2:00PM Water Cooler 9/18/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

Here are the United States regions:

Ugh, here we go….

Here’s the global leaderboard, plus a separate curve for the US:

As you can see, the United States, at this point in time, has achieved mediocrity. (India is driving Southeast Asia. The Western Pacific includes China, Japan, and Australia.)


“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

“New Survey Results From KFF/Cook Political Report Survey in AZ, Fl, and NC. AZ Moves to Lean Dem” [Cook Political Report]. “There are two key geographic battlegrounds for the Electoral College this year. One is the Midwest that until 2016, had been reliably Democratic. The other is the fast-growing Sun Belt section of the country that has traditionally voted Republican…. This week, we are releasing the most recent poll that featured 3,479 interviews with voters in Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina. While Trump carried all three states in 2020, he is not leading in any of these states today. Trump and Biden are essentially tied in Florida (Trump 42%, Biden’s 43%) and NC (Trump 43%, Biden 45%). However, in Arizona, Biden has opened up a more substantial lead (Biden 45%, Trump 40%). A Biden win in Arizona would mean that he could afford to lose Michigan or Wisconsin (two of “Blue Wall” consortium) and still eke out an Electoral College win (assuming that he wins all the states Hillary Clinton carried in 2016). Biden could even afford to lose Pennsylvania and still win the Electoral College with a combination of Arizona and Nebraska’s 2nd CD.”

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.

And here are mail-in voting ruies, which naturally differ state by state.

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* * *

Biden (D)(1): “The welcome lack of enthusiasm for Joe Biden” [Financial Times]. “The problem, in other words, is not Mr Biden’s failure to kindle passion in people. It is our psychic need for such a person in the first place. His election might reacquaint the US with politics as it should be and has been: a machine for the arbitration of conflicting claims, and not as the basis of one’s whole identity. It is hard to convey the coolness — in truth, the resentment — with which Mr Biden’s candidacy was met by many Democrats upon its launch 18 months ago. After their long tryst with Mr Obama, there was something bathetic about the man from Wilmington. The urge to worship a leader is often framed as rightwing, and the Trump base is unsurpassed in its intensity. But the itch is ultimately cross-partisan. It was not conservatives who made West Wing, the syrupy television drama about a near saint of a Democratic president. It was not conservatives who built the now faltering cult of the Kennedys. Mr Biden is the corrective to an unhealthy trend in his party and country. Nothing commends him to national leadership as much as the mild feelings that he arouses. Whatever enthusiasm has achieved this past decade or so, it is not an America at peace with itself.”

Biden (D)(2): “Ed Markey’s Win Shows Biden a Path to the Election, If He’d Take It” [The Sport Desk]. “Sen. Markey’s remarkable come-from-behind victory highlighted a shift that’s occurring in US politics. Voters are gravitating towards policy-driven campaigns and political outsiders. Economic conditions have finally deteriorated enough to motivate Americans to reject standard, old-school politicians. At the same time, they’ve demonstrated a willingness to accept veteran elected officials that show a willingness to adapt to the times.” • Narrator: “He didn’t take it.” Alert reader christofay: “Harris/Biden has noticed Markey. That’s why Harris is wearing the shoes shown prominently in her public appearances, the Keds, the Timberlands.” So:

Biden (D)(3): “Former Sanders aides release pro-Biden ad aimed at Latino voters” [The Hill]. “Nuestro PAC, the largest Latino super PAC, is putting a six-figure investment on the roughly three-minute ad, titled ‘If I Were President.’ ‘This ad highlights every aspect of our community in a culturally competent way and brings Biden’s own plans to life in ways Latinos will respond to,’ said Nuestro PAC’s founder Chuck Rocha. ‘The Latino vote may well decide this election and we will not stop until we reach every Latino voter in every battleground state to cast their vote for Joe Biden and defeat Donald Trump.'”

UPDATE (D)(4): “Where Is Biden’s Ground Game?” [Walker Bragman, Too Much Information]. “The Biden volunteer slack had roughly 62,000 in the general intake channel, 16,000 in the text channel, and 23,000 in the call channel on Tuesday. The numbers represent a substantial increase from early this month, when there were 37,000 volunteers in the Biden general intake channel — but still well short of the Sanders slack, which still had about 71,000 volunteers, even though the progressive senator officially dropped out of the presidential race in April…. Polls have consistently shown Biden ahead of President Donald Trump both nationally and at the state level as well as in terms of favorability. But below the surface, the numbers are less secure — the races in most key swing states are still close.” And then there’s this:

“Question: is the training script similar to the actual live script?” a volunteer asked in one screenshot. ‘Reason I’m asking is that the training script doesn’t give a lot of information about Biden/Harris’s policy points, agenda details, POV.’

‘The undecided voter [script] shows the basics that you need to know. Refer people to JoeBiden.com for detail,’ a moderator responded.

‘The campaign doesn’t really want us to talk about policy, because that would open the door to a conflict,’ another volunteer pointed out in a separate screenshot. ‘They want us to stick to Joe.’ The moderator agreed, adding that ‘we are here to refer to them to the campaign.’*

A copy of the referenced phone banking script reveals vague talking points across a range of hot-button issues including the economy and jobs, health care, immigration, racial justice, the pandemic, and climate change. The talking points focus on Trump.

I’m still on the fence about whether the Biden campaign is being run by morons or genius. Theory of the case for GENIUS: The Biden campaign is the first post-post-modern campaign, and if it succeeds, a lot of features that were previously considered essential to campaigns will be dropped: These include physical contact with voters, campaign appearances by the candidate, and policy positions. In this stripped down virtual campaign, all that is necessary is: Control of the commanding heights of the media, party loyalty, hatred of the other, all fueled by regular moral panics driven by fear. NOTE * Exactly what the 20008 Obama campaign did: “Check the website.”

Trump (R)(1): “An Experiment in Wisconsin Changed Voters’ Minds About Trump” [The Atlantic]. “Changing voters’ minds is famously difficult. Recent national campaigns have spent more effort on increasing turnout—getting sympathetic voters to go to the polls—than on winning over new supporters…. But the Wisconsin effort, notable for both its approach and its scale, seems to have found some success. From February to May, the advocacy group Opportunity Wisconsin, with help from a progressive advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., called the Hub Project*, managed to do remarkable damage to Trump’s standing with a group of persuadable voters. The effort sought to identify voters who took a favorable view of Trump’s record on the economy but who might still be receptive to alternative perspectives, then spent weeks targeting them with messages arguing that the economy was actually not working for Wisconsin, and that Trump’s policies weren’t helping.” • The Hub Project is run by Arkadi Gerney, late of the Center for American Progress, and previously OfBloomberg.

Trump (R)(2):

Trump was on a roll, as much as he ever is, until the virus hit.

UPDATE Trump R)(3):

Trump finally has seemed to discover this “power of the office” stuff, as with $300 on unemployment and using the CDC on evictions, albeit very late in the game. (All partial, to be sure, but more than the Democrats were doing when they were on vacation.) If some clever staffer had managed to make Trump see that actions like this were the Presidential equivalent of fine marble flooring, the history of his administration might have been very different.#MedicareForAll would be another example (assuming funding could be solved). Another example is next–

UPDATE Trump (R)(4): “Republicans Killed the Obamacare Mandate. New Data Shows It Didn’t Really Matter.” [New York Times]. • When Trump killed the mandate, he saved me $1200. That’s not nothing. That’s also more than today’s Democrats ever did for me. If Trump could get out of his own way, he’d be hammering on things like that.

* * *

UPDATE “Pennsylvania Supreme Court removes Green Party presidential candidate from ballot” [The Hill]. • Vote! No, not that way!

UPDATE Perhaps QAnon really is a Beltway-centric moral panic, noxious though it seems:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Billionaire investor Ray Dalio on capitalism’s crisis: The world is going to change ‘in shocking ways’ in the next five years” (interview) [MarketWatch]. ” I look at it mechanically, like a doctor looking at a disease. If asked what is the issue here, I would say that it is a certain type of disease that has certain patterns which are timeless and universal, and the United States is broadly following that progression. There are three problems that are coming together, so it’s important to understand them individually and how they collectively make a bigger problem. There is a money and credit cycle problem, a wealth and values gap problem, and an emerging great power challenging the existing dominant power problem. What’s going on is an economic downturn together with a large wealth gap and the rising power of China challenging the existing power of the United States.” • Doctors don’t look at diseases mechanically (unless they’re specialists, I suppose).

“Chris Rock criticizes Pelosi and Democrats on pandemic, compares Trump to 5-year-old” [The Hill]. “Rock compared Trump to the main character in ‘The Last Emperor,’ a child who becomes the ruler of China. ‘Did you ever see that movie ‘The Last Emperor,’ where like a 5-year-old is the emperor of China? There’s a kid and he’s the king. So I’m like, it’s all the Democrats’ fault. Because you knew that the emperor was 5 years old,’ Rock said. ‘And when the emperor’s 5 years old, they only lead in theory. There’s usually an adult who’s like, ‘OK, this is what we’re really going to do.” ‘It was totally up to Pelosi and the Democrats. Their thing was, ‘We’re going to get him impeached,’ which was never going to happen. You let the pandemic come in. Yes, we can blame Trump, but he’s really the 5-year-old,’ Rock told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday.” • Not, however, exactly helpful to Trump!

