2:00PM Water Cooler 10/26/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

As usual, I gathered far too much 2020 material over the weekend, so I’ll put some of it in, rather than leave it all on the cutting room floor. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

There were a number of bird mentioned on my flowers post yesterday, including the goldfinch. I don’t know if this is a “Lesser” one or not!


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.

Oceania, Eurasia, Eastasia?

Which system protected its citizens better? (And why are the shapes of each curve so different?

Natural experiment:

Two multilingual, multicultural countries, of continental scale, from the common law tradition, and with a Federal system and a mixed economy. One has single payer heatlh care and the other doesn’t. Of course, there are other differences too, but you’d think somebody would be looking into this….




“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. October 24: Indiana 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!

* * *

Congressional District polling:

The right-most column is the interesting one.

2016 v. 2020 in swing states:

* * *

IA: “The weirdest Iowa election year ever winds to a close with competitive races, massive unknowns” [Des Moines Register]. • The reporter emptied their Rolodiex, for both parties. Nothing about facts on the ground at all.

UPDATE PA: “Political division has put rural Pennsylvania on edge” [Financial Times]. “As an overseas correspondent reporting on wars and troubled politics, I met plenty of people skittish or scared about exploring or explaining their beliefs. But that was in Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq or Lebanon, not American communities with names like Cranberry, Economy and Harmony — all in Pennsylvania, a swing state with 20 electoral votes that could once again prove pivotal…. Hours after I quoted her in a story about undecided voters, her supervisor read it online and confronted her. She had no right to speak to a newspaper, she was told. No one should talk politics with media. She texted me at 4.30am: could I please remove the name of her workplace? She feared losing her job, never mind that she had not spoken about her work and hadn’t said for sure how she would vote. I tried to point out that in the US free speech is a constitutional guarantee — it comes just before the right to bear arms. It’s a right, I said with some irony, that makes America great. I get that, she texted back, ‘I’m just trying to save my butt.”” • Welcome to the Third World.

UPDATE WI: “With All Eyes on Wisconsin, Partisan Gridlock at State Elections Commission Frustrates Voters and Local Officials” [Pro Publica]. “In the end, the commission deadlocked 3-3 not once but twice over motions to deal with the disputed ballots, leaving each of Wisconsin’s municipal clerks to decide on their own what to do. For the state’s top agency overseeing elections, such standoffs have become the norm. With the national spotlight on Wisconsin as a swing state that could sway the presidential election, the commission has become increasingly stalemated and ineffective, according to an investigation by Wisconsin Watch and ProPublica.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Six former secretaries of Commerce endorse Joe Biden” [CNBC]. • Well, I’m sold.

Biden (D)(2): “Why These Voters Rejected Hillary Clinton but Are Backing Joe Biden” [New York Times]. “Since 2019, Mr. Biden has held an advantage of four to eight points over Mrs. Clinton in key swing districts, according to an analysis by John Hagner, a partner at Clarity Campaign Labs, a Democratic data analytics firm. Polling shows Mr. Biden scoring higher than Mrs. Clinton among a wide range of demographic groups — most notably older voters, white voters and suburbanites. But his advantage is stark among those who sat out the 2016 election or backed third-party candidates. Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump, 49 percent to 19 percent, among likely voters who backed third-party candidates in 2016, according to recent polling of battleground states by The New York Times and Siena College. Among registered voters who sat out the 2016 election, Mr. Biden leads by nine percentage points, the polls found.”

Biden (D)(3): President-in-Waiting Harris on “the ancestors”:

I would be interested to think what ADOS theorists think of this comment from Harris, given her own ancestry.

Biden (D)(4): President-in-Waiting Harris laughing, but why?

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): President-in-Waiting Harris, vet:

Nothing a little brunch won’t cure…

UPDATE Biden (D)(6): “Biden Pledges Ambitious Climate Action. Here’s What He Could Actually Do.” [New York Times]. “Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s $2 trillion plan to fight global warming is the most ambitious climate policy proposed by a leading presidential candidate, a political lightning rod spotlighted on Thursday night when the Democratic nominee acknowledged during a debate that it would ‘transition’ the country ‘from the oil industry.’ But no one knows better than Mr. Biden, the former vice president, that it almost surely will not be enacted, even if his party secures the White House and the Senate. Thirty-six years in the Senate and the searing experience of watching the Obama administration’s less ambitious climate plan die a decade ago have taught him the art of the possible.” • Walking it back before the election?

UPDATE Biden (D)(7): “Opportunity Knocks: Canvassing in the Time of Covid” [The Nation]. “With less than two weeks to Election Day and early voting already underway, Joe Biden’s campaign is finally resuming in-person canvassing in battleground states. It’s about time. The Biden team’s decision earlier this year to impose a moratorium on door-knocking—a party line that local candidates, too, felt pressure to follow—and opt instead for an ‘invisible campaign‘ of ads, calls, and texts was a costly blunder. In-person canvassing is one of the most effective tools a campaign has at its disposal: It motivates volunteers, persuades undecided voters and increases turnout up and down the ballot. Which may be why the Trump campaign—and state GOP organizations—never stopped knocking. So it’s welcome news that, after months of condemning canvassing as both dangerous and ineffective, top Democratic operatives have suddenly changed their tone.” • Ka-ching.

Buttigieg (D)(5): “Pete Buttigieg Dropped Out of the Presidential Race and Wrote a Best Seller” [New York Times]. • “… his dogs, Truman and Buddy…” The powers-that-be are working so hard to make this homonculus of a candidate a thing.

Trump (R)(1): “Why Trump Has a Serious Chance of Winning. Really” [Washington Monthly]. “First, the president is actually more popular now than on the day he was elected. Yes, that’s right. His personal favorability rating around election day in 2016 was 37.5%. Now, it is 43.2%. There are, in fact, hundreds of thousands of Americans (if not millions) who have grown fonder of Trump…. [T]he Biden edge is much smaller than most of the analysis has suggested. Yes, I’d rather be Biden than Trump as we approach the final days of the campaign. But Trump’s path to victory is, at this moment, only slightly less likely than it was in 2016 around this time.” • Well worth a read; the liberal Democrat triumphalist cacaphony is so loud I can’t hear myself think, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

Trump (R)(2): “Exclusive: Trump campaign takes over YouTube masthead” [The Hill]. “President Trump’s campaign took over YouTube’s masthead on Sunday, placing a 7-figure ad buy to secure some of the most coveted and pricey real estate on the internet. The 24-hour takeover features five different ads, with two spots promoting Trump’s support among Black and Latino voters, and three spots attacking Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on taxes, the former vice president’s mental sharpness, and Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. By Nov. 3, the Trump campaign will have secured the YouTube masthead 20 times this cycle, including on Election Day. Most recently, the Trump campaign took over YouTube for eight days in August for both the Democratic and Republican conventions. YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world and the masthead has more daily reach than CNN and MSNBC combined.”

Trump (D)(3): Not like 2016:

Worth noting that in 2016 Trump districts, this is an extra layer of lethality, on top of deaths in the military and deaths of despair.

UPDATE Trump (D)(4): “The big Trump rallies you don’t see” [Washington Examiner]. “”I can’t believe there aren’t any newspeople here,” said Linda of Greene County, Pennsylvania, as she stood among hundreds of cars and pickup trucks idling in long parallel lines in a vast big-box-store parking lot Saturday, waiting to join the Interstate 70 Trump Train. Indeed, although there were carloads of Trump supporters as far as one could see, and many more on the way from Ohio and West Virginia, and this enormous political event was happening less than two weeks before the presidential election, as far as I could tell, I was the only newsperson there. It was the biggest political rally no one saw. And gatherings like it have been happening for months in some of the places President Trump needs most to win if he is to be reelected. And, remarkably, the rallies are not the work of the Trump campaign. The road rally in Washington, Pennsylvania, was organized and staged by local Trump supporters, linked together largely by Facebook, who want to show that enthusiasm for the president in western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas is not just strong but stronger than it was when Trump eked out a victory in Pennsylvania in 2016. If Trump wins this critical state, it will owe in significant part to this organic movement and the energetic organizers who have nothing to do with his campaign.” • Worth reading in full. (Washington Examiner, I know, but AFAIK, Byron York doesn’t make sh*t up.)

UPDATE Warren (D)(1): “Progressives push for Warren as Treasury secretary, signaling bigger ideological battle if Biden wins” [NBC]. • Well, as long as she’s not in the line of succession….

* * *

UPDATE “Early vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems’ advantage” [Associated Press]. “Campaigns typically push their voters to cast ballots early so they can focus scarce resources chasing more marginal voters as the days tick down to Election Day. That usually saves them money on mailers and digital ads — something the cash-strapped Trump campaign would likely want — and minimizes the impact of late surprises that could change the race…. That split in voting behavior — Democrats voting early, Republicans on Election Day — has led some Democrats to worry about Trump declaring victory because early votes are counted last in Rust Belt battlegrounds. But they’re counted swiftly in swing states such as Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, which may balance out which party seems ahead on election night….. One sign of enthusiasm is the large number of new or infrequent voters who have already voted — 25% of the total cast, according to an AP analysis of data from the political data firm L2. Those voters are younger than a typical voter and less likely to be white. So far similar shares of them are registering Democratic and Republican.”

She’s right:

“Four in ten supporters of Biden, Trump would not accept election defeat” [Reuters]. “More than four in ten supporters of both President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, said they would not accept the result of the November election if their preferred candidate loses, Reuters/Ipsos poll found….

* * *

“Automatic signature verification software threatens to disenfranchise U.S. voters” [VentureBeat]. “The category of algorithms used to verify signatures on ballots is known as “offline” signature verification because it relies on images of signatures when real-time information (like the downward pressure of a pen) isn’t available. Offline signature verification algorithms are trained on datasets that attempt to capture two feature types: global features that describe the signatures as a whole and local features that describe individual parts of the signatures (like symmetry and stroke directions). Several studies on automatic signature verification have been published, most recently by the Central Police University’s Department of Forensic Science in Taiwan. The study found that an algorithm trained on an open source dataset from the International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition attained accuracy between 94.37% and 99.96%. A more comprehensive paper published in the EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing concluded the accuracy of matching algorithms varied depending on the data used. Identification rates ranged from 74.3% for an algorithm trained on samples from 1,000 writers to 96.7% for an algorithm trained on a 657-writer dataset.” • That’s a lot of voters. This whole article is well worth a read.

UPDATE Electronic voting machines are super-spreaders:

Not precisely superspreaders, I admit.

