2:00PM Water Cooler 8/5/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Here are the bottom five of the top ten problem states: Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Illinois, with Georgia for comparison:

And just for grins, the Swing States (from 270toWin):

Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Nebraska, Ohio.

CA: party on



“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 3: Still no changes.

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

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


Biden (D)(1): “Biden hits back at reporter asking if he took a cognitive test: ‘Are you a junkie?'” [Politico]. “Joe Biden rebuked a reporter who asked if the former vice president had taken a cognitive test, claiming that asking the question was similar to asking the interviewer if he was using cocaine. CBS correspondent Errol Barnett prompted the presumptive Democratic nominee to clarify if he had taken a test measuring his mental acuity, leading to a tense exchange.” • Video and transcript:

Barnett is, of course, Black.

Biden (D)(2): “Biden Would End Border Wall Construction, But Wouldn’t Tear Down Trump’s Additions” [NPR]. • Why the heck not? (From the same presser as above, which seems to have been exciting.)

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): Senator Chris Murphy, a “rising Democratic star,” is “The Senator of State” and part of Biden’s foreign policy kitchen cabinet:

So the problem is not the coup itself… I think we can infer that Biden’s foreign policy will have many continuities with the previous two administrations (granted, he might renegotiate the Iran deall, if that’s possible, one of Obama’s few actual achievements).

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Biden will beat Trump, says historian who predicted every presidential race since 1984” [CNBC]. Allan Lichtman and his keys. If six statements are false, the challenger (Biden) wins. Here are the keys:

1. Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the House than it did after the previous midterm elections. False. “Republicans lost the U.S. House midterms in 2018.”

2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent-party nomination. True. “No Republicans challenged Trump.”

3. Incumbency: The sitting president is running for re-election. True. “Doesn’t look like he’s stepping down.”

4. Third Party: There is no major third-party challenge. True. “Despite claims by Kanye West to be running, this is a two-party race.”

5. Short-Term Economy: The economy during the election season is not in recession. False. “The [coronavirus] pandemic has pushed the economy into recession.”

6. Long-Term Economy: Real annual per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the two previous terms. False. “The pandemic has caused such negative GDP growth in 2020 that the key has turned false.”

7. Policy Change: The incumbent causes major changes in national policy. True. “Through his tax cut, but mostly through his executive orders, Trump has fundamentally changed the policies of the Obama era.”

8. Social Unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the campaign. False. “There has been considerable social unrest on the streets, with enough violence to threaten the social order.”

9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandals. False. “As I predicted, Trump was impeached. Plus, he has plenty of other scandals.”

10. Foreign or Military Failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. True. “We’ve had some very difficult moments with Donald Trump, but so far, true.”

11. Foreign or Military Success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. False. “While Trump hasn’t had any big, splashy failures, he hasn’t had any major successes either.”

12. Incumbent Charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic. False. “Trump is a great showman, but he only appeals to a narrow slice of Americans.”

13. Challenger Charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic. True. “Biden is a decent, empathetic person, but he’s not inspirational or charismatic.”

So, seven keys are false, in Lichtman’s estimation. No pandemic, Trump wins, but here we are!

Trump (R)(2): Hmm:

* * *

UPDATE “Protest leader Bush ousts 20-year US Rep. Clay in Missouri” [Associated Press]. “Cori Bush, a onetime homeless woman who led protests following a white police officer’s fatal shooting of a Black 18-year-old in Ferguson, ousted longtime Rep. William Lacy Clay Tuesday in Missouri’s Democratic primary, ending a political dynasty that has spanned more than a half-century.” • Cori Bush is not rich, and nobody named an asteroid after her. AOC is a once-in-a-lifetime political talent, but I find Cori Bush’s solid grounding in Amazing Ferguson very encouraging, in a year when encouragement is sorely needed.

On the astonishing Cori Bush win in Missouri:

Yep! Bush gives a shout-out to Sanders:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Breakup sex” [Interfluidity]. “The metaphor for how I think that “we” (for a suitably nebulous we) should deal with the 2020 election is “breakup sex”. Our current relationship with the Democratic Party is intolerable…. We’ve tried for two Presidential election cycles to reform the party from the inside, using the primary process, and not succeeded, both for reasons fair and foul…. Within the Democratic Party our values are undermined, coopted, sacrificed on the alter of a cynical realism that the well-remunerated realists quietly prefer. If we split from the Democratic Party, we hand power to a coalition that is, at the moment, an unabashedly fascist death cult. Things are tough all over. This is intolerable. We have to find a way out. I think there is a way out…. So, breakup sex. I think, in this year of our lord 2020, we should actively, enthusiastically, passionately support the Democratic Party and the prototype institutional Democrat who leads its ticket…. As soon as the election has passed, I think we should form a distinct organization that would not be a political party in the sense of participating in our country’s deeply flawed public primary process, but that would, like a political party, sometimes moot its own candidates for public office and help get them placed on ballots (whether as organization representatives or notional independents). Sometimes is an important word in that description. Most of the time, it hopefully would not. The organization would simply endorse the Democratic party candidate, keeping whole the not-Republican coalition. But, if a high (supermajority) threshold of the membership decides that the Democrat would not represent our values effectively, that the risk of spoiling the election is acceptable given whoever the Republican would be and is outweighed by the possibility our better candidate might win, then we would run that candidate and organize on their behalf with energy and unconflicted enthusiasm. Defecting from the Democratic Party, when it makes sense, makes much more sense as a collective rather than individual choice…. During a Biden administration, there will be a huge battle over who must be betrayed — corporations and donors, or us. For now, the best way to wage that fight is to be an indispensable part of this election’s coalition. Beginning in November 4th, we organize to credibly threaten to take our indispensable selves elsewhere if it is us who is betrayed.” • Maybe. Interestingly, that is similar to DSA’s strategy.

“Read this: Meet the QAnon illustrator mapping out the Deep State’s wild web of conspiracies” [AV Club]. • Quite a yarn diagram. I can’t even.

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.

Employment Situation: “July 2020 ADP Employment Gains 167,000” [Econintersect]. “ADP reported non-farm private jobs growth at 167,000 which was SIGNIFICANTLY below expectations. A quote from the ADP authors: ‘The labor market recovery slowed in the month of July.’ Last month’s employment gain significantly revised upward. It will be interesting to see what the BLS says is the jobs growth.ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth.”

Services: “July 2020 ISM and Markit Services Surveys Again Improve” [Econintersect]. “The ISM services survey is in a territory associated with a relatively strong expansion whilst the Markit Services index is showing no growth. Just looking around tells you that the Markit Services is likely in the correct value. It is obvious the ISM survey did not include bars and restaurants.”

Trade: “June 2020 Trade Improved But Remains Deep In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “Trade data headlines show the trade balance improved with both imports and exports increasing…. The data in this series wobbles and the 3-month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3-month average rate of growth declined for imports and exports – and is now deeper in contraction.”

* * *

Tech: “Google Pay Partners With Six More Banks With Digital Banking On The Rise” [Forbes]. “Google isn’t the only big tech company to make the push into financial services, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have all made strides because it is another way to gain valuable user data. A sizable share of consumers trust big tech with their financial needs, according to the McKinsey survey, which found Amazon was the most-trusted at 65%, followed by Google with 58%, Apple with 56% and Facebook with 35%.” • Those trust numbers don’t seem very high, given that, well, it’s my money.

Manufacturing: “HOTR: Boeing warns of forward losses on 787, 777X programs” [Leeham News and Analysis]. “In another demonstration of the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Boeing warned that two flagship airplane programs could face forward losses. Neither the 787 nor the 777X are in forward loss positions yet. A forward loss means Boeing won’t make money on the program. Despite the 787 incurring more than $30bn in deferred costs, Boeing hasn’t taken a write down.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 69 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 64 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 5 at 11:50am. Solid greed. Starting to get dull.

Health Care

“Immunology Is Where Intuition Goes to Die” [The Atlantic]. This is worth reading in full. I’m just going to quote the lead, because we need more jokes: “There’s a joke about immunology, which Jessica Metcalf of Princeton recently told me. An immunologist and a cardiologist are kidnapped. The kidnappers threaten to shoot one of them, but promise to spare whoever has made the greater contribution to humanity. The cardiologist says, ‘Well, I’ve identified drugs that have saved the lives of millions of people.’ Impressed, the kidnappers turn to the immunologist. ‘What have you done?’ they ask. The immunologist says, ‘The thing is, the immune system is very complicated …’ And the cardiologist says, “Just shoot me now.'”

“Selective and cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes in unexposed humans” [Science]. From the abstract: “Many unknowns exist about human immune responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. SARS-CoV-2 reactive CD4+ T cells have been reported in unexposed individuals, suggesting pre-existing cross-reactive T cell memory in 20-50% of people. However, the source of those T cells has been speculative…. [V]ariegated T cell memory to coronaviruses that cause the common cold may underlie at least some of the extensive heterogeneity observed in COVID-19 disease.” • Perhaps we have an immunology maven who can comment.

