2:00PM Water Cooler 7/2/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, stories keep popping up right before I’m going to post that I have to put together, in this case the arrest of Epstein’s madame, Ghislaine Maxwell (see below). I’ll fill in some blanks in a bit. –lambert UPDATE All done. Sorry for the delay.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Our problem states, today adding Georgia, which seems to be tracking Arizona:

On the optimistic side, deaths with New York for comparison:

Now, deaths lag, but New York looks like it’s going to hold its big lead for some time to come. (And I’m not sure whether the death rate affects consumer — or worker — behavior that much. Regardless of whether it kills you, COVID is clearly a nasty disease that you don’t want to get, and quite possibly can’t afford to get.


“Don’t expect the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to usher in a new era of North American trade peace. Ongoing tensions over tariffs and other issues that prolonged negotiations are complicating the rollout of the updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement this week… and ramping up uncertainty for cross-border supply chains” [Wall Street Journal]. “Lingering sore points include rules still being finalized that require auto makers to keep more of their factories in the U.S. and Canada, and concern that the U.S. could impose new levies on metals as aluminum imports from Canada surge. The USMCA keeps much of the groundwork laid by NAFTA but adds provisions for digital trade and safeguards meant to bolster standards in Mexican factories. U.S. labor groups worry Mexico won’t follow through on those requirements, while lawmakers from farm states question how far Canada will go to open up its dairy market.”


“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

The electoral map. As of June 30: Still no change. So, regardless of polling, the consensus (aggregating ten organizations) remains the same. And a Biden 10 point lead means a swing of five flips the race. Of course, that can’t happen:

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 calls another reporter a ‘lying dog face’ and brushes off ‘cognitive decline’ question” [Independent]. “At his first press conference in weeks Joe Biden briefly lost his patience with a reporter and threw out a signature insult he first lobbed at a student back in February. Apparently irritated by the reporter’s questioning as he tried to leave the podium at a school in Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden snappily called him a ‘lying dog face’ before answering a question on his cognitive health.” • Branding, I suppose. UPDATE On the matter of what happened to “pony soldier” (hat tip, lyman alpha blob) I couldn’t find a transcript. The Federalist (gaaaaah) writes: “Biden first tried to interrupt the reporter, and began calling him ‘a lying dog-faced—’ before chuckling and letting him finish the question.” More from the Independent: The question: “‘Have you been tested for some degree of cognitive decline?’ Mr Biden grinned. ‘I’ve been tested, I’m constantly tested.'” • Now, if Biden means medically tested, as opposed to tested by the rigors of the trail, that’s interesting.

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “What President Joe Biden would do to stop Covid-19” [Vox]. We’re having this discussion now (and remember Fallows says that all the needed plans are in a drawer somewhere:

I asked some experts how Biden’s proposed Covid-19 response differs from what the current federal government has done. They pointed to a few specific provisions in his plans:

  • Establishing a public-private[1] ‘pandemic testing board’ to scale up and allocate testing across the country. (‘This would deal with one of the problems we still seem to have, that supply and demand are out of sync,'[2] says Jennifer Kates with the Kaiser Family Foundation.)
  • Creating a state and local government emergency fund that would pay for medical supplies, hiring more health care workers, and providing overtime pay for certain essential workers.

  • Eliminating cost-sharing for Covid-19 testing and treatment — and changing the law so that provision would apply to future public health emergencies[3].
  • Setting minimum standards for the number of testing sites in each state, including 10 mobile or drive-through sites.
  • Establishing a national public health jobs corps, which would employ at least 100,000 people to do contact tracing[4].
  • Biden’s plan is detailed, but the real differences on coronavirus between him and Trump start at the more conceptual level. ‘The big differences are the emphasis on science and experts, versus politics and politicians, and more coordination and leadership at the federal level,’ Kates said.[5]

Note no universal masking requirement, and the issue of shutdowns is totally punted on. NOTES [1] Oh great, a public-private partnership. [2] Is this a market failure? Or, perhaps, the country lacks the operational capability? [3] So, #MedicareForAll, but for pandemics only. [3] Good idea, if contact tracing can in fact be done. [4] Not seeing a lot that’s apolitical here, and while “experts” speak to (indeed, are) the Democrat base, their track record isn’t supergood. (Now, after Fauci ramped Gilead, the Feds bought it all up. Nice liittle windfall!)

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “About Us” [43 Alumni for Biden]. • With the Bush Alumni Association and the Obama Alumni Association, it’s a juggernaut of competence, I’m tellin’ ya. From the FAQ:

Clearly both sides are equally justified!

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): Framing Trump as a caudillo — like Putin! — for the Latin vote:

Note the pot-banging in the background.

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): Bush Republicans in the Lincoln Project call for war with Russia. They’re the experts!

Clinton would have. Biden will.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Campaign Reshuffles Key Staff, Hiring Ex-NASA Official” [Bloomberg]. “President Donald Trump’s campaign has named Jeff DeWit as its chief operating officer, replacing Michael Glassner, less than five months before the election and as polls show him lagging his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. The reshuffle, according to two people familiar with the matter, came as top donors were becoming more concerned over the management of the campaign and Trump’s falling poll numbers. The re-election operation has struggled to respond to crises, including the coronavirus pandemic, the economic damage it has wrought and the growing demands for racial justice. The changes were orchestrated by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House adviser, according to another person. Kushner has played an influential role in the campaign though he is not officially part of it. Kushner swapped COOs without telling key aides, including campaign manager Brad Parscale, beforehand about his decision, according to two people familiar with the situation.” • I think Trump needs Bannon again.

Trump (R)(2): “The 6 Trump Bombshells Still Waiting to Explode” [Politico]. • Makes you wonder what the press has been doing for the last four years.

* * *

“2020 Voters’ Calendar—The General Election Starts in August” [Common Dreams (dk)]. “[A]ll voting requires advance planning from now on….. Here’s a Voters’ Calendar for what has become, in reality, ‘Voting Season.’ It starts in August. This Voters’ Calendar will stretch our civic attention span to make high-turnout elections a task that mere mortals can perform, not a superhuman feat that tests the endurance of even the most dedicated voters.” • So much for October surprises, I suppose.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Think Tank Gap Really Hurt Our COVID-19 Response” [Mike the Mad Biologist]. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s becoming more apparent that using a paradigm generated by the American Enterprise Institute might not be the best way to proceed. Unfortunately, all of the think tanks, including the Democratic aligned ones, appear to be working from the same framework (i.e., kinder, gentler AEI plans)…. The problem is that the AEI plan is fundamentally affected by policy constraints. There are certain policies that a group like AEI can not and will not consider, and those policy constraints affect the range of policy responses…. [On the left] the overall goal was to use massive federal spending to place significant swathes of the U.S. economy into what multiple commentators, including Paul Krugman, referred to as a ‘medically induced coma.’ And not for a month either, but for as long as it took…. Since an AEI-backed plan that would result in massive federal intervention in the economy is an impossibility, we’re left with second-best options of relative improvements leading to partial reopenings. When massive federal intervention is off the table, then we’re left with these other metrics, such as decline for a couple of weeks followed by hoping for the best, because there’s no way to support the economy long enough to reach a meaningful low level of prevalence… That’s unfortunate because a low prevalence strategy is good public health policy and good economic policy. On the public health side, the best way to not get infected is to not come in contact with someone who is infected. While that sounds like something Yogi Berra would have said, it does have the virtue of being true.”

