2:00PM Water Cooler 8/18/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this is a travel day for me, so f u cn rd ths, my wifi hotspot has failed. –lambert

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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 (albrt):

albrt writes: “Early summer grandmother’s garden in Bowling Green, Ohio.”

Nous pouvons cultiver nos jardins

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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. General Jinjur

        It interested me because one of my brothers just returned from a two week vacation in Yellowstone Park in Montana . He told us that the airline he used to return home was “as safe as a hospital” (fwiw) because hepa filters were replaced frequently and people were required to wear masks and wear them properly. He also said that there were very few people on his flight.

        However, since he traveled with a friend and presumably they encountered other people during the trip, I’ll be avoiding him for a few weeks.

    1. Lee

      Per usual, I am getting ads on this site picturing comely and curvaceous young ladies in tight fitting clothes. Odd because my usual attire is generally made by Carhartt or other maker of durable and functional men’s wear. Does the algorithm know something about me that I don’t know myself?

      1. BobK

        Billy is referring to the pink flowers in the photo. Naked Ladies is an alternate name for Belladonna Lily or Belladonna Amaryllis.

        1. Copeland

          Except those are, from top to bottom: Lilium, Lilium, Lilium and at the bottom Hemerocallis.

      2. Frederic

        Sure. Google is using the spiders that used to search the web to read every line of your gmail sent and recieved, cross tied to ad beacons in sites you go to and can even read your bank balance or health records if you are dumb enough to get your statements via the big G. Anybody out there doubt that? Send an email to someone’s Gmail account. Mention an odd medical condition name. Then go to Google and do a search, darned if you won’t see ads for drugs to fight that disease.

        Just one email that you sent a long time ago to someone’s Gmail account is enough to mark you for life.

  1. Harold

    Thank you for this picture of Grandma’s beautiful garden. I hadn’t realized the lilies bloomed so late — with the lilies.

      1. Harold

        I meant to say the “alliums bloomed so late” — but my brain … Oh, dear. Perhaps the giant alliums were finishing up.

        1. albrt

          Yes, the alliums were almost done and the lillies were peaking. This garden was planted by someone else’s grandma. It’s ours now and this year we are just observing.

          Neighbor says the local custom is to obtain the lillies from nursing home castoffs.

  2. Louis Fyne

    here’s some random cooler fodder—-had a clog, so got my sewer out line rodded clean, judging from the untouched old school brass, cleanout cap in the basement, probably the first time since at least the Carter years.

    if you live in an older house, think about a cleaning too. (newer houses have much more convenient cleaning access points outside the house)

    imo, better to do it on your terms at your leisure during good weather than in a post-clog or post-rainstorm emergency. as in an older house, higher chance you have a brass cleaning cap will need to be drilled out due to corrosion

    1. rtah100

      British sewers rarely clog between the property and the sewer main. If they do, it is because householders dispose of inappropriate matter (wet wipes, fat that is not suspended in detergent etc).

      What causes clogs in US houses to be so frequent that preventative rodding is required? User behaviour or less stringent building regulations?

      1. upstater

        Tree roots, usually. Many older homes have ceramic waste lines outside the house. They have joints every 3 feet or so. There is a seal between pieces, but these degrade over time and ground settles. We had to clean the waste lines at my mom’s house every 2 years. Newer homes use PVC waste lines with glued joints and are impervious.

        Of course, some people put all manner of trash down their drains and deserve the plumber’s bill…

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Did apartment maintenance through undergraduate school. Two clogs still come to mind.

          An elderly woman, living alone, second floor, fed a turkey carcass through her kitchen disposal ’cause she didn’t like taking out her garbage. Took me hours to fetch the bones out of her pipes. Begged her to call me next time and I would carry her garbage down for her.

          A young woman had a clogged toilet. Plunger did nothing, so out came the pipe snake. A few minutes later, out pops an intact foot long carrot. I didn’t ask and she didn’t offer an explanation.

            1. Rtah100

              Hmm. Clay pipe segments are the predominant construction method in the U.K. (so little housing has been built comparatively in these days of PVC).

              I think the waste disposal might be a more likely culprit. They were briefly fashionable here in the 80’s but have vanished. Too unreliable and, well, they clogged the drains!

