2:00PM Water Cooler 10/1/2020

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Patient readers, this will be a quite skeletal Water Cooler, because for some reason the Command-V (Paste) keyboard combination stopped working, along with the capital “” (r). The Command key works, the “V” key works, but they just don’t work together. (They are not even recognized by System -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts, where I was trying to be clever by adding a shortcut key combination to replace the one that should be built in.) Since I am copying and pasting constantly while I blog, that’s a real problem, and using the menu would drive me crazy (besides killing my productivity).

I spent a good deal of time fiddling with various parameters and restarting the machine, but to now avail. So I will go forth tomorrow and get a new USB keyboard, since the Arrow keys on this one are shot anyhow. (This is my USB keyboard. I could use the built-in keyboard, except most of the right side is dead, including the Delete key. So that’s not really a way forward.) The bright side is that the Apple USB keyboards feel very good! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

I’ve always wanted to know what a penguin sounds like. Now I do!


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… Except for that unsightly uptick.

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

Texas bounces (more data woes?), Wisconsin continues steady rise.


“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

Two further observations on the debate:

First, I watched the debate yesterday (after listening to it once) on a big screen with a group of Democrats, who were a lot less raucous than I expected; they didn’t treat it like a sports event, so there was no whooping or hooting. Watching, it turns out, is different from listening. What’s interesting about Trump is that he is always in the moment. Say what you like about him, he is always listening and reacting. I would imagine that’s a very useful quality for a real estate salesman. (The same quality was also useful to him in 2016 with his A/B testing of messaging on crowds). The debate took place on a split screen, and that helped Biden and hurt Trump, because as Trump did his Trump thing, you could simultaneously see Biden’s stunned amazement at the unprecedented scene unfolding before him, a feeling shared by many in the audience. Occasionally, Biden would flash a smile; he has a good smile. However, I think the screen also hurt Biden. Biden would often turn away from Trump and Wallace, and address the camera directly, with a (no doubt prepared) speech. When he did — my very subjective impression, here — his startlingly blue eyes seemed fixed, and somehow too small. His skin, especially the skin of his forehead, seemed oddly papery. Though Biden doesn’t walk or stand like he’s frail, in those addresses he looked frail. Trump, by contrast, looked vital, despite his girth. I’d like to hear if other reads saw what I saw.

Second, I’m hoisting this comment from alert reader Laruse:

I didn’t watch the debate, but caught 2-3 minutes as I was setting up the coffee pot in the kitchen before bed as Husband watched in the living room. It was early in the debate I think (just after 2100) and already I couldn’t understand what they were debating because they were talking over one another and Biden called Trump a clown while Trump declared that Biden had lost the Left after Biden rejected some Bernie-style policy (this is actually a brilliant line of attack I thought). That was enough for me and I went straight to bed.

My mother watched some of it. She is a life-long conservative and deeply sincere Evangelical who voted for Trump in 2016 only in the hopes that he would destroy the path the Republican Party was heading down and force the Rs to moderate a bit. She has been deeply disappointed and she HATES Trump. She was going to grudgingly vote for Biden – she had already marked her ballot received in the mail this week. Her first ever D vote in a presidential election.

But she said she watched just for a few minutes last night and now she unsure she is going to bother turning in her absentee ballot at all.

Have any other readers seen the same? Laruse concludes:

It sounds like it was a full on Bread and Circuses style event that alienated a lot of people. My guess at this point Trump wins next month pretty handily.

Perhaps. If there are a lot of voters who reacted as Laruse’s mother did.

One further observation that’s been rattling around in my head for awhile: It’s on the central metaphor for lesser evilism. On Biden v. Trump:

Nina Turner, a co-chair of the Sanders campaign, told me she has no appetite for the choice she faces: “It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of sh*t in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still sh*t.”

The problem with that metaphor is that it still assumes the premise of lesser evilism; that is, it focuses on the fact that the Democrats are making you eat sh*t, albeit in lesser or greater quantities. It is possible, after all, to make the case that it really is better to eat half a bowl of sh*t; it takes less time, for example. You might swallow a manageable dose of e. coli, instead of a lethal one. And so forth.

I don’t expect to kill off the “half a bowl” (or bucket) “of sh*t” (or its cousin, a “sh*t sandwich vs. a sh*t sandwich with sh*t topping”) but I would like to propose a better one, a sort of thought experiment.

The International Weightlifting Federation has established classes for weightlifters, determined by body mass; the highest (heaviest) class is 192 pounds. Let’s assume — the metaphor starts here — that the problems of our country are a thousand pound barbell; a barbell so heavy only a weightlifter of the highest class can deadlift it.

We place The Barbell of Our Country’s Problems before two weightlifters. Weightlifter T is (as it were) a flyweight: 121 pounds. Weightlifter B is a welterweight: 148 pounds.

Neither weightlifter T nor weightlifter B can lift The Barbell of Our Country’s Problems. It doesn’t matter that B outweighs T by two whole classes and 47 pounds. It doesn’t matter that Biden is better, and Trump is lesser. They are not in the right class. Neither can lift the weight. Neither is adequate to the task. Neither is fit for purpose. The only differences between them will appear in how they injure themselves trying to do what they cannot do, and which sections of the audience cheer them on as they sweat and strain and fail. (So I suppose I am coming to agree with Laruse’s mother.)

So, that’s my new metaphor. I don’t think it’s concise enough for Twitter, though. Maybe some helpful readers can improve on it. Or shoot it down!

News of the Wired

“Early Works by Edward Hopper Found to Be Copies of Other Artists” [New York Times]. It turns out that Hopper, as a teenager, copied at least two paintings, at a time “before the advent of modern art and its freedoms, [when] artists almost always got their start by copying. The conclusion is more interesting than the gotcha: “Mr. Shadwick’s discovery about those first paintings may also illuminate Hopper’s much later, most iconic masterpieces. Critics and scholars have always been intrigued by an awkwardness that Hopper allowed himself in many of his classic paintings: seas that look more painted than liquid in his famous ‘Ground Swell’; the awkward anatomy of his female nude in ‘Morning in a City’ or the stony faces of the diners in ‘Nighthawks.’ Now that we know that Hopper was never a painting prodigy, we can think of his later paintings as deliberately revisiting the limitations of his adolescence, and finding virtue and power there. That’s a classic move in American culture: To see the unschooled and homespun as more authentic — and especially as more authentically American — than the sophistries of those decadent old Europeans.” • I think we’d better start revising the canon…

“Strange Apprentice” [London review of Books]. “For a while in the 1870s – once, twice, maybe three times, each over a period of weeks and months – and then again briefly in the early 1880s, Cézanne and Pissarro painted together. At the time of the first visit, in early summer 1873, Cézanne was 34 and Pissarro 42. The age difference disguises a complex story. Cézanne was graceless, immature, belligerent, foolhardy in his early thirties, but when he went to work with Pissarro he had already built, in the previous five years, a tremendous way of painting: it seems best to call it his ‘first style’ rather than his early one, because the amalgam of Courbet’s thick handling, Manet’s aggression and Delacroix’s cold lasciviousness clearly issued from half a lifetime of brooding on what French painting had been and might become…. Nonetheless, Cézanne came to Pissarro to unlearn his first style, and, seemingly, to change his mind about Courbet, Manet and Delacroix; or at least about what might be made from them, from their attitudes (their subjects, their stances) and their materials. Provocation in art would give way to patience, to exposure to optical events.” • I like the, er, picture of Cézanne and Pissarro painting together. I wonder if that was something that the field easel enabled, along with painting en plein air.

* * *

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 (Carla):

Carla writes: “Early August, NE Ohio.” Wow!!!

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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. ShamanicFallout

    I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Trump Derangement Syndrome, but pretty well-fed from an early morning brunch, hysterical naked,
    dragging themselves through the BIPOC social media feeds at dawn looking for an angry Twitter thread

    In honor of lot my friends and acquaintances who have truly lost their minds

      1. 430 MLK

        Allen Ginsberg, Howl.


        And nicely done, Shamanic!

        I heard once that after first reciting Howl in the mid-50s at the Six Gallery (now Vesuvias Bar?) nearby City Lights in the North Beach of San Francisco, Ginsberg and some friends took off in the night for the Fillmore District. North Beach and its beat-reputation was pricing out, and they were renting across town in the Western Addition. Both the Fillmore and the Haight (particularly the Fillmore) were transitioning into low income mixed and black neighborhoods, the hollowing before the re-investment.

        This is apropos of nothing, but I like to imagine a young Allen Ginsberg and his crew racing across San Francisco in the middle of the night, electric on a first public reading, and Howl at that.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          Indeed. And I always liked this story about his reading Howl in LA a bit later:

          ‘At a reading in Los Angeles a heckler harassed Ginsberg throughout his reading [of “Howl”] and was quieted only when Allen promised to give him the chance to express his opinions after the reading. However he continued to disrupt the reading after Allen had turned it over to Gregory Corso. At one point, Gregory proposed a verbal duel with the heckler, the winner being the one with the best “images, metaphors [and] magic.” The heckler was more interested in engaging Corso in a fistfight. He taunted the poets, calling them cowards, insisting they explain what they were trying to prove onstage.

          “Nakedness,” Ginsberg replied. When the heckler demanded further explanation, Allen left the stage and approached him. He accused the man of wanting to do something brave in front of the audience and then challenged him to take off all his clothes. As he walked towards the drunk, Allen stripped off all of his clothing, hurling his pants and shirt at the now retreating heckler. “Stand naked before the people,” Allen said. “The poet always stands naked before the world.” Defeated, the man backed into another room.’

          Michael Schumacher “Dharma Lion”

          1. 430 MLK

            ha…well, I hope he ran somewhere after.

            Thanks for the link, and thanks Shamanic for the LA story.

      2. neo-realist

        Thompson would not suffer fascists like Trump lightly considering his past writings on Nixon.

        HST would have seen through every ounce of Trump’s bullshit in a nanosecond, and told us why. He wouldn’t have let that guff about voters with “economic anxiety” stand. His columns would have been more essential than any iteration of the Daily Show.

        Having seen the Nixonian nightmare earlier than anyone, knowing the playbook better than anyone, Thompson could have been the de facto leader of the Resistance. Perhaps, given his Aspen campaign experience and his frequent musings about running for Senate, we’d be electing this ultimate iconoclast to federal office today.


    1. Pookah Harvey

      Yes, interestingly whenever I feel compelled to advocate (rightly or wrongly) to vote for the “not insane” candidate (as Chris Hedges put it) I’m deemed deranged.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Well, is there a not insane candidate? For instance I have a friend who was on a FB rant during the debate: ‘Trump is a racist and misogynist and the only reason he is president is because there was a black man before him and he ran against a woman.’

        Really? What is a racist? One’s proclamations? What people say you are? Or what one actually advocates for? What one actually does? Like Crime Bills, private prisons, super predators, integrated schools, foreclosures, Hamps and Harps? Who is the racist?

        And didn’t many districts in important swing states who had voted for Obama (twice) move to Trump in 2016? Suddenly ‘racist’? Or perhaps they swung for other reasons.

        By what measure are we weighing the world?

        1. Pookah Harvey

          There is no major policy difference between the two. If there is TDS there might also be BDS.

