Madness in Sioux City!


This morning, I’m driving off to Sioux City, Iowa for a Bernie Sanders rally, because my wife really wants to see him, and it’s unlikely he’ll be visiting Morris. It’s a 4 hour drive, which isn’t as bad as it sounds, since we’re used to having to drive 3 hours to get to just about anywhere. It’s still going to rip the heart out of my day, just to listen to an old man rant at the system. I could do that home, alone, with a mirror!

I’d be OK with President Sanders. I’d prefer a President Warren, but I’d be content with anyone taking a progressive step forward. Right now my second worse outcome is President Biden, and that’s the establishment Democrats want to foist off on me.

My worst outcome is that Biden is the nominee, and Sanders decides to run as an independent, and we get President Raunchy Oompa-loompa again, and that is my one major reservation about Sanders.

Comments

  1. lotharloo says

    Sanders and Warren are both very good. My fear is that they will split the progressive vote and that if they win the nomination they could be bullied by Trump in debates etc. Sanders is very dry and Warren could be triggered by Trump. .

  2. Saad says

    People seem very confident Warren can beat Trump. He’ll put her on the defensive from the start and keep her there the entire time. She’ll be too busy addressing all his made-up accusations and distractions and will lose votes for it.

  3. hemidactylus says

    The way I look at it is if the Dems foist Biden on us it won’t be my fault if I refuse to vote for him. He makes my skin crawl. That’s totally on the Dems. The modicum of control I have over the situation is my almost worthless primary vote. If I was a “personhood” in the form of a usurious credit card company I might have more power.

    I would argue we scrap the electoral system as it stands and go multiparty and parliamentary but I see how that has been working out for Israel and despair.

    Hopefully Biden fizzles before the Democratic Convention.

  4. says

    Best-o-luck with finding your political heroes. In Oz on May 18 we’ll hopefully (crossed appendages) vote out our horrible right wing nutjobs and replace them with a bunch of wishy washy centrists instead.

  5. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Ultimately, it is going to come down to whether the Democratic nominee has the discipline and focus not to get dragged into the Trump shit show–well, that and whether we can get the media to cover anything but the shit show.
    Based on past performance, Biden will lose focus. We can only hope he does so before he gets the nomination. Biden is also too old, and I am afraid Bernie is, as well. There are younger people advocating the same if not better policies, and they would be much better at getting them implemented as well. Bernie has always been a voice in the wilderness. There’s no reason to suspect moving to 1600 Penn. Ave. would change that.

    To date, the most disciplined candidates for getting their message out there have been Buttaieg, Warren and Harris. Most of the rest–including Bernie and Biden–have done nothing. Booker and Inslee, in particular have been disappointments. Once the debates occur, we can likely dismiss the candidates stuck at the kiddie table. That’ll thin the field by about a factor of two.

    In the mean time, the House should crank up the investigations. I hope to see a lot of headlines to the asking the Rethugs why they’re hitting themselves in the face with the Meuller report. Force them to defend indefensible positions and hit them hard.

    This is the long game. Democrats absolutely have to win big in 2020–not only at the national level, but also in the states to prevent the sort of redistricting ratfucking that happened in 2020. If they are smart, they will not repeat the gerrymandering, but instead use the opportunity to reform the redistricting process and make elections more competitive. This is to their advantage, as we have seen that all the Rethug efforts did was enhance the role of primary challenges.

    Dems have a chance to be smart and win. I wonder how long it will take them to fuck it up.

  6. petesh says

    Much against my natural inclinations, I am presently leaning towards Harris, because she’s obviously a damn good prosecutor, and that may be what we need most — in the dear old court of public opinion. To nail the crook, we apparently need about three-quarters of the public to support his exile to the banana republic formerly known as Mar-a-Lago. (I have just about given up on seeing him frog-marched to a maximum security prison, which I would much prefer.)

  7. hoku says

    I think Sanders has made it clear he’s not running as an Independent. He’s functionally been a Democrat for a long time now, and there’s no reason that would suddenly change. I’m way more worried about someone like Howard Schultz or Andrew Yang deciding to do the whole independent thing.

