2:00PM Water Cooler 6/9/2020

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. Having done the South and the West last week, here is the Midwest:

That jump for Michigan looks like an artifact to me, but I can’t find an account of it from Michigan sources. Would a reader care to investigate?

“More than half of states may be undercounting coronavirus cases by not following CDC guidelines” [CNN|. “At least 28 states are not following US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on reporting new Covid-19 cases — half of which saw the trend of new cases increasing in the last week. Those states are not reporting probable cases, according to the daily case count listed on the CDC’s website. Probable cases include those that show evidence of an infection without the confirmation of a lab test and cases where coronavirus was listed as a cause or contributing cause of death but are not confirmed with a lab test. Some of the states with the largest populations — like California, Florida, New York and Texas — are among those listed as not reporting probable cases, despite CDC guidance that they should be included in the case count. This comes as 26 states see an increased or steady rate of new cases.” • The zeitgeist is saying the virus is under control. As I’ve been saying for some weeks, it isn’t.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

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

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!

* * *


UPDATE Biden (D)(1): Biden participates in Floyd funeral by video:

I’m seriously allergic to that stuff, as readers know. The idea that nations have souls is a category error, and the idea that Biden is especially empathetic (especially if one takes his actions into account) strikes me as a constructed narrative along the lines of McCain being a “maverick.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden’s ideal VP is Condoleezza Rice” [The Hill]. • Should appeal to the youth. Exxon named a tanker after her.

Trump (R)(1):

That should fire up the base….

Trump (R)(2): “Trump gets the 2016 band back together as he tumbles in polls” [Politico]. “Trump is increasingly concerned that his reelection prospects could be slipping away and wants to bring in staffers he trusts from his original scrappy campaign, the Republicans say. ‘Recent internal polling painted uneasy seas ahead and President Trump wanted some of his warriors back,’ according to one of the people, who worked on the 2016 campaign. Trump remains frustrated about the leadership of campaign manager Brad Parscale, himself a 2016 loyalist who served as digital strategist and is now running his first presidential campaign, the five Republicans say. Specifically, the president has continued to complain that Parscale is burning through too much money too quickly, two of the people say. ‘Brad worked when they needed someone to jump in but they don’t need him anymore,’ said one of the Republicans, who previously worked at the White House. With the election approaching, ‘you need someone who has the experience and understanding of how all this works.’ The five Republicans, who share many of Trump’s concerns about the campaign, spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid upsetting the president.” • A bucket of snakes, just like the DNC.

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “Trump campaign rallies to start up again in next two weeks” [Reuters]. “U.S. President Donald Trump plans to start holding campaign rallies again in the next two weeks, a Trump campaign official said on Monday, ending a three-month hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Trump, who thrives on the energy from packed arenas, has not held a rally since March 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and aides describe him as chomping at the bit to get out and start campaigning again ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election. … Campaign manager Brad Parscale is to present the president with some options in the next few days. In a statement, Parscale predicted Trump rallies will surpass those of Democrat Joe Biden, whose campaigning has also been sharply curtailed due to the virus. The Republican party’s nominating convention has also been impacted by the pandemic, with current public health rules preventing Trump from delivering his acceptance speech before a full house of delegates and supporters in Charlotte, North Carolina as initially planned. On Monday, a separate campaign adviser said the president and the Republican National Committee were leaning toward moving Trump’s speech to Jacksonville, Florida, where they expect to be allowed to gather in larger numbers. Both the campaign official and adviser spoke on the condition of anonymity.” • If WHO is right on social distancing, no problemo?

UPDATE Trump (R)(4): “GOP senators dodge questions after Trump asks if Buffalo man injured by police was a ‘set up'” [CNN]. • That FOX isn’t enough for Trump, and so we get this OANN thing, whatever it is, is a bit whacky.

* * *

“Progressive Charles Booker Unveils First Big Ad Buy In Race To Oust Mitch McConnell” [HuffPo]. “Somewhat suddenly, retired Marine fighter pilot [DNC-backed] Amy McGrath’s bid to be chosen the Democrats’ candidate against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is no longer a sure bet. Fourteen days before the state’s Democratic Senate primary, another candidate, Charles Booker, Kentucky’s youngest Black state lawmaker, is having a moment. For weeks, he has been visible at the protests for Black lives in Louisville, a city that has been reeling over the deaths of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT whom police shot and killed in her own apartment, and David “Ya Ya” McAtee, a barbecue joint owner who was killed by law enforcement during the demonstrations protesting excessive police force. Running to McGrath’s left, in support of the Green New Deal, “Medicare for All” and a universal basic income, Booker has been raising roughly $100,000 a day since the start of June, after struggling to pull in cash for months…. But there’s little data on whether this momentum extends to the voters. There’s been no public polling in the Democratic primary, where there are currently 10 candidates, and McGrath has always been favored. National and state political observers all see it as an impossible contest to predict, particularly with the public health crisis around COVID-19 and the recent racial justice protests. Kentucky has loosened restrictions on mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s not at all clear how many people have already voted.” • A perfect case for why I hate early voting; it misses events like Booker’s late surge, and prioritizes early money (which is establishment money).

* * *

“Rush to Vote-by-Mail could cost Dems the Election” [Greg Palast]. “In 2016, 512,696 mail-in ballots—over half a million—were simply rejected, not counted. That’s official, from the federal Elections Assistance Commission (EAC). But that’s just the tip of the ballot-berg of uncounted mail-in votes. A study by MIT, Losing Votes by Mail, puts the total loss of mail-in votes at a breathtaking 22%. Move to 80% mail-in voting and 25 million will lose their vote. And not just anyone’s mail-in ballots are dumped in the electoral trashcan. Overwhelmingly, those junked are ballots mailed by poorer, younger, non-white Americans.”

