2:00PM Water Cooler 10/28/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Staggering to hear and see them in flight, though perhaps especially gratifying to see them leave, of one manages an office park with a water feature…


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:

No change, sadly.

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

No change.

As I’m been subtly implying for some weeks:

ME: “Maine sees largest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases since pandemic began” [Bangor Daily News]. “Another 87 coronavirus cases have been reported in Maine, health officials said Wednesday. It’s the highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases Maine has seen since the pandemic began…. This latest surge in coronavirus cases comes amid an outbreak in Waldo County linked to Brooks Pentecostal Church and its Lighthouse Christian Academy that has infected at least 60 people, nearly half of whom did not attend an early October indoor fellowship meeting cited as the source of the outbreak. It comes as well amid rising case numbers in Washington County, where cases have more than doubled over the past week and health officials have yet to identify a clear source of transmission.” • Happy dance premature….

Colleges: “Colleges need to look beyond stopping parties to safely reopen in spring 2021” [STAT]. “As colleges and universities reopened in the fall of 2020, many emerged as hot spots of Covid-19 transmission. The narrative that has emerged to explain this centers on irresponsible, party-going 20-somethings who refuse to listen to reason…. s colleges and universities reopened in the fall of 2020, many emerged as hot spots of Covid-19 transmission. The narrative that has emerged to explain this centers on irresponsible, party-going 20-somethings who refuse to listen to reason…. [T]hese findings paint a picture of why we are seeing outbreaks on college campuses. Colleges are importing students from around the country, and many arrive from communities with uncontrolled Covid-19 epidemics. When students arrive on campus, they enter congregate living situations in which it is hard to isolate and some are making behavioral choices likely to drive even further transmission.” • This doesn’t seem to be all that hard to understand — or to forsee. Our extremely well-paid college administrations have enormous authority in their institutions. They’re the best and the brightest. What happened?


“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!

* * *

PA: “Trump House: Pennsylvania woman gives Trump fans sense of belonging and hope of victory” [Washington Examiner]. Worth reading in full. Amazingly, the owner of the Trump House gives away the merch. This paragraph caught my eye: “There’s one more thing to know about Rossi and the Trump House. They receive no help from the Trump campaign. They have nothing to do with the Trump campaign. Like the road rallies that spring up around Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, they are organic expressions of support for the president. When I asked Rossi if the Trump campaign had reached out to help her, she said, ‘No, I don’t need them. I probably work harder than they do. We’re doing stuff for ourselves.’ Local Republican officials know that Rossi is accomplishing something that neither they nor the Trump campaign can, and they appreciate it.” • There is not a Biden House, that I know of.

PA: “Can We Trust Pennsylvania’s Polls?” [New York Times]. “Polls show Mr. Biden leading by five to 13 points, but I grew up around here and am dubious. This place — the land of hoagies and Bradley Cooper and Rocky Balboa worship and Tina Fey’s “Cousin Karen” accent — has transmogrified into Trumplandia….. On Monday, footage of Philadelphians joyfully dancing in long lines to vote early went viral. But by nightfall, different videos began circulating: There was another police shooting, and West Philly was tearing itself apart. The scenes of mayhem that suburbia — speckled with “Back the Blue” and “Support Our Police” yard signs — awoke to could serve to help this president, who has built his campaign on racist tropes about ‘anarchist’ cities…. This is what everyone is trying to figure out: Is the Trumpmania here restricted to a fortissimo minority circling the drain, or is it a blinking red warning sign that the polls are, once again, badly discombobulated? One thing is for sure: It is a florid expression of how many Americans feel alienated from the system. They were here last time and they will remain here no matter what happens on Tuesday.” • Normally, I’d file the following under protests and riots, but since it’s relevant here:


See Biden’s comments below.

TX: “A Newly Sworn In Justice Barrett Faces A Motion To Recuse Herself In Election Case” [Politico]. “Meanwhile, in Texas, [O’Rourke] argued, an enormous and diverse electorate that more closely represents the new Democratic Party was turning out in massive numbers — one Austin area county had already exceeded its 2016 vote — and doing so in the face of the strictest voter laws in the country. All that may be needed to put Biden over the top was a visit from the candidate.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): On Philly:

(Bombsfall is Sid the Cat’s staffer). “Our hearts are broken.” I hate that trope with the hatred of a million burning suns. No, your hearts are not broken. If they were, you’d be wearing Kente cloth. Come on, man. Marianne Williamson comments:

Biden (D)(2): “Norman Ornstein on President Biden” [Persuasion (stefan)]. “Biden is running as a president who will heal wounds, reach out to adversaries, and prove, as he has said repeatedly on the campaign trail, that there are sufficient Republicans in the Senate to have ‘an epiphany,’ and work with him to find bipartisan solutions to issues from healthcare to climate change to economic recovery. But we know the history here.” • Some of us do, yes. Ornstein’s recommendations: In the first 100, days, Biden should reform the filibuster, pass a stimulus/infrastructure bill, pass the public option, pass a voting rights act, and pass gun control. The concept seems to be that although the 2020 election was the Restoration to power of [genuflects] Obama’s governing coalition, nevertheless Obama’s 2009 approach should be abandoned (without so much as a “mistakes were made”). But even Frank Luntz knows that Democrats lost the 2010 midterns because their response to the Crash, and in particular the foreclosure crisis (where 10 million lost their homes) was piss poor, and not the result of Republican obstructionism, as Ornstein would have it. I don’t see how Democrats can really, truly govern if they have no sense of their own history or, more subtly, mistake their manufactured talking points for history. (This is not snark; I’m genuinely puzzled and concerned.) Oh, and Ornstein says “a public option, à la Medicare.” The essential thing about Medicare is that it’s an eligibility-limited single payer program (albeit one with a bad case of neoliberal infestation). So I don’t know what Ornstein means by “a la,” because a jamming brochure labeled “Medicare” into a multi-payer system only adds complexity, and won’t “bend the cost curve,” which everybody agreed was the Holy Grail, back in 2009l. I spent so much time on Ornstein partly because the “100 days” is a genre we will see a lot more of, and partly because, being such an example of the “airtight consensus,” it was hard to disentangle.

Biden (D)(3): let me translate: Obama Alumni Association brain geniuses stumbling — running? — toward a two-front war:


Biden (D)(4): Clarity:

I make that joke that when liberal Democrats say “our democracy,” that’s what they mean: Their democracy. Here’s Harris saying just that. But not as a joke.

Biden (D)(5): “Chinese intelligence files are the Achilles Heel of the Globalists” [Sic Semper Tyrannis]. On the origin of supposedly incriminating Chinese images of Hunter Biden: “The Chinese are pragmatic people. The prospect of a nice house in British Columbia and the money with which to maintain the life style would persuade a lot of Chinese with access to the files.” • There are supposedly sources on this in Mandarin. I asked for lilnks, but none were forthcoming. Granted, if this was a second Steele dossier, we would be in the midst of an enormous moral panic right now. But it’s not. Them’s the breaks in an environment where supposed news-gathering organizations are open political actors at the tactical level.

Biden (D)(6): “Sources: Gina Raimondo Being Considered as Biden’s Treasury Secretary” [The American Prospect]. “A former venture capitalist who took the governor’s mansion on the strength of millions of dollars in Wall Street donations, Raimondo’s name will stir the long memories of union leaders. They have held a grudge with her for years over her tenure as state treasurer, when she cut pension benefits for public employees, while steering over $1 billion in state money to hedge fund investments.” • Of course, the Biden apparatus may be floating the awful Raimondo’s name to make their ultimate choice more palatable.

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders Would Make a Very Good Secretary of Labor” [Jacobin]. “Bernie Sanders is reportedly making a bid to be the secretary of labor in a potential Biden administration. That’s good news. The labor secretary has broad latitude to raise worker standards — and Bernie could use the bully pulpit to declare that all workers will have the full backing of the federal government if they organize on the job.” • Well… We were told that Sanders would play an important policy role as Chair of the Budget Committee, especially on health care. That is apparently no longer operative, presumably because Biden’s public option is a pre-ordained debacle that Sanders wishes neither to be associated with nor oppose. Sanders would be a good Secretary of Labor if the Biden administration let him. I doubt they will. The key point will be whether Sanders will be allowed to pick his own staff. In my view, the Biden administration will hem Sanders in with minders, ease him out before 2024, install a Blue Dog Senator in Vermont, and throw Sanders an enormous farewell party where the entire Democrat Party expresses their love and respect for him.

* * *

Via KSAT, the early youth vote:

2016 Post Mortem

High on her own supply?

I honestly think this goes beyond lying and bullshitting into outright doublethink.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“After Trump, the Republican Party May Become More Extreme” [Stanley Greenberg, The Atlantic]. “You don’t have to dig very deep to expose the Democrats’ fissures. They are split fairly evenly between liberals to one side and moderates and conservatives to the other. The growing Millennial and Gen Z bloc will steer the party in a more liberal direction in the future, but Sanders won less than 30 percent of the primary vote. Justice Democrats, a progressive PAC founded by former Sanders campaign leaders, defeated some prominent Democrats in House primaries but fell short in others. At the moment, Republican defectors are decidedly more moderate. And the surging support for Democrats in the suburbs has swelled the centrist New Democrat Coalition in Congress, now larger than the Congressional Progressive Caucus.” • Personally, I throw liberals, moderates, and conservatives into the Liberal bucket, and have a separate bucket for the Left, which Greenberg erases entirely (fascinatinly, he has the same agenda as Ornstein, so a consensus seems to be congealing). The dividing line is #MedicareForAll. Another dividing line ought to be, but is not, the Empire.

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.

