2:00PM Water Cooler 4/15/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, Yves asks me to say that concerns about Richard Vague’s recent post will be addressed in due course, hopefully quite soon. –lambert


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

New York slightly, though perceptibly, flattening, still

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I have changed to a logarithmic scale for US States and territories, adjusted for population. See Vice, “How to Read the Coronavirus Graphs“:

Quantities that grow exponentially, when depicted on a linear scale, look like curves that bend sharply upward, with the curve getting constantly steeper. On a log scale, exponentially growing values can be depicted with straight diagonal lines.

That’s the beauty of plotting things on log scales. Plots are meant to make things easy to understand, and we humans are much more adept at understanding linear, straight-line behavior. Log plots enable us to grasp exponential behavior by transferring the complexity of constantly steepening curves into the simplicity of an exponentially increasing scale.

On a log scale, we want to constantly be making the line more and more horizontal. The general concept of “flattening” is still a good one, but it’s never going to curve down. And so what we should be looking, and hoping for is a trend toward horizontal.

I removed population adjustment, based on this exchange from alert reader dk:

I hope this change is helpful. One also notices at once that the New York and New Jersey metroplexes stand out.


“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

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

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* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Barack Obama’s endorsement of Joe Biden, annotated” [WaPo]. “He was the one asking what every policy would do for the middle class and everyone striving to get into the middle class” …. “For the second time in 12 years we will have the incredible task of rebuilding our economy, and to meet the moment, the Democratic Party will have to be bold.”… “We have to protect the gains we made with the Affordable Care Act, but it’s also time to go further. We should make plans affordable for everyone, provide everyone with a public option, expand Medicare and finish the job so that health care isn’t just a right but a reality for everybody.” … “a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption, carelessness, self-dealing, disinformation, ignorance and just plain meanness, and to change that, we need Americans of all political stripes to get involved in our politics and our public life like never before.” • Worth a read, especially if you’re not drinking coffee. It’s a good speech, and I might even find it credible and heartening if I didnt know the guy. Noteworthy: In all the platitudinous orotundity, there is exactly one concrete policy statement that mentions a statute: #MedicareForAll is off the table (as indeed Biden already signaled, with his insulting proposal to lower Medicare eligibility to 60. WaPo’s annotation: “Since Sanders’s exit, Biden has moved further left on health care.” Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?) So the deliverable from the domestic policy “task force” will be a shit sandwich. Of course, a miracle could always occur.

Biden (D)(2): “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Has Never Spoken to Joe Biden. Here’s What She Would Say.” (interview) [New York Times].

[AOC:] There’s this talk about unity as this kind of vague, kumbaya, kind of term. Unity and unifying isn’t a feeling, it’s a process. And what I hope does not happen in this process is that everyone just tries to shoo it along and brush real policies — that mean the difference of life and death or affording your insulin and not affording your insulin — just brush that under the rug as an aesthetic difference of style.

There’s also this idea that if we all just support the nominee that voters will come along as well. I’ve flagged, very early, two patterns that I saw [among Biden’s campaign], which is underperformance among Latinos and young people, both of which are very important demographics in November. And so, I don’t think this conversation about changes that need to be made is one about throwing the progressive wing of the party a couple of bones — I think this is about how we can win.

For example:

They floated this olive branch to the progressive left of lowering the Medicare age to 60. And it’s almost insulting. I think Hillary was looking at policies that lowered it to 50. So we’re talking about a “progressive concession” that is 10 years worse than what the nominee had in 2016.

No “almost” about it. Biden’s people aren’t dumb. The Democrat Party model has been appealing to suburban Republicans for some time. I think, to them, Sanders voters are nice-to-have, not have-to-have. That doesn’t mean they’re right; these are, after all, the same factions of the political class that elevated Trump, and then spent $1.4 billion losing to him and, while Obama was in charge de jure, lost 1000 seats to the Republicans. Meritocrats cannot accept that they are not smart or good, any more than a feudal knight would consider not being a Christian. But it ain’t necessarily so.

UPDATE Regarding “if we all just support the nominee that voters will come along as well,” I am sure most Sanders supporters remember this statement very well:

Of course, it’s hard to snap your fingers when your knuckles have been smashed by some goon’s hard men, so even gestures are not so easy.

Biden (D)(3): You can bet she cleared through Neera:

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “The Media Floodgates Finally Open on Biden Sexual Assault Allegation” [Vanity Fair]. • Oddly late, no? A media wrap-up. (I think the major effect will not be on Biden, but on Sanders voters, some measurable proportion of whom will not vote for a (candidate for whom there is a prima facie case that he is a) rapist on principle.

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “Old Folks Like Biden, and That Could Really Matter in November” [New York Magazine]. • I’m an old codger, so I get to play this musical interlude:

“With the right medication…”

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Offered Us the Future. Why Did He Fail—and What Did We Forfeit?” [Moshik Temkin, Newsweek]. This is the most measured assessment I’ve seen:

In the end, though, Sanders was defeated by circumstances beyond his control. As in 2016, he faced unrelenting hostility and derision from much of the media, especially cable news networks such as CNN and MSNBC, the channels beloved by the boomers who voted overwhelmingly for Biden. On those networks it is practically impossible to hear anyone remotely friendly to Sanders. He was smeared as sexist and racist and breezily compared to Trump, or the Nazis, or the coronavirus. Financial elites despised him, warning incessantly that a Sanders presidency would “destroy the economy”, when what they really meant was that he would try to make the economy more equitable by forcing billionaires and corporations to pay taxes.

Over it all hung the stench of anti-Semitic tropes: Sanders “yelled too much”, was “angry all the time”, wasn’t “a team player”, “waved his arms” or “pointed his finger”, was “hiding his taxes”, harbored secret wealth. One wealthy MSNBC pundit, without offering an explanation, stated that Sanders is “sort of not pro-woman” and “makes my skin crawl” (while another pundit vigorously nodded). The ugly media narrative about so-called Bernie Bros served to erase the fact that his supporters are disproportionately poor, working class, and women, from communities of color, working at Amazon, Wal-Mart, public schools, and the postal service, unable to buy a home or get out of debt, donating what little they could to the Sanders campaign.

Despite all this, Sanders rose steadily in the polls during the race and was the front-runner after the first three state primaries; no other candidate had ever won the first three states and gone on to lose the nomination. It took an extraordinary political consolidation, organized by a panicked Democratic leadership to stop him (reportedly, Barack Obama himself was involved, far ahead of his endorsement of the presumptive nominee earlier today.)

Worth reading in full.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): Scahill zeroes in on two key questions:

As I have repeatedly said, Sanders should immediately start using his list to raise money for strikers: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune” (of course, Shakespeare’s irony here is savage, since it is Brutus who speaks this line… But it’s still true, isn’t it? A movement needs to move! And if you want a revolution, there it is. And the beauty part is that this pivot in no way contradicts his undertaking to Biden!

Trump (R)(1): For good or ill, tech profits from social distancing, inserting itself into all human relations mediated digitally in order to extract rents:

One might also wonder how many of these executives have side gigs at the bailout trough, and whether that will affect their campaign donations.

Warren (D)(1): Oh, Liz:

I guess this once-famous video of Warren grilling Geithner was just kayfabe? Warren’s endorsement of Biden with this video is a gesture of ritual fealty far more grotesque and damaging than the Sanders’ endorsement, because it forecloses discussion of Obama’s miserable performance in the last crash, by one who might be presume to be an expert in that subject. Gaaaaaaah.

Warren (D)(2): “A call to Elizabeth Warren to resume her candidacy for the 2020 election” [The Hill]. “Stop for a minute and think about this. This means both the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden, as well as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, have been accused of sexual assault. These are incredibly serious allegations. It is possible that some allegations are not true, but that is not very likely given the number of accusers and the fact that false reporting of sexual assault is rare. How can it be that in the United States, a country of more than 330 million people, and in a field that started with more than 30 candidates, these are the two choices we are left with? It is preposterous and unacceptable.” • It is, that.

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“‘Voter Suppression At Its Finest’: Wisconsin Citizens Say Missing Ballots, Lines and Coronavirus Kept Them from Being Counted in Election” [PBS]. “Over the past several days, reporters interviewed 32 would-be voters who said they were forced to choose between going to the polls during a pandemic and not having their votes counted. More than 500 people, responding to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an online form, said they requested their ballots in advance but did not receive them in time. A picture emerged of voters disappointed, angry and confused about how the election played out in a state that has long prided itself on taking voting seriously.” • Well, Bernie did say to postpone it…

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Nothing fundamental will change”:

“Congress’ negotiations on emergency relief funds stall as lawmakers hear from constituents” [CNN]. “Lawmakers are pressing for these programs to work probably more than anyone else in the system right now. They drafted them, they voted for them, they own them. But more importantly, their days are spent inundated with calls from constituents asking for answers or raising concerns, according to more than a dozen CNN has spoken to over the last few weeks.” • And they all held hands and leaped over the clip together, both in the House and the Senate, didn’t they? High stakes. Oh, and the (current) date for Congress to reopen is May 4, barring an emergency. “Leaders don’t want their members back in Washington in April. If they’re being candid, they don’t want their members back until the country starts to open up. Members don’t want to be back either. Whether the economic situation allows that to hold remains to be seen.” • I guess our legislators aren’t (ugh) “essential workers”, then?

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Retail Sales: “Retail Sales Hit By The Coronvirus in March 2020” [Econintersect]. “Retail sales SIGNIFICANTLY declined according to US Census headline data – and now is in contraction. The three-month rolling average also significantly declined. This is the first major report which was affected by the coronavirus shutdown…. And this was not a complete month so hold on and wait for next month which should be much worse.” • “Brutal”:

Industrial Production: “March 2020 Headline Industrial Production In Coronavirus Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The best way to view this is the 3-month rolling averages which declined. The decline was due to the impact of the coronavirus which caused many firms to suspend operations…. Note that manufacturing is in contraction year-over-year – and capacity utilization remained in expansion year-over-year. Consider this report significantly worse than last month.”

Manufacturing: “April 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Index Now At Lowest Level In History” [Econintersect]. “The Empire State Manufacturing Survey index again significantly declined to levels not ever seen before…. Key elements significantly declined – it seems we are in a recession. Note that survey responses were collected between April 2 and April 10.” • This is survey, however. I would guess that survey and data will, unusually, correspond.

Inventories: “February 2020 Business Inventories Level Remain Elevated But Improved Again” [Econintersect]. “Headlines say final business sales data (retail plus wholesale plus manufacturing) declined month-over-month. The rolling averages improved. Inventories remain elevated. This data set is for the month before any coronavirus impact was observed.”

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Commodities: “Wheat Giants Are Starting to Hoard Supply” [Bloomberg]. “The wheat market is starting to get shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic. Panic buying of food might have largely eased at grocery stores, but governments are beginning to get more serious about securing supplies of key staples like grains. From export restrictions to plans to hoard more, there are signs that typical trade routes are being affected as this season nears an end. Shipment limits across the key Black Sea region are already having knock-on effects, with cargoes being held up and offers dwindling in the latest tender by Egypt, the biggest buyer.” • “Bread,” IIRC, figures largely in slogans devised by insurgents. “Peace, Land, Bread” from the Bolsheviks, for example.

Concentration: “Amazon slashes commission rates for program that gives publishers a cut of sales” [CNBC]. “[Amazon] notified members of the program, known as Amazon Associates, that it will slash commission rates beginning April 21, according to an email obtained by CNBC… Rates are being cut for a number of affiliate product categories. For example, the affiliate cut from purchases of furniture and home improvement products has fallen from 8% to 3%, while the commission rate for grocery products has slid from 5% to 1%, according to a document obtained by CNBC. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that the company notified U.S. associates Tuesday of the fee change. The spokesperson declined to comment on whether the decision was a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” • Hmm. Everywhere I hear that online retail is going through the roof, so this would seem an especially opportune time for Amazon to screw its affiliates. Good job, Jeff.

