2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/2020

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. The selected states have an Rt greater than 1:

Here is the source for the selected states:

“If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly. When Rt is below 1.0, the virus will stop spreading.” The pandemic is most definitely not under control. And these numbers are after significant social distancing and control measures, and in hot weather, too.


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

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Would Like a Word With the Youths” [New York Magazine]. “Three and a half years later, as American streets fill nightly with young protesters, no one can quite agree on where Joe Biden stands. Is he running ahead of Clinton among the youngest voters owing to their hatred of Trump — and therefore even more securely buckled into the electoral driver’s seat than widely assumed? Or is Biden lagging dangerously behind Clinton’s pace — far enough back that he needs to significantly retool his youth outreach to beat Trump, no matter how unexpectedly strong his position may be among traditionally Republican groups like older voters and suburbanites? And, most urgently, have the recent weeks of unrest simply served to highlight the vast divisions between Biden and Trump — whose unacceptability to younger Americans deepens by the day — or are they instead underscoring a significant disillusionment with all politics, in particular among young black voters, that could spell trouble for the Democrat?”  • Well, the Biden campaign started a thing called “League 46” that held some “virtual brunches”….

Sanders (D)(1): Sanders addresses a large crowd:

Yeah, Good. OK, but in the past six months we’ve had a big strike wave and and an enormous Black Lives Matter wave, and in neither case is the candidate of the biggest (ok, democratic) Socialist insurgent movement since I don’t know when speaking to those crowds, here in the United States. This decapitation is a tragedy, a missed opportunity of world historical proportions. (Note that the BLM protests make the rationale of leaving the race to prevent pandemic spread irrelevant; the people, or at least a very large number of them, spoke.)

Sanders (D)(2): “Democrats discover a new team player: Bernie Sanders” [Politico]. “‘Sen. Sanders has been a tremendous force in helping unify the party,’ said Neera Tanden, president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress and a longtime Hillary Clinton aide who has been a vocal critic of Sanders in the past. ‘I am grateful for his work to urge his supporters to support Biden and fight Trump. He knows the stakes of this election, has always said he will support the nominee, and has been a man of his word….. Some Democrats complain privately that Sanders still isn’t doing everything he can to support Biden, noting that he hasn’t turned over his prized email list or fundraised for Biden.” • Read all the way to the end, where the obligatory Nader reference is worked in.

Trump (R)(1): “Biden lead rises to 14 points Trump in new CNN poll” [The Hill]. “Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden now holds a commanding 14-point lead over President Trump in his 2020 bid for the White House, according to a CNN poll released early Monday. The survey found that 55 percent of voters would throw their support behind the former vice president if the election were held today, while 41 percent would favor Trump. Biden’s new double-digit lead over Trump represents a significant improvement from a similar CNN survey conducted in May. That one showed Biden with 51 percent support and Trump with 46 percent support.” • Methodology: “Interviews were conducted among a representative sample of the adult population, age 18 or older, of the United States.” I know national polls are a fools errands, and single national polls are a fools errand squared, but one does get the sense that the Trump campaign needs to pull itself together. The Trump campaign team is feral and effective, but Trump needs to give them something to work with a V-shaped recovery (needs luck) and a vaccine (needs more luck) might do the trick. Then again, Trump, like Napoleon’s favored generals, is lucky.

Trump (R)(2): “Virus, racial unrest force Trump campaign to recalibrate” [Associated Press]. “COVID-19’s mounting human and economic tolls -– and the president’s defiant response –- cost him support among constituencies his campaign believes are key to victory in November. His signature rallies had been frozen for months, and his cash advantage over Biden, while vast, wasn’t growing as quickly as hoped because the pandemic put a halt to high-dollar fundraisers…. Internal campaign surveys and public polling showed a steady erosion in support for Trump among older people and in battleground states once believed to be leaning decisively in the president’s direction, according to six current and former campaign officials not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. The campaign recently launched a television ad blitz in Ohio, a state the president carried by 8 percentage points four years ago, and it sees trouble in Arizona and warning signs in once-deep-red Georgia….. While Trump has demanded that the campaign prepare to schedule rallies as soon as the summer, aides have cautioned that it could be risky to fill an arena — creating the potential for negative news stories if the virus were found to have spread at a campaign event. And that is if they could even persuade the requisite crowds to gather before there is a vaccine.”

* * *

Big for @Booker4KY (who’s running against the horrid Amy McGrath for the chance to challenge McConnell):

(I heard both Booker and Jones — a dominating Kentucky sports radio figure — on the Trillbillies. They were both impressive.)

“Progressives steamrolled across the Senate map” [Politico]. “If Democrats win back the Senate this fall, don’t expect a rush to pass the Green New Deal or Medicare for All. The left wing has been wiped out in Senate primaries or failed to recruit at all in states across the map this year, leaving a slate of centrist candidates more in the ideological mold of Joe Biden than Bernie Sanders. Liberal insurgents on the ballot over the coming weeks in states like Kentucky and Colorado aren’t favored to fare any better, failing to gain significant traction thus far against more moderate favorites.”

“Turnout surges after states expand mail-in voting” [The Hill]. “In at least four of the eight states that held primaries on Tuesday, turnout surpassed 2016 levels, with most of the votes being cast via mail, according to an analysis of election returns by The Hill. Each of those states took steps earlier this year to send absentee ballot applications to all of their registered voters.” • The issue is whether every voter can have the same voting experience. Not necessarily. (I hate the concept of early voting, partly because I think voting should be a collective action, but more importantly because it encourages party loyalty.)

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How Do We Know We Are at a Tipping Point?” [Cook Political Report]. “While many see the election of Donald Trump as the tipping point for white, college-educated voters from Republican to Democrat, these Pew surveys suggest that it really started during the George W. Bush-era. If you look at white voters with a college degree or postgraduate degree (in pollster shorthand, college plus), you see that what was once a double-digit GOP identification turns into single digits in 2004 and never comes back. By 2012, that GOP ID is down to just R+2. In 2014, white college plus graduates identified equally with the Democratic and Republican parties. By 2016, these voters identify with Democrats by four points. What you can also see, however, is the impact that the postgraduate cohort has on the overall lean of the combined white college and postgraduate community. White postgrads had never been all that strongly identified with Republicans and now identify with Democrats by 24 points. However, the more dramatic movement is among white four-year degree holders who, 25 years ago, overwhelmingly affiliated themselves with the GOP and who now lean Democrat by three points. Their inflection point came a bit later than the postgrads — more like 2012 than 2004.” • PMCs…

“Conspiracy theories and racist memes: How a dozen Texas GOP county chairs caused turmoil within the party” [Texas Tribune]. “On Friday morning, Texas’ top Republican officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, had condemned four GOP chairs for proliferating conspiracy theories on Facebook. The posts, from chairs of some of the largest counties in Texas, suggested George Floyd’s death was staged to erode black support for President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, a fifth chairperson, Harris County GOP chair-elect Keith Nielsen, announced Saturday he will not take office as planned after coming under fire for posting a Martin Luther King Jr. quote — ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ — on a background with a banana. On Friday afternoon, The Texas Tribune identified similar posts from seven more GOP chairs across the state. Some of these posts suggested people who have been protesting Floyd’s death across the state and the country were being paid by Jewish billionaire George Soros — an oft-used anti-Semitic trope. GOP county chairs are elected leaders of the Republican Party who help oversee local elections and head up county-level meetings and events. News circulating about the first five chairs’ posts sparked concern — both internal and external — about the Texas GOP.” •

* * *

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.

Recession: “U.S. recession officially began in February” [Axios]. “The U.S. economy peaked in February before sliding into a recession as the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a group that’s considered the official determinators of when recessions begin and end…. ‘The unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions,’ NBER researchers said in a release.”

Employment Situation: “May 2020 Conference Board Employment Index Remains Deep In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “Econintersect evaluates the year-over-year change of this index (which is different than the headline view) – as we do with our own employment index. The year-over-year index growth rate accelerated by 3.1 % month-over-month and a negative 57.9 % year-over-year. The Econintersect employment index also remains in deep negative territory. Both of these indices are predicting softer job growth 6 months from now – however, because the decline was so rapid, it is likely the rebound will continue for the next few months. The bottom line is that I doubt you can forecast using traditional methods what employment will look like six months from today.” • Nobody knows anything!

Consumer Expectations: “Modest Improvement in Consumer Expectations In May 2020” [Econintersect]. “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data released the May 2020 Survey of Consumer Expectations, which shows small signs of improvement in households’ expectations compared to April. Consumers grew comparatively more optimistic about labor market outcomes with earnings growth, job finding, and job loss expectations all slightly improving, but remaining far off pre-COVID19 levels. Expected income and spending growth as well as the probability of missing a future minimum debt payment also displayed improvements. On the other hand, perceived and expected availability of credit continued to worsen.” • Speaking of credit:

Looks like everybody took their Federal money, slammed it in the bank, and hunkered down?

* * *

Shipping: “Strong volumes again – up 7% year-over-year” [Freight Waves]. “Outbound tender volumes posted the highest June 5th total in the three-year series history, while this doesn’t match the surge seen in March due to pre-stocking, for this time of year, it is telling how aggressive the volumes are. Volumes have made a huge climb over the past few weeks and there isn’t much to point towards a slow-down. Capacity is reacting very slowly to the volume surge… The agricultural hubs along the West Coast and in the Southwest and Southeast continue to be strong sources of volumes. In May, the Rust Belt also became a source of outbound freight as much of the country’s manufacturing and industrial economy came back online.”

