2:00PM Water Cooler 9/16/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

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

Midwest not looking good at all. Nor the South, as the regions chart below shows.

Here is positivity:

Here are the United States regions:

Pretty soon those upticks are gonna turn into a third wave. If that happens, Trump will look pretty toasty, (colorable) vaccine or no. (The savage irony would then be that the crème de la crème of America’s Professional Managerial Class — the gatekeepers of the meritocracy — failed, given months of time to prepare, to understand that their “customers” party. Or they did, and collected the tuition and housing fees anyhow. And Trump would take the hit! It’s beautiful, in its own way.)

* * *


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 18: Still no changes. August 31: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. September 9: No changes. September 14: No changes. Despite the sturm and drang, and the polls, the consensus on the electoral college remains the same: Biden ahead, Trump within striking distance.

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

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

Time to restore the election countdown:

Here, however, is an early voting calendar. Maybe we’ll have a whole series of October surprises, since election day is gradually being devalued as an event.

* * *

UPDATE About the reliability of polling (1):

UPDATE About the reliability of polling (2):


Biden (D)(1): “‘They made a really big mistake’: Biden confronts a regret of the Obama years” [Politico]. “Should Biden take the White House and get a Democratic Senate, it will likely all translate into an immediate push to roll back President Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts, slap significantly higher taxes on wealthy Americans and push through a multitrillion-dollar stimulus spending package aimed at fighting the Covid-19 virus, sending cash directly into people’s pockets, renewing enhanced unemployment benefits, rescuing struggling state budgets and investing in new infrastructure projects.” • Well, Democrats walked back higher taxes on wealthy Americans the day after this article was published, so forgive my skepticism on everything else; I wojld certainly need to know geographic distribution and program details. Another way of saying this: Will the Democrat Party function to serve the PMC, or will they function to serve the working class as well? Let alone “our democracy”? Forgive my skepticism, but to do the latter two, they’d have to send a lot of money to deplorables in flyover, people the PMC regard as moral, intellectual, even spiritual inferiors. Seems unlikely, based on past performance.

Biden (D)(2): Hard to argue with this:

The Hamptons are not a defensible position…

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “The Gray Wall” [Slate]. “Biden is creating his own coalition, and some of the most dramatic movement that’s taking place, and some of the aggressively contested terrain down the stretch, is among older white voters in both the Sun Belt and the Midwest. Now, the Biden campaign has the opportunity to do something that Democrats haven’t done since the 2000 campaign: win seniors. If Biden succeeds, it will be a catastrophic blow to the Trump campaign….. Although polling in recent months has shown Trump maintaining his advantage among the 50-to-64-year-old cohort, support among those over 65 has moved sharply toward Biden. In a national survey from Monmouth University released on Aug. 11, for example, which gave Biden a 10-point lead overall, Biden was leading registered voters over 65 by 17 points. That would represent a shift of 26 points among the oldest measured demographic from 2016.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): Appealing to the Hispanic vote:

What next? WAP for the Black vote? No, but the next best thing–

UPDATE Biden (D)(5):

UPDATE Biden (D)(6):

Funny, the poor kid bending over the toilet is how I feel when Biden tugs on my heartstrings like this and opposes #MedicareForAll. At least the ad isn’t about Beau, I’ll give Biden that.

Biden (D)(7): “Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden” [Scientific American]. • Great. Now I’ll have to check every article to make sure the Opinion side hasn’t bled over into the News side.

Trump (R)(1): “How Americans View The Coronavirus Crisis And Trump’s Response” [FiveThirtyEight]. • Not looking good with independents:

Trump (R)(2): “The key difference between the covid-19 risks at protests and Trump rallies” [WaPo]. “Whenever public health experts warn about the dangers of President Trump’s large political rallies, we are accused of hypocrisy: How come we condone Black Lives Matters protests but call out these rallies as potential superspreader events?… But there is one key difference between social justice protests and Trump rallies: Those attending BLM protests by and large grasp the danger and are motivated to reduce their risk, while a large share of those attending Trump rallies deny that there is a danger at all… The reason Trump’s rallies are more dangerous than social justice protests has nothing to do with the purpose of the gatherings and everything to do with the behavior of organizers and participants.” • The author presents a 300-city NBER study that shows no spikes from BLM rallies (with which I agree). Purely from the standpoint of case construction, it would be helpful to have had an equivalent, non-anecdotal study for Trump rallies.

* * *

“Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin decided the 2016 election. We’ll have to wait on them in 2020.” [Politico]. “Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are expecting huge surges in ballots cast by mail in 2020, like most states preparing to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. But all three Midwestern battlegrounds, which President Donald Trump flipped in 2016 to win the White House after years of Democratic presidential victories there, are among the states where local election officials are not allowed to start processing mail ballots until Election Day, according to a POLITICO review of election rules in 13 key states.” • Oh, great.

PA: “A Rust Belt Town’s Loyalties Divide as Pennsylvania Turns Purple” [Bloomberg]. “A few days before our meeting, Mikulich had presided over an acrimonious virtual council session: Town leaders had been trying to figure out how late-night rumors of an Ambridge-bound bus filled with Black Lives Matter protesters had ended in members of a far-right militia with sniper rifles taking to the roof of a downtown gym. All this was unfolding against the backdrop of a national election in which Mikulich feared his own Democratic Party seemed to be playing to lose in this purple corner of western Pennsylvania. Progressive Democrats’ and protesters’ calls to “defund the police” seemed like a gift to a president running a reelection campaign fanning fears of a collapse in American law and order should he lose. “Why would you say stupid stuff like that?” Mikulich said, grimacing. “The people who are just sitting on that fence leaning in your direction now are leaning back in the other direction because they don’t want to defund the police department. They’re going to say, ‘Where in the hell is my police?’ ” Mikulich has good reason to be concerned. In July, the Monmouth University Polling Institute, put Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania at as much as 10 percentage points under a high voter turnout scenario. But its latest poll shows that his advantage under the same scenario had dwindled to just 3 points.” • Within the margin of error, even if you don’t give Trump numbers a bump for “shy voters.”

PA: “Why Pennsylvania Could Decide The 2020 Election” [FiveThirtyEight]. “Right now, Pennsylvania looks like the single most important state of the 2020 election. According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential forecast, Pennsylvania is by far the likeliest state to provide either President Trump or Joe Biden with the decisive vote in the Electoral College: It has a 31 percent chance of being the tipping-point state.1 (That’s what happens when you take one of the most evenly divided states in the union and give it 20 electoral votes.) In fact, Pennsylvania is so important that our model gives Trump an 84 percent chance of winning the presidency if he carries the state — and it gives Biden a 96 percent chance of winning if Pennsylvania goes blue.”

“Why Are Democratic Super PACs Wasting Millions?” [The Nation]. “[T]he underlying analysis clearly shows that tens of millions of dollars are being wasted on spending strategies that are unsupported by—if not directly contradictory to—what the empirical evidence says we should be doing.” • I wonder if the commission structure for Democratic strategists has anything to do with it.


“Senate panel authorizes subpoenas in Republican probe targeting Obama officials” [Politico]. “A Senate committee voted on Wednesday to authorize more than three dozen subpoenas and depositions as part of a highly partisan, Republican-led investigation targeting former Obama administration officials’ role in the presidential transition period. In a party-line vote, Republican members of the committee gave its chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the power to compel testimony from several current and former officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who involved in the transition process in 2016 and 2017 as well as the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The authorization itself means Johnson will be able to wield the threat of politically explosive subpoenas — some against witnesses Trump has repeatedly styled as archenemies — even after Congress recesses in October and the election draws increasingly close.” • Not Brennan? All I can say is that this is pretty late in the day, and the Republicans had better have a simple story with a villain and a document, and not a ginormous hairball like Benghazi or RussiaGate. Fortunately for them, the Republicans heaved a parallel investigation of Hunter Biden over the side; it would have been a diversion, as the muddled writing in Politico shows. And everybody knows what Hunter is already, anyhow.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy” [Time]. “In more than seven dozen interviews conducted in Wisconsin in early September, from the suburbs around Milwaukee to the scarred streets of Kenosha in the aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting, about 1 in 5 voters volunteered ideas that veered into the realm of conspiracy theory, ranging from QAnon to the notion that COVID-19 is a hoax. Two women in Ozaukee County calmly informed me that an evil cabal operates tunnels under the U.S. in order to rape and torture children and drink their blood.” • Yes, that’s called capitalism. Metaphorically. More or less. No, seriously folks. I don’t love QAnon. But should we be more concerned with lunatic theories held by persons with actual power, like — hear me out — mainstream economics? Which killed more people? QAnon, or austerity?

“Is America a Myth?” [The New Yorker]. “Now, without outside threats, the nation is increasingly turning on itself. ‘We are definitely not united,’ [Yale historian David Blight] said. ‘Are we on the brink of secession of some kind? No, not in a sectional sense. But, in the interior of our minds and our communities, we are already in a period of slow-evolving secession’ in ways that are deeper than ideology and political beliefs. ‘We are tribes with at least two or more sources of information, facts, narratives, and stories we live in.’ The United States today, Blight said, is a ‘house divided about what holds the house up.'” • Blight is the creator of this excellent podcast on the Civil War and Reconstruction (hat tip, NC commentariat). That said, “tribes”? As a serious analytical tool? Defined as having “two or more sources of information”? Really?

