2:00PM Water Cooler 5/25/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I have changed to a linear scale as a default for US States and territories (see below).

At some point, the enormous discrepancy between the course of the pandemic in New York and its course in every other state is going to have to be addressed and explained. We do have a slow acceleration in states like California and Illinois, which I suppose could be the start of a ruinous geometric acceleration, but that has not been the case so far. And states like Florida (and other Red States not highlighted), are chugging along at relatively lower levels — this after Florida began to reopen its beaches in late April. It’s fair to say that different parts of the country have different reactions to the virus because they are experiencing the course of the pandemic differently. As a Federal system, we are conducting an enormous natural experiment. Is it too soon to ask for the results to be analyzed? From Statista:

This table does not present complete data, but of the top eight listed here, 34068 + 14692 + 6621 + 5832 + 5819 + 5262 + 4614 + 3092 = 80,000 projected deaths. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts — all on the Northeast Corridor — account for 34068 + 14692 + 4614 + 5262 = 58,636, or 58636 / 80000 = 73% of the total. Why is this? (Could it possibly be that indoors is more dangerous than outdoors, and that the pandemic hit in the winter, when most of the Northeast is only shut up tight?)


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden as the Democratic Presidential Nominee: Teen Vogue Voter Committee Weighs In” [Teen Vogue]. • Lots of support for Stacey Abrams as VP. Good job, Neera! (No matches on “Reade.” Odd.

Biden (D)(2): Tara Reade thread:

From a random small account, but a good wrap-up. Anita Dunn must be doing a great job!

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Black activists warn Biden: Don’t pick Klobuchar as VP” [Politico]. “[Klobuchar] has the governing experience and ideological profile to mesh well with Biden, and she’s regularly appeared as a surrogate and a fundraiser for him, raking in more than $1.5 million for a single event she headlined. The pair have a warm relationship, trading phone calls when her husband was hospitalized with Covid-19, and they didn’t tangle publicly during the primary. But more than a dozen black and Latino strategists and activists warned in interviews that selecting Klobuchar would not help Biden excite black voters — and might have the opposite effect. Klobuchar would “risk losing the very base the Democrats need to win,” said Aimee Allison, founder of She the People [see, e.g.], which promotes women of color in politics.” • So the Black Misleadership Class gave Biden their votes, but didn’t seal the deal?

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Demings hits Trump for campaigning off Biden ‘you ain’t black’ comments” [The Hill]. “Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who is considered a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, on Sunday called out President Trump for campaigning off comments Biden made about black voters. Demings said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that Biden ‘shouldn’t have said’ what he did but that the former vice president ‘apologized for it.’ Demings said Thursday she is on the shortlist of candidates Biden is considering to be his running mate. Asked by CNN’s Dana Bash whether she wants to be vice president, Demings responded, ‘I want to do whatever job I can to continue to push this country in the right direction and make sure America lives up to its promise for future generations.”” • If Harris or Abrams pull up lame…

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “We Need a Class War, Not a Culture War” [Jacobin]. “What [Nagle and Tracey] don’t understand is that the Sanders campaign wasn’t an attempt to save the American left. It was an attempt to build one… The real question is not ‘why didn’t Bernie win,’ but how did he get so close?” • Hmm. I think the real issue is what the Sanders campaign did afterdefeat on the Night of the Long Knives. If — this is the best metaphor I have thought of, so far — the daring strategy of the Peninsular Campaign met defeat at Seven Days Battles (and the 2020 campaign felt rather like that), why was McClellan’s response retreat, rather than renewed assault on another front?

Trump (R)(1): “Inside the Influential Evangelical Group Mobilizing to Reelect Trump” [The Intercept]. “United in Purpose [is] a low-key group that has quietly become a preeminent venue for leaders on the religious right to convene. UIP was crucial in connecting Trump to evangelical leaders in 2016, and it promises to be one of the most vital weapons in Trump’s reelection arsenal this year…. the group, whose supporters include major donors to conservative causes, pastors, and political operatives with decades of winning elections, is serious about serving as the tip of the spear to maintain control of the White House. UIP’s 2020 election plan — which it calls “Ziklag,” a town referenced in the Bible — is a multipronged effort to connect Trump with evangelical leaders and increase support among minority voters through appeals to faith-based messages and church outreach… But the bulk of UIP’s 2020 efforts, [Ralph] Reed explained on the call, is grounded in the identification of new religious voters. To reach nontraditional faith-based voters, UIP is using an array of data-mining tools.” • We’ll see if this works for Trump any better than it did for Sanders.

Trump (R)(2): “Scoop: Inside the secret talks to overhaul the GOP platform” [Axios].

The president’s son-in-law and top adviser has told confidants he wants to shrink the GOP’s extensive platform of policy beliefs and principles down to a single card that fits in people’s pockets. That’s a huge change. The 2016 platform runs 58 pages — the product of extensive debate and heated negotiations. Kushner told colleagues he wanted ‘something like the 10 principles we believe in,’ per two sources familiar with his comments. He asked Stepien to find historical examples of Republican platforms that look more like a ‘mission statement,’ per a source familiar with one of their meetings.

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “Trump and the 2020 presidential race” [Minnesota Star-Tribune]. • Biden leads Trump by 5%. (Clinton won Minnesota in 2016 by 1.5%, so I suppose she faced a headwind of hatred that Biden will not.)

17% undecided among Independents…

UPDATE Trump(R)(4): “Donald Trump, the Most Unmanly President” [The Atlantic]. • I can’t even. The dude is a Never Trump conservative, and the whole piece reads like it was originally written for The Art of Manliness (which, if you have to read it…). Has everybody lost their minds?

* * *

“How the South is becoming a political powerhouse” [CNN]. “Now, the South is poised to again shift the balance of political power — although it’s not entirely clear which party is positioned to reap the benefits. Here’s why: According to new population numbers released by the US Census Bureau on Thursday, 10 of the 15 fastest-growing large cities in America over the last decade are in the South. (‘Large’ cities are ones with more than 50,000 residents.)… What that Southern population boom means in raw political terms is this: more congressional districts. And with more congressional districts comes not just more voting power in the House but also more electoral votes to give out in future presidential races…. While the so-called Deep South — Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, etc. — may still be off-limits to Democrats, there are signs of Republican slippage almost everywhere else in the region.”

UPDATE “The Border Between Red and Blue America” [New York Times]. “”Majorities tend to flip from blue to red roughly where commuter suburbs give way to ‘exurban’ sprawl,’ wrote Will Wilkinson, a researcher at the libertarian Niskanen Center, in a recent report. ‘That’s where the political boundary of the density divide is drawn.’… If 2016 is an indication, the battle lines are clear for 2020. Hillary Clinton dominated the inner-ring suburbs, and Donald J. Trump was dominant in the outer ring. This is as true within states that are deep red or deep blue as for the nation as a whole.” • I wish I understood better what “density” is a proxy for.

Swell optics (1):

Swell optics (2): “Gavin Newsom’s keeping it all in the family” [Orange County Register]. “A long-dominant geriatric quintet from the San Francisco Bay Area – Gov. Jerry Brown, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – has been slowly ceding power to younger political strivers. Moreover, Newsom is succeeding someone who could be considered his quasi-uncle since his inauguration continues the decades-long saga of four San Francisco families intertwined by blood, by marriage, by money, by culture and, of course, by politics – the Browns, the Newsoms, the Pelosis and the Gettys. The connections date back at least 80 years.” • Maybe there’s a word for this? From a parallel post at CalMatters:

What’s with this “informally adopted” thing? Reminds me of the Late Roman Republic, where Julius Caesar adopted Octaviian (before he was translated to Augustus).