Shipping: “Strong hiring across the U.S. is raising logistics operators’ hopes of a rebound in shipping demand, as long as they’re in the right markets. Companies tied to digital commerce logistics boosted employment in big numbers in May…. with parcel and warehousing operators adding a combined 20,600 jobs to meet the growing demand for delivery to homebound consumers” [Wall Street Journal]. “The brighter prospect for transportation operators was the addition of 669,000 jobs at goods-producing companies, signaling resurgent hiring in the broader American economy last month may start bringing supply chains back to life.”

Concentration: “U.S. antitrust regulators are deepening their scrutiny of the $213 billion U.S. meat industry. The Justice Department issued civil subpoenas to the four biggest beef processors, JBS USA Holdings Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., Cargill Inc. and National Beef Packing Co…” [Wall Street Journal]. “Cattle ranchers have called for a probe of the companies that control the U.S. beef industry, and supermarkets, food distributors and other meat buyers have launched private civil suits against beef and pork processors. They point to pricing swings out of step with meat-market supply and demand, while meatpackers say economic forces are driving beef prices higher and cattle futures lower. Federal antitrust enforcers have already weighed in with a separate investigation charging four poultry industry executives indicted with conspiracy to rig chicken prices.”

Mr. Market: “We’re Back at the Top of the Stocks Helter-Skelter” [John Authers, Bloomberg]. “How to Spot That This Rally Would Be So Strong? The answer, very simply, was from watching liquidity. To use the phrase of Michael Howell of CrossBorder Capital, who turned bullish in March, ‘if there’s money anywhere, there has to be money somewhere’ — and when rates on low-risk securities are as low as they are now, that means stocks.” • Interesting column on some not-so-good calls. Oh, and go long crony capitalism. But doesn’t everyone?

The Fed: “Fed says beating pandemic is key, but how will it know things are better?” [Reuters]. “With a full three months of responding to a global pandemic under their belt, U.S. Federal Reserve officials have united around one point: lasting progress on the economic front will be dictated by success in containing the spread of the coronavirus.” • Which we aren’t doing. Which doesn’t seem to have penetrated.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 66 Greed;) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 8 at 12:27pm.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Oil Supply/Price. “Oil prices have recovered from their negative price” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. I feel apocalyptic. Why don’t these guys?

The Biosphere

“Investigating the Impact of Permaculture as a Tool for Mitigating and Adapting ClimateChange in Malawi, Case of Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology, HouseholdPermaculture Demonstration Project” (PDF) [Chisomo Nelson Kamchacha]. “The findings of the study revealed that Kusamala‟s household permaculture demonstration project has significantly impacted on the livelihoods of the beneficiaries, improved the ecosystem and foodsecurity hence permaculture could be a viable means for addressing climate change. The core purpose of Kusamala‟s project was to: improve food and nutrition security, increaseagrobiodiversity and improve environmental and economic viability of land. Interestingly, theoutcomes of the study revealed that the household permaculture demonstration project had multiple benefits as it address wide scope of challenges ranging from food insecurity to ecosystemunsustainability, disaster vulnerability to culture preservation amongst others.” • This just randomly showed up in my Inbox the other day, but I think it’s neat.

Health Care

“Quarantine fatigue: Why some of us have stopped being vigilant and how to overcome it” [CNN]. “If you’ve found you’re no longer disinfecting your hands as often or becoming more lenient toward unnecessary trips outside, you’re not alone. This unintentional phenomenon is “caution fatigue” — and you have your brain to blame.

You were likely vigilant at the pandemic’s outset, consistently keeping up with ways to ensure you didn’t get infected with the coronavirus or infect others. The threat was new and urgent to your brain. And driven by the human instinct for self-preservation, fresh fear motivated you to eagerly adhere to recommended safety precautions. Fast-forward three months, and that sense of immediacy may have faded…. Fear is no longer the motivation, so you need another source of inspiration. Ask yourself, ‘What’s the reward I get for the choices that I make relative to what I’m giving up?’ Maybe the reward is your health, or altruistically the health of your family or others. Or it’s that you’ve mastered staying safe during the pandemic. Figuring out how you can safely do some part of your normal routine can give your brain something else to control besides limiting your reactions to threats. And you can still feel in control of your health.” • I’m very good about masking, and I stay in my “bubble.” Nevertheless, I go out for food and other purchases. What I find myself not doing when I return is automatically showering (partly to clean my hands, but also because I imagine the virus settling on my skin or in my hair — ick!). Now I have to remind myself to shower. Frustrating!

“The effect of large-scale anti-contagion policies on the COVID-19 pandemic” (preprint) [Nature]. “In the absence of policy actions, we estimate that early infections of COVID-19 exhibit exponential growth rates of roughly 38% per day. We find that anti-contagion policies have significantly and substantially slowed this growth. Some policies have different impacts on different populations, but we obtain consistent evidence that the policy packages now deployed are achieving large, beneficial, and measurable health outcomes. We estimate that across these six countries, interventions prevented or delayed on the order of 62 million confirmed cases, corresponding to averting roughly 530 million total infections.” • Handy charts:

“The supply chain for a drug that shows promise in treating Covid-19 patients is getting healthier but at a frustratingly slow pace. The federal government sent nearly a half-million doses of remdesivir to states over three weeks last month… but an analysis shows the supplies weren’t enough to treat the tens of thousands of hospitalized patients” [Wall Street Journal]. “Hospitals are managing the shortage in part by rationing the use of the drug, a strategy that can work as long as infection rates don’t accelrate.”

“Haven Can’t Fix Employer Health Care” [RealClearPolicy]. ” The nonprofit created by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase to tame costs and improve quality in job-based health insurance is floundering after more than two years of operations…. The founding companies assumed that employer-sponsored coverage could be fixed with entrepreneurial energy and creative use of information technology. They were wrong…. That realization may be why Atul Gawande — the Harvard professor, surgeon, and prolific author turned Haven CEO — announced recently that he was resigning his post with the venture to focus on the COVID-19 crisis (he will remain chairman of Haven’s board). His departure before launching any meaningful or scalable initiatives leaves the nonprofit’s future in doubt.” • That’s a damn shame. (I concluded, in 2018, after giving the project far more credit than it deserved: “Nevertheless, that Buffett says, out loud, that single payer is ‘more effective’ at cost control, and yet pursues a ‘technology solution,’ as opposed to the political solution he could equally well fund, should be a ginormous honkin’ red flag that there’s nothing other than bad faith at the root of the undertaking. So, ‘innovate’ away….” Yep.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Who would be foolish enough to take this seriously?

(Congratulations to Kaepernick, however!)

Police State Watch


Bullet points (1): Celebrity, podcaster, and Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson-branded proposals (“Campaign Zero“), which grew out of Ferguson:

Some of Campaign Zero’s recommendations have already been adopted; those cities are the basis for Campaign Zero’s weirdly specific claim to reduce police violence by 72% (and not 71% or 73%).

Bullet points (2): The Democrat legislation, proposed today:

Bullet points (3): The Abolitionist proposals (note the duelling #8 hash tags). The Minneapolis City Council (but not Mayor Frey) supports abolition:

“MPD150: working towards a police free Minneapolis” [MPD 150]. “The goal of this initiative is to shift the discussion of police violence in Minneapolis from one of procedural reforms to one of meaningful structural change. We will achieve this by presenting a practical pathway for the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department; the transference of its social service functions to community-based agencies and organizations; the replacement of its emergency intervention functions with models not based on military methods; and the redirection of resources to support community resilience and people-directed development.”

A point I haven’t seen made elsewhere:

* * *

“Don’t be fooled by seemingly good cops kneeling at protests — it’s a stunt” [The Grio]. “These displays are a PR strategy being used to quell the rage and an attempt by police departments to redeem their image…. In Manhattan, cops tricked excited protesters by kneeling and then tear-gassing them when they got close enough. Not surprisingly, the protesters were stunned and angry because they presumably believed that a change had come. It would be easy for us to shake our heads and ask: What were they thinking? How could they not recognize the setup? How could they be so trusting and naïve? But their actions are a consequence of media hero-worship of police, not knowing the history of civil rights protests, the lack of preparation and training for a 21st-century fight for racial justice, denial about the slyness of how agents of the state uphold white supremacist agendas, and people’s genuine desire for racial harmony.”

“To Protest and (Refuse to) Serve” [Eater]. “Many restaurants have long given police officers preferential treatment. But shifting public opinion about the police suggests that might be changing.” • Several examples.

Our Famously Free Press

“The Tiny Media Collective That Is Delivering Some of the Most Vital Reporting from Minneapolis” [The New Yorker]. “An extremely compelling view of what is happening in—and to—Minneapolis is streaming by way of Unicorn Riot, a not-for-profit media collective that was incorporated in Minnesota five years ago, with a mission to bring attention to social and environmental struggle. Its reporters regularly cover the Twin Cities, Boston, Denver, and Philadelphia, and have fanned out to cover events such as the Unite the Right rally, in Charlottesville, in 2017, and the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. For the past week in Minneapolis, Unicorn Riot has delivered a sustained act of witness: night after night of vigils and struggle and trouble…. But perhaps ‘story’ is the wrong word. It is implicit—on, say, a five-and-a-half-hour live stream, shot with a single camera—that the creation of a familiar sort of processed journalistic narrative is not on the agenda. Instead, you get a constantly updating document that accommodates person-on-the-street interviews thriving with unaffected voices. One night last week, a Unicorn Riot camera crew elicited a succinct commentary on the dynamics of property destruction from a local business owner. ‘I realize why the Third Precinct was burnt down,’ the man said. ‘It wasn’t burnt down because people were mad at the police. It was burnt down because the police were mad at the people’—meaning that the officers’ passivity in protecting the building was in fact an aggression, intended to tar the mass of protesters as arsonists.” • So, Unicorn Riot is from Minnesota!

