Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Then the sun came out...


  1. From the bottom of the last thread...

    (1) Cat and Alan...what happened about Stacey Abrams??

    (2) CNN is up to 97% and still counting.

    Sanders 25.9%
    Buttigieg 24.4%
    Klobuchar 19.8%
    Warren 9.3%
    Biden 8.4%
    Steyer 3.6%

    Soooo, Roger Stone, eh?
    All Four Prosecutors quit amid escalating Justice Dept. fight over Roger Stone’s prison term

    1. Nothing happened to Abrams that I know of, but Cat asked if she was now out of the question for VP. [I paraphrase.]

    2. Alan posted the link to an article in The Guardian regarding Bloomberg. In it, the author sited three black women, two mayors who have endorsed Bloomberg and Abrams. While she has not endorsed him, or anyone as of yet, according to the article she has taken his money for her GOTV group. The author clearly got the screaming mimis at the very thought of Abrams taking his money for anything. And, frankly, I do too. Money from a dirty source, for even the best of causes, remains dirty; and it taints the cause and those who espouse it. That's what I meant. If it is true that she took Bloomberg's money for her group, and I have no reason to doubt it, then in my eyes Abrams is, well, damaged goods. She is not worthy of running as Bernie's VP. That might be a little bit too fastidious for the real world, but there it is.

    3. Argh!!
      Thanks for the clarification.

    4. Is there a southern, African American version of Zephyr Teachout?

    5. Well, I don't mind Bloomberg spending lots money to take down Trump, indeed, I thank him for it. Even though for him a billion dollars is chump change. After all, he is spending money in places and ways that the Dems are not. But voting for him is another matter altogether. But we need to place severe and meaningful restrictions on such behavior of monied interests, be they individuals or groups.

  2. OK, boys and girls; it’s time to roll out the big guns. I found the PERFECT campaign song for Bernie, and here it is. [Click]

    1. ??

      Sounds more like it’s about DT.

      Pity it’s country-western. (Yuk!) Definitely not a Vermont or New York accent. LOL!

    2. I figured it sounded like DT was the engineer; and the song predates "country western" if I am not mistaken. I take particular note of the passengers.

    3. Alan, that's superb! I love it. Never come across that before. Thanks. You should bring it to the attention of Bernie's campaign.

    4. I see.
      I simply couldn’t listen long enough to get the story. I viscerally despise music of that genre. Just can’t bear it. Happy to read the lyrics if you have them.

    5. Cat--not that I expect it will influence them, but I did send the link and a note to Bernie's campaign.

      listener--I will see if I can root out the lyrics, but not just yet.

    6. Listener, I agree with Alan that it's not C&W. Struck me more as a Folk ballad. Are you sure what turned you off was not simply the singer's southern accent?

    7. Here you go, Listener.

      The Hell-Bound Train

      This song is by Don Edwards and appears on the album American (2010).

      Come all you good people if you want to hear
      The story about a bad engineer
      He ran a train on the hell-bound road
      And every car had a heavy load

      How the engine with murder his blood was damp
      Headlight was a big brimstone lamp
      The boiler was filled with whiskey and beer
      The Devil himself was the engineer

      The passengers they were all corporate rats
      Lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats
      The double crossed men and they swore and stole
      Not a one hasn't purchased his body and soul

      Now the train flew on at an awful paste
      The brimstone burned both their hands and face
      The wilder and wilder that country groove
      As faster and faster that engine flew

      Well he blowed the whistle and he rang the bell
      "Ha! Ha!", cried the Devil, "The next stop's Hell"
      Oh how the passengers shrieked with pain
      And begged the Devil to stop the train

      Now you robbed the weak, you cheated the poor
      Your starving brother you turned from the door
      You laid up gold until your purses burst
      And paid free play to your beastly lusts

      Well you murdered and you cheated, you plundered and lied
      You mocked at God in your hell-bound pride
      You beg and you plead and you pray by the hour
      You'll be saved from Hell and the Devil's power

      So come and give your hand to the Lord
      Reach out and take his hand
      Come today and follow the Savior
      He'll lead you safely to the Promised Land
      Written by: J.W. Pruitte, Traditional

    8. Ack! You beat me to it! I just transcribed it from the audio, not being able to locate the lyrics to this version online. OK, I will locate a more traditional version and post them here. I find that the song goes back in multiple versions to at least the 1890's, and maybe to the 1860's.

