2:00PM Water Cooler 7/8/2020

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:

I guess I’ll just keep doing this one until I see a peak followed by a decline. (Seems like the “first wave” is geographically and chronologically distributed.)


“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 8: Pennsylvania moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic. Uh oh….

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

UPDATE “New July 2020 Electoral College Ratings” [Cook Political Report]. One of the pollsters in 270toWin’s consensus: “This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a Blue wave. President Trump, mired in some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency, is trailing Biden by significant margins in key battleground states like Pennsylvania (8 points), Michigan (9 points), and Wisconsin (9 points). He’s even running behind Biden in his firewall states of Florida and North Carolina.” Their changes to WI, PA, and NE2 (Tossup to Lean Democrat), ME (Lean Democrat to Likely Democrat), and GA (Tossup) put Biden over 270. Of course, it’s only July.

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): “Progressives wary as Biden talks compromise with GOP” [The Hill]. “Progressives are warning Joe Biden about compromising with Republicans, saying they will hold him accountable if he moves too much toward the center if he is elected president. The former vice president has increasingly signaled a willingness to cooperate with Republicans as he takes a bigger lead on President Trump in national and statewide polls, a stance some interpret as a strategy to win over independents and even some Republicans who may be abandoning Trump, who has seen his approval numbers slide. During a speech Friday to the National Education Association’s virtual Representative Assembly, Biden said change will take compromise and compromise ‘is not a dirty word.’ ‘It’s how our government was designed to work,’ the former vice president and longtime senator from Delaware added. “I’ve done it my whole life. No one’s ever doubted my word, and I’ve been able to bring Democrats and Republicans together in the United States Congress to pass big things, to deal with big issues.'” • Big things…

Biden (D)(2): Duckworth auditions:

But propaganda works

Biden (D)(3): Biden’s typefaces:

Looks like Obama’s Gotham/Hoefler combo, but without the twee flourishes.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump drops out. Biden gets sick. Pence is fired. What if 2020 gets really crazy?” [Politico]. “Based on the record so far of the Trump years — and especially of the crisis-infused year we are in now — it borders on crazy to imagine that the balance of 2020 will unfold without becoming even more crazy. Multiple interviews in recent days with influential people in Washington’s political class, including strategists and government veterans in both major parties and figures who have served at high levels in the Trump White House, found most people expecting some sort of dramatic shift of plot in this election year.” • I think 2020’s showrunners need to be replaced entirely. More: ”

But if there is consensus on the high odds of more disruption, there is hardly uniformity on its precise manifestation. Here are seven scenarios that are something less than predictions but — by virtue of the experience of the people interviewed — something more than pure parlor-game speculation. One veteran Republican operative, close to many in the GOP’s donor class, said in the past couple weeks it’s been stunning the extent to which people who have some association with Trump are speculating he might drop out of the race. “He doesn’t want to be a loser, and that’s all in jeopardy now,” this strategist said. “It’s less than 50-50 [Trump would pull himself off ticket] but I’m amazed at the amount of New Yorkers that are talking about this — his former friends. … They think he’s looking for an excuse to get out.’ Worth emphasizing: This speculation is not coming from people claiming firsthand knowledge of Trump’s thinking in recent weeks.” • Oh.

Trump (R)(2): “In Interview, Trump Vows to Counter the Left’s ‘Culture War'” [RealClearPolitics]. Trump: “‘This was going to be a blowout, and then China hit us with the ‘China virus,’ and all of a sudden, it discombobulated this country and the entire world. Now, it’s a much closer situation. We were sailing to an easy victory. Now, I have to fight for the victory, but I’ve been fighting all my life. That’s what I do. I fight for victory. I want it with all my breath, with every ounce of what I represent.” • Then he’d better straighten out his campaign. (I think part of the difficulty is that Trump can’t do A/B testing any more, so has no way to adjust his message to go beyond his base.) A Rove/Bannon combo would be something to see….

* * *

UPDATE “Democrats hold $30 million ad advantage in battle for Senate control” [CNN]. “In 12 races that will determine the next Senate majority, Democrats have spent roughly $30 million more on the airwaves than their Republican counterparts, according to a CNN review of data from Kantar’s Campaign Media Analysis. In total, Democrats — including campaigns and outside groups — have spent $109 million on television, radio and digital advertisements, compared with $79 million for Republicans since the beginning of the election cycle last year, the records show. While some of the disparity is due to Democrats attacking each other during the party’s primaries, both sides are keenly aware that Republicans have been outspent on the airwaves so far. Top Republicans expect the gap to close as the elections draw nearer.””


“Why we need a little skepticism, and more evidence, on Russian bounties” [The Hill]. “None of this disproves the allegation that the Russians are paying bounties for dead Americans in Afghanistan, an activity that, if true, would require a resolute U.S. response. It is not out of the question that the Russian government or parts of it might see such bounties as payback for perceived U.S. perfidy in Ukraine, Georgia and Russia itself. But it certainly means that the standard of evidence for validating such allegations should be much higher than our media’s barely concealed lust to embrace them would suggest.” • What was “barely concealed” about it?

UPDATE “Steele Dossier’s Billionaire Claim ‘Misleading’, Judge Says” [Bloomberg]. “Christopher Steele stated in his report that Mikhail Fridman and his fellow Alfa Group billionaire Petr Aven arranged for the delivery of ‘large amounts of illicit cash’ to Vladimir Putin in the 1990s. But Judge Mark Warby ruled Wednesday that Steele’s intelligence firm ‘failed to take reasonable steps to verify the allegation’ as he awarded 18,000 pounds ($22,600) in compensation to each man.” • Christopher Steele? Surely not.

Health Care

UPDATE I don’t care what Klain did on Ebola if these are his views on policy:

(This is Dave Anthony of the West Wing Thing podcast).

Obama Legacy

Obama in a nutshell:

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Democrats, Biden look to accelerate Southern political shift” [Associated Press]. “Democrats see Biden as a party leader who can put a metro-based coalition over the top by mitigating margins beyond big cities and suburbs. “Biden is a safe vessel for these (white) voters who might have been OK with Trump when everything’s going well, but now are just looking for a stable leader who’ll do the right thing,” said Zac McCrary, a Democratic pollster based in Alabama and whose firm is aligned with Biden’s campaign. If Biden manages the feat, it would bridge the Southern appeals of the last three Democratic presidents.”

UPDATE “Democrats see victory in Trump culture war” [The Hill]. “In the eyes of Trump’s Democratic critics, the president is leaning on divisive cultural issues both to energize the politics of white resentment and shift the nation’s attention away from the fast-moving spread of COVID-19 across the country. And a number of Republicans are voicing similar concerns, privately pressing their White House ally to drop the talk of race and focus on his policy agenda for a second term. ‘I believe the majority of Americans want some calm and stability, not focusing upon divisive issues that most days impact their lives very little,’ a GOP lawmaker told The Hill. ‘I ask again — what is his vision for the next term if he wins? What is his vision of the future of America?”” • Worth remembering that Trump actually did run on policy in 2016, and delivered on both trade (no TPP) and war (nothing new — despite The Blob’s best efforts). Also worth remembering that the socialist candidate, as well as his policies, has been completely erased from the discourse. So far, then, liberal Democrats have been winning their two-front war against both conservatives and the left.

The Great Assimilation™:


Now liberal Democrats are finding their inner Reagan. (“Come on. You know you want to.”)

On the horrid assimilation of Bush Republicans by liberal Democrats, I still haven’t been able to find the William Burroughs quote that I want (and only a writer with his style and turn of mind would be equal to the occasion). However, I did stumble on this from Gravity’s Rainbow. Kreplach is like a Yiddish wonton:

Remember the story about the kid who hates kreplach? Hates and fears the dish, breaks out in these horrible green hives that shift in relief maps all across his body, in the mere presence of kreplach. Kid’s mother takes him to the psychiatrist. “Fear of the unknown,” diagnoses this gray eminence, “let him watch you making the kreplach, that’ll ease him into it.” Home to Mother’s kitchen. “Now,” sez Mother, “I’m going to make us a delicious surprise!” “Oh, boy!” cries the kid, “that’s keen, Mom!” “See, now I’m sifting the flour and salt into a nice little pile.” “What’s that, Mom, hamburger? oh, boy!” “Hamburger, and onions. I’m frying them here, see, in this frying pan.” “Making a little volcano in the flour here, and breaking these eggs into it.” “Can I help ya mix it up? Oh, boy!” “Now, I’m going to roll the dough out, see? into a nice flat sheet, now I’m cutting it up into squares-” “This is terrif, Mom!” “Now I spoon some of the hamburger into this little square, and now I fold it over into a tri-” “GAAHHHH!” screams the kid, in absolute terror-“kreplach!”

To explicate: “the kid who hates kreplach” is the liberal Democrats, especially The Resistance. The process of making making the kreplach is forty years of neoliberalism. And the kreplach…. is Trump (“GAAHHHH! Orange Man bad!”) But the conditions that created President Orange Man? They are good! (“That’s keen, Mom!”). So all we need to do decompose the kreplach back into its ingredients, and everything will be jake with the angels. (I don’t know who “Mom” is. The goddess Clio, perhaps.)

* * *

UPDATE McGrath/Booker race:

McGrath’s margin, IIRC, was 15,000.