Class Warfare

Cause and effect:

One more damn book to read…

Black Socialists in America is always worth reading. Picking one factoid out of a long and interesting thread on “white privilege”:

News of the Wired

“#326- BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG (Part the Twelfth)” (podcast) [The Civil War]. • This is one of my favorite podcasts, but I like this one particularly because it shows how Confederate General Robert E. Lee, having blundered into a battle of encounter at Gettysburg, is about to get out-generaled by Union General George Meade, and the Confederate troops outfought by Union troops.

These are the cats we need now:

* * *
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 (SR):

SR writes: “Vaccinium arboreum, Sparkleberry. Opelika, AL 4-25-2020. A blueberry cousin that can reach 20+ ft tall. Small fruits loved by the birds. It was a happy surprise to see I had captured the little Hapropoda laboriosa Blueberry bee in mid flight!” And the site:

Had time today to tour the yard and take a few pics and find a few from last Spring. The yard hosts a craftsman style house built in 1920 by a local judge that enjoyed a reputation for being piously strict. I can say he painted, or at least acquiesced to the painting, of all interior surfaces yellow. Trim, cabinets, walls and ceiling. All yellow. I feel like that would wear on your soul after awhile. It’s a comforting house with tall ceilings and large central hallway that is seen in many older southern homes that aids in summer ventilation.

By the time I came along after semi-retiring in 2005 the place had suffered from benign neglect for some time. The previous owners viewed the yard as a source of annoyance and after having every shrub removed and garden bed sodded over called it good. All that was left were the trees, a giant Southern Magnolia, a giant Water Oak, a smaller oak of unknown lineage, a Chinese Tallow tree(yes, yes I know, invasive nightmare but its very pretty and besides I willingly grow Aralia spinosa, the Devil’s Walking Stick) and several pecans.

I started my first organized vegetable garden in over 30 yrs this year, like so many others have. I would have been gardening during the intervening years but work and life kept me pulling up stake.

Industrious bee!

* * *

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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. Big River Bandido

    Again, I find the entire “taking the knee” thing utterly offensive coming from the very people responsible. They never kneeled before Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd. Almost makes one think Congress is taking the knee in praise of law enforcement. Certainly no one pointed out Jamie Dimon’s or Roger Goodell’s complicity with the system. And none of them have yet rescinded a single piece of action or policy.

    1. marcyincny

      It’s like so many things these days? No matter how pure of intent the original gesture it’s quickly exploited and manipulated, often to the point of conveying exactly the opposite of the original.

    2. DJG

      Big River Bandido: Even weirder–who handed out the yards of kente cloth? Now every member of the Congress is suddenly sensitive to African symbolism and the meanings of the patterns in kente.

      And yet I find this already at Wikipedia, “On June 8, 2020, Democratic Party lawmakers in the United States wore kente cloth while announcing a bill, which they claimed was designed to transform law enforcement, in response to the George Floyd protests against police brutality.[18]”

      Some intern was charged with editing Wikipedia all day. It is all P.R.

        1. a different chris

          No, it’s a bill calling for a committee to write up a funding bill for another committee to recommend people to be on the commission to study the issue which will never get funded.

          Hope that clears it up.

          1. Chris

            Yes fellow Chris, it’s a plan to make a plan to fund a plan to accomplish something something… #resist #icantbreathe

            We are reaching the end of parody with this. I’d be laughing if it wasn’t so sad and so tragic for the people who really need help right now from our elected officials.

      1. Chris

        I wonder what the politicians will be wearing in November? They’ll have masks that are made from something, a flag pin on their lapel, the kente cloth shawl, maybe ceremonial shoes? The pageantry is crazy stupid.

      2. polecat

        Tis but ‘beyond the pale’ of Democrat theater – the entire Democrat Misleadership Class are a complete embarrassment ..Who are they kidding ?? Certainly Not their donors!


    3. Pelham

      As repulsive as this little demonstration was, I also ask myself what I might have preferred that they do at this particular juncture. Couldn’t think of a thing. It’s a no-win situation that these clowns have engineered their way into, and in that microscopic way I can excuse them for this.

      1. Huey

        Honestly, they could’ve just proposed their changes without all their PR bs. That would’ve been just fine.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          But the PR is for the bougies who run local democratic committees who want to see “action” but are happy for a pat on the head. This is the pat on the head. Its probably even for White Flight Republicans who are less crass than Trump. I mean Mittens thinks he should be at the protests.

          Its no different than Pelosi’s faux committee to discuss Rush Limbaugh being mean. its to assuage the worries of people who think something is wrong.

    4. Guild Navigator

      Kneel = Roman torture/execution device like the Christian cross, now an Imperial symbol?

    5. Procopius

      When I see pictures of people kneeling, in solidarity with George Floyd, I flash back to the picture of Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. I’m not sure that’s the image they want to project. Or is it supposed to be a reminder of what happened?

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Sorry about that Slim. When I was in Lake Havasu listening to to people talk about the virus there scared me into leaving. So that makes sense.

      1. DJG

        Yep. I had a long talk with a friend who is now living in Santa Fe. She lived in Evanston, IL, for many years. She mentioned mistrusting what she is hearing from many New Mexicans, too. All “freedom,” no understanding of the risks of an epidemic.

        1. Ohnoyoucantdothat

          Spent last 2 months in Northwest New Mexico near Navajo nation. Many visits to WalMart in Farmington. Navajo nation was being brutalized by COVID and had the highest per capita infection rate in the states. Gallup, at the southern end of the reservation, was isolated for a while because the infection rate was astronomical. I was amazed at how lax these folks were. They were under an 8-5 curfew and a single family member limit for shopping and yet I routinely watched whole familis (parents, kids and grandparents) arrived in their big pickups to shop. Mostly no masks until mid-May and not a lot of distancing. Got impression they weren’t taking the warnings seriously. A lot of folks in this area pride themselves on being very independent and more than a few think the whole epidemic is a joke. Controlling the outbreak in the West is going to be very difficult.

    2. The Rev Kev

      You take care, Slim. Time to double down on your precautions whenever you go out such as showering after you get home as Lambert mentioned. Not a good time to get sick with this virus if the ICU beds are getting full.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I am starting to run out of things I am accustomed to eat and run out of things to eat period. I am having a difficult time justifying my trips to the supermarket and other venues but I am also having more and more trouble coming up with meals. The Back-to-Work, Back-to-‘Normal’ orders come at a most uncomfortable time for this old retired guy.

      As for the procedures and recommendations for how to deal with Corona … I am greatly underwhelmed. I can wear a mask — indeed I prefer to wear a mask all the time — but washing every item I buy and showering after every trip to the store? After ‘don’t’ wear a mask’ to ‘WEAR a mask’ and after the many crap studies coming out of our Health-Industrial Complex — I have trouble remaining ‘vigilent’ — given that what that means has become — to my estimation — so problematic.

      I will stay at home and do what I can to make sure my daughter stays in her apartment because I have so little faith in the recommendations of our Health-Industrial Complex and I have read so little that makes sense about the Corona virus — and cooties everywhere is not an answer. I just stay at home and go out as little as I can, and remain very very skeptical of everything I read or hear. By the measure of Corona, the US is not a first world country.

      1. sierra7

        You sound like an ordinary retired American during these crazy times!
        Stay safe and healthy!

  2. zagonostra

    >BLM Funding

    I saw below clip of Jamie Dimon “taking a knee” BLM solidarity on The Rising. I also frequent views from the extreme right to see how things are getting framed in that part of the world and they purport that BLM’s funders, includes the who’s who of corporation and foundations including the ever present boogie man of the right, Soros. I tried to find a web site that list BLM’s corporate structure and funding to no avail.

    What is clear is that these uprisings have intentionally or non-intentionally shifted the focus away from class to race. This is certainly a bad sign for anyone who was hoping that both right and left would join against the predations of the 1%(+10% PMC) on the 99%(majority) with a renewed focus on M4A.


    1. Synoia

      Jamie Dimon talking a knee – probably cushioned by a wad of $100 bills, or 28% interest credit card bills. It would not be seemly to be kneeling on a number of debtors spleens.

    2. Big River Bandido

      BLM the organization (not the movement) was co-opted by the Democrat Party after 2016.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        BLM was compromised from the start by the likes of Deray McKesson, a self-promoter who has compared charter schools to the Black Panther Party breakfast program, and Brittany Packnett, who was the St. Louis director of Teach For America. In other words, they each had a cup of coffee in the classroom before embarking on careers fronting for school privatization.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think the movement was fine; the people who walked the streets of Ferguson for a year because the cops wouldn’t let them sit down. They are the ones who created the situation for the Deray’s and Packnetts of the world to exploit; Reed calls such people “voice” in The Trouble with Uplift:

          The gatekeeping question has, for more than a century, focused on who speaks for black Americans and determines the “black agenda.” And the status of black leader, spokesperson, or “voice” has always been a direct function of contested class prerogative, dating back a century and more to Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, and Anna Julia Cooper. Specifically, the gatekeeping function is the obsession of the professional-managerial strata who pursue what Warren has described as “managerial authority over the nation’s Negro problem.” How do “black leaders” become recognized? The answer is the same now as for Washington in the 1890s; recognition as a legitimate black leader, or “voice,” requires ratification by elite opinion-shaping institutions and individuals.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Perhaps a better verb in the first sentence would have been “infested,” instead of “compromised.”

