2:00PM Water Cooler 8/14/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Here are the four United States regions, plus US data.

Since Georgia has been in the news, I thought I’d look at Georgia and its surrounding state: Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina:

And here are the same states, adjusted for population:

(I adjusted for population to see if there was something uniquely bad about Georgia’s political economy. It does not seem so. Florida, on the other hand…

This chart also includes positivity, starting with the highest (worst): Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. None beat the WHO standard of 5%, although North Carolina, at 6.25%, approaches it.






“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. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 10: Still no changes.

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

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!


Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden: For The Next 3 Months, All Americans Should Wear A Mask When Outside” [NPR]. Biden: “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum.[1] Every governor should mandate mandatory mask-wearing.[2]” • [1] Biden’s advice is outright wrong, in fact dangerous, because it takes no account of aerosol transmission indoors (see the Skagit Valley choir superspreading event, and Japan’s Three C’s). Advising against wearing a mask in a closed space, especially when crowded and in close contact, is actively dangerous. Biden’s pronouncement augers extremely poorly for a competent response to Covid from a Biden Administration. Either Biden’s advisors (e.g., Ronald Klain) aren’t, er, listening to the science, or Biden isn’t listening to them. [2] Biden advocates simple federalism (in essence, subsidiarity) but in no way different from what Trump is doing.

Biden (D)(2): “‘The President Was Not Encouraging’: What Obama Really Thought About Biden” [Politico]. “But behind all the BFF bonhomie is a much more complicated story—one fueled by the misgivings the 44th president had about the would-be 46th, the deep hurt still felt among Biden’s allies over how Obama embraced Hillary Clinton as his successor, and a powerful sense of pride that is driving Biden to prove that the former president and many of his aides underestimated the very real strengths of his partner.” • A bit soap opera-esque, but interesting.

Biden (D)(3): “The Kamala Harris identity debate shows how America still struggles to talk about multiracial people” [Vox]. “For multiracial people, defining their racial identity in America is a complex and fraught issue. And what the energy expended on debating Harris’s identity tells us is that we still have a long way to go when it comes to talking about multiracial people in America.” • Sure, whatever. The issue isn’t America, or even Harris, does or does not do. The issue is what the Democrat Party does. In the argot of the political class — party apparatchiks, the press, public intellectuals, the NGOs — identities are mutually exclusive siloes. I mean, the slogan is “Black Lives Matter.” It isn’t “People of Color Matter,” let alone “Black and/or South Asian Lives Matter.” The first slogan goes down with the political class so well because it dovetails neatly with their worldview. Note this is a semantic argument purely; personally, I’m happy that Harris has a cosmopolitan ancestry; it’s rich and interesting. But that’s not how Democrat identity politics is framed. So it’s interesting to watch them try to wriggle out of the ideological trap they built for themselves and then happily climbed into.

Biden (D)(4): “Yes, Kamala Harris Is Eligible For Vice President” [Jonathan Turley]. “Birthright citizenship has been a subject of debate from the time that the 14th Amendment was adopted. There are arguments on both sides of the currently accepted broad interpretation of the language. Many of our closest allies reject the concept of birthright citizenship. However, the case law is strongly supports Harris. In 1898, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the court found that the child of Chinese immigrants was still a citizen under the 14th Amendment because he was born on U.S. territory. His parents were here legally as permanent residents. Moreover, the language of the 14th Amendment does not clearly support the exclusions raised by Eastman. It states ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.’ Most reading that language have concluded that it allows for birthright citizenship for anyone ‘born … in the United States.’ The 14th Amendment starts and ends as a model of clarity, stating that ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States” are “citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.’ But between those two phrases, Congress inserted the words ‘and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’ Those six words have perplexed scholars for 150 years. The dominant view of law professors is the line as a whole guarantees that anyone born within the United States becomes an American citizen. But some believe that the caveat means you must be here in a legal status, that if you are not a American citizen, then you are a legal resident.

Biden (D)(5): “Some Questions for Kamala Harris About Eligibility” [John Eastman, Newsweek]. “The language of Article II is that one must be a natural-born citizen. The original Constitution did not define citizenship, but the 14th Amendment does—and it provides that ‘all persons born…in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.’ Those who claim that birth alone is sufficient overlook the second phrase. The person must also be ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the United States, and that meant subject to the complete jurisdiction, not merely a partial jurisdiction such as that which applies to anyone temporarily sojourning in the United States (whether lawfully or unlawfully).” • I think anybody who’s stayed in a foreign country for any length of time, especially as a resident or expat, knows that they are “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” and it doesn’t matter much whether it’s partial or not. Can the foreign country put you in jail? Tax you? Heck, yeah! Eastman’s strained reading defies common sense.

Biden (D)(6): “What Kamala Harris Means For Joe Biden’s Campaign—and the Democratic Party’s Future” [Time]. “[Biden] all but anointed an heir, positioning Harris as the future standard bearer of a party in transition…. More than most would-be presidents, Biden was choosing not just a governing partner, but the woman who would lead the Democratic Party into the future.” • In other words, machine politics? The Chicago Way?

Biden (D)(7): “Left wing rankled by choice of Harris for VP” [Politico]. “Already, Harris is being described by pundits as the frontrunner in the next open Democratic primary, whether it’s in 2024 or 2028. Progressives said that means they could be locked out of the White House for more than a decade. “‘We might be looking at 12 years of neoliberal power at the top of the Democratic Party because of the specter of a very young and ambitious — as most politicians are — person on the ticket,’ said Norman Solomon, co-founder of the left-wing group RootsAction.org. ‘That’s a real fear.'”

Biden (D)(7): “Biden Campaign Gets Kamala Harris Quickly Up To Speed On Candidate’s Plans For Presidential Funeral Service” [The Onion]. “‘Here are the Bible verses I want to have read, along with a seating chart. We’re still hashing out the list of speakers, but we’ll definitely have you, Barack, and Jill offer remarks, and then we’ll end the ceremony with the orchestra playing ‘Danny Boy.'”

Biden (D)(8): “Biden Vows To Return Nation To Era When Press Didn’t Bother Reporting On President’s Scandals” [Babylon Bee].

Sanders (D)(1):

“Health care for all”:

How long did it take for Kamala to walk that back?

Sanders (D)(2):

Trump (R)(1): “It’s Way Too Soon To Count Trump Out” [FiveThirtyEight]. “Nor has it been that uncommon, historically, for polls to shift fairly radically from mid-August until Election Day. Furthermore, there are some reasons to think the election will tighten, and President Trump is likely to have an advantage in a close election because of the Electoral College.” • Many imponderables, including (as I have been saying) a (colorable) vaccine, an economic rebound, and (as we have seen today with the UAE/Israel deal) a foreign policy triumph. And then, of course, shenanigans. 81 days is a long time in politics!

Trump (R)(2): “Trump: ‘A lot of people’ think Edward Snowden ‘not being treated fairly'” [New York Post]. “President Trump polled his aides on Thursday about whether he should let anti-surveillance whistleblower and leaker Edward Snowden return to the US from Russia without going to prison, saying he was open to it. ‘There are a lot of people that think that he is not being treated fairly. I mean, I hear that,’ Trump told The Post in an exclusive interview in the Oval Office, before soliciting views from his staff.”

Trump (R)(3): “Trump’s Surrogates Are Campaigning Across The US In Luxury Buses In A Bid For Suburban Women” [Buzzfeed]. “Goodbye, stadium-sized rallies (for now). There’s a pandemic, and the president just isn’t into half-filled venues where people are forced to social-distance because of the coronavirus…. Instead, the president’s son Eric Trump and his daughter-in-law Lara Trump are leading their own crusade of surrogates on nationwide tours in big luxury buses — one red, the other pink…. The event brought more than 100 people to Salfordville, a small township in southeast Pennsylvania where ‘nothing ever happens,’ according to Greg Wagner, a Trump supporter who lives nearby and told BuzzFeed News, ‘This is the biggest thing ever.'” • Oddly, this reminds me very much of the retooled Clinton campaign in 2008 (after Obama was said to have wrapped it up with early wins). The Clintons (both of them) barnstormed small venues with SMS-driven tech (working class people have complex schedules). They ended up winning the popular vote, albeit by a small margin. There are votes in towns where “nothing ever happens.”

West (I)(1): “Why Kanye’s Presidential Platform Is Good News” [The American Conservative]. “By contrast, West’s platform is clear, concise, and meant to be read—or, who knows, maybe rapped. In fact, because it’s so brief, in its ten, er, commandments, it’s worth seeing in its entirety. And as we can see, in addition to mostly center-right prescriptions about personal values and societal verities—each one anchored in a Bible verse—the West platform includes, in points 4 and 8, very specific adjurations against “foreign quagmires” and military ‘aggression.’… The point here is not to argue that West should be president. After all, a man who calls his political party “The Birthday Party” might be judged as lacking, shall we say, the requisite seriousness for the post…. Yet if we ease up on the political calculations, we might step back and admire the cultural and social artistry of West, a man who pledges a kinder and gentler America… He’s a man, also, who speaks in language that crosses racial lines—indeed, a man whose very own family (he is married to Kim Kardashian) transcends racial categories.”

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PA: “Trump-Appointed Judge Demands Evidence of Mail-in Voting Fraud” [Bloomberg]. “The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee sued Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and local election boards on June 29 over their plan for mail-in balloting for the November 3 elections. Trump’s team claimed the plan ‘provides fraudsters an easy opportunity to engage in ballot harvesting, manipulate or destroy ballots, manufacture duplicitous votes, and sow chaos.’ U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan in Pittsburgh on Thursday asked the campaign to put forward previous examples of such fraud. ‘Plaintiffs shall produce such evidence in their possession, and if they have none, state as much,’ said Ranjan, who took his seat on the bench in August 2019. He gave the campaign until Friday.”

PA: “USPS says Pennsylvania mail ballots may not be delivered on time, and state warns of ‘overwhelming’ risk to voters” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “The U.S. Postal Service has warned Pennsylvania that some mail ballots might not be delivered on time because the state’s deadlines are too tight for its ‘delivery standards,’ prompting election officials to ask the state Supreme Court to extend the deadlines to avoid disenfranchising voters. The warning came in a July 29 letter from Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president of the Postal Service, to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, whose department oversees elections. That letter was made public late Thursday in a filing her Department of State submitted to the Supreme Court, asking it to order that mail ballots be counted as long as they are received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election date.”