“By Denying Aid to States, the GOP Is Aiding the Coronavirus” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “By withholding aid to states, Republicans made it extremely painful for cities to implement responsible public-health policies in the middle of a pandemic…. America’s hasty reopening is doubtlessly attributable to a variety of cultural and political factors. But for many U.S. cities, erring on the side of public health — by keeping the economy restricted for a week longer than absolutely necessary — would have meant jeopardizing their capacity to maintain funding for schools and basic social services. Republicans could have empowered state and local officials to make decisions about reopening on the basis of what was best for public health. Instead, they engineered fiscal scarcity that forced states to choose between prudence and solvency. Which may have been the point. The president and his advisers pressured states to reopen quickly, so as to expedite the onset of economic recovery. Instead, our austerity-induced haste has bought us a new wave of outbreaks and a deeper recession.” • Yay, austerity.

Clearly my bias:

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: “June 2020 BLS Jobs Situation – Employment Grew 4,800,000 But Still Down 12,558,000 Year-over-Year” [Econintersect]. The headline seasonally adjusted BLS job growth showed the best ever job gain ever with the unemployment rate improving from 13.3% to 11.1%… Employment recovery from the coronavirus continues. However, readers are advised that the basis of the BLS numbers are the middle of June (which are extrapolated to the end of the month). There are several indications that the economy slowed since the middle of the month. It is hard to judge if the slowdown is significant.” • Handy chart:

Employment Situation: “US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway” [Associated Press]. “U.S. unemployment fell to 11.1% in June as the economy added a solid 4.8 million jobs, the government reported Thursday. But the job-market recovery may already be faltering because of a new round of closings and layoffs triggered by a resurgence of the coronavirus. While the jobless rate was down from 13.3% in May, it is still at a Depression-era level. And the data was gathered during the second week of June, just before a number of states began to reverse or suspend the reopenings of their economies to try to beat back the virus.”

Leading Indicators: “26 June 2020 ECRI’s WLI Improvement Continues But Continues In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “ECRI’s WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward improved, remains deep in contraction, and remains at a level at the values seen during the Great Recession.”

Manufacturing: “May 2020 Headline Manufacturing New Orders Improve” [Econintersect]. “US Census says manufacturing new orders improved month-over-month with unfilled orders increasing modestly. Our analysis shows the rolling averages significantly declined and remain in contraction…. According to the seasonally adjusted data, the increase was widespread. Of course, this year-over-year contraction was caused by the coronavirus shutdown of the economy.”

Trade: “May 2020 Trade Again Significantly Declined Due to Coronavirus” [Econintersect]. “Trade data headlines show the trade balance worsened with both imports and exports declining…. The data in this series wobbles and the 3-month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3-month average rate of growth declined for imports and exports – and is now deeper in contraction.”

* * *

Shipping: “The federal government is swooping in to rescue YRC Worldwide Inc. The Treasury Department is lending the troubled trucker $700 million in coronavirus stimulus funding… and taking a 29.6% stake in the business under a Cares Act provision for companies deemed essential to national security” [Wall Street Journal]. “YRC is the fifth-largest U.S. trucking company, moving goods for big shippers like Walmart Inc. and Home Depot Inc. and handling 68% of less-than-truckload services for the Defense Department. One of the few big unionized carriers left, YRC has struggled under heavy debt and was trying to turn its business around when the coronavirus pandemic crashed freight volumes.” • Trump administration helping a union shop….

Transportation: “Networks of self-driving trucks are becoming a reality in the US” [Recode]. “TuSimple’s expansion plans seem more concrete than some of its competitors. The company is expanding existing shipments with UPS, which has also invested in TuSimple, and the foodservice delivery giant McLane. The major shipping company US Xpress, one of the nation’s largest freight companies, will also start shipping goods through TuSimple, which now has 22 contracted customers. Those companies will ultimately have influence over which routes are digitally mapped out next for self-driving trucks. ‘Imagine if you could influence, back in the day, where a railroad track was being built, and you could build that railroad track right to your front door,” TuSimple president Cheng Lu told Recode. “As a shipper, wouldn’t that give you a big advantage?”” • Truck routes, obviously, can constrain their routes in a way that robot cars cannot. I suppose there’s a real estate play along the routes somehow; but note for truckstops…

Punditry: “Credentials Don’t Count on the Internet. Just Ask Nathan Tankus” [Bloomberg]. “Tankus built an online following slowly since around 2015, but it’s only in the past year that he’s broadened his audience with deep dives into monetary mechanics. In September he diagnosed the dislocations in the secured lending market that forced the Fed to resume buying Treasury bonds on a massive scale. This year he wrote a series of detailed posts called Notes on the Crises, which explained the Fed’s emergency actions to combat the Covid-19 recession. He made extensive use of T-accounts, a tool of accountants that places assets on the left and liabilities on the right. ‘He has really good knowledge of the plumbing of the monetary system,’ says David Beckworth, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University.” • Good for Nathan! We knew him when — “around 2015.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 49 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 1 at 12:38pm. Grey, grey, grey, dull grey and not red or green.

Health Care

UPDATE “Fever checks are a flawed way to flag Covid-19 cases. Experts say smell tests might help” [STAT]. “Unfortunately, temperature checks could well join the long list of fumbled responses to the pandemic, from the testing debacle to federal officials’ about-face on masks. Because many contagious people have no symptoms, using temperature checks to catch them is like trying to catch tennis balls in a soccer net: way too many can get through. On Tuesday, the head of the Transportation Security Administration told reporters, “I know in talking to our medical professionals and talking to the Centers for Disease Control … that temperature checks are not a guarantee that passengers who don’t have an elevated temperature also don’t have Covid-19.” The reverse is also true: Feverish travelers might not have Covid-19. In this case, however, a growing body of science suggests a simple fix: make smell tests another part of routine screenings.” • Still waiting for results on the medical dog tests!

UPDATE “Now you can see the relationship between reopening policies and COVID-19 cases” [Los Angeles Times]. “[Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health] and her colleagues have created a new data visualization tool that combines the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths reported every day in each state with the dates that reopening policies have been implemented there.” Here’s the tool, with California as an example:

I dunno. I’m not sure the policy options (color coder, top left) are granular enough. Readers?

UPDATE “SARS-CoV-2 in human sewage in Santa Catalina, Brazil, November 2019” (preprint) [medRxiv]. “We analysed human sewage located in Florianopolis (Santa Catalina, Brazil) from late October until the Brazil lockdown on early March. We detected SARS-CoV-2 in two samples collected independently on 27th November 2019… Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating in Brazil since late November 2019, much earlier than the first reported case in the Americas (21st January 2020, USA).” • Hmm.

UPDATE “Oklahoma voters approve Medicaid expansion at the ballot box” [Oklahoman]. “State Question 802 passed by 6,488 votes, making Oklahoma the fifth state expand Medicaid through a ballot initiative. The question will enshrine Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma’s constitution — effectively preventing Oklahoma’s GOP-controlled Legislature or Republican governor from limiting or undoing the expansion.

” • Good, unless it ends up being a bulwark against #MedicareForAll. Here’s the wording: “SECTION 2. Medicaid Expansion: A. In addition to those otherwise eligible for medical assistance under Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, the State shall provide medical assistance under Oklahoma’s Medicaid program to Low Income Adults. B. No greater or additional burdens or restrictions on eligibility or enrollment shall be imposed on persons eligible for medical assistance pursuant to this Article than on any other population eligible for medical assistance under Oklahoma’s Medicaid program.”