        2. General Jinjur

          Our house is almost 50 years old and recently we had a plumbing emergency and had to have plumbers here to give the plumbing a ‘colonoscopy’. We were told that our pvc pipes were fine, but those pipes were joined to the county pipe that was badly eroded because it’s made of iron and is old. The iron pipe had apparently started to separate at the bottom causing a channel which impeded the free flow. When/if things get better and we won’t stress over having strangers in our house, we’ll have the pipes redone. Oh joy.

          1. Janie

            They line your old sewer pipes these days, I’m told. Bore out the roots and insert a hose of the proper diameter. Way cheaper than digging the old pipe out. So they say.

      2. TMoney

        As an ex-pat Brit in the US, I’ll offer this observation – A lot of the USA is slightly unfinished. This is less noticeable on the East coast, and (not been there that much so less reliable observation) on the West coast, however, most of the Mid-West seems to suffer from this “unfinishedness”. Sidewalks, pavements, gutters, pedestrian crossings* are all there, but, always felt “unfinished” or “temporary” to the British bit of me. Sewers are mostly hidden, but also seem to have some of the same feel. I can’t put my finger on the precise reason why, but it’s as though people are always waiting for something better. I suspect it’s to do with the relative youth of the USA as a nation.
        The flip side is that cities change much faster than the UK. I could go to my parents house and walk to the same local pub and likely find the same people still on their perches, followed by fish and chips from the same chippy and a trip to the same co-op when I lived there 30 years ago. Even sleepy towns like Toledo Ohio have seen whole malls rise and fall in the same time frame. Bars, shops, everything can be replaced next week by the latest thing.

        * Not an exhaustive or comprehensive list, but what came to mind.

        1. Mikel

          All that “unfinished” infrastructure is money that went somewhere else or ran out. And graft is real.
          The transient nature of people and other things – money went somewhere else or ran out.

    2. CitizenSissy

      Had a similar backup when I was selling my parents’ home after their deaths – plumbers told me that this was the decades-long accumulation of fat from soap, dishes, laundry, shampoo, etc. They considered the popular fatty body washes job security.

  3. diptherio

    I think this may be of interest to some people here. It’s a webinar that some of our members at GEO recently put together titled “Health Autonomy Beyond the Pandemic,” with speakers from the Knoxville Community Apothecary, Ujimaa Medics (Chicago), and Community Pharmacy (Madison). Good stuff for anyone interested in healthcare outside the medical industrial complex:


    1. Stephen V.

      Whoa. Health & Autonomy! *How can local communities take agency over the well being of themselves and others?.*
      Can’t remember seeing these 2 concepts together before. Really appreciate this.
      I’ve also ordered Joe Flower’s book “How to Get What We Pay For.”

      1. Anarcissie

        Cooperative HMOs seem like a natural solution to some aspects of this need, yet I believe they exist only in Wisconsin. Curious if so. I wonder if there is a law against them.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          (Insert city name) General.
          Saint Whatever
          University hospitals

          There is no law against non-profit healthcare providers, but the prayer goes, “lead us not into temptation.” There is profit to be had. Until 1973, operating an HMO was almost impossible (thanks Ted Kennedy and Dick Nixon!).

          Its the same problem as NGOs.

          In essenve all of our HMOs and the hospitals they operate started as non-profit entities that were corrupted when it was allowed.

    1. Grant

      Maybe, but of course I would really caution looking for precedent as things are as dire as they have been in this country in a very long time, and none of the people wanting to maintain things as is or push us even further right are going to have an easy road. We have yet to see the full brunt of foreclosures, the full impact of stupidly just opening up schools without any real plan, people being thrown out of their homes, the full impact of the collapse in effective demand that the austerity is going to have, among other things. Maybe this will be something like a 21st Century Bonus Army? Seems that life for these soulless people is going to get much more difficult, and Biden ain’t no FDR. FDR could at least be pushed, Biden is ignorant, corrupt and ideological rigid as a person can be.

      1. Keith

        Well, the worse things get, the better the chance for getting the change you want. For that, though, you do need to have your political house in order and be willing to leverage any power you have. The Tea Party/Freedom Caucus were more than willing to tank what the GOP majority wanted, if they opposed the main party’s goal. For that, their constituency rewarded then. Politics is a full contact sport (as the cliche goes), and so if Progressives want to be relevant, let alone effective, they need to get rough and even accept setbacks where they tank their own party in order to get what want.