“Ex-FBI lawyer, accused of falsifying document in probe of Trump’s campaign, to plead guilty” [WaPo]. “A former FBI lawyer has agreed to plead guilty to altering an email that helped justify surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser as part of the 2016 investigation into Russian interference in the election, according to his lawyer and a person familiar with the matter. Kevin Clinesmith, who worked in the FBI general counsel’s office, is expected to admit he doctored an email so it said that former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was not a source for the CIA, even though Page had had a relationship with the agency. Relying on what Clinesmith had said, the FBI ultimately did not disclose Page’s relationship with the CIA as it applied to renew a warrant to monitor him as a possible agent of a foreign power. The case is the first against someone involved in the Russia probe brought by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was specially tapped by Attorney General William P. Barr to broadly look into how the FBI handled that matter.” • This time we’ve got him! Oh, wait…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“He set out to mobilize Latino voters. Then the virus hit” [Associated Press]. Across the U.S., the coronavirus outbreak is disrupting Latinos’ long and difficult climb up the political ladder. The disease has disproportionately sickened Latinos, destabilized communities and impeded voter registration ahead of the November presidential election. In North Carolina, only 5,000 Latinos have been added to the voter rolls since mid-March, less than half the number added during the same period four years ago. The virus and the economic fallout it triggered is crashing down on Latinos just as they hit an electoral milestone. For the first time, there will be more Latinos eligible to vote than any other minority group — 32 million, the Pew Research Center projects.”

“Morse cites link between allegations, state party volunteer” [Berkshire Eagle]. “‘I think evidence will soon show that it was even an attorney for the Massachusetts Democratic Party that, in fact, drafted the email to me on [Aug. 6] that was then printed, word for word, in the Daily Collegian in the first place,’ Morse said in an interview with The Eagle’s editorial board Thursday…. In his interview, Morse said he believes the allegations put forward by the College Democrats, first published Aug. 7 in an unbylined story in the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, helped spur not only national media interest, but the largest single-day of fundraising in his candidacy. ‘We’ve had the best fundraising week of the entire campaign, since Friday. [Wednesday] alone, we raised $130,000 from over 3,000 individual contributions. In one day. Our previous high day was $27,000,’ Morse said.” • That the story was unbylined is a really interesting detail.

“Thomas Frank on Anti-Populism, Plus Biden’s Most-Stoned Moment Ever” (podcast) [Useful Idiots]. • Well worth a listen. Thomas Frank book tours are always exciting!

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“What Really Scares Voting Experts About the Postal Service” [The Atlantic]. “From a sheer numbers perspective, none of the experts I spoke with doubted that the Postal Service could handle a vote-by-mail election, even if every one of the nation’s more than 150 million registered voters stuck their ballot in a mailbox. As one noted to me, a presidential election might be a big deal, but in postal terms, it’s no Christmas. The Postal Service processes nearly 500 million pieces of mail every day, and it annually handles more than 3 billion pieces in the week before Christmas alone. “I don’t worry about their capacity,” Amber McReynolds, the former director of elections in Denver, who now runs the National Vote at Home Institute, a mail-balloting advocacy group, told me.” • However, capacity can be throttled, which is what DeJoy appears to be doing. Nevertheless, this can’t be a real problem, because otherwise Democrats would not have left on vacay without doing something about it. The article goes into a lot of detail and is well worth a read.

Saying the quiet part out loud:

“Election commission orders top voting machine vendor to correct misleading claims” [Politico]. “The federal Election Assistance Commission has rebuked the nation’s top voting-machine maker over marketing materials that the panel says deceptively implied the company’s voting machines are EAC-certified. The commission admonished Election Systems & Software over promotional literature and statements on its website that appear to assert, falsely, that voting machines the company sells with embedded modems have been sanctioned by the EAC under its testing and certification program…. This isn’t the first time ES&S has faced accusations of making fabricated or misleading assertions about its voting machines.ES&S will play a major role in the November election. The company has previously said that more than 33,000 DS200 optical scan machines with modems are in use in 11 states and the District of Columbia but has never identified which jurisdictions this includes beyond D.C.” • [puts head in hands].

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.

Manufacturing: “July 2020 Headline Industrial Production Improves But Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say seasonally adjusted Industrial Production (IP) improved month-over-month – but remains deep in contraction year-over-year. Our analysis shows the three-month rolling average improved.”

Productivity: “2Q2020 Preliminary Headline Productivity Significantly Improved” [Econintersect]. But: “Doing a productivity analysis during a major recession is a waste of time as productivity should crater especially since the government has paid business not to layoff staff.”

Consumer Sentiment: “Preliminary August 2020 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Marginally Improves” [Econintersect]. “Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments: Consumer sentiment remained largely unchanged in early August from the July reading (+0.3 points) or the April low (+1.0). Two significant changes since April have been that consumers have become more pessimistic about the five-year economic outlook (-18 points) and more optimistic about buying conditions (+21)…. he overall confidence in economic policies fell to the lowest level since Trump first entered office (see the chart). The policy gridlock has acted to increase uncertainty and heightened the need for precautionary funds to offset lapses in economic relief programs and to hedge against fears about the persistence and spread of the coronavirus as the school year gets underway. Bad economic times are anticipated to persist not only during the year ahead, but the majority of consumers expect no return to a period of uninterrupted growth over the next five years.” • So long, aggregate demand…

Consumer Confidence: “Analysis: Impact of Executive Orders on Consumer Confidence Unlikely to Boost Spending” [Morning Consult]. “Consumer confidence remains steady in the wake of stalled negotiations in Congress and executive orders from the White House. Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment reads 86.71 as of Wednesday, unchanged from 30 days prior. The relative stability of consumer confidence in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive orders indicates that the economic impact of the funds will be proportionate to the total value of the government spending, without an additional boost from increased consumer confidence. The same was essentially true when the CARES Act was signed into law. Differences between consumer and investor confidence are likely to persist given their different reactions to the spread of the coronavirus, meaning that recent gains in the stock market are unlikely to translate into increases in consumer confidence or spending as they did prior to the onset of the pandemic.”

Inventories: “June 2020 Business Inventories Decline Again” [Econintersect]. “Headlines say final business sales data (retail plus wholesale plus manufacturing) improved month-over-month. The rolling averages improved. Inventories declined but remain somewhat elevated…. This is a better report than the previous month. This is a strange recession where normally inventories rise – but the coronavirus recession caused inventories to fall. Our primary monitoring tool – the 3-month rolling averages for sales – improved.”

Leading Indicators: “07 August 2020 ECRI’s WLI Improvement Continues But Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “ECRI’s WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward improved but remains in contraction.”

Leading Indicators: “Third Quarter 2020 Survey of Professional Forecasters Predict Higher Growth in the Current Quarter, Followed by Recovery” [Econintersect]. “The outlook for the U.S. economy in the current quarter looks brighter now than it did three months ago, according to 35 forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The forecasters predict the economy will expand at an annual rate of 19.1 percent this quarter, much stronger than the prediction of 10.6 percent from the last survey. On an annual-average over annual-average basis, the forecasters expect real GDP to decrease 5.2 percent this year but to recover and grow at an annual rate of between 2.2 percent to 3.5 percent over each of the following three years.” • 19.1% would certainly gave Trump a bit of a tailwind. But is it realistic, if a school re-opening debacle takes place?

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Commodities: “‘Stranded Assets’ Risk Rising With Climate Action and $40 Oil” [Bloomberg]. “When you see a half-constructed building that’s been abandoned, it’s a sign the project no longer made economic sense. There’s an argument that trillions of dollars’ worth of investments to tap new supplies of oil and gas might suffer the same fate, leaving deposits of oil in the ground and turning them into what are known as “stranded assets.” What had seemed like an abstract debate has been made very real by the sharp drop in oil prices in 2020, leading some major companies to shift plans away from fields where drilling is costlier or whose deposits are more carbon intensive.” • That’s a damn shame.

Commodities: “U.S. energy supply chains may be in for more upheaval as oil refiners reconsider the direction of their business. Phillips 66 plans to transform a San Francisco-area oil refinery into a plant that produces a biofuel known as renewable diesel… one of several such projects in the pipeline as big U.S. refiners weigh their operations against reduced demand for fossil fuels and tightening environmental regulations” [Wall Street Journal]. “Many expect global oil consumption to remain depressed for years, but the appetite for renewable fuel is likely to grow amid laws aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One firm projects that U.S. renewable-diesel consumption will roughly double over the next decade to around 1.1 billion gallons a year.”

Shipping: “Commentary: 20-foot container crunch may impact harvests” [American Shipper]. “The U.S. agriculture industry has faced numerous headwinds during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with harvests just around the corner, there is a trend developing that could impact the availability of the industry’s desired 20-foot containers…. Containership lines’ blank sailings over the past few months sparked a strategy for importers to favor 40-foot containers instead of 20-foot boxes. This was an effort to import as much product as possible given the limited shipping space available. As result, the supply of 20-foot containers has been constrained. Therefore, this has increased the price of 20-foot equipment, making it even less desirable to use. As a result, there is fear of an impending 20-foot container shortage…. Agriculture products like soybeans on the other hand, are heavier, of lower value, and have tighter margins. They also require blocking structures to secure the load from shifting during transit. These structures are heavy and add to a load’s overall weight. With weight limits applied to trucks, using a 40-foot container might not make financial sense for the agricultural exporter. It all depends on the shipping rate.”

Apparel: “Apparel companies are undertaking a balancing act with their big stockpiles of unsold goods. Merchants from elite fashion houses to mass-market chains are saddled with an inventory glut following monthslong closures during the pandemic… and now they are looking for ways to get rid of the excess without angering waste-conscious consumers or harming their brands. ” [Wall Street Journal]. “In France, the government this year even barred companies from destroying unsold, usable goods. The European Union has proposed a similar ban for the entire 27-nation bloc. That has left companies with more clothing, and many are turning to charities as an inventory outlet. U.S. nonprofit Good360 expects more than $660 million in donations this year, double what it received last year.”

Tech: “Google tests new profile cards that let you add yourself to search results” [The Verge]. “Google is testing a new user-created public profile system called “people cards,” which will let users create their own profile (including their job, links to their social media platforms, a brief bio, and more) that will appear directly in Google search results. It’s similar to how celebrities and businesses already appear. The new cards are only being tested in India in English to start.” • Here am I! Come get me!

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73 Greed (previous close: 72 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 72 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 14 at 12:19pm. Falling back to mere Greed from Extreme Greed.

Health Care

“How The Pandemic Humiliated Critics Of Medicare for All” [Walker Bragman, Too Much Information]. “When the novel coronavirus first arrived in the United States, it spurred on remarkable message discipline among America’s political class. The consensus that emerged on both sides of the aisle dictated that no matter what happened, Americans ought to be glad they do not live in a country with socialized medicine…. [N]ow, just a few months later, these arguments completely and utterly fail. New infections are still surging in the U.S. while countries with national health care programs have long since gotten a handle on the virus. On Tuesday, the U.S. reported more new COVID cases in a single day than Italy, France, and the U.K. reported last month combined, and roughly 45 percent of their total deaths.” • Not to mention Taiwan (single payer), South Korea (universal, partial single payer), Vietnam (socialist), and Thailand (universal, partial single payer).

“The Plan That Could Give Us Our Lives Back” [The Atlantic]. “Michael mina is a professor of epidemiology at Harvard, where he studies the diagnostic testing of infectious diseases. He has watched, with disgust and disbelief, as the United States has struggled for months to obtain enough tests to fight the coronavirus. In January, he assured a newspaper reporter that he had “absolute faith” in the ability of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the virus. By early March, that conviction was in crisis. “The incompetence has really exceeded what anyone would expect,” he told The New York Times. His astonishment has only intensified since. Many Americans may understand that testing has failed in this country—that it has been inadequate, in one form or another, since February. What they may not understand is that it is failing, now. In each of the past two weeks, and for the first time since the pandemic began, the country performed fewer COVID-19 tests than it did in the week prior. The system is deteriorating…. Why has testing failed so completely? By the end of March, Mina had identified a culprit: ‘There’s little ability for a central command unit to pool all the resources from around the country,’ he said at a Harvard event. ‘We have no way to centralize things in this country short of declaring martial law.'” • I can imagine the screaming if Trump did that! The solution: Rapid testing. The whole article is well worth a read!

I should react to this in horror:

But I would kinda like a mask like that. (In fact, I’m imagining a clear plastic, astronaut-style helmet!)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America” [Los Angeles Times]. “About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers. That makes them 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops.”

The Biosphere


“Apple just kicked Fortnite off the App Store” [The Verge]. “Apple has removed Epic Games’ battle royale game Fortnite from the App Store after the developer on Thursday implemented its own in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s standard 30 percent fee. The decision marks a significant escalation in the feud between Epic and one of the world’s most dominant mobile software marketplaces. It also comes at an especially fraught time for Apple as the iPhone maker navigates antitrust concerns over its operation of the App Store and the rules it imposes on certain developers.Following the removal, Epic revealed a carefully calculated series of responses, including an antitrust lawsuit seeking to establish Apple’s App Store as a monopoly and a protest video that aired on YouTube and within Fortnite itself mocking the iPhone maker’s iconic ‘1984’ ad and calling on gaming fans to #FreeFortnite by supporting its fight against Apple.”

Class Warfare

Not bugs. Features:

Same as it ever was:

News of the Wired

“Buddhist food: how the healthy, vegetarian dishes full of seasonal ingredients can imitate meat with funguses and plants” [South China Morning Post]. “‘Customers – most of them middle aged or seniors – come in early. “In Buddhism, we have a term called ‘chi wu’, mandating ‘no eating after lunch’,’ Hui says. He explains that after 17 to 19 hours of fasting from noon to the dawn of the next day, it’s believed the practitioner’s mind, as well as palate, gets cleansed and purified, which is deemed to be a crucial step in the path to achieving spiritual perfection. With benevolence and compassion at the heart of Buddhism, fasting is considered the only way to viscerally feel the pain and agony of the starved and poor. While this was a strict rule that all Buddhists adhered to in the past, it is changing as peoples’ lifestyles evolve. Buddhism holds that nothing on Earth is fixed, and that nature should be allowed to take its course. While most Buddhist followers today eat dinner, they tend to have an early and light one, Hui says.” • My eating schedule is 180° different. Perhaps I should change!

Not Frank Gehry:

“Why Our Pets Have Become Super Needy During the Pandemic” [Bloomberg]. “Problem No. 1: Your pet is overstimulated. ‘Owners never leave,’ Miller says. ‘The dog isn’t given any downtime. Their routine, for years, was to relax and hang out a lot.’ Overstimulation can be particularly acute if children are involved. And not only with dogs—cats suffer, too. ‘They’re like, ‘How come you’re invading my space all day? You’re supposed to be gone.'”

“Web browsers need to stop” [Drew DeVault]. “Enough is enough. The web and web browsers have become Lovecraftian horrors of an unprecedented scale. They’ve long since left ‘scope creep’ territory and entered ‘oh my god please just stop’ territory, and are trucking on through to hitherto unexplored degrees of obscene scope. And we don’t want what they’re selling. Google pitches garbage like AMP and pushing dubious half-assed specs like Web Components. Mozilla just fired everyone relevant to focus on crap no one asked for like Pocket, and fad nonsense like a paid VPN service and virtual reality tech. [2020-08-14: It has been pointed out that the VR team was also fired.] Microsoft gave up entirely. Mozilla just hammered the last few nails into their casket. Safari is a joke. Google is all that’s left, and they’re not a good steward of the open web. The browsers are drowning under their own scope. The web is dead. I call for an immediate and indefinite suspension of the addition of new developer-facing APIs to web browsers. Browser vendors need to start thinking about reducing scope and cutting features.” • Obviously, everybody should use apps, and URLs should be completely hidden away.

“The Linux-based PinePhone is the most interesting smartphone I’ve tried in years” [Android Police]. • A phone with hardware you can replace (batteries, e.g.) and open source software (17 flavors of Linux). Also, on this phone, when you turn something off, you can be sure it’s actually off:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

TH: “This image doesn’t quite capture it. The brim of the road lined with these tiny lavender flowers when I didn’t have an opportunity to stop was quite pretty.” I wish I’d had time to work on this in LightRoom or PhotoShop….

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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. DonCoyote

    Q: What do we want? A: No fundamental change!
    Q: When do we want it? A: Forever!


    1. Sheldon

      Protest chant revisited:

      “The People divided
      will never be united”

      The Kamaleon,

      Biden her time, then fractionally reserving America for oligarchy.

    2. S.V. Dáte

      I haven’t read that and i doubt it’s true. What about trump, he wants to keep Amerika great so that implies, Doing something – like starting the apocalypse. Are you a trump supporter? I for one would like to see a show of hands, is in, is there even one person in support of Biden?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        There are probably 3 or 4 answers to that. Number 1. Do I support the major policies that The Biden is championing? That’s impossible to answer since he has not articulated any. Number 2. Do I support any of the previous actions The Biden has taken in his 40 years in office? From foreign policy to Social Security to crime to race to health care to finance, the answer is No. Number 3. Do I support the man’s mental acuity, powers of analysis, wisdom, stamina, and overall fitness for the hardest job in the world? No. And Number 4. Do I support the actions of the party he is in to advance the interests of Labor as a counterweight to the enormous power of Capital and to slow the transfer of all of the nation’s wealth to the country’s aristocracy? No. I suppose that leaves Number 5, Do I support the sheer perverse entertainment value of watching a dementia-addled class dunce attempting to string together homilies, non sequiturs, platitudes, slogans, and gaffes, all through the gauntlet of national all-encompassing IdPol purity struggle sessions, to make it appear that the most powerful nation on Earth has a functioning leader? Definitely!

        1. Robert Aber

          Forgive, “OpenThe PodBayDoorsHal,” I made minor changes to your post then added an old Rolling Stones standard. I’d hoped to make it a Declaration of Independence by We, The Unwashed. But I’m deep into Year 82 and have learned never predict any damn thing the hard way. Cheers an’ ‘at!


    3. Pelham

      So if we vote Biden/Harris in, the Democrat Party is doomed to 4 to 12 years of locked-in neoliberalism. And the same for the country if Harris retains the White House.

      Wouldn’t this be a pretty good argument for progressives and populists of all stripes to vote for Trump as the only possible way to wrest the Democrat Party from neolib clutches? If progressives feel they’re marginalized now (as they most certainly are), imagine what’s in store if the neolibs win, are roundly vindicated and begin raking in more dough than ever.

      I know, I know, there’s the idea that the left can begin hammering away on Biden/Harris once they’re safely in office. Utter nonsense! They’ll have less reason than ever to listen. On a national scale, anyway, the left would remain a vibrant but remote and ineffectual presence.

      The only hope and the first order of business should be to definitively give neoliberalism the heave-ho.

      1. jsn

        I think the next few months promise to be really interesting.

        I’d like to figure out an effective “vote against the incumbent” meme to deploy generally. If it caught on it would immediately make “safe” seats unsafe.

        In any case, the depth of betrayal of the electorate in both parties at this point is so extreme, with the exception of individual legislators who you actively support, everyone should vote against their incumbent regardless of anything else. I can be convinced I’m wrong, but this seems to be the only active way to put a sharper point on the withdrawal of the consent of the governed.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Maybe something like the flipside of dancing with the one that brought you? (Something to get around the recollected finding that one’s own representative is just about always much more popular than the legislature/government as a whole. . . .)

      2. anon in so cal

        >”Starting the apocalypse”

        Obama – Biden started 7 regime change wars in 8 years. A conservative estimate is 2 million lives lost. Is Trump the first president not to start a war in the first term since Reagan? IDK

        >Otherwise, Kamala Harris’ base parties on in Silicon Valley. They get 15-minute Covid-19 tests….


        >”Silicon Valley is happy about seeing a familiar face. Ms. Harris got her start in the Bay Area, and has been a fixture in fund-raising circles there for decades. Tech executives appear excited by her place on the ticket and reassured by her circumspect stance on things like breaking up the biggest tech companies.”


        1. Sheldon

          Kamala Harris voted for Trump’s military adventures and refused to cut the defense budget by ten percent. Saudi Arabia is building a uranium enrichment plant, part of developing nuclear weapons, along with their ally, Israel.

          Biden his time in his basement campaign strategy is alive and well, as the campaign works to preserve his poll numbers and to focus as much attention as possible on the shiny young Kamaleon, and to most importantly,
          limit his exposure to the media as much as possible.

          For the THIRD day in a row, press are shuffled out of a Biden-Harris event without the chance to ask questions.

          It’s not controversial to expect and demand presidential candidates answer unscripted questions from the press and everyday Americans. pic.twitter.com/zkZbQklcTn
          — Ken Farnaso (@KLF) August 14, 2020


          HotFlash, if you cannot stomach protest voting for Trump, to help build a better Democratic Party, consider voting Green, or American Independent Party, whatever. In states like California, it doesn’t matter, since the state will go for Biden.

          1. GettingTheBannedBack

            How deep are Joe’s links to China? He seems to be following their playbook, Biden and Hiden

      3. HotFlash

        Indeed. I *might* be tempted to vote for the lesser evil, but I cannot determine which one it is.

      4. km

        Always screw over anyone who betrays you, every chance you get.

        A willingness to sell out for symbolic victories and lesser evils, a willingness to crawl back and forgive those who have wronged them, is what has brought progressives to their present low state.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Sadly, merely voting against such people is not much in the way of betrayal. I suppose it’s axiomatic that those without power can do little to perturb those with power. Nonetheless, might as well use your one arrow as best you can.

      5. dcblogger

        I don’t think so. When Biden takes office it will be quickly clear that he is not going to fix any of our problems.

        1. Sheldon

          He’s still working on Denti-Fix.

          He’s had 44 years in the senate and vice presidency to fix our problems, which are mostly of his own creation.

          Harris is a problem looking for a substitution.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > When Biden takes office it will be quickly clear that he is not going to fix any of our problems.

          I dunno. Back in 2008, the then-functional blogosphere spent a good six months fretting about whether Obama’s “heart was in the right place.” That’s when the meme — I can’t quite recall the exact wording* — “He’s only been President ___ months” was invented by his defenders. When the blank was filled in with “1,” no problemo, but then came 6 and then 9 it was quietly dropped.

          NOTE * Which I can’t find on Eschaton, sadly.

      6. Chris

        Given so many in the DNC have said they don’t need the left you’d think this would be the best opportunity to vote for a third party and show the establishment what happens when people reject TINA.

      7. Phil in KC

        Ye Gods, what a choice between a bleak authoritarianism and the usual stuff from the last four decades. Can no new ideas break through? I mean ideas that might lead to policies that help people?

        1. sierra7

          “Can no new ideas break through? I mean ideas that might lead to policies that help people?”
          Sadly, no.
          Most of the country has drunk the kool-aid of a consumer slanted society. That means that the important aspects of a decent progressive one are anathema to the majority of the groups that have the US government under their “control”……the monied classes.
          The US must and will suffer a major financial/societal catastrophe soon. It cannot continue as an “empire” backed by a MIC that consumes so much of our productivity and has so much public influence.
          So far not enough Americans are “suffering” hugely…….when that point is reached then the streets will become bloody corridors of revolt….notice I didn’t say, “revolution” but just plain revolt. Maybe even a burning down of the nations’ capital.
          We must open up our political system to more ideas and that means breaking the strangle hold that the monied classes have on the country.
          If not soon, when????

  2. Jokerstein

    “Subject to the jurisdiction thereof” excludes people in diplomatic status, and this includes not only diplomats/consuls/etc. and their family members in derivative status, but also may officials of organizations like the World Bank, etc.

      1. rtah100

        That is a very modern edge case. There was no UN when the US Constitution was framed – presumably it was intended at the time to exclude the British and would therefore need to read to exclude US-born foreign monarchs (the ur-case of a diplomat) and, closer to home, vice-roys. So Governors-General of Canada with a US passport need not apply. And Harry and Meghan could produce a US child and, if the other side of the family were wiped out, it would suddenly be ineligible.

        1. Phil in KC

          Since the 14th Amendment was written and passed in the 1860’s as the Plains Indian Wars were heating up, the ‘phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was inserted with Native Americans in mind, who were not considered citizens of the United States. They were not taxed, they were not counted in the census. Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924 through an act of Congress.

      2. Jokerstein

        As for the jus soli qualification for babies born to people in diplomatic/etc. status, it obtains if one of the parents is subject to US jurisdiction, but not both. This exclusion is managed by treaty.

    1. hunkerdown

      It seems like an error for expert draftspersons to not observe the customary separation of subject and verb by putting a qualifier in the middle of a list of declarations, rather than over with the other qualifiers.

      I think it means that if you’re born here, you’re subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and (not as certain about this reading) subject to the jurisdiction of the state in which they reside. I would absolutely expect the DOJ to use that theory in defending sanctions fatwas or policing Venezuela.

  3. km

    I especially dig how the Politico article had to edge in some asides pushing the russiagate conspiracy theory.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Haha, I was just about to mention that too. Also, they seem to have no qualms about using the leaked emails pretty extensively in the article. I’d also take serious exception with the conclusion that “But Biden proved them all wrong” as if Biden being the nominee had a thing to do with him. He was all but dead in the water until “The Night of the Long Knives”.

      Otherwise, a pretty good article. The technocrats stick together a little more than I realized (but I was always suspicious the Obama/Clinton beef was kayfabe) and Biden (and his campaign) seem to have some serious daddy issues towards the Obama crew. Pretty much confirms what I’ve felt that Biden’s run is all about proving himself and squat to do with actually wanting to be president. Also, the Republicans love them some Biden? Shocked, I tell ya.

      It does leave me wondering if Obama wrapped this up for Joe as is commonly believed, why? Is this just about protecting Obama’s legacy? Is he trying to save Joe from himself? Is this why Kamala was selected for his VP? Inquiring minds…

      1. Pat

        Truth, all the factions had to band together to eliminate Sanders. The selected candidates of each faction were dead in the water. So essentially was Biden, but he had two things going for him that Harris and Buttigieg did not, seniors and nostalgia for the Obama years. They also all felt he is a place holder. (I think the real bet is when Joe collapses, not if.) So all the stops were pulled out to get him over the line. Media, voter suppression, fraud. At that point the battle became who gets to pick the real President -the VP.

        No one WANTED President Joe but Joe
        He wouldn’t have run so often if he didn’t want the title (pretty sure the actual job is of no interest except the quid pro quos). Sure he was hurt that Obama kept his powder dry. If he is aware enough to get it, the tussle about the VP slot probably hurt more.

        And as an aside Politico probably has as much verifiable data for their take as I do for mine.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I should probably clarify, I meant Joe definitely wants the title and trappings of president. He doesn’t want the job, like you’re saying.

          I think Kamala was the one anointed for president. Since she tanked the primaries, we end up with Joe as the placeholder, they don’t have to go through another embarrassing primary for their real pick, Joe can say he was president, for as long as he remembers who he is, and when he is put out to pasture, they get who they really wanted for president. (And yeah, I think we’re all pulling from the same data pool for these takes. Lol.)

        2. foghorn longhorn

          The dems could defeat sanders or trump this election cycle.
          They chose sanders.
          Go biden/kameleon rah, rah, rah!

        3. Chris

          I think that’s right. I’ve been wondering why they weren’t doing anything to replace Biden as nominee. But then I see that I’ve been thinking about him wrong. Biden isn’t the nominee, he’s the vector. The DNC have hacked this thing like a virus, and inserted the code they want to be reproduced by our political body into the process. So we’ll get a president like Kamala, and they don’t have to do the messy back room deal shenanigans. They’ve sidestepped the people completely and put down the leftists. It’s kind of brilliant.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > f Obama wrapped this up for Joe as is commonly believed, why? Is this just about protecting Obama’s legacy?

        I think there were two purposes:

        1) Screw Sanders and disempower the left

        2) Build a political machine on the Democrat’s new base that will last through the next few Presidential election cycles. Biden is, as it were, the scaffolding for this project; Harris will be revealed (2024; 2028). Personally, I don’t think either Biden or Harris is equal to the task, but the Obama Alumni Association (and the Intelligence Community (both of which are real things with websites)) are blinkered and arrogant enough to believe so.

  4. Pavel

    From the Turley piece on Harris’s eligibility:

    In prior coverage of candidates like McCain, there was not a demand for newspapers to denounce their own publications. Eastman is a professor who raised a commonly discussed constitutional and political issue. There is no reason to denounce him as a racist or Newsweek as an enabler of racism. Media often publish controversial theories. There were not demands for retractions when a Harvard professor said Trump was not actually impeached when he was impeached, a North Carolina professor saying the entire Trump defense team would face bar charges, or any number of the controversial theories of criminality against Trump. Instead we simply debated the issues, which actually raised interesting historical or ethical questions.

    I read both the Eastman column and the Newsweek explanation for running it. I am not a NW fan but thought the latter made sense. The NYT had a headline this morning that Trump is circulating “racist tropes” about KH’s eligibility. Once again people are over-using the word “racist” (as they do with “fascist”). I admire Turley for his consistent free-speech advocacy, and see no reason to shame Eastman into oblivion for discussing a real constitutional question.

    Boris Johnson was born in NYC whilst his father was working there. Would it be racist to wonder if he were eligible to run for POTUS [god forbid!]?

    What between BLM (OK), All BLM (not OK), All Lives Matter (racist!)… jeebus the USA is descending into a toxic cesspool of political correctness and cancel culture.

    Christ, I’m glad I’m not 20 years old now.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I thought the Eastman article was tendentious and bad, and Eastman is from the Koch-funded Claremont Institute.

      One could argue, I suppose, that Eastman’s article was nativist (he’s arguing in essence that “anchor babies” aren’t eligible for President). But the usual liberal Democrat yammering is unhelpful, and I think Eastman’s just wrong on the merits, never mind the uses to which his theory is put. (I gather this is a hobbyhorse he’s been riding for some time.)

      1. Pavel

        That’s a fair point, of course, and I’m sure Eastman is one of the last people I’d like to have a beer with (as the phrase goes). But it does seem to be a legitimate constitutional question and stating that raising it is *automatically* racist just feeds the frenzy, which is precisely what we don’t need right now.

        Therefore, instead of:

        NYT: Trump spreads racist tropes about KH’s eligibility


        NYT: Trump spreads legally-dubious arguments about KH’s eligibility.

        Again, the overuse of the word “racist” is rendering it almost useless. Was it “racist” when questions arose regarding John McCain? But IANAL and perhaps this question is settled law.

        1. Late Introvert

          I don’t like how rich folks make sure their babies are born in America in order to have duel citizenship.

          But I don’t like much of anything the rich folks do, and Trump is in that camp. He votes absentee, but not for thee.

      2. Goyo Marquez

        Maybe the question should be stated something like, Were there people born within the territory of the United States over whom the United States government had no legal jurisdiction, as that term is normally used in every first year law students civil procedure class, that is, they were not subject to the laws of the United States, a United States court was not competent to pronounce judgment against them, they were not bound to obey the laws of the United States.

        I think the answer is, yes, but history has erased them from our minds.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, IIRC, the original reason for the Amendment was that, the Slave Power having been destroyed, its human resources (ha) had to be legally transformed into citizens.

          1. Goyo Marquez

            Sure but the slaves even, or especially, as slaves were under the jurisdiction of the United States. The people who weren’t, the people born in the United States but under a different sovereignty, I would suggest refers to that great post civil war concern, the native peoples.

            1. Oso

              yes, we had to be exterminated – preferably literally, in practice many only figuratively killed via the dawes act and “kill the indian not the man”. and it continues, with indigenous people referred to as illegals.

              1. Goyo Marquez

                I was thinking about the Dawes act too. The attitude towards the sovereignty of the natives changed when it became convenient to treat them as Americans.

                A quote from the Internet about the Dawes act which seems apropos: “The Dawes Act was a U.S. law enacted in 1887 for the stated purpose of assimilating Native Americans into white society. The act offered all Native Americans ownership of “allotments” of non-reservation land for farming. Indians who agreed to leave the reservations and farm their allotment land were granted full U.S. citizenship.”

                1. Oso

                  great minds think alike carnal, the quote sums it up well. although in practice like most US policy the stated purpose and result/who actually benefits are significantly different.

                  if memory serves under Dawes Act the majority of the reservation land was sold to americans rather than distributed among tribal members. both the sale and tribal distribution were intended to resolve indian issues by forced assimilation.

    2. JWP

      AT 20 years old, things aren’t too fun in the sociopolitical sect. School just sent out a diversity module that takes 2 hours. Every student must complete it before returning to campus. Someone in the cesspool university administration thought that’d cure racism and discrimination. At this point you’re either labeled a racist or someone who doesn’t care about the country.

      Sure sounds like the worst possible breeding ground for producing the “next generation of leaders” that are talked about biweekly in bloomberg and the NYT.

      1. km

        Dollars to donuts, that diversity module came from some third party consultant or vendor with ties to a member of the university administration or board, and the university paid top dollar.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Come, come. Surely you’re not saying there’s some sort of diversity industry that’s a Jobs Guarantee for PMCs who can’t make it in finance or tech…

          1. ambrit

            I’d say that it was more of a PMC BIG.
            Much of what passes for ‘work’ in the PMC is really “Managerial Performance Art.”

      2. CarlH

        Thanks for this comment. It’s great to see members of the younger generations on here and contributing, giving everyone a much needed insight. I hope you will continue to contribute as you see fit.

  5. Michael

    Regarding Biden’s suggestion regarding wearing face masks out of doors is either sloppy speaking, (a forte of Biden) or an act that will produce a wedge between people. The reasoning is that it is apparent, identifying adherents to this non-scientific behavior.

    It makes sense to promote mask wearing in congested areas such as large cities, and enclosed spaces, but in the empty countryside of the USA, it will only enrage the right, and make the mask issue even more political, when it should be a public health solution.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The key point is “enclosed spaces.” Biden is urging people not to wear masks where the virus is most dangerous. I can’t imagine how the campaign allowed him to do this.

      Now we have, interestingly enough, a good litmus test for which Covid experts are in the bag, and which aren’t.

      1. Phemfrog

        It’s clear if you see the entire interview that that was just an unfortunate way of saying he wants a mask mandate. I don’t know why NPR chose that one line as a headline because it amplifies that. He clearly says in another quote:

        “I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks,” he said

        I think this was just an unfortunate choice of words due to, cough, cognitive decline.

      2. S.V. Dáte

        The point is Biden wears a mask inside nearly always does, as do people with him, you are drawing a conclusion not supported by the data. Politically it be wise fir Biden to amend the statement. But we do not live in political wise times. Which is fairly easy to prove. Trump never wears a mask (ok a couple of times). As a matter of public policy am I to conclude you favor trump? Or is it anti-Biden? Or the failure of anyone of importance to discuss things in terms of class politics? Truly, I don’t understand. You see annoyed. Maybe you could do a separate piece as you sometimes do to clarify. You are very talented writer, especially with irony. I can get confused.

      3. notabanker

        I read the article and I took his comment of “outside” to mean outside your home. He also states:

        “I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks,” he said. ”

        So there is some implied usage indoors there, key being public places. My guess is his handlers are wording this carefully because POTUS probably does not have the authority to mandate it ourside of public places.

        Regardless, I’m not picking up anything where he is encouraging not wearing masks in enclosed places. And I’m no Biden fan. IMO, he can occupy the cell between Obama and Clinton, which is in the same block as Trump and Bush.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      I’m no fan of sloppy joe, but yeah…this looks like mere sloppiness.
      “wear one when going outside” = “wear mask when leaving the house”…or “….going among the Mundane” in Amfortas’ usage.
      like how “a coke” can be any sodywater.
      He’s been doing the “Regular Guy” schtick for so long, he can’t help it(and i have no idea how much of that affect is really him…and don’t care enough to try to find out. He won’t be potus for long….an opinion i derive solely from a vibe i get from his eyes, of late.

      and as for that last part:
      what i think about every time i see Kamala: the ONLY Ringwraith that Tolkien ever gave a proper name to, was the Witch King of Angmar’s second in command…whose name was Kamal.
      Kamal was in charge of Dol Guldur in Mirkwood, preparing for Sauron’s return from the east…and the same role in the abandoned Mordor, later.
      Just sayin’.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Meanwhile, here in Tucson, mask and social distancing discipline is proving difficult to enforce. Link:


        Oh, while I was out -n- about this morning, I saw a rolling car horn honking protest near the university. People were upset about the university’s reopening plans. They don’t feel safe on campus. And, to me, it looked like a lot of them were campus employees.

  6. diptherio

    I recently accquired a gently-used tabby that was at risk of being abandoned when his former owner moved out of town. He is just fine with me being home all the time, as he only spends about 4 hours a day in the cabin — to eat (morning and evening) and get some cuddles (evenings only) — and the rest of it out in the yard hunting field mice or napping in the wood shed.

    1. Pat

      Congratulations to you and the Tabby.

      Be prepared that schedule for “cuddles” may change as the temperature drops.

      1. polecat

        Well, for what it’s worth, one of our hens took the final dirtnap over the night. Stiff as a board this morning when the missus opened the coop … she’d been in decline for over a week now, in spite of polecat’s ministrations. She will be missed .. by us humans, as well I think .. as by her fellow coop-mates.

        1. HotFlash

          Condolences to you, Ms polecat, and the flock. When the time is right, a new flock-member will appear.

          1. polecat

            Thank you Hotflash. Chickynobs had a good life for the 8+ years she resided here on this patch of rocky crust.

  7. sam

    Re Biden and masks: His comment just emphasizes that outdoor mask wearing has nothing to do with health and everything to do with making a public statement that “I am an intelligent, educated, virtuous, data driven meritocrat (or aspiring meritocrat), not a stupid, ignorant, immoral, lazy, unprofessional deplorable.” Unless, of course, you’re at a BLM protest, in which case these rules do not apply.

        1. hunkerdown

          Neoliberal noise does not rise to the level of “dissent”. If you want nihilist authoritarian psychopathy, the Libertarians are elsewhere.

      1. Jomo

        Thank you, thank you! Toning down the “whataboutism” (Love the word) in NC comments would be great.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Obviously, the use case for masks outside is coughing and sneezing (whether by one’s self, or others). I myself wear a mask outside at all times — since the alternative is taking the mask on and off constantly, which involves handling it, which involves the danger of contamination. Of course, I’m not out in the open fields, where a mask probably does make no sense (except for other particulate matter).

      I understand the urge to épater the liberals on masks and protests; and heaven knows they’ve earned it. However, if there is data that shows protests lead to super-spreaders or spikes, I am not aware of it. I’d speculate that’s because (1) protests are outdoors (2) protests are socially distanced (3) protesters are not in prolonged close contact and (4) in many images of protests I have seen, protesters are masked. These characteristics would not be true in an arena, say, where people sit in close contact.

      1. Steve D

        The Dark Horse livestream (Bret Weinstein & Heather Heying) have given ongoing attention to mask protocols and the science, such as it is, behind them. Unfortunately it’s threaded throughout 35+ episodes so not easy to access as a body of work. In short (and this is a simplification), indoors (and outside of your own ‘bubble’) – very important to mask. Outdoors, not so much.

        IMO, biggest public health mistake was to characterize masks as being for infected people. If we had just stuck with “protect yourSELF with a mask” we’d probably see a better outcome.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > If we had just stuck with “protect yourSELF with a mask”

          At least as I recall, the data on protecting others came first. Only later did the data on protecting one’s self come out. I wonder if who said what about masks when would be a good post.

      2. sam

        Sorry if I have upset anyone.

        This article is what I had in mind when mentioning the protests:

        I have no quarrel with the protests but regardless of their merit it seems inappropriate for ‘experts’ to adjust their professional advice based on their political sympathies.

        I fully agree with Lambert’s points above about the COVID related consequences of the protests. The first three would apply equally to someone walking alone down an empty street without a mask – but that can still get you a ticket in some deep blue CA cities. All evidence suggests that outdoor transmission is a minor concern so why not just focus on indoor mask wearing except maybe for limited cases such as an outdoor event where a crowd will remain in close contact for an extended period? That’s why it seems to me that Biden’s call for masks outdoors at all times is less about limiting contagion and more about demonstrating allegiance to a political cause.

        And I’m really not a neoliberal, just a skeptic. I just finished reading Thomas Frank’s Listen Liberal and was very impressed by his insights into the Democratic party’s embrace of the PMC and consequent support of meritocracy, which strikes me as just a new form of social darwinism.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > it seems inappropriate for ‘experts’ to adjust their professional advice based on their political sympathies.

          It is true that the advice came first and the science came after (as it must have, since nobody could have known what crowd behavior could actually be until the crowds had formed).

          > All evidence suggests that outdoor transmission is a minor concern so why not just focus on indoor mask wearing

          I think the precautionary principle suggests otherwise. Leaving aside the edge case of a farmer driving a tractor in an open field, I would urge that most “outdoors” happens on the way to the “indoors” — going to the store, going to the auto mechanic, etc. It makes no sense to have people taking their masks off and putting them back on all the time, because when the mask is handled the chance of transmission increases. Hence, wear the mask at all times. That needs to be the default setting, and enforced.

          Hopefully, mask technology as a consumer good will improve with time, as the sneaker or the razor are said to have done. Slipping into the political mode: The entrepreneurs and small business people are said to skew right. So why don’t they take advantage of the opportunity and improve the product? I don’t like my masks, fss. If somebody delivered on a product concept like “The Mask You’ll Enjoy Wearing”™ or (for the straight guys) “The Mask She’ll Like”™ they’d do well by doing good….

          1. ambrit

            Re. “The Mask She’ll Like,” the Rolling Stones logo is copyrighted. So, there goes the obvious choice, which is sad because it would be omni-dispensational. (“Whichever way you swing, we’ll be there!”)

  8. Anarcissie

    I have read that the ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ phrase was specifically meant to exclude foreign diplomats, who enjoy diplomatic immunity. It doesn’t seem very perplexing, and I am surprised to hear any legal scholars have difficulty with it.

  9. Darius

    That creature face gear Alex Jones is wearing appears to have holes in it that lets the breath shoot out. And he’s not even wearing it part of the time. He’s just another reactionary drama queen. Mask resistance became just another white identity totem months ago, like AR-15s and 10-foot tall pickup trucks. So no surprise Alex Jones is doing this.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > That creature face gear Alex Jones is wearing appears to have holes in it that lets the breath shoot out

      Let’s not be tediously literal. I would love to see “creature face gear” that was actually functional.

      1. Pelham

        Note that it’s a mask with a history. It’s the Gorn from one of the worst (ie best) Star Trek episodes, in which Kirk goes hand-to-hand with a guy in one of the worst rubber monster outfits ever.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Cheesy, 60’s aesthetic aside, its a great episode featuring the first instance of the “Federation.”

      2. HotFlash

        Lambert, here ya go. Might have to reinforce with a surgical mask worn under, I can’t tell where the holes are. OTOH, that may not be necessary due to distancing, as in, who would come within 6 feet of this?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Most of the shaming — beaches, especially — takes place for gatherings that are akin to revelry (with a noticeable focus on the photographs of nubile young people). Here’s how the Venetians do revelry:

          We should do more of that. What’s wrong with Halloween, 365 days a year?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Considering it is Alex Jones who has a hungry look on his face, I am still looking for that length of bamboo, a diamond, saltpeter, carbon and sulphur.

  10. Lee

    “Why Our Pets Have Become Super Needy During the Pandemic” [Bloomberg]. “Problem No. 1: Your pet is overstimulated. ‘Owners never leave,’ Miller says. ‘The dog isn’t given any downtime.

    Reminds me Maryon Pearson‘s quip upon the occasion of her husband’s retirement. “I married him for better or worse. I didn’t marry him for lunch.”

    As for dogs, they are by nature pack animals and in my experience most prefer not to be left alone. Now, I always get my dog a dog.

    1. aj

      After many years and periods of having 1 dog, 2 dogs, and sometimes 3 or more dogs, I have come to the conclusion that 2 dogs is the right amount of dogs.

    2. petal

      After a year, I got my dog a dog. He even got to choose it himself out of the litter. Now, if they have a disagreement, I tell him “Hey buddy, not my fault. You’re the one that picked him out.” I figured he should have another dog to talk to, otherwise he might be lonely.

      And haven’t had any issues with them being super needy during the pandemic. If anything, they’ve chilled out and are happier with me being home more. Sometimes we take naps together in the afternoon. They were overstimulated the first week or two, and then settled down. After years, all of a sudden I was home all the time, so it was confusing for them.

    3. Goyo Marquez

      I work at home. Normally our dog Benjie spends the entire day moving from one sleeping place to another, only communicating with me when he needs a door opened to go chase a member of the local ownerless cat herd, lay in the sun, or come back inside to air conditioned comfort. Now, all of a sudden there are five sometimes six grownups home all the time. I suspect he’s probably as exhausted with the crowd as I am.

  11. allan

    Party Leaders Investigating Origin of Anti-Morse Campaign Helped Orchestrate It, Documents Reveal
    [The Intercept]

    … behind the scenes, the state party had been coordinating with the College Democrats of Massachusetts to launch those very allegations, according to five sources within the state party and connected to the CDMA, a review of messages between party leadership and CDMA leadership, and call records obtained by The Intercept. The documents show that the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s executive director Veronica Martinez and chair Gus Bickford connected the students with attorneys: among them was the powerful state party figure and attorney Jim Roosevelt, who worked with the college group on a letter alleging Morse behaved inappropriately.

    FDR’s grandson!

    … According to multiple sources close to the state party and the College Democrats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, after Bickford and Martinez recommended him, Roosevelt took control of the process and led UMass College Democrats leadership in the letter’s composition. Reached by phone Thursday, Roosevelt told The Intercept he would not comment on work with clients. …

    I’m not a fancy-pants journalist, but at this point I do think that The Intercept drops the ball.
    They describe Mr. Roosevelt as

    A former CEO for health insurance giant Tufts Health Plan, Roosevelt will once again co-chair the credentials committee next week at the DNC.

    but according to Wiki,

    Currently, Roosevelt serves as chairman of the board of directors for Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, and as a member of the boards at America’s Health Insurance Plans, Catholic Democrats, Emmanuel College, and the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center. …

    Oddly enough, A Deal To End Surprise Medical Billing Was Tanked At The Last Minute [BuzzFeed].

    So, Mr. Roosevelt’s clients seem to include both the College Dems and AHIP.
    Maybe he should be given a speaking slot at the DNC.

      1. hunkerdown

        As they do. I hope the baby predators end up unemployable. Society (my new term for the left, since the old one was stolen and chopped — how do you like it?) needs a blacklist.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      I once heckled James Roosevelt when he was running for Governor of Mass. in 1994, at my hometown’s Fourth of July parade.

  12. arielle

    About Buddhist food: having lived in Taiwan as a vegetarian, I can attest to how delicious and ubiquitous this cuisine is. For anyone travelling in the Far East, it is worth looking out for Buddhist veggie restaurants. Sometimes there is a Buddhist swastika on the restaurant sign. And rural temples often offer meals and lodging. Taiwan is particularly rich in this cuisine as its government never attempted to stamp out Buddhism.

  13. JohnMinMN

    Regarding the video of Alex Jones shopping in a monster mask, at least it’s an improvement on one that shows him berating teenagers at a park entrance who are there to enforce park rules, (although it’s funny to watch the kids show a complete lack of interest):


  14. Jason Boxman

    In the Atlantic article, the Liberty ship example is probably better than the Sherman tank; the latter was insufficient to standup to German Panther and Tiger tanks with disastrous results for American tank crews. So I can see why the former was chosen, as cheap Liberty ships certainly appear more virtuous.

    We also built hundreds of cheap escort carriers, with a sole purpose of locating and destroying German U-boats. These proved extremely effective at that job, along with advanced radar designs and the hedgehog anti-submarine weapon.

    Unfortunately we don’t really build things in this country anymore; materiel or leaders.

    1. farragut

      “Unfortunately we don’t really build things in this country anymore; materiel or leaders.”

      My wife and I were recently discussing this very issue. What was the last *Great Thing* the US built or accomplished? I voted for either the TVA or the Interstate Highway system, she voted for either the Civil Rights Act or the Moon landing. Recent history (say, the last 60 years) seems devoid of accomplishments worthy of those past four (altho, I’ll be the first to admit to an increasingly faulty memory as advancing age stalks me, so there may be recent examples I’m simply blanking on).

      Seems like we, as a nation, are more interested in profiteering these days, than in building. Curious to hear if others have any thoughts on this.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        the internet is a pretty huge thing, as far as the effect it’s had on society. My inner jury is still out on whether the good outweighs the bad.
        ie: perhaps twitter was a mistake, and IoT…but even those might be more attributable to other things happening in the world—twitter made bad by the siloing and circling of wagons and ending humanities in education…IoT made bad by the developers not watching enough Star Trek.(their ubiquitous computers weren’t used for bagging and tagging and tracking because of the ethical foundations of that society.)
        in my lifetime…aside from internet, all i can think of that america has excelled at producing are debt, war, repression and very angry people who can’t really rationally articulate just who or what they’re angry at.

        …and i get that the internet was an international effort, but it began with DoD.(Herzog’s Lo and Behold was wonderful, and a kind of techno Lives of the Saints)

        1. mrsyk

          How about buckets of really good music? Craft beer? The wine renaissance of the 80s? Cormack McCarthy? I’m grasping here but Blood Meridian is a really good read.

          1. CarlH

            As a native Northern Californian, I would add the exponential rise in the quality of cannabis and extraction methods which give a far wider range of cannabis products and ways to consume it.

      2. Samuel Conner

        I think you can find some pretty impressive technical accomplishments in the sciences. In the field I am least unfamiliar with, astrophysics, there has been an explosion of giant telescope building in recent decades, and some smaller survey instruments that did amazing things (the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is IMO an impressive accomplishment).

        The Webb Space Telescope and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope are two examples of massive science projects that will become active in near future.

        I don’t know what is in the pipeline next for big-ticket astrophysics.

        But I agree that we don’t see large scale investments in concrete projects that would benefit the public broadly.

      3. Fiery Hunt

        That’s an interesting question….
        Since I was born just after the Moon landing, we’re talking about my entire life.

        Gonna ponder it and get back to you.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I’m not sure if smartphones count, considering they’re just small computers. They also have notable precursors in terms of the palm pilot, and Pocket PCs. I remember in 2002 or thereabouts my Dad had a Compaq Pocket PC which I would avail myself of, with a pocket Windows complete with Word, Excel etc. and so on (but no phone functionality). I would try to hack it to run games.

          I also remember around that time (early 00s), Microsoft showed off tablet PCs for the first time, and were roundly mocked. This was some years before the first iPad.

    2. Paradan

      The Jumbo Sherman (fat turret with a 105mm) held parity with German armor until around 44, and that includes the Panther and early Tigers.

      My apologies for getting all war nerdy here at NC.

    3. km

      There is a WWII-era documentary on YouTube about the building of the Liberty Ships and their successors.

      It is truly a sight to behold, designing and building five commercial shipyards and the entire panoply of supporting infrastructure (housing, railyards, hospitals, schools, transportation, administration, you name it) soup to nuts, where a few years ago, there was nobody and nothing but a mudflat – AND – these shipyards cranked out oceangoing cargo and specialized ships like they were potato chips, without so much a a single hand held calculator or internet connection.

      We don’t seem capable of that kind of purposefulness or organization any more. If anyone were to try something like that today, the project would be bogged down in litigation, funding headaches, and committee meetings for decades.

    4. The Rev Kev

      American tankers called their Shermans “Ronsons.” This was because if they were hit, they “Light first time, every time.” I forget exactly how long it was but if you were in a Sherman and you were hit, you had about three seconds to get out of that tank before you were enveloped in flames.

      1. BillS

        IIRC, Sherman tanks were propelled by radial aircraft engines that used aviation fuel – extremely volatile and flammable. Furthermore, the German 8.8cm anti-aircraft gun was compact, readily concealable and widely used in anti-armor service. It proved highly effective against all allied tanks (and was later incorporated into Tiger tanks).

  15. Lunker Walleye

    Gizmodo Twitter link.