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Just your average run of the mill Neoliberal NonProfit Industry scum.

          Looks like the 1%s have preserved their applecart.

          Slowly but surely, maybe 2 more rounds of mass civil disobedience, the Working Class will learn to ignore these Capitalist Sirens and listen to their guts and hearts.

          The MSM is saturated with Identity Politics at the expense of Economic Class Solidarity.

          The day the Populist ‘Left’ creates their own Press is the day the Res Publica is restored.

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Zaga thanks for accurately framing the situation.

      I’ve lamented gargantuan missed opportunities before, the biggest one squandered so far was Obama’s pitiful performance the last time the Republican program was completely on its knees in 2009.

      But this ranks right up there. Very very convenient that we’re told this is all about race. Cui bono? The Dem establishment and “Biden” of course (Biden in quotation marks because the man is an empty set of parentheses). The media. The Never Trumpers and TDS crowd. Virtue signallers in Cambridge and Berkeley. And the globalists like Soros.

      It’s perfect. They will be exhorted to pass more affirmative action-style “programs”. These will do no-thing. Instead this energy could have been directed toward a higher national minimum wage, UBI, cancelling student debt, and M4A, all of which would do wonders for improving the “race” issue.

      Divide, and conquer. It will always work.

      OK now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Have you put a black square on your Instagram yet?

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > What is clear is that these uprisings have intentionally or non-intentionally shifted the focus away from class to race.

      Yep. Meaning also that any proposed “solutions” will fail. Which is why the implosion of the Sanders campaign/movement is so tragic. There was exactly one organization with left branding capable of addressing both strikes and protests on a national scale (both in terms of reach and in terms of funding). And that organization has been neutered. The Burkean moment (PlutoniumKun) is now, and not at some vague point in next year’s Biden administration….

    1. Alternate Delegate

      I’ve now read a number of takes on “Why Minneapolis?” They’re wrong because they focus on the source (Minnesota’s many inequalities, racisms, and violences), rather than the destination. That destination exists because of a sense of solidarity, in South Minneapolis, among people who work for a paycheck.

      For example, you can’t herd the 65% whites in Minneapolis onto the Republican White Reservation, or Idpol them into separate Democratic feedlots (“oh, you’re a white woman. Well, here’s the distraction for you …”)

      You can’t split them, because they actually know their neighbors. They have a destination and they have the means to get there.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > That destination exists because of a sense of solidarity, in South Minneapolis, among people who work for a paycheck.

        I need to know more about Minneapolis. What online sources would you suggest? Thank you!

        1. Alternate Delegate

          The Twin Cities used to have two major newspapers, the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press Dispatch, and (just like the major party system) it still looks like there are two major newspapers. The Pioneer Press had its newsroom gutted first (over a decade ago?), and the Star Tribune soon followed. The actual journalists fled and are trying to eke out an existence over at MinnPost. I used to carefully read Ron Meador’s Environment articles there, but he seems to have retired. Being classical journalists, they are both-siderist. But not as bad as the majors:

          The Pioneer Press in particular has spent years carrying out a campaign of lies and innuendo against Saint Paul’s only progressive City Council member Dai Thao. You see, he’s a Hmong guy occupying the city’s designated black Council seat previously occupied by our Black Misleadership Mayor Melvin Carter. But Dai Thao has been actually talking to BML this whole time, and Police Chief Todd Axtell hates him. So the Police Chief gets to rant and rave against Thao, and the Pioneer Press lovingly prints each and every lie. They’ve now twice ginned up false charges against Dai Thao, once through the FBI, and both times he’s been acquitted. But if you read the Pioneer Press, you’d think he’d been convicted.

          There also used to be independent weeklies, that lived off music-related advertising, and did actual independent reporting. The Twin Cities Reader is long gone. The City Pages lived longer, but was finally killed after the Star Tribune rigged up a competing weekly called Vitamin. Then the Star Tribune dropped Vitamin and swooped in and bought the City Pages. They tried to pretend it was alive by having a freelancer write something in-depth every few months. Oddly (suspiciously?), I’m seeing some actual reporting there today (and also this item).

          There are also several actual paper neighborhood weeklies, like the Villager. Contains actual local information, like a crime blotter page. On your doorstep. They’ve just announced they won’t be able to keep the paper version going, though. Grim.

          But I don’t know how to tell you to reach everyone you would see at the Powderhorn Park May Day Parade. I have reggae in my ears just thinking about that. Or how about pagan-death-themed theater down by the river?

    2. Pelham

      It will be fair to ask how things are going in Minneapolis a year and then five years after the city abolishes its police force. I’ll admit I’m a little biased in even raising the question since, out of the 11 cities I’ve lived in, it was the only one in which my apartment (and about a dozen other apartments in the same building on the same day) was burglarized. Not sure whether to blame a lack of effective policing or an excess of well-oiled criminality.

        1. Dan

          I’m in NJ, about an hour from Camden. Crime has gone down in Camden, but the city is still a mess. The only areas that have seen some revival are of course near the college and hospital. I imagine not much capital flows into Camden, and I imagine if and when any capital does decide to seek returns in Camden, the police will become, well, more police-like again. I don’t mean to sound negative. I’m glad it’s less violent. But the detractors will immediately point this out, and they’re not wrong. I mean, if you’ve never been to Camden, and you drive through, you’d be hard pressed to see where they spent $10 million razing properties. There are still plenty of open-air drug deals going on, and Broadway in Camden is prostitute central.

          I don’t know what the answer is.

          1. Dan

            The state essentially took over Camden back in 2002, giving power back to the city in 2010: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123155966

            The state also ran the Camden City police dept from 2005 to 2012. The city (which now had it’s authority back) and the county decided to disband the dept in 2012 in favor of a non-unionized (initially) county “metro” force which also makes its services available to neighboring municipalities, though none have taken them up on it. It was essentially a cost-saving measure. By most accounts there’s a better “vibe” between the new police dept and the community. And there is a bit more help available, and better coordination between outreach groups and the police. But they still do drug and prostitution sweeps. And, as I noted above, anyone not familiar with Camden who decided to check it out, well…

            Camden is also subject to NJ’s infamous Democratic machine politics, in this case the southern variety, led by unelected power broker George Norcross. I’m not familiar enough with the ins and outs to go into detail – would have to have a long chat with my father who could get me up to speed – but suffice to say it’s corrupt as hell.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Why should we defund the Police when there is treason afoot?

        I say we fire the uncomplying Officers and retrain the Rank n File to go after their local Oligarchy. They can keep a % of the repossed property like they do to Poor people now.

        1. Procopius

          First of all, you can’t fire any officers without going through their union. They have contracts. Police departments without unions are subject to other kinds of corruption. Second, who is going to “retrain the Rank n File to go after their local Oligarchy.” Are you qualified to do so? Do you know someone who is? Who is going to pay the trainers? Remember the Golden Rule, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” I will be happy if we can get something done to limit “qualified immunity.” My second priority is to impose a universal rule, “Thou shalt not shoot at a fleeing suspect. Never. You do not know where that projectile is going to go.”

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      police reform vs. police abolition:
      Defund the police? Unless the Federal Government steps in with more $$, who in our cities will have funding other than the police? But just defunding without other measures could lead to even more traffic ‘enforcement’ and pushes to increase the income from tickets — local prosecutors would not object. My experience with police where I’ve lived — mostly smaller cities — has been ‘unpleasant’. Most of the small communities where I lived had far far more police than the population and their relative lack of crime warranted.

      “We need to establish a comprehensive review of police hiring, training, and de-escalation practices.” The Democrats … more empty words …
      We need to take a closer look at what police are most often called upon to do. I would bet most calls are related to domestic violence. Studies and common sense indicate paired teams of male and female officers are best at assessing and handling domestic violence. There are too few female officers and I tend to believe too many of the female officers that there are behave just like the male officers [although I admit never experiencing enforcement by a female officer given their rarity]. The images in cinema and television of police enforcement and crime are FALSE and should never have become the template for the selection and training of our police. The policies giving preferences to military experience must be removed entirely. Our veterans deserve better! I suspect the preferences tend to favor not just veterans but veterans who were military police. I believe those are the veterans who least need a job preference. Many of our veterans need financial support, intensive counseling and more help finding civilian employment — not policing. Most of our veterans have already ‘policed’ enough unarmed civilians for one lifetime.

      Taking points from the poster “Abolition Can’t Wait”: Police do not belong in our schools — but neither do weapons nor drugs [they do not help with learning in school — they help with the boredom our educational systems foster — eliminate the boredom and the drugs will lessen]. Answers must be found outside the schools by providing housing, jobs, schooling, community investment, and a Society where gang-life and crime can hold no attractions. Answers must be found inside our educational systems. Education and learning is not a production line. Often the slow learn more deeply, and slower coverage of material can lead to deeper learning. Our schools are intent on covering more and more material faster and faster to the detriment of imagination, interest, and learning itself.

