2:00PM Water Cooler 8/21/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

#COVID19

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 again is the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin:

I left out positivity, becaue the chart becomes unreadable if I include it. Interesting spike in Missouri; I wonder if it’s a reporting problem at the state level, since they seem to be cropping up all over.

Illinois’s curve is really unique in this set of states. 91-DIVOC has prepared a chart specifically for Illinois:

Looks like two epidemics, not one.

CA: “Have L.A.’s homeless people dodged a COVID-19 catastrophe?” [Los Angeles Times]. “There has been little spread of the novel coronavirus in Los Angeles’ street encampments. Some shelters have had outbreaks, but most of those infected had no symptoms. Of the more than 1,300 cases among homeless people in L.A. County, fatalities at mid-August stood at 31, a mortality rate comparable to or better than that of the overall population…. But homeless people in the rest of California and across the nation have had a better-than-expected time of it as well. And one reason might be the environment where nearly three-quarters of L.A.’s homeless people live: outside…. The apparent resiliency of homeless people in the face of a pandemic has so confounded expectations that researchers are looking at disparate and sometimes far-fetched causes.”

NC: “UNC System president blames students for fall reopening failures at UNC and N.C. State” [The Daily Tar Heel]. “UNC has confirmed six clusters on campus in residence halls and off-campus student living since classes started last week…. [UNC System President Peter Hans] said the UNC System planned for reopening under the guidance of public health officials and considered the different situations at each university. ‘This hard work is being undermined by a very small number of students behaving irresponsibly off campus, which unfairly punishes the vast majority of their classmates who are following the rules,’ Hans stated….. ‘I don’t apologize for trying,’ Provost Bob Blouin responded Monday.”

Meatpacking: “Meatpacking Companies Dismissed Years of Warnings but Now Say Nobody Could Have Prepared for COVID-19” [ProPublica]. “[A] ProPublica investigation has found that for more than a dozen years, critical businesses like meatpackers have been warned that a pandemic was coming. With eerie prescience, infectious disease experts and emergency planners had modeled scenarios in which a highly contagious virus would cause rampant absenteeism at processing plants, leading to food shortages and potential closures. The experts had repeatedly urged companies and government agencies to prepare for exactly the things that Smithfield’s CEO now claims were unrealistic…. Instead, the industry repeatedly expressed confidence in its ability to handle a pandemic, and when asked to plan, relied on a wait-and-see approach, records and interviews show.”

Deaths: “Covid-19 deaths should start dropping across US by next week, CDC chief says” [CNN]. “Covid-19 deaths in the US should start dropping around parts of the country by next week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said, as Americans stick to mitigation efforts that help curb the spread of the virus…. The daily average of new cases in the US has been on the decline for weeks. Redfield’s message comes as one Trump administration official said Covid-19 case trends are now ‘going in the right direction.’ But Redfield warned that while officials have observed cases fall across red zones in the country, cases in yellow zones across the heart of the US aren’t falling.”

Politics

“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 18: Still no changes. (Last change August 10.)


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!

2020

Biden(D)(1): “With the Speech of His Life, Joe Biden Becomes the Man for This Moment” [Frank Bruni, New York Times]. “It was a forceful speech, above all because it was a direct one, not ornamented with oratorical curlicues but animated by his messy experience in this unpredictable world. It had enormous credibility because it had enormous heart — and because it came from someone who, emotionally, has suffered mightily and come out the other side…. It was a forceful speech, above all because it was a direct one, not ornamented with oratorical curlicues but animated by his messy experience in this unpredictable world. It had enormous credibility because it had enormous heart — and because it came from someone who, emotionally, has suffered mightily and come out the other side.” • Opioid epidemic, what? Life expectancy falling in flyover? No problemo. Lambert here:

Anyhow, I did read Biden’s speech, which really was excellent; definitely Nooners level. Just a few notes:

[BIDEN]: Here and now I give you my word. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness.

It’s time for us, for we, the people, to come together. And make no mistake. United we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America.

Who would have thought Biden’s speechwriters would channel Marianne Williamson? But here’s Biden on health care:

And the assault on the Affordable Care Act will continue until it’s destroyed, taking insurance away from more than 20 million people, including more than 15 million people on Medicaid and getting rid of the protections that President Obama worked so hard to get past for people who have 100 million more people who have pre-existing conditions. … [W]e’ll not only build back, we’ll build back better…. With a healthcare system that lowers premiums, deductibles, drug prices, by building on the Affordable Care Act he’s trying to rip away.

So Biden just heaved the public option over the side. Too radical for suburban Republicans, I suppose. The view of the Democrat consultant:

#MedicareForAll is “a phrase.” Holy moley.

Biden (D)(2): “Over 70 former GOP national security officials endorse Biden” [The Hill]. “More than 70 former national security officials who served under Republican administrations have endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, joining a wave of GOP voices throwing their support behind the former vice president. The officials have served under President Trump and former Republican Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. The group includes former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor, who has gained attention in recent days for going public with his accounts of his interactions with Trump, as well as former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.” • This means war!

Biden (D)(3): “The Democrats Screwed Up” [The New Republic]. “After former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero met with Joe Biden in 2010, two words stuck with him: tears and suffering. That’s according to Zapatero’s 2013 memoir, The Dilemma. The two met at the Prime Minister’s residence on the outskirts of Madrid. The meeting was intended as a show of gratitude from the United States about Spain’s involvement in Afghanistan. But the conversation quickly turned to the eurozone, as several countries dealt with the extended fallout of the global financial crisis. “In giving his opinion on the markets,” Zapatero wrote of Biden, “he told me, with a harshness that until then I had not heard, that the only way to gain their trust was by making decisions that made you suffer truly and thoroughly. That you are only credible in certain circumstances if you subject citizens to difficult tests, if the unions openly reject your policy, in short, if there are tears and suffering. I was struck by his message, for its frankness and its toughness. Tears and suffering.” • Torturers are plenty empathetic. How else do they know where to put the electrodes?

* * *

MA: “Pelosi endorses Kennedy over Markey in contentious primary” [Politico]. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Rep. Joe Kennedy in his Senate challenge Thursday, a surprise move that could provide a significant boost over incumbent Democratic Sen. Ed Markey as the contentious Massachusetts race comes to a close in less than two weeks… ‘No one gets to complain about primary challenges again,’ Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.” • I’m so old I remember this: “DCCC Promises To Blacklist Firms That Work With Candidates Challenging Incumbents.

Democratic National Convention

UPDATE “The convention shows Democrats have ceded the working class to the GOP” [WaPo]. “There was virtually no effort to win back the working-class voters who voted twice for Barack Obama but defected to Trump in 2016. The reason Trump is president today is because about one-third of the nearly 700 counties that twice voted for Obama went for Trump in 2016. According to Nate Cohn of the New York Times, Trump won because he ‘flipped millions of white working-class Obama supporters to his side.’* If you were a working-class** Obama-Trump voter watching this week’s convention, you heard a lot about gun violence, racial justice and climate change, but not much directed at you. The message you heard was: Democrats are not interested in your support. That showed in Biden’s acceptance speech. It was in many ways an impassioned and effective address. But not a word about the opioid epidemic and deaths of despair that are destroying families. Not a word about the outsourcing of jobs that has decimated their communities. Not a word about confronting China, the country that unleashed covid-19 on our country** and has decimated many economic sectors with unfair trade practices. Biden blamed Trump for the job losses from the pandemic. But these voters remember that before the pandemic hit, America had recovered a half-million manufacturing jobs under Trump after losing almost 200,000 factory jobs in the Obama-Biden years. Trump understands this.” • I’m not sure Trump “understands this,” in the sense that he can’t focus on it, absence the A/B testing he was able to run on crowds in 2016. Theissen also doesn’t seem to notice that Latin working class voters are up for grabs too. Indeed, when you throw out idpol — and why not? It’s for liberals who think they can run the world like an HR department — life becomes a lot simpler. The next Trump, this Trump being about used up, is gonna half to run a real Sister Souljah number of their own. That and scrape off a lot of think tank barnicles. Can it be done? Not sure. NOTE * Cohn leaves out, as does Theissen, that disouraged Black voters who stayed home were also important. ** A call for war (albeit bipartisan) and wrong; the great bullk of infection came in through New York City, from Europe.

UPDATE “The Democratic Convention’s Big Blind Spot” [The Atlantic]. “The event did not deliver a concise critique of Trump’s economic record or offer a tight explanation of Biden’s plans to improve the economic circumstances of middle-class families. Though Biden ran through an extended list of policy goals on issues including job creation and climate change during his address, he offered vanishingly little detail about how he would achieve them—though, in fact, he’s delivered a series of detailed speeches laying out his agenda… unless Biden can win across a wide range of Sun Belt states, he’s unlikely to reach 270 Electoral College votes without improving at least somewhat among working-class white voters in the key Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And analysts have long observed that many older Latino and African American voters in particular are more motivated to turn out to the polls by concrete plans to improve their life than by broad promises of confronting discrimination…. Even most Republicans agree that Trump, by this point, has almost no realistic pathway to winning the popular vote. But even most Democrats agree that he might still squeeze out an Electoral College majority by maximizing margins and turnout among his core group of older, rural, non-college-educated white voters in a few closely balanced states. If he does, Democrats may again rue the choice not to direct a more targeted economic appeal at the voters Trump is relying on most.”

Easter eggs (1):

Scattering clues like that master symbol manipulator, Q. Even more so:

Easter eggs (2):

“The Democrats pulled off a brilliant psychological maneuver at the convention” [Fast Company]. “So if these speakers aren’t literally chatting with us, why have the DNC speeches been so engrossing? Could there be some other element at play? The short answer is yes. As Hietanen explains, someone’s gaze still affects our thinking, even when it’s streamed one-way through a laptop or TV screen. Most importantly, gaze impacts our attention. If someone who is speaking looks right, you’ll naturally look to their right, too. In the case of the DNC, this unbroken eye contact draws our attention and likely makes it harder to ignore the speaker or look away from the screen. …. In this sense, the old DNC had an advantage that the new DNC loses in the age of COVID-19. You are no longer directed to look at that crowd of super fans full of positive emotions that infect you. “The phenomenon is called emotional contagion,” explains Hietanen. ‘Anybody’s speech elicits effective responses in other people, and I as a viewer see those other people’s affective reactions, they of course have an influence on my [feelings] as well.’ So this DNC offers something of a trade: We go all in with the speaker, at the expense of losing the contagious feelings of the audience.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

About that Big Tent (1):

Moulton is there to win Maine. But still.

About that Big Tent (2):

So I see the Biden GOTV effort is going well.

The Great Assimilation™:

“Chelsea and Me: On the politics—or non-politics or pseudo-politics—of engaging a power player on Twitter” [Corey Robin]. • I remember reading this when it was published (2017) but now I see how it confirms every word Thomas Frank wrote in Listen, Liberal!

I don’t like this timeline and I wish the showrunners would change it:

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 15 August 2020 – Intermodal Remains In Expansion” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic has two components – carloads and intermodal (containers or trailers on rail cars). Container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. declined and remains deep in contraction. This week again intermodal was in expansion year-over-year. However, carloads remain deep in contraction.”

* * *

Retail: “Retailers are trying to ramp up their digital investments as fast as shoppers are moving online. Home Depot, Nestlé, AutoNation and others are accelerating their e-commerce efforts… setting up new technology and operations they expect to continue even once the pandemic subsides” [Wall Street Journal]. “E-commerce has been a bright spot amid the upheaval in the retail sector since the spring, and digital capabilities have marked the dividing between continuity and collapse for many merchants. U.S. e-commerce sales are forecast to grow 18% to $709.8 billion this year, representing a record 14.5% of total retail sales.”

The Bezzle: “NimbleRx and Uber Health Partner to Expand Accessibility to Prescription Delivery” (press release) [Associated Press (timotheus)]. ” NimbleRx, a platform providing independent pharmacies the ability to offer convenient, online delivery, today announced a partnership with Uber Health to offer safe, contactless prescription delivery from pharmacies in Seattle, WA and Dallas, TX, and soon, other parts of the country….. Built on Uber’s platform and part of Uber for Business’s suite of enterprise solutions, Uber Health is a HIPAA-secure solution that enables its various partners within the healthcare industry to request non-emergency medical transportation for patients and improve access to care for some of our most vulnerable populations including those on Medicaid and Medicare. Part of a larger initiative by Uber to provide access to on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solutions to consumers and businesses, prescription delivery provides a ripe opportunity to address the current and critical needs of Nimble customers.”

