2:00PM Water Cooler 2/6/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, the Democrat Party continues to amaze. I was hoping to take it easy today, which the shortness of this Water Cooler reflects. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in…. More soon. For pity’s sake. –lambert UPDATE All done.


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

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

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

* * *


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

We have no new national polls. We have two new polls from Suffolk and Emerson (different from the two Suffolk and Emerson polls yesterday):

The numbers:

Note — hat tip, continued Iowa debacle! — a little drop from Sanders, Biden deflation, a big pop for Buttigieg, and a small pop for Warren.

Sanders running away with NH, as indeed he should.

And because I didn’t do the national poll, here’s a “small multiples” image:

Note the trendlines!

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.

* * *

Buttigieg (D)(1): “In Pete Buttigieg, The Establishment Finds Their Man” [The American Conservative]. “Democratic Party’s establishment today is simple: education and the meritocracy. Bill Clinton vaulted from white trash to the White House; in the back of his mind, he always thanked Georgetown, Yale, and the Rhodes program for rescuing a kid from Hope. And Obama ascended through Columbia, Harvard, a blue-chip law firm, and U Chicago on a journey of personal clarification before writing The Audacity of Hope…. Buttigieg is Barack Obama without the charm, the youthful visage of the technocratic elite, even as technocracy melts down (on live TV, if the caucus room floor is any evidence). He offers the audacity of hope with little audacity and only a perfunctory pretense of hope. “Something is stirring in America,” Buttigieg tweeted Tuesday in a remark that could have been made in any year. “I believe in American unity. I believe in American boldness,” he said this week, with no elaboration. Buttigieg’s preemptive victory declaration Tuesday morning took on the air of a dare. He says he won, and he would be the youngest president in history. Goldman Sachs, Google, and the deep state of the government are with him, he noted almost explicitly. The last three years of Donald Trump’s presidency have been dominated by hushed, or not so hushed, talk of a coup. On Tuesday morning, America’s politics felt, if only for a moment, truly Latin American.” • If Buttigieg doesn’t want people to confuse him with Juan Guaidó, he’s gotta ditch those white shirts.

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders Raises $25 Million in January, a Huge Show of Financial Strength” [New York Times]. “Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised $25 million in January, his campaign said on Thursday, a staggering sum that gives him an enviable financial advantage at a crucial moment in the Democratic primary race. He plans to use the windfall to immediately buy $5.5 million in television and digital ads across 10 states, at a time when some of his rivals are shifting or cutting their existing ad reservations. The $25 million haul is more money than any other candidate raised in any full quarter during 2019, including several presidential hopefuls who hold the big-dollar fund-raisers that Mr. Sanders forgoes.”

Sanders (D)(2): “Health care VCs haven’t made plans for a Bernie Sanders win” [Axios]. “[M]ost venture capitalists investing in America’s health care industry — the primary target of Bernie’s ire — have shoved their heads so deep in the sand that they’ve found water. Why it matters: At some point, it could become a failure of fiduciary duty. Health care accounts for over 20% of all U.S. venture activity. Investors view many of those deals as binary: Either the drug doesn’t work, resulting in a total write-off, or it does work and the financial sky’s the limit. Strike out or grand slam. Sanders pledges to limit the upside, either by limiting drug prices under the current system or (if he gets Medicare-for-all) by establishing a single, centralized buyer.”

Trump (R)(1): “Team Trump Plans Its Assault on Bernie. Step One: ‘Victims of Socialism.'” [Dally Beast]. “As recently as October, Donald Trump’s re-election team and top Republican officials viewed the 2020 Democratic primary as a two-way race between Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Joe Biden, and had entirely written off Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in high-level strategy discussions. A few months later, Team Trump, the GOP, and the president himself aren’t laughing off the self-identifying socialist anymore. In fact, they’re gaming out various attacks and troll tactics to deploy against the Vermont senator in a potential general election face-off. According to four sources familiar with the internal deliberations, an aggressive anti-Bernie effort is already being drafted inside the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, and allied organizations. And one of the major ideas being kicked around is to deploy more ‘victims of socialism’ and communist regimes to make the case—via video testimonials—against Sanders’ vision of governance.” • Good thing the liberal Democrats helped soften him by rebooting McCarthyism!

Trump (R)(2): “The case for taking Trump’s black outreach seriously” [Matthew Yglesias, Vox]. “But even though Trump’s outreach to black voters is overwhelmingly tacky and ridiculous, it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. After all, Trump’s courting of white working-class voters is tacky and ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. Even a very successful outreach, though, will still leave Trump losing badly among black voters, who overwhelmingly do not support him. But it also means that Trump’s got nowhere to go but up. And the bulk of the evidence suggests that support among black voters has in fact gone up and may rise even further depending on how the rest of the 2020 cycle plays out…. It’s well established that African American turnout declined in 2016 to the levels seen in pre-Obama elections, even as turnout rose in other demographic categories. Less known, as Philip Bump wrote last year, is that Trump actually ‘did slightly better with black voters than did John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012,’ albeit worse than George W. Bush or earlier Republicans.” •

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “Trump Fans Flooded Iowa Caucus Hotline, Democrats Say” [Bloomberg]. “According to two participants on the call, Ken Sagar, a state Democratic central committee member, was among those answering the hotline on caucus night and said people called in and expressed support for Trump. The phone number became public after people posted photos of caucus paperwork that included the hotline number, one of the people on the call said.” • Democrats: Deploy the blame cannons! (And I wonder who those “people” were. Buttigieg’s campaign manager was tweeting out caucus tallysheets with the PIN numbers for entering data into the app.)

Warren (D)(1): “After disappointing Iowa vote, Warren says she needs to be ‘careful’ with money” [WaPo]. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is trying to conserve cash and pulled down TV ads in Nevada and South Carolina after a disappointing third-place standing in Iowa that failed to provide a fundraising bump. ‘I just always want to be careful about how we spend our money,’ Warren (D-Mass.) said Wednesday after being asked about the roughly $375,000 of TV ads pulled in two states that vote later this month. She added that her cash comes from people who make small donations. ‘I just want to be very careful with this money,’ she said. Warren on Wednesday also yanked an additional $100,000 worth of ads, mostly in South Carolina markets but also in Reno, Nev., according to Advertising Analytics, which tracks campaign spending on television…. Compounding that problem, Warren also has among the largest campaigns, with more than 1,000 on staff, meaning she has a hefty payroll bill to meet each month and little extra that she can cut before chopping personnel.”

Warren (D)(2): This might help:

UPDATE Warren (D)(3): Team sports (dk):

See the FEC here and here on “coordinated communications.”

* * *

Let me just start by playing a beautiful song about Iowa.

Now to the ugliness. “Enough is enough”:

Helpful tip: Just in case you’re on the Twitter, and you want to avoid keywords that cause those DNC “disinformation” tripwires to fire, here are some synonyms for “rig”: falsify, fix, manipulate, tamper with, doctor, engineer, fake, gerrymander, juggle, fiddle with, and trump up (indeed!). (“Ratf*ck” — without the asterisk — was the keyword that got me; perhaps readers can come up with some useful synonyms: Rodent erotica?)

Thing is, the DNC has had at least a dozen people on the ground in Iowa since the caucus, helping the Iowa Democrat Party. So Perez just discarded whatever plan the DNC originally set up — while blaming the Iowa Democrats not only for his own plan, but erasing the role the DNC’s own app played in the debacle. Certainly, Perez is giving Obama, who installed him at the DNC after defenestrating Ellison, every reason to be satisfied with his choice:

Sanders throws down the gauntlet:

The DNC throws the Iowa Democrats under the bus:

Hilarity ensues:

UPDATE The overly cynical might think that this triggered Perez:

UPDATE Or maybe Perez was triggered by the prospect of the Times “needle” flipping to a Sanders victory:

Since the satellite caucuses were both the last to be counted, for some reason, and also heavily and successfully organized by the Sanders campaign, this is quite the faux pas by The Newspaper of Record. (I also remember the catastrophic failure of the Times needle on Election Day, 2016. Perhaps it’s time to retire it, even if the sort of people who design “dashboards” for a living love it.)


UPDATE Or maybe Perez was triggered by the Buttigieg campaign complaining about the satellite caucues (the SDEs, mind you, not the popular vote):

UPDATE Not a good look for Buttigieg (1):

UPDATE Not a good look for Buttigieg (2):

We keep hearing about “rules.” Here they are!

UPDATE “UNLOCKED: 391 – Bernie Won (2/5/20)” (podcast) [Chapo Trap House]. • Very good and very funny, despite occasional descents into scatology and flights of triumphalism. The stuff to give the troops!

* * *

And more on the app:

“Acronym group that sabotaged Iowa caucus birthed by billionaire who funded Alabama disinformation campaign” [The Grayzone]. “Silicon Valley billionaire Reid Hoffman funded the creation of ACRONYM, the group that sabotaged the Iowa caucus results, after bankrolling voter manipulation campaigns including the notorious online “false flag operation” in Alabama’s 2017 senate race.” • Oh.

“The Iowa Caucuses App Had Another Problem: It Could Have Been Hacked” [Pro Publica]. “The IowaReporterApp was so insecure that vote totals, passwords and other sensitive information could have been intercepted or even changed, according to officials at Massachusetts-based Veracode, a security firm that reviewed the software at ProPublica’s request. Because of a lack of safeguards, transmissions to and from the phone were left largely unprotected.” • Oh.

The Debates

“For the first time, a climate journalist will moderate a presidential debate” [Heated]. “For the first time in history, a climate journalist will moderate a presidential debate. On Wednesday, NBC News announced that Noticias Telemundo senior correspondent Vanessa Hauc will be among the co-moderators of the Democratic presidential primary debate on February 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (There are three debates scheduled for this month—one tomorrow, one on the 19th, and one on the 25th). If there is a broadcast journalist with a longer history of covering the climate crisis than Hauc, I do not know of them. Huac has been a reporter for more than two decades, and currently leads the investigative unit on environmental issues at Telemundo’s ‘Planeta Tierra.'” • Too bad the DNC didn’t allow a whole debate on climate. Of course, to do that, they would have had to change the rules.


“How Rick Perry waltzed past the impeachment probe” [Politico]. “Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry will skirt questioning by Congress during the impeachment of President Donald Trump despite his central role in the administration’s contacts with Ukraine. Perry stonewalled all requests from lawmakers for information in the investigation, defying a House subpoena and limiting his public comments to friendly media outlets. And despite a lawsuit that’s yielded a trickle of internal records from the Energy Department and allegations from Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas that Perry played a central role in conveying Trump’s demands for investigations into political rival Joe Biden, the Senate is poised to acquit Trump Wednesday with no clear answers about the former Cabinet member’s activities.” • If the Democrats don’t want to enforce subpoenas, what’s the point of issuing them?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Bloomberg Surrogates Have Seats on DNC Rules Committees” [Sludge]. And the deck: “After DNC Chair Tom Perez unilaterally changed the Feb. 19 presidential debate requirements, opening the door for Mike Bloomberg, two campaign surrogates are in position to propose changes to superdelegate voting rules for the July DNC Convention.” More: “The DNC passed intensely-negotiated rule changes in August 2018 that sought to reduce the influence of superdelegates—appointed at-large delegates whose ranks include influential party consultants—primarily by preventing them from casting votes on the first nomination ballot, as they did in 2016. If no candidate receives a majority on the first ballot at the upcoming convention, which will be voted on by 3,979 pledged delegates, then the 771 superdelegates—including some lobbyists for corporate clients—can vote on the second ballot, under the new rules. If the superdelegates were to vote as a block, they could add over 16% to a candidate, potentially pushing their favorite over the top.”

UPDATE “Iowa’s high-tech caucuses crashed, and paper ballots saved the day” [MIT Technology Review]. • So why do we need the high-tech stuff at all, then? Except as a rice bowl for grifters?

UPDATE “DNC Offers Startup $500 Million To Develop Pencil That Can Accurately Record Election Results” [The Onion]. “”As of this morning, we have commissioned the design and manufacture of a cutting-edge tabulation device that will be able to legibly report vote totals on a sheet of paper 99% of the time,” said DNC chair Tom Perez, holding up a rough prototype of the 7.5-inch hexagonal marking implement, which will be built and rigorously stress-tested by a new Silicon Valley business venture known as Sharpen.” • I believe that’s a typo: the venture should be Sharpn™.

Stats Watch

Commodities: “Virus Hits Copper Trade as China Asks Chile to Defer Cargoes” [Bloomberg]. “China’s copper buyers are asking Chilean miners to delay shipments due to port shutdowns, adding to tumult in global commodity trade in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. While the suppliers haven’t reported any contract breaches, they have verbally agreed with clients to reschedule some deliveries…. ‘Just like airlines don’t want to go to China, ocean freight companies don’t want to either,’ [Victor Garay, market coordinator for Cochilco, the copper commission in Chile] said in an interview Wednesday. Copper is joining shipments of everything from oil to crops that have been disrupted by the spread of the deadly virus, which originated in China.”