      Moves to demilitarize police should focus on which aspects of the ‘militarization’ we seek to remove. Get rid of expensive and useless equipment and weaponry but take as much Federal funding as possible to purchase military diesel power generators, water purification systems, and diesel fuel carriers … along with large supplies of the repair parts these systems most often need. Use the Federal funds to stockpile diesel, food MREs, and water purification tablets and filters.

      Our future requires a police force — not to enforce the too many laws and too lengthy prison sentences — but to respond to the climate stoked disasters in our all too near future. We will need sources of power to keep our hospitals running. We will need sources of fresh water and food. We will need sources of Hope in the all too near times of disaster. But we need NO police to protect the oligarchy.

      The “de-Baathification in Iraq” problems suggest great caution in how we deal with police unemployed by defunding. Do we really want to set such a truly criminal element like our present police completely unrestrained upon the public?

      1. Tomonthebeach

        We might be able to create an alternative to the current police-force model except for one thing – gunz. One reason our police are over militarized and trigger happy is that they feel, in many instances justifiably, that they might be shot on sight by nasty psychopathic killers. Thank you, NRA.

        Bobbies did not always carry sidearms either until there were just too many bad blokes with Barettas. Still, compared tot he USA, the entire EU would have to go on a homicidal rampage to catch up just to Chicago or New York.

        Odd, is it not, the Booker and the rest’s new police reform legislation is missing the only variable (stiff gun restrictions) that might actually enable substantial (not just superficial) change?

        1. JBird4049

          Uhmmm, it would be a very helpful thing for the Professional Managerial Class to maintain its power and milk more money from the useful idiots by advocating even stricter gun control.

          The homicide rate has been going down for thirty years when the Crack Wars ended, which makes the increasingly homicidal police claiming fear for their lives kinda bogus. Indeed, the percentage of gun owners, being 35-40%, has remained either stable or gone down slightly during the past fifty years.

          Trying to impose anything like California’s, New York City’s, and New Jersey’s levels of gun restrictions on the other forty-eight states is a good way to help the coffers of both the Democratic and Republican Parties. No matter what political party takes control, California will never have the same gun laws as Alabama and Texas as New Jersey. Trying to do so will just make the state’s citizens unhappy with you.

          However, there would be screaming about the children, more fake outrage, more fake tears, more wasted effort to get nothing substantial done thereby blocking any reforms. The parties don’t want reform. They want to keep the gravy train running.

          However, we are living in an increasingly violent, murderous, heavily armed police state. Such an effort would make the paranoids on both sides more suspicious and more heavily armed, the Republicans would likely gain more seats, and the increasingly conservative Supreme Court would possibly strike down the gun control regime of California, New Jersey, and NYC. Gun regulation would still exist but their regime are starting to appear to border on de facto banning of guns to some. The courts sometimes gets annoyed with such games and reacts.

  3. Knifecatcher

    Re: credit contraction does that chart track outstanding debt or total credit extended? In other words, would a $0 balance card with a $5000 limit be listed there?

    My anecdotal experience – I’ve been playing the balance transfer credit card shuffle for a couple of years to spread out the financial hit from a construction project I’ve been working on. Even though my balances are down a good bit and my credit score has improved somewhat there are effectively no balance transfer offers to be had, short of signing up for a new card. Even that has been tightened down dramatically, both approvals and credit limits. Last year at this time there were tons of cards offering attractive terms.

    I even had one card with a 0 balance that I hadn’t used in a while where the issuer – Barclays, IIRC – flat out closed the card on me. I’ve never had that happen before.

    So for all the rosiness in the stock market the banks know what’s up, and are tightening down on lending.

    1. Clive

      Force closures of low activity credit card accounts is now the norm, unfortunately. It’s in the T’s and C’s they make you sign up to — you give the card issuers unilateral rights to do this.

      The reasons are both simple and complex. The simple reasons are that an account generates servicing costs to the issuer (you take up CPU cycles just having the account on the IT hosting, even if you have paperless statements, they still have to mail you now and again about legal and regulatory changes, you’ll get marketed to because the algorithms always live in hope). The complex reasons is that your credit card line of credit takes expensive Tier 1 capital even if you have the card sitting in a draw doing nothing. And inactive or low activity cards are a fraud and operational loss risk.

      So, sorry to say, they can and will pull the rug from under you now and again.

  4. Swamp Yankee

    A quibble with the otherwise excellent point raised by the Black Socialists in America tweet — Jamestown settlers were (overwhelmingly) English, not British. Indeed, before the Act of Union in 1707 there was no such thing as a “British” nationality; the kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland shared a king, but ‘British’ remained a geographic term; it’s not how people would have described their nationality or ethnicity. The project of building a British nation occurred well after the founding of 12 out of the 13 colonies; only Georgia, founded in the 1730s, could arguably be called an exception.

    This actually bolsters their point, as English is more ethnic-based than British.

    Footnote: Scotland had her own disastrous go at colonization in the Darien in what is today Panama, still infamously rugged, in the 1690s. It was such a disaster that it essentially bankrupted the Scottish state; in return for joining the Union, Scotland got financially rescued by England.

    1. Jessica

      Another historical curiosity of Jamestown is that John Smith, he of the Pocahontas fame, was an ex-slave.

        1. s.n.

          it’s quite a tale and well worth skimming


          …He had survived the duels and the bloody siege at Alba Iulia, only to be wounded in a skirmish with the Tartars in November 1602. Alerted by his groans, scavengers stripping the corpses rescued Smith from among the heaps of dead. After his wounds healed, Smith was taken to a slave market. As Smith describes it: “we all sold for slaves, like beasts in a market-place; where every merchant, viewing their limbs and wounds, caused other slaves to struggle with them to try their strength.” His new master, a Turkish nobleman, decided that Smith would make a lovely present for Charatza Trabigzanda, his Greek mistress in Constantinople. …

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Yes, Smith really was a real-life adventure hero. It was actually quite common for European mariners to be seized as slaves in North Africa and the Ottoman world; Smith’s escape, of course, was much rarer.

        2. Felix_47

          From Wikipedia: Smith reputedly killed and beheaded three Ottoman challengers in single-combat duels, for which he was knighted by the Prince of Transylvania and given a horse and a coat of arms showing three Turks’ heads.[7] However, in 1602, he was wounded in a skirmish with the Crimean Tatars, captured, and sold as a slave.[8] He claimed that his master was a Turkish nobleman who sent him as a gift to his Greek mistress in Constantinople, who fell in love with Smith. He then was taken to the Crimea, where he escaped from Ottoman lands into Muscovy, then on to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth before traveling through Europe and North Africa, returning to England in 1604.

  5. L

    Apropos of the Politico story I notice this:

    Some Democrats complain privately that Sanders still isn’t doing everything he can to support Biden, noting that he hasn’t turned over his prized email list or fundraised for Biden.”

    One can’t help but feel that at the end of the day this is what it all comes down to “give us your donors!” When you compare that to reports such as this one from a few weeks ago: “Only 3 Percent of Bernie Sanders Supporters Have Donated to Joe Biden’s Campaign” (Newsweek) it feels like the entire focus of the mainstream people is finding a way to tap the funding Sanders had but not, say, the policies.

    If Biden really wants to “talk to the youths” perhaps he should start by listening to and adopting the policies they need. Or perhaps start by dropping the people around him who explicitly fight against those policies.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      They were whining about Bernie’s email list last time too, as if it was a magical thing that printed money. They don’t seem to get it that people who gave to Bernie did so because they believed in what he claimed to stand for. Here’s a thought: have a candidate that appeals to the people who supported Sanders by supporting those policies and you won’t need his list because they’ll join yours.

    2. Pelham

      This site recently offered a link to a nifty little “Simpsons” excerpt from years back in which two slimy aliens are running in disguise as the major party presidential candidates. When their identities are revealed, the crowd robotically reminds itself that it’s a “two-party system.” Thus they stupidly fall in line.

      Is this where we are and must always? Actually, maybe I should scratch that “must always be.” We appear to be out of time for future fixes, both climate-wise and republic-wise.

      1. carl

        Tribalism only works in tribe-sized groups. Larger than 20 or so, not very well at all.

    3. Harold

      Why did they need a list of Bernie’s donors when they had over a billion $$ to spend? Dark thought: an enemies list?

      1. The Rev Kev

        My own idea is that they want to de-activate the subscribers on that email list. What I mean by that is to flood that list with demands for money from the DNC and their corporate causes and maybe selling that list to marketing companies who will in turn flood that list with junk email. After a time people will block all emails from them in disgust. At that point Bernie has lost what little leverage that he has left nor can he give it to another person if so inclined. And then the DNC will say Mission Accomplished!

  6. Samuel Conner

    > Then again, Trump, like Napoleon’s favored generals, is lucky.

    I think I recall reading that Napoleon said “the best generals make their own luck”, and DJT’s decisions in recent months have not looked to me like the kind that would bias the future toward his favor. Is he lucky? I suppose he is, particularly in who he gets to face in his campaigns; HRC in 2016 and this Autumn (presumably) the presumptive D nominee and not some other person who has better control over both ends of his alimentary canal.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      In 2016, I felt it was Hillary’s election to lose and that she did everything possible to lose it. I feel that way about Trump now, at least until Biden does something stupid and makes me think they’re both trying to lose it.