Police State Watch

At last!

Department of Feline Felicity

“Furry from the sky: Meet the military’s elite airborne cat force” [Duffel Blog]. “Despite repeated requests, Company commander Captain Mittens was not made available for comment. However, he did leave a dead mouse outside this reporter’s hotel room door. According to obtained classified documents, the Central Intelligence Agency began to invest in the airborne cats upon recognizing the routine incompetence of the 82nd Airborne Division. ‘Airborne cats are the pinnacle of the 21st century warrior,’ a source familiar with the project says.” • No, no, no, no, no. There are miltary dogs. There are no military cats, because cats don’t take orders. That’s why we like them.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Not the Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Lannister:

“Former companion of disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein arrested in NH” [WMUR]. “Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, was arrested in Bradford, the FBI said. According to ABC News, she was taken into custody without incident about 8:30 a.m. According to the first count in the indictment, Maxwell is accused of assisting in Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls, in part by helping Epstein recruit them and then participating in multiple group sexual encounters with the girls. Investigators said in court paperwork that the victims were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein. Maxwell is also charged with enticing and transporting the girls to engage in illegal sex acts, including taking an underage girl from Florida to New York to have sex with Epstein. She is also charged with two counts of perjury for allegedly lying in a deposition about her knowledge of Epstein’s activities and denying interacting with the girls.” • Some reports are saying Bedford, but Bradford is the consensus of local reporting.

“‘Today is a long time coming’: Jeffrey Epstein victims cheer arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell” [Julie Brown, Miami Herald]. “Federal prosecutors asked that Maxwell be held without bail, saying she ‘poses an extreme flight risk.’ ‘Maxwell has three passports, large sums of money, extensive international connections, and absolutely no reason to stay in the United States and face the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence,’ prosecutors wrote in a filing Thursday.” • So Maxwell is in Bradford, NH why, exactly? More: “”We had been discretely keeping tabs on Maxwell’s whereabouts as we worked this investigation and more recently we learned that she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago,” [William Sweeney, the assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York field office] said.” • So the FBI knew where she was the whole time? So why now? Adding, the Miami Herald’s Brown has been all over this story.

TrueAnon comments on the indictment:

(Full indictment here.)

Stating the obvious (1):

Stating the obvious (2):

Or, given that New Hampshire is full of wooded areas, a wood-chipper….

Guillotine Watch

“A decades-long renovation returns a Midwestern palazzo to its original glory” [St.Louis]. The McCloskey’s mansion: “The McCloskeys have had fun seeking out objects original to the house as well as filling it with their own antiques, including a rare 1560 stipo a bambocci carved wooden cabinet made in Genoa and a Louis XIII homme-debout (“standing man”) armoire, so named because, during the Reign of Terror, a gentleman could hide inside one.” • Could come in handy!

“The Secret Economics of a VIP Party” [The Economist]. “A small cohort of oligarchs, New York hedge-fund managers and Silicon Valley investors now patronise a network of nightclubs that span the globe. Whether they’re in Miami or St Tropez these clubs tend to have similar decor and the same clientele. The coronavirus pandemic has temporarily paused the partying, but you can be sure that this sector of society, locked down in large homes and insulated from the economic recession, will soon be up for a good time again. The visual tropes of this world are familiar even to non-vips: angular cheekbones, Louboutin heels, sprays of champagne. What most people don’t realise is that the apparently spontaneous abandon of those extravagant nights is, in fact, painstakingly planned. It takes a carefully hidden, intricate economy, based on a complex brokering of beauty and status, to create an atmosphere in which people will spend $100,000 on alcohol in a single night. This economy’s currency is young women. The leggy blondes who surrounded the millionaire that night in Miami were not there by chance.” • “Whales,” “Big Beasts.” Too bad Ghislaine Maxwell couldn’t go straight and get into this business.

Class Warfare

In Omaha, a rocket docket for evictions:

“How the American Worker Got Fleeced” [Bloomberg]. “Fleeced” is pretty mild. This is a fine aggregation, worth reading in full. This caught my eye: “It could all still get worse. As states rushed to reopen, many unemployment agencies were urging employers to report staff who refuse invitations to come back to work. So more U.S. workers will soon find themselves involuntarily tractor-beamed back into a working environment that’s proved itself inhospitable even when there’s no pandemic…. strategy debates among union activists often take the form of people who say it’s hopeless to expect the legal regime to change without first having a resurgence of labor activism vs. people who say it’s hopeless to expect a resurgence of organizing without first ­overhauling the legal regime that crushes it. Each side has a pretty good point. That Catch-22 helps explain why labor is desperate for an opening. The corona­virus, which is remaking U.S. workplaces in real time, just might qualify. While immiserating workers and devastating many of their employers, it’s also forged an upsurge in workplace activism, as people who would otherwise be too afraid of retaliation to take ­collective action decide they’re too afraid of employer-­created hazards not to. Their strikes and protests, which have spread through warehouses, meatpacking plants, fast-food restaurants, and hospitals, are buoyed by the public recognition that often-forgotten workers are actually essential. They’re also elevated by partial or temporary ­pandemic-inspired precedents that raise some larger questions. Why should Congress guarantee Covid-specific paid days off for some months in 2020 at some medium-size companies and not for everyone else all the time? Why should workers get protection against being purged for alerting the public about safety issues in New York City and Philadelphia—as will happen if local bills proposed there become law—and not just shielded against capricious terminations across the board and across the nation?” • Sire, they’re asking questions… Oh, and how come material like this isn’t coming from the woke left? A question that answers itself, once asked.

“One Man Book Club: Dignity” [Tweaking for No Reason]. “My news feed has been filled the last four days with ‘Rest In Power’ wishes from former students to their classmates. By my count there were four deaths from the weekend through Tuesday…. One Facebook post in particular took my breath away. A former student eulogized her friend, then went on to call on her friends to recall all of their classmates/peers who have died too soon. There were 43 pictures attached to the post…. Almost everyone who will read Dignity is a front row kid. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not. Question is, now that we know, what are we gonna do about it? Call to mind our sins? Or mumble something about mercy on our way out the door to the beach?”

News of the Wired

I think this is creepier than Stålenhag’s original art:

Reminds me of Hummel figurines, which give me the williies

Then again, there are an awful lot of calm-inducing art bots out there:

You can use this handy OSS manual at your next Homeowner’s Association meeting:

* * *

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: “Iris germanica, unknown variety, Common Flag, Bearded Iris or German Iris. Opelika, AL 4-25-2020. I believe this one qualifies as a Tall Bearded Iris at 36″ height. Dark iris usually fade into the background as the evening light wanes but this one is softly radiant for a brief spell on a clear evening. A wonderful, if brief, display. It makes for what seems a curious addition to a twilight garden, a happy accident in my case.”

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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. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Joe Biden calls another reporter a ‘lying dog face’

    I thought the proper term was ‘dog faced pony soldier’. He’s definitely slipping.

      1. Geo

        He definitely said “lying dog face” from what I’ve read. Poor guy can’t even remember his go-to insults correctly anymore. Too bad his old friend President RapRock MyBoss propped him up in this campaign instead of protecting his legacy and letting Joe retire with dignity.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My pet theory is Obama knows he chose to be a lousy President but wants to be seen as great in some capacity. The best way to do that is to keep only dimwits at the top. The first thing after Biden wins (still an if) is the #neverTrump Republicans and the msm will go on the offensive against Biden because its what they do.

