Sayonara.

So Jack Welch is dead. Sorry to speak ill of the dead, but no big loss. Remember when he retired? And then he fell in love with some younger woman, and his wife spilled the financial beans during the divorce proceedings? It turned out that in addition to being paid 10 king’s ransoms in his retirement package, General Electric’s stockholders then put themselves on the hook to pay for everything in his life, and I do mean everything:

Following disclosure of his affair with the editor of the Harvard Business Review, the captain of capitalism has been painted as a ruthless womanizer who let his shareholders pay for just about everything–right down to the GE light bulbs in his numerous homes. Jane Beasley Welch has emerged as the modern model of the savvy corporate wife: so clever that she thought to include an expiration date in her prenuptial agreement–and stayed married long enough to pass it.

With perhaps $1 billion at stake, the Welch divorce is a primer on how wealthy couples uncouple. The case also affords a window into the benefits that corporations lavish on retired top executives–everything, in Jack Welch’s case, from sports tickets to the lifetime use of GE-owned jets, with charge accounts at flower shops and one of New York’s most expensive dining establishments thrown in as well. Mostly, this is a story about how a man who routinely crushed adversaries when he ran a Fortune 500 empire was stopped in his tracks by his own wife.

…Despite Welch’s intentions to keep things private, Jane Welch filed an affidavit in Bridgeport, Conn., outlining the couple’s “extraordinary” standard of living–much of it compliments of General Electric. The next day, the New York Times ran a long article describing how GE pays for the apartment the Welches occupied on Central Park West, membership fees at five country clubs and full staffs and services at homes in Florida, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

By Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission had begun an informal inquiry into Welch’s compensation agreement. Welch himself penned a column in Monday’s Wall Street Journal revealing that he offered last week to give up many of his retirement benefits–and the GE board accepted.

In other words, this titan of capitalism was…a welfare queen, basically. Light bulbs. Imagine the amount of cheek it takes to do whatever one must do to accept light bulbs from the people who thought they were investing in your company. Do you place an order? Does your household manager do it? Do they send over an assorted case? Or do you put in for reimbursement?

God, I remember that era – the ’80s, ’90s, around in there? Every third book in the bookstore was by one of these guys, delivering their secrets of success. (In airports, it was every other book.)

As the Washington Post’s Helaine Olen notes, Welch was really even worse:

Welch popularized the concept known as “shareholder value,” the idea that the primary duty of a company’s management is to increase its stock price for the benefit of shareholders. In pursuit of this goal, he bought and sold companies, shedding huge numbers of employees along the way. GE’s share prices soared. For this, Welch was celebrated: imitated by competitors and lionized by the fawning business press.

Never mind the fact Welch routinely closed GE’s Rust Belt factories and moved the jobs to Third World locales, where workers labored for less — much, much less — than the former GE employees. Never mind the fact that he cut funding for research and development, something that can undermine a company’s long-term health. And never mind the fact that the humane postwar arrangement between corporations and their employees — give us your loyalty and we’ll take care of you as best we can — ended in part because of Welch. He made money for shareholders, and that was the important thing.

So no, I will not be shedding any tears for Jack. Suzy Wetlaufer Welch – the woman he left Jane for – will come out ahead, no doubt. I’ve always said the best job in the world is to be the ex-wife of one of these goons. Maybe the second-best one is the widow, especially when you’re still young enough to enjoy it. The widow Welch is 61; she’ll be fine.

Oh, wait: There’s one more book on the stand. From 2006:

When Jack and Suzy met almost three years ago, they had much that seemed good in their lives. They traded it-his wife, her job, both of their reputations-for what they say is true love. The result was a storm the size of which neither one had ever seen. And now reporters are calling again. Jack and Suzy are writing a book about business strategy. Jack and Suzy have bought a house on Beacon Hill. Jack and Suzy are getting married. Jack and Suzy are in the news.

…Suzy Wetlaufer is not an easy woman to pigeonhole. She’s a Harvard-educated novelist, a brilliant thinker who some say was the best editor the Harvard Business Review ever had. She’s a devout Christian who attends Bible study regularly, but she’s also a woman who is partial to French manicures and shopping for designer clothes. She can expound on the situation in Iraq in one breath and blurt out things like, “Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs,” or, “Get out of town!” in another. When complimented, she may even exclaim, “I love you!” punctuated by a giant kissing sound. And yet, says Jack, “She’s the smartest person I know. I told her that on our second date.”

Good lord, imagine writing that crap. Why are all these little home wreckers devout Christians who attend Bible study regularly? Mrs. Gingrich, all the rest of them.

So now it’s Super Tuesday evening, and I’m watching the returns come in with the same blankness I’ve had all season. Just tell me who I’m voting for in November.

I guess we’ll know soon. Have a good hump day, eh?

Posted at 8:41 pm in Current events |
 

73 responses to “Sayonara.”

  1. alex said on March 3, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Nancy, I think you’ve managed to corner the Wendy Williams formula for those who are literate in the fields of business and journalism. Now, don’t go out and get ginormous gazongas implanted just yet, but keep on throwing down. That was funny!

