Links 2/10/2020

US must dial down the fizz in the opaque world of private capital FT

Here’s a radical reform that could keep super and pay every retiree the full pension The Conversation


Money Is an Iron: Oscar Movies, 2020  The Baffler

Oscars 2020 Times Literary Supplement

How do you dance like Fred Astaire? One ballet pro’s complicated quest for the answer LA Time Variety


Middle East’s demographic earthquake: the generation fuelling protests FT

And the Oscar Goes to… A Simplified Story of Syria’s Civil War NYRB

Labour voting reform? Terry Flynn. Voting geeks, please assess.


Coronavirus May Infect Up to 500,000 in Wuhan Before It Peaks Bloomberg. There’s to be variation in the estimates, reasonably enough; compare this and this.

Coronavirus prompts Beijing residential lockdown as millions return to work SCMP

Game consumption and the 2019 novel coronavirus Lancet

Where did they go? Millions left city before quarantine AP

Tobacco and the lung cancer epidemic in China Translational Lung Cancer Research. #2019-nCoV strikes the respiratory system; one might wonder if China’s collective respiratory system is weak; add in pollution as a factor.

Why We Are So Ill-Prepared for a Possible Pandemic Like Coronavirus Time


Hong Kong Activists See Virus Fueling More Support for Movement Bloomberg

FBI is investigating more than 1,000 cases of Chinese theft of US technology ZDnet

Democracy and freedom of expression are under threat in Brazil Guardian

New Cold War

Collapsing the Russian Tripod The American Interest

Trump Transition

A Moon Landing In 2024? NASA Says It’ll Happen; Others Say: No Way WCLK


The Latest: Warren says she’s best positioned to beat Trump AP

What Pete Buttigieg Watches: Favorite Superhero, ‘Game of Thrones’ Character and Fictional President Hollywood Reporter. Chaos is a ladder.

This Is How Bernie Wins TNR

Moderate Democrats have a duty to consider Sanders. He has a clear path to beating Trump. USA Today

The Donald Trump Theory of Bernie Sander NYT

The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President The Atlantic

Trump’s ‘dream scenario’ unfolds: Dem disarray ahead of 2020 Politico

Boeing 737 MAX

Experts question whether Boeing’s board of directors is capable of righting the company Seattle Times

Guillotine Watch

The executive success factors that lead directly to jail FT

Why Google Did Android Tim Bray

“A coding problem.” Thread:

Actual, Classical, Ancient-Classroom-Approved Pig Latin Medium

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Expat2Uruguay

    I noticed that I no longer see posts or comments from Gladius Publius, I think was his handle. Did I miss something? Is he/she okay?

  2. thoughtfulperson

    Guessing a coding mixup of some sort. On my screen (firefox on android), Antidote not appearing and Trump Transition section cuts out with repeat of earlier link.

  3. Zagonostra

    Theory of Bernie not rooted in reality but in false comparisons. Why can’t the NYT simply use an Excel spreadsheet and see what people pay for insurance, education, housing, and transportation and figure out what is left for retirement for majority of folks.

    It’s like using an ‘app’ to count a couple thousand votes.

    1. tegnost

      The theory of bernie confirms my suspicion that the IDC/DNCshenanaganists were hoping/needing an angry chair throwing response in order to characterize the “berniebros inc.” as unreasonable temper tantrum throwing teens (F^$k biden/warren callout). I’d say it didn’t work, I think most bernie people are resigned to the cheating of those extra special snowflakes. It’s really hardly worth going into the sour grapes of this article but 2 things stand out.1.) Polling says americans love their heath insurance. Polling also said biden was the front runner in iowa, so…… and 2.) “As for the argument that Hillary Clinton’s defeat proves the inefficacy of an establishment or center-left nominee, well, Clinton won the popular vote by about three million ballots and lost the Electoral College by only about 77,000, despite Russia, despite James Comey, despite a relentless focus on her emails and despite her own uniquely heavy political baggage. Subtract all of that and you get a winner — a winner who looks nothing like Bernie Sanders.”
      In spite of all the viable reasons she lost, if you subtract their various bs or misdirection she was the real winner…?
      On bernie…Or you can focus on his irascibility, his grandiosity and the bellicosity of his believers.
      This from a clinton supporter? Same to you and more of it.

      1. pretzelattack

        well, they got one part right–she looks nothing like bernie sanders. she looks like a grifting opportunist graced by assorted parasites in the media with unearned admiration and respect.

        1. John

          Mrs Clinton did indeed win the popular vote by a large margin, which is interesting but irrelevant since the national popular vote total decides nothing. But we all know that, so why does this particular dead horse get thumped on a regular basis. Get rid of the electoral college you say. Fine. Begin the process by introducing the required constitutional amendment, getting it through Congress, and then the state ratification process. Probable will not happen in your lifetime, if ever. Perhaps an interstate compact, unofficial, since I doubt it passes constitutional muster.

          What her defeat really shows is that rolling up huge pluralities in overwhelmingly ‘blue states’ gets you a popular vote win and nothing more.

          I was not impressed with the campaign she ran. My impression was that she was preparing for a coronation not an election. I was and am unimpressed by whizz kids with snappy new algorithms and ‘awesome’ models. Campaign. Listen to people. Talk to people. Don’t even think the word ‘deplorable’. And so on and so forth.

          1. Tom Stone

            John, I’m sure that Mrs Clinton would have been as magnanimus in victory as she was gracious in defeat.
            I’m still hoping she’ll add some gravitas to the Biden campaign…

          2. Mel

            This isn’t news, but getting rid of the Electoral College will hand Electoral control of the republic over to California and Acela country. As though Financial control and Managerial control weren’t enough.

              1. jrs

                And that’s worse than the existing situation (handing control over to crazed right wingers that represent increasingly tiny amounts of the population) how again? Pretty soon 20% of the population will control 80% of the Senate.

            1. a different chris

              So you don’t like democracy. OK. California thinks, with some justification, that they “pay for everything” so maybe they should at least get to say if gay people can get married or not.

              1. Mel

                The “Socialism equal to the world” article is relevant. “Democracy” can mean a lot of different, but related things.

                1. a different chris

                  TBH, I think the US should be broken up into 5 different regions with only an EU-sortof (although not as f’d up) arrangement because of very similar thoughts as you about California.

                  I don’t think a plan made in the 1700’s quite cuts it, though.

            2. Oregoncharles

              This argument is silly. There are far more people in the rest of the country than in Cali & the Corridor combined. Nor do either of those vote en bloc – eg, both Cali and NY have a large rural contingent that is much more conservative (despite, eg, inode buddha).

              As it stands, my vote, for another example, doesn’t matter in the presidential race, for 2 reasons: Oregon, despite the aforesaid rural contingent, is deep blue; and Oregon’s puny 7 electoral votes have never been enough to matter. Imagine being Vermont or Wyoming.

              Under a national popular vote, every ballot counts the same, simply because all are added together. California and Acela can’t control the result because their votes disappear into the total. And candidates would campaign everywhere they think they can get votes, not that that’s a blessing – the silence is blessed here during presidential campaigns.

              I don’t understand why your argument keeps popping up; it implies having a popular vote and electoral college at the same time.

          3. John Wright

            My cynicism leads me to believe the NYT op-ed writers are more sophisticated in their thinking than is presented to the public.

            Bruni should know that HRC was unpopular for economic reasons such as NAFTA (under her husband), her initial support for the TPP and the obvious lucrative con, the Clinton Foundation.

            Throw in HRC’s Iraq War support, Ukrainian meddling, Syria meddling, Libya war support and she is even less likely to be seen as good for the typical voter.

            Perhaps the NYT op-ed writers cannot mention these reasons that helped HRC lose BECAUSE all were supported by the New York Times.

            Far easier for them to blame Comey, Russia and the emails (which I continue to believe was clear indication of avoiding possible FOIA scrutiny).

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I totally disagree. The concept of even acknowledging the “other” is a foreign concept.

              Not to be religious, but the premise of “The Good Samaritan” is based entirely on “the other.” Both the victim and the Samaritan (a blood traitor to the locals of Jerusalem because Samaritans had a different temple) aren’t even thought of as people. Nothing has changed. The idea people might have different views than the ones learned at a cock tail party is frightening and foreign to these people. Nothing has changed.

              “The I’ve got mine to hell with everyone else” mentality means they simply don’t care to learn at all.

              You see it with Biden and his Iraq War support. He gave so little thought he never thought that awarding Shrub a medal and running for President would be problematic. This applies to his goons such as Ed Rendell. Just totally mindless because no one has made them care, and so they don’t.

            2. Robert Hahl

              Michael Moore has been pointing out lately that Hillary lost Michigan by 11,000 votes while 90,000 of them voted a straight Democratic ticket without making any choice for President. Perhaps that is what happens when you can’t tell who is the lesser evil.

              1. lordkoos

                It’s interesting that the Dems and Hillary never challenged the Michigan results. Same with Gore in Florida..

                1. Oregoncharles

                  That’s because it’s all pre-arranged. Two full terms, in alternation, regardless of who the candidate is.

