2:00PM Water Cooler 7/3/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Our five problem states, with New York for comparison:


“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 July 2: 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): “How the Trump Campaign Is Drawing Obama Out of Retirement” [New York Times] (Rising commentary on YouTube). “Mr. Obama speaks with the former vice president and top campaign aides frequently, offering suggestions on staffing and messaging. Last month, he bluntly counseled Mr. Biden to keep his speeches brief, interviews crisp and slash the length of his tweets, the better to make the campaign a referendum on Mr. Trump and the economy, according to Democratic officials…. Moreover, Mr. Obama has always been cleareyed about his friend’s vulnerabilities, urging Mr. Biden’s aides to ensure that he not ’embarrass himself’ or ‘damage his legacy,’ win or lose. When a Democratic donor raised the issue of Mr. Biden’s age late last year — he is 77 — Mr. Obama acknowledged those concerns, saying, ‘I wasn’t even 50 when I got elected, and that job took every ounce of energy I had,’ according to the person.” • Can’t understand the lack of enthusiasm…

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “Nina Turner addresses Biden’s search for a running mate” [The Hill]. “Turner, also a former state senator in Ohio, pointed to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) as a potential progressive the Biden campaign could look to for a vice presidential pick, though no chatter has surfaced that Lee is in contention. ‘If you are a progressive, you need not apply, that’s just the bottom line here. And no one should be surprised by this, certainly Vice President Joe Biden has the right to pick whomever he decides to. However, there is a component within the mainstream Democratic Party that has a disdain for progressives. So that is why the congresswoman is not on that list,’ Turner said on Hill.TV’s ‘Rising.'” • A “component”?

UPDATE Biden (D)(3):

After Nerva came Trajan. I don’t see a Trajan on the horizon. Harris? Rice?? Abrams???

Sanders (D)(1): I got a very good response to my call for Sanders canvassers, so let me repeat it, and make the response even better!

My analysis of the pathways to misfortune for the Sanders campaign is still hung up, because there’s been no reporting involving actual voters on why the campaign’s theory of change misfired. Reading Sam’s comments, it occurred to me that canvassers might have a good sense of what the voters they contacted were thinking (supporters or no), as well as voters they did not contact, who they might have expected to. If I could interview, say, half a dozen canvassers, I might get some sense of what happened (and not what the media thinks happened). Anyone interested in helping me out can contact me using the address about the plant; please put “SANDERS” in the subject line. (I’m not interested in the failings of the Sanders campaign, but the mindset of voters.) Thank you!

I will aggregate your responses, cogitate, and probably ask some questions of you all, if that is OK.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Is in Trouble in Pennsylvania, but ‘He’s Been Way Behind Before'” [New York Times]. “A New York Times/Siena College poll of six battleground states released last week showed that the former vice president’s net approval in Pennsylvania was largely the same as elsewhere: Fifty percent of registered voters viewed him positively and 48 percent saw him negatively. President Trump, mired in the lowest point of his presidency, was viewed favorably by just 43 percent of voters in the six battlegrounds. It helped explain why he trailed Mr. Biden in all six states and by 10 percentage points in Pennsylvania, a dire picture of the president’s chances of re-election. Still, with four months to go until Election Day, Mr. Trump could well become competitive again. Leaders of his campaign in Pennsylvania, seizing on Mr. Biden’s failure to shine as a favorite son, have sketched out a comeback path for Mr. Trump. Its steps include the Republican Party’s advantage in new voter registrations; a return to in-person organizing while Mr. Biden’s ground game remains virtual; and a range of issues — including energy policy, reopening the economy and defunding the police — that Republicans believe will peel away swing voters in a state Mr. Trump narrowly won in 2016.”

Trump (R)(2): “Why June Was Such a Terrible Month for Trump” [New York Times (also)]. “In addition to public surveys showing him losing decisively to Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a number of battleground states, private Republican polls in recent weeks show the president struggling even in conservative states, leading Mr. Biden by less than five points in Montana and trailing him in Georgia and even Kansas, according to G.O.P. officials who have seen the data.” • Kansas? Commentary:

Trump (R)(3): “Tucker Carlson 2024? The GOP is buzzing” [Politico]. “Tucker Carlson’s audience is booming — and so is chatter that the popular Fox News host will parlay his TV perch into a run for president in 2024. Republican strategists, conservative commentators, and former Trump campaign and administration officials are buzzing about Carlson as the next-generation leader of Donald Trump’s movement — with many believing he would be an immediate frontrunner in a Republican primary…. While practically every Republican eyeing a 2024 presidential run is professing loyalty to Trump the person, Carlson has become perhaps the highest-profile proponent of “Trumpism” — a blend of anti-immigrant nationalism, economic populism and America First isolationism that he articulates unapologetically and with some snark. At the same time, he’s shown a rare willingness among Republicans to bluntly criticize Trump when he believes the president is straying from that ideology.” • Why wait?

* * *

“Episode 153: The Kentucky Axis of Evil” (podcast) [The Trillbillies]. • Yes, voter suppression in Kentucky was real. Discussion starts at 36:39, although the beginning is certainly entertaining!

“Believe the Polls This Time” [Stanley Greenberg, The Atlantic]. Mostly about how Greenberg adjusted his sampling techniques. Then this: “Today, the numbers suggest that the electorate is ready to repudiate Trump and his agenda. Instead of living in fear that 2016 will repeat itself, Democrats should listen to what voters are saying and seize the opportunity to push for the most possible change.” • Maybe like reducing Medicare eligibility to 60?

“After What Happened in 2016, You’d Think People Would Be More Skeptical about 2020 Polling” [National Review]. “None of the above is scientific, and I certainly don’t claim any special expertise on the matter. If polls tell me Donald Trump is in trouble in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, I’m inclined to believe them, because the events I’m witnessing tend to confirm it. Trump hit a low in the national average today, and that’s a trend that should concern Republicans. On the other hand, lots of media and liberals seem awfully confident they’re going to run away with the election. It seems to me a little more skepticism about the polling might be in order. Especially considering recent history.” • One key difference between 2016 and 2020 is that Clinton was hated. Biden is not.

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Great Assimilation™

Me too! Me too!

“Here Are the 16 Democrats Who Voted With GOP to Kill Amendment to Withdraw All US Troops, End Afghan War” [Common Dreams]. “A bipartisan Senate amendment to withdraw the remaining 8,600 U.S. troops from Afghanistan—ending a bloody war that has dragged on for nearly two decades—failed Wednesday after 16 Democrats joined 44 Republicans in voting to table the measure, effectively guaranteeing it will not be included in the chamber’s $740.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act.” • Here is the roll of dishonor:

Below are the 16 members of the Senate Democratic caucus who voted with nearly every Republican to table the Afghanistan amendment:

  • Richard Blumenthal (Conn.)
  • Tom Carper (Del.)
  • Chris Coons (Del.)
  • Dianne Feinstein (Calif.)
  • Maggie Hassan (N.H.)
  • Doug Jones (Ala.)
  • Angus King (Maine)
  • Joe Manchin (W.Va.)
  • Bob Menendez (N.J.)
  • Chris Murphy (Conn.)
  • Jack Reed (R.I.)
  • Jacky Rosen (Nev.)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.)
  • Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz)
  • Mark Warner (Va.)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)

I’m so old I remember when getting Doug Jones in was really important. Oh, and this sends a pretty clear signal about whether the Biden administration stands on war: They’re for it.

* * *

UPDATE “The Election Day nightmare scenarios” [The Week]. “Let’s say the election comes down to a single state that’s barely won by Biden, but whose state legislature is controlled by Republicans. Michigan could be such a state. The legislature could back Trump’s claim that he was denied victory by fraud, and move to give him the state’s electoral votes. Under another scenario, the legislature and the state’s Democratic governor could send competing electoral certificates to Congress, which tallies the final Electoral College vote. It would then be up to Congress to decide which certificate was valid — and if a House controlled by one party and a Senate controlled by the other disagree, ‘there is basically no way to resolve the dispute,’ [Lawrence Douglas, a law professor at Amherst College] said.”