“What We Don’t Know About COVID-19 Can Hurt Us [Time]. “So how do countries avoid an indefinite, unsustainable, cycle of opening and closing society? What is needed to prevent a future of strict social distancing and closed borders? To escape this limbo, we need to know more about each step in the chain of infection: why some people are more susceptible or have more symptoms, how our interactions and surroundings influence risk, and how we can curb the impact of the resulting disease. Research around the globe has yielded some promising insights into these questions, but also some contradictory findings. Some studies suggest children are less susceptible to disease, while others suggest they are less likely to spread infection too. There is evidence that some aspects of immunity against the virus may wane quickly, while others persist. Based on certain datasets, few individuals are truly asymptomatic; according to other studies, a larger proportion may be. Often when a new disease outbreak declines, we only later discover precisely why it took the shape it did.”

“Nine Important Things We’ve Learned about the Coronavirus Pandemic So Far” [Scientific American]. • From the Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American. I’m with her until the final paragraph, where she repeats what I regard as two flagrant errors. I don’t question her good faith, but I do think that “trust the science” cannot be adequate and turns all too easily into “trust the scientists” and then “trust this science” (and see Thomas Frank’s latest on the demand for deference by experts). But “trust the science insofar as your critical thinking skills allow you to do so” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Nor is critical thinking widely practiced; among other things, it’s the antithesis of partisanship.

“The nursing science behind nurses as coronavirus hospital heroes” [STAT]. “Like medicine, nursing is a scientific discipline, and it’s time people see nurses as more than just angels or heroes. Nurses are not kind and heroic simply because they are good people, but because nursing science tells us that building relationships with patients and treating the whole-person response to disease is therapeutic for their health…. We define nursing like this: Nursing is the diagnosis and treatment of the human response to health and disease. This is distinct from medicine, which is about the diagnosis and treatment of disease itself…. Nursing does not lend itself well to the -ology verbiage typical of medical science, but perhaps that’s fitting because nursing science is different than many other types.” • Yeah, but the -ologies are easy to bill for. You can code for them.

Feral Hog Watch

Has it really been a year:

Bible Corner

“Religious Groups Received $6-10 Billion In COVID-19 Relief Funds, Hope For More” [NPR]. “Among those receiving multi-million dollar forgivable loans were some of the best known evangelical churches in the country, including the First Baptist Church of Dallas and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois, received $5-10 million in relief aid, as did the headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).” • That’s nice. Can we tax them now? (I should actually be charitable, given how Chris Arnade shows how religion plays a real role in the lives of the backrow kids, but somehow I don’t think it’s the storefront churches that are really profting from this windfall.)

The Louvin Brothers, a thread:

“Broad Minded”

“Satan Is Real”

The straight stuff. The harmonies, though! For contrast:

The straight stuff, though in a different way…

Groves of Academe

“Operation Varsity Blues: Elite Anxiety, Not Elite Privilege” [The American Conservative]. “How did a washed-up basketball coach like Singer work his way into the private homes of not just the Hollywood elite but even Silicon Valley royalty like venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins? One reason is that he did the parenting they wouldn’t. Unacceptable notes again and again how much clients appreciated the way Singer would give their kids tough love and pep talks — every coach’s specialty, as anyone who played high school sports remembers. He did the nagging they were too cool to do themselves. “Jack, we’re going to get those grades up, right?” Singer exhorted one client’s son. “What can you commit to?’ Is Unacceptable a story about privilege? A scandal as juicy as this one seems like should say something about society, and that’s the moral most people have drawn from it: rich parents game the admissions system to give their kids unfair advantages. But the dominant emotion among Singer’s clients was not arrogance but anxiety.” • Anxiety is perfectly compatible with “Predatory precarity,” as Steve Randy Waldman calls it.

Guillotine Watch

“For richer and poorer, Uncle Sam’s coronavirus response widened the gulf” [NBC]. “Near the New York state line in Greenwich, however, Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm had no problem getting a taxpayer-backed windfall. The sprawling estate houses one of his family’s mansions and a thoroughbred facility for his polo horses…. When Congress and President Donald Trump created the loan program, they were clear that the intention was to protect workers from layoffs. No one said anything about providing for the upkeep of personal polo grounds or ensuring that the ultra-rich, like Brant, could improve their balance sheets with backing from taxpayers.” • Oops. I can accept a certain amount of sloppiness from shoveling the money out as fast as possible; after all, poverty actually went down (something Obama never achieved with his miserably inadequate stimulus package). But polo ponies? Really?

Class Warfare

“‘Life In the Iron Mills’ Told of the Suffering of America’s Working Classes” [Teen Vogue]. On Rebecca Harding Davis Life in the Iron Mills (!): “Class divisions were redrawn like battle lines, with wealthy capitalists and industrialists indulging their whims for gorgeous mansions while the poor and working classes were squeezed into rickety boarding houses, stinking tenements, and dank cellars. When new immigrants came in hopes of building better lives for themselves and their families, they were swept up into the labor pool by greedy bosses who saw a chance to extract as much value from their bodies as possible. It was a miserable time to be alive without the benefit of also being rich. Whether they were native born or came from elsewhere, a 19th century factory worker’s living conditions were utterly grim; diseases ran rampant, sewage pooled in the streets, and people of all ages starved — physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Wage slavery was a death sentence. Some workers paid the cost of urban living with their blood, sweat, and tears, and managed to carve out something resembling a decent existence; others struggled, living hand to mouth, their bodies and spirits broken as soon as they could walk. An unfathomable number paid with their lives. And for a very long time, their stories were left untold.”

“Virtuoso Consumer Flawlessly Exchanges Currency For Goods” [The Onion]. • M-C within C-M-C :-)

New of the Wired

“The Sociologist Who Could Save Us From Coronavirus” [Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy]. “In risk society, we become radically dependent on specialized scientific knowledge to define what is and what is not dangerousIn risk society, we become radically dependent on specialized scientific knowledge to define what is and what is not dangerous in advance of encountering the dangers themselves. We become, as Beck puts it, “incompetent in matters” of our “own affliction.” Alienated from our faculties of assessment, we lose an essential part of our “cognitive sovereignty.” The harmful, the threatening, the inimical lies in wait everywhere, but whether it is inimical or friendly is “beyond one’s own power of judgment.” We thus face a double shock: a threat to our health and survival and a threat to our autonomy in gauging those threats. As we react and struggle to reassert control, we have no option but to “become small, private alternative experts in risks of modernization.” We take a crash course in epidemiology and educate ourselves about “R zero.” But that effort only sucks us deeper into the labyrinth…. the more we know, the more we realize that we are not the only ones judging. Every interested party is picking and choosing its sources. It is an enlightening but also shocking exposure to how the sausage of modern knowledge is truly made.” • This is a really excellent article from Tooze, and my excerpt doesn’t do it justice. Worth reading in full.

* * *

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 (MF):

MF writes: “This was taken during a visit to the Poison Garden at Blarney Castle last fall. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the plant’s name (and image search failed me).” Readers?

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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. Sheldon

    “Google Pay Partners With Six More Banks With Digital Banking On The Rise”

    Like the way Covid relief has been handled? Appreciate the fees, deductions, delays and frozen accounts, help lines waits, overwhelmed state systems? Like surrendering your privacy to the marketers, NSA snoops and hackers?
    You will love the ‘covid free’ cashless society:
    * If you are struggling with your mortgage on a particular month, you can’t do an odd job to get you through.
    * Your teenager or spouse can’t go & help the local business to earn a bit of summer cash.
    * No more piggy banks for your child to collect pocket money & to learn about the value of earning.
    * No more side jobs because your wages barely cover the bills or put food on the table.
    * No more charity collections.
    * No more garage sales for a bit of cash.
    * No more cash gifts from relatives or loved ones.

    What a cashless society does guarantee:
    * Banks have full control and profit from every penny you own.
    * Every transaction you make is recorded.
    * All your movements & actions are traceable.
    * Access to your money can be blocked at the click of a button when/if banks need ‘clarification’ from you which will take about 3 weeks, a questions answered & passwords.
    * You will have no choice but to declare & be taxed on every dollar in your possession, with deductions for negative interest rates.
    * The government WILL decide what you can & cannot purchase.
    * If your transactions are deemed in any way questionable, by those who create the questions, your money will be frozen, ‘for your own good’.
    Take your coins to the market and use cash. Give the middle finger to the parasitic vultures.

    1. Oh

      Good list on what the cashless society will do. I think the time has come to put away as much cash as possible to meet this looming threat. Diversifying into different currencies may be be a good idea.

    2. Alternate Delegate

      Today the ATM spat out about half old $20 bills with the little oval picture of Andrew Jackson. Haven’t seen those in quite a while.

      Evidently people are digging into their emergency stashes of cash and putting them back into circulation.

      That’s another thing you will lose in a cashless spy-conomy: no more emergency stashes of cash.

  2. Pavel

    Jeebus that Biden clip was a train wreck!

    Was he accusing Trump of confusing the elephant and rhino? That was (IIRC) Don Lemon on the Chris Cuomo show.

    No way in hell those debates are going to happen. If (when) Biden pulls out I wish Trump would debate the Green Party candidate… that ain’t going to happen either alas.

    1. Arizona Slim

      In a country with more than 300 million people, Trump and Biden are the best we can do?

