2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

This is the same chart as yesterday, updated to show how much of an outlier New York is (and, to a lesser extent, its neighbor New Jersey). Nobody seems to be asking why, not even in the medical literature. Of course, one could argue that other states will be like New York soon enough.


“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 15 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!

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Biden fundraising surged in May” [Politico]. “Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announced it raised $81 million last month, fueled by his rise in the polls against President Donald Trump and growth in his online fundraising operation. The $80.8 million haul by Biden and two committees associated with the Democratic Party came as Biden’s campaign tripled the number of online donors since February and counted 1.5 million new supporters “in the last few weeks,” according to an email sent Tuesday to supporters. The new fundraising numbers partly reflect the full fundraising weight of the Biden Victory Fund, a joint enterprise with the Democratic National Committee established in May. Before the fund was established, Biden and the DNC raised $60.5 million in April, 30 percent less than the sum the campaign announced Monday. But it’s not just big donors fueling the campaign, which said in its email that half of its May donors were new and that educators remain the largest occupational group in its donor base.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “Kamala Harris is reportedly front-runner to become Biden’s running mate” [Atlantic Journal-Constitution]. “Longtime lawmakers and young liberal activists, state party officials and Biden loyalists have been increasingly vocal about their view that in a moment of extraordinary national upheaval over race, Biden must give deeper consideration to placing a black woman on the ticket…. Other African American women reportedly being considered are former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams, who was unsuccessful in a 2018 bid for governor; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who won her Florida congressional seat in 2016; and former national security adviser Susan Rice, who has never run for any office.” • Biden’s VP is Biden’s heir presumptive, and likely to run for President in 2024 and 2028.

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Warren’s outreach to black voters could help VP standing” [Associated Press]. “Warren told an audience of more than 600 [at Higher Heights For America] that when her eldest brother died of the coronavirus in April ‘he was alone. I couldn’t be with him.’ But she said Biden called and ‘told funny stories that made me laugh in a way that reminds us all of the good times that we have had with someone we have loved and lost.'” • I guess I’m just an old-fashioned material benefits guy. Performative empathy doesn’t make it with me.

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Warren allies send letter urging Biden to pick her as running mate” [WaPo]. “More than 100 liberal activists, leaders and celebrities signed a letter urging Joe Biden to select Sen. Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, intensifying pressure on the presumptive Democratic nominee from the left as he faces competing demands to pick a black woman. The letter portrays Warren (D-Mass.) as the best prepared prospect to serve as president and one uniquely capable of helping Biden politically in the November election. It asserts that he is ‘already strong’ among nonwhite voters but could use help winning over disaffected voters who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the primary — even as some of them have soured on Warren. ‘A crisis election as big as 1932 requires a big running mate. So why not the best?’ says the letter, which bears the names of an array of left-leaning figures ranging from actress Jane Fonda to leading activists such as Ady Barkan and Charles Chamberlain.” • A crisis as big as 1932 also requires a big candidate at the top of the ticket, but never mind that. Much as it would be amusing to watch The Mother Of All SIster Souljah moments play out among the Black Misleadership Class after Biden picks Warren — incidentally giving James Clyburn a richly deserved lesson in real-time karma — I can’t see it. Of Abrams, Bottoms, Demings, Harris, and Rice, only Harris and Rice seem to me to have the stature to succeed Biden. And, I suppose, Condi Rice, horrible though that may seem. What a pitifully thin bench.

Trump (R)(1): “Second Michigan poll shows Trump even farther behind, with Biden leading by 16 points” [Detroit Free Press]. “The damage done to President Donald Trump’s standing in Michigan following recent protests outside the White House and in cities across the U.S. may have been even greater than originally believed, a new poll released to the Free Press said Tuesday. Two weeks ago, EPIC-MRA of Lansing, a polling firm that does work for the Free Press, released a survey showing former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, leading Trump 53%-41% in Michigan, a 12-point edge. But a second poll, started on May 31, a day after the first poll began, and concluded a day later than the first poll, on June 4, showed Biden leading Trump 55%-39% in Michigan, a 16-point margin.” • Michigan is not a swing state.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Still-Vital Case for Liberalism in a Radical Age” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. “David Shor is a 28-year-old political data analyst and social democrat who worked for President Obama’s reelection campaign. On May 28, Shor tweeted out a short summary of a paper by Princeton professor Omar Wasow. The research compiled by Wasow analyzed public opinion in the 1960s, and found violent and nonviolent protest tactics had contradictory effects. [Moral panic ensued.] Civis Analytics undertook a review of the episode. A few days later, Shor was fired.” • And then there’s the Lee Fang debacle. Chait, to me, is clearly in “stopped clock” mode here; he’s accidentally right. I don’t see this controversy as an argument for liberalism as such, but rather as a function of liberal society that it would be useful to retain. For example, I purchased — probably ill-advisedly, it’s an enormous tome — Yuri Slezkine’s House of Government, which describes Russian radicalism in the early 1900s. It’s very clear that there was a strong tradition of debate, with arguments freely made, and people admitting victory or defeat. This is the very reverse of what Shor and Fang’s detractors are trying to do (as well as those DSA morons who got Adolph Reed cancelled). If you want to act like a post-1917 Bolshevik you’ve got to deliver like the pre-1917 Bolsheviks did, and to have a party line, you’ve got to have built a party. Intra-PMC dogpiles don’t cut it.

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.

Retail: “Retail Sales Significantly Improves in May 2020” [Econintersect]. “Retail sales SIGNIFICANTLY improved according to US Census headline data – but still remains in contraction year-over-year. The three-month rolling average again declined….. There was an upward adjustment to last month’s data. The real test of strength is the rolling averages which declined. Overall, this report is considered much better than last month.” • “Improved” and “good” are not the same thing.

Manufacturing: “April 2020 Headline Manufacturing New Orders Continue In Coronavirus Decline” [Econintersect]. “US Census says manufacturing new orders significantly declined month-over-month with inventories declining modestly. Our analysis shows the rolling averages significantly declined and remain in contraction…. It should be noted that this recession began with a drop in inventories – and not an increase which is associated with other recessions.”

Manufacturing: “May 2020 Headline Industrial Production Modestly Improves But Remains Deep In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say seasonally adjusted Industrial Production (IP) declined month-over-month – and remains deep in contraction year-over-year. Our analysis shows the three-month rolling average declined…. Note that manufacturing is in contraction year-over-year – and capacity utilization is also in contraction year-over-year…. Consider this report insignificantly better than last month.”

Debt: “March 2020 Loan Performance: Delinquency Rates Remain Low Despite Early Impacts of the Pandemic” [Econintersect]. “The Loan Performance Insights Report for March 2020 shows 3.6% of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure). This represents a 0.4-percentage point decrease in the overall delinquency rate compared with March 2019, when it was 4%.”

* * *

Mr. Market: “Dow nearly erases all of its opening gains amid Powell’s Senate testimony” [MarketWatch]. “The U.S. stock market was seeing its opening gains evaporate as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was delivering the first of two days of semiannual testimony in front of Congress.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 16 at 12:53pm.

The Biosphere

“PG&E Likely to Plead Guilty to Multiple Deaths from Camp Fire” [KNX10]. ” Pacific Gas & Electric is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter during a court hearing in which the nation’s largest utility will be confronted with its history of neglect and greed that culminated in a wildfire that killed 85 people and wiped out most of a Northern California town…. Besides the mass killings, PG&E also will plead to one felony count of unlawfully causing a fire.” • “Mass killings.”

“Bigger and more frequent monster waves in Southern Ocean threaten to gobble up coastlines amid climate change” [South China Moring Post]. “Monster waves in the Southern Ocean that have already been shown to reach as high as eight-storey buildings will grow larger and more frequent under climate change, scientists report…. Fortunately, there was little shipping traffic in the ocean; what vessels are operating range from icebreakers and research boats to fishing vessels and small cruise liners….

Health Care

“Low-cost dexamethasone reduces death by up to one third in hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19” (press release) [RECOVERY]. “On 8 June, recruitment to the dexamethasone arm was halted since, in the view of the trial Steering Committee, sufficient patients had been enrolled to establish whether or not the drug had a meaningful benefit. A total of 2104 patients were randomised to receive dexamethasone 6 mg once per day (either by mouth or by intravenous injection) for ten days and were compared with 4321 patients randomised to usual care alone. Among the patients who received usual care alone, 28-day mortality was highest in those who required ventilation (41%), intermediate in those patients who required oxygen only (25%), and lowest among those who did not require any respiratory intervention (13%). Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients (rate ratio 0.65 [95% confidence interval 0.48 to 0.88]; p=0.0003) and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only (0.80 [0.67 to 0.96]; p=0.0021). There was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support (1.22 [0.86 to 1.75]; p=0.14)…. Given the public health importance of these results, we are now working to publish the full details as soon as possible.” • It seems the key benefit is to reduce deaths for those who have gone on ventilators. But this is a press release.