There are no official stats of interest today.

* * *

Shipping: “Amazon seems to be hiring almost as fast as its sales are growing. The e-commerce behemoth plans to bring in 100,000 seasonal workers in the U.S. and Canada this year… adding to the heavy demand this year for workers to pack and deliver booming online consumer orders” [Wall Street Journal]. “Amazon has been adding tens of thousands of workers, and its world-wide workforce will be roughly one million after accounting for recent logistics, corporate and technology jobs and excluding the seasonal hires. Retailers including Walmart and Target have added hundreds of thousands of jobs this year and are adding more distribution workers for expected strong online shopping this season. UPS is hiring half as many seasonal workers as Amazon, but the company says it is depending more than ever on automation.”

Manufacturing: “Key Airbus, Boeing supplier sees recovery in 2022” [Leeham News and Analysis]. ‘A key supplier to Airbus and Boeing believes there will be a “significant upturn” in passenger traffic and aircraft demand in 2022, well before consensus. Hexcel provides composites and other materials for the Airbus A320 and A350 and Boeing 737 MAX. Quizzed on the earnings call, [Hexcel’s CEO, Nick Stanage] elaborated: ‘From our view people want to travel. People want to get out, go places, visit and as the borders open up as medical advances continue, as vaccines are released people are going to get back out travel. I believe there’s a huge pent-up demand and even on the business side businesses need to get out visit customers visit sites do business. And I believe that’s going to recover again as the epidemic and the understanding and the social distancing and the new processes and procedures gets confidence. So that’s the big thing,’ Stanage said. ‘Second, if I look at what we’re going through today the destocking, destocking is a one-time effect. Now granted, it’s layered down by program and every production cut takes more destocking but it is one time and once it’s done and you’re right-sized, there is a tremendous upside opportunity once the growth comes back because the supply chain will be very lean.'”

Manufacturing: “Caterpillar reports a 54% drop in earnings in the third quarter amid lower equipment demand” [CNBC]. “Industrial machinery manufacturer Caterpillar on Tuesday reported a 54% drop in earnings in the third quarter as equipment sales declined across all regions and segments…. Caterpillar said the sales decline was primarily due to lower sales volume driven by lower end-user demand for equipment and services and the impact from decreases in dealer inventories.”

Tech: “Facebook content moderators call for better treatment” [Agence France Presse]. “The current and former content moderators described stressful hours spent focused on torrents of hateful, disturbing posts with little regard given to their feedback or their well-being. They called for Facebook to find a way to make them and their colleagues full-time employees, complete with the benefits for which tech companies are renowned, instead of keeping them at arms-length by outsourcing the work. ‘Facebook could fix most of its problems if it would move away from outsourcing, value its moderators, and build them into its policy processes,’ said former content moderator Allison Trebacz. ‘Moderators are the heart of Facebook’s business – that’s how they should be treated.’…. The bulk of that army of content moderators are contracted and their viewpoints — hard-won on the frontlines of the battle — are typically ignored, according to those who took part in the press briefing.”

Tech: “Apple develops alternative to Google search” [Financial Times]. “The company’s growing in-house search capability gives it an alternative if regulators block its lucrative partnership with Google…. Most significantly, iOS 14 nudged aside Google for certain search functions. Queries made in the search window accessed by swiping right from the iPhone’s home screen — which Apple calls the ‘Today View’ — show an Apple-generated list of search suggestions rather than Google results. These results include ‘autocomplete’-style suggestions generated by Apple, showing that it is learning from its 1bn users’ most common queries…. [T]he sheer scale of the problem is daunting. ‘Any reasonable search engine has to have 20bn-50bn pages in its active index,’ [Neeva’s co-founder Sridhar Ramaswamy]. When a user runs a query, the retrieval system must sift through vast troves of data then rank them in milliseconds.” • I’ll have to try the Today View. I’m sure it’s terrible. (There’s probably a market for the Google of ten years or so ago, before the crapification began. Idea: How about a simple list of blue links?)

The Bezzle: “Airbnb Fights Its ‘Party House Problem'” [New York Times]. “[T]he ‘party house problem’ facing Airbnb [occurs] when guests who book its properties hold parties in them, something that appears to be happening more frequently in the coronavirus pandemic, as people look for places to socialize with bars closed and hotels appearing risky. In July, police officers in New Jersey broke up a party at an Airbnb with more than 700 people in attendance…. The party houses pose a risk to Airbnb’s reputation and business as the $18 billion company prepares to go public this year. In many neighborhoods, people have been turned off by the rentals’ noise and annoyances. Complaints about party houses across sites like Airbnb and Vrbo soared 250 percent between July and September compared with last year. Worse, the party houses raise safety issues. Between March and October, at least 27 shootings were connected to Airbnb rentals in the United States and Canada, according to a tally of local news reports by Jessica Black, an activist fighting short-term rentals….”

The Bezzle: “Thieves Steal 6 Million Medical Gloves from Florida Supplier” [New York Times]. “A shipping container holding more than six million medical gloves was stolen from a supplier in Florida on Sunday evening in a swift maneuver that left three hospital systems battling the pandemic without some of the crucial equipment that they were waiting for.” • Reads like something that would happn in The Wire, in the Port of Baltimore. The whole operation took less than six minutes.

Entertainment: “Walt Disney World layoffs slash entertainment, leaving big shows in limbo” [Orlando Sentinel]. “Walt Disney World laid off entertainers from its highest-profile shows Tuesday night in what some described as a “bloodbath” as the scale of the layoffs rocked the Central Florida arts community. The deluge of pink slips showed the theme park has no foreseeable plans to remount marquee attractions such as “Festival of the Lion King” or “Finding Nemo: The Musical,” both of which have been dark since COVID-19 shut the parks this spring. Even the cast of the venerable “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” dinner show, which has run since 1974, wasn’t immune from the latest round of Disney dismissals.”

Mr. Market: “U.S. stocks tumble, Dow down more than 700 points, as COVID cases rise” [MarketWatch]. “Stocks tumbled Wednesday morning as a continued rise in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe heightened investor worries over the economic recovery…. “In 36 states, the hospitalization rate for the coronavirus increased by at least 5% over in the past seven days,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets. ‘Traders keep an eye on the hospitalization rates because the authorities want to ensure the health care services aren’t overwhelmed — that can often be a trigger to bringing in tougher restrictions.'” • CDC: “Since the week ending September 26 (MMWR week 39), overall weekly hospitalization rates have increased, driven primarily by an increase in rates among adults aged 50 years and older.” And CDC: “Five national forecasts predict a likely increase in the number of new hospitalizations per day over the next four weeks, two forecasts predict a likely decrease, and two forecasts are uncertain about the trend or predict stable numbers. For November 23, the forecasts estimate 2,300 to 13,000 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per day. State-level forecasts also show a high degree of variability, which results from multiple factors. Hospitalization forecasts use different sources of data for COVID-19 cases or deaths, with different limitations, and make different assumptions about social distancing.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: Blank again [CNN]. I find this a little disturbing, today too. I’ll keep putting this up for a bit in the hope of stimulating CNN to fix this, somehow. Especially since Mr. Market is having a sad.

The Biosphere

“Wind-whipped Southern California wildfires prompt mass evacuations, injure two firefighters” [Reuters]. “The latest threats came amid what meteorologists called the strongest onslaught of extreme winds – and lowest humidity levels – yet documented during an already epic California wildfire season ranked as the worst on record in terms of acreage burned…. Southern California Edison reported shutting off electricity to 21,000 homes and businesses as a precautionary measure in the face of elevated fire risks posed by dangerous winds. Hundreds of miles away, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said it had cut off power to more than 350,000 of its customers for the same reason.”

Health Care

“Russia orders national mask mandate as coronavirus cases spike” [CBS]. • Obviously, Biden is a Russian stooge.


Symposium organized by Mark Blyth, therefore worth a listen:

From the introduction to the video:

In colonial British North America and the Early Republic United States, money was not seen as an arbitrary marker of value, but a product of the state used to shape markets and society as a whole. Americans took an experimental approach currency and monetary institutions: the colonies created some of the earliest first state-issued fiat currency, paper notes of widely varying value issued by thousands of banks and other institutions circulated in the Early Republic, and Americans even established and destroyed a national bank on two separate occasions. At the same time, money became the central political issue, through which Americans struggled to determine who had political power, who markets would benefit, and the kind of society they would be.

Zeitgeist Watch

Fun for the kiddies:

Guillotine Watch

An inspiration to us all:

The staff, it seems, must be masked…

Class Warfare

“Mapping the New Politics of Care” [New Politics of Care]. “We propose a New Deal for Public Health, with a Community Health Corps of one million community health workers (CHWs), to attend to the health needs of America’s residents. CHWs will help people get tested for COVID-19 and trace their contacts, but they will have to tackle more than that in the short term. They will have to take on the role of social workers, navigating the web of services that address the social and economic burdens of social distancing and isolation; they will also have to deliver food and medicine, supply rent assistance and protection from eviction, and offer child care and elder care. Beyond delivering comprehensive and holistic health-care services, CHWs are unique in their role as advocates of the people whom they serve. It is in this capacity as community members that CHWs are empowered to redress the health disparities that have multiplied for generations.” • Like ObamaCare navigators, but with higher stakes? Why not just simplify the systems? • Here’s a tweet the explains the project:

The page design is horrid, obscuring the most important deliveranble, the map, and requiring to scroll to make paragraphs appear, floating over the graphics, instead of simply allowing them to be read. There’s also no About page.

