Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Kamala Harris: Another Zombie Announces for President

Kamala Harris is rightfully being derided for her attempt to appropriate black righteousness by declaring her presidential candidacy on the holiday devoted Martin Luther King, Jr. The New York Times story, "Kamala Harris Declares Candidacy, Evoking King and Joining Diverse Field," is non-committal, if not poison-pilled (it refers readers to last week's editorial by law professor Lara Bazelon, "Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’"), but Yves Smith is downright scathing in her post this morning "Kamala Harris, Opportunist to the Core: Launches Prez Bid on MLK Day, Since She Has to Remind People She’s Black After Criminalizing Truancy, Keeping CA Prison Rolls Up to Provide Cheap Labor; Sends Tone-Deaf, Narcissistic Campaign E-mail":
It’s stating the obvious that [Kamala] Harris is yet another variant on the Obama formula: take an attractive, well-educated, mixed-race centrist and encourage the press and public to project that their “minority” background means that they’ll be staunch defenders of the downtrodden.
But the public isn’t so easily fooled. 9 million foreclosures, many of which could have been prevented, bailouts for banksters, a two-tier recovery with smug elites preaching “Let them eat training” to people stuck outside big cities or too old to be employable, and sky-high Obamacare deductibles mean a lot of voters are not going to fall for idpol packaging as easily a second time. Plus Obama had so little in the way of a political track record that it was easy for him to be a shape-shifter; he made his stint as a community organizer go a long way. Even now, hardly anyone knows that Obama, along with his wife Michelle and Valerie Jarret, as described by Robert Fitch, built their early career success by lending an appearance of legitimacy to moving black South Chicago further south on behalf of local real estate and finance interests.
Further complicating the foolhardy effort to cast Harris in the Obama mold is that she’s got way too much political baggage to fool all that many people as to what she is really about.
So it’s telling that self-absorbed Harris campaign imagery clashes with her slogan, “For the people”. Even more so than for most politicians, Harris’ team has to stick with the surface because that’s all they have to sell.
If the strategic shortcoming of the Gillibrand campaign is to hitch its wagon to a #MeToo  movement dependent on celebrity scalp-taking and tabloid journalism relocated to the pages of the prestige press, Harris' failure is believing that voters want another Obama.

Obama was a failure. Hillary takes all the blame for losing to a huckster like Trump. But Trump's path was paved by Obama.

Trump has captured the Republican Party. My epiphany over the weekend was the realization that the U.S. intelligence community has taken upon itself the defense of the two-party system by making sure that outsiders like Bernie Sanders don't capture the Democratic Party. How else to interpret Nicole Perlroth's story from last week "D.N.C. Says It Was Targeted Again by Russian Hackers After ’18 Election"? The story keeps the "Russians Stole My Election" meme moving; in this case, by spotlighting the CIA-friendly FireEye report alleging a spearphising attack by CozyBear on "multiple industries, including think tank, law enforcement, media, U.S. military, imagery, transportation, pharmaceutical, national government, and defense contracting."

The two-party system in the United States is under the same pressures as other neoliberal Western states. A parliamentary system like the United Kingdom, long anchored by the Conservatives and Labour, is splintering into many different political groupings. There is Momentum Labour, Blairite Labour, UKIP Tories, Remain Tories, SNP, Greens, Sinn Féin, DUP, Plaid Cymru. France is splintering too. The Yellow Vests are a manifestation of that. Germany has its own problems.

The solution being pursued by in the United States is a combination of rebooting the Cold War with China and Russia and censoring the internet. In terms of electoral politics, the intelligence community wants the Democratic Party to choose a neoliberal who favors perpetual war to square off against Trump. The difficulty here is that after Obama, after Hillary, Democratic primary voters are wary of voting for a Gillibrand, a Harris, a Biden, a Booker. It is going to take a miracle of propaganda to elect one of these zombies.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Stillbirth of Kirsten Gillibrand's Presidential Candidacy

New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her presidential candidacy on Stephen Colbert Tuesday night.