UPDATE “Many Americans are ready to question the result of the presidential election” [The Economist]. “A study finds that a significant share of partisans will support a re-run if they don’t get their way.” • Handy chart:

And where would “credible evidence of foreign interference come from”? Why, the intelligence community, to whom, as a consequence of RussiaGate, we have de facto turned over the function of certifying elections.

UPDATE “‘It’s egregious’: thousands of mail-in ballots could be rejected over small errors” [Guardian]. “In a typical election only a small percentage of mail-in ballots get rejected (318,728 ballots, about 1% of those returned, were uncounted in the 2016 general election)…. “I have a hard time believing we aren’t going to see an increase in rejection rates across the country,” said Daniel Smith, a professor at the University of Florida who has closely studied mail-in ballot rejections. ‘The odds are you’re having more people who are not familiar with the process, they’re not going to have people there to help and assist as you would in person.’ The vast majority of ballots that go uncounted are rejected for three reasons: the ballot arrives late, there is a problem with the signature on it, or there is no signature at all, according to EAC data. Many states don’t count ballots if they arrive after election day, regardless of when they were put in the mail. But they can also reject ballots if election officials determine the signature on the ballot doesn’t match one in a voter’s file – a decision that can be left to the whims of election officials with little guidance.” • The hanging chads of 2020…

“Here’s What Could Invalidate Your Absentee Ballot. And It’s Beyond Your Control” [Gothamist]. “[T]here’s another reason some otherwise valid votes might get tossed: a missing postmark…. Another unusual part of this absentee ballot cycle involved the envelopes from the BOE. They were business return, postage paid. Normally, a voter must use stamps that the United States Postal Service postmarks to cancel so it cannot be used again.” But this election, the USPS must change its procedure to cancel ballot envelopes, which are postage paid, hence normally not cancelled. “‘Several commissioners were reporting that they got large batches of envelopes with voted absentee ballots without any postmarks,’ [Doug Kellner, a Democratic commissioner and co-chair of the state BOE] said. “This has been a persistent problem,” said Dustin Czarny, the Democratic elections commissioner in Onondaga County in Central New York, and an officer in the New York State Elections Commissioners Association. He said they have had an ongoing issue with the postal service not postmarking election mail, even if it had a stamp.What’s worse, Czarny told Gothamist/WNYC, is that without those markings election officials have little choice but to toss the ballot.” • Oy.

“Can Our Ballots Be Both Secret and Secure?” [The New Yorker]. • Buffing the turd of digital voting; the assumption stamped into every line of the piece is that hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, are not safe and secure. Worth a read to watch a bunch of smart people going all the way around the barn and triumphantly finding something there was no reason to look for in the first place. (And, since it’s a software solution, it’s by definition hackable. Sigh.)

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.

There are no stats of interest today.

* * *

Shipping: “A China-based blockchain platform for the shipping sector is taking shape. State-run container line Cosco Shipping Holdings Ltd. struck an agreement with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its payments affiliate Ant Financial Group… setting up a three-legged support system for technology meant to track goods across seaborne supply chains” [Wall Street Journal]. “Alibaba signed a similar deal in May with China Merchants Holdings to create a digital platform for port operations. The digital deals effectively set up China operations that rival the TradeLens blockchain platform established by Maersk Line and International Business Machines Corp., a network that has signed on several other big container line.”

Manufacturing: “[Auto] sales in China are picking up steam even as business in the U.S. and Europe founders… adding to strains on an industry that was already struggling before the pandemic hit. Fresh data from German luxury-car maker BMW AG illustrates a changing world map with China sales up 17% from a year ago in the second quarter while its U.S. and European sales fell at least 40%” [Wall Street Journal]. “Ward’s Auto forecasts overall U.S. light vehicle sales fell 27% last month, and sales have been down even more across Europe. The slack demand could weaken a budding recovery in U.S. auto supply chains that saw automotive shipments on North American railroads grow more than triple from May to June, according to the Association of American Railroads.”

Supply Chain: “U.S. authorities are sending a strong warning to American importers over the use of forced labor in supply chains. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently seized nearly 13 tons of hair from a Chinese manufacturer…. signaling a crackdown on imports suspected of originating from forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region” [Wall Street Journal]. “The supply chains of dozens of multinationals in the fashion and food industries pass through the area of northwestern China where Muslims have faced mass detentions. A Customs official says the latest seizure is part of a “foot-stomping” reminder that U.S. importers are obligated to ensure that their supply chains are free of forced labor.” • No gold teeth, I trust.

Uber Acquires Postmates For $2.7 Billion Plus $3 Billion Service Fee The Onion

Facebook ad boycott organizers met with Zuckerberg. It didn’t go well CNN

The Bezzle: “Q&A: The Masterminds Behind Toyota’s Self-Driving Cars Say AI Still Has a Way to Go” [IEEE Spectrum]. “The industry-wide effort vacuumed up many of the world’s best roboticists and set rival companies on a multibillion-dollar acquisitions spree. It also launched a cycle of hype that paraded ever more ambitious deadlines—the most famous of which, made by Alphabet’s Sergei Brin in 2012, was that full self-driving technology would be ready by 2017. Those deadlines have all been missed. Much of the exhilaration was inspired by the seeming miracles that a new kind of AI—deep learning—was achieving in playing games, recognizing faces, and transliterating voices. Deep learning excels at tasks involving pattern recognition—a particular challenge for older, rule-based AI techniques. However, it now seems that deep learning will not soon master the other intellectual challenges of driving, such as anticipating what human beings might do.” • Thank heavens.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 48 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 8 at 12:19pm. Mr. Market is about as exciting as a television tuned to a dead channel.

The Biosphere

Arctic sea ice melt. Thread:

“‘Landscape of fear’: what a mass of rotting reindeer carcasses taught scientists” [Guardian]. Memento mori once more: “Rotting bodies also change flora. Surrounding the 323 reindeer carcasses were seeds of crowberry – a keystone species of alpine tundra – that scavengers were dropping around the site. Out of 24 faecal samples from crows, 21 contained viable crowberry seeds, according to a study published in Biology Letters in 2018, that suggests seed banks are likely to build up around carcasses…. Research published in the science journal Plos One in January suggests the red deer carcasses benefited biodiversity in Oostvaardersplassen. After near-complete decomposition, plant biomass surrounding them was five times greater than usual, leading to an increase in plant-eating invertebrates and therefore an increase in predators. This bloom of life lasted for months and spread through food chains – even creating scrubby areas and heterogeneity in the landscape, scientists found.” • As one would expect!!!

Health Care

“Airborne SARS-CoV-2 is Rapidly Inactivated by Simulated Sunlight” [The Journal of Infectious Diseases]. “Aerosols represent a potential route of transmission of COVID-19. This study examined the effect of simulated sunlight, relative humidity, and suspension matrix on the stability of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosols. Both simulated sunlight and matrix significantly affected the decay rate of the virus….. Decay rates in simulated saliva, under simulated sunlight levels representative of late winter/early fall and summer were 0.121±0.017 min-1 (90% loss: 19 minutes) and 0.379±0.072 min-1 (90% loss: 6 minutes), respectively. The mean decay rate without simulated sunlight across all relative humidity levels was 0.008±0.011 min-1 (90% loss: 125 minutes). These results suggest that the potential for aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 may be dependent on environmental conditions, particularly sunlight.” • Re-upping this, because I am becoming somewhat hopeful that real COVID prevention strategies are becoming possible in the indoor spaces that I control, which is good news. Perhaps a combination of light and a home HEPA air purifier (see below) would neutralize the aerosols, leaving only worries about fomites. Readers?

“Airborne coronavirus spread: Five things to know” [Al Jazeera]. “In closed spaces at schools, offices and hospitals, increasing proper ventilation with outdoor air by opening windows can also mitigate the risk of infection, [Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado] said. ‘For spaces where ventilation cannot be increased, we recommend portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter air cleaners or possibly ultraviolet (UV) germicidal lights at the high end of need. We do not recommend other types of air cleaners.'” • The right kind of lightbulb (see above) plus the right kind of air cleaner might not be insuperably expensive, either.

* * *

UPDATE “Popular Heartburn Drugs Linked to Heightened COVID-19 Risk” [Time]. “In the study, published Tuesday in pre-print form in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, scientists led by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Dr. Brennan Spiegel conducted an online survey involving more than 86,000 people. Among them, more than 53,000 reported abdominal pain or discomfort, acid reflux, heartburn or regurgitation, and answered questions about the medications they took to relieve those symptoms. Of those, more than 3,300 tested positive for COVID-19…. When the researchers analyzed the data, they found that respondents who said they used proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications to treat their heartburn had anywhere from two to nearly four times the risk of testing positive for COVID-19, compared to people not using such medications…. The gut, which includes the stomach and intestines, can be considered one of the body’s largest immune organs…. While people who take PPIs showed an increased risk of COVID-19 infection compared to those who don’t, the absolute risk is still small.”

UPDATE “Fauci says being ‘at a bar, inside, is bad news’ during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are 7 reasons why he’s right, according to science.” [Business Insider]. “If you want to drink to support your local businesses, consider taking it to go, or enjoying it outside, at a socially-distanced spot. That way, you’re protecting the workers, who will be in a very precarious situation if they get sick.” • Good point.

