2:00PM Water Cooler 6/15/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, as usual I collected too much political material over the weekend. I’ll beef up that section in a bit. –lambert UPDATE All done!


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Here are the major regions of the United States since pandemic start (linear scale):

Again, the Northeast has little cause to preen, despite Cuomo claiming to have “crushed” the virus. But the steady increase in the South and West — especially when California did so well in the early days — has to be concerning. At least we can cross off the idea that the summer heat will kill it. So there’s that.


“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

Since we’re getting closer to the election, maybe it’s time to start looking at the electoral map, updated June 8 and unchanged today:

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!

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Biden (D)(1): “Exclusive: U.S. Democratic Party irked by council’s ‘insurgent’ climate plan – sources” [Reuters]. “The Democratic National Committee’s council on climate change irked party leadership when it published policy recommendations this month that ventured beyond presidential candidate Joe Biden’s plan, according to three people familiar with the matter…. Members of the DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council, formed last year, published proposals for the party’s four-year platform on June 4 in a press release, calling for up to $16 trillion in spending to shift the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels while banning hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas exports. The council’s proposals far exceed Biden’s current climate plan, which bans new oil and gas permits on public lands and dedicates $1.7 trillion to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, but allows continued fracking and exports in the meantime.” • I don’t know how to get my head around the fact that $1.7 trillion comes from Biden, and $16 trillion from the DNC (!). Although I suppose that means that $32 trillion is the right amount….

Biden (D)(2): “‘Who are we?’ Joe Biden seizes the moment as nation’s attitude shifts on race” [Guardian]. “As public attitudes shift quickly on race, Biden appears emboldened by the changed political landscape, embracing a far more ambitious reform agenda than he entered the race for president. By contrast, Trump, with his hostility to the protesters and resistance to their demands for reform, has found himself on the wrong side of the American public at a particularly perilous moment for his presidency and his re-election prospects. A Washington Post-Schar School poll found that 61% of Americans disapprove of the way Trump handled the protests while just 35% approve. When asked what type of president they preferred at this moment of racial strife, half said they would prefer a leader who can “address the nation’s racial divisions”, compared with 37% who said they would prefer a leader who can ‘restore security by enforcing the law.'” • The mind reels. Because–

Biden (D)(3): “Amid protests, Harris emerges as top contender for Biden’s V.P. slot” [Reuters]. “A Democratic strategist with relationships in Biden’s circle was even more blunt, saying recent events all but required Biden to pick a black woman – and that Harris is the most practical choice. ‘It’s going to be Harris. It was always going to be Harris. It was going to be Harris even when Joe Biden didn’t think it was going to be Harris,’ said the strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity. ‘At some point, he was trying to convince himself black people like him so much that he could pick someone like Amy Klobuchar.'” • Of course, Harris’s law enforcement background — albeit not for the rich — should play well with the Karens of this world. Most of whom are not out protesting….

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Why the electoral map is even better for Joe Biden than it looks” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. “But the current electoral breakdown also don’t capture the whole picture — which is that Biden simply has many more plausible paths to the magic number of 270 electoral votes than Trump…. The electoral map is a fungible thing. And the election isn’t for another 144 days. But looking at the states today, it’s clear that Biden has a LOT more ways to get to his goal than does Trump.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “Joe Biden campaign swearing his economic advisers to secrecy” [New York Post]. “The presidential hopeful relies on the counsel of a small group of liberal economists and others with ties to the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, according to the New York Times. The paper reports that the Biden campaign recently formed an economic policy committee that will include more than 100 left-leaning economists and researchers. Advisers on the committee were sent a three-page document last month, according to the Times, which outlined strict rules to ensure complete silence. Rules include not circulating emails from the committee, not referring to ‘the candidate or to the campaign’ in documents and not disclosing ‘the names of others who are involved in the committee to nonmembers.’ While the committee will have a broader range of policy views than the former vice president’s core group of advisers, the secrecy around the panel raises a myriad of questions. It is not known which advisers have the most sway over the presidential candidate, nor is it known which policy proposals are gaining traction among the team.” • Whatever a group with 100 members might be, it’s not a committee.

Sanders (D)(1): “Back in the Senate, Sanders weighs how to wield his outside-Washington power” [WaPo]. “He is already the ranking minority-party member on the Budget Committee. If Biden wins and Democrats reclaim the Senate majority, Sanders would become chairman and instantly a point person on the most ambitious agenda items for the new administration, likely to rely on fast-track procedures the panel is allowed to use to overcome 60-vote hurdles on most legislation…. ‘It is painful to me, painful to me, not to be out around my own state, around the country, engaging people. I love to do town meetings, I love, love, love to do town meetings,’ Sanders reiterated, fondly recalling those iconic rallies with 25,000 supporters cheering. ‘Do I miss that? I surely do. I absolutely do.’… Until health officials say it’s safe to resume traditional politic, Sanders will have to rely on his telephone.”

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “‘We’re thinking landslide’: Beyond D.C., GOP officials see Trump on glide path to reelection” [Politico]. “Interviews with more than 50 state, district and county Republican Party chairs depict a version of the electoral landscape that is no worse for Trump than six months ago — and possibly even slightly better. According to this view, the coronavirus is on its way out and the economy is coming back. Polls are unreliable, Joe Biden is too frail to last, and the media still doesn’t get it. ‘The more bad things happen in the country, it just solidifies support for Trump,’ said Phillip Stephens, GOP chairman in Robeson County, N.C., one of several rural counties in that swing state that shifted from supporting Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016. ‘We’re calling him ‘Teflon Trump.’ Nothing’s going to stick, because if anything, it’s getting more exciting than it was in 2016.’ This year, Stephens said, ‘We’re thinking landslide.’ Five months before the election, many state and county Republican Party chairs predict a close election. Yet from the Eastern seaboard to the West Coast and the battlegrounds in between, there is an overriding belief that, just as Trump defied political gravity four years ago, there’s no reason he won’t do it again.”

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Protests in Trump country test his hold in rural white areas” [Associated Press]. “The protest movement over black injustice has quickly spread deep into predominantly white, small-town America, notably throughout parts of the country that delivered the presidency for Donald Trump. Across Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, more than 200 such demonstrations have taken place, many in cities with fewer than 20,000 residents, according to local media, organizers, participants and the online tracking tool CrowdCount…. “If President Trump cannot hold onto white, working-class voters in rural, small-town Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio, I don’t know how he wins the election,” said Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. ‘Can you rule out he won’t have that same level of enthusiasm? No, you can’t.'” • Beyond the horse race, this is a good sign for the health of the country generally.

UPDATE Trump (R)(4): “Trump campaign manager says 300,000 tickets registered for upcoming rally” [The Hill]. “Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager, said 300,000 tickets have been registered for the campaign’s upcoming rally in Tulsa, Okla.” • Big if true.

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “Revealed: The Family Member Who Turned on Trump” [The Daily Beast]. “Donald Trump’s niece, his deceased brother’s daughter, is set to publish a tell-all book this summer that will detail “harrowing and salacious” stories about the president, according to people with knowledge of the project…. The bad blood between President Trump and his niece dates back 20 years to the fight over Fred Trump Sr.’s will and the actions he took to cut off financial and medical support for her brother’s ill child. Now that feud is about to spill out into the public eye during a critical election year, with the president struggling to shore up his plummeting popularity.”

UPDATE Trump (R)(4): “Former Defense Secretary Gates: ‘At least’ Trump ‘hasn’t started any new wars'” [The Hill]. • Correct, actually.

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“Wins by young progressives start reshaping establishment” [The Hill]. “‘The millennial generation is historically liberal. There’s never been a generation, particularly of white voters, that has been as consistently Democratic,’ said Sean McElwee, who heads Data for Progress. ‘More and more, the typical always-shows-up voter is more progressive. They are urban professionals who are settling down, having kids and are not becoming conservative but instead are voting progressively in Democratic primaries.'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Opinion analysis: Federal employment discrimination law protects gay and transgender employees” [SCOTUSblog] (opinion). “Today the Supreme Court, by a vote of 6-3, ruled that even if Congress may not have had discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status in mind when it enacted the landmark law over a half century ago, Title VII’s ban on discrimination protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees. Because fewer than half of the 50 states currently ban employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, today’s decision is a major victory for LGBT employees…. Justice Neil Gorsuch framed the question before the court as a straightforward one: ‘Today,’ he wrote, ‘we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender.’ The answer to that question, he continued, ‘is clear.’ When an employer fires an employee ‘for being homosexual or transgender,’ that employer “fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.'” • Gorsuch?! No doubt they’re softening us all up for something terrible, but this is an unexpectedly good ruling. Life’s little ironies:

UPDATE “The End of Black Politics” [New Yorks Times]. “The black insurgency of the 1960s and the Voting Rights Act laid the basis for the pivot to black electoral politics in the 1970s. There were fewer than 1,500 black elected officials, so entering political office was part of the broader political struggle to achieve equality…. The Congressional Black Caucus was formed in that era…. As the black movement wound down, the nation went into recession, and black legislators became more entrenched in their positions. With seniority, repeated election cycles and without a robust movement as a source of accountability and direction, black elected officials began to govern like typical politicians. Staying in office became a priority, and as black legislators, they often had fewer resources. That meant more fund-raising from entities that may have been at odds with their constituencies….. In 1994, the Congressional Black Caucus played a key role in the passage of the notorious crime bill, which is widely viewed as pivotal in the turn toward mass incarceration…. In doing so, they had the support of African-American mayors in Denver, Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta and other major cities…. This was not just a case of selling out. As more blacks entered the middle class, political demands shifted. Black elected officials were more in tune with the needs of their middle-class constituencies, black and white, than they were with the needs of the black working class. And their middle-class constituencies were more often concerned about a rise in property taxes than in ensuring access to a local Head Start. Perhaps the uprising in Baltimore in April 2015 marked a symbolic end to this phase of black politics. Black people held many of the city’s top leadership roles, and the nation’s first black president and attorney general were a mere 40 miles away. And yet that concentration of black political power was not enough to stop the death of Freddie Gray, who died after being detained by the Baltimore police.”

UPDATE Good framing:

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UPDATE “Activists cite tabulation flaw in mail-in ballots in Georgia” [Associated Press]. “Faulty software or poorly calibrated vote-tabulation scanners used to count mailed-in ballots in this week’s chaotic Georgia primary may have prevented thousands of votes from being counted, election officials and voting integrity activists say. The issue was identified in at least four counties, DeKalb, Morgan, Clarke and Cherokee, according to officials who discovered them, including activists who have sued the state for alleged election mismanagement. ‘The fact that it is in multiple counties tells me that it’s probably systemic,’ said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist who has testified for the plaintiffs, because identical scanners and software were used to count all absentee ballots across the state. DeMillo said the only way to know for sure is through audits…. In Morgan County, Republican-dominated and just southeast of Atlanta, panelists discovered at least 20 votes on scanned ballot images that the program had not recorded, said Jeanne Dufort, a Democrat on the panel. She said it appeared the votes did not register because ovals that were supposed to be filled in were instead checked or marked with X’s.” • Worse and worse.

UPDATE “How COVID-19 wreaked havoc on Georgia, Chatham County elections process” [Savannah Morning News]. “Voter Shameka Jackson said the voting machine didn’t accept her choices. She checked the printout and had to re-do her ballot when it showed many offices left blank where Jackson had chosen a candidate.” • Note that the printout is not the ballot; the ballot is the (not human-readable) QR code that is scanned.

UPDATE “How Electronic Voting in Georgia Resulted in a Disenfranchising Debacle” [The New Yorker]. “If you want to understand why the state had to extend voting hours in twenty counties, and why some voters were still in line after midnight, you need only look at the math: in a precinct with a single B.M.D., only one person can vote at a time; in a precinct with five B.M.D.s, five people can vote simultaneously. (This assumes that those machines and the electronic poll books are functional. If the e-poll books don’t work, the B.M.D.s can’t work.) Contrast that system with the traditional one, in which people vote using a pen and a paper ballot on a table topped with cardboard privacy dividers. In that system, if there are twenty dividers, twenty people can vote at a time, and the cost of increasing the number exponentially is negligible. (In that system, B.M.D.s can be reserved for people with disabilities.)” • It’s almost as if BMDs were designed to discourage voting…

UPDATE “Election Data Sits in a Database: County Election Office Is Denied Access” [Westside Gazette]. In Broward County, Florida: “The Supervisor of Election, as defined by Florida statutes, is the custodian of all election documents and records, from voter registration to candidate filings and election results. So, you can imagine my surprise when a senior election office official acknowledged that while they maintain custody of the Microsoft SQL Server database where all votes are recorded, no one in the office can log into the database or query its data. According to the senior official, Election Systems & Software, the company who owns the election management system software the county uses, refuses to give them a user account. The company says it is a preventative measure to reduce the risk of record tampering, whether intentionally or accidentally. ES&S also issued a mob-like warning: if the election office accesses the database through a backdoor, or other means, the company will automatically revoke all results pending certification and terminate the contract immediately.”