Tech: “Lightroom App Update Wipes Users’ Photos and Presets, Adobe Says they are ‘Not Recoverable'” [PetaPixel]. “This morning, multiple readers wrote in to alert us to a major Adobe gaffe. It seems the latest update to the Lightroom app for iPhone and iPad inadvertently wiped users’ photos and presets that were not already synced to the cloud. Adobe has confirmed that there is no way to get them back. The issue first cropped up on the Photoshop feedback forums two days ago, when the Lightroom app on iOS was updated to version 5.4. A user named Mohamad Alif Eqnur posted asking why all of his photos, presets, and watermark data had been removed after updating to the most recent version through the iOS app store.” • I’ll bet. Not a good look for iOS as a professional’s platform, either. Of course, I’m not delusional enough to use The Cloud, and a professional would have multiple off-site ballots anyhow, but still. Adobe is a monopoly, too.

Tech: “YouTube, Netflix and Gaming: A Look at What Kids Are Doing With Their Increased Screen Time” [Morning Consult]. “Most (60 percent) said that before the pandemic, their children’s screen time topped out at three hours. Respondents were asked to include time for education and school work in their estimates. Forty percent said their children had spent four or more hours a day with a device. But when asked how much time children were spending with devices in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority shifted: Most (70 percent) now said their kids were spending at least four hours each day with screens.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 70 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 72 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 21 at 12:04pm.

The Biosphere

“A secret hidden in centuries-old mud reveals a new way to save polluted rivers” [Science]. “New research is settling many of the debates that Merritts’s and Walter’s paper touched off. Although dams are not solely to blame for legacy sediment, it’s now clear colonial-era erosion did dramatically alter streams in much of the continent’s tectonically quiet eastern half, says Ellen Wohl, a geomorphologist at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. ‘There’s been an accelerated recognition of how ubiquitous this sediment is,’ she says. And that recognition has been driven by Walter and Merritts, says Noah Snyder, a geomorphologist at Boston College. Their study is ‘one of the most influential papers I’ve seen.’ Now, the duo is hoping to inspire a new approach to stream restoration by turning back the clock at Big Spring Run. By removing centuries of mud, they have returned the stream to its marshy, precolonial glory, and are now demonstrating the environmental payoff such strategies can deliver.” • This is super-neat and everybody doing work with rivers should read it in full (though when I spotted “legacy sediment,” I thought for a moment I should file this under the Democrat Convention).

“The Therapeutic Power of Gardening” [The New Yorker]. “”When we sow a seed, we plant a narrative of future possibility,” Sue Stuart-Smith, a British psychiatrist and psychotherapist, writes in her new book, ‘The Well-Gardened Mind.’ A surprise best-seller in the U.K., it came out in America earlier this summer…. Stuart-Smith’s book compares the uses of gardening in historical and contemporary mental-health treatments, and reports on empirical research into gardening’s effects on mood. (Laboratory rats whose cages contain soil and logs are more energetic and sociable than those whose cages include a wheel, a ladder, and a tunnel.) She draws on thirty years of clinical practice…. In ‘The Well-Gardened Mind,’ Sue Stuart-Smith seeks to go beyond the truism that getting out in the garden is good for you. ‘Much of the research that’s been done has been by environmental psychologists, who look at things like attention and cognition,’ she told me recently. ‘That’s all very important. But I was interested in the unconscious aspects of gardening—the symbolism, and the level of metaphor.’… A garden, Stuart-Smith suggests, can be a Winnicottian ‘in-between’ space that allows the inner and the outer worlds to coexist simultaneously—’a meeting place for our innermost, dream-infused selves and the real physical world.’ The meditative and repetitive aspects of gardening can function as a form of play for grownups who have otherwise stopped playing.” • “When we sow a seed, we plant a narrative of future possibility” makes my back teeth itch. Plants have their own autonomy; they create their own narratives.

“How to Make and Manage a Bee Hotel: Instructions that Really Work” (PDF) [The Pollinator Garden]. • This is an absolutely terrific resource (although from the UK). Surprise, honeybees and bumblebees are not the only bee species there are! There are many, and they have different preferences for housing!

Health Care

“US will allow pharmacists to administer vaccines to kids as vaccine rates drop during coronavirus pandemic” [ABC]. “Children in the United States will have expanded access to vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a directive issued Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Licensed pharmacists in all 50 states will now be able to administer vaccines to kids ages 3-18 provided they have completed the required hands-on injection training, according to HHS.” • Sensible.

“Humidity-Dependent Decay of Viruses, but Not Bacteria, in Aerosols and Droplets Follows Disinfection Kinetics” [Environmental Science and Technology]. From the discussion: “Our results show that the viability of bacteria and viruses in suspended aerosols and droplets is [Relative humidity (RH)] dependent, varying by over 3 orders of magnitude for bacteria and up to 2 orders of magnitude for viruses. These results suggest that environmental conditions have the potential to influence transmission of certain pathogens by affecting their viability while they are transmitting between hosts. While bacteria survived better at humid conditions than dry conditions, viruses survived best at both low and extremely high RHs while experiencing greater decay at intermediate RHs.” • Technical, but if you stan for aerosols, as do I, you will find this interesting.

“Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Proliferating Observational Treatment Assessments” [JAMA]. Terrific deck: “Observational Cacophony, Randomized Harmony.” More:

“[T]here is growing concern about whether attempts to infer causation about the benefits and risks of potential therapeutics from nonrandomized studies are providing insights that improve clinical knowledge and accelerate the search for needed answers, or whether these reports just add noise, confusion, and false confidence. Most of these studies include a caveat indicating that “randomized clinical trials are needed.” But disclaimers aside, does this approach help make the case for well-designed randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and accelerate their delivery?1 Or do observational studies reduce the likelihood of a properly designed trial being performed, thereby delaying the discovery of reliable truth?

Anxious, frightened patients, as well as clinicians and health systems with a strong desire to prevent morbidity and mortality, are all susceptible to cognitive biases. Furthermore, profit motives in the medical products industry, academic hubris, interests related to increasing the valuation of data platforms, and revenue generated by billing for these products in care delivery can all tempt investigators to make claims their methods cannot fully support, and these claims often are taken up by traditional media and further amplified on social media. Politicians have been directly involved in discourse about treatments they assert are effective. The natural desire of all elements of society to find effective therapies can obscure the difference between a proven fact and an exaggerated guess. Nefarious motives are not necessary for these problems to occur.

if leaders, commentators, academics, and clinicians cannot restrain the rush to judgment in the absence of reliable evidence, the proliferation of observational treatment comparisons will hinder the goal of finding effective treatments for COVID-19—and a great many other diseases.

I understand the argument, but if a clinician is getting good results for a course of treatment over a reasonably large (100?) number of patients, I, as another patient, want to know about that. I understand the concerns raised by the authors. Nevertheless, PMC gatekeeping has its own issues (most certainly including “profit motives”). Anyhow, when Fauci recommends a Big Pharma product based on a press release — oddly, not mentioned in the author’s parade of horribles — hasn’t the horse already left the barn?

“Does Parkinson’s Begin in the Gut?” [Scientific American]. “The microbiome, the totality of microorganisms in the human body, has spurred intense interest among Parkinson’s researchers. A number of reports have noted that individuals with the disease harbor a unique composition of gut microbes, and scientists have also found that transplanting fecal microbes from patients into rodents predisposed to develop Parkinson’s can worsen motor symptoms of the disease and increase alpha-synuclein aggregation in the brain.” • Read the article for nuance before going out and getting a transplant!

Police State Watch

“Chicago protests, looting may be contributing to police retiring at rapid rate, officers say” [ABC7]. “The recent unrest in Chicago may be one of the reasons police are retiring at a rapid rate. The policemen’s annuity and benefit fund says officers are leaving their jobs at double the rate than they were during this same time last year. Chicago police have been working 12 hours a day with vacation days canceled for much of the summer. They have been responding to protests, violence and widespread looting. While they are considered public servants, they are not feeling much appreciation from the public these days.” • War of attrition…

Class Warfare

“As Private Schools Set Up Outdoor Classrooms, Public Schools Hit Roadblocks’ [NY1]. “At the private Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, grassy lawns have been turned into outdoor classrooms, with chairs and desks under large tents. But public schools looking to move classrooms outdoors to protect students from the coronavirus are hitting roadblocks…. ‘Our schools may not have beautiful lawns and sports fields, but our streets near them are public streets. Just like we made them available for restaurants, we can make them available for schools,’ [Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander] said.”

“‘They deserve to be heard’: Sick and dying coal ash cleanup workers fight for their lives” [Southerly]. “For almost six years, he, along with roughly 900 others, helped clean up the nation’s largest coal ash spill an hour west of his doorstep. TVA’s own testing showed the utility knew the coal ash — waste material leftover from burning coal for electricity — contained toxic heavy metals like cadmium, lead, mercury, and selenium, and radioactive materials, decades before the spill; an EPA pollution report from early 2009 shows TVA tested for radioactivity in ash and soil samples two weeks after the spill occurred and EPA found spikes in radiation above background levels. When reached for comment, TVA spokesperson Scott Brook stated, ‘The constituents of coal ash have been well-known for years, and TVA was transparent with this information throughout the Kingston recovery project.’ But an initial draft of the site safety plan made no mention of radioactive materials, and did not list heavy metals as constituents of fly ash aside from arsenic. Contractors working for the utility repeatedly assured cleanup workers that the ash, which floated in the air, coating their bare skin and lungs, was safe. Some workers testified the company refused to provide or allow for the use of protective suits or masks. ‘I was right proud of TVA until I went to work for them,’ Bledsoe said.”

“Giannulli sentenced to 5 months in college bribery scheme” [Associated Press]. • And the cops didn’t whack her when they picked her up, either.

“N.J. nursing homes got hundreds of millions of tax dollars to pay workers. So why are some cutting staff?” [NJ.com] • As the punchline goes: “Because they can.”

“What happened to American Protestantism?” [Alice Marshall, Medium]. “So what do I want from Protestant ministers? I am not sure. I certainly do not think that we should bring back the the stool of repentance. Nor do I think that using the pulpit to call for a political agenda will strengthen the spiritual life of the congregation. I certainly do NOT think that we should approach people during the after service coffee hour to berate them for their politics. Life is too short. So I don’t really know what our ministers should do, except somehow make clear that Christ really meant it, that we are called to follow the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, and while it is understandable that we fall short, we should not be content to earn our living by promoting endless war, pervasive surveillance, mass incarceration, for-profit health care, or environmental destruction.” • 

News of the Wired

“Development quotes of the week” [LWN.net]. “The software industry is currently going through the “disposable plastic” crisis the physical world went through in the mid-20th century (and is still paying down the debt for). You can run software from 1980 or 2005 on a modern desktop without too much hassle, but anything between there and 2-3 years ago? Black hole of fad frameworks and brittle dependencies. Computer Archaeology is going to become a full-time job.” • Leave those COBOL applications in place.

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DK writes: “Prairie rose.”

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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.

246 comments

  1. Louis Fyne

    for hollywood supposedly being the bastion of Dems. the entire DNC convention was tortuously boring and sorely needed some cheesy Micahel Bay explosions or David Lynch weirdness or Spielberg heart string pulling

    IMO. YMMV

        1. clarky90

          Tulsi Gabbard 🌺
          @TulsiGabbard
          ·
          20h
          You’re correct – I was not invited to participate in any way.
          Quote Tweet

          Keinan 🌺
          @KeinanAlejo
          · Aug 18
          Reminder : @TulsiGabbard was 1 of 7 candidates that earned delegates during the Presidential primary. It has been a tradition that spanned decades for any candidate who earned a delegate to be offered a speaking slot at the convention.

          Tulsi was not invited.

          https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard

          1. dcblogger

            because she has a tiny, if devoted, following and putting her on would not win any votes for Biden. Really inviting Rev. Barber would make more sense than Tulsi.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Also, having Gabbard, who is a person of conviction, would have been too much of a contrast with old Joe who has none at all. That is why you stand up a Harris next to Joe.