                  No wonder Gore left politics altogether and HRC is bitter.

                  You forgot Kerry in Ohio.

          4. a different chris

            I do agree with your post, but we need to rollback on this a bit:

            >Mrs Clinton did indeed win the popular vote by a large margin

            Large? Yes “millions and millions” — but look at it realistically and it was 2.1%. When a Super Bowl team wins by 2.1% nobody calls it a blowout, do they?

            Obama won 2012 by 3.9%. 2008 by 7.2% — now that’s starting to look like a “large margin”. Sigh, too bad he wasted it.

            1. Synoia

              Sigh, too bad he wasted it.

              He didn’t. How many 14 Million dollar houses does he need to biy to prove it?

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        bruni is a bubble dweller.
        trump won, after all.
        and the shameless lies about people loving insurance companies?
        how are those questions framed?
        he’s going from the unstated premise that everything would be fine, but for trump…who came out of nowhere and essentially stole the gold ring….and that bland, perfidious center-right-ism is always a winner…
        because if we pretend real hard, it can be 1995 again!

        if bernie does win the gold ring and gets into the white house, these people will do everything in their power to block him…siding with mcconnel included…and when the hateful irony of that is pointed out, will be just as blind to it as they are now.
        like blumenthal said, they’ll make it impossible for bernie to do anything then “wag fingers” at the left for 20 years.
        worse in their certainty than the worst randian libertarians.
        smugly stupid, and we’ll hafta pay for it in the failed state that will result.

      3. Grant

        Americans don’t love their damn health insurance as the article claims they do. Since Americans pay more than they would in a single payer system, since their healthcare being tied to their job places them at a disadvantage, since everyone knows someone (or will) that is being crushed by this system, since it is so deadly and results in such misery, if they have the capacity to see their doctor and don’t have a major illness, they are probably worried about the unknown. They also are worried that, since things are getting worse on almost every front, losing their health insurance is something that understandably scares people. Because of this, the sociopaths in power focus on that and pretend that single payer would strip them of one of the few remaining things they have that they feel is there for them. That is understandable. But, if the media explained what single payer would be, how much money and lives it would save, how it would expand options and remove job lock, very few people would be opposed to it. Even with the propaganda, many people favor a single payer system. But, the media doesn’t point out the facts, for obvious reasons, and then because they often actively mislead people, as do politicians and corporate interests, they have a skewed picture of single payer. The media then uses an ignorance that they help to foster as a justification to keep the system as is. Pravda was probably no different than how the media here works.

        But, has anyone seen a poll done where people are educated about a single payer system before they get asked questions? Like, most studies show that single payer would save most people thousands of dollars. Would you be more likely to support single payer if it saved you thousands of dollars? Most studies show the country would save trillions of dollars each decade, would you support a single payer system if it saved the country trillions of dollars? On and on. So, the media actively misleads people, but do pollsters at least educate people before asking them about the issues? Of course not. So, why not poll people on the intricacies of string theory, or the Cambridge Capital Controversy? What value is there in polling people on an issue they have been actively mislead about, other than to show how at odds people’s perceptions are with the facts?

        This society is going to collapse if things don’t change quickly. Long-term macroeconomic trends are really bad, infrastructure is in bad shape, we have an environmental crisis and a thoroughly corrupt political system and media. To ignore where we are headed is a collective stupidity that is hard to put into words. And most of those feeding into that stupidity are some of the most educated people in the country. From where I stand, some of the most functionally stupidest people in the country are editors for major papers. I don’t care that they can quote Proust in the flow of a conversation.

        Bernie would likely largely just stop the trajectory Reagan set us on and he would begin to move us in another direction. What he offers is relatively radical, but given the changes we need, about as moderate as you can get. And it’s just too much for these empty people. They instead want people actively making things worse.

        1. inode_buddha

          “This society is going to collapse if things don’t change quickly. Long-term macroeconomic trends are really bad, infrastructure is in bad shape, we have an environmental crisis and a thoroughly corrupt political system and media. To ignore where we are headed is a collective stupidity that is hard to put into words. And most of those feeding into that stupidity are some of the most educated people in the country. From where I stand, some of the most functionally stupidest people in the country are editors for major papers.”

          I strongly agree. I don’t think they are are really stupid though. I do think they are very dishonest especially towards themselves. Recall the Upton Sinclair quote: “It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it”. That core dishonesty is the root or foundational cause of all the hypocrisies and suffering in out modern society. And it all begins with lying to oneself, as the Bard so famously noted. Further, (to become overtly religious,) that dishonesty is rooted in Pride, being a state of contention or opposition and leading to poor judgement: “I got mine!”

          1. Grant

            I agree with what you said. But I said functionally stupid. I am sure they are smart people, but because their class and ideological bias so dominates their thinking, and since their policies are so inferior and unpopular, they act as a stupid person would. Their problem is that what is good for them isn’t often good for most of the country. They make decisions because they think those decisions benefit them, then they work backwards to find some logic and facts to justify their decision, and there really aren’t any. Like, if I got into an argument with you and decided to argue that gravity doesn’t exist, I don’t care how smart I am (or am not), I would sound stupid. That’s how I think of the editor of the New York Times. Probably very well educated, likely an above average IQ, and so utterly cut off from what is going on, utterly clueless. Given the huge gap though, I don’t believe that they are unaware. I think they are aware of their position in the social structure and what is in their class interest. They just can’t piece together any coherent argument to justify keeping the system as is. Since people can choose someone to represent them, they know that if people can choose, they won’t choose them. So, they rig the thing.

            1. inode_buddha

              I actually agree totally. What I found interesting in reading your comment about the Time’s editors (etc) is that I see this same behavior in many levels of society, and in many different social situations.

              I askerd myself “What is the common denominator?” if I see this apparent stupidity among the political class, at work, in other social situations.

              The common denominator IMHO is Power. Especially in large organizations, Power relations are especially susceptible to abuse by those who have no Power over themselves.

              For me, the tell is when someone applies “double standards” or hypocrisy. That is always a tell of dishonesty and abuse of Power.

          1. chuck roast

            I love my health insurance…it’s called Medicare. I do not love the $270/month I have to pay to GEHA for gap coverage.

            1. Anon

              Hmm…you have either “long-term care” coverage or in an area with little supplemental options. Try looking at Plan N coverage; mine is $135/mo.

              ALL supplemental coverage is overpriced, however. The medicare gap is only 20% of the cost of medical service not covered by Medicare.

        2. gc54

          I agree. So, suppose by some miracle Bernie becomes the Dem candidate. How should he proceed to get his points across without constant media distortion?

          Perhaps he should go full Ross Perot: “See, folks it’s like this here graph”. I thought those worked well at the time. For health care he just needs a few bullets on it telling people e.g. “here’s how to look it up in your typical policy. Here’s how the numbers add up line by line. Here’s what our M4A would cost you compared to those lines.” Buy time for a series of 10 min long broadcasts on each relevant topic then dump each on YouTube. End each with “Here’s what we’ll do if you choose me to drive this change. Ask my opponent what he’ll do to fix these enormous expenses? Crickets!” And if Bernie gets in then continue this series to shame Congress into action.

          Out media the media, talk directly to the people and put those on

  4. Winston Smith

    Oscars? Only saw 1917…definitely a “theatre movie”. Immersive experience if you let it be.

    1. a different chris

      Yeah that “Money is an Iron” article was more ridiculous than most “theatre” (make sure you elevate your nose when you say that word!) critics manage, amazingly.

      I mean, here’s the first line: “the pointlessness of the film exactly mirrors the pointlessness of World War I.”

      And here’s the last line: “Why it was happening we understand less from 1917 than we understand why the buffalo stampeded in The Revenant.”

      The point of pointlessness, if I have to put it that way, is there isn’t anything to understand. The entire movie, you couldn’t help it but you were squirming because all the suffering, all the heroics, were pointless.

      Heck maybe everybody in the last scenes died a week later. The whole war was so stupid. But this movie shows that, unlike the Malibu mansions headed for a watery grave, the 250mph cars, the empty mid-city lux apartments, you can’t laugh war off.

      It’s the thing the Elites do that we have to stop, first. Before anything else.

      1. David

        Yes, it was a silly article, and typical of the casual and superficial treatment that even very good films now get from self-appointed critics, who seem to make a virtue of their own ignorance. Anyone who can write “I’m fairly certain that the film is pro-Brexit, but exactly how I don’t know”, about 1917 has no business writing about film, or any other art for that matter, apart possibly from children’s TV. 1917 is a film soaked in religious symbolism, dealing with sacrifice, death, rebirth and salvation, in which the Western Front functions as a literal Hell on Earth, a connection that was made very frequently at the time, and afterwards. The film has as much do do with Brexit as does the Pilgrim’s Progress, with which, by the way, it has a lot of overlap. Anyone who can’t see this very obvious point really shouldn’t be writing about films.

      2. russell1200

        Pointless? The war led to end of Imperial Monarchies in 3 countries.