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  2. Sherri said on March 3, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    The lesson of Super Tuesday should be that pundits forget about black people.

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  3. David C. said on March 3, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    I know a lot of engineers and designers who were ranked and yanked when GE bought Smith’s Industries avionics business in Grand Rapids. It was a pretty nice place to work until then. Afterwards, it was a glorified sweatshop.

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  4. LAMary said on March 3, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    This made my day.

    https://tinyurl.com/rfte4qb

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  5. Ann said on March 3, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    I always associate Jack Welch with “rank and yank,” where you deliberately fire 10% of your employees every year. It became very popular. It was adopted at the Cleveland Clinic, among many other places, so that even if you were an MD/PhD and they were sending you to conferences all over the world, you never got more than a one year contract because next year might be your year to be yanked. My son-in-law got recruited away by Mayo, where they offered him not only much more money, and a much lighter workload, but TENURE. What an awful way to run anything. Even GE has dropped it now.

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  6. diane said on March 3, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    Well very early results indicate that my state is perhaps somewhat conflicted. Bernie wins with Bloomberg second, Biden third and Warren next. Not sure those results will hold but I have to admit I never would have called it like that.

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  7. Mark P said on March 3, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    Diane, that is very discouraging. It makes me wonder if Democrats are really any smarter than Republicans.

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  8. Brian stouder said on March 3, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Good God – I came out of my chair (literally) when two intruders stormed the stage and came at VP Biden and his wife and sister. Not that we get a choice, but I’d trade a lot for a safe, non-violent election cycle. (Bobby Kennedy leaped to mind, given the California connection)

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  9. Jakash said on March 4, 2020 at 1:27 am

    I don’t give a crap about Jack Welch, but that was quite informative, NN.

    “Welch popularized the concept known as ‘shareholder value,’ the idea that the primary duty of a company’s management is to increase its stock price for the benefit of shareholders.”

    If one had to pick a single factor that has led to the nightmarish “I’ve got mine” economy that has plagued the nation for decades, that would certainly be in the running.

    “Imagine the amount of cheek it takes to do whatever one must do to accept light bulbs from the people who thought they were investing in your company.” Indeed — imagine.

    I’m not much for pissing on new gravesites, but I guess I’ll make an exception this time…

    As for Super Tuesday — I still hope to vote for Elizabeth Warren on March 17. It’s pathetic, in my own estimation, but I’d prefer Biden to be the nominee over Bernie. (That may well be inconsistent — I don’t really care.) Still, perversely, I’d love to live in a fantasy universe where I could have a candid chat in 2008 with Sen. “Hope and Change” Obama (for whom I voted 5 times) and ask his opinion of the idea that Joe Biden might be the preferred Democratic nominee in 2020.

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  10. Dexter Friend said on March 4, 2020 at 1:59 am

    Thanks for the story on Jack’s life of opulence and his business dealings. He was an infrequent guest on “Imus In the Morning” on various cable networks. I didn’t know much about his happiness level, but he came on the set laughing and having a helluva good time with Imus. Jack loved having fun poked at him and he was very much into self-deprecation. And…he was funny. But so was another GE man, the worst President in history, Ronald Reagan, who would tell some stupid joke and his minions would just die from laughter.

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  11. Deborah said on March 4, 2020 at 5:50 am

    Making it all about the shareholder, not the workers or the consumers, is low road capitalism. Things have got to change.

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  12. Connie said on March 4, 2020 at 6:38 am

    Deborah, I once said my version of that — employees and community are as important as share holders — and got royally and nastily trashed by a couple of commenters. Right here in these comments. Remember a guy from San Diego who was a regular? I think Danny. He was one of the worst.

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  13. alex said on March 4, 2020 at 6:57 am

    I envy my friends who led unbroken careers at places that didn’t arbitrarily sack employees for short-term profit, as so many companies did in the 1980s and ’90s thanks to the Gospel of Mr. Welch. After being laid off myself, I ended up cobbling together contractor gigs with my former employer as well as multiple companies that had eliminated their in-house communications and publishing staffs but still needed people with my skill sets. I did that for about ten years, but needed better health insurance than I could otherwise afford, and retirement savings where my contributions would be matched. I found such stability by going to work for a smaller employer not beholden to shareholders and financial gimmickry.

    I have friends who put in 30 years, or retired under the old Rule of 90, and now while I toil away they’re spending their days playing and I wish I could join them. Maybe in ten years.

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  14. Deborah said on March 4, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Someone said this morning that the progressives have overreached with Bernie, they should have gotten behind Warren who doesn’t have the “socialist” mantle even though she holds similar values.

    If Biden gets the nomination it will be interesting to see who he chooses as his VP. I hope it’s not another white man.

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  15. Mark P said on March 4, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Deborah — me, too. Warren or Abrams seems about right to me.

    I have no doubt that Warren would be the front runner if she were a man.

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  16. Deborah said on March 4, 2020 at 9:13 am

    I Googled who Biden has said he might pick for VP. He mentioned while campaigning in Iowa at different times, Sally Yates, Stacy Abrams and Kamala Harris, but he said there were other women and he wasn’t ready to announce. So it sounds like he might be committed to it being a woman. I hadn’t thought of Sally Yates, that’s a good one but I’d prefer Stacy Abrams.