        It may be cynical, but Emmanuel was right about “not letting a good crisis go to waste.” COVID and the economic impacts are great crisis to exploit.

        1. S.V. Dáte

          Er, “Well, the worse things get, the better the chance for getting the change you want.”, no not really. People hope for that, but once you let loose with second law of thermodynamics- everything goes to hell. I do think some people voted for trump because they wanted him to press the big red button. He may, but my guess is the only bomb going off will be the one he will be sitting on. Have you read Matt Stoller’s book – “Goliath”? It is very good. Highly informative.

          1. Grant

            It can lead to structural changes, say the New Deal after the crash in 1929 or the NHS immediately after WWII. Or, the failed revolutions in Germany and Spain leading to fascism. I don’t have faith at this point that the elected reps on the left are brave enough to throw a wrench into the engine, but I also think that very active social movements put pressure on the system. Really, the key is whether or not you can scare those in power. The New Deal doesn’t happen without the massive wave of radical direct action, far more radical unions at the time, the threat of the Socialist and the Communist Parties, and frankly without the Russian Revolution and the string of left wing revolutions in Europe at the time. It forced FDR left, led to Wallace as VP (possibly the most radical VP of the 20th century) and it led an otherwise pretty conservative FDR to adopt social democratic policies. He did in fact adopt a good chunk of the Socialist Party’s platform. So, none of this hinges on people like AOC, it hinges on us getting active and scaring those in power. If we are waiting on AOC, Bernie and the like to perform miracles, it ain’t gonna happen. I don’t expect the revolution to be televised, but I do expect NBC to push out Chuck Todd to make sense of it.

          2. Keith

            All action carries risk, including inaction. With that being said, in order to effect change, you need a catalyst. There is always backlash and the pendulum always swings back. By then, though, the goal is to keep as much as you can until until the pendulum swings in your favor once again. Also, it is easier creating benefits/rights than it is to take them away. Once the public gets hooked on something “free” or that they have a “right” to, they will demand to keep it, no matter how expensive it becomes.

            1. Dan

              I believe it was Grover Norquist who said something along the lines of, “We must stop universal healthcare because if it passes we’ll never get rid of it.”

              1. John A

                Norquist should look at Britain. Universal healthcase was passed in the 1940s, people love it, but the Tories are getting rid of it and keep getting voted in, despite their destruction of the electorally very popular NHS. Yes, you can fool some of the people all the time.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Lucy holds the football..

      Charlie Browns runs up to it after giving her the football again.

      Now that Lucy has the football, she pulls it away. This time accompanied by weasely words such as “We tried, but those darn Republicans wouldn’t let you kick it.”

      Same story as 2008.

      1. Keith

        Well, if Progressives mind their place, yup, same old, same old. That’s why they need to develop a backbone. Be willing to shut down the govt, refuse to raise the debt ceiling; do all those things the evil Freedom Caucus was willing to do to their own party. The leadership may get mad, but they will ultimately get pulled in the direction the more extreme wing wants to go. But in order to get that kind of leverage, Progressives need to break some things and tank their party at times.

        1. John k

          The ultra right wing dem candidates need to keep losing. Senior dems that think these guys are ok bc they themselves already have Medicare and are otherwise comfortable can’t win ether that kind of candidate.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        How long before Biden’s DoJ starts an investigation into non-white baseball players not following the “unwritten” rules of baseball?

  4. Lee

    I’m avoiding watching or listening to the Democrat nomenklatura because when I do I am seized in the vice like grip by an irresistible urge to vote for Trump out of spite instead of the Green or other lefty candidate.

    Lovely garden photo, btw.

    1. Harold

      Do you have any more information about the lyrics to this song, for us non-Greek speakers. Thanks in advance.

      1. DJG

        Harold: My Greek is rudimentary. When I first figured out the title, I dumped the lyrics in Google translate. It’s a highly witty, slightly larcenous song about getting hold of food. The last verse seems to promise–and meat on Sundays.