  8. pipefighter says

    @7 Petesh, a good prosecutor? She chose not to prosecute foreclosure king steve mnuchin and one west bank despite overwhelming recommendations from her own AG office (she took a 100,000 dollar campaign contribution from one west bank) and she locked up the parents of truant kids (who were mostly poor) and laughed at the idea of legalized Marijuana when told her republican opponent supported it. The only reason anybody likes her is because she’s black and a dem. If she was white we’d see her for exactly who she is. PZ, I like much of your social commentary but I find that you and many people in these comment threads do zero research when it comes to political figures and instead choose to spew uninformed nonsense which actually serves the status quo with nothing more than a veneer of progressivism. The Democratic establishment finds people of colour/women/lgbtq etc. so they can use them as cover for all of their genuinely awful shit. Harris/ cloud boot jar/ bet on my stork/ booty judge/ booker and so forth are just attempts by the wealthy donor class to test the waters and see who we’ll go for. They all represent the status quo which will either deliver us trump 2020 or another (likely better prepared) version of him in a few more years. Warren has been great on many issues but she keeps waffling on military spending, Medicare for all, and campaign finance. Everybody shit’s on bernie despite him being on the right side of history on almost every issue for decades, in many cases when it was extremely unpopular even on the left. On many of the things he’s critized for (like sexual harassment in his campaign) he actually handled better than the people criticizing him. You guy’s think you’re being progressive but you’re just playing into the political establishments hands.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Sanders already signed The Pledge, that you mocked previously. He has declared, on air, that he will vigorously support whoever gets nominated, and will marshal his campaign behind them.
    As disappointing as the Democratic Party has been, I think 2016 slapped them out of their lethargy and grumbling, to charge forth to take action to reclaim this nation from the forces currently subverting it. They are not simply anti-Trump, they are taking the productive strategy of presenting what they want along with most of the voting population.

  10. vucodlak says

    I’m for Warren all the way, though I could support Sanders or Harris.* I’d rather not have either Booker or Buttigieg, both of whom are far too moderate to accomplish anything lasting, but we could do worse. I’ve zero interest in Beto, but I could hold my nose and do the deed if I have to.

    Or we could have Biden for the nom, which would basically be handing Trump the election on a silver platter. He really is the weakest all-around candidate. He’s an old white man with a creepy touching problem, an easily goaded gaffe-machine with politics far too conservative to actually inspire people to get out and vote. Name recognition is really the only positive he has, though I suppose this country’s misogyny and racism would help him win a few votes (won’t be enough for him to actually win).

    *I’m not thrilled about the idea of voting for a former prosecutor- prosecutors are on par with war criminals, as far as I’m concerned, but I voted for war criminals last time around so…

  11. consciousness razor says

    Warren has been great on many issues but she keeps waffling on military spending, Medicare for all, and campaign finance.

    Because she’s not a democratic socialist like Sanders. We shouldn’t forget that they’ve got very different backgrounds. She had been a Republican up into the 1990s. She does see the current state of US capitalism as unfair and (I think) sincerely wants to make it better, but would only seriously consider certain ways of addressing that.
    Many of their policies could be effectively the same, since a president doesn’t have that much power all by themselves. (Obviously, many others in Congress, etc., aren’t democratic socialists in any sense at all). But it’s arguably stronger to find a compromise with conservatives by balancing it against Sanders’ position, instead of a milder form of progressivism like Warren’s.
    Bernie also seems to be doing better in the polls right now. A lot of people like him, both 2016 Clinton and Swamp voters (and 2016 non-voters). Some are unsavory characters, yes, but if they prefer Bernie to Swamp and don’t prefer Warren to Swamp, their votes are just as good for us even if we don’t like them. Those preferences don’t have to make any sense; they just need to show up and vote. Anyway, Warren doesn’t have that kind of thing going for her as a candidate. I don’t know who is more popular in important “swing states” like MI or PA. I would guess Sanders, but it’s hard to know at this point.

