2:00PM Water Cooler 9/30/2020

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Patient readers, I’ll have more in a bit, especially on the debate (though what I have should be sufficient to spark discussion). I also watched the debate today, having only listened yesterday, and I have some thoughts on that. I’m late because after stupidly upgrading to a *.0 version of iOS, I discovered that the genius programmers from Cupertino have botched email again, this time by butchering out the Send function. Something one expects an email program to do. UPDATE Finished, albeit incomplete; I needed to look into the Proud Boys moral panic.

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

What a busy, gossipy little creature!


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

Here are the United States regions:

Flattening continues… I would say that the South dropping is Texas getting its data under control.

Here are the Swing States as I conceive them (see below):

Both Wisconsin worrisome, North Carolina flattening.

ND: “North Dakota’s Virus Outbreak Is as Bad as Florida’s in July” [Bloomberg]. “In North Dakota, the seven-day average of new cases climbed to a record 413, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That’s about 54 daily cases per 100,000 residents. By comparison, Florida’s July 15 peak was about 55 cases per 100,000. Deaths are climbing, too, but they typically appear in the data weeks after cases.”

TX: “COVID-19 exposed the failure to learn lessons from prior pandemics” [Houston Chronicle]. “During the past 12 years, the federal government slashed funding for emergency preparedness by more than half. State spending didn’t close the gaps. Epidemiologists scrambling to trace the spread quickly were overwhelmed — not just in smaller, rural health departments but in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the nation and home to the biggest medical complex in the world. In only six months, COVID-19 crippled not only Texas but the country and the world as well. Many of the dire consequences — nearly 206,000 deaths in the U.S., 15,884 in Texas and a hobbled economy — can be blamed on a lack of preparation and a fumbled response, public health officials said. The chaos that accompanied the federal and state response to COVID-19 was not only foreseeable, according to public health officials who saw their budgets cut year after year. It was preventable. We were warned.”


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

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

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

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 18: Still no changes. August 31: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. September 9: No changes. September 14: No changes. September 21: No changes. September 22: Ohio moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. September 25: Ohio moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. September 30: Iowa moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. For all the sturm and drang, and the polls, the consensus on the electoral college remains remarkably static: Biden ahead, Trump within striking distance. Of course, if Trump is still in striking distance on Election Day, that will count as a loss. Maybe.

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

The election countdown:

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

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

NEW “2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Elections Project (SlayTheSmaugs)].

“How to Vote in 2020: Everything You Need to Know” [Bloomberg]. “Casting a ballot in the U.S. isn’t always easy, with a complex web of varying state rules governing how and when you can vote. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced even more complexity in 2020, as many states have made significant changes to allow for more early voting or voting by mail. More changes could come as lawsuits in several states wind their way through the courts. That’s why Bloomberg News is answering these critical questions so you’ll know what you need to do to make sure your vote is counted in the 2020 election.”

Here are is an enormous spreadsheet on voting equipment, so you can check your own jurisdiction (hat tip, UserFriendly. I should really aggregate these onto a map…).

* * *

The Debates

“The debate was a mud-wrestling match — and Biden won” [The Spectator]. “Time and again, Biden turned to the camera, not to his opponent, and spoke directly to American voters in a clear, calm voice. He was appealing directly to undecided voters, renouncing the most extreme elements of his party’s platform. It’s unclear if that stance will hurt him with progressives and socialists in his party, as Trump said it would during the debate. More likely, their white-hot hatred for Trump will overwhelm their coolness for Biden. Trump entered the debate as an underdog, trailing roughly six to eight points in polls of ‘likely voters’ in swing states. Facing that uphill slog, he couldn’t come on stage and sit on a lead. Not that Donald Trump would ever do that. He lives to attack, and attack he did. Unfortunately for the President, the way he attacked failed to pin down his opponent and actually hurt Trump. By repeatedly interrupting Biden, talking past the agreed time-limits (when Biden did not), and attacking the moderator, Fox News’s Chris Wallace, Trump underscored what so many independent voters find objectionable about him…. Trump’s problem was a characteristic one. He was determined to win every contested issue, to respond to every attack on him or his record, even if he had to interrupt his opponent or the moderator to do it…. The goal isn’t to win each point, it is to win the match. That’s why chess grandmasters sometimes sacrifice a pawn. Trump never sacrifices a pawn. Sometimes, that leaves the king exposed. It did this time.” ¨• Zing!

“You’re out of your element, Donny!”

(I can’t imagine why this is the first time I’ve heard that allusion made, in the context of this campaign.)

* * *

“Donald Trump & Joe Biden 1st Presidential Debate Transcript 2020” [Rev]. • From that transcript, there are two issues that I mentally flagged:

The Public Option (Biden)

Chris Wallace: (13:06) Sir, you’ll be happy. I’m about to pick up on one of your points to ask the Vice President, which is, he points out that you would like to add a public option to Obamacare.

Vice President Joe Biden: (13:17) Yes.

Chris Wallace: (13:17) And the argument that he makes and other Republicans make is that that is going to end private insurance.

Vice President Joe Biden: (13:23) It is not.

Chris Wallace: (13:25)

If I start asking the question.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:26) That’s not what your party says, by the way. Chris Wallace: (13:29)

And it will end private insurance and create a government takeover of health.

Vice President Joe Biden: (13:32) It does not. It’s only for those people who are so poor they qualify for Medicaid they can get that free in most States, except Governors who want to deny people who are poor Medicaid. Anyone who qualifies for Medicaid would automatically be enrolled in the public option. The vast majority of the American people would still not be in that option. Number one. Number two.

President Donald J. Trump: (13:57) Joe, you agreed with Bernie Sanders, who’s far left, on the manifesto, we call it. And that gives you socialized medicine.

Vice President Joe Biden: (14:04)

Look, hey. President Donald J. Trump: (14:05)Are you saying you didn’t agree?

Vice President Joe Biden: (14:06) I’m not going to listen to him. The fact of the matter is I beat Bernie Sanders.

President Donald J. Trump: (14:10) Not by much.

On health care policy: This is just bizarre (and I’m not going to check Biden’s website because a candidate should be able to describe his own policy in his own words, or his own staffers’ words). First, the public option is an option. Automatic enrollment, not being optional, makes no sense. Second, a means-tested public option that is in essence a Medicaid buy-in is like no public option I’ve ever heard of. Third, apparently Biden’s so-called public option is apparently geography-tested besides being means-tested: It will only apply in the 12 states that did not join ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. Fourth, why not just legislate Medicare expansion, if that is the goal, instead of this kludgy workaround? Biden’s odd version of the public option will no doubt increase coverage somewhat, but at the cost of even more complexity and hence no decrease in cost, leaving ObamaCare as vulnerable to assault as ever.

On Trump’s interruptions: They seem strategic in that they are designed to drive a wedge between Sanders voters and Biden. (Trump’s mention of the “manifesto” is lazy and sloppily ill-prepared. What he is doing is accepting the false hype of public option advocates that it will be both cheaper and better than private plans, and so will outcompete them. This of course assumes good faith on the part of the drafters of the public option legislation, a dubious proposition at best.

The Proud Boys (Trump)

Again from the transcript:

Chris Wallace: (41:33)

You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other left wing extremist groups. But are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia group and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland.

President Donald J. Trump: (41:57)

Sure, I’m will[ing] to do that.

Chris Wallace: (41:59)

Are you prepared specifically to do it.

President Donald J. Trump: (42:00)

I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing not from the right wing.

Chris Wallace: (42:04)

But what are you saying?

President Donald J. Trump: (42:06)

I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.

Chris Wallace: (42:08)

Well, do it, sir.

Vice President Joe Biden: (42:09)

Say it, do it say it.

President Donald J. Trump: (42:10)

What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead who do you want me to condemn.

Chris Wallace: (42:14)

White supremacist and right-wing militia.

[Vice President Joe Biden:Proud Boys]

President Donald J. Trump: (42:18)

Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem this is a left wing.

Vice President Joe Biden: (42:28)

He’s own FBI Director said unlike white supremacist, Antifa is an idea not an organization-

President Donald J. Trump: (42:35)

Oh you got to be kidding me.

Vice President Joe Biden: (42:36)

… not a militia. That’s what his FBI Director said.

First, Wallace’s “Why will you not condemn_______?” demand the oldest gotcha trick in the book, but I can’t say that Trump handled it especially well, given the online reaction. What I heard, after Wallace’s demand, was Trump’s “Sure, I’m will[ing] to do that.” After back and forth, where Wallace demands specifics, and Trump rightly demands a name, we get the key pasage from Trump: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” (which keys off Wallace’s original “they need to stand down.” Needless to say, Trump’s initial “willing to do that” is not part of the narrative. Still, it’s not every day a right wing militia gets a name-check from the President of the United States!