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.

Leading Indicators: “August 2020 Leading Economic Index Somewhat Improves – Growth Will Likely Be Weak Leading Into 2021” [Econintersect]. “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 1.2 percent in August to 106.5 (2016 = 100), following a 2.0 percent increase in July and a 3.1 percent increase in June – and the authors say “the slowing pace of improvement suggests that this summer’s economic rebound may be losing steam heading into the final stretch of 2020″…. Because of the significant backward revisions, the current values of this index cannot be trusted. This index’s value is the lowest since the Great Recession. My opinion is that the economy entered a recession in March but likely left the depression in June when the economy began to improve.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 12 September 2020 – Still In Contraction But Remains On An Improving Trendline” [Econintersect]. “Week 37 of 2020 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) declined according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is recovering from a coronavirus pandemic…. This week again intermodal continued in expansion year-over-year and continues on a strengthening trendline. However, carloads remain deep in contraction. But overall, rail is on an improving trendline.”

* * *

The Fed: “Fed’s Kashkari says warnings of runaway inflation are just ‘ghost stories'” [MarketWatch]. “Warnings that U.S. inflation is about to surge aren’t supported by any evidence, and are tantamount to ‘ghost stories,’ said Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari on Friday… Kashkari dissented from the Fed’s new forward guidance at its policy meeting on Wednesday. He proposed simpler language that the FOMC ‘expects to maintain the target range until core inflation has reached 2% on a sustained basis’ and he defined ‘sustained basis’ in this environment as lasting roughly a year. Kashkari said his alternative forward guidance was stronger than the statement adopted.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 51 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 18 at 1:14pm.

The Biosphere

“Noam Chomsky: There’s Reason for Hope” (interview) [Noam Chomsky, JSTOR Daily].

[CHOMSKY:] There’s many reasons to hope. Take a look at the streets of the country, the United States. The Black Lives Matter movement is the biggest social movement in American history with support beyond anything that’s ever been registered in the past. It’s not alone. It’s a sign of substantial changes in popular consciousness, popular understanding.

In September, there’ll be the first international meeting of the Progressive International Organization, founded by the Bernie Sanders movement in the United States. Yanis Varoufakis is bringing in participants from the Global South. It’s meeting in Iceland, where the prime minister is a member. These are forces, many more can be mentioned, that are countering the drive towards destruction. And it’s a major class war, you could say, on an enormous scale, and it will be played out in the next decade or two. And that’ll determine the fate of the world. So yes, there’s hope—but not if people give up.

Health Care

“New GAO Report On Deceptive Coverage Marketing, Extended GA Waiver Comment Period” [Health Affairs]. “On September 16, 2020, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released a new report revealing troubling marketing practices by sales representatives selling products that do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) consumer protections. These ACA-exempt arrangements include short-term limited duration insurance, limited benefit plans, health care sharing ministries, and association health plans… Through 31 undercover phone calls by investigators posing as an individual with diabetes or heart disease in need of health insurance, GAO agents found that 26 percent of calls (8 calls) with sales representatives included potentially deceptive practices; the GAO intends to refer those instances to the Federal Trade Commission and state insurance regulators. Another 6 percent of calls (2 calls) were not deceptive but provided unclear or inconsistent information. In the remaining 68 percent of calls (21 calls), GAO agents were referred to an ACA-compliant plan and offered appropriate and accurate information about ACA options.” • Of course, the solution #MedicareForAll, and abolition of the entire sorry industry. But no doubt another Rube Goldberg device will be bolted on to the existing congeries of Rube Goldberg devices, with new regulations, new training programs, new journalistic write-ups, etc. I’m honestly thinking that a design criterion for programs is a level of simplicity such that the level of professional attention is absolutely minimized, and directed where it really counts.


“Protecting the sewershed” [Science]. “As planned potable water reuse systems [i.e., purified sewage] become more common, water management must undergo a paradigm shift. This is not the first time the water industry has faced this type of challenge. In the late 20th century, water managers and regulators in the United States recognized that preventing pollution of water supplies from diffuse sources, such as farm runoff and pastures, was often more effective and cheaper than finding ways to purify contaminated drinking water. The push for watershed protection in the 1990s changed the way that water utilities managed drinking water and provides lessons for protecting drinking water in the era of potable water reuse. Watershed protection regulations such as the 1996 amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act prevented pollution throughout the hydrologic basin from which cities obtained drinking water (6). In the United States, federal funds were allocated to help water managers meet new watershed protection requirements (6). These policies changed the status quo: Many water utilities restructured their organizations to acquire and manage land, to develop expertise in rangeland conservation and forestry, and to work closely with stakeholders throughout the watershed.”


“Apple accuses Epic of ‘starting a fire and pouring gasoline on it’ in new Fortnite filing” [The Verge]. “Apple has responded to Epic’s demands that the iPhone-maker restore Fortnite to the App Store in new legal filings, arguing that the company’s injuries are ‘entirely self-inflicted’ and that Fortnite can return to iOS at any time — just as soon as Epic removes the custom in-app payment system that triggered the game’s removal in the first place. ‘Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this Court for emergency assistance in putting it out,’ writes Apple in the 37-page opposition brief. ‘[E]ven though Epic can do so itself in an instant by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have profitably governed its relationship with Apple for years.'” • I don’t know if this is Epic’s theory of the case, but this sounds like an unconscionable contract enforced by a monopolist to me.

The 420

“Weed Killers: Bowing to Blue Dogs, Democratic Leadership Delays ‘Enormously Popular’ Marijuana Legalization Bill Until After Election” [Common Dreams]. • The Blue Dogs the Democrat leadership installed.

Our Famously Free Press

“I have indeed, not read it all. But when I take up the end of a web, and find it packthread, I do not expect, by looking further, to find embroidery.” —Dr. Samuel Johnson

Following Johnson: If the Times’s copy edting is bad, we can expect its reporting to be bad, and we can expect its editorial judgment to be bad. And all of these things are true. Also too fact-checking:

This is just bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

“Journalism’s Gates keepers” [Columbia Journalism Review]. From August, still germane: “As philanthropists increasingly fill in the funding gaps at news organizations—a role that is almost certain to expand in the media downturn following the coronavirus pandemic—an underexamined worry is how this will affect the ways newsrooms report on their benefactors. Nowhere does this concern loom larger than with the Gates Foundation, a leading donor to newsrooms and a frequent subject of favorable news coverage. I recently examined nearly twenty thousand charitable grants the Gates Foundation had made through the end of June and found more than $250 million going toward journalism… The foundation even helped fund a 2016 report from the American Press Institute that was used to develop guidelines on how newsrooms can maintain editorial independence from philanthropic funders. A top-level finding: “There is little evidence that funders insist on or have any editorial review.” Notably, the study’s underlying survey data showed that nearly a third of funders reported having seen at least some content they funded before publication.” • MRDA.

Sports Desk

“Happy Hundredth, Roger Angell” [Columbia Journalism Review]. “Finally, there’s the one you already knew he’d pick, the one you may have already revisited recently: ‘This Old Man.’ (The Andy this time is his dog, a smooth fox terrier.) Describing life in his nineties, Roger imagines what people are thinking when they see him: ‘Holy shit—he’s still vertical!’ He then proceeds to tell us more of what’s going on inside. ‘Getting old is the second-biggest surprise of my life,’ he writes, ‘but the first, by a mile, is our unceasing need for deep attachment and intimate love.'”

Class Warfare

“Private and Charter Schools Received Six Times as Much COVID Funding As Public Schools” [Diane Ravitch]. “A new study of the federal CARES act funding found that private and charter schools received SIX TIMES the amount of funding as public schools from the federal coronavirus program. This may actually, as the report states, be an underestimate.” • 

“Anti-anti-communism” [Aeon]. “For those wishing to paint 20th-century communism as an unmitigated evil, ongoing ethnographic and survey research in eastern Europe contradicts any simple narrative. Even as early as 1992, the Croatian journalist Slavenka Drakulić ‘worried about what would happen to all the good things that we did have under communism – the medical care, the year’s paid maternity leave, free abortion’. As governments dismantled social safety nets and poverty spread throughout the region, ordinary citizens grew increasingly less critical of their state socialist pasts. A 2009 poll in eight east European countries asked if the economic situation for ordinary people was ‘better, worse or about the same as it was under communism’. The results stunned observers: 72 per cent of Hungarians, and 62 per cent of both Ukrainians and Bulgarians believed that most people were worse off after 1989. In no country did more than 47 per cent of those surveyed agree that their lives improved after the advent of free markets. Subsequent polls and qualitative research across Russia and eastern Europe confirm the persistence of these sentiments as popular discontent with the failed promises of free-market prosperity has grown, especially among older people.” • Sounds like a public relations problem…

News of the Wired

On Reddit, AITA = Am I The A*****e. Read all the way to the end:

“The Steel Meadow” [Simon Stålenhag]. Updated website with more art:

Look! The Almighty Signifier!

