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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Links - 22nd February 2020

Damning Salvation Army: the left's newest, most disgraceful low - "Damaging photos of Pete Buttigieg have surfaced — ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.The images of the South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential candidate participating in the Red Kettle Ring Off, a friendly competition between officials from South Bend and near-by Mishawaka over who can raise more for the Salvation Army during a day of bell-ringing, date from 2017.The gay publication Out reported them as if it had broken a major, or at least a noteworthy, story... If you think that volunteering for an organization raising funds to provide food and housing, among many other services, for the needy is an inherently praiseworthy act, you haven’t been following the woke left-wing activists cutting a swath through American culture.Any institution, no matter how storied or how generous, is subject to a punitive campaign of social ostracism that is often highly effective. In today’s environment, what seems preposterous one moment is inevitable the next, and after one target is ground into submission, another is quickly found."

Mystery man intercepts phone scam calls, saving Canadians millions - "“Like many Americans and Canadians, I get a phone call one day from a gentleman who reported to be from the Canada Revenue Agency, I knew right away it was a scam,” Devan said. “I’ve been around long enough to know. I engaged him for about half an hour and by the end of the conversation, I befriended him.”That man now works closely with Devan as an informant. He tips him off whenever a victim is about to transfer money through a bank or Bitcoin transaction.If he manages to stop the transaction from taking place, Devan said he pays his informant in India $100 for his help.“He’d secretly send me phone numbers of victims that his colleagues were scamming and I would get involved by trying to intercept those calls with the call waiting features”... Devan and a small team of informants in India have launched a website and an app, hoping more people will rally together to put an end to this illegal activity.  The website is called stopcallingme.ca. It has a database where you can enter the number that you believe to be associated with a phone scam to be verified. If it’s a scam, it alerts the user. So far, there are more than 1,000 numbers in the database... Devan’s biggest tip for Canadians who want to avoid being scammed: He says if you pick up a call from a number that you do not recognize, wait until the person on the other end says hello first. If you don’t hear anything on the other end, it’s likely a scammer. Hang up and block the number in your phone."

Professional Privilege Checkers Inc. - Posts - "Finland has the world's first bad-bitch government, led by five women, four of whom are under 35"
"Finland's finance minister is running an Instagram poll on whether we should repatriate 'just children' or 'children and mothers' from the ISIS camp at al-Hol"

Consider the lobster roll - Why Americans pay more for lunch than Britons do | Finance and economics | The Economist - "According to data gathered by The Economist on the dozen Pret sandwiches that are most similar in the two countries, the American ones cost on average 74% more (see chart). An egg sandwich in New York costs $4.99 to London’s 1.79, more than double. A tuna baguette costs two-thirds more. The pricemismatchis intriguing—the more so for The Economist, which publishes the Big Mac index, a cross-country comparison of burger prices, which shows a 43% transatlantic disparity. Menu pricing starts with a simple rule, says John Buchanan of the consulting arm of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, a restaurant group: take the cost of ingredients and multiply by three. Then ask yourself how much customers would expect to pay for a dish of this type, and how much they would expect to pay for it from you. A Pret lobster roll and one from a fancy seafood restaurant are quite different propositions. Lastly, check what the competition charges. “Only a small part of this decision is what I would call scientific,” says Mr Buchanan. “A lot has to do with a subjective judgment of what the market will bear.” The lunch market is local. New Yorkers do not care about prices in London. And they—alongside Bostonians and Washingtonians—are used to their local high prices, for reasons that include bigger portions (though not at Pret) and tipping habits. Londoners are keener on sandwich lunches, which means stiffer competition in that part of the market. Often lunch prices vary by neighbourhood. jd Wetherspoon, a British pub chain, prides itself on low prices, but allows them to differ by branch. In 2017 the Financial Times found that the most expensive Spoons charged over 40% more than the cheapest one. They also vary by time: many restaurants charge more for dinner than for lunch"

Slow drivers branded dangerous as they're blamed for killing more people than ever before - "Slow drivers are killing or maiming more people than ever before on our roads. The number of people dying or being seriously injured in crashes caused by motorists going at far less than the speed limit has soared 75% in the last five years... Dawdling motorists are believed to trigger tailgating, undertaking, congestion and road rage, which can then lead to serious traffic incidents.Minimum speeds are rare on UK roads, but they do exist in some high-risk locations such as tunnels. Going too slowly on any road can lead to a motorist being penalised for careless driving"

Hainan Airlines ranked 8th in SKYTRAX World's Top 10 Airlines ranking - "Hainan Airlines was also named a SKYTRAX Five-Star Airline for the eighth consecutive year, in addition to being awarded Best Business Class Amenities, Best Airline China, and Best Airlines Staff in China designations."

Family carries uncle's corpse to insurance company to prove death - "It took a cold, hard corpse to get a life insurance company to hand over the cold, hard cash in South Africa.In a desperate attempt to finally get their insurance payout, the family of Sifiso Mtshali, 46, hauled his corpse to an Old Mutual branch in eastern South Africa"

How Universal Pre-K Affects Infant Daycare Costs - "with new, free public preschool available for three- and four-year-olds less than two miles away, the kids enrolling in Salas’s home-based program are now almost all very young. This makes for a costly business, as state regulation requires much heavier staffing for babies and toddlers than it does for older children... Salas used to hire two women at her daycare; now she needs four to meet licensing requirements. She’s raised tuition by $10 a week. It’s still not enough to make up for the cost of added staffing, she says. But if tuition goes any higher, few neighborhood parents will be able to afford it... a seldom-discussed unintended consequence of these free programs for three- and four-year-olds is the toll they take on the already limited supply of affordable child care for children younger than two, especially babies. It’s a strain that can have far-reaching consequences for families.  The problem is rooted in simple economics. Caring for an infant costs far more than caring for a preschooler—in some places three times as much. But differences in tuition between the two age groups rarely cover the difference. It’s the tuition for the three- and four-year-old preschoolers that make it possible for most child-care programs to look after babies. So when programs lose their preschoolers, they’re losing their “most profitable children, and they potentially have trouble staying viable”... Because of their small size, family child-care programs like Salas’s, which are run out of providers’ own homes, are likely the hardest hit of all... Brown estimates that New York City would have 20 percent more seats in child-care centers for children younger than two were it not for the city’s popular Pre-K for All program. Poor neighborhoods suffered the biggest blow"

Shower Thoughts on Twitter - "We live in a age where we have to prove to machines that we are not machines."

Orwell & Goode - Posts - "No to racism"
"No country for old white men"
"Anti-racism" strikes again

Cue the Grinch music: About 78 Christmas trees cut down and dragged from family farm near Puyallup - "Federal Way police busted a Christmas crime operation Friday, nabbing a man they said stole dozens of Christmas trees from a farm near Puyallup... The Sheriff’s Office didn’t have a description of the thief they called “Grinch” but on social media Friday, it said, “We’re guessing their heart is an empty hole, their brain is full of spiders, & they’ve got garlic in their soul.”"

California's RoboCop Dealt with its First Crime. It Went as Well as You'd Expect. [VIDEO] - "She pushed the emergency button several times, but instead of the police roaring down the road, RoboCop reportedly told the concerned citizen to get out of its way.

Security robot 'in critical condition' after nearly drowning on the job - "A security robot in Washington -- lovingly named Steve -- plunged down four steps into a fountain... It isn't the first time a security robot has run into trouble. In April, a drunken man in California tipped over a 300-pound K5. Last summer, another bot in California knocked over a toddler"

Mark on Twitter - "“Real Socialism” has never been tried in the same way that “Real Capitalism” has never been tried. The difference is ‘almost Socialism’ resulted in the impoverishment & death of hundreds of millions of people. While ‘Almost Capitalism’ has lifted billions from absolute poverty."

Being Classically Liberal - Posts - "The most hilarious thing about Venezuela "not being real socialism" is that socialists were citing Venezuela as proof of socialism's superiority right up until the eve of its economic crisis."

Dank Star Wars Memes Cantina - "Just realized Darth Vader says 'Obi-wan has taught you well' after looking up and seeing that Luke has the high ground"

Enormous tarantula hawk wasp carts off a dying huntsman spider in Bronte, Sydney - "An incredible photo showing a spider wasp dragging a huntsman spider has gone viral online. The image, taken in Bronte, Sydney, shows the orange spider wasp carting the paralysed huntsman back to its den... Earlier this year a video went viral showing a spider wasp dragging a similarly-sized huntsman up the netting of a door."

UNILAD - Posts - "Mum dies after waiting six hours for ambulance to treat broken foot"
Comments: "Why? To make a statement that she had the right to be taken by an ambulance to the hospital? Or I'm not really sure what was going on there. I would have just called taxi and get her to the hospital, not to put blankets on her and wait for hours. She had injured leg, not spine ffs :|"
"If she broke her back there would be no option to move her. But it was her foot. Could have easily taken her yourself in a taxi. I broke my arm when I was in school. I got the bus to the hospital. I didn't lie on the floor for 6 hours because an ambulance wouldn't come. Blame the people who could have helped and didn't. Not the nhs"
"Broken foot? Then having heart issues and going in and out of consciousness? Blankets are nice but working together to get her in a car and driving her to hospital might have waived her life. Such a sad and unnecessary death. Perhaps she had other underlying conditions which may have ultimately led to her death but the lack of proper action surely complicated and played a part. Society has to remember how to be self resilient when services are not available."
"Take her to the hospital or at the very least bring her back inside her home which was feet away?? I think she actually died from neglect from her husband, family and neighbors."
"i don't get it..... there's cars parked outside house, but they decide to make her a bed and take photos.....wtf."


Studies Reveal Differences Between the Two Types of “Nice” People - "agreeableness can divided into two related but distinct components: compassion and politeness.Compassion refers to our tendency to be emotionally concerned about others. Politeness is defined as our tendency to demonstrate good manners, adhere to social norms and avoid aggression... compassion tends to be positively associated with liberal political ideology, while politeness is linked to conservative ideology... 'polite people were more likely to split the money fairly than their rude counterparts. Surprisingly, we did not see this for compassion, which may indicate that sharing money with a stranger doesn’t necessarily arouse emotional concern'
The second study measured social decision-making with a third-party recompensation game, in which a bystander witnesses an unfair division of money between two people and is given the opportunity to give their own money to the victim.       "Here, compassionate people gave away more money than their cold-hearted counterparts"...
Compassionate people behave like good Samaritans, while polite people act more like good citizens"

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Links - 19th February 2020 (3)

Ontario landlords aren't the problem, the Landlord and Tenant Board is - The Post Millennial - "Despite what you might have seen In the media, most landlords aren’t raising rents in a get-rich quick scheme. In fact, in today’s rental climate, many landlords of small- to medium-sized properties are barely breaking even. If rental rates are based solely on greed, where was the greed prior to 2006 when rents were more affordable?... Like homeowners, landlords are facing the pressures of rising house prices, property taxes, mortgage rates, and utility charges. The Landlord and Tenant Board  (LTB) in Ontario was created in 2006 to help establish and enforce the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords alike. The aims of the board are to help mediate landlord-tenant disputes, resolve eviction cases, and keep all parties informed of their rights and responsibilities. It came into existence to try to avoid the very issues currently plaguing the system. The problem is, the LTB is broken... The broken LTB system allows bad tenants to go six to twelve months with no payment of rent, leaving small landlords with on average $30,000 in arrears, legal costs, and often damages to the home. Frustration has caused both parties to take the system into their own hands–with professional tenants not paying rent, knowing evictions will take upwards of a year and landlords offering buyouts or sidestepping the system to come to an early resolution and then turning their longterm unit into an Airbnb where they are granted protections, insurance and guaranteed collection of fees, all of which are not offered by the LTB. Landlords are often left with the cost of a bad tenancy and are instructed by the LTB to shoulder the burden of a non-paying tenant until it is deemed no longer financially reasonable to before granting eviction. Many scorned landlords are just simply selling off and removing the supply completely from the market and driving rents up for everyone else as supply shrinks in this already tight market."
Of course, liberals will say that tenants need even more protections, thus constraining the market even more and making things worse for prospective tenants

The Yaboiposting - Posts - "I'm always shocked at white people's ability to nonchalantly walk in the rain like it's not raining. But I guess when you're bathed in bloodshed for centuries, a little water doesn't really change much."
This racist is saying that non-white people aren't even able to walk in the rain

'Waiter, there's excrement in my pig intestine,' Chinese diner complains - "A restaurant customer in northeastern China is demanding higher compensation after he was served pig intestine filled with excrement at a well-known chain then offered a sum he considered inadequate... The diner, identified only by his surname Wang, was enjoying a pot of rice noodles with pig intestine on Friday when he found a piece that was tougher to chew, he said.  He complained to staff at the restaurant, a branch of Axiang Rice Noodles in a mall in Changchun, Jilin province, and it was established that there were pieces of excrement in the meal... The manager telephoned Wang, offering to compensate him with an amount equivalent to 10 times the value of the dish, in line with consumer rights regulations - which would give Wang up to 500 yuan (S$96.80). But Wang said he felt insulted by the offer and asked for 30,000 yuan."I'd like to invite their boss to come over and have a try - I can pay him a few hundred yuan for every piece of excrement he eats""

Julio Blue on Twitter - "Twitter: $17.99/month Snapchat: $9.99/month Youtube: $19.99/month Netflix: $4.99/per movie Google: $1.99/per search If you don't want to pay extra for your favorite sites you need to be supporting #NetNeutrality"
From Dec 2017. This aged well

An0maly - Posts - "Vox: "Gig workers' win in California is a victory for workers everywhere"
"Vox Media to cut hundreds of freelance jobs ahead of changes in California gig economy laws"
"When the media company promoting big government overreach gets smacked by the liberal policies it promotes."

California's new employment law is starting to crush freelancers - "Assembly Bill 5 passed in California and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it into law on Sept. 18. The law requires most companies to reclassify contract, freelance and contingent workers — the backbone of the gig economy —as full-time employees eligible for benefits, a guaranteed $12–$13 state minimum wage and protections under the state's employment law. LaBrash, based in Los Angeles, suddenly found potential projects drying up when he submitted onboarding paperwork to potential clients and they discovered he lived in California... He has seen a 40% decline in his freelance income since the law passed in September. "My savings are stagnant," says LaBrash. "I really can't look into buying a house. The housing market here is hard already."  Even if employers hire him for freelance work, he is limited to 35 annual submissions per client before they have to put him on payroll, he notes. It's a limit under the law. That's not a large amount for regular contributors to media companies. "You're going to hit your quota and they won't want to hire you"... Franchisors are also worried that their franchisees could be reclassified from their traditional designation as independent contractors to employees... "I don't believe legislators realized the impact this had"... many freelancers work independently by choice on terms they prefer. Many are concerned that they'll have to trade in their freedom for structure, potentially losing their ability to set their own hours. "There are people that want to be independent contractors," says Zaino. "They want the freedom and the choice and don't want their clients to be afraid to use them."  And California's new regulation is expected to have a ripple effect throughout the nation's $1 trillion gig economy. Many employers and freelancers are concerned that other blue states, such as New York and New Jersey, will usher in similar laws... Legislators didn't seem to understand that companies often hire people from out of state as remote freelancers, putting freelancers in California at a disadvantage... Professional Independent Consultants of America, which opposes the law, has advised its members to form an LLC or S Corp, get a business license, create a business infrastructure that includes elements such as a separate business bank account, create a website and a business email address at a domain only used for business, advertise, use written contracts and submit invoices for all work, not time sheets, according to Liz Steblay, co-founder. "Effectively, this law means that to be paid as a business, a freelancer or solo professional is going to have to be set up like a business and act like a business""

Mayor Pete Backs Gig Economy Law Currently Ravaging California - "In fact, he's calling for a federal version... These kinds of regulations defeat the entire purpose of the gig economy. Companies like Uber and Lyft have provided workers a new opportunity to make a quick buck on their own schedules, choosing when to work and when not to work. Some drivers choose to work at "surge" times, when demand is high, to make more money. This flexible work helps the customers, the companies, and the independent contractors — who can come and go as they wish. Driving for Uber and Lyft works great as supplemental income and as an opportunity between jobs... [This] undermines the very flexibility that makes gig economy jobs attractive to the workers.Interestingly, some have argued that this flexibility is particularly good for women, people of color, and those who identify as LGBT. The American Society of Journalists and Authors, which has filed a lawsuit to challenge A.B. 5 on the grounds that it discriminates against journalists, made exactly the kind of argument Buttigieg would listen to. "In a shrinking media landscape where hiring executives are still mostly white and male, AB5 places additional restrictions and burdens on women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community by forcing many of us to seek staff jobs," Los Angeles freelance writer and author JoBeth McDaniel, chair of ASJA’s First Amendment Committee, said in a statement. "Many journalists choose to freelance because we encountered discrimination, harassment and bullying in staff positions. Others — such as parents, caregivers and the disabled — need the flexibility of setting their own schedules and workloads.""