        1917 was the year that eventually lead to the allies figuring out a formula for taking chunks out of German defensive lines without suffering disproportionate casualties. The German Offenses of 1918 (they were able to pull troops from the Eastern Front with the collapse of the Russians) concealed this to a degree. But when the German offense petered out, the Allie’s offense, with the United States adding fresh troops, got going and was accelerating going into 1919.

        1. a different chris

          Fair enough. Would have thought there would be a better way than random slaughter of the prime part of the population, though.

          Probably not, it is humans we are talking about. Sigh.

          Anyway, it also let to the building of the Maginot Line so I think that kind of balances out (negatively) what they did learn.

          1. David

            Whilst it’s true that the film isn’t about the wider picture at all, it’s also true that 1917 was the decisive year, as russell says. At that point, after the Somme and Verdun, the German Army was essentially beaten and the end was only a question of time. Because of the narrowness of the front and the numbers of soldiers involved, attrition was the only way of achieving that effect. The “better way” which eventually did work was a push through the Balkans into the rear of the Axis, as the Hapsburg Empire collapsed. It was that which really brought the War to an end, but it required the German Army to be pinned on the western front first.
            The Maginot Line thing is a very persistent myth. The French saw that powerful fixed defences could be very effective, and decided to put them on the short part of the frontier where there was a direct border with Germany, to stop the Germans making a sneak attack there. As expected, this effectively stopped the Germans from attacking in the East, and enabled the French to deploy most of their Army further West, to meet the attack they expected (correctly) to come through Belgium and the Ardennes.

            1. Plenue

              I think he’s saying that ‘the better way’ would have not been to have an asinine war between empires whose rulers were all each others cousins.

      3. Carolinian

        Agreed that the Baffler article was inane with its above it all tone. Anyone who takes himself seriously enough to invoke a “Hawksian Fallacy” probably needs to get a real job.

        As for the Oscars, they should bring back the hosts. There’s always the danger that the Oscars will take themselves too seriously as well. Most people are watching for the clothes and the gaffes.

    2. Some Guy in Beijing

      I’m surprised people in this community aren’t talking about Parasite . It directly addresses class issues

      1. DJG

        Some Guy in Beijing: It addresses class issues in a way that is somewhat distant from the way Americans think, though.

        I just saw it. Brilliant. It turns out that the Park family house was built as a set.

        The language of up / down, high / low, the flow of water: All wonderfully evocative.

        And the evocation of the sense of smell–an unacknowledged sense in U.S. culture…

        1. Geo

          Everything you see in that movie was built for the movie. Even the streets. An amazing feat of art design and visualization.

          Agree about why it’s not a topic of conversation. While it has parallels to our society it’s also a hard one to put into words and is “foreign” in the best interpretation the word. His prior film Snowpiercer is a much more “american” class movie and much easier to digest for mainstream audiences. Not nearly as good a film though!

          1. Jeff W

            “Everything you see in that movie was built for the movie.”

            Not quite everything but very close to it. Still, I absolutely agree—it’s an amazing feat of art design and visualization. And, while one comment here says the Park family house was “built as a set,” it was actually three sets, one built in Jeonju and the other two on soundstages.

        2. Some Guy in Beijing

          Yeah, Korea has very rigid and formal social structures built into its language. These kinds of informal employment arrangements are also more commonplace there, so I can see how it seems very foreign to American viewers

          However, Bong makes very clear that he’s in interviews that he is critiquing the capitalist order worldwide. Americans also can see that these are people who are desperate to work and willing to work hard and use their talents — the key moral values of meritocratic capitalism — yet the economic system leaves them behind all the same

      1. pjay

        From the Wikipedia article on the film:

        “David Edelstein of New York Magazine wrote: ‘It’s a great, expansive, deeply humanist work, angry but empathetic to its core. It gestures toward the end of the working world we know – and to the rise of the machines.'”

        It sounds like a pretty effective depiction of neoliberal globalization coming home full circle back to the US.

        Oh, by the way. The film “is distributed by Netflix and is the first film produced by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground Productions.” (Wikipedia) There is a lesson in that somewhere, I think. Of course the heartless Chinese are the Bad Guys, so…

        At least they didn’t give the documentary Oscar to one of the two Syrian propaganda films that were nominated.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Didn’t watch myself. Did Pelosi get best supporting actress for her “spontaneous” (and feeble) shredding of Trump ‘s speech? Bwwwaaaaahahahaha!

      And apologies if this was posted already, but it’s too funny not to point out again anyway. So of course Trump took Pelosi’s stunt and shoved it right back into her surgically altered face, posting a video of SOTU highlights interspersed with repeated clips of Pelosi’s stunt. Evidently it took all the quotes the Trump felt were positive, like honoring a Tuskeegee airman, and followed each of them with a clip of the Pelosi rip. Does Pelosi fight back by making a clever video of her own? Or course not, because why would you do that when whining is so much more effective!

      Instead, she complained to Facebook and Twitter, asking them to pull the video because it was fake news, as if the American public were just too dumb and deplorable to get what was quite clearly a joke. Facebook and Twitter then tell Pelosi to talk to the hand , and rightly so.

      Now the Democrat party is forcing me to agree with Facebook. Most people figure out you don’t beat the bully by whining when they’re about 12 years old. Can’t anybody here play this game?!?!?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Two teams take the field. Before the game a billionaire tells them they each will receive 1 million dollars. They are instructed to pass the ball a lot, make diving tackles and sliding saves, and that Red will win 2-1. The billionaire wants to pack the stands so he can sell lots of $10 hot dogs. Is that the game you’re referring to? Because that’s the one we’re playing.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “This Is How Bernie Wins”

    If Sanders’s New Hampshire operation is a model for fusing movement politics with a Presidential campaign and promises a good showing, do not be surprised at the following story appearing in the New York Times and the Washington Post-

    “New Hampshire Democratic Party declares a state of emergency in New Hampshire through an outbreak of Coronavirus. Demands the entire State be looked down, all gatherings of people be declared illegal to prevent mass infections and all mass media shut down to prevent a public panic.”

    1. Chris

      I don’t think the opposing side is that smart or subtle. However, if we hear that the Buttigieg campaign has funded a DNC associated health care app – watch out!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Especially for the younger would be Mayos, I think they thought Krystal Ball-esque pictures (they are nothing, but a bunch of horny incels got their panties in a twist about them) would be their down fall, not their hideous employers. The Internet has changed. There Is more out there, and with so many people available, It raises questions about who these people are.

        David Frum can go on MSDNC and lamenot Trump without being identified as a monster, but other platforms will name him as an accomplice to war crimes. Obama and Hillary’s presumed coronation protected them for a long time, and they can’t grasp with people looking behind the curtain.

    2. zagonostra

      It’s thought provoking to note the possible connection between the Miami Herald reporting that quarantine centers were being prepared just in case an outbreak of CoV hits Florida and a recent MintPress News article by Whitney Webb on how we are being prepped to expect a failed(compromised) presidential election.

      Why waste a perfectly “good” epidemic, declare the elections null and void and have camps ready for the bedlam that ensues.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        whitney is on it as usual:

        i find that i must limit my intake of her,lol.
        go grub around in the dirt for a while.
        all the hysterical stories linked by her share one thing: the most likely entities to use such tech to disrupt elections are those represented by the very spooks being quoted in those links.
        “messing with the mind of america”?
        like that hasn’t been the governing philosophy of both parties for as long as i can remember.

    3. chuck roast

      This was a great article. Who knew there was a successful Farmer Labor Party in NH back in the day? Of interest was the mention of the Quebec power line that got stalled by the NH courts. I was in Portland last month and saw ads for it on TV stating, “Maine benefits; Mass. pays” from the power line extension. Clearly the spivs still know how to divide-and-conquer and aren’t throwing in the towel. Maybe Lambert or ALB can comment on what’s going on.

    4. lordkoos

      The spreading of the coronavirus will peak in the USA in October. Elections will have to be postponed as a result. Especially if Bernie Sanders is the nominee.

  6. lemon

    The Atlantic article wasn’t openable on my links page… is on Atlantics’ web site & not paywalled (scary too)…….may not stay that way if many pile on. Strange shrunken links page.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      that article is a must read. Like the Useful Idiots interview of Lee Fang on Bloomberg Philanthropy Inc

      the new politics: dueling billionaires

      1. flora

        From a 2004 Bill Moyers interview with Keven Phillips:

        BILL MOYERS: You keep referring in “Wealth and Democracy” to a plutocracy. What do you mean by that?

        KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, the plutocracy … and I think we have one now and we didn’t, 12 years ago when I wrote THE POLITICS OF RICH AND POOR is when money has ceased just entertaining itself with leveraged buyouts and all the stuff they did in the ’80s, and really takes over politics, and takes it over on both sides when money not only talks, money screams. When you start developing philosophies in which giving a check is a First Amendment right. That’s incredible. But what you’ve got is that this is what money has done. It’s produced the fusion of money and government. And that is plutocracy.

        … what we’ve seen in the ’80s and ’90s is that it’s taken control of both parties, pretty much taken control of the culture, and controls the whole dynamics of politics. And that is … a plutocracy in a way that we haven’t had before, since the gilded age.

