2:00PM Water Cooler 9/8/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

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

Oy, Illinois; the spike is said to be a data backlog, but that doesn’t say the cases aren’t real.

Here is positivity:

Here’s the global leaderboard:

* * *


“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:


Biden (D)(1): “If I were Joe Biden’s digital director” [Alice Marshall, Medium]. “I never see pictures of happy volunteers posing in their Biden T shirts making phone calls for Biden. Nor do I ever see Tweets about phone bank work for Biden…. if I were the Biden campaign I would regularly release numbers of how many phone calls are being made. This would demonstrate widespread enthusiasm for the candidacy. I would also encourage volunteers to post pictures of themselves wearing their Biden gear. I would most especially encourage supporters to post pictures of their dogs sporting the Biden dog collars. Dogs are irresistible click bait. I would also encourage volunteers to post about their experience phone banking. My sister tells me that the one advantage of the pandemic shut down is that people are home when you call them.” • Oddly, if any of that is being done, I’m not seeing it either.

Biden (D)(2): “Biden is on track to lose the Electoral College” [John Ellis, Boston Globe]. “You can feel the change in the press coverage. The tone of the commentary and analysis has gone from up-tempo to downbeat. ‘Biden’s doing well’ has been replaced by ‘Biden’s in trouble.’ Last Thursday put a punctuation mark on the shift. A Change Research poll was posted at CNBC.com. The top-line national number had Biden comfortably ahead. But in the six ‘battleground states,’ Biden’s lead, statistically speaking, had evaporated. What all the pros know is that the president ‘under-polls.’ Trump is usually 2 percent stronger than he ‘performs’ in any given published poll.‘People don’t want to admit they’re voting for Trump,’ said one pollster. Bloomberg News recently ran a story saying the same thing. If Trump under-polling is a matter of fact, then the races in the six battleground states, the ones that will decide the outcome in November, are dead heats. That’s a long way from where the president stood a month ago.” • Cook Political Report, below, makes the same “2 percent stronger” point in more nuanced language.

Biden (D)(3): “In Final Stretch, Biden Defends Lead Against Trump’s Onslaught” [New York Times]. “A presidential campaign long muffled by the coronavirus pandemic will burst into a newly intense and public phase after Labor Day… Private polls conducted for both parties during and after their August conventions found the race largely stable but tightening slightly in some states… No president has entered Labor Day weekend — the traditional kickoff of the fall campaign — as such a clear underdog since George Bush in 1992…. the possibility of a knockout in the Sun Belt is enticing to Democrats.” • Sun Belt readers? What do you think?

Biden (D)(4): “Nobel laureates endorse Joe Biden for US president” [Physics World]. “Democratic Representative Bill Foster of Illinois, the only physicist in Congress, organized the open letter [here] saying it would be an ‘important’ development for the Biden campaign. He says that ‘a core group’ of laureates decided on which issues to raise in the letter. Foster, who received the endorsement of 31 laureates when he ran for Congress in 2007, says that when he started calling the laureates to back the intiative, ‘it was like pushing at an open door’. He adds that ‘there was a lot of enthusiasm because of the difference [the laureates] perceive in the scientific understanding’ between the two candidates. Foster believes that the letter reflects the view of much of the US scientific community. ‘They recognize the harm being done by ignoring science in public policy,’ he says. ‘And it’s not only science; it’s logic and integrity. The scientific community wants to get to a situation in which they trust people’s word.'”

Trump (R)(1): “How Trump Is Losing His Base” [Stanley Greenberg, The American Prospect]. “In 2016, a white working-class revolt enabled Trump to win men by an unimaginable 48 points and women by 27. But disillusionment was real in the midterms: The Republican House margin dropped 13 points across the white working class. In the new poll, Trump lost a further 6 points with white working-class women, where Biden only trailed Trump by 8 points (52 to 44 percent). While Trump has been throwing a lot of red meat to his base, white working-class men have not been dislodged from their trajectory, as Trump’s margin eroded another 4 points. These are mostly low-wage families, many with children raised by a single parent. They are consumed with rising opioid deaths and disabilities and a deadly expensive health care system. That was a big part of why they voted for Donald Trump in 2016: so he could end Obamacare and its costly mandate, and deliver affordable health insurance for all. When he failed to do so, many voted against the Republicans in the midterms. But the pandemic was the perfect storm. I have never seen such a poignant discussion of the health and disability problems facing families and their children, the risks they faced at work, and the prospect of even higher health care and prescription drug costs. The final straw was a president who battled not for the ‘forgotten Americans,’ but for himself, the top one percent, and the biggest, greediest companies. That is why most in the Zoom focus groups pulled back from President Trump. Three-quarters of these voters supported Trump in 2016, but less than half planned to vote for him now. Even those who still supported him did not push back when other participants expressed anger with his doing nothing about health care, fostering hatred and racism, dividing the country, siding with the upper classes, and having no plan for COVID-19. This is a life-and-death issue for them, as much as nearly any other group in American society. The same voters were still very cautious about Joe Biden, who seemed old and not very strong, but most importantly offered the prospect of only minor changes to the health care system and seemed unlikely to challenge the power of the top one percent>. Like lots of other working people, they are looking for a leader who will make big changes in health care, fight for working people over big business, and unite the country to defeat the current economic and public-health crisis.” • Thanks, Obama! “Fundamentally, nothing will change.” Hawley 2024!

* * *

“With Two Months To Go, a Steady Presidential Race” [Cook Political Report]. “First, the good news for the president: he’s not trailing as badly as he was back in July and August. On July 1, the FiveThirtyEight model put Biden’s lead at almost 10 points (9.5 percent). On August 1, Biden’s lead was 8.3 percent. Trailing your opponent by seven points just two months out from an election is less than ideal for an incumbent president. But, at least Trump is no longer in free fall. That’s good news as well for the House and Senate candidates — in traditionally red areas who were watching their own races tighten with Trump’s summer plunge. The question going forward is if this trend line toward a more competitive national contest will continue (Trump trailed Biden by a more modest 4 points in the FiveThirtyEight model in early March), or if the race has plateaued at Biden +7/+8.” And this cautionary note: “[T]he best way to think of the national polls is that they can help get us in the right neighborhood, but not necessarily to the correct address. The bigger the margin for Biden, the less important that we get the exact address. For example, a seven or eight-point margin may not be enough to put Georgia or Texas into Biden’s column. But, it’s enough to get him the states he needs to hit 270. The closer the margin is to four points (like we saw back in March), the less helpful the national polls become. And, the more we should just assume a close contest for the Electoral College.” • Yep.

This seems odd (hat tip, alert reader JM):

Can any readers shed some light?

* * *


Realignment and Legitimacy

“Who Gets to Vote in Florida?” [The New Yorker]. “Six months after Amendment Four passed, the Republican-dominated legislature approved a law dictating that ex-felons could vote only if they first paid all the fines, restitution, and fees imposed at their sentencing. The law may affect as many as seven hundred and seventy thousand Florida residents, about half of whom are Black. In many cases, the totals came to thousands of dollars. The burden was not just large but uncertain: state officials testified that they had no way of knowing how much money felons owe, or whether they have paid; those calculations would take six years or so to complete. The legislation gutted Amendment Four, but DeSantis claimed that he was merely enforcing the language that voters had approved. ‘The amendment does not apply to a felon who has failed to complete all the terms of his sentence,’ he maintained.”

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.

Small Business Optimism: “August 2020 Small Business Optimism Rebounds, Exceeding Historical Average” [Econintersect]. “The NFIB Optimism Index increased 1.4 points in August to 100.2, a reading slightly above the historical 46-year average. Seven of the 10 Index components improved, two declined, and one was unchanged. The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased two points in August to 90, the second-highest reading since 2017…. As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, job creation plans increased three points to a net 21%, an unprecedented recovery from April’s reading of 1%. Construction job growth continues to be strong but owners in the sector are having a particularly hard time finding skilled employees. The manufacturing sector’s employment remained strong but not as strong as seen in previous months. The service sector is the missing link and the key to stronger job growth going forward.”