UPDATE “‘A hot, flaming mess’: Georgia primary beset by chaos, long lines” [Politico]. “Since polls opened early Tuesday morning, voters in Georgia — and especially in and around Atlanta — have reported problems with voting machines and long lines, with some voters leaving without casting a ballot. The problems are a troubling sign for the burgeoning swing state’s ability to handle the expected high turnout for November’s presidential election…. ‘It’s a hot, flaming, f—ing mess,’ Nse Ufot, executive director of New Georgia Project, said in a text Monday. At multiple sites in Fulton County new voting machines were down, some sites were waiting for technical support, others had difficult logging into the machines, Ufot said. New Georgia Project, which mobilizes young voters of color in Georgia, is tracking voter experiences and reports from their organizers at polling sites through their election protection app.” • This will not come as a surprise to NC readers, of course — though Georgia is not a Swing State on the map I’m using. Do note the insanely stupid but very woke practice of not treating voting rights as a core party function at the national level, but of delegating it to a state-level, idpol-driven NGO.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Employment Situation: “April 2020 Headline JOLTS Job Openings Rate Declined And Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The unadjusted data this month remained well below average for the rate of growth seen in the last year. With this low average rate of growth, JOLTS is predicting lower employment growth than we have seen over the past year. Jolts predicted the slowing of employment growth. However, the pandemic effects will drive this data.”

Wholesale Sales: “April 2020 Headline Wholesale Sales and Inventories In Recession Territory” [Econintersect]. “This data was significantly effected by the coronavirus. Overall, the rolling averages tell the real story – and they declined this month. This data set is considered an outlier and may have issues with data gathering, changing dynamics of the wholesale industry, or definition issues with what is considered wholesale.”

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

Honey for the Bears: “Opinion: The NBER is wrong — the recession didn’t begin in February, it began in March” [MarketWatch]. “A private group of academics, the National Bureau of Economic Research, announced Monday that the recession began in February 2020 because that’s when they claim jobs started disappearing. They are wrong: the job losses — and the recession — began in March. The first U.S. death from COVID-19 wasn’t reported until Feb. 29, after the supposed start of the recession…. The committee puts a lot of stock in employment as an indicator of a recession. They note, correctly, that employment fell sharply between the February and March jobs reports, released in March and April, respectively. But they incorrectly assumed that the job losses began in earnest in February. Funny that nobody seemed to notice at the time. In fact, the weekly jobless claims data show that layoffs did not begin to rise until the second week of March, when the household and establishment surveys were conducted.”

* * *

Mr. Market: “Dow down 250 points at midday, even after tech-heavy Nasdaq carves out fresh all-time intraday record high\” [MarketWatch]. “The quickest stock market slump on record in February and March has been followed by one of the quickest recoveries ever, fuelled by historic financial aid from the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve. By Monday investors in S&P 500 index stocks had recovered all losses for the year, following data published last Friday that showed American employment surprisingly increased from April to May. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research also on Monday declared the U.S. recession started in February, ending a 128-month expansion — the longest dating to 1854. The World Bank’s forecast is for the global economy to shrink by 5.2% this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed;) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 9 at 12:39pm.

The Biosphere

“Decline and Fall: The Size & Vulnerability of the Fossil Fuel System” [Carbon Tracker]. “The fossil fuel system is being disrupted by the forces of cheaper renewable technologies and more aggressive government policies. In one sector after another these are driving peak demand, which leads to lower prices, less profit, and stranded assets. The COVID-19 crisis is now accelerating this…. Our analysis finds falling demand, lower prices and rising investment risk is likely to slash the value of oil, gas and coal reserves by nearly two thirds, increasing the risk and likelihood of stranded assets.”

“Global Insect Collapse Driven By Industrial Farming, Says New ‘Insect Atlas'” [Common Dreams]. “Insects keep the planet’s ecological system running, and ensure our food supply – 75% of our most important crops depend on pollination by insects. Insects also improve soil quality and reduce plant pests by decomposing manure and dead plant matter. The Insect Atlas shows that insect species and pollinators are in severe decline because of pesticide-dependent industrial farming.”

Health Care

“Kentucky governor outlines plan to provide health coverage for ‘100 percent’ of black communities” [The Hill]. “‘Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) on Monday announced a plan to provide health coverage to 100 percent of African Americans in his state as part of an effort to address racial inequalities in health care. The governor made the announcement during his daily press briefing, saying he believes that health care is a ‘basic human right’ and vowed to use a multi-faceted campaign to prioritize black communities…. In Beshear’s plan, state-paid ‘health insurance connectors’ will be used to reach out to African American Kentucky residents and assist them in applying for insurance through Medicaid expansion, private plans or federal plans.” • From a policy perspective, this is obviously just one more Rube Goldberg device. However, I have to say that treating health care as a human right while imposing a race-based eligibility requirement is about the wokest liberal Democrat thing I’ve ever seen. Why not just support #MedicareForAll, like Charles Booker?

* * *

“Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is ‘very rare,’ WHO says” [CNBC]. “‘From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,’ Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said at a news briefing from the United Nations agency’s Geneva headquarters. ‘It’s very rare.’ Government responses should focus on detecting and isolating infected people with symptoms, and tracking anyone who might have come into contact with them, Van Kerkhove said. She acknowledged that some studies have indicated asymptomatic or presymptomatic spread in nursing homes and in household settings…. If asymptomatic spread proves to not be a main driver of coronavirus transmission, the policy implications could be tremendous. A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published on April 1 cited the ‘potential for presymptomatic transmission’ as a reason for the importance of social distancing.” • The reporting confuses aysmptomatic and presymptomatic, which isn’t helpful. I have to say I’m skeptical. The measures the world took collectively, as Nature estimated yesterday, “prevented or delayed on the order of 62 million confirmed cases, corresponding to averting roughly 530 million total infections.” Social distancing was part of that. I may be invested in my personal prophylactic procedures, but until we have all the links in the chain of how SARS-COV-2 infects people, it seems to me dangerous to change what may well have worked. (Remember, people were taking measures on their own, which mostly took the form of social distancing, before governments made policy, and that was one reason the Imperial College runaway didn’t happen (so far). And WHO wasn’t right on masks, either, engaging in seemingly motivated reasoning. I’m perfectly willing to be argued out of this!

