2:00PM Water Cooler 2/5/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this Water Cooler will still be not up to scratch, because I need to rebuild a Twitter account with new follows. Silly me, I did not prepare for this day. I will be back shortly after I put in a laundry. –lambert UPDATE All done!


“The U.S. is hatching a plan to wean American 5G cellular networks off Chinese supply chains. The White House is working with big U.S. technology companies to build software that would reduce dependency on Huawei Technologies Co.’s equipment by allowing 5G developers to run code atop machines from nearly any hardware manufacturer” [Wall Street Journal]. “[The U.S.] wants to map out a path where most domestic 5G architecture and infrastructure would be built by American firms or companies with a big U.S. presence… Partners in the nascent plan include Microsoft Corp., Dell Inc. and AT&T Inc. But unseating Huawei, the world’s top seller of telecom equipment, could be a tall order given the U.S.’s late start.” • First, industrial policy? Huh? Second, followers always want interoperability. Sometimes they achieve it!


“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:

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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 complete esults from Iowa as of this writing. So there’s no point speculating on a Biden implosion, any more than a Buttigieg victory. However, if Biden did in fact drastically underperform 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. NOTE: Possibly because Biden’s Social Security record was made known?

We have a new national poll, YouGov as of 2/5/2020, 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:

And new polls from Emerson and Suffolk in NH:

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.

* * *

Patient readers, I’m still a bit discombobulated from the Iowa caucus. The arrogance and contempt shown by the Iowa Democrat Party, the Democrat Party, and the political class generally, not merely for the volunteers and staffers who worked so hard, but for the democratic process itself, is stunning, even to this hardened cynic.

Biden (D)(1): “Biden’s poor showing in Iowa shakes establishment support” [Associated Press]. “Most precarious for Biden: Some of the would-be donors he could win over with a strong showing are giving new looks to Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor whose entire strategy of sitting out the four early nominating states is pegged to the possibility that Biden falters. Bloomberg, one of the world’s wealthiest men with a net worth approaching $60 billion, isn’t asking for money. He’s simply looking for support that could cut off financial lifelines to Biden, whose campaign reported just $9 million cash on hand to start the year.” • Quite a deal for those donors. “I don’t want your money. Just don’t give it to anybody else.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “Biden Slump in Iowa May Signal Bigger Campaign Woes” [Bloomberg]. “Biden has already hired Dave Huynh, a well-regarded veteran of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 and campaign Kamala Harris’s 2020 team, to manage delegate operations, an area where it lacked any real expertise.” • Delegate operations will be critical in a brokered convention; best nail them down early.

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Rosy polls but few yard signs: How Joe Biden stumbled in Iowa” [Reuters]. “Even if he loses again in also predominantly white New Hampshire in next week’s primary, his campaign says Biden will make up ground in more diverse Nevada and South Carolina later in February. ‘The point is, I count the four. The first four are the key,’ Biden told reporters in Concord, New Hampshire, on Tuesday.”s

Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden faces down angry protesters who accuse him of groping in his first New Hampshire event since the party’s Iowa caucus fiasco” [Daily Mail]. “During the angry confrontation, Biden supporters yelled out ‘People want to listen!’ ‘Go away!’ shouted another. ‘Go home!’ they scolded the disruptors. The protest was captured on video as a swarm of media descended on the Granite State to cover the primary. ‘Folks, I apologize,’ Biden told his supporters. ‘Everyone saw it!’ yelled out the second heckler as he was being escorted out of the venue. ‘This is the reason why I’m running. We have to stop this,’ Biden said, to applause. Biden’s event was hosted by Girls Inc. of New Hampshire, which encourages development girls to achieve goals and resist peer pressure.” • Nice advance work! (Nobody seems to have interviewed the protesters….)

Bloomberg (D)(1): “It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ for the Democrats” [RealClearPolitics]. “Perhaps the biggest winner out of Iowa is a man who did not compete there, wisely as it turns out. Mike Bloomberg, the media mogul and former New York mayor, worth at last count an estimated $61 billion, is waiting – he thinks – to bring order and discipline to the Democratic ranks. Without results and speeches from campaign headquarters Monday night, the messaging was left to Bloomberg, who had purchased wall-to-wall ad time. His theme: Only I can defeat Trump, because I have the resources and the big-city track record to do it. Bloomberg will probably spend two or three billion dollars before it’s over. I am guessing that it won’t be ‘over over’ when the party meets in convention this summer in Milwaukee. There will be late nights on the floor.”

Bloomberg (D)(2): “Trump’s best week as president” [National Journal]. “One of the biggest beneficiaries from the confusion is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has poured nearly $300 million on advertising into the Super Tuesday states (and beyond) in hopes of a muddle after the first round of voting concludes. On Tuesday, he pledged to double the investment. For his audacious plan to succeed, he needed a combination of unlikely scenarios to take place: Biden collapses, Sanders surges, and the race remains cloudy in the run-up to the delegate-rich March primaries. He’s gotten everything he’s hoped for—and more. But Bloomberg still will have trouble putting together a broad coalition that would lock down a majority of delegates before the convention. He’s building a following with suburban moderates and electability-focused voters. Unlike Biden, who draws strong support from African-Americans and working-class whites, he’ll face challenges on those fronts. His stop-and-frisk policies as New York City mayor will invite scrutiny from his rivals before Super Tuesday rolls around. At a time of populist anger coursing through the party, his campaign will be a tough sell to blue-collar voters who reject the party’s ascendant liberalism but aren’t on board with the elite centrism that Bloomberg represents.”

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(2): His victory speech:

UPDATE “Iowa suggests Bernie Sanders has no special turnout magic” [Jon Walker, The Week]. “The campaign has stressed Sanders’ supposedly unique ability to appeal to new voters, third-party voters, and infrequent voters. If that was true, we should have seen a big increase in the low-turnout caucuses, where even a small increase in total numbers would make a big difference. Sanders’ campaign had months to hyper focus his volunteer army on the state of Iowa so supporters could directly make the campaign’s unique appeal to these groups, yet these gains seemingly failed to materialize. As expected, given the generational divide in ideology among Democrats, Sanders did very well with young caucus-goers, handily winning in several college-town precincts. But again, youth turnout seems to have been only slightly higher than previous cycles…. There’s clearly still a path for Bernie Sanders to become the nominee and to win the general election. But it appears to be the path of a normal Democratic candidate. It doesn’t seem that Sanders is expanding or reshaping the electorate. Instead, he has done what most every nominee before him has done; he built a coalition of traditionally Democratic voters — union members, Latinos, and liberals.” • So far.

Sanders (D)(1): “The DNC can’t steal the election from Bernie Sanders despite the Iowa chaos” [Bhaskar Sunkara, Guardian (Re Silc)]. “[F]ellow Bernie Sanders supporters hear my plea – we gain nothing by playing into the idea that the process is so stacked against us that we can’t win. For one, saying that elections are all “hacked” or manipulated nowadays is a great way to encourage working people not to come out and vote. Why bother supporting an insurgent candidate, if the outcome is already assured? Beyond that, this emphasis is a distraction from both the economic concerns that Bernie Sanders excels at talking about and the grassroots organizing that’s propelling him so far this campaign.”

Sanders (D)(2): “The Iowa debacle is a boon for Bernie” [The Week]. “‘[M]ost important is that the campaign of Sanders’ major rival, Joe Biden, seemingly collapsed in Iowa…. New Hampshire votes next, and Sanders is currently leading polls there by nearly 10 points. Even with a tie or narrow defeat in Iowa, he should be able to win the state easily — putting him in an ideal position to scoop up Nevada and maybe even South Carolina. From then he could very well turn Super Tuesday into a rout. Nationally, Sanders has closed the polling gap with Biden from nearly 10 points in early January to just over 3 points now. A humiliating defeat in Iowa and then New Hampshire is going to severely dent the perception of electability that is the only possible justification for nominating Biden.”

Sanders (D)(3): “Upstate GOP leaders plotting to impact SC Democratic primary by boosting Bernie Sanders” [Post and Courier (jk)]. “A group of prominent Upstate Republicans is preparing to launch a wide-scale effort this week to encourage GOP voters across South Carolina to vote for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Feb. 29 Democratic primary, The Post and Courier has learned. The Republican plan to impact the Democratic race, emerging just weeks before the “First in the South” primary, has two goals: Boost the candidate who the Republicans believe presents the weakest general election threat to President Donald Trump and pressure Democrats to support closing state primaries in the future. South Carolina has open primaries, meaning voters do not have to register by party and can participate in either party’s contest. But some conservative activists have long pushed to change that, arguing it would ensure a more pure party process, and they are hoping this effort will win over Democrats to that cause.” • I love the addition of a venal motive at the state level. So often important! Also, I guess O’Keefe is off the case, for now?

Sanders (D)(4): “Only Assh*les Bitch About Sanders Supporters Being Rude Online” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “Bernie supporters have gotten very good at giving bad faith manipulators their anger instead of their sympathy. In 2015 it wasn’t uncommon to see such manipulators receiving calm, rational responses to their smears explaining that Bernie is not actually an evil unelectable Marxist who hates women and loves rape. Now in 2020 such smears receive a mountain f*ck offs from grizzled veterans who understand exactly what game is being played here. They do not extend their sympathy to people who are trying to manipulate how they think, and rightly so.” • I believe the euphemism is “glass bowl.”

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren Has a Movement. You Just Don’t See It Yet.” [The Nation]. “Warren has been quietly building a movement, and in the closing days it became apparent that it’s a women’s movement. Whatever happened, she clarified her campaign’s rationale in [Iowa’s] grueling Thunderdome…. Warren didn’t set out to be the Resistance Mom candidate. That was New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who had to drop out last summer. But she became one, maybe because of the sexism she faced as the primary unfolded, or maybe because she was trying to be all along.” • Yes, that pivot has been evident for some time.

* * *

More on the Iowa debacle:

“Live: Iowa Caucus Results 2020” [New York Times]. “The Iowa Democratic Party released a new set of results: Buttigieg leads Sanders by 1.7 percentage points with 75 percent of precincts reporting.” • New results; the water torture continues. I wonder if we’ll be finished by the NH primary? Oddly, none of the satellite caucuses have been counted:

Satellites matter:

I am having a very hard time understanding why the count should be so slow, satellites or no, and the complete lack of transparency in the process is not a confidence builder. ChiGal in Carolina cited to 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…

The team from the DNC includes staffers tracking online disinformation, we well as data and communications staff, one source said….

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.”

Speculating freely: It looks to me like they threw out that app data entirely, and started from scratch with a new count from the paper ballots. Could it be that when the Buttigieg campaign tweeted out all the caucus tallies with the PIN number printed at top right, that they created an enormous security breach? Oh, and the idea of DNC staffers tracking disinformation should chill your blood. The DNC is in no sense a neutral party!

* * *

“What Happened in Iowa?” [Cook Political Report]. “No one will look back and blame the Iowa caucus if Trump wins reelection in November. However, there is a lot in the results for Trump supporters to like. First, the lower-than-expected turnout (closer to 2016 than 2008) calls into question whether having so many choices is making it harder for many Democrats to make a choice. Additionally, the more muddled outcomes and close bunching we see, the higher the probability no candidate will win a majority of delegates by the convention in July, making Democrats’ task of achieving party unity much more difficult.” • First, we don’t have the vote totals, so it’s premature to make judgments about turnout. Second, should we be assuming that all the insiders are already assuming that we’re headed toward a brokered convention?

“C’mon, Iowa, This Is Just Ridiculous” [The Nation]. “There will be results, ultimately. The caucus chairs have the numbers and the paper trail can be followed…. When all was said and done Monday night, however, they were all denied the glory that comes with being declared the winner by the Associated Press and the next-morning headlines, and the “Iowa bump” momentum that might extend from them…. [Meanwhile,] Bloomberg gets to keep spending his way into the chaotic and ill-defined Democratic competition, while Trump will seize the spotlight Tuesday evening with his State of the Union address. Bloomberg gets to keep spending his way into the chaotic and ill-defined Democratic competition, while Trump will seize the spotlight Tuesday evening with his State of the Union address.” • I listed the losers yesterday, and there are many more than just the IDP.

“The Iowa Caucus Could Go Very Wrong” [The Atlantic]. • Written just before the caucus, good call. Yes, the recommendations made by the DNC’s Unity Reform Commission complicated the process. That said, the new requirement for preference cards absolutely saved whatever legitimacy the caucus still has. Imagine if there had been no paper record!

Stoller, shorter:

In Ian Welsh’s classic formulation: “[Politicians sell out cheap] because it’s not their money. It’s like selling your neighbor’s car for twenty bucks.”.

Stoller, longer: “Iowa Caucuses, the Blob, and the Democratic Party Cartel” [Big]. “It’s always been a bit of a puzzle for me to define just what the Democratic Party is. There are no formal membership dues, and registration varies by state. Candidates can sometimes run for the party nomination without being a member. And that leaves out the actual mechanisms of governance, the think tanks, banks, corporations, and law firms in which the various policy experts work as a sort of shadow government…. One of the better books on the Democratic Party comes from a former Joe Biden staffer, Jeff Connaughton, who coined the term “the blob” to denote the network of lawyers, lobbyists, Congressional staffers, foreign policy experts, podcasters, media figures and pollsters who comprise the groupthink of the Democrats. These people know each other, marry each other, take vacations together, book each other on shows, hire each other, and work together on policies and campaigns. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a community. But that community, if it becomes immune from external pressure, can become dangerous. And that’s what happened in Iowa.” • I will have a comment on this, but now I have to put in a laundry. Back soon:

UPDATE I’ve been thinking for awhile about how to define a political party, and gradually coming to the conclusion that political parties aren’t subtypes of anything else; experts in the field tell me that this is a hard problem. However, I don’t think “community” is an especially good way to think about them. I have to read up on the actual history of the mechanic of voting, but I think one thing that differentiates political parties from all other institutions is that they control the ballot (much as a street gang controls a corner). They control, at one end of the “supply chain,” as it were, who gets on the ballot, and, at the other end of the supply chain how the ballots are counted. We see, at the first link in the chain, the ever-shifting rules for who gets to debate, and at the last link, the Iowa debacle.

Asked “cock-up or conspiracy” (or, as we say in this country, “stupid or evil”) I answered:

A network of cronies exploiting self-created chaos opportunistically is my first cut. (I don’t think, in other words, that “somebody picked up the phone.”) Old pros all know each others moves, and they know their common enemies. For example, increased security is a top-down directive. Hand-marked paper ballots hand-counted in public is off the table. Hence an app is designed, badly, because there’s no funding for a good app, and nobody gives a sh*t anyhow, and I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone. And then, a happy outcome that surprises even them! It’s kinda like giving the American Indians smallpox blankets. You don’t know exactly which tribes and Indians will die but the effect is an enormous stressor and ultimately the right enemies are harmed.

John D. McDonald created a sociopath named Howard Brindle, who booby-trapped his environment, for fun. Some operatives seem to be to be like that.

* * *

The tech:

“If you want to understand what happened with Shadow and the failure of the Iowa Caucus app you have to understand how electoral campaign tech work is done and funded.” [Rabble, Thread Reader]. Really excellent background. “In the wake of the 2016 election there was a lot of energy around funding better tools…. Unfortunately they funded it using a startup / incubator model. Giving startup funds to many projects in a cohort and helping them get to an MVP and pitch founders for more money. After the initial infusion, there was no more money to be had. These projects all failed when they ran out of money. There was no budget to fund development between cycles. The decision makers know nothing about how technology, or its development works. Most of us gave up on building campaign tech.” • Of course, what everybody forgets is that with hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, there’s no need for tech.

“Here’s the Shadow Inc. App That Failed in Iowa Last Night” [Vice]. “Green, who used his personal Samsung S7, explained that in order to report the results, he had to sign in with an email and password, provide a two-factor authentication, and enter a one-time password generated by the Google Authenticator app. After this, he would need to enter his precinct PIN, but he did not get that far—when he entered the one-time password generated by the Google Authenticator app, this is the error message that he saw: “idp-caucus-2020 Oops!, something went wrong….” ….. Cybersecurity and voting experts said they were not surprised the app failed, and that the rollout of the app was so haphazard and irresponsible that its failure was a ‘predictable outcome.’” • Oh.

“The tragedy of the Iowa Caucus” [Brookings Institution]. “The great tragedy of Iowa is that when the results are in, they will probably be the most accurate results ever reported out of the Iowa caucuses. There will be a paper trail for both votes and a comprehensive accounting of all three votes in all precincts. And yet the most accurate Iowa caucuses may be the last.”