* * *

“Anthony Fauci: The Last American Hero?” [The Nation]. “Despite his famous halo of truthfulness, Fauci has deliberately misled the public on several occasions during the crisis. At the beginning of the outbreak, he and CDC Director Robert Redfield defied medical common sense and lied about the efficacy of face mask usage. While news programs were showing entire Asian societies safely masked, we were told that face coverings were unnecessary, useless, and possibly dangerous. Asked in February about what advice he would give to ordinary Americans, Fauci remained in lockstep with the White House. ‘So the question is, should we do anything different from what we’re already doing? No. Should we all be wearing a mask? Absolutely not.’ Six weeks later he explained that this was a necessary ploy to stop panic-buying and conserve existing supplies for hospitals.'”

“The retired inventor of N95 masks is back at work, mostly for free, to fight covid-19” [WaPo]. “When the novel coronavirus began gripping the globe in March, Tsai was summoned from his short-lived retirement. He was in urgent demand because he is the inventor who, in 1995, patented the filtration material used in disposable N95 respirators…. Oak Ridge National Lab, a Tennessee-based laboratory sponsored by the U.S. Energy Department, got in touch, too. The team at Oak Ridge was searching for ways to scale production of N95 masks…. The goal was to convert the lab’s carbon-fiber-processing facility into a filtration-cloth facility to produce the filter technology needed for N95 masks. The conversion process proved complicated, but with Tsai’s help, “we quickly got the system up and running,” said Lonnie Love, a lead scientist at Oak Ridge…. While Oak Ridge does provide the filter material to other labs to study, it does not sell the product directly for widespread distribution. Rather, the team teaches industry partners how to scale production.”

* * *

“Walgreens strikes deal with primary-care company to open doctor offices in hundreds of drugstores” [CNBC]. “Walgreens Boots Alliance will soon have doctor offices inside of hundreds of its U.S. drugstores. The pharmacy chain said Wednesday it has struck a deal with VillageMD, which will staff and run the primary-care clinics. The companies said they will open the clinics in 500 to 700 stores in more than 30 U.S. markets over the next five years…. Walgreens will invest $1 billion in equity and convertible debt in VillageMD over the next three years as part of the deal, including a $250 million equity investment completed Wednesday. Most of the money will be used by VillageMD to open the clinics and integrate its technology with Walgreens. VillageMD will recruit and pay employees’ salaries, cover other operating expenses and pay Walgreens to use the space. Walgreens said it will own about 30% of the primary-care company after the multiyear investment.” • VillageMD is a start-up. Zeke Emannuel (Democrat) [vomits] is on the Board of Directors. So its Annie Lamont, wife of (Democrat) Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. So there’s your answer on #MedicareForAll, or part of it. (I have to say, again, that I find Walmart very depressing. I hope VillageMD’s offices are bright and cheery.)

“Comparing Private Payer and Medicare Payment Rates for Select Inpatient Hospital Services” [KFF].

Our analysis finds:

  • Private insurance payment rates were between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than Medicare rates, with some variation among the ten DRGs included in our analysis.
  • Private insurance rates varied more widely than Medicare rates.
  • The average private insurance payment rates paid for diagnoses related to COVID-19 increased between 9.3% and 22.4% from 2014 to 2017, much faster than Medicare rates.


“Found art.” Thread:

Department of Feline Felicity

Since we spoke of bee photos as a genre yesterday:

I guess this is a thing now!

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“The Complicated Orbit of Jeffrey Epstein” [Bloomberg]. • Very useful, and not exactly a yarn diagram, although some mischievous graphics person chose red for cross-organizational lines. However, there’s something left out: Any connection to the intelligence community. Odd!

“Deutsche Bank maintained accounts for Jeffrey Epstein despite ‘red flags’: Regulators” [ABC]. • It’s like Deutsche is the Wells Fargo of Europe.

“Empty Promise” [Chicago Tribune]. From 1996, describes the Manhattan townhouse Epstein bought from Wexner: “Visitors described a bathroom reminiscent of James Bond movies: hidden beneath a stairway, lined with lead to provide shelter from attack and supplied with closed-circuit television screens and a telephone, both concealed in a cabinet beneath the sink.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“What Happened In Bethel, Ohio?” [Buzzfeed]. “When Lois and Andrea first entered the scene, someone yanked Lois’s sign and tore it in half. She didn’t recognize that person, or any of the others pushing her around. But later, once she’d made it to the rest of the demonstrators, she looked across the street. Like everyone else, she saw people she knew. She got in a ‘stare down,’ as her daughter later described, with one of her former colleagues. ‘Lois, I cannot believe you’re here,’ the other teacher yelled.” • Worth reading in full, especially if you’re from a small town.

“Opinion: Want to tear down insidious monuments to racism and segregation? Bulldoze L.A. freeways” [Los Angeles Times]. “Los Angeles was never a paradise of racial acceptance, but in 1910 some 36% of L.A.’s African Americans were homeowners (compared with 2.4% in New York City) — tops in the nation. L.A.’s comprehensive Red Car transit system, which offered easy, unsegregated access to the region’s growing economic opportunities, was fundamental to this success. Integrated, racially diverse neighborhoods like Watts and Boyle Heights emerged and thrived along these transit corridors. But as L.A.’s population surged from 320,000 in 1910 to more than 1.2 million in 1930 — including tens of thousands of African Americans from the Deep South — white Los Angeles decided it was time to ramp up its own brand of Jim Crow segregation. These efforts took many forms — most famously racially restrictive covenants, which barred African Americans and other ethnic minorities by deed from living in houses and neighborhoods deemed “white.”… But neither the Klan nor legally dubious covenants nor flagrantly unconstitutional land grabs were arguably as effective as the automobile and its attendant infrastructure at turning Los Angeles into an intentionally segregated city. When the 1944 Federal-Aid Highway Act allocated funds for 1,938 miles of freeways in California, planners used the opportunity, with full federal support, to obliterate as much as possible the casual mingling of the races.”

Class Warfare

Unexpected consequences of the housing crisis:

“The pandemic has exacerbated an under-the-radar health disparity: period poverty” [STAT (KS)]. “Period poverty isn’t new: Menstrual hygiene products aren’t covered by national food stamp programs and are subject to sales tax in 30 states, excluded from the list of essential items exempt from taxes like food and medication. But the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn that followed have only exacerbated the problem, leaving marginalized populations who were already struggling to afford menstrual products at even more of a loss.”

“The Meltdown Crisis” [Tressie McMillan Cottom, Medium]. “It is more likely that the Trader Joe’s woman is a raging Fox News anti-masker, of course. But everyone is not so easily classified. Some meltdowns are rooted in what COVID revealed to many people: they have a class position and it isn’t what they thought it was. Cheap credit and cheap imports and cheap slave labor let us consume like we are rich when we are anything but.”

News of the Wired

“Lime Unveils Pilot Program For Inexplicable New E-Cubes” (podcast) [The Topical]. • This is The Onion’s podcast, which does what The Onion does. I wish I liked the show better, but often the humor strikes me as a little off, somehow. This show, however, is very pure and very silly.

Cancel culture?

* * *

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 (MR):

MR writes: “Woods plant.” I should know it. I think these are Ladies’ Slippers?

Readers, I could still use some just a few 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. Wukchumni

    Its early, but I got the skinny on what the upcoming NFL season will look like.

    Teams will deploy social distancing and to be safe, it will extend 10 feet as both sides line up for the snap, and receivers & defenders must maintain a similar distance giving a big edge to the former, so expect scores of 97-83 to be the new normal.

    Each player will have a couple of regulation sized (12″ inch) flags attached with velcro on either side of their waists, and a strict no tackle rule will apply and that includes aggressive touching.

    After successful detachment of said flag of a ball carrier by an opposing team’s player, play comes to a halt and a sidelines disinfecting crew comes in between scrimmages, giving out on-the-spot Covid-19 tests to all team members. Training in the off-season has mainly been consumed with playing the game ‘Operation’ and knowing exactly when to grab that big 12 inch distinctive, it takes a certain talent.

    The dead time on the telly will be filled with highlights of the Bills from 2000 to present, letting them know in essence, just how bleak it could possibly get if we went back to the old rules.

    Remember when the NFL would squeeze 3 hours out of 12 minutes of actual action on the field?

    Games are now expected to last at least 8 hours

    1. JWP

      Digging a little deeper, I heard there will be flyovers during each timeout. And for good measure, players are encouraged to bring their assault rifles on the field with them during the biquarterly national anthem.

      1. Oh

        Each member of the audience will be requested to wear an American flag or better still, a clothing with the pattern of Old Glory. Masks with the American Flag will also be acceptable.
        They will be cued to sing the National Anthem after each score. Touchdown celebrations by players shall not include knelling.

      1. fresno dan

        Arizona Slim
        July 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm

        As my mom used to say, all they do is fall down…
        In my youth I used to watch 3 different complete games on Sunday (you could do that on the west coast in those days)
        Now as I’ve grown older but not wiser, never the less I recognize mom was right.

      2. fresno dan

        Arizona Slim
        July 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm
        BTW, I wrote you a speech (apologies to the Bard and Henry the 3 or 4 or 6 or some other number) to celebrate not having relatives. I posted it late so I don’t know if you ever saw it…

        fresno dan
        July 5, 2020 at 10:21 pm
        Arizona Slim
        July 5, 2020 at 9:43 am

        for you, dear cousin liberal cynic….without surviving relatives.

        Westmoreland: Oh that we now had here but one ten thousand of those men relatives in the USA that do no work today at this family barbecue

        Henry: What’s he that wishes so? My cousin Arizona Slim? No, my fair cousin. If we are marked to die we are enough to do our country loss. And if to live the fewer men the greater share of Honor God’s will and hot dogs and hamburgers from the grill! I pray thee wish not one man more, for more for moi. By Jove I am not covetous for gold nor care I who doth feed upon my cost it yearns me not if men my garments wear such outward things dwell not in my desires (WTF does that mean?). But if it be a sin to covet honor I am the most offending soul alive no faith, my coz, wish not a man from England. God’s peace I would not lose so great and an honor as one man more methinks would share from me for the best hope I have i.e, hot dogs and hamburgers. O, do not wish one more! Rather proclaim it, Arizona Slim, through my host that he which hath no stomach to this fight barbecue, let him depart; his passports shall be made and crowns for convoy put into his purse. We would not die in that man’s company that fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is called the feast of Crispian 4th of Julyus.Barbecueus.
        ….and so on and so forth
        This story shall the good man teach his son; and Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered-we few, we happy few, we unrelatived few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood drinks much beer with me shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile as to double dip the guacamole, this day shall gentle his condition; and gentlemen in England now-a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap (I really have been trying to cut down on my manhood holding, but alas, with little success) whiles any speaks that fought barbecued with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

        So thinketh yourselfeth not aloneth on this sojourn, Arizona Slim.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > it yearns me not if men my garments wear / such outward things dwell not in my desires (WTF does that mean?).

          Apparently Elizabethan male friends could wear each other’s clothing?

          1. The Rev Kev

            I thought that initially he was referring to the sumptuary laws which decreed which classes could wear which clothing and how it did not bother him who wore what. But in this band of brothers speech, I see an echo of MLK’s quote where he talks about judging people ‘by the content of their character. That is what I read here – that he does not care about class or clothing or whatever. He only cares about what their character is made up of as demonstrated by who will stand with him.


    2. Pookah Harvey

      To hell with the NFL, NBA, and professional baseball. We should follow the example of bored Welshmen and discover the exciting sport of Sheep Pong.

  2. deplorado

    Important thread on supply chain policy shifts a Biden administration may be considering:

    Henry Farrell @henryfarrell

    “4 days ago, a new article by @ANewman_forward and I on supply chains post coronavirus came out in Summer 2020 @ForeignPolicy, with recommendations for a new administration https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/04/this-is-what-the-future-of-globalization-will-look-like/ Yesterday,
    @JoeBiden came out with this https://joebiden.com/supplychains/ Coincidence? Yup


      1. tegnost

        That’s a good article in that, while the bulk of the US gets no policy proclamations from biden, this article is chock full of them. The ATT ad was an eye opener also, who knew that the f-35 is just another “device”, like your cell phone? Jingoism and empire building, no wonder he’s got no policy regarding the US, his whole focus is global dominance, while gutting the states into one big inner city detroit. Jeez. Aside, the lowndes county bernie video in 7/9 links makes me wonder if the exposure to all the desperate heartache was too much for him to bear. The USA is one mean country.

  3. jo6pac

    biden working with repugs will go really well since he is one already. Sadly another election of the lesser evil but still evil.

    Jeffrey Epstein evil lady friend was featured yesterday at wallstreet on parade. Interesting time line and what the charges are and during what years. She could walk free.

    1. Glen

      Is Biden really the lesser evil? He is just going to say everything is ok and make no changes – at least that’s what he has said he is going to do.

      I mean seriously, is that lesser?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Is Biden really the lesser evil?

        I believe this was Glen Ford’s formulation: Democrats are the more effective evil.

        A Democrat Party that has assimilated Republican campaign operatives and Bush national security personnel, to add to their existing portfolio of (important factions in) the intelligence community and (the commanding heights of) the press, with a suburban base of the PMC, backed by billionaire donors from Silicon Valley and finance, would be a formidable force for screwing the working class to the wall.

        I think that’s what we’re looking at. It doesn’t bode well.

          1. ambrit

            Technically, the evil of two lessors….
            The Cynic in me reformulates that to read; the lessor of two evils….

      2. clarky90

        There have been no new wars with DJT. Also, he is “progressively” (sorry, all so-called-progressives) and systematically withdrawing USA troops from around the world.

        Joe Biden will be a breath of fresh air for the Total Mayhem fans- they who enjoy watching actual USA war, live on TV and the Internet. Some real drama at last!, Instead of this, constant boring, Russia Russia angle. Enough of the Democrat’s
        Kayfabe! “Let’s make it all real, with Joe!”

        1. The Historian

          Exactly how many troops has DJT brought home? The Pentagon isn’t releasing those numbers any more. I think we need to separate the reality from the words.

          And no new wars? Well, it isn’t for lack of trying, is it? Remember North Korea, and Iran? He couldn’t get either of those going even though he wanted to simply because there is a lack of will to do it. Or maybe, if I am correct, Trump is the only president since Truman who said he would use nukes.

          1. Oh

            Answer to your question: 0

            He’s started the war with Iran and Venuzuela (a war of sanctions) and a whole buch of war with words with China.

            Did he curtsy to BoneSaw when he visited Saudi Arabia?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > He’s started the war with Iran

              Nonsense. Nothing like Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Libya.

              > and Venuzuela (a war of sanctions)

              Supported across the board by all parties, and Biden’s even more hawkish than Trump. Notably, however, Trump has not succeeded in overthrowing Maduro. You don’t get to count as a war something that might, at some future date, be a war.

  4. a different chris

    > that a new kind of AI—deep learning—was achieving in playing games, recognizing faces, and transliterating voices. Deep learning excels at tasks involving pattern recognition

    Ugh. It excels at those tasks like a talented 8th grader excels at his/her piano concerto. She/he hits roughly the right keys in the right, recognizable order.

    And that is fine. 99% of them, including a few of the most talented, won’t go on to become professionals. But imagine if they all were unleashed upon the world, crowding out the people that actually would grow up to really know what they are doing.

    1. JBird4049

      But then they would have to pay the people who know what they are doing instead of having a machine do it on the cheap. All this AI and machine learning is not about doing things better as it is to do it more profitably for the corporations.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > crowding out the people that actually would grow up to really know what they are doing.

      Wait ’til Walmart automates its new “Doc in a Box” or whatever they’re calling it. “80% as good as a real doctor for 10% of the price!”

      1. ambrit

        Beware WalMart bearing gifts. Once they drive the competition out of an area, up go the prices. As it is, their pricing structure relies heavily on loss leaders (or, at best, minimal profits,) in the high visibility items. I have personally seen Winn Dixie and the local mini-grocery chain beat WalMart on price for some items. All I can suspect is that WalMart makes a lot of their profit from squeezing the suppliers, and not passing on all, if not even most of the savings to the customers.

        1. Dan

          I’ve noticed this too. I’ll venture into a WalMart every once in a while just to do a comparison. My local Shop-Rite here in NJ has better prices than WalMart on most of the essentials I use.

      2. ddt

        Think you’re mixing up Walmart and Walgreens. Walgreens is following CVS and their minute clinics (staffed by RNs offering limited services). CVS did this for a bit and then went and bought Aetna.

  5. Louis Fyne

    DC Democrats don’t deserve to win if they think that winning means embracing the Bush GOP refugees. No way.

    Newsflash: GW Bush (and his bipartisan DC-NY enablers) is the proximate cause for more human death and suffering from 2001-4 than Trump.

    In my opinion. Ymmv

      1. Hepativore

        Biden and the rest of his fellow neoliberal Democrats are so intent on adopting W. Bush era polices like those of torture, massive corporate tax cuts and bailouts with no stipulations, and perpetuating our failed healthcare system. I honestly wonder why the Clinton/Obama/Biden/Pelosi wing does not just pull a Joe Liberman and outright join the Republican Party at this point? I mean, their policy positions are basically the same as those of Reagan only even more extreme, and many Democrats seem like they are softening their position on being pro-abortion. The only sticking point I can see is that the Clintonites seem to have softer stances on some social issues, but even then, how much of this is mere lip service? Plus, they have shown on more than one occasion to go back on any stance that they might have the moment it is politically expedient.

        Neoliberal Democrat or neocon Republicans…is there really a difference? I think that the neoliberal Democrats would be more than welcome in the Republican Party and that way they can drop the pretense that they are actually different.

        I am not voting for Trump, but I am still not voting for Biden as I know what a Morton’s Fork situation is.

              1. tegnost

                The link is great but it’s a bit of a wormhole, give yourself a little time to check out the variety of choices

          1. Redlife2017

            Thank you! That was a very useful link. And yes, I agree that this will all lead to the same place just the path will be a bit different. Rather depressing…

            “In my own country I am in a far-off land.
            I am strong but have no force or power
            I win all yet remain a loser
            At break of day I say goodnight
            When I lie down I have a great fear of falling.”
            – Francois Villon (quoted by Hunter S Thompson in Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72)

            “The Villon quote…seemed like a very apt little stroke – reaching back into time and French poetry for a reminder that a sense of doomed alienation on your own turf is nothing new.”
            – Hunter S Thompson in Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

          2. Oh

            Thanks for the link. After reading the same it looks like Sadistic Choice may apply in this case.

        1. Quentin

          2016 repeats itself in my thinking: may both candidates lose in 2020. In my 75th year I feel I’ve lost the plot in a big way.

        2. Otto

          Isn’t everybody neolib by choice or default? So picking out Dems as such has no value in furtherance of an argument. I don’t care much about arguing whether Dems or republicans are the same or not, to common folk they are in fact very different. And it’s not a class thing. It’s actually about who is the president as in the person they are. One wants to get rid of health care for 23 million people the other doesn’t. That in no way is the ‘same’, and it is dishonest to say so. And now the deluge – but…but..,they Dems could have had med for all – nope. The republicans would cause the extinction level event so we could all go to heaven and sit next to god. Nope. Almost every argument posted here Agaisnt Biden or the Dems is in essence advocacy for Trump. NC is a financial blog (well more than that) so I guess most reading – not necessarily commenting have reasons to want a tool like trump to continue. Thus vote for him. But be clear about it, or clearer. As to Lambert, what exactly would make you satisfied? You can’t have Sanders so Reagan is the next best thing? Hipster sniping has it uses I suppose, but how are those suffering poverty being helped?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Well, my choice is between a candidate from Circle Eight (Fraud) and Circle Nine (Treachery).

            Vote Hell No Matter Who!

            (I don’t think it’s a matter of what will “satisfy” me; whatever is to come, neither political party has the operational capacity to prevent it. It is a question of what comes after.)

            1. ambrit

              Getting ‘real’ here for a moment; it is not so much “a question of what comes after” as how many of those who read here will still be around for that “what comes after.”
              A true disaster is now ‘baked in’ to our near future.
              What is so dis-spiriting is that I once had real hope for the future of Terran Humans.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                it’s getting harder and harder to be a humanist these days.
                but i graduated through the stages of grief for my country a while ago.
                it would be cool to vote FOR something, for once.

                (paul, perot, perot, nader nader,obama, some libertarian guy(greens weren’t on texas ballot,,iirc), and stein.)
                —if all that, but one, aint an expression of “none of the above”/”a pox on both parties”, i don’t know what is.
                the single vote for Obama was my sole electoral vote for hope, which was dashed on the rocks of demperfidy.
                i guess i’m to blame for Bush2 AND trump,lol
                i’ll prolly vote for whomever the greens are running…if i vote at all.
                i’ve been pretty hard core about voting all my life. I’m the first one in the courthouse, and the judge, etc all laugh (good naturedly)about this.
                but it seems rather pointless, now.
                I will not vote for biden…because i don’t vote for republicans.
                which is a round the barn way of answering otto about “what about the poors?”= they’re all republicans, and they all hate us. one “side” just has the manners to stab us in the back, rather than chewing our throats out.

                1. ambrit

                  Oh, that litany of rage in those votes! Both of us voted for Perot, twice, and I voted for Nader, and later for Stein. Your first named politico; was that Ron Paul or Saint Paul?
                  My Dad swore, (quite explicitly and ‘robustly’) never to vote for a Republican after he saw, live then, Dick Nixon tell the California press that “…you don’t have Nixon to kick around any more.”
                  See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AmDkAV0KeI
                  As for this November, I do not know. Mississippi does not allow write in votes unless the other candidates resign or die before the election is over.

                    1. ambrit

                      I loved Pat Paulson. A voice of reason in a field of dreamers.
                      Don’t forget Kinky Friedman, the quadrennial Texican “Native Son” candidate. (We can agree to call him a “Native” if we subscribe to the theory that one of the Lost Tribes of Israel made it to America. The other theory annet that is that one of the Lost Tribes made it to America and was cursed by G-d to become the Sasquatch People.) I don’t know which theory I prefer.

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                > it is not so much “a question of what comes after”

                I had to look up the passage I was subconciously echoing, from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. It’s not “whatever is to come,” but “whatever is to follow”:


                Of course, who represents Colonel Napier, and who represents the Fists is rather an open question, isn’t it… Ditto Nell, the room, etc.

            2. Pookah Harvey

              We can fight Neo-liberalism with reason, I’m not so sure about hate.

              1. tegnost

                “We can fight Neo-liberalism with reason…”
                Did you say Russia Russia Russia or is there an echo somewhere?
                There is no reasoning going on, only rationalizations

              2. hunkerdown

                Neoliberal epistemology is based on quantity and value-freeness, such as “iTs jUsT mY oPiNiOn”, designed to encourage stupidity and discourage shared perspectives. You might want to read some Mirowski before you give up the one thing to which they are vulnerable: identification and exclusion of mentally ill voices from the conversation. Mirowski’s “Hell is Truth Seen Too Late” (PDF) has some good pages on it towards the middle, from the horse’s mouth.

            3. christofay

              Naked Capitalism is a political economy blog seeking who benefits through different societal decisions whether they are labeled finance, economic, political, business, environmental.

              I think.

          2. Jason Boxman

            Which common folk? The overwhelming number of Americans that don’t vote, or the ones that do?

          3. tegnost

            I’d say you’re neoliberal as your argument mirrors that party line, but speak for yourself. Also the dems clearly do not want M4A, and that is why we won’t have it, clever to blame that on the republicans. Also 23 million americans are, I’ll take from your comment, assigned to medicaid, that leaves 297 million americans in the neoliberal healthcare for profit system and largely not getting care, but paying the system anyway. Also, didn’t I just watch a reaganites for biden commercial? Lastly, no one, your precious democrtic party included, give’s a rat’s posterior for those in poverty, so obviously they are not being helped by you or anyone else, except other people in poverty (h/t ma joad).

            1. tegnost

              and for the record, I voted for carter, mondale, dukakis, clinton twice, gore, kerry, obama twice, but by the second time I had heard enough of arguments like yours that being theoretically a bit less worse that the republicans was a virtue and to those who haranged me into voting for him the second time I said then, as now, last chance. I didn’t leave the democratic party, the democratic party left me, worshiping ronald reagan all the way out the door, to which I say Don’t let the screen door hit ya.

            2. The Historian

              I don’t think people understand that neoliberalism isn’t just an economic policy but a social policy as well that has been deeply ingrained into our culture. Most of us don’t question consumerism and that our worth is what we can buy. Most of us don’t question the belief that we are in competition with every other country in the world. Most of us don’t question that we need at least two working people in a household in order to afford the standard of living that we feel entitled to. Most of us think how much we get paid determines our worth to society. Most of us are willing to institute reforms but only if it doesn’t cost us personally.

              And sadly, most of us consider competitiveness good and are more willing to compete rather than cooperate, even if cooperation makes life better for us. And most of us are so divisive that we cannot form effective political parties or even unions to protect ourselves. We consider ourselves ‘better’ than others based on whatever we can find to lessen those other people, whether it be what work we do, or how much money we have, or because of what we look like, or where we were born, or whether we like the same people, or whether we believe in God or don’t believe in God, or because of ……well, .just about anything you can think of. What we’ve done is create little ‘sects’ that are in competition constantly with other ‘sects’ – hence the Cancel Culture that we are seeing now.

              So, in effect, those early theoristss of neo-liberalism were right – neoliberalism required a change in culture as well as a change in economic systems and would never have gotten off the ground without the concerted effort those early economists and politicians to make changes to our legal systems, our schools and our churches, what we saw and heard on TV and in the newspapers. They had to create a society of competitors in order to make their theories work – and they succeeded quite well, don’t you think?

              So it is easy to call someone you don’t agree with a neoliberal, not understanding that when we all feel the need to be competitive against other people, we are exactly what the creators of neoliberalism wanted us to be.

              1. Alternate Delegate

                Aye, “when we all feel the need to be competitive against other people …”

                That’s the competitive framework we need to escape in order to reach the free exchange of ideas that makes individual sufficiency possible. To get out of the competition for evolutionary advantage, towards a competition of ideas, where what we do with our brains goes towards the universal benefit of all.

                But it isn’t quite as straightforward as it might seem to take the competition out of our society and out of our economy. For example, “cooperation” is not the opposite of competition, but is often competition in another shape; the quid-pro-quo may not be in the form of money, but obligation and status are equal currency in the market of evolutionary advantage.

                I don’t quite know how to get closer to a decent life and sufficiency for all, but there are probably both private and public elements to this, and the public element may well – pace MMT – involve taxation.

                One thing I do know, and that is that I can’t get away with thinking I’m better than someone else if I want to get us both to somewhere better than where we are right now.

          4. Massinissa

            But… But they BOTH want to get rid of healthcare… One just doesn’t say it out loud as much.

          5. Oh

            One wants to get rid of health care insurance for 23 million people.
            There you go. Fixed for you.
            Health Insurance is not Health Care. The 23 miilion can’t afford the deductibles that come with Obamacare.

        3. Massinissa

          Neoliberalism is an economic ideology whereas Neoconservatism is a Foreign Policy doctrine. Essentially, the establishments of both parties are both Neoliberal and Neoconservative.

        4. John k

          Their entire value to the donors is to keep progressives to power, which big o did with elan… I predict a major book deal announced after the election.
          The donors wouldn’t give them a dime if they joined the reps.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I second that opinion. (and add puppet master Cheney)

        Liberal Democrats have not (so far) rehabilitated Dick “Fourth Branch” Cheney. But they worked closely with his spawn Lynn to make sure to we stayed in Afghanistan, so I suppose its only a matter of time. I wonder if, when Cheney finally dies, they will put him in the Capitol rotunda and, if so, Lynn Cheny will give Biden candy.