Obama Legacy

“Obama’s airbrushed dreams” [The Critic]. “On 7 April, 2014, Zeituni Onyango died aged just 61 in Boston, Massachusetts, where she had been living a penurious existence in high-rise public housing. Her insistently upbeat demeanour had belied her modest circumstances, and she never spoke ill of her world-famous nephew despite his utter lack of interest in the recurring challenges she had faced. The New York Times reported that the president ‘helped pay funeral expenses” but ‘did not attend, as he was golfing.’ Yet Zeituni’s death also forced the Obama clan to tackle how to pay for returning her body to Kenya for burial, and, in [older brother, Abongo] Malik’s telling one year later, when he visited Barack at the White House to ask for his assistance, their conversation did not go well. ‘I told him that … she loved you very much and we need … around twenty thousand dollars and he said that was too much.'” • Well,, who doesn’t love golf?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The American ideology, on the left and the right, that props up inequality” (review) [James Kwak, WaPo]. “The Democratic Party is the most important political party in the world today. It is the only organization in a position to defend what was once the world’s flagship democracy and economic power from a president who has re-engineered his own party to justify racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Yet the party of the donkey is hardly up to the task. Over the past decade, as Republicans have further embraced an ideology of resentment unmoored by facts, Democrats have lost hundreds of seats in state legislatures, 22 seats in the House of Representatives and control of the Senate — while losing the White House to the most toxic candidate in history. In his new book, “Capital and Ideology,” economist Thomas Piketty explains why. The Democratic Party — like left-leaning parties throughout the world — failed to come up with a compelling response to the global conservative resurgence of the 1980s. Like New Labour in Britain and the Socialist Party in France, it abandoned the working-class voters who were once its base: “Improving the lot of the disadvantaged ceased to be its main focus. Instead, it turned its attention primarily to serving the interests of the winners in the educational competition.” By 2016, according to the post-election surveys that Piketty analyzes in depth and across several countries, the Democrats were the party of not just the highly educated but even the highly paid.” • One more book to read. Or I suppose I can just wait for the Obama Alumni Association — in the persons of genial figurehead Joe Biden and his faithful sidekick, Kamala Harris — to take over the government again, and work the same magic they worked in 2009.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

There are no statistics of interest today.

* * *

Commodities: “Mining Billionaire Gets Help From Ex-Spies in Bitter Legal Fight” [Bloomberg]. “Black Cube, the private intelligence agency run by former Israeli spies, spent months setting up companies around the world. Offices, websites and employees were painstakingly put in place — all part of a sting targeting former executives at Brazilian mining giant Vale SA. The Black Cube operation, made public in a court filing Thursday and described by people familiar with it, represents the latest escalation in a bitter fight between Vale and mining billionaire Beny Steinmetz. What started in Guinea as a partnership in one of the world’s richest mineral deposits has devolved into a globe-spanning dispute that sheds light on how fortunes can be made and lost in the world of African mining.” • This was the world of Charles Asubonten, before he sought his fortune in California at CalPERS. No reason to think he was anything other than fringe, of course.

The Bezzle: “Kendall Jenner to Pay $90,000 to Settle Fyre Fest Promotion-Related Lawsuit, Emily Ratajkowski Settles, As Well” [The Fashion Law]. “Remember Fyre Festival? Well, three years after the “luxury” musical festival was slated to take place on an idyllic island in the Bahamas, Kendall Jenner, one of the many big-name models that helped to promote the fraudulent fest, has agreed to settle the lawsuit that she was facing in connection with the company’s bankruptcy proceedings. The terms of the settlement will see the reality star-slash-supermodel pay back $90,000, after being sued in both in her personal and corporate capacities by a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, who sought to claw back the $275,000 that she was paid by Fyre Media.” • Lol, so everything nets out positive for Jenner!

Tech: “A feel-good ad from Facebook boasts [sic] a coronavirus group. But it’s not quite what it seems.” [Facebook]. “A commercial for Facebook that ran on national TV promoting its group feature in the time of the coronavirus pulls at the heartstrings. Backed by a somber piano score, the 60-second commercial features the Facebook group, ‘Cheers For The Frontline!’ and a montage of 16 posts seemingly plucked from the group in which users praised essential workers alongside dramatic photos of nurses, doctors, delivery drivers, grocery workers and janitors. The advertisement is part of a push by Facebook to boost its brand as a beacon of positivity during the pandemic. … But the Facebook ad seems to be misleading. None of the posts in the television ad appear in the actual Facebook group, according to an NBC News analysis of the private group, whose membership has grown in response to the national ad to more than 11,000. Many of the images can be found on various sources including public Facebook and Instagram posts, tweets, and stock photo collections, according to reverse image searches. The photos in the ads were mocked up as posts in the group.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutra;) [CNN]. One week ago: 39 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 22 at 6:30pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

“CDC warns of ‘unusual or aggressive rodent behavior’ in search for new food sources” [The Hill]. • Mortgage servicers? Private equity?


“Escape Room Owners Solve the Pandemic Puzzle” [Bloomberg]. “Billed as real-life adventure games, escape rooms combine a bit of mystery theater with puzzling, such as cracking a riddle or searching for a hidden key, to keep groups entertained and working together, making them popular for corporate team building…. For escape rooms, adapting to business during the coronavirus pandemic has meant finding ways to bring games online, such as placing webcams in rooms and creating puzzle graphics to share with players. Instead of the usual instructions, like telling players not to open things by force, hosts give tips on how to share screens and use Google Drive. In one escape room, the session begins with the host asking, “Can I offer you something to drink … from your own refrigerator?” • Not panic rooms, as I had thought. Unless corporate team building makes you panic.

Sports Desk


Screening Room

I believe such vehicles are called “technicals“:

Guillotine Watch

“Quandary for High Flyers: How to Travel Safely to Your Yacht” [Bloomberg]. The lead: “It’s a modern quandary for the ultra-wealthy: a yacht awaits at harbor, but how to safely reach it without risking exposure to the germ-ridden masses?” • Catapult? Tunnel?

“Bill Gates Is the Most Interesting Man in the World” [Timothy Egan, New York Times]. “Gates is everywhere these days, a lavender-sweatered Mister Rogers for the curious and quarantined.” • Whatever Bill Gates is, he’s not a Mr. Rogers. It takes more than a sweater.

Handy, very handy:

Class Warfare

“Some people are making more money by not working. For businesses looking to hire, this is a problem” [Boston Globe]. “For people who’ve been laid off during the pandemic, the extra $600 a week the federal government is doling out on top of unemployment is a godsend. But for restaurateurs and hotel owners around New England looking to staff up for the summer tourist season — what there is of it, anyway — the bump is anything but a blessing. While some workers are turning down jobs because they’re worried about getting sick or infecting family members or because they don’t have child care, others are flat-out telling employers they’re making more money safe at home collecting unemployment. The generous benefit has been problematic for businesses all over, but it is especially acute for seasonal employers looking to make new hires ahead of the summer. Several business owners on the Cape are so desperate for bodies they’re increasing employees’ pay.” • No!

“5 million student-loan borrowers may see their credit scores fall after CARES Act paused loan payments — ‘It’s another battle'” [MarketWatch]. “To find out her credit score inexplicably dropped in the middle of a pandemic that’s already creating so much uncertainty, was unsettling, [Brooke Evans] said. The 28-year-old, who says she is currently sheltering in a temporary living arrangement, worries that any ding to her credit score could impact her search for affordable housing… Eventually, after sending messages on Twitter tagging the companies involved and eventually getting on the phone with her student-loan servicer, Great Lakes, Evans learned that her credit score decline was tied to the CARES Act, the $2.2-trillion stimulus bill that allowed student-loan borrowers to pause payments. She appears to be one of up to roughly five million borrowers whose score was dinged, despite instructions from Congress that the pause on student-loan payments shouldn’t affect borrowers’ credit scores. The situation highlights the challenges consumers are facing as they navigate pandemic-era relief programs. It also underscores the complex web of companies the hold sway over Americans’ personal finances, companies that control how consumers are judged through a process that’s poorly understood by the average person. A credit score is a crucial metric that lenders use to assess borrowers’ eligibility for auto, home and other loans — and the price they pay for those loans — as well as renting apartments and other major purchases. In some cases, it’s even used by employers to evaluate a potential new hire. But it’s based on an algorithm that’s often opaque to consumers and it relies on lenders reporting information to credit bureaus accurately.” • Sounds like HAMP all over again.

“As The Coronavirus Tore Through Seattle, These Sex Workers Built a Hand Sanitizer Factory” [HuffPo]. “The team’s pride in its recipe is palpable. Once you use it, the formulation goes through three stages: First it’s wet (“everyone thought it was lube when we handed it out the first time,” Lascelles said), then it’s sticky, then it’s gone. The liquid comes in vape-juice bottles ― Jensen knows where to get them and they’re dirt cheap due to the collapse of that industry since the start of the pandemic.” • This is, among other things, a supply chain story. If you want to make hand sanitizer in bulk, there’s a lot of information here. Bringing manufacturing back to America!

News of the Wired

After an iOS upgrade, my mail server is now emitting mail I sent to myself in 2019. This tweet, for example:

I loved HyperCard! Laugh at me if you will, but it was the first computing language I learned.