          1. Lost in OR

            Not. With Biden expect reduced hostilities toward the globalization mob (TPP reborn) and increased hostilities toward every entity not on-board with that.

            But YOU have nothing to worry about, only the guilty shall be punished.

    2. dcblogger

      it is not Trump Derangement Syndrome, Trump is objectively a completely horrible president who actively incites violence against his opponents.

      1. TBellT

        Trump Derangement Syndrome is wasting all of one’s mental energy telling people how Trump is a unique evil that must be removed from office and taking every chance to point out all his real/imagined crimes. It is such a boring tedious conversation that is never really persuasive because it almost never tries to understand where the other person is coming from. These people would much better handle their time actually putting their energy into something productive or at least focusing on the deeper issues at play in why our world is the way it is.

        1. Nakatomi Plaza

          I don’t get this at all. If Trump is able to steal the election, the next four years (pending the Senate) are another total loss for substantive debate and whatever deeper issue you think we aren’t discussing. Texas just limited ballot drop-boxes to one in each county. It’s aggressive voter suppression, and it should infuriate people.

          It isn’t a joke or something to downplay by automatically dismissing people who object as deranged nuts who don’t merit your attention.

          1. Yves Smith

            Elections are run and certified at the state level generally by the Secretary of State. Please tell me how Trump “steals” it. Some R Secretaries of State might, but pray tell how this works.

            And if there are disputed elections, they wind up in court. Different states have different rules re recounts.

          2. TBellT

            whatever deeper issue you think we aren’t discussing.

            It’s not a matter of what I want, it’s a matter of making you better at your argument. If you want to convince someone to vote Biden you need to understand where they are coming from. People with TDS skip that step, and bash on about how it’s everyone’s moral duty, how many people do you think that convinces?

            If Trump is able to steal the election,

            If you legitimately believe this could happen what exactly are you doing to stop it? What is yelling about it supposed to accomplish?

          1. chris

            I don’t even know how to talk to people who believe what you wrote.

            An obvious priority should be ending our forever wars. An obvious priority should be ending the crippling debts that are actively injuring our citizenry. An obvious priority should be redeveloping our governing institutions so that the debacle of the CDC during this pandemic and the Obamacare rollout are never repeated. An obvious priority should be forcing the legislature to retake its constitutional role and cease abdication its governance to the judiciary and the executive branches. An obvious priority should be ending support for legal opioids. An obvious priority should be withdrawing from conflicts that will increase the chance of open war between nuclear powers. An obvious priority should be getting more people back to work.

            You talk like the problems in our society and in the executive branch are somehow unique to Trump. That’s what people mean when they talk about TDS. That this rot suddenly developed in January 2017. It didn’t. We had a thin scent of perfume that by the end of the Obama administration no longer masked the stench or the gangrenous lesions on our body politic. But the disease has been with us a long time. The fact that people are so focused on getting rid of Trump and have zero plans of what to do if he’s no longer in office says all I need to know.

            Tell me, which Democrat or Never Trumper will be leading this generation’s version of a Church commission to enact legislation limiting the imperial presidency with something like the War Powers Act? The answer is none of them because they don’t have any problems with the abuses as long as the system helps their friends.

            Trump may well be re-elected because people like you focused so much on him and poor tactics in opposition that the people have no reason to vote and even less reason to hope for change.

            1. Phil

              Nah, it’s much more likely that if he’s re-elected, it’s because of people like you telling Biden voters how stupid they are, as above. Kill enthusiasm, kill turnout, and you get to blame the people whom you were scorning already. win/win/win, except we all lose.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Biden will straight up murder WAYYYYY more people than Trump.

        What about this statement do you not understand?

  2. TBellT

    Seems to me the impediment to any further stimulus or anything even masking itself as help for people is going to be held up by Senate Republicans

    If I was Trump and McConnel is threatening to not pass anything, I’d threaten to rescind the ACB nomination unless McConnell sends the checks, I sure hope he has the backbone to do something.

    1. Darryl Fuller

      Lesser evilism? Competent (debatable since they lost to Trump once, looking to lose again) Evil(R) versus purely INCOMPETENT EVIL(R).

      Should be…

      Lesser evilism? Competent (debatable since they lost to Trump once, looking to lose again) Evil(D) versus….

      My apologies.

    2. Darthbobber

      I see no reason at all to assume that Trump and McConnell are not on the exact same sheet of music here.

      1. TBellT

        I would think if he wants to recreate 2016 conditions he needs to be seen as supportive of economic stimulus. Part of his win relied on people thinking he wasn’t the same type of austerity hawk as traditional R’s. Maybe he’s given up on winning.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Maybe he’s gotten too much in touch with his Inner Joker and just wants to watch the world burn.

  3. Noone from Nowheresville

    And so the fee fest begins. Just received notice that the county where little nowheresville resides is considering adding a $25 per vehicle wheeltax fee in order to make up lost revenue.

    I understand the dilemma but it’s never a one-off temporary thing. If it’s starting to happen in little nowheresville, it’s happening elsewhere and that the squeezing will get bigger and better soon along with decreased services. Cuz well there really isn’t a lot of choice for how the trickle down works.

    1. Clem

      Wheeled conveyor belts will be horribly expensive. What enhanced services are they offering in return for said tax? How does that conflict with your state department of motor vehicles or feds who have the ultimate vehicle taxing authority, I thought?

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Vehicles are a state annual licensing function. Don’t know how or if the county would implement such a fee without challenge because it would open the door for all other counties and municipalities to add their own fees. I only got the tiniest bits of information about the proposal but if it’s not this it will be something else because there’s probably not much choice unless the Federal government disburses funds to state & local governments.

        I see special levies in our future.

        Once I learn more I’ll report back.

  4. CuriosityConcern

    Take it from someone who is quite pasty, can the Mac do a right mouse click?
    Also, PC keyboards often have a menu key that brings up a right click menu, nothing similar on the Mac?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      >Take it from someone who is quite pasty, can the Mac do a right mouse click?

      I didn’t know this, but you’re right! A control click brings up a menu with Copy and Paste on it. It’s still wicked slow, though. (Also, I don’t like using the Control key because my thumb curls under. I’ve done oodles of typing for decades with never a sign of carpal, and I credit that to never distorting my hands like that.)

      1. UserFriendly

        I’m so lazy I have dozens of things written into hotkeys to the point where I ran out of convenient ones to press with one hand. So I remapped my caps lock key to send F5 and made F5+tilda = caps lock to give myself more options (my keyboard has media functions instead of F keys). So now hitting ‘caps lock + w’ copies the selected text, moves to the next browser tab, switches to microsoft word pastes the unformatted text and then goes back to the browser. ‘ctrl + period’ works just like ‘alt + tab’. ‘Caps lock + c’ uses my text to speech program to read aloud the contents of the clipboard. Lots of other time saving things too. Doing anything on anyone else’s computer takes so much adjustment now.

      2. Art Vandalay

        Long-time lawyer here, having spent far too many hours editing documents. At the risk of commercial endorsement, have you tried a track-ball mouse like those from logitech? Years ago I started to suffer carpal tunnel from mouse use . . . and since I switched to trackball I’ve never had any more problems. Won’t use anything else.

        1. rowlf

          I am right handed but use a track-ball with my left hand to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. After some use it works well for me.

    2. Yasha

      Yes, for a long time Macs have supported a right mouse click and software for the Mac generally supports a right click menu. I’ve used Macs for years and I use the right click a lot (for cutting & pasting, or launching a Google search from highlighted text in Firefox, etc.).

      If you are stuck with one of the single button mice that comes with a desktop Mac, you can generate a right mouse click by holding down the command key while clicking, but most people replace that mouse straightaway with a functional mouse that has at least two buttons and a scroll wheel.

      On a MacBook, you do a right click by clicking with your thumb while both your index & middle finger rest on the trackpad.

    3. KevinD

      Yes, right clicking on a Mac brings up:’Back / Forward / Reload / Save As / /Print / View page source / Inspect / Speech.

      I’m not sure about a keyboard menu key – never had a reason to seek it out.

      1. RMO

        When I was still using a Macbook (I switched to a PC laptop about a year and a half ago due to Apple’s decline and arrogance – the PC isn’t great either but at least it’s cheaper and I may go to Linux someday) mine was setup so that two fingers on the pad when clicking resulted in a right-click equivalent. That and two fingers for scrolling were the only controls I allowed beyond the basic cursor moving and clicking as pretty much all the other gestures (both on Mac and PC) ended up annoying me immensely. The Mac mini I set up for my Mum supports the right-click (and other buttons) that are on the PC type mouse I use with it sometimes.

          1. RMO

            So I’ve heard. When the hard drive on my laptop died back in March I gave a try at starting up fresh on the replacement drive using Linux. Unfortunately none of the three variants of Linux I put on a USB drive to boot and install the OS worked. No matter what I did the computer refused to recognize the drive. Same with Windows 7 (which I tried as I own a copy of it). Eventually I had to go with Windows 10 just to get the thing up and running again. Some online information suggested it was the equivalent of the BIOS that ASUS uses now which won’t allow you to boot from a USB drive unless you alter it with the OS up and running which I obviously couldn’t do as I had no OS. Since Windows 10 worked though I suspect that it was a case of not having the needed drivers in the Linux and Windows 7 drives I made.

    1. Carla

      Ohio Secretary of State did the same thing here. Of course, I imagine Texas counties, like everything in Texas, are bigger than the ones here.

      We always hand-deliver our absentee ballots to the county Board of Elections. There’s never been a line or anything, but this year, I’m sure it’ll be backed up for miles.

      1. savedbyirony

        Last I heard a judge blocked the Sec. Of States 1 per county directive. Do you know if this issue has been settled yet in Ohio? Right now I am listening to Dewine’s press conference. Today the press is asking many questions about Trump/voting in Ohio. It would be good to hear a question about these county drop off sights as the Gov keeps going on about the importance of a legit election process accessible to all voters. (Also being reported now is news of polling stations being moved.)

        1. savedbyirony

          Not that I expect Dewine to speak differently than he does about the importance of voting, the soundness of the process and the “sanctity” of results, but he acknowledges none of the recent and past shady practices of voter suppression in Ohio. Clearly, if it is “legal” it is just.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            We need a word for this kind of just barely legal legality. How about ” shysterlegal”?
            Bending the law till it cracks without quite breaking. Shysterlegal.

            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              Or maybe use a term which makes it so clear the politicians will know we understand: “legal in name only” or LINO. . . .

      2. Janie

        Carla, Texas has 254 counties, many quite small. The thinking was that no one should be more than a day’s ride from the county seat.

        Great pic!

        1. Carla

          Thanks! That Joe Pye weed in my front garden is now way past its prime, yet the Monarchs continue to frequent it. Aren’t they supposed to be their way to Mexico by now?

          Ohio only has 88 counties, but then, we’re tiny in area compared to TX.

          1. carl

            We’re seeing the monarchs down here in San Antonio now. There were a bunch yesterday in the backyard, resting and feeding on the zinnias and blue mist.

        2. Tangled up in Texas

          Twenty-two miles round trip for me and no public transit available. Glad to hear it was blocked.