Tech: “Grinning Tim Cook Announces New iPhone Will No Longer Be Compatible With AirPods” [The Onion]. • You know he wants to.

Manufacturing: “Boeing Lost Orders for 150 Max Jets in March” [Bloomberg]. “Boeing’s order book for the Max is shrinking as the planemaker works with global regulators to clear its best-selling jetliner to resume commercial flight by midyear. The company couldn’t face worse timing for the comeback effort, with airlines that until recently had clamored for the single-aisle aircraft now fighting for their financial lives. The planemaker suspended output of the Max in January and plans to slowly restart manufacturing soon to stress-test its supply chain and avoid flooding the market with unneeded planes. The long grounding may have an unexpected benefit for some cash-strapped customers. If they exercise a clause that allows them to walk away from an order after a 12-month delay, Boeing is typically obligated to refund any advance payments.”

Manufacturing: “White House Lauds GM for Quickly Starting Ventilator Output” [Bloomberg]. “GM’s one-month sprint to turn one of its car-parts plants into a ventilator production facility prompted Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser tapped to coordinate Defense Production Act matters, to praise the company for moving “swiftly” and “in Trump time” to manufacture the devices for delivery to hospitals in Chicago and elsewhere.”

Honey for the Bears: “Goldman Sees Advanced Economies Shrinking 35% Amid Pandemic” [Bloomberg]. “Advanced economies will shrink about 35% this quarter from the prior three months, four times as much as the previous record set in 2008 during the financial crisis, according to annualized figures from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. How fast economies will rebound is an open question because nobody knows how quickly people can get back to work, New York-based economist Jan Hatzius wrote in a note to clients dated April 13. The number of new virus cases appears to be peaking globally, but the bad news is that ‘the improvement is probably a direct consequence of social distancing and the plunge in economic activity, and could reverse quickly if people just went back to work,’ Hatzius wrote.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 40 Fear (previous close: 45 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 31 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 15 at 12:17pm. Can’t believe the Index made all the way back to neutral yesterday. Wowsers.

The Biosphere

“Evolutionary trees can’t reveal speciation and extinction rates” [Nature]. “Evolutionary-tree diagrams, which show the branching relationships between species, are widely used to estimate the rates at which new species arise and existing ones become extinct. New work casts doubt on this approach.” • Important: “The novelty and mathematical sophistication of their work lie in showing that we cannot estimate these ‘time-varying’ speciation and extinction rates…. Louca and Pennell’s key result is then to show that there is an infinite number of alternative sets of time-varying speciation–extinction rates that yield the same number of lineages at any given time as does the deterministic lineage-through-time curve. They further show that the most probable estimates of the two rates (calculated by maximum-likelihood methods) do not necessarily identify the correct underlying model — as demonstrated by an analysis of hypothetical cases for which the true time-varying speciation–extinction rates are known.” • If I may summarize, it’s silly to assume that species evolve at fixed rates.

Health Care

“April 14 Update: US COVID-19 Test Results” [Calculated Risk]. “Test-and-trace is a key criterion in starting to reopen the country. My current guess is test-and-trace will require around 300,000 tests per day at first since the US is far behind the curve. Some scientists believe we need around 800,000 tests per day….. There were 146,614 test results reported over the last 24 hours….

“Ending coronavirus lockdowns will be a dangerous process of trial and error” [Science]. “But what is the exit strategy? ‘We’ve managed to get to the life raft,’ says epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). ‘But I’m really unclear how we will get to the shore.’ As they seek a path forward, governments around the world must triangulate the health of their citizens, the freedoms of their population, and economic constraints. Could schools be reopened? Restaurants? Bars? Can people go back to their offices? ‘How to relax the lockdown is not something around which there is a scientific consensus,’ says Caroline Buckee, an epidemiologist at HSPH. Most researchers agree that reopening society will be a long haul, marked by trial and error…. The number to watch in the next phase may no longer be the actual number of cases per day, but what epidemiologists call the effective reproduction number, or R, which denotes how many people the average infected person infects in turn…. To regulate R, ‘Governments will have to realize that there are basically three control knobs on the dashboard,’ says Gabriel Leung, a modeler at the University of Hong Kong: isolating patients and tracing their contacts, border restrictions, and social distancing.”

“Drug Evaluation during the Covid-19 Pandemic” [New England Journal of Medicine]. “After Trump’s initial assertions, the FDA — still facing criticism that its delays in approving testing kits for the virus hindered prevention efforts — issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on March 28 that allowed for use of [chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine] to treat patients with Covid-19. … These developments represent fundamental threats to the U.S. drug-evaluation process. Advocating that the FDA should quickly approve drugs without randomized trial data runs counter to the idea of evidence-based medicine and risks further undermining the public’s understanding of and faith in the drug-review process, which requires “substantial evidence” of safety and efficacy based on adequate and well-controlled trials before a drug can be marketed. Though this unprecedented emergency provides a compelling reason for the FDA to act as efficiently as possible, the agency and the medical community can still maintain the highest scientific standards while acting expeditiously. The new EUA represents only the second time the FDA has ever used emergency authority to permit use of a medication for an unapproved indication…. Hydroxychloroquine is already marketed for other conditions, so physicians were allowed to prescribe it off-label to patients with Covid-19 even before the EUA or CDC dose recommendations were issued. In addition, for investigational drugs that are not yet marketed, providers can request “expanded access” for severely ill patients who lack alternative treatment options and are not eligible for clinical trials — permission the FDA nearly always grants. This option has already been used for remdesivir, an investigational antiviral drug whose manufacturer has provided it to more than a thousand patients with Covid-19 outside clinical trials. Even before the pandemic, many conservative and libertarian politicians and advocacy groups supported expanding patients’ ‘right to try’ unapproved experimental drugs. This position has intensified a commonly held but spurious belief that slow processes and overly onerous requirements by the FDA prevent patients from accessing many clinically useful drugs. In fact, the FDA presides over one of the fastest drug approval processes in the world, with a majority of drugs gaining approval in the United States before they are approved in Europe or Canada.”

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“Chronicle exclusive: Alameda County 911 ambulance provider weighs furlough during coronavirus crisis” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the company contracted to provide 911 ambulance services for Alameda County may soon dial back its operations and furlough many of its 600 employees, The Chronicle has learned. Falck, a Denmark-based health care giant, said transport volume has fallen dramatically since the virus took hold and Bay Area governments implemented stay-at-home orders that have kept people off the streets, temporarily reducing revenue.” • Oh.

Our Famously Free Press

“L.A. Times to Furlough Workers as Ad Revenue ‘Nearly Eliminated'” [Variety]. “The Los Angeles Times announced on Tuesday that it will furlough some business-side employees and that senior managers will take pay cuts, as advertising revenue has been ‘nearly eliminated’ due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company will also suspend its 401(k) match for non-union workers, according to a company memo sent by Chris Argentieri, president of the California Times.” • This is a shame, because IMNSHO the Los Angeles Times has greatly improved under its new management.


Class Warfare

“‘A Tragedy Is Unfolding’: Inside New York’s Virus Epicenter” [New York Times]. “In a city ravaged by the coronavirus, few places have suffered as much as central Queens, where a seven-square-mile patch of densely packed immigrant enclaves recorded more than 7,000 cases in the first weeks of the outbreak…. In the month since the virus exploded in New York, it has claimed rich and poor, the notable and the anonymous. But as the death toll has mounted, the contagion has exposed the city’s stubborn inequities, tearing through working-class immigrant neighborhoods far more quickly than others.” • Just to remove the obvious erasure, the epicenter of #COVID19 is JFK and Newark (and possibly LaGuardia). The aftershocks are being felt in Queens.

“US downturn very harmful to low wage workers and their communities” [Bill Mitchell]. “In terms of total numbers of jobs lost: (a) 12 per cent (341 thousand) have been in above-median pay occupations. (b) 88 per cent (2,507 thousand) in below-median pay occupations. (c) 32.8 per cent of the total (933 thousand) have been in low-pay occupations (in the GFC downturn only 1.3 per cent of the jobs lost were low-paid).” • With handy map of the geographical distribution of job losses so far:

Note that two states Trump must win — MI, PA — are heavily impacted. Mitchell can, at times, be prolix. This post is much more focused and well worth a read.

News of the Wired

UPDATE “Bishop who said “God is larger than” Covid-19 has died from the disease” [CNN]. “Despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid mass gatherings and maintain social distancing, Glenn said in a sermon on March 22, ‘I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,’ and announced he was not afraid to die.” • That’s fine, Glenn, you do you, but how many members of your congregation did you infect? Were they afraid to die?

“How citizen scientists can help fight COVID-19” [Los Angeles Times]. “As the new coronavirus continues its assault on humanity, scientists are fighting back by gathering data from an unlikely source: ordinary people. With a smartphone app and a little free time, anyone 18 or older can contribute valuable information that might help bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, researchers say.” • That, in my view, is not “citizen science.” It’s simply data collection.

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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 (PM):

PM writes: “Flowering Quince, Idylwood Park, WA.” This photo is a neat illustration of the idea that your subject doesn’t always have to be in the center of the photo…

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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. lb

    President Trump just tapped top tech and telecom execs for his Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups

    Includes Apple’s @tim_cook, Google’s @sundarpichai, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

    + Verizon CEO @hansvestberg, T-Mobile’s @MikeSievert, Comcast’s Brian Roberts pic.twitter.com/RjXDRnr2Rw

    So… six companies that could create a shared network data panopticon, possibly putting Trump on the “right” side of the salivating intelligence community begging to watch people more. Let’s hope he and his are too shortsighted and inept to see such a play, or any way to call for a national tracking mechanism under the guise of public safety/contact tracing. Hopefully this is _just_ a grift.

    1. John

      A grift or is digital insertion actually rape? The rape definition seems to work in this and the other case too.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Normally, I deprecate mapping sexual actions to political actions because I think that creates category errors (the structures, and I know I need a better for that, are not the same). But damn.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      So… six companies that could create a shared network data panopticon, possibly putting Trump on the “right” side of the salivating intelligence community begging to watch people more.

      At this point, I am not sure they.can watch us more without a suppository What else could they gleam from us?

      1. Phillip Allen

        It seems to me that the logical extension of the already ubiquitous data collection program is more overt social control, i.e., up front ‘social credit’ tools of stratification, personal expression monitored by AI, the ‘pre-crime’ wet dream is surely on the list, etc.

        1. Carey

          “Pre-crime” is *already* here: go to the NSA website, and then tell me what you think their “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” means.


    3. D. Fuller

      T-Mobile executive included on the board. Ouch. I had a foreign unlocked phone in 2012. Traveled to the States. Inserted a T-Mobile SIMcard. That locked my phone. T-Mobile claimed they couldn’t unlock it. The option was to take them to court.

      As a side note: Why I won’t vote for Joe Biden.

      2008 happened. My father lost his job. Continued making the mortgage payments as best he could. Obama came along with HAMP & HAMP II. My father signed up. Managed to scrape together a last payment on his house. The bank refused the payment. Strung him along. Illegally so. Couldn’t afford a lawyer.

      Eric Holder came along and sued. To prevent lawsuits by the public, saying that the DoJ was suing on behalf of those who had been defrauded by the banks. My father received a $1,000 settlement check from The Obama Administration. On a house he had paid almost $115,000 on. Who was part of Obama’s Administration? Joe Biden.

      The only thing I tell people who cajole me to vote for Biden? “Go **** YOURSELF”. They immediately accuse me of being a Trump supporter. I will vote. I just won’t vote for Trump or Biden.

      These are the kind of incidents, like my father’s, that had up to 8,000,000 Obama voters…

      Voting for Trump. To my father’s credit? He did not vote for Trump either. He simply didn’t vote.

      Democrats like Pelosi and Clinton and Schumer and Steve Israel can’t figure out why they turn off a lot of voters. Their stupidity and blindness knows no bounds.