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.

Manufacturing: “June 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Index Significantly Improves” [Econintersect].
Key elements significantly improved – it seems the recession is over. Note that survey responses were collected between June 2 and June 9.” • That was fast. Note that a continuing feature of the last recovery was the persistant divergence between surveys like this and data.

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Commodities: “The Great Cheese Emergency” [Modern Farmer]. “Mountains of specialty cheese have been piling up in warehouses in recent months, as restaurants shuttered and other traditional markets closed down across America. Like many other areas of the food industry, artisanal cheese has not been immune to the pandemic’s disruptions. But cheese associations say artisanal cheese producers have been hit especially hard, as they tend to be local family-run businesses—without the support of larger corporate entities—that depend on restaurants. A recent survey of almost 1,000 artisanal cheese sellers and producers, conducted by the American Cheese Society (ACS), found that nearly 70 percent were negatively impacted in some way by COVID-19. Almost 60 percent said their overall sales decreased.” • The pandemic as a catalyst, both of our worse tendencies (as here) and our best (strikes, protests).

Commodities: “Q&A: Inside the high-stakes world of clandestine crude shipping” (interview) [American Shipper]. “TankerTrackers.com is the antithesis of scalability – a small team of amateur sleuths, more Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew than HAL 9000, more likely to be hunched in the dark trying to identify a single ship’s telltale features on an ultra-magnified satellite image than crunching numbers. TankerTrackers.com co-founder Samir Madani began following ship movements as a hobby. He was also one of the co-creators of the twitter community #OOTT, the Organization of Oil Trading Tweeters. The hobby transformed into a fully incorporated commercial enterprise in 2018, with Madani going full time, together with co-founders Lisa Ward and Breki Tomasson. The timing was impeccable. In the two years since, U.S. sanctions have increasingly targeted crude tankers, the tanker industry has become a major focus of stock investors, and oil has become an ever-more-important fulcrum of geopolitics and the global economy.” • Fascinating stuff!

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 15 at 11:58am.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. I feel apocalyptic. Why don’t these guys?

Health Care

“A modelling framework to assess the likely effectiveness of facemasks in combination with ‘lock-down’ in managing the COVID-19 pandemic” [Proceedings of the Royal Society A]. From the abstract: “Our intention is to provide a simple modelling framework to examine the dynamics of COVID-19 epidemics when facemasks are worn by the public, with or without imposed ‘lock-down’ periods. Our results are illustrated for a number of plausible values for parameter ranges describing epidemiological processes and mechanistic properties of facemasks, in the absence of current measurements for these values. We show that, when facemasks are used by the public all the time (not just from when symptoms first appear), the effective reproduction number, Re, can be decreased below 1, leading to the mitigation of epidemic spread. Under certain conditions, when lock-down periods are implemented in combination with 100% facemask use, there is vastly less disease spread, secondary and tertiary waves are flattened and the epidemic is brought under control. The effect occurs even when it is assumed that facemasks are only 50% effective at capturing exhaled virus inoculum with an equal or lower efficiency on inhalation. Facemask use by the public has been suggested to be ineffective because wearers may touch their faces more often, thus increasing the probability of contracting COVID-19. For completeness, our models show that facemask adoption provides population-level benefits, even in circumstances where wearers are placed at increased risk. At the time of writing, facemask use by the public has not been recommended in many countries, but a recommendation for wearing face-coverings has just been announced for Scotland. Even if facemask use began after the start of the first lock-down period, our results show that benefits could still accrue by reducing the risk of the occurrence of further COVID-19 waves.” • This is really a review of the literature, but its a very good review of the literature.

“FDA withdraws emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine” [The Hill]. “The agency said recent clinical trial failures mean chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine may not be effective to treat COVID-19, and that their potential benefits do not outweigh the risks.”

“Ground-Zero Empiricism” [In The Moment]. “At moments of extreme scientific uncertainty, observation, usually treated as the poor relation of experiment and statistics in science, comes into its own. Suggestive single cases, striking anomalies, partial patterns, correlations as yet too faint to withstand statistical scrutiny, what works and what doesn’t: every clinical sense, not just sight, sharpens in the search for clues. Eventually, some of those clues will guide experiment and statistics: what to test, what to count. The numbers will converge; causes will be revealed; uncertainty will sink to tolerable levels. But for now, we are back in the seventeenth century, the age of ground-zero empiricism, and observing as if our lives depended on it.”

“Young Blood and Old Blood” [Derek Lowe, Science]. “This new preprint details the readouts of such clocks after treatment of two-year-old rats (and their various tissues) with a proprietary ‘plasma preparation’ from a company called Nugenics Research (update: corrected spelling of the name). I don’t think that’s going to make publication of this paper in a journal any easier, because that preparation is resolutely not described in any detail at all in the paper, from what I can see. This is no indictment of the paper or its results, but it does make them rather difficult to reproduce, doesn’t it?” • Ouch. But anyhow: ‘the effects of the plasma preparation on both the methylation signatures and on more traditional readouts of physiological function seem to be pretty dramatic, after two rounds of treatment in elderly rats. By the DNA methylation clock, the ages of the blood, heart, and liver tissue were basically halved (there was much less effect on the hypothalamus, interestingly). Markers of inflammation and oxidative stress went down significantly in the treated animals, and many other blood parameters changed for the better as well (HDL, creatinine, and more). The animals performed better in physical and cognitive tests (grip strength, maze test) with numbers approaching that of the young animals themselves. The authors say that this work ‘supports the notion that aging can be systemically controlled, at least in part through the circulatory system with plasma as the medium.” • For a price, of course. (Somewhere in my travels I ran across this animal studies aphorism: “Monkeys exagerrate, but mice lie. So perhaps that applies to this study.)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“How N.W.A’s ‘Fuck tha Police’ Became the ‘Perfect Protest Song'” [Rolling Stone]. “‘Racism is just the symptom, but the fight is economic,’ the [rapper] D.O.C. says. ‘Black people have been marginalized and kept away from the economics of this country. I think people are starting to understand that and are trying to figure out how we can change that and allow everybody to join in this game of capitalism. That more than anything else is going to solidify people of color to really care about peace in their own neighborhoods, policing their own streets, not unlike the Black Panther party were doing back in the Sixties. [The Black Panthers] weren’t going to allow rogue police to come into their neighborhood and do the stuff these guys are doing to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor. You couldn’t have done that in the Panthers’ neighborhood. They weren’t going to allow it.'”

“Barbra Streisand Gives Disney Stock To George Floyd’s Daughter Gianna” [HuffPo]. “Gianna Floyd expressed gratitude to Streisand over the weekend for gifting her shares in Walt Disney Co. The gallery of Instagram photos shows Gianna holding a letter and certificate she received from the “I Am A Woman In Love” singer, plus two of Streisand’s record albums, ‘My Name Is Barbra’ and ‘Color Me Barbra.’ Thank You @barbrastreisand for my package, I am now a Disney Stockholder thanks to you,’ Gianna wrote.”

“The Myth of the Kindly General Lee” [Adam Serwer, The Atlantic]. “During his invasion of Pennsylvania, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia enslaved free black Americans and brought them back to the South as property. [Historian Elizabeth Brown] Pryor writes that ‘evidence links virtually every infantry and cavalry unit in Lee’s army’ to the abduction of free black Americans, ‘with the activity under the supervision of senior officers.'” • As I have mentioned, I’m experiencing a good deal of schadenfreude in following Lee’s defeat in Gettysburg, through failures of generalship on multiple levels. From The Smithsonian: “Once, Dwight Eisenhower, who admired Lee’s generalship, took Field Marshal Montgomery to visit the Gettysburg battlefield. They looked at the site of Pickett’s charge and were baffled. Eisenhower said, ‘The man [Lee] must have got so mad that he wanted to hit that guy [Meade] with a brick.'”

Police State Watch

“A Long Polycentric Journey” [Elinor Ostrom, Annual Review of Political Science (via)]. Ostrum’s early work focused on policing (!). “In the fall of 1970, I worked with an outstanding group of black students to conduct a study in two poor, independent black communities that we matched to three similar communities being served by the Chicago Police Department. At the time of our study, the two small communities had just a few police officers. Their wages were low and their official cars were frequently out of service because their budgets were so limited. The Chicago Police Department had a force of >12,500 men who were paid relatively high wages. We estimated that expenditures for police service in the three Chicago neighborhoods were 14 times the amounts spent on policing in the small communities (E. Ostrom & Whitaker 1974). But despite the huge difference in spending, we found that in general the citizens living in the small cities received the same or higher levels of services compared to the residents in Chicago. Although victimization rates were similar, citizens living in the small independent communities were less likely to stay home due to fear of crime, and they agreed with statements that their local police treated all citizens equally according to the law, looked out for the needs of the average citizen, and did not take bribes (E. Ostrom & Whitaker 1974). The findings from these initial studies were consistent with the political economy theory.” • More on Elinor Ostrum at NC.

Cop solidarity. Thread:

We often forget that the phrase “bad apples” comes from the proverb “one bad apple spoils the barrel.” Although the phrase may have morphed

What are the rationales for policing today, a thread:

Our Famously Free Press

“Inside one reporter’s experience from Ferguson to Floyd” [CNN]. “Covering this hate and these losses could destroy my faith in humanity. Both Garner and Floyd were stopped for alleged non-violent crimes — selling untaxed cigarettes and allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. And yet both died violent deaths. Covering these are hard but I just try my damnedest to get to the truth. I won’t always get it right, of course not. I will always be a work in progress and perfection in journalism does not exist. And I still have my faith in humanity. I don’t know why something has broken loose and made America and the world respond. Perhaps it is so many people seeing what I saw, the unbearable long minutes of suffering George Floyd had under the knee of a police officer. Perhaps it’s been heightened by the isolation we have undergone as individuals facing the coronavirus. I have many questions, for myself, for the audience, for America. I hope to be there when the answers come.”


Makes me wonder what other art forms video game art has influenced. Thread:

Class Warfare

“Almost One in Four Adult Workers is Vulnerable to Severe Illness from COVID-19” [KFF]. “Among non-elderly adult workers, at-risk workers are older on average than non-elderly workers who are not at risk (average age of 45 versus 40), reflecting the fact that risk status chronic conditions or poor health increases with age. One-half of at-risk non-elderly adult workers are women, which is higher than the percentage (46%) of non-elderly adult workers who are not at risk. Large shares of at-risk workers — 86% of non-elderly adult at risk workers and 61% of age 65 and older at-risk workers — work full-time (at least 35 hours per week). They have substantial connection to work and may face economic difficulties remaining absent from their jobs even if safety is a question. The average annual earnings of non-elderly adult at-risk workers was $48,400 in 2018, somewhat lower than the average annual earnings for non-elderly adults workers who were not at risk ($51,900). …. The importance of at-risk workers’ earnings to themselves and to their families may put added pressure on them to continue to work or return to work even if their safety may be compromised. Not surprisingly, among both non-elderly at-risk workers and workers age 65 and older who live alone, earnings on average account for a very large share of their total annual incomes: 94% among non-elderly at-risk workers and 72% among older at-risk workers in 2018.” • Yes, that’s how wage labor works.