Second, the problem of the transcript I had to run down; I have helpfully underlined the key passage, which does not appear in the Rev transcript, does appear in the USA Today transcript, and is in the C-SPAN video at 1:06:06. It’s cross talk. As it turns out — and this appears nowhere in the coverage — Biden suggested Proud Boys to Trump. (The split screen video is worth watching; Biden really looks shark-like, moving in for the kill with “Say it, do it say it” (“Do it, England; For like the hectic in my blood he rages, And thou must cure me.”) This is pretty amazing, because it suggests Biden, at a pivotal moment, got inside Trump’s head (and not the reverse).

Third, how the Proud Boys interpreted Trump’s words:

Fourth, liberal Democrats, representing as they do symbol manipulators, are naturally terrified by the above artwork. But does any of this matter with respect to what we might call the correlation of forces? JJ MacNab covers right wing militias; I first encountered her when the Bundy’s occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Her reaction:

And effective recruiting tool is what they will need, given that their last rally in Portland drew “only about 200 after city braced for thousands.” She also gives some sites to track to see if this pans out. Here is her assessment of the Proud Boys as a force:

And but:

Robert O. Paxton defines fascism as follows here at NC in “Robert O. Paxton’s “The Five Stages of Fascism“”:

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

The Proud Boys, “committed” and “nationalist” (and vile) hough they may be, are not in any sense “militant” as were the defeated German (and Italian) soldiers returning defeated from the carnage of the trenches of World War I, nor “militant” as were the defeated Confederates who built the KKK and Jim Crow in the Reconstruction South. When Greg Sargent at the Jeff Bezos Daily Shopper tweets that Trump has “openly mobilized his far right army” — army? –he’s being ridiculous (although the more media attention the Proud Boys get, the more likely they are to become what Sargent fears; exactly like Trump, come to think of it. But clicks). If one thinks of fascism as an opportunistic virus, it remains to be seen how potent an inocculum the Proud Boys are. My guess is, not potent. (As I’ve said before, the worst outcome I can see is a fizzled capitol occupation.) In any case, a far right groupuscule is to my mind far less important than a general slide of the political class toward our own flavor of fascism; the thirst for a leader among liberal Democrats is palpable and deeply troubling to me. Granted, “ethical or legal restraints” is where the lesser evils are to be found.


Here is my list of Swing States, with votes in the Electoral College and selected ballot initiatives in parentheticals):

  • Arizona (11) (marijuana; taxes(=)
  • Colorado (9) (taxes, lottery, abortion, paid medical leave)
  • Florida (29) (minimum wage)
  • Georgia (16) (declaratory relief)
  • Iowa (6) (Constitional convention)
  • Maine-02 (1) (vax)
  • Michigan (16) (privacy)
  • Minnesota (10)
  • Nebraska-02 (1) (payday lending; gambling)
  • Nevada (6) (marriage)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Texas (38)
  • Wisconsin (10) (crime victims)

Inspired by the thread starting with Arizona Slim’s comment here, I went to Ballotpedia and added selected, hopefully hot button, ballot initiatives, because sometimes they affect turnout. If you live in a swing state, please comment if I got the hot buttons wrong!

* * *

GA: “New poll finds Biden narrowly leading Trump in Georgia” [The Hill]. “A new poll finds Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a narrow lead over President Trump in Georgia, which has not gone for the Democratic presidential candidate in nearly 30 years…. Only 2 percent of voters say they could still change their minds…. There is a massive gender gap between the candidates, with men supporting Trump by 15 points and women backing Biden by 18 points…. A plurality of voters say the economy is the most important issue (25 percent), followed by law and order (15 percent) and racial justice (15 percent).” • Perhaps that’s why another stimulus bill didn’t originate in the House….

MN: “Women in Minneapolis suburbs have ‘critical’ role in 2020 election” [ABC]. “All the women who spoke with ABC News expressed unease about the ability of America’s political leaders to restore unity and bring healing at such a divisive time in the country. And, all said they made up their minds long ago about whether Trump deserves a second term. ‘I know it’s not Donald Trump. I don’t think it’s Joe Biden. And I’m wondering if there’s other people like myself in that same situation,’ said Anne Swenson of Bloomington, a retired CPA and Catholic stepmother of three, who is still undecided about who she’ll pick for president. ‘It’s a tough year for me this year,’ said Swenson, a self-described fiscal conservative and social moderate….. For many suburban voters, the economy and family finances are paramount. And on those issues, Biden and Trump poll neck and neck, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll.” • I don’t know where I heard “I don’t think we can vote our way out of this,” but apparently I’m not the only one who feels that way…

WA: “Your anxiety could be delaying your voter registration in WA” [Crosscut]. “[M]aking multiple attempts to register to vote or update one’s address doesn’t help speed the process along in Washington state. In fact, it actually makes it take longer. ‘… When someone tries to register a second or third time in the online voter registration system, it actually moves the update to the back of the queue,’ wrote Kendall LeVan Hodson, chief of staff of King County Elections, in an email this week. Kylee Zabel, a spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of State, said the new statewide voter registration system Washington launched last year, VoteWA, is designed that way. The idea is to avoid creating multiple data submissions for each voter, which Zabel said would increase the workload for county elections officials.” • Do we have an programmers who can comment on whether this is a sensible idea?

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “ABC’s Martha Raddatz says she didn’t see a lot of ‘enthusiasm for Joe Biden’ in cross-country trip” [The Hill]. “‘Martha, you went on a 6,000-mile road trip across America to see what was on voters’ minds. What did you find out?’ co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked Tuesday on The View.’ ‘A lot of people are talking about the economy more than anything else,’ Raddatz responded. ‘I was very surprised, Whoopi, because [in regards to] COVID when you cross the country, you wouldn’t really know it’s happening. I was really shocked at how few people were wearing masks in certain areas. It’s like ‘I’m tired of this. I’ll just get back doing what I wanted to do before.'”

Buttigieg (D)(1): At least he didn’t say “our democracy”:

And speaking of election integrity:

* * *

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: “September 2020 ADP Employment Gains 749,000” [Econintersect]. “ADP reported non-farm private jobs growth at 749,000 which was within expectations. A quote from the ADP authors: ‘The labor market continues to recover gradually.’ Last month’s employment gain was revised upward. It will be interesting to see what the BLS says is jobs growth.”

Manufacturing: “September 2020 Chicago Purchasing Managers Barometer Surges to 62.4 in September” [Econintersect]. “The Chicago Business Barometer improved from 51.2 to 62.4…. The Fed manufacturing surveys were all in expansion this month.”

GDP: “Third Estimate 2Q2020 GDP ‘Improves’ to -31.4%” [Econintersect]. “The third estimate of second-quarter 2020 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) improved from -31.7% to -31.4%…. The coronavirus lockdown is the reason for the decline – and pushed GDP into contraction. No doubt the U.S. economy was in a recession.”

* * *

Retail: “Some of the biggest business at some retail stores this year has been in liquidating the inventory. Retail bankruptcies, liquidations and store closings in the U.S. reached a record in the first half of 2020…. as the pandemic accelerated big industry trends including the shift to online shopping” [Wall Street Journal]. “A report by professional-services firm BDO USA says 18 retailers filed for chapter 11 protection in the first six months of a tumultuous year, and 11 more entered bankruptcy from July to mid-August. That puts this year on pace to rival 2010, when 48 retailers filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the financial crisis. The upheaval is roiling supply chains from suppliers to manufacturers and consumer outlets. Retailers announced nearly 10,000 store closings from January to mid-August, and analysts expect as many as 25,000 stores to close by the end of the year.” • I hate to use the word “carnage”….

Retail: “Costco Wholesale is zeroing in on working capital and inventory levels as it adjusts to upheaval in consumer purchasing under the pandemic. The members-only retailer has been bringing in new suppliers for highly-sought products… after it struggled in the early months of lockdowns to keep shelves filled with popular items like sanitizing wipes and baking yeast” [Wall Street Journal]. “Overall inventory levels rose 7% to $12.2 billion in the year ended Aug. 30 compared with the prior year, slower than the 12% growth in overall revenue…. At the same time, accounts payable—the amount of money the company owes to its suppliers—rose by 21% to $14.2 billion, as the company sold inventory faster than planned.”


What could go wrong?