“Progressive Donor Susan Sandler to Give $200 Million to Racial Justice Groups” [New York Times]. “Ms. Sandler’s announcement comes amid skyrocketing investment in racial justice organizations, fueled by the national reckoning on systemic inequities and injustice that swept the country this summer. Small-dollar donations to bail funds after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck, reached over $90 million. In July, the foundation started by George Soros pledged $220 million to groups focused on racial equity, an eye-popping total that gave long-term sustainability to several organizations. Ms. Sandler’s fund will provide several groups with a similar assurance. Taken together, the donations have reshaped the landscape of Black political and civil rights organizations, and made clear that race and identity will remain at the center of American politics.” • Because of what the rich want. There it is!

“Betting It All On Black” [Eschaton]. “Win or lose or whatever the inbetween thing is, the rot is deep and everywhere and there are lots of guns around.” • As alert reader A Different Chris put it the other day: Trump is the stench, not the rot.

Look forward and not back:

* * *

“State voter registration systems have not been hacked, officials say” [NBC]. “Federal and state officials said Tuesday that despite fears to the contrary, there’s no evidence that any state’s voter registration database has been hacked this year. A viral article in the Russian newspaper Kommersant claimed that a user on a Russian hacker forum had acquired the personal information of 7.6 million voters in Michigan and other voters in several other states, prompting claims that they had recently been hacked. But all that information was already publicly available, multiple officials said.”

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.

Containers: “August 2020 Sea Container Imports At Record Level Indicating An Economy Returning To Pre-Pandemic Levels” [Econintersect]. “On top of a trade war and the world pandemic, import container counts significantly improved. There is chaos in container movements with containers in the wrong place and shortages of rail cars to move containers. Simply looking at this month versus last month – both exports improved year-over-year whilst exports marginally declined. The three-month rolling averages improved for both exports and imports. Some pundits think that the new Panama Canal locks have affected the West Coasts container counts – our analysis is that there is little impact. Many do not understand that the new locks are more expensive per ton. However, a new trend is developing is that ships are going around the Cape because of lower fuel prices. Import container counts give an indication of the U.S. economy’s state and the data this month is suggesting stronger economic growth.”

Headline Retail Sales Improves in August 2020″ [Econintersect]. “Retail sales modestly improved according to US Census headline data. The three-month rolling average improved. There seems little overall impact from the coronavirus…. Retail sales have fully recovered their pre-virus levels overall. However, there is still year-over-year weakness in restaurants, department stores, clothing stores and gas stations.”

* * *

Real Estate: “Facebook buys an unused headquarters even as more employees work remotely” [CNN]. “Facebook is buying a previously unused corporate headquarters from outdoor retailer REI, despite the social media company’s plans to shift more of its employees to working from home…. ‘”The sale represents a positive return on the co-op’s investment in the property,” according to REI’s statement.” • 

Retail: “Amazon launches high-end ‘Luxury Stores’ – but access is by invitation only” [Channel News Asia]. “Amazon is bringing the high end shopping experience to the mobile phone with the launch of Luxury Stores – its new platform for luxury fashion. The first brand to launch on the platform is couture fashion house Oscar de la Renta. However, the new platform isn’t open to just about anyone. Access is by invitation only, available to select Amazon Prime members in the US. Those who wish to gain entry can request an invitation, but there’s already a waitlist. ‘We’re excited about creating an elevated and inspiring customer experience, while also infusing innovative technology to make shopping easier and more delightful,’ Amazon Fashion President Christine Beauchamp told Vogue.” • Oscar de Lowrenta…

The Bezzle: “Safety driver in fatal Arizona Uber self-driving car crash charged with homicide” [Bloomberg]. “In November, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) faulted Vasquez’s inactions and Uber for inadequate attention to safety and decisions in the company’s autonomous vehicle development. The NTSB said the probable cause was Vasquez’s failure to monitor the driving environment ‘because she was visually distracted throughout the trip by her personal cell phone.’ She was supposed to act in the event of an emergency. Uber made a series of development decisions that contributed to the crash’s cause, the NTSB said. The software in the modified Volvo XC90 did not properly identify Herzberg as a pedestrian and did not address ‘operators’ automation complacency.’ Uber deactivated the automatic emergency braking systems in the Volvo XC90 vehicle and precluded the use of immediate emergency braking, relying instead on the back-up driver.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 59 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 16 at 12:15pm.

The Biosphere

“Twin disasters: How the West Coast fires might impact the COVID-19 pandemic” [ABC]. “Previous studies have shown that during wildfires, affected areas see a substantial increase in emergency room visits and hospital admissions for respiratory illnesses (like asthma or emphysema) and cardiovascular conditions (such as heart attacks and strokes). Now, experts are concerned that the wildfires may add to the pandemic’s strain on California’s hospitals. ‘Hospitals are going to have to treat a lot of breathing problems as a result of damage from fire exposure. Capacity will be stretched,’ said [Simone Wildes, M.D.]. As people are forced to flee from the fires and take refuge together, social distancing efforts may be compromised. Shelter crowding is a major concern, she said, but so are the effects of inhaling toxins from wildfire smoke. ‘The big thing is social distancing is going to be hard, but you have to balance immediate danger, like needing to get people to safety from a fire, with the overall danger of spreading infection. The important thing is to get back to social distancing as soon as you are able.’ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidelines for staying safe while the COVID-19 pandemic overlaps with devastating wildfires. Checking air quality reports frequently is essential. The CDC recommends creating a cleaner air space at home, if possible, as well as adhering to social distancing and respiratory and hand hygiene practices as best as you can if you do have to go to a public disaster shelter.” • In a crisis, everything correlates….

Health Care

“When Will There Be a Covid-19 Cure? The Body Is Still the Best Virus-Killer” [Bloomberg]. “So why do viruses give humans so much trouble? Outside of the body, a vigorous hand-washing is enough to kill many. Inside, the immune system’s long memory is enough to make short work of most. It’s when we run into a new virus that the problems start…. Because viruses can’t survive on their own, they hijack our cells to multiply. That parasitic dependence makes them hard to treat with most traditional drugs. A virus is so interwoven with its host that it’s difficult to hurt one without hurting the other. SARS-CoV-2 infects the airways and lungs — the very things we need to breathe…. It’s not a coincidence that many infections last for about two weeks, [Paula Cannon, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine] said. That’s how long it takes for the immune system to kick into gear. ‘Our immune system is the world’s best drugmaker,’ she said. ‘Whether you had measles as a 5-year-old or Covid as a 50-year-old, our immune system comprises this vast library of potential antiviral approaches that offer protection.'” • Hmm. Replicants?

“You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus” [ProPublica]. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends rubbing on hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol when you aren’t able to wash your hands. Huge pumps and multipacks of bottles are flying off store shelves. But “alcohol-free” products — which are not recommended by the CDC — are also getting snatched up in the consumer frenzy. Some of the hand sanitizers made by the brands Purell and Germ-X rely on benzalkonium chloride instead of alcohol as the active ingredient. Such non-alcohol antiseptic products may not work as well for many types of germs, the CDC says, or may merely reduce the growth of germs rather than killing them. They may be better than nothing, experts say. But people are buying them without knowing the difference.”

“There are seven coronavirus vaccine candidates being tested in the U.S. — here’s where they stand” [MarketWatch]. “There are dozens of coronavirus vaccines in development, primarily in the preclinical phase when they are tested on animals. In the U.S., there are seven vaccine candidates that have moved into clinical trials with human participants, including three that have moved into the crucial Phase 3 development phase. The first and second phases of clinical studies are primarily conducted to test for safety, while the third and final stage is used to determine whether vaccines are efficacious and can prevent infection among participants. At that point, the vaccine makers will decide when to pursue an emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and/or a full approval. The majority of the vaccines in development have received funding from the U.S. government, either to help support clinical development or pay for manufacturing and distribution of the vaccines as part of the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” program.” • Phase 3 companies: AstraZeneca, BioNTech, and Moderna. Phases 1 and 2: Inovio, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, and Sanofi.

“The Carnival Cruise Ship That Spread Coronavirus Around the World” [Bloomberg]. The USCSS Nostromo? “The decision to allow the Ruby to dock would have profound consequences. The ship turned out to be the single most important vector for the coronavirus in Australia, accounting at one point for more than 10% of the country’s cases. In Tasmania two cruisers were the probable source of an outbreak so severe it forced a major hospital to shut down. Other infected passengers flew to the U.S., where some ultimately died. The crew, meanwhile, became virtual prisoners on their own vessel, some unable to return home for months. Although multiple cruise ships recorded large numbers of Covid-19 cases in the early stages of the pandemic, the Ruby was unique, and not simply because 28 people died of the illness, the most of any voyage. Two other notorious Carnival ships—the Diamond Princess, which was sealed off for weeks on a Japanese pier, and the Zaandam, which sailed up the entire west coast of South America looking for a country that would allow it to dock—were vessels that guests couldn’t leave. The Ruby was the opposite, the incubator of a devastating outbreak discovered only after passengers were on dry land.” • Good reporting from Bloomberg. Tragic.

The 420

Legalize, not criminalize, and what about amnesty?

And what do suburban Republicans think?


Ice Cube gets MMT:

Bernie coulda had Killer Mike and Ice Cube too….

Class Warfare

“Parents Who Double As Essential Workers Are Struggling More Than Ever. Here Are Their Stories.” [Buzzfeed]. “Since the early days of the pandemic, parents who can’t work from home — the people we now call essential workers — have confronted the dual risk of exposing themselves to the coronavirus at work, often for wages so low they are earning less than what people have been collecting on unemployment, while their children are exposed in schools and daycares. There is little in the way of help. Essential workers have found it hard to collect unemployment benefits if they stop working to care for their families. Those who can afford professional childcare, and are willing to deal with the risks, have found it difficult to find open spots. Around the country, thousands of childcare centers have closed as work-from-home parents withdrew their children, unintentionally impacting parents unable to keep their children home…. At the end of a long day, when they come home, they don’t let their children touch them until they’ve taken off the clothes from the outside world. Some are bracing themselves for what they consider to be the inevitability of contracting the coronavirus. They’re drained and scared, especially single parents. These are their stories.” • Vote!