Shipping: “AAR: “Glimmers of Hope” in U.S. Rail Traffic” [Railway Age]. “‘U.S. rail volumes fell again in January, reflecting continued softness in manufacturing and global economic weakness made worse by trade uncertainties,’ said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. ‘But there were glimmers of hope. Nine of the 20 carload categories we track had year-over-year gains in January, the most in a year, and several other commodities had carload declines in January that were less pronounced than they’ve been in recent months. It’s too early to say if the worst is behind us, but railroads are hopeful that 2020 will see an improved business climate and rising volumes across much of their traffic base.'”

Shipping: “The toll from the coronavirus outbreak is starting to hit maritime operations from container terminals to shipyards. A report from Alphaliner projects the impact of factory shutdowns and other restrictions crimping China’s output will reduce global ocean container volumes, by about 0.7% this year…. as Beijing struggles to rein back the outbreak while keeping its economy on track” [Wall Street Journal]. “The dour outlook for a key segment of global trade comes as international container lines cancel a growing number of scheduled sailings through China and airlines ground flights to the region, squeezing cargo capacity for a broad range of shippers and logistics operators.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62 Greed (previous close: 60 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 56 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 6 at 12:29pm. Let the good times roll!

The Biosphere

“Arctic sinkholes open in a flash after permafrost melt” [Live Science]. “Arctic permafrost can thaw so quickly that it triggers landslides, drowns forests and opens gaping sinkholes. This rapid melt, described in a new study, can dramatically reshape the Arctic landscape in just a few months. Fast-melting permafrost is also more widespread than once thought. About 20% of the Arctic’s permafrost — a blend of frozen sand, soil and rocks — also has a high volume of ground ice, making it vulnerable to rapid thawing. When the ice that binds the rocky material melts away, it leaves behind a marshy, eroded land surface known as thermokarst. Previous climate models overlooked this kind of surface in estimating Arctic permafrost loss, researchers reported. That oversight likely skewed predictions of how much sequestered carbon could be released by melting permafrost, and new estimates suggest that permafrost could pump twice as much carbon into the atmosphere as scientists formerly estimated, the study found.” • Yikes.

“Mysterious Australian rock art may depict the chaos following rising seas” [Science]. “When lost Australian rancher Joseph Bradshaw stumbled across dancing, mulberry-colored figures painted on a rock shelter in the northwestern Kimberly region in 1891, he was mesmerized: They looked like no rock art he had seen before. Since then, the slender, detailed figures—now known as Gwions—have puzzled archaeologists, who didn’t know when they were painted or by whom….. [T]he researchers to reliably bracket the age of the Gwions for the first time: 12,000 years ago, give or take 500 years. That means, Finch says, the Gwion style lasted in the area for just a short period—1000 years or less. That period coincides with the rapid ending of an ice age, when rising seas inundated northern Australia and shrank the lands of the Kimberley region by half. The resulting chaos displaced populations, and it may help explain why the Gwion artists focused on clan dynamics and ceremonies in their paintings.” • The methodology, involving wasps’ nests (!), is fascinating.

“After 2,000 Years, These Seeds Have Finally Sprouted” [The Atlantic (David L)]. “Five of the six seeds that ultimately sprouted came from either Masada, the site of a famous siege in 74 b.c. that is said to have ended with the mass suicide of Masada’s defenders, or the Qumran Caves, best known as the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (A sixth came from caves at Wadi Makukh.) At 2,000 years old, the seeds are in fact contemporaries of these ancient events. Around the time Romans were laying siege to Masada and the Dead Sea Scrolls were being written, these seeds were being formed.”

“The scientists restoring a gold-mining disaster zone in the Peruvian Amazon” [Nature]. “La Pampa was once the largest and most dangerous gold-mining zone in the Peruvian Amazon, so riddled with gangsters that scientists dared not enter. For nearly a decade, they could only watch by satellite as gold hunters mowed down some of the most biodiverse rainforest on the planet. That ended in February 2019, when the government declared martial law and expelled an estimated 5,000 miners. Now, La Pampa is deserted and under military guard. When Silman and his colleagues surveyed the area for the first time in late June, they found a barren, eerily quiet landscape polluted with mercury, a toxic by-product of mining. The data that the researchers collect on this inadvertent experiment could help to determine the extent to which restoration is possible — or document the evolution of an entirely new, and human-made, ecosystem.”

News of the Wired

“This Professor’s ‘Amazing’ Trick Makes Quadratic Equations Easier” [New York Times]. “Quadratics, which are introduced in elementary algebra classes, pop up often in physics and engineering in the calculating of trajectories, even in sports. If, while watching the Super Bowl, you had wanted to estimate how far a pass thrown by Patrick Mahomes traveled through the air, you would have been solving a quadratic equation. The equations also show up in calculations for maximizing profit, a key consideration for anyone who wants to succeed in business. [Dr. Po-Shen Loh] has not discovered something entirely new. Indeed, his method mixes together ideas dating back thousands of years to the Babylonians.” • Paging Michael Hudson!

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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 (TD):

TD writes: “Still no frosts in Oklahoma, so we are still getting blooms.”

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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. Samuel Conner

    Don’t take it personally, Lambert. They’re trying to wear us all down.

    Or perhaps desensitize us in preparation for greater outrages to come…

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        There’s an Orwell quote that I remember poorly to the gist of “True authoritarianism looks like a parody of itself”. I, unfortunately, now fully grasp what he means.
        This is going to get very bad. There’s going to be a reaction to this, especially if they keep being so bald faced. Some people are going to conclude there is only 1 way they have a chance at change, and that isnt via the political process.

        1. jsn

          Yes, when you think you have all the guns on your side (and you may be right), there’s every incentive to incite violence: what I think Orwell was talking about was parody as provocation.

          It is starting to look that way…

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          They took my union. They took my wages. They took my pension. They took the paltry interest I earned at the bank. They took my hope for a white picket fence. They took my chance for my kid to get educated. They took my health.

          Now they took my chance to even make a symbolic gesture of participation every four years.

          “Those who make gradual change impossible….etc etc”

          1. Chris

            Sad, true, and very well said.

            If the DNC does pull this and they throw over the board to make sure the count turns out right this time there will be war in our future. The displaced Democrats will leave the party structure and I guess we’ll see how political Antifa can get. The Republicans will double down because why should they let an obviously corrupt party compete with them for votes?

            I never thought we’d see so clearly how un-democratic the Democrats were. Even as a cynic I’m shocked.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              In life what matters is not what happens to you but rather how you react to it.

              So if even the last holdout must now conclude that the entire length and breadth of the American political process is corrupt from end to end, how will they react.

              1. They react by tuning out altogether
              2. They conclude that “when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose”. So they pick up a brick and throw it through a bank window.

              I think it’s probably a two-step reaction. First #1. Then things get perceptibly, steadily, inexorably worse. Finally the equivalent of a guy selling bread in a Tunisian market sets himself on fire, and we reap the whirlwind.

      2. Rosario

        Thanks for giving them a shout out. They were notably emotional during the podcast, as any Bernie supporter should be. You could feel the anger. I’ve definitely felt it the past few days myself, but as they said in the podcast. We have to keep our heads in the long game.

        1. CBBB

          I have to say I was getting annoyed reading the Chapo guys on twitter following the first day (hahaha) of the Iowa Caucus. Declaring Bernie had won even when it really did seem that Buttigieg had won by at least a couple points. I though they had gone off the deep end and were just delusional but in the end I think they saw clearer than most.
          Great episode.

          1. JBird4049

            I think heard one them quoting Revelations 3:15-16 when excoriating, among others, Warren’s supporters. Buncha swearing and then bits like this followed by more swearing.

            3:15 ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.

            3:16 Since you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth.

            Passionate could describe them. That and perceptive.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I saw a little of that go by on the Twitter, but it never got any traction. Presumably we will shortly be told that the unsung heroes in the DHS prevented that.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            Yeah, that argument got shot down pretty quickly. The issue was, with straight rounding, often not all of the delegate slots assigned to a site got allocated. So then the process was to use the next highest fractional total to round up… Anyway, turns out it was all spelled out in the manual and this aspect, at least, doesn’t seem nefarious.

    1. skippy

      It echos …

      “I wonder how many realize the fight is just starting, warming up, and unprepared for the acts that may be used against them.


      Pulled from comments:

      To me, as a psychologist, what is interesting about this interview is how similar the behavior and communication style of this woman from WBC is to that of Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and many others on the far right. The immature, delusional, histrionic, illogical, and almost manic mental state displayed by this woman is well within pathological ranges.

      However, what is most troubling is not that entities such as WBC exists, but that its style (even if often at more temperate levels) is representative of much of the US evangelical movement. Lest we forget, this was also representative of George W. Bush’s thinking pattern. It is also one of the major underlying themes of the Tea Party and much of the Republican Party. It is infused with dogmatism, narrow-mindedness, delusional thinking, dehumanization of anybody thinking otherwise, and of course, it is driven by unchecked selfishness, a deep sense of entitlement, and ultimately an antisocial frame of mind. And make no mistake, this is also expressed into America’s national arrogance, hubris, belief in its exceptionalism, and pattern of disregard for human rights and international law.

      Two good books I read recently that shed some light on this phenomenon are Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion, and Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason.



      I’ve always said they would snap the Bernays knob off too keep power at – any – cost, Nancy Pelosi antics, rewarmed old school one size fits all ideological label slurs, and if that’s not sufficient take democracy away through smoke and mirrors.

      Now it all pins on whether Sanders gets through the gauntlet of the DNC machinations, then the – really big show – will be the GOP antics with Trumps style. I mean he’s tapped the vulgar pulse right [tm] to its evolutionary DNA, stripped it of all social pretense, and loud and proud wipes in on the drapes to the applause of his base.

      Seems the only distinction between the blue dog democrats and the GOP is not unlike Athenians looking down their nose at the Spartans at their treatment of lessors and ridged social formation.

      Sanders policies [tm] are a direct threat to all of that, same as FDR, which IMO is transcendent of the individual promoting them, because they are not the author of them. You can take down an individual, but you can’t take down a widely distributed conceptualization of socioeconomic policies in an electorate – accent on distributed. The latter is the great fear of the node of power, took decades to purge it by hook or crook.

      All made even more dynamic with the environmental back drop and its real time consequences hitting the market from multiple directions all at the same time – totally messes with the profit crystal ball.

    2. Cuibono

      “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable… At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains…and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater”. Frank Zappa

          1. Lee

            The noun form is also good: baiseur de rat or the gerund
            putain de rat, is not bad either. All very yummy.

      1. Samuel Conner

        LOL! I had forgotten that; don’t get out much!

        Had to look that one up. Does one get extra points for unintended multi-entendre?

        1. rowlf

          Mad magazine had graphic versions of several of Lehrer’s songs. Fun time as a kid listening to the records while reading along in the magazine.

      1. Martin Cohen

        Wonder when they’ll send the Marines to California? We’re certainly making a move of which he does not approve.

    1. bob

      Rattery. As a verb- Rats do rattery.

      The existing noun definition is wonderfully accurate-



      rattery (countable and uncountable, plural ratteries)

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

    2. Bugs Bunny

      We’ve got words in French that I’d not write here. Screwing rats doesn’t make much sense. There’s a funny one and appropriate for Mardi Gras – mangeurs de galette. A simple salauds goes a long way.

      1. petal

        Oh that was me! hahaha! I feel like it doesn’t quite capture the essence of it, though. It’s too…nice.

    1. JCC

      I thought a minor change in the original “Rodent erotica” would sound more scientific, particularly for our meritocracy:

      Rodentia erotica

      1. bob

        I think erotica is probably close to the top of any bad word list. This is the internet after all.

        Rodent consulting

        “After all the time and money Mayo Pete spent rodent consulting, he still lost!”

    2. DJG

      Dita (and others): I am currently casting my net wider for saltiness. I am favoring:

      Stuffing Topo Gigio
      Santorumizing the ballot

      Your choice.

  2. OIFVet

    Can we pressure the Mayo Pete campaign to report to the FEC three days’ worth of free media coverage as tens of millions of dollars worth of contributions to his campaign? Just so everyone knows who our impartial stenographers support.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      At least the plan is clear
      Buutigig and bloomberg vs. Sanders
      No more p×ssyfootin around that
      Should be interesting

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Yeah, biden and warren have too many self-inflicted wounds
          Both are low on funds
          McKinsey lite and the billionaire are gonna run a grass roots campaign, ought to work like a champ.

        2. Carla

          I don’t think it will be difficult for her. She could wind up as VEEP to either Bloomberg or Mayo Pete.

            1. Bugs Bunny


              Thought of that today while reading the Florida Man Bag of Drugs story.