“Biden Says 600 Lawyers Will Guard Against Election ‘Chicanery'” [Bloomberg]. “Joe Biden said Wednesday that his campaign had convened a group of 600 lawyers and thousands of volunteers to prepare for any ‘chicanery’ that might disrupt or interfere with the November election…. ‘We have over 10,000 people signed up to volunteer,’ he said Wednesday. ‘We’re in the process of getting into the states in question to train them to be in a polling place.'”

“House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate” [The Hill]. “The House Armed Services Committee has voted against limiting presidential authority under the Insurrection Act, the law President Trump threatened to invoke to deploy active-duty troops in response to protests against racial injustices. The amendment, offered by Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), failed largely along party lines in a 25-31 vote. Several moderate or vulnerable Democrats voted against the amendment: Reps. Kendra Horn (Okla.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.), Jared Golden (Maine), Elaine Luria (Va.), Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.) and Gil Cisneros (Calif.). Last month, Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act at the height of the protests, saying he would deploy active-duty troops if governors did not “dominate” demonstrators.nThe 1807 act creates an exception to the general prohibition on using the U.S. military to enforce domestic laws. It was last used by former President George H.W. Bush at the request of California’s governor to quell the 1992 Rodney King riots.” • That’s our Democrats!

UPDATE “American Exceptionalisms” [The American Conservative]. Obama answers a question on “American Exceptionalism” at a Strasbourg presser: “At one level, Obama endorsed American exceptionalism. At another, he finessed exceptionalism with a postmodern flair that rendered his words anything but an affirmation of America’s uniqueness. And the backstory of his comments reveals the charade going on at the nexus between the media, presidential rhetoric, and America’s increasingly politicized image. In an online post on April 4, 2009, Time White House correspondent Michael Scherer wrote that ‘[Obama’s] answer was fascinating to me.; He detected a telling contrast between the new president and his predecessors in the Oval Office. ‘While in the past the idea that America was exceptional, the shining city on a hill, was evoked as an objective description, a fact, a prediction and a course by which the ship of state could be sailed, Obama used the phrase, by contrast, in a more subjective, self-aware way, acknowledging that the fact that he held this belief was not so, well, exceptional.’ Yet it turns out that Scherer was the one who wrote the question in the first place and fed it [FT reporter Ed] Luce, who admitted this in a tweet on June 14, 2012. The C-SPAN video of the news conference clearly shows the president working from a prepared list of questioners. The pretense here is breathtaking. A reporter writes a question, gives it to a colleague, who is then chosen to ask the question, and does so, after which the first reporter writes a glowing editorial praising the cleverness of the answer. One can’t help wondering if the president saw the question ahead of time and if the answer was scripted.” • But I trust [fill in the blank]….

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.

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 27 June 2020 – June Down 14.3% Year-over-Year” [Econintersect]. “ntermodal and carloads are under Great Recession values. Container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. declined and remains deep in contraction.”

* * *

“June jobs report shows recovery, but small business owners still need urgent cash assistance to survive” [MarketWatch]. “From plunging revenues to shuttered storefronts, it’s no secret that the COVID-19 public health crisis has driven too many small businesses to the brink of collapse. An estimated 100,000 small businesses across the country have already closed their doors permanently. And Black business owners, who largely run sole proprietorships or small businesses, have declined by 41%…. The pandemic’s impact on the small business community has been front and center during the crisis. Importantly, this emergency has exposed fundamental inequities in our economy that favor large, politically-connected corporations over the Main Street businesses and solo enterprises that drive our economy.”

UPDATE Honey for the Bears:

2027, eh? For whom?

It’s not like the Obama Alumni Association doesn’t have a track record.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 49 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 2 at 5:19pm.

Health Care


Bizarre that we’re acting on data from the finance sector on a public health issue, but here we are.

“Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, and Combination in Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19” [International Journal of Infectious Diseases]. n=2541. “According to a protocol-based treatment algorithm, among hospitalized patients, use of hydroxychloroquine alone and in combination with azithromycin was associated with a significant reduction in-hospital mortality compared to not receiving hydroxychloroquine.” From CNN: “Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System, said 26% of those not given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 13% of those who got the drug. The team looked back at everyone treated in the hospital system since the first patient in March.” • Yes, it’s an observational study, and so what? If you haven’t read this from Tricia Greenhalgh, read it now.

UPDATE “Here We Go Again on Testing” [Bloomberg]. “A shortfall of Covid-19 testing is creating lines and delays, frustrating test-seekers and undermining efforts to contain the virus at a critical moment. A story we published this week could as easily have been March or April. For months, we’ve been reporting about the gaps that have hobbled the U.S. virus response—challenges like limitations in crucial testing supplies that have been alleviated over time, but not solved. Now, the hotspots are new: places like Texas, Florida and Arizona. Lines for testing extend out of urgent-care offices, and in Houston two high-school football stadiums regularly hit capacity by mid-morning and have to turn people away. Testing in the U.S. has so far struck a ‘very delicate balance’ when it comes to sufficient supplies and staffing, said Scott Becker, who leads the Association of Public Health Laboratories, ‘and that’s why we’re worried about the surge in testing in the next few weeks.’ Becker predicts that testing supply shortages will worsen in hot-spot areas, though he’s hopeful the situation can get back on track in the coming weeks.”

UPDATE “Pediatricians ‘strongly advocate’ kids return to in-person learning this fall” [ABC]. “In a statement posted to its website, the AAP wrote that it ‘strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.’ … The AAP recognized differing needs for students when it comes to school re-entry. For example, while it may not work for younger children to wear face coverings, older kids are recommended to do so. Physical distancing, special education and bussing are all addressed.”

“It’s not just coronavirus: America repeatedly fails at public health” ‘[Los Angeles Times]. “But if the president’s disdain for masks may be extreme, his impulse to look for the latest and greatest medical intervention reflects a strong tradition in American healthcare that has long put a premium on new drugs, bigger medical systems and more technology, often at the expense of public health initiatives that other nations have shown to be more effective at lower cost. ‘We are much more willing to put money toward treating something than preventing it,’ said Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who now heads the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation…. Since the 2008-09 recession, the Trust for America’s Public Health has estimated that nearly 60,000 state and local public health jobs have been lost as investment in public health flagged.” • Dang. Who was President, then, anyhow?

“One U.K. trial is transforming COVID-19 treatment. Why haven’t others delivered more results?” [Science]. “Large, randomized trials are the gold standard to test a drug’s efficacy. But they have been scarce so far in the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Everybody has the first part about ‘randomized,’ but they omitted the ‘large’ part, says Ana-Maria Henao Restrepo, a medical officer at the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Emergencies Programme. ‘Every clinician, every researcher wants to help and then they end up having a trial with 300 or 400 patients that cannot come up with conclusive evidence.’ In a sea of small, single institution studies, Recovery, with 12,000 patients and hundreds of participating hospitals, stands out—and offers lessons for the few other megatrials, organized by WHO and other bodies, which have been slow off the mark. ‘I think the three Recovery trials are the best trials that have been performed to date,’ Topol says. One reason Recovery has done so well is that it was backed by the United Kingdom’s centralized National Health Service (NHS), involving 176 of its hospitals. In the United States, where the health care system is fragmented, the National Institutes of Health has only begun a few large trials so far and completed just one….” • Gilead’s. Naturally. Ka-ching.

