2:00PM Water Cooler 6/18/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

#COVID19

At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. For a change, here are the world numbers (in log scale):

Our slope is increasing; new cases per day are going up. On the bright side, we’re doing OK by world standards!

Politics

“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 17 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!

* * *

2020

UPDATE Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden, in latest visit to Pa., says Trump is ‘surrendering’ to coronavirus” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “‘Donald Trump wants to style himself a wartime president against an invisible enemy, the coronavirus,’ Biden said during a speech in Darby Borough, Delaware County. ‘But unlike any other wartime leader, he takes no responsibility, he exercises no leadership, and now he’s surrendering the fight.’… His speech was carried live on cable news channels, including Fox News, which broke away from remarks Trump was giving at the same time [ouch!]. Biden has struggled to gain media attention during the pandemic, with traditional campaigning largely shut down. That appears to be changing ever so slightly as Biden ramps up his public appearances, with the campaign increasingly playing out in the medium of daily TV news coverage. Wednesday was Biden’s third visit to the Philadelphia region in three weeks and his first to Delaware County since declaring his candidacy. The county, in a critical swing state, has shifted more Democratic in recent years. The party took all five County Council seats last year in a Democratic wave that spread across Philadelphia’s collar counties. Just how blue the suburbs vote is could have a big impact on who wins the state in November…. A CNBC poll released Wednesday of voters in six battleground states, including Pennsylvania, found 54% of voters said Trump was “pushing states to reopen their economies too quickly in order to boost his own reelection chances.” All six states showed an increase from two weeks ago in voters’ concern that their states had opened up too quickly.” • “Biden: It Takes A Plague To Elect Him.” That said, I still think Biden is a terrible candidate and lousy on policy. That doesn’t mean his campaign is lousy; so far, Trump hasn’t laid a glove on him. Despite multiple, multiple blunders and mis-steps — and a technically excellent media operation.

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders tests influence in House primaries for open seats” [MSN]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders is moving on from his presidential campaign, turning his attention to races further down the ballot. And he’s not just taking on Republicans or sitting Democrats who aren’t sufficiently liberal [sic]. The Vermont independent is also weighing in on crowded, open-seat primaries in Democratic territory in an effort to bring more progressives to the House. Primaries for two open seats next week around New York City could test whether his endorsement provides a last-minute boost in fundraising and energy that his favored candidates need to win…. Sanders endorsed in just two of 14 safe Democratic open seats in 2018. In the 2020 cycle, Sanders has endorsed candidates in four of the eight open-seat races in deep-blue territory.”

Sanders (D)(2): “Bernie Sanders’ California forces want Ro Khanna — not Newsom — to lead state delegation” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters haven’t gone away just because Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Some of their top California supporters want to send a national message by electing Fremont Rep. Ro Khanna to lead the California delegation at the Democratic National Convention — even though Khanna supported Sanders and not Biden. Electing Khanna to a post that is largely ceremonial would be more than a symbolic gesture of unity, the Vermont senator’s supporters say — it would be a way for Sanders’ platform to live on into the convention. But it’s not without political complications. The job is typically given to the governor, meaning if Khanna won the post, Gov. Gavin Newsom wouldn’t. Newsom is frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate down the line, and party conventions are a showcase for those with national ambitions.” •

Trump (R)(1): “Following Trump’s Protest Antics, Young Voters Turn Hard Against Him, According To Exclusive New Poll” [Forbes]. “Last month’s installment of the Forbes Under 30 Survey, Powered by John Zogby Strategies—a recurring poll of likely voters between the ages of 18 and 29—showed a beleaguered President Trump floundering in the race against former vice president Joe Biden. Following his response to the recent Black Lives Matter protests, the president’s outlook is dimmer still. Since May, Trump’s share of likely voters has dropped from 34% to 31%, and Democratic nominee Joe Biden now polls with a two-to-one advantage against the sitting president. While Biden has long held an edge over his opponent within the Millennial and Gen Z cohort, this new lead—60%—is his largest yet. The uptick in support marks an increase of nearly ten percent since the Forbes Under 30 Voter Survey debuted in January.”

Trump (R)(2): “Exclusive: Trump plots virus-era, made-for-TV mass festival” [Axios]. “President Trump’s campaign plans to turn this weekend’s Tulsa rally into a massive pro-Trump festival complete with musical acts, and it’s flying in high-profile backers and camera crews to show the world the fervency of his supporters…. Temperature checks are being planned on site and masks and hand sanitizer were to be handed out, according to people familiar with the planning. The Trump campaign says 1 million people have signed up — a data grab for the campaign — and of those, tens of thousands are expected to attend. The Bank of Oklahoma (BOK) Center, where the indoor event will be held, holds 19,000 people, and the area next to it where the second stage will be set up can hold tens of thousands more.”

* * *

UPDATE “Democrat Facing Progressive Primary Challenge Signs Letter Supporting Cuts to Social Security — Then Quietly Walks It Back at Home” [The Intercept]. “Rep. Derek Kilmer, chair of the corporate-friendly New Democrat Coalition, was among the 30 House Democrats who joined Republicans in signing a letter calling for cuts to Social Security benefits earlier this month. … But Kilmer, who’s facing a primary challenge in August from progressive Rebecca Parson in Washington’s 6th Congressional District, which covers most of Tacoma, has been trying to walk back his support for the letter and the attack on Social Security in letters to constituents who had contacted him with concerns about the policy recommendation.” • No doubt!

UPDATE “Things Are Not Going Well for Amy McGrath” [New York Magazine]. • That’s a damn shame.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Opinion analysis: Court rejects Trump administration’s effort to end DACA” [SCOTUSblog]. “It has been eight years since the Obama administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which allows undocumented young adults who came to the United States as children to apply for protection from deportation. In 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would end the program, which it believed had been illegal in the first place. Today, by a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration acted improperly in terminating the program, and it sent the case back for the Department of Homeland Security to take another look. The ruling means that the DACA program will remain in place, at least for the foreseeable future.” • Reax (1):

Reax (2):

“Literally!” Leave that for Boehner ffs. (Good to quote the excellent SCOTUSblog though!)

* * *

“In defense of Karen” [Matthew Walker, The Week]. “At the risk of outing myself as a hopeless contrarian, I would like to put in a good word for Karen.” • “Contrarian” seems to be the new word for “bad person.” More: “My misgivings began when I saw people asking what the male equivalent of a Karen was…. 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), I will not only accept the premise of her existence but do my best to paint a sympathetic picture of her, even though doing so requires painting with the same broad strokes as her critics…. Let’s talk about the manager and why Karen wants to speak with him. Karen has probably worked a terrible job before, or she might, in fact, have one now. She has always done the best she could at her job, not because it meant that she would be paid more or because she would win the esteem of her indifferent colleagues and superiors, but for purely abstract reasons. Karen does not like sloppiness. She is not okay with the old college try. She has been asked to do a great many difficult and not especially rewarding tasks both inside and outside the workplace, and if you ask her now, Karen will in fact disinterestedly apply herself to any tedious project, but she will expect the same from everyone else involved.”