The New York Times has been lavishing attention on Gillibrand far out of proportion to her merits. Shane Goldmacher has been handed the portfolio for "the newspaper of record." His reporting has been decent; it manages to spotlight and promote the junior senator from New York while at the same time providing the discerning reader with everything one needs to reject Gillibrand's candidacy outright; for instance, Gillibrand -- who owes her senate seat to Hillary's ascension to Obama's Foggy Bottom, followed by an appointment from David Patterson, who himself had recently risen to governor thanks to the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal -- was a Blue Dog Democrat congressional representative of an upstate district with an A-rating from the National Rifle Association.

Gillibrand is a scion of a powerful Albany family, a corporate lawyer with a knack for fundraising. Goldmacher summarizes:
Born in Albany to a political family, Ms. Gillibrand was greatly influenced by her grandmother, Dorothea Noonan, known as Polly, a powerful figure in the political machine of the longtime mayor of Albany, Erastus Corning.
Ms. Gillibrand began her career as a Manhattan lawyer in the 1990s, and has said she was inspired to get into politics by listening to Mrs. Clinton, then the first lady.
She eventually ran for Congress, in 2006, in what was seen as a long-shot race against an entrenched incumbent, John E. Sweeney. The district was 93 percent white, and Republicans vastly outnumbered Democrats.
She easily secured re-election in 2008 in a House race that was the most expensive in the nation that year.
It's interesting that while The Times was rolling out the red carpet for Gillibrand it was smearing Bernie and Tulsi Gabbard.

Gabbard's candidacy was scotched for her past support for traditional marriage. Liam Stack reported in "Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic Presidential Candidate, Apologizes for Anti-Gay Past":
“We would hope that people have lifelong values of equality and inclusion that have been demonstrated over their lifetime,” said Stephanie Sandberg, the president of LPAC, an advocacy group for L.G.B.T. women. “From my point of view, this does not make good presidential material, especially from a progressive perspective.”
Mr. Gabbard, who has been a state lawmaker since 2006, has been an outspoken anti-gay activist. In addition to the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, he also ran a group called Stop Promoting Homosexuality America and hosted an anti-gay radio show called “Let’s Talk Straight Hawaii,” according to Honolulu Civil Beat, a news organization.
Why not have a quote from a Parkland survivor in one of the Gillibrand stories saying "We would hope that people have a lifelong value of peace and well-being that have been demonstrated throughout their political career"?

But the Bernie smear is even worse. (See "Sanders Meets With Former Staff Members, Seeking to Quell Anxiety Over Sexism" by Sydney Ember and Katie Benner.) To target one campaign, Bernie's 2016 presidential run, as institutionally sexist, because some men were paid more than women for performing the same tasks and some women were hit on by male supervisors, without looking at Hillary's campaign organization or Jeb Bush's or Trump's or Marco Rubio's, is absurd. Pure disinformation and dirty tricks.

Unfortunately for Gillibrand, no matter how much puffing from The Times, her candidacy is going to be a bust. Gillibrand's gambit was to ride the #MeToo wave. But with the splitting and implosion of the Women's March over allegations of anti-Semitism (same counterintelligence tactic used to target Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party), and second-guessing within the Democratic National Committee's upper echelons over Gillibrand's taking Al Franken's scalp, Gillibrand is having to pivot and sell herself as a rural politician who can reach across the aisle to bring us all together and get things done; a 52-year-old "young mom"; a kinder, gentler Hillary; a female Obama in whiteface; "a winner who can beat Trump" -- in other words, a dud.

Any Democrat -- and I'm thinking at this point even Joe Biden and Kirsten Gillibrand -- should be able to beat Trump.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

NFL Championship Playoff Games

Benjamin Hoffman of The New York Times has done well with his playoff picks. If you don't count the spread but just the straight-up picks, Hoffman is 6-2: 3-1 for the wild card round; 3-1 for the divisional round.