“Spiraling anti-Marxism in the DSA” [Class Unity]. “The cancelled event, jointly organized by the Philadelphia DSA political education committee and the Lower Manhattan DSA political education working group, was to have been held on May 30th and was titled ‘Covid-19 and the dangers of disparity ideology.’ The main attraction was the presence of Adolph Reed, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and a longtime socialist and labor activist going back many decades, including as a Bernie campaign surrogate in both 2016 and 2020 and as one of the founders of the Labor Party in the 1990s. Reed has recently written several articles on the same theme as the cancelled event. Both the Facebook and Action Network pages for the event have been taken down, but the event had drawn several hundred interested people. It goes without saying that the DSA has a desperate need for a culture of internal discussion and debate, and that the event would have been useful for the many curious attendees, the Philly and NYC chapters, and the entire organization. So what happened?… Anti-Marxist elements, principally within New York City DSA, engaged in a coordinated campaign to portray the event as racially insensitive and ultimately to force its cancellation. This campaign took place both publicly on social media and behind the scenes as NYCDSA chapter leadership maneuvered to undercut and sabotage the event. …. If DSA liberals can cancel a scholar of Reed’s stature with baseless allegations amplified over social media, whom can’t they cancel?… Early in the morning on what was to be the day of the event, the Afrosocialist Caucus issued a statement titled ‘Response to the Philly DSA, NYC Lower Manhattan branch and Adolph Reed,’ in which they demanded the cancellation of the event and its replacement by ‘a debate of Adolph Reed’s class reductionist analysis versus our intersectional socialist analysis‘” • How on earth does Adolph Reed get cancelled? As for “intersectional socialism,” it’s a little-noticed fact that Chirlane McCray, one-time member of the Wellesley-adjacent Combahee River Collectiveground zero of intersectionality as a political concept — is now Mayor Bill Dlasio‘s wife. Which is a little too on-the-nose, isn’t it? I recommend a reading of Reeds “the Trouble with Uplift,” which must have made a good many aspirational “voices” very, very angry.

News of the Wired

“The mysterious origins of an uncrackable video game” [BBC]. “‘[V]ideo game archaeologists’ are unearthing long forgotten pieces of software and pulling them apart. Inside they are finding clues to how the early days of video gaming came about, but also secrets that can help modern programmers with some of the problems they are facing today…. Maze-navigating games were very common back in the late 1970s and early 1980s…. Although the blocky, two dimensional mazes from entombed might look simple by the standards of today’s computer graphics, in 1982 you couldn’t just design a set of mazes, store them in the game and later display them on-screen – there wasn’t enough memory on the game cartridges for something like that. In many cases, mazes were generated “procedurally” – in other words, the game created them randomly on the fly, so players never actually traversed the same maze twice…. [I]n Entombed, an Atari 2600] the fundamental logic that determines the next square is locked in a table of possible values written into the game’s code. Depending on the values of the five-square tile, the table tells the game to deposit either wall, no wall or a random choice between the two…. It seems straightforward, but the thing is, no-one can work out how the table was made. Aycock and Copplestone have tried retro-engineering the table. They looked for patterns in the values to try and reveal how it was designed, but this was to no avail. Whatever the programmer did, it was a stroke of mild genius.” • Now do protein folding!

“Not the Cat’s Meow? The Impact of Posing with Cats on Female Perceptions of Male Dateability” [Animals]. “Women responded to an online survey and rated photos of men alone and men holding cats on measures of masculinity and personality. Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable. These results varied slightly depending whether the women self-identified as a ‘dog person’ or a ‘cat person.’ This study suggests that a closer look at the effects of different companion species on perceived masculinity and dateability is warranted.” • Well, I’m closed, disagreeable, not neurotic at all, and I like cats. So there.

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TH writes: “Isn’t it pretty the way the sun caught caught the blooms on this Desert Fern Tree?” It is!

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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. Elim Garak

    For fans of Dave Chappelle, he did a set two weeks ago in the small town in Ohio where he resides. It’s an acerbic and poignant take on the strange times we find ourselves living in. A worthwhile thirty minutes for anyone’s afternoon, this man is a national treasure:


    1. JWP

      Great special! Chappelle minces no words and hits points about the youth’s role and militarization of police mentality perfectly with superb story telling skills.

      As an aside, I’m beginning to question Netflix’s ties with the tobacco industry. While Chapelle is known for his laid back demeanor on stage, almost every Netflix thing (including this) I’ve seen features smoking in amounts far beyond normal. From Narcos to Stranger Things, it’s almost forcing itself upon us.

      1. periol

        Well, Chappelle smokes, Stranger Things was set in the 80s, and one would think that an accurate portrayal of the cartels would show some cigarettes. None of that seems particularly weird to me. It would have been weird not to have smoking in Stranger Things. It’s not like we’re getting a biopic of Aristotle with him walking around flicking butts .

          1. periol

            There was lots of smoking in the 80s. Lots. I remember visiting Japan in 2007 and the smoking “sections” in restaurants sent me right back to my memories of the 80s.

            My understanding is that the guys who made it were really going for authenticity. Hard to have that without smoking.

            I’m really not sure why it’s weird that Narcos has lots of smoking. It’s just part of that high-risk culture. Gotta decompress somehow.

            Smoking in shows today has nothing on older shows.

          2. Basil Pesto

            I think smoking in film and tv can certainly be a cliché, but I wouldn’t come to any dark conclusions about Netflix and big cig.

            iirc, Dave insists on being able to smoke on stage during his stand up shows as part of his contract (which is something a performer of his stature can demand, as well as demanding that punters lock away their smartphones before a show to prevent souveniring/bootlegging). I saw him about 7 years ago in Melbourne and the theatre foyer had signs up warning us about smoking on stage in the show (you usually see signs like this in advance of traditional theatre productions, where applicable).

        1. Ian

          Class reductionism. Such an odd term. Like Black, socialist-leaning academics somehow missed racist history… Let’s cancel them!

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        To be fair, IIRC, Chappelle doesn’t even actually light the cigarette until about 2/3s of the way into the performance. At least he’s not Dennis Leary or Andrew Dice Clay where the cigarettes are part of the act.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          yeah, I was surprised he actually finally took a drag. His last few shows he was using a vape. But I guess since then word got out how bad vaping is for your health.

          My guess is he really wants to quit, or his wife wants him to, but I noticed as stagecraft it added an element of dramatic tension he usually creates with humor. Which wasn’t what this show was about. He played his anger like a virtuoso.

          1. periol

            Please share this info about vaping being bad for health. Worse than cigarettes? I’m all ears. I definitely want to see these studies.

          2. Basil Pesto

            an interesting observation, I had assumed it might be to calm his nerves (he has a very relaxed presence on stage post-Chappelle’s Show) but it’s definitely possible he does it for his rhythm as well, or other stagecraft purposes.

  2. Grant

    It is shocking that someone like Biden can pretend to speak with authority on race and police brutality when few living Democrats are more responsible for structural racism as him. His beyond harsh anti drug laws that he wrote with his friend Strom, his horrible crime bill and the prison privatization that it encouraged, him pushing for a police officers bill of rights in the wake of the Rodney King beatings, his blatantly racist dog whistles in the past (see his speeches related to the crime bill), his support for gutting social programs that decimated communities of color and the poor, his support of austerity. The fact that he can get up and pretend to be a unifying force says a lot about the media and the zombies in his party. The Democratic Party isn’t really serious about addressing structural racism, since that has an economic/class component. And he is going to pick a younger, female version of himself, who will be a prohibitive favorite in 2024. So, we are locking ourselves into complete and utter societal devastation regardless as to who wins. And I am told if a woman of color like Harris sells the store to the same interests, it will be an advancement for women of color. Same system, same donors, same interests controlling and benefiting from the system, but the identity of the person controlling that rotten system will magically result in women of color broadly benefiting. Not from policy of course. My wife, a woman of color, is trying to figure out how we pay rent with the identity of the president. Maybe, instead of US dollars, we can pay our rent with liberal woke dollars? Does MMT deal with that? I can be a sovereign issuer of liberal woke dollars. Just gotta get a landlord to accept them. What are we left with though, since those in power are worthless and offer nothing on policy?

    The environmental crisis is right around the corner. With those in power and the people that vote in these two parties, we couldn’t be in a worse situation. The structural changes we need are massive, and we are dead set on doing the same, failed policies until it all comes down.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Yep…Breaks my damn soul.

      “You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” -Samuel Beckett

    2. albrt

      “he is going to pick a younger, female version of himself, who will be a prohibitive favorite in 2024”

      Um, not unless they win this year. If Biden is still on the ticket in November, I think the Republicans win. Especially if Pence finds a way to jettison Trump.

      I will keep hoping that Biden picks a particularly ruthless young woman who pushes him out of an upper story window, preferably before November. I would vote for that.

    3. Felix_47

      You can vote Green to show them what you mean. You can vote for Trump so you get a new draw in four years. There is nothing wrong with throwing in a lousy poker hand and you will go broke if you don’t. Vote Blue and you might not get another real draw for 20 years. I always had the fantasy that Sanders would run as a Green this time. If he did he would win. He had nothing to lose but apparently he was asked the question numerous times and his answer is that he does not want to be rememberd as Ralph Nader. Well…..in a few hundred years people will remember Ralph Nader when they fasten their eatbelts……Sanders……dustbin of history rather than the creator of a viable third party. In fact, Nader has saved more lives than any doctor or anyone except maybe Alexander Fleming or Joseph Lister..

  3. nippersmom

    If I were a man, I would not want to date any woman who thinks liking cats made me “less dateable” any way.

    1. Lark

      I think this type of survey doesn’t get at what they think it does, because it assumes that relationships are totally interchangeable and therefore your goal is not to attract congenial people but to attract a large number of randoms, and therefore anything that cuts down on your absolute numbers is bad.

      My suspicion is that a guy who likes cats enough to pose with one in a dating profile probably isn’t super hung up on looking “masculine” every minute of every day and probably won’t be happy with a woman who is very concerned about correct gender performance. I think that a photo with a cat is likely to be a great filter, actually.

      I am a delightful person, for instance, but I’m never going to attract people who don’t like to read, people who are really athletic, people who are dramatically young than me, people who like strong silent men and feminine effusive women, people who like road trips – people, in short, who are very different from me and wouldn’t have a lot of fun in my company. I’d much rather filter them out of the pool at the start of the process than waste everyone’s time. Three people who actually interest me are better than twenty who don’t.

      1. occasional anonymous

        Looking at places like Japan and Korea and the look many of their stars have, and the fan bases they have outside those countries, there seem to be plenty of women who want nothing other than a smooth-skinned pretty boy, not a ‘manly man’.

    2. ambrit

      Yes, as a purported male Terran Human I agree and also must register my displeasure with being relegated to a “litter box.”
      As for Lambert, Phyl says no, I cannot ask you out on a date. (Something to do with pair specific mutual exclusivity.)
      [Cue opening music from Mozzartz “Il Nozze de Gofigure.”]

    3. Phacops

      I think that while canids have a few species of top predators, everywhere you find cats they are top predators in their environments. I’ll stick with cats.

    4. Laura in So Cal

      As a women, I always thought that guys who had cats were more self-confident since they don’t need a pet who sucks up to them all the time. But then, I’m more of a cat person myself.

      1. Synoia

        I had a parrot. If the parrot (gender unknown) was displeased, the response was painful.

    5. The Rev Kev

      If I were single still, a women that judges men by saying that a liking for cats is a reason to make them less dateable would be a distinct red marker. It’s like hearing women say that they cannot date a man unless he is wearing the ‘right’ clothes or has the right model car. That way lies insanity.

    6. orlbucfan

      Whoa. I’ve known plenty of highly attractive, desirable men who were masculine. They were also cats-are-number-one people. ??

  4. L

    On this point:

    At least we can cross off the idea that the summer heat will kill it. So there’s that.

    I’m not sure we can assume that. In a perverse way the rise in the south and southwest may further cement the argument that COVID is a disease of HVAC-environments.

    The summer is when these places get hot and it is when many southerners particularly adapt to spending much of their time indoors in air-conditioned environs safe from the heat, bugs, etc. that own the outdoors. Meanwhile the folks in the midwest and east can finally venture out of doors to enjoy the freedom of fresh air with the heater finally off.

    1. Carolinian

      This is anecdotal but here in SC the daily deaths seem to have dropped considerably from the peak despite the increase in reported cases. Yesterday there was only one reported casualty (usually drops on the weekend). By order of the CDC states are doing a lot more testing and finding more infected. But it’s possible the hot weather is making Covid less virulent or maybe the likeliest victims are already gone.

      Regardless the public here is acting as though it is fading with fewer masks spotted in stores.

      1. periol

        The SC case increase is fairly recent though, isn’t it? So hospitalizations and deaths would be lagging behind by a bit. Will be interesting to see what things look like in a few weeks.

        1. Carolinian

          Oh I’d say the case surge has been going on a couple of weeks or so at least.

          The latest daily report is out and there were two deaths yesterday.

  5. ahimsa

    Spiraling anti-Marxism in the DSA” [Class Unity]

    “…the Afrosocialist Caucus issued a statement titled ‘Response to the Philly DSA, NYC Lower Manhattan branch and Adolph Reed,’ in which they demanded the cancellation of the event and its replacement by ‘a debate of Adolph Reed’s class reductionist analysis versus our intersectional socialist analysis‘”

    How on earth does Adolph Reed get cancelled?