        1. GramSci

          I also recall Phillips as a lone voice explaining in American Theocracy how WWI, far from being “pointless” (op cit), was in fact fought for oil.

      2. Lil’D

        Scariest thing I’ve seen all week
        Or year

        I think we are doomed but I’m still going to try to make a positive difference

        Winner-take-all applied to propaganda machinery. Not a good look

  7. anonymous

    The NYT had more detail on the IA caucuses last night, especially on the problems with the phones:
    For months, IA news organizations had been reporting that the Iowa Democratic Party was working on changes to the caucuses in response to directives to make the caucuses more transparent and inclusive. Now it seems that there’s a lot of finger-pointing, with locals saying that the caucuses were just fine before the DNC forced these changes on them, and Perez putting the blame on Iowa. Yesterday, Perez said on one of the talk shows that the IDP chose the app.

    There was a lot of mention yesterday on TV of the low IA turnout this year, even though it was slightly higher than in 2016. Yves attributes the difference to a Monday in 2020 vs. the historic 2008 Thursday turnout, but nobody on TV noted the day of the week. All of the prior caucuses going back to 1972 were on Mondays, except for Tuesday in 2012 (no interest with Obama the incumbent), and that Thursday in 2008. In 2008, Michigan moved up to January 15, so New Hampshire moved to Jan 8 (needed to be at least a week earlier by NH state law), and Iowa moved up to Thursday, Jan 3. So, the only time the caucuses had such a high turnout was the only time a competitive race had a caucus on a Thursday instead of a Monday, supporting Yves’s belief that the day of the week was contributory. The disappointing turnout was being used to shoot down Bernie’s claim that he can win against Trump by bringing in new voters, even though Bernie did bring in new minorities, workers and students.

    Finally, the IDP posted results (, giving Buttigieg 14 national delegates and Bernie 12.

    1. Grant

      “The disappointing turnout was being used to shoot down Bernie’s claim that he can win against Trump by bringing in new voters, even though Bernie did bring in new minorities, workers and students.”

      It is fascinating, when there are so many candidates, that turnout can be blamed on one person. The people that Bernie targeted, as you said, did turn out in larger numbers. But, even if lots of people that otherwise turned out because of Bernie, that could more than be made up by other candidates not exciting their targeted groups and them not showing up. Biden was polling well, and he did far worse than the polls said he would. So, if you are going to focus on a major candidate, he seems like the most logical starting point. Bernie targeted the youth vote, and they showed up in large numbers. He targeted Latinos and black voters, and they turned out for him. What Bernie lost to other candidates, obviously, are voters he had in 2016, when there was only one other option. It happens. But he did turn out lots of new voters, and the party he has to run in spit in their face. Surely that will not be a factor. And if Trump did have some ideas in mind about a rigged election, the Democrats are showing him how its done, and who will take them seriously if he does to them what they are now doing to Bernie? The collective stupidity of those in power is awe inspiring.

    2. Adam Eran

      Adding to the bizarre, propagandist reporting, only “Delegate equivalents” appear in most of the articles I’ve seen. You even have to click through the usually reliable Des Moines Register to see the vote totals! Here they are.

      Note: Bernie won the votes, but not the delegates. Gee, is the fix in?!

      1. Geo

        Not even delegates but “delegate equivalents” … whatever that is. Sorta like how we’re “democracy adjacent”?

        1. pretzelattack

          you can probably trade them in for actual delegates at an exchange rate to be determined by the dnc at the convention. wonder how many delegate equivalents it takes to get a superdelegate?

        2. chuck roast

          This is a case where we must let the Italians speak…

          vicino alla democrazia

          Now we can all go back and get seriously into our vino.

    3. Geo

      Standout quote:
      “A conference call with the campaigns ended with Mr. Price hanging up on them, amid accusations that caucus results in Iowa may have been incorrectly reported for decades.”

      Definitely a must read.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      That’s crazy. Buttigieg, if you believe the counting, gets two more SDE than Sanders out of 1000+, and that translates to two more national delegates out of 26?!?!? This is basic arithmetic and they can’t even get that right?

      I certainly hope Sanders’ campaign will be making a huge stink about this because somebody has some ‘splaining to do.

      1. flora

        The DNC has a heavy hand on the results. If mayo pete’s role in this primary season is to step aside at the convention and give his delegates to whatever candidate the ‘smoke-filled room’ decides on – the exact same role he played in the election of DNC chair Perez – then the machine will slip him a few more delegates here and there to pad up the trade delegate numbers, imo.

        1. Dan

          Bernie Sanders himself has been directing much more ire towards the Iowa Democratic Party than the DNC. He’s been subtly contradicting his own campaign team.

          This leads me to wonder if it’s a calculated political move or an illustration of the sheepdogishness of Sanders that is so often pointed out by those on the more “extreme” left.

          Someone please help my sanity.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            I’d like more explanation too however having grown up in VT and followed his political career, I’m pretty sure Sanders isn’t sheepdogging. If he were, he wouldn’t have refused to join the Democrat party all these years.

            Or if he is, he’s trying to herd the public into getting off their (our) asses and raising a stink. We all know his campaign slogan and he’s made it explicitly clear that he needs everyone’s help if there’s ever going to be change.

            I’m ready to bust out the pitchfork on this one if someone would tell me who to point it at…

            1. Dan

              After his performance at the rally in NH tonight, I’m beginning to fear for his life. He was on fire in calling for revolution and went directly after the MIC.

  8. John Beech

    Re: Senator Sanders . . . I continue gently prodding Republican-leaning friends with questions designed to make them uncomfortable regarding health care. Having voted R since 1980, and recently switched party registration to permit participation in the D-primaries with the aim of supporting Sanders, which to my regret I knew I could do and didn’t back in 2016, this is my only tool to influence my friends. Recently I was handed another as President Trump’s FAA is imposing draconian regulations on pilots of model airplanes. Model airplanes? Who cares?

    Well, by a LARGE majority modelers are old and vote Trump. So I have begun to observe to the disgruntled (basically all of them) how this is the President’s fault. While I’m largely just getting crickets, everybody is listening instead of shutting me down – as happens to pro-Democrat modelers (who largely keep their heads down and their mouths shut). Bottom line? These folks (modelers) are getting POed at being big-footed by government and I am using it as a tool. And modelers, as I mentioned, are older and they vote. Enough numbers to swing an election? Maybe yes, in some places. Especially because we amount to maybe 1M in the nation (fully 1/3 are dues paying members in the national organization and my position in the industry allows me to inquire regarding this and I estimate only 1/3 of my customers are members). Anyway, I am glad enough to have another tool with which to agitate for Senator Sanders.

    Also, important is how I am a lifelong Republican voter and what’s important about this is I am a disaffected hot button voter (I favor M4A). Thus, unless Sanders is the Democrat’s nominee, I will once again vote for Donald Trump, e.g. it’s Sanders or nothing with me because I abhor the concept of wiping out student debt, and handing out cash to layabouts (as a business owner, I actually pay taxes instead of getting a refund as so many do).

    Finally, one tiny bit of inside baseball regarding model airplane modelers. The difference between drones and model airplanes is the model airplanes will only fly line of sight. E.g. once you can’t see them, they crash due to uncontrolled flight. The government is intent on requiring transponders on model airplanes, which to modelers makes about as much sense as teats on a boar hog because the vast majority are no bigger than large birds and don’t fly as high (my company aircraft regularly encounters buzzards larger than most models at altitudes exceeding several thousand feet. What’s important about this is a mode at 1000′ i so small you can’t control it – and where’s the fun in flying something o far away you can’t even see it? Anyway, transponders on drones makes far more sense because they can, and do, pose a genuine danger to aviation in the hands of the determined. Unfortunately, modelers are being lumped in with drone operators with regulations designed for Amazon and UPS. This is what I mean by being big-footed by regulations.

    1. a different chris

      I don’t want to say conservatives have no imagination, but *I* could easily see from a mile away (pardon the rather obscure pun) that model airplanes were going to get hammered in a surveillance society. Which is a where a conservative society when expressed fully goes as well as we have already seen with a “left” society when also fully expressed (Fidel Castro).

      You go to far to either extreme, you wind up with dictatorship. Human nature, at least of the 0.1%.
      Something Sanders is not at all disposed towards being, which I respect you for noticing.

      1. pretzelattack

        cuba was a small island nation which faced a multi decade assault from the superpower 90 miles to the north, including assassination plots and an invasion. i don’t think any small country under this kind of pressure could be said to be a fully expressed version of any ideology.

          1. pretzelattack

            possibly. yugoslavia seemed to retain a measure of independence–hungarians i’ve talked to didn’t have a problem with him, but maybe that’s a select group who emigrated to the u.s. in the 80’s. yugoslavia was a bit like iraq, seemingly, prewar, a very divided society held together to some extent by repression.

            1. lordkoos

              …a very divided society held together to some extent by repression.

              Kind of like the USA presently.

    2. inode_buddha

      “…because I abhor the concept of wiping out student debt, and handing out cash to layabouts (as a business owner, I actually pay taxes instead of getting a refund as so many do)….”