          The only way to salvage the Obama Presidency is to create the idea he really was fighting a GOP juggernaut and Karl Rove’s grand strategies. Lets be honest, the first defense of Obama by his dead enders was Republicans are mean which is of course true but ignores the GOP is the GOP, a garbage and monstrous outfit.

          A functioning DoJ for example would expose the Obama DoJ as much worse than worthless.

          Obama supposedly was a fan of Beta. I mean Obama certainly isn’t the super genius his followers have claimed, but there is no way Obama thought O’Rourke was fit to be President unless it was designed to make Obama look good in comparison.

          1. Judith

            Saagar had a bitterly amusing conversation with Ryan Grim earlier this week about why Obama is supporting Biden.

            Saagar Enjeti: Obama privately admits Biden BARELY up to job, tells him to cut interviews short

            Rising: June 30, 2020, 6/30/2020

            Saagar Enjeti blasts Obama’s recent support of Joe Biden after the New York Times reported Obama told Biden aides to ensure that he not “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy.”

        2. Bernalkid

          I believe a dog face was a cognomen for for the GI fighting through France and Germany in those glorious days of yore. Not sure why Biden would be sort of insulting to the dogfaces, underassistant Delaware bag man copping the ‘tude vis a vis the unwashed? The botox legions are marching forth offering involuted tax credits and means tested benefits requiring vast bureaucracies of useless twits. Biden will cross the finish line, in a semi-fetal position.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Funny twitter meme, Biden team nervously scratches Ghislaine Maxwell off the potential VP list.

      Sad! Because she knows a lot of good people.

  2. Biph

    I’m shocked Ghislaine Maxwell killed herself next week, by shooting herself twice in the back of the head while all the cameras went out and both guards suffered a narcoleptic episode.

    1. Laughingsong

      “Or, given that New Hampshire is full of wooded areas, a wood-chipper”

      Going Full Fargo on her az$….

          1. KevinD

            The best method is via the movie “Snatch” –
            And when you got your six pieces, you gotta get rid of them, because it’s no good leaving it in the deep freeze for your mum to discover, now is it? Then I hear the best thing to do is feed them to pigs. You got to starve the pigs for a few days, then the sight of a chopped-up body will look like curry to a pisshead. You gotta shave the heads of your victims, and pull the teeth out for the sake of the piggies’ digestion. You could do this afterwards, of course, but you don’t want to go sievin’ through pig shit, now do you? They will go through bone like butter. You need at least sixteen pigs to finish the job in one sitting, so be wary of any man who keeps a pig farm. They will go through a body that weighs 200 pounds in about eight minutes. That means that a single pig can consume two pounds of uncooked flesh every minute. Hence the expression, “as greedy as a pig.”

            (pardon language)

            1. fresno dan

              July 2, 2020 at 4:10 pm

              Thank you…thank you very much.
              good to know. Uh….for my movie knowledge of scenes discussing body disposal….

            2. HotFlash

              Ah yes, pigs, like people, will eat anything that doesn’t eat them first. Had a Canadian guy, name of Pickton. A few years back he fed a lot of the evidence to his family’s hogs. Just linked to an old WaPo article at random, there is such a thing as too much detail.

            3. Arizona Slim

              Got a funny story about this very topic:

              It’s a Monday morning in late July 2019. I’m in the grocery store in my old hometown, and I’m stocking up on big black plastic trash bags.

              I’m not in the store where I usually shop, but since this is my old hometown, I’m walking warily, hoping that no one recognizes me. Because, if I’m recognized, I’m going to be asked The Question:

              How’s your mother doing?

              And I’d have to tell the truth: She died earlier that morning.

              Fortunately, no one recognized me in that store. Because I’d have to explain why I was stocking up on big black plastic trash bags.

              The real reason for those bags: I was emptying my childhood home and getting it ready to sell.

              Mom had died during the wee hours of the morning. By the time I was in the grocery store, the cremation service had already been called out to the hospice for the body.

          2. fresno dan

            Actually, it will be suicide…suicide by wood chipper.
            Imagine the scene in Double Indemnity where Edward G. Robinson is telling the Insurance company owner that people don’t commit suicide by jumping off the back of trains…and substitute woodchippers.


            1. roxy

              “Ya dig the holes in the desert before you bring the packages. If ya dig ’em when ya have the packages with ya, and some a——s drive by, then ya gotta dig more holes and ya there all f—-n’ night.”

              1. ambrit

                Nah. That’s for getting rid of the evidence when one of the Wall Street boys “goes South.”
                Mz. Murdoch is a madame, so, feed her to Wu’s pigs.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              You don’t need to be a genius, Occam helps. Trump fires the Obama-era prosecutor (Berman) handling the case. A week later they “find” Maxwell and arrest her.

              My guess is they have pics of Trump partying with Epstein 20 years ago but little else. And that they have much worse on Bubba, Bill Gates et al

              1. periol

                Yeah, but it’s tricky, because Barr wanted Berman gone, and Berman insisted on staying unless Trump fired him. He left, because they agreed to let his deputy take over, instead of the schmo Barr hand-picked.

                It’s worth remembering that no matter how much the connection is denied, Barr’s father was headmaster at the school where Epstein was a teacher, before he moved onto bigger and better things. A possible reading is that Berman was refusing to let Barr shut the investigation down, and Berman’s deputy then sped up the arrest before more administrative gears could get clogged.

                Your scenario also seems plausible to me. I’m going to air pop some popcorn and watch the show.

    2. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that GM may get better protection than JE did, particularly if she knows things that could be useful in a 2020 version of October Surprise.

      1. Anarcissie

        Could also be she put stuff in an envelope, or in an encrypted file online, to be opened in the event that ‘something’ happened to her.

      2. HotFlash

        In her shoes (which I am *totally not*), I would either spill my guts and hope to cut a deal (not bloody likely, too many bigwigs would go down), or keep a secure deadman file and hope that would save me. If I were smart, I would do both. Now, is Ms Maxwell Smart? I expect so. If she is,. there will be a ‘suicide’ and we all will be sad… BTW, whatever happened to Ken Lay?

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          She might also need to be lucky enough at, on a 100-sided die, she could roll a natural 99. . . .

            1. barefoot charley

              Epstein was surely smart enough to keep a deadman’s file, being a professional blackmailer and all. I’m bitterly disappointed that America can’t even organize a proper disgrace anymore. Maybe the damn thing was held by the CIA, like the Maxwell family. Such a shame, smut is wasted on weasels.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Maybe they found his deadman’s file which meant that his services were no longer required.

                1. Procopius

                  I reject that hypothesis. Too complicated and no obvious benefit for the people who would have to arrange it. Of course I have never met such people, so don’t really know how they feel (if they do) about loyalty to members of their clique.

        2. Synoia

          Ms Maxwell – Smart? Yes even the rich in the UK do not get into Oxford without good A levels, and a good entrance exam.

          1. periol

            Which college did she go to? There are many colleges at Oxford. Some are easier than others, so to speak. Also, she was both rich *and* very well-connected, which helps.

    3. richard

      But how could that happen with all the security procedures we don’t have? And the steps we won’t take to ensure her safety?

    4. JBird4049

      That is funny, and I am being a downer, but committing “suicide” in police custody, often while in the police car are is not that unknown. Here are several examples from the past six years. Epstein is not an isolated incident.

      1. JBird4049

        I have to add that it seems acceptable, even normal, to expect the government, or its proxies, to murder American citizens on American soil. Not having having Ghislaine Maxwell having an unfortunate event would be shocking and this is, honestly, really disturbing. Hell, it’s seriously terrifying.

