2:00PM Water Cooler 4/8/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

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 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


Since the Democrat primaries, barring force majeure, are over, I’m eliminating the Democrat primary voting feature. I want to thank dk for all the effort he put into it and the many improvements (and I hope he added to his technical arsenal doing it). In retrospect, and as I kept pointing out, the “Biden Juggernaut” — mysteriously strong, given that Biden performed poorly in every state em>until South Carolina, never visited many, and had cash problems — was the key story. Yes, of course there can be some bias in the polls, but not that much. In retrospect, the Biden Juggernaut said a lot about the state of the Democrat Party. Bitecofer is wrong, in that not all Democrat see politics as a partisan blood sport with team loyalty the primary ethic, if I may call it that; Bitecofer was surely right that the dominant factions see it that way, and that this — I can think of no other words for it — depraved degradation of the body politic and the democratic ethos has been carefully nurtured by the Democrat establishment (along with the press, who found it drove clicks) through, e.g., RussiaGate. On the bright side, a left that can learn to create and manage hate should do well. As the Romanovs discovered, to their cost. “Not me, them!” as it were.

* * *

Sanders (D)(1): The Sanders campaign mailed out the text of his speech addressing his supporters, in which he suspends his campaign (here is a video; Sanders published it in Jacobin). I’ll skip the parts about “winning the ideological war”; the war isn’t won until the enemy is driven from the field and a bill is passed. I’ll excerpt what is key to me: The fate of the Sanders movement, and mechanics of the nomination process through the primaries:

[SANDERS:] And so today I am announcing the suspension of active campaigning, and congratulate Joe Biden, a very decent man [I will have more to say about this], on his victory.

As you all know, we have never been just a campaign. We are a grassroots multi-racial, multi-generational movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down, but always from the bottom on up. We have taken on Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and the greed of the entire corporate elite. That struggle continues. While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not.

I’m gonna need an operational definition on that, because Our Revolution didn’t cut it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The fight for justice is what our campaign was about. The fight for justice is what our movement remains about.

And, on a practical note, let me also say this: I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates. While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we should still work to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.

Then, together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history. And we will fight to elect strong progressives at every level of government – from Congress to the school board.

As I hope all of you know, this race has never been about me. I ran for the presidency because I believed as president I could accelerate and institutionalize the progressive change that we are all building together. And, if we keep organizing and fighting, I have no doubt that our victory is inevitable. While the path may be slower now, we WILL change this country and, with like-minded friends around the globe, the entire world.

Readers know my views on the Sanders campaign as the unique institution that it is (do see this essay and its extension; they’re not bad). And as readers know, my view was that the Sanders campaign should pivot toward accelerating the current orgnaizing efforts of workers, to which the openly brutal and stupid actions of elites in the current pandemic have given such impetus. For whatever reason, the Sanders campaign did not take my advice :-).

Analysis of the now victorious Democrat Establishment can wait for another day (one of the more entertaining aspects of my Twitter feed today is all the Democrats praising Sanders, who onlu yesterday were smearing him. But politics aren’t beanbag; “Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward“). For now, I would like to focus a bit on Sanders the candidate and the man.

Consistency. Sanders has been consistent in his views, and in his ethos, throughout his career. He has been staggeringly disciplined in his messaging on the trail. That said, the flip side of his consistency has been, I believe, a lack of dexterity at the tactical level. For example, anyone over the age of six could see that Biden was going to win South Carolina. Where was the ready-to-deploy riposte?

Comity. I think Greenwald is onto something:

It may be possible to adopt an attitude of Senatorial comity to one’s adversaries (I do not for one moment believe that Joe Biden is “a very decent man”) while at the same time running an insurgent campaign, but if it is, Sanders couldn’t do it. (FDR did not attempt it; nor did, say, Huey Long.) Whether this is a personal characteristic of Sanders, or a deformation professionelle required to become “the Amendment King,” I don’t know.

Theory of Change. I believe that the Sanders Theory of Change — bringing the working class, as a class, into politics, currently through enfranchising them, though at this point I’m open to other methods — is, if not correct, the only political path that I and many can live with. In the previous essay, I discussed some reasons it failed. (It’s worth nothing that the trendline of Sanders support in polling was gradually but constantly upward, ’til the very last day; it may be that he needed another year’s worth of runway.) I think, in addition, many on the left* believed that liberal Democrats were, if not allies, exactly, capable of morally-based tactical alliances on policy; that it was possible to persuade them on, say, #MedicareForAll, for example; that they had “friends” to their right (“If only the Czar knew”). Clearly, that’s not the case. If this election has shown anything, it is liberals and the left are opposed, not allied. (The left puts the working class first; both liberals and conservatives put “markets” first, the former with more layers of indirection and a sense of moral entitlement.) I think that must have been a bitter realization for Sanders (perhaps as bitter as his personal betrayal by his “friend” Warren, or his discovery that, decent though he may be, his “friend” Biden is a shameless liar). Stoller called Sanders brittle, but I think you’d have to be awfully tough to take blows like that. Yes, “if you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog;” but it was perhaps Sanders’ key personal weakness that he was not cynical enough.

Finally, I am not at all of the Jimmy Dore persuasion. The Sanders campaign achieved amazing things: Besides winning IA, NH, Harry Reid’s NV, and Nancy Pelosi’s CA (the fifth largest economy in the world), he won the youth vote, including the black youth vote, the Latin vote, and in essence drove a giant wedge into the Democrat Party base. He clearly won the working class vote (his Walmart workers vs. Warren’s lawyers); he just didn’t expand it. It is true that the Democrat Establishment won the nomination based on a strategy of winning Red States they could never win in the general, but if they think Obama can put the Obama Coalition back together — will he and Michelle hit the trail with Joe? — I think they should think again. In any case, the Democrat base has shifted from what it was in 2008: Wealthier, more suburban, more PMC, more Republican-adjacent, more dependent on reactionary Black leadership in the South. What’s been wedged is hard to unwedge.


“Obama: Robust coronavirus testing and monitoring the key to reopening country” [The Hill]. “”Social distancing bends the curve and relieves some pressure on our heroic medical professionals,” Obama tweeted Wednesday. “But in order to shift off current policies, the key will be a robust system of testing and monitoring – something we have yet to put in place nationwide.'” • I had thought that Clyburn’s Committee would be Impeachment 2.0, but apparently Pelosi decided to have him look forward and not back. I take Obama’s sudden visibility (on the day Sanders dropped out) as a sign that #COVID19 will be handled by the Democratic strategist wing: The David Brocks (IIRC, there’s already been one ad).

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why Vote-by-Mail Could be a Legal Nightmare in November” [Politico]. “There’s no question that, for public health reasons, expanding vote-by-mail is a wise decision for states to be making right now. But states — especially battlegrounds in the presidential election — should clarify as soon as possible the rules that their own courts are supposed to use in litigation that might arise over counting absentee ballots. It is not enough that state law has rules for casting ballots. There needs to be clarity on whether ballots can still count if something has gone wrong in the process of casting of them, especially if the problem is not the voter’s fault. State legislatures have tended to leave these vote-counting matters for their courts to decide in the heat of the moment, and states have learned the hard way what happens when the counting rules are ambiguous. The lesson could be even harder this year, with the stakes perceived to be so high.” • Details on what could go wrong. A lot, even absent chicanery.

“Mail-In Ballots Make Voter Fraud Easy. I Know Because I Did It.” [Inside Sources]. Interesting anecdote! And: “States, I’ve since discovered, have no access to any master list of American citizens. So they can check to see if “Hannah Arendt” is a felon, or if she passed away as they can access death records. But they have no way of checking to see whether an American citizen with that birth date exists. It’s an enormous hole in the ballot security system.” • The Democrat Establishment would never support vote-by-mail unless they knew they could game it.

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.

“Mortgage Borrowers Stop Making Payments With Economy Shut” [Bloomberg]. “The percentage of loans in forbearance grew to 2.66% as of April 1, according to the MBA’s Forbearance and Call Volume Survey. On March 2, the rate was 0.25%. For loans backed by Ginnie Mae, which serves low- and moderate-income borrowers, the rate jumped to 4.25%. The increase came as the U.S. economy largely shut down to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. The government is requiring lenders handling payments on federally backed loans to give borrowers grace periods of as much as six months at a time with no penalties. Loan servicers say they’ve been flooded with borrowers requesting help.” • I’m sure the servicers will do fine, just as they did in the foreclosure crisis.

* * *

Shipping: “Amazon to suspend delivery service competing with UPS, FedEx” [Reuters]. “The suspension of Amazon Shipping will allow the company to focus on its core delivery operation, said Trevor Outman, founder of consultancy Shipware.”

Travel and Leisure: “Costa Cruises slapped with proposed class-action suit over handling of coronavirus aboard Luminosa ship [WaPo]. • That’s a damn shame.

Tech: “We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe” [Scientific American]. “more than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger exposure limits. The appeal makes the following assertions:” Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.” The scientists who signed this appeal arguably constitute the majority of experts on the effects of nonionizing radiation. They have published more than 2,000 papers and letters on EMF in professional journals.”

Manufacturing: “Etsy Rallies Its Artisanal Troops: ‘Start Making Face Masks'” [Bloomberg]. “Etsy crafts never seemed like essential goods. But on Friday, the same day the White House announced guidelines that Americans should wear masks outside of the home, Etsy Inc. sent a push notification to every craftsperson on its website in the U.S.: ‘Calling all sellers,’ it said. ‘Start making face masks.’ The website is becoming a go-to destination for homemade cloth masks. Etsy said there was an average of one mask-related search on the site every two seconds in March. Last week, more than 10,000 sellers sold at least one mask apiece.” • As I keep saying, masks — hopefully re-usable — will become fashion items, a permanent part of the industry.

Concentration: “Eli Lilly lowers insulin costs as coronavirus crisis deepens” [CNBC]. “Drugmaker Eli Lilly said on Tuesday it has capped the out-of-pocket cost for insulin to $35 per month to help diabetes patients across the United States, many of whom are facing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. The new co-pay scheme covers most of Lilly’s insulins, including widely-used Humalog injection, and can be purchased by people with commercial insurance as well as those without insurance…. However, patients with government insurance such as Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare Part D or any State Patient or Pharmaceutical Assistance Program are not eligible for the scheme, Lilly said.” • So why not leave it there? (Readers, is $35 still high?)

* * *

Today’s Fear Greed Index: 31 Fear (previous close: 26 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 22 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 6 at 11:57am. Now mere fear. “Light at the end of the tunnel”?

Health Care

Department of Feline Felicity

“Editing the Buttholes Out of ‘Cats’ Was a Total Nightmare for VFX Crew” [Daily Beast]. “The visual effects source I spoke with described the situation as “almost slavery,” and recalled working 90-hour weeks for months. Some colleagues, they recalled, stayed in the office for two or three days at a time, sleeping under their desks. But worst of all, the source said, was the treatment visual effects staff received from Tom Hooper… Some aspects of the production, the source alleges, became simply absurd—like when Hooper would demand to see videos of actual cats performing the same actions the cats would do in the film. ‘And as you know,’ the source said, ‘cats don‘t dance.'” • One can imagine the joy some abused serf must have taken in adding buttholes to the animations…. And yet fior all this, Cats has become a cult favorite, today’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Guillotine Watch

“Private Flights Getting Cheaper Thanks to Stimulus Tax Relief” [Bloomberg]. “The legislation, known as the CARES Act, suspended a 7.5% federal excise tax on commercial air transportation through year-end, a move that would help big U.S. carriers. But it will also benefit some customers of private-jet operators such as Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s NetJets and broker PrivateFly.”


Class Warfare

“Why inequality could spread COVID-19” [Faheem Ahmed, Na’eem Ahmed, Christopher Pissaridesl, and Joseph Stiglitz, The Lancet]. “The inequitable response to COVID-19 is already evident. Healthy life expectancy and mortality rates have historically been markedly disproportionate between the richest and poorest populations. The full effects of COVID-19 are yet to be seen, while the disease begins to spread across the most fragile settings, including conflict zones, prisons, and refugee camps. As the global economy plunges deeper into an economic crisis and government bailout programmes continue to prioritise industry, scarce resources and funding allocation decisions must aim to reduce inequities rather than exacerbate them. We declare no competing interests.” • Yes, the last sentence is medical publishing boilerplate designed to disclose potential conflicts of interests, but it does have a sting, doesn’t it?

“As School Moves Online, Many Students Stay Logged Out” [New York Times]. “The absence rate appears particularly high in schools with many low-income students, whose access to home computers and internet connections can be spotty. Some teachers report that fewer than half of their students are regularly participating.” • This feature of the American class system could come as a shock only to the nimrods of the Times. If we had universal broadband like South Korea, this wouldn’t be a problem. But then South Korea is a First World country.

“How We Can Break the Power of Finance” [Jacobin]. “There are no non-political solutions to economic problems: every economic question is a question of power. Competing interest groups — Marxists call them classes — must organize in order to articulate their demands and transform our institutions. In a capitalist economy, the ruling classes will always have the upper hand. Challenging their dominance — and the crisis tendencies it generates — requires more than just clever economic analysis. It requires building a movement to demand a different future. Nowhere has this been clearer than in the response of capitalist states to the coronavirus crisis. Many on the Left have welcomed the rise in state spending that we’ve seen of late, claiming that it vindicates the fiscal policies articulated by politicians like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. In fact, governments have used these stimulus measures to support the interests of the coalition that underpins neoliberalism — homeowners and capitalists — rather than to help working people. Mortgage holders, but not private renters, are being offered repayment holidays; businesses are being given tax cuts; and there’s widespread talk of bailouts for huge multinational corporations. We are now entering an age of state-monopoly capitalism, where the interests of leading politicians, financiers, and corporate executives are fused to such an extent that they come to resemble the ‘general cartel’ posited by Rudolf Hilferding back in 1917. In that context, the capitalist state is no friend of socialists, however large it becomes.” • This article is well worth a read, especially for the contrast between Keynes and Veblen. (At some point I should read Stoller’s book and see what he has to say about Veblem.)

“Against citizen science” [Aeon]. ” It’s not a coincidence that citizen science lowers the cost of research that requires lots of routinised labour. Thankfully, we’re flush with design tools that manage to transform repetitive, mindless behaviour into something strangely fun and addictive: games. Galaxy Zoo, a non-profit, amateur astronomy project initially set up with data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, asks participants to scan millions of celestial images for common galactic morphologies; to keep their attention, players can spell out words with constellations, or win points for certain cute galactic structures. Smartfin, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, gets surfers to attach a sensor to their boards and collect data on salinity, temperature and the like, all of which is pinged back to Scripps once the surfer makes it back to the beach and hooks up the fin to a smartphone. Hundreds of ‘camera traps’, scattered around the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, capture images of creatures that can then be identified by users at Snapshot Serengeti, thus keeping track of animal populations; to amuse themselves, people can attach comments to their favourite photographs (lolgoats, perhaps, rather than lolcats).” • The article gpes on to point out that citizen science has been polluted by billionaire-funded NGOs. But I think the initial impulse is benevolent. Citizen science should be funded by the Jobs Guarantee.

Lots of second homes in the Berkshires:

And the same with Coastal Maine, another hot spot.

News of the Wired

Lessons learned (1):

Lessons learned (2):

“One arrested after family argument over toilet paper turns physical” [Los Angeles Times]. “The son had accused the mother of hiding the family’s toilet paper… The woman told deputies she hid toilet paper from her son, saying that he uses too much.” • Sigmund Freud to the nearest courtesy phone?

* * *
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 (PR):

PR writes, subject line: “All is not lost. Text: “A rainbow at sunset last night in Tucson, AZ.” I didn’t deliberately save this one for today; it was just the next in line. But appropriate!

* * *

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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. NotTimothyGeithner

      Earth Alliance Civil War. Done and done.

      The Earth Alliance destroyers are great designs.

        1. Billy

          One can see why this alternative to Roosevelt was assassinated by the banking cartel.


          Some examples:

          Cap personal fortunes at $50 million each — equivalent to about $600 million today (later reduced to $5 – $8 million, or $60 – $96 million today)
          Limit annual income to one million dollars each (about $12 million today)
          Limit inheritances to five million dollars each (about $60 million today)
          Guarantee every family an annual income of $2,000 (or one-third the national average)
          Free college education and vocational training
          Old-age pensions for all persons over 60
          Veterans benefits and healthcare
          A 30 hour work week
          A four week vacation for every worker
          Greater regulation of commodity production to stabilize prices

          1. Procopius

            Roosevelt called him one of the two most dangerous men in America. The other was Douglas MacArthur.

      1. ambrit

        How about a real world example of the genre?
        “The American Democrat Party Wars of Succession.”

    2. Jason Boxman

      Going back, it wasn’t as epic watching as an adult, but still a good show on the whole.

    3. wsa

      I guess the Shadows are the republicans and Vorlons the democrats? Certainly democrats have the hauteur.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Democrats are the alien race Ivanova had to “seal the deal” with if you know what I mean, and the Republicans are probably President’s Clarke’s party. Everyone else struck me as too smart.

      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        @wsa: How about the Shadows (chaos: What do you want?) are the East Coast: financiers and the Vorlons (order: Who are you?) are the West Coast: technocrats? Or would that be the Technocrats are the Warrior caste and the Financiers are the Religious caste?