      Politicians lie. That is expected. Even forgiveable. Betrayal? Is forever.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Democrats like Pelosi and Clinton and Schumer and Steve Israel can’t figure out why they turn off a lot of voters. Their stupidity and blindness knows no bounds.

        One lesson, based on anecdotes like yours, of the 2020 campaign is that it’s hard to run as a Democrat because a lot of people simply hate* them, and for good reason. I imagine there’s quite a collective body of knowledge built up on this point from the Sanders canvassers, and it would be interesting to know if it has been aggregated. I have to admit I was more sanguine about Sanders’ theory of change than I should have been. It needed a runway about a year longer (or twice the money).

        * Bitecofer is correct to introduce hate as a driver.

  2. John A

    Obamaspeak “We have to protect the gains we made with the Affordable Care Act, but it’s also time to go further. We should make plans affordable for everyone, provide everyone with a public option, expand Medicare and finish the job so that health care isn’t just a right but a reality for everybody.”

    How about making healthcare free at point of care. That would definitely be affordable to everyone. Or am I missing something? Like not having a compassion bypass?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      No. You’re not missing anything. Liberal Democrats always run a public option bait-and-switch when #MedicareForAll gets traction. And it always dies, because the public option doesn’t solve any problem other than keeping private health insurance companies in business. It’s just another layer of complexity, just more complex eligibility requirements. Plus the bad faith.

      And if anybody thinks the “public option” — such an earworm, whichever Democrat shop invented it was consumed with evil genius — is a good idea in principle, just imagine this: A Retirement Marketplace™, with Social Security as the “public option” in that space. The message is important. It is: Governments are subordinate to markets. Which is what both flavors of neoliberal on offer today believe, both liberals and conservatives.

      1. L

        Well that “public option” is basically what Biden is offering. A horrible risk pool that will only improve the profitability, but not lower the cost, of private plans.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          When Obama, crafty lawyer that he is, says “We have to protect the gains we made with the Affordable Care Act,” he doesn’t specify who “we” are, or what the “gains” are.

          If you write in “the Democrats and their health insurance donors” for “we,” and “profits” for “gains” everything falls into place.

      2. richard

        that’s a really useful thought experiment for over-excited (as well as credulous) liberals
        (they’re going to give us the public option!)
        thanks lambert

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          In 2009, the public option was originally publicized by policy entrepreneur Jacob Hacker, may his name be cursed, and was a Medicare-like program with 50 million or so covered. (In other words, it would have enough marketplace power to affect prices, and so would achieve some> of the cost savings of single payer, although at the cost of yet more complexity). By the end of the year, it had been watered down to 10 million. Then it disappeared entirely.

          Hilariously, Obama cut his deal with Big Pharma to eliminate the pubic option for some kinda price break program — anybody remember that one? — but didn’t tell anybody, and so credulous, hapless liberals* were still shilling for the public option, and beating single paper advocates over the head with the, long after it was “never, ever going to pass.”

          So, if the public option runs on the same trajectory, we should start to see policy entrepreneurs pushing it to shortly appear (not Vox, they aren’t credentialed enough, and don’t have “models.” Not 2009’s crop; like Jon Gruber, they’re too shopworn.

      3. Oh

        “There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune” I think Obama knew this very well. That how he was able to get his $14.5 million digs.

      4. D. Fuller

        I want to say that when Democrats mention the “public option” which they never will carry out? It reminds me of dark patterns that software designers use to sucker people in without them knowing it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > reminds me of dark patterns

          That’s very acute.

          The politics of health care is what I know. Can readers suggest similar dark patterns from other fields? (This is not a request for “Democrats caved on ___.” It’s a request for the play of the cave, and the play should have happened once. “Revolving heroes” is an example, although it’s a generic pattern that applies across all policy spaces.)

      5. John A

        In other words, Lambert, to paraphrase Emerson, what you are saying is
        The louder the Democrats talk of the public option, the faster we need to count our spoons

    2. zagonostra

      See what Jimmy Dore does with Obamaspeak…I know the clip is hard to get through, not because of JD’s cursing, which for me is cathartic, but because of what you refer to as Obamaspeak.

      St. Augustine says Hope has two daughters, Anger and Courage. With Bernie out of the race Hope for a decent President to lead the country has been buried, let’s see if the two other daughters will have their debutante in 2020.


      1. WJ

        That Dore clip is gold. Best comment from the Youtube feed: “Jimmy Dore just produced the most accurate biography of Barack Obama.”

        1. John

          Another best comment from Dore’s YouTube feed:

          “My god how did he trick everyone back in the day? He sounds exactly like mayor Pete lol”

          Well, they both were trained by the CIA.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Just watching Dore’s video now. I think that not much will change until Obama’s reputation is totally shredded and most people see him for what he was. Apart from Trump, who else attacks Obama’s reputation?

            1. John

              Even my “progressive” smart friends still think Obama was a progressive. No hope. Or change.

        2. John

          The comments on Biden’s channel are turned off on Obama’s endorsement of Biden.

          Wonder why? They are on for the Sander’s video with Biden.

      2. JTee

        Thought I would bypass this one, but I trudged thru it with my finger on the mute button. Can’t bear to listen to most any politician speak. It was good for at least one good guffaw.

      3. richard

        well said, Zag
        although maybe I need to look that up to ponder more about what he meant
        Does that mean that hope begets those two things? that after hope you get anger? that seems pretty down on poor old hope, even if courage is there too. I mean, what is the point of hope’s whole life, if the path always leads to anger and courage? One rather thinks hope might have given the whole thing up at 20 and just adopted anger and courage, saving us all the bother. (If you imagine the last 2 sentences in a Bertie Wooster voice, that might please me, but really, who knows at this point)

        PS Thanks again for linking this. I just sent it to my republican sister who I have never sent anything to in my life. Hopefully that establishes cred :) Anyway, I know she despises Obama (screwed by ACA), so we’ll see if she likes it.

        1. richard

          postscript: My sister thought dore was very informed and honest, and said that a lot of it hit home for her. She said WOW. Maybe she’s being a little diplomatic, but still I do think this one of dore’s best segments ever.

          1. The Rev Kev

            One of the worse things that I ever saw Obama do was to go to Flint, Michigan and pretend to drink a glass of water – twice. That is just laughing at people coping with death and misery that.

      4. D. Fuller

        Thanks for that. I wish I would have posted my father’s experience with Obama and Biden and Holder – more appropriately – as a response, here. Dore’s video touched upon my father’s travails after 2008 with HAMP & HAMP II.

        As an addition, my father is ill, has never recovered financially from what HAMP & HAMP II fraud did to him: his credit has remained destroyed, debt collection agencies have him on speed dial for debts from then, and he will work until he dies driving a truck.

        As a result of Obama’s and Biden’s and Eric Holder’s HAMP fraud foisted upon the American public.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          i am so sorry for what happened to your dad and countless others. So many just do not understand the lasting destruction from the last financial crisis.

      5. John

        Obama looks bad to me (haven’t looked at him in years). Are his ears sun burnt? Didn’t think the sun was that strong yet in Martha’s Vineyard. His 13 million dollar “cottage” has a porch roof I’m pretty sure.

        Couldn’t stand him from the day after he won in 2008 and he appointed the hyenas to his regime.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I mean of Dore’s show (and of YouTubes and PodCasts generally). Can’t do internal linking, can’t do quotes, too long to listen to.

            It’s as if the powers=that=be of Gutenberg’s time had figured out that forcing him to print books one character at a time would have been an effective means of social control.

            1. richard

              it’s a super long segment – the last 7-8 minutes are really terrific though and can serve as a kind of summation of this particular segment.
              Pod casts and You Tube are perfect for loners like me who don’t work from home (pre-covid) and like an intelligent/funny companion to listen to. They are not perfect for anyone else, and I weep for busy journalists, bloggers and aggregators who confront them. Great content locked within, the only key that works is time :)

            2. Noone from Nowheresville

              How clean do you need your starting point? Do you need a fully vetted transcript or is the auto-generated one enough to begin with? And/or are you looking to do the video snippets they capture / post on Twitter?

              There are pay-for per minutes services out there which do video transcripts. At a guess $3-$5 per minute.

              Here is a link to Jimmy Dore’s interview with Mark Blyth. They are talking Small Business Administration, the leveraged fund and what happens to main street, do all the businesses become Acme Inc. in the end?

              This is Mark’s response. Only as an example that one can link to a specific spot. (Sorry, Rev, didn’t occur to me to link to spot.)


              Is this the kind of thing you’re looking?

              Also note that if you open up the transcript on Youtube, double clicking the text line (as opposed to the timestamp) will move the paused video to that spot in the video.

              Or are you asking for someone like Jimmy Dore to create an official transcript of his shows?

        1. paintedjaguar

          I’ve never been able to understand why so many think Obama is some kind of great orator. Actively listening, it’s painfully obvious that he’s just reading lines as they come up on a teleprompter – not even connecting phrases to give his sentences any meaning (but lack of meaning is probably the point). “Key words” drop one by one like pebbles into a bucket as he drones on without ever actually saying anything. His popularity has always been a complete mystery to me anyway, all I ever saw was just another neolib con artist with darker skin than the last guy.

    3. Oh

      “We have to protect the gains we made for the health care conglomerate with the Affordable Care Act, but it’s also time to go further……

      1. John

        What benefits do ex-presidents get for life?

        By law, former presidents are entitled to a pension, staff and office expenses, medical care or health insurance, and Secret Service protection.

        Pension: $210,700 per year

        Medical insurance: Former presidents are entitled to medical treatment in military hospitals; they pay for this at interagency rates set by the Office of Management and Budget. Two-term presidents may buy health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program

        Secret Service protection: President Barack Obama signed the Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012, reinstating lifetime Secret Service protection for his predecessor George W. Bush, himself, and all subsequent presidents. Thanks Obama.

        1. JBird4049

          On that Secret Service protection, much as I purely loathe our President as well as the currently living ex-presidents, and they all should be in prison, we have had four presidents killed while in office, and several more either shot and injured, in and out of office.

          You could be a saint and some fool will want to kill you for being the President. Being in office should not be a death warrant. So lifetime protection is just fine with me.

          Heck, right now, with the situation being so tense, frightful, and angry, I have worried about all the candidates, including Bernie Sanders.

  3. Lee

    Commodities: “Wheat Giants Are Starting to Hoard Supply” [Bloomberg].

    At the more granular level, the baking goods shelves at our local supermarket look like they’ve been hit by a swarm of locusts. There’s a bit more toilet paper, though. Hopefully a balance will be struck between products related to input and output.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Best be more specific — empty shelves balance. Remember the old joke about “Make one hand like the other.”

        1. farmboy

          Personal use flour in 5lb bags will be more readily available in the near future as the supply chain pivots from institutional to home use. https://thecounter.org/covid-19-coronavirus-flour-shortage-supply-regional-grain/
          Countries around the world are building inventory that will provide more than a 30 day supply. Especially those populations that remember starving in the 20th century. FSU was a net grain Importer before the break-up and now look at respective country numbers

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      it’s payday…so i went to the nearest grocery store.
      whole long shelf full of TP(!!!)…all the same brand…from Mexico.
      are we getting aid from Mexico, too?
      or are a bunch of capesinos now using corncobs?

      wonder if we’ll ever know.

      regardless, at my place, we hoard for a living…buy in bulk…don’t go to the store that often, save for milk and bread.
      if it keeps, we generally have enough of it for a while, if need be.
      some others out here are that way, too…generally much older, and farmer types…used to hard times, etc.
      but most folks…even way out here…do not go to the store only once every month or two…thy go every day…just like all you city folks.
      what have they been doing to clean themselves during this month long drought of TP?
      Frankly, I’m rather surprised that the level of violence…as indicated by my scanner…hasn’t risen commensurately to the lack of bunghole fodder.

