2:00PM Water Cooler 9/2/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I had a little bit of a debacle today, because I dropped off my usual laptop at the shop to have one of its ports fixed, and I forgot to send myself the outline I use to create Water Cooler. So I had to reconstruct it, which took a chunk of time. More soon! –lambert UPDATE All done!


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

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

And at reader request, Midwest positivity:

Colleges: “Poll: Majority favor go-slow approach on reopening schools, colleges” [Buffalo News]. “With more than half of New Yorkers believing the worst of Covid-19 is still to come, 62% say it would be too great a risk to completely reopen schools across the state and a majority think it’s a mistake for colleges to offer in-person learning this fall, a new poll has found. The Siena College poll out Wednesday morning also found that 70% of respondents believe it is government’s job to contain the virus even if it continues to hurt the economy. The new poll found widespread worry still reigns among New Yorkers over the pandemic, with 86% very or somewhat concerned that the virus will reemerge in a major way in the state later this fall. Fifty-six percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 said they believe the worst is yet to come with Covid – the same level as those over the age of 65. But when asked if they have been ‘completely’ practicing social distancing by remaining at least 6 feet apart when outside their homes, 48% percent of the younger group said yes while 64% of the older group said yes.”


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

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

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

Time to restore the election countdown:

A long time in politics!


More politics shortly; see note to readers above. UPDATE All done!

Biden (D)(1): “‘I support Joe Biden’s pro-science agenda’: 81 Nobel laureates endorse Biden for president” [CNN]. “Eighty-one Nobel Prize winners endorsed Joe Biden for president in an open letter on Wednesday, citing the former vice president’s ‘willingness to listen to experts’ and his ‘deep appreciation for using science to find solutions.’ The Nobel laureates, winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Medicine and Physics, stressed the importance of elected leaders making decisions based on science, particularly during a global pandemic.” • Wellie, “the sciencesupports #MedicareForAll. Where is Good Ol’ Joe on that one?

Biden (D)(2): “Biden and Trump Unveil Dueling Law-and-Order Ads as Both Eye Swing States” [New York Times]. Biden: “”I want to make it absolutely clear. Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. And those who do it should be prosecuted.” • Maybe another Crime Bill? With The Great Assimilation™ in full swing, I don’t know whether Truman’s adage is still true: “If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time.” (That speech shows that today’s party problems are not new.) But I guess Biden is going to put the question to the test!

Buttigeig (D)(1): “For his next act, Pete Buttigieg is pivoting to podcasting” [WaPo]. “What’s unclear is whether Buttigieg is using the podcast as the launching point for a new career as a media personality, or whether he’s using it to maintain his follower base and potentially build up an audience — and email list — for another political run. When asked, he characteristically hedged a bit.” • No.

Trump (R)(1): “CDC Issues Sweeping Temporary Halt On Evictions Nationwide Amid Pandemic” [NPR]. “The Trump administration is ordering a halt on evictions nationwide through December for people who have lost work during the pandemic and don’t have other good housing options. The new eviction ban is being enacted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, which the agency says in its order ‘presents a historic threat to public health.’ It’s by far the most sweeping move yet by the administration to try to head off a looming wave of evictions of people who have lost their jobs or taken a major blow to their income because of the pandemic. But this new ban, which doesn’t offer any way for landlords to recoup unpaid rent, is being met with a mixed response. First, many housing advocates are very happy to see it…. Landlords are worried about falling off a cliff too… Under the rules of the order, renters have to sign a declaration saying they don’t make more than $99,000 a year — or twice that if filing a joint tax return — and that they have no other option if evicted other than homelessness or living with more people in close proximity. Evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent will be allowed.” • So it’s means-tested. That means liberal Democrats should love it, even if it is a ginormous norms violation. Smart move by Trump: (A) He’s doing something, and while Congress is on vacation, too; (B) it’s a concrete material benefit, even if not entirely universal; (C) it gives the CDC a big boost, which it needs from its many blunders during the crisis; (D) it totally steals the Democrat’s already threadbare clothes on working class advocacy. Naturally, the details will be all screwed up, it being Trump, but it’s still a smart move. “What did Nancy Pelosi do on evictions, Joe? Open her fridge to the homeless?” Carlos Mucha comments on the legalities:

Trump (D)(2): “Why Trump is Likely to Win Again” [Thomas Greene, Noteworthy]. “Trump will not be defeated by educating voters, by exposing his many foibles and inadequacies. Highlighting what’s wrong with him is futile; his supporters didn’t elect him because they mistook him for a competent administrator or a decent man. They’re angry, not stupid. Trump is an agent of disruption — indeed, of revenge. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has positioned him as a tragic force-multiplier on a scale that few could have predicted, and the result is verging on catastrophic. Still, that might not be enough to prevent his re-election. Workers now sense that economic justice — a condition in which labor and capital recognize and value each other — is permanently out of reach; the class war is over and it was an absolute rout: insatiable parasites control everything now, and even drain us gratuitously, as if exacting reparations for the money and effort they spent taming us. The economy itself, and the institutions protecting it, must be attacked, and actually crippled, to get the attention of the smug patricians in charge. Two decades of appealing to justice, proportion, and common decency have yielded nothing. I’d rather not see four more years of Donald, but I understand the impulse to use him as a cat’s paw.” ¨• Anger is, of course, completely transgressive inside the Beltway, and in the PMC generally (except as when directed at social inferiors, like servers). But another view is possible–

Trump (D)(3): “The Art of Losing” [James Pogue, Harpers]. • This is a long-form report from Kenosha: “‘You’ve got a group of people out there, and a fairly large group of people, that are angry, and they feel like they’ve been left behind,” said [Democratic mayor, John Antaramian]. ‘I don’t know if NAFTA was reversed they would come back. I think it’s not policy but root policy.’ By root policy, Antaramian was talking about offering ordinary people a sense of meaningful participation in public life. And even though I hadn’t seen much outright anger, I thought I knew what he meant—that the anger he saw wasn’t so much rage against elites or ethnic resentment or a hankering for lost industrial glory as it was a desire for an America that was actually responsive to their voices and input.” Pogue concludes: “In the long run, a Democratic Party that wants to govern is going to have to respond to this feeling, not by offering incremental reforms in policing, or tweaks to existing health care laws, but by beginning a real transformation. It will require new structures—we have not yet tried to govern a metropolis without a police force, but we soon might—as well as a recommitment to things that the Democrats have abandoned, like organized labor. It will take admitting that the morass we’ve ended up in was not created by accident. It will take naming the people who brought us to this point, and it will take a willingness to confront them and to make enemies—something Republicans have long been happy to do. It will, finally, take a political project that can match the feeling of participation and excitement that the Trump movement has offered. Democrats picked a candidate who has promised to return the country to normal. That may end up being the most dangerous choice of all.” • It was written before the Kenosha riots — good call, Harpers editors! — and although it’s far superior to the hardy perennial “old white guys in the diner” piece, there are not nearly enough Blacks quoted. The piece is still well worth a read. The Midwest remains a mysterious place. (There’s no hint in the text that the article title is an allusion to “One Art,” a wonderful poem of Elizabeth Bishop: “The art of losing isn’t hard to master…”.)

Trump (D)(4): “Kenosha Could Cost Trump the Election” [The Atlantic]. “There isn’t much up-to-date polling to go on so far, and the story is still developing, but Trump’s decision to stoke racial tension earlier this summer has been the one thing that has managed to shake up an otherwise very stable presidential race. The president’s impeachment, the ravages of the coronavirus, a vast economic collapse—none of these has done much to change either the dynamics of the Biden-Trump race or the president’s approval rating. The one exception came in June, amid massive, nationwide protests that followed the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks at the hands of police. Trump’s numbers tumbled, driven by voters—especially white voters—panning his handling of racial justice and the protests…. Trump is eagerly seizing onto an issue that seems to harm him. Even though each previous round has ended poorly for Trump, he keep doubling and tripling down on exacerbating racial tension. Maybe once he goes big enough, it will work for him. Or maybe Trump, a man who went bankrupt running a casino, just isn’t all that clever a gambler.” • Those numbers will turn when “property values” are threatened.

Trump (R)(1): “Kenosha business owner declines President Trump photo-op, former owner replaces him” [WTMJ]. “A Kenosha business owner is accusing President Donald Trump of using his destroyed store for political gain. Tom Gram’s century-old camera shop burned to the ground a week ago during the unrest in Uptown Kenosha. Gram said he declined President Trump’s request to be a part of his tour of damage Tuesday in Kenosha. Instead, a former owner of the shop was invited and he praised the president’s efforts.” • Instead, Trump got the property owner to participate, an interesting dynamic.

West (I): Perkins Coie, well well:

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MA: “The Unlikely Kennedy Who Ended the Kennedy Dynasty” [Politico]. The conclusion: “The Kennedy dynasty is dead. Joe’s Senate loss places a 2020 marker on its gravestone. Yet no one should be more relieved than the Kennedys. Now they are free to be themselves and discover their own ways to make a contribution.” • Good. The last thing we need is more political dynasties. Chelsea.

MA: “Neal beats back primary challenge from progressive Alex Morse in Massachusetts” [The Hill]. “The Associated Press called the race for Neal just before 9:45 p.m. local time. The incumbent was ahead by a substantial 60 percent to 40 percent margin with nearly 60,000 votes tallied.” • In other words, it wasn’t Democrat ratfucking that won the race — although their vile smears will make it harder for Morse to run again. But what does Western Mass have going for it but the power of incumbency? It’s rather like Maine, in that regard.

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You mean on top of everything else, this ship is rigged?

More than enough for real attempts at delegimization to be made, no matter the victor.

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Realignment and Legitimacy

“Pelosi used shuttered San Francisco hair salon for blow-out, owner calls it ‘slap in the face'” [FOX News]. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited a San Francisco hair salon on Monday afternoon for a wash and blow-out, despite local ordinances keeping salons closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News has learned. In security footage obtained by Fox News, and timestamped Monday at 3:08 p.m. Pacific Time, the California powerhouse is seen walking through ESalonSF in San Francisco with wet hair, and without a mask over her mouth or nose. The stylist doing her hair can be seen following her wearing a black face mask.” • Masks are for little people.

New concept: “Affinity fraud.”

Keep it classy, liberal Democrats:

(A second high-follower account helps the hashtag trend.) Look, who doesn’t like to mock stroke victims? But mocking Elizabeth Warren’s former identity… That’s a little bit much.

This is actually a good question:

And “they arrested my friends” is not an answer.

