2:00PM Water Cooler 10/22/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I just spent 45 minutes fighting to get iOS Apple Mail on my iPad to send me my own mail. Needless to say, this is time I do not have. (Apple’s crapified mailer sends mail reliably for some days, then starts refusing to send it, complaining that the password is wrong — in which case it would not have been able to send the previous mail. Restarting the app doesn’t do anything, but restarting the iPad works, so I go through a cycle of sending the mail thats stuck in the Outbox manually, restarting the iPad, rinse, repeat. (I’ve tried various shrew paths of approving settings, turning the VPN on and off, restarting the app, but nothing takes.) Can anyone recommend a reliable and hopefully free iOS mailer with this key requirement: I need it to grab something from the Tweet or post I am mailing myself, and put it in the subject line. That way I have a memory trigger for prioritizing when posting. Apple Mail meets this requirement, which is why I stick with that time-eating piece of garbage. Yahoo and Yandex do not. And on top of it all, my Internet connection as gone flaky again. Aaaargh! –lambert P.S. More soon.

Adding, yes, there will be a live blog for tonight’s debate, launching at 8:30PM, a half hour before the debate proper begins. I think I’m gonna start drinking early. Who needs a Bingo card?

Bird Song of the Day

There seem to be a number of chickadees, fighting. Other happy creatures, from Chuck Roast’s comment:

I just got two rescue cats. The vet says they are about five years old. They are siblings and clearly have had an up-and-down life. They came to me as Bukowski and Whitman…ugh. I was thinking of renaming them “Up’ and “Down”, but really didn’t suit. So, they became Omar and Bodie after my favorite characters in The Wire. The first month I had them they hid in the closet and only came out for food and the box. It’s four months on and we are totally cool and their demolition is low key. They now hang out with me on the lounge-o-rama, and I play the Water Cooler bird song for them every afternoon.

I’m pleased Omar and Bodie like the new feature! For their own, cat-like reasons, of course…


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.


“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. October 21: NE-1 moves from Likely to Safe Republican.

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!

* * *

Only one poll, but Morning Consult:

FL: “Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida” [The Hill]. “Obama will seek to boost Biden’s prospects in Florida, where polls show a close race between the former vice president and Trump. The president won Florida and its 29 electoral votes in 2016 by 113,000 votes, and the state is considered a must-win if Trump is to secure re-election. It will mark Obama’s second appearance on the trail for Biden after he held events in Pennsylvania on Wednesday. A CNBC poll and a CNN poll released earlier Wednesday showed Biden leading in Florida by 5 percentage points and 4 percentage points, respectively. But there are signs the former vice president is underperforming with Latino voters compared to Hillary Clinton in 2016, a critical bloc in Florida.”

FL: “Biden takes commanding 51-point lead over Trump among Florida Jewish voters, new poll shows” [Sun-Sentinel]. “The [GBAO research] poll, released Wednesday, shows Biden with a commanding lead over Trump among Jewish voters in Florida, 73% to 22% — a difference of 51 percentage points…. Among Jewish voters in Florida, Biden is viewed favorably by 67% and unfavorably by 26%, a net positive of 41 percentage points. Trump had 22% favorable and 74% unfavorable, a net negative of 52 points among Jewish voters…. Those who identify as Orthodox favor Trump over Biden, 62% to 36%.”

MI: “In Michigan district, Trump factor could turn seat over to Democrats” [Roll Call]. “Polls show a tight race, with a large number of voters still undecided. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up. That would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Trump carried the district by 10 points in 2016, exceeding Mitt Romney’s 7-point margin four years earlier. But Republicans’ dominance disappeared in 2018, when Democrats in Michigan won all nonjudicial statewide races….. Democrats credit that swing to a growing population and shifting party loyalties. White people with a college degree have fled the GOP since Trump took office. • PMC dominance…

PA: “Donald Trump has a problem: White women in Pennsylvania” [Politico]. “White women with college degrees in Pennsylvania are especially done with him, rejecting him at even higher rates than they did in 2016. And while Trump is still winning white women without college degrees in the state, he’s doing so by a much smaller margin than in 2016. In a place like Pennsylvania — a state Trump won by only 44,000 votes in 2016 and which is now widely considered the tipping-point state in the Electoral College — those margins matter… In 2016, Trump won white women in the state by 50 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 47 percent, according to exit polls. Now, Biden is ahead by as much as 23 points with white women, according to a Quinnipiac survey from earlier this month. A Washington Post/ABC poll of Pennsylvania voters in September showed a similar lead, with white women preferring Biden by 13 points. Among suburban women overall, he’s ahead by 18 points. In a Monmouth poll from late September to October, Biden led among Pennsylvania women overall by 26 points — and the large spread is also due Biden’s overwhelming support among Black and brown women.” • 

PA: “Trump told a rally crowd in swing-state Pennsylvania that he was only there because of how badly his campaign is going” [Business Insider]. “President Donald Trump told supporters at a rally on Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania, that he never expected to have to campaign for their votes in person. ‘Before the plague came in, I had it made. I wasn’t coming to Erie. I mean, I have to be honest, there’s no way I was coming,’ Trump said. ‘I didn’t have to. I would’ve called you and said, ‘Hey, Erie. You know, if you have a chance, get out and vote.’ We had this thing won. Trump continued: ‘We got hit with the plague, and I had to go back to work. ‘Hello, Erie, may I please have your vote?”” • Borscht belt stuff, so of course the usual suspects clutched their pearls and headed for the fainting couch. (Notice also that the editor has written a deceptive headline. That’s not at all what Trump said.)

WI: “Exclusive: Wisconsin report confirms Foxconn’s so-called LCD factory isn’t real” [The Verge]. “A state report on Foxconn’s Wisconsin factory depicts a project gone far off course. The report, issued this month by Wisconsin’s Division of Executive Budget and Finance and obtained through a records request, confirms that the company has not built the enormous Gen 10.5 LCD factory specified in its contract. It also says that the building the company claims is a smaller Gen 6 LCD factory shows no signs of manufacturing LCDs in the foreseeable future and ‘may be better suited for demonstration purposes.’ The report notes that Foxconn received a permit to use its so-called “Fab” for storage….”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Biden says he’ll set up commission to study reforming Supreme Court if elected” [The Hill]. • Oh.

Biden (D)(2): Leadership:

Biden (D)(2): Because voters are little children (1):

Empathy, like sincerity, an emotion shared by concentration camp guards and dictators in the bosoms of their families…

Biden (D)(3): Because voters are little children (2):

Biden (D)(4): Because voters are little children (3):

Because a nation… is really like a family. Which is why the Federal budget is like a household budget. Also, Kamala Harris, “birthday girl.”

Trump (R)(1): “How The Polls Hide Trump’s Lead” [The American Conservative]. “Two pollsters who got 2016 right think that the mainstream polls are wrong again, and although they grant that the election is very close, at this point they predict a Trump electoral college victory. Patrick Basham of the Democracy Institute predicted a Trump win in ’16 and also got the Brexit referendum right as well. Basham, in his latest poll for 2020 predicts an easy electoral college victory for Trump with all battleground states ending up in Trump’s column. Robert Cahaly of Trafalgar Group in his 2016 polls predicted the exact number of electors awarded to Trump. Now Cahaly predicts that most battleground states will go for Trump with an electoral college victory in the mid-270s. What both these pollsters are aiming to tackle is what is called social desirability bias in the polls. Social desirability bias is when a poll interviewee gives an answer to a question based on what he considers socially acceptable, rather than his true opinion on the subject. It has been observed that voters were more likely to choose Trump in a poll that felt more anonymous, such as a poll that used an automated, interactive voice response system instead of a live caller. Cahaly thinks that the social desirability bias is even more prevalent now than 2016. The people who were called deplorables in 2016 are now called racists and white supremacists. Groups like white women in the suburbs are particularly sensitive to those kind of charges. A percentage of them will give pollsters the socially acceptable answer, even if that is not their actual choice. This attitude might not change the winner of a particular demographic, such as white suburban women or working class blacks, but it could prove crucial in a close election.” • Interesting…

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “GOP power shift emerges with Trump, McConnell” [The Hill]. “With control of the White House and Senate at risk, some Senate Republicans are putting their own political livelihoods ahead of Trump’s, making a case that donors should prioritize building a firewall in the Senate.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“California wants independent OK before distributing any coronavirus vaccine” [MarketWatch]. “California won’t allow any distribution of new coronavirus vaccines in the nation’s most populous state until it is reviewed by the state’s own panel of experts, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday…. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month appointed a similar independent task force…. While there is always a risk that the vaccine could be delayed only in California, Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said Newsom named a renowned group that should be able to quickly make credible decisions…. The group includes current and former members of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Klausner said, so any disagreement with the federal panel ‘could have substantial impact on that particular vaccine product.'” • I’m inclined to frame this as straight-up nullification, a la “sanctuary cities,” and to say that John C. Calhoun would approve. However, I don’t know the law, and states and localities do have considerable control over public health, moreso than the Federal government.

“The Prophet of the Revolt” (interview) [Martin Gurri, The Pull Request (Chris)]. “the book shows the elites to be in a state of confusion bordering on panic. They are baffled by anything digital and utterly clueless about where all the nonentities shouting angrily outside their windows come from. But why? In the last century, two generations of elites tackled the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, and came ahead on every count. They built the great dams and nuclear plants that electrified the country, and threw in the interstate highway grid for good measure. What has changed?” • Martin Gurri was formerly a member of CIA’s global media analysis team.