              “We were somewhere around Barstow…”

          1. BobW

            Our primary is Super Tuesday, and Bloomers ads are frequent. Don’t think that I’ve seen one for anyone else yet. Money talks.

        3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Who? Oh yeah, one of the other Republicans in the race.

          When the former Goldwater Girl lost to a vulgar Republican game show host it was hard for me to imagine that four years later the “opposition” would be a field composed of…Republicans.

          Oh. And one or two honest men and women with actual non-1% policies and interests.

          When do we decide that the corporation responsible for nominally opposing hedge fund billionaire rule is non compos mentis and should be euthanized for purely humanitarian reasons?

    1. Big Tap

      Tom Perez let the fact out by his action that Bernie Sanders won Iowa. Who with 97% of the votes counted asks for a recanvassing? Someone that knows the last 3% would give Bernie the win and Perez will not permit it. As the FAIR article said the media has been selling this as a Mayo Pete win with the deceptive numbers they show. Sanders has the most votes and as of this writing a pledged delegate tie with Pete at 11.

        1. hoki haya

          Recanvas is not a full recount, as it excludes checking the ‘preferred candidate’ placards (i.e.actual votes) & only reexamines the hard data. Much easier to fudge results further in Pete’s direction.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        We all know very well what that means, muscular guys in jet black suits and sunglasses turn up at your door and say “about that vote you cast, Vinnie here thinks maybe you made an error”.

        Empire descends into rat-thuggery, hilarity ensues

        1. bob

          These well paid, well heeled dorks don’t have the balls to do that.

          “We’ve stopped by with some Pinocchio’s and Facts for you to consider. Checkmate”

    2. Plenue

      Genuine question: can someone suss out what their plan was in the first place? Assuming there was actually a coordinated conspiracy (my inclination is to assume honest incompetence, but that view is becoming more and more untenable with each passing day). How exactly did they envision this going down; how did they think they would get away with giving the state to Buttigieg? Or was the point to simply muddy the waters for a while and prevent Sanders getting a victory speech and momentum?

      1. DJG

        Plenue: Great observation. We collectively should discuss so as to understand the tactics of Democratic liberals, their neoliberal pals (capitalists to their bones Nancy and Elizabeth), their authoritarian tendencies (Pete, he’s all heart, as is Bloomberg), and the imminent outbreak of red-baiting (paging Claire McCaskill…pick up the red phone).

        First: There’s a side of this episode (one of many episodes) that is almost pure colonalism. The Great Lakes States are flyover country, and Iowa, Great Lakes adjacent, is flyover of flyover. So you have a certain contempt for the customs of these bumpkins, all named LaVerl, except, well, for immigants mentioned up top from Ethiopia and Myanmar. This is the managerial class compulsion to interfere–the M.B.A. who shows up to tell you that you don’t know how to run your business. Lambert Strether posted that the Milwaukee convention is being organized by two jamokes from New Jersey (and their toxic environment). Because we all know that the Cheeseheads need civilizing.

        Second: A columnist at The Root once made the observation that white people put their feet on the furniture. So you are seeing moral obtuseness plus impunity. Trump isn’t the only white person who thinks that he can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue. In the general too-clever-by-half atmosphere of this era, they likely thought that they have enough money to get away with it. Who’s going to catch them? Will anyone go to jail? Do nice white people named Tara “with supporters” ever go to jail? (Unlike, say, whistleblower Chelsea.)

        Three: Further, related to white people with their feet on the furniture–I see a certain amount of just plain malign incompetence among this class of people. It’s “I dare you to expose me.” These are the kids who kicked your lunchbox.

        I suspect that there will be no consequences for anyone involved at Acronym and certainly not the hero-of-technology David Plouffe–nor at the DNC. The consequences will be that these half-baked greedheads came in, put their feet on the furniture, and now the voters of Iowa are cleaning up the wreckage–and being threatened with the end of their quaint little folk custom celebrating democracy.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          I’m on the incompetence side. Schooling swarms of sycophants with no organizing force. And they weren’t that useful when someone has had the whiphand.There’s going to be a cascade of mere tactics until their lack of strategy causes yet another post-Super Tuesday crisis.

          A retreat to Aspen and canceling a bunch of primaries does not seem to be that improbable anymore.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          capitalized on the chaos

          There’s an acronym for a certain department of the government that immediately comes to my mind when I encounter that phrase.

      2. Aumua

        Regardless of the prior plan I think the point now is to avoid ever saying that “Sanders won”. That’s the top priority right now, and I won’t be surprised if they find a way to *never* release the last 3% of results. Or at least not until the Democratic convention has happened.

      3. fajensen

        I think their plan was to quietly fix the votes using the app. Then they find out that all the candidates, probably based on past experiences, have kept their own records. Then they had to pull the plug and declare incompetence.

        Perez then gets yelled at to “Do Something” by She Who Owns the ‘DNC Services Corporation’ and like any good bureaucrat who gets yelled at he then does a something which doesn’t do anything.

        1. ambrit

          I’m with those commenters who opine that delay is the basic purpose of Perez’ actions. Deny Sanders any momentum going into the next primary contest. Which tactic Sanders is doing an end run around.
          I’m getting cynical enough to wonder when the Establishment is going to suspend the election altogether “in the best interests of the Nation.”

          1. fajensen

            I am literally afraid that ‘They’ totally would *if only* ‘They’ could get Donald Trump to do the nasty things for them.

            The Establishment are passive-aggressive extremists who were happy to kill 500000 Iraqis, it was “worth it” as that fat lady said on TV, as long as they don’t get their own hands into any of the blood. If they could get away with this ‘at home’ as easy as they did with Iraq, all the brakes would come off:

            Some suitable ‘National Emergency’, then somehow declaring The President ‘Dictator for the Duration of the Crisis’, like ancient Rome -> The opposition goes into FEMA-camps together with the Corona-virus patients and the homeless.

            God sorts most of that lot out. Then after the ashes have been cleared from the burning pits, ‘They’ can wring their hands and blame it all on the ‘terrible mistakes’ of Donald Trump’s administration, there will be many long-winded inquest lasting until the principals are long dead, some minions are jailed for life, and thus Democracy is Saved for another 50 years or so!

          2. polecat

            Where you see a Nation, I see an Apparition. I see Sovereign Debt People, herr Dokktor … of whom many are going through the motions of their former bourgeoisie intermediary lives .. as they trudge slowly, and without sight .. over History’s precipice, lacking both demeanor, and a Plan B !

  3. FriarTuck

    RE: Trump (R)(1): “Team Trump Plans Its Assault on Bernie. Step One: ‘Victims of Socialism.’”

    Oh, boy! This sounds like it would be a great arena to discuss the absolute catastrophe of American anti-socialist, anti-liberty foreign policy based on hyperbolic McCarthyism.

    I can see a million reasons this would blow up in Trump’s face.

    1. Calvin

      “Good Socialism” is noted however:

      Pentagon Socialism

      Nuclear Power Insurance Socialism

      Real Estate Tax Depreciation Socialism

      Church and Synagogue Property Tax Exemption Socialism

      Oil and Gas Depletion Allowance Socialism

      Oil and Gas Tax Deferment Socialism

      Libertarians, keep your hands off my depletion allowances!!

        1. James

          Or a lot of water treatment facilities. Or sanitation systems. Or electrical infrastructure.

          I keep wondering how a “bomb them with infrastructure” platform might play out. Still get to feed contractors, but we don’t orphan or mangle a bunch of kids in the process.

          If some prick wants to blow up whatever we install, just because we’re the ones that installed it? That’s fine. We’ll be back next year.

          Probably too fantastical…

    2. neo-realist

      If a Bernie campaign has the money to buy the media (and a willing on the part of such media to show the commercials) that informs Americans how much welfare we give to Corporate America and the MIC as well as informs them of the cuts that would be made to Social Security and Medicare by a 2nd Trump term, then I could see this blowing up in Trump’s face.

  4. divadab

    Doesn’t this Iowa shitshow look like a CIA regime-change Op? Complete with Juan Guado-like Mayor Pete the Cheat? Classic appearance of incompetence masquerading the underlying scheme?

    Anyway frack the whole flipping crew of scum like Perez – GO BERNIE!

    1. Samuel Conner

      A lot of people seem to be “working toward” some fuehrer or other.

      Perhaps PG will be GROFAZ.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      It does. Many have commented that if Bolivia were the imperial hegemon of the Western Hemisphere, as opposed to the United States, they would already have sent in the troops. (Remember that it was a normal and to-be-expected delay in counting rural votes that was the pretext for the coup.)

    1. James

      Maybe r@fvk?

      I don’t twitter or facebook, so I don’t know if the “@” would fvk up the formatting or whatever.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Admirably compact. I wonder if there is an interestingly shaped unicode character that could be repurposed, and that could be displayed in tweets. I don’t know how to represent that character set using plain text.

  5. deplorado

    Re: “Health care VCs haven’t made plans for a Bernie Sanders win” [Axios].

    VCs have fiduciary duty? Forgive my ignorance, that strikes me as bizarre from at least one angle. It’s like having a fiduciary duty to violate someone or to blow money. Does such a thing really exist?

    1. Yves Smith

      We’ve discussed this on our private equity posts.

      As fund managers, by statute. they do. But then they get their investors to waive it (I am not making this up). And the investors are so brainwashed as to think they need to be in these funds and so cowed by the PE/VC Masters of the Universe that they meekly go along.

  6. Hepativore

    One wonders what sorts of things are in store for us in New Hampshire. The DNC might preemptively take over the counting tally ahead of time and then claim Buttigieg the clear winner as more delays and controversies follow in the days after the New Hampshire vote. Meanwhile we would be subjected to seeing Sneaky Pete’s smug face beaming with arrogance from every large media outlet.

    This might be the strategy for the DNC; stir up chaos in every state in regards to the accuracy of the votes and then claim that it was all because Bernie Sanders was trying to cheat.

    “After all, isn’t it odd that everywhere Sanders goes trouble follows? You can’t trust that Bernie, no sir!”

        1. jo6pac

          I think it Stalin that said it’s not who votes but who counts the votes as Hepativore points out

          1. petal

            In my district, we stick the marked ballot into one of those scantron machines. I don’t know if it’s like that all over the state. But you could definitely hand count the ballots.

              1. petal

                Nope, just a piece of paper, a black marker, and one of those big old skool scantron machines. It’s like the size of a cabinet. A staff member will either slide your marked ballot paper in for you or they watch as you do it. Nothing fancy. If anything is different on Tuesday when I go, I’ll post about it. The ladies that run the voting place I go to run it with an iron fist. No messing about.

                1. flora

                  Will all the paper ballots be saved for 30 days for a manual recount, if necessary?

                  Normally, this sort of question sound paranoid. We aren’t in normal times.

                  Adding: a big shout-out to all the people who give their time as poll workers. They aren’t the problem with the system.

                  1. Dan

                    a big shout-out to all the people who give their time as poll workers. They aren’t the problem with the system.


                    1. rowlf

                      I always thank the poll workers for their work so we can vote. Seems to surprise them to be thanked by anyone.

                2. lyman alpha blob

                  That system is better than most, especially in that the paper ballots are there to be counted at least, but the machines simply do not count all the votes the first time around.

                  A few years ago I did a hand recount of an election whose results had originally been tallied on the scanners. We counted more votes by hand than the machines did by about 1-2%. What we noticed was that if the ovals were not filled out according to directions, and a voter put an ‘x’ or some other mark in the oval, the machine won’t count it even though the intent would be obvious to an actual human being.

                  Also, several years before that I worked as an election clerk using the same type of machines. We were told that mismarked ballots would be separated into a different bin inside the machine so they could be tallied easily in the event of a recount. When we looked inside after voting was over the sort hadn’t worked all the ballots were jumbled together. Also, we instructed voters to feed their ballots slowly into the machines but not all of them did. There’s a counter on the machines that tallies when a ballot has been entered and I noticed that when ballots were fed too quickly the counter did not tally the ballot at all.

                  All of this is due to faulty machinery and not anything nefarious, but at the end of the day people’s votes didn’t get counted. Hand marked paper ballots counted in public is really the only way to go.

                  Any idea if there’s any margin that triggers an automatic recount in NH, and if they’d do the recount by hand or just feed ballots back into the machines?

                  1. flora

                    Thanks for this info

                    “All of this is due to faulty machinery and not anything nefarious, but at the end of the day people’s votes didn’t get counted. Hand marked paper ballots counted in public is really the only way to go.

                    “Any idea if there’s any margin that triggers an automatic recount in NH, and if they’d do the recount by hand or just feed ballots back into the machines?”

                  2. Mo's Bike Shop

                    Same system here in Gainesburg, Fla.

                    I see machines as a way to reduce volunteers and all the inquiry that comes with them. And people happily doing stuff for free to benefit the community would f*ck up elite explanations about the economy.