At 2-6, I am the opposite of Hoffman. I've been making these NFL playoff picks since 2013. Without doing an audit of my performance, I'd have to say this is my worse outing to date (though I think there was one year that I was equally bad during the wild card and divisional rounds before hitting the remaining championship and Super Bowl picks, ending up close to .500).

Usually I hover around .500. Maybe there was one year that I performed in Hoffman's range, hitting three out of four picks. But mostly I'm in coin toss territory. Not what I imagined in my 20s when I daydreamed about moving to the desert and supporting myself by picking winners at the Vegas sports books. In that dream I lived alone, as I do now, and drove a pickup truck on sun-drenched dusty roads, which I do not.

In thinking about what has gone wrong for me so far the one big mistake I have made is not factoring in what a huge advantage it is to be the number one or two seed and get a bye for the wild card round. Almost every year three out of the four teams competing in the conference championship games are one or two seeds. This year all the teams are one and two seeds, as it was for the 2015 season. The last time a wild card team won a Super Bowl was Green Bay during the 2010 season, almost ten years ago, after it being a regular occurrence during the aughts.

Something has changed, and I don't think it's an erosion in conditioning. Richard Sherman has repeatedly complained about Thursday games and the stress it places on the players. His season-ending Achilles tear last year on a Thursday night in Phoenix proved his point.

My feeling is that the speed and athleticism of the National Football League has increased. It's a difficult thing to maintain peak performance over a 17-game regular season schedule. When you factor in winter travel during the playoffs, no wonder teams that get a week off to play at home have a huge advantage.

With this in mind the lopsided games of the divisional round make sense. The only game that was truly competitive was the Philadelphia-New Orleans match-up, and I would argue that Alshon Jeffery's game-losing flub of a Nick Fole's pass was due to the fact that Jeffery was flat-out gassed. All the rested home teams displayed much more juice than their visiting opponents from the wild card round.

I'm going with the home teams for the championship round. The home teams are both favored, but Hoffman, while picking the Chiefs at home, is taking the Rams in the Superdome over the Saints. I don't see Los Angeles running the ball against New Orleans like they did against Dallas. Though, to be fair, I didn't foresee C.J. Anderson having such a huge day against the Cowboys. Nonetheless, Drew Brees's quick-release passing to Alvin Kamara out of the backfield and Michael Thomas over the middle is going to shred the Rams defense. Take the Saints.

The second of Sunday's game is the tougher one to call. Patrick Mahomes had the yipes when he played in Foxborough earlier in the year. If he had not made mistakes in the first half of that game the Chiefs would have won.

Brady has seemed uncharacteristically disinterested this season. You can see him dreaming about life after football as he sits on the bench. New England is not a particularly good road team. Regular season losses to Detroit and Jacksonville prove the point. The one hope for the Patriots -- and it's a possibility -- is that they can control the ball on offense and wear down the Kansas City defense. Temperatures are said to be in the 20s.

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes will get it done in Arrowhead. Kansas City running back Damien Williams is playing incredibly well. Take the Chiefs.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Great National Debate

French president Emmanuel Macron's response to the Yellow Vest protests roiling France is something dubbed the "Great National Debate." Adam Nossiter addressed it earlier this week in "Macron Hopes Talk Will Calm France, but an Air of Menace Prevails."

