The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

As usual, feel free to use the comments of this post to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


Sanders vs. Warren Supporters


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 2, 2019



    Peska gets it. Soon a majority will get it. It’s no longer politics as usual. The times they are a changin’, and they’re changin’ radically, just not in the ways you would have ever considered. If the pimps versus the whores are now going to rule us directly, and they are going to as Donald Trumps’ presidency has proven, then it’s imperative to choose the most benevolent pimp.

    When Bloomberg’s record on crime is discussed, the focus is often on stop-and-frisk polices that according to ACLU statistics led to the harassment of upward of half a million innocent black and Latino people per year. There is no sugarcoating that injustice, and for some voters that alone will be all they need to know about a Bloomberg candidacy. But there are other factors to consider, namely the remarkable drop in crime and murder that Bloomberg oversaw. The year before Bloomberg entered office there were 649 murders in New York City. The year he left office that number was cut nearly in half to 335. While it’s true that even greater declines occurred under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and no one wants that guy to be president, by the time Bloomberg became mayor it was widely understood that there was little more progress to be made. And yet Bloomberg made it. After Bloomberg, during the de Blasio administration, murder rates remained basically steady for two years, then dipped a bit, and rose last year again to 318.

    Crime, and murder specifically, is a point of emphasis for every New York City mayor, and lowering rates takes a village. But Bloomberg put into place plans that were meant to measure the problem, address the problem, adapt to circumstances, and make the problem less of a problem. And that’s exactly what happened.

    A similar picture emerges with education. When Bloomberg took office the high school graduation rate in the city was 46.5 percent. When he left office it was 66 percent. The graduation rate for black students rose from 40 percent to 61 percent and for Hispanic students it went from 37 percent to 59 percent.

    Again, these profound gains were made because Bloomberg insisted that his administration measure the problem, address the problem, and adapt to circumstances. Bloomberg centralized power, reorganized the Board of Education, and made the schools chancellor accountable to the mayor. Bloomberg’s strategy worked in ways that profoundly affected the lives of thousands of people. There are about 55,000 New Yorkers who are high school graduates now who likely wouldn’t have been were it not for his changes. Because the restructuring he put in place has continued throughout the de Blasio administration, the number of New Yorkers with high school diplomas who might not have had them otherwise, and the opportunities that educational attainment affords, likely number over 100,000.

    Under Bloomberg, the proportion of adult smokers in the city fell by one-third. Teachers’ salaries rose by more than 40 percent, and the once-yearly budget deficits were turned into routine surpluses. Bloomberg budgeted by strategy, not doctrine, raising taxes significantly when he came into office right after the attacks of 9/11 but cutting property taxes by the end of his term when the city’s coffers were swelling.

    There were, of course, also failures. After some early success combating homelessness, the Bloomberg administration saw the problem rise to record levels, which have since sadly been surpassed by his successor. Income inequality also rose, as it did throughout America, but it did so more acutely in New York, where Bloomberg was much more driven toward development than concerned with gentrification. But the many, many improvements Bloomberg delivered to the average New Yorker should resonate with the average American who might want to secure similar benefits from a politician who isn’t particularly charming but does have a record of delivering material improvements.

  2. Joan


    Does Ian’s blog really seem like the place for hawking the robot? Seriously, is Ian’s audience full of Bloomberg people and I had no idea? Ian himself is clearly not a supporter, so why are you doing this?

  3. Hugh

    Bernie Sanders says he will support Democratic nominee whoever it may be:

    “we will support the winner and I know that every other candidate will do the same.”

    Sanders says the Democratic primary field is, in his words, “united in our understanding that we must defeat Donald Trump.”

    Not sure all his supporters will agree.

    Bloomberg is to America what the Coronavirus is to China.


    Both political parties are dead, for all intents and purposes. They aren’t what they once were. They are mere ghosts and/or shadows of their former selves. They’re Potemkin, in fact. This article underscores this most basic fact. They’re not going to let Bernie get the nomination. Bloomberg is the only one who can cow these corrupt trollish bullying authoritarians. He can do to them what Trump has done to the Republicans — make them his poodle. Show them to be the whores they are. This election, if nothing else, is the Pimp & Whore Show.

    A small group of Democratic National Committee members has privately begun gauging support for a plan to potentially weaken Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and head off a brokered convention.