“Billionaire pro-Israel Buttigieg backer Seth Klarman funds group behind Iowa’s disastrous voting app” [The Gray Zone]. “Shadow Inc. was launched by a major Democratic dark money nonprofit called Acronym, which also gave birth to a $7.7 million Super PAC known as Pacronym. According to Sludge, Pacronym’s largest donor is Seth Klarman. A billionaire hedge funder, Klarman also happens to be a top donor to Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Though he has attracted some attention for his role in the campaign, Klarman’s prolific funding of the pro-settler Israel lobby and Islamophobic initiatives has gone almost entirely unmentioned. Seth Klarman is the founder of the Boston-based Baupost Group hedge fund and a longtime donor to corporate Republican candidates. After Donald Trump called for forgiving Puerto Rico’s debt, Klarman – the owner of $911 million of the island’s bonds – flipped and began funding Trump’s opponents.” • Oy.

And a *chef’s kiss*:

* * *

Our Famously Free Press

Love me, love me, love me (UserFriendly):

Realignment and Legitimacy

“We’re Never Going to Get Our “Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?” Moment” [Slate]. “Only a few months after McCarthy’s Wheeling speech, freshman Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, a moderate Republican from Maine, gave a speech condemning McCarthy’s methods, which she called the ‘Declaration of Conscience.’ This was the first public anti-McCarthy proclamation by a politician, one that could have been the ‘no sense of decency’ moment but wasn’t—because the party wasn’t ready. Smith penned what we might now call an ‘epic takedown’ of McCarthy without ever mentioning him by name. ‘The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically smeared as ‘Communists’ or ‘Fascists’ by their opponents,’ Smith wrote. ‘Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America.'” • Happy, innocent times…

“Billings legislator who insisted Constitution allows shooting socialists says he won’t resign” [Billings Gazette]. “Garcia could not to point to where in the Constitution it says socialists could be shot or jailed.”

Stats Watch

Shipping: “Bulk carrier American Commercial Barge Line Co. is seeking a safe port in bankruptcy. The domestic waterways heavyweight plans to reorganize its business in chapter 11 through a deal with lenders that would cut about $1 billion of debt from its books” [Wall Street Journal]. “[T]he Platinum Equity LLC-backed company has been grappling with multiple challenges, from flooding in the Upper Midwest to tough industrial market conditions. The U.S.-China trade war and sagging manufacturing output has hurt demand for raw materials, striking a blow to the company’s main business moving commodities and industrial cargo along the Mississippi River and other U.S. tributaries on its 3,500-barge fleet.” • Not sure the economy can be all that great if this is happening.

Manufacturing: “Greatest Short Squeeze of All Time?” [The Reformed Broker]. “Now this is just breathtaking – I have no skin in the game on this one but cannot stop watching it. I think what’s happened with Tesla recently represents the greatest short squeeze of all time. A rally since around October when they surprised to the upside in an earnings report has just culminated in an explosive 100% year-to-date gain at this morning’s open…. I’m not sure we’ll ever see a short squeeze this epic ever again in our lifetimes. In dollar terms it has to be the biggest for the United States.” • Gotta hand it to Elon, even if he treats his workers badly and can’t run a paint booth.

Tech: “Facebook board adds Zuckerberg’s pal, Dropbox’s CEO” [TechCrunch]. “Shareholders have repeatedly tried to oust Facebook’s chairman Mark Zuckerberg. The board has repeatedly rejected that demand. Outside investors are unlikely to get much help with that push from Facebook’s newest board member: Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston. The addition of Houston is the first since the departure of Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann from the board in October. She was the lead independent director; that role remains empty. While the “independent” status relates to financial ties, business aside, Houston and Zuckerberg’s personal relationship might have complicated the storage startup leader assuming that position. Zuckerberg and Houston have been close for eight years, appearing in photos together since at least 2012 when they rode around the exclusive Allen & Co Sun Valley conference together (seen above).”

* * *

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

“Photos of ‘king tides’ globally show risks of climate change” [Associated Press]. “A network of volunteer photographers fans out around the globe during so-called king tides to capture how high the waterline gets and where the water goes. They then upload the images — many with geolocation data embedded — for use by scientists, policymakers and even city planners as they study and prepare for the effects of climate change. The photos show where flooding occurs on specific roads, or give clues about whether it’s safe to build new housing, for example, near an eroding bluff.” • Citizen science!

A thread for soil fans:

“A Prairie Flower That Flourishes With Fire” [New York Times]. “Purple coneflowers, also known as echinacea angustifolia, produce more seeds in years following fires, the new study shows, not just because there are fewer competitors for resources, but because a fire “also changes the mating opportunities,” said Stuart Wagenius, a conservation scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Dr. Wagenius, who led the research, tracked a 40-hectare plot, or nearly 100 acres, of prairie land in Minnesota for 21 years as part of the Echinacea Project. The study found that coneflowers produced more seeds and were more genetically diverse in plots that were burned every few years, compared to those where fires were prevented.” • Makes me wonder if the same logic, although with different seeds, applies in Australia.

Health Care

Good news:

Class Warfare

“How knitters got knotted in a purity spiral” [Unherd]. “while a purity spiral often concerns morality, it is not about morality. It’s about purity — a very different concept. Morality doesn’t need to exist with reference to anything other than itself. Purity, on the other hand, is an inherently relative value — the game is always one of purer-than-thou…. It’s not just another word for ‘woke culture’, or even ‘cancel culture’, or ‘virtue signalling’. Even though intersectional social justice is a pretty great breeding ground for purity spirals, it is one among many. Nor is it confined to the Left: neo-Nazi groups offer some of the clearest examples of purity spirals: the ongoing parsing of ethnic purity into ever-more Aryan sub-groups…. A purity spiral propagates itself through the tipping points of preference falsification: through self-censorship, and through loyalty tests that weed out its detractors long before they can band together. In that sense, once one takes hold, its momentum can be very difficult to halt. Our [BBC] documentary analysed just two latter-day purity spirals — Instagram knitting culture and young adult novels. Both seemed perfectly-sized to be taken over — they were spaces big enough to have their own star system, yet small enough for the writ of a dominant group to hold.” • “Preference falsification“: “Preference falsification, according to the economist Timur Kuran, is the act of misrepresenting one’s wants under perceived social pressures. It happens frequently in everyday life, such as when we tell the host of a dinner party that we are enjoying the food when we actually find it bland… Preference falsification, according to the economist Timur Kuran, is the act of misrepresenting one’s wants under perceived social pressures. It happens frequently in everyday life, such as when we tell the host of a dinner party that we are enjoying the food when we actually find it bland.” • Seems relevant! (This piece comes from a right reaction to what is classified as “intersectional social justice ideology,” so I would be interested in reactions from any actual knitters in the readership.

Get a job!

News of the Wired

“Johns Hopkins Scientists Give Psychedelics the Serious Treatment” [Scientific American]. “[L]ate last year the highly respected institution Johns Hopkins University—the U.S.’s oldest research university—launched a dedicated center for psychedelic studies, the first of its kind in the country and perhaps the world’s largest. With work now underway, the center is aiming to enforce the strictest standards of scientific rigor on a field that many feel has veered uncomfortably close to mysticism and that has relied heavily on subjective reports. Early results have been promising and seem poised to keep the research on a roll.”

“What the other side of the coin tells us about local economies” [Financial Times]. “When metal for coins became scarce during the first world war, the Reichsbank let German towns print their own cash. While the central bank might have hoped only to alleviate a cash crunch, it ended up unleashing a wave of creativity. The richly decorated and colourful notes, known as Notgeld or “emergency money”, are currently on display in the British Museum’s money gallery, a spectacular record of a turbulent time…. Many of the Notgeld feature nationalist heroes like Paul von Hindenburg, and one series calls for the return of Germany’s colonies. Others expose dark and violent sentiments: one from Tostedt shows lynched Jewish ‘profiteers.’ • And now the story: “[L]ocal currencies such as the Bristol pound — reported last week to be on the verge of collapse — tell us more about the subcultures, countercultures and local identities often hidden from view. While it may no longer have the funds to keep going, the Bristol pound was launched in 2009 to stimulate the city’s economy by trying to keep funds within the area. The theory went that currency that could only be spent locally would stop “leaking out” and help expand the overall economy…. In [the Miracle of Wörgl], the printed money was used to pay wages and workers accepted it because the town let them use it to pay their tax arrears. In Bristol there was little incentive beyond civic feeling.” • I should have filed this under MMT!

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

Gorgeous texture. The composition reminds me of something my mentor, the late NC commenter Isolato once said was his goal: To make the eye dance.

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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. Oregoncharles

    “We still do not have complete esults from Iowa as of this writing.”

    And yet some of us want to “recapture” this party. Why?

    1. JohnnyGL

      1) Because it has power and controlling it provides the ability to wield that power.

      2) Taking control of the party away from the current bunch means they don’t have that power anymore. That bunch either has to start their own party, join Republicans, or fade into the background.

      1. Carey

        So hey, opened my CA ballot for the March 3 Primary, and surprise, surprise, it’s the *wrong one* yet again: I registered by mail with my recent address change, as a
        Democrat for the obvious reasons; yet received a “Nonpartisan” ballot, with no
        Presidential Primary candidates even on it [steam coming out of ears]..


    2. Isotope_C14

      Well, because the “two-party-system” does not allow third parties. They rig the (s)elections. Just look at the ridiculous state rules to even qualify for being on the ballot. Some “Democracy” the US is.

      Say hello to President-Mayor-Petefred.E.Neumann-Buttigeig.

      If you believe the Green party actually got 1.4% of the US vote in 2016 – I’ve got some bridges for sale.

      Maddow was very upset at the Green Party numbers in Florida on the election night. I wonder if they get to see the real numbers? IIRC the number of Stein votes wouldn’t have even helped HRC beat trump, at least the numbers they tell us.

      After all the ham-handed failson attempts at rigging, I’m sure Tom “skeletor” Perez will have to explain to Bernie that he’s “Not a democrat in good standing”.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Last time I counted, Oregon has 8 (EIGHT) ballot-qualified parties, including 3 “major” parties.

        Your initial premise is false.

        Beyond that, both the US’ next-door neighbors have 3 major parties. Both use districted, plurality voting; Mexico’s presidential system is directly modelled on ours.

        If you mean that the Duopoly goes to great lengths to maintain itself, you are merely describing the fundamental corruption of our politics. If we accept it, we perpetuate it. That’s what’s called a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”

        Do we really want it that way?

        1. none

          The emergence of a two-party system seems to be a natural consequence of how US elections work: see Duverger’s law. Every now and then it breaks down (there were 4 viable parties the year Abraham Lincoln was elected) but then it reconstitutes itself, maybe not with the same two parties as before.

          Usually the two parties are a conservative one and a more populist one, like the Republicans and the Democrats in most of the 20th century. Right now there are instead two conservative parties, with the Republicans being the more extreme.

          If the Iowa debacle and other events can lead to the Democrats completely collapsing, that could be a great thing, since it would allow for the center-right Democrats to move over to the Republicans while the more progressive Democrats (Sanders is about like an FDR-era Democrat, it seems to me) take over the populist role. The conservadem exodus brings the GOP closer to the center, while the extreme-right part of the current Republicans get marginalized away.

          1. Oregoncharles

            this ignores my evidence from Canada and Mexico.

            I agree that a complete collapse of the Democrats would be a good thing, assuming it wasn’t accompanied by an actual civil war.

            I engage in electoral politics – which canbe extremely frustrating – because they’re preferable to armed conflict,which is the alternative.

    3. Pat

      Maybe because the people who caucused and those who canvassed in Iowa deserve representation just like those of us who are going to vote while dreading the shenanigans we are going to see in our state do. That the party is not the exclusive “club” the grifters and opportunists who run it think it is.

      It may be up to us to find a way to sweep the filth out, but it should be the grifters who have to build a new party from the ashes, not the rank and file who they chose to ignore or abuse.

      1. polecat

        We’re Bernt Toast either way. If Sanders succumbs to DNC/Oligarchic ratfucking, it’s a continued trajectory into the eventual graveyard of Empires, however brutish the fits and starts. If he wins the Presidential Brass Ring, we just hurl over the chasm a bit slower. If Sanders proceeds to promise everything to everybody, he will please no one, then over the precipice we go ! We don’t have the energy resources to fall back on, as in the time of FDR, and so-called ‘green energy is not going to bring us back to some glorius semblance of yesteryear.
        I liken Both Trump, and Sanders, as precarious end-of-empire caretakers. The direction is set ! It’s all about how we negotiate the ride down – Do we receive some bruising, whilst still alive, with our wits and bodypolitic mostly intact ?? .. or do we get the rocky avalanche treatment, ground into a course grist, to be baked into a hardtack by others ?

          1. polecat

            Your wlecome, Carey.

            I just can’t get into the “radiance” that a lot of people partake in, with re. to candidates .. whether Sanders, or Trump !

        1. divadab

          Delusional. DO you have any idea of the chaos and misery and death and hatred a civil war would unleash? Ending with a a totalitarian government. And that’s what you want? Give your head a shake.

          1. pretzelattack

            worse than the first one, all states would be battlegrounds, coupled with real foreign intervention not russiagate nonsense. could lead to a world war.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        A civil war would be fought with germs, chem, and tactical nukes.

        And if the Rapturanian Armageddonites got control of some big H Bombs and their delivery systems, then they would set off a couple of big H Bombs over New York City, San Francisco, and etc.

        So be careful what you wish for.

    4. Darius

      The two parties have created such structural and legal barriers to the formation of viable third parties that, short of the general collapse of the American regime, we’re stuck with teams red and blue.

      The possible paths forward include a hostile takeover of the Democrats or everyone votes Green and gets them into positions of power. In many cases, this would require hostile takeovers of state Green parties, which act as fiefdoms or glorified debating societies.

      Everyone should join Democratic Socialists of America, or other radical group of your choice that is doing actual organizing.

      1. Oh

        There a near collapse of the American regime but the people listened to the propaganda and allowed a grifter like Obama to get in.

      2. notabanker

        You left out the part where the Green party gets to write the app that counts all of the “votes”.

    5. dcrane

      Trump will be greatly helped in November if Sanders is denied the nomination with these underhanded tactics. All I need to do is look inside myself at the anger I feel, and the intense desire to spite the Democrats by voting for Trump. It won’t take more than a few voters out of every hundred, acting out of the same emotion, to make the difference.

          1. albrt

            This is the key. The entire Democrat-adjacent ecosystem of consultants and non-profits can have 6 figure salaries over the next 4 years fund raising off Trump if Trump wins.

            Or they can get plum jobs that set them up for life if they choose the right Wall Street Democrat whore and that candidate somehow beats Trump (but they still get the 6 figure salary fund-raising off Trump if their candidate loses).

            Or they can get a low-grade civil service job helping to institute Medicare for All if Bernie wins.

            Not hard to see where this is going.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        If spiting the establishment Democrats is what you want to do with your vote, fine, say I — but then why vote for someone they’re okay with having in the White House? Vote for someone you support despite them . . . or someone they’d hate and fear even worse.

        Here are a few leads to one possible option — a choice many people will have on their ballots, which makes it harder (though not impossible, goodness knows) to avoid having it get counted.

        the party’s own list of leading candidates plus news on them

        an alternative list

        where the official word will come from in July

        1. Carey

          Who’ll be counting the votes- assuming one can get a ballot? So far, despite jumping through all the right hoops in just the right ways, I can’t get a ballot with the DemPrez candidates on it..

          “so complex!”

    6. Big River Bandido

      Because it is one of only two parties with access to the political system, thus its infrastructure is of inestimable value. And because this “party” has no principles and no support, it’s an empty shell — easy prey for a hostile takeover.

      1. Oregoncharles

        that’s why people have been trying and failing – miserably – for over 30 years. During that time, the Democrat Party has only gotten worse, farther to the right.

        Looks like a winning strategy to me. /s

    7. Mark K

      Re: UPDATE “Iowa suggests Bernie Sanders has no special turnout magic” [Jon Walker, The Week]

      I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Bernie’s ability to generate turnout magic. Yes, the overall turnout might not be all that impressive. However, one thing I’ve learned in decades of working with data is to not be too quick to draw conclusions from aggregate totals.

      I watched the (non-)returns on CNN on Monday night and one of the entrance poll statistics that they posted on their chyron was that the the percent of caucus goers that were in the 18-29 year old age range had risen to, as I recall, 24 percent this cycle from 18 percent in the last cycle. That’s a huge shift and I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to deduce that Bernie was the cause of it.

      Maybe the overall total won’t knock your socks off, but the youth vote ought to.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      speaking of Twitter, the other day in a fit of enthusiasm for a thread posted here, I decided to sign up. I followed Bernie, Glenn Greenwald, Yasha Levine, and Matt Taibbi, as well as Dave Chappelle and Rafa Nadal for starters.

      Within about 5 minutes I got a notification that I needed to authenticate my identity by doing a “captcha”. To do this I was required to agree to Google’s privacy policy ?

      Having gone to great lengths to get free of Google, I immediately signed out. So did I trip a wire somehow or does everyone on Twitter have to allow Google to monitor their every move?

      I didn’t know Twitter was in the business of serving folks up to Google.

      1. turtle

        Unfortunately recaptcha is owned by Google and is the most widely used captcha system on the web. Many, many top websites rely on it for security. I don’t think you tripped any wires in particular. I get it all the time, including first times signing up on a website.