  12. Aaron says

    When it boils down, Sanders is the one who’s been willing to explicitly advance a narrative of “billionaires vs everyone else”, and his policy record tracks with being consistent about it, as well as being the only candidate with a huge base of tiny donors. Warren seems like a good person morally who legitimately gets that some parts of society are fucked, but still stops short of the dramatic changes that would be needed to really deliver us from the brink in the long run, and has the previously mentioned track-record of being easy to bait off-message. I would vote for either over literally any of the other candidates that have gotten any attention, with Biden at the very bottom of the pile.

  13. Ed Peters says

    Anyone but the mens. They have had their time and fucked up – I’m looking at you Biden and Bernie. Buttigieg is OK, but I’d rather have any of the women in the presidency before him. Besides, he’s young and has time, and is hard to spell.

  14. petesh says

    @9: Yes, Harris was an appalling attorney general, which is why I said “much against my natural inclinations,” that’s different than being a prosecutor. She tied Barr up in knots, and was one of the better Dems to question Kavanaugh. You might consider doing some research yourself before you begin to spew misinformed nonsense with nothing more than a veneer of progressivism; that actually serves the status quo because it wraps up a win for the right wing.

  15. lesherb says

    I am not sure who I’d prefer on the Democratic ticket. What I am ABSOLUTELY sure about is whoever gets the nomination, I will be voting for him/her.
    I would love for everyone of the 20 odd contenders to promise to join together to support the nominee and be a wall of sanity, intelligence, & determination in the election season. They should cancel any plans they have through Election Day 2020 & take to the road for the Democratic nominee.
    Whether it’s Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, Biden, Sanders, or anyone else, Trump needs to retire.

  16. whheydt says

    As regards to least favored, Biden ranks no higher than third…behind BOTH Trump AND Pence.

    Personally, I think both Biden and Sanders are past their “sell by” dates. My preference would be a ticket of two women. There are certainly enough good candidates there to choose among.

  17. consciousness razor says

    Personally, I think both Biden and Sanders are past their “sell by” dates.

    Warren’s not much younger than either. The “sell by” dates on perishable foods do seem as arbitrary as the line you’re drawing, although that’s probably not what you were aiming for. To stay with the metaphor a bit longer, how would you be able to tell when somebody like Biden has spoiled? Didn’t he always smell a bit funky?

  18. says

    @#14 “Anyone but the mens. They have had their time and fucked up – I’m looking at you Biden and Bernie. Buttigieg is OK,”

    In other words, you don’t care about policy at all. That’s not a route to success.

  19. says

    @#10, slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem))

    As disappointing as the Democratic Party has been, I think 2016 slapped them out of their lethargy and grumbling, to charge forth to take action to reclaim this nation from the forces currently subverting it. They are not simply anti-Trump, they are taking the productive strategy of presenting what they want along with most of the voting population.

    Yeah, that’s what a lot of us thought in both 2006 and 2008. We thought the Democrats were going to end the wars, call Bush to account, take on Wll Street and the banks and re-regulate them, and maybe do some genuine economic stimulus. What we actually got was “we need to look forward, not backward”, departure from Iraq on Bush’s timetable (after an attempt to keep us there longer), bailouts and bonuses for bankers, 5 new bombing campaigns in the mideast, and a national version of a right-wing health insurance law originally proposed as an alternative to universal healthcare. Not expecting much from the Democrats any more.

    For most of the last 35 years, the Democratic Party has been coasting on a reputation for being on the left which hasn’t actually been accurate at all during that time. There is now a whole generation of voters who, unlike those who were born significantly before that period, aren’t inclined to view right-wing Democrats with a tolerant “oh, but if they’re Democrats they must be okay anyway”. So far, the party has been unwilling to actually do anything to earn the trust of these younger voters, and yet they are puzzled why left-leaning younger voters aren’t turning out for them.

  20. pipefighter says

    @ 15 pete’s, first off, it’s easy to criticize the rapist supreme court nominee picked by a psychotic orangutan on the other side of the aisle, way to go for the lowest hanging fruit. You completely ignored the clear cut corruption and genuinely awful shit she did as AG. That’s the kind of stuff that we need to criticize when picking someone to nominate.