Mr. Market: “Why Are Markets So Calm About the Second Wave?” [John Authers, Bloomberg (DD)]. Deck: “Evidence is building that herd immunity may be closer than many had predicted.” A bunch of proxies that seem pretty thin, to me, then: “During the first wave in the spring, the U.S. Deep South was largely spared. The only city to suffer a serious outbreak was New Orleans, which went ahead with its huge annual Mardi Gras festival. The rest of Louisiana was relatively unaffected. Once the second wave hit, however, it was the reverse. New Orleans saw only a minor tick up in infections, and was the state’s least-affected parish. This at least gives some circumstantial support to the notion that the initial outbreak helped the city develop enough herd immunity to avoid a second wave.” And: “Another interesting test case is the very different and dispersed state of Idaho. The county of the Sun Valley ski resort kept accepting tourists into late March. It’s easy to identify it on the following chart — and also to see that it went on to be by far the least affected county when the rest of the state suffered its first wave later in the summer.” And the caveat, since this is not a work of epidemioloy but Mr. Market whispering: “It’s far too soon to say that the case for herd immunity having arrived already has been proved. A second major outbreak in a place that has already had one would do fatal damage to the theory. But every scientific development is eagerly gobbled up by the investment community. If you want an explanation for why the second wave is being received so much more calmly than the first, these ideas have much to do with it.” • If the reason the “second wave” is less deadly than the first is that we slaughtered the old folks early (“heterogeneity”), well, everything’s going according ot plan…

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 49 Neutral (previous close: 49 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 29 at 12:15pm. Still stuck in neutral!

The Biosphere

“Water on Mars: discovery of three buried lakes intrigues scientists” [Nature]. “Two years ago, planetary scientists reported the discovery of a large saltwater lake under the ice at Mars’s south pole, a finding that was met with excitement and some scepticism. Now, researchers have confirmed the presence of that lake — and found three more….. The lakes are spread over about 75,000 square kilometres — an area roughly one-fifth the size of Germany. The largest, central lake measures 30 kilometres across, and is surrounded by 3 smaller lakes, each a few kilometres wide…. [T]he prospect that these lakes are remnants of Mars’s wet past remains an exciting possibility. ‘There may have been a lot of water on Mars,’ says Pettinelli. “And if there was water, there was the possibility of life.'”

Health Care

“‘Game Changing’ 15-Minute Covid-19 Test Cleared in Europe” [Bloomberg]. “Becton Dickinson and Co.’s Covid-19 test that returns results in 15 minutes has been cleared for use in countries that accept Europe’s CE marking, the diagnostics maker said Wednesday. The test is part of a new class of quicker screening tools named for the identifying proteins called antigens they detect on the surface of SARS-CoV-2. Becton Dickinson expects to begin selling the test, which runs on the company’s cellphone-sized BD Veritor Plus System, in European markets at the end of October. It will likely be used by emergency departments, general practitioners and pediatricians.” • Not for consumers, then. Sadly.

Police State Watch

“Police union makes financial-only counter-offer” [Chicago Sun-Times]. “The Fraternal Order of Police is demanding a 17% pay raise over four years — and half that amount for officers who are allowed to live outside the city — in a financial-only deal that includes none of the 40 disciplinary reforms demanded by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.” • Who’s running the city, anyhow?

Class Warfare

“How Amazon hid its safety crisis” [Reveal News]. “But a new cache of company records obtained by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting – including internal safety reports and weekly injury numbers from its nationwide network of fulfillment centers – shows that company officials have profoundly misled the public and lawmakers about its record on worker safety. They reveal a mounting injury crisis at Amazon warehouses, one that is especially acute at robotic facilities and during Prime week and the holiday peak – and one that Amazon has gone to great lengths to conceal. With weekly data from 2016 through 2019 from more than 150 Amazon warehouses, the records definitively expose the brutal cost to workers of Amazon’s vast shipping empire – and the bald misrepresentations the company has deployed to hide its growing safety crisis…. Amazon’s injury rates have gone up each of the past four years, the internal data shows. In 2019, Amazon fulfillment centers recorded 14,000 serious injuries – those requiring days off or job restrictions. The overall rate of 7.7 serious injuries per 100 employees was 33% higher than in 2016 and nearly double the most recent industry standard.” • Good reporting, with a guide to individual hell-holes warehouses.

“Disney To Lay Off 28,000 Workers From Theme Parks, Cruise Lines” [HuffPo]. “Disney announced Tuesday that it plans to lay off 28,000 employees from its Parks, Experiences and Products segment ― which includes Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida ― as the coronavirus crisis continues to wreak economic havoc nationwide. About 67% of the layoffs will affect part-time employees, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro said in a statement. Those affected range from salaried employees to nonunion hourly workers within the company’s theme parks, resorts, cruise ships, vacation experiences and consumer products divisions…. D’Amaro blamed California officials for refusing to “lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.” The office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said it is working on new guidelines that would allow the state’s theme parks to reopen but hasn’t yet provided a timeline, The Los Angeles Times reported last week.”

“Who is Hispanic?” [Pew Research]. “Only 23% of U.S. adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard of the term Latinx, and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves, according to a bilingual survey of U.S. Hispanic adults the Center conducted in December 2019. Awareness and use vary across subgroups, with young Hispanics ages 18 to 29 among the most likely to have heard of the term – 42% say they have heard of it, compared with 7% of those ages 65 or older. Use is among the highest for Hispanic women ages 18 to 29 – 14% say they use it, compared with 1% of Hispanic men in the same age group who say they use it.” • You’ll never put any diversity consultant’s kids through college with that kind of performance, Latinexes. Get with the program!

Predatory precarity, a thread:

News of the Wired



* * *

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

Hopefully pollinators are going crazy!

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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. Samuel Conner

    Perhaps in the mind of establishment D policy maker’s the noun “option” in “public option” refers to policy options for the policy-makers, rather than medical care provision/payment options for medical care seekers.

    1. Pat

      Well “affordable” and “care” certainly had fluid to downright contrary definitions to what you find in the dictionary when used by policy makers for the AFFORDABLE CARE Act.

      Maybe we need to discuss the big lie theory of propaganda In reference to policy and legislation nomenclature.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Perhaps in the mind of establishment D policy maker’s the noun “option” in “public option” refers to policy options for the policy-makers

      That idea actually occurred to me, but I dismissed it as too insane. So, hat tip :-)

      1. RMO

        I would hazard a guess that answers to your questions about Biden’s statements about a public option are completely irrelevant as are any words about it from his campaign. Why? Because I don’t believe for a second that any of it is going to happen. At most, assuming he wins, the Dems will put on a show of trying to do something but will claim they will be unable to do so because of the GOP.

      2. Procopius

        I think, but am not sure, this is a “greengrocers’ apostrophe.” I cannot parse the sentence if “maker’s” is a possessive instead of a plural. I’ve been seeing a lot of these lately. A LOT! Lambert even mentioned it a couple of days ago. I wonder what changed that caused this sudden outbreak.

  2. Michael Hudson

    I agree that Biden won (say, 65/35), because Trump self-destructed with his constant interruptions. (I got very tired as a result.)
    But even when he was talking, he didn’t defend his positions well. He had the right basic IDEA: when asked about his income tax, he said that the laws had long been passed to benefit the rich. He could have made a populist stance. He could have said that his income-tax cuts did NOT benefit him, because he didn’t EARN any income — it was all “expensed.” He could have said that depreciation doesn’t mean losing money — it’s a free tax ride, etc.
    So Biden just let Trump self-destruct. Why interrupt him when he’s doing that?
    the advantage of all this is that Europeans and Asians saw how nutty the US political process is. The NY Times bewails that they will lose their faith in American leadership, and the world will fall apart.

    1. anon

      Neither side offered any real policy and solutions. Trump was loud and disruptive and by the end Biden looked old and tired and not fully with it. If they both loved the country as they claim they would both withdraw and allow two others to run.

    2. Robert Hahl

      Biden made Trump look young and vigorous by comparison. For instance Trump’s white shirt was whiter, and showed more under his jacket. Biden looked like an elegant, old, European man.

      1. Wukchumni

        Was it over when the Germans bombed as a loan harbor, Hell no!

        …nothing is over until we decide it is!

          1. flora

            Thanks for that. “I just never believed I could find you so little changed inside.” Boyer is still portraying the suave continental in old age. And why not?

            So easy to assume all old people are not what they once were, that they are only generic ‘old people.’ ( Tennyson knew better. See his poem Ulysses.)

            I remember the Trump of 25 years ago and I remember the Biden of 25 years ago. They are still their self same selves now as then, imo.

            1. Darthbobber

              Yes, I think Biden is not notably worse than what I recall of his (admittedly unmemorable) stint on the campaign trail in 08.

    3. flora

      If their talking style was couched in a painting styles framework, Trump would be impressionism – or maybe abstract impressionism, and Biden would be neoclassical realism. I can listen to both men and understand what points they’re trying to make.

      Hard for me to say who ‘won’. Joe didn’t fall over or drift off. Trump held the floor as much as possible.

      As for what’s in store for voters with either of these guys….

        1. flora

          Even with splatter art there’s a structure or gravity underneath it and organizing it. It’s not as random as it first appears. (As an aside: Basquiat’s art has the ‘bones’ or the architecture of the old masters’ or Picasso’s paintings underneath the surface, imo.)