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  17. Heather said on March 4, 2020 at 9:48 am

    I can’t believe Warren came in after Bloomberg anywhere. That is depressing. Do NOT tell me that sexism isn’t rampant in politics, and everywhere else.

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  18. Deborah said on March 4, 2020 at 9:56 am

    I had to look up where the heck American Samoa was. It has a population of 55,000+ and has land mass equal to Washington DC, made up of a few islands. Why don’t I already know these things?

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  19. Jeff Borden said on March 4, 2020 at 10:08 am

    I’m very nervous about Sanders getting the nomination. There’s a reason Republicans keep hinting that Bernie is being cheated by the DNC, etc. They want him. This is why every Democrat is now denounced as a “socialist” and why rightwing media is constantly hyping that one word. The attack ads on Bernie will have plenty of old video and audio to play.

    But beyond that. . .dog help me. . .Bernie reminds me very much of tRump. Loud, utterly convinced of his rectitude, dismissive of the views of others. While Elizabeth Warren actually did stuff and created the consumer protection agency the Orange King is crushing, Sanders has virtually no legislative achievements beyond naming post offices. And the worst of the Bernie Bros would give the worst of the Magats a run for their money. Ugh.

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  20. Jim said on March 4, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Ditto to Deborah @16.

    I think Stacy Abrams is a no brainer. The big question for me right now is whether Bloomberg will suspend and use his ground organization and cash to go all in on Biden.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on March 4, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Michael Bloomberg has dropped out and endorsed Biden. Warren is “reconsidering.”

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  22. Deggjr said on March 4, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Someone wrote that rank-and-yank meant that maybe 50% of employees were in close danger of losing their jobs at any given time. Imagine working in that work environment.

    Jack Welch supposedly said this about employer/employee loyalty: “We’re even every two weeks.”

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  23. Mark P said on March 4, 2020 at 11:25 am

    Jeff Borden — I am so sorry to hear that Warren is reconsidering. Damn. I’m glad Bloomberg dropped out. Makes me wonder exactly what his game was.

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  24. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Steve Ballmer was a disciple of Jack Welch, and rank and yank was his way at Microsoft. It makes for a very toxic culture, because success is a zero sum game. Regardless of the success of the company, you could only succeed if someone else failed. And it wasn’t the case that the worst performers got fired. The worst performers were kept around so you’d have someone to reliably put at the bottom of the rankings.

    Stack ranking went away before Ballmer, and Satya Nadella has worked hard to change the culture to a more collaborative one.

    Bloomberg’s game was that he didn’t want the nomination to go to Sanders or Warren.

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  25. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    I don’t like Bernie or Biden. I agree with Bernie’s positions, but think he doesn’t know how to get anything done. Biden knows how to get things done, I just don’t think he grasps what needs to be done.

    Warren should not be the VP nominee for either candidate. Put her in Treasury or make her the AG, or leave her in the Senate if the Dems win the Senate and twist Schumer’s arm to step aside and let her be Majority Leader. I know that’s not how seniority works in the Senate, but screw that. Or make Patty Murray Majority Leader.

    Harris would be the most solid pick for Biden as VP. Stacy Abrams is great, but doesn’t have Harris’s experience. Think about who you’d rather have step into the office, and I think Harris comes out on top. I think Biden is savvy enough to pick her, too.

    I have no idea who Bernie would pick, because Bernie doesn’t seem to understand how politics work. I look at who has endorsed him, and they’re all relative newcomers. Even among the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Bernie co-founded, he doesn’t have many endorsements. He needs to have a black VP, but I think he’d reject that thinking, and I don’t know who’d he’d be willing to accept and be willing to accept him.

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  26. Jeff Borden said on March 4, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Sherri,

    I’ve seen suggestions Bernie should choose AOC,which would be a foolish choice. I like her, but she’s very green and a bomb thrower like Bernie.

    Now we’ll see what Bloomberg does with his billions. He could crush the Orange King with attack ads, if he so chooses. He also should fund Dem Senate races. As much as I despise tRump, I loathe Moscow Mitch McTreason even more.

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  27. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    In our mayoral campaign, during the primary phase, one of the candidates worked hard. He knocked on a lot of doors, he had lots of signs, held lots of events. He did everything right. He finished a distant third, because he was one creepy dude. We heard from more than one person who was totally out off by him after meeting him at their door.

    Doesn’t matter how good your campaign is or how much money you have to spend if the voters aren’t buying what your candidate is selling. Adapt or die.

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  28. alex said on March 4, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    I’ve never cared for Biden. He’s the consummate finger-in-the-air politician who’d probably sell out his own mother, but he’s still better than Trump and probably magnitudes more electable than Bernie. I’m beginning to feel easier about things. If Dems turn out with the same gusto as they did for the midterms then I think we’ve probably got this thing sewn up.

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  29. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    This.

    The work of the president requires convincing legislators in your party to support your agenda, sometimes at the cost of your political or policy ambitions. If Sanders and his team don’t figure out how to do it, they could very well lose to Biden, and even if they win, they’ll be unable to govern.