  21. pipefighter says

    @ 20 whhedyt, you think trump didn’t talk about policy. He constantly went on about trade deals and bringing the troops home so they could rebuild America instead.

  22. says

    @#23, pipefighter:
    What, you mean America doesn’t want to vote for a technocratic preserver of the status quo who gets up on stage and talks about being friends with a lot of bankers, and instead wants somebody who at least says they want to fix things? Why, you’re acting as though every Democratic presidential nominee to campaign as a centrist since 1999 has lost, the only winner ran as a progressive, and even Bill Clinton — who won as a centrist — only managed to win with a well-funded 3rd-party candidate who acted as a spoiler against the Republicans. But surely that can’t be true — centrists assure us that they are the adults in the room and know more about politics than anybody else.

  23. unclefrogy says

    I do not know which candidate I prefer yet, I will have picked someone by then for the primary I hope.
    I got to say here though I would sure like to hear and see a debate between Kamala Harris and the a’hole in charge that might be very fun.
    uncle frogy

  24. petesh says

    @23: WTF? You are delusional. Trump mentioned the term “trade deals” by saying that he was the greatest deal-maker and he’d make great deals that would be wonderful; he never fucking mentioned policy. He did give brief a nod to bringing the troops home, I grant you that, and of course he hasn’t done so. But he spent most of his time talking shit about Mexicans and lying about (and childishly insulting) his opponents, both in the primary and the general.

    I am a leftist. In fact, unlike Bernie, I am a socialist. But I am not stupid. I want the best government I can get. I voted for Clinton. Actually both of them, even though I did some volunteer work for the Brown campaign and think he would have been a better president. Bill Clinton was better than Reagan, Nixon, or either Bush. That’s not saying all that much but its the world we actually live in.

  25. says

    As a life long independent who resents the party system in general, I am resolved to vote for who ever the democrats choose. Please, please pretty please, don’t make the wrong choice like last time.

  26. brucegee1962 says

    I am rather concerned about the recent CNN poll that shows every single one of the Democratic candidates being able to beat Trump — except for Warren.

    What’s wrong with those pollees? Allergic to actual policy proposals? Snookered by Trump’s name-calling into believing she actually did something wrong with the whole Native American business? She’s obviously the smartest of the candidates, and smart women are scary? Or what?

  27. chrislawson says

    pipefighter@9:

    You are confusing me. After railing against a lack of genuine leftist candidates, your criticism of Warren is that she “keeps waffling on military spending, Medicare for all, and campaign finance.” These strike me as exactly the sort of issues a leftist politician in the US should be hammering.

  28. chrislawson says

    brucegee1962–

    Quick reminder. In 2016, CNN polling gave Clinton a 12% edge over Trump 1 month before the election.

  29. lotharloo says

    @chrislawson:
    That seems to be right after the “pussy gate” so it’s quite cherry-picked. As far as I remember, Clinton has a very minor advantage over Trump throughout the primaries.
    Aggregate polls before the election: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/
    Trump continued to create scandals and so the winning chances of Hillary went through a series of wild rides, as you can see.

  30. ck, the Irate Lump says

    vucodlak wrote:

    [Biden’s] an old white man with a creepy touching problem, an easily goaded gaffe-machine with politics far too conservative to actually inspire people to get out and vote.

    It’s not even just a creepy touching problem. He seems to have trouble with treating women respectfully in general. Take the fact he floated making Stacey Abrams his VP pick without bothering to ask her if it was okay first, something he first did in 2016 (with Elizabeth Warren). Or there’s the way he used Anita Hill recently to rewrite his own history as someone who was impotent to stop the vitriol against her despite being one of the main perpetrators of it.

  31. birgerjohansson says

    The sight of Biden praising Darth Cheney did not make me like him more.

  32. consciousness razor says

    birgerjohansson, #34:
    Strom Thurmond too. It’s not only one obscure 1988 speech, as the first sentence in the article suggests. They were friends. You can also read about his 2003 eulogy for Thurmond (a link for that is at the end of the article).

