for coincidence.

    Based on what I’ve seen this far, I suspect that lead doesn’t hold and that the folks behind the curtain know that . Or maybe they just are that totally feckless. Could be. Or maybe there’s a late surge for Evo Morales.

    1. flora

      Releasing partial results is worse than holding results back until a winner is declared. Releasing partial results can game expectations. Why IDP would release partial results if it’s not trying to game expectations is beyond me.

      1. Monty

        Just think of all the extra free time we will get to enjoy when Pete “wins” the nom. We can stop paying attention and get on with some housework, knowing he is guaranteed to lose the general

        1. Grant

          LOL! Iowa is one thing, but there are limits to the Democrats’ rigging magic. They cannot rig that fraud into a nomination, and they certainly can’t help him beat Trump. MSNBC just did a segment and it showed that Bernie is winning the first round, he was winning the second round, he has more support in the state, by a decent margin. If this was not a caucus, he would have won solidly. The only reason sociopath Pete is winning is because the counties this party claims he won are weighted to give him more delegates. And then there are the coin tosses, even when Bernie has twice the delegates he does, instead of just rounding the numbers. He, of course, lost all of them. Given what happened in 2016, what’s the odds of losing every coin toss? What a trainwreck of a party. Arena in El Salvador-level corrupt at this point.

    2. Carey

      My guess is that Sanders is the Iowa winner, and they know that, but want to delay that release as long as possible.

      Better that it’s happening now, IMO.

  46. flora

    This is good. From Matt Stoller. (good for the links maybe.)

    Iowa Caucuses, the Blob, and the Democratic Party Cartel

    “Everything about this situation screams bad management, and bad management is one consequence of extreme deference to power. It’s impossible to assess real problems if you can’t offer real criticism, and you can’t offer real criticism if the person in charge of some vital process is the kid of a donor or a friend of a powerful person in a cartel. (A less noticed example of this dynamic took place yesterday, when two key leaders of the Democratic Convention host committee, one of whom is the child of a major donor, were sidelined after allegations of a toxic work environment.)”


    1. bob

      Why give them the benefit of the doubt? Incompetence vs malice. Incompetence can be argued as a case for mayo pete and his management mastery.

      Malice on the other hand shows Mayo Pete’s campaign tied to the shadow group of dem insiders that came up with this giant scam. They are still getting paid.

      Bad take.

      1. flora

        Incompetence is a performative judgement. Malice is a claim to know the intent of another I might agree with you about the likelihood of malice, but making that declaration can open a can of legal worms, especially if I’m a noted author about politics and monopoly. Whereas the charge of incompetence, being performative, is on display for all to see, and can bring out points that could certainly be interpreted by readers as likely caused malicious intent.

        1. bob

          “but making that declaration can open a can of legal worms”

          By who? Who would be the defamed? Wouldn’t that suit open discovery and let some sunlight into the Shadows?

          It’s a bad take. I’ve worried about Matt during his time in DC. He’s being cautious why? Jobz?

    1. ptb

      Ugh, it shouldn’t be the new anything after this. And what happens when we get to states with 100% electronic no-hard-copy voting?

      Whoever said the other day that the DNC needs to be completely purged was so right….

  47. Woodchuck

    Well i somehow believed before it might be sheer incompetence. Hard to believe that after seeing this partial result BS. The logic of why this was done can’t be anything but calculated. It just makes no freaking sense otherwise. ESPECIALLY if it turns out that Sanders won.

    Basically Pete is the big beneficiary of this thing. He made his victory speech with no result released, and he spends all of today’s primetime as the “narrow leader”, so what people who dont really pay that much attention will remember is that he likely won, and if he didn’t well he was pretty close. Tomorrow is impeachment vote, news cycle about Iowa is over and only people really invested in this will care. And since the number of delegates isn’t why Iowa matters, it basically doesnt matter who exactly won by a small margin. Pete took advantage of the situation, Sanders didnt. However the whole situation could make more people donate to Sanders because of the feeling of being robbed so it might not be too bad for him in the end.

    Biden also got spared the news cycle talking about his aweful results, helping maintain his campaign alive longer. And the partial results leave him above 15%.