Massive takedown of Just So stories on SARS-COV-2 evolving lower virulence. Thread:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“New York Stock Exchange observe 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in honor of George Floyd’s memory” [MarketWatch]. • Were they wearing kente cloth?

“Ramsey Orta, Man Who Filmed Eric Garner’s Arrest, Has Been Released From Prison” [Rolling Stone]. “In July of 2014, Orta, then 22, recorded cops as they approached Garner near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and accused him of selling loose cigarettes. One officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put his arm around Garner’s neck and pulled him to the ground. Garner repeatedly told officers that he couldn’t breathe and died soon after the altercation. The video that Orta shot set off a wave of protests and inquiries into police practices.”

“What about police violence against white people?” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “[T]here is every reason for white Americans to join the movement to overhaul policing in this country, and to attack the inequality at the root of so much police abuse… [I]t is unquestionably the case that black Americans have it worse than whites when it comes to police violence — something like three times as bad, in fact, which surely accounts for the focus of media coverage and obviously destroys Walsh’s larger argument that policing isn’t racist. But white Americans are still being killed by police at an abominable rate. The white American rate of 20.4 killings per 10 million population is more than twice as high as the overall Canadian rate, more than 10 times the New Zealand rate, more that 15 times the German rate, and more than 100 times the Japanese rate…. If we want to end police violence in this country against people of all races, white folks should join hands with their black fellow citizens — indeed, a great many are doing so in cities all across the country, even poor and rural ones. Attacking police brutality should start with, at a minimum, a total overhaul of police departments, but it should also include a drastic reorientation of state spending away from violent political repression and towards a generous system of social benefits.”

UPDATE “In New York, Protesters’ Pride Beats Police Brutality” [Molly Crabapple, New York Review of Books]. Crabapple ends with this rather deflating paragraph: “On another night, I saw a police courts van sitting on now-boarded-up Broadway, its windows smashed. Someone had scrawled FTP, short for ‘fuck the police,’ on every side. When I walked by, a kid in black stood atop it while his friend shot photos. I asked to take his picture. He agreed. ‘You’re gonna get a million likes on Instagram,’ he told me. He stood there as if astride the world.” • “As if” is doing a lot of work there. Too bad the wrap-up couldn’t have been more like this paragraph from the middle: “For decades, black radical thinkers like Angela Davis and Mariame Kaba have called for police and prisons to be abolished; the protesters have taken up their demand. At a march in the Bronx, a young woman said not to get it mixed up: there were no good cops, and the movement wanted rid of them. They come from slavecatchers and the KKK, she said.”

UPDATE “How Do We Change America?” [Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker]. A good wrap-up. “Throughout the Obama and Trump Administrations, the failures to rein in racist policing practices have been compounded by the economic stagnation in African-American communities, measured by stalled rates of homeownership and a widening racial wealth gap. Are these failures of governance and politics all Obama’s fault? Of course not, but, when you run on big promises of change and end up overseeing a brutal status quo, people draw dim conclusions from the experiment. For many poor and working-class African-Americans, who still have enormous pride in the first black President and his spouse, Michelle Obama, the conclusion is that electing the nation’s first black President was never going to change America. One might even interpret the failures of the Obama Administration as some of the small kindling that has set the nation ablaze.” But: “The protests are building on the incredible groundwork of a previous iteration of the Black Lives Matter movement. …. This may account, in part, for the firm political foundation that this round of struggle has begun upon. It explains why activists and organizers have so quickly been able to gather support for demands to defund police, and in some cases introduce ideas about ending policing altogether. They have been able to quickly link bloated police budgets to the attacks on other aspects of the public sector, and to the limits on cities’ abilities to attend to the social crises that have been exposed by the covid-19 pandemic. They have built upon the vivid memories of previous failures, and refuse to submit to empty or rhetoric-driven calls for change. This is evidence again of how struggles build upon one another and are not just recycled events from the past.” • That’s true, but I also don’t see how the “firm political foundation” laid in Ferguson can give an account of, say, the Crash of 2008-2009 — which, among other things, destroyed a generation of Black wealth, and lowered working class wages to such an extent that they have yet to recover.

Police State Watch

An occupation:

I saw a good deal on the Twitter about barricades — presumably at the borders of the Zone — but didn’t see anything impressive. There was one report of stacked up automobiles (!) but no image.

“Man charged with arson of Minneapolis Third Precinct station” [Star-Tribune]. “A former Menards store security guard [Branden M. Wolfe, 23, white] was charged Monday with arson that damaged the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building following the May 25 killing of George Floyd in police custody.” Comments from Wolfe’s father are priceless: “Wolfe’s father, Robert Wolfe of Macon, Ga., said he knew nothing of his son’s legal troubles or his political leanings. He said his son was raised by his mother and home-schooled in a suburb of Pensacola, Fla. ‘He has grandiose ideas, a lot of them … and zero common sense,’ Robert Wolfe said. As for the alleged arson, he said, ‘I’m still proud of him, whether he burned down the police station or not. He didn’t hurt nobody, did he?‘” • Is this allyship?

“State Patrol officers acknowledge knifing people’s tires during Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protests, saying they were ‘strategically deflated'” [Insider]. “State Patrol officers and deputies with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office were given the green light to slash tires by the Multi-Agency Command Center, the body coordinating the police response to the Minneapolis protests, on May 30-31, the Star Tribune reported.” • One wonders whether the “Multi-Agency Command Center: liasons with DHS fusion centers, as in Occupy.

“The First Time I Got Hit With Tear Gas” [Slate]. “The factors that led to revolt in Egypt and the United States are not far apart, but the early response looks much the same. Disproportionate force with dubious reasoning, assaulting the press, tasteless photo-ops, telling people not to believe our eyes: Anyone familiar with how the autocratic regimes of the Middle East clung to power will notice the similarities. That’s made many of us with these memories nervous about what’s to come…. ‘Just Like Occupy Wall Street failed, the Egyptian revolution failed,’ [Mohamed Fahmy, who goes by the artist moniker Ganzeer] said. ‘There was no strategic plan—and this is what comes from political science literature—there was no charismatic figure, there was no coalition formation, there was no vision that had been cultivated for a few years before the revolution. And so post-revolution, there was a series of infighting.’…. Nobody in Egypt talks politics anymore. The coat I wore to that protest in Tahrir Square still reeks of tear gas.” • I’m thinking back — I was live-blogging Tahrir Square — when Nobel laureate and Egyptian diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei, proposed as a replacement for Muburak, returned to Egypt and came to Tahrir Square, to a rapturous reception. But the protesters didn’t have a megaphone or a mike set up for him, so he could not address the crowd, and I thought “Oh, no…..”

