2:00PM Water Cooler 10/20/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Really sounds like sunny, open field, with insects in the background…


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:

Still rising, if anthing faster. Gonna be interesting to see what happens if the virus is really cranking in November or December, and the FDA says a vaccine is ready…

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

Unmistakable rise everywhere. Including Texas, which alas seems to have straightened out its data problem, in the past few days.

Here is the case fatality rate for the regions, the Northeast (yellow), Midwest (blue), West (red), and South (green):

I track confirmed cases, because I think they drive the economy via consumer behavior and shutdowns and reopenings. Nevertheless the chart does show the fatality situation improving, no doubt due to improved medical practice and the virus hitting a younger population. A bad way to go, though. It’s interesting to see that the Northeast’s curve is so diffrerent from the other regions: that spike in the middle is known among epidemiologists as Mount Cuomo. Kidding!



“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. October 3: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican; Iowa moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. October 6: Arizona moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic; Iowa from Leans Republican to Toss-up; Indiana from Likely to Safe Republican; New Mexico from Likely to Safe Democratic. October 8: NE-2 moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic. October 13: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. October 16: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican. October 19: No changes.G

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.

“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…).

“2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Election Project].

“California Ballots Mailed and Returned Tracker” [Political Data]. • California only, sadly.

“Where’s My Ballot?” [Alex Padilla]. “Tracking your vote-by-mail ballot—when it is mailed, received, and counted—has never been easier. The California Secretary of State is now offering Where’s My Ballot?—a new way for voters to track and receive notifications on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot. Powered by BallotTrax, Where’s My Ballot? lets voters know where their ballot is, and its status, every step of the way.” • Ballottrax. Shoulda gone long….

“State Fact Sheets” [Georgetown Universitty]. “[F]act sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive.”

All the deadlines, rules, and voting hours to know when casting your ballot in the 2020 presidential election” [Business Insider]. “Here are 12 interactive graphics, charts, and maps Insider created to answer your most common questions about voting in 2020.”


Swing States

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

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

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

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Biden eyes GOP candidates for Cabinet slots” [Politico]. “Joe Biden’s transition team is vetting a handful of Republicans for potential Cabinet positions — despite doubts it will win him new support from the right and the risk it will enrage the left. Reaching across the aisle to pick senior members of his administration could shore up Biden’s credentials as a unity candidate, a message he’s made a cornerstone of his campaign. Among the names being floated for possible Biden Cabinet posts are Meg Whitman, the CEO of Quibi and former CEO of eBay, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both of whom spoke at August’s Democratic National Convention. Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have also been mentioned, as has former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.), who resigned from Congress in 2018 and became a lobbyist.” • Sanders supporters, all.

Trump (R)(1):

See “Don’t “Trust the Science,” Trust Science While You Hone Your Critical Thinking Skills.” Oddly, or not, I don’t see either major party advocating for critical thinking.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump ordered malts during a classified intelligence briefing: report” [The Hill]. • As opposed to what? Cattleprods and some batteries? A Junior Explorer Surveillance Kit, complete with X-Ray glasses? The Collected Works of James Jesus Angleton?

Trump (R)(2): “Trump Fundraisers Spun Wheels, Spending 77 Cents to Bring in $1” [Bloomberg]. “President Donald Trump’s campaign found it harder to raise money from small-dollar donors in the final months before the election, spending 77 cents of each dollar it received in the third quarter on future fundraising efforts, according to federal disclosures that highlighted the funding gap with Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Spending by the campaign’s grassroots fundraising arm, Trump Make America Great Again, to pursue small donors was far higher than throughout his re-election campaign, when it spent 47 cents per dollar raised.” • Hoo boy.

* * *

KY: Lol–

The DNC never wanted to run a winner (that would have been Charles Booker), but they did want to raise an enormous amount of cash, which they did. I thought McGrath was a mortal lock for an MSNBC slot (woman, more-or-less fighter pilot, resistor of evil), but apparently her demeanor is completely wooden. Oh well. She’ll have to be content with a book deal. Bright spot!

“Republican voters take a radical conspiracy theory mainstream” [New York Times (via)]. “The followers of this online phenomenon [QAnon] believe that the Democratic establishment and much of the Republican elite are deeply corrupt, and that Trump was delivered to save America from both.” • I’ve underlined the part where the cray cray pins the Crayometer™.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The controversy over left-wing populism” [Chantal Mouffe, Le Monde Diplomatique (nvl)]. “[T]here is no such thing as populism as a single entity that one can theorise about or conceptualise. There are only populisms, which explains why the notion produces so many interpretations and contradictory definitions… Movements that adopt populism always arise in the context of a crisis of the hegemonic model. In this light, populism appears to be neither an ideology, nor a regime, nor a specific platform. Everything depends on the way the us/ them opposition is drawn, as well as the historic contexts and socio-economic structures in which this opposition is deployed. Understanding different populisms involves going back to the specific conditions of their emergence rather than reducing them to manifestations of the same ideology….”

Stats Watch

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

Housing: “August 2020 CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index Rent Price Growth Is Above 2% For The First Time Since April 2020” [Econintersect]. “The Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and among 20 metropolitan areas shows a national rent increase of 2.1% year over year, down from a 2.9% year-over-year increase in August 2019…. The Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and among 20 metropolitan areas shows a national rent increase of 2.1% year over year, down from a 2.9% year-over-year increase in August 2019.”

Construction: “September 2020 Residential Building Growth Significantly Improves” [Econintersect]. “Headline residential building permits and construction completions significantly improved – with the rolling averages improving…. The backward revisions this month were small. It is always difficult to understand the trends as the backward revisions sometimes reverse trends month-to-month. The nature of this industry normally has large variations from month-to-month (mostly due to weather) so the rolling averages are the best way to view this series. The rolling averages say this sector is expanding.”