        If you look really hard at various deaths and disappearances over the past several decades in the United States, you might get a feeling that a very few, but still some police either moonlight either as enforcers or contract killers or are quite willing to do whatever it takes to coverup their crimes. Even for the police if they do enough evil, will be dealt with by the system, but that usually requires living witnesses.

        Keep in mind that this goes far beyond merely excessive force, unjustifiable shootings, planting of evidence, testilying, or even ignoring evidence of the existence of serial killers and especially rapists in their area.

        Maybe this should not be surprising for you see the same pattern in other countries. The more corrupt and therefore unequal, not just poor, but corrupt, a country is or becomes, the more criminal the whole system especially the legal system, becomes. If you want an example in the United States, look at Louisiana. I have said before we are starting to say hello to Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Brazil…

        When I was a child this was not the kind of progress I was expecting for my country in the 21st century.

  3. Off The Street

    Re Maxwell: Obama’s secret pardons may yet yield some details. Time will tell who got off and who got off.

    Re The Economist: Maxwell’s searches for Epstein-worthy candidates seemed to focus on younger ones than would be found at those secret night clubs, although it would be no surprise to find out that the clientele lists overlapped.

    Fervent Wish: Airtight Cases, Guilty Pleas All Around, Public Perp Walks

    p.s., better security than Epstein’s

      1. fresno dan

        Big Tap
        July 2, 2020 at 3:33 pm


        In the same email, the line prosecutor wrote to defense counsel about a meeting
        outside the U.S. Attorney’s Office: “Maybe we can set a time to meet. If you want to meet ‘off
        campus’ somewhere, that is fine.”
        On September 21, 2007, Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer wrote the line
        prosecutor about the proposed agreement and added: “Glad we could get this worked out for reasons I won’t put in writing. After this is resolved I would love to buy you a cup at Starbucks and have aconversation.”
        Epstein’s counsel was aware that the Office was deliberately keeping the NPA secret from
        the victims and, indeed, had sought assurances to that effect.

        On September 26, 2007, the line prosecutor sent an e-mail to Lefkowitz in which she“Hi Jay – Can you give me a call at 561-[xxx-xxxx] this morning? I am meeting with the agents and want to give them their marching orders regarding what they can tell the girls.”
        U.S. AttorneyAcosta then met with Lefkowitz for breakfast and Lefkowitz followed up with
        a letter stating, “I also want to thank you for the commitment you made to me during our October
        12 meeting in which you . . . assured me that your Office would not . . . contact any of the identified
        individuals, potential witnesses, or potential civil claimants and their respective counsel in this
        I am shocked about documents being destroyed. I am outraged at how much material is purposefully left out of the record.
        Also, if one reads the whole decision it becomes quickly evident that nothing but care, consultation, and desire to please is afforded to the Epstein team, and an overwhelming desire to ignore, impede, and mislead the victims while also circumventing the laws designed to protect victims.
        And yet, no investigation of Acosta….

      1. Off The Street

        See DDG query as a start.
        Each outgoing President, or even Governor, thanks Ahnold, pardons people, for various and sundry reasons, some of which get buried in late Fridayish news releases never to see much discussion. Others get buried because, Top Men or whatever excuse du jour. Still others live on in infamy even after death, like Marc Rich, thanks Bubba.
        Obama’s pardons, to the extent discussed, seemed more sinister to some, as noted by all these sibilant esses. :)

  4. sam

    Re Maxwell/Epstein: No telling what really happened to Jeffrey but I guess one thing everyone can agree on is that it didn’t happen the way the authorities and the MSM said it did.

  5. allan

    “Trump administration helping a union shop…. ”

    Wow. That’s quite an interesting way to frame it.

    No mention of the complete sketchiness of the firm?
    The absurd financial numbers (a $700 million loan to a firm worth $70 million)?
    The bailout for Apollo?
    The possible use of CARES Act funds to settle and bury a lawsuit alleging the firm ripped off the government?
    Or that the ex-CEO from the ripping-off period was appointed by Trump to spearhead the gutting
    and eventual privatization of the USPS, which is a much bigger union shop?

    Former CEO of troubled trucking company that got huge COVID loan is now on USPS board [Salon]

  6. deplorado

    Maxwell arrested in Bradford, NH: was she thinking no one would look for her in a town named after a Puritan?

    Some will see this as a victory for Trump. Markets should go up. Don’t short Hertz.

    1. Tom Doak

      Maybe that’s why it took so long — the FBI were waiting until Trump was so bad off he couldn’t gain from it. Most of the people don’t get that the IC is not on Trump’s side.

    2. DJG

      deplorado and Tom Hoak: Yep, I had to wonder, just why is this the propitious moment? Fourth-of-July weekend? Perp walks as entertainment before the Democratic and Republican conventions? An admission that she had been under surveillance for months?

      One interesting thing may be to find out whose property she is at. Although I’m sure that the answer from the shocked/shocked/shocked owner will be that he or she was taken in by the wily Ghislaine, who signed the contract as Dee Livry Kiddieporn

        1. Carolinian

          The house is quarter of a mile up a steep dirt road. Brand new locked metal gates prevent cars being driven up the drive where there are two buildings — the second designed specifically for ‘square dances and hoedowns’.

          Thanx for the link!

          1. rswojo

            For 1.07M that shack was a bargain. In my economically depressed area in flyover territory the “better” houses are selling for 500K and they are 1/4 what her house is. She must have a good real estate agent.

          2. petal

            Sure thing!
            Was talking about it with a friend, and we both agreed this area is a decent place to hide out. You don’t need to go out if you don’t want to, you can be a hermit and no one would bat an eyelid. Very live and let live. Plus rural and isolated. There are famous people with places around here and you’d never know it. People are left alone.

  7. Jason Boxman

    It’s worth noting that, if a return to civility is one goal of a Biden presidency, it clearly ain’t gonna work. Although perhaps it does if the American press opts to avoid reporting on said lack of civility. So it’s not all that different from Trump suggesting we stop testing to improve the numbers. Biden will return us to normal, after all! Just look away!

    In other news, I mistakenly donated one single time to a group supporting laid off workers, and now every few weeks I get a brand new email from Democrat aligned campaign or group, asking for money. Very irritating. I even got a postal mail from the DCCC asking that I said with Pelosi, and her ice cream fridge, to save us from the Republicans. (I haven’t given to the DCCC, probably ever in my life; no idea how they got my new mailing address, either.)

    Maybe she can go sell ice cream instead?

    These people are awful. And I’m just a wallet to exploit.

    1. DJG

      Jason Boxman: Any appeal to civility is an appeal to reinforce hierarchy. No one at the bottom of the dogpile is allowed to define what is civil behavior.

      I once worked for a press that was headed by a woman who kept talking about the need for civility. It’s a one-way thing. I just now recall being “interviewed” for a promotion–and it turned out that no one had my résumé at hand. That’s civility! Potemkin interviews.

      1. Fireship

        “Any appeal to civility is an appeal to reinforce hierarchy. No one at the bottom of the dogpile is allowed to define what is civil behavior.”

        This. I was told I was “obnoxious” for pointing out some hard truths to a Dutch person who claimed that racism was not a problem in the Netherlands – despite thousands of black Dutch people protesting and documenting their personal experiences of racism (enough to start a Dutch BLM movement) and widespread exploitation of immigrant labor (of which I have firsthand accounts).