        Not married to it. But I feel like the Dems and Reps as groups are more minion-like.

        @Jason: Yep. But it had some great characters & story arcs. The writers got space to complete those arcs well until towards the end when they didn’t know if they’d get renewed so they squashed it together. The gold was where your imagination took you rather than what was on the screen. Serious worldbuilding to play around in.

        @ NotTimothyGeithner: Imagine what they could do with CGI and models together now. It really is amazing what they accomplished for a tv show which most likely would’ve died before the end of Season 1 now.

        @Haydar Thanks for the memory. I think it’s time to pull out the DVDs. I’ve probably forgotten more than I think. Including the bad cult classic episodes.

        1. wsa

          “I feel like the Dems and Reps as groups are more minion-like.” That’s probably a better interpretation. We can say then that the Wisconsin republicans are the Drakh, given their fancy for mass contagion.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The Shadows were/are an ancient race who didn’t pass on but remained to shepherd the younger races. The Vorlons are the enemies of the Shadows and besides their powerful ships are mysteries to the younger races, even the Minbari (this is spoiler free) and have previously defeated them in multiple conflicts over the millennia. Both the Vorlons and the Shadows are deemed to be among the “first ones”.

            The GOP and Team Blue are more like the subject races or agents of the Shadows who carry out the agenda of their masters.

            Also, I’m pretty certain Kosh was Jesus of Nazareth at one point,

          2. Noone from Nowheresville

            @Lambert Sorry I wasn’t clear. The idea was and still is perking away in my brainpan. At the moment, it’s a two-fer.

            1. Not married to my terms of East Coast financiers vs West Coast technocrats. Technocrats feels wrong. Tech bros gets a bigger piece of it. But neither camp term captures who and what they are.

            Vorlons & Shadows come closer. Still a lot of overlap as they still play together and haven’t diverged into opposing camps like the Shadows and the Vorlons did. I feel like that’s because the Old Ones, or the memory of them, haven’t fully moved on yet.

            Here the leader (Sheridan) opposing the Shadows & Vorlons would’ve been someone like Sanders. Sheridan was a man–the chosen one (protag) of the story–with a vision and a battle-hardened movement willing to sacrifice themselves for his Cult of Personality.


            2. I could do Minbari civil war because the unknown piece for us in the “now” really is the worker caste. i.e., its response to this pandemic and the coming gutting of the public good. Warrior caste v. Religious caste also works for West v. East. Still in the work together phase.

            The writers didn’t explore the worker caste. Made it seem as if morality against the system ultimately won the war. The Worker caste got veto power but we never saw what they did with it, how they kept it or even how they rebuilt Minbari society. Plus the workers are basically faceless. No heroes to uplift or even remember except for those not of the Worker caste.

            So that’s more what I meant when I said not married to it. I’m torn between terms and story narratives. Open to how others view it.

            What @NotTimothyGeithner said in response was a great encapsulation of the Shadows Vorlons. Yep, fully on board with the Jesus of Nazareth reference.

            Minions / Dems & Reps: I was thinking fictional narrative development: protag & antag character helpers. @wsa’s Drahk reference is where my mind was at. But I love @Redlife2017’s reference. Encapsulates so much more.

            1. Noone from Nowheresville

              Adding @NotTimothyGeithner does have a point about Earth Alliance Civil War which eventually lead to the 2nd Shadow War. It was the necessary prequel or beginning of the war where the master players were still shadowed. It’ also where Sheridan earned or solidified his Cult of Personality / Chosen One status.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Okay, 2nd Shadow Wars or Minbari Civil War?

      I am very pleased that I do not know these references; it means that the commentariat is younger than an old codger like me, yet still here!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s from Babylon 5. I think it’s more that there are dozens of us than an age issue.

  1. Daryl

    > Analysis of the now victorious Democrat Establishment can wait for another day

    I have many non family blog appropriate things to say about the Democrats, but I suspect the apocryphal curse of “may you get everything you wish for” is in full effect for them and will manifest sooner rather than later.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Methinks that the number of Independent voters, which currently is in the mid-40 percents, will soon pass the 50% mark. Which means that both parties will officially become irrelevant.

      I also think that this fall’s voter turnout will be even less than the turnout in 2016.

      1. albrt

        Irrelevant except that they will continue to have prescribed ballot lines and otherwise control the voting machinery.

        As Lambert says, there are not very many of the Shing.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Irrelevant except that they will continue to have prescribed ballot lines and otherwise control the voting machinery.

          Yes. In all my thinking about what sort of institutional beast the Democrat Party is, that is the one thread that connects everything. The Democrats control the ballot like a gang controls a corner.

      2. polecat

        I think that I’ll have no choice but to vote for the Worst President in Modern Times … AGAIN !

        Right, ‘Joe is a good friendo of mine’ Sanders ?

        Honestly ! .. word fail !

      1. Tom Stone

        Lambert, I wholeheartedly agree.
        November is a long way away and it’s guaranteed to get weirder.

    1. clarky90

      This is very hopeful info……!

      Why Lupus Patients May Hold The Key To Whether Hydroxychloroquine Could Work – Part 2


      Hydroxychloroquine is prescribed routinely to 1000s of lupus sufferers. Dr Oz had a deep dive investigation commissioned, into insurance statistics and disease reports statistics of patients presently taking HChQ. No cases of Coronavirus in patients already taking hydroxychloroquine for lupus. (bar one, who was taking HChQ infrequently)

      In the video, Dr Wallace reports on the toxicity of hydroxychloroquine (low), that the drug has been used routinely for 65 years (well studied), it is cheap, it is available…..

      “Dr Daniel J Wallace, American rheumatologist, clinical professor, ….He has the largest cohort of lupus patients in the United States (2000).[3] A full professor of medicine (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA), he is associate director of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program at Cedars-Sinai………”


  2. jeremyharrison

    Waiting for AOC’s endorsement of Biden, including a comely invitation to sniff her hair.

    Who would want to be a bartender right now?

      1. urblintz

        yeah well… get used to it. it comes with the Dems preferred candidate… and Trump will be unsparing.

          1. cm

            And yet she voted for the Corona bank bailout, and didn’t hold out for better funds for the working class.

            1. Donna

              Actually I saw AOC interviewed yesterday on Democracy Now. Although no votes were recorded, she did say she did not vote for the bill. I was surprised but pleased to hear that.

          2. ambrit

            You are an insider, and yet haven’t realized that Trump’s hostile takeover of the Republican Party has voided the old rules of comity and propriety? The old New Deal Social Contract has been voided by the oligarchs and their enablers, from both parties. One primary purpose of the New Deal was to preclude the implementation of equal opportunity in the use of violence as a political weapon in America. Slander and calumny are examples of verbal violence as a political weapon. Back as far as Limbaugh et. al. the Right deployed verbal violence as political tools. Now the Left is finally catching up.
            The real tragedy of AOC is that she has risen to prominence during a time of coarsening and degradation of the political discourse. Really, this coarse and degraded level of political communication is the historical average. What is passing now was an artifact of the New Deal pacification of the American system.
            “Politics ain’t beanbag” resonates more than ever now. AOC, indeed, all politicos, are going to have to grow tougher skins. The abuse comes with the job.

              1. ambrit

                Good question that. I work from the theory that, to the benighted denizens of the hinterlands, of which i are one, which are popularly referred to as the “Flyover States,” anyone with a connection, even if only “brand” wise , to the Power Elites has a closer connection and access to the levers of power. A subtle example of guilt by association. The ‘dc’ in your ‘handle’ does the associational magic.
                Consider it yet another data point in the evidence file related to the ever widening split between the Power Elites and the Public at Large.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Ambrit: I know something of DCBlogger’s biography, and trust me, they’re not an insider.

                  I think DCBlogger would not object to my saying that they once were — a long time ago! — intimately connected with the Democrat party machinery at the state level.

                  If you insult people who have developed knowledge through experience, how do you expect to learn?

                  1. ambrit

                    A case of “guilt by mistaken association.”
                    Fair cop.
                    In my meagre defense, do consider that the initial response yesterday was almost “baked in” by recent experiences with the legacy political parties. The rot at the top is now so pervasive that anyone even peripherally connected with the extant power structure is suspect.
                    Apologies to ‘dcblogger.’

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Out here in Flownover Country we just assume that ” from DC” means “insider” and someone calling themselves “dcblogger” must be “from DC”.
                Hence the possibly facile supposition and leap of logic. Upon reflection, one remembers that even many DC people are at the very bottom of the “insider” ladder.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    I meant no chastening. I have to often remind my own self that most people working in the political-industrial complex in DC have very little power over anything.

                    I remember once spending several days in DC (for the very best of family-related reasons) and I found myself in an ordinary type restaurant and was just listening bemusedly to a couple of people at the next table talking about something or other and they seemed to feel they and their discussion were awfully important.

                    But there wasn’t the pure cold heartless non-human vibe-feel that I got in San Francisco when I spent some time there. A lot of the people there seemed like “Blade Runner” replicants not even trying to be human. Or even humanoid at any emotional level. Cold nasty people. Not all, I am sure. But certainly enough. Pelosi voters, no doubt.

                    1. JBird4049

                      Hey man, I resemble that remark! ;-)

                      Although there is absolutely no way in Hades that I could afford to live in the city. I can barely afford anything anywhere in the Bay.

                      I do have to say as a native Bay Arean, the longer I live the more the whole place becomes a façade. It is living on the image of what it used to be to attract the marks tourists and lives off whatever crumbs the Techlords deign to give. Add whatever left of shipping, mainly the container facilities at Oakland and the fishing fleet, plus some odds bits like the Richmond refinery, and that’s about it. Oh, and the Financial District in San Francisco, which does not seem that healthy.

                      So when I see the Pod People acting like it’s God’s Chosen Country I wonder just what is so great about anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area? What do they see that I cannot?

                      I could (again) go on about what has been lost, but I have done that in previous comments/rants.

                      And if anyone wants superficial, go to Los Angeles. There are plenty of nice Angelenos, but I always feel like I am living in something like Westworld only in real life. Especially when you get away from the poorer areas.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > someone calling themselves “dcblogger” must be “from DC”

                  I think you are identifying “DC” with “K Street.” That’s a category error. In fact, the District of Columbia has a lot of poor people, downwardly mobile people, people just getting by, and other such. Dupont Circle is not to be identified with, say, Anacostia. It’s like thinking everybody who comes from New York City has a second home in the Hamptons.

                  In fact, if there were ever to be a U.S. equivalent of the sans culottes, in terms of radicalism and proximity to the corridors of power in the capital, this other DC is exactly where they would come from.

                  So indeed you should feel chastened, whether chastisement was intended or not.

                  1. JBird4049

                    A few of the posts and comments today touched on hunger and the lack of broadband internet for many Americans although even our supine media has reported on this for some time. Somehow, I think some supposedly well informed people would be surprised about my own joys of enforced dieting.

                    It does seem that far, far too many do not see the homeless encampments as well. The encampments can rather hard to miss and no, I don’t think that living on sidewalks or under cardboard or in a pup tent is a fad.

                    I don’t know if it is willful blindness or just extremely good propaganda. I do know that what is shown in the media on California has little to do with the millions of poor Americans and isolated communities that live here. Unless something like Paradise burn downs.

                    So while I know from reading about the poverty in DC, the corruption, and incompetence, I do not see it in the media. What is shown all the time is the White House and the shining dome of the Capitol, the Reflecting Pool, and all the other sites that reflect our august Republic: what is not shown is where the middle class one lives and never the poor.

                1. ambrit

                  Reminds me of one of Ken Russel’s ‘edgier’ mini-projects, the TV short, “A Kitten For Hitler.”

  3. tongorad

    I wonder who writes Trump’s tweets. Very talented and astute:

    Bernie Sanders is OUT! Thank you to Elizabeth Warren. If not for her, Bernie would have won almost every state on Super Tuesday! This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        That last comment needs to be M4A, not trade. Trump is not wrong about trade but I don’t think that issue sways too many voters – I think most blue-collar trade voters have already jumped ship.

        1. Carey

          I read the Trump twit differently, as to “trade” parties; though it may have been deliberately ambiguous. Well-crafted, yes.

          1. a different chris

            I read it as Trump wanting to get rid of the Rubios et al which would match better with today’s Democratic Party as it has gone heavily right and the Rethug party has gone… i don’t even know where at this point.

            Somewhere with Trump but he barely knows where he is, let alone his party.

            And he’s wrong about Warren taking Sander’s votes. The idpol is strong with those, and would have just voted for Kamela.

        2. Billy

          This die-hard M4A and Bernie supporter, we donated enough to get three of his books…
          is going to vote for Trump.

          The best way to reform the Democratic Party is to bury it in another election.
          After that, they can ship Joe Biden to Madame Tussaud’s.

          1. Carey

            Cutting off Team Dem’s funding stream, while organizing from below,
            seems to me the way forward. Disappointed in Sanders ATM, though
            he did so much that was postitive.

          2. a different chris

            The best way to get the whole country to move even further to the right is to vote for Trump.

            You aren’t sending the message you think you are sending. I am tired of this nonsense. Vote for Trump if you like him being President. Otherwise don’t. It ain’t eleventy dimensional chess.

            But if you get a chance, please (post Covid-19) inform Senator Sanders of your brilliant strategy to his face. I would like to be there, if you could give me a heads up.

            1. HotFlash

              cc Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer,Tom Perez, and Barack Obama as well. They might be more interested.

            2. Big River Bandido

              The United States government has been in non-stop motion to the far-right for over 40 years. I’ve been voting for Democrats for 35 of those years.

              What exactly has this gotten me?

            3. albrt

              different chris –

              Do you have in mind someone else I could vote for in good conscience? Someone who is not a corrupt, demented war criminal who likes to grab women by the nether regions?

              I didn’t think so.

              Guess I will be boycotting this election.

              1. Oregoncharles

                Sure, Howie Hawkins, Green Party.

                If he can get on the ballot – pretty hard when you can’t collect signatures.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > If he can get on the ballot – pretty hard when you can’t collect signatures.

                  Yep. Somehow I think that much of social distancing, horribly, will become permanent. It’s so useful to so many (especially digital intermediaries rent extractors).

            4. Lambert Strether Post author

              > The best way to get the whole country to move even further to the right is to vote for Trump.

              (Democrat) Obama normalized everything (Republican) Bush did on the surveillance, torture, and assassinations, and carried on the wars in the Middle East. He also passed a Republican health care plan. Not to mention organizing a coordinated 17-city, DHS-driven crackdown on Occupy.

              I’d say the Democrat Establishment’s current way of moving the country to the right is working just fine. So you are correct .Why tamper with success?

          3. Tom Bradford

            Had you voted for Trump last time you would have shared responsibility for the unnecessary deaths caused by his utter maladministration in the face of the present pandemic – but you could at least claim with some justification that you didn’t realise he – or anyone – could be this incompetent.

            Vote for him again and you won’t have that excuse.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I voted for Trump the last time. I should be thanked for the billions of lives I helped save by keeping Clinton out of the White House, thereby depriving her of the ability to set off a thermonuclear war with Russia.

              You are most welcome.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                As well as TPP, which would have eliminated national sovereignty in favor of the ISDS. Trump did it instantly. True, downhill from there, but an excellent thing nonetheless. Globalization’s high-water mark, so far as I’m concerned.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Had you voted for Trump last time you would have shared responsibility for the unnecessary deaths caused by his utter maladministration in the face of the present pandemic

              Liberal Democrats have a self-image of being competent administrators, which is very important to the self-image of their credentialed PMC base (whose performance, as administrators, in both the universities and hospitals, should instantly give us pause). But as symbol manipulators, they are not equipped to recognized when their self-image diverges from reality.

              Not only “rising star” Cuomo’s poor performance, but the past peformance of the Democrat Establishment should cause us to question this thesis. Off the top of my head:

              1) The Democrat Establishment perpetrated the 2008 bailout debacle (relief for banks, no relief for the working class). The HAMP debacle and the chain. of title debacle are particularly instructive. The economic pain cost many thousands of lives and led directly to Trump.

              2) The Democrat Establishment perpetrated the 2011 Libyan bombing debacle, which created a failed state and rebooted the slave markets in Libya

              3) The Democrat Establishment perpetrated the botched 2013 rollout of the ObamaCare exchanges, Obama’s signature domestic program, which crashed at launch, never having been stress-tested, and had to be rebuilt from scratch. Nobody was ever held accountable. A decade later, then-HHS Secretary Sibelius confessed that it would have been better to simply go with a government program.

              4) The Democrat Establishment first elevated Trump in 2016 because they thought he would be the easiest to beat, then spent $1.4 billion losing to him in a campaign that was utterly shambolic (Shattered; Chasing Hillary) despite — and by “despite”, I mean “because” — being run by top Democrat minds.

              5) The Democrat Establishment (and its pseudopodia in the intelligence community and the media) spent three years yammering about “Trump”!, “Russia!”, and “Treason!”, and assuring us that the evidence to back up their claims was imminently forthcoming, but when articles of impeachment finally appeared, none of their claims appeared.

              Those are the examples that occur off the top of my head.

              There is no reason to believe that the Democrats are any more competent than . There is every reason to think that the only thing they are better at is public relations.