“America’s Great Divide: Frank Luntz Interview | FRONTLINE” [YouTube (Geof)]. • Grab a cup of coffee. Luntz is on the right, but he’s very sharp (and, amazingly, he actually does listen to people).

I don’t agree with everything Luntz says. But his perceptions and explanations are very crisp. “Politics isn’t a game.” Be sure to listen all the way through.

“A Message to Democrats from Your New Ally” [Stuart Stevens, The Bulwark]. “ve spent a lot of my life—far too much in retrospect—waging war on the Democratic party. It was my job and I was good at it but in all those battles, even in the toughest of races, I never hated the other side. I wanted to win each race with the heat of a thousand suns and when I did lose, I found it sickening in a way that hung with me longer than any victory. But I never feared for the country if the Democrats won…. Today’s Republicans are not worthy of the great legacy they inherited.” • To be fair, Stevens is not a Bush-era war criminal. So there’s that.

* * *

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered—Then Discarded” [The Atlantic]. “Ohio, like 30 other states, uses signature matching as a fraud-prevention measure. Mangeni sometimes uses different signatures, and he didn’t recall which one he had used to register. Under Ohio law, election officials are supposed to mail a notice to any voter whose ballot is rejected, giving them a chance to correct an error, but Mangeni said he never received a notification. His name did, however, go into a spreadsheet at the Ohio secretary of state’s office, which is how the ACLU found it. Mangeni agreed to become a plaintiff in a suit challenging Ohio’s signature-matching law.” • Every time a layer of indirection is interposed between a voter and the direct expression of their intent, problems happen, whether digitally or in vote-by-mail. Hand-marked paper ballots (hand-counted in public) are the only solution that avoids this intrinsic, architectural problem. (I couldn’t pass a signature-matching test; I can’t make my signature come up the same twice to save my soul, especially under pressure.)

Barrett Confirmation

Good job, Diane:

Obama Legacy

Obama in Philly (1): Voter-shaming for the win:

(The replies are good, too.)

Obama in Philly (2) [musical interlude]:

How was brunch? Then again, Obama knows his voters:

Obama in Philly (3): Patronize much?

“Obama’s speech in Philadelphia was powerful. But America needs more from him.” [MSNBC]. “Should Obama re-enter the Senate, more than a decade after he left, he’d have the chance to be the workhorse that his former rival-turned-colleague Hillary Clinton became after she crossed over from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.” • Oh, no. Please. no. Start with the idea of Obama becoming a workhorse.

Our Famously Free Press

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.

Unemployment: “17 October 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Improve – Downward Revision Of Previous Two Weeks Of Claims” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 845 K to 915 K (consensus 868 K), and the Department of Labor reported 787,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 832,750 (reported last week as 866,250) to 811,250.”

Manufacturing: “October 2020 Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Marginally Improves” [Econintersect]. “Of the three regional manufacturing surveys released for October, all are in expansion…. Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts. Note that the key internals were positive. This survey should be considered about the same as last month.”

Leading Indicators: “17 October 2020 New York Fed Weekly Economic Index (WEI): Index Improves” [Econintersect]. “The New York Fed’s Weekly Leading Index (WLI) continues to show an economy that is below the worst seen during the Great Recession. However, this index remains on a recovery trend…. This data set should be considered a high-frequency coincident indicator on a par with the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index produced by the Philly Fed – and both show conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic are already worse than the Great Recession. However, the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index is improving whilst the WLI is still declining. Logic would say with the partial reopening of the economy – the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index seems to be correct.”

* * *

Retail: “Target is giving 350,000 workers an extra $200 bonus for the holidays” [Yahoo Finance!]. “The discount retailer said Monday it will pay a bonus of $200 to frontline employees ahead of the holiday shopping season. Bonuses will be paid to more than 350,000 workers in early November. The total outlay will cost Target more than $70 million. Target says this is the fourth time it has given workers a bonus this year to show appreciation for efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Bezzle: “Elon Musk’s Vegas loop won’t transport as many people as promised” [The Verge]. “The choke point isn’t technology — it’s fire regulations. In one of the three loading zones for the tunnel network, called the Convention Center Loop, only 800 passengers an hour are allowed. If that’s true of all three loading zones, the Loop will only move about a quarter of what it promised: just 1,200 people an hour, according to TechCrunch. It’s unclear what might be enforcing that limit of 800 passengers, as the plans don’t include any turnstiles or barriers that could help control the flow of passengers. There are financial consequences if The Boring Company can’t actually shuttle as many people as promised with the Convention Center Loop. It may miss out on more than $13 million of its construction budget. It will also be penalized $300,000 for every trade show that it doesn’t move an average of 3,960 passengers per hour for 13 hours, to a maximum of $4.5 million in fines, according to TechCrunch. The Loop is also behind schedule.”

Supply Chain: “Huawei Outhustles Trump by Stockpiling Chips Needed for China 5G” [Bloomberg]. “Huawei Technologies Co. quietly spent months racing to stockpile critical radio chips ahead of Trump administration sanctions, ensuring it can keep supplying Chinese carriers in their $170 billion rollout of 5G technology through at least 2021.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64 Greed (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 56 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 22 at 11:52am

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: Weird:

Mr. Market is not having a sad, so I would guess there’s no issue of their systems being overwhelmed.

The Biosphere

“NASA to Make Major Announcement of ‘Exciting News’ About The Moon” [Independent]. “The space agency did not reveal details about the discovery but said that it ‘contributes to Nasa’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration.’ It also said that the discovery had come from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or Sofia. Sofia is a modified Boeing 747 that flies higher than much of the atmosphere, allowing its built-in, 9-foot telescope to get a clear view of our solar system and the broader universe. The plane is able to get up above 99 per cent of the atmosphere’s water vapour, which normally obscures our view of space. The telescope instruments at the centre of the flying observatory gather infrared light, meaning it can ‘pick up phenomenon impossible to see with visible light,’ NASA noted in its announcement.”

Health Care

“CDC redefines COVID-19 close contact, adds brief encounters” [Associated Press]. “For months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said close contact meant spending a solid 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for coronavirus. On Wednesday, the CDC changed it to a total of 15 minutes or more — so shorter but repeated contacts that add up to 15 minutes over a 24-hour period now count. The CDC advises anyone who has been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient to quarantine for two weeks.”

“Herd Immunity and Implications for SARS-CoV-2 Control” [JAMA]. From the Conclusion: “Herd immunity is an important defense against outbreaks and has shown success in regions with satisfactory vaccination rates. Importantly, even small deviations from protective levels can allow for significant outbreaks due to local clusters of susceptible individuals, as has been seen with measles over the past few years. Therefore, vaccines must not only be effective, but vaccination programs must be efficient and broadly adopted to ensure that those who cannot be directly protected will nonetheless derive relative protections.” • Well worth reading in full.

“The false promise of herd immunity for COVID-19” [Nature]. “The concept of achieving herd immunity through community spread of a pathogen rests on the unproven assumption that people who survive an infection will become immune. For SARS-CoV-2, some kind of functional immunity seems to follow infection, but ‘to understand the duration and effects of the immune response we have to follow people longitudinally, and it’s still early days’, [Caroline Buckee, an epidemiologist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health] says.” • No duh!

I follow and like Eric Topol, but:

No mention whatever of Operation Warp Speed. Where does Topol think the funding came from? Little elves?

“COVID Has Caused Millions to Lose their Sense of Smell—One Writer’s Journey to a Scentless Life and Back” [Vogue]. “Every smell scientist I spoke to for this story echoed some version of this sentiment: that smell is under­appreciated and misunderstood, and most people fail to recognize how integral it is to our experience of pleasure, our emotional lives, and even, on a fundamental level, our identity. But there are many studies demonstrating profound links between anosmia (the clinical term for smell loss) and clinical depression. One such study, recounted in Rachel Herz’s The Scent of Desire, compared the psychological effects of vision loss and smell loss, and yielded startling results: While patients who lost their vision were initially more traumatized, over time they acclimated more significantly than the patients who had lost their sense of smell—who, a year later, actually reported a more enduring decrease in their quality of life than the patients who had gone blind.”

Our Famously Free Press

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“Epstein: Ghislaine Maxwell denies witnessing ‘inappropriate’ activities” [BBC]. “Asked if she was aware of any non-consensual sexual acts between Epstein and masseuses, she replied: ‘All the time that I have been in the house I have never seen, heard, nor witnessed, nor have [had] reported to me that any activities took place, that people were in distress, either reported to me by the staff or anyone else.'”

Class Warfare

Forcing workers to twist the rope with which to hang themselves:

News of the Wired

“A sneak peek at Tales from the Loop author Simon Stålenhag’s next two art books” [Polygon]. “In the world of The Labyrinth, the surface of the Earth has been covered with ash. Some of that is due to the destruction of the habitat itself by the human population, but most of it is the result of an invading force seeking the transform the planet to meet its own needs. In many frames you can see them — black orbs, leaking black goo into the air and over the land.” • Great metaphor….

* * *
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 (TH):

TH: “This photo of Nasturtiums was taken at the Fullerton arboretum with my iPhone. We are outside the Children’s Garden which the colorful picket fence surrounds.”