        1. MyFunnyIdeas

          Do you actually live in the Netherlands? Well I do and moved here more than 30 years ago from Canada. A country where I never felt comfortable with how the First Nations people were treated in the city I grew up in. Racism is not an issue here no matter how much people like to make up that it is. If you look at everything through idpol glasses of course you’ll see it everywhere. The people trying to start BLM here are grifters and attention seekers attempting to sow division here. They should be focusing their attention on the hollowing out of the Dutch social system by the neoliberal governments of the past 20 years but that’s too much work. By removing your “racism” glasses you might see more clearly.
          Exploitation of immigrant labor which is definitely happening here is not a racism issue but an economic exploitation one and it exposes the failure of the state to regulate. But in our neoliberal times that’s not a bug it’s a feature.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Jason, did you originally donate through that appeal that Bernie Sanders sent out, oh, about three months ago?

      1. Jason Boxman

        Wasn’t that; I’ve never had this happen before in two Sanders campaigns. I split a donation a few months ago to these groups, so it’s one or more of them:

        – No Kid Hungry
        – One Fair Wage Emergency Fund
        – Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
        – Meals on Wheels America
        – The National Domestic Workers Alliance

        Last unfortunate donation to Sanders was 3/7. This was 3/20.

        Never had trying to help lead to so much annoyance.

    3. Art Vandalay

      The good thing about snail mail asks for money from the DCCC, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, etc. is that they always include a business reply envelope . . . in which the mailer can be returned to sender sans contribution (and sans any indication of the crafty recipient).

      I should add: The frequency of these asks in the mail in my blue state has become 2 – 3 per week, and I’ve not given any money directly to Democratic party entities ever to my knowledge. I’ve used ActBlue to contribute to Bernie, AOC, and Pramila Jayapal, so I suppose that’s why I seem like a mark.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I thought about it, but finally decided I’d spent more time pondering how to punk them than it was worth. If I cost the DCCC $1, $5, $50, by mailing some kind of heavy junk, really so what?

        Wanted to write an impolite note, but that seemed foolish given the national security state, even if it would ostensibly be anonymous. It likely goes through an automated opening and check scanning machine anyway.

      2. Arizona Slim

        It’s not just the D(umb) Party.

        For the past several months, I’ve been getting fundraising appeals addressed to my late mother. They’re from the Trump campaign.

        Poor Donnie-boy. He simply can’t afford to pay the return postage. So, I have to burn one of my stamps to send my [family blogging] response to their [family blogging] campaign. I also tell them to [family blog] the [family blog] off.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I usually return the requests for $$ with two-cents … face down and as ugly as I cab find, I carefully black out all the tracking information I see on the envelope . I usually send two cents face down … but I might start sending heavier contributions if it seems ‘appropriate’.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Does a check for one penny cause them more problem than a contribution of two cents in cash? If so, I will very happily start sending my checks!!!!! !!!!! !!!!!

        1. ambrit

          They have to pay for the cheque to be processed. You have to pay for the postage sometimes, and the cost of the cheque itself, but that’s small potatoes compared to the hassle their cashing the cheque will cause them.
          Paging Clive; are all cheques now cleared electronically, or do the recipients need to physically return the cheque to the issuing bank? I know not the answer and wonder if my suggestion might be a ‘damp squib.’ (Thanks in advance for your patience and expertise.)

          1. johnherbiehancock

            A check has your routing and account numbers on it though, and possibly also your name, address and phone number?

            If you’re transparently trying to annoy the sort of scum that run political campaigns, do you really want them to have all that info?

            Maybe you can send them a money order instead? (if you can find fee free ones, or cheap ones)

  8. zagonostra

    >Unemployment numbers

    Given that a record 31.5 million people were actually receiving state and federal unemployment insurance benefits in the latest week and that this record number of people were actually unemployed, as per the Labor Department, the BLS is now under-reporting unemployment by at least 13.7 million people (31.5 million minus 17.8 million). What a sad joke…

    Three states still have not figured out how to process these federal PUA claims, thus still stiffing their gig workers…

    The BLS has thereby outdone itself in generating BS. I don’t know whether it is under political pressure to produce this BS or whether it is just incompetent with much of its staff not working properly due to the pandemic. Whatever the cause, the BLS has lost all remaining credibility with this report and has totally fallen off the deep end.

    Of course, the dire unemployment data released today by the Department of Labor got practically no air time. And the BLS’s fake BS trumped, so to speak, all news coverage.


    1. fresno dan

      July 2, 2020 at 2:55 pm

      I think it is pretty evident that Trump likes to proclaim that millions of jobs are being created* I think it is pretty evident that the reality is the exact opposite.

      * every president does – but no president’s pronouncements, even Hoover’s prosperity is just around the corner, have been so diametrically opposed to reality.

      at 12:47 West Coast time the S&P is about 3137 which is gob smacking insane.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The U.S. has a $29T economy, best estimate I’ve seen is that we lost $8-10 T in economic activity. But we’ve got $14T in the “stimulus” pipeline, already committed. That means around $4 T will be finding its way into the stawk market.

        So I’d suggest a barbell, the worst stocks and junk bonds on one end and physical gold bullion on the other. The US “Federal” “Reserve” “Bank” is buying anything with a CUSIP. Except of course stawks, not yet anyway. And of course they won’t be buying “Banker Kryptonite” (gold), but most of the other major CBs are, hand over fist. Hmm, I wonder why?

        (Of course what they should do is devalue the USD 50% against gold, completely re-liquify the system and we’d be back off to the races. Countries like Canada, Australia, and the UK who cleverly sold all their gold at the absolute bottom would suffer, but Australia is about to surpass China as the world’s #1 gold producer so they’d eventually be OK).

    2. Laura in SoCal

      I have to wonder about how so many people having 2+ jobs affects these numbers coming out of all the government agencies. For example, my parents have a neighbor who works for them part time as a W-2 employee for 4-8 hours/week. They are elderly and don’t drive, so she takes them places and runs errands for them etc. She also works as a waitress at a restaurant about 24 hours/week. She filed for unemployment for her restaurant job, but is still working for my parents.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      We have a story on YRC dicking around with their pension obligations from 2009 (!). Back on June 20, I quoted the WSJ:

      Trucker YRC Worldwide Inc. is back in familiar territory. The less-than-truckload operator is looking to defer millions of dollars in payments to providers of medical and other benefits, the WSJ Logistics Report’s Jennifer Smith writes, as the company tries to navigate through a coronavirus-driven freight downturn that has added new strains to its balance sheet. The fresh problems at YRC show how the economic upheaval during the pandemic has left companies without much financial flexibility struggling to adjust to the changed economic landscape. YRC is one of the few remaining big unionized trucking companies, and it has struggled with high pension and benefits costs. It has also won repeated concessions to shore up finances, and it’s looking for more help now. Big shipping customers say they are standing by the business, with experts noting any big retrenchment at YRC would lead to higher rates across the LTL sector.

  9. Geo

    That eviction thread was truly horrifying and depressing. Have a friend on hard times staying with me the past few months. Good to know I could potentially be evicted for having a guest in my apt for more than a few weeks and that the law requires us peasant renters just let our friends live on the streets instead of helping them get back on their feet.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Those clauses date back to the days when bachelors would get a better rent than married couples and women either lived with their parents or a rooming house with other women. They didn’t want people shacking up. Now it’s just used as a cudgel to evict unwanted tenants.