  4. fresno dan

    Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Offered Us the Future. Why Did He Fail—and What Did We Forfeit?” [Moshik Temkin, Newsweek].
    For some inexplicable reason, people believe there is a substantive difference between the dems and repubs.
    I think Sanders may have done as well running in the repub primaries…

    1. Code Name D

      A great deal may be discussed about Bernie’s presidential bid. But what I am contending with it the total ruin of his “revolution.” I am forced to contend with the posible truth that Bernie was, and always has been, a well camouflaged sheep dog.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe more like a Trojan horse? But it’s hard to believe that when he has been so consistent in talking up and trying to achieve what I consider decent policies for so many years. Just not the correct person to ride the wave of righteous anger and what we still call progressive sentiment. Stockholm Syndrome?

      2. Kurtismayfield

        I am coming to that conclusion as well.. he has done a great job of advocating for the working class, but the velocity of his folding into the DNC’s interests without a whiff of skepticism or regret is surprising. It feels like just another Lucy pulling away the football.

        Where is his contact list going?

        What are his organizational plans?

        1. Carey

          Well, we know what became of Our Revolution™ and Brand New Congress™.

          TINA’s the message.

            1. The Rev Kev

              There Is No Alternative.

              As an example, if you want to get rid of Trump, you have to vote old Joe as TINA!

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                It is possible to honestly believe that Trump is a threat to the Republic over-riding all other priorities, regardless of the tendentious and dishonest members of the political class who also push that line. See e..g. Nina Illingworth.

                1. paintedjaguar

                  Sure that’s “possible”, but Bernie is old enough to have personally lived through Nixon, Reagan, Bush the Lesser, and by the way, Bill Clinton. Plus I assume he knows a little US history. Calling Trump the “most dangerous president ever!” is just stupid and/or dishonest. Trump is a piker when it comes to damaging the country. Hell, he hasn’t even gotten us into a new war yet.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Where is his contact list going? What are his organizational plans?

          My question too. Sanders has never been good at organizing outside a party context. Never. Somebody needs to step forward, and I’m disheartened that nobody has.

      3. JohnnyGL

        No, I don’t think sheepdog accusations are accurate. Bernie’s certainly been disappointing, — especially since a lot of the tell-all stories have come out from staffers. But, I think this is a degree of cognitive capture along with going back to his comfort zone.

        He spent most of his career as an outsider/insider, working to influence legislation around the margins. Inserting important provisions into various bits of legislation like getting money for Community Health Centers into the ACA and getting additional unemployment benefits into the disastrous CARES act.

        What I think we’re coming to terms with is that he’s not willing to risk it all to win the presidency. He wants to be able to continue to have a voice in the room to have influence at the margins, not to mention a bizarre degree of loyalty to a personal relationship with Joe Biden.

        He’s not a sheepdog, he’s just not as brave and strong as we thought. He was also not brave enough or strong enough to win the presidency, either.

        It’s definitely disappointing.

        1. JTMcPhee

          The turn to cynicism is hard to resist, when this is the stuff that goes on every day, of which we get occasional peeks:

          “A culture of bribery in Congress”


          On “health care,” there are six lobbyists working their magic on each and every Congressman. That’s 2,610 lobbyists on that issue. Handing out $1.2 billion in bribes. And that is just one issue, albeit a vastly important one.

          And holding hands with cynicism is well-warranted fear. Fear of what the oligarchy has done and will likely do to maintain their privileged status:

          “Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy.”


          It wasn’t just the FBI, it was all those local police departments, private “security” firms, and the Big Banks themselves.

          So there’s a thumbnail of some of the stuff that Bernie was up against. Does not settle the question of his bona fides in catalyzing “Not me, US,” of course. And even if he covers this ground in any memoir or autobiography he might write, given how the PTB have corrupted every organ of information, as in The statement attributed to deceased CIA director Bill Casey: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” http://truthstreammedia.com/2015/01/13/cia-flashback-well-know-our-disinformation-program-is-complete-when-everything-the-american-public-believes-is-false/

          Of course, how can we know that article is true and real, not just some double-blind sowing of Fear. Uncertainty and Doubt?

          For that matter, even this puny comment on a national blog…

        2. Acacia

          I’m with Jimmy Dore on this when he says: “Bernie Sanders is a lapdog to the Democratic establishment — that’s what Bernie Sanders actually is.”

          “Bernie Sanders is gaslighting you and lying to you.
          And why is he doing that? So he doesn’t have a hard life, so he could still have friends in Washington DC”

          1. Cuibono

            neither of those is true imo.
            Bernie is Bernie. Not a saint, but a principled man who is too kind for politics.
            He has done so much more in his life on the side of good than 10,000 Jimmy Dores put together.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Dore’s cynicism is so intellectually lazy yet rhetoricallly seductive it’s almost disqualifying. Again, the Democrat Establishment went to an enormous amount of trouble to defeat a candidate who Dore says was consciously acting in their interests.

            He’s missing class and making it all about character; and worse, causing hatred of particular person. Those are two crippling deformities for any analyst (though, to be fair, useful as a business model for people like Limbaugh).

            1. Eric Patton

              Dore’s dad was a cop. Your dad was a pastor. Yves’ ran a paper mill.

              It’s ironic you bring up class, when Dore’s a lot closer to the working class than anyone at NC.

              Dore’s analysis is superior to yours, though it’s actually not a surprise that you can’t see it.

              You suggest he’s doing it for business reasons? Pot, kettle, black. I suggest your hatred of Dore is a crippling deformity of your analysis of him.

              1. richard

                I’m not experiencing it as hatred of Jimmy Dore. And it’s true, Dore doesn’t talk much anymore about how much Sanders was cheated, though it’s among the most obvious things any of us has seen lately. Why is that? Maybe that bit of nuance doesn’t fit as well with some other things he’s feeling which are stronger now. He really is a performer as much as a journalist. He only counts as a journalist (he makes this point often) because the real ones have a such strong tendency to suck.
                I was thinking a little about Meyers-Briggs last night. I’m an intuitive-feeler, and I bet you Dore is too. Details are not his strong suit, though of course he uses them and it isn’t that he’s sloppy with them. But he is constantly pulling back to refer to the bigger picture, and how he feels about it, and why don’t liberals feel the same way about it?!?
                Right now Dore is feeling that the dem party is a dead end, and he is showing us that feeling from as many different angles as possible. He does to me look as if he is working through the idea; he invites guests on the show like Blythe or Aaron Mate who push back at the idea, and there’s kind of a “struggle session”. I think he’s approaching it honestly; I think Jimmy is honest. He’s not fronting for someone else.
                And so is NC honest, and nor fronting for some outside 3rd party. Jimmy’s persistent habit of making it personal does reduce the power of his analysis, always making it less universal, and more particular. But that’s just what he does. It’s not the same as NC at all, and certainly not better or worse. YMMV

              2. Falls City Beer

                My dad was a pipefitter welder. And Dore is largely wrong about Sanders being a lapdog. Insofar as anyone in Congress is by definition someone’s lapdog, I guess I agree, but the idea that Sanders is the “Democrats’ lapdog” is just intellectually dishonest and borderline conspiracy kooky.

      4. Aumua

        What exactly is ruined? Seems like a lot of us are really focused in on the immediate, news cycle version of reality here. If we back up a little and broaden our view… give the situation a little room to breathe, then we can maybe see that the issues Sanders has brought into the discussion are not going to go away. They’re going to keep turning up like a bad penny, and so there will be plenty of opportunity for the ‘movement’ to resurface again and again, under Sanders’ banner or some other one. If we don’t get a successful resolution to the world’s problems today, then you can bet there will be another chance. There will be other exit ramps off the freeway to Armageddon. Until we actually get there, of course.

        1. Code Name D

          And how long are we going to just be “talking about it” again?

          We have known about global warming for 100 years. We have been discussing single payer for nearly 80 years. We have been discussing regime-change-wars since the 50s of the last century.

          You will forgive me if I disagree with the notion that Sanders has pulled these issue “into the discussion.” We have been talking about this for some time now. He has only forced this to the forefront because he held some power while campaigning for president. Now he has no power, the media, and certain the Biden campaign, will once again go silent. And Bernie himself will stop talking about it because that is what loyal sheepdogs do. Because Trump!

          Has Bernie “shifted the Overton Window?” Sure – temporarily. But it’s still not a serious discussion. It’s still ignored by those in power. So, what have you really gained? And where it is discussed is merely lip service dressed up to give the illusion of concern.

          Compare that to every thing Bernie has sacrificed in order for his unity fantasy. In 2016, Bernie won enough delegates that he was able to sue for representation in the DNC. A minority to be sure, but he was able to win some reforms such as reducing the number of super delegates and putting them on the second ballot. Now, he has suspended his campaign before even winning the minimum number of delegates needed for such representation. So, Sanders will have ZERO seats with the DNC. How much do you want to bet they will expand the super delegates and restore them to the first ballot? And Sanders will not even be in a position to offer a protest vote.

          Sure, winning the primary was no longer viable. But had he stayed in the race; Bernie could have won more delegates than last time. Now he has ZERO! NADA! NOTHING! BUBKUS! ZILCH!

          If you want to learn from your mistakes, the first step is to accept the fact that you made a mistake in the first place.

          1. Aumua

            I’m certainly disappointed at his recent actions, and angry at the things he is saying now. Trying to shame me? That ain’t gonna work out LOL.

            I’m just saying, it’s not up to him to save us and it never really was. We need to stay focused, keep our eye on the ball and look for opportunities to promote and participate in international socialist movements. Because U.S. politics alone is not going to do it. The only way we can truly cast off the oppression that is on us all is to do it together, globally.

      5. John

        I am thinking so too.
        That Biden endorsement was unconscionable.

        I called his office and said that I didn’t know Sanders wanted to gut Social Security and Medicare.
        They said he doesn’t. I said yes he does. He just endorsed Biden who has tried to do that for 40 years.

      6. John k

        A sheep,dog would never have mentioned m4a or any other bit of has stump speech. Particularly note that all of his issues have become more pop since he began running in 2015. And corps hate it.
        It’s he that has boosted young and Latin turnout… sure it would be better if they voted as well as comfortable boomers that are happy with biden, but imo it’s a process, in 2024 a higher % will participate if a progressive such as AOC runs.
        The virus is bringing home how badly we need Bernie’s platform, particularly m4a.
        The GD was the crisis that brought everybody, including many former rich, to their knees and fdr to power. Maybe it takes a really major crisis to once again wrest power from the vested interests.

        1. Acacia

          Sorry, but based on everything we’ve seen over the past six years at least, following the trajectory you propose nothing will change in 2024. What’s the plan for changing the corrupt DNC leadership? More young people and Latinos voting Democrat? Yeah, that’ll change the leadership. Suckers. There was an interesting discussion here at NC about whether the DNC can be reformed and the consensus was pretty clear: no. It’ll take a bullet to the head, but how will that happen? And how about the media? Will they suddenly stop carrying water for this corrupt party leadership and help administer the needed bullet to the head? Haha. Nope, following that trajectory, it’ll be the same rotten-to-the-core DNC in 2024, ready to play all the same shenanigans all over again against any “progressive such as AOC”. For every progressive or left-ish candidate coming up, they’ve got a bus waiting to throw them under. Waiting and already gassed up. And it’ll be the same lickspittle brand managers posing as journalists, gaslighting the public about the next night of long knives.
          Agree with the last part of your comment: major crisis to wrest power from the vested interests. And the COVID shutdown is kinda shaping up to be that crisis. The economic effects from this are going to be horrendous. There’s going to a lot of suffering that a thousand bucks of shut-up money from Trump won’t placate. But to continue your analogy, it won’t be the DNC or GOP that usher in the next FDR. They will do everything in their power to kneecap that person and maintain the rotten status quo ante.

      7. Lambert Strether Post author

        > a well camouflaged sheep dog.