“The Birth of QAmom” [Rolling Stone]. “With her bouncy, honey-streaked hair, tastefully pastel-and-beige-hued grid and effortless ability to wear such garments as shapeless khaki rompers, Ciara Chanel Self, a Dallas, Texas-based interior designer and parent of a toddler, appears on Instagram to be the prototypical mom influencer. She regularly posts aspirational photos of cream-colored nurseries, 2-year-olds’ birthday parties, and apple-cheeked toddlers gallivanting by ocean sunsets. Only one highlight on her Instagram stories would seem to indicate otherwise: a tab labeled ‘woke,’ where she has compiled conspiracy theories about Ghislaine Maxwell and the ‘global elite pedophile ring’ afflicting our nation. ‘Child trafficking, torture, rape, and murder…we should be rioting in the streets you guys. Yet NO ONE is talking about this,” she writes, concluding with the hashtag #SaveTheChildren and the exhortation ‘dark to light.’” • Holy Lord, “dark to light” is the central rhetorical trope in Biden’s acceptance speech. Oh, and Maxwell was part of a “global elite pedophile ring.” Actually. Oh, and to my mind the central question is “Who is Q?” You’d think there’s be some investigative reporting on that. If there isn’t, before the election, I’m going to start thinking that’s odd.

Stats Watch

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

Employment Situation: “August 2020 ADP Employment Gains 428,000” [Econintersect]. “ADP reported non-farm private jobs growth at 428,000 which was within expectations. A quote from the ADP authors: ‘The August job postings demonstrate a slow recovery.’ Last month’s employment gain was revised upward. It will be interesting to see what the BLS says is the jobs growth.”

Manufacturing: “July 2020 Headline Manufacturing New Orders Improve” [Econintersect]. “US Census says manufacturing new orders improved month-over-month with unfilled orders shrinking modestly. Our analysis shows the rolling averages improved but remain in contraction…. According to the seasonally adjusted data, the increase was widespread except for civilian aircraft which significantly contracted.” • Boeing? Boeing? Boeing?

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Entertainment: “K-Pop Superstars BTS’s Agency Seeks up to $812 Million in IPO” [Bloomberg]. “Big Hit Entertainment Co., the manager of K-pop boy band BTS, is looking to raise as much as 962.6 billion won ($812 million) in a South Korean initial public offering that is set to be the country’s largest in three years…. Big Hit’s will also help galvanize the IPO market in South Korea, which had been suffering from low listing volumes in recent years.”

The Fed: “In Historic Move, Fed Will No Longer Kill Jobs to Fight Phantom Inflation” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. From last week, the caption for a photo of Jerome Powell: “In short, money printer go brrr.” • This was the Powell speech that had MMTers declaring victory last week. Of course, victory will only come when an explicitly pro-MMT posse member achieves a position of power.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 76, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 75 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 2 at 12:27pm. Our greed is not really that extreme. Can’t we get ‘er into the mid-80s, at least? Add oil!

The Biosphere

“The appallingly bad neoclassical economics of climate change” [Steve Keen, Globalization]. “Forecasts by economists of the economic damage from climate change have been notably sanguine, compared to warnings by scientists about damage to the biosphere. This is because economists made their own predictions of damages, using three spurious methods: assuming that about 90% of GDP will be unaffected by climate change, because it happens indoors; using the relationship between temperature and GDP today as a proxy for the impact of global warming over time; and using surveys that diluted extreme warnings from scientists with optimistic expectations from economists. Nordhaus has misrepresented the scientific literature to justify the using a smooth function to describe the damage to GDP from climate change. Correcting for these errors makes it feasible that the economic damages from climate change are at least an order of magnitude worse than forecast by economists, and may be so great as to threaten the survival of human civilization.” • Another massive takedown of Nordhaus by Keen. Fun stuff!

“Forest regeneration on European sheep pasture is an economically viable climate change mitigation strategy” [IOP Science]. The lengthy abstract: “Livestock production uses 37% of land globally and is responsible for 15% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Yet livestock farmers across Europe receive billions of dollars in annual subsidies to support their livelihoods. This study evaluates whether diverting European subsidies into the restoration of trees on abandoned farmland represents a cost-effective negative-emissions strategy for mitigating climate change. Focusing on sheep farming in the United Kingdom, and on natural regeneration and planted native forests, we show that, without subsidies, sheep farming is not profitable when farmers are paid for their labour. Despite the much lower productivity of upland farms, upland and lowland farms are financially comparable per hectare. Conversion to ‘carbon forests’ is possible via natural regeneration when close to existing trees, which are seed sources. This strategy is financially viable without subsidies, meeting the net present value of poorly performing sheep farming at a competitive $4/tCO2eq. If tree planting is required to establish forests, then ~$55/tCO2eq is needed to break-even, making it uneconomical under current carbon market prices without financial aid to cover establishment costs. However, this break-even price is lower than the theoretical social value of carbon ($68/tCO2eq), which represents the economic cost of CO2 emissions to society. The viability of land-use conversion without subsidies therefore depends on low farm performance, strong likelihood of natural regeneration, and high carbon-market price, plus overcoming potential trade-offs between the cultural and social values placed on pastoral livestock systems and climate change mitigation. The morality of subsidising farming practices that cause high greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, whilst spending billions annually on protecting forest carbon in less developed nations to slow climate change is questionable.” • There was considerable controversy about this article on the Twitter. UK and Scottish readers may wish to weigh in.

“Exploring the biophysical option space for feeding the world without deforestation” [Nature]. From 2016, still germane. Another lengthy Abstract: “We assess the biophysical option space for feeding the world in 2050 in a hypothetical zero-deforestation world. We systematically combine realistic assumptions on future yields, agricultural areas, livestock feed and human diets. For each scenario, we determine whether the supply of crop products meets the demand and whether the grazing intensity stays within plausible limits. We find that many options exist to meet the global food supply in 2050 without deforestation, even at low crop-yield levels. Within the option space, individual scenarios differ greatly in terms of biomass harvest, cropland demand and grazing intensity, depending primarily on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of human diets. Grazing constraints strongly limit the option space. Without the option to encroach into natural or semi-natural land, trade volumes will rise in scenarios with globally converging diets, thereby decreasing the food self-sufficiency of many developing regions.” • Hmm… Given zoonotic diseases, I might well have filed this under Health Care…

Health Care

“A cheap, simple way to control this pandemic exists” [A cheap, simple way to control this pandemic exists]. “The idea that weekly testing of whole populations can reduce transmission so that normal life can continue has been endorsed by leading epidemiologists and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer. Yet it has been largely ignored. In the UK, Matt Hancock, the health minister, has called Britain’s long-term aim of making tests available to everyone a “moonshot”. More dramatically in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently downgraded its guidelines so that only people with symptoms are tested. This is despite the fact that a cheap, effective and non-patented technology for testing is available to be rolled out quickly, even in rural settings in the developing world. RT-LAMP (reverse transcriptase loop amplification), as it is called, does not require expensive equipment. Crucially, testing can be done using self-taken saliva samples. That simplicity is important as it makes the logistics of administering and monitoring regular testing feasible. It is also unlike the latest commercial rapid test, Abbott’s BinaxNOW, which requires a nasal swab administered by a health professional and analysis within an hour. These are major obstacles to testing whole populations regularly. Taking the UK as an example, local biotech companies could supply the needed RT-LAMP reagents for less than £1 per test. This ease of technology and low cost means that scaling up to the 10m daily tests needed to conduct weekly testing of the entire British population could be achieved quicker than via the various commercial systems currently being studied by the government.” • Well, our health care system is optimized for profit. It’s not optimized for “cheap, effective” and it’s especially not optimized for “non-patented.” So of course RT-LAMP is ignored. (My personal view is that weekly testing at £1 is the wrong approach; the test needs to be so cheap — say 99¢ — so it can be done on impulse, like buying candy at the cash register, with testing stations distributed widely. Combine the test with a lottery, and you might get somewhere, in a Third World country like our own.

“Two types of steroid found to save lives of some Covid-19 patients” [Guardian]. “Studies around the world have confirmed that steroids can save lives in the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to new recommendations from the World Heath Organization that doctors should give them to severely ill patients. In June, the Recovery trial run in most NHS hospitals and led by Oxford University found that the lives of one in eight people sick enough from Covid-19 to need a ventilator could be saved by a steroid called dexamethasone. Now, combined results from that trial and six others have confirmed those findings and established that at least one other equally cheap and widely available steroid, hydrocortisone, also saves lives. The drugs reduce the risk of death in these seriously ill patients by 20%, according to a meta-analysis of the results of the seven trials covering a total of 1,703 patients, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Three of the trials have also been published separately in the journal.

“The Moral Determinants of Health” [Don Berwick, JAMA]. “The power of these societal factors is enormous compared with the power of health care to counteract them. One common metaphor for social and health disparities is the “subway map” view of life expectancy, showing the expected life span of people who reside in the neighborhood of a train or subway stop. From midtown Manhattan to the South Bronx in New York City, life expectancy declines by 10 years: 6 months for every minute on the subway. Between the Chicago Loop and west side of the city, the difference in life expectancy is 16 years. At a population level, no existing or conceivable medical intervention comes within an order of magnitude of the effect of place on health. Marmot also estimated if the population were free of heart disease, human life expectancy would increase by 4 years,1 barely 25% of the effect associated with living in the richer parts of Chicago instead of the poorer ones.”

“Trump administration cancels ventilator orders, saying stockpile is full” [Los Angeles Times]. “The Trump administration is canceling some of its remaining orders for ventilators after having rushed to sign nearly $3 billion in emergency contracts as the COVID-19 pandemic surged in the spring. The Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement Tuesday affirming that the national stockpile has now reached its maximum capacity for the life-saving breathing machines, with nearly 120,000 available for deployment to state and local health officials if needed. Though the orders were billed as a cost-saving measure, Democrats said the cancellations showed that the White House vastly overspent in its quest to fulfill President Trump’s pledge to make the U.S. the ‘king of ventilators.'” • Sheesh, who cares?


“Was Kyle Rittenhouse’s possession of a gun protected by the Second Amendment?” [NBC]. “Rittenhouse’s attorney, John Pierce of Pierce Bainbridge, plans to fight the underage weapons possession charge, arguing that at 17, his client could be part of the ‘well regulated Militia’ mentioned in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Put another way, Pierce will likely argue that Wisconsin’s ban on firearms possession by 17-year-olds is unconstitutional because a 17-year-old minor is on the same Second Amendment footing as an adult.” • Hmm. Rittenhouse considered himself a militia member. Was Rittenhouse deputized? Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth says no, but sometimes actons speak louder than words: “The cops who gave him bottled water and fraternized with the young man didn’t ask any questions. Instead they welcomed his ‘help’ and the presence of the militia. All they wanted in exchange was to be able to patrol the streets with impunity. For these men, the answer to ‘anarchy’ is armed vigilantism. The reluctance of the police to confront these men they knew could shoot back effectively ‘deputized’ Kyle and made possible everything that followed next.”