  10. Darthbobber

    Another caveat on the bls report. It continues to carry over the admitted misclassification of the May report, failing to correctly list workers furloughed without pay as unemployed. They said then that a correct classification would have put the rate a bit more than 3 percentage points higher. And even without factoring that in, we’re still above the absolute worst rate reached in 2007-2010.

  11. DJG

    Why isn’t a close analysis of the exploitation of labor coming out of the woke-landia? Because wokeness exists separately from any understanding or commitment to class struggle. Although it is also odd that class analysis is coming out of Bloomberg, given that NYC is the epitome of income maldistribution in the U S of A. Maybe the spur for the article was those people who just demonstrated, with pitchforks, in the Hamptons.

    Also, in the U S of A, public confession of one’s sinfulness is a long tradition. Also a long tradition: Not doing anything about said sinfulness. And now, on both the right (especially evangelicals) and on the woke liberal wing, there is plenty of confessing going on. It’s confession porn–followed by s’mores and all twenty-nine verses of Amazing Grace.

    Ecco: Another lost American finds his way:

    Why press for reorganization of the economy when one can settle for a “Mic Drop” on social media?

    1. albrt

      “wokeness exists separately from in opposition to any understanding or commitment to class struggle”


    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      They know they can’t control The Mob, and they definitely don’t want to pay them any more in wages and benefits. So the easy feelgood thing is to pander to them, a few photo ops wearing kente cloth, cheer on while they remove a few statues and paint some slogans on the streets, then champagne all around to celebrate the fact that everybody’s yelling about skin color instead of M4A or The CARES Act or ending The War

  12. Fireship

    > The McCloskey Mausoleum

    Thank you so much for this! I get to hate on the vampires’ lair again while being a condescending pr!ck towards two lumpen oafs with a lot more money than taste. Thank you, God.

    Some free decorating advice: Unless your home is actually a 16th Century Tuscan Palazzo, do not decorate your home like this. It is vulgar, and snobby Europeans with good taste (like me) will ridicule you. Also, unless you live in a trap house, you should not have a stuffed pheasant sitting on your bread rolls.

    Please note that just because something is old, European, or expensive, it is not necessarily beautiful. I am not a complete monster and must concede that they do have a few nice pieces. I am also going to buy a blush shirt.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      Must be nice to have your own ballroom. If they had an Italian Palazzo, why couldn’t they afford their own security? No security guards at all?

      1. LifelongLib

        I’m surprised by the hatred for the McCloskys. They aren’t wealthy just because they have some money — both have jobs as lawyers which broadly speaking makes them working class. More like a pro football player than a Bill Gates…

        1. jr

          For me, it’s because they are a symbol of a lot of what’s wrong with the world. Gross materialistic excess…the pathetic need for a mantle of aristocracy…the self righteousness of the notion that buying a mansion and stocking it with antiques is “historic” preservation instead of mere trophy collecting…what’s to like?

        2. RMO

          I don’t have a problem with the house and what they did with it. I wouldn’t want to live in something like that and wouldn’t go with some of those interior choices even if I did but I don’t really care what sort of old house appeals to someone or how they choose to decorate it. The only thing about them that comes close to bringing me a feeling anything like hate for them is the staggeringly boneheaded actions they took when the protesters passed their house and the BS they spouted trying to justify those actions.

      2. fajensen

        The ceilings are Much too low for that kind of decor!

        If Trump had access to real money, he would have joined the apartments vertically before applying the gold, the marble pillars and the fat angels!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’m not an architecture maven, so but and I rather like rococco:

          But it seems to me there’s some sort of tension/discipline between the simple and beautiful geometry of the structure, and the wild profusion of the surface decoration.

          I don’t see that tension in the McCloskey house, which seems to me to be mere, er, accumulation. It’s mit schlag, but with Kool Whip….

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Psychologists who have looked at urban and architectural beauty say that the secret of pleasing architecture is either visual complexity with an underlying mathematical/engineering order (Rococco, an Italian hill village*, a Thai temple), or ordered symmetrical and mathematically consistent shape with a subtle underlying complexity (a Regency street, a Greek Temple, the Taj Mahal).

            Ugliness comes from complexity without underlying order (MacMansions), or symmetry without underlying visual interest or complexity (mid 20th Century modernism).

            *the order in Italian hill villages comes from the limitations on the builders – having to use the same limited palette of stone and wood, creating an underlying pattern beneath an apparently chaotic streetscape.

    2. Ranger Rick

      That Bloomberg article echos some of my thinking from back in March: millions of people have been experiencing firsthand how much they are valued by their employers (NB: they aren’t) and tens of millions more have a lot of time on their hands, time that could be spent organizing.

      If nothing else, I hope this leads to shorter workdays, work weeks, and longer vacations.

    3. WillyBgood

      I can’t help but hear the young lad from Animal House when I read “thank you God!” You already had me chuckling but that got me! Thanks, I need the little moments of humor these days ;)

  13. Mikel

    Re: Craig Murray: “Most of me, however, expects she is going to get suicided like her boss.”

    Jeffrey didn’t really fit the mold of how things turn out for “bosses’. He kept taking the fall (jailed twice) and was then “suicided.” Tools can be well paid.

    1. KevinD

      A lot of very rich, high profile dudes out there sweating right now….Bill?, you out there?

  14. RMO

    “The Secret Economics of a VIP Party”

    Anyone else think the scene described here sounds like pure hell brought to existence on Earth?

      1. RMO

        I can’t get through the WSJ paywall but I read what I could and then looked up the guy involved and read what I could find. Surely a “what fresh hell is this?” thing.

        What really gets me is when people have that kind of money and power… and dull, barren soul-eviscerating things like this are what they do with it.

  15. Toshiro_Mifune

    ‘Today is a long time coming’: …. So the FBI knew where she was the whole time?

    If we take the FBI’s statement at face value… which I wouldn’t without corroborating evidence.
    Re: The ‘Why now’ – Possible Trump connection designed to torpedo his re-election? Assuming they know where she was the whole time

  16. Wukchumni

    Reminds me of Hummel figurines, which give me the williies

    Hummel figurines & plates were kind of the Bitcoin of it’s day in the early 70’s, strictly limited edition and the right ones were worth a few thousand bucks. I looked on eBay on it looks as if they’re worth $10-30 a piece now, that is if you can find a buyer.

    1. marieann

      I have a collection of Royal Doulton figurines….I collected ones that were personal to me. I have one called The Laird….I think it looks like my brother (brother does not agree). It cost all of $600 about 20 years ago…..I saw it on Ebay for $60
      Thank God I hated beanie babies

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Hummels are plot points in both Slaughterhouse Five and Better Call Saul.

      First time I made that connection. Hmm.

  17. Stephen V.

    FBI and investigation in the same sentence? I have my doubts.
    From a year ago:
    Epstein issue came up when Acosta was appointed to the cabinet by President Donald Trump. Ward writes:

    He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,”
    HOW LONG before we find out Ghislaine ‘belonged to (Israeli) intelligence’ as did her father who received a State funeral…?

    1. clarky90

      Hateful, systemic violence against women must be fearlessly examined and then, renounced…

      Myth #12 – The Oral Torah sees women as The daughter of the King?


      “Can you imagine sitting in school as a little girl while the boys recite in their morning prayer “Blessed are you God King of the Universe, who didn’t make me a woman”. This is just one of the smallest and seemingly benign examples of how women are put down in the Oral Torah and Rabbinic beliefs. While the Bible (Old Testament) presents women as heroes, the “oral Torah” (Talmud) invented by the rabbis, often presents women in a completely different way.