UPDATE “The Rage Unifying Boomers and Gen Z” [Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic]. “The massive nationwide demonstrations since Floyd’s death in Minneapolis have provided a kind of culmination for these disparate strands of activism. The protests have been notable for the racial diversity of their crowds. A poll released Thursday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that while young people ages 18 to 29 account for 52 percent of all adults who have protested—more than double their share of the overall population—participants closely tracked the nation’s overall racial breakdown. ‘All of those things are coming together in this moment,’ Foy, a Pentecostal reverend, told me. “You have not just black people on the streets … You have all of diverse America on the streets.'” • Oddly, or not, the word “strike” does not appear in Brownstein’s article….

The CCP is trolling us:

“Exiting the Vampire Castle” [Mark Fisher, Exiting the Vampire Castle]. • Twitter seems to be a little dogpile-y lately; I recommend reading this classic essay in full as an antidote.

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.

Employment Situation: “13 June 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims 1,508,000 This Week” [Econintersect]. “According to the BLS: ‘The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment. This report now includes information on claimants filing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims.’The pandemic has so far caused a 46,020,000 job loss.a portion of this number now have jobs.”

Manufacturing: “June 2020 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Index Improves And Is Now In Expansion” [Econintersect]. “The Philly Fed Business Outlook Survey significantly improved and now is well into expansion…. Overall, this report was a much better than last month’s report with key elements significantly improving…. This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded of is sentiment-based.”

* * *

Cash: “US Casinos To Go Cashless, Citing Pandemic Fears” [PYMNTS.COM]. “The American Gaming Association (AGA), the Washington, D.C.-based trade group for the $261 billion sector, has issued “Payments Modernization Policy Principles” that they say will guide the industry into ePayments….. The group devised seven principles to educate regulators who are considering expanding payment choices, including: Equip customers with more tools to wager responsibly; Give customers payment choice and convenience; Ensure state laws enable a flexible regulatory approach, capable of keeping pace with evolving forms of digital payments; Address heightened customer public health concerns; Provide customers confidence in digital payment security; Create a uniform regulatory environment for casino operators, suppliers, and regulators; and empower law enforcement to better identify offenders through digital payment analysis.” • Of course.” •

Retail: “Some of that stockpiled inventory might be with us for a while. Several clothing retailers are saying they may pack away a substantial share of inventory for later seasons, or even next year…. instead of pushing their goods into what’s likely to be a cutthroat period of post-pandemic markdowns” [Wall Street Journal]. “Companies across the retail sector are coping with bloated inventories after the coronavirus lockdowns kept consumers at home over much of the spring. The stockpiles are a major cloud over apparel retailers because sales are highly seasonal and styles can change drastically over the course of a year. But merchants hope to avoid deep sales discounting that is a drag on profits. Not everyone is following a “pack-away” strategy. Fast-fashion retailers are moving quickly to reduce inventory levels…”

UPDATE Retail: “Retail Sales Data Shows the CARES Act Is Working” [Josh Barro, New York Magazine]. “The retail sales report comes after the surprise jobs report showing 2.5 million jobs added in May — and just before a report showing rapidly rising sentiment among homebuilders. (Another sign Americans feel good about spending on homes: retail spending at building supply and garden stores was actually 16 percent higher this May than last May.) If epidemiological conditions materially worsen — and they have become more worrying in some states — that could knock both household confidence and economic activity off track. But so far, the stock market enthusiasm that seemed puzzling in May is increasingly getting backed up by data from the real economy. Consumers are coming back.” • This also contains a stirring defense of the CARES Act. It’s worth a read, though I’m dubious about the V-shaped recovery concept.

Shipping: “Alternative meats: a threat to the trucking industry?” (audio, graphics) [Freight Waves]. “Production centers are closer to consumer.” Alternative meats are manufactured, not farmed.

Manufacturing: “Tesla Inc. may be facing a demand problem just when the electric-car maker looks like it has solved its supply chain woes. Registrations of newly purchased Tesla vehicles plunged in California over the past two months…. signaling a new challenge in a critical market as Chief Executive Elon Musk tries to maintain investor enthusiasm” [Wall Street Journal]. “Tesla shares have soared recently, fueled in part by reports that the auto maker last month delivered a record 11,095 locally made Model 3 compact cars in China.

UPDATE The Fed: “If Zombie Companies Don’t Die, We’ll Pay a Price” [Bloomberg]. “The Federal Reserve is lending a lot of companies a lot of money…. But there’s a growing worry in some quarters that all of this lending will create a wave of zombie companies. Zombies are businesses that have to borrow to survive and don’t make enough profit to cover debt-service costs. The number of such companies has been increasing steadily in developed nations during the past 20 years. The reason, presumably, is low interest rates, which allow zombies to sustain themselves on borrowed money rather than exit the market…. In a healthy economy, bad companies die and good companies replace them and new industries rise while old ones fade. But if the Fed keeps all of the bad companies on life support, neither of those necessary processes can happen. If the moratorium on creative destruction lasts only a year, until Covid-19 is eliminated by treatments or vaccines, the amount of resource misallocation will probably not be too bad. The danger is if unprofitable companies are supported for years.” • Zombie companies are good for executives and management, though. So what’s the issue?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 51 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 17 at 12:42pm.

The Biosphere

“Can the World Get Along Without Natural Resources?” [Economics from the Top Down]. “From its outset, the field of political economy was not designed, in any meaningful sense, to understand resource flows. Instead, it was designed to explain class relations. The goal of early political economists was to justify the income of different classes (workers, landowners and capitalists). They choose to do so by rooting this income in the ‘production of wealth’. What followed from this original sin was centuries of conflating income with ‘production’. This conflation is what allowed Robert Solow to proclaim that the world could “get along without natural resources”. Let’s retrace this flawed thinking. It starts with a failure to understand property rights. Political economists largely understand property as a productive asset — a way of thinking that dates to the 17th-century work of John Locke (or perhaps earlier). Locke proclaimed that property rights stemmed from ‘natural law’…. Locke’s thinking became known as the ‘labor theory of property’. This theory (and it derivatives) is why political economists misunderstand the role of natural resources. Here’s what happens. If we accept Locke’s argument that you have a right to own what you produce, it follows that your wealth should stem from your output. Most political economists after Locke accepted this reasoning (at least in part). That meant that the debate was not about whether wealth was ‘produced’, but rather, about which ‘factors of production’ were ‘productive’. The physiocrats thought land alone was productive. Marx insisted that only labor was productive. Neoclassical economists proclaimed that, alongside labor, capital too was productive. The debate between these schools played out over centuries. The problem, though, is that it’s based on a flawed premise. The debate assumes that value is ‘produced’. (It’s not.) To see the consequences of this mistake, we need an actual scientific theory of property rights — a theory that explains why property exists, not why it ‘ought’ to exist. The most convincing theory of private property, in my opinion, comes from the work of Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler. To understand property, Nitzan and Bichler argue that we should turn Locke’s idea on its head. Property isn’t a ‘natural right’. It’s an act of power.” • Sorry for the length, but this is interesting…. A commenter — sorry, too long ago! — recommented Nitzan and Bichier’s book, Capital as Power. A Study of Order and Creorder and I got partly through it, but I’m allergic to neologisms that are not my own. Perhaps I should try again!