Police State Watch

“The Little Cards That Tell Police ‘Let’s Forget This Ever Happened'” [Vice]. “The [Police Benevolent Association (PBS)] cards are designed to be presented in a low-stakes police encounter, like a traffic stop, as a laminated wink-and-nudge between officers that says, ‘Hey, would you mind going a little easy on this one?’ When a cop is handed a PBA card, they can call the number on it to verify the relationship between the cardholder and the issuer, then decide whether it means they should give the cardholder a break.”

“Whistleblower: California Deputy Killed Teen to Join Department’s ‘Gang'” [Bay News 9]. “The deputy who shot and killed 18-year-old Andres Guardado outside a car shop in Gardena was a prospective member of a violent clique inside the Compton Sheriff’s station, according to the sworn testimony of a whistleblower…. More than a dozen deputies have matching tattoos and belong to a violent clique called the Executioners at the station, according to Deputy Art Gonzalez, who filed a whistleblower complaint regarding the Executioners in June… Gonzalez, testifying for nearly six hours under oath, said the existence of the clique was “common knowledge” at the station and that the gang’s so-called shot caller controlled the work schedule and their actions boosted arrest numbers… As for Gonzalez, he’s now on leave from the department and in fear for his life, he said. His testimony has inspired two more deputies to come forward with similar stories of the Compton station.” • Makes you wonder about Portland.

“Cop Who Charged Black Senator With ‘Injuring’ Confederate Statues Nurtured A Long Grudge” [HuffPo]. “A Portsmouth, Virginia, police sergeant ― who charged a Black state senator, local civil rights leaders and city public defenders with crimes under his theory they participated in a conspiracy to “injure” statues glorifying Confederate soldiers who fought for slavery ― was the subject of an internal investigation for an email he sent to city officials that blasted the rhetoric and actions of those he would later accuse of committing felonies, HuffPost has learned…. Current Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene, also a Black woman, has gathered support from a predominately white group of Portsmouth residents, particularly after her department took advantage of Virginia’s magistrate system and bypassed Portsmouth’s Black elected prosecutor to charge Sen. Louise Lucas (D), local NAACP leaders and Portsmouth public defenders with taking part in a conspiracy to cause ‘injury to’ a Confederate monument. The little-known ‘injury’ law previously referred to the Civil War as the ‘War Between the States,’ a preferred term of Confederate sympathizers.” • Fetishism, literally.

Groves of Academe

“University of South Carolina Cracks Down on Greek Houses for Virus Violations” [New York Times]. “‘Our total number of active cases is larger than we expected at this point, and some student behavior off campus is both disappointing and unacceptable,’ [Bob Caslen, the university’s president] wrote.” • Maybe we should be looking at university administrator behavior on campus. They’re extremely well-paid, but apparently their job descriptions don’t extend to making simple and obvious predictions about how young people often behave? Are they like cops, who don’t live in the same university towns as their universities?

Class Warfare

“Covid Gag Rules at U.S. Companies Are Putting Everyone at Risk” [Bloomberg]. “In the past few months, U.S. businesses have been on a silencing spree. Hundreds of U.S. employers across a wide range of industries have told workers not to share information about Covid-19 cases or even raise concerns about the virus, or have retaliated against workers for doing those things, according to workplace complaints filed with the NLRB and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Workers at Amazon.com, Cargill, McDonald’s, and Target say they were told to keep Covid cases quiet. The same sort of gagging has been alleged in OSHA complaints against Smithfield Foods, Urban Outfitters, and General Electric. In an email viewed by Bloomberg Businessweek, Delta Air Lines told its 25,000 flight attendants to ‘please refrain from notifying other crew members on your own’ about any Covid symptoms or diagnoses. At Recreational Equipment Inc., an employee texted colleagues to say he’d tested positive and that ‘I was told not to tell anybody’ and ‘to not post or say anything on social media.'”

“The Yelp Guide To American Inequality” [The American Conservative]. “For foodies, it’s second-nature to “Yelp” a restaurant—indeed, Yelp seems like just another tech firm that’s managed to turn its name into a verb. It’s a common rule of thumb to avoid any establishment scoring below a 3.5 (which excludes some large percentage of all restaurants). Yelp feels like the wisdom of crowds, merely residing in a particular app. This is mistaken. In fact, one of my friends knows a food snob who refuses to use Google or Yelp; this fellow, my friend tells me, prefers Foursquare, which is refined, free of the opinions of the rabble and riff-raff. This is anecdotal, of course, but it backs up what the reviews themselves tell us: that what we’re reading on review sites really isn’t raw, crowdsourced information mediated through different apps, but divergent, class-driven impressions and narratives. Yelpers, according to the company’s own public data, skew young, educated, and affluent. While age is the most evenly distributed, two thirds of users are under 55, and 29 percent are under 35. The other numbers are astounding: 82 percent are college-educated or above, and over half make more than $100,000 a year. It almost goes without saying that such a user base has exactingly high standards for restaurants, and seeks ‘experiences’ over bare consumption.”

“We’re Comrades, Not Coworkers” [Midwest Socialist]. “Considering how much time we spend at work—considering it’s one of the few places where we may be part of a “team” and where we apply ourselves to long-term tasks—it’s no surprise that when we come to DSA, we bring to it the same skills, habits, etiquette, and ethic that we’ve learned at our jobs. The model of coworkers at the same socialist organizing workplace is probably the most tempting for DSA members to emulate. But we need to be extremely selective in what we borrow from the professionalism of capitalist workplaces. Otherwise we risk recreating their same alienation and inexorable individualism—a fatal mistake for a socialist organization. This professionalism obliges us to pretend we are in control, going to work willingly and cheerfully—a mask, we know, for what is in fact coercion. But since we wear this mask day in and day out, we end up wearing it to DSA meetings, too. Even here, where we come of our own accord, we put on the same artificial public face, and implicitly expect the same of our comrades. What’s concealed are struggles which, though they may seem banal, are perhaps our most important.”

News of the Wired

Maybe, one day, the iBrain will take care of all this:

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This one’s glowing too!

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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. jo pac

    I think I’ll take my Nap now so I’m rested up for part 2 of the Water Cooler.

    Wall Street on Parade has a great story on banksters starting their very own stock market. Hell I’m sure nothing will go wrong;-)

    On Wolf Street he did a great break down on tesla.

    I made into mod. again, amazing.

    1. Anon II, First of the Name

      I read the article because you mentioned it.

      The author is correct, but I do not believe that he has put the market cap of Tesla in perspective:

      Tesla is a company that has net income of under $500m (and this is very generous) and profit margins of 1.5% (again, being generous). Its market cap has exceeded/is on par with that of Visa, whose net income is a bit below $12bn and whose profit margin is 50%. Visa, in fact, pays out more in dividends than Tesla even claims to earn.

      Yes, the entire market is crazy, but this is so far beyond absurd that we are no longer even in the world of satire.

      On another note, the comparison to Ali Baba is also interesting, as that is another company with questionable accounting and a questionable valuation.

      I suspect that many years from now and with the benefit of hindsight, both TSLA and BABA will continue to be mentioned in the same breath, and with the same level of incredulity, albeit for a very different reason.

  2. Wukchumni

    Looks as if ‘Hex Angels’ in Sturgis must’ve been responsible for the Dakotas Covid numbers, that or a bunch of locals all went down to Georgia and partied hearty.

    1. Rod

      imo—the Midwest Covid tracker bracket LS has chosen lays nicely on that Sturgis Cell Communications light chart from a week or so back. Minn/Wis/Ill/ND and SD were all glow plugs iirc.

      Unfortunate to waste such a large data set because of inadequate control measures…
      Maybe offering prizes is the trick.

    2. montanamaven

      We always have them go through our town in Montana coming and going to Sturgis. One guy had on a T shirt that said “Screw CoVid. – Sturgis 2020”. I guess CoVid might be having a bit of a chuckle.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just saw an interview with that woman. She is an idiot. She was trying to organize a rally against the lock down in Victoria. Before the present outbreak in Victoria, Australia’s death toll was about 107 people dead. It is now roughly 680 people dead and virtually that whole 570 increase was from her State and in only the past few weeks. If people had attended at her prompting and people died as a result, where would she stand then? Agreed that the handcuffs were bad judgement but it does not mean that she does not deserves to have the book thrown at her. Actions do have consequences.

      1. zagonostra

        So you agree that if you post on fb, scurrilous as the post may be, the State has standing to arrest you even though no harm has come to pass? This is Minority Report territory.

        FB could have deleted the post, they could have fined her, there were other ways of handling this.

        This is going viral on alternate media tonight. There were 10’s of thousand of people that gathered without social distancing and masks protesting in London and Berlin this past weekend against mandates to wear mask and gov’t policies surrounding COVID. Why weren’t they all arrested?

        This is really a slippery slope we are on and I’m kind of shock that the shock that I’m seeing is coming from the far “Right.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Remember that judgement about shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater is not free speech? This is more of the same. People like this woman are entitled children who cannot understand the concept of a how quarantine system works. And it is exactly these people that spread pandemics because they think that the rules do not apply to them. I have no sympathy. Yes FB could have deleted that is but then you are saying that FB has the right to say what is and what is not free speech. You sure that you want your First Amendment subject to the whims of Silicon Valley billionaires?

          1. zagonostra

            I don’t think your analogy of shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater holds up. People had the ability and time to make a rational decision on whether or not to attend the rally the lady was advocating. People who are induced to panic is of a different category.

            Also remember that the First Amendment guarantees Freedom of Assembly as well. If we have reached a point where a virus with the mortality of COVID19 can seize-up our constitutional rights, we’re screwed.

            If there are evil forces afoot that would/could/are using this virus to further their agenda and it’s this easy to subvert basic constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, then I really fear for the future.

            There is legitimate skepticism on what our gov’t is telling us about this virus. Remember in the early phases how they lied about wearing masks was detrimental?

            Bottom line is, I was shocked and taken aback and you are not, this is instructive to me it indicates my sensitivities are at odds with others who are well informed and I need to reflect some more, though my initial reaction is that this is a continuation of the erosion of basic freedoms that accelerated with the passage of the Patriot Act.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Rev, get a grip. They never said the lockdown would reduce the number of deaths, only that it will spread them over a longer time. This virus is incredibly contagious and you can and will not “contain” it.