    Persuading the Amy Klobuchars of the world to support you, even when they know it’s a risk, is exactly what the president needs to do to pass bills, whether that’s a Green New Deal or Medicare-for-all or just an infrastructure package. Biden, for all his weak debate performances and meandering speeches, is showing he still has that legislator’s touch. That he can unite the party around him, and convince even moderate Democrats to support a liberal agenda, is literally the case for his candidacy.

    Sanders hasn’t demonstrated that same skill over the course of this primary, or his career. Worse, his most enthusiastic supporters treat that kind of transactional politicking with contempt. Senators like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren, who co-sponsored Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill but quibbled with details or wanted to soften sections, were treated not as allies to cultivate but as traitors to exile.

    https://www.vox.com/2020/3/4/21164091/sanders-biden-super-tuesday-endorsements-primary-2020

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  30. Icarus said on March 4, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    I’ve seen suggestions Bernie should choose AOC, which would be a foolish choice. I like her, but she’s very green and a bomb thrower like Bernie.

    I think History teachers like to throw this out on tests. Technically she could be VP but if something happened to the President, she doesn’t meet the age requirement.

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  31. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    I’d pay money for this.

    https://twitter.com/OfficialJonZal/status/1235066096450854913

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  32. Jakash said on March 4, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for posting that interesting Ezra Klein piece, Sherri.

    One more quote from it:

    “This is a real weakness for Sanders, and one that’ll be hard to address: That he’s an insurgent facing down a corrupt Democratic establishment is core to his identity, and to the bond he’s built with his staunchest supporters. But to win the Democratic primary and govern as a Democratic president, you need to win over Democrats who aren’t your natural allies, who didn’t start out in your corner.”

    Who’d have thought that a long-time Socialist, who preferred to remain Independent rather than sully himself by aligning with Democrats, (up until he decided he should be president, and knew he’d get nowhere as an Independent, of course) would have difficulties appealing to lots of more traditional Democratic voters?

    Marianne Williamson tweeted that yesterday was a “coup.” Uh, whatever it was, millions of Democrats deciding to vote for a familiar, experienced, Democratic legislator and VP, whatever his flaws, was not a coup. All you really need to know about the merit of that kind of thinking is that it’s the same kind of hysteria being promoted by Trump to rile up Bernie Bros because — uh, it’s pretty clear that he’d much rather run against Bernie.

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  33. Scout said on March 4, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    I’m a bit in mourning today because I thought Liz would do better. I didn’t expect her to run the board, but I thought she’d get more delegates under her belt. At this point, I see no path forward for her, so I will be moving on and will vote for Joe on my mail-in ballot. Of the front runners, he is the candidate remaining who displays decency, a knowledge of how things work and who would be a return to the competency we all took for granted of the Obama years. I think that is the message the Super Tuesday voters were sending too: decency over revolution. I’d like if he picked Warren for VP, but Harris is probably the smartest choice, and she was my very first pick of this election season, so I’d be good with it.

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  34. Suzanne said on March 4, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    I know some disgruntled Republicans who would never vote for Bernie even if they despise Trump. If Bernie’s the Dem nom, they wouldn’t vote for Trump, but they simply would not vote for POTUS at all or go 3rd party. Biden, for all his faults, seems to be a decent person, something I think even Trump’s more ardent supporters wouldn’t say about their Orange King.

    Have any of you ever watched Babylon Berlin on Netflix? I am home sick today and started it. Fascinating. Dirty, gritty, creepy. I think I’m hooked.

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  35. St Bitch said on March 4, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    I think you’ve got Biden all wrong, alex; his most appealing quality is that he would NOT sell out his own mother…nor his constituency, if he can figure out how not to do it. I feel like we (the Party politic) are in some alternate version of The Help, telling Scranton Joe, “You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important.” Yep. That he is…by all reports, genuinely empathetic and decent.

    In terms of Biden, the Palliative Care Candidate, I remain a Not-OK-Boomer. However, regarding the Comeback Kid igniting what I believe was a record turnout, I’m with you, alex…feeling a frisson of (cautious) excitement. Add to that rumors of some Obama backchannel maneuvering with Klobuchar, Biden seems to have received his long-awaited anointment.

    As for my Fuck-It Candidate, Bernie, la luta continua (the struggle continues). He’s speaking for the youth and the working class…for Dexter and those like me that may have a bit of a middle-class buffer zone, but have hit the Fuck-It Valve and are less enamoured of a palliative care presidency. Bernie may find he’s is own worst enemy (ala Sherri), especially down in Cuba-Miami, Florida (will the last Gringo to leave Miami please carry the American Flag with you?). I was living down there when all of our votes got neutered by hanging shads; and was reminded, when talking to my long-distance Jamaican boo, that any praise of Fidel (no matter how much it was imbedded in renunciation) probably squandered his latin-x outreach significantly in that battleground state.

    I don’t think a fight to the finish will do damage in the general election. If it gets nasty, well…what’s your definition of politics? As long as it doesn’t get bloody. Hopefully, it will toughen up both contenders into fighting trim. Riled up, turned-out Democrats is a good thing. Ultimately, whoever gets the most delegates is the most electable…and the loser sure as hell better COALESCE!