                    Maybe we need a corollary to Hanlon’s Razor: Are they an MBA?

                  3. Yves Smith

                    This is exactly the same system they use at CalPERS for mail-in ballots. Someone independent needs to be there to oversee the adjudication of those scan fails. They can also happen due to jams of the equipment and ballots getting mangled, not just markings the scanner can’t interpret.

              2. Jen

                Not sure what they have in the southern region (Concord/Manchester area) but with a population of only 1.4M, and no broad based taxes in these parts, we don’t have a reliable income stream to spend the kind of money that other states do on these boondoggles. Thank dog.

                My little town (and we have a lot of little towns) doesn’t even have the fancy device Petal is talking about. We are strictly hand marked paper ballots, hand counted in public.

                Edited to add – just did a search on Manchester and looks like paper ballots to me.

                1. flora

                  Good. I agree with Nebraska’s Jane Kleeb on this:

                  ‘ Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party and a critic of big-money investment in Democratic data infrastructure, said she would “never” consider using an app with funding from Silicon Valley to help Nebraska select delegates or with other processes.

                  ‘ “My bottom line as party chair is we should not be using electronic voting for any elections at the party level or for candidates,” Kleeb said. “It’s just not an accessible form of voting and having your voice heard for older voters or for people with different disabilities, visual disabilities.” ‘


              3. inode_buddha

                My district (NY-27) is similar: You get a blank ballot and a ball point pen. Mark it in, it goes into a scanner. The scanner dumps it into a sealed box after it goes through.

              4. Carla

                @Lambert — they can fuck with scanners. But hand-marked paper ballots with digital scanners is what we have in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. But our hand-marked ballots disappear into those scanners. I don’t trust ’em.

        2. paintedjaguar

          Demonstration of hacked optical scanner misreading hand marked ballots, from “Hacking Democracy”:
          These optical scanners have been known to be unreliable at least since the 2000 election. Check out “Black Box Voting” for the work of Bev Harris and others on this sort of thing. Sure, maybe you can get a recount, but usually that just means re-scanning the ballots, not a hand count. Or maybe an actual hand count gets messed with, like Florida in 2000.

      1. MassBay

        Not in ’08 at least. In that primary, Kucinich sued after the machine counts went to Hillary and hand counts went to Obama.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > One wonders what sorts of things are in store for us in New Hampshire.

      We have a decentralized system. I imagine there will be something different for each state. Who knows what the California Democrats are planning…

    2. inode_buddha

      I wonder at what point does the Sanders campaign request UN election monitors from functioning democracies?

      I mean, just to make a point, not that the UN would actually show up.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        “Functioning democracies”?

        Come now. Have you been reading the international section?

        I truly can’t think of any. Japan? Finland? idk

    3. JTMcPhee

      The header squib from the Wiki article on the 2020 Iowa canvass features the moonbeam face of Sneaky Pete, at least on DDG when you search on “results of 2020 Iowa caucus.” The main article still lists Pete the Cheat as the winner.

      Any Wiki editors out there want to “correct the record?”

      1. Darius

        I fear Pete is getting a bounce in NH from all this. Self pundit white liberals looking for a “winner.” In which case, the establishment ploy worked. Talk me off the ledge.

        1. Biph

          Pete probably will get a bounce out of this and that’s all to the good. Bernie still wins NH remember he did so last time, but if Biden is held under viability (15%) for second time he looks like a loser and those Bernie as 2nd choice Biden supporters move to Sanders as I think Mayor Pete is unlikely to play well NV or SC that sets Bernie up nicely in those two States and for CA and Super Tuesday. I could just be blowing up sunshine up my own derriere, but I’m determined to try and remain positive until I can’t.

        2. hoki haya

          He’s undoubtely receiving a bounce.

          If he loses byless than 10 pts in Bernie’s neighboring state, it too can be claimed a success.

  7. Wukchumni

    “Mysterious Australian rock art may depict the chaos following rising seas” [Science]
    How would you depict on a wall, a series of financial bubbles, each growing ever larger in size, as we are trying harder to kill this orb that gives us life, or have I just described the NYSE?

    Seriously though, very interesting interpretation of what might’ve been in Australia. That’s the beauty of ancient wall art, there’s sometimes an urgent message that gets lost in translation or is misinterpreted.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Other than the era when the art was created I did not see what arguments suggested the art depicted the chaos following the rising seas. The one example shown heading the link looked like ideographs of some kind. How do these images tie in with clan lineages and chaos following rising seas? Other than the new dating — the interpretations may represent a Rorschach test of the researchers but beyond that … ?

      Your serious question interests me far more. If we are progressing toward a major collapse — what can or should we leave as a warning to future … assuming there will be a future that might need warning? What art, in what form, could we leave that will still be around 10,000 years, or more, in the future? What writing could we leave to record our knowledge in a way the future might be able to read and understand? How might it be preserved?

      I do not know how to make it yet. I have imagined an stone image, carved from obsidian or black marble, of the Mother-of-All crying. For a while she might cry tears I could ignite as they leave her tear ducts and fall to her cheek — burning tears. For the longer term the image must be fed by some kind of rain catch when the burning substance is gone. She cries for all her lost, dead, and dying children.

          1. ambrit

            One of my favourite CTs is that the Apollo missions were cut short because we found evidence of previous Earth based civilizations having been to the Moon in the far past. Now that’s a really good mind f— there. The idea has what a good CT should have: Plausible Undeniability.

      1. Wukchumni

        Our trash dumps will provide the best explanation of what we were all about, that is if said landfills don’t get the once over or twice over or what have you in the meantime between here and 10,000 years from now. As it is presently, precious little of what we did will remain, it’s all throwaway-the way we lived.

        Native Americans did their best art on nearly vertical walls that had what is termed ‘desert varnish’ which covers up the color underneath, and you just carve into the desert varnish to display your message, and so far their efforts have lasted around 3,000 years.

        It would be so easy to do the same in a much more polished manner with a battery powered Dremel tool, and there is no shortage of perfect wall to leave a message board in the southwest.

        Less than an hour from Las Vegas are some amazing 2,000-3,000 year old petroglyphs, and one near the bottom of the link sure looks like a roulette wheel, hmmmm.


      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL


        Just a nice image of a Vonnegut-ian, touching that piece of Ice-9 to his tongue “as he thumbs his nose at you know Who”.

        Nothing to see here, just another species doing their job, exploiting their ecological niche with everything they’ve got, until The Extinction Express rolls into town, as it *always* does.

        And Homo-Not-So-Sapiens is just an interesting geological layer, characterized by plastics, heavy metals, radioactivity, and various complex pharmaceutical molecules. Nature cares not

        1. LifelongLib

          “Nature cares not”

          True. Only people care. And when we’re gone, there may never be anything else that does.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Wonderful image. Would you be able to actually make it? Or find a sculptor. It should really be very large, but a model would be a good start.

      4. fajensen

        Your serious question interests me far more. If we are progressing toward a major collapse — what can or should we leave as a warning to future …

        Our nuclear waste of course. Enough of ‘the good stuff’ will easily last 10000 years and some people dying from mysterious illnesses after visiting those cursed ancient concrete temples with their long rows of unnaturally pure metal cylinders of no discernible purpose will cause people to make stories about the Angering of Gods and Cursed Artefacts of The Old Ones.

        Assuming enough of ‘us’ makes it of course:

        Should there be a collapse, there will be no-one tendering all those “temporary storage facilities” where we keep spent fuel rods under active cooling in pools and all those other places where we have stuff sitting in normal, corroding, 50 gallon drums. The waste will leak over time and poison the environment. Unless, we can create a religion based on reaching heaven through catering for Godly items that glow in the dark! A religion based totally on garbage, that would be some legacy for us too .

        1. polecat

          Anything south of the Hanford ‘Nukular’ Reservation will be Mutation City ! Just think of all that nucleotide-plumed cheddar, wafting it’s way down the Columbia … passing the formerly woke city of Portland .. on the way to the Pacific.

          Three-headed Salmon, anyone ?
          Sealions bearing flippers with opposable ‘thumbs’ ? .. Nets come to mind.
          Indiginous Raccoons with enlarged craniums using homemade myrtlewood slide-rulers ?
          Terrestrial Octopuses nesting in fir trees .. like living glowglobes ??

          Think of the unhuman possiblities

  8. Jen

    IDP tells Perez to pound sand (in a totally Iowa nice kind of way)…

    “Two people familiar with the matter told CNN that the IDP did not have advance warning of Perez’s announcement. Later, IDP Chair Troy Price released a statement reiterating the party’s commitment to reporting accurate results and said it’s up to candidates to request a recanvass.

    “Should any presidential campaign in compliance with the Iowa Delegate Selection Plan request a recanvass, the IDP is prepared,” Price said.”


      1. Tvc15

        Perez’s Twitter bio says, “he likes fighting for the little people”. Does he mean in stature? Maybe that explains the rule change for Bloomberg. Low blow I know but couldn’t help myself.

          1. hunkerdown

            No, he likes fighting for the little people. They’re easier to carry around in his pocket and exchange for cash when he leaves the casino.

  9. dcrane

    Helpful tip: Just in case you’re on the Twitter, and you want to avoid keywords that cause those DNC “disinformation” tripwires to fire, here are some synonyms for “rig”: falsify, fix, manipulate, tamper with, doctor, engineer, fake, gerrymander, juggle, fiddle with, and trump up (indeed!).

    Soon we’ll all be communicating online with cryptic slang like the Chinese.

    1. JBird4049

      The Great Firewall of America. Sweet, just like the Great Firewall of China. Who says that Americans can’t learn anything. Only, it won’t be censorship, it will be fighting disinformation.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Why not just re-spell the word enough to defeat the Twitter-Filter but preserve the phonetic integrity?
      Like, say . . . rattfuckker, rahtfuccur, rattphukur, etc.

  10. OIFVet

    This article by Caitlin Johnstone from 3 years ago is worth being shared again: I Dare You To Elect Tom Perez, DNC. Do It. Do It And Watch What Happens.

    You clearly do not realize this yet, but progressives are done with the way you do things. Completely finished. We are finished with the way you hold the civil rights of disadvantaged groups hostage in order to leverage us into supporting corporatist wars and crushing economic injustice. We’re finished with the way you actively sabotage progressive candidates. Finished with the way you collaborate with the corporate media to manipulate the public into backing your evil oligarchic practices. Finished with the way you enable a few billionaires to have more of a voice in American politics than all American voters combined. That is not on anymore. We’re done with that, and we’ll do everything we need to do to make this shift happen.


  11. PKMKII

    IDP chair Troy Price has responded to Perez’ demand with a sharp no:

    Throughout the collection of records of results, the IDP identified inconsistencies in the data and used our redundant paper records to promptly correct those errors. This is an ongoing process in close coordination with precinct chairs, and we are working diligently to report the final 54 precincts to get as close to final reporting as possible.

    Also some very subtle political messaging in this passage:

    Should any presidential campaign in compliance with the Iowa Delegate Selection Plan request a recanvass, the IDP is prepared. In such a circumstance, the IDP will audit the paper records of report, as provided by the precinct chairs and signed by representatives of presidential campaigns.

    Earlier today it had been reported that the Buttigieg campaign called the IDP to complain about the way the satellite caucuses were being allocated. So this is the IDP’s way of saying, you want a recount, Buttigieg, ask for it yourself instead of using Perez as a proxy. Which, as KCRG notes, he has until tomorrow to request.

    1. Watt4Bob

      So, it was a Buttigieg campaign manager who included the PIn in a Tweet?

      (And I wonder who those “people” were. Buttigieg’s campaign manager was tweeting out caucus tallysheets with the PIN numbers for entering data into the app.)

      Even an accidentally, and momentarily flashed phone number on TV has been known to result in thousands of phone calls to that number, almost immediately.

      I would guess the PIN number for the DNC app revealed on Twitter (probably visible for much more than a moment) was immediately used to screw with the dims efforts to report.

      They were probably watching the numbers change in front of their eyes for hours before they figured out that they’d been had, by, amongst others, young kids who saw the PIN and knew exactly what they could do, and then did.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I don’t want to include a link for fear of Skynet, but I feel that ‘Booty Do Math’ by Kirby Krackle would be an appropriate soundtrack to all of this. Easily found via search app of your choice.

  12. Grant

    “NEW: The Iowa Democratic Party did not have advance warning that @TomPerez was calling for a recanvass of the Iowa caucus results”

    Because he is essentially an unelected dictator in that corrupt party and is just rigging things on the fly. The DNC and the IDP, with all of their rigging, still couldn’t prevent Bernie winning, and Perez is now so corrupt that he is leapfrogging the IDP. If he and his corrupt group of parasites cannot get enough people to support them and their crappy candidates, then he will just nullify a democratic process. Stalin would have no problem with this democracy. Vote, but if you don’t agree with me, I will decide.