Debt: “June 2020 Loan Performance: Serious Delinquencies Spike as Financial Pressures Build for Homeowners” [Econintersect]. “Loan Performance Insights Report for May 2020 shows on a national level, 7.1% of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure). This represents a 3.1-percentage point increase in the overall delinquency rate compared to June 2019, when it was 4%…. “Three months into the pandemic-induced recession, the 90-day delinquency rate has spiked to the highest rate in more than 21 years,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. ‘Between May and June, the 90-day delinquency rate quadrupled, jumping from 0.5% to 2.3%, following a similar leap in the 60-day rate between April and May.'”

* * *

Retail: “Amazon bans foreign sales of “mystery” seeds in U.S.” [CBS]. “”Moving forward, we are only permitting the sale of seeds by sellers who are based in the U.S.,” the company said in a statement. Sellers who don’t comply with the restrictions could have their account shut down.” • More on the Chinese seeds and “brushing” at NC here.

Commodities: “There are still some embers burning in the cooling coal market. Rising natural gas prices and limited supply are pushing some utilities to increase their use of coal…. giving a bit of a boost to a market that’s been in a retreat” [Wall Street Journal]. “U.S. regulators estimate that coal’s long-declining share of electricity generation will tick up to 22% in 2021 from 18% this year. The share for natural gas-fired power will decline to 35% from 40%, a reversal that shows how sensitive the cutthroat natural-gas market is to shifts in prices and supply. Still, it will do little to salvage a coal business that remains bleak for transportation companies.”

Shipping: “A surprisingly robust peak season is taking shape at U.S. seaports. Container imports are flowing back into the U.S. in bigger volumes…. as U.S. retailers rush to restock while consumer spending remains strong and shipping lines push capacity back into commercial trade lanes” [Wall Street Journal]. “The growth is accelerating at both the Atlantic and Pacific gateways but appears stronger recently on the West Coast, where retailers have faster access to domestic distribution channels primed for e-commerce. The surge comes after several retailers reported that stock shortages limited their sales growth as coronavirus-driven lockdowns wound down and shoppers opened their wallets. The demand is driving freight rates to new multi-year highs, boosting an unexpectedly strong financial year for shipping lines.”

Manufacturing: “The latest trend in RV’ing: Getting way off the grid” [CNN]. “[A] lot of campers these days are enjoying the seclusion of “boondocking,” or camping away from traditional campsites. And away from all those other campers. ‘You drive around. You find yourself a spot, you don’t have any services of any sort,’ said Amanda Watson who’s been living in a 1998 Safari motorhome with her husband for eight years. ‘That’s what I consider boondocking.’… It’s a trend that has spawned numerous small startup companies, like Opus, Polydrops and EarthRoamer, to make trailers and recreational vehicles designed for venturing far from paved — or even unpaved — roads. Traditional RV companies, like Winnebago and Airstream, have also taken notice and are now turning out trailers and camping rigs with bigger, knobbier tires and more ground clearance to clamber over rocks and ruts.” • Just what the wilderness needs.


The Bezzle: “Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies” [Los Angeles Times]. “Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups. A looming question is whether the companies are moving toward self-sufficiency — as Dolev believes — and whether they can slash development costs before the public largesse ends. Tesla and SolarCity continue to report net losses after a decade in business, but the stocks of both companies have soared on their potential; Musk’s stake in the firms alone is worth about $10 billion. (SpaceX, a private company, does not publicly report financial performance.) Musk and his companies’ investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost.”

Employment Situation: “The jobs report is great. But America needs more economic stimulus” [American Enterprise Institute]. “Needless to add, the unusual degree of political uncertainty that we are now experiencing in the run-up to the November elections, will hardly be a source of economic support. That would seem to constitute yet another reason why after celebrating today’s better than expected unemployment numbers, policymakers should focus their attention on the strong headwinds that still confront this recovery. Maybe then they will put aside their political differences and reach a political compromise on a new stimulus program that the economy so sorely still seems to need.” • The AEI… The Democrats would seem to be pushing on an open door, then.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56 Greed (previous close: 60 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 76 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 8 at 12:04pm. Roller coaster!

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Earthquakes. “The lack of major quakes has downgraded this category.” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.)

The Biosphere

“‘Green’ billionaires behind professional activist network that led suppression of ‘Planet of the Humans’ documentary” [The Grayzone]. “‘Planet of the Humans’ crossed another bright green line by taking aim at the self-proclaimed climate justice activists themselves, painting them as opportunists who had been willingly co-opted by predatory capitalists. The filmmakers highlighted the role of family foundations like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in cultivating a class of professional activists that tend toward greenwashing partnerships with Wall Street and the Democratic Party to coalitions with anti-capitalist militants and anti-war groups. Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org and guru of climate justice activism, is seen throughout ‘Planet of the Humans’ consorting with Wall Street executives and pushing fossil fuel divestment campaigns that enable powerful institutions to reshuffle their assets into plastics and mining while burnishing their image. McKibben has even called for environmentalists to cooperate with the Pentagon, one of the world’s worst polluters and greatest exporters of violence, because ‘when it speaks frankly, [it] has the potential to reach Americans who won’t listen to scientists.’ Perhaps the most provocative critique contained in ‘Planet of the Humans’ was the portrayal of full-time climate warriors like McKibben as de facto lobbyists for green tech billionaires and Wall Street investors determined to get their hands on the whopping $50 trillion profit opportunity that a full transition to renewable technology represents. Why have figures like Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Michael Bloomberg, Virgin’s Richard Branson, and Tesla founder Elon Musk been plowing their fortunes into climate advocacy? The documentary taunted those who accepted these oligarchs’ gestures of environmental concern at face value.” • Oh, those liberal Democrat NGOs….

Hello, Colorado:

Joys of beekeeping, a thread:

Health Care


“Why a Vibrator Was My Best Quarantine Purchase” [Teen Vogue]. “Sure, buying a vibrator can be scary but with the right environment and emotional support, it might just be the best thing to buy on a random night during the quarantine.”

Protests and Riots

“Demonstrations & Political Violence In America: New Data For Summer 2020” [Armed Conflict Location & Event Project]. “The US Crisis Monitor — a joint project between ACLED and the Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) at Princeton University — collects real-time data on these trends in order to provide timely analysis and resources to support civil society efforts to track, prevent, and mitigate the risk of political violence in America. With supplemental data collection extending coverage back to the week of Floyd’s killing in May, the dataset now encompasses the latest phase of the Black Lives Matter movement, growing unrest related to the health crisis, and politically motivated violence ahead of the November general election. These data reveal that the United States is in crisis. It faces a multitude of concurrent, overlapping risks — from police abuse and racial injustice, to pandemic-related unrest and beyond — all exacerbated by increasing polarization. This report maps these trends with a view toward the upcoming election, when these intersecting risks are likely to intensify.”

It looks like this project would be able to differentiate between riots and protests, which is something I would like to be able to do. However, I can’t find the presumably interactive map where this and other screen dumps come from, after poking around the site for awhile (this dashboard, at “US Crisis Monitor,” looks like the closest thing, and it doesn’t seem right). Can readers assist?

Groves of Academe

“University Administrators Are Lobbying for Protection From COVID Lawsuits” [Jacobin]. “Back in April, with the COVID-19 pandemic peaking in New York, Purdue University president Mitch Daniels made headlines with a letter suggesting that his school should reopen in the fall. ‘It is a huge and daunting problem, but the Purdue way has always been to tackle problems, not hide from them,’ Daniels wrote….. But while Daniels was publicly expressing confidence in Purdue’s safety plans, the university was busy lobbying Congress on “institutional liability during pandemic response,” records show. Purdue was among many schools working in Washington to inoculate themselves from COVID-related lawsuits as they geared up to reopen their campuses in the face of the historic threat posed by the highly contagious virus…. The moves to reopen schools and the concurrent push for protection from lawsuits are happening as college towns have experienced significant COVID-19 outbreaks.” • Because of course they are.