2016 Post Mortem

“Clinton says most Republicans want to see Trump gone but can’t say it publicly: report” [The Hill]. “When asked if a female president would have better handled the coronavirus pandemic, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said, ‘I have no doubt, especially if it were me. I have no doubt. I mean, I was born for that.'” • Learned nothing, forgotten nothing.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Game On w/Special Guest Briahna Joy Gray” (podcast) [The West Wing Thing]. “We swear on a stack of bibles, we only asked her to watch ONE episode! The great Briahna Joy Gray joins us to discuss the 114 episodes of West Wing she’s watched in the last week, and to talk about Jeb Bartlett’s final debate. Also, Star Trek is better than Star Wars.” • Gray has a lovely laugh. Very funny.

“Humanity Has Trolled Itself Into An Awaken-Or-Die Situation” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “As if guided by some strange, deep wisdom, humanity has walked itself into a situation where it is holding the knife in one hand and the incense in the other, vowing to kill itself if it cannot attain collective enlightenment by the time the incense burns out. We didn’t do it on purpose. We didn’t do it because our egos found it to be a gratifying crisis to put ourselves in. We just wound up here, by some bizarre miracle, completely out of left field. Something deep within us has put us in a position where we must necessarily rise to our full potential as a species or go the way of the dinosaur.” • Looks like Marianne Williamson — and manipulating the debate rules to shut her out was unconscionable — was onto something.


“Chuck Schumer Gets Ripped by Social Media for His Takeaway on ‘Suicide Prevention’ Amid COVID Relief Talks” [Pop Culture]. One response:

C’mon, let’s be fair. After all, life expectancy started falling in flyover in Obama’s second term, and Case/Deaton published their “deaths of despair” in 2015. So Schumer is reacting pretty quickly, by liberal Democrat standards.

* * *

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.

National Activity Index: “September 2020 CFNAI Super Index Moving Average Index Continues To Suggest A Marginal Slowing Of The Economic Rate Of Growth” [Econintersect]. “This index is likely the best coincident indicator of the U.S. economy. A coincident indicator shows the current state of the economy. This month, there was a general slowing across the board for the economy.”

* * *

Real Estate: “A third of US hotels could disappear: report” [Yahoo News!]. “A third of hotels in the U.S. could go under due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study. Some 33% of hotel owners expect to hand the keys back to their lender or enter a forced sale situation, according to a September 7 survey of 103 hotels by the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA).”

Retail: “U.S. factories can’t keep up with the demand for goods that Americans are buying as the Covid-19 pandemic persists. Production of consumer products has largely recovered after shutdowns this spring, but… buyers are snapping up items at an even faster pace as companies rush to restock” [Wall Street Journal]. “Car dealers are still seeing their stockpiles dwindle long after vehicle production restarted, paint producers don’t have enough cans and appliance makers are short on parts for their factories. Supply-chain disruptions, worker absences and challenges from virus-proofing workplaces are complicating manufacturers’ efforts to catch up.”

Apparel: “Fast-Fashion Heiress Asks Shoppers to Buy Less in Green Push” [Bloomberg]. “The fashion business produces 20% of the world’s wastewater and 10% of carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, according to a United Nations report. It takes around 2,000 gallons of water to make a typical pair of jeans, while the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is sent to landfills or burned every second…. Some 66% of consumers surveyed in a McKinsey study said they consider sustainability when making a luxury purchase. Still, only 31% of Gen-Z and 12% of baby boomers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, according to the consulting firm.”

Shipping: “China’s economic rebound is rebuilding confidence in shipping’s beleaguered dry-bulk sector. The world’s biggest commodity importer is stocking up on metals, grains and other bulk industrial goods… providing a boost for ship operators who had fallen into a deep trough in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic” [Wall Street Journal]. “Bulk carriers now appear to be gaining from China’s resurgent growth and Beijing’s desire to amass raw materials as a cushion against potential new supply-chain disruptions from rising Covid-19 infections in the West.” • Ugh, the last part of the last sentence….

Tech: Robot cars gotta robot (dk):

I don’t drive, so I didn’t understand the video. So I asked dk. He wrote:

After the initial start-stop, the car, in the turn lane, takes the turn but first steers wide, then tightens up and doesn’t find the lane after the turn, continuing and nearly running into the land divider (see).

With cameras having to resolve near field darkness with bright far field & headlights misdirected. Takes time to adjust from bright to dark. White face of concrete curb resolves before lane lines.

Humans have this problem. Causes lots of fatal crashes around twilight.

Two more examples. Here,

there is a turn at the crest of the hill, difficult for human drivers too, you can’t see the turn until you get to the top of the hill. And here: In many states, traffic is permitted to turn right when at an intersection when the light is red. The Tesla is in the turn lane, and has right of way but doesn’t take the turn and drives straight through the intersection until the human driver corrects the car.

The first two errors occur in conditions where human drivers might be challenged as well. The third error is bad driving in anybody’s book, the wide vision angle of a human would have plenty of clues that the car should be turned and that continuing straight would be a certain hazard.

Granted, these are cherry-picked from what are probably many hours of better performance under better conditions. But what’s the point of Autonomous Driving if not to improve performance specifically in these kinds of elevated hazard situations?

Tech: “Big Tech Comes for Podcasts” [Washington Monthly]. “But podcasting’s bright future is under increasing threat. The medium stands in danger of being rolled up by monopolistic tech platforms that could come to own and control the marketplace itself. With that power, they could suck away much of the value created by talented podcasters, just as Amazon stole away the income of even many best-selling authors after it came to own and control most of the digital infrastructure on which e-books are sold.” • And Facebook and Twitter stole away blogging.

Mr. Market: “Dow drops more than 600 points as COVID-19 cases surge, stimulus stalled” [MarketWatch]. “Stocks slumped Monday as the number of daily U.S. COVID-19 infections hit a record at the end of last week and a final agreement on a new round of aid to the economy remained elusive… Investors are bracing for a deluge of quarterly earnings in the week ahead, including reports from more than a third of the S&P 500, including tech-related highfliers Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google parent Alphabet Inc.”

Mr. Market: “The Blue Wave Reflation Trade Relies on a Big Ask” [Bloomberg]. “U.S. markets are transfixed by the political drama. The extraordinary and polarizing persona of President Donald Trump more or less guarantees this. For the last few weeks, conversation has been framed by the possibility of a ‘Blue Wave’ in which Democrats take both the Senate and the presidency, and then embark on full-on fiscal expansion. This has fed into a belief in a coming ‘reflation’ trade, in which growth and inflation at last return after more than a decade. In the wake of this, the dollar weakens, and stock markets around the world take off. Belief in the U.S. growth/reflation trade is now driving everything…. This raises one question about the Blue Wave hypothesis. A big splurge of spending by a Democratic government would require lots of new bond issuance, which would tend to raise yields, while growth should in any case drive higher long-term rates…. So the Blue Wave trade relies not only on a lot of money from a bunch of enthusiastically Keynesian politicians. It also requires the Fed to keep real yields negative, in a way never seen before this year. It’s a big ask, but for the time being the world is enthralled by the American political process.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 66 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 61 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 26 at 11:36am. Whoopsie!

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.) This Index doesn’t seem to be reflecting the election at all. I’d expect “Beast Government” to be popping, but no!

The Biosphere

“Europe’s Green Deal offshores environmental damage to other nations” [Nature]. “Problems lurk behind the rhetoric. First, the EU depends heavily on agricultural imports; only China imports more. Last year, the region bought in one-fifth of the crops and three-fifths of meat and dairy products consumed within its borders (118 megatonnes (Mt) and 45 Mt, respectively). This enables Europeans to farm less intensively. Yet the imports come from countries with environmental laws that are less strict than those in Europe. And EU trade agreements do not require imports to be produced sustainably. In the past 18 months, the EU has signed deals (some pending ratification) covering nearly half of its crop imports — with the United States, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mercosur, the South American trade bloc comprising Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Pacts with Australia and New Zealand are on the table. Each nation defines and enforces sustainability differently. Many use pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified (GM) organisms that are strictly limited or forbidden in the EU (see Supplementary information, table S2a). The net result? EU member states are outsourcing environmental damage to other countries, while taking the credit for green policies at home. Although the EU acknowledges that some new legislation will be required around trade, in the short term, nothing will change under the Green Deal.”

Health Care

A report on Czechoslovakia from Dr. John Campbell, who comes recommended by alert reader JP: “He has an excellent low-key, dry delivery, and summarizes his presentations at the very beginning so one needn’t watch the whole thing if time is at a premium.”

I picked this one because we don’t hear much about the Czech Republic.

Peak liberalism:

Not, of course, the health insurance company that sent the bill. They’re upstanding corporate citizens, and all their bills are legitimate!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

This account is tweeting out the text of a book titled The Accommodation, a history of Dallas. It’s very good:

“The So-Called ‘Kidnapping Club’ Featured Cops Selling Free Black New Yorkers Into Slavery” [Smithsonian]. “The Constitution’s Fugitive Slave Clause required northern free cities like New York to return the self-emancipated to their southern enslavers, and the NYPD and officers like Rynders were only too willing to comply, conveniently folding their hatred of black people into their reverence for the nation’s founding document. Armed with the founders’ compromise over slavery, Rynders and his fellow officers, men like Tobias Boudinot and Daniel D. Nash, terrorized New York’s black community from the 1830s up through the Civil War…. The familiar dark blue uniforms of the NYPD were not instituted until the 1850s, so African Americans harassed or arrested by the police could not even be sure that they were being accosted by legal authorities. Equally problematic was the fact that neither Nash nor Boudinot earned regular salaries on which they could depend; their ability to support themselves and their families came from fees set by state law, which virtually required officials to arrest as many people as possible. The situation almost guaranteed corruption, and tied the financial interests of the New York police force to the financial interests of southern slaveowners. Not that they needed any push to over-police the black community, but patrollers like Nash and Boudinot had every incentive to use their blanket writ to arrest as many accused fugitive slaves as they possibly could. In fact, their financial well-being depended on it.” • Law enforcement for profit is not a new thing.