        I see the sheep dog meme has now entered its degenerate phase: It’s so powerful precisely because nobody can verify its existence. It’s like a less virulent version of the also not-disprovable QANON.

        I think there are several things wrong with this stupid hardy , and to reiterate and extend previous remarks:

        1) If Sanders is a sheepdog, the Democrat Establishment certainly spent an inordinate amount of time and effort destroying somebody who was working in their interests;

        2) “Sheepdog” implies malevolent intent, which I don’t believe for a moment.

        3) “Sheepdog” implies the intent to lose, which also needs proof. I’m a big fan of Frank Herbert’s Leit-Kynes: “Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.””

        Campaigns are hard. Insurgent campaigns are harder. It’s possible for a candidate to make strategic and tactical mistakes, not through ill intent or scheming.

    2. D. Fuller

      2016, NE corner of WA State, one of the poorest counties in the nation.

      Sanders signs everywhere, even among die hard Republicans except for Bob. 4 Trump signs. 1 Hillary sign (quickly destroyed by persons unknown).

      As soon as Hillary was annointed for her turn? Sanders signs replaced by Trump signs. That was from Arizona to Washington State. Even Utah.

  5. TMoney

    The Affordable Care Act is to healthcare what the Defense of Marriage Act was to Gay Marriage – the last act of a system that can’t recognize it’s time has passed.

    Obama could have passed Medicare For All with the same number of Republican votes as the Affordable Care Act.

    We may not get it this year or next term, but it will happen.

    1. jo6pac

      If demodogs and potus would have done it the first 2 years of his term they wouldn’t needed any repug votes But No he want to work with the repugs and we all know how that turned out.

      1. John k

        He wanted to work with reps bc they would write the conservative bills he wanted that he could then reluctantly sign.
        But they didn’t want to work with a black man or give him a win, so we dodged the grand bargain bullet that he desperately wanted and which would have cut SS, or even given it to wall st.

    2. Billy

      Keep track of all politicians who voted against, or for, M4A.
      Make a list of them, print it like a flyer and hand them out, especially around medical offices and hospitals, post them on bulletin boards and online wherever possible.
      Suggest bright light colored paper.

      “Here’s the reason you can’t afford medical care: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein, Kamala Harris, list local healthcare CEOs.”

      “Here’s who supported Medicare For All, saving you tens of thousands per year, or your house, or your life:…”

  6. John Beech

    It doesn’t matter supporting Biden is what Bernie has asked of me. This after a) risking COVID-19 to support him the primary (Central-FL resident), and b) after changing my voter registration from Republican to Democrat. I guess this goes to prove I’m that species referred to as RINO (Republican in Name Only). That said, other than for Bernie’s Medicare For All, I’m generally a conservative sort of voter. Does this mean I’m going to vote for trump once again? I guess so because I really cannot bring myself to support Team Blue, e.g. Pelosi, Schumer, et al.

    I was supporting Sanders instead of Democrats . . . there’s a difference.

    1. Arizona Slim

      John, I’m raising a virtual glass to you. Because I’m another one of those people who supported Sanders instead of Democrats.

        1. marku52

          I don’t think greens are on the ballot so I’ll write in the
          Re Animated Corpse of Idi Amin.

          Not Biden. Never, No way.

          1. Isotope_C14

            I tend to agree with your corpse Idea, since Howie Hawkins is an incompetent. He was clearly not up to the task when he interviewed with Ron Placone.

            I’m writing in Cersei Lannister. I think she has a good shot at “draining the swamp”.

              1. rowlf

                I find it wild that in the past there were people who were, well, giants amongst us and now all we have is a competition for who is the leper with the most fingers.

                I am tempted to write in Putin: Reduce the deficit, get military spending lower than France’s military budget, make the country independent on trade, invest in infrastructure.

                1. Carey

                  I’m split between backing the Greens or Pootin on the top line. They’re about equally likely to be accurately
                  counted, IMO.

                2. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > a competition for who is the leper with the most fingers

                  Dear me.

                  * * *

                  Also, on Putin, you forgot “increase life expectancy.” Last I checked, life expectancy had risen slightly, after declining under Obama, but I would imagine that #COVID19 will knock it down again, especially among the lower orders. Everything’s going according to plan!

          2. D. Fuller

            Check your State laws. Writing in someone who is not on the ballot? Invalidates your ballot. They’ll toss it.

            1. Stillfeelinthebern

              In Wisconsin, you have to be a registered write in for your vote for that office to be recorded and show up in the official results, otherwise it goes into one category called scattered.

              Still, at the end of the night, poll workers have to go though the paper ballots and find all of those write-ins and tally them. After 12+ hrs at the polls, it’s no fun. I quit doing write-ins after I found out all it does is annoy poll workers.

        2. ambrit

          Yes. Will be third time Green for me. (I fell for the Obama “Hope and Change” con in 2008. Not in 2012.) [If no Green is available, it will be a write in vote for Cthulhu. {Seriously. That’s how much I loath both legacy party candidates.}]

    2. Yoghurt

      I am upset about the establishment squashing Bernie. Certainly killing Bernie was important to them.

      How to punish the Democrats, now?

      I believe that the Democrats aim to lose the presidential election. Last time they had Obama and it was disastrous for downballot democrats. Had Hilary won, I think the Democrats would be in existential crisis as their numbers might be so poor as to make them irrelevant and therefore not be able to sell their services.

      With Trump, the Democrat establishment (congress, campaign complex, think tanks &c) can stay in place and pretend to oppose Trump all the while passing his agenda.

      The question arises, if I am opposed to establishment Democrats, do I want Biden to win or not? I feels it’s a heads they win tails I lose.

      I suppose primarying and turfing out the congressmen is the best approach. If Biden fails spectacularly perhaps many Democrat office holders also go down with his ship.

          1. Carey

            Making them worthless to their Donor Class is a more effective approach: if they are no longer viable sheepdogs they have no
            intrinsic worth.


      1. John k

        My thought is that if hill had won in 2016 there would have been no opening for Bernie this year, and if biden wins this year there will be no opening for a progressive in 2024. And AOC will be old enough then.

    3. L

      Same here, independent, was supporting Sanders, not DNC. And definitely not this: https://twitter.com/DavidOAtkins/status/1249746505352675332

      I think that the measure of success for Sanders, if there is any, will not be whether he moves the DNC rhetorically left (note they only move right in substance) but how many people who got jazzed up by it turn to their city councils, mayors, county etc. The Tea Party did not win by running their own president, they won it by seizing power at all lower levels until they had the chance to redirect the party. Might be worth trying.

      1. Painted Shut

        Part of the issue contributing to the ongoing hubris and tonedeafness is the fact that they keep winning the popular vote, even though they lost the electoral vote last time.

        Validates their ideals, with the 2016 bonus of not actually having to govern.

        1. lanikai

          Did they win? Did they, or did they steal and cheat…cause they aren’t the same thing and calling stealing, suppressing and cheating winning, just degrades language.

      2. Carey

        >The Tea Party did not win by running their own president, they won it by seizing power at all lower levels until they had the chance to redirect the party.

        You are right about all that, but the left, or the people, are not allowed to do what the
        right does as a matter of course. I do not know the answer, except that it won’t have to do with screens and apps.

    4. Glen

      I was supporting Sanders polices, and with those gone, I have no reason to vote Democratic, and honestly do not see a need to even have a Democratic party.

      I am planning on voting ALL DEMOCRATS OUT on my ballot.

      1. Massinissa

        I usually vote Dem straight down ticket and vote Green at the top (Never any Greens downticket in my region. Just some Libertarians, and their candidates around here mostly think the greatest threat to the country is the continuance of Social Security…).

        But Sanders has been royally screwed over in magnificent fashion. His loss to Hillary seemed mostly legitimate for the most part, so I voted Dem down ticket. But now… I don’t know if I can vote Democrat at all this year. I’m so thoroughly disgusted. I’ll have to think about it I guess.

    5. Clark

      I’m not going to vote for Trump, but I can understand those Bernie supporters who will. (I toyed with the idea in ’16 because of my intense dislike for HRC and Clintonism.) One thing that bothers me is that the ‘you MUST vote for Biden’ crowd has a really nasty streak. By that I mean I have IRL friends who would likely never speak to me if I told them I was not on Team Blue-No-Matter-Who. So, I will do what I (almost) always have done — vote for a third party.

      1. Carey

        If I thought it would harm Team Dem I’d vote for President Trump. Unfortunately,
        they are *fine* with that.

      2. Harold

        We have a secret ballot. It is nobody’s business who you vote for. Also we have seven months to make up our minds.

  7. John

    I would like once before I die to look forward to an election that promised more than warmed over platitudes, more of the same, or a tarted up return to the Gilded Age. Health Care is shambolic and expensive; public health services are underfunded and unappreciated until they are needed; the post office has been set up for crisis, chin stroking, and privatization when it was conceived as and still is an essential public service. The purpose of military services is to so effectively defend the nation that war becomes unnecessary, at least that was Sun Zu’s idea 2,500 years ago; the purpose is not to enrich weapons manufacturers or provide comfortable sinecures for an over abundance of general officers or to threaten others who are no threat to us.

    Unfortunately, I shall have to wait another four years.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Sun Tzu’s advice covered how profiteers and corruption also go along with the military option. Nobody pays any attention to that part of the work, or the destructive cost of prolonged warfare at the end of long supply lines and corrupt logistical chains…

      1. Bsoder

        “destructive cost of prolonged warfare” which is, I ask humbly? With MMT which although we do it badly through issuing bonds that the feds turn into money, doesn’t cause harm. Ya, sure that money could be better put to use but you’d have to Congress/president willing to advocated another use. Na ga happen.

        1. curious euro

          How many millions are killed on those wars? Devastated countries either with chemical and nowadays nuclear weapons in form of depleted uranium. Sure, it’s not US citizens, so they apparently don’t matter for you. So what cost is that? US foreign secretary says on air that 500.000 murdered children in Iraq were worth it

          On the US side: all those veterans coming home with their injuries, not only physical ones but mainly psychological. Ever seen the first Rambo movie? That was a crazy man pushed around who then lashed out and killed several police officers. Probably the best war movie for the US if the public only actually understood it. Rambo is an insane serial killer who was made this way and trained by the US government.

          Speaking of police officers: many veterans become officers with all their psychologicial baggage. There is a reason why shootings of civilians by police is so common in the US. The surplus war machines that go to police units don’t help. Ideal recipe to make the streets of Mainville,USA the same as Mogadishu or Fallujah: give people with severe issues and PTSD automatic weapons, tanks and grenades. What could go wrong?

          There is a vast cost of war for the perpetrators too. A war always has big consequences for a society for several generations. When was there a generation without major wars in the US?

          PS: I almost forgot the weapons manufacturers. Wars cause demand there, increases their profit and their size. Makes many people work there. So a big weapons manufacturer immediately causes reasons for more wars right there, further militarizing the society.

  8. clarky90

    I watched Obama’s endorsement of Joe Biden. Obama’s left eye was not working in coordination with his right eye. The majik is gone……

    1. JTMcPhee

      Only takes one eye to read a TelePropmter(TM). And one hand to lift a wallet out of your pocket.

    2. Oh

      From a long time ago I noticed that his eyes fluttered when he’s flooding the airwaves with fibsnad this time was no different and I think he had trouble reading the teleprompter and maybe his pants were on fire.

    3. John

      He needs more cash to buy his daughters Martha Vineyard “cottages” adjacent to his “cottage”.

  9. DJG

    I am witnessing a remarkable amount of Democratic Party / liberal triumphalism. The Warren endorsement is now considered a great prize among the liberal-ish among us, although, as always with Warren, her gestures are (curiously) empty. First she had a plan, and now she has Biden.

    What we all have discussed here is that the Democrats never learn and never forget. Nancy Pelosi showing off gourmet gelato on Twitter is still another symptom, a rather malign one.

