2:00PM Water Cooler 6/3/2020

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 more states not in the Acela Corridor:

Linear, normalized for population. North Carolina, which does not want to hold an in-person Republican National Convention v.Tennessee, where the Republicans are considering holding it instead, in Nashville. Kentucky v. Tennessee is a good natural experiment, the two being neighbors; Kentucky’s Governor Beshear got going earlier than Tennessee’s Governor Lee.


“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, unchanged from yesterday:

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

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. 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. Trump, then, can lose only 36 votes out of the states in play. He could lose, say, AZ (11) and PA (20), but would have to win FL, MI, NC, PA, and WI. That’s a heavy lift. Readers will naturally correct my math!

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Biden to attend George Floyd funeral, Floyd family attorney says” [The Hill]. “Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump said in an interview with political commentator Van Jones shared on Facebook that Biden is set to attend Floyd’s funeral next Tuesday. A public viewing for Floyd will be from noon to 6 p.m. local time on Monday at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, USA Today reported. The funeral and burial will take place the following day. A spokeswoman for the Fort Bend Memorial Planning Center confirmed to USA Today that Biden is set to attend the funeral. Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.” • That famous Biden empathy, seemingly never unmixed with pragmatic concerns (and fostered by the press, much in the same way that McCain’s “maverick” persona was, when he reinvented himself after the Keating 5 scandal).

Biden (D)(2): “Bush administration alums form pro-Biden super PAC” [The Hill]. “Former officials from the George W. Bush administration have formed a super PAC to support former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House campaign…. The group did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding who else will be involved in the group or what it intends to do to support Biden.” • It’s not clear to me how the Biden campaign can present an image of competence, moral rectitude, and empathy while also climbing into bed with the Bush administration. Unless Democrat loyalists will buy absolutely anything, of course.

Biden (D)(3): “Donors Rally to Biden in Wake of Trump’s Response to Protests” [Bloomberg]. “‘As a ‘bundler,’ you’re usually out chasing the bundle but now the bundle is chasing me,” said John Morgan, a longtime Florida-based Democratic fundraiser and one of Biden’s biggest backers. Bundlers raise contributions for candidates and parties from their professional and personal networks and “bundle” them together. Employees of Morgan’s law firm, Morgan & Morgan, gave Biden more than $435,000, his third largest source of funds for the primary. Those donations were capped at $2,800, but now Morgan, who’s preparing to raise bigger sums in the general election, can collect bigger checks through different channels. Biden has set up a fundraising vehicle that can accept much bigger amounts, split between the Democratic National Committee, his campaign and 26 state parties, the general election fundraising will far outpace the primaries. He says he’s fielded multiple calls this week from donors who can write large checks – the maximum donation is now $620,300 – asking how they can support the campaign.” • I guess that’s the important thing. Nevertheless, Yesterday, my Twitter feeds was full of Schwärmer like this:

Today, all of it had vanished as if it had never been. I guess their work was done?

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Biden begins to map out ‘revolutionary’ agenda, reimagining his presidency amid national upheaval” [WaPo]. “The change has thus far been largely rhetorical.” • I’m dubious. Obama faced exactly the same opportunity — Biden: “I’m going to have an FDR-style administration” — in 2008, and, as is well known, betrayed his voters’ expectations for “hope and change” in his responses to the Crash (among other things, including criminal justice policy). Did Obama really stand up Biden so that he could do what Obama did not? Did Obama really stand up Biden to write a “revolutionary” agenda, when the candidate Obama defenstrated proposed exactly that? How will the “Never Trump” Republicans on whom the Democrats are depending for suburban votes feel about the Second Coming of FDR? I don’t see any skin in the game from Biden on all this whatever — nothing as “revolutionary” was making the eligibility age for Medicare 58, instead of the 60 that Biden is currently proposing.

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “‘We need him to start being bold:’ Young voters are craving inspiration from Joe Biden” [CNN]. “But CNN’s Harry Enten noted Biden seemed to be underperforming 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with young voters. Biden was leading Trump by 14 points but doing about 10 points worse than Clinton did on average among the last five high-quality national probability polls with an 18-34-year-old voter breakdown.” • Other than that, the reporter emptied his Rolodex for quotes from Democrat NGOs.

Sanders (D)(1): “Where Are Bernie Sanders and College Campus Activism When We Need Them Most?” [Newsweek]. • Waiting for Biden to deliver something more than Bush retreads and performative empathy?

Trump (R)(1): “Trump bets his presidency on a ‘silent majority'” [Politico]. “The suburbs — not the red, but sparsely populated rural areas of the country most often associated with Trump — are where Trump found the majority of his support in 2016. Yet it was in the suburbs that Democrats built their House majority two years ago in a dramatic midterm repudiation of the Republican president.” • When Pelosi ran Blue Dogs and CIA Democrats. More: “Now, Trump’s approach to the violence and unrest that have gripped the nation’s big cities seems calibrated toward winning back those places, in the hopes that voters will recoil at the current images of chaos and looting — as they did in the late 1960s — and look to the White House for stability… Five months before the general election, according to national polls, the political landscape for Trump is bleak. But there is a clear window of opportunity: Trump remains popular in rural America, and he won the suburbs by 4 percentage points in 2016 — largely on the backs of non-college-educated whites. There are millions more potential voters where those came from — people who fit in Trump’s demographic sweet spot but did not vote. They live in rural and exurban areas, but also in working class suburbs like Macomb County, outside Detroit. They are who Republicans are referring to when they talk about a new “silent majority” — the kind of potential voters who, even if disgusted by police violence, are not joining in protest.” • We’ll see. It’s evident that Trump is not appealing to Blue States, and especially Blue Cities to the slightest degree.

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Trump Is No Richard Nixon” [David Frum, The Atlantic]. “One thing to remember about the presidential election of 1968 is that it was a three-way race. Nixon ran not only against the Democratic nominee, Hubert Humphrey, a liberal stalwart with a long civil-rights record, but also against the outright segregationist George Wallace, governor of Alabama. Wallace would ultimately collect 8.6 percent of the popular vote and win five states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In 1968, Nixon’s pledge of ‘law and order’ spoke to many national agonies, not only the urban riots…. By renominating in 1968 its candidate of 1960, the Republican Party seemed to be repudiating its radical lurch to the right under Barry Goldwater in 1964—and offering a return to the civil-rights Republicanism of the recent past: Nixon had served for eight years as the vice president of that most consensus-minded of presidents, Dwight Eisenhower.” • I was alive in 1968, and I certainly didn’t see Nixon as a civil-rights Republican, and I saw “law and order” as a direct response to the 1968 riots (and less so, the anti-war protests). Frum’s interpretation seems to me to be bizarre in the extreme (watching architects of the Iraq War like Frum slither into power as Heroes Of The Resistance™ is one of the more entertaining aspects of today’s political landscape). But I was a teen-ager, and my parents were Democrats. Was my perception warped?

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “If This Is Like 1968, Then Trump Is in Big Trouble” [Politico]. “Like Johnson before him, Trump’s is the party in power—the party that has failed to provide peace, prosperity and social order. Republicans control the executive branch, the Senate and the Supreme Court. They alone own the chaos, rancor and instability that many voters have come to abhor and dread. Trump campaigns like Richard Nixon and George Wallace, but in reality, he is Lyndon B. Johnson: a man who has lost control of the machine.” • Or was never allowed to take control of the machine; “ObamaGate” is still percolating away in the background.

Trump (R)(4): “Trump slams North Carolina and says he’s moving GOP convention elsewhere” [Politico]. • Granted, hotel rooms are easy to find these days, but organizing a convention takes time.

Trump (R)(5): “‘Let Them Have Eric,’ Screams Trump While Pushing Son Through Door Of Bunker” [The Onion].

* * *

“Is the 2020 fight for the House already over?” [Roll Call]. “Of the major political handicappers, not even one of them thinks the House is likely to flip in November. Not the folks at the Cook Political Report. Not the analysts at Sabato’s Crystal Ball. And certainly not my colleagues at Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, who in a recent column argued that the most likely House result is anything from “a GOP gain of five seats to a Democratic gain of five seats.” … The general sense that the House is not in play is, in some ways, remarkable. Republicans need a manageable 17 seats to regain the chamber, after losing a net of 40 seats, and their majority, in 2018…. Republicans’ biggest challenge in netting at least 17 House seats starts at the top, in the Oval Office. The president alienated so many college-educated whites during the first two years of his presidency that he single-handedly turned over two or three dozen suburban House seats (depending on how you define ‘suburban’) to the Democrats during the 2018 midterms.”