Class Warfare

“Five Finger Death Punch: A Case Study in Performative Working Class Aesthetics” [Hampton Institute]. “In any given culture, an individual’s class is perceived according to their aesthetic choices, such as clothing, speech, activities and affiliations. In the modern US, a “lower class” or “working class” person might wear camouflaged cargo pants and a sports jersey, or a tradesman’s uniform when on the job. A “middle class” or “upper class” person might wear slacks and a button-up shirt, or a business suit and watch instead. In late Victorian England, a politician might wear a frock coat and top hat to convey their sophistication to voters, or a tweed suit and cloth cap to break social conventions and show commonality with the average citizen.[2] Regardless of cultural context, class identification is a performance…. One of the most commercially successful American metal bands in the 21st Century, Five Finger Death Punch has carefully crafted their brand to appeal to millions of common Americans, predominantly conservative, white, working-class men. In this case study, I will deconstruct the band’s hyper-American “everyman” image to demonstrate how they sell the promise of the “American Dream,” ultimately serving the interests of capital. It is my hope that this will help illuminate the impact of working-class performance on American class relations and class consciousness.” • Any 5FDP fans in the readership?

We can’t do this, because it would give the working class ideas:

“I finally gave up….”

News of the Wired

Baseball really is a great game:

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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 (ChetG):

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about autumn that makes a difference, especially when backlighting is

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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. Howard Beale IV

        Yer “A report on Czechoslovakia from Dr. John Campbell” is pointing to the MLB vid….

          1. Sandy_Ego

            By the way, there is no longer any Czechoslovakia. It is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Has been for years.

  1. Calypso Facto

    That Kurt Eichenwald tweet is some new level of class-based humblebrag (or narcissistic attack, can’t decide which). In two tweets dude manages to brag about his sister’s wealth (the 1 million dollar death bill for her husband) and turn the blame onto people he disagrees with (anti-maskers). This coming from a guy who spite-sued a stranger into bankruptcy over an animated gif that he claims sent him into an epileptic seizure after he refused to back down over anime porn on his twitter accounts. I am fully post-cynic now, I can become no more cynical.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Pretty powerful peace by Caitlin Johnstone:

    As near as I can tell, the only door we have left open to ourselves as a species is a mass-scale awakening. A collective shift out of our unhealthy relationship with mental narrative, and into a healthy one.

    We’ve been talking about that for more than a year at NC.

    I find a couple of things encouraging these days. First, and it’s more schadenfreude than encouragement, is the growing pile of neoliberals like Brooks throwing in the towel along with more compatible minds like Berman rejoicing at the collapse of the Empire. Second, and a lot more importantly, it seems like more and more threads, none of them all that new, are being woven together by The Virus and its response so that something novel but not a virus is being created.

    1. km

      Re: Caity J.

      Most people are not sociopaths. But we are run by high-functioning sociopaths, “high-functioning” in the the sense that they are better at faking normality. This is not only because power strongly selects for sociopathy, but also because sociopaths tend to displace non-sociopaths in positions of power. A Henry VI is quickly sidelined by a Richard, Duke of York.

      I was wondering this AM whether people would be more altruistic if we didn’t have sociopaths among us, if we didn’t have to be worried about being taken advantage of people bound and determined to get ahead by any means necessary. At that point, altruism becomes less of a fool’s game, or in formal game theory terms, the game shifts from competition to cooperation.

      1. anon y'mouse

        “capitalism” is a system of morality, encouraging everyday sociopathy among all of us caught up in it.

        she needs to focus less on new age woo speak “awakenings” and more about deconstructing capitalism so that even a crazy glibertarian can understand its many pitfalls.

        meditating and finding the “true inner voice” is more brainwashing. we already have that woo infested into advertising at every level, and corporatized with “wellness”, “meditation” and other so-called spirituality messages trying to use that angle to sell us stuff and leverage our work ethic to its own ends.

        can we not try rationalism just for once? i think the working class would get much more of a grip if it didn’t devolve into high-flown concepts that could be manifestations of one’s own brain fog, and stuck to bread & butter in the everday, lived experience.

        1. Mel

          People have been deconstructing capitalism for 153 years now, and nobody has succeeded in doing anything about it. The task is not just to understand the world, but to change it. So the power and will to change it has to come from — where?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, it won’t come from the Gulag Marxist Socialists. That’s been tried over and over and over again. Not to say Marx’s living acolytes and apostles won’t keep trying.

            It will come from somewhere else, or it won’t come at all.

            Strange that no Western Worlders will ever ever even once ever even think of looking at the various pre-dieoff Indian Nations Civilizations to see what they had already worked out in this regard in their day.

            1. hunkerdown

              According to Donald Grinde, the Iroquois confderacy inspired the federal structure of the US Constitution, but according to other serious historians, that’s just color commentary along the lines of Al Gore building the Internet. The Founders were explicitly anti-democratic so they had no use for much of the inspiration that would have been offered, even had they looked. (Quite possibly, colonist interactions with Iroquois might have informed colonists’ expectations and possibly common practice under the new charter, but the whole point of the American system is to be able to mute the people.)

              With the Pink Tide waxing again, we may find out what happens when entire right wings are put in prison.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Yes All Hail The Blue Tide! That does not prosecute censorship, bribery, monopolies, or attempted coups. Moral guardians they

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                I have read a little about this. The early federationizing activity of and between the 13 Colonies was inspired by the mechanics of the Iroquois method.

                When people say the Founders were anti-democratic and worked to create an anti-democratic form of government, I think that the first few years of USAmerican history, the Articles of Confederation period, are largely forgotten about. Maybe they should be studied more and revisited to see what democratic outlook existed and actions were takeplaced.

                Wasn’t it in reaction against the Articles of Confederation Government that the Constitutional Conventioners met? Was their ( our) Constitution a lot more anti-democratic than the Articles of Confederation was? Perhaps we should start calling them the Re-Founding Fathers, because at the very least, they Re-founded our governing system to be not-the Articles of Confederation anymore.

            2. Henry Moon Pie

              To drumlin–

              “Strange that no Western Worlders will ever ever even once ever even think of looking at the various pre-dieoff Indian Nations Civilizations to see what they had already worked out in this regard in their day.”

              Thomas Berry is one Western Worlder who did. He wrote about what he called the Fourfold Wisdom:

              1) The wisdom of indigenous people: Indigenous wisdoms have been distinguished by an extraordinary intimacy with and understanding of the natural world.

              2) The wisdom of women: Feminine wisdom is distinguished by an emphasis on non-duality, intuition, introspection and subjectivity, and is also the source of visions and dreams.

              3) The wisdom of the world’s classical religions: Classical religions emphasize a spiritual realm that is both transcendent to and part of the visible world, and the belief that humans can achieve the fullness of their own being.

              4) The wisdom of science: Through the insights from modern science we realize the unity of everything around us, all descended from a single cosmic event. Science inspires awe and wonder for the deep wisdom held by the Universe, and for every aspect of its ongoing development through time and space.

              Berry’s essays frequently hearken back to the moment when Europeans arrived in North America and had the opportunity to learn about the land from those who had lived here for centuries. Rather than seeing this continent as a store of natural resources ready to be exploited, we could have adopted the wisdom of the First Peoples.

              (Since I don’t own any of Berry’s books, I had to rely on an Internet resource for this. It’s an interesting site (http://genesisfarm.aetistry.com/land/30) : a farm established with Berry’s worldview as a basis.)

        2. hunkerdown

          But she is. Just not academically. That’s not the audience she’s writing for. She’s an artist.

          I think her approach is defensible. At some point along the way out of capitalism, it is necessary to realize that they, themselves, have been promoting a scam — and experience the double loss of face in not only having been betrayed but in stridently betraying others. Imagine a trades worker, the vast majority of whose economic dealings take the storybook transactional form of application of labor and equipment in exchange for payment, tendered immediately; and toward whom free-market propaganda is incessantly blasted by one or another oligarch party. Now imagine their defenses upon being challenged to recognize as a scam the very invisible hand that has apparently and tangibly fed them. They are American, righteous, individual, and potent in the world, and won’t be bought out of those and other brands so easily.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        Most people are not sociopaths.

        Seriously starting to doubt this as a statement of fact.

        If not sociopaths, lots of (most?) people are broken..mentally, emotional, financially, behaviorally, etc.

        1. km

          That humanity was and is broken I can accept, if not take for granted.

          But there’s a reason that most of us don’t act like less scientifically literate versions of Walter White, at least not most of the time.

          1. patrick

            Anthropology suggests that once we began living in groups larger than 150 we lost the power to shame the sociopaths among us (the welfare of the group depended on everyone’s cooperation). Our social nature has been corrupted originally as a result of agrarianism and exacerbated today by capitalism. I fear that unless this changes (living in large groups) we as a species are deadenders.

      3. Procopius

        Back in the ’50s there was discussion among science fiction fans and authors about why we do not detect other civilizations. Of course, it’s very probable that if the aliens are more than a couple of centuries ahead of us they use a means of communication that we don’t know how to detect – yet. Another hypothesis that seems most probable to me: Intelligent species, capable of developing civilizations, are almost certainly evolved from predators. That means they are going to be territorial and aggressive. That probably means they will be competitive. Perhaps it is inevitable that when any civilization reaches the point of using nuclear fission they destroy themselves. Certainly some of the people who surround Biden and Trump think nuclear weapons can be used with no serious consequences. By the way, in the early 20th Century many people thought that an advanced civilization must necessarily be morally and spiritually advanced. I’ve always thought that was foolishly ignoring the lessons of history and evolution (no, I don’t believe “nature is red in tooth and claw.”).

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Exactly my thoughts, Comrade Pie!

      I say the more political the better until a big enough Vanguard are awakened to spread the Class Gospel!

      Rural Tea Partiers + Urban Marxists = MAGA irl ;-)

  3. L

    On the topic of Youtube, I have noticed that one key legacy of Trump 2016 is the acknowledgement of Youtube as the place to go for adverts. In 2016 Clinton co seemed to scoff at the idea of political attitudes being online despite Sanders’ success. They paid for it. Now when I go to Youtube 18 out of 20 ads are for one team or the other, with Biden being more common. Whether this is a sign of Biden spending more or because their algos have decided that I am more receptive to Biden’s targeting is unclear.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Agree with this. The consultants have really turned Youtube into a new theater for the air-war this cycle. I’m not really reachable on cable news. I’m getting hit with both sides, too. Lots of local races, too. Google is really the big winner from all this, of course. They own the public square. It’s really crazy that Silicon Valley, what we’re told is the most innovative sector of our economy, is really just build around erecting and maintaining toll booths and collecting tolls. That’s the primary thing they do. A dedication to the art of building and operating new toll booths is really the core of their business models.

      1. hunkerdown

        The only place left to find the increasing value needed to feed capitalism is to strip mine the public themselves. Surveillance technology companies (of which social media is one subset) are valuable to the MOTU because of this new universe of commerce they put within reach.