      2. Typing Chimp

        You didn’t trip any wire–Twitter will **always** do this to **every** new account, and they give some BS excuse about how you may be violating something or other.

        I suspect that there will be significant outrage once people realize what they are signing away by filling out that F#$% captcha, followed by Twitter professing ignorance, etc.

        If there are any journalists out there who would like to run a really fun story, I would follow up on this one.

      3. Oh

        Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and others kiss each others a$$. Twitter probably defers to Google’s privacy intrusion policy because they don’t have to write one of their own.

  2. Hepativore

    I know that the Iowa disaster should not discourage people from voting, but I am worried of an increasing possibility that the Democratic Party leadership is fully-prepared in the light of Iowa to refuse Sanders the nomination even if he gets the majority of delegates. Granted, the Democratic Party would be over and done after that, but its individual members do not seem to care about the poor optics that their party has in the eyes of the public at this point. Plus, they are so desperate to stop Sanders and hate him so much that I think that they would rather go down with the sinking ship that is the rank-and-file Democratic Party than save their institution.

    However, if and the Democratic Party leadership does something like that, you might see something like the LA riots all across the country which will take awhile for even our militarized police forces and soldiers to mop up.

    1. JohnnyGL

      There’s literally hundreds of millions of $$$ being bet on a brokered convention right now.

      Bernie has to beat that outcome.

      In his favor, the primary voter base wants 1) unity and 2) has a historical tendency to cascade towards a winner (the exceptions, 2008 and 2016 are notable because that didn’t happen). Every time he wins a state, it’s pushes voters towards the tipping point where they gravitate towards Bernie.

      The groundwork is there….high favorability, rated highly as a 2nd choice. Just put a few wins on the board and people will move.

      1. Biph

        And if the SC GOP plan to a crash the SC primary nets him a few extra percentage points in what looks to be a close SC primary it may net him a win there and then continue to on to other open primary States. It would be kind of funny if GOP voters end up being the difference between Bernie getting 49% and 51% of the delegates.

        1. Skip Intro

          The plan may just be an excuse to discount a Sanders victory in SC or any other open primary state.

    2. Grant

      Bernie’s campaign did something brilliant; it tracked the data, didn’t tell the DNC ahead of time, kept receipts and caught those lying creeps in the act. They would have totally cooked the books without challenge, and didn’t know Bernie had done that, and kept receipts. The ghouls running the DNC might not care, but it surely lets them know that Bernie isn’t powerless in this and this utter debacle will make it even more chaotic if it goes to a second round and the superdelegates prop up someone else. Again, they might do it anyway, but they were caught cooking the books in real time and Bernie was prepared. If I were Bernie, I would either go public with what he found or should threaten them to do so. It gives him leverage, if he plays it right. It isn’t as if the DNC has built up any goodwill with people to begin with.

      Ultimately though, the rank and file that aren’t Sanders supporters right now have to have some integrity and have to hold the DNC accountable. It isn’t justifiable to sit on the sidelines and say nothing just because they don’t like Bernie or because it benefits someone they prefer. If you support democracy, prove it and demonstrate you have integrity that Perez and those like him lack. Don’t scream about stolen elections for three years then say nothing as your own party steals an election. Or don’t, and let these soulless ghouls destroy your party.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I think Bernie’s campaign has something significant beyond just their own set of numbers. It was enough to get the IDT to stop the counting when their usual response would have been to tell the Sanders organization to screw itself.

        Why are the precinct votes being released in such a drib and drab? I think the Sanders organization somehow had enough clout to force them to show their precinct. numbers. After comparing them, the Sanders people challenged around 38% of the precincts. The remaining 62% unchallenged results were released last night, showing Buttigieg in the lead because the challenged results were in strong Sanders precincts.

        Are negotiations between the Sanders team and the IDT/DNC currently underway over the remaining precincts? Are precinct results being released as the two sides reach compromises on those precincts?

        This would explain the bizarre bit-by-bit release and the inability of the IDT to even state when the next batch of votes will be released.

        So if this is what is happening, and the IDT/DNC refuse to give up enough numbers to take the “win” away from Mayor Cheat, what will the Sanders campaign do?

        Crazy times make for crazy conspiracy theories.

      2. tegnost

        it tracked the data, didn’t tell the DNC ahead of time, kept receipts and caught those lying creeps in the act.

        While I like the story line I’d like to see some evidence that this secret operation existed unknown to the IDP/DNC

        1. Grant

          I don’t know what more evidence is needed. He said this is the case, has data, and they responded and stopped their rigging in embarrassing fashion. Nina Turner said that the DNC would be confronted and they have been. And, the areas they haven’t released seem to be Sanders strongholds. This colossal embarrassment was them scrambling after being caught. They look like clowns too. They may continue on but they will be confronted in ways they weren’t in 2016. If they want utter chaos in Cleveland, keep it up. People are already willing to go to war with the DNC as is. People like Perez will have to explain to people outside their corrupt bubble why that party is set to utterly destroy itself, basically to save a corrupt and parasitic network of losers. Doesn’t Perez have delusions of getting a golden parachute and then running for governor in his state?

          1. albrt

            “corrupt and parasitic network of losers”

            Lambert was looking for a definition of a political party. As a former Democrat, this one seems to fit the Democrats. I suspect a lot of former Republicans would say the same thing, albeit with a different set of starting expectations.

        2. Carey

          The last time I saw someone so obviously primetime lying as IDP Chair
          Price™ was, was Lurch and Obama saying it was imperative that USA USA start bombing in Syria, in response to a chemical attack by Assad that never happened.

        3. Big River Bandido

          unbeknownst to the IDP/DNC

          Haha. Good one.

          Candidates are not required to disclose their operations to the party, and doing so is unwise. Especially with the Democrats and especially if your name is Bernie Sanders. One of the things the campaign spent money on was second (and usually secret) observers to record and confirm everything that went down in the precincts. In hindsight, it seems that Sanders learned from 2016 and decided to go into battle completely armed.

        4. Braden

          I have the app on my phone. It exists, but it’s unclear whether it was used in all precincts. Lots of rural ones with almost no Bernie supporters. They probably couldn’t find trained volunteers for ALL precincts.

          1. albrt

            They basically only need the ones where they should have won delegates.

            It’s not like Florida 2000, where Gore decided to recount Democrat strongholds when the obvious place to look for the handful of disappeared Democrat votes he needed was in Republican controlled counties.

      3. chuck roast

        I’m sure Bernie has the numbys. Now the DNC is heavily involved. He may wait for them to overplay their hand and screw him. Then he releases the real numbys and demands a clean sweep of the corrupt DNC.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          We’re at that point now. IDP just got caught in an “error” because they foolishly tried to give Bernie delegates to Deval Patrick for a caucus where the DM Register had a reporter who’d been tweeting all caucus night without a single Patrick sighting.

          I was trusting the process up until now but it’s clear we’re looking at deliberate obstructionism by ex-Clintonites who still hold power in Iowa. They know they’re blowing the party up, but since they’re all out of a job for this mess…they’re being pressured into dragging it out.

          ALL on Mayor Pete, the most Nixonian politician since Nixon.

      4. sleepy

        As a Bernie precinct captain, I was called yesterday from Des Moines to verify my count. Fortunately, I had my notes from my precinct caucus and my notes verified the accuracy of the official count. But afaik, there was no strategy by the Sanders campaign to have any parallel independent counting and as a precinct worker I would have been aware of it. The independent Sanders count, if anything, involved checking in with people like me over the telephone post-caucus. There seemed to be no real systematic, independent count, just post-caucus checking.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Ah no you wouldn’t, and that’s the beauty of it. The reports I’ve read and heard indicate that Sanders hired extra observers to create a second, confirmatory record of all events. This gives him not only precinct captains’ reports, but a second, independent data source.

          The really bad ass part of this is that the second observers were often in place without the knowledge of the precinct captains. Presumably all this was to create enough independence and redundancy in the system to defend against expected attacks in the media.

          1. False Solace

            This is totally wishful thinking. There’s no confirmation of any of this.

            One of the people who originally spread this rumor on Youtube yesterday, Niko House, was careful to qualify everything with “ifs” and “maybes”. But all of those hedge words seem to be getting dropped by excited people quoting other excited people.

            I haven’t seen any Iowa volunteers confirm this. Just people with no actual details getting excited about things they don’t know. It’s great that Bernie’s campaign reached out so quickly to their Precinct Captains to independently confirm around 60% of the precincts, but that’s literally all I’ve seen that actually happened.

          2. sleepy

            Sorry, I don’t believe it. If you have any evidence from someone who actually worked the caucus on behalf of Sanders I would like to see it.

            No one looked like a secret Sanders worker to me. The campaign was supposed to have 3 Sanders workers in each precinct–a captain, a precinct chair, and a gofer. I, the captain, was the only one who showed up and the only Sanders supporters who “worked” the room and the only one who reported the results to the party caucus chair and verified the tally, along with the captains for other candidates. There were no other people doing that. The so-called secret Sanders observers if there were any played no role in anything. The only ones giving data to the party chair were the captains. I would think if Sanders had the volunteers to have a stealth worker, they would also have had the two other workers, which they didn’t have.

            My city has 26,000 residents. The Sanders voters had 16 out of 56 caucus goers. My wife and I have taught here for over 20 years and knew half the Sanders caucus goers personally. Whatever crookedness took place was in the compilation of precinct caucus data by the state party.

            1. Braden

              Our area around Ames had four or five trained volunteers for most precincts, including a Captain, Ambassador, Deputy Ambassador, and Whip (in my caucus). We had an app we were trained to use in a caucus training, and the whip was supposedly in charge of the app. They couldn’t have possibly had that level of volunteer support throughout the state, but they did have it in Ames. Who knows whether the reporting tool was effective, but it was being used in my precinct.

    3. nippersdad

      With Biden and Klobuchar essentially being toast and the odds of Buttigieg winning anything post Iowa being virtually nil, that would leave the party establishment openly backing either Warren or a Republican oligarch who has clearly bought his way into the election. The demographics for both of those candidates do not bode well for a win against Sanders once he gets most of Biden’s minority voters. I don’t think that the Warren campaign will be able to self fund against such as Bloomberg, and none of her well heeled support will want to back her against his virtually limitless budget.

      I LOVE the optics of a “party of the people” backing Bloomberg. It should be very clarifying, as Lambert likes to say, and I have little doubt that Sanders will be able to supply the clarifications. I see Eric Garner ads in our future as Stop and Frisk was a Bloomberg brainchild. Bloomberg could have been a tailor made debate opponent preparatory to running against Trump.

      All in all, it looks like Sanders is finally experiencing a best case scenario.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Methinks I see a good political ad for Sanders with your comment. Show a line of voters waiting to go in and vote but being Stopped and Frisked first.

        I am betting that Buttigieg flames out which will leave the DNC backing Bloomberg, another New York billionaire. One thing is sure – if it happened that way you will never hear Trump say ‘Look Mike Bloomberg is a good friend of mine and I’m not here to attack Mike’ in a debate.

      2. The Historian

        Are you kidding me? I think you are bedazzled by all the glitter and aren’t thinking strategically. Remember the Democratic Party “rules”.

        Biden didn’t have to win in Iowa under his name alone since he is also going to get Mayo Pete and Amy Klobuchar’s delegates too! Sooooooo – count them up! Biden did GREAT!

        Neither Mayo Pete nor Klobuchar are “viable” candidates, meaning they aren’t going to win many states outright and have no chance of being considered for the Presidential nomination – so come the national convention, their delegates will be handed over to the Democratic Party Apparachik who will assign them to the candidate of their choice – and I guarantee you that won’t be Sanders or Warren.

        All Biden has to do to get those delegates is have a decent showing in the South, which he probably will. That is one reason why Sander’s battle is so “uphill” and will continue to be until he has at least half the delegates locked down.

      3. False Solace

        I’d totally love it if Bernie climbed to the Presidency over the defeated campaigns of three different billionaires. Talk about the best timeline.

      4. albrt

        I support Bernie, and I definitely do not support Bloomberg.

        But if Bernie doesn’t win the nomination, I would probably be more likely to vote for Bloomberg against Trump than any Democrat who just wants to spend 4 years playing the role of Monica Lewinsky to a different Wall Street banker every day playing the role of Bill Clinton.

    4. remmer

      This isn’tthe first time a party was deeply and publicly split between an establishment candidate for the presidential nomination and a progressive challenger. In 1912 the GOP was split between incumbent President Taft and his challenger, ex-president Teddy Roosevelt. The establishment had no illusions that Taft would win against Wilson in 1912, but they also knew they would lose control of the party if TR won. So they backed Taft at the convention. One of Taft’s biggest backers was Pennsylvania party boss Senator Boies Penrose. When a TR supporter told Penrose that he would wreck the party by backing Taft, Penrose replied: “Yes, but we’ll own the wreckage.” It’s not too far-fetched to imagine that Perez, Clinton, Obama et al. are thinking along the same lines.

        1. Carey


          What’s interesting to me is that They started with the Treatment on Sanders so early on; which tells me they’re a little concerned about his momentum and dare I say it- consciousness-raising- possibly becoming hard to stop..

          Sanders 2020

        2. sleepy

          I voted for McGovern, the lefty who couldn’t win against Nixon. I also remember more recently centrists Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and H. Clinton, all of whom lost, yet those four are never brought up, only McGovern.

          No one other than the pundit class cares about an election that was almost 50 years ago. The country has changed dramatically since then. In 1972, no one cared about an election in 1922, and in 2020 no one cares what happened in 1972–except the pundits and the cherry-picking dem leadership.

          1. Carey

            McGovern was against the war, but he was no lefty. A real lefty might’ve stood a chance.. he was early technocrat-Third Way, though
            still not enough to get estab backing.

            And Here we are..

            1. Oh

              In one of his speeches McGovern said “Money made by money should not be taxed less than money made by man”. Was that not a lefty statement?

              1. Massinissa

                Today, yeah. Back then, not really. Jimmy Carter also spoke out against low capital gains taxes only a few years later, and he wasn’t considered particularly left wing at the time.

        3. Oh

          The corrupt union leaders, the Dimrat party and the rich opposed McGovern, who was truly a people’s candidate.

          1. ambrit

            His mishandling of the Thomas Eagleton contretemps, (the original vice president candidate,) was the beginning of the end for McGovern.
            I remember hearing the 1000 percent quote time after time that year.

          2. Turing Test

            McGovern chaired the committee that oversaw the reforms that transfered power in the Democratic party from union bosses to youth, minorities and women, but in retrospect it is clear these reforms set the stage for the takeover of the party by the PMC in the 1970s and the eventual abandonment of its blue collar base.

            The union bosses were hardly exemplars of probity, but the sharks who run the party today are just as ruthless, they just dress better and use more $5 words.

            For those who care about equity and social justice I would suggest McGovern’s legacy is ultimately quite problematic.

    5. Carey

      >Democratic Party leadership is fully-prepared in the light of Iowa to refuse Sanders the nomination even if he gets the majority of delegates.

      If what I’ve seen of the Dem Party leaders/strategists/consultants (there are so very many!) is indicative, I’d say “somewhat prepared”, in a meet-just-before-brunch kind of way. Not that I’m dismissive of their efforts; just thinking, again, that Iowa™ might have been a Good Thing for the people, on balance.


    1. Trent

      The Fed is the accomplice for all of these non money making unicorns. They get 50% of the blame or prize of con man of the year.

    1. LifelongLib

      I just glanced over the study, but is it possible that people who feel they need guns for personal defense are in more dangerous environments (or think they are) than people who don’t, and that that increases the formers’ stress level? Maybe owning guns does alleviate that stress somewhat, just not enough to make them more relaxed than non-gun owners’. Offhand I didn’t note if economic status was accounted for either (e.g. non-gun owners being better-off financially). I’ve never owned a gun myself and don’t plan to, but then I’m not in a situation where I think I need one…

  3. Elim Garak

    It’s both unsurprising and acutely frustrating to see the level of incompetence on display in the Iowa caucuses fiasco. The more cynical part of me thinks that the IDP/DNC figured if they can’t outright fix the contest then they could at least cause enough chaos to instill real doubt in the legitimacy of the primary process, at least that way they’d have some way to continue casting aspersions on Bernie at a contested convention.

    On the lighter side of things, it makes me chuckle to see the GOP in SC instructing their base to boost Bernie in the open primary. It’s like they’ve given up subterfuge and are literally telling people to vote against their own interests now.

    1. Pat

      Would it be against their interests?

      Truth is I will take the help getting the win for Sanders. They are wrong about the weakest candidate. Even if Sanders weren’t the strongest. I am pretty damn sure Pete and Mike would both be wipe outs. Still their state has had a disproportionate effect on the nominee since there is probably a better chance of me voting for McKinsey Pete* than a Democrat wining in the general.

