Bernie Sanders surges to the top in new polls

Newsweek has released a new poll that finds that Bernie Sanders has surged to the top and is the Democratic candidate who leads Trump by the widest margin.

SurveyUSA asked 4,069 registered voters nationwide how they would vote in an election today if Trump was pitted against each of the 2020 candidates in the Democratic race. The progressive Vermont independent came out on top.

The poll found that 52 percent of voters would choose Sanders and 43 percent Trump, giving the veteran senator a nine-point lead. Next was former vice president Joe Biden at 50 percent to Trump’s 43 percent, a seven-point lead.

Michael Bloomberg, the media and financial data billionaire, also led Trump by seven points at 49 percent to 42 percent. Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Trump 48 percent to 45 percent, a three-point advantage.

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is also ahead of Trump by three points, at 47 percent to 44 percent. The tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang is ahead of Trump by two points, at 46 percent to 44 percent.

The billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer is tied with Trump at 44 percent apiece, Democratic Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar loses to Trump by two points at 43 percent to 45 percent.

Democratic Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard loses to Trump by five points at 39 percent to 44 percent.

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Solidarity will overcome Clinton’s divisiveness

Naomi Klein describes how she overcame her initial infuriated reaction to Hillary Clinton’s savage attack on Bernie Sanders, the news emerging just after Sanders had appealed to his supporters to dial back attacks on other candidates. She says that we should all take a deep breath and avoid Clinton’s attempt to disrupt the Democratic primary for who knows what reason.

Within seconds, that 2016 primary feeling flooded my bloodstream. Screw what I had planned for the morning — none of it felt as importing as firing off a volley of rage tweets about Clinton, her staggering absence of self-awareness, and her outrageously revisionist history.

But I did something else instead. I blocked Twitter, chatted with my son about why he’s such a Bernie fan (“He will beat Donald Trump”), and started writing about being on the Sanders campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire over the last couple months. Because among Sanders’s steadily growing base of supporters, the mood is about as far from rage tweeting as you can get. In fact, despite the senator’s reputation as a finger-waving grump, the more time I spend with the campaign, whether in small meetups or huge rallies, the more I am struck by the undercurrent of tenderness that runs through all these events. Surprisingly enough, the force that is bridging what at first seem like huge divides — between multiracial urbanite Gen Z-ers and aging white farmers, between lifetime industrial trade unionists and hardcore climate organizers, between a Jewish candidate and a huge Muslim base — is a culture of quiet listening.
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Terry Jones (1942-2020)

The multi-talented Monty Python alum died yesterday at the age of 77. He had been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia is 2015.

After huge success with Python in the 1970s and early 80s, including the feature films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, Jones went on to work on a huge variety of projects. With Palin, he created the successful TV series Ripping Yarns and forged a post-Python directorial career with Personal Services, Erik the Viking and The Wind in the Willows. He made a series of TV documentaries (specialising in medieval history), wrote nearly 20 children’s books, and contributed a string of comment pieces for the Guardian and Observer denouncing the “war on terror”.
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The age and fate of the universe

Corey S. Powell provides a history of the Hubble-LeMaitre law and the efforts to pin down a precise value of the Hubble constant that plays a significant role in determining not only the age of the universe but also its ultimate fate. Like the age of the Earth, the value of the Hubble constant, and thus the age of the universe, has shifted considerably over time.
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Say it, AOC!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says something that I too have been saying for ages and should be repeated over and over again.

“We don’t have a left party in the United States,” the congresswoman said. “The Democratic Party is not a left party. The Democratic Party is a center or center-conservative party.”

“We can’t even get a floor vote on Medicare for All. Not even a floor vote that gets voted down. We can’t even get a vote on it. So this is not a left party,” she told interviewer, journalist and best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates.

I doubt that the political establishment and its media supporters will change their framing of the parties. They have a vested interest in limiting the range of political debate in the country and the best way is to pretend that the two parties represent full left-right range of acceptable political views, rather than what it is, a center-right, crazy-right spectrum.

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Hillary Clinton goes full-on ‘never Sanders’

It looks like Hillary Clinton is determined to inject herself into the election campaign and in the most negative way. She has issued a scathing attack on Bernie Sanders, showing once again that the Democratic party establishment is pulling out all the stops to prevent him from becoming the nominee, as the Iowa caucuses approach. She has even “refused to commit to endorsing Sanders should he win the primary this year”, which is pretty shocking. She is essentially saying that she would rather have Donald Trump win than Sanders.
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Matt Taibbi on media stupidity

The utter failure of mainstream media in the US provides a source of never-ending articles as new debacles quickly follow the old. Matt Taibbi analyzes the role that the media played in aiding Donald Trump’s rise and that they are doing the same thing now to Bernie Sanders.

When prominent media voices compare the Trump and Sanders movements, it’s always the same insult: Trump sucks and is evil/wrong, and Sanders is like Trump. The establishment fantasy is that both are illegitimate opportunists.

The diagnosis of Trump is that he rode to power appealing to a collection of humanity’s darkest impulses, in particular racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Few other explanations, importantly even negative ones (like that Trump took cynical advantage of both racism and legitimate economic grievances), are accepted.

The explanation for Sanders is naiveté. Neither the politician nor his followers understand how the world works. They want expensive things for free and blame billionaires when their actual gripe is with reality. Oh, and theirs is also a movement for sexists and anti-Semites and people who refuse to accept the unique role of racism in America.

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New York Times endorses Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar

Let me say right off the bat that I don’t think newspaper endorsements matter that much anymore. Given the proliferation of sources of information, I don’t think that support of a newspaper, even one that has such a wide reach as the New York Times, carries much impact. What such endorsements give us is a window into the thinking of the political establishment. So the endorsements tell us more about the newspaper’s interests than the virtues of the candidates. They say that there are two visions being put forward by the Democratic party, the realist and the radical and that Klobuchar represents the former and Warren the latter.
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Scoffing at those who believe in near death experiences

When I saw the title of this article that said Reasons not to scoff at ghosts, visions and near-death experiences, I assumed that it was going to make the case for the plausibility of things that I definitely scoff at. But what the author is arguing is that such beliefs can be therapeutic for some people and thus of some value and we should not too quickly move to disabuse people of those beliefs.
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