  33. starfleetdude says

    Sanders’ call yesterday in Iowa to break up vertically integrated agribusinesses is misguided, because they are more efficient at delivering specific commodities to the market, and consumers benefit from that. Prices for poultry, eggs, and pork are lower today than they’ve ever been historically. The era of numerous small diversified family farms that produced a mix of agricultural commodities is over, and promises to bring that era back through price supports and regulatory controls is flawed economically.

  34. rabbitbrush says

    If Dems “pick” Biden as the candidate to beat Orange Menace, BOTH parties need to go down in flames.

  35. starfleetdude says

    #38

    It means that vertical integration is a valid and fair business model when it comes to commodity production. Here’s a basic summary of why that’s the case:

    Dr. Kate L. Brooks of the department of Agricultural Economics at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, explains that in the case of livestock and food production, vertical integration streamlines the process, eliminating some of those “disconnects” in communication that can occur when activities at each level of production are carried out by separate entities or firms. When a company controls all levels of production it is better equipped to respond to the consumers’ evolving needs; it can better track each individual product through the system to quickly address problems, changes or other issues before they spiral out of control.

    Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at the UNL agrees with Brooks.

    “The demand for vertical integration is ultimately coming from the consumers. Usually in (economic) markets, consumers rule,” Thompson says. “In vertical integration, a company and consumers want to understand and have good information about the supply.”

    Dr. Lee Schultz, an expert in agricultural and natural resource economics at Iowa State University, says that vertical integration facilitates an industry’s response to changing consumer preferences, allowing them to streamline for changes or adjustment in quality and convenience of the products consumed.

  36. consciousness razor says

    starfleetdude:
    I don’t know where you got that quote, where they got these ideas, or whether any of it is supported by solid analysis and factual information.
    Sanders cites this paper from Food & Water Watch: The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies (55 pages, PDF)

    Questions…. Is it the case that consumers do have “good information about the supply”? And why would a moratorium on these types of mergers result in less information (for consumers or producers or anybody)? Or does this have nothing to do with Sanders’ actual plans?
    Would you say that much of your argument hangs on the premise that this will somehow increase prices for poultry, eggs and pork? If that were the case, would that mean it’s a bad idea? If we regulated fossil fuel industries more and stopped subsidizing them, resulting in higher gasoline prices, is that flawed economically?

  37. starfleetdude says

    #40

    Price supports like Sanders proposes for small farmers do amount to an increase in prices that consumers pay overall when you add additional taxes that consumers pay to the overall cost. Whether it’s a bad thing or not depends on your preferences. Prices are the main thing that people look at in grocery stores though, and they also pay attention to the taxes they pay.

  38. Aaron says

    Prices are determined by the buyer, not the seller. The seller can try to get the buyers to pay more than they would normally through various means (like, restricting diversity of supply through monopolies, or the psychological affects of marking tax separately from the final price at retail).

    The efficiencies that large agribusinesses get from vertical integration do allow them to sell at a lower price and still make a profit, which isn’t meaningless. However, they do it by commoditizing every part of the process that can be commoditized, with unknown effects on national health (well, not completely unknown, we’ve got pretty good evidence that putting corn syrup in literally everything has been bad for us on the whole). Food is more than just calories, and farming is more than just shoving petrochemical fertilizers into the ground until a certain weight of soy comes out. If the eventual price pushes food out of the reach of people in poverty, then we need to stop being okay with stealing such a huge percentage of their productivity to give billionaires more yachts.

  39. says

    I like Warren, but I think she has too much of a target on her back regarding her native american statements. Whether they were interpreted right or wrong by the asshole in charge is irrelevant. He will still use it to bait her and unless she’s wised up about it, will succeed and he’ll be a hero in the eyes of fence sitters.

  40. starfleetdude says

    #42

    I don’t think you understand the economics of vertical integration. The reason why producers want to have control over their inputs isn’t to corner the market but to spend less on them overall. A poultry producer like Tyson has an investment in land, labor, and plant that they want to run as efficiently as possible, so only devoting as much land as it takes to feed as many chickens as they can process with as many workers as they hire is what their business model is about. This isn’t any different than say automobile makers wanting to have their own chain of supply for making the parts that they then later assemble into cars.

  41. consciousness razor says

    Prices are the main thing that people look at in grocery stores though, and they also pay attention to the taxes they pay.