“A Left Critique of the Current Protests” [Benjamin Studebaker]. “As long as we have millions of alienated, armed Americans, the police will never be abolished. Calls for their abolishment will instead result in privatisation. The Democratic mayors who run our cities want to avoid responsibility for the killings that are the result of decades of their own negligent policy. Privatising the police divests them of culpability. Privatised police will be even less accountable than publicly run departments. They’ll probably kill even more people. But when it happens, the cities can blame it on the contractors. They can simply fire one outfit and hire another. The anarcho-capitalists have wanted this for ages. They are chomping at the bit to use these protests to make it happen… Sadly, our organizations are inferior to the organizations of the anarchists and the woke neoliberals, and for this reason they will continue to hasten the victory of the right nationalists, much to our chagrin.”

UPDATE “White America is reckoning with racism. It could reshape 2020.” [Politico]. “The killing of George Floyd by a white police officer — and the viral video of the agonizing 8 minutes and 46 seconds with the officer’s knee on Floyd’s neck — has prompted a reckoning with racism for not only Biden, but for a wide swath of white America, according to polls conducted since Floyd’s death and anecdotal evidence from around the country. Every state, including ones with overwhelmingly white populations like Utah and West Virginia, has seen multiple protests the past two weeks. Books like ‘White Fragility’ and ‘How to be an Antiracist’ have shot to the top of Amazon and The New York Times’ bestseller lists. Some African Americans have said they’ve been overwhelmed by the number of white friends checking in, with some sending cash.” • To be read in conjunction with Studebaker’s article, above.

u r doin it wrong:

Groves of Academe

“The academy’s neoliberal response to COVID-19: Why faculty should be wary and how we can push back” [Academic Matters]. “A preliminary examination of these questions suggests that remote teaching, as it is being implemented, is not the exceptional response that it has been made out to be, nor is it the only option available. Instead, it is the product of choices that reflect and advance the particular view of society that has underpinned the neoliberal restructuring of universities and other institutions over the past several decades…. The assumption that faculty are pre-trained, or able to train themselves without additional time and support, underpins university directives that faculty move classes online without investing in training to support faculty in this shift…. In university responses to COVID-19, remote teaching directives are rooted in the assumption that faculty are equally positioned to carry them out. … In university responses to COVID-19, these shifts are visible in the failure to consult faculty or faculty associations, the circumvention of academic governance structures, and the prioritization of revenue concerns over the safety and pedagogical concerns of faculty or the workload, equity, and academic freedom provisions of collective agreements.” • A good synthesis of what’s been happening to the university…

Class Warfare

UPDATE A history of the Greenback Party. Thread:

News of the Wired

Who needs an electric toothbrush? And who needs an electric toothbrush connected to the Internet:

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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 (Tertium Squid):

Tertium Squid writes: “Scrub oaks on the hillside of the Wasatch mountains in Salt Lake City, bracketed by pro-marijuana graffiti.”

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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. The Rev Kev

      It was only a few days ago that WHO was saying that maybe people should think about wearing masks – six months into a worldwide pandemic. (slaps forehead)

  1. Carolinian

    Re privatizing the police–Florida store guard guy can get a job, assuming he’s not in jail. Perhaps that’s what he was shooting for all along.

  2. cocomaan

    Bush endorsing Biden pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

    Whoever wins the election will be inherited a poisoned chalice, full of disease, social unrest, and a global economy torn to shreds and billions of people possibly in famine (if the locust news is as bas as they say it is.) There will be no good choices and I have little faith in either Trump or Biden or their coterie of insane advisors to guide us through it.

    Anyway, how’s that for some cheer on this day? Everyone keep gardening! Our permaculture food forest is thriving this year, though someone keeps eating all the damn strawberries.

      1. cocomaan

        Hah, well, Colin Powell was the first of the GWB cabinet, I’m sure some others will be right behind him. GWB is really enjoy hanging on Michelle’s arm, after all.

        When the Cheney endorsement comes for Biden, I am sure the apologias for private military contractors and overseas wars won’t be far behind.

        “You know, the Iraq war wasn’t THAT bad. It’s not like KBR was doing the fighting, right?”

    1. Phacops

      Michigan has done a review of physician presumptive cases that were not tested, and per guidance has issued a correction to include those. Now the website still has confirmed cases in the first page, but drilling down to the cases by county the presumptive cases are now being reported.

  3. RMO

    The cops slashing tires story was on Jalopnik too:


    The justification given by those in charge is remarkably infuriating.

    “Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon acknowledged that the tires were cut.

    “State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires … in order to stop behaviors such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement,” he said.

    Gordon said the patrol also targeted vehicles “that contained items used to cause harm during violent protests” such as rocks, concrete, sticks, etc.

    “While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring,” he said.”

    1. Oh

      “Gordon said the patrol also targeted vehicles “that contained items used to cause harm during violent protests”
      Cop cars should’ve been first on the list because they contain the most number items that cause harm – guns, bullets, etc.

      1. HotFlash

        Cop cars should’ve been first on the list because they contain the most number items that cause harm – guns, bullets, etc.

        And cops.

        1. Oh

          Yes, for sure! Silly me. How could I forget? Guns don’t kill people. Cops with guns do.

    2. TMoney

      Deflating ? No. Destroying tires. Deflation is letting the air out via a valve, protecting the property – which the criminals in uniform could have done, but instead chose to use a sharp knife creating a bill for the vehicle owner.

      In fact a police officer tire deflator device would be a good idea, If this was about law enforcement and public safety and NOT about punishing people you disagree with.