“Coronavirus breakthrough: dexamethasone is first drug shown to save lives” [Nature]. “An inexpensive and commonly used steroid can save the lives of people seriously ill with COVID-19, a randomized, controlled clinical trial [the RECOVERY trial] in the United Kingdom has found. The drug, called dexamethasone, is the first shown to reduce deaths from the coronavirus that has killed more than 430,000 people globally. In the trial, it reduced deaths by about one-third in patients who were on ventilators because of coronavirus infection….. the pattern of response — with a greater impact on severe COVID-19 and no effect on mild infections — matches the notion that a hyperactive immune response is more likely to be harmful in long-term, serious infections, says Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. ‘When you’re so far advanced that you’re on a ventilator, it’s usually that you have an aberrant or hyperactive inflammatory response that contributes as much to the morbidity and mortality as any direct viral effect.” • In principal, I’m all for cheap, off-patent, already-tested drugs repurposed for COVID-19. But I think Nature should hold its water; this is a press release. Ditto Fauci, who wittingly or not ramped Gilead’s stock, also based on a press release about remdesivir.

* * *

“Dr. Fauci Explains Why Public Wasn’t Told to Wear Masks When COVID-19 Pandemic Began” [The Street]. “So, why weren’t we told to wear masks in the beginning? “[FAUCI] “Well, the reason for that is that we were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply. And we wanted to make sure that the people namely, the health care workers, who were brave enough to put themselves in a harm way, to take care of people who you know were infected with the coronavirus and the danger of them getting infected.”

“United, other major airlines tell passengers to wear face masks or risk getting banned” [MarketWatch]. “United has required face masks for passengers since May 4, but on Monday, the airline said that starting June 18, those who don’t comply with the rules will be placed on ‘an internal travel restriction list,’ losing ‘their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.’ In a statement, United said flight attendants will first explain the policy and ask scofflaws to put on their mask, or offer them one. If they don’t comply, flight attendants will do their best to de-escalate the situation’ and give them a written ‘policy reminder card.’ If they still don’t comply, ‘the flight attendant will file a report of the incident, which will initiate a formal review process.’ Don’t expect air marshals to drag out offending passengers — no physical action will be taken onboard.” • Maybe hand them a mask?

“Swiss develop first see-through surgical mask” [SwissInfo]. “researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), EMPA has been working for two years on a completely transparent surgical mask. They have now finalised a biomass-based material to manufacture the so-called HelloMasks and have created a start-up called HMCARE, based on the Biotech campus in Geneva, to market them…. ‘You can find prototypes of masks that are partly transparent, but they’re just normal masks with some of the fabric replaced by clear plastic,’ Pelet says. Since that plastic isn’t porous, however, it makes it hard for the wearer to breathe and fogs up easily. The EMPA and EPFL researchers spent two years finding the right combination of transparency, resistance and porosity.” • The masks are also biodegradable.

“Flushing the Toilet May Fling Coronavirus Aerosols All Over” [New York Times]. “Scientists have found that in addition to clearing out whatever business you’ve left behind, flushing a toilet can generate a cloud of aerosol droplets that rises nearly three feet. Those droplets may linger in the air long enough to be inhaled by a shared toilet’s next user, or land on surfaces in the bathroom. This toilet plume isn’t just gross. In simulations, it can carry infectious coronavirus particles that are already present in the surrounding air or recently shed in a person’s stool. The research, published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids, adds to growing evidence that the coronavirus can be passed not only through respiratory droplets, but through virus-laden feces, too.” • Hmm. Has anybody done a study on COVID-19 in countries with sit-down toilets vs. those with squat toilets? Meanwhile, close the lid!

“The nose, it seems, is protected by bacterial guards” [The Economist]. • Nasal probiotic therapy to help people with chronic sinus infections. Speculating wildly, one wonders if there’s a nasal probiotic approach to viruses.

“Most Coronavirus Tests Cost About $100. Why Did One Cost $2,315?” [New York Times]. • The question is, why don’t all Coronavirus test cost $0? Because we’re in the midst of a pandemic?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

UPDATE This is lovely:

“Bethel police investigating 10 incidents after counter-protesters descended on BLM march” [Cincinatti Enquirer (DJ)]. “The Bethel Police Department is investigating about 10 incidents that stemmed from a clash between counter-protesters and a Black Lives Matter march on Sunday including a protester being punched in the back of the head. Police officials said the group Bethel’s Solidarity with Black Lives Demonstration worked with police for several days to coordinate the event on Plane Street. According to a statement, police said they expected 20 to 25 people. More protesters than expected showed up bringing the total to between 80 and 100 people, then counter-protesters began making their way to Bethel as well. ‘These groups included several motorcycle gangs, back the blue groups, and second amendment advocates,’ Bethel officials said in the statement. The crowd swelled to around 800 people, police estimated, included about 250 on motorcycles.” • Interestingly, Jesse R. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant’s father, was Mayor of Bethel, for a time. Grant was born there.

Police State Watch

“‘Horrified and disgusted beyond words'” [Albuquerque Journal]. “One man was shot in Old Town as a protest over the “La Jornada” sculpture in front of the Albuquerque Museum erupted into violence Monday evening. The shooting occurred during a clash following a peaceful protest to remove the controversial sculpture, a monument that features conquistador Juan de Oñate…. The night began with peaceful protest and prayer but tensions began to escalate when protesters took a pickaxe to the statue and members of the heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard, a civilian group, tried to protect the monument.” • Here’s the detail:

The shooting occurred during a fight between a man in a blue shirt and people trying to pull down the statue. The man was pushed onto the street, and then protesters started advancing toward him, some threatening him. The man in the blue shirt pulled a can of pepper spray from his pocket and sprayed it.

At that point, the man in the blue shirt appeared to have pulled a gun and fired about five shots, wounding one person. The man who was shot appeared to have been one of the individuals advancing on the man in the blue shirt.

(This matches a lot of tweets I saw go by.) Note that creepy and disturbing as I find the mercenary stylings of the heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard, they didn’t do the shooting; it seems an outlier, Blue Shirt Dude, did. This is oddly parallel to Minneapolis, where the Third Precinct was also burned down by an outlier. That’s the locals. Now the Post–

“Members of armed civilian group arrested, suspected gunman identified after man is shot at Albuquerque protest” [WaPo]. “In a second video that captured the moments following the shooting, the gunman sat in the middle of a road as the New Mexico Civil Guard members formed a circle around him. One man carrying a semiautomatic rifle, and wearing camouflage fatigues and a military-style helmet, kicked the handgun away from the man and stood with his foot on top of the weapon.” • At the very least, usurping a police function. I suppose Blue Shirt Dude could have been an agent provocateur, but that seems more devious than militias usually are.

“The hanging deaths of two black men were initially dismissed. Now they are getting intense investigations” [Los Angeles Times]. “When Malcolm Harsch, a 38-year-old Black man, was found hanging from a tree in Victorville two weeks ago, authorities said they saw no evidence of foul play. A week later, when Robert Fuller, another Black man, was discovered hanging from a tree in Palmdale, the initial cause of death was listed as suicide. But after protests and questions in the two deaths, the FBI announced Monday that it was examining both cases. Local authorities say both the Fuller and Harsch cases remain under investigation. For some, the specter of two Black men found hanging in separate High Desert communities in such a short time seemed suspicious.” • Ya think?

Class Warfare

“Opinion: The United States of Despair is gripped by two simultaneous pandemics that expose a widening inequality gap” [Anne Case and Angus Deaton, MarketWatch]. “But the U.S. has been experiencing a great divergence at home for two generations, and COVID-19 promises to widen the country’s already vast inequalities in health and income. The effects of the virus are stratified by educational attainment, because those with more education are likelier to be able to continue working and earning from home. Unless they are among the highly educated workers in health care and other front-line sectors, they can sit back and watch the stock market propel the value of their retirement funds ever higher. By contrast, the two-thirds of workers who lack a four-year college degree are either nonessential, and thus risk losing their earnings, or essential, and thus at risk of infection. Whereas college graduates have largely been able to safeguard both their health and their wealth, less-educated workers must risk one or the other. For this reason, the income and longevity gaps that the trend in deaths of despair has revealed are now widening further. But while less-educated whites have borne the brunt of the first epidemic, African-Americans and Hispanics have been disproportionately killed by COVID-19. As a result, the previous convergence of white and black mortality rates has been derailed.” • Oddly, or not, falling life expectancy — even for the Samders campaign — has never been a political issue. And yet the numbers and the consequences are horrific.

News of the Wired

“GitHub to replace “master” with alternative term to avoid slavery references” [ZDNet]. • Personally, I’ve always thought that master-slave architectures were…. oddly named. Perhaps the same with “black list” and “white list.” But what next? Blockchain? Thread

Github was acquired by Microsoft, so we’re seeing a big corporation taking out “woke insurance.”

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TH writes: “What? Yet more roses? Yep.”

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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. Steve H.

    > Well, the reason for that is that we were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply. And we wanted to make sure that the people namely, the health care workers

    Corporate dogbreath m*th*f**r. First he admits he kills people by recommending AGAINST the mitigant most likely to keep social relations like the economy going, and undercutting things like, say, masking in nursing homes. Then – ur*gh*! – Do you think he considers himself a member of the public health community? I do. So he wuz takin karen his’ns & hizzelf.

    1. periol

      Even this explanation of Fauci’s is a lie. It’s corruption, all the way down. And then lie after lie to cover it up.