            And it is becoming unarguable that the *total impact including additional deaths from other causes like missed procedures and suicides* will exceed this year’s coronavirus deaths.

            So the wider point is: do you want SV billionaires working with agents of the state to engage in pre-crime arrests?

            Especially as they simultaneously threaten the very “online sovereignty” of the nation?


            Meantime *the lockdown* (no not the virus) put Australia into the first recession since the 1990s. Q: How many years did it take after the 90’s recession for employment to come back? A: 14.

            All so we give a handful of Grannies a *possible* chance to live a bit longer? Even while *economic despair* causes suicides (median age = 48 years old) to skyrocket?

            1. Foy

              No change in suicide rates in Victoria so far, actually 2 fewer than this time last year. Not saying it may not happen, but it isn’t happening here yet.


              “Handful of grannies”. Everyone says this as if when the economy was completely opened up and virus was free to roam that the economy would be running as normal and no one would notice the virus.

              What she did is clearly not a pre-crime according to our law. She was encouraging people to demonstrate and break the law, that is crime as our law stands presently.

              I would prefer to have a warning and the post taken down, but we have a number of people doing this and the warnings are being ignored.

                1. Cuibono

                  Not one of those shows what you said!
                  Not even close and many of the best minds dispute those findings. Those were news stories, not publications.

          3. The Rev Kev

            Guys, let’s get real here. Lambert had an image of a poster of precautions to take during the first pandemic a century ago and the advice still hold good. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. And ‘people had the ability and time to make a rational decision’ about vaccines too but a lot of people go full anti-vaccer which has led to nation-wide outbreaks of diseases of measles which never had to happen. Look, perhaps Jonathan Pie can explain what the deal is here with masks for example (some swearing) of what needs to be done-


            And it is not just a bunch of grannies. Would you believe that Scotty from Marketing referred to aged care homes as ‘pre-pallative care centers’ the other day by the way? So here is the deal. This virus is not just hitting the oldies. And it leaves stuff like permanent heart damage in a third of cases. And lung damage. And kidney damage. And testicle damage. And all the rest of it. No doubt you have read the stories of long-haulers here. If not, here is one-


            So what happens if this virus mutates so that it is more lethal to young people? Even if it does not, are you prepared to deal with a generation of people damaged by this virus which doctors will ignore like with Agent Orange or the Gulf War Syndrome? As for the recession, it was going to happen sooner or later so we may as well deal with it now. It will shake out a lot of bad practices and perhaps it will make housing more affordable for young people instead of just being investment vehicles for oldies.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Still not buying it. You forget that viruses mutate (and this one already has) and you can’t predict the future. If I had asked you back in January how the world economy would be going by now, I bet that your prediction would be nothing like the present reality.

                And that chart is interesting but I saw one that stated that the average spreader of the virus in Oz is both very young and female. So if this virus becomes more lethal, then it would be this age group that would be most at risk. This has happened before. Don’t forget that the bulk majority of people that died in the pandemic of a century ago were young people and old people escaped relatively unscathed.

              2. Foy

                And the question of what the mental health situation would look like if the virus was free to spread exponentially, workplaces simply not safe places to work, but people being told to go and work there anyway, or forced to with no safety net, and coming home and infecting others (parents, sick relatives etc) who subsequently die or suffer damage, and deal with those thoughts? Mmmmm.

                I think you are comparing apples and oranges HAL. You are comparing lockdown suicides/depression against normal times.

                It needs to be lockdown suicides/depression against full blown epidemic suicides/depression/deaths/long term organ damage, because full blown epidemic is what you are asking for by demanding to open up fully.

                Now it is hard to estimate what that is but we have a good idea what it looks like from the places that let the virus get out of control and the UK’s deaths per week jumping from 10000 to 24000 within 3 weeks ie excess deaths of 14000 after 3 weeks and climbing before they brought in distancing measures.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Jan 2018 weekly deaths: 67,000 (versus expected of 61,000)
                  April 2020 weekly deaths: 79,000 (versus expected of 58,000)

                  Population: 330 million


                  120 million additional people at risk of “imminent starvation” from lockdowns (U.N.)
                  Tourism: Dead. Employed 50 million people globally (see above)
                  Airlines: gone
                  Hotels and hospitality: gone
                  Arts and entertainment: gone
                  Retail: gone

                  % of San Francisco small businesses that will never re-open = 60%
                  NYC = same.
                  The rest of the economy is on transfer payments from the government. Give that some thought, is that forever? Already 30% of people are not paying their mortgages.

                  And recall: we’re assured that lockdowns would not decrease the overall deaths, just spread them out over time.

                  “Worth it”? I’m not buying it. And by these rules, get ready for a repeat when Covid-20 shows up.

                  Q: should we breathlessly report every TB death (10x Covid this year) one by one? What about that other virus, still awaiting a vaccine, global death toll of 25 million: HIV?

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    “The little-known ‘injury’ law previously referred to the Civil War as the ‘War Between the States,’ a preferred term of Confederate sympathizers.”

    Not when our kids were going to school in South Carolina. Their middle school social studies teacher referred to it as the “War of Northern Aggression.”

    1. Phillip Allen

      Going to school in 1960’s suburban Denver, the Civil War was “The War Between the States” as often if not more than “The Civil War”. But I think it’s not off the mark about the sympathy for the Confederacy betrayed by that terminology.

      1. Carolinian

        Yep. Gone With the Wind and many another sympathetic H’wood approach to the Confederates did their work well.

        When I was growing up our local radio station signed off every night with a lovely choral (Mormon Tabernacle?) version of Dixie rather than the national anthem. Times have changed (honest!).

        1. t

          I often wonder about the “What’s the difference” take on movies based on popular books and plays like, for instance, GWTW, Vanity Fair, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In the originals, Scarlet and Becky are very clearly not the good guys, and Brick is very clearly gay. In the movies, you have to squint to see the plot. At least with contemporary eyes. Perhaps people on the middle of the last century where more adept at seeing subtext.

          Speaking of Yelp, reviews of “The Shed” were spot on!

    2. The Rev Kev

      The “War of Northern Aggression”? Has it too been turned into a acronym – the WNA – like all messy wars are these days?

    3. Valerie Powell

      I prefer what the ladies I met on historic house tours in North Alabama called that 1860-1865 kerfuffle… “This Late Unpleasantness.” Now there’s a euphemism.

  4. Samuel Conner

    Are the House Ds, under the leadership of Nancy P (who, as I understand it, is regarded to be quite skilled at getting what she wants out of her caucus), intentionally leaving room to their left for Trump to run in?

    It was predictable, and predicted, that Trump would at places run to the left of JB.

    Do they want DT to win?

    1. dave

      I’m increasingly getting the feeling that the democrats are ok with losing this one. Trump and the “Resistance” have been great for business.

      1. Pat

        Picking Biden and Harris and embracing the Bushies was a big clue. And Pelosi has clearly been pushing righter wing policies for most of this election.

        It really is a defensive position since more and more of their “base” are demanding things that their “owners” DO NOT WANT. They need to be able to say there is no way. And since more and more people are getting that the President can use the power that has been endowed in the office to do much more than they realized, they cannot even have that.

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        The #McResistance TM, by vanquishing Sanders, has already won, since as you say they are enriched by Trump.

        They’ve already won, but if Uncle Joe defeats Trump in November, that’s the icing on the gravy…

      3. hamstak

        Possibly, and I was of that opinion at an earlier point, but now I am not so sure. If the Dems lose to “the worst POTUS in the history of the universe” (as they might put it), they risk legitimacy. They may maintain die-hard identity Dems, but lose a number of less stalwart supporters. Of course, they may be able to pull the “Putin done it!” trick off again, but how far can they ride that pony?

        It is also possible that they are ok with losing not realizing that they may lose legitimacy (which at this point is pretty slim) since they are completely out of touch with the people they supposedly represent (as opposed to those they actually represent).

        Business may not be so great in 2022…

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Imagining that “legitimacy” is of any concern whatsoever to The Man Who Would Be King in his mansion on Martha’s Vineyard is counter-factual.

          He selected the next president. When that person absolutely flamed out and submerged without a trace during the primaries his answer was F U, you’re getting her anyway.

          No need for anyone to vote for her, just stick her in under the guy who should be on soft foods listening to Lawrence Welk and waiting for his nap in a nursing home somewhere.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Do they want DT to win?

      I think the liberal Democrats want to win. However, they are so “embubbled” that they have no judgment about what it takes, and if they do win, it will be by accident as much as anything else.

      1. Anon II, Second of the Name

        They want to win what–the presidency, or the Congress?

        Given the choice, perhaps they would prefer controlling the House and Senate at the moment.

      2. a different chris


        Those people don’t get to that level of power by not “wanting to win”.

        As always, don’t write off as evil what you can attribute to incompetence.

    3. Glen

      I know they want to keep their donors/owners happy. I’m not sure winning votes is required for that especially since both parties have essentially the same donors/owners.

    4. Grant

      They did win, Bernie lost. He wasn’t perfect, but he sure would have threatened their access to power, which is their means of wealth attainment. He would have shown that we don’t have to just accept their crumbs and he could have forced them to choose policies that benefit society, the poor and workers, and not the rich and powerful. Just as important for them, he could have opened the books at the DNC. They do not want that to happen.

      It is interesting though, cause most people don’t win anything when they win elections. There is no collective we when Pelosi wins.

  5. Wukchumni

    Suppose two politicians are running for president, and one goes through the farm section and is asked, “What are you going to do about the farm question?” And he knows right away – bang, bang, bang. Now he goes to the next campaigner who comes through. “What are you going to do on the farm problem?” “Well, I don’t know. I used to be a general, and I don’t know anything about farming. But it seems to me it must be a very difficult problem, because for twelve, fifteen, twenty years people have been struggling with it, and people say that they know how to solve the farm problem. And it must be a hard problem. So the way I intend to solve the farm problem is to gather around me a lot of people who know something about it, to look at all the experience that we have had with this problem before, to take a certain amount of time at it, and then to come to some conclusion in a reasonable way about it. Now, I can’t tell you ahead of time what solution, but I can give you some of the principles I’ll try to use – not to make things difficult for individual farmers, if there are any special problems we will have to have some way to take care of them,” etc., etc., etc.