      1. RMO

        I’m left wondering whether they can’t even manage to come up with an even tentatively persuasive line of B.S. on this or whether they don’t feel they even have to try. The way they got to that official statement says a lot about the situation and the department that issued it.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      It’s good to see that destroying private property is now a valid tactic for preemptive crime prevention. When do we start burning down the police stations with the worst records of abuse and brutality?

    4. fresno dan

      June 9, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      So…any prosecutions (of the police vandals?) Is it now common knowledge that the government can publicly confirm that the police can destroy private property without a warrant, arrest, prosecution, conviction – or any consequences apparently what so ever??? And everybody is fine with that???
      I am just hopelessly naive – I thought the government would always keep the fig leaf of bad apples or that it was Antifa dressed as police or something along those lines.
      So here we have up and down the chain of command that the police can break the law. Inconceivable
      Somebody really needs to go back and edit the movie “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”
      from, “Badges?! Badges!! We don’t need no stinkin badges!”
      to: “Badges? Our Badges are right here – that is why we can steal your gold and shoot you dead!”

      1. John k

        Been true for years. Breaking into homes, shooting occupants…
        well, there was this report, see…

      2. Rod

        Got a message from Andrew Yang about Policing.
        It came thru Humanity Forward.
        It was long and very clear.
        On Police Destruction of Life and Property he points this out:

        “There is another significant indicator of the extent of the police brutality problem: lawsuits. Across the country, cities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year paying victims of police misconduct. New York City spent a staggering $710 million a year on payouts for police-related lawsuits in recent years – the entire NYPD’s budget is $6 billion. Chicago spent $153 million per year on payouts. Police brutality is incredibly expensive, not just in human life and public trust, but in monetary costs that drain public money that could go to schools, health care, or infrastructure. Total payouts to plaintiffs cost communities over a billion dollars a year, and that doesn’t include litigation costs and insurance premiums, which cost hundreds of millions more”

        So there is the cost(I believe they were being paid to do it) and more costs…

    5. J.k

      Are they doing stuff like this so people become stranded around curfew time , at which point they become subject to a potential beat down and arrest?

    1. Janie

      Article says Atlanta voting machines create a paper ballot which is then scanned! Why? Isn’t there a system that might, in some alternate universe, avoid this debacle? Like hand-marked ballots counted in public?

    2. Carolinian

      From the link

      pandemic also meant shortages of poll workers and far fewer in-person polling places.

      Sot they might have had problems even with hand marked paper ballots.

    3. Jason Boxman

      So your vote neither counts nor is counted. (A study posted here some years back concluded that politicians vote with their donors something like 90% of the time.)

      Democracy theater.

  4. zagonostra

    New York Stock Exchange observe 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in honor of George Floyd’s memory.

    Along with Jamie Dimon and Congressional Democrats taking the knee, joining Justine Trudeau, this has to be as cringe worthy as it gets. It reveals so much about how distorted their views are on how most common folk see them and how stupid they think the masses are. Truly Sickening.

    1. HotFlash

      I found the kente cloth as a black identification gesture most disturbing. I suppose some junior staffers murmured to them that blackface might not be well-received?

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        When I saw that pic of Nancy and Chuck, the phrase “woke blackface” came to mind. Everytime I think I’ve seen it all…

    2. The Rev Kev

      Lambert was asking ‘Were they wearing kente cloth?’ Perhaps that should have been Kunta Kinte cloth as both that ‘ceremony’ and the character Kunta Kinte were both made out of whole cloth.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Cool. Thank you!

      I have to understand Minneapolis and now I have to understand Seattle. Understanding Ferguson and St Louis was a lot easier, because newsrooms hadn’t been gutted, and then gutted again due to COVID-19.

      Links welcome…

      1. Aloha

        I found an independent media group called Unicorn Riot Live on YouTube, June 1st and have been watching it ever since. They are “boots on ground” and were covering all of the fires, politics, history, daily marches and now healing in Minneapolis. They are covering all of the town meetings and it is encouraging to watch as they slowly move forward!

      2. Calypso Facto

        twitter thread from the Seattle last night seems like the cops were trying to bait the protestors into attacking or …?

        I lived in this neighborhood for almost a decade (left in ’15) and volunteered a few doors from the police precinct in question for several years. It is the nexus of a lot of intensity in Seattle because it was rapidly gentrified and is right next to a historically black neighborhood that has mostly gentrified and priced out everyone. But where this is all taking place is an area with 2500/mo+ 1bdr apartments. The ‘autonomous zone’ bit feels a little too pat, like performative revolutionary anxiety.

        This thread is about Atlanta but friends at the Seattle protests said they felt similar was happening there this past weekend.

        1. Joe Renter

          This precinct is very easy to access from the light rail station so folks who have had to move south because of rent increases (thanks Amazon) can be mobilized for this event. Police in this city have bad rap and have…
          Since 2012, the Seattle Police Department has been under federal oversight after being found to have used excessive force, and policies that led to biased policing. SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department is under a federal “consent decree” and has been since 2012.

      3. YetAnotherChris

        I think the oft-cited video of Umbrella Man smashing up the Auto Zone in Minneapolis is pivotal. These protests were decidedly peaceful at the outset. There will always be a cohort of troublemakers and opportunists joining the crowd. Can they be kept in check? Or can they be instigated? The “violence” against the Fifth Precinct Station began with water bottles and eggs. I’ve heard from multiple sources that when the Auto Zone across the street went up in flames the dynamic changed right away. Mission accomplished, Umbrella Man.

  5. anon in so cal

    The academy’s response to the murder of George Floyd (realizing the Free Beacon is a right-wing publication):

    (Many UC campuses are on the quarter system, and spring quarter is only now drawing to a close.)

    Not condoning threats, but I’d say this professor should have exempted the students from taking the exam. Maybe it’s because he’s from the B school? From the students’ perspective, this seems like a more understandable version of Harley Shaiken’s experience in 2017.