“Court tosses San Diego County climate plan, calls carbon-offset program ‘unlawful'” [Los Angeles Times]. “The county was relying on the offset program as part of an ongoing push to approve a slate of housing projects on undeveloped land throughout unincorporated territory… Last year, the county sought to approve eight new projects totaling about 10,000 new units, but nearly all have been derailed or delayed by lawsuits. Many of those projects have been individually challenged in court by environmental groups. Those groups point to the tail-pipe emissions that would be created by additional traffic. Also, nearly all of the projects are located in wildfire-prone areas.”

Health Care

UPDATE “Clinical and immunological assessment of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections” (PDF) [Nature]. “We studied 37 asymptomatic individuals in the Wanzhou District

who were diagnosed with RT–PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections but without any relevant clinical symptoms in the preceding 14 d and during hospitalization…. The median duration of viral shedding in the asymptomatic group was 19 d (interquartile range (IQR), 15–26 d). …. Increasing evidence has shown that asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus efficiently, and the emergence of these silent spreaders of SARS-CoV-2 has caused difficulties in the control of the epidemic…. Abnormal radiological findings confined to one lung were identified in 66.7% (14/21) of the asymptomatic individuals, whereas 33.3% (7/21) had abnormalities in both lungs.” • I don’t see how lung damage (if not pre-existing) can happen without any symptoms. No wheezing? No difficulty climbing stairs? Said to be “the first in-depth, dedicated, immunologic profile of people who had #COVID19 but never developed symptoms.”

UPDATE “Requiring masks ‘political hazard’ as COVID-19 surges in California breadbasket” [Reuters]. “The first wave of COVID-19 came slowly to San Joaquin County in the heart of California’s breadbasket, but the much-feared second surge is roaring through, sickening as many people in the two weeks since Memorial Day as in March and April combined.” • I dunno about “second,” but let that pass. More: “[W]hen Michael Tubbs, mayor of the county seat of Stockton, submitted an ordinance requiring residents to wear masks when they are in public, he did not get a single vote from the six other members of the city council. It is ‘a political hazard to act in the interest of public health,’ complained Tubbs, a liberal whose city has several conservatives on the council. The pushback Tubbs experienced – and the spike in cases the county’s health director says was exacerbated when people celebrated Mothers Day and Memorial Day without following physical distancing rules – offers a glimpse into the complicated politics around lifting coronavirus restrictions. Last week, the chief health officer for Orange County in Southern California resigned amid protests and personal attacks after she issued an order to wear masks in public. Four other health officers in California have resigned or retired in the last two months, as have two public health department directors, local media have reported as cases and deaths continue to rise in the state.” • Cancel culture, but from conservatives, and, as usual, more effective than whatever liberals do.

UPDATE “Hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 prevention trials incomplete: WHO” [Channel News Asia]. “‘As far as the use of hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis or prevention of COVID-19 – either before or after exposure – the last word is not yet out,’ WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a virtual press conference. ‘There are some good and big trials going on, and we hope those will be completed so that we have the kind of evidence that we need to make sure that patients receive the drugs which help – and do not receive drugs which do not help.'” • Prophylaxis is the only use case I care about!

Police State Watch

“LACSD deputy fatally shoots Robert Fuller’s half-brother in Kern County [updated]” [Antelope Valley News (PI)]. Local coverage: “A half-brother of Robert Fuller was shot to death by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies Wednesday afternoon in Kern County, a Fuller family attorney confirmed…. Robert Fuller’s body was found with a rope around his neck around 3:40 a.m. June 10 in Poncitlan Square, across from Palmdale City Hall. Authorities initially said the death appeared to be a suicide, although an official cause of death has not been made.” • Curious timing, to say the least.

“Shooting charge dropped against suspected New Mexico shooter” [Reuters]. ” A New Mexico prosecutor on Wednesday dropped a shooting charge against an Albuquerque man suspected of shooting a protester and called for further investigations after allegations the protester was armed at the time he was shot…. Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez said he had serious concerns an initial police investigation into the Monday shooting did not identify who owned multiple weapons collected at the scene, including knives, nor interview key bystanders and police.” Whoopsie. More: “Torrez filed four new charges against Baca for unlawful carrying of a firearm and battery for allegedly assaulting three women before the shooting.” • There’s a weird self-defense justification I can’t understand (“a person cannot claim self defense if they are the first aggressor”); maybe an Arizonan (?) reader can help.

“Protesters Filing First Wave of Police Brutality Lawsuits Against NYPD” [The City]. “So far, 18 notices of claim, the first step in filing a suit against the New York City, have been lodged with the city Comptroller’s Office alleging police abuses at the rallies, according to records obtained by THE CITY. Dozens more are expected to be submitted in the coming days.” • Lots of detail.

“As protests spread to small-town America, militia groups respond with armed intimidation and online threats” [WaPo]. “[T]he activists spearheading unlikely assemblies in rural and conservative corners of the country have faced fierce online backlash and armed intimidation, which in some places is unfolding with the apparent support of local law enforcement…. The armed mobilization sheds light on the growth of anti-government militia groups, whose efforts — often coordinated on Facebook and other online platforms — have expanded since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide outburst of protests for racial justice. Militia activity has marked recent protests in places across the country, often driven by false online alerts about infiltration by antifa and other left-wing militants.”

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“Epstein Case: Documentaries Won’t Touch Tales of Intel Ties” [Consortium News]. “Neither documentary [“Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?,” Investigation Discovery; “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” Netflix] deals at all with Epstein’s suspected ties to the world of intelligence. Absent from both are Maxwell’s reported links to Israeli intelligence through her father, Robert Maxwell, former owner of The New York Daily News and The Mirror newspaper in London. Maxwell essentially received a state funeral in Israel and was buried on the Mount of Olives after he mysteriously fell off his yacht in 1991 in the Atlantic Ocean.” • Oddly. Or not.