Police State Watch

“The Problem Isn’t Just Police—It’s Politics” (interview) [Boston Review]. Alex Vitale: “[T]he decision to turn social problems over to the police is a political decision (as is the creation of the social problems in the first place). Responding to this deeply entrenched form of governance requires a new politics. We just cannot fix policing with a set of superficial, technocratic reforms, because they don’t address the way the most basic needs of people have themselves been defunded, creating the ‘crime’ that must be policed in the first place. And that dynamic requires a profound political transformation that neither political party’s leadership is prepared to embrace right now. In the short term there’s so much waste, there’s so much misspent money in policing that we can start there—defunding and shrinking police forces—and shift huge amounts of resources into communities. But to really fix the problems of mass homelessness, economic precarity, healthcare disparities, that’s going to require more resources—whether that comes from states, or the federal government, or a complete rethink about how taxes are structured in these big cities.”

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Joffrey Lannister, not the Joffrey Ballet:

“Episode 80: Ghislaine Goes Down” (podcast) [TrueAnon]. • Lots of good material here, including detail on Maxwell’s house (“Tuckedaway,” purchased through an LLC for one million in cash) and an analysis of the indictment; interestingly, the three victims are all before Epstein purchased his house on Little St. James (in 1998), although at that point he did own Zorro Ranch.

“Ghislaine Maxwell ‘asked her realtor about flight patterns’ over the $1M New Hampshire hideout where she was arrested and ‘bought it anonymously with the help of a mystery British tech firm owner'” [Daily Mail]. • A good wrap-up, with good links.

“Ghislaine Maxwell’s Case Will Unearth Secrets Epstein Took to His Grave” [Bloomberg]. “And she stood at the very center of the web of wealthy and powerful figures surrounding Epstein. The network she inherited from her billionaire father, the late British publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, gave Epstein access to the highest echelons of society. She even introduced Brooklyn-born Epstein to Britain’s Prince Andrew, whose connection to the pedophile has forced the British royal from public duties… Epstein’s high-powered network means there’s potential for a public reckoning that could tarnish top figures on Wall Street, in corporate America and in Washington. Perhaps more important, a trial would at long last give victims a chance to face at least one of their alleged tormentors. ‘There is no way for prosecutors to present a case against her without going into all the evidence they had against Epstein, because the charges here are intertwined,’ said Jessica Roth, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Cardozo School of Law in New York. ‘The original indictment against Jeffrey Epstein made it clear that he didn’t act alone and that the government had evidence that other people were also involved.'” • I dunno. Who wants that?

“James Comey’s daughter is a lead prosecutor on Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking case. Here’s what we know about her.” [Business Insider]. “Maurene Comey — the daughter of former FBI director James Comey — is one of the three lead prosecutors on the case. Despite her father’s history of dominating the news cycle, Maurene Comey has largely stayed out of the spotlight, instead maintaining a low-profile legal career up until now. Here’s what we know about the first daughter of law and order.” • OK, a beat sweetener. But we’re turning into an aristocracy, aren’t we?

“Boris Johnson Says No Approach From U.S. for Prince Andrew Interview” [Bloomberg]. “U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.S. government hasn’t approached his administration to request an interview with Prince Andrew over the Jeffrey Epstein affair, but declined to comment on whether Britain would comply if such a demand was made. ‘No such approach has been made,’ Johnson said in an interview on LBC Radio on Friday. ‘It’s a matter for the Royal Family.'”

The conventional wisdom:


“#MintTheCoin & COVID Relief with the Modern Money Network” (podcast) [Monthly Review]. “Rohan Grey and Nathan Tankus join Money on the Left to discuss the flurry of debate about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) arising out of the Coronavirus crisis. We focus, in particular, on the Modern Money Network’s multi-pronged efforts to illuminate and remedy the resulting economic devastation. At the center of our conversation is Rohan’s contribution to Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s ‘Automatic BOOST Act.’ Known by the popular hashtag #MintTheCoin, Tlaib’s proposal calls on the U.S. Treasury to mint two trillion dollar platinum coins in order to deliver direly-need cash assistance via preloaded public debit cards for all—no exceptions. In response to dismissive critiques of the proposal as a gratuitous ‘gimmick,’ we affirm #MintTheCoin’s political significance as a gimmick—whether as a critical parody of sound finance trickery or as a meaningful pedagogical ritual that makes public money creation visible.” • Fascinating to see MMT in the Monthly Review…

Class Warfare

I need to think about this one:

No knock on Nathan, but it strikes me that treating ascriptive identities literally as credentials is a fascinating take on the PMC’s embrace of identity politics.

UPDATE “”White Fragility,” Plus Adolph Reed on Identity Politics” [Useful Idiots]. • Both Taibbi and Halper hate “folks”! It’s not just me!

“‘OSHA is AWOL’: Critics say federal agency is where workplace COVID-19 complaints go to die” [Miami Herald]. “OSHA, charged with enforcing health and safety in the American workplace, has received more than 6,000 complaints nationwide about unsafe work conditions related to COVID-19. And yet, on June 9, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia told lawmakers that OSHA, which his department oversees, had issued just one citation related to the coronavirus — to a Georgia nursing home for failing to report the hospitalization of six employees within 24 hours. The agency proposed a $6,500 fine. ‘Essentially, OSHA is AWOL,’ said David Michaels, a former head of OSHA under the Obama administration who now teaches at George Washington University’s school of public health.” • OSHA isn’t really absent; it’s just a question of where they are.

News of the Wired

“Finding the ‘invisible’ millions who are not on maps” [BBC]. “”There are about two billion people in the world who don’t appear on a proper map,” says Ivan Gayton from the charity Humanitarian OpenStreetMap. “There are about two billion people in the world who don’t appear on a proper map,” says Ivan Gayton from the charity Humanitarian OpenStreetMap. ‘It’s shameful that we – as cartographers of the world – don’t take enough interest to even know where they are. People are living and dying without appearing on any database… If you come into a health facility anywhere in the world with a communicable disease, they’ll ask you where you’re from. In the low-income world you don’t always have a system for describing that location.”

“Twitter teases adding an edit button to the platform, but only if EVERYONE wears a mask – but some say they would rather not suffocate” [Daily Mail]. • That’s in good taste. WTF is wrong over there?

* * *

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 (RM):

RM writes: “The Sego lilies are loving the spring rains this year on my Montana prairie ranch.”

Readers, I could still use some more images of plants — especially garden projects!

* * *

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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. Synoia

    I find it hard to believe that Ghislaine Maxwell will ever testify.

    I personally want her to speak, and wish her justice. Many others might prefer a sudden silence.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Warranted skepticism of the system aside, Maxwell might have had a long association and could probably give more sordid details, but I suspect she and Jeffrey had plenty of accomplices can fill in the pertinent details. She’s clearly a monster, but through her, you could probably put together a list of people who can bring to light the same information without offering any thing.

        1. Tvc15

          Suicided/extracted 24%
          Slap on the hand/club fed 75%
          Sings/exposes the sick corrupt ruling class 1%
          Intelligence connections revealed 0%

          It’s very odd to me that with her powerful connections and wealth she was still in the U.S. The timing seems off too, wonder if there is any correlation with the recent Barr/Trump firing of SDNY DA Berman.

    2. Watt4Bob

      I’m thinking she will make a deal to receive a relatively light sentence, to be served in an Israeli prison, in return for her reading a script which is being prepared for her.

      Justice is served!

    3. The Bucket Stops Too Early

      Isn’t funny that 99.9% of all articles about Epstein never mentions, expands or even address the pedophiles he was serving; Clintons, Blair etc.?

      Also, Aftonbladet in Sweden is like a child, they tell exactly what the parents are talking about. Every time they write anything about Epstein there is a photo of Trump (no Blair, no Clinton etc.) with Epstein & Maxwell. I bet that she will witness against Trump now in the election season and then everything just fizzles out just like it has up until now.

      1. John k

        Well, the new attorney was hand picked by Barr, so I see a different path forward.
        And trump desperately needs something that makes the dems look bad.