    In conversations on the sidelines of a DNC executive committee meeting and in telephone calls and texts in recent days, about a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party’s national convention. Such a move would increase the influence of DNC members, members of Congress and other top party officials, who now must wait until the second ballot to have their say if the convention is contested.

    For you, us, to get what Bernie represents, it will take a bloody revolution. That’s not going to happen. So, we have what we have. You either stay home or vote for the better pimp.

    Think about it and as Bruce so often advises, do it without the emotion. What recourse does Bernie have? What leverage does he have? He can’t fight these dirty tricksters. They hold the cards. They control the bridge. Bloomberg has the leverage. He can clear the bridge and he counts cards. Clearing the bridge is an ever important step in getting to the promised land.

  5. nihil obstet

    Bloomberg’s record as mayor of New York City is heavily affected by the hollowing out of the city, that has reduced the number of poor, native born residents. The desperately poor, who are more likely to have issues with the criminal justice system and whose children are more likely to drop out of school, have left the city. The rise in homelessness and the increase in tax revenue result from the emphasis on development. The places where the poor can live have been reduced so they’re homeless. Those places have been developed into luxury condos and apartments that produce higher property taxes.

    Is this what we want on the national level? Where will our poor go with their problems when we’ve improved our country by making their lives impossible?

  6. Troll Tactic Three: Suck all the air out of the room. Make so much god-damned noise throwing stupid shit at the wall that nobody can get a word in edgewise.


    I’ve made it clear where I stand. I’m being real. A realist. I will vote for Bernie in the Democratic primary. If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, I will not vote for any other candidate in the general aside from Bloomberg. I will vote for Bloomberg because he will actually get some positive things done rather than destructive things like Trump is doing. Bloomberg will be pushed by a growing progressive faction. Hell, it’s why he’s in the race so he already is concerned about the vulnerability of capitalism as he should be. Like FDR, he wants to save capitalism and thus knows he has to throw some sizable bones to the masses or else risk revolution. Here’s his tax plan. It’s not Bernie’s plan for sure, but it’s far superior to anything Trump has done and will do if he gets a second term. My goal is to minimize suffering with what we have and help push for what we should have. I agree with you about what we should have, but until you show me a political plan or path from here to there, I, you, still have an obligation to minimize suffering with what little we have to work with. Bloomberg pushed by progressives is far superior to Trump pushed by fascist retards.

  8. Hugh

    Being better than Trump is a pretty low bar. As someone in my family said recently, they would vote for a dead rat on a string over Trump.

  9. Dan

    nihil obstetin nailed it. I’m quite familiar with NYC, having grown up across the river in NJ. My sister lived in both Manhattan and Brooklyn for years. Bloomberg did his best to essentially turn Manhattan into a gated community for the wealthy. It’s a sterile, boring place, sans any character, and is unlivable for anyone who isn’t uber rich. I guess that’s how 450 wants much of the rest of the country to be “cleaned up.” I imagine that Bloomberg’s undue bolstering of the police department, including the proverbial liaison with Israel, is a model worth emulating nationally as well. Good grief.

  10. Jerry Brown

    Hugh- LOL. I might vote for just the string let alone a viable candidate like a dead rat.

  11. Mojave Wolf

    Bloomberg most benevolent?

    To quote myself in another thread quoting someone else:

    “Bloomberg was a speaker at the 2004 GOP convention, endorsed Bush, and thanked him for invading Iraq; also gave a ton of money to the DNC right before declaring as a candidate”

    I also suspect that Z in same other thread is correct, that Bloomberg is the DNC’s last gasp fallback line of defense to keep Bernie from getting the nomination, should Biden continue to appear mentally deficient and Klobuchar/Buttigieg continue to be unable to maintain sufficient standing in the polls. (I think that’s why they were semi-pushing Warren for a while as well; she was willing to play ball, unlike Bernie/Tulsi/Yang; hell, Yang’s policies except on war aren’t even bad for them and they still don’t want him, probably because they view him as “not a reliable team player on the grift bandwagon”)

  12. bruce wilder

    I am not sure what about buying the nomination leaves scope for “progressives” to push. If their support can be bought, what else does Bloomberg need from them?