    Elizabeth Warren, dearly beloved schoolmarm (only in the Trump era, when earning a high school diploma makes one part of the despised elite, is schoolmarm a pejorative), seems to have shipwrecked in a perfect storm. Sexism is just one of many factors that thwarted her excellent campaign. But hey, we’ll always have Nevada.

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  36. Beobachter said on March 4, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Suzanne@34:

    Some Babylon Berlin babble here:

    http://nancynall.com/2018/04/03/star-of-the-show/

    Anyone viewing Season 3 yet?

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  37. St Bitch said on March 4, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Why demonize Bernie at this juncture?

    Booker, Harris, Warren and Klobuchar all mentioned working with Bernie on legislation (Amy brought it up several times), none of whom indicated that it was in any way a frustrating or negative experience…especially when it might have been expedient to do so on the debate stage.

    Yes, Bernie is zealous, dogmatic and uncompromising…a blunt instrument. Yes, he has followers who run the gamut from abrasive to ‘pisses-me-off’.

    But let’s be clear here. He’s been on a decades’ long crusade against corporate greed and financial inequality…on your behalf and mine.

    He’s NOT campaigning against Democratic Party corruption. Election and Party reform…hell yes! Aren’t we all calling for the same thing, particularly after Iowa? He may want to change the rules, but he does play by the rules. How radical is he, really? Who IS actually, agregiously, breaking all the most basic rules?

    He may not be the candidate you think is the right one to combat the incumbent who DID join a party in a self-serving grab for power and personal gain…so don’t vote for him. But why traffic in hatchet jobs like the Ezra Klein piece?

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  38. Deborah said on March 4, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Why can I not find Babylon Berlin on Netflix? What category is it in? It doesn’t even show up when I go to search?

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  39. Dexter Friend said on March 4, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    The cable shows are having the time of their lives as this thing has changed the world so quickly. This Bernie disdain makes me feel hopeless, as there will never be a chance like this to get past the status quo, and Tuesday proved that. Biden. Never attacked the horrid credit card companies of Delaware and South Dakota who kill the budgets of lower income people. Voted and cheer-led Bush’s Iraq invasion, then, when that became unpopular, he and Hillary said they regretted their vote. You know where Bernie stood and stands on these issues. Oh, then there’s this “Bernie can’t get anything done”. And, “Bernie is making false promises because “we” cannot afford tuition forgiveness and free college and free daycare…”. But goddamn straight next time some bogus war is started somewhere, well, open the treasury vaults and let’s go kill the fuck out of a million or so people!” If the Savings and Loans fuck up, bail them out! If the carmakers’ sales slip, slide a trillion their way. This is just venting, as I will gladly vote for Biden if he runs against Trump. Now, VP possibilities for Biden. I will be happy with any of the usual suspects, except Kamala Harris. We need the USA to move away from prison-packing judges and supporters of mass incarcerations. The USA’s general policies of turning incarcerations into private business just leads to corrupt judges over-sentencing. This thing is how and why we all know the name, Kamala Harris.

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  40. Beobachter said on March 4, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Deborah@38:

    Sorry, I don’t have Netflix, but their US website has info here:

    https://www.netflix.com/title/80136321

    Genres
    Crime TV Dramas, Political TV Shows, TV Shows Based on Books, German TV Shows, TV Thrillers, TV Dramas

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  41. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    I’m not trying to demonize Bernie, St. B. I’m really tired of Bernie supporters who react that way.

    Yes, Bernie has worked with other people. Yes, Bernie’s ideas are great. But, and this is the sticking point, he has not shown the ability to build the relationships and political capital that are necessary to get shit done.

    Health care is an excellent example. Where was Bernie back in 93 when the Dems were trying to do universal care? Sitting on the sidelines because the bill wasn’t single payer. Would single payer have been better? No doubt? Would it have passed? No way. Would getting something passed, however flawed, backed then, have been better than getting nothing? Absolutely.

    Politics, like everything else, is not just about ideas. It’s about relationships. It’s not demonizing Bernie to point out that he’s not good at that part.

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  42. Peter said on March 4, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    How did we miss yesterday’s big story? Roy Moore only got 6.8% of the vote in the Alabama Senate primary. I thought he would have made it into the teens.

    BA DA BUM!!! I’M HERE ALL WEEK!

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  43. Jakash said on March 4, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    St. Bitch,

    For my part, because I thought it was an interesting perspective, not a hatchet job. “Demonize” is a pretty strong word. I agree with Dexter that funding health care and education should not be viewed as pie-in-the-sky, when the cost of our military adventures is never considered a factor. And, like Sherri, I agree with many of Bernie’s proposals. That being said…

    “How radical is he, really?”

    Radical enough that lots of folks who loathe Trump won’t vote for him?

    Radical enough that, because of the above, Trump is essentially campaigning for him on Twitter?

    Radical enough to have “probably squandered his latin-x outreach significantly” in Florida?

    Radical enough that you consider him your “Fuck-It Candidate?”