UPDATE “King Primary Defeat Moves IA-04 to Solid Republican” [Cook Political Report]. “In a rare result that will delight both parties’ House leadership, nine-term GOP Rep. Steve King (IA-04) lost his primary to state Sen. Randy Feenstra 46 percent to 36 percent. Although some Democrats may be tempted to interpret King’s ouster as a rejection of white nationalism, Feenstra prevailed by running against King as an ineffective ally to President Trump after being booted from his committee assignments last year…. The downside for Democrats is that they no longer have any chance to win Iowa’s 4th CD in the fall. Democrat J.D. Scholten, who took 47 percent against King in 2018, had raised $1.1 million for the cycle by the end of March but his path to victory depended on running against the polarizing King.” • Be careful what you wish for…

2016 Post Mortem

“‘As guarded as Fort Knox’: the inside story of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign” [Guardian]. “Clinton’s shock loss to Donald Trump – the embodiment of chaos to her bastion of control – left so much destruction in its wake (a victory party mothballed, shell-shocked staffers out of work, 66m futile votes) that it was easy to overlook the small matter of 2,000 hours of behind-the-scenes campaign footage, shot in a spirit of cautious optimism but now left to languish. Clinton’s office suggested cobbling it together as an official record, an insider’s account of what went wrong. But film-maker Nanette Burstein recoiled when the idea was put to her. ‘Too soon,’ she says now. ‘Too raw. Too disturbing for the public. I know I wouldn’t want to watch that myself, never mind make it.’ Instead, Burstein received clearance to use the footage for a bolder, more wide-ranging project. Hillary, the result, is a four-part biography that frames Clinton’s life against the arc of the women’s movement and recasts her career as a series of giant leaps and bounds. Significantly, it ends not in despair but in hope.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Confusion, missing ballots as eight U.S. states vote during coronavirus pandemic” [Reuters]. “All of the states voting on Tuesday encouraged or expanded mail-in balloting as a safe alternative during the outbreak, and most sharply reduced the number of in-person polling places as officials struggled to recruit workers to run them. That led to record numbers of mail-in ballots requested and cast in many states, along with an explosion of complaints about delayed ballots and questions about where to vote after polling places were consolidated.” • For example, in DC:

“Touchscreen Voting Machines and the Vanishing Black Votes” [WhoWhatWhy (geoff)]. “Votes from predominantly black precincts have mysteriously vanished from touchscreen voting machines in both Tennessee and Georgia in recent elections. Georgia replaced the touchscreen system it had been using since 2002 with yet another controversial touchscreen system, rejecting the advice of most election security experts, who note that hand-marked paper ballots are less vulnerable to both tampering and error. A political battle is now raging in Shelby County — Tennessee’s most populous county — over whether it will follow in Georgia’s footsteps or switch to hand-marked paper ballots for the general election in November…. The loss of black votes from touchscreen voting machines in Shelby County was discovered by election commissioner Bennie Smith, a Democrat, in 2015. The debate over a new voting system has led to a knock-down, drag-out fight, pitting Smith and election security reformers against Republican election administrator Linda Phillips and other election commissioners (three Republicans and one Democrat) who recently voted to buy controversial new touchscreen voting machines called “ballot-marking devices” (BMDs) for use by most voters at the polls.” • For more on BMDs, which are not auditable, see NC here. BMDs have exactly one unique selling proposition: Election fraud.

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: “May 2020 ADP Employment Declines 2,760,000” [Econintersect]. “ADP reported non-farm private jobs growth at –2,760,000 which was better than expectations [(!)]. Last month’s employment gain was cut. This month the coronavirus had a major impact on jobs. ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth.”

UPDATE Manufacturing: “May 2020 ISM and Markit Services Surveys Improve But Remain In Recession Territory” [Econintersect]. “The ISM and the Markit PMI Services Index improved but are in recession territory…. Thank the coronavirus.”

UPDATE Manufacturing: “April 2020 Headline Manufacturing New Orders Continue In Coronavirus Decline” [Econintersect]. “US Census says manufacturing new orders significantly declined month-over-month. Our analysis shows the rolling averages significantly declined and remain in contraction…. According to the seasonally adjusted data, the decline was widespread. The data in this series is noisy so I would rely on the unadjusted 3 month rolling averages which significantly declined. Of course, this decline was caused by the coronavirus shutdown of the economy.”

* * *

Supply Chain: “Europe’s Freezers Are Filling Up as Virus Chills Food Sales” [Bloomberg]. “Demand for cold-storage space in Europe has surged after bars, restaurants and sports venues closed, leaving their suppliers hunting for new customers or somewhere to store the unsold food. Farmers, manufacturers and retailers in the bloc say it’s nearly impossible to find commercial fridge and freezer space. The shortage is forcing production cuts, and may mean wasting thousands of tons of produce that suddenly has nowhere else to go. The squeeze is yet another way that the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the global food industry.” • Gluts and shortages whereever you look.

Tech: “How Money Transfer Companies Squeezed Four Years Of Digital Growth Into Just Two Months” [Forbes]. “Imagine that for the last twenty years you sent $200 cash home every two weeks using a local store with people you know by name. Suddenly, you weren’t allowed out of your home but your family was still relying on you to send money to them, what would you do? This situation has been faced by millions of people, especially the migrant worker community worldwide. It has also been the single biggest catalyst for growth of digital remittances ever. Four years of digital growth has been compressed into two months in the money transfer space.”

Tech: “The winner in the Trump administration’s increasingly aggressive effort to cripple China’s Huawei Technologies Co. may be in Sweden. Telecom giant Ericsson AB is emerging as the steadiest player in the $80-billion-a-year cellular-equipment industry …. and is in a strong position to lead the rollout of 5G technology around the world” [Wall Street Journal]. “That would put the company a commanding position at the heart of high-value supply chains that will provide the backbone for new communications technology that will advance around the world. The question for Ericsson is figuring out which technologies of tomorrow to bet on, with the outcomes likely to affect billions of dollars’ worth of gear that include the semiconductors that underpin the technology. Ericsson is testing equipment in several fields that 5G’s superfast wireless speeds promise to unlock, such as driverless cars and remote-control mining machinery.” • There are no robot cars. And “remote-control mining machinery _______” seems a little ominous….

Supply Chain: “Manufacturers are looking to bolster the use of data and analytics as they reset their supply chains. Technology officers at various companies say disruptions during the coronavirus outbreak have highlighted the importance of real-time information in operations… and that they’re looking to use tools to monitor plant equipment remotely and to get ahead of potential problems” [Wall Street Journal]. “Analyst group ABI Research estimates annual spending by global manufacturers on data management, analytics and other advanced capabilities will reach nearly $20 billion by 2026, up from roughly $5 billion this year. A key driver is the ability to access data remotely, a more pressing concern since the pandemic. Many are looking for data beyond their own operations, with some manufacturers tapping into technology to better understand a changing marketplace through devices built into products that can help keep track of consumer behavior. ” • Speaking of Big Brother:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Greed (previous close: 58 Greed;) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 3 at 12:53pm.

The Biosphere

“Erratum for the Report: “The global tree restoration potential” by J.-F. Bastin, Y. Finegold, C. Garcia, D. Mollicone, M. Rezende, D. Routh, C. M. Zohner, T. W. Crowther and for the Technical Response “Response to Comments on ‘The global tree restoration potential'” by J.-F. Bastin, Y. Finegold, C. Garcia, N. Gellie, A. Lowe, D. Mollicone, M. Rezende, D. Routh, M. Sacande, B. Sparrow, C. M. Zohner, T. W. Crowther” [Science]. “First, in the original version of the Report, the authors stated in the abstract and in the main text that tree restoration is the most effective solution to climate change to date. This was incorrect. They meant that they know of no other current carbon drawdown solution that is quantitatively as large in terms of carbon capture. They did not mean that tree restoration is more important than reducing greenhouse gas emissions or should replace it, nor did they mean that restoring woodlands and forests is more important than conserving the natural ecosystems that currently exist. The authors acknowledge that climate change is an extremely complex problem with no simple fix and that it will require a full combination of approaches. They have made these points explicit in their subsequent communications. The Report text was changed accordingly when the Technical Comments and Technical Responses were published.” • Science advances….