* * *
Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (MG):

MG writes: “It may be difficult to tell once uploaded that these trees are covered with ice and sparkling…. I have been working from home since the last week of March so I have been on my laptop much more often than before and these backgrounds keep rotating in, and jogging my memory.” Plenty sparkly, I think.

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Billy

    “Stacey Abrams as VP. Good job, Neera!”
    The Democrats must want Trump to win so that a collapsing economy can be blamed on him, rather than Biden.

    The Democrat’s version of “Moose Barbie” (Sarah Palin),
    is Abrams, “The Cornrow Barbie”, which will assure Biden looses.

    If the Democrats are serious about Biden winning, he will run with a younger proven and progressive white man as his V.P.

    1. Massinissa

      To be fair, I would also prefer Trump wins. Having a tiny chance of a progressive winning 2024 is better than 4-8 years of Joe or fill-in-neoliberal-female-vp-here.

      1. chris wardell

        The next four year term for whomever is president is going to be rough
        If we look back the second term of presidents can be from lackluster to disastrous

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Picturing a “government of national unity” under Biden, a horrid prospect (as liberals and conservatives unite to destroy the left and keep the “bipartisan” two-party system firmly in place).

          Condi Rice as Biden’s [x] black [x] woman Vice President* is, I think, a bridge too far even for the Bush-loving Democrat Establishment, but there might be more Republican cabinet positions (as opposed to the usual Republican Secretary of Defense). Nothing in the intelligence community, of course….

          NOTE * Honestly, though, Harris is a wretched campaigner, albeit good with donors, and Abrams is a media creation whose rise to near-power in Georgia was in spite of various financial failures, never a good look at the national level. And then of course an NGO….

      2. Bsoder

        I don’t believe what you stated about of the consequences of (a) A trump re-election or a (b) Biden win are in fact true. In fact, as you are trying to predict the environment in which those events are to take place, I have further hard time with the rigor of the presentation of why your thesis should be so. Beyond, 4 & 8 years using Jared Diamond’s model for successful dealing with problems if because problematic for anyone, unless and until the people demand it. And I’d running book at 59% we won’t and it all becomes irreversible. I run large scale simulations coffee just about everything as a single system, and after yesterday run, something bothered me that keep me up all night. So, we here we have 536 billionaires, 11 millionaires(America), @NC referred to as the the last group is more or less the ‘PMC. Yet, it don’t think either group is a ‘class’ in most normative definitions of class, and wonder about the merits of using the concept of ‘class’ to deconstruct anything. I like the idea of lambert’s when he talked about coalitions, instead and one attribute is the are very frail stuff, and hard to impossible to reproduce, figure 1. Would be like Obama had and only he had.

        My point is this, the 536 Billionaires have no cogent agenda, but 2 studies that came out this week were fairly progressive about them supporting strongly dearly with inequality and less so to inequity but higher than I would have guessed. The problem alas is the PMC, they dint understand their masters and clearly those they manage. Thus, it is mostly from the PMC, that we get the deliberate and malevolent conflating that the Democrat (Dem powers-that-be) & Republicans being the same (they are not – I made a spread sheet), and the idea that I turn it all in service to the billionaires, which is not. It just to simplistic to say. But, what is, is very self serving of the PMC to advocate both. Our own Fox news of total BS. And why?
        Well the PMC all protests aside wants everything to stay he same, that way jobs, titles, money, & benefits stay the same. Sorry but it’s more lying liars and the lies they tell. But, I know this all of what the PMC does is falling part and it’s going to very hard for them. So why not going into denial. It isn’t trump or Biden that’s going to make things better or worse but the people with the govt helping or staying out of the way. In the end it’s the oldest story on stone tablets (of the Moses) kind – greed, theft, conflating and malice from the lack of empathy which-out there can be no compassion. Things have changed and it makes a huge difference as to who gets elected and what the possible futures are after.

        1. Acacia

          Tried reading this to see how you conclude that “it makes a huge difference” but the onus is on you to be coherent, sorry.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Thank you for the comment!

          On the contrary, I think those 536 Billionaires have a clear Neoliberal Agenda. I feel like its a fascist one too. Private Corporations raping Public Coffers and driving up the costs of EVERYTHING to extract rent. Usury and shit. Thomas Frank talks about these 536 billionaires controlling the 10% Professionals who Gate Keep the Workers in their place through the ‘Meritocracy.’

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          Class relations are economic (hence power) relations. Simplifying radically (and I’m sure there’s an enormous literature on this, not all obfuscatory):

          The key point about the PMC is not income (“millionaires”). The “M”anagerial is paid to exert power over the working class on behalf of capital in the workplace; this is detectable via the org chart (and of course there are edge cases, like horribly exploited managers at Dollar Store, etc.) The “P”rofessional is paid to exert power over the working class as it reproduces its labor power, by serving as gatekeepers for “access” to (the market for) services and goods, like health care; this is detectable via credentials (and there are edge cases here, too, like horribly exploited adjuncts).

          This makes the PMC collectively in a sense like an epibiont (“an organism that lives on the surface of another living organism. An epibiont is, by definition, harmless to its host”). Dependent as they are on servicing one class (capitalists) in its exploitation of another, the PMCs position is always precarious (see Interfluidity here). It’s this dependency that makes it reasonable to group them together.

      3. John k

        Aoc will be old enough then… granted she has to get re-elected twice first.
        If Biden wins, either he or his conservative veep will likely get the 2024 nom. And imo there will be fewer old conservative dems and more younger ones ready for real change, so if trump wins this time progressives will have a better chance in 2024.
        Plus… trump hasn’t started any new wars in spite of the bluster while trying to bring troops out of the me… dog knows what Biden would do, IMO he’s more reckless than trump.
        Pretty sure it’s gonna be the Klob… if the blacks want something they must first withhold their votes and be patient for next time. Exactly the same with progressives. Withhold first… obviously blacks and sanders both missed the memo.

        1. Big River Bandido

          AOC will have to step up and show more leadership than merely “getting elected”.

      4. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        Plus I like what Michael Hudson said. Take Direct Action against Democrats by Voting Republican. Im happy the Republican is also the more Populist.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          If your most important goal is to destroy or split the Democrat Party, obviously vote for Trump. The best response (leaving out the TDS) is that “the country can’t take another four years.” But it’s not clear to me that the country can take another four years of anything on offer. Is putting the Obama Alumni Association back in power really the answer?

    2. anon in so cal

      Rep Val Demings of Florida has served as Chief of the Orlando Police Dept, and she was an impeachment manager.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        All these African American women who started their careers in the Tough-On-Crime-90s and went the prosecutor route to try and attain power really lacked foresight on how much people in the African-American community (and democrats at large) hate the police.

        As a Californian who hates Kamala Harris and her prisoner firefighters, I say GOOD.

  2. ambrit

    The Hypercard piece was a bit ambiguous.
    You have an iOS update, and promptly begin doing the Time Warp? How much of your old e-mail traffic is ‘resurrected?’ Some, half, all of it?
    Anyway, this melds into what has been suddenly happening to me. The dreaded yahoo-mail function is ‘twitching’ now. Slow upload speeds now, and a very annoying prompt for me to ditch my a-blocker. Annoying as in, when I click on “Take me back to basic mail,” it resets the entire screen and returns the ‘piece’ of mail I had just opened to potential status. The choices put forward are to either pollute my mind with very annoying advertisements, or pay $3.49 USD per month for ad-less communications. Or go through a completely unnecessary multi step process to ‘release’ my e-mail.
    This is a ‘clarifying’ lesson on the axiom that, “When you rely on a platform, you lose all rights.”
    Google is Evil and must be destroyed. (It makes me want to set up a local Butlerian Jihad Club.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > You have an iOS update, and promptly begin doing the Time Warp? How much of your old e-mail traffic is ‘resurrected?’ Some, half, all of it?

      Onesies, twosies, and threesies. I kept ending up with mail in my Outbox with a message body reading something like “This mail was not downloaded from the server.” I did all the things a search on that error message suggested, ending by upgrading iOS (which I always leave as late as possible). After that, no more of those messages, but mail that must have been clogging the pipes since 2019. Very odd!

      1. ambrit

        Odd indeed! Does the e-mail in question have some unifying theme? Such as would excite the ‘suspicions’ of a CT’r? Is there a surreptitious filtering algorithm at work in your mail stream? (Ultra tin foil hatt territory.)
        The Internet is a tough ecosystem.

      2. Acacia

        @Lambert, I’ve seen that (very annoying) message many times on iOS. I’ve never tried to investigate deeply, but I suspect it might have something to do with the way iOS handles the IMAP protocol. If there is some way to directly access your mail server and see what’s actually in the inbox (i.e., via a web interface), that might reveal older messages which iOS thinks it’s sorted but actually hasn’t. HTH.

      1. ambrit

        From what this Techno Luddite knows about coding, that was an older and simpler way to write code. As such, it was much closer to the abilities of an un-augmented human brain than the squalling obscenities that populate the Cybersphere today. The complexity of the controlling systems is spiraling out of control and will soon be wholly outside the purview of the meat space beings, us. The Butlerian Jihad was, and will be, the human race’s grand effort to re-establish autonomy.
        Secondly, your introduction to the piece suggests that your personal e-mail stream has been usurped from your control by an outside force, the iOS update. Now the electronic system is telling you what to read. That such a ‘glitch’ should manifest itself is an indication that the system has become too complex for a single individual to comprehend, much less control. (You did not ask for the e-mail stream ‘curation’ to change, did you.) Thus, the main complaint undergirding the Butlerian Jihad is made; machines are controlling us. Where will it end? I don’t know, but I take refuge in the thought that future events often turn out to be much stranger than anyone had anticipated. (As an example; did any of the workers at the Manhattan Project ever even conceive of the idea that nuclear wastes and their associated radioactive byproducts would poison the North Pacific ecosystem so soon?)
        Well, rant over.

        1. Bsoder

          I’ve been programming since I was 14 on Dartmouth basic on a DEC teletype. It’s actually much easier to write code by focusing on what I want done not how. The issue is that while in the past it cost to much to solve simple problems both simple and complex can now be addressed, I’m not sure would ‘solve’ what exactly mean, but sure, having both, have solutions. I’d say current networking and security, be it on iPad or super computer is needlessly complicated. Partly because solutions to many problems were solved 30 years go and put in the shelf, but slowly are leakIng back into known reality. There’s never been a better time to program and play with the hardware. My claim to fame are 2. 1. At DEC, I was part of the group that invented Ethernet. 2. At Siemens I built their first MRIs, by which I mean designed, engineered, and worked in manufacturing. But here’s the deal with current reality we are running, it all uses to much energy, including human. And money, which in physics is all the same – energy. Our civilization is going to get way less complex, has to. Anytime frame beyond 2036-51, must deal with them end of carbon fuels, the end of the current financial system, healthcare, food security, restoring some flavor of democracy, and overcoming, people: PMC class who will not let go, and those who absolutely don’t care. And won’t lift a finger.

        2. flora

          Here’s an interesting bit about the Butlerian Jihad from the Dune wiki commentary:

          Another, more subtle justification for the Butlerian Jihad is also found in Frank Herbert’s original novels, specifically Heidegger’s thesis that the use of technology trains humans to think like machines. The problem is that machines are deterministic; thus, training people to be machines is self-limiting. Herbert seemed to think that to be human is to be essentially ‘open-ended’, capable of undiscovered, indeterminate evolution, both personally and as a species.

          1. ambrit

            An excellent point. Humans are the top predators because they can ‘imagine’ various future results of actions. This cuts out ‘programming’ and introduces ‘agency’ into human actions.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The problem is that machines are deterministic; thus, training people to be machines is self-limiting.

            That’s why AI is so evil. We will be optimized for their algorithms, not the other way round (“code is law”).

        3. Phacops

          Oh, they knew about the long-lived isotopes and how they will become ubiquitous in the environment.

          Glenn T. Seaborg, on his way to the synthesis of transuranium elements would drop barrels of his chemical waste off of the Berkley pier.

          When constructing chambers for ultra sensitive gamma spectometers, one looks to source pre-WWII steel to avoid isotopes now found in the environment. But here one is talking of femtocurie quantities.

    1. Clive

      I had to write a front office application for managing cheque book reordering in Visual Basic 3.0

      Thus proving to me beyond any doubt at all that Microsoft had already brought on the Butlerian Jihad against us techies.

        1. Clive

          Yes, I once blew about three weeks’ salary on 4Mb of RAM!

          I also remember the days when organised gangs would target the branches and smash up the servers, once word got around those sorts that a branch had at least one server, sometimes two or three with, gasp, 16Mb in each. They never bothered with trying to get into the safes, the servers and their silicon stash were worth more.

          Suddenly I feel about a gazillion years old :-)

          1. Bsoder

            Run 53 call centers using VB & VC++, with MS SQL. That would have been 1994-1995. Not that long ago. These were all in America & remain so.

      1. ambrit

        I am by no stretch of the imagination a “techie,” but I do empathize. I have just had a half hour wrangle with Google trying to clear my cookies without deleting tons of other stuff. (Yahoo mail has slowed to a racing snail’s pace for me recently. I thought that clearing my cookies might help. Hah! Was I ever wrong!) During the wrestle, Google decided to start dealing with me by creating a G-mail account in my name. Not asked for, not wanted, impossible so far to kill. It’s like the Monster in so many old horror films. “The Program That Would Not Die!”
        I finally ended up Restoring the computer to a point I had set up, (precognition at work?) last week.
        As for the Devils Playground that is Microsoft…. Being a ‘civilian’ dealing with the Monolith Monster is bad enough. Having to deal with it for legitimate business purposes must be like living in a chapter in a book by Sartre.
        You’re a better man than me is all I can say at this point.

        1. Bsoder

          If it matters there is a ‘delete forever function, under account management”, In Gmail. I tell my wife this all the time who is much more rational then I am, which is “what makes you think at Google, apple, Microsoft, anyone they let normal people talk have any clue how their stuff works? Mostly, they don’t. And sadly, sometimes a harsh tone is required. Or see you in small claims court.

            1. ambrit

              Or, being more than my usually cynical here, like the voting process as carried out today.

        2. jr

          Not sure if this would address your issues but I’ve been using ProtonMail for almost a year now and it’s great. Super secure encryption, free, and not a drop of spam.

    2. Acacia

      Made me recall Neal Stephenson’s pre-Linux In the Beginning was the Command Line:

      “The operating system market is a death-trap, a tar-pit, a slough of despond. There are only two reasons to invest in Apple and Microsoft. (1) each of these companies is in what we would call a co-dependency relationship with their customers. The customers Want To Believe, and Apple and Microsoft know how to give them what they want. (2) each company works very hard to add new features to their OSes, which works to secure customer loyalty, at least for a little while.”

      1. Yves Smith

        That was conventional wisdom circa the early 1980s. It proved to be wrong. The money and power lies in applications and the OS is a vehicle for extraction via the apps, either tying in to your own (MS) or having a closed system and forcing use of your hardware (influence over applications developers is critical so as to maintain the “branded” experience).

    1. Carolinian

      From your Paul Street link

      And this time, the sheepdog is baring his teeth to keep his followers and representatives in line behind the neoliberal nominee like never before.

      Bernie Sanders’ delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention (which may be virtual thanks to Covid-19) have been warned. They must refrain from making any disparaging or even mildly critical comments about Biden on social media –Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They must not speak to the media without permission. They are not to write books, academic studies, and/or articles or create videos or other recordings about the presidential campaign without official authorization.

      Publicly expressed dissatisfaction with Biden is strictly prohibited. Failure to abide by these rules could cause Sanders’ convention delegates to be stripped of their delegate status and thus of their right to vote on the Democratic Party’s nominees and platform.

      Since my fave Tulsi went down in flames I haven’t been paying much attention. But what’s the rationale here? Is it that Biden is the even lesser evil than usual because Trump is so extra evil?

      Wake me when it’s over–after I’ve mailed in my Green party ballot.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        Was hoping Ventura would join the Circus…

        Oh Well.

        Cest la Vie

      2. Procopius

        Well, from the link within the link:

        Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) has asked at least some of his 2020 delegates to sign a pledge saying they won’t denounce Democratic party leaders or other candidates, won’t be argumentative with anyone on social media, and won’t speak to the press without explicit approval.

        OK, this is just slander in the form of rumor-mongering. I won’t believe this until I see somebody with legal chops explaining how Sanders has the (legal) authority to do this. I could understand him (or his handlers) demanding people to sign such a pledge, but in the absence of such a pledge where does his authority come from? If Sanders makes a public announcement that he is demanding such discipline from the delegates elected to support him, I’ll believe it. Too bad, because I normally consider RT quite trustworthy.

    2. flora

      The links heading ‘class war’ might need changed to ‘undeclared civil war’. What, you didn’t realize ’50 Shade of Grey’ was about the Wall St. Confederacy ? /s

      (note: Memorial Day began in the South (some debate about this) in 1868 as a day to remember and decorate soldiers graves with flowers, and from their it expanded across the US to remember all US soldiers in all wars.)

      1. bassmule

        “…David W. Blight described what occurred in 1865 this way: ‘This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is Black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.’

        Interestingly, ‘Decoration Day’ was so closely linked with the Union cause that many Southern states refused to celebrate it. They acquiesced only after World War I, when the holiday was expanded beyond honoring fallen Civil War soldiers to recognizing Americans who died fighting in
        all wars.

        Memorial Day Has Roots In Black History

  3. periol

    In relation to the comments about the death toll in the Northeast Corridor, I do think some agency has to be given to the different strains at work. I’m not sure what to make of California’s trajectory either, but it definitely seems the strain that came from Italy was more deadly – maybe more virulent too?

    Also, higher population and building density have to have something to do with it. Commercial and residential real estate prices in NYC and environs demand that people be a little more cramped at work and home than they are at some sprawling Midwest insurance campus, or safely nestled into suburban box homes.

    1. edmondo

      Public transportation is widely accessible in the high death toll states (including Illinois). Might be a place to spend some study.

      1. chuck roast

        Density can be a proxy for public transportation. It’s generally understood that public transportation can be supported in corridors with >7 dwelling units/acre.

      2. Acacia

        Public transportation is also widely available in Japan, but the word from there is that it hasn’t been a site of significant spread.

  4. shinola

    “The president’s son-in-law and top adviser has told confidants he wants to shrink the GOP’s extensive platform of policy beliefs and principles down to a single card that fits in people’s pockets.”

    I think that’s misreported; should be “…fits his father-in-law’s attention span.”

      1. RWood

        As previously intoned:
        The ARRs have an onpoint team:

        “To reach nontraditional faith-based voters, UIP is using an array of data-mining tools.”
        Ralph Reed

        just how thse undecideds may be coached by this g*dless UIP-I into following their faith

        1. Procopius

          ??? The International Union of Property Owners (UIPI)? That’s what Google gives me for UIP-I.

        1. flora

          Ha! Yes. The idea, though, that the GOP swept the 1994 elections because of ten talking points conveniently overlooks the fact that B.Clinton and a lot of Dems passed NAFTA in 1993, which went into effect Jan 1, 1994. My guess is that the 10 talking points didn’t pull in enough GOP votes to swing the ’94 election; passing NAFTA pushed away more Dem votes and that swung the election.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I always had the impression that the Republican party is a “big tent” party hence those 58 pages. I can see how large chunks of that party may be left out of any ten points page and that may even by intent by some. Jared Kushner may end up doing more damage to Republican party stability than he has done for Middle East stability and if Jared wasn’t the President’s son-in-law, he would be lucky to get a job with the Republican party as a staffer.

      1. John k

        Neither party is big tent. Neither offers anything to minorities or the whole working class… that leaves out 80% 0f the electorate… or more.
        Both parties paint the other as the greater evil, and every election is the most important bc the other party leader is the greatest evil the world has ever known.
        They’re both right.

        1. MillenialSocialist

          Both parties are big tents. They both cater to the upper middle class, the upper class, the rich, and the super-rich.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I couldn’t disagree more. I think the left — liberal Democrats are obviously incapable — should have exactly this: “a single card that fits in people’s pockets.” A unified left with an actual apparatus capable of enforcing party discipline should do this and run on it for at least two election cycles.

  5. richard

    I agree with Lambert about Sanders, re, the Jacobin article. Everyone knew he was going to get body checked hard by the corporate dems. He needed a strategy far broader than the merely electoral. He was prepared to challenge them only on this very narrow ground, where they made (and made up) every rule and controlled every count. How could that ever win?
    Things start to make a bit more sense, if you accept that Bernie was never really trying to win. He was only trying to “win”, in some circumscribed, hands-behind-his-back fashion, somehow standing for popular struggle (the dems as part of a “movement”!) without ever harnessing its power.

    1. Yves Smith

      I find it remarkable how readers assume Sanders had superpowers he didn’t use. Running a small dollar campaign and building a canvassing apparatus that was entirely outside Team Dem took a huge amount of effort and was a major accomplishment in and of itself that you blow away.

      1. richard

        Perhaps my comment was a bit grandiose with reference to popular struggle. The covid related labor actions all happened after he stopped campaigning, and it’s unfair to apply the perspective given by 25% unemployment to 4 months ago.
        But I don’t think it takes superpowers to run an aggressive campaign against party insiders. What was to stop Sanders from running an ad like Trump is (the trump ad is about 1:50 in), showing what a failure Biden was even at things he claims to be good at, like representing the black community? Or simply responding to all queries about respective electability with a stock “I’m much more electable than Joe Biden” response, with 2 or 3 reasons (so many to choose from) that work for the room?
        I don’t want to %$#^ on what Sanders’ campaign achieved. The small donor fundraising was astonishing, and a cause for hope. And the canvassing work. But we are where we are, and a feeling of accomplishment isn’t my takeaway from this. I wish he had taken on his own party much more vigorously, in the part of process where that is actually supposed to be a possibility. And I think he’d have had more success had he done so.

        1. Yves Smith

          With all due respect, your idea of what Sanders can and should do is sheer fantasy.The condition for him as an independent to run as a Dem was that he’d support the eventual Democratic party nominee. It would have been impossible for Sanders to get as far as he did in terms of press attention (even as nasty as it generally was, the old saying is any coverage is good, it said he was a contender) and his ideas getting into the mainstream.

          And did you forget that Sanders is still a Senator from Vermont? For him to be able to do anything for his constituents, he has to get on with the Dems.

          1. John k

            I will say that Hillary didn’t concede to Obama until the convention, maybe hoping for veep and settling for state… or maybe she saw state as a pretty bully pulpit Anyway given she lost the nom, for various reasons. But with that example it seems to me Bernie could have stayed in, if not to the convention at least thru June… every delegate helps in any negotiation. Plus I don’t agree delegates can Or should be prevented from speaking their mind about Biden or anybody else. Whatever promise Bernie made was not made by the delegates.
            As far as the threat of forcing voters to stand in lines during a pandemic, he could have called for vote by mail and let voters realize that it’s Biden and the dems that don’t care if voters get sick.
            I agree with lambert he should be helping strikers. I think this years effort exhausted and crushed him. He needs a vacation.
            Granted he moved the needle, and granted it’s us, not him, us need to get on with what he started.
            Maybe time to give more to aoc…

            1. Yves Smith

              Again, I hate to sound annoyed, but this is ground that has been covered EXTENSIVELY here. The two situations were in no way comparable and I hate wasting time yet again debunking this palaver.

              Quite a few members of Sanders’ own team revolted against him after Super Tuesday and told him to quit. He would have no ability to run a campaign if even as many as 10% of his key lieutenants left then and reports (which named some names, like Fayez Shakir) suggest it was more.

              Plus top staffers resigning after Super Tuesday would create “rats leaving a sinking ship” image even if he had enough top people left to limp on. It would hurt morale and fundraising, and kick off a whole round of “Sanders is sinking” and worse stories.

              On top of that, you forget Covid-19. No more rallies, which had been very important to his campaign. No more canvassing. Oh, and how moral would it be, given his now very unlikely odds of winning the nomination, to keep raising funds from his donors, many of whom were restaurant and hospitality industry workers, sure to take hits to their income?

              By contrast, the Clintons since Bill left office have run a huge patronage operation, so there were both financial and career reasons to stay on. Hillary was far from over, as witness her 2016 comeback attempt. And the Clintons are fabulously vindictive. I doubt anyone would have dared quit early unless they were pushed or had a damned good reason, like a kid with cancer.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > Quite a few members of Sanders’ own team revolted against him after Super Tuesday and told him to quit. He would have no ability to run a campaign if even as many as 10% of his key lieutenants left then and reports (which named some names, like Fayez Shakir) suggest it was more.

                That’s the distinction between a campaign and a party, I think. A campaign always disintegrates, and in an ugly fashion after a loss. The lesson would be — subject to whatever happens after November — that a campaign is an inadequate base from which to build a permanent movement.

  6. polecat

    I’m not feeling very cool & collected these daze – when everything on the Cooler makes me all hot-n-bothered! Can’t we huddle around the Water Heater instead, set it on Sterilize for good measure ?

    ‘Burn it with fire’ .. you’ve said so yourself on many occasion ..

  7. griffen

    Charlize was such a bad a** in that film. Just one more of many reasons to love her, or rather to love her film work.

    Ok love her. Don’t judge me.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Ive already cut both of yall in line.

        Sorry not sorry ;)

        WAR BOIS!

    1. Deschain

      That movie is pure magic. George Miller doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves.

      1. polecat

        I don’t know. Something about that digo, the feral boy, and the Gyro Man just gets me every time I watch the original… right here in the ol’ crankcase!

        But yeah, Charlize IS rather Hot, I’ll grant you ..

        .. except when she plays a Monster.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        It is.

        Best 1st hour of action maybe ever.


        Its my #1 of 2015 and maybe the 21ST CENTURY.

        Paul Schraders First Reformed had a huge impact on me as well.

  8. remmer

    “Reminds me of the Late Roman Republic”
    You don’t have to go back that far, Lambert. Governments in the 18th century American colonies looked very similar — the leaders of the colonial Massachusetts and Virginia legislatures were made up mostly of men who were related to one another by blood or marriage. I thought the rise of modern political parties in the 1830s eventually got rid of those aristocratic governments. There was always nepotism, but the old, tightly knit elite kinship groups tended to turn their attention more to business than to politics. But apparently they can get back to politics within a party as sclerotic as the Dems.

    1. periol

      “Good blood lines, good blood lines, if you believe in that stuff, you’ve got good blood.”

      -Donald Trump

      1. remmer

        Ford thought he had something going for him. In 1918 he wanted to run for U.S. senator on both the Democratic and Republican tickets and enter both parties’ primaries. He only won the Democratic primary, though, and lost the general to the Republican candidate.

    2. wilroncanada

      Reminiscent also of the government of Upper Canada (Ontario) at about the same time. They were still called the Family Compact in my elementary and high school history books in the 1950s.

      1. remmer

        wilroncanada — I didn’t know that, but it’s not surprising. Thanks for that bit of history.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Reminiscent of a Swiss town called Montana-Crans that I was in back in the 80s. All of us noticed that all the businesses in this skiing resort town had a combination of just four family names as owners and you wondered about the intermarriage between the younger members of these four families.

      1. remmer

        Those four families probably had been dominating the town government, too. I wonder if the kids — and maybe by now the grandkids — are keeping up the family tradition?

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > he leaders of the colonial Massachusetts and Virginia legislatures were made up mostly of men who were related to one another by blood or marriage. I

      Excellent point!

  9. Off The Street

    Lightering, i.e., cargo transferring between vessels, can be generalized to include people as cargo. The old style was typically from larger to smaller ships, which made some think of making the former lighter. That is one mnemonic, and your nautical mileage may vary.

    Back to that human cargo, there is ample evidence around numerous ports, such as the notorious LA-Long Beach, of human trafficking. Extending that from those bulky containers with muffled participants to some more willing but discreet cargo simplifies the process.

    Think of drug smuggling in reverse. Instead of having that Cigarette boat speed into some remote cove to disgorge the contraband, and nod toward Humphrey Bogart’s or Sonny Crockett’s chums, visualize a quick on-boarding instead. Given the resources available, backup plans for the extemporaneous traveler may provide for pontoon boats, the odd submarine or even a helicopter. All one needs to do is to habeas corpus oneself with some forethought and due dispatch.

  10. CraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazyChris

    Sloppy Joe … are we in the “jump the shark” moment for feminism here? Some of these “feminist” Dems believe him and some don’t, but they will all do as they are told by the patriarchy of the Dem party (and Biden is the essence of patriarchy).

    Suppose Sloppy Joe wins in November. Wouldn’t this conclusively prove that a woman can not be president? I mean, Hillarity was the most qualified women ever, and she couldn’t beat Trump. So if Sloppy Joe waltzes in … I mean, c’mon man! It’s a natural experiment! And who would run another woman after those results!

    1. Bsoder

      What reason do you to call a men suffering from dementia and memory problems “’sloppy joe’”? To be clear neither trump,or Biden are fit for office, but here we are. To jump the shark on feminism would require something other than the political parties, right here and now, not having candidates that people will vote for. In the history of the world voters almost always never vote for the “right thing”. Patriarchy of the Dem party – how so? Given that Hillary run and won the popular vote. As did Gore, which suggestion other problems than one’s sex. Could you be very specific about the patriarchy? Again, Biden is the essence of a elderly & sick person. There are women in the America whom, could run and win.

      1. flora

        I call men “sloppy” who are inappropiately ‘hands on’ with young women and little girls, including hair sniffing that makes them and their parents visibly uncomfortable. Calling guys like that “sloppy” is the polite word. Can’t keep his hands to himself.

      2. CraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazyChris

        You and flora are both right in that my issue is not with feminists or feminism, but with the Democrats around me who have apparently been fronting as feminists. I’m both curious and terrified to ask my wife if she believes Biden. What if she says yes? What if she says no? What if I bring up the time Sloppy Joe gang-banged Anita Hill with 10 other guys (kidding! but you know what I’m referring to…).

        The dynamic I keep observing in my little circles is that Real Democrats do what they are told by the party patriarchy (or the party elites, if you prefer). For five years now the Dem patriarchy has been saying, “Not Bernie! Never Bernie! Anyone but Bernie!”, and I hear this – not directly from Dem elites, but from the people close to me who are constantly absorbing the Dem elite messaging. I’m not saying these people are dumb, but c’mon man, they are all big fans of West Wing. There is a certain one-dimensionality in analysis coupled with fervent, religious-type belief that Democrats are always on the right side of things.

    2. flora

      Not a jump-the-shark moment for actual feminism; it’s a jump-the-shark moment for a Dem party more interested in idpol opportunism, even at the expense of undermining feminist or civil rights grassroots political activity. Feminism, civil rights, etc. – the Dem party is ready to claim “the peoples” mantel while undermining those grassroots forces and successes, imo. See welfare reform, the destruction of black and brown wealth in the mortgage crisis as compared to the destruction of white wealth, talking Union and voting NAFTA, talking New Deal safety net programs then voting to cut them or Grand Bargain them away, etc. It’s a Dem party the GOP loves. My 2 cents.

      1. VietnamVet

        The November election will be the strangest in American history. A Depression and Pandemic at the same time directly linked to the incompetence of President Trump. But, also, no income and dangerous working conditions ignored by the Democrats. They are just as responsible as the GOP for the gross failure of Washington DC. Hundreds of thousands dead and the pandemic keeps spreading.

        I haven’t got my mail-in ballot yet for Maryland’s June 2nd postponed primary. Looks like I am disenfranchised. Something similar is going to happen in November 2020. There will be a Zoom meeting of the oligarchs and presto the two chosen will be the President and Vice President. The upper class and the managerial class dare not have true democracy. Then their wealth will be spent fighting the pandemic rather than more being helicoptered into their Wall Street accounts.

        1. Big River Bandido

          You could have my New York Democrat primary ballot if you want. It has little value now.

  11. kgw

    An old salt once said, “The only interesting blade is a sharp blade.” Everyday, working knives, or kitchen knives are practically useless when not sharp. Most blades in this modern passage are some form of stainless steel, and a double-sided diamond-matrix (fine/coarse) sharpening “stone” allows for relatively quick edge restoration.


    1. The Rev Kev

      You use blades more often than you think and would struggle without one. Once I was backpacking through France and I suddenly found myself without an actual blade. Not having a cutting surface put all sorts of problems in my way and preparing and eating food was now a bit of a challenge. And just to make my humiliation complete, I was in a region which was the “Sheffield” of France and was famed for its blades.

  12. ewmayer

    “The American ideology, on the left and the right, that props up inequality [James Kwak, WaPo] … Over the past decade, as Republicans have further embraced an ideology of resentment unmoored by facts…”

    Let’s try that last bit out in the context of the Dem RussiaRussiaRussia gaslighting & coup campaign: “Over the last for years, as Democrats have further embraced an ideology of resentment unmoored by facts…” – why yes, a perfect fit!

    1. Aumua

      Also I think what the author really means is “The American ideology, on the right and the farther right, that props up inequality…”

  13. Riverboat Grambler

    It’s been a real hoot watching Democrats run the Kavanaugh playbook on Reade. “The story changed! Her timing is suspicious,” they cry, dutifully forgetting everything they’ve learned about assault survivors from Me Too. Meanwhile Biden’s Senate records are still sealed, but they don’t care, because they are satisfied with the media’s character assassination campaign, which “Serious People” find very compelling. This is despite Biden’s own pattern of habitually lying about most things but whatever. They think Chris Hayes should be fired for daring to report on allegations that are inconvenient to the Democratic party. How dare he?

    I’m sure women in the future will be very willing to come forward against powerful politicians so that they too can be immediately tarred as a liar and a plant, and have national media organizations talk to every landlord/employer/acquaintence they’ve ever had (or really anyone willing to talk shit) in order to air every conflict and piece of dirty laundry in their personal life.

    These people disgust me. I mean, I knew from the moment Biden cut that ad using his dead son to bash M4A that I would never, ever vote for him, but damn. Four years ago Dems were marveling at how Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th avenue and they’d still vote for him. “What is wrong with these people?” Now those same Dems are openly saying Biden could rape someone and they’ll still pull the lever. I can’t even articulate how much contempt I have for these people. I can’t wait to not vote for Biden in November, and I live in Wisconsin.

    1. David R Smith

      Tara Reade is something of a professional grifter. Don’t cry poverty for her when she has her own pet horse for whom she sticks veterinarians with the bills? Is Katha Pollitt in on the whitewashing too? As she asks, is it on its face believable that this happened in a Senate office building hallway in the middle of the day? By a man against whom there has never been a similar allegation during 50 years of public life? Her attorney, who just resigned as the qualifications she claimed as an expert witness appeared to fall apart, was a Trump activist.

      Come on NC people. Drop this insanity.

      1. ambrit

        “By a man against whom there has never been a similar allegation…”
        To the contrary: https://www.thecut.com/2020/04/joe-biden-accuser-accusations-allegations.html
        Behaviour does not have to be overtly sexual to become a demonstration of dominance. The sort of dominance described here multiple times is often the prelude to a sexual advance. If the “victim” does not show resistance, the perpetrator will usually construe it as a passive acquiescence to the continuance and escalation of the behaviour.
        Such behaviour is perfectly described by the moniker “Creepy” Joe Biden.
        Besides the personal morality questions, Biden’s extensive and reprehensible policy actions damn him in the eyes of most “progressive” persons.
        “Come on NC people. Drop this insanity.” How would we characterize that admonition? An appeal to prejudice? Shaming? Your last two lines plainly set out your ‘agenda.’
        Better Trolls please.

      2. anon in so cal

        >Is Katha Pollitt in on the whitewashing too?

        Katha Pollitt …“I would vote for Joe Biden if he boiled babies and ate them.”

        1. John k

          Ask a Biden voter this… if you knew for a fact Biden would invade Iran if he’s elected, and you knew for a fact trump, in spite of his bluster, wouldn’t, would you still vote Biden?

      3. Goyo Marquez

        Some women who worked for Biden said there was a list of Senators who were abusive to women but Biden wasn’t on that list. Well who was? I seem to recall some scandal about a waitress sandwich involving two senators? Another senator or two who dropped out of the race for president because they were caught having affairs. A speaker of the house who liked to sit on a chair watching the boys shower when he was a wrestling coach. My understanding is that records related to these kind of things involving senators were ordered sealed by the Senate in 1993.

        So you ask, “…is it on its face believable that this happened in a Senate office building hallway in the middle of the day?“ Well yeah it does seem perfectly believable.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          If I was looking for objective information on a Senator, his staffers wouldn’t be my first choice.

          On the hallway, I would very much like to see a photo or a plan of the hallway as it was at the time of Biden’s putative assault on Reade. But I haven’t. Has anyone?

      4. Yves Smith

        You have no business trying to dictate what we write about.

        Only a clueless man or a Democratic party loyalist could read the evidence and reach your conclusion. I note you do not attempt to rebut her charges but instead attempt character assassination on unrelated issues.

    2. Bsoder

      Riverboat Grambler, is it safe to say, that your doing alright in life? You have food, water, probably a home? To you as near as I read it, trump – Biden all the same. Helps to be wealthy or have a good retirement plan. Who knows you might be a C-level guy. In essence what your saying is the status quo is fine, and maybe better with trump. For you. I live in Michigan, so I wonder what is going on in Wisconsin were it appears that you (plural) are doing a good job of acting like a failed state, a third world one at that. No way M4A is a real issue In Wisconsin. The need to protect the right that people are entitled to gvt healtycare is. Biden is not in charge of anything. Be sure to sign the congressional petition on stating exactly that. As I won’t be seeing in church on Sunday, Peace be unto thee. Remember.- the, the old, and the poor.

      1. Riverboat Grambler

        I live in a studio apartment and I work as a cashier in a convenience store. Are you trying to throw privilege in my face? Keep on scolding and shaming, it’s literally all the Dems have to offer. M4A has exactly as much of a chance in a Biden administration as it does with Trump.

        If you’re voting for Biden that’s cool, I understand where you are coming from and it’s a choice everyone has to make for themselves. I am through with enabling a party that actively works against my class interests while claiming to be on my side. I just won’t do it anymore. I voted for the woman who said single payer would never, ever happen because I hate Trump and I hooed maybe the party would learn something for next time around. Now I’m supposed to vote for the guy who says he would veto M4A if it got to his desk? No. Never. Go to hell.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Remember.- the, the old, and the poor.

        I’m sure with Larry Summers and now Rahm Emanuel as Biden advisors everything will be fine, and we will return to the great days of 2008 with a “Rooseveltian” program.

    3. flora

      Dem party uses women as pawns, as they use almost everyone except their donors. Just like the GOP. my 2 cents.

      1. NancyBoyd

        Yep. They support the Equality Act, which while very necessary for gays and lesbians is an absolute disaster for women and girls qua women and girls, since it changes the definition of “sex” in ALL federal legislation to include “gender identity” with no definition of gender identity other than that a boy or man states he is a girl or woman — that statement being unchallengeable and requiring no actual change in anything, ie no medication, no surgery, not even a change of clothing or shaving off a beard — and of course they can’t define what change would be necessary to become a woman since, because it’s impossible to change sex, they’d be codifying stereotypes of women into law as the proof of being a woman.

        It’s a tangled mess and people who make a change in gender identity absolutely need protection.

        But that protection cannot come from male colonization of the spaces and set-asides women and girls have fought for based on their needs as a SEX and not a gender — female only locker rooms, hospital rooms, rooms in elder care facility, the right to getting an actual female carer for intimate procedures when requesting a female, small business loans, scholarships and awards, slots on women’s and girls’ sports teams (take a look at the clip of two boys winning the Connecticut state championships in high school girls’ track & field), female only rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters (yes males may need the same but they should do as women had to and build them) and worst of all — prison cells.

        In the NY Democratic Party, a seat the Suffragists originally won after a campaign to allot half the NY Dem committee seats to women, is now occupied by someone male. This is considered by idpol libfems a win for “women and femmes.” When outcry occurred, the male in question suggested that women who don’t like it should (family blog) his (family blog.)

        If the Democratic Party ushers in the Equality Act, already passed by the House, without amendment, they will have done what the Republicans haven’t yet — erase all the legal gains made by women since women were included, as a joke, in the Civil Rights Act. Under EEOC law, males will count as females. Ditto Title IX. Is it sex discrimination to fire pregnant women when the law says men can get pregnant too? Girls and women who protest having to share locker rooms, dorm rooms, hotel rooms on high school field trips, or prison cells with males who say they are girls or women will be the ones in the wrong. Palatine school district, despite a girl swimmer’s tears, recently ruled that she must get undressed in an open locker room with a male she’s known throughout her school years as male but who claims the identity of a girl. The girl weeping for the loss of her bodily privacy is the one at fault, labelled a bigot. A A court of appeals (can’t recall which circuit) ruled that schoolgirls have no right to visual privacy when in locker rooms, only the right not to be touched.

        The ACLU has come out in support of males in female athletics, claiming that there is no proof of male advantage and that even if it is, fairness to males who identify as girls or women dictates their inclusion — inclusivity of males overrides fair competition for females. This has already affected girls’ chances at sports scholarships to college. Currently, the NCAA champion in women’s hurdles is male — mediocre on male teams but a champion competing against women.

        I can guarantee that if the Dems sign the Equality Act as written into law, without amending it to separate sex-based rights from rights of gender identity/expression, when the ramifications hit home to voters, the Dems will lose power for a generation.

        Biden said during the primaries that yes, he supports the housing of male prisoners in female prisons. In countries where this is already happening, despite the UN’s declaration that mixed sex prisons are a human rights violation and despite their being, in war, a Geneva Convention violation, the predictable is happening — sexual assault and unwanted pregnancies. (All sex in prison is considered assault or rape because the very conditions of imprisonment means true consent can’t take place.) Prison management in Canada has suggested the solution is mandatory birth control for female prisoners.

        1. Acacia

          Thanks for this comment. The situation is indeed quite disturbing. Is this the logical endpoint of Butler’s “gender is a performative”? It sounds rather like the Humpty-Dumpty theory of language, i.e., that a word “means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” And as H.-D. clarified, perhaps it really just boils down to power, i.e., “which is to be master—that’s all.”

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I can guarantee that if the Dems sign the Equality Act as written into law, without amending it to separate sex-based rights from rights of gender identity/expression, when the ramifications hit home to voters, the Dems will lose power for a generation.

          Thanks for this comment. Do I understand you to say that under the Equality Act sex (not gender) is now to be a matter of personal affirmation only?

          1. NancyBoyd

            The bill changes the definition of “sex” to include “sexual orientation and gender identity,”
            then defines “gender identity” as “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

            Which actually is no definition at all, as it doesn’t define “gender” or “identity.”

            There is no requirement for any certification of any kind, nor for any medical transition.

            The bill also greatly expands the list of public accommodations, programs, services, spaces etc. where discrimination based on “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity)”is forbidden and explicitly includes locker rooms and dressing rooms.

  14. marym

    “Trump’s Economic Adviser Calls Americans Facing Unemployment ‘Human Capital Stock’

    “Our human capital stock is ready to get back to work,” he said, while admitting at the same time that the nation will continue to struggle with unemployment as high as 23% this month.

    The smiling Hassett seemed blithely calm about an unemployment rate “north of 20%” in May, which may be higher in June and will likely be in the double digits by November, he said.”


    1. JBird4049

      The unemployment rate is why the continued the Senate Republicans continuing to tie anymore stimulus to employment as in you get help if you work, but nothing if don’t, makes me think they ain’t serious about any of this.

  15. Oregoncharles

    “H.R. 6697, the bill to bail out lobbying groups, gained another 10 cosponsors in the House”…
    Peter DeFazio?!!! he’s my Rep., and very much a populist, at least in his pose – votes as a reliable Democrat. If he’s signed on, that’s a very bad sign for stopping it. I suppose I should write and ask him why; there must be some major sweeteners in the bill. If he answers, I’ll forward it.

    1. ambrit

      While you are at it, ask him if he ever flew on the Lolita Express. Someone has all that ‘kompromat.’
      There is way too much political rolling over and begging for a belly tickle for it to be anything else.

  16. richard

    https://twitter.com/nasescobar316/status/1264645964159160321?s=21 is Biden being covered by ABC, rationalizing his cheerleading for racist sentencing laws, by saying good, good science told him that coke sniffing in “beautiful” upscale (white) neighborhoods wasn’t equal to inner city crack. Because of course everyone thought that! So it was okay, see?
    You want to talk intersectionality? We are at the corner of Racism Drive and Class Warfare Boulevard.
    Sorry for the weird looking link. I don’t really know how to do Twitter to here.

  17. ChrisAtRU

    Firstly, thanks for a holiday #WaterCooler!!!

    Secondly …

    Biden (D)(3): “Black activists warn Biden: Don’t pick Klobuchar as VP”

    … or else what?!

    Watching people like Clyburn and AA Dem strategists try to parlay their flaccid fealty into real power is ant-versus–rubber-tree-plant laughable. Surprised to see Ellison lending his voice here as well, after what “the establishment” did to him.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Assuming you’re referring to this:

        ” … after what ‘the establishment’ did to him.”

        I am referring to the fact that Keith Ellison was in pole position to become the leader of the DNC ,and none other than (mock genuflection) OBAMA (or alternatively the Obama-Clinton wing of the Dem party) intervened to get Tom Perez installed.

    1. hunkerdown

      Or else the BMC will give Blacks something to push for in order to keep them out of third parties and from finding common cause with whitey. Hmm, who’s free to astroturf about reparations in six months…

    2. John k

      They know it’s useless, they’re just trolling their people. Sell their influence, of course, then do what you can to maintain it for the next time.
      He tried.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s one thing to sell your influence, but it’s quite another to give it away on the assumption that you’ll be paid later. Clyburn appears to have done the latter. That’s a damn shame.

  18. RWood

    Plunging in at “North Carolina”– anybody tossing coin to the RNC Convention Relocation Fund?

  19. Adam Eran

    JFYI, Density stands in for community. Problems like COVID-19 (and unemployment, immigration and healthcare) are systemic. Only communities can address systemic problems.

    Low density exurbs (less than 11 dwelling units per acre…duplex and below) forbid viable, un-subsidized transit, for one thing. Also, all trips of any significance must be in an auto. So…isolation is what’s desired by the exurban dwellers, and a considerably diminished public realm. The “public realm” is everything from the sidewalks on the street (typically too narrow, close to fast-flowing traffic, and ill-lit), to public amenities like public parks, pools and community centers. The people who profit from re-zoning agricultural land to make these exurbs make a ton of money, typically 50 – 100 times what they pay for the land (gross). They also get to make that fantastic 5,000% – 10,000% return on investment (more if they option rather than purchasing the land) without paying tax if they exchange into income-producing real estate like shopping centers and apartments. It’s quite a racket.

  20. Jessica

    “I wish I understood better what “density” is a proxy for.”
    Based on time spent over the years at the far edge of exurban Seattle, density is a proxy for lower price, more social maneuvering room, and less interference from land use planning, although the land use planning is becoming more detailed and intrusive farther and farther out. Social maneuvering room includes things like having a number of large, quite loud, potentially dangerous dogs, shooting weapons on your own property, raising chickens and livestock. It also includes more housing flexibility, such as having someone pay you to live in a trailer or RV on your property or putting one in yourself if one of yours needs it. It also includes more potential for self-reliance and greater distance from urban hordes in the event of The Big One, of whatever nature. Definitely more MAGA, though all the retirees from the huge military base close enough to shake the ground when they do artillery[?] practice may intensify that in the area.
    May not apply across borders, but in a large Canadian prairie city that I know, the clearly defined far edge of suburban development has a noticeably higher concentration of large non-mainline Protestant churches.
    I have seen two different patterns of exurban development. One is larger parcels more uniformly distributed, for example everyone has 5 or 10 acres. The other is farmland sporadically dotted with housing developments built to the density (lot size) of suburbs. They would both register as having the same lower density, but I suspect that the areas with many larger lots is culturally more distinct than a piece of suburb plunked down in a farm field miles past the line of development.

  21. Cliff

    Who says congress isn’t willing to spend money on people?
    9,152,100 Israelis–latest population per Wikipedia,
    just got $38,000,000,000 handed to them by the U.S. Senate
    (unanimous vote).
    $4,152 per Israeli.
    Plus tax exemption for Israel bonds, tariff waivers etc.
    Guess they are 3.4 times more valuable than American citizens.
    $4,152 / $1200 + some masks.

    1. Massinissa

      “(unanimous vote)”

      I can just imagine what would happen if a single person voted against: The media of both establishment parties would accuse the one person of antisemitism.

    2. Alex

      Well, this is for ten years, so you need to divide that by 10

      Also the money won’t leave the US as most of it is to be spent of the US military hardware…

  22. The Rev Kev

    Something for the end of the day under the category of Only in Australia. So a bunch of hairy blokes get together a Russian worker’s choir as an excuse to get out of the house (pre-pandemic), even though they do not speak Russian but do like vodka. Next thing they know, they are getting all sorts of invites and would have been singing at the Russian Victory parade if it had gone ahead and they are getting a lot of fans in Russia itself-


    They have clips on YouTube and they are not bad.

  23. Geo

    Rahm Emanuel is back and advising Biden… Says we all need to learn coding, of course.

    “Among Emanuel’s ideas: Democrats should stop looking timid on reopening the country amid the coronavirus pandemic and offer a bold plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. While millions of Americans are stuck on unemployment, the government should pay for them to be trained for future jobs in coding and cybersecurity.”


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