External images are accessed violating privacy and security – Got an idea? - "Outlook automatically fetches external images in email I have received. This is a privacy issue because it may tell the sender that the email reached me. This is a security issue because may of these messages, from senders both trustworthy (i.e. financial institutions with which I do business) and untrustworthy (marketing email) disclose sufficient information in web bugs and other external references to allow a third party to capture PII... Outlook 2016 does this right. It reports "To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of some pictures in this message""
"there is indeed an option to block images from loading from anyone not on your safe sender list.  Go into the Settings, select Junk Mail and look under the filter section. The second option will block all images from loading unless you explicitly say."

Zoo Security Drills: When Animals Escape - The Atlantic - "In some zoos in Japan and China, staff members perform regular security drills to practice their response to a large animal escape by using costumed zookeepers as the fugitive animals. Individuals in furry costumes or pairs in full-size mockups of larger animals run through zoo property, sometimes inflicting mock injuries, as fellow zookeepers work to surround, subdue, and recapture them"

You can now go to jail for insulting Anna Soubry - "MPs are now part of a protected class who it is illegal to insult and protest against... while Soubry (by then in the Independent Group) was giving an interview to BBC Newsnight in the central lobby at Westminster, Dalla Mura was there again. She interrupted to say, ‘Anna Soubry is traitor’. ‘Get the police’, said Soubry.  You might think this was just part of the political rough-and-tumble. Far from it. The police now have a special unit called PLAIT – the parliamentary liaison and investigations team – dedicated to dealing with ‘attacks’ on MPs... the ‘safeguarding’ of democracy apparently now means that MPs and politicians must be given a special protected status. They must have the right – unlike the rest of us – to protection from stinging insults under threat of imprisonment."

Is it against the law to protest against Anna Soubry? - "Left-wing people frequently invade public meetings and shout down Tory speakers. Filming oneself confronting a politician is now par for the course in public life. Shouting things at politicians as they give live TV interviews has become perfectly normal in recent years. Consider the Stop Brexit man, Steve Bray, who has been standing outside Westminster for ages and barking stupid slogans at every pro-Brexit politician who is speaking to the TV cameras. Is that harassment too? Is that oppressive and unacceptable?"

FUREY: Facebook ‘fact check’ censors Sun column critiquing Liberals - "The post was trouble, it was fake news and doing this sort of thing again could result in consequences for the CCMBC page... Jocelyn Bamford, the president and founder of CCMBC, isn’t happy with what unfolded. “I was stunned when I was informed that the Coalition’s Facebook page was being censored for posting an article from a respected news source. It speaks to me of censorship and the loss of critical discourse and free speech that is being threatened in our country”"

Pro-HIV Senator Wants Illegal Immigrants To Run for Office - National File - "Senator Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco), who made his name in international news in 2017 for masterminding the downgrade of the knowing transmission of the HIV virus from a felony to a misdemeanor, has announced a bill to allow illegal immigrants to run for Democratic Party seats...
'A long list of other Democrats support Wiener’s bill.'"
Given that some liberals want to give illegal immigrants the vote, this is just the next step

Lurking inside? Tens of cobras terrorize toilets in West Jakarta - "“Not long ago, my neighbors found a large snake, also in their toilet. They saw the snake’s head appear from the toilet,” she said, adding that she also once saw a hatchling snake creep into her bedroom.Over the past few weeks, discoveries of creeping cobras were also reported in Ciracas, East Jakarta and in Bogor regency, West Java."

Japan has world's best passport, but few go abroad - Nikkei Asian Review - "The Japanese passport was again named as the "world's most powerful" by a British consultancy this year, but the Japanese themselves seem little interested in taking advantage, with only 23% holding passports -- a sign that the nation has become increasingly inward-looking in the era of globalization.In the U.S., the share of people with a passport has jumped 17 percentage points over the past 12 years, to about 44% by 2019, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and State Department. Meanwhile, the proportion of Japanese with a passport is the lowest among the Group of Seven industrialized nations. Japanese passports were rated the world's most powerful for the second year running... Singapore tied with Japan for first place, followed by South Korea, whose passport holders can visit 188 countries and territories visa-free. The U.S. and the U.K. ranked 15th. Countries in Europe, North America and East Asia topped the list... As of October, Japanese passport holders could visit 190 countries and regions visa-free, or by applying for one on arrival. However, Japanese have shown comparatively little interest in traveling abroad. The number of Japanese students studying overseas has fallen from its peak, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. And relatively few Japanese work for international organizations, given the size of its economy and population"

Man robs caricature artist, forgets to take portrait with him, police say - "A California man who posed for a caricature grabbed about $500 from the artist, but left behind what might be incriminating evidence - the cartoon image of himself that police are using in efforts to identify the suspect."

Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished

Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished

"OneCoin, Dr Ruja told the Wembley audience, was the "Bitcoin Killer". "In two years, nobody will speak about Bitcoin any more!" she shouted.

All over the world, people were already investing their savings into OneCoin, hoping to be part of this new revolution. Documents leaked to the BBC show that British people spent almost €30m on OneCoin in the first six months of 2016, €2m of it in a single week...

She started asking the leaders of her OneCoin group if there was a blockchain. At first she was told it was something she didn't need to know, but when she persisted she finally got the truth...

"They don't want to disclose that kind of information, just in case something goes wrong where the blockchain is being held. And plus, as an application, it doesn't need a server behind it. So it's our blockchain technology, a SQL server with a database"...

A standard SQL server database was no basis for a genuine cryptocurrency. The manager of the database could go in and change it at will...

Despite the successful facade, trouble was brewing...

Dr Ruja - who was famously punctual - didn't show up... Some feared she'd been killed or kidnapped by the banks, who - they'd been told - had most to fear from the cryptocurrency revolution.  In fact, she had gone underground...

Dr Ruja's genius was to recognise that established MLM sellers with huge downlines were the perfect vehicle to market her fake coin - a plan the FBI says she privately referred to as "the bitch of Wall Street, meets MLM". This was the secret of OneCoin's success. It wasn't just a fake cryptocurrency, it was an old-fashioned pyramid scheme, with the fake coin as its "product"...

MLM networks - where people often recruit others who are close to them - creates a blurred sense of responsibility... if sellers have invested their own money, they are victims too...

When you're dealing with a scam worth billions of euros, it's not unusual for shadowy groups to get involved. Several of the people Georgia and I interviewed spoke darkly about mysterious people and connections they didn't want to name.

"When you talk about the amount of money that's been put into OneCoin of course there's people out there who are pissed off and would do anything to shut anyone like me up," says Bjorn Bjercke, the blockchain expert who discovered there was no blockchain, and started talking about it publicly.

He tells me he's received death threats as a result of speaking out. "If I knew what I would have to go through, I would have never blown the whistle. I would have just turned my back and walked away"...

When I ask him who might be behind the threats, he won't elaborate. "I can't discuss that. It starts to get very very very scary, very very very fast"... it was never supposed to be a billion-dollar scam. She tried to close it down, he says, but the dark forces wouldn't let her...

Why have so many people continued to believe in OneCoin, despite all the evidence?

Investors often told us that what drew them in initially was the fear that they would miss out on the next big thing... Many were struck by the personality and persuasiveness of the "visionary" Dr Ruja. Investors might not have understood the technology, but they could see her talking to huge audiences, or at the Economist conference. They were shown photographs of her numerous degrees, and copies of Forbes magazine with her portrait on the front cover...

But it seems it's not just the promise of riches that keeps people believing. After Jen McAdam invested into OneCoin she was constantly told she was part of the OneCoin "family"... McAdam's leader prepared her carefully for conversations with OneCoin sceptics. "You're told not to believe anything from the 'outside world'," she recalls. "That's what they call it. 'Haters' - Bitcoiners are 'haters'. Even Google - 'Don't listen to Google!'" Any criticism or awkward questions were actively discouraged. "If you have any negativity you should not be in this group," she was told.

Prof Eileen Barker of the London School of Economics, who has spent years studying groups like the Moonies and Scientologists, says there are similarities between OneCoin and messianic millennium cults, where people believe they are part of something big that is going to change the world - and no matter what the evidence, once they've signed up, it's very hard for them to admit they are wrong.

"When prophecy fails they believe more strongly," she says. "Particularly if you have invested something, not only money, but belief, reputation, intelligence. You think, 'Wait a bit longer.'"

Money might push people to invest in the first place, but the sense of belonging, of doing something, of achieving something, is why they stay, Barker says. "And in that sense it's cultic."

In an ideal world, regulators would take action to protect consumers from scams like OneCoin. But the authorities all over the world have been slow to react, partly because the whole area of cryptocurrencies is relatively new."


I wonder how libertarians blame this cryptocurrency scam on government regulation

There're also parallels with how China shills dismiss informed opinions on China

Links - 19th February 2020 (2)

Professor’s Angry Tweets on Gaza Cost Him a Job - The New York Times - "“Professor Salaita’s approach indicates he would be incapable of fostering a classroom environment where conflicting opinions would be given equal consideration.”... “It’s about feeling safe on campus,” Noah Feingold, a member of a pro-Israel student group, told The Forward. “This is a professor who tweeted that if you support Israel, you’re an awful person.”... Cary Nelson, an English professor and a former president of the American Association of University Professors, who has been an outspoken advocate of academic freedom in the past, gave strong support to the university’s decision. Mr. Nelson told Inside Higher Ed that he knew of “no other senior faculty member tweeting such venomous statements — and certainly not in such an obsessively driven way.”“There are scores of over-the-top Salaita tweets”... Mr. Salaita “was a prominent campaigner for the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions last December.” In fact, Mr. Salaita even wrote a post for The Electronic Intifada in May headlined “How to Practice B.D.S. in Academe.”"
Apparently it's okay for pro-Israel students to feel unsafe
Is it against academic freedom to oppose the hiring of someone who opposes academic freedom?


Tweets Cost Professor Steven Salaita His Tenure. And That’s a Good Thing. - "“You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not,” Salaita wrote shortly after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists, “I wish all the fucking West Bank settlers would go missing.” Another tweet applied just as much nuance in declaring, “Zionists: transforming ‘anti-semitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948.” Subject that last utterance to a close reading—an exercise that passes for rigid and original thinking in most American universities these days—and you learn that the author approaches anti-Semitism with the one-two punch of unreality: It doesn’t exist—hence the quotation marks—and if it does exist then it’s nothing to be ashamed of.There’s much more where that came from: fantasies about Benjamin Netanyahu wearing a necklace made of Palestinian children’s teeth or about Israel resurfacing Atlantis only to colonize it, categorical refusals to condemn Hamas, and the ever-nuanced statement that anyone supporting Israel during the war in Gaza was “an awful human being.”... how deliciously ironic it is that the champions of academic freedom riding to Salaita’s defense did it by boycotting his university, a blunt tactic that, in this case, causes much more harm to the principle of academic freedom than the incident it wishes to protest... Anyone still wondering whether Salaita ought to have a teaching job should play the parlor game of reading his tweets and replacing references to Jews and Israelis with blacks, gays, or women. Should an American institution of higher learning employ someone who tweeted, say, that black Americans were “transforming ‘racism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1964”?"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Punishment and Justice - "‘There is a theory here, basically social democratic theory that that crime is a function of poverty and misery. But it doesn't seem to me to be borne out by the fact that in an era of immense increases in wealth, far, great improvements in housing, stability of employment, that actually crime has increased enormously if you compare crime in this country now with the level of crime, for instance, during the Great Depression, especially among the poor, it's much higher. I don't think that theory works. Any examination of it makes it look silly’
‘Except that the knife crime statistics all tell us that it's within poorer areas, predominantly. Why are we punishing, or why is it morally right to punish people who have been failed by society for society’s failings?’
‘You may be mistaking physical policy for moral policy, which is two different things. There is a huge amount of moral policy in this country. And you can't have any discussion about that without also discussing the dismantling of the married family and the disappearance of fathers from the lives of young men, which has been a gigantic change in life… And the other thing you have to discuss is the total abandonment by the police and the courts and the government of any attempt to control the use of mind altering drugs, which is a major factor in a large amount of violent crime because particularly marijuana is associated very strongly both with mental illness and correlated very strongly with violent crime, we do nothing whatever to deter its possession’"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of Risk - "I knew something had changed when I came back to BBC television news from a rather dangerous foreign posting in Africa. I'd spent four years at times risking my life on an almost daily basis without my bosses seeming overly concerned. Yet the first thing I had to do back in the London newsroom was fill out a hazard assessment form in case I had to climb a ladder. The health and safety movement is not new, you can date it back to the Factories Act of 1833. But of late it's been gathering momentum, to the point where some say it's hampering our lives as well as protecting them. You used to be able to guarantee that Bonfire Night would go with a bang, but no longer. Sainsbury’s has banned the sale of fireworks. Others will follow, citing human injuries and animal fright. Footballers could soon be stopped from heading the ball, Scotland's in the lead, after a report suggested it might make them more prone to dementia. Oxford University Students’ Union has voted to stop applause at its meetings. Clapping can make people nervous, they say. It's easy to scoff, to say health and safety has gone too far. But this is also the week the preliminary report on the Grenfell disaster has been published, which some see as a powerful argument for saying it's not gone far enough...
‘[I’m] worried about authoritarians increasing the range of things that they tell us that we shouldn't be doing. And I'm concerned that young people who are forbidden from taking risks may turn up to lack the moral fiber that they need for life and that society needs them to have too’...
[On nudging] ‘What's interesting also is you look at public sentiment too, which I know is not the highest measure, you might say of morality but it's not a bad place to say, well, you get overwhelming support not only for changing the default on pensions amongst the people who opt in, but amongst the large majority of people who opt out. 75% still say I'm glad you set the default that way around, right.’"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of Voting - "Old tribal loyalties seem to be breaking down. When I first voted in the 60s, more than 80% strongly identified with a political party. Only half the voters in the last three elections voted the same way each time. A moral question here: is that good or bad? What is better, to vote for ideas or outcomes out of ideological fealty or utilitarian consequence? People are being urged to vote tactically, not so much for who we want, but against who we don't. Even some MPs are saying we should vote for their party's opponents. Is that right? When we're alone in the booth? Is it okay to vote for self interest? Or should we have the wider interests of society at heart? And why should we vote at all if we despise the lot of them? Is abstaining a moral position? After all, if you continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, things should get better, shouldn’t they? Or at least not as worse as they might have done"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of Genetics - "‘There's a philosophical thing called the expressivist objection to reproductive technologies, which is the view that if you make the decision to have children without certain characteristics, then you're somehow impugning or expressing a pejorative view of existing people who do have those characteristics. And I do not agree with that philosophical position, I do not think that one follows ineluctably from the other.’… ‘The parent could be consenting to the treatment, but the offspring hasn't consented, and nor have future generations that are affected by the genetic change. Do you agree with that?’...
‘None of us consented to be born, to be ourselves in the circumstances we were. To me it's a bit of a nonsense to expect or worry about the absence of consent from an as yet non existent person.’...
… ‘Private education, the ability of wealthy people to choose to buy an advantage for their child in the real world, I could see that being applied to the economics of genetics in the future. That you could have richer people choosing to give their children advantages. And that's going to shape society, isn't it?’
‘Well, any new technology is liable, especially medical technology, is liable to be taken up by the better off in the first instance. I mean, that's the fault of you know, general inequality, not the particular medical technique. But the truth is, is that in genome editing, especially novel forms of genome editing, it's much more important to do things well than to do them first. And rich people who are going to avail themselves of sort of, early versions of it, they may not actually be getting what they think they are.’"