    The report discusses this in several places. You should try reading it. A good breakdown of that topic is on p. 21 (actually the 23rd page in the PDF):

    The Myth of Consumer Benefit
    Although pork packer consolidation has pushed down the real prices that farmers receive for their hogs, few of these savings are passed on to consumers; the meatpackers and retailers are pocketing the difference. The USDA found that although large-scale hog farms and processor efficiency gains may have reduced the cost of production between 1992 and 2004, consumer prices for retail pork nonetheless “increased substantially.”{129}
    Because pork is a small share of food expenditures, even a 5 percent reduction of production costs on industrial-scale hog operations would reduce total food expenditures by only 0.2 percent.{130}
    Although the price of hogs has been trending downward, the consumer price of pork products has been less responsive to the declining hog prices. Some studies have found that increases in farmgate prices are passed on to consumers completely and immediately, but when farmgate prices fall, the grocery store prices do not fall as rapidly or completely.{131}
    When the prices that farmers received for hogs plummeted in 1998, the prices that consumers paid at the supermarket for pork products in 1998 and 1999 did not decline very much.132 Real hog prices dropped by about two-thirds between June and December of 1998, but real pork chop prices fell by only 8 percent and bacon prices actually rose by 5 percent.{133} (See Figure 22.)
    Increased consolidation in the pork industry nationwide means that consumers face not only rising prices but also diminishing choices at the supermarket. Although consumers see a wide variety of brands at the meat counter, many large meatpackers market a range of brands that all come from the same company. For example, Smithfield foods sells pork products under the brand names Smithfield, Farmland, John Morrell, Gwaltney, Armour, Eckrich, Margherita, Carando, Kretschmar, Cook’s, Curly’s and Healthy Ones, as well as under private-label brands.{134}
    This marketing effort to maintain multiple brands and labels obscures the reality of the increasing control of the meat case by just a few players and makes it hard — or impossible — for consumers to understand the dramatic structural changes that have taken place in the pork industry over the last three decades.

    If you’re talking about the grocery store, then you should wonder why there isn’t a correlated drop in retail prices, when farmers are being paid less. But they certainly do increase prices. You should wonder a long time about that, before you go around sowing misinformation.
    And you could look earlier at the p. 10 discussion of vertical integration:

    Mergers have concentrated the market power of pork packers, but they also exert considerable power through vertical integration. Pork packers often secure livestock through contract marketing arrangements with farmers. Farmers agree to deliver a certain number of hogs at a future date (typically, the price is to be determined at delivery). These contracts give farmers a guaranteed market for their hogs, but large contract buyers can extract lower prices and distort and conceal prices.

    It takes a real magician to transform this into “better information” for all parties involved. Monopolies want to keep the information to themselves and use it against us, the consumers, as well as the producers. And keep all of the money of course. That is how they work. The last thing they want is a competitive market, with lots of informed and consenting participants.

  42. anat says

    I voted for Sanders in the 2016 primary. I loved his ideas. Still do, mostly. But since then I learned he seems to have difficulty getting that not all people’s problems are economical, and even economical problems are intertwined with systemic biases that need to be addressed specifically. That’s how you get the situation at the ‘She the People’ forum where Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris easily show how their proposals specifically target issues of importance to women of color, whereas all Sanders can do is talk about his activism in the 60s and call people to check his record themselves, he can’t point to specific policies that address the needs of this group, the most consistently loyal demographic of the Democratic party.

    Also his endorsement of anti-choicer Heath Mello in Nebraska in 2017 shows that in the name of ‘winning’ he is willing to throw women under the bus. Not great at all.

    So Warren excites me more now because she gets intersectionality much better than Sanders, and is taking the time to address needs of specific populations. However there is the matter of the Democratic party’s 15% rule. If I vote for Warren, and she gets less than 15% of the vote in my state or congressional district (not sure which rule applies) my vote gets thrown out. So there is only point in voting for her if I think she has a chance getting 15% support. Unfortunately my state tends not to be polled much. So what I can go by is whether Warren picks up more support in general following the debates, and whether local newspapers endorse her.