        But if there’s anyone around the commentariat who is fluent in Greek, I, too, would like to know how this song came about. Also, is there something special about spaghetti on Tuesdays and Thursdays–the Greek idea of the high life?

        1. ddt

          Rebetika is the greek blues. Second the “larcenous” characterization. Song talks about losing some planted “roots” from the garden (pot plants), visits from the police, how a prison is better than the port of Athens (Pireas) especially if you have good company, single vs double testicles and how you can apply those to ancient greek names (Archimedes vs Diomedes). Some crass, some tongue in cheek humor.
          Thanks for this. Never heard of her before. She’s got a great voice.

    1. Synoia

      That means I have to lick Trump’s behind to get the stamp to stick.

      What a clever, evil, plot, to eliminate the Postal Service!

  5. kareninca

    Could someone else in CA tell me if this is really an unusual heat wave? So far in Silicon valley over the past few days it has been hot, but not at all out of line with years gone by. But I am reading that this is supposed to be a truly massive heatwave in this region. But it isn’t. I’m willing to believe that it is elsewhere in CA, but not here. I have a good sense of the heat here because we have had old dogs over the years and we had to get an AC for one and put out ice with a fan blowing over it for another, but right now my old dog is fine with neither. I have become skeptical enough to think that there may be some reason for exaggerating the extent of the heat wave.

    I often worry about an elderly friend in San Mateo when it gets very hot. But it is only 87 degrees there right now at about 2 p.m. I won’t even call him to check; that is not unreasonably hot.

    On the discussion yesterday about well-off people who can’t understand the situation of other people – well they don’t want to think about it. And it does them good personally not to look. I read “Down and Out in Paris and London” in high school and lots of similar books and in the 70s read of people losing good factory jobs en masse and being turned away from ERs when dying because they had no insurance, and it has stressed me out ever since. My father in law (who grew up very poor during the Depression) has the sunniest viewpoint in the world – why not, he has a very generous state pension from a PA college and he never thinks about unpleasant things if he can possible avoid it. He is in perfect health at age 95 and I am in lousy health at age 56. Stress is bad for you. Amfortas’ mother in law can sense that if she looks at the world squarely it will make her sick. It is a form of survivalism to not look at the distress of others. I don’t engage in it but I can see why people do.

    1. Dan

      My father in law (who grew up very poor during the Depression) has the sunniest viewpoint in the world – why not, he has a very generous state pension from a PA college and he never thinks about unpleasant things if he can possible avoid it. He is in perfect health at age 95 and I am in lousy health at age 56. Stress is bad for you. Amfortas’ mother in law can sense that if she looks at the world squarely it will make her sick. It is a form of survivalism to not look at the distress of others. I don’t engage in it but I can see why people do.

      Thank you for this comment. My father is the same way, and I understand it too, though it frustrates the hell out of me.

    2. fwe'zy

      Great comment, among all the great comments, but I’ve talked enough today. I’m only replying to give you data: 104-106 here in East LA, maybe 100 past few days. Couple years ago, one day it was 108 at 8pm, the sky was yellow, and trees turned brown overnight, then died or half-died. That was the hottest year, not this one, but Death Valley etc may be experiencing something else.

      1. kareninca

        Good grief, 108 at 8 p.m.. That would be memorable. I hope you aren’t in a fire risk zone.

        1. fwe'zy

          I’m safe, kareninca! Also, I was wrong: we reached 111 degrees this afternoon, apparently. Dog only knows what the afternoon temp was on that 108-at-8pm day. I saw the temp on my dashboard as I drove.

      2. sd

        107 here in our part of LA yesterday and still smokey. 102 today.

        Btw, David Lynch does a daily weather report if anyone’s interested.

    3. periol

      As a Californian, I can say that this heat wave is not all that unusual in most aspects except one: it is late in the season. Record high as well as record high low temperatures are falling all over the southland (I haven’t looked beyond the local NWS), of course these aren’t all-time records, but this is an unusually hot and long heat wave for this late in August.

      Where I am we hit our hottest temps for the summer three days in a row, but there has thankfully been afternoon cloud cover the last few days to cool down the afternoons. Yesterday we were almost 25 degrees warmer than average. The nights are definitely extremely warm, it was warmer last night at midnight than it was in the middle of the day twice last week. So there’s no opening windows and cooling the house down overnight. The other issue is that humidity is definitely way higher than normal, so it feels warmer than just the temperature.