News of the Wired

“Make America Trip Again” [Current Affairs]. “[P]sychedelics will not usher in the revolution. They are no substitute for political education and organizing. The insights brought on by the experience are not guaranteed to be true or useful. There are no shortcuts to justice or good politics. But psychedelics have unprecedented potential to make people’s lives better. And if the left should be for anything, it should be for making people’s lives better….. Will psychedelics save us? Not by themselves, no. There is no replacement for a robust social safety net, a humane criminal justice system, and economic justice. But the problems that face us are enormous, and we’ll need all the help we can get.” • An enormous article, with a long potted history of our insane drug policy. Surely, however, there is one single case study out there — not in the United States — of psychedelcis making a community better, beyond the individual experience of, well, consumption?

* * *
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 (Chuck Roast):

Chuck Roast writes: “Visual Voter’s Guide to the Candidates for 2020 and Beyond.”

* * *

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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. mle durham

    perhaps especially gratifying to see them leave, of one manages an office park with a water feature…

    It doesn’t even have to be real water. A blacktop parking lot (with a little grass on the side) will attract them, too, and result in careful stepping by humans. ;)

  2. dagan68

    I would like to share this interesting anecdote with the commenters here – see what you all think.
    An outfit called “Target Smart” has somehow made some generalizations about the ballots already cast. I cannot exactly follow their methodology – so this may all be for naught. The article I got this from really did not go into much detail either.

    So far – about 59 million ballots have been cast in the USA – a little less than half of the total 2016 count. It appears to be breaking down thus far like this – DEMS – 26.7% – GOP 16.1% and Independents – a whopping 55.8%. Both the DEM and GOP numbers are down by about 10% each compared to 2016 early voting levels.

    I ran this all by my friend – the county election supervisor – today in my bright blue liberal county. He confirmed that these numbers are largely accurate from what he has been hearing. He had a few comments to make. First of all – most of the time – DEMs will lose if they do not have at least a 15% head of steam going into Election Day – So that should be of some concern to them. Secondly – he has heard a lot of talk of cross party voting – Dems voting for Trump (especially true in the African American and Latino population )- and GOP voting for Dems (especially true in the suburbs and among older women) . And thirdly – if it is sustained – the absolute crush of Independent voters is completely unheard of. And he confirmed that the Independent voters in our county are also at an all time high. This is going on everywhere apparently.

    It seems to him – the cross party stuff is probably a wash. The issues are going to be how many GOP show up on Election Day – and way more importantly what is going on with the Independents. This Independent group apparently encompasses large swaths of voters who have never voted before.

    It appears that the key to this election may hinge on whether these New Independent voters pissed off at how Trump has handled the virus and other issues this year – or if they are voters pissed off at the Dems about Antifa, law and order, and identity politics. As I reported a few days ago here – when my wife and I were in line to vote for the hours that it took – it was very clear in our liberal blue county – that there was a LOT MORE people angry about law and order issues than at Trump at least during the time we were in line waiting.

    Only time will tell – but I find it somewhat interesting that the “deciding” bloc in this election may be those who have never voted before.

    We live in interesting times.

    Have a great afternoon everyone.

    1. a different chris

      >on whether these New Independent voters pissed off at how Trump has handled the virus and other issues this year – or if they are voters pissed off at the Dems about Antifa, law and order, and identity politics.

      Oh my, it couldn’t possibly be some on the one side, some on the other? Nah…

      1. dagan68

        Sorry about that Lambert –

        Here is the link –

        Again – these numbers are a bit different than what you described in your link above. It makes me wonder if all of these numbers at this point are not hard data but are being washed through some kind of algos.

        The Target Smart website has lots of pretty graphs and pictures – but not lots of insight into how they arrive at their numbers –
        What is clear – it is run by a former Dem pollster –
        On the website that does discuss methodology – there is but a single line –

        “Insights data is collected from each state’s official election authority’s reporting. That data is typically collected from state and county election offices.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Thanks! From the About page:

          Tom Bonier is a veteran Democratic political strategist and TargetSmart’s Chief Executive Officer. Prior to TargetSmart, Tom co-founded Clarity Campaign Labs in 2012 and helped build it into one of the nation’s leading Democratic analytics and research firms. He has spent more than 20 years working in Democratic and progressive politics. Prior to Clarity, Bonier served as Chief Operating Officer at the National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC).

          I poked around a little. There’s a paucity of information about which campaigns Bonier actually worked on. The NCEC seems OK. I’m not seeing red flags. Suspicious :-)

    2. Arizona Slim

      I would venture to guess that more than a few of the Independents are those of us who were temporary Democrats. We live in closed primary states and, in order to vote for Bernie, we had to re-register as Democrats. As soon as those primaries were over, buh-bye, Democrats. We’re back to being Independent.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Viewers who tuned in to Tuesday’s episode of “The Bachelorette” in Detroit were shocked to see results mistakenly displayed on screen for next week’s presidential election.

        As the drama unfolded between Clare and Yosef on the reality show, viewers took to social media to note that WXYZ-TV seemed to accidentally post 2020 election results during the broadcast on the left side of the screen. The display showed President Donald Trump had defeated his opponent, Joe Biden, in the state. It also showed projections for several other local races despite Election Day being a week away.

        Goes to a fox news article, seems legit
        So it begins
        Love you guys, let’s try to keep it civil in here for the next month or so…

        1. deplorado

          Im pretty sure the same station flashed results on the screen during a daytime soap a day early during the Dem primaries. I and others commented here about it at the time. It’s in the NC archives.

          The station is legit (even with the name WXYZ).

          Why this keeps happening there, is another question. The results they had on the screen during the primary were not close to the next day’s actual results, I seem to remember.

          Weird, if not suspicious.

        2. ambrit

          Even when we’re going at it hammer and tongs here we try to be civil, in the Enlightenment sense.
          I’m worried about the ‘outside’ for the next month or so. Handgun ammo is not to be found, as has been mentioned several times recently. Basic semi-automatic ammo is hard to find now, such as .223, 9mm, or 7.62 X 39.
          Reports of gunfire, mainly after dark in the populated parts of our half-horse town are increasing. There is an explosion of homeless looking folks wandering the streets now. Hobo camps are making a big comeback in the ‘wastelands’ of the municipality. [What bothers me is the unwillingness of the official Organs of State Security to create dedicated outreach and liaison units to deal with these Nuevo Deplorables. This problem will not just “go away” if ignored.] The Nextdoor web exploitation and messaging system is now beginning to show an increase in stories about “creepy strangers stealing stuff out of garages” or even, “trying to get into homes while the dwellers were home.” The most common reaction to such stories now is “I’m going to get a gun tomorrow,” followed with the occasional “then I’ll learn how to use it.”
          The economic situation alone is setting up the proper conditions for the rise of an authoritarian political leader.
          Even if “Creepy” Joe Biden wins this election, expect the 2024 Presidential contest to have a strong and charismatic Far Right contender for the top spot.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Your using the word ‘wastelands’ to describe the current 21st century dynamic brought to mind Graeber’s narrative from Debt where he describes the choices left to the indebted poor in the ancient Near East – become a debt slave or escape to the hinterlands. Once the destitute escapees reach a critical mass, they start to get ideas about the society that treated them so basely, which was one reason that ancient rulers in turn would declare debt jubilees.

            As you note, this isn’t just going to go away. Seeing these favelas everywhere now in supposedly the richest country on the planet is an ominous sign. If we lived in a sane, healthy society the current elites would do as the ancient Mesopotamians did. Since we don’t have that and are more similar to the ancient Romans who clubbed the Gracchi to death and tossed them in the Tiber, I suspect we’ll get the authoritarian instead.

            1. AnonyMouse

              Well put. I just finished Debt a week ago and the attitude of those Mesopotamian kings – enlightened self interest to give a little to prevent total systemic collapse – is nowhere to be found.

          2. km

            Imagine a *competent* populist, one that was focused, disciplined and hard-working, one that could prioritize objectives and then marshal resources to achieve those objectives, one who hired shrewd advisers and not just faces he had seen on TV, one who didn’t outsource policy to howls doltish offspring or waste time on twitter beefs with fellow imbeciles.

            Trump is the greatest gift imaginable to the establishment.

            1. ambrit

              I’m not so sure as to Trumps utility to the Status Quo Elites. He has exposed a lot of the essential hypocrisy that undergirds the Neoliberal Dispensation. Promising one thing and then ‘delivering’ something different as an example. Then we get to the “over the top” attempts to get rid of Trump. A plurality of the population, I assess, see the anti-Trump efforts for what they are, naked power plays.
              In essence, Trump has almost single handedly delegitimized the extant political elites. There is no going back from this point. Now we have the prospect of the wild ride into the abyss ahead of us.

    3. clarky90

      The least effective strategy an older person can have, is to imagine that ear-bashing, lecturing, haranguing, shaming…. a young person, will “change their minds”. hahaha. Young people do not appreciate being told how to vote, how to think, what to watch, what to say….They generally, will do the opposite.

      This is how it was when I was a young hippie back in the 60s. From my experience as a dad and grandpa, it is still the same….

  3. antidlc

    “Our extremely well-paid college administrations have enormous authority in their institutions. They’re the best and the brightest. What happened?”

    Oh, boy. Have you ever worked in college administration?

    1. Greg Taylor

      When college administrators look at closing dorms, they see losses of up to 50% of their revenue with no corresponding reduction in expenses. For the few colleges with a large endowments, that might be sustained for a few terms without massive faculty/staff reductions. For the vast majority, losing dorm revenue would mean not only firing bloated administrative staffs but deep faculty cuts and massively changing how learning takes place.