    4. martell

      Won? Somebody won? That? It was like a fist fight between two deconditioned, diseased, old men neither of whom knows how to fight anymore (if they ever did). There was a lot of slapping and scratching and sometimes one or the other (or both simultaneously) would just lose balance and face plant. But I didn’t see either land a solid blow. That’s not the kind of fight you score. It’s the kind of fight you stop.

      1. flora

        But, however, in the meantime, so to speak … ” this could also be seen as a fist fight between two deconditioned, diseased, old men
        [ideologies] neither of whom knows how to fight anymore.

      2. chuck roast

        Really…imagine a championship fight with all the hub-bub, chatter and excitement in the arena. Cigarette smoke from the prelims rising to the rafters. Important people kibbitzing at ringside and beautiful women flashing their diamonds. Jimmy Powers gets ready to call the bout, and referee Arthur Mercante with his natty bow tie steps between the ropes.

        The crowd begins finding their seats as the murmur rises in anticipation of the boxers entering the ring. Heads turn and the boos contend with the cheers as the challenger comes down the runway, his wing-tipped entourage clearing the way. He looks good with his hair-plugs filled out matching his white silk robe and all white gloves. He looks like Mr. Clean. He enters the ring and his foot gets caught on the ropes. He stumbles forward but is rescued by his trainer Bundini Harris. As she picks him up she accidentally kicks him in the shin with her Timb. He howls in pain as the ex-Bush associates gather around to reassure him.

        The Champ is now coming down the runway surrounded by imperious, attractive blondes and his coterie of trainers with their trademark four-day beards and greasy hair. He is wearing a gold robe with gold gloves. He looks way overweight, but who follows the rules anymore. He steps into the ring on his gold shoes, raises his gloves high and begins showing his moves. He is breathing heavily now with all the fancy moves, and he takes a seat in his corner.

        The mic drops down. The bell sounds and Powers introduces the fighters in the center of the ring. The champ, at around 315 pounds, does not look ready to go 15, and the challenger looks ready for a nap. There is a small rain of boos from the crowd as the pugs do not look up to a match for the championship of the world.

        Mercante checks the fighters gloves in anticipation of the start of the match. Wait a minute. He demands that the champ take off his gloves. Mercante is saying they weigh more than 16 ounces. The champ refuses, and all hell breaks lose in his corner. Finally, Mercante gets the champs gloves off and finds a roll of dimes in each of the champs hands. Mercante pockets the dimes and gets the champs gloves back on. And now the challenger has fallen asleep in his corner, and his cut man is frantically waving smelling salts under his nose.

        While they are trying to wake up the challenger, the champ walks around the ring chomping on a Whopper with cheese and waving to his fans. A can of cheese-wizz comes flying into the ring closely followed by cups of beer and boxes of Cracker-jax. The crowd is incensed. They want their money back. They are screaming “fake-fight”, “fake-fight”.

        There is pandemonium in the arena. The fighters are hiding under the ring in secure cordon of their handlers. The crowd refuses to leave and demands a real boxing match. Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson appear out of nowhere and take to the ring. Powers is effusive, “Skill, style, power, footwork, counter-punching, grit and determination. Everything that these two chumps were not.”

      3. RMO

        “Won? Somebody won? That?”

        Anyone who didn’t watch it won on some level. Like most things to do with the election no matter which candidate can be said to have won or lost it’s the US as a whole that loses.

    5. Pelham

      Yep. Biden won as Trump boiled over in a nation-shaming 90-minute spectacle.

      However, I have an idea that could better serve everyone — the candidates, moderators and the public: soundproof booths, such as they had on the old TV game show “Twenty-One.” I’m completely serious. The contestants would be locked in with microphones that would be electronically controlled to cut off at precisely the allotted times — with no human intervention.

      I’ve longed for this solution many years now, but everyone I’ve spoken to about it thinks I’m joking. I will concede, however, that there is a small downside in that it would make politicians appear to be infectious lab specimens. If only Herb Stempel were running.

      1. flora

        If you buy B. Clinton’s formulation that “It’s better to be strong and wrong than right and weak.” I’d have to say Trump ‘won’. ( Why didn’t Clinton’s formulation include “strong and right”?)

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Anecdotally, this basic idea was killing it on my FB feed this AM and one of the Trumpers at the dog park this morning was even brave enough to admit that Trump’s debate performance was cringingly embarrassing to watch. I don’t think Trump’s tactic of bullying and constantly talking over Biden and the moderator will help him and even could hurt him, although I’m sure a portion of his base found it quite entertaining.

        Maybe the H.L. Mencken quote, “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.” might have finally been plumbed to the depths sufficiently and found bottom.

      3. hunkerdown

        I’m almost with you, but I question the need for mics at all. To leave the sound on only encourages them.

    6. Darthbobber

      Even without Trump’s antics, the format virtually foreclosed the very possibility of anything that could meaningfully be described as debate. And this is by design. Actual debates can be risky things, and the handlers for the campaigns and their parties prefer to avoid that risk. Ever since the mutually agreed party coup that muscled out the LWV in 88, we’ve been steadily headed down this road.

      Voted today in Philadelphia, home of bad things happening. Relatively painless, except for looking at the depressing choices on the actual ballot.

      If the debate produced nothing beyond “bad things happen in Philadelphia” it would have been worth it just for the amusement it afforded the locals. T-shirts bearing the slogan are of course already available.

      1. WillyBgood

        Yes, a certain class of people were really pushing for Jerry Springer to moderate. Give ’em the circus, God forbid they start talking about bread and butter.

    7. anon in so cal

      Had Trump done his HW, he could have mentioned that Biden, too, has benefited from unfair loopholes.

      “The former vice president and his wife reported close to $10 million in income in 2017 from their two S-corporations, CelticCapri and Giacoppa. The entities reported $3.2 million in income in 2018.

      S-corp employee shareholders can collect a salary — which is subject to payroll taxes. They can also receive a distribution, which is deemed a tax-free reduction of basis.

      Business owners are subject to a self-employment tax of 12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare.”


    8. Procopius

      Michael Hudson
      September 30, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      He should have pointed out that he actually paid over $25 MILLION in taxes over a period of several years because of the Alternative Minimum Tax. Why he didn’t do that is something I don’t care to know. I know why the MSM are ignoring it (according to Moon of Alabama the NYT had it in their report in the 78th paragraph (!)).

  3. marym

    Re: Joe’s public option

    I did look at his website, and it’s worse than it sounds.

    There are at least 4 routes for enrolling and it’s not clear if it’s even the same program in each case – e.g “no co-payments for “primary care” ” for the first one and “premium free” and “full benefits of Medicaid” for the second

    – anyone if “your insurance company isn’t doing right by you” (folksy, huh?)

    – premium-free access to the public option for people who would be eligible for Medicaid but for their states didn’t expand, and making sure their public option covers the full scope of Medicaid benefits.

    – states that have already expanded Medicaid will have the choice of moving the expansion population to the premium-free public option as long as the states continue to pay their current share of the cost of covering those individuals.

    – automatically enrolling people making below 138% of the federal poverty when they interact with certain institutions like schools or programs like SNAP (there’s precedence for this – I don’t have links, but read something about some automatic benefit enrollment Trump was trying to curtail at the time).

    No wonder the poor guy can’t keep track of it!

      1. Lee

        I did, quite some years ago. At the time my wife was a corporate exec. at a mutual insurance company. I don’t know if that secured us special treatment. As far as I could tell, the company, and the outside insurer they used, Aetna, seemed to do alright by their employees. As to how things stand these days, I couldn’t say.

      2. richard

        they are mafia. they do all right for themselves and that’s it. if they happen to do well by anyone else, it’s either an accident or they’re mafia too.

      3. McDee

        I did at one time. Back in the 90’s I got taken to the hospital by ambulance because of chest pains. They wheeled me on a gurney into a hallway. There were six or seven other people on gurneys n that hallway.
        Presently a man in a white coat came to me. “Thank God, a doctor”, I thought. No, the admitting clerk. First question: “Do you have insurance?” When I said Travellers (Railroad employees platinum plated health plan at the time) he waved and snapped his fingers and I was immediately taken to the ER. I wonder how long those poor wretches in the hallway had to wait?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      So, the “plan” is to turn a purely public program into one that gives the “insurance” industry a cut? Automatically?

      Why am I not surprised? It’s joe biden, who never met a private profiteer he didn’t wanna stroke.

      PS. What’s the magic in the 138% number? I mean why not 139% or 182.37%? There’s gotta be some some sort of hand job there, but who could figure out what it is?

  4. cocomaan

    At some point, I remember the late David Graeber saying that Occupy Wall Street was a not a movement, it was a warning. Wish I could find the citation.

    After my wife and I watched Occupy get bulldozed over into the dustbin of history (we were active in Philly), my wife and I made a choice to move out to the country, begin producing our own food, and generally preparing for the worst. It’s taken the better part of a decade but we’ve gotten to where we wanted to be when we made this move.