              1. tegnost

                As seen in the few primaries held, the democrats are competent at appearing incompetent thusly never having to state what their true aims are. The”mistakes” always go one way. Some commentor last night was equating hillary public private opinions with bernie. What balderdash! Hillary’s private positions hide the fact that she is a republican at heart, bernie is not that, and didn’t do that. False equivalency. So we have two right wing parties and all the people who are required to work through the virus are unrepresented (I’m expected to work unless the sheriff comes over and tells me to stop-whatever I need the money and it’s gardening which is a nice distraction, nothing like being a grocery worker/instacart shopper or amazon serf) Not surprised that bernie suspended, made me sad though. Thanks to NC for all the reporting, thanks to dk for the the poll aggregations.

      2. Harold

        I understand he has suspended his campaign but is still on the ballot for Democratic nominee. How could he hold rallies at a time like this? Those of us who have primaries coming up can still make their voices heard and put the pressure on for single payer and other issues that are important for us.

    1. Jason Boxman

      He’s got a point; maybe they should. At least Trump sticks the knife in while you’re facing him. And then says it wasn’t actually him that stuck ya.

    2. Wyoming

      Well not all of Trumps tweets are delusional.

      I bet between 10-20% of Sanders supporters do vote for Trump. And another 20% – to include myself – will not vote for either Biden or Trump.

      This is Trumps to lose. But just like Hillary I suppose he can pull defeat from the jaws of victory if left unsupervised.

      1. Daryl

        It would be interesting to know where Bernie primary voters end up. I doubt anyone will ever bother to find out, but I would not be surprised if a majority of us do not vote for Biden, whether by voting for Trump, third party, voting down ballot, or simply not voting.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Even if one ” not votes at all” for President, there are things and people to vote about down-ticket.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I think the Democrats will throw this election to Trump if it appears they can’t lose it “fair and square”.

    3. dcrane

      Here’s one Bernie voter who is considering the offer. I wonder how many more there are.

      1. D. Fuller

        It is well known that Hillary Clinton voters defected to McCain after Obama won the nomination.

        It was also shown that fewer Sanders supporters defected to Trump, than Clinton supporters in 2008 who defected to Mccain. Add to that many Republicans who supported Sanders and would have voted for him. Who instead voted for Trump. That Sanders supporters who identified as Democrats remained and voted for Clinton.

        The voters I know who are Democrats are indicating they won’t vote for Biden. If, at the DNC, that Biden resigns and is replaced by a handpicked “nominee”? They are even considering voting for Trump.

        Liars can be forgiven. Betrayal? Is forever. The Democrats are well down the path of betrayal.

      2. notabanker

        The way I see it, you can vote for the DNC establishment, or against it. I know which way I’m going.

      3. Martin Oline

        I re-registered in Florida so I could vote for Bernie in the (closed) primary. I will now re-register as an independent and will vote for Trump again, barring any miraculous changes in the future. I voted for Nader in 2000 and 2004, thinking “How bad can Shrub be?” I found out with the invasion of Iraq. But president Gore? President Kerry? Could they have been any better or worse? They would have institutionalized the corporate face of the Demon-crat party. All of those with the Obsessive-Compulsive-Trump-Disorder scream that I betrayed my country, but I feel two votes for Hope and Change in 2008 and 2012 will forever inoculate me from those charges. Thanks for nothing. I think that the Republican party should seriously consider adopting the Frank Underwood campaign sticker, F U 2020. That is how I and many others feel.

      4. JohnnySacks

        Doesn’t matter, the narrative is going to shift now, immediately if not sooner. It’s all Bernie’s fault, foiled again by those damn nasty Bernie Bros. Bernie didn’t endorse Joe the way we wanted. Bernie didn’t campaign hard enough for Joe. Meanwhile, Trump is going to unleash a barrage of some of the most damning factual truths about good old Joe. Joe is most definitely not a decent guy in a political context. He’s a continuous habitual liar. He’s been on the wrong side of every single vote of any significance with disastrous, and in the case of Iraq, murderous, consequences. As for ACA/Romneycare, he sure loves talking about it, but in fact got a pass on having to vote for it.

        1. albrt

          Good Old Joe is also clearly visible in all those situation room photos, right next to Obama and Clinton, deciding which anonymous racial and ethnic profiles should be up next on the disposition matrix.

        2. Librarian Guy

          Completely correct.

          The duopoly has a perfect racket set up. The real populist left will be frozen out and crushed–to their credit, this time the Dem Masters of the Universe scared or intimidated the peons into voting for the “safe, electable” turd, Biden, evidently, so they don’t bear all the blame.

          Then, when the lesser evil Losers lose, like they habitually do, the bugaboo “Left” (non-Establishment) will be the scapegoat– we were all OBLIGATED to vote for the Lesser Evil Shit sandwich, in their minds.

          I’d never vote for a Narcissist madman like Drumpf, but I haven’t voted ShitDems except out of desperation– Obama his first run, and Clinton the same. BOTH of which in hindsight I fully regret. Otherwise I have voted Nader (truly an honorable individual) or Jill Stein.

          The Idiocracy has doomed itself, so it goes.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well . . . I don’t regret my the-first-time vote for Obama because it kept McCain out of office and avoided the War with Iran which McCain wanted.

        3. Carey

          >Doesn’t matter, the narrative is going to shift now, immediately if not sooner. It’s all Bernie’s fault, foiled again by those damn nasty Bernie Bros.

          That was *always* going to be the narrative: nominate a corporatist, smother
          the People, then blame the latter for the loss.


      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        I may vote for Trump. But I will not be voting for Republicans in general. Even though Trump has taken it over, he hasn’t changed ( or even wanted to change) the Republican Party from standing for Bussiness’s Basic Human Right to put cancer gas in the air supply, cancer juice in the water supply, and cancer gravy all over the food supply.

        And that remains not-a-party that I can identify with at the party level.

    4. richard

      It beats Biden’s offer of “pound sand loser”
      I will not vote for the cheeto, but it does beat Biden’s offer

    5. John k

      IMO he writes his own. Politically very astute. Doing a good job identifying crappy dems just as he previously identified flaws in his rep opponents in 2016. Granted it’s not rocket science to realize Liz intentionally knifed Bernie, though I’m not sure those that stayed with her following the attack would have gone to Bernie en masse… they’re older and likely wanted a female capitalist before they died.
      How most of us vote this fall doesn’t matter. At most ten states might swing, dems will forget the southern firewall that saved biden and the dems from a socialist victory.
      Wi, Mn, Mi. Nh, Pa, Nv, maybe Va, Oh and Fl. If you live there your vote matters, otherwise feel free to vote green, Bernie, bugs or Mickey, or yourself. Or even trump if you want to run down Biden’s margin.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      I have read that Trump has a whole stable of Tweet-writers with their very own Tweet-writers’ room.

  4. shinola

    Dammit! I haven’t filled out & mailed in my ballot for the Ks. Dem. primary yet. I’m still gonna vote for Bernie though.

    Ks. now has ranked choice ballot but you don’t have to rank all the candidates on the ballot. Sanders will be my #1 pick followed by Gabbard, Warren & “uncommitted”. Biden will get zilch from me.

    If Biden is the Dem’s candidate, I will vote for the Green Party candidate again.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think many Sanders supporters will find it very hard to vote for a candidate who opposes #MedicareForAll.

      The only non-violent means I’ve been able to think of is literal die-ins on Capitol Hill.

      1. Bsoder

        Put me down for all of that. And tomorrow, next week, next month, isn’t going to change anything with Biden.

      2. Hepativore

        In any case, I refuse to vote for Biden. I am torn between not-voting and voting third party, as the net result is the same in either case. My district in Minnesota is strictly vote-by-mail so I do not have to worry about exposing myself to the outbreak.

        Still, I suppose we can all look forward to Trump 2020 whether we vote for Biden or not. Of course the blame cannons are all going to be fired at Sanders and his mustache-twirling “Bernie Bros” which are apparently lurking behind every corner and rubbing their hands with glee at spoiling Biden’s chances. Plus, we will see the latest rehash of Russiagate that will be brought up to wave-away Biden’s loss to Trump. This time I bet they will even try and blame Covid-19 on Putin as part of an effort to intentionally spread the virus here to keep people from coming out to vote for Biden.

        The problem is that I do not see any progressive candidates in the vein of Sanders rising up to carry the torch for 2024 and beyond. Biden’s loss is not going to be much of an opportunity to force introspection for the Democratic Party as they do not seem to care if they win or lose political seats as long as neoliberalism prevails. It is a neoliberal world, after all.

        I think that with the political trajectory that we are on, it is now too late to reverse course in terms of saving our crumbling nation. I think that in the decades to come, we will be relegated to being a shambling third-world state that has long since fallen from both power and relevance that the world has long ago passed by.

        1. Tertium Squid

          Net result is definitely different. Lots of people turning out to vote 3rd party will definitely get the duopoly’s attention.

          1. Carey

            Who’ll be counting the mcVotes? As long as the PTB can keep
            ’em below 5% (see Greens ’16) they’re fat and happy.

            for now

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              What if all the third parties got a cumulative 5% of the votes?

              What if all the third parties together got a cumulative 10% of the votes?

              What if all third parties together got 34% of the vote?

              At some point all the third party voters themselves would sit up and take notice and decide that this could go somewhere. Then the third parties would go through a period of savage Darwinian selection with one or a few legitimate parties emerging from the tar pit blood bath.

        2. Michael M

          Please don’t be torn, vote third party! Don’t be deluded that they notice or care about your non-vote, not voting counts as a vote for the status quo. I have even heard it said by top pols that the low participation rate is because people are happy with either choice. The only thing they notice is when a third party gets a vote that they feel belongs to them. Remember it is Ralph Nader the DNC really hates while they never seem to bemoan a-political people. They are angling for suburban republicans, not new voters. Also, not voting for president often means not voting at all and there are surely some local races where decent humans have stuck their necks out and need your support.

          1. a different chris

            I’ve been trying to say this but this is the best I’ve seen it put. Don’t let anybody tell you not to vote 3rd party. It means something, it really does.

        3. cm

          Very disappointing to see that no Democrats had the guts to vote against the Corona bank bailout bill.

          This tells me there is no one to support.

          My question to Sanders/Gabbards/Gang/AOC/etc. — how hard would it really have been to have voted against the bill so that in the second round of negotiations, something meaningful for the working class could have been set up?????????

          Instead, EVERYONE voted for the bailout, with the bankers getting all the money. Why should I support this effort???

          1. Aumua

            I may be wrong, but I think it was already the second round. Maybe they should have held out for a third?

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Very disappointing to see that no Democrats had the guts to vote against the Corona bank bailout bill.

            I believe the House votes were not recorded. Clever of Pelosi.

      3. ambrit

        Well, the previous version of “literal die ins” would be suicide bombers, right?
        Perhaps the “progressive” cadres can figure out some way to use passive aggressive biological warfare against the elites. Say, find a few hardy souls willing to be infected with something slow acting but deadly to go and work at menial personal service jobs among the Hamptons set.
        Typhoid Mary as Social Justice Warrior Princess!
        Oh well. All bloviating aside, I am now somewhat resigned to the DNC slipping HRH HRC in at the convention as the “Unity Candidate” and the progressive vocalizers being gifted “mandatory Guantanamo Cuba vacation packages.” Make the transport method for that be Covid-19 infested cruise ships and the scheme will be complete.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Well, the previous version of “literal die ins” would be suicide bombers, right?

          I have always had visions of gurneys being wheeled onto the National Mall. Certainly better than checking out in a nursing home. Like Barkan, but en masse.

          1. ambrit

            I read that as “Gurney Hallecks being wheeled onto the National Mall.” Now that would be political combat at it’s best.
            The optics of such a ‘demonstration’ would be world class, but all such examples of political theatre need an underlying threat to give them ‘standing’ in the power struggle.

      4. Synoia

        As I did in the previous election, I will vote for Trump, the lesser of the two evils.

        I also suspect Biden has no desire to win, but certainly has a desire to collect a large retirement pay package as he looses.

        It is so much easier to avoid blame when your party does not have a clear majority in both house and senate, and the presidency.

        1. Tom Bradford

          Dear God. As an outsider watching with horror the disaster now unfolding in the US due in large part to the incompetence of the moron in the White House I can understand and sympathise that you could be fooled by the charlatan first time round. But if you vote for him again knowing what you know now you’ll deserve what you get, and don’t look to get any sympathy from me.

          1. Synoia

            What, I should vote for the other charlatan, Biden? After the Mendacious Obama presidency?

            I voted for Trump the first time, because of Hillary.

            I’m also aware my vote is just a protest, as I live in CA, which is solidly blue.

            1. paul.w

              Vote third party. That is what I did last time. I will do that again. At the primary coming up, I’ll vote for Bernie. Then switch to independent.
              If everyone that was going to vote for Bernie, voted third party at the election, it would be very interesting.

          2. tegnost

            And if you vote for Biden you will get no sympathy from me either. The self interested club that is the democratic party will be more effective at crashing the whole thing and there will be no one for you to point your finger at. Since we’re on the topic I imagine you have a list of policy perogatives that Biden is running on? Since it’s so obvious to you that should be an easy list to come up with?

      5. Glen

        I will not vote for a candidate that does not support Medicare For All. And I see no need for two Republican parties so I will be voting all of the Democrats out.

      6. Falls City Beer

        I think DC wisdom is that Uncle Joe will be pulled left and that he will make the “public option” front and center as “the next step” after Obamacare. But even in a universe where Joe gets elected, I can only see him actively scuttling progressive legislation, all of it, not just Medicare for All. He won’t even fight for the public option. It’s impossible to even say what he and his handlers will fight for, but I think it’s safe to say he’ll fight against the progressive wing of the party until the Establishment can settle on the next right-wing hand-out. Maybe a massive supply-side infrastructure bill as his defining legislation.

        1. Librarian Guy

          I can’t imagine the scenario you present; I frankly cannot imagine that poor zombie Joe will even be the candidate.

          I’ve stopped looking at garbage websites like Nate Sliver’s (sic) odds-makers, & even Eschaton (though the site runner is smart, its Commentariat got thoroughly taken over by $Hillary dead-enders), but I have heard that Cuomo was recently given better odds of being the nominee than Bernie. I assume most readers on this site share my opinion that Cuomo Jr. is about as “Democratic” and progressive as, say Rahm (“ret#$ds want to end the war”) Emanuel.

          They don’t even bother to hide the anti-democratic manipulations– why bother?

          1. a different chris

            If Biden doesn’t fall over dead he will be the nominee. This talk is nutz.

            The only good thing will be if he wins, and I give him 55/45 odds, that he is so over the hill that it will be his advisors that matter. So how do we get the right people in there?

            1. ambrit

              “How do we get the right people in there?”
              Short answer is; We don’t.
              The Fix is so obviously in this year that it is obvious that the Democrat Party Establishment doesn’t care one whit about the Public. Only their ‘Donors’ matter to them. Somewhere a while ago, someone suggested that Members of Congress wear brand logos to identify their primary donors, like racecar drivers do.

            2. Big River Bandido

              On what basis do you give Biden any chance of winning, much less a 10-point spread?

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > On what basis do you give Biden any chance of winning, much less a 10-point spread?

                #COVID19 and economic collapse.

                Trump was cruising right after the curtain came down right after Act II of The Impeachment Farce. Now everything has changed.

          2. Falls City Beer

            I don’t see the “beyond-NY” appeal of Cuomo. Yeah, he’s lucid, but he and his family have tons of skeletons like Sleepy Joe.

            1. Librarian Guy

              Yeah, Cuomo is slime, and a thoroughly nasty human being, I agree with you. I enjoyed that New Yorker piece on him several years ago where they pointed out he not only doesn’t like his fellow pols, he doesn’t like other people at all, and is open about it.

              But on the other hand, the Insiders have been racking up the victories this cycle, and if they could foist a babbling dotard with Joe’s record on the Dim voters, well, Andrew may be a POS, but he’s at least a sentient, semi-aware one, a slight step up as a “leader” from Biden at the basic, cognitive level.

              1. Falls City Beer

                I can’t conceive of a limit to the Establishment’s tone-deafness and failure to read the country’s temperature, so to speak. So you may be right. And that wouldn’t be surprising. Yet, still, my comment (above) stands with Cuomo as well. He’d viciously dispatch the left wing of the party, probably even more mercilessly than Joe.

                What would happen in a Cuomo presidency? With Obama, Romney-care was a fait accompli from the second he was elected. What on earth are these Establishment Dems trying to foist on us now?

                1. ambrit

                  The Grand Bargain.
                  I see today’s Democrat Party aparatchiks as identical to 1980’s Republican Party functionaries.

                  1. Falls City Beer

                    I think they’d revive the Grand Bargain. That seems plausible. This is still Tom Friedman’s party. Democratic Elites still see this posturing as the apotheosis of politics.

                    1. drumlin woodchuckles

                      Well, that’s a strong reason to vote for Trump right there.

                      ” Only Nixon could go to China and only a Democrat can destroy Social Security.”

                      the political slogan writes itself.

                      Vote Trump. Don’t let the Democrats ” go to China” on the back of your Social Security.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > DC wisdom is that Uncle Joe will be pulled left and that he will make the “public option” front and center as “the next step” after Obamacare.