      Given this stark alternative, it’s easy for administrators to believe that housing students in dorms is a better option. Most on-campus students have virtually all on-line class schedules so they don’t transmit to faculty and staff (except athletics and a few on-campus labs.) Many students with on-line class schedules have options to stay at home but seem to be more than willing to take the risks of living in dorms – most had wait lists in the fall.

      1. Procopius

        The faculty cuts will always come before firing bloated administrative staff. Re-read Parkinson’s Law. No administrator will willingly allow any of the people who report to him to be removed, because that reduces her status. “Parkinson’s Law” was written as a joke. It’s kind of too bad it is such good social science.

    2. Acacia

      I detect a more-than-faint whiff of Lambertian irony in “best and brightest”, but let’s just say that probably they’re neither and probably they should be getting paid a whole lot less than $250K/year to “administrate”, especially at public universities. Sadly, when the budgetary knife gets applied in response to corona lawsuits from angry students’ parents, the admins will cut lecturers on temp contracts before they cut the fat in their own branch of the university.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Lambertian is a useful coinage I haven’t seen before. If it’s original to you, by all means take a bow!

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    “of psychedelics making a community better”

    I’m an advocate for psychedelics used in the right context, but as for effects on a community, the one example of a community that used LSD that pops to mind isn’t a positive one(audio).

      1. ambrit

        I’ll counter with the observation that there is a difference between a ‘civic community’ and a ‘community’ in the religious sense. The Mystery cults were religious in nature. Not everyone in the local polis would have been a member of the ‘body,’ nor would they have had to be so to be productive members of the society.

        1. Cuibono

          True, but some feel that this community and its rites played an important role in the civic affairs as well…
          clearly we cant know

          1. ambrit

            Maybe something similar to Once Upon A Time when America was considered to be a Christian Nation. A generally shared ethos does impart stability and moderation unto a society.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I sure wouldn’t describe it as a healthy community, but they were people living and tripping together.

  5. Carolinian

    Norm Ornstein is still around? Guess old pundits never die. They just fade away. [wipes tear]

    Speaking of Amazon, for awhile I’ve been getting my (rare) orders two days early even though not Prime. Should Prime delivery option now be considered a fiction and competition with Walmart and the others a higher priority than the membership come-on?

    1. fajensen

      It is quite possible that Amazon has figured out that it is much more efficient to run Everything on the best-quality “Prime” product line and just “change the labelling”.

      In a production setting, “Variants” are quite rightly considered the spawn of Beelzebub. It is much faster and cheaper to just make One Thing rather than many different ones. Even when one is gouging the customers on all of the “customised” products. This is mostly because Each variant drags its own bureaucracy with it, entirely the same in scope and misery as the “Regular” product, which is made in the thousands and thus doesn’t has to be explained as much to the workers, sales people, customer support, customers, et cetera.

      Still, quite often a business will have “Economy-, Medium- and High-end Version” of their products.

      This is because they use the “Economy” version to “anchor” the price and customer expectations. But, in the end almost everyone will buy the “Medium-” performance version, and some zealots will buy the “High-End”.

      The cost of having these variants is compensated by the added sales through the “funneling” of people who spent mental energy on investigating the “Economy” options, found it lacking (exactly as it was designed to be), and just go for the extras in the “Medium/High End”-range rather than restarting the whole process on a competing product.

  6. hamstak

    It looks currently as if someone forgot a closing “center” tag (after the Orlando Sentinel item) — this is disappointing, Lambert, as I have never taken you for a centrist.

  7. JWP

    No sooner have things gone well, we are up to 5% of the school getting covid in the past 2 weeks after two parties. In response the school’s directive, which is based on a subjective color coded system reads:

    Some in-person and blended classes may shift to the “online pathway,” with many courses moving to remote learning. Instruction delivery and modality may be altered at the discretion of the academic deans. Gathering sizes indoors and outdoors may be reduced. Campus offices and functions may modify hours, conditions and services to limit contact. Campus activities and events may be limited as a safeguard for spread of the disease. Random testing and contact tracing may be expanded.

    Note that everything “may” happen, meaning the control remains with the admin and whatever their “professional” opinion holds.

    We’ve seen there is no ability to control covid on campuses no matter what is done. The article’s conclusions are nothing new, but are wishful thinking. frankly, a waste of resources with some pretty mapping. It is impossible to keep a college campus locked down and prevent spreading from and within them.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      But it is impossible to collect room and board from a population that is remote learning… so the Administration’s rice bowls must be filled.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > But it is impossible to collect room and board from a population that is remote learning

        Not to mention that charging the same for a Zoom course as for an in-person course is an open grift.

        The video from Mark Blyth’s program under MMT shows this quite clearly. What is a symposium without interplay between the participants, physically? Pretty dead.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Race to the bottom, where Harvard becomes indistinguishable from The University of Phoenix?

          1. edmondo

            The whole point of going to Harvard is to meet other “best and brightest” isn’t it? Hard to do online classes

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          One would think that if the Harvards of the world find themselves facing commercial and institutional extinction because people wise up and discover that ” on-line Harvard” is French for “no Harvard at all” and therefor decide to quit signing up and paying, that the University-Industrial Complex would try inserting every thin bamboo sliver it has under every government fingernail in sight to torture the Government-Industrial Complex into managing and suppressing the Coronavid Virus the East Asian Way.

  8. lyman alpha blob

    About the psychedelics, this may not be exactly what you’re looking for, but I recently ordered this book about the subject – The Immortality Key .

    The guy who wrote the foreword has some rather goofy theories himself, but the author is a classics scholar and according to an interview I saw with him, he did extensive research on the Eleusinian and other ancient mystery cults to determine if their rites included taking psychedelics and if that tradition was passed down to early Xtians.

    Still on order from my local bookstore, so no idea if it’s legit research or on the crackpot side, but it sounded promising. From what I know of mystery cults, I think it’s quite likely they used psychedelics (and it would be a hoot to find out that the early Xtian church fathers were as stoned as the pagans). Not sure if that made the ancient Greek communities any better though – they really never could stop squabbling with each other.

    But on the other hand, if their society were completely straightedge, perhaps it would never have produced a Pythagoras.

    1. Bruno

      “About the psychedelics…”
      See also: “The Sacred mushroom and the Cross” by John Allegro
      The “sacred mushroom” was known as Beelzebub (baal-zevuv, “fly lord”) or *amanita muscaria*. The Gospels referred to its use to “drive out demons.”

      1. Darthbobber

        Read Allegro’s book back in the day. He reaches mighty far for some of his conclusions. In my mind I file him next to Spear of Destiny.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        That sounds like a fun book to check out.

        Baal-Zebub, Lord of the flies, is a nasty little swipe at a competitor god to YHWH. Baal, “lord” or “husband” in Hebrew and Ugaritic, is the hero and central figure of the urban-based Ugaritic myths, and along with the Asherah poles, is regarded as anathema for followers of YHWH throughout the Hebrew bible. The name originally suggested that Baal was the same as what attracted flies.

        The name survives into the Greek bible where the Synoptics put it into the mouth of Jesus and connect it to demons, an innovation from the Hebrew bible which doesn’t have much use for the concept.

    2. STEPHEN V.

      I seem to recall that Plato was very critical of certain poets who “intoxicated the people.” Taking this literally, I would say no psychedelic boost needed! Of course, this would be in public, not in the Mystery cults. Looking forward to other comments.

      1. epynonymous

        I hear the origin of the world ‘entertain’ is in reference to allowing a ‘spirit’ to enter the audience, as if posessed.

    3. carl

      Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind is thought-provoking (sorry, that just came out) too.
      To Lambert’s question, though, I remember reading about some university research done on comparing Amazonian groups in South America, those who consumed ayahuasca as a normal part of their culture and those who didn’t. Findings were that the groups who took ayahuasca were more “mentally healthy” according to some criteria I can’t remember right now.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind

        I bought it and read it. For whatever reason, I thought it didn’t have the rigor and brilliant clarity of his earlier work, particularly Botany of Desire, of which it should have been a clear offshoot. Perhaps he changed editors, or they were changed for him. Or perhaps its the subject matter.

    4. Brunches with Cats

      The author was on Joe Rogan about a month ago. Fascinating discussion that I thought would appeal to some in the commentariat, so I posted the link. Here it is again:

      Interesting bit of trivia on Muraresku: He studied under John Podesta (Georgetown Law?) and attempted to use the connection to get a job on the HRC campaign, describing himself as a “diehard” Hillary supporter. His email is in the Wikileaks Podesta dump.

      Ironically, he told Joe Rogan and the second guest, Graham Hancock, that he was a psychedelic virgin. Both Rogan and Hancock are old hands. In fact, Hancock remarked that anyone seeking high office — president, prime minister, etc. — should be required to have “at least a dozen sessions with a powerful psychedelic” (starting at 19:02).

      So maybe the youthful Brian Muraresku will join the club — if he hasn’t already — and step into a different reality.

  9. Gary

    I am not defending President Obama but did he not inherit the TARP legislation? His administration did a better job of accounting for who received the funds and how much than the previous administration but the law already existed. I do blame him for not seeking an unbiased criminal investigation into these banks and funds. I do not agree with Lutz on blaming Obama for not doing more about police killing black citizens. One major difference that occurred after Obama was the proliferation of cheap cell phone cameras. It is one thing to read or hear about these shootings and quite another to watch the videos over and over. Lutz is also an incredible hypocrite about the divisions in this county. He made his money helping to figure out how to exploit and expand these very divisions so some creep could get elected.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > but did he not inherit the TARP legislation

      TARP would not have passed if President-elect Obama had not jawboned the Congressional Black Caucus into supporting it.* Many Republicans were vehemently opposed to it.

      * This is from Ian Welsh, who had it, IIRC, from Congressional staffers. Best link I can find.