    I honestly just watch the debates now as comic farce, since the tragedy is going to only increase. This is dying empire-level nonsense.

    1. a different chris

      >Occupy get bulldozed over into the dustbin of history

      Not so fast. That’s not how history actually works. It looks that way in retrospect because nobody is going to write a textbook that spends 20 pages in between one event and another carefully describing how “nothing of apparent note happened and everything seemed to go back to normal.”

      You could have written the same thing about Colin Kapernick until suddenly he popped right back out of his particular dustbin again.

      1. jsn

        “And protest can have an invisible ripple-effect that lasts for generations. A small group of women from Iowa lost their sons early in the Vietnam war, and they decided to set up an organization of mothers opposing the assault on the country. They called a protest of all mothers of serving soldiers outside the White House – and six turned up in the snow. Even though later in the war they became nationally important voices, they always remembered that protest as an embarrassment and a humiliation.

        Until, that is, one day in the 1990s, one of them read the autobiography of Benjamin Spock, the much-loved and trusted celebrity doctor, who was the Oprah of his day. When he came out against the war in 1968, it was a major turning point in American public opinion. And he explained why he did it. One day, he had been called to a meeting at the White House to be told how well the war in Vietnam was going, and he saw six women standing in the snow with placards, alone, chanting. It troubled his conscience and his dreams for years. If these women were brave enough to protest, he asked himself, why aren’t I? It was because of them that he could eventually find the courage to take his stand – and that in turn changed the minds of millions, and ended the war sooner. An event that they thought was a humiliation actually turned the course of history.” Johann Hari about 10 years ago in The Independant

      2. cocomaan

        I appreciate your perspective Chris. I think it will mean something, but most people’s historical knowledge extends about the length of their lifetime. It will likely mean something to people sifting through this horrific era we’re in, though.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      David Graeber is much missed.

      Perhaps it’s been linked before, but I came across a YT video today of a “debate” between Graeber and–wait for this–Peter Thiel. It was posted in May, but it’s obviously pre-Covid, sometime after Occupy. It’s about an hour.

      At several points, I wanted to ask Thiel just why he was so hot to get to Mars. Was he getting an urgent SOS from little green men: “Help! Peter! Come save us!”

  5. Oh

    I’m sick of people telling me who “won” the debate. All I know is that with these two running for President the people lose.

    1. cocomaan

      I’m also sick of hearing what is and is not unpresidential. Since 911, every one of our presidents has contributed to the cauldron of suffering that is the Middle East and North Africa. Every president has presided over the mass surveillance of his people. Every one of them has supported a financial sector that’s become fused to the Treasury through a skin graft of corruption.

  6. zagonostra

    >Hillary Clinton cooked up Russiagate to smear Trump & distract from her own scandals, declassified docs suggest

    There was always a section of the public, myself included, that suspected that Russiaigate was the biggest redirection in the history of politics. Now there is proof that that is the case. However it seems to only garner a nonchalant yawn from the media and folks I talk to. Maybe it’s already be factored in and normalized in this crazy political environment.

    … Clinton OK’d a plan to smear then-rival Donald Trump with accusations about Russian election-hacking in order to distract from her email scandal, newly-declassified papers appear to show.


    1. Procopius

      There are tens of millions of people who believe sincerely that Russian interference (along with treasonous Bernie Bros) stole the election from the best prepared candidate in the history of the country. They mention it frequently, and I’m surprised you don’t seem to be aware of them. What I see on several “progressive” blogs that I follow despite the dissonance I feel is active dogma that supports many other assumptions. The MSM rarely mentions it because it is so deeply ingrained that “it’s just something everybody knows,” but I’ll bet if you pay attention you’ll see it mentioned by somebody like Charles Pierce or Andrew Sullivan every other day.

  7. Phillip Cross

    I prefer Trump’s 2015 campaign health care proposal!


    “Reaffirming his long-held position on expanding the welfare state, reality TV star Donald Trump said that he wants to “repeal and replace” Obamacare with universal health care. “Who’s going to pay for it?” 60 Minutes host Scott Pelley inquired. “The government is going to pay for it!” Trump assured. “

    1. Procopius

      I have long wondered why that quotation is so obscure. I would have thought the Democrats would have made it famous, but they, and their supporting media, have completely ignored it.

  8. a different chris

    I thought this nifty confluence of text in your post was especially hilarious:

    The chaos that accompanied the federal and state response to COVID-19 was not only foreseeable, according to public health officials who saw their budgets cut year after year. It was preventable. We were warned.”

    Followed immediately by your standard blurb:

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

    Humans, not just Americans, always meet Churchill’s complaint about not doing the right thing “until exhausting all other options”. Well, maybe except for Ms. Arden and her little band on what may become Noah’s Ark for repopulating the world.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      The issue is always who has the ability to do the right thing on a system-wide basis and how many are punished for doing the right thing even on a limited basis?

  9. Lambert Strether Post author

    I am late with the update because I found an issue with the Proud Boy’s part of the transcript that I needed to resolve. Which I have just done. Please stay tuned!

          1. richard

            what struck me was Biden not being able to even say black lives matter. Couldn’t even say the name of the movement that his party won’t quit virtue signaling about.
            I thought i heard (i was watching the chapo stream and they were talking too loud the f*&^ers) Trump lavish praise on Rittenhouse, and Biden doing nothing at all to push back on that. Like the protestors Rittenhouse murdered weren’t worth defending.
            turnout will be lower than you expect, joe

    1. Darthbobber

      The Proud Boys, like QAnon, are froth kicked up by the waves. They are not blowing the wind or raising the waves.

    2. Acacia

      Wallace and Biden’s move here was to try to snag Trump in his own laziness and feed the “he’s a closet white suprematist, signaling to his troops” meme. Trump has since clarified on Fox News that the Proud Boys “have to stand down”.

      BTW, regarding Biden’s comment that Antifa are “not an organization”, guess where the web address antifa.com takes you? Just for fun, try it and see.

      1. Brad Neufeld

        Hah! That is curious indeed.
        I checked out the whois page ( https://www.whois.com/whois/antifa.com ) and it was even more surprising. The site has been registered since 2002, is anonymous, and the contact information indicated is apparently from Panama.

        None of which explains a doggone thing to me but that is the way it goes sometimes.

      2. Will S.

        To be fair, “antifa” isn’t an organization, any more than “socialism” is an organization. Biden attempting to co-opt the brand is just more of the same old, same old; just like how there was no group named Black Lives Matter, just a whole bunch of unassociated people espousing similar beliefs, until a democrat grifter made one up to scam people collect donations.

  10. Jay Martin

    After the pandemic started and could no longer coast to victory, if Trump wanted to win reelection he should have shiv-ed the Republican Party in the back by circling back to left economic populism like he used in 2016. His mindless bog standard economic libertarian Republicanism talking points that Biden is Chairman Mao is just ridiculous. Debate proved that he will not attack Biden from the left and thus his campaign is doomed.

    1. Kurtismqyfield

      I agree that attacking the Senator of MBNA, Dupont, and Purdue as some crazy leftist is just bizarre.. but his base thinks anything that is not absolute fealty to their vision is socialist communist fascism. But like the Henckel quote above, you have to remember how short the people’s memory are.

      I had to remind two avid Dems today that Biden is nowhere near a Leftist, and is closer to a Corporate stooge than they would like to admit. They did not remember that Wilmington is the credit card capital of the US, nor Bidens support for the Bankruptcy bill. It is strange that we have gotten this far away from reality and a memory of what these politicians actually stand for

      1. John k

        There are capitalist, or corporatist pols, and there are a very few labor pols. The debate was between two from the majority that don’t actually disagree on any policy except foreign wars and foreign trade. Biden is to the right of trump on those issues.

  11. Lee

    “Who is Hispanic?” [Pew Research]. “Only 23% of U.S. adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard of the term Latinx, and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves, according to a bilingual survey of U.S.

    If we keep inventing identities, pretty soon everybody will have one.

    But every scientific development is eagerly gobbled up by the investment community.

    Then, based on the following, go long sub-Saharan Africa:
    Neanderthal genes increase risk of serious Covid-19, study claims

    1. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

      Regardless of how you feel about it, the whole Latinx thing is made even weirder if only because of the fact that Spanish is not a gender-neutral language, even if you stick to the plural forms (ellos/ellas) like you can with English (they/them). In practice (my experience only), it makes one have to jump through linguistic hoops in order to make words more neutral, and in practice just comes off stilted, not flowing very well. Maybe I need more practice. I’m not ruling out the very likely possibility that I’m at fault.

      More interesting, though, is that the local University had hired a ‘Latinx Inclusivity Director’ (or some such title). I didn’t know it was a thing, but I did wonder where they sat in the administration’s ever-bloating org chart. The position certainly hadn’t been there 5 years prior.

      Maybe more Hispanic people would connect with the term if it didn’t seem like a naked marketing stunt.

        1. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

          Sure, and this is where I think I missed something obvious. When I first came across ‘Latinx’ (the term), it seemed to appear fully formed out of nowhere. It wasn’t really explained, either, so I just figured it was a non-gendered way to refer to Hispanic folks (vs. Latino or Latina). I can’t really speak to its correct usage or meaning because, much like what Pew found, I’ve never heard it outside of a PMC context.

          It has the smell of focus group all over it. The fact no Hispanic person I’ve ever met refers to themselves in a singular, all-encompassing group or class (Latinx) versus their original country of origin (Mexican, Argentinian, Puerto Rican) makes it feel like no one actually asked Hispanic people before labeling them.

          Might just be me, though.

      1. jr

        I’m quite convinced that idiocies like “latinx” and all the other word games are specifically designed to confuse and alienate people as well as support in-group cohesion with a special, magical language of their very own. I’ve noted this here ad nauseum.

        I’ve also become convinced that the true power of Cri-dentitarianism is literally how stupid it is. In the big LEGO set of ideas, it is those clunky, chunky blocks for younger kids that seem to fit but fall off when any weight is applied. The goal is vapidity, it gleefully spins pinwheels of arguments that melt like tinsel in the fireplace. And it doesn’t care.

        It’s an easy sell to modern students on the go, a mental dalliance reminiscent of diving into a pool full of multi-hued rubber balls as a kid at Chuck E. Cheese. A suitable madness for the age, chock full of thought stoppers like the nerve grinding “Words have power!” That actual phrase has lost power because it has been used so much but no one seems to notice. Or when a Wokel screams at you accusingly that “THIS IS NO LONGER A CONVERSATION!”

        Cri-dentitarianism’s unintentional and unreflective knowledge claims are so bloated with meaning as to have none at all. It offers the tawdry glitter of pseudo-rationalism with it’s own nifty secret code folded into the nebulous coherence of a fluid identity. Plus, it’s a light load. How do you not get an “A” on every single motherf***ing test in Critical Theory if every motherf***ing thing is relative? Or an “F”? Or both? Could you sue the professor because tests are an artifact of white cis-male domination? I write that and realize it’s probably already happened.

        It is the ideology of the mediocrity: a theory of knowledge that proclaims that theories of knowledge are passé with the sassy, clueless smile of a teenage dropout who is moving to L.A.; shifting blobs of subjectivity that fail to grasp, either by design or dullness, that subjectivities mold themselves around objectivities, which is why every far flung culture, spectrum of genders, and sparkling human snowflake that ever existed has had to eat.

        I grow weary, beating this drum now for a good chunk of a year, and not. one. single. response. from the intellectual beanbags hiding out there in underbrush, chittering amongst yourselves. I know you are reading this, I know you are angry at the things I say, yes, there were some flutterings a few weeks back (and I didn’t miss that starvation comment) but where are your champions? Or even the village roughneck? Anything. I ache to hear what they have to say.

        And don’t give me any crap about “Oh but my friends are Woke and they are nice folks.” I suspect they don’t really know what the ideological baggage they shoulder when they plant their flag there. And if they don’t know they are planting a flag, you should tell them.

        1. CoryP

          Point well taken. ( I’m not the opposition you seek. )

          But I do have to wonder if it’s all just PMC… I find it hard to believe that all of these leftoid youth arguing about this stuff on Twitter are necessarily part of that class.Maybe their parents are. I guess what I’m saying is I think they may have been infected (unkind word, but my brain isn’t working right now… spellcheck said ‘enculturated’ isn’t a word) with it from the Internet/social media, not necessarily higher education.

          But the reason I say that is that I hardly got a whiff of this stuff in university 10 years ago, and I’m gay, so I would have thought I’d have a bit more exposure to hyper-PC than the average person. But maybe I’m just old and things have gotten much worse for undergrads in the intervening decade.

          1. Procopius

            I think the word you were trying to remember is “acculturated,” but it might have been “socialized,” which refer’s to the educational establishment’s goal of producing nice obedient workers.

          2. jr

            I agree, the kids are “soaking in it” as they used to say. Most of my ire is directed at the intellectual hacks who dreamed this crap up and their progeny, as well as the bobble heads in the MSM who burble it out like Animatronic mannequins…

  12. FreeMarketApologist


    My little 20 year old Craftsman riding mower has a cutoff switch that kills the motor if it’s in gear and I get out of the seat. How is it that Tesla wasn’t required to have a similar switch, at a minimum.

    1. Lee

      Your mower had what’s called a dead man’s switch. So what do you call a machine that kills for lack of a dead man’s switch? An “oopsyborg”, perhaps?

    2. Angie Neer

      This confuses me, as well. I always thought automobile safety features were very tightly regulated. But not if you’re a Heroic Disrupter?

    3. hunkerdown

      The answer is in the predatory precariat Twitter thread: “anyway the point is the seduction of not just power, but not having to take responsibility for your actions is the reason there is so much corruption in the world. which is of course the entire point of power in the first place”

      da Vinci was a defense contractor too.

      1. edmondo

        It should have been, “Look officer. No seat belt.”

        Someone has a lot of trust in an egomaniac businessman who does stock manipulations without penalty. I wonder if he’s voting for Trump.

    4. RMO

      Teslas do have systems which are intended to prevent this sort of thing from happening but (like the kill switch on your mower) they are very easy to defeat. Tesla also has a CEO who has repeatedly said that their cars already have all the hardware needed to be fully self driving and only need a software update (when it’s ready), claimed that by now Teslas would be on the streets in the thousands functioning as fully robotic taxis and they’ve been offering a “Full Self Driving” package for years now (which is essentially pre-paying for the vaporware future software update in advance for a discount). The result being there are quite a number of lack-wit Tesla owners out there who think it’s OK to defeat the minimal safeties and let the car drive itself.

  13. Pekka Oksa

    I’m a Finn but I’m a desperate politicsaholic so I got up at 4.00 to watch this live. For the last many weeks / months on a lot of websites I follow there have been reports or comments that Joe Biden is completely dementic. I did not see that at all in this ‘debate’. Mr Biden called President Trump a clown but sure they are both clowns and the whole production was laughable — except, I suppose, if you are American and this is your destiny. ‘Onnea matka’, as we would say here.

    1. Mason

      It was earlier in the campaign when he was talking about hairy legs and corn pop. Then there were moments where he couldn’t string a coherent idea for entire paragraphs while speaking. So it was getting very worrisome. Biden dialed back the public speaking and probably got a little more sleep. Then they probably gave him Adderall so he looks better.

      I don’t think he can stand up to the rigors of the presidency. Neither man is fit.

  14. Lambert Strether Post author

    Please refresh your browsers. I’ve straightened out the Proud Boy’s transcript and that took awhile; then I ahd to add some additional material because of the moral panic on Twitter. Sorry!

    I’d also like reader reaction to the Proud Boys material. I do tend to lean against the wind, and it’s possible to carry a good or necessary thing too far.

    1. Pat

      I come at it sideways as well.

      1. Biden did try to seize an opportunity. Not sure it would have worked without the assist from Wallace.
      2. I do not think it was effective. No denunciation would have been enough for the Biden leaning. Any real denunciation would have undercut Trump’s position. He managed to tell the only group Biden could come up with to stand down but remain on alert. Never gave on the left being the problem. And ridiculed Biden ‘s defense of the left even if accurate.
      IOW it was a draw. Neither won new voters neither alienated their current voters.

      In truth from the parts I have read if anyone lost ground it is Biden. It is likely neither won over undecideds. Trump may have antagonized fence sitters more but lost no one. Biden didn’t give fence sitters anything more than I am sedate and not Trump. And he continued to push the left away for probably little or no gain. It may not be much, but some green new deal supporters may no longer hold their nose to vote for Biden.

    2. KevinD

      I don’t know the individual stories of those involved, (It would be edifying to know) so i can only speculate. Perhaps they are some of the many who have seen their jobs go away, their healthcare costs rise, their wages stagnate and joining a group like Proud Boys makes them feel empowered – it gives them a feeling of self worth that has been denied them – a testosterone release.

      Scanning pictures on the internet, the gatherings are certainly not even “big”, and although you see lots of camo – I see very few holding weapons. Perhaps yet another case of the media creating monsters where only shadows exist.

    3. CoryP

      I frankly have no idea what’s going on and I’m trying to make peace with that.

      I’ve been enjoying the show of America 2020 and then I periodically feel guilty for that and so try to get into the mindset of those who actually feel very threatened. Since I personally am not— I’ll be in the last lines of the Niemoller poem. At which time as long as they give me a swift death, it may come as some relief since I’m never going to be able to retire anyway.