      These quotes are often rude, nauseating and humiliating and some even encourage violence against women!”

  18. urblintz

    A British judge has determined that the Venezuelan people are wrong, that their real president is Guaido… and he gets all of Venezuela’s gold!

    wow… just wow…

  19. Robert Hahl

    “Note no universal masking requirement,…”

    The hidden power of Antima making itself felt?

  20. Carolinian

    Another double digit day of casualties and a record county total of new infected here in SC. It’s looking increasingly Second Wave-y.

    Apparently lots of spreader events have happened at Myrtle Beach although that’s nowhere near where I live. However half the town may be down there as neighborhood foot traffic has decreased quite a bit. Meanwhile our more conservative county government has “strongly recommended” but not required masks in stores. In the city they are required.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That’s amazing that. I remember a few months ago that Switzerland was being clobbered by the virus and from my trips to Switzerland, I would have thought that CH would have been on top of it pretty quick. I guess better late than never.

    1. GC54

      Over the last 3 days we drove thru 9 states from AZ to NC on I10-20-85, w/ highway rest stops. Partner and I were both masked and tried to move through efficiently. Generally Men’s were lightly occupied and no attitudes despite few being masked. However, my partner occasionally encountered haughty stares, and one smirking woman in the LA/TX welcome center returned specifically to flush all toilets and run all air blowers while my partner was the only one there occupied. Quite a statement I guess.

      TX & MS had good mask use outside, poor in hotels. Hotel staff were all masked and followed social distancing. Now we are self quarantined for 2 wks.

  21. marcyincny

    Re: NY Covid deaths, I think 91-DIVOC used the daily ‘new case’ number instead of ‘new deaths’ count for 6/30.

    1. Daryl

      > However, it’s not a mandate. And we make clear that no jurisdiction can impose any type of penalty or fine.

      – Abbott, two months ago.

      Things are getting so bad that even these nutjobs can’t deny reality anymore.

  22. HotFlash

    Gentlereaders, this is a thing I ran into (“suggested for you”) on Youtube, and I don’t know what to do. I am not an historian (I think we have a few here). I think this woman’s point is good, but I really don’t plan on spending 5 or so years researching this topic, I don’t even live in the US. Anybody can weigh in? Not posting an assignment, just if you know or can suggest further reading I would be grateful.

    Presented by Nancy Isenberg, Ph.D., The 35th Annual Portier Lecture: “White Trash: The 400-Year History of Class in America” This is the lecture (50 min, more or less), thank you in advance.

    1. mle detroit

      “White Trash: The 400-Year History of Class in America” is also the title of her 2016 book. What I like to do for a quick overview is google or DDG the title. There will be many reviews by well-qualified reviewers although some will be paywalled. Reader reviews on Amazon (read the 1 and 2 stars for contrary points of view) or other seller sites are frequently informative.

      1. barefoot charley

        I read her book recently, it’s very good. Her thesis is that white ‘trash’ were the waste people disposed of first to America, then to Oz, because they were good for nothing at home. Inbred, grey-skinned, imbecilic slack-jawed off-whites of whom no more could be expected than of blacks. Her citations across the ages are colorful and convincing.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        belatedly adding my two cents: incredible book, meticulously researched, and comes as a revelation.

        seems America was in effect a penal colony like Australia. England outsourced their deplorables. Definitely not the story I heard in school about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower!

        1. ambrit

          Yeah, well, the Pilgrims moved for “Religious Freedom,” as in there was not much of it in the England of their day. Over in the New World, they promptly established a harsh theocracy and half of them died within a year. Virginia Colony had already been ‘planted’ further south. The theme of religious “freedom” was invoked in the creation of several of the original North American colonies. Maryland was meant as a refuge for Catholics. Pennsylvania as a haven for Quakers. The “back country,” later to become new states, was a ‘destination’ for dissenters of all stripes.
          Where are ‘dissenters’ to go to now? Mars? The Belt?

        2. Off The Street

          Georgia, then Oz, and, for some, Norfolk Island.
          Interesting read The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes including some background observations of the England environment, then crimes leading to Transportation, the voyage, landing and dispersion.

  23. Big River Bandido

    By Denying Aid to States, the GOP Is Aiding the Coronavirus [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “By withholding aid to states, Republicans…”

    Gear Dog, what partisan crap this magazine is. Does Eric Levitz have a clue which house of Congress controls the purse?

  24. anon in so cal

    >screening for Covid

    A major medical center in California has a list of screening questions that include lost sense of smell and taste, and diarrhea and intestinal issues. Some articles suggest lost sense of smell and taste can precede other symptoms by several days.

    >California Gov Gavin Newsom gave a lengthy press conference today. He kind of avoided directly answering a reporter’s question concerning why permits for some upcoming protests have not been rescinded. The inconsistency undermines the otherwise good messaging.


  25. jr

    What if “Slo-Mo” Joe really sees lying dog faces when people are confrontational? They bark and snarl and snap! “Nice” people have smiling Kewpie doll faces and make soft, mewling noises…

  26. MichaelSF

    There are no military cats, because cats don’t take orders. That’s why we like them.

    You forget the Giant Military Cats, photos of which have graced NC in the not too distant past.

  27. Cuibono

    In some settings a smell test might work. it too will pick up lots of false positives. then what?

  28. anon in so cal

    Is Tammy Duckworth being considered for Biden’s VP? Because she’s displaying her Cold War bona fides:

    “Wow — Duckworth says she will block Senate approvals of **1,123** senior U.S. Armed Forces promotions until Esper “confirms in writing that he did not, or will not, block the expected and deserved promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman to Colonel.””


    1. Daryl

      What on earth…Congress decides to actually use its authority to control war, and it’s just to ensure we remain enmeshed in an endless one?

      1. Off The Street

        More campaign donations from those wishing for that Af-Staycation, with an eye toward future employment and emoluments, too. :(

        They would sell out their own country, again and again. Vile creatures.

  29. Wukchumni

    When international borders pretty much closed 3 months ago, it had the feel of WW2 starting, and the prevailing feeling is wars will always be over in 6 months (Afghanistan engagements not included as they skew the numbers) but what if the Coronavirus lasts 6 years?

    That’d be the end of Big Cities as we knew them, there’d be an emptying out that had no quit, as what use would they be, far from where food is grown or raised, and nothing in the way of social activities. no concerts, sports, church or PTA.

    1. fajensen

      Maybe it’s a Good Thing that the USA bought up all of it then? Keeps it all within the family, so to speak.

  30. VietnamVet

    In the “only money matters” gangland, besides truth and justice, the other casualty is common sense. Since the Princess Diamond, those who have paid attention knew that around 40% of the infected were asymptomatic and coronavirus is highly contagious.

    The first sign of a total FUBAR was the greeters of the evacuees at US military bases were not provided with the necessary PPE – a sign of the coming extinction event at nursing homes. Similarly obvious is that thermal sensing is pointless, asymptomatic virus spreaders would pass right through to work or travel but those ill with a temperature from any illness would be sent back home. This has to be omitted. There are millions of dollars to be spent by employers and airports on useless thermal sensors.

    Are passengers risking travel to get somewhere going to admit on the medical questionnaire that they can’t smell? Add a $5000 dollar fine for being caught, in addition, to the hundreds of thousands of dollar medical bill, if and when they end up in the ICU.

    “It’s the Benjamins honey.”

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