    9. Aha! This seems to be the original lyrics:Tom Gray’s Dream [Click] The poem was evidently sung to older tunes.

    10. One line I haven't been able to puzzle out:

      "You've laid up gold where the canker rusts"


  3. Bernie won, but what now? [The Guardian] panelists' verdict on the New Hampshire results [Click] There are two bits I found particularly notable, which I post below.

    Jessa Crispin: ‘Bernie won. Must we make this about Klobuchar?’
    “…getting to know Klobuchar means learning unsavory things about her time as a prosecutor, such as the possible railroading job she and the police did on the probably innocent 16-year-old Myon Burrell, accused of murder. She faced harsh questions about that case on The View, and she handled it awkwardly and inelegantly, trying to deflect blame on to “structural racism”. So as much fun as it has been to watch her rain righteous hellfire on Pete Buttigieg with the purest form of hatred I’ve ever seen in a campaign, this story is not going away, nor should it. But if Klobuchar can’t even acknowledge let alone explain past abuses of power, nor show humility or candor when asked about the issue, surely that helps us to get to know her a bit better, too.’” There are also the stories about her mistreatment of staff members.

    Derecka Purnell: ‘Elizabeth Warren’s strategy isn’t working’
    “…I was shocked by Elizabeth Warren’s voter turnout. She finished fourth behind Senator Amy Klobuchar- with half as many votes. After Warren claimed that Sanders said that a woman could not win the election, she transitioned from a tacit progressive alliance with him, towards a vocal gendered alliance with Klobuchar, a moderate. Warren affirmed this during her debates, on interviews and Tuesday tonight after congratulating Sanders and Buttigieg for placing well. I do not think it’s working.”

    1. You're welcome. I particularly remember when Warren said she wouldn't have a universal medical care bill introduced until the third year of her administration--when of course it wouldn't have any chance of passing. Then there was the claim Bernie had told her a woman couldn't win, which I did not find credible. I didn't notice that it went farther than that, because that was when I unsubscribed from her e-mailing list and redirected the donations I had been making to her, to Bernie (I had been giving about 50-50.)

    2. I think Warren genuinely misunderstood what Bernie said. There is no dispute that he told her Trump would use her gender as a weapon against her. It was clear to him and to us that didn't mean she couldn't win. But he may not have made that point as clear as he thought he did, and she took it wrong.

    3. Yes, that is most likely.

  4. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign said it had raked in over $2.5 million since polls closed in New Hampshire’s primary Tuesday night, The Hill reports.

    Yep, it looks like the establishment-type Dems are rallying to her as their possible savior.

  5. Tip o' the hat to Mother Jones:

    Equal time. Finland has decided: seven months of paid family leave for each parent. The decision was made by 34-year-old Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her four other governing coalition parties, all led by women. A single parent will have access to the seven-month allowance for both parents. The decision was lauded inside and outside the country. That’s “what happens when women lead politics,” NPR’s Diaa Hadid tweeted. The goal is to promote gender equality and raise the birth rate. Last year, Finland had the fewest babies born since 1868, when a famine struck. (NPR)

    1. Don't that beat all! Hats off to the Fins, especially their ladies. That's the kind of leadership we need in this country. Unfortunately, I no longer believe Warren can provide it. I never took Klobuchar seriously to begin with.

  6. Bernie's Super Tuesday Edge. [Click] Speculative. But interesting.

    The Delegate Race. [Click] It’s early days yet. But the primary calendar is heavily front-loaded, and things will move quickly.

    Georgia Senate Race Devolves Into Nasty GOP Fight [Click] Awww, what a shame.

    There’s No Resurgence In American Manufacturing. It’s A Myth. [Click] Oh, you noticed?

    Requiem for Elizabeth Warren’s Campaign [Click]

  7. I believe there was a hint on the last thread about Illinois moving its primaries to be first in the nation. As an Illinoisan, I think that would be a mistake. And that's aside from New Hampshire having held the country's first primary for longer than I have lived.

    One point is that national media are used to just focusing on the presidential race. I don't know how they would deal with a huge primary that also included races for Senate, Congress, the state legislature, and even county offices.