          I’ve seen this theory. I doubt very much this will work, because I think the arguments made by #MedicareForAll advocates have permeated the Sanders base.*

          I can’t prove it, but I think that’s reason that Warren’s #MedicareForAll “plans” didn’t get traction on the left — i.e., didn’t peel off Sanders supporters. They knew the history. I kept seeing arguments I’d made ten years ago pop up on the Twitter, though in different words. I don’t think the public option is the line of defense against #MedicareForAll that the Democrat Establishment, and its associated Axis of Wonkery, think that it is.

          NOTE * They know that the public option is just a liberal bait and switch.

          1. Falls City Beer

            Of course the public option is more light than heat. But the framing of it in the Establishment press is that it would be a movement left—a bridge to Medicare for All. I agree that’s not what it is.

            The Establishment wants to set rhetorical bounds on the “Possible,” then undercut them. Then figure out how to turn that capitulation into a full-fledged push to the right. What form will that sleight of hand take this time? Because if Sanders has done anything, he’s made that sleight of hand more difficult to pull off for the Establishment.

    2. Kirk Seidenbecker

      Probably been posted before but here it is anyway –

      “The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man. Let me explain what I mean by the white liberal. In America there is no such thing as Democrat or Republican anymore. In America you have liberals and conservatives. The only people living in the past who think in terms of I’m a Democrat or Republican, is the American Negro. He’s the one that runs around bragging about party affiliation. He’s the one that sticks to the Democrat or sticks to the Republican. But white people are divided into two groups, liberals and conservative. The Democrats who are conservative, vote with the Republicans who are conservative. The Democrats who are liberal vote with the Republicans that are liberal. The white liberal aren’t white people who are for independence, who are moral and ethical in their thinking. They are just a faction of white people that are jockeying for power. The same as the white conservative is a faction of white people that are jockeying for power. They are fighting each other for power and prestige, and the one that is the football in the game is the Negro, 20 million black people. A political football, a political pawn, an economic football, and economic pawn. A social football, a social pawn. The liberal elements of whites are those who have perfected the art of selling themselves to the Negro as a friend of the Negro. Getting sympathy of the Negro, getting the allegiance of the Negro, and getting the mind of the Negro. Then the Negro sides with the white liberal, and the white liberal use the Negro against the white conservative. So that anything that the Negro does is never for his own good, never for his own advancement, never for his own progress, he’s only a pawn in the hands of the white liberal. The worst enemy that the Negro have is this white man that runs around here drooling at the mouth professing to love Negros, and calling himself a liberal, and it is following these white liberals that has perpetuated problems that Negros have. If the Negro wasn’t taken, tricked, or deceived by the white liberal then Negros would get together and solve our own problems. I only cite these things to show you that in America the history of the white liberal has been nothing but a series of trickery designed to make Negros think that the white liberal was going to solve our problems. Our problems will never be solved by the white man. The only way that our problem will be solved is when the black man wakes up, clean himself up, stand on his own feet and stop begging the white man, and take immediate steps to do for ourselves the things that we have been waiting on the white man to do for us. Once we do for self then we will be able to solve our own problems’ “The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox. One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.”

      ― Malcolm X

      1. Billy

        He’s long dead. Louis Farrakhan is alive and well and is yet more radical. You can judge a man by who his enemies are and the content of his philosophy by the people who don’t want you to even consider listening to it. In October 1995, he organized and led the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Definitely dangerous.


  5. zagonostra

    >A very decent man

    I don’t think it’s unfair to point out, as was reported by Katie Halper and on The Rising, that there is a credible allegation that Joe Biden sexual assaulted an intern. And it’s certainly fair to point out how his family (brother/son) profited from access to those in position of power.

    If this is your characterization of a decent man, then we might as well keep the man who is occupying the office now.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think the Sanders base is far ahead of Sanders in its desire for a more attack-oriented brand of politics. Note that this requires complete abandonment of comity with the Democrat Establishment, very much including Obama, but I think it’s time for that. And the generation that has endured two collapses with one sucky “recovery” in between will, I think, be willing to hear — and create — that message.

      1. Alfred

        “A very decent man’ strikes me as a formula in code; a variation on the technique of damning with faint praise. (The unnecessary adverb is the weakening tell; since when are there degrees of decency?) To me, anyway, code or no code, Mr Sanders’s message comes through clearly: ‘Mr Biden does not deserve your vote’. For indeed, all Americans have been seeing for years, though over recent months have been seeing more clearly than ever, what ‘decent politicians’ (of both factions) have visited upon our country, world, and planet.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Senator-speak is full of such damning. There may be no greater insult in Congress than to speak of a colleague as “the very able Senator from x”.

          On the trail, it’s pretty weak tea. I don’t think that level of subtlety is noticed outside the Beltway.

          1. Librarian Guy

            I agree, there’s 2 messages, one for the dumb populace (surface) and another for the cognoscenti, like weak tea praise. I think Hillary addressed this topic, one view for the insiders, another for the slobs, in one of her leaked $200K speeches to her fellow Gold-Sachs Oligarchs.

            I hate seeing those Reptiloid (this is a metaphor) “reps” standing up there talking about their “good friend” from the other party– the fact that they are good friends just tells me I’m not a member of their group.

            As Frank Zappa observed long ago, “what they do, in Washington/ They just look out for # One/ & Number One Ain’t You/ You ain’t even Number Two”

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            So Sanders was using allusive language full of hidden meanings that only his fellow Senators and others who are ” in the know” about DC’s arcane tribal rites and rituals would know about?

            That doesn’t reach normal people like me. And when it is explained to me as you have just done, it impresses me very negatively.

            Trump will beat on Biden with a tire iron. Sanders wouldn’t even whip on Biden with a car aerial.

        2. HotFlash

          I have to agree with Alfred. In the halls of academe, the words “my illustrious colleague” translate to “that blithering nincompoop”. A southerner stuck behind an LOL driving 50 mph on the freeway will say, “Bless her heart.” Lambert says, “Well, isn’t that nice.”

          If American voters are not smart enough to see through the Joe Biden and the Democratic/duopoly establishment or to figure out what their best interests are, if they chose endless wars and endless exploitation instead of medicare for all, cancellation of medical and student debt, free tuition at public colleges and universities, $15 per hour, and a Green New Deal, then that’s their loss, and an irrevocable loss to all of the rest of the world. Climate change is real and will dovetail with corona virus, with luck the elites sheltering in the Hamptons or NZ bunkers will find out that.

          That said, I must say I am not convinced that the ballots were tabulated correctly. I am skeptical of the Iowa results and disappointed that the mathematical errors were not corrected because, uh, rules or something, that Nevada and/or Tom Perez decided *after the caucuses* that the satellite caucuses wouldn’t actually count, and I find it exceedingly odd that the official, electronically tabulated results in many states do not match their exit polls. Voter suppression? Quite possible, I think. In my own household the absentee ballot, requested a month in advance, never materialized — fortunately we have Democrats Abroad — and I have read about arcane rules that disenfranchised many students who were living on campus, away from their permanent residences. And I don’t think any of these observations require tinfoil.

          So, I guess we can conclude that we will always be ruled by and for the benefit of rich people as long as Eloi vote for Morlocks. Hand-marked paper ballots, counted in public. Vote by mail and livestream the results.

          1. KLG

            No. I am a Southerner and have been an academic scientist at one level of another my entire professional working life. That doesn’t make special, but it does mean I understand that “Joe Biden is my friend” is code. Not unlike “This is a very interesting paper/grant proposal…” which does mean something on the order of, “Bless his heart, how does this moron remember to breathe?” when written by a reviewer. Or a trope as Yves lectured me when she basically replied that I was stupid for letting “Joe is my friend” trigger me. Yes, trigger. No, actually. What happens in the real world outside the PMC and NC is this: “Well, if Joe Biden is a good and honorable man, despite all the sh*t he has pulled and all the other sh*t he has done to me and mine over the years, why should I care who gets elected? Nothing will change.” See: Clinton, Hillary in 2016. If Bernie didn’t understand the fake and forced comity of the US Senate is irrelevant and will not play outside DC, he was fundamentally unserious about winning “Our Revolution.” Alas. OK, I’ll return to the oblivion of terminal “moderation” if this somehow slips through.

            But I will keep up my $15/month subscription to NC. One should pay for what is valuable.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > “A very decent man’ strikes me as a formula in code.

          I understand the argument, but Sanders has consistently called Biden his “friend,” and my understanding is that both he and Jane think of Biden that way. (If so, they need to rethink their choice of friends.

          I think that this falls into the category of “If you have to explain the joke, it’s not funny.”

          Maybe the candidate of the working class shouldn’t be speaking in code of the sort that academics use (two examples above) when rejecting grants? Just a thought.

          I’m not saying Sanders should have started saying stuff like “Joe Biden is a sociopathic warmonger and rapist who’s losing his mind and couldn’t find his way to the end of a sentence if somebody handed it to him in bucket.” I’m just saying he should have cut out the comity from his rhetoric.

      2. cm


        Lambert — as I mentioned previously, can you name a successful Presidential candidate who did NOT attack his opponents?

        “Attack-oriented” is an odd way to state what has worked for generations of politicians. I look forward to you proving me wrong.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The Democrat Party as an institution is constitutionally unable to accept responsibility for losses and hold those who lose accountable. (They may be a team, as Bitecofer suggests, but if so, they are a team that oddly combines rabid fans, over the hill stars, a weak bench, and a horrid front office that keeps making bad trades (like how did David Frum, war criminal and Bush malefactor, become a Resistance icon?)). Hence they have a never-ending requirement for outside scapegoats, Sanders voters (like Nader and Stein voters) being convenient.

          A subsidiary result is that Democrats who perpetrate policy debacles are never identified by name. (The ObamaCare website launch fail is a fine example of this.)

          Attacks come along a spectrum, from low-road bottom feeders up through a candidate taking the high road. Sanders was so concerned with taking the high road — and only the high road — that he suppressed even what we call “drawing contrasts,” as with Zephyr Teachout. I think a Sanders campaign should have had the full spectrum. You throw a surrogate under the bus for “going too far and succeeding.” (“Oh dear, we should never have said that McCain fathered a black illegitimate child in South Carolina. That was really wrong of us, we apologize, and the operative has been disciplined.” Then, after a decent interval, you bring them back quietly, suitably chastened.) You don’t discipline a surrogate for drawing a policy contrast that’s valid. It’s ridiculous.

          As far as the low road… Chapo Trap House has 37,000 Patreon subscribers. If the ratio between donors and listeners is anything like NC’s ratio of donors to readers, that would make an estimate of 370,000 listeners very modest. Those are cable TV numbers. (I don’t use Rogan as an example because he’s not on the left.) Again, the spectrum was there, but not used.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            a horrid front office that keeps making bad trades

            IMO, I think free agent signings is a better analogy. We don’t give the other side anything in return. And we just cut our players that don’t fit the mold preferred by the front office.

    2. Katiebird

      I admired Sanders for refusing PAC involvement. But I think it was too restrictive for the campaign this year.

      He needed someone from outside the campaign to do the opposition research and broadcast the dirt far and wide.

      Sanders was never going to do it. But it sure would have been nice if someone could.

    3. Craig H.

      Ron Paul did not endorse Romney in 2012 so my earlier characterization that Sanders 2020 = Paul 2012 is busted.

  6. flora

    a quibble:

    I believe the grammatically “correct” US formulation is:

    politics ain’t beanbag


  7. dcblogger

    my take on the Sanders campaign, as someone who has been volunteering for him since 2015:
    The Democratic party nominating process is inevitably dominated by people who serve on local Democratic committees. These are people who believe that the Democratic party, for all of its faults, offers the best chance for good government, and are prepared to volunteer their free time to that purpose. It was always a hard sell to ask those people to hand their greatest prize, the presidential nomination, to someone who is not a Democrat.

    Bernie’s ONLY path to the nomination was to bring in MILLIONS of new voters, or at least new to voting in the primary, into the system. Our Revolution could have been a vehicle for that. His campaign could have devoted 2019 to voter registration throughout the super Tuesday states. That did not happen. In my never was humble opinion, that is what sank his campaign.

    It should be remembered that Ronald Reagan signed the South Africa Sanctions legislation. With sufficient pressure we can still win Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, it is just going to get harder.

    This assumes that the American Republic, in its present form, survives. I am not so sure. Our Country has a Wiemar feel to it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > His campaign could have devoted 2019 to voter registration throughout the super Tuesday states.

      Excellent point. Doorknocking was not enough!

      Of course, they may have run the numbers and found they had no budget.

      1. Bsoder

        I responded to every request for money, I don’t recall getting one for that. We’re smart enough to understand the pitch. But, I keep coming back to two real problems, the crazy czar – trump, and Barry/Barrack going hardcore. Lenin had Leon Trotsky who did all the heavy lifting. Bernie whatever he is never was or could be Trotsky. God help us.

        1. dcblogger

          Bernie is Moses, and Moses never makes it to the Promised Land. Alternatively, Bernie is Dubcek, and we are waiting for Havel.

          1. Wukchumni

            It was 20 years between Dubcek & Havel, do we have to wait that long in the political wilderness?

            A state that denies its citizens their basic rights becomes a danger to its neighbors as well: internal arbitrary rule will be reflected in arbitrary external relations. The suppression of public opinion, the abolition of public competition for power and its public exercise opens the way for the state power to arm itself in any way it sees fit…. A state that does not hesitate to lie to its own people will not hesitate to lie to other states.

            Václav Havel

            1. dcblogger

              it is not going to take 20 years for the US to implode. I do not know what to think, but I am very pessimistic about the future.

              1. Wukchumni

                I anticipate the first food riots within a fortnight and i’ll have to go with Florida Man leading the way, and similar to the virus it’ll spread quickly across the country, including homes being burgled for sustenance, not for the odd piles of consumer goods laying around.

                The idea of just about everybody being armed & dangerous, adds to the milieu

                  1. ambrit

                    How full the food shelves at your local grocery store are is the best metric. When those shelves have been out of some basic items for a week already, the anxiety begins to grow. That is happening here now. The shortages are not going to be evenly distributed. The well off will make sure that their’s are the priority sites. The poorer areas will catch on to this sooner or later. Then the “Great Leveling” will begin.
                    It doesn’t take much to set off a riot. Why do you think that the police presence at the stores was instituted from the very beginning? Someones are trying to stay ahead of something bad happening.

                  2. Aumua

                    Anecdotally I went out today to a common grocery store around here for the first time in a week and was able to buy almost all the items I wanted. Reasonable replacements were available for the things I couldn’t find. What is more, the prices were fairly normal for those items, not all jacked up like they were last week. High demand items were rationed, and that is obviously helping to keep some items on the shelves.

                    That said many shelves were still barren, and notably I could not buy any TP or paper towels. On a side note, I fear the day the Internet goes out because I keep getting a strange feeling that it is somehow holding society together rn.

                  3. Wukchumni

                    Food banks used to get their inventory on the cheap, and now have to pay the going rate, as demand is exploding across the country, they are simply being overwhelmed by people that didn’t plan ahead or can’t afford sustenance.

                    You can see where this is heading…

        2. michael hudson

          I think you’ve got it backward. Bernie was Trotsky — a good popularizer, going around mobilizing support as Trotsky did as Commissar of War.
          Lenin was the theorist, and also (supported only by Trotsky) the only CP leader willing to be confrontational in the months leading to October. (Zinoviev, Bukharin and Stalin all urged a coalition government).
          Bernie did not make clear that to dislodge the health insurance sector with his Medicare for All, he needed to take on the financial sector. He never backed a debt cancellation, or even a strong public de-privatization.

            1. Harold

              Jacobin is a Trotskyist publication. It sometimes has good things, but remember in the late thirties and during the war the Trotskyists opposed Bernie’s hero FDR and refused to cooperate with the war effort. They considered Stalin worse than Hitler and that’s why they were taken up and given jobs by the CIA during the Cold War.

          1. Jessica

            If it had been a coalition with the left SRs and left Mensheviks, such a coalition might have had a healthier outcome.

      2. Skip Intro

        The campaign still has like $33 million. Money was never the issue. You can’t bring out new voters if they have to wait for 6 hours in line to vote. Now he has folded, and his organization will dissolve, like Obama’s. Collecting delegates in elections he has pointlessly conceded is just insultingly stupid.

        1. Librarian Guy

          The fact that his remaining $33 Million will go to electing Biden or Cuomo is a disgrace, and makes me sorry I regularly donated to him this cycle. Live and learn!!

          The Dim Party is now fully dead to me, as the RePukes have long been.

          TINA, “There Is No Alternative” has truly triumphed, despite the frightening facts on the ground.

          I’m glad I had 6 reasonably good decades, & I despair for younger people who are going to inherit the Failed State that US will soon fully realize.

          1. Yves Smith

            That is false. The Sanders campaign is entirely in charge of its disposition. He could sit on it for a supposed Sanders 2024 bid if he wanted to.

            He can give it to charity, or to candidates. IMHO the best use is charities + downballot bona fide progressives.