      *slim to none

      1. Elim Garak

        Voting against their Republican interests, I should say. But I absolutely agree, I welcome their support in SC. Bernie needs all the help he can get in these early wins against a news cycle so ruthlessly determined to bury him.

        1. bob

          Blue states need to focus on this. It’s worth it. Get the reds in the tent. It shouldn’t be a hard sell. Spite. Piss off the elites- vote bernie

    2. Samuel Conner

      One would think that the GOP would have noticed that the D establishment interest in 2016 in “elevating” DJT, in the hope of getting an unelectable opponent in the GE, did not work as planned.

      “they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing”

    3. elissa3

      Didn’t the Clinton camp support the idea of Trump being the Republican nominee because they thought he’d be the weakest opponent of all the 2016 primary gang? Maybe it truly does rhyme.

    4. Darius

      Someone responded to Kyle Kulinski on Twitter that if Bernie were losing in Iowa they would have released the results by now and blasted them all over creation.

  4. Samuel Conner

    After yesterday’s “fun with acronyms”, I thought it would be nice for another diversion:

    “fun with algebra”

    If the reported internal assessment by the Sanders campaign that he received 30% of the total vote is accurate (and I assume this is “2nd alignment” count, which is the more charitable — to IDP/DNC — interpretation with respect to the hypothesis of activity on the part of possible IDP/DNC bad actors),

    then, based on the current Politico IA dashboard report of Sanders with 26.2% of the 2nd alignment vote share with 71% of precincts reported,

    (and assuming that the average number of votes per precinct is the same for the reported and non-yet-reported precincts; perhaps a dubious assumption)

    then it follows that Sanders’ 2nd alignment vote share in the not-yet-reported precincts can be computed from

    30% = 0.71 x 26.2% + 0.29 x VS_nr

    where VS_nr is the vote share for Sanders in the not-yet-reported precincts.

    Solving for VS_nr gives

    VS_nr = 39.3%

    This is so much higher than the current reported Sanders 2nd alignment vote share that, should this prove to be the case, it will be difficult to believe that the precincts reported thus far were not cherry-picked to under-represent Sanders’ vote share.

    It would look a great deal like “management of the political news” in the interest of the “anyone but Bernie” agenda of the D establishment.

    I have already run out of popcorn; will need to get some more.

    Algebra is fun, almost as much fun as watching the D establishment perspire.

    1. Michael

      The official vote counts will not match the Sanders vote counts.

      • Buttigieg’s count showed Buttigieg to be the winner. Why should the DNC disagree?

      • There are lots of reasons to slow-roll the official count. Personally, I think “because they’re still busy confirming votes” is the most likely reason. (Define confirming however you wish.) Yes, they could be cherry-picking Buttigieg-friendly districts. But their behavior makes more sense if Buttigieg is anticipated to be the winner.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        Are any of Sanders representatives present during the DNC recount? Or no one is privy to the process?

      2. Yves Smith

        Buttigieg’s team only showed screen shots of districts where he’d won to justify his early victory speech.

        There’s no evidence he ran an independent count. And why would he, since he was in bed with the developers of the failed app? His campaign could conceivably have Warren or Biden or Sanders moles who would have ratted out that he had his own count and demanded it be compared to the “official” results.

      3. Skip Intro

        I was imagining they needed time to find all original records, and make sure that they only shifted votes where there wasn’t contradictory evidence, but after the Black Hawk County results were released, then Des Moines 14 (cf @BANALIZATION) it seems like even this process is being managed incompetently. Now we know why the DNC came in.

        And even if we attribute this to the app’s limit of 200 users, or whatever, the coincidence of the suppressed DMR poll starts to weigh heavily. Welcome to Bolivia!

        This is like triple-Christmas for Trump.

    2. turtle

      The charitable explanation would be that entirely by coincidence the largest urban cores have the highest concentration of Bernie supporters and also happen to take the longest to count by virtue of being populous. So there’s a plausible reason.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Agreed, though I read (@ NC, I think) that Des Moines, the largest urban center, is a desert for Sanders due to the large number of insurance industry jobs. Perhaps the others compensate.

        The latest update at RCP (From 84% to 86%) appears to have been for Sanders-heavy precincts. Will continue to watch with interest.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Des Moines is your typical, neoliberal establishment urban enclave, for a lot of reasons you mention (plus that it’s the state capital). Ames (central), Cedar Falls (northeast) and Iowa City (east central) are the huge universities. These areas are all liberal Democrat strongholds. The rural counties throughout the west usually go Republican.

          The balance of electoral power is in the eastern counties, especially the Mississippi River counties, the historically industrial cities. If Democrats turn out in Davenport, Dubuque and Burlington, that presupposes enough support in Waterloo, Sioux City and Council Bluffs (also postindustrial) to carry the state in a general election. Clinton failed badly in Iowa because she lost those Mississippi River counties areas, or in the case of Scott County (an absolute necessity for Democrats), barely won.

          Obviously the proportions of the statewide vote are different when you only include Democrats. But the descriptions of the politics still holds.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      >difficult to believe that the precincts reported thus far were not cherry-picked to under-represent Sanders’ vote share.

      Since the satellite precincts still have not been counted, it does look like cherry-picking is going on.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        I think the satellites have been counted, but they’re not allowed to report them until ALL the other votes are settled as total turnout numbers will impact the number of delegates given out to satellite caucuses.

        1. katiebird

          That didn’t stop ABC from announcing that Mayor Pete won Iowa. No mention of all the corrections and totally unreported votes!

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          Now 0.1% ahead, 95% of votes counted. Bernie wins this thing but for days the headlines report Butti leads.

          What bs.

    4. Left in Wisconsin

      So here’s a little bit more Iowa math. My sister lives in a small town in Iowa. In her caucus, the second round gave 39 votes to Mayor Pete, 17 to Klobuchar, 19 to Bernie. According to the IDP formula, this resulted in Pete gaining .9 of a State Delegate Equivalent and the other two each gaining .36. If you compare that to, for example, the results in Iowa City (where the U is), you will find 11 clustered precincts where Bernie won between 146 and 313 votes in each one, which garnered him 1.62 SDE’s each. So roughly 40-50 votes per SDE in small town Iowa, roughly 80-200 votes per SDE around the State U.

      I had heard that the SDE formula over-weighted rural Iowa and under-weighted college towns. It would be interesting to see the actual formula.

        1. anonymous

          I was about to post that, but you beat me to it. The IDP is showing state delegate equivalents statewide and by county level, as well as precinct level votes and SDE for each candidate. Anyone who attended a precinct caucus can check the results against his notes or recollection.

  5. Wukchumni

    “What the other side of the coin tells us about local economies” [Financial Times]. “When metal for coins became scarce during the first world war, the Reichsbank let German towns print their own cash.
    Couldn’t peer beyond the great paywall, but we’ve had similar instances during the 1830’s depression and later during the Civil War, when Cent-sized tokens filled in for Federal money. There was a myriad of different designs with the Hard Times Tokens often being quite satirical, whereas Civil War Tokens were mostly patriotic.

    Hard-times tokens are American large or half cent-sized copper tokens, struck from about 1833 through 1843, serving as unofficial currency. These privately made pieces, comprising merchant, political and satirical pieces, were used during a time of political and financial crisis in the United States.


    Civil War tokens are token coins that were privately minted and distributed in the United States between 1861 and 1864. They were used mainly in the Northeast and Midwest. The widespread use of the tokens was a result of the scarcity of government-issued cents during the Civil War.


    During the Great Depression, states, cities & businesses issued money-like scrip good only in the jurisdiction, and no merchant was obliged to take them, some did-some didn’t, but it made up for a lack of money, same instance as above. In his book The Great Depression-A Diary diarist Benjamin Roth calls them ‘white rabbits’ as in people are always pulling them out of their hats, to try and buy something.

  6. JBird4049

    Everyone knows that the then moderate Republican, Senator Margaret, Chase Smith, would be actually considered, or at least labeled, a socialist by the current Democratic Party? Right? The current Republican Party would likely smear her as a Stalinist.

    The Overton Window has really shifted rightward, which is no surprise, as a truly massive amount of time, money, and planning since the late 1940s or just before Senator Chase was elected. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that the initial planning was during the New Deal.

  7. Bruce F

    “Billings legislator who insisted Constitution allows shooting socialists says he won’t resign”.

    Since socialism has been redefined to mean anyone who benefits from a Government Program, I would assume the State Senator Garcia means he wants to shoot all the “socialists” who are benefiting from Ag subsidies.

    I entered the zip code for Billings, MT into the Environmental Working Group site and there are 621 beneficiaries, starting with Gene Klamert, who got $2.7 million from 1995-2019.

  8. Anon

    I’m very interested to see what will Warren decide after the next few primaries. My main concern for months has been when Warren will finally decide to drop out for the good of the progressive movement. Her failed campaign will at least show her true colors. Either she will drop out and back Sanders or she will sit on the sidelines and let one of the neoliberal candidates win the nomination. It’s already clear to me that she will not win the nomination, so is she prepared to reach out to Sanders and help him? I don’t see her reputation with progressives recovering if she does anything other than support Sanders.

    1. Carey

      >when Warren will finally decide to drop out for the good of the progressive movement

      I do not see that happening.

    2. nippersmom

      Warren has no interest in the “good of the progressive movement”. Warren only cares about Warren. If she thinks it will somehow benefit her personally to reach out to Sanders, she will. Otherwise she will either sit on her hands or go full bore for whatever establishment candidate is left standing.

      1. urblintz

        I don’t hold out much hope she’d do it, unless she thinks Bernie would be her way to the Treasury, but Warren could substantially improve her damaged reputation if she endorsed him.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          A little grace on her part could really go a long way. As a close watcher I’m finding her more brittle than Nixon. My mother, a Kennedy Democrat, informed by CNN, sees her as a whiny schoolmarm. My mom has no problem with assertive women.

    3. ambrit

      As someone mentioned elsewhere today, Warren is not running as a “Progressive” candidate. She is running as a “Liberal Feminist.” Someone used the phrase “Woke Progressive” to describe her. As irony, this formulation is priceless. Unfortunately, Warren has shown that everyone has a price. Some are cheaper than others.

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      I saw Adam Green interviewed by Krystal Ball the morning after Iowa. Green’s theory of the case is that Warren can sell herself to the Establishment as someone who can bring the Bernie voters along without Bernie. She hopes to survive long enough to see that argument accepted. Not likely, I’d say, considering it’s quite clear the Establishment probably doesn’t even want the votes of Bernie’s people. They just wish we would go away.

    5. Kurtismayfield

      These people don’t drop out for the good of anything but themselves.. remember Kamela Harris dropped out and exchanged her worthless endorsement of Biden for a chance at being in his non existing cabinet? These people aren’t very smart, they are venal.

  9. Plenue

    >“We’re Never Going to Get Our “Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?” Moment” [Slate].

    This is framed as why we’re not going to get a singular moment denouncing Trump, but to me the much closer equivalent to McCarthyism is all the Russia nonsense thrown at both Trump and anyone who dissents over the last 3+ years.

    “Everyone I don’t like is a Russian bot! Blocked!”

  10. JBird4049

    >>>Makes me wonder if the same logic, although with different seeds, applies in Australia.

    One of the reasons for California’s ecology being such a mess, besides shooting the grizzlies, elk, and wolves, trapping all the otters, chopping down the forest especially most of the Redwoods, and draining most of the wetlands is the constant fire suppression. Aside from all that much of the native grasses are just barely hanging on because of being crowded out by invasive species that don’t handle or even use the regular wildfires, which were happening long before people arrived.

    1. Wukchumni

      You can drop me off right here in 1840, it would be quite something to see what California looked like once upon a time travel. Sheep herders did the most damage to the high country, but you’d never know they were there, as time heals most wounds. How numerous would the black bear be, and i’d suspect the Giant Sequoias wouldn’t look all that different.

      1. Oso

        mitakuye oyasin
        it would beautiful to see, yet painful to know what was to come. to be back there when much good still existed.

        1. JBird4049

          It truly would be painful, but although much has been lost, much still remains that would come back if we would let it. Perhaps with a little help from the humans. There has been talk about rewilding North America as it was much like Subsaharan Africa 15,000 BP.

          Much of the ecology is out whack because of the die-off. Like the Joshua Tree slowly dying off because whatever animal It was that ate its fruit and spread the seeds around isn’t around anymore. The balance of animals that existed 500 BP helped control the tick population by making the habitat less friendly. And so on.

          I am sure that many people would be horrified to have mountain lions, bears, and wolves and perhaps herbivores like elk as well as otters. There might be the occasional idiot who thin our herd by playing with brown bears. But if they want the Deer Apocalypse to end and most of the ticks to go…

          Still would be worth it and would take some extra planning with climate changes. Unfortunately, it would take generations to complete. It would still be nice to start it.

  11. TonyinSoCAL

    Aaron Mate, a thorough detail oriented reporter. But Jeebus Crisp, he is a sanctimonious A-Hole. Democracy Now wanted to present the argument that Bernie isn’t the right guy and they went to a neo-con shiatlord, Frum. We know his history. The other side did a great job refuting his points. It was a thought provoking discussion. No need to attack Democracy Now which by and large does great work.

    Mate reminds me of the scene in Dark Knight where Alfred talks about burning the whole forest down to catch one thief. Not everyone has to agree with you and you don’t need to crap on people who generally do good honest work just because you don’t like a few of their booking decisions.

    1. furies

      No. DN has indeed been defanged. Haven’t heard anything compelling on that show for years. Counterpunch the same and in the same exact way.

      It all seems so futile; been to this dance before and it certainly seems that evil prospers every time.

      And I haven’t seen anything to inform me that AM has an outsized ego…but then, I’m a huge fan of his dad.

      1. Hopelb

        Agree with both of your assessments.
        Some sites are just good for the writing/50% of the opinion (Kunstler’s What’s Up).

    2. urblintz

      For many who once supported DN, giving voice to Frum seems as just one more signal of its intent to de-radicalize. Has DN done a program on why Bernie is the right guy?

      Frum has always been the “sanctimonious” aperture you manage to locate in Maté whose work you apparently respect as detailed and thorough. His dismay with DN comes after years of its full-fledged support for war in Syria and Libya, support for Juan Guaido (and so, Bolton and Abrams… and Trump!) and perhaps most tellingly, support for Hillary Clinton and all of her absurd excuses for losing to a sleazeball con man, especially the absurd/insane manchurian candidate fairy tale of a US president being a Russian agent, which only accomplished the start a new Cold War, arguably more dangerous than the last, and may well contribute to his re-election.

      People who generally did honest work in the past but who now drink the kool-aid of empire deserve the criticism they inspire, imnsho.

      1. Arizona Slim

        The local community radio station runs DN at noon on weekdays. Before the show went full Russiagate, I’d keep my radio on. Nowadays, said radio gets shut off at noon.

    3. Carey

      >But Jeebus Crisp, he [Aaron Mate] is a sanctimonious A-Hole.

      Mmm, not seeing it; I think he’s very good, and doesn’t often get out over his skis. DN has been helped to See the Light awhile back (as with CP, as
      another commented pointed out).

    4. Yves Smith

      Huh? Mate is always calm and unfailingly polite in his interviews. His ability to stay cool while he dissects utter bullshit is remarkable.

      It appears you are taking personal offense at Mate calling out the formerly sainted Amy.

      1. Carey

        >His ability to stay cool while he dissects utter bullshit is remarkable.

        That used to bother me a little- his unwillingness to press an apparent point- but he’s able to make that work to real advantage. Well played, AM!

        1. Yves Smith

          Oh, I’ve always thought he knows exactly what he’s doing. He lets his interviewees swallow the hook before he starts pulling the line in. And his unassuming manner is key to being able to book guests. Pretty much everyone is arrogant enough to think they can out maneuver him, and they are always proven wrong.

          1. Jeff W

            “Oh, I’ve always thought he knows exactly what he’s doing.”

            That’s exactly how I see Aaron Maté, too. It’s actually one of the reasons why I like watching him—to me, he seems coolly methodical and effective.

  12. Plenue

    With all the focus on the Iowa clusterscrew, we haven’t been paying much attention to events in Syria.

    The Syrian army is currently steamrolling through the Al-Qaeda ‘rebels’ in Idlib province. They’ve almost completely surrounded a key town on the outskirts of Idlib city, capturing the intersection of the two major highways in the province in the process. The ‘rebels’ seem to have completely collapsed. Turkey keeps rushing more of its proxy fighters to the fight, but they don’t seem to be having much effect.

    The Syrian army also attempted to advance west of Aleppo further north, where the battle lines have been static for years. Not much progress there, but if they keep up the current pace they might just reach Aleppo from the opposite direction, through the backdoor.

    Meanwhile amid all this Turkish and Syrian forces have engaged each other in combat, though so far only artillery and airstrikes, with fatalities. Turkey has repeatedly sent its troops (actual Turkish army troops) to set up checkpoints and ‘observation posts’ ahead of the Syrian advance. They’re trying to use their military as human shields for the jihadists, but Syria seems to be having none of it and just keeps advancing.