“The Pandemic Is No Excuse to Surveil Students” [Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic]. “Mandatory COVID-19 apps could result in an even worse outcome than that of tracking athletes—whom universities may be able to coerce more effectively because many athletes need their scholarships—because public health rests on trust and cooperation. Knowing that they are being tracked, some students will no doubt let their phone “sleep” peacefully in their bed while they party elsewhere. If a few get sick, they may hide it, for fear of having their tech trickery found out. This is an extra challenge with the college-student cohort because many of them either experience COVID-19 as a mild illness or are completely asymptomatic, but still seem to transmit the virus efficiently, unlike young children. Universities will likely be hindered in their crucial contact-tracing efforts as students will be inclined to lie. The end result will be more surface-level surveillance, but less useful information—and worse public-health outcomes. Excessive surveillance often backfires in this way.”

Class Warfare

“With so many out of work, it’s a Labor Day like no other” [Editorial Board, Philadelphia Inquirer]. “The pandemic-induced recession is a dual crisis: an economic crisis and a crisis of despair. By responding swiftly to the former, lawmakers at every level of government can have a positive impact on the latter. The first step is to replace lost wages — Congress can do that by issuing another round of stimulus checks and extending the enhanced unemployment benefits — both provisions of the HEROES act. In addition, lawmakers in D.C. and Harrisburg need to create health insurance bridges to remove the stress that a loss of a job means loss of healthcare — a terrifying prospect especially in a pandemic. In addition, the state and city should look to pass laws that require businesses that re-open to offer laid off employees their job back before they rehire anyone else.”

News of the Wired

A fine madness:

Sherman and Grant are pretty good! Thread:

“John Doe’s Answer and Objection to Tro and Injunction” (PDF) [Arizona Board of Regents vs. John Doe aka “asa_covid.parties”] “Defendant is not liable to plaintiff because defendant was entirely engaged in protected First Amendment activities and the Instagram account in question is clearly a parody engaged in rude, offensive, and hyperbolic behaviors. Only a fundamentally stupid person who is wayyy behond retarded would ever think this was a legitimate ASU account posting legitimate ASU statements and information.” • John Doe will go far. I do wonder if there are serious issues raised by the case, underneath the transgressive posturing.

News you can use:

* * *

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 (DH):

DH: “I do not know the identification of this fungus attached to a dead tree stump, but enjoy!”

* * *

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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. Mr. Magoo

      This line from the linked report is a doozy….

      “We conclude that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally generated public health costs of approximately $12.2 billion.”

      1. Wukchumni

        But who among us can put a price on trailering your ride from a dentist office in Des Moines to Sturgis, and then yacking it up with other Molar Cycle gang members?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “We conclude that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally generated public health costs

        The power to cancel the event rested with the business class in Sturgis. Of course, in a sane world they would be able to do that without businesses collapsing or working people being unable to pay the bills, but that is not the timeline we’re on.

        1. ambrit

          Speaking of timelines; I was behind a new Corvette Stingray in traffic near the University last week that had a vanity license plate reading: STUB.
          Someone around here has a sense of humour and the money to indulge it.

    2. polecat

      Wolf down a few corn dogs, some twisty fries, and a couple a fried twinkies …. polish it all off with a Big gulpy. That’ll surely kill the wuhan bug!

      I certainly wouldn’t be receptive to any part of you after that kind of feast .. if I were an undead RNA bundle encapsulated in a prickly protein shell.

      C’mon jo… whaddya gonna do with that dog in your hand?

  1. NotTimothyGeithner

    Barlow as Scooter is quite good. Barlow enlisted and became a general, so its quite the rise. Scooter on the old show was treated poorly by most of the Muppets because he was perceived to have been hired because he is the nephew of the theatre owner but proves his competence and is Kermit’s right hand man.

  2. Arizona Slim

    Sun Belt reader here.

    During my weekend bicycle journeys around Tucson, I noticed something quite interesting. In well-to-do neighborhoods, the Biden signs were prevalent.

    In other neighborhoods? It was as if there was no presidential election in the offing.

      1. neo-realist

        You mean the sign is the 2020 equivalent of shopkeepers in the 60’s putting “Soul Brother” signs in their windows to prevent burning and looting?

    1. farragut

      In our neighborhood (comprised almost entirely of PMC, university staff & faculty, & retirees) there is only one Biden sign–and it went up two days ago.

      In 2016 there were double-digit HRC signs. No Trump signs in 2016 or 2020.

    2. Drake

      “As if there was no presidential election in the offing” is my experience of a few upscale metro-Boston neighborhoods. I don’t recall seeing anything pro-Trump (nor would I expect to in this area) but really don’t recall anything pro-Biden either. I walk and jog for miles through residential neighborhoods around here. The toniest neighborhoods that have always been the loudest virtue-signalers still field some BLM signs, but my sense is that they’re becoming fewer in number (and they’ve mostly just replaced the theatrically multi-lingual ‘hate has no home here’ signs from a couple of years ago). I haven’t seen the slightest indication that anyone is really enthused about this race, at least about their own candidates. Both races seem to be running a lot more on negative energy than positive.

      1. voteforno6

        Both races seem to be running a lot more on negative energy than positive.

        That is certainly true. Then again, I’m not sure if this is a good barometer of support, especially this year. I have a family member that lives in a state that is going to go for Trump, and she won’t put up any Biden signs there, because it will probably be vandalized. Apparently that has already happened there to those who had.

    3. Lost in OR

      Pacific NW here… I’ve seen one yard sign, zero bumper stickers, zero hats, zero volunteers.

      Actually, there seems to be very little political activity at all. Local races are extremely subdued. Of course our corporate congressional dems are a shoo-in. But a very quiet political season.

      Except Trump. He’s everywhere. My 14yo son had the insight that his PMC and TDS addled mother and aunt (both are Biden fans) have done absolutely nothing to forward their cause. Just whine and point fingers.

      1. Wukchumni

        Saw a young adult who got a very large tat of Joe Biden stretching from shoulder blades to the small of her back, with what some might call a classy floral cartouche below his portrait, wait who am I kidding, as if any young people can relate to a political relic who should’ve been put out to pasture eons ago?

      2. Angie Neer

        Fancy suburb, Seattle area: quite a few BLM signs and the occasional “We Believe…” Only 1 actual campaign sign, for Biden, at the house of one of the very few black families around here. But drove into the mountains for a hike a few weeks ago, and once outside the main Seattle corridor, it’s Trump, Trump, Trump.

      3. Alex Cox

        No Biden signs in rural Oregon. Where I used to see Ron Paul posters there are now Trump ones.

        One development (which Lost in OR may have observed) is Trump chainsaw sculptures. There is one in Reedsport, and you encounter others along the coast highway.

      1. Milton

        The are two Biden signs in our neighborhood (one fooled me as it read “BYEDON”), one Trump sign, 6 BLM signs, and quite a few local races not at the state level. The dominant group for my ZIP Code is Exurbanites PDF.

    4. Lemmy Caution

      Far more Trump signs than Biden signs out here in rural southeast Michigan (mid-way between Detroit and Flint). Not just campaign yard signs, either…also large billboard-type signs and banners.

    5. johnherbiehancock

      Texas here (I am not a Texan tho)… a couple weeks ago, made the drive from Houston to Brownsville.

      Trump flags & signs were prevalent on the drive down. I mean… in some cases I would call their display “unabashed and enthusiastic” … like ranches with multiple Trump flags or banners hung along the fences. I also noticed a few Trump bumper stickers.

      I don’t recall seeing a single Biden sign (or even a bumper sticker) the entire way there. In Brownsville, I DID see some “Black Lives Matter” yard signs, but no Biden signs.

      1. rowlf

        The only Biden sign I’ve seen in my county about an hour south of Atlanta was homemade and had two popular local R candidates printed signs below it. The signs were at the far edge of a several acre rural property.