Consumer spending: “Consumer Spending During the Pandemic” [New York Times]. Handy chart:

From the standpoint of saving the planet, it’s probably good that gas stations, electronics/appliances, and clothing are all down (though I wish “nonstore retailers” was broken down. You can’t drive up to the pump at Amazon, though.

* * *

Commodities: “Copper Climbs to Over 2-Year High” [Trading Economics]. “Copper futures continued the upward momentum in October, trading above $3.11 per pound, the highest since June of 2018 supported mostly by stronger demand from China and worries about supply disruptions in Chile. After months of underperforming, the Chinese economy is gathering momentum with industrial production increasing by 6.9 percent year-on-year in September 2020, the most since December 2019. Meanwhile, workers at Chile’s state-run Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, reject layoffs announced by the company during the pandemic.” • This is an interesting aggregator.

Shipping: “Container slots sell out, risking holiday ‘shipageddon'” [Freight Waves]. “‘The ships are 100% full. The containers are 100% full. You can’t get a container built. You can’t pick up a ship from the spot market. The whole container-shipping cycle is at absolutely full pulse,’ exclaimed Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express (ONE), the world’s sixth-largest container line…. ‘Our job now is to keep the network going from an operational standpoint,’ Nixon continued. ‘The ports are getting jammed up now. We’re starting to see bottlenecks in the supply chain. That’s another challenge going into this winter.’ Some market watchers thought volumes and rates would relent in the wake of the China Golden Week holiday in early October. It hasn’t happened yet. The trans-Pacific market is still at its peak.” • This whole piece merits careful study.

Shipping: “YRC Worldwide is preparing for a new tranche of government aid as Congress is raising questions about the use of coronavirus-relief funds to effectively bail out the business” [Wall Street Journal]. “Treasury Department officials say they designated the less-than-truckload operator as critical to national security on guidance from the Pentagon, the WSJ Logistics Report’s Jennifer Smith writes, and that the contractor for domestic military transport was facing ‘a liquidity crisis.’

Manufacturing: “The market for the world’s smallest electronic components is going through big disruption. Intel is nearing a deal to sell a memory-chip unit to South Korea’s SK Hynix for roughly $10 billion. …, in a deal that would push the semiconductor giant away from an area of historical importance” [Wall Street Journal]. “Although Intel is best known for making the central processing units at the heart of personal computers, the company has deep roots in the memory business. But that market has been shaken by U.S. efforts to curb the rise of China’s tech industry and restrict exports to Chinese firms such as Huawei Technologies. That comes as consolidation has swept through a sector critical to technology and electronics supply chains. Chip makers are seeking scale and to expand their product portfolios to support the increasing number of everyday items that are connected to the internet.” • I can’t thing of any better reason to offshore another manufacturing capability than the Internet of Things:

So awesome. Couldn’t happen to a nicer vehicle.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 59 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 20 at 12:05pm.

The Biosphere

“Satellites could soon map every tree on Earth” [Nature]. “Terrestrial ecosystems are defined in large part by their woody plants. Grasslands, shrublands, savannahs, woodlands and forests represent a series of gradations in tree and shrub density, from ecosystems with low-density, low-stature woody plants to those with taller trees and overlapping canopies. Accurate information on the woody-vegetation structure of ecosystems is, therefore, fundamental to our understanding of global-scale ecology, biogeography and the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, water and other nutrients. Writing in Nature, Brandt et al.1 report their analysis of a massive database of high-resolution satellite images covering more than 1.3 million square kilometres of the western Sahara and Sahel regions of West Africa. The authors mapped the location and size of more than 1.8 billion individual tree canopies; never before have trees been mapped at this level of detail across such a large area.

Feral Hog Watch

“Romans Want to Get Rid of Wild Boars, but Killing Them? That’s Another Matter” [New York Times]. “From the city’s central streets to the outlying arteries that border parks and woods, boars have become a major driving hazard. The threat is not limited to Rome — earlier this month, two former professional soccer players died when their car hit some wild boars crossing a highway in northern Italy. Boars are a point of contention throughout the country. Hunters have argued that the perpetually hungry animals are nuisances that have bred out of control and need to be culled to save the country’s agriculture….Rome’s boar troubles mirror the dilemmas faced by developed areas around the world, as they try to keep in check populations of deer, geese, bears, coyotes, sea gulls or other creatures without running afoul of animal lovers. In many places, humans have eliminated the animals’ natural predators or competitors, while inadvertently providing a food surplus for those that remain.”

Our Famously Free Press

“New Yorker Suspends Jeffrey Toobin for Masturbating on Zoom Call” [Vice]. “The New Yorker has suspended reporter Jeffrey Toobin for masturbating on a Zoom video chat between members of the New Yorker and WNYC radio last week. Toobin says he did not realize his video was on…. Two people who were on the call told VICE separately that the call was an election simulation featuring many of the New Yorker’s biggest stars: Jane Mayer was playing establishment Republicans; Evan Osnos was Joe Biden, Jelani Cobb was establishment Democrats, Masha Gessen played Donald Trump, Andrew Marantz was the far right, Sue Halpern was left wing democrats, Dexter Filkins was the military, and Jeffrey Toobin playing the courts. There were also a handful of other producers on the call from the New Yorker and WNYC.” • In other words, when the New Yorker was decided to redo the Transition Integrity Project’s election wargaming but without subject matter experts, Toobin’s going meta as he did was thoroughly appropriate? Granted, the manner was a little crass, and a lot of people are dunking on him. For example:

This works too. Thread:


To me, this is just another example of the disaster that David Remnick’s tenure as editor has been. I’m so old I remember when The New Yorker was good. Or perhaps I wasn’t downwardly, or outwardly, mobile.

Sports Desk

“Were Troy Aikman and Joe Buck mocking military flyovers before NFL game? Take a listen.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]. • Hopefully.