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  44. Scout said on March 4, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    I couldn’t care less about Bernie’s butt hurt, but I am sad that this country is still not evolved enough to elect a strong, capable woman with realistic plans. My unprofessional opinion is that the electorate is so spooked at the prospect of 4 more years of this toxic, weapons grade incompetence that they will not risk nominating another woman or the socialist that Trump so clearly wants to run against.

    People want to return to normalcy, to go back to not having to be terrified every single day that the Russian puppet in the white house might get us all killed. They’re going for the comfort food that is Obama’s VP.

    And it’s going to be OK, we need to remember the kids in cages, POC, non-Christians, the planet and goddammit, RBG, and in November, vote for restoring sanity and decency. I wish it was Liz, but Joe will be a step in the right direction.

    I’m very hopeful after yesterday, despite my personal disappointment. Turnout is up by 15-30% from the 2016 primaries in the states that have voted in their primaries so far. That’s amazing.

    Eye on the prize, team.

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  45. 4dbirds said on March 4, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Deborah, I found season three of BB by using the search function. I loved the books and the fact that I lived in Berlin for 17 years makes me a huge fan.

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  46. David C. said on March 4, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    I feel the same as others about Biden and Bernie. I’m not terribly fond of either. I can’t understand a country that is given the opportunity to vote for Elizabeth Warren and won’t. So whichever one gets the nod, I’m in. If you’re given a choice between a bad haircut and a beheading, it makes no sense to hold out for a good haircut.

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  47. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    There is a real skill involved in moving from outside activist to inside power. Not everyone can do it, in fact, most can’t. How many times have you seen the outsider win against all odds, only to utterly fail in office? Happens all the time, and it’s not about the evil powers that be conspiring to thwart the insurgent. Really, it’s not, though that’s the story the outsider who can’t make the transition likes to tell themself.

    Changing the status quo is hard. It doesn’t require a conspiracy to protect it, it self-protects. When you change the status quo, no matter how screwed up and dysfunctional it seems, no matter how unhappy everybody seems with it, it changes how everyone interacts with the system, and they don’t know how to operate in the new system. So, change is loss, and we are very loss averse.

    If you don’t have any idea for how you’re going to navigate the transition to your glorious new world, you will not succeed.

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  48. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Microsoft is telling employees to work from home starting tomorrow.

    Schools are still open, for now.

    I’m refereeing a powerlifting meet this weekend which is currently still going on as planned.

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  49. St Bitch said on March 4, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Sherri – You don’t like Bernie, for reasons you’ve clearly laid out. I don’t disagree with all of them, but don’t buy into the idea that he’s built little or no political currency because of his ’93 holdout position on healthcare. I know, it’s just one example. Maybe you’re right and he can’t (and wouldn’t) get shit done…then again, perhaps not. I could wonder if he’d veto a diluted Medicare-for-(Almost)All bill that somehow managed to reach his oval office desk, and ping pong between yes and no all day. It’s a difference of perception and opinion. I don’t consider yours to spring from spite or malice. I’m not accusing you of demonizing Bernie.

    But you’re quoting from an article by Ezra Klein that misrepresents Bernie and his movement in unfair and sinister ways. That’s propaganda. Bernie’s out front about being anti-establishment, but he’s not out to stick it to the constitution (which I’m 99% sure he’s both read and studied). He’s not peddling chaos, or trashing our system of checks and balances. How is draping Bernie in the mantle of Revolutionary in the least bit constructive? The Insurgent is already in the White House.

    Jackash, since you agree with a lot of Bernie’s policies, they’re not too radical for you. But they’re too radical when you concern yourself with losing all those potential votes from #neverTrumpers who’ve demonized Bernie to the point that they think he’d be a worse president than the Devil-They-Know. Those people happen to work my last nerve. As for Trump’s hijinks in the Twitterverse…please…spare me!

    I was slow to come to an appreciation of Bernie Sanders. He wasn’t getting through to me in 2016, though even then I had a soft spot for him because he reminds me a lot of my dad, who went bankrupt running for Iowa US Senator (in 1960)…. bankruptcy – partly because Dad lost, but mostly because he refused to take funding from anyone who wasn’t aligned with his ultra-conservative Goldwaterite ideals. My eventual gravitation to bleeding-heart liberal wasn’t in rebellion to a father I both deeply loved and respected, so some of the principals drummed into me from childhood about integrity and individualism (albeit dressed up in trickle-down capitalism) are admittedly too ingrained to deny that they still influence my worldview.

    So, yeah, Bernie’s brand of Radical is enough for me. Shout out to Dexter @39! And I’m fine with Biden riding a welcome surge of voter turnout. Shout out to Scout @44. You both say it better than me.

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  50. Sherri said on March 4, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    St B, Bernie himself constantly talks about revolution. It’s the name of the 501c(4) he set up after the 2016 election, Our Revolution. I’m not saying, and the piece I linked to didn’t say, he’s going to destroy the constitution, but it is true that his entire plan for getting anything done consists of people rising up in revolution and forcing lawmakers to do things differently.

    And if I thought that would actually work, I’d be right there with him! For reasons I’ve explained ad nauseum here, based on actually trying to change things on the ground, I don’t believe that method works.