    1. L

      But they will embrace them for three reasons. First, they have so focused on defeating Trump and blaming him for all ills that they will take anyone else they can. Second, rehabilitating Bush means obscuring their own role in the Iraq and Afghan scandals (much as the bounty story allows them to blame the failed war on Trump). And Third because their utter lack of connection to how voters really feel about their policies is by now so total that they think we have forgiven Bush too.

      1. D. Fuller

        The other explanation, that few want to talk about is… that Democratic leadership is competent, they do know what they are doing, and despite defeats… they are fine with that while being less happy about the outcome.

        The donors who back Democrats win less if Democrats lose. The donors who heavily back Democrats win more if Democrats win. There are many donors who back both as a hedge.

        It is less about the Democrats winning or losing, as long as the “1%” realize ROI. They win no matter who loses in political races.

        The whole political apparatus in The US is to cater to the wealthiest and most powerful, no matter which party controls government.

        The Status Quo must be preserved, within certain bounds. The public must be divided. The Progressive movement must be suppressed. Ross Perot is a fine example of how both parties will join forces in an effort to defeat any challenger or threat to the Status Quo. Bernie Sanders was perceived as a threat to the Status Quo with Democratic Party leaders prefering Republicans in power, to that of Progressives.

        The parties exist to fight over how best to cater to the Donor Class, divide the loot that is the American taxpayer, to preserve the Status Quo, preserve the appearance of two separate political parties, while making deals behind closed doors with each other.

        The two political parties perhaps are best described as a Central Party with internal rival groups vying for power – to affect outcomes, internally. With social policies – abortion and the like – being defining differences between rival groups within the Central Party.

        Stalin had that problem. While external appearances were of one party, rival groups constantly vied for power within the Communist Party. Stalin’s answer was for them to outright murder each other, thus preserving Stalin’s rule over The USSR.

        The current geriatric leadership of both parties here in The USSR reminds me of the late 1970’s and very early 1980’s, found in The USSR. Right prior to the decline and destruction of The USSR as a geopolitical power.

        1. eg

          It’s Team Pepsi vs Team Coke — whichever label you choose, it’s neoliberal cola in the bottle …

          1. JBird4049

            Hey, you’re comparing Coke to Pepsi? Horrors.

            Coke rules especially the stuff bottled in México as they use sugar not corn syrup as in the States. The two sweetners are not the same. Although I do miss King Cola. And Charlton Chews and Flicks.

            (Why yes, I was a sugar fiend as a child!)

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > But they will embrace them for three reasons

        Fourth, liberal Democrats are in fundamental agreement with Bush Republicans on foreign and domestic policy. Plenty of fights round the margins, but (1) More war? Yep, and (2) Screw the workers? You betcha.

    2. JBird4049

      The DC Democrats do not deserve to win. This is true. But in reality their tactics of Identity Politics, their feigned support of the poor, minorities, the working class, as well as shills for the business classes has worked quite well since at least the 1990s. What they are doing this year is just a continuation of their grift. They have been running it successfully with a nice profit for over thirty years. Why change?

      The Republicans do exactly the same except that they ostensibly support the (religious) social conservatives and the general business community instead of the international corporations. Like with the Democrats it’s baloney and they actually work for the monied class. It too has worked for decades.

      What really enrages me is that after the elections there is a real chance that nothing will have changed. The Democrats will have the House. The Republicans will have the Senate. Trump will still be President and the economy will still be collapsing because it prudent austerity for the bottom 90-95%. And ruling class will be happy with that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Obviously, the trope that liberal Democrats are ineffective has to go. When there is something they care about — gutting Sanders and erasing his policies — they are extremely effective.

        1. Rhondda

          “…the trope that liberal Democrats are ineffective has to go.” I agree but I’ll point out that destruction is much easier than construction.

  6. DJG

    The meltdown over the Harper’s letter, free speech for me and not for thee, with the pile-on of enforced conformity that is the U.S. workplace as a subtheme:

    Krystal and Saagar weigh in:

    I think that it may be most important to note that many of the people being characterized as “lefties” are hardly lefties. Careerist is the correct word.

    1. Pelham

      Lambert mentioned the vanishing of the social democratic tilt that briefly flourished a mere few months ago. To me, this is why. As someone else has said, this burst of cancel indignation and statue-tipping is not a revolution but a counterrevolution in which the Professional Managerial Class reasserts its authority in a tsunami of race-race-race fury that was only hinted at with Russia-Russia-Russia (though that, too, has resurfaced). “Careerist” would be another word describing the PMC.

      These High Wokenesses appear to despise in about equal measure the Trumpian oiks and Bernie bros. So where does that leave us? If Biden wins, we can expect extended war-making and the irrevocable elevation of the media/intelligence community complex, more trade deals and softening of our China stance to accelerate Flyover Man’s death spiral and cement a Democratic majority plus (to give due credit) better messaging on the COVID crisis, though no more than a dollop of funding to address the climate calamity.

      If Trump is re-elected, well, I can’t even imagine. Can anyone else?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > If Trump is re-elected, well, I can’t even imagine. Can anyone else?

        Personally, I want both parties disempowered as much as possible. If Biden wins, I want the Republicans to hold the Senate. If Trump wins, I want the Democrats to retain the House. This is all the more the case because the Democrats have assimilated the Bush Republicans, hence the warmongering will be more intense than it already is. To me, the absolute, over-riding requirement is to avoid war with a nuclear power, whether Russia or China, directly or by proxy. I can well imagine where that would lead, because our national security class is crazy as bughouse rats. Everything else can be left to rot away, the quicker the better.

        1. JBird4049

          Forty years ago anyone even hinting for a nuclear conflict would have been denounced. Today, well the Serious People think that the strenuous efforts to avoid it by all the great powers and their allies for over forty years was a mistake?


      2. ambrit

        One idea is that, if Trump is re-elected, Capitalism will finally destroy itself. Now that is a worthy outcome to aspire to.

        1. hunkerdown

          And, to read the #ADOS Twitter thread from a couple of days ago, that outcome is exactly why the vaguely specific #ADOS plan to create a new Black bourgeoisie via cash reparations seems to be thumped so hard by the usuals.

          “Debts must be repaid.” That is the talk of the house slave.

  7. KevinD

    “Trump drops out. Biden gets sick. Pence is fired. What if 2020 gets really crazy?”

    Seriously?, things are not insane enough we have to concoct future scenarios to add more gasoline to the bonfire. Not helping – but I guess politico has space to fill.

    1. Pelham

      I see your point and agree, it’s frightening to speculate along these lines. But I think the bonfire will be even more spectacular if Trump stays in and, somehow, gets re-elected.

      1. edmondo

        I have a hope: That Biden wins the election on November3rd and passes away between the election and the Electoral College meeting in December. The wheeling and dealing would be worth the price of admission.

        I think the EC should elect the dead guy. That’s the only way I can see America winning.

        1. Massinissa

          Wouldnt that just result in president Harris or who knows who? I almost wonder if we would be better off with Joe than Harris. I do know I prefer Trump to Pence. *shudders visibly*

          Though, all four options are rather horrid either way.

    2. Pookah Harvey

      My bet is that if polls get much worse Trump bails. He is enough of a narcissist that he is terrified of an electoral rout. He declares victory (I’ve made America Great Again) and passes the torch to the Republican party. Don, Melisa, Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, Jared, Tiffany and Barron all get multi-million publishing contracts for ghost written autobiographies. New Trump labeled hotels spring up in Moscow, Istanbul, and Sao Paulo. And a new TV series, Apprentice Dictators, becomes the new number one in ratings.

  8. marku52

    Saul Steinberg was a genius artist/cartoonist, with a healthy dose of the absurd. One of his books is called the “Labyrinth”. You’ll be giggling all the way through it. The bio page in the book has a picture of him with a paper bag over his head, with a cartoon face drawn on it.

  9. marku52

    “Progressives are warning Joe Biden about compromising with Republicans, saying they will hold him accountable if he moves too much toward the center if he is elected president. ”

    I’m sure Biden is quaking in his boots at this threat, or more likely, dribbling in his Depends.

  10. DJG

    The article about the Bethel, Ohio, BLM protest, the invasion (hard to put it otherwise), and the aftermath is well done, insightful, and detailed. I recommend it.

    It is important to note how well-meaning the speakers are, even those who didn’t attend the demonstration.

    (Meade is the typical small-town bully with typical delusions, though.)

    The Great Lakes States have a long and complicated radical tradition. Forty years of the deliberately mismanaged economy have soured people and that tradition. Note the reference to the Dollar Store Trifecta. That’s not a rarity. I have been in towns in Ohio like that. Not pretty. And of no interest to the looting and sacking bipartisan elites.

    1. L

      Unfortunately correct. It is a well written article and yet the signs of the looting are right there. You can describe a town like that or others I know as one that was looted by neoliberalism. And yet many of the people “defending” their town focus instead on Antifa from out of town as the crisis.

  11. Lambert Strether Post author

    I did something of a pantry clear-out on the Politics section, because there has been a lot more going on than I could write about; so please refresh your browsers!

  12. Off The Street

    Parlor game for Biden speeches.