      I’ve been so angry about this nonsense for so long I can’t even anymore. And now you can’t get an emergency scrip for HCQ. What is this nightmare? How do I get off this crazy train?

    2. Bugs Bunny

      If they’d only told people how to make their own masks and how to wear them; what’s the exponential number of lives saved? Just insane. He should be asked to resign. But I’m not even sure who would do that anymore.

      1. Dwight

        They could have just said to use a scarf, a bandanna, a T-shirt, any cloth. Just cover your mouth and nose when in public.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      who among us did not suspect that this was exactly the reason the public was not advised to wear masks? over and over they emphasized the need for health care workers to have them.

      don’t be mad at Fauci; be mad at Trump, who to my knowledge still hasn’t invoked the Defense Production Act to crank out N95s and surgical masks like candy, which is what we need.

      such a debacle

    4. YetAnotherChris

      The whole sorry episode feels stealthing-adjacent. There are well-modeled protective measures we could have taken, but it would have been embarrassing and inconvenient to disclose that a certain party was not prepared, and was in any case reluctant to agree to those measures. It shouldn’t be a surprise considering who the American electorate took to bed.

    5. Victoria

      I am completely enraged. He calmly explains that he lied knowing more people would get sick and die. Unforgivable.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        And Fauci is probably the best of them. WHO did the same. Which is discouraging. And I fell for it, too, also discouraging, because I did my reading, which came from them, and people like them. Then I began to understand the behavior of the virus better. (In my own defense, studies were late to come out, at least in the venues I frequent.) But as soon as we understood it was droplets (now aerosols) that were the main transmission link (certainly to me in March, and no doubt to professionals earlier) the advice should have changed.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I believe it was grossly irresponsible for any health authority to have downplayed the importance of masks (or any type of face covering) once the first studies came out indicating the importance of aerosol droplets. What is interesting is that the Chinese and other Asian authorities took the opposite approach. I remember back in February a clip from Wuhan showing security people arguing and abusing a woman on a bus who refused to wear a mask, while they were casually touching hard surfaces with unprotected hands. At the time I thought this was outrageous, and indicated that much of the Chinese response was based on theatre, but I now see that it came from an automatic assumption that aerosols were more dangerous than hand to face contact. I’m quite convinced that far too many western authorities had internalised the ‘flu model’ without actually questioning their own assumptions.

          I have still encountered medical people (including, it should be said, the most senior Irish public health leader, who has otherwise been excellent), who have been astonishingly slow to accept the aerosol hypothesis. Initially I think it was based on a fear of mask shortages, but I think a lot of people have dug themselves an intellectual hole and are deeply reluctant to climb out of it and admit that they are wrong. They are doing deep damage to the public faith (such as it exists) in medical expertise.

  2. JBird4049

    If you want to act like a post-1917 Bolshevik you’ve got to deliver like the pre-1917 Bolsheviks did, and to have a party line, you’ve got to have built a party. Intra-PMC dogpiles don’t cut it.

    The pre-1917 Russian radicals, regardless of parties, wanted to successfully reform and govern. Aside from the purity wars and the grifting just what do the American liberals and even some of the leftists do?

    1. Billy

      BLM, “Bolsheviks Like Mensheviks”…
      Every useful idiot has utility in pulling down the existing power structure and helping replace it with one imported or imposed from abroad, as was 1917, which ended up killing all the useful idiots, once power was consolidated.

      These white suburbanites decrying white privilege, do they really think that they will be able to keep their lives intact, if what they are demonstrating for comes to fruition?

      That woman in the Bethel video, demonstrating against the injustices in her town,
      (African American population= 0.47%) .
      bleats, “Please officer, don’t leave this area,” thinks that she will be safe when her local police are defunded and decide to stay home as the mob from Cinncinati approaches? When you go against the longstanding social contract and civic unity, you are likely to be ripped off, and apart.

      1. L

        In the past I’ve been on both the bottom and the top of the Intra-PMC dogpiles. Enjoyable as they are for the victors in the end they are sound and fury signifying nothing, regime cycling yes, but not regime change.

        Like performative virtue signaling they serve as an attempt to deflect actual change.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > regime cycling yes, but not regime change.

          Abolish ICE was a similar dogpile. If I have my timeline right, the original BLM, as a movement, was partly decapitated as the leadership entered the NGO world and began to write position papers, and partly diverted into symbol destruction. What is different now is journalists, pundits, and thought leaders dogpiling each other. Desperate times in the newsroom.

      2. JBird4049

        Agreed, but with the caveat that American policing is itself breaking the social contract. They are one of the causes for our society’s breaking down.

        One of the reasons for the gradual decline in intracommunal violence especially murder was the creation of the king’s or central government’s justice/peace; the king’s judge often with a jury and always an army would arrest, judge, and if convicted, punish the perpetrator. In return, the individuals of the community would not seek their own, usually bloodier, personal justice. You were not guaranteed justice, but you were promised an honest attempt regardless of your station or class. Quid pro quo.

        The American social contract is almost more lie than truth for the elections are increasingly fixed for the powerful, connected, and wealthy, while the police can beat, rob, and murder you almost without consequences especially if you are poor or black. God help you if you are both.

        Note it is those societies, including countries, that have the most lawless and violent police that have the most violence. If you do some light research for the most awful police departments and then overlay the areas with the most violence, rapes, and murders, you should see a very strong congruence.

        I should also add that the greater the wealth disparity the greater the violence and impunity of the law as the wealthy protect themselves both from the consequences of their lawbreaking and ignore, or even encourage, the lawlessness of the police.

        As American society becomes more pyramidal with a tiny wealthy ruling class, a small middle class, with a generally poor, increasingly destitute, “working” and poor classes merging into just the barely working, very poor class (look at almost any country in the Americas south of the United States) governmental and police corruption incompetence increases. This is normal.

        The availability of guns, the kind of economy, nor the general poverty of a country determines the level of violence or corruption. A wealthy country with a diverse economy like Brazil or South Africa has much greater violence, corruption, and incompetence than a country like Peru or Canada. In other words, a country’s political economy and general social health depends very much on its level of wealth inequality for how livable it is; the GINI coefficient, which is a measure of inequality is greatly congruent with its various statistics like violence, life expectancy, and so on. Not one hundred percent for there are other influences and causes, but it’s getting there.

        The United States is increasingly more like the small group haves have everything, so hello México, Brazil, South Africa, Honduras, El Salvador…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The United States is increasingly more like the small group haves have everything, so hello México, Brazil, South Africa, Honduras, El Salvador…


      3. Polar Socialist

        The original Useful Idiots were not those who were on your side, or fighting for you, even if it may not have been in their best best interest, but those who were more interested in making a quick buck selling you the weapons you would use against them.

        It was Lenin’s excuse for dealing with Imperial German government at the time it was a natural enemy of the bolsheviks.

        1. sierra7

          “De-funding the police” to me should start with “De-militarize the police”.
          When the ordinary police become garbed and armed like the military then you no longer have a stable society. They will think in a military manner not in a “urban/suburban” policing one.
          Get them out of their police cars!!
          Bring back the walking “beat”.
          No tear gas
          No rubber bullets
          No pepper spray
          No pepper bullets
          This would be a start.

          1. Procopius

            Like “Medicare for All,” “Defunding the Police” is an undefined term that’s used as a code, an abbreviation, for a group of ideas that are themselves poorly defined. “De-militarize the Police” is certainly one of those ideas. Greatly increase the funding for mental health care is another one. Redefine “Community Policing” to exclude “Broken Windows Policing” is still another. I think the slogan was ill chosen, because it sounds like something it doesn’t mean.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Like “Medicare for All,” “Defunding the Police” is an undefined term

              MedicareForAll is about as well-defined as can be. There are two bills, Jayapals in the House; Sanders in the Senate. (Jayapal’s is better because her bill separates hospital capital investment and revenues from patient care, which creates bad incentives.)

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > These white suburbanites decrying white privilege, do they really think that they will be able to keep their lives intact, if what they are demonstrating for comes to fruition?

        Of course. They will have private police forces for their cul de sacs and gated communities.

  3. Mark Gisleson

    I saw the flushing the toilet thing on Twitter and couldn’t help but note that I can’t remember the last time I saw a public facility with toilet covers, just a u-shaped seat.

    1. Art

      I read a study years ago about this very thing. Not only do public toilets usually lack lids, they also flush with more force than home toilets, launching the aerosols even higher. Hand dryers help to spread these aerosols around more.

    2. mle detroit

      +100, distaff side. I learned about toilet aerosolization several years ago from Lloyd Alter at treehugger, have been closing the lid ever since. I think there have been designs that mitigate the problem.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah. I’ve known about it for a great long while…and have even pointed out this problem and the total lack of lids to suits in the hospital elevators.
        the lids are not included on public toilets…according to one such suit…so that you don’t have to touch the lid to open or close it….similarly to how public donut seats(?-the other “lid”) have that little gap in the front, for guys who don’t lift that lid(dribble goes there,lol)
        probably a money thing, however.
        lack of aerosolised foecal plumes was a big selling point with my familia(especially wife) for the composting toilet.
        No splash, either.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      Two words: Japanese toilets.