      1. Darthbobber

        If McCain had said no and actually produced an alternative of his own after insisting on the big emergency meeting rather than just sitting there and grudgingly going along that might well have changed a lot of things.

    2. Darius

      Obama started embracing austerity in 2009. He low-balled the stimulus when he should have swung for the fences, in the name of his bipartisanship fetish. He “pivoted” (what a precious, twee word, totally characteristic) to the deficit in late 2009, as the recession was still going full blast. The sputtering recovery led to the Republicans winning in 2010, and ultimately to Trump in 2016.

      Don’t forget, the sociopath Geithner bragged to Ron Suskind that the purpose of TARP was for banks to be able to squeeze a few more payments out of homeowners before they foreclosed on them. The important thing was to “foam the runway” for the banks. After all those are the people Geithner and Obama socialize with.

      1. Judith

        In 2009 Obama announced the Surge in Afghanistan, after promising to end that war during his campaign.

      2. Darthbobber

        When you consider that between the CARES act and the couple of additional tranches of aid provided in the inadequate Covid stimulus/relief efforts they’ve already spent about triple the entire Obama package, it just throws the inadequacy of that effort into sharp relief.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Obama started embracing austerity in 2009.

        Obama’s Inaugural Address, 2009:

        Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age….

        But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed….

        those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

        America: In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.

        I know when I heard that speech, I heard “tighten your belts.” (I have helpfully underlined the phrases that moved me to hear that.) So did the Obama skeptics who listened with me. And we were right. I mean, “unpleasant decisions”? Was anybody so foolish to put “prosecuting banksters” or “confiscatory taxation” under that rubric?

        On the pro-Obama side, we then had a multiple-month discussion over whether Obama’s “heart” was “really in theg right place.” (The talking point was: “He’s only been President ____ months. Give him a chance!”) While that was going on, Obama appointed Geithner, approved a too-small stimulus package, rehabilitated the Republicans and started bargaining with them over health care, etc.

        I expect similar greater levels of idiocy and self-deception in the first days of the Biden administration. “Greater,” because this crisis is worse, and so the same crowd that butchered the Crash in 2009, now back in charge, have worse field position.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Has anyone tried to figure out how many votes “for” Obama were really survival-votes aGAINST McCain/Palin?

          I felt McCain wanted to start a Big Real War with Iran in order to show how we would win it . . . in order to show how we WOULD have won the Vietnam War if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids. So I voted against that. And against 8 years of President Caribou Barbie after that, too.

    3. Yves Smith


      First, Obama was letting banks get away with cheating on valuations of dividends, which mattered for reasons I now forget. Warren at the COP got after Treasury and made it stop. So you can hardly give the O Administration credit for “accounting.”

      Second, the big bailout happened IIRC in November, so the Administration then was already in caretaker mode.

      Third, the Bushies left $75 bilion of TARP funds for Obama for foreclosure relief….something they most certainly did not have to do. The O Administration chose to use at most $3 billion for foreclosure relief.

  10. Climbmaster

    Headline: “Amazon seems to be hiring almost as fast as its sales are growing”

    The two weeks before Christmas would be an ideal time for Amazon drivers, warehouse workers and Whole Foods employees to go on strike for better wages, profit sharing and benefits.

    What you can do then, or now if you are proactive“My order never arrived. I want a refund or replacement item or I call credit card company for reversal of charges.”

    Only do this with items sold directy by Amazon, not the second party vendors who sell through Amazon, as they have to eat it.

    1. Carla

      Just don’t buy sh*t from Amazon! I mean, my Dog, how hard is it? I don’t buy from Amazon every, single day. Lemme tell you, it’s really easy!

      P.S. I don’t buy from Amazon vendors, either.

      1. marym

        +100 I stopped buying from Amazon years ago when I first started hearing about warehouse working conditions. At the time thought everyone would do that. It’s not difficult. I also rarely buy anything in the way of clothing, accessories, or household furnishings, that’s not made in USA. A little more challenging and sometimes somewhat more costly, so not for everyone, but really not difficult.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I agree. Some people still do have a choice . . . between Amazon and NOmazon. We have to accept that some of those people who still do have a choice are the sort of stupid slob kunsoomurz who will buy from Amazon regardless, because ” always the low price, always.”

        Those people who are smart enough to understand the stakes and the consequences will buy from NOmazon in order to keep NOmazon still standing on the battlefield and still fighting for its existence until the happy day when either people or events will finally exterminate Amazon from existence and wipe every last trace of Amazon from off the face of the earth.

    2. marym

      I don’t think it’s ever an ideal time for anyone not sharing in the risk (this isn’t personal to you, of course, I don’t know your situation) or part of a robust support movement (to boycott, join the picket line, contribute to a strike fund) to say low-paid, non-unionized workers should go on strike.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If there were a way to grow the NOmazon sector and shrink the Amazon sector at the same speed, so that every de-hired Amazon worker could become re-hired NOmazon workers, it would be worth taking and doing.

        Whole Foods could be made a test case. How many towns and cities with an Amazon sector fancy food store also have a NOmazon sector fancy food store? How much steady business in money-flow terms does it take to support a fancy food store employee-job? Could disgruntled Whole Food shoppers in a single test-case city organize themselves into a movement to approach the NOmazon fancy food store in their town and credibly offer and promise to do “that much shopping” at NOmazon fancy food IF! . . . the NOmazon fancy food store will hire one single “verified Whole Foods worker” aWAY from that Whole Foods, and INto that NOmazon fancy food store?

        If such a single-locality micro-movement could actually get this done to where it actually worked for one departing employee from Amazon foods to NOmazon foods, that micro movement could do it again and again, for Amazon Foods worker after Amazon Foods worker after Amazon Foods worker. Could such a movement, doing that same thing over and over again, actually achieve the extermination-through-attrition of a particular physical Amazon Foods location?

    1. Yves Smith

      Thanks but that only works for DC. The Mail has pretty reliably been providing large photo essays on protests, including of the police looking pretty thuggy.

  11. Sailor Bud

    Seriously trying to put myself into child mode to figure out at what age I would have transitioned from considering that grisly Halloween decoration deeply disturbing to finding it hilariously cool. Five? Six? Clearly questionable judgment tho, considering the youngest and most delicate kids and their parents. Blood is serious stuff in some young minds.

    1. carl

      I know I’m old, but when did Halloween become an adult’s holiday? People seem to go crazy over it now.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Happened, oh, sometime during the 1980s and 1990s. Methinks that business found a holiday to capitalize on and here we are. Going bonkers over Halloween.

      2. Geof

        I have a friend who can’t stand Christmas. It’s relentlessly cheerful, social, and consumerist. That’s a pretty horrid combination. If Christmas is going to be like those old Wals-Mart skits, you might as will skip it and go full zombie. She celebrates Halloween instead.

        1. polecat

          I much prefer solstices and equinoxes – keeping it real, without all the Hallmark extravagance ….

          The rest are just an excuse to gorge .. in all manner of ways!

      3. Sailor Bud

        Nearly identical to the comment I was initially going to write. In a town full of adults it would still be rather tasteless and inconsiderate, but I bet it would be a big hit among the majority. I mean, there’s some fine technique in that graphic rendering and it is genuinely funny to some undoubtedly huge range of people.

        For some very little kids, at least how I remember it, the suggested violence would be some kind of miniature mental trauma. One of my earliest memories from early childhood in the early 1970s was seeing some (rock & roll?) poster on my hippy aunt’s wall of an opened mouth with an eyeball sitting square on the center of the tongue, and that thing absolutely terrified me in the most disturbing way. This is far, far worse, I think.

        The contrast between this massacre and then seeing life-sized pastoral nativity dioramas pop up in the next month should be interesting for the local tots.

    2. Brunches with Cats

      Would have been more fun if the bodies had been in “business casual” with bloodied briefcases and latte cups strewn across the lawn. Not a five- or six-level prank, though.

          1. The Rev Kev

            What if that was all real and what it was was the reaction of a guy that had too many visit from political polsters? Obviously someone who does not appreciate fava beans and a bottle of chianti.

    3. Glen

      I’m find those a bit too much.

      But then I live in the sticks, never have trick or treaters (we haven’t had any since our kids grew up and left), and don’t have to think about decorating.

  12. Lambert Strether Post author

    I spent entirely much time on Norman Ornstein, so I added some orts and scraps. And I still had to leave plenty on the cutting room floor!

    Please refresh your browsers. And do check the PA material under “Swing States,” it’s especially interesting.

      1. Carolinian

        I wasn’t being snarky in comment above (ok maybe a little)–I just haven’t seen the guy in decades, perhaps because I never watch TV news. You miss a lot that way it seems.

        I’m told Gloria Borger is still around too.

        1. flora

          Borger showed her cards on the table shortly after 9-11 on the PBS show Washington Week in Review, if I’m not mistaken. When she laid her cards down I realized she wasn’t the dispassionate ‘just the facts’ reporter I’d thought she was. But Ornstein, on the distaff side, seemed sure the Dems were on the side of the angels, and so the disquisition of his hopeful take is worth reading, imo.

          per Lambert:
          But even Frank Luntz knows that Democrats lost the 2010 midterns because their response to the Crash, and in particular the foreclosure crisis (where 10 million lost their homes) was piss poor, and not the result of Republican obstructionism, as Ornstein would have it. I don’t see how Democrats can really, truly govern if they have no sense of their own history or, more subtly, mistake their manufactured talking points for history.


          1. flora

            adding: to prevent any misunderstanding of my meaning, when I say Borger showed herself to not be dispassionate I mean she was, imo, happy to throw the Bill of Rights overboard if that would make her feel ‘safe’ after 9-11.

        2. stefan

          Actually, I know Norman and his family pretty well. Our kids grew up together. He’s not necessarily someone I would go to first for policy, but I’d listen to what he thinks on process. No one alive knows or understands the history and functional workings of Congress better than Ornstein, or if someone does, I’d like to know his or her (or their) name.

          I think his expressed views on policy might be limited by what he thinks is realistically possible.

  13. kareninca

    So much for my Halloween treat plan. I was going to put out a table at the end of the highly decorated walkway (on the parking lot end, not the dwelling end), with a six-foot line and gloves and a bowl of individually wrapped candies (poured untouched from the bag into the bowl) and a ladle (and instructions for the confused). Parent or big kid: put on free/fresh glove, pick up ladle, scoop individually wrapped candies into collecting sack of small humans/ghosts/witches. Set down ladle, discard glove (in provided trash container). We get about five kids a year and their desire for candy is fervent.

    But our neighborhood association just sent out a “Halloween recommendations” email. We are urged to donate candy to the local (rich) school so they can do a drive through. This does not have the force of law, but I am cowed. I have the candy; I guess I’ll give it away where I volunteer. I’ll give away candy next year instead. One year for these kids would be about ten years for me.

    1. ambrit

      Who runs your neighborhood association, an Austrian ex-corporal, veteran of the Great War? This idea smacks of siloing. Only those who can afford to do the full auto chaperone trick or treat experience deserve treats?
      I understand how delicate maintaining civil relations with ones neighbors and peers can be.
      One of the best ‘japes’ anet Halloween I have thought of recently is to put one of those stand alone big coin operated bubble gum dispensers in front of our porch and load it with something full of high fructose corn syrup and FD&C yellow number three dye.
      Neoliberal Halloween! You have to pay for your candy! [No self respecting neighborhood association could disapprove of that idea.]
      Whatever you do this weekend, enjoy yourself!

      1. kareninca

        ” Only those who can afford to do the full auto chaperone trick or treat experience deserve treats?”


    2. eg

      I’m using a 9ft length of plastic downspout through which to drop the candy from my gloved hands. I don’t know how many visitors we’ll get, though.

  14. furies

    As an undecided voter in Cali, I have yet to get my ballot/sample ballot in the mail. Called the County CLerk’s office a week ago, and she said it had been mailed, but returned, and she’ll send another. (I don’t check my PO box daily, with Covid and all, but I did not *not* check the mail for more than 4 days, tops). Still nada. I will call CC office again but it sure seems like my ambivalence about voting at all is playing out with the local apparati.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Wow, I got multiple mail-in ballots in Chapel Hill, NC. I am registered as an Independent. But I wanted to vote in person, as late as possible without braving a crowd.

      So I went today, figuring the gray skies and drizzle would keep the numbers down and I was right. No wait, half a dozen others voting. No photo ID required despite some disinformation on this I have read. A row of windows on two walls, none were open. The elderly Black poll worker acted surprised when I suggested they open them. Later, when I took out my phone to take a picture of my ballot, she informed me that was illegal. I asked whether I would get some kind of printout or even see my choices displayed on a screen when I feed it into the machine. Again she seemed surprised, explaining that the vote is anonymous, how you vote is separated from any identifying information. I objected that the machines aren’t reliable and she just repeated it was against the law to take a picture of your ballot.

      On my way out, some happy Dems in a tent sang out, “Do you want an I voted sticker?” Grumpily I said No, I don’t feel proud of voting with these shit choices.

      I voted for Biden, no surprise, being that I am in a swing state. A dreary affair altogether.

    1. ambrit

      Could Pelosi have promised AOC an expanded national ‘presence’ in exchange for her fealty? [Vanity Fair is about as ‘national’ as it gets.] Now, if she gets on the cover of The Rolling Stone, all bets are off. (And she will have to obtain the rights to the Dr. Hook song.)
      Hear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ux3-a9RE1Q

    2. HotFlash

      I have written for newspapers and for magazines. I specialized in interviews — I am a really, really good interviewer. Sometimes the article I submitted was not much like the one printed. When I could afford to (ie, didn’t need to pay the mortgage, groceries, whatever) I didn’t pitch to that outfit again. It got kind of lonely and I found another line of work.

  15. flora

    re: Canada goose

    Thanks. That’s the sound I’ll hear overhead when the wings are flying south in a few more weeks.

  16. nippersdad

    That Comrade Misty is Putin’s Buddy tweet was hilarious, until I saw the picture of Hillary.

    Man, she has become terrifying to look at. Someone must have found a way to make her portrait talk. It has a very Portrait of Dorian Gray flavor to it.

  17. ChrisAtRU

    BIden (D) (6)

    LOL … I joked that Gina Raimondo fell from one of Mitt Romney’s binders full of women … Dems are horrid beyond belief and parody.

    1. chuck roast

      That’s actually only the half of it. Gina (I have my own personal guillotine) Raimondo (D) raided the RI state workers pension fund not once, but twice. Before she got into state office her PE op. was hired to review the pension fund, determine its fiscal soundness and otherwise make recommendations on its future. Her firm recommended that…drum roll please…the monthly pensions of all recipients be cut by around 10%. I don’t remember the exact amount, but if you are interested it’s easy to find an alternative study that ripped Gina’s to shreds. Of course GINA’s PE fund turned a blind-eye to all the ex-cops and ex-pols who go play golf while they’re double-dipping.
      Yeah she is the perfect candidate for a Biden-inspired money handler.

      1. ChrisPacific

        There is something of a history of this in RI. I used to wonder how it was that Buddy always seemed to get re-elected despite being a convicted felon and thoroughly corrupt. I remember the response to “Buddy is a crook” used to go something like “Yeah, but he’s OUR crook.” I now understand that sentiment a bit better after reading the Raimondo stuff.

  18. cocomaan

    Getting an increasing number of calls from friends asking for me to serve as a reference for them. Always happy to, but this is now happening more often.

    Lots of companies crunching right now. Positions aren’t being filled. Revenue loss is catching up. I am getting a bad feeling about this.

    1. cocomaan

      And I was just talking with an accountant friend asking Why aren’t we in a credit crisis? Who is making credit right now? And who the hell is buying it?

      I guess the answer is the Fed. But there’s no fundamental in the world that supports credit creation at this point.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Do you notice any pattern to the kind of businesses or jobs your friends had been laid off from?

        1. foghorn longhorn

          All mine were in the oil bidness, going from a nice 6 figure income to zero appears to be a bitch.
          Oh wait, been there, done that.

  19. nippersmom

    I can’t speak for other universities, but here in Georgia individual members of the State University System have very little control over online vs. in person instruction and whether they have students housed on campus. Those decisions are made by the Board of Regents, who have already dictated that universities will increase the percentage of classes taught on campus for the spring semester.

  20. Offtrail

    Ref Marianne Williamson’s tweet – Thou shall not loot is not in the Bible, but thou shall not steal is.

    Take a look at the faces of these looters in Portland. Can anyone think this behaviour is good for them?


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I couldn’t tell much from or about the faces because they were almost all wearing masks.

      I was intrigued by the name “Kassab”, though. It sounded Arabic to me, so I search-engined it. I got a few half-way relevant hint-sites, like this.

      And elsewhere I read that Kassab is an Arabic surname and is more common in Egypt than anywhere else.

      I wouldn’t think that the Kassabs are part of the White Privilege Oppressor Race, but if you want some free jewelry and computers and stuff, I guess any old store will do.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the Marrianne Williamson tweet in the post itself . . .

    She thinks she is being clever when she says she doesn’t see “thou shalt not loot” in the Bible but she does see ” thou shalt not kill” in the Bible. She thinks we the reader are not smart enough to know that looting is stealing and that it says ” thou shalt not steal” in the Bible right along with ” thou shalt not kill”.

    If I had twitter, I would say that in a tweet-reply on her tweet thread. I am not going to get twitter just so I can go over there and say that.

    The looting boiled up so fast and spontaneously that I doubt “false-flag CREEPy Trumpies” were there to get it started. And one could say that Walmart incorporated can afford to be looted whereas Tiny Q. Bussinesswoman cannot afford to be looted. A tiny local businessperson may have all of herm’s money tied up in herm’s tiny business. If it is all burned down and looted, he/she will have no other source of money, no way to rebuild the business, no way to avoid eviction eventually from non-payment of home-rent, and no way to avoid going homeless, which means dying prematurely. For the tiny businessperson who is made homeless by looters, looting is the exact equivalent of shooting.

    And the tiny businesspeople , collectively, would be exactly right, and even sanctified, in killing as many looters as necessary right there on the field of battle in order to make the looting stop by immediate lethal brute citizen force.

    America is a poor country now. We cannot afford looting. Vicious children loot. Mature adults figure out how to “reach out and touch” the parTICular offending police officers from the invisible shadows.
    We will rapidly reach the stage of Shoot EVERY Looters for Our Own Survival. Don’t believe it? Just try it enough times . . . . or in the wrong places.

    1. Phillip Cross

      The difference is that, unlike the police, the public don’t pay the looters lavish salaries and pensions. Therefore the public don’t have the same standing when it comes to asking for changed behavior from a nebulous group of looters, as they do with the publicly funded police.

    2. Darthbobber

      Mature adults figure out how to loot wholesale. They don’t bother with this penny ante street stuff.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      > A tiny local businessperson may have all of herm’s money tied up in herm’s tiny business.

      Now don’t go making sport of the ‘tiny business’ of their herms! Herms can be a real growth market [rimshot].

      Jeffrey Toobin could use one for a stand-in on Zoom![rimshot]

      Thank you. Thankyouverymuch. Try the weiners….