Protests and Riots

“AP finds most arrested in protests aren’t leftist radicals” [Associated Press]. “Very few of those charged appear to be affiliated with highly organized extremist groups, and many are young suburban adults from the very neighborhoods Trump vows to protect from the violence in his reelection push to win support from the suburbs…. In thousands of pages of court documents, the only apparent mention of antifa is in a Boston case in which authorities said a FBI Gang Task Force member was investigating “suspected ANTIFA activity associated with the protests” when a man fired at him and other officers. Authorities have not claimed that the man accused of firing the shots is a member of antifa…. Several of the defendants are not from the Democratic-led cities that Trump has likened to “war zones” but from the suburbs the Republican president has claimed to have “saved.” Of the 93 people arrested on federal criminal charges in Portland, 18 defendants are from out of state, the Justice Department said.”

Class Warfare

“US billionaires saw their net worth rise by almost $1 trillion between March and October – Jeff Bezos remains the richest, a study says” [Business Insider]. “US billionaires have seen their net worth rise by almost a trillion dollars since the onset of the pandemic in mid-March, with Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert logging the biggest increases, according to a survey on Tuesday. The 644 billionaires in question saw their net worth rise to $3.88 trillion by October 13, up $930.7 billion from $2.95 trillion from March 18, based on a study by the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness that used Forbes data. Their total wealth is nearly double the $2.1 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans, the survey showed.” • It’s hard to believe that “the economy” became more productive during a pandemic, so this trilliion would represent pure extraction. “re is a great deal of ruin in a nation,” as Adam Smith said.

“The Mad, Mad World of Niche Sports Among Ivy League–Obsessed Parents” [The Atlantic]. • Horrifying. Good insight into what drives “predatory precarity” in the PMC. It would be so, so much easier if credentials were inherited — not as legacy admissions, but overtly — as under feudalism.

How prices work:

The replies are pretty good, too.

News of the Wired

I wasn’t feeling wired today, and so I thought I’d search YouTube on “wire.” I found this:

* * *
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 (AM):

AM writes: “From my walk in Roger Williams Park — a very showy maple tree. The splendor of Fall.” Gorgeous! Readers, if you have any fall foliage pictures, do feel free to send them in.

* * *

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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. TBellT

    After another weekend call with my parents, with them screaming at how could I not care about voting, I’m just so ready for this farce of an election to be over. I long for the day when liberals just ignored all the country’s problems versus all the misdirected rage of the Trump years. If I have to hear more “foreign agent” talk I’m going to have to start drinking more regularly.

    1. DJG

      TBellT: I do encourage you to vote. If you happen to be in a place like Chicago, where I am, there are plenty of important down-ballot races, like our metropolitan water district, which manages Chicago’s ever-flowing water. And what’s more real than water. We are allowed to vote for three candidates, and I backed two Green Party candidates, as one way of keeping the Greens on the ballot.

      Also, too, when I hear “foreign agent” talk, I think immediately of cognac. Nothing says “foreign agents subverting the Constitution” more than a good nip (two fingers) of some cognac from a small French maker.

    2. Lee

      I strongly advise you to lie to them and to only drink in moderation. You could become a secret agent of the left operating behind enemy lines. You could provide us with reports for which alas we can only pay you in rubles.

    3. jr

      Amen. I’m ignoring one friend’s emails till after the election to avoid being canvassed for the zillionth time…my GF is volunteering to phone bank for the Texas Democrats and glares at me when I shrug…

    4. Mikel

      You too? My mom thinks because I criticize Biden that I am going to vote for Trump.
      I told her it does no good to call me in California about my vote for the Presidential election.
      And that we can talk about the electoral collage if she wanted to talk about the Presidential election.

      1. Briny

        Yep, absolutely no point in voting the Presidential election in Cali. I am paying particular attention to the ballot propositions, but I always do that.

  2. zagonostra

    >Satellites could soon map every tree on Earth – Nature

    So if commercial satellites can map almost 2 billion trees, how easy is it for military satellites to map the movements of 328 million Americans?

    I’m not feeling so optimistic about this technological advancement. It seems that Jason Bourne was a tip-off as to how far the surveillance state’s capacity to use satellite imagery has advanced to and Snowden seems to have only confirmed what use it’s being put to…yeah for the trees, not so much for me.

    The authors mapped the location and size of more than 1.8 billion individual tree canopies; never before have trees been mapped at this level of detail acro

    1. Tom Doak

      They don’t need to do the work on keeping track of people – we do it for them with our cell phones. (Trees aren’t that naive.) TPTB just assume that anyone without a cell phone is probably harmless if not on their radar otherwise.

    2. Phillip Allen

      1998’s Enemy of the State revealed much of the capacity that anchors the Bourne Identity panopticon narrative from 2002. I enjoyed EotS in part for the resonance of Gene Hackman’s Edward Lyle in this film and his performance as Harry Caul in 1974’s The Conversation.

  3. Bruno

    “US billionaires have seen their net worth rise by almost a trillion dollars since the onset of the pandemic in mid-March”

    The onset of the pandemic (official recognition of the existence of COVID) was in early January if not (unofficially) earlier. So comparisons to mid-March (the first “dump” phase of the Dump and Pump operation) are totally dishonest. “There are lies, damnlies, and statistics” (Mark Twain)

  4. Reader_In_Cali

    I am HOLLERING! Lambert, McGrath isn’t a lesbian, she just looks very much the part hahahahahahaha

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You are right to holler; I had that factoid mentally filed away, and I was wrong, so I corrected the post.

      (I had no problem with it; I do have a problem with “lesbian militarists are a victory for women everywhere” and such-like.)

      1. Reader_in_Cali

        I assumed you didn’t have a problem with it, which is why it was so funny! Just another observational box ticked: the sky is blue, W. is being rehabilitated, McGrath is a lesbian, etc. bwahahahahaha Thank you for today’s laugh!