    1. Calvin

      “Because he is essentially an unelected dictator in that corrupt party ”

      The Democratic Party is a private corporation.

      “JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: The Republican Party is a private club. The Democratic party is a private club. They are not the government. Even though [a primary] looks like an election, feels like an election. You use the same equipment where you go for an election, you go to the same place.
      It is not an election. It is not run by the government.

      And these private clubs can do the nominations however they see fit…
      The courts are not going to interfere with these rules any more than they would with the running of the NFL or the Moose Lodge…”

      1. inode_buddha

        “The Democratic Party is a private corporation. ”

        … Then why are they allowed to interfere in our public affairs?

        1. Calvin

          Don’t like their chosen product? Then don’t vote :-)

          Great way to run a Democracy, eh?

          Maybe a Republic is a better idea?

          1. inode_buddha

            Wouldn’t it be nice if we had either one of those? I seem to recall there was a dispute about taxation without representation a while back. It looks like we’re going to have to re-litigate that one again.

    1. flora

      There’s that name again. First the DRM poll, then the mistakes consistently going against Sanders, now this in an effort to stop the last 3% count ?

      1. katiebird

        Sounds like it to me. Lambert has more in the updated links. This is a sad day. Almost worse than Monday/Tuesday.

    2. Michael

      Partly because the professionals paid to verify it can’t figure it out themselves. NYT needle-manager Nate Cohn says there are two sets of rules applicable to satellite SDEs, and he has no idea which one applies.

      Every time it seems like Iowa can’t get more messed up, someone coats it in a fresh layer of slime.

      1. Phillip Allen

        For me, most sadly, Twitter links do not show up on computer or mobile. :-(

        A Firefox problem again?

        1. Jules Dickson

          I tested the Twitter links on my computer using Firefox and had no problem. I don’t have Firefox on my mobile, but the links worked for me using Chrome.

    3. Jen

      Having a call to “raise concerns” is not exactly formally requesting a recount. Sounds like the IDP is ready to rumble if Mayor Pete wants to go there.

  13. OIFVet

    https://twitter.com/ryangrim/status/1225498011289227265. From Ryan Grim: “Watch this and then consider that the Buttigieg campaign, which spent zero effort to organize or inspire these folks, is now spending its energy lobbying party officials to diminish the influence they have on the outcome.” The video is so worth watching, it encapsulates why Bernie Sanders is the only one who can capture the minority vote.

      1. a different chris

        One reply that cracked me up:

        “Pete already looking like he couldn’t be more a part of the establishment even if he were mortared into the walls of the capital building.”

  14. ambrit

    Sanders gambit of unilaterally declaring victory in Iowa and then moving on to New Hampshire immediately is strategic genius. He is delegitimizing the DNC in the eyes of the public. This strategy will work better and better as the string of DNC cluster—-s adds up. Sanders is positioning himself as the “Adult” in a room full of fractious children.
    When the DNC hands the Democrat national candidacy to their preferred “Unity Candidate” at Milwaukee, Sanders can force a split in the Party and walk off with the Left half, and it really is still a half or more of the total.
    Imagine if Teddy Roosevelt had won in 1912.

    1. flora

      That TR reference is instructive. He promised not to run a second term on the GOP ticket. In 1912 he split the GOP by walked off with half into his new Bull Moose Party – and lost. Both parties made sure the machinery would not let a 3rd party candidate win. The 2 parties are really 2 monopolies.

      1. alex morfesis

        the only reason teddy roosevelt did not win in 1912 is because he was shot a few weeks before the election, refused to die, and remained bed ridden; back then getting shot was mostly fatal and his vp running mate did not exactly excite anyone…TR was surging, probably leading and would have won the election had he not been shot…he also won the republican primaries but Taft and his cronies wiped their private parts with the rules and refused to count his victories on the convention floor and stole the nomination

        his bull moose followers were called radicals and dangerous for the nation

        sound familiar ???

        1. Wukchumni

          The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard, is one hell of a tale of Teddy in the Amazon.

          You feel like a bit of a girly man in comparison, after reading what he went through.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      The contrast between Buttigieg declaring victory when zero (0) votes were counted, and Sanders holding his fire until it was clear the fix was in, and then declaring a popular vote victory is quite evident. (Also, what the other campaigns have to say about Buttigieg’s maneuver will be interesting. “Mayor Pete speaks for me!”? Or what? Warren’s statement should be particularly interesting.

      I wouldn’t say that Sanders exactly sawed the DNC’s jugular open, but a nice jujitsu move.

      1. OIFVet

        I would expect Warren’s lack of statement to speak very loudly with her progressive supporters. I don’t think she will issue a statement addressing Buttigieg, and in a way that would be even better for Sanders.

        Also, I agree that holding the fire until the DNC and the forces of obstruction went all in was a very nice move. Don’t get in the way of your enemies destroying their credibility. Next, play the video of all of these minorities, organized by his campaign, caucusing for the very first time and overwhelmingly voting for him, and say “This is what Trump is deathly afraid of” and the DNC will be toast with the rank and file.

        1. skippy

          I would suggest that the mainstream DNC players are and still engaging in horse wrangling for what the future portends – as a jobs market.

          Contra Sanders knows that’s never been an option, not that he is folly, and that is what makes him such a threat to the “jobs Market” the DNC set up since Bills days. Legion are the story’s of gate keeping and the funds necessary to slime your way into his graces and kiss the ring – so how much did you contribute to the reelection fund again?

          1. grayslady

            Someone on Bernie’s team made a fabulous video here of his press conference today. I watched the whole press availability in another video, including the question and answer session, and Bernie was absolutely presidential. All his answers were spot on, and he seemed relaxed and ready for battle. He made all of his supporters proud.

      2. Jen

        As far as the establishment candidates go, either they’re all in on the scam, or they all now realize that they really are just players in the game. Hoo boy.

        1. flora

          If the Iowa IDP realizes it just got played by the national then expect them to push pack against the DNC.

      3. Jen

        Lambert, your comment brings to mind one of Ian Welsh’s posts that was linked to last week. Welsh wrote about audience effects to gain leverage in a negotiated conflict:

        “Bernie Sanders, like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter before him, wants to use mass appeal audience effects to renegotiate the country’s political and economic contract. The strategy, writ small in Gandhi’s train ride tale, is perfectly applicable–and has proven successful through history–in bringing about successful, peaceful, radical change.

        These movements operate by forcing conflict out into the open, on favorable terms and on favorable ground. Make the malignancy of power show its face in daylight.

        That is what Sanders did here.

        “The paths to change for all of these movements are neither linear nor predictable. By nature, they act like guerilla movements. They force conflict and force an entrenched enemy into the open. Then, once exposed and vulnerable, the guerilla tactic is to attack opportunistically on strategically favorable ground. In peaceful social movements, “winning” means winning the hearts and minds of the majority of the society’s stakeholders to the point where they actively choose sides.”

        Again, I think this is exactly what Bernie is doing. He’s being doing it all along with his policies, but now, it seems to me he’s also doing this with the DNC.

        In fomenting the Iowa debacle the DNC crapped all over: a) the Iowa voters, b) the IDP, c) all of the candidates except Buttigieg, d) all of the candidates volunteers, staff and their supporters. They showed complete contempt, not just for Bernie, but for everyone else. How much does it take for some, or all of these people to say “Why are we putting up with these a$$holes? They never do anything for us. All they’re doing is using us. They don’t care about anyone but themselves.”

        Bernie has organizational capacity, he has money, and he’s not an a$$hole. Maybe some factions of the party are ready for a new boss, who most assuredly will not be the same as the old boss.


          1. Jen

            You’re welcome. Riffing on this idea further – the head of the IDP tells Tom Perez to pound sand (politely) and the official IDP statement says they have the official records, which they can provide to anyone, at any time. The reason the have the records – the Sanders team insisted upon it during the unity commission.

            Who’s got your back?

  15. Dr. John Carpenter

    “According to four sources familiar with the internal deliberations, an aggressive anti-Bernie effort is already being drafted inside the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, and allied organizations coughcoughDNCcough.”

    Also, wonder if these are the same four sources who knew the contents of a private conversation between Warren and Sanders.

    1. ambrit

      Interesting that idea of Perez being ‘triggered.’ It suggests that the man is not fully in control, of the Party apparat or of himself.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    On Stoller’s twitter thread it’s being suggested that bloomberg “somehow” got 1 delegate in the Iowa shitshow and that qualifies him for tomorrow’s “debate.”

    And speaking of tomorrow’s debate, anybody have any idea how the candidates will line up? Until now, biden has always been in the middle since he was the “leader” in the national polls. (I think that was why.)

    According to this, seven candidates have qualified not counting bloomberg. So if they’re going to “recanvass, is he in? With an even number there’s no one middle spot, but does Bernie stand next to buttii in the center with biden off to the side? The “optics,” of the “demotion” will be brutal.

    I wonder how far over biden’s willing to be shoved before he throws in the towel.


    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that Bloomberg’s presence, making it “and then there were eight”, may be a good thing.

      It would have been disagreeable to see PB standing in the middle (as surely the organizer would arrange it) smirking.

  17. John k

    Biden and warren fading, Buttigieg and Bloomberg surging… tales of the three B’s…
    Warren conserving cash, has to sack some of her 1000 crew… and maybe even stop with the private planes… I doubt she endorses Bernie any time soon, if ever, will definitely wait to see who wins before endorsing.
    Hopefully mike and Pete split the neolibs… personally I think it’s good for Bernie to have another hot mike on the stage.
    Maybe Bernie should say, ‘everybody on this stage has great health care. I’m the only one here that thinks everybody in America should have great health care’.

    1. Dan

      Everybody on this stage has great health care. I’m the only one here that thinks everybody in America should have great health care’.

      That’s gold. Let’s pass this along to the campaign.

    2. Samuel Conner

      “should” might be affirmed by many of the neoliberal centrists; but they will hide behind the claim of “unaffordability”. Basically, “I’m good-hearted too, but I’m realistic about what’s possible”

      Better (imo):

      ‘everybody on this stage has great health care. I’m the only one here that thinks everybody in America should have great health care, and could have great health care if that were made a national priority, It will be my first priority if elected’

      Sanders’ principal task in the first 2 years will be campaigning to get a cooperative House and Senate elected, as I don’t think it will happen in 2020. Years 3 and 4 could be miraculous.

    3. ForFawkesSakes

      The idea is beginning to coalesce that Bloomberg intends to hand his apparatus over to Mayo Pete, perhaps in exchange for VP slot? Would some other cabinet position appeal to Mr. Stop ‘N’ Frisk.

      There’s no splitting of the vote, if the only intention is to stop Sanders.

      1. Matthew

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it the candidates get to decide what to do with their delegates once they’re won — ie, Warren gets to decide who gets her delegates, etc. If that’s true, then the play for the DNC seems to be to keep as many of these yahoos viable for as long as it can, so as to peel off as many people as possible who would vote for Sanders except for one thing (too old, a man, too radical, etc.). As long as the candidates could be counted on to fall in line eventually, and now that Warren has shown her stripes that question is answered.

        Edtied to add: I don’t see in this post what I thought I was responding to, so maybe I mixed up the threads. But I would still like an answer to this.

        1. grayslady

          That is roughly correct–assuming the candidate doesn’t drop out of the race, which could definitely happen to Warren if she has a few more bad states, since she’s low on cash. In order to award delegates to someone else, you actually have to officially earn those delegates at the individual state conventions which occur at varying dates preceding the national convention. Each state presumably has specific rules regarding treatment of forfeited delegates. In other words, you have to have enough financial backing to stay in the race in order to accumulate any delegate leverage at the national convention.

        1. Woodchuck

          Haha, must have been mentioned somewhere in the comments but didn’t read all comments on twitter.

          In the post explaining how it’s not a rounding error but a willing process, the main picture at #2 IS actually an error even based on their written guideline.

          The results are :
          Buttigieg : 3.44
          Bernie : 1.76
          Biden : 1.36
          Warren : 1.36

          And they rounded up Biden to 2.

          Their arcane rules actually state that they need to round-up the HIGHEST decimal below 0.5, which in this case is Buttigieg. But they gave it to Biden instead.

          So ya, when you start making weird complex rules, sometimes people mess it up. Willingly or not.

  18. zagonostra

    My outrage and anger over Iowa are down to a manageable level after watching Bernie declare victory and take questions. So now it’s time to move on, but I hope a Greg Palast or someone else does a post mortem that exposes in detail the corruption and duplicity of the DNC.

    At least now those voting can be alert for the chicanery that is sure to follow.

    1. Judith

      And also investigate the connection between Buttigieg and Acronym and Shadow. Something smells rotten there.

    2. cm

      Might be a Pulitzer in reporting how Bloomberg has 0.21 SDE as of right now. Could the precinct be tracked down and the participants interviewed?