    Now such a man would never get anywhere in this country, I think. It’s never been tried, anyway. This is in the attitude of mind of the populace, that they have to have an answer and that a man who gives an answer is better than a man who gives no answer, when the real fact of the matter is, in most cases, it is the other way around. And the result of this of course is that the politician must give an answer. And the result of this is that political promises can never be kept. It is a mechanical fact; it is impossible. The result of that is that nobody believes campaign promises. And the result of that is a general disparaging of politics, a general lack of respect for the people who are trying to solve problems, and so forth. It’s all generated from the very beginning (maybe – this is a simple analysis). It’s all generated, maybe, by the fact that the attitude of the populace is to try to find the answer instead of trying to find a man who has a way of getting at the answer.

    Richard Feynman

    1. Samuel Conner

      That was a kinder, gentler age, when it was still possible to believe that candidates for the office of highest executive authority actually gave a d*&m about the concerns of the voters.

      1. STEPHEN

        Exactly my thought. Mr. Feynman’s basic operating assumptions are 1. Voters want politicians to solve problems and 2. Politicians care about solving problems (or have some need to appear to care about solving problems).

        I don’t think either are true. Politicians want power and voters want their tribe to win. I don’t think it goes any deeper than that.

        1. Wukchumni

          It wasn’t as if Feynman had rose colored glasses on, no sireee bob.

          Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.

        2. Grant

          And half the country doesn’t vote, and doesn’t feel they have representation in the system. Which is why I am guessing that many of those protesting and looting could care less about the political ramifications of their actions. It isn’t their political system and they aren’t in either of the two parties. They are often superfluous to the economy the two parties have created and don’t own the businesses, stocks, bonds, derivatives or anything. They sell their labor in a broken economic system, one designed to crush them and in a society with massive power differentials between capital and labor. The system is crushing them, and maybe people are fine with crushing that system. What do people have to lose? This was a pivotal election to at least begin changing the trajectory of the country. The Democrats chose a horrible person and we all know he won’t change anything. To think, even if he wins, that a major blowback isn’t coming is beyond naive.

          1. Arizona Slim

            My prediction: Whoever wins the presidential election will think that his victory is a mandate. It won’t be.

        3. fresno dan

          September 2, 2020 at 4:06 pm

          Politicians want power and voters want their tribe to win
          You’re not nearly cynical enough. I suspect a plurality, and perhaps a majority, are most interested in the other tribe losing, even more than themselves winning.

    2. Tom Doak

      I don’t know about that. It seems like politicians are often setting up “commissions” to study problems they don’t really want to do anything about.

  6. diptherio

    More armed men in unmarked vans grabbing protesters off the street. And from the description, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that these thugs were not, in fact, actual LEOs.

    It’s not just Portland and NYC. On his way to a #JacobBlake protest, our @spokanedsa
    co-chair was abducted by unmarked henchmen in an unmarked van and jailed without bond for a day and a half. The jail didn’t even know who his abductors were.

    1. zagonostra

      If you saw that link above about a pregnant women being arrested for a post on fb they will not only be grabbing protesters off the street but coming to your house to arrest you because of some fb post. Although I don’t do fb, I can easily see these words I’m typing being used against me …but then at that point the game would be over.

      As has been pointed out what the empire visited upon citizens of foreign countries being occupied, will/is happening here in the good ole U.S.A.

      1. Astrid

        Pregnancy would matter how? Are you saying pregnancy offers protection from stupid ideas that can get themselves and innocent others killed?

    2. Wukchumni

      You’re thinking about all in the wrong way, it’s more of a free Uber ride along with a short term vacation rental, also on the house.

    3. Daryl

      > The jail didn’t even know who his abductors were.

      An interesting operating model. If I took someone to a jail, would they then hold them there for a day?

      1. BobW

        I was wondering who signed the booking sheet or whatever, and why they were even allowed to lock someone up if they were unknown. Give it a try, Daryl, I know some of my homeless acquaintances didn’t mind “three hots and a cot.” Maybe different now, with covid, I expect.

  7. Toshiro_Mifune

    CDC eviction ban
    Under the rules of the order, renters have to sign a declaration saying they don’t make more than $99,000 a year — or twice that if filing a joint tax return

    That’s far more generous than I would have expected

      1. Samuel Conner

        Good funny!

        But actually, one could regard this to be a very hopeful development — an acknowledgement at the highest levels of government (kudos to DJT, even if this was motivated by bald political self-interest and by not concern for the well-being of the populace; the latter is kind of hard to imagine from this president) that “homelessness is a matter of public health concern.”

        Increasingly, local communities are recognizing the value of a “housing first” approach to the multi-fold problems of the homeless. Pulling on a not-tinfoil-lined utopian hat, one might hope that this could in future provide a precedent for federal funding of local “housing first” programs.

        Perhaps that’s a fantasy, but happy day-dreams can help to compensate for the nightmares.

          1. Samuel Conner

            I see your point, though my ideals (which are not informed by WW, which I have never seen) would prefer leaders who are not leading out of self-interest of any kind.

            But I concede that, human nature being what it is, the people who make it to high office will generally be like this.

            Which re-inforces the point that you often make that it is imperative to widen the electorate (in order to align the political self-interest of the sociopaths who rule us with the interests of the widest possible subset of the populace).

        1. nippersdad

          I am seeing it more as an excuse to bail out bankers again. The directive, after all, requires repayment in January of all past rents plus fines and fees. How many people are going to be able to save up that kind of money if they are already cost constrained?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Future epidemiologists studying the Trump Derangement Syndrome virus will note how it was able to confuse peoples’ normal cognitive functions and make them go haywire.

            Similar to parasites that make mice less fearful of cats (so the parasite can complete its lifecycle in the cat after it easily eats the mouse), TDS made people think that things that were good for them were actually bad for them.

            The eviction moratorium is one widely-cited example. Even though it would potentially benefit tens of millions of people, those afflicted with TDS instead would question the precise mechanism, or would say it was “bad”, because it “did not go far enough”.

            Another example was the decision to remove 8,500 troops from the universally unpopular and tragic Afghan War. Even though their constituents had hoped to implement such withdrawals for years, Democrats ended up blocking the move due to the effects of TDS.

            We now know that the TDS virus used certain so-called “cancel” proteins to block the normal cognitive pathways. Similar proteins were also later observed in the equally-virulent BES (Biden Euphoria Syndrome) virus, which similarly confused people into acting irrationally. BES sufferers believed that electing a man who had worked tirelessly for 40 years against their economic interests was a “good” idea.

          2. Late Introvert

            Well, I share your skepticism for the long run nippersdad, but it’s better than ANYTHING the DemRats have on offer, and it’s at least SOMETHING.

            Go play some Todd now. The first track off The Individualist for instance, Tables Will Turn. Look it up, it’s great. Me no linky to google. Find it somewhere else.

    1. Quentin

      Yes. Give credit where credit is due. What’s the gelato-lady going to come up with now? More ice cream!

    2. Michael

      Seriously TM!
      How about spread the pain to some of the deadbeats other creditors besides the landlord…car payments(nope gotta drive to work), utilities(they’ll shut you off), 401k contribs(lose the match), their kids college fees( I’m tired of kids), IRAs(raises your taxes), the grocery store(cash up front).
      So, why not treat rent as a tax deduction for those making $8250/mo to$16,500/mo.
      What could go wrong?

    3. Tom Doak

      It’s the last part of that sentence that is tougher: you have to swear you’d be homeless if you were evicted. Seems designed to scare off some in need, by pre-accusing them of “fraud”.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        I understand your point, but from a practical standpoint how would the CDC/Fed Govt/who ever go about proving you wouldn’t be homeless if evicted.

        1. Temporarily Sane

          And how would they define ‘homeless’? If you’re couch surfing at a friend’s or crashing in your parent’s spare room is that considered homeless or does a person have to be living on the street? The whole thing is designed to make life as unpleasant as possible for people who do not have enough money to pay their rent.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        “…pre-accusing them of “fraud”.”

        same as it ever was.
        next make initial denial a default, too…and therefore require a bunch of steps to “appeal”…and maybe enough will simply give up that little money will need to be spent.
        add in a bunch of bad mouthing and spittle —“Moochers!”…”Deadbeat!”….”Bums!”—“Animals!”—and even fewer will apply in the first place.
        The Threat of Throwing the Book at any even slightly or accidentally “Fraudulent” behavior should also be spread around thickly…..and if you make the whole thing opaque and needlessly complex enough, many will be so afraid of accidentally running afoul of the law, and too ashamed to seek help or redress…that the “program” can just sort of wither(unless a corp(se)…like Pfizer*, say…needs a new pool to wet it’s beak in)
        innovative entrepreneurs will quickly see the opportunity for side hustles, to help mopes “navigate” said “system”.
        Everybody(who matters) wins.

        (*see: Medicaid Fraud; actual perpetrators—it ain’t the poor black single mom ripping off “welfare”…it’s organised crime…ahem, i mean corporations)

  8. ambrit

    The Compton Station police “Gang” story is passe.
    The theme of “Gangs” within the police forces is as old as urban civilization, if not older. Think, “LA Confidential,” or “Magnum Force,” for more recent examples of fiction’s take on the phenomenon. Go back a bit and read about the same ethos in Dashiell Hammett’s stories. Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Agency during the Anti-Union ‘wars’ of the turn of that century. He knew about crooked cops from personal experience. The Pinkertons were just another form of ‘Militia,’ a private army. Today we have the Blackstone Group, or whatever it’s spin doctors have renamed it since. A private army. Muscle for sale.
    Betsy’s brother can safely call himself a modern warlord.
    Same as it ever was.
    Stay safe!

    1. fresno dan

      September 2, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      Speaking of Dashiell Hammett, just saw again the The Maltese Falcon last night for the first time in about 10 years. Of course, the whole heroic portrayal of the police is one of those things that has crept into popular culture the last 40 or so years, and I don’t even know the word to describe how overdone it has become – perhaps propagandist or Orwellian. It just seems back than there was a more knowing, realistic, and mature view of the police.
      And the commentary had a pretty amusing snippet – in the scene where Bogart is where his partner has been shot, in the background is a movie poster (scarcely visible) for a Bogart movie Swing Your Lady that Bogart called his worst movie…

      1. ambrit

        Yaaaay! Easter Eggs are forever!
        Do check out the two previous film versions of the story.
        One is “Satan Met A Lady,” from 1936, starring Bette Davis and the much underappreciated Warren William. It is almost a parody of the book.
        Second is the 1931 version of “The Maltese Falcon” starring Bebe Daniels and Ricardo Cortez. It is quite good on it’s own merits.
        We look at “The Maltese Falcon,” the 1941, version about every two years or so.
        Stay safe!