Study shows how different types of college dormitories can affect grades - "some parents believe that apartment-style living spaces -- as opposed to the more traditional rooms lined down a single corridor -- will benefit their children. But many students find the apartments make them lonely, despite giving them more privacy and space... The black first-year students who lived in the corridor-style dormitories -- those with more opportunities to socialize among similar peers -- ended up having higher GPAs than those who were housed in the apartments, with an average 2.3 GPA compared to a 1.9.  The differences were less pronounced among white students, but those who lived in the traditional residence halls had higher GPAs -- an average 2.9 versus 2.8 for the apartment dwellers."

zoë on Twitter - "A 5-year-old girl in Vista sold hot cocoa and cookies to pay the lunch debt of 123 students"
"What is more heartwarming than a story about child labor helping 5 year olds pay off debt"

miss-andrie: I’m sure I’d feel the same way if I... - I Will Eat Your English - "Reminder that acne doesn't make you ugly. a heart full of hate does."
"I’m sure I’d feel the same way if I was a skinny white girl with blue eyes and blonde hair"
"this girl posted a picture featuring her cystic acne uncovered, something that’s extremely stigmatized, in order to make a statement and spread positivity.that’s it. that’s all she did.she didn’t say she was the face of people with acne or act like she has it harder than other people. she just shared a feature that i’m sure she’s been shamed for and has struggled to love.she’s literally 17-years-old and you’re 27. stop being a dick to kids when they haven’t done anything wrong."
If you're an anti-racist, everything a white person does is wrong

Why they Put Potatoes on Frederick the Great’s Grave - "Frederick Wilhelm, the Soldier King. He loved military parades and drills, and even tried to breed his own special regiment of tall soldiers called the Potsdam Giants (which also sounds like a terrific baseball team). He was so enthusiastic about breeding his own regiment of super-tall Europeans that he indicated to talent scouts that he was okay with kidnapping reluctant but tall men. When he was ill or particularly depressed he would order a couple hundred servicemen to parade through his bedroom until he felt better. By the time of his death one of every nine Prussian men were in the army, not including 40,000 mercenaries.In addition to a militaristic bent, Frederick Wilhelm also aimed to inject a decent work ethic into Prussia. He used to wander around Berlin with a cane beating people he thought were acting lazy. He would deliver his rallying cry, “Prussia needs you– now!” along with a sharp whack to the head. Then lecture the aggrieved about how they ought to be knitting, or that young men should be marching or taking guns apart and putting them back together instead of sitting around playing cards. If a minister spent more than an hour preaching on Sunday it was considered excessive and the preacher was fined. On one occasion a peasant saw him and ran the opposite direction, so Frederick Wilhelm chased him down and asked why he had run away. When the man replied he was afraid of the king, Frederick Wilhelm shouted “You should love me!” and proceeded to beat him senseless with a cane.On top of his belief that the whole of Prussia should be in a constant state of workaholism, Frederick Wilhelm was immensely frugal to the point of selling the royal yacht and firing all of his court musicians. Sometimes, if he thought a woman was dressed too extravagantly on the street, he would rip off her clothing. For kicks he wrote a manual for literally every single civil servant in Prussia, detailing what their exact duties were. Fun guy.He was also a terrific dad. While “the soldier king” never actually declared war on anyone (far too expensive), he wanted Prussia to be in a constant state of ready-to-fight. And so he groomed his son, Frederick, to grow up as a great military strategist... Each day young Prince Frederick was awoken by the sound of a cannon going off outside of his window. At the age of six the king gave him his own regiment of children to drill and order around... Schloss Sanssouci, was Frederick’s Summer Palace and ultimately the site of his burial. Frederick had never been particularly fond of his wife, and so instead elected to be buried alongside his trusty greyhounds, which he usually named after the King of France’s mistresses in order to anger the man."

Frederick the Great, potatoes and the art of rebranding - "Frederick II of Prussia (also known as Frederick the Great) was looking for ways to feed his nation and lower the price of bread. He proposed the potato as a suitable new addition to the nation’s diet.But peasants resisted growing it. They said that potatoes looked dirty and had no taste.So King Frederick decided to rebrand it as a royal vegetable, planted a royal field with potato plants and ordered his guards to protect them.Now here’s the real kicker — the guards were instructed to pretend not to notice in case local peasants tried to steal from the King’s garden.Before long, peasants started stealing these “royal potatoes” and growing them in secret. And boom, suddenly everyone was eating potatoes."

Slavoj Žižek: Human sexuality is innately perverse - "Many politically correct feminists aggressively dismiss Freud and psychoanalysis in general as outdated. I myself was recently attacked in Austria as an old white man who hasn’t read a book for 30 years. What they are effectively doing is repressing Freud’s basic insight, that of a split or divided subject and of the unconscious – the fact that people in general don’t know what they want and don’t want what they desire... sex “in itself” is not a domain of joyful pleasures distorted from outside by relations of domination and violence, the sadomasochist component is constitutive of it... human sexuality is in itself perverted, exposed to sadomasochist reversals and, specifically, to the mixture of reality and fantasy. Even when I am alone with my partner, my (sexual) interaction with him / her is inextricably intertwined with my fantasies, i.e., every sexual interaction is potentially structured like “masturbation with a real partner,” I use the flesh and body of my partner as a prop to enact my fantasies. We cannot reduce this gap between the bodily reality of my partner and the universe of fantasies to a distortion opened up by patriarchy and social domination or exploitation – the gap is here from the very beginning... as part of the sexual intercourse, one partner asks the other to go on talking, usually narrating something “dirty” – even when you hold in your hands the “thing itself” (the beloved partner’s naked body), this presence has to be supplemented by verbal fantasising... In December 2916, upon learning of the sudden death of Carrie Fischer, Steve Martin tweeted: “When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well.” There was an immediate backlash – Martin was accused of “objectivising” Fischer, of focusing on her physicality instead of her talents or her impact – one user on Twitter replied: “I think she apprised to be something higher than just being pretty. How do you want to be remembered?” So Martin deleted his tweet. The accusation seems to me ridiculous since Martin clearly locates his fascination with Fischer’s beauty into first encounters, and then immediately moves in “witty and bright” – the whole point of his tweet is that she was MORE than just beautiful. However, more important is that in our (and in all) societies there are historically-specific prevalent notions of beauty, and that is a woman (or a man!) outstandingly fits these criteria, s/he is noted as beautiful or (which is not always the same, of course) sexually attractive.To prohibit talking about this, noticing it, means suspending not just “objectivisation” but sexuality as such. The sad trauma of those who are “ugly” and find it difficult to get attractive sexual partners is thus not only not resolved but just ignored and in this way continues its subterranean work, leading to possible explosions of envy, frustration, etc. Incels are here much more honest: they openly admit their ugliness and try to enact it playfully as a positive feature."

Scar as a Motivational Guru


"Scar help me I'm slipping"
"Self care is cutting toxic people from your life"
"WHAT"
"YOU ARE SO VALID"
"what the heck"
"Good vibes only"
"This sparks joy"

Smee Bucket: "I hate these phrases so much and for some reason I always imagine Scar saying them?"

Links - 19th February 2020 (1)

About Us | ICHIRAN - "ICHIRAN created the “Five Originals,” five revolutionary elements of tonkotsu ramen.
1. Original Spicy Red Sauce
2. Aromatic Tonkotsu Broth
3. Solo Dining Booth
4. Order Form
5. Kae-Dama Ordering System"

Perth city centre 'It's ok to be white' stickers condemned - "Scotland's deputy first minister has condemned the appearance of stickers bearing the slogan "It's ok to be white" in Perth city centre... John Swinney, who is also MSP for Perthshire North, said the "atrocious" stickers had "no place in Perth or any other part of our country."  Police Scotland said it was "currently looking into the matter."  Posting on Twitter, Mr Swinney said: "We must stand together to resist this unacceptable material."... Local group Perth Against Racism said it has been contacted by local people who said the appearance of the stickers had made them feel unsafe.  One person told the group: "I am certainly worried now for my daughters who are not white but are from Perth.  "It's sickening and disgusting to know that people think like this.""
Anti-white racism moves across the pond
So much for white fragility


Giuliani-Style 'Shadow' Diplomacy: Par for the Course for U.S. Presidents - "Rudolph Giuliani didn’t hide the fact that he was investigating whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. Yet most media have treated Giuliani’s efforts as sneaky and suspect because he acted at the personal behest of the president and not as an official representative of the bureaucracy. The New York Times, for example, claimed Giuliani was conducting “a shadow foreign policy campaign.” In fact, presidents since George Washington have turned to individuals without formal government positions to pursue foreign policy interests and objectives. Private citizens, often acting as special envoys, have helped negotiate issues ranging from trade to war. While critics deride such efforts as “back-door,” “secret,” or “shadow” undertakings, many presidents have found it useful to dispatch people they trust, who can think and operate outside the constraints of official channels in handling delicate matters."

What Growing Up Privileged Taught Me About Being Malay - "any who judge you by your privilege is just as bad as any who judge the impoverished for being impoverished. To say that a problem is invalid because you can smell hints of upper class and therefore deem it inherently invalid is moral relativism and in general moral relativism stinks doo doo... When I answer their questions in English, and I mean grammatically correct, no-Malay-accent English, I think they see me as arrogant, like I can’t stoop down to their level to speak ‘normally’. I wish me speaking in English and them in Malay and both of us understanding each other would work. But it doesn’t. It’s like I’m not one of them... my cards aren’t gained, they’re swapped. Every Chinese friend I make is a family member ostracised. Ever article read, a conversation with a family member I won’t be having. Bukan seerti-seiras. It’s not commensurate... when I go to their house and I eat their food on their Ikea dining table, I think: I can’t pretend that we are as similar as families are supposed to be. I have more in common with my German neighbour who moved here than with my own aunties and uncles. I feel uncomfortable sitting in the homes of my relatives because they know I’m used to amenities they could never provide me. I see it in their faces when they serve me food on plastic plates... I don’t think my parents would be comfortable knowing how fully ‘Chinesed’ I am. Don’t you think your parents not being comfortable with your identity rings too many bells from too many gay movies? I don’t go home to a family where I suddenly belong again. My extended family never grew up with that ‘only Malay kid in class’ starter pack. I can’t talk to them about the things I normally think about: the shows I watch, hobbies I partake in, issues I care about or facts or news I just learnt. The cultural sphere that encircles every one of my extended family members shares no overlap with mine. None. It’s a Venn Diagram with no common middle, a mathematical concept which I have actually tried to bring up in conversation with abysmal results."

Tushar Ismail - "It’s an interesting world we live in. A young, probably new, writer writes - in an admittedly torturously clunky way, reminiscent of a B- GP essay, - about how the luck of his birth into wealth has alienated him from his family and his culture... we have a revered local playwright participating in the public condemnation of that writer. A playwright whose works, deservedly, are considered part of local literary canon. A playwright whose words young art-makers hang onto because his reputation and influence seem larger than life. Someone whom many fear contradicting lest it spell a quiet death of their careers. The playwright who might as well be judge, jury, and executioner in the court of public opinion.This playwright condemns the writer to the braying of the crowd. And not even with any sense of dignity, resorting at the very end to some low-hanging name-calling.This playwright who, with all his privilege, finds the time to write a Facebook post about how an Uber/Grab/Taxi driver’s mispronunciation of his name hit him with the force of all that his race and culture have suffered through time. A playwright who has privilege that many of us in the arts can’t even dream of smelling, and yet finds a way to leverage his victimhood instead.For shame, Alfian, you would lecture Chinese people over how they are privileged and how they should be aware of and use their privilege to provide a platform for the less privileged. And when an opportunity arose where you could have used your platform, your voice, your privilege to create a better conversation or even a teachable moment, what did you do? You used it for the likes, the shares, and the applause from the crowd.This has become about two writers. But at least one of them is aware of the privilege he possesses.It’s amusing that you’re still described online as some sort enfant terrible, when almost everything you’ve done has revealed you to be a run-of-the-mill populist."
Racism is a good way to become popular

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Marcus Samuelsson: My life in five dishes - "‘[Swedish meatballs] are just a very simple pork and beef, or pork, beef and veal, but any type of meat that you have left over, but you do need the pork because that's the best fat content. Little bit of bread crumbs, onions, and I like to always have water and with a little bit of oil right next to me just like that... when you have little bit of water and oil mixed in your hand, you can roll them in a much better way. So they don't stick.’
‘And is there anything particularly Swedish about the ingredients or the way you're making it?’
‘It speaks to me, freedom from a completely different time. What people don't understand or know, speak about poverty to me, because it's not somebody grinding some beautiful meat. It is whatever meat you have leftover at home. Everybody has some type of bread crumbs left at home. And people had access to an egg. Root vegetable was always available. Some stone fruit, pear or apples [for] the sweetness, they have to pick a number serve. So that's the cucumber. And we always had some type of a pork product laying around. So for me it’s really rustic poverty in the most delicious way. Most things we like comes out of poverty… I always like to sear them in a mix between oil and butter. Oil is really there for the heat and the butter is really there for the flavor. And all of this can be used up, in our gravy so you have a little bit of stock. It could be any stock'… ‘You’re adding some maple syrup to the gravy there’
‘Sweetness is very much part of Swedish cooking too... Way back that pork was cured. So super salty. So the sweetness sets, you know, balances that’"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Can you have your plate and eat it? - "‘Making packaging from food materials is not without its challenges. Like, how quickly do you really want a wrapper to biodegrade? Not so fast that it substantially reduces a product’s shelf life, perhaps. That could create even more food waste, which sort of defeats the point. And you wouldn't want this to happen:’
‘If you go on holiday. And you have some milk in the fridge and the packet is biodegrading with the milk in it and you come back and you've got a massive pool of stinky milk in your fridge because the package has already disappeared, not ideal. The responsibility really then is on the consumer to be on top of their food times and how that works. Or that we develop technology of a fridge or a storage unit that knows that and somehow gets rid of it for us.’…
When it comes to packaging that's not only made out of food ingredients, but actually designed to be eaten, there are other challenges too...
‘What do we do about the fact that people have touched it? And I think that's why it's perfect for fast food because it's coming from the person that's serving it, who’ll be wearing gloves to the person who's eating, who doesn't mind that they personally have touched it anyway’
‘But it doesn't work with shelf products does it?’
‘Very difficult with shelf products, unless they are then of course put in another package. So it's the edible packet of something or other that's then in a box.’
‘Do you think that the consumer does want to eat the wrapping? I mean it interferes with a dish, right? You've eaten your burger? Do you really want to eat something else that tastes quite bland like some of these products probably do. It's adding calories, isn't it? It's changing the flavor of a dish.’
‘That's the big concern is that if you are having a drink, and then you're being asked to eat the bottle of the drink’
‘Just sounds exhausting’
‘Just a lot of eating going on. And you might be thirsty but not hungry. So what do you do with the edible membrane and you throw it away? But where do you throw it away? Because if you are thinking about compostability, are there special bins that you are going to put around places that have like a worming, little worm farm, so they can eat. Know, what happens if it doesn't go there? Do we start to create the bubonic plague you know, where we suddenly, our roads are full of decomposting food matter?’
The plate I ate earlier was made out of wheat bran, a byproduct of milling which is sometimes thrown away... this and the fact it decomposes quickly and won’t clog up landfill are what matters. The plates being edible, she says is simply a marketing tool. Each plate has 193 calories in it
‘And that's why we are not encouraging people to eat the plate. If you eat one plate, it's 100 grams of pure starch. You know it will have effect on your body. I don't think it will be really wise’...
‘In case you've been wondering what happens when you use a bowl made of wheat bran to eat your soup’
‘You have like 20 minutes to eat it. Otherwise it starts to leak. With different types of sauces it's not a huge problem. Of course after 30 minutes, one hour it starts to be soggy and the parts of the wheat bran go into the food’"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Can palm oil be sustainable? - "‘Why did palm oil become so popular?’
‘In the first place, it's odorless, it's very stable, it's resistant to high temperatures. And because the oil palm is such a productive crop, you're able to sell it very cheaply… It depends on what kind of foodstuffs you're talking about. But for things like peanut butter or chocolate spread, it  gives you that smooth, creamy consistency that a lot of consumers like’…
‘Palm oil might well be the world's most popular vegetable oil, but it's also the most controversial. Critics have a long list of complaints that ranged from destroying rain forests, leaving orang utans stranded or worse dead to stealing indigenous land and human rights abuses. And yet, many see it as a tool to lift people out of poverty. The debate has become incredibly polarized.’… ‘Yet WWF isn't calling for a boycott.’
‘No, there's never a simple answer to all these questions. Fundamentally states need to develop. So we want to see a balanced approach to whereas agriculture and whereas forestry, and palm oil is a super crop, it has extremely high yield. And it lasts for 25 years as a single plant. So if you boycott, you would have to replace the oil palm plantations with another crop, which is less high yielding, which means you need a bigger area for the same volume of palm oil’
‘Glyn’s not wrong. Studies show that palm oil accounts for 35% of the world's edible oil market, but only takes up 6% of the land use for oil crops. If we were to switch to an alternative like sunflower, we'd need at least five and a half times more land to produce the same amount. So experts like Glyn feel there's only one solution: ensure it's grown in a way that's fair to farmers, and that doesn't cause any harm to the environment. And that's what the northeastern corner of Borneo is trying to achieve. In a world first, the local government of Sabah wants to ensure all their palm oil is produced sustainably, and they want to do it by 2025. It's an ambitious goal but not without its financial incentives. Malaysia is having to compete with countries like Indonesia, who’ve ramped up their production in recent years. And as a result, the price of palm oil here has nearly halved in the last decade. The hope is that by doing this, it will reposition Malaysia and give this valuable commodity a unique selling point... whilst many large plantations are already on board, a lot of smallholders are not’...
‘We know Unilever uses RSPO certified palm oil. And yet, I can't see your label anywhere on these products. And I wondered, why’
‘Our members have requested the option to either put it on the pack or put it on their website as a corporate messaging. And in this case, they've obviously chosen not to put it on pack. And the reason is, if you look at the pack, there's lots of messages on it, and lots of ingredients. So if they were to label it, they would label maybe sustainable peanut or sustainable eggs, rather than having people focus that there's palm oil in it. And palm oil has a negative impression for many people. So a lot of companies are trying to downplay the fact that they have palm oil in their product.’...
‘Doesn’t that just not kind of defeat the object? Because as a consumer, I don't want to go on a website.’"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Monday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "Fraudulent returns in fashion are probably less than 2%. I think there's a misconception about fraud vs say serial returners. Serial returners can actually turn out to be the most profitable customers, because they're returning so much over time that they actually get to understand their size, fit and shape"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Tuesday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "'Facebook and Google enjoy the lion's share of online ads because of their immense reach, and their ability to deliver exactly the kinds of viewers, readers that the advertisers want, but all that falls to pieces if those readers don't actually exist. Facebook's own numbers suggest that 11% of all its accounts are fake'...
'They do break numbers down into duplicate accounts and false accounts which are slightly different and that all presupposes that they're accurately making estimates. Once a year Facebook provides estimates in their securities filings. And those numbers tend to go up over time, which either means there are more duplicates and false accounts, or they're just getting better at identifying that'
‘I think people will be surprised at how easy it is to get fake accounts, the Financial Times just did a little bit of work, where it showed that you could buy 50 fake accounts for $25. These things are easy to get.’…
‘How many people have have a Facebook account for their cat. You know, how many people, you know, people who unfortunately have passed away and didn't alert Facebook that you know, the person has passed away, and those are still included in the user numbers.’"