      Greatest invention ever. Lid opens as you approach, fans start to evacuate air, sprayer cleans your nethers, lid closes when you stand up, flush is automatic after lid closes. Some come with music or babbling brook sounds to cover up embarrassing, er, other sounds. Even 7-11 has them. Clean.

      Japanese people tell me it’s the one thing they miss the most when traveling outside Japan.

      Maybe there’s a Japanese person here?

      1. richard

        dang. now that’s a toilet.
        side note: why doesn’t “globalism” ever bring good ideas and practices (like super toilet) to the u.s.?
        when has that ever happened?
        i know i’m in tinfoil territory here, but it’s almost like capital without borders was all they ever really cared about :/

        1. Acacia

          You can buy washlets (Japanese style toilet) in the US. Not cheap, though! There’s a “cultural difference” in thinking about wet vs. dry toilets. I.e., water vs. paper. Many people in the West feel the washlet is somehow “unclean”. Many don’t really know how it works or that the nozzle element gets heated up to a temperature that kills all bacteria before use, but this is pretty primal stuff so it’s hard to make a rational appeal.

    4. John Zelnicker

      I was always taught to close the lid before flushing and always have, but in spite of my best efforts, my daughters never got in the habit of doing so.

      Closing the lid also avoids the common couples’ argument of leaving the seat up or down.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Now you can argue about which way to hang the paper!

        Unless you get a Japanese toilet, I suppose. I just priced them on Amazon; there are add-on seats that go from $300 to upwards of $1000. Not sure I need the birdsong, so $300 is not a bad deal!

        I would go long Japanese toilets!

        1. John Zelnicker

          Lambert – Ann Landers settled the toilet paper argument decades ago. You hang it so it comes out over the top and stays away from the wall. It’s easier to grab and the wall can be dirty. ;)

  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    Retail Sales Significantly Improves in May 2020
    I’ve been on the Brooks Brothers* mailing list for a very long time now. At least 15 years. As such, it’s been long enough that I can actually use it as a leading indicator for retail economics.
    Normally I get 1 email a day at 7AM EDT for whatever they have on sale, new items, etc. Since COVID I’ve been getting at least 2 and sometimes 3 per day. Further I’ve been seeing stuff on sale that never go on sale. Not end of season items but their regular button down broadcloth oxfords. Even during the Great Recession these only went on sale once and I’ve gotten at least 3 sale offers on them.
    If retail sales have been bouncing back it sure isnt reflected in BB sales.

    * They make nice shirts that actually fit me (Milano fit)…

      1. JBird4049

        So making the clothes more like the cheap overseas junk to make them less useful to buy? They will probably keep the prices too high as well.

      2. Toshiro_Mifune

        They’ve been made in Thailand/Singapore/etc for as long as I’ve been shopping there. Hickey Freeman was made in the US (Heaven, Ill) but Im not sure if they still are and since they shut down their Hickey line nothing would fit me so I don’t shop there anymore.

      3. Billy

        Used to buy them in thrift stores for .25 cents each in the 1960s, now up to $4.00.
        Have a lifetime supply of every color. You want to talk about ‘white privilege”?
        If you are a young man, who has never worn anything but a t-shirt in public, try wearing a nicely pressed white BB button down and see how you are treated versus a the T-shirt with a sports logo on it.

        1. albrt

          You wear a white button down shirt in Phoenix and everybody just thinks you’re a Mormon missionary and avoids conversation. But I guess ignoring you is better than calling the police.

      4. christofay

        Yes, Brooks Brothers is closing their sewing operations in New England. There was an editorial in the Boston Globe railing against global capitalism, but the search function on the BG site only brings up ads for clothing so can’t cite.

      5. neplusultra

        I worked for Brooks Brothers for a few years during and immediately after college in the late 2000’s. I’d frequently get a certain type of older (sometimes affluent, sometimes not) customer who would lament to me how tough it is to find anything Made in the USA these days. I’d proceed to show them our Made in USA collection of shirts and jackets. 90% of the time they would balk at the price and i’d lead them back to the SE Asian sourced shirts.

    1. Jen

      I recently bought 3 pairs of my favorite dress pants on line, on the optimistic assumption that I’ll ever need to look professional from head to toe instead of just from the neck up. Discounted 70%, so if I’m being overly optimistic I won’t feel too bad.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        While I do feel horrible about the economic downturn…. the sales have been phenomenal.

  5. cocomaan

    My mother, a lifelong democrat, mentioned how she thought Tammy Duckworth would be perfect. Veteran, experienced, double amputee, and Asian-American just like Kamala Harris.

    Because Tammy Duckworth is a good choice the democrats will probably not pick her.

    1. DJG

      cocomaan: Has your mother succeeded in finding Tammy Duckworth?

      I live in Illinois, and she seems to have disappeared. She has not made her presence known during these events. She isn’t quoted in the newspapers. She is a non-entity, so far as I can tell. And I follow Illinois politics closely.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Duckworth is a DNC Democrat, almost certainly handpicked for that seat by Rahm Emanuel.

      A great candidate for those who’d prefer to have neoliberal policy delivered to them by someone who checks three ID pol boxes rather than just one! Austerity is so intersectional.

      1. HotFlash

        I remember Tammy Duckworth from 2006. She was parachuted into IL-6 by Rahm Emmanual to pick up Henry Hyde’s seat when he retired — and to deep-six the local, grass-roots candidate. Duckworth at that time lived in Hoffman Estates, which is IL-8. Home-grown challenger was Christine Cegelis, a dyed-in-the-wool progressive who also had pretty good chops at the ballot box. When Tammy won the primary by a whisker, Christine refused to endorse her, citing differences wrt getting out of Iraq and medicare for all, story here.

        No idea how she is as a congresscritter, but she termed out in the House and was elected to the Senate in 2016.

          1. Jack Parsons

            Kucinich got nuked out of his seat by having his district rendered and handed over to neighboring districts. Is this what happened here?

    3. Billy

      I thought Harris was African American?

      Like the chameleon, depending on her surroundings, she changes her color, her accent and casts a different vote in the senate than her speeches. Call her “The Kamaleon”

      1. Jessica

        Harris’s Dad immigrated from Jamaica, her Mom from Chennai (Madras). So half African American, half Indian American. Raised mostly by her Mom. Lived in Montreal from aged 7 or 8 until the end of high school.
        Comes from money on her mom’s side. Her Dad was a Berkeley professor.

        1. a different chris

          Again, direct family experience with Jamaicans and African Americans trying to exist at a single workplace (school) makes it very clear that they do not think of themselves as part of the same group.

          Not. At. All. She is half Jamaican. Period.

          But believe Kamala, not me! She’s so real and I’m just some anon coward on the Internet.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, this is where identity politics starts to eat itself. Back in the 1980’s, living in NY, I dated a Barbadian American girl. She never saw herself as ‘African American’, she saw herself as entirely different- I don’t mean she was pejorative about it, she just didn’t see herself has having any more connection with a NY African American person than I, as a white Irish guy, would have seen myself as ‘the same’ as (for example), an American of Polish or Russian background. Her surname was actually Kelly, and she was interested when I dug up an old reference to an Irish rebel leader called Kelly from the 17th Century who had been shipped to the Caribbean as a slave (yes, I know legally they weren’t slaves, but that was the lived reality).

            Sociologically, there is a huge difference between the descendants of American slaves, and American black people who immigrated through different routes. I recall a study of successful black Americans (and this was before Obama), which showed that the latter were usually far more successful economically. There is no surprise in this – studies clearly show that socio economic status tends to be very stable over the generations, and since most black immigrants (at least prior to the 1990s) come from the more educated strata of their societies, then their children often do very well. I saw one study (sorry, quick googling can’t find it) that indicated that Nigerian Americans are, proportionately, as successful as Asian Americans.

        2. barefoot charley

          And her father, a professor who is decidedly mixed-race including slave-owners, has lambasted his daughter for fictionalizing her background. Like Obama, she had to learn black later in life.

          But aspirational blackishness could be the next intersectionality?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > her father, a professor who is decidedly mixed-race including slave-owners, has lambasted his daughter for fictionalizing her background

            Not exactly. Here is the original quote (found in Water Cooler 2/20/2019) from Professor Donald Harris, Kamala Harris’ Jamaican father, Jamaica Global:

            “My dear departed grandmothers(whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents , must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”

            It’s not a matter, then, of Harris “fictionalizing her background” (that would be Warren). Rather, Harris doesn’t like his daughters cultural views, and in particular her identity politics (far more deadly in the context of today’s intersectional whatever whatever).

            As for the father’s politics:

            According to his bio, Donald joined the faculty at Stanford in 1972. His focus has been “exploring the analytical conception of the process of capital accumulation and its implications for a theory of growth of the economy, with the aim of providing thereby an explanation of the intrinsic character of growth as a process of uneven development.”

            So you can see why the daughter trashing the father’s life work might make him cranky.

  6. DJG

    Intra-PMC dogpiles don’t cut it.

    One of the things I am noting is that we seem to have reached the Robespierre stage (and in a cultural as puritanical as U.S. culture there are beaucoup Robespierres). Yet Robespierre was part of a revolution that had already accomplished much change, as Lambert Strether notes up top with regard to the Bolsheviks and thier revolution.