* * *

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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. fresno dan

    Patient readers, I just spent 45 minutes fighting to get iOS Apple Mail on my iPad to send my own mail.
    An Apple a day causes… consternation, depression, rage, conniptions, dismay, anxiety, paranoia and rage.
    That’s the first minute – than it gets much, much, MUCH worse….

      1. BlakeFelix

        I finally kicked my podcasts with ITunes habit after they updated it and made it worse again. Now I use podcast addict, which I still don’t love, but I feel like I am out of an abusive relationship lol

        Oh, as long as I am being borderline off topic and irrelevant, am I the only one who gets a page of source code when they click on the subscribe to post comments button? I’d like to see replies, but I can’t the way it is. I use Chrome and haven’t tried much in the way of alternatives.

      1. Moshe Braner

        I have used the (non-free, i.e., I am the customer not the product) email service from fastmail.com for many years. Very satisfied. Worth every penny. Waaaaay better, in a browser, than gmail, and I also use it with Thunderbird (imap) and with the Fastmail Android app. I don’t use iOS, but I see that Fastmail also has an iOS app.

        1. Acacia


          I am also on fastmail, under the domain mail-central. I agree with Moshe — it is totally worth the money.

          Lambert, if you son’t want to try the Fastmail iOS app, you could use the existing iOS mail app and your existing workflow, but instead with fastmail as the server. In the future, if you ever had problems (and I suspect they disappear as soon as you switch to a better server/service), you could speak with fastmail support and a tech would help diagnose the problem. You’ll never get that level of support from Yahoo.

  2. Jennifer in Cleveland

    Signature Matching in Ohio: This is one of the top reasons I am voting in-person on election day in Ohio. For whatever reason, I’ve never developed a legit, identifying signature, and I’m certain that very reasonable people would think it didn’t match.

    1. L

      I would argue that is in fact the point. The ideology of the right on voting is aptly summed up by Amy Coney Barrett’s comment in one ruling that voting is restricted to “virtuous citizens” (unlike guns). The game of adding challenges like signatures etc. is to provide different handles for low level judges to restrict the franchise.

  3. Michael Hudson

    Re the usual journalistic polling comments, Lambert, I must say I prefer
    “Voters reject Trump by 13 points”
    instead of
    “Voters favor Biden by 13 points.”

    What comes first, after all ….? :)-

    1. a different chris

      Oh yeah every one of the above (and elsewhere) where I read “Biden is up”/”Biden is leading” my head immediately translates it to “Trump is down”/”Trump is lagging”.

      Although like I said, I don’t believe polls anyway (Hey! 2000 people! Wow that really frames the election!).

      One stiff after another since… since I dunno. I do think people voted *for* Bush, the fact that I cannot figure out why does not disprove it (aka I am not Chris M.)

  4. Laughingsong

    I use Apple Mail to mail myself all the time but don’t have these issues. I know that this is just one person waving an anecdote, however because of this you may want to consider checking other things that factor into email: ISP, mail provider, router. Could be that any one of these starts throttling the behavior after a couple of instances on a given IP address, assuming it’s malign

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I use Apple Mail to mail myself all the time

      So I’m not the only one! But do you use iOS? I believe you are correct that it’s throttling behavior, but I’m at a loss as to what triggers it. My thought was that it was the VPN. I use Yahoo, therefore Yahoo servers, and so my thought was been that that one or two servers are configured differently from the others. The behavior is like an overflow — occasionally there will be a lag, and five or six will be deposited back in my mailbox.

      1. Milton

        I had these reminder emails up to the date listed below.

        Hey Yahoo Member,

        Head’s up: As of 20 October 2020, Yahoo Mail will no longer support third-party applications (such as third-party email, calendar, or contact applications) using outdated sign-in methods. That just means if you’re still signing in to your Yahoo account via another email application, like the default email application on your phone, you need to make some quick updates to ensure your mailbox isn’t interrupted.

        Here are your options:

        Option 1: We recommend that you access your email using our free Yahoo Mail app for iOS and Android or simply go to mail.yahoo.com to access Yahoo Mail on the web.

        Option 2: Keep your current, non-Yahoo app, BUT follow a few steps to get it to sync with our secure sign-in method. The steps vary across different email applications, but in most cases, you will have to remove your Yahoo account from the app and then add it back again to update the sign-in security. Use the links below to follow the specific steps for your current application:

        iOS Mail Gmail Samsung Mail Others

      2. Acacia

        I email stuff to myself from iOS all the time and I have never seen this issue. I would also suspect the email server and I would not trust yahoo. Have you tried a different service?

        Another option: https://airmailapp.com/

        1. Acacia

          Addendum: I would seriously consider moving off yahoo. Years ago, I moved to a paid email service called mail-central, and I would never go back to the freetard service from my ISP. Since then, I’ve never had problems and they have excellent tech support. I’ve watched my friends struggle with email problems because they insist on free services that come with no and/or crap tech support and then they endure hours/weeks/months of trouble. One friend was randomly losing email for months. His ISP mail server would accept a message without error and then fail to send.

          Your time is important. If you could pay twenty bucks a year for flawless email service that has good support, wouldn’t it be worthwhile?

      3. Laughingsong

        iOS 13 still but yeah, iOS. My email provider is almost always the culprit when I have issues. My VPN is never implicated in throttling although it crashes sometimes (then of course nothing works).

        If it is your email provider then another app won’t help.

        The only other thing I can think of is to Set up another email address and then configure it on the iPad as well. But then I’m only a middlin computer tech. The commentariat here probably has better ideas

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Smart guy. I really don’t understand the appeal of delivery apps at all. I can call my local Chinese restaurant directly and have them send their own driver over already. Presumably, if delivery were profitable a restaurant was already doing it. Seems pretty obvious that paying a 3rd party and adding costs isn’t going to suddenly make something that wasn’t profitable before suddenly become a money maker.

      ‘Gig economy’ apps are all designed for plunder, not for any societal benefit.

      1. neo-realist

        With apps and online ordering via websites, you’re able to present a clearly written out order without the risk of misinterpretation or an item being left out from a person receiving an order via the phone who attempts to write it down at lightning speed. Ordering via app or website allows to you pay and leave a tip in one swoop, so that you can quickly consummate the receipt of the delivery without any further engagement other than a “thank you” rather than rummaging around for tip money and possibly not having a sufficient amount to tip in hand.

    2. eg

      I will not use a delivery app during the pandemic — I’m trying to HELP my local restaurants, not hurt them.

  5. Mark Gisleson

    Martin Gurri interview is clear headed and one of the most politically intelligible things I’ve read in ages. Saved to my ‘read over and over again’ collection.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i agree.
      the implications are quite chilling.
      FTA:” People seem to worry a lot today about the rise of authoritarianism or the return of fascism. I honestly don’t get that. The digital tsunami has produced a crisis of authority for all forms of power. How a Mussolini could arise in the age of social media, and overthrow democracy without an organization, a program, an ideology, or even a Mussolini, is something I’d like to have explained to me. (And if the answer is Trump, forgive me if I snicker.) Under present conditions, the march on Rome would have devolved to a bunch of selfies on a Facebook page.”

      “So when you ask whether today’s protests will ever lead to anything, the answer is probably not. They have little positive content. My concern is that they might lead to nothing – to a politics of righteous annihilation and a society lobotomized of all memory. The lust for destruction, rather than fascism or some “successor ideology,” looms as the great threat to democracy today.”

      it’s the Ontological Crises that i’ve been yelling into the well about for a decade or more.
      no one can agree on the color of the sky, so the very Idea of “Society” becomes moot.
      everything is transactional and contingent, and there’s no foundation on which to build anything that lasts.
      of course, certain factions of the PTB have been busily attempting to engineer just this outcome….the Gop/American Right, wanting to delegitimise government, and drown it in a bathtub…or the ivory tower dwellers that have erected the Neoliberal Order.
      well, here we are…this is what government looks like when it’s been delegitimised and drowned in a tub….and here, all around us, are the effects of forcing Mr Market into every aspect of human life.
      not that these sundry elite factions are godlike or anything…far from it.
      but their machinations and jiggering…generally for their own short to medium term gain…have had much broader effects…and now we all have to live with the worlds they helped to tear down.
      reading this interview, i keep thinking of a Greider book, “who will tell the people?”(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/350358.Who_Will_Tell_the_People#) …along with Lasch, his take(in 1993!) fits right in with what this guy is saying….the People…the great unwashed…watched as the curtain tore and fell to the floor…but the Wizard didn’t notice, so caught up in his own self-regard.
      I came to Ur Cynicism a long time ago…mostly by reading people like Greider and Lasch,lol.
      but it’s a hard thing for ordinary people to learn that the grand narratives that they’ve built their world views upon are as sand, and that they’ve been lied to about just about everything.
      That hard place goes a long way to explaining a whole lot of what we’re seeing, today.

      1. hunkerdown

        Considering the working mission of the CIA, I’m not surprised ex-CIA actually believes the democracy narrative and can’t see himself in the worries about fascism and authoritarianism.

        Democracy is easy to rebuild. It pops up spontaneously like sidewalk dandelions wherever it isn’t crushed by republicanism or other authoritarian ideologies. Republicanism, on the other hand, takes a well-organized bourgeoisie with physical access to the ruling class, and requires elites to hire double-digit percentages of its people as ranch hands to keep the dogies in the pen. If you ain’t read Graeber’s Possibilities yet, git it. You might need it soon enough at this rate!