      3. UserFriendly

        Its so stupid too. 1 per county, that is going to make it harder for urban or rural voters?. I’m convinced both parties are trying to lose. It’s easier to fundraise out of power.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Rural people are used to driving and can probably reach the one box per county.

          The one box per super-densely urbanized county would probably be put in the farthest opposite corner from where the center-of-population-gravity for that county is. And especially farthest away from any huge concentrations of deep-urban poverty-carless people.

          So maybe not so stupid.

  5. jake

    If in fact “there are a lot of voters who reacted as Laruse’s mother did”, we’re done for anyway. If not this election, the next one. Given the evidence submitted, she’s the last person any sound candidate could or would set out to please — culpable for the lunatic vote (lunatic, based on her own expectations) she did cast in 2016, and apparently so oblivious to the realities of reality TV, and Donald Trump, that she confuses a joint TV appearance overwhelmed by Trump in his usual manner, with all possible public policy outcomes. Trump does his thing, and it ain’t worth voting for anyone else?

    If the country is really full of such people, there’s no hope. Besides, since when do we have high expectations for “life-long conservatives”? Biden isn’t already getting enough grief for courting “moderate suburban Republicans?

      1. Annus Horribilis

        ** There’s no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons. ** — Gilles Deleuze

      2. ChrisAtRU


        Obama betrayed Hope.

        As the self-styled personification of Hope, Obama betrayed the hopes of the vast majority who voted for him. In terms of killing Hope, I would invoke the famous quote by St. Augustine of Hippo:

        “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”

        Neither Biden nor Obama can kill Hope. Hope dies when the rest of us stop being angry about the way things are and lack the courage to change the way things are.

          1. chris

            You know, it makes sense to envision Trump wearing skulls on every joint and seeking to assume the role of God emperor of man. Or maybe he’s renovated the White House to summon an avatar of Slaanesh? :p

    1. JTMcPhee

      The above line of argument seems like a bit of condescending voter shaming.

      What chance do any of “such people” have to affect policy outcomes? Voting has quite consciously been rendered a largely nugatory act by the private corporations that masquerade as “political parties.” The people who rule win either way the elections go, and “kettling” of voters, and serial reductions of the set of people thinking there is any utility in participating in electoral politics, is a main part of the parties’ political long game. It’s how the PMC and oligarchs sucker us into accepting their rule, as the best possible outcome or as at least being inevitable and thus subject to futilitarianism.

      A link this morning goes to a Jimmy Dore moment, where he points out the sucker-bait nature of the kayfabe. It’s a reporter daring to ask some hard questions of Pelosi, who avers that she (or the office she holds) has “immense power,” who ducks the question why she has not used that power to fix all the issues she glibly lists off (pandemic, racism, LGBT [leaves off Q], inequality) and indicates the reason she is not using that immense power to produce concrete material benefits desperately needed by all of us is that she does not want another round of stimulus checks going out with Donald Trump’s signature on them, before the election. So she is comfy taking vacations while the rest of us bleed and choke and go bankrupt. That is the most disgusting form of arrogant impunity I can imagine.

      My particular hope is that there seems to be a growing number of people who are looking to establish local autarchy to the greatest extent possible. If that could be grown to the point of choking off the flow of wealth inward and upward toward the imperial capital and the looters at the top, there might be some hope that other better political economic choices and behaviors might appear. Small hope, but that’s all I got.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It may be a small hope, but not necessarily a vain one. What if a hundred million Americans introduced 1% more personal and family and regionalocal autarchy into their lives than what is now there? How much less revenue would stream up the moneypump ladder?

        Suburbanites are especially well positioned to do a little bit of mini-autarchy per house-stead. What if Permaculture Suburbs became a mainstream thing?

    2. jr

      “ Biden isn’t already getting enough grief for courting “moderate suburban Republicans?“

      If that is in fact what he is doing, then the answer is no. (I try to avoid reading about him, after watching the videos of him stroking little girls hair I get a faint feeling of nausea. I salute your, err, intestinal fortitude. With pedo-pal Harris too, wow.) He is misrepresenting himself when he says he has the interests of the average American at heart and then courts the corporations and demographics whose interests are antithetical to those claims. He is a liar and a eager political prostitute. I do not want Trump to win; I will not vote for Biden.

      1. Yves Smith

        You seem not to understand logic. Not A (not Biden) is not B (Trump). It is simply “not A” which can cover a whole range of positions: staying home, voting Green, leaving the top of the ballot empty and voting in down ballot races, writing in a Presidential candidate.

        There are a lot of people who require ritual denigrations of Trump. Most readers see so much of that in the MSM they don’t feel compelled to repeat them.

        Viewing Trump as a terrible President does not mean that one must accept the proposition that Biden is a decent alternative. Biden has a dreadful record on policy, and readers can provide many more details: his support of the super-predators bill, the 2005 bankruptcy “reform,” opposing M4A (see his crazy public option patter in the debate), as a member of the Obama Administration, supporting bank bailouts w/o any accountability, and doing nothing to stop 9 million largely preventable foreclosures.

        Having said that, I do agree that extending the “pedo” jibe, presumably based on Biden regularly fondling underage girls on camera, can’t be extended to Harris and discredits the comment. Harris’ dodgy sexual history is the absolutely essential role of her paramour, the very much older and married Willy Brown, in her rise.

    3. Waking Up

      The problem isn’t Laruse’s mother who it would appear is/was willing to compromise. The problem for the vast majority of people in this country is a SYSTEM which completely ignores them.

      In 2008, people gave the benefit of the doubt to Obama/Biden to change the system to help the people. They spent eight years doing just the opposite. From bailing out the banks and making them even bigger without any consequences criminally to the CEO’s all the while millions of people had their homes foreclosed, to the conservative pharma backed Obamacare (the gift that keeps on giving to pharmaceutical companies. There is a reason Joe Biden who spent a lifetime supporting insurance companies absolutely will not support Medicare for All), to not only continuing endless wars but actually starting new wars, and the list goes on.

      By 2016, the SYSTEM gave us two corrupt and completely ethically challenged candidates for President. One of those candidates wasn’t a usual part of the system and claimed to want to “drain the swamp”. So, once again, as in 2008, there was “hope” that someone/anyone outside the system might bring about some change to help the people. Instead, we ended up with another narcissistic con man.

      We have a system which basically only allows two parties (those two parties fight hard to keep out any other parties) for political positions. When the conservative Chamber of Commerce which ALWAYS represents business interests first is now endorsing Democrats, “we the people” are officially *&#@!^. The two parties aren’t even trying to hide anymore that they don’t care about 80% of the population. The vast majority of people will not vote. That reflects a major problem with the system but works out very well for a wealthy and powerful few.

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      I liked the framing of another commenter (sorry don’t remember who) a few days ago who said the only way to vote for either of the corporate parties is to ask yourself which one you want to run against after this election, and vote for that one.

      Although if Trump gets a second term probably the Ds are a shoo-in four years from now and will have no incentive to accommodate the Left. Whereas if the Dems win, Republicans might take it back in four years, given how awful it looks like the near future is going to be.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The problem is that if Trump retains office, there will be no more Postal Service and no more EPA and no more a-lot-of-things. And that is a problem.

        Unfortunately, the Joemala ticket promises problems of its own, if elected. There may well be people willing to take a chance on no more Postal Service, etc., to avoid the moral putritude of the Joemala ticket and its Free Trade Conspiracy backers, its anti-Russianitic racist anti-Russianite backers, etc. etc. etc.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Indeed, not untrue if you are willing to assign blame to the Democrats and their compromise-as-capitulation dedication to #BothSidesIsm.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Sometimes the two-party choice seems like a choice between eating a bowl of barbed wire versus eating a bowl of broken glass. Or screaming and turning my cereal bowl upside down.

      2. ChrisAtRU

        Ha! Think you’re referring to what I said a few days ago:

        “IMO, the only valid way to frame the election for anyone who is going to cast a vote for either of the two main parties’ presidential nominees is this: you are choosing your next opponent.”


  6. jo6pac

    Wall Street on Parade.com has more on the bankster bailouts that never ended.

    Time for a nap and maybe the key board thingy will get fixed;-)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > maybe the key board thingy will get fixed;-)

      No, I spent a good hour trying to fix it. The problem I’m having seems to be specific to this keyboard and not the Mac software. So I need to get a new one. It was probably time anyhow.

      1. BPM

        I had a problem with mine last year and it required a reboot to the factory settings by the Apple store technician. It fixed it and have not had a problem since. Might be worth looking into…

      2. John k

        My crappy eyes like lighted boards, there are several. I’ve been happy with Logitech board and multi button mouse

  7. L

    I have yet to watch the debate, I haven’t watched the video feed of any of them in years. IMHO looking at the transcripts I think that what Trump was trying was exactly the strategy he used in the 2016 primary and general, go on the attack and fog up the room so that swing voters are at least turned off of everybody, if not turned on to him. If you do that and then turn out a committed base, you can win.

    In the 2016 primary it worked because is was a breath of fresh air, and because the establishment R’s like Jeb Bush, had nothing to reply, while those also-rans who tried to copy it just couldn’t. It worked in the general because the target was Clinton who already had serious negatives, and enough dirt to juice the story.

    But now Trump has been president for 3 1/2 years. The consequences of this style are apparent, so they actually concern people. And Biden has fewer committed negatives, and more time to prepare. So now Trump’s “everyone is corrupt” antics are turning serious conservatives off to him. His only hope for the strategy comes in fogging things up so much that Biden can’t woo them.

    1. Pat

      I admit to being tired today and do apologize if I missed something obvious. So are you saying that Biden should woo conservatives? Or do you mean woo voters generally?

      What would that wooing consist of, and have we seen any of it so far? Best first or next step?

      I’m really curious if someone is seeing something I am not. And what their suggested strategy would be.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Fundamentally, nothing will change under my presidency.” “I am what I have told you I am all along.”

        Suggested strategy is general strike, rent revolt, rail-riding with tar and feathers, lamp posts.

        1. flora

          That’s Biden’s answer to the question:
          “Why should billionaires allow you to become president?” /;)

        2. rowlf

          I like your style and appreciate you remembering how the US populace handled these problems in the past. As I have said to friends, “We used to hang bankers in the US.”

          We are not a very nice country.

      2. Janie

        Biden seems to me to be doing all he can to turn off voters supportive of concrete material benefits, so he’s wooing people his age who are afraid of their tax money going to the undeserving. (I’m older than he is.)

      3. Procopius

        October 1, 2020 at 2:47 pm

        Biden is already wooing conservatives. He just appointed two more Republicans to his transition team. During the debate, in response to a Trump accusation he would adopt a leftist agenda, he replied (according to the account I read), “I beat the left!” He has said that if a Medicare for All bill reaches his desk he will veto it. It’s hard to tell, because he has at least four different health care proposals, some of which are mutually exclusive, but he seems to think making Medicare mandatory is the same as a public option. Yeah, I’d say he’s wooing conservatives.

  8. Timmy

    Trump has mad GOAT-level skilz at invective

    Chris Wallace would ask Biden a question. With exquisite timing, at the very end of the Wallace question but before Biden begins to answer, Trump mummers “He doesn’t know”, which lands clearly and distinctly audible in the brief silence. In addition to disturbing Biden and casting everything he subsequently says under a cloud, the remark also has the merit of being true.

      1. Wukchumni

        In theory the next debate will have a squelch button to silence the Don when he interrupts, but doesn’t he just up the ante by yelling @ hapless Joe instead?

        Bullies got to intimidate, yo!

        1. Carolinian

          There are people alive at this point who don’t know that Trump is a bully and think he is a nice guy? I didn’t watch the debate and can only speculate but sounds like Trump was out to show who’s the alpha and may have succeeded. It used to be said that negative campaigning works in that it drives down turnout other than the hard core. And Trump has a hard core of support.

    1. Darius

      I’ve had drama queens in my life. They are exhausting. They always have to take over everything and invent new messes to make themselves the center of attention. They also surround themselves with enablers. I’ve been one. Just when you have cleaned up one of their messes, they go and make five more. The exhausting Trump performance from Tuesday drove home that I want this drama queen out of my life.

  9. David J.

    I didn’t watch the debate live, but I did spend some time watching (and reading) bits and pieces afterwards. After a while, I had this (not so) absurd thought: “Do I really have to chose between Pierre Laval and Philippe Petain?”

        1. ambrit

          Watch out now. We might end up with a real Resistance.
          I’ll mix, mangle, and marinade metaphors magisterially and remark that mediocre messaging makes meretricious meritocrats merely maddening. (Mea culpas for kalpas. It’s all arahant nonsense, I know.)

          How is the “All Heat and No Cattle” ranch doing?

  10. rn

    I prefer your metaphor to Nina Turner’s. The reasoning is as follows;

    Nina’s metaphor should also have included 2016 campaign (Hillary vs Trump). If she did not make the same comment in 2016, I am constrained to view her to be hypocritical.

    1. flora

      Watching the progressives fold time after time with no gain at all, giving up all leverage, it’s pretty clear why Hills was the nominee, why Biden is the nominee, and why future Dem nominees will be copies of them.

      1. Wukchumni

        After a few years into his Presidency, I got to calling Obama ‘The Great Spelunker’ as he’d cave on anything.

      2. LibrarianGuy

        Chapo Trap House’s latest open episode starts with 10 minutes on “clones”, how our disgraceful elites are producing them to start anew.

        Your “future Dem nominees will be copies of. . . ” statement seems to be mining the same Elite cultural fail and fail and fail again “strategy”/ narrative or dodge, or whatever it is meant to be.

        It is amazing that the Dem Leadership continually attempts suicide yet never fully dies. The undead.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I’m not sure the “barbell and weightlifters” metaphors really works, because we can imagine a state where it is possible for one of the weightlifters to actually get strong enough to lift the thing.

      My idea is that the Problem (barbell) is not possible to be solved with the current machine. So we end up like people yelling at their lawnmowers because they refuse to produce a decent cup of coffee.

      The lawnmower manufacturers tell us that if we select their machine it will make us a cup of coffee. It won’t, and the way it is designed and engineered it physically can’t, and they know it. But their business is to sell lawnmowers. When they succeed they are rewarded for doing a “good job”. It’s just not the job we are seeking.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Well if we are going with the “barbell and weightlifters” metaphor, what we need for this Gordian Knot is a guy with an angle-grinder.

    4. ejf

      “Barbells and weightlifters” is a good one, I think. Look at history. Lots of lightweights or lesser types.
      And when you brought up the “Compromise of 1877” a couple of days ago, I think that fits well enough with the lesser weights of that era and now.
      1877: Rutherford B. Hayes vs. Samuel Tilden getting decided a couple of days before the inauguration of 1877? And that after two terms of a corrupt Ulysses Grant administration. All of them not up to the task of rebuilding a nation.
      Could it happen again? Easy. On January 15 or so, President Pence lets off the T-weight from all past and future crimes and investigations. After Biden gets in a new circus begins.

    1. a different chris

      >Maybe some helpful readers can improve on it. Or shoot it down!

      Well first what’s the point…we get one or the other. It’s not like somebody like the Monty Python guy is gonna step in and tell us we’ve gotten too silly.

      But if I wanted to shoot it down: clean-and-jerk simply isn’t the right metaphor. This is a 4-year marathon. The winner will be a match for some things, not so much for others. You’ve however picked the absolute shortest, simplest contest in sports.

      If there was a marathon where you also had to simultaneously play speed chess with multiple opponents maybe that would work.

      1. UserFriendly

        Not that I have a better metaphor but it also misses the fact that 1. neither party has even the slightest desire to lift the barbell, and 2. it’s debatable if either party even wants to win the contest and be forced to make it look like they are trying to lift the barbell. In fact I’d say the job of both parties (the coaches?) is to make sure that no one capable of lifting the barbell ever gets anywhere near it. And the billionaires on the sidelines stuffing money into the coaches pockets.

        1. UserFriendly

          Maybe turn it into a boxing match between the two candidates where the winner gets to go try and lift the barbell. Instead of hurting each other boxing they hurt random votes. and keep the corrupt coaches as the parties. But that is awfully torchered.

          Maybe golf? With the parties as caddies constantly giving the wrong clubs and billionaires buying the clubs needed to win. And the players much more concerned with messing up eachothers shot than winning. I dunno, I suck at metaphors.

  11. nippersdad

    Re: “But she said she watched just for a few minutes last night and now she unsure she is going to bother turning in her absentee ballot at all.”

    Have any other readers seen the same?

    Frank Luntz’s usual debate panel was mentioned yesterday on Nice Polite Republicans. Apparently this is the first time that he has ever seen a debate in which both candidates actually lose undecided voters.

    Something about it from somewhere else:


    “They felt like the candidates behaved as though they didn’t deserve to be president,” Luntz added. “It actually makes them less likely to vote for any candidate.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the candidates behaved as though they didn’t deserve to be president

      That makes me think that Biden smiling (smirking?) and reacting to Trump might have turned off people, too. It certainly wasn’t very dignified. (I’m old enough to remember when Gore clobbered Bush in debate, and then, in the space of two or three news cycles, the press, who hated Gore*, turned the whole story around to Gore sighing when Bush spoke, and how obnoxious it was. So then Bush was declared the winner.

      * I think that idiotic “Would you want to have a beer with him?” test for candidates originated in that election, but it’s been a long time. Needless to say, nobody would want to have a beer with Gore.

      1. nippersdad

        I have to admit that I didn’t watch the debate. As in ’16, I just don’t have a dog in this race so I have just been reading about it. It sounds like it was a real horror show. I couldn’t bear to listen to GWB, I really didn’t think anyone would ever top him for my almost total inability to listen to someone, but then Hillary, Trump and Biden have somehow managed it. Our mainstream choices are always bad, but they have never been so openly odious.

        I would gleefully sign up to throw bottles of beer AT them*, but would never want to drink one with any of them. I do have to say, however, that not everything Trump says is a lie, in fact he is often spot on. When he said that Biden had lost the left and Biden replied that he IS the Democratic party, I believed them both and for the same reasons. He lost the left because he is the Democratic party. That was probably the only honest portion of the debate.

        I’ll be interested to see the undervote for the next election. My money is on Trump for the win.

        *Cindy McCain, one of Biden’s billionaire sugar mama’s, might consider this a good fundraiser. I imagine her stock in Hensley and Co. would go stratospheric.

      2. Phillip Allen

        Your recollection is correct. The Bush/Gore campaign period gifted the world with that “Now there’s a guy you could sit and have a beer with” trope.

        1. 430 MLK

          And wasn’t Bush supposed to be a teetotaler at the time?

          Is this another example where Lambert’s weight-class metaphor seems to fit better than the horse-manure sandwich. Or am I mixing things?

          1. RMO

            Bush said he was a recovering alcoholic. That’s one of the reasons I though the “sit down and have a beer with” bit was staggeringly stupid. If you’ve known any alcoholics you know damn well the last thing you want to do is be near them when they start drinking.

            “A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all. You can’t predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.” – Raymond Chandler (and if anyone should know, it’s him)

            1. mary jensen

              So good to see this subject brought up ie Dubya being “the guy” to vote for ’cause he’s the sort you have a beer with…which brought forth all the “Joe six-pack” nonsense and the “you betcha” bullshit of Palin. Amazing to see how it plays out, how many people fall for it. “Folks” has become synonymous for “people”, for “citizens” because of Dubya and I would really like to see an end to it. “Folks”. Oh please. “Folks on coke”, right? Let Dubya’s legacy be his oil paintings and please ditch the “folks” asap.
              “Oh you’re so down home…”

              As for bread and circus(s)es: it doesn’t apply to the USA. Where’s the bread? All given to banks and corporations not the populace and the circusses? There are none, none to speak of.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wonder if the press proxy-hated Gore out of displaced rage over Clinton closing down the White House Press Office, which the press people had used to find very handy and helpful.

        Also I read somewhere that the Gore campaign offered very cheap poor quality food to the press people on the bus trips or plane trips or events. Whereas the Bush campaign offered very expensive good quality food on its versions of those types of events. And the press people were bitter about that.

        Alas! Live and learn.

        ManBearPig is real. South Park told us so itself.

    2. flora

      There was method in the madness. Trump insisting Biden was a raving socialist painted him as an unreliable handmaiden to the donor class. Biden then responded by declaring he was totally reliable for the donor class and kicked left against green new deal, m4a, etc.

      Maybe we regular voters weren’t the real audience they were courting, if that’s the right word. The show wasn’t for our approval, it was for Wall St.’s approval.

      1. John k

        Or maybe trump was trying to get progressives resigned to Biden to go green… or stay home.
        Biden is trying the third way trick of moving just to the left of trump, and trump is rubbing progressive faces in the knowledge that Biden is an anti progressive.

      2. neo-realist

        Biden is seriously outraising Trump on Wall Street. Maybe Biden’s friendship with the credit card companies still carries weight as well.

  12. Donald

    I am a lesser evil voter and I go for the bus and cliff metaphor. The Democrats promise to drive the busvtowards the cliff at 30 mph and the Republicans are driving it at 60 mph. The Democrats give us more time to find a decent driver who will hit the brakes.

    I think on most issues this is correct.

    1. Tom Doak

      The Democrats are not going to allow a driver who would stop or change direction to be considered. But there is still time to jump out of the bus!!

      1. neo-realist

        I suspect the progressive wing is working on growing enough of a driver base that it eventually can take over the bus and the driver’s seat. Takes time, but potentially more doable at 30mph than 60mph.

    2. Pat

      While I hope you are right, looking at Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and Harris… well. I think you need to prepare yourself to find out that we’re still hurtling…

    3. Geof

      In 2016, I saw it like this: Bush was accelerating toward the cliff. Bernie said he would turn the bus, but Clinton only wanted to ease off the accelerator. Trump was firing a gun like a mad man, with a chance of hitting something (or someone) and stopping the bus.

      My concern is that the Democrats will do what the Democrats do, and next time an infuriated public will elect a competent autocrat. OR, the Democrats will work with the surveillance state (e.g. on a social credit score) to institutionalize the effective end of democracy, and that will be that.

    4. nippersdad

      My question for you is not how deep the canyon is or how fast we get there, but how wide is it? You assume that we could hit the ground either way when we could just as easily jump the intervening space at a higher speed….

      The Whigs went out of business when they proved that they stood for nothing significantly different than their opposing party. Maybe the gorge at top speed is what we should be aiming for if change is to happen at all. Call it a Thelma and Louise strategy, but it may be all we have time for at this point.

    5. Pelham

      I like this metaphor, but don’t quite agree with the implication. I like Lambert’s, too, but don’t quite agree with where that one’s going, either. So I’ll give it a go.

      You’re on the pitching deck of the carrier Antietam and flagging in a low-on-fuel, flak-riddled F6F Hellcat in choppy seas. The Hellcat has enough fuel for one shot at the arresting wires or — just possibly — one go-around. There are five more planes behind this one, all running on fumes, but if this guy cracks up on deck, the others may need to ditch in the drink. The pilot is wounded, and spewing oil is somewhat obscuring his vision. You can guide him in to an almost certain crackup and jeopardize the five others. Or flag the go-around and give at least one or two of the others a chance.

      Sadly, that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Not certain whether Trump or Biden can fit in or even whether I want them to. But I do feel like the guy on the deck as I contemplate November. Maybe I’ll just jump overboard.

        1. RMO

          I would go with saying it’s like being given the choice between being shot between the eyes with .50 Browning machine gun or a 20mm Oerlikon.

    6. Pookah Harvey

      Pay attention to what is already happening in the Congressional Black Caucus. From Politico:”with several Black progressives expected to win in November, pressure will rise on the CBC to embrace the leftward swing of its newest additions and their challenge to the broader party establishment. Longtime members have already started to privately fret over just how the CBC will be forced to evolve in the next Congress and how that will shape a group that has long been a central power in House politics.”

      Why are they fretting? Immediately after introducing himself to the CBC Bowman went on to endorse progressive Cori Bush over CBC senior member Clay in the primary. Bush won. When CBC members complained Bowman’s spokesperson responded;“Jamaal Bowman won in a primary challenge. Why wouldn’t he support other primary challengers if they’re making a good case for new leadership and they share a similar agenda to him?”

      If the Democrats gain power you can hold their feet to the fire. They can’t use any excuses, the old “oh poor us we can’t do anything”. If the CBC doesn’t move to he left you will see many primary challenges from progressives. Bowman has made that clear; “The organizing has already been happening. It’s been happening in the streets across this country. That’s why Cori was able to win her election. That organizing is going to continue when we get to Congress. When you see Cori’s victory in Missouri, it’s a clear indication that people are demanding something different. … It’s a cry for change, it’s a cry for systemic change. It’s very exciting, and that’s not going away.”
      He is warning the establishment Dems, especially those in the CBC.

          1. Acacia

            Well, as we’ve discussed before in this forum: my answer would be to give your support to a new party — e.g., the People’s Party — and stop wasting time and treasure with the people who have repeatedly promised change and then stabbed you in the back. I.e., not “break in” but “break with“, as in breaking with somebody who has abused you in a relationship.

            Bernie Sanders spent his whole career trying to change the direction of the Democrat party, and they threw him under the bus. Not once — twice. Moreover, instead of really including Sanders in the emerging Biden cabinet, they are bringing in Republicans. Putting your money on AOC or any of the other progressives to “take over the party” in effect means betting that they will succeed where Sanders failed.

            In theory, sure, “taking over the party” could be a way to achieve your ends, but on what timeline and what are the odds of success?

            Bear in mind that the party leadership is clearly dead-set against you achieving this goal, and they have amply demonstrated that they will use all sorts of skullduggery to prevent any change. They threw Sanders under the bus, but AOC will get into the driver seat and nobody will tell her where to go? Why should we ever believe that?

            The Democrat party is telling you that the US is facing an existential crisis, they try to guilt and shame you into supporting them, and if that doesn’t work, they double down on the hysteria to corner and pressure you into supporting them, repeating that you really have no choice but to vote for their candidate, and then they offer up the dregs of the whole primary process — the worst status quo lesser-evil careerist money-grabbing flaks that were probably at very bottom of your list (honestly, did you really ever want Biden/Harris?).

            You don’t feel even a tiny bit insulted by this level of shameless manipulation of your choices, and thinly-disguised contempt for you as a citizen?

            So, yes, we can always believe it’s possible to enter the casino and somehow get the odds on our side. Or, we could believe that it’s possible to clean up Monsanto by joining the company, working our way up to C-Suite, and then persuading the CEO to change the whole business model. Or, that the way to reform the mafia is to marry into the family and toil for years to work our way up to top, and replace Don Corleone.

            But why should you believe the odds favor you in achieving such goals?

        1. neo-realist

          Taking over the party and growing it in the contiguous United States would be a long term, yet more realistic and effective option than simply voting for the green party presidential candidate who get his or her 1% then disappears into hibernation for four years without any movement building.

          1. Waking Up

            People have been talking about “just take over the party” since at least the 1960’s. It hasn’t worked for 60 years. Should we wait 100 years…200 years? Please define “long term”. The system doesn’t work for “we the people” when moneyed interests completely control both parties and it hasn’t functioned for decades.

            The people who benefit from our current two party system actually hate democracy. Most would rather live in “bubbleland” and pretend there is no poverty, unemployment, or lack of healthcare. At a bare minimum, we need a legislature that doesn’t pass off responsibilities to the President and/or Supreme Court. Their job is to REPRESENT THE PEOPLE. If the two parties can’t or won’t do it, then let’s have a serious discussion in this country on what a better and functional system looks like.

            1. Procopius

              Well, it worked for the New Democrats, the Democratic Leadership Council, the Third Way guys, Clinton, From, Gephardt. They basically took over the party over the period from 1983 to 1992, and then Rahm consolidated their hold in 2008.

              1. Dr. John Carpenter

                And they only had all the help of the media, the corporations and the 1%, not to mention the willingness of the entire Democratic establishment to go in that direction. Other than that, sure, same thing.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        If the Democrats gain power you can hold their feet to the fire.

        When has that ever worked? Lucy is never going to let Charlie Brown kick that football.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          When have progressives ever had the power to challenge establishment dems in primaries like they do now? Where do you think BLM is going to go in primaries, vote for establishment dems? Times have changed, Shulz died in 2000(RIP)

          1. Acacia

            Bernie Sanders had that power. How did that work out in the primary? Next time it will be all different?

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps “throw them into the fire” would be a better goal. If each “progressive democrat” victory can be a crowbar for beating another catfood democrat out of office and then another and more after that, then perhaps electing progressive crowbars into those offices might be a sensible thing to pursue.

    7. anon in so cal

      Biden wants to increase the military budget, more weapons to Ukraine, move NATO eastward (Ukraine), wants Russia to “pay a heavier price,” etc.

      His FP advisor/spokesperson, Antony Blinken, said this about Syria:

      “if Idlib is still under siege, that needs to end”

      “Syrian govt would love to have dominion over those [Syrian] resources. We should not give that up for free”

      Given Biden knew the WMD lie was a lie before he supported the war (and encouraged other Dems to do so), his role in the 5 new Obama Biden regime change wars, it sounds as though scary times would follow a Biden win. Biden is already running to the right of Trump by criticizing T’s failure to oust Venezuela’s president.

      There’s also Colombia, where “Joe Biden brags,

      “I’m the guy who put together Plan Colombia.”

      Plan Colombia used murderous, failed drug war policies as cover to destabilize democracy in South America, arming right wing death squads so openly that Congress had to force it to stop with an amendment.”


    8. Yik Wong

      Two village idiots are strapped into toddler seats, you know those seats equipped with plastic steering wheels. They are at the front passenger row of a school bus. Behind them are their faithful friends, each in the row behind their perspective leader and busy slapping at the other side of the isle, thinking if they bite or slap someone hard enough, they’ll change sides and this will make everything good. Meanwhile, watching from an off-shore location an insurance fraudster (international finance) who has taken a policy out on the bus and every idiot in it, is using robotics to steer the bus over the cliff. He’s also bribed the myopic bus lady (CIA/Security state) The two idiots don’t even see the looming horizon they are so busy staring at each other and repeatedly yelling: “I’m safe because I’ll never change the wheel!” I’m safer because I jerk the wheel all over the place!”

      Now, how to condense this into a idiom?

      1. Wukchumni

        Thoughts from Adlai Stevenson…

        It is an ancient political vehicle, held together by soft soap and hunger and with front-seat drivers and back-seat drivers contradicting each other in a bedlam of voices, shouting “go right” and “go left” at the same time.

        Every man has a right to be heard; but no man has the right to strangle democracy with a single set of vocal cords.

        Whenever I hear one of these old guard leaders on the other side talking about cutting taxes, when he knows it means weakening the nation, I always think of that story about the tired old capitalist who was driving alone in his car one day, and finally, he said “James, drive over the bluff; I want to commit suicide.”

        1. Yik Wong

          Thank you. It needs some work, for example I forgot and left off:

          all the row of seats behind the friends of the village idiot are students either struggling to complete their homework, dumped onto the bus by the school nurse uncared-for, or stunned by the mellay at the front of the bus. The bus is rolling over immigrant children (representing the refuges and their respective countries “liberated” of their life and weal by USA)

          That’s our role.

  13. none

    Re shit sandwich metaphor: People see Trump as something like a fire that needs to be put out. So to fight the fire, they’re telling us to hire the arsonist who set the fire in the first place. Thanks but no thanks. I saw on Reddit that the Green and Libertarian party websites both crashed from heavy traffic after the debate.

    1. hunkerdown

      I wouldn’t put it past either duopoly party to DDoS their adversaries. Not that either party has any real beef with Libertarians/neoliberals, either, but it’s probably better if they get hit too then everyone can blame it on the #KHive and (because Harris is a team player when it comes to policy) everyone will be rewarded, not punished. I wonder how that proud saboteur act is working out for Ady Barkan lately. Is the Democrat Party going to pay off their medical bills after the terminal illness for being a good soldier, or are they going to show us how they really feel?

      Still, if the traffic is legitimate, that’s excellent news.

    2. neo-realist

      When the greens and the libertarians start running and winning senate and congressional seats, then they’ll have more relevance than a mere protest vote that goes nowhere toward getting power.

  14. Ignacio

    I think that the graph on Covid cases and incidence by US territories merits analysis. Could social/behavioural/human movement/climate factors be identified to explain the different evolution in the territories? Apart from the boring political split, please. For instance, would the West and the South territories be preferred touristic destinations compared with the Mid-West? Could this have had a role in the summer peaks?

    1. Carolinian

      South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have almost identical deaths per 1 million and all draw northern tourists and Atlanta has the world’s busiest airport. I do think tourism and internal tourism (all my neighbors probably at Myrtle Beach at some point) may have caused our summer surge.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I think that the graph on Covid cases and incidence by US territories merits analysis.

      We are looking at an enormous natural experiment (making good data all the more important).

  15. Kije Hazelwood

    It’s the evil of two lessers that’s confounding us. How did the Dems get this far from their base?

    1. Carla

      “How did the Dems get this far from their base?”

      They’ve been practicing for 40 years, and not having convinced themselves that they achieved perfection in 2016, they’re trying the same strategy (a candidate nobody wants with policies to match) in 2020. Because, they can.

      If you didn’t read the Black Agenda Report piece in this morning’s Links, get thee back to it now!

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      FDR is the one who took them away from their base. They’ve finally made their way back.

      1. hunkerdown

        This. The recent close approaches were the outliers. Ruling classes have always sought to set themselves apart from those whom they rule.

    3. Samuel Conner

      > How did the Dems get this far from their base?

      Two words and a number: Harry Truman 1944

  16. cocomaan

    Neither weightlifter T nor weightlifter B can lift The Barbell of Our Country’s Problems.

    I think this is an apt metaphor, Lambert, because the fact of the matter is that we’ve invested way too much power in the executive while letting the legislature goof off for decades. We have one of the weakest legislative branches in the history of the nation and it shows. Hell, the legislative branch gave their power not only to the executive branch, but started letting the judicial branch write the laws as well!

    A unitary executive in charge of a global hegemonic empire that consists of interlinking federal bureaucracies (military and civilian), financial and corporate players, and various NGO’s, is going to fail because empire always crumbles under its own weight – to continue the metaphor!

  17. Hepativore

    Actually, I would go with the comparison between Trump and Bidarris as…

    Trump is a small but particularly foul-smelling turd that you have to eat but it will be over and done with.

    Bidarris is a bowl of sh*t that you will be served that you will probably have to swallow again in 2024 because of the DNC and incumbent inertia and possibly in 2028 due to the Biden part stepping down and Harris taking over. Harris would hypothetically be free to run for president again in 2028 due to the fact if she replaces Biden during his presidency it would not count as a full term and the DNC will probably make sure that a candidate similar Sanders never gets that close to the presidency in the future.

    1. Pat

      IIRC if Biden drops before the midterms, Kamala would NOT be able to run for a second term. She would only be eligible to run for a second time if she serves less than two years of Biden’s term.

  18. barefoot charley

    I think this was flagged in Links this morning, but it bears repeating: The Chamber of Commerce has shifted its money hoses to to Joe “I am the Party” Biden’s Democrats, and specifically refused to fund the hopefully failing re-elections of Collins in Maine and that schmuck in North Carolina. So they’re bidding for uniparty Democratic rule of both Houses and the Executive, confident that Biden will deliver everything they expect from a good Republican. I believe them. Who was the last Democrat they invested in?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Anyone still labelling Biden a “Democrat” has not been paying attention. Do you think they pulled in all those high-profile Republicans for nothing? Into the friggin convention? With 2 of his 17 advisors being actual registered R’s, while Bernie’s people got a goose egg? And you heard the man in plain English: against the GND and against M4A. But what terrifies me was the look in his eyes when he raged at the convention: “No more cozying up to foreign dictators!” (unspecified who those are but I suspect they may live in Damascus, Caracas, Tehran, and Moscow).

      This is about uniparty rule, not some antiquated notions about The New Deal or the Great Society. For the record, they want more globalism and more war. Raise your hand if you think those are clever ideas…lesser evilism indeed.

  19. Noone from Nowheresville

    So, that’s my new metaphor. I don’t think it’s concise enough for Twitter, though. Maybe some helpful readers can improve on it. Or shoot it down!

    50 Shades of Evilism. On the power choice menu: The rewards of surrender. Meting out pleasure and pain. Whether or not a safe word can be used. Will the winner play games of Bondage & Discipline? Dominance & Submission? or Sadism & Masochism? with the loser’s tribe? those below the voter on the economic and/or social ladder? or just the rest of the world?

    There are after all always choices and tradeoffs to be made when it comes to exploring limits.

    Hey, you wanted a different metaphor. I hope it prompts others to go in really creative directions. I got my idea because I think evil is evil and don’t like shades of gray (lesser evil) because I think it diminishes or even excuses evil.

  20. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    The film ” Cezanne & I ” does IMO do a pretty good job of depicting the fiery nature of the artist, based around his relationship with Emile Zola. I would like to see a biopic of Courbet who was a socialist involved in the Paris Commune whose Grandfather fought in the Revolution & caused something of a revolution in Art himself through Realism by taking on the Salon well before Impressionism.

    During the Commune he was responsible for destroying the Vendome Column & after his 6 months in prison for his part in the rebellion, went into exile in Switzerland. About 4 years later he received a bill of 323.000 francs to pay for a new monument, split into instalments of 10,000 pa for 33 years ending when he would be aged 91 but he died aged 58 the day before the first instalment was due.

    Painted peasants amid scenes of abject poverty sometimes on huge canvasses on the scale of history painting which was seen as scandalous, as was his part portrait of the ballerina & courtesan Constance Queniuax titled ” The Origin of the world “, which was not surprisingly first publicly exhibited during the 1980’s.

    Suzanne Valadon also had an interesting life as a once favourite model of Renoir & Lautrec, who spent 3 weeks living with Erik Satie which he apparently never recovered from, before becoming an accomplished artist herself & a single parent of the artist Maurice Utrillo.


      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        You are most welcome – I read what I could about that period a few years back but as most of the biographies are in French & me being a monoglot it wasn’t easy, but I was able to pick up more information from the web.

        Around 250 artists took part in the commune including a favourite sculptor of mine named Jaques Dalou. The women are often overlooked especially the models many of whom were laundresses who only got Sunday afternoon off, when they would in Montmartre anyhow enjoy an all too brief holiday dancing at the Moulin Gallette. Renoir I believe painted how they felt during their brief respite from drudgery & a life that often didn’t last very long as in the case of one of his models whose name I can’t recall, whose care he paid for before her death from smallpox.

        There were many interesting characters on the periphery including this Irish lady who was connected to both Whistler & Courbet, while once being thought of as the model for the above – in your face painting.


  21. rswojo

    I have been talking to my wife about things I read on Naked Cap. Thanks to that she doesn’t like Biden. But she hates Trump, with a passion. She is not profane but during the first half hour of the “debate” she was dropping the F-bomb often and it was directed at Trump.

    My wife is somewhat apolitical but if many other women are like her Trump had better watch out. IMO my wife is typical of women in that they keep their mouth shut for the marriage sake (some of her sisters are married to Trump fans, they don’t talk politics with their husbands or anybody else) and they vote.

    My wife has an absentee ballot and she is so angry with Trump that she is voting in person and won’t take a chance on her absentee ballot not being counted.

  22. dcblogger

    for months lambert’s map has been showing Biden w/ 278 electoral votes. for Trump to win he has to hold everything he has plus take some away from Biden. Trump’s only chance is voter suppression and vapor voting machines. I think Biden wins and Democrats have a very good year.

    1. Louis Fyne

      IMO, PA MI WI MN should all be toss-ups.

      Team Biden is making the same smug “there is no alternative” mistakes as Clinton. just saying. YMMV

      1. Biph

        The one advantage Biden has is that HRC already lost to Trump so the the “don’t like the Dem candidate but hate Trump voters” are much more likely to vote and vote for Biden whereas last election enough of those people sat out or voted 3rd party or left the POTUS line blank thinking HRC had it in the bag to win Trump the election.

      2. ChrisAtRU

        Almost #sameSame …

        MN should be OK for Biden if trend holds steady. MI, WI & PA are toss up worthy.

    2. jo6pac

      ” I think Biden wins and Democrats have a very good year.”

      Sadly us on Main Street will not, just saying since he has said nothing will change.

      1. edmondo

        The Democratic Party DONORS will have a very good year. The rest of us, “Have we got a sandwich for you!”

      2. ChrisAtRU

        If it’s any consolation, a Biden win would tank MSNBC & CNN ratings for the next four years. No #Russiagate. No #Impeachment. No looking back in anger. Obama set the precedent when he failed to go after Bush, and Biden would follow suit … great restorer of the soul of this nation that he is.

        1. rowlf


          “… and President Biden took a nap in an presidential way today…”

          Not so good for the advertisers.

  23. ambrit

    The article besmirching Edward Hopper for copying the works of previous good artists is a non-event.
    Every competent artist starts out copying the “Masters.” How else do you learn your trade? It can be overt or subconscious, but all sophonts learn through copying and analyzing their more skilled peers.
    The exception would be someone like ERB’s “Lord Greystoke,” who, abandoned as a baby to grow up in a troop of African Australopithecines, independently invented symbolic language as a precocious child. (See “Tarzan of the Apes,” 1912, the definitive biography of this fabulous personage.) [And, no, I must aver yet again that my Lord Greystoke does not reside in Castle Grayskull.] Such an achievement is in the Super Genius category. Not many of those around, thank the Gods and assorted djinns, afreets, demons, and clergy.
    Similarly, the practice of artists painting together, often plein air, is hallowed. There are many mentions of such parties happening during the Impressionist period. Many of the later famous ‘daubers’ did so. Often, this would be an excuse for a ‘working’ vacation, since the plein air sites would often be in rural districts and necessitate a ‘change of scene’ for the artists.

  24. XXYY

    Neither weightlifter T nor weightlifter B can lift The Barbell of Our Country’s Problems.

    This is a better metaphor than the sh*t sandwich, though it assumes both weightlifters sincerely want to lift the weight. In reality, both T and B seem like they have their own agendas that don’t have much to do with weightlifting; they are trying to sell beer to the audience or get a deal on the arena.

    I have previously compared this election to arguing whether you would rather be shot in the arm or the leg. You can probably get a spirited debate going between the arm people and the leg people, but the real question is why do we have a system where we have to get shot at all? Why are these our only choices? Shouldn’t we be getting food, shelter, education, and healthcare from our government instead of being shot?

    Any successful metaphor should highlight the futility of the system we have now, regardless of who “wins”, for delivering what the population really needs.

  25. fwe'zy

    Update on Citi scam: recall that I had made extra monthly payments ahead of the billing cycle, and skipped August. Then I got a $39 late fee and now they jacked my interest rate up to 29.99%. Wow just wow! During a pandemic, yup. Please do not bring me any tales of your awesomeness away from credit. This is about fraud-adjacent behavior on a mega scale, not about your awesomeness.

    1. Acacia

      Something similar happened to me. When I asked their service rep why they hiked the APR to nearly 30%, she said: “I don’t know how that happened.” After I paid it off, I called again to close the account and definitively get away from them, but they kept trying to ply me with 0% APR deals and then wanted to conduct “Why do you want to leave when we offered you such a sweetheart deal?” surveys. They just wouldn’t take “no thank you” for an answer (repeated dozens of times) and kept transferring me to other staff for nearly 40 mins. It was a nightmare.

      And to think Joe Biden has been carrying water for these CC companies. No way I would ever vote for that scum.

  26. Annus Horribilis

    Life is hard. As Hopper paints it, life is hidden in a suspension populated by uncommunicative women. As a young man raised in harsh Baptism, Ed Hopper’s imagination was liberated by Parisian women sitting cafes, some plying the oldest trades. But upon returning across the Atlantic, it was Josephine Hopper, his wife with whom he traveled West in a picket line of gas station oases and hotel rooms, who would serve exclusively as his model of meditative women revealing nothing.

    In addition to Edward’s depictions of trading posts of the unconscious, Jo Nevinson Hopper kept diaries in which she feared her work would be destroyed and forgotten. It was. The oblivion is Jo’s, not Edwards, and its absence is profound. She was no continental salon demimonde; Jo titled most of Ed’s work, after schlepping a chronically fatigued Edward through this toneless world.

  27. ewmayer

    Just encountered a rather hilarious coincidence – in yesterday’s 2pmwc I made a “what if Monday night’s debate had been scripted pro-wrasslin’-style?” post, featuring Kamala Harris doing a shocking Face-to-Heel turn and taking Joe Biden out with a folding chair. Just now was preparing to send a friend a link to the Wikipedia entry for pro-wrasslin’ Kayfabe, and what do I see in one of the examples given there?

    “The term kayfabe was often used as a warning to other wrestlers that someone who was not “in the know” was in the vicinity. This could include wrestlers’ family members who had not been clued into the scripted nature of professional wrestling.[3] Examples of kayfabe being kept even from family members was illustrated in an article describing how in the 1970s, the wife of James Harris (known under the ring name Kamala) was celebrating that her husband had just won a $5,000 prize as he won a battle royal; not realizing that the prize money was simply a storyline or kayfabe.”

    Note that “Kamala” was the ring name of James Harris, not his non-wrestler wife … so the modern reincarnation is a female VP candidate. It’s, like, totally woke, man!

  28. h2odragon

    Re Keyboards: the best keyboard ever is still available: https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UB4041A

    I just got one of these the other day and it is like snapping a missing limb back on. Cannot recommend it more highly.

    I beat a dozen *old, real* Model M’s into pieces over the last 20 years, so I expect this one to die within a couple of years; but the “gamer mechanical” stuff being sold now isn’t worthy of the name and died under my fingers in 2 months of use.

  29. Ahimsa

    my very subjective impression, here — his startlingly blue eyes seemed fixed, and somehow too small. His skin, especially the skin of his forehead, seemed oddly papery. Though Biden doesn’t walk or stand like he’s frail, in those addresses he looked frail. Trump, by contrast, looked vital, despite his girth.

    Concur: President Trump is genuinely quick witted and scrappily fought his corner, Obama-sidekick-Biden came across as an old man whose days of strength and vitality are long gone. This was the best they could put up against Trump??? The Dems are a joke.

  30. Sailor Bud

    My Trump-Biden analogy is scatological too, plays on a common adage, but different kind of bowl. I’m not so comfortable with eating the stuff (ew) even in metaphor. So I think of Biden & Trump as:

    Turds of a tether who float together.

    I don’t really care to stand there and size up which turd is bigger. I just want to flush both and clean the bowl and myself, then get on my way.

    Anyway, doesn’t fit the requested dilemma metaphor, but there are plenty of those already, from Sophie’s Choice to Lucy van Pelt, etc…

  31. Anonymouse

    I would rate this as a marathon. Neither candidate can run 26 miles. Trump will pout and then walk in the wrong direction. Biden will run 5 and say he did his best.

    The action over the next 4 years will occur in states like CA, MA, NY, and other smaller states. If Trump is in charge, I fully expect that the Federal government will stand in the way by cutting funding and otherwise mucking up the works. If Biden is in charge, then there is a prayer of moving in the right direction at the local level.

    I think there is the false hope of people on the Left that if Biden loses, this will lead the Democratic party to move to Bernie-style politics and perhaps even a change in mindset. I have a simpler attitude–a win for Biden will move the country the left, and a win for Trump will move it right.

    1. nippersdad

      “I have a simpler attitude–a win for Biden will move the country the left, and a win for Trump will move it right.”

      I have an even simpler attitude: “Look forward not back” has been the de facto mantra of the Democratic party for forty years now. Biden would simply legitimize, legalize and expand upon Trump’s policies so that they can all get together and feed each other candy at public events.

      The norms must be observed.

    2. edmondo

      If “the left” wastes any of its time with the Democratic Party after what happened in 2020, they deserve to lose.

    3. Pookah Harvey

      But it worked so well when “progressives lost the election” for Gore, Kerry and Clinton. I’m sure that establishment Democrats will tun into socialists if Biden loses.

    4. hunkerdown

      “The country” is already well to the left of both parties on economics and center-right on what we’re actually allowed to vote on, which is merely culture. Voting only encourages people to our right. And no mistake that it is merely encouragement, non-binding, which they can and do regularly ignore.

      Now we see that market-based solutions, in which one must choose between competing resources by spending their capital, are worthless.

  32. TonyinSoCal

    Biden would often turn away from Trump and Wallace, and address the camera directly, with a (no doubt prepared) speech. When he did — my very subjective impression, here — his startlingly blue eyes seemed fixed, and somehow too small. His skin, especially the skin of his forehead, seemed oddly papery. Though Biden doesn’t walk or stand like he’s frail, in those addresses he looked frail. Trump, by contrast, looked vital, despite his girth.

    My reaction couldn’t be more fundamentally different. Trump 2016 was cocky, fun, smacked around the politician “swap creatures” through the primaries and on into the debate with Hillary, and wasn’t an emotional (angry, hysterical, ranting, rambling) mess. I laughed, I cried, I was riveted.

    Trump 2020 made a permanent resting asshole face the entire debate, was angry, hostile, defensive, barely cracked a few funny lines (“you were on two”), raved about incoherent conspiracy theories that only come off as bizarre to the majority of voters who are not fully plugged into the FOX-MSNBC stupidity. He was aggressive, but had very little to say, just rambling nonsense.

    Biden was not a hit in any respect, but he didn’t need to be. He just needed to seem semi-coherent and lucid and he passed the test. If Trump hadn’t have been almost psychotically talking through everything Biden’s talking to “the people” shtick wouldn’t have worked. But with Trump acting the lunatic, it came off as Biden cutting to the chase and just disregarding Trump’s nonsense.

    Not a fan of either, but Biden was the decisive winner of the debate in my book and I’m pretty perplexed by those (beyond Trumpaholics) reaching the opposite conclusion.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      “However, I think the screen also hurt Biden. Biden would often turn away from Trump and Wallace, and address the camera directly, with a (no doubt prepared) speech. When he did — my very subjective impression, here — his startlingly blue eyes seemed fixed, and somehow too small. His skin, especially the skin of his forehead, seemed oddly papery. Though Biden doesn’t walk or stand like he’s frail, in those addresses he looked frail. Trump, by contrast, looked vital, despite his girth. I’d like to hear if other reads saw what I saw.”

      I had a different take as well. I think my subjective take is based on expecting a more frail, incoherent Biden. As one who followed the Democratic primary quite closely, the propensity of Biden to be gaffe and lost-train-of-thought prone is my baseline. To the degree that he was able to shift away from agent-provocateur Trump, and face the camera constitutes a positive. From my rounds of litmus-testing across various social networks, many people in my extended (largely liberal) circles came away feeling similarly positive about that particular tack. Some expressed it as (paraphrasing) ignoring Trump’s incessant interruptions and speaking directly to the American people.

      I’m eagerly awaiting the first post debate polls from battleground states to surface on RCP. Only one I think so far. I’m curious if poor polling (dark and full of errors as they may be) will elicit a change in strategy from team Trump.


      1. Yves Smith

        I have been noticing Biden’s skin for a while and it really bothers me. The only other person I saw with skin like that was my father, who shot himself because the symptoms of his autoimmune disease had become unbearable. They made his skin so thin and brittle he could not use his hands. Even minor bumps would produce bloody bruises. Before he shot himself, he got ulcers in his mouth, and could not eat (losing 25% of his body weight) and could not sleep either.

        I am sure Biden does not have that. I am told a possible cause is steroids. Sustained use will thin out collagen.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          So sorry to hear of that, Yves. Terrible to have endured such circumstances. My sympathies. I will try to pay closer attention next debate. Save for his bloody eye at the one primary debate, and what appeared to have been at one point, a botox-like appearance – the smoothness as it were – I haven’t seen or heard many people allude to his skin condition as symptomatic of disease outside of these comments. Cheers.

  33. allan

    Barrett’s participation in 2006 ad calling for overturn of Roe v. Wade was not included in Senate disclosures [NBC]

    President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, failed to disclose her participation in a 2006 newspaper ad calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned and ending its “barbaric legacy” when she submitted paperwork to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Two Democratic committee aides confirm to NBC News that the two-page ad published in the South Bend Tribune, which included her name in a long list of those in support, was not disclosed in the Senate forms required of judicial nominees but maintain it should have been. They say it should have been included in the response to a question in those forms asking for citations of “books, articles, reports, letters to the editor, editorial pieces or other published material you have written or edited.” …

    Being in the Federalist Society means never having to say you’re sorry tell the truth.

    Not that this will make any difference to McConnell and Co.

  34. Apparently unworthy non criminal human

    Regarding Gavin Newsom and this mornings links: California task force will consider paying reparations for slavery Los Angeles Times (which I personally think would be a good thing, if it actually ever happened); but Newsom vetoes bill to provide rehiring protections for workers laid off amid COVID-19 pandemic

    This photo, from September 28th, of a morally inexplicably Grinning Newsom – in a prison laborer’s t-shirt no doubt gifted to him by partner in crime Kamala Harris -getting a flu jab during a live press conference: https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2020/09/30/16/33817376-8789973-California_s_Democratic_governor_Gavin_Newsom_broke_off_from_a_l-a-147_1601478544369.jpg speaks volumes about Newsom, just like the maskless photos of Pelosi and Senator Feinstein in places they most certainly should have been wearing them but they don’t even have one relaxing around their necks, or in their hands, let alone where they should be.

    I hope the shot giver made it particularly uncomfortable for our loathsome; duplicitous and amoral ( https://mobile.twitter.com/PplsCityCouncil/status/1304522636362481664 ); let them take toaster baths; Tesla collecting Golden State governor.

    And yes, on a related note, it seems every California Government Agency is just like Calpers: toxic; directed by amoral Pay to Players; and reported on by a duplicit Fourth Estate. The devaluation and deaths of voiceless and disconnected human lives (if they’re not on the internet, apparently they are subhuman) that have occured as a consequence – in a state so frequently lauded for its Progress™ and Meritocracy™ – would horrify anyone with a conscience if it were to be revealed in its entirety (e.g see in today’s links: Investors Extracted $400 Million From a Hospital Chain That Sometimes Couldn’t Pay for Medical Supplies or Gas for Ambulances).

    (if this ends up a dupliicate, sorry. I posted it hours ago and it was assigned what looked to be an unmoderated comment number but has not shown up yet.)

  35. John k

    Lambert’s weight lifting metaphor –
    Not apt. It assumes the lifters had any intention of solving the country’s problems. Unemployment problem? Lowers wages, so it’s a plus. Inequality? A plus for all those that count, the donors. Foreign wars? Ditto.
    White collar crime? Those are the donors!
    Think of it like this… most pols represent capitol. A few represent labor. IMO a progressive best advances progressive goals by never voting for the former, which avoids the false choice of determining a lesser evil.
    However, I do confess a bias. In 2016 I thought Bernie would have a shot in 2020 if Hillary lost in 2016. Similarly imo aoc or another progressive might have a shot in 2024 if Biden loses now. Granted dnc will push hard against, but the country might be in sufficiently bad shape in 2024 that enough are ready to vote progressive.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      AOC? Not likely. Gabbard? Quite possibly, if she can overcome the hatred-of-a-thousand-suns which the mainstream catfood democrats feel for her . . . . and also the stupidly disinformed malopinion which many SJW progressivoids choose to entertain against her.

  36. stefan

    As a ardent Bernie supporter in both 2016 and 2020, I’m disappointed, but mark me down as a Chomsky Democrat.

    In some bizarro world twist, progressive purists often come off apologizing for Trump, who is merely a bull in a china shop.

    I’m voting for Biden/Harris, who appear more likely to be influenced by the views of AOC, Sanders, Patrick Cockburn, Matt Stoller, Adolph Reed, Adam Tooze, Michael Hudson, Yves, Lambert, and Chomsky for that matter.

    1. Acacia

      The way Biden has been so influenced by everyone you list over his nearly five decades in office?

      “I am what I have told you I am all along.”

      Clearly, Democrat voters have done their homework, and thus their conviction that Biden is an avid reader of Chomsky, intellectual powerhouse, friend of the working man, and man of principle. Yep.

  37. Clem

    Thoughts on this morning’s links re Force Majeure in apparel workers.

    “But if the aforementioned terms like “pandemic” or “epidemic” are not included in the contract, Covid-19 might not be considered as a force majeure event unless the contract is being carried out in areas where the government has instructed all non-essential businesses to discontinue operations, consequently, deferring the performance of the contract. If the force majeure clause itself is not included in the contract, a party may still rely on the principle of rebus sic stantibus, when the circumstance under which the contract was originally made has fundamentally changed.”

    Can this be applied to the obligation to pay income taxes?

    Government has shut down the economy, therefore, how can they expect people to voluntarily pay income taxes? Even better, who ever signed a contract with the government to agree to pay?

  38. Samuel Conner

    Re: the weightlifting metaphor. perhaps an appeal to history would help (or not, given Americans’ evidence short political memories).

    “Variations on Hoover are inadequate. The country needs a Roosevelt”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Zio. . . nist?

      Or zio. . . neutral?

      Any linkable evidence either way?

      ( Oh, and separately . . . . phuck intersectionalitudinicity. That’s just more SJW leftard wokenazi bull-doodoo.)

    2. Basil Pesto

      idgi, couldn’t the zionists make the indigenous claim? to what sense can any group claim to be indigenous in that region given the various colonial rulers since the umayyad caliphate?* heck, you can go back even further. Is there some cut-off time period where an ethnic group can claim to be the new indigenous population after a certain period of time? It seems a bit… fraught for any ethnic group to claim indigeneity in that region.

      *further afield, was the reconquista a decolonisation (with gratuitous anti-semitism chucked in bc hey why not) or nah?

  39. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the scrawny weightlifters and the heavy weight ananolgy . . . here’s where it fails to go and thereby ends up breaking down.

    Suppose one of the weightlifters fails to lift the weight. Suppose the other weightlifter fails to lift the weight. Now suppose the other weightlifter pulls a gun and shoots one of the judges . . . and says ” I have X more rounds in the clip. Did I lift the weight?” The other judges say ” yes, you lifted the weight, Mr. Other Weightlifter.”

    If one of the weightlifters is prepared to shoot the judges, it doesn’t matter if he can’t “lift the weight”.

  40. Roland

    Biden/Harris means war by ’22. Trump is a bad president, but his re-election is the world’s best chance for peace.

    Trump is the first US president in a long time who has not added to the number of unnecessary wars being waged by his country. He has also at least attempted to negotiate with old enemies such as NK and the Taliban.

    Lesser Evil? Easy answer: Trump!

    1. howseth

      I missed that war by “’22 campaign slogan” from the Biden/Harris ticket.
      You say, “Trump is the world’s best chance for peace?” So why does it feel like we don’t even have to wait for Biden to start one? War coming sooner right here in the USA. Make America Great 1861 style?

      Trump the peace-nick! I was having my doubts. I noticed a contradiction today to your peaceful scenario – even Scott Adams, Mr. Dilbert, had deserted Trump due to his recent debate statement calling up the Proud Boys to, “Standby” which seemed Civil-Warlike. Adams was appalled! (This was reported by – none other than – Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman.)
      However, sure enough, I felt a wave of relief because Adams soon after his, No! Vote for Trump, pulled out – once again his most trusty meme: “Democrats Hate and Threaten Me’© So, I will vote Trump.”
      Adams, What a kidder – like Trump himself.
      We may have your Trumpean peace if Scott Adams is back in the fold.

  41. Wukchumni

    Wow, Hope Hicks comes down with Covid-19, and she was with the President the past few days, and Trump is in quarantine now…

    …nobody ever expects the haughty hawtie

  42. Keith in Modesto

    About the whole bowl of sh*t vs half-a-bowl of sh*t metaphor, here is why it captures the rage many feel at the Democratic Party:
    1. They don’t just put a half-a-bow of sh*it in front of us and expect us to eat it. They expect us to be happy about it. They expect us to simper and grovel, “Oh thank you! Thank you for this half-a-bowl of sh*t! This is wonderful and you’re wonderful!”
    2. They, on the other hand — they, the party bosses, the pundits, the exalted tech CEO’s, the pampered news hosts, the dizzy doyens of politics and policy, the audacious celebrities of Hollywood and New York — they must definitely do not get presented with that half-a-bowl of sh*t. No eating sh*t for them. Because for them, voting for Biden means continuing the status quo, where they get all the wealth and privilege, and we get no good jobs, no economic security, no good healthcare, more pollution, more wars, more pandemic, more global warming, more bowls half-full of sh*t.

    1. blowncue


      Have you tried plugging in the problematic USB keyboard to another computer and see if the issue persists or resolves?

      If it persists than that points to the keyboard. If it resolves then it points to a software issue. If you have the same problem with the new keyboard then it’s definitely the latter.

      What follows is what I used to do at AppleCare to isolate to the issue.,..

      You might consider safe booting your computer with the problematic keyboard and see if the issue persists or resolves. If it resolves in that tells me it could be some sort of third-party software

      If it persists you can create a new user account and see if the issue persists or resolve if it resolves then you have an issue somewhere in your user account

      Otherwise what’s left is the application layer and your operating system.

    2. Lost in OR

      For me, the worst part is them believing they can convince me it’s not sh!t. The worst part is the duplicity.

      As an afterthought, that paradigm has now changed. With Obama it was fake left drive right. I despised him for that. Biden is not even pretending about the left. And for my first complement of Biden, I appreciate his honesty. But now, that cat’s out of the bag. And I don’t think they care.

  43. YetAnotherChris

    Occasionally, Biden would flash a smile; he has a good smile.

    Biden used this gesture to great effect against Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan. On those occasions it conveyed, without words, “You’re in over your head, kid.” With Trump as his opponent it’s the same gesture but Biden is goading the audience to ask themselves, “Can you believe this clown is our president?” No Biden apologist, I found it effective.

        1. TBellT

          Many Republican/Democratic Apparatchik’s remembering Littlefinger’s motto “Chaos is a Ladder”

        2. Beniamino

          Methinks Trumpo just won the election. He has, what, 95% odds of survival per CDC figures and will come out of this, Coronavirus and all, still looking and acting orders of magnitude healthier than Biden.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      It’s not obvious to me how this will play out or affect the election. A good portion of Trump’s base thinks the virus is “fake news”, if he comes through strong it will reinforce that; I can’t even imagine where his base will be if he dies from it except that it’ll be QAnon CT x1000.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Well, there’s a Trump-supporting #YouTuber already joking-half-not-joking that if Trump dies from COVID-19 (the Chinese virus!) then one could consider Trump’s death an assassination by China.

        (via Twitter)

        … and that, folks … is my cue to hit the hay. TGIF commentariat!

      1. The Rev Kev

        The second Presidential debate is in two weeks time on October 16th. A lot can happen between now and then.

      2. edmondo

        Maybe the emphasis shouldn’t have been on “removing Trump”. The virus may make Biden’s campaign superfluous.

    2. UserFriendly

      I am gonna laugh so hard if both pathetic presidential candidates die of covid.

      Edit, oh you didn’t put it together that there is a decent chance he gave it to biden at the debate? lol

        1. edmondo

          Wasn’t Kamala also at the debate?

          LOL. The fkn comet we were all rooting for finally struck.

      1. rusti

        Why is there a “decent chance”? The timing of what they knew and when they knew it is unclear, but it sounds like they caught it in the incubation period and it is unlikely that he was infectious then. Maybe he’s infectious now, usually about 48 hours before symptom onset.

        1. Ignacio

          Virus shedding starts usually before symptoms appear and this might be specially true for the elder with slower and weaker innate response. Yet, I think is not very probable. Did they hug or kiss themselves?

          1. rusti

            I worded that poorly. When I wrote being infectious “then” I intended to refer to two nights prior during the debate rather than the diagnosis which came now. Interesting that pre-symptomatic shedding might be a function of innate response.

            As an aside, what’s the proper terminology if someone has a confirmed SARS-CoV2 infection but hasn’t shown symptoms yet? Is it technically incorrect to say he’s been diagnosed with COVID-19?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It would be wrong and rude to hope they die. But would it be so wrong to hope they experience weeks of torture so bad they sincerely wish they could die? Followed by months of a semi-crippled existence with round-the-clock pain-machine bodies to live in?

    3. Paradan

      JFC so the future is now either President Harris or President Pence. Both of them policy wise are exactly the same, but each causes a violent reaction from opposite sides of Americas political spectrum. This isn’t the shi* hitting the fan, this is the shi* hitting the fan so hard the blades fly off and kill people.

    4. ProNewerDeal

      I have 1 small unit of hope that if some PowerElite, be they Fed poliTrickian like ConManDon, Billionaires, or S&P500 CXO execs, die, almost die in ICU like UK PM Johnson, or have longhaul COVID symptoms, it MIGHT finally get the PowerElite to consider trying an Australian-type reduce weekly prevalence to under 50/100K approach.

      Health vs economy is a False tradeoff. Reduce & maintain prevalence to under 7/100K or at least 50/100K massively improves both the health & economic status quo.

      Out of pure selfish enlightened self interest maybe the sociopathic US PowerElite possibly MIGHT consider the Australian-ish approach now.

  44. kareninca

    Trump infected with covid. Here is someone’s comment from the WSJ comment section:

    On Monday, the day prior to the Debate, I concluded that if the President did not successfully accomplish the mission of pulverizing Biden in the Debate, then he would wait no longer than two days and then introduce some event which would upend and totally re-direct the conversation(s) about the Election into some sort of captivating channel that he and only he can control.

    Sure enough, two days following the Debate, from the President comes the sudden detonation of news which does precisely that. The President, the First Lady,


    Now I don’t want to *tell tales out of school,* but prepare yourselves for fourteen days of nightly *Fireside Chats With President Trump* into which he can insert anything and everything he desires, even introduce a brand new *tone,* and believe you me,

    *Every living person on the planet will be watching,* for various reasons.

    Just remember, in the month preceding a Presidential Election, everything that happens is about the Election.”

    So, this is the first prediction that I have come upon on this topic. I wonder if it will prove true.

  45. John Anthony La Pietra

    Another possible candidate for metaphor would be a recycling of this one used so pungently last time by Julian Assange. (He said it in his speech to the 2016 Green nominating convention, too.)

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