    And pulling a couple of pertinent sentences from Robespierre’s Wikipedia entry in English:
    Aulard sums up the Jacobin train of thought, “All politics, according to Robespierre, must tend to establish the reign of virtue and confound vice. He reasoned thus: those who are virtuous are right; error is a corruption of the heart; error cannot be sincere; error is always deliberate.”[300][301] According to the German journalist K.E. Oelsner, Robespierre behaved “more like a leader of a religious sect than of a political party. He can be eloquent but most of the time he is boring, especially when he goes on too long, which is often the case.”[302]

    And there is that aspect in which many of these controversies are, errrrr, boring. This being the U.S., though, we will have the Robespierres without the Revolution.

    1. Carolinian

      They will behead statues instead of people and with the same, at times, haphazard aim. Just reading that the Robert Gould Shaw memorial in Boston–familiar to non Bostonians from the movie Glory–was vandalized.

      The mayor of London has said that “controversial” statues will be removed. Cultural revolution much? They now regret the whole thing in China.

      1. a different chris

        >They will behead statues instead of people

        Um, and that’s a bad thing?

        Not understanding where you are going with this.

        1. Carolinian

          You think the memorial to Robert Gould Shaw, abolitionist and commander of a black Union regiment, should have been vandalized? What are you saying?

          What I’m saying is that even if one thought tearing down certain statues was a good idea–and I don’t particularly–this is just mindless vandalism in many cases.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The NYPD caved, so the Khmer Noir has figured out what works. Politics? Rational discourse and debate? No, what works is: violence. The length and breadth of the public sphere has been turned into one giant all-encompassing “struggle session”. Any debate about the revolution is forbidden. I wonder how they will select the 5% of the intelligentsia and the bourgeoisie for liquidation, will it be by neighborhood? Or more likely: by skin color.

      Here’s the text of a pamphlet distributed by the KR during the Democratic Kampuchea times, pay attention:

      The Security Regulations

      1. You must answer accordingly to my questions…don’t turn them away.

      2. Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that. You are strictly prohibited to contest me.

      3. Don’t be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.

      4. You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.

      5. Don’t tell me either about your immoralities or the essence of the revolution.

      6. While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all.

      7. Do nothing, sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quiet. When I ask you to do something, you must do it right away without protesting.

      8. Don’t make pretext about Kampuchea in order to hide your jaw of traitor.

      9. If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many many lashes of electric wire.

      10. If you disobey any point of my regulations you will get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge.

      1. JoeKh

        These “Security Regulations” were originally, in my understanding, for the prisoners at S21 aka Tuol Sleng prison. I’m no expert on the country or KR period, but never have heard of this kind of thing being read out/posted generally or that kind of punishment being meted out to the general public, which may seem a precious distinction considered, say, the mass starvation, or the random executions, but again to the best of my knowledge this is from S21. It’s posted there as such.

        And, of course, both were at S21, to be sure. Perhaps the image that persists, from a visit, is of the interlocking leg bars/irons fashioned from rebar. Just a little bending of the rebar and voilà. Ridges on rough iron as a bonus. That, and the mixture of surprise, fear, and doom on the faces of the many whose intake photos fill a couple of plain former classrooms.
        So, horrifying, and much beyond S21 at that time, but regardling that part of your post, for accuracy’s sake…

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Tuol Sleng is indeed horrifying. I don’t know about the above rules, but I do know that right through society you had to by hyper aware of not making even the smallest infringement – even wearing glasses could mark you out as an ‘intellectual’, and light skin could be literally fatal as it marked you out as not a ‘real’ Cambodian.

          The problem of course for the KR was that these rules, while horrifyingly effective initially, led to the snake eating the tail. Many of the Tuol Sleng torturers ended up being tortured to death themselves for not demonstrating sufficient purity. The lack of internal questioning led the leadership to believe that provoking a war with the Vietnamese was a good idea (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). If the Vietnamese hadn’t sorted out the country, one can only wonder about how many people would have been left alive after a few years.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > No, what works is: violence.

        Well, Sanders was the compromise. It has occurred to me that Sanders had the black youth vote. One wonders how many of those voters are now engaged in… other things.

      3. Jack Parsons

        If you are a Khmer Rouge scholar, I hope you have cogitated on its peculiar similarities with ISIS.

        1. JBird4049

          I don’t know about that. ISIS is both fanatical and evil, which the Khmer Rouge was also, but the Khmer Rouge were also insanely self genocidal with their goal of creating a Year Zero. After they won, they started by killing everyone with glasses, then all the educated, than anyone who could read or had any technical skills, then anyone who broke any rules, then anyone who might be subversive, then finally those of the Khmer Rouge who deemed were not vocally fanatical enough. Something like ⅓ of the country’s population in around four years.

  7. JacobiteInTraining

    Do I think the orange sh**gibbon will actually *do* anything to in his hyperbolic shamblings of speech-like noises that come out of his mouth to ‘do something’ and ‘take back Seattle’? Probably not, but this is indeed a perplexing and tedious timeline in which we live…anything is possible:


    I mean, sending a horde of Feds in riot gear – in particular his private army of BOP and ICE peeps – would be almost the worse thing I could think of to do right now in Seattle.

    Heh. I mean….if you want Cascadia….that is how you GET Cascadia. :/

    1. JBird4049

      Heh. I mean….if you want Cascadia….that is how you GET Cascadia. :/

      Are you talking about succession from the Union? That’s treasonous talk! ;-)

      Although the way things are going the Second Civil War might turn the United States back from an “is” to an “are.”

    2. The Historian

      I am assuming Trump is talking about CHAZ/CHOP. Sorry, Trump, that is not a violent protest and there are no Antifa there. It is a social experiment that seems to be working for now. One of my sons who lives in Seattle goes down to that park often since some of his buddies are very involved with this experiment, particulary the making of the community garden there. He facebooked me today to tell me that Fox has it all wrong – there is no violence there and there are no cops there – in fact, Fox is actually using video from Minneapolis instead of the park itself. The people providing voluntary security for that section of the park actually want some police to show up every once in a while because they caught a guy stealing from people yesterday and they didn’t know what to do with him so they had to let him go.

      1. Mr. House

        Does the concept of citizens arrest still have any standing in our world? Is that something that the people who witnessed the George Floyd murder in person could have done to the cops before his life expired?

        1. Massinissa

          Not really possible to do that when the cops are heavily armed to the teeth and noone else around is.

          1. Berto

            Similar to the “good guy with a. gun” concept. It doesn’t work when the bad guys are armed to the teeth.

          2. Procopius

            Some of the militia types still believe in “citizens’ arrest.” Saw a story a couple of days ago, a dude in his 60s with two guns put a couple of vote canvassers on the ground and called the cops. Said they were antifa. Cops arrested him when they arrived, but it must have been a scary experience for the two guys. Wasn’t even really his neighborhood, he lived a couple blocks away.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > particulary the making of the community garden there.

        Can I get an update on that garden? The images I saw made it look like CHAZ/CHOP gardening types were trying to do sheet mulch without knowing how. And they were walking on the soil too, which is bad bad bad. Soil should be fluffy not compressed.

  8. fresno dan

    “Swiss develop first see-through surgical mask” [SwissInfo].

    I don’t see that as progress. Some people have a face for radio, I have a face for non transparent masks.
    And psychologically, I’m much improved as there are far fewer people fleeing in horror upon seeing me…

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      How transparent is the see through mask? If it’s clear enough maybe the material could be used to make a full-face mask. That would add eye protection and with a little feature printing on it could play with the face recognition programs. Is there any way to make it distort features? That could also be fun. Maybe a group could all wear the same mask to create a person with the power to be many places at once.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe the facial recognition technology is finding it too tough with all the people walking around wearing masks. This way should help that software out a bit.

    3. ewmayer

      Like you, my thought was “interesting, but what’s the point?” Are deaf wannabe-OR nurses who would need to lipread the surgeon’s words a thing? That seems unlikely, given the someone-could-die nature of the setting and the known inaccuracies of lipreading (cf. the Seinfeld “let’s sweep together” episode guest starring Marlee Matlin.)

  9. mle detroit

    Matthew Walther has a longish piece in The Week today, describing sympathetically how “Karen” got the way she is.
    But this:

    Then it occurred to me: There is no such thing as a male Karen for the not so surprising reason that when men behave like her they are not doing anything society deems worthy of comment. A man whose defining personality traits are (to quote a professor of memes, something that we have in this country) “entitlement, selfishness, a desire to complain” is not called anything in particular. He is not associated with a particular generation, much less with certain kinds of haircuts. His behavior might be deplored, but it is just as often excused or even lauded according to the logic of firm handshakes.

    Nonsense. We all know this guy: he’s Donald. As in, “Hey, Kev, don’t be a Donald.” (K. McCarthy, not you, Rev) .