    If Sanders ends up winning the vote it will be laughable how transparent the whole process is with this partial result release (seriously, how can they even attempt to justify that idea?) and it will be a very obvious case of cherry picking results to create the narrative they want. Even if he doesnt though it locks the news cycle until it becomes irrelevant.

    Dem party just looks so rotten right now.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Re: “Dem party just looks so rotten right now”

      I see this as a silver lining of this mess. Even it is “an entirely ordinary cock-up”, it makes the establishment Ds look every bit as crooked as skeptics (like me) believe them to be.

      And Mayor Pete does not look very good, between his connections to the app developer and his presumption of victory. This might be a pyrrhic victory for him,

      I see it as an advance warning of further chicanery and corruption to come, and an incentive to keep digging into my pockets to help the few candidates that I am confident really are honest.

      The crisis of legitimacy is upon is. I hope that those tempted to discouragement can stay engaged long enough to defenestrate the crooks and grifters.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Don’t change before the Empire falls.
        You’ll laugh so hard you’ll crack the walls.

        Grace Slick, “Greasy Heart”

  48. Grant

    LOL! Watched MSNBC. It showed that Bernie won the first round. It showed he was still winning the second round. It shows that he has more support in the state. It shows him losing because of the weight given to particular counties that seemed to have favored sociopath Pete. So, he is winning right now, based on the 62% that have come in, entirely because of how this party weighted the counties they say he has more support in.

    Please Russiagate Democrats, forever shut up. The biggest threat to our democracy is the two parties controlling this system. As I said before, we have (at least on the books) anti-trust laws. Why do we not have anti-trust laws or something equivalent in the political system? These are two private entities and they are making it impossible for competitors to emerge.

    May I also request a party name change? The irony of this party calling itself the Democratic Party is too thick. May I suggest The Consultant Party?

    1. Ed Miller

      How about the FUBAR Party? But – Oh! – Trump must already have that in his 2020 tweet vocabulary.

    1. grayslady

      Should be read in conjunction with this article from The Verge. Did Iowa know it was paying for an app that could only be used by 200 people (when it had 1700 precincts), or that all the data would disappear within 30 days, or that the app wasn’t encrypted since the developers decided to use the free version of Test Fairy rather than the paid version?

      From the comments section of The Verge article:

      That’s what happens when you pick a company to write your app based on their ideology instead of picking a company based on their skills.



      If even half of this article is true the developer is guilty of gross professional incompetence and the Iowa Democratic party of criminal stupidity. I retired as an IT consultant and before that spent a couple decades in Fortune 50 IT shops. Even my greenest application manager would never execute a deployment sequence this ridiculous for a high visibility, mission critical application.

    2. Calypso Facto

      Thank you for sharing this, it really rings true with my own experience in the startup and open source space.

      One detail the poster shares is that the app used a Firebase backend. If so, that would explain how the reporting was emitting partial data due to a technical failure rather than malicious intent; without going too deep, it’s a Google Cloud Platform product that involves a realtime ‘database’ stored on the client (in this case I guess Android or ios or a webapp) that would then replicate data back to the platform for further processing. Multiple clients with this type of backend are notorious for enqueued data on the clients failing to replicate back to to server under load. The reports I heard were that the app was incorrectly tabulating results because of incorrect data.

      This sounds more like technical incompetence (due to the nature of several overlapping grifts) rather than intentional vote changing, and Pete capitalized on it.

  49. ChiGal in Carolina

    update from the Guardian live blog one hour ago, still 62% of vote in, Butti slightly ahead of Bernie. they report per CNN the DNC is getting into the act:

    From CNN:

    The Democratic National Committee is taking an increasingly active role in the process of tracking down the data from the nearly 1,700 caucus sites across Iowa, including checking data sent to the Iowa Democratic Party via their failed app, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

    A team of roughly a dozen party officials are currently in Iowa working with the state party to report out the results of last night’s caucuses, which were delayed due to widespread reporting issues between the Iowa precincts and the Iowa Democratic Party.