Bring back Scabby!

Tne wokesters aren’t on the left. These are their salad days, but in a couple of Presidential election cycles, they’ll be liberal Democrat apparatchiks, and one ’em will have replaced David Brooks on the Times Op-Ed page. Although nobody will notice.

News of the Wired

“A Deep Dive Into the ‘Gentrification Font'” [Vice]. “If there’s a definitive look to gentrification, aside from the changing faces that make up a neighborhood, it’s not just the “gentrification building” (“blocky, forgettable mid-rises”), it’s also a “gentrification fence” (horizontal wooden slats) and a “gentrification font” (sans serif house numbers). These design elements often converge into a sleek, vaguely modern aesthetic that’s ubiquitous with neighborhoods in flux, all over the country.” • The font is “Neutraface, a typeface based on the work of modernist architect Richard Neutra.” Not the Obama campaign’s Gotham….

Such memage:

Aux duck pits, citoyens!

* * *

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 (IM):

IM writes: “Recently drove to Alberta for family reasons. What follows is a prairie shot, 1/3 plant and 2/3 sky, of canola on a sunny day, outside Drumheller, Alberta. Lots of dinosaurs waiting to erode out of the bedrock below.”

* * *

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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. nick

      Thanks for sharing. This app does have some additional info benefits beyond for example what you can get at the NYT. Namely quick comparison of trend lines across counties and good popup numbers

      But just speaking as someone a) who knows a lot of folks at esri yet b) hasn’t given any trust to their data products for the last 10+ years, ever since I had to work with their tapestry data… I’d watch out for the trend classification here. Emergent/spreading/… not likely to have any real importance. Also these things are only as good as input data of course

  1. km

    “Forgive my skepticism, but to do the latter two, they’d have to send a lot of money to deplorables in flyover, people the PMC regard as moral, intellectual, even spiritual inferiors. Seems unlikely, based on past performance.”

    Money quote. A lot of it comes down to aesthetics – deplorables tend to be fat, love Jesus and have bad taste (as determined by the standards of coastal hipsters). Not cool to have at your axe throwing party or whatever it is that the cool kids do in their leisure time.

    The PMC profess loudly to love The Working Class, but it’s working class people that they have no time for.

      1. km

        No argument there. The point still holds regarding The Working Class vs working class people, regardless of the color they happen to be.

    1. dcblogger

      how about the PMC is a lot like the working class, a whole bunch of people who do not necessarily agree. also the class lines are not always clear. Plumbers and elevator/escalator repair workers are generally considered working class, but they frequently make more money than office workers, certainly more than junior reporters on local papers.

        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          Money-Class Equation (and then some):

          The D. has money (so they say), but class? Prime example; even a poor son of the UK working-class like me can tell. But then as I understand it from reading an American author on the decline of the US, money equates with honour*. I can’t remember the book title or the author – should have taken more notice.


          *a word that getsmore weasel every time I note its use.

        2. LifelongLib

          “Income is not class.”

          No, but I question whether professionals and managers are a class either. Many live paycheck to paycheck, with no other significant income. Most can be fired at will. It seems to me that they would largely be included in a more expansive definition of working class — mental as well as physical labor, which they too are selling…

    1. lyman alpha blob

      About an hour into the interview now and they’re discussing the Assange case for anyone who is interested.

  2. Grant

    “How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy”

    Gosh, this is a new issue, and certainly the media is in a position to lead the charge, right? Cause it didn’t help with propaganda against the Reds here in the states in decades past, wasn’t outed by the Church Committee for actively helping the CIA and NED in spreading state propaganda, didn’t help lead us into the war in Vietnam, didn’t cover for what happened in East Timor, didn’t support multiple coups against democratic governments the world over based on lies, didn’t help lead us into the war in Iraq, didn’t help to spread Russian conspiracy theories, hasn’t helped to provide cover for the NSA mass spying campaign, and doesn’t actively mislead people on issue after issue (single payer, economic and class issues, foreign policy, etc.), and I could go on. It isn’t that Americans believing nonsense isn’t an issue, it isn’t a new one, but the corporate media is as collectively responsible as anyone for filling the heads of Americans with nonsense and propaganda. Chomsky can lead this charge, most of the media cannot. The media was central to pushing Biden’s zombie campaign through too, so if you look at these two choices in horror, realize that the media is very much responsible for the rotten choices we have for president too.

    1. Laputan

      Funny how that same media who gasp in awe at the credulity of the 4chan QAnon crowd will publish a completely unsubstantiated claim like ICE is performing forced sterilizations without a hint of self-awareness whatsoever. What’s more absurd, people who have not much going on in their lives believe that in some dark, smoke-filled room a cabal of satan-worshipping pedophiles are secretly running the world? Or that a group of educated professionals whose job it is to know and, thus, report what’s actually happening, repeatedly promulgate canards that either can’t be proven or that have been proven to be untrue?

      Not saying that the latest revelation isn’t possible and that there aren’t a myriad of reasons to detest ICE. But it’s one nurse’s word, and they’re pretty much batting 0 when it comes to all these “bombshells.”

      1. Aumua

        Yeah I tend to want to believe what the ex-employee is saying but at the same time I’d like confirmation. I find it strange that the original story from her on the Intercept had no mention of hysterectomies and was exclusively about lax COVID-19 protections at these detention centers, which is very plausible. I’m reserving judgement for now.

          1. Laputan

            This is dumb. ICE is indeed bad and should be abolished. That doesn’t mean the nurse’s claims are automatically true.

      1. km

        Dunno, any metric in the social sciences will be gamed. AKA “Campbell’s Law”.

        Moreover, how would that apply to the internet, which doesn’t have the bandwidth limitations that gave rise to the Fairness Doctrine?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The whole reason the Conservatard Movement prevailed upon their President Reagan to repeal the Fairness Doctrine was because they couldn’t game it.

          If the Fairness Doctrine were re-instated and crammed down the throat of Conservatard Talk Radio, the Conservatards would not be able to game it.

    2. Grant

      One correction, the NED was created in the 80s. The Church Committee did uncover the widespread use and infiltration of the US media by the CIA.

  3. Tom Doak

    I wonder if Uber is going to use its billions of dollars in venture capital to defend their driver against homicide charges?

    1. Mikel

      For what it’s worth, I’m in LA County anxiously awaiting my mail in ballot for the sole purpose of voting down their proposition. It’s going to be the first thing I check.

  4. JWP

    Re: Import container volumes:
    The US could be importing body bags and lime to the same volume as all current imports and the economy would be “back to normal levels” as far as they’re concerned.

  5. JohnH

    IL medical cannabis card holder here. We went legal for recreational use in January – costs are up, until recently supply was down, but the state and corporate producers are raking it in in terms of revenue. The state seems to be dragging it’s feet with granting licenses and leaning in to corporate concentration.

    I would argue mere decrim has some real advantages over legalization. Either way we turn the spigot of convictions off, but “legalization” means you can only get your supply legally from a licensed di$pen$ary and certainly cannot grow your own. Much remains illegal under “legalization” that would be unprosecutable under decrim.

    1. Art

      Agree, decriminalization is the right way to do it. But ol’ bong lord Chuck is just chumming for stoner votes. They ain’t gonna decriminalize it :(

      1. bassmule

        You can grow your own in Massachusetts. Here’s what’s allowed:

        You can’t use marijuana in any form (smoking, vaping, edibles, etc.) in public or on federal land
        You can have up to 1 oz on you and up to 10 oz in your home
        You can grow up to 6 plants in your home, and up to 12 plants for 2 or more adults
        If you have more than 1 oz of marijuana in your home, it has to be locked up. But it’s best to keep any amount locked away to keep kids and pets safe.
        Like alcohol, you can’t have an open container of any form of marijuana in the passenger area of your car while on the road or at a place where the public has access. It must be stored in a closed container in your trunk or a locked glove compartment.
        It’s illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. If you use, don’t get behind the wheel. Instead, use public transportation, ride-shares, or catch a ride with a sober friend.
        Employers, landlords, cities, and towns may have their own policies about the use of marijuana. Check with them to see what is legal.

        1. hunkerdown

          Michigan’s laws are slightly more permissive, but similar in the broad strokes. Other than the sociogenic effects of having to network to hook up, you gotta wonder what people selling decrim are smoking.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Perhaps they think re-legalization will never ever be allowed and decrim is the best they can ever hope for, so they support decrim.

        2. jr

          I was considering making and selling infused ice cream as a small income generator. Now if you have 2 oz or below in NYS it’s a fifty dollar ticket. What could go wrong?

          This: it’s a class C felony to manufacture and sell, probably own too, infused foods. Like over a gram. Very different laws for edibles.

          So I spent one glorious afternoon making a quart of fine chocolate ice cream stoned to Heaven and back, stumbling around my apartment leaving bowls of ice cream everywhere, like Henry Hill’s girlfriend with the coke lab in her apartment.

  6. jefemt

    Ice Cube…. if the 3 trillion aggragates in short order into the 1%, and they reinvest in assets (equities, ranches, fourth homes and helicopters and yachts) there is no inflationary pressure.

    If that 3 trillion rolled out to Everywoman, there would be lots of dollars chasing a much larger array of goods and services, many of which are increasingly in short supply due to covid reduced production.