      Nothing like seeing them bitch about problems that they created via their policies. It’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel. Maybe you should try creating some jobs for those layabouts that are actually able to work. After 40 years of trickle-down the roads should be paved with gold by now.

    3. Synoia

      How much did you pay for your College Education, John?

      What percentage of your College funds were provided by any arm of Government?

      Form my reading paying for US College now vs the Past was very different.

      Disclosure: My College education in the UK was free, and failing a year was followed by “do not return next year.” Only3-5% of graduating school students attended College. Large UK Employers provided much training, as part of the employment package.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I went to university in the mid-80’s and successfully obtained a BA/History, with a short stint in the early 90’s for an abortive MA/Educational Technology. My tuition for in-state major university was $1500. (I checked, and same place….currently almost $10000. Tuition. Only.)

        Of that $1500 a year, for 5 years, the BA — I got a needs-based Pell Grant for roughly 30% of the total, and a state needs-based grant for another 10% or so, and I worked a student job for around 10%. So 50% not loans….50% federal loans. Able to pay it all off within a few years of getting my first ‘real’ salaried job. (and would have still been able to pay it off working minimum wage.

        I won’t count the MA as I never completed it…but I could already see the beginnings of tuition hikes, curtailment/elimination of grants in favor of loans, and all that. Ugh. Luckily my *2nd* salaried job put paid to those debts as well.

        So because I managed to be born at a reasonably good time society-wise, got grants from the government, and happened to luck into a high-paying career so i could pay off my student loans….do I harbor any resentment towards some huge swath of kids getting their student loans paid off in one fell swoop?

        Of course not. Those kids got hit with neglect (get rid of grants for education) usury (in the form of ‘creative’ private student loans, price-gouging (in the form of ridiculous increases in tuition, never mind housing), and carnival-barkerism-bait-and-switch (i.e., “…Don’t want to work minimum wage? Come one, come all… mortgage yer future and get any number of degrees that will certify you to work and yet still dump you out into an economy of minimum-wage-slaves and indentured servants!!! …Step right up!!”

        No, I don’t spend one second of time worrying about any method there might be to erase student loan debt. Instead, I worry about the pent up rage, anger, and hate accumulating within a younger generation that we (pruport) to think will ‘take care of us’ as we age.

        More to the point, I worry about the inevitable guillotines such a generation will have for us. And it will be entirely justified.

      2. Monty

        Good points, but I think it’s important not to get triggered by “G-Wagon” John. I am over 99.99% sure its not a real person, but rather a characterization of a stereotype, designed to illicit a response.

  9. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Latest: Warren says she’s best positioned to beat Trump.

    I like Warren. Ideologically, she is my second choice in the primary after Sanders. But I think she would lose against Trump, and lose very badly, perhaps worse than Clinton. Trump would obliterate Warren in the debates. Trump and his followers will play up the Native American thing which many people find funny (don’t underestimate the power of humor) and Warren’s schoolmarm image will not do much to appeal to the kind of voters she needs to win in swing states. Warren comes across as a stereotypical northeastern liberal with little charisma.

    I hope I don’t sound sexist because I do think that women can be great, charismatic candidates, AOC is a good example. Heck, I even think Hillary Clinton was more charismatic than Warren. Hillary came across as tough to me, it is just that she had a lot of legitimate baggage when it came to policy (for example, support for free trade in the Rust Belt), Wall Street connections and corruption. So the problem is not that Warren is a woman it is that she represents a certain type of liberal politician, male or female, that is not popular in the swing states the Democratic nominee will need to win. I am becoming more convinced that Sanders is the only candidate who can defeat Trump.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      I don’t agree, but this question is moot – Warren’s campaign is in a tailspin and she will be lucky to finish 3rd in NH. She has no chance at the nomination.

      I’m hopeful she decides to drop out after another poor showing and declare her support for Sanders. But given how she’s run her campaign and the Clinton dead-enders on her staff, that seems very unlikely.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Via Fox News site,

        The student, Madison Moore, of Mercer University in Georgia, began by asking Biden how he could remain competitive in the race after that performance.

        “It’s a good question,” Biden responded. “Number one: Iowa’s a democratic caucus. You ever been to a caucus? No you haven’t. You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier. You said you were; but now you got to be honest. I’m gonna be honest with you. It was a little bit confusing in Iowa.”

        Great scoogly moogly, he is an effing moron.

        1. flora

          Biden has still has his politician’s self-righteous emotion but he’s lost control of his anger , apparently, and it comes out in the wrong way , at the wrong time, and too many times.

        2. chuckster

          I would never, ever consider myself a Biden fan but if you watch the video he was actually being somewhat playful with the woman who asked the question. It’s a bad rap – like the Dean scream. When the media smell blood, it’s all over but the eating.

            1. katiebird

              Also, he called her a “lying dog-faced pony soldier” and I know I would NEVER vote for him once he called me a liar. Even if the rest of it was funny how was calling her a liar a joke?

              1. a different chris

                Finally I’m nearing 60 and “pony soldier” is completely… I mean I don’t have any idea what that means? I don’t recall ever even hearing it before.

                Did anybody us that term in the movie 1917 that we are discussing elsewhere, and I missed it? :D

                1. lordkoos

                  “Pony soldier” I think refers to Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I think another definition might be native American warriors. A strange thing for Biden to say either way.

                2. Harold

                  He is referring to a misremembered film, Pony Soldier (1952). named for the Native American term for “soldier on horseback”, since they called horses “ponies”. In this case the soldiers are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The eponymous hero is Tyrone Power, not John Wayne. In the plot the pony soldier (Power) tries to get a starving and rebellious tribe to give up a pair of Anglo hostages and go to a reservation where the Mounties will protect them and give them food. There is a Metis sidekick, played for comic effect by Thomas Gomez, a wonderful character actor with a strong Brooklyn accent.
                  A poster on twitter listened to the whole film and the closest he could find to Biden’s insult was “pony soldier speaks with forked tongue” which occurred twice. He said that “dog-faced” was archaic army slang and probably not derogatory. Neither is “pony soldier”. So it really was a joke.

                3. ForFawkesSakes

                  It’s actually kind of hilarious and awful in that only Biden sort of way. He has used this exact phrase before, attributing to ‘an Indian in a John Wayne movie.’ He used it in a Vanity Fair interview in 2018 and they tired to discover what movie and could come up with nothing.

              2. flora

                You sure can’t call a woman ‘dog-faced’ in Midwestern states like Iowa and try to pass it off as a joke. Maybe that works in Delaware, not in Iowa.

                Biden defended himself, according to USA Today, by claiming it’s a well-know phrase spoken by John Wayne in a movie. I’ve never heard it before. John Wayne movie? Try the 21st c, Joe.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            While I agree that it does seem to have a lighter tones than his other altercations with voters, the fact that there are other altercations with voters makes it hard for me to give him the benefit of a doubt.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Biden is a case of the little boy in the front row observing that the emperor seems to have neglected to apply his clothing. MSNBC and CNN are still remarking on the fine quality of his raiments.

              The man is the poster child for every last policy that resulted in Trump’s election. Nobody is seriously thinking that any of those policies, from Iraq to crime to student debt servitude, is in any way redeemable. His Ukraine and China dealings with his son would make suitable chapters in a textbook on the corruption of high officials. His mental faculties would qualify him for soft foods and maintenance medications in a supervised facility.

              Yet still we have Serious People telling us his robes, though shopworn, are still magnificent. Cue the little boy already

    2. John Beech

      I agree but for a different priority of reasons. First, as has been observed, you can stick a fork in her unless she astonishes everyone by winning tomorrow. However, ‘I’ wouldn’t vote for her because of the lie regarding native American heritage. I don’t like thieves in general and find it despicable how she stole from the lifeline meant for the disadvantage – envision a guy on the Titanic taking space on a lifeboat meant for women and children. I’d sooner vote for that other thief, the über-corrupt Hillary Clinton.

        1. tegnost

          As I recall beech is a m4a voter, not an anyone but trump voter, and warren is back pedaling on this issue

    3. a different chris

      I am going to bring this up again:

      >Trump would obliterate Warren in the debates.

      Do you think the Presidential debate is going to actually matter this year? Everybody’s seen Trumps TV Show(s) so many times for so many years now, their minds are already made up.

      The rest of your post, I do agree Warren is not a good candidate that could conceivably not drive the midwest turnout that will be needed.

      But the other thing I will bring up again is that any election is A Referendum On The Incumbent. So if people are generally sick of Trump, and he has a way of wearing on people to say the least, he goes. I admit I have no idea if they are or not.

      1. mistah charley, ph.d.

        Trump’s participation in debates is questionable – I think he would duck any debate he doesn’t think he would win – specifically, I think he would be afraid of Bernie and Bloomberg in particular.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Bloomberg…hahahahaha. I mean what are they going to debate over: NDA agreements, wealth, and how they speak to the manager.

          Besides he’s just going to call Bloomie short.