      1. Katiebird

        This is a very good question.

        I just realized that after yesterday’s Kansas Democratic Primary, I am expected to vote for 3 candidates (Presidential, Senate and Congressional) who are totally against Medicare 4 All.

        I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

      2. fresno dan

        Arizona Slim
        August 5, 2020 at 2:23 pm

        I think the last presidential election here in CA there were something like 10 or more presidential candidates for president.
        And people tell me voting for a third party candidate is wasting your vote. Amazing….
        Really, what advantage to people think they will get for voting for Pepsi instead of Coke? Vote for limon, or grape, or coffee, or ice tea. Anything but those two….

        1. Acacia

          This is my thinking now, too. A vote for the duoparty is a vote for nothing to change. The Dems are even campaigning on turning the clock backwards by four years. Forget about the “breakup sex”. That’s just a euphemism for some kind of miserable codependency.

            1. ambrit

              More importantly, how often does it lead to the spread of a STD? (I know someone who’s “significant other” infected them with something nasty that way. Rumours of infidelity were the reason for the break-up. some things never change.)

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > In a country with more than 300 million people, Trump and Biden are the best we can do?

        Four years of concentrated effort and Biden is what the Democrats came up with.

        1. edmondo

          Biden has one job. He needs to live until January 20th. I give it a 50/50 chance.

          OTOH – they sure are vote shaming us to vote for Uncle Joe aren’t they? Maybe those internal poll numbers aren’t as strong as they want us to believe?

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            Yeah, I’ve noticed they have stopped with the “we don’t need your vote” stuff and really ramped up the voter shaming. I don’t recall this happening in 2016. I feel like they were pretty defiant until the end. I may be misremembering but it feels like there’s more pressure this year.

            (Also worth noting Sanders was telling pundits “I can’t force my supporters to vote for Hillary” in 2016 vs now where he’s doing the shaming too.)

          2. Berto

            I’m voting for Biden as a protest vote against the Green Party for not having better candidates. That’ll show them.

      4. Geo

        Says a lot about us as a nation doesn’t it?

        Still remember the first time I heard a “Stupid American” joke when I briefly lived in Canada as a teen. Was eye-opening to hear how others saw us. Biden and Trump are the perfect duo to represent who we are as a nation. Not the America we think we are but the America we truly are.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Yup, I got that on a Walmart visit in Hawaii. European and Asian hipsters would ride the motorized carts to the snack foods aisle and take selfies – hey, check me out Insta, morbidly obese American bovine! – then get bored and abandon the scooters for the staff to retrieve.

      5. foghorn longhorn

        Watch “Catfish, The Tv Show” on MTV.
        This is what our politics have devolved into.
        They appear to be a comely young lass/lad on social media, the apple of your eye and in real life they are the ogre that lives under the bridge.
        The whole elect biden and THEN we can break up is bizarro world weird.
        Where has pelosi been this whole time?
        Aren’t bills supposed to begin in the house and move through the process?
        Apparently she’s been hiding in bidens basement, under the table, getting her hair fondled.

        1. richard

          it’s hard to make sense of ‘murican politics when you’re 100% immersed in them
          and almost impossible if you’re not
          nothing like this has ever existed
          if you approach it with the intent of forcing it to make sense
          it will kick your ass and you will walk away befuddled

          1. Briny

            One is left wondering, if there is a future civilization, what their Gibbon is going to write about our ‘Decline and Fall….’ Much grist for that mill.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I find it pretty straightforward.

            1. The entire concept of “the public good” has been replaced by an aggregation of private goods;
            2. The owners of those private goods are able to sequester away 90+% of the nation’s wealth;
            3. This enormous honeypot attracts billionaire monopolists who wrestle amongst themselves for control like junkyard dogs;
            4. But it’s absolutely mission-critical that the hapless people are continuously divided and distracted so they do not discover this fact and demand redress;
            5. So the billionaires cooperate to divide the plebes into “teams” designed to fight each other instead of them;
            6. Team distinctions are drawn along every possible line: age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, region, and an infinite number of opinions on “major issues”;
            7. Every four years teams are required to aggregate into two opposing camps: Red and Blue;
            8. An “election” is held. This effectively decides which set of billionaires receives the lion’s share of the productive output of the society for the next four year period.

            1. richard

              that sounds about right to me
              i guess the only thing that really makes it indecipherable is trying to understand it without a class perspective, which is what most ‘muricans are stuck with, which is what i was stuck with growing up in idaho in the 70’s. There are so many lies flying around, the whoppers, and so many omissions and the megawatts of gaslight. Most people are just buried and lost under all of it.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > 8. An “election” is held. This effectively decides which set of billionaires receives the lion’s share of the productive output of the society for the next four year period.

              That connects neatly to Ferguson et al.’s industrial model.

              And I suppose the results do matter, in the same way that being ripped apart by a pack of wild dogs as opposed to having one’s liver eaten by vultures matters…

        2. Kevin Hall

          biden would NEVER fondle pelosi’s hair.

          Maybe 70 years ago……..

          Nope, the short fingered vulgarian and creepy uncle joe are NOT the best we can do but probably what we collectively deserve.

      6. Stephen V.

        A friend of mine in Brazil asked me last week who I was voting for. I told her since Nobody is running, nobody will get my vote. (Doesn’t matter if you color perversion / corruption / mental illness Red or Blue, it’s still…) And it seems the Greens (my first choice) are descending into or trying to become a cult of personality…I’m done. I’m such an optimist I actually thought the ANY FUNCTIONING ADULT signs I was seeing referred to both candidates! Silly me.

      7. drumlin woodchuckles

        No . . . Trump and Biden are the best the Political Rulership Elite will permit us to have within the rules they engineer for leadership selection.

        Say this for Trump . . . he broke through in spite of Rulership opposition and distaste.

        But Biden is a perfect expression of everything the Rulership stands for. And it was Rulership Engineering which deNIED us from getting the Sanders we otherwise could have gotten. Though we also need to face the fact that it was Sanders’s own spiritual weakness which made it easier for the Rulership to do so. He lacks Trump’s ” hate-the-enemy/ destroy-the-enemy” instincts. And that is a spiritual weakness and defficiency.

      8. sierra7

        Arizona Slim:
        That is the question for all time….
        That’s why the country is in the condition it is in today.
        Failed economy; failed political system; failed public education system; total corruption and so much more.
        There is a reason DT is president at this time.
        You nailed it with your question.
        Now to figure out where to sequester oneself and family when the burning begins.
        We had the “Come to Jesus” time in the immediate aftermath of the ’08-’09 financial collapse.
        The DC Swamp and the oligarchs refused to take the Castor Oil….and here we are!

      9. The Rev Kev

        No. It’s the best that a broken political system can do. And the reason that it is broken is that it has been taken hostage by a tiny elite with the full cooperation of the PMC. As Jimmy Dore says, Trump (and Biden too for that matter) is not the problem. He is a symptom of the problem.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “…Biden clip was a train wreck…”
      play it back to back with the trump axios interview for the full effect.
      i skipped through both.
      too painful to watch.
      none of those people…aside from maybe the squad and bernie…represent me in the slightest.
      and senator ted has yet to get back to me….usually my letters get next day response(although it has been some years since i wrote to the critters with any regularity)

      1. hunkerdown

        I’d believe his staffer referred you to DHS right away. Have you kept watch for drones or blackout SUVs?

    3. Michaelmas

      Wow. Biden couldn’t construct a sentence that made sense.

      For those of us who paid attention to the last years of the Soviet Union, Breshnev, Gromyko, and Andropov were lucid, intellectually spry fellows by comparison to that.

      Well, on the bright side, maybe Biden’s VP will be the U.S. Mikhail Gorbachev. I guess they’ll also find things are simply too far gone and aren’t reformable. I hope China is kinder to the U.S. than the U.S. was to Russia.

    4. anon in so cal

      Didn’t people say that about the Biden-Sanders debate, also?

      And yet, imho, Biden made Sanders look like the senile one. It’s difficult to debate a skilled liar pumped up on something. Biden may be more characterologically-disordered than HRC, which is saying a lot.

      1. Michaelmas

        anon is so cal wrote: It’s difficult to debate a skilled liar pumped up on something.

        So what? The same could be said regarding Trump and the endless froth of falsehoods and incoherent BS he emits. None of it has helped him one bit when the virus or the rest of the reality he’s incompetent to deal with have come calling, has it?

        Very simply, the ability to throw up a smokescreen of incoherent BS in a debate on American TV is worthless.

        The real point is that, firstly, even the U.S.S.R. in its final days stood up Politburo gerontocrats more mentally agile than either of these clowns and, secondly, any empire that lets such mentally-disordered, aged BS artists (HRC was another) anywhere near being its chief executive is probably an empire that’s not long for this world.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > any empire that lets such mentally-disordered, aged BS artists (HRC was another) anywhere near being its chief executive is probably an empire that’s not long for this world.

          At least Clinton didn’t do as much actual damage as Biden has. I can’t see how anyone would think Biden was better than Clinton. (Clinton’s personality was more defective, and Biden obviously has his charms, but Biden’s record is far, far worse.)