The Tube

From Sam Spade to Andy Sipowicz via Jack Webb; a thread:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

A good union:

But one union. Imagine if the longshoreman, teamsters, and airline attendants got together…

Zeitgeist Watch

But there are cash incentives!

Class Warfare

Indeed:

News of the Wired

Sunset of empire:

* * *

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

Mmmmm. Asparagus! And another garden (AM):

AM: “Enthroned rosemary. Directly across from the screen window. Aluminum back and base to reflect light.” (Taken with a very classic phone, hence the width I normally want. But the aluminum foil seems like a clever trick.)

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:




Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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.

112 comments

  1. L

    The CCP trolling us is nothing new. In point of fact Chinese TV has been filled with the awfulness of America (both real and imagined) for years now. Imagine every Fox news anecdote about bad inner cities paired with every MSNBC anecdote about evil rednecks plus a dash of “everybody has guns and is using them every day”, now imagine the story being reported as if it is “everywhere” thus one shooting in California becomes “every city has shootings”. One protest by Occupy Wall Street becomes Nationwide riots etc.

    Sort of how Fox and MSNBC report on the PRC, or the DPRK.

    Reply
      1. L

        Agreed. We have been writing their PR copy for them lately. And it would be nice if we could at least get away from trying to confirm our worst images. But I guess doing that is harder work than our political class is up to.

        Reply
    1. periol

      I was in Beijing in 1994, and the only American stuff on TV was Cyndi Lauper videos. But she was on there all the time.

      When I was in Moscow in 1991, it was radio and no TV, and The Bangles were streaming non-stop.

      I’m not exactly sure who is/was trolling whom, to be honest.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        I don’t know if it’s marketing (maybe trolling?) or reflecting real demand that more students from China desire American credentials than the other way around.

        Not sure if Russisan credentials are as popular in China today.

        Reply
    2. aronblue

      I stayed a few months in Montreal in 2013 and attended some French conversation meetups – I met one young student from China who told me–with a shudder–that he would never want to visit the US because of the guns. Of course “fair and balanced” reporting could easily lead him to similar conclusions, but his attitude makes even more sense now.

      Reply
      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        I recall going north – crossing the US border with Canada forty years ago and feeling an unexpected sense of relief, and it wasn’t just because images of Her Brenda-ness were on the the currency. I put it down to gunz (without a “zed” ) at the time and nothing that has happened since has contributed to me changing my opinion.

        However because of my interest in history I find myself watching “Gun Jesus” as he is known on the ‘tube’s “Forgotten Weapons”. I like his mix of mechanical details and historical tidbits. It is a bit like atheists being fascinated by religion. Know thine enemy!

        Pip-pip!

        ps Where can I find those little Nerf flying saucers in Australia?

        Reply
      2. Temporarily Sane

        I’ve met plenty of Chinese students in the US, Canada and China. The attitude of the paranoid student you met certainly is not representative of attitudes held by young, relatively affluent Chinese students who are, or are considering, studying abroad.

        Compared to people from other major countries, including China, Americans (and Canadians for some reason) are far more gullible and apt to believe nefarious propaganda about countries their government does not like.

        The United States’ official ideology is built around its exceptionalism and inherent right to global domination.The type of relentless propaganda onslaughts regularly making the rounds in US media and DoS press releases demonizing the latest country the US wants to destroy, dominate or blame all of its problems on, do not happen in other places. This is a uniquely American phenomenon.

        Propaganda spectacles like Russiagate or “Wuhan Flu”, and earnest acceptance of its message by a significant segment of the population, could never happen in any other major country.

        And when China or Russia or Iran do dial up their criticism of the US, it’s usually in reaction to an uptick in vitriol (not to mention threats, sanctions or military action) aimed at them by an American administration.

        Reply
  2. Billy

    “Casinos To Go Cashless, Citing Pandemic Fears”
    How will the skim work then?

    “Dirty” paper money? Microwave it for 20-30 seconds, it become steamy hot.
    Nothing viable on it, to and including other viruses and bacteria.

    Besides privacy invasion, police and government tracking and hacking, there are other dangers of a cashless society, like the total lock down, accidental or deliberate, of one’s spending for food, shelter or anything else. You think asset forfeiture is bad now? Wait until only a few keystrokes can accomplish it 100%.

    https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1022/Frozen-accounts-plague-Rushcard-prepaid-card-network

    Reply
      1. L

        Oddly enough, Diebold was and is a manufacturer of safes before they purchased the elections biz. The bad press from that nearly sank their safe business so they spun it off as Premier.

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            And Mossler document pneumatic transport devices. Those vacuum tubes that ‘suck’ the cheques, money, deposit slips et. al. up and into the bowels of the bank are Mossler as well.

            Reply
    1. Diuretical

      Re: the nature article on asymptomatic transmission — it’s amazing how much pathology the human body can hide! All our organ systems are endowed with a high degree of functional reserve, especially the lungs. I’ve seen a surprising number of COVID patients comfortably breathing room air, even though their CT scans were a hot mess. Host responses to infection differ so much at baseline anyway. The same bacteria in the bloodstream of two different people can send one to the ICU while the other is looking completely fine. Older patients with impaired interferon response and big viral exposures to COVID can succumb very fast, but many younger people with robust innate immunity get through it with minimal or no symptoms; but then some mount a cytokine storm. Predicting who will do what is still in its infancy, though the published risk scores are fairly discriminatory. There’s a lot about host biological response to infection that we don’t know yet.

      Reply
  3. JohnnySacks

    The ‘Karen’ article is a bit long winded. Enlightening to a certain point, but I was doing just fine in my bubble head with ‘Karen’ just being a bit of karma for the ‘Bernie Bro’

    Reply
    1. spf

      It would have been more enlightening if the author had bothered to question why we find it necessary to take a perfectly good name and use it as a trash can.

      Reply
  4. Glen

    The Fed is “worried about zombie companies”?

    The Fed has been creating zombie companies with cheap money since Greenspan put started in the early 90’s. The Fed is now directly buying the junk bonds from these companies.

    Maybe the Fed is in a position to fix the problem it created? Just wondering … (about the “family blogging” obvious!)

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I thought that this was an article from back about 2008. Definitely the Feds are picking the winners and the losers in the economy and it just happens to work out that the winners are buddies of theirs on Wall Street. When companies go down due to inefficiency and/or corruption, that is capitalism. These companies are replaced by newer, better companies. What we have now is crony capitalism where some banks and businesses are kept afloat – even though they have lost their keel. This also has an international effect as a lot of these companies conduct business overseas but are protected by again the Feds from international competition. An example was that Bombardier plane in Canada that was blitzed for the sake of Boeing. But there is always a reckoning. The Iron Bank will have its due.