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Links - 18th February 2020 (Democrats in the US)

Nancy Pelosi 'pre-ripped' pages of Trump's SOTU speech, video shows - "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently made tiny tears in her copy of President Trump’s State of the Union address — so that her speech-ripping moment could go off without a hitch."

2020 Democrats Already Plan to Use Executive Authority - The Atlantic - "as they confront the possibility that their grand progressive plans could stall out on Capitol Hill, several of the party’s past and present White House contenders have signaled that they share Trump’s expansive view of presidential authority and his impatience with—if not his outright disregard for—the legislative branch. And that has caused alarm among Democrats who don’t want their party to mimic a man who famously declared, “I alone can fix it.” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is reportedly considering dozens of executive orders he could sign to go around Congress, and he’s already promised to implement major parts of his immigration plan unilaterally if it stalls on Capitol Hill. Before dropping out of the race late last year, Senator Kamala Harris of California vowed to enact her gun-control agenda herself if Congress didn’t act within 100 days of her inauguration. Even former Vice President Joe Biden, who has campaigned as a legislative consensus-builder and has been dismissive of his rivals’ plans to circumvent Congress, has proposed an aggressive use of executive orders.This embrace of executive authority has disappointed, but not surprised, advocates who want to reverse a decades-long shift in power from a largely dysfunctional legislative branch to an ever more muscular executive. “Executive-branch circumvention of Congress is what everyone expects by now,” says Philip Wallach, a senior fellow in governance at R Street, a libertarian think tank. It has been a decade since Congress last enacted a major new policy program, aside from a few big tax cuts and spending bills... Congress is at fault too. Over the years, lawmakers have written overly broad laws that have given executive agencies wide latitude to interpret and implement them as they see fit, argues Elizabeth Goitein, the director of the liberty-and-national-security program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a left-leaning think tank. Many disputes over such laws end up in the courts, leading to years of litigation, as has been the case with the Affordable Care Act, for example. “Congress has essentially abdicated the job of lawmaking and has left that to the president”... Peters, who noted that Obama acted on immigration only after he had made an extensive effort to pass a bill on Capitol Hill, found it particularly galling that Warren planned to cancel such a large amount of student debt before even trying to build legislative support as president. “Whatever happened to the first 100 days?” he asked. “Enough of the dictators, whether they’re left or right. That’s not what this country is about.”... Khanna noted that although the laws Obama passed through Congress have largely survived, Trump has reversed much of the progressive policy his predecessor enacted through executive action and by chipping away at regulations. “If you want the policy to stand the test of time, it usually means the legislative branch”"

Liz Warren Finishes In 5th Place In Pocahontas County, Iowa

Elizabeth Warren insists new taxes on billionaires, not middle class, will fund Medicare for All - ""The American people have to be able to trust whoever our party nominates to take on Donald Trump to be straight with them about health care. Senator Warren said tonight that her single payer plan won’t raise taxes on anyone but billionaires, but that’s simply not true," Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. "Senator Warren has spent months dodging questions about how she'd need to raise taxes on the American middle class in order to pay for her single payer health care plan, and on Friday she confirmed why: because her plan would." The Warren campaign estimates the cost of Medicare for All to the federal government would be $20 trillion over 10 years, $14 trillion less than an estimate left-of-center Urban Institute released in October. Under pressure to specify how she would cover the funding gap without a middle-class tax increase, the senator floated raising $20 trillion in taxes on employers, financial firms, giant corporations, and the top 1% of earners, including raising $2.3 trillion by cracking down on tax evasion. Critics, however, note employer-based taxes tend to be passed on to workers in the form of lower wages. New financial transactions and capital gains taxes would also affect people other than billionaires.  Biden and his campaign, as well as a slew of other Democratic presidential candidates, have bashed Warren for supporting Medicare for All and her proposal to pay for it"

Being Classically Feminine - Posts - Elizabeth Warren: "You deserve better. Dump the guy who ghosted you, convince the roommate to let you adopt a dog, and I'll take care of canceling your student loan debt!"
"The absolute state of modern political discourse."
At first I thought this was satire

Elizabeth Warren wants transgender child to pick education secretary - The Post Millennial - "HBO late-night host Bill Maher shredded Elizabeth Warren’s latest woke antics as “crazy stuff,” asking if she’s running for president of the United States or “running for president of Berkeley.” The liberal comedian’s well-deserved rebuke of Warren shows that her identity politics obsession is reaching such absurd levels that even her own side is rolling their eyes.The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate faces this widespread mockery after stating on Jan. 30 that she would delegate her selection of education secretary to a transgender child. Yes, seriously: This sounds like a parody headline in the Onion or the Babylon Bee, but it’s actually real... Yes, Warren is slipping in the polls, and it’s not exactly shocking to see her grasping at straws as her bid for the White House looks increasingly bleak. But to literally promise that you will outsource your cabinet selection to children is a shockingly unserious position for the supposed “policy wonk” candidate to take."

How the fall of Elizabeth Warren has shaken up the 2020 race - "For the first time since Warren began her steady climb, it seems like a majority of Democratic primary voters currently prefers a moderate.Wasn't this the year that Democrats were going to make a decisive turn to the left?... The phenomenal national and early-state rise of Buttigieg, an opponent of Medicare-for-all, seems to have come entirely at the expense of Warren. Like Biden, Buttigieg is loathed by the left-wing Twitterati and has almost no support from younger Democrats despite his ostentatious effort to position himself as the vanguard of a new generation... Presiding toothily over all of this chaos is Biden, the man who remains the race's frontrunner. Despite his terrifyingly incoherent debate performances, his inability to come up with a convincing one-sentence explanation of the Hunter Biden scandal, and his almost total lack of appeal to anyone under the age of 45, the former vice president is sitting just about where he was from the get-go in national polling: in first place, with a clear path to the nomination."

How Pete Buttigieg has drawn the fury of the online left - "They consider his low standing with black and Hispanic voters to be disqualifying, and pejoratively refer to him as "Mayo Pete" for his overwhelmingly white supporters. As a result, his candidacy, in their view, is akin to the vanity project of an overly ambitious, privileged white man... Online, criticism of Buttigieg seems to be snowballing from questioning his moderation to suggesting that he is a Trojan Horse. His harshest critics pin him with the worst of descriptors, including one recently who called him "racist, arrogant, dangerous, a warmonger and not qualified to be president."... The kind of attacks that have been directed at Buttigieg have puzzled the candidate as well as his aides. And as they have gone from the internet to real life, including a wave of new protests outside of his high dollar fundraisers."It is a little strange, because I think that I broadly share a lot of the same values and goals," Buttigieg told The Washington Post's Bob Costa in an interview when asked if the protests bother him. "It's a little hard to have a conversation with them, so I don't know for sure." Buttigieg senior adviser and communications director Lis Smith is often on the front lines of batting down what she calls "bad faith" attacks against Buttigieg on social media."It's bizarre given that Pete is the literal polar opposite of Trump- in words, deeds, values, experience, demeanor- but he melts people's brains in the same way and completely blocks out the sun for competitors similarly"... The "brain-melting" power of Buttigieg might also be attributable to the very thing that he touts as an asset: his age.Buttigieg has pitched himself as the candidate of a younger generation. But among some people in that generation, his current political positioning has filled them first with disappointment, then with rage... Uhl cited former President Barack Obama as an example of a candidate who represented generational change and who he characterized as a crusader for systemic change to the political system.But presented with the argument that some of Obama's policies would be considered more moderate than Buttigieg's in today's Democratic Party, Uhl paused... "They're the meanest," Miller said. "Within the gay community, unfortunately, I think it's a lot of resentment that Pete does not represent the gay ideal -- the pre-conceived notions about what a gay President would act like.""The idea that he's a closet Republican is absurd, but I think because of his nature as a mild-mannered, traditional-acting religious man, that it's easier to demean him as being Republican lite"... for others, the part of Buttigieg's identity that is the most salient is not that he is gay, but that he is white... Throughout the Trump presidency Democrats have insisted that removing him from office is a top priority, but the #neverPete sentiment is testing that."
Maybe he should play the homophobia card. But since he's white that will probably backfire. Too bad he's not trans

Democratic Progressives, Centrists Both Committing Suicide - "From the standpoint of its activist base, the Democratic Party is a hidebound claque of traditionalists who are consistently outmaneuvered by a more disciplined and ruthless opposition. From the standpoint of its elected officials, their party is being hijacked by ideological fanatics sent on a political suicide mission.Recent events suggest the depressing conclusion that both indictments are essentially true... After McConnell blockaded all judicial nominations in Obama’s second term, Democrats changed the rule to allow confirmations of judicial nominations below the Supreme Court with a majority. Republicans would have done the same — and in fact did so later on, when they eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court picks, too. Now Democrats are actually debating whether they should reinstitute the judicial filibuster if they win a majority... the energies of the progressive base have been focused on forcing presidential candidates to endorse measures that are deeply unpopular, stand no chance of enactment, or both... decriminalizing immigration laws, giving health-care subsidies to undocumented immigrants, and replacing private insurance with Medicare are ideas that sound bad to most Americans... NPR’s data shows that letting people “choose between a national health insurance program or their own private health insurance” is a 70 percent issue, while a Medicare expansion “that replaces private health insurance” is a 41 percent issue. And that is without accounting either for the large tax increases that would be needed to finance it or the effect of a massive countermobilization by insurers and the entire medical industry. These risks are all the more difficult to fathom given the much safer alternative available to candidates: a Medicare expansion plan that could be financed exclusively by taxing the rich and which would leave employer insurance in place. Despite these grim numbers, activists have pressured leading Democratic candidates to put themselves on the wrong side of public opinion. Just 27 percent of the public supports decriminalization of the border, and 33 percent favors the extension of health-insurance benefits to undocumented immigrants, yet during the second Democratic debate, the latter position was endorsed by every candidate onstage."

Andrew Sullivan: Democrats Are in a Bubble on Immigration - "Until now, many have denied that any crisis existed at all. They have, in fact, denied that the highest levels of mass immigration since the Bush years are an issue at all. As Byron York has noted, Speaker Pelosi called the arrival of close to a million asylum seekers “a fake crisis”; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that hundreds of thousands of men, women, and many children, overwhelming any attempt to process them with the current resources, was “a crisis that does not exist.” This included many Never-Trumpers, like Bill Kristol (“a fake crisis”), and Max Boot (“a faux crisis”). The editors of the Washington Post denied the facts reported by their own Nick Miroff, claiming it was “a make-believe crisis.”None of these people will admit they were gravely mistaken, or that their denial and delay in acting clearly exacerbated the situation... The House passed a Senate bill to spend $4.6 billion to relieve the humanitarian crisis and tackle some of the structural inadequacies of the current failed system. The left wing of the Democratic caucus wanted to insist on various restrictions on the use of the $4.6 billion, primarily to ensure that none of it is earmarked (God forbid) for enforcement of the law... somehow the courts have decided that you qualify for asylum if there is simply widespread crime or violence where you live, and Ramirez was also going to use that argument as well. A government need not persecute you; you just have to experience an unsafe environment that your government is failing to suppress. This so expands the idea of asylum, in my view, as to render it meaningless.Courts have also expanded asylum to include domestic violence, determining that women in abusive relationships are a “particular social group” and thereby qualify. In other words, every woman on the planet who has experienced domestic abuse can now come to America and claim asylum. Also everyone on the planet who doesn’t live in a stable, orderly, low-crime society. Literally billions of human beings now have the right to asylum in America. As climate change worsens, more will rush to claim it. All they have to do is show up... a big majority of the candidates in the Democratic debates also want to remove the grounds for detention at all, by repealing the 1929 law that made illegal entry a criminal offense and turning it into a civil one. And almost all of them said that if illegal immigrants do not commit a crime once they’re in the U.S., they should be allowed to become citizens.How, I ask, is that not practically open borders?... only 44 percent actually turn up for their hearings; and those who do show up and whose claims nonetheless fail can simply walk out of the court and know they probably won’t be deported in the foreseeable future. Immigration and Customs Enforcement forcibly removed 256,086 people in 2018, 57 percent of whom had committed crimes since they arrived in the U.S. So that’s an annual removal rate of 2 percent of the total undocumented population of around 12 million. That means that for 98 percent of undocumented aliens, in any given year, no consequences will follow for crossing the border without papers. At the debates this week, many Democratic candidates argued that the 43 percent of deportees who had no criminal record in America should not have been expelled at all and been put instead on a path to citizenship. So that would reduce the annual removal rate of illegal immigrants to a little more than 1 percent per year. In terms of enforcement of the immigration laws, this is a joke. It renders the distinction between a citizen and a noncitizen close to meaningless. None of this reality was allowed to intervene in the Democratic debates this week. At one point, one moderator tellingly spoke about Obama’s record of deporting ” 3 million Americans.” In that bubble, there were no negatives to mass immigration at all, and no concern for existing American citizens’ interests in not having their wages suppressed through this competition. There was no concession that child separation and “metering” at the border to slow the crush were both innovated by Obama, trying to manage an overwhelmed system. Candidates vied with each other to speak in Spanish. Every single one proposed amnesty for all those currently undocumented in the U.S., except for criminals. Every single one opposes a wall. There was unanimous support for providing undocumented immigrants immediately with free health care. There was no admission that Congress needed to tighten asylum law. There was no concern that the Flores decision had massively incentivized bringing children to game the system, leaving so many vulnerable to untold horrors on a journey no child should ever be forced to make. What emerged was their core message to the world: Get here without papers and you’ll receive humane treatment while you’re processed, you’ll never be detained, you’ll get work permits immediately, and you’ll have access to publicly funded health care and a path to citizenship if you don’t commit a crime. This amounts to an open invitation to anyone on the planet to just show up and cross the border. The worst that can happen is you get denied asylum by a judge, in which case you can just disappear and there’s a 1 percent chance that you’ll be caught in a given year. Who wouldn’t take those odds? This is in a new century when the U.S. is trying to absorb the largest wave of new immigrants in our entire history, and when the percentage of the population that is foreign-born is also near a historic peak. It is also a time when mass immigration from the developing world has destabilized liberal democracies across the West, is bringing illiberal, anti-immigration regimes to power across Europe, and was the single biggest reason why Donald Trump is president... It is not strange that legal immigrants — who have often spent years and thousands of dollars to play by the rules — might be opposed to others’ jumping the line. It is not strange that a hefty proportion of Latino legal immigrants oppose illegal immigration — they are often the most directly affected by new, illegal competition, which drives down their wages. I’m told that I’m a white supremacist for believing in borders, nation-states, and a reduction in legal immigration to slow the pace of this country’s demographic revolution. But I support this because I want a more successful integration and Americanization of immigrants, a better future for skilled immigrants, and I want to weaken the populist and indeed racist movements that have taken the West by storm in the past few years. It’s because I loathe white supremacy that I favor moderation in this area. When I’m told only white racists favor restrictionism, I note how the Mexican people are more opposed to illegal immigration than Americans: In a new poll, 61.5 percent of Mexicans oppose the entry of undocumented migrants, period; 44 percent believe that Mexico should remove any undocumented alien immediately. Are Mexicans now white supremacists too? That hostility to illegal immigration may even explain why Trump’s threat to put tariffs on Mexico if it didn’t crack down may well have worked. Since Trump’s bluster, the numbers have measurably declined — and the crackdown is popular in Mexico. I can also note that most countries outside Western Europe have strict immigration control and feel no need to apologize for it. Are the Japanese and Chinese “white supremacists”? Please. Do they want to sustain their own culture and national identity? Sure. Is that now the equivalent of the KKK?"