  19. Woodchuck

    Lambert, this link :

    in this :

    Thread. We found #RoundingErrors in 30% of the precinct math worksheets that we examined from the #IowaCaucus. Each “rounding error” gave one extra delegate to a candidate, over 50% of the time the extra delegate went to @PeteButtigieg. https://t.co/I3KTkbtHdr

    is a dead link, goes to a 404.

    1. flora

      She make the mistake of forgetting fractional number had to be assigned to whole person delegates, which math-wise would *look* like a rounding error, but in the assignment of whole person (not fractions of persons) is not an incorrect result.

  20. ahimsa

    Lambert, you should remove the @LuluFriesdat tweet link about rounding errors. It has been “debunked”. Indeed the tweet has since been deleted.

    She herself has tweeted the details of the correct allocation of the SDEs:
    Here is the official explanation of the #RoundingErrors. If they have an extra delegate it’s awarded to the candidate with the highest decimal below .5. But WHY do they have all these leftover delegates? Because they’re dividing by original voters not the final number of voters.

    This is not to say that there are no calculation errors. Only to point out that this particular take on rounding errors was not correct.

      1. ahimsa

        It really is a clusterf*ck, but one also has to guard against getting sucked into every tweet crying malfeasance.

        On the one hand, Twitter and the internet has been amazing for allowing a collaborative holding to account of the Iowa Democratic Party. On the other, it allows erroneous takes to also propagate like wildfire.

        The math involved is not complicated but it is also not exactly intuitive. It requires a careful reading of the rules and after reading them, you can see that they are actually trying to be fair within the bounds of the caucus system.

    1. ahimsa

      Also, there may be a legitimate dispute about the allocation of SDEs at the satellite caucuses. Nate Cohn has tweeted about this already:

      I should clarify/correct that there are two *sets* of rules, not two interpretations of the same rules

      Again, not suggesting of anything improper. Although, of course, the look is awful to Sanders supporters waiting on the last results. Clearly Buttigieg’s campaign jumping on anything to retain their lead in SDEs.

      And as Sanders himself has pointed out, it would not affect the allocation of the actual state delegates. He has clearly wond the popular vote, both initial and after alignment. I

    2. Woodchuck

      Actually look at her image #2. Even accounting for the correct rounding rules, they still gave it to the wrong person lol. Not saying it’s willingly in this case (went to Biden instead of Buttigieg), but man does it look pathetic.

      And now we see this because of all the paper trails. Who knows how many times this happened in the past, so easy to round up the wrong person “by mistake” and “nobody notices”.

      1. ahimsa

        Thank you.

        Yes, in that image she tweeted out there actually was a legitimate error.

        However the general point she was trying to make about a widespread or systematic rounding error is still not correct.

      2. Deschain

        This. I audited all the ones she posted dividing by the number of voters in that round, rather than the total number of voters in round 1, and came out with the same answer as on the paper in every case but #2. There they flat out incorrectly assigned the extra delegate, even by their own rules (should have gone to Mayo Pete).

        Basically the way they’re doing it, it makes it more likely that you’ll wind up with fewer allocated delegates after straight rounding than the precinct is supposed to allocate (because you’re dividing by a higher denominator). Even if you only divide by the number of votes cast, though, you can still wind up with a spare delegate that should go to the highest remaining fraction < .5. For instance, if you have 7 delegates to allocate, and each of three candidates gets the same number of votes, they all get 2.333333 (repeating) delegates unrounded. Rounding each gets 2, with one left over. Then you need to do some sort of tie break. If it was, say, 101, 100, 99 for the three candidates, then none of those round to three delegates, but clearly the 101 candidate gets that third delegate and the other get two.

        You get the same answer no matter which way you do it, assuming you do it correctly.

        1. Woodchuck

          Seems like a fairer way to do it, if they want to use the higher denominator, would be to throw all the remaining delegates from everywhere mixed together and then just reassign them based on global popular vote. Would make a lot more sense then doing this massive amount of rounding-up everywhere where you can end up making 3.9 equal to 3.1 in terms of delegates.

          But anyway, the entire system feels very weird, and for people complaining about the electoral college, seems like a good time to let it go altogether.

    3. Dan

      As the one who initially posted that, I agree. And I say that with a heavy heart, as I think that was the first time I got a “shout out” on the forum!

      One commenter in the thread said that while Lulu is trying to apply logic to the system, we’re nevertheless stuck with the rules the way they are currently written.

      I consider myself a relatively intelligent person and I still don’t exactly understand what’s going on.

      1. ahimsa

        Don’t feel bad, Dan. Check out her new tweet thread:


        9. I spoke yesterday w/ Doug Jones, a comp sci prof at Univ. of Iowa. Jones has been active in the election reform movement for two decades & is a co-author of Broken Ballots – Will Your Vote Count? “If you follow the rules as written the math doesn’t add up,” he said

        10. Looking at Cedar County FM as an example of the way the formula was implemented, he pointed out, “Basically everyone who left early was counted as Buttigieg, because of the way it rounded.” His overall assessment was, “The rules as written don’t lead to a sensible result.”

  21. Grant

    Amazingly, this corrupt Pete has gotten a decent bump in support. How the hell are people not repulsed by what he has done?

    1. Daryl

      This is the centrist cowards flocking to their latest savior. Funny how their inability to stop hedging is their total undoing. If they could lockstep get behind one of these clowns the way the Republicans can they’d probably be able to beat Bernie (with a little help from arcane Iowa math and good old election fraud). As is they have a real problem.

      1. Grant

        I hope so. I think one poll said that a majority of people would be more likely to support Bernie after Iowa. I would hope so.

  22. dk

    Very good/accurate article here:

    This was a quick tool which was put together without sufficient funding. Building good tech is expensive. We can see from the budgets that the Iowa Democratic Party only paid $60,000 to shadow, and the Nevada party paid $58,000. That might feel like a lot, but it really isn’t given how much this stuff costs to build. It’s why the app wasn’t well tested or scaled well. The team was a few enthusiastic recent code school grads and one experienced engineer. This was their side project they built to get funding. There is no way they could succeed.

    The problem is structural, because the way we’re funding organizing tech is wrong. We need it to be based on open source technology. We need a community of companies, parties, and third party groups funding it. And it needs to have funding between cycles.

    Focus on the problem, not the solution of an app which sounds cool. The Iowa Democratic Party shouldn’t have asked for an app. The media shouldn’t have hailed it as futuristic, we shouldn’t demand immediate electoral results, and Shadow shouldn’t have tried to build it. A system with Google docs and having multiple people send in pictures of the tallies at each polling place would have sufficed. Or any number of other solutions which require less software. There’s a whole field of lean startups dedicated to solving the problem with less code. On top of that, folks like Matt Blaze and Ed Felten and many others have documented why digital voting systems are a broken concept. There is no way to do digital voting securely. Instead, we should use paper, use people, verify, audit, and make it transparent to all the campaigns. And yes, force the media to wait for results. We need an app for that.

    1. Biph

      She’d be my pick, plus with a Dem Governor in WI there is no danger of a Rep (even a moderate one) being named to her seat as there would be with Warren. Maybe Evers names Feingold to her seat.

      1. Big River Bandido

        It would be extremely unwise to select a guy who lost his Senate seat and then lost a rematch trying to get it back. Surely there must be progressives in Wisconsin who are up-and-coming, who do not have Feingold’s political baggage, and who could build for the future. Nominating Feingold to finish a Senate term would continue to focus attention on the past.

        As for Baldwin, I’ve always been rather lukewarm and not so trustful of her. And I am quite distrustful of Jacobin’s reporting and editorials on anything related to labor, so if they call her labor-friendly my inclination is extreme skepticism. And if she is *really* that labor-friendly, how would taking her out of the Senate be a good thing?

        That said, a running mate from WI, MI, PA or OH would be about the best possible choice, if one is available, in the 19th century sense. And Baldwin may turn out to be the only one available.

    2. Yves Smith

      I have been saying Tammy Balwin FOR MONTHS as the baseline pick. She checks tons of boxes: younger, Midwest, female, gay. His choice has to check at least that many.

    3. Phenix

      So take his strongest ally out of the Senate…bad idea. He needs a younger running mate that is a WoC and veteran who has cross over appeal. Her nane is Tulsi Gabbard.

  23. Rod

    That Passion Flower is just too beautiful. A natural mandala for mindless admiration and respite. Ours, in this eastern coastal state have much more white in the surrounding rings with a paler purple.
    But, of course, naturally meant to display in mid to late summer here.
    I’d bet your soil hasn’t cooled yet–or perhaps like us, you are still waiting for winter night freezes to arrive.
    I would be curious if your late bloomer fruits at the end of the month–edible but sparse.
    My yard has sprung alive this new year–third picking of Daffodils for the table with sprigs of Flowering Quince are on display now.
    It is how I know the climate crises is real.

  24. thoughtful person

    I hope NH votes are counted in public, with a secure chain of custody. Who is counting the votes?

    Meanwhile every media outlet in the country claims buttigigg leads Iowa – not counting vots of course – counting “SDEs” STDs more like

    1. stefan

      NH votes by township. The supervisor of a polling place is called a Town Monitor, an elective office, two year appointment. Town Monitors are constrained to follow the rules set by the state. The custody of ballots is strictly managed at all times. When it comes time to count the ballots, volunteers help the Town Monitor, usually volunteers from both parties. We mark paper ballots and the count is done by hand in my township. The counting area is roped off so that the public may watch from a nearby safe distance. Many do watch.

      In my experience, voting in NH is totally above board. No monkey business. In my township, participation is broad throughout the whole process. I think we have a model system.

      1. Another Scott

        The other distinction is that New Hampshire’s primaries are run by the government, rather than the state party, which is preferable to the situation in Iowa.

        1. Yves Smith

          Probably in NH, which strikes me as a clean state, but don’t kid yourself re CA. We’ve written extensively on how the Secretary of State has certified elections that violate the state election code for CalPERS because….drumroll….they aren’t city or county elections. What bucket do you think a party primary will be deemed to fit into? CA is a terribly corrupt one-party state. The insistence of the state AG in defending investigation-worthy conduct at CalPERS, as opposed to preforming his constitutional role as upholder of state law tells you all you need to know.

  25. Patrick Morrison

    I’ve loved ‘Coming Up Close’ since it came out, thank you for sharing. That’s all I really want to say about Iowa right now.

  26. EGrise

    Perhaps my favorite part of an outstanding episode of Chapo Trap House was the explanation of why someone would support Bernie (comes from an IG follower of Caroline Calloway, apparently):

    “Bernie is the only candidate who doesn’t leave anyone behind.”

  27. David Carl Grimes

    Republicans never really rigged the primaries against Trump in 2016 even though the Republican establishment was clearly uncomfortable with him.

    But the Democratic establishment? They have no reservations

    1. John k

      Reps knew trumps policies were ok.
      Dnc Dems know Bernie will sack the lot as he pushes policies their donors hate. It’s existential for them.

      1. Bill Carson

        I beg your pardon, no. I can’t read that article, due to the Post’s draconian subscription policy, but I can tell you that the Colorado establishment Dems were very upset and embarrassed by Bernie’s huge win over Hillary by a margin of 59% to 40%. They weren’t going to let that happen again, so they did away with the caucus and reinstated the primary, where the vote will be taken by mail, which benefits the establishment.

  28. chuck roast

    “As recently as October, Donald Trump’s re-election team and top Republican officials viewed the 2020 Democratic primary as a two-way race between…Warren [and] Biden.”

    I know nothing about the Daily Beast, but I can’t believe that Trump’s team is that disconnected. If you were paying the least attention you could see (even in October) that Bernie’s support was both broad and deep, and to prove it he kept raking in the cash. All the while Warren was doing her typical tone-deaf stumbling and counting pennies, and Biden couldn’t find his as* with both hands. Trump was paying these geniuses to not see all this?


    If this report is even remotely true the election season could be a real clown show. Trump however, being a political idiot savant will probably pay no attention to these knuckleheads and run a competent campaign.

  29. Mark Gisleson

    The IDP data dump was impossible to work with (a mile wide, no horizontal scrollbar, a mile long but the headers didn’t adjust, etc.) but the map [https://results.thecaucuses.org/] still lets you mouse over counties to see how the 97% returns looked. They look like Bernie won (IF you know which counties to look at).

    Buttigieg’s strategy seems to have been to hit the low delegate rural counties and this is consistent with the feedback I got from my own family. Feedback (coupled with that great video of a Buttigieg delegate being shocked to learn Pete is gay) leads me to suspect that Pete really flim-flammed rural Iowans in the last couple weeks.

    Watching Iowa sports, I got to see most of the commercials. Pete’s and Amy’s were remarkable. Based on them you would think that Pete has won every imaginable kind of political battle, and that Amy is a proven leader who’s out front on important issues. I laughed when I saw them the first time but then I just kept seeing them (along with the Bloomberg ads where he wisely never speaks except to OK the ad at the end).