      Reply
  5. John k

    Trump will crush Biden in the debates…
    But Biden, or at least his handlers, know that. So why not just duck them? He can’t be forced to participate. He can just release prepared statements, or stump speeches, instead, and say he’s protecting all participants from the virus. Of course trump will whine, and call him names… but his basement strategy is working well so far.
    Frankly I’d like to see both of them, plus their veeps, all lose, but that doesn’t seem to be one of the options.

    Reply
    1. L

      I’m not so sure. From what I have seen the last few years the main debate discussion is already so polarized that each one will probably succeed in crushing their opponent, as far as their devotees are concerned. For everyone else it will probably be a wash. It has been decades since I learned anything of substance from a presidential debate, or a State of the Union.

      Reply
      1. periol

        Biden fans would no doubt consider him sounding somewhat coherent to be “crushing it”.

        If he tried to sniff the Don’s hair…

        Reply
      2. Aumua

        Biden’s devotees, right. Lot of excitement about Joe and his platform of… whatever it is it doesn’t matter. He’s not Trump! I highly doubt there are going to be any debates.

        Reply
      3. Pelham

        I’m not so sure either, though I take John k’s point. Quite mysteriously, Biden did all right against Sanders in their last debate.

        But more than that, Trump’s 2016 genius at hitting just the right notes with a certain base seems to be turning against him with a number of backfires lately. That genius may not work in this inflamed environment.

        OTOH, i just saw a Trump TV ad this morning, and it was brilliant at slashing Biden’s horrid record on China and trade. If the pandemic/BLM panic fades (I like Adolph Reed’s take on BLM and the BMC), this strategy could gain traction.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Biden did all right against Sanders in the last debate because he lied his face off again and again but Sanders would not go hard calling Biden out (“You’re nothing but a dog-faced, pony-soldier liar, Joe!”). Against Trump he will face a more dedicate liar but one who still has working brain synapses. I bet that if I put you against old Joe in a debate that you would quickly be able to tear him down by using his own words from five minutes research on the internet. So Biden is toast against Trump in any debate.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            This is not correct and drives me nuts. As I have repeatedly said, debunking a lie takes 3-20X the words of making the lie. See my CalPERS posts for examples.

            Sanders was on rebuttal rules when Biden lied. He has only 30 seconds. No way could he make an effective response.

            Reply
            1. Eric Patton

              Yes, Sanders could have never said anything about Biden ever. Clearly, if Sanders didn’t call Biden out on his bullshit during the debates, there was no other way for Sanders to fight back.

              Your constant excuse making for Bernie drives me nuts. It is your website, though. And by the way, 30 seconds is plenty of time for a skilled talker, especially when he knows exactly what questions are coming. Jim Cornette could get out War and Peace in 30 seconds.

              Reply
        2. Elizabeth Burton

          It’s not difficult for one party in a debate to do well against their opponent if said opponent wasn’t supplied with an advance copy of the questions. As we know from previous experience, the media are happy to oblige their Democrat friends if there’s money to be made and a Populist candidate to undermine.

          There won’t be any debates because by this point Joe Biden, even with careful coaching and an earbud, has declined so drastically he can’t be trusted to carry it off. If the Democrats are counting on 80% of the Sanders people voting for him the way they did the last Anointed, though, they’re in for a shock. At best, they may get 50%, and that could be a stretch. He has no support whatever among the Latino/a community, and Black people are starting to look askance after he claimed to support action against police violence and proposed to solve it by giving police more money.

          Long story short, this November is going to be a crap shoot, and anyone who thinks either of the candidates will waltz into the Oval is delusional.

          Reply
    2. SalonBee

      What will happen at the debates is regardless of how Biden does the media and pundits will declare Biden the winner, and all the fact checkers will unanimously agree Biden only spoke truths while everything Trump said is a lie and also facist/racist too. I have never (at least in my life) seen such coordination of the elites against someone during a Presidential election. It almost makes me want to vote for Trump just to spite elites.

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        If the elites don’t have any respect for the hoi polloi, they shouldn’t be surprised when we flip them the bird any way we can. In 2016 they told us Donald Trump gave them the vapors.

        “Oh really, is that where your goat is tied up at?”

        Reply
      2. barefoot charley

        I know, I know. But that would spite myself. I vowed never again to vote for the lesser evil (let alone the more senile), but I’m agonna, with an extra pox on all their houses.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          I understand the attraction of lesser evilism. It is just that they have been telling liberals and leftists to vote for the lesser evil since the ascendancy of neoliberalism and also to the “conservative” voters as well.

          WTF has that gotten the lower 90% besides more corruption, warfare, incompetence, poverty, and two grifters, one deranged and the other senile? Both candidates are in such bad health that the real candidates are the Democratic VP and the current VP Mike Pence.

          The only possible, uhmm… advantages of the Democratic Party are the civil rights egg with that lethal filling of Identity Politics and a slight dedication to a functioning government. Those and to keep VP Pence out of the Oval Office.

          Any chance I have of a major degree will end probably before 2024 as both parties collapse unless some candidate on the level of Lincoln, TR, or FDR, or maybe, maybe LBJ despite his great flaws, who all appeared right at the the breaking points of our county’s history. Does anyone see such a candidate anywhere in the political scene in the entire nation? The only historical fact that gives me hope is that all of the past reformers, with the exception of LBJ, were unexpected and unexpected successful.

          We really have lucked out during times of crisis.

          Reply
    3. anon in so cal

      What if Biden’s propped up with whatever he got for the Biden-Sanders debate? In a video of it, Sanders seemed to be the one struggling. Plus, does anyone think there will be debates? If there are, would the outcome matter at that point? T appears to be spiraling in. The Tulsa rally may be his last.

      Reply
    4. Lou Anton

      So I thought Sanders was going to crush Biden in the debates…didn’t happen. Biden has shown he can keep it together for 90 minutes and stay sharp. I think Trump will come off as Daffy Duck and Biden as Bugs Bunny.

      Reply
  6. Hepativore

    So with Derek Kilmer, the question remains on whether or not this will be a sign of things to come if we get a president Biden as he was so gung-ho to retroactively cut Social Security along with Obama.

    Why are Social Security cuts always framed as a “grand bargain” when the only thing that you will get in return from the Republican Party is a punch in the face and your toes stomped on along with the consternation of millions of people across the nation who are currently on the program?

    I fear that the COVID-19 pandemic will be an excuse for a potential Biden presidency to pursue an unprecedented degree of austerity with all of the Democratic Party apologists looking the other way, because Biden is “their guy”.

    Reply
    1. Glen

      Heading into a New Great Depression, is Biden stupid enough to CUT Social Security? I would say YES, he is doing fine so all of us Americans are going to have to learn how to get by with LESS! Herbert Hoover here we come! Then the Republicans get in and do the same thing, and the DNC is just fine with that too!