    And readers still think Taibbi exaggerated by claiming “the American left has lost its mind”.

    For those not familiar with Reed:

    1. Judith

      What better way to debate Adolph Reed’s ideas than with Reed himself. Unless of course they are not actually interested in his ideas at all.

        1. occasional anonymous

          Reed is ruthless, in a similar way to Norman Finkelstein. He won’t outright swear and insult people, but he very clearly has no patience for idiots and bad faith arguments. See for example the first footnote on this recent piece from him: https://nonsite.org/editorial/how-racial-disparity-does-not-help-make-sense-of-patterns-of-police-violence

          The degree of “F you and your disingenuous games” is impressive:

          I’ve noted over decades that element’s cheap way to evade engaging with my arguments: resort to accusations, usually laced with personal innuendo, that I underestimate the depths of racism or deny its existence; particularly ironic is that often enough that dismissive accusation comes from earnest white antiracists. An especially brazen and preposterous instance was when the late Manning Marable—“Race, Class and the Katrina Crisis,” Working USA 9 (June 2006)—and white antiracist historian David Roediger—“The Retreat from Class,” Monthly Review 58 (July/August 2006)—insinuated that I did not understand the power of white racism in New Orleans—a city they visited as disaster tourists with a simplistic potted narrative and where I largely grew up in the Jim Crow era and the most intense period of the postwar civil rights insurgency, and where most of my family lives and had lived before, during and after Katrina. I’m still not going to natter on about my racial bona fides; I’ll leave that domain to the likes of Mychal Denzel Smith and Ta-Nehisi Coates, for whom every sideways glance from a random white person while waiting on line for a latté becomes an occasion for navel-gazing lament and another paycheck. (A historian friend has indicated his resolve, when white colleagues enthuse to him about Coates’s wisdom and truth-telling, to ask which white college dropouts they consult to get their deep truths about white people.)

          1. Temporarily Sane

            The most hardcore factions of the idpol obsessed woke types don’t even try to debate in good faith. Facts and reason are tools of the oppressor and must be resisted. Instead, they simply proclaim the correctness of their views and seek to “cancel”, shame or bully anyone who doesn’t drink their ideological Kool Aid into silence and submission.

            The really crazy thing is how woke liberals are fully embracing race and gender essentialism, which is the traditional stomping ground of the racist far-right. Who needs the lessons of history when you have echo chambered mobs convinced of their own infallible righteousness guiding the way.

            A post-modern, post-truth, post-reason “philosophy” is the only operating system that can run on top of the neoliberal capitalist hardware powering today’s internet dominated political economy. A system like this can’t be defragmented and it is inherently unstable and prone to disastrous glitches.

            This state of affairs shows that western culture/civilization has lost the plot completely and is setting itself up for destruction from within. The Coronavirus pandemic marks the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. The age of reason, at least in the west, is over.

        2. John

          I suppose I have not been paying attention, but what does this mean?

          I hear echoes of “You must follow the directives of the 15th Party Congress.” or battles over planks in the Republican Platform that will be forgotten before the ink is dry.

    2. flora

      I think this op-ed linked above in WC is the best open response to the would-be “narrative commissars” among the wokeistas.

      UPDATE “The End of Black Politics” [New Yorks Times].

      1. Judith

        The essays of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who wrote the op-ed, appear occasionally on Black Agenda Report. From my perspective, that is a good recommendation.

    3. Milton

      I cannot find Reed’s The Curse of Community from the VV anywhere in a web search. The two links I came upon resulted in “site no longer available” pages. If anyone knows where I can find this, I would greatly appreciate it.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      Reed is one of my very favorite currently living humans.
      as authentic as this here hammer.
      if “liberals”* can so infiltrate DSA and cancel HIM, then dsa is already dead, and soon to reanimate as a blue eyed Wight in service of the Demparty AI in hillary’s basement.
      If i remember right, there’s been lots of little brushfires before this, IMO, big raging fire…some faction in a local dsa upends the applecart using idiotic butthurtlanguage, and everybody goes home in disgust.
      all that seems like practice for this, to me.
      because Reed is a frelling Mountain, and must scare the hell out of the establishment pseudoleft.

      of course, all of that generally seems pretty far away, to me.
      there’s dsa in Austin and Houston and Dallas(100, 300, and 350 miles, respectively–Texas is Huge)…but none anywhere closer.
      likely for the same reason that i don’t put a SOCIALIST bumpersticker on my truck. “New Dealer” is as far as I can go without burning crosses and such.

      (* and “liberals”=”left”=”progressive”. our language is all but useless anymore. I know teabilly republicans who seriously think that hillary, biden and the rest of the demparty are actual Communists….
      But this confusion of tongues serves more to shore up the Dems, and kick the Actual Left.
      I keep waking up thinking about that survey a week or two ago about the 40% of respondents who said “burn it all down”.
      what good is a Right to Vote, if there’s nobody to vote for?)

      1. occasional anonymous

        DSA has been dead since at least their identity politics filled convention. Some individual chapters are okay, but others are completely drowning in performative nonsense.

        1. JBird4049

          I assume that a modern version of COINTELPRO is a going concern. Helping to infect the DSA with BS psuedo terms like intersectional socialism would seem to be their jam.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Their political folly, to use a polite term, extends into other issues: what kind of political idiocy and self-destructive streak calls for open borders, as they have?

          Until the liberal/left becomes aware of its repulsive (to those outside of its sphere and sway) moral vanity, which is on particular display over racial issues, it ain’t goin’ nowhere…

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        mine too, in fact I’ve been hunting up some of his writing and that fantastic twitter thread by the Black socialists to share with my sister who is a physics prof and doing a lot of diversity stuff on campus. They are all abuzz with it and she sent a list of topics and resources on which there was so much garbage, including Ta Nehisi-Coates, and get this, Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

        deconstructing whiteness not even listed as an area of discussion, but microaggressions were. gag me with a spoon. she and her husband have matching Warren bumper stickers on their cars.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the faction of dsa that tried to have Reed on in the first place has a statement of purpose page

          and i find that I can totally get behind all of it, except the part about handholding with the Demparty(while being antagonistic to them, somehow,lol)
          we really, really need a labor party in this country…but that’s a large hill to climb…especially at this late date.

          and..in thinking about this very thing for many years, i don’t think i can do any more than what i’ve already been doing…given my location, and disability, and near-poverty(as defined by $$, at least)….and not least by my underlying agoraphobia: i can handle tiny groups,lol…but not big crowds—not very conducive to mass politics.
          so it’s continuing Fieldwork, for me…and Feedstore Symposia…and random New Deal Evangelism.

          1. HotFlash

            Labor, how to define it? White-collar types are sure that ‘labor’ is the guys on the shop floor, or in a coal mine, or with a broom, or, I don’t know, Dollar General stockers? Worker-bees with a salary, whether coders, customer service, chain store ‘managers’ — they think they are PMC, when the ‘salary’ just means they don’t get paid for overtime. Commission sales, too, don’t think they are labor. Teachers, probably wearing white collars, on salary but they clearly seem to think of themselves as labor, judging by theie fierce unions.

            I’m self-employed (was, my ‘industry’ will be dead for at least two years), so either yeoman or petite-bourgoise, depending on how nice or nasty you want to be, but don’t qualify as ‘labor’. Even the IWW won’t have me, as I do not have a proper employer. What about the unemployed? The retired? Students? We’ve had several commenters here who are small-scale landlords — surely just renting out a house or small apartment building doesn’t move someone into the rentier class a la Akelius. How do we build class solidarity when we can’t even define what class we are? Even 99% seems so, um, means-tested.

            I like ‘Working People”. We all know that we work, or did, or would like to, and most of us agree that we aren’t getting paid enough and are getting charged to much. What do they think at the feed store?

            1. periol

              “We’ve had several commenters here who are small-scale landlords — surely just renting out a house or small apartment building doesn’t move someone into the rentier class”

              Why not? It’s no different than stock ownership to me. Just to be a landlord means you own your own residence plus at least another. I don’t own a home for the same reason I don’t own stock for the same reason I couldn’t afford to go to the dentist for a decade.

              I realize our society has completely normalized this whole idea of “investing” and getting “investment returns” but just like economists and corporations pretend externalities don’t exist we like to ignore the overwhelmingly negative results from chasing “returns”. The only landlords who maybe get a pass are the ones who are moving, can’t sell their home, and have to rent for a while. But they are a vanishingly small percentage of landlords.

              I’m not really sure what the difference between a small landlord and a large (say, corporate) landlord is besides economies of scale. I’ve had a couple of good landlords, an army of bad landlords, and not once did I ever think we shared the same concerns about the world, finance, etc. If we had shared the same concerns, my rent would have been much lower. But that’s not the way this works.

              1. ChiGal in Carolina

                actually, I own one home, in Chicago, which I am renting out, to tenants with more income than I have, while I am in North Carolina, where I rent, helping to care for my elderly mother, now on hospice.

                life takes all kinds of twists and turns, dude, please don’t make assumptions.

                1. periol

                  I didn’t make assumptions, I specifically cited people like you as the ONLY people who get a pass. Maybe read more carefully?

                  Here’s what I wrote.

                  “The only landlords who maybe get a pass are the ones who are moving, can’t sell their home, and have to rent for a while. But they are a vanishingly small percentage of landlords.”

                  1. Fiery Hunt

                    I’m kinda with periol here.
                    In the end, landlords are wealth protectors
                    I know lots of people on here are landlords (including our esteemed Lambert) but it occurs to me if you don’t live in the house/building you rent out, you’re just exacting rent to protect wealth. Not dumb, not evil but certainly doing the same as the rentiers we all deride are doing.

                    Damn the system that makes this not just ok, but required to get ahead.

                    1. sj

                      Wealth protector? Maybe that’s me, but I don’t see that as a pejorative. I have a single condo that I currently rent out, as I am fortunate enough to have bought a home when they were still affordable. I got the condo for my mother, in anticipation of the time — shortly approaching — when she would no longer be able to maintain her rural home and lifestyle. To my deep sorrow, she never had the chance to live in it.

                      So now I “protect that wealth” so that when the time comes when I am no longer able to maintain my much loved, 100+ year old, multi-story home, I will have a soft place to land. You can’t make me feel guilty about that.

                      In the meantime, my current renter has lived there for over 2 years and is fantastic. I was prepared to forgive his rent during the covid lockdown, if necessary. It wasn’t necessary and I won’t feel guilty about that either. My circumstances are generally fortunate — I know it, and I am thankful for it. I refuse to be shamed as a “rentier we all deride here”. It’s not how I derive my income, but is how I plan for my future. Assuming, of course, that we all have one.

                      Overall, that’s still a pretty broad brush you’re painting with. Landlord does not automatically equal rentier.

                    2. periol

                      The above doesn’t change your class situation in the slightest. Whether or not you feel guilty about it doesn’t change the class-ification.

            2. albrt

              As a former union organizer, my strong conviction is that you can’t have a meaningful union or a labor party unless people actually want to keep their jobs. Just being pissed off and wanting to mess with your boss before you quit and go do something else is not a basis for a union (or a labor party).

              Professional athletes, teachers, and a few other occupations have meaningful unions because they care about keeping their jobs. They have nothing in common with most American workers, whose dream is to tell the boss to take this job and shove it.

              1. periol

                Eh, the bosses have intentionally made work terrible so people don’t want to keep their jobs. Modern corporations want expendable workers and do not value knowledge and wisdom built over time. If the jobs were worth working, and paid well, people would want to keep them.

                Since you were a “union organizer” I would have thought you’d be fully aware of the endless bag of dirty tricks corporations have pulled on unions over the past century-plus, and continue to pull today.

                1. albrt

                  I am not saying the workers are wrong to want to quit their crappy jobs. You are correct that somebody has made work terrible, and corporations are a dirty and evil part of the mechanism for making work terrible.

                  But it isn’t just the bosses. Both political parties, academia, and Hollywood (in which category I would include the alleged news media) have all bought into a meritocratic system where only a few people deserve to do well, although they have conflicting views of what should constitute “merit” under this system.

                  I agree that decent jobs with living wages for everybody would solve a lot of problems. But I don’t see anybody advocating for that, including the relatively successful unions who only advocate for the narrow interests of their members. In the absence of leadership, the proles certainly have no interest in solidarity. Instead they’re busy planning for the day when they win the lottery or American Idol and they can assume their rightful place in the meritocracy.

                  It’s a tough situation and I don’t have a plan to deal with it, other than not voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden. If you have a plan let’s hear it.

                  1. periol

                    No one who advocates for anything actually worth doing gets to have a voice.