    Step 1. Write Here’s the deal.
    Step 2. Hit Predictive Text several times.

    For other politicians, write different seeding text in Step 1.
    Speeches practically write themselves.

  13. neo-realist

    If Trump is re-elected, knowing his personality, his war against the left will go beyond culture: I expect stealth police state action against those who actively campaigned against Trump’s rule in the streets and the media, e.g an expanded and abused use of the espionage act of 1917 to criminalize speech against Trump and civil asset forfeiture to impoverish those opponents.

    1. hunkerdown

      No, he wouldn’t tear down the Democrat Party’s bench, and the IC wouldn’t cooperate if he tried. Two-party systems require support from both parties and the Interagency.

      Now, whether or not economic leftists get disappeared under color of partisan aggression or “antifa” with the full support of the Interagency is a question worth asking.

  14. allan

    Re: UPDATE “Popular Heartburn Drugs Linked to Heightened COVID-19 Risk”

    Weirdly, one of the older generation of heartburn drugs (Pepcid=famotidine) was reported to lower the risk.

    Perhaps there is some inadvertent data mining going on. In any sufficiently large data set, there will be patterns.

    1. ambrit

      That’s all right. What most sane people object to is after the reaping, some State sanctioned parasites come in and steal all you have stored up; not to distribute to the poor and hungry, but to sell to the highest bidders in the world marketplace.
      So, as is becoming clearer by the day, the sowers are resorting to a ‘scorched earth’ strategy. Destroy the surpluses before the parasites can get their mandibles on them. Let everyone starve equally.

  15. DJG

    Tammy Duckworth?

    As someone who lives in Illinois and who even voted for her, I can tell you that she is a cypher. No legislative record. The Democrats seem to think that being good at snark is an asset. It won’t be. She’s going to end up looking like the bitter kid trapped in the wheelchair.

    A week or so ago, there was a Frank Bruni column extolling her. Frank Bruni, who was present at the creation of Pete Buttigieg, a résumé in search of a candidacy, a man who wanted you to know that being gay should make no difference to you because being gay hadn’t affected his own tiresome ambitions.

        1. edmondo

          No Buttigieg vote = homophobic
          No Clinton vote = misogynist
          No Obama vote = racist

          The Dems have more IdPol candidates than I have votes.


          I’m gay and I wouldn’t vote for Mayo Pete if he paid me to.

    1. Louis Fyne

      I second. Tammy Duckworth is the perfect junior senator—-a great resume but an empty suit that’ll bend w/the political winds policy-wise, vote-wise.

      Any notion that Duckworth will put Team DNC into the White House and automatically bring over Michigan, Wisconsin, etc. into D column is a good political chuckle. imo. ymmv

  16. John Beech

    So the media’s portrayal of Trump has you trained to reflexively dismiss any possibility of voting for the guy. OK, but note; this is despite the fact he is pulling troops out of the middle east and western Europe (and by extension not getting us involved in further conflict). And that the guy is also busy keeping his promise of cutting Federal regulations. And despite the fact you decry American job losses and low wages but at the same time are somehow against his promise to build a wall. OK, I get it.

    In his stead, you’re persuaded to vote for Biden, a racist (the genuine item). Doubt me? Who eulogized Strom Thurmond? Who excoriated Anita Hill? Who was in favor of the Clinton-era crime bill that decided crack was worse than coke? After all, since crack was how blacks preferred to do their cocaine and this led to higher rates of incarceration for blacks! Add to it, Biden was also against desegregation (against school busing) so tagging him with the appellation of racist isn’t a stretch.

    Bear in mind Biden is never going to do anything about health care costs, and has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar (his family getting rich and his son especially off the Biden ‘name’), and sadly, wasn’t smart enough to couch his political speeches in his own words even if he could put together the thoughts (recall; he was drummed out of the race on the first of three tries for president due to charges of plagiarism).

    On top of it, there’s enough evidence he’s beginning to loose his marbles and he’s still your ‘choice’ because the guys who buy ink by the barrel have basically drummed it into you by dint of phony Russia, Russia, Russia stories, and via skimpy evidence of Russian-collusion (despite the facts the President has imposed tougher sanctions on the Russians than anybody before him).

    But you have free will. You’re planning on casting your vote for Biden because that’s the wise thing to do.


    1. marym

      “In the final months of Obama’s presidency, approximately 198,000 active duty U.S. military personnel were deployed overseas, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Manpower Data Center. By comparison, the most recent figure for the Trump administration is 174,000 active duty troops. But even that difference reflects an accounting trick. Beginning in December 2017, the Defense Department started excluding troops deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria from its official reports, citing a vague need to “protect our forces.” When the estimated troop levels for those three countries are added back in, the current total is around 194,000—roughly equivalent to the number Trump inherited.”


      Getting rich:

    2. a different chris

      >And that the guy is also busy keeping his promise of cutting Federal regulations.

      Yeah most of them specifically intended to help the people and the planet. Do you think “regulations” are by definition bad? Well, we’ll take down the speed limit signs and traffic lights and stop signs you and your loved ones pass in a normal day. Do you think that will work great?

      >n top of it, there’s enough evidence he’s beginning to loose his marbles

      Trump also is not the man he was 10 years ago. That man was a cheat and a quitter and a general rapscallion (and a Clinton donor!) but at least whilst not smart was clever. Not anymore.

      >You’re planning on casting your vote for Biden

      Actually I don’t expect to. Probably vote Green again to continue with my useless signalling. But you apparently know me better than I know myself?

  17. sam

    Re Thousands of mail-in ballots could be rejected over small errors: Could this be the start of a campaign to discourage signature checking of VBM ballots? With no live person appearing in public and casting a ballot, no numerical control of printed VBM ballots or other identification of blank ballots to specific voters (at least in my state of CA) and no limit on the number of VBM ballots a single individual can collect and deliver (again at least in CA), signature verification is the last and in many cases the only line of defense in confirming the authenticity of a VBM ballot. The fact that signature verification is inherently subjective and unreliable (banks long ago gave up comparing signatures on checks) might better be seen as an inherent defect in VBM rather than an obstacle to be brushed aside.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I personally couldn’t pass a signature check; my signature comes out differently each time, and it got worse after I reformed my handwriting to work with a tablet. So if there were only VBM, I would be disenfranchised.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Oh, even better; I was renewing my FL DL some years ago. They last for like a decade there. Couldn’t come close to my last signature. The clerk told me direct that if they don’t match, they wouldn’t be able to renew my license. She was deadly serious. I look the same as in the photo; How screwed up is that?

      2. ElectionJudgeDude

        This is simply not true (see for example Colorado). People legitimately greatly alter their signature (stroke, injury, etc.) and yet still get to vote in Colorado. First line is machine check, second line is human check (multi-party citizen compare), and third line is a letter to you asking to confirm your signature. Three checks to make sure your vote counts.

      3. boots

        Madison County KY voter here.

        My mail-in ballot was rejected. I signed the outer and inner envelopes, but they said they couldn’t match my signature to the one on file. There wasn’t a way to resolve the problem. I voted for Booker.

    2. ambrit

      All this would be rectified by making election day a national holiday, with pay, and mandating cash penalties for not voting. Beter yet, as a means of encouraging the “lower classes” to exert their franchise, make proof of voting entitle a citizen to a tax rebate, transformable into a refund cheque. If no tax is owed, make the ‘rebate’ a stipend.

      1. edmondo

        Making Voting Day a national holiday would decrease participation. What better way to spend a 4 day weekend than a jaunt down to Mexico or up to Canada? It’s the poor schmuck “essential workers” who would have to work 14 hour shifts on “Voting Day” so Sam Walton can make another billion. The lower classes don’t vote because there is zero reason to, neither party gives a rat’s butt about them.

        1. ambrit

          Make one of those four days a mandatory paid day off. Give the small businesses a tax rebate for the ‘Voting Wage.’
          Better yet, make all businesses close for the day. Big time fines for flouting the law. The definition of truly “essential” work can be thrashed out in the courts.
          Really, who can afford to “jaunt down to Mexico” in today’s precariat work world? If you are an “owner” and can do so, then you can afford to pay your workers for that extra ‘voting holiday.’

      2. Tom Doak

        But neither party wants everyone to vote, so your reasonable solution has no chance of happening, except by ballot initiative in each state

  18. Lambert Strether Post author


    On health care, the public option:

    Democrats believe[1] we need to protect, strengthen, and build upon our bedrock health care programs, including the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Affairs system[2]. Private insurers need real competition to ensure they have incentive to provide affordable, quality coverage to every American.

    To achieve that objective, we will give all Americans the choice to select a high-quality, affordable[3] public option through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. The public option will provide at least one plan choice without deductibles[4], will be administered by the traditional Medicare program, not private companies[5], and will cover all primary care without any copayments[6] and control costs for other treatments by negotiating prices with doctors and hospitals, just like Medicare does on behalf of older people. The lowest-income Americans not eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled in the public option at no cost to them[7], although they may choose to opt out at any time. Everyone will be eligible to choose the public option or another Affordable Care Act marketplace plan, even those who currently get insurance through their employers, because Democrats believe working people shouldn’t be locked in to expensive or insufficient health care plans when better options are available[8]. To help close the persistent racial gap in insurance rates, Democrats will expand funding for Affordable Care Act outreach and enrollment programs[9], so every American knows their options for securing quality, affordable coverage. …

    Democrats will also empower the states, as laboratories of democracy, to use Affordable Care Act innovation waivers to develop locally tailored approaches to health coverage, including by removing barriers to states that seek to experiment with statewide universal health care approaches.[10]

    Could be worse. I can see how the Sanders people tried to buff the turd. But clearly the liberal Democrats have managed to kick the single payer can down the road for at least the Biden presidency.