    There’s no path to victory here. This was a cheapshot near win that is already blowing up the IDP while making the DNC into a cartoon villain.

    Kudos to Bernie for not reacting to the provocations. Iowa will recover but the DNC won’t.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Crediting the reports that the DNC is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation, “DNC won’t recover” is earnestly to be hoped for and also completely unsurprising if that is what eventuates. Also a fitting outworking of the Obama legacy.

      Here’s hoping for a transformation of the D party.

    2. flora

      Great comment. Thanks. (Note to Petie and his intelligent and oh so credentialed backers: Iowa has a great K-12 system. It isn’t Haiti. heh.)

  30. kareninca

    I have an old clamshell phone. I rarely get text messages (and I can’t send them, unless I learn do it via phone keypad), and I have never gotten a political text message. But a couple of days ago I did get a political text message. From – Bloomberg!!! Ewwwwwwww. My first thought was – how did this arrogant, entitled jerk get my phone number? My second thought was – well, he bought it, of course. Probably for a penny. How gross.

  31. Carey

    Lee Camp- They’re Going to Try to Steal California From Sanders (Again):

    “..In order to stop the “No Party Preference” people from voting, the state (read: the corporate Democratic machine) does not give them a ballot with the presidential choices on it … which is RIDICULOUS! Do they honestly think millions of people skipped work to stand in line at a polling place playing Pokemon on their phones for three hours in order to vote for the City Council’s assistant treasurer?! No! They showed up to tell Joe Biden to check into a retirement home. And there is indeed a way they can vote in the presidential primary, but it’s complicated..”

    That’s what the mFers tried with me, already.


  32. smoker

    Curious as to the [Top Four Lawless?] Audit Firm™ which validated ACRONYM’s Annual Report and Financials. Seems like a rather unusual arrangement for a Non Profit™ to own so many for profit companies (bad enough that so many for profits run side Non Profits™), among other glaring oddities. Per the wiki page (at least within about a half hour ago):

    In addition to Shadow, Inc., Acronym owns several for-profit corporations: Lockwood Strategy, FWIW Media, and Rogue Swag.[8] Courier Newsroom, which describes itself as a “progressive media company”, is owned by Acronym.[17] Courier Newsroom acts as a parent company for local news websites.[17][18]

    Also curious as to their most used Law Firm?

  33. Plenue


    The Syrian army completely surrounded Saraqib, the key town outside of Idlib city where the M4 and M5 highways intersect, yesterday. They entered the town earlier today, and seem to have full control of it already. Turkey is still blocking the M5 highway with a military checkpoint, which is now well inside Syrian army lines.

    The Syrian army also seems to be quickly advancing basically everywhere between Saraqib and Aleppo.

    Meanwhile, artillery duels between the Syrian and Turkish armies continue, and things seem to be escalating from there. Turkish backed ‘rebels’ are attacking Kurdish and Syrian army lines in multiple places across Northern Syria. Turkey continues to move regular army troops and equipment, including fairly modern M60TM tanks, into Syria, and are continuing to build new outposts ahead of the Syrian advance.

    Turkey has also canceled its joint military patrols with Russia, and is moving anti-aircraft equipment to the border with Syria. Turkey is ‘demanding’ Russia stop the Syrian advance. US Ambassador to the UN says the US fully supports Turkey’s response to the Idlib offensive.

    Add in the Israeli strikes on Damascus last night, which killed at least a dozen Syrian soldiers, and things are getting very ugly, very fast.

    1. OIFVet

      Sultan Erdogan is begging to have his teeth kicked in a bit. Should he misbehave, watch him go to Moscow, fez in hand, to beg Putin to resume the flow of gas and Russian tourists. It’s not like he hasn’t gone begging before after setting the ambush that downed the Russian plane in 2015. He is pushing to see exactly how long a leash he has, and I suspect Putin is giving him just enough rope to hand himself with.

  34. Anthony G Stegman

    This nation may need four more years of Trump if it is to have any future as a democracy. Four more years may well result in the destruction of the Democratic Party. This will be a very good thing as long as a party far less corrupt replaces it.

    1. Woodchuck

      If Sanders cannot secure the nomination, I would honestly prefer to see 4 years of Trump (with a democratic Senate if possible to limit the damage) than seeing 8 years of Bloomberg. It will be very hard for progressives to raise a movement against a democratic president. At least with Trump you can have people still outraged and ready to push for a substantial change.

      At this point I would see Trump without control of the house/Senate as a better outcome of the general than nearly any non-Sanders candidate winning the election. Not short-term probably, but long term. I can’t vote in the US but if I could between Bloomberg and Trump I would vote for all blue senators and just cancel my vote for the presidency (I couldn’t actually vote FOR Trump).

      1. inode_buddha

        Remember, last time some wag wrote in “deez nuts” and it made national news, restoring people’s faith in humanity.

      2. CBBB

        Absolutely. Bloomberg would be a catastrophe. He would have many reactionary, Republican policies but, unlike Trump, who is lazy, extremely fickle, and doesn’t really care about any particular policy Bloomberg would be extremely energetic and effective at pursuing his horrible plans.
        If Bernie can’t get the nomination and it’s Bloomberg or Buttigieg (also very bad in my opinion), the best thing Bernie’s movement could do is tear down the Democratic Party. This would be the first step to restoring democracy.

  35. allan

    Fox News Internal Document Bashes Pro-Trump Fox Regulars for Spreading ‘Disinformation’ [Daily Beast]

    Fox News’ own research team has warned colleagues not to trust some of the network’s top commentators’ claims about Ukraine.

    An internal Fox News research briefing book obtained by The Daily Beast openly questions Fox News contributor John Solomon’s credibility, accusing him of playing an “indispensable role” in a Ukrainian “disinformation campaign.” …

    The 162-page document, entitled “Ukraine, Disinformation, & the Trump Administration,” was created by Fox News senior political affairs specialist Bryan S. Murphy, who produces research from what is known as the network’s Brain Room—a newsroom division of researchers who provide information, data, and topic guides for the network’s programming.

    The research brief is especially critical of Solomon, a former opinion columnist at The Hill whose opinion pieces about Ukraine made unsubstantiated claims about its government interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Solomon’s pieces for The Hill fueled Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine, which eventually helped lead to Trump’s impeachment. Trump has also frequently cited Solomon’s questionable reporting on Twitter in his own defense. …

    Impossible. I’ve seen Solomon linked to extensively on some of the most progressive web sites.

  36. marym

    The Intercept 2/6/2020

    CONTRACTORS WORKING FOR the Trump administration are blowing apart a mountain on protected lands in southern Arizona to make way for the president’s border wall. The blasting is happening on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a tract of Sonoran Desert wilderness long celebrated as one of the nation’s great ecological treasures, that holds profound spiritual significance to multiple Native American groups.

    Draining precious groundwater, bulldozing ancient saguaros and plowing over burial grounds isn’t enough,” he wrote. “Now they’re literally dynamiting a mountain in protected wilderness lands.”

    Laiken Jordahl, borderlands campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity, first got word of that the blasting actually happening on Tuesday. He drove down from Tucson the next morning to investigate.

    Draining precious groundwater, bulldozing ancient saguaros and plowing over burial grounds isn’t enough,” he wrote. “Now they’re literally dynamiting a mountain in protected wilderness lands.”

    “Nothing is sacred to them, no amount of destruction too grand,” he went on to say. “We’re living a nightmare down here in the borderlands.”


    1. Biph

      My understanding is the the border wall has appeal in the rust belt and other places far from the border, but much less along the actual border, is this the type of thing that could hurt Trump in AZ and maybe TX?

      1. marym

        Occasionally I’ve seen comments that there would be objections from land owners to eminent domain seizures; or from businesses that depend on people being able to travel back and forth easily for work, shopping, tourism. I haven’t seen anything about actual resistance, but it isn’t something I follow specifically.

      2. inode_buddha

        I’ve spent years trying to explain to coworkers that no, the dirty mexicans didn’t steal your job, your all-american boss gave it away to them.

  37. urblintz

    Rick Sanchez on RT just said the AP announced NO WINNER will be determined in Iowa caucus. looking for a link…

    1. Dan

      They didn’t say no winner will be declared. They said they’re unable to declare a winner:

      “The Associated Press calls a race when there is a clear indication of a winner. Because of a tight margin between former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders and the irregularities in this year’s caucus process, it is not possible to determine a winner at this point,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor.

      The AP will continue to report and review the results from the Iowa Democratic Party as it completes its tabulation, as well as the results of any potential recanvass or recount.


  38. ewmayer

    “For the first time, a climate journalist will moderate a presidential debate” [Heated]” — So the climate has its own PR-scribes now? Interesting. Anyhow, let’s see how Ms. Huac stacks up on the MSM IdPol-ometer:

    x Woman
    x Of color
    x Latinx

    Plus 1 bonus checkmark for the Vietnamese-sounding surname. [Yes,we know it’s really in all likelihood an Aztec surname, but no one need shout that to the Asian-American community, whose votes we cherish.]

    Alas, the article does not say whether Ms. Huac is LMAOROFLGBLTQED … [s]he’s missing out on valuable potential IdPol-ometer points by either not mentioning, or failing to embrace, [his|her|their|we_are_all] Person of Interesting Initialisms!

    In all seriously, it would be great if she did ask some tough questions re. climate policy, and not just of the establishment-disfavored candidates. But I fear another Sanders-ambush trap, something like the following:

    To Sanders:

    Huac: Sen. Sanders, you’re on record as proposing top-down centrally-planned socialist policies with regard to climate change. How will you fund your tens-of-trillions-of-dollars-costing program?

    Sanders: That characterization of my policies is grossly —

    Moderator: I’m sorry, Sen. Sanders, you are out of time.

    To Biden:

    Huac: Mr. Biden, as Barack Obama’s proud Vice President you played a key role in shaping that administration’s visionarily progressive climate policy, the envy of the world, which was promptly and shamefully dismantled by Donald Trump when he assumed his Russian-influence-tainted presidency. Let me ask you, how do you feel about your crucial role in the aforementioned visionary program?

    Biden: Well thank you for that kind intro, Vanilla. And may I just say how lovely you are looking this evening. As you know I’ve been practicing my Spanish – lovely language, just like the Spanish and Latinx ladies who use it, ¡ay caramba, if I were 60 again! – so I’d like to reply to the question en Español, if I may.

    Huac: Ooh, you sly dog, you. By all means, we welcome your asnwering la pregunta en Español. I will translate for the benefit of the not-yet-bilingual people in our audience.

    Biden [in Spanish]: Mmff garblegook, tengo moo-cho frío en la maleta, amigo Obama.

    Huac: Mr. Biden says he is proud of his accomplishments on climate change as Vice President, and looks forward to doing more, much more, on that crucial existential-threat front as el Presidente. Thank you, Mr. President.

  39. chuck roast

    I have it on good authority that Tom Perez is currently motoring up 93 from Boston bound for Manchester with a tanker full of cool-aide. Hide the women and children. Set up your burning tire barricades at the Merrimack. Prepare your silver bullets, wooden stakes and crucifixes. Remember Barcelona…no pasaran!!

    1. Samuel Conner

      There are, evidently, advantages to — literally — owning the DNC.


      This doesn’t surprise anyone, does it?

      It reminds me of “the hybrid,” in the Doctor Who episode “Hell Bent”, a mythical figure, an unstoppable warrior who will break a billion billion hearts to heal its own and in the end stand in the midst of the ruins of its homeland.

    2. HotFlash

      I tried that onoe, but they couldnt let me ‘continue’ unless I donated. I tried entering $0.01, my max for this exercise, but they woulnd’t accept it. I hope that their trackers and algos are recording that somewhere.

      On second thought, perhaps I should have chipped in my $0.02. Oh well…

      1. ambrit

        That format is pure DCCC. The monthly ‘fund raising polls’ that they send Phyl are all like that Hillary screed. A push poll with a fund raising sting in the tail. These people are shamelessly worshiping at the Temple of Mammon.
        Every time I begin to doubt my sagacity regarding Hillary wangling the Democrat Party endorsement for 2020 as a “Unity Candidate,” something like this pops up. There is a reason that Hillary’s stern countenance is constantly being paraded before the public’s weary eyes.
        The fact that the poll will only be recorded after a contribution is the perfect embodiment of the Neo Democrat Party motto: “Pay to Play.”

      1. ambrit

        Alas, in a “Perfect World”(TM) that would be useful. However, the DNC has shown a masterful ability to ‘cherry pick’ the reality they accede to. I would not be surprised to learn that many of these push polls are strictly fund raising ventures and that the ‘poll’ side of the process is completely ignored. So, responding is important to the voters, but not to the aparatchiks.
        In politics, one can never be too cynical.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It took me two minutes to fill it out and send it. And i gave them a fake email address.
          How painful can it be?