Democrats must address the roots of our asylum crisis — or give Trump the advantage - The Washington Post - "Given President Trump’s mean-spirited and often bigoted attitudes on immigration, it pains me to say that he is right that the United States faces a crisis with its asylum system... Since 2014, the flow of asylum seekers into the United States has skyrocketed... If these trends persist, 1 percent of all Guatemalans and Hondurans will have tried to migrate to the United States this year... It is also clear that the rules surrounding asylum are vague, too lax and being gamed. The initial step for many asylum seekers is to convince officers that they have a “credible fear” of persecution in their home countries, and 76 percent meet the criteria. Some applicants for asylum have suspiciously similar stories, using identical phrases. Many simply use the system to enter the United States and then melt into the shadows or gain a work permit while their application is pending. As a senior Homeland Security Department official said in April, “the system is on fire.”The United States has an elaborate immigration system that takes in about 1 million people legally every year. Asylum is meant to be granted to a small number of people in extreme circumstances — not as a substitute for the process of immigration itself. Yet the two have gotten mixed up... the idea of a right to asylum is a relatively recent one, dating to the early years of the Cold War... It was intended to help the victims of totalitarian regimes like Hitler’s and Stalin’s. This standard has gotten broader and broader over the years, including threats of gang warfare and domestic violence.    These looser criteria, coupled with the reality that it is a safe way to enter the United States, have made the asylum system easy to abuse. Applications from Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans have surged even though the murder rate in their countries has been cut in half. More broadly, hundreds of millions of people around the world who live in poor, unstable regions where threats of violence abound could apply for asylum. Do they all have the legal right to enter the United States through a back door, bypassing the normal immigration process?... the loophole that allows applicants to work while their claim is pending has simply created perverse incentives."

Opinion | Twitter Isn’t Real Life (if You’re a Democrat) - The New York Times - "It’s not just that Twitter traffic doesn’t appear to reflect the priorities of the Democratic electorate. Spending too much time on the platform can be actively misleading about the state of the party, as you can see in the polling surge of Joe Biden, a man despised by the online left. Biden has fewer Twitter followers than the first-term congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and less than half as many as Senator Bernie Sanders.He’s utterly at odds with the style of progressive politics that dominates the internet, failing to properly apologize for touching women in ways that made them uncomfortable, offering half measures on climate change, and praising “my Republican friends in the House and Senate.” But among Democratic voters, he is leading the field by double digits. In some ways the digital disconnect is surprising. The Democratic Party has more young voters than Republicans do, and young people are more likely to be on Twitter. The party is supposed to be the more tech savvy one — it was progressive Democrats who coined the word “netroots.” But Democrats are also far more heterogeneous than Republicans in terms of both identity and ideology"

Democrats Would Better Off Ditching the Progressives on Twitter - "Twitter is like catnip to journalists, who are some of its heaviest users. Too many journalists assume what’s raging on Twitter at the moment is also what bothers the average American, which makes it all too easy to craft misleading stories that, in fact, represent only small contingents of motivated keyboard warriors.This is a bipartisan problem, but in the wake of the 2018 midterm elections, its impact is being felt more acutely by Democrats. Some observers have noted the risk that, now that they’ve gained the majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats will repeat with their progressive wing the mistakes the Republicans made with their Tea Party activists and let the radicals rule... radical policy agendas are effective platforms in primary battles, but “bold progressive stands may be risky in general elections.” Stanford political scientist Andrew Hall “found that when a more extreme candidate beats a moderate in the primary the party’s general-election vote share decreases on average by approximately 9—13 percentage points, and the probability that the party wins the seat decreases by 35—54 percentage points.” But voters seem to love the extremists anyway. As University of Pennsylvania political scientist Yphtach Lelkes told Edsall, “Partisans are reacting most favorably toward ideological extremists.”... while less than half of Democrats who are active on social media believed political correctness is a problem in the U.S., 70 percent of other Democrats did. As well, “recent polls show that a majority of Democrats would rather see the party become more moderate than move leftward, even as progressives clamor for a Green New Deal or Medicare for all.” Political polarization has been a growing problem for years, and finding a way for either party to talk to moderate voters would require a serious shift in tone and rhetoric."

‘Can Any of These People Beat Trump?’ - "The instincts that guide Bennet—being pragmatic, deliberative, restrained—are what many Americans say are precisely what’s needed to run the White House. But now, perhaps more than ever, those instincts are the opposite of what’s needed to win the White House... All the more irksome to Bennet is the fact that five of his fellow senators are staring back at him from beneath the bright lights; he is the only member of the "world’s greatest deliberative body" seeking a promotion who is excluded from the festivities. Not only that, but the one whose brand of campaigning disturbs him the most—Warren, a Massachusetts populist—is continuing to evade questions about how she would pay for a "Medicare for All" program estimated to cost tens of trillions of dollars. Bennet predicted this would happen, and now, leaning forward in his seat, he shakes his head at Warren’s refusal to acknowledge her intent to raise taxes on working- and middle-class Americans. “At least Bernie’s been honest about it,” Bennet says. "The general election is too late for us to find out how Elizabeth is going to pay for these things." At one point, when pressed by the moderators to give a yes-or-no answer to that question, Warren dodges yet again—and Bennet lets escape an audible groan. The Massachusetts senator says she knows what voters care about, having hosted scores of town hall meetings, visited 27 states and taken 70,000 selfies, “which must be the new measure of democracy,” she quips. Bennet falls back into the couch. “I hope not,” he sighs... Bennet, like many Democrats, is annoyed with what they see as O’Rourke’s habit of staking out irrational policy positions for the sake of going viral, saddling the party and its eventual nominee with baggage that won’t easily be shed. The most recent example was O’Rourke pledging at an LGBTQ forum to strip the tax-exempt status of churches that refuse to marry same-sex couples, a flagrantly unconstitutional idea with the potential to alienate white conservatives and black liberals alike. But Bennet is still hung up on O’Rourke’s line from the last presidential debate: “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” A few days after that debate, Bennet recalls, he was meeting with a group of blue-collar labor Democrats in New Hampshire. The group’s leader asked him, “Why are you talking about taking our guns?” When Bennet responded it was just one person, the man pushed back. Because nobody else on the stage challenged O’Rourke, the man said, they were perceived as agreeing with his stance... The discussion surrounding guns, Bennet fears, is symptomatic of a broader illness in today’s political climate. “This is becoming a competition to out-do each other in the Twitterverse, instead of actually addressing the problem”... Noting how he’s held 10 years’ worth of town hall meetings and talked with thousands of gun-control activists, he says “90 percent of them” are focused on passing universal background checks—a readily attainable goal that has enormous public support. But now, because of the confiscation talk, “Trump can just say, ‘They’re all going to take your guns away’”... the president will continue to scare moderates and independents with his erratic behavior. But Bennet wonders if Democrats might scare them even more—what with talk of seizing guns, banning fracking, guaranteeing health coverage to undocumented immigrants, raising taxes across the board, imposing political litmus tests on churches, and of course, eliminating private insurance for more than 150 million people... What gets under Bennet’s skin, as he watches the debate unfold, is how Warren and Sanders implicitly cast their rivals as timid or beholden to the status quo because of fundamental policy disagreements"

The Democrats’ Hypocrisy on Syria - "the Democratic presidential candidates vied with one another to offer the harshest condemnation of President Donald Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria... if Trump’s unilateral, non-negotiated withdrawal from northern Syria makes it harder for Buttigieg to look America’s Afghan allies in the eye, the same might be said of the unilateral, non-negotiated withdrawal that Buttigieg and the other leading Democratic candidates are proposing in Afghanistan itself... experts warn that if the United States withdraws its troops from Afghanistan in the absence of a peace agreement, Afghanistan will suffer a fate remarkably similar to what is happening in northern Syria... The best argument for a rapid, unconditional American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is also the harshest. It’s that Afghanistan is doomed either way... The trauma of America’s post-9/11 wars, and the reduction in America’s resources, is pushing Democrats toward policies of retrenchment that can only be coherently defended in the language of realism, a language few Democrats speak. And because they don’t speak it, the Democratic candidates for president had better hope that no enterprising moderator asks them about Afghanistan and Syria at the same time."

Imani Gandy on Twitter - "Democrats don’t need trump voters to win. We need white progressives and people of color. And we need to ensure people of color can actually vote. But this incessant need to chase white trump voters like fucking Ahab chasing that whale is inane."
No wonder Corbyn won in the UK
Apparently all "people of color" vote the same way


How Did the Democrats Step on This Rake? Again? - "when The Education of Brett Kavanaugh hit the bookstores, Democrats were backing away from the impeachment call, and a Washington Post analysis ruefully noted that the Republicans had turned the Kavanaugh rematch in their favor.How did the Democrats step on this rake?The left’s Kavanaugh Derangement Syndrome is a highly combustible mixture of two things: anxiety and anger over the rightward shift of the Supreme Court—particularly over the fate of Roe v. Wade—and the #MeToo movement with its “Believe Women” creed and its tendency to treat the lives of women and girls in modern-day America as a hellscape of sexual abuse, violence, and misogyny. As the two converged, it made total sense that Kavanaugh, the man who (from this perspective) was likely to consign American women to reproductive slavery, should be an actual abuser of women as well... we’re still where we were after the New Yorker story: Some people at Yale had heard rumors (and tried to recall them in an intensely political environment in which there was a strong momentum to out Kavanaugh as a sexual predator). Add Stier’s account, and we get another alleged episode of drunken delinquency in which it’s not even clear whether Kavanaugh is meant to be a perpetrator or a fellow victim of other male students.It’s notable that despite the clamor for stories of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh, no other even plausible stories emerged. (Unless you count Julie Swetnick, who first said that Kavanaugh and Judge took part in gang rapes of drugged teenage girls in high school, then changed her story to say that they attended parties where such rapes happened but may not have participated, and named several corroborating witnesses who were either dead or unreachable.) No remotely credible person has accused Kavanaugh of any impropriety in his adult life. Even Pogrebin and Kelly, who believe that Kavanaugh mistreated Ford and Ramirez in his youth, conclude that “over the next thirty-five years [he] became a better person.” Indeed, the great irony of this story is the utter mismatch between Kavanaugh the bogeyman of the left—the misogynistic predator in both personal and political life—and Kavanaugh the real person... He has been praised by no less a feminist and progressive icon than fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Indeed, he’s not even a reliable conservative on the high court when it comes to abortion-related issues"

Democrats Faked Online Push to Outlaw Alcohol in Alabama Race - The New York Times - "The “Dry Alabama” Facebook page, illustrated with stark images of car wrecks and videos of families ruined by drink, had a blunt message: Alcohol is the devil’s work, and the state should ban it entirely.Along with a companion Twitter feed, the Facebook page appeared to be the work of Baptist teetotalers who supported the Republican, Roy S. Moore, in the 2017 Alabama Senate race. “Pray for Roy Moore,” one tweet exhorted.In fact, the Dry Alabama campaign, not previously reported, was the stealth creation of progressive Democrats who were out to defeat Mr. Moore — the second such secret effort to be unmasked... Matt Osborne, a veteran progressive activist who worked on the project, said he hoped that such deceptive tactics would someday be banned from American politics. But in the meantime, he said, he believes that Republicans are using such trickery and that Democrats cannot unilaterally give it up... “You have a moral imperative to do this — to do whatever it takes.”... The New York Times reported last month on a separate project that used its own bogus conservative Facebook page and sent a horde of Russian-looking Twitter accounts to follow Mr. Moore’s to make it appear as if he enjoyed Russian support."
SPOING!

Are Democrats the Party of Science? Not Really. - "in the modern liberal mind, whether someone can be called a science-denier has taken on a scope limited to a small subset of scientific concepts: climate change and evolution... Take homeopathy, for example...  more than a quarter of Americans continue to believe in its efficacy, liberals being the worst offenders. Until last year, the Green Party even promoted homeopathy by name in its official platform. In May, it replaced that endorsement with the phrase “alternative health care approaches,” which is really just a less precise way to promote the same debunked nonsense with the added benefit of plausible deniability... Selling snake oil on the same shelf as real drugs betrays that trust. This is a consumer protection issue if there ever was one. Democrats should be all over it.The liberal obsession with things that are “natural” or “organic” often also clashes with science. That conflict has come to a boil over one of the most urgent global issues: food. I suspect what liberals are really after by using those terms is “healthy.” The trouble is that “natural” is decidedly not a synonym for “healthy.” Arsenic is natural. Formaldehyde is natural. Conversely, just because a product is processed, packaged, genetically modified, and full of preservatives does not mean it is unhealthy... Based on reviews of more than 900 studies, every major health organization in the world, from The World Health Organization to the National Academy of Sciences, has confidently declared GMOs safe to eat. This is about as clear-cut as things get... the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest general science society in the world, released a statement saying that “legally mandating such a label can only serve to mislead and falsely alarm consumers.” It also pointed out that in order to receive regulatory approval in the United States, each new GM crop is subjected to such rigorous analysis that they are, as a whole, “the most extensively tested crops ever added to our food supply.” Sure, but let’s stick a warning label on them anyway. Makes sense... As monumental as these failures of scientific literacy have been, perhaps the most damaging and confounding has been the left’s quixotic fight against nuclear power. There is a Shakespearean quality in the fact that one of the environmental movement’s biggest victories in the past 50 years—crippling the expansion of nuclear power—has actually done irreparable harm to the environment. On second thought, scratch the Shakespeare reference. It’s more like an episode of Black Mirror... Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to believe that astrology is scientific rather than the thoroughly debunked medieval hokum that it is."

CBP Chief: Democrat Rhetoric Responsible For ‘Fueling’ Terror Attack On ICE Facility - "Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan directly pointed to the rhetoric coming from the Democratic Party as being responsible for Saturday’s far-left terrorist attack on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Tacoma, Washington... “[The attacker’s] manifesto repeatedly referred to ICE and the holding centers as ‘concentration camps,’ a comparison pushed by AOC,” Ingraham said. “Not one 2020 Dem or mainstream media organization thought to mention that link, that same verbiage, none of it.”"

Pressley: Only the 'right' voices are welcome to speak - "“If you’re not prepared to come to that table and represent that voice, don’t come, because we don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.”— Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)Attention, people of color — Rep. Ayanna Pressley has a message for you: Stop being the wrong kind of “black.”  Same to you Hispanic people, some of whom apparently don’t know the right way to be “brown.” Your elected representative in Congress  says you’re not welcome at the political table — so sit down and shut up... When I read a legal opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, or see Alveda King — Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece — on Fox News, or hear a speech by Sen. Marco Rubio, I don’t judge their blackness or brownness because, well, unlike Rep. Pressley, I’m not a racist.But if I ever did go on national TV and make a statement even close to hers, I guarantee you’d read about it in the Boston Globe-Democrat. But Google Rep. Pressley’s offensive phrase and you’ll find — it never made the paper...  I think Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is onto something when she says Pressley is “wrong to tell Americans that any individual seat at the table is only valuable, only legitimate if that person espouses some pre-approved set of beliefs deemed appropriate based on their religion, or their gender, or their race.”  “When they say that, that is racist”"

Why Is This Man Running for President? (Ep. 362 Update) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "YANG: I think that over the last number of years, Democrats have become the champions of programs and institutions, even as unfortunately many Americans have lost faith in programs and institutions. It’s one reason to me why Trump won, is that he was saying something that many Americans agreed with, which is that D.C. has stopped serving the American people. The feedback mechanism is broken. People in D.C. will succeed whether the rest of us succeed or fail. And that message really hit home for many Americans. And unfortunately, the Democratic response seems to be, “D.C. is not the problem, Trump is the problem.” And then the solutions they recommend seem like more layers of government. And I’m concerned that if that’s the primary message, then we may end up losing to Trump yet again in 2020."