      I felt silly using the “f-word” in a comment yesterday since it’s either an overly specific or overly broad concept that my normally intelligent mind can’t grasp properly.

      There does seem to be something sadistic and gleeful about Trump’s attitude to the populace being at each others’ throats. The degree to which they actually are… who knows since it’s all mediated through the outrage machines.

      Whether his approach is meaningfully different than off-shoring/imprisoning/cutting the safety net in the Clinton years… I also don’t know. When one has a disdain for the life of little people I’m not sure if one’s outward attitude matters. Thinking about things in terms of personality rather than systems is super unhealthy and we’re encouraged to do so for a reason.

      I will return to my sit back and enjoy the show mentality even if I feel uneasy about it and the luxury I have of doing so. I have little power and why spend my days amped up on pointless adrenaline?

      Enjoy the commentary here as always.

    4. dk

      Well I enjoyed reading it and the JJ McNabb stuff is good.

      But I wonder how US Americans define fascism and what they will call it when they see it first hand. Will it be thought distinct and uniquely American because of some cultural tone or catch-phrase? We’re used to having faces and talking points and such. Those political gestures aren’t really essential to fascism in practice. When your neighbor gets hauled off or one of their kids is shot or disappears do you go out (or online, the other/new “out”) and ask “who did that?!?!” or do you feel that asking for specifics might get you shot yourself? Maybe you just keep your ear to the actual/virtual ground (not coincidentally when one’s ear is to the ground one’s head is down).

      The most obvious kind of fascism is a police state, and these generally have a strong local component. I spent a little time (few weeks here and there) in Italy in the ’70s, living among indigenes (not “touristing”). There the Carabinieri state police were either overtly Fascisti in the ideological sense, or there was some kind of mob familia that had captured local LEOs to significant extent, or both (the point being that a local police office can be fascist and not mob controlled). Also visited family and hosteled “behind” the Iron Curtain here and there. I’ve watched cops shake people down and had the occasional own interaction (gun in face etc.). Like most real politics (realpolitik? academic terminology is above my class) it has some gestural components, “I’m with X,” “Y knows me,” “Z told me to…,” (Pro Tip: “Hey W told me about you” is a kind of passive aggressive move that can be very effective, as can “Eff off, don’t you know who I am” but timing and demeanor are everything, “My mom knows your mom” is nice too but you need to know their mom’s name).

      Bulgaria and Yugoslavia had black markets, but you had to have someone vouch for you and they had better be legit. In Italy I (unintentionally) ended up with the BR (Red Brigades) and when the Carabinieri came I either ran with the others or flaunted my US passport, or spoke German and convinced them I was touristi. Half of the BR thought I was “chia” (CIA) so that wasn’t fun, the lesson there is that being in a/the Resistance is no picnic either, suspicion and paranoia is pervasive and potentially deadly.

      Growing up in Queens NY in the ’50s-’60s, about 20% of police precincts were effectively run by one or another mob family (through the fraternal orgs). Robberies didn’t happen in the precinct without sanction, and the family got a cut, or the thief was either sacrificed to the courts, or turned up dead; the cops were the enforcers. This was never well documented because reporters were told by their editors (whose families were threatened) to stay away from these stories. IIRC Serpico’s book discusses this but it’s only briefly mentioned in the movie.

      To the point that PBs are not well trained or regimented, LEOs are. They even pay their membership! They have unions/fraternal orgs! Taking PBs too seriously may be missing the lantern fish’s maw for the luminous lure. Fascism without a police element may not be real fascism at all. Of course, social media isn’t real community either, but it’s come to partially fill some of that human need and role (and threaten the real thing, is that what Lambert meant by “inoculation”? I don’t think it’ll work that way, community is a common, police state fascism is proprietary).

      So we can ask, are PBs (now or in the future) willing or unwilling foils for LEOs? Consider the anti-authoritarian Boogaloo element(s), this is not necessarily a clearly delineated groups with consistent alliances, and the more strategically thinking LEOs (and political operatives) must recognize this. Importantly, local PB/similar membership may be very small or non-existent, or just ad hoc opportunism by indigenous crooks, the people who steal cars, fence goods, run drugs). I think JJ McNabb and others have found significant overlap between LEO and “professional security” and right wing quasi-fascist groups. Garden variety police corruption may include involvement with shady businesses and intra-/inter-state networks (like biker gangs of yore).

      To summarize, 1) Fascism without a police component is kind of unusual and may not be actual fascism. 2) PBs may travel and not be a constant local presence, at least at this time (carpetbagging fascists? I’m skeptical). 3) Consolidation of permanent local grassroots fascists can’t persist long without some kind of LE alliance.

  15. EarlErland

    I listened to the debate via NPR. Two observations: Wallace was trying to carry Biden over the finish line; Suburban Republican women do not vote for someone like Biden. They arrange for Elder care.

    1. notabanker

      Wallace help Biden? He merely mentioned he had spent a lot of time researching his platform and reminded him what it was, bullet point by bullet point. He does his homework!

  16. Annus Horribilis

    I imagine the subjective experience moments before death is like the two empty podiums of the Presidential debate stage bathed in a mic’d ambient hum before a subdued audience. The body firing off signals without reciprocal response from the two hemispheres. But in a reversal of cascading brain failure, the candidate lobes take the stage, and it is clear one lobe is acutely injured, synapses just firing away into semi-consciousness.

    Panic, the self realizing something is catastrophically wrong. Chris Wallace cast as the medulla oblongata jammed in a feedback loop. [CW: Surely Mr. President, you don’t support genocidal paramilitary groups. Let me finish, I’m lobbing the biggest softball down the middle – DT: Brownshirts, attack! – CW: wait, what?!] Patient America is coding, fear bleeds through the chiaroscuro pumpkin spice make-up. The wings snapped off but, instead of pulling the ejector seat, DT augers his presidency in, his homage to Italo Balbo’s memorial.

    1. km

      Svoboda were unapologetic NeoNazis and nobody pretended otherwise.

      Until they proved themselves useful to the Empire in the coup in Ukraine in 2014, whereupon Svoboda mystically morphed into high spirited young patriots.

      Of course, Trump could have rid of us these cretins and disengaged from Ukraine, starting on Inauguration Day, 2017. In fact, he is the only person who has the authority to give the order to do so. Trump has failed in that regard.

      1. rowlf

        Of course, Trump could have rid of us these cretins and disengaged from Ukraine, starting on Inauguration Day, 2017. In fact, he is the only person who has the authority to give the order to do so. Trump has failed in that regard.

        Didn’t Trump have to go through a minder or gatekeeper named Colonel Vindman to alter anything about US-Ukraine policy? Who is Trump’s new minder?

      2. anon in so cal

        Wasn’t Trump impeached because of a 5-minute hiccup in US funds / weapons to the Ukraine “forces”?

    2. Annus Horribilis

      I think Biden shook hands with every Ukrainian Presidential candidate in 2014, Oleh Tyagnibok included. I doubt the provincial Blumenthal could recognize photos of any Ukrainian politician, so one wonders, “Who provides Max his background info?”

      Another name of which Blumenthal should be aware is “William Joyce” who was hanged in 1946. Joyce was better known as Lord Haw-Haw, an exception to the conventional wisdom that propaganda is much more effective, more persuasive, when delivered by a frank adversary struggling with the language, such as a Russian national, as opposed to a converted spokesperson in the native tongue. Yes, Blumenthal is a Brooklynite, but his apparent conversion appears suspicious, a betrayal even, where trust and rapport are impossible build. [Why does Blumenthal despise Tyagnibok, yet supports Bashar al-Assad, who is at war with the Jewish state? What makes Russian nationalism more acceptable than Ukrainian nationalism? At least Ukrainians are a historically subjugated people, while Russia has pursued an empire for centuries.]

      The whole point of Lord Haw Haw persona was to establish a line of reasoning independent from the German government’s position. The theatrical sleight of hand was in Lord Haw Haw’s belief in his own line despite finding himself on the wrong, and increasingly losing, side [“The Germans aren’t that bad. See? I’m ok over here. Better to sue for peace.”]

  17. skippy

    I think Trumps ploy is directed at a demographic that operates from belief alone, completely consumed by a narrative regardless of its conflicts with reality E.g. he’s saying they can rest assured, as in various groups, that whatever mental – emotional attachment they have to some narrative will not be – ***taken*** – away.

    In my knowledge and experience with such groups or individuals the thought of others not operating in such a manner, even if other narratives conflicts with theirs but use the same methodology, because such views actually threaten the methodology they use, hence invalidating it in toto – you might as well pull the universe from underneath them and sentence them to drift aimlessly in a void for eternity.

    It has to be at minimum a thousand times people have started with the perspective … what do you believe in … when informed that is not how I arrive at anything … the reflection of mental processes as they wash over their face is astounding and by the time they speak its apparent from the heightened emotive state some very strong core psychological positions do a massive knee jerk.

    Everything else goes out the window and they endlessly demand that I have to agree with how their world view is arrived at, there can be no other possibility. Its like watching someone get blow out an air lock in space.

    1. Yik Wong

      Leaving any cult, even when the cult is so large it becomes normative(Catholic Church, Dems, Repub, CCP, etc.) can feel just like being blown out an airlock, even if there is life on the other side. All that is familiar is lost. For social creatures that’s a lot to ask to openly reject any boundary premise. However within the cults defined boundary, intense argument takes place, just like last night.

    2. flora

      erm, not disagreeing necessarily, but, my experience with uni folks is they think anyone without a degree or advanced degree is ‘stupid and ignorant’. They discount the ways of ‘knowing’ that don’t require a formal degree and discount that understanding as a kind of superstition instead of knowledge from experience outside of the academy. That’s a mistake, I think.

      1. Lee

        The phonetic alphabet was the invention of Canaanite miners who were illiterate so far as the dominant form of writing of their time, hieroglyphs, were concerned. Just one indication that there’s all manner of uncredentialed genius at work in our lives.

  18. clarky90

    Re covid 19: Remembering the AIDS pandemic.

    “As of 2018, about 700,000 people have died of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, and nearly 13,000 people with AIDS in the United States die each year. With improved treatments and better prophylaxis against opportunistic infections, death rates have significantly declined.”

    en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › AIDS_i…
    HIV/AIDS in the United States – Wikipedia

  19. ewmayer

    Thanks to all those who watched last night’s ‘debate’ and commented on the live-blog page, so the rest of us were spared the agony of the former task. Only thing out of Cleveland I watched last night was the home-team Indians getting pasted by the Damn Yankees in game 1 of their best-of-3 AL wildcard-round mini-series, which sounds – and I speak here as a long-suffering Indians fan by way of having grown up in NE Ohio – like it was distinctly less depressing than the ridiculous political spectacle going on not far away.

    But, again thinking of Trump as a pro-wrasslin Heel POTUS, in terms of that framing, I can’t help wonder What Might Have Been:

    “…and Trump is again distracting the referee arguing with moderator Chris Wallace, and – what’s this? From out of the wings comes Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, carrying a metal folding chair … and while Biden’s attention is fixed on the Trump/Wallace mini-debate, Kamala – in a shocking turn from Face to Heel – comes up behind him and whacks him over the head with it! And down goes Biden!! Down goes Biden!! A gloating Kamala is now standing over his prostrate form, there’s a large puff of smoke, and … all that’s left of Biden is an empty suit, a white-haired peruke, and a set of gleaming white fake teeth!!! The crowd of 20 to 30 socially-distanced cardboard cut-outs is going wild, none of us can believe what we just saw!!!!

    1. notabanker

      I swear I refrained from a comment last night that the only thing that could have made that spectacle worse was if they were in wrestling suits. Mean Gene would have been a serious upgrade though.

    2. Oh

      You forgot the part where Hillary joins the fray to mud wrestle Kamala with Bill ogling the cardboard cutout blonde.

  20. Lee

    Life on Mars? Little green microbes, no doubt. Best leave them be. We’ve got our hands full with the ones already here.

  21. KevinD

    Hannah Arendt on Loneliness as the Common Ground for Terror and How Tyrannical Regimes Use Isolation as a Weapon of Oppression

    Just as terror, even in its pre-total, merely tyrannical form ruins all relationships between men, so the self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality. The preparation has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men* as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, men lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

  22. Pookah Harvey

    “The Proud Boys, “committed” and “nationalist” (and vile) hough they may be, are not in any sense “militant” as were the defeated German (and Italian) soldiers returning defeated from the carnage of the trenches of World War I, nor “militant” as were the defeated Confederates who built the KKK and Jim Crow in the Reconstruction South.”

    Here’s a video from the BLM protest in North Idaho a few moths ago. Make your own determination on the anti-protesters being “militant”. The armed anti-protesters outnumbered protesters several times over. They haven’t abandoned democratic liberties at this point. Who knows if that can or will happen.
    If progressives protest the neo-liberal privatization of social security under Trump, who can easily convince his followers that it’s for the good for the country, where will these militia members stand?
    If progressives protest the same action under Biden how do you think the militia members will react?
    Do progressives want allies or antagonists?

  23. hemeantwell

    Thanks, Lamber, for JJ McNab’s thoughts on the Pboys, I’m going to try to keep up with her.

    Your comparison with the vast post-WW1 reservoir of ex-mils is also on point, but I think we then lose track of other ways they could be a serious threat. En masse they’re not much of a mass, but distributed around the country they could work to provide an excuse for state repression. It might make sense to think of them as functioning like a kind of right wing version of the German RAF who, as best as I can make out, thought that they could radicalize people by forcing the FDR to adopt more repressive measures. That would make the RAF relatively more savvy than white supremacists here who hope to foment a “race war.” But I can imagine some supremacists trying to set off state action that would stop or at least delay a transfer of power to the Dems.

    For a an idea of what serious fascist militia activity was like, Tosca’s “The Rise of Italian Fascism” is very good. Most important, he outlines the left social forces that the fascists were fighting — workers occupying factories and estates, strong left parties — and were in a sense the reciprocal of. Nothing like that here, and so their capitalist paymasters will likely just keep their money in the stock market.

  24. chris

    I didn’t see this study in any if the links today because it came out today, but I think it’s a good article for the commentariat. If these results are directly applicable to our population in the US it means we’re not going back to schools for a long time :(

    1. notabanker

      Well, there is the rational approach to considering the potential harm a policy may have, including how many reckless deaths, which would lead one to believe that schools should not be back. But then there is the “we’ll just see what happens because it’s too inconvenient to change society” approach that the US seems to be enamored with. As long as wealthy people don’t get sick, it’s all good.

  25. tongorad

    I guess I shouldn’t have turned the debate off. When I was watching, Biden made me uncomfortable – I’m no fan of the guy, but I felt overwhelmed by sympathy and pity. Triggered perhaps?
    My parents put my grandmother in a rest home when I was young, and Biden reminded me of some the faces I’d see there when I went to visit.
    He actually scored points against Trump? I’m shocked to read about it.

    All this to install the execrable Kamala Harris.

    1. Lee

      A comment above:

      September 30, 2020 at 3:48 pm

      I listened to the debate via NPR. Two observations: Wallace was trying to carry Biden over the finish line; Suburban Republican women do not vote for someone like Biden. They arrange for Elder care.


  26. Robert Dudek

    A second major outbreak in a place that has already had one would do fatal damage to the theory.


  27. The Rev Kev

    “ABC’s Martha Raddatz says she didn’t see a lot of ‘enthusiasm for Joe Biden’ in cross-country trip”

    Not to be snarky about it. No, wait, I will be snarky about it. So this Martha Radatz goes on a 6,000 mile road trip and reports back to The View on what she saw. These wealthy women, including millionairess Whoopi Goldberg, are surprised that ordinary people are worried about the economy when they have no such worries at all. They are also surprised that people in the hinterlands do not see that the answer to their problems lay in a geriatric, war-mongering, plagiaristic, female molesting, racist, lying candidate. I’m shocked, shocked. How are they ever going to be able to go back to brunch?

  28. Big River Bandido

    ‘It’s a tough year for me this year,’ said Swenson, a self-described fiscal conservative and social moderate…..

    Oh, such pity. That whole ideology of hers is what destroyed the public commons. And I’m supposed to feel sorry for her? Piffle. Show me a believer in that “fiscal conservative/social moderate” crap, and I’ll show you a chump and a right wing tool.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Wow, you might want to dial back the instant contempt here. She’s probably working class too (much of the ‘salaried’ until-lately-cubicled precariat is now effectively working class), and I didn’t hear ‘libertarian.’

      … Show such people universal concrete material benefits (without the giant PMC means testing bureaucracy).

      For most ‘fiscal conservative/socially liberal’, it isn’t about not spending anything ever and gittin one’s own. That’s the libertarian view. It’s about getting something meaningful for it for society (and therefore oneself), other than “BS Jobs” for soi disant grievance studies apparatchiks.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        …. I should add, revolving door BS PMC jobs that conspire to cartelize the *supply* of essential services (and inflate supplier margins), as opposed to mobilizing and, when needed, wielding! citizen buyer power on the *demand* side!

  29. ObjectiveFunction

    I remember a similar feeling though after the first Clinton-Trump debate in 2016, that Trump had basically exposed himself as the incoherent hollow blowhard he was, and it was over.

    While the ‘exposed’ part was true, the electorate did not agree on the ‘over’ part. This isn’t done yet.

  30. richard

    Is there any kind of collection of how votes are counted by country, like the spreadsheet on voting equipment? Maybe I’m missing something, or it’s implied by equipment or something, but I didn’t see it there.

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