    This may very well be the beginning of the end for the Syrian war.

    1. marieann

      This is good news…my hairdresser is from Syria and is the nicest lady and she has lots of family in Syria, so this will cheer her.

    2. Spring Texan

      Thanks for the summary. It all makes me super-sad as Idlib was the last refuge in Syria for a lot of people. Still more misery.

        1. jo6pac

          Most Syrian people have left but the bad guys have stop others from leaving as they use them as human shields.

          1. pretzelattack

            doesn’t sound like the human shields would consider it a refuge then, and are hoping for syrian army success.

        2. ambrit

          In general, the foreign jihadists have nowhere to go. Their home countries want to jail them, their hosts want to send them off to Libya and similar h— holes. This is a peculiar sort of “civil war.” Those are the worst, just like family fights are the most dangerous sort.

          1. pretzelattack

            so these are mercs that uncle sam brought in even though he’s not related by blood to anybody in the family, to press a fraudulent inheritance claim, and now he’s disowned them. i hope the actual syrians they use as human hostages survive this.

    3. Plenue

      Bunch of explosions in Damascus, with video evidence. Syrian state media is claiming Israeli air strikes.

        1. OIFVet

          Funny how US troops are protecting Syrian oil wells. In Iraq we protected Iraqi oil wells. Ergo, we do regime change in the name of freedums and democracy. When will we regime change ourselves, is the question?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Remember, that’s OUR oil they are protecting.

            Back in the day, in the Angolan civil war, one of those proxy wars in the Cold War period, the CIA backed and supplied a terrorist organization led by Jonas Savimbi. It was called UNITA. Several US supranational corporations had mining interests there, helping to fuel the corruption that is sadly endemic in most of Africa. The Soviets brought CUBAN troops to Angola to protect those US mining interests in support of their proxy. So U corporations’ looting opportunities protected by COMMYANIST CUBAN troops against CIA operations carried out by UNITA terrorists. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonas_Savimbi

            In 1985, with the backing of the Reagan administration, Jack Abramoff and other U.S. conservatives organized the Democratic International in Savimbi’s base in Jamba, in Cuando Cubango Province in southeastern Angola.[14] Savimbi was strongly supported by the influential, conservative Heritage Foundation. Heritage foreign policy analyst Michael Johns and other conservatives visited regularly with Savimbi in his clandestine camps in Jamba and provided the rebel leader with ongoing political and military guidance in his war against the Angolan government.

            Savimbi’s U.S.-based supporters ultimately proved successful in convincing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to channel covert weapons and recruit guerrillas for Savimbi’s war against Angola’s Marxist government. During a visit to Washington, D.C. in 1986, Reagan invited Savimbi to meet with him at the White House. Following the meeting, Reagan spoke of UNITA winning “a victory that electrifies the world.”

            Another quote from Herbert’s Dune novel, out of the mouth of Baron Harkonnen:

            “A certain amount of killing has always been an arm of business.”

            The Grreat Game and the murderous idiocy of Empire rolls on and on…

  13. ChrisAtRU

    Sanders (D)(3)

    Another potential boon for Bernie is that of people coming to their senses about DNC malfeasance. There are many people who believed – not strongly, but in resignation, almost – that Bernie simply lost in 2016; that despite whatever irregularities there may have been, he simply did not have enough support.


    If 2016 was the smoke that wasn’t billowing thickly enough, then what just happened in Iowa was the fire that confirms all previous suspicions. IMO, there are undecideds who will now move to Bernie, especially because they have correctly come to the conclusion that if the vapid, putrid establishment is trying this hardAGAIN … to deny him, then this means Bernie is the one the establishment feels most strongly will end their terrible reign.

    1. Chris

      I appreciate the optimism fellow Chris, I don’t know if I agree though.

      I think the major effect of this will be Team Blue depressing turnout and Team MAGA becoming hyped up and turning out in droves.

      I don’t think we’ve overcome the primary dynamic on the Democrat’s side of the election. They would rather lose to Trumo than win with Bernie. This is Team Blue’s last dance. There aren’t enough PMC class people to get them any further electoral victories without adopting policies that they obviously do not support. There will be no coalition of the ascendant. There will only be despair in Milwaukee as Bernie leaves the convention and turns the lights off on the party’s future.

      1. Carey

        >I think the major effect of this will be Team Blue depressing turnout and Team MAGA becoming hyped up and turning out in droves.

        Driving down confidence in the process™ seems to be a big part of the Plan, in part for the reasons you mention above.

      2. ChrisAtRU

        Well, I like to refer to myself as a protective pessimist, fellow Chris … ;-)

        Just because I had a moment doesn’t mean I think Bernie is out of the woods … ;-)

        I can totally understand your sentiment. #TeamPaidToLose, as I like to refer to them, has absolutely no intention of playing fair. However, in 2020, it’s not just a candidate they’re up against, it really is a movement … and when you look at the Sanders’ campaign ground game and the enthusiasm, these give (me) some sense of hope. I fully expect polling station shenanigans and voter roll purges (shades of 2016). But I also expect massive turnout for Bernie, especially youths, which in the end, may be too much for #TeamPaidToLose to overcome. Remember, they ain’t that smart, and the Clinton shadow looms less ominously over things this time.

        Let’s see what happens in NH!

        1. Chris

          I can see that happening. I can also see people in the pundit class looking at turnout numbers in aggregate, seeing that they’re low, and saying no big deal, while missing the fact that while turnout might have been low the voter demographics are completely different.

          I agree with people saying that if the numbers showed an obvious Bernie loss or an obvious Biden win they’d already be out. The reticence to release the data means that they’re trying to hold onto some form of narrative control.

          1. Carey

            I find the purported ‘low turnout’ *very* curious.

            How do we know, and who benefits from that narrative?

            1. Felix_47

              Low turnout is worrisome. Bernie was matched by Mayo P. No way that should have happened. Bernie does not attract the soccer moms in their SUVs. They find his arm waving and New York accent and his honesty off-putting and frightening. His immigration stance builds up their fears. Fear based voters make up a huge proportion of the electorate. Bernie needs them.

              1. Yves Smith


                This is really overwrought.

                First, all of the “low turnout” claims are based on utterly bogus comparisons to 2008.

                When was the 2008 Iowa primary? Go look it up. January (yes January) 3, a THURSDAY.

                Mondays are the worst night of the week for anyone who works. Thursday is the best night to get people to go out for not purely social events. The days after New Year’s Day are slack at most offices (many clients and customers take part or all of the rest of the week off), making it a relatively low stress time for workers, again facilitating caucus participation.

                This was the Monday after the Super Bowl. That would chew into some people’s free time (as in losing weekend time for personal tasks or work catchup, or even being a bit hung over).

                I agree it would have been better to see bigger numbers, but getting worked up over these invalid comparisons is wrongheaded.

                As for soccer moms, I have no idea where you get this fear meme from.

                Women like that are not afraid of older men unless they are the kind they think might open their raincoats in front of their daughters. Joe Biden is over there. The women I know in that demographic who don’t like Bernie either 1. are emotionally attached to the idea of a woman president or 2. think Bernie will raise their taxes and can’t process that they should come out no worse or even better due to getting cheaper healthcare and other services, that this is more of a left pocket v. right pocket than absolute $ issue for the overwhelming majority.

                They have never been a core target for Sanders so I don’t see why you are fretting about them.

      3. notabanker

        This comment has a presumption of faith in a populist democratic system that no longer exists. USA is completely and totally corrupt, elections no longer represent anything close to a democratic vote count and these people will remain in charge for as long as their corporate donors decide they will.

        There is no avenue for a “majority” to challenge this government. None. Iowa absolutely 100% confirms this. They are not going to be voted out, legislated out, sued out or overthrown out. They are in charge until the system implodes. It’s the best you can hope for, and it will be pretty dire.

        1. flora

          In 1890 the country didn’t have a populist democratic system, either. Rising voter and citizen discontent with monopoly business powers “owning” politicans and rigging the system existed then, too.

          Reading history is sometimes my only consolation when I look around now. The system is never reformed by a only single individual in high position. That person always has a groundswell of support for his actions. ‘Muckrakers’ shining lights on corruption are necessary, too.


          1. ChrisAtRU

            #Exactly. Thank you. As AOC 1st articulated. They got money. We got people.


            Since I could not sleep, I get to leave a gift for early risers and #tomorrowPeople across the Atlantic and beyond.

            Some #SatelliteCaucuses came in and Bernie is going to win Iowa.

            I saw evidence of both dejection and defiance from Berners online tonight. The Satellite Caucus numbers should stem the tide of negativity and reinvigorate the troops a little. Happy Thursday!

          2. notabanker

            I admire your optimism and you may be right, but in 1890 there was no militarized police force, nukes, or massive electronic surveillance by the NSA and CIA.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Wait a minute. My browser’s in need of a wash. Aw, darn, it looks like you just did the last load.

      1. ambrit

        Double blast. I need a good brain bleaching myself.
        (Hint: The best product for cleaning one’s browser is “DoxyClean.”)

  14. Carey

    Watching the video of IDP Chair Troy Price trying to look serious when giving boilerplate
    about the debacle, I have no doubt at all that he will be failing pleasantly upward, soon.

    1. Samuel Conner

      re: failing upward, perhaps the hashtag #f*ckup&failup could have legs.

      I was thinking the same of DNC head Perez. But where can he fail further upward to?

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I don’t think all of that press conference yesterday was boilerplate. He made two important admissions:

      1) there were “discrepancies” in the early returns; and

      2) the system was not hacked but was suffering from a “coding mistake.”

      At least these two admissions make it difficult to maintain:

      1) there was no problem with the actual vote count; and

      2) Russia!Russia!Russia! is more difficult for the people who were lining up to push it.

      1. Carey

        I was maybe relying too much on body language. Thanks for this comment, HMP.

        Looking forward to IDP/DNC’s explanation of the “coding mistake” (black boxes can be so useful!). Still thinking Mr. Troy Price will be moving up in the world..

  15. ptb

    Question regarding Iowa

    Biden and Klobuchar, thus far, have slightly under 15% in votes. Assuming this holds thru the final count, would they get delegates?

    In a primary state, they would not count. How does the DNC 15% rule apply in a caucus state?

    Politico is reporting their percentage of delegate-equivalents with no threshold applied, while RealClear is zeroing them out…. I can’t find a primary source explaining this, and all the summaries in the press leave out details.

  16. MLTPB

    One new coronavirus case in Wisconsin today.

    In Iowa, two are being tested. That may or may not be revelant to Monday’s turnout.

  17. shinola

    Mitt Romney just voted ‘guilty’ in the senate impeachment trial.

    Hmmm… I guess the R’s will now claim that the process was bi-partisan for their part & the D’s are the totally partisan party.

      1. Carey

        Just imagine if everyone the #resistance has canceled/disappeared/shamed/smeared,
        left the Democrat Party en masse, maybe to GP, or the formative MPP?

        Who’d be left for the Dems would be very telling.

  18. Pat

    Trump acquitted on count one. Party line vote outside of Romney voting guilty. Count two vote in process.

    Minor shocks in that the Dems did herd there outliers, and Romney not getting back in line. (Did throw up in my mouth when Mitt professed his deeply religious nature wondering where that was as Bain stole the pension funds of so many.)

    Otherwise nothing anyone with a brain and a calculator couldn’t have expected.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      Mittens is being lauded as a hero. Maybe he’ll switch parties and run against Trump as a Democrat.

        1. pretzelattack

          mittens mueller 2020, as these long time progressives save the party from the new deal radicals!

    2. Pat

      I should add including giving Democratic candidates who weren’t Senators a hand in Iowa, funny how that seems to be working out. (Even if it still needed rat f*cking)

  19. Michael

    The DNC has finished with 85% of Iowa precincts, and Sanders is drifting further behind in the delegate count. He’s also now behind by half a percent in the final alignment vote count.

    Call me a pessimist, but I think that neither the Sanders campaign’s contradictory counts, nor his advantage in yet-to-be-counted precincts, will be enough to deliver Iowa to him. Buttigieg will be found the winner by a comfortable margin. At least Sanders can feel good about all of this having happened in the clumsiest possible manner.

    1. Arizona Slim

      The DNC shouldn’t be in charge of counting anything.

      Oh, well. Look on the bright side. The DNC has finally been exposed as the corrupt organization that it truly is. We didn’t need WikiLeaks this time.

        1. flora

          Adding: Representatives from all the campaigns should be part of verifying the count. The DNC has proved itself a dishonest broker too many times to count. (heh)

      1. Daryl

        This is some Keystone Kops level rigging. Maybe they should’ve studied Putin instead of screaming about him nonstop for the last four years.

    2. ptb

      Bern and MPete are roughly tied in IA. That’s the take home.

      JB and Klobs are on the edge of being sub threshold.

    3. Dan

      Doesn’t each candidate have representatives in the room with the DNC while they count? It was reported yesterday that Sanders campaign had 5 lawyers immediately respond as soon as there were perceived shenanigans.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        That’s what’s baffling me. At the end of the process, they have to show all the numbers and there has to be a signed preference card for each vote.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Those vote totals don’t affect the delegate outcome; the “preference poll” was added at the insistence of Sanders’ people as part of the DNC rules changes.

          Since that number isn’t needed to assign delegates, and especially since it is sure to favor Sanders, they’ll count it last. Probably not until after NH.

          1. anonymous

            The presidential preference cards were essentially ballots, a word we don’t use, because ballots are for a primary and we don’t want to upset New Hampshire. The total number in attendance (the number of preference cards handed out) is very much necessary, both for the viability calculation and for the formula for the allotment of delegates. The number of preference cards for each candidate is the same as the raw vote totals, which Sanders wanted released. I am not aware of any “preference poll”.

    4. Big River Bandido

      If the as-yet-unreported precincts are Sanders strongholds (read: urban with lots more caucus attendees) then he’s likely to run away with the preference-card count. Delegate counts are not based on population.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Aren’t these the guys who go on and on about the horrors of the Electoral College being undemocratic?

    5. Carey

      >Sanders is drifting further behind

      Is it too obvious to state that things always somehow “drift” (no agency) toward Capital?

      Never seen a headline yet, talking about a drift toward the (people-affirming, non-idPol) Left..

  20. Bugs Bunny

    Re: “The U.S. is hatching a plan to wean American 5G cellular networks off Chinese supply chains.”

    So the US is going to develop the VHS of 5G? The firms involved have plenty of experience gorging on procurement so this project will last as long as it takes Huawei to get to 6G or whatever it’s eventually called. Probably something like Xg6IFbc1, just for the lolz.

    Actually I thought the same as you, Lambert, “Industrial Policy”! omg it takes a hegemon to wake them up, doesn’t it.

    Great Water Cooler today! Now I’ll be up til 2 again :)

  21. Carey

    Corbyn, UK: gone.

    5-Star, ITA: going, or gone.

    Sanders, USA: currently getting The Treatment.

    The Few message: “Resistance is Futile.”

    we’ll see

        1. annie

          why ad hom? where’s the hom?

          i live in italy most of the year. contrary to comments i’ve seen posted on this site saying cinque stelle is to the left of sanders i see nothing resembling this–outside marco travaglio’s support. di maio is/was a disaster. anyone could have predicted. roma and torino with 5* mayors are worse off than nyc.
          people i know on the left have voted cinque stelle in the past maybe first with hopes but then only as a protest vote so as not to support incompetent pd or the right. they wouldnt do that now.
          italy, as france, does not have a left. hope there’s one developing?

          1. Carey

            Thanks for this comment. I don’t know Italy, and have not been there.
            My impression from the outside is that 5-star was a hope for the people

            >italy, as france, does not have a left.

            Almost like there’s an Invisible Hand industriously at work.

  22. chuck roast

    American Commercial Barge Line goes broke. Lambert, you missed the key line here…”the Platinum Equity LLC backed company…” It’s not the economy or the weather or the “multiple challenges,” it’s the Private Equity.

    So, Chapter 11 would cut around $1 billion in debt from the books and ease their “liquidity” problem. My guess is Platinum Equity LLC stole most of that billion after they floated the bonds and suckered the investors. Platinum is probably a minority owner, so their loss will be small relative to the billion. They will probably retain control of the company for a few years, show a bit of profitability and then do the scam all over again. I love this country, man!

  23. Lambert Strether Post author

    Oopsie (1):

    (Iowa Starting Line is real)

    Oopsie (2):

    (Nate Cohn is real.)

    Oopsie (3):

    I don’t know who the heck the low-follower Seth Yafrican is, but there are a lot of screen dumps on that interesting thread.


      1. flora

        State Delegate Elects (SDE) are allotted by the vote portion each candidate wins. SDE is a marker of voter strength at a caucus site.

        Note that the Iowa Democratic Party does not declare a caucus winner, but simply presents results to the public and the SDE number (which is the number of state delegates allotted per candidate .

        1. ptb

          does state delegate mean relative to DNC? what about district delegates to DNC?
          the way all this is reported is way sloppy

          1. flora

            No, this is selecting delegates to the State convention.