Beto O'Rourke says churches should be taxed if they refuse to support gay marriage - "There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break, for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us... O’Rourke has faced criticism from conservatives and more moderate members of his party for some of his other positions, including his support for government-mandated confiscation of AR-15s and AK-47s."
In 20 years time, there will be calls to tax charities that don't support euthanasia
Presumably mosques which opoose gay marriage should be taxed too


Sasse Statement on Beto’s “Extreme Intolerance” - "The whole point of the First Amendment is that, no matter who you love and where you worship, everyone is created with dignity and we don’t use government power to decide which religious beliefs are legitimate and which aren’t"

CNN’s LGBT Town Hall collapses into trans madness | Spectator USA - "At the top of CNN’s Alphabetapalooza Town Hall on Thursday evening, a survivor of the 2016 Pulse nightclub Islamic terrorist attack asked New Jersey senator Cory Booker what he planned to do to stop violence against LGBT people.Gay icon Booker, widely lauded in the Port Authority Bus Terminal men’s toilets who sometimes performs drag under the name Izzy Gaye, had a clear-cut answer. As president, he would create an office dedicated to investigating white supremacy and right-wing hate groups.Sharia law and radical Islam were off-limits. This set the tone for the four-and-a-half-hour-long television extravaganza, the second such town hall this month giving Democrats an opportunity to pander to the alphabet people — the most fearsome, well-funded, and powerful of the identitarian groups. The result was a night about death and disease, with black trans hysteria stealing the show, literally, and repeatedly... When moderator Nia Henderson introduced the audience member, Shea Diamond, pronouncing the name ‘Shay-a’, Diamond snapped. ‘It’s ‘She-a’! Get that on the record. It’s violence to misgender or alter the name of a trans person. Always get that right first.’ Should Henderson be faulted for thinking, as she read her cue cards, surely, no one was obnoxious enough to have renamed themselves to the phonetic ‘she’s a diamond’? Turns out, someone was. If they weren’t before, the 10 people who still watch CNN now are versed in the emotionally abusive effects of the black trans violence mass delusion, fueled by media and activist hysteria, as a cast of unhinged and unsavory characters stormed into their living rooms Thursday night. But anyone can crunch the numbers: the murder rate of transgenders is lower than the general population and lower still than biological women. This is despite transgenders, particularly trans women of color, routinely engaging in behavior that puts them at a much higher risk of encountering violence, such as prostitution and drug trafficking. The clear but false implication in media and the left is that each of these murders is a ‘hate crime,’ that trans women of color are being ‘targeted.’ The Human Rights Campaign, which sponsored the town hall, pumps this narrative into the national dialogue like a Brazilian surgeon with barrels of industrial grade silicon. HRC is the largest and most useless of the LGBT lobbing machines and, after gay marriage passed, realized they needed a new storyline and a new pet underclass if they were to keep their organization afloat.For as much attention as these murders get, you’ve never once seen a villain. That’s how you know they’re hiding something. If just one white hate-monger killed a black trans, he’d be internationally famous and a cash cow for the HRC. But it simply doesn’t happen.The sad fact is virtually every ‘trans woman of color’ murdered this year was killed by a boyfriend or lover. This is the same statistic for biological women of all races. But if this is their top issue, what exactly do these frothing maniacs want the next president of the United States to do about it, give dating advice? A national campaign instructing trans women of color to stay away from bad boys and try meeting a nice, non-violent man at church? Hunter S. Thompson once wrote about, ‘a curious rape mania that rides on the shoulder of American journalism like some jeering, masturbating raven.’ That was CNN last night with dead, black transgender women. 20 have been murdered so far this year. No one seems to care that 20 straight black men are murdered every weekend in Chicago alone... activists briefly shut down the event, chanted ‘trans lives matter,’ and stormed the area in front of the stage parading trans pride flags. They planned this for the exact moment Mayor Pete stepped on stage with moderator Anderson Cooper. This was intentional. Here were two white gay men, Cooper and Buttigieg, and they were being instructed on who’s in charge of Big Gay now... The whole thing was a disaster for gay acceptance. In its quest for every gender on the spectrum, CNN couldn’t even find a single top to stuff into the audience. America was left watching a cacophony of whiny, odious, unfuckable authoritarians. Any homosexual you’d actually want to have a beer with was definitely not there, and that’s destructive if Americans are lead to believe this is what gay people are actually like. They aren’t. We hate those people, too."

The Woke Attack on Pete Buttigieg - The Atlantic - "A beautiful illustration of the difference between Twitter and the real world is the viral status of Michael Harriot’s attack on Mayor Pete Buttigieg in The Root as a “lying MF.” Buttigieg’s sin was to state, in 2011, that inner-city black kids are hobbled from getting the education they need because they lack role models who attest to the benefits of education. “And there are a lot of kids—especially [in] the lower-income, minority neighborhoods—who literally just haven’t seen it work. There isn’t someone who they know personally who testifies to the value of education.” Many will already wonder what was wrong here: After all, is it not a mantra of enlightened thought about race to bemoan the absence of role models for various beneficial behaviors? However, to Harriot, Buttigieg’s reference to this truism was “lying.” The nut of the issue is that there are other reasons inner-city kids fail to graduate or go to college, such as funding disparities, unequal curriculum resources, and violence.  All of those things are real. Unreal, however, is Harriot’s leap of logic: that in not mentioning those things, Buttigieg was inherently denying their existence, and that in noting the lack of role models, he was blaming black people for their own problems... Civil-rights leaders of the recent past would be baffled by the pique here, as, I’m sure, would Americans who don’t spend most of their waking hours on social media... Buttigieg was speaking out of informed sympathy, as anyone familiar with American sociopolitical discussion should have noticed. Our antennae must go up when notions of what an insult is become this strained... It’s one thing to observe that someone’s analysis is incomplete. It’s another to read that incompleteness as a kind of willful denial, sit in fury, and tar someone as a lying MF guilty of negligent homicide. As I’ve said before, this sort of response is more religious than rational; it bypasses the bounds of logic into the realm of imposed liturgy, of ritual"

Trudeau, Buttigieg, Harris, Yang: Identity Politics Eats Its Own - "The most woke politician on the planet finds his re-election campaign rocked by an apparent penchant for dark makeup. An Indian-African-American presidential hopeful tries to ride identity politics into office—only to find that her record on issues like truancy and single mothers is attacked by others in her identity “community.” Another presidential candidate is a self-described gay man—though warning against “identity politics” in the abstract, nonetheless calls attention to his sexual identity constantly—only to find other sexual identitarians, such as lesbians, renouncing him in favor of a female candidate. A third presidential candidate and Asian-American makes reference to successes by Asians—only to draw fire from Asians for playing into a stereotype.What do these modern morality plays have in common? All are examples of a potent phenomenon: Identity has become a forever war whose combatants now habitually turn on their own. The result is a spiral of scapegoating and social destruction that no one seems to know how to stop... Even being an identity “two-fer” does not suffice, as demonstrated by a New York Times story in March 2019. In that case, a young black man who identified as gay was employed as a “sensitivity reader” by several publishing houses—i.e., an enforcer of “cancel culture.” Then he wrote and tried to publish a book of his own. The result, as the Times story put it, was a “karmic boomerang.” Despite the author’s conformity overall to an identity-first narrative, he made the catastrophic mistake — by identity-first standards — of situating some of his story among Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo’s civil war in the late 1990s. Following a Twitter storm, he withdrew his debut book before circulation. As the reporter summarized, “He was Robespierre with his own neck in the cradle of the guillotine.” All of which raises an interesting question about these and many others hoist on the identitarian petard: What, exactly, explains the primordial passion behind identity politics?  Here’s a guess: Decades into the potent experiment of the sexual revolution, a great many human beings now live as if we are not the intensely communal and familial creatures that we always have been; and systemic consequences of that profound species-wide shift are now emerging. These include our increasingly surreal politics. Identity politics is driven in large measure by a question that generations before us never had to answer: Who am I? Until very recently, that question has been answered at least implicitly by reference to one’s role in a familial social order: I am a mother, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, and so on. Today, in an age when families form and re-form and un-form at record speed, all of those “givens” have become attenuated. The result is a frantic search for self via other groups that substitute for the loss of familial gravity—namely, identity politics. To study the timeline is to see that identity politics has grown in tandem with the fractured fallout of the sexual revolution"
Also, identity as secular religion, as religion has retreated from its prominence in developed countries

Andrew Yang—Technocratic Populist - "Andrew Yang is a peculiar candidate for the presidency; not only has he no previous political experience, but he has also placed great emphasis on issues that have been on the fringes of mainstream media political discourse usually examined by academics or YouTube personalities. It is a credit to him that topics like automation, the meaning and value of work, the concentration of elite talent in to narrow career paths, and of course, UBI, have had a chance to be touched upon during this campaign cycle.Nonetheless, the most provocative aspect of the Yang campaign, and of the man himself, is the unusual tension between a technocratic emphasis on expertise and efficiency, and the populist rhetoric he uses to denounce remote elite enclaves, and to call for a revolution that, in the words of Bismarck, we undertake rather than undergo... This unusual mix of populism and technocracy in Yang’s campaign points to a division within the Democratic nomination race, and the party itself. This division between technocrat and populist helps explain the insider vs. outsider nature of a candidacy, and Andrew Yang is outflanked on both sides by two other candidates.  Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard academic famous for her detailed, policy-focused approach, outdoes Yang among the class of people who are into this type of thing: Affluent, educated, professional,  often white, social progressives. The technocratic supporters in the mainstream media, Democratic establishment, and middle and upper-middle classes appear to prefer a policy wonk of a more academic vintage (in this case, a former law professor) as opposed to a natural scientist or technologist (since most insiders understand the world of words more than they do the domain of the natural sciences). The lifelong socialist Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is the great populist in this race... For these reasons Andrew Yang will almost certainly not be the Democratic nominee. Nevertheless, his candidacy offers an intriguing snapshot of two impulses now competing for the direction of the Democratic Party. Technocracy is intrinsically elitist and populism is anti-elitist, but both will need to be harnessed in order to grapple with the increasingly complex challenges posed by a rapidly changing society."

The unexpected threat emerging against Bernie: Andrew Yang - "The outsider entrepreneur who refuses to wear a tie at the Democratic debates is attracting some of the same people as the outsider senator who spurns brushing his hair for rallies. Fifty-seven percent of Yang’s potential supporters are considering Sanders, according to a recent Ipsos/FiveThirtyEight poll. The mutual interest works in the other direction, too: 16 percent of Sanders’ potential voters are eyeing Yang... An October survey by Reuters found Sanders’ backers were three times more likely to choose Yang as their second choice than fans of Warren or former Vice President Joe Biden."

Andrew Yang Had The Best Answer To The “Ellen Question” - "To close out Tuesday’s debate, CNN asked the twelve (12!) candidates on stage to respond to a question about friendship. Anderson Cooper spoke about how Ellen DeGeneres recently defended her friendship with George W. Bush and asked the candidates to speak about “a friendship that you've had that would surprise us and what impact it's had on you and your beliefs.” If you go by the reaction on Twitter, this is absolutely outrageous and trivial, and CNN couldn’t have picked a worse question if they’d tried. But in reality, the question was an extremely clever test— and only two candidates understood that well enough to score well. The Twitter backlash to the question was immediate and strong, with many people ‘raging at CNN’ over asking a question that many viewed as trivial. Many people, including candidates Julián Castro and Kamala Harris and former candidate Jay Inslee, were quick to point out that the question came at the end of a debate that did not feature a single question about climate change (or immigration, LGBT rights, China, etc.) But Twitter isn’t representative of the general public, and in my view, it’s an extremely important question. What it gets is what I would argue that this is an equal or perhaps even greater challenge to our next president than climate — the bipartisan divide in this country.  It’s also a clever question. It’s easy to offer platitudes about how our next president will need to “remind America that patriotism is love of country, and you cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women”—which is true, and a quote from Senator Booker’s response, but not enough to answer the question. The Washington Post speculated that the ‘Ellen Question’ was an ‘unexpected personal question’ designed to throw candidates off and force them to speak off the cuff... [Yang]  absolutely knocked it out of the park on this one, with a vibrant story about a voter he met on the campaign trail, a “guy named Fred, who's an avid Trump supporter, a trucker. He let me ride in his truck for hours. He spent some time in jail. I heard about his experiences trying to get other people off of drugs.” He then revealed that Fred is now supporting Yang in 2020. It was the best answer of the night, because it was the most forward-looking answer of the night. Instead of talking about Washington insiders and a bygone era of a bipartisan Congress, or promising to hold people ‘accountable,’ Yang offered a diagnosis of our problem, and a path forward. He sounded confident. He sounded like he understood why people voted for Trump, like he sympathizes with them and recognizes that Trump broke his promises to them. Instead of focusing on how Republicans are wrong about why things aren’t great (it’s not immigration, ‘PC culture,’ bad trade deals), he focused on how they’re right that things aren’t great, and offered a path forward."

The Surprising Surge of Andrew Yang - "as a successful governor from a major state dropped out and the bottom half of the bloated field continued to flounder, Yang passed the 200,000 mark for unique donors—outpacing an array of name-known pols. He’s gotten contributions, on average $24 a pop, from 88 percent of the ZIP codes in the country, and he’s on track, he says, to raise twice as much money this quarter as he did last quarter."

Why Andrew Yang quit a high-paying New York law firm job to become an entrepreneur - The Washington Post - "He frequently refers to his lawyer days as “the five worst months of my life.”“Working at a law firm was like a pie-eating contest, and if you won, your prize was more pie”... His parents knew he was extremely bright but not especially motivated. They told him, “If you fail, it’s because you didn’t try hard enough.”... His family prized education: In addition to his brother, his father, uncle and cousin also became professors... He said he doesn’t regret studying law, which made him more “structured and detail oriented.” On the other hand, he said, the cautious analysis taught in law school can get in the way of an entrepreneur who needs to make decisions quickly, often based more on instinct than data. He said he had to “unlearn” some of what his law professors taught him."

Azealia Banks Allegedly Thinks Andrew Yang is a Chinese Spy in Deleted Instagram Story - "“Call me xenophobic if you wish, but he is to China what random Russian-American civilian spies are to Putin,” she said, adding she’s not ready for the “United States of China.”“This country has yet to issue a final apology for slavery to African Americans. I’ll be damned if China takes control of this country before my black ass gets the piece of this American pie I’m owed.”"

Warren Defends Saying She Was Fired For Being Pregnant - "Some questions surfaced about the story this week after the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon published minutes from an April 21, 1971 meeting of the Riverdale Board of Education, showing the board voted to extend Warren’s contract for a second year. Minutes from another meeting on June 16, 1971 show the board voted on Warren’s resignation, which was “accepted with regret.”...   In at least one interview in 2007, Warren discussed leaving teaching without saying she was forced out because she was pregnant"

Elizabeth Warren private school blunder adds to questions about honesty - "Sen. Elizabeth Warren's assertion that she sent her children to public school even though her son attended a private school for a time is the latest in a series of blunders that raise questions about the 2020 Democrat's honesty regarding her personal narrative... At a campaign rally in Atlanta last week, pro-charter school protesters interrupted the Massachusetts Democrat's speech, chanting, “Our voice, our choice.” The interruption lasted until Warren's campaign co-chair, first-term Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, stepped in to quiet the crowd.  Warren, 70, spoke to one of the protesters, a woman identified as Sarah Carpenter, after the event. “We want the same choice that you had for your kids because I read that your children went to private school,” Carpenter said in a video posted to social media.  “No, my children went to public schools,” Warren responded.  Warren’s son, however, did attend a private school.  "Elizabeth's daughter went to public school. Her son went to public school until 5th grade," the Warren campaign told Fox News."

Hillary Clinton says 'nobody likes' Bernie Sanders and won't commit to backing him if he's the Democratic nominee - "She cited not only Sanders but "the culture around him. It's his leadership team. It's his prominent supporters. It's his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it."In the documentary, Clinton blasted Sanders' record on Capitol Hill."