    Health care is just one example. It’s extremely telling to me that from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Bernie was a co-founder of, his only endorsements are relative newcomers. Where’s Maxine Waters, who was one of his co-founders?

    Relationships matter. Ideas matter. It looks like we’re ending up with one candidate who bad at the former and another one who’s bad at the latter.

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  51. alex said on March 4, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    I think Bernie’s a man of integrity and good will and if he aspires to make us over to be more like the very content and happy nation of Denmark, I’m all for it. But he’s just not a team player, and that doesn’t serve us well at this critical juncture. His is a vanity candidacy. So is Bloomberg’s, but even Bloomberg has shown himself to be more of a team player than Bernie.

    I think where both Bernie and Warren failed is that they have aspirational ideals but haven’t satisfactorily explained how you get there. If you dismantle our current health care system, upon which millions are reliant for their jobs, it has to be done in a way that’s incremental and doesn’t threaten anybody. It’s like a giant Jenga game, a house of cards upon which jobs and the economy are sitting precariously, and people aren’t going to give up their safe position in this mess for their ideals. Their interests will still come first. That’s why real reform is so difficult.

    We have an economy that’s largely reliant upon parasitic elements that deliver a decent middle-class lifestyle and people are going to protect their own economic interests first. That’s why global warming, a much bigger existential challenge, is going to be even harder to address. You can’t just shut down the fossil fuel industry and replace it with something that doesn’t quite exist yet and is being fought tooth and nail by those who benefit from the status quo.

    Pennsylvania, a key electoral state, has become so reliant on fracking that you have to be careful about addressing environmental issues. People who think you’re jeopardizing their jobs aren’t going to vote for you. They’re not going to accept vague promises that you’ll find them better opportunities until those opportunities exist.

    Maybe that’s why a soft candidate like Biden is what we need right now. Again, not my first choice, way too squishy, but I agree he’s a man of good faith and good will.

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  52. Charlotte said on March 4, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    I got laid off in the “rank and yank”/stack ranking years. I was the editor, so I was expendable. A year later they laid off the entire 65 person doc team and replaced them with contractors, many of whom were replacing themselves, with no benefits. Ugh.
    Which is why I now try to keep 2 gigs going at once. Was about to take a leave from teaching to finish my book, but if coronavirus crashes the economy the way it looks like it will (and with the real prospect of the orange monster winning again), I signed up for another 3 sections a semester. Not enough $$, but safe and comes with health insurance.
    The good news is that Steve Bullock is FINALLY entering the senate race here. He’s been polling a solid 8 points above Daines without even running, who is terrible, went to Moscow for the 4th of July 2 years ago, and is TERRIBLE. Most of all it means I won’t have to be mad at him anymore and I have someone I can genuinely door knock for.
    As for Biden — I’m okay with it. We need to keep the ship from capsizing before we can turn it around. I’m hoping for Stacey Abrams for VP.

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 4, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    Peter @ #42: good one.

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  54. Deborah said on March 5, 2020 at 7:49 am

    I had agreed to knock doors for Warren this weekend. They said they’d let me know where and when but I haven’t heard one peep from them?? I’m assuming it’s because Warren is reassessing but it seems like they should communicate something. Meanwhile Bernie people keep texting me.

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  55. basset said on March 5, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Back to the Nashville tornado for a minute… turns out it was on the ground for fifty miles, through downtown and out to the east. most of the deaths were in another county about forty miles past that.
    I was a poll worker on election day, suburban precinct away from the tornado zone. quite a few precincts, 22 if I remember right, were damaged or lost power and that voting was moved to various schools, churches, and community buildings. Those stayed open three hours extra, till ten, and the rest of us stayed open till eight. The precinct I worked had better turnout than usual but still only about 30% counting early voting… roughly two for one Biden over Bernie with the rest way back.

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  56. Jeff Borden said on March 5, 2020 at 10:22 am

    This is a column by Connie Schultz, a former columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who is married to Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. She is currently in residence at my alma mater, Kent State University. This column is a poignant reflection of what has been lost as one woman candidate after another was knocked out of the Democratic primary.

    https://www.creators.com/read/connie-schultz/03/20/a-not-so-super-tuesday?fbclid=IwAR2_OFDOr2Sv_W_zJnlTaI2OTorI9tb6719W84X5fRZ0TANv8yDxeQgwTIA

    While I’m an old white man, I share her sadness at the slow pace of social change because at my age it means I’m likely to die before I see so many of the things I’ve hoped for over the years.

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  57. Deborah said on March 5, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Well, I guess I won’t be door knocking for Warren. Given the choice of Sanders or Biden now, I’m for Biden. Can’t bring myself to back Sanders, I just can’t, sorry.

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  58. Deborah said on March 5, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Having said what I said in #57, if Sanders gets the nom, of course I will work for him and vote for him, but any money I give will go to senate campaigns.

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  59. Peter said on March 5, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Well, Warren’s pulling the plug. Just once I’d like to be able to vote in a meaningful primary.