      1. MichaelSF

        Facebook has been showing me a “cats for Biden” ad for several days now. I’m all for watching kitties, but I don’t need to see them playing with Biden campaign swag.

        I was interested to see that they did include one disabled cat (paralyzed hind legs) in the ad, which I guess is an inclusive gesture though I’m not sure how many cats viewing the video will be swayed by it.

        I’ve also been surprised at how many ads I’ve been seeing on FB for people running for the SF Board of Education and Community College Board. I don’t recall them from the last elections.

    2. Yves Smith

      In Alabama, I get R YouTube ads, like shellacking Senator Doug Jones for various sins, above all not being on Team Trump. So I suspect your location is the main determinant, but not sure how granular they get. Actually, probably not granular since Birmingham is awash in Doug Jones signs.

  4. dagan68

    I had to share this with the NakedCapitalism commentors. I view you all as my friends – and as my backstop to make sure I am not overreacting.

    This weekend – I was banned for 10 days from one of our largest social media platforms (interesting that the suspension would end just after the election). No appeals allowed. This happened because the comment I posted below – violated “community standards”. This comment was made on a post about the Hunter Biden story. Thankfully – I always do my comments in Word on my own computer – so I actually have the exact comment. And here it is ——

    My wife is a Chinese immigrant from mainland China. Every morning, she tunes in to both the Communist Chinese Xinhua and the news outlets from Taiwan. The Taiwanese channels are definitely NOT right wing fringe propaganda. They just are not. They may be tilted against the Communists in China – but they are not wackadoodle in any way. Thirty minutes spent yesterday in Taiwan on the Hunter Biden issue. There is WAY more to this story than is being reported in the American media. If true, it is actually staggering. I am becoming increasingly convinced that the fix really is in as far as our media here goes. I am not a Trump supporter in any way shape or form. I cannot stand the man. But I voted for him already this year because of exactly issues like this. The first time in 3 decades this liberal progressive Democrat has voted for a GOP candidate for President.

    Sedition is certainly something that the American people should know about in their potential leaders. That is a word that kept coming to my mind yesterday after I viewed those reports from Taiwan. (My wife translating – not the best and things can be missed – but the highlights are unmistakable). If you know anything about recent Chinese history – you know the scandal of the decade in mainland China had to do with a government official named Bo Xilai, the governor of one of China’s big provinces – and the son of one of the Communist Party’s military heroes. It was a messy affair – with lots of loose ends – now it appears the loose ends are tightening. Bo Xilai’s daughter – and Hunter Biden had quite the email correspondence going on – screen shots galore. ( Will someone please take these laptops down to the metal – and authenticate or falsify them please? – having people on both sides running their mouths is just not going to do it. Having people like Brennan and the Russia Russia Russia cadre “say” they are Russian propaganda is just an absolute joke at this point.) My question – WHY WAS BO XILAI’s DAUGHTER – SOMEONE OF THAT STATURE in THE COMMUNIST PARTY HAVING EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE WITH A BOMBED OUT METH-HEAD GRIFTER? – And just look at what they were talking about…. Joe Biden….. There is really something fishy here. It makes no sense – the American media – if there was one left – should be all over this. I know there are lots of questions about the provenance of the emails from the laptop – but multiple people in the past several days with emails involved – have confirmed they were indeed written. Luntz is the first example that comes to my mind. And Biden himself has never denied they are real.

    Let’s talk about the media – let’s talk about fake news. This Hunter Biden story has been out now one week. We already had over the weekend multiple sex tapes released. They were shown on the Taiwanese TV enough that it is clearly Hunter Biden or someone exactly like him in these compromising situations. Please Please Please do not look at or circulate those videos. It is possible that the women involved may be very young at least from what I can tell. There are plenty of porn sites where you can get that kind of thrill – a 50 year old methhead being serviced by a prostitute. Do not distract your fellow citizens from the real issues here.

    Again – this story hit about a week ago – and here we are with all kinds of tapes. I have listened to Rachel Maddow and all the CIA folk and others talking about pee tape pee tape pee tape for the past 4 years. Have you seen the pee tape? – think about the rapidity of this Hunter Biden tape release – and ask yourself a question – do you think the pee tape would have been released by now in our current environment?

    Of course it would have – this whole thing is just damning to the very existence of that pee tape. It is also a knife through the heart of our “main stream” media. They really have ZERO credibility. And their cover up of this is just unbelievable. The excuse of “not enough reliable information” holds no water to folks who have done pee tape and worse for the past 4 years. What a joke.

    The real problem in my opinion. This is not going to die no matter who wins in 2 weeks. This kind of thing has the potential to make QANON and pizzagate look like a Sunday School lesson. If this is not completely investigated by trusted folks – this is going to go nuclear as far as conspiracy theories. I cannot imagine a more damaging thing to our republic. AND IT IS COMPLETELY THE FAULT OF OUR MEDIA and SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.

    End of offending comment.

    Again fellow commenters – I am very concerned about the future of this republic and the first amendment. What did I say above that offended XYZ social media so much?

    Love spending part of my day with you all – it has been edifying. Please take care.

    1. a different chris

      >This weekend – I was banned for 10 days from one of our largest social media platforms (interesting that the suspension would end just after the election).

      Uh, the election is 11 days from today. I’m sure you will have a great shot in getting in your election-changing wisdom to all the undecided voters in time.

      >This is not going to die no matter who wins in 2 weeks.

      Again, the election is in 11 days, not two weeks. Of course, it may drag on for months admittedly.

      I can’t make sense of the rest of your stuff.

      1. Carolinian

        That’s your comment? Got him there.

        And sadly it makes perfect sense. Out tonight the 14 year old on the hard drive vids is allegedly Hunter’s niece, daughter of the late Beau.

        If it’s really as bad as the early reports suggest then no, the MSM will not be able to ignore IMO.

        1. Carolinian

          And not trying to spread salacious rumors but they are spreading and I highly suspect being talked about if not on the nightly news. It doesn’t mean this will change the result given how many have already voted but I believe it will change the way people perceive Joe Biden and give great fuel to the Repubs. If the hard drive isn’t real the Bidens would have said so, day one.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          They don’t have to ignore it “forever”. They just have to ignore it through Nov. 3rd.

          “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

          ( And it just occurred to me . . . even if the news explodes starting Nov. 4th, the votes will have all been cast and will be in process of being counted. So if Biden wins and then this is all true and all explodes, Biden will simply be removed and Kamala will become President straightaway.)

      1. dagan68

        I am at work now. This was on a TV feed. So I am not even sure how to get links from there. However – my wife has been showing me and reading me web links all this last weekend – when I get home – I will get them for you – and email them. They are all in Mandarin – even the titles. I have learned from living with her for as long as I have that Google translations of Mandarin to English are at best adequate at worse highly misleading.

          1. Josef K

            Traduttore, traditore, even when it’s a human doing the translating.

            I did a web search. Found GTV links. It claims to be the main drop. If this is what you’re referencing, what a disappointment. I mean, the “I’d never vote for Trump, but….” line is old and tired (unless you’re a dupe, in which case sorry for both), but that did already temper my expecations, yet after wasting 10 minutes looking at a number of the links provided–very weak tea. More like day-old Blatz, actually.

            Does HB have a butterfly or something tattoo on his right ankle? Simple, if not necessarily easy, to confirm. If so, I guess he takes videos of himself getting freaky with half-dressed absolutely women.

            Other than that, and some other racy vids with no clear idea of who owns the various private parts on display, the “Hunter Biden and meth” videos all showed the same shot, of a scale with some white chunks on it, but again no Hunter in the shot, as promised.

            The last one I clicked on promised the worst–or best–ones are to come. But of course.

            This supposed BYG program the CCP has ensnared Joe Biden in–well first, how does HB being a total degenerate bring down a Biden administration? The details are foggy. Second, so we’re to assume DJT and his brood are out of reach?

            The website’s DJT bias was obvious. Every video began with the same guy’s speech, it’s turgid propaganda–there may be truth to it, but what he says is demagogery.

            I clicked through 3 DDG search result pages on this from the last 24 hours, and every news “outlet” covering it was obvious, from the name, solidly partisan to extreme right-wing. Some real fringe sites–I got a chuckle from “nationalistreview.com,” give them points for transparency.

            So I think you’re either gullible, or trying to take the piss; if it’s the latter, good luck with this crowd.

            1. Yves Smith

              Match for that straw? The issue is the censorship of NY Post stories, and the validity of those stories have not been seriously or even much contested. And yes, some outlets are pro Trump as the Post and Times are pro Biden. Having an editorial bias isn’t proof of inaccurate reporting.

              If all of this HBiden stuff is such a nothingburger, pray tell why the desperate efforts to hide it? You do remember that America is not France, and that dick pix sank Anthony Weiner? Again, I agree they aren’t interesting per se but are further indirect evidence that HBiden wasn’t employable ex daddy’s help.

              The issue with Biden isn’t that he has a wastrel son, it’s that Biden has lied repeatedly about using his office as VP to get him paid employment.

              And we care about censorship. You also seem to have missed our coverage about how leftist cites are being censored for Latin American coverage, and how were were under attack by the Post for the PropOrNot fabrication.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > how does HB being a total degenerate bring down a Biden administration? The details are foggy. Second, so we’re to assume DJT and his brood are out of reach?

              Well, the pee tape was supposed to. Of course, that was a figment of DNC-funded oppo. This tape at least exists, so I would assume all the logic liberal Democrat tub-thumpers used to say Trump was compromised would apply to Biden?

              Personally, I think the whole thing is silly and the HB sex tape should never have been published, but what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?

              Also, you don’t have to “assume” anything. If there was a clean needle in the sh*t-encrusted haystack that was Russiagate, Pelosi would have impeached him for it.

              NOTE I like how asking for evidence to back up a claim translates to “gullibility.” That’s a nice piece of jujitsu; I’ll have to use it. Not.

          2. Procopius

            Google translate is not very good (yet) but it improves as more people respond to the “if you have a better translation, please give it.” The algorithm depends on being fed huge amounts of text in both languages. It should be pretty good on European languages by now (I’m not able to judge).

    2. Massinissa

      I can’t find the Bo Xilai daugter/hunter biden thing on anything but fringe right wing websites and some now-blocked media posts. Hard to tell if its actually legitimate information or just a partisan scare story.

      1. L

        I am having the same issue. I have some access to PRC media and this is not coming up but Bo Xilai is an unperson now so that is hardly surprising. I have found mentions of Hunter Biden’s other Chinese Business dealings but nothing new or specifically tied to the emails. In the absence of that I cannot judge it but I will say this. Bo Xilai was at one time very powerful and was officially taken down due to corruption. Lest we forget he was also, for a little while, popular among conservatives due to his apparent opposition to Xi Jinping and the idea that he was “persecuted” (more that he lost a power struggle).