    [1] So anybody who supports #MedicareForAll is not a Democrat. Good to have that clarified.

    [2] Besides the private system, we have four separate Federal systems (five, actually, if you include the Indian Health Services, which the drafters seem to have forgotten). How can that make any sense?

    [3] “Affordable” means “not free at the point of care.” And what is the “affordable” price point? Will the public option compete with Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze plans?

    [4] And therefore with co-pays, networks, and other complex eligibility requirements.

    [5] Existing Medicare is infested with private company administration.

    [6] So non-primary care will have copays?

    [7] This reproduces the “on the bubble” situation for Medicaid eligibility.

    [8] But Democrats definitely do not believe that health care should be universally available, free at the point of care.

    [9] Didn’t work the last time.

    [10] Health care must be provided by the currency issuer, otherwise it will be cut during a downturn.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Liberal Democrats correctly believe their voters are functionally stupid. Works. Every. Time.

      Because look! Over there! Orange Satan!


    2. Otto

      6 federal healthcare systems, active DOD employees or military & dependents have their own system.

    3. allan

      “The lowest-income Americans not eligible for Medicaid [6.5]”

      [6.5] Because if it’s not means-tested, it’s off-brand for Team Dem.

    4. sam

      The key to M4A was always the fact that it would be an expansion of the existing program with the same premiums and co-pays, the same prohibition of balance billing and the same rules requiring providers to elect participation on an all or none basis (so any provider choosing not to participate would lose access to their existing Medicare patients). Weasel words like “affordable”, “primary care” and “eligible” make clear that’s not what this is. This sounds more like Buttigieg’s bafflegab or Kamala’s ‘Medicare for all insurance companies’.

      Where can I write to get a refund of the $ I contributed to the Sanders campaign?

    5. Amfortas the hippie

      and the GOP will still yell “Socialism!”.
      and turn off the lights

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Ha ha:

        Wait for the DNC to gut it all (and I don’t think Sanders is going to get the 1500 delegates he needs, so doubtless they’ll gut the Unity Reform Commission changes too).

        1. edmondo

          I am willing to bet you that all those super-delegates get a vote on the first ballot again starting in 2024. The front row kids came close to losing to the Commie this year. No sense letting that happen again. Besides, there is no reason to compromise with Bernie. He’s all in for “his friend” Joe.

          1. Jason Boxman

            But you assume anyone of us will be left alive by 2024? If liberals get their Russia confrontation, maybe not.

    1. allan

      Jamie Dimon can sleep well tonight.


      A new economic compact that provides access for all to reliable and affordable banking
      and financial services

      reliable = tax credits for bank IT infrastructure

      affordable = low-fee for those whose family income is less than the greater of (i) 125% of the mean income
      in their MSA , or (i) 75% of the median in their state, subject to modifications on worksheet 4.

    1. ambrit

      He’s the thin guy in the trench-coat and army boots lurking in the back of the crowd, holding the Molotov Cocktail.
      (Molotov Cocktail: Best consumed “shaken, not stirred,” and flambe.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      That does sound like good news that. Funny thing would be that by people wearing masks, that the virus is shut down in Arizona. At that point,the anti-mask people would pipe up and say, see? we knew that it would go away all by itself.

  19. TroyIA

    Thousands of Covid-19 survivors who suffered lung damage are a ticking time bomb and face a death rate worse than many cancers, top pulmonary doctor warns

    A doctor who has been studying lung disease for 15 years has warned of a looming health crisis that could overshadow the impact of COVID-19 in the long term.

    Dr. Sassan Rafi, who has carried out extensive research into crippling pulmonary fibrosis, one of the conditions now linked to acute coronavirus patients, claims thousands of Americans hospitalized with the virus face a ticking time bomb even after they recover from the virus.

    The research scientist says that those diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis after weeks on a ventilator face a shocking morbidity rate far worse than many cancers.

    . . .

    Dr. Rafi says that even if a patient survives hospitalization and survives having fluid in their lungs for so many weeks, that can still lead to lingering effects such as fibrosis.

    ‘So what we do is we scan the lungs and if we see fibrosis in the lungs that tells us that their lives may not come back. That’s the point of no return,’ he said.

    ‘It’s a progressive disease, meaning you may be feeling okay, but the fibrosis keeps getting worse and worse and that’s one area, no one is addressing.’

    The doctor says some patients may have to be dependent on a ventilator for the rest of their lives, while others may need a lung transplant.

    1. martell

      Another article on Covid full of modal verbs like ‘could’ and ‘might’ and the always helpfully vague ‘can.’ And it’s yet another article pretty much devoid of relevant numbers, those numbers being the ones needed to assess risk or estimate cost. But there is something new here: the good doctors have a pharmaceutical company called Upright that’s developing a “wonder drug” (and, yes, that’s a quote) to deal with the problem. They’re raising money for this noble cause as we speak (which seems a lot like seeking investors). I always like reading stories about the great people in the pharmaceutical industry and their countless good deeds. It’s inspirational, really. Unfortunately, bias (financial self-interest in this case) tends to undermine appeals to authority. What I mean to say is that financial incentives make the doctors’ testimony on the danger in this case less than credible.

      1. JBird4049

        I would not be surprised if it is an exaggerated fear, but pulmonary fibrosis is an awful disease. Any possibility that COVID19 and ventilators together can cause it needs to be investigated. Nothing like seeing someone you know with their good full time buddy Mr. Oxygen Bottle.

  20. Amfortas the hippie

    jungle drums in teacher circles in texas have been rumbling

    then this was on the mid-day austin tv news:
    (i hope that’s the right one…said they were talking about just staying home regardless of what the government says.)
    tv lady couldn’t bring herself to say “strike”.
    it’s verboten:https://tcta.org/node/14745-what_happens_if_texas_teachers_strike

    still…that it’s being talked about in Texas…even way out here in the sticks Texas…is pretty remarkable.
    wife(Spanish.ESL)was on the phone with colleagues all afternoon

    1. Daryl

      TEA, of course, will continue to work remotely themselves while sending teachers into the coronavirus incubators, I mean schools. The “precautions” they’ve listed are a joke.

      If there is one positive note in all this, it has shown the power of a strike. I hope they strike and I wish them best of luck.

  21. Mammoth Jackstock

    The most evolutionary useful idea to remember about Kreplach, or anything else, Freud thought, are warnings, things to avoid, which will arouse our senses to avoid danger and experience pleasure. Under what conditions will the appearance of Kreplach and Kreplach-shaped things precede species death? Is this a representation of death: doughy, testicular, pouches, formerly attached to some schmo, now-dybbuk? Reminding a child of wicked battery right in the genetic temple, the kitchen is the military industrial complex of the suburban home where we get excited watching the assembly of our own death instruments.

    As a primate species we tell ourselves about neoliberalism, a greedy other, and Bernie Sanders. The white hats become the black hats; the black hats become the white hats. But like inside the Kreplach, Pierogi, and Ravioli reiterations, our true nature is carefully concealed.

    1. hunkerdown

      Can you pick one screen name for your obscurantist pro-neoliberal yammerings and stick with it please, chu teh, Misty, Jodorowsky, whatever.

      1. Yves Smith

        Yes, the use of multiple handles by the same person is “sock puppeting” and a violation of our written Site policies. That means it is grounds for blacklisting.

      2. integer

        The commenter in question has used at least two other usernames. Unfortunately my comment that named them went into spam. In any case, I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed this.

        1. ambrit

          I personally noticed the barely hidden sense of condescension in this “person’s” obfuscatory ramblings. I was wondering recently if a Hasbara “shop” had taken up commenting here.

          1. integer

            Whoever it is, they are very well-versed in the minutiae of all the anti-Russia talking points.

          2. hunkerdown

            They even followed that Mirowski post over to youtube and posted a comment there with one of their past names from here and/or MoA, in the same Droopy Dog style, with the usual and expected “we use the market so everyone can be satisfied” bullshit.

            I’m not going to do it, but I hope they get doxxed, right down to the sex pics with Mises Institute higher-ups and Ghislane’s girls that are on every neoliberal’s phone. (Not really, but it is never wrong to lie about people whose ideology includes interfering with others’ cognition.)

            1. ambrit

              Good idea! The Big Lie is a perfectly appropriate tool to use against the neo-liberal camp. It sort of goes with the territory.

    2. Matthew G. Saroff

      Re: the kreplach story: The writer you need isn’t William Burrows, it’s Hunter Thompson.

    1. ambrit

      This is a new twist on an old trope; “Democracy dies live on TV.”
      Will discrete Zoom channels fill the function of the old “Smokey back Rooms,” (where all the ‘deals’ are made?) [‘Securing’ those Zoom channels will be a Cryptographer’s dream job.]

  22. John Anthony La Pietra

    Zeke Emanuel isn’t just any old Democrat, BTW. Just look at his bio. Maybe you’ve heard of his brother Rahm. . . .

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