“Oats, a very effective disease suppressive cover crop” [John Kempf]. “Before crown rust was a significant challenge, oats did not have a reducing/disease suppressive effect. The plant secondary metabolite profile of oats changed once they were bred to be resistant to crown rust. This change in the metabolite profile resulted in a changed profile of root exudates, which converted a plant with a former oxidizing effect on the soil redox environment – a disease enhancer, to a reducing effect, or disease suppressive. This means we need to consider the possibility that some plants which currently have an oxidizing effect, such as modern wheat, can be shifted to having a reducing/disease suppressive effect when we change the plant metabolite profile.” • A farmer who thinks about his soil…

“Plantwatch: vital peat needs protection from compost sales” [Guardian]. “Compost made with peat is still being used by both gardeners and commercial growers, even though it is dug up from peatlands, devastating wild bogplants, wildlife, and sabotaging the fight against the climate crisis. Peat is made up of dead plants saturated and preserved in water, locking away vast amounts of carbon in the plant remains. Peatlands account for about 3% of the Earth’s land area but hold more than one-third of all the carbon in soil, and more than twice as much as the world’s forests. But when peatlands are damaged they release their carbon, some 2bn tonnes of CO2 worldwide annually, more than 5% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions.” • Don’t do this!

Hope from plants:

Class Warfare

“Next Wave of U.S. Job Cuts Targets Millions of Higher-Paid Workers” [Bloomberg]. “The pandemic isn’t finished with the U.S. labor market, threatening a second wave of job cuts—this time among white-collar workers. Close to 6 million jobs are potentially on the line, according to Bloomberg Economics. That includes higher-paid supervisors in sectors where frontline workers were hit first, such as restaurants and hotels. It also includes the knock on-effects to connected industries such as professional services, finance and real estate.” • Handy chart:

(Not sure what’s happening with that line to 0.5% at botttom.)

News of the Wired

Department of Clarification:

* * *
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 (IM):

IM writes: “Dear Lambert, a rhododendron from last year. No doubt, the same one is blooming right about now, but unseen by human eyes, as Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver is closed. The way nature unfolds without regard for the pandemic is restorative.” It is, as are the lovely pink, and the deep green shadows.

* * *

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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. Toshiro_Mifune

    Hillary, the result, is a four-part biography that frames Clinton’s life against the arc of the women’s movement and recasts her career as a series of giant leaps and bounds. Significantly, it ends not in despair but in hope
    So… Still no attention paid to the failures of the campaign, acknowledgment of them and any attempt at learning from them

    1. nippersmom

      Of course not. The campaign didn’t fail; it was failed by all of us worthless voters who ignored the demands of our betters and refused to vote for her. How dare we!

    2. urblintz

      C’mon man… everyone knows by now it was Putin. No failures to pay attention to, the evil one stole that election from the anointed one, a recurring historical fact as old as Russia itself. But do not despair, hope will win out… as long as we still have the bomb! Yay!

      1. BobW

        No, no – Bill was the man from Hope – Hope, Arkansas. Obama was the hopey changey guy.

          1. ambrit

            Oh come on now. At least Jimmy Carter is building places for other, poorer, people. Obama never cared for anybody else but himself. You did notice that his “Presidential Library” slated for Chicago will push out the poor people previously living there in favour of a monument to narcissism.
            And lumping together Bill Clinton and Obama. What is it about these overachievers?

        1. Billy

          At least Obama didn’t make 26 flights on Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Express to the private island, staffed by 14 year old girls. “A right wing conspiracy”, until it wasn’t.
          Watch Filthy Rich on Netflix for an inside look into the Plutocrat’s stranglehold on the justice system, until one judge said, “you’re not going anywhere Mr. Epstein.”

    3. clarky90

      Re; “Biden begins to map out ‘revolutionary’ agenda, “re-imagining” his presidency amid national upheaval” HC is cut from the same cloth.

      It is, as if (IMO), a current German National Socialists Party (The Nazis), decided to “re-imagine” their brand, and pivot to the Left. (why not,everybody else employs media gurus?)

      So now they become, the party of the Gypsies, the Gays, the Jews, the Slavs…….just because they “announced, it is so”. “We have changed! We have changed! You can trust us now!”

      I do believe in redemption. People can and do, realize their wrongdoings, and genuinely repent. But when is “finding Jesus, or Revolution, or empathy for the poor, or social justice…….” just empty words to progress a narcissistic agenda, and deflect scrutiny?

      1. ambrit

        Considering that it is “Creepy” Joe Biden we speak of, that should more properly be ‘counter-revolutionary’ agenda. Or, to hew to journalistic accuracy, ‘Reactionary’ agenda.

      2. albrt

        I consider it extremely unlikely that a guy like Joe Biden, who was always stupid and corrupt and never showed anything but the most maudlin performative remnant of a conscience, has discovered the wherewithal to redeem himself while suffering from moderate to severe dementia.

        I will not vote for either of them, but if forced to place a bet, I would bet on Donald Trump to redeem himself before Joe Biden.

      3. Billy

        “the party of the Gypsies, the Gays, the Jews, the Slavs”, they became corporate Democrats?

    4. The Rev Kev

      Got just the title for such a series based on the description – “Not you..Me!”

  2. Bugs Bunny

    I know it’s been like this for a while, but when a cynic like me can’t distinguish the satire headlines from the real ones, things is bad.

    1. Robert Gray

      It’s like we’re living in a Dali painting or, even better, an Ionesco play. The theatre of the absurd. Historians looking back at this time will be baffled by our actions (and inactions).

    2. ambrit

      Another old cynic here. You is right cher!
      The sad part is that, since many of the the previously derided “conspiracy theories” we were called all sorts of names for introducing into “polite conversation” have been proved true, I wonder, in trepidation, about all those theories that even I was viewing as ‘delusional imaginings.’
      If I end up with a headstone for my grave, an at best remote occurrence, I want the motto to be: “One can never be too cynical.”

  3. Wukchumni

    How come Amazon warehouses have been spared from Kristal Macht Frei, not that they have any glass portals to smash in and grab goodies.

    Its hard to imagine the employees caring whether ‘customers’ get ‘free same day delivery’, as they aren’t compensated enough, and similar to the coppers, who wants to be the brave one who stops a bullet for consumerism?

    1. ambrit

      I can parse ‘Kristall’ as referring to the meth the warehouse workers have to indulge in during working hours in order to keep up with the warehouse time and items per hour requirements.
      So, your motto for over the entrance to the Amazon Warehouse, “Kristall Macht Frei” is very appropriate. Herr Todt would be proud.

      1. Wukchumni

        Kristal Macht Frei?

        Here’s how it works, a looter breaks the plate glass (kristal) window of a store and makes (macht) off with goods for free (frei).

        1. albrt

          Or liberates the goods if you prefer.

          After all, Donald Rumsfeld assures us that looting is the cost of freedom.

    2. Bittercup

      Probably because the warehouses are on relatively remote huge suburban tracts of land. And they are mostly windowless, entry-controlled, and well-surveilled. It would be a lot of work and advance planning… just to end up with five hundred $15 MXYZHK brand USB dongles or whatever.

      On the other hand, I think there’s a lot of potential in this idea for an updated take on the classic heist movie formula. Tom Cruise might be available!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the warehouses are on relatively remote huge suburban tracts of land. And they are mostly windowless, entry-controlled, and well-surveilled

        Like data centers. One would need to cut off power and/or water.

  4. JTMcPhee

    On bundlers: Why do they get called such a nebbish name, when the honest description is “bag men?” and the money they collect is packed into what clearly are bribes to buy present and future “consideration,” and I don’t mean that in the sense of “careful consideration in due course” but pure quid-pro-quo. Obama has collected millions in another form of the corruptioin that pretty much everyone of any importance treats as “business as usual” in the Imperial capital and pretty much everywhere. His post-presidential payoffs might be better described as “gratuities.”