        1. fresno dan

          September 3, 2020 at 12:05 am

          Satan Met a Lady was mentioned in the commentary. And it turns out Netflix has both the movies you mentioned in a single disc!!! Whoo Hoo! I’ve added them to the queue and I’m sure it will be a delight!
          What is disappointing is the commentary noted the movies that had Greenstreet and Lorre in them after the success of The Maltese Falcon, and Netflix doesn’t have even one. Boo Hoo!
          Watch out for gunsels…. (not that there is anything wrong with that….just the gun carrying ones). What was new to me, according to the commentary, is that the term “gunsel” did not mean only someone carrying a gun, but only a boy. I would have thought Peter Lorre was enough…

          The significant appearance of the word was in Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, serialised in Black Mask in 1929 and published as a novel the following year: “‘Another thing,’ Spade repeated, glaring at the boy: ‘Keep that gunsel away from me while you’re making up your mind. I’ll kill him.” The word was spoken by Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in the 1941 film of the book and so became much more widely known. If you read Hammett’s description of the boy, you’ll realise that he was subtly making the point that he actually was gay, but if you hadn’t been tuned into that you might miss it.

    2. integer

      You’re thinking of Blackwater, which was renamed as Xe Services in 2009, and then re-renamed Academi in 2011. Blackstone is a global investment firm.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks for the clarification. Accuracy counts in politics, as in both ways.
        I wonder who will be serving whom in the near term future.

    1. barefoot charley

      I got a lesson in incumbency from my previous Congresscritter, Mike Thompson of California. Anyone following politics knew that he was a fat Blue Dog Democrat whose unctuous service to ownership earned him several million bucks a year for handouts to less-skilled lapdogs. Yet he gave frequent news interviews on our community radio station (run by hippies and leftie loons) where he sounded almost as unhinged as his presumed listeners. He really did sound like he got what we wanted. Yet he donated his donor millions to make sure we didn’t get any of it. The American norm is to despise politicians, except the one you ‘know.’

      1. Michael

        So true. He replaced Frank Riggs, a Gingrich Repub, and charter school advocate who did get my family a private tour of Congress incl the Speaker’s office when that was possible.

        Thompson, with wine industry backing and name recognition from being a termed out state senator from the same area (mol) became our “guy”. Was a lot of help securing Army Corp funding for Napa’s downtown flood control project. And a regular bidder at fundraisers for the Valley’s non profits. Aging in place…

  9. zagonostra

    >Eighty-one Nobel Prize winners endorsed Joe Biden for president

    The establishment is rummaging through the attic for anything that will enhance Obiden’s image. Don’t they know that Einstein advocated socialism and that many of the greatest physicist in the world, many who helped develop the first Atomic bomb had “leftist” leanings. Certainly Obiden has no “leftest leanings” despite how many times Trump thinks he is tarring him with that label.

    No, let the scientist focus on science. I don’t ask my doctor how to fix my air conditioner and I won’t be asking “Nobel Prize Winners” on advise on politics, thank you very much…


    1. pjay

      Even Nobel “Peace Prize” winners? Think what great political minds like Kissinger or Obama could contribute?

  10. Dr. John Carpenter

    In “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” news:

    I hadn’t even heard he was running, which in the scheme of things wasn’t the “big story” out of Massachusetts. But, the tech media does love to dunk on this guy, and he’s as looney as they come this side of a QAnon believer, so I’m surprised I hadn’t seen it before now. (And apologies if it had been covered here. Somedays I don’t get to read as many links as I would like.)

  11. Dr. John Carpenter

    Missing link for the PBA Card story: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v7gxa4/pba-card-police-courtesy-cards

    I’d always heard such a thing as the PBA card existed, but I never seemed to know someone who would admit to having one, so I always thought it was an urban legend. I’d also heard the “FOP Supporter” tags I see around here attached to license plate brackets were essentially a license to speed. Again, I never knew anyone who would verify it though.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Drop a few more names and we’ll have a bowl of keglers. (Or is that a keg of — well, never mind. . . .)

    1. TBellT

      I remember getting one from some relative when I first started driving and lost it.

      I was at a family wedding last year and a cousin’s +1 who was a cop was offering me to take shots with him. I had to decline because another family member had already gotten wasted and so I needed to play designated driver. He then asked if I wanted a PBA card (presumably if I got pulled over drunk driving), I said I was ok, didn’t need one and went back to dance floor.

      The guy is a nice enough guy, but to a certain extent their just blinded to their own bubble. My cousin and aunt moved in with him recently and now my aunt posts all this thin blue line shit on facebook, one of my motivating reasons to finally delete mine.

  12. Lambert Strether Post author

    Please refresh your browsers; the Politics section is as complete as it can be today, and there’s a lot of very intriguing material. Finally, the race seems to have begun!

  13. RMO

    RE: The person waiting for their bed to connect to the internet. “Smart Mattresses” They are a thing. I had no idea. Here’s a bit from the wikipedia entry on Eight Sleep, maker of these obviously vital items: “In October 2017, Eight launched Alexa Skill smart mattress that allows users to use the Echo and other Amazon devices to interact with their mattress and to access their sleep data” I can’t even make fun of this stuff anymore.

    1. Synoia

      Which brings into question the relationship between a “smart mattress” and non sleep related bedtime activities.

        1. ambrit

          No, it’s properly, or, improperly, the Seamy Mattress Corporation, not the ‘See Me’ Mattress Company.

  14. martell

    Yes (to ambrit, above) Reminds me of a rumor about the destruction of a convenience store in NW Portland, Old Town to be precise, many years ago. It was associated with drug use in the area, heroin specifically. Burned down in a manner suggesting arson and, if memory serves, the ruins were blown up following news that the owners planned to rebuild. Who did it? Some people said it was a Korean gang with business interests in that part of town. Others said it was off-duty Portland police. My favorite theory: it was off-duty Portland police working for a Korean gang with business interests in that part of town. So, the idea that there are gang-like groups of Portland police officers would strike many locals as plausible.

    That said, incidents of abuse of police powers, including excessive use of force that is disproportionately directed against black Portlanders, would be likely to occur, it seems to me, regardless of whether there are such police gangs or not. The city, like many deep blue, “coastal” cities in the US, is increasingly economically unequal. Property values are very (perhaps absurdly) high, gentrification of historically redlined black neighborhoods has had a devastating impact on most of them (adding many a trendy place to eat while simultaneously driving out the original residents), and the homeless situation apparently grows worse by the day. The solution that city leaders, Democrats mostly, have de facto offered in the face of the problems associated with homelessness and poverty is to send in the police. They’re not social workers, they’re not mental health professionals, they’re heavily armed, many of them were trained by a US military that mainly served as an (ineffective) occupying force in distant lands, and, yeah, some of them are racists. What did we expect would happen?

    1. ambrit

      Well, of recent vintage was, everywhere, all the time.
      I’ve told my story about the “mysterious” fire at the newly opened up crack house in the town we once lived in.
      Thanks for this background to the Portland Police force and their potential propensity for the “rough trade.”

  15. Pelham

    Re Kyle Rittenhouse: The legality of his possession of a weapon has nothing to do with whether he belongs to a militia. What might matter is whether he’s old enough, and he is. The 2nd Amendment guarantees the right of everyone to keep and bear arms, with the non-binding, strictly informational justification that the state may at times draw upon this large pool of arms bearers to form a well ordered militia.

    To clarify, let’s take the amendment’s wording and substitute something else for the fraught topic of guns. In this case, the study of the sciences:

    “A highly credentialed collection of Scientists, being essential to the prosperity of a free state, the right of the people to study the Sciences, shall not be infringed.”

  16. Wukchumni

    ‘Poltempkin Village’
    “Kenosha business owner declines President Trump photo-op, former owner replaces him”

  17. JWP

    Lambert, your inquiries about college administrators are great.
    For example, at my institution, our president and his crony friends came over en masse from Notre Dame. They have since tried to turn our relatively small (5,000) school into a “Notre Dame of the south” type with well over 10k undergrads. Does anyone approve of this? nope, no students or teachers want it because it means larger class sizes, less community feel, but more $$$$. Furthermore, since moving to the area, our president, who has been the highest paid in the country a few times, has gobbled up real estate in Winston-Salem, a town that was gutted by globalization. Not surprisingly, a quick zillow search shows rents on his properties are higher than those in the same area. As a cherry on top, the business school possesses a Koch funded “Center for the Study of Capitalism.” Their jobs extend to making money for themselves and the alumni they are friends with. It’s the nepotism that pays here, not the education. Rant over.
    I’m in favor of prosecuting these people for every single dollar of medical costs associated with COVID cases on campus, because they knew exactly what they were doing having kids come back.

    1. TBellT

      MBAs administering colleges like they administered hospitals, fill the seats or beds, doesn’t matter how. My mom works for staff at a small private college, and the President constantly tells them their jobs are directly correlated to how much enrollment they get.

    2. montanamaven

      I heard someone say yesterday that they should keep the kids at the school so as not to infect granny at home. I also heard that Iowa college was sticking all the positive cases in one dorm; one of the crummier ones. Some student was whining about how filthy it was and how unfair. So I was thinking that the school administrators should also be quarantined with the positive cases. And they should do the laundry and cooking. Wishful thinking, I know. But there must be some way of ridding ourselves of the administrators and go back to sitting on a bench with Socrates and getting some learning that way.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “…and go back to sitting on a bench with Socrates and getting some learning that way.”

        See: Amfortas’ Hidden Hermit Kingdom.
        That’s how it’s done out here.
        but that model is hard to monetize….since the “education” is sort of Lagnappe, and comes with hauling manure in wheelbarrows, or drinking beer around the bbq pit.
        Early this saturday, we’ll gather to clip one wing on each chicken(just the feathers, for all y’all city folks…no harm to the birds), and i’ll get to lead the Socratic Dialog about how this relates to herd management techniques in the broader society: broken windows=> jail for minor infraction=> school to Prison pipeline=> effectively clipping a wing so that black(or brown or queer or just poor) kid can never fly over the fence and into the garden where the good stuff is.

        (and! Socrates liked to walk around while he argued…unless they were getting shitfaced(Symposium))

    3. Arizona Slim

      When I was a much younger Slim, I worked on the University of Arizona campus.

      Being the social sort, I was in the habit of asking people where they lived. Quite often, I got this response from the higher-ups:

      “Oh, I live in the county.”

      Translation: This person did not live within the city limits of Tucson. Rather, he or she lived outside the city, in Pima County, which was and is a lot better off than Tucson. None of that Tucson crowd out there. Uh-uh.