          1. apleb

            Biden did much more damage cause he held his senatorial office longer. Biden was 36 years long a senator! If you are evil that’s a very long time to wreak havoc!

            Comparing evilness of Biden and Clinton (both) is dangerously close to angels and pinheads.

  3. Katiebird

    That is a gorgeous photo!!

    I just read a novel where one of the pieces of the story was the development of a Poison Garden. I just couldn’t imagine why the character was so committed to the idea. But if the plants in that garden produce flowers like this then it is totally understandable. Maybe this is something gardeners know?

        1. Dennis the peasant

          I have a very similar dahlia, don’t remember the name though. Bought it at the dahlia society spring sale years ago.

    1. HotFlash

      My tiny front-yard garden is pretty well all edibles — lambs quarters, tomatoes, zucchini, wild cherry, maple, kale, rosemary, barberry, pelargonium, mints, basil, oregano, tarragon, horseradish, wood sorrel, chickweed, pineapple weed, purslane, Meyer lemon, as is the back — mulberry, apple, maple,rose of sharon. Plans for the future include blackberry, raspberry, and (moar) strawberry. Except for the woody nightshade that I keep for, well, just because, I think it is good to remind myself (and others) that not all of nature is aligned with us humans. I think a Poison Garden is trez cool.

  4. Synoia

    A sizable share of consumers trust big tech with their financial needs, according to the McKinsey survey

    Nice. And the demographic profile of the 20 people surveyed were what exactly?

    1. Arizona Slim

      I don’t trust big tech further than I can swing a bull by the tail. And I’m guessing that I’m not the only citizen, er, consumer, who feels this way.

    2. Lou Anton

      It’s because they conceive of another option! They ‘trust’ tech with their financial needs because TINA.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      Google cannot be trusted.. they shutter the door on a product every month. This month it is Google music, who is getting shut down so that YouTube music can toss more ads at your face.

      And don’t get me started on their connections to the surveillance state.

  5. Synoia

    All those people who spent years saying Bernie Sanders was somehow uniquely bad on race and gender…

    He had to be bad on race an gender. He is a white male – which cannot be fixed (easily). /s

    1. RMO

      Of the many things that surprised me in 2016 being told that all of a sudden, after centuries of being othered that Jews were now white (at least in Sanders case anyways) wasn’t the least remarkable. Redefining Sanders as white (and racist!) in order to advance the campaign of a wealthy white southern woman… That went straight through what I call the “Two Stages Of Dylan Moran” (When I saw him a few years ago he told us about how he was educating his kids: the first stage was to get them to look at the world and ask “What The F(amily blog)?” The next stage was to get them to look at the world and say “Oh For F(amily blog)’s Sake!!”)

      Then they tried to smear him as an antisemite…

  6. m sam

    “Interestingly, that was similar to DSA’s strategy.”

    It seems awfully similar to the Working Families Party as well. Perhaps I’m cynical, but I’m left thinking, “a fat load of good that strategy has done them for the last 20 years.” But really, why should it be expected it would be different this time?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The biggest difference is I think there was a narrative pushed, not by me, that Hillary was the worst possible candidate as opposed to being only a lone member of an intellectually bankrupt and morally decayed structure. IMHO Biden is worse than Hillary. Her failure with healthcare reform in the 90’s was stubbornness and a refusal to reassess, but much of what she was driving for was both pragmatic and politically viable.

      Biden has nothing good in his past. The eerie absence of Biden signs. My gut is his supporters aren’t finding the “its time to unite” chant to be as compelling as it was 2016. This would be the second racist in a row they’ve embraced too.

      Then there are the recent primary wins and changing population.

      Brie Joy pointed out the complete lack of the usual suspects rejoicing at the victory of a black woman, Cori Bush, last night. I think people are ready to make the “peace in our time” types take a stand. They can join Bill Clinton’s neo-Klan or be Democrats.

      1. Darius

        The actual left should run candidates both in Democrat primaries and as independents or third party, in blood-red districts and states, especially in the South. Democrats hardly ever seriously contest these states and districts. This would be proof of concept for the proposition that the working class is waiting for a movement that promises to meet their needs, not just woke corporate Democrats, or nakedly racist and bigoted reactionary Republicans. The hypothesis is that such candidates would do surprisingly well, and maybe start knocking off some of the reactionary Republicans with candidates that truly represent solidarity. This could be transformative.

        1. Jeff W

          That’s exactly the strategy—“The Left Should Commandeer Red State Democratic Parties”—proposed by Benjamin Studebaker (and mentioned in the Links) two years ago, except he pinpointed different states:

          …we are left with six especially ripe states–Idaho, Indiana, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. In these states, Republicans run unopposed for piles of offices. Often, no one even bothers to take the Democratic nomination, much less do anything useful with it…Democratic parties in these states are desperate to find people to run for things. Sometimes, you can walk in and have the Democratic nomination if you want it, without arduous primary contests. There’s no one left to keep you out. The Clintonites abandoned these places and these people long ago. The citizens of these great states badly need politicians that actually care about their material needs. They have been waiting for left wing economic populism–without the social issue riffraff–for a long, long time. Why don’t we actually try to give it to them?

        2. Anthony K Wikrent

          Yes, I think people on the left need to become much better at assessing their local political situation and opportunities. What the conservative and libertarian movements did after the Goldwater defeat is the model of what should be done: take over the local party and parley that into statewide and national control. Two important notes, though. 1. The obvious difference is that the actual anti-status quo left is not going to be bankrolled by the rich the way the wrong-wing was. 2. What the conservative and libertarian movements did was replicate the the methods used in the agrarian revolt of the 1870s through 1910s. Especially the Non Partisan League takeover of North Dakota (the NPL didn’t care if someone was a Democrat or Republican, just so long as they signed a commitment to support NPL policies – which is the reason North Dakota is the only state with a government controlled bank); and the Farmer-Labor Party takeover of Minnesota, which is why it’s the DFL today, not just the Democratic Party.

      2. m sam

        Oh I think you are right, Biden is a nightmare, worse than Clinton.

        But actually my comment was on Lambert’s Interfluidity link. Not that I have the answer, but an organization that endorses Democrats when their values align doesn’t seem to have worked to the advantage to the left in the past, such as in the case of Working Families Party – at least what I’ve seen of them.

        It seems to me the Working Families Party, after 20 years of work, ended up endorsing Cuomo and proving how irrelevant they were. I read through the Interfluidity article, but I didn’t see anything that talked about how using the same model would result in a different outcome.

      3. Michaelmas

        NotTimothyGeithner: IMHO Biden is worse than Hillary.

        Hillary caused the deaths of 500,0000 brown people in Libya and Syria so she could burnish her hawk credentials and she then received more money from military-industrial constituents for her presidential campaign in 2016 than any previous U.S. presidential candidate in history.

        And the main thing the military-industrial complex wanted, the GWOT having become too pissant for their purposes, was Cold War 2.0 against Russia, with concomitant arms program spending. Hillary was going to give it to them as president. One reason she took the “Russkiegate” tack after her campaign campaign was to try and pay them off so they didn’t Dealey Plaza her for her failure.

        Yes, Biden is a monster. But based on his record, not on Hillary’s scale yet. Likewise, Trump’s a monster, too; but 150,000-odd Americans dead also isn’t at Hillary’s level yet.

        Remind yourself, this creature —
        Hillary Clinton “We Came, We Saw, He Died” (Gaddafi)
        was who the Dem establishment and all the good liberals told us we had to vote for.

        1. sierra7

          +100,000 (Don’t have enough “zeros” to print for this one!)
          Good to know there at least two of us!!
          And, so many of my Democrat friends (Me: non-partisan for more than 30 years; I learned my lesson early!) wonder why we have DT as president!!!!
          So the Democrats have gone from a brutal fascist killer to a possibly just plain rock dumb candidate……….
          We have come so far!!

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          And what do you think Biden was doing? He was Shrub’s point man for Team Blue votes in 2002.

        3. John k

          Yes, she is awful. If pres more wars.
          But plenty evidence the bush war party thinks Biden is a useful sub, and evidence above that we will try to celebrate a 2020 Biden victory in Caracas in 2021.

        4. anon in so cal

          HRC actually started Russia bashing before election 2016. Many suspect it was to condition the public for her planned escalation in Syria which would lead to a hot war with Russia.

          If Biden were to win, I fear he will initiate a war with Russia. He has unfinished business in Ukraine, where he played a key role in the US putsch. Biden urged a military solution to Syria which echoed HRC’s calls for NFZs which were a lead-in to a hot war with Russia.

          1. Michaelmas

            HRC’s sponsors will be Biden’s owners, alas. So not auspicious, to be sure, as those owners doubtless plan a return to imperial business-as-usual.

            Nevertheless, if Biden wins the presidency, 2021 will be a different world than 2016 with the U.S. in far worse shape in terms of economics and desperate Americans on the streets. Imperial business-as-usual may not be possible.