    Frum’s rule: The Republicans fear their base. The Democrats hate their base.

    So you get gelato, and you get Hillary Clinton’s “chocolate milk for everybody.” I’m an adult. Do the Democrats simply not know how to appeal for votes? One minute they are looking under the bed for the Basket of Deplorables, and the next minute they’re offering a warmed-over crap sandwich to their supposed supporters?

    At least the Republicans know how to cultivate fear to get votes.

    Nancy Pelosi and her Dove bars, and Obama and his “public option,” and all of the soon-to-come red-baiting and vote-shaming do not bode well.

    As Lambert Strether notes, wait till the bread runs out.

    I offer this good analysis of some of the things I mentioned above. Ben Joravsky is an admitted leftist here in the flyover Great Lakes States, where there are many leftists (Mayor Pete Buttigieg, candidate of people confused about gayfolk notwithstanding).


    Right now? I’m in the third third. The irreconcilables.

      1. hunkerdown

        According to a notice I received from Michigan’s unemployment agency this morning, they have been working on getting set up for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and are beginning disbursements over the next couple of weeks. I can see the proverbial bread being a factor in people’s willingness to join up with the Michigan Conservative Coalition (just another Party establishment satellite, doing their job of election engineering).

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Might assay out higher in Libertarians and US Taxpayers Party of Michigan supporters than Republicans. (USTPM is the state’s affiliate of the Constitution Party, BTW. That’s the old name of the national party too; it”s just that, when the national party changed its name, the state said if the local branch followed suit they’d have to re-petition to get back on the ballot. . . .)

    1. Oregoncharles

      Fun, but a bit misleading on the “third third:” “You can talk to them until you’re blue in the face about judicial appointees and the Supreme Court and they’ll remind you that Nancy Pelosi and the Dems gave Trump everything he wanted on the military budget.” Which is true, of course. So why talk about them as if they’re delusional? Or Red-diaper babies,like his family, apparently. Which I’m certainly not – liberal Republicans graduated to “liberal” Dems, both of them. But then, I was never really a Berniecrat.

      He’s trying to pretend the radicals aren’t reality-based.

    2. D. Fuller

      Posted to Nancy Pelosi’s twitter feed:

      Will Paul Pelosi and you benefit from the very lucrative tax break contained in Section 2203 of The CARES Act, regarding real estate investment? Will your taxes be lowered? Will you and your husband benefit, as well as Donald Trump and Jared Kushner and Trump inner circle?

      Side note: Paul Pelosi is responsible for the estimated $75M to $155M Pelosi family fortune, being a real estate investor and venture capitalist.

    3. Jason Boxman

      But who’s the Democrat base? It isn’t the left. Democrats certainly hate the left and the working class in general, but the base is those who delivered for Biden in the primary.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I assume that EVM means “electronic voting machines.”

          I am sure that Democrat shenanigans played a part. Shenanigans would have varied by the state party, as in IA’s app vs. CA’s VSAP system in Los Angeles vs. the classic “long lines” play in TX and MI.

          I also read at the time in SC the typical “change the voting locations” play. In addition, Clyburn is said to have headed the task force that induced SC to introduce ballot marking devices, which are unauditable by definition.

          You also don’t need any sort of conspiracy; all you need is word coming from the top that “Sanders is an enemy of true Democrats everywhere,” and every Establishment Democrat with the means to f*ck him over can do so in their own way, from the top all the way down to the local worker (“sorry, we just don’t have enough _____”).

          However, beware of single cause explanations!

  10. Synoia

    Trump Pence Keep America Great

    Do you have a set of our Official Trump Straws yet?

    We just got a BRAND NEW shipment in, and we immediately wanted to reach out to you to make sure you were aware.

    Our Trump Straws are custom made with the Official Trump Logo, they’re recyclable and reusable, and, as always, they’re 100% MADE IN AMERICA.

    To get your very own set, all you have to do is make your FIRST EVER contribution of $13.50 and we’ll send you a 10-pack of our iconic Trump Straws.

    as always, they’re 100% MADE IN AMERICA.

    Hmm, Mexico is in AMERICA.

    And what is Trumps program to make even more in the United States?

    1. D. Fuiler

      GM is producing those masks Trump ordered, 1.5M of them…

      …in Mexico.

      According to either reuters or apnews. Seems like GM is having the last laugh.

  11. Louis Fyne

    Sweden population ~10mil. passes 1,000 corona deaths.

    US population ~330 mil tops 30,000 deaths.

    Not an apple to apple comparison, but clinically interesting that the death rate is similar—-those the US and Sweden took vastly different routes to get there

    1. Isotope_C14

      I’ve been noticing something interesting here in Germany:


      Now in Berlin, they shut the schools down roughly at the same time they did in the west. The case count in the west and Bavaria are still pretty high. Berlin, impressively has very few cases. Berlin had far fewer cases when the schools were shut.

      I suspect when you shut the community spread in the schools down, you drastically reduce transmission to the parents/grandparents. I’ve always called children little disease vectors, and I suspect this was the case here.

      Sweden will likely track with America because the schools are open. The US just didn’t close the schools early enough. Of course the US didn’t have good testing early, so community spread could be much higher, but anyone here who has grandkids, stay away for a while.

      1. clarky90

        Re; “The WHO”

        I am getting better info and commentary about COVID 19 here at NC, than from the “flawed”, mealy mouthed WHO.

        Our NZ government were forced to shut our boarders with China, in spite of WHO recommendations to the contrary. Followed by howls of “racism” from the CCP.


        “A Special Report by a group of Canadian academics has shed light on the high-tech methods the Chinese Communist Party used to control the flow of COVID-19 information in the early days of the timeline, revealing hundreds of Chinese citizens were detained or punished by the communist party for “spreading rumours”.

        “On December 31, 2019, when the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued its first public notice on the disease, we found that keywords like “武汉不明肺炎” (Unknown Wuhan Pneumonia) and “武汉海鲜市场” (Wuhan Seafood Market) began to be censored on YY, a Chinese live-streaming platform.”

        1. Bsoder

          I do believe @NC is par excellence, but I don’t believe it employs any reporters that do The who, what, when, where, why, all verified by 3 sources. I wish they did. Maybe @NC should have a fund raiser for Matt Taibbi (guys got to eat) to cross post his stuff. But to the issue at hand yes @NC is going a great job of pulling in information to make sense of much of Covid-19. But almost every article written use WHO as a source. Unfortunately, GVT’s are not reporting on deaths alone at home, in assisted living, nursing homes, and homeless shelters.

          Second verse, what would “Canadian academics”, know what & how, about the directives of the CCP? Zero I’d guess. The West has its ideas of how to run a civilization – poorly, and the CCP another. It doesn’t help to call whatever it is China is doing as per se wrong. It helps to report on real actual confirmed acts. China will discuss what’s its doing but not if your calling it evil at the same time. That’s just the reality of it all. We don’t get to set the rules with China, Russia’s, & the EU.

  12. JohnMc

    sanders post-mortem: just my humble opinion, but sanders 2016 to 2019 went from ‘open borders? no, that’s a koch brothers proposal’ to much of the standard Dem identity-politics fare. to the extent that trade/jobs won trump the election in 2016, this seems like a huge shift.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Yes. Open borders has become part of the Dem/liberal/progressive /IDpol litmus test.

      (In my opinion) to the detriment of Bernie/Medicare 4all. But i am keeping my mouth shut and ain’t touching that third rail.

      I’ll let people do their own soul searching should Trump win ij November

      1. Arizona Slim

        I have a confession to make:

        Yesterday afternoon, I unsubscribed from the Tucson for Bernie email list. Why did I do such a thing?

        Well, it was the content of the email I received. Now that Bernie’s out of the presidential race, the list is turning into one of those recruitment tools for local progressive groups.

        First group on the recruiting list? Some outfit that’s advocating for the rights of the undocumented.

        Yeesh. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. With a stay-at-home order in place. Why not set up some sort of mutual aid program? There are plenty of local people who need such a thing.

        Or do some advocacy for local Amazon workers? Or the other delivery workers who are working their butts off right now? Maybe, just maybe, with a little union organizing thrown in?

        Sorry, Tucson for Bernie, but the open borders thing is a real turnoff for me. I guess that makes me part of the populist left and not the cultural left.

        1. Billy

          More “undocumented rights” just in case anyone think that employers will start hiring desperate to work Anglos who might actually demand livable wages, nights, weekends and holidays off, expect privacy, no fondling by bosses on the job, you know, all those antiquated sentiments in the new Post-Covid feudal work environment.

          Undocumented are often also “undocumented Covid” cases. Just who you want handling your salads and working in the kitchen, uppity citizens or pliable peons? Sure know who the employers want.
          “Three quarters of the Guatemalans deported were tested by their government and found to be infected upon arrival back home.”

        2. Louis Fyne

          This will sound heartless to some…..the US has a multi-identity, native near-permanent underclass. It’s insane that we don’t fix this first.

          Just saying. Trying to avoid setting off the third rail,lol

        3. Glen

          I am not only unsubscribing, but if given an “Explain” box, I enter that I am voting ALL Democrats OUT until they enact M4A.

          I think this is a fair deal for the Democratic party, enact M4A and survive or cease to exist. Either way, it’s a win.

        4. JohnnyGL

          Yeah, there’s a real disconnect between talk of ‘solidarity’ and then pushing an agenda that’s rather narrow in focus.

          I’d prefer to see focus on things that help EVERYONE, not just a handful of people who have relatives in a tough legal spot.

          One of the worst examples was a couple of years ago when Terry Sewell, a CBC member who’s a rep from AL, who represents a district with horrible poverty and a tiny % of immigrants, was talking endlessly about DACA.

          If team dem is going to push immigrant rights and ignore black poverty, that’s a big problem.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I’d prefer to see focus on things that help EVERYONE, not just a handful of people who have relatives in a tough legal spot.

            The “essential workers” bill that Schumer et al is pushing is horrid. It creates a two-tier system of labor aristocracy, with the worthy classifications determined by Democrats. Like all two-tier systems, it’s a dagger aimed at working class solidarity.

        5. John

          Not putting Americans before foreigners is why Sanders lost.

          He would have beaten Biden and certainly beaten Trump in a landslide if he did.


        1. Billy

          Porosity. The ability to walk across a river 6 inches deep, jump a fence and claim refugee status, but most importantly, the ability to work once here with a few faked documents, if one is ever asked for anything, and no verification of your financial documents nationwide through E-Verify.

          1. Aumua

            So basically, what we have already had for decades then.

            Maybe instead of saying so and so is for “open borders”, we should instead say that the opposition is for “closed borders”, at least more closed than they have ever been before.

            I admit to not knowing how effective E-Verify is, but I don’t think it’s been that big a factor.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Yes. Open borders has become part of the Dem/liberal/progressive /IDpol litmus test. (In my opinion) to the detriment of Bernie/Medicare 4all. But i am keeping my mouth shut and ain’t touching that third rail.

        I am personally in agreement that open borders is a Koch Brothers proposal.

        However, if that policy shift is a what it took to win the Latin vote, then “Paris is worth a mass.”

        What was needed, and did not happen, was some reassurance to those whose labor power would be cheapened by open borders that their interests would be taken care of, too. That didn’t happen.

        You go to campaign with the staffers you have, not the staffers you want, and I think the staff was exerting a constant pull in the idpol generation. Sanders would always pull it back to the working class as a whole, but surrogates and messaging did not, and IMNSHO that had a subtly corrosive effect on the campaign as a whole.

        For example, Sanders lost the Iowa counties next to the Mississippi that flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016, a huge red flag for his theory of change. Lost them to Buttigeig, ffs. Part of that was that Pelosi’s clever manipulation of the impeachment calendar prevented Sanders from campaigning from in those counties, which he had planned to do. But part of it was that Sanders (a) AFAIK did not push a farm policy to them, and (b) did not erase any idpol-driven er, “divisiveness” with an inclusive message (which economic populism is). Noteworthy that Buttigieg’s problems with a racist police department were not a problem for these voters.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          You go to campaign with the staffers you have, not the staffers you want, and I think the staff was exerting a constant pull in the idpol generation.