    4. occasional anonymous

      Her take is also crap for claiming the victim was just an ‘innocent man’. The dude was literally armed with a knife. The shooting is on video; he was told repeatedly told to drop the knife, refused to do it, and was advancing on the cops.

      What frequently happens with police killings is that eventually a fuller account comes out that at least adds some nuance to the supposed ‘execution’. For instance in the case of George Floyd, fuller video of the incident shows he was claiming he couldn’t breathe before they had him on the ground with a knee on his neck. This doesn’t excuse the use of the knee on neck move; that’s technique is ridiculous. And the idiot cops should have at least checked if he was actually breathing at some point. In fact they should have given some credence to his claims of not being able to breathe before they even had him on the ground. But there’s more to the story than the simple narrative of callous cops intentionally suffocating a black man to death.

      But in this case in Philadelphia, the guy was armed. That doesn’t automatically justify the use of deadly force; they could have tried tasing him. But to me it looks like a very strong case can be made here that this was a justified killing.

      It was known from the start that this guy was armed when he was shot, but the immediate (IMMEDIATE) response from a bunch of people on the street was to go rioting and looting. Much of the media also immediately went into the ‘police kill another black man’ narrative, rather than ‘police kill armed man’. Congratulations, you just secured Trump a bunch of votes in Pennsylvania. Idiots.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        This is the legitimate aspect of “defunding” the police: an investment in social workers would not be amiss: we know when a situation requires de-escalation and we have a few options besides shooting someone dead to get there.

        Fer chrissakes the man suffered from chronic mental illness. Guess they showed him!

      2. Yves Smith

        Help me. The police had guns. They can’t retreat to 6″ away from the guy with a knife? You are serious? And since there were two of them, one could have shot at the pavement in front of him to show they meant business.

        1. Angie Neer

          Shooting at the pavement would be very dangerous and reckless, too. No telling where the bullets might end up.

    5. albrt

      Although it’s funny, there are a lot of wars in the Old Testament, and it is apparently a sign of God’s love for his people that the good guys have an opportunity to loot and pillage and take everything from the bad guys.

      So query, is the looting in Portland and Philadelphia more like stealing (which is not OK) or pillaging (which is OK if good guys do it to bad guys)?

    6. Lydia Maria Child

      Looting and pillaging are perfectly legal in the US, but you have to have your Private Equity license first.

      Also, businesses are insured. They’ll be just fine.

      You don’t care about justice, just admit it.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    It just occurred to me to offer this sincerely felt totally NON-satirical caveat to the above.

    If I were to see looters looting a middle class home and I knew for a fact that the owner/dweller-therein of that middle class home supported the concept of “looting as a revolutionary expression of discontent”, I would support those looters looting that home. By “support”, I mean I would NOT call the police and I WOULD disappear from the area too fast to be fingered as a witness by any police who might respond later to the calls of others.

    Likewise, if a particular department of a University were infested with looting-supporters, and I saw the building housing that parTICular department getting looted, I would support that looting too, by NOT calling the police and by disappearing from the area before I could be fingered as a possible witness.

    Those who support looting against others deserve to be looted themselves. And if any looters come out to loot the looting-supporters, that is a particular kind of looting which I would support if it were strictly against those pro-looter intellectuals who deserve to be looted so they can experience it for themselves.

    1. ambrit

      So, it’s like this:
      “Sir, we are a Benthamite company. Your employment tenure will be ‘nasty, brutish and short.'”

      1. Darthbobber

        I think that’s actually from Hobbes in Leviathan, describing prospects in a state of nature.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Well let me Swiftly interject then, with a Modest Proposal to amend.

          (sorry, I’m in Wuk mode today. Last one, I promise)

        2. ambrit

          Curses! I guess my internal editor made the switch because Benthamite sounds more ominous than Hobbesite. It does accurately describe the state of ‘Capitalism in Nature.’

    2. Upwithfiat

      Those who support looting against others deserve to be looted themselves.

      Government privileges for private credit creation, i.e. for “the banks”, is a sophisticated form of looting whereby the more so-called “credit worthy” loot the less so.

      And, speaking of the Bible, those privileges make a complete mockery of Deuteronomy 23:19-20 and, for that matter, “Thou shall not steal.”

      1. tegnost

        My favorite, and totally applicable to these times is…
        “the guiler shall himself beguiled be..”
        Reeves tale, canterbury tales

    3. hunkerdown

      When good behavior doesn’t get policy changes but riots do (CNN), maybe rioters aren’t the ones with the attitude problem…. as for the damage, bill the invading armed colonists who caused the condition that led to the damage, and sue them out of house, home, and any hope of ever retiring.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The time will come when looting will produce a different policy-change than the one expected. Repeated running of the experiment will prove that prediction correct or incorrect.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Also, first of all, I see what you did there, changing the subject from looting to rioting. So, getting back to looting, what policy changes has looting actually produced? Are police less brutal and even murderously cowardly when they feel like it? Have the slumghettoes gotten any nicer? Black American job and pay and wealth levels gone up any? What actual policy changes can the looters and their supporters point to?

        Now . . . I would never suggest anything illegal here on these heavily surveilled threads. I would only note that what I wrote about “mature adults” figuring out how to “reach out and touch” particular individual problem officers appears to have been altogether ignored. What does “reach out and touch” mean? Well . . . different things to different people.

        I would remind the readers of what Joseph Stalin once said. “If a person is giving you problems you eliminate the person to stop the person from giving you problems. No person, no problem.”
        Stalin was not a nice man, but was Stalin wrong?

        1. occasional anonymous

          Neither the looting nor the BLM protests have accomplished much of anything. There was a window of opportunity for genuine, meaningful police reform in this country, and that was completely wasted on ridiculous blanket demands to defund and abolish the police entirely, proposals that land like a lead balloon with the general public. And those ‘bold’ proposals have entirely collapsed: https://archive.is/g8UHI

          I know there are probably a bunch of people around here who don’t want to hear it, but those are the facts. BLM has accomplished nothing. Nothing has changed. Police killings, justified and not, will continue.

          1. ambrit

            After BLM was ‘gentrified’ and co-opted by the “Adults in the Room,” the end of substantive reform on that front was guaranteed.
            Many will not notice it, but the undercurrent of fear and rage is growing in the American ‘lower’ classes. Fertile ground for authoritarians. What the elites forget is that, support and ‘shepherd’ them as they might, these authoritarian movements eventually break free and start to implement their own internal agendas. These agendas often involve the wholesale ‘liquidation’ of all opponents, both ‘high born and low.’
            Then comes the real “Terror.”

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Some police departments are irredeemable and irreformable. The Minneapolis P D may be one of those departments. It may be too infested with White Power Functionazis to ever be decontaminated, and may be one place where public safety requires the abolition of its police department and a very rigid refusal to rehire any personnel from that department into any successor organization.

            And may nazi-fascist police UNIONS will have to be crushed, smashed and exterminated in order to have any hope of decontaminating the criminal serial murder departments they protect.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Here is a little video I just saw on Reddit.

          Now . . . suppose this goes viral all over the internet and the social mediaweb. A question arises . . . if a bunch of people were to loot a bunch of stuff from a bunch of places, would this officer be disincentivised from doing something like this all over again? On the other hand, if a person or persons were able to ” reach out and touch” this particular officer, would he be disincentivised from doing something like this all over again? Or would the officers who knew him be disincentivised from doing something like this all over again?

          I would suggest that looting will not disincentivise this officer from doing it again. Beyond that, I make no suggestions as to what would. I merely raise a question as to what might.

      3. occasional anonymous

        You go smashing up people’s places of employment in the middle of an economic collapse in the name of a guy who got shot while advancing on cops while armed if you want. I won’t be joining you.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > When good behavior doesn’t get policy changes but riots do (CNN), maybe rioters aren’t the ones with the attitude problem….

        IIRC, serious talk about police reform started when the rioters started setting buildings on fire, and stopped when they stopped. “I think we’ve learned an important lesson here today, kids.”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Rioting is not looting. Burning a police department building is not looting a bodega. Serious talk of serious reform also stopped when looters made it very clear that they were in it for the loot.

    4. HotFlash

      Those who support looting not paying taxes against others deserve to be looted not have services themselves.

      Those who support looting extrajudicial killings (ie, police murders) against others deserve to be looted extrajudicially killed themselves.

      I remember people described as ‘looters’ in NOLA Katrina, when they were simply getting food and supplies from the only place open, even if they did have to open it themselves.

      I have read of people in Merry Olde England being hanged for ‘poaching’ the king’s deer or even rabbits, as in, to feed their families. Oh, btw, the king claimed to own *ALL* the game in *ALL* the forests.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Just because you remember foragers in the flooded-out NOLA being “described” as looters in the Corporate Fascist Pig MSM does not mean that they “were” looters. They were foragers. Also, the CFP MSM called black foragers “looters” while calling the white foragers “foragers”. That difference in naming the exact same activity differently between the different racial conductors of the exact same activity was noted by those who note such things.

        If anyone can demonstrate that the recent looters looting were actually foragers foraging, I will read that demonstration.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > forage v. loot

          I believe it was “find” not “forage.”

          Regardless of the form of words, I do remember the distinction being called out at the time; white people “find.” Black people “loot.” (I wonder if “forage” comes from Solnit here.)

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Thank you for the correction. It was find, not forage. And it was not looting, not by the White finders and not by the Black finders either.

    5. Glen

      So JP Morgan Chase has paid over $30 billion in fines since 2008 and has pleaded guilty to five criminal felonies, and been put on probation twice. That’s just the fines, I cannot even find a number for how much they looted from the American people, but you can be pretty sure it was more than the fines.