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        beginning circa 2015, many of the language police robots on various “left” websites comments sections began banning the word Bit55(female dog word)…no matter the context(as in using it like a verb…”I b%%ched out my boss the other day”)
        with that impetus, i soon noticed just how often i use the word in everyday Bit3hing.
        usually in bit3hing at my boys for bitc3ing too much about chores.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and…finally read Walther’s bit.
          and this:”Instead of arguing that Karen is not real, which seems to me untenable (not least because, upon a moment’s reflection, I realize that she is my mother)….”….made me feel an urgent need to go wander in the gardens for a while.(10 minutes, and i come in with pockets so full of cukes and toms that they pull my shorts down)
          Mom’s an Ur-Karen(B.1942).

          1. flora

            A slight segue, but I think it’s meaning will be clear:

            The term ‘broad’ traditionally refers to a female bovine, aka a cow, and refers secondarily to a female human. However, being a ‘stand-up broad’ is being a woman with grit and integrity and fortitude. (go figure. slang lively and immediate….)

            Context being important and all, if anyone called me a “stand-up broad” I’d be pleased at the real compliment, knowing it’s intended meaning. (I’m not sure this translates outside US slang usage.)

            adding: No stand-up broad would ever be a (jerk) (jackass) Karen.

            1. flora

              adding: I think Walther’s “pity the female Karen” bit and “think of her psychology and social delimma” essentially says “poor dears, they aren’t really responsible”, which is sexism writ large, imo. Infantilizing women and their individual choice for actions is the essence of sexism, imo.

              Jerks are jerks. Jackasses are jackasses. No infantilizing is needed to explain these actions unless infantilizing is the point. Unless one wants to deny adult women full agency. Denying women agency isn’t chivalry, isn’t the strong coming to the aid of the weak. It’s something else. imo. ;)

              1. flora

                One exception I’ll make here, for women in late middle age who suddenly show a marked change in personality, is the possibility that menopause, or ‘the change’, is taking a temporary but large toll on their psyches. Just like the teenage years take a toll on psyches. But outside that age group it doesn’t explain young Karen’s or over 60’s Karen’s behaviors.

    1. HotFlash

      I have heard Karen’s consort referred to as ‘Todd’, but I figure it should be ‘Chris’, as in Cuomo.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Prior to the Karen meme coming off, Bill Burr had a very good routine about this topic. His thesis, quite simply, is that white women can say some things that that even white men can’t, because men realise quickly they’ll get a punch in the face if they overstep certain marks. Some types of white women don’t learn that type of self correction.

  10. flora

    re: Warren as a VP for Biden?

    Biden’s backers the tbtf banks won’t have her, Wall St won’t have her, and therefore Biden won’t choose her. But Harris?

    Harris let Mnuchin fraudulently foreclose homes in CA when she was AG there.

    I bet the banks and Wall St think she’s just peachy. ;)

    1. Billy

      The Brownian motion around her peach was pretty impressive too:
      “Kamala Harris’ first significant political role was an appointment by her powerful then-boyfriend Willie Brown, three decades her senior, to a California medical board that has been criticized as a landing spot for patronage jobs and kickbacks.”
      “Then 30, Harris was dating 60-year-old married man Willie Brown, at the time the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, when he placed her on the California Medical Assistance Commission in 1994. The position paid over $70,000 per year, $120,700 in current money, and Harris served on the board until 1998.”

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      If Biden can’t have Klobachar as VP, who has been rumored to be his preference, there’s no way it will be Warren. I’ve never seen any indication she was under serious consideration, even if she wasn’t IdPol disadvantaged and too scawy to Biden’s backers.

      Also, the letter writers miss the point. They don’t care about bringing Sanders supporters on, nor do they have to listen to these 100 very special Democrats. TINA, baby! Where else ya gonna go?

      And of those who are on the short list, whew. Pitifully thin bench, indeed.

      1. Pat

        Thin? Try Scary. Horrifying. Hideous. Not one of the acceptable candidates for President and now for VP is someone you should turn your back on.

        And once again a sign that the Democratic Party has not yet accepted that neoliberalism is damaging. That this “bench” is not just thin but crass, corrupt and even psychopathic should be a nightmare for anyone who wants a long term organization. But it is also the result of the mix of goals and the cannibalisitic nature of the recruits of the last four decades.

        1. Acacia

          Most likely the Democrat party will never accept that. Their mission now is to apply lipstick to the pig of neoliberalism.

  11. Jessica

    “For example, I purchased — probably ill-advisedly, it’s an enormous tome — Yuri Slezkine’s House of Government, which describes Russian radicalism in the early 1900s.”
    Lambert, I listened to the audiobook of House of Government and loved it. It really gives you a feel for the broader radical culture from which Bolshevism arose and then mostly crushed.
    Slezkine presents two interesting theories: 1) That Bolshevism was a millennarian sect. 2) That the purges in the late 30s changed a Soviet Communist Party that had been disproportionally made up of national minorities, particularly Estonians, Georgians, and Jews, into a party that was far more Russified, that Jews in particular lost faith in a system that previously had given them unprecedented opportunity, and that this loss was crucial to the eventual collapse of Soviet legitimacy.
    The other thing that jumped out for me was how many of the people in the House of Government were made mentally ill by the crushing brutality of the Stalinist era, even when they were the ones doing the crushing.
    All in all, The House of Government is kind of the Serenity of Russian and Soviet History where most other books are Star Wars or Star Trek.

  12. L

    Here is another one for the political news. I had a hard time keeping a straight face:

    Why Do Trump Supporters Act Like His Election Is Certain? Ed Kilgore, NY Mag

    I say hilarious because if you simply turn the question around to “Why do Trump Opponents act like His Defeat is Certain?” then most of his reasons apply too.

    Case in point #1 “They’re Drinking their own Kool-Aid

    Of course I guess The Onion said it first: ‘Trump Is Finally Done, Trump Is Finally Done,’ Says Strait-Jacketed Opinion Columnist Babbling To Cup Of Applesauce

  13. flora

    Just what public education needs. /s

    ‘Cool a Democratic billionaire is building a luxury retreat where he and his friends can bring teachers for mercenary style hunting games, sorry, I mean train charter school advocates.’
    -Matt Stoller


    and the tweet’s linked article in Vox:


  14. Mikel

    Fauci: “Well, the reason for that is that we were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply. And we wanted to make sure that the people namely, the health care workers, who were brave enough to put themselves in a harm way, to take care of people who you know were infected with the coronavirus and the danger of them getting infected.”

    That is supposed to be an explanation that makes people go, “Oh, okay…”?

    No. It just makes people wonder what else all the unaccountable liars are lying about.
    Did anybody follow up with the question: “Who didn’t want to admit the country screwed up from manufacturing capacity to health care?”

    I zero faith any of this will be solved with so much corruption globally, but ESPECIALLY off the charts here in the USA.

  15. Jason Boxman

    Random news from my part of the tech world: There’s a movement in the greater Open Source world to remove technical terms from software that might offend, such as “blacklist”, “blackbox”, “master”, and “slave”. (For example, see this GitHub announcement.)

    As something of a regard action against this, an account with the name “blacklistisnotracist” immediately began defending ‘blacklist’ in a public source repo on GitHub I have access to. The account posted comments within an hour of someone else opening a new issue suggesting the words be replaced.

    So someone automated a bot to find requests to remove these words, to then engage in this action.

    Interesting to watch.

    1. periol

      In the interest of full disclosure they should just rename whitelist to WASPlist and call it a day.

      edit: wonder if greylists will become a problem after the big alien reveal…

      1. flora

        I’m waiting for the language police to condemn ‘motherboard – daughterboard’ as inherently and outrageously sexist. ha.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          And of course the “male” and “female” designations assigned to mating electrical connectors will have to go.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I’m thinking of a carpentry term on how to connect two similar objects together that might be revised but as this is a family blog I won’t actually say it.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              IS there an acceptable term for the activity that has enabled mankind to procreate and descend down through the ages? I suppose “breeding” is it, stated clinically as though it’s a condition, and spat through your teeth with contempt.

              I love words. Not sure what I’m going to do without them.

      2. ambrit

        That depends on which “aliens” are revealed.
        It is not logical to assume that there is just one “brand” of “aliens.”

    2. a different chris

      I’m fine with that. Language changes. “Closed box” works just as well as “black box”, does it not?

      I’m always uncomfortable talking about “male” and “female” connectors around what is happily a well integrated engineering workforce. I suspect the women would laugh at my discomfort, but hey it is a bit embarrassing.

      1. flora

        Well, what else ya gonna call them that isn’t immediately understandable to even newbies as to what-is-what and what-goes-where? Now lets talk about terms like SCSI and Dongle. heh. (As far as I know, women interested in tech don’t misunderstand the use of or get the vapors over these terms, nor do they drape their desks in table clothes to modestly cover the desk’s ‘legs’.) ;)

        (Sorry, I appreciate your courtesy to the sensibilities of your female co-workers, but I think this is one thing you don’t have to worry about.)

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just thinking about the slang use of the term “box” to describe a woman’s (or am I supposed to say “womyn’s”) reproductive organs. I guess that word is out too. Amazon delivery people will have to say “rectangular cardboard container” instead. And hey, isn’t “Amazon” a misogynistic term for the stereotype of a large warlike womyn?

          Let’s just pick an Immaculate One who is the only one allowed to speak.

    3. ewmayer

      One wonders what the wokeistas will do with a whole slew of wokeitically incorrect verbiage, e.g. blackball, black sheep, blackout. Or from physics, black hole and blackbody radiation.

    4. Kevin Carhart

      I have always thought it was clueless when engineers use these forms of language that have a valence while acting like they don’t.

      In particular, for some reason the open-source uwsgi application-server project wrote its diagnostic log messages like this:

      uWSGI worker 5 screams: UAAAAAAH my master disconnected: i will kill myself !!!
      [emperor] NO MERCY for vassal development.ini !!!
      [emperor] *** RAGNAROK ALREADY EVOKED (mercyless in 7 seconds)***

      I get a whiff of indifference towards slavery from startups and VC, so long as it is economically-based and debt-based. The Santander/Uber leasing program was compared to indentured servitude. There’s a confluence between SV and the economists who espouse things like “Should we bar people from improving a very bad economic lot because it requires a deprivation of their personhood? Justice may not be ‘served by a ban on desperate exchanges’ as, for example, selling human organs … An immediate reaction might well be to let each individual decide what is essential to his or her self-constitution and act accordingly … To put the matter another way, who is to decide what is essential to the constitution of the self other than the self?” (Arrow, via Mirowski)

      In my opinion this is a credible backdrop for the supposedly value-free, engineering use of slavery language and similar.

    1. Massinissa

      This sort of thing has been going on for about at least week now, but the article is still a good summary.

    1. a different chris

      Our problem is that we have billionaires coming out of our ears? You a millionaire? If you are, then they have $1000 bucks for every one you have. You a 100 millionaire? Ok only $100 bucks…

      You’re not either? Well then stop kissing the butt that’s sitting on your face, is my advice.

      This type of “hey they’re going to level us all” crap is ridiculous, and also just what the people lording over us want to hear from the plebes. We live in a world that has gone nearly as far in the opposite direction of that story (and Vonnegut would likely concur), to a world way better described -yet again – in The Great Gatsby.

      1. Mr. House

        I apologize, i didn’t think it would cause that type of reaction. Times are confusing, i always thought that was a good short story. I don’t see the fight as my preferred faction of the moment, but all of us against the small percentage of people that rule us. I don’t see anyone coming together to fight this power, i see people being divided more at the moment we all need to be united. Due to looting via bailouts or whatever.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          we must be kind to newcomers, until they show their quality.
          Hyperdivision is the goal of the neoliberal order…you are not a “citizen”(how quaint) under this thought-regime, but an “Enterprise”, competing against all the other might near 8 billion other Enterprises on the planet.
          “No such thing as Society”…and “TINA”(there is no alternative), both from the gaping maw of Thatcher, pretty much define this regime, for me.
          so…the opposite of the HyperLevelling that Vonnegut was painting, there.

          sort of germane:
          I have two favorite short stories…that I made my boys read long ago:

          1. judy2shoes

            Perhaps Vonnegut’s hyperlevelling is a device to draw attention to the more subtle and not-so-subtle methods being used on the people to make them conform, which to my mind is a huge leveler. Thought/word police all around to make sure you conform to acceptable behavior and beliefs, and good grief, we have police violently inflicting punishment on peaceful protestors to enforce preferred behavior (which I equate to what’s being done to the characters in Vonnegut’s story). The parents (particularly the father) end up self-policing because they perceive the punishment for “breaking bad” as being worse than breaking free of their chains. This has parallels throughout history, but slavery immediately comes to my mind. Once we all think the same and act the same and actively squelch our own “bad” thoughts, why everything will be grand!

            Thank you, Mr. House, for posting the link to this thought-provoking story, and thank you, Amfortas, for your kindness to Mr. House.

          2. flora

            My 6th grade teacher made us read “To Build a Fire”, among other required ‘not fun’ readings she assigned. She taught us in a way that made us think. She was a great teacher.

            The Vonnegut short story is excellent satire from an earlier age. Who now personally remembers sash weights or glass milk bottles , or what the cold war and McCarthyism was really like?

            A comedy short story from the 1890’s (?) of hubris and miscalculations that goes horribly wrong in the funniest way possible is O. Henry’s “The Ransom of Red Chief.” :)


          3. Wukchumni

            On my first solo walk on the High Sierra Trail (72 miles) 30 years ago, I started a bit early in June and brought a paperback of Jack London’s short stories including To Build A Fire, and it was quite cold @ night, and reading the latter tale of oh in particular, dropped the temperature even more and I was deep in the Kern River canyon @ about mile 36 when I finished the tome, and knowing I had to climb 8,000 feet in the next 25 miles, made me question to myself if I was going to make it, carrying so much, that I treated Mr. London’s short story as a ‘how to’ manual, the only book i’ve ever burned, building a fire.

        2. Massinissa

          “I don’t see the fight as my preferred faction of the moment, but all of us against the small percentage of people that rule us.”

          Well we absolutely agree there. And it is a good short story. But as the short story is widely interpreted as being satirical of the average persons butchered understanding of socialism, when you said ‘is this our future?’, I had incorrectly assumed you were taking it at face value and were doing some sort of anti-Left scaremongering, which was not your intent, and I do apologize for that misunderstanding.

          To be fair, its quite often taken that way: Alot of Libertarians like it because they think it has a meaning as simplistic as ‘SOCIALISM BAD!!!’, which is amusing, considering Vonneguts statements on socialism and socialists like Eugene V. Debs.

          1. flora

            The funny thing about a lot of Libertarians is their real principle is anti-authoritarianism, which they weld in the most authoritarian way possible. ;)

          2. Chef

            Ah, so Harrison Bergeron isn’t a dystopian story about guaranteeing ‘equality’ by an oppressive authoritarian state.

            Thanks for clearing that up.

            1. flora

              Satire, etc. Sometimes the targets, being terribly serious sorts, don’t recognize they’re the targets of the satire. ;)

  16. periol

    The two hangings in California are on opposite sides of the Antelope Valley, which historically has had racial tensions. The Aryan Nation started in Lancaster, for instance.

    The one in Palmdale seems pretty fishy to me. Robert Fuller was found hanging in the park across the street from City Hall. During a community meeting, officials said there is no security footage of the park, which was greeted with disbelief.

    Here’s the park where he was found: https://goo.gl/maps/WecjEitYLnWMYqtU8

    There were already largely peaceful protests over George Floyd in Palmdale and Lancaster before Robert Fuller’s death. A man named Michael Thomas was shot last week in Lancaster by LA County Sheriff’s, and there is considerable angst over both deaths in the area.


    The one in Victorville, Malcolm Harsch, from the details that have come out, does sound like suicide. He was found hanging in a vacant lot which is a small homeless encampment, where he and a girlfriend shared a tent. She called 911, he hung himself with an HDMI cable, she said they had a big fight the night before.

    This local article has more details, which are pretty heartbreaking, if true:

  17. flora

    Hmmm. I guess Andy ‘isn’t the droid we’re looking for.’ /s

    “Fire Through Dry Grass”: Andrew Cuomo Saw COVID-19’s Threat to Nursing Homes. Then He Risked Adding to It.

    A nursing home in Troy, New York, followed the governor’s order to accept patients being treated for COVID-19. Six weeks later, 18 residents were dead of the disease.’


    1. Pat

      You still have to inform people of his mistakes, this being arguably the worst. Many still consider him “smart” “decisive” and the anti Orange Man and haven’t found out that he just looked competent. I thought the drip drip drip of failure might do it but unfortunately nothing has broken through the early power point propaganda.

      Sad as it is, our response to the pandemic has been a bipartisan failure.

  18. Fastball

    At this point I want a Hulu movie where woke liberals and fake leftists meow about their ideas about solutions like the red stapler man and everyone else laughs and screams.

    It would reach the woke liberals who binge watch Hulu.

    Unfortunately Hulu wouldn’t make such a series.

    1. Massinissa

      I had to look up Red Stapler Man. Now knowing what that is, I, too, agree with Bugs Bunny’s comment above.

  19. Alternate Delegate

    I am curious about the concept of “usurping a police function,” which of course depends on precisely what you think those functions are, or ought to be. Yes, I want to cut policing to an absolute minimum. How do I act then?

    The legal situation in the US allows a citizen’s arrest, but only with the use of non-deadly force. A non-police officer can be subsequently sued for false arrest. Of course, it should work the same for a police officer, which is what the “qualified immunity” argument is about.

    This is very different from a self-defense situation, where lethal force is permitted while in reasonable fear for one’s life, but only in a very limited set of circumstances. Typically one must not have escalated the situation, and one must have made an effort to retreat, and to continue retreating when possible.

    This is where the “stand your ground” laws in some US states descend into absurdity and break the whole logic of the situation. Please note that Wikipedia has been poisoned on this issue. Contrary to what it says, the traditional duty to retreat remains in most jurisdictions I am aware of.

    In the Albuquerque situation as described, it appears a legal citizen’s arrest took place. Kicking away the handgun and standing on it is non-deadly force. Holding another firearm while doing this is sketchy, since that firearm could not have been used legally in this situation, and merely holding it could be viewed as escalation.