    4. William Phillips

      Notre Dame is a Jesuit owed & operated, Outfit. As a Jesuit, but not one in the education business, I still can say, for a fact no Jesuits are involved with what your talking about.

      1. Late Introvert

        As a Jesuit you still can’t manage to contract you and are into you’re???

        I’m no Jesuit, but damn brother William.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          with the advent of tiny screens with tinier screen-based “keyboards”(or in my case, a shift key that sticks on my cheap wireless keyboard), I’m afraid that Slack simply must be afforded to such infractions.
          I mean, Civilisation, itself, is at stake….

          a few years ago:
          Me: ranting about Democratic Party mandarins.
          Team Blue Zealots:” what? oranges? what, are you stupid? is that a russian thing? huh, Vlad?”

  18. voteforno6

    Re: “Why Trump is Likely to Win Again”

    I love stories written by people ascribing their own views to the world at large. The author claims to understand the larger electorate without indicating that he’s spent all that time talking to any appreciable number of people.

    I have no doubt that Trump voters were angry in 2016, and still are. The reasons for that may be varied, and may not conform to what this author has written. But, people tend to ignore facts that don’t agree with their beliefs. But, they aren’t the only ones who are angry. People on the other side aren’t exactly happy either, and I know several that will gladly crawl through broken glass, just to vote against Trump.

    1. TBellT

      Any credible Trump Win thesis should have to account for how the voter pool will have changed since the 2018 midterms and I don’t see any thing in that article to suggest otherwise. I think Trump’s odds are good, but if fear mongering over the caravan didn’t work I don’t see how fear mongering over antifa will do that much better.

      He needs to go back to the attacks that worked on Hillary ; “Biden’s corrupt, Biden would bring more war; Biden will sell out on trade”.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > He needs to go back to the attacks that worked on Hillary ; “Biden’s corrupt, Biden would bring more war; Biden will sell out on trade”

        This approach would have the advantage that it wouldn’t add to the long litany of falsehoods DJT has uttered.

        1. The Rev Kev

          “Biden’s corrupt, Biden would bring more war; Biden will sell out on trade”

          Uhhh, which one of them is a falsehood exactly? All of them are demonstrably true.

          1. ambrit

            No, no, nyet! SC means the types of off the cuff meretricities such as that he invented the internet. No, wait, that was another Maverick Politico.

          2. Samuel Conner

            That was my point. In charging JB with these things, DJT would speak truth, however out of character that may ordinarily be for him.

      2. montanamaven

        Didn’t somebody at the RNC say, “He shipped your jobs to China and he sent your children to war.”. Catchy.

      3. voteforno6

        Not that Trump has any sense of shame, but those prospective attacks against Biden are at least as equally as applicable to Trump, if not more so. Also, there’s still a pandemic going on, and Trump’s horrible bungling of it is an anchor on him. His response to the protests isn’t helping, either.

        1. TBellT

          That was also true when he ran against Hillary though (except for Covid which has been politically polarized like everything else).

          I’m not sure it will work but it gives home more of a fighting chance. His 2016 strategy won him the presidency while his 2018 strategy lost him the House. I’m not sure why most of his messaging is stuck to the 2018 model.

          1. Samuel Conner

            Perhaps both sides are trying to lose without it becoming too obvious that’s what they’re doing.

            Maybe a flood of late dark money will be decisive again.

      4. Big River Bandido

        Any credible Trump Win thesis should have to account for how the voter pool will have changed since the 2018 midterms and I don’t see any thing in that article to suggest otherwise.

        If history (elections of 1916, 1918, and 1920) is any guide, turnout in 2020 will drop precipitously from the pandemic alone. That doesn’t account for the fallout from intentional vote suppression by the parties, and the alienation felt by voters and the public toward anyone in public office, and particularly the presidential candidates.

        It will not be the same electorate as 2018, a year in which for all their successes, the Democrats gained so very little.

    2. Late Introvert

      Trump didn’t create that broken glass we have to crawl through! Somehow magically in 2016, the beginning of history? And Obummer’s VP had no material role during the 40+ years leading up to it? Please. Trump is the protest vote in 2020 just like he was in 2016. I didn’t make it, I don’t like it, but I don’t hide from the truth either.

      People keep arguing, and that’s fine, but the DemRats would rather lose with Biden than win with Bernie. That’s the bottom line.

  19. jr

    I had to deal with Yelpers when I taught cooking classes. My employer and I lived in terror of a bad review. We actually had a gang of women who would try to shake down small businesses with the threat of a review. I had a Yelp employee who told me the best way to deal with a bad review is to write a long response (free content for Yelp).

    Then it came out that Yelp is a bunch of crapola. More and more customers told me they only use it to find new places, not for ratings. It still mattered but we both relaxed about the occasional bad review.

    The article nailed the Yelpers demographic though; affluent, educated, and generally nice but often entitled as hell.

    1. Cuibono

      “It almost goes without saying that such a user base has exactingly high standards for restaurants, and seeks ‘experiences’ over bare consumption.”
      Say what? Yelp reviews are some of the least reliable reviews i have ever come across. High standards my ass.

    2. vidimi

      personally, i use google reviews and have never used yelp, and i generally avoid places with reviews of less than 4.0 over a significant number of reviews. google reviews work across class lines, i find : a burger joint can have a higher review than a michelin starred resto because it is compared to other burger joints, whereas michelin starred restos are compared to each other.

      that said, using online reviews is pretty recent for me and i still like the old fashioned way of stumbling on a good restaurant based on the way it looked and the way the menu was presented. this approach has very rarely failed me.

  20. Annus Horribilis

    If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that people no longer believe in a morally superior future. Most people are science illiterate and thereby cannot imagine the benefits of a scientifically superior future. Coupled with waning interest in the past, history is only referenced to support specious opinions of an all-consuming present. Covid only seems to justify the necessity of developing the internet and other modern communications, not for a shining future, but for a vaporous present. It is no wonder voters are skeptical of improvement; “progressive” seems like a punchline to some and a threat to the rest. Time itself is in its death throes. At best, authoritarian politics is a modest promise to manage the toxicity of putrefaction in exchange for power. It is the worst deal possible: self-destruction.

  21. montanamaven

    I’d like to provide a link to a Guardian story about something that my county is quite proud of. 20 years ago a group of local ranchers and citizens of Sweet Grass County Montana made a Good Neighbor Agreement with the Stillwater Mine that mined palladium (for catalytic converters). One of only three? such mines in the world. I only went to meetings and gave money, but the citizens who hammered out this agreement were super smart and hard working. It is considered the best agreement of its kind and should be a model for many communities. Good Neighbor Agreement

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It looks like a very worthwhile program. Its sad that there are so few other examples. When you compare it to the article linked yesterday about Nickel mining in Indonesia, you can see its generally cheaper and easier for miners to just force their will onto weak regulatory authorities.

  22. SD

    I’m a voter in MA-1 who voted for Markey and Morse. As loathsome as he may be, Neal absolutely cleaned Morse’s clock, even in Holyoke, where Morse is the wunderkind mayor. If we want any kind of meaningful change, then we need to learn from this. The timing of the dirty tricks orchestrated by the Massachusetts Democratic Party certainly played a role in early voting. I haven’t yet done a deep dive here, but it looks to me that turnout was the real problem for Morse. He just wasn’t able to get his voters to the polls. Even in Massachusetts, which uses optical scan ballots, the tabulation process remains mostly a black box. So we also need to address that.

    1. upstater

      Morse defeated himself. His self admitted behavior, while legal and permissible by UMass, was beyond stupid. He has only himself to blame.

      Facts, like HRC’s emails, are not dirty tricks.

  23. geoff

    “Who is Q?” I’ve seen several posts on twitter today alleging that Jim Watkins, the owner of internet messageboard site 8chan is Q. Check out “Did an IP address accidentally reveal QAnon’s identity?” by Mike Rotschild in the Daily Dot for more.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I don’t follow the QAnon soap opera, but I’ve never heard anything attributed to the source that indicates they have any special insight or access to information whatsoever. Given those lacks, the question “who is QAnon?” is an uninteresting one. It appears to be a random hoaxer, or at least to the best of my knowledge nobody with anything other than rather banal, lurid, and fantastic rumors to peddle.

  24. TBellT

    central question is “Who is Q?”

    Is that even possible to answer given the 4chan boards are anonymous-ized? I thought that was why there have been a bunch of imitation posts.

    1. hunkerdown

      Most imageboards are mostly anonymous-optional. 4chan’s forced-anonymous /b/ is an infamous exception. Many imageboards offer a feature in lieu of a registration system called a tripcode, which is a one-way hash of a password entered per-post after the screen name, separated by a single number sign. To duplicate the tripcode, someone would need to know the password, or have quite a bit of compute power and time to brute-force it.

      Some imageboards have so-called secure tripcodes. The one-way hash is additionally salted with a secret known only to the server — barring intrusion, of course — and its reproducible mandatory influence on the hash attests to the anon having entered their password through the normal means, and to the extreme unlikelihood of some other anon having posted it. An attacker must know or crack the anon’s password and the server secret in order to impersonate the secure tripcode, which is basically infeasible with non-quantum computers.

      QAnon’s original tripcode on 8chan was the secure flavor and, because of the different server-side factor, could not come with them to 8kun, with some ensuing hilarity.

  25. Lee

    “Forest regeneration on European sheep pasture is an economically viable climate change mitigation strategy” [IOP Science].

    Sheep provide meat, wool, and milk, trees do not. Also, domestic food production is a contributing element of national security. I have nothing against trees. I quite like them, in spite of having to breathe these many days the fumes from their fiery demise.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      sheep and trees can easily coexist…but not under industrial sheep raising methods.
      the unwillingness to let the latter go is the problem.
      raising sheep and trees together(visions of Caddyshack) is “less efficient”, you see.
      takes more people on the ground….as in “shepherds”.
      that job description requires a lot of wandering around at sheep-pace, in nature, and sleeping under stars, where imaginations and camaraderie are born…can’t have that. It also lends itself to saving one’s wages(nowhere to spend it “after work”)…so no opportunity for beak wetting.
      “will no one think of the shareholders?!”

  26. vegeholic

    Re: Low cost covid tests. The most articulate and persuasive advocate for this approach is Dr. Michael Mina of the Harvard Public Health School. Many links online from google search. Here is one:
    Interview with Dr. Mina
    For the life of me I cannot see why we don’t flock to this approach immediately.

  27. PlutoniumKun

    “Forest regeneration on European sheep pasture is an economically viable climate change mitigation strategy” [IOP Science].

    I haven’t seen the twitter arguments, but its a very complex topic.