Tuesday Macron appeared before hundreds of mayors in the city of Grand Bourgtheroulde in Normandy. The mayors were there to convey the grievances of regular citizens. But, as Nossiter explains, fear and loathing shrouded the event. Grand Bourgtheroulde was a city on lock-down:
Even Mr. Macron’s rare public appearance — they have been deemed too risky since the beginning of the Yellow Vest movement — was made under virtual siege.
The police blockaded the village where he was to speak, Grand Bourgtheroulde, banning most traffic, preventing Yellow Vests from reaching it, and screening those leaving the highway and entering the village.
It was rural France, but tear gas, a regular feature of the protest movement, was deployed to push back some who managed to get through. Wagonloads of police officers were stationed in the woods surrounding the village.
Mr. Macron, tagged as “President of the Rich” by the angry Yellow Vests, was taking no chances. The current situation, he told the mayors, “presents our country with a lot of challenges.” That was something of an understatement.
Still, the French media noted, the president had spoken the words “Yellow Vest” in public for the first time — two months after the movement began — an omission seen as a sign of his often-noted remoteness.
This morning Naked Capitalism re-posts a piece, "France’s Great Debate," by Peter Collier. Collier summarizes the Yellow Vest protests:
The first Saturday protest in November mobilised 287,000. Most had never protested before. There have been eight Saturday protests. Over 5,000 were taken into custody and a thousand held in prison. Emmanuel Macron reacted by first, apologising, then freezing tax increases and bank charges while raising the minimum wage. Amazingly the Gilets-Jaunes won more concessions from the government than any trade-union or opposition party for decades. Paradoxically the more concessions Macron made the more the movement became radical. The moderate middle-class, unsettled by the level of violence, now stayed away on Saturdays. (For this alone it may be argued that Macron had played it this way.)
Collier notes that the question of raising taxes on the super-rich is banned from the debate. Macrons prefers questions about tax cuts. Nossiter concludes his article:
Mr. Macron set out what he regards as the central questions on the minds of the French — questions that are suggested by hundreds of so-called “Grievance books,” a term that goes back to the beginnings of the French Revolution.
The books have now set out in mayors’ offices across the country for the citizens to fill in. Tax cuts are clearly the popular priority.
“How can we make our fiscal system more just and more efficient?” Mr. Macron asked in his letter. “What taxes should we cut?”
But he warned the French, underlining a paradox that many have found at the heart of the Yellow Vest movement: “We cannot, in any event, pursue tax cuts without cutting the overall level of public spending.”
He continued, taking a risk in the live-wire French context, “Should we cut some public services which are out of date or too expensive in relation to their usefulness?”
This, of course, is all that fills what's left of the mind of the zombie. Wars rage perpetually overseas. Government exists only to cut taxes and social services.

But this world view no longer beguiles the masses, the proof of which is found in the barricades around Grand Bourgtheroulde. There is even some evidence that this world view is being abandoned by segments of the ruling class.

Yesterday there was a frontpager by Karen Weise, "Microsoft Pledges $500 Million for Affordable Housing in Seattle Area," which contained this bombshell:
“Of course, we have lots of software engineers, but the reality is that a lot of people work for Microsoft. Cafeteria workers, shuttle drivers,” Mr. Nadella [Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella] said this week at a meeting with editors at the company’s headquarters. “It is a supply problem, a market failure.”
But, wait. Markets can't fail. Markets are wholly rational; better yet, divine. What's Nadella problem? Is he some sort of Putinbot, trying to divide the country?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Craig Murray's Brexit Scoop: May Planning a Second Referendum

Craig Murray has a Brexit scoop this morning, "Machiavellianism and Brexit." Apparently May is prepared to acquiesce to a second Brexit referendum but one based on ranked-choice voting. Murray explains that
A Cabinet Office source tells me today No. 10 is considering agreeing a second referendum with three choices: No Deal Brexit, May’s Deal or No Brexit. It would be by alternative vote, ie you rate your preferences 1, 2. The thinking is that the first round might go No Deal 23, May’s Deal 37, No Brexit 40. The second round would then go May’s Deal 60, No Brexit 40.
They claim there is opinion poll evidence to support this. But I see a flaw. It is predicated on the current situation, where a lot of Remainers are prepared to support Brexit, to respect the referendum result. But surely a second referendum would release that psychological constraint and the overwhelming majority of Remainers would seize the opportunity to try and ditch Brexit?
The advantage of the ploy from May’s viewpoint is that it presents her “deal” as the only alternative to No Deal or No Brexit, and in an AV vote the compromise position is always boosted. What is more it keeps the numerous other options for deals outwith her red lines – eg EFTA, Single Market, Customs Union, EEA – all off the ballot paper. This limited choice referendum thus appeals to May as “out-maneuvering” the opposition parties. The idea is to sucker them in to talk on a second referendum, then produce this slanted one.
An earlier Brexit development was noted by Yves Smith in her post this morning, Brexit: Chasing Their Tails. May will present her Plan B, which will be nothing more than a cosmetic tweak of her Plan A that was torched by parliament on Tuesday, but it won't be debated until Tuesday, January 29.