            1. chuckster

              Even better, they can debate over which segments of American society they screwed over to make their fortunes. You know, real oligarch talk. I would be enlightening.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s not about opinions about Trump but enthusiasm. Warren and most aren’t going to produce much of a GOTV effort, and as a result, the debate is where they will bank on inspiration. People who were already disaffected didn’t become more disaffected with Trump.

        Marginal promises and a subpar debate performance will crush a candidate banking on appearing dynamic next to Trump. If a candidate can’t out debate Trump or doesn’t ask for your vote, insisting white flight Republicans are all that matters, there isnt a reason to vote for them. If there Is a line in the morning, people will skip voting and not make it back to the polls for the rest of the day.

        1. a different chris

          But I still argue that’s a referendum on Trump. People are voting “against” things nowadays, as there is nothing to vote for. That’s simply what they’ve become used to doing. The same thing that swept him into office can just as easily sweep him out. I don’t care if the candidate is Snoopy (who admittedly has more charisma than Warren… ok Charlie Brown then?)

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            If there is a candidate. And Trump really didn’t outperform previous Republican losers by that much, and McCain and Romney both had their own evangelical problems.

            And 2008 wasn’t a victory of soaring rhetoric but organizing, just like 2006. Without that kind of organizing, people who might be “mad” at Trump aren’t going to be mad enough to vote. There will be plenty of people who won’t be registered. They simply won’t care enough unless they have a reason. “Centrists” and their ilk bank on debate enthusiasm.

        2. Eureka Springs

          The last 39 years WJC and BHO have been the only D presidents.

          HRC may have won the vote once, but like all the other losers (Mondale, Gore, Kerry) HRC was boring, hopelessly uninspired in the extreme. She was uniquely arrogant and mean-spirited for a Dem candidate.

          Warren is a Prez candidate absolutely incapable of evoking a sense of ‘strong leader’ as I have ever seen. She (while campaigning) reminds me of Cindy McCain without the money and wardrobe. Downright loopy.

      3. Grant

        Do I think a Bernie versus Trump debate would matter? Yes. Bernie and Bernie alone can call him out for so much that everyone else cannot. Look at Trump’s horrific budget and what would have been Trumpcare. Or his justice department joining right wing states to strike down pre-existing conditions, among other things, in the ACA. You think Bernie couldn’t hit him with that? Or what he has done to things like drinking water protections, his tax cuts for the rich, his military budgets while he does all of this?

        Now, on the other hand, if the Democrats were so utterly stupid as to nominate Buttigieg, I think Trump would absolutely destroy him in a debate. I think the same of Biden. I do think the debates would matter, and I think if Bernie overcomes the ghouls running the Democratic Party and wins, Trump will probably not debate him.

        1. a different chris

          > You think Bernie couldn’t hit him with that?

          No I don’t think that at all. I just think by the time the debates roll around people will be so wedged into their positions it simply won’t matter. I was under the impression Hillary creamed him and what difference did that make? Would Trump have won the whole popular vote if he “won” the debates? Seems unlikely to me

          Now if Bernie excelled in the debates and then won (even though I will assert to my last day that his debate performance didn’t make a difference) the election, it would give him quite a launching point for his “first 100 days”.

          Is it clear that to me this is two different things? It’s sure hard to express, I admit.

          1. Grant

            It’s a different thing now though. Cause neither Trump or Clinton were president when they debated. Trump has been president now for three years, and about the best you can say is that he didn’t do anything (for better or worse) that radically changed the economic trajectory he inherited, and maybe showed a little more restraint in a few situations in regards to foreign policy. That is it. I think the value of a debate between two people that have no power, and a president and someone radically different are not the same thing. And given that half the country doesn’t vote, the debates could have an impact. But, like I said, I don’t think Trump will debate Bernie because I think he would (rightfully) see it as offering very little potential benefit, and a far likelier chance that it could hurt him. If Buttigieg is the nominee (almost no chance, unless the rigging is epic in scale), Trump would jump at the chance to debate him. In that instance, very little chance it would hurt him, very likely he would obliterate him and gain as a result. Just my opinion.

            1. Dan

              Trump has to appear in one debate, just for optics’ sake. I agree that Bernie would destroy him. But I don’t know that Trump would necessarily destroy Buttigieg or any other D candidate. Trump doesn’t do well when he has to remain in a neutral environment for an extended period of time. He starts out ok, often with gusto, but eventually degenerates. I think he’d prefer no debate at all. But optics calls for one.


        2. stefan

          Debates should be returned to the League of Women Voters and taken out of the hands of infotainment TV careerists who tend to demean the whole process.

          If a candidate choses not to appear, fine. That relinquishes the stage to the others.

          1. Grant

            Agree. I think the DNC choosing those networks to host them is telling. If you look at the press release the League of Women voters put out when they opted out of the debates in 1988, they said that the way the parties wanted things to be done, that it was a farce and a disservice to the public. Very true. I don’t know how the debates were then, before my time, but I can say the debates I have seen in my adult life are horrible and frustrating. The Democrats are supposed to be the more progressive party in this system, and never once do moderators ask questions from a leftist perspective. I get that they want to question Bernie from a right wing perspective. But, they never frame questions from the left towards right wing candidates. And the DNC likes it that way, it seems.

      4. jrs

        And if Trump doesn’t want to have debates he won’t. He can just rally his faithful at rallies, hopefully it’s not enough.

  10. petal

    Sanders, Warren make last minute pitch to Upper Valley voters
    The CSPAN van was parked in front of our local pizza parlor when I grabbed lunch yesterday. They were covering Sanders at the Hanover Inn.

    “CLAREMONT — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., made a final appeal to Upper Valley voters on Sunday, contending his agenda helps working families and is gaining ground across the country.

    “It is not a radical idea to say if you have cancer or heart disease, you should not go bankrupt,” Sanders, long an advocate for a Medicare for All health system, said to loud applause from almost 600 people at a late-afternoon rally at Stevens High School in Claremont.

    Earlier in the afternoon, he had drawn 350 people to the Grand Ballroom of the Hanover Inn, plus another 100 in an overflow room.

    Later on Sunday, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., drew 675 people to an evening rally at Lebanon High School and highlighted her ability to win tough elections, noting she defeated a Republican incumbent in 2012.”
    There’s more if you click on the link.

    1. chuckster

      I won’t mention any names but a rat-faced CIA agent was on NBC yesterday telling an audience that the biggest threat to America is the federal deficit and he has a plan to cut “discretionary” (Social Security and Medicare) spending to reduce the deficit. Of course, “real Democrats” cheered his proposal.

      1. jrs

        So he would support the Trump budget IOW, oh if only he was a congressman he could do so and take great pride in voting to “make america great again”.

    1. Pat

      It is a great joke. And accurate to say you need to study both partners in Astaire’s couple dances. His partners were also great dancers. But some of Astaire’s most seemingly simple work was done in solos. Solos I am not sure any of his dance partners male or female could do with the same skill and style. And that includes Kelly.

        1. Robert Hahl

          One of his biggest secrets was to dance with partners who were not nearly as good. I think that is why the chair routine worked so well. It actually was his equal.

            1. ambrit

              Well, one big aspect of Astaire’s dancing ability was grueling practice. Ginger Rogers mentioned once about having to practice the high heels dance so many times with Astaire that her feet were bleeding.
              Trump is somewhat similar. He has practiced being a photogenic Boss so much on television and at wrestling matches that he has perfected his technique. another, more formal actor who made good in politics comes to mind; also a Republican President.

          1. Pat

            Surprisingly, I believe you would find that such dance masters as George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Bob Fosse disagree with you. They all are on record placing Astaire as one of dancing’s greats. Largely because they recognize that the simple no big deal easy look of his routines are deeply deceptive as they are difficult, require lots of work and practice and are very big deals.

      1. JustAnotherVolunteer

        You might want to google Eleanor Powell –

        She was a spectacular dancer and Astaire’s
        greatest partner. She also had a long history of starring solo numbers in the 30s

    2. Olga

      That was Ann Richards’ favourite joke.
      If the Chinese were really serious about taking over the world, they’d invent Ginger R. Lee and Fred A. Chen …it is hard to over-estimate just how much this type of soft power helped the US in seducing foreign masses and becoming a hegemon.

      1. Some Guy in Beijing

        I’m told they’re trying but their media products are rejected by people in foreign markets. Their domestic market is captive and gets fed a media diet of officially approved dogfood, so it’s impossible to know what would actually be popular.

        There seems to be a real attempt at copying K-Pop, but everything about it is transparently unoriginal, down do calling it C-Pop *eye roll *

  11. Stillfeelinthebern

    Rachel Bitcofer is smart and sassy. Yesterday, she had an amazing twitter thread about non-voters and Democratic messaging. “No wonder you’re now facing a populist insurrection-it is in no small part, one powered by deep frustration in the messaging/strategic incompetence of the Democratic Party’s consultant/strategy class.”

    She talked about how Republicans understand marketing, Dems, Huh? She also said Republican consultants contact her and Dem do not and she is definitely a Dem. Her threads are like a graduate level course in American elections.