    4. The Rev Kev

      I see that she was inquiring about flight paths over her new house. I wonder if she was also inquiring about the location of nearby high schools as well.

      1. Pavel

        The “Washington Lobbyists”?

        Those K Street guys probably buy most of the tickets, after all.

      2. Howard Beale IV

        They could always resurrect the Senators and use Greek symbolism for branding….

    1. Bugs Bunny

      How about the Washington Congress?

      Covers politics and sex in one, and is already hated by 70% of the public, putting them right up there with the Pats.

  2. xformbykr

    “I need to think about this one:”
    One way to comprehend it is to recall Malcolm X. He asked “what do they call a Black man with a Ph.D.?” The answer, the n-word. In other words the negation of a credential.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Agreed. It might not apply to his readership at large, but the names listed as among his more influential followers strike me as probably caring about those traits more than others. Its been forgotten, but Obama’s economic team liked to dismiss the women in the administration.

    2. flora

      I took Tankus’s credential remark as sharp satire. So hard to tell the difference between satire and sincere wokeness these days. ;)

    3. Goyo Marquez

      I know I’ve had the experience of getting into arguments online with people about things I am credentialed in and they’re not, the law, economics, the Bible. The arguments often turn bizarre, people arguing with me about technical issues, e.g. the nature of summary judgments, illegal immigrant entry being treated as a civil matter, Jesus being Jewish, things they know zero about, yet they assure me, with all confidence that I am wrong. The responses seem so bizarre, from my point of view, that I am tempted to attribute them to the “ez” at the end of my name, but how would I ever know.

  3. Adam1

    Trump 2020: I’m not normally a betting man but he and the Republican’s are going to blow it in August if they don’t cancel their convention and change covid policy course yesterday (last week if they had any brains). The whole state (Florida) is covid-19 on fire. Florida is a tad bigger than New York, but the Mar/Apr/May covid crisis in NY was mostly down state, about 1/2 of NY. Nearly ALL of Florida is on an out of control explosive situation and come their August convention they will be competing with daily death tolls equal to or more scarily possibly 2x or 3x NY’s downstate crisis.

    As of today, Florida’s excess ICU capacity is being consumed by covid patients at about 33%. Hospitalization and ICU needs lag positive testing by about 5-10 days (deaths by up around 20 days). The past week and a half of record positive testing isn’t even in the hospital or ICU usage numbers yet.

    And don’t even look at the other retirement mecca state of Arizona. It’s covid fire is burning just as hot if not hotter.


    1. Arizona Slim

      Judging from the pyrotechnics of some of my neighbors, I think Tucson will soon be burning in another way. Not looking forward to tomorrow, if you get my drift.

  4. flora

    Bizarre that we’re acting on data from the finance sector on a public health issue, but here we are.

    Cue spooky music from the old radio show “The Shadow”.

    ‘The market knows ….’ /s

  5. fresno dan

    Yves here. We are on a holiday schedule through Monday.
    I’m all for water cooler today, but today is a holiday – I thought you were off on holidays.

      1. periol

        There’s also an eclipse of the moon on July 4. Right before the fireworks no less.

        1. ambrit

          About 45 million Americans have the whole week off.
          When I was a waiter, holidays meant extra work days.

  6. Aron Blue

    Re: Bizarre that we’re acting on data from the finance sector on a public health issue, but here we are. As you note, flora, they are the best equipped to know what evil lurks in the hearts of men. Besides their spiritual affinity, they’re also the some of the last high-level players left in our country who still keep good data. The way we defunded science in this country should scandalize any thinker of any political affiliation.

    1. LifelongLib

      C’mon now. The government only funds losers who can’t get money from private enterprise!

    2. Mikel

      Every news bite about any disaster anywhere, hurricane, plane crash, whatever? is paired with an update on the stock market.
      Beyond deranged.

    3. Tom Doak

      Entirely fitting. They hired a lot of the smart college kids who would have been scientists, in my day, to be financial engineers instead.

  7. dcblogger

    I am unable to dismiss the thought that even now Obama is planning to 25th amendment Biden once he is safely installed in the White House.

    1. divadab

      Speaking only for myself I find the idea of voting for Joe Effing Biden for President as utterly abhorrent. No effing way will I do it. It’s a flipping disgrace that anyone thinks this empty, doddering shell of corruption is in any way a proper candidate. What a sham. What a shitshow. What complete abdication of anything even remotely resembling leadership.

      1. Late Introvert

        You can speak for me also. They don’t care what we think, the private corporation that is the Demrats. After the Iowa caucus was stolen by an app I changed to Green Party. Give me someone to vote FOR, or forget about it.

        disclaimer: Hillary voter and still feel ashamed and unclean

      2. carl

        +1000. They lost me forever when they ganged up and picked the worst candidate in the field. Horrid horrid choice.

        1. Dirk77

          An Intercept article discusses recent hard scrubbings of Kamala Harris’s Wikipedia page as being a sign that she will be Biden’s running mate. I’m sure that will change your mind.

          1. albrt

            If Harris manages to defenestrate Biden before November, I will seriously consider voting for her. I can’t think of anything else that would persuade me to vote D.

      3. barefoot charley

        And he’s the overwhelming choice of the Democratic party machinery, against a potty-brain so repugnant that the Republican party machinery didn’t actually Bernie him (they fear their base), but they didn’t like him until they loved him. That’s where we’re at.

        It’s instructive that our most repulsive Republican in 50 years is who best delivers both to billionaires and to Pharisees. The Biden/Obama Democrats can’t get that Trump is a successful president, delivering both a huge estate and income tax cut and a generation of cross-eyed judicial ninnies. Gingrich could only dream.

        1. John Wright

          A repulsive politician is someone who may be countered as opposition politicians (of both stripes) and the media have cover to oppose his actions.

          A “he means well” type of politician (such as George W. Bush and Barack Obama) can do tremendous damage because they are given the benefit of the doubt.

          Bush’s Iraq war probably made him repulsive to foreign citizens and some USA military families, but he was still elected to two terms.

          Obama’s continuation of Bush’s wars and surveillance, flawed healthcare plan, zero prosecutions of financial crimes, and persecution of whistleblowers might have had some pushback from other politicians and the media if Obama were viewed as repulsive.

          Trump is simply too crude in his approach compared to the “smooth” Obama.

          The donors are/were happy with both Trump and Obama.

          I suggest one should rejoice in Trump’s repulsiveness and there is value in having a repulsive candidate.

          1. norm de plume

            ‘Bush’s Iraq war probably made him repulsive to foreign citizens and some USA military families, but he was still elected to two terms’

            ‘served two terms’ might be the safer construction…

            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              Maybe not “safer”, but more accurate. Most accurate might be “unelected to two terms”. . . .

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I have no idea who Bret is…and while I am totally on board with abandoning both sides of the One Party that currently dominates, the little vulcan in my head is yelling basically the same thing as this guy in the comments:
      (Steven Collins)”…The reality is you cannot fix or address what ails this country through the political process AT ALL. You would need to first embark on a 20+ year program of establishing a new national narrative to unite people around all the while fighting off attacks by postmodernists and cultural marxists and IF you succeeded at that then the political system would fix itself.
      Only you don’t have 20 years, you don’t have 10 and probably not even 5.
      Stop wasting your time with politics and start devoting your considerable intellectual expertise to laying the philosophical groundwork that can at least help us rebuild from the rubble of what is to come.”