            “On caucus night, Iowans in each precinct elect delegates to their county conventions. Using the information, the Iowa Democratic Party will release each candidate’s state delegate equivalents. State delegate equivalents are calculated using a ratio of state to county convention delegates.

            “In other words, the ratio determines how many delegates the candidate would receive for the state convention based on the number of county convention delegates a candidate receives on Feb. 3, 2020.”


            If you look at it as a state level convention that matches the process of the national convention you get a good idea of the roll of the SDEs in the state convention. (If the DNC is working this hard to fiddle the Iowa results for apportioning of SDEs to the state convention, what will they do at the national ….)

            1. Big River Bandido

              Actually, the delegate totals from caucus night are for the *county* conventions. Then they go to congressional district conventions and then the state convention.

              SDE is their way of trying to convert the numbers from one convention to the other.

            2. ptb

              ok that helps clear it up.

              The reason I’m going after this is that DNC delegates come in many flavors, two of the most common being state delegates (corresponding to # of US Senators) and congressional district delegates (corresponding to congressional districts). At these granularities for the corresponding delegate type, the DNC rule document seems pretty clear that a 15% min threshold is applied, which will become quite significant in a 3-way or 4-way race.

              In Iowa, Klobuchar and Biden would not get state delegates to the DNC and would not get district delegates in one or more congressional districts. PLEO (super) delegates or at large delegates or whatever are subject to this too.

              Going forward, if the race is close, this kind of thing will be very strategic.

            3. ptb

              Also, and this part I’m especially confused on, but it seems that SDE’s are quantized at the precinct level, but not clear whether this is true for DNC delegates, or if they are quantized at US congressional district level. Would make a difference in the delegate counts and thus the measure by which you pick a winner for the purposes of the presidential primary.

      1. Michael

        It looks like these numbers were leaked by the Black Hawk County Supervisor. Amusingly, or realistically, he thinks this will be interpreted by his party as an act of sedition.

        Lambert, I think you mentioned in an earlier comment that Sanders would have agents watching the counting process behind the scenes. I was thinking of scoffing in response, but now I’m glad I didn’t.

        1. allan

          “this will be interpreted by his party as an act of sedition.”

          Donated. EFF the DNC/DSCC/DCCC/IDP.

      2. ambrit

        More interesting is how the original “mistake” occurred in the first place. The local numbers were ‘set in stone’ and copies available, yet the DNC numbers were different. What dog ate this homework? Maybe a Lhasa App-so?

          1. ambrit

            Yes! That’s where the Ship of State came to rest after the Flood; Mount Apparat. Said mount was originally thought to be in the Caucus Range. Now it’s known to be in the Armsmenian Range.
            Time to go play Scrabble with Phyl. Tonight I “promised” to try and use only profanities. She is not f—ing amused.

    1. grayslady

      It gets even worse. Chris Schwartz (@SchwartzForIowa on Twitter), the elected Black Hawk County Supervisor, and state co-chair for Bernie, says the IDP is not correctly reporting the numbers for Black Hawk County. To wit:

      Chris Schwartz
      We have known for over 24 hours as verified by our county party that @BernieSanders
      won the #iacaucuses in Black Hawk County with 2,149 votes, 155 County Delegates. #NotMeUs #IowaCaucuses

      He goes on to say that the IDP won’t tell him why these complete results weren’t published yesterday or what the process is for releasing results.

      Meanwhile, Nate Cohn reports:

      Nate Cohn
      it seems the new results have entered many likely Sanders results in Polk County as Deval Patrick or Steyer.
      3:23 PM · Feb 5, 2020

    2. Calypso Facto

      I have extensive professional experience in a technology very similar to the backend used in the Shadow app and after reading the thread(s) about how the app was funded/created and then the failure scenarios, I have a theory as to how specific coding errors could have created the results snafu we’re seeing.* But given how this has played out since Monday night I just don’t think it was bugs any longer, it’s entirely too charitable to chalk this up to incompetence and ass-covering. People need to be indicted and jailed over this.

      *: Firebase is basically a document database with the ability to serve HTTP verbs from a collection of documents, similar to MongoDB, hosted on Google’s Cloud Platform. This means you can build a basic web app with a collection of individual documents with JSON key-values, and then run search index across those kv and docs, and query against them. It has a feature to enable async replication of data from a client (like a smartphone) back to the cloud. The idea being that the end user may be in a situation with unstable internet and can sync as the network is available. If the details about using TestFairy accounts with max limits of 200 concurrent connections is true, that would have been blocking those async replications moving the data from the phones to the platform on Monday (this would be the numbers appearing differently on the server, vs on the phones the captains used to try to send the data). The details today about vote numbers switching due to same-alpha name could be due to a mistake with the search indexes (setting the indices to sort by alpha and compress to single bins by char, for example).

      1. Yves Smith

        Can you elaborate? I don’t have a picture of why this project was so badly handled as to merit indictments. Was it an obvious design/spec fail which looks like bad intent? Or an implementation failure which any reasonably competent project manager should have caught?

        1. Calypso Facto

          Sorry Yves, I shouldn’t be cavalier with words like indictment. Let me try to unpack some of the assumptions I’ve been making since Monday regarding this so others can help determine if this is malice or “merely” incompetence.

          – It appears there was only one (1) person aware of the full technical scope of the project (Krista Davis, the CTO who had worked at Google). The people who did the actual coding appeared to be recent Code Academy grads. Everyone starts somewhere but to say that recent CA grads are ‘skilled developers’ is like saying someone who took a 13month carpentry class is an Expert Carpenter. They know enough to know what they don’t know and a bit of Python and a lot of Javascript. Not much.
          – So the CTO probably had more experience and maybe even had more understanding about performance related stuff and could have provided more guidance to the coders about application hardening, assuming the two proprosed bugs I described above are close to what happened, that can legitimately be filed under incompetence.
          – It appears outside of the CTO and the two CA grads, everyone else (I think that was 7 people?) was not technical. Who knows what they were doing, but they were still getting paid. 10 salaries had to be justified to outside investors to pay those salaries and it was definitely more than the ~80k we know about from the IA and NV dem parties. So the ‘business leadership’, for lack of a better term here but in a real startup that is the group that would be directing the technical team’s activities, is presumably the group of employees who accepted the job to build the application before turning it over to the technical team to build.
          – There were internal meetings with the business leadership before the technical planning even started – there had to be – where they decided to take the job. Of those 7 people, not a single person stopped and said Hey, are we liable if this fails? Not a single person said, This is purely for informational and reporting purposes for the Dem party and will not expose us to election interference laws? For $60k? The twitter thread Lambert linked today mentioned this group came out of the Obama admin and was focused around building a set of tools to make organizers’ work easier, and understanding the problem I can see a need and also understand that Shadow was effectively a ‘startup side hustle’ for a bunch of people cosplaying Startup. So it is entirely possible when they took the job they didn’t ask those questions because they were thrilled with the opportunity to be seen and they weren’t thinking about the possibility of getting sued or worse.
          – Since the app did indeed get made, was deployed, was used, and multiple people affiliated with this catastrophe seemed actually proud to be involved until Monday night when everything went pear, they were not expecting the outcome. But so far near as I can tell they haven’t named all their investors, they haven’t shared their code, they haven’t fallen on their sword, they haven’t explained how it broke and what they did or are doing to mitigate. I mean, that is what you do when you, the technical service provider, created a thing that caused someone else an outage (I spend hours every week doing this for my team). Near as I can tell everyone involved has deleted their social media and gone silent instead. None of those people are planning to work in tech again?

          1. Big River Bandido

            IANAL. But I would assume “election law” applies only to elections run by the state. Primaries and caucuses are run and paid for by the parties themselves.

            I doubt that election law could be applied to a private organization.

          2. Calypso Facto

            I have another theory as to what could be happening re: their business structure and why they’re not outing the technical failure, and maybe this is really what I am so bothered by, since it throws a lot into question about the industry I work in… basically the entire business structure (the parent non-profit and the child LLCs, of which Shadow was one) may have enabled the CEO and probably others to raise investment and VC cash for either the non-profit or the for-profits and move the investment money around to one of the other organizations as needed (maybe to pay salaries or maybe as a slush fund). Stoller’s theory is that they were incompetent and this is part of the Dem/Clintonworld graft, they were cosplaying Startup, they would have used the election app on their future CV or About page to raise more money or get better jobs elsewhere. If they own up to their investor structure they may have to own up to their financials and that would probably find accounting discrepancies.

            A LOT of startups are funded by VC cash and are only a step or two above a scam just to get the investment money to float a few people for a few years before they move to another job. Sometimes they can sell the company as an asset or they have to write it off as a loss but most importantly they don’t have to be unemployed like a prole. This used to be just the domain of the techbro but apparently when Obama people fled to Silicon Valley they figured out how to play the game as well.

            1. Acacia

              Thanks for your insights on this, Calypso.

              It’s sobering to understand that this is the “leading edge” business model that the private sector currently has on offer. It’s not an out-and-out scam — no, it’s a “a step or two above” — so the participants can all come across as honest, well-meaning, etc. etc.

              1. Calypso Facto

                What’s aggravating me so much about this is 1 actual developer and 2 glorified journeymen-level developers will take the fall for this in the public’s eyes (“shitty app, shitty coders”) rather than the 7 business leadership members of the company who figured out how to hire 2 inexperienced people and 1 person with an impressive-sounding resume and pretend to be a Tech Leader to scam VC money so they wouldn’t have to get a real f***ing job. I feel so awful for the two CA grads caught up in this. The CTO seems like she was in on the scam. If the coders were respected skilled tradesmen, as the original techbros who ran this scam were, none of this would have happened – because they couldn’t have been bought for what sounds like freelancer money.

            2. Calypso Facto

              Apologies if this was linked earlier today, but this link gives more details that reinforce my theory around a venture capital scam:

              The divisive Democratic operative behind Shadow, the app that broke Iowa


              In particular, her group’s sprawling and opaque structure has frustrated fellow Democrats, with some arguing that ACRONYM’s “company-within-a-company” collection of progressive news sites, consulting services and experimental merchandise vendors lacks transparency regarding its payments to consultants and staff, obscuring potential conflicts of interest or governance issues.

              They point to the mix of for-profit entities under the nonprofit parent company as especially problematic.

              “People are really frustrated and skeptical about the structure that Tara has created,” said one Democratic operative, who did not want to be quoted for risk of alienation. “There’s a nonprofit and then there are for-profits below it, like a nesting doll. It’s moving money around in a way that’s unclear to people.”


              McGowan launched ACRONYM after Trump’s election as a “digital-first political organization” with the goal of electing progressive Democrats, mostly in state legislative races. The group quickly attracted attention, especially in Silicon Valley, from newly galvanized major donors including LinkedIn’s Hoffman, who was wading into politics and looking for projects to disrupt the Democratic status quo. (Hoffman and other donors in his network “took a chance” on ACRONYM, McGowan told POLITICO in 2019.)

            3. flora

              I think you’re right.

              ‘ “People are really frustrated and skeptical about the structure that Tara has created,” said one Democratic operative, who did not want to be quoted for risk of alienation. “There’s a nonprofit and then there are for-profits below it, like a nesting doll. It’s moving money around in a way that’s unclear to people.”
              McGowan launched ACRONYM after Trump’s election as a “digital-first political organization” with the goal of electing progressive Democrats, mostly in state legislative races. The group quickly attracted attention, especially in Silicon Valley, from newly galvanized major donors including LinkedIn’s Hoffman, who was wading into politics and looking for projects to disrupt the Democratic status quo.’


          3. inode_buddha

            Those are what we used to call “web masters”. Back when I started playing seriously with computers, I started with the Bourne shell, then went to C… and then ASM (briefly).

            I still think this should be foundational to anyone going into IT these days, along with a decent dose of Networking.

          4. Skip Intro

            Would TestFairy’s limited-connection license allow a company to get 60k for an app that uses it? I can see these grifters involved also abusing their vendors.

            1. Calypso Facto

              well according to their pricing page TestFairy is only available in Free (which looks like what they used, as it’s capped at 200 ‘testers’) and Enterprise (which isn’t priced on the site but requires an interaction with a sales team and invoices). So “I couldn’t possibly comment” but uh sure seems like they did!

        2. Acacia

          Attempting to translate from Calypso’s outline, it sounds like there are two ways from the data (vote counts) to get from client to the server database: (1) requests initiated by the app’s driver, and (2) asynchronous replication, which probably runs as a background process. Thus, if the requests fail, the app will try again until the data is sync’d, assuming all the authentication happens correctly. However, since it’s a cellphone app, the app may need to be active for the “background” async process to run. If that is the case, then once somebody gives up on the app because it fails to connect to the server, if they close the app, the data wouldn’t be reported until they start it again. I.e., maybe never, if they really give up on it.

          The biggest “Oh, Duh!” moment in this would be the max 200 connections limit. A quick web search suggests there are 1,681 precincts in Iowa, so only about 12% of the precincts could get a connection at any time, and with failed connections, timeouts, usual wireless connectivity issues, etc., the number is probably less.

          As for “an implementation failure which any reasonably competent project manager should have caught”, my impression is that IT project managers these days are typically non-engineers that use a spreadsheet or GANTT chart to tick off milestones. They may be present, but are not really mentally involved in design or code review. The actual code review (if any) will be done by other developers. It’s entirely possible that one developer decided on TestFairy, spaced on the limit of 200 max connections, and nobody else on the team double-checked. It’s really common that database servers impose a limit on the number of concurrent connections because otherwise they are easily vulnerable to hackers crashing the server by exhausting its memory. So, this is an obvious thing to check. It’s also possible that the one developer was aware of the limitation, but assumed that not all precincts would be reporting in the same window of time. Either way, it’s just sloppy hacker work, not engineering really.

          1. Calypso Facto

            Thus, if the requests fail, the app will try again until the data is sync’d, assuming all the authentication happens correctly. However, since it’s a cellphone app, the app may need to be active for the “background” async process to run. If that is the case, then once somebody gives up on the app because it fails to connect to the server, if they close the app, the data wouldn’t be reported until they start it again. I.e., maybe never, if they really give up on it.

            Yes, pretty much. If they are still attempting to load the data from the phone using the async replication they could have no idea when it will finish because of that behavior. And because of the way Firebase stores data on the client until it asyncs to the cloud, they would never be able to retrieve it if it failed to authenticate or otherwise reach the cloud – but it would have still existed and been taken by the precinct captain and, if they were capable of introspection on their device, could probably retrieve the remaining data.

              1. Calypso Facto

                I firmly believe the app should never have been created. Technology like apps should be harnessed to SCIENCE, not PROFIT. I have been commenting here for a long time but nobody can read everything here and I’m on record many many times stating that I believe the vast majority of the consumer technology of the last 35 years is worthless and we could go back to mostly-paper offices with little if any loss in productivity. Please don’t assume that because I can communicate with the computer that I believe it should be at the center of every interaction. Nobody would be happier than me if I were able to only code for citizen science projects in the name of some digital equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath.

                1. Stephen The Tech Critic

                  Thank you for everything you just wrote! See my handle ;)

                  I am not sure my view is so extreme as to say that we’d be better off with paper offices, but I do think a lot of the lack of *economic productivity*, if that’s really a thing, has to do with software tech being vastly oversold. So much investment is getting put into finding mostly stupider ways of doing things, especially considering how atrocious most software is. The big institutional software buyers rarely have a clue as to what they are getting, yet they don’t seem to care anyway because they are too busy failing upwards.

                  Also, I wish I could say more about my first-hand experience with these kinds of “start-ups”. I might have signed some piece of paper in the past, but I don’t recall. Wait, what was I saying?

    3. Big River Bandido

      Iowa Starting Line is actually not real. Unfortunately I cannot remember where I read this in the last few days (might have even been something linked here). Iowa Starting Line is another neoliberal AstroTurf blog, run by a former Obama (?) operative. (I don’t think it was a Clinton operative but all I remember was a feeling of disgust when I read it.)

      Sanders-related pieces on that site are few, far between, and generally of the overall Team Blue on-brand messaging. Lots of puff pieces for Warren and Buttigieg.

      Bleeding Heartland is a little better. It’s at least somewhat authentic.

        1. anonymous

          Laura Belin at Bleeding Heartland does excellent reporting on our state government, which is why the Republicans won’t give her a press pass. Her pieces are much more detailed than the articles in the DMR or CR Gazette. She also has had guest posts by Austin Frerick on the Farm Bureau and agricultural consolidation and by Chris Jones (U of I Hydroscience and Engineering) on water quality.

          Iowa Starting Line is real. The NYT had a recent profile of its founder, Pat Rynard, a Drake political science graduate who worked for the HRC 2007-8 and then had other political jobs before starting his blog in 2015. It’s all on his LinkedIn page, and he describes his site as an insider’s view. He will not disclose his large donors – maybe that’s what disgusted Big River Bandito. I’ve found his podcast interviews helpful in evaluating congressional primary candidates, and he did some good work analyzing the geographical differences in Democratic turnout for governor and congress in the same election.