  13. Tom

    Bloomberg will get eaten alive by Trump and being pro-abortion, he won’t steal any votes where it matters.

    If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination because he allowed the DNC to steal it, the Democrats are done till the Louisiana Democrats become the majority of the Party and force it to go pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-illegal aliens. But by then its too late and the country will be in collapse.

    Bernie has to make a choice and soon. He makes the wrong one, the Oligarchic Wing of the Republicans will keep a stranglehold on the country and block any structural reforms. He makes the right choice to not accept the back room dealing, he may become President and use executive orders to clip the Oligarch’s wings but he can’t break the Republican Party and get a new Constitution forward to the voters. The only way to break the Oligarchs and the Republican Party is to go pro-life, pro-gun, anti-illegal immigrants and bash the Republicans to death and break the Red Wall.

    Otherwise Bernie will be a band aid president and his successor will undo the band aid and we’ll back to square one.

    And if the Identitarian Left can’t understand that, then they need to be bluntly told they bred themselves out of the Gene Pool and are irrelevant. If they decide to grow up and get with the program, we’ll welcome them with open arms. Till then, take a hike with your purity tests, authoritarian tendencies, racism, misogyny, and misandry. You won’t be missed.

  14. Trinity

    Just ask the people of Virginia about Bloomberg. He bought and installed his very own fixtures throughout their state government and then ordered them to ram legislation down their throats eliminating the second amendment. Presumably this was to ensure the safety of the oligarchs once his REAL agenda is revealed. Either way, he didn\’t do his homework on the people of Virginia. That makes him stupid.

    There are talks on reunification of the Virginias, and bear in mind that West Virginians know how to protest. They are highly skilled after generations of protests. (For non-USAians, the Virginias were separated during the civil war, into \”has coal\” (West Virginia, supplying coal to the north) and the remainder as Virginia, clearly with sympathies for the south given the Confederate capital was located there.)

    As someone said elsewhere, Bloomberg used to brag about having his very own private army (the NYC police), and he\’s looking to level up by running for prez. Never ever mistake the hubris of the oligarchs, they are the chosen ones, don\’t ya know?

    Sounds like someone here is either pushing their own agenda, getting paid to post, or just lost their entire critical thinking faculties.


    Being better than Trump is a pretty low bar. As someone in my family said recently, they would vote for a dead rat on a string over Trump.

    Yes, it is. I won’t argue with that. BUT IT IS THE BAR WE HAVE. Once again, there is what is and there is what should be. What should be cannot be accomplished without navigating what is. The only way around, versus through, what is to what should be is revolution and sorry, but the right stuff doesn’t exist for an effective revolution if there even is such a thing as an effective revolution. Therefore, we’re forced to navigate with what is and proceed through it to what should be.

    We’ve been over this many times in the past two decades here on the internets. The political process is largely controlled by the political class and the political class is, collectively, a whore to its pimp the oligarchy. It feigns to represent the people but it does not. This is what we have and you’re a fool to deny it.

    Absent the revolution that will never come, we must navigate that in some way to get to what should be. Appealing to the political class in this process is a dead end and it is what has given us Trump and will continue to give us Trump and full-throated fascism if we’re not honest about what is. The political class won’t initiate change in any meaningful way and it’s not interested in getting anything done. It’s interested in perpetuating the political class while satisfying the demands of the oligarchy.

    Bloomberg is not a member of the calcified and calcifying political class. He is a member of the oligarchy as is Trump and like Trump, he will govern by fiat & dictate, as Bernie has promised to do, in getting it done. What he plans on getting done is far superior to what Trump plans on getting done. Yes, you’re right, what Bernie wants to get done is far superior to what Bloomberg wants to get done but as we are seeing, the political process, once again what we have, will not allow it and the brave and noble keyboard warriors don’t have the capacity for a revolution so there will be no way for Bernie to overcome the DNC.

    Bloomberg will be the best bet. He has a plan to reduce American carbon emissions substantially in ten years putting an end to coal entirely and natural gas and fracking. I feel confident he would consider thorium nuclear reactors as part of this policy because he isn’t controlled by lobbyists and lobbyists are who are preventing thorium from being seriously considered.