      2. Phemfrog

        North Texan here in the DFW suburbs. I have hardly seen any political signs at all other than for town council. There are a few Trump enthusiasts and one or two Biden signs but no bumper stickers other than old Beto ones peeling off!

    6. Daryl

      Had to look up what the Sun Belt is, but apparently it includes Texas.

      I can’t comment too much on yard signs, as I’ve been isolating very effectively for a few months. What signs I have seen have been Trump signs.

      However, I think chances of Democrats taking this state are slim to none. This is a state where the governor’s approval rating only dipped below 50%…because he finally implemented a mask order. Reliably blue areas may be a bit more motivated as they are the worst hit by Covid, but the amount of voter suppression going on will not be possible to overcome, even if over 50% of voters here didn’t consider having an R next to your name a necessary qualification for office.

    7. BoulderMike

      Just outside Boulder, CO, in my neighborhood I have seen 3 Biden/Harris signs recently. And, my favorite is the house that still has a Yang sticker on the car. No Trump signs. But, the chance that Trump will win Boulder County is zero.

    8. McDee

      Here in the very liberal Santa Fe NM area I have seen one Bumper Sticker for Biden. It actually read “ByeDon” I have seen no yard signs at all for anyone, except Bernie, left over from the NM Primary.

      In the piece – If I Were Biden’s Digital Director – the writer says something about “…and so demonstrate enthusiasm for the candidacy.” How can you demonstrate enthusiasm when there isn’t any?

      1. apleb

        Why is any real enthusiasm needed? That’s what all those millions of wannabe actors in LA, a democratic stronghold no less, are for!
        Reality is the least impediment for a successful campaign.

    9. Grant

      Well, one small problem is that voting for someone usually means voting for something. Policies and what not. But, Biden offers nothing, so having nothing in a yard is actually people endorsing him. Things will just exist as they did leading into Trump and leading into this election. I think yards with no signs are Biden signs effectively. He is empty, so is his campaign, so is his party and this political system I would say that anti-Trump signs are in some ways pro-Biden signs, but I don’t assume because of how bad Biden is. After all, this isn’t a swing state, so people don’t have to put forth any more effort than Biden has in reaching out to voters. He hasn’t and there is a collective yawn in response. Fitting, depressing, so 2020.

    10. upstater

      I live in central NY. This weekend we went camping in the Adirondacks and drove 150 miles along I-81 and mostly on state and county roads. I do not exaggerate that we saw 100+ Trump flags, signs and stickers. I saw exactly one Biden bumper sticker on a Volvo with Maryland plates and 3 Biden yard signs in a single yard in a prosperous Syracuse suburb.

      In 2016 I saw proportionally more Hillary signs, but Trump signs were also overwhelming.

      It is interesting to note most upstate NY counties outside of metro areas voted for Bernie in the 2016 primary, but voted for Trump in the general.

      “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing”

    11. Swamp Yankee

      Both Biden and Trump signs here in Southeastern Massachusetts, though in a kind of muted way for both sides. More Trump in the interior towns, more Biden on the coasts. BLM signs on the lawns of PMCers and legit 1%ers who are afraid the serfs might revolt.

  3. Wukchumni

    RV’s often have names that imply the driver might deviate from somewhere with a handy pumping station nearby, such as ‘Wilderness’, ‘Backcountry’, ‘Montana’ and the like. In reality you’d have to be crazy to take that 29 foot behemoth on many backroads that can barely accommodate a car, not that they don’t try.

    A few years ago, an RV got stuck at the entrance station to Sequoia NP, ha!

    Toy Haulers are a different kettle of fish, as they always have intimidating names as if the owner was a little unstable, such as ‘Vengeance’, ‘Shockwave’, ‘Wolf Pack’, ‘XLR Boost’, ‘Raptor’ and the like.

  4. Lee

    Re Zephyr Teachout

    Maybe Twitter took her book personally, as it were:

    Break ‘Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom From Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money.

    In the book, the former candidate for New York attorney general and governor and just about every other office for which one can run, presents a cogent and unassailable argument that monopolies in the form of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Tyson, Monsanto, Uber and (a few) more have co-opted the country, bought off our politicians, broken the mechanisms of democracy, spoiled our minds, despoiled our goods, consolidated the power of the people into the hands of a few, and, in the greatest trick ever pulled, convinced the world they don’t even exist.

    Grub Street

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m old enough to remember when captured mafia members would say in court that the Cosa Nostra did not exist and was only a myth. This seems to be the same idea at work.

      1. Big Tap

        J. Edger Hoover, the FBI leader for decades until 1972, claimed for years that organized crime like the Mafia did not exist. Rumor has it that the Mafia blackmailed Hoover to have that opinion. J. Edger was a strange dude and probably a racist.


        1. BlakeFelix

          That’s one rumor. I’ve also heard that they were just working together, more the mafia working for Hoover than Hoover being scared of them. Horse race tips, if I recall one rumor. And that a mafia guy punched an FBI guy at a funeral, and the mafia guy got dropped off beaten up at the house of his mob boss that the FBI denied the existence of. Those are just rumors that I recall, beats me what really happened.

      1. ambrit

        So, what’s the deal here? Anybody know someone close to Teachout? The penchant for “dirty tricks” is growing the past few years.

    1. Lee

      I’m not sure “meh” constitutes a complete thought. Whence your disappointment, sir, madam, Ms, or other? I suppose it could be taken as a reaction to the universe. That would be a very complete thought, indeed.

        1. ambrit

          I like that. Something like telling the bartender that you want expensive spirits to go with your laudanum.
          Fainting couches are also good for naps.

  5. JWP

    University update:
    4 kids (3 seniors and a sophomore) were expelled in the first week and a half of class to make an example of throwing parties. They have not stopped throwing parties in the house basements. There has been good mask wearing during the day (as I’m told) and the school begins randomized testing of a few hundred kids per day. Re: Administrators and legal immunity; they know what is and about to happen with out of control cases and know some kids may go home and get their *donor* parents infected. The lawsuits and backlash from that will coasts them their jobs. The pressure is now real for them, especially because it’s very easy to hire a new admin.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the school begins randomized testing of a few hundred kids per day

      They should be testing waste water for all the facilities, and the town should be doing the same for its water system.

  6. Lambert Strether Post author

    That Greenberg piece is well worth reading in full. It occurs to me that a People’s Party whose platform had a single plank — #MedicareForAll — could do unexpectedly well, especially in Swing State. It’s also freeing, in a way, to know that Biden will do absolutely nothing about the issue,. It remains up for grabs.

    1. Tom Doak

      The statistic from that article that rocked me was that “one in five” residents of northern Maine or another rural community is disabled. I had no idea the numbers were that high.

        1. JBird4049

          Even better for the Diversity Industry as that would expose this “white fragility.”

          Heads, they win. Tails, you lose.

    2. VietnamVet

      This is a good article. It is amazing how few are pointing out the obvious. The lack of planning and incompetent response to the healthcare disaster has been across the board from the White House to Congress down to the CDC and Universities. The unified explanation for this is that for the last 40 years industry and resources have been exploited to the sole purpose of making more money for the wealthy with no concern for future consequences. The chickens have come home to roost. To adequately respond to the coronavirus crisis requires a national public health system. Its restoration would cut off private financiers and gangsters from a source of public money. Not happening, no matter that 410,000 Americans are projected to die. This is what is causing the unrest. Only the redistribution of wealth, can address illness, despair, destruction from wildfires and hurricanes; the forced poverty that Americans are facing.

  7. Synoia

    Shipping: “A surprisingly robust peak season is taking shape at U.S. seaports. Container imports are flowing back into the U.S. in bigger volumes….

    Nice to know that China’s economy is snapping back. I wonder when Trump will promise a program to repatriate manufacturing.

  8. Pat

    Sunbelt, huh. They really are trying to repeat 2016 aren’t they.