    This thread:

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Team Blue elites don’t want the kind of voters she is discussing reaching. They want white flight republicans like Mayo Pete. They are fairly upfront about it.

      Since the GOP is naturally a rgional rump party, Team Blue doesn’t need to get many votes to compete. Republicans know they can’t be a “generic democrat”, but they do know an Evan Bayh type is the kind of awful who will depress turnout to a point the GOP can win.

    2. chuckster

      Rachel Bitcofer told the “ladies who lunch” that they are just about guaranteed the White House, and both chambers of Congress after 2020. There is no need to listen to her again or do any work toward that goal. After all, she has a PhD; how could she be wrong? Care for some Pinot Grigio?

  12. voteforno6

    Re: Trump’s ‘Dream Scenario’

    As I recall, the Democrats had a “dream scenario” in 2016. How’d that work out for them?

  13. Lee

    Moderate Democrats have a duty to consider Sanders. He has a clear path to beating Trump. USA Today

    Why should moderates fear Sanders? Concentrated private capital can sabotage and tank the economy; moderate Democrat congress critters can go all bipartisany and join Rs to block Sanders’s policy initiatives. Start sharpening your pitchforks and picking progressive primary challengers for 2022.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “A Moon Landing In 2024? NASA Says It’ll Happen; Others Say: No Way”

    So that would be a shorter time span than Macron’s promise to rebuild Notre Dame. Yeah, OK. I wouldn’t let Elon Musk get a contract for this though. He would probably just stick a Tesla Model 3 atop a SpaceX Starship rocket and aim it at the moon. After careful consideration, I have worked out one way that they could do it in the proposed timeframe.

    Just dig out the blueprints for the old Apollo series of rockets and build one from the plans. But with one proviso. You would need a battalion of Special Forces soldiers armed with 50,000 volt tasers assigned to this new build team. That way, if some Silicon Valley tech-head said “You know, we could make a much better version of the Apollo software that could be built cheaply and on time..”BZZZTTTTT!
    Or you would have some engineer say “How about we add some new packages to the Apollo design, which should not effect the take-off weight, and upgrade the design…”BZZZTTTTT!

    1. KLG

      A friend who keeps up with this stuff says that the plans for the Saturn V were not saved in a format that can be recovered…A file of very large paper rolls, they were probably thrown out with the trash after Apollo XVIII was cancelled?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        let me check my files….
        my dad dug through the trash a lot when he worked at JSC from Apollo 12 through Skylab.

        and…am i reading this right? we’re not only incapable of building the Pyramids…but cannot build a Saturn V?
        there’s still one on the lawn at the JSC in Clear Lake, last i looked(unless it’s been converted to a barn for the National Longhorn Herd)…surely we could hire some Chinese engineers to reverse engineer it…

    2. inode_buddha

      NASA had determined that it would be unfeasible to build another Saturn or an Apollo program even with the original drawings and plans. Reason being that there were so many changes made “on the fly” as it were, and so much engineering knowledge was undocumented and lost, not only by NASA but by the zillions of contractors/makers/creators of the program. Many of the original people involved are dead of old age.

      Shorter: Its cheaper to start over fresh.

      1. polecat

        It’s even cheaper not to start a rehash of a program of questional value as it is, if wasted resourses are considered !! Forget Space .. she’s laughing at us … she would rather that we humans stay put, and spend it on fixing what’s important here on our homeplanet ! We ARE just flukes of the Universe, after all.

  15. avoidhotdogs

    Some regulars will know I’m Terry Flynn who wrote the voting piece. I don’t exactly keep my identity secret, I just wanted to be less findable when I left academia and wanted an escape from the exponentially increasing requests for (free of course) peer-reviewing.

    As I hopefully make clear, I had NO involvement with Most-Least Voting development – only the more general technique of Best-Worst Scaling. I have no “dog in the fight” in that any of several reforms to FPTP in UK would satisfy me. I can provide points of clarification though. To be honest until I saw a paper (which I’ve lost reference to having left the field, grr) which said ML voting has been used in at least one of the Baltic states I regarded it as merely an interesting curiosity. However, It’s pretty easy to show how in the 2016 USA primaries Trump would have been eliminated and O’Malley might have stuck around had ML been used. It concentrates on “acceptability” rather than “outright first preference support”.

    1. UserFriendly

      Well I knew you were a regular commenter but you keep changing your handle….

      Most Least is interesting but it it is to easily bungled with strategic voting. If you had Sanders vs. Clinton vs. Hitler; and no one thought Hitler would win, all Clinton voters would ‘least’ Sanders and vise versa allowing only a small faction to elect Hitler.

      Approval Voting is a better minor reform. that keeps single winner.

      And I like STAR for a major overhaul that keeps single winner.

      1. avoidhotdogs

        I don’t think I’ve changed my handle more than once, maybe twice (when I minorly changed my name but twas obviously same person) to be fair. And any voting system is easily made to look dumb if you straw-man it: since when would we EVER have Sanders vs Clinton vs Hitler? Can you give me a realistic choice of candidates to attack the method? Because Godwin’s Law dictates you just lost the argument.

        Please provide peer-reviewed articles showing the mathematical psychology of approval voting (like I did for Most-Least) and like there are for Best-Worst Scaling (in the “gold standard” journal – JMP). If you are going to endorse STAR voting please tell me if it is cardinal or ordinal scores because that matters. (Hint, it obviously is assumed cardinality given the link YOU supplied, thus if you give candidate A a 4 it means you would vote for them twice as often as candidate B with a 2 – people don’t use numbers like that. The book I co-authored was NOT the first one to demonstrate this – McFadden did it in 1973 to estimate demand for the BART in San Francisco and won a “nobel” Prize for it as his demand predictions were perfect. Just in case you think I’m using my own stuff to knock you down.)

        I could resort to “amusing examples” like the fact traditional Chinese people don’t like using “4” because it has connotations with death. Or traditional cantonese “7” because it has connotations with a certain part of the male body in a relaxed state. (There is a another number associated with it in a non-relaxed state but I don’t off-hand remember it). Apologies if this sounds aggressive but 2 days ago I had a troll on here declare me a “liar” (which was allowed through). I have a long career of peer-reviewed research, easily accessible. When someone’s first argument is to put Hitler in there you do understand why proper academics don’t take kindly, surely?

        1. UserFriendly

          Seriously, calm down. I didn’t call you hitler. I Invoked hitler as an obvious bad person we wouldn’t want to elect. Something I’ve seen done dozens of times when talking voting theory. But if the mere mention of Hitler is enough to make you light your hair on fire I don’t really see the point in continuing the conversation.

          But, no it is ordinal and feel free to read more here.

  16. DJG

    The article from Medium about school-boy satires, pigs, and Wet-Blanket Saint Jerome shows why the classical world is accessible. These kids are still alive!

    A quibble: piperis cannot mean peppers (capsicum), which are New World contributions to the table. Piper here would mean black pepper, a costly import and fine tribute to such a generous and erudite pig.

  17. a different chris

    My only problem with Bitecofer’s brilliant thread (and she may have hit on this elsewhere and I just don’t know) was encapsulated by a Cracker Barrel worker (italics because it proves my theory that you can’t judge people’s intelligence by their job. I swear the correlation is completely random). My bold:

    I work at a Cracker Barrel for mad money and store discount. Most of the employees loathe trump (Texas!), but aren’t registered or don’t plan on voting bc 1)they don’t think their vote matters, 2)they’ll have to work, 3)they’re too busy just trying to survive.This is nationwide.

    I can’t believe (ok, I certainly can) the Democrats haven’t focused on turnout, turnout, turnout for the last 30 years. Paid day off. Hell pay people $100 for voting. If the Republicans are obviously, and not even trying to hide, their suppression efforts why isn’t it simply free information from them that turnout is in *your* interest Dems? Allah help me.

    1. inode_buddha

      It’s because the Dems don’t want random turnout. They only want turnout that specifically helps them and their large donors. A Cracker Barrel voter doesn’t really do that, unless they own the franchise.

    2. chuckster

      Even if Voting Day was a national holiday, why would you think that the local Cracker Barrel restaurant would be closed?

      Mail in ballots take 10 minutes to fill out and return and they are accessible 24 hours a day.

      1. a different chris

        See, I an over-educated professional was of a vague (vague because you just brought it out into the open) un-examined belief that I had to “have a reason” for a mail-in ballot.

        If not, that shows how perniciously programmed we are. To me, why would anybody drive to the voting booth if you can just mail it in? So I just assumed, naturally… man that’s annoying to find out.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Each state has different rules regarding mail in or absentee ballots. In many states you do need to cite a reason for one, and you have to request it well in advance of the vote. I.e. it’s a pain to get one in Nevada, however, we have extensive, no line wait early voting prior to each election.

        2. chuckster

          I live in AZ. To permanently have a mail in ballot sent to you all one has to do is check off a box on the voter registration form. Valid as long as you are registered. Is postage paid as well.

          Had the same option in NJ. The bigger problem is that often there is no one worth voting for.