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

IM writes: “Black and white shot from a rare stand of red cedars in the interior of BC.” Readers will recall my affection for stumps, and the black and white shows the textures of decay really well.

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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. Carolinian

      How was your cabin? Did it survive?

      And re The Hill–a real blow for democracy that Dem inspired removal of the Greens on a technicality. You wonder if the Dems had made the same mistake whether the court would have refused to accept a corrected affidavit (rhetorical question)

      1. Wukchumni

        The fire marches on and is now near Hockett Meadow and if the winds went schizo, a spot fire could build into a force to be reckoned with on a 10 mile forced march en route from hotlanta to the Sherman Tree. It swallowed up 30 miles from Saturday to Monday, leaving us a noxious burp.

        1. Wukchumni


          Slipped in under the wire yesterday and went to our cabin for the last time for awhile certainly, and maybe forever.

          Mandatory evacuation of all private cabins in Mineral King as of today.

      2. neo-realist

        That blow may be arguably less severe than Trump appeal court judges in FL upholding a poll tax for ex-cons, primarily POC, to deny them a restored right to vote.

        Greens have got to get it together and start running and winning down ticket races to mainstream their brand with the body politic. Then, they may have the political clout to run in all 50 states. Even if they did run, they’d get their usual one percent or so of the vote, the protest one, then disappear into the ozone until the next presidential election.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Methinks that our fearless leader, aka Lambert, has a few things to say about the Greens and getting it together. Handing the mike to you, Lambert.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            This has been quite a year, so anything could happen. What I will say is that getting them to the 5% they need for Federal funding seems like a good deed in a naughty world.

  1. ChrisAtRU

    Are there going to be updates?!! ;-) Itching to post the fallout from Biden’s “Scranton v Park Avenue” tweet, but better served by Lambert if it’s already on the way … LOL

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Thank you! So here goes:

        [7:24 PM · Sep 17, 2020] A pithy Joe Biden tweet graced the collective’s timelines:
        “This election is Scranton vs. Park Avenue.”

        [8:08 PM · Sep 17, 2020] (Well, that was fast!) None other than Soledad O’Brien chimes in with:
        “Or… both. NYC’s Park Avenue is amazing. No need to knock it. Would be nice to have a President who sees every American as worth fighting for. Thank you.”

        At this point, the Twitter collective, save for the most die-hard limo-libs, are somewhere between OMFG and WTFLOL

        Well folks, it got worse. Enter Stephanie Ruhle (CNN) today: Hold my beer.
        In a segment from CNN, Stephanie opens up with:
        “Joe Biden said yesterday that his campaign was Scranton vs Park Avenue. Why is he going with this divide and conquer approach? That’s Trump thing. What about a message for all Americans? I don’t live on Park Avenue, but I live pretty close to it … and you know how I got there?! Working my butt off … he doesn’t want my vote?!”

        Hahahahahaaha! Folks, we’re gonna hit ludicrous speed soon, and plaid won’t be far behind it.

        O’Brien’s response to Biden (via Twitter)
        Ruhle’s CNN segment (via Twitter)

        1. Pat

          The replies are brutal and neither of them will understand why they are getting slapped around. Sure it is all Bernie Bros…

            1. ChrisAtRU

              Putin is exploiting these divisions in our society!!!

              … you can almost conjure up the sound of some #LameStream media talking head screeching the words.

        2. DJG

          Chris at RU:

          Ahhhh, Park Avenue. It rings a cultural-political-midwesternish bell in my head.

          Oliver Wendell Douglas sings:

          Green acres is the place to be
          Farm living is the life for me
          Land spreading out,
          so far and wide
          Keep Manhattan,
          just give me that countryside.

          Lisa Douglas responds musically:

          New York
          is where I’d rather stay
          I get allergic smelling hay
          I just adore a penthouse view
          Darling, I love you,
          but give me Park Avenue.

          So here we are, as described by Marx:
          “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the Democratic National Committee for Green Acres. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire.”

        3. Glen

          I remember back in the day (six months ago in the CV time warp) a big debate about whether billionaires should exist or not.

          I used to think – just tax them and break up their political power.

          Now? They should not exist. Don’t care how it happens, but non-existence is best.

        4. pjay

          Some great responses. I like “upperclass fragility” in response to Ruhle.

          This is so representative it hurts. While our government is arguing against Assange that press freedom no longer exists, our intrepid corporate “journalists” are defending Park Avenue against the radical Joe Biden. You have to laugh to keep from crying.

        5. skippy

          Why is a collage of scenes in the movie ‘Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid’ traipsing through my head whilst reading this …

          A trifecta of I’d shoot my grandmother for 200 bucks, you need a cup of my Joe, and the perennial sight gag of walking into a french door and breaking a pane of glass out a waste high panel whilst remaining nonchalant.

    1. Iowan X

      I was thinking that reminded me of the Oracle at Delphi, and its a great photo in any event. Thanks Lambert!

    2. NonefromNowheresville

      If it’s about capitalism then it’s clearly a giant Ood machine from the Planet of the Ood. Scalpel / Hammer Blunt storytelling. I rather liked the ending on that one. Doctor/Donna.

  2. Alex

    I’d love to see an even-handed “manufacturing consent” angle on the BLM/media relationship. Won’t be coming from Chomsky, who’s a bit of a shill these days.

    1. Pelham

      Sigh. I tend to agree. BLM seems more than a little dicey, with an agenda that includes disrupting the nuclear family. Meanwhile, police may need to be reined in, but I’ll question anyone who’s lockstep hostile to one of the few unionized, blue-collar labor forces left in this country.

      1. Will S.

        Do you have to interact with police often? Not trying to be accusatory, just genuinely curious. I’ve been harassed by alpha-male cops looking to feel powerful several times in my life, and I’m a middle-class white boy from a bourgeois college town*; so I’m fairly sympathetic toward people who have reflexive hostility toward the police. What I don’t like is the atmosphere of gleeful union-busting that some of the conversation about defunding the police takes on, so in that I agree with your sentiments.

        *The worst time was when I drove past two police sitting & chatting, cruisers side-by-side, to drop off my friend whose family home is a short walk from my own after a night out. Having already passed by them once, I drove back again to return to my parents’ house, then had a “driveway moment” listening to a Bach piece on the local classical radio station. In this period, both cops pulled up behind me—one parked perpendicular, I suppose to block egress from the cul-de-sac—and one approached my vehicle. The officer who approached me was a man, the other a woman, both likely in their mid-thirties; in my opinion, the male officer was being particularly aggressive to me to impress the female officer. He asked me what I’d been doing that night, if I’d been to any parties, etc.; shone a light in my eyes; and stated that he was going to breathalyze me as he suspected I was drunk. I informed him (truthfully) I was not, but that I would comply with the breathalyzer test. He didn’t explain this to me, but evidently when you blow on the test you have to do so until it makes a clicking noise, which I did not, rather simply exhaling quickly and forcefully. In response to this he accused me of “trying to cheat the breathalyzer,” and demanded I step out of the vehicle. I protested, saying I was attempting no such thing, and stated that I did not wish to exit my car but that I would retake the breathalyzer if he wished. I did; same result. At this point he became agitated and demanded again I step out of the vehicle, and I again stated that I did not wish to do so. He attempted to grab my wrist to pull me out of my car, but, well, I have a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do (and still in practice at the time) and have always been good at slipping out of holds, so I twisted my wrist out of his grip and rested it again on the windowsill. He tried to grab my wrist again; same result. I said fine, I’ll get out of my vehicle, and opened the door and began to step out of the car when he surprised me by grabbing my elbow and throwing me to the ground. He handcuffed me, put me in the back of his squad car, and administered the breathalyzer again, but this time informed me how it actually worked. Predictably, it said I had no alcohol in my system. He demanded the other officer get her test kit because his might be broken, but of course it wasn’t and the other kit produced the same result. After all this, he was forced to let me go “with a warning.” A warning for… not reflexively obeying orders from an authoritarian force, I suppose?

        1. neo-realist

          At least you’re still alive. I’m imagining that if you were black, your behavior would have earned you a good beating and a possible trip to the ICU, hooked up to a respirator, e.g., Michael Stewart.

        2. JTMcPhee

          There’s unions, and there’s unions. The Teamsters has not been a very good union For its rank and file, ask Jimmy Hoffa. And the Same was true of the United Mine Workers, which was not so good to Joseph Yablonsky but very good to Tony Boyle. The cop unions have managed to amass a large lump of political power through processes that don’t bear much scrutiny, which is why their members have the degree of immunity and impunity that people are so distressed about. I don’t think the police unions and national power structure are any kind of model for how to go about collective action against the power of the rich folks, since their Job One is protecting the persons and assets of those rich folks. And they have learned very well how to extort Wealth and privileges from the politicians as well as the mope citizens they claim to “serve and protect.”