      As pointed out here recently, it’s a feature not a bug of the two party system in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3M4br46s7A

      You know why they call it a “Grand Bargain”? Because calling it “Family blogging” the 99% so we can cut taxes on billionaires again didn’t fit on the bumper sticker.

      Reply
      1. John

        There are easy ways to beef up the Social Security “Trust Fund”. but they involve expanding its tax base and that is very unpopular with the 20%. MMT to the rescue. Wave the wand and create the money. Hey, if you can bail out the banks and the corporations and the lobbyists and private equity and members of congress, you can bail out social security. Think of it as a guaranteed minimum income for senior citizens.

        Congress manages to find the cash for whatever they want.How about finding the cash for something the 80% want?

        Reply
        1. Glen

          No kidding about that, just raise or get rid of the cap. Plus money spent on SS gets almost immediately spent into the real economy all across the nation.

          But it continues to amaze me that “everybody” is concerned SS will run out of money in 40 years by $2T. Does anybody care that the Fed has dumped $36T into Wall St since 2008? Seems like we should be letting those companies go broke and save the real big bucks – $2T in 40 years for SS is like chump change.

          Reply
          1. Late Introvert

            Are there reliable and easy to understand links re: this $36,000,000,000,000 figure you speak of? I would love to send it to my dad, in his 90s and a guy who lost his faith in Wall St. after 2008.

            I recently explained to him that a billion dollars is a thousand million dollars. He was starting to nod, and when I said that a trillion is a thousand BILLION, his eyes opened wide and he said I never thought of it like that.

            This was in reference to our war spending in the ME, another topic I don’t have reliable references for. Anyone? I will ask again if this gets lost in the shuffle.

            Reply
    2. Pat

      I think you are looking at the ‘Grand Bargain’ from a perspective that the principals do not have. The Democrats who participate in passing Social Security cuts and ‘improvements’ are getting something in return, same with the Republicans. The bargain is to screw the American public in order to benefit themselves and their backers. It isn’t just cuts on the block meant to eliminate having to actually pay off the investments that were made in the trust fund by scheduled overpayments. No, there are plans for different ways to ‘manage’ this money. Most of which include professional private financial investment companies getting their fingers in the pie.

      Monies will still be deducted from your pay check (maybe not the employer share, but since small business owners are on tap for that it might remain). You just won’t see diddly from it, as they can find a way to cut payments to smaller percentages, increase fees and pass their losses off on the American worker. . However it gets invested.

      Meanwhile there will be lots of campaign donations, book deals, speaking engagements and lucrative board positions for everyone who makes it happen. It is just a small percentage of what the money jerks will make. As I said, that is no punch in the face for the Democratic politicians who push it, nor for the Republicans. It is, however, a very bi-partisan punch in the face for every American worker not in the club.

      Reply
    1. Glen

      Apparently, Fauci admitted that they downplayed the use of masks because they wanted to ensure that the limited supply of PPE was prioritized towards healthcare workers:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2MmX2U2V3c

      My wife is an RN and I think she would clobber me if I didn’t wear a mask in public. But she also dragged out the sewing machine, cut up a bunch of old sheets, and made them!

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Far be it from me to disagree with either Aumua or Glen. But I am noticing more rank -n- file Tucsonans wearing masks in stores and public buildings.

        Matter of fact, I went to the library this morning. My first visit to Downtown Tucson in three months. Place looked like a ghost town.

        Any-hoo, I tried to enter our Main Library. But I was met at the door by a staffer who politely asked if I was there to use the computers. No, I was there to pick up my reserves.

        Well, I was asked to show my library card and give my name. And then I was told to go back outside and wait.

        A few minutes later, another staffer came outside with a book cart. He pushed it toward me, I removed my reserved and checked out books, and then I left.

        To think that going to the library used to be a joyous experience.

        Reply
        1. Glen

          No disagreement with AS! Just was surprised to have Fauci admit that they said what they said.

          Just back from the store, and my wife was concerned about the one person that showed up at the hardware store without a mask. We have noticed less people wearing masks up here in the PNW since our county did a re-open.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            99% of the folks i saw in San Antonio, today were wearing masks, at least inside.
            and not that half-assed nose sticking out way, either.

            in our little town, on the way out this morning, a truckload of fencebuilding youths…all muscle and stubble and glare…looked at me like i was a P55sy, but didn’t say anything.
            Most others i saw were wearing them inside.
            San Antone has a policy for that…it’s mandatory indoors.
            we do not.
            and today is the first time i’ve left the farm for a week or more(hard to remember), but when i have ventured out, the mask wearing skews to the old, and frail and people whom i know are sick…modified pretty consistently by known political affiliation…as well as the intensity/thought-viral load of that affiliation.==young folks who are woke-ish dems wear them…olds who are regular attendees at the gop meetings do not.
            The local High Priest of Libertardian F6ckwittery i mentioned a week or two ago refuses to wear a mask…very loudly…but few actually like him very much, so it’s not like he has anywhere near the influence he thinks he does,lol.

            another observation from the road: For Sale Signs cropping up like pigweed, whole way from here to there(130 or so miles)….including a (poorly) handmade one right on Fredericksburg Road in SA that offered a “Fixer Upper–was $180K…now $90K…PLEASE CALL*****”
            Too soon…and too infrequent excursions…to call it an indicator.
            also…went to a healthnut store, looking for some of that sinus probiotic stuff(no joy), in a rather upscale shopping lot i frequent(half priced books is there)…1/3 of the shops were closed.
            at noon-ish on a thursday.
            didn’t have the presence of mind to notice all the other shopping lots we passed, save for the For Sale Signs out on the highway/freeway margin of grass.
            Highway/Freeway was busier than i’ve seen it since February.

            Reply
        2. Late Introvert

          Slim,

          I know it sucks. I miss my local library so much. It’s near my job, I can bike there, the staff and selection is world class.

          But how else would they do it to protect you and the workers? My town, Iowa City, has finally started allowing reserves and curbside pickup, and we are super grateful.

          Most businesses here are doing that, and we never even had a large breakout in Johnson Country (no meatpacking). Cases are trending down and I see more masks every day. This is a model for the rest of the US, so I’m posting it here. My daughter was all better safe than sorry and I beamed in pride.

          This ain’t over folks, not by a long shot. Sayeth the canary in the coal mine.

          Reply
  7. ThomG

    “Can the World Get Along Without Natural Resources?”

    The bit from Nordhaus, MIT PhD and Nobel Prize winner, predicting 85% of GDP to be unaffected by climate change reminds me of this gem of a quote from Bertrand Russell – “This is one of those views which are so absolutely absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.”

    Reply
    1. Linden S.