Hillary Clinton blasts Sanders, won't commit to backing him as party nominee - "Asked what he thought of Clinton saying "nobody likes him," Sanders said, "On a good day, my wife likes me, so let's clear the air on that one." On why Clinton was still discussing the 2016 primary, Sanders said, "That's a good question, you should ask her."

Sanders Said ‘A Woman Can’t Win’ Against Trump: Who Benefits From Bad Faith Stories Like This? - "POLITICO published an article headlined, “Bernie emerges as growing threat to Biden.” It suggested the “former veep [was] more concerned about Sanders than he lets on.”But then came an article from CNN political correspondent M.J. Lee on January 14, “Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren in private 2018 meeting that a woman can’t win, sources say.” It followed a separate flap, where Warren accused Sanders of “sending his volunteers out to trash” her campaign.Hours later, BuzzFeed and the New York Times “corroborated” Lee’s report. The establishment media was no longer interested in talking about the Sanders campaign’s work to expose Biden’s record. Media outlets were now more interested in an anonymously-sourced attempt to impugn the character and integrity of a presidential candidate. They were eager to see what the Sanders and Warren campaigns and their supporters would do to antagonize the other next... Initially, the “Sanders said a woman couldn’t win in 2020” story was sourced to four individuals, who were not present at the meeting in December 2018. It came from “two people Warren spoke with directly soon after the encounter,” and “two people familiar with the meeting.”Warren told at least two people about her conversation with Sanders “soon after,” and the other two people heard about the meeting from additional people Warren spoke with later or from the two people who spoke with her directly. That made them “people familiar with the meeting,” even though all the two sources had were their recollection of someone else’s recollection of Warren’s recollection.The public has no quotes from this private meeting. All that was published were generic if not vague descriptions of a year-old conversation... During the last three months of the 2016 general election, Sanders held 39 rallies in 13 states to help the Clinton campaign beat Trump. Clinton wrote him a personal letter that said, “Thank you so much for campaigning on my behalf in Ohio, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Colorado—what a tour!”"
So much for Clinton's thanks

Bernie Sanders Secures Crucial Endorsement From Leftist Facebook Meme Page - "Bernie Sanders has just scored a crucial endorsement from the New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens, a popular leftist Facebook meme group... Senator Sanders posted in the group, thanking them for the endorsement and reaffirming his commitment to the policies that drew NUMTOTs to him in the first place"
At first I thought this was the Babylon Bee

‘Man of the people’ Bernie Sanders looks sheepish as he flies first class

Bernie Sanders Was Asked to Leave Hippie Commune - "Bernie Sanders was asked to leave a hippie commune in 1971 for "sitting around and talking" about politics instead of working... We Are As Gods by Kate Daloz, scheduled for release April 26, chronicles the rise and fall of the Myrtle Hill Farm in northeast Vermont. Daloz, a Brooklyn writer, was in a special position to write a history of Myrtle Hill: she was raised near the commune in a geodesic dome residence with an outhouse called the Richard M. Nixon Memorial Hall. Her parents were close acquaintances of the commune residents, who offered them tips about wilderness living. In the summer of 1971, Myrtle Hill received a visitor: Bernie Sanders, age 30, at the cusp of his political career with the socialist Liberty Union Party... When not reporting on the miracle of life, Sanders spent his time at Myrtle Hill in "endless political discussion," according to Deloz.Sanders’ idle chatter did not endear him with some of the commune’s residents, who did the backbreaking labor of running the place. Daloz writes that one resident, Craig, "resented feeling like he had to pull others out of Bernie’s orbit if any work was going to get accomplished that day."Sanders was eventually asked to leave. "When Bernie had stayed for Myrtle’s allotted three days, Craig politely requested that he move on"... The Myrtle Hill commune lasted into the 1980s, but some of its idealism had worn off by the end. Deloz describes how the residents unwittingly drifted into patterns of life that they had hoped to reject, with traditional gender roles and monogamous relationships—"Free Love turned off like a faucet."The commune was ultimately a casualty of the War on Drugs. One of its residents, Jed, ran a sophisticated marijuana grow operation to supplement his farmers’ income. When the authorities descended on the land in the mid-1980s, they found nearby a quarter million dollars of marijuana and a small arsenal of weapons, including "a bullet-proof vest, a machete, a gas mask, and a fully loaded Uzi.""

What stands out after Iowa is Bernie Sanders' limited crossover appeal - "Turnout was lower than expected. And the entrance poll showed him with limited crossover appeal outside of his young, very liberal base. Sanders got just 8 percent support from Iowa caucus-goers 45 and older. And among seniors 65-plus, it was just 4 percent.While he overperformed among “very liberal” Iowa Dems (43 percent), he underperformed among “somewhat liberals” (19 percent) and moderates (12 percent).He got just 12 percent support from white women college graduates — arguably the heart of the Dem resistance against Trump.And maybe most concerning of all for Sanders, he won more than half of the Iowa caucus-goers who said they supported him in 2016. But he barely registered (7 percent) among the 54 percent of all Iowa caucus-goers who said they backed Hillary Clinton four years ago.So his base — right now — is about half of the Democrats who supported him in 2016.But few else."

The Iowa caucuses prove that the DNC is broken - "As horrible as it is to think that this could be some sort of intentional effort by the Democratic National Committee to keep Bernie at bay, it’s hard to think that the DNC was unable to count votes in one of the smallest states in the union... Given the established fact that the DNC rigged the 2016 nomination process in favour of Hillary Clinton, screwing over Sanders and his supporters and essentially handing the White House to Trump, how could anyone trust the DNC this time around? They can’t even get a coin toss right... The corruption of the DNC will result in many losers, but one clear winner will be President Trump... The DNC can do whatever it wants, but there is a cost, and watching them behave in the most undemocratic way possible erodes what little trust their base had left."

Texas Congresswoman suggests Russia responsible for Iowa caucus voting issues - "Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, suggested during an FBI oversight hearing on Wednesday that Russia is responsible for the vote-reporting issues from Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses... Democrats have faced criticism for not properly testing the voting system in Iowa, which includes an app the Iowa Democratic Party spent $60,000 to implement."

How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats - The New York Times - "A conference call with the campaigns ended with Mr. Price hanging up on them, amid accusations that caucus results in Iowa may have been incorrectly reported for decades.

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "The New York Times, in a fit of principled bravery endorsed two candidates for president who have different policies but the same genitalia."

Supreme Court’s ‘Endangered' Reputation: Democrat Warnings Entirely Political - "Once again, the Supreme Court’s reputation and honor are on the line, a crisis of credibility occasioned by the possibility that it may not give Democrats what they want.In this case, the Court is personified by Chief Justice John Roberts, who will per protocol preside over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. And so the intimidation campaign has begun... Liptak warns the chief justice against making displays of partisanship without ever establishing that Roberts is in need of any such admonition from the august pages of the New York Times. His quotations from Roberts are the definition of anodyne. “We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability,” Roberts said in his annual report on the state of the judiciary. Liptak detects in this a coded message to Trump. Well. What else? “As the new year begins, and we turn to the tasks before us,” Roberts said, “we should each resolve to do our best to maintain the public’s trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice under law.” So much for that.Liptak quotes law professor Frank Bowman, who is the author of a book about impeachment, warning that even by the standard of presidential impeachments, “This one in particular is so poisonous.” About that very interesting claim, we might charitably note that the data set is very small. So if Roberts gives us no especial reason to worry that he is about to turn into a slavering partisan operative on the model of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then what, exactly, is the issue? The answer turns out to be O tempora! O mores! “The Supreme Court is still reeling from a series of ugly confirmation battles that placed two of Mr. Trump’s nominees on its bench,” Liptak writes. Indeed it is reeling, but the reputational blot there is on Senate Democrats who cynically embraced a rape hoax for their own narrow partisan ends. That’s a neat political strategy: Attack an institution and then demand that it do things your way because it is under attack. One might be forgiven for suspecting that this is a cynical ploy.The Democrats are great defenders of American institutions — provided those institutions serve their interests. In October 2016, the po-faced defenders of all that is good and precious were wearing themselves out demanding that Donald Trump and his supporters make a pledge to “accept the results” of the presidential election, a demand that was predicated on the assumption that Trump was going to lose. After making those demands, the Democrats have spent every single day refusing to accept the results of the 2016 election... Yesterday, Democrats were willing to slander a Supreme Court nominee, and then to continue slandering him as a justice; today, they are very, very concerned about the delicate reputation of the Supreme Court. Yesterday, Democrats were working to advance a court-packing scheme that would seal and certify the politicization of the Court; today, the Court is so sacrosanct that we must move heaven and earth to fortify its perceived legitimacy. It is difficult to take seriously the notion that they are moved by tender concern for the reputation of an institution that they insist is staffed by political hacks and rapists. The incoherence of those who would pressure the Court into acting as a factotum for the Democratic party infects those on the Court who are themselves attempting to act as factota of the Democratic party, Justice Elena Kagan prominent among them. Kagan has argued that the Court faces a “legitimacy deficit” and suggested that the cure for it is the explicit politicization of the Court’s votes in the search for an ideological middle. That’s a familiar kind of moderation and middle-ground seeking: the kind partisans discover and embrace when they think they are losing. “The Court’s legitimacy depends on people not seeing the Court in the way that people see the rest of the governing structures of this country,” she said in a 2018 speech, and then went on to argue that so-called swing votes on the Court — those justices “who found the center” — are the key to its credibility. The center of what? The important intellectual dispute concerning the federal courts is not about whether they should be ideologically and politically moderate but about whether they should be ideological and political at all. You may not agree with the originalist or textualist view, but Justice Kagan here is contradicting herself. (Not for the first time: During her confirmation, she insisted that she could find no fundamental right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution; after confirmation, she lost no time in finding one.)"

Against the Democrats' Court-Packing Scheme - "No bad idea is ever truly dead. The latest to rise from the crypt is Court-packing: expanding the size of the Supreme Court to pack it with justices who can outvote the current majority. Progressive activist groups — including one, bluntly titled “Pack the Court,” that boasts it will spend millions in 2020 — have formed to push the idea. Prominently on board are Hillary Clinton’s former press secretary and Harvard law professors Laurence Tribe and Mark Tushnet. Democratic presidential contenders noticed. Pete Buttigieg first attracted national attention when he pushed Court-packing, and he has since rolled out a complex plan, to create a 15-member Supreme Court, that NBC News described as “front-and-center of his campaign.” Several rivals followed suit, including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, and Kirsten Gillibrand. Court-packing is a Rubicon we should dread to cross. It last appeared on the national agenda in 1937, the high-water mark of one-party federal government at home and ideological authoritarianism around the globe. Even then, it was roundly rejected by the American body politic. In one swoop, it would irreparably destroy the American tradition of judicial independence of the political branches. In short order, this would end the American experiment of the rule of law and a government of separated and limited powers... Allowing the Court to be swamped with new appointees whenever the president wants new precedents is something we recognize as a banana-republic tactic when we see it in other countries... Barack Obama was not shy about attacking the legitimacy of the Court’s decisions, in his 2010 State of the Union address famously browbeating the justices to their faces over the Citizens United decision. Obama mounted a public campaign on the constitutionality of Obamacare, ahead of the Court’s 2012 decision on the case... Court-packing could have direr consequences in today’s environment. The modern Court wields vast authority over emotional social issues: abortion, marriage, race, guns, immigration, crime. The implicit bargain of democracy is that settling disputes over fundamental issues with ballots rather than bullets gives everyone a fair and equal say and the hope of persuading fellow citizens. The power of the courts, in the Hamiltonian view, accentuates rather than undermines that bargain: Judicial review increases the enduring effect of democratically enacted constitutional guarantees of individual rights by requiring that they result from the persuasion of a supermajority, and in return the courts provide the protections of those rights equally to the minority."

How five members of Joe Biden’s family got rich through his connections - "Political figures have long used their families to route power and benefits for their own self-enrichment. In my new book, “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” one particular politician — Joe Biden — emerges as the king of the sweetheart deal, with no less than five family members benefiting from his largesse, favorable access and powerful position for commercial gain. In Biden’s case, these deals include foreign partners and, in some cases, even US taxpayer dollars... When this subject came up in 2019, Biden declared, “I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else — even distant family — about their business interests. Period.”  As we will see, this is far from the case …"

Candace Owens on Twitter - "
Hunter Biden:
-Married his brother’s widow.
-Cheated on his brother’s widow with a stripper.
-Impregnated aforementioned stripper and publicly denied the child he fathered with her.
But tell us more about how immoral President Trump is, @JoeBiden"

Elizabeth Warren clashes with Iowa father who calls her student loan policy unfair - "Arguing that those who paid for college tuition themselves would be “screwed” by her proposal, he confronted the Democratic senator... “I just wanted to ask one question. My daughter is getting out of school. I've saved all my money. She doesn't have any student loans. Am I going to get my money back?”  “Of course not,” Senator Warren replied.  “So you're going to pay for people who didn't save any money and those of us who did the right thing get screwed”...  “Of course we did. My buddy had fun, bought a car, went on vacations. I saved my money.”  “He made more than I did. But I worked a double shift, worked extra — my daughter worked since she was 10. So, you're laughing at us”"
As with arts subsidies, this is the poor subsidising the middle class

Elizabeth Warren Promises Half Her Cabinet Will Be Women - "Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday promised to appoint women or nonbinary people to at least half of the top positions in the executive branch if she wins the presidency... “Our government officials can best serve the American public when they reflect the diversity of the country itself”
Not The Onion
Since only about a third of Americans over 25 have a college degree, is she going to make not having a college degree a requirement for more than half her positions to reflect the diversity of the country?


Lucas Lynch - "Wokehontas decided to lie about Bernie Sanders, insisted on using the word "latinX", proclaims she wants to use the government to regulate speech online, and talks constantly about how it is trans women, not the free and equal Individual citizen, that are the backbone of America. End result - a once front runner is now polling behind Amy Klobuchar. Life often isn't fair. But every once in a while, it is."

Elizabeth Warren's unfavorable ratings rise among women: poll - "U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s unfavorable ratings among women in the Granite State have ballooned by five points since she accused rival U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of saying a woman can’t win the White House"
Oops.

Movin' on up: Bloomberg glides past Warren to No.3 in Democratic race - Reuters/Ipsos - "After steadily rising in popularity over the last several weeks, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears to have surpassed U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren among registered voters for the 2020 Democratic nomination"

John Kerry overheard discussing possible 2020 bid amid concern of 'Sanders taking down the Democratic Party' - "Former Secretary of State John Kerry — one of Joe Biden's highest-profile endorsers — was overheard Sunday on the phone at a Des Moines hotel explaining what he would have to do to enter the presidential race amid "the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole.""

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "Michael Bloomberg would be the poster child for those worried about big money in politics; though I’ve never heard one of those individuals criticize him... But money isn’t everything. Hillary Clinton spent twice as much money as Donald Trump and she lost"
It's like how the Koch Brothers corrupt politics with their money, but Soros is a huge philanthropist

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "The DNC has once again changed their debate rules to alter who can participate. You may recall that Tulsi Gabbard was held out of a debate even though she was polling high enough but the recent polls weren’t “approved”.In a bid to only have candidates that have established broad support, the DNC has required that each participant reach a threshold of small donors. Enter the billionaire Mike Bloomberg who is spending his own money and not bother to seek out small donations. The DNC has now changed the rules to allow him to participate without small donors. Bernie Sanders is upset and his supporters are seeing this of another example where the DNC rigs the system against him."

ZUBY: on Twitter - "As an outside observer, the Democratic Party of 2020 seems to have little in common with the Democratic Party of 2008. Meanwhile the GOP have actually moderated and become a wider tent. Listen to Obama's early speeches. He sounds more like a Republican than a 2020 Democrat."

Lucas Lynch - "Establishment Democrats - "What's wrong with just changing rules or flouting them as you go along for the benefit of the party? Only crazy people think the DNC can't or shouldn't do this."
Also Establishment Democrats - "The Senate is the most intolerably corrupt place on Earth and the end of American Democracy.""

Bloomberg camp mocks Trump’s ‘fake hair, his obesity, and his spray-on tan’ - ""What I’ve said to people is when you get inside Donald Trump’s head, all you’re going to discover that you find there is a putter, a cheeseburger, a porn video, and somebody else’s credit card"... Bloomberg, more than any other Democrat, has focused exclusively on Trump and relishes the opportunity to get under the president’s skin. His speeches are loaded with mild insults, often variations on jokes about how Trump is a phony billionaire who merely played a CEO on reality TV... in an ad released Friday on “Fox and Friends” featured unflattering pictures of Trump golfing while Bloomberg ribs that the only job Trump is qualified for is running a golf course."