          Of course the corruption And venality of union officials and the misuse of collective power and union trust and pension funds is just part of the Great American Political Economic Model.

          To me, in sum, the organized-thuggery thing that gets labeled as a Cop Union is in a very different category from the American Federation of Teachers, or National Nurses United (which pisses me off by not recognizing licensed practical and vocational nurses for membership) or Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Or United Farm Workers. All of which have their own warts, of course.

          1. Procopius

            Saw in a story about politics in Delaware, this morning, that Delaware has a Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights. So does Maryland, as we learned after Freddy Grey died. So do several other states. Most other states the police unions have included in their contracts provisions to protect their members from being investigated for alleged abuse. It seems to me that these special protections show that they know the justice system is broken and not to be trusted. They know because they see what it does to other people. Everybody deserves fair, consistent, honest treatment according to the law. The All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter should be working for this, instead of trying to exclude Black Lives Matter.

          2. Will S.

            For the record, I actually support stripping down police forces (and the military, for that matter) to what amounts to a core of professional NCOs whose function would be almost entirely training, and replacing them with draft-based citizen militias to do everyday patrol work. The fact is, most policing nowadays is A) dealing with nonviolent crimes, and B) done by cops who live far away from the areas they patrol and pretty much see themselves as an occupying force tasked with maintaining “order” at all costs. I’d rather have citizens ensuring the safety of their own communities. Domestic dispute calls, mental health wellness checks, etc. should be performed by social workers or other suitably trained people, possibly with a small escort under their authority if safety is in question.

        3. Oh

          Most cops are always on a power trip. They think the own other people. One time I came out of the rec center and the place where I had parked my car had been cordoned off with “do not cross” yellow tape. I explained to the cop there (I don’t call them officers because they’re not) that I had to get my car and he was gruff with me but the chief of the investigation overruled him and told me I could cross the line and get my car. Reluctantly and impatiently he directed me while I backed out of there, In another incident I visited the local police station to complain about a car being towed with the gas tank open and spilling gasoline on to the street. The idjut cops took their time coming and they then said they couldn’t do anything about it. Morons!

        4. Skip Intro

          Defund Police is the neoliberal sabotage of BLM. Ironically, we need police who are professionals, highly trained, highly accountable… better paid. Not sadists taking bad pay for the perks of power with impunity. We all know it will end in privatized policing. Funding the social safety net should be the message, but how will that polarize the population?

        5. Pelham

          Not often have I interacted with police, but I’ve had a handful of encounters. Most were uneventful. One was potentially fraught. But, as I was taught as a kid, I did exactly what the officer told me to do even though he was acting like a certified jerk for no apparent (but still possibly valid) reason. And in the end it turned out to be no big deal.

          In your case, I wouldn’t have known about the breathalyzer click, either. But even though the cops were completely out of line, I would’ve stepped outside the vehicle.

      2. marym

        They have unions, but cops need to listen to some of those lectures about class and solidarity that often get directed at identity-centered activists.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        These unions seem particularly pro-fascist and anti-citizen to me. Perhaps “police reform” should include breaking these unions and turning the police into salaried professionals.

        I can’t feel any solidarity with the sort of union which sought to sanctify the Eric Garner killing and sought to canonize the killer Pantaleone.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Yes, we wouldn’t want to conclude that the #BLM flare-up was the most cynical and divisive possible playing of the “race card” by the team taking their marching orders from the Eastern White House on the 29-acre estate and mansion on Edgarton Pond Road in Martha’s Vineyard…now would we.

      Or that the embrace of Bush-era war criminals by the woman of said house is the most obvious possible slap in the face to anyone wishing to, I don’t know, repudiate the Iraq War as the most expensive and destructive error in the nation’s recent history.

      Meantime it’s heartening to see Nancy condemn the riots, I guess the news they were happening got delayed for four weeks before reaching her. And we must remember the fact that Joe only voted for the Iraq War “because he was trying to prevent a war from happening”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HQAJb9cSVk

      1. The Rev Kev

        The big question is whether the BLM movement will even be a thing several months from now. How much of the fuel for it is coming from the fact that it is an election year? You can bet that there will be a crackdown in the new year and it won’t matter which party wins power.

        1. neo-realist

          As long as the institutional problems aren’t dealt with regarding military policing of POC, BLM will be on the scene, even if there is crackdown on them. But if Trump wins, the crackdown will be extra fierce because the new wave S.A. – boogaloo boys, patriot prayer and the like, will join in with the cops.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Could be but then again if it is the Democrats that win, Kamala the Cop will take the lead in this crack down and she will be given a pass to do this by all the ‘right people’. I promise you that the same people who jeer at any police actions against protestors under Trump will be cheering any crackdown on protestors under a Harris administration.

            1. neo-realist

              Then I guess they’ll be cheering the crackdown on the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer and the Boogaloo Boys?

              1. ambrit

                If they are seen as competitors for local power, they will be very forcefully put down. The “smart” authoritarian movements co-opt the militias, ie. put them in uniform. Any “Proud Boys” et. al. who do not get enthusiastically with “the Program” will be sidelined and then “disappeared.”

                1. JBird4049

                  Like the leadership of the S.A.? The wining SS also dealt with some other annoying people as well at the same time.

                  But as there to being competitors with the local powers, we have:
                  the military,
                  national security state,
                  then the local police, many of whom are still actually honestly enforcing the law without being lawless,
                  which is not true of the many that are frankly criminal gangs with badges,
                  followed by the police auxiliaries like the Proud Boys and Boogaloos
                  add the various Alt-Right Storm Front Boys and Gals,
                  the various old fashioned criminal gangs,
                  that leaves the growing number of armed leftist groups,
                  and let’s not forget the radical fringe groups and individuals that the other Americans don’t want in their organization/gang/cult/clique/cell/associates.

                  And I almost forgot the National Guard

                  (whose units are still ostensibly under the command of the state governors and the few state militaries which definitely are not under federal control.)

                  The National Guard was formed out of the old state militia units and are still de facto under state control. Some states decide, like California, for reasons I don’t pretend to know decided to create another separate state military. Then again IIRC, some states, like California again, have the unorganized state militia. As far as I know, no state still has it’s own navy except on paper, but it could!

                  And the 30-40 percent (or more) of Americans that have at least a handgun, shotgun or hunting rifle even if it is in a dusty closet.

                  And all those people happy with their Tannerite.

                  Did I forget anything major? The paramilitary wing of the Illuminati perhaps? Or are the Neo-Pagans and the Wiccans forming their own combined defense force, maybe?

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Not sure I agree. We’ll have the POC (President of Color) Harris telling us “we are doing everything we can”. But the last time we had a POC, coupled with an AGOC (Attorney General of Color) they instrumented the largest transfer of wealth away from African Americans in the nation’s history, which gives an idea of their bona fides in regard to the actual welfare of those members of their racial group. Business leaders will be lobbying for “stability”, and already 82% of African Americans polled do not support the de-funding of police. My guess is, like Covid, the problem will miraculously be “solved”, at the CNN-level anyway, shortly after Inauguration Day. Some new “Commissions” and “Task Forces”, maybe some imposition of corporate-level racial purity tests (no federal funds under X program unless your board of directors includes Y black persons, kind of like the Best Picture Oscars), some photo-ops with The Black MisLeadership class, and the usual “we want to do good things but Republicans/Rednecks/Russians won’t let us”. If The Obama Dynasty (extended through the Harris Administration) had wanted to do anything good for POC they would have done so already in their previous 8 years in office, especially with the supermajority they had to do whatever they wanted. I think #BLM was about seizing power, not about exercising it for the benefit of the deplorable working class of any color.

            1. neo-realist

              COVID will be miraculously solved at the corporate media level after inauguration day???? O-kay.

              Corporate-level racial purity tests? Sounds a little paranoid.

              BLM is protesting racist policing. Isn’t that clear by now?

              Newark NJ Mayor Ras Baraka opposes racist policing, but did not defund the police. He did open an office of violence prevention and installed a civilian review board.

              Many of those African Americans who don’t want to defund the police oppose racist policing. It is possible you know.

    3. Person

      I too would love to see this. The Right has recently figured out how to use media criticism effectively, and nobody on the Left seems to know what to do about it except repeat the same tired old talking points. The new game from the faux-Left media seems to be taking a valid point, reinterpreting it in the worst possible light, and then amplifying it past the point of absurdity in order to get “hate reads”. If you wanted to be conspiratorial about it, you could claim it was an intentional practice designed to drive people away from the Left.

  3. Wukchumni

    There used to be a band in town a century ago named the Poison Oak Orchestra, as it grows on you here up to around 5,000 feet, and is thick as thieves and over time a formidable foe to a foot traveler, forget about it as far as going forward is concerned, leaves of 3-back away from thee.

    It’s bad enough stuff merely trying to avoid it physically, but when it catches fire, can put the hurt on you if inhaled, and right now the fire is 1,000 feet above the PO, and if it gets below that, it sucks to be a firefighter.