    IIRC Clinton, Mook and Podesta were trying to go through Arizona for the electoral college. So couple this with the “outreach” to moderate Republicans, the clear disdain for non professional workers, the fear of offering concrete benefits, the weird but expensive ground game, Trump will refuse to leave, and it is 2016 all over. Only real differences are they can’t yell misogyny every ten minutes if someone points out something about their miserable candidate and Russia! started early.

    November is looking nastier all the time, since I think they both want to lose and will be even more vicious about it.

  9. diptherio

    This podcast with Tressie McMillan Cottom, Roxane Gay, Derecka Purnell and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor discussing Kamala Harris and the overall state of Democrat politics is pretty good. Scratch that, really good.

    A Historic First. Now What?

    The only place I’ve heard anyone talk about the need to cancel payday loan debt. Big yes on that one.

  10. Billy

    Ongoing violence against women. From a police report: “After breaking into her home where she slept with her children, the suspect stood over and said, ‘I want my sh*t.’ The suspect ‘suddenly reached his hand between her legs, penetrated her vaginally with a finger, pull it out and sniffed it, and said, ”Smells like you’ve been with other men. He then stole her credit card and car keys.

    The officer noted in the report that the victim, trembling in her nightgown, had a very difficult time telling him this and cried as she told how the defendant assaulted her. Less than a month later, vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris met with the suspect in the above rape at his hospital bed and said that

    “She is proud of him.

    Two years ago, Senator Kamala Harris grilled then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with sexual assault allegations by Christine Blasey Ford, despite the fact that all witnesses in the ‘case’ – including a lifelong friend, disputed Ford’s account of what allegedly transpired 36 years earlier.


    The two-headed political vulture the Democrats have placed on Biden’s shoulder is why Trump will win.

  11. Wukchumni

    For something to have been around since 1904 is amazing in the High Sierra, but the Cressman’s store en route to Shaver Lake on Hwy 168 is no longer, burnt up by the Creek Fire. China Peak ski resort reports that they’ve evacuated and the map of the fire shows it’s near them, hope for the best, but probably one of the better period pieces de la piste, dating from the late 50’s* is in real jeopardy.

    * the main lodge and rooms were rather ruthlessly un-updated, it was as if you had transported yourself back to the Eisenhower era

    1. fresno dan

      September 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      My next door neighbor just told me that her friend who restored a cabin built in 1900, just evacuated and that the cabin that they thought had some possibility of missing the fire, just burnt down. Apparently this was not just some 1 room shack, but a rather significant historical structure. It was insured, but a lot of love and time went into the project.
      I imagine the next decade, 9 out of 10 years will be records for number of acres burned…

    2. Janie

      My child and family who live near Detroit Lake evacuated last night. Got here about 0300. Center of their small town on the river is still standing. As of now. Very smokey and windy in Salem

      1. WillyBgood

        Yes, Oregon is getting in on the fun. The town of Blue River burned up and they are getting ready to evacuate Mohawk. Good luck to y’all in these times of troubles!

        1. pendaran

          Well the city of Medford and other towns in it’s metro area have been evacuated. Something like 80k people under evacuation orders, The Expo Center is filled with at least a thousand evacuees, everyone else has to evacuate to Grant’s Pass because the fire has crossed and is burning on I-5. Really scary fast moving fire, along with several others in Northern California, one of which has burned into the Oroville metro area.

          1. tegnost

            wow. Be safe if you can.
            Heavy smoke here in the san juans…
            I’ve linked to this site previously, but will throw it in again as it has useful particulate and fire data…


    3. furies

      Used to ditch high school to go skiing at China Peak. Had a waaaay too long pair of K2s (180s as I recall) obtained cheap. As I recall lift tickets were something like $20/day. I’d ski all day and not even stop for lunch.

      Those days are long gone. I knew after kids I’d never be able to afford to ski ever again.

      Best wishes to the locals there~

      1. Wukchumni

        Used to ski on Rossignol 206’s and that was before shaped skis came about. I was a speed merchant and my wife claims that I never turned, but that’s a falsehood as I distinctly remember doing it once.

        1. BoulderMike

          My Dynamic VR17 skis were stiff as a board and straight as an arrow. They were also very long, over 207. They only turned if you made them turn, and you had to know how to do that. I still have them in the basement. The way I turned was by shifting my weight from one leg to the other, and adjusting the pressure on each leg. Other than that I just pointed them straight downhill and jammed. Not good in moguls though, or powder. I actually learned to ski by taking lessons from Stein Erickson. He taught me to turn the way I did. This was at Sugarbush in Vermont. I guess I just dated myself.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Damn that’s a blast from the past for me, I had K2 180’s too and loved them, nothing like heavy and stiff steel planks strapped to your feet

      3. eg

        We were too poor for downhill, so it was cross-country for us. The golf course we used to traverse is buried under a subdivision now.

  12. ChrisAtRU

    #COVID #IL

    Truly a mixed bag here, and the spike is not surprising at all. Lots of bars and restaurants with sub-optimal spacing albeit largely outside for the time being. As fall advances towards winter, it’s going to get worse.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Biden (D) (1)

      Remember all those articles during the Democratic primary about the glaring lack of enthusiasm around Biden’s campaign?

      Yeah. The Night of The Long Knives didn’t fix that, did it? Turns out #OrangeManBad doesn’t translate to the kind of enthusiasm that makes people do all those things … who knew?!


      1. ChrisAtRU

        Biden (D)(2)

        Laughable. The filer under “T” for “They Have Learned Nothing” is overflowing by now. Team “Do The Same Thing Again Despite Losing” is of course on track to lose the EC.

        Exhibit A: VP from CA
        Nothing like running the score up in California again. You don’t get more EC votes, people!

        Exhibit B: But, But Suburban Republicans
        Anyone else remember this from Chuck Schumer: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” How’d that work out? Doesn’t matter to the perpetually-shafting-the-working-class Dem establishment.

        Exhibit C: Rejection of #M4A
        I’ll let this tweet suffice:
        “Universal healthcare would’ve won this election. Duh.”

        Not looking forward to another four years of not just Trump, but of #RussiaGate 2.0 and the horrible, tragic death, despair and disease that will follow in the wake of the election.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Trump (R) (1)

          Hahahaha! Love your emphasis, Lambert (in line with Exhibit C above):

          “The same voters were still very cautious about Joe Biden, who seemed old and not very strong, but most importantly offered the prospect of only minor changes to the health care system and seemed unlikely to challenge the power of the top one percent.”

          The clause following the excerpt above is also noteworthy: “Like lots of other working people, they are looking for a leader who will make big changes in health care […]”

          So when Joe Biden says he’ll veto #M4A, it should be with some caution that anyone assumes these working people would vote for Biden at all, especially given any potential October surprise in the form of a vaccine or Trump’s own ability to make mendacious claims about providing some form of universal healthcare.


          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            “Fundamentally, nothing will change.” –Joe Biden, to large donors.

            So, “when they tell you who they are, believe them.” On the bright side for the left, though sadly, all the material conditions that brought about Trump in 2016 will remain firmly in place for 2024.

      2. flora

        The various links this week about Dem estab preparing to contest the election outcome says a lot, imo. (Ironic, considering the 2016 Dem estab insisted before the election that T agree to accept the election results. The Dems barely accepted the results of 2016. /heh )

        1. ChrisAtRU

          IMO, we’ve already seen what “contest the election outcome” looks like:

          – Lots of #RussiaGate on #MSNBC & #CNN
          – Another round of #ImpeachTrump, perhaps …
          – More lamentations over a #PopularVotePresident (Biden this time), and #ScrapTheElectoralCollege
          – Continued ignoring of #M4A, #GND & #UJG while allowing the country to sink deeper in #COVID induced squalor at the hands of the malevolent plutocrat and kleptocrat classes.

          1. DJG


            Thanks for the good set of comments. This last one is the best, in my-not-so humble opinion.

            Besides ignoring Medical four All, the Green New Deal, and ending the endless wars, once the Democrats have lost again to Trump through their own incompetence, we’ll also have to listen to caterwauling, wailing, and gnashing of teeth because they can’t go to brunch during the Resistance.