    “A college professor is living under police protection after rebuffing a request to exempt minority students from taking final exams in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

    University of California Los Angeles accounting professor Gordon Klein faced threats of violence after he declined a student’s request that he delay a final exam in light of national unrest. The university suspended the professor for three weeks beginning on June 25 and launched a discrimination investigation into the incident. Klein declined a request for comment, but a Malibu Police Department spokesman said the department increased police presence near the educator’s home after Klein received multiple threats.

    Many universities faced disruptions stemming from the coronavirus, but the demonstrations and riots that followed Floyd’s death in police custody have led students to petition for delays or outright cancellations of classes and final exams. Those requests have quickly turned into threats on social media for professors who refuse to grant such accommodations. In the face of public pressure, UCLA administrators bowed to student demands and removed Klein from his class.

    On Monday, Anderson School of Management dean Antonio Bernardo sent an email to students announcing an investigation into Klein’s “troubling” behavior. The dean apologized to students for the “added stress” a substitution of an instructor may cause. The message also announced that Klein’s classes would be transferred to Professors Brett Trueman and Judson Caskey, who also serves as the Anderson school’s diversity committee chairman.”


    1. Geo

      That was a great one. Oliver can be. But hit and miss but he really hit this topic hard. Was good to see. That ending was powerful.

      1. JohnnySacks

        That woman’s righteous jaw-dropping rant was incredible, and so damn straight up true. Sad state of affairs when some of the best opinion/news comes from a comedian who only recently became a citizen.

  6. Geo

    Fun story: Was having a talk with my Trump loving, Fox News watching neighbor again and it was oddly insightful. Won’t go through the entirety of it but highlights include:

    • We we’re discussing Amazon and its control over so much of the economy. She called Amazon Socialist.
    • She also hates BLM because they’re lead by communists and socialists.
    • She thinks Biden is a Socialist and that even most of the GOP is Socialist.
    • Asked her what she thinks Socialism is and she basically defined it as too many regulations and corruption.
    • Said she wished we were more like Norway where it’s easier for entrepreneurs and businesses. She likes how capitalist they are.
    •Tried to explain to her that Scandinavian countries are Democratically Socialist countries that mix capitalism and socialism. She didn’t buy it. Also thinks Bernie is evil and a commie.

    Odd how the propaganda can be so effective even when the underlying issues she actually seems to inherently understand. If it wasn’t for the labels and media narrative her values would actually be pretty leftwing. Instead she’s a diehard Trunp-loving, NRA-member that thinks Democrats are all radical commies trying to turn us into the USSR.

    1. Carolinian

      How old is your neighbor? There was a time when her beliefs were pretty much the elite party line, Dem and Repub.

      Come to think of it, doesn’t the Dem leadership still think of Sanders as a commie?

      1. Geo

        Pretty old. And to be fair, she grew up in an Eastern Block country so has a deep fear of Communism. I don’t disparage her for that at all. Makes a lot of sense from her lived experience.

        The part that baffles me is the love for Scandanavian style government while fearing all things “Socialist” – and thinking Amazon, Biden, Dems and most of the GOP are socialists. Basically anything bad is Socialist which makes understanding politics pretty difficult I’d imagine.

    2. Massinissa

      This is what you get from a century of propaganda, I guess. Its been just over a century since the beginning of the first Red Scare in 1919-20.

  7. .Tom

    I can believe that W can tolerate blacks. It’s not a big ask. I can tolerate going to the dentist. I can tolerate the nose of the highway.

    I think we can aspire to more noble goals that merely tolerating other people.

  8. marku52

    Couldn’t believe the D governor who wants to give heath care to “100% of all Black people”.

    What a way to solve the race problem. These people can’t be that stupid can they? Well, look at policies and I guess the question answers itself.

    Shoot yourself in the foot, then pause to reload.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Many voters look at it as a handout to people who are not them, and threaten to vote the politician out of office, rather than thinking “Maybe that’s something we should all have.”

    1. flora

      Wow. Joey sounds like a WWI allies’ “Fight the Hun” recruiting poster. Remember, these recruiting posters were anti-German. Who is Joey recruiting?




      or (and this last one doesn’t try to hide its racist appeal… to fight the Germans… go figure.)


    2. John k

      Most of the seniors that voted for him might be receptive. But can he win with that base? In the swings, mind.
      And speaking of them… Wisconsin is one of the states he needs, and they’re not talking of defunding but abolishing the police. Granted Biden and trump are on the same page here… and, in fact, on most pages… but trump can turn on a dime.

  9. Jason Boxman

    You read my thoughts before I even loaded this page:

    I’m seriously allergic to that stuff, as readers know. The idea that nations have souls is a category error, and the idea that Biden is especially empathetic (especially if one takes his actions into account) strikes me as a constructed narrative along the lines of McCain being a “maverick.”

    Biden was famously a law in order candidate some decades ago, wasn’t he? An intentionally cultivated brand similar to McCain’s vaunted “maverick” brand. And the crime bill is one of Biden’s great accomplishments. So it’s amazing that he is given a platform, indeed the biggest platform, to opine on events. And he made it clear (or did he flip on this?) that he doesn’t support reducing police budgets.

    Can you get in front of a riot, call it a parade, and reject demands of the protestors, and actually be seen as legitimate? This gives an idea of how strongly the Democrat Party believes in “vote blue no matter who” and TINA.

  10. Pelham

    Re The Week article on deaths caused by police: Granted, the US rate is far higher than in other countries. But what is the rate of civilian killing of police in the US and abroad? Maybe the US isn’t exceptional in this regard, but it would help to have this context.

    1. HotFlash

      Possibly not relevant to this discussion:

      But what is the rate of US killing of civilian(s) killing of police in the US and abroad? Maybe the US
      police isn’t exceptional in this regard, but it would help to have this context.

      1. Pelham

        Off topic but always worth keeping in mind.’

        Separately, re the Studebaker article on private policing: Holy cow! Light dawns on marble head! I hadn’t even considered the possibility in Minneapolis, where they’re really talking about getting rid of the cops, that private police would take their place in some piecemeal and darkly unaccountable fashion. Minneapolis could turn out to be one whale of an experiment.