  43. unclefrogy says

    This isn’t any different than say automobile makers wanting to have their own chain of supply for making the parts that they then later assemble into cars.

    really?
    if so would you not expect the same types of abuses that would occur in any other industrial monopoly.
    farming is somewhat different from other human pursuits is it not in that by its very nature it has a greater effect and dependence on the natural world. Other industries have a history of at the very least putting “nature” at the bottom of the their priorities after profits, ROI. if not regarding the natural world and any regulation protecting it as direct impediments to the ultimate goal of profit.
    the market is a man made god to which we sacrifice ourselves in hope of some temporary reward.
    uncle frogy

  44. brucegee1962 says

    My experience with vertical monopolies comes from my memory of what Games Workshop attempted to do to the boardgame industry in the UK back in the 80s. They were a major producer of popular games, but they decided to become a major distributor as well, and also open up their own game stores in major cities as well.
    FIrst of all, the mom-and-pop stores that already existed in those cities couldn’t get GW games anymore — you had to go to the GW store. And then, you had the Wal-mart effect. Prices in their game stores plummeted below what the could local stores afford to charge. Once the local stores had gone under, prices returned to their original levels.
    Then, with their retail competition eliminated, suddenly their distribution business shifted. You wanted to go to a GW store and buy a game made by one of their competitors? Gee, they don’t sell games from that company any more. Maybe you could pay through the nose and order it by mail, but there wasn’t any other way for you to get it. Of course, that had the effect of shrinking the hobby overall, but hey, the bottom line’s what’s important, right?
    So no, I don’t necessarily hate agribusiness, and I do respect economies of scale. But monopolies of any kind suck, and renaming them as “vertical integration” instead of vertical monopoly doesn’t do anything but put lipstick on the pig.

  45. starfleetdude says

    #48

    GW’s attempt to engage in extortionist marketing didn’t work out in the end, as I recall.

    #47

    Long before there were corporations, farmers exhausted the fertility of the land and moved on, so this isn’t a new problem.

    #45

    That companies sometimes do not pass their savings along and elect to charge what the market can bear is duly noted. This sort of thing usually results in competitors entering the market if there’s an opportunity to be had. The history of some regulatory agency setting price and wage controls is mixed though, and usually is only something that’s done as an extreme measure, like when a country goes to war and you have rationing of goods deemed essential for the war effort, like gasoline and rubber during WWII in the U.S. When President Nixon imposed wage and price controls in the 1970s in response to economic problems, it didn’t work.

  46. ck, the Irate Lump says

    starfleetdude wrote:

    That companies sometimes do not pass their savings along and elect to charge what the market can bear is duly noted. This sort of thing usually results in competitors entering the market if there’s an opportunity to be had.

    If I or a small collection of collection of companies control the vast majority of production, we can set the prices and have a lot of tools to cut competitors out of the market. We can sell at a loss for a while to bleed you into bankruptcy. We can leverage contracts with retailers to cut you off from your customers. We can rob you of raw materials by demanding exclusivity with our suppliers. Yes, many of these are technically illegal under anti-trust law, but when everyone in the scheme is doing well, or when there is a right-wing government in place, enforcement is practically nonexistent. Besides, I’ll be sure that I don’t compete too vigorously to put all my competitors out of business, so I can claim antitrust does not apply to me. Once there are only two or three suppliers, we can rely on an informal gentleman’s agreement to keep the profit flowing (no direct coordination, of course, but when they raise/lower their prices, we’ll do the same).

    The Invisible Hand of the Market never breaks up monopoly (or oligopoly) unless they implode from within from mismanagement, yet adherents to the gospel insist that it will somehow do so because their Econ 101 education insists that it will. The business schools, on the other hand, have developed plenty of tools and practices to ensure that never happens.

  47. consciousness razor says

    The history of some regulatory agency setting price and wage controls is mixed though, and usually is only something that’s done as an extreme measure, like when a country goes to war and you have rationing of goods deemed essential for the war effort, like gasoline and rubber during WWII in the U.S.