    On the plus side, think of all the places i’ll be able to go until it grows back and what i’ll encounter, including long since unmaintained trails, new vistas and more. The first spring after a wildfire is usually pretty dramatic on the floral front.

    1. clarky90

      “On the plus side, think of all the places i’ll be able to go until it grows back and what i’ll encounter, including long since unmaintained trails, new vistas and more. The first spring after a wildfire is usually pretty dramatic on the floral front….”

      Thanks for your wise words Wukchumni. Clearly, this is not your first rodeo!

  4. Arizona Slim

    Student party towers becoming COVID hotspots. The latest from Tucson:


    From the story:

    [Tucson City Councilman] Steve Kozachik explains the issue:

    “Quite honestly, the corporate irresponsibility was stunning,” Kozachik said. “They have leased up to 90% capacity. They’ve opened their pools and fitness centers and the common areas.”

    Kozachik said the area has become a major COVID-19 hotspot.

    “We’ve had students report to us that once they get in the elevators of these places all the masks come off,” Kozachik said. “We’ve had students come back and say I know exactly who I got Covid from some other resident in this place and they don’t want to go through the 14-day quarantine even through they know they’re symptomatic.”

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Cheese-land updates:

      For the second day in a row, Wisconsin reported a record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases Friday, hitting more than 2,500 daily positive cases. The Department of Health Services reported 2,533 positive cases, or nearly 500 more cases than Thursday, which also was a record-setting day. Out of the 13,067 coronavirus test results released Friday, 19.4% came back positive for the virus. The seven-day average case count on Friday rose to 1,576, and the seven-day average positivity rate continued to increase, hitting 15.3%.


      As football returns to the University of Wisconsin and the Big Ten Conference, Public Health Madison and Dane County warns against gathering for games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement regarding the decision to hold Badgers football games, the city-county health board reported that 42 UW football players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon. UW’s athletic department has not shared COVID-19 test results broken down by team or date, opting to share the cumulative number of positive tests. The athletic department’s latest figures, released Sept. 10, stated that 83 of 734 student-athletes have tested positive since workouts began on campus in June.

      I’ve got 2 students with COVID (that I know of). The one in isolation reports it’s not nearly as bad as they thought because they can socialize – no need to worry about isolating where everyone’s infected. Unlike the 2 dorms on lockdown, where several others resided. Only one left in place – the rest have gone home.

      Just like they drew it up!

      1. Big River Bandido

        The Democrats seem to think they can win not only WI but now AZ. And here we have two local reports of pandemic outbreaks in both those states.

        If the pandemic is in full force by Election Day, what do you suppose that’ll do for turnout?

        1. Arizona Slim

          Well, here in the Old Pueblo, the powers-that-be are strongly encouraging early voting. Slim is down with that.

          As soon as my ballot and voter guide arrive, I’m heading to that polling place known as my living room couch. From there, I will do my civic duty.

          1. upstater

            Lived in T-town for 8 years. First election had punch cards. But soon after mail in was standard or easy at a polling place on election day. They also had public funding of campaigns (but sure subsidizes wing nuts!)

            After moving back to upstate NY, I was really shocked how cumbersome voting was, particularly for primaries. Western states are far ahead from Andy’s fiefdom in NY.

    2. ArcadiaMommy

      I have a friend who has two daughters that tested positive, one at ASU and one at UA. One was asymptomatic and the other was pretty sick, although not hospitalized. We considered hiring a tutor in the education program from ASU to supplement online learning and I’m glad we didn’t. These kids just shouldn’t be on campus. I’m sure I would have been just as stupid.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The University/College leadership elites set this all in motion by bringing the students back.

  5. WobblyTelomeres

    Re Qanon.

    Saw my first Qanon believer this morning. A loudish pickup, Army tag, sleeve tat resting out his door window, 2 foot diameter red white and blue ‘Q’ on his rear window, obnoxiously tailgating a brown guy in a worn Hyundai.

    Are these common?

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve noticed that young adults are only interested in art where the canvas is themselves. Very seldom do I see them in art museums.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      we used to call them “Rednecks”.

      some of the symbols have changed a bit.

      there was a graphic novel style cartoon linked here a few months ago that talked about a subspecies of this bunch…with the black and white american flags, and Punisher logos.
      most memorable part, for me: the armed up and tatted moron/would be badass saying “see, Ma, i ain’t gay…”
      I’d like the link if anyone remembers, because i’ve referenced it several times with wife, when we’ve been discussing toxic masculinity and other common social ills in our part of the world.(there’s a lot of flags on pickup trucks and jeeps of late”Oh, look, honey…a parade…”)

      1. rowlf

        “see, Ma, i ain’t gay…”

        If you have to say it/show it… maybe you have too many Judy Garland DVDs in your collection and James Dean posters on your walls.

        Around me there are many female appearing drivers of lifted trucks so who knows, maybe the drivers are transitioning.

        Yah know the link was kinda lame. The type of people described at that link tend to step on rakes all the time. There used to be a lot of them at gun shops until everyone figured out they were idiots.

        Quiet person with fancy ink – maybe an actual veteran. Loud person with fancy ink – probably a fobbit with a Pizza Hut in their main area of operations.

      2. wilroncanada

        You mean they have two more trucks with big Q signs in the windows up on blocks in their driveways? Are they willing to donate one of them to Mothertruckers Anonymous?

    2. Brindle

      In my western red state, pickups with a substantial American flag (4′ x 6′) and an equally large Trump flag are occasionally seen.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah. some of them are over the top…and one would think they could constitute a road hazard.
        Brady* has more of these than Mason…but even then, there’s far more of this phenomenon to be seen in the closer-in exurbs and suburbs of San Antonio…like from Comfort on into town.
        so, Fake/Wannabe Rednecks, essentially…living in a micromcmansion in a suburban warren, but driving a dually with the gun racks and winch on the front…LARPing their TV mediated Idea of what “Country People” are like.
        we get these folks during deer season, sadly…like an invading army of city boys, hopped up on testosterone and playing Redneck on the weekend. still haven’t seen any down my dead end dirt road, but i’m certain they’ll be here , soon…town is already full of them…there’s 2 deer leases at the end of the road, and one behind our place, the entrance of which is separated from my Poolyard by 20 feet of impenetrable brush, and a gate that says “Beware of Owner” and is adorned with coyote skulls.
        I’ll hafta put on the glamour of Scary Hill Person in order to discourage their scrutiny or trespass.
        In the past, I’ve had to chase off men with guns (and even a pack of beagles,lol.)…”varmint huntin'” right along my fenceline at 3am.(end antihunter tangent—point is, these people are always with us…always have been. But gop machinations…and now trumpism(along with wishy washy perfidious corpsedems)…has produced more of them than in previous eras.)

        (*Brady has much more poverty and meth, btw…which i think is important for understanding trumpism among rural white men)

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Shared driveway neighbor now flying three flags on his garage: the US flag, the Thin Blue Line flag, and a ‘Trump: [family blog] your feelings’ flag.

          I don’t know this guy at all well but he’s NOT political yet is now suddenly fully radicalized. This reminds me a lot of the Vietnam protest years in reverse.

        2. jr

          “ LARPing their TV mediated Idea of what “Country People” are like.”

          An acquaintance in NYFD, a Dominican man, told me that many of his colleagues are from Long and Staten islands. They are all Cabelas Cowboys, dressing up “country” on the weekends in their suburban strip mall bars and beach parties. I assume it is seen as a way of differentiating yourself from the urban types…which is fine by us.

    3. km

      I have seen many such displays.

      Funny, if Q was really a double secret leaker, you’d think that he would have sense enough not to put his “crumbs” out on the internet, which even satanic pedophiles have access to and can read. Just like Patriotic Freedom Lovin’ Merikuns can.

      “That’s why Q gives “crumbs” and not straight answers!” the cultists chime in.

      Well, couching his “crumbs” in arcane references wouldn’t do any good, since the satanic pedophiles already know where the bodies are buried so to speak. Deciphering the Q “code” is a lot easier, if you already know what the code is referring to and who it’s talking about.

      TL:DR Insiders are the ones who get inside jokes.

      What will be really interesting is if Trump loses and….nothing Q-related happens, at least nothing concrete. No mass arrests, HRC still free as a bird, jockeying for a position in the Biden regime like a dowager Lady Macbeth.

      How will the Qult spin that? Rest assured, they will.

  6. jsn

    Ray Dialo is like the Biden Campaign, walking the “fine line between clever and stupid” (Spinal Tap).

    He appears to have a good heuristic sense of what’s going on that he’s never had to systematize. Reading Taleb’s “Antifragile” right now and Dialo is a perfect example of what Taleb calls “the green lumber fallacy (you’ll have to read the book).”

    Which is to say he’s figured out what he needs to know to make money well enough that he can track market complexities heuristically without some academic schema.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates fund, the largest hedge fund in the world, can select any investment in the world, from illiquid Thai property funds to the most complex derivatives strategies on the planet.