To keep her coalition government intact, of which May has been successful, the prime minister cannot rule out a no deal crash-out, which is what the opposition parties want her to do, because it is a no deal crash-out that keeps the hard-line Brexiteers and the DUP loyal to May.

I would think that the DUP could suss out the implications of a proposed second referendum along the lines of ranked-choice voting and decide at that point to leave May's coalition. Whether that would be enough to halt a second referendum I don't know.

Smith concludes her post citing an interesting poll. A second referendum, contrary to what the mainstream media says, does not receive majority support:
New poll indicates UK voters do not want revocation or extension of Article 50. The survey, of over 2000 people by ComRes on behalf of the Daily Express, is a decent sample size and appears not to be an online poll. And it was taken before Tuesday’s vote, which is unlikely to have improved results:
Three-quarters of voters say the crisis-hit EU departure process has shown that the current generation of MPs are “not up to the job”, according to the data from polling firm ComRes. A root-and-branch overhaul of the country’s entire political system is wanted by a massive 72% of people quizzed in the survey. But despite the chaos embroiling Brexit, a majority of voters (53%) still want the result of the 2016 EU Leave vote to be honoured by ensuring the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc….
Less than a third of voters (31%) wanted Brexit cancelled or a second referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU to be held.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

This is What a Zombie Looks Like

UPDATE: From The Guardian's live stream:
Corbyn accused May of heading a “zombie government” and said any previous government would have resigned if it had lost as badly as May’s did last night. He said:
"Last week they lost a vote on the finance bill, that’s what’s called supply. Yesterday they lost by the biggest margin ever, that’s what’s regarded as confidence. By any convention of this house, by any precedence, loss of both confidence and supply should mean they do the right thing and resign …
"This government cannot govern and cannot command the support of parliament on the most important issue facing our country. Every previous prime minister in this situation would have resigned and called an election and it is the duty of this house to lead where the government has failed."
Under normal circumstances, a British prime minister would be expected to resign after losing a vote on a flagship policy. But the Brexit process has so unsettled political conventions that Mrs. May could survive to make revisions and pitch her deal again.
In December, Mrs. May survived a leadership challenge in her own Conservative Party and, under its rules, is safe from another until the end of the year.
“We have been in extraordinary circumstances,” said Nikki da Costa, a former director of legal affairs at 10 Downing Street. “Things that in normal times would not be considered survivable have become normalized. What the government would be looking for is a pathway through this.”
Ms. Da Costa predicted: “We will be doing this again in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Philip Cowley, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said he was struggling to identify a comparable defeat in the history of British politics.
“When you ask me for a historical benchmark, I can’t find any example,” Mr. Cowley said.
"May and Brexit Face Uncertain Future After Crushing Vote in Parliament," Stephen Castle and Ellen Barry
Despite sustaining a historical defeat on the principal policy of her government, prime minister Theresa May is poised to win a vote of confidence today. So cockeyed, the mainstream press is struggling to explain this to its readers. Castle and Barry emphasize a "Brexit changes everything" explanation, whereas the main Reuters story simply blows past the incongruity of losing by an unprecedented margin on your key initiative only to be voted up the next day by the same body that just rejected you by focusing on May's promise to consult with the opposition to hatch a Plan B.