          I think we have to be careful. This is an organization which is 4 years old. Leadership is responsible for staff and overall messaging. If idpol is exerting a strong constant pull then someone made that purposeful choice to bring in those staffers and promote that message.

          Just like Naked Capitalism makes choices to maintain and cultivate the community it has. Bill Belichek makes the choices to direct his team regardless of the talent he’s able to get. (any cheating aside notwithstanding). Sanders and his inner leadership team had the same type of agency. They determined their chosen strategy.

          I’m not so sure Sanders pulled it back into the working class as whole enough. But if we want to blame “the staff we have,” then perhaps it was up to leadership to buy staff a copy of Howard Zinn’s books as a starting point to understanding labor and working class conflicts. Make them understand how dividing idpol really is and how it is used by people like the Koch Brothers.

          Of course if Sanders chose his inner leadership team to be idpol, then the campaign itself regardless of his personal messages becomes exclusive clublike rather than anyone can join in inclusiveness. Sanders needed to win the vote, not just the Latin vote which isn’t a solid block to win anyway. Just like the black vote and the women’s vote aren’t solid blocks.

          IMO, impeachment was a much longer manipulation than just January / February calendar and if Sanders’s leadership team didn’t see that coming then as political operatives who specialize in politics, they really weren’t paying attention for the last 4 years.

    2. Pelham

      Spot on.

      This is why I despair. I’d like to see a new figure emerge to head up what Sanders started, but who would that be? AOC would be great but for her identity politics. And if she or someone like her comes to the fore, I fear that the movement that Sanders ignited in 2016 will be transformed and hived off into yet another rainbow-festooned dead end.

      1. Dirk77

        Taking one for the team is one thing; political suicide is another. Ask Colin Powell about the UN. But AOC is young and inexperienced. So it’s not clear to me if her siding with her party bosses on the bailout bill was against everything she claims to stand for, and thus has ended her political career as a progressive to anyone but the MSM. IOW, you might not want AOC anyways.

          1. Dirk77

            Unless there is evidence to the contrary, she did. The benefit of the doubt does not apply in this instance.

            1. Aumua

              I don’t know what the basis of that statement is. I think before we cast damning judgement we should have some idea what we’re talking about. Maybe that’s just old fashioned, idk.

              1. The Rev Kev

                If she was determined to vote no, she would have stood up and demanded that there be an actual count of votes. It was a Republican that demanded that, not a Democrat. Going on a program two weeks later and saying that she totally voted no just does not pass the sniff test. If she had voted no, she would have been screaming this fact after leaving that chamber the day of the vote and making a big thing of it. Remember too that at least two others in the Squad voted yes as well.

                1. Carey

                  Thank you. No one, so far as I can see, gets a voice™ in DC who’s not already co-opted.

                  Those über-photogenic early photos of Ms Ocasio-Cortez plastered everywhere put me on edge, and I think rightly so.

                  We’ll see what she does.

              2. Aumua

                Yeah ok I guess I’m just not that concerned about how she voted. AOC is doing fine as far as I know.

              3. Dirk77

                As The Rev says, anyone could have stood up and demanded a recorded vote or a quorum count. So the lack of evidence is evidence. In other words, say a person has evidence that could exonerate or convict themselves of a crime. You know that. But this person willfully destroys the evidence. What do you conclude? I’m not talking about in a court of law, but in your own judgement.

                Btw, I don’t mean to imply this as a purity test. I mean many are going to give her s*** for this, as they will everyone in Congress except Massie, because she deserves it. But a bad choice doesn’t destroy a career – it’s the totality of them that does, even though this looks like a big one. And all one can expect of anyone is to be one voice in a chorus.

      2. clarky90

        Tulsi Gabbard?

        I support Winston Peters here in NZ, even though I often disagree with his policies. I like him, trust him and find him entertainingly feisty. NZ MSM and the PTB detest him, slander him. But for many of the people … He is ok with us, warts and all.

        It amazes me that few can see the obvious Dem leader, right in front of their nose (TG). The fact that the MSM and PTB denigrates her is a creditable validation. (They wouldn’t hate her if she wasn’t great)

        Is a leader who is physically fit, mentally agile and moral, (!) too much to ask for? Or should you continue trawling through the Dem’s remainders bin?

  13. temporal

    I woke up this morning thinking how futuristic fiction back in the day suggested that we might have a chance to experience “Star Trek meets Little House on the Prairie” when we grew older. (With the understanding that Star Trek ceased its mission after the Enterprise version and transitioned to a more violent version of Star Wars.) Instead we are now being forced to experience “Contagion meets Idiotocracy meets Hunger Games” first hand.

    The choice between the orange dude that tries to play a prescient presidential professor on TV versus Joe Porridge who, at least temporarily, thought he became a professor in Pennsylvania after he left the senate. If this was a three-way race between the two professors and a rake I’d pick the rake. I can’t determine the lesser evil nor the greater compassionate nor the more competent but at least the rake potential actions are clearly neutral.

    If Obama or Andy ”no Medicaid for you” Cuomo could somehow get into the race I’d still vote for the rake.

    The one thing most of the members of both teams have in common is that all of their failures are always someone else’s fault. “Mistakes were made, just not by me.”

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Someone asked about Code 8 on Netflix the other day and I told them it was only science fiction because they gave the electricians super powers.

        I did enjoy Picard immensely, the only STrek of this century I can say that about but no, it’s not very upbeat. But determined to prove you wrong I just went through my entire SF movie collection and you guys aren’t wrong: I couldn’t find any utopian SF from this century unless you count offbeat art movies.

        1. Dirk77

          Ok, your comment along with the Dave Cullen review cited by the Rev, even though negative, leads me to give Picard a shot.

      1. Massinissa

        I say we all find a Rake (theater character archetype) with a rake (landscaping tool) to be our president. Has to be better than the two Rakes we are being presented with: At least the Rake with a rake will have done work with a tool at least once in his life.

  14. Jeremy Grimm

    International trade and trade pacts like NAFTA and TPP were hot rocks for the democratic Party last election. I don’t believe this wish of those who own the democratic Party, and democratic politicians has gone away. Trump is a trade wild-card … although he has proven generous to Big Money in providing most other of their wishes. Biden is a place holder — but for what? Now is an inopportune moment to push the likes of TPP again, but four years can be a long time.

  15. Oregoncharles

    “Over it all hung the stench of anti-Semitic tropes: Sanders “yelled too much”, was “angry all the time”, wasn’t “a team player”, “waved his arms” or “pointed his finger”, was “hiding his taxes”, harbored secret wealth.” ”

    This is at least partly discrediting. “Anti-Semitic tropes” has become a completely poisonous formula; normally, an outright lie. Those are not “anti-Semitic”; they’re standard criticisms of political style – especially an outsider like Sanders. I’ve learned to simply dismiss anyone using that phrase, because it’s usually a way of attacking either lefties or, especially, Palestinian rights activists. In any case, I read widely enough – probably most of us do – to have a good idea how slogans like those are used. No, they aren’t anti-Semitic; in my recent experience, such so-called “tropes” never are. (Going on a bit, by way of emphasis.)

    I wish Temkin hadn’t poisoned his report with such, umm, sloppy, dishonest language.

  16. Pelham

    Re the pandemic: I read this morning that at least 50 MTA workers in New York City have so far died of the virus. That’s an amazing number. If a gang had been running around and killing transit workers over the past few weeks, raising the toll to 50, there would be general alarm.

    Instead, we’re hearing more and more about getting the country back to work, with questions raised about the accuracy of total infection numbers, the death rate and other fuzzy math. In this context, the MTA number struck me. It reveals the peril that many “essential” workers who face the public daily would be subjected to if we were all suddenly unleashed again. The bulk of us hustling through store aisles, riding trains and taking Ubers might be just fine. But the workers serving us would suffer from repeated exposure to heaven knows how many people infected with the virus, and many of these workers would die as a result. I guess in the minds of some, they’re basically disposable as well as essential.

    1. Carey

      > I read this morning that at least 50 MTA workers in New York City have so far died of the virus

      Do you have a link?

  17. bassmule

    GOP Lawmaker Goes Full Death Cult: ‘Always Choose’ Economy Over Lives (Huffington Post)

    “It is policymakers’ decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say it is the lesser of these two evils,” he said. “It is not zero evil, but it is the lesser of these two evils and we intend to move forward that direction. That is our responsibility and to abdicate that is to insult the Americans that voted us into office.”

    P.S.: Trey Hollingsworth is the twelfth richest member of Congress; net worth in excess of $50 million.

    1. hunkerdown

      Duopolies only survive by sticking together. So duopoly machines allocate the succor and menace, between themselves for any given “issue”, so as to give the “issue” credibility and to ensure, with carrot and stick, that people stay in their assigned machines so their political activity can be managed by “safe hands”. Hollingsworth is just keeping the hate machine running.

  18. Burns

    Question: for those with better insight, why couldn’t Sanders just run as an independent?

    There have been credible arguments that H Ross Perot had a real shot at winning during his candidacy, except that he flaked out and ended up losing momentum. What’s stopping Bernie from running as an independent in the vein of Perot (without the flakiness, dropping out and getting back in, etc) when he is so clearly not a Democrat and consistently gets screwed by that party?

    1. hunkerdown

      He’s apparently absorbed enough of the Democrat Party norms (or he was just doing what the flamboyant Chuck Rocha told him to do) that I don’t consider “not a Democrat” all that clear anymore.

      As far as I can tell, nothing’s really stopping him other than an attachment to the Party, or possibly a lack of small-dollar inflow thanks to the fortunately timed (from the DNC’s perspective) pandemic economic disruptions.

    2. Trent

      He doesn’t want to be ostracized from the party. Chris hedges actually said Sanders told him this during the 2016 run when Hedges asked him. So Bernie is scared of not being popular with Nancy and Chuck essentially.

    3. Adam Eran

      Nah, Bernie would lose, just as he lost the primaries. What’s more, he would anger the corporate D’s and wouldn’t have whatever scant leverage he has in the Senate or with the president, even if that’s president Biden.

      IMHO, the first skill of any politician is picking one’s battles. Bernie doesn’t need the aggravation. He’s done what he can…and that’s not nothing. After all, Max Baucus’ Romneycare hearings excluded M4A testimony. I doubt that could happen now. The progressives around the turn of the 20th century lost, and lost again (William Jennings Bryan…now a figure of fun because of Inherit the Wind about the Scopes “monkey trial”). Yet many of their legislative initiatives survive today.

      History may not repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes.

  19. Carey

    ‘Infect the young and isolate those at risk’ – One German scientist’s plan to end the lockdown’- “Prof Alexander Kekulé says the lockdown is in danger of going on too long and causing more damage than the virus”:


    found at A Swiss Doctor’s update compilation, found here:

    SLO County CA coronavirus statistics:
    Current Situation

    As of 4/15/20 at 12:30 pm

    124 Confirmed cases
    16 Home
    104 Recovered
    3 Hospitalized (2 in ICU)
    1 Death (total)

    Active cases continue to decline here: now at nineteen, total.

    1. Monty

      I notice the Swiss doctor hasn’t mentioned that as of 2 weeks ago, excess mortality was running at 60% in the UK. I also noticed they say Swedish deaths on 4/15 were 900, instead of the 1200 that were being reported. A 25% understatement. Tragically, the swedish curve is steepening sharply.

      Seems like if you look at primary source data, there is a lot of cherry picking and lying by omission is going on that page. I bet it’s got some super shady provenance!