      But in Q2 the fund increased their holdings of a certain precious yellow metal by 34%, to the second-largest position in the fund: https://whalewisdom.com/filer/bridgewater-associates-inc#tabholdings_tab_link

      The cries of anguish of bankers around the globe with their mountains of paper promises were heard to echo around the globe…as The Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffet also threw in the towel on his “pet rock” thesis, as said rock handily outperformed his much-revered Berkshire Hathaway shares: https://bmg-group.com/gold-outperforms-berkshire-hathaway/#:~:text=Even%20if%20you%20consider%20gold,Berkshire%2C%20throughout%20the%20investment%20period.

      Astute observers even noted that along the way if you started in Berkshire shares in 1999, you got zeroed out 10 years later in 2009. Sigh.

    2. Oh

      That poser is trying to get media attention, that’s all. He uses words like “we need to grow the pie” and the growing debt not pointing out that the Fed’s largesse to the huge corporations which really blew up asset prices. He doesn’t want to admit that the Fed created money out of thin air and does not affect the nation’s balance sheet (while he glibly compares the govt. to a private corporation and/or a household that cannot overspend for long. He says that the US will fall just like Great Britain because of the value of the pound after the Suez crisis due to debt. No mention by him of how Charles De Gaulle and the USA took away the British Pound Sterling as the global currency and replaced it with the greenback. He uses the word “productivity” without admitting that it really means squeezing more work for less pay!

  7. Lee

    “Happy Hundredth, Roger Angell” [Columbia Journalism Review].

    Great essay. Puts my gripes, regrets, etc. at three score, ten, and then some, in a more life affirming perspective.

  8. Pat

    Just sent information regarding health insurance to a friend who is shopping for it for the first time in forever. She was complaining that she couldn’t just get information.

    After hearing she went to the ER recently I made a point of telling her if she can afford the cobra payment she should pay it for the final months of 2020, if only because of the deductible. That if anything happened she would need to meet the new insurance policy’s deductible along with her premiums before copays kick in. And the new year would start a new deductible to be met. This is someone who has never hedged suggesting that someone “go to the doctor” to part time gig workers. I am not sure she is ready for the minefield that awaits her. (I also noted that this would give her a chance to confirm what Non cobra policies she was considering had her doctors in network.)

    I am thinking a whole lot of people are getting a crash course in A.) what insurance costs Including the bits and pieces they take over and over, and B) how little is actually covered.

    1. Lee

      Didn’t I hear somewhere that “if you like your insurance, you can keep it”? Perhaps I was hallucinating or dreaming.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Minefield, indeed.
        we liked wife’s Medicaid, thank you very much…
        but dad’s life insurance kicked us off of that right quick.
        ten grand, right off the top, for deductables and copays and whatever other shenanigans i could identify…and still sort of unclear on whether BC/BS will pay for one of the chemo drugs.
        everybody I’ve talked to in setting this up says that the TRS(Teacher Insurance in Texas) is better than most…but, define “Better”,lol.
        and…”how can you tell?!”…it’s such a morass of conflicting “information” and code words and formulae.
        I keep saying “I’ve been to Canada…”
        and everybody shrugs…”it’s just the way it is….”
        at least the Machine hasn’t undone the Preexisting Condition Thing…IMO, the only good thing to come out of Obama’s republican healthcare “plan”.
        It doesn’t have to be this way.
        (she missed her “next” treatment by 3 weeks…Oncologist says we’re cool, but it’s been pretty nerve wracking)

        1. Pat

          Amfortas, I am so sorry. No one should have to go through anything like what you and your wife have faced and are facing.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            plenty of people do.
            we’ve been fortunate.
            september 11 was her second anniversary Alive Day , and none of us look any gift horses in the mouth.

            but we’re still a stupid and cruel country, and could do much much better with the provision of healthcare.
            the silver lining of her travails has been the opportunity to challenge friends and family and coworkers and whatnot about their assumptions regarding things like medicaid…and the “Best Healthcare System In The World!(tm)”, in general. Wife has been radicalised by the experience, and is much more outspoken than ever before.
            (I helped a little with the radicalisation, of course,lol)

      2. Pat

        One of the great problems with that “promise” was it never applied to loss from job loss. Which was another problem with employer based insurance. Which is getting hammered in a pandemic.

        Sadly, I am not sure this will convince my friend we need MFA. It may take time in the trenches. (And jobs not coming back in the same manner, for instance her job comes back but they decide it can be part time, they would be wrong but it wouldn’t be the first time.). I fear that may be the case for much of our professional class.

      3. the last D

        Well, I remember someone else, a most excellent and honest man, saying that he would have a beautiful health plan soon, in a few weeks, you betcha, maybe before the election, too, and so beautiful that it would be the best ever, maybe next year, keep your fingers crossed, my your fingers are so small, just look at mine, the most presidential ever, really, everyone tells me so.
        So what? The problem isn’t elected leaders lying, but socialism or extinction.
        Socialism or extinction.

    2. Oh

      Tell your friend to plead poverty and negotiate with the hospital when they send the bill. Many times they’ll knock the amount owed to around 50% of the bill. Others I know have used this tactic successfully and the hospitals know that the billed amount is padded.

    3. eg

      America doesn’t have a “healthcare” system recognizable to any civilized society. It has an Illness Profits Industrial Complex.

  9. Pavel

    Good news: human life still exists in the year 20008.

    Bad news: the Nth generation of the Obama dynasty is still around. Running against a Bush, no doubt.

    NOTE * Exactly what the 20008 Obama campaign did: “Check the website.”

    (Sorry, Lambert, couldn’t resist!)

    1. jTMcPhee

      I “checked the Obama website,” toted up a list of the neoliberal land mines in those “White Papers,” then was foolish enough to write out an entry on Daily Kos pointing out that obama was for instance all in on forcing us to keep subsidizing the mansions and mega yachts of the “health care” industrialists, and that he was all in on a “robust and muscular foreign policy.” “Canceling” was not a thing back then, but the kindest remark I got in comments was ‘Go. Away. This Siet (sic) Is For Grown. Ups.”

      I have not been self-abusive enough to go “check the Biden website” and don;t need to. The “policies” are already out there, “Fundamentally, nothing is going to change.”

      1. Hepativore

        If you did that on Balloon Juice, they would call you a Bernie Bro Qanon misogynistic white Russian stooge and proceed to whip up their commentariat of die-hard Karens into a rabid hateful frenzy for questioning Fearless Leader Obama and Our Lady Clinton.

        They claim to be politically left but make no end of excuses for and fervently support neoliberal Democrats like Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel.

  10. dcblogger

    an under reported aspect of this campaign is all the down ballot energy. plenty of progressive candidates at the state legislative and city council level. Much like what happened in Virginia in 2017 when grassroots Democrats tried to take over the House of Delegates and came within a whisker of succeeding with a massive gain in seats no one saw coming. Biden will benefit from all that down ballot energy. I am on the Bernie Slack, and it is all going into down ballot races. There are years when a ham sandwich can win, and 2020 is one of those year and Biden is that ham sandwich.

    1. Wukchumni

      Le Kosher Nostra?

      There are years when a ham sandwich can win, and 2020 is one of those year and Biden is that ham sandwich.

  11. Odysseus

    I’m still on the fence about whether the Biden campaign is being run by morons or genius.

    Why not both?

    Seriously, when your opponent is making a mistake, don’t interrupt him. Biden fighting for airtime would reduce the constant reminders of Trump’s incompetence.

    Actual policy proposals can be criticized. It’s better for Biden to say nothing on policy matters. Policy in any form is tertiary in this election. There is no quick fix for the COVID pandemic, and that’s the primary thing that most voters care about. So why talk about what you can’t change? Let Trump twist in the wind every night on TV.

  12. allan

    Census layoffs ordered despite judge’s ruling [AP]

    Two weeks after a federal judge prohibited the U.S. Census Bureau from winding down the 2020 census, a manager in Illinois instructed employees to get started with layoffs, according to an audio of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press.

    During a conference call Thursday, the Chicago area manager told supervisors who report to him that they should track down census takers who don’t currently have any cases, collect the iPhones they use to record information, and bid them goodbye. The manager did not respond to an email from the AP.

    “I would really like to get a head start on terminating these people,” he said. “All of these inactives that we have, we need to get rid of them. So hunt down your inactives, collect their devices, get them terminated and off of our lists.”

    It was unclear whether such actions would violate U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down field operations while she considers a request to extend the head count by a month. …

    The census taker also suggested that supervisors should unofficially plan on wrapping up their work by Saturday, 11 days short of the Sept. 30 deadline for ending the 2020 census. …

    Those `urban’ congressional districts don’t undercount themselves.

    1. sleepy

      I’m doing enumeration for a census operation in Iowa that extends through Sept. 24th. The Chicago office has also approved up to 20 hrs overtime. But as you say it’s well before the Sept. 30 deadline.

  13. Billy

    “we will not stop until we reach every Latino voter in every battleground state to cast their vote for Joe Biden and defeat Donald Trump.’