      Now, just so you understand, those five criminal felonies is five more than the bank has pleaded guilty to in the prior 100 years of it’s existence. This is NOT an everyday occurrence.

      Looting is bad, but I would like the country to put the REALLY BIG LOOTERS in jail before the amateurs.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        So would I, but the country is not going to do that. Nominee Kamala was specifically chosen to specifically make sure that no such thing would ever be done.

        We would have to figure out how to conquer the government to make it ours in order to use it to enforce existing laws against the beloved-by-Kamala perpetrators like JP Morgan Chase.

        1. Glen

          I agree this would be very difficult, and that Obama was the complete KING of let the WALL ST CROOKS LOOT AMERICA. But I think it is something that everyone can support.

          I am not supporting looting, but throwing poor people in jail:
          1) Does not change the country.
          2) Makes the investors in the for-profit prison industry (like JP Morgan Chase) richer.

  23. Another Rev

    About recent polls: Here in Florida early voting is approaching half of those registered and similar numbers are reported around the country. That would seem to give poll numbers increasingly solidity. Pollsters look for “likely voters” but are they also asking, “Have you already voted?” If so, the disparity among polls ought to be shrinking but in some cases it’s still pretty large. Just wondering aloud how the polls are dealing with so many votes already in the box.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “After Trump, the Republican Party May Become More Extreme”

    ‘but Sanders won less than 30 percent of the primary vote’

    Bit disingenuous on the part of the Atlantic here. After the DNC put there fat thumb on the primaries, it would need extensive research to find out what his real percentage of the primary vote was. If the progressives are ever to do any good, I sometimes wonder if they should adapt the tactics of the Republican Tea Party cadre. But I suspect that it is far too late to reform the Democratic party as they will make up or ignore whatever rules they need to in order to win against progressives. After all, this is what they have been doing this year. What happened to Gabbard was an example of this.

    1. HotFlash

      ‘but Sanders won less than 30 percent of the primary vote’

      Yeah, and Mayo Pete won Iowa, right?

  25. Clem

    @KamalaHarris: “This is our country and we love our country and we’re prepared to fight for it.”

    Ooohhhhh! Add Red,White and Blue to the Diwali Brown, Juneteenth, black, Mensch adopted mom blue and white, Harris plaid and Beverly Hills Wall Street green.

    All about her husband, with many new Yiddish labels to learn as part of the new political wave. Note, they call it the Harris-Biden campaign:


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > they call it the Harris-Biden campaign:

      Not in the link, not in the video (ugh. If I didn’t know Harris*, I’d almost be convinced).

      If “they” are the Republicans, I don’t care; it’s similar to my joke about “President-in-Waiting” Harris. But if “they” are Democrats, that’s an important detail. Either way, needs a link.

      NOTE * Harris going all heart-tugging on homelessess is nauseating. The California oligarchy of which she is the representative has an awful record on homelessness. (To be fair, they have an excellent record creating it; never let it be said Democrats are ineffective!) See what’s happening in LA now.

  26. Gc54

    Younger daughter just got her Canadian passport (triple citizenship) after several wks wait. Was told by processor in Hull Quebec that there is unprecedented demand from US dual citizens. Not sure how they can get across the closed border, but once in the soon to be Great White North away they can go.

      1. ambrit

        I hope you’ve got your back roads route on up to Fredrickton all mapped out!
        Better yet, why have we not heard about a Maine Secession Movement? Maine would be perfect as a Canadian Maritime Province! (I’m not so sure about Vermont.)

  27. polecat

    Psychedelics bettering communities, where the U.S. is concerned..
    America didn’t exactly get off to a good start, seeing as how occasional clusters of colonial folk would be unintentionally trippin on the foul rye .. hence the bewitchings, and all that entails. The mid to late 20 Century era of ‘mind expansion’ – well there’s probably much data still to be had in drawers/boxes/closets/libraries (maybe??) ..the historical records of the day – LPs, periodicals, books, government ..uh, ‘files’…

    Have you inquired with the RAND Corp? I’m sure they could be of service. Collators extraordinaire….
    They know Everything

  28. Mike

    RE: Biden (D)(2): “Norman Ornstein on President Biden” [Persuasion (stefan)]

    Quoting the comment attached: I don’t see how Democrats can really, truly govern if they have no sense of their own history or, more subtly, mistake their manufactured talking points for history. (This is not snark; I’m genuinely puzzled and concerned.)

    To me, the entire snafu, along with Democratic “incompetence” and “weakness” is all part of the game being foisted upon us. The plan is going swimmingly well- Dems minus platform or policy, coupled with riots and looting near election time caused by a timely Black death, all to rally the law’n’order crowd and gain media attention (which, in Philly, is law’n’order personified). A gentle reminder of who is in charge and how that control will not be challenged in the streets in this way, at this time. And we all react as if this is something brand new. A pity.

  29. tegnost

    obama: “Let’s you and the deplorables fight!”
    How many PMC are enlisting their kids in the armed services?

  30. VietnamVet

    Although it is too late to impact the election, the risks from the terrible decision to allow coronavirus to run wild in the USA are coming to light. Yesterday’s Water Cooler the seating chart of the flight to Ireland showed a 25% risk of getting infected on a 7 hour flight (13 of 49 passengers). Automatic Earth posted an article that stated “In a young, low-risk population with ongoing symptoms, almost 70% of individuals have impairment in one or more organs four months after initial symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection.” Long haul symptoms have been reported in 25% of coronavirus infections. Multiplied together, two persons on that one flight might need long term health care for the rest of their lives.

    Even though the media is using the pandemic to bludgeon Donald Trump; the risks of grocery shopping, eating out, and flying are being ignored. It is prudent for all ages to isolate themselves as much as possible and protect themselves with face masks and gloves if they must go out in public. Besides the 40% of 233,130 who have died already in nursing homes, the costs of long term healthcare for the very roughly 3 million long haul infected Americans, when the pandemic has come and gone, will unaffordable in the for-profit healthcare system; not to mention, the pain and suffering of the needlessly afflicted. Asian and South Pacific nations that controlled the virus do not have these costs.

    1. VietnamVet

      Correction: The published figure for long-haul COVID-19 illness is 2.3%.


      The study that reported 25% was for pregnant women. The risks for catching long-haul COVID are similar to the risks of dying from the illness due to one’s age or comorbidity. An infected person on the flight has a 2.3% chance of catching long haul COVID (higher if old or pregnant).

    2. fajensen

      the costs of long term healthcare for the very roughly 3 million long haul infected Americans, when the pandemic has come and gone, will unaffordable in the for-profit healthcare system

      They will just put all of those people on the street and let Darwinian Selection take care of that problem.

      A Neoliberal society is also a moralist society. In a moralist society, Bad Things always happens for Divine Reasons, thus everyone soon to be living in the streets or getting shot by the police, Must Have Been Bad People / Done Something Bad / or Been Irresponsible (as the neolib-intellectual cadres will say it).

      In My Experience, this line of thinking very much exists in Sweden too.

      Here, until very recently, “nobody gets Covid-19 unless they are some combo of”: Old, Fat, Unhealthy (implies a drunk, lazy slob, or drug addict) or have Underlying Health Issues (implies a hidden drunk, slacker, or drug addict) or if they are an Immigrant – which is “Everything That is Wrong In Sweden, Today”! According to about 20% of the population.

      Those are Cray-Cray Times that we have to live in!!

      The Authorities seems to have changed their tune, maybe someone are just about to be “promoted” into a newly-created but purely advisory position over their previous handling of the epidemic?

      Here is a link: https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/nyheter-och-press/nyhetsarkiv/2020/oktober/beslut-om-skarpta-allmanna-rad-i-skane-lan/

      Translates to:

      Avoid public transport, Do not go to shops and shopping centres unless needed, Do not go to any meetings, parties, theatre, concerts, libraries, gyms and swimming pools, Avoid contact with other people than those one is already living with. (One wonders what the “Just Do Like Sweden”-nutters are going to say to That).

      No masks are recommended though, that is still considered too Un-Swedish (Some Swedish people will wear them as a proud display of mistrust in The Authorities; being Danish, one hears all kinds of things from different people :).

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    I am just an amateur sometime politics-watcher. As such, it seems to me to be a total mistake for Sanders to take the bait, let alone ask for it. (Labor Secretary). He would be locked in the cabinet just like Reich says in hindsight that Reich was.

    Unless Sanders is feeling tireder than we know, and doesn’t want to serve out the remainder of a Senate term anyway. Let alone run again for Senate. If he views such a post as an easy slide into obscure retirement, well . . . okay then.

    1. Glen

      Agreed! Plus, from what I am reading Labor Secretary is NOT a very powerful Cabinet position.

      I’d rather have him stay in the Senate to call out Biden for [family blogging] neo liberal BS heading our way and look for opportunities to broker deals with Senators that want to help Americans.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    About a “single case study of psychedelics making a whole society better” . . . I don’t know if they have been literally case-studied, but numerous Indian Nations used, and some STILL use, psychedelics to make their whole societies better.

    If someone wants to come on here and demonstrate how these Indigenous Nations made/make their societies WORSE with their own traditional indigenous psychedelics, I will give that demonstration a careful read.

    1. CNu

      A few weeks ago, a friend imparted the most interesting perspective I’d never previously considered about various Indian nations ranging from the high civilizations in the Amazon all the way up to various and sundry plains Indian nations. This came in the context of a remark I made about the rain forests being man made permacultural gardens.

      My friend stated that in his opinion, the common cultural thread among all of Americas indigenes was their meticulous curation of the ecosystems they inhabited.

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