      3. Goyo Marquez

        My daughter registered to vote in California, not Mississippi, as a democrat so she could vote for Bernie. When she went to vote near her apartment in La Jolla, an old white guy, who was very rude, told her, her name was not on the rolls she had to to vote as a provisional voter. She said that happened to every student who came in to vote while she was there. Her friend at UCLA had to wait in line for four hours to vote a provisional ballot. Here in Imperial country something like 200+ absentee ballots were refused for signature problems, the campaign had to insist on getting copies so the people could hopefully be contacted. The democrat party is a private club that doesn’t want new members.

        So the people who screwed with the voting now want us to support their preferred candidate? In what universe does that make sense?

    2. WJ

      I volunteered and donated to the Sanders campaign too, and now, looking back, I think I was a stupid chump. This segment from Sanders’ press release begins in incoherence, and ends in insult:

      “And, on a practical note, let me also say this: I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates. While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we should still work to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.

      Then, together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history.”

      Sure, Bernie. You’re going to win delegates to “exert significant influence over the party platform” after just letting go of whatever leverage you might have had. WHY should the DNC care about your f****ing delegates, seeing as you HAVE ALREADY AGREED that “Vice President Biden will be the nominee”?

      And “the most dangerous president in modern American history”? Sorry. Trump has so far proved LESS dangerous that our past TWO presidents, the “normalcy” of which rule you now want to shepherd us back to. Do you REALLY think that Biden will be a LESS DANGEROUS president than Trump? I don’t believe you are truly that stupid. Unbelievable.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Me? I think that LBJ, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush were far more dangerous than Trump.

        1. albrt

          And Obama, inventor of the Holder doctrine that an executive committee declaring someone an enemy of the state is all the due process required by the Constitution.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Since 2016, I’ve suspected Bernie would really rather be an influencer than a leader. What you quoted there pretty much removes any doubt I had.

        1. notabanker

          Here is what I hear from Sanders: Blah , blah, blah, orange man bad, blah, blah, blah.

      3. Eureka Springs

        A pinky swear is far more binding than the *family blogging* D party platform.

        1. albrt

          A Republican is more likely to enact the Democrat party platform by accident than a Democrat is to enact it on purpose.

      4. Shonde

        At least with Trump, the TransPacific Partnership is still dead. Wonder how long it would take Biden to give the TPP oxygen?

        I won’t vote for Trump or Biden. I may write in one of my dogs.

        And if Bernie endorses Biden, I will ask for as many of my donations back as possible and donate the money to a food shelf.

        1. Michael M

          Please vote for a third party. While I do not doubt their qualifications, votes for your dogs will not anger the DNC and will cause more work for your County elections office.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            We should all pick which third party. Makes no difference what their policies are or who their candidate is

        2. notabanker

          HRC wanted that no fly zone as well. A full blown war with Russia probably wouldn’t have worked out all that well. But the tweets would have been so much more succinct.

      5. Skip Intro

        But will Biden be the nominee? Has Bernie’s language left him an out when they substitute in ratface Andy? I doubt it. If Biden clinches on the first round, the DNC has to break its rules (again) to replace him. Maybe Bernie wants to force their hand? 11-dimensional power chess? Again, implausible.

      6. anon in so cal


        Separately, the mystery of why Bernie Sanders kept gratuitously repeating Russiagate propaganda, throughout his campaign may have something to do with one of his foreign policy advisors, Daniel Bessner, who today claims Bernie would have implemented a revolutionary foreign policy. (Doubtful, imho). When it comes to Russia, at least, Bessner is apparently as much a cold warrior as the worst of the NeoCons.


      7. flora

        And, on a practical note, let me also say this: I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates.

        Ballots were determined and printed, including mail-in ballots, weeks ago. Warren is still on the ballot, too. So what.

    3. eg

      It was precisely because I thought he could mobilize a sufficient portion of the American electorate which ordinarily doesn’t vote that I made a bet that he could win the Democratic nomination. And the Iowa caucuses really led me to believe that this might be possible — Biden was utterly AWOL. And Nevada only gave me further hope.

      But then SC and all the subsequent crapification struck midnight and my bet turned into a pumpkin.

      I’ve lost my bet, but Bernie has dragged the Overton window leftwards, so I’m grateful for that.

      1. integer

        I placed a modest wager on Biden at +400 in October. I couldn’t believe the odds; it was clear he was the favored candidate of the D establishment, along with groups like CFR, the Atlantic Council, and AIPAC.

        1. eg

          My bet was made in January with a friend, just straight up that Bernie would win the nomination. In retrospect a terrible bet on my part, but he was ready to concede after Nevada.

          Live and learn …

    4. Ahimsa

      Thank you, dcblogger.

      I think yours is a very realistic and important take.

      Bernie’s message of revolution against the corporate capture of the political system clashed irretrievably with a core belief of many Democratic foot soldiers:

      The loyal Democratic tribe virtuously identify themselves as Democrats (the smart/good guys) and believe they have been fighting the good fight the best way how.

      Enter Bernie, refusing to identify himself as one of them (which is an implicit refutation of their ideological identity) and critically says they need to change their ways (also a refutation of Clintonworld and Obamaworld). For the older guard there were also likely memories of McGovern’s trouncing.

      I think it really mattered to many long-time Dems (the ones who turn out for primaries!!!) that he wasn’t one of them. There was no way they could award him their support ahead of a long-time Dem and vice-president to Obama. This was bourne out by Biden racking up votes in states where he didn’t even campaign.

      Crucially, Sanders lost some support from 2016 and didn’t manage to bring in enough new/disaffected voters to compensate.

      What is quite sad is that Bernie would likely have a much better chance in the actual presidential than in the internecine Democratic primary.

  8. Pavel

    If Bernie ends up endorsing Biden he is dead to me. Just saying.

    I detest Andrew Cuomo as I do every other establishment Dem, but if the DNC doesn’t find a way to swap Joe for Cuomo (the obvious choice, pace Kamala, Amy, Elizabeth, Beto, Pete et alia) then it’s four more years of Trump.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Sanders is dead to you if he endorses Biden, but then you push for Cuomo?

      Better to keep the GOP in power. The Democrats deserve some time in the wilderness.

      1. Pavel

        I am not pushing for Cuomo and would support a third party. I only meant in terms of realpolitik for the Dems, that is their one chance to win IMO. Personally they can all go to hell. Bernie wasn’t perfect but at least he was authentic, consistent, and anti-corporation. Ultimately he didn’t have the guts to go third party himself in 2016 and now in 2020.

        1. Stormcrow

          Thank you, Pavel. You’re one of the best around here. Yes, I too wish Sanders, to whom I sent a lot of money, had more backbone.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Thanks for clarifying. I see your point but I don’t agree that Cuomo would win. Extremely flawed candidate, strongly disliked by the voters of his own party in his own state, and the very personification of Democrat elitism…he’s even a legacy politician. That image is ballot box poison in the land of Deaths of Despair.

          I can see why the Democrat establishment is creaming their collective pants for him. But they’re idiots, as we’ve seen, and they don’t have a clue how to win places like Ohio.

        3. ObjectiveFunction

          Good comments here, Pavel, and likely predict the thinking of many Establishment Dems now.

          However, Ratface Andy may mouth off a bit like Trump does, but he seems to me to be the exact reverse of a populist.

          In terms of style and temperament, Cuomo seems to me to be more of a Nicolas Sarkozy: an abrasive, swaggering corporatist technocrat, highly intelligent and skilled in the manipulation of the bureaucratic machinery, but with zero patience for the democratic process, and essentially disdainful of the electorate. He’s a lawyer, worse a D.A., suspicious of everyone’s motives. Not a consensus guy at all, probably worse than Trump at that.

          More broadly, it’s always seemed to me that the Democratic establishment since about the time of Adlai Stevenson has dreamed of the US being structured and governed much like the French Fifth Republic, in which a shifting group of political coalitions takes turns to pretend to oversee an essentially unchanging mandarinate of credentialed taipans selected from the grands ecoles. So while I may be well over my skis in terms of comparing Cuomo-Sarkozy as people, that may be part of the attraction the Bourbon Dems feel to Cuomo at the moment.

          If Andy is really smart as a politician though, he will not stake his fortunes on the random (mis)fortunes of 2020 but instead set his sights on 2024, arraying his donors, polishing his brand and letting Trump carry the can for the very hard years coming up. Regardless of whether the Donald finally runs out of rope, dies in office or ends Reaganesque, with his bouffant mane on Mt Rushmore, America will be worn out and eager for a change by then. And the egotistical Führerprinzip of Trump means that no Republican leader of national stature will have emerged in that period.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Here is a story I have read over and over about Adlai Stevenson. But I don’t know if it has ever been conclusively proven true or false.

            A popular story is told about Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) when he was running for president in 1952 (or in 1956). Someone heard Stevenson’s impressive speech and said, “Every thinking person in America will be voting for you.” Stevenson replied, “I’m afraid that won’t do—I need a majority.”

            If he really did say that . . . in that context . . . . it shows a kind of snobbery and disdain for ordinary people. That sort of attitude would not play in Peoria. And apparently didn’t.

        4. jonhoops

          How many times does it have to be pointed out that third party runs are a waste of time. The structural impediments are almost insurmountable. Bernie needed to take over the Dem machine, unfortunately he didn’t succeed. I hope he turns the money he raised and the organization he built to his project of being the organizer in chief. I would rather see him pushing and supporting real progressives down ballot, than helping Joe Biden and the DNC.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            But since a takeover attempt on the Democratic Party appears to have been a waste of time also, people might as well decide to do what they want to do.

          2. Aumua

            Maybe it’s just going to take multiple independent runs of someone as popular as Sanders to crack that nut. You can say it’s never going to happen but do we really know that?

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Biden losing means Obama’s legacy is eight years of Trump. If his hand-picked successor in ’16 and his also-ran VP in ’20 BOTH lose to Trump, then they can’t say Trump is an aberration.

      Obama, buttressed by two two-term republican presidents, will be the aberration.

      For anyone who isn’t rich, it’s been 40 years of failure regardless of who is stomping on your neck.

      1. Librarian Guy

        Thank you.

        I am in a bitter mood, and am very comforted by your point that “Obama’s legacy is 8 years of Trump.”

        I’m unsure whether that’s an irony or not at this moment, but I do think there’s some poetic justice there, even if of the “rough justice” type that is ugly to look at.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, Obama created the despair vacuum which sucked Trump into office. So, yes. Trump is Obama’s legacy in many real ways.

          And if Obama heard me say that, he would laugh in my face and keep on laughing all the way to the bank. That’s our Obama!

  9. Noone from Nowheresville

    With ventilators running out, doctors say the machines are overused for Covid-19
    By Sharon Begley @sxbegle
    April 8, 2020

    If the iconoclasts are right, putting coronavirus patients on ventilators could be of little benefit to many and even harmful to some.

    What’s driving this reassessment is a baffling observation about Covid-19: Many patients have blood oxygen levels so low they should be dead. But they’re not gasping for air, their hearts aren’t racing, and their brains show no signs of blinking off from lack of oxygen.

    1. gc54

      The next stage of human evolution, splicing into the genome to adapt us to lower atmospheric O2 as we bulldoze/burn away the forests?

      “What does not kill you makes you stronger.”

  10. drumlin woodchuckles

    I read the blurb excerpt from the Jacobin article. I note that “homeowners” are called a co-underpinner of Neoliberalism, right along with “capitalists”, and both aGAINST “working people”.

    Does the Jacobin author think that no “working people” own homes? Or owe on homes? Or face imminent foreclosure in the oncoming Greatest Ever Depression?

    If the author thinks that, then I would not be surprised to find that the author is a depraved and evil Marxist who wants to “collectivise” all the homes and forbid homeownership to each and all, because homeowners support the Neoliberal coalition and must therefore be liquidated, just like the “kulaks” under Stalin.

    And yet the Left still does not understand WHY it is so deeply hated by decent normal people. Like modest-house homeowners.

    1. Bsoder

      I heard it put this way about the left and its inability to communicate to the working class. Imagine for $5 a month you could get 1 gigabyte broadband anywhere in the America. Imagine they called it “Fast AOL now even cheaper”. Tell people $10 a month for no bills medical care – not M4A. There are facts then there is the truth – speak the truth.

    2. Bazarov

      All those working class homeowners I know!

      Uhhh–none. All my friends rent. They have no wealth, just debts.

      Most of the homeowners I know, by the way, are largely “I’ve got mine, go die!” personalities that might as well have NIMBY tattooed on their foreheads. Yeah, they hate the left because they don’t want their taxes to go up for any reason and especially hate when any one of their inferiors get a benefit they don’t “deserve.”

      They have a classically reactionary petit bourgeois mindset caused by the psychological insecurity of having capital but not having enough to immunize them from the anxiety that they might, by one stroke of the stock or job market, descend to the level of their inferiors, whom they utterly despise.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Would it be better if I said “non-rich” homeowners and/or home-owers? Of whom there are at least several ten million scattered over the country, even if you don’t know any of them.

        Your spiteful nastiness about them, including your presumption to know what tens of millions of them think, is a demonstration of why You The Left have earned and deserved the hatred of tens of millions of decent normal people.

        If I had a real home of my very own, with seriously gardenable land around it, I would certainly prepare myself along with the other tens of millions for armed violent home defense against You The Left and your desire to make us all homeless.

        1. hunkerdown

          Straw man. Nobody’s interested in shooting all the homeowners. They got themselves wound up in petit-bourgeois capitalism and now they’re either Wall Street’s hostages with Stockholm Syndrome, or petty little under-punished children who think other people owe them something for being special (or, in short, the PMC).

          You’re right to raise the question, of how the left can more clearly separate the “sin” (the public recognition of the ownership relation to one’s domicile) from the “sinners” (the recognized owners, the tenants proper, the financial system), in a system where people customarily identify themselves as the service they provide to their betters and the amount of consumption they can control. I wish I had a good answer.

          Speaking for myself, the aim is to unwind the disordered relationships, not to put workers in the street. But if they insist on *continuing to be* aristocrats, believing they have a divine right to be aristocrats, and continuing to behave invidiously as capitalists by refusing to negotiate with a society that no longer respects their relationship, and further, defending the invidious relationship (aka “private property”) as valid, right, and proper, they are willfully *continuing to be* the problem, and then what? Let them eat HELOCs and black powder.

        2. CuriosityConcern

          Look at it this way, who is more likely right now to take your home against your wishes:
          1. a leftist who wants equitable distribution of wealth for everyone
          2. A polity seeking to be made whole over arrears.
          3. A pe family blogger who crashed your local economy via pump and dump and is now picking the scraps off the carcass.

          #1 Is last on my own list of worries.

        3. Bazarov

          Yeah, I’m sure all those “non-rich” homeowners out there really give a shit about us poor renters with no wealth.

          I’m sure all those pampered boomers will be a really scary “army” of vigilantes. We’ll be quaking in our boots.

          You’re a living satire, drumlin.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Show the Leftists a mirror and you think its a window.

            You go, girls! Rock on with your bad selves.

    1. judy2shoes

      I really like Akuno and the organization Cooperation Jackson. Akuno did a lengthy interview with Chris Hedges a while back, in which he was describing how CJ was trying to stop the flooding of downtown Jackson (IIRC) to turn the area into another reservoir with homesites for the wealthy. The mayor of Jackson is also someone I admire. I found out from my sister that Bloomberg handed out around 1 million$ to Jackson to fund infrastructure projects (bless his heart), and when it came time to endorse one of the Democrat candidates, the mayor put it up to a vote. Sanders won the endorsement. Not everyone is for sale.

    2. judy2shoes

      Thanks for the link, Donna. I just listened to the podcast, and I remain impressed with Kali Akuno. I completely agree that it would be a wonderful thing if the strike can be pulled off. I’m going to let people know about it; if nothing else we can refuse to shop on May 1.

  11. Tommy S.

    I think your poll coverage and primary coverage was just amazing all you at NC. Thank you so much!!! From being far ‘more left’, I have just been amazed at your consistency and analysis.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      [lambert blushes modestly].

      Do note that Sanders campaign is suspendied. If he plans to influence the convention, I think that implies he thinks he can get the 300 more votes to get him over the hump to 1200;.

      1. Fíréan

        ” . . . Sanders campaign is suspendied.”

        Suspened is not ended ? not finsihed, dead in the water ? Finito, termine ?
        It can come back to life ?

        1. Youngblood

          Right. A suspended campaign can be reactivated. But it would take an extraordinary event, like Biden succumbing to Covid-19, or every remaining primary going to Sanders b/c Covid-19 has made the Dem voters (and vote counters) see the light on M4A.

        2. Cas

          What Lambert said. From Bernie’s letter announcing campaign suspension:
          “And, on a practical note, let me also say this: I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates. While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we should still work to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.”
          I think dropping out made sense, but I’d feel better if he said he will devote all his energy to passing M4A now–starting with attaching M4A-like features to the coronavirus bills.

        3. Skip Intro

          If it were ended, states would reapportion his delegates to the remaining campaigns.

        4. Tom Doak

          Also, it’s possible with the primaries all so up in the air that Biden does not get a first ballot majority, and when the superdelegates rush the field, having 1000+ pledged delegates might be worth something.

          Because all those Party forces were behind Biden to knock Bernie out, but some or many of them are not really sold on Biden as their best option if they could choose whoever they wanted.