          All of the local Democratic blogs of which I’m aware (there’s a Blog for Iowa, too) do the Team Blue messaging and the guest “why I’m supporting so-and-so” columns.

          I usually think the CR Gazette is pretty bad. On some important stories for CR, the DMR has had more detail than the Gazette or has reported first. I’ve been upset with some James Lynch stories that seemed to be press releases. I do like the Gazette columnist Todd Dorman, though.

    4. urblintz

      I have a funny Deval Patrick Story… his father abandoned him as a child to play jazz in NYC with Sun Ra. now some people mispronounce his name as if it is pronounced like “devil” (DEH-vuhl) but it’s actually accented on the second syllable and the initial e is a schwah (Duh-VAHL) but,,,

      apparently his dad preferred the first pronunciation and his mother would have none of it, insisting on the latter.

  24. Carolinian

    Re “what is a political party”–maybe that is the question we should be asking and also whether parties under our system are another one of those public/private partnerships that are working out so well for the upper crust. If parties are a kind of private club and therefore entitled to make their own rules (and to blackball!) then they should not be privileged via all the legal restrictions on newer and more relevant clubs coming into existence. If parties are rather a kind of public utility then the government should be involved in making sure that candidate choosing is fairly and democratically done.

    In other words the duopoly is the real grift and the Republicrats are all in on it.

    1. Alfred

      I take political parties to be subcultures; hence the importance to them of ‘culture wars’. What Connaughton was describing, I agree, is not ‘communities’ but rather cliques; perhaps more especially cliques fractured into coteries. As for the Democrats and the Republicans, I don’t take them for parties at all; I take them for factions. But factions, too, I believe are subcultures, just ones that split along fault lines that shift over time with relative rapidity. The point about clubs is well taken, because what are clubs but organized cliques and coteries?

    2. flora

      Who does the party answer to, its voters or big money funders? How democratically determined are the party’s hierarchy and processes? A party is a vehicle, a process. It can be democratic or it can be a corrupt machine. The Progressive movement of the early 20th c. focused on breaking political machines and their corrupt/incompetent control of the public sphere.

      Progressives worked for good government responsive to the voters instead of the money power; the movement existed in voting groups in both parties. They were largely successful but no victory is permanent; the modern parties have regressed, imo.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Since I might be the only party officer here, I should try to answer this. Short form: you’re right, it’s a somewhat confused beast.

      Caveats: I only know Oregon practices; I believe federal is parallel. And the Green Party is a “minor” party, so under somewhat different rules from the “major” parties, Republicrat and Independent (a party in Oregon). Further, and crucial: Oregon is a closed primary state, but only for the “major” parties. That means the state administers and *pays for* an election to choose candidates. Minor parties pick their own system; we use conventions – and pay the costs. In Iowa and some other states, the party itself administers the process.

      Legally, in Oregon and evidently nationally, parties are non-profit (well, the Green Party certainly is; not so sure about the Republicats) corporations. They are required to register certain information with the Sec. of State: party rules (constitution and bylaws); party officers; fund-raising records; address and phone #. The state will insist on that, but they will NOT enforce our rules in internal decisions (yes, there was an attempt to get them to). Under state law, anybody registered Pacific Green is entitled to vote on nominations for partisan office; but we restrict voting on internal matters to “sustaining” members (yes, the definition is a little vexed). That provision is mostly to prevent a hostile takeover, as well as to reward supporting the party.

      I don’t know how hands-off the SOS is with the “major” parties; hopefully less so, but it might depend on the particular SOS and elections administrator.

      So: a party is a private corporation, but authorized (if it qualifies) to place candidates on the ballot, collect money for the purpose, etc. A bit like a utility, which is granted a monopoly in return for tight regulation by the state. We hope it’s tight. In the case of parties, the degree of regulation may depend on how important the party is, the state, and the particular elections officers – but there’s nothing surprising about that. Parties may also be lots of other things, but that’s the legal and binding definition.

      It may be useful to compare with Democratic Socialists of America: they are a club, not a party, because they do not nominate candidates nor do they show any sign of planning to. They can endorse, just like anyone else. There is no conflict between DSA membership and membership in a political party – they’re arguably complementary, depending on the party.

      Back to caveats: most of this depends on state law, like the difference between caucuses and primaries. Federal law is mostly concerned with fundraising, setting election dates, and so on.

      I hope that’s at least informative.

      And I do agree with Carolinian’s conclusion.

    1. Samuel Conner

      One has to smile when there is evidence of principals at major media outlets soiling themselves.

  25. Carey

    From the NYT blog:

    >Reid Epstein, in Washington 2:53 PM ET

    Polk County Dem Chair Sean Bagniewski says he delivered all of Polk’s results to party HQ on Tuesday and doesn’t know why they haven’t been counted.

    1. Plenue

      Now it looks like they’re ‘accidentally’ giving Sanders votes to Steyer and *squints*…Deval Patrick?

      What the actual hell is even going on? Who is running this shitshow? Because if there isn’t actually a conspiracy at play here, the only other option is that the people counting are so utterly moronic that they’re giving every appearance of a conspiracy through their own ineptitude.

      1. Samuel Conner

        This is very tin-foily, but I wonder about about the chain of custody of the paper trial. Is it beyond imagination that signed preference cards could be being doctored in real time?

        It would be man-power intensive, but one wonders whether the campaigns need to have multiple escorts to accompany all paper documentation from source to destination, and then do shifts staying awake at the destination with an eye on the paper at all times.

      2. allan

        Iowa Democrats @iowademocrats

        There will be a minor correction to the last batch of results and we will be pushing an update momentarily.
        4:32 PM · Feb 5, 2020

        Not a parody account. At least, not wittingly.

      3. Carey

        I see Deval Patrick somehow fitting in around Convention time. Not sure why,
        but I’m guessing that name’s in the present ether for a reason.

        I could be insanely paranoid, though. ;)

  26. deplorado

    Wanted to share this, as it’s likely not common knowledge.

    “America’s feudal system wasn’t abolished until **1845.**” – re NY state. Interesting contrast with New England – may be of interest to readers like SwampYankee who used to provide illuminative comments here.

    complete with a peasant loyalty oath, source https://books.google.com/books?id=U_IpAQAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=oath

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Thanks for the kind words, Deplorado, Carey, ad Pretzelattack! I caught that, too, in the otherwise convincing article from the WSWS.

          Still here, just busy in non-Internet life.

          And Deplorado is absolutely correct, while it has been a truism of both much liberal and Marxian historiography that the US never had anything like feudalism, there are places where that just isn’t the case. The Hudson Valley is probably first and foremost, with hereditary rents continuing into the 1840s. Great land grants to the Dutch-speaking patroons like the Phillipses etc. continued in the British regime and the first 7 (!) decades of the new republic. Indeed, there’s a great account by a Tory/Loyalist woman, Anne Grant, who writes about the squatting/settling of these patroon-claimed lands by “Hezekiah or Jedediah” from CT or MA, who pronounce republican principles “that would shame Praisegod Barebones” (an infamous/glorious Puritan republican of the 17th c Civil War).

          There are certainly other examples: John Locke writes a constitution for the new colony of Carolina in the late 17th c. that is quasi- if not fully feudal. Eugene Genovese famously, and controversially, argued that the slave system was itself a kind of feudalism, a non-capitalist mode of production nestled within a capitalist world-market.

          The view changes even more so if we take French and Spanish and Portuguese American into account — these were seigneurial societies with strong feudal features, in some cases well into the 20th c., as in Quebec — perhaps longer in parts of Latin America.

  27. Typing Chimp

    I think most of you have analyzed Iowa backwards—this is good for Sanders, not bad.

    Firstly, Sanders’ base is energized, and anything that his followers perceive as a sleight helps his campaign. Such an outcome may have hurt other candidates who depend on a few large contributors to back them, but that doesn’t pertain to Sanders’ wide base.

    Secondly, in my very simplistic view of this race, there is really just the “pro-Sanders” and the “anti-Sanders” camps (although perhaps you could consider this to be a race between Sanders, Warren, and anybody else). So long as there are many “viable” (lol–I love how that word is being abused) candidates, the anti-Sanders camp (and, especially, the funders of the anti-Sanders camp) must split their resources 4 or 5 ways whereas the Sanders camp is all-in behind a single candidate. This split anti-Bernie vote becomes concentrated as more people drop out or as Sanders becomes a clear front-runner.

    I think the idea of Bernie getting screwed over at the convention is also far overdone–either people are insanely paranoid, or they have nothing else to write about, or someone is dangling this possibility out as a hope of leveraging a weak negotiating hand (e.g. “Bernie should pick a traditional Democrat VP or else…”) No party, no matter how stupid or short-sighted, is willing to lose an entire generation of voters (and their funding) indefinitely by pulling such a stunt, especially since the fallout would impact congressional and senatorial races well into the future.

    Just as the Republicans did everything they could to prevent Trump’s rise and now hold their collective noses while supporting him, the Dems would do the same for Sanders if it comes to that, I think.

    Just my two bananas.

    1. pretzelattack

      trump doesn’t challenge core precepts of the republican elite like sanders does on the democratic side. the republicans didn’t pull anything this blatant against him, either, they save those dirty tricks for use against the democrats.

      1. Typing Chimp

        If you go back and read the outrage from the “old guard” Republicans when Trump started running, I think you’d agree that it was likely far more vitriolic and contemptuous than the Demoncrats’ current criticisms of Bernie.

        Also, Trump very much did challenge the core concepts of the party’s elites (including, among other things, by having the audacity to run against a Bush). He didn’t act on most of those challenges once he came into office–especially the part about staying out of other countries’ affairs–but his campaign was very different.

        1. pretzelattack

          i’m talking about their actions, not their words, against trump. he made what in republican circles are considered gaffes like mentioning what a cluster…. the iraq war was, but i think they knew that in the end he was a rich grifter who would support the interests of the rich grifter class, and not upset the applecart too much on our foreign adventures.

          1. Typing Chimp

            I wish I had the time to research this more thoroughly to absolutely convince myself, but I am almost positive that you are wrong. I am pretty sure that I remember the pandemonium when he suggested that NATO countries should pay more, that he would pull US troops out of foreign nations, that he would build a wall to basically keep out cheap labor, and that he would let banks go bankrupt instead of bailing them out, and that he would basically start trade wars with the rest of the world.

            I wish I could remember all the other things he said, because it was very clear to me at the time that although his delivery was crass, his message was not nearly as random nor as stupid as his detractors kept insisting–rather, he very clearly understood the issues that pissed off the electorate and that were being ignored, and he brought them up frequently.

            In fact, in the two places I remember he hedged–abortion and what to do about the Middle East–were the issues where he couldn’t have won by making any definitive statements. (You may recall that he said so little about the ME that some media outlet or another tried to make a big stink about his owning a copy of Mein Kampf and shrilly accusing him of being the next Hitler, etc. He may or may not be racist, but his support for Israel has been far stronger and more overt than any other president I can remember)

            In hindsight, it’s easy to say that the rich knew he wouldn’t actually follow through, but unless you believe that the rich are telepaths, I think it’s unlikely that they knew anything of the sort. All they knew was that was crass instead of polished like they were, that he did not fit into their cliques, that he had an alarming amount of support from the “deplorables”, and that he wasn’t Hillary. And yet for all that, they still now (grudgingly) support him, at least in public.

              1. Typing Chimp

                I don’t think that Trump would have fostered so much outrage had they known that he was going to be all smoke and mirrors. However, the have since figured this out, and they don’t seem nearly as outraged over his antics ;o)

                Even the China deficit was in retrospect clearly a stunt–Trump clearly wasn’t serious about actually reducing trade deficits any more than he was serious about pulling troops out of Asia or staying out of the Middle East.

                The point is that nobody could have known that he would act this way before he was in a position to do so–he was basically unpredictable, and therefore attacked in favor of the other candidates, who were predictable and who were going to do more or less the same things that Trump did anyway (again, the Middle East being a huge exception).

                1. Carey

                  >The point is that nobody could have known that he [Trump] would act this way before he was in a position to do so–he was basically unpredictable


    2. Left in Wisconsin

      The question is, how long do the real players allow 4 or 5 to continue? It must seem crystal clear to the smarter ones that none of Biden, Klobuchar, or Mayor Pete can win. I say no more than a week – Bernie is that much of an existential threat. Klobuchar gone. Biden gone. Pete makes a deal to be Bloomberg’s VP. The question is Warren. She is going to face a really difficult choice.

      1. Typing Chimp

        I’m not a political analyst, but other than Biden (who is clearly in la-la land), I don’t think the other two you mentioned are in it to win–I am guessing that they are interested in getting name recognition for the next time around or in trading their delegates for some position this time around. Under those circumstances, I guess that they will stick around so long as their internal calculations conclude that their leverage increases by doing so.

        Elizabeth Warren is (was?) clearly in it to win, because she was likely assured a very nice position in a Sanders White House and probably screwed it up by her Sanders’ accusations–she didn’t even hedge.

        I think that Trump is likely more worried about Sanders than the rest of the Democrats—he understands the level of dissatisfaction that got him to the White House, and I’m sure he is smart enough to recognize that it hasn’t abated since his inaugural. I will believe that the Dems are taking Sanders’ candidacy seriously when I see Hillary shamelessly fall all over herself to kiss his ass in a blatant attempt to get another plum post (as she did with Obama).

        Just to be clear, though, I am barely following the race at the moment and am really just articulating my thoughts in a desperate attempt to procrastinate from other more worthwhile (ie, non-political) endeavors.

    3. jrs

      Yea the person who probably won and perhaps legitimately (though maybe not the popular vote) is unlikely to win many other states, that wasn’t theoretically true of say Biden or to a much much lesser degree Klobi so … . Pete has his 15 minutes of fame for winning the battle … and the war is Sanders to win.

    4. Carey

      >I think the idea of Bernie getting screwed over at the convention is also far overdone–either people are insanely paranoid, or they have nothing else to write about, or someone is dangling this possibility out as a hope of leveraging a weak negotiating hand (e.g. “Bernie should pick a traditional Democrat VP or else…”) No party, no matter how stupid or short-sighted, is willing to lose an entire generation of voters (and their funding) indefinitely by pulling such a stunt, especially since the fallout would impact congressional and senatorial races well into the future.

      I do not agree with this part of your comment, especially that last sentence.
      The name of the game for TeamCorpDem is #keepthepartygoing/moneyFlowing2020, medium or long-term damage be damned.

      1. Typing Chimp

        Well, I agree that the point is to keep the money flowing. I just believe that their own calculations will show conclusively that alienating their “product” (the people who vote Democrat no matter what, and, doubly, those who are willing to contribute en masse for a candidate), especially for a very long time, will reduce their incoming funds, and so they won’t do it–especially not for any of the competing candidates who are currently in the running.

        I think this is one of the easiest predictions I can ever make.

        1. hunkerdown

          They’re not actually competing. They’re rendering a service to their large donors, namely, that of keeping one of the top two ballot lines in corrupt safe hands, and they are paid well enough to become a class apart for doing so. Win or not-really-lose, the PMC still keeps bubbling up the party’s org chart. They don’t need nor want a customer base with “excessive” demands making extra work and discomfort for them, challenging their “unity” with the elites with/as whom they identify.

          In case of a Sanders win, all of that changes from a sure thing into actually having to do actual work they believe is twice beneath them.

      2. Grant

        I may agree with you, only because I think that these people really are stupid, not smart, and only look at the short term. But, what they may not see is that their party is close to be such a rotting corpse that they as parasites will not have a healthy host much longer to suck the life from. Again, they may not realize this and will none the less go forward with more of this, but it is deluded to think that they can do so and have their party be anything more than a shell of its former self, and by former I mean now, forget when it was a party that had even a little value decades ago. That is already gone. Regular rank and file Democrats outside of that corrupt power circle are going to have to decide if they are going to let these people utterly destroy their own party. Maybe they will, they have to this point, but if they do this, it will be really hard to argue that the people fighting against them are to blame. Ghouls like Jennifer Rubin and Neera Tanden can say what they want, and who cares about either of them, but that party is very close to be irreversibly damaged. If the rank and file let that happen, it is on them, because there is no future if people like Pete run the thing.

        When I, by the way, mention them being stupid and irrational, doubly given the environmental crisis and the need to radically change things as soon as possible. Them doing this does not just screw over the ideological left, working and poor people. Given the power of this declining empire and country, doing this has global implications.

    5. David Carl Grimes

      Sanders would ruin a lot of rice bowls for the blob. Trump pretended to drain the swamp but did not change the status quo. So, Bernie is an existential threat to the political elite

  28. alex morfesis

    and in other news…mitt romney seen entering mexican consulate to renew his mexican passport and asks what are the requirements and next deadline to register to run for the senate in mexico…

    1. inode_buddha

      And why not? After all, he has significant business in Mexico via his Apex holdings. IMHO he should just move there and become Mexican.