      I’m glad the full force of the virus hasn’t come to SLO yet. One possibility is that not many people with the virus have been there and spread it around, so there isn’t currently a large outbreak. It is a bit out of the way. It’s not like a nuclear accident where the poison drifts unstoppably, you need person to person contact with infections cases.

      btw I saw this today and thought it was good!

      1. Carey

        Do you have any links for those numbers, Monty?

        What I’m seeing is a lot of vague anecdotes: “mass graves!” “wailing ambulances”,
        and plenty of wild numbers thrown about.

        San Francisco CA stats for today- a rather cosmopolitan area, with substantial links to Asia:

        Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases in San Francisco

        Total Positive Cases: 1013
        Deaths: 17

        updated daily at 9:00 AM


        1. Monty

          You know, I am sympathetic to that message. I would love for this to blow over and be a nothing burger, but I think that the facts I’ve seen don’t support that idea.

          Perhaps they are just lucky in SF, for now. You need to meet someone shedding virus, if you don’t, you’re ok. If we have space and awareness to avoid each other, it cannot spread to the people who will die.

          See worldometers for Sweden. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/

          UK government latest data.

          1. Carey

            Thank you for the links. I don’t find the Worldometer Sweden numbers
            believable: 24% recovered, 76% died? Really- of Covid-19 itself?
            Need to see *a lot more* detail about those numbers, myself.

            Why aren’t we seeing these kinds of numbers in CA? Just lucky, over and over and over? We ought to be seeing increasing hospitalizations–
            the best proxy-measure I can see– here, and it’s just not happening:
            they’re going *down*, and almost all cases recovered at home without


            1. Yves Smith

              I agree the #s look weird but the data comes from somewhere. Worldmeter is just an aggregator.

              Sweden has IIRC has an immigrant population of IIRC 24% of the population, many of them Syrians from 2015-2016.

              If they aren’t well integrated socially (live in de facto ghettos, perhaps uncomfortable with seeing doctors due to language issues) they may not seek treatment until too late. Or it could even be an outlier like a lot of cases in a nursing home.

              1. Carey

                Even in the mid-80s, my Swedish gf told me, in Uppsala,
                “oh, you can’t go over there..”, when I asked about a couple
                of highrises and their associated areas. Very little assimilation, and it’s not better now, to say the least.

            2. Monty

              Worldometers are pulling their Sweden numbers from this Swedish page which has a bit more granularity.


              Maybe you can tell if it’s government data, but it’s all Swedish to me!

              I have noticed that people seem to stop dying of Covid19 in Sweden on the weekends, so I doubt the numbers are precise on a daily basis, but probably pan out over the week. I have stopped looking at the number of confirmed cases. I think it’s meaningless, unless everybody is getting tested everyday.

              I think the luck in CA probably shows us that early community spread, when people weren’t being careful, was limited for some reason. It didn’t reach into all the nooks and crannies that it has done in places like London or New York.

              The west coast and AZ are spread out car cultures with a high number of health and fitness fanatics. Everyone is aware of the situation and on their guard, schools are closed and the big gatherings aren’t happening. If there’s not a lot of sick people to start with, you’re unlikely to meet any yourself and become sick. It’s a virtuous circle, and that’s the whole point of having people stay at home.

  20. You're soaking in it!

    I have a question that I’m hoping one of the more financially savvy could answer. If I understand correctly, under the Fed emergency program, they are willing to buy municipal bonds at face value the same as they could buy worthless Indymac MBS.

    Does this mean that, in theory, states or cities could issue bonds and hand the money out to local businesses or citizens to ensure domestic tranquility, keep the lights on, etc. all backed by the infinite depth of the federal deficit? What constraints would there realistically be? Otherwise the spending of every non-federal entity is due to vanish right around election time, there being no income available to tax.

  21. Carla

    Beautiful plantidote today! I love how the lichen on the quince branches looks like snow. It’s snowing in NE Ohio right now.

  22. dcrane

    As I have repeatedly said, Sanders should immediately start using his list to raise money for strikers: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune” (of course, Shakespeare’s irony here is savage, since it is Brutus who speaks this line… But it’s still true, isn’t it? A movement needs to move! And if you want a revolution, there it is. And the beauty part is that this pivot in no way contradicts his undertaking to Biden!

    He can begin by using the money he already raised. Only then would I be convinced to ever send money again. They have millions in the bank that was intended for the Sanders movement, not for propping up Biden or whatever Dem-party facilitation they have in mind now. I know I wouldn’t have sent my last two donations if I had imagined Bernie would be dropping out months before the convention.

    1. Adam Eran

      As I understand it, Sanders plans to continue pressing the issues from his presidential campaign in other races and other venues. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a coherent movement, with answers to all the commonplace lies in politics?

      Anyway, I plan to continue to donate to Our Revolutions, perhaps not as much as previously, but I’d say the movement has legs.

    2. Bsoder

      I wish that everyone would trying to be something he isn’t or clearly doesn’t want to do. He’s done plenty as it is.

  23. sd

    Reopening Hollywood: From Insurance To Testing, Crowd Scenes & Craft Services, Here Are The Pandemic Problems Studios Are Trying To Solve Before The Re-Start

    Most likely, everyone on a film or TV production will be required to sign a rider, similar to ones they sign covering behavior codes in areas like sexual harassment, to indemnify the productions. “You acknowledge you are going into a high-density area, and while we will do our best effort to protect you, nothing is failsafe and if you contract COVID-19, we are not liable,” said a source involved drawing up these guidelines. “There is no other way we can think of to address this. If you don’t want to sign, don’t take the job.” […]

    There will be an extra level of protection built around actors whose health is crucial to keeping a production going and a crew employed. They are irreplaceable and, because of the nature of their work, actors cannot be in front of the camera wearing protective equipment. To keep them safe, below the line personnel coming into contact with actors or directors will have to wear masks and gloves at all times.

  24. sd

    Excellent article today by Ilargi Meijer. It’s very long and worth reading.

    The Only Man Who Has A Clue (hint: Taleb…)

    …Most people who read a site like the Automatic Earth, where finance is a main topic, will know who Nassim Nicholas Taleb is, for instance because he wrote The Black Swan before the 2008 financial crisis. Or because a hedge fund he advises recently announced a 6,000%+ gain in “virustime”. But Taleb is also, and more interesting for this essay, “distinguished professor of risk engineering at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering”.

    For much of his coverage of COVID19, Taleb has been co-operating with Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the New England Complex System Institute, and Joseph Norman, a postdoctoral researcher at the same New England Complex System Institute. That means “real scientists”, just not from where you might expect. Which in turn means they can help the other guys get out of the ditch they’re in.

    1. zagonostra

      Thanks for link. I remember reading and enjoying Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness and to a lesser extent Antifragile…

    2. Bsoder

      All true enough, but helping others out if the ditch I don’t think so. You have to want to be helped. As far as system theory, systems engineering, and system science go, its not for everyone. As a fellow of the Santa Fa institute we tend to give advice to those that want it. Hard to change minds that are not only closed but locked.

    3. Redlife2017

      That’s really an amazing summary of everything I’ve been thinking about, but have had a hard time communicating.

      I should make more masks…

  25. Judith

    The late Bruce Dixon on Stacey Abrams.


    “And then there’s Stacey Abrams. Stacey is a tax attorney, Spelman and Yale Law grad from Gulfport MS. She was first state rep from an Atlanta district in 2006. In American legislatures, party caucus leaders are chosen by the amount they bring into party coffers in donations from PACs, corporations and wealthy individuals and their expertise in doling it out to other lawmakers. By 2011 Stacey Abrams was chosen Democratic leader in the GA House, a post which she held until beginning her run for governor in 2017. She’s written several romance novels on the side too.

    Stacey Abrams wants to be president, and Georgia governor is one of the checkmarks on the way there, and election to governor will immediately put her on the short list of contenders. She lays that out quite clearly in her latest book Minority Leader How to Lead From the Outside and Make Real Change. It’s a memoir-centered self-help book, an I-did-it-you-can-do-it-too kind of thing with checklists at the end of every chapter. The “it” she talks about in the book is achieving power, but for all her deep understanding of how to maneuver to obtain this power Stacey offers very few if any clues about what great things she wants to do with that power.

    We’ve seen that movie before though haven’t we? Didn’t we just finish eight years of an unaccountable black president presiding over the greatest loss of black family wealth since we started keeping statistics on it? Didn’t we just see three million American families lose their homes? Didn’t we hear Eric Holder, the first black attorney general tell us the banks to were too big to jail and too important to investigate, and didn’t we see Loretta Lynch the second black attorney general literally write the fine print on get out of jail free cards for CitiGroup and other criminal investors who walked away with billions. We’ve lived to see a black president break his word on raising the minimum wage and delivering single payer health care? The first black president blockaded and bombed all the countries the white presidents before him were blockaded and bombed and added a few new ones, including the actual overthrow of a prosperous African country, where black Libyans and other Africans are being traded as slaves right now. Didn’t we see the first black president expand fracking around the world, privatize big chunks of public education, and let all the torturers and kidnappers on the US payroll off the hook?”

      1. Monty

        It just hasn’t come here as far as I can tell. With everyone’s on guard it doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to spread and so it isn’t. Doesn’t mean we’re immune, it just means we’re lucky. One of the many upsides to living the middle of the desert 300 miles from civilization!

      2. ambrit

        Same around here. But, where are the social influencers asking why healthcare should be profit driven in the first place?
        I’d make the case that for a hospital to lay off experienced healthcare workers during a public health emergency should be grounds for nationalization under a National Security law. Then shoot the top ‘decision makers’ of the healthcare conglomerate for committing treason. To encourage the others of course.

      3. tulu

        “Elective” surgeries include things like cancer surgery, organ transplants, and many other necessary surgeries. Elective just means that you will not immediately die if the surgery is not done immediately.

  26. ewmayer

    @Lambert: Re. the Yasha Levine “hey asshole mayor” piece, I was working from an early-downloaded-and-not-updated-since version of the 2pmwc, and was about to write “264 characters; only the first 53 are needed. (And the tracking garbage is really rather noticeable due to the link not being hidden beneath an article caption)”, but decided to reload to see if any other readers had already noted same. No, but you’ve since indeed prettified the link by hiding it beneath an article caption, yet the tracking crud remains. All that is needed is https://yasha.substack.com/p/day-29-hey-asshole-mayor .

  27. Copeland

    Big surprise in our bank account today, we received our stimulus money. Wasn’t expecting that for months if at all.

    Anyone else get theirs?

    1. anonymous

      Yes. $2,400 from IRS credited April 14. To a 2018 Form 1040 filer with solely retirement income, foreign resident who after foreign tax credit paid no US income tax for 2018 (because civilized countries generally have substantially higher taxes than the US), and has suffered no impairment of income or health due to COVID-19. Clearly a bribe to the well-off to continue to support the DC establishment.

      1. darms

        thanks, I know the law but after all this is the p*ssygr*bb*r & I cannot find any other confirmations of this (don’t do twitter) so I posted here as the comments are great! (longtime lurker since b4 the fdl dayz – same uzer name…) Please help find a supporting link!

  28. farmboy

    Apoltical Blues https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkfbE-5erhQ reply to Lambert
    Sports Geek has great analysis of Biden candidacy, bet the field +700 Biden-won’t be the nominee!
    “How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President.” Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
    Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail “72.
    Feels like mostly loathing today to me.

  29. tegnost

    Dear Bernie,
    Go buy a farm in vermont and mind your own business.
    You need to get away from it.
    You’re pimping for people who hate you.
    They hate your supporters, too.
    And remember, it’s not you, it’s us.

  30. Isolated

    Lambert the circumspect master of understatement, as always:

    “…Mitchell can, at times, be prolix…”

    In other news, water can, at times, be wet.

    I suspect that Bill may have been inoculated with a gramophone needle.

    That said, I always find his writing interesting and stimulating, and sometimes challenging. His music, on the other hand is much more approachable.

    Try Pressure Drop:

    or Blues Box:

Comments are closed.