    El Derecho did a Frank Gehry on that corn bin. Countryside and parts of cities are still suffering without power on a 90 degree and humid day. A neighbor’s mother lost a huge barn on the farm near Cedar Rapids. There was supposed to be an event to celebrate its century anniversary. Thought about sending in some of my own photos but since corn is the lens through which people view this state, the photo Lambert used is a good way to portray the situation. We were lucky with losing only one oak and it wasn’t one close to the house. The power came on after three days. Amen.

    1. Late Introvert

      Mr. Walleye,

      Am I right that soybeans suffered little to no damage? They are plants that grow pretty close to the ground. High winds would have much less effect. But I just live in Iowa, I don’t know about soybeans other than edamame is delish. We are growing some in the back yard and they are doing not great but we have trees and shade.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        npr addressed this thursday(no link, was in car). Soy mostly ok, it just stands back up. Corn, oth, likely total loss….it doesn’t just stand back up.
        no numbers on how big a loss, that i’ve seen yet.

      2. Lunker Walleye

        Did a quick scan of articles in iasoybeans.com and washingtonpost.com. It does not appear that there is a number assigned to soybean damage. Soybeans are at a critical growth stage. Corn damage is estimated at 100 million acres. This is simultaneous with bad drought affecting large part of state. I tried linking to both but failed.

  16. hunkerdown

    Trump’s team claimed the plan ‘provides fraudsters an easy opportunity to engage in ballot harvesting, manipulate or destroy ballots, manufacture duplicitous votes, and sow chaos.’

    Mr. President, the Democrat Party is a private organization and can run their elections as they will.

    1. John k

      That’s their primaries, not the general. They’re not supposed to get their fingers on the scale when dem nominees compete with others.

  17. AlejoPR

    The link for PinePhone takes me to

    This Tweet is from an account that no longer exists. Learn more

      1. Glen

        I posted some links below.

        It looks like you would have to be willing to take a bit of a performance hit since the hardware is not as good as found in comparably price devices, but honestly if all you want is voice/text/email then you will not notice. Plus, it looks like it is supported by many distributions, and Pine made it pretty easy to switch distributions – just put the image on the SD card, and boot from that.

        1. Jokerstein

          Already ordered one. Yes, I don’t give a crap about the performance. And Pine is a company with a track record of successfully making and selling hardware of at least five years. Really looking forward to mine.

  18. Burns

    That politico article about the left wing is spot-on. Allow me to propose a qanon conspiracy of my own: Biden was never intended to be the presidential nominee. Harris was.

    I think the Democratic leadership wanted Harris from the start. She checks all the boxes: neoliberal, not white, female. All other options were either after thoughts or completely unacceptable (E.g. Sanders).

    Unfortunately, that pesky thing called voter preference fouled up the Dems’ plans and Harris got smoked before the Iowa caucuses. Donors saw her polling and realized no amount of money would secure her Iowa victory.

    The rest of the contest comes down to Sanders and Biden. We all know how that played out, so no need to go into detail. However, when the Dems knife Sanders and see how dusty Biden is, they realize Harris is back in the game. Biden as Prez, Harris as Veep. It’s the perfect opportunity to backdoor her into POTUS and end-run around the electorate!

    That’s my political conspiracy. Probably bunk but, I think, plausible.

    Now, political predictions are usually pointless (reference the 2016 election) but I’ll throw one out for fun: Professor Lichtman’s keys to the presidency will prove accurate once again and Trump won’t get a second term. Biden will be elected. He will resign after two years due to age/health, and Harris will become POTUS. This will enrage a large swath of the electorate, not only hard-core racists and other right wingers, who hate her anyway, but also the broader white working class, independents, and the left, who will all see her as illegitimate for various reasons.

    This will lead to GOP victory in 2024, from a Republican party that has been corrupted by Trump. The GOP Prez will be a more effective Trump, less prone to lying, much more competent, and more in tune with the party’s traditional conservative policies. He (it will be a he) will be the second coming of Ronald Reagan and rule for two terms.

    Sounds plausible? Am I doing this conspiracy prediction stuff right?

    1. HotFlash

      Sounds about right to me, although, sadly, without any confusing evidence at this time. I kind of favour Buttigieg/Harris 2020, but I think we are also dealing with DNC internal factions (Obama => Harris, Clintons => Buttigieg) WRT The rest of the contest comes down to Sanders and Biden. We all know how that played out, so no need to go into detail I would like to observe that the massive and very effective work against Bernie. Eg, Buttigieg’s Iowa Shadow, Inc. counting app ‘meddling’, very odd voting patterns, eg, Sanders gets tons of people at rallies, in oone case he gets a parking-lot full of young volunteers, but nobody shows to vote on election day? Indeed? And that is before I get into news coverage, or conspicuous lack thereof, let alone Night of the Long Knives.

      It is amazing that the pliant (Harris, Buttigieg, maybe others?) fared so badly, considering the rigging. I think Bernie did well to get as far as he did. Now, we are down to whether the DNC or the GOP are the better riggers, and whether the GOP operatives will rig for Trump.

  19. Laputan

    RE: “Getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America”

    Great…now can there be a study that also factors class into the analysis? It would be interesting to see the comparison. While getting an exact income for every fatality would be pretty much impossible, median income per zip code or census tract could function as a decent extrapolation.

    Also, not to downplay the results, but a “leading cause of death” looks a little less leading once you look at the chart. For black men in their mid-to-late 20s, assault is the highest with a rate almost 30X higher, which to me is the most surprising revelation in how much greater it is than accidents (94.2 to 52.1/1,000), and HIV is twice as high (6.8 to 3.4). By the authors’ criteria, police shootings would be a “leading cause” of death for all male demographics.

    1. jsn

      “Getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America”

      Linked here a few weeks ago, this does that.

  20. Pelham

    Re the fact that young black men are “2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops”:

    What if the numbers were adjusted for class? How likely are white men or boys in the lower income quintile likely to die at the hands of police by comparison with young black men in the same quintile? There’s likely to be more similarity. It would also be enlightening to adjust for weapon possession at the time of arrest.

    1. JBird4049

      IIRC, the lower the class, the greater the parity in death by police although there is always a greater inequality for blacks even at the lowest level.

      I suspect, but I have not checked specifically on it, that a black man in the top 10% is much safer than a white man in the bottom 10% from the police.

  21. CitizenGuy

    Regarding the WaPo story about Kevin Clinesmith. At the risk of identifying myself, Kevin and I were friends through much of elementary through high school. We grew up in Kingston, Michigan. Feel free to AMA.

  22. Reader_In_Cali

    Hi all! Long time reader, first time poster. It’s been bugging me all week, but I think I figured out the Willie Brown thing (when It appeared he was sending a message to Harris re: the VP pick). He *is* a savvy operator, but we misread this because he’s scrambling! Hear me out. He knew the Biden camp was likely to pick her in the final hours and he panicked because a) he knows Trump’s campaign will attack her for her well known affair with him – playing to Evangelicals, and independents who will chafe at such openly condoned immorality, naked social and political climbing. Also embarrass Dems and Harris for their hypocrisy of the aforementioned but more importantly b) he KNOWS that this means the Dem establishment will appropriate the language of victimhood to defend Harris, make her look innocent, and that means he will be defenestrated SWIFTLY and become persona non grata within the party! Bye bye, Willie! To boot, a string of former (and maybe current) girlfriends will be paid to come out and speak out against him for “abusing his power” and coercing them into sexual relationships with him in exchange for plum insider access/jobs/posts. And there are A LOT of women to choose from who will be more than happy to throw old Willie under the bus, because they’re just as craven as Kamala. LOL this is all so hysterical when you think about it. Liberals are such a pathetic bunch. I can hear it now: “I was young and impressionable, and he was my mentor. I thought I could trust him” MA’M. You were nearly 30, with a law degree, and knew what the eff you were doing. I will bet you money that this is what ends up happening. So long, Willie!

    1. TBellT

      he knows Trump’s campaign will attack her for her well known affair with him – playing to Evangelicals, and independents who will chafe at such openly condoned immorality, naked social and political climbing

      Trump’s campaign would be stupid to hit on this (doesn’t mean they won’t.) Evangelicals already GOP reliable. Independents arent going to care, moralizing is something for when times are relativelty good like the 90s and Clinton impeachment. Things are decidely not good. Besides this country is full of adultery and ambition.

      The first retort will be “Trump is policing peoples private behaviour”. I suspect that will suffice. If not then maybe they throw people under buses.

    2. The Rev Kev

      You wonder how worried Willie would actually be. One time at an event he turned up with his wife on one arm and his girlfriend on his other arm.

    1. barefoot charley

      She’s also horrible at laughing. What a pair, what a choice, what an election. How I wish both sides could lose.

    2. michael99

      Harris whiffed badly on that one. How dare Colbert not toss her a softball! What’s he trying to do, get Trump re-elected?? /s

      I had been thinking that Harris might be an effective attacker of Trump and capable of keeping her cool while parrying his attacks, but she got flustered there.

  23. Pat

    Don’t know yet whether it is peremptory or a quick recognition that the only excitement about Harris is coming from the people already breathless with excitement about Joe, but the articles declaring that we must support THIS female candidate seem to be piling up.

    I admit to being sensitive to this (I want a female President but the right one). Harris like Clinton like Palin like Dole like Thatcher….is not the right one. I am one of the targets for these. I know too much. Having to pull out the shaming articles so early is not a good sign.

    Right not the message should be hopeful and laudatory and woman for her time. They should be selling her exceptionalism. Making it only about breaking the glass ceiling AND scolding, however mildly, the recalcitrant… well… I know they are trying to sell a turd as a diamond but at least try to polish it.

    Once again the signs say they plan on losing.

    Side note: I know I am behind but watching Biden’s introduction of Harris, I thought he looked much better than he has. They spent some time getting his lighting and makeup right. He wasn’t well spoken or animated, but he did not look like death was right around the corner.

    1. DJG

      + + +

      As you say: “Harris like Clinton like Palin like Dole like Thatcher….is not the right one.”

      Curiously, or not so curiously, your point is a point that seems to be lost on upper-middle-class women, particularly if they are playing the victim card.

      So much of U.S politics is like Eternal Bad High School.

  24. Amfortas the hippie

    a “state preemption” fight is brewing in Texas…with the Travis County GOP guy saying Texas should maybe take over policing duties from City of Austin/Travis County.

    and like the last time the Texas GOP forgot all about their love for Home Rule, and Local Control(that time, about fracking, minwage, etc), this time it is evident that they don’t understand what “hypocrisy” means.
    So much for “small government”…taking over the police of a major city is jst fine if they can own the libs.