  5. Dita

    Re Jeffrey Toobin: Let’s not rush to judgment. Maybe Toobin is the keyboard Pricasso, and he was typing with his, er, johnson.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      To be fair, he needed a court order and a paternity test of his mistress’ kid to pay child support, so…

    2. fresno dan

      October 20, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      Conor Friedersdorf @conor64
      When Occam’s Razor suggests someone humiliated himself through a combo of technological error, pandemic circumstances, bad judgment, & bad luck, it seems like we should react w/ empathy, politeness, & forgiveness, as we would want to be treated, rather than punitive mockery
      Gee, I was thinking it was caused by viewing PornHub while you were suppose to be paying attention to members people displayed in your zoom session. Now, without specifics of how many Toobins I engage in per day, I usually manage to happily end them prior to, or post completion of, the webcam session.

      1. Pelham

        To Friedersdorf: Yes, let’s shower on Toobin the same empathy he has shown to Edward Snowden.

        Personally, given what we know about Toobin, I doubt the inappropriate display was really a mistake.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I’d love to have a chat with William of Occam to see if “a combo of technological error, pandemic circumstances, bad judgment, & bad luck” meets his condition of the simplest explanation usually being the right one.

        I mean, what in the world do “pandemic circumstances” have to do with anything?

        Somehow I think that toobin is a stupid, malignant pervert is more in keeping with the principle.

        1. chris

          Toobin has the matter well in hand…

          I will say this though, my oldest and I have been going through rhetoric on the patriarchy and such. Taking yea/no positions and flipping. This whole thing with Toobin though, and the rush of media elites to say we should be merciful is peak patriarchy. There is no reason a grown man, in the middle of a conference call, needs to do that. It’s not puritanical to say that if you can’t wait a few minutes to do that then you have a serious issue and need some kind of therapy. You also deserve whatever consequences get thrown at you because you can’t control your impulses at work!

          P.S. how many people are looking at papers he’s edited and wondering what the white correcting fluid on the page really is…

            1. Wukchumni

              There once was a lawyer on Zoom
              Who revealed too little in his room
              An open & shut prima facie case
              All sadly evidence based

  6. Mikel

    Wow. The real story about the Toobin call: exposing (pun intended) ways the propaganda playbook is written. “Election simulation…”

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      And “Election Simulation” is just a few letters away from what Toobin was doing. Maybe he should invest In some new reading glasses.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        Well, they were re-enacting the original TIP circle jerk, and I’d wager he wasn’t the only one who heard “tip,” “election,” and “simulation” and got all hot and bothered. The others must have been thanking the Internet gods for making sure their video wasn’t turned on as well.

    2. hunkerdown

      Explains why so much of the neolib media, especially in the era of Never Trump, reads as barely sublimated slash fiction.

      It is fun to read these sorts of exposures in light of Graeber’s “Manners, Deference, and Private Property” to understand how these sorts of occurrences are actually extremely corrosive to the legitimacy of elites. It is their separateness from bodily substance that makes them “high”. Is high culture, high society, high everything really all just a circle jerk we could do without? I’m starting to wonder about the last part.

  7. Mikel

    “Libertarians: “I believe in the power of a free market economy to set prices.”

    The economy: all prices are ultimately determined by the “spread” parameter inside an Excel workbook maintained by a single back-office associate at BlackRock….”

    Drop mic.

    1. shtove

      Clock the quote in the replies: the narrowing of the power base through financial obligations eases the socialist takeover.

  8. Toshiro_Mifune

    This Ferrari got bricked because someone tried to upgrade it underground….where there’s no cell reception. DRM in cars rules

    Reading through the Reddit thread on this; Owner of said Ferrari (2020 Portofino by appearance) was having a child seat installed when someone installing the seat tripped the anti-theft system which then immobilized the car.
    Immobilizers being a pain and malfunctioning aren’t really new. See below for Clarkson’s issues with an immobilizer circa 2004.
    Not that i want to spoil the schadenfreude.


  9. Mikel

    RE: “Container slots sell out, risking holiday ‘shipageddon’”

    Unless you know how much of it is already paid for orders and how much of it is for the shelves, it all means whatever anyone wants it to mean.

  10. fresno dan

    “New Yorker Suspends Jeffrey Toobin for Masturbating on Zoom Call” [Vice].

    In a post yesterday I noted my unease with displaying myself…uh, showing my private um, myself on skype.
    The thing problem is, although it is hard difficult to state, I am never quite sure when this camera is on, and the member participants who can see me.
    Now, without confirming or denying Toobinesque activities which causes certain physiological responses, and necessitates certain manual activities to keep the situation in hand from getting out of hand OK. let us never speak of hands again…
    So, having a webcam turned on operating is like holding a cocked gun, just ready to go off.

        1. Tom Doak

          Yes for one’s peers the shame and mockery and loss of status are seen as punishment enough – there would be no point in jail time.

          Too bad they don’t apply that same logic and concern to the tens of thousands incarcerated for petty offenses.

    1. Carla

      Easy enough to stick a little label over the eye of the camera. Then no one can see you. I have one over my camera all the time, except when I “want to be seen” on a Zoom call.

    1. anon in so cal

      Weighing Trump’s rhetoric versus the fact that Obama and Biden started 5 new wars and escalated 2 others….

      As far as SALT, Democrats have effectively ruined prospects for diplomacy and peace with Russia. Biden says “Russia must pay a heavier price” and wants Ukraine in NATO…..WW3-level rhetoric.

        1. apleb

          There are nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad already. Russian ones.
          There are ABM ones in Poland just across the border. Nuclear ones too probably since rey use the exact same VLS containers both..

          So that ship has sailed a long time ago.

  11. Pat

    What does it say about the meritocracy when one of its members considers it appropriate to jerk off during a work call as long as his video is off? Important detail that while he is a type of whore, Mr. Toobin is NOT a professional sex worker, where it would be wrong if he didn’t have the video on.

    Sort of causes Trump milk shake order to seem downright professional. Is there anyway this could be because of Russian interference?

    1. Basil Pesto

      What does it say about the meritocracy when one of its members considers it appropriate to jerk off during a work call as long as his video is off?

      Probably nothing. Gloriously, onanism transcends the identity/class-identity spectrum. Everyone does it, and loads have probably done it on the clock at one point or another. You’re also making an undue inference. There’s no reason to believe he thought it was appropriate. In fact, I daresay the inappropriateness may have been the point.

  12. drumlin woodchuckles

    Whenever I see the word ‘cattleprod’ , I think of a deathless sentence by Hunter S. Thompson. I can’t remember the whole thing exactly, but the basic meat of the sentence involves ” have Room Service deliver a cattle prod and three female iguanas up to my room.’

    1. D. Fuller

      The Bastard Operator From Hell, a parody about sys admins, available at The Register features an over-voltaged cattleprod.

      I recommend the series as an important training tool, lightheartedly.

  13. cocomaan

    Re: Copper prices

    I have a shed in my yard that we use primarily for trash. The groundhog who lives under it has made it downright hazardous to walk around inside. But much of the back of the shed is now scrap metal I’ve been collecting this year. Anything I can get, really. I am expecting price shocks in steel and other metals as this financial crisis makes it all go sideways.

    Call me crazy? I call it “the retirement plan.”

    Although, all those salvage cruise ships will really put a dent in my plans.

    1. Synoia

      All you need is a beach. Then you can also scrap old ships. I suspect there are many possible beaches. I’d try in Puerto Rico or Mexico.

    2. Darius

      My wife won’t let me build up a pile of copper and brass odds and ends to take to a local metal recycler. Too much clutter. The other day, I threw away a damaged iPhone charger cord I found on the sidewalk. There’s copper in there, too. We don’t make it easy to recycle non-ferrous or non-aluminum metals. If you put it in the recycling bin, they just throw it away. I once read that a third of the Earth’s copper supply is still in the ground, a third is in use, and a third is lying in dumps.

      Meanwhile, I remember some years ago people would come back from vacation and find their copper gutters and downspouts were pilfered for sale. People even broke into houses and ripped out copper plumbing. So, it causes cognitive dissonance when I see scraps of copper pipe lying abandoned by the side of the road. Isn’t it worth someone’s time and effort to reclaim it?

    3. Lost in OR

      I recently recycled an expired vehicle. The going price was $50/ton. The only thing of any value was the catalytic converter. Without that it wasn’t even worth the tow.

      1. km

        I gave an old vehicle to a local charity that teaches people to fix cars as a marketable skill, then gives the fixed up cars away to needy families.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      i have a great pile of copper and brass…from bits of pipe and rolls of wire, to old window units and radiators(both of the latter contain lead in the soldering)…and all these telephone poles we’ve been using for goat sheds and chicken houses(and a bar!) have 50-100 feet of heavy copper wire attached to them.;—what i don’t use for sculpture, goes in the pile.

      —and during our recent windfall, one of the only things on my “what to obtain if money ever falls out of the sky” List that i haven’t gotten yet is a collection of crucibles for the metal shop and forge….specifically for this sort of junk.(watch out for gaseous lead, etc…respirator.).
      maybe for christmas.

      1. Wukchumni

        Cents struck before 1982 were 95% copper and 20% heavier than the 97.5% zinc* ones now in circulation.

        100 of the old guard is worth around $2 @ current copper values.

        Who would’ve ever thought that base metal coinage would be subject to Gresham’s Law?

        * perhaps excessive fondling of these could ward off Covid?

  14. fresno dan

    Lawmakers in the House and Senate on Tuesday welcomed the Justice Department’s (DOJ’s) move to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google that claims the tech behemoth used its power to preserve its monopoly via its search engine.
    Surprised this wasn’t in the water cooler. Anyway, a good start. Now all they have to do is add Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft. and maybe two dozen others…

  15. Vikas Saini

    “The Collected Works of James Jesus Angleton?” LOL — sprayed the coffee but made my day!
    Always worth checking in at the Water Cooler.

    1. lambert strether

      I was reaching, reaching, reaching for the final item of my tricolon…. and then I had it! Also, the dying fall of “Angelton” works really well. Snark at its best is a jeweller’s craft [lambert blushes modestly].

  16. dcblogger

    I had a blinding flash of the obvious today. Why, in the last month of the general election, are Democratic consultants STILL attacking Bernie and his supporters. Then I realized, everyone knows that directly the election is over Bernie and his supporters are going to swing into action and demand real action on healthcare, Green New Deal, etc. So is it crucial to Biden that we continue to be marginalized as much as possible. If we want meaningful change we will have to follow the example of the Bolivians. We will have to strike, boycott, and conduct Direct Action efforts to coerce the kleptocracy.

    1. D. Fuller

      If wanted Republicans in power, I would vote Republican.

      I wonder what The Democratic leadership will do when they realize – assuming they win – that they have to appease Republican voters to keep them. The D’s risk massive losses in 2024 when Republicans defect, they have no more Left voting for them. With Republicans having The House, 61 seats in The Senate, and Presidency

      The Democratic Party make Neville Chamberlain & Vichy France look like winners. Pursuing the same victories that end up in defeat after defeat. Maybe Democratic leadership line for the food old days of Reagen Democrats with Tip O’Neill enabling Reagan and Republicabs. Before serial wife cheater Newt Gingrich came along and declared a war of extermination on The Democrats.

      1. D. Fuller

        I do hate spell check.

        Maybe Democratic leadership line for the food old days of Reagen Democrats with Tip O’Neill enabling Reagan and Republicabs

        Should read…

        Maybe Democratic leadership long for the good old days of Reagen Democrats with Tip O’Neill enabling Reagan and Republicans

        1. JBird4049

          You mean the time before the Democratic Left, aside from the very rare politicians like Bernie Sanders, was politically extirpated from any positions of influence and for several decades by the Democratic Leadership? Really, any Leftist in the news media, economics, or politics, aside from the IdPol “Leftists”?

          Today’s politics rhymes with pre-Civil War United States with refusal of the political leadership to deal with “the peculiar institution.” The exodus from the American Whigs, and a large portion of the Democratic Party, by the membership because of the issue of slavery. The Whigs’ leadership either just refused to take a clear position or just tried to weasel through with some some law and order boilerplate that ignored the actual issue of slavery, which caused the end of that party; the Democratic Party actually split into two regional northern and northern parties.

          The increasing poverty and corruption, just like with slavery, is either being ignored or danced around by our “leaders” with both parties increasing more form than substance being held up by the money of the wealthy instead of the work of their active membership. They are acting like they are real political parties working for the benefit of their members as well as for America generally. However, like the value of money, their reality of being viable parties depends on the belief of a majority of Americans that they are truly real instead of the Potemkin organizations that they have been changing into for the last fifty years?

    2. ChrisAtRU

      It’s also important in dampening support for downballot Dems endorsed by Bernie. FWIW, I think a fair number of #Berniecrats have a chance. We shall see. #FingersCrossed

      1. dcblogger

        It’s also important in dampening support for downballot Dems endorsed by Bernie. FWIW, I think a fair number of #Berniecrats have a chance.


      2. edmondo

        FWIW, I think a fair number of #Berniecrats have a chance.

        Thank God! Now we can have a whole new class of “progressives” who can sell us out. Bernie isn’t going to be around forever.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Maybe the likes of Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush will simply turn into next generation Pelosi and Schumer … I don’t buy that, though. If you feel so betrayed by Bernie’s failure(s) that you’ll write off a new generation of left politicians winning as Democrats, then fine. Get the Greens to 5% this election, and grow the outside, However, it’s neither an impossible nor a worthless endeavor to grow a left wing inside the Democratic party. #InsideOutsideGameIsBestGame

  17. Darius

    The plantidote looks like sugar maple. Usually it’s orange. A scarlet sugar maple is a real find.

  18. DJG

    And now for: “Among the names being floated for possible Biden Cabinet posts are Meg Whitman, the CEO of Quibi and former CEO of eBay, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both of whom spoke at August’s Democratic National Convention. Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have also been mentioned, as has former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.), who resigned from Congress in 2018 and became a lobbyist.”

    Now that my ballot is safely in the dropbox at the Fortieth Ward collection site, I will tell all of youse (as we say in Chicago) that I voted Green for president. (As well as for a couple of other Green candidates, because the Illinois Greens are running in many races.)

    Meg Whitman? Why not the best? Carly Fiorina, I say!

    Jeff Flake! For the Department of Craven Finger-Wagging.

    So in our mono-party we have the nihilist-lite, raptured Mauve Party and the brunch-drunk, norms-addled Aqua Party.

    And you plan to complain to me because I voted for things like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All?

    Meanwhile: In the basement, Joe Biden is having a “strategy session” to decide on what policies will keep Joe Manchin happy.

    Let joy reign supreme.

    1. Jen

      I’ve been on the fence as to whether to leave the top of the ticket blank. This news sealed it for me: I’m writing in Vermin Supreme.

      And changing my party registration to undeclared.

  19. ambrit

    Re. Toobin’s ‘offense.’
    Remember the outrage about Rep. Weiner’s “transgressions?”
    Fast forward to today. If we do not see an effort by the “style originators” to silence Toobin, and pronto, I will be presented with irrefutable evidence that ‘The New Yorker’ has absolutely no standards at all any more.

    1. fwe'zy

      Ditto. This is much much worse than the usual politician-sex worker tete-a-tete. It’s actually kind of American Psycho-ish in its sublimated rage. What a sick f*ck.

          1. ambrit

            Cue up the Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” album?
            Yes! The theme song for the Harris Administration can be the most famous single from that album! (NSFSJWIDs) [Not Safe For Social Justice Warrior IDs]

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              Recorded right down the road in Muscle Shoals! Took my boys over to see the studio (before it was restored and became a lankmark/tourist trap). Out back were hundreds of used syringes. A bit later, in a conversation with a famous studio engineer’s wife, was told that Bobby (Whitlock) hung out back there. I’m sure there were many others. But the sounds! OMG, the sounds that came out of there!

      1. Mikel

        Some reports say he wasn’t directing any of it toward anyone on the biz call. He had phone s*x zoom call going on at the same time…
        You can’t make this stuff up!

  20. ChrisAtRU

    Biden (D) (1)

    LOL … recalling the donut-brain simulation in which I suggested that were John McCain still alive, he’d be part of Biden’s transition team. I was off … he’d be part of Biden’s cabinet.

    In my “Bernie Sanders is Galen Urso” allegory, this is the hubris that follows the destruction of Jedha. The hole’s already been engineered into the Death Star, though … so they may as well enjoy the pageantry!

      1. ChrisAtRU

        #QAnon … and on, till the break o’ dawn!

        “The followers of this online phenomenon [QAnon] believe that the Democratic establishment and much of the Republican elite are deeply corrupt …”

        So a few weeks ago, when Twitter reportedly purged a large number of accounts it claimed were of Iranian origin, some examples were provided (either by press or Twitter itself, can’t remember). In any case, I saw tweets associated with one of them pushing #QAnon stuff, and subsequently had a thought that put the most impish grin on my face. What if QAnon were actually an Iranian psyop?!

        Too much #ConspiracyBrutha?! Or totes possible?! In a just world, just desserts would be served to all those found deserving … ;-)

        1. Andrew Thomas

          Oh ffs. The utter corruption of the Democrats is, of course, the one and only thing QAnon gets right. It is the specifics-the reappearance of JFK, Jr., etc. that are batshit crazy. And the names being bandied about for Biden’s cabinet. Whoever said here long ago- I believe Lambert was among many- that the Dems and their media tools are trying to lose the election- was/were obviously correct. And, just to grind it in, the ‘intelligence community’ gives us yet another exercise of universal jurisdiction to indict those pesky Russians, Boris and Natasha and a couple of buddies, for actions undertaken allegedly in France. And, Trump screeching about the mute button. Help, please.

  21. Lee

    “Romans Want to Get Rid of Wild Boars, but Killing Them? That’s Another Matter”

    Having tasted remarkably yummy bolognese and other dishes made with boar meat, I’m truly surprised that this problem exists.

    1. marcyincny

      Cinghiale! I’m also surprised the Italians aren’t eating more of ’em although the Tuscan chef who made our ragu/sugo had to get his on the hush-hush…

    2. Wukchumni

      A friend was charged by what he said was about a 400 pound wild boar and told me it was one of the most terrifying things that ever happened to him, and luckily was able to scamper up a tree somewhat to avoid it’s tusks, and wait it out.

    3. BillS

      I live in northern Italy with my wife and I can attest to the problem there as well. We eat them regularly and they are delicious, but they are very hard to hunt. They are very clever animals. If they detect your scent or hear a noise, they vanish in a flash. Also, unless you hunt them like the Tuscans (in large teams), you can at most shoot only one at a time. Once the others hear the shot, they disappear with surprising speed.

      They also reproduce very quickly…

  22. km

    Will I get roasted for pointing out that one reason hypercompetitive parents push niche sports is because
    most rich kids from the Connecticut Gold Coast wouldn’t last five minutes on the gridiron (or the baseball diamond, or the basketball court) with the ghetto or trailer park kids?

    I mean, NFL linebacker is an OK paying job, if you can’t get on at a hedge fund somewhere, but I don’t see too many Colombia grads starting for the Raiders or anything.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s hard not to feel at least a jot of sympathy for these parents who earnestly believed they were doing right by their children, and especially for the young athletes—who, like Lewis Carroll’s oysters, were brought out so far, and made to trot so quick—and who now must think that the world is conspiring against them. Sports wasn’t the golden ticket after all.

      Nah, it’s really not.

      But what a twisted existence this article describes. The next time you wonder where all the elite psychopaths come from, they come from here.

    2. Wukchumni

      There’s quite a few NFL players from Cali, often referred to as the sports capital of the country.

    3. Lost in OR

      It’s not just rich kids. My 14yo son is not a rich kid. He doesn’t/can’t ride bikes or wander in the woods or play in the park like I did. Even before covid he didn’t get together with his friends except for “play dates”. It’s just different now. It’s weird. We live in fear for our young people now.

      You don’t see young kids hanging out on the streets or parks. Most kids’ sports in this small city are organized; city leagues or school sponsored. His middle school didn’t have phys ed. I have him in a ju jitsu class where he does well.

      This is the best and worst of times to be a kid. And that was before covid.

      1. JBird4049

        Shouldn’t that be …”We live in fear for [and of] our young people now?” Too many people think, no, that’s feel, that Ray Bradbury’s short story The Pedestrian should not be science fiction; it is not just in the American nomenklatura and apparatchiks, but also the American glitterati that pretends to be the intelligentsia.

        We all should just sit on the couch in front of the two way view recording screen and imbibe read Mao’s Little Red Book the profound love and wisdom of our highly educated, and therefore competent, meritocracy. I’m sure that the Mouth of Sauron CNN will be happy to keep us well informed.

  23. Annus Horribilis

    Malted milkshakes disrupting a covert operations briefing, chocolate cake while ordering a Syrian bombing campaign; here is a pattern that does not need a case-officer’s detail sensitivity to detect. Rather than fashionable glibness, there is a physiological and psychological profundity to this malted milk anecdote, which explains why it made its way to the blogosphere.

    Ingesting a massive of dose of protein-rich carbohydrates suppresses levels of the metabolic hormone, ghrelin. Studies have shown even the mere belief that one has just indulged in a caloric drink, slows down the metabolism. Beyond gratification, being sated fulfills the need to self-nullify, relieve feelings of guilt, assert superiority over his audience, and dodge responsibility for the consequences of what is being discussed. Or who knows, I’m not the therapist member of the lay priesthood to whom the President desperately needs to talk. Just having the yen for a malted in this situation is clocking out.

    So even if you hate an assertive USG, this anecdote hammers home the fact that this President is not in the least bit interested in accounting for the warfare apparatus over which he presides. Unless Trump can gloat over a particular state-sanctioned killing. Further evidence that objective reality is illusory, neither real nor significant: a nation’s most sensitive problems cannot compete with the hypothalamic–pituitary demands of a delusional leader.

    1. IdahoSpud

      That’s a lot to unpack…
      Does this mean I’m a terrible human being for having an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner tonight?

    2. notabanker

      So you would prefer a non-caloric induced psychopathy ala Bush or Obama? I wonder which the dead brown people they killed preferred?

  24. Mark K

    “You can’t drive up to the pump at Amazon, though”

    Re: the environmental impact of the shift to online purchasing: it’s not all beneficial. I routinely see two or three delivery trucks in a single day delivering packages on my one block street. This is in addition to our daily mail delivery. Fedex, UPS, Amazon,unmarked vans (presumably Amazon contractors); they all drive by.

    The criss-crossing of all these trucks is ridiculous and wasteful. In any sane country the Postal Service would be statutorily granted a monopoly on the delivery of single packages under a specified weight.(40 lbs?) to residences.

    Not to mention all that packaging…

  25. hunkerdown

    I knew from the preview the soldering video wasn’t going to be a lesson in IPC Class 3 perfection, but it served as a surprising example of the degradation of technical knowledge through folkways. Fortunately, any mechanically sound interconnect will withstand weather well when sealed away from it, even those commodity bullet connectors denigrated in the video’s introduction. You can even skip the solder and the di-grease and check out the pull test at the end.

    But if you were just here for the spotty, awkward instructional videos, this one’s for you.

  26. Matthew G. Saroff

    McGrath is yet another example of the PMC class in the DNC enriching themselves at the cost of the party and the nation.

    The consultants want bad candidates with lots of money, because they get a percentage of the ad buy.