    So there COULD be big inflation— better keep tight control on where that $ rolls out.

    although….. 3 trillion distributed to every man , woman and child in America comes in (assuming my gozintas are correct) what would be $800 or so. $2400 to a family of four.

    So, it wouldn’t hurt a thing?

    Killer Mike and Ice Cube 2024? Kanye is quaking in his schmancy tooled Wyoming Cowboy ™ boots

    1. Glen

      What bugs me is all the data from the Fed that says there is no inflation. I think there has been plenty of inflation, and incomes have not kept up with it.

      How did we end up with 40% of the people not able to handle a $400 emergency?
      How is it that there is no place in the US where people making minimum wage can afford rent?

      This was not the case twenty years ago so what happened?

      And now we have millions of families which are going to get evicted, and a good percentage of families that cannot afford food.

      I think all these economic indicators have been twisted into such pretzels to tell a story that is such a laughable lie that no one believes them anymore.

        1. edmondo

          When is the last time you were at the dollar store? The last time I went, everything was still a dollar but 6 oz packages are now 3 ounces and 6 packs are now 4 packs.

          Tesla stock isn’t the only thing that quadrupled in price since the last time I looked.

      1. eg

        Well, for starters wage stagnation will depress a lot of inflation, and there’s been at least 40 years of that …

      1. JBird4049

        The stimulus checks were distributed to IIRC 275 million people. If they had distributed that 3 trillion to those households instead of finance and big business, it would be ~11,000.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Isn’t the 3 trillion into stocks, bonds, assets and such driving the prices of those things upward? And isn’t that inflation . . . confined to the areas of richpipo assets that were targeted by the 3 trillion?

  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: ““How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy””

    Conspiracies are metaphors that people take literally.

    So when someone starts explaining a conspiracy to me I listen to them and believe them because it is just how they see the world. Like metaphors, conspiracies are not true or false, they are just world views, and interpreting the metaphor helps me understand them.

    1. pjay

      Some “conspiracies” are more significant than others, however. For example, as Lambert notes above, QAnon theories are held mainly by the powerless. Russiagate is pushed mainly by the powerful. They may be “just world views,” but they could do some damage. The former could motivate groups of MAGA-hat wearing, beer-bellied, AR-15 toting “militia” to hurt some people. The latter could justify an even more powerful national security/surveillance/police state and start WWIII. Moral: powerful people can do a lot more damage.

      Personally, I see the “world view” behind Russiagate as both bulls**t and extremely dangerous. Interestingly, at least one element of the QAnon narrative — that Trump is facing a Deep State coup attempt — I see to be *true*, and also extremely dangerous. What kind of a “conspiracy theorist” does that make me?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        And meantime the look into whether a sitting president falsified evidence and used the FBI and CIA to try and overturn the result of a presidential election is called “a Republican probe targeting Obama officials”.

        Uh-huh. Payback is a b*tch, just wait until your team is on the receiving end of unbelievable cr*p like this. You’ll be crying for “Norms!” and “Institutions!” and “Laws!”, but there won’t be any.

        Just file under Banana Republic, Part One Million.

      2. Brindle

        Several years ago I became friends with someone who was an ardent QAnon supporter. At first I thought it was kind of quirky but after some months it was obvious my new friend was a stone cold racist.. I live in a red state and a defining characteristic of most of the Trumpsters I am around (work with) is their basic racism and their despising of environmental regulation.

        1. pjay

          I’ve known my share of these people as well, including a few I grew up with way back when. I’ve also known some Trump supporters, and at least one QAnon follower (don’t know if she is a “supporter” but she believes some of that stuff) who I do not think are racist. I’m not defending any of these people here. But they are all relatively powerless compared to the members of the permanent state, the intelligence community, and their media assets who have been pushing the Russiagate narrative (and a lot of other things). I also think that if fascism comes to the US, it’s more likely to come from this source rather than from those MAGA-beer belly-AR-15-toting good ole boys, however racist they might be.

  8. lyman alpha blob

    Not only does Ice Cube get MMT, for an old fart he’s still one funky [family blog]er.

    From an recent album whose title all NCers can relate to, Everythang’s Corrupt, here a little pick me up – That New Funkadelic

    1. Pelham

      Ice Cube hits on something about MMT that others, mystifyingly, don’t: It’s the fact that when the currency issuer doesn’t inject enough money into the economy, it’s absolutely GREAT for private banks, giving them enormous scope to drive consumers and businesses into debt. That’s how banks make their money, and they control the Federal Reserve to boot.

      This is where MMT could gain some traction with a broader public because it’s infuriating that we’re being deliberately impoverished for the benefit of the financial industry. We should be up in arms!

      1. John Wright

        Excess reserves at the Fed peaked in May at 3.2 Trillion and are now at 2.8 Trillion.

        Banks could loan out a lot more money as the excess reserves could be multiplied up,

        Meanwhile, the Fed is paying the banks 0.1% on these excess reserves. Not a high percentage, but the Fed does not have to pay ANYTHING on excess reserves.


        The banks have a lot of reserve firepower, but finding credit worthy borrowers must be the problem.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          And the excess reserves come at least in part from banks being paid 100 cents on the dollar by the Fed for highly dodgy assets. Wasn’t there another stealth round of QE over the last several months in one of the covid bailout packages? And the banks make an extra $2.8 billion for the privilege of being rescued by the taxpayers. Nice work if you can get it.

    1. eg

      Reminds me of a motorcycle ride across the Prairies 30 years ago — but what you can’t see in the picture are the gigantic grasshoppers that feel like gravel when they strike your leathers …

  9. a different chris

    Mind if I add?:

    the Liberal establishment said “you’re going to vote for Kamala Harris” – folks said “no we are fucking not” and then they said “fine, you are obviously racists and misogynists thus you’ll vote for Joe Biden and we’ll just install Harris”

    They have no other way to comprehend the world.

    1. pjay

      Unfortunately, the tweeter’s handle is “Donald Trump is a fascist & so are his supporters,” so not much subtlety on either side here. But his point is certainly valid.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Unless the tweeter’s handle is meant satirically. Or sarcasticly. Or sartiricastically. Or something.

        Which shows yet again that the Internet is a very poor place and a very poor vehicle for satire.

  10. fresno dan

    DUCK ARMY: Drone footage captures 10,000 ducks “cleaning” rice paddies in Thailand. Farmers use the ducks to remove pests from the fields.
    Hmmm….I would have thought with that drone flying overhead, a duck would have gotten the idea that maybe, just maybe, it could fly instead of walk…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Meanwhile Big Pharma is saying: ‘Wait! Wait! We have chemicals that can do that job that aren’t too expensive and have an acceptable amount of side effects.’

      Thai farmers: ‘Can you eat the chemicals afterwards?

      Big Pharma: ‘Well, no.’

      Thai farmers: ‘Well, we can eat the ducks afterwards.’

  11. Phacops

    Isn’t Canola merely a cultivar of Rapeseed that eliminates the toxins?

    Personally, I find Canola horrible tasting so avoid it.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      That is my memory also. I believe it was developed in Canada where it was first called LEAR oil ( for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed) oil. But then the relevant authorities decided that lear oil wasn’t a tasty name, so they renamed it canola.

      1. Diuretical

        Rapeseed oil became “canola” by way of contracting “Canadian oil”, and has had quite a run since. I’m on team grape seed oil, despite my heritage.

    2. Late Introvert

      Beg to differ, the Spectrum organic Canola is a very neutral oil, good for baking.

      And I always remind everyone how it used to be called rapeseed.

        1. Late Introvert

          Thanks. We use olive and grapeseed and sunflower for 90% of the time, but this is good information, especially the way it’s made. Not too appetizing.

      1. jr

        Food professional here, agreed, cheap and nearly flavorless, decent scorch temperature. Wouldn’t want it as a salad oil but should olive oil become scarcer for whatever reason I’d take infused canola over corn oil, now there is some yuck.

        Oil is preferable for baking over butter unless butter is specifically called for. Butter introduces solids, proteins and butter fats, weighs down the crumb. There are a couple of famous cupcake shops in town who all use butter. It’s like eating sugary Play-Doh. Plus oil is much cheaper and easier to store.

        Also, a safety tip from left field. If you have vinegar or wine for cooking stored in a bottle with a metal jigger cap, don’t. I just ruined a beautiful jar of pickled jalapeños because when I poured the wine in, rust came out. The acidity ate the cheap metal away. Pull those jigger tops apart and check! Probably need cleaning anyway, they trap rancid oils too. Soak em in bleach and wince at what comes out.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        In this case , the “rape” in rapeseed is an English language corruption of the Italian word “rapa”, to the best of my memory. So we could de-corrupt the Italian word “rapa” to turn the whole word into rapaseed, if we could get enough people to go along.

        If my memory is correct, then the “rape” in rapeseed has nothing to do with the actual English word “rape”.

        1. Basil Pesto

          if rapa is related to french râper/rapée, then it means grated, shredded. Might have something to do with how the seeds are processed for oil?

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin decided the 2016 election. We’ll have to wait on them in 2020.” [Politico].

    Yeah, about that.

    Krystal Ball did her radar about this yesterday. For all you Green Party voters and adherents to the theory that Trump is destroying the post office to “suppress” the vote, this is a must watch.


    It appears that democrats are causing chaos in WI and PA in an attempt to litigate the Green Party off the ballots. Because Jill Stein in 2016.

    And in print:

    In the latest sign of the chaos overshadowing the 2020 election, none of Pennsylvania’s counties will be able to send out ballots to voters Monday, the first day the critical battleground state allows counties to do so.