    2. richard

      I thought it was interesting, esp. the idea of gaming the republicans to offer “saner” candidates, so that the socdems are more tempted to split.
      But there is no mechanism for achieving it, that I can see. It would need to be very public and very obvious. How does that happen, that “left” votes are seen as essential to biden? The real left won’t be framing that.
      And there’s no way to force dems to understand that we are an essential part of their coalition. They don’t want us. They’ve made that perfectly clear. Jesus on a bike. And as their aims are often achieved through “defeat”, threatening to withhold victory won’t be the own the writer thinks.
      Third Party. Leave. Demexit.

      1. richard

        Plus this. What was Joe Biden before covid? He was the dem’s direct, undemocratic, losing answer to socdems. He was destined to lose. He was their “ We will BURN THIS S&*^ down, rather than let you have the party. We don’t care about beating trump.” answer.
        you think withholding victory means anything to these people? you’re threatening them with their plan b. or maybe plan a, who knows

  7. Synoia

    “What We Don’t Know About COVID-19 Can Hurt Us”….

    And the answers we appear to have are “yes'” “no'” “maybie” and “I don’t know”.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        we’re hearing about more and more cases out here(all still officially unacknowledged).
        made a quick feedstore run…no symposia, just in and out…place was empty, which is strange.
        dropped off my pos truck at the mechanic guy for inspection(expired last october), grabbed some smokes at my fave “convenience store”…these were the only people i interacted with…and while we didn’t jaw that much(busy, longish line), i could tell that they were feeling exasperated. looked exhausted.
        strange product shortages…like the cheap beer the laborers like.
        first time in a while that i had a redneck look at me and my mask like i was dressed in drag with a machete.
        but that was just a brief encounter as i was leaving and he was entering, and i had time to put on the Glamour of Danger, Redneck!…which may have caused him to bite his tongue.
        about half the people i saw were wearing masks, which is prolly the best i can hope for, given the RW echoing silos.
        people running registers were all behind plexiglass and maskless.
        school starts in 2 weeks….and i hear tell of parties at the river at which various local healthcare people were busy licking everybody.
        there was a curious expression in everyone’s eyes…part fear, part defiance, part giving up.
        lots of masked folks in parking lots having arm waving discussions with masked people in cars and trucks….from the bits i swept up, mostly exasperated complaints about the maskless.
        many of the masked people i know as having some serious illness…be it cancer, RA, or whatever…or people who live with those sick ones.
        my prepared rejoinder for the trip to town today:idiot:”why are ya wearing that there commie mask?”
        me:”love thy neighbor as thyself”

        1. Lee

          Mostly white collar, mask compliants in my neck of SF bay area. I wear P-100 mask and shop goggles when venturing into a store. Even though I look like a bug from outer space, I believe most of the glances I get are of an envious nature. Or so I choose to believe.

  8. DJG

    If this squib in the Interfluidity article about reforming the Democratic Party is any indication, the author’s area of expertise seems to be word salad:

    –So, breakup sex. I think, in this year of our lord 2020, we should actively, enthusiastically, passionately support the Democratic Party and the prototype institutional Democrat who leads its ticket…. As soon as the election has passed, I think we should form a distinct organization that would not be a political party in the sense of participating in our country’s deeply flawed public primary process, but that would, like a political party, sometimes moot its own candidates for public office and help get them placed on ballots (whether as organization representatives or notional independents). Sometimes is an important word in that description. —

    “As soon as the election has passed…” Quite the threat. That’ll get old Joe to endorse Medicare for all and give up his ludicrous idea that there is a “right” to private health insurance.

    I will now have lunch. Maybe that will give me enough protein to head in and read the whole salad of transgressiveness and passion (!).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s not word salad. It’s a salad whose ingredients you don’t like. I’m not sure I agree with Interfluidity, because I think the die is already cast with respect to Biden’s vis a vis the left, but he’s worth a read. Perhaps my excerpt didn’t do the piece justice. It’s a hard decision to grapple with.

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        …”alter of a cynical realism”.

        “altar”. For Dog’s sake, get a copy editor.

        It’s a word salad of “vote for the lesser evil, and we’ll try to figure out what to do next later”

        I do agree that “as soon as the election has passed” is too late and represents no threat. It’s like all the complaining in the run-up to, and right after, the election about the failings of the electoral college. Yet, with a nearly full 4 years to work on it afterwards, it’s the same old college as the last one.

      2. Oso

        it’s an updated version of “vote for the Democrat nominee then hold their feet to the fire”. Period. worth the read if you have nothing else to read. I respect and agree with Lambert’s analyses on almost everything else, but in this case no. It’s the same old every four years bull**** restated more eloquently.
        there’s too much at stake to give up at this point. there are hella people in the streets and we have to keep it up, not quit.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The problem with holding the Catfood Democrats’ feet to the fire is that they all have asbestos feet.

      3. none

        The breakup sex already happened in 2016 with Hillary Clinton. Breakup is complete now — Biden can rot on the vine.

      4. ckimball

        I finished the article and looked at the above link from their comments section. ta-nehisi-coates talking about violence and policing needs within the first couple of paragraphs flipped my brain inside out..;.Quite a sensation to encounter someone expressing something in a way that takes an old assumption and turns it inside out.
        interfluidity:Thank you so much for the article. I have something to let percolate now along with the big fat block.

    2. km

      Yet another variant on “we don’t have time for purity tests now, maybe we can talk about that next election but this time around we all gotta fall in line so we can beat Bush/Dole/Dubya/McCain/Mittens/Trump!”

      And since when did anyone feel passionately about Biden? To paraphrase Caity J., watching Team D stalwarts feign enthusiasm for the man is like watching a deeply closeted gay man feign enthusiasm for his lawful wedded wife.

      Meanwhile the goalposts keep on moving rightwards.

      1. Code Name D

        That is my take as well. This is just more increasingly desperate justifications for voting for the lesser evil. The problem is it pretends fascism is just a Republican thing. What about the rigging of the primaries, media bias, cancel culture, growing censorship of You-Tube, Twitter, and Face Book, endless Russia hysteria, unellected party members? Blue Fascism is a thing. The fact that we even have this debate is in and of itself a big red flag we already live in a fascist state.

      2. CoryP

        I know a fair number of closeted guys from the generation older than me that seem to be deeply committed and love their wives, as best friends. (Tho maybe not quite to the terms of the marriage contract).

        I think that analogy gives Biden and his supporters too much credit. But then I have no idea with all the insanity I encounter online, without being able to determine if it’s a Correct the Record gaslight op.

    3. Oh

      I don’t think “actively, enthusiastically, passionately support the Democratic Party…” can be called sex and is not a breakup. The author of this piece lives in an alternate universe.

      1. edmondo

        I don’t think “actively, enthusiastically, passionately support the Democratic Party…” can be called sex

        Maybe not but it’s a guarantee that you’ll get screwed.

        1. CoryP

          Reading most of these comments discussing this metaphor is leading me to never want sex again.

          Dems ruin everything! Dammit!

    4. The Rev Kev

      If people followed this guys advice then the party would learn nothing except that next time, they could stand up a zombie as a Presidential candidate and people would still go for it. No, I am saying that they way to go is like the other article in today’s Water Cooler – ‘Protest leader Bush ousts 20-year US Rep. Clay in Missouri.’ So take out the incumbents, deny them votes and contributions and divert them to challengers. Replace party hacks with people who are actually prepared to follow people’s wishes. Make this a larger and larger faction in the Senate & house on the federal level as well as State and local levels. Because the present way is failing spectacularly – and lethally.

    5. Jeff W

      I wasn’t reading that interfluidity piece as some crypto-snare to get people to vote for Biden, as some other commenters appear to be.The piece has something to say whether or not someone votes for Biden.

      It says this:

      We have to demonstrate a willingness to accept the short-term risk of spoiling elections in order, over the longer term, to gain bargaining power within the Democratic coalition…

      There is a lot to be said for this view, but it is kneecapped when it is put into practice on individualized, atomized terms.

      If the goal is actually to wield power, our withholding or supplying votes must be a matter of coordinated, collective action rather than individualized expressive choice. We need a union that can credibly threaten to strike, not individuals some of whom rage quit.

      Defecting from the Democratic Party, when it makes sense, makes much more sense as a collective rather than individual choice.”

      [emphasis added]

      We can argue about the proposal—its dynamics and mechanics and feasibility and all that—but making an argument for “coordinated, collective action” rather than “individualized expressive choice” is different than just “vote for Biden now and then…” well, who knows.

      1. anonymous

        defecting would be a collective choice if you liberals didn’t keep falling for the crypto snares or whatever you want to call it every four years.

  9. fresno dan

    “Immunology Is Where Intuition Goes to Die” [The Atlantic].

    You take hematology and they call them lymphocytes, you take immunology and they call them t- cells.
    It took me a while to figure that out….
    And of course you might not get infected because you just don’t have receptors that a pathogen can attach to.

    1. petal

      fresno dan, check out clusters of differentiation(CD). If that doesn’t make your head explode, nothing will. And that joke from the Atlantic article, it’s so true.
      Let me take a swing at the Science article. Give me a few minutes.

  10. mle detroit

    I’m not into paying for HBO, so I haven’t watched the Axios interview. From the quotes I’ve read, it could be called “Donald the Trumpeter’s Swan dive into an empty pool.”