      That he won a Nobel and is still taken at even a bit seriously makes me unbelievably mad. The damage that he alone has done, the years that were delayed by thinking climate change’s “costs” were not really that bad. Unforgivable.

      Reply
      1. John Wright

        As has been pointed out many times at NC, the Economics “Nobel” is a “tacked on” Nobel that the Nobel family did NOT endorse.

        From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Memorial_Prize_in_Economic_Sciences

        “Some critics argue that the prestige of the Prize in Economics derives in part from its association with the Nobel Prizes, an association that has often been a source of controversy. Among them is the Swedish human rights lawyer Peter Nobel, a great-grandnephew of Ludvig Nobel. Nobel accuses the awarding institution of misusing his family’s name, and states that no member of the Nobel family has ever had the intention of establishing a prize in economics.”

        I’d hazard that if an entity created a “Walt Disney prize for animation” without the Disney Corporation’s approval, there would be a rapid “cease and desist” order from the corporation.

        But apparently, the Nobel family’s wishes were ignored and the “economics Nobel” was allowed into existence.

        Reply
  8. Samuel Conner

    > but I’m allergic to neologisms that are not my own.

    It’s good, even essential, to have an immune system that is competent at distinguishing “self” from “non-self”, but this strikes me as “over-active.”

    Perhaps a course of dexamethasone would help.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Just scanning through the introduction to “Capital as Power …” I grew allergic to much more than the neologisms although ‘Creorder’ makes the Michelin Man flat … “He took a duck in the face at 250 knots…He took a duck in the face …”

      For analysis of Power I think a much better source would be a re-reading of C. Wright Mills “Power Elite” and “White Collar” followed by reading Domhoff’s “Who Rules America”. A 400+ page book seems like major overkill to establish a connection between Capital and Power. It is far more interesting to examine how Power operates.

      Reply
        1. neo-realist

          Gross’s writing style is challenging to get through, but the analysis re our fascist corporate state was ultimately very rewarding.

          Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      If only we had a national railroad system. Forget the Maglev and super-fast … I would settle for more direct routes coast-to-coast — especially if they could go around Texas [I would rather visit North korea!].

      Reply
    2. John k

      Airlines should say passengers that do not wear their masks on the plane will be banned from that airlines flights in the future, including return tickets.
      If the majority supports wearing masks, the majority will want to continue flying that airline.

      Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      A few years ago, there was a college in Pennsylvania. Name: Beaver College.

      Well, guess what. The name of the place made Beaver College very popular among certain young men who were very interested in an activity that, ahem, isn’t what we discuss on family blogs like this one.

      The college administrators decided that a name change was in order. The place is now known as Arcadia University.

      Citation: https://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=94962&page=1

      Reply
    2. Aumua

      Hoo boy… somehow I don’t think they will rename Yale. I had no idea about that one. Should be interesting to watch what happens.

      Reply
    3. periol

      Why rename it? Isn’t it just a nod to reality, giving the young blue bloods and their education the official slave trader stamp of approval as they assume their privileges?

      The name is even more interesting when you consider the neighborhoods around Yale itself, and the fun town/gown antagonism there…

      Reply
    4. nycTerrierist

      https://news.yale.edu/2017/02/11/yale-change-calhoun-college-s-name-honor-grace-murray-hopper-0

      Wonder if this came up when they decided to rename Calhoun College at Yale in 2017:

      “Yale President Peter Salovey announced today that the university would rename Calhoun College, one of 12 undergraduate residential colleges, to honor one of Yale’s most distinguished graduates, Grace Murray Hopper ’30 M.A., ’34 Ph.D., by renaming the college for her.

      Salovey made the decision with the university’s board of trustees — the Yale Corporation — at its most recent meeting. “The decision to change a college’s name is not one we take lightly, but John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately promoted slavery as a ‘positive good’ fundamentally conflicts with Yale’s mission and values,”…

      Reply
  9. Pelham

    Re Epstein’s possible intel connections: Maybe this explains why Russiagate had such staying power, if Epstein’s operations were really underage honeypot attempts to get kompromat on powerful people. Thus the Steele dossier may have sounded perfectly plausible to the Blob and their media buddies because they understood this is the type of thing they rig up themselves.

    Reply
    1. periol

      I suspect the reason there’s so much quietude around Epstein’s intel connections is that they’re mainly Mossad. If it was internal US intelligence the whole thing would have been handled much more quietly the entire way, most especially his earlier conviction.

      Reply
  10. Mark Gisleson

    Now I’m wondering how much of my antipathy to identitarian politics was sown back in 2013 by that Mark Fisher post. It really does cut straight to the defective artificial heart that powers Hillary’s monster truck version of identity theory. “Exiting the Vampire Castle” also ranks right up there with Taibbi’s ‘vampire squid/blood funnel’ for aptness.

    Hoping for a quiet summer and a nation that dives back into itself to heal and in so doing realizes that voting is for suckers, and when govt can’t be counted on family and community must come first.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      seconded, regarding America needing a Sabbatical/Quiet-Time/Sit in the goddamned corner.

      and, for anyone currently suffering from low BP, a link to a link:
      (i won’t link to FB, so here’s their “Community Page”(remembering that there’s no such thing,lol):
      “Neoliberal Memes for Freetrading Teens”(!!!)
      https://neoliberalproject.org/communities

      almost makes me want to get a fake FB account so i can troll them.

      Reply
  11. ChrisPacific

    Regarding the unemployment line: maybe they could hire some of the people in the line to process applications faster?

    Reply
  12. jr

    Field report: West Village

    Small protest march, drums and megaphone, maybe a half a block in length. Peaceful. They have been getting shorter and shorter.

    Reply
  13. bassmule

    From a facebook friend in Tulsa (not media, just an individual):

    “It is already frightening here even without the virus. A 100 people camped out in front of the BOK. Stun guns being sold at trump swag tents. Businesses boarding up. Trumpsters claiming it is all because of the horrible dems and leftists. Like hell….you came to town carrying guns, buying stun guns and looking for trouble. We’re doing our best to keep everyone away. Videos being posted by guys saying they are locked and loaded and ready to clear the streets when Trump gives the word. Vendor mad because someone called him a racist while he wears his “Trump 2020 – Suck it up buttercup” best selling t-shirt. Tulsa will never be the same. We MUST remember, this man’s strategists are more evil than he. There is a reason Tulsa was chosen. It is not even the state capitol.

    Oh and there is a full-out gun show at the Fairgrounds.

    WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG??”

    People camping out waiting for the Big Event? Trump will not cancel this; he can’t let his fans down! This is going to be a disaster. Those predicting Trump wiping the floor with Sleepy Joe in the debates (should they actually happen) should take into account the possibility of Donald being called a mass murderer on national TV, and quite possibly well before the debates.