    I’m not hawking for Bloomberg, I’m just being a realist. I’ve stated how I feel about the oligarchy and what should be done about it but I’m realistic enough to know that doesn’t miraculously happen because we wish it so. You have to work with what you have and this is what we have.


    I believe there are a couple of you who grok what I’m saying and agree for the most part. If you truly are a Bernie supporter and support him for his policies and principles, you know first and foremost you must guard against a fascist rearguard action in your endeavor for meaningful structural and systemic change. You must NEVER align with fascist forces. Fascist forces, cowards that they are, have traditionally, cleverly used leftist structural and systemic destabilization efforts to fill the power vacuum created and ultimately muscle out and persecute the leftists once they’ve gained power. They are traditionally the minority but they are violent thugs and that propensity to engage in violent, cowardly thuggery is what has historically allowed their violent minority to rule. Trump is paving the way to full-throated fascism and the failure to remove him from office by the political class means we are speeding to full-throated fascism unabated. The political class is feckless in the face of this.

    There are a certain number and percentage of people who comment here who I believe to be fascists in progressive clothing. I can see right through them and they are not progressive but they make themselves appear progressive in order to bait & switch naive progressives into supporting fascism as a good shot of vengeful schadenfreude when the political class rejects the progressive candidate.

    I will not be a rube to these unannounced fascists. Progressivism is more than just fighting neoliberalism. It is also fighting fascism. Those who concentrate the progressive cause solely on neoliberalism are the fascists in progressive cloth and there are quite a few of them here and they hold sway.

    It’s amazing. On second thought, no it’s not. Bloomberg has given generously to gun control groups and has actually formed one that is making great progress in dismantling the stranglehold the NRA has had for decades. The NRA is on it heels. It’s reeling and a Bloomberg presidency could put a knife in it for good and enact sensible, effective gun control legislation that goes a long way to decreasing gun violence in America to include and especially mass shooting spectacles. That alone is enough to vote for Bloomberg over Trump if that is our choice and that will be our choice. If you vote for Trump instead, you are a fascist plain and simple. A fascist enabler is a fascist. There’s no way around that.

  17. nihil obstet

    Another subject for this open thread. The Supreme Court appears to be ready to foam the runway for privatizing public schools. Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue challenges a Montana law that restricts public money from being spent in religious institutions, specifically religious schools. Originally, parents could get public funds to help pay tuition at secular private schools. When the lawsuit was filed against the secular requirement, the state simply eliminated the tuition assistance at all schools, the Court decided to hear the case anyway.

    The “I want your tax money to send my kids to the private school aligned with my prejudices” crowd is jumping up and down about how the restriction against funding religious schools was originally a bigoted move against Roman Catholics. They are not mentioning that in the late 50s and early 60s as public schools had to integrate, bigoted parents wanted to establish segregation academies and restrictions on funding helped prevent it. I regard using my tax money for private schools as a form of “constrained speech”, a concept which the Supremes embraced in Janus v. AFSCME. Actually, I think corporate political contributions from corporations that manage the 401k plan selected by my employer are far more constrained, but the this thoroughly owned bench is never going to rule against their masters.

    Therefore, we need to keep working on how to deal with the corrupt courts that we have now.

  18. alyosha

    So Bloomberg, along with his massive checkbook, has loads of warts. He also said he’d throw his resources behind whoever gets the Dem nomination. That statement, if true, is head and shoulders above all the stupid nits the candidates are throwing against each other, and all the stupid nits I see raised in these comment threads.

    I’m with 450 (if I read you right), in that it’s about who can defeat Trump, and that seems to be Bloomberg’s singular focus. We can argue about whether Mike B really is the Trump-killer; a useful contrast is Tom Steyer, another billionaire, who IMO is completely throwing away his massive resources on a vanity run that will go nowhere. Far better for Steyer would be to double down his laudable efforts to register young voters, and spend cash on rooting out down-ticket Republican Senators and Trump toadies.

    All this nitpicking about Warren vs Sanders on this and earlier threads – it is so much “the enemy of the good is the perfect”. I’m not after perfect, because that is so unattainable in this landscape. You have to go with what’s going to work.


    He bought and installed his very own fixtures throughout their state government and then ordered them to ram legislation down their throats eliminating the second amendment.