  11. NoOneInParticular

    Historian Allan Lichtman has made his 2020 election prediction — in a NYT video
    They make you watch to get the bottom line — he has Biden winning. The keys:

    Incumbent party mid-term gains False
    No incumbent primary contest True
    Incumbent seeking re-election True
    No third party True
    Strong short-term economy False
    Strong long-term economy False
    Major policy change True
    No social unrest False
    No scandal False
    No foreign/military failure True
    Foreign military success False
    Charismatic incumbent False
    Uncharismatic challenger True

    Seven “trues” wins it. I have my doubts about his “false” on charismatic incumbent.

    1. EGrise

      I fear the good doctor’s predictions are based on the assumption of fair elections competently administered in good faith.

      I question whether that’s going to happen, or if we’re even capable of it right now.

      1. a different chris

        Well fortunately the Democratic Party is throwing cash and muscle (intellectual and physical) at ensuring that polling sites are readily available, mail-in voting is secure and quickly tabulated and the People’s Will will thus be properly conveyed.

        Oh wait, that was some weird voice in my head. Sounded kind of like Bill Clinton….I need to go look over my prescriptions, maybe I took the wrong pill at the wrong time. Apologies.

  12. Mark Gisleson

    Seriously?! I just loaded Nils Petter Molvaer, Rodolphe Burger, Erik Friedlander and Billy Cobham into an app and hit random play before reading this afternoon’s Water Cooler only to get to the end to find out that it was Louvin Bros Day?

  13. polar donkey

    Governor of Mississippi said yesterday that the situation being as it is, schools should not open. But he shouldn’t make that decision and should leave to individual school boards. Cut off for parents to choose online or in school learning was last week. After governor’s statement, parents called school system to change their enrollment. Were told they couldn’t. Parents getting fired up.

    1. ambrit

      Our esteemed governorator just moved back the opening of the school systems of the eight worst hit counties to Aug 17. That includes our county. (Our county, according to the City Mayor, has had over 770 confirmed new covid cases in the last two weeks.)
      On a related front, our fair metropolis is slated to be one of 89 regional covid vaccine testing sites around the country. The trial will cover several hundred people, with a blind vaccine/placebo mix. Yours truly is skeptical in the extreme and will try to remain inconspicuous for the duration.
      Quick update. The trial is by Moderna and the earliest roll out of the vaccine, if it works well, will be early 2021.

  14. Dr. John Carpenter

    Hey, I’ve had to take an aptitude test and a drug screen before every job I’ve ever had in my life. I guess I’m not applying high enough up the food chain where I can get indignant about it.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Yeah. And no test, no job. And if you don’t pass, no job. (And also, have a solid credit score.) Biden clearly is doing something right on his job applications. Maybe it’s the part about being a shameless hack for the financial services industry, or never ever Medicare For All?

    2. RMO

      That thought occurred to me as well…

      Then there’s the fact that the journalist in question isn’t displaying any of the traits of a coke-head on a jag whereas Biden’s performances certainly lend credibility to the idea that his mind is going.

      1. LawnDart

        Of all people, Delaware Joe should be familiar with the traits of a coke-head on a jag.

        Where’s Hunter hiding out these days? Kinda reminds me of when they finally got a leash on the Bush kids– the lawyers/fixers who handle this stuff must have many great stories they can’t tell.

    3. cyclist

      Yeah, if you get high enough up the food chain you can even operate your own e-mail server from home. Pay no attention to those boring data security training modules at work!

    4. CoryP

      That’s awful. I feel my employers would be somewhat reasonable to require this of me as a healthcare worker but they mercifully do not. I attribute it to the less oppressive work situation in Canada. ( statistically, more of us should fail a pee test more then our brethren in other fields).

      But then, many of us may display those long lived metabolites in our hair and reasonably attribute them to productive networking with potential clients and partners. I guess that’s PMC privilege. Tho I expect it to disappear within ten years. So even the good comes with an implicit bad.

  15. Krystyn Podgajski

    The Orange County Health Department here in North Carolina has just told the University of Chapel Hill that they want them to switch to complete virtual learning and restrict on campus living. More than 2,100 (10%) of students have notified UNC they will not be living on campus this academic year since May 1 regardless.

    This be be a huge bummer for the businesses that need these kids to survive. But I am glad.

  16. jr

    Help save a dying plant species!

    The lagochilus inebrians, or inebriating mint, is a very rare plant found only in Turmekistan. It is on the edge of extinction. I know of some people who have seeds and are attempting tissue cultures as well but it’s not an easy plant to germinate or care for. Barely anything is known about raising it indoors, some of the guys I’ve found on Reddit trying to raise them have botany professors asking them where they can get seeds or cuttings.

    If anyone has access to seeds or plants, there are experienced people who are willing to pay for them. I’m trying to help the growers by spreading awareness of the situation. Please reach out to me at piersverare AT protonmail.com or visit the reddit page /druggardening and leave a post. It’s seriously close, many seeds are infertile and no one is sure of the best method for raising them. Thanks!

    1. a different chris

      An “inebriating mint”??!!!?? Sign me the f(amily blog) up!

      Sadly though, I have no real talent for raising touchy plants so I really need to, for the plant’s sake, give it a miss.

  17. allan

    Some serious r*t-f*cking going on in Wisconsin.

    Wisconsin Republicans help Kanye West in his attempt to get on state presidential ballot
    [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

    Who knew Wisconsin Republicans were such big fans of Kanye West?

    The rapper’s campaign turned in a number of signatures on Tuesday in a bid to get on the November presidential ballot in Wisconsin. He is making similar attempts in Ohio, Arkansas and West Virginia. …

    It was a pretty impressive feat that West’s campaign was able to submit as many signatures as it did by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline. His campaign filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission only 2 1/2 weeks ago.

    But it certainly helped that the billionaire rapper got support from a handful of Republicans in Wisconsin. …

    First, West’s nominating petitions were dropped off with state regulators by Lane Ruhland, former general counsel for the state GOP. More importantly, she is currently representing Trump’s re-election campaign in a federal lawsuit against a Rhinelander TV station. …

    Then there are the 10 electors that West’s campaign had to round up to make it on the ballot here. …

    According to their social media accounts, several of the electors are very big Trump supporters or second- or third-tier Republican activists. …

    Sure, anybody can disenfranchise or suppress minority voting,
    but exploiting a bipolar has-been influencer trainwreck to siphon off votes – pure genius.
    The ghosts of Donald Segretti and Lee Atwater approve of this message.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      How uncouth! Good thing the Dems would never do anything to boost a racist, addled, narcissistic candidate they felt would hurt the Republicans!

      1. allan

        Those pushing Operation Pied Piper in 2015 were in over their heads, unable to comprehend a
        straightforward Gmail phishing attack
        even when it was spelled out to them in words of one syllable.
        Just talking their book and didn’t have a clue as to how to boost Trump and had zero impact on the GOP race.
        Little Marco, low energy Jeb and the Zodiac killer all self destructed quite nicely on their own.

    2. Keith

      Well, it could favor Biden. Remember, if no one gets to 270, it goes (or should, per the Constitution), go to the House to a vote. Then all bets would be off. Imagine the teeth gnashing of the teeth if Pelosi would put forward Hillary Clinton. I think that would be a very funny cap to 2020.

      1. Darius

        In a House vote, each state gets one vote, whether California or Wyoming. Do the Democrats control 26 state delegations?

        1. anotherLiam

          I came up with 26 rep, 23 Dem with 1 split. So if the numbers don’t change, it should still go to Trump.

        2. Keith

          My bad, I just assumed the vote went to according to representation, not reduced to a single vote.

          But thinking about it, would Trump be able to get all the R states to agree on him? Hogan of MD would be under immense pressure not to go along with Trump.

    3. edmondo

      Because we all know that black people will only vote for other black people. I think the real concern here is which bi-polar freak I want to vote for to hold the keys to the nuclear weapons. Besides, watching Kim Kardashian plant a Covid Victory Garden on the White House lawn might be enough to get me to vote for Kanye

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Because we all know that black people will only vote for other black people.

        This really is the subtext for all the Kanye concern. His politics, as much as I understand them, are hardcore evangelical right wing. Hell, he’s said things about slavery I don’t think Trump on his most loose lipped day would say in public. I don’t get how anyone who would otherwise vote for a Democrat would vote for that.

    4. John k

      Why not vote for him? Could he, even possibly, be as bad as our leading candidates?
      Let’s see… would he be likely to start a war? Granted I don’t know anything about him, but is he sane and cognizant enough to string words together sufficiently to form a complete sentence? If so,
      Would he send in the military on Blm protestors?
      The bar is not very high just now…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yes, indeed.
        Incompetence has likely saved a lot of people these last 4 years.
        maybe more incompetence is in order….as in a president who can’t operate a phone.
        or just let my cat—Bob—have the Oval for a time.
        the tweets might be fun.

        on the other hand,our oncologist’s usual farewell is “keep it boring!”.
        i like that idea, too, sometimes.

  18. Michael

    I read the article on “Break-up sex” and I recall a couple things.