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  60. Sherri said on March 5, 2020 at 11:22 am

    As basset notes, most of the deaths from the Tennessee tornado were east of Nashville, in Putnam County, just outside of Cookeville. That’s where I went to college, so I’ve been following the news there. 18 dead, 88 hospitalized, lots of houses demolished. Quite a tragedy.

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  61. Dorothy said on March 5, 2020 at 11:40 am

    I’m with you on that, Deborah. If Bernie is the winner at the convention in July (or with committed delegates before that) then I have no choice – I have to vote for him to ensure that unbalanced, lying deviate loses.

    Sherri I had heard yesterday there were at least 24 dead from the Nashville tornados. Were you just counting Putnam County?

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  62. Deborah said on March 5, 2020 at 11:52 am

    I haven’t commented here about this, but LB is having surgery this afternoon, the unmentionable kind. This came up earlier in the week and I told her I’d go back there to help her but she said she thought she could handle it along with the kindness of her good friends. I’m sure everything will be fine, it just makes me a little jittery. If she feels that she needs me I told her not to hesitate to let me know and I’ll get there as fast as I can.

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  63. Bitter Scribe said on March 5, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Late to the party, but fuck Neutron Jack, Chainsaw Al Dunlap, and the rest of the assholes who delighted in the violent nicknames they derived by throwing people out of work.

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  64. Sherri said on March 5, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Yes, Dorothy, I was just talking about Putnam County, the hardest hit area.

    Good luck to LB!

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  65. Sherri said on March 5, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    A reminder that regardless of how you feel about the presidential race, there are important downballot races that must be won!

    https://twitter.com/ppppolls/status/1235550165228040192

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  66. Jakash said on March 5, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Well, I knew it was wishful thinking to say Tuesday night that I was still hoping to vote for Warren in Illinois. Among the many disappointing aspects of her leaving the race is that I’d really have loved to see her debate Trump. Not that that was ever going to happen, in any case.

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  67. beb said on March 5, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Now that Elizabeth Warren has dropped out I have no reason to live vote. I can’t wait for the generation of boomers to die off and let younger people have a chance to take charge. As a boomer that is a very ironic / confused thing to say.

    Sen. Schumer was criticized at a women-rights demonstration in front of the Supreme Court for warning Gorsuch and Kavanaugh that if they “sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind.” Pearl-clutchers on both sides, you know, Republicans and, ah — ok, more Republicans, are concerned that he is threatening violence to those two Justices. Only a party of violent people would find a biblical metaphor an expression of violence.

    In local (Detroit) news a long-time furniture retailer, Art Van, is entering liquidation. The company had been sold to a private equity firm four years ago. *sigh* Same old story: death by Private Equity. Warren wanted to severely restrain what those funds could and couldn’t do to the companies they buy and loot. Biden is a wholly owned politician of tat group.

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  68. Julie Robinson said on March 5, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    I can haz a sad for Warren, but nor for Art Van. My mom bought a couple of pieces of furniture there and it was a horrible experience. And it hasn’t held up well, especially considering its extremely light use.

    Hoping that Little Bird is out of surgery now and will heal fast.

    We spent over two hours this morning looking at Medicare. Soooo many choices! Glad we have a year to explore and decide.

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  69. Charlotte said on March 5, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    In good news — Steve Bullock has gotten off the fence and decided to run against Steve Daines. Which is FANTASTIC news for all of us MT Dems. He’ll help Tester’s re-election, and might even be able to pull the (boring, but whatever) Kathleen Williamson over the line for our sole House seat.
    We’re probably going to lose the Governor’s race, and I’m heartbroken about Warren — but at least here in Livingston, door knocking for Biden is going to be considerably easier than door knocking for either Bernie or Warren was going to be. And now I don’t have to be personally pissed at Bullock (who I really like) anymore.

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  70. Deborah said on March 5, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Good news about Bullock in MT.

    LB is out of surgery, still groggy, just wants to go home. Wish I was there with her, but letting her call the shots about that.

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  71. David C. said on March 5, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    Art Van was the worst. I’m surprised they lasted this long.

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  72. alex said on March 5, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    I think that Warren’s failure is largely a product of the results of the 2016 election. Hillary proved that in fact a majority of people in this country are perfectly happy voting for a woman, but this time around people feel like leaving nothing to chance.

    Also, as Warren herself noted, she occupies a gray area somewhere between Biden’s moderate lane and Bernie’s progressive lane, and it’s a path that’s not well trodden.

    I’m throwing in with Biden even though I’ve always thought he was mediocre, even more so as he appears to be increasingly senescent. But I’m greatly encouraged to learn that two-thirds more people have been turning out for this primary than did in 2016. It suggests that the 2018 coalition is still strong and Trump and the Party of Stupid are about to get a well-deserved comeuppance.

    Glad I took Nancy’s advice several years ago regarding Art Van and steered clear of their furniture, which struck me as pretty cheezoid the one time I visited their showroom. I was equally unimpressed with several other stores, having always bought vintage Eames sorts of furniture back when I was broke and that stuff was cheap. I became a fan of West Elm and IKEA instead.

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  73. Little Bird said on March 5, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    People, for the love of all things holy and profane, do not lift particularly heavy things if you’ve been told not to. Trust me.

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