                    I don’t actually think it would take much to drastically change the work situation in the USA. I mean, it would take passing some laws that dramatically strengthen worker’s rights and weaken corporate rights. Along with addressing illegal immigration and H1-B visa abuse by wealthy corps and employers. Protect the unions, instead of having the government fight against unions.

                    Getting that done will take real effort. And anyone advocating for it will notice that no one hears them. But it’s would go a long way towards fixing problems.

                    In the long run, I want worker ownership of business. But that’s a long way off.

            3. eg

              A return to the Classical distinction between “earned” and “unearned” income would be most welcome and useful in this regard.

              Oh, and damn the marginalists, the neoclassicals and their fellow travelers …

      1. Massinissa

        You can’t. Its as much word salad as something like ‘Anarcho-Capitalism’ is.

        1. JBird4049

          Whatever, one may think of “intersectionallity,” the Combahee River Collective seemed, from my dim understanding, to want to connect, not disconnect, everyone and their multiple identities, using such terms as intersectional; the bunch using “intersectional socialism,” whatever the Heck that is, are using their “terms,” AKA propaganda, as a means to disconnect us all.

          And that’s the trouble with too many modern writers and pundits. Too many are intellectually dishonest and use their facileness to hide it. It is like reading David Foster Wallace, who was an excellent and entertaining writer, yet, I think, was so taken with his wonderful writing as to have the smugness, even arrogance, over his own writing poison it. I’m note sure if that is quite the right description, but the same negative feelings I sometimes get reading Wallace is the same with other supposedly serious writers.

          Does anyone have a good book suggestion for reading about the Combahee River Collective?

          Not that I need anymore books mind you, but I really feel like I should do some more reading about them. They sound like fascinating and honest people.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “… the major systems of oppression are interlocking.”

            It’s worth a read…and your intuition is spot on…it was about inclusion.
            all my parts that make up me, that are subject to oppression, fill out my understanding of those/that oppression(s).
            like the redneck racist who hates hippies i mentioned above(?)…I could see the human in him, even if he couldn’t see the human in me, yet…and i could see where we intersected(!) in our interests and in our oppression…and also see his racism and hippie-hating as products of his journey so far…as well as indicative of his terror at being inadequate, etc.
            That means that those things about him that i found hateful were learned coping mechanisms for that terror…and could therefore be worked on, if the chance permitted(and that’s what me providing him help and a jack did, it turned out: made him think, whether he wanted to or not—“long haired crazy soshulist=not what i thought”)

            that’s what i derived from the Combahee people.
            Look for the Common, and thereby overcome the differences.

            Of course, it was rather quickly hijacked and perverted to divisive ends…and here we are, with IdPol turning us each into constituencies of One, Alone, against everybody else.
            It’s the perfect vehicle for division, which suits the Masters just fine.

    5. SalonBee

      The current movements are expanding divisions between Asian-Americans and African-Americans. (For instance, look at the bill ACA-5 in CA that seeks to legalize affirmative action by putting to vote on the ballot a proposition that does so.) That is by design, by ignoring class and focusing on identity.

      1. JBird4049

        The stupid, or maybe the cunning, of bringing back affirmative action, while at the same time ignoring the rampant poverty, unemployment, homelessness, general corruption and police brutality (although not as bad as Chicago or New Orleans. Low bar, but hey.) and difficulties in getting an education; anyone with any social, political, or even economic understanding knows that this is an attempt to divide the growing left, socialists, DSA and even the conservative economic progressives.

        Even if one agrees with affirmative action, it is a bad timing unless you are trying to destroy what you consider the opposition. The Democratic Party will almost certainly pass this. They’re dead to me already. This just reinforces my decision.

  6. Louis Fyne

    The “twitter left” is going to skewer Biden if Harris is the VP choice—given Harris’s record.

    I can hear the tweet-accusations of tokenism write themselves

    1. L

      More importantly Trump’s team will absolutely light up her poor record in 2008 and the fact that she was in a position to do more for struggling homeowners and did not.

      I’m seeing adds that pair her obsession with drugs and culture against a struggling middle class family that lost their home thanks to Wall Street while she and Biden did nothing. Perhaps with the father actually deployed in Iraq at the time. I mean I’m sure they can round up a few people who expected her to help them then felt totally shafted.

      This probably won’t bring anyone to Trump’s camp but it will remind people why they don’t trust Biden.

    2. The Rev Kev

      More than tokenism. If Biden wins with Harris in her role as an arm-bracelet again, then if Joe has a stroke or something, Harris is now Madame President.

      1. Massinissa

        What will she even do as president? Make her program of locking away mothers who can’t stop their children from going hookey NATIONAL? Sigh…

      2. Briny

        As a native Californian well acquainted with her history, that scares not only the Hell out of me but the five generation Black family I live with.

      3. albrt

        If Harris finds a way to get rid of Feeble Joe, she will have made a good start and I will like her a lot better.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      In place of the Dark Lord, you will have a Kween!

      America was already told to nominate one shrill, judgy know-it-all Chief HR Officer in 2016, and took a firm pass on Her, in favor of about the worst character imaginable.

      My prediction remains that in late 2020, the Birthright Democrats will steer themselves onto, and then founder upon, the jagged slimy rock of Reparations. For which Kamala Harris: sleek, out of touch, and personally unqualified (not a DoS) will make about the worst champion imaginable.

      In November, beleaguered Americans will vote for action. Not stray flecks of Morning in America dribbling from Autopilot Joe. And still less will they vote in 4 years of humorless flagellation about their White Original Sin, delivered by a soi disant hypocrite. Crikey, talk about an unrelatable ‘Other’!

      And whether people like, loathe or are on the fence about Trump’s actions, nobody can seriously argue that he hasn’t taken any. That’s the power of incumbency. ‘Couldawouldashoulda done more on Covid’ only still sticks in November if you already hate the shmuck. But yours aren’t the votes he needs.

      Meanwhile, Saint Barack, our First Talker Emeritus [/genuflects, on knees] kneecapped their only Agenda guy (Bernie) five exits back.


  7. Swamp Yankee

    As a few of us were discussing yesterday, the Wokeistas will not stop; Adolph Reed now, but their hysterical-mob-screaming-over-witchcraft tactics and logic are literally limitless. As the country cries out for a usable opposition ideology (Labour circa 1945 would be my go-to), and as the Wokeistas get stronger in the 10%er gestalt, the combination will not be good. Its very nature means Wokeismo cannot be a mass ideology. In the void it leaves, as Gramsci said 100 years ago, monstrosities may arise.

    I’m hopeful Trump will be defeated; I’d say it’s better than even odds now. But if he is not I expect the dominance of the Vampire’s Castle/Wokeist tendencies among the PMC base of the Dems may play a significant role. It did last time (“basket of deplorables”). They are so used to snatching defeat from victory it may be learned behavior by now. How many would even listen to their secular saint Obama, who remarked on the morning after the 2016 Election that he went to every county in Iowa during the early days of ’07 and ’08, even ones he knew he was going to lose, because losing by 65-35% is better than losing by 90-10%? They’ve lost the ability to do politics. It’s neo-Victorian (h/t Mathismusic) religion now.

    And ordinary working people just really do not like it, with good reason.

    1. flora

      …the Wokeistas will not stop….

      I’m starting to see it as their pseudo religio substitution for sex. Always looking for the next and better …uh… climax. / heh

      1. occasional anonymous

        It’s pretty clear to be that this brand of Liberalism comes out of Protestantism. There’s an obsession with moral purity, and 1619 and white guilt take the place of ‘original sin’. They even have embarrassing public performances of confession and atonement; there have been multiple instances in the last few weeks of white people getting on their knees to beg black people for forgiveness (and most recently some white guy in the Seattle CHAZ was telling all the other white people present to give a black person 10 dollars as the personal start of reparations).

        It’s all so weird and stupid.

        1. flora

          I’d say that it comes out of the Inquisition and Savonarola fighting back against the encroachment of the Protestant Reformation and questioning that orthodoxy. (Pelosi isn’t a Protestant.) But it really doesn’t matter where it comes from. Half the problem is turning a political question into a pseudo religious test of “faith” about who gets to control the political narrative. My 2 cents.

        2. Arizona Slim

          I can think of more than a few black people who would be insulted by the $10 “gift.”

        3. Massinissa

          They should just bring a billionaire to CHAZ inebriated and then kindly suggest he/she give everyone there, regardless of race, $100. That would be a start. Hell the Billionaire wouldn’t even notice he/she was missing any money the next morning because he/she still has a billion dollars.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Years ago I visited the Tuol Sleng genocide museum in Cambodia. What was striking was that a place that started out as a convenient place to torture and kill enemies of the revolution rapidly ran out of victims. Instead of saying ‘job done’, they kept upping the required demonstrations of loyalty to the leader, until they ended up killing each other. Some of the last victims there of Pol Pots regime were the original torturers themselves, killed for not being sufficiently zealous in murdering counter revolutionaries. The revolution almost literally ate itself.

      I can’t help thinking of this when I see the wokeistas at work – they keep on ratcheting up the required levels of woke perfection until it becomes impossible for anyone to reach the required levels of minimum wokeness. I really wonder what the endgame of all this will look like.

      1. L

        Also a feature of the Cultural revolution. A number of the original enthuseasts found themselves being cut out by the next crowd of even more ambitious true believers. Performative events like this always go that way.

        IMHO That said in both Cambodia and the PRC there was a central dear leader directing this or in the case of ISIS a caliphate that built its entire ethos on the performance. So far, so far, this is more organic anger as people use “wokeness” to establish their own tribal loyalties. In that respect it is nearer the Anti-communist hysteria of the 50’s where there are forces driving it and culture backing it but less of a centralized plan.

        1. chuck roast

          Heaven help us if the Rev Al or some other wokester assembles a Little Red Book of wokesterisms for the true believers to wave around.

    3. Glen

      I wonder how much of this is driven by an absolute fear that the whole BLM protests become linked to elites vs. everybody issues.

      I remember one interview where someone asked Adolph Reed what would best help solve these types of issues, and he stated Medicare For All would be an excellent start.

    4. Musicismath

      Thanks for the hat-tip, Swamp Yankee. The “neo-Victorian” line was kind of a hat-tip of its own to the essays on the New Victorianism that Max Forte wrote in the lead up to the 2016 American presidential election. Forte’s proposition is that we can map aspects of late Victorian imperialism (and its class and racial politics) onto our own. The way I read it, Forte’s comparisons are a kind of thought experiment. They enable us to trace the long genealogies of what seem like contemporary concerns, identifying their functional role in endorsing and maintaining our contemporary, global neoliberal empire. But they also act on a more basic level, revealing the fundamentally imperialist nature of various features in our current thought landscapes, whose proliferation and degree of global reach is otherwise confusing.

      The essays are, unfortunately, a bit all over the place, and dated by their Clintonian framework (HRC as VR!), but there are pieces that seem extraordinarily prescient. This bit (a discussion of BLM Toronto marches in 2015) in particular reminds me of some of the observations in Taibbi’s latest essay:

      The street protests … double as quasi-religious rituals: attendants gathered in respectful attention around the celebrants of the mass, the high priests of the protest movement delivering speeches, ringed by their acolytes …. This may be accompanied before or after by a colourful procession through the streets. Identity itself thus becomes gentrified, the work of specialist gatekeepers trained in colleges (their eyes trained on the law, the distribution of resources, and their own careers), mounting regular public exhibitions of their identity claims through parades and demonstrations.

      It’s been interesting watching versions of these protests proliferate globally, all very homogeneous in their language and symbolism, as if running off a single, shared template. Each seems to look towards the US (or, perhaps more precisely, towards a Biden/Harris regime in waiting) for recognition and approval. And in each case, the biggest fans and most prominent thought leaders in each globally distributed or franchised protest movement are members of that same, imperial bureaucracy that Forte identifies: human rights lawyers; bureaucrats and NGO staffers; and academics and academic administrators. The high level functionaries, in other words, who tend the webs of empire and maintain the legal, educational, and ethical frameworks that keep the whole global system running. Or, perhaps it might be more accurate to say, aspirant lawyers, bureaucrats, and academics: underemployed (though highly educated) millennials who hope to pivot from these protests to future contracts and consultancies administrating the empire, and identifing new categories of identity to curate and manage.

  8. occasional anonymous

    “How on earth does Adolph Reed get cancelled?”

    Easily. He’s much disliked in certain corners, largely because identity politics intersectionalists have no way to actually respond to him. They have to shut him down before he even gets a chance to speak (in the past I’ve seem him smeared as basically ‘the racist’s pet black man’ to try and scare people away from even reading him).