    How about the extreme case of consumers paying more, producers earning less, and the wealthy gobbling it all up, leading to growing inequality in terms of class as well as draining money from rural areas? And let’s not forget the various ways agri-monopolies hurt the environment.
    If you think none of that is important enough, you’ll have to explain why. But I can’t and won’t point to a war, as if that’s supposed to be enough all by itself. War-mongering people might say things like that, but not me. Food is essential, isn’t it? I don’t have to deem it to be so.

    When President Nixon imposed wage and price controls in the 1970s in response to economic problems, it didn’t work.

    Nixon fucked something up? You don’t say.

  48. starfleetdude says

    #50

    Yet a small collection of companies effectively control the cellular phone service market and competition is quite vigorous between them, and they partner with cell phone makers as well to sell their product/service. If there’s a gentleman’s agreement between T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint as well as Apple, Samsung, and LG, it isn’t working very well.

  49. starfleetdude says

    #51

    The reason why rural areas have declined demographically isn’t because money has been drained away by the wealthy, but that agriculture has become much more capital intensive, with machinery and economies of scale reducing the requirement for as much manual labor. Many small towns are in decline because of this. There isn’t going to be a revival of the traditional family farm because technological factors have changed agriculture. You might as well make an appeal for the return of buggy whip makers.

  50. consciousness razor says

    The reason why rural areas have declined demographically isn’t because money has been drained away by the wealthy

    I don’t need explain why rural areas have declined demographically. There are a lot of reasons for that, not all of them economic (much less agriculture-related). And I don’t need to tell you that things should be the way the were in the past. That’s not the goal, so take that assumption and stuff it.
    What you need to explain is why it’s okay that wealthy people act like vampires.
    I mean, you could start looking into what the actual result of monopolization is, instead of what is promised by liars and bullshitters. But you’re apparently not interested in that, just cheerleading for Rich Uncle Pennybags, the usual slogans and received wisdom we always hear about the status quo. Do you have a stake in one of these giant companies?

  51. dianne says

    Warren is provisionally my choice for now. Sanders wouldn’t be too bad if he got over pandering to the NRA. Booker, Harris, et al would be fine. Not ideal in every way, but fine with me. Biden…would be better than Trump.

    Speaking of which, you do know that there is a good chance that Trump will win even if the ideal candidate wins the Democratic nomination and makes no mistakes in their campaign, right? Three arguments:
    1. The econometrics apparently favor Trump. I don’t understand how the economy is better now than in 2016 either, but the economists say that they do.
    2. USians tend to prefer to re-elect a sitting president to changing to a new one, especially if they’ve just changed from the other party. Why else would Dubya have been re-elected?
    3. The candidate with the simpler message tends to win: “MAGA”. “Hope.” “I’m a nice guy.” “It’s the economy, stupid.” These are simple messages. They won.
    But really, it is the economy. If it’s good enough to keep the masses from rebelling and pleasing the oligarchs, the person in power will win. And it is, until the sugar rush dies down, which probably won’t be before the election.

  52. unclefrogy says

    it ain’t buggy whip days that’s a foolish thing to say.
    it is mono-cropping and short term profit at the long term expense of the environment the the “market” drives. Agribusiness thrives on its “fair share” of subsides and corporate welfare as well as favorable political influence $$$$ just like any other “big business”
    So stop with the worshipful BS.
    uncle frogy

  53. ck, the Irate Lump says

    starfleetdude wrote:

    Yet a small collection of companies effectively control the cellular phone service market and competition is quite vigorous between them, and they partner with cell phone makers as well to sell their product/service. If there’s a gentleman’s agreement between T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint as well as Apple, Samsung, and LG, it isn’t working very well.

    The US is renown around the world for having high price and low service for cell service, and my country (Canada), which is even more integrated into a few large carriers, is even worse. The big three carriers (Bell, Rogers and Telus) have been busy buying up regional carriers (and lobbying governments to sell off any crown corps still in the business) and ratcheting up the price in those regions. Meanwhile, these same three companies have paid to plaster their name on every single sporting venue around the country, and make incredible profits every year.

    Your cell plans would be as bad as mine if the government hadn’t stepped in to make MVNOs a thing.

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