        1. GramSci

          Yes, but for me, the Sirota piece is the more compelling. The elite have always had–and still have–their Pinkertons and their Akademicians and their mall cops, mostly arrayed against petty larceny and black loiterers.

          The police force is a neoliberal, MMT Jobs Guarantee for any unemployed person without a conscience or desperate for a job, preferably both (it’s de facto means tested).

          What we need is the *refunding* of regulatory agencies that Sirota describes.

      1. polecat

        Funny how they Never touch the ply of the whitshoefolk’es irontriangle-powered rides ..

  11. Aloha

    “Kentucky governor outlines plan to provide health coverage for ‘100 percent’ of black communities”

    IMHO I think that this is going to backfire on all communities and I think that it was done on purpose to stir up more violence and hatred. Sadly, Kentucky has severe poverty no matter what a persons skin color is thanks to its elected officials. The KKK will use this as another reason to convince whites that the African Americans are once again getting free gov handouts and to hate them for it.
    This is Mitch McConnell’s state and there is no reason in the world why this bill can’t including everyone in Kentucky.

    1. David J.

      1) It’s not a bill. It’s a commitment to allocating resources to do outreach to an under-served community. While the focus is on the black community there is no reason to doubt the Governor’s desire to push this initiative towards all people in KY. Don’t forget that his father, the Governor before Bevin, was widely praised for his extension of Medicaid in KY under Obamacare. Lotsa people in Appalachia are appreciative of that. Also, Beshear stated that health care is a human right. But, as a person who actually has to govern, he has to work within the parameters of what can be accomplished. Instead of dissing him for not going far enough, perhaps he should be evaluated from a perspective of making the most of the tools he has at hand.

      2) The KKK? Let’s not give agency to an irrelevant bugbear . Racism in KY can’t be reduced to a caricature. And since when should we give racists a veto over policy?

      3) “…done on purpose to stir up more violence and hatred.” Maybe the purpose is to attempt to redress some historical and moral wrongs?

      There are some very good rumblings happening on the KY political scene, the kind of stuff that doesn’t happen often around here. Let’s take advantage and craft some real policy and not continue to be on the defensive.

      1. Alternate Delegate

        Did you miss how the Democrat machine uses Identity Politics setasides, means testing, and complex eligibility requirements to divide and conquer the 90%, whom they most certainly do not represent? And how this works hand in glove with the Republican strategy of stoking white resentment and male resentment against the other constituencies, again to divide and conquer the same 90%, whom they also most certainly do not represent? And how both parties are doing this in service of their respective true masters?

        Stunning evil genius to come up with “Medicare For Blacks”. Genius!

        But only Universal Single-Payer Improved Medicare For All is an actual path forward.

        1. David J.

          I’ve not encountered the ideas you present, despite 40 years of doing radical politics. /s

          I would suggest that you listen to what Beshear actually said yesterday and today. Then you can lecture me about how evil this initiative is.

          1. Alternate Delegate

            Yes, this is an evil initiative, just like “reparations” and for the same reason.

            1. ambrit

              Agree. Divide and Rule in the ‘flesh,’ as it were.
              Now all the poor whites can focus their anger on the “undeserving” coloureds and not on the upper class manipulaters who made the “shortage” to begin with. This is an example of “evil” or “stupid?”

    2. Massinissa

      The Klan isn’t relevant any more. There are other, more important racist groups that wear less absurd costumes these days, better to focus on them rather than blame a group who hasn’t been relevant on the far right in at least half a century. Blaming modern racism on the Klan would be even more incorrect than the right wing claim that all the protests are somehow magically caused and organized by Antifa.

      1. ambrit

        I sort of agree but must observe that The Klan is an easy and universally understood point of focus for political organizing. Who gets worked up about the “Aryan Bankrobbers” [an actual and very dangerous group]? With all that ‘history’ behind them, the Klan can stand in for the long standing and almost institutionalized racism in America. Not just in the North American Deep South, but all of America. Back in the 1920s, the Klan as an organized political party was the city government of Bakersfield, California. Those baser instincts are never erased, just “dealt with.” It is the ‘dealing with’ that makes the Zeitgeist of an era.
        I would say that, as an image, a template, the Klan is very relevant.
        Just as “Custer Died for Our Sins,” so too the Klan allures the fearful and weak willed.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Massive takedown of Just So stories on SARS-COV-2 evolving lower virulence. Thread:

    Ah, Matt Ridley at work. I thought he had disappeared. I’m embarrassed to say I read quite a few of his books years ago when I thought he was a pretty good science writer. He nearly singlehandedly brought the UK economy down through his stewardship of Northern Rock, yet it seems even that proof of his idiocy isn’t enough to persuade people to ignore him.

    1. fajensen

      Bad ideas and rubbish thinking are the prions of the collective mind! They are indestructible and therefore they will accumulate, eventually causing previously successful societies to become senile and retarded!

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m just thinking about how extensible your observation is, mes compliments.

        Perhaps the best we can do is overwhelm the prevalence of prions in the system with good ideas. Charity, empathy, generosity, kindness, understanding.

  13. NoOneInParticular

    Re “#COVID19
    At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data…”

    It’s Johns Hopkins, not John. I’m guessing the typo is an auto-correct fail.

  14. Watt4Bob

    The fact that mail-in ballots start their life in Zip-Code segregation should worry us.

    It’s way to easy to purloin specific neighborhoods mail en mass, even easier than closing particular polling places.

  15. Baby Gerald

    Re: “Ramsey Orta, Man Who Filmed Eric Garner’s Arrest, Has Been Released From Prison”

    Leaving aside what a travesty of justice that Orta served any time at all thanks to a vindictive police force that had it in for him since that video became viral, this frees up a cell for killer cop Daniel Pantaleo. Now that chokeholds have been deemed a felony, this should be retroactively applied in his case.