    I think (hope) things are going to reach a head with these current protests. It’s immensely frustrating to see the framing almost completely dominated by the racial issue, even as the protests themselves are thoroughly cross-racial. We have non-black ‘allies’ coming out in support of Black Lives Matter (at one point I saw a picture of an Asian woman holding a sign: “yellow peril supports black power”), but there’s almost no framing of police brutality as a class issue that effects poor people of all colors.

    When these protests ultimately only lead to limited change, I’m hoping people will wake up (as opposed to being ‘woke’) to the class dimension and realize their entire framing of the core issue has been wrong. Because if that doesn’t happen, we’re pretty screwed long-term.

    1. flora

      Identity politics is a large and lucrative rice bowl(s). Anything that challenges idpol as the best or only way to see politics or history threatens that rice bowl and all those sub-rice bowls. my 2 cents.

      1. L

        I think that identity politics also maps well to a world of twitter and facebook where you can only look at things in a shallow way and where your victims are half a world away (or feel like they are) so it is easy to juice on anger demand someone be fired for a thing you didn’t actually experience, and then tell yourself you are making the world better.

        1. jr

          It’s pretty malleable stuff, id pol. It simultaneously demands inclusiveness for all but does it in a manner that flatly excludes anyone who doesn’t adhere to its precepts without hesitation. It transmutes the real suffering of marginalized sexual minorities into a lifestyle choice for hyper-bored elites and their ambiguously named children. It gives rich kids a chance to “play poor” and poor kids a chance to “play poor” because we are all victims in this together, we all have a story. It seeks to erode sexual binaries in languages, and therefore in the universe, by creating words and word usages patently designed to alienate the uninitiated. And it’s all centered on the deeply insidious assumption that ones identity should be ones identity…

          1. Briny

            One can only wish that they wake up one day and realize that there is power when we have shared identities, together.

      2. Judith

        Basically, it is the current iteration of divide and conquer. Which has a centuries long history.

    2. Aumua

      It’s immensely frustrating to see the framing almost completely dominated by the racial issue

      I have to agree. The whole movement is being shoved into the ‘racism’ box, to the exclusion of all else. I mean I get that intersectionality is real and that class oppression falls hardest on POC, women, gays… so the fight against that oppression is best fought on those fronts. It IS about racism but it’s also about more than that, and always has been. I kind of knew the movement was already ending when Al Sharpton did the eulogy at George Floyd’s funeral.

      1. occasional anonymous

        I’m not convinced intersectionality actually is real. Or at least that it’s a useful tool for class analysis.

        I’ve seen Lambert suggest before that it could be used to view society as overlapping Venn diagrams, but class isn’t about how other people view you. It’s a fundamental material reality that exists outside of others perceptions. You can, in theory at least, fight sexism, racism, homophobia, etc by educating people on the problems with their bigotry. But no amount of such education will change your class and the power (or lack of it) that goes with it.

        Class really is different from any other category.

        1. Aumua

          Do you disagree that ruling class oppression is unevenly distributed among the working class? Because for instance the ‘white’ (see: normal) race has been promoted so to speak, by the ruling class, to a position of special privilege so that they can act as a buffer protecting the plantation bourgeoisie, as it were, from revolt by the working class. Divide and conquer. I may be getting dominated my whole life in the class war, but at least I’m not a… youknowwhat. Racism or other prejudices are a measure of social control, deliberately instituted and codified into our society, that oppress us all. But if you are [w]hite, [m]ale, [h]eterosexual etc. then you have been on the less brutal side of that oppression your whole life. That is what intersectionalism means to me at least. I could be wrong.

          If this ends up a duplicate then I apologize. 90% of my posts go to moderation these days, and some never seem to come back.

          1. Yves Smith

            I suggest you get to know some coal miners before making such absolute generalizations. The teeth (or more accurately, the lack thereof) of poor white trash in Appalachia alone offer stark counter-evidence.

            1. Aumua

              You can find specific examples that buck any generalization, of course. But I maintain that racial oppression has been a tool of the ruling class used to keep the lower class from uniting against them, more than once in history. In American history that means racial oppression of blacks and other minorities, up to and including slavery, and every form of white supremacy that has manifested since then. The essential fact is that everyone gets screwed by it, as you pointed out. So fighting racial oppression is a fight for us, black white or whatever.

            2. Aumua

              Part of that fight is recognizing the privileges that have been bestowed upon us, in order to keep us down. It’s even part of why the poor white coal miners put up with what they do.

    3. Dita

      Agree with you about the framing, I find a lot of resistance to the reality of police violence as a class issue.

      As for Reed, the PMC wokester wing PMC of DSA could remake the organization, as a generational change. Attack and deplatforming are preferred over engagement, and for sure not limited to this particular event. IMO the wokerati started sharpening their knives when Reed’s From Jenner to Dolezal came out in 2015 followed by The Trouble with Uplift.

    1. ambrit

      All this was from the comments section of 6/13/2020, last Saturday.
      It concerns the BLM ‘rally’ held in front of the Forrest County Courthouse that day.
      Sorry if it is somehow transgressive of time or space.

      This olding geezer hasn’t the requsite desire to go and see the demonstration today.
      Fair enough. Demonstrating, and then rioting are a youngster’s game. So far, no sirens or other sounds of discord from the Downtown direction. (We are close enough to probably be able to hear any serious civil discord happening there.)
      Secondly, the thread on Nextdoor about the demonstration has been “disappeared” by the site admins. The link I gave yesterday in comments to the BLM internet ‘organizational flyer’ now shows a message: “Sorry, the post you’re looking for has been removed.” Thus, a direct and clarifying lesson on the uses and abuses of internet platforms. The Nextdoor people evidently do not approve of “non-standard” attitudes towards civil strife. Of note is that the messages I read last night, including the BLM organizational ‘flyer,’ were tame and definitely non confrontational. So, are we to assume that only “officially approved” demonstrations are to be even mentioned on social media now?
      All this makes me wonder about all the myriads of people who casually glance at the “News Feeds” on their mobiles while strolling about. They don’t even know that they are being lied to and manipulated.
      Interesting times.

      Addendum: Ye plot thickens.
      Point ye first: The local television station has an informational piece on their website about the “parade and demonstration.” (All politics is local after all!) Good information, some useful graphics and maps, and information concerning timing and proposed “activities.” The local mini-bus line is out in force to assist the crowds to return to the points of origin at the end of the days ‘peaceful’ activities.
      Point ye second: Phyllis mentioned that the program might well come off peacefully because Hattiesburg is half ‘black,’ half ‘white,’ and a lot of the local police are black. We shall see about that. [I am accused of excessive cynicism. Fair cop.]
      Point ye third: All the weather cams and road cams in and around the Downtown area are “offline” at the present. The same cameras outside of the town proper are working just fine. Hmmm…. A very selective technical malfunction that.
      The speechifying is supposed to begin about 4:00 PM our time.
      Interesting times.

      Addendum Ye Second: I gathered my courage fast to me and went to the ‘rally.’
      Alas, it was more like a ‘Street Fair’ than a genuine protest anything. The mood there was curious. The crowd, which a copper I spoke too said they estimated at 500 to 1000 persons, was not congested, but absolutely no “social distancing” was in evidence. The crowd was basically younger petit bourgeois blacks, younger white hipsters and various odds and sods, myself falling into the latter category. Black was the almost universal colour scheme. I was feeling “out there” dressed in my Faux Camo shirt and slacks.
      More later.

      Hmmm….. The Internet Dragons eat yet another comment.
      Try the second for Addendum Ye Third: The ubiquity of surveillance.
      The main event was overseen by a quadcopter hovering at about 150 foot altitude. Coppers were at all entrances and exits to the courthouse steps. There was a SWAT squad standing around three blocks behind the courthouse. When I got to the event, the coppers were mainly easy going and calm. I spoke to two sets of “The City’s Finest.” Both groups were also calm and unworried. I could have sworn that “the fix was in” and nothing untoward was to be allowed to occur that day.
      A ‘counter demonstration’ by about twenty die hard Sothrons was kettled off on one side of the courthouse building and securely fenced and barricaded off. I initially wandered into this venue. Alas, even with my long white hair and Pseudo Cammo attire, I fit right in. I even had a Camo bandanna for face protection. How droll! Social distancing was most noticable by it’s absence. Almost everyone in the crowd was within physical touching distance from multiple other persons. Masks were being worn, but without ‘intensity.’ As an aside, can this be the initiation of a change in American social customs? Will regular mask wearing become the norm in public? (One can only hope.)
      After circumambulating the courthouse, I entered the Main Street site of the ‘demonstration.’ I received many disparaging looks from the almost uniformly attired in black crowd. Even most of the masks were coloured black. I adopted a stance designed to be unobtrusive and eventually found a niche in a doorway across the street from the speaker’s podium, set up on the actual courthouse steps.
      How can I adequately critique what had to be an early effort by the BLM cadre that organized this event?
      First, the speechifying was mostly idpol driven appeals to emotion. I had the distinct feeling of being swept up in a Tent Revival. Now, one can retort to that observation that the very name of the organization sets idpol level limits to the ‘reach’ of this organization.
      Second, the series of organizational tents set up on the sidewalks for organizational purposes by various “political entities” were voluntarily closed during the speechifying. Why? The crowd was in constant flux and many potential ‘converts’ were lost due to that decision. A tactical mistake.
      Third, the event was half in and half out of the sun, on a Ninety degree plus day in the heat island of the Downtown area. At the least, the organizers could have co-ordinated the ‘free’ water sites maintained by some of the older pedigreed organizations at their tents.
      Fourth, the ‘woke’ cadre of local politicos were in attendance. To that end, their presence could have been enhanced by giving such potentates some short chance at public speechifying. Make allies any way you can, even by supplying public relations reach arounds. Whoever is co-ordinating this chapter of BLM’s organization could do with some reading on the theory and practice of the “Common Cause” strategy.
      It’s getting late now and I desire rest.
      All of you take care and be safe.

      1. flora

        …transgressive of time or space.

        Ah ha! Are you Dr. Who ?
        Thanks for this very interesting comment. Especially the last bit:

        Whoever is co-ordinating this chapter of BLM’s organization could do with some reading on the theory and practice of the “Common Cause” strategy.

        1. ambrit

          Dr. Who?
          I fondly remember seeing the original film version Doctor, Peter Cushing, in the original pair of films. Those pesky Daleks! They could get themselves hired on by any Neo-liberal Police Force. “Exterminate! Exterminate!”
          The Dr. Who series is really another victim of the “Woke” phenomenon. The last series really did jump the shark. A female Doctor would have been fine. All that other nonsense was a wormhole too far.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    Not exactly heartened by noticing that of the six toss-up states, Wisconsin is probably the most liberal.

    Not so sure about Iowa being red as latest polls show D’s taking 3 out of 4 CDs (it would have been 4 out of 4 if the GOP hadn’t dumped Steve King). Insurance is Iowa’s 2d biggest moneymaker (after agriculture). If Biden can’t carry Iowa, what was the point of resisting m4a? [rhetorical question]

  10. Synoia

    Incidence of Covid 19

    It is no surprise the infection rate is rising. Shutdown and distancing are about the supply of Hospital Beds, not prevention of the disease.

    2. I read the Hydroxychloroquine (HCA) whatever, and the finding is correct in that is does nothing for the progression of the disease. The assertion is, and was, that HCQ plus zinc Prevented the Decease. That’s much harder to test for and prove, and a completely different topic. The topic of prevention is ignored in the recommendation.

  11. Samuel Conner

    re: the R landslide expectation —

    It may come down to whether the Ds are better at keeping JB away from microphones and young females than the Rs are at keeping DJT away from ramps and stairways. Why can’t they have a portable escalator for Air Force One?

    1. Arizona Slim

      They did. After Bill Clinton had knee surgery, he sure as heck couldn’t walk down those steps. So, they used one of those trucks that lifts food supplies up to an airplane’s galley.

  12. Aumua

    “How N.W.A’s ‘Fuck tha Police’ Became the ‘Perfect Protest Song’” [Rolling Stone]. “‘Racism is just the symptom, but the fight is economic,’ the [rapper] D.O.C. says. ‘Black people have been marginalized and kept away from the economics of this country. I think people are starting to understand that and are trying to figure out how we can change that and allow everybody to join in this game of capitalism.”

    Yep those Panthers were all about that Capitalism. More black representation among the Capitalist ruling class is what will soothe all the discontent.