    But more importantly, an early February primary simply doesn't give time for a meaningful primary campaign. The filing deadline is early December -- and yes, serious candidates really may not announce before the deadline -- but because of the holidays campaigning doesn't really start until January. An early February primary would leave only a month for the candidates to try to distinguish themselves. And even if you moved the deadline back to November, you still have the holidays interfering. Indeed, even with a mid-March primary I find the primary season quite short, with a long hiatus between then and the general election.

    I'm sorry, I just don't think this idea will work.

    1. I agree. I read a discussion of the idea of having a more representative state go first, and Illinois was given as an example, almost exactly average by a number of criteria--demographics, economy, educarion, etc. The traditional virtue of the small states going first is that campaigning doesn't cost much, so dark horses stand a chance of coming to widespread attention. But with the primaries so heavily frontloaded and the campaign starting so very early, that advantage has withered away to a considerable extent.

  8. From The Economist

    United States
    Feb 12th 2020


    ON THE EVE of the primary, Joe Biden, the former vice-president and erstwhile front-runner, was in a church gymnasium in Manchester. He walked out to the assembled crowd of a few hundred as Carrie Underwood’s song, “The Champion”, blared from speakers. It had been specially selected by Mr Biden’s wife, Jill. “I am invincible, unbreakable / unstoppable, unshakeable / They knock me down, I get up again / I am the champion,” the lyrics ran as Mr Biden basked in applause, including a particularly enthusiastic delegation from a firefighters’ union clad in neon yellow. Yet, as disappointing results came out on Tuesday evening—showing him placing fifth with a dismal 8.4% of the vote, with 87% of the votes counted—Mr Biden was not in New Hampshire to face the music. Instead, he cancelled his election-night appearance and bolted for South Carolina, which has now become the last stand for his faltering campaign.

    The purported point of one of the oddest quirks of America’s presidential primary process, the early-state contests, is to whittle the field of candidates down to a manageable size and bring some clarity to the race. The disaster of last week’s Iowa caucus, caused by a malfunctioning app for tabulation and questionable management, failed to do that. The primary in New Hampshire—where the counting of votes is more straightforward—managed to rehabilitate the purpose of America’s early-state system. It clearly established a two-person struggle, for now, between Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont, who finished first with 25.7% of the vote, and Pete Buttigieg, whose highest office was the mayorship of a mid-sized city in Indiana, and who finished close behind with 24.4% of the vote. “A campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all has shown that we are here to stay,” Mr Buttigieg exulted in his election-night speech. No Democratic candidate in the modern era has won the nomination without placing first or second in either Iowa or New Hampshire.

    Mr Sanders now looks to be the front-runner to win the nomination. Bettors have punched his odds of victory up to 48%. He leads in published polls in Nevada, which will next conduct a caucus (without the disastrous Iowa app) on February 22nd, and has narrowed the gap with Mr Biden in South Carolina, which holds a primary on February 29th. Black primary voters, who make up roughly half of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina, have overwhelmingly supported Mr Biden thus far. It is why the state has become his campaign’s redoubt if it hopes to resuscitate his chances at capturing the nomination.
    [To be Continued]

    1. [continued]
      The former vice-president’s miserable finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire—fourth and fifth, respectively—would have spelled doom for an ordinary candidate in an ordinary election. But his insurmountable advantage among black voters is starting to crack. Polls conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Economist, released on February 12th, show that his support among black primary voters has fallen from 51% to 38% in just one month*. It does not need to fall much further for Mr Biden to drop into losing territory in South Carolina.

      Should Mr Sanders win three or even all four of the early primary states ahead of Super Tuesday—the delegate-rich state primaries held on March 3rd—he will be in an enviable position to get an unshakeable hold on the nomination. It will be of great help to him if Democrats are unable to coalesce around a single, moderate alternative. Right now, Mr Buttigieg seems to have the strongest claim to that title. But Mr Biden will probably limp on for a few more weeks. Amy Klobuchar, the senator from Minnesota scored an impressive third-place finish in New Hampshire with 19.8% of the vote. She will continue onwards, meaning that her campaign will have to rapidly expand into states in which it had a minimal footprint.