          All the other candidates ‘suspended ‘ their campaigns as well, rather than releasing their delegates.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Tech: “We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe” [Scientific American].

    This is what annoys me the most about the idiots who have blamed 5G for Covid. Immediately this news was out there was a spate of comments and articles about how ‘anti-science’ it is to oppose 5G for health reasons – note, not to oppose it because of Covid, but for any health reason. There will now be a concerted attempt to paint all those who raise concerns about 5G with with the ‘anti-science’ brush, linking them in with anti-vaxxers and contrail obsessives.

    I’ve noticed this for a few years now – mostly regarding GMO’s – anyone who questions new technologies are being quite consciously labelled as anti-science conspiracy theorists. Its a very effective weapon, I’ve heard and seem people who should know better fall for it.

    1. periol

      Unfortunately GRAS always meant “Safe until proven otherwise” and then make sure no one can do any testing that might possibly prove otherwise.

      The same logic will be applied to 5G. They keep prodding me to go full Luddite. I have been watching reruns of Amish Mafia to get a little preview of what 2021 will look like lol.

    2. flora

      I agree complete with your assessment. Unfortunately, some of the covid-is-caused-by-G5 are using ‘sciencey’ (as in ‘truthy’) sounding claims about the G5 Mhz – Ghz refresh or radio frequency rates of G5 interfering with O2’s frequency rates for binding, aka Covid and oxygenation in the lungs. It sounds plausible in a ‘sciencey’ sort of way. It’s nonsense, imo. However, hysterics making nonsense claims does NOT mean there are not serious health risks with G5 that have nothing to do with covid or oxygenation. My 2 cents.

    3. dougie

      This is the first article that I have read that has me re-considering an offer to install a cell tower at my place of business. The contract is currently sitting on my desk. They are quite willing to pay me what I would call a ridiculous amount of money for the installation. My attorney redlined their contract so badly, I felt certain that they would walk away. They didn’t.

      This article gives me some pause…..

      1. JTMcPhee

        That the the “cell provider” did not walk away ought to tell you at least as much as this article.

        For a week or so the flash ad on “The Rising” was from Qualcomm, peddling their (intent to dominate and monopolize) 5G future. One of the talking heads, a woman named Laurie Self, who is Senior VP Director of Government Relations, gave her special on how 5G was going to connect “everything to everything,” and finished her spiel with the admonition that “we must ensure that government legislation and regulation incentivizes 5G.”

        Of course, what are we mopes going to do? It;s not like the HugeCorps’ ability to cow or bribe legislators and regulators, and get localities to use eminent domain to force installations of cell transceivers wherever they damn please, sill be deterred by pretty much any possible combination of ordinary people. I take some hear that 5G installations are being burned by citizens of other countries where these have been in operatioin for a while, on the notion that they are the cause of Covid-19. Maybe that could become a regular feature of opposition to forced change of this sort. Too bad we mopes can’t burn down Monsanto (now reduced to just a brand of Bayer AG but still screwing over farmers and the planet) and Goldman Sachs and Blackrock. “Be the change you want to see,” eh? Not going to happen…

  13. Craig H.

    > Department of Feline Felicity

    Lindsay Ellis has uploaded her analysis of the film edition of the musical _Cats_ to youtube. If you have never seen a Lindsay Ellis video you could maybe start with either the Hobbit ones or the Transformer ones. They are like the greatest thing ever on youtube. The Cats one has its moments but I’m sure it’s not for everybody.


    1. Robert Hahl

      “Cats has become a cult favorite, today’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

      For some reason I am vaguely offend by this comparison. Almost all of the Rocky Horror songs are good. I haven’t seen the movie or the play but all the snips I have hard seemed terrible. Is there even one good song in Cats?

      1. nycTerrierist

        The original Cats musical is terrific – as witty and campy as Rocky Horror, brilliant cast
        e.g. ‘Rum Tum Tugger’ here is channeling Tim Curry:


        that said, I loathed the recent movie version
        everything about it – no wit at all and even the choreography was boring

  14. JTMcPhee

    The thing about ventilators is that they are one piece of a very complicated part of life support for very sick people. Big rush to deliver vents, a profitable game, but there’s a lot of medications needed to sedate and often paralyze people with big tubes shoved down their throats or through a tracheostomy cut in their necks. Antibiotics are pretty usually given, too, since it’s hard to avoid introducing a “nosocomial infection.”

    And now there’s starting to be shortages of those medications: https://thehill.com/homenews/news/491682-hospitals-face-shortage-of-drugs-for-ventilators

    Note the pleas to release opioids, sedatives and paralytics from the “National Stockpile.”

    Not to mention shortages of staff, PPE and the many little bits of kit needed to care for people arriving at the “needs ventilation” stage.

    Quite a few of us Gulf Coast residents are not looking forward to Gaia piling it on as the hurricane season approaches. I wonder what our “legacy political parties” will have to offer if there’s even one major hurricane that hits one or more of the vulnerable areas of the Southeast. It’s supposed to be a “very active season. “

    1. Daryl

      It would be a nightmare. Our already inadequate model of ordering people to evacuate from low-lying flood areas and go into (not socially distanced!) shelters would be completely broken.

    2. bassmule

      As long as we’re here, can someone explain the Feds “confiscating” PPE stuff? Which agency is doing the confiscating? At whose behest? And where are these items going? The National Stockpile That Doesn’t Belong To The States? Is any of it actually being distributed? I don’t suppose Private Enterprise is involved?

      From a FOX story: “After inspecting the supplies, HHS arranged for the delivery of the PPE (personal protective equipment) to the New Jersey Department of Health, the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.” As we say around here, “arranged” is doing a lot of work here.


    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      I gather you are retired from things you have written in the past. Still, I hope you are soon able to sell your current house and yard to a global warming denier and use the money to buy someplace at a higher elevation. . . . . if that is what you decide to try doing.

  15. Wukchumni

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A skilled nursing facility in Southern California where nearly three dozen residents are infected with the coronavirus was being evacuated after staff members failed to show up to care for them, officials said Wednesday.

    Riverside County public health officials said 84 patients were being moved from the Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Riverside after a large number of employees didn’t show up two days in a row.


    I wasn’t expecting this kind of rapture…

  16. shinola

    From Bernie’s statement:

    “…Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history.”

    I disagree. Trump has long way to go to be worse than the war criminals Bush/Cheney. Let’s hope it stays that way.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I agree. Bush was a far worse President than Trump; either the Democrat Establishment is ignorant of contemporary history, lying, or high on their own supply; I think the latter. Having turned their own base into authoritarian followers, they now have even less ability to self-correct than they did before.

      1. John

        Trump is an incompetent surrounded by incompetence and he is a malevolent narcissist. Institutionally there will be nothing left .

    2. flora

      Bad has T has been during this pandemic – and he has been very bad indeed – we still aren’t in a direct shooting war with Russia, and we haven’t passed the terrible TPP or TPIP. And, as far as grift, T’s seems local ‘made in America’ grift and not international grift. heh.

      1. anon in so cal

        Agree. On Obama’s watch:

        Regime change (attempt or fully implemented) in:


        Supported anti-democratic coup in Honduras
        Continuation of Plan Colombia
        Plan Mérida (Mérida Initiative)

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      No fan of Trump, voted Bernie in my primary
      For those of us who count the stat “wars started” it’s still 2-0

    4. paintedjaguar

      If we’re talking about bad presidents, how can one forget F’n Ronnie Reagan. And I think you can make a case that Bill Clinton also did more damage to the country and it’s politics than Trump has. When people yammer about how “dangerous” Trump is, they are mostly talking about what they imagine he might do rather than his actual record. The real basis of Trump Derangement and its concomitant long-term memory loss is first that he offends Dem sensibilities, and second that he’s enough of a loose cannon that he might overturn neolib applecarts, as with the TPP. I can’t picture life under a good president, but at least Trump treats our media with the contempt they deserve, which warms my bitter little heart a tiny bit.

  17. tongorad

    The beat goes on:

    Sanders had multiple conversations with Obama ahead of decision to end campaign —>>

    Obama and Sanders spoke multiple times in the last few weeks as the Vermont senator determined the future of his campaign, a source familiar with the conversation tells CNN. Sanders’ decision to get out on Wednesday paves the way for Joe Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president for eight years, to become the Democratic nominee.

    So much for feel the Bern.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Clever of Sanders to recognize the real power in the party. (I’d also trust CNN as far as I could throw them. (It’s single-sourced, ffs.)

      Anyhow, we’ll see how the “choreography” plays out.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Speaking of choreography, WaPo is already up with a semi-fawning Bernie piece that contains more positive coverage in one article than he got from them over the course of the entire campaign. Was not able to suppress the gag reflex long enough to get all the way through it.

        The one general comment is see here often that I disagree with is that the Dems are planning to lose to Trump again because they don’t want to govern. They absolutely want to govern – running things is the whole point behind those GPAs, degrees, and other credentials. Don’t disagree that they would rather lose with Biden than win with Bernie, but that’s because a win for Bernie is not a win for them – there is no evidence that Bernie values their “management” credentials any more than Trump does.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          So far, I am one of a very few commenters who are coming to believe the Democrats plan to throw election 2020 on purpose in the belief that it will lead to a Dem landslide in 2024. I accept that theory smells pretty lunatic fringey at this early point. Time will tell . . .

          1. periol

            Not that crazy, plenty of people thought that with Russiagate too. And lots of people thought the dems putting HC in the race was suicide in 2016. When you look at the D candidates this year, pretty hard to believe any dem political strategist with half a brain thought the were good.

            My lunatic fringe assumption is that the Democrats and Republicans are playing a big game for show, and their little election dance is there just to give people the illusion of choice while the elites quietly loot the country in the background.

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        same CNN that orchestrated the Liz Warren pre- and post-debate smears?

        Fake News

      3. ambrit

        So, are we seeing an internal Democrat Party power struggle between Obama and Clinton? If this campaign even gets to a Convention, I wonder who, Obama or Clinton controls more Superdelegates?
        Right now, I don’t see Biden surviving past the Questionable Convention. Biden has a singular disadvantage compared to past crypto-Presidents, like Reagan, Wilson, Garfield, et. al. He has to campaign in person to win the Prize. Only after winning can he be shuffled off to some dimly lit back room in the White House basement while stand ins go through the motions of “governing” for him.
        I do take cognizance of the fact that, to pull off the “Unity Candidate” ploy, Clinton has to at least neutralize Obama. Curious as it may sound, including Michelle Obama as Veep in a “Unity Candidacy Team” would go far to achieving that end. Clinton is just as physically challenged as any of the other “Ancient Ones” vying for the Prize this cycle. So, the chances of her “mysteriously” going down in a small aircraft spike exponentially. Really, the simplest method of “sidelining” Clinton would be to have her exoskeleton go “haywire” while she is making a speech or other personal appearance.
        Interesting times.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Obama and Sanders spoke multiple times in the last few weeks as the Vermont senator determined the future of his campaign

      2 weeks ago was the CARES vote in the Senate. If they talked about the campaign, surely they talked about the CARES legislation and future legislation after CARES passed. Perhaps Sanders will get to be champion of the peeps with his coalition’s legislation.

  18. Carolinian

    Is there a working class in this country? Or, to put it another way ,is there a working class that sees itself as a class? I’m not so sure. And is Bernie, with his aspirations for the US to be like Sweden, a working class figure? There I’d say the answer is a definite no. After all Sweden is a very middle class country and that’s the class that Bernie hails from. When he does conduct class warfare it’s against “billionaires” and there’s barely enough of them to constitute a class. No offense to many, but if the left is about the working class then I’d say they got the wrong guy, at least in symbolic terms. Unfortunately presidential politics is all about symbolism. The often doofey Trump at least gets this.

    If we are going to talk about class we may need to roll back the clock on that whole “end of history” thing. That premise has yet to fully crash and burn.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > No offense to many, but if the left is about the working class then I’d say they got the wrong guy, at least in symbolic terms.

      Well, we got the guy that was there, and the only one that was there. Moses never made it to the promised land, after all.

      As for the end of history, I would call a pandemic pretty historical…

      1. periol

        “Moses never made it to the promised land, after all.”

        Growing up reading the Picture Bible, this always seemed like such tragedy. To lead your people 40 years through the wilderness, but not be allowed to touch the promised land… Ouch.

        But then I got older, and even King Arthur’s Summerland lasted a few sweet years, so short as to be almost bittersweet. And despite all the fun stories of Robin Hood and Prince John, it is Prince John who somehow managed to be the common ancestor of every American president.

        I’ve been aware of the problems in our politics and society for a long time. I’ve done what I can, but the little I’ve done pales alongside what Sanders has accomplished with his campaigns. They were never going to let him win, but the Democratic Party actually had to let everyone see that they aren’t wearing any clothes in the process. There is no “will of the people”.

        Say what you will about his lack of fight, Sanders has accomplished a great deal, and has definitely inspired me to not give up. I respect his refusal to not get personal.

        1. periol

          Should mention that “you” in “say what you will about his lack of fight” is general and definitely not directed at any one in particular…

      2. ambrit

        Here’s a try to post a politically correct version of my earlier comment here which was deleted for, now that I think on it, fairly standard objections.
        Moses may not have entered the Promised Land, but his associates who were much rougher edged did manage to do so.
        Comity and restraint have netted Sanders very little. The “Night of the Obama Knives” showed explicitly that the DNC has no scruples when dealing with rivals for power.
        The torch of leadership on the Left will now pass from out of Sanders hands. Why? Because the primary measure of the ‘worth’ of a political movement is it’s hold on power, which is it’s ability to get things done. Back in 2016, Sanders ran a good race and gained concessions from the DNC. Over the ensuing weeks and months, all of those concessions were walked back.
        Sanders has now failed twice.
        Stealing a trope from other political actors, it is time to “look to the future; not the past.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The torch of leadership on the Left will now pass from out of Sanders hands.

          Yep, as it should. As I keep saying, the key point is what happens to the movement/because of the movement. Oddly, not, that story is not being covered, except insofar as whether high-level Sanders operatives will be able to “eat lunch in this town” again.

    2. flora

      odd thought here: if the left is about the working class then the real, effective left come from the working class, not from debating societies. Lots of wildcat strikes happening around the country right now related to real material benefits – PPEs and wages.

    3. Tom Doak

      By your standard, is there ANY working class politician in office today at all, who’s willing to take on BOTH the billionaires and the PMC headfirst?

      Or, non-politician with a following, for that matter?

      1. Carolinian

        Well as I said if you declare “the end of history” (capitalism wins) then it’s hard for the old forms of resistance to carry on. So, no, there’s very little talk about class conflict any more by politicians and that’s by design. Thomas Frank seems to be trying to revive the idea by asking “what’s the matter with Kansas?” Perhaps the decline of the labor movement has a lot to do with it. I was in a union for awhile some time ago and you never met a more Republican bunch. America became wealthy after WW2 and lost its working class mojo.

    4. curious euro

      “Class” especially the working class already died sometimes in the 70s or 80s at the latest. Here in Europe socialism started and in the US.

      Thatcher in England, Lambsdorf with Kohl in the 80s, Reagan in the 70s. From then on in their respective countries the working class was dead, their parties and politicians sold them out and continued to do that ever since.

      So even if you find a politician somewhere that wants to fight for the proles, there aren’t enough proles available for him to win. This is not about Bernie, since he never was a plebeian tribune, he only played one. The nearest one lately might have been Corbyn. And everyone, including the voters! repeatedly told him was a relic, fallen out of time.

      1. periol

        I’m in agreement with your general point, but Corbyn never had a fair shot. A good chunk of the “proles” as you call them, probably didn’t even know he would fight for them. The media did a pretty solid take-down of Corbyn, even more brutal than their handiwork on Sanders.

  19. John Beech

    Bernie quits so I’m voting for Trump again. Guess I also need to change my voter registration back to Republican. It’s too bad because I really thought he could win.

  20. Big River Bandido

    Really glad to see Water Cooler pop up today. When it didn’t appear yesterday I feared the worst.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      As I wrote in Links:

      I did an extremely foolish thing; it wasn’t a connectivity issue (and I remain asymptomatic). Rather, I managed to lock myself out of my room, and that’s where all my computers are, and my phone, and my iPad. Normally, that’s not a hard problem to fix, but it was hard in the context of a quarantine, with nothing open. Sorry about that.

  21. T

    Am I the only one who thinks voter registration is easier in certain Palm Beach neighborhoods than it is in Bluefield West Virginia?

    1. John

      I know that neither party wants anyone who might vote for the other guy to have an easy time registering or voting. Neither one thinks they can win if its open and fair. I think both are correct.

  22. Big River Bandido

    This stood out to me:

    On the bright side, a left that can learn to create and manage hate should do well. As the Romanovs discovered, to their cost. “Not me, them!” as it were.

    Has the left has made any progress along these lines?

  23. Dennis Brown

    Dear America,

    As a Canadian I suppose I have no right to comment on your domestic political affairs. But my heart goes out to the wonderful working people of America who must suffer this great disappointment. And I’m sure many, many people around the world feel the same as me.

    I guess deep down inside we all knew Bernie would eventually do this. But we all harbored that secret hope that maybe,just maybe,this time would be a little bit different.

    Sure Bernie did a lot of good. But as everyone knows we need profound global change not tiny incremental, marginally morale boosting steps! We need action and courage not comforting talking points and PR.

    I can hack Bernie quitting. But I can’t tolerate bromides like “Biden’s a decent man” from the likes of Sanders, Gabbard et al.

    As John Lennon once sang, “Just give me some truth!!!!!!!”

    We’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do–each and every one of us, everywhere.

    Don’t give up heart America! The world is actually cheering you on. One day genuine political organization and leadership will arise to meet the challenge.

    Don’t mourn, organize!

    1. John Wright

      Bernie should give the ambiguous recommend:

      “I simply can’t say enough good things about Joe Biden”.

      And then say “no comment” when asked to list them.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, given how very affected Canada is by what happens in America, Canada ( and maybe Mexico) maybe really does have a right to comment on American affairs.

      If I lived on the top floor of a three floor apartment, and the people on the middle floor were hosting biker gang parties and cooking meth at all hours, i might begin to feel that “events downstairs” were indeed becoming part of my survival bussiness.

      1. eg

        Yup. Trudeau the elder put the relationship this way:

        “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

  24. Tom Stone

    The Biden Campaign is going to need some inspiring slogans if it is to have a chance,
    I’ll throw out ” You can Bank on Joe if you are a banker”.
    Suggestions from the Commentariat are solicited.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Just not feelin’ it for Bernie anymore? Vote for Biden. Because he’s been feelin’ it for decades.

    2. MillenialSocialist

      Joe Biden: “I have no empathy for millenials, none whatsoever. Give me a break.”

    3. Robert Hahl

      If Bernie’s campaign is revived for the convention: “Don’t be lesser evil.”

    4. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

      I honestly think it’s going to be a long time before anybody sees Joe in person again.

      From this point forward, I think he’s going to be “CGI-Joe.” I hate to be that cynical, but if they can fake voting results through app “mishaps,” equipment “malfunctions,” and otherwise chaotic primaries, that’s only a few short steps away from faking the candidate all together. CGI Joe could be used right up until they pick his successor “for national unity” or whatever bullshirt reason they need at convention time.

      Sloganwise I suggest: “Joe: You Know, For the Thing.”

      I’m feeling a lot of enthusiasm. Can you tell?

        1. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

          Gotta give the Democrats credit. It’s bold of them to go forward with a zombie for a candidate, especially during a pandemic.

    5. Skip Intro

      Biden 2020: A new normalcy all over again!

      Vote Joe: Fewer Rapes Than Trump

      Joe Biden 2019: Make the Senate Blue!

      A Vote for Joe Is A Vote too!

      Biden 2020: He loves you like you love your insurance company!

    6. ALM

      I vote for “Ridin’ With Finger F******* Biden” which I suggested to the DNC when they sent me a list Democratic Unity slogans to choose from.

    7. griffen

      I’m Joe Biden and you’re not . Vote for me or go freak yourself with your millennial problems. Best health care ever.

      This message brought to you by your friendly credit card lenders headquartered in DE. Oh and by AARP. Them’s good people I says.

  25. Wukchumni

    Human beings are compelled to live within a lie, but they can be compelled to do so only because they are in fact capable of living in this way. Therefore not only does the system alienate humanity, but at the same time alienated humanity supports this system as its own involuntary masterplan, as a degenerate image of its own degeneration, as a record of people’s own failure as individuals.

    Václav Havel

    1. JTMcPhee

      Blame the victim?

      What can a person, an individual, do to even achieve the accomplishments of a Spartacus? Slave revolts and peasant revolts have pretty much been put down without mercy. Amazing that any notions of striving for goodness and decency survive at all, or that occasionally a large enough bunch of humans can be wakened to their circumstances and Go on to make collective demands stick.

      It’s a lot easier to be a Clinton or a Cheney (or pick your own successful Auto-Pluto-kleptocrat) than to try to pull together a mass of people who have been battered and crammed down by the concerted efforts of people who have a much simpler task — accumulating the power needed to oppress and loot.

      And yes, a good part of that success is because of that snide observation by Jay Gould, successful oppressor and accumulator, that he could pay half the working class to kill the other half. I’d argue that he was way off on his estimate of how many would sign up to be the shooters, but there has been more than enough.

      But there’s a boundary condition coming up, where the looters have so damaged the planet by extraction that the house is about to burn down. And events like the effects of this tiny bit of “Code,” of the genetic type, certainly “sharpen the contradictions” but at the same time debilitate those who might force a (usually temporary, if history is any guide) change for the better.

      Havel dumps it on individuals. I think it’s much more “nuanced.”

      My forlorn hope is that Bernie indeed is just “suspending” the campaign, will the rest of the primary elections be allowed to go forward maybe giving the campaign a bunch more delegates? Maybe I am missing it, but I have not read that he has conceded, whatever legal effect a concession might have. Hey, elections have been “won” by dead people, even: https://listverse.com/2018/08/14/10-times-dead-people-won-elections/

      1. ambrit

        I am waiting for the Elites to admit that the Dreaded Pathogen is a lot more resilient and dangerous than suspected, and that the rest of the Primary elections will be cancelled, in the interests of the Public Safety. Trump doesn’t have any serious opposition on his side, and, alas, neither does the DNC now. Something very much like the ‘coronation’ that HRH HRC wished for can now be finagled.
        As for November. All bets are off. Biden’s comments concerning Wisconsin showed that the national level players do not give a d— about human lives. I can imagine the Googles and Microsofts of this world will trot out a “Vote From Home” Internet Voting App.
        More Complexity equals Interesting Times.

  26. PhilK

    Readers, is $35 still high?

    I have never used insulin, and have struggled to avoid having to use it, mainly because of the cost. A few years ago, I was getting Janumet (Januvia + Metformin) for free thru Merck’s patient assistance program. It’s very effective. The regular pharmacy price would have been $531 for 30 days. Currently, I’m getting Invokana for free thru Johnson & Johnson’s patient assistance program. It’s also very effective. By some amazing coincidence, the pharmacy price for it is also $531 for 30 days. So I’m sure that some people would struggle to pay $35, but that’s much, much cheaper than some of the non-injectable alternatives.

    PS. If you’re struggling to pay for diabetic medicine, I recommend asking your doctor to investigate these patient assistance programs.

  27. Wukchumni

    The coronavirus pandemic is hitting churches in more ways than one. The way Pastor Luis Mario Bustillo of La Mision de Jesus church in McFarland sees it, people are being scared out of their wits with a daily bombardment of news of infections and the death toll locally, nationally and worldwide.

    “This is a pandemic of fear,” Bustillo said. “People are kidnapped in their own homes.”

    So the pastor took to his Facebook page last week, encouraging his congregation to turn out for Sunday services and posted several messages. “Don’t let yourself be convinced by the fearful,” reads one message. Another says, “Many who hide at home use three or four verses from scripture out of context to justify their cowardice.” And this one, “ICE agents are using this coronavirus as a scare tactic so they can catch you at home! It’s better if you come to church where they won’t find you.”

    Thing is, though, holding services for a large group of people congregating in one place directly contradicts what top health officials worldwide are advising. Namely, do not go near crowds as the coronavirus spreads from person to person. Stay home. If you must go out, maintain a distance of least six feet from others. Not to mention the governor’s executive order telling people to shelter in place, along with a list of essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals that are allowed to stay open. Churches are not on the list.

    When McFarland city officials got wind of the pastor’s plan, they took action.

    Last Sunday with a police officer standing by his side, Bustillo addressed his congregation outside the front door of La Mision de Jesus church as people were arriving for the 10 a.m. service.

    “Let me be very clear about this. I have been forced to shut down the church by order of the police,” he announced to the gathering. “This is a violation of our rights, we are falling into a police state.”

    You can sense there’s gonna be issues in the CVBB with evangs acting badly. Soon they’ll have clandestine meetings and continue the spread of Coronavirus well beyond the likely time period of infection.

    1. John k

      many states carve out exceptions for religious gatherings, including Tx, Fl, Mi, Ks, and others.
      So dog isn’t gonna allow the pandemic to stop.

    1. griffen

      I don’t think thats necessarily a new occurrence. Dairy farms have been dumping excess milk for years. Or making sure “American pasteurized cheese product” is available on every single breakfast menu item.

  28. notabanker

    Living in a State that has not had a primary yet, it’s good to know that my vote doesn’t count for anything. Clarifying, would be one way to put it, I suppose.

    1. Carey

      Here are the 8 April SLO County CA numbers:

      102 Confirmed cases
      25 Home
      73 Recovered
      3 Hospitalized (3 in ICU)
      1 Death

        1. periol

          Newsom deserves credit for doing what needed to be done weeks earlier? I guess.

          How many cases wouldn’t we have if he had the spine to shut down sooner, like I was begging from my little perch? How many fewer deaths? No passes for these buffoons from me. They only mandated the shutdown when they realized coronavirus was hitting the homeless.

          I knew Newsom personally years back, met him a few times at the bar. Snake in the grass, just like the rest.

  29. ewmayer

    Obama: Robust coronavirus testing and monitoring the key to reopening country [The Hill]. ”Social distancing bends the curve and relieves some pressure on our heroic medical professionals,” Obama tweeted Wednesday — Social distancing is a lot easier from the comfort of one’s $10M retirement digs on Mahhhtha’s Vineyahd, it must be said.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Was that the “bending the curve” that Obama promised us, back when we were sucked in by his presentation?

      1. Arizona Slim

        Nope. That was bending the health care cost curve. One of his many justifications for Obamacare.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > heroic medical professionals

      Yay PMC, f*ck the workers. Should have pointed out that was what Obama was really saying, but I was moving too fast. My bad.

  30. JTMcPhee

    The people who claim the Hebrews’ putative legacy ownership, Direct From YHWH, and inhabit that geographic area today, are doing the same stuff the ancient ones were so proud of. Behind a protective screen of Antisemitism Spray..

    Even one of the main house organs of the press there recognizes what this pandemic means:

    “ Coronavirus Confirmed in Gaza: This Is What Israel Must Do – Now
    The identification of the first two cases of coronavirus in Gaza is a frightening moment for its inhabitants. But there are immense legal and moral ramifications for Israel, the occupying power”


    That’s Gaza, now for the West Bank (both are slowly being wiped out as separate entities by “settlements” (colonization:)

    “In the West Bank, Coronavirus Finds Settlers and Palestinians Inseparable
    More than 30,000 Palestinians work in Jewish settlements, and the virus has surfaced among both populations“


    I wonder if the people studying in the yeshivas over there see any parallels between calamities that the texts say befell ancient Israel as a result of bad behaviors and what is going on now. Netanyahu and Giants are not about to “do the right thing, together or separately,” and politics there is as locked into destructive spirals as politics here in the US of A. They are as comfy as Moses was with the behavior of his flock.

  31. Mikel

    “Consistency. Sanders has been consistent in his views, and in his ethos, throughout his career. He has been staggeringly disciplined in his messaging on the trail…”

    Sanders consistently lets it be known the Democratic Party establishment owns him.
    Take the lessons from his views, but move on…

    1. Carey

      >Sanders consistently lets it be known the Democratic Party establishment owns him.

      His media visibility would have been zero, otherwise. He did what he could, I think.
      Helps me better understand The Squad™, though, and that’s most helpful.

      >Take the lessons from his views, but move on…


      1. Yves Smith

        Yes, it’s frustrating to see the utterly unrealistic standards applied to the Sanders campaign. He never would have gotten above 3% had he gone the third party route. He would have had trouble getting ballot access. He would have gotten zero, as opposed to begrudging, media attention.

    2. HotFlash

      “If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.”

      I don’t know if Jane Hamsher originated that phrase, but if not, it turned up often enough at her Firedoglake. And it is as true now as it was then, back in what, the early oughts? Bernie Sanders is the best candidate that I have seen in the half-century that I have been able to vote. When I hear him bad-mouthed b/c he wasn’t able to overcome the full force of DNC control of $$, of media, of messaging, the full force of bankers, insurance companies and multinational corporations, I get upset. In fact, sometimes it causes me to tremble.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Sanders consistently lets it be known the Democratic Party establishment owns him.

      The Democrat Establishment certainly put a lot of effort into destroying somebody they owned, then. What a ridiculous statement. You want to see owned, see Elizabeth Warren and Karla Jurvetson.

  32. Noone from Nowheresville

    The Latest: Milwaukee election head wants probe into ballots

    Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht said Wednesday that he wants the investigation to focus on ballots that were issued and mailed around March 22 and March 23.

    Many voters who showed up at one of the city’s five polling places Tuesday said they were forced to come out after absentee ballots they requested never arrived. The state Elections Commission was also working with the Postal Service on reports of undelivered ballots in Oshkosh and Appleton and elsewhere.

    More background in the article. I think the November elections for all states will be very fun indeed. Not to mention the rest of the primaries.

  33. richard

    I am wondering if Lambert could clarify “not at all of the Jimmy Dore persuasion”? I’m not asking for a “let’s see you and him fight” reason, but just to make the distinction clearer for me (and maybe others?).
    Dore’s recent savagery toward Sanders makes me wonder if that’s been just below the surface all along, or if Sanders actions lately (not calling for suspending the primaries, not blocking the stimulus until it workers got something more meaningful from it) have changed Dore’s perspective at all. He’s always criticized the Sanders’ campaign for unwillingness to throw elbows, or call out corruption within the dem party. But now he gives off the sense that it was a put up job all along, that the Sanders’ campaign was infiltrated with CAP and other liberals from the start. I have a hard time going that far with it, but man do I feel a lot of the same anger: abandoned, betrayed and friendless.
    Anyway, I do understand if you can’t answer this, but I’m really not trying to start something. I’m just curious about your take on Dore, as you are 2 people I follow and respect a great deal.

    1. Eureka Springs

      If you watch the recent Dore interview of Matt Stoller, you will see Jimmy “get it”.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I am wondering if Lambert could clarify “not at all of the Jimmy Dore persuasion”?

      Dore reminds me of Chris Hedges, in that I experience his affect as both moralizing and full of self-regard (albeit coming from a comedian, and not a former Episcopalian priest). That’s not to say that Hedges was not a great reporter (he was) or not angry about the right things (he is). Same with Dore in his field. But both of them seem to me to operate in a sort of hermetically sealed environment where there’s no way out. For example, all of Dore’s stanning for Tulsi was useless: There is absolutely no way that Tulsi, even if she was everything Dore thought her (she did endorse Biden), could have taken NH, IA, NV, CA, visibly split the putative Democrat “coalition of the ascendant,” or made a national run without support from a single big donor. There just isn’t. Critical thinking requires honest assessment, and that includes assessing strengths as well as weaknesses, particularly in systems as well as persons. Dore just doesn’t do that. He’s just not engaging with the material.

  34. The Rev Kev

    A few thoughts on Bernie. I have been thinking about this the past coupla days and I am wondering if a clue may be in something that Hillary Clinton said back in January when she said-

    “He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”

    On the face of it, it is a “mean girl” comment and somewhat strange but I am now wondering if it held a key observation by Hillary. This comment, I believe, was actually directed at Bernie himself as it went straight to his weak point – that Bernie wants to be liked. He does not want to be the pariah that has to have restaurant meals with only his wife in Washington but desperately wants to be part of the Washington set.

    He wants to go to all the events, take part in the player moves, be friends with people like Joe but in the end, will not do anything to jeopardize that relationship. He will make all the big speeches but buckles and votes for what the Washington set will really want him to vote and we saw evidence of this recently. A man his age and yet he wants to be part of that community over his lifetime principles which is very sad that. But when he abandoned Medicare for all in the middle of a pandemic like he did a few days ago, that just made the betrayal complete.

    Can’t wait for the first books to come out from inside his campaign but Jimmy Dore has dropped hints of what was going on and it was not pretty.

    1. HotFlash

      Well, times are different, I guess. Corona virus, Joe Biden’s choreographed endorsements, resounding win, all that stuff. Apparently nobody is Spartacus anymore.

        1. ambrit

          At least Spartacus ended up dead with his self respect intact.
          A lot of people today are unnecessarily ending up dead in equally ugly ways because the neo-liberal dispensation has gutted and degraded the nations medical infrastructure and talent pool.
          Today’s politicos seem to not be like Spartacus but like Jello Biafra.

          1. HotFlash

            That’s what I see, that’s what I mean. What does ‘fighting for’ actually mean?

    2. Harold

      Do you have evidence that Bernie wants to go to Washington parties? Or is it just a hunch?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Don’t look at what people say but look at what they do. Bernie and the rest of the Progressives could have halted that bill until there was substantial relief in it for average Americans and they did zip. Bernie and AOC did a rousing speech and then everybody voted for it. He valued his friendship with Biden over the welfare of his fellow Americans and now the progressive vote in America has been shepherded into the graveyard of the Democratic party. I am not even American and I can see it.

  35. HotFlash

    “Editing the Buttholes Out of ‘Cats’ Was a Total Nightmare for VFX Crew” [Daily Beast].

    The Japanese will be soo amused. Gaijin so funny!

  36. The Historian

    OK, I’ve had enough!

    Yes, Bernie pulled out. And many of you are mad because he wasn’t more of an attack dog. But if you know anything about Bernie, he was never going to become an attack dog – it just isn’t in him. Too many of Bernie’s followers tried to make Bernie fit their own image of what they thought he should be without seeing who he really was. Too many people turned him into a Cult of Personality and tried to attribute more to Bernie than he could ever do. Did they really think he was going to deliver M4A? Did they not know that is Congress’s prerogative? Did they really think Bernie and the few friendly Congress people he has in his corner could have delivered it for them?

    As for what I think of Bernie? He is who he has always been – and I am fine with that. But then I don’t romanticize politicians.

    So now many of you are going to take your marbles and go home. NOOOO! NOW is the time to start working on the Congressional candidates. There aren’t many progressives running because there was no depth in the Bernie movement. You can’t change who is running but you CAN put the fear of God into those that are running. Take all that energy you had for Bernie and apply it to them. Perhaps THEN you can get some changes.

    As for voting for Trump – seeing how he has manhandled this Covid pandemic, WHY would you ever do that? The last thing in the world this country needs is four more years of him. He needs to be cut off at the knees before he becomes even more power crazed. I absolutely hate it that Biden appears to be our only choice to do that, but four more years of Trump would be disastrous. He’s already shown that he has absolutely no empathy for those on disability or any other kinds of assistance or for those who’ve come down with Coronavirus, that he is willing to attack and withhold aid from any governor that doesn’t cowtow, that he is more than willing to give away the government to his financial buddies without any oversight of any kind wile he handing out crumbs to buy your silence. He doesn’t even have the decency to stop lying to the American Public about Coronavirus, not to mention shutting up people who want explain to us the reality of this disease. And this is just a few things he has done. What more do you need to know? When is he going to decide he doesn’t even need to buy your silence any more? What are you going to do then?

    1. HotFlash

      Historian, I don’t always agree with you, but this re Sanders, yeah. OTOH, WRT Trump 4 more yrs, I think that M4A is more likely with Trump than with Biden. What do we do?

      1. The Historian

        We will never get any type of universal healthcare if we sit and wait for some presidential candidate to do it for us because healthcare is not the job of the President. If we really want universal healthcare then we have to go after our Congress people. They are the ones that can deliver it for us. We should be gathering up all of our Covid and our other experiences with American healthcare and be delivering them every day to our state people. Convince them that it is in their best interests to start considering universal healthcare.

        We actually have that opportunity now, only if we choose to exercise it!

        1. HotFlash

          Yup. The runner may have stumbled (been tripped?), but the torch is now passed to us. What will we do?

    2. John

      Voting for Trump is like signing your own death warrant.

      I ain’t gonna do that.

      And I ain’t gonna vote for corporate who$e Biden either.


      1. John

        Trump, “Lots of fraudulent voting going on in this country.”

        More like lots of fraudulent voting machines and tabulators in this coutnry.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > More like lots of fraudulent voting machines and tabulators in this coutnry.

          I understand that central tabulation is a single point of failure and by definition, being digital, is vulnerable to hacking and fraud. I understand the technical arguments.

          Has anyone ever covered the institutional aspects? What state officials control the tabulation? Who are the tabulor vendors and what are the specs of the machines? Are the formats proprietary? Are the formats closely coupled to voting machines? Do we have tabulator vendors taking state officials out for steak dinners?

          It may be that I have simply missed this piece of the puzzle. Are any readers aware?

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            The Dane County Clerk is a relatively mainstream Dem but he is a smart guy. He claims that Wisconsin elections are, in effect, impossible to hack because there is no centralize control and the logistical challenge of hacking so many local election offices would require too large of a hacker force to go unnoticed. Not technically impossible but logistically impossible. Not sure if this holds for other states.

            That said, there has been much suspicion over the years of the Waukesha County Clerk’s office because some municipalities in the county routinely show 90% or more of voters voting for Repub candidates and there were a couple of elections where they were very late in reporting results that ending up swinging the outcome from D to R.

            What I don’t get is, if Dems are able to perpetuate fraud to ensure who wins the primary, how are they not able to do that to ensure who wins the general?

  37. anon

    Forgive me, but as a frontline person (pulmonary medicine), I do not know what Trump has done that is so bad. This is a highly infectious virus that none of us had heard of 4 months ago. In mid-January, we were told that there was no human to human transmission. 2 weeks later Trump brought Fauci in to advise, then stopped travel from China (labelled “premature” and “hysteria” and “fearmongering”). 5 weeks ago governors and mayors were telling their citizens to go out and have fun. Two week ago we were not going to have enough ventilators and hospitals were gong to be overrun. Today in the worst areas, we now have enough ICU beds and ventilators and supplies. Overall, I think the federal response has been pretty good and personally I am glad that Trump made it easier to use off label and experimental therapies, whether they all pan out or not. BTW, I have prescribed plaquenil many times and it really is safe.

    1. Painted Shut

      I agree with this. The only misstep from my view point was that he didn’t shut down domestic flights in and out of virus hotspots (NYC, etc.).

      Even if he knew about it in January or February, you can’t shut the country down with zero cases domestically. People would never cooperate with that. Prior virus overreactions (Zika, Ebola, h1n1, etc) means today’s environ of skepticism around experts won’t allow for that sort of foaming the runway.

      I think the shutdown happened at about the right time, and hopefully we’ll have a timely reopening on or about May 1st.

      1. periol

        Quarantine international flights, do actual testing of passengers when they land and are quarantined, do hardcore contact tracing, and make sure the tests are ready to go.

        Fail fail fail.

        But maybe your standards are lower than mine. I don’t think 15k deaths (so far) is an acceptable sacrifice for refusing to take this seriously until it was too late.

        1. Painted Shut

          My point of comparison is Hillary Clinton, who with TPP would have never shut down flights from China (and/or maybe gotten us sued under TPP provisions).

          Or maybe you think Tim Kaine does better than Pence as head of the CV task force?

          1. periol

            This is ridiculous. HC would have failed too. That doesn’t negate the reality in front of us – Trump has massively failed.

            Your hypothetical does not negate reality.

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        And then we would all have had the 24×7 spectacle of America’s First Shame Nun Rachel Maddow weeping over vicious racist Trump Literally Hitler(c), isolating tiny Chinese-American honor student in a ‘cage’ on a military base, unable to reunite with her family and severely ill mother in Seattle after visiting extended family in Hong Kong for CNY. Complete with 1943 footage of Nisei behind wire, etc.

        Statistically, there would have been many sad stories like that. Shame! Shame!

        … And then of course CV would have made it bigly here anyway, so Trump would have been damned either way.

    2. periol

      The biggest miss was not shutting flights down sooner (despite what you say, it definitely should have happened 2 weeks sooner than it did), and in lieu of not shutting down flights, quarantining everyone coming from China and using strict health checks, rather than the weak health interviews they did implement.

      Everyone, in every government position and agency in America, moved too slow on this. Faster movement on shutting down travel would have saved thousands of lives. Period.

      South Korea’s example was already clearly laid out for us. We needed to rapidly ramp-up testing, put a contact tracing system in place, and quarantine every positive case and contact. I really do not see how the CDC test failure (and reagent debacle) doesn’t land squarely on Trump’s desk. He’s the boss. It’s his job to make sure everyone is ready to go. He absolutely failed, as has every American government official so far.

      Any argument to the contrary, all I have to say is South Korea. It was hubris that kept the USA from being like South Korea. Sorry.

      1. Cuibono

        For a front line doctor to not see this as a huge CLUSTER#$$% is quite remarkable. But then again, trump did substantiallly lower your taxes. there is that.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The biggest miss was not shutting flights down sooner

        Which, when Trump did it, flew in the face of expert advice, particularly WHO, and was greeted by a chorus of cries from liberal Democrats about how it was racist, ffs.

        If there were some sort of coherent program from Democrats that gave me even the faintest glimmer of hope that they were capable of a more successful approach, I’d be happy to hear it. Instead what we get is swooning over Cuomo, who gives a good presser while cutting $400 million from Medicaid during a pandemic.

        The Democrats, without any money, are screaming that the other guy is bankrupt. Can anybody see that’s a problem?

        1. periol

          I just don’t understand. I am angry at the entire system, top-to-bottom. No Democrat governor has responded well. No Republican governor has responded well. Trump has not responded well. If HC had won, our situation would probably be even worse.

          I’m not one tiny bit concerned about hypothetical responses. It was clear to lots of people back in January that we needed to move fast. The White House was briefed in November. This is a catastrophic system failure, and I feel relatively confident the response we are seeing is actually our government saying, in advance – “We can’t deal with this problem, so we aren’t going to try.”

          I am angry, but that’s not new. I’ve been angry at the pathetic oligarchy dominating our lives for a long, long time. The evidence shows this is a systemic failure, with both D’s and R’s asleep at the wheel.

          Our leaders have failed us. What next?

      1. marym

        Adding: Not knowing about a specific threat until January (though this too is an open question – Link) is no excuse for lack of general preparedness up until that point, and denial, ignorance, inefficiencies, and political games after that. These have been listed repeatedly, by numerous media. Here’s one summary (Link).

    3. John

      Trump did not stop the flights completely.

      Over a half million Chinese fly into the U.S. in January and February.

      Trump the Trump administration stopped funding PREDICT, a pandemic early-warning program that included work on novel coronaviruses and work with labs in Wuhan. PREDICT had someone in China who was brought back here in Nov after the program was halted. If that person hadn’t been brought back they would have known what was going on in China.

      Speaking of knowing what is going on in China. How many hundreds of billions of our tax dollars are spent ever year on the spooks? Close them down if they didn’t know what is going on. Useless.

      Trump did a lot of other things to make all of this worse. You must not be following the news that much.

          1. John

            Trump and Co knew long before they took any actions.

            We should demand to see all of the Trumps’ and the Kushners’ stock trades for January, February, March and April.

            1. periol

              My comment with the link is locked in moderation, but there were new reports that the military medical intelligence branch briefed the White House in November. Oops.

      1. periol

        Don’t forget that the White House was warned in NOVEMBER!!!


        Concerns about what is now known to be the novel coronavirus pandemic were detailed in a November intelligence report by the military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), according to two officials familiar with the document’s contents.

        The report was the result of analysis of wire and computer intercepts, coupled with satellite images. It raised alarms because an out-of-control disease would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia — forces that depend on the NCMI’s work. And it paints a picture of an American government that could have ramped up mitigation and containment efforts far earlier to prepare for a crisis poised to come home.

        “Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event,” one of the sources said of the NCMI’s report. “It was then briefed multiple times to” the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House. Wednesday night, the Pentagon issued a statement denying the “product/assessment” existed.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        The reason I tune out the yammering is that there’s a lack of comparative analysis. Is Trump uniquely bad by the standards of other Western democracies? We don’t know. Are Democrats better equipped to manage our failed state than Trump? (Their record says no.) For example, we still don’t know why the CDC reagents failed, which was the key inflection point in the testing debacle; and nobody will name the contractor, which makes my spidey sense tingle.

        1. marym

          In Trump’s case the aggressive dismantling of the administrative state, disdain for science, and tendency to see this as a “foreign” or “urban” problem contributed more to the failures. In a Clinton administration the failure of the “stimulus” (or success, from the perspective of the 1%) would have been the same, but the balance of failures as a public health response may have been more on other fronts like privatization, grift, and incompetent execution more than denial of need.

          Some typical pro-Dem comparisons in the links below.


    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is bound to be a fair amount of grift and incompetence related to Trump.

      There are a few major problems with any global response to an outbreak once it was out of the bag in China.

      -The globalized world and overspecialization. Until body bags started piling up, what national leader was really going to shut things down? Swtiching economic routes and isolating China are not exactly practical. The future Democratic nominee was telling people to go vote in person YESTERDAY. Cuomo was pushing for Medicaid cuts before the collapse in state revenues two weeks ago.

      -The supply chain issues.

      -the decimation of the civil service. The Pentagon which warned about the shortage didn’t manage to get funding for this national defense issue in the most recent appropriations, but in the end, there is an absence of organization capable of dealing with and planning for these kinds of events as there is no profit.

      Over the long term of Trump’s 3.5 years, the lack of a major infrastructure plan and moving towards autarky has been a problem. The failures of globalism and systemic risk have long been predicted. We saw systemic risk after the Lehman collapse. Besides the grift, the problem with Trump is he hasn’t done much to undo the 40 years of economic neoliberalism.

      I would also suggest his push a week or so ago to “reopen the country for Easter” likely reduced pressure to get a move on legislation.

      1. periol

        The thing I can’t leave alone is that there were steps that could and should have been taken before we had to go to lockdown.

        -You don’t have to stop flights, but you can test and quarantine people coming off the planes.

        -You don’t have to go into lockdown to start accumulating PPE for when/if the virus does hit hard – especially when the government knew about this in November. 5 months wasted!

        -You don’t have to go into lockdown to implement a thorough testing and contact tracing regime, like South Korea- you just need a backbone.

        Two of the first reported cases in LA County were DHS medical greeters for arriving flights. They did such a bang-up job of screening people coming through that they were infected by someone or lots of someones that they let through. If those screeners had represented an actual line of defense against the virus, in all international airports, we could be having a very different conversation about Covid-19 today than the one we are having.

        It’s not just Trump. This failure of leadership is systemic, from top-to-bottom, and endemic to all 50 states. Pride goeth before a fall.

        1. Pat

          I would add that I would expect a similar list of failures from a President Hillary Rodham Clinton as the same historic list of cuts and reductions would have been in place. As I would expect a large amount of time and effort would have been being spent on her possible impeachment, she would also have been cutting services, not to mention the waste on the further extended wars her foreign policy would have produced.

          True her briefings would have been more professional, her anger and response to failure more organized and passive aggressive less bombastic. But based on years of evidence the seeming competence would have been equally effective and just as based on political calculations.

          I get Trump has been a disaster, I am just cynical enough to think that almost thirty years of slow steady destruction of government meant to protect and help the public in favor of a revenue faucet for our wealthiest private individuals meant we were screwed regardless of who was president.

          1. periol

            It would have been worse than this with HC as president. I think Cuomo’s recent history regarding medical legislation and the dire consequences therein are instructive for looking at how this would be worse with HC in charge for the past three years.

            As I said, the failure of leadership is systemic. D and R, right coast or best coast, doesn’t matter. The corruption is thorough and it’s turtles all the way down.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > as a frontline person (pulmonary medicine), I do not know what Trump has done that is so bad.

      There is a timeline going around comparing TN to KY (much to KY’s advantage). I would like to see a similar timeline for the Administration’s response as opposed to other Western Democracies.

      Of the two implicit claims made by Democrats:

      1) Trump is uniquely bad (maybe, maybe not)

      2) Democrats would have been better (record shows no).

  38. Nick

    We all get the numerous arguments for not voting for Biden. Or the argument “I am a democrat and was going to vote for Bernie but now I’m going for Trump to teach the Dems a lesson”. Or “I’m voting third party, which is what I do when I don’t like either choice”. We get it. Site some obscure election fact where this or that method worked. You know what? Here’s something for sure. We’ll start with the LONG TERM.

    NOTHING environmental will happen if Trump wins, from gas emission standards to drilling in national f’ing parks!!! MORE unqualified right leaning judges will be appointed LIFETIME including a high probability of RBG on the Supreme Court. Abortion rights are in serious jeopardy. Voting rights have never been more precarious.

    SHORT TERM. Well, how about filling the positions of government with qualified people or even filling them at all so when something like Coronavirus comes, you do something about it. Remember how almost every person heading a committee in the Trump administration is either A.) Unqualified
    B.) A person from a company that committee would be REGULATING

    Joe Biden or whoever, plus a Democratic House and a few extra senate seats will definitely be better than that. Will the 1% probably still own all the money? Probably. Maybe less after covid. Will we have M4A in some form after 4 years of Biden? Probably not. Maybe closer after covid. Will we NOT have Trump presiding over the dumpster fire of an economy hiding behind the three ring Wall Street circus show? Damn right!!!

    1. hunkerdown

      But how will it punish a right-wing Democrat Party that pays hundreds of millions of dollars to grifters to brew up exactly these sorts of talking points that sound good to those with a vulgar understanding of politics but have zero credibility to those who understand institutions and systems?

      1. Nick

        Like I said, 2 choices. One, it gets much much worse. The other it just gets worse. Biden is the worse. The general public is never ever going to have a better than vulgar level understanding of how things actually work. They are never going to read beyond headlines. They are never going to be so smart as you and informed. You are the tour guide in the art museum trying to explain the sculpture to the generation Y’ers who just want to get a selfie. It is never going to work. So this year these are the candidates, take the single worse. FYI, I read all the links, voraciously. I read all the articles, the books, all the “stuff”. I “get it”. It doesn’t help.

    2. Painted Shut

      Trump stopped TPP, whereas Clinton would have implemented it. This was a big deal four years ago. How soon we forget.

  39. Jujhy

    Re Sanders dropping out, why do we always keep blaming the candidate or the party? At some point the voters are to blame too. What the hell more did they expect him to do even after he came back from a heart attack? Why do they want the right to vote if they can’t even vote themselves into Medicare for all??

    1. Synoia

      The size of the swing to Biden from Saunders defies belief.

      An open and transparent vote count would be needed, however that’s achieved, is needed.

      One does suspect “the thumb on the scales.”

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