    If we are going to dramatically reduce the amount of policing and police presence in the United States, we’re going to have to be prepared to deal with potentially scary and violent situations ourselves. This will require a clear understanding of what we expect of each other, very much including a duty to retreat before acting in self-defense. I am under no illusion the laws of the property-owners are in any way “good”, or “better” than anything else, but we still need to know what to expect from each other.

    In this instance, the “New Mexico Civil Guard”, unlike the guy in the blue shirt, seems to have behaved correctly and as I would expect. Well, other than bringing guns to a peaceful protest. That was a dick move.

    1. Fastball

      In other countries police with guns are only called when a genuinely terroristic situation is underway.

      You are talking as if how to handle every other situation has not already been solved in other countries. IMV.

      1. rowlf

        Which countries do you have in mind? From what I have seen in my visits to Toulouse the French like to have their security forces patrol with FAMAS rifles. Several times over the last fifteen years I have watched patrols start or stop while I was dining outside in a city square.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        I’ve encountered people from other countries who actually believe pat little legal phrases like “the state has a monopoly on the use of violence.” They’re wrong, and US people who think otherwise are right. Only individuals have the knowledge to act responsibly, and only in their own vicinity; and what matters then is what other individuals in the same vicinity think. The honest truth is that we’re going to be a nation of people, not laws. That’s what’s going on right now.

        That’s why I said we’re going to have to be prepared to deal with potentially scary and violent situations ourselves. Nobody wants to do that for you, anymore. The cops don’t want to do it for you anymore, and we don’t want them to do it, either.

    2. chuck roast

      Neuvo is a very interesting place. Made up predominately of Hispanics, Native Americans and Anglos, the racial dynamics there are very complicated. In the late 17th century, the Peublo Indians pushed out the Spanish colonists who took refuge in El Paso. During the 1690’s the Spanish returned to the Rio Grande Valley in what was termed the Reconquista. Onate, the subject of the demonstration, played a major part in the Spanish reconquest of New Mexico.

      Onate famously laid siege to Acoma Pueblo during this period. Many mesa dwellers starved or were killed. Onate had a foot cut off of each of the male survivors. This was 300 years ago.

      When I was living in Neuvo in the 1990’s the town of Espanola erected a statue of Onate astride his horse outside city hall. Espanola is what one would call an aggressively Hispanic town. The morning after the statue’s unveiling, the townspeople awoke to find that one of Onate’s feet had been cut off. Please forgive my shadenfreude moment, but I still chuckle about it to this day.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In this instance, the “New Mexico Civil Guard”, unlike the guy in the blue shirt, seems to have behaved correctly and as I would expect. Well, other than bringing guns to a peaceful protest. That was a dick move.


  20. chuck roast

    “Bigger and more frequent monster waves in Southern Ocean”

    The primary thoroughfare for ocean sailboat racers and speed circumnavigators is the roaring 40’s. Huge following seas and winds in the southern ocean are always a threat to literally drive a boat under the seas. Just about every sailor knows a guy (or gal) who disappeared here. Check this vid out. Not for the faint of heart.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Actually they disappeared in the Tasman Sea, a real rollicker to be sure but nothing like the Southern Ocean

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      pretty expert use of a sea anchor, there.
      (the line coming off the stern)

      I’ve only ever been offshore in the Gulf of Mexico…on a cruise ship, once, Houston to Cancun/Cozumel/some island off the coast of Honduras—and a bunch of times in various fishing boats(much scarier, to say the least)
      was out there with my dad and grandad once, fishing the oil platforms, and on our way back in, saw storms a ways off, and several waterspouts(tornadoes over the ocean).
      prolly 4 miles away…rough seas…30 foot boat…dad freaking out and pushing the throttle all the way….making it even crazier.
      nothing like that video, though.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Pretty manageable, looks like about a Beaufort 6.

      “Once is Enough” describes Beaufort 10: “…foam in great patches is blown in dense white streaks along the direction of the wind; on the whole the surface of the sea takes on a white appearance…”

      Gripping story of a couple who get pitchpoled…twice.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus breakthrough: dexamethasone is first drug shown to save lives”

    In other news today an Observational Study appeared in the highly respected The Lancet proving that not only is dexamethasone ineffective but that it is also dangerous. A thorough analysis was done taking data from hundreds of hospitals around the world and nearly hundred thousand people proves this. Unfortunately the study cannot be peer-reviewed as the database is propriety. In a statement about the study by the Chicago-based Surgisphere, they said that it showed that the drug was far too cheap, errr, ineffective to be used as treatment.

    1. Cuibono

      we have known for some time that steroids likely help in certain ARDS cases
      so this study is in line

  22. John k

    Say he picks Harris; the question is, does it help,or hurt the dems?
    First, with blacks. Maybe it helps with southerners, but the older ones are already in Biden’s camp, as we saw in SC… and he certainly won’t carry that state. Fl? Well, would she help carry that critical swing?
    I read 70% of marchers are white. So what do they think about Harris? IMO nothing good, only solidifying people’s thoughts of where Biden “shoot em in the leg” stands. A lot of younger voters already having difficulty picking out just who is the lesser evil. So younger voters would be further alienated, older ones happier. Not clear to me one way or the other who this helps. Personally, I would be less likely to vote Biden, but I was already at zero, tied with trump.
    Chris hedges did a great job summing up their law and order records. Really awful.

    1. JTee

      I also will not vote for Biden, and will be more likely not to do so with Harris on the ticket. She’s worse than him.

    2. Pat

      Kamala is the sop to the Clintonistas, she was the original candidate pushed by Clinton donors until it became clear that she couldn’t get anybody to the polls except to vote for someone else. Logically she brings no value to the ticket. Biden has California with or without her, and there is no evidence she will make the difference elsewhere especially in any swing state. But then most of the others on the list do not do that either. Demings probably does the most in conventional wisdom criteria, or would if you think she could bring Florida. Frankly using that criteria, Biden’s supposed choice Klobuchar probably does more.

      It is all id pol writ large. All surface and pointless platitudes meant to disguise the utter lack of interest even contempt for the people they want to vote for them.

  23. VietnamVet

    Kamala Harris and Anthony Fauci are the Professional Managerial Class. They are incapable of telling the truth.

    He can’t point out that in order for the rich to pocket the labor cost differential, PPE manufacturing was off-shored from the USA to China. Also, taxes and federal pandemic stockpiles were cut. There is only one face mask manufacturer left in the USA in Texas and they never got one federal contract to increase their production. He should have told Americans to wear a face mask if at all possible or a covering until the federal crash program supplies all citizens with free masks. The USA would be in a lot better place today especially if the federal government conducted universal testing, contact tracing and isolation of the infected.

    She is black due to her skin color. She made a conscious decision after high school in Montreal to become an “African-America” by going to Howard University and ignore her Jamaican and East Indian ancestry to get ahead. She should admit she is a globalist just like Barrack Obama who is Kenyan and American.

    Candor kicks them off the gravy train.

  24. MoBee

    In regards to using language, I highly recommend reading the following community sourced piece as reference, “Writing about “Slavery”? This Might Help”:


    While specifically focused on how we talk and write about human beings who were enslaved, I think it is an important document that can add nuance to larger discussions.

    I’d also like to ask fellow readers and commenters to please capitalize Black when talking about Black people. Thank you.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t want to come down too hard here, but I’ve seen better links:

        1) I don’t think much of the source; there’s no About page.

        2) I don’t think much of David Robertson, the author, or his book.

        It would probably be best to quote from the scholarly literature on this topic; there’s a good deal of it, and a lot of great work done recently; on slavery in the United States, see Edward Baptiste, The Half Has Never Been Told or Stephanie Jones-Rogers, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South. I grant that neither of these two books is a comparative diachronic study of slavery globally; perhaps a reader can recommend one such.

        On “indentured servitude” in particular, there are a lot of horrid systems of labor control in the world, and indentured servitude is indeed bad, but IMNSHO there’s no comparison between it and chattel slavery. Indentured servitude is a lot like an unconscionable contract that the weaker party is forced to sign out of desperation, but it has terms and an end. In chattel slavery the slave is owned (that is to say, not a person*). That’s why there was an enormous, nationwide marketplace supporting their sale, and why you see the auction houses for slaves, a sophisticated financial market supporting their sale, coffles of slaves being driven along public roads from Virginia to New Orleans to be sold, etc. Our system of slavery in the United States was particularly brutal because children born of slave parents were also slaves (“natural increase,” Jefferson called it). This led to families being broken up as children were sold to a different master than their parents, for example. Indentured servitude lacked this misfeature entirely.**

        So, while indentured servitude was bad, I don’t think it’s possible to show that it was in any way worse than chattel slavery. Further, it’s a bit of a minefield to raise the issue, because the argument that “white people were slaves too!” is often raised as a form of bad faith whataboutism (which, to be clear, I don’t think you are doing here).

        NOTE * A big contradiction!

        NOTE ** In indentured servitude, the contract (the “indenture”) was the commodity that was sold, not the person, as in chattel slavery (or the person’s labor power for a period of time, as with wages). That shows the structural difference between the two, though it does open the door to family break-up, if the indenture was for, we might say, a “family pack.” But I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’d also like to ask fellow readers and commenters

      Managing comment style is part of moderation, which is an admin function, not a commenter function.

Comments are closed.