            2. ChrisPacific

              While that’s true, I don’t think it’s the reason why she wasn’t invited. I’d bet that has more to do with the multi-year smear campaign, Clinton painting her as a Russian agent, media depicting her as cozying up to dictators, etc. She dared to challenge the justification for endless war, a fight not even Sanders was willing to pick, and she has no future in the Democrat party as a result, unless she can claw her way into one based on grassroots support.

              You could test it by asking the question of one of the usual suspects, and see if you get the votes argument back or talk about Russia and Assad. I know where I’d put my money.

            3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              That’s too bad. I hope Biden goes down in flames.

              Was happy to see Tulsi knock out Copmala in the Primaries :)

            1. ambrit

              Don’t do it dude! You would only end up, as the boys down at the corner store would put it, with “your dick in the dirt.”

              1. petal

                I just want to say thank God for you guys. I’ve had a crummy week with no end in sight, but this exchange made me laugh. Please give my best to Phyl.

                1. ambrit

                  Thanks from my Femarch.
                  We hope your situation improves markedly in the near future.
                  I really question my ‘focus’ on the socio-political milieu of late. As Phyl says to me, “Worry about things you can do something about.”
                  Phyl opined the other day that the present political situation is reminiscent of an old 1930’s gangster movie plot.
                  She also remarked that Biden reminds her of the character played by Peter Sellers in “Being There.”

            2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              “You’re never gonna catch me!!!!”

              – Deaf guy covered in grease from that show Family Guy

      1. ambrit

        They had Hillary, didn’t they? With a ‘virtual’ convention, the reality or falsity of the participants is like Heisenberg’s Kitty.
        It would be very appropriate to have “Pete’s Dragon” as emcee[squared].

    1. Carolinian

      Dance numbers like on the Oscars.

      Oh wait those are boring too. I hear they did have Julia Louis-Dreyfus acting as a kind of Oscar host. Perhaps I should have watched.

      1. edmondo

        The reason you watch the Democratic convention is to get a list of people you never, ever want to vote for.

    2. Peerke

      Maybe they should have had Ricky Gervais as compare. There is still time to sign him up for the GOP convention. I would pay to see that.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          I think the word meant is “compère” — a chiefly British word for the TV role which in the US is more often called the emcee.

    3. BobWhite

      Aaahhh, Democracy… or whatever you want to call what we have in the USA…

      This quote (often mis-attributed to Ben Franklin) is a good one:
      “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
      (the word “lunch” is not known to have appeared anywhere in English literature until the 1820s)

      These variations were posted on the newsgroup misc.activism.militia by Bill K. on October 15, 1996:

      A Democracy: Three wolves and a sheep voting on dinner.
      A Republic: The flock gets to vote for which wolves vote on dinner.
      A Constitutional Republic: Voting on dinner is expressly forbidden, and the sheep are armed.
      Federal Government: The means by which the sheep will be fooled into voting for a Democracy…
      Democrats and Republicans: sheep who think they are wolves.
      — Bill K

        1. BobWhite

          Parties, yes.
          Voters, no…

          I think he was referring to voters.
          Maybe should be “sheep tricked into thinking they are wolves”

    4. Pavel

      How to lose at the DNC drinking game:

      “Take a drink whenever an actual, properly-thought out policy plan to solve a real voter issue is brought up in a speech.

  2. SirHumphreyAppleby

    Why is the Great Assimilation surprising? Put yourself in the shoes of the Leader of an amoral Party that must win to exist: which of the below bases would you prefer?

    Base A: People….
    …with money/willing to donate so I can expand my Party and give staffers jobs
    …who vote reliably and predictably
    …with something to lose/subject to scare-tactics in election (the easiest and most potent messaging strategy)
    …who in their more reflective moments/college days flirt with class-traitorism for a quick thrill (attend a march, post on Medium, comment on NC) but can be quickly snapped back into line/BAU…ah the frisson of class-traitorism…
    …invested in maintaining the status quo/have massive sunk costs in building a “lifestyle to which they have become accustomed” and thus won’t push for much change – in fact will oppose change (and thus make your life as a legislator relatively, easy other than dialing for dollars)

    Base B: People…
    …who routinely vote against their own economic interests, ie if legislators work on their behalf it’s unlikely that it will even register (I know, I know, Thomas Frank would say it’s far more subtle than that…but who has the time or brains to crack the code on these people?)
    …who have little to lose, thus little to threaten or create fear over
    …who do not consider themselves united as a group with common interests (insert lament about class-blindness in America) and often see their economic allies as social enemies, ergo they can be easily divided-and-conquered by opponents
    …who do not vote reliably/predictably, and have no money to support my campaigns/give my staffers jobs
    …are very religious, so can be organized via churches …but maybe too religious and won’t understand/buy into scientific or technocratic rationale for policy

    Base C: people who…
    …are overeducated and underpaid (grad students + Trader Joe’s bag + used Volvo)
    …have few strong ties to society’s stability (i.e. property, means of production)
    …are areligious/atheist so good luck corralling them, but ultra-rational to the point of seeing thru/poking holes in technocratic hand-waving, er, sound policy-making (make legislators’ lives difficult)
    …have a love/hate relationship with Base A: many would have been Base A with a few more breaks their way/more elbow grease, much of their extended family is Base A, etc
    …are ideologically extreme, where incremental solutions are seen as a step backwards, and “revolution”/burn it to the ground is always Step 1, but no Steps articulated thereafter (how exciting!)
    …believe there was ever a time in human history where equality and fairness were the dominant values/societal aspiration
    …idealize Base B, but in reality have not spent any time in person with Base B, and have opted out of many opportunities to spend time with Base B
    …constantly mumble about “Scandinavia…THEY could do it…why can’t we…” as a model for the US, ignoring how heterogenous/federalist – and truly Massive – the US is
    …are zealous purists (in speech, symbology, consumer choices, personal/digital associations) and actively ostracize/cancel non-conformers, ergo they can be easily divided-and-conquered by opponents

    Truly, honestly, as party leader which Base would you choose? You would be swiftly fired for choosing B; you would be insane to choose Base B. Your party would have no money, your campaigns would struggle to get their message across, your reforms would all require Herculean efforts AND be ignored by your base, and to appeal to them could mean making dog-whistles that would get you jettisoned from polite society.

    Base C will resent you more than they resent their parents, and only count your failings/impurities.

    On top of all that, Real Change would risk all the corporate money parties are truly dependent on, and repugnant as it is that dynamic is never going away cuz Citizens United.

    It’s “Base A“ all the way.

    Strategy =
    Court Base A, in deed if not word; they will “get it”. Lip-service/idealize Base B. Placate or annihilate Base C, depending on the circumstance.

      1. km

        No matter how cynical you think you are, the people who really run things are way more cynical than that.

      2. SirHumphreyAppleby

        Ah, yes Minister, as much as it pains me to say it, anything but Base A is the ‘thin end of the wedge’…the beginning of the end of civil society!

        1. Bernard Woolley

          And then of course there’s the truly thin end of the wedge — for when even 1% may not be thin enough: Base $. Also known as those who don’t care who’s running the country as long as they’ve still got big — piles of cash . . . and are getting more.

    1. fwe'zy

      Scandinavia isn’t less hideous than the USA because of “ethnic” homogeneity (I saw what you did there): any pro-worker policies were hard-won by worker struggle. The rest of your basic analysis is meh enough to eke through, because the conclusion is probably spot on.

    2. fwe'zy

      Also, please learn more about yoomanity. We lived for most of our existence in egalitarian community. Anyway, the way we live is controlled by our mode of production, not your ideals or mine.

    3. fwe'zy

      Sorry, I had to add that the USSR looming to the east was a huge part of the pressure to make concessions toward worker well-being, both in Scandinavia and to a stingier extent here in the USA.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i just woke froma hard nap, and i’m sittin here trying to figure which base i’m supposed to be in.
        story of my life, i guess.
        Base 4, in the weeds by the woods, across from the parking lot from the warehouse where the Box is kept(the Box everyone thinks inside of).

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      When you “deride the Thomas Frank peon class” . . . are you trying to channel the thinking of a Catfood Democrat? Or are you offering us your own thinking about what you really think?

      1. SirHumphreyAppleby

        I am but a humble civil servant. What “I” think, less believe, is really neither here nor there: it’s what Party leaders think that matters, and their string-pullers. Do they worry about what we say here? Shrill discontentment/anxious hand-wringing in the comments section of a wordpress site? I think “The Man” is not quite quaking in His boots over us.

        https://psarmstrong.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/sirhumphreyapplebygovernmentpolicies_1_original.jpg

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What you really think really matters to your equally poor and obscure fellow commenters here.

          If you think this is what the Catfood Democrats are thinking about Thomas Frank’s Kansans, it means one think. If this is what you yourself think about Thomas Frank’s Kansans, it means another thing.

          1. hunkerdown

            Isn’t it wonderful to see so many new commenters all trying, in their own colorful ways, to herd people back into the bipartisan oligarch machine. I think It’s Afraid.

            1. periol

              Humble civil servants here and ordinary folk who’ve “worked at the highest level of government” there. Swamp creatures everywhere this must be the sequel we heard was on its way…

              Swamp 2 – Electric Boogalloo!

    5. S.V. Dáte

      Sorry, I never liked the multiple choice exams. Being a journalist for 30 years or so, I’m sure – convinced that a,b, or c, don’t exist in reality. These people aren’t that smart and it’s too much work. I like how Matt Stoller sees things. Using Lambert’s lingo, the PMC & Klept have exactly the same goals, Dems or Republicans, which is: take every last cent and own every last thing they can. And if you’re in the way, could you please die, or have it arranged. Thus, why would anyone talk of deaths of despair or about a life span that grows shorter by the year? Many people have come to the same conclusion and it’s righteous but my, my, Stoller has it all, smoking gun, eye witnesses, & dead bodies. Remember it’s always about the money.

      Ok, so far as economics go, if the people want equality and equity they are going to have to take it. Though climate chaos is truly going to screw things up. But here’s where it does make a difference (the world minus trump), I do believe the destruction of the safety net will stop. May even get better- can’t get worse (well sure it can, but to do so requires levels of evil yet unseen).

      As to “who routinely vote against their own economic”, – they didn’t always, just ask Thomas Frank. People weren’t somehow duped. Far, far from it. It is very easy, unless your paycheck is involved, to come to the point of not being able to tolerate Dems or Republicans. And not that it matters on the federal level. But locally: town, city, county, and state level it does matter. People personally can be held accountable.

    6. L

      I would say you should strip out “leader of a party” and put in “consultant/executive in charge of a business”. The D’s and R’s are monopoly channels and consultants gotta be paid. In this respect the Never Trumpers and the DNC are just following the money.

      Is it cynical? Yes, but you should never assume monopolies have your best interests at heart.

      1. SirHumphreyAppleby

        Executive, Party Leader… Potayto, Potahto: we’re all running everything “Like A Business” now!

        “Cynical”? Me?
        https://i.pinimg.com/736x/82/a6/aa/82a6aad844d223a7d854a455873a2ac3–yes-minister-memes.jpg

        Ah yes “interests at heart”…our real cynical master-stroke, our chef’s-kiss of civic rot, is to undermine your belief that any government has your well-being in mind, much less be effective at anything it ever tries to get done. If you’ve lost faith in government, then you’ll likely…
        …not vote (win!)
        …not contact your elected “representative” (win!)
        …feel foolish for supporting reformers/more idealistic candidates, so will only support them halfway, a la Bernie (win!)
        …let us in the Private Sector take over everything that your bumbling government just can’t seem to do right (BIG win win win win win!)

        1. hunkerdown

          “Stop looking at the meta-game, everyone! Play the game as if you mean it or I lose my job!”

    7. rl

      One thing is certain here: You do not know Base B as well as you think–even taking into account your disclaimer vis-a-vis Thomas Frank. Presumably, this

      but who has the time or brains to crack the code on these people?

      was not (or not only) a rhetorical question?

  3. Anonymous

    I’m all about rubbing it in GOPs face that our nominee actually goes to church.

    That’s pathetic because weekly Mass attendance is MANDATORY in the Catholic Church. Otherwise one commits a mortal sin for which the penalty is eternal damnation in Hell – unless the sin is confessed to a priest before dying.

    I simplify a bit and perhaps the rules have changed since 1967 when I quit but weekly church attendance for a Catholic is not voluntary at all but a tedious duty to avoid Hell.

    And thus Biden’s church attendance is pathetic, imo, not necessarily something he should be praised for.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      To paraphrase a line from Hillary’s campaign, how does Joe Biden going to church end racism?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Admittedly, I think throwing this in people’s faces will be fun. How does Biden’s inevitable use of force against peaceful protestors end racism?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          How did Obama suppressing Occupy end racism?

          How does making Obama even richer end racism today?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      a tedious duty to avoid Hell.

      If Mass crosses the 50 minutes threshold, the Bishop is going to get angry letters. Its not even that tedious.

      1. TJFinCO

        When I was just a young Catholic boy in Northeast Ohio in the 80’s, my devout Catholic parents would drive us 30 minutes round-trip to a Saturday night 35-minute mass in a neighboring town to avoid a Sunday morning 60-minute mass in our hometown 5 minutes’ drive from our house.

    3. JTMcPhee

      I grew up in an upper middle class-lower upper class Presbyterian church. I guess Moulitsas thinks “showing up” is all that is needed to lay the mantle of holiness around a person’s neck. My church was full of hypocrites — drunks, wife swappers and Lotharios, advertising and Standard Oil execs (one of whom at a dance asked my mom to dance a slow one, then groin-grinder her and tried the French-kiss her.) We also had a pedophile Director of Christian Education and a pious fraud for a pastor ( though he was great at fund-raising to satisfy his “edifice complex, only constrained by the size of the church lot bounded by busy street, creek and shopping center.)

      So f@ck anyone who is disingenuous to credit any virtue to a POS “churchgoer” like Biden

    4. Lost in OR

      Catholics have a great word that accurately describes our current state. Purgatory.
      It can surely get worse, and we could surely have done/(been) better and it can last for eternity.

      To absolve your sins: ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys.
      All better now.

    5. Keith

      It is not as if the church sends out a swat team if you miss mass. Many people go to church because they actually enjoy it, ditto for the social activities they offer. I used to be an occasional goer, and there were no beratements about a lack of attendance.

    6. S.V. Dáte

      It is not MANDATORY, it can be a “sin” depending upon the reason. Sins can be forgiven. Jesus only commandment was in short “love each other”. That it. All of it. Do that the rest takes care of itself.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        +100 for clarity.

        reckon the Mandatory, Hellfire bit is a flashback to a catholic school with mean nuns.
        Vatican II softened a lot of that sort of stuff.
        (which, apparently, rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way…our local catholic church(a mission) is half full of angry white folks who don’t like mexican mass, and want everybody to do more abject grovelling…like mel gibson catholicism)

    7. RMO

      I will say this as someone who was atheist and then agnostic since childhood and who now belongs to a church – church attendance and proclamations of faith mean exactly nothing. What a person does is what counts. We know what Biden has done in the past and we have a pretty good idea as to what he will do in the future. That’s enough for anyone with any compassion or care for the majority of the population and the planet itself to know that he’s not going to do anything but continue the current spiral dive to catastrophe.

      1. JBird4049

        The whole blasted point of Biden the church goer is that veil of hypocrisy. Look at Joe’s beautiful form and not his empty shell. It’s easier for the Democrats to ignore the horror when they have that beautiful form.

    8. eg

      As a Catholic of indifferent repute myself, I can assure you that in my experience weekly mass attendance is observed more in the breach than anything else.

    1. periol

      Well, that would help explain the spread in southern California, especially Kern County and Imperial County.

    2. Anarcissie

      You need _steam_heat_! With the valve open a little. Which I have, but also, because my apartment is slumlord cold, I boil a big pot of water on cold and windy days. My grandmother used to have water reservoirs behind the radiators that provided humidity, but those were from a civilized era.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > With the valve open a little

        I hope you don’t mean the valve that turns the radiator on or off. That should be full on, or full off (because otherwise the pipes bang).

        If you mean the small valve that adjusts the heat, it should not be releasing steam at all.

        I do, however, recommend a pan of water on top of the radiator!

  4. Matthew Saroff

    There may be another factor behind the police retirements in Chicago, and it is not exhaustion.

    If the Chicago labor contract is close to the New York one, then their pension is increased by the overtime that they have taken in the past few years.

    They may be attempting to cash in on an unintended gravy train.

    1. Louis Fyne

      overtime not counted as income for CPD pensions

      if contract negotiations are influencing CPD retirements, my bet would be retiree health IMO. YMMV

    2. Keith

      Interesting snippet from zerohedge where the mayor has banished any gathering as illegal in her neighborhood, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/i-have-right-make-sure-my-home-secure-chicago-mayor-lightfoot-defends-ban-protesters-her

      Also, if they have the time, might be a good time to get out. Leftwing violence is on the rise and seems ignored at best while people are hoping for the next anti-police viral video. As cities seem now to fire and charge first, why risk the drama and hassle of protecting your job and pension.

      1. rowlf

        Atlanta has a lot of police looking to leave and work for smaller departments outside the city. Our local sheriff mentioned this and there have also been TV news interviewing sheriffs in other counties.

      2. Late Introvert

        “leftwing violence” right? It sucks when the dirty proles fight back with marches and political demands. I think you meant “rightwing” violence in the first place, and then as fake antifa at the resulting protests.

        My favorite quote from the article:

        “We’re all just shocked at this behavior towards us; police have become society’s bad guy,” retired CPD Lt. Scott Schwieger said.

        They are shocked that their un-policed criminal fellow cops are finally getting called out.

      3. CarlH

        It always disturbs me when people identify with the powers that be and not with the “little” people.

  5. anon

    “we should not be content to earn our living by promoting endless war, pervasive surveillance, mass incarceration, for-profit health care, or environmental destruction.”

    I would place the Alice Marshall statement next to the Kos tweet about Biden. His voting record and platform seem to indicate he is guilty of all of those.

  6. allan

    Groves of Academe, Cuomostan edition: Governor’s Adviser Lined Up to Lead SUNY [InsideHigherEd]

    (One of those stories where the URL says it all.)

    The State University of New York Board of Trustees is expected to appoint Jim Malatras as the system’s chancellor today, forgoing a national search to fill the open position with a key confidant of New York governor Andrew Cuomo. …

    The likely appointment has angered faculty members. They see the move as a political appointment and have advocated for a transparent, thoughtful national search, which they say the system has done in the past. Others have praised the board’s expected choice, encouraged by his good relationship with the governor and experience with K-12 and higher education. …

    Critics are also wary of Malatras’s close ties to the governor. Prior to becoming president at Empire State,
    he worked as director of state operations for Cuomo. Before that he was deputy secretary for policy management for the governor. Malatras also served as deputy director of policy on Cuomo’s
    gubernatorial campaign. …

    Given Cuomo’s stellar track record in selecting personnel, this seems like emoprog nitpicking.

  7. Big River Bandido

    Yikes. So much craven behavior from elected officials and their trolls this week. And that’s before I even got down to the bottom-feeders like Marcos Moutsalitas and Elizabeth Warren. They’re just pikers compared to the real pros, which this week are on display in North Carolina and Foggy Bottom.

    If I were a student in the North Carolina state university system I would be looking to either transfer or withdraw. Students are already being asked to pay way too much for far too little; can’t imagine they’ll enjoy being blamed for failures at the very highest levels of the state system. A university system like that deserves to feel some pain from the epidemic.

    That list of war criminals endorsing Joe Biden makes *him* out to be the true “existential threat”.

    Also, I note that all the positive, glowing, *gushing*, self-congratulatory reviews of the Democrat Convention came from all the usual neoliberal bootlickers, whose opinions are ridiculed in the Rust Belt. I doubt there are many black barbershop owners in Milwaukee who read Fast Company.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      What Democrats should fear is low turnout, yet everything they did seemed to be aimed at discouraging people from caring enough to vote.

      I only watched last night and then only to see if Joe could pull off a credible speech (he did but he had a lot of time to prep). The rest was for me appalling. I kept listening for something I never heard: I never heard anyone ask for my vote. I just heard reasons why I had no choice but to vote for Joe. Everyone was pitching, no one was asking. The closest they came was “I/we need YOU to join our team” corporate rah rah stuff. Instead of asking for votes they asked for texts.

      I believe many will respond by staying home and resisting voting by mail. The Democrats are refusing to give voters any incentive other than “if you don’t vote the Trumpeyman will get you!” (Nevermind the ‘war criminals endorsing Joe Biden .’-)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I expect Biden to win, but I expect some of the “moderate” House pickups in 2018 to go down in defeat in Trump districts. This is another reason not to focus on pushing a Conservative Democrat at the top of the ticket Republicans could stomach voting for if they hate Trump because they’ll vote GOP down ticket.

        1. Pat

          As someone who feels their existential threat was dismissed AND they know the country is family blogged, I cannot shake the feeling they think deep pockets will ignore the incompetence of picking a Biden. IF that is true they will be throwing this race.

          Trump has been a big draw for them with little demand for real action. They have railed, disdained, mocked and pretended, but done little even in the form of opposition for Trump. They got tax cuts they aren’t blamed for, corporate friendly judges they aren’t responsible for, and a big bail out for the usual suspects that they can pretend gave people some relief for the start of the Covid crash. There isn’t much fallout for their clearly intended ineffectual actions of the last three + years.

          There has probably already been enough noose twisting of the Post Office they can blame the failure on that, Sanders and still Russia!

          Nope if Trump really falls down the White House steps and Biden wins a whole lot of Team Blue are going to be upset. They want to lose.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Catfood Democrats would only fear low turnout if they secretly want to win the election.

        If the Catfood Democrats secretly want to lose the election, then low turnout is their friend. If the Catfood Democrats can discourage more people from voting, they can achieve the lower turnout they need in order to stealth-throw the election while making it look like an accidental loss.

        Then they can all pat eachother on the back about how They! they Happy Few! are among the Woke who voted against racism. And they can display their Wokeness to eachother by condemning the country they live in while feeling sanctified in the support of more upper class tax cuts and more Forcey Free-Trade agreements. And harvesting more money from their donors.

      3. Librarian Guy

        The latest Chapo episode had a take similar to yours. A couple of commenters have noted the obvious, that Joe’s Convention is targeting (a) the billionaires and big donors, with assurance nothing will change, & (b) “suburban” & Never Trump Republicans. Thus all the Repub War Criminals (C. Powell) & misogynist God-bothering plunderers (Kasich) getting speaking time.

        I enjoyed the Infantilism thread yesterday on NC, on that NewYorker’s Twitter Thread about how Dr. Mrs. Biden will make a new, wonderful “national Mommy”. The Chapo crew made a similar point about Warren’s kiddie blocks spelling out BLM (wow, so totally rad!!) & the way the virtual meeting was shot, the pols talking comfortingly and soothingly DOWN to any viewers, and not offering anything beyond “we won’t be as offensive as Trump.” I admit I couldn’t watch the DNC like professional podcasters maybe have to, so I can’t verify that the DNC used the Sesame Street pacing or dynamics the Chapoists accused them of. But it certainly sounds credible.

        You’d have to be infantile with a very large measure of learned helplessness to vote for someone simply because they’re “less bad”, who offers nothing but more of the SAME (though more polite) war, Empire, wage loss & austerity, etc. which is all the Dems have, during a national pandemic with thousands dying, and continued climate change devestation (I smell fire smoke from 60 or 80 miles north, as I have the last 4-5 days, while writing this). Maybe they do know their audience!!

          1. CarlH

            Go to Soundcloud and search for them. All their episodes should come up including the most recent.

          2. Cory PT

            I can give you my subscriber RSS link if you want. I’m trying to find a way to justify the expense.

      4. Big River Bandido

        My NYS Democrat primary absentee ballot arrived the day after the election and I heard many cases of this from friends. Bodes ill for turnout in the fall. And that doesn’t get into problems with USPS or electronic vote machine fraud or the typical vote suppression tactics that crop up every election.

        In most presidential elections the Democrat gets between 45-48%. I think this year it will be at the low end of that scale and that Trump will win re-election with about the same map as last time.

      5. Dr. John Carpenter

        +1

        Even with so much attention aimed at Republicans, the whole thing felt more like they were talking to the already committed. Maybe I don’t understand what these things are supposed to be, but there didn’t seem to be much for anyone who wasn’t already on board.

  8. Tomonthebeach

    Why is this a surprise that L.A.’s homeless dodged COVID-19?

    The majority of chronically-homeless people have mental health disorders which typically manifests in solitary living outdoors. Fresh air has been shown to reduce infection rates. Just this week, low humidity was associated with reduced infection rates. LA’s climate enables outdoor living in low-humidity air. The homeless either camp outdoors in seclusion, or shelter outdoors under tarps, tents, cardboard, etc. in communities, but independently.

    1. Wukchumni

      Homeless in LA always have deep tans that George Hamilton would aspire to, as in they get copious amounts of vitamin D.

      Could that be a determining factor?

    2. a different chris

      >Just this week, low humidity was associated with reduced infection rates

      psst, Tom that’s backwards,,see Matthew Sarof’s link, which I hate to point out since I agree with you, Southern Cal for all its faults is the greatest place in the world if you are stuck outside.

      A 1% decrease in relative humidity was associated with a 7.7% (95% CI: 0.04–14.8%) and 6.8% (95% CI: 0.4%–12.2%) increase in the pooled estimate of daily counts of COVID‐19

      1. Tomonthebeach

        Nobody is likely to read this, but… Both of us are probably right about humidity depending on indoor/outdoor. A recent study found that when indoors low humidity increases infection rates. Outdoors (like homeless Angelinos), low humidity appears to have the opposite effect because high humidity keeps droplets airborne much longer. This study makes that point.

        The Daily Mail of all sources has an easy-to-read discussion of the conflicting findings.

        1. periol

          Very interesting. That article indicates that there are two factors, both important.

          1. Humidity
          2. Temperature

          Low humidity and cool temperatures is bad.
          High humidity and high temperatures is good.
          Low humidity and high temps are OK.
          High humidity and cool temps are bad.

          Great little chart at the end of that article, wish I could link it.

  9. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: “UNC System president blames students for fall reopening failures at UNC and N.C. State”

    This hard work is being undermined by a very small number of students behaving irresponsibly off campus, which unfairly punishes the vast majority of their classmates who are following the rules,’ Hans stated

    I don’t apologize for trying,’ Provost Bob Blouin responded Monday.”

    I think they learned this tactic from the mortgage bankers! I mean, if people did not take out those risky loans….!

    So the UNC system must be filled with MBA’s now. But I will tell you, this attitude is not going over well with the students or the town.

    (Also, got back from my endoscopy (at UNC!), looks like Crohn’s in my Duodenal Bulb. Mild inflammation only, probably because of my diet. Snatched a biopsy. For those into genetics, NOD2 and FUT2 most likely. The sedative was an awesome escape from the world. The hospital was empty.)

    1. JWP

      “this attitude is not going over well with the students or the town.”

      Just doown the road at Wake Forest, a similar situation is unfolding. Tuition has been collected, loose guidelines in place, and students are throwing parties en masse. 13 freshman dorm room parties busted on the first night and 2 frat parties. cases are already being reported from parties within a week and a half of coming back to school. emails from the university urging people to comply are empty. The schools do not care what happens now that tuition has been collected, and the students and faculty know it. The amount of preparation time and money dished out by students and faculty and staff is immense and they are going to be pissed when they are sent home. even moreso than when they found out there will be no tuition reduction. The value of a college education is about to plummet.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Students party. College operators know this. If this happens at college after college after college, it will look like a deliberate ploy by all these colleges, possibly all acting independently of eachother in their brilliance, to trick students and families into paying out the big tuition money and then send them home while keeping the big tuition money.

        If enough students and families see themselves and eachother getting bait-and-switched this way; they may form a cultural pseudo-movement to extermicott the colleges and universities who pulled this little trick.

    2. threeskies

      I’m glad you posted. Along with the others, I’m always eager to read your posts and wish you well.

  10. zagonostra

    >With the Speech of His Life, Joe Biden Becomes the Man for This Moment [Frank Bruni, New York Times]

    “It was a forceful speech, above all because it was a direct one, not ornamented …it had enormous heart ”

    I want to gag and cry at the same time since I have friends/family that feel this way. I can’t express how disgusting I found Biden’s speech, the appeals to his deceased wife and son seemed to me morbid. The vapidity and lack of substance were monumental. All-in-All it was profoundly disappointing and that folks feel the opposite only leaves me befuddled and depressed.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the appeals to his deceased wife and son seemed to me morbid.

      I agree. I hate it. I find it degrading to use a family tragedy for that purpose.

      However, most people don’t feel as I do (an effect of celebrity culture perhaps). I can admit it was an effective speech while at the same time being repelled by it.

      1. a different chris

        And the “monumental “lack of substance” was actually quite forceful. “What you have is what you get so eat it and shut up” is what he was saying.

      2. Carolinian

        But he was just reading off a teleprompter. And was it pre-recorded (allowing for a take two)?

        Not that they all don’t read off teleprompters even when it’s live. In his recent post Taibbi says it’s the ad lib Biden they have to worry about.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Judging from the reaction to meaningless platitudes, they really did expect the drugs they put Biden on to not work for the whole speech.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        And maybe also the Testimonial Style in various Protestant Churches.

        ” Testify, brother!”

        “Testify, sister!”

      4. S.V. Dáte

        Why is degrading? Insincere? A lie? What? It is known science people process reality differently. It is called a criteria of reality. Not everyone relates to policy or factual discussions, not should they. You mentioned Biden or anyone for that matter didn’t bring up deaths of despair. Maybe speakers thought it too morbid, tactless, and a thing kept private. Seems to be a lot of anger going around and going no where. Should such anger then be the way to view all things?

        1. a different chris

          >Should such anger then be the way to view all things?

          That’s an absolutist position which people like to use to shut off conversation. Sometimes anger is the right response. For a better answer than mine, I give you The Byrds:

          To everything (turn, turn, turn)
          There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
          And a time to every purpose, under heaven

        2. CarlH

          He uses the deaths of his family members as political props. It has repulsed me since I first noticed it. How could anyone not see this as degrading and insincere? If his own family members are just props in his quest for whatever it is he is in a quest for how do you think he views us? Sociopathic behavior in my opinion.

        3. CoryP

          It is Insincere. What he says is a Lie. It is a Degrading experience for everybody who wishes for actual leadership in the US.

          Many people here recognize that Biden is trash, and they won’t be dislodged from that position.

      5. SirHumphreyAppleby

        Re: lack of substance…
        https://40.media.tumblr.com/74dfa29f7e4869334abd3f7f5cdfaf2d/tumblr_mgz1d6l7bg1s060e5o1_500.jpg

        Re: exploiting death of children for profit and gain, they are successfully following the literal scripts of most television and film these days, i.e. A Child Is In Danger (even though stats show child-related crime is way down from past decades). Same for the abhorrent acts at the center of QAnon’s “plot”.

        Especially true for the higher-brow/better written crime shows. And even more true in British crime procedurals, where dead or abused children are almost always plot-fodder…perhaps the after-effects of a British education?

        I always swear off shows with any exploitation along these lines (my wife rightly just rolls her eyes at me).

        Quick list of “sophisticated”/higher-brow/even artistic crime shows where violence towards kids is the central hook that keeps you (yes, You!) watching:

        True detective (Season 1)
        Dark
        The Missing
        Broadchurch
        Top of the Lake
        Rectify
        The Killing
        Twin Peaks
        Stranger things

        I’m surely forgetting many more. Gripping stuff!

        1. Basil Pesto

          It’s a curious definition of exploitation when those who are apparently being exploited are inventions; made up.

          A contrivance (or even a thematic exploration of that contrivance!), to be sure. But exploitative? Don’t think so. Cheapens that word.

          1. SirHumphreyAppleby

            Where would you say QAnon is on your spectrum of real/contrivance? Do you think QAnon is exploitative re:kids, but that TV networks are not? Even “cheapened”/contrivances seem to be extremely effective at nabbing viewers and influencing votes.

      6. John k

        But did it appeal in flyover?
        It will be interesting to compare it with trumps coming speech.
        ‘It took 40 years to ship our jobs to China, I couldn’t bring them back in 4. Give me 4 more years to finish the job.’
        He could brag he’s bringing troops home and hasn’t started any new wars.
        And what if he says he’s for m4a, that it would be vastly better than Obamacare (true), and will sign it if it reaches his desk? Would kinda but Bernie on the spot.
        Imagine… gop, party of peace and support for the working class. Fun to watch the heads explode…

      7. Kfish

        In the graphic novel ‘Transmetropolitan’ , the main villain is a politician nicknamed ‘The Smiler.’ Every time he loses ground in the polls, he has someone close to him assassinated and then uses the sympathy for electoral gain. I thought it was a bridge too far until this week.

    2. Wukchumni

      It was a great speech, if you like Harold Stassen’s words, pretty much. (with apologies to Neil Kinnock)

      There will be selfishness and greed and corruption and narrowness and intolerance in the world tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow. But pray God we may have the courage and the wisdom and the vision to raise a definite standard that will appeal to the best that is in man, and then strive mightily toward that goal.

        1. Wukchumni

          It parrots Joe’s speech enough that you weren’t sure, and he has a history of appropriating other people’s words.

            1. Anarcissie

              ‘Raise a standard’: “Let Us Raise a Standard to Which the Wise and Honest Can Repair. The event is in the hand of God.” — George Washington (supposedly).

      1. Librarian Guy

        Given Joe’s energy level and politics, I would’ve assumed they would have used some old Warren Harding stuff. There’s two peas in a pod, empty suits known to have an eye for the ladies. (Though Warren wasn’t big on olfactory approaches, as far is is reported).

        Good for them going for Stassen, whose words shared are at least a bit more flowery expression of the oh-so-popular “thoughts & prayers”.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Can’t believed he referenced FDR as Joe would never, ever enacted any of FDR’s actions. In fact, if Joe had been in the Senate back in the 30s, he would have been one of FDR’s bitterest opponents. Might even have put his name forward for the Businessmen’s Plot. But if you listen to Jill Biden, you should get on your knees to Jesus and ‘swallow a bit’ for Joe.

  11. Calypso Facto

    Lightroom App Update Wipes Users’ Photos and Presets, Adobe Says they are ‘Not Recoverable’

    Up until a few months ago, I worked in a technical service provider capacity for Adobe and consequently was involved in the firefighting efforts for some of their other famous oopsies. When I saw this I thanked whatever powers that be that I am no longer working in that capacity. (Regulars may recall me melting down here on the night of the Iowa caucus trying to explain what I thought was happening with the app that led to the beginning of Bernie’s kneecapping; the event and the pandemic led me to quit so I could change careers because working in tech was so foul.)

    The technical reason and fix for this is sort of negligible, the real problem is that as Lambert pointed out, they have a monopoly on image editing software, so everyone has to use them; their cloud architecture model means they require files to be stored in their cloud, but the sheer size of the cloud (it is global, there is infrastructure in at least 11 different sites around the world (GDPR + last mile latency)) means they can’t do deep regression testing on all clients; their product release roadmap and personnel size do not enable them to move slower to do that testing or more deliberately to avoid stupid errors in planning the features that led to this.

    BTW when this happens at the enterprise or non-consumer level, it is called ‘data loss’ and it can result in financial and legal penalties. There is something called ‘service level agreement’ that every big customer signs discussing how the data loss will be handled and compensated. So Adobe saying it is non-recoverable for the little guys is yet another example of screwing the little guy because it is cheaper than slowing down (and risk not meeting roadmap/feature releases for those same SLA).

    The technical solution is irrelevant! No more clouds, if it is big enough for a cloud platform it is too big to manage!

    1. Carolinian

      They don’t really have a monopoly do they? Perhaps it’s more of a virtual monopoly because professionals all use them?

      1. Calypso Facto

        Well, why do all the professionals use them when Creative Cloud goes down semi-regularly for hours if not days at a time, when they can’t opt out of CC (and use a licensed copy of Photoshop that phones back to the license server once a month to verify the license is active, which is what they did in the last iteration before all the apps were moved to CC)? When they run the risk of all their work being randomly deleted when they update their operating system, which has nothing to do with Adobe? I am not a visual artist so I could not possibly comment as to the meaning of your usage of ‘virtual monopoly’ out of, I presume, a superior photo editing product. As an engineer I am unimpressed with the magic behind the curtain for Creative Cloud, the service that provides all of Adobe’s products, which is what is responsible for deleting the files in Lightroom.

        There are alternative applications, many of them very good, many which have cross-compatibility with all the myriad hardware and other software ecosystems (film, music) that plug into the photo editing stuff most know Adobe for. Some of them are even free. Monitors and drawing tablets are calibrated to Adobe specifications because of Photoshop’s market dominance over the past 15 years. Superior products like Xpress are still around but are barely used outside of typesetting/publisher scenarios because Adobe’s product (InDesign) is part of CC and if you have the CC account, you have access to it along with Photoshop and everything else. It is my opinion that this product bundling in CC + the cloud construct of your files being stored in their data centers (in order to access CC) is the sole reason for their market dominance after years of these types of outages and data losses.

        1. Calypso Facto

          Actually, your question made me realize I should clarify the system problem better for everyone:

          Adobe makes a suite of products, the most notorious of which is Photoshop. Until a few years ago, these applications were sold individually, and users installed them on their personal computers. Where they saved their files was irrelevant to Adobe, but how fast Photoshop could work was constrained by how powerful your computer was. The product was the software license and Adobe verified that each individual copy of Photoshop was paid for/licensed by including a little function that made a call across the internet to a server in Adobe’s infrastructure that checked the license key against a list of known, paid-for licenses, and as long as the license was active, the software would function on the user’s computer.

          Approximately 8 years ago, more or less, the ‘clouds’ began to be formed across the internet, with the first being Amazon’s AWS. All a ‘cloud’ is, is a set of networked servers that have some type of virtualization or other compartmentalization to box each user into their own partition. Those partitions are then resold to other businesses and users as ‘cloud instances’. AWS only exists because Amazon built this gigantic web application system for their retail side, and they were looking for a way to monetize the infrastructure outside of what they used. So they built some helper services to make it so non-sysadmins could spin up a cloud instance, deploy some code, put a load balancer in, and thereby create a web application that could be sold as a service. In this model, the product is the service subscription. The software does not exist on the local user’s computer, so there is no license server, and if there is a file to be worked on by the app then the app must have a local copy (in the cloud instance, because that is where the application lives now).

          Creative Cloud is Adobe’s cloud for their applications, including Photoshop. A user now buys a subscription to CC, and they download the CC application which is installed locally on their computer. CC then mediates the installation of the software, like Photoshop, that the user may want to use. CC manages all user profile information for the user, which includes the payment/license details, and any files that might be processed by the applications (like Photoshop). This is because major portions of Photoshop’s (or AfterEffects) processing is offloaded to non-local computing, which is possible thanks to CC living in a cloud with access to other computing resources. This is supposedly the big value-add of ‘moving to the cloud’, and maybe for video processing it is worth it (personal computing hardware for video processing is quite $$$ but CC can be run on a laptop).

          Creative Cloud subscriptions are cheaper than buying individual licenses were in the before-times. Prior to the CC era, Photoshop was the most commonly pirated/torrented/cracked software. Was it too expensive or really that good? The tradeoffs obviously differ depending on whether you are a casual user or Adobe’s shareholders or a worker locked into an ecosystem because of an unrelated toolset you use. I think no-recourse data loss is simply beyond ‘tradeoff’ and into ‘flawed distribution model’ territory. I can’t think of a single other industry where the primary product’s output can be evaporated at any time, with no warning or recourse, and that is fine. But it happens all the time, every day, in cloud-based software constructs.

          1. Skip Intro

            Don’t underestimate the file-format advantage, which is a kind of network effect for the near monopoly. Adobe can keep any competitors chasing the latest functionality indefinitely by judicious control of file format information and changes. Like autocad, the file format issue means you need the latest version to communicate with clients, and if the alternative software can’t read or save the latest trick, it is at a severe disadvantage. The change to more frequent releases makes it even worse for would-be competitors.

            And having a vested interest in renting cloud storage, you can almost hear adobe saying:
            ‘Nice local files youse got there, it’d be a shame if something was to happen to them.’

            But of course it probably was not intentional. OTOH, they have people’s whole career hostage to their prices and policies and network maintenance. I don’t know how one would open one’s old files without paying them. You no longer own your tools of production, basically Enclosure done digital. Rentier Adobe no longer needs to innovate anything but new ways to lock in their serfs.

            1. Calypso Facto

              You no longer own your tools of production, basically Enclosure done digital. Rentier Adobe no longer needs to innovate anything but new ways to lock in their serfs.

              +100000 and thank you for making it explicit

          2. Acacia

            I would like very much to avoid Adobe’s CC. Alternatives?

            Like, Acrobat Pro, for example (note: Pro, not vanilla Acrobat).

            1. Glen

              I do my photography work using nothing but open source software. Some alternatives available in Linux, Mac, Windows:

              GIMP
              Darktable
              DigiKam
              Karbon
              Inkscape
              Krita
              LightZone
              RawTherapee

              I currently use Darktable. I have used GIMP, Ufraw, cinepaint, RawTherapee, and others. I don’t consider myself an expert at any of them.

              It is also possible to color calibrate, and color mange your work using open source. You do have to be careful when you buy a colorimeter or other calibration hardware that it is supported.

            2. Late Introvert

              Inkscape for vector illustratrions. Very capable in 2020.

              Gimp for photoshopping stuff. Also very good.

              There are lots of free alternatives for raw files, and even video editing, but they tend to be more Mac or PC.

        2. Carolinian

          I’m just an amateur photog but I’ve never used Photoshop. I like an ancient program called Picture Publisher made for use on the Windows system back in the ’90s. It’s very easy to use with practically no learning curve but has layers, filters etc.

          Because it was written in C, as were most programs back then, it’s also pretty fast–the Cloud then just a gleam in Google (or whoever’s) eye.

          Hard drives are cheap as dirt now. I can’t imagine why the cloud is a thing except on smartphones.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            mom likes Arcsoft, which I haven’t been able to get to work on her computer since Win10 hijacked it(likely due to the bloatware she habitually clicks ‘yes’ to…it’s a mess). it came in the same box as her fancy camera, and that’s what she learned to use.

            and all that cloud stuff?…just no,lol
            i do my real writing on an airgapped laptop(ancient treadle model) running xp(backed up to thumb drive constantly)
            my brother is in the “enterprise” software industry and the level of trust in that sort of thing just boggles me.
            ring, alexa, storing all his home financial stuff in a cloud somewhere, because that’s how it’s done.
            him coming out here is not just traveling 350 miles, it’s traveling 50+ years into the “before times”(i like that,lol). all my financial stuff(what there is of it) is on paper.

      2. Glen

        There are lots of alternatives. But not being a professional, I’m not sure about the tradeoffs.

      3. hunkerdown

        The network effects are very strong. A sizable industry of cottage developers writes plugins for various photometric and artistic processing tasks, designed to mate with Lightroom’s or Photoshop’s or Illustrator’s plugin API. As in audio, these plugins color or even generate the components of the work under control of the artist, and so contribute to the artist’s signature style. Then there are the training curricula, both cottage and professional; HR’s handful of interview questions; thousands of bloggers with how-to guides for getting a particular look using basic and plugin-augmented CS functionality; the proprietary file formats which other software has to follow and understand to the best of its ability (ideally losslessly); and so on.

        Most of the open-source alternatives are well behind in UIUX and sometimes stability. The decades-old “liquify” tool in Photoshop, a go-to when retouching faces, bodies, and skin, has only been a first-class tool in the open-source alternative GIMP for about three years. The awkwardness and the skin-flintedness of FOSS users feed into the network effects, offset slightly by FOSS plugin developers, and it all works out that Adobe supplies the walled garden and the order within the working professional needs.

        1. Glen

          I can assure you as a very long term FOSS guy that I am one cheap bastard.

          But it seems to work for me.

  12. Pat

    Biden and the ACA.

    I don’t remember where, but I read they were dropping the public option a week or a week and a half ago. It makes perfect sense. The public option was the sop for single payer supporters in 2009, it was the same during the primary.

    They can’t do a private option, it would siphon off some of the people buying useless insurance. What you say, there is no mandate anymore? Watch that tax penalty come back so fast your head will spin.

    When we have two competing companies running ads about the apps to get their discounts for drug prices even insured working class Americans cannot afford (and in one seniors) you would think our “leaders” would want to hang their heads in shame. But I’m sure drug company stocks and future ceremonial Board positions keep them warm.

    There isn’t a circle of Hell bad enough for Biden, his wife and the Obamas, along with everyone who deep pocketed them.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I still remember at an Orange County (fl) Young Democrats event, having an Obama staffer (OFA?) shove a petition in my face about ObamaCare in 2009; I looked and pointed out it didn’t mention a public option. The staffer looked nonplused.

      I refused to sign.

    2. Glen

      I thought I read somewhere that Biden had a talk with his boss at the time of Beau’s illness about medical costs, and his boss agreed to help with those costs.

      His boss? Obama.

      And this was after the ACA.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden feels really bad for the people in those Kickstarter campaigns for medical care and promises to retweet the ones that really catch his eye. Its just the decent thing to do.

        1. mary jensen

          Yeah, well I think we all got the point: ‘Biden feels really bad for the people’. “For the people”. For the citizens of the US? “People”. If Biden is awaiting his smoke signals over the Vatican then perhaps he has a chance…otherwise I heard nothing at all of any import whatsoever why a vote for a Delaware (!) tax haven crony would change a fricking system become so “robust” for the rich. Switzerland? Cayman? Jersey? Try Delaware if American English is your one and only way to communicate.

          Speaking of communicating: stunned by Brayden Harrington’s cameo appearance: thought for a moment I’d been time-travelled back to some Warner Bros. tear-jerker à la “Dark Victory”. Crickey.

          As for the Prairie Rose:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9nCMm5tVn0

          cheers

    3. Billy

      “#MedicareForAll is {just} “a phrase.” Holy moley.”

      So is “#TheWarOnTerrorism”

      Defund the latter to pay for the former.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the seniors can’t afford their drugs, and they die sooner and faster, they won’t live as long to collect as much Social Security.

      Our leaders would lift their heads with pride at that outcome. ( And they would, too. Everyone here knows they would).

      1. jsn

        For profit “health care” exists to make you sick and keep you that way as long as humanly possible, or till your money runs out, whichever happens first.

    5. S.V. Dáte

      I’d bet in less then two years there will be a Public Option. Or is it chiseled in stone by God that it can not be?

      1. km

        What makes you so sure? Since when did Biden do anything that would displease his corporate masters or his Wall Street owners? The fact that Biden moved so quickly to distance himself from any public option should give you a clue.

        After all, Obama had a huge majority in the House, a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the biggest popular mandate for reform since 1964 or maybe even 1932, and a fawning national media that was unironically comparing him to Jesus Christ, and Obama dropped anything that would displease the insurance companies like it was a hot turd.

        1. judy2shoes

          “What makes you so sure?”

          I think SVD’s main goal is to throw a stone into the pond and watch the ripples. To my mind, his second sentence is provocative and passive-aggressive, not to mention unnecessary. Now why would he write that?

          1. Chris

            Yep. There’s a lot of that going around on the twitters and FB and other sources lately. The posts kinda smell bot like, but they’re all so dumb and knee jerky that they’re probably some hack who’s just into causing trouble. Now, whether they’re doing that for a reason or being paid to I guess depends on what angle your tin foil hat is set at. But there has been a marked increase on the group pages for fans of podcasts like Jimmy Dore, Useful Idiots, etc. maybe this is Brock 2.0?

      2. Falls City Beer

        The PO is a little too means-testy for me. Insurance companies will dump their expensive cases onto the PO and the PO will become expensive, ripe for cuts and endless legal challenges.

        So, I can definitely see it passing in the next couple of years.

      3. CarlH

        Where do you get this confidence? Who do you see (who has power) who is even remotely doing the concrete steps needed to get there?

    6. L

      I don’t believe they have formally dropped it. But a week ago several of Biden’s advisors started running around telling people not to worry because Joe is a deficit hawk at heart and “the cuboard is bare”. Most people interpreted that to mean most “FDR-esque” change is off the table.

      Oddly enough when I point that kind of thing out to the DNC recruiters they all try to “slap some sense” into me. Actually keeping your promises apparently is a bridge too far.

  13. the suck of sorrow

    Not only have pharmacists administer common children’s vaccines: This moment just screams for a national health service.
    Imagine getting jabbed by someone competent, then placed in a well ventilated area for short observation to ensure no adverese reaction, and then, leave, paying zilch.

      1. jsn

        Who profits from that?

        If a corporation can’t profit from it, it’s no longer possible in the US.

        Did we do testing? Did we do contact tracing? Did we do anything at all that a corporation couldn’t profit from?

  14. Lost in OR

    “Pelosi endorses Kennedy over Markey”
    If I was Markey, this would make my day. Time to leave the past behind.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I particular like how everything Pelosi says can simply have Cabot-Lodge in lieu of Kennedy and doesn’t change the meaning.

    2. Medbh

      I made a donation to Markey even though I know nothing about him. Her endorsement is just another example of how “the rules” don’t apply to them, and should be punished by voters.

      I was an Obama voter, but I’ve learned my lesson. Watch what they do, not what they say. Biden will not implement any of the policies or values I support. I consider the Democratic party as much of a problem as the Republican one now. I’m voting 3rd party.

  15. hunkerdown

    Dependency management is as important in COBOL as anywhere else. The web is an especialy hostile environment, because developers want to have as much control over the user experience as any desktop app, and the W3C is pretty well owned by the people who make money off browsers, so they’ll just throw something workable out there to have something out there and just silently break and replace it later when it’s important to some Player. Also, the W3C is fond of providing “platforms” for Players to “add value” as a general rule, which doesn’t help.

    The breakneck pace of churn in the Internet world is, as always, a problem due to the market™ incentivizing diversity (“fad frameworks”) and denigrating maintenance programming work because of their Whiggish shape of time. It’s more important that some vain yuppie working for Salesforce be able to melt all that is solid into air and break the world. Linux, the IETF, and (to a lesser extent) browser makers, on the other hand, have a strong ethic in favor of not breaking the world, but how’s that gonna get another grandma into your Series B, right?

  16. Jason Boxman

    Contractors working for the utility repeatedly assured cleanup workers that the ash, which floated in the air, coating their bare skin and lungs, was safe.

    What!?

    Does anyone think that a substance that is particulate, floats in the air, and coats your body, and is small enough that you cough when inhaled, is in any way safe to inhale or otherwise be covered in, radioactive or otherwise?

    1. jsn

      They’re are a great many ignorant people and neoliberals actively push to increase that number.

      Their were once a great many trusting people who injury by injury are being taught to be cynical.

      Thus QAnon etc., ignorance and betrayal are the twin foundations of neoliberalism.

  17. my name goes here

    FWIW… Here are my 2020 dem conv take-aways:

    – no popular positive change of any kind will be permitted
    – no serious response to climate change (ousting Ed Markey)
    – obscene profit trumps human lives (medical, insurance, pharma industries)
    – economic collapse will be allowed to ruin countless lives (“no big deal”)
    – promise more austerity, citing the trope that Trump looted the Treasury
    – no antitrust efforts to break-up corporations that own congress & whitehouse
    – no redress for the (still) unconsitutional USA-Patriot Act
    – for-profit war demands continued sacrifice from armed services families
    – no acknowledgement of on-going US war crimes and treaty violations
    – continue “qualified immunity” for murderous-thug police
    – property rights always trump human rights
    – eradicate indigenous self-rule throughout north and south america
    – interfere in every democracy still operating on earth
    – powerful racists, rapists, and pederasts are party elders and candidates
    – flip the bird to the (majority) working class; but never mention them

    Democrats may win elections this year; but they’ve already lost the
    nation. (We all have)

    1. voteforno6

      Maybe, maybe not. Does anyone really think that either party will be guiding events? I think that COVID19 may have broken more things than people realize right now.

      1. jsn

        I’m with you. I’m secretly hoping most Reps will have bricks thrown through their windows, or other suitable expressions of the unheard, while they’re home on recess.

    2. S.V. Dáte

      This isn’t an attack on you, ok? But you forgot free beer forever and a guaranteed to win powerball ticket. One item – “powerful racists, rapists, and pederasts are party elders and candidates”, this is factual? Seems to say such a thing requires anger bordering on hate? You can’t possible know based on your own reporting if this is true, so what’s up?

      1. jsn

        Well I don’t know about you, but I’ve watched enough of the videos of Biden around young women and girls to believe his accuser.

        As for Trump, his “grab” quote dovetails nicely with his kind words for Jeffrey Epstein, on top of having Roy Cohn as his attorney, a man expert in sexual pederasty blackmail with ties to the mob blackmail ring Epstein was apparently running.

        I was angry about this stuff as I became aware of it in the early 80s but now stay on top of it to understand what the real power dynamics are. Most of it gets declassified in some form eventually and you can figure out retrospectively over about 5 years who’s versions of breaking stories can be believed. Of course by then you have to read them in foreign publications because no one here will publish them anymore.

        1. km

          BTW, Roy Cohn was a lifelong member of Team D, although he obviously worked both sides of the aisle.

        2. judy2shoes

          S.V. Date said: “Seems to say such a thing requires anger bordering on hate? You can’t possible know based on your own reporting if this is true, so what’s up?”

          SVD is attempting to undermine my name goes here by implying that he/she has anger/hate issues and maybe even mental illness. All SVD had to do was ask for evidence; the quoted sentence wasn’t necessary. This is a common thread in a number of his comments going back to when I started paying attention around 8/16. Faux concern followed by a hit.

            1. judy2shoes

              “The joys of curation are subtle but profound.”

              Short and to the point. I need to take lessons from you. :)

              1. ambrit

                You are doing very well yourself, thanks. The above by me was a second comment to fill in for an earlier comment at the same spot that was taken down because I strayed too far into an ad-hominem attack on SVD. (I do have feats of clay.)
                The second comment just “clicked” for me. Many times, one’s subconscious will throw up true gems, if you listen hard.
                Stay safe!

      2. Chris

        So, you start with “how are we going to pay it” type arguments? Here? Buddy, if you were assigned this beat by a boss take a few weeks and do some reading. This is not a comment section that will be receptive to your piss poor attempts at economic malpractice. Troll better.

        For the last bit, if we ignore Bill Clinton as a speaker at the convention, or Sleepy Joe’s latest foibles and his past support for people like Justice Thomas when Mr. Biden shut down any chance of Anita Hill testifying, we also ignore all the Epstein connections, all the Weinstein connections, and a ton of other things I guess, then yeah, it’s all made up?

        Otherwise, yeah, what else would you think if something that’s supposed to be an unspeakable crime and reason to cancel people is overlooked by the DNC? It’s not hatred. I don’t care enough about any of those people enough to hate them. I am weary of seeing people so unworthy prevent any kind of progress to ameliorate the suffering of my fellow citizens. Everyone who isn’t getting their UI checks can thank Bill Clinton for ending welfare as we knew it. So why was a person like that allowed on the convention stage in the age of #metoo if the party wasn’t OK with his odious behavior?

    3. km

      Team D will NOT give us austerity, for we never ever hear “we can’t afford that!”, not when the billionaires need another bailout at the casino, not when there is another stupid war to be put on the national credit card.

      1. CarlH

        I don’t think anyone on this site ever thought there would be austerity for the MIC or the billionaires.

  18. Henry Moon Pie

    For those who have hoped or worried that a Biden Presidency would be Obama 3, I think we should be preparing for Bush II 3.

      1. ambrit

        “Bush II part VI” sounds very much like the title of an Elizabethan history play. It would go well on a double bill with “Epstein Agonistes.”

  19. flora

    re: The Democrats Screwed Up.

    Zapatero wrote of Biden, “he told me, with a harshness that until then I had not heard, that the only way to gain their trust was by making decisions that made you suffer truly and thoroughly. That you are only credible in certain circumstances if you subject citizens to difficult tests, if the unions openly reject your policy, in short, if there are tears and suffering.

    So much to look forward to under a President Joe “Torquemada ” Biden. /meh

    1. hunkerdown

      I’m not trying to reanimate P$zz$g$t$ by any means, but the casual ruling-class sadism juxtaposed with the recent performative self-regression on Twitter really makes you wonder how deeply these child abuse dynamics pervade the Democrat Party establishment.

      1. jsn

        What Biden meant was “credible” to Republicans, which looking at his record you can clearly see concerned him deeply.

        I expect he would have flipped to R like John Connally in the 80s if he had thought he could do it and keep office.

        As it played out he was a much more dependable R ally than he was to New Deal Ds who he was instrumental in steering the Party away from.

  20. 430 MLK

    “The Therapeutic Power of Gardening” [The New Yorker]. “Stuart-Smith’s book compares the uses of gardening in historical and contemporary mental-health treatments, and reports on empirical research into gardening’s effects on mood.”

    I teach at a community college that sits on the site of the former Eastern State Lunatic Asylum, one of the first established west of the Appalachians. The 17 or so acre area that we inherited was what remained of what must have been a several hundred acre allotment. Much of the acreage was devoted to the Pleasure Grounds (I think that was its name), clusters of gardens of annual veg and flowers, and fruit orchards. Inmates essentially worked the grounds. I’m not sure when cultivation ceased–when my college moved them out in 2010, there was no ag and a bunch of run-down buildings, most of which my college bulldozed and replaced, over time, with impervious surface parking lots. But about 3 grizzled apple trees remained; an access road goes around them (or used to…they may have been plowed under).

    I had hoped to re-establish a circumferential campus Pleasure Grounds trail with new plantings, but the college didn’t seem much interested. The focus on gardening and rehabilitation carries on, though, in a shelter for abused women fleeing their husbands that sits on some ag land on the city’s outskirts, where the women are housed and grow veg for sale fresh and (I think) canned.

    At any rate–yes, therapeutic for many, and at least done in my neck of the woods historically and today.

    1. Jen

      Working from home has been a mixed bag, but one thing I truly love is being able to enjoy my gardens, and really tend to them on a small but daily basis. It’s definitely therapeutic, and I have a real vision for what I want to do with them that I’ve never had before, simply by being able to observe everything carefully on a daily basis, as opposed to a quick look in the morning and evening.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        for me, nothing compares to that.
        “sitting quietly, just to sit”, and watching plants grow and all the goings on in the underbrush.
        the rediscovery of gardening is one of the few good things to happen in this horrible year.
        I hope it continues.
        Plantidotes for the soul sickness of end stage empire.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > “sitting quietly, just to sit”, and watching plants grow and all the goings on in the underbrush.

          Listening, too, to the pollinators. A garden that’s messy enough will attract birds.

          1. polecat

            Hear here!

            And, if I may add to the above –

            … insects/arachnids (or arthropods generally.. ) of all sorts … yes, even those that have have ability to cause welts and stings.

            … and, of course a water source, or sources – if at all possible.

  21. Mikel

    This is Biden’s 3rd or 4th time running for President and I don’t ever remember the speech impediment being this much of a problem.
    He’s done how many ads before this run over the years?

  22. Mikel

    Sorry, had to post this. But this is and example of the total lack of self-reflection that corporate culture lacks or enables.

    https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/juniors-under-lockdrain-strain-race-to-remain-relevant-as-city-drips-back-to-office-20200821/

    “It’s been pretty relentless — 8am in the morning until 2 or 3am every day, and barely moving away from your computer,” said David.

    Now, as bankers drip back into offices in phased returns, junior bankers worry their dread will continue as the job market becomes more competitive — they’re feeling overworked, underappreciated and struggling to cope, according to conversations with six analysts and associates, as well as senior investment banking executives.”

    Okay…now wait for it. Here’s the kicker line right after these two paragraphs:

    “And many are missing out on soft benefits of office life — like absorbing conversation and corporate culture.”

    Whaaaatttt? How much more corporate culture can these drones “absorb”? That drain is the absorbing of corporate culture.

    UFB!

  23. Mark Dempsey

    For those interested, here are a few quotes from Thomas Frank’s The People, No!.

    Sample:

    [p.324-5] One story of the Trump years that sticks with me was related to me by a high school student who went to a discussion of political issues with a group of progressive teenagers in an affluent part of the Washington D.C. metro area. The group’s leader went around the room asking the students what issues they considered significant and then getting a show of hands on the importance of each one. Racism was mentioned, and sexism, and LGBTQ issues, and gun control, and the environment. The student raised her hand and said, “Labor.” It was, she told me, the only suggestion that drew no support at all.

    …[Which] brings us to a revealing political fact of our time: the disappearance of class from the mainstream liberal agenda. …

    The prophets of reproach who make up the modern Left aren’t particularly interested in that…And once you start looking for this erasure–for this peculiar lacuna in the worldview of a certain type of liberal–you notice it everywhere. Social class is the glaring, zillion-watt absence, for example, in those anti-Trump yard signs that have become so popular in nice suburban neighborhoods and that strain for inclusiveness–

    In this house, we believe
    Black lives matter
    Women’s rights are human rights
    No human is illegal
    Love is love
    And kindness is everything

    –but that say nothing about the right to organize or to earn a living wage.”

    [P.S. Lambert calls this “link whoring”… I prefer “link working”]

    1. Anonymous

      –but that say nothing about the right to organize or to earn a living wage.”

      Bought off by their 401-Ks? And their rising home equity?

      And because labor is increasingly done by foreigners?

    2. Librarian Guy

      At my work (in teaching) we regularly have to attend meetings where we publicly performatively display our traumas, caring, wokeness, etc. I guess there is a belief that it is somehow cathartic and that it will distract people from routinely cruel, indifferent and hostile management. (Who are supposedly our “equals” as humans at these events, though they direct the social traffic/ self-revealing flow.)

      It seems to me that Americans are uncomfortable with thinking, and with being grown-ups. While we are all disillusioned by our dysfunctional management (& respond differently, some sucking up, some checking out, and a few of us valiantly resisting to the extent possible), these little events (which we are forced to attend as part of our professional, Contract duties) serve as a distraction and give management the sense that they have some “caring” relationship with the peons.

      Platitudes are the lingua franca at these events, and insincerity is the medium by which they are delivered.

      1. flora

        A book came out a few years ago titled “Wannab U: Inside the Corporate University”

        This para sums up the performative illusions of caring in higher ed:

        “”It’s not about teaching; it’s about looking like you care about the students, a social scientist said. Like much else in contemporary life, the emphasis is on appearances. I observed a small class in which the instructor claimed that a new central administrator was trying to do something about student partying and drinking “because he cares about students and drinking is dangerous.” A young woman immediately spoke up: “They (administrators) don’t care about us,” she insisted. “They just want to give the appearance of caring. They don’t care about us at all.”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > At my work (in teaching) we regularly have to attend meetings where we publicly performatively display our traumas, caring, wokeness, etc.

        What? What kind of bullshit is this? What do they call these meetings?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > [P.S. Lambert calls this “link whoring”… I prefer “link working”]

      It’s not me, it’s a term of art (blogosphere c. 2003-2006). That said, if you’re not just dropping a link to your site in comments in a drive-by, and adding real value — i.e., you are not inducing readers to leave the site for your own personal gain — I don’t mind so much.

    4. Jen

      Makes me want to make some signs of my own.

      In this house we believe
      Policy matters
      Health care is a human right
      Workers rights are human rights
      Corporations aren’t people
      Money is not speech

      I’m sure the commentariat can offer some improvements

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        More Humanism.
        All that is well within the Adversary’s Framework.
        (economic language and construction)
        It’s missing Eudaimonia.
        Because what we’re talking about here is reengineering the root code of civilisation…as it was reengineered starting in the 70’s.
        This time hopefully, with some Μηδὲν ἄγαν (nothing in excess) included.
        Faced with Nietzsche’s challenge…having slain god, realising that we had to replace him with something…they looked within their shriveled souls and found avarice and perfidy, and remade the teleology(purpose) in that light. How could they do otherwise?
        Totalising the Ur ideology of the Serpent (“a motile alimentary canal”-J. Campbell=”I shall devour”).
        Surely we can do better.
        I am more than an entry in a ledger, or an economic machine.
        Eudaimonia.
        One mind at a time.

  24. Tomonthebeach

    “Does Parkinson’s Begin in the Gut?”

    Although the article does not mention Dr. Tim Spector at Kings College, it is his seminal work (summarized in his 2015 book, the Diet Myth) that showed a substantive connection between the brain and the belly based on his research with twins. Anybody into automobiles understands that if you dilute or pollute your gasoline, the motor runs differently – if at all. The microbiome is the human gas tank. The brain runs better on highoctaine.

    Footnote: Constipation (mentioned as common in Parkinsons victims) is also the norm among opioid addicts.

  25. PlutoniumKun

    “Does Parkinson’s Begin in the Gut?” [Scientific American].

    Well, thats a coincidence. I’m just home after sharing ramen noodles with my niece, a neurology resident, and she said that all her Parkinsons patients are now being put on pro and pre biotic diets. There have been some spectacular individual recoveries, although much of the evidence so far is anecdotal. She says its very common now for patents with neurological disorders to ask about diet and the gut biome. There is a surge of interest in the area, but a lack of firm data.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > all her Parkinsons patients are now being put on pro and pre biotic diets

      And not waiting for the expensive randomized controlled study, either. I’m not a medical practitioner, but I keep thinking we have it backwards: We’re waiting for the RCT to initiate practice, when the RCT should confirm existing good practice. And yes, some of the practice will be wrong.

  26. ptb

    Re: Covid, US college policies

    Here is a “data dashboard”, displaying data on US colleges vs Covid 19 policy (i.e. various degrees of in-person)
    https://collegecrisis.shinyapps.io/dashboard/
    besides the map, there are also some graphs (tab on left side). They don’t seem to have a total-enrollment-vs-policy-category bar graph which I think would be useful but would be interesting if someone put one together.

    [collegecrisis.org / Davidson College] [via NPR]

  27. Dr. John Carpenter

    Speaking of Easter Eggs, the first one I noticed was the big old arrow pointing right in the convention’s logo. Just like the one in Hillary’s logo (at least they remembered to make it blue this time). If everyone is all excited over Michelle’s necklace and Warren’s blocks, then you can’t tell me that was unintentional.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just by that title alone, I could see this being quite true. But Ian Welsh should really have talk with Jimmy Dore sometime to how this would play out.

      1. Dirk77

        Can’t argue with that. I gather Dore would give good odds for her absorption by the Blob. Such a waste of talent if so. But we will see.

        1. a different chris

          Dore might think that, but I would give at best 50/50. She is a force of nature and has hit them more times than any normally talented person could do and still remain standing. The old guard is always replaced at some point, and this will be true even if (when) they develop immortality for rich powerful people.

          Whilst watching (didn’t make it to the end) Kamela’s speech, I couldn’t help thinking about how AOC given the exact same speech would have had people standing on their couches cheering.

          And she wouldn’t have given the exact same speech, it would be way better.

          But yeah I sure don’t think her success is guaranteed, either. The failure won’t be her being absorbed, though, she will be replaced.

          1. ChrisAtRU

            Plus: AOC is in with the #MMT crew
            Minus: She still needs to move left on US imperialism abroad. Her positions on Venezuela and Bolivia (much like Bernie TBH) leave much to be desired.

            … but there is promise.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > AOC given the exact same speech would have had people standing on their couches cheering

            Dave Anthony of The West Wing Thing, who is a scriptwriter, was saying the other day how impressed he was by an Obama speech that he heard, and credited the speechwriter. Then he actually read the speech, and it was like there was nothing there on the page. It was all Obama, not the words on the page at all.

            I think it would be the same with AOC. She remains a unique political talent who just stomped her opponent (and she’s hated by the right people, let us remember).

            I have the feeling AOC is strategic in her thinking and most of what she’s doing we don’t see. For example, this video: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Campaign Volunteers Try Her Skincare and Beauty Routine | Teen Vogue.” This is easily mocked — I wonder if Dore did — but AOC also locked in an enormous number of young voters and activists for the forseeable future. She did get an asteroid named after her, after all….

            Also, carping critics aside, nominating Sanders is thumb in the eye to the Democrat Establishment. I don’t think there’s any need to be Machiavellian about this. Liberal Democrats oppose every program Sanders advocates and hate him personally, besides. She had no reason to do the right thing, but she did.

            1. Late Introvert

              Lambert speaks the truth about AOC, and Bernie.

              Haters gonna hate. I don’t blame either one of them, they are fighting the good fight. Dem Rats suck of course, that goes without saying.

              1. CarlH

                Really? I haven’t seen much “fight” at all from them since this rolling Covid-19 disaster began, a time I would think would be ready made for them. I thought they would maybe take even a little advantage of the pandemic (M4A), the economic collapse (they all voted for the atrocious CARES act before securing funding for us plebes, thus throwing away all their leverage and the reason we can’t get anything now), and environmental collapse. They have been conspicuously absent since this all began, except when shilling for the corporate Dem. ticket. Hopefully I am just not awake yet and woke up extra cynical today, but that’s how I am feeling right now.

  28. cnchal

    “The Democrats pulled off a brilliant psychological maneuver at the convention” [Fast Company]. “So if these speakers aren’t literally chatting with us, why have the DNC speeches been so engrossing? Could there be some other element at play? The short answer is yes. As Hietanen explains, someone’s gaze still affects our thinking, even when it’s streamed one-way through a laptop or TV screen.

    I always close my eyes when listening to these speeches, and can see right through the bullshit.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I always close my eyes when listening to these speeches

      This is why I always read transcripts. Radioactive material should always be handled with a waldo (a “remote manipulator,” a little too on-the-nose for the whole project).

  29. VietnamVet

    Joe Biden and the DNC are a façade. There are beholden to the current exploitive economic system. Their technocrats work to get 51% of the vote. In reality, for decades, Democrats could care less what is in the best interest of American citizens. They can’t. They’ve dumped American workers. The propaganda used to work. I voted for Barrack Obama twice. The Iraq invasion was crazy but that was the Republicans. Libya was questionable. But Ukraine and Joe Biden opened the curtain to cognitive dissonance. Having served in the first one, the restart of the Cold War 2.0 with Russia was insane. It has gotten way worse in the last four years. Russia, China and Iran are now allies. The EU is splintering and pulling away. The Free World is no more.

    Nothing exposes this perverse conundrum than the Pandemic Depression. The ruling class has thrown the dice and are backing a profit-making vaccine or treatment. A rebuilt national public health system is ignored, unfunded. If no safe effective vaccine is developed, the pandemic and the resulting depression will last for years; splintering North American into failed states; if not ending in a World War, like the Great Depression.

  30. jr

    It’s two in the morning and I fell asleep early last night night so now I’m up. Meds are hours away. After reading the Big Tent (2) I’ve come to realize that Trump truly is an existential threat. Joe Biden, ally of the Light, is all that stands between us and perdition.

    The Biden family has suffered as we all have suffered. Their loss is our loss. Beau Biden’s kind and gentle spirit has filled our hearts and we are the better for it.

    But it’s not enough. Trump is an evil beyond compare. And sometimes it takes evil to beat evil. So I’m proposing an audacious solution, something so radical, so off the charts that even a savvy skryer of the political seas as Trump could never see it coming:

    Bring Back Beau!!!

    See, I actually do own a copy of the Necronomicon.

    http://www.awakeatmidnight.com/wp-content/uploads/simon-necronomicon.jpg

    I know there has to be a ritual in there somewhere that would work, it’s just going to take some trial and error. These things can be tricky. I’ll need everyone’s negative mental energy focused on it. I’m getting started right away. With a little luck, soon we will have Beau back at Joe’s side ready to take the battle to Trump. Any Biden supporters out there, I’ll need a little blood and some hairs from your head. You can reach me at:

    bringbackbeau@gmail.com

    Thanks! Together we can make this happen and who knows? If I pull it off, we can bring back anyone! Suggestions are welcome! Ok, let’s get started. I’ll keep you all updated.

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