What's really going on is that the Tories are doing whatever it takes to avoid elections that might bring a legitimate anti-war social democrat to power. It's a bizarre form of putsch where the putschists are already in power; the putsch is systemic and the victim is the voting public.

So the charade will begin anew. The problem is that for May to maintain the loyalty after the confidence vote of hard-line Tories and the Ulster DUP will require the prime minister to scrap the Irish backstop, and that's a non-starter for the EU because the EU has said it will not abandon Ireland.

A possible way out -- assuming the aforementioned unfolds: May triumphs today in the confidence vote and then concocts a Plan B that goes nowhere in Brussels -- is a suspension of Article 50 and the March 29 divorce date to allow for another referendum. It's a way forward that the mainstream supports, and I have no doubt that Remain would win this time. People are exhausted with the zombie and just want to be done with it.

Unfortunately it looks like the only thing that the British political system can deliver at this point is impasse.

Expect more of the same in the next couple of months. Yves Smith concludes in a post, "Brexit: Chaos," this morning:
May is very wedded to delivering Brexit. And she still seems to think someone will blink if she persists. The only thing that might change this dynamic is if the UK gets an extension and the idea of an Article 50 revocation gets traction in a big way in the coming months. But what is that path by which that occurs? Businesspeople, who you’d expect to have been making a forceful public case for the costs of Brexit, have been almost entirely missing in action. So perhaps I am suffering from a lack of imagination, but despite the high drama of yesterday's vote, nothing fundamental has yet changed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

May Will Lose in Parliament Today, But Don't Expect a Quick Resolution on Brexit + Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Most Popular Politician in the U.S.?

UPDATE: From The Guardian:
Theresa May has sustained the heaviest parliamentary defeat of any British prime minister in the democratic era after MPs rejected her Brexit deal by a resounding majority of 230.
The prime minister immediately announced that she would welcome a vote of no confidence in her own government, and would make time for it on Wednesday.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, quickly confirmed he had tabled the motion, with the support of the leaders of all other opposition parties.
Corbyn told MPs: “This is a catastrophic defeat. The house has delivered its verdict on her deal. Delay and denial has reached the end of the line.”
Unfortunately, "delay and denial" has not reached the end of the line. The DUP is going to support May in the confidence vote. The zombie appears likely to plod on. The downside for the Tories is that they will own the crash out 100 percent.

Parliament begins voting today at 11 AM PST on zombie prime minister Theresa May's Brexit agreement.

The vote is being framed in much the same terms as the vote May pulled at the eleventh hour in December: a narrow loss will allow May wiggle room to perform her Brussels kabuki yet again; a resounding defeat will lead to a confidence vote. You'll notice that the framing doesn't include the possibility of a May victory.

Either way, don't expect a change in the zombie narrative. The New York Times opines in "Brexit Vote: Parliament to Decide on E.U. Withdrawal Plan" that:
Still, few feel that it will bring any sort of conclusion, and many expect Mrs. May, if she survives, to try to return to Brussels for more talks before a second parliamentary vote and then probably ask for a delay to the legal withdrawal date of March 29.
European officials seem optimistic that the other 27 states would agree, as they must unanimously, to an extension, as long as there is a sense that Britain is on track to reach an agreement before elections for the European Parliament, beginning on May 23. No one wants a “no-deal” Brexit, even if some think it may shake the markets enough to cause Britain to rethink.
Because of an amendment passed by parliament last week, May is obligated to return to parliament on Monday, rather than in three weeks, with an alternative Brexit proposal. This affords May the opportunity to begin her "pilgrimage to Brussels" charade all over again. The Ulster Democratic Unionist Party, which keeps May's coalition government afloat, will play along provided May's Plan B scotches the current Irish backstop.

The only thing that is going to stop the zombie in its tracks is for May's government to fall, followed by snap elections. The fact that Corbyn has been reticent up until now to move a confidence vote seems to me evidence that he doesn't have the votes. Those Tories who don't support May's Brexit deal are content to support her as prime minister because the closer the UK gets to March 29 without any sort of agreement the greater the possibility of a crash out (which is really what the hard-line Leavers, the DUP included, desire).