      1. Oh

        Anytime Biden opens his mouth he’ll say something stupid. Anytime he does anything, it’ll be what stupid does. He’s hiding out so that he can avoid both those things but that won’t help him when he has to get out and “campaign”.

        It’s a crying shame that we’re stuck with two losers seeking the Presidential Office.

        1. Jason Boxman

          To say nothing of the complete losers at every level of national government. They seem to win for themselves well enough, though.

  7. MT_Bill

    I can’t wait for Nancy or Chuck to be asked by a reporter if George Floyd was a good man, after being reminded that he was sentenced to prison for an armed robbery where he held a gun to the belly of a pregnant woman, then ransacked the house while his buddies pistol whipped her.

    Should make for some amazing mental gymnastics. And potentially a great ad for the Orange One.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I would say there is a tendency among liberals to worry about the “deserving” instead of functionally believing in rights. The Georgetown law student Rush Limbaugh attacked had Pelosi rush to hold a faux congressional hearing because of her class.

        You see the Tara Reade reaction. The point is to tear her down by suggesting she has bad character because she was late on bills.

        My guess is Schumer and company wouldn’t have an answer as they would not care in the slightest if there was no multi-city sustained pressure.

        1. False Solace

          Distinguishing between “worthy” and “unworthy” victims is something Herman and Chomsky discussed in Manufacturing Consent. Before they can make it through the multiple filters of establishment propaganda, victims are categorized as either “worthy” or “unworthy”. Victims that are “worthy” can become big news stories and serve as further propaganda. Victims who are “unworthy” struggle to get airtime and attention.

          I suspect this goes back to inherent human cognitive biases — the conservative desire to believe in a Just World where evildoers are punished and the good are rewarded — but I don’t think the book went there.

          I should note also that violence from the top of the hierarchy down is almost always regarded as right and just. Violence from the bottom up is regarded as abhorrent, horrifying, beyond the pale etc. There was a Watercooler link the other day IIRC where the author’s primary concern was not endless police brutality, but the breaking of a couple shop windows in D.C. He seemed pretty teary-eyed about those poor shopfronts. But glossed right over thousands of unjustified, uninvestigated, unpunished police killings.

          1. BobW

            One of the honchos here pointed out the difference between ‘violence’ and ‘vandalism.’ Important distinction there.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      The death penalty was banned in Minnesota in 1911, and COPS ARE NOT JUDGES AND ARE NOT ALLOWED TO KILL PEOPLE.

      It does not matter if he was “good” or not, he did not deserve to die, legally or morally.

      What a horrible thing to put out there.

        1. MT_Bill

          “Cops are not allowed to kill people”

          That may or may not be true. Cops are not allowed to kill people without justification.

          In this whole mess and rush to judge, politicize, and subvert his death for various causes/gains, the possibility that the officers involved were justified in there use of force seems to have been completely. Thirteen(?) additional deaths for one death that may have been just as much poor police training and drug use by the suspect as systemic racism and police brutality.

          Yes, the video looks damming, but it’s incomplete. And when this case makes it to a jury, Floyd’s past history as a violent criminal, and if you believe the autopsy, his use of cocaine and methamphetamine at the time of his death will be presented by the defense.

          Smells like acquittal. And if you think there are protests/riots now, wait until Act 2.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            yes, the other thing that has occurred to me is to wonder whether that scuffle in the car and pulling him out again was at all related to the fact that he had the virus. what might have happened (did he cough?) that they overreacted to and will claim made them fear for their lives?

            it was so vicious, the way Chauvin squeezed the breath out of him.

            1. MT_Bill

              I thought they may have pulled him out of the car because he was thrashing around to the point where they thought it might be safer to physically restrain him on the ground.

              Not sure if that would make sense from a police procedure standpoint.

              1. Dan

                I thought they murdered him in broad daylight because they’re in on, or running, the counterfeit ring. And they know they’re untouchable.

          2. Middle of the road

            George Floyd isn’t even a human being to you. Just an object to be disposed of since he doesn’t meet your criteria for life. What seems most important to you is defending the undefendable. No wonder you don’t have the slightest idea or concern why the country is exploding in rage.

          3. a different chris

            >Yes, the video looks damming, but it’s incomplete.

            Jesus. Incomplete how?

            He wasn’t Chuck Manson. Even if he was you don’t just crush his neck on a sidewalk under color of authority. A badge doesn’t mean “go wild and stop them criminals!!!” — it means just the opposite. Stay in your lane. Follow procedure. Get backup when needed.

            1. Dan

              Imagine if they had done this. There’s even a good headline in it for the cops, who insatiably seek positive publicity.

              “Police peacefully arrest counterfeiter with violent past” or something similar.

            2. shtove

              Incomplete in the sense that there’s plenty of space to create reasonable doubt for the purpose of a jury trial. Life is messy.

    2. LawnDart

      A static world divided into either good or bad is childish thinking: I’ve never met a saint and personally don’t know anybody who has, baring some of the patients that I was once assigned to watch over.

      Many of the comments on this site are well thought-out and insightful, and I appreciate these (though not always find agreement) for the perspective they give.

      Others give me all the pleasure of catching sight of a dog enjoying its breakfast for the second time the same morning: pre-chewed and served at dog temperature.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      She is complaining about Black Solidarity! Ahahhahahhahahah!

      Why on earth did you share this? It’s nonsense.

    2. Reality Bites

      African Americans are the only group that caters to the bottom denominator? What about Clive Bundy, Bernard Goetz, and Frank Rizzo for starters.

      No matter what Floyd’s problems were, that is no justification for murder and trashing the victim is terrible.

  8. Ranger Rick

    You have to admire the barganing position they’ve taken: zero police is a political non-starter. But as a starting point for compromise, they have a lot of room to maneuver.

    1. kurtismayfield

      I’ve heard this before and I’ll repeat it.. treat the Police like education. Make them have bake sales and have GoFundMe for new equipment. Let’s see how popular they are.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        They’ll steal the money with fines and confiscations. That’s already a funding model. See, e.g. Ferguson MO.

        1. John k

          The fines go to the city, not the police. If the city decides to cut police funding, it gets cut.
          Force them to become popular in the community they serve.

      2. LawnDart

        If they use ingredients taken from the evidence room, a “bake” sale might be pretty damn popular!

        (Just sayin’)

      3. pebird

        That’s exactly what will happen. Ex-police officers will establish private police organizations and sell services to suburbs. Suburbs will vote to create their own security districts and defund urban areas.

        Just like what happened in education.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Ex-police officers will establish private police organizations and sell services to suburbs. Suburbs will vote to create their own security districts and defund urban areas.

          Private equity licking its chops.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Maybe, but unlike private prisons, where the ‘clients’ are largely unsympathetic, all it takes is one child wrongfully slain by a [pick one or more: undertrained / history of violence / prejudiced ] rent-a-cop to unleash a massive punitive lawsuit. And a good plaintiff’s lawyer can readily show how the shoddy cut-rate managers and procedures installed by the PE thugs (who are pulling out millions in ‘management fees’) all but pulled the trigger.

            1. ambrit

              All that assumes that these “local” police organizations are not granted blanket immunity within the communities they “serve.” What good is a judgement if one cannot collect? (I speak from bitter experience.)

    2. TroyIA

      But who are they bargaining with? As Lambert has repeatedly pointed out many of these police departments are in Democrat controlled cities. If their constituents really want to defund the police and try a different way of policing then it will be Democrat mayors and city councils that will decide the direction forward.

      1. Big River Bandido

        That’s why the humiliation of Jacob Frey is not without import. I’m not positive of the timing, but I heard of the city council statements *after* that. I wouldn’t be surprised if recalcitrant council members decided to try and get out front on the issue to avoid Frey’s fate. The announcement appears to completely erode what little political ground the mayor was still occupying.

        1. False Solace

          Or perhaps the City Council is merely relying on the mayor to put a halt to any of these proposed reforms and believe they can rely on him to do so after his public statements. Much like Pelosi’s House relies on the Senate to torpedo minimum wage increases and every other bill they pass that doesn’t exclusively enrich their owners.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    Eater: “Josey Baker, co-owner of the Mill in San Francisco, says that while no staff member is required to engage in a customer interaction that makes them feel unsafe, “the reality is that we hardly receive any police officers as customers,” so a policy of refusing to serve them would be more of a symbolic gesture.”

    When I worked with cops in the ’90s and 2000s, it was clear that they never ate in restaurants where they either weren’t welcomed by the owners or couldn’t see their food being prepared. Lots of ex-cons working in kitchens and cops are extremely aware of this.

    A client who owned a restaurant was mugged. The local police started eating at her restaurant as part of a community support thing. It still sticks in my memory because it was the only time I ever saw a cop in a Thai restaurant.

    1. flora

      I’m starting to think individual city PD’s are as good or as bad as the city council and city mayor or manager that hires them and negotiates the PD union employment contracts.

      an aside: I know a lot of PDs have a rotating swing shift employment setup. Swing shift is pretty terrible on a person’s physical and more importantly mental health. Clinical studies show sleep deprivation heightens mental over-reaction and a sense of danger, as least until normal sleep patterns are restored within a few days. The first few days of swing shift rotation change carries with it a lot of sleep disruption. Studies done on nurses comparing the equal-in-age and education and job duties swing shift nurses to the nurses on a standard day or night shift show marked problems or declines in physical health and mental health over time for the swing shift nurses compared to the standard shift nurses, especially on the common 3-week rotation schedule. If their has to be rotation, maybe make the rotations 4 months or 6 months instead of 3 weeks or 4 weeks. My 2 cents.