        I am skeptical that such emails would be bombshells however unless they reveal that Biden offered weapons or something. The mere fact of correspondence is not in itself surprising. In the PRC to get any business done you need powerful connections. Since officials can’t do that directly they go through families. The NYTimes is banned in the PRC precisely because they reported how much money Xi’s family members have made from their adjacency to him. The idea of one princeling connecting with another to negotiate deals is no more surprising than finding out that say Kushner obtained financing from banks connected to wealthy Saudis.

        There may be something there but, without seeing more actual backup I am not holding my breath.

    3. BoyDownTheLane

      Dagan68, I applaud your courage. I have seen most of the Hunter material and looked long enough to satisfy myself that they are real and that that is Hunter. It is a given that, among people who wish to engage in proper social and political discourse, running a porno tape up to the top of the masthead is in poor taste. From where I sit (out here in the wetlands near where Johnny Appleseed got exposed to Swedenborg), we are talking about several things:

      1) the degree of permission that political and intelligence entities give themselves to engage in, share and promote crass sexual behavior for sport;
      2) the degree of political corruption present and obvious;
      3) the fact that governmental agencies (involving both parties), the military, intelligence, law/justice et al are involved, complicit, covering up; and
      4) the degree to which the mainstream media, the social media and some of the alternative media will not touch the subject or allow it to be discussed.

      It seems to me that if, as a citizen, one were concerned about what’s being said, what’s out there, how one should perceive and act (voting/activism/communications outreach), it is incumbent on us to know how to do the research, how to find the sources, whom to consult and trust among the alternatives, etc. Some are good; ty takes a while to learn how. As it is engraved at the entrance to Harvard Medical, “ars longa, vita brevis”. It is incumbent on us to hold our noses while we dive in. [Do not forget your mask, and shower for an hour in whole-body-and-soul sanitizer if necessary, but answer the question for your self to your own satisfaction.]

      Yes, I have done so; I have the links. I will not post them here; they are disgusting, pornographic and wholly indicative of a cancer at the heart of our culture that makes COVID-19 look like a political distraction and a biological weapon with political purpose.

      1. Nakatomi Plaza

        I’m shocked that this is posted here. Has Q infiltrated Naked Capitalism? All our law enforcement, security agencies, and media outlets are so corrupt they refuse to see what you found all on your own? So I guess you and Sean Hannity will be opening your own investigatory service soon?

        This is straight-up conspiracy garbage. I hope NK survives 2020, but it isn’t looking great when you indulge in this sort of thing.

        1. Yves Smith

          Please review our Policies. Comments post by default unless they hit a tripwire.

          BDTL seems to be referring to the alleged Biden sex tapes. Saying those exist and that he has seen them is hardly an extraordinary claim. But he could have been more direct about saying that. The UK press confirms that videos purporting to be that have indeed been posted on a Chinese site:



          1. BoyDownTheLane

            Yes Yves, I was referring to the alleged Biden sex tapes. The issue is more than sex, though, and more than Hunter. I do not pretend to have superlative expertise here; it is possible that some electronic shenanigans are involved but that’s beyond my forensic ken. But games are being played with such smoke and fire that quite possibly will destroy candidacies, political parties, families and nations — the human destruction that stems from organized or even casual familial sexual abuse is well-known., Who here knows someone who has been sexual abused? I know many such people; look around and pay attention.

        2. BoyDownTheLane

          I just posted below. I know and communicate with people involved in researching the topic. I have had direct personal observation. I can assure you that it is not theory, but you are correct: it is a conspiracy.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If our bloghosts decided it was necessary to post those links, however distasteful, to salvage the Republic, would you then post them? Or give them to our hosts to post?

        If all this is as bad as you say, another thought comes to mind. That Hunter and anyone else in the pictures did it all without any involvement from Jeffrey Epstein. Which goes to show that Jeffrey Epstein himself was just an interchangeable part.

    4. The Rev Kev

      ‘What did I say above that offended XYZ social media so much?’

      When you admitted that you voted for Trump out of desperation, that alone would have run up a few red flags. The censorship of Hunter Biden’s doing by social media has just gotten too blatant to ignore anymore and the amount of material that you had in your comment had to be suppressed. But as your platform took active measures to do this, that means that they are in fact a publisher which now makes them liable for everything that is published there.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        One hopes there is a dead-drop/ cutout/ trapdoor-knapsack way to name the social media company involved, so it can’t be traced back to the source.

        How do we know whom to incinerate, if we don’t know who diddit?

      2. Procopius

        But as your platform took active measures to do this, that means that they are in fact a publisher which now makes them liable for everything that is published there.

        [sigh] Yes, that’s what it shows, but only the revocation of Section 230 will remove the protection they enjoy. Certainly that should be done, but I doubt very much that it will be done.

  5. ChrisAtRU


    Clever! But I think that as shown (and these are RCP averages), this is just one side of the coin – Trump is polling higher. That is true, but the other side is that Biden is polling higher than #HRC in battleground RCP average as well. Not saying Biden has it sewn up, but “Trump polling higher” doesn’t say it all. What should be of concern is that he’s still within striking distance because most of Biden’s leads are within the MOE. RCP has handy links for 2016 battleground state polls available, so those who are interested (and have the time) can check it out … ;-)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The story the curves tell me is that Trump pulled it out at the last minute; maybe it was Comey (I’d need to check the timing). I don’t see him doing that this time. If it’s gonna happen, it needs to happen soon, because people need time to process.

      1. Darthbobber

        I think we’re at the day of or the day after the Comey revelation 4 years ago, so it hadn’t yet really impacted the rolling averages yet.

        And I’ll be checking later tonight, but I think that rcp’s selection of polls to include and when to drop the aging ones is not the same apartment then.

        Lot fewer admitted undecideds to move this year, and a much smaller number who haven’t already voted.

      2. a different chris

        > is that Trump pulled it out at the last minute

        Yeah but everything makes more sense if you write the exact same fact as “Clinton lost it at the last minute”. We used to vote for people, now we just vote against whoever we are most sick of.

        I think this is why Trump is going to get absolutely killed in the popular vote. Dunno how the EC will go. I’m sure the Democrats will manage to disappoint in the Senate.

        1. tegnost

          I think there are a lot of motivated republicans and have seen the car parades and flash mobs, while the dems seem a bit confident, what with all the joe ain’t no socialist talk (aimed imo in florida at the cuban vote) unmotivating probably the majority of dem voters. How unmotivated are they? I still haven’t voted and am torn between biden 2020 he’ll crash it faster and voting down ballot and leaving the pres blank. I’m leaning toward the under vote, and am voting at all because I want the governor to stay in office and worry that more republicans will vote this year than usual.

    2. Mark K

      As best I can tell, JumpToit leaves Gary Johnson totally out of the 2016 picture. In all of the eight battleground states shown in JumpToit’s graphic except Florida and Pennsylvania, Johnson’ garnered between 2.5 and 3% of the net third-party vote (Johnson share minus Jill Stein share).

      Apples to apples, i.e, using a two-way comparison for 2016, Trump’s standing in these states is not nearly so improved as JumpToit suggests.

  6. km

    Today I am dressed in jeans and cowboy boots, an old flannel shirt over a t-shirt that advertises the services of the local cat shelter. My summer car is ancient, because I like old cars. My winter car turns out to have been the high school car of one of my employees. Her father owned the dealership. Still does. Economically, after a long and rough rough start in my working life, I am now at or near the 1% for my community. Most of my friends are the sort that lefties like to idealize – from a distance.

    My parents are what might be called “redneck intellectuals”. My father, in particular, has less formal education than some of my pets, but he was also the person who explained the difference between common and preferred stock to me when I was a child. He later developed an interest in fine wine and became a beer snob at some fairly early stage in his life, before that was a common thing.

    I doubt that I have ever heard a FFDP song. I rarely turn the radio on.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Not a huge Metal Head but plenty of College Working Class white dudes i knew liked 5FDP!

      LSU circa 2009

    2. griffen

      I don’t know their work or setlist extensively, but they do a great cover of Bad Company. The lead singer has a voice that can be, well tough to take past 5 or 10 minutes.

      Their sound and tone harken back to a late 80s band Faith No More, an excellent if unappreciated band.

      Angry young teenagers like angry music. No real shock there! My late teen anger was fomented by AIC and Soundgarden and STP.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      I looked at some ” Five Finger Death Punch” image-photographs and they certainly do look very carefully made up to play a part. But what part and directed to whom exactly? In one of the photos, one of the band members was wearing a Straight Outta Compton Tee shirt, which is not an anti-Black tee shirt, one would think. And some of the band members are holding their fingers out in what I have read is some kind of gang-signing/solidarity-sympathy sort of thing. But I could be wrong about that.

      So is there a measure of overlap-at-the-edges between White and Black symbology being used by the band people? Is there a measure of overlap between the FFDP fanbase and the Insane Clown Posse fanbase? ( If that is a silly question, laugh all y’all want to. I never claimed to be an expert on these groups and their fanbases).

  7. ambrit

    Re Buttigieg; I’ll steal a trope from Lovecraft and nominate “Mayor Pete” for the position of “Pickman’s Politician.”

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      I think there are enough people (his former employer, first on the list) who want him closer to, or in, the corridors of power, that we’ll be subjected to endless advertising and posturing to make sure we don’t forget his name, and it will appear to be a magical fait accompli when he’s suddenly on a short list of one for some high-level position. And then we’ll be subjected to 4 years of shameless promotion by the K Street gang and the PMC until he ends up on the ballot for Pres or VP in 2024.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. The poor man seems to have fallen into the position of “Ghoulkeeper in Chief.” Feeding off of the decaying cadaver of the Middle Class is the Next Big Thing.
        Beware a massage parlour where your ‘attendant’ mutters, “This will not end well.”

      2. Judith

        Perhaps he has been chosen to become VP if/when Harris replaces Biden, if Biden should need to resign for some reason. In the same way that Harris was chosen.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Big hair politicians? They sure do know it. Back in 2007 when John Kerry was running for President with John Edwards, he said “We’ve got better vision. We’ve got better ideas. We’ve got real plans. And we’ve got better hair. I’ll tell you, that goes a long way.”

          1. a different chris

            But he was right! In Big Corporate America we know the rule: “There are three keys to getting ahead: be smart, be tall, have good hair. Any two will do!”.