      Sadly, I agree…except it ain’t “cultural marxists”, but a Toynbeean Dominant Elite we have to contend with, who have absolutely taken over all the election machinery, the media(including on-line), the think tanks/academia,and just about every other political, economic, cultural, scientific, and even psychological mechanism we have…up to and including the operating systems of our individual minds(my feed store symposia exposes this every time…people can’t think outside of the Approved Mental Framework/Narrative, without long term and careful Socratic pulling)
      we should have started this 30+ years ago…but we were(I was, too) caught up in what proved to be diversions and distractions, not least, the increasing time/consciousness demands of keeping body and soul together.
      This country is frelled…and by extension, so is the world.
      I’d much rather start talking about what comes after…what kind of world do we want…starting closer to home.
      and that might just be possible, now that the whole “everything’s fine”/”america is already great” nonsense is so widely seen for the quivering and bloody mass of tissue that it always was.
      Start with your neighbor, and work your way outwards.

      1. polecat

        Breaking up is hard to do .. the right way, anyway …

        As far as I know, only the Czechs and Slavians were able to pull that off amicably enough.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m 50.000000625% Czech & 49.999999375% Slovakian, and tried to go the divorce route but the former wouldn’t have it.

          Now, who are these Slavians?

          1. ambrit

            For a moment there I thought you meant the Slovenes. Wait, aren’t those the so called Eastern Italians? Or are the Eastern Italians the Albanians? The Rhodians?
            Well, since you have opted to live in a mountainous region of the Bear Republic, my money is on your primary genotype being Slovakian. Those Czechs, lowlanders.

          2. Mel

            “Now, who are these Slavians?”

            Nobody knows because they are the people who aren’t on the map. They have a Slavian Republic with no borders so the lines won’t show up and give them away. They have one unilateral domestic trade agreement with everybody.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              I’m a quarter Czech…bohemian.
              i can trace that part of the family back to 1790….
              Village of Dubvinec, right outside of Prague.
              Prolly Bohemian Jews, me.
              alzo half Irish/scots
              including a direct line to the Brother of one David Crockett, of Alamo fame.
              His family had to run to the New World because they were Huguenots….and out of favor with the French King, and all.

              1. divadab

                Huh Davey Crockett, a Huguenot?
                That little fact I did not know.
                G-G-G-Grandpa mine was also
                a Massacre-fleeing Huguenot!

                Damn that Cardinal Richelieu
                For Huguenots he blithely slew.

                FYI Huguenot is not
                Pronounced HugueNottt
                You-all should know
                It’s pronounced HugueNO

                That’s NO to the Pope and his minions
                Divine intercession is not a monopoly.

    2. Massinissa

      What is their platform, exactly? There is none on that page. They’re arguing we should vote for this party because they’re not the Dems and they’re not the Repubs. How will we know anyone from this party won’t just be an American version of Emmanuel Macron? He wasn’t from either of the main two parties either and ran on a platform of being young and attractive and #NotAFascist, but gave France the same sh!t sandwich. Voting for a party with no platform doesn’t really have a good history of results.

      1. norm de plume

        Maybe part of the problem is the existence of parties themselves. How long before even a coherent well-led insurgent party would succumb to the same forces that have rendered both major parties their servants?

        Maybe the fact that lobbyists and special interests can easily target the leadership of a small number of parties – with sticks if the carrots don’t work – rather than having to undertake the far larger task of suborning a large number of independent individual representatives makes the corruption of the political system something of a doddle.

        All of us I’m sure could think of at least a few impressive people in our electorate – a school principal, a doctor, a farmer’s association head, the editor of a local paper, the bloke who runs the garden supply store, the lady in charge of the animal shelter – who would make a better fist of representing them than the party hack du jour.

        A great many of these people would probably not consider themselves political. Good.
        Most of those would (Jon Snow-like) probably not want to run. Even better.

        Right now, the only way you could try to shoehorn such genuine worthies into Congress or parliament is to have them join either one of the main parties. But what decent person would want to have anything to do with either? So right off their potential numbers are decimated, but even if you can convince one to sign up for say the Dems, their mouths are immediately nailed shut by ‘party (read ‘donor’) discipline. They either become part of the Borg or disillusioned and leave.

        We need to think of ways to incentivise independent representation. The best, most trustworthy pollies here in Aust are not members of either main party. How can we increase their share of the political pie at the expense of all the quislings on both sides of the aisle?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “..he worked his own small farm until an invasion prompted his fellow citizens to call for his leadership. He came from his plow to assume complete control over the state but, upon achieving a swift victory, relinquished his power and its perquisites and returned to his farm. …”

          ain’t nobody like that, I’m sad to report.

          we’ll hafta go through the balkinisation/burning times.

          get yer community sized seed orders in now.

          “Now is the Time,and we know the time”-Dean Moriarty

          1. norm de plume

            G’day ATH,

            Is Cincinnati the plural of Cincinnatus? (If so, that’s the place to go!)

            Are such people born or made? If it is the latter, you are probably right that ‘we’ll hafta go through the balkinisation/burning times’

            This chimes with something Eckart Tolle said in an interview with Russell Brand that I listened to yesterday. He would prefer we changed now, or soon, but treats the possibility (or likelihood) of near/medium term chaos resulting from our current tendency to choose ‘egoic’ paths as just another bump on the road on our inevitable journey toward the ‘one universal consciousness’ we are inching toward as a species over the long term. No panic, in other words. Bring it on, we will deal and move forward.


            I wish I could be as sanguine.

            I hope you and all the Amfortians are OK, under the circumstances…

  8. Dr. John Carpenter

    Well, I for one feel totally safe about the same people who rigged the last two primaries against voters in their own party having a Chicanery Task Force to make sure the 2020 general election is only rigged by the “right” people…err, I mean is totally fair and honest. *wink*

    1. Judith

      The entire presidential campaign is being manipulated, from the money to the news coverage to the primary results. In the general election, some people will be unmotivated to vote, some people will be prevented from voting, some people will stay away because of the pandemic. Voting counts will be altered in various ways. The results will be doubted and questioned, whoever is declared the next president.

  9. L

    Not to knock the importance of addresses for public health but per the story on cartography:

    People are living and dying without appearing on any database…

    Some people might consider that a good thing.

  10. Aron Blue

    … “what evil lurks in the hearts of men” should be in quotations, clearly, from the radio show I used to listen to with my dad on cassette. It’s amazing how dangerous a little punctuation error can be LOL

    1. flora

      Glad you got the reference. And yes about the punctuation.
      Old punctuation joke:
      “eats, shoots, and leaves” vs “eats shoots and leaves.” :)

  11. L

    I think that the Nathan Tankus story, and the responses to it, illustrate a key confusion. People conflate “credentials” with “education” and use examples like him (or Bill Gates) to pretend that you don’t need them to do anything. Getting a credential means getting a certification from someone that you know stuff, how they decide to do that is an open question. Getting an education is about actually learning things. The fact that some can do it independently, or like Gates can use their wealth, does not disprove the need for education, only for credentials.

    Or to put it another way, do we judge people for the paper they have, or what they know? And is the job of our education system to hand out paper? Or to help them know?

    1. flora

      I agree with the credential vs education point. I also think it perhaps was a satire of the elevation of idpol identity to the equivalent of a formal credential, for example the demand : “Biden must pick a Black woman for VP.” Satire is one way to read it, but I have a quirky sense of humor, so maybe it wasn’t that.

        1. Basil Pesto

          yeah, the sincere and generous shout-outs at the end of the thread make it clear that it wasn’t satire

    2. Wukchumni

      My lack of credentials (there was no such thing as a book smart numismatist, it was all hands on {literally} training) was an odd sort of boon-as I could never stop learning, for I had a chip on my shoulder from not having any of the formalized kind beyond high school.

    3. Marie Parham

      L’s definition of credential is narrow. I checked the definition in a dictionary.

      ” credential
      credential (noun) · credentials (plural noun)
      a qualification, achievement, personal quality, or aspect of a person’s background, typically when used to indicate that they are suitable for something.”