In yesterday's national edition of The New York Times there was an article, "Ocasio-Cortez Pushes Democrats to the Left, Whether They Like It or Not," by Shane Goldmacher, which included some stunning numbers:
“Over 200 members voted for Nancy Pelosi today, yet the G.O.P. only booed one: me,” she wrote on Twitter on Jan. 3. “Don’t hate me cause you ain’t me, fellas.”
It has already been retweeted nearly 50,000 times.
Supporters and rivals alike agree that she has upended the traditional rules of engagement on Capitol Hill with a millennial’s intuitive sense of what sells online — all before she has hung anything on her barren office walls or even found a permanent place to live.
It has all come in a rush: By the end of her full first day as a congresswoman, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had overtaken Ms. Pelosi’s following on Twitter. Her initials and Twitter handle, @AOC, have become shorthand for the phenomenon that is the talk of Capitol Hill.
She had a full “60 Minutes” segment devoted to her on her first Sunday as a congresswoman. She was the first lawmaker that MSNBC turned to after Mr. Trump’s first Oval Office address for analysis on what was Rachel Maddow’s most-watched show ever. And she has become a viral internet sensation many times over, including one video of her dancing outside her office that has topped 22 million views across the globe.
She’s a draw on the right as much as the left: Fox News spent more than two hours covering her first five days in Congress, according to a tally by Media Matters, the liberal media watchdog group. MSNBC spent 52 minutes and CNN 96 minutes talking about her in that span.
(Interest in Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is so intense that even her chief of staff has appeared on CNN — something almost unheard-of in Congress, where 30-second hits on cable are a sought-after commodity for members of Congress themselves, not their aides.)
In a recent Instagram chat — live from her kitchen with several thousand fans watching — Ms. Ocasio-Cortez outlined her strategy to “shape the national narrative” while chopping vegetables for an Instant Pot recipe.
“In Trump’s America,” she explained, “I’m not a big fan of bipartisanship.”
On the environment, she said that her goal was to move the boundaries of debate far enough to the left that a carbon tax would look like the moderate option, compared to “wildly ambitious” direct government intervention imagined in the Green New Deal.
Perhaps Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s most talked-about idea, raised on “60 Minutes,” has been that people she called “the tippy tops” — those earning above $10 million — should pay a 70 percent rate on income above that threshold. The remark set off days of debate among economists and pundits, on the right and the left, about tax rates unseen in America in decades but common during the post-World War II era.
“I’ve been trying to open up this rhetorical space for many, many years,” said Stephanie Kelton, a former chief economist for Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee.
“They used to talk about the Oprah effect,” said Ms. Kelton, now a professor at Stony Brook University. “I think it’s the Ocasio effect at this point.”
Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and federal housing secretary who is running for president, was shown the clip of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s tax comment during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos — and then went even further than her.
“As you know, George, there was a time in this country where the top marginal tax rate was over 90 percent,” Mr. Castro explained. “Even during Reagan’s era in the 1980s it was around 50 percent.”
The rank'n'file Democrat has found her avatar. and she is a socialist. The question becomes how long before a smear campaign appears to take down AOC? Tulsi Gabbard's presidential announcement was effectively tarred by numerous stories of her prior support for traditional marriage.

What's clear is that the Democratic National Committee and its many wealthy backers are asking themselves, as Luke Savage writes in Jacobin, "Who Will Be the American Justin Trudeau?"

There are several contenders: Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand. They will parrot AOC's issues. But if elected, they will be, like Obama, staunch neoliberals.

The problem for these candidates is that they have no real activist energy behind them. It took the DNC with an elephantine foot on the scale to hurl Hillary's rotten corpse across the finish line. There will be no such organizational unity of focus for the American Justin Trudeau.