        2. hunkerdown

          We also had [rooster] rock back in the day. Now we have the #KHive.

          On the other hand, Steve Bannon lately looks like he might be conditioning for an Ozzy stage play, The Producers-style.

  8. hamstak

    I am curious as to what proportion of Buttigieg’s book sales are due to bulk purchases. If memory serves, Ann Coulter back in the halcyon days of the W admininstration had a best-seller which became so due to like-minded organizations purchasing batches of these books (possibly for free distribution — would have to check on that — too lazy at the moment). Given Pete’s rather peculiar resignation from the POTUS race…

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      This was common with almost all right wing books (and probably other books as well). The Times best seller chart used to indicate books with bulk purchases by putting a dagger next to the title, at least in the print edition. I don’t know if they still do, but I don’t see that on the web site.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I was just reading yesterday how these book sales are a form of money laundering to return favours done for certain people. All totally legal but money laundering nonetheless. How much money did the Obamas get to write a book after leaving office again?

      1. John Wright

        The Obamas got a $65 million book advance, so they did not have to rely on actual/pumped up sales.


        One might suspect that sometime a bribe would be reneged on.

        But how would one know this happened, as a politician is unlikely to publically protest being stiffed.

        And if the briber wants to play again, they need to honor their “active” bribes to have credibility with the next set of pliable politicians,

  9. hunkerdown

    “The ancestors.” The cycle of famadihana among the people of rural Madagascar began when those departed for a few years appear in a vision to a surviving descendant and complain that they feel cold. An elaborate ceremony is planned in response, in which the contents of tombs are announced and removed in their blankets, the relics pulverized in dance and rewrapped in new blankets, and the ancestors re-entombed and warded to stay within it and not harass their descendants until they feel cold again. Many adverse occurrences are reported for those who do not return timely to pay their respects.

    Harris invoking malign spirits to help her get ahead is a) normal PMC behavior b) an attempt to lobby non-ADOS Blacks specifically c) a sign of really bad internals d) all of the above.

    1. ambrit

      Harris invoking malign spirits is in the best traditions of Voudoun. That syncretic cult is popular in her putative ‘ancestral homeland,’ Jamaica.
      I’ll add to your possible reasons list with:
      e) a sign of demonic possession. (Cue the Antichrist CT!)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The ancestors.

      From an interview with Jacob Olupona, professor of indigenous African religions at Harvard Divinity School a, “The spirituality of Africa”, in the Harvard Gazettte:

      GAZETTE: How have ancestors played a role in traditional societies?

      OLUPONA: The role of ancestors in the African cosmology has always been significant. Ancestors can offer advice and bestow good fortune and honor to their living dependents, but they can also make demands, such as insisting that their shrines be properly maintained and propitiated. And if these shrines are not properly cared for by the designated descendant, then misfortune in the form of illness might befall the caretaker. A belief in ancestors also testifies to the inclusive nature of traditional African spirituality by positing that deceased progenitors still play a role in the lives of their living descendants.

      GAZETTE: Are ancestors considered deities in the traditional African cosmology?

      OLUPONA: Your question underscores an important facet about African spirituality: It is not a closed theological system. It doesn’t have a fixed creed, like in some forms of Christianity or Islam. Consequently, traditional Africans have different ideas on what role the ancestors play in the lives of living descendants. Some Africans believe that the ancestors are equal in power to deities, while others believe they are not. The defining line between deities and ancestors is often contested, but overall, ancestors are believed to occupy a higher level of existence than living human beings and are believed to be able to bestow either blessings or illness upon their living descendants.

      “The ancestors,” then, are not necessarily malign (and ancestor worship is not equal to voudon, either). I see references to “the ancestors” on ADOS (American Descendants Of Slaves) threads, where it would seem natural to refer to African modes of spirituality. (Full disclosure: the only mode of spirituality I can come close to accepting is animism.)

      President-in-Waiting Harris, however, is not ADOS. She is half-Jamaican, half-Indian (and indeed identified as Indian in previous campaigns.)* I doubt very much that her family — her father was a Marxist professor — transmitted any but the most anodyne religiosity to her, let alone ancestor worship. So when Harris nimbly references “the ancestors” it is, in my view, a form of appropriation, and for purposes of political pandering, too. It’s as if she tried for the Catholic vote by confessing a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Come on, man.

      NOTE * Because all “people of color” are fundamentally alike, right?

      1. Procopius

        While more general than the subject of ancestor “worship,” a really good description of polytheism, especially in Western Europe, is at A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. Unfortunately, unless he’s edited it recently, Part I, which is where you should really start, doesn’t contain links to the later sections. You have to go to the section “Teachers’ Resources” at the top menu. It’s a fantastic site if you’re interested in how people actually did things 2,500 years ago. I especially like his articles on military logistics, which is how I stumbled onto the site.

        1. Conrad

          I’m another fan of Dr Devereux. His series on food production and iron working are incredibly interesting as well.

  10. Biph

    I’m thinking that gridlock on the WI elections commission will be advantage team Dem and also open up some serious legal challenges if the vote is close say within 2-3%. I would expect municipal clerks in Rep areas will be more hard ass about tossing disputed ballots and those in Dem areas much less so.

    1. a different chris

      haha I didn’t think of that — I can see the upper level Rethugs, the behind-the-scenes guys who actually do have some brains, saying “you weren’t supposed to throw out our votes you idiots!!”.

      The smart ones don’t want any votes thrown away, they need people to not vote. It’s like the difference between waterproofing your basement from the outside vs the inside… once the water is thru the wall you got little hope of stopping it.

  11. Gyan Brard

    Re: Marshall Steinbaum
    As Lambert would say, “End the pandemic” is doing a lot of work here

  12. deplorado

    Czechoslovakia stopped existing some time I think in 1992… Some people might take issue.

    And Im pretty sure the official name for the “Czech Republic” has been for some time now “Czechia”.

    1. Massinissa

      Czech Republic is still its official name. Its also called Czechia, as you say, but I think its mostly either called that in the local language or its a slang term on our end, or it could be both, but its still officially called the Czech Republic.

      You are correct that ‘Czechoslovakia’ hasn’t been a thing since the 90s.

  13. Keith

    Honestly, regarding the Dear Prudie, isn’t that the correct outcome? For the apartment complex, having employees engaging in misogynistic conduct loudly so tenants and likely other employees could hear it is a problem. Generally, front office in an apartment complex is staffed with females, often pretty ones. These guys jokes can be creating a hostile work environment for the ladies if they happen upon them. That is a potential lawsuit. Further, this conduct could be intimidating to female tenants in the area, potentially causing other headaches for the property and legal woes. So it seems, the termination is a reasonable and defensible way to handle a hostile environment, especially coming off the heals of the me-too movement (is it already over).

    As for the lady who reported the behavior, first, she has no duty to correct the actions of the property’s employees. That is property management’s job. Two, she may have been afraid to confront a group of males engaged in such behavior. While we may make jokes about estrogen, testosterone laden lads being confronted by a woman, could result in them mocking her.

    These gents should have done what most men do in these cases, look over one’s shoulder and not engage in off-color or non-PC jokes within earshot of people not intended to hear it.

    1. pjay

      Thank you for illustrating – almost perfectly – the dilemma of liberal moralism in your comment. At one level, you are right in everything you say. And yet there is a whole other level of social reality about which this comment appears completely oblivious. Nicely done!

      1. ambrit

        It also has elements of the “public speech” versus “private speech” in the mix.
        I imagine the complainer might have gotten some surcease from yelling “Callanse!” out her window at the offending workers.
        As long as she does not stick her head out of her window while so yelling, she has a reasonable expectation of remaining incognito.

    2. The Rev Kev

      And would that lady have also gone behind people’s backs to complain about any of the 500 people living in her complex? Or were they of her class so perish the thought? Could she not have had her partner gone down to give those guys a heads up instead of causing them to be fired in the middle of both a recession and a pandemic? Maybe that “lady” would prefer men to act like this?


      1. Keith

        Well, if her “partner” was a woman, same concerns would arise.

        In fairness, good old boy jokes get people fired, whether they be deemed racist, sexist or whatever. In the US, you never make those comments where the wrong party can hear you, as it leads to these types of examples. You see this nonsense all the time hit the news, where a guy makes a joke or comment, sometimes going back many years (social media never forgets), and the guy gets punished. It seems what is riling people up is that these were Spanish speaking maintenance guys, who may have a better claim for victimhood.

    3. Darthbobber

      You’re blithely assuming that her take on things is indeed the gospel.
      And of course there’s nothing said about anybody bothering with any kind of fact-finding process. I’m inclined to suspect significant exaggeration when she has the maintenance crews just doing nothing for 3 or 4 hours out of each workday.

      Nor have I yet been persuaded to believe that simple human interaction should be controlled by what is or isn’t someone’s job.

      I suspect 2. or 3 random heads got rolled to appease the tenant, and that they found out for the first time that anybody had a problem with them when they were summarily dismissed.

      1. Keith

        I am sure they only fired a couple to set an example. They do not want to have to replace a large amount of maintenance staff. Hiring can be a hassle, as can be training. Working corp security in a past life, I have seen this first hand. We fired a third of the staff due to being drunk and disorderly- namely the disorderly becoming violent. If our client would have found out, it would have been a problem. Fire a few and set the example. The problem went away.

        I also understand that people always tell a serf serving set of events, and often believe them themselves. That being said, telling off color jokes creates problems. Heck, we see people going through people’s history’s going back years looking for some non-PC silliness. For the business, sometimes the best defense is a good offense, especially as it is a no win for them. If they did not act, the property could have been accused of encouraging sexist comments and thoughts. In this case, it seems that people are believing the better victim are the Hispanic workers rather than the women. Either way, it is a tough spot for the property management in a litigious society looking for the next pity party.

        1. Yves Smith

          It does not appear to be “the women” but a woman. And if she was the only person who complained, which appears to be the case given the timing of the firings, then management was taking one person’s uncorroborated complaint and using it to fire these men. That makes it look like a class issue, particularly if management had other motivations, like wanting to hire newbies it could pay less.

          Plus I find her story inconceivable. I don’t see how men could keep up 3-4 hours a day of derogatory comments about women. You’d have to believe this was their sole topic of discussion, as opposed to what was going on with their families, sports, etc.