      Death Valley did hit an all-time high record for the earth, so I think it’s fair to say this heat wave isn’t exaggerated, perhaps just not as bad where you are. Still, this heat wave is definitely not bad enough to justify the rolling blackouts. Over a weekend no less, what a joke.

      1. kareninca

        Okay, I had not thought about what part of the season it is in. That could be a variable.

        I totally agree that this is not bad enough to justify rolling blackouts. About ten years ago we had an ancient corgi and we had to get an AC (which was a challenge since we are in a condo and had to hide it); it was hideously hot for weeks. This is nothing like that.

    4. Milton

      Lifelong Californian, and I can tell you that the heat we are experiencing (as far as Tmax highs) are not unusual as we will get highs like this in Fall most any year. What makes this heatwave unusual, however, is the accompanying dewpoints (mid-70s in a large portion of the state) that are creating heat indices above 120 in some places. Because of these high dewpoints, nightime, early morning lows are not getting below 70; add the fact this event is expected to last anywhere from a week to 10 days and you have yourself an unusual heatwave. The big problem, though, is this unusual heatwave is becoming less and less unusual with each passing year.

      1. kareninca

        Oh, I will have to look up dew points as a factor.

        But even so, if this is bad enough to cause rolling blackouts, we are going to spend a massive amount of time in rolling blackouts in the years to come.

    5. fresno dan

      August 18, 2020 at 4:55 pm


      So we broke a heat record this last Sunday in Fresno and some other central valley cities, but records get broken every once in a while. It is hot, even for Fresno, in the number of days 109 and above but not unprecedented.
      But the fact of the matter is that every day in August, Fresno historically has had a day above 108, with several at 109, 110, 111, 112, and a couple at 113.


      What is interesting is the clumping of hot days time wise. The 40’s, (1 record day) 50’s, 60’s (50s and 60s no record days) and 70’s (1 record day) were without high temperature records

      1. Wukchumni

        It was 110 At the turn to Mineral King road on Hwy 198, and 25 miles later and 7,000 feer higher in Mineral King Valley it was a pleasant 73.

        That’s a 37 degree variance, the most i’ve ever seen!

      1. MichaelSF

        There was also thunder/lightning over the ocean in the Sunset/Richmond districts most of Monday morning.

        I like to watch thunderstorms and we don’t get many of them here in SF. I got up at 4AM on Sunday and watched the show for about 30 minutes.

        Thankfully, the heat is mostly over, and we’re only having to suffer with 70F outdoors (it was hitting 85F in our house that with east/west exposure gets baked all day long when it is hot), but low 60s should be back by the end of the week.

        1. sierra7

          Lightening show:
          Back in either 1936 or 37 we had a large lightening show in SF. We lived out the Mission District across from Balboa Park and I remember so many of our block out front or in the park watching the lightening. Warm and moist air……

          100 deg on the coast of CA is definitely worse than 100 degrees in the mountains where I now live. Sierra foothills about 70 miles east of Modesto….109, 108, 106, today early evening 104….and humid. The cloud cover the past few days has helped keep the temp down slightly.

          Worse part is the notices from PG&E about “rolling blackouts” which only adds to the stress especially for us old people. That on top of the SIP of the virus is getting depressing as hell.
          Stay safe and healthy!

      2. kate

        The fact that lightning strikes were EXPECTED to start many fires was scary to me, here abutting the East Bay hills. We had these fire scares the last 2 or 3 years, but not till October/November. I have lived here all my life and fire was not even on my radar until very lately. Long exhausting season ahead?

      1. periol

        Right now, in the high desert, according to Weather Underground we are at 40% humidity. Looking at the weather history, our humidity jumped into the 20% range Thursday night, and has been consistently over 30% since then. Normal humidity for this location during the summer is around 10%.

    6. jaaaaayceeeee

      I don’t know where in Silicon Valley you live, kaareninca, but Menlo Park hit 99 in the shade the day before yesterday, and we have had a lot of humidity, after weeks of normal or below normal temperatures (morning coastal fog keeping the sun from heating up the peninsula each morning). The micro climates from San Francisco to San Jose vary so much. At least the hottest day is past, although I’m still losing tender plants, especially if in pots by/on cement, but the humidity that keeps the nights warmer (thus the days hotter) is falling.