      Nathan listed aspects of his background which are indeed credentials based on the definition. By somehow being unaware of the broader definition, commenters are missing the more profound elements of Nathan’s response. He chose to use the attention he was getting to lift up deserving females of color and urge people to donate to organizations that pursue justice. He was not going to waste 40,000 new twitter followers. He saw an opportunity to help people and he didn’t waste it.
      Years ago when Nathan was still a teenager, I asked Nathan to use his expertise to work in the financial industry for a couple of years to put away some money. He replied,
      “Well, if I were to work in the financial industry for any reason, I would keep a living wage and donate the rest.” It was my thought at the time that when the day came when he made real money that that attitude would change. It has not. I speak to him every week. Nathan Tankus is my son.

  12. JTMcPhee

    “Invisible billions who are not on a map—“ So, if a human here on Earth is not “mapped” into a database, said human I guess does not exist, officially. At least as far as GIS professionals and the Ruling Class are concerned.

    Led me to a shallow search on the size of the black market or “shadow” economy, here and elsewhere, where presumably a lot of those billions subsist or thrive. The US makes the top 10, Forbes estimated in 2017 that it was 5.3% or about $1.5 trillion. https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/02/09/where-the-worlds-shadow-economies-are-firmly-established-infographic/#e85fe5c742cc Bigger shares in other countries with much smaller “legal” economies, of course. I wonder how much the CIA contributes to the numbers, and the Pentagram…

    There’s this on why black markets (can we still call them that?) exist:

    The primary reason for black market growth is weak economic fundamentals. If a country has a high inflation rate and low currency reserves, it is far more likely to harbor a large underground economy. A fixed exchange rate can also have an impact. If the domestic currency is pegged at a higher level than another currency, black markets can emerge. The black market flourishes in developing nations or those undergoing extensive economic upheaval.

    It’s important to remember that participation in the black market is not always obvious. When consumers purchase goods from a store in an exotic location, they may have participated in a black market transaction. Many corporations have products distributed in developing nations through middlemen who sell to stores operating in the underground economy.

    Trying to find tickets to a sold-out concert and paying multiple times the face value of a ticket to a scalper can be considered a black market transaction. In developing nations, families may use underground economy transactions to procure important items like medicine.

    Shadow economies and unregulated industry have long been a part of American life. In our nation’s infancy, many conflicts arose over frontiersmen unwilling to submit to the taxes and regulations the new government was handing down.

    According to the Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History, the “Whiskey Rebellion” of 1794 was one of the biggest of uprisings in the immediate aftermath of independence. For several months, rebels in western Pennsylvania terrorized tax collectors over an attempt to tax corn whiskey. President George Washington and 12,900 militia men ended the Whiskey Rebellion.

    These early episodes showcase American tendencies to protect informal economies. This expanded beyond common goods and into illegal activity in the 20th century when the 18th Amendment prohibited alcohol. Americans were willing to do whatever it took to continue to drink. Black market enterprises led by gangsters became commonplace across the country, producing their own booze and smuggling more in. According to the Foundation for Economic Education, alcohol consumption rose to 70 percent of pre-Prohibition levels within three years.

    Havocscope reports that today’s American black market has three major drivers: counterfeiting ($225 billion), drug trafficking ($215 billion) and illegal gambling ($150 billion.) Other significant underground economy industries include movie and music piracy, organ trafficking and prostitution.“ https://online.pointpark.edu/criminal-justice/underground-economy/

    I recall an article positing that the “recovery” from the Bankster-and-Fed-induced GFC from 2008 was in large measure the gray or black economy developed by desperate people finding barter and exchange and similar modes of economic activity, which then became more regularized and folded into the good old GCP. I read that in India and Central Europe and other places, the sale of human organs and other body parts straddles the line between legal and illegal too. Speaking of the desperation component.

    Do Tea Partiers Dream of Whiskey Rebellions?

  13. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    I know it’s a big ask. But how I would like to have a president who could pen an article like this one from the leader of Russia.

    It’s a detailed revisiting of the history of WWII, written to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the war’s end. The wisdom, insight, deep knowledge, forbearance, calmness, and humanity he shows…all while celebrating his *nation* (OMG what a concept)…are remarkable:


    On Earth Two we could meet with this nation, discuss mutual interests, and debate and defuse mutual conflict areas. But no, back here on Earth One there are five billionaires who want even more blood money from war and death, so off we go. And there is not one shred of doubt that Biden is definitely the man for the job!

    1. fresno dan

      July 3, 2020 at 4:45 pm

      It was the national humiliation that became a fertile ground for radical and revenge-seeking sentiments in Germany. The Nazis skilfully played on people’s emotions and built their propaganda promising to deliver Germany from the “legacy of Versailles” and restore the country to its former power while essentially pushing German people into war. Paradoxically, the Western states, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States, directly or indirectly contributed to this. Their financial and industrial enterprises actively invested in German factories and plants manufacturing military products. Besides, many people in the aristocracy and political establishment supported radical, far-right and nationalist movements that were on the rise both in Germany and in Europe.
      It is probably a truer, more objective, and more complete explanation of the origins of WWII than any of the pablum I was taught in the public schools…or this country’s delusional self aggrandizing view of itself as a shining city on a hill.

  14. David J.

    Yes, voter suppression in Kentucky was real

    Amusing podcast. A little insight and a lot of laziness. And way too much cussing. And I say that as a former sailor–I know some some creative cursing! I also know when to reel it back in if I want people to take me seriously. Set a mother-grabbing quota, Trillbillies!

    An examination of the ills of voter suppression would be worthwhile if only people dug in and examined the evidence. Instead, we get another half-baked, often warmed over version of “OMG! They hate us and won’t let us vote.” The truth is that despite, or better said, because of, Covid this election provided a much wider spectrum of opportunity to vote than normal elections in KY.

    Why did Kentucky have so few polling locations on its primary Election Day?

    Beshear addresses voter suppression concerns in primary

  15. ambrit

    The “Progressive” Democrat party agenda will not be Medicare for the 60 year olds, but Medicare, 60% payment rate, for ‘austerities’ sake of course. Once Sanders folded, the DNC called Bush up and crowed, “Mission accomplished!”

  16. Plus Ca Change

    Nerva & Trajan: N.B. Trajan’s social welfare policies (Cura Annonae) and what Tiberius said: ” In 22 AD, the emperor Tiberius said that the Cura Annonae if neglected would be “the utter ruin of the state”.

    Also, note the comment “by providing them with what the poet Juvenal sarcastically called “bread and circuses””.

    Hmmm… it reminds me of something I have seen or heard lately if I am not mistaken….

    The most depressive insight from the studies of the History of Ideas and Sciences is that people are exactly the same over the millenials. There is zero progress.

    1. RMO

      I think that the US empire isn’t at a stage comparable to the Roman empire at the time of Nerva. At this point the Commodus period is already in the past. Biden might be a Diocletian type – except that things will be going down the sewer far faster and with more destruction than the was the case with the Romans.

  17. flora

    re:“Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, and Combination in Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19” [International Journal of Infectious Diseases]. n=2541.

    Thanks very much for this article and accompanying link about ‘evidenced based medicine’.

  18. Wukchumni

    Nice to know that we can save ourselves from financial worries via a coin trick. I’ve got numismatic immunity, which makes me the ideal person to spend that trillion $ disc on say a Big Gulp @ 7-11, and then demand $999,999,999,998.21 in change back.

  19. rowlf

    Thanks for the link to the Adolph Reed interview. Listening to Reed speak was like enjoying a well crafted concert and everything he spoke about seems obvious to a military brat like me. Good stuff.

  20. carl

    Texas update: today around noon received four “extreme” emergency alerts stating that mask-wearing is now mandatory and violations are subject to a $250 fine. Also, “we depend on you this Independence Day to stop the spread of COVID-19.” I laughed out loud. This epitomizes Texas’ incoherence in the last few weeks.
    We never really closed. We “reopened” and then wondered why our cases skyrocketed. Statements from state officials were worse than useless. God bless Texas /sarc.