        1. Yves Smith

          “Rebuild”. Please read the classic work by Barrington Moore, “The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.” He shows that societies that never had a bourgeois revolution don’t evolve toward democracies. And democracies don’t scale. Occupy Wall Street had uber democratic “process”. It was impossible to get anything done.

      2. neo-realist

        I disagree. I think that if Trump is re-elected, and doesn’t have to concern himself with lying and cheating his way back into office, he and Barr will go after the left with a McCarthyite vengeance: Expect something along the lines of the House Committee on Antifa American Activities to investigate all those BLM, DSA, RCP, and other lefty organizers prior to their criminal indictments.

        1. Yves Smith

          Huh? He won’t have the House and would have at best a thinner majority in the Senate.

          He didn’t go after Hillary when she was an easy target.

          McCarthyism, lest you forget, was led by a Senator via never-ending hearings. The FBI thanks to J. Edgar Hoover’s legacy isn’t fully under the control of the Administration. It is however so tight with local cops that it would likely already be going after BLM on its own…and hasn’t much.

          1. neo-realist

            Trump has been able to do a lot of damage w/ a Senate majority, and if he keeps it will use it, IMO, to destroy progressives in any way shape and form. He’s a china breaker, I don’t doubt that he will use his presidential powers at hand to destroy his enemies. The lefty organizers are easier targets that don’t have the money, connections and corporate power to defend themselves unlike Hillary.

            I suspect the local police approach with BLM has been more subtle: infiltration, monitoring, and probably egging on some of violence and destruction to discredit them in the eyes of the public.

            That being said, assuming he’s re-elected, I hope you’re right.

          2. Darthbobber

            Not only didn’t go after Clinton, but his administration followed straight in the previous one’s footsteps by continuing to resist all Clinton-related FOIA requests and suits.

            Perhaps because intensely disliking the FOIA is bipartisan.

        2. drexciya

          By banning critical race theory, Trump is doing the left a great service. The left should take the hint, and get rid of this toxic garbage as fast as possible. I’m very curious as to how the situation in France will develop. As someone else wrote earlier this week, it’s time for a new “left”, which doesn’t focus on identity politics. Only then, will I bother to give them a second look. For now, they’ve completely discredited themselves by hopping on that bandwagon. My impression is that identity politics have been instrumental in the walkaway movement.

      3. Cuibono

        “it’s a hard thing for ordinary people to learn that the grand narratives that they’ve built their world views upon are as sand”

        it is not just hard. it is nearly impossible.

    2. Starry Gordon

      Agreed. What he writes seems sort of obvious once it’s laid out. but you won’t find many, especially in the PMC, who see it, much less write it up clearly and publish it. Once the old channels of authority and information are challenged, impugned, or vanish entirely, the world changes, a process that feeds back into itself and is almost completely unpredictable. But in the past, this sort of change, as with the printing press or broadcast radio, has led to a lot of trouble. Contemporary activist types, though, at least those that I observe, are not entirely nihilistic; they’re just operating on a very low level which I suppose makes them invisible to the higher castes, thus enabling them to avoid interference, cooptation, and arrest,

      I wonder what they make of the book it Silicon Valley (if there really is such a thing). I am reminded of an article about Marshall McLuhan, probably by Tom Wolfe, making fun of the elites of the time earnestly trying to figure out how to make money off the changes of the 1950s and ’60s. Only this time around there might not even be money at the end.

    3. fwe'zy

      Thanks, I read it because of your comment. Direct democracy sure but is it kit-n-caboodle with total surveillance – excuse me – “agile governance” – due to delivery mechanism?
      Cause for concern:
      Democratic government can evolve into a civic-minded version of Amazon. That company is, in fact, a huge bureaucracy, but that’s not what customers experience. They experience fast service at the best prices. Central governments, on the other hand, deliver a vast number of essential services – but that’s not what ordinary citizens experience. They experience arrogance, bureaucracy, and delay.

      *cough* worker torture *cough* dark overlord *cough* inhumane and extractive *cough*

      1. hunkerdown

        Neoliberalism seems to be trying extra hard to rebrand itself right now, with all sorts of new narratives by both entrepreneurs and established hands, all of which degenerate to the same leisure class of moneyed predators moving the rest of us around by throwing crumbs onto their game boards. Pretty sure that’s the angle Epsilon Theory is working, for example. And here with Gurri we have “the only game in town” and something that sounds suspiciously like gamification, neglecting the mature option of simply quitting the game or any number of other things that aren’t in his “former” employer’s interest.

        1. fwe'zy

          I was about to reply that, while gamification worries me, I still see a place for technology. Then I remembered “hand-counted physical ballots” which I learned from NC.

          Anyway, the digital divide is a real thing and, as a layman, I don’t know how but I’d really like to see that divide disappear without having to tap the entire planet into any kind of oppressive sensor web.

        2. Starry Gordon

          Quitting the game would be a sort of game move — like kicking over the chessboard, and thus expanding the game space.

          In any case the TPTB, including the entrepreneurs, require those game boards to stay in place. If, as Sr. Gurri theorizes, the boards are falling apart, that’s what’s going to happen even if no one kicks the board over. Then the question arises as to what will ensue. No doubt the TPTB will try to use every means at their disposal to keep order, so things could get rough. But suppose they can’t keep order, then it’s interesting or maybe even prudent to speculate as to what sort of arrangements, political and economic, will succeed the present ones. I think if there are any coming along they must be small, unobtrusive, out of sight for now.

    4. DJG

      Mark Gisleson: On your recommendation, I more or less made my way through. I’m sending it to myself to read again later. Yes, Gurri explains things, our predicament, our incoherence, very well. Worth the effort to read.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the transcript. I got my browser to pull the Luntz quotes.

        Maybe I’ll watch the whole thing tonight in lieu of the debate.

        Meanwhile Trump has allegedly released the full tape of his contentious interview with Leslie Stahl. I don’t do Twitter or Facebook but think this might be the link


        1. tegnost

          I watched it last night and it was worth the time. He started losing me when he talked about occupy v tea party, but I felt it was mostly an ideological rift in our ways of thinking. Back in the dark ages of the late 1900’s I used to hang at a coffee shop in san diego with a mixed ideology group, and like luntz here they were reasonable and had differing viewpoints from my own and we got along fine, honesty wasn’t punished as it is today (aside this is why the polling could be off, the thought police on the left are bonkers).
          He seemed to loosen up in the second half enough so that I wondered if there were martinis in that water bottle…

      2. psv

        Thanks for the link to the Luntz video Lambert, I watched it to the end, and thought he had some good points. Found his comments about the feeling at the 2009 inauguration interesting.

      3. Mark Gisleson

        I listened while doing other things and am glad I did. This interview restored my interest in Luntz who sees the world as it is.

        1. chuck roast

          Kinda. Luntz is like a building inspector. He knows how it is put together, and how it can fall apart. I very insightful fellow. However, he completely ignores the small coterie that owns the building. His analysis, deconstruction and ultimate indictment is all about the maintenance staff which he knows intimately. He holds numerous skull sessions with the buildings inhabitants who see the maintenance staff regularly and have any number of complaints about their performance. The inhabitants don’t see the landlords who are quickly turning the building into a slum. The slumlords are of no concern to Luntz. I guess one-dimensional is better than no-dimensional. Chris Hedges doesn’t need skull-sessions to figure it out.

      4. Reality Bites

        I listened to the Luntz interview. It is one of the best interviews I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t agree with him on everything. I think he was off on healthcare. Once single payer was off the table I think many people gave up and were deeply disappointed with the ACA. Luntz later on talks about how the loudmouths get the attention but he fails to realize that this was such a case. Much of the polling on the ACA indicated that many didn’t like it because it did not go far enough. Yet those voices were overlooked by the media. I also feel that his point on OWS and the Tea Party rallies was somewhat biased. There were quite a few OWS gatherings that were equally clean and well mannered. To me, Luntz was merely dismissing people he didn’t like in the same manner that he later (rightly) talked about Hilary calling Trump supporters deplorable. I also think he was a bit too light on the Republican party actions during Obama’s term.

        Overall though, his points were excellent and well argued. I sadly agree with his view about where the country is going. I do not see this election restoring any sense of balance or helping out most people regardless of the outcome.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I agree – it was very good. Like you I did not agree with a lot of his interpretations (I wouldn’t necessarily expect to, given the ideological differences) but I thought all of the observational and personal stuff was excellent. Certainly everything he was saying about the reactions to the foreclosures and bank bailouts and the like, and a lot of his comments on Obama, were very much in line with what we were talking about here at the time.

          It looks like it was recorded in January of this year, before Covid became an issue. I’m not sure if people would have been shocked by his views back then. I’m almost certain they wouldn’t be now, because it has brought all of that out into the open for everyone to see.

          I’ve always wondered about some of history’s great wars and atrocities, and how humans could be capable of doing things like that to each other. There have been times recently when I’ve seen, heard or read something and caught a glimmer of understanding, and I was definitely getting that sense again from this interview. I’m pretty sure he was as well, and I think he pulled some punches at the end (I don’t think that mention of his family history was lightly chosen). Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that.

          On a somewhat more positive note, his point about the immense importance of messaging tone does explain somewhat why Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand and other leaders like her have enjoyed the success they have. Sadly I don’t see the entrenched power structures in the USA giving up their grip in time to create an opening for that kind of leader, at least not in time to make a difference, but I would love to be wrong.