    The state’s Democratic Party remains in court battling to keep the Green Party off the ballot. The pending legal dispute has led to a delay in certification of the November ballot, and as a result, all Pennsylvania county election officials who this year could have started offering absentee or mail-in ballots, as well as in-person early absentee voting, starting September 14 are in a holding pattern.


    When they tell you who they are, believe them.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      One thing no one seems to be mentioning is that the underlying cause of the ballot chaos in WI and probably elsewhere is the federal MOVE Act passed in 2009, which now requires ballots to go out 45 days before the election on the claim that in 2008 a handful of the troops didn’t get their ballots in time to vote. My recollection is that this was Repub horsesh1t but of course 2009 was when the Dems were in charge and you know they are going to Support the TroopsTM. This crappy law has forced states like WI, which has never had a problem processing absentee ballots, to move up primaries that used to be held in Sept (but now that doesn’t give enough time to get the general ballots out) to early August, when absolutely no one is paying attention. The law is a real boon to ballot challenges because it adds time pressure to any decision. The Dems on the WI Supreme Court were basically able to punt on the substantive issue because there (allegedly) wasn’t enough time to consider the issue on the merits.

      One thing I have found interesting is the number of commenters, here and elsewhere, that have long claimed the Dems don’t really try to win elections but are outraged at this nefariousness with the Greens.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          If I wasn’t clear, I meant to say that the rationale, in my recollection, was Repub BS. Certainly not defending O or the Dems on this or anything else.

          The WI ballot has just been published – 5 choices for Pres/VP: Libertarian, Constitution, and American Solidarity are the other 3 choices. This is many fewer than usual. In past years, I believe, it was typical to have 10-20 choices. And I think they are all rightwing (where are the Socialist Workers?) so it looks like the Dems got what they wanted.

    2. ChrisAtRU

      When they tell you who they are, believe them.

      Indeed. Finger on the trigger, gun aimed squarely at their foot, team #PaidToLose strategy working as intended. If they keep the Greens off the ballot, who are they gonna blame when they fall short?

      Oh yeah …

      Lefty Twitter

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Hahaha! It was an oversight, but TBH, she’s had to remind some of the limo liberal numpties on Twitter (Soledad O’Brien etc) that she (Sarandon) is actually going to vote for Biden. But you’re right, ’twill matter not if Biden loses. They’ll put her in the same camp as Bernie, and say she didn’t do enough to bring lefties into the fold!

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      This doesn’t mean that Trump didn’t send his political commissars into the Postal Service in order to destroy its functionality just before the election. He did, they have and they are.

      To the Feinstein’s Husband Democrats’s dismay, Trump is fast-forwarding the “deconstruction” of the Postal Service fast enough to attract attention . . . faster than the Feinstein’s Husband Democrats would like.
      They were hoping the Postal Service could be slow-killed before the public realized it, so that Feinstein’s husband could make all that money selling all those force-surplusified Postal Service properties.

  13. Max in PHL

    “But all three Midwestern battlegrounds…” I’m quibbling, but where does Politico find these hack writers? I’m sitting about 100 miles east of Politico’s offices outside of the Imperial City, could dip my rear in the Atlantic Ocean in about 90 minutes with only a little bit of hustle, and somehow I am in the Midwest?

    No surprise that their political analysis is of such high quality!

    1. Arizona Slim

      Pennsylvania native here. And, Max, I agree with you.

      During my growing up years outside of Philadelphia, I understood that my rear was firmly within a Middle Atlantic state. One that, for all of its quirks and foibles, was certainly not Midwestern.

      Hey, Max, say hello to PA, wouldja?

      1. edmondo

        Ninety percent of Joe Biden’s votes will come from within 60 miles of Philadelphia. The rest will go solidly Trump.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Pittsburgh and Erie end of the state is pretty Midwestern. And middle Pennsylvania is Appalachia all-the-way.

      3. Big Tap

        Drumlin Woodchuckles is correct. My understanding is people from the Pittsburgh region and western PA consider themselves Midwesterners. The weather is harsher there vs. the Mid Atlantic. They have more snow and harsher winters. I also live in the Philly suburbs and I see mostly Biden/Harris signs.

  14. Pookah Harvey

    Excuse me while I clutch my pearls but lets do some comparisons:

    Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden, first time they have endorsed a presidential candidate in their 175-year history.
    The New York City law enforcement union, the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), endorsed President Trump for it’s first ever presidential endorsement in their 120 year history.
    The head of the nation’s largest police union said that the 350,000-member organization endorsed President Trump for reelection because of his strong call for law and order.
    “Overwhelmingly it was unanimous to support President Trump,” said Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes.
    So Biden has the backing of the science nerds vs Trump having the support of the militarized police and the armed militias.
    I think I may go out and get a Trump yard sign in case of a contested election.
    Not saying there is a high probability of a fascist take-over but….
    I’ve pointed out before there is a 83.3% chance of having nothing to worry about when playing Russian Roulette, it is the 16.7% that is the problem. It is the 16.7% that keeps rational people from wanting to play the game at all.

    1. Quentin

      Scientific American = Rupert Murdoch endorses Biden. What do thing of that? Rupert Murdoch in bed with both Science, as Pookah Harvey puts it, and Kamala Harris’s vehicle to stardom.

    2. dcblogger

      before you put up that Trump sign you might want to peruse Havel’s power of the powerless. A fascist takeover is NOT a reason to put up a Trump sign,

    3. a different chris

      >Overwhelmingly it was unanimous

      Uh, well good thing he found a career calling that didn’t require mastery of the English language…

      I could actually believe the unanimous part, though. How long was it between the time Hitler* became Chancellor and the time everybody in Germany would furiously nod their heads when asked if they were Nazis?

      *Godwin’s law is right out the window for me nowadays, sorry.

      1. Sailor Bud

        Godwin’s is silly anyway. The law itself is a mere statement of cliché. Namely, the longer an internet argument, the higher the likelihood that someone will compare something to nazis.

        Over time, in true internet fashion, this morphed into “mention Nazis and you will be Godwin’d and will automatically lose the argument.”

        Mentioning nazis in a discussion inherently related to fascism should in any rational discussion never be met with Godwin bombs.

        1. jr


          It’s a dodge, to duck the grim realization that it can happen here, shrouded in a fog of received wisdom. It’s also a weapon, how many times have I heard legitimate complaints that use the symbolism of the Nazis to convey real meaning to have the entire discussion dismissed because some Captain Literal snorts in derision…is it a historically sound argument? Maybe not, but maybe. Is it a relevant image and idea set for everyday fears and concerns? You bet.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        You mean like the Dems nominating Joe 3 Strikes Biden and COPmala Harris???

        So weird defending Trump but here we are!

  15. MrQuotidian

    It’s a shame that San-serif has become such an obvious marker of gentrification.. it was supposed to be the utilitarian, non-ostentatious, egalitarian font style. Look at the whats on your local usps for instance, beautiful San-serif. Another working-class affect appropriated by contemporary design culture (denim work shirts anyone?).

    My favorite marker of gentrification is seeing a nice older house (even a Victorian) painted entirely black. Excuse me, I mean “charcoal.” I drive my architect spouse crazy, constantly exclaiming, “where’s the Humanity!?” As a renter, I’m half jealous of course.

  16. Jr

    I keep watching that video of the ducks scouring vermin from the field play through my head and murmuring “The Hamptons are indefensible.”as it does.

  17. skippy

    Interestingly the Hampton’s was once an enclave of Bohemians and Artisans …

    Seems like its opening a can of tuna with a cat [fat] around … said cats then buy the IP for the can opener and then bottleneck the supply chain of Tuna … which then evicts the previous inhabitants by natural [tm] market forces … this is then proclaimed progress [economic].

    In other news … Back from the land that time forgot with youngest son, seems the old boys are prepared to weather the antics of late whilst keeping networks secure and move forward as things present themselves. Sons great uncle had not been in town so long that a couple of gals in their 30s poked him in the shops, said they were checking if he was real. This is a bloke that has his head stone in the shed, showed my son, likes to be prepared.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    PMC Americans are not really Wealthy Americans. What they are is . . . the Wealthy Americans’ eager little footstools. So of course they will vote against any Tax Restoration against the Wealthy Americans.

    Also, and separately, of course the Hamptons are not a defensible position. They are a sacrifice position. They are there to decoy the merely rich into living there . . . to be sacrificed if need be.

    The Really rich have runaway shelters in places like New Zealand ( Peter Thiel) or Paraguay
    ( https://5minforecast.com/2015/04/24/why-did-george-bush-buy-nearly-300000-acres-in-paraguay/ )

    If the really rich feel they need to sacrifice the merely rich, they will do so. As the little richies burn down along with their Hamptons, the Big Richies will look on from their Command Bunkers in Paraguay and etc. . . . and laugh and laugh and laugh.


  19. ambrit

    We got two election related pieces of mail yesterday.
    One was from the Post Office concerning mail in balloting.
    They had an internet site for the subject: usps.com/votinginfo. The card mentioned basic rules for voting by mail. Request your ballot 15 or mare days in advance. Mail it in no later than seven days before the voting day. So, the USPS is gearing up for the November Surprise.
    The second was from a conservative group called the “Faith and Freedom Coalition.” It overtly pledges to get ten million “Conservative Christians” who have not recently voted to go to the poll to stem the ‘red’ tide of the “radical, anti-America, anti-Christian Left.”
    The above screed was from, wait for it, Ralph Reed. Who knew that even Christians dabbled in the Dark Arts? Seeing Ralph Reed stride the Earth again is something too close to Necromancy for my tastes.
    What is compelling about this is that Reed’s organization is touting a basic political ground game. They are talking about a conservative Christian voter registration strategy, targeting ‘battleground swing states’ (their words.) The script they endorse also accuses the “Left” of trying to defenestrate Trump with what they refer to as the “Russia Hoax Coup attempt” and the “Impeachment Farce.”
    Why cannot the real Left get their act together as well as does the Radical Right?
    Sometimes I despair.