  25. Geo

    “In other words, machine politics? The Chicago Way?”

    Even better: The California Way! Where all are equal as long as they’re NIMBY and no social benefit isn’t plundered by profiteers and fraud.

  26. Amfortas the hippie


    “The left sees Biden as their Trojan horse. They want voters to look at his inoffensive, moderate, bipartisan exterior, and decide it is safe to let him inside the White House gates. But as soon as they do, an army of socialists will rush out — led by Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — to impose a radical progressive agenda on America.”


    likely the dumbest thing i’ve seen all day…and i’ve been monitoring Lite Gov Dan Patrick(the Radio Preacher).
    This is the tack they’re taking….biden, kamala, nancy and chuck are all part of a rabid communist vanguard, bent on prying open the doors for the Real Communists to come in and make us all gay.
    Of course, Theissen was a speech writer for Lil George and Rummy, and went to the mattresses to justify torture as something moral nations do…
    still, he still works for bezos post.

    and another example of wanton stupidity:
    perhaps duck-shaped…or pool noodles…

    and i don’t know how to feel about this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/08/14/us-will-prepare-coronavirus-strain-potential-human-challenge-trials/

    if we were a civilised country, like…say ..Uganda*…then maybe i’d trust them to have this as a back up.
    (*Frieden(sp-2), former cdc head, was on npr yesterday giving examples of countries who have handled the pandemic better than we have…Uganda was one of them)

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      If they’d added Pelosi and Soros, I think they’d have gotten a BINGO!

      I get that they’re just running down the boogeymen and ladies, but even Trump has tweeted about how Bernie has been screwed by the Democrats. You would have to be dumber than a post to believe Biden is a “trojan horse” for Bernie Sanders, of all people.

  27. edmondo

    the deep hurt still felt among Biden’s allies over how Obama embraced Hillary Clinton as his successor, and a powerful sense of pride that is driving Biden to prove that the former president and many of his aides underestimated the very real strengths of his partner.”

    So basically the election comes down to a fight between Sonny and Fredo Corleone? And where the hell is Michael?


  28. marym

    Firm Helping Run Federal Database Refuses Senators’ Questions
    “The private health care technology vendor that is helping to manage the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database has refused to answer questions from top Senate Democrats about its $10.2 million contract, saying it signed a nondisclosure agreement with the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

    A spokeswoman for Department of Health and Human Services said members of Congress should direct their inquiries to the government, not the company. But Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Health Committee, sent a letter to the agency in June seeking similar information and has not received a reply, her office said.”


  29. The Rev Kev

    “Congratulations to @KamalaHarris, who will make history as our next Vice President. She understands what it takes to stand up for working people, fight for health care for all, and take down the most corrupt administration in history. Let’s get to work and win.” – Bernie Sanders

    Is this what is known as a hostage tweet? Spruiking Kamala as a Vice-President is exactly the same as spruiking Kamala as Madame President Kamala Harris he must realize. Seriously, WTF?

    Regarding the film clip that Fortnite made mocking Apple. There were a lot of hidden messages in that short parody video clip that they managed to pack in-


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Is this what is known as a hostage tweet?

      “We are not a movement where I can snap my fingers and say to you or to anybody else what you should do, because you won’t listen to me. You shouldn’t.” — Sanders, 2016

      Since Sanders is well-known for consistency, I would answer Yes. (One of the nice things about the Morse v. Neal saga is that it shows what liberal Democrats do when they want to clear the field. Of course, the pressure points are different for each person. Nobody’s going to catch Sanders with a Tinder honeypot, as College Democrats tried to do with Morse.)

    2. Buzz Meeks

      I lost any degree of admiration or respect for Sanders when he tanked again. Just call him Ol’ Canvasback and this from someone who was a volunteer and a lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit against the DNC and Wasserman-Schultz.I was especially annoyed about having to donate through Act Blue and their $3.00 handling fee going to Rahn and DeBergalis. They must making a mighty fine living from this country’s misery.
      Jeff Weaver getting into the super PAC racket was the last straw. Sanders did some feeble bleating in support of a nurses strike, it took Yang to file a lawsuit in NYS after Cuomo canceled the NYS presidential primary so I was able vote against Biden.
      What had happened to the $160 +/- million that Sanders collected? I don’t recall hearing about Sanders monetary support going any essential worker strikes.
      I filed a complaint with PayPal to get my donations back stated misrepresentation of a fair expectation to stay in the campaign, had a strong suspicion he would tank. I am happy to report I was able to get my money back and suggest you all do the same if you donated through ActBlue and used PayPal.
      Fuck Sanders, Weaver and ActBlue. Now I am getting breathless emails from all sorts of Dems and their approach reminds me of my high school class officers election from 50 years ago.
      Let’s figure out how to lay a strong foundation for a legitimate third party. I believe NC would be a great place to start the discussion.

  30. ChrisAtRU

    TGIF Commentariat! And A Bon Weekend To All!

    Biden (D)(2)

    LOL … What salacious sorcery is this?!!!

    “Aides recall that Obama and Biden took almost polar-opposite approaches to policymaking, Obama always seeking data for the most logical or efficient outcome, while Biden told stories about how a bill would affect the working-class guy in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he was born. When a deal was finally made, Obama would bemoan the compromises, while Biden would celebrate the points of agreement.”

    #CompromiseAsCapitulation will continue … Joy.

    “Republicans who negotiated with the administration often came away finding Obama condescending and relying on Biden to understand their concerns.”

    #BothSidesBiden, people … both sides … even more than his boss #RapRock … Hahahaha!

    ” ‘His background is much more retail politics kind of person, and the president was very much sort of a wholesale kind of president,’ said former Sen. Ted Kaufman, a longtime Biden adviser who is now heading up his presidential transition effort.”

    Jésus #FamilyBlog Cortez … these people …

    “Retail Politics”???!! Isn’t that pretty much admitting you’re a politician for sale??! (ostensibly to the highest bidder!)

    “His focus on electability along with a sentimental message about saving the soul of the nation—’character is on the ballot’—was dismissed by many pundits and reporters as hokey and uninspiring, but ended up being the winning one.”

    LOL …

    “Is this a dagger I see before me?
    Naw, bruh … ’tis my electability!”

    Nice job reworking Obama’s night of the long knives as a win for Biden. Ugh. And on that note I’m done. I don’t think they realize how close it’ll be come November. ${DEITY} help us all …

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘a politician for sale?’

      Jimmy Dore featured a video of Joe Biden talking at some event. Old Joe was giving an anecdote that when he was first elected, he went to the big players to sell himself out but that they said that it was to soon. They told him to come back when he was forty. And I guess that that was exactly what he did.

      Biden versus Trump. A sociopath verses a narcissist. No wonder that Jimmy Dore says that the real problem is not Trump but a broken political system.

  31. occasional anonymous

    I mean, the slogan is “Black Lives Matter.” It isn’t “People of Color Matter,” let alone “Black and/or South Asian Lives Matter.”

    The latest term is Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), which refrains from explicitly mentioning Asians. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before Asians are outright excluded as being virtually white, and based on what I’ve seen in certain circles of black Twitter, with the spreading realization that there were natives who also owned slaves it’s only a matter of time before the Indigenous are also heaved over the side.

    Eventually things will fully atomize into arguing about who is ‘really black’ and who is a privileged, light skinned mulatto.

  32. Charles 2

    I think anybody who’s stayed in a foreign country for any length of time, especially as a resident or expat, knows that they are “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” and it doesn’t matter much whether it’s partial or not. Can the foreign country put you in jail? Tax you? Heck, yeah! Eastman’s strained reading defies common sense.

    There are plenty of countries who make a distinction between being “resident” or “domiciled” or “citizen”. For instance, in Singapore, a foreign resident who hold “permanent residency” (equivalent of green card) is liable for military conscription, whereas the mere holder of a work visa (something like H-1B) is not. The UK taxes “domiciled’ and “non-domiciled” residents differently, etc…

  33. VietnamVet

    The Atlantic articles linked here get very close to why 171,535 Americans have died so far. They just haven’t grasped that the USA is in the Gilded Age 2.0 and that the robber barons are manipulating science and directing the federal government to make more money from the epidemic for themselves, not save lives. A reconstituted national public health system and daily testing can control the coronavirus for less money than being lost in the Pandemic Depression and without a magical for-profit vaccine next year. Simply put, the ruling class want the money to go to the connected, not anyone else. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are connected, just to different clans of plutocrats. There is no chance that either will fund a national public health program to end the pandemic. Forced to shelter at home for the foreseeable future, with cabin fever, I can think of no better reason to vote for the Green Party candidates, if they are on the ballot in November.

  34. The Rev Kev

    “NEW: The recession is largely over for the rich. The working class remain in deep pain.”

    The implication is that the elites will look around and wonder why all those plebs don’t want to go back to work. Their portfolio is going like gang-busters and the stock market is booming so why are they not getting with the program? Lazy plebs. They are to be deplored.

    1. Jason Boxman

      True enough. With the improving unemployment and sales numbers, there will be no further expense to alleviate the suffering of the discarded working class in this country. I wonder if the job losses to come will change any minds in DC? I’m not optimistic.

    2. Daryl

      Stocks and home prices will not remain where they are.

      The recession isn’t over for the rich — it hasn’t begun for them yet.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Trump: ‘A lot of people’ think Edward Snowden ‘not being treated fairly’”

    Is this Trump trolling the security establishment? A lot of people at Langley will have gone nuts when they heard him say that.

  36. michael99

    Rolling blackouts hit California electricity grid for first time since 2001 energy crisis – The Sacramento Bee


    California imposed its first rolling blackouts Friday evening since the energy crisis in 2001, as a scorching heat wave exhausted electricity supplies. The blackouts struck tens of thousands of households and included major swaths of El Dorado County.

    The California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s power grid, declared a Stage 3 emergency alert around 6:30 p.m.


    The extraordinary development capped a day in which the ISO constantly asked customers to reduce demand, while ordering suppliers to postpone schedule generator maintenance and bring other supplies into the market. “We’ve done everything we can on the supply side,” Gonzales said.

    She said demand was easing off as the evening progressed, but as the sun began setting a crucial supply source started to wane: “The problem is, solar is also going down,” she said.


    There were no significant outages in the Sacramento area. SMUD, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, isn’t part of the grid system served by the ISO and “we haven’t declared an emergency,” said spokeswoman Eileen Secor.

  37. UserFriendly

    Biden’s swiss cheese brain probably meant ‘wear a mask when you are outside your house.‘ Not that it makes it much better….

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