    1. Daryl

      Didn’t get any myself, but then my phone has mostly been a brick for the last four months.

      Not looking forward to seeing how this develops. Cases will probably peak in late Jul/Aug as everyone is paranoid again, then it’ll be back to re-opening everything and wondering why corona is coming back…

    1. fresno dan

      July 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm

      This is the “white privilege” that everyone is prattling on about nowadays. What they don’t grasp is the spuriousness of it all, the fact that privilege in this context is nothing but a con, a way of insuring that despairing white farmers would string up impoverished blacks rather than join with their natural allies against the people who were really running the Old South. Theodore W. Allen, the scholar who did more than anyone to popularize the concept, nonetheless warned that it was a double-edged sword.

      “In the South,” he wrote in 1967, “where the white-skin privilege has always been most emphasized and formal, the white workers have fared worse than white workers in the rest of the country. The white-skin privilege for the mass is the trustee’s privilege, not release from jail, merely freedom of movement within it…”

      1. Carolinian

        Jimmy Carter’s mother was a nurse and he has written about all the terrible dietary diseases among those south Georgia poor whites she had to treat. And there weren’t just sharecroppers but also coal miners and brown lung afflicted mill workers. For many decades after the Civil War the South was significantly poorer than the rest of the country and I believe that’s still somewhat true for the Deep South.

        1. ambrit

          It is still very much the case for the Deep South.
          Tobacco Road is alive and well in the 21st Century.

      2. Aumua

        In what way does the fact that privilege was conferred by the ruling class to “white” people early on make that privilege spurious? It’s had very real, material consequences for countless people over the past few centuries in the U.S., not the least of which was slavery itself. That it is a tool used to control everyone doesn’t mean that privilege of various kinds doesn’t have a clear “winning” and “losing” end, meaning those who are less oppressed and those who are more oppressed.

        Since none of us will be free until that system of privilege is destroyed, then it behooves the “winning” side to fight for the liberation of the most oppressed first.

        1. Carolinian

          Did you know that there were white slaves as well as black ones way back in the beginning? The use of Africans in regions like mine came to the fore because they were far more resistant to tropical diseases like malaria. European whites, as at Jamestown, tended to drop like flies.

          The WSWS has done a thorough debunking of the “1619 Project”–cooked up by the NYT–and of all of its historical errors and misinterpretations. But let me humbly suggest my own view that what this country is about and what it has always been about is money. Racism and slavery were only a byproduct of job one for those early Americans and not some evil animus generated by their white genes. Indeed here’s suggesting that evil animus exists in all of us to some degree but can be directed to other groups or races as convenient.

          And finally

          Since none of us will be free until that system of privilege is destroyed, then it behooves the “winning” side to fight for the liberation of the most oppressed first.

          What does that even mean? Obviously those at the top of the heap are plenty free and, interestingly, in many cases more than willing to support BLM. Maybe they are less convinced than you are that all those poor whites will follow BLM into the promised land. A race theory of class conflict is exactly what they want and have used in the past.

          1. Aumua

            I would say that europeans and africans were on more of an even footing to begin with, but I believe that they were both more under indentured servitude than chattel slavery. AFAIK, and I don’t know it all… but I’m somewhat sure that europeans were not ever subjected to chattel slavery in the American colonies. Africans alone suffered that, and it was an oppression based on their race, as an instituted measure of social control by the ruling class of the time, the plantation bourgeoisie. I don’t think it was only about money per se, but about protecting themselves from revolt, by promoting “white” people to a somewhat less oppressed position so that they could act as a buffer between the rulers and the working class as a whole. I don’t know anything about the 1619 project, so I can’t to speak to that.

            When I say us, I don’t mean “those at the top”. I mean US, the people of Earth.

            I feel that “we are only as free as the most oppressed of us” is simply a good starting point for perspective on how to act. This is the intersection of the class war and racial oppression. You can’t really separate them. As members of a privileged class, our best chance for liberation is to help them, the most oppressed in their struggle. We should give them a platform, and give them the speaking feather, and be willing to step aside and simply assist them however we can.

            The woke perspective gets a lot of sh*t around here, and who knows what different factions are trying to distort it use it for whatever nefarious ends. But there’s something to the kernel of it. It’s not all b.s.

        2. flora

          um… ‘liberation of the most oppressed first’ … or ending the most oppressive laws and financial frauds first, for example? Serious question. Banks and subprime mills targeted Black and poor homeowners particularly. Wouldn’t stopping those frauds to begin with have been better than trying to recoup money after, for everybody (except the banks)?

          1. Aumua

            Yeah well how are we doing at stopping those frauds? Not very good I’d say, so maybe it’s time for white men to stop trying to lead the way and let our struggle be informed by the struggles of the Black people, Indigenous people, Women, Transgender and whoever else is on the down side of the patriarchal, white supremacist Capitalist system. It all goes together!

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Does anyone here really believe that white privilege has to explain everything or else it can’t mean anything?

  21. Detroit Dan

    As a check on the media, I typed in “hydroxychloroquine henry ford detroit” for a Google News search. Almost all the results returned are from local media. The one exception is CNN which has a dramatically different headline emphasizing someone’s dissent — Study finds hydroxychloroquine may have boosted survival, but other researchers have doubts. No responses from the media sources that usually dominate — i.e. NYTimes and WaPo.


    1. shtove

      And yet the one large scale study on HCQ, carried out in the NHS, returned a neutral result – neither harms, nor helps. We’re still in William Goldman territory: nobody knows anything.

  22. Detroit Dan

    As a check on the media, I typed in “hydroxychloroquine henry ford detroit” for a Google News search. Almost all the results returned are from local media. The one exception is CNN which has a dramatically different headline emphasizing someone’s dissent — Study finds hydroxychloroquine may have boosted survival, but other researchers have doubts. No responses from the media sources that usually dominate — i.e. NYTimes and WaPo.


  23. fresno dan

    Carl Quintanilla

    for those who remember my report on going out to a restaurant. I guess going out to eat (at the bar of a restaurant) was pretty stupid – luckily so far I feel fine.  And I was the only person at the bar and the bartenders at the bar were all masked.  People in the restaurant at the tables were all chomping and chattering….
    You know what they say – when your eating with someone, your eating with everyone they have eaten with…

    1. Notberlin

      You know what they say – when your eating with someone, your eating with everyone they have eaten with…


  24. The Rev Kev

    “Conservative author and former George W. Bush speechwriter @DavidFrum joins the @Alyssa_Milano to discuss his new book “Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy” and the conservative case against Donald Trump.”

    Sounds totally legit this. So if you want to know how to shape a future American democracy, of course you would want the opinion of David Frum. And if you want to know how to organize social society in that American democracy, of course you would want someone like Alyssa Milano to organize it. Talk about your paradise on earth.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “American Exceptionalisms”

    The author of this article says ‘At one level, Obama endorsed American exceptionalism.’ What Obama actually said was ‘I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.’ which I would call pretty definitive. He told us what he was all about – and I believed him.

  26. The Rev Kev

    ‘Hillary Clinton says she ‘would have done a better job’ at handling the coronavirus pandemic’

    For the life of me, I cannot see her handling of the pandemic would have be even better. I think that it would be similar to what we are seeing right now except without the stupid tweets. Just trillions for the billionaires and “affordable” vaccines for the peons-


    1. Pat

      The media would be fawning rather than attacking, even when they should be. See Cuomo media coverage. I realize that isn’t addressing her actions, but I do think our hapless and useless media has made things worse. And since impeachment would have been on her table as well, distraction was probable. Still I cannot picture anyone being able to give a more “competent” response. Our public health sector would have still have been hollowed out. The ability to acquire supplies, equipment and drugs would still be broken, The same lack of reliable information regarding the disease would exist. And the same, if not greater interest in keeping Mr Market happen would exert undue influence. Hell I cannot even be certain the lie about masks wouldn’t have happened as the same ppe equipment shortages would exist.