    1. pjay

      Wow. Ralph Reed. And a “Faith and Freedom Coalition.” What a flashback. Where have you been Ralph?

      This “red tide radical anti-American anti Christian left” stuff has been around for a long time, of course. If only the “Russia Hoax Coup attempt” and the “Impeachment Farce” stories weren’t, you know, *true*, I would feel a whole lot better.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Biden (D) (4|5)

      Despacito (the word) could literally serve as the anthem of impotent incrementalism.

      Despacito, mi amor, let’s try lowering the eligibility age to 60 first, no?

      Ay mami, despacito … let’s target 2035 for carbon neutral while we allow un poquito de “fracking” to continue, k?


      Also, nice touch on the Biden ad to lead with Ronald #FamilyBlog Reagan … #Natch

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Biden (D) (6)

        The poor kid bending over the toilet is how I feel when Biden tugs on my heartstrings like this and opposes #MedicareForAll.

        … as anyone with a heart, a conscience and a modicum of empathy would.

      2. ambrit

        Oh Gods Great and Small defend us! The Democrat Party candidate invokes the ‘Princeling of Darkness’ Himself to lead off his ad?
        It is not just the Conservative Christians who dabble in the Dark Arts! Biden’s people are working to resurrect the lich of Reagan to shamble back upon the political stage. Having rehabilitated the reputation of Bush 43, they now grasp at Arts best left undisturbed!

  20. Jr

    Re: Scabby

    This is obviously a perfect example of the gutting of working class organization by “woke-think” but not only because it is specifically attacking this long time symbol of scumbaggery. It alters the playing field so that no criticism of power can ever stand on it’s own two feet. As soon as you point a finger at X, someone will come along and decry you as having failed to take into account the fact that your enemy is a woman or of color or is wearing a pressed Oxford or all three. There was something similar with Joy Reid a while back:


    And then Jimmy Dore pointed out that a number of MSM hosts ran to Reids defense, burbling out platitudes such as “remember this is a woman of color” and “this is a question of intersectionality.” Total none sense, no one bothered to try to correlate those statements to the situation in any meaningful way, but saying the key words immediately shifted the conversation into the realms of screwball subjectivity where being right or wrong depends in large measure on things like one’s melanin levels or if you’re “non-binary.” Being a woman of color to such thinking trumps any attempt to ascertain some sort of broader sense of truth. Or even whether the person is just lying.

    So now Scabby has become anti-Semitic and a woman hater. So will every single other pro worker symbol and idea because at their pointed end there is at least one example of one of the groups of people that are privileged by the pseudo intellectual Wokester elites as having been deemed worthy of being exploited in yet another way. I keep going back to that article posted here a month or more ago about the infection of mathematics by Critical Theory word games. This stuff is weaponized idiocy, I mean that literally, an edifice erected on a confusion and intentionally so.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      On a related note, I just finished listening to the Snowden interview I linked to above where they discuss the treatment of whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning, and it occurred to me that if Snowden and Assange would like justice for themselves, maybe they should try putting on a wig and a skirt and perhaps then the “woke” would suddenly find their causes worthwhile.

      1. John k

        Well, she’s in jail for no reason, so IMO the woke aren’t doing much for her.
        Assange is too, Snowden has a measure of freedom but pretty limited in Moscow, and lives in fear of people such as 5 eyes finding his address and doing away with him.

            1. Aumua

              I would say that what it has become lately has many loathsome aspects. But I still maintain that there is a kernel of truth behind being aware of things like privilege and systemic bigotry. It’s not all bull.

          1. Jr

            My shots weren’t cheap. They come face forward and they land. I have asked before and I will ask again: How do the Wokesters defend their claims to knowledge? They may say such things are irrelevant or biased or whatever and that furthermore all information is irretrievably subjective, “lived truth” or whatever, but then that becomes their epistemology. So they claim to know this general truth about knowledge but that truth undermines what they claim because it says all such claims are subjective, conditional, and therefore unfit for making general claims. It is knowledge-less knowledge. It is a paradox.

            Now I understand that there are paradoxes in any system of thought but as I glean it they try to grow around and through them. Imperfect for sure but they represent an attempt at structure, an attempt to offer something for others to base their understanding of their system on. Whether pro or con.

            But Wokesterism denies and derides any attempts at structure other than it’s own. Not even the concepts really but the notion of a concept. No one has a starting place because no starting place is perfect goes the reasoning.

            Which makes it the perfect sand bagging operation for anything deemed undesirable by it’s adherents. It’s death by mental committee in a way, dragging everything down with endless looping analysis of flawed roots and impure thoughts. I believe fully in looking for signs of bias in any intellectual endeavor but you cannot toss out the whole thing. You take what works and build on it. That’s how knowledge grows. Even a completely new idea or observation is embedded in a context

            But that’s not the goal of Wokesterism. It’s a power play at heart, an acid that burns indiscriminately. It’s the pseudo rationalism of the “C” student who, stymied in her philosophy class, decides simultaneously that it’s all bunk but that she is now empowered to speak on it with authority. Intellectual bureaucrats who think real thinking is a question of checking off boxes and filling in fields in an effort to become the head of HR and run everyone’s life.

            I would sincerely love to have these points refuted. I’m no expert on this baloney but I know baloney. And this stuff is a problem, it’s not sitting idly by trying to make it’s case, it’s blundering from the halls of academe to the corporate hives to the MSM talking heads to the sociopaths in government. They have champion in Harris, a walking, talking abyss of a being, and if she isn’t rejected with utter disgust in November this idiocy will have found yet another seat of power.

            1. Aumua

              I don’t recall you asking me any such question, and I don’t have time to parse through your word salad to try and respond to whatever your exact points are besides “Wokesters bad”. Sorry not sorry.

              1. Roberoo

                I am amazed at how exercised Americans get over supposed “woke culture” and how it is destroying this, that and the other thing. This when you have a White House occupied by corrupt carnival barker in cahoots with an entourage of carpetbaggers and plutocrats. Deflection remains a highly effective political strategy.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Yes by all means, instead let’s have “a White House occupied by a corrupt carnival barker an addled neo-liberal errand boy in cahoots with an entourage of carpetbaggers and plutocrats” who embrace a new religion called Beautiful BrownThink, where non-believers are shamed, shouted down, or even fired.


                  Freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, thank you very much

                  1. Roberoo

                    As suggested earlier, it beggars belief that many Americans see themselves, their freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion as somehow materially threatened by supposed woke culture. As if those freedoms are so weak and fragile they can threatened by tiny and amorphous voices associated with woke-ness.. Meanwhile the place is being plundered and run unto the ground by Donny Bonespurs and cadre. of malevolent kleptocrats all yelling “nothing to see here but watch yourself with those woke baddies”….

                    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      Q: Are non-believers shamed, shouted down, and even fired for failing to the drink the Kool-Aid? A: Yes. Shop owners being threatened with destruction if they do not recite the mantra? A: Yes.

                      I’m one of those who happen to think that Garrison Keilor having his life and career destroyed for the unspeakable crime of having momentarily placed his hand on the back of a woman in a backless dress is outrageous.

                      No need to go into the jihad to try and change how people who lived 160 years ago thought (about slavery for example), and then tearing down their statues. Efforts to erase the past are fairly common throughout history, but are never a feature of a pluralistic and open society.

                      And yes, freedom of speech is indeed weak and fragile. Like Matt Taibbi, I am pretty close to a free speech absolutist, for this exact reason. You don’t get to pick an intermediate state, arbitrated by an ever-changing set of rules. No beggaring of belief required, this is quite real. And I never understood the idea of fighting racism simply by replacing it with a different form of racism.

                    2. YetAnotherChris

                      I won’t speak for jr, but it’s easy to see that the promulgators of wokeness are just another set of gatekeepers. They sow judgment and division among a broad set of the 91% who ought to be natural allies. Please try to keep up.

                    3. Jr

                      You have the “amorphous” part right but “tiny”? I literally just made the argument it’s infecting almost all the institutions of power, at least the coastal ones. Others have pointed out it’s far reaching and degrading effects. If possible, could you actually refute one of our points in stead of just being stunned?

                2. jr

                  Amazed? You obviously aren’t following things here closely. This stuff has been the killing blow to the shreds of Left/progressive discourse remaining in this country.

                  Such as your comment.

                  No one, certainly not me, as ever ignored Trump’s crimes in their fever pitch to complain about Woke. Even the Trump supporters around here seem well aware of his foul nature. But they have arguments to support their claims. I don’t agree but at least they have the guts to make a case.

                  Nor do I feel compelled to chant the “Trump bad!” mantra every time I make a statement about politics. It’s obvious that the man is a monster. I’m more interested in the monsters that aren’t easy targets.

                  What you are engaging in is deflection. Bringing up unrelated points in hopes of casting a pall over another’s words. Exactly as the MSM hosts did for Reid. And as the Democratic machine did to that young gay Congressional candidate whose name escapes me at the moment. Insinuation, passive/aggressive wordplay, ad hominem attacks, it’s all in the Wokester arsenal. Next you will be telling me you are “scared” to post here because of “triggers” being tripped.

                  When you (not you) have no epistemic foundation, no first principles, no attempt at a common ground with dissenting voices even if that only means the basic rules of a debate, you can literally say whatever you want and feel it’s justified. It’s actually to the detriment of the thinker themself. It produces stunted, scared, and fragile minds. Intentionally, I firmly believe.