      1. Glen

        Yes, I think everybody should listen to this one. But what astonishes me is perhaps what’s missing, or where he only danced up to edge.

        This is the world Frank Luntz spent his WHOLE CAREER working so hard to CREATE.

        And I think he is downplaying his role in all of this. Why single out Glenn Beck of all people when Frank provided the phrases and vocabulary to divide people, to make people hate? It’s his wheel house.

        1. cat’s paw

          yep. i’m sure luntz has some insights he can dole out in this interview, but i’m inclined to trust him in proportion to the distance i can throw him.

          just about every nifty little war is peace/hate is love republican pr slogan from the bush era came from luntz’s workshop – what a beauty “job creators” was.

          he’s inclined to a particular pov, let’s say, one that isn’t merely 2000s era republican – a notably contemptible version of the type. his pov, first and foremost, is that of a marketeer; seeking always to better understand the psychology and motivations of his marks in order to derive the signifiers best suited for obfuscating the thing he wants to sell.

          1. Chaco52

            Regardless of the examples Luntz references, his interview came across as sincere and showed his humanity. Combined with Gurri’s observations on social media and the ineffective response by the elite leaders to the destructive ability of social media to divide us, it is hard to ignore Luntz’s conclusions regarding the precipitous times we live in and the abyss we face.

  6. dagan68

    With regard to the social desirability polling issue.
    What I am about to say is very anecdotal – but I thought I would share it on here anyway.

    My wife is a Chinese immigrant. She was a student at their most prestigious university – Tshinghua University in Beijing. Accordingly, she is a member of that University’s tens of thousands strong alumni association here in the USA. Actually quite involved. They were big supporters of Hilary Clinton during the last election – going for her 70-30. Now, given the Maoist reflections going on in the Democratic Party and the “wokeism” and the failure to confront this – that has absolutely reversed – the last poll in her group was 90-10 Trump. Strong work Democrats – that has taken years of effort to piss off these Chinese immigrants. You deserve everything you have coming in that regard.

    With all that in mind – since early this summer – my wife has somehow landed on a weekly polling call from one of our big polling groups. She will be absolutely going to the polls to vote for Trump. But she tells them she is voting for Biden. And she also answers all the “social questions” – exactly how she thinks they would want her to answer. When I confronted her about this weeks ago – she is in no way a liar in any other part of her life – her answer was illuminating – “Why would I tell them I would vote for Trump – I will be listed as an enemy of the state for life – you have no idea how Chairman Mao – and now these people – operate and what a danger they can be to your life.”

    I would add that a good chunk of the “deplorables” feel the same way – and would probably respond in kind.


    As a patriotic American – I think polling should be banned from now on. This is a poison to the electoral process.

    1. a different chris

      70-20 Clinton to 90-10 Trump.

      I think they need to sit back and really, really think a bit. Both are stupid extremes, sorry.

      And “Maoist reflections”? Give me a break.

      1. barefoot charley

        The Maoism she refers to (I think) is the humiliating self-criticism and censoring demanded by adolescent people’s warriors unleashed by Mao in the 1960s. The kids, millions of them, lived and killed by their slogans. It’s a fascinating connection I hadn’t made, and I’m afraid it’s apt.

    2. General Jinjur

      “Why would I tell them I would vote for Trump – I will be listed as an enemy of the state for life – you have no idea how Chairman Mao – and now these people – operate and what a danger they can be to your life.”

      This is not quite the same but I have frequently been uneasy when reading the campaign donation emails from the Trump campaign that are worded in such a way as to suggest mild intimidation. Paraphrasing, but words to the effect that my name will be put on a list of non-donors and given to Trump if no donation is forthcoming.

      1. General Jinjur

        That’s not quite right. The donation request expresses surprise that one of Trump’s strongest supporters has so far failed to give money. It then states that a list of donors will be given to Trump and suggests that my name had better be on it. And by association…

    3. John k

      Very interesting. My wife also, though from HK. She despises trump, as do afaik her many siblings. But none grew up under mao, so obviously different perspectives. I’m fairly shocked by your numbers… but several indications it’s way closer than most polls indicate.

    4. JacobiteInTraining

      “…the last poll in her group was 90-10 Trump…”

      Cool, future members of the ‘leopard-eating-peoples-faces-party’, I presume!

      They will be shocked…SHOCKED..when the leopard eats *their* face someday once Trump and his grifters win, and decide to get around to deporting the last of the brown people and get busy on the commies from Asia. (I happen to have an ex-GF who is Korean, and though she is fine in SF where she lived…when she was visiting in Florida she was accosted on several occasions by some rubes laughing about the ‘china virus’. Other times she was just stared at in a hostile manner til she left wherever she happened to be.

      “…enemy of the state for life….you have no idea how Chairman Mao – and now these people – operate and what a danger they can be to your life…”

      I don’t disagree that Chairman Mao was a danger, but to put ol Biden into the Imminent Commie Threat category is, well, amusingly – nay laughably – misguided. Biden and his ilk are still threats, but they are not now…nor will they ever be commies. Enough with the ‘pinko scum’ epithets at those guys….and maybe watch a little less Fox/OANN, lol.

      Now _me_ on the other hand….I’m a far piece further Left then Biden and the DNC will EVER be. (ever CAN be, lol) Me….*I* am a true Enemy of the State, hated by both D’s and R’s with equal enthusiasm. :)

      Tell yer wife not to worry, though, when the roundups and FEMA camp deportations begin,it’ll be me, who gets sent there first. I’m a secessionist, you see….i want to eventually see the PNW secede from this ridiculous mess of a Corporate Oligarchical Failed State, maybe merge with BC and become Cascadia.

      Should that ever happen, you and yer wife are still more then welcome to come visit and have a barbecue with us. I doubt the roving Death Squads will be too active past the holidays….too rainy, and the chance of snow/ice is just too taxing on the death squad vehicles.

      1. dagan68

        Thank you very much for your comment. It is comments like this that make me realize that Americans have absolutely no clue nor concern about what has happened to others in the rest of the world –

        My wife actually has been here 30 years. She decided to make the change to being in America while on the streets of Beijing during Tianamen Square. She came to this country and made the absolute most of it.

        She has been a very reliable Dem voter – and donor for the most part of 30 years. It was this summer – that has really triggered her – and the rest of her Chinese friends. They had the privilege of watching the end of the Cultural Revolution as children in middle and high school – as one after the other of those convicted of “thought crimes” got taken to the schoolyards and shot in front of the students.

        She also had the experience of being a young girl at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution – when the Red Guard started the fun first at the universities – then rapidly spreading to the papers – and the civic groups – and eventually turning families against themselves. They saw first hand the chaos of the left wing crowds released upon the universities – not unlike what has happened here the past few years. Then the public struggle sessions – which are an ongoing thing now right here in the USA. My job features one almost monthly at this point. Then came the massive re-education – being done here in the guise of sensitivity and racial training, etc. Then came the ad hominem attacks. Never you’re stupid or dumb – but actual vicious lies that ruin people’s lives forever. In America – this is sounding like – you are a racist – you are talking from your privilege – you are a Russian sympathizer. If you think that is not happening – please go look up the concept of “cancel culture”. Then and only then came the public executions.

        So yes – she is triggered – I have sat and listened to her and many of her friends talk about it without ceasing. They never dreamed they would be seeing exactly the same tactics as Maoist China in their new beloved home of the USA. I am so sorry you are unable to even begin to understand. Your comments make it clear you have not thought about it much from their perspective.

        Please do not minimize or make fun of these people – that is the usual smart ass blog comment twitter thing to do. Those of us with brains have learned to take warnings like hers very seriously.

        1. Lydia Maria Child

          Sorry, but this isn’t about others fully understanding what your wife and her friends went through almost a half century ago on the other side of the world. It is about them not understanding what’s going on here, and now. To even pretend like woke twitter scolds bare any resemblance to armed state agents murdering kids at school for thought crimes is idiotic. They’re confused and evidently very badly misinformed. TURN OFF THE TV. They sound about as deranged and out of touch as my fox news watching family. Very much the same, actually.

          1. JBird4049

            “On the other side of the world?” Speaking as one who has known people that had a fun time with J. Edward Hoover’s goons in the fifties, what with McCarthyism and the whole “better dead than Red” Red Scare of the times, may I suggest a rethinking of the “it’s just the Wokester Twits, so whatever?” Honestly, the sincere, nihilistic screeching about checking your privilege and on America’s uncleansed original sin is annoying especially as the useful idiots are distracting from the issues of extreme corruption and growing poverty. But they could become a real problem.

            First, to those who think that it is a “leftist” thing, it is a tactic of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. It is used by dictatorships and oligarchies to crush the the perceived opposition and brutalized the population into obedience. Hitler, Stalin, Francisco Franco, Pol Pot, Augusto Pinochet, and Mao all used some form of “thought crime means death.”

            Second, in the United States it has never been an official policy of murder but there were some, but you had to be doing something much greater than passing leaflets. However, being fired, expelled, blacklisted, and frequently harassed by the authorities (this would also be done on your family, friends, neighbors, employers, co-workers or anyone else associated with you.) If they thought that they could frame you, sometimes they would. And of course being spied on and followed around the country. The First World War, the 1920s, the 1950s-60s were all really bad times to be on the American Left.