  27. chuck roast

    “OSHA is AWOL”

    And what did they used to say on SNL…“And in other news, Francisco Franco is still dead.” I believe that OSHA was neutered before Francisco Franco was found dead. So, it has been both AWOL and neutered for quite some time. It is, however, the perfect neoliberal creation…a wonderful array of laws and statutes to protect worker health and safety conjoined with a complete and total lack of enforcement. The neoliberal sweet-spot…extreme virtue signaling paired with absolute moral and ethical vacuity. It’s a great country.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      And then there’s the “grand bargain” of workers’ compensation . . . the collapse of which hasn’t even gotten a USDOL status report done for 15 years.

  28. VietnamVet

    Donald Trump must remain President to avoid indictment in NY State. His Consigliere was convicted and is now incarcerated at home along with the rest of the credential class waiting to testify against him. Democracy is not the choice of either a childish Godfather or a senile placeholder Emperor. But the real question is if an election can be held during a pandemic. The number of cases is soaring although deaths have plateaued at 700 a day, for now. But hospitalizations in Southern and Western states are at ICU bed limits. Clearly government has stopped working for the people. The virus will not die off in the next four months. Neither party has any plans to restore the federal public health system and institute testing, tracing and isolation to control the virus. They are waiting for the money-making miracle coronavirus vaccine.

    The real conflict playing out now is between the globalist supporting the global Western Empire and the nationalists who support the 1848 North American version. But because they can’t acknowledge this, the credentialed do really stupid things. Senator Tammy Duckworth, a possible VP candidate, says she will block over 1,100 military promotions until Pentagon promises not to block Lt. Colonel Vindman’s “expected and deserved” promotion to Colonel. He is the Ukrainian dreamer, one of the cadre of experts who overthrew that country’s elected government, restarted the Cold War with Russia, and testified in Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Senator just docked the pay of the Praetorian Guard.

    There will be many more mistakes and deaths to come. Resuscitation of a dead empire never works.

  29. TB

    Of all the figures that people call “fascist”, Tucker is the only one (and I include Trump) who really, actually reminds me of a 1920s fascist. He rails against big business etc, because he wants a class-levelled volksgemeinschaft. He would entirely agree with Marshall Petain replacing “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” with “Travail, famille, patrie”. It always spooks me when I see anyone saying “look, even the conservative Tucker Carlson thinks…” They’re falling for the oldest trick in the fascist book.

    1. Aumua

      Tucker Carlson is definitely one of the candidates for the “younger, smarter, more effective” version of Trump that is likely to follow any “more of the same” Democratic/neoliberal administration. Not too sure where the hope is in this vision, but yep. I keep feeling a strange need to get the hell out of the U.S.

      1. Notberlin

        A bigger Man Baby I cannot imagine. But I’ve been horribly wrong in at least two occasions in my life.

        1. First, back at the University of Iowa, as a lost working class graduate student striving for a PhD in literature and taking classes at the Iowa Writers Workshop, this is mid-1980s. And I remember turning on the radio in my slant six (three on the tree) Dodge Dart, and there was Rush Limbaugh. I laughed my ass off, and said this guy is dead in the water. No way was this going anywhere. It was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard, I was convinced nobody would ever believe it.

        /2. Now in the mountains of New Mexico, many years later. (I lived in a cabin between Taos and Santa Fe, high up in the mountains). I needed to earn a living, so into Santa Fe I went, and then, all of a sudden, everybody was getting tattoos. My uncles had tattoos, Vietnam, Korea, military stuff. And again, I thought, wow, is this fad going away like tomorrow. This was like 1990. Was I ever wrong. And so, I’m a bit gun shy about making predictions these days.

        I live in Europe now, have the past 8 years. Currently in Prague. About ten years ago I said to my wife, “We need to start checking out other options, not really liking the direction things are going here, and Europe needs no new artists, but they could use your skills” (she is a chemist).

        We miss the US, a lot, I am writing this post from Kitzbühel in Austria, amazing beauty here. Today I hiked up a field with my dog and slept for an hour in the sun and the mountains. It was heaven. But the news back in the US still paralyzes us, we feel it down in the marrow of our bones.

        My intended points with number 1 and 2 is, just purely blindsided by the ruthlessness and evil of policy and oligarchs in the US. I tell all my European friends to be on guard, this is not going away any time soon.

        1. Notberlin

          And oops! I misspoke, not saying tattoos are evil in any way, I wrote that wrong. Just that I thought it was a passing fad back in 1990 and how wrong I was about it. Forgive!

    2. Carolinian

      Gee I had to look that one up. Here’s a fairly thorough article.


      Care to provide some examples for those of us who don’t get Fox News? Not that we don’t trust your judgment of course, but for some any whiff of populism seems to evoke fears of goose stepping boots–a convenient fear.

    3. anon in so cal

      Tucker Carlson is probably the only pundit who consistently debunked and criticized the Russiagate psy ops.
      He also condemned Obama’s regime change attempt in Syria, where the Brennan CIA’s Timber Sycamore gave billions to jihadis to destroy Syria.

      Otherwise, this is a pretty interesting article by someone who focuses on fascism:

      “The political logic of pinning the ‘fascist’ label on Trump is plain enough. It means uniting behind the programme of the present Democratic leadership—Pelosi, Schumer, the Clintons, the Obamas and other superintendents of the oligarchic order; the very project that gave Trump the White House in 2016. ”


      1. Aumua

        Tucker Carlson is probably the only pundit who consistently debunked and criticized the Russiagate psy ops.

        The ONLY one? Hardly. But he did rightly criticize that narrative, and possibly some other things too. Doesn’t excuse his open authoritarian boot licking or his racist, misogynist remarks. Don’t confuse right wing populism with anything reasonable or desirable, or let’s just say… I don’t.

  30. anon in so cal

    House Democrats have greenlighted giving 850,000 acres of Desert Refuge in Nevada to the Air Force for use as an industrial training center. Massive land grab lets some of the most pristine habitat in the West be bombed and destroyed in war games”

    “In a stunning development in the ongoing controversy over proposed military bombing range expansion in Nevada, the Democrat-led House Armed Services Committee today approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would give the U.S. Air Force jurisdiction over 850,000 acres currently managed as a wildlife refuge….

    Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest refuge in the lower 48 states, comprising 1.6 million acres of pristine Mojave Desert habitat, home to Nevada’s state mammal, the desert bighorn sheep, and the threatened Mojave desert tortoise….


  31. JBird4049

    >>>>Biden Says 600 Lawyers Will Guard Against Election ‘Chicanery’”

    As opposed to the right people’s chicanery?

  32. ambrit

    Zeitgeist watch item.
    I had to go on down to our bank, (wish that it were “ours,”) to do some juggling of accounts. The inside of the bank is still “by appointment only.” Thus, the two drive up tellers do the lion’s share of the basic account work. As I was ready to drive off, I exhorted the young woman behind the armour glass to be careful tomorrow and wear her Kevlar undies. She replied that she and the other teller had discussed the idea that this July 4th might be the last “quiet” holiday in America for some time to come.
    “We see that a lot of people are running out of money. Times are going to be very tough for a lot of people. That’s going to cause trouble.”
    When you have ‘lost’ the bank tellers…..
    Another item was the recent posting on the Nextdoor site of a local’s security camera footage of a ‘decently’ dressed man with a toddler walking along the street. He stops, looks around, and then moves up the surveilled driveway, trying all the automobile and truck doors to see if one was unlocked. None there were, so, he turns around, with the toddler still holding his hand and ambles off.

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