                  It occurs to me that Wokey-ness has to colonize the world because every other thought system is a threat. It’ hard wired into it for one thing, as it is hostile to any knowledge claim, and two it vaporizes under the slightest questions. Give me a monarchist to debate with, at least their arguments would be interesting from a historical point of view…

                3. JBird4049

                  Like with the Red Scare, which Senator Joseph McCarthy, the House on UnAmerican Activities (HUAC), Director J. Edgar Hoover, and many others used to gain political power. Many truly believed in the danger like Hoover while others like McCarthy merely used the perceived dangers to get power.

                  The question HUAC always asked its victims while they were under oath was “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” If yes, you had to name names to not be ruined.

                  Aside from possible perjury charges, usually the only crime was engaging in Thoughtcrimes, sometimes decades earlier, which could cause you to lose family, friends, home, and anything else of a social nature. If you moved. somehow the new neighbors and employers would always find out despite it being pre-internet.

                  If you were not judged guilty of being a Red, you could face some of the same punishment for not being sufficiently and vocally anti-Communist or even associating with the condemned.

                  What was considered Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, then mere Communism, later Socialism, Democratic Socialism. Socialist Democratic, finally Liberalism always expanded and was collapsed into the same category labeled Communist or Socialist.

                  So Wokism and Identity Politics are the tools of the Useful Idiots to destroy the re-emergent Left. It is not these useful idiots that I afraid of. It is what they might get others to do to the unbelievers. I also believe that the current growth of these pernicious ideas is a deliberate creation of the elites and their minions. I do not yet have the evidence beyond that this is a standard method or means of the elites including the police and security organs of the past roughly 150 years in the United States.

                  The three cliches about the mob, smoke and fire and the duck looking and acting like a duck is why I believe in the deliberate birthing of the Church of the Woken by people in the security state and why I am afraid of where this Woken Mob will once the handlers lose control. And they will lose it.

              2. Jr

                I wasn’t referring to you specifically. You used the term “cheap shots.” I’m still waiting to have my cheap shots shot down. I’ve been laying them out for months now. No bites except for snark here and there. Again, not referring to you.

                But I’ve seen it before. Crit-ters always scatter like leaves in the wind at the first sign of a declarative statement that runs contra to their thinking. Unless there is a group of them. And yes I’m generalizing but note that I live in Manhattan. This is where they are made. So I tend to not get well-intentioned people who call themselves Woke because they are in fact awakened to the horrid disparities in wealth and power around us but rather the rank ideologues fresh from the hive-minds at Hunter, Columbia, NYU, and any of the art schools.

                Word salad? That is what’s called an argument. Specific points supported by specific claims. A far cry from “Woke bad.” I offer specifics. I can provide examples, both theoretical and applied. If you are looking for word salad, pick up a Critical Theory text. It’s a freaking salad bar. If you can’t find the time and proper reference books to “parse” my three paragraph or so comment, well, good luck with that pile of none sense.

            2. anon in so cal


              I think Habermas coined a term for that, namely, a performative contradiction.

              To try to impose their ludicrous but dangerous agenda, Wokesters rely on the very premises they claim to refute.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, there’s less chance of that happening to him in Moscow than in the West. One hopes he is smart enough to understand that if the DC FedRegime pretended to offer him a fair trial including him getting to use his choice of legal defence, that they would only be luring him back to America in order to assassinate him in jail or wherever, just like they did to Jeffrey Epstein.

    2. ambrit

      The dynamic is slowly shifting to where the Left will have no other recourse but to smash entirely the very system that keeps them down by hook or by crook.
      We are now living in an actual Zombie Apocalypse. (So many of the top politicos today look like the walking dead.)

      1. JBird4049

        It will not be a Zombie Apocalypse. It will be the Vampires’ As long as the Masters can procure fresh blood from children, like the Vampire Thiel, they will keep going.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Makes for an interesting tactic. As soon as workers have any sort of symbol, attack it for not being woke but claim that someone, somewhere finds it offensive. Same for any spokesperson for working class people. Do a thorough examination of anything that they ever said or did for something that is now “offensive” to some people in 2020 (unless they are on your side of course). It shuts down all avenues of expression or representation for workers as being invalid and therefore not worthy of being listened to. It marginalizes most people living in America as having non-valid concerns and not worthy of being concerned about. And that is how you got Donald Trump.

      1. Wukchumni

        I thought we got Donald Trump because Americans worship the ground billionaires walk upon, leaving delicate multi colored petals in their considerable wake?

      2. Jr

        Isn’t this what the Trotskyites are known for? This kind of disruptive, self referential argumentation that admits of no qualification. The goal is to break apart other formations, the “constant revolution” or some phrase. It’s not even interesting enough to be zealotry, it’s just a**ho**s basically saying crap over and over again…

  21. Chromex

    “. But all three Midwestern battlegrounds, which President Donald Trump flipped in 2016 to win the White House after years of Democratic presidential victories there, are ..” Yes Trump flipped Michigan. No, he did not need to. He had 270 without Michigan, which was so close that it was not decided until long after Trump had declared victory and Clinton had conceded. This Michigan trope is harder to get rid of than Russiagate. Not a Trump supporter BTW

    1. John k

      Might be important this time. Trump needs 5 of the six closest swings, won’t need MI only if he gets all five of the rest.

  22. XXYY

    Tne wokesters aren’t on the left. These are their salad days, but in a couple of Presidential election cycles, they’ll be liberal Democrat apparatchiks.

    We do seem to be heading into a period where wokesters (to use this great term) are doing as much harm as good.

    (o) Good: Raising awareness of long-standing problems in the society and seriously disrupting the smooth operation of various systems of exploitation.

    (o) Bad: Creating suspicion and paranoia among and between people who should be allies and collaborators, and driving people into isolated silos instead of coming together in solidarity to help each other.

    Also bad: Causing people to waste time apologizing for a drawing of a rat instead of working to get better wages.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Social Justard Wokenazi scum are only doing just barely enough “good” in order to draw attention away from the Bad , which is their real , sole and only agenda.

      1. JB

        Hmm possibly a way to avoid freezing/chilling of a personal affect, to ‘speak’ out away from being (a) passive consumer of alt-enticement, cashiering oneself into providing consideration for perspective without any sharp ends, tongue lashes and whip arounds for funds (no platform can have unity of action, only influence impacting livelihoods, over special interests) which happily lend themselves to numbers’ reportage, their inability to lie so KISS.

        Might further Lambert’s pondering of ‘tribes’, a utility if the divided (for the right reasons, the Bernays jackpot) want to do some conquering of their own, when your career hangs on an internship or peoples who’ll never take the trouble to meet you, something as innocuous as unpaid socialising couldn’t reveal any pill-taking other than a virtuous circle of immunity to root and branch, so the grassroots might midwife a particularly formidable apparatchik (or lesser evil in a demos not short of targets, talking points and appeal to precedent.or Bragg and Rushdie for statemanship..) from direct action albeit clicks not tricks to temper first past the post.

        Isn’t left/right binary supremely unwoke, if third way was late stage politicians as upstanding.. opinion polls are static and secret so not even the performative redemption of bias there, why not jump a consequence free righteous thread, conspiracys wont have the shelf life unless it’s your unfeeling, unpatriotic, backside, unwilling to see how great one vote can make do, out in the cold? Corbyn had the name recognition but you question if he wanted what he knew to his, inevitable, detriment. It is what it is, faced with ‘i’ m mad as hell.. ‘ can be a rude awakening and moving away from constituants to social stakeholders will always get more volunteers in the bulrushes than warriors in the plain, hence an extreme portrayal which Drumlin gives an example of though scum is a bit much, might as well trade anecdata about the ‘good’ online whataboutery and keyboard petitions can produce.

        Apart from better curated celebrities, or cutting barbs, online activism is open to a tossup between institutional memory and all who sail her in these times of storing the revelations for/if the levee breaks, if online ‘movements’ don’t emancipate (someone, anywhere they swing out of bed, which is the probable intent), then whose left to pick up (read, invest in) the fragments of a culture in chains or dust off equality of outcome on a pedestal, well intentioned ‘person’© or the best representative/s Cancel keeps em honest!? Vote and stick around?!
        Gotta serve somebody.

        In the uk, came down to access and relativism in the wings, but father ted was a tv product of it’s time, comedy writers make it big and age successfully… not without improv Larry? Cod psychology with that salad, or solidarity within that post truth standardisation of in-group who, not only believe, but see commonalities in their feed streams, modern anarchists might say slavish neither maverick nor to mammon, as the new world struggles..

        If you refute natural Law but admit (of) Justice, this way scepticism comes..
        Exhibit A, see comments above
        Only the trojan war or the crusades is internalised, unless you’re woke, make of it all what you will but these legionnaires can’t break the unquestioning offensive line at offence. Don’t imagine the objective conditions of critical mass otherwise, get put on a list!

        Helps to accept a candidate for millionaires, the other for the billionaires but these would jump up and bite any bill of goods you might care to tender, times change and sand is swifter so they play it safe, in fulfilment if not reinvention, and know when to zone and how to swarm, might explain the little love here for them, should they care since why covet a quorum if you play musical chairs to your own tune? What are you, married (thanks) to that land? Quaint!

  23. JBird4049

    “Why Are Democratic Super PACs Wasting Millions?” [The Nation]. “[T]he underlying analysis clearly shows that tens of millions of dollars are being wasted on spending strategies that are unsupported by—if not directly contradictory to—what the empirical evidence says we should be doing.” • I wonder if the commission structure for Democratic strategists has anything to do with it.