    Reply
    1. MK

      Hmmm. Kinda like an autonomous zone. Hmmm, where has that come up lately?

      And Joe is the mass incarcerator [of minorities to boot!]

      Reply
    2. Aumua

      Those predicting Trump wiping the floor with Sleepy Joe in the debates (should they actually happen) should take into account the possibility of Donald being called a mass murderer on national TV, and quite possibly well before the debates.

      He’s already been called pretty much everything on national T.V. I mean what’s left? The resistance’s cards have all been played. There’s nothing left in the chamber. There’s only empty hysterics now. They impeached him already ffs and it barely scratched him.

      Reply
  14. rd

    “On the bright side, we’re doing OK by world standards!”

    This is only true for “Total Cases”. The “normalized by population” graph clearly shows that the US is getting more new cases per day per capita than every other country they show data for except for:

    Brazil, Chile, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Sweden

    Only 5 more for us to beat to be truly exceptional.

    I think there are some Third World countries that have insufficient testing and data systems to track the coronavirus. I understand that Mike Pence is leading a task force to figure out how we can get on that illustrious list because, once that elevated status is achieved, the novel coronavirus will have been banished from the United States, similar to New Zealand, so we will drop off of these ugly lists and charts.

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      Am I missing something?

      The US is second (below Brazil)in total new cases per day, looking at the ‘bright side’ chart above.

      We improve (lower) to sixth in your new rankings.

      Reply
  15. Pat

    Just ended up on a bus where an older gentleman got on with no mask. I’ve gotten used to seeing masks worn wrong, And with people struggling to keep the masks in position. even been there myself as I thought I had it set, but it started coming off and I couldn’t get the elastic right (too loose it flopped around, too tight it pulled off of my ears). But this is the first person with no sign of a mask I have seen in a few weeks. And it was someone who should be concerned about mask usage. I am in the bottom of the range for older people at risk, and this gentleman was probably nearing a decade older than I am.

    We are a foolish people.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      The Atlantic piece on Boomers, millennial, GenZ, long waves of protest.

      Yet another article that mistakenly makes my generation the core of 60s protest.
      Yes, boomers reached our peak percentage of the population in 1964. But at that point the very oldest of us were 19 years old, and the bulk of us were still children. I was born in 55, about midBoom, and turned 9 in December of 64.

      By the end of the 60s the oldest of us were of age to be leaving, say, law school. Almost self-evidently the bulk of the 60s demonstrators were of the previous generation.

      Granted, leftist wish fulfillment fantasists and conservative alarmists nonetheless saw us as at least potentially revolutionary, and as long as one focuses on race, gender and sexual orientation issues there’s something of a case to be made.

      Those who see the present youth as the bearers of radical hopes should make a close study of the forces that helped ensure that any radical thrust of the Boomer generation would be blunted and segmented.

      By the late 80s, as Boomers were finally reaching their peak among the adult population, the yuppies identified as the agents of change by the Hart campaign were at least as reflective of the University educated cohort of boomers as were the remnants of radicalism.

      Reply
  16. Potted Frog

    “Biden: It Takes A Plague To Elect Him.”

    The agents of the US/Western ruling class reflect the character of the ruling class: McConnell+Schumer, Pelosi+McCarthy. Biden. What a pathetic ensemble.

    Thankfully, the ruling class is rapidly destroying itself. But it may take the rest of us with it.

    Reply
  17. anon in so cal

    California Governor Gavin Newsom today made mask-wearing mandatory:

    ” Face masks are now required across the state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.

    The order applies to all Californians in indoor spaces, healthcare settings, on public transportation and rideshare vehicles and at workplaces that are visited by the public or where food is prepared for sale or distribution. Masks will also be required outdoors where people cannot maintain a distance of six feet from each other.”

    https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/06/18/newsom-announces-california-statewide-face-mask-mandate/

    Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Have you noticed that at some point the protagonists of procedural mystery shows switched from private investigators to police officers?”

    I have noticed a lot of new cops shows on TV like “The Rookie” and “S.W.A.T.” (a 1970s rehash) which puts them in a good light. Of course I do wonder for which demographic these shows were made for. The same sort who watch real estate programs like “Island Hunters”? “COPS” (now cancelled) may have been more realistic but as Michael Moore pointed out, you never saw episodes where they were arresting white financial executives on Wall Street, tackling them to the ground and ripping off their shirts in the process. I lot of people would have liked to have seen episodes like that.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Uh. “We’ll meat again, don’t know where, don’t know when?”
      She always reminds me of the ending to “Dr. Strangelove.”

      Reply
  19. VietnamVet

    NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff had Bob Gates on last night. He is the bipartisan Empire’s retired CIA Director and Secretary of Defense.

    The headline read “Trump is a ‘divider…’”
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/trump-is-a-divider-says-robert-gates-former-cia-director-and-defense-secretary

    At the end, the anti-Trump intent of the Media and the Elite’s obfuscation are clear:

    “Judy Woodruff:

    Last thing I want to ask you about is what’s happening in November.
    You, in your last book, wrote of Joe Biden, former Vice President Biden, that he had been wrong on virtually every important foreign policy or national security issue of the last four decades.

    So, you clearly have strong views about his policy chops. You have also, though, said that you have questions about President Trump’s character. I mean, you said earlier in this interview about — you spoke about dividing the American people.
    Which — if it comes down to policy positions vs. character, which one matters more?

    Robert Gates:

    Well, I think that’s what the American people are going to decide in November.”

    This has got to be the weirdest, “there is no alternative”, election in history. Two incompetent ancients that even the Empire’s Consul can’t support. The collapse of the Western Empire is reverberating across the globe.

    This is another sign of the times along with yesterday’s Water Cooler twitter videos of the young white woman carrying a BLM sign in front of the Bethel, OH biker bar and today’s convict bull poker inside a Texas rodeo ring.

    Reply
  20. Andrew A. Zimin

    “Can the World Get Along Without Natural Resources?”[Economics from the Top Down].

    Special sanks.

    Reply
  21. Cuibono

    I don’t see how lung damage (if not pre-existing) can happen without any symptoms. No wheezing?

    who said anything about lung damage?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      The reason seems to be that the onset of the damage can be very gradual. I have read accounts by doctors who talk about having rooms full of waiting patients and when they bring them in for examination, find the oxygen saturation level in their blood unbelievable low. By rights they should be unconscious on the floor and yet here they were just siting in those rooms and even playing on their mobiles. My take from that is that the damage to some people’s lungs is very gradual leading to those people to adjust their breathing to compensate almost without being aware of it.

      Reply
  22. Cuibono

    And:However, measurable virus shedding does not equate with viral infectivity, and further evaluation is needed to determine the respiratory SARS-CoV-2 viral load that is correlated with cul-turable viru

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *