2:00PM Water Cooler 8/25/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Here 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.

And here is the EU, which we haven’t looked at for awhile.

I can’t add the US for comparison, because then the EU gets all smushed together at the bottom of the chart. Still, that steady rise is concerning.

ME: “Maine CDC now links 53 COVID-19 cases to Millinocket wedding reception” [Press-Herald]. “The number of COVID-19 cases connected to a wedding reception in Millinocket continues to climb, with state health officials saying on Saturday that they could trace 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus to the reception. That’s up from 32 confirmed cases on Friday. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday that investigators identified secondary and tertiary transmission of the virus, which means that it has spread to people who did not attend the Aug. 7 wedding reception but had close contact with individuals who were present at the event (secondary cases) and close contacts of the secondary cases. Big Moose Inn, which hosted the event, was cited for an “imminent health hazard,” which carries no fine but can bring harsher penalties if state officials determine the venue violated health rules again. The wedding reception had 65 people, more than the state maximum of 50 for indoor gatherings. Maine health officials have said the investigation into the wedding reception continues, including to what extent attendees were wearing masks or not wearing masks, and whether they were instructed by the Big Moose Inn to do so. Under Maine’s emergency orders to combat the spread of the coronavirus, establishments are required to enforce mask wearing in indoor public places.”

NC: “Records from before reopening show experts warned UNC of COVID-19 outbreaks” [Daily Tar Heel]. “Students, faculty and staff are saying they expected UNC to close due to COVID-19 spikes before the announcement Monday that undergraduate courses would shift to remote learning — and documents obtained by The Daily Tar Heel show that the administration received warning months ago from top medical professionals at the University….. University leaders defended their decision to reopen at an emergency Faculty Executive Committee Monday evening, with Provost Bob Blouin saying: ‘I do not apologize for trying.'”

Colleges: “‘Frats Are Being Frats’: Greek Life Is Stoking the Virus on Some Campuses” [New York Times]. “The concerns over Greek life come amid reports of virus outbreaks at fraternities and sororities across the country. Universities are struggling with how to prevent tightly packed sorority and fraternity houses from turning into coronavirus clusters…. ‘The frats are being frats: They are having their parties,’ Lamar Richards, a U.N.C. sophomore, said.”


“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.) Despite the sturm and drang, and the polls, the consensus on the electoral college remains the same: Biden ahead, Trump within striking distance.

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

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


Biden (D)(1);

Interesting, but this is a national poll; what matters is which Republicans in which districts. Further, in a close race, every little bit helps.

Trump (R)(1): “How Trump betrays the working people who elected him” [Katrina vanden Heuvel, WaPo]. “This week, the real question is whether Trump can con his own followers once more. At their convention, Democrats focused on Trump’s lack of character and competence. But as despair rises, Trump’s “violation of norms” or the fact that, as his sister Maryanne Trump Barry said, he has ‘no principles,’ aren’t his greatest weaknesses. His true vulnerability is that he has betrayed those who brought him to power. Over the next 70 days, Democrats must make certain that reality doesn’t get drowned out.” • It is true that while the Eighth Circle of Hell covers Fraud, the Ninth and lowest covers Betrayal. But Hell is crowded. By contrast–

Trump (R)(2): “Trump’s Fights Are Their Fights. They Have His Back Unapologetically.” [New York Times]. “In lengthy interviews over the last several weeks, a cross-section of Trump voters said they believed he had succeeded on issues like hardening the Southern border, appointing conservative judges, taking on China and putting “America first.” Many said the president’s grievances were their grievances, too. They believed kneeling during the national anthem was un-American, and they were appalled at what they viewed as liberals’ minimizing of violence that at times grew out of the protests over the killing of George Floyd. At the same time, Trump voters dismissed as irrelevant aspects of the president’s behavior that critics say make him historically unfit for office. All politicians lie, many said; as for the president’s suggestion that he might not accept the election results, supporters said voters should judge his actions, not his loose talk or tweets. ‘I didn’t vote for Trump because I wanted him to be my best friend,’ Ms. Schenkel said. ‘I wanted to make a change and a difference.’ ‘If he thinks it’s the right thing, he doesn’t care who’s going to get mad at him,’ she added. ‘I think he’s very misunderstood.’ … She grades the president highly on having met his promises, including slowing the flow of undocumented immigrants and building a strong economy before the virus struck. Other Trump supporters outlined myriad reasons for wanting to re-elect him, ranging from the pragmatic, like a new job made possible by the administration’s policies, to a gut-level attraction to his hard-nosed personality. His supporters related ‘aha’ moments in their upbringing when they realized they were conservatives, which they spoke of as nonnegotiable beliefs woven into their identity, like opposition to abortion.” • It just struck me that perhaps Arnade’s back-row kids don’t concern themselves with “identity” because they never left home; they know who they are. PMCs, who are mobile in the credential-seeking and deployment, are far more, well, fragile.

* * *

“Susan Rice says she is ‘100 percent’ sure Russia will interfere in elections” [The Hill]. Rice: “We need to be worried not only about Russian disinformation — its activity on social media which is constant, aimed at misleading and dividing and instilling fear and hatred between and among Americans — but we need to be concerned also about what efforts it might make again to infiltrate our voting systems, and corrupt either our voting rolls or even potentially the voting count itself.” • Thankfullly, we have experts to consuilt….

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Black, Latino lobbyists bristle at progressives pushing corporate K Street ban on Biden” [The Hill]. “A battle is brewing on K Street over an effort by progressives to ensure a Biden administration is devoid of any former Wall Street executives or corporate lobbyists. Black and Latino lobbyists say a ban of that sort would end up shutting out minorities and could make the administration less diverse if Democrats win back the White House.” • There it is.

“Weakness is provocative” [Interfluidity]. “Less frequently discussed than all of that is how weak first-past-the-post voting is, with respect to resisting corruption. And weakness, Republican politicians eternally remind us, is provocative. Single-winner, first-past-the-post elections are often described as “winner-takes-all”. That means that in a close election, the leverage, the “ROI”, associated with stealing a small edge can be huge. If the ultimate margin of victory of an election is likely to be within 2%, you only have to manipulate, suppress, or steal 2% of the vote to win 100% of the power. Then we are “shocked, shocked” that political entrepreneurs with an interest in the outcome (not necessarily of the parties themselves, it could be Russia!) do play for such edges. But that’s only true for close elections, right? Yes, that’s right. But because single-winner, first-past-the-post voting yields a two-party system, we should expect that the most consequential elections will frequently be evenly matched. The two parties are strategic actors, and they want to win a struggle for power. [1] When either party’s strategy leaves it losing that struggle by a clear margin, that strategy will change, one way or another, even by poaching aspects of the other party’s identity if necessary. (Consider the realignment of the Democrats when 12 years out of power in 1992, or Republicans’ adoption of Dixiecrats.) With party institutions more eager to contend for power than they are devoted to any fixed ideology or constituency, a 50/50 divide is the equilibrium, the attractor.” • This is well worth reading in fully.

“The Non-Voter” [American Compass]. “Each election there are three choices and the winner is always not voting…. Not voting is about a justified cynicism forged from a lifetime of being screwed over by the status quo, and little is more status quo than sporting a ‘I voted’ sticker. In their minds, and from their experiences, voting has no clear upside. Nothing is going to change. And it comes with downside, both explicit and implicit. Voting means entering institutions that have given them problems. From schools, where they were tested, measured, and prodded endlessly, only to be then ignored, scolded, or demeaned. To municipal buildings where they were taxed, fined, or charged…. Voting means getting further entangled with a bureaucracy that has done nothing but tangled them up. Hell, it might even come with jury duty. They can’t do that because they are working two jobs and got kids to care for.” • Also worth reading in full.

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.

Housing: “S and P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20 City Home Price Index June 2020 Year-over-Year Growth Slows” [Econintersect]. “The non-seasonally adjusted S and P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities – although only 19 cities this month) year-over-year rate of home price growth declined from 3.7 % to 3.5 %. The index authors stated, ‘More data will be required to understand whether the market resumes its previous path of accelerating prices, continues to decelerate, or remains stable.’ … All home price indices are now showing home price growth is slowing year-over-year. Most of the blame for this should be laid at the feet of the pandemic which has altered daily lives.”

* * *

Retail: “Big-box retailers loom larger than ever on the U.S. consumer landscape. Nearly six months into the coronavirus pandemic, big-box retailers are emerging as business winners” [Wall Street Journal]. “Walmart, Amazon, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Costco Wholesale accounted for 29.1% of all U.S. retail sales in the second quarter, according to Customer Growth Partners, up from 25.6% in the same period a year ago. The big retailers were allowed to remain open, and critical factors in their growth included that they had already invested their online businesses, had large supply networks to restock and sophisticated transportation networks that include dedicated fleets. That advantage isn’t likely to fade. Experts say a winnowing out of the sector is likely to continue as the economy picks up steam, with big retailers leapfrogging smaller competitors.”

Supply Chain: “Work-from-home requirements are magnifying cybersecurity threats across the corporate world, raising new threats across supply chains. Packaged-foods giant Kraft-Heinz has seen attempted email attacks jump 10% to 15% since the pandemic began… with callers posing as employees or suppliers to gather information that could help them launch more sophisticated attacks” [Wall Street Journal]. “A Kraft Heinz official says callas may pretend to be a supplier who needs to confirm account credentials to process payment. With around half the U.S. workforce now working remotely, makeshift workplaces that depend on laptops, Zoom meetings and other porous technology are proving inviting targets.”

Finance: “Hedge Fund Collects $3 Billion in Bet on Wildfire Insurance Claims” [Insurance Journal]. “Baupost Group, the hedge fund run by Seth Klarman, received more than $3 billion in July from its bet on insurance claims against PG&E Corp. connected to a series of deadly California wildfires, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The payout yielded Baupost’s biggest profit generator last month and represented a sizable markup from what the firm had anticipated, it told investors Thursday. The fund bought $6.8 billion of subrogation claims against PG&E, court documents show. Baupost acquired some of the claims at about 35 cents on the dollar, Bloomberg previously reported, so its profit on the trade could have approached $1 billion. But the gains were partly offset by losses on the firm’s equity holdings in the utility company, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 74 Greed (previous close: 72 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 25 at 11:57am.

The Biosphere

“Ancient megadrought may explain civilization’s ‘missing millennia’ in Southeast Asia” [Science]. “A megadrought that lasted more than 1000 years may have plagued Southeast Asia 5000 years ago, setting up dramatic shifts in regional civilizations, suggests a new study of cave rocks in northern Laos. The researchers believe the drought began when the drying of the distant Sahara Desert disrupted monsoon rains and triggered droughts throughout the rest of Asia and Africa. For years, archaeologists studying mainland Southeast Asia—an area encompassing modern-day Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam—have been puzzled by what they call “the missing millennia,” a period from roughly 6000 to 4000 years ago with little evidence of human settlements. University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Joyce White, a co-author on the new paper, says she and others long thought this was because researchers hadn’t yet pinpointed where people of the era lived. Now, she believes the settlements could be missing because a megadrought devastated their populations and drove them to find water elsewhere.” • Yikes….

Health Care

“To Test Spread of Coronavirus, These Scientists Put on a Concert” [New York Times]. “[V]olunteers in an elaborate study by a team at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg called Restart 19. Each attendee, outfitted with a digital location tracker and hand disinfectant laced with fluorescent dye, were carefully positioned on seats as part of one of the first experiments by scientists to track the risks of coronavirus infection posed by large, indoor events. Researchers hope to use their results to determine which elements of events like this pose the greatest risk for transmission and help create guidelines for limiting such dangers and safely restarting live performances around the world…. ‘We know the personal contacts at the concert are risky, but we don’t know where they happen,’ [Dr. Stefan Moritz] said. ‘Is it at the entrance? Is it at the bleachers?’ Dr. Moritz concluded that the best way to bring in reliable data would be to stage an actual concert…. Dr. Moritz said that the most intriguing finding likely would be related to aerosol spread. Scientists have recently confirmed that the virus can remain suspended in the air, possibly for hours in closed environments. ‘It’s so weird what happens with these movements of air,’ he said. ‘Things you wouldn’t expect.’ To simulate the spread of aerosols in the arena on Saturday, staff used a smoke machine to emit a cloud of fog into the rafters. It drifted upward before moving into a spiral shape and spreading toward the audience.” • Important! (And it should be possible to scale this testing out to any interior space, both when they are being architected, and after they have been constructed.)

“Starbucks Cafe’s Covid Outbreak Spared Employees Who Wore Masks” [Bloomberg]. “After a woman with the coronavirus visited a Starbucks cafe north of Seoul this month, more than two dozen patrons tested positive days later. But the four face mask-wearing employees escaped infection. The Aug. 8 outbreak in the South Korean city of Paju is another example of how rapidly the SARS-CoV-2 virus can spread in confined, indoor spaces — as well as ways to minimize transmission. With health authorities around the world still debating the evidence around face masks, the 27-person cluster linked to the air-conditioned coffee outlet adds more support for their mandatory use to help limit the spread of the Covid-19-causing virus.” • Unfortunately, one must remove one’s mask to drink coffee — the purpose for which one goes to Starbucks — so masks as such aren’t really the answer here. (Of course, one could get one’s coffee to go, but that’s hardly the point of a café.) So I hope somebody is thinking very hard about aerosol transmission, HVAC — and also humidity.

“New drool-based tests are replacing the dreaded coronavirus nasal swab” [Science]. “First, a technician pushes a pencil-length swab to the very back of your nasal passages. Then you pay $100 or more, and wait days for an answer. But faster, cheaper, more pleasant ways to test for the novel coronavirus are coming online. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for two tests that sample saliva instead of nasal fluid, and more innovations are likely after FDA relaxed rules to allow new tests to be adopted more quickly. One candidate was announced last week: an experimental test, potentially faster and cheaper, that analyzes saliva in a new way…. On 4 August, the Yale team posted a preprint on medRxiv that said its saliva test agreed with swab results 94% of the time, at a cost of as little as $1.29 per sample, roughly 1/100 as much as commercial swab-based tests. On 15 August, FDA granted emergency approval for the SalivaDirect test, so that other FDA-approved labs can use the protocol. Last week, the agency extended approval to the UIUC test given its similarity to the Yale test. UIUC is now using its saliva test to test all 60,000 students, faculty, and staff twice a week, so they can isolate infected individuals as quickly as possible. “Testing saliva makes sense scientifically, and it makes sense logistically,” Hergenrother says.” • Notice how a protocol allowed test development to scale out rapidly.

“Overrun with COVID-19, one nursing home managed to dodge the worst” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (a different chris)]. “The tiny nursing home was being overrun with COVID-19: over the next few days, 27 residents tested positive, along with two dozen staff members…. Remarkably, everyone recovered from the virus at Quality Life Services-Mercer, including a 101-year-old man, defying the odds stacked against a group of elderly people, most with chronic health problems who have the highest mortality rates…. Elias Shattahi, an infectious disease specialist at Sharon Regional Medical Center, 13 miles from the Mercer nursing home, said how well an elderly COVID-19 patient fares turns on chronic health conditions they may have, including such things as high blood pressure, advanced age and dementia. But he was flummoxed by what happened at Quality Life Services. ‘I can not explain it,’ said Dr. Shattahi…. ‘That’s a million-dollar question.'”

Class Warfare

“What ‘Capitalism’ Is and How It Affects People” [Teen Vogue]. “Capitalism is defined as an economic system in which a country’s trade, industry, and profits are controlled by private companies, instead of by the people whose time and labor powers those companies. The United States and many other nations around the world are capitalist countries, but capitalism is not the only economic system available…. The kind of impact that capitalism has on your life depends on whether you’re a worker or a boss. …. There are many forms of socialism, but at its core, socialism is an economic system in which a whole community — not just bosses or private companies — control the means of production equally…. In a capitalist country, the focus is on profits over anything else; in a socialist country, the public is seen to be more important, and social welfare is a major priority.” • “Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on April 10, 2018” (when we linked to it). Hmm…

News of the Wired

“Challenge to scientists: does your ten-year-old code still run?” [Nature]. “Although computation plays a key and ever-larger part in science, scientific articles rarely include their underlying code, Rougier says. Even when they do, it can be difficult for others to execute it, and even the original authors might encounter problems some time later. Programming languages evolve, as do the computing environments in which they run, and code that works flawlessly one day can fail the next.” • So, another layer to the reproducibility crisis…..

How? How?

* * *

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

AM writes: “In the woods on the backside of Killington, from the Bucklin Trailhead. Lots of these little spiky things.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. TBellT

    I do wonder how much the people who say the BLM protests will carry Trump to victory also thought the same of “the Caravan”, GOP and the 2018 midterms. “Violent Crime” may be a rising issue but I think that’s just loyal partisans picking up campaign messaging. Suburbanites prefer the Obama/Biden method of handling protests, well summarized by a TWP quote Lambert picked up last week “People have been protesting in Louisville for 85 days over Breonna Taylor’s murder. […] the powers that be can just withstand that, […] be like “That’s nice, just keep doing your thing””

    I suppose there could be an exurban vote that is animated by these issues that didn’t vote in 2018 because GOP != Trump. I do wish more of these exposes on “Ive gone Democrat to Trump loyalist” asked these people who they voted for in the midterms.

    However, I think the more efficient way for Trump to win is to get voters to view the worst of the Covid crisis as over and think Trump will do a better job of rebuilding the economy an issue he holds a slight edge over Biden on.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Fear.. just like Nixon fear is what Trump has, and it is what he will give his voters.

      Fear of rioters
      Fear of losing their jobs
      Fear of Biden.

      The sad part is that the other side is using the same tactics. We have two status quo candidates.

      1. Lost in OR

        “you’re more likely to vote Democratic if you hate Republicans than if you love Democrats, and vice versa. What parties need to do to keep you loyal isn’t make you inspired. Rather, they need to make you scared.
        That quote from a 2015 article posted on NC.”

        I posted this pretty far down in comments this morning. It was initially posted on NC in 2015.

        This article helped me to recognize what I “self-identified” as, and it was pretty negative. To name just three issues: Anti-eternal war, Anti-climate change, and Anti-Wall Street greedheads. So my vision of the future (“platform”) was centered on moving away from negatives rather than moving toward positives. That may be a personal problem, or it may be the national problem. We lack a coherent positive vision of a world we can work toward. I think any new vision will need to start with a redefinition of the concepts of “growth” and “progress”. After 5 years, I’m still trying to figure this out. I am, at least, being less anti.

        1. Carla

          @Lost in OR — I think advancing the principles of a steady state economy would mitigate the three major threats you (and I) are against, and move us toward a much more equal, sane society in which democracy could actually be realized:

        2. Kurtismayfield

          Thank you for this post.

          My political goals are positive.

          #1. Change the health care system to single payer and total reform of our health care system
          #2. Reform of the Fed so that it is not a wage suppression service and responsible for inflation of assets.

          Sadly neither party is in support of that.. and reforming it from within is not happening. So I have to navigate this oligarchy the best I can.

          1. Lost in OR

            Excellent, Kurtis. How does this impact your daily life? What, exactly, are you doing?

            I’ve marched and protested, been arrested, formed Transition groups, and what is appropriately dissed here as “fought” for change. Yeah, well, good for me. That and $4.95 will get me a nice Starbucks capacino. I’ve come to believe we won’t begin to change the system until we change ourselves. That means me changing myself. First.

            I’ve long believed that we need to have one foot in the old paradigm as well as one foot in whatever paradigm is coming at us. I suspect that, at long last, that new paradigm is fast upon us. If this new paradigm is to be other than dystopian, we’re going to have to make is so. That will require vision, work, organization, and I don’t know what else. I believe it will start at sites like this.

            But I don’t see that happening. We’re on a slow moving train wreck focused on the wreck and not beyond the wreck. The current system (health care and Fed included) are unsustainable and will fail. There is only one outcome to unsustainable. We are a failed state. We are going down. What is our vision for post-capitalism and what are doing to get there? Plan or be planned for.

            Is there a Naked Post-Capitalism? Sorry for the stream of consciousness rant.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Future is as present does.

              ” We must become the Hunter S. Thompson we wish to see in the world.”

              1. Lost in OR

                Yes. I’ve wondered what sanity would look like in an insane world.
                But of course. HST. Here’s to a gonzo future. Now where’s my .44 mag?

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  I have come to realize that I can only lift a finger over the long term.
                  I cannot lift nine more fingers on behalf of nine other people who will not even lift finger number one.

                  So since I can only lift a finger over the long term, what is a sustainable finger I can lift and keep lifting? That is the finger I will lift.
                  I will do the things I can time-and-money afford to do in my life as-it-is if I decide those things would be useful if a hundred million other Americans each did the same things with their one lifted finger. If they don’t , it is not my fault and not my problem. If they do, then we can recognize eachother by the lifted-finger we share.

                  And what then? Well, we decide that over time.

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Unfortunately for me, I am the most ungonzo person I know. I may be the most ungonzo person anyone has ever met. I hope I can thread my way through the coming gonzo future.

                  I do have one talent. ( Or rather, the little gray mouseman who sends me here has one talent). I (he) am able to look convincingly homeless without even trying. I have been mistaken for homeless by several different people at several different times, including once by a homeless person. If handled carefully, that talent could allow me to remain unseen in plain sight . . . which could be valuable at times.

            2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              I feel like i have a good, positive vision that revolves around a few axioms which i hold to be universal:

              1. Every person has dignity and worth.
              2. A city (town, community, etc) is the citizen writ large.
              3. We must live in peace and harmony with our planet.

              If no person is worthless, then we should have countries that dont let their citizens die.

              If a citizen dies from a death of despair, then that city is not healthy.

              Break up the National Monopolies of FinTech.

              Every person gets a (formally bank owned vacant) house.

              No Establishment Politicians. EVER.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        Yes there is fear on both sides, but one group is acting out their fear with armed aggression egged on by one of the candidates. The title of a Aug 25, 2020 youtube video from rightwing timcast is “CONFIRMED BLM Leftist Shot By PA Locals”. 227,000 hits with 6500 comments, all those I read were supportive of this action.

    2. Grant

      We all know Trump supporters. They are not a monolith, but the ones whose brains have been destroyed by decades of propaganda, they already know what stance they will take on issues, they just need some (often ridiculous) logic to justify the stance. Among those not in that bubble, and not certain to oppose BLM even if it was entirely non-violent, I think more people are seeing the injustice of this entire system in ways that they didn’t years ago. The ability of the neoliberal types and the MAGA crowd to divorce themselves from reality, and the connection between a candidate’s policies and the real world impact of those policies is stunning. But, most of the country is not those insular bubbles. Unfortunately, most of the country doesn’t bother to vote because of how rotten the choices almost always are, and they can understand the anger at a system that does nothing but harms them and gives no space for them to do much of anything. Even among those that vote though whose brains haven’t been destroyed by right wing propaganda, it seems that people are a little nuanced in their thinking. They may or may not disagree with looting and violence, but they are also not unaware of why people are angry and systemic injustice. On the other hand, acknowledging the systemic injustice, systemic corruption and inequality, while offering to change nothing is worse than being ignorant to it all. Which is why increasingly people are open to just burning it all down (figuratively, often).

      1. Geo

        Well said!

        “On the other hand, acknowledging the systemic injustice, systemic corruption and inequality, while offering to change nothing is worse than being ignorant to it all. Which is why increasingly people are open to just burning it all down (figuratively, often).”

        I find many that fall into this category (at least in my own circles) have turned to increasingly out-there conspiracy sorts of news. Oddly, not too long ago (even just a year ago) I was often considered the tinfoil hat wearer in my social circles. Today, I often find myself trying to talk friends back from some pretty wild theories.

        1. TMoney

          You are not alone. I was a lot happier when I was the foilhat. Finding out other people are now deeper down the rabbit hole was disturbing to me. Indeed I view it as a sign of just how unstable the social fabric has become. It’s not Mad Max yet, but we are moving in that general direction ever so slowly.

      2. diptherio

        Case in point:

        Ammon Bundy, an anti-government activist who led the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge back in 2016, expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and for defunding the police in a recent Facebook video.

        He said in the video that he had considered attending, near his home in Boise, Idaho, “a rally with the Black Lives Matter in support of defunding the police because yes the police need to be defunded.” He decided not to attend the rally, citing concerns about potential violence from fellow “Patriots” who have criticized his stance on the issue.

        Anyone who doesn’t understand his support for the movement “must have a problem,” he said.


        1. Jessica

          The “patriot” and militia types often show this contradiction. On the one hand, they are against centralized, coercive government, but on the other hand the most violent agents of that coercive government are much like them. Sometimes, those agents are them.
          One theory for QAnon is that its purpose is to ensure that far right-wing types take the stance of the “fellow Patriots” and not the stance that Ammon Bundy is taking.
          This also shows up in a slightly different from among Mormons. As social conservatives, they mostly support the security forces, but as Mormons, they have and remember a history of being at the receiving end of coercion by those security forces. They have a fairly unique history of having successfully fought off US security forces, in the Utah War of the late 1850s.

          1. km

            Something similar could be said about how Team D loyalists have been co-opted by the forces of Empire, surveillance and Forever War.

        2. Lost in OR

          Ha, I’m so far left I’m right.
          He’s so far right he’s left.
          What do you call where the far left and the far right meet?
          I love it.

          1. Aumua

            Yes well understand the difference of course. Mr. Bundy is talking about defunding and really eliminating the government in general, in more of a right wing libertarian context. BLM and/or aligned entities are talking about reducing only the police and other security forces, while indeed expanding other areas of government.

      3. anon in so cal

        > “acknowledging the systemic injustice, systemic corruption and inequality, while offering to change nothing is worse than being ignorant to it all.”

        Wouldn’t that describe Biden and Biden supporters? Biden “acknowledges” those conditions—which he had a hand in exacerbating. Biden can make all kinds of campaign claims because he’s a smoother, more skilled liar than Hillary Clinton. Biden supporters are also those “whose brains have been destroyed by…propaganda.”

        1. Grant

          Yes, it would. The worst is the environmental crisis. They say that it is an existential threat to civilization, then offer to change little and pretend we have more time than the science says we do. Just because they want to pretend they live in a different reality doesn’t mean Mother Nature cares. They can’t dangle a nice job at the CAP in front of her to call off the environmental crisis. Their stances on many issues are like that. I mean, here we are during a pandemic, and Biden would still VETO single payer if it hit his desk. He is such a rotten person that he uses his dead son to prop up this system, which kills people like his son left and right, and is an inefficient, inhumane train wreck. His plan would still leave millions uncovered, would result in an estimated 15,000 deaths a year from a lack of access to basic healthcare, and he has already started to make the plan worse before negotiations start, which will further gut whatever rotten plan he came up with. To think that this ridiculous nonsense can just go on indefinitely and that society won’t break down is delusional. The gap between the reality and their rhetoric is just as wide as the Trump crowd. Jennifer Rubin feels completely at home in the policy space provided by Trump and Biden. It offers nothing to actual humans though.

          1. S.V. Dáte

            Lot of feeling there Grant, which is a good thing. But if Congress actually got some kind of universal health care bill passed, (1), how do you know that Biden would veto it? I’d like a fact based argument, not one of whose – ‘well look at the past, so of course everybody will…”, that’s just pure conjecture. It is an inductive argument and is based on too manny “ifs”. If you don’t like Biden mentioning the deaths that have occurred in his family, perhaps you should shouldn’t }either. By your logic it is tasteless, by anyone.

            But, I don’t think it is. I feel a lot if sorrow for the man. Look 180,000 people have dead because trump doesn’t care, nor it seems do many people. This has to be dealt with. Year over year we are at 60,000 deaths of despair. More death, more sorrow, more tragedy. If Biden was trying to console me knowing how awful his wife and children and child again died, I would like it very to accept his grace. That happened me it would have drove me insane. I absolutely do not accept this argument and think it is a white guy classic, be strong, silent, don’t discuss one’s emotions. Fine for you, not for me.

            1. Janie

              Re Biden veto of M4A. March 9th, Lawrence O’Donnell interview. Trouble posting a link but you can find it with one itty bitty Google search.

            2. Jason Boxman


              He literally said point blank recently when asked in an interview, if such a bill came before him, what would he do? He flat out said no, that he would veto it. He was unequivocal about it.

              So there’s no conjecture on this, or divining what he will do. He said what’d he do. And this is recent, like back in April (oops March) or whatever, very much in the midst of a global pandemic, while NYC was burning.

            3. Pat

              Just think how many can be put at the feet of Democrats who were too wussy and connected to vote for single payer when they had super majorities and the Presidency, and the President even assured for profit medical he wouldn’t get in the way of their I’ll gotten gains.

              Wait you say, people had healthcare because oof ACA. Some did. Most of the biggest groups outside seniors not so much. And when the second wave hits big time this fall millions more won’t because they no longer have jobs and can’t afford Cobra and probably can’t prove they might qualify for Medicaid.

              And in this environment psychopathic Joe Biden vowed to veto MFA if it got passed and landed on his desk as President.

              That’s right I called him a psychopath. He isn’t about grief he is about salesmanship and lies about things like that to get ahead. Let’s look at his first wife’s death that he traded on for years like he has Beau’s. She was at fault in the auto accident. Yet he talked about drunk truckers. That man’s family begged him to stop lying about him. Because he was NOT drunk and NOT at fault. But it was too good a story for the rubes he wanted to vote for him.

              The person who does not know Joe Biden or give him enough credit for being a callous, manipulative tasteless liar with no empathy is you.

              Please look up his entire history, read the litany of quotes.

              He is just the other side of the same coin we currently have.

              1. Procopius

                Pat, I am so tired of the myth of “super-majorities.” There was only a period of about a month, July and early August of 2009, when the Democrats had 58 Senators; after Al Franken was certified in Wisconsin and before Ted Kennedy died, and at that time Obama was delaying, trying desperately to get even one Republican vote on board. I remember the frustration as the two Republican Senators played with Max Baucus over, “They could vote for the bill if only a small change was made in …” and Scott Brown got elected in Massachusetts. 58 is not a “super-majority” (that’s 67). At the time the Democrats needed 60 and if you’ve forgotten what a dick Weepin’ Joe Lieberman was being at the time, I haven’t.

            4. Jeff W

              …if Congress actually got some kind of universal health care bill passed,…how do you know that Biden would veto it?

              With respect to Medicare-for-All, Biden, in essence, said he would.

            5. Grant

              Up to 70,000 people die every year because of this healthcare system, pre-pandemic that is. That is up to 700,000 people a decade, approximately 23 times the people that died on 9/11, every single year. The system drives half a million into bankruptcy, that would be 5,000,000 over the course of a decade. Post that data alone to someone in Canada, ask if a person pushing for Biden’s rotten healthcare plan would be acceptable there, even with Conservative Party voters. Why is it here? The system locks people into their jobs and is the most inefficient system in the developed world. It would remain so with a public option, which does not de-commodify healthcare.

              I am a cancer survivor, I have battles ahead, and the healthcare system Biden wants to protect kills people like me all the time. And Biden would veto single payer during a PANDEMIC! Nice of you to assume I am a privileged white guy, instead of the reality; which is that this system may very well kill me. The fact that he would do that, that he uses his dead son to prop this system up, that he is so utterly corrupt, is deplorable, and you should think long and hard about what you are defending. If you want to make him better than his atrocious record, then start challenging him and make him better, not focus on me for pointing out obvious truisms about a really bad candidate.

              “If you don’t like Biden mentioning the deaths that have occurred in his family, perhaps you should shouldn’t }either.”

              I want you to explain your logic in saying this. Biden is using the death of his son to provide cover for defending a system that is the most inefficient, and the deadliest, in the developed world. HE put that out there, not me, and why are you not appalled by that? You should re-think saying that and apologize. For your information, I have emotion and a logical, fact-based argument. He does not, and neither do you.

              1. judy2shoes

                You guys, S.V. Date is, in my opinion,waging a disinformation campaign, and he likes to stir things up. He rarely, if ever (I’ve not seen it), comes back to answer or debate after he’s dropped his little bombs. He has implied in other comments that posters here have anger-management problems when they are expressing normal human emotions in light of what’s going on in the world today. He took a different tack with you, Grant, by saying “Lot of feeling there Grant, which is a good thing. But” followed by the hit “how do you know that Biden would veto it? I’d like a fact based argument, not one of whose – ‘well look at the past, so of course everybody will…”, that’s just pure conjecture”…etc. How very nice of him to give you permission to have your perfectly normal feelings. If you are curious, I first noticed his comments 8/17 mainly in Water Cooler. Take a peek at the kinds of things he’s said to other posters, including Lambert. Note that he said in one comment that he’s worked in the highest level of government, referred to Obama by his first name (Lambert noted that), and then a day or so later, he turns up as a journalist of 30+ years. Maybe he worked in the highest level of gov as a journalist. He’s gone from defending Obama and calling him Barack to disparaging him by referring to him as Barry and saying he (Barry) is a mess. Chameleon. His motives are suspect, IMO.

                1. Grant

                  There are too many people like him in politics, in the media and on TV. Just utterly divorced from the real world impact of policy, the indifference to the importance of who or who doesn’t have power. Replace Trump with most any other Republican, who support most of his horrible policies but are far more polite and presidential, and the critiques from the well connected largely just melt away. I mean, many are re-habilitated Bush. Why did Bush have an approval rating under 30% while leaving office? Little difference between him and Trump on policy. They are fine regardless, benefit from a system that doesn’t work for most people, a system that isn’t sustainable, but also at the present no real threats to that system. Most people in those types of positions really just respond to threats to their power. They show respect by genuinely fearing threats to their power or the system as it is.

                  Reminds me of the quote from Sartre about anti-Semites, their relationship to the truth and how serious they are about discussing politics.

                  “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”

            6. km

              Others have already pointed out that your Team D fanboyism is based upon wishful thinking.

              Maybe Biden will change his mind about a veto. And maybe I’ll be the new starting middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders.

              Even without reciting the examples others have provided, you seem to assume that M4A would just appear.out of nowhere on Biden’s Oval Office desk for him to sign or veto.

            7. integer


              S.V. Dáte is a senior White House correspondent at HuffPost. His new work, The Useful Idiot, captures Trump’s failed management of the coronavirus pandemic and his corruption of the Republican Party. It will be released in September 2020.

              Dáte is the author of five novels and two political biographies, including one of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He has been a journalist for three decades, including at the Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, National Journal and NPR. He is a bluewater sailor, tallying 35,000 ocean miles, including a two-year trip aboard a 44-foot cutter with his two sons, as they sailed across the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean and back via the Caribbean.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I will repeat the question raised above. How do we know this ” S.V. Dáte”
                really is S.V. Dáte and not just the borrowed name of S.V. Dáte?

                1. ambrit

                  I’ll support your question.
                  A question is, just where does this Date’s allegiances lie?
                  What cohort of the electorate does someone who can afford to sail half way around the world over two years time really represent? That CV certainly doesn’t match that of the people I meet and greet out “on the Street.”
                  Me, biased? D—-d right.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    But even your question pre-supposes that the real S.V. Dáte, the man shown in the publicity website photo, is really the “S.V. Dáte” who has shown up in this thread. And we don’t even know . . . that.

                    1. ambrit

                      I do get your inference. Outright mention of the possibility can get one’s comment sent to ‘curation purgatory.’
                      Boy oh boy. We are now dealing with self censoring on a regular basis. Whoever said that the Internet is a hostile environment knew what they were talking about.
                      We wont even get into the ‘Plato’s Cave’ argument.

                    2. drumlin woodchuckles

                      If by ‘curation purgatory’ you mean “your comment is in moderation”, I am experiencing occasional random moderation as a kind of unpredictable ” magic Eight Ball” expression of unpredictable mechanical linkages between my keyboard and the visible posting of a comment.

                2. integer

                  Yes, I was the one who raised the question. Clearly it’s impossible to know for sure with the Daté, er, data we have available. That said, I had a quick look at a couple of Daté’s HuffPost articles and, on balance, I tend towards thinking it is him.

            8. Yves Smith

              How dare you condescend. That’s a form of ad hom and against our written site Policies. Grant has a long track record here of providing incisive comments…unlike you. You have no business acting as if you get to play judge.

      4. GettingTheBannedBack

        The best solutions to problems and analyses of situations are always super super simple! KISS.
        Climate change? Plant a few trees to offset air travel carbon.
        Ocean pollution? Ban plastic bags at the supermarket.
        Trump voters? All morons with knuckles dragging the ground.
        Biden voters? Caring, intelligent, selfless, equal opportunity, charitable to the extreme, no faults to speak of.
        Sanders voters? Spoilers and youngsters with no idea how the world works.
        I used to like the exam question that said “Solve the problem of world hunger. Provide full workings. Only spend 30 minutes on this question”

    3. Glen

      The BLM protests do get attention, but here’s the top ten most dangerous states based on FBI violent crime statistics:

      1 Alaska
      2 New Mexico
      3 Nevada
      4 Tennessee
      5 Louisiana
      6 Arkansas
      7 Alabama
      8 Missouri
      9 Delaware
      10 South Carolina

      1. Milton

        Yup. I generated a map against the most recent release of the AGS (Applied Geographic Solutions) crime data. All states you have with the one exception being Michigan instead of Delaware match what I have. Also DC is on top but I exclude them when I generate maps above the county level. My ordering is close to yours as well. Another nail in the blue state, high crime narrative is that when I ran a bivariate analysis of violent crime (rape, murder, assault) with a variable I called Not Blue, meaning “conservative behaviors”, I find an obvious (positive) correlation with high violent crime and high numbers of Not Blue folk. There’s this wide swath that runs from N Dakota down to Texas and then bends right covering the Bible Belt. There’s a few dispersed areas in the inter-mountain west but for the most part it’s pretty clear.
        Of course, anyone creating maps can take whatever variables and make them work for whatever it is that they want to present but I conciously tried to refrain from any obvious bias.

      2. Kurtismayfield

        You cannot argue statistics with a Republican in 2020. The goal posts will be moved, and otherwise intelligent people will twist themselves into knots because they want to believe the propaganda.

        1. Jessica

          In all fairness, there are a good number of Democrats who seem pretty immune to any arguments from reality that don’t support Vote Blue No Matter Who.
          The same folks seem immune to any attempt to try to understand why folks vote Republican. (From the outside, seems the same for Blairites and why folks vote Brexit in the UK.)

  2. Louis Fyne

    Fwiw, Kenosha, while small, is an archtype of the deindustrialized Midwest….big, pan-racial, trans-class, Obama supporters in 2008. (And of course we all know hiw 2009-2010 turned out)

    How southeastern Wisconsin votes in November will be how MI, OH, non-Philly PA votes. YMMV

    1. Darthbobber

      Kenosha is also part of the old mill and great lakes transport complex along the western shore of the lake. Go a few miles further south and you hit the burbs of greater chicagoland

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        They have made their “peaceful protests” bed and in it they must now lie.

        I bet the phone lines are burning up from the incoming Obama Administration to local leaders telling them to back down. But I wonder whether The Obamanauts even *have* local contacts – not their milieu by any stretch, melanin deplorables etc

        1. BlakeFelix

          Obama had crazy local contacts, at least in rural PA. All kinds of people came in from all over on the campaign, and there was all sorts of excitement and hope. Then he sold us out and burned us hard(IMO at least), and Hillary and Biden haven’t even tried to build anything at a local level. I see Trump people on the ground, but I hear Biden might send some signs pretty soon. So I would imagine that the contacts are still there, but disgruntled if I am any guide. Still, I am not happy with Trump either, I am not THAT disgruntled…

    2. DJG

      Louis Fyne:

      For a fairly good article on Kenosha, although the author is sometimes almost deliberately obtuse about the customs of us inscrutable GreatLakers:


      It meets Harper’s generally good standards.

      Also, there are certain moments that indicate major culture change. When Mars Cheese Castle saluted Black Lives Matter isn’t exactly the storming of the Winter Palace, but it also doesn’t mean that Wisconsin is Solid Trumplandia.


  3. Matthew Saroff

    Atrios made a good point regarding universities and Covid:

    But this isn’t like putting a sign in front of a cliff which says, “please don’t step right up to the edge of the cliff,” and then blaming the student who plunged to his death for failing to obey the sign. Though that’s the story university administrators want to tell.

    The student who steps up to the edge of the cliff, idiot as he may be, is tethered to 5 more students, who are tethered to 5 more students, who are tethered to 5 more students…

    That some number of students are dipshits was known by the responsible adults making these plans. That each student dipshit is going to infect some number of other “blameless” students is regularly ignored.

    1. JBird4049

      So doesn’t that make the administrators mass murders as well? We know that almost any large group of the careless will cause more sickness and likely death. The administration must know as well.

      1. Matthew Saroff

        Yes. The administrators knew that there would be individual idiots, and that these folks would spread Covid to other students, but they wanted the tuition money.

    2. furies

      Yes, this exactly! (what Matthew said) There’s a sensation of riding on a bright, shiny, slick conveyor belt heading over the cliff, and yet I am unable to disentangle from the clueless, bickering crowd–not just the schools!

    3. Jessica

      1) YMMV but a decade ago when my daughter was prime partying age, she pointed out that most every party had one or two kids whom all the other kids saw as dangerous idiots. The type most likely to get violent or self-endangering or sexually obnoxious when drunk. But if they threw the idiots out of the party, the idiots would just call the police and report the party (for underage drinking in a 21 state). Then the police would dutifully show up, close down the party and issue tickets.
      So in effect, the police acted as agents for the most idiotic partiers and paralyzed the capacity of the partiers to set their own limits.
      I wonder if a similar dynamic might not be a factor now.
      2) As one part of a broader campaign to reassert the legitimacy of the credentialed class and to ensure that no administrator ever be held accountable to the hoi polloi, there has been systematic avoidance of even discussion of the failures of our credentialed leadership (e.g. WHO opposing controls on flights out of China when that would have smothered the virus in its cradle, Fauci lying and saying masks were not just useless but counter-productive, Andrew Cuomo forcing nursing homes to accept covid-19 patients).
      I try to imagine being a college student, with hormones flowing at full force, in a college environment that has been sold as a bacchanalia for decades now, looking at that level of deceit and hypocrisy, and being told “no, you can’t act like a college student, you have to act like you were 50 something. Sit at home and watch Netflix”.
      It can only be the force of basic human decency, of concern for those more vulnerable than themselves, that gets any of them to go along with the program.

  4. a different chris

    This is why losers lose:

    (Consider the realignment of the Democrats when 12 years out of power in 1992,)

    They were *not* out of power for 12 years. Just the opposite. The problem was the Imperial Presidency, which Reagan imposed and the Dems didn’t call them on it.



    Congress, and I mean both houses, was blue from 1955 to 1995 with only a three year tie. Lord help us if this is what the Democrats are thinking.

    In fact, if you look at it, the problem may very well have not been that this was a country “moving right” as time went on, but instead a bunch of people not voting anymore out of frustration.

    Note both Clinton and Obama started out with a blue Congress, and they both completely lost it the next election. Only Eisenhower accomplished a similar feat. Why vote when nothing changes?

    1. Matthew Saroff

      I am increasingly convinced that, much like Cuomo, both Clinton and Obama found it convenient to have a red legislature, because that way, they had something to run against.

      1. Darius

        Losing Congress gave them a plausible excuse to suck. With majorities in Congress, they had to be creative in masking their inaction. With Obama, it was to focus on Obamacare instead of full employment, which would have created to much wage competition for his Wall Street paymasters. He made sure Obamacare would suck all the oxygen out of the room. The lack of progress on full employment and premature turn to austerity resulted in the Republican takeover of the House. This created a ready excuse for inaction.

    2. foghorn longhorn

      “Note both Clinton and Obama started out with a blue Congress, and they both completely lost it the next election. Only Eisenhower accomplished a similar feat. Why vote when nothing changes?”

      But by some reasoning, just elect creepy joe and all will be well.
      Not sure if this means anything, but the twitter is a big player here of late.

      In 2016, hil and trump had right around 26 million twitter followers each.

      Fast forward to the year of the ‘vid and trump is sitting at 85 million and biden is at 8.5 million.

      That’s a lot of effin’ russians susan.

    3. S.V. Dáte

      Dchris, history was not static from 1955 to 1955, many things were going, from my opinion all bad. I keep saying this by everyone on @NC should read Matt Stoller’s ‘”Goliath”. It is 100% fact driven and based. That said when you say ‘Democratic’ what you talking about? Some fictional, monolithic, group of 100% census on all issues, policy, and actions? From my local city to the federal level? Because that’s how it reads. And that begs a question I don’t believe that is true. Further, it strikes me you are making some assumption, that whatever your POV is that I get it. It’s like a group of ‘us’ talking about ‘them’. Thing is I don’t understand your POV at all.

      Imperial President that phrase goes back to Washington. Andrew Jackson really put it into play. Andrew Jackson is what everyone thinks trump is. Trump isn’t close. The economy was not good during most of 1980-1992 and the presidents economic council were solidly of the Friedman variety & greed was good was official policy. With Republicans & Dems. An effort to co-opt everyone that started in the ‘50s was complete.

      Hate to say it but there isn’t any studying showing that people who don’t vote do it to protest. Mostly we make it hard to do. To say Clinton & Obama had a Congress switch as a simple statement of fact is to introduce into what into evidence to make what point? That people don’t vote? If so you haven’t made your point at all

  5. michael hudson

    Re the megadrought, Harvey Weiss (also of Yale, I think) already 2 decades ago used ice-core samples to explain the downturn in Babylonia water 1600 BC, and the evident geo-disaster c. 1200 that led to the destruction of Mycenaean civilization and a region-wide Dark Age until c. 750 BC.
    Weiss was doubted at first, but now the archaeologists whom I respect most believe him. So ice-core sampling is being used as a means to assign dates to Egypt, Mesopotamia and elsewhere in the Near East.

    1. Wukchumni

      There was a couple of lengthy droughts in California of over 200 years and just under 200 years duration only about 1,000 years ago.

      It’s the main reason that the various Yokuts tribes were pretty much all in the Sierra foothills where water was more or less assured. Very few lived in areas that are now the big cities. (Bakersfield-Fresno-Sacramento, etc)

    2. The Rev Kev

      I’m trying to imagine a mega-drought in some part of the present world and it would be a disaster. That whole region would have to be abandoned by people and the only reason that you would have humans there would be for mining operations or scientific research stations. But habitations would probably have to be underground. And water? Moister farms anybody?

      1. ambrit

        I remember reading that the Moisture Farm set from the first Star Wars film was an actual habitation out in the Saharan Desert. People adapt to their clime. The other question is the carrying capacity of a region when under stress. Cut the supply chains and a region falls back into the minimum population it can internally support. For much of the world, that means the emptying out of the big cities.

  6. Swamp Yankee

    I believe those are Lycopodium lucidulum, the moon-fruit pine. It’s not really a pine at all, but rather a club-moss, a bryophyte (i.e., mosses and ferns), which as a whole are among the more primitive plants still around. Must have water present for them to reproduce (necessary medium for the sporangia, the sort of brown things you see on the underside of ferns that are equivalent to sperm: thus why ferns and mosses always are in relatively wet places). I’ve always liked them.

      1. 430 MLK

        I see these (or what I think are these) at some spots on trails I hike in KY. Friend of mine called them ground cedar.

        1. Divadab

          Ground pine in these parts – lycopodium in the international language of science and anciently of learning and religion.

  7. ex-PFC Chuck

    From the Vanden Heuvvel WaPo piece (my emphasis):

    Democrats focused on Trump’s lack of character and competence. But as despair rises, Trump’s “violation of norms” or the fact that, as his sister Maryanne Trump Barry said, he has ‘no principles,’ aren’t his greatest weaknesses. His true vulnerability is that he has betrayed those who brought him to power. Over the next 70 days, Democrats must make certain that reality doesn’t get drowned out.”

    Democrats know all about betraying trust. That’s why so many former working class Democrats voted for him four years ago. Will it take them another quarter century to catch on to Trump’s scam too?

    1. rowlf

      As a labor union member from the early 1980s to the mid 2000s, my goal is to destroy the Democratic party first (The hindmost? The most lame?), then go after the Republicans. The current president is just a vessel to achieve my goal.

      I will admit to voting for Obama due to the idea of putting paid to one bad idea and I could not imagine voting for the weasel or someone who wore magic underwear that ran against him.

      …and now on to the Cake-Or-Death analysis.

      1. km

        The surest way to destroy or transform Team R is to destroy Team D. Or vice versa.

        The two legacy parties need each other, the way sports rivals need each other, the way Batman needs The Joker, but he doesn’t need Robin.

    2. S.V. Dáte

      Trump, betrays everyone always forever. Most of the people who voted for him don’t care. A foolish thing to say. But alas Democratic Party betrayal which is a pretty esoteric subject is not why many non dems claiming to Be Dems voted for trump. Each person pretty much had their own reasons. And the dynamics of that stupid mail server seem to have had the biggest effect on sane people.

      1. hunkerdown

        He killed TPP as one of his first official acts. Your statement is factually false on its face.

        Also, 18 USC 793, “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information”, is a per se crime. Intent is irrelevant. What it shows is that the PMC excuse each other, lie and murder in their own class interest, casually and without a second thought.

        You have proven well that the Democrat Party does have a platform: freedom from accountability to any sort of objective standard. https://medium.com/@iramioseifrimpong/its-not-symbolism-it-s-our-vanity-3c6abfab76bc

      2. judy2shoes

        “Most of the people who voted for him don’t care…. But alas Democratic Party betrayal which is a pretty esoteric subject is not why many non dems claiming to Be Dems voted for trump. Each person pretty much had their own reasons.

        Got any evidence for those statements? It’s interesting to me that you finger-wag at other posters to provide evidence* but are averse to providing any yourself. Do as I say; not as I do?

        *”I think we should be good reporters: three sources and two willing to go on the record” S.V. Dáte August 17, 2020 at 4:37 pm (Watercooler)

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Again again . . . we don’t know that this even is the real S.V. Dáte. It could be a total imposter.

          1. judy2shoes

            I know that, drumlin. I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy of the person calling himself S.V. Date on this website.

      3. integer

        The fact that you’ve been a journalist for 30 years and casually disregard the fact that Clinton set up a private server in order to evade FOIA requests makes it pretty clear what type of journalist you are and where your loyalties lie. I guess one can’t expect to enjoy a multi-decade career with the liberal media establishment without being a loyal soldier for their cause.

      4. Yves Smith

        Wowsers. Do you believe in facts? It appears not.

        It is a matter of record that a big reason, if not the reason, for Trump’s win in Midwest swing state was that significant numbers of people who’d voted for Obama in 2012 switched to Trump in 2016. It has also been reported that about >10% of Sanders voters in the 2016 primaries voted for Trump in the general.



        And this is the abstract of a paper lead authored by Tom Ferguson, the top expert in money in politics:

        This paper critically analyzes voting patterns in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Using survey data from the American National Election Survey and aggregate data on Congressional districts, it assesses the roles that economic and social factors played in Donald J. Trump’s “Populist” candidacy. It shows the hollowness of claims that economic issues played little or no role in the campaign and that social factors such as race or gender suffice to explain the outcome. While agreeing that racial resentment and sexism were important influences, the paper shows how various economic considerations helped Trump win the Republican primary and then led significant blocs of voters to shift from supporting Democrats or abstaining in 2012 to vote for him. It also presents striking evidence of the importance of political money and Senators’ “reverse coattails” in the dramatic final result.


        Not only did some Democrats did vote for Trump in 2016, it largely explains his win.

        Agnotology is a violation of our written site Policies. Keep this up and you won’t be welcome here.

      5. TMoney

        Stupid mail server is right. As a nobody worker, I was warned (on pain of job loss) by a large corporation not to forward email to my personal email account. Liability, control of information and all that. The Secretary of State has a rogue email server in basement. I have had to point out to people repeatedly, if I can lose my job for doing it, HRC with much more important information at stake can too.
        Oh right, some Animals are more equal than others. Boxer out.

    3. Pelham

      From the interviews in the NYT piece, it sounds as if voters believe he hasn’t betrayed them. And I can see why. He really has gotten tougher on China (though only marginally), he has renegotiated the reviled NAFTA (marginally) and he has tried repeatedly to keep his promise on the border wall. The Muslim ban that wasn’t really a Muslim ban was also probably a winner with them.

      We couldn’t have expected any of these initiatives from Hillary Clinton. And nasty and deranged as Trump’s tweets are, I don’t believe he has ever described a quarter of the electorate as “deplorable.” I’d go so far as to ascribe a bit of genius to his pronouncement that he loves the “poorly educated,” certainly a good deal more appealing than Obama’s only memorable remark — about people clinging to their guns and Bibles.

      Now, of course, he has really screwed up with deadly consequences in the pandemic. But then you have to ask, would someone like Gavin Newsom or Andrew Cuomo have done any better?

      1. The Rev Kev

        If I was an American Republican, I would have noticed that every time that Trump tries to pull American troops out of some hell-hole, that it is the Democrats that express outrage and rush through legislation to make that near impossible. And that would suggest to me that the Democrats never want troops to leave Afghanistan and other places. As in never.

        1. judy2shoes

          “If I was an American Republican, I would have noticed that every time that Trump tries to pull American troops out of some hell-hole, that it is the Democrats that express outrage and rush through legislation to make that near impossible. And that would suggest to me that the Democrats never want troops to leave Afghanistan and other places. As in never.”

          Yup. It can also be inferred that the Republicans feel the same way as the Democrats do with respect to our forever wars, and they are silently applauding the Democrats.

  8. Pavel

    Susan Rice (and HRC, Obama, Biden, GWB and of course the Dems’ new BFF and fellow war criminal Colin Powell) will know all about interfering in other countries… sometimes elections and sometimes just by outright assassination. (“We came we saw, he died [cackle]”) Iran, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Libya… to name just a few.

    1. shinola

      Good to see the “cackle” included in that HRC quote. So often it’s left off when the rest is quoted. For me, it just seems incomplete without it.

      1. Pavel

        Thanks, Shinola! It was indeed the “laugh” of a sociopath. Alas.

        Are you related to the Shinola watch people of Detroit (IIRC)? :)

    2. Carolinian

      It’s standard psychology. You believe everyone else thinks like you. Since Rice and the exceptionalists believe they were put on this Earth to run the world they assume Putin feels the same.

      Or at least they pretend to assume. Who knows what they really think. Best to ignore them unless Biden makes them Secretary of State and then we can’t

      1. pjay

        “Best to ignore them unless Biden makes them Secretary of State…”

        That’s what I’m afraid of. It’s hard for me to express my disgust for people like Rice, because they actually believe they are superior and right. People like Rice have contributed to massive suffering in the world, and they have the gall to justify it on “humanitarian” grounds. By comparison, Harris is just an ambitious politician. In my opinion, the *only* thing good about Biden choosing Harris is that is was not Rice.

        Her latest delusional comments about Russia only intensify my disgust.

  9. occasional anonymous

    Regarding Teen Vogue, it’s fun to note that they’ve been giving conservatives the vapors for a while now. Here’s fake historian Paul Kengor (who incidentally has a new book out that is apparently about how Marx was a Devil worshiper or something) getting upset that they don’t like Reagan: https://spectator.org/teen-vogue-to-teen-girls-marx-good-reagan-bad/

    Teen Vogue is genuinely significantly further to the left than any of the major liberal publications, including The Nation. If they still had a physical release I would collect them, just out of principle (and I don’t even have a teen daughter).

    1. pjay

      This is like the fourth or fifth such article that has been linked here. Good for them. But… Teen Vogue? Maybe that should replace my long-cancelled subscriptions to the NY Times or NY Review of Books. Thank goodness for the internet; it might look a little strange for a 60+ year old man to purchase a copy at the local bookstore.

      I used to have a teen daughter. She now has a 9 year daughter herself. Maybe I’ll get my granddaughter a subscription.

  10. Geo

    “Frats Are Being Frats”

    Sounds like: “Boys will be boys”

    It’s infantilization of what are supposedly adult men. Frats have a terrible reputation and only seem to be beloved by those who were apart of a frat at some point. I never was but I do know that most of the scoundrels and snobs I’ve had to deal with in adult life love to talk about their frat days. So, my opinion of them is low. They seem to breed total disregard for others not of their tribe.

    1. occasional anonymous

      No one is an adult before about 25 when their brain finally finishes fully forming.

      1. witters

        My mum insisted that men should be kept in boxes, until 35 , and that was probably 10 years too early.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      College students are not adults. They are not even kidults. They are still big children. Expecting safe behavior from them is a vain and silly hope. It is counter-productive to expect mature moral behavior from sub-mature pre-moral people..

      Opening colleges under the present covid-everywhere conditions is simply creating covid farms and covid ranches.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Around 30 years ago, when I was a worker bee on the University of Arizona campus, I shared the same office space with a guy who, shall we say, could teach bulls how not to behave in china shops.

      I mean, this guy had a blustery way about him, and our office was the fundraising office. A little bit of couth was required.

      Well, JJ could raise money for scholarships like nobody’s business, and that’s why the office administration kept him around.

      Then came the day when JJ announced that he thought that fraternities had outlived their usefulness. Oh, no. JJ went there.

      He said such a thing on the University of Arizona campus, which was and still is very driven by Greek Life. But JJ didn’t care. When he opened his mouth, you were on notice that he was going to speak his mind.

      1. upstater

        Lived in T-town for 8 years. Daughter graduated from UofA but had nothing to do with Greek life.

        Moved back to upstate NY and my son went to University of Guelph in Ontario. There is no such thing as officially recognized Greek life there!

        I am not sure if this is the case at all Ontario or Canadian universities. But needless to say it enhaced his experience by not having a quarter or third of students involved in a degenerate system of partying and cheating.

        1. eg

          There are Universities in Ontario that do not allow them (Queen’s has an outright ban; Toronto does not recognize them), but there are others that do.

  11. Jason Boxman

    Then you pay $100 or more…

    Wait, what? People are still being charged for COVID-19 tests? Definitely third world stuff.

  12. Clive

    I wish that, if Russia really is interfering (or going to interfere) with the election, then they do y’all a favour and make a good fist of it and, like, maybe, do something genuinely useful such as putting Betty White on the ticket and rigging the vote so she wins both the popular ballot and the electoral college.

    For one thing, she’d probably not start any wars with anyone. For another, everyone there seems to like her. And for another, she’s younger than Joe Biden (possibly) and takes less afternoon naps (definitely). If Betty isn’t available, then Vladimir, if you’re reading this, and I know you do from time to time, try Angela Lansbury. At least she’d be able to solve what really happened to Geoffrey Epstein.

    1. Pat

      Angela is not eligible to run, and Betty is only younger than Biden mentally, she has over a decade on him. But if the Russians managed to get her on the ballot, I not only would praise Putin, I would start sending random Russians thank you cards and cookies!

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Even if she could run for President, I thought Angela was working for the Chinese and North Koreans.

    2. km

      Since we all know that “Russia” has these, like amazing power of persuasion, stuff that would put Goebbels to shame and make Lex Luthor cry big hot salty pony tears, why didn’t “Russia” bother to elect a new Congress?

      For that matter, why isn’t Stoli the best selling beverage in the land, quaffed for breakfast, lunch and dinner by every man, woman and child and touted by brainwashed docs for its health benefits? “Stoli…’ts got…’lektrolytes!

      And why is The Resistance seemingly immune to this subtle, insidious and omnipresent propaganda? Is it their fitter genes, their penetrating intellects, their more sophisticated taste, their superior education? All of the above?

    3. DJG


      Will you consider the immortal Gracie Allen?

      From Wikipedia:

      In 1940, the team launched a similar stunt when Allen announced she was running for President of the United States on the Surprise Party ticket.[6]:184–193 Burns and Allen did a cross-country whistlestop campaign tour on a private train, performing their live radio show in different cities. In one of her campaign speeches, Gracie said, “I don’t know much about the Lend-Lease Bill, but if we owe it we should pay it.” Another typical Gracie-ism on the campaign trail went like this: “Everybody knows a woman is better than a man when it comes to introducing bills into the house.” The Surprise Party mascot was the kangaroo; the motto was “It’s in the bag.” As part of the gag, Allen (in reality, the Burns and Allen writers) published a book, Gracie Allen for President, which included photographs from their nationwide campaign tour and the Surprise Party convention. Allen received an endorsement from Harvard University.[12]

    4. ChrisPacific

      Well, with the comments from Susan Rice, it appears we have that rarest of things in US politics: consensus. Everyone is agreed that the results of the November election will be illegitimate. They only disagree on why. If Trump wins, it’ll be Russian meddling and voter suppression. If Biden wins, it’ll be the fake news media and mail-in voting. If it’s too close to call, it will be both!

      It is about equal parts amusing and appalling to see the tactics the US has used so often to interfere overseas (elections are only legitimate if ‘our guy’ wins them) come home to roost domestically. I am reminded of stories about the difficulties of good-faith politics in certain African countries, where corruption has been endemic for so long that it underpins almost everything, it’s almost impossible to function without being complicit to some degree, and selective enforcement of anti-corruption laws is a weapon used by the connected against their political enemies. The faith of the electorate is easy to take for granted, and hard to win back once it’s lost.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Rice’s comments were just her buffing up her resume for a position in any Biden administration. Old Joe has already announced that he intends to go after Russia so Rice wants to jump aboard that particular train before she is left bind on the platform. If she took over as SecState, you would hardly notice the transition from Pompeo to her.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Absolutely, but she still said what she said, and voters will read it. Words have consequences when they’re repeated often enough and by enough people. If the Democrats think they can devote years to painting the electoral system as compromised, then expect people to suddenly forget about all of that just because they happen to win, they’re dreaming.

    5. Noone from Nowheresville

      Maybe Dick Van Dyke could be her VP.

      Betty would be 99 and Dick 95 when they take office.

      And we could watch Betty feed marshmallows to a bear. Assuming the bear is still alive.

  13. cocomaan

    In Pennsylvania, I am starting to get nervous. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve been nervous for months. But more nervous.


    Our eviction moratorium ends 8/31. Governor Wolf is claiming that he does not have the authority to extend evictions beyond that point. He’s punted to the legislature. Previously, the courts had entertained cases to try and strike down the moratorium by landlords.

    As Wolf Richter pointed out in his Extend and Pretend podcast episode, everyone’s books says that we’re all paid up on our mortgages. What happens when we aren’t?

    And where do people go when the evictions take place, starting in the fall, just as winter approaches?

    And neither party is talking about this in either of their self aggrandizing conferences. It’s the biggest story of our time!

    1. cocomaan

      Also, since I forgot to throw this in here, what about the looming financial crisis? We’re talking about lots and lots of mortgages that are going to default in the next year, right?

      Who is holding the risk? Or is the financial sector waiting for another bailout…

      I genuinely don’t know. But it seems like there’s now an alarming amount of defaulting debt going through the system.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Freshly evicted people will have more to worry about than “voting”. If the Evictables come from social class sectors more likely to vote Democratic, then evicting Evictables is more likely to reduce total votes adding up for Democrats.

      Evicting millions of Evictables at once would reduce Democratic votes by millions at once. The two months before Election would be the BEST time to mass-evict 20 or 30 million Evictables all at the same time. That would mean 20 or 30 million less votes for the Democrats.

      So I hypothesize that the Elites will move heaven and earth to mass-evict 20-30 million Evictables in September and October if they can figure out how to make it look like an accident.

      1. cocomaan

        At least here in PA, once notice is posted, it’s 15-30 days to get out, depending on length of occupancy.

        No mailing address means no mail in ballots, either.

        Harrisburg usually disappoints me but I would expect them to extend this. I mean, that would make sense, right? To prevent mayhem? Not that anyone has been interested in preventing mayhem this year.

        Oh yeah, if you want to see what hell looks like, check out this eviction flowchart: https://ipropertymanagement.com/wp-content/uploads/Pennsylvania-Eviction-Process-Flowchart.png

          1. Cocomaan

            Slim, I always remember that you’re a gritty Pennsylvanian like me whenever I see “Arizona” in your name!

    3. Wukchumni

      One thing you really don’t see in a drive-by is homeless children, but that’s about to change.

      The big cities kowtowed and allowed the longterm homeless to stay in motels on account of Covid. Will there be similar space for new arrivals, and how will Bob & Betty Bitchin’ and their adorable offspring Madison (he) & Madison (she) adjust to dropping down in class?

      1. JBird4049

        I have been seeing a few homeless children in the past few years. Not many, but as I hadn’t before, it was startling. There have been homeless children for decades, but the system, such as it is, has always focused on the homeless children at least getting space at the local shelters or even a rare section 8 voucher before anyone else.

        You’re right though, if the evictions really get going it will not be an unusual thing because the system will be completed overwhelmed.

    4. LarryB

      I’ve been wondering who the landlords think they’re going to rent their now vacant apartments and houses _to_? It’s not like there are a lot of homeless people with jobs out there.

      1. JBird4049

        Maybe all the new applicants that they are daydreaming about. (Oddly, (Or not!) I been having The Monkeys regularly singing Daydream Believer in my head recently.)

      2. ambrit

        If we are talking about the “Professionally Managed” apartment complexes; they do not think about such things. The assumption in such circles is that everything works in cycles, and that, eventually and inevitably, ‘things’ will come back around to the status quo ante. One big shortcoming with all PMC run enterprises is the reliance on “scientifically calculated” formulas.
        Those newly empty apartments, absent some significant governmental intervention, will remain empty for the foreseeable future.
        Financialization corrupts all it touches.

        1. JBird4049

          This use of the “scientifically calculated formulas” is so stupid my head hurts for it’s like the “controlled flight into terrain” of an airplane. Such formulas are supposed to be an aid and not used as the determinant; it’s like the autopilot of a car where the driver ultimately has to be in control. It’s obvious that we are in that Second Great Depression where the driver has to take control or crash. If these formulas are so almighty what are they being paid for?

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I too have been nervous about what happens after the can is kicked down the road no more. Unless something changes, we have a lot of renters, homeowners, small-scale landlords, small farmers, and small business which will go under. To complement this there is a large amount of money on offer with very favorable credit terms available to large banks and financial institutions, Big Ag and Big Business. What kind of country will be left after the ‘fire’ sales wind down? What will become of the losers in this arrangement, the US Populace?

    6. John k

      Do you think the oligarchs think Obama switching the tarp money in 2008 from homeowners was a mistake?
      I don’t. I also don’t think they will lose sleep with 10 mil evictions in any season. Or 20.
      I am cynical enough to think that after the election they will regret all that money wasted on the proles, and that it will all dry up on Jan 1 regardless of who wins… Biden camp already signaling the cupboard is bare on account of such spending plus irreversible tax cuts for the rich… plus, everybody knows invading Venezuela will be costly.

  14. Pat

    I don’t suppose anyone is going to point out to Rice that the Russians don’t have to spread divisive social media, that Democrats and Republicans are doing it just fine without them.

    It is only the need to blame anyone but themselves.

    1. DJG

      Pat: Excellent observation, as always.

      Yes, the current steaming potpourri of panic, bad faith, retro-red-baiting, fear of foreigners, and lying sure doesn’t require the Russians to bring it to a boil.

      I’m somehow not surprised that the word probity never turns up in U.S. writing anymore. It’s an archaic concept, like thrift.

    2. rowlf

      I always figured if the Soviets really wanted to mess with the US they would have supported the John Birch Society and their ilk in tying the US’s shoelaces together. Corrode the government from the inside out. At this point the Russians are probably thinking why bother influencing anything as the ball is rolling on its own.

  15. drumlin woodchuckles

    “Capitalism is not the only economic system we have available.”

    And crony corporate crapitalism is not the only capitalism we have available. During the Square Deal-New Deal-Fair Deal period, we laid the basis for Ordered Capitalism Under Law. From the Carter period onward, our governators worked on instituting Disordered Capitalism Under Free-For-All Lawlessness. If the current Lawless Crony Crapitalism Under Nothing remains the only version of capitalism on offer, people may decide to give Gulag Socialism another whirl.

    1. S.V. Dáte

      Oh, under the FDR, the oligarchs decided to become virtuous and do the right thing? I. Dont. Think. So. It took over 2 terms for FDR & the people in all kinds of fights to get economic and political justice. Many people died in the effort. Outside of Portland I don’t see who is going to take by the effort. This is going to have to a bottom up social change effort. No offense drumlin, this goes deep with me, things must change.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Dear Mr. “S.V. Dáte” ( if that really even IS your name . . .)

        Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

      2. John A

        “No offense drumlin, this goes deep with me, things must change.”

        Why then are you a supporter of Biden? Things very definitely won’t change with Joe Malarkey as figurehead in the White House. He said so himself to his donors.

  16. Billy

    “Black, Latino lobbyists bristle at progressives pushing corporate K Street ban on Biden…a ban of that sort would end up shutting out minorities and could make the administration less diverse.”

    For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Political Suicide When the Rainbow Coalition Isn’t Enuf.,
    we bring you the safe harbor of WallK Street.

    Your ringmaster, Kamala Harris

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Lets all give these words away for free to anyone who thinks they can use them. Some of them might take off. None of them might. But even so, we are no worse off than before.

          Rainbowligarchs. The Rainbowligarchy.

          Kneejerktivists. Kneejerktivism.

          Griseocrats. Griseocracy.

    1. a different chris

      So said Black and Latino lobbyists think that K-Street is more diverse than “not K-Street”?

      Man the coke must be flowing like in the 80’s again.

    2. Laputan

      “If you were to draw up a list today of who could be Treasury secretary and give me a list of African Americans who could step into that job, that list will not be as strong if you’re going to leave Wall Street people out,” he said.

      That’s right. Al Gore’s former “deputy director of legislative affairs” (whatever the hell that means) argued that barring Wall Street execs from the secretary of the Treasury DECREASES the diversity of the applicant pool.

      You couldn’t find a more noxious example (not even from Kamala Harris) of how identity’s sole purpose in politics is to be used as leverage in pursuit of power. There’s no relationship to the appointment benefiting others in that racial identity – it’s only useful to whomever wins that particular lottery.

  17. Jason Boxman

    So appropriate for this season: Outside there’s a small tanker truck with “Caution, this truck is filled with political promises.” warning sign on the back.

    If I like my insurance I can keep it, for serious? Thanks Obama!

  18. Wukchumni

    FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Two wildfires burning in Tulare County have merged together forming the new SQF Complex Fire, which grew to 14,750 acres overnight with 0% containment.

    The former Castle Fire and Shotgun Fire were renamed on Tuesday morning as flames continue to spread further into Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest toward the Inyo National Forest.

    This is gonna be a huge one similar to the Rough Fire (151,000 acres burned in 2015) as it’s growing by leaps and bounds in really hard to get to-let alone defend, terra firma.

    That said, a perfect time for a wilderness burn that doesn’t threaten many structures or people, with so much other smoky matters in our midst.

    1. Milton

      What’s with the confusing naming convention now being applied to these fires? The blazes are starting to sound like CT groups or they’re being named by astronomers now. I’m just old school. I like my fires (and earthquakes) named after a local area of interest. No extraneous letters need be added.

  19. molon labe

    I want to carry this over from this morning’s Antidote. @Stephen T–sorry for your loss. She is beautiful. By the way, your last sentence is heartbreaking.

    1. furies

      Glad I hit that link…thank you. :) These little antidotes dropped here and there are very much needed!

    2. DJG

      diptherio: I have been reading How Dogs Work by Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein. Coppinger had a series of Maremmano dogs that he raised and was distributing to western farmers and ranchers because they are excellent herders of sheep but tend not to kill predators–they seem to scare them away through their diligence.

      Are your pups descended from the dogs that Coppinger imported?

    3. Lee

      Wow! I thought reptiles didn’t play. I was wrong.

      Looking Past the Scales: The Truth about Reptilian Behavior

      …Some reptiles even play! In 1996, Gordon Burghardt and colleagues performed the first official study of play behavior in a non-avian reptile. The study focused on Pigface, a Nile soft-shelled turtle living at the National Zoo at the time. The zookeepers were worried about Pigface, who was badly scratching himself in a form of self-mutilation, common in bored or stressed captive animals.

      To help him, the zookeepers introduced enrichment objects into his enclosure to give him something to do. Burghardt’s group characterized Pigface’s interactions with the objects and created an energy budget to describe the turtle’s typical day. They found that Pigface did indeed play with his new “toys”, with his favorite game being a daily tug-of-war with his keepers over a garden hose. He also liked nosing a basketball around the enclosure, bouncing a hula-hoop through the water, and positioning the water hose so that it sprayed him in the face…

  20. TonyinSoCAL

    Mortgage delinquencies at highest point in 10 years:

    The number of serious mortgage delinquencies rose to a 10-year high in July, according to a report released Friday by financial data firm Black Knight.

    The number of homes with mortgage payments more than 90 days past due but not in foreclosure rose by 376,000 in July to a total of 2.25 million, according to Black Knight. Serious mortgage delinquencies are now at the highest level 10 years and have increased by 1.8 million since July 2019.

    More than half of San Francisco storefronts closed due to pandemic:

    More than half of all storefronts in San Francisco are no longer in business due to COVID-19, according to the survey by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

    “The survey showed only 46 percent of storefront businesses in San Francisco that were open at the beginning of the pandemic are still operating,” said Jay Cheng, spokesman of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

    American Airlines to cut 19,000 jobs after government handouts expire:

    American Airlines will cut 19,000 employees in October when federal aid that protected those jobs expires and the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate travel demand, the carrier said Tuesday.

    They are the latest mass job cuts to hit the aviation industry as it reels from a plunge in demand and billions in losses.

    Inflation debated after massive money printing:

    Governments and central banks may face pressure to curtail their pandemic relief efforts, already worth some $20 trillion according to Bank of America, if they trigger a spike in prices. Workers and consumers will see the impact in wage packets and household bills. More than $40 trillion of retirement savings is at risk of erosion if inflation returns.

    But after $20 trillion, where is the inflation at?

    One camp is convinced that the no-expense-spared fight against Covid-19 has put developed economies on course for rising prices on a scale they haven’t seen in decades. The other one says the virus is exacerbating the conditions of the past dozen years or so—when deflation, rather than overheating, has been the big threat.

    1. Lee

      I’m guessing mortgage rates going through the floor is an investor flight to safety. Maybe the stock market is being fueled by dumb money.

    2. Jason Boxman

      To the extent supply is constrained by the pandemic, that certainly affects prices. Food prices, for example. But in other areas, as businesses reduce service or die, it seems unlikely prices will rise for the remaining buyers all else equal.

      This is still a great opportunity for deficit hysteria, though. It’s always a great time to leave the working class to die, after all!

      1. TonyinSoCAL

        It’s a deficit problem when the help goes to the bottom 90%, and an even bigger one when it goes to the bottom 50% or to local governments that have sustained a budgetary beat down due to the pandemic. $4 trillion JPow “magic money” printing for Wall Street, all good brah!

        How the Fed’s Magic Money Machine Will Turn $454 Billion Into $4 Trillion

        I’m wondering, are people who have lost their jobs and are waiting in mile long food lines going to see any of that magic money?

    3. Adam Eran

      The inflation scare is one of the last refuges of the austerity crowd. Typical past inflations–including hyperinflations–were not kicked off by central banks run amok. Shortages of things was at the root of the inflation. So … oil, in the ’70s. 1971 was U.S. peak, non-fracked oil, and the 1973 Arab oil embargo was the first time we couldn’t produce our way out of a shortfall. This continued making oil prices climb from $1.75/bbl in 1971 until it reached $42/bbl in 1982 (about the current price, adjusted for inflation).

      In the meantime, Reagan was proving Milton Friedman was wrong–his money supply economics failed to produce the result needed (see Krugman’s Peddling Prosperity for the details). Reagan got lucky in 1982 because Alaska’s North Slope came on line…and the price retreated to ~$10/bbl.

      Cato’s study of 56 historical hyperinflations reinforces this conclusion about shortages, not money printing, being at the root of inflation. So the French were disappointed Germans didn’t supply some telephone poles on time and invaded, and shut down the Ruhr. A shortage of goods (and a balance of payments problem) led to the hyperinflation. Austerity, not inflation, led to Hitler’s rise.

      In Zimbabwe, the Rhodesian farmers left, and a country that had fed itself previously had to import food. The shortage of goods, and balance of payments issues, led to the hyperinflation there.

  21. zagonostra

    >American Compass – The Non-Voter

    As you can tell by below quote the DNC was a smashing success. I’m not condemning the person making this statement. It is by design that politics in the U.S make people so disgusted with the disingenuous speechifying sh%t that’s being broadcast, that people tune-out. And by god are they good at it. I felt like I needed a mental floss after just watching small doses of clips. I’m sure the RNC will rise to the occasion and exceed, if it is possible the vacuousness of the DNC.

    Like the largest political group in America, the non-voter, I completely ignored this year’s Democratic convention. ..Instead I spent the week doing what I usually do…which is getting on with my life by working, talking to friends and family, watching sports, playing video games, whatever.

  22. diptherio

    That Arnade article about non-voters is the most relevant piece of political writing I’ve read in awhile. Thanks for posting it.

    1. edmondo

      From the article:

      “Most of the men I know didn’t vote. Nobody had the spirit this time. Trump or Hillary? Doesn’t make much difference. Things out here gonna stay the same. We had high hopes for Obama. But nothing changed. Blacks here didn’t end up being helped by him. I mean, he might have tried, but his hands were tied by both parties.”

      Do people really believe this or is it just a refusal to believe that Obama “bamboozeled” them?

      1. Jason Boxman

        Yeah, I saw that myself. I had a family member that for the longest time thought the same, but eventually came around to the duplicity of the Democrat Party. (I’ve actually brought 2 family members onboard the NC bandwagon; Take that, Establishment political hacks!)

        But yes, somehow people do seem to believe this, if they want to. I’ve believed all sorts of things, but I do try to take contrary evidence into account and change what I believe accordingly. Sometimes, I think, I’m successful. I certainly once thought the Democrat Party had my best interests in mind. Ha.

        I’m better, now, though.

      2. Jessica

        Perhaps the sense that things are “gonna stay the same” is so strong that there just isn’t much interest in “why”.

  23. edmondo

    Won’t it be hilarious when – in 15 or 20 years there is this great surge of female, socialist leaders popping up all over the country racking up success after success and the only thing that they have in common is that they all read Teen Vogue back in 2020

  24. Chas

    The photo is of princess pine. It’s somewhat rare but we happen to have about a half acre patch of it. This spring I brought two 1′ sq. sections of it to the house to experiment as to whether it can be transplanted successfully. It’s in demand by people who make xmas wreaths.

  25. flora

    “The richest, most destructive forces in our society are all rooting tor Biden/Harris to win.”
    -Saagar Enjeti

    Rising, 8/15/2010

    Hard to argue with that assertion.

    1. flora

      typo: 8/25/2020. Raytheon, BCBS, foreign govts. …”former office holders willing to shill for anyone with a checkbook.”

    2. S.V. Dáte

      Not really. As of today we have 106 billionaires for Biden, 95 for trump. Leaves about 60 up for grabs. I’m talking US billionaires & Putin only. I myself gave it to Obama. He’s running the show after all.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have a very real question which should be faced up to and thought about. And here it is.

    The Republican Party is still the party of CREEP, Donald Segretti and Roger Stone. Given that basic fact,
    how many of the antifa rioters are really Deep Trump CREEPers in false-flag antifa disguise, working to start riots to create good TV footage for Trump to campaign on?

    How many Proud Boys are really Deep Trump CREEPers in false-flag Proud Boy disguise, working to start riots to create good TV footage for Trump to campaign on?

    How many Police Officers might secretly be Deep Trump etc. etc. etc.?

    What if even a few of the prone-to-violence BLM supporters are really Deep Trump etc. etc. etc.?

    You can get a lot of riots started if you hire the professionals from Rent-A-Riot, Incorporated.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

        1. flora

          CREEP, the 1972 GOP Committee to RE-Elect the President (CREEP) who was then GOP Pres. Nixon.

          CREEP worked to win. The 1972 Dem committee (who largely hated their candidate McGovern) worked to not lose (but not very hard) with McGovern. imo. Note that the following Super Tuesday schedules and Super Delegates installed as required Dem functions after 1972 and 1976, because of ‘must win’ on the national stage ideas or maybe for other reasons. ;)

    1. Acacia

      Am not sure what CREEP stands for, but my guess would be that very few Antifa types are closet Trump supporters. As for the Proud Boys, aren’t they Trump supporters by definition? Their numbers are small, I assume. As for Police Officers, probably quite a few are pro-Trump. Again, these are guesses. Hard to say how we would quantify any of this.

      In general, this seems like a question about bottom-up, brownshirt fascism. Some of my liberal friends seem very concerned about this. Personally, I’m more concerned about top-down changes that are happening via decades of neoliberal policies. The riots strike me more as a symptom of the top-down changes being imposed on everybody, and a growing awareness that voting won’t change anything.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I didn’t say any Antifas were closet Trump supporters. I said some of them could be false-flag Deep CREEP ratfucckers in Antifa disguise. Tasked with sparking telegenic riots in order to create good visual TV for the Trump Campaign to use.

        ” Closet supporters” and “black advance Deep CREEP ratfucckers” is two different things.

        1. Acacia

          Point taken. Antifa seems pretty easy to infiltrate (the movement is probably pretty compromised by informants, already), but really I think it comes down to whether people agree with their methods or not.

          Given that Antifa believe violence is a “useful tactic” (e.g., whacking Proud Boys and ‘fascists’ with bicycle locks, crowbars, etc.), and that they seem okay with property destruction, even the “honest” Antifa members may be creating good visuals for the Trump campaign. Their brand of violence is easy to find on social media, YouTube, etc., and thus it depends whether people agree these tactics are a good idea, or not.

          Ergo, I wonder if the kind of infiltration you’re describing really makes much of a difference.

    2. a different chris


  27. The Rev Kev

    “Overrun with COVID-19, one nursing home managed to dodge the worst”

    This may just be a matter of statistics. With so many thousands of aged care homes hit by the virus around the world, there would be some that somehow would dodge the bullet of a high death count.

  28. Amfortas the hippie




    check is safely in nietszche’s leaves.
    kinda overwhelming
    tractor with a front end loader
    dumping trailer.
    minisplit for the house.
    whole house tankless water heater.
    (no more cold showers in the outside shower)
    lumber and tin and fasteners.
    no more of what little debt we had.
    a little for the local cancer board.
    a seed bank to the local “community kitchen”.
    some money to the city for those who cannot pay their electric.
    let him who has ears to hear….

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Be careful with gifts.

      congrats. I hope it all falls into place for you and your family. Sounds like solid necessary things moving forward in these uncertain time.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
            and rightdoing there is a field.
            I’ll meet you there.
            When the soul lies down in that grass
            the world is too full to talk about.”
            ― Rumi


            “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
            ― Meister Eckhart

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          A little Hedges & Sacco. I have to admit I really enjoyed Sacco’s graphic stories. Thought they gave more punch to Hedges. I should get a copy and read it again. Bet it hits even harder now. Wonder if they’ll do a follow-up.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      How long before patrons targeted by such Leftard Wokenazis counter-chant ” You . . will not . . . command us.”

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      There is a video about that on Reddit. The poster calls her a “Karen”. So any race-member can be a “Karen” now. We are making progress towards racial equality.

  29. Noone from Nowheresville

    So way back in the restaurant / bar / dishwashing days, the place I worked had a ventilation system which pulled smoke through medium sized holes (golf ball sized) in the ceiling. Entire ceiling covered with holes. (that’s the memory anyway after a few decades and fun restaurant times)

    Worked pretty slick. Smoking in business was still very much the thing. I don’t really remember how well it worked but I do remember when they switched the ventilation system, got rid of the ceiling holes and replaced them with the vent squares every few feet. Smoke was everywhere. No such thing as a non-smoking section. Which is kind of funny because the smoking section was in-between 2 non-smoking sections. Customers complained when the new system went in.

    Anyway, I have no idea what the original system was but a similar system might be advantageous now. Don’t know how realistic that would be to convert a restaurant let alone office buildings. Don’t know if the equipment still exists. But I thought I’d put it there and see if else remembered something similar.

  30. VietnamVet

    Denial is universal now; especially, concerning the Pandemic Depression and the collapse of the Empire. It comes down to for the last forty years both political parties have supported profits over American lives: 2020 death totals: projected 300,000 from coronavirus, 100,000 from medical errors and 60,000 from despair. Since they are not going to spend the money needed to fix this, that leaves politicians scapegoating the others: Russians, Chinese or the Left-Behinds. Now that forever wars and pestilence have struck, the tipping point could be one big one way; a world war, volcano eruptions, sequential hurricanes, or women marching into the capitol demanding food and shelter for their kids.

  31. marym

    Re: Trump (R)(2) It just struck me that perhaps Arnade’s back-row kids don’t concern themselves with “identity…”

    Many of the comments are about identity and culture. White and Christian and more American than kneeling athletes are identities. Supposed concern with the “bloodbath” of black-on-black violence and abortion in big cities, approving the appointment of conservative judges, and equating supposedly un-masked protesters with actually unmasked people in bars are culture war issues.

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