      1. kareninca

        I’m near your location. Go outside now and check the air. No, don’t. It is totally unbreathable all of a sudden due to wildfire smoke. Check the purpleair website. I am now hunkered down with my air filters on.

  6. Tony Wikrent

    “. . . All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic”: An Open Letter to Gen. Milley

    If the commander in chief attempts to ignore the election’s results, you will face a choice….

    Then the clock will strike 12:01 PM, January 20, 2021, and Donald Trump will be sitting in the Oval Office. The street protests will inevitably swell outside the White House, and the ranks of Trump’s private army will grow inside its grounds. The speaker of the House will declare the Trump presidency at an end, and direct the Secret Service and Federal Marshals to remove Trump from the premises. These agents will realize that they are outmanned and outgunned by Trump’s private army, and the moment of decision will arrive.

    At this moment of Constitutional crisis, only two options remain. Under the first, U.S. military forces escort the former president from the White House grounds. Trump’s little green men, so intimidating to lightly armed federal law enforcement agents, step aside and fade away, realizing they would not constitute a good morning’s work for a brigade of the 82nd Airborne. Under the second, the U.S. military remains inert while the Constitution dies.

    Two retired Army combat commanders go through the arguments. Nagl in particular is interesting, having written Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam (University of Chicago Press, 2005) which I recall provided unconventional insights that were used to some success in Iraq and Afghanistan. I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that Nagl’s career was ended prematurely as a result. Or was it that Nagl’s career was ended prematurely and then he wrote the book? Not sure….

    They don’t consider what I think is most likely – heavy suppression of Democratic voters that provides a presidential vote count close enough for Trump to claim victory while disregarding any contrary facts.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      that link made me hafta restart my browser…..but i think it’s a very, very important topic.
      I remember well wondering seriously if darth cheney was gonna release the reins…or the hounds.
      “We’re Exceptional!” prevents us from contemplating this, too , ahead of time.
      I reckon we should strive for a peaceful balkinisation, instead.
      Holding on to Empire after it’s spoil date is not advised.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I have my reservations about Nagl but in any case, this is not a military matter and escalating it to such is reckless as it is stupid. This is actually a matter for the US Secret Service as they are responsible for security in the White House. It would be their responsibility to remove a trespasser and make way for the new President. This article I am classifying as a job application form by Nagl to any incoming democratic administration.

    3. albrt

      I consider the most likely result to be that people get a good look at Joe Biden and simply won’t vote for him. But whatever.

    1. marym

      The destruction of the USPS is a long-standing bi-partisan project. It doesn’t mean the new PMG’s actions and apparent conflicts of interest, and Trump’s stated objections to election-related funding and vote-by-mail aren’t issues that should concern us all, however manipulated by the Dems. It’s a window into the situation, and the postal service deserves our attention. The Dems need to do more, not less, about the situation.

      This, for example is terrible, but it didn’t just start:

      “The Department of Veterans Affairs has been forced to find alternative ways to ship mail-order prescriptions for patients whose medication is delivered by the United States Postal Service, including FedEx and UPS, CNN has learned.

      The VA acknowledged the change in an email to a veterans group called Disabled Vets of America after it raised the issue on behalf of patients who had reported significant delays…

      “The VA has now confirmed to us that the United States Postal Service (USPS), which is responsible for delivering about 90% of all VA mail order prescriptions, has indeed been delayed in delivering these critical medications by an average of almost 25% over the past year, with many locations experiencing much more significant delays,” the group’s national commander, Stephen Whitehead, said in a statement Monday.”

      Explanations of the seemingly locked mailboxes, and of the mailboxes stacked up for refurbishing started circulating pretty promptly after the initial outcry. These mini-scandals come and go on twitter, and all sides take advantage of them. It shouldn’t be the deciding factor as to whether we’re facing an opportunistic postal-gate or real attacks on our postal service.

      Some info about the author and sources for the Medium post cited in the linked video here: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/08/links-8-17-2020.html#comment-3410048

      1. anon in so cal

        Yes, the destruction of the USPS is a long-standing bi-partisan project.