    The team from the DNC includes staffers tracking online disinformation, we well as data and communications staff, one source said. DNC Chair Tom Perez is not in Iowa, according to a DNC aide, but has been getting updates from the team of the ground.

    The DNC officials are also chasing down data from individual caucus chairs from precincts across the state, hoping to track down precincts that had not reported their results.

    A spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party said that the DNC was “chasing precinct results,” something that they described as “something that happens after every caucus.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Democratic National Committee is taking an increasingly active role in the process of tracking down the data from the nearly 1,700 caucus sites across Iowa

      That’s certainly a confidence-builder.

      I assume Sanders campaign operatives are embedded throughout this operation.

  50. inode_buddha

    I just realized perhaps too late, this speech of Mayo Pete’s reminds me and awful lot of the triumphalism of Clinton in 2016. Basically declared himself/herself a bit early because they are so sure that they are the winner — that, to me, is the tell of a predetermined, RIGGED outcome. People get cocky, then they get sloppy.

  51. Expat2Uruguay

    So many comments tonight! I think there’s 351 right now. I’ve only gotten a third of the way through them, but I wanted to give a bit of positive news about

    the 2019-nCoV #Coronavirus. I’m looking at this link for the timeline from Wikipedia under the section on statistics and there is good news in the number of people dead versus the number of people cured. You can see that in the last 24 hour period there were 65 deaths and 260 people cured. Looking over to the next column shows the percentage of dead versus the sum of people either dead or cured. A close look at this shows that this number is steadily dropping from a high in the low sixties to currently 35%. Since it generally takes longer for people to be declared cured than it takes for them to be declared dead I expect this number to continue dropping.
    Now obviously this only measures the deaths and cures among the reported cases. But I consider this to be an upper bound of the fatality rate and it’s good to see it steadily decreasing as the epidemic creates more data about itself!


    Oh damn, my comment fell into moderation. I’ll just have to post this again tomorrow when there may be a better chance of it being pulled out of moderation in a reasonable amount of time

  52. Hoppy

    Lambert, brilliant write-up! Thank you!!

    This is what happens when stupid people take over a party. It happened to Republicans, its now happened to Democrats. It will probably even happen to the Sanders wing of the party at some point.

    For now, the ‘Daily Kos’ type wing of the party needs to sit down, STFU, and let the adults lead! Its embarrassing the mess we have to clean up now.

    1. Hoppy

      I’ll couch that statement a little. Instead of stupid, unthinking ideologues who care more about team than principles.

    2. flora

      Thomas Frank’s book “Listen, Liberal” has a chapter titled ‘The Defects of a Superior Mind.’ It includes this:

      “And this brings us to perhaps the most crucial indictment of them all: these Democrats don’t seem really to care about winning elections. Even that, the most fundamental political act, takes a back seat to professional vanity.”

      Professional vanity, bordering on hubris, is another failure that leads to stupidity or incompetence at the real job of winning elections, imo. It all works. Until it doesn’t.

  53. Stillfeelinthebern

    DNC stench is worse than a CAFO.

    —-The committee hosting the Dem National Convention in Milwaukee this summer announced tonight that two of its top executives have been fired after concerns were raised about a hostile work environment.

    The Board of Directors said in a statement Liz Gilbert and Adam Alonso “are no longer employed by the organization, effective immediately.”

    Veteran Dem operative Teresa Vilmain, a Wisconsin resident and convention veteran, will manage day-to-day operations during the transition.—-


  54. JBird4049

    Bunch of good comments. Mine is that as of thirty-seven minutes ago Pete Buttigieg has the lead. Not Sanders or even Warren. The stench is incredible.

    This leads to a great question. My state of California has the largest number of electoral votes (55 out of 538) for the general election and the largest number of Democratic Party Convention delegates (494 out of 4795???) so it is just about a necessity for the Democratic candidate to win California in both the primaries and the general election to become president. Since California is a single party state run by the Democrats and the party’s goal appears to be getting anyone but Bernie, which includes Trump, just what is the party going to do to stop Sanders?

    Also, the comment about the deliberate creation of multiple and confusing points of electoral control by Lambert makes the Byzantine system of delegates that the Democratic leadership created logical, even inspired.

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