    Firstly, someone always seems to come up with this argument every election cycle. Generally speaking, nothing happens after the election as the media is very adept at burying the left’s narrative and co-opting it suit their master’s needs. The author asks us to “passionately” support Biden, and then go on to reform the government. The first is impossible, the second is somewhat unlikely.

    Secondly, if you look at history, political parties do not respond to elections, but rather to the fear of the voters. As Thomas Frank points out in his latest book, it wasn’t until the Populists of the 1890s became very powerful did the Dems put up a reasonable compromise of Williams Jennings Bryant. Even after Republican McKinley won and was unfortunately assassinated did Republican Teddy Roosevelt understand the situation and start breaking up the monopolies.

    Additionally, in the 1930s it wasn’t until the country was on the verge of revolution and local third parties such as Minnesota’s Farmer Labor Party continue to win elections, did FDR arise to make his mark. While I do not advocate a revolution nor assassination, historically it is people in streets that seem to make the difference. Please refer to the more recent BLM movement.

    While the Dems are making vague promises, their platform is 180 degrees from the will of the people, and their strategy is to recruit suburban Republicans.

    The question arises: “If a Democrat is in office will the people be motivated to go to the streets?” That is a very vexing question, considering our advanced state of ecological decay, and a fascist in power. However, if a Dem is elected will he/she (Biden/Rice) be better, or a fascist-lite with better PR?

    As the country continues to collapse after the election, we will find out.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If a Democrat is in office, the Karens who think their gay stylist should be able to be married will call for tanks to prevent the people who agree with the protestors but not their means from being embarrassed.

      1. Acacia

        Yeah, this is more like getting a booty call from the Dim party.

        Yeech (w/apologies to MAD magazine).

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Great, as if Bernie rolling over and showing throat wasn’t bad enough, this sheepdog advocates presenting rump?

      Interesting take on ‘power concedes nothing without a demand’

      If you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him

  19. drumlin woodchuckles

    Well, Biden’s reply to that journalist showed that Biden is still aware enough to know when he’s been insulted, and his core instincts are still strong enough to respond back nasty and hard.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Isn’t that Biden’s default position? If we asked Biden about ethnic cleansing in Iraq and his own push to divide Iraq into ethnic states ignoring the large minority populations that would be left in those ethnic states, would he do anything differently? I can’t imagine anything else.

      The bottom line is he is 77. He should have an answer to the question no matter how insulting it is because he knows its coming.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wrote my comment from having read the item but before reading other comments and also not watching the video.

        I will watch the video and then see if I still think Biden has some basic alertness and core instincts.

    2. montanamaven

      He has some of the thinnest skin I’ve seen in politics. Trump doesn’t like criticism either but most often he will use humor to push back and he does see to enjoy sparring with reporters. So it’s a bit lighter in touch. Biden gets really pissed and he has this odd sense of privilege; a strange idea that criticizing him shouldn’t be done because he’s such a great guy. Or (because he’s just not all that bright), “C’mon man” is about the best he can do as a retort.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        That’s why I’m really going to be disappointed if the debates don’t happen (and is probably exactly why they won’t happen.) I am sure Trump is aware of how thin skinned Joe is. While Trump is also thin skinned, he’s better at playing this game. And if he isn’t, well I could enjoy a little mutually assured destruction with these two.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I will again offer the suggestion that if Biden won’t debate that Trump start calling him Waldo Joe and keep asking : ” Where’s Waldo Joe?” He could also take around an empty chair.

          He could also do a variant of a routine I saw on Saturday Night Live long ago. Dana Carvey would impersonate Johnny Carson and that other comedian whose name I forget would impersonate Ed McMahon. Well .. . one time ” Johnny Carson” had an ” Ed McMahon” machine sitting on Ed McMahon’s chair. The machine would emit suitable ” Ed McMahon” answers and comments and rejoinders whenever it suited “Johnny Carson’s” purpose.

          Perhaps Donald Trump could put a little ” Joe Biden” machine in the empty chair.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            I think if Joe chickens out of debating Trump, Trump will be fully justified mocking and insulting him for it, and that it will draw blood when he does.

  20. petal

    Okay for that Science paper, they think that prior exposure to a few common cold viruses(they listed them) resulted in the development of T cell memory, meaning the immune system has some T cells that remember eiptopes of these viruses, and that having prior exposure and memory to these cold viruses could influence the heterogeneity of symptoms that have been seen if one gets SARS-CoV-2. These cold viruses and SARS-CoV-2 share some sequence homology.

    An epitope is part of an antigen(an invader) that is recognised by the immune system(antibodies, T cells, or B cells bind to it). This paper says they found that 20-50% of people who had not been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 had T cells that reacted significantly to epitope sequences of SARS-CoV-2. They had blood samples that had been banked back in 2019, before SARS-CoV-2 popped up. They tested people from USA, UK, NED, Germany, and Singapore, so diverse population tested. The T cell reactivity was primarily found in the CD4+ T cell subset. CD4+ T cells are important in the adaptive immune response, say for infections.

    More work needs to be done in trials. Having memory of these epitopes could explain the wide range of different clinical outcomes that have been seen, influence thinking about herd immunity, and affect the performance of candidate vaccines.

    I hope that helps. Sorry if someone already beat me to it. I have tried to translate it from immunologist to normal people language. Please feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to get to them. Busy day today. Definitely try to read that Atlantic article for more background information on the immune response.

    1. Lee

      Is there any indication of innate immunity or can an immune response to previous exposure to a related virus explain all asymptomatic cases? See mine above. Not the Pink Floyd one.

      1. petal

        I’ll take Pink Floyd!
        Right, so it’s definitely a possibility. Think about vaccination-we give the immune system a little piece of the invader to eat, and immunological memory to that piece is created. Then, when exposed to that invader again(or another invader that may share that same piece/sequence), instead of building things from scratch(and thus taking longer), your immune system already has the wheel so to speak and it can jump ahead and zero right in on the invader. It already knows what exactly to look for. You may have some symptoms, but they won’t be nearly as strong or prolonged as if you had never seen that invader before. Your body doesn’t need to go to red alert and start carpet bombing. It already knows what to look for, and so that process is triggered and you can hopefully avoid a massive response. The response is specific, tailored. It’s really fascinating.

        1. Lee

          I am wondering if there is a genetic component that would confer innate immunity or if all asymptomatics are the result of an adaptive immune response. In either instance it would be liberating and useful to know if one were immune.

  21. Fastball

    If “breakup sex” is the analogy du jour, I will be going “celibate” until December and probably well after that.

    And afterwards I will ask anyone who had “breakup sex” who wants to have “sex” with me under any guise (like another political group) to get multiple “STD tests“ before I even think about it.

  22. Adam1

    “…pre-existing cross-reactive T cell memory in 20-50% of people.”

    I’ve been following Dr. John Campbell’s covid updates frequently (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF9IOB2TExg3QIBupFtBDxg). A week or so ago he reviewed a recent study of immunity relating to covid-19 and SARS where the researchers were trying to determine if there was cross immunity for those who had survived SARS relative to covid-19. The answer appears to be yes, but they also had a control group of people who had neither SARS nor covid-19 and they discovered (as I recall) about 20% of those people that appeared to have immune cells capable of combatting covid-19 but via a different mechanism. While it was originally hypothesized by the researchers that it was from immune response to the common cold they were able to determine that was not possible. It appeared the response was to fight off a beta corona virus that normally does not infect humans but is common in bats, dogs and cows. Their final hypothesis was that the immunity was due to exposure to the beta corona virus via dogs (pets) and cows (farming).

  23. Matthew Saroff

    Breakup sex with Joe Biden? Now THERE’S an appetizing meme.

    Also, do people ever actually have breakup sex? I’ve tried, but I have universally failed.

    1. tegnost

      I think that’s the point, mostly it just makes you feel worse, but you can’t stop yourself and it feels so good, the way it might have been…but wasn’t.

  24. dk

    Immunology Is Where Intuition Goes to Die

    “It’s still unclear, for example, why so many “long-haulers” have endured months of debilitating symptoms.” Maybe because there is permanent damage? “Broken glass” lung scarring is certainly long term. Just because the virus or antibodies aren’t detected doesn’t mean the body was suddenly restored to health. The same patterns of chronic fatigue (CFS), muscle pain, etc, were observed for SARS-CoV-1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09536-z

    Unlike the flu or rhinovirus, covid produces tissue damage and lasting morbidity. We don’t know all of the damage sites but they include heart , kidneys, liver, and brain. If intuition means everything is like the simplest most benign diseases, good riddance to it.

  25. nippersmom

    During a Biden administration, there will be a huge battle over who must be betrayed — corporations and donors, or us

    Biden isn’t even pretending to offer the left anything. There will be no battle, huge or otherwise. Biden has already explicitly stated to his donors that nothing will fundamentally change. That was one of the rare occasions when he was telling the truth.

    1. edmondo

      He’s got a friend in Bernie. I hope Joe’s ankles don’t hurt when Bernie holds his feet to the fire. LOL.

    2. John k

      Yes. If you won’t even make the slightest sign that you might possibly do something for the working class before the election, it’s beyond hopeless he’d do anything after.
      Obama lied about hope and change, trump specifically promised things he had no intention of delivering, though he did start the long overdue move away from China dependency. They got elected.
      Hillary was unwilling to lie, so is Biden, maybe worried about casting doubt with the donors… she list, we’ll see if a pandemic is enough to take out trump.