    1. Massinissa

      I think D.O.C. is projecting there. He thinks since hes a B-rate rapper he should be able to ‘join the club and play in the game’ soon.

      The club isn’t interested in having him. As Carlin said, “Its a big club and you aren’t in it.”

  13. jr

    “Biden (D)(2): “‘Who are we?’ Joe Biden seizes the moment as nation’s attitude shifts on race…”

    True story: I literally read that line as ““Who am I?” Joe Biden seizes…” when I first saw it, momentarily thinking he’d finally lost his marbles and had had to seize the edge of his desk or something to keep from collapsing.

    Re VP: Kamala Harris hits a couple of the right notes, no? Perfect for the times, the right color of Band Aid for the weeping infection in our race relations and a hard nosed, no none sense cop whose not afraid to bend the rules a little to get things done. Free cake! and eat it too!

    Which leads to yet another aspect of her appeal, one I’ve heard time and again from liberal neighbors and friends, one often conveyed with a grim smile and a lowered tone that still can’t fully conceal the bloodlust underneath…

    “She’s a prosecutor!!”

    1. jo6pac

      My money is on she named AG so she can do what she does best protect bidens friends on wall street. If she does a good job they’ll help her run for potus.

    2. Tom Doak

      The moment demands that Joe pick a black running mate to make all those fake protest sympathizers feel better about themselves, and Kamala is the only one who appeals to the 10%. He’s not trying to win over young voters, or, really, the black vote, either: TINA for them.

      1. Massinissa

        As terrible as she is in some ways, I wish Biden would pick Stacey Abrams instead, because at least she would be marginally preferable to Kamala. Its a good thing I don’t drink, because a VP Kamala Harris would make me want to drink myself under the table post-haste.

        1. ambrit

          The Ultra Cynic in me wonders about Michelle Obama as “Creepy” Joe’s running mate.
          Personally, I would prefer Ru Paul as the Veep. All those boxes ticked!

  14. PKMKII

    Trump administration is opening up 401K’s to invest in PE firms. An information letter from the EBSA to Partners Group removed regulations against 401K’s investing in so-called “alternative investments.”

    1. rd

      The interesting thing is that 401ks have a lot of fiduciary protection under ERISA, different from 403bs or IRAs. There have been a number of fiduciary lawsuits over the past decade. While the firm I work for hasn’t had a lawsuit, the HR people in charge of the 401k put a lot of pressure on the provider and dramatically slashed expenses over the past decade. I don’t think PE funds are a “safe harbor” like Target Date funds. I think the key marketing the PE funds will be for incorporation as 5-10% of active target date funds that go into 401ks. That could still be a huge pool of money, but small enough that they might be able to fly under the fiduciary radar screen.

    1. rd

      Pickett’s charge was the forewarning of WW I. Modern rifling of rifle barrels and cannon meant that the Union troops had very effective fire at distance as Pickett’s division marched from Lee’s lines.

      Lee’s artillery tried to break the Union line that was hiding behind the stone wall on top of the ridge but overshot the ad hoc fortification and hit rear areas. Because of the smoke from Lee’s guns as well as the smoke from the landing shells, they were unaware that the artillery fire had not done significant damage to the Union line, so Pickett marched his division into death and destruction. The Union soldiers could fire 2-3 bullets per minute accurately up to 1,000 yards away. By the time troops got to within 200 yards, they were highly likely to be hit, whereas old smooth bore muskets were just starting to be effective at that range. So Pickett’s troops were dead men as they started to climb the slope. The Union artillery had similar accuracy with their rifled barrels.

      The invention of the machine gun meant that throwing an order of magnitude more people into a Pickett’s charge in WW I, meant that a thin line of troops could hold off many due to the same challenges that Pickett faced. The trenches made artillery fire much less effective in breaking lines.

  15. diptherio

    Apparently the Tulsa BOK Center where the Trump rally is to be held only has a capacity of 19,199 (according to the twitter thread).

    1. Altandmain

      Considering the demand for a rally, social distancing will be all but impossible

      We remain in a pandemic.

    2. Massinissa

      I hear the rally is going to be about 17k people… Good luck social distancing at 89% occupancy!

      1. Massinissa

        Wait… 300k tickets? How the hell will that work? Is he selling online tickets that let you watch it digitally?

  16. HotFlash

    Re: “A Long Polycentric Journey” [Elinor Ostrom, Annual Review of Political Science (via)].

    Thatnks for spotlighting this again. Read it t’other day at NC, cannot recommend it enough, most nourishing read for a long, long time. Her results are important and solid, but even more, what a remarkable woman! She and her work deserve to be better known, and we will be improved by knowing more about her and her work.

    1. TXMama

      She shows that smaller towns, even those in the Chicago area, have better relations between police and citizens.

      “In the fall of 1970, I worked with an outstanding group of black students to conduct a study in two poor, independent black communities that we matched to three similar communities being served by the Chicago Police Department. At the time of our study, the two small communities had just a few police officers. Their wages were low and their official cars were frequently out of service because their budgets were so limited. The Chicago Police Department had a force of >12,500 men who were paid relatively high wages. We estimated that expenditures for police service in the three Chicago neighborhoods were 14 times the amounts spent on policing in the small communities (E. Ostrom & Whitaker 1974). But despite the huge difference in spending, we found that in general the citizens living in the small cities received the same or higher levels of services compared to the residents in Chicago. Although victimization rates were similar, citizens living in the small independent communities were less likely to stay home due to fear of crime, and they agreed with statements that their local police treated all citizens equally according to the law, looked out for the needs of the average citizen, and did not take bribes (E. Ostrom & Whitaker 1974)”

  17. rd

    Reality is irrelevant. Perception is all that matters. George Orwell was remarkably prescient.


    If we stop doing coronavirus testing and contact tracing, we would have very few cases. The dead bodies stacking up in the ICUs and homes like cord wood would be irrelevant. If there is no data collected, then it doesn’t exist.

    It must be a wonderful thing to live in a reality-free existence where everything is just what you declare it to be. Although, I believe historically those people would have been consigned to insane asylums instead of being allowed to run the most powerful country in the world.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That makes sense. At the beginning of the virus in the US, Trump tried to stop an ocean cruiser from docking and having the people taken into care as there were many cases of the virus aboard. The reason was that he did not want an increase in numbers of infected people to happen if those people were landed and their numbers added to the total for the US.

      1. rd

        Unfortunately, Covid will be like Vietnam. The President’s popularity basically dropped 10% with each order fo magnitude increase in casualties. At this point, many Republicans don’t know anybody who has gotten seriously sick or died. However, the Administraiton and many states’ policies will make it more likely they will know people with serious illness or who die by November. Rallies may hasten that process within the base.

    2. David J.

      I sometimes imagine Trump as a malevolent version of Peter Sellers in “The Party,” with a dose of “Being There” thrown in. Instead of comedy…horror.

      1. rowlf

        Oh that’s good. From the election night story of where the Secret Service found out the dog actually caught the car you may be on to something.

  18. jr

    There is a protest making its way through the West Village as I type, mostly on foot, peaceful. A bit sparser than the previous ones through here…

  19. russell1200

    Rev Barber and the end of black politics.

    Someone (I think Liz Bruenig) was asking if there was a left based religious movement in the U.S. and he was the one I sighted. Which gives it yet another point of intersection that the Left has sometimes been missing.

  20. rowlf

    Nice job with the good quality Georgia voting fiasco stories. I ran across a local observation that some BMDs were delivered to polling stations without extension cords and couldn’t be put into service. Another was providing poll workers with iPads to use when maybe they weren’t the best users of technology.

    These were on firearms forums and the tone was not to suppress anyone’s vote but to do it accurately and without hinkyness The consensus was the state should be embarrassed by the voting problems. I once again get the feeling like with the original Denninger type Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, if the left and right groups at this class level could tolerate not agreeing on a few issues they would be about 90~95% together on the bigger issues affecting them. Clean government, clean economy, stop killing people overseas and in the US would benefit both groups.

    1. rowlf

      Oh yeah, a side note on the recent Georgia primary elections. I ran across a few comments from people who vote R that took a D ballot to vote on ballot initiatives they were concerned with. My wife and I took D ballots so I could vote for Gabbard (Stop foreign adventures) and my wife for Sanders (Thumb in the D eye).

      Considering a post a few days ago about voter turnout being strong R in Georgia consider how many other of us Huck Finn types took a D ticket this time and would vote R next? I’m taking an R ballot in the fall to vote for the very popular sheriff who focuses on police work instead of treating all of us like Palestinians.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      ” if the left and right groups at this class level could tolerate not agreeing on a few issues they would be about 90~95% together on the bigger issues affecting them…”
      again, this is Exactly what my ‘fieldwork” reveals.
      and also that the right leaning portion of the Precariat tends to care less about these culture war boondoggles than the left leaning portion(even on abortion!…which surprised me: more live and let live,birth control, abortion as last resort, rare, etc).
      and in fact, the main thing preventing such a “red/brown” coalition is the lack of red,lol…no class consciousness in the left leaning Precariat, yet.
      …too caught up in the persnickety performative symbolism…and in “calling out” their counterparts leaning right.
      this, of course, makes the right leaning precariat not want to hang out with the left leaning precariat, because their mean to them.
      among my subjects(speaking as a lay anthropologist, not a king), those right leaning working folks are…to a person…surprised that i am of the left, because i don’t behave that way, which is what they expect “the Left ” to do.

      1. rowlf

        Maybe left and right doesn’t work for us anymore. Maybe up and down. Or something else. Being a military brat (permanent outsider) I don’t fit in anywhere, I just have to be respectful of the natives so they don’t toss me in a big pot, shrink my head and put a bone through my nose. I have to say, having started in Alabama and taking the long way around to Georgia where I am for now, around military veterans and other military brats, is the most comfortable place so far for me. (I do miss SW US deserts and I think I am on the wrong side of the Mississippi River)

        Hang in there, as Bronson would say.

    1. Massinissa

      Oh yes, Castlevania art! My favorite video game series!

      The picture at the top left is probably her most famous piece, as it was the cover art for the classic game, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, back in 1997, by game developer Koji Igarashi while working at Konami. One of my favorite games of all time. Ayami Kojima also does the art for Igarashi’s Castlevania successor series, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

      (10 years ago Konami decided to stop making new Castlevania games (and video games in general: They mostly make gambling machines now), so Igarashi went and kickstarted his own series which was basically the same thing but without the Castlevania branding, heh. Hired back Ayami Kojima to do the box art again and hired Michiru Yamane to do the soundtrack again. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a great game, and has been selling well and has become critically acclaimed.)

      Oh and for those not familiar with Castlevania or Bloodstained, basically what you do in all of them is explore a haunted gothic castle and fight vampires, demons, and the undead. Its more classy and gothic than horrific, usually. Like Kojima’s cover art, to be honest.

      1. Massinissa

        I meant to say Kojima also does the *cover art* for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, my bad. I forgot to specify.

  21. ewmayer

    Re. The Great Cheese Emergency — Those artisanal cheesemakers should consider offering their wares for sale directly to consumers, at the same prices their usual volume buyers pay. There was an article about such a local family-owned cheesery here in Marin last month and their take of pandemic woe … so I went to their website to see if they were doing anything other than their normal-economy super-premium-priced you-have-to-come-to-us-to-buy-it sales to individual consumers … nope.

    1. flora

      Thanks. Disappointing but not surprising. It’s a very conservative court. (And not a single Protestant on the bench, and there hasn’t been for many years. This aside is for those commenters who’ve implied Protestantism is somehow to blame for what’s currently happening.)

      1. kareninca

        “Neil Gorsuch is the first member of a mainline Protestant denomination to sit on the court since Stevens’ retirement.[85] Although Neil Gorsuch, appointed in 2017, attends and is a member of an Episcopal church, he was raised Catholic and it is unclear if he considers himself a Catholic who is also a member of a Protestant church or simply a Protestant.” (wikipedia)

        1. flora

          Yes. Thanks. My point, to be boringly blunt, is that religious affiliation shouldn’t be used to explain political decisions or actions.

          Lumping everyone of the same religious faith into the same social philosophy boat is as silly as putting Dorothy Day and Justice Scalia in the same social philosophy boat because of a shared C religion, or of putting the Rev. William Barber II and the grand imperial wizard in the same social philosophy boat because of a shared P religion.

          These two examples are completely silly assignments of imagined shared political interests based only on a shared religious affiliation. And it’s equally silly to blame this or that religion for this or that political state of affairs. imo.

  22. Goyo Marquez

    Re: Tickets
    Uh I’ve heard about big time Bernie supporters from Southern California registering for some of those tickets. They’re hoping the campaign is surprised.