    And they are not “donors,” they are bribers. That money goes toward getting th elegitimizing legislation and policies that the bribers want. Plain as day. Winking at it does not make it okay.

    1. GramSci

      Aye! Here’s another vote for “bribers”! Plain English, with no ambiguity: it will be exceedingly hard for the fee press to spin the term to mean anything other than what it does.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the honest description is “bag men?”

      Very true. The verb form, from LA Confidential, is “run bag,” as in “John Morgan runs bag for Joe Biden.” I’ll have to remember to start using this.

    3. Skip Intro

      Considering the type of transactions they are intermediating, perhaps pimps would be good.

  5. Big River Bandido

    Gear Dog, working for a rag like Newsweek must really make one believe the crap they write. It’s like they think that if Bernie goes out and makes a speech that his supporters will just *go along*. We can also dismiss the cute “youth perspective” and “generational solidarity” nonsense of that article; the daughter of a national media editor probably will not have to worry about college debt.

    More on Florida. Florida has 7 offices which are filled through statewide elections:

    Governor – Ron DeSantis
    U.S. Senate – Marco Rubio
    U.S. Senate – Rick Scott
    Lieutenant Governor – Jeanette Nuñez
    Attorney General – Ashley B. Moody
    Chief Financial Officer – Jimmy Patronis
    Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Nikki Fried

    Except for that lowest office, all of these officials are Republicans. Democrats lack the infrastructure to win a presidential contest in Florida.

  6. ChiGal in Carolina

    north carolina is ridiculous. despite steadily rising cases, we “opened up”. as they continued to rise ever more precipitously, we went to phase 2. now we may be in phase 3 for all I know, because I know I’m for sure not changing my behavior. I have clients who have returned to work at restaurants that have opened, and though none of my clients with kids are sending them, I believe day care even for non-essential workers is open.

    it’s nuts.

    on a happier note, glad to see the media narrative focusing on non-violence and diversity of the majority of demonstrators and various legislators attempting to actually put something on the table.

    bet a lot of these kids attended Bernie rallies and they actually are making the “us” a thing. isn’t his theory of change that leadership comes from the bottom?

    they are shaming a few “adults” into acting like they give a f*ck.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Slim checking in from Tucson. And, sad to say, Arizona is also having issues with reopening.

      Among them, that darn virus. Thing just won’t get the memo about things being all better. Link:


      Key passage from this article:

      Overall, the state reported 24 new deaths Tuesday, bringing the total for Arizona up to 941, including 191 deaths in Pima County.

      And the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, which keeps its own records, said there has been a steady increase in the number of new cases.

      Using a seven-day average, the institute says the state is generating an average of 519 new cases a day. By contrast, on May 15, when the stay-at-home order expired, the average new cases was 378 a day.

      And that move followed [Governor] Ducey agreeing to allow bars and restaurants to reopen and to ease restrictions on other businesses.

          1. periol

            My car broke down last night in the middle of nowhere in the Antelope Valley. I didn’t have a mask on me because I had no plans to be near another human being – stupid me. When the tow truck driver arrived, he wasn’t wearing a mask, and told me “I don’t care if you don’t. I’m over the virus.” I thought he meant he had it and recovered, but no, he clarified he was over it as a going concern. I’m not, but I wasn’t walking 60 miles, so I jumped in and cranked the window down.

            Other than the fact he used 3 screens, one of which was constantly streaming TV, and he missed 5 of the 9 turns on the drive and had to make detours, it was an uneventful ride after that. I did get to hear some amazing stories about the drugged-out people he’s picked up this week, and all about the white flight from the neighborhood he grew up in and still lives in. To be fair, if you are a 32yo spending all day working with crackheads, meth addicts, and opiods, I could see how COVID-19 could feel a little less dangerous than everyday life.

            1. ForFawkesSakes

              As one who lived in the Antelope Valley for a terrible chunk of my youth, I’m earnestly sorry that happened to you. Glad you got home safe.

              1. periol

                He told me about an accident yesterday before mine where he was called to tow a car in Lancaster. He arrived just as the police were arresting a woman and taking her away. The guy who called for him was in the passenger seat, drugged out. Told the tow driver he had taken some xanax and then smoked some weed. Then said that he had been driving the car, but after he crashed into the median he switched seats with his girlfriend so she would be arrested instead of him. Guess the cops were too busy to care.

                Some real winners out here.

                It’s a shame, too, because it’s quite beautiful here. I love the stark beauty of the desert, and the mountains on all sides are really something else.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > it’s quite beautiful here. I love the stark beauty of the desert, and the mountains on all sides are really something else.

                  Yes. I used to walk across a patch of desert to an Albertson’s, preceded by a V of fleeing prairie dogs….

              1. periol

                Well, my little adventure had nothing on the protestors. It’s still LA County though, it was definitely a little perplexing to have the guy tell me coronavirus was over as a concern after all the new cases last week. Oh well.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > in the middle of nowhere in the Antelope Valley

              So, your car broke down in Antelope Valley? [rimshot].

              Loved the mountain and desert terrain when I was there, but Lordy. I learned a true fact: They have meth labs out in the desert. That’s no surprise, but I was surprised to learn that there’s actually a business model for sucking up the earth beneath abandoned meth labs, processing the soil to extract meth and the other ingredients, and selling that. Human ingenuity!

              Yes, I would imagine your driver had stories to tell.

      1. Punxsutawney


        A 4.58% increase in cases and 4.25% increase in deaths today in Arizona from the report I use.

        And in Oregon, where we have made a decent effort, it doesn’t seem like we can stay below 50 cases a day for any length of time, and now we are starting to re-open. In a month or so, back to square one? At least many are practicing social distancing and wearing masks.

      2. Carolinian

        I have a friend who lives in Phoenix and she says that as soon as the state “re-opened” you could tell things were back to normal because the number of shootings went up. Also wildfires, almost all human caused, are now rampant.

        But not to worry because they now have replaced the lockdown with an 8pm to 5 am curfew. At least those trigger happy firebugs won’t be active at night?

        Here in SC we have had a similar phenomenon as they re-opened Myrtle Beach and there were three fatal shooting incidents in the first couple of weeks. While reported virus positives are up it’s unclear if this is because of a drive to do more testing. The daily death toll does not seem to be up so far.

      3. albrt

        Maricopa County is still reporting hospitalizations as down slightly, but I suspect they are not allowing critical nursing home cases to be admitted to the hospitals. Nursing home deaths are 70% of the total deaths in Maricopa County.

    2. L

      Yes, it seems like North Carolina is paying the price of being purple. The response is just republican enough (50% no masks) that it might as well be no response at all for control purposes.

      1. doug

        I heard all about how our North Carolina gov was doing a horrible job from a room full of non mask wearing republicans this morning. Hilarity ensued.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          yeah, there’s less mask wearing no doubt than in my home sweet home Chicago but it partly comes from the top.

          the governor here is a Democrat but masks were “suggested”, not required as in IL. and he’s the one who is proceeding with these phases with no course correction for the rising caseload.

          anyone know where to catch the daily CDC report now that it’s started? Since Fauci has been sidelined who is reinforcing the science?

          and finally, sheesh, re the second part of my comment, sounding even a qualified teeny weenily positive note sure doesn’t resonate around here.

          1. mle detroit

            Actually it does, but it also “resonates” with my ongoing gripe about “news” coverage: the journalists stand around in groups talking to each other and taking stills or videos. NONE of them (apparently – maybe it’s their editors because protest would overtake the sports non-news that gets clicks), anyway, none of them talk to the protesters. Especially to the young white ones, to find out who they are and why they’re there. That leaves Old White Ladies like my friends, although living in the city, to conclude that they’re all “out-of-town troublemakers.” But what if those younger white folks are from Oakland or Macomb Counties? WHY join the protest, aside from giving their parents heart attacks?

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > bet a lot of these kids attended Bernie rallies and they actually are making the “us” a thing. isn’t his theory of change that leadership comes from the bottom?