    Since the bulk of the money being printed by the Fed ultimately winds up with the 1% and their woke minions in the PACs, think-tanks, politicians, and non-profits, why not?


    It’s free money to waste. This is one of the reasons that all the money being created is doing no good. The banks aren’t lending it to anyone especially any business not in the Fortune 500. It just filtered into the already wealthy, the large corporations, and investors who then funnel the money to the above listed.

  24. edmondo

    “….one candidate knocks on tens of millions of doors including all over swing states and the other candidate knocks on 0.”

    If “knocking on doors” was an effective strategy, wouldn’t Bernie be president and Jehovah’s Witnesses would be the dominant religion?

    1. Redlife2017

      And Corbyn would be PM in the UK. On the left in the UK we are looking at why it didn’t work (Labour / Momentum sent a record number of people out to knock on doors all over the place) and what we should use going forward. It seriously was a waste of time.

  25. John k

    10 mil is a lot of doors, especially if focused in the closest swings. If it moves 1% it might really matter in a close election, and this will likely be another close one.
    It does beg the question, why aren’t the dems knocking? Might it be bc they can’t find enthusiastic people to do such unappealing work? So they beg for ever more money from Corp donors to compensate with expensive tv ads that pay insiders juicy commissions. Gotta grift…
    And does anybody think they’re whispering to donors they’ll move left after the election?

    1. JBird4049

      Normally, I wouldn’t worry about a fire damaging Redwood, either the Coastal Redwoods or the Giant Sequoia, because of their thick bark, which gets ablative when burn. Fire also clears out the smaller shade creating plants and trees, break opens the pine cones, and allows a large crop of seedlings. Unless of course, there hasn’t been a fire in 92 years, when on average most areas in California burn 5-15 years. A burn like that can and has kiled redwoods.

      One of the reasons, besides climate change, for all these fires is the suppression of them for generations. Little brush clearing or control burns happen even though it is a decades long, perennial desire of many, perhaps most, of the fire departments in California. I know that the local departments in Marin have been pushing for decades because of the possibility of another Oakland Hills Fire. It was really disturbing to see the pictures of the tangle of cars formally full of trapped victims. Hell,it was disturbing to look across the Bay and see all the smoke.

      Since much of the North Bay is full of people living amongst the forests with decades of fuel instead of the normal 5-15 years, firefighters and others have been screaming about the possibility of disaster. But homeowners have almost always pushed back saying it ruins the property values, that the controlled burns can escape (which is true), and generally refusing to do the necessary brush cleaning. Really, because It cost money, is an inconvenience, and can be an eyesore for a while until some of the brush and trees regrow.

      So all those homes and some small apartments are surrounded by forests full of brush with the “roads” near the top or way in the back sometimes being single lane or a steep drop on one side. Having driven all through the area, I get nightmare visions of entire neighborhoods full of trapped people blocked in because the road has an accident. Then there is the possibility of firetrucks being stuck somewhere trying to get a fire.It could so easily happen. Easily.

      I am sure that after such a firestorm that the roads, water mains, and buildings will be rebuilt into a safer fire resistant form like what happened in the Oakland Hills after its firestorm. For Oakland, it just took twenty- five dead and thousands homeless So,it is not primarily climate changes that is creating the conditions for all these burns, or rather it is aided by activities of people and governments. Just adding built in firebreaks, improving the roads, doing brush clearing, and some controlled burns would greatly reduce the danger to everyone, but that takes perpetual vigilance, continuous work, and money.

      So parts of Santa Rosa did not have to burn. Paradise did not have to be destroyed. And I do not have to have nightmares about the many places in the North Bay where people could be trapped and die. But again, that takes perpetual vigilance, continuous work, and money. Even the immediate, perpetual benefit of improved roads and water supplies cost money and taxes, so it is ignored..

      The stupid really does burn. (Pun intended)

  26. Roady

    “State voter registration systems have not been hacked, officials say” [NBC]…A viral article in the Russian newspaper Kommersant claimed that a user on a Russian hacker forum had acquired the personal information of 7.6 million voters in Michigan and other voters in several other states, prompting claims that they had recently been hacked. But all that information was already publicly available, multiple officials said.”

    Well, that’s a relief.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Is America a Myth?”

    Don’t really believe what the author says but it did lead me to one interesting observation. If you had had the National Security Agency and a Department of Homeland Security back in 1860, then there would have never been a Confederacy nor a resulting Civil War. People like Jefferson Davis would have been found dead in 1860 through an accidental “horse fall” and Robert E. Lee may have found himself in prison for using “excessive force” at Harpers Ferry.

      1. The Rev Kev

        True. But my idea was what if Pinkertons had been used extensively before the war. I don’t care what other people say, my idea is that after wealth in America skewered all to one end along with political power in the past half-century that after 9/11 the Department of Homeland Security was set up to ensure that this never changed nor could ever be challenged. A modern day Eugene V. Debs would never be allowed to ever get to an equivalent level of power again. Only those willing to sell out are allowed to advance – people like Harris and Buttigieg.

        1. JBird4049

          I would not be shocked if the DHS was set up partly to suppress the proles for the benefit of the ruling class, but sometimes the stresses in a society will erupt, whatever the wishes of the ruling elites are. Life just happens.

          Before the Civil War, the South was the richest, most politically powerful area of the county. Much of the Northern financial elites were financially entangled with the South. Much of their own wealth was created by slavery. Much of the Northern elite supported the South.The ruling class in the Slavocracy was deeply tied into the government, law, finance, and industry. Any Department of Homeland Security or the Pinkertons would have be working for the South and in continuing the “peculiar institution” and the suppression of the Abolitionist Movement. There had been the beginning of such a movement in the South, but had problems, often involving fire, mobs and sometimes fatal. It was crushed. These reasons are why the Slavocracy felt so confident when the Confederacy was formed.

          And yes, killing some or all of the notable leadership both military and civilian would have changed the details, but it would have to be an awful lot of dead The South had plenty of people who were good generals. Lee was only offered command of the Army of Northern Virginia after two previous generals were wounded or had a nervous breakdown. Even the North did once they got through all the goofballs masquerading as generals. The same with the politicians and agitators on both sides. The North just got lucky with Abraham Lincoln. There were a number of good presidential candidates.

          However, despite all the efforts, the war bubbled up from the masses, wide spread resistance and anger of both the abolitionist and the pro-slavery sides. Whatever leadership there was North, or South, was not that all important. The antipathy was much greater in 1860 than it is now and the country was just as well armed. Plus slavery is and was an extremely… contentious issue. Whinging about vaccines or distrust of the government is a non-issue by comparison. Armed gangs and lynchings are an in-you-face reality that’s hard to deny. Socially, it became a question of which side you where on. When it becomes mass riots, the burning of whole towns, the armed seizures of state government, and the actual creation of whole regiments before the war, any security state minions would be a joke.

          So, the South extirpated its native abolitionist movement, was trying to expand slavery into other new states using armed gangs, and did control the judiciary, which almost always ruled in favor of the slavers, have great power, if not control of Congress, and was able to have armed, organized “slave” catching gangs kidnapping any Black person they could fine and shipping southward. They could do this legally because of the corrupted judiciary; all this merely increased abolitionist support because using money, guns, and murder to override the abolitionists, corrupt the government, and to maintain and expand slavery was not popular in the North. This merely increased opposition, which then increased the efforts of the advocates of slavery. Ultimately, it was mutual F-you! by both sides.

          I would say that any conflict that created a four year war that had over a million dead, plus something like twice that in wounded, which was roughly 1/10 of the total population, both military and civilian was going to happen regardless of any deadheading by the police state. More likely it would have only extended the suppression making the ultimate war much worse.

          1. VietnamVet

            I second that. Bloody Kansas was the harbinger of the Civil War that was to come. Oregon is the harbinger of the complete breakdown of the US government. If jobs were created to fireproof buildings, cut firebreaks, clear brush, and rebuild infrastructure plus restoring the public health system; Americans would stop dying for no good reason and the rioting would end.

  28. Darthbobber

    Politico piece has Pennsylvania in the Midwest. You can take an aircraft carrier up to Philly from the Atlantic. The New Jersey and the Olympia are anchored in the Delaware River. Good grief.

    1. Pat

      How nice of Biden to even acknowledge there is a problem. Do you suppose if Trump mentioned falling life expectancy and the growing number of depths of despair, the Democratic leadership might stop ignoring it?

      Why one might think they had been profiting from them….

  29. anon in so cal

    >Scabby and the rat….

    Does anyone remember when the DNC and the Clinton campaign store only had one item relating to Bernie Sanders: a t-shirt depicting Bernie Sanders with rat whiskers, which was a Nazi caricature….

    1. ChrisAtRU

      I do. And it was a blatant, horrid, antisemitic insult to him and what he did to try the get Her Highness of Hubris elected … #NeverForget

      1. JBird4049

        Lovely. Sanders keeps keeping his word to the the ruling class and in return, only gets that barrage of cutlery into his back. Do we have some crypto anti-Semites in the DNC, or are they just completely ignorant of the past, or are they only concerned with smearing their inferiors? We already have the anti-Deplorables there.

        The ruling class in this country just seems to run on hate and death. One side hates those without degrees as well as anyone to the left of Augusto Pinochet, or maybe Benito Mussolini. The other is crypto-racist as well as apparently having some members believing General Pinochet was too moderate.

        Both political parties are crypto-zenophobic, have contempt for democracy and the poor as well as believing in the Forever Wars of the American Empire. They will also enable the death of anyone, including their fellow Americans, who might reduce their power even a tiny bit.

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