        3. Angie Neer

          Here in WA, mail-in balloting is the only kind, starting a few years ago. Many people have bemoaned the loss of the civic ritual of going to the polling place, and I miss that too, but mailing it in just makes so much sense. What didn’t make sense was that the first few mail-in elections required people to provide their own stamp, which these days is not something everybody has on hand (and could be considered a poll tax). But now they have prepaid postage.

          1. Oregoncharles

            We have (the original, i think) mail-in voting here in Oregon. It’s great. However, I usually wait till the last day, go to the courthouse, and drop it in the special mailbox out front. There are a couple of other drop-off sites, too. You have to do it if you wait too long, as they don’t go by postmark.

            It’s a regular Fraternity of the Procrastinators, greeting each other at the drop box. Gives it that bit of ritual.

      2. Biph

        If there was going to be a voting holiday it shouldn’t just be 1 day it should be 3 Tue, Wed, Thu a person has 1 of those 3 days as their voting day. Businesses could still run even if they’d be at 2/3 normal staffing for 3 days or a business could chose to entirely shutdown for one of those 3 days but an employee must be given 1 of those 3 days off as a paid holiday. At least that’s how I’d do a voting holiday.

    3. HotFlash

      How we vote in Canada. Voting day is not a holiday here in Canada but employers are required to allow employees up to four hours off on voting days (any level — municipal, provincial, federal). Party candidates are elected by paid-up members of the party at closed nominating elections and party leaders are elected at a convention, where the party platform is also determined. Party membership is typically betw $100 and $45 per annum.

      Last federal election 68.28% of registered Canadians voted, which was 62.12% of the voting age population. There are lot of ways to register, including simply ticking a box on your income tax return — takes no time and not even a stamp. Early voting goes on for at least three weeks before the actual election day, you can register at any of the advance polling stations, which are at libraries and the like, and also at the polling stations on election day. Polling stations are convenient (local schools, churches, libraries, etc.) and well-staffed (paid scrutineers). When I first moved here our polling station was my down-the-street neighbours house. If you hadn’t cast your vote by 7pm or so, Cliff would come knocking on your door. Biggest line I ever encountered was maybe 4 people ahead of me while the scrutineer checked them on the voter list. Voting is simple, ballots are hand-marked paper, you are only voting for one office, the rep for your ward or riding. Some places hand count, last couple of times mine went into an optical scanner. Me no likey, but at least we have paper.

      BTW, US turnout was 86.80% of registered voters, but only 55.70% of the voting aged population. SO, looks like lots of low-hanging fruit there.

      1. Anon

        Need a citation on that 86.80 number. The highest voter turnout in a US national election (President) over the last 30 years is around 67%. In general, Americans have a hard time voting in national elections. It’s even worse for local elections.

    1. HotFlash

      I’d be willing to place a small wager on Klobuchar, if she won I’d at least have a consolation prize.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Content aside, Sanders looks comfortable, confident, spontaneously funny.

      Better than I’ve seen in awhile. He looks like he’s feeling like a front-runner.

      1. a different chris

        People don’t realize that the type of heart surgery Bernie had — it makes a real difference. It isn’t just “keeping you alive”, it isn’t like curing Corona virus, it is addressing an issue that has been there for years.

        So I bet he feels like the odometer has been rolled back quite a bit. And we see that.

  18. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Collapsing the Russian Tripod. About that massive piece of projection all I can say is “Jesus F*cking Christ”!

      1. pjay

        Yes. Even in today’s farcical propaganda environment this is pretty stunning. For those not masochistic enough to read it, here is just one example:

        “Moscow and Beijing have weaponized previously benign activities like diplomacy, investment flows, infrastructure development, foreign asset purchases, and media. University campuses have become battlegrounds of covert influence and interference. These activities complement more aggressive forms of political warfare operations, such as espionage, cyber-attacks, and intellectual property theft. For its part, the West at large gave up on political warfare operations after the end of the Cold War, complacently believing that the ideology that birthed them—communist authoritarianism—had been consigned to the “dustbin of history.””

        If only we hadn’t “given up” on political warfare after 1991. Poor, perpetually naive US of A and its fun-loving NATO buddies. Always the victim of our “complacency” and good intentions!

        1. David Mills

          There were some real doozies in that article. I would love for Barnett / Foxall to explain what Victoria (**** the EU) Nuland did with that $5bn in Ukraine… . The list of political interference by the US and its allies in the “post cold war era” would fill a phone book.

          More interesting is what turns up when you do a little digging into Barnett & Foxall’s background. The winner for me was the connection of Istok Associates LLC to, wait for it, Fusion GPS. It doesn’t get better than than. “A bastion of trans-Atlantic Neoconservatism” was the best description I found for the Henry Jackson Society.

          My rule is that you can stop reading / listening once a bald face lie has been told. Nothing good follows.

    1. Duck1

      I read a few paragraphs but had to stop as shibboleths were pouring out of my ears. And that was only about how angelic the empire has been lately, compared to those evil totalitarians in eurasia. Will have to complete the essay following some anti-nausea medication or perhaps a bottle of whiskey.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      aye! give those guys a mirror, stat!
      as if the usa…or “the West”…is always above board and never wields power in any malicious or underhanded way.
      just like the screeching about Russia “interfering in elections”…while we wrote the book.
      this enforced mythology of usa benevolence…shining city on a hill…flag waving nonsense…is what i loathe the most about my country.
      we’ll never stop being a force for evil in the world until we admit that we’ve been a force for evil in the world…and only then resolve to fix it.

    3. Plenue

      I was gonna say.

      “Successfully fighting disinformation and influence operations of authoritarian adversaries requires understanding how these efforts have been developed by—and are run out of—the intelligence services.”

      How do you fight something THAT DOESN’T EXIST?

    1. chuckster

      I’d prefer a team that could win. Gabbard brings nothing and this is coming from someone who will vote for her next month as a protest vote against the Forever Wars.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          And someone who can effectively appeal to the military rank-and-file should the need arise.

          On the other hand, there are some questions about her religious background that need to be thoroughly understood.

      1. Hepativore

        I got turned off by Gabbard after she decided to back away from Medicare-For-All, but perhaps that would not matter if she were in the position of Vice President, as I do not think she would impede Sanders efforts on that front.

        Still, I think my first pick for Vice President for Sanders would be Nina Turner, but I am not sure how interested she would be in the position. After all, she has not let herself or Sanders be cowed by the neoliberal Democrats, and I think that the opposition from the Clinton/Obama/Pelosi wing should be met head-on.

        1. a different chris

          OMG I would pay good money to see Ms. Turner skewer Pence in a debate.

          And I am the one whose posted seemingly 100x or so, so far, about how the debates won’t matter. But that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to them if Sanders and his running mate are involved.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes by all means let’s disparage and smear the *only* actual anti-war candidate in the field, give me a break.

          Ask Bernie about RussiaRussiaRussia

    2. Biph

      Tammy Baldwin makes the most sense she’s signed on to Bernie’s M4A plan and is close to his positions on most other issues. WI is a swing state and has a Dem Gov. She also hits some ID Pol points as an out gay woman.

  19. Olga

    From the “not sure if I should cry or laugh” department:


    APRIL 26 | 2:00PM | DELL HALL

    Join Today show co-anchor Jenna Bush Hager as she takes fans behind the scenes of her life – from growing up in a political family to dating in the public eye to life on the Today show set. Settle in for an afternoon of personal stories and laughs in the celebration of all of the complicated, messy, and hilarious moments of life. Each ticket includes a copy of Jenna’s book Everything Beautiful in Its Time. VIP ticketholders will meet Jenna and walk away with an autographed copy.

    Tickets go on sale February 14 at 10am.”

    Yeah, let Ms. Bush tell you about her beautiful life… just not sure her ” complicated, messy, and hilarious moments of life” are in any way reminiscent of most of the rest of us. Is she going to run for office?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Let’s have a think about this.

      We buy goods from China because that’s where they make them cheapest, maybe we implement charter aircraft to countries that provide health care goods and services cheaper than America can. Instead of containers full of cheap Chinese junk arriving at our ports we will have armies of seniors broadening their worldly outlook, nice trips to Thailand for new hips, packaged “full makeover” tours to Costa Rica for new cataracts, dentures, and knee joints. They return refreshed and tuned up, tour operators and airlines boom, our developing country neighbors get an economic boost, and US pharma and medical device companies finally get downward pricing pressure on their products.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And of course ignore the carbon-footprint of all that “medical tourism,” which is already a thing today. “Comparative advantage” and the wonders of globalization taken to dizzying new heights!

        Maybe you were being sarcastic?

  20. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Why We Are So Ill-Prepared for a Possible Pandemic …” —
    This short essay is the most frightening to me of today’s links. The corona virus is coming and we are so not ready. Pandemic viruses come and go and our health care system has been trashed and made worse and our drug cartels and globalization have left us exposed to shortages of critical medicines. The crowding of our urban centers is ideal for spreading infectious disease. The financial squeeze on most of us compels the sick to go to work anyway — Sick days? what sick days?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Jackpot design engineering.

      Dismantle public health systems and wait for a megadeath virus to come along.

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