            Third, please realize that there were no coups, and while the FBI, CIA, state and municipal police would all be trying to destroy you, there were public schoolyard executions, but many, many careers, families, and lives were destroyed in the United States often merely for speaking the bad words or going to the wrong meetings even once. So while some of these comments might seem and maybe are overwrought (Rod Dreher at The American Conservative can teach a course on it.) there are some very good reasons. The pattern of anti-communism and anti-unionism was similar to Wokeness and Identity Politics. Same with what became anti-capitalism. There are a number of countries that did not have a clue there would become thought crimes meriting torture, prison, or execution. The lack of “unofficial” it’s extrajudicial political executions, imprisonments, beatings, and harassment of the past past forty years is really unusual for the over four centuries (including the colonies) of American history. The co-ordinated multi city crushing of Occupy Wall Street, Little Rock, and protests are more normal.

            Fourth, in most cases the national government was already discredited, incompetent, and weak either by circumstances or deliberate effort. The country also is usually suffering economic decline, lost a war, or both. This allows first, a movement to take over, followed by a strongman. The movement often has an upper-middle class leadership with limited prospects and a disaffected base of the poor and the enraged.

            Noticed anything similar to modern America?

            It is unlikely that there will be public executions for thought crime because it would be really bad, but people were guillotined in Nazi Germany or shot in Fascist Italy for passing out leaflets, when a decade earlier Gay Berlin was real. That the French Revolution arose from a government meeting on a tennis court was really unexpected as well. Vladimir Lenin and his people were about as shocked as their enemies for winning the civil war. That was followed by a bad bank robber seizing total power, killing all the Old Bolsheviks, and putting the the survivors into the Gulag Archipelago that they had helped to create.

            History is filled with the unexpected. Twisted events that often lead to horrible events.

        2. fwe'zy

          Let’s ask the homeless and the hungry everywhere on these exceptional streets tonight how they’re making the absolute most of this paradise.

      2. Procopius

        It’s not Biden who is the danger. It’s the people around and behind him. Clinton’s people. Obama’s people. “You will know them by their deeds.”

  7. Jonhoops

    Why not explore using The iOS Notes app which is built for collecting & organizing snippets. Links images etc

    That way you don’t have to worry about your online connection as much.

      1. David

        But I doubt if it’s as efficient as using Notes. Every time I find an internet page that interests me I click on the share icon, and create a new note in the form of a URL shortcut in a predetermined folder in Notes. Takes less than five seconds.
        You don’t seriously still use Yahoo, do you?

      1. a different chris

        i thought the WC was the Plantidote, and the rest was just filler? :D

        Well, until the birdsongs were added. Love that.

    1. Synoia

      Possibly, and I am no expert on Apple products, turning the gadget off at bedtime, and on in the morning might help.

      Mysteries can be caused by a fragmented memory. Restart alleviates that condition for a time.

  8. Dave

    I’ve come to like a subscription service called “Diigo” for storing links and note-taking. Maybe this would work better than email for your needs? Apologies if many have already recommended this to you and you are sick of hearing about it!

  9. Rod

    i have so enjoyed your inclusion of bird voices as an intro to Water Cooler–and find it centering before reading on. thanks for bringing it onboard.
    Black Capped have a cousin that was noticed here first–so we call it the Carolina Chickadee. Its a regional voice being sweeter and more melodic, imo. Also a bit more petit, though often carouses with the BCs.
    The voice graph makes an interesting comparison of the two.


  10. Henry Moon Pie

    Maybe Luntz is a real voter whisperer, but it’s certain he’s still a Bushie through and through. He laments how Sarah Palin breached some norm that required expertise in governing at such a lofty level of politics without exhibiting a trace of irony considering how she appeared at the conclusion of eight glorious years of Bush/Cheney expertise.

    1. JBird4049

      IIRC, Sarah Palin represents Republicans rejection of expertise with Donald Trump as it culmination. I believe that he also places the Democrats in a similar category of lesser rejection.

      Let’s be honest, Frank Luntz has real responsibility for the current political and social hellscape, but Palin has about as much depth of knowledge as a saucer holds water. George W. Bush and Darth Chaney are university professors compared to her; I just don’t see him recommending or accepting Palin the Sexbot as a veep candidate.

      He probably does have remorse and really should. He didn’t think about how his compatriots would further push his tactics. Then again, social media has turned political discourse from a shootout with flintlock muskets to one with automatic shotguns.

      1. Rod

        I agree that take on Palin and the story he told about her speech was insightful.
        That bit on Social Media about minute44-48 just lunged at me.
        Listened again prior to debate and much of what he spoke on was laid bare by the debate.

  11. Drake

    Re: How the Polls Hide Trump’s Lead

    Not surprising to anyone paying attention and with a deep distrust of experts, especially data-whisperers. I fully expect Trump to win the electoral college easily. I base this on things like: the utter lack of enthusiasm for Biden and Harris even among people excited to get rid of Trump; the fact that demand for guns and ammunition have been making the former much more expensive than usual and the latter almost unobtainable, while applications for concealed carry have been soaring, and all of this began even before the protests though it became insane afterwards; the observation that Biden signs in my solid blue state/county are scarce and don’t outnumber Trump signs by much, while BLM signs are decreasing and statements of support for police or the more anodyne ‘first responders’ have been increasing; and the overwhelming intimidation and bullying directed against anyone who isn’t obviously with the program (see the sudden visceral hatred directed towards Chris Pratt for simply not attending an event with other ‘Avengers’). The polls aren’t capturing this. Conduct them in a gun shop and you’ll find the Trump voters, shy and not-so-shy.

    Also a majority of respondents consistently say they’re bettter off than four years ago, rather a surprise to me given how 2020 has gone but doesn’t bode well for a challenger.

    1. Phillip Cross

      Based on what I have seen of the US electorate, I think you’re right. Was there ever a more paranoid, ignorant, greedy and bitter group in the history of the world? What a bunch!

      In my opinion, a repulsive, morbidly obese, crass and belligerent hypocrite is the perfect avatar for the country. It’s just too “on the nose” for those in denial about America and it’s people, hence the big push to replace Trump with a less physically repulsive hypocrite.

        1. JBird4049

          Well, most fat people, from my experience, either have been forced to live on the high caloric, but cheap, craptastic junk food, or have suffered some wonderful combination of familial abuse, poverty, and despair. A very few do have some inherent disease that creates the condition. Most of these fat Americans have less political influence than the 20yo cat snoring on my lap.

          Americans who have healthy, athletic bodies, great cheekbones, and good teeth usually belong to the top 10%. The ones with the time, money, and access to excellent healthcare, gyms, personal trainers, and expensive, healthy, organic food. The nomenklatura and apparatchiks who actually have some influence or even real power.

          The fact is that the conditions that create impoverished, unhealthy fat people has more to do with the efforts of the well off, skinny people than the fat people. But the innocent are supposed to be beautiful while the guilty are ugly. Facts be dammed. So the eeeevvvillle Americans must all be ugly lardbutts.

          1. tegnost

            FTA…”On average, SNAP households received about $246 a month in fiscal year 2020. The average SNAP benefit per person was about $125 per month, which works out to about $1.39 per person per meal.”
            About all you can buy on $250 a month is cheerios and pasta, but if you want to go organic then it’s just pasta…
            It looks like another one of those “self fulfilling promises”
            You pretend to be hungry and we’;ll pretend to feed you…(I mean, if you’re hungry then why won’t you get a job? Amazon is always hiring…)

      1. tegnost

        I think you’re right. Was there ever a more paranoid, ignorant, greedy and bitter group in the history of the world? What a bunch!

        OMG you’ve been hanging around with my PMC/MBA/medico family members in san diego! Tell them I said “Hi!”
        But I think you meant brunch…

    2. a different chris

      >(see the sudden visceral hatred directed towards Chris Pratt for simply not attending an event with other ‘Avengers’).

      So they really aren’t inspired and won’t show up at the voting booths but truly, “overwhelmingly” I believe was your word, hate Chris Pratt?

      Gotcha. Um, suggest you check a dictionary and see if “overwhelmingly” means what you think it means.

      As usual, I don’t know who is going to win but Trump having a big EC victory is something I would actually bet against, if I was a betting man.

    3. Biph

      I find it funny that your using a Gallup poll from 6 weeks ago where 56% respondents said they were better off than 4 years ago, but ignoring the latest Gallup poll which shows Trump with a 43% approval rating and the Dems with 86%-79% edge in saying this election is more important than previous ones. I suppose if one only looks at the data that supports the Trump is winning position while ignoring that which undermines it and only talks to people in gun stores it could look like Trump is headed for a landslide victory.

  12. Samuel Conner

    I listened to about 60% of the Luntz interview. It was useful, but I was a bit troubled by what I understood to be his claim that the problem with the ACA was “messaging” or presentation, that it was called “health care reform”, not “health insurance reform”, and that this led people to believe that Obama was going to mess with what was happening at the point of care.

    And, as far as I got in the interview, not a hint of recognition that M4A as a solution to what is wrong with US health care provision has significant and bipartisan support in the electorate.

    At the point I reached in the interview where I tuned out, he was talking about the widespread distrust of elites, and blaming the elites for the distrust, but I didn’t get the sense that he sees “misgovernance” to be part of the problem.

    1. Geof

      I recommend the last few minutes, from about the 54 minute mark. I think it’s the most important part.

      I think what matters in this interview is not particular policies or ideology, right or wrong. It is how the American people have become divided. Luntz is on the one hand responsible for some very bad things (blocking efforts on climate change). On the other, you can tell that he’s taking great care not to rile up outrage for or against Trump or (more importantly) his supporters. The core danger is captured in the last few minutes. On that, I think he’s very right.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      He is a professional messenger. That’s why he said the problem was messaging. If all you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.

    3. Skip Intro

      Luntz is pretty dense or disingenuous when he compares OWS and the Tea Party “movement” (neglecting all the Koch funding, and Fox 24/7 cheerleading), and he is especially clueless about Obama and the ACA… ‘did they not do polling?’ Duh. They knew what people wanted, their JOB was to prevent it.

      Sure Luntz has emotional intelligence, and a certain skill as a ‘working-class’-whisperer for GOP pols, but I wouldn’t believe his ‘facts’.

      1. Skip Intro

        OMG, he actually admits his guilt and breaks down at the end… this interview deserves a full post of its own!

  13. lyman alpha blob

    Because voters are little children…

    Does anybody fall for this kind of crap? I much prefer Trump’s unmasked spittle laden vituperation to this kind of treacly, palaverous pap and would rather be a member of the Manson family than Biden’s.

    1. hunkerdown

      No, but it helps reinforce turnout of their desired base, if only by turning other people off.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I am trying to think what kind of family the US is like. I think it’s a tossup between the Montagues/Capulets and the Lannisters.

      (Now I am wondering if somebody will rewrite West Side Story with Trump supporters and the Resistance as the rival gangs).

  14. DJG

    And this foofaraw from some id-ish tweet: “restore the soul of our nation”

    The current “soul” of “America” is a pungent gas made of melodrama and bad faith. Anytime anyone starts yammering about the Soul of America[tm] we can be assured that that person’s mind has turned into a combination of circus peanuts, Cool Whip, sententious quotes from John Kerry, and spiritual-but-not-religious piffle.

    Both the mauve party and the aqua party of the Party of Property are thoroughly infected. Here we face a winter when the bodies of Americans are endangered, after a summer of endangerment of bodies through fire, and these bozos are looking for comfort in their own reheated slogans and swirling fantasies.

  15. Biph

    I’ve seen a lot on “shy” Trump voters and while I certainly think that’s a thing and more likely to occur in deep blue places, how significant it is is another matter. Could there be a similar thing going on with Biden voters. For example someone married to or living with a vocal Trump supporter who pays lip service to supporting Trump while intending to vote for Biden, all in the interest of domestic harmony. Once again I don’t know how significant it would be, but I could see the “shy” voter thing running both ways.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > more likely to occur in deep blue places,

      If shyness is in deep blue places, it doensn’t matter electorally. In the suburbs, especially in swing states, it might.

      1. Biph

        Elections are often won by decreasing one’s opponents margin of victory in places they are expected to and do win easily, but winning or losing a city or heavily gerrymandered CD by 30 points rather than 40 does matter in a close election.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      I’ve seen several yards in my Wisconsin community where there are Biden, Democratic signs on one side and Tru*p, Republican on the other. Never seen this before.

  16. Lee

    I’m confused about an aspect of Covid-19 research findings and news coverage of it. I read an article such as this that indicates high rates of asymptomatic positivity, but little if any discussion about the possibility that a significant portion of the population have a protective level of innate, most likely genetically determined resistance. While factors such as age and general health are much discussed and proven to be protective, although not universally so, there are obviously other things at work here, and wouldn’t it be helpful to find out? Is there no money to be made in discovering those who enjoy natural immunity and those who don’t? I guess all the big bets are on vaccines.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Lately I’ve heard some speak of research that indicates the tests are too sensitive, and suggest that many of these asymptomatic case are actually false positives. I will have to look for these.

      Not saying there are not people with some level of immunity. In fact, of the handful of people I know who got sick, most did not infect their entire household.

      1. Lee

        Another case in the news was of a multi-generational extended family that got infected. The grandparents, aunts and uncles as well as the children fared well but both parents.unrelated one assumes, died. They were in their late forties, IIRC. A lot of unexplained things happening. Scientists and politicians caught flatfooted and all confounded by profit motive determining what gets studied and what doesn’t; which solutions are sought after and promoted, and which are not. Well, maybe a vaccine will save us. I’m no anti-vaxxer, I just got my flu shot, but I must say that my confidence in a warp speed produced vaccine is a tad bit shaky. Kamala Harris has volunteered to go first. Let’s see how she does.

        1. tegnost

          Sure, Kamala will go first just like barack drank the detroit water…
          I’ll go last…no, no, don’t thank me…I just want to make sure that the MOU can get theirs first because what would we do without them… Of course, on second thought, if it were a truly safe and effective vaccine wall street would only allow it to be distributed to the big club that we ain’t in (h/t George Carlin) so instead of being last I just wouldn’t get it at all…

      2. drexciya

        In The Netherlands the testing procedure has been changed recently, and since then, we see lots and lots of “cases”. Also, they’re not testing for other seasonal viruses. There’s a lot going on, when it comes to PCR tests. Proper treatment of the samples is the first step. And then we have the specificity and selectivity. Also, the number of cycles is relevant, when defining what is deemed a positive outcome.

        PCR tests are potentially very good, but there are some caveats, and it’s all about how you perform these tests. And now we’re performing them in a population, which might have been in contact with the virus months before. The big question is, how long will you still see virus fragments come up in a test? And given the consequences of having a positive test, even if you don’t have any symptoms, this is a big thing.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      I am confused too, about the implications of the new CDC guidance.

      An article was linked here, K is the new R, stating that transmission was mostly through super spreader events and 70% of those who have it don’t infect anyone.

      The new guidance says you don’t have to spend 15 continuous minutes together to get infected, it’s cumulative within a 24 hr period.

      And the justification Sanjay Gupta gave for it on CNN is that transmission now is being driven by people getting together with close friends/family they don’t live with.

      Which is it?

      1. Lee

        I’m assuming you are referring to the prison guard who caught it.

        “Specifically, during his 8-hour shift, the officer had 22 brief encounters (between 10 and 60 seconds each) with the inmates, totaling 17 minutes of cumulative exposure.

        The correctional officer wore a cloth mask and goggles during his encounters, but the inmates were not always masked.” CDC changes definition of ‘close contact’ for COVID-19

        It’s a real crap shoot out there.

  17. UserFriendly

    I need it to grab something from the Tweet or post I am mailing myself, and put it in the subject line. That way I have a memory trigger for prioritizing when posting. Apple Mail meets this requirement, which is why I stick with that time-eating piece of garbage. Yahoo and Yandex do not. And on top of it all, my Internet connection as gone flaky again. Aaaargh! –lambert P.S. More soon.

    I’ve long thought Pocket would really be a great way to improve your workflow. It lets you save articles, optionally tag them with custom tags. It is also a great way around paywalls. I open NYT in incognito and save to pocket and LAtimes without incognito. Then it shows the articles in reader view without ads, which makes sites like the daily mail actually readable.

  18. Synoia

    Lambert, on Covid 19, is there a graph that could be added without extra work of deaths by age group?

    If you like it compiled for you I could do that for the previous day.

    1. a different chris

      Yeah that would be helpful.

      We actually want to know two things, but probably not possible

      1) what percentage of an age-group actually gets COVID, this is basically a survey of how society works (old people are in old people’s homes, etc)
      2) what percentage of those infected, given an age group, die

      Because if only 1% of a given whatever group have some reaction to X, that sounds great until you find out that for whatever reason only 2% of said group are exposed to X. And the opposite is true, guys on sailboat trips around the world don’t get it but what does that tell you?

      Lies, damn lies and statistics.

      1. juneau

        FWIW CDC has a relatively current count of deaths by age group on their website

        I have a pet peeve about data on rates of Covid. Data on number of Covid cases in each age group requires adequate surveillance testing to see the rates of infection in the community. Sort of like the testing NY did in the spring, just sampling people at the grocery store at random. Our leaders have done work to test the ill in NY but surveillance testing, promised by many, is very hard to find anyway in the US in my humble efforts to find it. India has developed a paper test and there are other cheap methods to do widespread testing but we don’t seem to get it here. One may ponder why…

  19. voteforno6

    Re: Social Desirability Index

    So, I guess the author of that article is using another term for shy Trump voters. The ones that I’ve seen haven’t been very shy. On the other hand, I’ve heard enough stories of vandalism of Biden signs in Trump-leaning areas that suggest that the opposite may be true.

    That article also makes the fatal mistake, I think, of leaning too hard into what happened in 2016 to explain why Trump really is winning. The polls in 2016 weren’t that far off – Clinton still won the popular vote, and Trump pretty much had to run the table in the closest states, and even then his margins of victory weren’t very significant. If the polls this year are off by the same margin as they were in 2016, Biden still wins. The author of that article had to cherry-pick pollsters that aren’t the most reliable in an attempt to “prove” that Trump will win handily. I don’t buy it.

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, it’s 2020, not 2016. A lot has happened since then, and I just don’t see that overwhelming support for Trump that some people think is lurking out there. Too many are still fighting that last war, rather than plan for the next one.

    1. Drake

      Things that have changed in 2020 vs 2016:

      Trump is now a 4-year incumbent rather with a solid record at least as good as those of recent exemplars, rather than a loony reality-show host trying to renegotiate his contract; his opponent is a befuddled, dreary old zombie whose platform is ‘Trump bad’ and ‘trust me’ and who is clearly just a weekend-at-Bernie’s lead; he survived a 3-year mendacious coup attempt conducted by the intelligence agencies, the mainstream press, and the democrats acting in lockstep unison; he survived an impeachment attempt because he wanted to investigate a leading Democrat’s open corruption; that leading Democrat is now his opponent and even more openly corrupt by the day; he survived MeToo and BLM movements weaponized against him and which ultimately did more harm to his opponents; and he’s campaigning in an environment of open censorship by social media and belittlement by mainstream press.

      Those are a bit of the lot that has happened since then, and his supporters are aware of it all and respect him for it. Certain people may not like it, but he’s a hero to many. As many others have said, there are two movies playing and most people only see one. I think Democrats are the more willfully blind this time around, like last time.

    2. Biph

      I think turnout will be the tell, Trump is running a base election the lower the turnout the better it is for Trump the higher the worse. Early voting numbers indicate we are looking at a high turnout election, but that obviously could change once we get to Nov 3.

    3. Carolinian

      cherry-pick pollsters that aren’t the most reliable

      Except that they correctly predicted the 2016 outcome when everyone else didn’t. Please note they do still think this election could be very close.

      I do believe the shy Trump voter thing may be real. Putting a sign in your yard is a gesture of support but it’s also an identity badge saying “i’m with the good guys.” Given all the atmospherics proclaiming Trump the new Hitler etc you can certainly see why people might be reluctant to publicly proclaim for him and in my very Republican (at least up until now) neighborhood there are lots of Biden signs, maybe two or three for Trump–adding that ninety percent of the yards have no sign at all. So these tea leaves don’t reveal a lot.

      We’ll know soon enough which pollsters were right.

      1. Biph

        In my light red part of a light blue State the Trump signs definitely outnumber the Biden signs, but there are noticeably more Biden signs than there were HRC signs 4 years ago. The number of Trump signs looks to be static from 2016. The big loser in the sign/bumper sticker election this year is Giant Meteor it’s signage and bumper stickers outnumbered HRC’s in 2016 I haven’t seen a 1 this year. I have seen one for Any Functioning Adult 2020 FWIW.

        1. tegnost

          The big loser in the sign/bumper sticker election this year is Giant Meteor it’s signage and bumper stickers outnumbered HRC’s in 2016 I haven’t seen a 1 this year.
          That’s because the whole charade is just not funny anymore

  20. Brunches with Cats

    Thanks for the Frank Luntz interview, and thanks to Geof for the link in yesterday’s WC (NC commentariat is the best!)

    I started watching it at 5 a.m. after being up all night with severe anxiety over the unimaginable destruction we’re about to witness. By the time I realized the “clip” was an hour long, I already was hooked and watched to the end. I’ve never seen Frank Luntz and so have no idea what’s typical for him; in this interview, there’s something compelling about his facial expressions and body language — raw and vulnerable — that I think would be lost in listening while multitasking, definitely lost in reading the transcript (which normally would be my preference, too).

    Like Lambert, I don’t agree with everything he says (Oprah, eye-roll) but his message, depressing as it is, couldn’t be more timely. We’re in the final countdown before a deadly hurricane, and all the screaming into the wind won’t stop it.

  21. Mikel

    “Mr. Market is not having a sad, so I would guess there’s no issue of their systems being overwhelmed.”

    Algos overwhelmed with kneejerk, BS headlines?

  22. Leftcoastindie

    BallotTrax works!

    Hello xxxxxxxxxxxxx,

    This is a message from San Diego Registrar of Voters. Your ballot for the 2020 General Election was received and will be counted. Thank you for voting!

    I didn’t vote for either of the DemRep party candidates but concentrated on statewide and local races and ballot initiatives.
    Good Luck on voting!

  23. NoOneInParticular

    NYT: “Russia Poses Greater Election Threat Than Iran, Many U.S. Officials Say”

    First paragraph:

    “many intelligence officials said”
    How many is many? What agencies do they belong to? What level are they?

    “…breaches that could allow Moscow broader access to American voting infrastructure.”


    Second paragraph:

    “…American intelligence agencies, infiltrating Russian networks themselves…”

    Translation: we do it, too.

    “Officials did not make clear what Russia planned to do, but they said its operations would be intended to help President Trump”

    They don’t know what the Russians will do but they will try to help Trump. How reliable is their information, anyway?

    Third paragraph:

    “There is no evidence that the Russians have changed any vote tallies or voter registration information officials said. They added that the Russian-backed hackers had penetrated the computer networks without taking further action, as they did in 2016.”

    So far, the Russians have done nothing this time and did nothing in 2016.

    “American officials expect that if the presidential race is not called on election night, Russian groups could use their knowledge…”


    Fourth and fifth paragraphs:

    Iran: “… the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, [announced Wednesday] that Iran has been involved in the spreading of faked, threatening emails, which were made to appear as if they came from the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group.”

    “Officials briefed on the intelligence said that Mr. Ratcliffe had accurately summarized the preliminary conclusion about Iran. But Tehran’s hackers may have accomplished that mission simply by assembling public information and then routing the threatening emails through Saudi Arabia, Estonia and other countries to hide their tracks.”

    Iran took public info, made up some stuff, and emailed it to lots of people.

    Sixth paragraph:

    “Nonetheless, both the Iranian and the Russian activity could pave the way for “perception hacks,” which are intended to leave the impression that foreign powers have greater access to the voting system than they really do.”

    A fascinating paragraph in which the Times speculates, undercuts the premise of its story, all while trying to amplify that premise. Brilliant!

    And that’s where I’ll stop.

    1. Briny

      But Russia, Russia, Russia! With a side of Iran, Iran, Iran!

      What I don’t understand is their constant push for war with either a country that could easily destroy this one (nukes) or a country who would make Vietnam look like a Sunday school picnic should we actually invade? I just don’t get the objective here.

      1. ambrit

        Make the Homeland Folks afraid of some foreign ‘monsters’ and your domestic agendas fall into place as a result. People will give up a lot of personal freedom in exchange for security.
        Back in the “Go Go” years, a favourite exercise in subversive irony was the punch line; “You wouldn’t want your sister to ‘marry’ one, would you?”

  24. Grant

    “Because voters are little children”

    It is a natural human reaction when everything is horrible to make believe. But, the way in which people willingly just buy into sappy nonsense is just nauseating. I mean, Biden is so empathetic, that is why he would veto single payer during a pandemic, supported beyond harsh drug laws (with a son battling addiction issues, very empathetic), the crime bill, the Iraq War, the bankruptcy bill and the rest. The man who told young voters that he felt no empathy because of them suffering thanks to people like him and his corruption. Yeah, that guy is just so empathetic because he hugs people. Maybe Bernie should have ran as a motivational speaker. His campaign slogan could have been, “Hugs for everyone!” These rubes would have cried their way to the ballot box. I wonder if they cry when poor people die because they can’t get healthcare or because their water is poisoned. Maybe in between HOA meetings.

  25. MichaelSF

    Elites “built the great dams and nuclear plants that electrified the country, and threw in the interstate highway grid for good measure.”

    Funny, I don’t remember my grandpa telling me stories of all the millionaires working along with him to build a dam in the PNW during the depression. I guess they must have been busy elsewhere.

    1. flora

      The wealthy elites were being taxed to pay for it. Rich boaters in the northeast at the time took to calling hurricanes “roosevelts”, as in “it’s blowing a positive “roosevelt” out there” – not as a term of endearment. ;)

  26. The Rev Kev

    “A sneak peek at Tales from the Loop author Simon Stålenhag’s next two art books”

    Since Lambert has featured this imaginative artist several times, I thought that I would make mention of another artist that does similar work. He is a Polish guy named Jakub Różalski and his work is set in about 1920-


    Thought I would put this in before the crazy of the debates starts up.

  27. The Rev Kev

    With all those featured tweets, I am glad that I do not do Twitter. Too much gas-lighting. When Obama says “Obama’s diagnosis is that folks stayed home in 2016 bc they got “lazy” or “complacent.”” the voter-shaming is getting a bit thick. Especially when he is basically saying that nothing is his fault with it.

    But what is bizarre is the one that mentions that “Following the debates, Democratic support for a fracking ban dropped an eye-popping 16 points, from 65% to 49%.” I mean, JFC! What is wrong with those people? Did they drink too much of the kool-aid? One of the best replies to that one following it was a guy that said “Progressive charlatans sold us the idea that we would move Joe Biden left, but Joe Biden is moving liberals to the right.” Damn right!

  28. Cuibono

    Maxwell “‘All the time that I have been in the house I have never seen, heard, nor witnessed, nor have [had] reported to me that any activities took place, that people were in distress, either reported to me by the staff or anyone else.’”obviously studied Clintons parsing methods

    1. ambrit

      Given Clinton’s known “visits” to Epstein, she probably learned those methods directly from “Dirty” Bill himself.

  29. Jeremy Grimm

    “NASA to Make Major Announcement of ‘Exciting News’ About The Moon”
    “The space agency did not reveal details about the discovery …”

    — They found a strange rectangular prism shaped monolith of some shiny, smooth, black material buried below the moon’s surface.

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