            > they are shaming a few “adults” into acting like they give a f*ck.

            I think this is plausible, especially for the group for whom “Bernie is the
            compromise.” Not seeing things like signage or slogans or hash-tags, though. So it looks like individual efforts.

      2. schulace

        I suppose the lock down states are OK because the protesters/rioters aren’t maintaining distance for a higher purpose.

  7. Polar Donkey

    20+ years ago, everyone knew election results in Shelby county by the 10p.m. news. The last several years elections results can take late into the night and sometimes the next day or later.
    In other Shelby county news, we had 190 covid cases yesterday. 123 the day before. The covid wings of local hospitals are almost full and county is considering opening the back up covid hospital.

    1. periol

      It takes longer to fabricate the vote count while still making it look like it wasn’t fabricated than it does just announce results from counting.

  8. Wukchumni

    Pavlovegas opens tomorrow…

    Bright light city gonna set my soul
    Gonna set my soul on fire
    Got a whole lot of body that’s ready to burn,
    So get those stakes up higher
    There’s a thousand contracted people waitin’ out there
    And they’re all livin’ devil may care
    And I’m just the devil who’d love to share
    Viral Las Vegas, viral Las Vegas

    How I wish that there were more
    Than the twenty-four hours in the day
    ’cause even if there were forty more
    I wouldn’t sleep a minute away
    Oh, there’s black jack and poker and the roulette wheel
    A fortune won and lost on ev’ry deal
    All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel
    Viral Las Vegas, viral Las Vegas

    Viral Las Vegas with you neon flashin’
    And your one arm bandits crashin’
    All those hopes down the drain
    Viral Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime
    Turnin’ night into daytime
    If you see it once
    You’ll never be the same again

    I’m gonna keep on the run
    I’m gonna have me some fun
    If it costs me my very last dime
    If I wind up broke up well
    I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time
    I’m gonna give it ev’rything I’ve got
    Lady luck please let the dice stay hot
    Let me shout a seven with ev’ry shot
    Viral Las Vegas, viral Las Vegas,
    Viral, viral Las Vegas


  9. JBird4049

    “Tears rolling down my face listening to Biden talk about healing our country. Feels like we have been a desert with no leadership, and this is the first drink of water.”

    “Today, all of it had vanished as if it had never been. I guess their work was done?”

    Was it Flavor Aid or Flint water?

    More seriously, I’ve been seeing increasing crowds of mainly white disposables (But don’t worry, it’s still very multi-racial) here in Baghdad by the Bay, really all around it, for years and plenty of peaceful agitation with the leadership all saying they’re trying so, so hard. Like with the 28,000 plus Americans killed by the police since 2000 (Injured, crippled, destroyed? Who knows or even cares?). How about the carceral slave system composed mainly of blacks? Beaten and tortured to force them to work for literally pennies a day?

    Yet, one of the creators of these horrors, who has committed other great evils too, a dementia patient manages to make these well educated fools cry over the leadership shown by his speechifying?

    I’m stuck in purgatory going insane while the ruling classes keep insisting that my eyes are lying to me and the true horror is that some of them actually believe that!

    Is it too early to drink beer yet?

    1. Tom Stone

      Don’t worry J Bird, Biden has secretly chosen Oprah as his running mate and will reveal his choice when they appear together in an hour long special dedicated to healing America!

        1. JBird4049

          Like how Uncle Joe Stalin Biden will be there for all us?

          Really, is any of the Meritocracy knowledgeable about history? Forming personality cults usually does not end well.

          1. ambrit

            This is even wierder than the usual “Cult of Personality.” “Creepy” Joe Biden has displayed an abrasive personality, inconsistent cognitive ability, and a lack of ‘engagement’ with the public that could be beaten by a Disney Animatronic Politico. (Disney has experience in this field going back at least to the killing of Ronald Reagan in 1981 by John Hinckley Jr. Their Robot Ronnie finished out Reagan’s first term and then was re-elected in 1984!)

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > a lack of ‘engagement’ with the public that could be beaten by a Disney Animatronic Politico.

              And Biden is polling better than Clinton. Maybe Disney was on to something.

    2. Toshiro_Mifune

      The only times tears have run down my cheeks listening to Biden was when I realized he wasn’t going to shut up

  10. bwilli123

    More on the Lancet hydroxychloroquine scandal referred to in links on June 3 and prior comments on 5/28.
    This one’s for the Lancet editorial board: A trolley problem for our times (involving a plate of delicious cookies and a steaming pile of poop)

    …”the real scandal is that the respected medical journal Lancet aids and abets in poor research practices by serving as a kind of shield for the authors of a questionable paper, by acting as if secret pre-publication review has more validity than open post-publication review.

    Commenters add the following.
    “The biggest problem with this publish by Lancet is that it sets a new lower bar for what is considered acceptable process for “scientific findings”. Left unchallenged, this Lancet article would set the precedence for “author attestation of privitized databases with opaque provenance”.

    And … “I’ve also discovered that the original Lancet paper we have been discussing was funded by the “William Harvey Distinguished Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.” That particular Chair is held by Dr. Mandeep Mehra, one of the authors on all of these papers.”

    The-Scientist website

    points out …”The Lancet study, … lists Surgisphere founder and CEO Sapan Desai as one of four coauthors, “Surgisphere is currently headquartered in Palatine, Illinois, and run by Desai, who trained in vascular surgery, a subject on which he has published many scientific articles and books. Until February 10 of this year, Desai was employed by Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) in suburban Arlington Heights. He tells The Scientist that he resigned for family reasons.
    Court records in Cook County, Illinois, show that Desai is named in three medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the second half of 2019…”

    1. Diuretical

      Nice to know medical journal editors are keeping it tight during the pandemic! LOL. Surgisphere sounds like such an obvious con.

      In the wise words of Ionnadis…most published research is wrong…for many reasons, some of which are outright fraud

  11. Wukchumni

    When I enter a domicile where HALexa might be ensconced, I always try and ask the impossible of her, such as “Alexa, i’d like to perform open heart surgery on myself, can you help me?”

    1. urblintz

      “Amazon has scalpels and other needed equipment for your surgery at a great price and free shipping. May I order the kit for you? I already have your CC info so just say yes.”

      I’m always tempted to ask her/it/them political questions. “Alexa, is Joe Biden a fraud?”

    2. ambrit

      I have been tempted to ask: “Alexa, how many organizations does your data go to?”

    3. albrt

      I go with the standard XKCD query, “Alexa order two tons of creamed corn. Alexa, confirm purchase.”

  12. going nowhere slowly

    Re voting chaos: I voted in person last Thursday in DC. Picked early afternoon as a time when my usual neighborhood polling place–fortunately one of the limited number open in the city–was not likely to be busy. I was the only voter there.

    Thursday now seems like a lifetime ago. I expected it to be the last time I would ever seen Bernie Sanders on a ballot here, and that was bittersweet enough. The thoughts of “what might have been” six days later now make me dizzy. I’ve been angry at the way he abandoned us, his supporters, although I never expected the Democratic Party would let him win. It would be a very different national conversation if he were still in the race.

    The mayor and police chief say they don’t know what federal agencies have been operating here over the past few days. I saw a troop carrier on Constitution Avenue yesterday late afternoon with some armed DEA police standing around. DEA hasn’t been mentioned as one of the agencies involved AFAIK. Should I call the mayor’s office and tell her?

    1. Shonde

      A comment on the Minneapolis Tribune article re the U of M study:
      “A difference of opinion:

      Healthcare workers & SARS-CoV-2 infection in India: A case-control investigation in the time of COVID-19

      Pranab Chatterjee1,#, Tanu Anand7,#, Kh. Jitenkumar Singh2, Reeta Rasaily3, Ravinder Singh4, Santasabuj Das8, Harpreet Singh5, Ira Praharaj6, Raman R. Gangakhedkar6, Balram Bhargava† & Samiran Panda9

      Indian J Med Res, Epub ahead of print.

      KEY FINDINGS: The pivotal finding of our study was the noteworthy benefits of HCQ prophylaxis. It was identified that simply initiating HCQ prophylaxis did not reduce the odds of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCWs. However, with the intake of four or more maintenance doses of HCQ, the protective effect started emerging, and in the adjusted multivariate model, a significant reduction (>80%) in the odds of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the HCWs was identified with the intake of six or more doses of HCQ prophylaxis.”