          And I also don’t buy her claim she couldn’t tune them out.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Another issue of course is that assuming she is a non-native Spanish speaker, she may simply be misunderstanding the use of slang. There are huge variations across South American in local slang (a friend of mine works in correcting Spanish translations for cross-Latin American markets, she’s lots of amusing stories about mainstream Spanish translators getting things badly wrong for one or another region). Quite a few ‘gendered insults’ in Spain are used in general conversation in parts of Latin America without negative connotations. Racial ones too – the English football association a few years ago tied itself up in knots trying to decide if an Uruguyans use of the word ‘negrito’ was racist (my Venezuelan friend said its not, but plenty of other Spanish speakers disagreed).

            This of course also happens in English. Last week a Japanese friend was asking me about the use of the ‘c’ word in Ireland. She lived in Canada, and once worked in a coffee shop in Vancouver with an Irish girl who liberally used the ‘c’ word in conversation in front of customers, much to the horror of her colleagues. While that word is pretty derogatory in most contexts in Ireland, its also much more commonly used, especially in some rural areas, and wouldn’t be considered to be misogynistic (its pretty much gender free in its use). I must admit I hadn’t given thought to it before, but I did have to explain to my friend where and when it was used, and not to take offence if she heard it (if it was said with an Irish rural accent).

          2. Procopius

            Minor quibble: we don’t know what management actually did, whether they investigated or not before firing people. They may have found there were even more serious reasons to let them go, like, for example, there really wasn’t enough work to keep them busy all day. The letter writer doesn’t say, and I imagine doesn’t know, either.

    4. Lydia Maria Child

      Based entirely from imagined hypotheticals and a one-sided story. Is this really where your mind goes, automatically?

      If she really was fluent in Spanish, all she had to do was let them know that she could hear them, in Spanish. If that didn’t solve it, then escalate. She wasn’t the victim here, but decided to go for the kill immediately. Something about power relations….?

      This was simply class warfare, mixed with no little amount of racism. Karens gotta Karen! Stop going out of your way to try to excuse this sort of behavior.

  14. Clem

    Sen. Kamala Harris: “We know the ancestors are relying on us to not let them down when there is so much at stake.” pic.twitter.com/kDG27ve6GL

    The ancestors in Jamaica who owned at minimum 89 African slaves?

    Harris’ father Professor Donald Harris stated:
    “My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town)”


    PAGE 88 Jamaica SS
    A return of [89 ]slaves in the parish of Saint Ann in the possession of Hamilton Brown as owner on the 28th day of June 1n the year of our lord 1817


    1. Estibador

      Many black people in America have a slave master somewhere in their family tree. Sometimes slave masters and slaves fornicated and to me that represents rape in most if not all circumstances. I can’t speak for Kamela’s heritage specifically because I haven’t researched and don’t really care about it, but in general please be aware that this is kind of a tasteless point to make about someone’s background.

      1. Clem

        Yes, “a tasteless point to make about someone’s background” if they keep mum about it, however when their whole political persona is based on their skin color and claiming to represent others, who share it, to a much larger degree, and they constantly talk about the past crimes of which her ancestors were guilty, then it is mandatory to discuss it.

        Question is; Will Kamala voluntarily pay reparations for the advancement and privilege in her life that she gained from those slaves’ toil?

    2. John

      Slave owners like horse thieves, pickpockets, and general rapscallions crop up among the ancestors in even the most respectable families. But good taste prevents us from mentioning them.

  15. FreeMarketApologist

    Five Finger Death Punch paper

    “By superficially identifying themselves with the working class, the “everyman,” these capitalists perform working-class aesthetics to create a false sense of solidarity with the proletariat, reinforcing the dominant ideology that grants them their power and influence. ”

    We can clearly use this to explain the existence of a financial industry CEO who moonlights as a DJ. (David Solomon)

  16. howseth

    “There are, in fact, hundreds of thousands of Americans (if not millions) who have grown fonder of Trump…”

    How about in his home state of Florida – I mean New York? Maybe upstate NY? Have millions grown fonder of the Voice of Republicanism today? Seems so. Ugh. Or, is it mainly the entertainment one gets from a lifelong grifter and con man who knows how to warm his crowd. It’s a talent. Really… Man, I can smell the corn dogs at the County Fair, hear the fly’s buzzing.

    Meanwhile, in other news – scientists have discovered water locked in molecules on the light side of the Moon. We are such a clever species.

    1. a different chris

      “In fact” is doing a lot of work there, for sure. Funny that this comes up shortly after the good discussion of what is considered “factual” in the earlier thread.

      So how many thousands of people were polled to extrapolate to this “100’s of thousands” — 2,000, 3000? I am not going to bother to look because it is just so stupid at this point.

      Trump got 46.4% out of about 136 million votes. Now if I poll 2000 people, that means if I’m even close to a representative sample I am looking at 928 votes. One more million out of 63 million is the same as (1/63)*928 = 14 votes out 2000.

      Yeah 14 people on landlines, that’s their representation of “in fact”. Sure.

  17. Basil Pesto

    It’s a big ask, but for the time being the world is enthralled by the American political process.”

    That’s one way to put it

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    About that Report from PA . . . . that Financial Times reporter seems to be quite the clueless uninformed PMC twit. How does he not know that the First Ammendment constrains Federal Government and such other entities as unchallenged Courts say it does . . . and NO ONE else?

    He has never lived the working-class-victim life. Or he would know that the employER has always been free to persecute and “outlaw” Free Speech on its own property as much as it likes.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > How does he not know that the First Ammendment constrains Federal Government and such other entities as unchallenged Courts say it does . . . and NO ONE else?

      A good point, but I think your comment focuses too much on legalisms. It’s the human relations that matter here, and I thought the reporter captured them well. (“Family is everything” is also quite Third World; that is so when there’s no social “safety net,” the government is corrupt, you can’t go to the cops, etc. The only people you can trust are in your family — hopefully a large one — and perhaps not even them.)

  19. kareninca

    I live in a condo in Silicon Valley. Almost no-one here decorates for Halloween even in normal years. It is an area of transients. I do decorate since I’m from a small town and I think it is unkind to little kids not to, even though I’m not a kid person. Actually the religious sect I aspire to join doesn’t approve of such decorations, but too bad.

    So, I was not going to decorate this year due to the pandemic. But then the little boy upstairs asked that I would, so I did.

    Then yesterday two little kids from our complex were gawping at the bats and the ghosts. I told them that I didn’t know if I were going to set out a bowl of candy since I didn’t know the local law, but had an email out to ask. The girl – I think she was about six years old – assured me at length that it was perfectly legal. She didn’t quite say that the case law was established and that it had been brought before the Supreme Court and ruled on favorably, but pretty close. Later I asked my husband if a small child would lie about the legality of the distribution of Halloween candy, and he said “yes.”

    So – if I put out a bowl of candy (poured untouched from the bags), up on the top rung of a stepladder, nowhere near my door, with a note to “parents and big kids” to put on a fresh glove (provided) and use the ladle to take some candies, and here is a place to discard the glove – am I some sort of monster? We usually get about five kids total. Why am I even considering this. Oh, yeah, a few happy kids. Ugh.

    1. ambrit

      There is something deeply flawed about a society that makes holidays “toxic.”
      First, don’t do the stepladder thing. There are too many ways that the idea could collapse into legal issues.
      Second, I seldom if ever see “free range” children at any time today. Halloween groups I see now are chaperoned. Thus, an adult, or adult like being, will be there to ‘supervise’ the distribution of ‘goodies.’
      Third, taking the happiness of children into consideration is one hallmark of a well balanced civilization.
      Fourth, it’s Halloween! Let your inner monster shamble free!

        1. ambrit

          Oh, you simply must dress up as Morticia Addams this year!
          Tug on a bell pull and drawl; “Thing. More bloody teeth for the guests please.” Then send down some candy corn.

      1. Clem

        Only unaccompanied children that dare to venture out in packs without adults get candy at our place. Otherwise, why not just drive them to the store?

        1. ambrit

          Good point. However, the age composition of the ‘cauldron’ of trick or treaters is relevant. Little ones, who, supposedly, enjoy the rituals attendant to Halloween the most, need ‘supervision’ and protection the most. Older kids, to which group I once belonged, can be another ‘experience’ entirely. I remember being chased around the neighborhood by the cops one japealicious All Hallows Eve.
          I have seen “adults” drive little ones over to the local 7-11 on Halloween. Our local “Convenience Store” was an old fashioned ‘community’ place.

    2. freebird

      Meh. Put the porch light on, sign saying “TrickorTreaters welcome, ring bell for wrapped no-touch candy”. get a big bowl, dump in candy, use long salad tongs, show up at the door with a festive mask.

      1. kareninca

        I will miss doing the ten seconds of admiring costumes. But I have a 96 year old at home, so I’m not opening the door. I wish I had a funhouse mirror that they could look at themselves in. Hmmmmmmm . . . . good grief, I can’t get any more decorations. . . I think . . .

        1. a different chris

          Your heart is in the right place for sure but if you can’t do it in person then let it be for this year (and re-think that cult, good grief… or better yet get inside and change them ).

          Halloween is about the adults being charmed by the kids, and the kids getting to do something really different with their friends. The candy is just the fox scent for the hounds. Do not make it something transactional!

          1. Darius

            I’m 58. The banter is nice, but it’s always been about the candy. Three Musketeers are the best. Cheap candy is a bummer. I still remember the good candy houses and the bad candy houses.

            1. kareninca

              Haha, I am 57. I got 2 big bags – 200 mini pieces – of Twix, M&Ms’s, Snickers and Milky Ways. None of those hideous things that are shaped like giant peanuts (I see they are called “Circus Peanuts”). No popcorn balls. No Raisinets (ewwww). No red vines.

              I asked a schoolteacher I know who lives in the complex and she approved my plan. I thanked her and told her that my main hope is to not be tased.

          2. kareninca

            It’s not a cult. It is a sect, and it has been around for 400 years. Cults have cult leaders; this sect has no laity. Not no clergy: no laity. Everyone is a minister. There is no authority figure.

            I am not charmed by kids; I find kids exhausting just as I find most other humans exhausting. I admire the costumes and I acknowledge the kids as fellow humans with their own interests and desires.

            In my ideal world I would not put out any decorations or candies. I’m doing it because no-one else is doing it. Just now as I was going to take out the trash I heard happy little voices outside in the dark chatting about one of the decorated baskets (so I didn’t go out). I have loads of happy Halloween memories, now someone else may too. Next year is a very long time to wait for a real Halloween if you are that age.

  20. JBird4049

    “…but patrollers like Nash and Boudinot had every incentive to use their blanket writ to arrest as many accused fugitive slaves as they possibly could. In fact, their financial well-being depended on it.” • Law enforcement for profit is not a new thing.“

    Let’s add that the accused were brought before a single judge that was almost certainly bribed or threatened into ruling that the defendant was an escaped slave. Silver or lead. Take the bribe or take the bullet.