    First off – it is one of the most frustrating things about the climate change issue that there are so many apparently quite simple and cheap things that can be done quickly, but somehow it never gets done. Pulling marginal land which is only used because of subsidies out of use and allowing for natural regeneration should be one of those ‘no brainer’ things. But somehow, its never been done at any scale.

    A few random observations from my Irish perspective:

    1. The article is correct that there are very extensive areas of open land which are essentially ecological deserts due to sheep grazing, and almost all sheep grazing in Europe only exists because of subsidy.
    2. The cheapest way to turn them into carbon stores is to just let these lands scrub over and afforest naturally.
    3. There is increasing interest in matching lowland solar farms with sheep rearing. The sheep apparently like the shelter. In Ireland, much of the land proposed for solar farms is relatively good, formerly beet growing land. So there is actually a good complement here in bringing sheep farming to the lowlands along with solar panels, while leaving the uplands to natural regeneration and wind farms.
    4. There has actually been a significant lowering of sheep numbers on Irish uplands, mostly because of changing subsidies. Over the past 20 years of regularly hiking and cycling my local hills I’ve seen a very positive level of natural regeneration on upland peat and heath – while sheep still graze there, the population is low enough that there is visible repair of peat which was torn and eroded 20 years ago from overgrazing. It will not become woodland, but it could become dense heather and gorse, which has significant ecological value.

    The main problems are:

    a. A perceptual problem that any such proposal is seen as anti farmer and anti jobs. There are far too many examples of well meaning projects that stopped dead because of local suspicions that it would drive people off the land.
    b. In most areas, its not sufficient to just remove sheep. You will have to actively control (at least in the early establishment stages), natural grazers, such as rabbits and non-native deer and muntjac. Deer in particular are very effective at stopping natural regeneration. And they are very good at going over fences.
    3. Its not always clear that ‘natural’ regeneration will succeed, or will result in carbon sequestration, especially on peatlands, and a large amount of Irish and Scottish uplands are peat.
    4. There are, surprisingly, legal obstacles due to wildlife protection. For example, very extensive areas of Irish uplands are designated Special Protection Areas under the Wild Bird Directive (EU), mostly because of the hen harrier. Unfortunately, the hen harrier does not like dense forestry, it likes a mosaic of young commercial forestry, scrub, and open land. So while you don’t need permission to let land regenerate, you do need permission to deliberately afforest it, and this could well fall foul of European law. Its entirely possible under the law as it stands now that you could end up with an ecologically degraded landscape maintained specifically for the protection one species.
    5. A big problem with natural regeneration on uplands is that even in the wet uplands of the western fringes of Europe, it can get very dry in summer as the soil doesn’t retain moisture well. Some areas just don’t regenerate due to regular fires (many are deliberately set by farmers and hunters).

    In short, I’m not convinced that simply fencing off land and paying farmers to not do anything is the best approach. It may cost more to implement, but I think there are more payoffs involved in more intensive management of uplands, with different solutions to different areas and soil types. For example, the uplands in the Dublin Hills are now being moved from largely conifer plantation to more complex cropping, to maintain more diversity and open areas for wildlife and to allow more recreation. It is less profitable, but still a viable form of forestry. My guess is that politicians would be less sensitive to the costs of more intensive approaches if there was more of an obvious benefit both to local people, and to the population at large from recreation.

  28. Morgan Everett

    That is actually a really good point regarding the continued anonymity of Q. QAnon as a conspiracy has been going on for years now and has even had a giant media freakout over it. You’d think that there would be some sign of who the founder of the belief system is.

    1. bob

      JFK jr. He can’t come out because everyone thinks he’s dead. If he does come out can you imagine the freakouts!? A Kennedy as right wing savior. The media would immediately have to change their belief systems because a Kennedy can’t be wrong- They’re annointed, and now Resurrected. Fox news and MSNBC then join hands and start the worlds largest orgy. It lasts for years. Their forbidden love now has no bounds. The new world has begun. A whole new generation of bi-partisan Kennedy aristocracy. Be fruitful, be a Kennedy, and multiply. WWG1WGA

  29. Amfortas the hippie

    I didn’t know Robert O. Paxton was an owl enthusiast.

    I really dig owls, but rarely see them.
    I’m usually abed from dark til 3-4am, and that’s when the owls around here do their hunting.
    By the time i get up and wandering around, they’re all done.
    I do see the little screech owls sometimes, since our yard lights are mostly blue and green(so as not to mess with our night vision, while still allowing us to see snakes when going between house and the library).
    if you sit out there real still, in the 2-3 hours after full dark, you can see them flitting around.
    They were living in a hole that had rotted in the wall of the library/trailerhouse…so when i finally got around to fixing it, i had to get the materials, and then wait until they were done rearing their young. I built several owl houses—a couple of essentially large birdhouses, and a 4 foot section of hollow log rescued from the firewood cutting and capped at both ends…this latter is the one they chose first, altho now all 3 have resident screech owl families. Only then could i repair the wall.
    I hear Great Horned Owls all the time…even in the early morning…but especially in winter, for whatever reason.
    Never see them, though.
    and i haven’t seen a barn owl in 15+ years.
    I don’t know what happened to them.
    The other local nightbirds…whip-poor-wills and 2 kinds of nightjars…have come back, after a long, imported fire ant induced absence. I like to think that my efforts on the fire ants(Beauvaria bassiana, injected into the imported ants’ mounds) had something to do with their return. Quail are back, too…likely for the same reason.(all are ground nesters)

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      “…and then wait until they were done rearing their young…”

      Good on ya man, some people wouldn’t even bother waiting. :)

      We have an old-fashioned/huge 2 story barn down in Oregon, that had some chicken wire on the ventilation windows by the eaves to keep birds, including owls and flickers, out…but at some point just after high school I climbed up there and tore off the chicken wire.

      I went away to college, Alaska, and around….and never bothered to tell anyone. One year I got a call from Mom and Dad telling me about the pair of barn owls who had taken over. Woohoo, so cool i said! AWESOME!! Mom and Dad chuckled (in retrospect) rather ominously.

      Of course, my very next visit I was handed a respirator, a few gunny sacks, misc cleaners/cleansers, some gloves, and broom and told to get my sorry ass up there and clean up several years-worth of owl poop, ‘mouse kits’ and other owl detritus.

      They got a few owl houses built to cover the barn eaves & put in a couple other places, so when the eaves were sealed off again the owl residents weren’t too peeved, and they moved right in.

      They all lived happily ever after, and i didnt get hanta virus. :)

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yes! the inside of that wall was a frelling mess!
        balls of fur and bones and owl poop.
        nasty…nastier than even the chicken house on it’s worst day.
        (but smaller, thankfully)
        i cleaned it all out and soaked the entire inside of the wall with pine-sol, repeatedly.
        (and yes, all of it went into a compost pile,lol)

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Was Kyle Rittenhouse’s possession of a gun protected by the Second Amendment? ”

    This could get embarrassing for the police when it goes to trial. I mean their part in encouraging the militia and I can only image what some witnesses will say. Certainly videos of the police throwing water bottles to the militia is damning. Might get even worse if links come out between the local police and the militia itself. Maybe Rittenhouse will be Epsteined in jail before it ever goes to trial.

  31. Tom Stone

    Here in California we have the 1099 foundation which gives aid to the families of deceased Police officers.
    Make a contribution ( I don’t recall how much, $250?) and you get a license plate holder. with their logo.
    Definitely something I’d do if I were a black professional.

    1. pricklyone

      So, as a white professional, have you given in to the shakedown?
      Sounds like a real case of “quid pro quo” for the SCOTUS…since it is obvious what the payoff is, as you inferred.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Tone-deaf. (Age-ist snark comes to mind, but that is uncharitable).

      I’m curious if anyone has a ground-eye view of the state of the Pelosi/Buttar contest.

      Buttar came in at about 13%, to Pelosi 70+% in the primary. Does he have a shot
      in the general?

      a quick search suggests the possibility that the Party incumbent-protection playbook may be being employed in this race


      1. Pat

        What do you want to bet that Biden is still on Preston’s site? And that they have forgotten the highly credible and multiple accounts of his groping, molestation and inappropriate behavior. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

        Since I cannot imagine anything but chaos on election night regarding the Presidential election, my fondest fantasy for that evening is a Buttar victory with news reports of people of all identities saying it is time for Nancy to stay home with her freezer permanently.

        I am sure there will be some small consolations this November, but unfortunately too many voters will vote for the tribe without bothering to notice how little candidates like Pelosi have in common with them and how little they care about the best interests of the voters.

    2. flora

      Nancy now claims she doesn’t wear a mask when she washes her hair, so that’s why she wasn’t wearing a mask. Um, when I go to a salon the salon person washes my hair and I wear a mask during that process. Standard procedure. She wants us to believe she went to the salon and washed her own hair? right…. Too funny. (Rules are for little people.)

          1. Pat

            I love that a person who has spent decades writing laws cannot go on a friggin web site or read a local paper to know what the current situation is in her HOME town. Call me wild and crazy but if I was going back and forth between two places right now I would have a list of what was and wasn’t allowed in both places so I would be in compliance. Such ignorance wouldn’t be an excuse for anyone ordinary.

            I won’t even get into the fact that if masks are required, yes you do wear your mask for the hair washing. Oh wait, I did. Guess I set Pelosi up as well.

  32. Cuibono

    so it can be done on impulse, like buying candy at the cash register, with testing stations distributed widely. Combine the test with a lottery, and you might get somewhere, in a Third World country like our own.”

    You mean like this:
    To enter the lottery you need to do a test. If you win, they check the test strip to ascertain that you in fact did do the test. (dna sample)
    No dna on strip, no win!

    Friggin BRILLIANT

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      No, we’ll do a reprise of the Antidotes. That’ll help.

      (But not m–)
      Not much, no. . . .

      Gee — I wonder if we could find a fortune-teller that reads freezers. . . .

  33. CoryP

    FWIW, regarding what zagonostra was speaking about in terms of the facebook protest arrest:
    I agree with their assessment. I think medical quacks and other fringe types should have the same speech rights as everyone else. Should anti-vaxxers be able to stage a public protest? Even though I disagree with them and think it actually does harm to public health, I would be very worried if it was CRIMINALIZED.

    I think a line has been crossed here. A government imposing a state of exception is never a good thing — though we all knew this months ago when the emergency decrees first started. In my own Ontario, it’s more benign so far, but already the COVID emergency is being used to steamroll over public unions’ collective bargaining agreements.

    Everyone’s going to have their own threshold for being disturbed by the actions of governments, but I don’t think this event should be shrugged off.

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