      1. a different chris

        >Clinical studies show sleep deprivation heightens mental over-reaction and a sense of danger

        Isn’t it awesome (/s) that the two professions most consumed by sleep deprivation, and who actually brag* about it, are cops and surgeons?

        *I’ve heard it plenty of times, this is first hand. Yeah I know the plural of anecdote isn’t data but man surgeons are generally (quite) a type.

  10. Baby Gerald

    Re: the Hayes Brown tweet-

    ‘I can’t believe this is a thing I’m about to tweet in a US context but: any plan to disband a police/paramilitary force needs to learn from the lessons of de-Baathification in Iraq and figure out what to do with former security forces, preferably with a DDR program in mind’

    Couldn’t resist sending the reply ‘They can learn to code.’

      1. Massinissa

        Great idea: All the current cops can become Uber drivers instead.

        Wait, they might start hand cuffing the passengers… /s

    1. EGrise

      Or the CIA could re-arm them and send them to make trouble in a neighboring country.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Maybe they’ll make off with some ancient American artifacts from the Smithsonian. Fonzie’s jacket or something.

  11. EGrise

    “Require a Warning Before Shooting”?
    How is that not the standard already? And if it’s not, how will requiring it change anything? Don’t the cops already yell “Stop resisting!” while they’re beating the hell out of someone?

    Not to mention that the inclusion of a “warning” in the list indicates that the drafters assume the victim is always at fault.

    What a pot of weak tea. As intended, of course. I assume it only fools those who want to be fooled.

  12. EGrise

    We need to establish a comprehensive review of police hiring, training, and de-escalation practices.

    Good heavens! Not just a review, but a comprehensive review. The D’s are really taking the gloves off.

      1. EGrise

        I dunno man – extraordinary times need extraordinary measures, so they may even try the nuclear option: a commission.

  13. David J.

    Very happy to have cast my ballot for Charles Booker here in KY. I don’t think he’s going to win the primary but I do see him as another good person to organize around in the state, especially if he can make inroads in rural areas. Brohier is not a bad candidate either; he got the Yang Gang endorsement. We’ll see how the progressive types shake out in a couple of weeks. Best case scenario, imo: this’ll end the attempts by outsiders to push that carpetbagger McGrath on us.

    As for the general, I’m afraid we’re stuck with Mitch until he retires or kicks the bucket.

  14. ChiGal in Carolina

    wow, north carolina, texas, and is that arkansas? shooting through the roof!

    and while eliminating police depts might be pie in the sky, more of the abolitionists’ 8 are real than DeRay’s, several of which are hardly specific or concrete and probably already are incorporated into the aspirational language of most police organizations. (maybe not the Minneapolis union)

    eliminating chokeholds is good and so is requiring body cams of everyone. whether those things take place is verifiable after the event. stuff like use force as a last resort is pretty vague…

    the national database of bad cops is excellent, as is some modification of the immunity they now seem to enjoy, though that will be tricky. In a society armed to the hilt, who do we get to go out there with a billy club? I read somewhere (maybe here?) that being stripped of the union financing for their defense in the event of an incident is the reason those Buffalo cops quit, not in solidarity with their bros who pushed the old guy down.

    Kapaernick knelt in the spirit and with the consequence of the original meaning of the word performative. nowadays the word also means its opposite, empty gestures that change nothing. so that’s a judgment call we make based on our priors: the thing in and of itself no longer has any meaning.

    and finally, most people I know do not shower upon returning home–a friend employed in hospice does if she has been to a hospital or patient’s house, but otherwise that seems like overkill to me. I totally wear a mask WITH A FILTER whenever I will be sharing indoor air and I don’t wear my outdoor shoes in the house. I do wash my hands as soon as I come home., and if I have been in a grocery store, I also wash my face. My bubble is tiny: my mom being 90 and on hospice is plenty of motivation for me.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Didn’t see any mention of halting all Israeli training of American police in their methods of restraining Palestinians. That knee on the neck is a standard thing over there. If they do not propose halting this training, then that is the tell if the Democrats are serious or not. And I note that some pretty bad violence was perpetrated on protestors not in Republican regions but in Democratic bastions like Californian cities and New York.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        I like this idea — at least in concept. In fact, I was just talking about it with a couple of Green friends. But how can we write such a policy to cover all the bases?

        Ban all training in Israel or Israeli-occupied territories? By Israeli LEO/military/intelligence forces? (Serving presently or in the previous X years?)

        Listing techniques/theories/practices not to be taught seems like a loophole waiting to happen. Maybe use or create a model set of minimum humane-rights policing policies (not just use of force), and evaluate trainers and programs against that? Of course, we might wind up also banning some homegrown training programs. . . .

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > requiring body cams of everyone

      I believe that body cams are generally regarded as a policy failure. Cops turn them off, or they mysteriously fail to function at critical moments. Easy technical solutions to hard political problems often fail.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Trump strikes me as closest to a Sheldon Adelson type, largely unhinged, funding his opinions but mostly worried about taxes and desirous of the pomp of DC using wealth and power to cause mayhem and suffering, but Trump skipped the middle man, maybe because he’s not a real billionaire like Kylie Jenner and can’t afford to be a sugar daddy to a Ted Cruz. The GOP and Team Blue effectively serve Adelson types, but the actual policy separation is limited. Trump risks giving up the game.

        Biden is basically announcing how he agrees with Trump except for a Pell Grant Recipient born on February 29th under a blue moon when the planets align who might be “clean” enough to warrant a bit of acceptance and DC elites don’t care because Biden isn’t upsetting the system.

  15. Jessica

    “If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly.”
    This is not true.
    If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread.
    If Rt is barely about 1.0, the virus will spread slowly.
    If Rt is far above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly.
    If Rt is many times above 1.0, the virus will explode.
    Also, Rt only tells you how many people each infected person will infect in their turn. The speed at which the disease in question spreads is also a function of how long it takes from when a person is infected until they themselves are infectious. For covid-19, this is a few days. I am not sure about this point, but I believe that this period was shorter for earlier corona viruses.

  16. Bill Smith

    Transmission of COVID-19 From Asymptomatic People Is ‘Very Rare,’ WHO Says…

    If correct, what does that mean for the spread of the virus that we have seen? And the implications for policy going forward?

  17. sam

    Re defunding the police: if you want to see how that turns out just look at Latam. I used to spend a lot of time (pre Covid) in El Salvador and Honduras, where big business and the rich have their own heavily armed private security and the poor are left to murder and extortion by the gangs. Public policing is minimal and (except for the occasional anti-gang photo op) mostly confined to traffic control in wealthy districts. I’m not sure whether the people advocating this are just poorly informed or somehow positioned to benefit personally from the privatization of security services.

      1. VietnamVet

        Thanks. My neurons weren’t connecting. I wondered why my gut said “defunding the police” is stupid.

        The rich will be guarded by mercenaries and everyone else will be on their own. That is pretty much the case now and a major reason for the unrest. I find it really strange that the rich think that paying people to protect them will work when the protestors storm the gates. Beverly Hills already has had a taste of the future.

    1. edo

      San Francisco has already implemented much of the policies that are going as “defund” the police, meaning less enforcement of laws and a lot of social support (around $500 million are spent annually) aimed at improving services for the less well-off. I lived in one of the poor parts of the city, and my experience is that this model has been a complete and total failure. Much of the money intended for social support goes to administrators rather than helping the less well-off. Moreover, the lack of policing meant that the outcomes of where I lived in San Francisco were drugs, crime, and homelessness spiraling out of control. I also resented that the well-off parts of the city (imagine where Nancy Pelosi lives for example) received greater police presence and stricter law enforcement, and when my community asked for the same treatment we were called -ists by the Democrat machine that runs the city.

  18. Pat

    Am I the only one who wonders how many of those good Democrats and corporate icons taking the knee have thought about how flawed an image it is for George Floyd. Not realizing that when Kaepernick did it he wasn’t referencing a man who died from someone kneeling on his neck.

    But since it was as much for show as the reforms and matching masks, I am asking for too much awareness and should just ignore it.

  19. occasional anonymous

    “Quarantine fatigue: Why some of us have stopped being vigilant and how to overcome it” [CNN]

    “The effect of large-scale anti-contagion policies on the COVID-19 pandemic” (preprint) [Nature]

    Has anyone pointed out the obvious that whatever progress was made on the isolation front has likely been completely blown apart by the mass protests?

    I ask because it seems like most of the Left is completely asleep on this aspect. On Twitter I see frequent mocking of all the gun-toting posers who just a few weeks ago were threatening rebellion over having to isolate, but who are now preaching complete subservience to authority. But this is missing an underlying point: the protesters a few weeks ago were idiots for gathering together. How are the current protestors not also idiots? Because the cause is actually worthy? I’m pretty sure the virus doesn’t care how worthy the cause is.

    1. Eureka Springs

      The cat was out of the bag either way. It was written in policies years before this and certainly from the first who Cares bill forward. People could no longer afford to sit tight. And many were not going to do so no matter what. In a neolibercon world many don’t know their spouse, kids, self. I imagine many didn’t like or want to find out.

      Our NW AR tourist town opened wide Mem weekend and has not looked back, yet. Numbers are climbing now.