    Good for him. Kudos to Mike Bloomberg for getting this done any way he has to get it done. Sensible gun control laws that are strictly enforced should have been mandatory long ago. Bloomberg has it right when it comes to gun control laws.

  20. different clue

    Trollbusters hint #1: Don’t answer a troll.

    Trollbusters hint #2: Don’t even bother REAding the troll comments. As soon as someone
    reveals themself to be a troll by trollish behavior, such as posting comment
    after comment after comment . . . after comment . . . after comment . . . in
    quick succession, just seeing their name itself can be a cue to bypass their
    comments, if one cares to do so.

    God made a scroll button.

  21. Mojave Wolf

    Good advice, DC. Tho I can’t quite figure out if “troll” or “desperately needs therapy and/or effective meditation.” IF you’re talking about who I think you’re talking about, they appeared to make a reference to me heading an “Operation Phoenix” during the Vietnam War (I think, the comment was imprecise in its wording and I don’t what/when said Operation was). I find this unlikely, since I was BORN during the Vietnam War and unless I’ve forgotten something, I don’t *think* I rose from the crib and flew into the war rooms clutching my blanket, whereupon I began masterminding atrocities by threatening to force people to change my diapers if they didn’t submit to my evil plans.

    (note to person being discussed here: if you’re NOT a troll, seriously dude or dudette or non-binary otherkin, the only operations I was involved in during that time period were “Operation High Chair”, “Operation Give Me The Bottle”, and ‘Operation It is Dark and Quiet Where Are You and Why Aren’t You Holding Me”)

    Sadly, one cannot be sure these days. The “pick the most benevolent evil oligarch” argument sounds somewhat similar to something Mandos once said quite seriously, and in the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross (sadly an ultra annoying SJW, but a very good and entertaining writer), there are entire books devoted to the notion of whether it’s best to bow down to one evil soul devouring entity for protection purposes because it’s relatively nicer and will leave more people alive than the OTHER evil soul devouring entitities, so it could be their Yay Bloomberg argument is entirely sincere and well thought out, wrongheaded as I think it is.

    Regardless, whether they are sincere or not, I would like to point out again that this supposed “lesser evil” Mr. Bloomers endorsed and praised Bush, the Iraq Invasion, and the War on Terror, in addition to essentially gifting the DNC w/a trio of giant bribes two days before declaring his candidacy. If someone thinks that is who they wanna vote for, then that’s who they wanna vote for, but I’m hoping not too many people do.

  22. different clue

    For those who have given up on Democratically Representative Republican self-government . . . and have resigned themselves to “which oligarch will it be” . . . one could say that Bloomberg is better on global warming because he hates the coal industry which wants to raise the ocean and drown Bloomberg’s fair city. So he would like to see coal exterrminated from the world’s energy portfolio.

    I still hope we can do that through some other means than Oligarch versus Oligarch.


    That is my wish as well, different clue. It is why I will vote for Sanders first and foremost. If he doesn’t make it, I will vote Bloomberg to get some of these done that sorely need to be done. The latter is not ideal by any stretch but it’s far better than full-throated fascism.

  24. different clue

    Whooops . . . Oops . . . Uh Oh . . .

    It looks like Bloomberg has done shot hisself in the ass.

    Bloomberg (D)(1): “Michael Bloomberg on Marijuana: Legalizing ‘Another Addictive Narcotic’ Is Perhaps ‘Stupidest Thing Anybody Has Ever Done’” [Bloomberg]. “The position from the billionaire politician would seem to be out of step with Democratic leaders in his state and liberal voters nationwide.”

  25. realitychecker

    @ dc

    Right on! Legalize marijuana, cuz regular folks can’t afford to keep buying single malt scotch!!!!!!

  26. different clue


    I’ve been drunk and I’ve been high/stoned/whatever . . . and its two very different things.

    But yes. Cannabis should be re-legalized just as it was before there was a National Narcotics Control Act or a Schedule of Scheduled Drugs. Marijuana should be removed and deleted from the Schedule altogether. And the various anti-marijuana laws all the way back to the discriminatory tax laws against marijuana should be repealed.

    Why? Because it is such a good drug. And that’s no sarc.

  27. realitychecker


    I don’t drink, so this is a fight I really have a dog in. (Not my sweet, gorgeous pit bull, though lol.)

    Don’t Bogart . . . 🙂

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