      1. The Rev Kev

        Turkey is also getting on top of their corner of the pandemic and use of HCQ is widespread there as well. I don’t know if the WHO has ordered them to stop using it though.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Was just reading now – ‘WHO says hydroxychloroquine trials for Covid-19 will RESUME as doubts emerge over side-effects research’. It seems that dodgy US company’s report in Lancet is catching a lot of flak and ‘a Guardian investigation found that Surgisphere’s employees “have little or no data or scientific background,” with one appearing to be a sci-fi author and fantasy artist.’
        Is it too early to call LancetGate?


      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Healthcare workers & SARS-CoV-2 infection in India: A case-control investigation in the time of COVID-19

        In links today [lambert preens, because he hasn’t seen this anywhere else].

        I don’t know whether the Indian study is any good. I do note that the population for the studies is different; the U of M study is prophylaxis for patients; the Indian study is prophylaxis for health care workers. Particularly in areas with PPE shortages, I would think health care workers are subject to higher “dosages” of the virus. Although I may be grasping at straws because I would like an old-fashioned remedy to work!

  13. Louis Fyne

    For historical context, Trump’s 2018 House performance was in- line with the historical norm of first-term presidents, remember 2010?

    And this was after all that rhetoric of a blue Tsunami. Pundits need to stop counting their chickens before they hatch

      1. albrt

        Collectively realizing after two years that the president is a worthless bag of s**t with legs seems like a pretty solid historical norm to me. It’s been true of every president in my lifetime anyway.

        But I guess the effects on the next congressional election could vary from time to time.

  14. a different chris

    >There are millions more potential voters where those came from

    And millions more on the other side. I do criticize polling barely 1000 people and making statements, but when 60% of the electorate actually casts votes you can’t tell me that if you put a gun to the head of the remaining 40% to make them come out it would make any difference. You especially can’t tell me that if you’ve quoted a single poll ever in your life.

    What *does* happen is different parts of the electorate get energized. So 65% turnout in a follow-up election might, due to what happened between elections, consist of 5% of those 40% that are mostly on one side. But again, if you got all 40…nothing would really change.

    Hope that makes sense. Reversion to the mean, maybe is closest to what I’m saying. The trick isn’t voter turnout, it’s turning out your voters.

  15. jo6pac

    Shouldn’t biden stay locked in his basement. This going to the funeral sounds like really bad idea.

    1. nippersmom

      May be a bad idea for Biden. May be a wonderful opportunity for the rest of the planet.

      1. doug

        Ok, best laugh of the day. I don’t come for such, but thanks NM. You are on a roll.

      2. Carla

        Good point, nippersmom. I’m also looking forward to getting rid of a few thousand Republicans as a result of their convention, wherever it may be ;-)

      3. Acacia

        Yeah. Probably nothing will happen inside the church, but before/after could be interesting. Especially if somebody in the crowd calls him out for shamelessly trying to hijack Floyd’s funeral as campaign PR (why else is Biden going, after all?). Given Biden’s mental state and temperament, he could snap and let loose with another “you ain’t black!” zinger.

        P.S. I wonder if anybody appearing in the vicinity with a “You ain’t black!” T-shirt will get tackled by secret service.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I wonder if anybody appearing in the vicinity with a “You ain’t black!” T-shirt will get tackled by secret service.

          Not necessary. Biden can jab them in the chest with his finger.

    2. Geo

      I’m looking forward to his sharing fond memories of Corn Pop and black kids enamored with his leg hair followed by an inspirational quoting of some wise words from his old friend President RapRock.

  16. urblintz

    so you don’t have to…

    A couple of days ago, I sent a comment/question to bloombergTV ( https://www.bloomberg.com/feedback/ ) inquiring whether the concept of “moral hazard” had been disappeared from the discussion deliberately or if they’d just not gotten around to mentioning it yet…

    I also dropped the “capitalism without bankruptcy is catholicism without hell” line and mentioned that many companies (perhaps the economy itself) now “saved” were already in deep doo-doo before the lockdown (Boeing?) and suggested their gloating over the market rebound was, well… unattractive.

    Today the question was asked and some guy named Thor(?), from Deutsche Bank, stated outright that, unlike in 2008, there were no bad guys to blame (“evil bankers” that’s a quote, I kid you not), that no one was to blame and the fed is “totally comfortable with moral hazard” this time.

        1. ambrit

          So, what characteristic would ‘Morel Doppelgangers’ display, Capsicum Consciousness?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I flirted with a girl in college once but unfortunately after the flirting she then needed to terminate a pregnancy

  17. dcblogger

    Active-duty troops deployed to DC region start to leave
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Active-duty troops brought in to help if needed with the civil unrest in the nation’s capitol are beginning to return to their home base, after two days of more peaceful demonstrations in Washington, D.C., senior defense officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    looks like the Pentagon brass had a little talk with Trump.

    1. marym

      Update: Troops not leaving now

      Republican governors are sending state national guard to DC per above TPM link and https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1268301272014340097

      “5PM WHITE HOUSE — These are the unidentified DOJ officers holding the perimeter at 15th and H Streets.
      They won’t tell the public to whom they report exactly…”

        1. ambrit

          You are right. What has rattled Trump sufficiently for him to make such a display of force, and in the nation’s Capital no less. It is almost as if the troops were deployed to forestall a ‘real’ coup attempt.
          As I mentioned elsewhere, one can not be too cynical concerning American politics.

          1. marym

            The unarmed protesters in the streets with cardboard signs and hand sanitizer aren’t threatening a coup. Trump considers a call to end cop violence against black people illegitimate. It’s something he’s called for himself. So he’s pitting armed agents of the state against the protesters.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  3rd world Banana Republic checklist:

                  – aristocracy and oligarchs raiding the national purse: check
                  – criminal friends of the leaders not prosecuted for crimes: check
                  – widespread election fraud and voter suppression: check
                  – widespread tax evasion by favoured oligarchs and their companies: check
                  – factions taking control of the airwaves: check
                  – widespread insider business dealings by government officials

                  and now, ta-da:
                  – the junta securing the support and backing of the armed forces: check!

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    > – the junta securing the support and backing of the armed forces: check!

                    But as I read it, Esper is resisting that. And I don’t think the troops taken in the aggregate would be in favor of going to war at home after having done so abroad.

                    Typically, in the Third World (as in Rome) elite units stationed near the capital are the drivers for coups, and often second-tier (i.e., hungry) officers leading, not the generals. But I don’t know military deployments in the D.C. area well enough to know if any fit those criteria.

                2. marym

                  The troops he and Barr have mobilized in DC and that they wants to send to other cities are directed against the protesters, not his opponents within government.

                  1. flora

                    Interesting that after the Nat. Guard was activated in states the late night looting and opportunistic crimes pretty much stopped. The cops seemed to get less violent toward peaceful protestors, too. Local PDs were either less stressed or were more aware an external force was watching them as well as watching peaceful protestors and violent after hours rioters. So, a good result. imo.

                    1. marym

                      That’s pretty much how the IL governor described the role.

                      “Their job is to provide a perimeter. They’re not going to be on the front lines,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “They’re really there to provide a perimeter so that the center of the city doesn’t get overtaken in the way that it seemed to in certain times last night.”

                      Pritzker said the soldiers were given “explicit direction” to not interfere with individuals peacefully protesting.

                      “They will operate under the most stringent parameters,” the governor said.

                      Illinois Guard Brig. Gen. Richard Neely said each solider was given strict use of force guidelines…

                      As far as I’ve read, the DC militarization isn’t being coordinated with the city, and the roles of the different types of forces aren’t clear yet, certainly not (as in Chicago) defined at a public briefing with state and city officials, so we’ll see what happens.


          2. flora

            When ya see the O alumni and the W alumni teaming up to elect Biden, and George Will writing ‘T must go’ op-eds…

            “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get ya.” ;)

            1. ambrit

              And both the O clique and the C clique angling for the endorsement of the W clique.
              I still suspect that a power struggle for the control of the Democrat Party apparatus is going on between the Obama stalwarts and the Clinton ‘bitter enders.’
              This is real Robber Baron Era quality politics.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > It is almost as if the troops were deployed to forestall a ‘real’ coup attempt.