  29. Fíréan

    Aquitted on all charges. Did i just hear that correctly on my radio ?
    Trump impeachment over.
    Will there now be an inquiry of the actions and intentions of the persons, organisations, groups or other who started this charade ?

      1. Samuel Conner

        I can imagine that chastened House Ds issue new subpoenas, elicit assertions of executive privilege, and then appeal to the courts.

        Documents and testimony might start showing up in high Summer and into early Autumn, the timing of which could be convenient, and depending on who the nominee is, perhaps essential for any hope in the general election.

      2. Pat

        Nadler is not giving up.

        I actually liked Jerry even though I felt he gave up too quickly too often. Now I cannot in all conscious vote for him ever again. At least until he does the unlikely of going after everyone who knew the premise for Iraq was false and didn’t bite the bullet and out Bush and Cheney. IOW, never again.

        I await the Bolton sideshow. Not.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Post-Millenials (or at least those of you who actually read), take note:

      In our emerging New Economy, McKinsey projects a burgeoning demand, in both private and public sectors, for suitably degreed and credentialed Shame Nuns!

      Sincerely yours,

      Matthew Hopkins
      Witch Finder Generall

  30. Typing Chimp

    Another interesting article–I say “another” even though moderators seem to have filtered out my previous one (??)


    The irony is that this very likely is simple incompetence, not deliberate maliciousness. If this were super Tuesday, ok, I would be more likely to assume maliciousness. But Iowa is really not all *that* important, and even really dumb thieves cover their tracks better than this…

  31. Wukchumni

    “A Prairie Flower That Flourishes With Fire”
    After wildfires around these parts, the next years wildflowers tend to be astounding in the burnt areas. Last summer’s fire drama was pretty small potatoes, there was a 750 acre conflagration that was almost entirely a grass fire which did no damage and left quite the visible canvas from afar with which to watch a painting take form in the next months.

  32. Monty

    Based on his Iowa result, I am starting to wonder if the only reason Biden ran, was to pretend Trump’s actions in Ukraine were to do with the 2020 election, rather than 2016.

    1. Samuel Conner

      This idea stimulates a similar thought, that perhaps Biden’s lackluster performance is intentional; maybe he is not enthusiastic about the attention he and his family will get in a general election context with DJT.

  33. JustAnotherVolunteer

    On caucus goers general confusion on site – I know this clip is long:


    But it’s worth watching the whole thing –
    I watched on Monday as it unfolded and really appreciated the “sense of the room” I got seeing the mechanics play out.

    Lots of churn, lots of paper work, and not a lot of organized monitoring or accounting for the various processes all in motion

  34. ACF

    So, the NYT map of results (as reported ‘officially’, with all the caveats above), nonetheless shows that as of their latest publishing, Butt has 57 precincts not reporting in counties he leads in, and Sanders has 79 precincts not reporting in counties he is leading; Amy has 8 such precincts, Biden 2, Warren 4, and one precinct hasn’t reported where Butt & Sanders are tied. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/02/04/us/elections/results-iowa-caucus.html

    If each precinct follows the county trend, that looks good for Sanders.

    1. Samuel Conner

      At the RCP home page at this writing, the precincts % is up to 91%. Sanders is pulling slightly away from PG in the 2nd alignment vote count (margin wider by a couple tenths % compared to the “race” at 86% reported) but what I find intriguing is that the State Delegate Equivalents awarded is shifting in Sanders’ favor, from over 30 down @86% to 19 down @91%. If the trend continues, Sanders will win all three “reports”: the 1st and 2nd alignments, and the SDEs.

      It would certainly be nice to have a non-ambiguous lead in Sanders’ favor.

    2. Samuel Conner

      That NYT page is reporting JB with 15+% of State Delegate Equivalents, but his share of the 2nd alignment vote, per RCP, is under 14%, NYT is not showing the alignment vote totals or %s, only the SDEs and their respective %s.

      I am tempted to suspect that if PG were ahead of Sanders in the alignment count totals, that NYT would have included those, too.

      Is the 15% threshhold to receive convention delegates based on “votes received”? If that’s right, then the SDEs are irrelevant for the threshhold to receive convention delegates and JB’s “15% of SDEs” reported in the NYT amounts to nothing.

        1. Samuel Conner

          My bad! Shows how cynical I have become.

          Though I note that in that more detailed chart, the final column characterizes the “SDEs” as “Votes”, which they are not. They’re awarded by precinct based on a rationing formula, supplemented with coin flips (that Sanders loses with uncanny frequency)

          Perhaps carelessness on the part of the NYT graphics and tables people.

          What do they say, “never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity”?

  35. OIFVet

    Iowa Democratic Party releases 85% of caucus results but an error forces correction. So with IDP and DNC both “carefully” vetting the returns, they magically award Sanders voted to Deval Patrick, and are forced to issue corrections after Blackhawk County chairman Chris Schwartz raises a stink and posts the returns on Twitter. I would have accepted incompetence as an explanation, but funny how these mistakes are always at Sanders’ expense, and never to his benefit.

      1. Jen

        Why is the Sanders’ camp not raising hell over these irregularities? I’ve made several contributions to his campaign, however modest, because I am rooting for him to actually win.

        If they just sort of shrug their shoulders at these obvious cheating and not file official protest, I felt I’ve been cheated by the Sanders camp too.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I’m guessing that the formal protests will be drafted by lawyers for the campaign. These might be more effective if not publicly advertised.

          Me thinks that the public attention that this chicanery is attracting is beneficial to Sanders. The Party is losing credibility, and the candidate they want to suppress gains by comparison.

          And yes, an appropriate (and IMO deeply satisfyig) response to the anger one feels at all this is to “get even” by helping the Sanders campaign some more.

          Show the b***ards that the US electorate is not their oyster.

  36. HotFlash

    “What Happened in Iowa?” [Cook Political Report]. “No one will look back and blame the Iowa caucus if Trump wins reelection in November.

    Well, yes, yes we will.

    1. flora

      This is why the DNC hates caucuses; they’re hard to rig without people seeing the mistakes in near real time. Blame the DNC for this.

        1. Dan


          We found rounding errors in 30% of the precinct math worksheets that we examined from the Iowa Caucus. Each “rounding error” gave one extra delegate to a candidate. Over 50% of the time the extra delegate went to Pete Buttigieg.

          The rounding errors could lead to a significant number of delegates. They were in 30% of the precincts we examined. If 30% of 1678 precincts have an extra delegate assigned this way, it could be approximately 500 delegates. Buttigieg is currently leading Sanders by 18 delegates

          1. Michael

            This appears to be false. Lulu takes the math worksheet’s rounding instructions at face value, but there’s an extra trick involved — if proper rounding doesn’t produce the correct number of precinct delegates (seen in the top-right of the paper), then you’re supposed to add or subtract delegates from the candidates who were closest to / em>furthest from a whole number, respectively.

            I’ve seen one or two genuine math errors on tweeted worksheets today, but the majority look fine.

            1. flora

              Yes. You use the all the number of delegates you’re precinct is assigned. Delegates can’t be a fraction of a person. The pictures’ red, highlighted squares looked fine to me.

    1. Yves Smith

      I don’t know where you have been, but that is not possible unless you are very securely self employed or independently wealthy.

      I detest LinkedIn but many claim it is useful for being recruited by search firms.

      Employers insist you turn over your social media accounts, including passwords, as part of the hiring process. Saying you don’t have any assures not getting hired. You are deemed to be lying or anti-social.

      And if you seek to develop a personal reputation, you absolutely have to use your real name or have people able to find it. You will not able to appear on TV or write op eds or articles for publication otherwise.

      1. Typing Chimp


        I find your comment here puzzling–could you please elaborate?

        You did fine by simply using a pseudonym, after all (unless I am missing something??)

        Also, I have never had a potential employer demand my social media accounts. I’ve read some articles to that effect, but I think they were noteworthy for being exceptional cases.

        I’m not saying you’re wrong, incidentally–I’m just a little confused as to teh definitiveness of your statement here…

        1. Yves Smith

          Please don’t get passive aggressive. You insinuate my reason was to maintain privacy, which was not the case. I went to a conference that was broadcast on the Internet six months after I started blogging. I’ve been on TV and the radio repeatedly. My real world name is no secret. This is similar to pretty much every person of moderate prominence using a nom de plume on the Web, from CR and Tanta back in the glory days of the econoblogosphere to Tyler Durden, whose real name has been public since at least 2009 (I knew it in 2008, along with the fact that he had been permanently banned from the securities industry).

          Slashdot and other outlets, which have far larger samples than you do, report that asking for social media accounts is widespread if not pervasive in background screening. Large employers seem to do that widely and the practice appears common in mid sized employers.

          1. Typing Chimp


            1) I was defintiely not intending to be passive-aggressive. Sorry if if came off that way
            2) I didn’t even mean to insinuate that your reason for using your pseudonym was to maintain privacy–rather that, had you wanted to do so, I think you easily could have (??). Tyler Durden/Zero Hedge is also a good example, though…
            3) I maybe I’ve lucked out with the places I’ve applied to, or maybe this is industry-specific. I dunno–all I know is that I have never been asked for anything related to social media accounts.

            1. Carey

              You’re a slippery one. Iowa’s “not that important”; those who think Sanders is likely to get ratf*cked at the Convention are
              “insanely paranoid”, and so (predictably!) on.

              Yeah, I *do know* your type, with your veneer of reasonableness..

    1. katiebird

      My Mom was a McGovern delegate and flew back to Kansas City on the same plane as Eagleton. At some point, Eagleton was asking around for a cigarette. Mom gave him her pack and never smoked another cigarette.

      Caucusing for McGovern and voting for him was my most sincere vote. Until I caucused for Sanders in 2016. That was even better.

      1. Carey

        I was only thirteen, but my heart went out to Eagleton even then. He got hung out
        to dry, and even at that age, I had a strong feeling how it was all going to play out.

  37. smoker

    ACRONYM reminds me of a name someone in the CIA, etcetera, might be assigned to insure that currently, or in the very near future, searching for details on the name will draw so many thousands of results as to make it an exercise in futility; a vicious and nasty pay to play backroom ‘joke’ (played out on millions of citizens).

    Shadow Inc. also reminds of me of Spooks, and immoral and dangerous stalkers.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Both remind me of cover companies invented by Maxwell Smart in order to thwart the evil agents of KAOS. Alas, they only succeeded in confusing his fellow agents at CONTROL.

  38. Cripes

    “Aren’t these the guys who go on and on about the horrors of the Electoral College being undemocratic?”

    Precisely. That’s what Hillary and gang have whined about the last 3 years; she won the popular vote and lost the electoral This is precisely the same anti-democratic one man two votes system they’re operating.

    The Media Morons deserve a seat in the defendants dock next to the Iowa Idiots.

    Relentlessly looping 10-second screenshots of buttigieg leading the aligned results, and hour after hour of verbal repetition is a form of brainwashing for a nation of 30 second commercial watchers and screen-swipers.

  39. WheresOurTeddy

    “Only Assh*les Bitch About Sanders Supporters Being Rude Online” [Caitlin Johnstone].

    Seen on twitter in graphic form:

    My need for healthcare
    Is More Important
    Than your need for civility
    F*ck your tone policing

    I liked and retweeted.

  40. Carey

    NYT Iowa stuff:

    Live: Iowa Caucus Results 2020

    Buttigieg narrowly leads Sanders with 97 percent of precincts reporting. 2m ago
    Candidate Total S.D.E.s* Pct.
    Pete Buttigieg 550 26.2%
    Bernie Sanders 547 26.1
    Elizabeth Warren 381 18.2
    Joseph R. Biden Jr. 331 15.8
    Amy Klobuchar 255 12.2

    Sydney Ember, reporting from New Hampshire 56m ago

    AP: “There remain too many SDEs left to be counted to declare a winner, including an unknown number of SDEs to be won at the new satellite caucus sites.”


    1. Yves Smith

      It appeared the largest precincts in terms of voter count, were being resolved, and how do the satellite sites fit into precincts? Sanders was expected to do well at them.

      1. anonymous

        The satellites were treated as extra counties, one in each congressional district plus an “at large” for the out of state satellites, weighted by the actual number of participants.
        The results are at the bottom of the page, and you can find the satellites on the bottom of the list of counties if you want to narrow the search: https://results.thecaucuses.org/
        Sanders did very well in the University of Iowa Hospitals (there were two caucuses at different times to catch people before or after a shift) and places where students gather. He didn’t do as well as the others where I presume there are retirees (see the out of state satellite). I asked the Sanders field office staff why our local hospitals weren’t satellite locations and was told that the difference was that the University of Iowa Hospitals are unionized.

  41. Typing Chimp



    I’m a bit curious, given Trump’s dislike of China and the way the election is shaping up, what are the odds that Trump would have the US formally recognize Taiwan (I believe he has the ability to do that unilaterally?)

    It could put the Democrats in an interesting position…And drive China mental, which would no doubt be a bonus…

    1. OIFVet

      Don’t worry. Tomorrow, with the count at 100% and Sanders claiming the SDE win as well, our dear media talking automatons will be too busy ginning up outrage over the Trump acquittal to inform the public that Mayo Pete did not win. So two days of free media advertising for the Mayo worth many millions of dollars, not bad result at all

    2. Aumua

      So all the very last votes to be counted are going to Sanders then? Wow. Surprise surprise. What a coincidence.

  42. Carey

    So the slow-walking has worked pretty well, two-plus effing days on..

    Here in CA, I’m not getting a good feeling at all, based on my™ local clerk-recorder’s

  43. Samuel Conner

    NYT at this page


    Has removed their 9PM (ET) 95% probability that PG wins; guess they didn’t take into account that there might have been a tendency in the release of the results.

    Sanders continues to pull away from PG in the 2nd alignment count total, and is now within 3 SDEs of PG.

    This at 97% of the precincts reported.

    Sanders was completely dominating the satellite caucuses (two of which were reported in the county details that were previously provided at the above link, and that seem to not be there now), and if these are not fully reported yet, they may provide enough SDEs to give him an unambiguous lead in all three reports.

    Me thinks there may be heartburn on the way among the elites.

    1. urblintz

      haha… after 2 days of forecasting a 95% chance that Butti would win the NYT now has it:

      Bernie 54% (flip a coin)
      Butti 46% (flip a coin)


    2. Michael

      There’s still plenty of room to quibble over the results. But it sure beats the comfortable win for Buttigieg I was predicting earlier today.

      Because I’ve been obsessing over it all day, here’s a Twitter threadful of votecount mistakes. The most egregious cases were hastily patched today, but there are still a few to be found in the official rolls, and it’s doubtful that all of them will be fixed by the time the vote total hits 100%.


      1. anonymous

        The more eyes on the results, the better, although some of this looks like the posters don’t quite understand the strange caucus math rules. I assume that every caucus chair and precinct captain is looking over his precinct’s numbers. I did that for my precinct, and the entries are correct.

  44. CoryP

    This is so brain-meltingly bad.

    As someone else on Twitter said, I no longer think Hillary Clinton actually won the 2016 primaries. I used to think that they had their finger on the scale, but that she actually won the actual votes.

    I seriously doubt it .

    1. Plenue

      If that was their plan here, they screwed up. Sanders won both popular vote and delegates. 0.1% behind with only satellite caucuses we already know he won to be counted.

      The brain trust at NYT have taken their stupid probability needle thing offline, because it wasn’t programmed to factor in the satellites.

      1. Carey

        >The brain trust at NYT have taken their stupid probability needle thing offline

        It already did its job- to “inform” the mildly attentive PMCers. No need for it now..

  45. cripes

    So lemme get this straight:

    According to the NYT, Bernie is ahead 5,594 in the first round popular–you know, votes–and Buttawhatevah is ahead 1/10% in the relaigned caucus allocation…But Buttawhatevah wins?

    Moving on to next flava of the week, Don Lemon is busy touting Andrew Yang as next bright young thing, looping video of him bounding onto a stage pumping his fists, and swooning how youthful! and energetic! he is. Yeah, compared to his robotic performances until after the consultants prepped him yesterday.

    Can anybody remember Buttawhateva saying anything except “looking forward” “new generation” word salad? There should be a statutory maximum on bullshit spewing, with felony sentencing guidelines.

    Anyone else notice that toothy beavered grin he gets when he’s so elated the rubes are taken in with this fraud he can barely contain the urge to giggle? The sight of him makes me wanna puke.

    Where are the political cartoonists?

    1. Carey

      Agree that Butti is *ripe* for political cartoonery- but it’s been pretty much disappeared.

      Odd, that. ;)

    1. anonymous

      I hope that’s true. My husband did the data entry for me on my Bernie app, and every time he entered a number, the screen came back “locked”. We didn’t know whether that meant that the result was locked in, or whether we were locked out. I got a later text message from the campaign with a method for data entry that clearly worked. I had taken my paper notes home, so I had the numbers handy.

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