    2. Pat

      Why should they? It isn’t as if most of our leadership and media has taken the pandemic seriously from the beginning. It was a club to beat Trump and the right over. We have Nancy appearing in a silk scarf bandana. We have a response that was to fund big donors and a later one to fund their consultants with crumbs for everyone else. We had my governor, who is a tool, hailed as a hero even as he was funneling the infected into nursing homes. Meanwhile our scientific community has been flat footed mostly because so much of the system has been neoliberalized – including the journals that used to provide serious research information to the community.

      The shouting will continue regardless of cause and largely inadequate masking, all it will do is bring the second wave faster. One that will be met with even less enthusiasm and compliance than the first wave.

      1. Jason Boxman

        So in short, everyone is left to die: Plan accordingly to protect yourself as best you can.

  20. Jeremy Grimm

    “Looks like everybody took their Federal money, slammed it in the bank, and hunkered down?”
    Not hardly — my Federal money went to help my unemployed daughter cover rent while she waited to get he Federal money and unemployment checks

    1. The Rev Kev

      Saw a chart somewhere which showed that average Americans used their money to pay down bills as they had no confidence that the economy was going to get better. Did they think that those people were going to use that money to buy themselves a new TV or something?

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats discover a new team player: Bernie Sanders”

    Bernie could lead his supporters to the Democratic waters, but there is no way in hell that they will drink the Biden kool-aid. And no amount of shaming will do the trick either. From what I have read, Biden is the diametric opposite of what Bernie’s supporters are pushing for and a bunch of task forces is not going to do it. And maybe “there’s just some people who are going to vote for Ralph Nader every time”. But would Bernie himself vote for Ralph? Or did he vote for Hillary in 2016 and now will vote for Joe in 2020? And what happens if in 2022 Bernie says that he will again stand for President in 2024? It could happen you know. But will people go for a third time in the barrel?

    1. JBird4049

      I’ve been studying the Civil War for decades and what everyone from private to soldier on both sides had to endure just astonishes me. Often a delicious meal would be some boiled coffee, hardtack, bacon or fatback, and desiccated (better known as desecrated) vegetables.

      Medical “care” on both sides was awful as the germ theory of infection was not discovered yet. The only real medicine was ether for surgery or something like opium for pain, which was very good, as most rifled-muskets in that war usually a fired a .58 minie ball that made bone damage by a modern .223 round used by a AR15 look mild. Don’t get me wrong. Both are bad, but while a modern round might damage, fracture or clip, the humerus (the arm bone from shoulder to elbow), the minie ball would often leave fragments or just remove a whole section and leave nothing to repair. That was why there were so many amputations.

      That and the fact that even in the last two years when both sides had an organized, extensive, modern, and even effective hospital system, when there are thousands, even tens of thousands, of wounded over a few days or maybe one or two weeks, there was often no time to attempt even what limited advanced surgical repairs could be done. It was look, assess, make unconscious, saw/cut/sew, next! Fortunately, despite the macabre stories written nobody ran out of ether. Opium, bandages, cots, and tent space, yes.

      The roughly thirty-five thousand wounded at the three day battle of Gettysburg might have spent 1,2,3 days on the ground before being picked up. They would have truces to pick up the wounded, but during a moving battle not so much, which Gettysburg was. Then after being found and taken to surgery spend days or even weeks getting to a major hospital.

      Charge or face into the combined fire of tens of thousands plus dozens or over a hundred cannons that could fire roughly fifty lead balls or a giant 9 lb ball each, for up to three days and sometimes maneuvering upright in full view. In range of all those people. With the officers sitting on horses to better lead and also easier targets. Personally, I wonder about the sanity of the armies’ combined 180,000 or people. Many, probably most, of them volunteered for it. And most of them fought multiple major battles under similar conditions before and after Gettysburg. Just nuts.

  22. Temporarily Sane

    I was talking earlier to a friend who is on the conservative side of the political spectrum. We were talking about the street demonstrations and he brought up the liberal media’s (NYT, CNN, MSDNC) denouncing of protestors who were marching against the COVID-19 lockdown as backwards fools who are endangering lives by gathering together in groups, but that no such shaming tactics are being deployed against the anti-police brutality protestors. This shows, he said, that the Democrats and the mainstream media are lying hypocrites who hate cops and are on the side of black radicals and leftist thugs like Antifa.

    I disagreed that the media and the Democrats are on the side of the protestors or Antifa, it’s lip service to minorities and identity groups whose votes the Dems are after and a way to portray themselves as decent people who, unlike the dastardly Trump, really care about the health and wellbeing of Americans. It’s propaganda. Most of the cities where police abuses regularly occur are already under Democrat control and BLM was formed during the Obama years.

    But I did agree that portraying the anti-lockdown protestors as callous and even stupid individuals who don’t care about people getting sick and then saying nothing when the “right” kind of people are protesting (or coming up with lame excuses like “racism is the real pandemic”) is absolutely hypocritical and serves to fuel resentment and paranoid conspiracy theories.

    Are these double-standards, selective moralizing and the aggressive promotion of identity politics an indication of incompetence and ignorance or are they strategically deployed to keep the American people alienated and at each other’s throats and less of a threat to the ruling elites? The Fox News/ONS right also plays a variation of this game. In fact, it is Fox News that started the trend of deliberately catering to its audience’s biases and egging them on.

    Resentment and conflict are great for attracting clicks and eyeballs so that probably plays a significant role here, too. It’s a pretty sad and pathetic state of affairs when the entire political and media culture of the bestest country ever is such a godawful shambles.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think the counter-argument here is that consideration of “social determinants of health” shows that being black is an enormous health burden (and not because of “bad lifestyle choices” but stressors, as well as epigenetic factors brought into play by geography). So, from a trolley problem standpoint, the protests could net out positive. (Of course, this ignores Taleb’s idea that pandemics risk ruin, as chronic health problems do not.) There is also the argument that protests, being outdoors, are less dangerous than indoor activities like shopping, dining, or personal grooming. (This would not be true for protestors who are kettled or jailed.)

      But I can’t get away from the fact that voting in Wisconsin brought on a spike. And to the protests will bring on bigger spikes (unless summer weather really does have an impact). I think part of any spike will be from re-opening, and part from the protests, and that claims will be made that it’s all from the protests. Still, the fact remains that the moral calculus is the same: Just as in Wisconsin, the real issue is that you infect others, not that you infect yourself. And those others may, or may not, share your views.

      There is the smaller scale argument on whether epidemiologists and virologists should be publicly supporting the protests, despite the risk of spikes. The argument is that “I don’t check my principles at the office door.” However, if public health professionals are seen as political players, regardless of the justice of their cause, what happens in the next pandemic? I’m worried they won’t have any credibility.*

      I just don’t think it’s tractable. Maybe we have a moral philosopher on site who can clarify.

      NOTE * I have seen Tweets from conservatives who put skin in the game among their fellow conservatives by supporting social distancing and universal masking who felt betrayed when liberal/left colleagues supported the protests.

      1. Eric Anderson

        However, if public health professionals are seen as political players, regardless of the justice of their cause, what happens in the next pandemic? I’m worried they won’t have any credibility.
        They are just another batch of “scientists” like the climate scientists who parade in front of cameras in praise of groupthink. The oxymoron, “Follow the science”, curdles my blood. Predictions and projections are not science.
        Years of enjoying an engineering company, my intellectual zoo, ended and was turned over to our third generation. Largely because of exhaustion at having to smile at the media-induced trend toward technical buzzwords, created for political sway. This use of labels instead of detail objectives closes off our brains. As an Annapolis grad, the recent partisanship pronouncements from the four-stars are nearly as egregious. Call me a sceptic but I need more foundation.

  23. JBird4049

    Some Democrats complain privately that Sanders still isn’t doing everything he can to support Biden, noting that he hasn’t turned over his prized email list or fundraised for Biden.” • Read all the way to the end, where the obligatory Nader reference is worked in

    In 2000, you were a traitor for voting for Nader. Today, you’re not only a traitor, but scum as well, if you vote for the Green Party because of how existentially evuhl the Republicans and President Orange are. Today, I’m a Putin Meat Puppet because The Anointed Hillary Clinton and Drooling Joe Biden are two people I am never going to vote for unless David Duke is the Republican candidate.

    However, I would bet the car, and maybe the farm, that if it was a choice between a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and the Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, our Meritocratic American Kakistocracy would “regretfully” choose the former because socialism or something, while Duke is anti-communist.

    I’m very disappointed with Bernie Sanders, but as far as I know he has always kept his word, been a good soldier for the Democratic Party and has so many Democratic knives sticking out of back you can’t see it.

    1. ambrit

      I met Duke several times. He is the consummate ‘grifter.’ To that end, he would also fill the role of ‘Acceptable PMC’ [Plausibly Meritocratic Candidate] candidate. Also, insofar as he segued from Grand Wizard to White People’s Savoir, (a further shift than one might imagine,) he has always had ‘traction’ among the Republican core constituency. He could easily join White Supremacy with Socialism to form a viable Minor Party. (Another, more infamous politician did this a hundred years ago. Hilarity did not ensue.)

  24. Matthew

    I think “don’t be fooled by seemingly good cops” is a sufficient headline on its own.

  25. Procopius

    Whatever happened to the prohibition on the CIA doing operations in the U.S.? I remember Hoover (The Old Queen) had a hissy fit over CIA “counter-espionage” activities.

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