            You’re not going to deter a real coup by the military — which all the sudden adulation for Esper, as once for the intelligence community, presages — with personnel from the Bureau of Prisons or the Border Patrol.

    1. Geo

      They’ll blame the poor, immigrants, and other “others” because their identity is dependent on a belief in a just system.

      “The non-political middle-class prisoners were a small minority among the prisoners. They were least able to withstand the initial shock. They found themselves utterly unable to comprehend what happened to them. In their behaviour became apparent the dilemma of the politically uneducated German middle classes when confronted with the phenomenon of National Socialism. They had no consistent philosophy which would protect their integrity as human beings. They had obeyed the law handed down by the ruling classes without questioning its wisdom. And now the law-enforcing agencies turned against them, who always had been their staunchest supporters. They could not question the wisdom of law and police. Therefore what was wrong was that they were made objects of a persecution which in itself must be right, since it was carried out by the authorities. Thus they were convinced that it must be a “mistake.”
      These prisoners resented most to he treated “like ordinary criminals.” After some time they could not help realising their actual situation. Then they disintegrated. Suicides were practically confined to this group. Later on, they were the ones who behaved in an antisocial way; they cheated their fellow prisoners; a few turned spies. They lost their middle-class sense of propriety and their self-respect; they became shiftless and disintegrated as autonomous persons.”


      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > their identity is dependent on a belief in a just system.

        For which as a class they administer the justice (no matter the moral acts of individuals. For example, health care should not be mean-tested. The function should not exist. Individual good acts by just means-testers don’t make the systemic issue go away).

  18. Geo

    No matter how low my opinion of Dems may get, it seems my conservative neighbors and friends always remind me of how much scarier their ideology and idiocy is.

    Just yesterday my neighbor was going on about how she never thought she’d see a civil war in america where she’d have to fight communists taking over the country. Defended Trump saying she wished he didnt Tweet so much because it distracts from how smart he is – probably the smartest president we’ve ever had.

    Was too dumbfounded to rebut much but tried to explain there is no communist uprising here. She mentioned healthcare and I told her I lived in Canada and was hospitalized while in Cuba. Both were far better than any experience I’ve had in the US. She retorted Canadians come here for surgeries and I said rich ones do because we have great healthcare for rich people. Then she said her parents were taken care of in their later years. I asked who paid for it and she said it was provided by the government. I reminded her that’s socialist medicine. She was quiet.

    Tried using that example to explain simple ways she might see how her news sources have been misleading her. Just today I overheard her on the phone complaining about communists and Antifa and how Trump is protecting us.

    That’s just one person. There are so many others. Ones who only weeks ago were ranting to me about fascism because of masks and shutdowns who now want military forces in the streets.

    Trying to talk reason with them is like trying to explain to my cats why it’s wrong to scratch the sofa. They just look at me like I’m a lunatic and go right back to scratching.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Wait a minute…I thought the dirty commies were the ones behind Trump?

      Kidding aside, one of my favorite things is taking to a true believe on the right and hearing nearly the same things but with the parties reversed that I’d hear talking to a Dem loyalist. When I’ve pointed this out, it usual results in a “yeah? But I’m actually right!” Sigh.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Excuse me, but we have the truth!” -Jesus Camp

        When they don’t have cable television to reinforce their sociopathy, they’ll ease out of it. The withdrawal might be a grim affair, though, so stay alert.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      I’ve never converted a single hard right wing, or even “moderate” Dem person in my long life. It’s a fruitless exercise. Votes have to be either new ones or from the abstaining majority.

      Listening is usually worth it though. Learn what the people are really thinking. Eavesdropping is better than conversation IMHO because many people will actually moderate their insanely radical views because they know you’re a leftist. Not something I do though. I’m an up front dirty communist. Marx bloc, Trotsky subunit.

      1. ambrit

        Sarcasm alert!/
        Hoo boy! Next thing you know, we’ll be hearing about the Mexican Unions forming combat brigades to send north to help the California freedom fighters win their independence.
        As someone I know once said as a retort to the usual “Dirty Commie” accusation: “Well, I may be a bit Wobbly, but I can shoot straight!”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Votes have to be either new ones or from the abstaining majority.

        This was, I think, Sanders’ strategy. It did not work. I’m still not sure why. It seems to me the only way forward.

    3. The Historian

      Someone must be sending these people scripts because I have a neighbor who is now saying the exact same things. “Commies, like Antifa, blah, blah, blah, and how Trump is protecting us. blah, blah, blah.”

      1. Aumua

        I suggest tuning into some AM talk radio and/or fox news programs featuring the likes of Rush, Hannity, Beck and Levine. They’re always ranting about the far left, socialist, communist democrats and their plan for the imminent destruction of America. These guys also brag about being chummy with Trump and even advising him on some things, which really wouldn’t surprise me.

        They never ever criticize anything Trump says or does.

          1. Aumua

            They’re pretty much openly calling for a one party system in the U.S. these days.

    4. Chris

      Yes. Democracy isn’t the only thing that does in darkness. Rational thought and being able to see your neighbors clearly go by the wayside too when liberals insist on covering their eyes with rags like the WaPo. I think we will all be surprised how big the Bradley effect is this time with Trump. The people who think the authorities shouldn’t abuse minorities but should protect their uptown property at all costs form a major segment of Team Blue No Matter Who. Life won’t be so bad for them with Trump in office for a second term.

      1. albrt

        Especially if they work for a Democrat consulting, lobbying, or NGO type outfit. Those folks have never seen fund raising like the last four years. They are way better off if Trump wins, which explains a lot.

  19. DJG

    “That famous Biden empathy, seemingly never unmixed with pragmatic concerns (and fostered by the press, much in the same way that McCain’s “maverick” persona was, when he reinvented himself after the Keating 5 scandal).”

    Lambert Strether: I think that what you have to keep in mind here is the culture of the Democrats, which is that the Democrats are the mommy party. So some emoting from Joe Biden and some melodrama from Nancy Pelosi and her bible actually shore up their base, which is Clintonian liberals. The Democrats are very much a fan club. The Republicans are a fan club, too, but with more screamers.

    It has occurred to me today, and I almost get twitches, that many, many liberals and mainstream Democrats want this all to blow over with another national conversation on race, some passing of the beribboned talking stick, eating of the sacred S’Mores, intoning of the national hymn Amazing Grace, and then adjournment.

    Unless the Democrats are preparing a gigantic legislative program, along the lines of what Lyndon Johnson did, a new Civil Rights Act, in a sense, along with voting rights, Medicare for all, a real pension system, and curtailment of at-will employment, then it’s all bible-reading on the Titanic. With gelato.

    I am so old that I recall when many of the currently sorrowful Democrats were all in for such stars of civil rights and racial equality and econonic equity as Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, law-n-order ladies extraordinaires. I recall the enthusiasm for Pete Buttigieg, notoriously emphathetic to the concerns of his local black community.

    The ineptitude is palpable. The unwillingness to produce change is palpable. As in the famous New Yorker profile of the Obama bin Laden events, Joe will wander around with his rosary. A most bizarre detail that I recall–another lie. Also, not so coincidentally, a favorite pastime of the execrable Matteo Salvini, baby Trump of Italy.

  20. Drugstoreblonde

    Schwärmer is too kind. I think Schleimscheißer more accurately describes this level of bootlickery.

    1. WhoaMolly

      Hah! Learn something new every day on NC.

      Schwärmer: enthusiast, zealot, extremist, sentimentalist, dreamer, visionary
      Schleimscheißer: bootlicker inf , arse licker (Brit) sl (US) , ass licker sl

    2. Darthbobber

      And their puffery went away because it failed so rapidly. No great breakthrough from the speech here in Philly. (I’ll give him marks for considerable improvement over earlier efforts. Shooting people in the leg as a meaningful improvement didn’t come up.)

      MorningConsult poll today had a Biden question among a host of persons and institutions whose responses to the Floyd killing and the protests people were asked to rate. Biden was barely a cipher one way or the other. He may have been the only person, institution or occupation that most respondents had no opinion about one way or the other.