    3. Tasman

      I completed the questionnaire (although, to be fair, I skipped the final few questions). I stopped before making a financial commitment.

      I’m from Australia. It’ll be interesting to see whether/how the survey results will be reported.

  40. flora

    Long-ish form responses to WC.

    Buttigieg (D) (1) The American Conservative. “ ….On Tuesday morning, America’s politics felt, if only for a moment, truly Latin American.”

    Indeed it did.

    Trumpt (R)(1) Trump (R)(1): “Team Trump Plans Its Assault on Bernie. Step One: ‘Victims of Socialism.’”
    Fighting Sanders on Sanders’ home turf. Bold or reckless. Imo.

    Trump (R)(3): “Trump Fans Flooded Iowa Caucus Hotline, Democrats Say” .
    I’ve read on more than one reliable site about the security eff-up on the DNC site.
    What is it with the Dem estab and the DNC and computer (fail dog) security?

    “Enough is enough” of these sightings of our crapolla (or as we say in Iowa, BS on the livestock stall floors) vote ratfvcking scam. “Stall” indeed. Get the rake.

    “NEW: The Iowa Democratic Party did not have advance warning that @TomPerez was calling for a recanvass of the Iowa caucus results” Throw the IDP under the bus. Don’t worry, Iowans will bend to this crapolla. (not)

    Oh loveds (as the late, great Molly Ivans would say), can we not at least laugh at the DNC machine’s total misreading of the Iowa electorate’s intelligence and local dignity here?


    1. Plenue

      “On Tuesday morning, America’s politics felt, if only for a moment, truly Latin American.”

      Oh, that feeling is still around.

      Looks like CNN is actively colluding with at least Buttigieg. If there was any doubt after the Warren debate nonsense, this removes it. CNN is literally less honest than Fox News.

  41. Carey

    Glen Ford- Bloomberg Becoming Oligarch-in-Chief of the Democratic Party:

    “..The ruling class can’t rule unless it controls a reliable governing party. That means defeating Bernie Sanders and coming to an “understanding” with Elizabeth Warren. Otherwise, Bloomberg has positioned himself and his filthy rich cohorts to create an alternative party structure to resist the popular tide against never-ending austerity and war, the only plan that the Lords of Capital have for the future of the nation and the world..”


  42. Kevin P Chapple

    You people miss one of Lambert’s greatest coups in the links. Did anyone take a moment to read “This Professor’s Amazing Trick Makes Quadratic Equations Easier”? That fabulous young man traced a “short cut” in mathematics back thousands of years and then teaches it to middle school students in a way that makes learning math fun. Truly fun! I laughed and, yes, I also learned something. In bad times, like good times, we do not always have to be angry. We can and should have a few fun breaks, yes?
    We need to restore education in USA. We need to get young people back to truly loving to learn including mathematics, reading, languages and, yes, the trades and art and literature as well. We need to restore America’s education system. Education and learning is a lifelong fabulously fun process. When it becomes a mere event, all bets are off. This is part of the solution.
    To quote a recent past president of me: “educacion, educacion, educacion… ” then she took out after us lawyer types… .
    Lambert, kudos to you for this one and shame on those who did not take a fun break and read the article and watch the video to which you linked! Well done and thank you.

    1. ewmayer

      It’s not clear to me why the “2000-year new” approach is superior to the ‘classic’ method of completing the square. I’ll give that and let each reader decide for him-or-herself:

      Our equation: ax^2 + bx + c = 0. [1]

      Divide by a: x^2 + (b/a)x + (c/a) = 0. [2]

      We know that (x+d)^2 = x^2 + 2dx + d^2, so first pick d to make the middle 2dx term match ours in [2]: d = (b/a), so d = (b/2a).

      Thus we have (x+d)^2 = (x+(b/2a))^2 = x^2 + (b/a)x + (b/2a)^2. [3]

      That has the leftmost 2 terms, the x^2 and x ones, matching [2]. To make the rightmost (constant) terms match, we must subtract (b/2a)^2 from [3] and add (c/a).

      Thus, we see that [2] can be rewritten as (x+(b/2a))^2 – (b/2a)^2 + (c/a) = 0. [4]

      Instead collecting the 2 constant terms on the right-hand side we get an exact square on the left-hand-sode:

      (x+(b/2a))^2 = (b/2a)^2 – (c/a). [5]

      The 2 solutions of this are given by taking the square root: x + (b/2a) = +-sqrt((b/2a)^2 – (c/a)). [6]

      Subtracting (b/2a) from both sides and doing a bit if algebraic nice-ifying we get the classic quadratic formula:

      x = (-b +- sqrt(b^2 – 4ac))/2a. [7]

      That “hard-to-remember formula” (per the NYT article) is in fact really useful in terms of characterization of the solutions to a given quadratic. The (b^2 – 4ac) term inside the square root – called the discriminant for obvious reasons – tells the story. Let s = sqrt(b^2 – 4ac), then:

      [1] (b^2 – 4ac) > 0: s is positive real and we have 2 distinct solutions, x = (-b +- s)/2a;

      [2] (b^2 – 4ac) = 0: s = 0 and we have 2 coinciding ‘degenerate’ solutions, x = -b/2a;

      [3] (b^2 – 4ac) < 0: s = sqrt(b^2 – 4ac), which we can rewrite in terms of a real-valued square root, as s = I*sqrt(4ac – b^2). Thus s is imaginary and we have no real solutions. (Rather, the solutions are in form of a complex-conjugate pair: x = (-b +- s)/2a just as in case [1], but now s is imaginary, as noted.)

    2. fajensen

      One could check out Jakow Trachtenberg’s Speed System of Basic Mathematics. It is good fun (if one is maybe a bit nerdy or have a nerdy kid).

      Trachtenberg used a combination of ‘base shifting’, going to another number system than the ’10-digit system’ and ‘binomial expansions’ to re-map various tricky in ‘base 10’ calculations to different representations that are much easier to do manually. Similar to what engineers sometimes do with Laplace-, ‘S’, and Log- transformations, but with ‘ordinary calculus’.

      When I was a teenager, I somehow found a grubby little book in the library with this system and it sucked me in long enough for me to learn it. I even used it, in a more general way, for ‘fast’ math routines with unlimited number of digits on a ZX-80 dinosaur computer to calculate loudspeaker filters and vibrations in transformer Oil tanks (finding where the L-beams have to go to reduce the vibrations).

      Pretty much the only transformationally-useful computer software I have ever written :)

      I don’t know why I got interested in Trachtenberg, maybe because I could sense an underlying pattern (the re-basing of numbers) and this was somehow magical. I would absolutely read everything there was on Electronics, UFO’s and Parapsychology in those days.

  43. HotFlash

    “Something is stirring in America,” Buttigieg tweeted Tuesday in a remark that could have been made in any year.

    “I believe in American unity. I believe in American boldness,” he said this week, with no elaboration.

    Does this man have Hallmark write his tweets?

    1. CBBB

      It’s like Marx’s line about history repeating first as tragedy and then as farce.
      Buttigieg is just the farce version of Obama – all this puffery about hope, all out of the mouth of an upper-class white guy from Indiana, without even the hint of substance.
      Buttigieg does have real support coming from somewhere, it isn’t all just DNC flim-flam. I can’t understand who the hell legitmately supports this guy. I guess just fellow success-win people.

      1. HotFlash

        Pete is that nice young man from church your mother wishes you would go out with, and you don’t know how to tell her, “Mom, he’s gay.”

      2. thoughtfulperson

        You can tell by who his advsors are and who his donors are.

        That’s probably also who writes his speeches.

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        my mom.
        bernie primary last time, then hillary.
        “trump is heart of evil”, etc.
        now…”bernie is so O-o-o-ld!”
        but her sole news sources are msdnc and daily kos.
        and she thinks i’m a secret trumper.(!!)
        so there’s pete’s contingent: boomer koolaide(i know, i know), relatively comfortable,reliant on the Official Story, with pensions,and retirement security, “radicalised” by trump’s mere presence and odiousness….confused and bewildered by the shape of the world, with a deep psychological need for “Normal”.
        pretty much everyone in the local Demparty fits this profile, with slight differences for age(all over 60, tho)…none are for bernie, that i am aware of.

    1. hoki haya

      Nice. No link, but “Flat Stuff” by Greg Brown, and several others from his fine repertoire, have been enjoyable all over again.

        1. Bill Carson

          *I’m* not saying that, but that’s what *they* will say. That’s why they weren’t afraid of putting Biden up, even though they knew he was guilty of all sorts of plagiarism *They* think they could run a trained monkey against Trump and win, so long as the monkey will pledge fealty to the benevolent corporate overlords.

  44. richard

    oh my, some real old school aimee mann
    thanks lambert!
    here is another mann favorite of mine
    50 Years After The Fair
    which muses on the nature of hope
    lovely song
    cheers everyone

  45. ChrisAtRU

    So CNN’s #Buttititch town hall was effectively a mendacious prime time coming out party for #mayorCheat.

    An obviously coordinated effort between the DNC, Iowa Democrats and CNN saw Chris Cuomo “surprise” #PeteTheCheat with an announcement that 100% Caucus results were out and that he, #PeterTheCheater had “won”.

    Like the stench of an unburied corpse, however, the stink of the DNC’s relentless machinations to crown #SonOfTheChickenFather the presumptive leader heading in New Hampshire is not going away:

    Exhibit A: Even MSNBC, the media wing of the Democrat establishment won’t certify the #’s
    Exhibit B: Neither will AP – the DNC did not clean up all the errors in the data.

    From a delegate POV, it’s not much, it’s just the mindlessness of the DNC wanting their guy to win. I hope he gets demolished in NH and SC.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Well, well … if the DNC and the rest of the Democrat establishment think that #Bernie2020 is the same as #Bernie2016, they got another thing comin’ …

      Sanders Press Release – reiterates that Bernie won Iowa and gives a full list of ALL THE DISCREPANCIES that were not considered in whatever IDP released to CNN.

      Folks … buckle up.

      1. HotFlash

        If you got a couple bucks to spare, Bernie’s going to need to pay lawyers, forensic accountants, staffers in IA who could/should be in NH and beyond, and pro’ly for a lot of extra pizza. All these expenses should have been unnecessary, but DNC. Go Bernie!0

    1. Lunker Walleye

      Wait! Isn’t this the same DM Reg who spiked their all-important pre-caucus poll because Mayo Pete whined?

    1. richard

      not looking too horribly bad is it?
      bernie wins (understanding that bootyjudge cheats him out of a couple delegates – have you seen this coin flip?)
      and the party completely s*&^s its pants in public
      and bleeds away legitimacy
      yes i will mix that metaphor
      anyway, 2 for 2

  46. richard

    thanks for the chapo link as well, and triumphalism is about right
    chapo are almost giddy
    but much better that than a dour, sore (cheated) almost maybe sorta loser
    fortune favors the yada yada

  47. ambrit

    I have the premonition that, if the ‘dirty tricks’ by the DNC do not knock Sanders out of the running by April, that Perez and company will simply declare Sanders an apostate and dissolve the agreement that let him run as a Democrat in the first place. In other words, if trickery doesn’t work, fall back on good old fashioned ‘force majeure.’
    Time to stock up on bunker supplies. (Lots of popcorn and rechargeable batteries for the portable short wave radio set.)

  48. Goyo Marquez

    How much easier it would be for the DNC and the press to spin this for Butegig if Sanders & Co. hadn’t insisted on a change to the rules which required they release the actual vote totals.

    As a result everyone’s asking how do you win by 6000 votes and not have more NDEs or SDEs or STDs whatever those are.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Iowa’s version of the Federal Electoral College.

      That system looks increasingly rickety.

      Of course, there is a straightforward workaround:


      Unfortunately, me thinks that it is more likely that we will see a constitutional convention and permanent mandatory austerity before the above can reach the needed threshold.

      It really is possible that Sanders 2020 is our last chance to turn the course of events around.

  49. drumlin woodchuckles

    Two linked-to news articles have noted the recent assassination of two monarch butterfly guardians in Mexico. Here is an article about the broader entry of the Mexican crime groups into the avocado bussiness in Mexico.


    The only way to stop this would be to ban all avocado exports from Mexico to any and every other country in the world.

    Well, the other only way to stop this would be a successful extermination campaign against the total membership and helpership rolls of the Mexican crime groups. But that is something no decent person would ever suggest.

    We should get ready to accept the basic extinction of the monarch butterfly. A relict outlier population which winters in California may well survive.

    1. ambrit

      When you speak of ‘Mexican Crime Groups,’ you must include much of the Mexican constabulary. In other words, there will have to be a popular uprising and civil war. Which event has happened in the past in Mexico.
      As for “decent people,” well, that demographic’s constituent population depends on how you define “decent.” In many human cultures, the ‘winners’ of civil wars are automatically accorded that title.

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