    Yeah, those new legal citizens are really anxious to get El Demente Senil into office so he can give blanket amnesty to the gang bangers that extort money from them and those who jumped the line in which they patiently waited.

    1. marym

      The bi-partisan immigration reform bill supported by the Obama administration that passed the Senate in 2013, immigration policies on Biden’s 2020 website, and the 1986 bill that Reagan supported include background checks and a process for legal status leading to citizenship, not “blanket” amnesty.

      I’d guess there are different views among current voters who are immigrants who benefited from the 1986 process or stood in the lines that Trump has currently cut off or curtailed. There’s a lot of polling over time that indicates general support in the US for a “path to citizenship,”
      2015: http6s://news.gallup.com/poll/184577/favor-path-citizenship-illegal-immigrants.aspx
      2016: https://news.gallup.com/poll/193817/republicans-favor-path-citizenship-wall.aspx
      2018: https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2018/06/28/shifting-public-views-on-legal-immigration-into-the-u-s/
      but I don’t have references that include a breakdown that identifies people polled as being immigrants themselves.

  14. Tvc15

    In regards to dcblogger’s ham sandwich comment. Head cheese also comes to mind. I think it’s how cohesively he’s able to articulate his thoughts.

  15. Amfortas the hippie

    re: the sewerage thing from AAAS.

    while this needs to be done, it will be a hard sell.
    ordinary folks have an aversion to anything having to do with “waste”…my fave example is the Natgas industry, long ago, having to rename Methane…”Natural Gas” is a marketing term….to distinguish it from “sewer gas”, which is what many people immediately thought of when they heard “methane”.
    and, as mentioned in the article, there’s all sorts of things that go right through conventional…and even fancy star trek style… treatment.
    pharma and heavy metals and all manner of hard to pronounce chemicals.
    that’s gonna be a major challenge.
    and it’s not only big industry that will require enforcement…out here, many ranchers still use diesel as a surfactant for their herbicides, for instance*…and many more have hoarded now banned pesticides and herbicides and fungicides…stocked up when word came down that whatever nasty chem was fixin to be banned.
    so there’s barns full of horrible chemicals all over the hinterlands.
    “inspections” or searches by “gubmint” agents will not be taken lying down, I’m afraid….and plug that into the ongoing and metastasizing culture war political insanity, and it’s a recipe for nothing getting done.

    *The county road department only stopped with the diesel “weed killer” after i made a big stink about it, around 12 years ago….and that’s a heavily regulated entity, at least by Texas standards.

  16. edmondo

    The effort sought to identify voters who took a favorable view of Trump’s record on the economy but who might still be receptive to alternative perspectives, then spent weeks targeting them with messages arguing that the economy was actually not working for Wisconsin, and that Trump’s policies weren’t helping.

    Everyone please notice. The Democrats offered NO SOLUTIONS just that the Orange Man is bad. WTF are these people going to do on January 21st when they control the whole sheebang? They have no idea do they?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “WTF are these people going to do on January 21st when they control the whole sheebang? ”

      well…the starry eyed optimists at the Jobs’ Better Half Zine have a plan:
      don’t know how all that’s supposed to fly with the Donors…or the Blue Dogs…or the Clintonites…or “The Moderates”….and that’s to say nothing of how the Rehabilitated War Criminals will feel about it.
      after a quick read-though, it sounded like a good start, to me.
      But I am far too cynical to lard it with any hope.
      and that’s all only IF the demparty can manage to “win”.
      That’s a big IF.

    2. Arizona Slim

      “WTF are these people going to do on January 21st when they control the whole sheebang? ”

      I’m reminded of the car-chasing dog that’s been chasing, chasing, and chasing for years. And then, one fine day, the dog catches a car.

      What to do next? The dog has no clue.

      1. John k

        The senile dog might not know much, but he knows what the donors want, and that is to do nothing at all for the rubes. Obama caught that car not that long ago – what did he do? He looked forward, not back. Started a bunch of wars. Killed a lot with drones. Expelled a lot of Hispanics, put some of their kids in cages. Tried to cut “SS and tried manfully, for years, to pass TPP. Certainly no change that would be useful to the middle class.
        That was Hillary’s plan in 2016, and that’s Biden’s plan now.

    3. polecat

      You know, Trump may ‘appear’ to be a 5 yo … but I swear that the Demons are truly possessed of the terrible twos!

      I mean, my God! .. it’s been full-on tantrum 24/7/1642.5

  17. edmondo

    “Ed Markey’s Win Shows Biden a Path to the Election, If He’d Take It”

    I believe that Joe Biden learned from Ed Markey that if you carry the PMC strongholds by 10-1 margins you can tell those icky blue collar workers to go pound sand. I don’t think that was the lesson you wanted them to learn.

  18. chuck roast

    The case for Genius…see above, Chuck Rocha Latino ad…
    Yes, Chuck Rocha. Here is a guy who wouldn’t have lasted 20 minutes in my post-adolescent shot-n-a-beer bar. There was a Bullshit Artist-o-meter at the door. The guy is a walkin’, talkin’, dressin’ alarm bell. I can see one of those olde timey Marines on Iwo Jima with the flame throwers. The Marine sees this hat pop up from a cave, and he knows automatically that the guy underneath it is the enemy of his mom, his dad, his country and his ex-girlfriend back home who just dumped him…he presses the trigger and kills it with fire! The marine is our hero. He loads up with more fuel and goes in search of Pete Buttigieg. The marine wins two congressional medals of honor.

  19. BoyDownTheLane

    Comment above:
    Amfortas the hippie
    September 18, 2020 at 3:41 pm
    we used to call them “Rednecks”.

    I know that the proprietors here are very proud of the degree of discernment and intelligence present among its “commentariat” but the smarminess of the perjorartive demonstrated in this attempt to smear those who support Trump/Q is more demonstrative of a lack of deep understanding. The term “redneck” derives from the fact that the folk organized by Mother Jones and marched out of the Charleston, WV area into Logan County in preparation for the showdown of a coal miner’s strike that devolved into the battle for Blair Mountain [itself arguably a precedent for what is going on now throughout America] tied red bandannas around their necks so as to be identifiable amongst themselves once the shooting began.

    But this factoid will be erased in much the same way those who point out George Soros’ financial support for district attorneys will have the plug pulled on them.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      It ain’t the 1930’s, I’m afraid.
      I’m more than well aware of the history of the term.
      regardless, “Redneck”, for all my 51 years, denotes the Good Ol’ Boys with baseball bats in pickup trucks, chasing hippies.
      I was that long haired freak, so chased(but rarely caught)…and have dealt with the subspecies in question for as long as i can remember.
      And!…to add even further confusion to otherwise ready stereotypes: I am a Redneck,lol.
      a Redneck Hippie, perhaps…but still…
      I keep a bat in my truck, as a sort of inside joke…i have a firearm about my person more often than not, and i always have a knife.
      My jeremiad stands.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and: “… smarminess of the perjorartive demonstrated in this attempt to smear those who support Trump/Q is more demonstrative of a lack of deep understanding…”

        I don’t reckon i owe anyone, least of all this insane post-teabilly Right Wing fleur de mal, any quarter, at all.
        They can inject their bleach on their sinking boats and wave their flags while spewing spittle and froth, and I’ll support their absolute Right to do so.
        But I will NOT be frelling Nice to them.
        They are, and always have been, the footsoldiers of facism, american style…willingly, if ignorantly…and they get no quarter.
        literally everything wrong with this country today…including the supine versaiiles corpsedems(Moderate Repubs)…is due to the political movement they supported full throatedly….since at least the time of Goldwater(who seems now quite sane and erudite, in contrast)
        This is almost exactly the world they’ve been pining for, and now we all have to live in it.
        So, Fie, Fie Fie!
        May the “Far Left Mobs”(?!) find them quickly….in their dreams, at the very least.
        I burn a carrot towards their eventual doom.

  20. jr

    Washington Square and LaGuardia Place :

    200 protestors gathering according to Citizen App

    Update: now on 5th ave and 8th street, police attempting to stop march by blocking it

    1. Skip Intro

      This really ups the volatility. Apparently McConnell has already said Trump’s nominee will get a vote, and dems are outraged that he is changing the rule he made… This is why they lose at Calvinball.
      So Trump has a needle to thread, can he fire up his base without exciting the dem base? I’m betting he names ultraconservative hispanic woman.
      Live by idpol, die by idpol.