  16. JBird4049

    “What about police violence against white people?” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]

    Yes, part of the IdPol narrative is that if you are not suffering as much, you have privilege, or worse, if your designated identity group is not suffering as much, you have privilege. Since it is poor whites who suffer under the police, IdPol is a nice club to used on them. After all, all those upper middle class whites are not being abused by the police with a very few exceptions.

  17. Jason Boxman

    And think on this; after murder, the state has a monopoly on depriving liberty through imprisonment as well, itself a form of extreme violence; Joe Biden is a key architect of imprisoning minorities in unfathomable numbers. And here he is, with an opportunity to speak on current events.

    Does “at long last, have you no decency sir” yet apply to this guy?

    What the f*?

  18. zagonostra

    >Greenback Party

    There is a book I read many years ago by Lawrence Goodwyn Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America that takes you back to the end of the 19th century and shows how the begining of the corporate State came into being with Mark Hanna and the election of Mckinley. I remember it was a long read but incredibly dramatic in subject matter and presentation.

    Below from Wiki is reminiscent of Bloomberg today. So sad that this country historically has been on the cusp of significant changes that would benefit the working man only to be perennially snuffed out time and time again by greedy monied interest.

    In 1895, Hanna left his business career to devote himself full-time to McKinley’s campaign for president. Hanna paid all expenses to get McKinley the nomination the following year… Hanna’s fundraising broke records

    1. VietnamVet

      Atlantic published “Millennials Are the New Lost Generation”. This is the worst economy for workers since the Gilded Age. History does rhyme. Back then they formed the Progressive Movement and were victorious until it was all lost in the neoliberal counter revolt of the 1980s. For the exact same reasons, a new Progressive Movement must be reborn. Otherwise, the American Dream is finished. Mankind too! Climate change is being ignored as intended by Donald Trump and his fellow billionaires who place profits above all else. The COVID-19 pandemic documents that the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans is of no concern to the ruling class. Who needs the 90%? They are acting like they don’t.

  19. kareninca

    Here in Silicon Valley, I take my dog and an ancient relative who lives with us on a daily ride. Before the pandemic we had combined each ride with an errand. Since the pandemic, we have devoted the rides to scoping out the lines at stores, for purposes of planning my (rare) shopping outings.

    Now we are scoping out business-boardings; that is, plywood on windows, presumably for smashing protection (although it could be for closing down due to loss of business). A few days ago the first one appeared; the Volvo dealership in Mountain View on El Camino. Now there are a few more on El Camino; mostly banks (including Wells Fargo). In downtown Palo Alto, about ten businesses are boarded; a few financial firms and the jewelry store and some others. In the Stanford Shopping Center, Macy’s and Bloomingdales and Brooks Brothers and the meat market are boarded (the meat market is still open); Hermes is not; most stores are not; it is probably about one in 15 that is boarded.

    Are there any other boarding reports?? We have not actually had any violent protests or window smashing around here, as far as I know. I’m not entirely sure why any boarding here is felt to be necessary.

    1. HotFlash

      plywood on windows, presumably for smashing protection (although it could be for closing down due to loss of business)

      My dear Ms Karen,

      We started seeing this (plywood over windows) here in Toronto back when the quarantine/lockdown was first announced. Some small restaurants and clothihng stores, but, !!!!! the A&W (which had elected to close)! I was shocked! But I am also on the board of a non-profit (we teach people how to fix their bicycles) that had to close for a bit, the plywood was in our insurance policy — no plywood on windows, then no insurance against smashed windows. So, no need to take it personally.

      1. kareninca

        Thank you for the update!

        I do think that here it is due to fear of unrest, since the first plywood appeared only a few days ago, and also I don’t think Macy’s and Bloomingdales expect to stay shut long. The Stanford Shopping center was very busy today; there were loads of cars in the parking lot. Of course pre-pandemic it would have been hard to even find a parking space (not that I actually shop there), and it is not back to that.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      In NYC this past weekend, the parts I saw: Madison between 60 & 65th (high-end and specialty brand names), probably 75% of the stores were boarded up (some had been smashed up the week-end before). Along Lexington from the mid-60s down to the 50s, about 40% were boarded up (smaller stores, more neighborhood-y). Along 3rd Avenue (mostly food and local retail), probably 10%. A couple stores were boarded up, but were open – one bodega, the Verizon store (w/ staff at a table in the doorway), a restaurant doing delivery & take out).

      1. kareninca

        Thank you for the update. I hope that it is all repaired soon.

        One of the stores in downtown Palo Alto that was boarded up was the Verizon store, so that is interesting that the NYC one is open. Also here, the El Camino Wells Fargo was boarded, but not the downtown Palo Alto Wells Fargo.

  20. Carla

    An electric toothbrush actually saved me from needing gum surgery — not a trivial thing AT ALL — neither financially, nor in terms of pain and suffering. I will never be without my re-chargeable electric toothbrush, which holds a charge for up to two weeks when I travel, so I don’t even have to pack the charger.

    But Internet connectivity of standard household appliances, no matter what they are, is insane.

      1. MLTPB

        Try pulling down the giant Leshan Buddha in Sichuan, China.

        It’s only been around since the Tang dynasty.

        1. ambrit

          Be careful what you “ask for” MLTPB. Remember the giant Buddahs the Taliban blew to smithereens in Afghanistan?
          Those damned monotheists are a positive menace!

      2. Carolinian

        Think Murray is wondering whether this consists of retrospective justice or memory hole. MOA brought up the Murray link and thinks context memorials are the way to go.

        Should say that the American landscape is already highly statue deprived compared to Europe. Rarely do we think of decorating a traffic circle with a nice statue and we would probably miss the few that exist. Being Americans, who knows who they are anyway? We are already the United States of Amnesia.

        So leave the artwork alone I say. Symbolic gestures are just that.*

        *But of course George III had to go.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I agree with what you say here. Getting rid of statues reeks of re-writing history and already in the UK you have some mobs going around deciding which statues have to go because they are racist by whom they depict. Yes, rehouse them in some museum but few deserve to go as they are usually old enough to be antiques. Exceptions are that statue of King Leopold II of Belgium which has just been removed and the tipping of the George III statue did serve to make a powerful statement by the colonialists.

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