            1. John k

              It’s not incompetence. They’re simply following their donors’ instructions.
              And they will happily do the same in 2024. And 2028. Until dem voters are sufficiently fed up they vote in such numbers for a progressive that the dnc can’t get another Biden the nom.

              1. pendaran

                “Until dem voters are sufficiently fed up they vote in such numbers for a progressive that the dnc can’t get another Biden the nom.”

                You are assuming, of course, that the Democrat primaries aren’t thoroughly rigged. There was decent evidence both in 2016 and 2020 primaries that Sanders was not close to getting all his votes counted. The courts already said after 2016 the Democratic Party apparatus gets to do whatever it wants during the primaries.

  13. keithmo

    On August 27th, Zephyr Teachout did post on Twitter that she would be off for a few weeks with school starting. I doubt she meant cancel her account. She just released a book in July and her publisher links to her Twitter account. Rolling Stone’s Useful Idiots podcast interviewed her last week!

  14. fresno dan


    Salt Lake City’s mayor is promising a swift and transparent inquiry into the police shooting of a juvenile Friday.

    According to police, they were called shortly after 10 p.m. to a home near 500 South and Navajo Street, where a boy having a “mental episode … made threats to some folks with a weapon.” The boy ran and police pursued. One officer shot the boy.
    Police have not identified the person who was shot, but family members said 13-year-old autistic boy Linden Cameron was shot several times, and Salt Lake Mayor Erin Mendenhall referred to him as a “young boy” in a statement she released Sunday. He was listed in serious condition.

    According to police, they were called shortly after 10 p.m. to a home near 500 South and Navajo Street, where a boy having a “mental episode … made threats to some folks with a weapon.” The boy ran and police pursued. One officer shot the boy.
    No weapon was found Friday, and police did not reply to questions about the shooting Monday morning.
    With all the articles on quantum physics I have been reading, I presume the all the matter in the machine gun the kid was carrying transmuted into non existence….
    Seriously, I think people should catch a clue, and the very, very, VERY last option should be if there are family difficulties is call the police.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Years ago I heard about a women whose teenage son borrowed her car so she rang the police to ‘teach him a lesson.’ They shot him dead.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Back when everybody was excited about tasers — happy, innocent days! — I had a Google alert for “police shooting.” An amazing number, large enough to be a trope, was 911 calls to handle a mentally disturbed person, who the cops would then whack. Disproportionately black, of course. Well before Black Lives Matter.

  15. a different chris

    > Trump is usually 2 percent stronger than he ‘performs’ in any given published poll.‘

    “Usually” requires a data set. Trump has run in one (1) election his entire life. Lordy.

    I still don’t know what will happen but spare me these idiots.

      1. a different chris

        No. There were a bunch of polls. There was one election.

        You can’t draw a line through them. A poll is not an election and an election is not a poll. That’s like comparing your kid’s electric Jeep to a deuce-and-a-half truck.*

        And finally– “usually” again is simply the wrong word. One. Election.

        *I will admit 1000 people decide the two contestants, but they ain’t they guys answering the polling phone. They don’t answer phones, they have people for that.

    1. fresno dan

      a different chris
      September 8, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      I agree. First, I don’t get the impression that Trump supporters are shrinking violets.
      2nd, if there are shy Trump supporters, why would there not be shy Biden supporters???
      Actually, I find it astounding that anyone would confess to voting for either. Or confess to EVER having voted for a democrat or a republican.
      Nothing but 3rd parties for me. And I just find this pathetic and ironic: people tell me I’m wasting my vote by NOT voting for a democrat or a republican….and then in the next breath complain about the quality of the democratic and republican candidates….

  16. ChrisAtRU

    Biden (D)(2)

    Laughable. The filer under “T” for “They Have Learned Nothing” is overflowing by now. Team “Do The Same Thing Again Despite Losing” is of course on track to lose the EC.

    Exhibit A: VP from CA
    Nothing like running the score up in California again. You don’t get more EC votes, people!

    Exhibit B: But, But Suburban Republicans
    Anyone else remember this from Chuck Schumer: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” How’d that work out? Doesn’t matter to the perpetually-shafting-the-working-class Dem establishment.

    Exhibit C: Rejection of #M4A
    I’ll let this tweet suffice:
    “Universal healthcare would’ve won this election. Duh.”

    Not looking forward to another four years of not just Trump, but of #RussiaGate 2.0 and the horrible, tragic death, despair and disease that will follow in the wake of the election.

  17. Andrewf

    Teen Vogue article reminded me of Amazon worker Mario Chippen risking his life and his family so he can package non-essential items.
    “Dildos are not essential items,” he added. “Books for kids, yes, but dildos? No.”

    1. MT_Bill

      Well if any of the teens have been paying attention, they can clearly see from the policies of the past 16 years that they might as well go f*** themselves.

      Least we can do is provide free shipping.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Puts me in mind of the first episodes of “The Walking Dead.” So civilization had collapsed, violence was everywhere, everybody had lost friends and family to the zombie hordes and you had a bunch of women survivors at a creek saying to each other that the thing that they missed most about their former lives was – their vibrator.

      1. ambrit

        As in, who wants to be on top?
        The story of why Lilith was deposed in favour of Eve in the Garden of Eden will be enlightening.

          1. ambrit

            [Takes another swig of ‘joy juice.’] There you go with that ‘thinking’ business again.
            As the software engineers say; “It looked good in pixels!”

  18. fresno dan

    That shift in sentiment is underpinned by details of the August jobs report. Last month, permanent job losses jumped 534,000, to 3.4 million. That’s the highest level since 2013 and a sign that unemployed Americans aren’t reclaiming their jobs months after reopenings started.

    At this point, temporary versus permanent layoffs are becoming a distinction without a difference, says Luzzetti. Illustrating that point is the fact that the share of longer-duration unemployment is now higher for temporary layoffs than nontemporary layoffs. In other words, “temporary” doesn’t mean what it should and has converged with “permanent.” In July, more than 50% of those on temporary layoff were unemployed for 15 weeks or longer. In August, that share was about two-thirds.

    And that’s true of essentially every major industry in America through late summer. Every economic supersector except mining and logging saw job gains in August, and all but a few made gains in June and July as well. Yet every one of them also employs fewer people now than it did in February. The closest to normal is utilities, which is down 1.3 percent from before the pandemic. But the median supersector is down 6 percent, with some industries (like leisure and hospitality) down as much as 25 percent from pre-pandemic levels.
    The hiring of census workers has obscured just how bad the employment situation is. Also, the crutch of “temporary layoffs” is proving to be a Potemkin village – an awful lot of jobs in restaurants and hospitality aren’t coming back, and there is nothing to replace them.
    I remain gobsmacked at how little concern is expressed at this employment crisis.

    1. JBird4049

      The top 20% are doing just fine with the top 1% having a fabulous time getting wealthier; the bottom 80% aka the Disposables facing COVID19, lockdowns, unemployment, hunger, homelessness, despair, and death do not matter.

      This being so, why should TPTB deign to do anything?

      1. fresno dan

        September 8, 2020 at 11:00 pm

        A Modest Proposal:
        I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

        I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, encreaseth to 28 pounds.

        I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.

  19. Pelham

    Re How Trump is losing his base: That’s sad and I hadn’t quite thought of the situation that way. All these working people who thought they just might have had a champion in 2016 after decades of managed decline under the two parties are now facing the prospect of having to turn back to an A-1, prime example — Biden — of the kind of threadbare conventional pol responsible for their misery. As a college-educated person privileged to work from home while essential workers risk their lives to keep the essential functions running, I feel as if I need to ask a few of them how I should vote and just do whatever they tell me. I owe them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It has occurred to me that the genius of the Biden campaign is that by being almost purely negative (Orange Man bad, ruling out #MedicareForAll) they’ve given themselves a lot of degrees of freedom on policy, having promised the voters virtually nothing.