  21. The Rev Kev

    Spot the difference. Melania and Kamala

    The girl that did this only spent five minutes putting those two images together from Yahoo. Years ago I saw an image on Yahoo that I had to screen-capture as the images were already juxtapositioned. It was in the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans and there were two images. The one at the top showed this black guy walking through chest-high water carrying a bag and the caption said that he was doing so after ‘looting a grocery store.’ The second showed a white couple doing the same but the caption said they did so after ‘finding bread and soda from a local grocery store.’ And Yahoo never picked up on this until readers called them over it.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        can’t say it’s unexpected, but damn.
        trump will likely nominate that mel gibson catholic woman that was under consideration a couple of years ago….and the Dems…the “Resistance(tm)”…will line up to confirm her.
        I predict that 2 democratic senators will vote against(Brown and Bernie)…unless there’s a game on.

        although, wife yelled a minute ago that Lisa Merkowski(sp-2) has said that she won’t vote to confirm til after the election, because “fair is fair”(regarding Turtleman’s Garland fiasco)

        1. John k

          Trump is still pres after the election, and the rep senate majority will still be intact then, too.
          I don’t think this is subject to filibuster.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            too true…but it was subject to foot dragging and crocodile tears about the Will of the People when it was Obama’s nominee(and it ain’t like Garland would have been any further left than, say, renquist, any way)
            If i ran the senate dems, I’d deny them a quorum, if i could…and if not, drag it out til january at the earliest with procedural nonsense.
            what’s good for the goose, and all.
            but chuck has already picked his spot on the floor to lay on.

            trump’s been picking young ones, too…which means the rest of my life under a righty scotus.

            I guess a wander through the Federalist Society is in order(sigh).

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              They need Republicans to do it, and Collins and Romney despite their disdain of Trump want a nut job. Court packing after describing the flaws with conservative justices is the strategy forward. Murkowski is there with them. Toomey and Johnson are up in 2022 and not in 2024 short lists. Everyone else is too old to care, entrenched, or measuring their 2024 suits.

              It’s about court packing now.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Lisa Merkowski(sp-2) has said that she won’t vote to confirm til after the election

          Ha ha, maybe Susan Collins will do the same, and pull her re-election bid out of the fire.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Didn’t Senators used to be able to place a “Senatorial Hold” on any Presidential nominee including to the Supreme Court for no reason at all if they felt like it? If my memory is correct, do Senators, including Democratic Senators and also Senator Sanders, still have the power of the Senatorial Hold?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Bad bad bad

        I think it’s potentially good. The role of the Court and its collective judicial philosophy are rightly political issues. This is a debate the country has needed for a long time.

        Leave it to Biden to squander the opportunity, of course. “We don’t need another white man on the court,” etc.

        Presumably the cool heads in the Federalist Society will be able to control Trump’s tendency to turn this into an enormous trolling opportunity.

  22. None from Nowheresville

    Ginsberg dead at 87. Complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

    Potential Supreme Court nomination battle before, during and perhaps after the election.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Potential Supreme Court nomination battle before, during and perhaps after the election.

      RBG would have had to resign in Obama’s first two years for an adequate replacement to have been picked (given how Obama rolled over on Merrick Garland).

      This is not a battle that will be bad to have, unless the Democrats try to take down Trump’s nominee with another “he said”/”she said” idpol moral panic a la Kavanaugh. Why the heck couldn’t they just say they disagreed with his “judicial philosophy” and wouldn’t vote for him? Meritocratic brain damage?

  23. fresno dan

    So, went to my volunteer job at HICAP for the first time since February or March.
    Of course, forgot all the passwords that are needed to get into the various systems.
    We do all our client counselling over the phone now because covid, which to say the least, is challenging. No graphs, diagrams, etcetera – try describing medicare just orally.
    So the first case was novel for me – a guy who is on his wife’s insurance, but he is retiring and as a Calpers retiree apparently wants to use Calpers as his health insurance provider, as his wife is retiring soon too. As I have no training in Calpers health insurance, like a lot of these situations, I can only explain terminology and how medicare works, and what to be aware of. As far as I can tell, what Calpers is doing is providing a medicare advantage plan. I advised the client to call Calpers back and ask specifically if the Calpers plan was different in any way than the medicare advantage plan, and if the premiums are different (and what they are). I vaguely recall reading that Calpers was collecting what an article considered an excessive administration fee for providing a health plan that a recipient could buy for themselves under medicare. I couldn’t find the article while I was talking to the client, so I intend to look more into Calpers retiree health care options.
    The second case was a 90 year old who was on medicare in 1995, and was simply unaware of Part D. He is now where he has to start taking prescription drugs. If he was low income and got Extra Help he would not pay any late enrollment penalty for Part D, but he does not meet the income requirements. They have slightyly reduced the percentage penalty, so the maximum penalty is 601$ for the year. The son decided that the amount of money he would save by having drug insurance would more than cover the cost of the penalty, and he didn’t want to bother with an appeal.
    So, getting out of the house and going to the office was a nice change of pace. If these individuals had been in the office, I would have been able to give them a lot more detailed information…but covid.
    The whole point of volunteering was to get some more human interaction that what I was getting at bars and restaurants. I’ll have to do this a few more times to see if I am getting enough satisfaction that I am willing to come in 3 days a week during open season when all I am doing is talking to people on the phone…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        we have had the benefit of a similar person with medicaid, and couldn’t have done it without her.

        I’m off the sauce, but i’ll hoist a joint in your general direction come dawn.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So, went to my volunteer job at HICAP for the first time since February or March.

      Thank you.

      >The whole point of volunteering was to get some more human interaction that what I was getting at bars and restaurants.

      But please, WATCH OUT FOR BARS!!!!!!! Restaurants aren’t so good either. In both cases, please avoid noisy venues, because loud talking or shouting produces aersosols.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Got a comment in mod about this news but you thought that the Kavanagh hearings were wild, just wait until we hear Trump’s pick – whom the Democrats will eventually roll over and accept eventually, after squeezing out all the political capital that they can.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Very sad.. she devoted her life to a USA that doesn’t exist anymore.

      Don’t worry, Mcconnell will have a replacement lined up Monday.. leaving no doubts of his hypocrisy.

    2. Daryl

      I have to say, the chance of navigating the US out of this mess appears to be getting slimmer by the day. Less and less options…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          In my view, the Supreme Court has not been legitimate since Bush v. Gore in 2000, since Scalia wrote the decision to pick the President who would nominate Justices who would skew the Court in the ideological direction Scalia preferred.

          I don’t object in principle to the Democrats expanding the Court and packing it, it’s only that I don’t think it will solve the country’s real problems. (Nor should we expect it to; the liberal Democrat tendency to rely on the Courts to produce outcomes they could not earn at the ballot box was really pernicious and no wonder it caught up with them. One notes the right’s successful use of violence in response to Roe v. Wade.)

  24. tegnost

    They have plenty of “solutions”, just not ones they want to publicly admit to. There will be a major land grab on day one while they lecture the proles about incrementalism. There are all the plans sitting on the shelf where they left them in fall 2016, plus whatever nefarious crap they’ve added along the way. Indeed I expect the biden team to be so effective they will destroy the fabric of society and sow the seeds of their own demise. They won’t change anything unless they are making it worse. Social Security, Trade, Big Tech…

  25. Pat

    I am truly cynical.
    IF Joe Biden wins and
    IF the Democrats have the Senate and
    IF the Democrats have the nerve, the smarts, and the knowledge of procedure to circumvent McConnell pushing through a nominee

    I still don’t think there is a chance in hell that Biden and Harris nominate anyone half as lefty liberal as RBG. There certainly hasn’t been one since she was nominated. Sure it won’t be as hideous as Cruz or Sessions or Barrett, but any possible nominee still has to value corporations over people, business over community, and yes that nobody has any civil rights outside of that gun ownership thing.

    No matter how this ends it doesn’t end well.

    1. Billy

      Predictions, if Dementia Joe and his Summertime Replacement get elected, the nominee will be a conservative East Indian, celebrated for her skin color and sex, rather than her legal knowledge.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I still don’t think there is a chance in hell that Biden and Harris nominate anyone half as lefty liberal as RBG

      A first cut at the criteria, were the Democrats doing the nominating:

      [ ] young
      [ ] woman
      [ ] “of color”
      [ ] Ivy League meritocrat
      [ ] if a “star” in any area, “justice” issues (economics, racial) only peripherally
      [ ] donor-approved

  26. VietnamVet

    It was hidden in the 2016 election, the American middle class of public educated, practical, Rotarians of the 1950s are long gone but Donald Trump saw it and won. The top 10% have retired, have crap jobs, or are consiglieres to mob cults. Today they are working from home or in an antigen tested virus free bubbles. There is a huge wealth gap.

    Retired, in suburbia, I was unaware of the change except for the excerpts that sneak through the media’s mockingbird storyboard. The documentary about my Army unit “Restrepo” is an example. Forty years later, Vietnam’s Charlie Company in Afghanistan become the Chosen Company. The Punisher Logo hung on the wall of the Deplorable’s ready room. Without a middle class, the USA has become quite unstable. Except those still on the gravy train have a vested interest in keeping things going since once it stops, they are dead. Still, the federal government doesn’t work anymore. This is the ultimate intended effect of deregulation and cutting taxes.

    Inequality, Coronavirus Pandemic, Economic Depression and Climate Change have all struck at once. “Best of all possible worlds” propaganda does not work anymore even for those in denial. Neither the “5-year-old” President, who is responsible, nor the 78-year-old in January 2021 opponent (The Last Emperor) are capable of addressing these crises. In a Time of Fire, Plague and Economic Depression, it is everybody for themselves.

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