      Some media puffs locally, but the Biden moment didn’t breakthrough in social media at all. Maybe the mask keeps him from going viral.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Schwärmer is too kind. I think Schleimscheißer more accurately describes this level of bootlickery.

      Schwärmer however, captures the wild, disproportionate, fan-like enthusiasm (“not a dry seat in the house”).

      Isn’t German famous for pormateau words? Could we somehow combine Schwärmer and Schleimscheißer to get “wildly enthusiastic bootlicker”?

  21. Sam M

    “Where Are Bernie Sanders and College Campus Activism When We Need Them Most?”

    Not helping Biden that’s for sure. This is a perfect example of short sightedness and disconnect with young voters and their needs and demands in a candidate. The “change” college students protest for is not a different face, its different policy.

    “Young voters are rightfully disgusted by the Trump administration’s corruption, racism and policy malfeasance. However, it has been somewhat disappointing, and perplexing, to see so little by way of traditional student protests on college campuses.”

    Not taking the time to see the issues facing college students (from student loans, to at least a decade of economic hardship, and a crumbling environment) is just the short sighted victimization expected from the dem establishment. Trump is not a policy and therefore cannot be trusted to draw support against, let alone protest against.

    “Biden needs Sanders as an ambassador”

    Us college students need Sanders if we want to have any hope of living a life outside of complete debt servitude. Biden is not Sanders and moderates (cough cough Obama) cant be progressives. Until a major party realizes this, dems will have to get used to an entire generation voting exclusively down ballot for progressives.

      1. ambrit

        True. I believe the current state of the art phrase is: “Education Consumers.”

        1. Hepativore

          The problem is that it seems that it suits the Democratic party just fine if they blow off most of an entire generation of people, as they feel that they can keep skimming off the Karens and wine moms that compose most of their voting bloc when new ones rise to take the place of the old ones as they die off. This is how they feel that they can keep the party going. Whether or not it wins them elections is beside the point as they can continue fundraising just the same. In the odd chance that you have a third party actually becoming a threat to deal with in the future, you will see a renewed bipartisan effort to make the ballot laws even more restrictive.

          The Democratic leadership does not care if they loose the youth vote as they see them as being either hopelessly naive rabble or ungrateful for having the privilege of voting for their pre-selected candidates and daring to defy the will of their betters. After all, the Democrats probably think that they do not need the youth vote to win, and if Biden becomes the next president, it will probably validate this mentality. Even if the middle-finger that they have waved in the face of people younger than 60 causes them to lose to Trump, they will still feel that it was worth it as part of the price of stopping Sanders.

          I am voting third party, and I have no illusions that it will come to much or that I will ever see a viable third party in my lifetime and I am 36. As difficult as it is, I still think that the most plausible way forward is to try and take over one of the two parties, and perhaps progressives should try taking over the Republican party the next time around. As much as I would like to see more than two political parties in power, the fact is that these are the same parties in charge of writing the laws that govern elections and who even gets on the ballot in the first place. They will nip a third party in the bud before it even starts from a legal standpoint.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “…Take over the Republican party, instead…”
            the GOP contains much more democracy than the “Democratic Party”.
            I’ve had much better results changing the hearts and minds of erstwhile repub sometimes-voters than dems.
            of course, most of the dems out here(about 300 out of 4500 total for the county pop) are relatively well to do, white and slip easily into the thought police/scold function.
            …and i’m not referring to the repubs who are involved enough in the party to actually go to the meetings, or be a part of the annual “Republican Women’s Home Tour”(!!?).
            nevertheless, I think it’s doable…and might be a little less arduous and time consuming than continuing to try to storm the AI at Hillaryworld.
            would be easier if we had access to some form of mass media…but the party structure lends itself to it.
            I recommend Russel Kirk, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Epistle of James as preparatory study for this task.
            and where i live, the KJV’s language is very effective.

  22. TB

    “Where Are Bernie Sanders and College Campus Activism When We Need Them Most?”

    We’re in the streets, guys. Turn on your TV, you’ll see us.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina


      and thank you for risking your lives out there and credibility on this blog for something you believe in.

    2. Chris

      That explains it. I was looking for you in the OP-ed section of WaPo and the Times. Imagine my surprise that people are actually out in the world trying to d something? Incredible :p

  23. hdude

    Under the election map, the math maybe wrong. “He could lose, say, AZ (11) and PA (20), but would have to win FL, MI, NC, PA, and WI. “

    Could Trump lose PA and (also) win PA… FL + MI + NC + WI would push Trump over 270.. Maybe I’m missing something?

  24. Jason Boxman

    Morgan’s wife is pro-life, I believe, and Morgan was at a fundraiser I attended with Orange Country Young Dems, before I knew better, for neoliberal hack Suzanne Kosmas in Orlando, back in 2008 I believe. Rhambo was there as well, and he turned to me and asked the name of the place we were at. In real life, he’s short. Voters went on to replace her with an actual Republican in 2010 as part of the neoliberal Democrat wipeout that year.

    (In 2008-10 I met quite a few UCF college Dems that were all in for Obama; I wonder how that worked out? And that’s our *bench*, ha.)

    Sadly I’ve been seeing Morgan’s “for the people” advertisement signs sprout up here in Boston. Ugh. Clearly not for working class people, eh?

  25. John k

    Bushies raising a pac for Biden…
    Maybe giving up on trump starting a war, any war… imagine their desperation, no new wars since Obama left office… where’s the bomb, bomb bomb Iran gone to? And what’s the kid gloves with Venezuela? And letting NK push us around. This is high treason!
    So we gotta get Biden elevated… why not Hillary for veep? Tanned and ready, best of all, dependable. We know exactly where she stands. A great coc.
    Of course bush gave Michelle chocolates, they’re all on the same side.

  26. anon in so cal

    Yes, unfortunately, most of the California mountain lion news is very sad. P-56’s mother had been struck and killed by a car before that.

    1. Jessica

      It looked to me like he knew what he wanted to say and he was balancing it against the reprisals that Trump would make against Canada.

      1. RMO

        That’s how it looked to me. Standard Canadian P.M. response to the U.S. for decade upon decade has been knuckling under and doing whatever they’re told (with exceptions over the years). Any time we don’t fall right into line things can be a bit tricky. The invasion of Iraq being an example of this. One of the few not-entirely-negative things about Trump being president in my opinion is (for those of us not in the U.S.) that his egregiousness has made it somewhat easier for other governments to not follow the lead of the U.S.

        I have to admit that I would like to see how J.T.’s dad would have behaved in the situations hos son has been in though.

  27. Chris

    I’m just posting to say thank you to our fearless bloggers who wade through mountains of morally questionable material to bring us a collection of useful finds. I’d have given up reading news after people lauded Obama for his words the other day about the protestors but you all have somehow slogged on. In a world content with mediocrity and perpetually fogged by a bottomless memory hole you guys are among the few journalists who actually string together stories and explore themes more than a week old. Thanks :)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > thank you to our fearless bloggers

      [lambert blushes modestly as would Yves, too, were she reading this]

      > explore themes more than a week old

      Yes, we have beats, almost like a real old-school newspaper! (And I am sure long-term readers are familiar with my repertoire of jokes and riffs :-))

  28. YetAnotherChris

    It looks like George Floyd survived Covid-19, only to succumb to MPD 2020:


    And Bob Kroll is getting his comeuppance:


    I think it’s common knowledge by now that George Floyd and Derek Chauvin knew one another, having worked together at a nightclub.

    Fiction can’t touch this.

  29. farmboy

    Good insights from John Kempf, soil biota and plant interactions form the basis of wise crop selection and really, managing and enhancing those interactions is where production ag is headed. The most interesting crop to me right now is mustard, brassica juncea and sinapis alba for use as a cover crop. The glucosinalets in mustard give it the hot quality as a condiment and do the same in the soil. Different varieties(species) affect weeds and pests differently. I’m working on finding a mix that I can pasture. Not looking to produce milk that is a spicy condiment!lol.
    Invested heavily in seeking knowledge re biodynamics, permaculture, esoteric electricity prior to converting to organic, without intention.

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