      OTOH, it’s hard to believe that anybody could have more degrees of freedom than Obama had in 2009: A mandate for hope and change, a President with the reputation as the greatest orator of his time, supported by the best and the brightest, as well as control of the House and the Senate. And they squandered it all (at least if you’d bought into the con). And now the same crowd, the Obama Alumni Association — along with a handful of the Bush administration officials who masterminded the Iraq War — are planning a Restoration. Is there any reason to think that they’ll do better than Obama in 2009, under far worse conditions? That would require them to perform self-reflection and learn from mistakes; something liberal Democrats are not notable for.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama was protected by a pretty strong cadre of loyal believers and local committee types. In a crisis much greater in scope and more problems associated with wealth inequality, I’m not sure Biden will be able to simply say that he didn’t promise anything.

      2. nippersmom

        something liberal Democrats are not notable for.

        Something liberal Democrats have proven themselves incapable of.

      3. Pookah Harvey

        “That would require them to perform self-reflection and learn from mistakes; something liberal Democrats are not notable for.”

        Democrats have proven they cannot learn (hard to learn from your mistakes when you don’t think you made any.) However, the people have shown that they can learn and are finally trying to participate in democracy instead of assuming just voting will do everything for them. Millions are becoming permanently unemployed. Millions are being evicted. My guess is millions will be destitute from Covid health-care expenses. People are more aware now than in 2009. It seems unlikely the people will just sit back and expect Biden (of all people!) to take care of them – they know he won’t. Will the people put pressure on the Democrats for self-reflection that wasn’t there under Obama? Especially with some proper leadership, say Bernie, AOC, Omar, Tlaib, West, Reich, Turner, BLM, Sunrise, etc.

        1. Acacia

          …or will the people finally realize that the Democrats will never ever change — indeed cannot change, because their raison d’être is now catering to the needs of the 0.1% oligarch class — and either ditch the Democrats for good or vote Trump for the small bit of Schadenfreude of seeing the Dems’ heads explode after the election?

          1. Pookah Harvey

            Tell it to AOC, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, Ilhan Omar, Katie Porter, Cori Bush, Mondaire Jones. For a big bit of Schadenfreude get more progressives winning in primaries. Establishment Dems don’t really care if you vote for Trump; make their heads explode by taking over the damn party.

            1. Acacia

              Oh, I won’t be voting for him, but many will. I’m just observing a broad trend. Last time it was nine million Obama voters that bailed on that rat-infested sinking ship of a party, and the riots and looting now are a lot worse than Ferguson. I wonder how many “turncoats” it’ll be in 2020. The crew you mentioned are clearly wasting their time trying to “reform” the party, and I’d be wasting my time talking to them. Their best hope is probably to join the skeleton of Bernie under the bus. It’s only a question of time, really, and there’s plenty of room down there.

              1. Pookah Harvey

                I believe that it was Goldwater’s skeleton that ended up driving the Republican bus for most of the last 40 years. So I guess AOC is wasting her time now in the same way Reagan was wasting his in the 70’s.

                1. Acacia

                  I’m not sure how that analogy works, unless you think Bernie’s skeleton or some of his progressive epigones are going to end up in the driver’s seat, i.e., in control of the Democrat party. Personally, I just don’t see that happening in our lifetimes, and meanwhile the Empire is collapsing, climate change, etc. etc.

      4. John k

        Obama in 2008 and Biden in 2020 had/have no degrees of freedom at all. They do exactly what their donors want, and avoid doing anything their donors don’t want done. And all of these, including Hillary, stay bought bc they know if they renig they’ll never get another dime.
        To change policy on just one thing, such as healthcare, would really upset insurance and pharma donors… certainly the former see m4a as existential. Same with the banks… it’s never enough to save the banks, it’s critical to also save the bank executives… the wrong person might put executives in jail for Chris sake. And maybe even a real jail.
        It’s not just Biden, it’s the whole dnc, remember you must stroke your donors 4 hours per day. Gotta bond for life, just like the mafia. Well, I guess they are the mafia, or the dem branch of it.
        So you can hope all you want, but I suggest you don’t hold your breath waiting for real change.
        Personally I keep saying if you want a progressive to have a chance you gotta keep the neolib dems from power no matter what the cost.

      5. ambrit

        Thus, Biden’s crew are running a “Zen” political campaign. A “big empty circle.” Said circle best signified by the sigil “O.”
        To paraphrase the Alchemist’s Creed; “As above so must be low.”

  20. Riverboat Grambler

    Here in glorified college-town Madison WI the county just broke it’s record for new cases in a single day, and apparently nine different frat houses are now quarantined, to which my reaction was “um, isn’t that most of them?” It’s gotta be at least half. The store I work at is adjacent to the frat neighborhood, which is great.

    Of course the word in the local press is it’s all the fault of those damn kids who won’t stop throwing parties, as if this wasn’t something the school administrators should have easily forseen and accounted for in their plans. But you can’t get the kid’s money if they’re not on campus, can you?

    It’s clear the plan was always to open as normal for all those sweet tuition dollars, feign shock and surprise when the numbers jump, and simply blame the students as cover. Lawsuit protection would just be icing on the cake.

    1. Daryl

      > Of course the word in the local press is it’s all the fault of those damn kids who won’t stop throwing parties, as if this wasn’t something the school administrators should have easily forseen and accounted for in their plans. But you can’t get the kid’s money if they’re not on campus, can you?

      I’m getting the same line from everyone I’ve talked to. No one has discussed liability for the admins reopening colleges, then closing them, sending now covid-positive students scattering to the winds.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > > But you can’t get the kid’s money if they’re not on campus, can you?

        > I’m getting the same line from everyone I’ve talked to.

        Me too in the Twittersphere, and from random accounts, not the Extremely Online.

        It seems that college administrators are not universally beloved. Which is unsurprising, since they have about as much reason to exist, in the numbers they do and at the salaries they have, as health insurance executives.

    2. a different chris

      > all those sweet tuition dollars

      Sweet housing dollars you mean. Housing is generally more than tuition, I suspect it is also more profitable, and of course you can (cough, University of Phoenix, cough) collect tuition dollars from remote students.

  21. Ed Miller

    Employment Situation: Do not agree the D’s are pushing on an open door when Mitch McConnell is the lock. That door won’t open.

    1. Pat

      They had the key in the ability to shut down the government. They instead whiffed.

      Now, similar to the CARES act they will have to accept the Republican version of emergency funds and stimulus. They get the version the oligarchs want all the while blaming the Republicans.

      The last twenty years should have taught Democrats that the opposition party has multiple tools in their tool box that Democratic leadership refuse to use. We couldn’t do anything because of the Republicans is a meme that should be met with a resounding Bull pucky until we see them doing the bare minimum of opposition.

    2. Aumua

      In related news, the Senate is back in session today and McConnell has unveiled a stimulus package that has been reduced now to half of the one trillion package the Republicans were offering before the break.


      So he’s not waiting for Pelosi to bargain. He’s just taking the opportunity to offer even less. Absolutely ruthless, and completely uncaring for the American people I might add.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        One party is 100% pro-business, fast-tracks full MMT for Wall St and big corps, all while refusing to pay a living wage for decades.

        And then there is the opposition party. They scold people about Beautiful BrownThink while they vote 100% pro-business, fast-track full MMT for Wall St and big corps, all while refusing to pay a living wage for decades. And today tell us that “the cupboards are bare”.

        The voice vote for The CARES Act was the tell, both “sides” knew perfectly well what they were signing and didn’t want their fingerprints on it.

        I can hear the candidate in 2028: “I did not vote for the CARES Act!”, kind of like Uncle Joe today saying “I was not for the Iraq War!”. Or better, that luminary John “Lurch” Kerry: “I was against the war before I was for it!”. Sling some more Heinz tomato sauce on that crap why doncha, maybe that way people will yak it down nice ‘n easy.

      2. Aumua

        Pelosi’s plan is definitely more generous in this case. But yes of course, the Democrats are the party that cares about the people they’re screwing over. Republicans at least are more honest and don’t really mind if they look like the bad guys. They know what they’re about.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > So he’s not waiting for Pelosi to bargain. He’s just taking the opportunity to offer even less. Absolutely ruthless, and completely uncaring for the American people I might add.