        For example, California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, partly owns CBRE, which was costing the U.S. Postal Service millions of dollars a year in lease over-payments.

        Postal service management, unlike the rank and file employees, were fine with the arrangement:

        “Postal Service management disagreed with the inspector general’s recommendation to terminate the contract, or even to inform landlords that they are not required to pay CBRE commissions. They did agree to hire an independent consultant to evaluate the leasing program. They also defended CBRE’s work, saying that leases were mostly negotiated at or below market rates.

        The American Postal Workers Union, currently embroiled in contract negotiations with USPS, criticized “the cozy relationship between postal management and the world’s biggest real estate company.” They also pointed out that CBRE CEO Robert Sulentic sits on the board of directors of Staples, which postal workers have boycotted for years over a public-private partnership with USPS to sell postal products at their stores. The Staples deal coincided with USPS personnel cuts and sell-offs of post offices, which are managed by CBRE.”


      2. VietnamVet

        I receive my VA prescriptions mostly by mail but also by UPS now and then. I rent DVDs by mail too. I pay my bills with analog checks sent by mail. Since the pandemic started there were ragged deliveries in the last mile but only 1 or 2 were missed. In the last two weeks, transit between distribution points went to hell. In a couple cases adding a week or two.

        This collapse is a direct result of the Postmaster General’s cost cutting schemes. He gave $360,000 to Trump Victory PAC. A successful vote by mail campaign in 2020 may well elect Joe Biden if every person with a mail address gets a ballot. Donald Trump understands this. But his medicine is set out for him. He is not dependent on mail service.

        The Louis DeJoy family have significant investments in companies that do business or compete with the Postal Service. No doubt, like the President, he loves privatization. That is how he makes money. He could care less if it works.

        Louis DeJoy could have ordered the slow down to prevent a mail-in election; but more likely, he is so stupid and incompetent that he cut mail service three months prior to national election. Neither he or the President realize that postal service is a Constitutional right needed by Americans. Of course, the Democrats jumped on it but without exactly grasping the actual truth. Their big donors love privatization too.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I see Cynicism…while entirely warranted and necessary…as a problem, going forward.
      Crises of Legitimacy are a bit(#.

  7. anon in so cal

    Trump rejects Pentagon wish to slash military healthcare

    “U.S. President Donald Trump said late on Monday he has rejected a Pentagon proposal to cut military healthcare by $2.2 billion.”

    Politico reported politi.co/2E5GqQS on Sunday that Pentagon officials working on Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s cost-cutting review of the U.S. Defense Department had proposed slashing military healthcare by $2.2 billion.

    “A proposal by Pentagon officials to slash Military Healthcare by $2.2 billion dollars has been firmly and totally rejected by me. We will do nothing to hurt our great Military professionals & heroes as long as I am your President,” Trump said in a tweet.


    I think Esper’s suggestion to slash benefits was discussed here yesterday.

  8. allan

    Democrats Drop Demand To End Fossil Fuel Subsidies From Party Platform [HuffPost]

    On July 27, officials added an amendment to the Manager’s Mark, a ledger of party demands voted on as one omnibus package, stating: “Democrats support eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels, and will fight to defend and extend tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.”

    The amendment was approved. But the statement ― which reflects pledges presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, each made on the campaign trail ― disappeared from the final draft of the party platform circulated Monday.

    In an emailed statement, a DNC spokesperson said the amendment was “incorrectly included in the Manager’s Mark” and taken out “after the error was discovered.” …

    For every hipster GND supporter we lose, we’ll pick up three suburban Exxon-Mobil board members.

  9. ChrisAtRU

    For fun, I’ve been doing day-by-day comparisons of the RCP Presidential tracking polls from 2020 and 2016.

    We’ve had: three years plus of Trump’s #Familybloggery; a pandemic that has brought mass unemployment, mass evictions, suffering, sickness and death; social unrest, continued social injustice and federal troops deployed to US cities. After all this, Joe Biden is doing 1.8 percentage points better than Hillary Clinton against Trump in the RCP Polling Average at the same date in the election cycle.

    Maybe spending three plus years obsessed with #RussiaGate and #Impeachment wasn’t the boss move MSNBC & Dems led us to believe.

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