    Let’s also add the very well armed private nationwide gangs of “slave catchers.” These slavers were not adverse to the beatings and occasional shooting of anyone. This included any bystanders who tried to intervene. Some of the kidnapped later said that they had to keep quiet for the safety of the bystanders or would be rescuers.

    So just about anyone dark enough could be disappeared at anytime and anywhere. And do not under estimate just how light that blackness could be. As far as I know, no study has ever been made of this, but considering the “one drop rule,” meaning any black ancestors meant you were legally Black and possibly an escaped slave.

    Yes, there was a very profitable market for light skinned, even ostensibly escaped, slaves both for House slaves and for sexual slavery in brothels.

    I can easily imagine some poor Sicilians being dragged off by some particularly entrepreneurial gang.

    So, not only is policing for profit not new, the modern public and private carceral system of slavery as well as the nationwide history of violence and corruption to keep and profit from it also has most of its beginnings from before the American Civil War. Even the practice of framing people both to meet quotas and for asset forfeitures as well as occasionally slavery-in-all-but-name is not really new.

    Perhaps, the protests and riots by both the protesters and the police this Summer can be thought of as weak echos of the prewar violence then.

    Of course, the Fugitive Slave Act was one of the causes of that war. The efforts to clamp down on the Abolitionist Movement helping escaped slave did backfired wonderfully.

    Is it just me, or have we returned to near where we were almost two centuries ago?

  21. Glen

    So ACB has been confirmed, and here’s couple of predictions:

    Obamacare – SCOTUS will protect the ACA to the end. It is a MASSIVE GIFT to America’s insurance and drug industry. And they need all the help they can get given how they $crewed up America’s CV response.
    Global Warming – SCOTUS will now pull a whocuddanode on ANY global warming/climate change cases. After all, the founders were firm believers in denying science and denying responsibility. (Unless you’re caught stealing bread for your kids, then LOCK’EM UP! But corporations, everybody knows they are MANDATED BY LAW to RAPE AND PILLAGE SO WHATEVER.)
    The Election – If a lawsuit makes it to SCOTUS concerning the 2020 election, Trump will lose. He’s being thrown under the bus by the elites, and SCOTUS is THE ELITE of the elites.*

    It’s generally pretty easy to figure out how SCOTUS will rule, and getting easier with every recent selection:
    1) Always side with corporations and Wall St.
    2) If it will impair SCOTUS’s ability to rule, protect SCOTUS.
    3) Toss out a ruling to support the little people once every ten years or so (same dynamic as Democratic voters expecting something for their vote, rarely and by accident since it really being done to give corporations and Wall St more control).

    *Interestingly, I keep seeing that Roberts, Kavenaugh, and Barrett were involved in the 2000 SCOTUS selection of W to the Whitehouse. Must have been in their capacity as Federalist Society lawyers. It would be nice to know more about that.

    1. marym

      Agree with 1,2 and 3. Not sure about the SC and the election. Seems as though Trump still expects to win the election by means of postal delays and SC rulings.

      Robert Barnes @scotusreporter
      BREAKING: on 5-3 vote, Supreme Court rejects Wisconsin Democrats’ request to reinstate an extension on the receipt of mail-in ballots. Liberals object 6:36 PM · Oct 26, 2020 https://twitter.com/scotusreporter/status/1320871922993930243

      Ari Berman @AriBerman
      Kavanaugh cites Bush v. Gore to justify making it harder to vote in Wisconsin Kavanaugh, Roberts & Barrett all served on George W. Bush legal team in Florida 2000 recount & worked to make sure only GOP votes counted 6:37 PM · Oct 26, 2020 6:37 PM https://twitter.com/AriBerman/status/1320872258085310466

      And Trump just tweeted claiming “big discrepancies” with mail-in ballots and the need to have a final count on 11/3.

      Here’s some background on Bush v Gore, the Federalist Society, and voter suppression.

      1. a different chris

        >Not sure about the SC and the election.

        Again: (not a criticism marym, you are under no responsibility to read my ramblings!) ACB is the ultimate product of the marriage between the Religious Nutjobs and the Corporate Wing. Trump does not play well with the upper echelons of either.

        ACB will dispatch him with extreme prejudice, if it goes that far. The old-school Rethugs will also regroup in plenty of time for 2022, let alone 2024. Authoritarian groups can re-line up quickly.

        PS: Kavanagh “cites Bush v. Gore”??!!!??? IANAL, but I thought that decision was very carefully stated as something you weren’t supposed to use?

        Well, Kavanaugh is not a deep thinker/reader I guess.

        1. marym

          IANAL either, nor good at political predictions! Saw comments on twitter that Roberts wrote a separate opinion from K’s, and that K cited not the main Bush v Gore ruling, but a separate concurrence. Struggling to get their voter suppression stories straight.

      2. Glen

        Thanks for the info!

        So maybe I’m wrong on the election part. After all it would be a pretty fulfilling career to say you were involved in the SELECTION of two Presidents! The Federalist Society! What a fantastically good investment in ruling America by the Koch brothers! It’s AMAZING how many times you turn over a rock, and find those guys.

        And a slight amendment to 3). Rulings for the little people are only those rulings which further divide the little people. Never ever, give them what they all agree on.

      3. Lydia Maria Child

        The Bush/Gore ruling explicitly (and shockingly) stated that that case could not be used as precedent for any future rulings. So how can they cite that case now, as precedent?

        It’s past time that that unaccountable court had its wings clipped.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Which system protected its citizens better? (And why are the shapes of each curve so different?”

    Hard to account for for the differences in those two curves. The EU has an initial bump when the virus went through earlier this year in places like Italy & Spain but now it is simply an exponential curve – even though Europe is made up of different countries. The one for the US look like that it is a succession of waves but it may not be so simple. It may be that those bumps represent different regions getting hit at different times. New York got slammed pretty hard at first and then States like Texas, Arizona & Florida then started to get hit pretty bad. I am thinking though that that uptick at the end represents a definite second wave as the virus is now present through the country.

  23. VietnamVet

    The EU new coronavirus cases curve is frightening. America’s is terrible too. Nothing like the virus running free in the White House to show the total incompetence of a government spinning down the toilet.

    I am watching COBRA every Sunday night on PBS. It is British soap opera at the last gasp of the United Kingdom when the electricity goes out and doesn’t come back on in the northern Red Zone. Filmed before the pandemic, it clearly shows that the Westminster Elite don’t give a damn for Northumberland. Dysfunctional government can’t protect its citizens.

    Hunter Biden and the Kiev Coup aren’t the only thing never mentioned; they aren’t even the prime one. The Elite and Professional Managers who rule the West simple don’t care how venal, incompetent, and arrogant they are. The only thing that matters is getting richer. And they are. They will destroy anyone who tries to rein in the organization. “Et tu”; Bernie, Tulsi.

    1. Glen

      You have way too much faith in the Democrats. Believe them – if they win, they are going to do NOTHING, and are going to lose big in 2022. Much more relevant to discuss who will be Cotton’s VP.

        1. Lydia Maria Child

          The Chapo folks promote the idea that the worst and funniest possible option is the most likely now, for US politics. And they seem to think the “My Pillow” guy might be it. Can’t tell if serious or joking…

          I’d say things are too crazy and unpredictable to pick the next right-wing psycho leader, but I don’t think you’re too far off. Who knows what the next couple years will bring. I’m guessing democrat losers will do what they’re paid to do…lose.

  24. griffen

    Re the marketwatch link and stock markets dropping. I’d expect more volatility in the daily tape in the coming 2-3 weeks ahead, at a minimum. If that floats your boat or maybe it don’t.

    I have no particular expertise, but once upon a bubble I might have had it briefly! But the 10yr UST at 0.80% egads. What a country.

  25. Clem

    If Trump gets reelected, a great number of people are going to be relieved. All their memorized scripts, twitter posts and condemnatory rumblings will be good to go for another four years.

    If Biden ’til Harris wins, what will they talk about?

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      How much they’re Building Back Better ((c) RUN/DMC) despite the cupboards being even barer than they said during the campaign. . . .

    2. Lydia Maria Child

      The great need for bipartisan unity and austerity, of course. And a new arms race to block Russian pipelines and Chinese train tracks in Eurasia.

      You’ve heard it here first: China is about to get its first real taste of “Islamic extremism,” which will just so happen to correlate closely to where its expansion conflicts with “US interests.” Funny how that happens…

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here’s something I just saw on Reddit. It shows where we end up at when we follow the Social Justice SafeSpace WokeWarriors’ yellow brick road.


    There you go. And if you asked this twitter tweeter which White people have won what by the Barrett confirmation, he’d tell you to check your White Privilege.

    Chances are good that he considers Obama’s palatial mansion on Martha’s Vineyard to be a Win for the Black People because First Black President.

  27. anon in so cal

    So, in the middle of a pandemic, when Los Angeles is still at Tier 1, the highest level, with widespread community transmission, Hunter Biden holds a house party.

    There’s now a strict Los Angeles ordinance against house parties—under any conditions. During the pandemic, they are even more strongly prohibited. Remember a few months ago some people were arrested at a house party?


  28. hunkerdown

    Philly got a little exciting this evening. Cops shoot a PoC chef “armed” with a knife, protests begin, officers run down (by a lifted black pickup, not a very Black thing), riot shield cops sent running. It’s as if this election were a contest in pitch-queering and setting up drama for the next act.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, just added some tweets to tomorrow’s Links. Guy with knife ~10 feet away from cops when they gunned him down. WTF is wrong with these officers?

  29. Procopius

    But podcasting’s bright future is under increasing threat.

    I don’t do podcasts. One reason is that none of the web sites for podcasts that I’ve seen describe what additional program you need to listen to the damned things. One day I devoted a couple of hours to finding one program that allowed me to play the ‘cast, but the sound quality was so bad I quit after three or four minutes. This might be me — I’m pretty old, so I’ve probably lost the ability to hear the higher frequencies, but there are plenty of movies and YouTube videos I can understand. Then from YouTube clips of people like Joe Rogan and Jimmy Dore and Rising I find lots of people who pause a lot to search for the next word they want to say. This includes people who appear in videos a lot.

    I still do not understand why podcasts have to use special software that has to be tracked down and installed. If they have a web site, why can’t they just put up a notice, “To listen to our ‘cast you need to install XXXX, which you can download for free here.”

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