  23. BoyDownTheLane

    #1) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/looking-at-the-battle-of-gettysburg-through-robert-e-lees-eyes-136851113/

    #2) https://accesswdun.com/article/2013/6/263033

    #3) “The Battle of Gettysburg has inspired scrutiny from virtually every angle, but until the first publication of Matt Spruill’s Decisions at Gettysburg in 2011 investigations of critical decisions made by Union and Confederate commanders were not heavily scrutinized. The success of Decisions at Gettysburg launched a series of books exploring critical decisions in various battles and campaigns during the Civil War. In this revised second edition, Spruill updates the nineteen critical decisions, adding a twentieth decision, and aligns the book with others in the Command Decisions in America’s Civil War series.

    Decisions at Gettysburg, second edition, further defines the critical decisions made by Confederate and Union commanders throughout the battle. Matt Spruill examines the decisions that prefigured the action and shaped the course of battle as it unfolded. Rather than a linear history of the battles, Spruill’s discussion of the critical decisions presents readers with a vivid blueprint of the battle’s development. Exploring the critical decisions in this way allows the reader to progress from a sense of what happened in these battles to why they happened as they did.

    Complete with maps and a guided tour, Decisions at Gettysburg is an indispensable primer, and readers looking for concise introduction to the battle can tour this sacred ground—or read about it at their leisure—with key insights into the battle and a deeper understanding of the Civil War itself.“



    “… Lee had been suffering from what his doctors diagnosed as pericarditis since March 1863, which had a sudden onset and came with pain in his chest, back, and arms. It affected his ability to ride a horse and he was known to be anxious and depressed in the days and years after, both common conditions after heart attacks.
    “It came on in paroxysms, was quite sharp,” he wrote. Doctors look at “my lungs, my heart, circulation, etc. and I believe they pronounced me tolerable sound.”…

    His heart disease may have affected his judgement in all areas of life, which would explain some of the inexplicable and uncharacteristic decisions he ordered that day, namely Pickett’s Charge.
    Lee’s March 1863 episode was a heart attack, not Pericarditis. ….”


    1. The Rev Kev

      Lee was certainly responsible for his failure at Gettysburg. He told Longstreet to attack up the middle though Longstreet tried talk him out of it as crazy. When the time came to launch the actual attack, Longstreet could barely give the order as he knew it would fail. Unknown to Lee, Meade had guessed that Lee would do something like this and had massed his troops and artillery in the center. In the years after the war, southerners refused to blame Lee for losing so instead they tried to blame Longstreet instead. Here is a scene from the 1993 film “Gettysburg”laying it all out-


      1. BoyDownTheLane

        Reverend, you cite a Hollywood production starring a progressive liberal activist in a movie based on the screen play of a piece of historical fiction written by someone with a bachelor’s degree in criminology whose work is recognized by a museum dedicated to the understanding and support of the “citizen soldier” and which was founded by someone who is a billionaire and who has access to the fortune that helped get Obama elected. I find it interesting that the people “protesting” on behalf of black lives defaced the monument in front of the Massachusetts State House honoring the Massachusetts 54th.

        I don’t think that many people have a coherent idea of who they are or just exactly what they stand for. Instead, they are demanding attention because society honors and rewards psychopathology and narcissism.

    2. KLG

      The Longstreet partisans may have carried the day. Finally. Not that it matters 157 years later. But of his dilatory behavior on the Third Day at Gettysburg: “It has been said that Stonewall Jackson would have placed him (Longstreet) under arrest on the spot and that Napoleon would have had him shot, and many have been the reasons advanced for putting up with his insubordination…but (the simplest explanation is that) Lee had no one with whom to replace him (not Pickett, who was not on the field yet, McLaws, who was not fit for a Corps command, or Hood, who was wounded).”
      –Clifford Dowdy, Death of a Nation, 1958.

      Shelby Foote is good on the Gettysburg Campaign, too. And the entire narrative of the Civil War, for that matter. A good read when not going out and about much.

      1. The Rev Kev

        At Gettysburg, Longstreet was the man trying to talk sense to Lee – but Lee wasn’t listening. He never thought that Lee should have fought the battle at Gettysburg with the Union holding the high ground but Lee would not listen. And certainly Longstreet tried to talk him out of the disastrous attack on the third day but Lee would not be deterred from attacking.

        Longstreet knew that it was an epic blunder but could not stop that attack from happening. For the Confederates, it would have been better for Lee to have been taken out by a sniper at that battle like the Union General Reynolds was and have Longstreet take command instead. A lot of the dislike for Longstreet was his disdain for the Lost Cause legend of State’s right and not slavery as the cause of the war. He said later “I never heard of any other cause of the quarrel than slavery.”

        1. KLG

          I wrote my comment before I saw yours, which made me laugh out loud. Synchronicity of a sort? Anyway, maybe. But the always excellent Tom Berenger wearing the worst beard in film history while channeling the author of The Killer Angels and maybe Ted Turner is not an authority on anything. Gettysburg was always a stretch, but in 1863 Lee had one and only once chance to “win,” and that was to take the battle to the North. A reprise of the unlikely victory over Hooker after the potential epic blunder of splitting his army in half two months previous seemed possible. I think Jackson had something to do with that. A similar victory over Meade and Hancock, without Jackson, not so much. But a victory at Gettysburg and the immediate threat to Philadelphia and Washington would have changed things. Maybe, but I doubt it, with Lincoln still in Washington and Davis still in Richmond. The dislike of the Old Warhorse begin long before the Lost Cause legend took hold in the addled minds of the Daughters of the Confederacy, which then placed all those cookie-cutter, New England-produced IIRC monuments all over the South from ~1890-1920 during the Era of the Second Klan. As for your comment from Longstreet, of course that is true. Alas. But that is not the precise subject, here. The Old Warhorse had his reasons, but he was primarily the Old Slowhorse at Gettysburg. Still, I would rather discuss Lee and Longstreet with The Rev Kev than spend a microsecond thinking about current politics. Cheers!

        2. BoyDownTheLane

          Lee was desperate for relief and a successful attack (whose chances were already diminished because of JEB Stuart and the loss of Stonewall) would have forced the Union Army to defend, simultaneously, New York and Washington. I would imagine (actually, I don’t have to imagine it at all) that a severe cardiac diagnosis can make a man do desperate things. The battle had been lost long before the Longstreet debate; if Stonewall had taken Culp’s Hill when ordered to do so, Lee would have owned the high ground. If JEB had reconnoitered and reported as Lee assumed he would, Lee’s troops would have found high ground farther south.

          As for the idea that Confederate troops arrested and detained blacks, blacks were being recruited to fight for the North.

          Let us not forget that the South was part into the position it held by vested and foreign influence.

          Do not assume that my comments are indicative of my support for slavery, racism, or the Confederate cause. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I am not a fan of re-inventing or mis-interpreting historical fact, and I am a fan of people defending their homes and their selves against rapacious bands of self-righteous outsiders.

            1. BoyDownTheLane

              Since we are in the end stages of a plandemic whose game plans were published in advanced and propped up with statistical modeling, the idea of a “what if…?” look at history is not all that outlandish.

              Donnelly, Ryan (2013) “Culp’s Hill: Key to Union Success at Gettysburg,” The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era: Vol. 3 , Article 7.
              Available at: https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/gcjcwe/vol3/iss1/7

              We want to try to get clear on this before the Wuhan crowd reconfigures the Ebola variants they received from Canada.

          1. occasional anonymous

            “I am a fan of people defending their homes and their selves against rapacious bands of self-righteous outsiders.”

            You don’t get to start a war (particularly one about keeping four million people in bondage) and then play the victim when the people you attacked in turn counterattack.

            1. BoyDownTheLane

              The war was not about slavery until it was made to be about slavery. As noted, I’m not in favor of slavery, or racism. When the South set up its autonomous zone at Fort Sumter, there were no casualties.

              “… The term secession had been used as early as 1776. South Carolina threatened separation when the Continental Congress sought to tax all the colonies on the basis of a total population count that would include slaves. Secession in this instance and throughout the antebellum period came to mean the assertion of minority sectional interests against what was perceived to be a hostile or indifferent majority. Secession had been a matter of concern to some members of the Constitutional Convention that met at Philadelphia in 1787. Theoretically, secession was bound up closely with Whig thought, which claimed the right of revolution against a despotic government. Algernon Sidney, John Locke, and the British Commonwealth Men argued this theme, and it played a prominent role in the American Revolution….”

              “[The raid at Harper’s Ferry] was intended to be the first stage in an elaborate plan to establish an independent stronghold of freed slaves in the mountains of Maryland and Virginia. Brown was captured during the raid and later convicted of treason and hanged, but the raid inflamed white Southern fears of slave rebellions and increased the mounting tension between Northern and Southern states before the American Civil War (1861-65).

              The North responded by invading Virginia.

              Noise is being made about secession again in certain regions of the US. Assault weapons are being handed out by local leaders of Antifa protestors.

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the Peter T Charles tweet

    One important thing he left off his list of causes for the collapse in street crime over the last thirty years is the outrageous rise of surveillance cameras everywhere. That fact that one’s actions are very likely to be caught on tape has to be ingrained in the back of pretty much everybody’s mind at this point.

    You’ll know the revolution is really here when people start taking those things out.

  25. richard

    Some good news, Seattle City Council just passed Kshama Sawant’s legislation to ban police from purchasing or using a number of weapons, including tear gas and rubber bullets. Some councilmembers first tried to delay the vote, and then worked to create a loophole that would give police a way to use the weapons. Under fire from constituents (?) they gave up their crude attempts, and the bill passed unanimously.

  26. JBird4049

    [The Black Panthers] weren’t going to allow rogue police to come into their neighborhood and do the stuff these guys are doing to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor. You couldn’t have done that in the Panthers’ neighborhood. They weren’t going to allow it.’”

    Which is why open carry, or effectively, the carrying of any weapons, is illegal in most of California and that the Black Panthers were quickly made extinct by the police state.

    1. rowlf

      If you do a search at the Black Agenda Report website for armed citizenry you may find some interesting articles on the subject. You may have to try a few search strings to get all results but it is worth it.

  27. Michael McIntyre

    I rechecked the math on 270 to win. If Trump holds all of the states leaning his way and adds Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan he gets to 269, an electoral college tie. Add the electoral vote up for grabs in Nebraska and he wins. That’s not nearly as hard a lift. (Lose MI, carry NC + the marginal NE district, still gets him to 269, btw).

  28. Jessica

    About the wokeistas and the Chinese Cultural Revolution,
    The cultural revolution was actually not marked by successive waves of increasing fanaticism. The different waves were actually different social forces. The first wave was the children of revolutionaries who claimed priority in university admission and subsequent job placement because of their superior genes. The second wave was the children of the former urban privileged classes, who had been deprived of financial capital but not of social capital. [That aspect alone is fascinating.] The second wave was able to defeat the first wave because the first wave was mostly princelings who had cruised their whole life on “my Daddy is so and so” and were fairly skill-less and clueless.
    By the time of the second wave, folks started presenting new ideas who were not part of either half of the young elite. Actual, god forbid, workers.
    The third wave was institutionalization. The military was put in charge [unspeakable in a Leninist country because of the deeply ingrained fear of a Napoleon]. In the name of extending the cultural revolution, they reversed most of it and carried out most of the killings. The first they went for was the non-elites who had called for a genuine worker-peasant revolution. Those folks never had much social capital or contacts with the outside, so it wasn’t too hard to erase them from history.
    The first and second waves reached a truce and mostly merged to form the technocracy that has ruled China pretty much unchallenged since Mao’s death. The two largest exceptions were the Tiananmen demonstrations and Hong Kong now. By the way, most of the student demonstrators escaped Tiananmen unharmed and went on to successful careers in the technocracy. Most of those killed were the ordinary Beijing workers who tried to defend them. That working class was by and large eliminated and replaced by a different working class. Much the same happened to the workers in the northeast. That was what the Japanese had called Manchuguo and had built up.
    [“Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of the China’s New Class” by Joel Andreas

  29. Luke

    Cats and dating…

    Years ago, I came up with a formula for ascertaining the maximum possible availability that a woman might possess WRT a long-term relationship or more.

    We can all agree on how “taken” a woman is, if she has a husband, correct?
    With that as a starting point:

    3 cats = 2 children = 1 husband or 1 horse.

    So, if a woman has 2 cats, say, she’s 2/3 taken, and thus not really available. Better by far to keep looking til you find a woman who is free to date and get involved with.

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