  27. Wukchumni

    The Mexican liason for the CONAFOR crews was Juan Manuel Villa Mejia. An assistant director of fire management in Mexico’s Forestry Commission, Juan was proud to represent Mexico in this first-ever cooperative firefighting effort between Mexico and the U.S.

    The mission in the U.S. Mejia said, was to share information, train in wilderness firefighting, and support U.S. firefighters in this most difficult fire season. In recent years, Mexico has assisted firefighting efforts in both Chile and Canada so the timing was right to come to California.

    Hard to imagine that this was the very FIRST co-operative effort between Mexican and U.S. firefighters, and having seen their work up close, i’m very impressed.

  28. Late Introvert

    Re: Iowa and the Constitutional Convention, it is automatically placed on the ballot every 10 years. It nearly always fails to pass. Rebublicans would like to get a permanent abortion ban in there.

    1. Procopius

      There’s lots of awful stuff the Republicans would like to put in a new constitution, but I’d be surprised if they really want a clear constitutional abortion ban. The fundies and evangelicals might, but it’s a great fundraiser for them every year. Why would they give that up? It would be like doctors wanting a medicine that actually cured a disease instead of ameliorating it. I suspect that if a serious challenge to Roe v. Wade came up Kavanaugh and Barrett would both vote against it. Maybe Roberts, too.

  29. Senator-Elect

    The Toronto Star provides a deeper dive into the sale of Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op and private equity in general. Some good points made, quotes Eileen Appelbaum, but still does not show exactly how PE is mostly a scam. It may unfortunately be behind the paywall.

  30. VietnamVet

    The rich are getting richer. 400,000 excess American deaths are projected for 2020. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are not a choice. Both political parties are awaiting a for-profit vaccine next year. If none, another 400,000 will die in 2021. Many more will suffer from the long-haul illness. These are US WWII military casualty levels that could last for years. Magical thinking and denial can’t last much longer. Propaganda doesn’t hide the truth when the hordes are inside the gates. If the fake election goes to the House, if both parties continue to cater only to the wealthy, and if the pandemic depression continues, unrest is certain.

    The only way out is restoring the national public health system to assist American communities to be virus free. All it takes is for America to go to war against the virus. Fund universal daily antigen testing. Require negative tests to go out in public. Isolate and treat the infected for free. Establish virus free workplaces, schools and communities staffed with public health officers who report through the chain of command to the US Surgeon General. In months the virus will be eradicated and the economy restored to normal.

  31. The Rev Kev

    This is just sad this. So the FBI indicted six Russians for “crimes” going back to 2015. As would happen in the west, bloggers immediately started looking up the names of these indicted men to find out who they actually were. One of them turned out to be a trombone-player who played in a military orchestra-


    The International Federation of Musicians has yet to comment on this story.

    1. Temporarily Sane

      Some parallels with the “Muslim radicals” aka drug addicts and psychologically unstable youths the FBI entrapped in the years following 9/11 so they could say they were “doing something” to protect the nation from dangerous terrorists. These days it seems simply being of Russian ancestry is enough to potentially get one labeled a spy.

      It’s also striking how today the government and intelligence agencies regularly make all kinds of serious accusations and allegations, but the public is almost never shown any compelling evidence to back these up. I guess we are just supposed to take their word for it because they would never ever lie or make stuff up. Only the “Soviets” do that as they destroy democracy one Facebook post at a time.

  32. Mikel

    RE: Contact tracing
    From LA Times:

    “Ghaly laid out some other restrictions as well: All parks must sell tickets in advance to make contact tracing easier…”

    First round of actual contact tracing that occurs, with all its mandates, will be enough to keep most people home after that.

  33. ProNewerDeal

    For those sick of Lesser Of 2 Evils (LO2E) US politics, from my infinitesimal knowledge of New Zealand politics, it appears New Zealand actually offers a Greater Of 2 Goods (GO2G) election.

    Politicalcompass site https://politicalcompass.org/nz2020 says Labour under PM Ardern is more neoliberal than its stated social democratic ideology, noted on the Wiki page. Even if NZ Labour is neoliberal, 40 yr old PM & the NZ Gov handled the pandemic with supression instead of Failing at mere mitigation like ConManD0n/Murica. Furthermore presumably MedicareForAll is not threatened by Labour. Politicalcompass has Labour in the Authoritarian-Right quadrant more than I would suspect for successful pandemic supressing, MedicareForAll party.

    If Arden is a neolibral she [family blog] [bodily functions] on any US neoliberal like 0bama/Clinton/Reagan/etc.

    Furthermore, with all the (at least for public show) bickering of these oligarchic gerontocrats Trump v Biden/Pelosi/Schumer v McConnel/McCarthy, all of whom have Marie Antoinette-level of nonexistant [family blogs] given towards 80%-99% of Muricans health/economic/human rights in a pandemic recession, it is heartening to see Arden at half the age display infinite more competence & job performance than the Murican. I have 1 word of disdain for the next time Trump or Pelosi proclaims themselves “the best President Eva” or “a Master Legislator”: Arden. Arden is Lebron James relative to US Gerontocrat Gang riding the bench on their rural high school JV basketball team.

    Option 2 the Greens on the politicalcompass are slightly more Antiauthoritarian Left than Sanders & Gabbard, & slightly less than US Greens/Hawkins.

    It would be a pleasure to vote in the NZ election. A ray of hope at this troubled time for what a authentic Democracy could look like.

    1. Basil Pesto

      I don’t really have a grasp on Ardern’s politics, but have been sceptical of the soapy treatment she gets from the yas kween crowd.

      I was very impressed with her handling of covid.

      I occasionally turn to Mitchell’s blog to get a handle on politicians in the antipodes and found this: http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=38819

      That was a little while ago, but it seems she is (or was) a deficit hawk. I also gather her governance was moderated by her coalition partners, who are no longer part of the equation. So we’ll see how she goes. Certainly in general I’d prefer her in charge of things than Trump/Biden.

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