        Pelosi really thought she’d get a better deal by going on vacation? More likely she wanted an “issue” to run on.

        1. Aumua

          They all went on vacation, but there are probably multiple layers of different motivations involved. Are you trying to say that McConnel’s move is not ruthless or uncaring?

          1. tegnost

            See scorpion/frog
            He’s doing what’s in his nature to do.
            Pelosi surrendered her leverage so that she could cry republicans bad
            That’s her nature, scolding, finger wagging, and dissimulation.
            In the end they want the same thing…cheap labor and a divided proletariat.
            They’re all ruthless and uncaring.

  22. dcrane

    I’ve had two twitter accounts, one following mostly Bernie-friendly accounts, the second mostly following pro-Trump accounts. Neither interested in CNN, WaPo, NYT, etc. Both were closed temporarily by Twitter, which claimed that I needed to prove I was not a robot by giving them a phone number. The Bernie one was re-opened when I complained, saying I did not intend to give them my personal phone number. The Trump one remains closed despite my identical protests, and is no doubt one of many cited by Twitter as evidence they are fighting election interference and robots.

    No way their AI can’t tell that my accounts are real. Silicon Valley has its big fat thumb on the political scale.

    Fortunately one can check out twitter posts just by combining a search term in google with “twitter”.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I have one thing to say for those voting for the party with Silicon Valley on speed dial: be careful what you wish for.

      Definitely no more headlines like this: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tech-google/u-s-justice-department-going-full-tilt-on-tech-antitrust-probe-official-idUSKCN259332

      And play this out a bit: the Harris Administration would be on notice that everything it does, even the most woke of Beautiful Brownthink, would have to pass the strictures (Scriptures?) of the men controlling the entire fabric of information the plebes even get to see.

      Q: So if Sergei and Mark wake up one morning and decide that President Harris is not yet being “tough enough” on Russia, what could she do? A1: push forward, lose her main money flow, and then suffer TTT (The Trump Treatment) and get ousted from office. Or A2: DWSAMW (Do What Sergei And Mark Want).

      I’m OK with all that, so long as they also change the name of the country from “America” to something else. So they let the idea of something entirely different from that rest in peace in the history books.

  23. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “‘Green’ billionaires behind professional activist network that led suppression of ‘Planet of the Humans’ documentary”

    This link is at least a two-cup read. I thought it wandered and left me with some confusion about its views of the film and the efforts to quash it. I felt too many of the critiques were given voice without sufficient examination of their content and the relation of that content to the film “Planet of the Humans”.

    I need to watch “Planet of the Humans” a few more times to collect the many connections between “Green” and the ‘green’-$$$$$. The first time I watched it I was aware there was controversy around “Planet of the Humans” but I didn’t know anything of the specifics of that controversy. After watching the film for the first time, I couldn’t guess what was in the film that could cause such a ruckus. I definitely need to watch “Planet of the Humans” a few more times.

    The film made its points visually allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions. Scene after scene of players in the “Green” movement mixing with players in Big Money recalled the closing scene of the 1931 film “The Three Penny Opera”. Many of the behind the scenes investigations of claimed “Greeness” revealed a different story — as Toto revealed the truth about the Wizard of Oz.

    I am surprised that Bill McKibben still has credibility to damage. In 2007 when 350.org started up the maximum CO2 ppm in the atmosphere was measured at 387 at the Mauna Loa observatory. In 2020 maximum CO2 was pushing 417 ppm and growing at a rate little changed from 2007, other than some very slight upward trend around 2016 [ref. 2nd graph(interactive), “Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”, https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide ]. The organization 350.org doesn’t appear especially effective in its initiatives — though what environmental group has been effective? The scenes in the film with Bill McKibben are especially memorable to me — not sure why. The film didn’t have to skewer Bill McKibben. I thought McKibben did an excellent job of self-skewering as did the other “Green” moguls and Green initiatives and celebrations shown in the film.

  24. The Rev Kev

    The Bezzle: “Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies”

    More proof if it was ever needed that it is the governments that pick the winners and losers in the economy. By my reckoning, $4.9 billion would buy an awful lot of food stamps and from fotos of Musk that I have seen lately, he has not been missing out on any meals.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” Rising natural gas prices and limited supply are pushing some utilities to increase their use of coal…. giving a bit of a boost to a market that’s been in a retreat.”

    hmmm .. . . . SOME utilities, eh?

    What if the geographic area-of-operations of those parTICular utilities contained several million bloody-minded eco-warriors? Could those eco-warriors figure out a way to cut back on their millions of individual usage-prints of electricity? Enough to hammer back down the price of coal being bought by that parTICular utility?

    And which natural gas companies had that parTICular utility been buying its natgas from? Who-all else do those natural gas companies sell gas to? For all possible uses? What if all the people in the buyer-footprint zone served by those natgas companies reduced their use of natgas as much as they could sustainably long-term stand to do so? Could they hammer back down the natgas demand enough to hammer back down the price? Thereby putting yet another pressure on the coal price of coal being sold to that parTICular utility which is using more coal?

  26. Rock Hard

    LOL at the Colorado picture. Fire, Snow, Freeze, Lamar… the four corners of Hell. State was completely covered in smoke yesterday. Couldn’t see Pike’s Peak from I-25 in Colorado Springs… that’s making a 14,000 foot mountain that’s 10 miles away disappear. Let it snow, it helps the firefighters out.

    Drove across rural Colorado this weekend. Lots of Trump signs out, especially home made ones, but definitely more signs for county commissioner races. One funny sight: a farmer had four silos by the side of the road. One had painted by hand on it “Bush – Cheney ’04”. Then “McCain – Palin ’08”. Then “Romney ’12”. Then nothing.

    Back in the burbs, there are Biden signs, but more Byedon signs, and still a bunch of “Any functioning adult” signs. More important to be witty than to support a candidate. More BLM and “Hate has no home here” than anything. No canvassers. No phone calls. I get about one flier a week of anti-Biden propaganda in the mail. I had one appeal in the mail from Nancy Pelosi to donate to the Dem national committee. I don’t think anyone is competing real hard for the suburban vote, other than lazily trying to leverage some vague fear of BLM and maybe raise some money for other races.

  27. Edward

    “Like lots of other working people, they are looking for a leader who will make big changes in health care, fight for working people over big business, and unite the country to defeat the current economic and public-health crisis.”

    Which raises the question why Sanders lost, assuming he did actually lose and the vote wasn’t fixed.

    1. Wukchumni

      Thought it was garbage trucks at first (chuckles) and then a few looked familiar, as i’ve seen them @ Saline Hot Springs, which requires a 40 to 50 mile drive on a crushed lava and dirt road to get into mucho caliente, and it’s a perfect ride as the place is lousy with wind @ night, so tents are out.

      Sportsmobile has been around since 1961 doing van conversions into gnarly off-road vehicles. I could see me in one of them in a dozen years from now, but not now, i’d rather walk.


      1. skippy

        Walk …. Not possible here in Oz due to supply curtailing duration and various other factors E.g. these are not caravans for park and trail hiking.

        Not that I have put ridiculous miles on with my LPCs over a life time.

  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a story about a police atrocity against a 13 year old boy with autism in Salt Lake City. The police apparently failed to murder the boy, who has so far failed to die. Since this is in Salt Lake City, I will guess the chances are good that the boy is White. But the story does not say. Here is the link.

    If indeed the boy is White, the chances are good that Black Lives Matter will neither notice nor care. White victims of police atrocities does not fit the race-based narrative of the BLM, Incorporated
    movement. Thus, yet another chance to find solidarity with non-Black victims of police violence will be pre-thrown away ahead of time.

    Until a general concern about non-Police victims of Police aggression arises . . . something along the lines of a Citizen Lives Matter, if you will; the problem of Police aggression against society will not even be named, let alone addressed.

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