Being Classically Liberal - Posts - "AOC regularly boasts about her degree in economics and pretends like she is an Econ nerd, but then she confuses Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes, the most well known (and diametrically opposed) economists of the last century."

Poll: New Hampshire Democrats would prefer an extinction-causing meteor over Trump reelection - "Which of the following outcomes would you prefer occur on November 3, 2020? Donald Trump wins re-election or A giant meteor strikes the earth, extinguishing all human life."Sixty-two percent of Democrats picked the meteor, while 38 percent chose a second term for Trump."
Is this peak Trump Derangement Syndrome? Will TDS cause voters to desert this radical party?

James Carville is “scared to death” about whether Sanders and others can beat Trump - "In a rant on MSNBC that went viral on Tuesday evening, the longtime Democratic strategist vented his concerns about the party’s prospects for beating Donald Trump, taking particular aim at the party’s leftward lurch.“Eighteen percent of the population controls 52 Senate seats,” Carville said. “We’ve got to be a majoritarian party. The urban core is not gonna get it done. What we need is power! Do you understand? That’s what this is about.”... He took particular aim at Sen. Bernie Sanders, who he fears could lead the party to defeat in November... Will ideological purity and playing to the base cost the Democrats victory in November?...
'Look, the turnout in the Iowa caucus was below what we expected, what we wanted. Trump’s approval rating is probably as high as it’s been. This is very bad. And now it appears the party can’t even count votes. What the hell am I supposed to think?... We have candidates on the debate stage talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration. They’re talking about doing away with nuclear energy and fracking. You’ve got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments — talking about that is not how you win a national election. It’s not how you become a majoritarian party... Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat. He’s never been a Democrat. He’s an ideologue... Sanders might get 280 electoral votes and win the presidency and maybe we keep the House. But there’s no chance in hell we’ll ever win the Senate with Sanders at the top of the party defining it for the public... The purpose of a political party is to acquire power. All right? Without power, nothing matters... [You win] by framing, repeating, and delivering a coherent, meaningful message that is relevant to people’s lives and having the political skill not to be sucked into every rabbit hole that somebody puts in front of you.The Democratic Party is the party of African Americans. It’s becoming a party of educated suburbanites, particularly women. It’s the party of Latinos. We’re a party of immigrants. Most of the people aren’t into all this distracting shit about open borders and letting prisoners vote. They don’t care. They have lives to lead. They have kids. They have parents that are sick. That’s what we have to talk about. That’s all we should talk about.'...
'So your complaint is basically that the party has tacked too far to the left?'
'They’ve tacked off the damn radar screen... Here’s another stupid thing: Democrats talking about free college tuition or debt forgiveness. I’m not here to debate the idea. What I can tell you is that people all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans. They don’t want to hear this shit. And you saw Warren confronted by an angry voter over this. It’s just not a winning message.The real argument here is that some people think there’s a real yearning for a left-wing revolution in this country, and if we just appeal to the people who feel that, we’ll grow and excite them and we’ll win. But there’s a word a lot of people hate that I love: politics. It means building coalitions to win elections. It means sometimes having to sit back and listen to what people think and framing your message accordingly... Binyamin Appelbaum, an economics writer for the New York Times, posted a snarky tweet about how LSU canceled classes for the National Championship game. And then he said, do the “Warren/Sanders free public college proposals include LSU, or would it only apply to actual schools?”You know how fucking patronizing that is to people in the South or in the middle of the country? First, LSU has an unusually high graduation rate, but that’s not the point. It’s the goddamn smugness. This is from a guy who lives in New York and serves on the Times editorial board and there’s not a single person he knows that doesn’t pat him on the back for that kind of tweet. He’s so fucking smart.Appelbaum doesn’t speak for the Democratic Party, but he does represent the urbanist mindset. We can’t win the Senate by looking down at people. The Democratic Party has to drive a narrative that doesn’t give off vapors that we’re smarter than everyone or culturally arrogant... Mayor Pete has to demonstrate over the course of a campaign that he can excite and motivate arguably the most important constituents in the Democratic Party: African Americans. These voters are a hell of a lot more important than a bunch of 25-year-olds shouting everyone down on Twitter.'"
Actually it'll be amusing to see what excuses Bernie supporters will give to rationalise his defeat by Trump if it happens - the depth of self-delusion would put Corbynistas to shame

Running Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity - "Sanders has gleefully discarded the party’s conventional wisdom that it has to pick and choose where to push public opinion leftward, adopting a comprehensive left-wing agenda, some of which is popular, and some of which is decidedly not. Positions in the latter category include replacing all private health insurance with a government plan, banning fracking, letting prisoners vote, decriminalizing the border, giving free health care to undocumented immigrants, and eliminating ICE. (I am only listing Sanders positions that are intensely unpopular. I am not including positions, like national rent control and phasing out all nuclear energy, that I consider ill-advised but which probably won’t harm him much with voters.) Not every one of these unpopular stances is unique to Sanders. Some have won the endorsement of rival candidates, and many of them have been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, Sanders’s closest rival. In fact, Sanders seem to have overtaken Warren in part because she spent most of 2019 closing the ideological gap between the two candidates, which made Democratic Party elites justifiably skeptical about her electability, thereby kneecapping her viability as a trans-factional candidate. Sanders probably wasn’t trying to undermine Warren by luring her into adopting all his policies, but it has worked out quite well for him, and poorly for her.But Warren at least tries to couch her positions in a framework of reforming and revitalizing capitalism that is intended to reassure ideologically skeptical voters. Sanders combines unpopular program specifics in the unpopular packaging of “socialism.” The socialist label has grown less unpopular, a trend that has attracted so much media attention that many people have gotten the impression “socialism” is actually popular, which is absolutely not the case. Compounding those vulnerabilities is a long history of radical associations. Sanders campaigned for the Socialist Workers’ Party and praised communist regimes. Obviously, Republicans call every Democratic nominee a “socialist.” But it’s one thing to have the label thrown at you by the opposition, another for it to be embraced willingly, and yet another thing altogether to have a web of creepy associations that make it child’s play for the opposition to paint your program as radical and dangerous... political science has generally found that, all things being equal, the electorate tends to punish ideologically extreme candidates... Numerous activists and intellectuals in the Sanders orbit held up Jeremy Corbyn as proof of concept for his viability. Anticipating a Corbyn victory, they argued over and over that Corbyn was showing how socialism would attract and mobilize, not repel, voters. Corbyn is more extreme than Sanders, but Sanders enthusiasts themselves drew a connection between the two, and his massive defeat obviously casts serious doubt on the model he was supposed to vindicate.A second example, closer to home, is even more relevant. In the months leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, the Democratic Party was the subject of bitter and widespread criticism from its left wing. The party’s strategy was to flip the House by recruiting moderate candidates who would avoid controversial left-wing positions and instead focus attention on Trump’s agenda, especially his effort to eliminate Obamacare. The left predicted the strategy would fail — only an inspiring progressive agenda could mobilize enough voters to win back the House.“Their theory of the case is to recruit old white guys who are longtime Establishment insiders who will run on a boring agenda Democrats would have run on 20 years ago,” complained Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “The DCCC is doing it wrong,” insisted Democracy for America’s Neil Sroka. “In district after district, the national party is throwing its weight behind candidates who are out of step with the national mood,” proclaimed a long piece in the left-wing Intercept attacking the party’s House recruitment strategy, “The DCCC’s failure to understand the shifting progressive electorate is costing the party.” Zephyr Teachout was quoted saying, “Their strategy is stupid in the first place and bad for democracy, but then it’s really stupid because they have 26-year-olds sitting around who don’t know anything about the real world deciding which candidates should win.”... Tellingly, while progressives managed to nominate several candidates in red districts — Kara Eastman in Nebraska, Richard Ojeda in West Virginia, and many others — any one of whose victory they would have cited as proof that left-wing candidates can win Trump districts, not a single one of them prevailed in November. Our Revolution went 0–22, Justice Democrats went 0–16, and Brand New Congress went 0–6... At this point there is hardly any serious evidence to believe that the best strategy to defeat Trump is to mobilize voters with a radical economic agenda. Public satisfaction with the economy is now at its highest point since the peak of the dot-com boom two decades ago. Trump has serious weaknesses of issues like health care, corruption, taxes, and the environment, and a majority of the public disapproves of Trump’s performance, but he does enjoy broad approval of his economic management. Therefore, his reelection strategy revolves around painting his opponents as radical and dangerous. You may not like me, he will argue, but my opponents are going to turn over the apple cart. A Sanders campaign seems almost designed to play directly into Trump’s message... Once enough energy has been invested in a cause, it has too much momentum to be abandoned. For the socialist left, which has no other standard-bearer to choose from, Bernie is too big to fail."

Warren Blames America's Racist 'Legacy' For Minority Staff Resigning - "A newly released Politico report claims six minority women resigned from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Nevada campaign team after complaining about a toxic work environment. The women said they felt like tokens in a competition meant to showcase minorities and were not acknowledged for their ideas."
Apparently she had nothing to do with it

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "CNN did not invite Tulsi Gabbard to participate in their New Hampshire town halls despite other invited candidates polling lower. Even Deval Patrick got an invite."

Kimberley Strassel on Twitter - "Elizabeth Warren says we need "race-conscious laws." Think about that. Isn't that what we spent so long trying to make sure we didn't have? #DemDebate
Just to expand this thought: Can anyone imagine the meltdown if that phrase came out of a Republican mouth?"
To liberals, the equal protection clause means some people are more equal than others

Meme - "QUESTION: How can you help lower the cost of puberty blocker medications?
CNN PRESIDENTIAL TOWN HALL WITH TOM STEYER"

Leaked Bloomberg audio shows him defending stop-and-frisk - "Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg publicly claimed that cops across the country could use a “Xerox” description of minorities to identify suspected murderers in a newly unearthed recording of a speech from 2015.“Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” Bloomberg told the Aspen Institute... “They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city"... Bloomberg — who apologized for stop-and-frisk last year, shortly before becoming a Democratic candidate for president — said that “one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’”“Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is”... “You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”... “If you can stop them from getting murdered, I would argue everything else you do is less important,” he added. The revelation of Bloomberg’s remarks led a co-chair of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Nina Turner, to call for him to “drop out of the race,” Axios reported... Shortly after Bloomberg gave the speech, his representatives asked the Aspen Institute to not distribute video of his appearance and it agreed... Trump repeatedly ridiculed Bloomberg over his mea culpa, saying, “I watched him pander at a church and practically beg for forgiveness.”Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump said that Bloomberg’s apology “was only for getting votes, and I think probably people understand that.”He also said Bloomberg “looked pathetic,” adding: “Our country doesn’t need that kind of leadership.”"

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier - The Washington Post - "The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump's connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin"
Since, we are told, collaborating/colluding with a foreign power to influence an American election is a crime...

Democrats Had a 2020 Vision. This Isn’t Quite What They Expected. - The New York Times - "Democrats had a certain vision for this.There would be boundless throngs braving the Iowa slush, aghast at the incumbent and roused by his prospective successors. There would be a presidential field that looked like the country. There would be unity, or something like it, burying intraparty squabbles beneath a heap of agreed-upon progressive policies — or maybe even articles of impeachment to complete the job early. And now, well... Impeachment? President Trump’s Senate trial has served only to sideline several would-be opponents tethered to the Capitol and overshadow the rest, while the president, buoyed by a likely acquittal, stormed into Iowa on Thursday to savage them all as the “totally sick left” before an audience that outnumbered any Democrat’s. Unity? Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Mr. Sanders have found themselves relitigating the quarrels of 2016, a feud revived by Mrs. Clinton’s recent assertion that “nobody likes” Mr. Sanders and exacerbated when a top Sanders surrogate, Representative Rashida Tlaib, joined some Iowans in booing the party’s last nominee on Friday night.And that diverse and talented field? The top remaining Democratic contenders are all white, mostly male and mostly old, encapsulated by Mr. Biden, the former vice president and long-assumed front-runner... “There’s two ways people get inspired, in my experience,” Mr. Biden told voters in Newton during a wandering answer about climate change. “One, by really inspirational people like the John Kennedys of the world or the Abraham Lincolns of the world. And others by really lousy leaders.”The lousy leader in this formulation seemed intuitive enough. Less clear was whether Mr. Biden had just conceded that the Democrats on offer were no Kennedys or Lincolns... the campaigns of Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders have continued a running dialogue over voter risk tolerance.“This is no time to take a risk,” one Biden ad narrated.“This isn’t the time to play it safe,” Mr. Moore, the filmmaker, advised in Ottumwa, speaking to Sanders supporters alongside two other Vermont celebrities: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, of ice cream fame. Perhaps most striking, at events across the state last week, was the sense that any Democratic nominee might be left to manage an unwieldy coalition — moderates, socialists, Trump-repelled independents. Asked what it means to be a Democrat in 2020, caucusgoers drifted toward differing, if not always contradictory, definitions."

Michael Tracey on Twitter - "I was there when Mike Bloomberg launched an illegal paramilitary-style police raid in the middle of the night to crush the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan. He defied a court order and arrested journalists. You don't forget that kind of brazen authoritarianism"
"The guy wants to regulate your soda. There is no aspect of your life he won't scrutinize. Granted, small peanuts compared to what you just mentioned, but still says a lot about the type of control freak Bloomberg is."
Elsewhere: "The Hollywood and Manhattan will tell you that Trump is an authoritarian, meanwhile, promote a proven authoritarian"


No, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden are not ‘centrists’ - The Washington Post - "IT HAS become an unchecked assumption about the Democratic presidential race: The candidates are fighting an ideological war between “left” and “center.” This narrative is false, and it is hardly benign. It minimizes the bold policy ambitions of those in the mislabeled “centrist” lane and falsely characterizes those on the left flank as braver or more committed to reform... All, in fact, have put forward ambitious, progressive platforms for reducing inequality and promoting access to health and education. Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg wants to make college free for pretty much everyone — just not for the wealthiest families... Then there are the policy moves that practically all Democrats agree on: giving legal safe harbor to the young immigrants known as “dreamers”; reviving and expanding President Barack Obama's climate regulations; reengaging with Iran; raising the minimum wage; keeping abortion legal; cracking down on guns.In fact, every major Democratic candidate is running on an agenda to the left of Mr. Obama’s.
Of course, radicals still need an enemy, so they claim Buttigieg is a closet Republican and that the Democratic agenda is standard European policy, pretending that open borders is practiced in Europe

🅺🆁🅸🆂 🆁🆄🅵🅵 on Twitter - "Growing up as a bi kid in the 2000s I heard a lot of homophobic jokes about Republican men being closet homosexuals, so I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to be alive now during the era of Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay man to be a closet Republican"
Obama wasn't black enough either

Will Bernie Sanders Destroy the Economy? - The Atlantic - "A President Bernie Sanders would have about as much control over the economy as President Donald Trump: outside of a recession, not nearly as much as one might think, and particularly not in the short term. Political scientists and economists have demonstrated that how well the economy performs under different administrations mostly has to do with the fortuities of market timing"
Strange. I thought the consensus was that we had to thank Obama for the economy under Trump

Arunesh Mathur on Twitter - "Mike Bloomberg's presidential campaign website (https://t.co/neNB1A8G9j) displays a periodic popup that states people in certain states are signing up as volunteers. How terrific! But here’s a secret: that message is falsely generated using some good ol’ JavaScript."

Queer activists disrupt Pete Buttigieg event in San Francisco: 'We deserve better' - "The activists were part of a group protesting outside the event that reflected a growing disquiet among the LBGTQ+ community when it came to the Buttigieg campaign. Buttigieg may be the first openly gay candidate to sweep the national stage and perform as well as he has in Iowa and New Hampshire, but more and more young queer voters say they feel he is not representative of them or their experiences... “There’s a level of irony that this event costs hundreds of dollars to attend in the Mission, a historically Latinx and immigrant neighborhood. What does it say that this event is not accessible to the folks that live in the neighborhood where it’s being held?” Tickets to the fundraiser started at $250... “Pete Buttigieg represents a very small percentage of the experiences of queer and trans people in this country, being white and being cisgender and being a man, being someone who is highly educated”"
When you claim you want a gay voice but really only want a left wing gay voice, many people will be unwilling and/or unable to see through the Jedi mind trick
Are activists representative of their supposed community?
Apparently you can have fundraisers with cheap tickets
If very few queer people are white, male and highly educated, what does that say?
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