  26. Pookah Harvey

    For years the establishment Democrats have cried wolf to convince people to vote for the lesser evil. Many believe that advocating for Biden is just crying wolf again. Remember how that fable ends:

    In terror the Boy ran toward the village shouting “Wolf! Wolf!” But though the Villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help him as they had before. “He cannot fool us again,” they said.

    The Wolf killed a great many of the Boy’s sheep and then slipped away into the forest.

  27. VietnamVet

    Literally the USA is two different worlds. One where there is no pandemic. Schools reopening without out requiring face masks and social distancing. “Trump’s campaign knocks on a million doors a week. Biden’s knocks on zero.” In the other earth; 161,439 Americans are dead and the USA leads the world the number of COVID-19 cases.

    Nancy Pelosi on NewsHour last night showed her 80 years. Cori Bush a BLM leader won the Democratic Primary in St Louis over the incumbent finance committee chairman. Corporate Democrats are in the same positions of Republicans. Both are ignoring the impact of the pandemic in order to enrich their donors with a patentable vaccine/treatment next year. Republicans, Corporate Democrats, and the Media disregard reality and science to get paid. A vaccine isn’t certain. To control the pandemic, testing, contact tracing and isolation works. Public Health is expensive and difficult. But it would end the exploitation and corruption of privatized healthcare. It cannot work if Americans are not willing to help one another. Restoring Democracy and the Bill of Rights is the opposite of identity politics that the plutocracy have used to divide and rule America since Bill Clinton.

    1. IMOR

      Could have replied this way to 8 or 10 posters today, but to you and them: Haven’t seen you commenting before, or in a long while, and it’s great to see/hear the additional voices.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Read this: Meet the QAnon illustrator mapping out the Deep State’s wild web of conspiracies”

    Seen something like this a coupla years ago. Anybody remember the McChrystal Afghanistan PowerPoint slide? The computer program Powerpoint had made it out like a mass of spaghetti without weighing what was important or not. Even McChrystal was forced to quip at the briefing “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” This diagram is more of the same and is meant to confuse rather than makes clearer by not identifying what is actually important or relevant-


    1. RMO

      I like the question that forms the headline “can you do any better?” Easy, erase everything on that slide and cover the space with this:

      Everybody Go Home.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Hmm, the ‘Gordian Knot’ solution, which Alexander employed on his initial march into Asia Minor, presaging his stunningly rapid conquest of the great Persian Empire (saving the protracted siege of Tyre).

        By the time he got to Baktria and Kaukasos (Hindukush) though, he was simply starving out the locals and planting Hellenistic colonies on the limited arable land.

        ‘Everybody go home’ didn’t kick in of course until he hit the Ganges valley in India and his army threatened mutiny.

        (Hat tip, Mary Renault)

  29. IMOR

    10 elections, 3 of which an illiterate space alien could have called after listening for two weeks (84, 92, 12), two of which had to be stolen to come out his way (00, 04)…5/10. His taxonomy is interesting, his willingness to call it as early as he does is ballsy… but maybe enough of Lichtman for a while. Maybe?

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      11. Foreign or Military Success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. False.

      “He kept us out of war” was the slogan which reelected the [now cancelled] Woodrow Wilson in 1916, at least according to my dim recollection of the [now discredited, per Thomas Frank] Hofstadter.

  30. allan

    RobertsThomasAlitoGorsuchKavanaugh LLC just calling balls and strikes:

    Mark Joseph Stern @mjs_DC

    By a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court just lifted an order that had required the Orange County Jail to implement safety measures to curb its COVID-19 outbreak. All four liberals dissent. …

    In dissent, Sotomayor points out that the Orange County Jail “misrepresented under oath to the District
    Court the measures it was taking to combat the virus’
    spread,” falsely claiming it had implemented safety measures that “it now decries as vexatious judicial micromanagement.”

    SCOTUS’ five conservatives have quietly changed the rules regarding these emergency stays, but haven’t explained why. Among other things, they’ve decided that they always understand the facts better than the district court, which is a radical shift.

    I know this is boring, but the Supreme Court is not supposed to jump in every time a lower court issues a decision that five justices don’t like. After Kavanaugh replaced Kennedy, though, the five conservatives got REALLY aggressive about micromanaging lower courts. …

    It’s not judicial activism if a Federalist Society member does it.

    1. IMOR

      Boom. And I have a personal story of an O.C. superior court judge (eventually one term U.S. Rep) who turned the tables to make the Feds do their job if they were going to manage O.C.’s jails. Their are two morals to draw from his tale, but they wouldn’ t mean jack to the nine (8?) never worked as a trial judge but ten mins maybe in a fed district slot brethren.

  31. IMOR

    Look at his eyes in the still you posted. I knew Biden slightly, a close friend of mine far better: he knows it’s a powerful question, the right question, and he’s at least as scared as we are of the answer.

    1. Eureka Springs

      It’s difficult to watch. I could not finish it. Why is he doing this to himself and everyone else from his family to we, the mere citizens?

      Think of the red phone alone. If I played lessor evilism I would vote Trump over Biden in a heartbeat on this point alone.

      1. Late Introvert

        Trump is more anti-war than Biden, it’s a fact. Hard even for me to swallow, and I read all of the libertarian and conservative anti-war literature because I hate the Liberal War Mongers so much. I still can’t vote for Trump, or Biden.

        1. Massinissa

          I’m not sure I would call Trump ‘anti-war’ per se, it might be closer to say that he is ‘not pro-war’. Which is still a step up from Hillary and Biden, at least marginally.

  32. anon in so cal

    >Los Angeles house party shooting/murder:

    “L.A. Mayor Garcetti authorizing power and water shutoffs at houses and businesses hosting large gatherings”

    “Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday announced that he’s authorizing the city to shut off L.A. Department of Water and Power services at houses, businesses and other venues hosting large gatherings during the pandemic.

    “Starting on Friday night, if LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property, and we see these properties offending time and time again, they will provide notice and initiate the process to request that DWP shut off service within the next 48 hours,” Garcetti said.

    The mayor said this enforcement is not focused on small gatherings in people’s homes, but on the “people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us.”

    The announcement came after the county’s health department on Tuesday issued a “legally binding” order banning gatherings following a large Beverly Crest house party that involved people crowding together, the majority without face masks.

    Violating the health officer order prohibiting parties and other gatherings is “a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a statement…..Los Angeles County has recorded a total of 197,912 coronavirus cases and 4,825 deaths attributed to COVID-19 as of Wednesday — though a technical issue with the state’s lab reporting system has resulted in an undercount of the county’s cases…”


    I’m not seeing what number of guests qualifies something as a “large” gathering. But house parties have been occurring all throughout the pandemic. LA has toughened up its response to house parties and AirNBs considerably but they remain a problem.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      There’s nothing wrong with those Industrial Strength house partiers and yacht partiers that a little finely-milled anthrax powder couldn’t fix.

  33. southern appalachian

    Ulrich Beck, no Algeron Blackwood references? Some nameless horror. No cthutlu?

    Certainly we have the capacity to be better, not many are calling for it. Feels like Hospicing a culture, a way of life, lately. Hard to see unused capacity go by the wayside for small things.

  34. jr

    “Yep! Bush gives a shout-out to Sanders:”

    Wow, did that blow my mind until I realized what Bush was doing the shouting…

  35. attila the hun

    Being able to debate Donald should be a job requirement. If Biden can’t debate Trump he should not be running against him. Sanders, Cuomo and maybe Warren could take on Trump and probably come out O. K. The bottom line is the billionaires on Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood feel comfortable with Biden. If Biden losses they will still have Trump and in their view he’s better than Sanders or Warren. Their highest priority is to protect their fortunes and Biden or Trump are better than the alternatives, especially that arch fiend Sanders with his medicare for all and free education stuff, which will cost them a fortune.

  36. CoryP

    I didn’t read the breakup sex article yet because I was turned off and discouraged by the metaphor. I think it’s an apt metaphor. I just think it’s the wrong thing to do.

    I think 80% of my (repeated) breakup sex has effectively sucked me (and him) back into a screwed up relationship we both should have left much longer before.

    The other 20% represents lovers-turned-best friends (and potentially still lovers while we’re all still single). This is a good outcome, but it is not analogous to any relationship that any left leaning person should have with the Dems in 2020.

    As Dan Savage would say, DTMFA. Cold turkey. Pretend you don’t know them you accidentally bump into them. Block their emails. Go total eternal sunshine on them if technology allows.

    But then I don’t live in your country and I’m better at giving advice than taking it. (Hence the 80% situation above)

  37. anon

    Biden will likely win but I’m still taken aback when I leave my liberal bubble in the city and go to the more rural parts of my state. There are Trump signs everywhere. Sometimes every single house down a street will have an American flag and a Trump sign. I don’t see a single Biden sign. I know half of the country hates Trump, but if Biden can’t bring out the youth and minority vote during a pandemic, we may see a repeat of 2016. I have not ruled out Trump just yet. I know people who still plan on voting for him.

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