      But the looming entry of Michael Bloomberg into the race mucks up efforts at prognostication. Mr Bloomberg, the billionaire who was formerly mayor of New York City, has opted to skip the early quartet of states altogether and spend jaw-dropping sums of money on advertising in the Super Tuesday states. That money has appeared to buy him friends: his standing in the national polls has shot up from zero to 15%—eclipsing Elizabeth Warren, the progressive Massachusetts senator who briefly flirted with front-runner status in October. His brand of politics is similarly moderate and technocratic, meaning that he could either deliver a coup de grรขce for a struggling Mr Biden or further fracture the field to Mr Sanders’s benefit.

      The New Hampshire result also clarified whose fortunes had fallen. Some minor candidates, like Andrew Yang, a businessman pushing a universal basic income, and Michael Bennet, a talented senator from Colorado, dropped their bids after disappointing results. Ms Warren, who mustered just 9.3% of the vote despite representing neighbouring Massachusetts, also appears to have long odds of victory. Her new strategy to pivot and identify herself as a unity candidate, as opposed to her original form as progressive firebrand, will be tricky to pull off. Roger Lau, Ms Warren’s campaign manager, released a memo on election day outlining a long path to victory, the latest entry in a long history of faltering candidates predicting magnificent recoveries.

      President Donald Trump may also be quite pleased with the outcome. Mr Trump was once so concerned about a challenge from Mr Biden that he pressured the government of Ukraine to investigate him and his family, triggering impeachment by Congress. Now Mr Biden hardly looks threatening. The candidate who sells himself on electability and experience has been handily beaten in the first two contests by the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Mr Trump’s campaign would apparently most like to face Mr Sanders in the general election. With such a fragmented field, the Democrats may struggle to produce an undisputed champion. But after New Hampshire, Mr Sanders’s chances are improving.

  9. Headline: Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Resigns

    Commentary [paraphrased]:
    Bernie’s win was far more consequential than many think. He dispatched Biden and Warren, whose campaigns are now in death spirals. Either Buttigieg or Klobuchar must win in the next two states and then build a Super-Tuesday campaign to stay alive; and the post-Super Tuesday states lean decidedly toward Bernie. Neither one of them does well with minority voters, at least so far.

    Another headline:
    New Hampshire Turnout Set New Record for Democrats

    Rivals Worry Bloomberg Will Splinter “Moderate” Vote [Click]

    The day I have been looking forward to for a good forty years and more seems about to dawn. Wow!

  10. Oh, and if Buttigieg or Klobuchar win Nevada, s/he will run smack into Bernie PLUS Bloomberg in South Carolina, and thereafter. I just don't think that a second or third place wins in NH will have much weight. Now to go read the article Cat posted from The Economist

  11. Incidentally, I will be at a science fiction convention in suburban Wheeling tomorrow through Sunday.

    1. Safe travels, Bill. Have a good time.

    2. Which Wheeling? Illinois or West Virginia? Just out of idle curiosity.

    3. I guess "suburban" didn't convey the information I intended. It's a suburb of Chicago.

    4. I was only familiar with the one in WVa, but checked with Wikipedia and discovered the one near Chicago. Thought I'd ask.

  12. Trump's 'America first' policy offers Beijing and Brussels a chance to lead [Click] The author makes some statements that make no sense at all, but here are a pair of tidbits, the first to provide context for the second, which is news (and good news) to me:

    But it is still possible to imagine multilateralism without the US. Climate change illustrates the point: Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate agreement has not weakened the commitment of other countries to its targets, nor should it.

    Another example is how the European Union, China and 15 other countries reacted to Trump’s efforts to paralyse the World Trade Organisation by leaving its appellate body inquorate with too few judges. In response, they set up their own ad hoc, shadow appellate body to maintain WTO standards and procedures.

  13. BTW, I am amused by all the news media catastophizing about the Democratic nomination not being settled yet--after a whole one caucus and one primary election. It's about as amusing as their regular descriptions of the Establishment or "moderate" types as left of center, so they can portray Bernie as that much farther to the "left." Baloney! IMO.

  14. ‘We Knew They Had Cooked the Books’ [Click] “The Trump administration’s attempt to kill one of America’s strongest climate policies has been a complete debacle.” A very long read; I must get to bed now.